Chapter 3 : The Wild Cat
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chapter image by the wonderful SophieScarlette at TDA! :)
I was all alone in the common room, gazing morosely at a transfiguration essay that just refused to write itself, no matter how much I begged it to. After an hour of chewing my quill, I had finally concluded that transfiguration essays were mean. And so was Eve, for not letting me copy hers and prancing off with Dom to spy on Al and Scorpius, while I was drowning in my piles of ‘I’ll just do it later’ homework. I’d briefly considered hiding their shoes until they let me copy, but gave it up as a silly idea. So for now, I was stuck with Salazar Slytherin’s portrait for company, which was glaring down at me viciously.
I honestly had no idea why I was a Slytherin. I couldn’t be mean to somebody if I tried- and I wasn’t saying that in an ‘oh look at me, I’m so saintly!’ way, but more as a fact. I just couldn’t. And I suppose I was quite cunning in the way I set people up, and I was definitely a first-class coward. But apart from that, I wasn’t ambitious or clever or sly or evil or Slytherin-y in the slightest. And whoever heard of a loving Slytherin anyway? Not to mention a muggleborn Slytherin. Dom was very opposed to the idea of having different Houses at all; she had this theory that it was the deliberate consortium of like-minded individuals that had resulted in Voldemort’s rise to power. Dom was funny.
I was sinking past the levels of ‘insanely bored’ and hurtling down towards ‘mind-numbingly bored’ and ‘Dementor-despairingly bored’ when Pythagoras the cat jumped onto my lap, making me jump and blot the few sentences of essay that I had actually written.
“Oh, shi-it!” I grumbled, pushing Pythagoras off. He gazed up at me reproachfully and I sighed, stroking his head. “What are you doing down here anyway?” Pythagoras didn’t reply. Funny that. “Well, you’re named after someone clever, unlike me. Maybe you can do my essay for me?” I offered him my quill, an amused smile tugging the corners of my mouth as I watched him bat the brown feather with one paw. Then Pythagoras suddenly mewled and sat down, worn out by the brief burst of feather-batting excitement. “You really should get out more you know,” I fiddled with his tail. “Get married, settle down…or whatever cats do…Hey! Maybe you and Mrs. Norris Junior could get together?” Pythagoras ignored me and began licking his paws haughtily as I turned back to staring into space. It was a bit creepy when it was just you and a cat on your own in the common room together.
Actually, it was very creepy. Maybe the library would be a better place to work in.
I shovelled the essay into my bag and shuffled out of the common room. Pythagoras followed behind me; apparently he felt the same way about being alone in the common room. I hummed to myself as I strolled along, blinking when something got into my eye. Damn this dust coating every available surface in the castle! We were magical beings for heaven’s sake, why didn’t someone just wave their wand and clean it all away. What did they pay Filch for anyway?!
Pythagoras was like this weird cat ninja, his paws making almost no noise as he trailed along by my heels. I had to turn around every few minutes to check he was still there; Dom would murder me if I lost her cat. I turned around for the fifth time, and jumped in shock as Thaggie suddenly streaked through my legs, his fat stomach wobbling as he ran.
“Wait…oh, shit… PYTHAGORAS! Thaggie, come back right now…owmph!” I began to run after him, and had nearly caught up when I tripped over a wonky tile and became unwillingly acquainted with the ground. When I lifted my head up again, the cat was nowhere to be seen. I swore, pacing the width of the corridor as I tried to think of what to do now. I was in a part of the castle where several corridors branched off from this one, so it would be futile trying to find him again- I’d just end up lost in the bowels of Hogwarts, alone and starving until some handsome Hufflepuff arrived to save me, carry me off into the sunset and marry me so we’d all live Happily Ever After. I think the Hufflepuff would be called Stan; that’s a Hufflepuffian sort of name, right? Yeah…
Hang on, back to the issue at hand Hollie. “THAGGIE!” I screeched. “Pythagoras Einstein Newton Weasley! GET BACK HERE-“ A hand shoved over my mouth and I was pulled behind a tapestry and into a hidden alcove, struggling against the (surprising) strength of my abductor. I fell over backwards, my leg tangled in one of the tassels on the tapestry, and ended up sprawled over someone’s lap, their hand still over my mouth. This was it, this was how the wicked wizard came to imprison the lost princess, terrified and alone she would rot in a cage full of bones… My eyes focused on a familiar looking cat, who was sitting regally in one corner, eating some sort of chocolate.
