Chapter 11 : Slug Clubbing
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Blanca was in Rose’s dorm, they were getting ready for the first Slug Club meeting of the school year, it had now been tradition that every second Friday of the term, the members met with old Slughorn. Horace Slughorn had still continued with his tradition of collecting ‘promising’ students and adding them to his beloved club whether they liked it or not. He was still head of Slytherin House, and even though his post as Potions master had been taken by a younger professor, he was still resident at Hogwarts, and Blanca, Scorpius, together with the Granger-Weasleys, the Potter-Weasleys and the Delacour-Weasleys and a number of other students were all recruited in his ‘elite’ club.
“You look so pretty Rose!” Blanca was saying as Rose twirled around in her emerald green dress robes.
“I look like the queen of Slytherin,” Rose giggled, and winked at Blanca, who knew what the private joke was.
“Are you done?” Lexi asked from behind them.
“Not yet, why?” Rose asked.
“I need to use the mirror.”
“But there’s another one at the other end of the room,” Rose replied.
“That one doesn’t catch the right light,” Lexi replied as she pushed between the two and examined herself in the mirror, she wore a figure hugging red dress that looked very hot, even though Blanca would have never in a million years admitted it.
“What’s the occasion?” Blanca asked, trying to sound casual.
“Slug club,” Lexi replied whilst curling her waist length raven hair, “Lance is taking me as his date.”
“Of course he is,” Blanca muttered as she applied some lip gloss.
“You don’t look so bad yourself Thomas,” Lexi said, “I like the outfit.”
Blanca gave a tight lipped smile, “Thanks.” She studied her reflection, she was clad in a long loose midnight blue dress robe, something that she bought in case of events like this; it was not much, but her defined curves filled it in the right places and made it look elegant.
“So,” Lexi continued, it seemed like she wanted to stay civil today, “who are you going with?”
“No one, I’m going solo,” Blanca replied as she went over to help Rose tame her wild red locks.
“That’s a shame, why not?”
“I don’t think it’s a shame,” Blanca said, “I just have no one special to take.”
“What about your friend, Melanie Longbottom?”
“She had extra Herbology today, she probably just got back from the greenhouses.”
Lexi sighed, “I know Lance would have been your date if it hadn’t been for me, I just want to let you know that I wish things did not have to end that way between-”
“Save it, please,” Blanca replied, “Lance was last season’s news. You two deserve each other, so there is no point in feeling sorry for me or whatever,” Blanca said as politely as she could.
“Oh,” she said in a small voice.
Rose rolled her eyes and Blanca let out an involuntary giggle, before Lexi could ask what was funny, Jenna walked in, wearing a long silver gown, her eyes were lined in shimmery silver and she had a hot pink lipstick on, her hair flowed behind her and she had a happy smile on her face. “So, what do y’all think?” she asked, which was followed by oooooh’s and aaah’s from the girls, she blushed and said, “I didn’t know what to wear, so I finally threw this on.”
“Is that a witch’s dress robe?” Wendy Vane asked.
“Yeah, it’s a witch’s robe,” Jenna replied.
“Well, it’s different......” Wendy said.
“It’s a Liliana Wickstead gown,” she said meekly, “She does muggle-inspired dress robes.”
“High fashion,” Blanca agreed, “it’s really pretty, you look lovely.”
“Aw, thanks,” came the reply.
“So, let me guess,” Wendy said, “you’re going with James right?” she wiggled her eyebrows at Jenna.
“Just as friends,” Jenna confirmed.
“Yeah, right,” Wendy slurred, “no one is ‘just friends’ with James Potter.”
“Well, I am,” Jenna replied, “believe what you want, James and I are just ‘mates’ as you may say here.”
Blanca got up, turning to Rose, she said, “I’m done, are you coming?”
“I’ll be there later, I’ve got a little Slytherin issue I need to attend to,” she whispered.
Blanca stepped out into the common room and immediately had to duck so as to avoid a spell that went flying across the room, “Barbarians,” she muttered under her breath. From the corner of her eye, she saw a laughing Ewan and a furious looking Fred in hot pursuit of the former. She was just about to make it to the portrait door when she was stopped by Al, he was with Max, she had her brown hair was set in tiny frizzy curls and pretty dress robes, Blanca thought she might have looked beautiful had it not been for the harassed expression on her face.
“Hi Al, Max,” Blanca smiled.
“Hey Blanca,” Al said, Max just gave her a curt smile, “I was in the owlery and your hatch was full, so I picked your mail up for you, I hope you don’t mind.” He said as he handed her a number of envelopes.
“Oh, no of course I don’t mind. Thanks, I’ve been expecting mail from my dad anyway,” she said as she got the envelopes, she noticed that Al was shifting from foot to foot, something he did when he was nervous, she read the envelopes, one was from the Ministry, one was from her father and the last was from the Witch Weekly, “the Witch Weekly, I’m not subscribed to them, why would I be receiving mail from them?” she muttered under her breath.
