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The Name of the Game by churro12
Chapter 5 : Confessions to Mr. Cuddles
 
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“Duck, duck, duck, rubber duckie,” Sirius giggles at himself, “duck, GOOSE!” he shouts after tapping Potter on the head.

James gives out a giggle that rivals even Sirius’s in immaturity before running after him in circles. 

How did they get past first year?

Ella, Melanie and I were sitting on the couches in the common room after dinner watching Potter, Black, and Lupin play Duck, Duck, Goose like a bunch of five year olds. Cassie and Pettigrew were upstairs in the boys’ dormitory snogging or something. 

“PETER, I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU!” speak of the devils. 

“No no no! Cassie, you don’t understand! Sirius told me that it would work!” 

Cassie was stomping down the stairs angrily, Peter running after her, while Sirius laughs and James gives him a high five. Oh dear. 

The crazy girl stops and turns on her heel, so that she’s looking up at Peter straight on, “You. Tried. To. Tickle. Me. Because you thought it would make me let you in my pants.”

Okay, I know it’s wrong, but how could I not burst out laughing? Ella and Mel had better self-restraint, but it was obvious they were just holding the laughter back. 

Peter turns and looks at me with a frown, “Don’t laugh at me! Sirius told me it works on all the ladies!”

There goes Ella and Melanie’s self-restraint. Ploop. Err, that was the sound of their self-restraint landing in like a river or a toilet or something.  Don’t judge me! 

“Urgh!” Cassie grunts, “I’m going to bed!” she runs up the stairs to our dormitory, and we can tell she wants to be alone.

The three of us sigh, sides still aching from laughter, and watch as the boys all make fun of Peter. Poor, gullible Peter. 

“Hey, Ella,” I say as I realize something, “How come you haven’t talked about Xeno lately?”

Her eyes go big. Xenophilius was her on-and-off boyfriend, but I just realized that it’d been more than a month since they last broke up and Ella wasn’t even whining about how much she wanted to get back together with him. He was a year above us, and personally, I always thought he was kind of a nutjob. But Ella seemed to only see him as “artsy and original”, so that’s why all of her notebooks since third year alternate between saying, “Mrs. Ella Lovegood” and “I hate Xeno Lovegood!”.

“Oh.  I guess I’m over him?”

I look at her funny. Ella was the type that never got over a guy until there was another one she liked more. And, as far as I knew, there was no other guy.

“Who is he, Ella?” I ask bluntly. 

Her cheeks flush red as she squeaks out, “There is no other guy.”

Ella may be a great actress, but she and I both know that it’s almost impossible for her to lie to me. But she just did, though she couldn’t just throw out her normal smooth lie. Not to me.

“Wow, Ella, after that conversation we had at dinner, after I was willing to open up and let everything out, you still refuse to tell me the truth about a freakin’ GUY?”

She looks at the floor, “Lily, you don’t understand. I want to tell you, but I can’t.” 

“El, I’m your best friend. How bad could it possibly be that you won’t tell even me?!” I was mad now. I’d told her the one secret that I was honestly too ashamed to tell anyone else, Lupin excluded, and yet she had the guts to keep a secret from me. And not just any secret, a secret about her love life. She knows everything about my love life!

“Lily, please, calm down!” By now most of the people in the common room are staring at us, and I know Ella doesn’t like bad publicity. 

But I don’t like people telling me to calm the freak down! Especially when I’m in Lily-Anger-Mode!

“I thought we told each other everything!” I yell at her just so more people would stare; I know it’ll bug her. I stomp out of the common room, angry. I wish I hadn’t told her about my parents. I felt so vulnerable, her knowing everything about me while keeping a secret about a guy good enough for her to get over Xenophilius. Trust me, she’d snogged a lot of guys since third year, but none of them could stop her from running back to the blonde basketcase. 

I just walk, still fuming. After a while I realize that I’d walked all the way out of the castle, about twenty yards from the Forbidden Forrest. I shrug. Why not walk all the way there?

Maybe I’ll get lucky and something with sharp teeth will eat me. 

Ugh, okay. I know I’m being way over dramatic here, but yesterday as far as I knew no one knew about the horrible stuff going on at my house. And now, two people did, and I already felt betrayed by one of them. And the other one was a Marauder. 

I have some serious issues I need to assess. 

I hear a twig snap behind me, and I turn to see the silhouette of a messy haired boy about ten feet behind me. 

“Potter, please go away.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I said go away.”

“Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”

“What’s wrong is that you won’t freakin’ go away!” I snap, and though I know I probably should have been nicer about it, I just really needed to get away from the world. I turn around and continue walking towards the forest, not bothering to look back and see if Potter left. I don’t hear him following me, so I assume he did.