“Pythagoras?” I asked in a muffled voice. So these villains were involved in the catnapping trade too, were they? Despicable. I tore the hand from my mouth and kicked the leg of the person who’s lap I was trapped in, trying to get out.
“Whoa, chill Parker.”
“Fred?” I shouted. “What are you doing-“ Fred clamped his hand back over my mouth.
“Ssh! We’re hiding from Filch.”
“We?” I hissed. “So James is involved too, is he?” An unmistakeable snigger could be heard from above.
“Comfy on Fred’s lap there, Hollie?” James asked.
“You…you…idiots! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” I fumed.
“No need to flatter us too much,” Fred grinned as James helped me up.
“You’re right with that one,” I rolled my eyes, brushing my clothes down. “Why do you need to hide from Filch?”
“We nicked back some stuff of ours that he’d confiscated.” James informed me, his hands in his pockets. “But he cottoned on and was chasing us for a while… I think he’s gone now though.”
“Well huzzah for you lot then!” I tutted. “I’d appreciate it if you’d just give me Dom’s cat back, and we can all go on our merry way.”
“Sure thing,” James grinned and snapped his fingers at Pythagoras, who immediately looked up and trotted over. No fucking way.
“How…how did you do that?” I gaped.
“What, this?” James snapped his fingers again and I stared at his hand sadly. “You mean you can’t snap your fingers?” he smirked.
“Maybe…” The boys fell about laughing, oblivious to my death glares. Pythagoras started nibbling Fred’s sock, and Fred howled with even more laughter, obviously ticklish. I filed away that interesting snippet of information for use at another time.
“I may not be able to snap my fingers, but I can pack one hell of a punch,” I threatened, raising my fist in mock aggression. My smile may have given me away though.
“Oh no! Freddie I’m scaared! It’s a scaary Slytherin!” James cowered behind Fred.
“Yeah, you’d better be scared, Potter,” I growled. Fred poked his head out of the alcove, and looked from left to right furtively.
“It’s all clear out here guys!” he relayed back to us.
“Are you sure?” James looked anxious. “I really don’t fancy a detention tonight.”
“I’m one hundred percent positive old bean!”
“Don’t call me old bean, you old carrot,” James punched Fred’s arm as we wandered back into the corridor. Wow these guys were cucumber cool. I scooped up Pythagoras and began to make my way down the corridor. James and Fred, for reasons unbeknown, followed.
“So Hollie… what’s up? What’s down? What’s all around? What’s under? What’s over? What’s in? What’s out? What’s-“
“Fred. Shut up.”
“-in between? What’s…what? You don’t like my greeting thing?” his face fell.
“Um…” I looked at James for help, feeling a tiny bit awkward. Was this normal behaviour for Fred Weasley? I had no idea. I tried to remember all his past girlfriends…they’d all seemed relatively normal. I think. Perhaps not… there had been that weird Ravenclaw who enjoyed eating banana skins…
“Fred, you’re a freak mate,” James yawned.
“So are you!” Fred blew a raspberry. Really? Seriously? Was this for real?
James and Fred were laughing at me.
“Did I say that out loud?” I questioned, embarrassed. Pythagoras was also clawing his way up the side of my face, so I winced too.
“Yup.” Fred beamed. “That was like the kind of thing they say on those soapy American TV shows. Hah.”
“Soapy American TV shows? Don’t you mean American TV soaps?”
“Pfft,” Fred waved a hand carelessly. “Potayto, potahto.” I giggled as James helped me control Pythagoras’s weird fascination with my hair. I don’t know why he seemed to love it so much- it was thin and shapeless, although my mum always said it was my biggest asset. Thaggie obviously thought it was though, since he was attempting to eat it.
“Stop it Thaggie!” I grumbled, trying to disentangle cat from hair.
Dom hated me calling Pythagoras ‘Thaggie’, but I thought it was just too cute a nickname to not use. And considering how mega-ugly Pythagoras was who can blame me, right? STOP BLAMING ME.
Seriously, stop it. I feel like you’re Dom, stalking me to check I don’t say Thaggie.
