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Chapter 13 : We Are a Hurricane
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Hey stranger, I want ya to catch me like a cold
. . .
No more war, no more clothes
Give me peace, oh, kiss me
Hey, hey, we are a hurricane, drop our anchors in the storm
- Hurricane, Panic at the Disco
By the end of the week, the veritaserum had worn off, classes would resume on Monday, and life at Hogwarts went back to normal without much fanfare. I was infuriated.
After all that work that Nicki and I had gone through to make the chaos, it disappeared so quickly. Sure, there had been some excitement for a while, but I had been hoping for something really big to go down. It hadn’t.
So I did what I had to do. I did what I knew would work. I knew that the whole business was over, but it wasn’t too late for everyone to know that it had been my genius that had caused it. I wanted one of the most chaotic periods in Hogwart’s history to go down with my name.
I finally caught Lupin on Friday afternoon in the Great Hall. “Lupin!” I cried, running over to her just as she was about to take a bite to eat.
She lowered her fork and turned to look at me questioningly. “Are you sure you want to eat that?” I asked devilishly, giving her my most mischievous look I could muster.
Looking skeptically at the food on her plate, she dropped her fork.
Lupin sighed loudly, exasperated. “What did you? . . . Let’s have it.”
“Well,” I began. “Lets just say that food may or may not be how I threw the entire school into a little trouble last week.” I smiled shamelessly.
“Really?” she said, doubtfully. “Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen you brew the most basic of potions. I’m having a difficult time believing that you actually invented a potion potent enough to infect the entire school for a week, and one apparently so obscure that not even the Professors could figure it out.”
“I had help,” I explained, shrugging.
“Who?” Lupin snorted derisively. “Dean or Seamus? Unlikely. And you don’t have any other friends . . . Just a gaggle of stupid, slutty girls who worship you for reasons that no one with a brain can comprehend.”
I couldn’t think of anything to say, except, “Ouch. Bitch”
Lupin shrugged and went on with eating.
Stupid bitch. All that effort and for what? Nothing.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy chaos for the sake of chaos. Honestly, simply seeing the effects of my prank was almost good enough. Almost. But for a jest so brilliantly simple, I wanted my name on it; I wanted everyone to know that it was mine.
Defeated, I went to sit next to Nicki. “Lupin won’t believe that I brewed the potion that caused massive havoc on Hogwarts,” I whined.
“That’s because you didn’t,” Nicki pointed out.
“Yeah, well, I can’t tell her it was you. Someone wont let me.” I grumbled.
Nicki shrugged and took a sip of pumpkin juice. “Not my problem.”
“You and your do-gooder image. It’s ruining my life,” I said.
“Still not my problem. And no matter how long you look at me with those puppy-dog eyes, it will still not be my problem.”
“Fine.” I turned away from Nicki and started conversing with Seamus, who was on my opposite side. “Nicki is trying to ruin my life.”
“Don’t listen to him, Seamus. He’s being petty and ridiculous,” Nicki reasoned, throwing me a sharp look. “I know he’s one of your best mates and all, but I have boobs. And I don’t know how much you know about the relationship between boys and girls, but the one with the boobs is always right. Always.”
She looked rather smug biting into a piece of jellied toast.
Seamus looked at me apologetically before saying in his stupid Irish accent, “She’s right, mate.”
For fuck's sake. Is nobody on my side?
I’d have thought that at least my best mates would have known that, as a Black, I prided myself on the havoc I wreaked on the school. That the glory I felt in people knowing it was my rather fine-tuned pranking skills was what kept me going.
And this potion was one of my best to date, which meant I pretty much wanted to be doing a fucking victory dance in the middle of the Great Hall. But no, even my own sister wouldn’t believe me.
I thought working with Nicki would work out great, and I suppose it did. I just didn’t know how much longer I could sacrifice my own image for hers, no matter how great her rack was, or how good of friends we were. (Or, once were?)
Beside me, Seamus suddenly choked on his kippers at the sight of someone coming up to the table and Nicki engaged someone across the table in a very mundane conversation. The sort of conversation you start when you’d rather avoid an awkward, unfortunate run in with someone else.