She opened the one from the ministry, it was about a scholarship to the school of Herbology in Peru and how she could apply if she was interested, she quickly folded it back and opened the one from her father, it read; My Funny Little Hufflepuff, I’m glad to hear that the first week of school was ‘alright’, as you put it, and that your first game of the season is with Gryffindor, good luck. There is someone I would like you to meet, so could you meet me at Three Broomsticks at nine tomorrow? It’s really important that you do, I’ll explain everything else there. Love, Dad.
Blanca read the letter over and over again, it had a sense of urgency she could not place, usually, her father’s letters were long and full of humour and unnecessary details. She went on to open the letter from the Weekly but was stopped by Al, “Erm, we’re probably late for Slug Club!” he said.
“But no one’s even left yet!” Blanca protested.
“All the good seats will be taken,” Al said, it was a shot in the dark, but it seemed to have hit the target because Blanca set the letter down and got up, “Here,” he said, “Let me take those, you look like you don’t have enough room on your robes,” and before Blanca could say anything back, he grabbed the letters and swiftly put them in his pocket.
They walked in silence to Slughorn’s office in silence, the trip only interrupted by Peeves trying to drop stink bombs singing “It’s Friday the 13th! I feel a lot of bad luck coming!”
Slughorn’s office had been charmed to hold about a hundred people and there were drapes in all four house colours streaming all across the room, there were tables lined with food and at the furthest end of the room was Slughorn sitting in one of his poofy armchairs, he was speaking to a bored looking Antonio Zabini. There were a few other students scattered across the room but no one Blanca spoke to, the three quickly moved to the corner where they could find a table that could give them more privacy but they did not move quickly enough as Blanca heard Slughorn call out her name.
“Ah! Is that Blanca Thomas I see over there!” he said from his perch.
Blanca slowly turned around to face him, “Help me,” she hissed to Al, who laughed and said,
“I’m sorry but you’re on your own on this one.” And with that, he and Max went to their table.
Blanca slowly made her way to the head table where Slughorn was grinning brightly,
“Blanca, just the person I wanted to see!”
“Good evening professor,” she said politely, turning to Antonio, she nodded and said, “Zabini.”
“You see Blanca, Antonio and I were just discussing where the Zabini empire would be heading in terms of constructing a new broom model.” Blanca glanced at Antonio, who had a slight grimace on his face; like Dean, Blaise Zabini had decided to go into the broom business, after Hogwarts, he spent a good amount of the Zabini fortune to invest in the Nimbus and Cleansweep broom manufacturing companies and years later, became one of the head share holders, which gave him a say on what models went through and which changes would be made to the brooms.
“Oh, were you now?” Blanca replied, trying to sound as interested as possible.
“Yes, now, we were discussing the prospects of vintage brooms and it just so happened that
I read on Quidditch Today that you and your father had taken a trip to Prague for a convention on vintage brooms. So, what were your views on bringing the vintage broom back?”
“Well,” Blanca started, trying to give the quickest answer she could, “if the vintage broom had to be brought back, I think it could be best used as a status symbol rather than a sports item, because I don’t think I for one would want to use a Cleansweep 90 for a Quidditch match,” she paused as Slughorn laughed at the example, “but when you put collectors into consideration, the vintage broom could be a success. Especially when it’s treated with exclusivity because again, when something is thrown out into the public in bulk, it loses its ‘star’ quality.”
Slughorn nodded thoughtfully, “True, true,” he muttered.
Blanca smiled, “What do you think Zabini?”
“Well, what you said makes sense, but what if the broom was modified to fit modern Quidditch requirements? Like take a Cleansweep 90 and give it the properties of the Nimbus Tornado?” Antonio replied, Blanca had to bite her tongue to hold back a gasp; this was practically the first time she heard him speak since Second year, and his voice had a thunderous rumble to it that was not present back then.
“Um, doesn’t that defeat the whole entire process of having an original vintage item? Because it won’t be the same if it’s modified,” Blanca countered.
“Ah, a debate, I like a healthy discussion like this,” Slughorn said, Antonio rolled his eyes but this was not seen as Slughorn had turned his gaze to James and Jenna, who had just walked in, “isn’t that the new student from the Americas?” he asked.
“Sir, they haven’t called it the Americas since the 1600’s,” Antonio said quietly, but Slughorn did not hear him as he called out to the two that had just come in.
“I think now would be the time to escape,” Blanca whispered to him, he nodded and they both went as far away from Slughorn's table as they possibly could.
“Well, that was a bore,” Antonio said.
“Well put Zabini,” Blanca agreed, “and I must say, nice to meet you again after four years.”
“Same here,” he said, his heavily lashed dark eyes scanning the room.
“Looking for someone?” she asked.
“Looking for two people actually,” he replied, “Scorpius and Pepper.”
Blanca understood why Antonio would be looking for Scorpius, they had been best friends since forever, but, “Why Pepper?” she asked.
“She’s my,” he raised his eyebrows at Blanca, “Pepper and I are......”
Blanca had never seen anyone look so uncomfortable with explaining their relationship status, so, deciding to have fun with the situation, she played dumb; after all, Hufflepuffs were not the sharpest tools in the shed. Blinking and shaking her head, she said, “She’s your........?”
“Come on Thomas, do I have to explain it to you?” he said.
“I don’t get it,” she said.
If Antonio had gone red, there was no way of telling, but he looked fairly annoyed, “Are you all this annoying?”