She’s a Thaggie hater. A Thagater. A Haterie. A…a…
Thaggie finally buggered off of my head, and James decided to carry her now to save me from the trauma of having my hair eaten away from my scalp.
“Dommie has a crazy kitty!” exclaimed Fred wildly. “We should totally breed this cat and make a new series of… KrazyKitKats!”
“I’m sure that’d be a great success Fred, if you ever got Dom to agree to her cat being bred,” I shuddered.
“Err, Hollie?” James was struggling with Pythagoras. “I think we should try and find Dom and return her demon cat to her. Where is she?”
“Well…” I wondered whether I should tell them. I supposed it wouldn’t cause any harm. “Eve and Dom are spying on Al and Scorpius, because we had a tip off that they’re playing a prank on Rose at some point today, but we don’t know when.”
“Okay…” James began. “And why do you guys need to know when they’re playing this prank?”
“Because we need to stop them of course!” I shrugged. “We’re trying to set Rose and Scorpius up, and playing a prank on Rose won’t do Malfoy any favours.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about your matchmaking thing,” James said.
Fred waved a hand in front of our faces. “Hollie, your phone is ringing.” It was; I fished it from the pocket of my jeans and saw that it was Eve calling.
“Hollie, thank god! You need to come quickly- they’re setting off now.”
“Okay, I’m right there. Location?”
“Seventh floor, near the Room of Requirement.”
“I’ve got James, Fred and Pythagoras with me by the way,” I glanced at the two boys, who were trying to listen to what Eve was saying. “They’ll have to come too.”
“What? How did that happen?” Eve asked, perplexed.
“Tell you later!” I hung up and turned to James and Fred. “You two don’t mind coming along for the ride, right? I can’t be bothered to carry Thaggie- and he seems to like you James.”
“No problem,” James smiled. “Any chance to see my little bro’s pranks mucked up.”
We found Dom and Eve creeping along a corridor, heading for the Gryffindor Common Room. Eve waved us over frantically, and James handed Dom Pythagoras with a sigh of relief.
“We hate this cat by the way Dom.”
“Cheers,” Dom grumbled, putting Thaggie on the ground. “Go back to the dorm, Pythagoras!” she commanded, and the cat obeyed without a fuss, or a scratch, or any hair being ripped out of heads.
HOW DO ALL MY FRIENDS HAVE SUCH POWER OVER CATS?
“Right, so what’s the plan?” Fred looked ridiculously eager, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Do we run in screaming, dance the Macarena to scare Al and Scorpius away, sweep Rose off her feet and push her in a bath full of frogs?” We blinked at him.
“Why a bath of frogs?”
“Why not not?”
“Why not not not?”
“Why not not not not-“ I snapped my fingers in front of Dom and Fred,
“We have a mission here, guys.” Fred at least had the decency to look vaguely abashed, until Dom stuck her middle finger up at him and smiled sweetly. Then he glared at her.
“Cousin or not, I will throw you into the Black Lake tomorrow morning.”
“OKAY!” Eve cleared her throat, holding up the Marauder’s Map and examining it. “Al and Scorpius are by the Great Hall, waiting for a first year Gryffindor to tell them the password to the common room.”
“Hey, how do you have the Marauder’s Map? We’ve been looking for that!” roared James.
“Dom stole it from you ages ago,” Eve shrugged as if it was no big deal. James snarled and mouthed a threat at Dom, who blew him a brief kiss.
“But anyway, their prank was basically going to be to stick all of Rose and Trisha’s underwear to the ceiling with a permanent sticking charm. And then cover the rest of the dorm in hair gel,” Eve continued.
“Well, that’s what we’re guessing from the giant vats of hair gel they’ve bought, and the permanent sticking charms they’ve been practising all morning,” Dom interrupted.
“And we are going to stop them by lying in wait in the Gryffindor common room and confounding them into forgetting all about the prank. The only fly in the ointment was not knowing the Gryffindor password either, and we have to be in there before Al and Scorpius are. But now that we have you two…” Eve smiled winningly.
“If we help you out with this, you have to give the map back,” demanded James.
“Fine,” I agreed. “But shut up and let’s go! What’s the password, you two?”
“I’ll tell you for a kiss,” Fred winked and smacked his lips. I sighed,
“I am serious! I’m being as serious as McGonagall on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts!”
