08. Davies and Gravies
A month passed and before long, N.E.W.T revisions were upon us. It was seven thirty in the morning and I had just finished doing my forty rounds around the Quidditch pitch, while simultaneously questioning my life’s purpose. Hugo and I clambered up to the stands, opening up the sandwiches (whole wheat with vegetables, mind you) we had grabbed from the kitchens earlier the same morning and flipping through the pages of our tattered Transfiguration textbooks.
“Alright, what’s the name of that bloke who transfigured his wives into cauldrons?” I asked between chomps.
“Is that from Transfiguration and Tyranny
?” he asked and I nodded, but alarmed and impressed that he was aware of what subject we were revising. “Umm. Omegix, right?”
I nodded again and a particularly delightful memory came to me. “He’s from that essay we wrote, the day Wanda Krammer’s Howler arrived!”
“Oh yeah, and McGonagall told us that we were quite
the team,” he said with a smirk and I chuckled.
“Damn straight,” I snorted. “Ask me something!”
After half an hour we switched to A History of Magic
and quizzed each other on the Goblin Wars, Witches Rights Movements and Squib Service.
“The rest of the team’s here,” Hugo said, looking up and scanning the pitch. Sure enough, there was his excuse to abandon all the study plans we had for the rest of the morning “Right, I better be off then. Make some notes for the Squib Service essay, will you? I’ll copy them after breakfast.” And he trotted off down the stairs, broom in hand. I noticed all the usual suspects hobbling about, greeting Hugo as he joined them.
This was sign enough that things were changing. Oh, how things at Hogwarts had changed. Hugo and I had begun leaving messages all over the grounds, signed from ‘Grim and Badger’, warning people to – literally speaking – be nice
. Suddenly, everyone was terrified. One time in the library, I heard some fourth years talk about how Grim and Badger were two ghosts who were a part of a Social Liberty movement, who had studied in Hogwarts hundreds of years ago. Another story (this one from a Ravenclaw seventh year during Potions) claimed that the two were possibly middle-aged forest men, who tended to dragons. Everybody was frantically reading through Hogwarts: A History
and The Beginnings of Magic
for any mention of the new entrants to their lives. “Where have they been for the last six years?” people asked. “How do they know everything about us?” others questioned with trembling lips. Older siblings warned their younger ones as they hopped off the Hogwarts express to ‘behave themselves’, for “They are always watching you”. It’s true, that Hugo and I had expanded our reign to beyond that of the seventh year. Our messages were much more subdued, and definitely less frightening, but there were no more first years complaining of being bullied or harrowed.
And the best part was that nobody suspected us.
The same way that a baby looking at Hitler for the first time would be rather captivated by his meticulous looking moustache, and wouldn’t stop to think that he was eating (for lack of a better verb) his way through an entire race the way one might except Pacman to. People who saw me and Hugo wondered all the regular things – “They’re definitely together!” “Did you hear? They went to France
for the hols!” “Weasley is doing better than me in Potions. Is it drugs, you think?”
I was scratching away at my notes, sighing with frustration at my inability to find anything of importance about the Squib Service in the large book that was on my lap. I barely noticed the shadow that had fallen over me till it moved away and I felt someone take the seat next to me.
“Squib Service, eh?” said Roger Davies casually, stretching his arms over his head. I caught Hugo’s unfathomable glance from the distance, before he mounted his broom and conveniently zipped away in the opposite direction. A friend in need, after all.
“Hmm,” I managed, not wanting to entertain the bloke, who looked like he was doing me a big favour by sitting next to me and attempting to block out the sunlight.
“It’s a nice morning,” he commented, surveying the scene as if we were on an African safari in the middle of a desert. Sure, it wasn’t overcast like it had been over the week. But it was nothing spectacular. Nothing to gaze around
“Sure,” I said, not even looking up at him, but continuing to write my notes.
“Are you and Weasley an item?” he said suddenly and I looked up, squinting at him in the sunlight that hit our faces. I inspected his face a bit, noticing that all his impeccable features were (regrettably) intact. Blue eyes – of course
– and a nose so sharp you could slice a pumpkin pasty in half with it.