“Who is ‘you all’?” she bit her trembling bottom lip, “And we’re not annoying, whoever we are, it’s very hurtful you know?”
Antonio looked panicked, like he did not know what to do with crying girls, “She’s my girlfriend okay!” he held her by the shoulders, “And don’t cry! I didn’t mean it like that,” she said hastily.
Blanca burst out laughing, which made Antonio frown even more, “Why didn’t you just say it in the beginning?” she said.
“So, you knew all along,” he hissed, “why didn’t you-”
“I wanted you to say it.”
“Well that’s not very funny Thomas. If that’s your idea of a joke, then........” he trailed off.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “by the way, lovely choice of girlfriend,” she said sarcastically.
“Hey! Pepper’s not all bad,” Antonio retorted.
“Whatever you say man, anyway, speaking of Scorpius, I think he is with-” she stopped mid-sentence, shit! She thought. Again, her mouth and her brain decided it was time to play Marco-Polo.
“Rose Weasley,” Antonio replied calmly.
“Oh, so you know,” Blanca said.
“Scorpius.” Antonio said simply, “I told him it was a bad idea, but he was stubborn.”
“Bad idea? I think it’s called a death wish!” Blanca exclaimed.
“You know what’s a serious death wish?” a nasal voice sneered from behind them, “you fraternising with my boyfriend.”
Blanca grimaced and turned to face Pepper, she was clad in a short black dress that left little to the imagination, “Hello Parkinson.” Blanca said.
“Listen Thomas, I know that your boyfriend dumped you over the summer, smart choice by the way, but that does not mean you have any grounds to speak to my boyfriend. Get it?”
She whispered in Blanca’s ear.
Blanca smiled, “Right,” she replied coolly, turning to Antonio, she said, “Well Zabini, it’s been nice, we should do this again sometime.” She winked at him, knowing that it would only anger Pepper some more, Antonio just smiled clumsily.
“Stay away from us,” Clover hissed, “all of us, Antonio, Frida, Yasmina, Scorpius, all of us! Stay. Away.”
Blanca just threw her head back and walked away, she went to the bar and called for the bartender, who happened to be Ewan.
“’Allo cousin!” he said cheerily.
Blanca smiled, “Is there anything you don’t do?”
“I can’t fall pregnant,” Ewan said, then taking up a very thoughtful expression, he said mystically, “but someday, I’ll find a solution for that.”
“Of course you will,” she muttered under her breath, “okay, I want something to drink, something strong, possibly illegal.”
“A triple Firewhisky?”
“Something stronger, give me the baddest thing you have.”
Ewan got a mischievous look on his face, “’Ow would you like a shot of Devil’s Brew?”
“It’s a little something I whipped up for James an’ the boys, of course ol’ Sluggy ‘as no clue about it, I’m not suppos’d to give anyone else buh since I love ewe like a sister, ‘ere you go,” he pulled out a tiny black glass that had a green liquid swirling in it.
“What’s in here?” Blanca asked.
“I’d rather not tell ya.”
“Bottoms up Finnigan,” she said as she downed the drink, it was bitter yet sweet, and burned like acid as it trickled down her throat, “if I die, I’ll come back to haunt you.” She said as she swivelled off of the stool she was seated on.
Blanca scanned the room, Rose was not back yet and Al seemed busy with Max, or busy with Max’s tongue would be the more exact thing to say. She did not speak to half the people in the room and one quarter were either too annoying or too boring to speak to, and she did not feel like speaking to the other quarter, so, calling it a night, she began to make her way back to the dorm, after all, she had shown her face and that was all that was required for this dumb club right?
Before she could leave the room, she was stopped by a sheepish looking Lance, “What do you want Jordan?” she slurred.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure thing, let’s just talk right?”
“I’m serious Blanca,” he said, “let’s go somewhere more private.”
“Actually, I’d rather you called me Thomas,” she said, “and I don’t think us being somewhere alone is such a good idea, what will your girlfriend think?”
“She’s not my girlfriend anymore,” he said, in almost a whisper.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” Blanca asked.
“Lexi and I, we broke up. It just wasn’t working between us,” he said.
“Wow, Jordan, five weeks! That’s a new record for you!” she said, “Poor girl, she got all dressed up just for a break up. But let me not say much, I got all dressed up just to meet a break up as well,” she said, her mouth was rambling and Blanca could feel the alcohol going to her brain.
“I’m sorry, Blanca. I made a terrible mistake, that’s why I broke up with her,” he said pleadingly, “What we had, you and I, it was real, and Lexi and I didn’t just have that.”
“What are you saying Jordan?” she said.
“I would like you to give me a second chance B,” he held her hands in his, “I miss you. I was stupid to treat you that way, please take me back,” he said, “I swear I will never act like an arse again.”
Blanca took her hands away from his and touched his face affectionately, “Oh Lance,” she sighed.
He held her hand where it had rested on his cheek and whispered, “So, are we as good as new?”
“Quite the opposite,” her voice hardened as she abruptly dropped her arm, “I am not some old doormat you can go back to after you’ve had fun with your latest toy, It’s too late to come back now.”