“James? What’s the password?” I turned to him. “If I have to kiss Fred, you don’t get the map.”
“Oh, MAN!” Fred pouted. This matchmaking thing has just become a whole lot weirder.
The five of us were lying in position in the rafters of the Gryffindor common room, waiting for Al and Scorpius to move their arses and get the password off of a firstie already. And yes you did read that first sentence correctly; five almost-fully-grown people are precariously perched in the rafters of an ancient castle. I really doubted that these beams had been built for this sort of shit.
Don’t even ask how we got up here in the first place.
James, who was next to me, was convinced that we’d be waiting here for about an hour yet, due to Albus’s apparent social awkwardness and inability to pull off a good prank. He kept looking down at the floor, and muttering about how high up we were, worrying about whether he’d still be able to play Quidditch tonight if he broke a leg after falling off. And then he began worrying about whether it would hurt to break a leg, and if Madam Bones would be able to fix it or not. He even worried about the fact that his blood would probably stain the carpet if he cut himself in the fall.
“God almighty James, stop worrying!” I elbowed him and he shrieked slightly, gripping the rafter more securely.
“Are you trying to cause my premature death?”
“…Yes?” James harrumphed as I tried to shift my position a bit- a splinter was poking into my stomach and it was really annoying. I put my foot on a slanting beam underneath me, and twisted so I was sitting up with my legs dangling down towards the floor. I sighed happily; this was better. Albeit I still felt slightly weird, lurking high above the Gryffindor common room like a lunatic assassin. Yup. All I needed now was a dodgy balaclava.
A couple that we’d set up a few months ago were having a little snogging fest on the couch below, and my thoughts strayed to James and Savannah. I desperately wanted to know James’s thought process behind the break up, but I didn’t have the courage to ask him. It was a bit of a personal question. And I might offend him.
…should I just go for it? I mean, I was really curious. I examined James carefully, following the line of his jaw and the scrunch of his eyebrows to his hazel eyes, which were fixed upon the couple on the couch, who were getting quite vigorous now.
With noises, too.
I clapped my hands over my ears. Ugh! People had no shame! I wouldn’t be able to stand it if we were stuck up here with a canoodling couple directly underneath us for an hour. What if one of us fell right on top of them?
That would be one awkward conversation.
“That was all Savannah ever cared about,” James nodded down at the passionate pair of hormonal teens. “She didn’t think about anything else.” I looked at him, wide-eyed.
“You seem better off without her,” I offered after he was silent for a while. “I never thought you were a great match." James grimaced,
“I hope it was the right decision. I feel so bad whenever I pass her in the corridor- cos it was my fault, the thing that happened yesterday, and I worry about what people will think of her now-“ I cut James off with a finger placed on his lips. God, that boy worried like HELL! He’d give me a nervous breakdown soon. But wow, this felt weird. I was touching James Potter’s lips, a guy I’d only talked to properly about 5 times, with my index finger.
They were really soft, by the way. Just so you, er, know.
James looked surprised at first, but then he smiled against my finger. God, that really tickled! I snatched my hand away before I laughed and gave away our hiding spot.
“No offence James, but she’s a bitch to everyone but you,” I stated a little bluntly. I didn’t want him to beat himself up over this!
“Yeah, I know…” he studied the beam I was perched on. “And I want more from a relationship than just the…physical stuff,” he avoided my eye. “I want someone who I can talk to, and hold a decent conversation with. Buy flowers for and stuff.”
Gosh, he was such a CUTIE! Seriously, this bloke needed some serious matchmaking attention. He was perfect relationship material. I smiled at him,
“That’s really sweet James. You did the right thing.”
“Really? D’you think so?” he looked as if Christmas had come early.
“Yep. I know so- and I'm sort of experienced in this stuff.”
“You have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that,” sighed James. “Guess what Fred did when I tried to talk to him about this?”
“I don’t know, but I’m thinking something radical?”
“He poured shampoo into his ears so he wasn’t able to hear me.”
“Not so much.” We lapsed into a semi-comfortable silence.
And then, because recently I seem to have morphed into a klutz, I fell off the rafter. Backwards. It was quite an elegant back flip, or so Dom told me later.
For a moment, everything became a blur of colours and sounds; James’s shocked face, the Gryffindor fire, the red carpet and my startled squeak of surprise. And then it all stopped, because I had landed. Right on top of our targets, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.