I walk into the gigantic tangle of trees, for once not caring that I was breaking the rules. I’ve been a perfect little prefect all year; it kind of feels nice to just do what I want to. 

Oh no. I hear a noise. I change my mind! I like following the rules! Sweet cheese, please don’t be a horrible monster, rustling noise!

Okay, it’s just a stag. It’s a really pretty one, too. It’s lean and muscular, with brilliant big antlers. Its eyes are knowing and almost… Familiar. I can’t quite put my finger on it. 

The stag quickly reveals itself to be friendly, slowly walking towards me as if waiting for acceptance. 

I smile at it, “It’s okay, I’m friendly.”

It snorts, and it sounds almost like laughter. So I pretend it is. 

“Well, Mr. Funny-guy, I didn’t realize it was so amusing that I’d have to point out the fact that I’m not dangerous.”

The big deer just looks me in the eyes, and I sigh and sit down. Oddly enough, the stag comes close to me and lays down, as if waiting for me to talk. 

I laugh, “Well aren’t you friendly! I could use a friend right now. What with fighting with Ella, blabbering to Remus, and having to pretend I hate Severus Snape because I know I should.”

The animal makes an angry noise at Sev’s name, and I say, “Yeah, I feel the same way. The idiot thinks that I went to the dance with James Potter just to make him jealous.”

Mr. Cuddles, as I have decided to name the stag, perks up at Potter’s name. 

“You know Potter, eh? It seems like everyone does, in more ways than one.”

Seeming confused, Mr. Cuddles gives me a questioning look. 

“Well, the boy claims to have liked me since first year. But then he goes around dating every other girl in the school! To be honest, in the beginning I thought he was kind of cute but refused him because I figured he had to be playing a joke on me or something. I realized he was for real in third year, but he chose the absolute worst way to prove it to me.”

Cuddles looks at me as if he wants me to keep talking, even though I feel like he already knows what I’m telling him.

“You want to know what happened in third year? I’ll tell you. Back then, Sev and I were still best friends. We didn’t hang out every second of the day, but we did every once in a while. I already knew that he had feelings for me, but I hadn’t quite decided what I felt for him. But of course, in the end it wasn’t my decision because of stupid Potter,” Mr. Cuddles cringes, “You see, one day I was sitting on a bench in the courtyard next to Severus, we were doing our potions homework. 

“When he was with me, he seemed happier. And when he seemed happier, he looked better. Stood straighter, pushed his hair out of his eyes, and actually smiled. 

“Anyhoo, we were talking, and he started to lean in for a kiss. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted him to kiss me, it would be my first kiss, but I figured I might as well just let him. But, before his lips reached mine, I heard an ‘oof’ noise and opened my eyes to see that he’d been hit in the head and knocked off his seat by a pinecone. Before I could do or say anything, Potter was next to me and his lips were on mine. 

“He’d taken my first kiss, not because he wanted to kiss me, but because Severus was about to do it first. The worst part for me, though, was that it probably barely even fazed him. I bet he’d been kissing girls since first year, and mine was just another one of the first kisses he’d stolen. So, from that day on, I lost my respect for him completely. I never called him by his first name, and my comebacks to his flirting became more venomous. I don’t know if he ever really understood why I got so angry, but I don’t care if knows or not. I know.”

Mr. Cuddles looks saddened at my story, as if he could understand me. Maybe he was some kind of magical stag. 

I shrug, “I’m over it. I mean, I guess I am. On Saturday at the dance, I accidentally called him James. But trust me when I say that was NOT the worst encounter I had with him that night.’

The stag did that snorty-laughy thing again, as if it knew about the Spiderman Undies Incident; I think I’ll call it S.U.I. 

I sigh, “And then there’s Ella. Sure, we bicker sometimes, but I’ve never felt betrayed by her like I do now. But I guess she can’t feel all that good that I told Remus a secret about me before I told her, even if she did already know it. Maybe I don’t have all that much reason to be mad at her. She said she couldn’t tell me, I’m sure there’s a good reason why. I should go apologize to her.”

I stand up and Mr. Cuddles does the same, “Thanks, it was nice talking to you.”

Strangely, the stag nods. I look at it funny and then walk back to the castle. 

&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&

            “I think I need a break from Peter,” Cassie sighs. 

Mel sighs as well, “Don’t we all?”

“Mel! Shut up!” I tell her, “It’s not our fault you’re a Love Cynic.”

She snorts, “’Love Cynic’? Is that a disease?”