“I can’t take you back, Jordan, you hurt me and you expect me to just come back? I’m sorry, but I’ve moved on.” And with that, she walked away. Sitting at an empty table, she buried her face in her hands.
“Why isn’t it Thomas,” James voice whispered in her ear.
“Go away Potter, I’m drunk.”
“I like you better when you’re drunk, you’re more fun that way.”
“Come on, just one dance, please,” he pleaded.
“Ah, what’s the use?” she said as she took his hand and let him lead her to the dancefloor.
“So, why so drunk so early? I thought you were a goody-two-shoes,” he whispered in her ear.
“The best person to ask would be Ewan Finnigan,” she replied, “do me a favour, sober me up.”
“Hell no. I like you when you’re drunk, besides, I thought you don’t trust me with a wand.”
“Whatever Potter, just do it!”
He led her away from the crowd and waved his wand at her, she felt very cold and her hands were clammy, “What did you do to me Potter?”
“It’s a sober up spell, I believe you have never used one before, but if you’re going to be drinking Devil’s Brew, you’re gonna have to get used to it.”
“How did you know what I was drinking?”
“Your mouth reeked of it,” he said.
Blanca involuntarily had her hand fly to her mouth, “Oh shit!”
“Don’t worry,” he said, “the smell’s gone. Do you want to go back to the dancefloor now?”
The dancefloor looked much brighter than before, and Blanca realised that people were staring, “People are looking,” she whispered nervously.
“Of course they’re looking, I’m hot!”
Blanca playfully slapped his arm, “Vain prick!”
“Hey, I’m James Potter, I’m quite special.”
“So, what do you want?”
“What do you mean?” James asked innocently, “I’m just a boy asking a girl for a dance.”
“While his super hot date just sits there?” Blanca asked, “Seriously Potter, you’ve lied better before.”
“I know I should have kept you drunk! Okay, so about what happened last night-”
“I thought we said we wouldn’t speak of it.”
“So you haven’t told anyone?” James asked, Blanca shook her head, James glanced back at Jenna, who was speaking to some Seventh years, “Not even Rose?”
“Believe it or not, the last time I got to see Rose alone was before that................though I saw her earlier, but she hasn’t put in an appearance yet.”
“She’s probably with that Malfoy kid,” James growled.
“Why are you asking?” Blanca asked.
“I think someone told Jenna, she’s been moody and has been dropping hints that she knows we were together.”
“Firstly, I thought those passages were secrets known only to you, and secondly, why so bothered? I thought you said she wasn’t your girlfriend.”
“That doesn’t mean I don’t want to make her my girlfriend.”
“Of course, why didn’t I think of that?”
“Shut up Thomas, don’t you see this is serious?”
“I think that was your fault, you said the passages were completely secret.”
“How don’t I know that it was you who went squealing to your girlfriends?”
“Why would I want to publicise something as repulsive as that Mr-always-drunk-enough-to let-slip-the-common-room-password-to-anyone-close-enough!”
“I tell you Thomas, don’t ruin this for me.”
“Ruin what? Your budding relationship with Jenna Hart, yeah I think that car went under the bridge the time you came and asked me to dance with you.” Dropping her hands to her sides, she said coldly, “Goodnight Potter.” And with that, she walked away.
Al sat at his table and patiently listened as Max described her Christmas ball gown for the umpteenth time. Dominique and her new friend Desiree had come to join them earlier, and Al was fine with that, until Marsha spotted Dom there and she and her friends quickly changed camp, so now they had been joined by Fifth Years Carrie Prince, Marsha Jones, Lauren Barks, Zainab Singh, and Katy Cornish who was from Ravenclaw, and they were all giggling like little girls. “Uh, I’m sorry girls but where are your dates?” Al asked, not bothering to be polite.
“Al!” Max lightly slapped his arm, “he didn’t mean it.”
Al just raised his eyebrows. Before anything else was said, Rhiannon practically came running to their table, “And along came Lavender Brown, Rita Skeeter and Pansy Parkinson,” Al muttered under his breath.
“You guys will not believe what just happened,” she gasped.
“What?” Marsha asked.
“Believe me, you will not believe it!” Rhiannon said.
“Well, get on with it already!”
“I tell you, you won’t even believe it!”
“Are you going to tell us or not?” Max snapped.
“Okay, I was coming from the loo when I heard Lance and Lexi talking, at first, I thought they were just messing around but then it struck me, he was breaking up with her!”
“What!” Carrie said.
“Yeah, he told her that it had been fun, but his heart belonged to someone else, then he said that they couldn’t be together anymore; next thing I knew, Lexi was running off to Merlin
“Oh my god! Lexi!” Carrie said as she jumped off her seat and left in hot pursuit of her sister.
“Well, that was something,” Rhiannon said as she took the chair Carrie had been sitting on.
“He is such a prick that Lance Jordan!” Marsha spat.
“I wonder who he was referring to when he said his heart belonged to someone else,” Max marvelled, she turned to Al, “you’re dormmates, you may have an idea.”
“I don’t talk to Jordan much,” Al muttered quickly.
“Well, that was sad for Lexi,” Dominique said, “one month, that’s even shorter than his relationship with Blanca.”
