Disclaimer: Anything recognizable belongs to JK Rowling.
Left in your mist, wiping sweat off of my brow
Said I want to learn to love you, tryin' teach me how
If being in love takes a ball of your time
Then why do I keep giving you so much of mine
-Love you Now by Madi Diaz
Penny and I are perhaps the most interesting pair one will ever meet. But this often happens with best friends, so I'm sure that on the outside we appear to be quite normal.
We are pretty much opposites in every category. We constantly disagree over basically everything; we rival each other in all sorts of issues, and are currently in an extant debate over the whole ideas of the British schooling system. I always leave my toothbrush in the wrong space, leave my clothes lying around her area of our dorm, and borrow things of hers without asking. For years I have been suggesting to Penny that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and that she should consult a professional about it, which she always refuses and politely tells me to shove it by tutting and saying, "Not everyone likes to live in chaos..." which I find completely offensive.
We're a match made in Hell.
Penny for one loves her parents, and her second best friend is her mother.
I loathe my parents and my mother is my second worst enemy only after Professor Binns.
Penny is from a small town in Minnesota, America.
I have lived most of my life in France or Britain.
I have a slight abhorrent to all schoolwork.
Penny is the bloody head girl.
I like chocolate, she likes vanilla.
The list goes on. And on, and on.
But I will forever remember the moment we became best friends.
Because Penny is the Dr. Watson to my Sherlock.
She is smart, dependable, reliable, and all around a bright person who likes to think things out by using logic and reason.
I am erratic, somewhat irresponsible, disregarding, and I use my gifts in strange ways or not at all.
But she’s always there, and is my lone partner in all my schemes and ramblings.
And now I’m just waffling on.
You see, your good friends are the ones you spend years building a relationship with, sharing a pile of inside jokes with like a collection.
Your best friend is the one where after less than three or four days of knowing them, you just click, and you know.
I transferred to Hogwarts in the middle of my fourth year, after I was expelled from Beauxbatons. (That's a story for later on)
I was introduced to the four other girls in my Gryffindor dorm after I was sorted.
Vivian stood out the most, a jockey girl with bleach-blonde hair who was apparently/claimed to be excellent at Quidditch, but the Captain wouldn't let her on because she was just jealous of her skills and hair (which is completely fake).
Rachel was a quiet girl, but not the sweet bookish type like Penny is. She simply went with the flow (Vivian) and didn't seem to care about very much.
I liked Lox the most at first, (short for Lucy) as she seemed like a genuinely nice person who was independent, but she kept to herself and her cousin Rose, and was actually somewhat brutish personality-wise, so our relationship didn't go very far. But Penny and I still like to hang out with her now and then
Then there was Penelope, who I first viewed as the book-worm that I would definitely not be friends with, as she seemed to be just one of those shy girls who don't really bother to let anyone in. That was how the other three girls viewed her anyways. If only they knew how much they misunderstood her.
It was my fourth day of school at Hogwarts, and I had yet to make any acquaintances, none the less friends.
Vivian had tried to rope me in, probably because of my light blonde hair that actually happened to be REAL and my athletic build. She generally assumed that I was a jock. When she discovered that I had no interest in following her around or even being near another bitchy blonde she only saw me as competition. Then she realized I wasn't out to try out for Quidditch, and backed off on that front, only sending me scathing glares every once in a while. We had had a few disagreements since.
I hadn't spoken to a lot of people, and hardly any approached, as I was the girl who was bad enough to get kicked out of Beauxbatons.
After lunch that afternoon, I stopped by the girl's lavatory on the third floor. It appeared abandoned, but when I walked over to the stalls, I could hear muffled sniffles and hiccups. Someone was crying.
I stopped by the only closed stall and removed the pin I was using to hold back my bangs (perhaps worst decision ever) that I was attempting to grow out. I used it to unstick the lock and the door swung open, revealing a red, puffy-faced, doe-eyed Penelope, sitting on the john holding a bunch of toilet paper in her fists.
"You're Penelope, right?" I asked her.
"Um... yeah. I am." She sniffled. "I actually... well, most people just call me Penny."
"So Penny, why are you crying?" I asked her, leaning with one hand against the stall.
"Erm, nothing really..." She hiccupped. "Just a bad morning, is all." Her eyes watered up again.
I held my hand out to her. "Come here. Let's get you off this rank toilet."
