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Expecting Otherwise by majamariamaja
Chapter 17 : The Best Friend
 
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CI by the amazing Ayita at tda




Chapter 17. The Best Friend




**In Clover Clearmont's PoV.**





I had always hated being alone. I got lonely very quickly. And now that Del was away, I was lonelier than ever.

Chase had been a source of some comfort, I guess. But he was even more depressed than I was, and when he wasn't pacing around, sighing and muttering to himself, he tended to sink into an abyss of silent darkness. His brown eyes looking almost black.

So I tended to sit alone for most of the time, reading Jane Austen's work, one after the other, but not really registering the words on the pages.†

My joints were stiff from sitting too long in one position, so I put aside Sense and Sensibility, got up from the floor and stretched for a good three minutes.

"You look like a cat when you do that," someone behind me noted. I turned around.

"Well, you look like a -"

"Clo, I'm not in the mood to argue," Deuce groaned as he plumped himself down on one of the sofas. "It was only an observation. Calm yourself."

I squinted my eyes at him, and then turned away. I denied myself to look at him for too long. My stomach had the very annoying tendency of going topsy-turvy if I did, so I made it a point to busy myself with other things. Like reading. Or mentally cursing at him for being so bloody irritating. Being the brilliant, multitasking girl that I am, I did both at the same time.

"Aren't you gonna ask me why I'm in a bad mood?" Deuce asked me, looking a bit offended.

"I assume it's because you've finally realised that you are an arseface," I replied dryly and bent down to pick up my book.

Deuce stuck his tongue out to me, and I stuck out mine in return before I strut out of the common room and started walking up to the Entrance Hall so I could go out for a walk.

I know I complained a lot, but I'd grown used to - against my will or not - the heavy steps of Del hobbling up the stairs behind me.†

I even missed the sound of her panting! How pathetic am I?

I was so engrossed in my own patheticness that I just barely avoided crashing into someone who was jogging down the stairs, and I jumped out of the way with a rather masculine yelp. To be honest, it sounded more like a werewolf's growl. If Adella'd been here she'd piss herself laughing.

In the midst of all this I managed to drop my book and was just about to bend down to retrieve it when the other person(of course) swooped down to "help". First of all, I didn't need any help. And second of all, it only resulted in the two of us crashing our heads together rather painfully.†

"Merlin, that wasn't pleasant," I heard the clumsy baboon mutter, and I noticed who it was now that she(it was a she) stepped into the torch-light.

"No, that it wasn't," I agreed and pressed my lips together. I wasn't going to apologize. It was her fault for being so moronic. I mean, who in their right mind jogs down a dark stairwell? Who?

I hadn't liked her from the start, and this incident wasn't helping her case much. She hadn't even said sorry yet. The girl was just standing there rubbing her head, probably mourning the loss of some precious braincells. She had to be more careful, she didn't have too much of them, I'd wager.

Oh, Clover, you bad!

Well, nobody steals my best friend and gets away with it!

"Ehm, so..." Dragonbreath Kat said awkwardly and put a stray hair back in her ponytail.†

"So," I mimicked, and cocked an eyebrow. She was taller than me(then again, everyone was taller than me - which Icky Vicky never stopped reminding me of...Cow.), but I was totally winning the mafia stare-down.†

But then Smelly(another one of our nicknames for her) did the unthinkable and rolled her eyes.

"You might think that that whole stance will intimidate me and make me apologize, but it won't. Not even close," she said calmly, half amused. My chin dropped and my mouth opened with a 'pop'.

"But my head hurts!" I told her angrily.

"That's just your brain trying to comprehend its own stupidity."

"How rude!" I gasped, and brought a hand up to cover my gaping mouth. "You have no manners at all. I wonder how Del can even stand your company."

"I think she finds it a nice change from the never-ending line of manure coming from your mouth."

"Bitch, I will cut your hair while you're sleeping!" I threatened and climbed up a step closer to her to even out our difference in height.

"Huh." Kat was completely unfazed. She actually seemed more fascinated than terribly frightened(which would be the only appropriate reaction!). "I donít know what makes you dumb, but it really works."

"I don't know what makes you so disgusting, either, but I'd rather not dwell on it for too long. It might be contagious."

She stared at me for a few seconds. "I hate that you're using my oxygen."

"I hate that I have to refrain from strangling you for Adella's sake," I seethed.†

"Like you'd even be strong enough to raise your hands to my neck, shrimp," Kat snorted.

"Just because I'm tiny doesn't mean I'm weak."

"Yeah, you wish."

"Like I'd waste a wish on that. If I could make a wish I'd wish for your immediate removal from this earth," I spat.

"That just proves how much of a better friend I am, because I would use my wish to heal Del's baby," said Kat sneakily, giving me a start. That b-i-t-c-h was beating me at my own game!

