‘Forget the Umbridge Reincarnate, that woman is the DEVIL reincarnate,’ Freddie insisted, flexing his fingers, which glowed bright red from the hours he had clenched a mop. Myrtle had had a particularly bad week.
‘Gotta agree with you there mate,’ I sighed, still trying to rid my mind of a week’s worth of owl poop and mice skeletons. Not to mention I sported several cuts where owls had bitten me. Bloody creatures.
I actually quite like owls, I love my owl, whose name is Bob, christened after a House Elf. I do prefer Pygmy Puffs though, I have a Pygmy Puff too, her name is Scales, I guess you could say I half share her with Charla.
Ah Charla, I smiled and scuffed my feet down the hallway.
‘James,’ Freddie waved a hand in front of my face, ‘JAMES.’
‘WHAT?’ I snapped.
‘You zoned out, thinking about your dearly beloved?’ Freddie crooned.
I glowered, ‘what dearly beloved.’
‘Come on James,’ Fred laughed, ‘I’ve been your Favourite Cousin since like, forever, you can’t expect me to have not noticed your bizarre love for your best friend.’
‘I’m not in love with Charla!’ I claimed, and of course Charlie chose that moment to pass through the corridor on her way to Divination (don’t judge the fact I know her timetable by the end(ish) of the first term in school, it’s not that weird.)
‘What are you saying about me?’ She paused and wrapped her arms around my neck briefly, before punching Freddie’s arm as a greeting to him.
‘That I love you beyond belief,’ I joked, hugging her again.
‘Good,’ she smiled, ‘love you too.’ She waved and left, skipping slightly to catch up with some of her Ravenclaw buddies.
‘You so love her!’ Fred laughed louder still as we headed down to Charms.
‘I Love her,’ I explained, ‘I’m not in love with her.’
‘Still keeping up the pretence James,’ Roisia sighed as she joined us. This year, she and I shared a lot more classes than we had during OWLs, so of course, she spent a lot more time filling in for Dominique and hanging out with Fred, Charlie and I.
‘I DON’T LOVE HER...’ I burst out, then corrected myself, ‘like that!’
‘I think you do!’ Sisi wiggled her eyebrows.
‘I think you do too,’ Fred winked.
‘And I think you two should find a closet and bloody make-out already!’ I stormed past them and into the classroom in the dungeons, taking my usual space as far away from the front as possible.
In all honesty, I was irritated because they were right and I was completely in love with Char and that they had realised it before even I had. But I couldn’t go up to Char randomly and say I loved her. Because she would have no idea what I meant, I told her I loved her all the time, I don’t think she realised that the meaning of the words had changed.
‘No no no!’ Devil-reincarnate’s voice sounded out and there were several very audible and very irritable sighs... including Slughorns (how is the guy still even breathing, he taught my GRANDFATHER!).
We all stared at her, I was secretly hoping if we stared long enough she would just melt by the power of death glares but I didn’t see that happening any time soon. I felt the familiar brush of a note hitting my arm and I grabbed it reflectively and tucking it into my hand before either staff member caught sight of it.
Checking the ghost was clear I read it, just after Mallum finished her sentence; ‘When a teacher, professor or senior member of staff enters the room, you stand out of politeness.’
Really, normally I just sit here and hope the teacher/prof/senior-member-of-staff is not here to complain about something I’ve done.
It was from Freddie, and it made me laugh so hard because I was so familiar with the feeling, so hard that the stares that were trained to the she devil switched to me.
‘Sorry Miss,’ I said loudly, ‘I swallowed a giggling potion this morning and can’t help myself.’
I giggled a very girly giggle to prove myself which set off the rest of the class.
Another note was flicked onto my desk from the other side. I snatched it up and unfolded, this one was a little neater; the handwriting was flawless.
You know you have a girly giggle right?
I glanced at Roisia who was watching the front of the classroom, but wearing a giant smile so I could see each perfectly straight tooth in her mouth (her parents were magical dentists and fixed her skew teeth before they could even become skew.)
Yeah, obviously, I’m just cool like that! Ask a more interesting question next time. I scrawled, adding an “x” at the end for good measure.
No longer than thirty seconds passed when Sisi flicked a note back, Fine, it read do you really love Charlie as “Just a Friend?”
I picked up my quill and scribbled back, in my handwriting that Char claimed looked like a girls.
YES, I love Charla the same way I did when we were five, there are no romantic feelings.
She read the note three times over, and I watched her eyes each time then watched as she scratched seven more words into the scrap of parchment. I had seen them before the note even landed on my desk and my heart missed a beat.
Really I read over again, because I think she loves you.
~ ~ ~
For the rest of the day I sat through lessons, trying to convince myself that by love, Sisi had meant Charlie loves me like a brother, that she didn’t have the strange desire to kiss me like I did her (which was stupid, every girl wants to kiss me right, I’m James Freaking Potter!)
In the common room that evening, I watched her intently to see if there was any hint of Any feelings she might have towards me, any indication that things may have changed.
But there was nothing.
She was still same old Charla, and it was only me that was changing, me that allowed my hand to linger on her skin for that extra millisecond. Me that couldn’t tear away my eyes from her.
Fred and Roisia were right; I was madly in love with my best friend.
It’s fine, I told myself, It’s not like she ever has to know, not like I ever have to tell her. I’ll get over her and we can continue being best friends. RIGHT?
~ ~ ~
Aurora joined me on my little walk-a-bout round the castle that evening. As I’m sure I said before, I like walks, they’re calm and relaxing!
I was a little surprised to see Rory, I have no idea why, but I crashed into her as I rounded a corner on the way to the kitchens.