“Yes,” Ella looks up from painting her toes, “And you have a horrible case of it.” 

I laugh and give her a high five, we’d made up from our fight all of five minutes ago and we were already back to normal.

I look at Cassie, “Honey, why do you want to break up with Peter?”

She sighs and looks at the ceiling, “It’s difficult for me to be in a monogamous relationship this long. I don’t like it.”

Ella giggles, “You’ve been dating Peter for four days. Are you really that much of a commitment-phobe?”

“I just… I don’t know. I’m not used to liking people the way I like him,” she takes a second and smiles her classic Cassie smile, “I usually just use guys for snogging.”

“What do you even see in him?” The Love Cynic asks. 

Cassie’s eyes go big at Mel’s question, “I see a cute, sweet guy that knows who I am.”

I smile at Cassie then look at Melanie, “You know, Pettigrew isn’t really even that bad. He’s thinned out, and gotten taller. He’s actually pretty cute now,” I see Cass’s menacing glare, “No, I don’t mean it like that! What I’m saying is that Melanie needs to learn that just because her only form of a relationship is snogging Sirius Black every time she sees Remus doesn’t mean that she has to put a damper on everyone else’s happiness.”

Mel just shrugs, “Hey, at least I have some kind of a relationship. You and Ella are the only two technically single ladies here.”

I give El a look, and I see the guilt wash over her face. 

I guess I’m just alone here. 

“You know what? You guys are right. I shouldn’t break up with Peter because I like him too much, that doesn’t make sense, even for me. And I do a lot of things that don’t make sense,” She says as she finishes drawing her collage of Tom Hank’s face. 

&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&

“Hey, Ella! Can I talk to you?” Mary McDonald came up to us. Mary was a sweet girl, her hair always held out of her face in a headband and a golden cross necklace always around her neck. She was the type that, if she didn’t dress and act so innocently, she would totally look like a Victoria’s Secret model. She had wavy chestnut brown hair, big warm mahogany eyes, and an adorably sincere smile. 

“Sure,” Ella grins at her, it’s hard not to. 

“Well I heard you were moving next door to James Potter.”

“Yeah?”

“Well I just wanted to tell you that I live on the other side of his house! He’s actually like a big brother to me; we’ve grown up with each other.”

“Oh really? Cool! We’ll be neighbors! I think my family’s already moved everything in.”

They continued to talk about it, and I couldn’t help but think how strange it is the way Mary talks about Potter. She acts like he’s an actual human being, her big brother of all things. Mary was always a good friend, she even eats lunch with us every other day or so. Maybe we should start inviting her to our Truth or Dare sessions. 

Oh, wait, never mind. Those seem to always end in disaster. 

We continue walking to the Quidditch Pitch for the final game of the year, now with Mary. Cassie and Melanie are already there since Cassie’s on the team and Melanie is the announcer. McGonagall picked her because Mel hated team spirit, and thus was more impartial than the usual announcers. 

We get there and the game begins. It’s a surprisingly warm night; I’m just wearing a sweater and my favorite pair of jeans. 

“Potter steals the quaffle, makes the throw, Diggory misses and it’s ten points for Gryffindor! What’s this? Andrew Bobbin, he’s got a temper on him, he’s throwing the bludger straight at Potter! Callor rushes over to deflect it, oh and she misses! Ohmygod Cassie, are you okay? Somebody help her!”

James sits there in shock for a second as Cassie falls off her broom, then swiftly swoops down and catches her. She’s obviously conscious, just in pain. And, judging by the way she’s kicking at Potter, her legs are fine too. 

“Potter you put me back on my broomstick right now or I will castrate you! I swear to Merlin, it’s just a little bruise on my shoulder! Let me play! Let me play!” Cassie shouts as Potter carries her down to the ground, taking care to hold her as far away from his man parts as possible, and then hands her to Peter, who’s already rushed onto the field. He walks off in the direction of the hospital wing, and Ella and I get up to follow him.

“Mary, you want to come with us to make sure Cass is alright?” Ella asks.

“Sorry, guys, I can’t. I’m the alternative beater and I gotta rush down there now!” The big-eyed girl tells us before rushing off, and I almost laugh out loud. MARY MCDONALD? A beater? 

I look at Ella, and she can tell I want to see this in action, “Y’know what, Lils? You stay and I’ll go see Cassie. You know how bitchy she’s gonna be about this anyways. Besides, this way you can tell her every detail of what happened.”

I smile and sit down. The best part about this? The other beater was Sirius Black. Mary and him just don’t get each other, trying to get them to hang out is like trying to push two magnets together. They’re complete opposites, they just don’t match. 