I knew who it was before she said, “Hey, Al.”
I turned around. “Hey, Emma. How are you?”
“I’m doing alright,” she answered. “I know some people in Hufflepuff are throwing a party tonight. It would be really awesome if you came,” she said, offhand.
I looked at Seamus, who looked at Dean. We were planning on having a guys’ night. Dean rolled his eyes and I heard his voice in my head:
If you must. It wouldn’t be the first time you ditched on a guys night for a girl.
Then I saw him sigh and the voice in my head continued.
But this is the first time that it’s for a girl that you want to do more than sleep with. You have my blessing.
Seamus, on the other hand, winked at me. After Dean’s voice had faded, Seamus’ voice added his own two cents.
Yeahhh. Tap that shit, bro!
“I’d love to.”
Emma smiled. “Great! It’s only for really cool people, so, naturally I thought of you.”
Nicki, who’d been chatting quietly with an acquaintance up until that point burst into laughter.
I had a feeling Emma misconstrued this as Nicki’s reaction to her friend, instead of Nicki being her derisive Nicki self.
Emma’s comment clearly that of a shy schoolgirl; I smiled at how adorable she was, and how innocent her flirting was.
“Naturally,” I agreed. If I had an extra set of eyes on the side of my head, they would have been glaring daggers at Nicki.
“I’ll see you tonight,” Emma said.
With a cute little wave, she turned and walked off.
I watched her perfectly petite bum and slender hips sway as she walked away.
“Why does she never want to stay and chat when we’re around?” asked Seamus, gesturing to Dean and himself.
“Because you smell bad,” I taunted.
“Hey.” Seamus pointed faux-menacingly at me. “I smell wonderful.”
"Why is this so important to you Al?" Nicki asked after I had pestered her for the fiftieth time about the prank.
We hadn't been seeing as much of each other lately. Despite our promises for things not to change between us, they had. After the drunken confession, I was uncharacteristically aware of Nicki, and of how she acted around me. I mean, she admitted she liked me! Nicki Patterson!
Nicki was basically me with boobs, but she’d gone rogue. I was selfish and pig-headed as could be; I was a bloke, and she was a girl, and she had broken the unspoken code. I dutifully ignored it though and we never mentioned what had transpired again. We plowed through under the guise of friendship, but we’d barely talked since the awkward confession, let alone slept together.
But I wasn't trying to pressure her into taking the blame for the prank . . . Or for ruining what we had, because I knew that if she wanted to take the fall, she would, on her terms. Rather, I was simply wanting to make her feel guilty for messing with our best laid plan, that had now pretty much completely gone to shit. Stupid feelings, stupid fucking feelings and confessions. Fuck.
Are we still talking about the potion? A voice in my head asked, questioning my authority as the main brain.
But of course I wasn't going throw all that on her. Instead, I told her what she already knew.
“Because of my inability to follow the rules, and my uncanny ability to wreak havoc on the people that would be judging me beyond my current imagination if I wasn’t the clown that I was. You know how much I love it, Nicki." I smiled cheekily at her.
Nicki raised an eyebrow at me.
“What? I have a fucking soul. I care what people think of me . . . Well, that’s a lie. I don’t care what people think of me now because they either love me, or they’re jealous of me. Which, really, if you think about it, is the best place to be. If I was some stupid loser who wasn’t the catch that I am, didn't so successfully toy with the authority at this school as I do, then I might care. But alas..."
Nicki pulled a face. “Wow. I’m amazed. I was pretty sure you weren’t capable of human emotion, or caring what other people thought.”
“Like I said, maybe I would if I was McLaggen, or something. However, I'm Aldan Black, and I really don’t care at all as of now,” I clarified.
Nicki agreed in a way that made me think she didn’t believe me at all.
I was about to continue on my way when Nicki said, “Don’t forget. Big party tonight. Celebrating the fact that we’re all ‘free of the curse.’”
I smiled to myself. Everyone had been so shaken up by our prank that the fact that it was finally over warranted celebration. It was wonderful. “Please. Like I could forget.”
Oh, shit, I totally forgot.