‘Oh shoot,’ I grabbed Rory’s hand as she tumbled backwards, ‘Rory I’m so sorry.’
Relieved to see she was laughed I set her back straight, ‘what is with you Wood girls and falling over?’ I demanded.
‘Sorry,’ she giggled, ‘must have got the clumsy gene somewhere in the mix.’
‘Must have done,’ I said, sticking my tongue out, ‘How you been Rora?’ I asked, ruffling her hair.
‘Good,’ she smiled, falling into step beside me, or well, I walked and she skipped along happily. ‘I made some friends, in Hufflepuff and I’m not bottom of the class.’
‘You wouldn’t be, you’re a smart girl, so you enjoying it?’ I pressed, ‘better than France.’
‘Yeah,’ She smiled widely again. Rory is so innocent, so sweet, I’ll always think of her as a little kid. I don’t know why but she has that look about her, no wonder Char went to France to protect her, she looked like she needed protecting.
‘Hey Rory,’ I said, stopping outside the Kitchens, ‘you tell me or your sister if you have any problems,’ I instructed, ‘if anyone’s bothering you I’ll hex them to Pluto!’
She gave me a big hug, I squeezed her back, ‘Thanks Jam.’ And at that moment she sounded just like her sister.
‘Where’s Sisi?’ Charla asked, bouncing onto the squidgy sofa beside me once I was back in the common room, and holding up a pack of Exploding Snap cards. Exploding Snap was a game Char and I played as a cover for sitting and gossiping like old women, something that Charla had come up with back in third year when we had been accused for the twenty-thousandth time of secretly dating, she had pulled out her cards and declared to the common room that we were betting and they should bog off and leave us alone. It worked.
‘I dunno,’ I grinned, taking the cards and shuffling. ‘But Fred disappeared to find her about half an hour ago, maybe they finally decided to make out in a broom cupboard.’
‘Don’t be rude James, you don’t even know is Sisi likes Fred.’ Char smiled, slapping her hand down as both our cards on the pile matched.
‘But you do,’ I whispered, leaning forward over the card game.
‘Hmmm,’ she said softly, ‘you’ll never know!’
‘Aw, come on Char,’ I placed a card down on my pile.
‘Nope,’ she grinned.
‘Whatever,’ I leant forward again and poked her side, ‘you haven’t told me your next victim,’ I muttered, looking around, ‘surely you’re going to tell your best friend who your most recent crush is?’
Secretly I was screaming at her to say my name, but she would never know that right... I mean, s’not like I was ever gonna tell her.
‘Dream on Jim Jam.’ She whispered as the portrait hole flew open and Dominique strutted in, flicking her ginger hair over her shoulder. Charla abruptly took the moment to leave, dashing up the staircase to the girls dorms.
Dominique and I hadn’t said a kind word to each other since... since the first day of school I seem to remember. Normally, she completely blanked me, sometimes she glowered at me. She hexed me twice for no good reason and has been in general the brattiest Weasley this term that I know.
That was why I was shocked that she sat down and took up Charla’s place.
‘You scared off your girl pretty quick James,’ she said, looking straight ahead into the dancing flames in the fire place.
‘What do you want Dominique.’ I snapped, gathering up Charlie’s pack of cards and replacing them in the box.
‘Oh nothing I guess,’ she said haughtily, ‘since none of my cousins want to talk to me anymore.’
‘And whose fault is that?’ I snapped.
For a moment I thought she looked a little hurt, but I wasn’t positive, and if she did she replaced that look with sour and distaste.
‘Yours,’ she said, ‘because if you hadn’t stopped talking to me, all my other cousins wouldn’t have.’
I didn’t want to listen to her rubbish anymore, who did she think she was blaming everything on me; that was Slytherin style, not Gryffindor.
‘Grow up Dominique.’ I muttered, standing up and walking towards the portrait hole.
‘I’m sixteen,’ she called out across the common room, causing heads to turn, ‘I shouldn’t have to grow up for another two years!’
I slammed the portrait of the fat lady shut, causing her to titter, angrily.
‘Shut up,’ I groaned, pulling dad’s invisibility cloak out of my pocket. It was something I kept with me almost always, just in case. Something that I used on occasions like this when I needed to escape for a couple of minutes.
As I wandered around the corridors for the second time this evening, absently making my way towards the astronomy tower, which was somewhere I went when I wanted to be alone, I realised that I was furious because I missed Dominique, the Dominique that she used to be. One of my favourite cousins, Dominique... not the bitch.
And I was worried because I knew part of the reason none of the Weasley/Potters didn’t talk to her was my fault, because they did what I did... I used to think that was a great thing, but now it seems pretty stupid.
Was it really guilt eating up at me, James Potter?
I slipped through the door into the familiar balcony area of the Astronomy Tower, apart from one place a mental fence enclosed it. The blank area had never been fixed after the War, and if you wanted, you could jump right off.
In the moonlight I saw I was not alone, there, holding the rails either side of the blank spot, was Roisia. She obviously couldn’t see me, but I saw her, the moon reflecting off the tear tracks on her cheeks. Seeing Sisi cry was like having a knife stabbed in my gut and twisted round over and over.
It wasn’t just Charlie's life that was falling apart this year.
It was everyone’s.
Ok, sorry that this chapter was a little more disjointed, and a little more going on than some other Chapters, but I needed to show a little bit of Roisia and Rory and Charla and Dom, also the next few chapters should be much more interesting. Once again the Harry Potter World belongs to JK Rowling, she invented Exploding Snap and anything else recognisable is NOT MINE! And I hope you enjoyed, please leave a review with your thoughts.