“It’s scary how no one sticks together these days,” Zainab said with a shudder.
“Maybe James and Jenna will make it, they are both hot, popular and they’re the whole package!” Rhiannon said.
“Yeah sure, but Jenna insists that she and James are just mates.” Marsha said.
“Yeah right, that’s what they all say,” Rhiannon said, “What do you think Desiree, Jenna’s your sister, she must have said something.”
Desiree gave a tight lipped smile and shook her head, “I don’t know,” turning to Dominique, she whispered, “it’s been great hanging out with you and all but I gotta jump.” And with that, she got up and left.
“Where’d she go?” Marsha asked.
“None of your business,” Dom replied flatly.
“Whatever,” Lauren said, “Al, you’re James’ brother, I’m sure he would tell you something.”
“Lauren, I’m not my brother’s keeper,” Al replied coolly.
“Just asking,” she said, “why so touchy all of a sudden?”
“Speaking of James and being touchy,” Marsha said breathlessly, “there he is,” she pointed with a shaky finger.
Al followed her gaze and nearly choked on his own spit when he saw what she was talking about. There on the dancefloor, James and Blanca stood, Blanca had her arms around James and they were dancing and whispering things in each other’s ears, then, when Blanca looked like she was going to kiss him, but quickly walked out of the room, there were gasps from the girls around him but Al ignored them all.
“That was quite a show.” Marsha said.
“Yeah,” Dom agreed, “James and Blanca, who would have known?”
“But what about Jenna?” Zainab asked.
“Yeah, she’s ruining everything!” Lauren said.
“Don’t worry,” Rhiannon said, “I guess it was just a simple, friendly dance.”
“But Thomas and James aren’t friends,” Katy said.
“Well last night-” Max started but stopped when Al nudged her.
“Well, he can’t like, fancy Thomas,” Zainab said.
“Yeah,” Marsha chimed in, “especially when opposed to someone like Jenna Hart, I mean, no offence but like Jenna is way better looking than Thomas.”
At this point, Dom and Max struggled for where to look, clearly not comfortable with the conversation at hand, Al, on the other hand continued to listen to the conversation, eyebrows going higher and higher up his forehead with every word muttered.
“And let’s face it girls,” Rhiannon said, “Jenna is just better for James, she’s the entire package! She’s got class, she’s smart and she knows she’s old enough to stop playing on brooms, which, for some reason, Thomas hasn’t realised.”
“You mean Quidditch?” Max asked in a small voice, “But she’s really good.”
“But you know what we say girls that still play Quidditch after fourth year......” Zainab said.
“Either homo, ugly, or loser,” Lauren said matter-of-factly.
“Hey! I resent that!” Marsha said, “You know my Great-Aunt Gwen played Quidditch most of her life.”
“But I thought you hated her,” Rhiannon said, looking confused.
“Well, I don’t like her, but she’s still family.”
“Whatever,” Katy said, with a flip of her blonde hair, “we’re talking about Thomas here.”
“But she managed to date Lance Jordan,” Dom said, “and we know he wouldn’t just go for anyone.”
“Well that was a fluke,” Lauren said, “and he realised his mistake.”
“After six months?” Max asked incredulously.
“I think she slipped him a love potion,” Zainab whispered.
“I think not!” Max retorted.
“Who’s side are you on Maxime? Hers or ours?” Lauren asked, bobbing her head so much that her overlong black bangs fell over her eyes.
“Al, where are you going?” Max asked Al, who was getting up from his seat.
“I need some air,” he said, turning to the girls, he said, “Oh, and by the way, Jenna Hart, yeah, she tried out for the team and made starting chaser.” And he walked away.
“What’s with him?” Rhiannon asked.
“Really Rhi? Really?” Max asked.
“You let him sit here as you verbally trashed one of his best friends,” Max snapped.
“Well, who told him to sit here?” Lauren asked.
“I think it’s you who found us here,” Max said angrily, “now excuse me, I’ve gone to find my boyfriend.”
“Doesn’t it bother you that he cares that much about her?” Zainab asked.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s left you here, and you’re his girlfriend, but he’s probably gone into the Merlin-knows-where to look for her and make sure she’s okay.” Katy said.
“They’ve been friends since first year, their relationship is obviously really strong, there’s nothing wrong with that!” Max retorted.
“I think he likes her more than you,” Lauren said solemnly.
“He does not! Well, it’s different!” Max raised her arms in the air, “Dom! Say something!”
Dominique, who had been quiet this whole time looked up from her drink, “What?”
“Tell these people that the relationship between Blanca and Al is completely normal, you’ve known them practically your whole life!”
Dom lowered her gaze to the ground.
“What?” Max asked.
“Well, Max,” she started, “I kinda need to talk to you about something.”
“What do you mean?”
Dom gave Rhiannon a wary glance before turning to Max and saying, “Let’s go outside.”
“What!” Marsha protested, “you can’t say it in front of us!”
“It’s strictly family,” Dom said.
“She’s not part of your family!” Lauren chimed in, “you’d better say what you want right here or-”
“Or what?” Dom hissed, “You remember that you’re merely a fifth year Barks, and even if I hang around you lot sometimes, it’s cos I feel sorry for you saddies, so you’d better know your place.”