I’d so quickly accepted Emma’s invitation to the Hufflepuff version of a celebration, forgetting about the monster party being planned by Gryffindor house. (For the record, there was nothing wrong with a Hufflepuff party. They weren’t bad. But no party could beat a party that I had a personal hand in planning. It just couldn’t happen.)
I’ll have to tell Emma it’ll be another time, I thought. There’s just no other way.
Sometimes it seems like there are just so many parties
It’s just you, idiot. No one else parties this much.
Nicki does! Seamus does! piped up a voice in the back.
I thought about it for a moment. Good enough for me.
Thoughts of the coming party lead me no where but back to the last Gryffindor house party. It had been a damn good party, but I couldn’t stop seeing Nicki in a different light. The whole night, all I could think of was how cool she’d been about calling it quits, and what an awesome party animal she was.
Now, all I saw was a girl who’d drank herself belligerent in attempts to feel better, and tragically broken the lock that so loosely clung to her lips.
I felt bad, but what else could I do? We weren’t together, and I was interested in someone else. It was the right thing to do.
Nearly half of the upperclassmen of Gryffindor House stood in circle surrounding two Seventh years, whose displeasure with each other had built and built over the passed week. Driven by alcohol and unfortunate truth-spilling, their hatred had climaxed and both were now rowing heatedly. I couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride at the monster I'd helped create.
"Just stay away from her, you prick," Coote snapped at Geoffery Hooper, probably one of the biggest pricks in Gryffindor house. He was known for hooking up with girls who were taken, or the sisters of his friends. I mean, no promiscuous bloke could completely avoid those things, but it was pretty clear that the was a bastard on purpose. Things tended not to end well for him.
A few hollered in agreement with Coote. Rumours had been flying throughout Gryffindor house, about how Hooper had taken Coote’s sister’s virginity. There was no proof, until Hooper himself admitted it under the influence of veritaserum.
It was this sort of catastrophe that I’d envisioned when I first concocted the plan.
“I am so proud of us,” I slurred, as I threw my arm around Nicki’s shoulder. When the circle of chanting, drunken students had formed around our two acquaintances, Nicki had come running to find me.
“I’m so proud of us,” she concurred, leaning into me.
I hadn’t exactly been uncomfortable around Nicki over the past week, but it was painfully obvious that she didn’t want to be near me. I didn’t know whether she hated me, or was still mortified about what had transpired, but something was off.
It was nice, though, to get a taste of the old days. Back then, we’d been unbeatable in partnered drinking games, flirting and fucking all through our victories. I mean, what was a better celebration of victory than a great shag?
Shagging aside, Nicki and I had a great time together. I hoped that, one day, when we were past all this, we could just hang out again. I liked Emma, but I had a different feeling around Nicki. I couldn’t really explain it.
But the thoughts that were forming were incoherent, and much too contemplative for my belligerent self to handle.
My thoughts of Nicki that night were mostly of the carnal nature. As we cheered on the fight, I covertly slid my hand from her shoulder to her chest.
Nicki looked especially good that night . . . She was so hot. Damn her. She had on a little black dress to display her rather shapely legs. Even her cheeks, flushed with excitement and alcohol, pretty much brought my cool factor down a few notches. It really didn't help that she was especially smiley, a shameless flirt, and extremely handsy when she was totally wasted. I was basically ready to get on my knees and beg for her. If only she would . . .
Tactful and suave, I walked up to her. I probably had some really good line I was about to lay on her, but instead I blurted, “Wanna have sex?”
What. The. Fuck. Did I really just say that? Oh shit, she’s going to slap me.
So naturally, I was surprised when she cried out, “Yeah!” Nicki threw her arms up in the air excitedly, and we both watched as the drink in her cup flew away and landed on someone.
“Wait . . . Really?”
“Yeah!” she called out again, grinning widely.
We waited a few seconds, looking at each other, and then she said, “Let’s go.”
Now, if I'm being honest, my recollection of that night isn't quite right. Both my judgment that night and my memory of that night were impaired by the impressive amount of alcohol I took in . . . But I definitely remember what happened next.
As sneaky as we could possibly be (which, honestly, wasn’t very sneaky), we made our way up to my dormitory. Nicki looked nervously around as she stood at the base of the stairs.