She took my hand tentatively and I yanked her out of the stall over to a spot on the wall where we sat down together. I could tell she was trying to control her sobs by the sounds she was making that doubled as sounds of a dying fish.
"Want to share what made this morning so bad?" I asked.
"It's just, Vivian has been bad all week, especially since you got here... and then I got a bad grade on my Charms exam that I worked really hard on... and... and..." She buried her face in her hands, sobs wracking her shoulders.
"There there..." I said weakly, patting her back soothingly, or so I hoped.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm shit with emotions of any kind.
"Just spit it out. You'll feel better, I swear. And I won't tell anyone if it's embarrassing or anything." I assured her.
"It's- it's just the guy I’ve had a huge crush on since my first year doesn't even notice me, and I was beginning to think that he liked me, because I would catch him staring at me, or smiling in the halls, but then this morning..." She sniffled and blew her nose into some tissue loudly, "He- he- he has a girlfriend!" She said, almost squeaking. "And now I just feel so- so stupid, because I've wasted so much time, and- and it was for nothing! Nothing!"
I sucked in a breath. "Yikes. That's rough. I feel you though. Last year I fancied this one bloke, like, I was in love with him, but things didn't work out and he had a girlfriend the whole time. It was messy."
The funny thing was, was that in talking to Penny for less than five minutes, I had shared something about myself that I neglected to tell anyone the true details of. At all. But now it was out there, between me and this sobbing wreck of a girl I had just met.
She sniffled. "I'm sorry. That must have been awful."
"Hey, enough about me though. Go ahead and just let it out about this bloke. Get it out of your system." I said, rubbing her arm. "It's okay to cry."
She broke down sobbing, finally letting it all out. I just sat there next to her, holding the soggy tissues and just sitting there.
"Darn it Louis!" She cried. "Darn it! Darn it!"
I patted her back again, and then something dawned on me.
"Wait; are you in love with Louis Delacour?" I asked, suddenly ten times more curious.
She let out a gut wrenching sob. "Yes!"
"He's my cousin." I said. Helpful aren't I? "Sorry, I know that's probably not what you want to hear."
"It's okay. Just please don't tell him." She dabbed at her eyes.
"Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die." I said, making an X across my chest.
She gave a little tinkling laugh. "Thanks. If he found out..." She shook her head. "So you're really his cousin?"
"Yep. On the Delacour end."
"Makes sense." She sniffled.
I creased my forehead. "How come?"
"Blonde, pretty, confident. I bet you're something Veela." She said. "French name."
I laughed. "I'm glad you think that. But frankly, I don't give a shit about any of that. Just don't call me Charlize. I hate that. It's Charlie. And I'm about three percent Veela."
She smiled. "You know, you're really nice. Everyone thought you'd be super mean because of how you err, got expelled from Beauxbatons, but you're not. What did you even get expelled for?"
And I told her.
And that was when we became best friends.
And that was that.
"Are you sure you don't want to be partners, Penny?" I ask for the last time as we enter Slughorn's classroom.
"Yes. I'm sorry Charlie, but I just can't work with you. You're too impulsive. I need to prepare for N.E.W.T.s my own way." She said apologetically.
"Good. I'm glad you feel that way, Penny. Because Louis is your partner now. Go get that chunk of meat that is apparently quite fit, not that I would know, or even comprehend as I have seen that boy trip into a trough of pitch stark-naked. But I know you are with opinion of the original fit suggestion." I winked at her and veered off towards a table in the back ignoring her disgruntled "What?!"
She looked like she was torn between running over to me and begging to be partners again, and running straight out the door. She looked to be measuring the distances with her eyes when Louis and Aaron walked in the door.
Aaron nudged Louis, nodding over to Penny. Louis smiled and ambled over to Penny's desk. She looked like she was going to spontaneously combust from nervousness, stress, and all that blood rushing to her cheeks.
She looked over to me frantically. I smiled at her encouragingly, and she turned in her seat, answering a question Louis had asked her.
"Hey there Beautiful." A voice said from next to me.
"Hey yourself, Hot Stuff." I replied to Aaron. "You ready for this?"
"Oh yeah. I got this. Feel free to just sit back and let me do all the work." Aaron said.
"Sure. That is, if you don't mind failing."
"Oooh, Burn!" Interjected Fred, who just appeared at our table with David Wood. The two of them sat down across from us, slamming their books down. Fred kicked his feet up on the desk.
I rolled my eyes.