Lauren looked like she had been slapped, and the others silently looked on as Dom led Max out of the room.
Once outside, Max said, “Okay, tell me.”
“I don’t know if I should even be telling you this Max but,” she sighed, “Al hasn’t told the rest of the family about you, they don’t know about the two of you.”
“Not even his dad?”
Dom sadly shook her head, “And the other week, before we came here, well, I kind of overheard my grandmother tell Blanca and Rose how happy she was that Al and Blanca were together, and how she knew without a doubt that they would surely get married someday.” Dom said quickly, figuring that it would be best to break the news to her all at once.
“Wha-” Max breathed weakly.
“But! But! Blanca and Rose confirmed to her that she and Al were just friends, nothing less nothing more!”
Max was still nodding catatonically, the spell she put on her hair to set it in tiny curls was now wearing out and her hair was going back to its normal state, though it looked comical that half her head was curly and the other half straight, “Okay...........okay, but he still has not told anyone about us.”
“Well, I think maybe he wants to wait and know that you and him are serious,” Dom said, trying to reassure her, “you know, cause I don’t think he wants to create the James effect, where he springs every girl he meets on his family.”
“Serious?” Max exclaimed, “We’ve been together three months! Some people get married in that time, how serious does he want us to get?”
Dominique put a reassuring hand on Max’s shoulders, “Look, I know he loves you, you just have to give him a little more time. You’re the first real girlfriend he’s ever had.”
“But do you think what the others said is true,” Max whispered, “that he loves Blanca more than me?”
“The relationship Al has with you is way different from the way he feels about Blanca, I’m certain of that,” Dom replied, “and honestly, when was the last time that a word that dropped out Lauren’s mouth actually made sense?”
Max giggled, “Thanks Dom,” she said softly, and she turned to walk away from the Slug Club party.
“Where are you going?”
“I had a long night,” Max sighed, “I need to go to bed now.”
“Alright, goodnight,” Dom said, and she turned to walk back to the party, what she did not see though, was the determined expression on Max’s face.
After he had left, Al made a beeline for his dorm, he was still trying to process what those girls had just said, but eventually shrugged it off. It was shocking the kind of friends Max had, but again, very few girls in her year ever made sense, he quietly gave the password to the Fat Lady and went into the common room, once in his dorm, Al reached under his pillow for the Map and uttered the spell, in a few moments, the whole school was mapped out in front of him and he managed to find Blanca, she was in an empty classroom near the great hall, he hurriedly folded the parchment and put it in his pocket so quickly that he did not see
Rose’s and Scorpius’ footsteps disappearing right outside the Room of Requirement.
Quickly coming out of the Gryffindor quarters, Al practically ran to the classroom Blanca was in; he slowly opened the door and found her seated on the floor near the front of the class, leaning against a desk, back turned to the door, she was calmly shooting colourful streamers out of her wand.
“You know,” he said, “if you flex your wrist out more, the streamers will last longer.”
Blanca turned round to face him, she looked like she had been crying, she gave him a small smile and said, “You were always better at Charms.”
“That’s because my wand’s suited for Charms,” he sat down next to her, “and yours is better suited for Transfiguration, remember in Second year History of Magic-”
“Wandlore-” she chipped in.
“Yeah, each wand is different, no two are the same,” Al said imitating professor Binns’ voice.
“No wand is superior to the other, each has its strengths and weakness-” she said.
“Whether in wood or core-” he added.
“The only wand ever known to be superior-” she said.
“Is the elder wand-” he said.
“Which was one of the Deathly Hallows.” They finished in unison.
“That was fun,” Blanca laughed.
“Yeah,” Al agreed, “remember you me and Rose would do that so we wouldn’t forget.”
“Yeah, that was really fun,” she sighed, “but it was years ago. I guess we all kinda figured ourselves out and grew up.”
“We’ve all changed,” Al said, “You’ve changed.” He added silently.
Blanca turned so she could face him squarely, “You saw me and your brother,” she said quietly, “is this what it’s all about?”
“What’s going on between you and James?” Al finally asked.
“Nothing. He just wanted a dance, that’s all.”
“And you agreed,” Al said surprised, “Normally, you would have jinxed his head off.”
Blanca sighed, “I was just being nice, that’s what Hufflepuffs do right?”
“Hufflepuffs don’t lie either,” Al said bluntly.
Blanca looked offended, “What was that about?”
“I saw you and James last night, you ran past us in the corridor, where were you going?”
Blanca’s face dropped, “Oh my god, ‘we’, who were you with?”
“Maxime, but that’s beside the point-”
“She must have been the one who told Jenna then,” Blanca said to herself.
“Told Jenna what?”
“That was what Potter was talking about,” Blanca said, “he accused me of ruining his chances with Jenna by telling that he and I spent last night together.” She blurted out before she realised what she had just said and who she had said it in front of.
“What?” Al said, betrayal written all over his tone, Blanca raised her head to see his face but regretted it when she saw the way he looked at her, eyes full of judgement and disgust.
“Look Al,” her voice was shaky, “nothing happened, I promise.”