“Go,” I urged her quietly. “Just make it look like you’re not doing anything wrong.”
Giggling, she sped up the stairs, turning around long enough only to grab my lips in a quick, sexy kiss.
We burst into my dorm and I was glad to see that no one was in there. Everyone was too busy at the party, celebrating their freedom from the ingenious idea that Nicki and I had brought to life. It was a bit of a shame I wasn't getting credit. Oh well, I had more important matters to focus on.
But as I threw my arms around Nicki and we began to kiss, I felt another trickle of that unfamiliar feeling. Guilt. It was only slightly lessened by drunkenness. Knowing I would kick myself later, I pulled away. “Nicki, wait. I can’t do this. I really like this girl.”
Nicki didn't seem to mind at all. Hopping onto my bed and looking seductively at me, she protested. “Oh, don’t worry about it,” Nicki slurred. “What are you worried about? I’m not going to tell her.”
The guilt squirmed in my spinning gut again. I hesitated. “And there’s still that thing with you... I mean... I still feel bad... But I haven’t had sex in, like, a week.”
My feet moved towards my bed and my drunk friend against my wishes. Nicki tried to assuage my fears. “Gosh, Al, don’t worry about it. I’m over it,” she claimed, wrapping her arms around my neck and pulling at my hair seductively.
Blimey Nicki... why do you have to be so fucking hot?
I shook my head even as she climbed on top of me and began to kiss my neck. “No, you’re not.” But I kissed her back nonetheless. I was doing nothing to stop the situation.
“Well, I almost am.” She slid her hands to my shirt.
Fuck, she’s so drunk. I’m so drunk. We’re so drunk.
There was clearly no one thinking straight in this situation. Brilliant.
But on the scale of problems, it rated a Big. Fat. Zero.
Nicki had already started on my shirt, and the spots on my neck and chest where she’d kissed tingled with anticipation. “Megan would kill me if she knew this was happening,” Nicki said, smiling widely as if the idea of her friend disapproving made our hook up even more exciting.
“Because she hates you,” Nicki explained, as if it was obvious.
Well, that’s fair.
No matter what my rational mind or my guilt said, there was no turning back. We had both stripped each other of our clothes and were quickly forgetting the glaring predicaments that stood clouded in the back of our minds.
Godric, this is hot.
We were stark naked when there was a sound from the door. Sort of like someone was trying to get it. But I’m a pro, and I locked the door. When whoever was outside realized they couldn’t let themselves in, they began knocking loudly.
Nicki gasped, looked at the door frightened, then collapsed into a fit of giggles.
The knocking continued. “Just one second!” I called out.
"One second? Nonsense, you’re better than that." Nicki burst into a fit of giggles again and I chose to ignore that jab.
The knocking continued.
“No one can know I’m here,” Nicki whispered, slurring and her voice oddly childish. “Megan can’t find out. I’m going to hide.”
She looked frantically around before locking in on the window. Throwing it open and jumping out, Nicki hid on the balcony just outside the room.
I suppose it didn’t occur to her (it didn’t occur to me, either) that there were plenty of places to hide in my room that didn’t involve going outside, starkers, in the middle of the winter. The bathroom, for instance, was spacious, heated, and a few steps away from my bed.
But, like I said, why would that occur to two people who could hardly remember their own names?
I threw on my pants and swung the door open.
“Heeeeyyyy!” Two of my Seventh year friends, James and Ben, stood outside the door with giant smiles on their faces.
“Hey, guys.” Usually I loved to gallivant around and cause trouble with them, but I had a hot, naked girl outside my room that I was eager to get back to. Gallivanting could wait.
“So, you’re up here. With Nicki.” James winked.
“No, what would make you think that?” I asked, feigning innocence and looking around pseudo-confused.
“Well, we saw you come up here with her,” Ben explained.
I groaned. No one was supposed to know. It was to be a drunken accident that both of us held fondly in our memories, and nothing more.
I argued with them for a few moments longer before I finally ushered them down the stairs. Locking the door behind them, I ran across the room to open the window and beckon Nicki back inside, but she wouldn’t go.