"Cheap shot," I growled.†

"Not my fault your alleged best friend isn't your top priority. I just had the wonderful task of exposing the truth, and it's just a matter of time before Del sees how fake you are."

I gasped. "I'm not fake!"

"Please," she sighs, "you're so fake that even Barbie is jealous."

"If you don't mind, I'd like to stop listening to you now," I pressed out after summoning myself. I was seriously just seconds away from inflicting some serious pain with either my book(that was still by my feet), my hands or my wand. Whichever one was most accessible in the moment.

"Oh, little blondie is angry," Kat mocked condescendingly.

"No, little blondie is warning big tart that if she continues speaking, blondie will remove those tarty limbs from her body," was my sneering answer.

"And how are you planning on doing that?" Kat arched her eyebrow and crossed her arms in front of her chest. She had bigger boobs than me. Fuck.

"I wasn't placed in Slytherin for nothing. If I can't use physical strength, I'll put my cunningness into good use. Your ugly arse will never see it coming."

"Lest you forget, I'm a Slytherin, too," Kat reminds me. Hah! Like I needed her reminding me that I was unfortunate enough to have to bear her presence all the time.

"You aren't a real Slytherin; you disgrace the house," I spat. "The Sorting Hat made a mistake with you, Dragonbreath. Slytherins are usually intelligent, cunning, analysing, intuitive, interesting. These aren't words that describe you. Bland blob of nothing, is more like it."

Kat's face was emotionless. I probably should have stopped speaking at that point, but I was only started.

"I have no idea why you're here, really. You're boring. Thereís nothing to you... you're just there, like furniture. And unlike you, I'm full of what Slytherins are all about, and if you don't stop talking now you have no idea how far I can go to make your life hell. I will be evil incarnate. You should be very afraid, woman. Like, sleep-with-one-eye-open type of afraid."

Then Kat got an insane look in her eyes, as if she had this dark inside joke, and it delighted her that she was the only one in the know. Her smirk made my skin curl a bit but I only raised my chin higher in the air. No way in hell would I let her see me intimidated by her. Even though I was.

"I'm having sex with Deuce Zabini," it suddenly slipped out of her, making the world tilt.

"What are you talking about?"†The question escaped me before I even thought about it. I should've just left then and there, but I was frozen in place.

"Deuce Zabini - that gorgeous lad you keep sending googly-eyes at - and I have had sex. Many times. I was on my way to meet him now right before you interrupted me."

Kat's smile was borderline psychotic.

In my dreams this was about the part where I'd try to run but couldn't.

I was straining for breath.

"I-I don't believe you." My voice came out in a ragged whisper.

"Well, you have wasted enough of my precious shagathon-time, and I won't let you waste more of it by making me prove myself. If you want you can come with me and ask Deuce yourself." She stepped past me, and waited for only half a second before chuckling evilly to herself and walking away.

This information had plunged me into a pit of despair.

Of all the girls, why did he choose Dragonbreath Kat? What did she have that I didn't? Lack of soul?

My eyes were shimmering with unshed tears, my†heart stuttered and my†knees buckled so vigorously that I decided to sit down.

I wanted to take Deuce and I wanted to hit him, curse him, wring his neck, †until he felt even a morsel of the pain that I did right now.

But I knew I'd never do any of those things, even if it meant I'd have to carry all these unleashed, caged, gnawing emotions around with me forever.

Oh, how I missed my Del...

"Clover?"†

I was distantly aware of someone trying to gather my attention, and lifted my face from where they'd been hidden in my hands.

"H-Hi, Heathcliffe," I said in an unstable voice.

"What's wrong?" he asked while I dried away the tears on my cheeks with my sleeve.†

"Oh, it's nothing, don't worry ab-about-" I stopped mid-sentence when I noticed I was seconds away from sobbing in front of this poor boy.

I closed my eyes tightly and focused on breathing, and after a short moment I felt Heath sitting down beside me and leaned his head on my shoulder.

"I miss her, too," he whispered, sounding a bit choked. I put my own head on top of his, eyes still closed, and let myself be comforted by this amazing little boy. He was so like his sister.

After a while I took a deep breath and put my face back in my hands, Heath cleared his throat awkwardly.

"Ehm, maybe I should go," he mumbled and began getting to his feet. This made me suddenly panic.

"Would you mind..." I began, and then felt really stupid. I couldn't burden him with this. "You know what, forget it. It's stupid."

"You want me to stay?" asked Heath, and I looked up. His eyes were insanely blue - even here in the dim lighting.

"Would you?"

"Absolutely." And he sat back down. This time putting his hand over mine.

"Thank you, Heath," I said and smiled at him. "This is... Well, I needed this."