"All right, class." Slughorn said from the front of the classroom. "It is time to begin. Open your books up to page seventeen and attempt to complete the Grand Wiggenwald Potion. Be extra careful about the Octopus powder. Hop to it then!"
Aaron and I set about collecting the ingredients and preparing the cauldron.
Potions is one of the only three things that I'm actually good at. And they actually are the only three things.
When Aaron and I are ready, I basically take over the potion, leading Aaron and telling him what to do. When the glowberries aren't giving enough juice when cutting them, I take a fistful of them and crush them over the potion until I get the color I want. When the cubes of pixie celery weren't working, I peeled strips off in strings before adding them to the mixture.
When the potion got too lumpy, I added more spice. When it got too liquid-y, I added sea salt.
How would I know what spices? That's my secret, now isn't it?
Well, one of my secrets that is.
"Okay, to finish off; let's just add a little barley." I suggest as Aaron and I are near finishing our potion.
"Barley? Where the hell does it say barley?" Aaron asked, looking completely bewildered after an entire class of slaving over our cauldron. Plus, this was not the first time he's questioned something I told him to do that was way off track of the instructions.
"Yep, could you just do me a solid and hand me a couple of spruces? I know Penny has quite a bit of extra in her kit; I'll go ask for some. Just stir it in a clockwise direction lightly for me." I say to a frantic looking Aaron.
"Clockwise?! Since when is it clockwise?" He shouted after me as I meandered over to Penny and Louis' desk.
"Hey, Penny, may I have some barley? I know you have a little extra in your kit." I ask, leaning against her desk.
"Barley? What the hell do you need barley for? And why does Aaron look so ruffled?" Louis asked somewhat baffled.
"Just don't question it." Penny said smartly. "I have to say, Aaron's actually holding up quite nicely. I would have usually broken down by now."
"You mean when you would squeal really loudly and plop down on the ground?" I ask, while Penny gets her ingredients kit out, and pulls a pinch of barley out of the pocket neatly labeled in all caps, "BARLEY".
She gives me the barley and I go back to Aaron, who seems reasonably calmer, cracking a joke with Fred and Wood and talking about upcoming Quidditch tryouts.
"We'll have to get out there this weekend and weeknights next week to train." Fred was saying. "Care to join us Charlie?" He said, looking to me.
"I don't do Quidditch." I said simply, dicing the barley.
"C'mon. You must play some Quidditch. I know for a fact you're not afraid of heights, and who doesn't love Quidditch."
"I just don't do Quidditch." I replied somewhat more firmly.
Fred snorted. "How come though? You have yet to provide a reason." He pointed out.
I finished the barley, jabbing the knife into the cutting board, leaving it standing up straight. This shut them up. "I simply don't do Quidditch."
"While, just you wait. We'll find a way to get you out on that pitch." Aaron supplied after removing the knife from the table with a grunt.
"I would stand back if I were you." I warned, about to toss in the barley.
"Okay, look sorry to push it, but I just think-"
Aaron was cut off by the crackling and fizzing that was coming from the colored sparks in our cauldron and a huge whiff of silvery steam in his face.
"I warned you." I said smugly.
"What the he-" He said, before getting cut off again by Slughorn.
"Oh, how excellent! My my, Miss Delacour. I am very impressed!" He said jubilantly. "How creative!" Our potion had now settled down to a sheer, silvery substance with light blue steam emanating from the cauldron.
I noticed the rest of the class turning away from staring and settled in on Penny, who quickly turned her head. I knew she hated this, not getting attention from the teacher.
"Tell me, Miss Delacour, what are you doing on Friday night? I'm having a small dinner party with some distinguished students..."
Damn it. I had been avoiding his Slug Club for a good couple of years, until now.
I had a vision of Penny's face when I told her. Poorly concealed sadness and disappointment.
I quickly stole some celery powder from in front of Aaron and sneakily emptied my hand into our cauldron while Slughorn wasn't paying attention.
"It's at seven o'clock sha-"
"Wha- what the hell? You- you..." Aaron stumbled confusedly, wiping powder from his face.
"On second thought Miss Delacour, why don't you keep working on that, err, creativity..." Slughorn said, wandering off, clearing his eyes of residue. "Ah! Penny my dear, wonderful work, you and Mr. Weasley make a good pair! Tell me, are you otherwise engaged on Friday night?"
I smirked and cleaned up our work station quickly. Aaron was still very confused, dazedly cleaning up the barley.
Then the vision hit.
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