“Come out here.” She beckoned me towards her with her pointer finger, while covering herself up in modesty at the same time. It was sort of adorable.
“Don’t be self-conscious, you’re gorgeous,” I complimented her, climbing through the window and on to the balcony clumsily.
She smirked and then cried out in surprise as I picked her up and pressed her against the cold glass of the window.
“This is going to be fun,” I decided.
And it was.
Just as it was fun when we brought it inside to the bed, then to the floor, then to the nightstand.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. We were interrupted by knocking twice more.
Clearly my mates didn’t understand the Bro Code, or have any clue that you were supposed to leave your mate alone when he was scoring.
After a fun hour or so, Nicki finally said, “ I suppose we should get back to the party. People will be wondering where we’ve gotten. “
I agreed. “What should we tell them?” I wondered aloud, pulling my trousers back on. “Oh, I know, we’ll tell everyone you got sick and that I was taking care of you.”
“Excellent idea. Excellent.” Nicki fussed with her dress and hair, trying to neaten her appearance as we headed towards the door.
“Act like you were just sick,” I advised.
I followed Nicki, just a few steps behind her. At the bottom of the stairs, she looked around self-consciously before sitting down in a heap and petting the owl that was mysteriously and inexplicably in the common room.
Impressed with her commitment to the performance and gloating inwardly I smiled, and walked back into the throng. Swag resonated off of me as I made my way across the room.
I smirked. Time for another drink.
I loved a great party. All it really needed was good people and plenty of Firewhiskey, and I was an expert at exploiting the last one.
I poured myself a tall glass, and took a gulp. I shook my head, closed my eyes and relished at the burn of whiskey down my throat. Just as I opened my eyes, Dean came up to me, drunk and clearly troubled.
Now, despite what some people might say, I wasn’t the spawn of Satan. I had a heart, and a little bit of compassion, especially for those who were my best mates.
After grabbing a drink of his own, Dean dragged me into a corner to talk. I saw him looking longingly across the common room. I saw him lock eyes on Ginny, laughing and having a grand ol’ time with some friends.
I really did feel bad for Dean in that moment.
We talked for a while. I listened some, but spent an equal amount of time watching the party progress around me.
Across the room, I caught Nicki’s eye. She winked and mouthed, ‘I’m not done with you yet.’
“I just don’t understand why she’s being like this, you know?” Dean was saying, looking genuinely upset.
I shook my head. “No.”
I glanced towards Nicki again and waited for her to look back at me and then mouthed, ‘Just a few minutes.’
She gave a short nod before she blending into the crowd and walking away. I was sorry to see her go . . . But loved to watch her leave.
Why must I be such a sex god? Blimey.
Unfortunately Dean's moaning about his sad love life drowned out my vulgar thoughts, and I was forced to refocus on him.
It turned out to be more than a few minutes. No matter how reassuring I was, Dean would not calm down. Personally, I thought they should just end it and stop this suffering. For my sake. But I didn't say that, because I did indeed have a soul. Though, to be honest, I’d always wanted to nail Ginny Weasley. She was hot and fiery, and sure to be a good shag. I was a bit bummed that the Bro Code prohibited me from it.
I mused. If Dean is this upset over a girl, she must be bloody amazing in bed.
No, I think that’s just you, you arse. Other people have real feelings, remember? They care about things other than how good of a shag someone is.
It was thirty minutes before I’d convinced Dean to go on back to the party and have a drink, and almost everyone had cleared out by then.
On the other side of the room, I could see that Nicki was attempting to calm down a raging Cormac, who was drunk and whining about some girl. I steered clear of that though, I'd had enough of that for one night. He was my friend, but he was a git, and I was too drunk to deal with those shenanigans.
I walked discreetly towards the portrait hole – my dorm was more than likely filled with my sleeping mates, and Nicki never liked the idea of getting in on while they were around, no matter how drunk or passed out they were.
Sometimes Nicki liked to sneak up to the astronomy tower; she said she liked to look at the stars when we were shagging, because then there were two things that were making her immensely happy.
Okay, I made that last part up. But she did say that she liked to look at the stars, and I could only assume that the second part was true as well.
When I caught her eye and jerked my head towards the door, Nicki shook her head intently, motioning to Cormac.