“Which Weasley?” I said coolly and he laughed, as if it was the funniest joke he had ever heard. I raised my eyebrows at him, as if to ask him what as funny, and he cleared his throat.
“Hugo, of course. The two of you seem very...tight,” he said, letting the fingers of his two hands thread together, and I felt momentarily offended, wondering if he was trying to explain to me what the word ‘tight’ meant.
“We’re just friends,” I replied, returning to my parchment.
“Hmmm,” he let out a deep breath. “Do you want some help with your essay?”
“No thanks,” I said brusquely and he nodded. Davies wasn’t doing that much better than I was. Sure, he was the crème de la crème of our year, but I was only a few grades behind him in most subjects.
“Alright,” he let out a sigh and wiped his palms on his trainers. “Well, I just wanted to say hello, and – ”
“You didn’t,” I noted dryly and he raised his eyebrows at me.
“What?” he asked and I rolled my eyes.
“You plonked yourself down and asked about the Squib Service and said it was a nice day and asked if I was seeing Hugo, before offering to help me with my essay. You never said hello.”
Davies opened and closed his mouth several times before letting out an awkward laugh. I gave him a tight lipped smile and returned to my notes, wondering if I was ever going to get it done. Wankers like Davies seem to get away with ambling through the day, giving people heart-wrenching smiles and blowing kisses while the rest of us had to slog our arses off.
“Well then, hello and goodbye, Audrey Bloom,” he said, standing up and pushing his hands into his pockets. “And uh. You look...nice.” He said, pulling out one hand and running it through his hair. I raised an eyebrow at him and he smiled, before turning away and retreating to the pitch.
Let me repeat that.
I couldn’t wait to tell Hugo.
“You look nice
?” cried Hugo, a truly confusing expression on his face later that day when we were sitting near the lake. I shudder to even try to describe it. “What a - ”
“Okay Hugo, we know
,” I interrupted before he could ensue his train of abuse directed at Davies. “But the point is -- you were right. Davies is interested, I think.”
“Damn right he’s interested,” muttered Hugo, following it up with a couple of customary curse words. “Shallow little git that he is. Anyway, you can’t behave like a bloody octopus around him anymore. You’ve got to show him you’re at least a little
” I asked, crossing my hands across my chest.
“I was going to say squid,” he offered with a grin. “That’s besides the point. From now on, if you see him in the corridor or something, give him a bit of the old googly eyes.” I cringed and Hugo nodded. “I know, I know. But just think of the look on his face when you turn him down and squish his heart into a pulp – priceless
“Your mind has turned into a factory of gore.” I said, my worry for the boy reaching new heights.
“Can you believe it, though?” he asked, shaking his head. “Our plan – my
plan, thank you very much – actually came through. He is just so predictable! I told you he’d fall for it.”
“I still don’t fancy the idea,” I said stiffly, an uneasy feeling swarming in my stomach. “Fraternizing with Davies, or what I’m certain will be the biggest regret of my life.”
“That sounds like the title for a very bad novel,” Hugo chuckled, patting me on the back. He then let out a groan. “Mum keeps writing to me asking what I’m going to do after Hogwarts. Why should I have to do anything?”
“To be honest, I don’t fancy writing for The Prophet
much either,” I said with a sigh, thoroughly dejected at the thought of my future. “I haven’t written anything in a whole year. And even with the Digest...I just did it. Not because I wanted to be Bathilda Bagshot or anything.”
“Bathilda Bagshot wrote textbooks and became a snake,” Hugo reminded me and we laughed. “This is what happens when you’re not particularly talented in anything.”
“We’re good at ... planning?” I tried to comfort him and he rolled his eyes, telling me that I had failed. “We could become event managers!”
“We’re good at kicking people up the arse,” he said and I had to agree. “We could become managers.”
“Managers of what?” I asked and we sat in silence for a few seconds before the answer bubbled out of both of our lips at the same time.
After revision and dinner, at around half past ten, Hugo decided to call it a day and retreated to his manly chambers. I was sitting at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, watching dejectedly as the goblets and plates disappeared in front of me, lost in my thoughts of Polyjuice Potion, Blast-Ended Skrewts and sugary confections.
I looked up and tried not to make a face.