“And you expect me to believe that?” Al asked bitterly, “That my brother spent the night with a girl without touching her?”
“I’m not just ‘a girl’!” Blanca exclaimed.
“Okay then! What happened?” Al asked, “And don’t lie to me!”
Blanca took a deep breath, “Okay,” she whispered, “it all began when I stumbled upon Lance and Lexi in an empty passage way, then James, your brother, he came to make sure I was okay.”
“James. James came to make sure you were okay?” Al asked incredulously.
“Well, I did not believe him at first but he explained why-” she explained what had happened from the time he took her to the old head’s common room to the time they swore not to speak about what had happened.
“I’m sorry,” she said when she had finished.
Al was shaking his head, “Maxime was right,” he said quietly, “there was no reason to worry about you, because while I thought you and James were ripping each other’s heads off, you were actually ripping each other’s clothes off!”
“Nothing happened! I swear!”
“I thought you were different, but I guess it’s true what I said earlier, you’ve changed.” He
“Al!” Blanca protested.
“I don’t think I can look at you,” he said quietly while getting up.
Blanca angrily wiped her tears and said, “Well, if that’s the case, leave!”
“You don’t need to tell me twice,” Al said as he left the room.
Al left the empty classroom with one motive on his mind: Murder. He spat the password at the Map and quickly found James, who was at the Astronomy tower, Al quickly folded the map and made his way there.
Once up on the tower, he could see James’ silhouette, “You!” he yelled angrily.
“What the fuck!” James said as he ducked the curse that Al sent flying in his direction, James saw the murderous expression on his brother’s face and said calmly, “Okay, Al, let’s talk this over nice and slow. What did I do this time?” he said cautiously eyeing his brother’s
“Tell what this is all about!” Al asked angrily, “Is this about Quidditch? Is it about your reputation? Is it some sick dare? Tell me!”
James furrowed his eyebrows, “What in Merlin’s name are you talking about?” he dodged another spell that narrowly missed him, “Okay Al, on a serious note, we can’t make a mess up here. There are some Sixth years that are coming up here for Astronomy in about two hours, so it’s best if we didn’t break anything!”
“Now’s not the time to be funny James! What did you do with Blanca?”
“Is that why you’re angry?”
“Bloody hell yeah! I’m vexed James, what’s the plan? I know you’ve never fancied her so why the fuck now?”
“Well, dear brother, I don’t fancy your friend and if she told you the whole story, you should know that we were both drunk.”
“Rubbish! Why did you take her there in the first place?”
“I don’t know Al,” James’ face adopted a serious expression, “but you ought to believe me when I say this; nothing happened between us.”
“I don’t believe you,” Al hissed.
“What did she tell you?”
“The same thing you have.”
“Then you ought to believe her, Thomas may be a spiteful pain in the arse but I know that she would never lie to you,” James said, “I swear. I swear on our parents’ lives that nothing happened.”
Al was now nose to nose with James, his wand pointed at James’ neck, “Fine, but if you ever take advantage of her, I swear James I’ll rip you apart.” James had never seen such fury in his brother’s eyes before and just nodded dumbly.
Al turned and left the place, what he did not know was that he had dropped the map, James picked it up and studied it. It was a plain old piece of parchment, he knew his brother could be queer sometimes, but why keep a dirty useless thing like that in your robes pocket.
James went to sit in by the large telescope, the place he had been seated at before he was attacked by Al. He held up the parchment to the moonlight, maybe it was an enchanted piece, he thought, but quickly discarded the thought when a pair of high heels clicked his direction.
“Hello stranger,” Jenna said as she emerged with two bottles of Firewhisky.
“Hi Jenna,” he said as he got the Firewhisky she handed him, “what brings you here? I thought you were prepping for Astronomy.”
“Nah, I don’t take that course,” she replied after taking a swig of her drink, kicking her shoes off, she stretched out in front of him, “so, I saw you and Blanca, everyone’s talking about it.”
“Jealous?” James asked.
“You know you and I are just friends James,” Jenna said, “and until you learn to be a one woman man, it’s gonna stay that way.”
“Well, if you agree to go out with me, I’ll try my best to be that,” James said.
“It’s so not happening,” Jenna said, “I hear people are placing bets on how long we’ll last without hooking up.”
“Well, soon enough, they’re gonna be placing bets on how long I’ll have to live,” he laughed.
“What do you mean?”
“Al just came in here, little git almost murdered me!” James said humorously.
“Oh yeah, I saw him coming from here,” Jenna said, “What did he want?”.
“My head on a plate.” James replied.
“Because he saw Thomas and I, and he thinks I’m trying to take advantage of her,” James said, clearly steering away from the real reason he came.
“Of course not! I’m using all my efforts to woo you.”
“Yeah, with your track record, you have to woo harder,” Jenna said.
James smiled, getting up, he held his hand out for Jenna, “I think it’s time we left, the
Astronomy students are starting to come up.”
“Aw........” Jenna protested, “I only just came. Okay, where can we go from here?”
“I’m going to bed, I’ve got plans tomorrow, pray that I don’t get killed in my sleep,” he said,
Jenna did not laugh, “that was supposed to be a joke,” he said.