So, of course, I stepped in like a hero. “Cormac,” I said soothingly. “Just go on to bed. We’ll work this out in the morning.” I gave him a pat on the shoulder encouragingly. Obviously, that didn’t work. It took ten minutes and the work of Nicki, me, and a few others to get Cormac to shut his gob and go to bed. Nicki and I quickly made our way out of the common room, flirting and necking and not caring who saw.
Nicki giggled and stumbled as I led her towards the Astronomy tower. “Wow, you’re even drunker than before,” I marveled.
Nicki smiled and insisted, “I’m not drunk. I’m just clumsy.”
When we got to the Astronomy tower I fussed with the ladder to the balcony before finally getting it down. It was much harder to do when each hand looked to have about seven to eight fingers; it was a miracle I even remembered that there was a ladder.
I sent Nicki up first, figuring if she fell that the least I could to was catch her. Well, I could at least stumble around and try to.
When I reached the top of the tower, Nicki was already complaining about the cold. She was jumping around a bit to warm herself up. "Absolutely freezing!" Evidently it wasn't working so well.
"I can warm you up," I told her, raising an eyebrow suggestively. She threw her head back, laughing and smiling so wide I thought her face might just crack. Instead she stopped jumping and threw herself onto me, crashing her lips into mine.
Several hours later we lay back on the icy stone, looking up at the vast night sky, and the bright stars that shown with no city smog to block them. An inkling of daylight was beginning to crack through. I put my arms around Nicki and she nuzzled up against my chest. We lay like that for a while – comfortable and not talking. Finally, Nicki began to get fidgety.
“What, do you not like to cuddle?” I asked, not able to hide the laughter in my voice.
Nicki scoffed. “Are you kidding? I love to cuddle. I’m a bloody cuddle monster. But not when I sleep. That’s just nonsense.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” I exclaimed, retracting my arms and letting them fall comfortably at my sides. Nicki rolled over so that she was on her stomach. She closed her eyes and sighed.
“This was fun,” she mumbled sleepily.
I agreed. I reached lazily for her and she wrapped her hand in mine. It was comfortable and sweet and relaxing. I didn't even think about all the things she had said before, just laid there with her, thinking what a lucky bloke I was to get such brilliant shag without strings attached. No strings, Pinocchio.
Though it was rather nice being on Pleasure Island.
The next morning, Nicki and I struggled awake around the same time. It wasn't as awkward as one would think. Nicki thought something was awkward, however. Apparently being sober and realizing that you'd just slept in a part of the castle where anyone could be at any time. Awkward is the wrong word; disappointed in the stupidity of Drunk-Al and Drunk-Nicki was a more accurate description of how Nicki was feeling. We scrambled for our clothes and laughed as we sped back to Gryffindor tower to shower and pick ourselves up to go through an entire day.
Shortly after that found us sat at the Gryffindor table; the majority of us were sipping Nicki's anti-hangover potion. Disgusting, but worth it.
All had seemed to settle after the party. Dean had his arm around Ginny and they were smiling at flirting. Seamus and Cat were being sickeningly cute. Lupin, Nicki and I looked on at the happiness, disgusted.
Lupin was the only of us who seemed to be even remotely alive. I knew she was at the party last night, but I didn’t actually remember her being there. How could I chastise her for something that I really couldn’t be sure of? Anyhow, she wasn’t a big drinker, and there was no way she could have done anything stupider than what I’d done the previous night.
Speaking of which . . . Nicki and I had fallen into a nice place. It seemed like one last romp was all we needed to clear the air. It felt like . . . Well, it almost felt like things were going to go back to normal.
Thinking of the previous night brought a grin to my face.
“Last night,” I marveled. “Damn, I can’t believe how ridiculous that party was.”
Everyone nodded in agreement and we started in on the, “Do you remember you did that?”
And then, “I did that? Holy shit! I can’t believe I did that.”
The, “Oh my god, I just remembered something! What was I thinking?!”
“I drank how much?”
“Katie Bell did what?”
“I did what?!”
Though I may not admit it, sitting around with my best mates and reminiscing on our crazy parties and brilliant times, was something I rather enjoyed. Despite the usual pounding headache or regretful decisions from the night before, this usually made it all worth it.