“Roger,” I choked out, before swallowing back the Davies.
“Good dinner?” he asked and I wasn’t sure if he was making fun of me or not. Hugo had refused to let me touch any of the gratin, insisting that since we were so close to the goal post it would be a shame to give in to temptation and go back to eating food that would later form a nice woollen coat around my heart and kill me, while infiltrating and expanding my body cells. I met his cool, blue eyes and gave him half a smile.
“Sure. You?” I tried to remain as coy as possible, before mentally rolling my eyes. Coy. I had been raised to be several things, but not coy
. Nevertheless, I continued to give him a paralysed smile.
“Yeah,” he said softly, returning a much more attractive smile. Sod your face, you repugnant little twit,
I screamed internally while stabbing his face with an imaginary fork. In the dim light from the candles against the wall, his cheekbones were looking high and mighty. Like his ego
“So, how’s your N.E.W.T revision coming along?” he asked, crossing his arms and resting them on the table, leaning in a bit. I shrugged.
“I know it’s supposed to be easier than O.W.Ls because we have less subjects, but it’s cooking my goose,” I said, certain that I had used the idiom wrongly. He obviously didn’t notice, because he was laughing and giving me a nice flash of his symmetrical, white teeth. Idiot.
“I know. At least you don’t take Runes anymore. I have no idea why I decided to continue with it,” he said, shaking his head, as if his own stupidity was a new and startling thing for him to come to terms with. Perhaps I ought to teach him a thing or two.
“What are you going to do after Hogwarts?” I asked, out of pure curiosity. He would probably become an Auror, like everybody else. It was an easy job today, since the only thing that remained of Voldemort was a store (wittily) named Voldemart, and any prospective followers or cult starters were admonished so much in their years at Hogwarts that they rarely came out successful.
“Think I’d like to work for the Ministry,” he said and I wanted to roll my eyes. Of course you did, love
. That’s where all the pathetic tossers went, after all. It only made sense that Tosser Supremo would queue up there to get in as well. “They do early recruitments, so I can get all my training there itself. There’s a lot of competition, though.”
“There’s a lot of idiots,” I wanted to say but nodded instead.
“What about you?” he asked and I regretted bringing up the topic in the first place.
“I’m keeping my options open,” I said and remembered what James had said when Hugo had told his family the same thing over that Christmas dinner – that it was the same thing as having no idea.
“What are your options?” he pressed further and I wanted to hit him for not comprehending that I had no interest in telling him that I wanted to make high-fat gravies and salad and cupcakes with Hugo.
“Do we have to talk about this?” I said with a laugh, waving it off and Davies backed off.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to bore you,” he mumbled, his hand reaching out to scratch his neck. His neck was so thick and muscular I could have drawn two mountain ranges on it. Prat
“Well, don’t we have class tomorrow?” I asked, stretching my hands over my head, even though I knew the answer already. “I should ... go to bed. Don’t want to be late for Sluggy’s big test.”
“Yeah,” he said, stretching back in his chair and giving me a lazy grin, seeming as appealing as a cat with a furball stuck up its arse. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
I stood up and gave him another one of my I-do-not-smile-at-people-a-great-deal-especially-not-pricks-like-you smiles and a small wave, before practically running out of the Great Hall and up to the dormitories.
Underneath the covers, I was completely immune to Lisa and Cynthia’s insistence of Witch Weekly’s unreliability and Mary Dean harping on and on about how her horn-rimmed glasses were lost for good this time. All I could think of was Hugo’s probable smirking face the next morning, Slughorn’s continually depleting quizzing abilities and Davies’ alarmingly white teeth.
Merlin bless my soul.
A/N: Thirty favourites? Nooo, I don’t deserve it for being the worst story updater that ever lived! I’m trying to change my writing style a bit, and just add more
because I’m so massively unhappy with everything I’ve been churning out. I don’t want to just throw out updates for the sake of updating, and seem to have forgotten what the word quality means. And yet, so many reviews and so much support! Thank you all, seriously. We’re reaching the end – in fact, I have the last chapter penned out rather casually, and will continue to tinker around with it – so I just hope that the story’s got enough to make you stick around for just a bit longer!