“It’s not funny,” Jenna replied.
“Oh come on Jen-”
“It’s alright James, goodnight,” she planted a kiss on his cheek and walked off into the dark corridor.
James sighed, why did girls have to be so moody sometimes? He waved his wand at the minor damage that Al created and started to walk out of the tower, but not before he saw a small shadow run across the castle grounds to the Black Lake, James furrowed his eyebrows; who in their right state of mind would go to the lake at this hour? Shrugging, he put the gigantic telescope in place before leaving the tower.
Al was still fuming at what Blanca and James did and figured he needed some time to think, so he decided to go to an unused greenhouse near the Quidditch pitch; he had discovered it with his friend Phil Benson back in third year, and by the following year, the two had managed to shield it from direct sunlight and set it up with some furniture so as to make it more homely, sometimes Al would take Max there when they needed to be alone, so it was kind of like their personal Room of Requirement especially since the real Room of Requirement was never free.
Al opened the door to the greenhouse and was startled when he found Max sitting in one of the chairs they had managed to smuggle in.
“Hello darling,” she purred.
“Erm.....hi.” Al said unsurely.
“I knew I’d find you here, so I waited and you finally came,” Max was calmly pouring Firewhisky into two goblets she had conjured, “Firewhisky?” she offered him a goblet.
“Thanks, what’s the occasion?” Al asked, he had initially come here to vent, but Max’s
presence completely took all the anger away and replaced it with shock.
“Oh nothing,” she said softly, “sometimes it’s just nice to do stuff as a couple.”
“Maxime, is this about me not wanting to come to Hogsmeade to do your shopping for the dance?”
Max threw her head back and laughed, “Of course not silly! I just want to have a good time with my boyfriend. Now sit down.”
Al did not need to be told twice, especially with the fire in Max’s eyes. He wondered what
was going on, “Okay, I’m seated. What do you want us to talk about?”
“I don’t want to talk Al,” Max said softly. In one swift movement, she was on top of him and was kissing him as though her life depended upon it.
“Wha- Maxime wait!” Al said as he pushed her away.
“What?” Maxime protested, “Don’t you like it?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I do but-” she was kissing him again before he pushed her away a second time. Looking her in the eyes, he asked, “Maxime, how many of these have you had?” he pointed to the goblet of Firewhisky.
She smiled goofily and held up three fingers.
“Goblets?” Al asked.
Her smile grew wider as she shook her head, “No, bottles!” she lowered her head to capture his lips but he flinched away.
“You’re drunk,” he said.
“So, you’re not yourself. You don’t know what you are doing!”
“Albus Potter, what is wrong with a girl wanting to give herself to you?”
“The fact that we promised we would do it when we are both ready.”
“But I’m ready!” Max replied and yelped when Al shot her with a sobering spell, “What the hell was that for?” she demanded.
“You were drunk and ready to make a fool of yourself!”
“Did you just call me a fool?”
“I didn’t, you weren’t yourself.”
Max started to laugh bitterly, “You know what?” she pointed a finger at him, “most guys would jump at the opportunity I just gave you and you treated me like I disgusted you!”
“Is that the way you want to be treated?” Al bellowed, “Like a slag?”
“Take that back!”
“I’m only telling you the truth!”
“You know what?” she retorted, “I don’t need this! Look at me, do you know how many guys beg me to break up with you so that they can be with me? Many!” she threw her hands up in the air, “Most of them better looking than you, half of them richer and the other half cooler than you.”
“Then why don’t just dump me then and go ahead and marry Mr. Perfect?” Al challenged.
“BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!” she screamed loud enough that the glass walls vibrated.
Al was taken aback with the response he got, yes, they were always saying ‘I love you’ to each other but this was the first time he had ever seen the meaning in her eyes. He slowly sat down as he tried to digest what had just happened.
“Why don’t you love me Al?” Maxime’s voice was quivery, he looked up to see her; she stood there, her dress wrinkled, barefoot and tears streaking down her pretty face, she had never looked more vulnerable that she did right there.
“I care about you Maxime, I care about you a lot.” He whispered.
“But you don’t love me,” she choked out, “say you love me Al! Say it!”
“I love you,” Al said silently.
“Then why doesn’t your family know about me?”
“You’ve never mentioned me. Why?”
“I wanted you to come over for Christmas, that’s when I was going to tell them,” Al explained.
Max smiled, a bitter, crooked smile, “But you love her more than me right?”
“Casablanca Thomas, you love her more than you do me.”
“That’s crazy Maxime, Blanca and I are just friends,” he said, though unsure of his words because of the previous events, walking towards Maxime, he placed his hands on her shoulders, “It’s you I love,” he whispered before he kissed her.
Max nodded shakily, “Let’s get going then,” she said quietly, “Filch is probably on the prowl now.”
They left the greenhouse and crept back into the castle, hand in hand. Maxime looked at Al, he had lied to her, he may not have realised he was lying but she saw it in his eyes; the confusion and uncertainty. If this was any other guy, she would have left him there and then but she loved Al more than anything, and she was going to do whatever it took to make him love her back, so, holding her head high and taking a deep breath, she hurried along behind him.
(A/N: Thanks for reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it!!! )
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