“And to think,” I marveled. “We never would have had that party if I hadn’t played that prank on the school.” I looked around hopefully to see if I got a reaction out of one of them.
Everyone rolled their eyes, Seamus and Dean resuming their moaning and Lupin seemed to speak for the whole group as she said, “Al. We know you didn’t do that. You’re just not capable of it.”
I clenched my fists in my rather childish upset mood. Damn my inability to learn anything. Why won’t they believe me?!
Shooting everyone a nasty look, I got up and walked away, grumbling the entire way.
“Oh, come on, you big baby,” Nicki called from the table. “Don’t get so wound up.”
But I continued to walk away. I decided to go sit with Cormac and some of my other older friends, and see if they would believe me.
They didn’t either.
Fine, you all suck!
I looked down the table back to our group, but they’d all drifted off. Sighing and resigning myself to the fact that the greatest idea of my years at Hogwarts would be chalked up to nothing more than a fluke, I started making my way towards Gryffindor tower. I’d just gotten up, but I already needed a nap.
I hadn’t even reached the portrait hole when one of the younger Hufflepuff students that I barely recognized came running up to me. “Al Black!” he shouted, gasping for breath as he stopped in front of me.
“Yes?” I asked, curious as to what the big shout out was for.
“My friends and I heard that you were the one who thought up and implemented what happened last week! I just wanted to say, that is amazing! You’re my hero!”
I didn’t even get to say anything back before he got embarrassed and ran away.
But honestly, I was so exhausted that I couldn't begin to decipher that strange encounter.
When I got back to Gryffindor tower, I slumped down onto the couch and kicked my feet up to be warmed by the fire, ready to have a quick kip.
There were few people in the common room and I was still wiped out from the night before. I was pretty sure Nicki and I saw night turn to dawn, turn to morning in that Astronomy Tower. Eventually, I slipped off into a confusing, dream-filled sleep.
"Al, she admitted it." Lupin said.
"Yeah mate, we're sorry we didn't believe you," Cormac added regretfully.
"I'm sorry I doubted you, we don't give you enough credit." Seamus said, and Dean nodded in agreement.
"What are you talking about? Who admitted what?" I turned around to my friends, who were all talking at the same time, louder and louder.
"She admitted it for you."
"Al! Yes, she did!" Lupin argued. "She did! She admitted to us!"
“Al!” My eyes flew open to see Lupin standing above me, grinning slightly. "You were mumbling in your sleep, you know. It's not very becoming."
"What do you want?" I kept my eyes closed and sighed in annoyance.
"Budge up," she said, thereby completely popping my bubble of happy sleepiness. “I'm sorry I didn’t believe you before. You know, I don’t always like you, but I have to give credit where it’s due. That was a pretty impressive prank, even if you didn’t brew the potion yourself!”
This whole just-woken-up situation didn't help my slow thought process. I was looking at Lupin like she had three heads and not understanding a word. She explained. “Nicki told everyone what she did.”
I stared at her, dumbstruck. Quite honestly, she was still a bit fuzzy around the corners, so I rubbed my eyes with the back of my palms and shook my head roughly.
Bloody hell! Why the hell would she admit to that after all her protesting?! Put me through hell first, why don’t you?
“She looked pretty horrified to be admitting it,” Lupin added. ‘You may want to find her and thank her.” She gave me a rather patronizing pat on the back before she got up. I quickly swatted her hand away.
I got up to find Nicki. I wandered around the castle for an hour or so before giving up and deciding she'd turn up sooner or later. Unless she was stuck in a vanishing cabinet, like Montague. I highly doubted it; Nicki would hex anyone who tried send on her into oblivion.
A/N: Woohoo! Not months in between chapters this time! Major props to bellacamille who continues to support me and help me make these chapters the best that they can be.
A/N2: Pinocchio and Pleasure Island are characters/concepts from ‘Pinocchio’ by the Grimm Brothers.
A/N3: And, as I mentioned earlier, my intention is to put up the next part of the chapter A.S.A.P. My apologies for the abrupt ending where I decided to truncate it.
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