"No problem." He smiled back. "Besides, Del would kill me if she knew I'd let you sit alone in the dark on a staircase, crying."

I chuckled and leaned against his shoulder. "Probably. You sort of have a violent sister."

"And you sort of have a violent best friend."









I found myself painfully engrossed in watching what I was sure was the sole reason to why kids were starving in Africa.

"God, Deuce!" Chase exploded at Deuce, and the sluttier brother looked up from his plate.

"What?" he asked with his mouth full. I don't know of what. I'd rather not think about it.

"I'd say†you're eating like a pig but that'd offend the pigs of the world," said Chase with a grimace.

"I'm taking advantage of the time when Del's not here ruining my appetite," Deuce said, spitting out bits and pieces while speaking.

"Deuce Carnitus Zabini!" I screamed while I leaned across the table, grabbed the collar of his shirt and yanked him closer. "Your friend is in the hospital! And I will not allow you to speak about her like that! You-you insensitive prick!"

Deuce's eyes were round with shock and his mouth hung open. A few strands of his hair moved along with my hard breathing.

After giving him another hard glare I pushed him back down on the bench and went back to sipping my pumpkin juice.

"What the hell, Clover?" Deuce sounded completely taken aback. "I didn't know you were the one for physical violence."

I shrugged. "There's a lot of things you don't know about me, snotface."

"Snotface? Wh-?"

Deuce was interrupted by a loud banging on the table beside him. Bray was standing at his side, his abnormally heavy bag on the table.†

"Deuce," he said with a nod at his friend.

"Samurai." Deuce nodded back after putting his palms together like in prayer.

Bray then put his arm around Deuce's shoulders while sitting down beside him, Deuce grinned knowingly.

"Oh, someone got laid last night?"

"Yeah, missionary accomplished," Bray admitted, grinning like the obnoxious fool he was.

I knew Chase was sharing my feelings, and I didn't need to exchange glances with him to know that we both wanted to jab our forks in Bray's eyes. To my desperate frustration, we had both been sworn to secrecy by Deuce and Bray to not tell Del about Bray's perpetual adventures. I had known for a while and it was tearing my insides for each second that passed. A best friend wasn't supposed to keep secrets! But the guys(not Chase, he was as opposed to the secret-keeping as I was) had some valid points in their favour.

Del would be devastated, and her health might not take it. She put on a brave face, but she really wasn't as strong as she seemed. And also...I loved her too much to see her hurt. And I was not tough enough to be the bearer of bad news. Being the one to break her heart with the information that her boyfriend was repeatedly cheating on her wasn't something I looked forward to doing. But I would tell her. Just not until after her health was back in order. I refused to let my promise(and my cowardice) keep me from telling my friend the truth - at least not for too long.

"So," said Deuce, dragging the word. "Who was it this time?"

"Don't really remember." He was lying. Nothing gave it away, it's not that. Bray doesn't really have any tell-tale signs that indicate whether or not he's lying. It's more of a 'whenever he opens his mouth it most likely isn't to tell the truth'-kind of thing.

"A little lovin' followed by a little leavin', huh? Nice." Deuce grinned again. Bray smirked and removed his arm from his friend's shoulder so he could load up his plate with dinner. I eyed him with disgust, and I bet Chase did exactly the same.

"I'm going to see Del tomorrow, wanna come?" Chase asked me out of thin air and I turned to smile at him. If Bray had a conscience - which he didn't - he would have looked guilty right about now at the mention of his sick, pregnant girlfriend's name.

"Of course!"

"Great, we leave at-"

"When's she coming back?" asked Bray, not visibly interested. He probably wanted to check how long he could go around shagging these mysterious girls of his without having to hide. He'd told us that he wouldn't keep doing it after she had the babies(yes, he knew there were two - but refused to talk about it), but we all knew that wasn't going to happen.

"She's in a treatment facility for foetal trauma," Chase started. "And from what she's told me, she's making a decent progress. She's completely in love with her Healer. Apparently she is a miracle worker."

Bray had gotten bored mid-story and was now balancing his fork on the tip of his wand. He didn't look up until he noticed all of us staring at him. Well, except for Deuce, he was back to stuffing his face with a month's supply of chicken wraps.

"That's good," Bray commented meekly, not caring in the least. "Tell her hi from me."

"You could come, you know?" I suggest. "She'd like that."

"Nah," was his response. "Deuce and I have got to practice for the game."

"Yes!" Deuce exclaimed, accidentally spitting a piece of chicken into my glass of pumpkin juice. "Technically Chase should be there as well, but I'm letting it slide."

"How generous of you," I sneer.

Deuce turned to his twin. "Hey, baby brother, you sure you want to ditch Quidditch practice in favour of a depressing sickbay? Come on, be honest."