“Onto the field rushes Beater alternate Mary McDonald- wait, Mary? This has GOT to be good.” 

I start to try and tune Melanie out, usually the announcing just distracts me from actually watching the game. The Gryffindor keeper is Dorcas Meadows, strange since she’s about 5’1” in height. But she’s a little fireball, always hyper and ready to kick some ass. As seeker we have Marlene McKinnon, best friend of Alice Fortescue. I mostly just knew her from a charms project we did together, it didn’t make us really close friends but since then I knew she had my back when I needed her.

The chasers are Benjy Fenwick, Frank Longbottom, and James Potter. Benjy is to Frank as Marlene is to Alice, and I knew the two of them just as well. Friends, but not close. 

Watching Mary play as beater wasn’t as entertaining as I hoped it to be. She was actually pretty good, not as committed as Cassie, but surprisingly almost as strong as her. She was a half-blood, so maybe she played a muggle sport. Yeah, I could picture her playing volleyball; she had that lean look about her. Sirius adapted to playing with her pretty easily, and they actually worked well together. Then again, that was probably just in comparison to Cassie, who wasn’t exactly a team player. 

The game ended after about an hour when Marlene caught the snitch; Gryffindor won, 220 to 50. We’d just won the House Cup! Everyone stood up and cheered, including me. I got up and ran onto the field with all the others to congratulate our team and, in many peoples’ cases, question Potter about when the party will be. 

I found Mary, “Good job! I didn’t realize you were so athletic.”

She smiled that sincere Mary smile at me, “My dad wouldn’t let my mom send me to Hogwarts unless I played a muggle sport, so I grew up playing volleyball.”

Oh yes, I called that.

“Hello, ladies!” Black says to us over the giant buzz of excitement coursing throughout the pitch, “Aren’t you two glad I won the game?”

Mary raises her eyebrow, “Sirius, quidditch is a team sport.”

He sighs and smiles, “Mary, Mary, Mary. You sweet young alternate, you. Without me, this game would belong to Hufflepuff.”

“Yes, but we’d also have lost without Dorcas or Marlene or Benjy. Actually, we’d probably be worse off without them than we would be without you.”

Black, looking offended that a girl often called “The Virgin Mary” behind her back had actually just insulted him, shouts, “Dream crusher!” and stomps off. 

Mary just huffs. It’s strange, I’d never seen her get mad at anyone before, if you can even call quietly demeaning someone getting mad. Just then Ella gets back from the hospital, and I decide to go visit our psychopath friend myself.

“I’m going to go see Cassie, okay?” Mary and Ella nod as I walk towards the infirmary. 

On my way there, I see Pettigrew walking the opposite direction, “Pettigrew? Why’d you leave Cassie?”

“Oh, hi Lily,” he sighs, “Well, Cassie didn’t want me around. She said it was over between us.”

“She did? She said she decided not to!”

Peter moans, “WELL SHE DID!” He sits down and folds himself into the fetal position and starts whimpering. 

“Peter! No, no, don’t cry!” I awkwardly kneel down to try and comfort him.

He sniffles, “I’m not crying. I’m a man! But I’m not Cassie’s man…” He buries his face into his arms and starts to whimper again. 

Okay, I’m not cut out for this.

“Er, I’m going to go get a Marauder to comfort you, okay?”

“Why even bother? Nobody loves me!”

“Oh gosh,” I rush off to find someone closer to him than I was. I run into Alice Fortescue and Frank Longbottom. 

“Alice, Frank! Cassie just broke up with Peter, and now he’s around the corner in the fetal position. Can you two go make sure he’s alright until I can find a Marauder to take care of him?”

They look at each other and nod, “Yeah, of course.”

“Kay thanks,” I rush past them. I get back onto the Quidditch field and start to search for Lupin, Black, or Potter. 

Finally, I run into Potter, but he starts talking before I can say a word, “Evans! I have to tell you something. Remember the other night when you were in the fight with Ella-“

“Potter! Peter needs you!”

He immediately stops short with whatever he was about to say, “Where is he?”

I lead him out of the pitch back to Peter. 

 




 

A/N- Aw, poor Peter :( By the way, I know that in the films it’s said that James was a seeker, but the brilliant J.K. Rowling(who owns the rights to everything but my original characters) originally intended for him to be a chaser, and I thought it fit. Anyways, for my character picture, I was planning on showing y’all Ella, but I just couldn’t resist bumping her to the next chapter so that I could give you Mary instead. So here’s the adorably innocent Mary McDonald! 




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