The first thing I noticed about Scorpius Malfoy was that he was so pale he glowed. As in actually emitted a soft light, like the moon. It was totally sexy.
I’d never been this close to him before in any of our ScoRose attempts, and now here I was lying on bloody top of him. My feet were on Al’s face, who was lying on his back looking stunned. I suppose it wasn’t every day that girls fell out of the sky and landed on you, so I resisted the urge to laugh at the priceless expression on his face. Then the rest of me was on Scorpius, who raised an eyebrow at me, completely unruffled.
“Yes, Potter too.” I glanced at Al, who was still frozen in one position. “But I think I’ve killed him.”
“Um, yeah, sorry about this…”
“No worries. I’m not complaining,” Scorpius winked. I glared slightly and rolled off him, dusting down my legs. A few people who had been idly chatting on the sofas were now craning their heads to look at us, giggling and speculating. I glanced up at James, Dom, Eve and Fred who were staring down at me with expressions of horror on their face, pointing behind me to where Scorpius was dragging Al up and heading towards the girl’s dormitories. They were getting away! Panic-stricken, I glanced around, trying to think of a new plan. To buy myself some more time, I yelled after them,
“Albus! Scorpius! Wait up!” The two boys paused and glanced at me, confused.
“What?” Al asked, recovered from the shock by now.
“I, er, have a…message for you! From… Rose! Rose Weasley!”
“You do?” asked a familiar voice from behind me, and Rose Weasley herself stepped into my line of sight. “I don’t remember asking you to send a message to these two prats.” Oh Merlin, I was in deep shit.
“AH, well, yes, it was very late last night and you were tired so you probably didn’t…” Rose ignored me, striding up to Scorpius and jabbing him in his (muscled) chest,
“Malfoy,” she growled. “I have a bone to pick with you.”
“Oh, well there’s a surprise!” Scorpius snapped.
“How is locking Trisha in a broom cupboard amusing to you? Get her out, now.”
“Aw, can Rosie not undo the door? Is the spell too advanced for Her Royal Prefectness?”
“Just. Let. Her. Out. You. Prat.” Rose was scarlet with fury, and I felt my heart sink. This was not going as planned. I felt like locking the two of them in a broom cupboard together until they finally snogged, but we’d already tried that and they managed to destroy all the brooms in there with another argument. And we sort of value our lives.
“Why don’t we all calm down and-“ I tried, Albus and I sharing an exasperated sigh.
“Why should I let her out? Give me one good reason!”
“Because of a tiny thing called morals and decency which you seem to know sod all about!” Rose fumed, her eyes spitting fire. Just then, Dom floated down out of the rafters, being levitated by Eve. She was sort of gliding through the air like a fairy, her feet moving in a walking position as she came to rest gently on the ground right in front of us. Rose gaped at her, going slightly cross-eyed. Al went silent, looking between everyone, trying to figure things out. Scorpius stared at Dom, suddenly fidgety, as if he’d been caught stealing cookies by a professor.
“You would not believe how smelly it is up there,” Dom exclaimed, wrinkling her nose. The strange silence was gone, broken by my muffled laughter, Scorpius’s reluctant grin, Al’s sneeze and Rose’s sigh of acceptance.
“Anyone fancy a nice Butterbeer?” James asked, also landing next to us. “We’ve got plenty upstairs.”
“I’m not sure, I have lots of work to do…” Rose started.
“Aw, c’mon Rose! Do it for your cousins?” Fred pouted, grabbing her arm. Dom steered Scorpius along with us, and I found myself next to Eve as we all trooped up to the seventh year boys’ dorm.
“Really well,” Eve nodded.
I smiled slightly, looking forward to that Butterbeer.
a/n: hi! What’s up? What’s down? What’s all around? Anything you recognise doesn’t belong to me. Also, I really wanted to put in the ‘potayto, potahto’ thing but didn’t know how to get the pronunciation across, so a huge thank you to Jenny (starryskies55) who briefly helped me out with that :D. I hope you’re enjoying it so far! I’m really thankful for all the reviews I’ve had. In the next chapter, we’ll be meeting Zoey Turner, and Hollie has some bad news. Thanks for reading!
edit 27/9/12: CI added!
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