"Uhm, I am honest."

"Uhm, I am honest."

Chase cocked one of his eyebrows. "Are you seriously repeating what I'm saying?"

"Are you seriously repeating wha-?"

"It didn't work when we were seven, it's not gonna work now."

Deuce grinned wickedly before he all of a sudden bounced up. "Hey, Jade!" He waved at the black-haired girl who just got up from her seat at the Ravenclaw table. I glared at him. And continued doing so when he walked over to her.†

"Uh-oh," Chase mumbled. "I think a certain someone is going to invite a certain someone else out to that Hogsmeade-trip on Valentine's Day. This should be interesting."

"Yes, and where would the world be without you men and your knack for code-cracking?" I poked at my potato.†

"So, I've got a brilliant idea," I heard Deuce say after making his way to Jade. She stood there with her arms crossed, looking practically bored.†

"Congratulations," she responded in a voice dripping of sarcasm.

"Thank you," he said, unfazed. "Let's just flash past our usual witty banter, go straight up to your dorm, and make love like animals."

Oh, slap him, Jade. Slap him hard.

She didn't do as I commanded, but instead stepped closer to him with a wicked look on her face.

"Or, even better; let's flash forward to the part where you sneak out of my bedroom at three in the morning and completely forget my existence until I suddenly bump into you in the hallway." She took a break only to smack him hard across the cheek, and stepped even closer to him before pushing him so he stumbled backwards and fell on his arse. "You swine! You said I was special!" She grinned. "That was fun! Do you have any more brilliant ideas?"

"Uhm," Deuce mumbled and swallowed hard, "what about going with me to Hogsmeade for Valentine's Day?"

Jade just laughed, and put her hands on her hips. "No, really, do you have more brilliant ideas in that brilliant brain of yours?"

Deuce gazed up at her with confusion, but then looked away sourly. "Not at the moment, no..."

"Ouch, that had to hurt," I commented to Chase as we watched Jade wander off. Deuce was muttering profanity under his breath as he got to his feet.

"Deuce doesn't have feelings," said Chase. "He only has muscles."

"Yeah, that's true," I agreed and he and I shared a little chuckle.†

Deuce came stomping back to us and panted heavily as he stopped in front of Bray. Bray put his fork down with a sigh and looked up at his brooding mate.†

"The forest?" he asked, and Deuce nodded curtly before he turned his heels and marched out of the Great Hall with quick steps.

Bray rolled his eyes and went after Deuce, not even explaining to us what all that was about. Not that I would've cared. They could have their little secrets. Didn't care at all. Not. At. All.

Okay, so maybe I was a bit curious.

But that wasn't because I was interested in what they were doing, I-I just, you know... Ah, forget it.

"I kissed her."

My eyes were squinted as I turned them to Chase. He looked at me without any expression on his face. Just blank.

"Who?"

"Adella," he told me. "I kissed her."

I swallowed hard, as did he. We just looked at each other for a while, and when I broke away I sighed hard.

"Bray will kill you if he ever finds out," I informed him. "You know that, right?"

"Am aware of it." He nodded.

"Did she kiss you back?" I asked in a whisper.

"Yes."

I knew it! But why hadn't Del told me about this before?†

Chase suddenly got this weird look in his eyes, and fastened his gaze on the roof. Then it came to me. "Do you love her?"

Chase opened and closed his mouth several times before finding his words. "It-It's complicated."

"No, it's not," I said and scrunched my eyebrows. "You either love her or you don't."

"I love her as a friend, of course," he told me, and I rolled my eyes.

"You know that's not what I meant."

For a tiny moment Chase acted as if he had no idea what I was talking about, but he quickly gave up the pretense.

"I can't think about it, okay?" He shifted in his seat as he ran his hand through his hair. "Because, okay, let's say I did love her - what difference would it make? She's still with Bray, even carrying his kids. It could never work."

"So you won't tell her?" I asked. "Ever?"

He shook his head, staring down at the table with sad eyes.

"Doesn't matter, she'll figure it out by herself soon enough," I said and shrugged. It was true; Adella was too smart to not see the signs. And there were a lot of them now that I thought about it.

"What?" Chase squeaked in a high whisper. "No, she won't!"

"Oh, come on; you talk about her as if she was the inventor of butterbeer or something. She'll catch on eventually."

Chase groaned and bumped his forehead against the tabletop repeatedly.

I would've done the same if I were him.

--------------
A/N:

There we are! A lot of new info here, right? Like Kat and Deuce still boinking, Bray cheating and Chase basically admitting that he's in love with Adella - what do we think?†

Any particular bits you enjoyed more than others? Please tell! :)

Thanks for reading, my beauties!

*Maria


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