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Chapter 24 : Tactics, Fights and Couple-magnet Cupboards
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I sat on the edge of my table, as far away as possible from Al all lesson. Fortunately, we were doing a practice exam, so he couldn’t say anything to me. He just kept glancing at me, and I just ignored him.
I’ve been doing it all week. Making deliberate excuses not to be alone for him at any time, I mean. I always make sure I’m with Rose at the very least, I try to be with Dom or anyone that I know Al wouldn’t dare mention it in front of. Even James- though it’s painful to even look at him right now.
Herbology, I make sure I work with Rose; Transfiguration, I sit next to some Hufflepuff friends; Charms, I partner with Rose all the time. The only subjects I’m stuck with Al are Defence Against the Dark Arts and Potions. Potions isn’t so bad: now it’s the run-up to exams, we have constant practice exams where silence is mandatory. Defence however, is a little different.
And, fuck me, we have it next.
I walk in and take my seat. I position myself as far away from Albus’ seat as possible and pile all my books and parchment in one pile so I take up less space. Al walks in at that moment and glances at me. He pulls a face- the “oh-Merlin-here-we-go-again” face.
I ignore it and focus on my quill.
It’s funny how much you can notice about a quill when you’re focusing on it that hard. You know, the way the feather is shaped. And how the colour changes slightly in the light-
Oh fuck it; even I can’t pretend to be interested in a quill.
“Alright gang! We’re having a practical lesson today, so gather up your stuff and move to the left hand side of the room, please!” Teddy calls and claps his hands together as Albus reaches the desk. Sighing, I pack up my stuff and stand up, deliberately looking right past Albus’ head. I walk over to the left hand side of the room and smile at Rose and Scorpius who is stood as close to her as possible. Al stands on my other side.
As soon as everyone is over to the other side of the room, Teddy waves his wand and every table flies upwards, and with a massive crash, all land neatly on top of each other in a corner of the room.
“Cool,” Albus breathes, and I find myself smiling. Quickly, I wipe the smile from my face.
No laughing/smiling at Albus. At all.
“Okay. We’re going to work today on all the spells we’ve learnt so far and look at the stunning spell,” Teddy says with a wink. Everyone turns and grins at each other. “Okay gang, I’ll show you the stunning spell now, but I don’t want any of you to try it until I tell you to. I’ll only let you if I’m confident with your other skills. All clear?”
“Alright, Huck and Raynon come on up here and I’ll show you how to perform the spell!” Teddy calls out, picking two random pupils. Will Huck and Lauren Raynon both head to the front of the class looking nervous.
The two of them get out their wands (oo-er! I know, immature, but it never gets old) and face each other. Teddy begins to instruct them on how to stun each other, and I zone out; being friends with the Potters, Harry demands that everyone knows basic skills like stunning and such. It’s fairly simple.
“Bet you a galleon that Huck injures himself when he tries,” Albus mutters. I look down and spot a shiny galleon in his palm. I push it away, realising too late that that was a bad idea. I touch his hand to push it away, and an electric shock surges through us and both of us whip our hands away immediately.
I watch the duo, not really concentrating and try not to chortle (or look at Al) as Will yells the spell incorrectly (“THUPEFY”- he has a lisp) and he goes flying backwards. Hastily, Teddy revives him and gets Lauren to try. Lauren is one of those incredibly pompous girls who believes she can do anything. She places one foot in front of the other and pushes her back in a curve. Brandishing her wand, she yells, “STUPEFY!” and a jet of red light shoots out of her wand and hits Will square in the chest. He flies backwards, landing on cushions that I swear weren’t there a second ago.
Teddy grins and claps Lauren on the back. She actually swoons.
“Pair off gang! I’ll be round checking on you in a minute!” he calls as he helps poor Will up.
I turn to Rose, but Scorpius has already grabbed her hand and pulled her away.
Well to be fair, it wouldn’t be a good idea to pair with Rose- Scorp won’t be able to perform any spells on her of course, he’ll just be her test dummy. Ouch.
Another hand grabs my arm and I wince.
Ah shit. I’m stuck with Albus.
“Come on Kat,” he mutters as he tugs on my arm. Unwillingly, I allow myself to be dragged away. “We need to talk.”
“Expelliarmus!” I shout over the cries of others and Albus’ wand is sent spinning from his hand across the room. He raises his eyebrows at me and I focus on the floor. As he turns to fetch it, I mutter “Accio!” under my breath and the wand whizzes past Al’s head and I catch it. He turns back to face me and I chuck it to him with a half-smile.
“We need to talk,” Al repeats as we circle each other.
“No we don’t.”
“We do. It’s an, uh, s-serious matter and, well, y’know,” Albus begins, stuttering slightly. He finds it as awkward as I do.
“And that’s why we should ignore it!”
“Flipendo!” Albus yells as Teddy heads towards us. I go flying back and land heavily with an “OOF!”.
Albus runs forward and pulls me up. I look at him and my heart leaps into my chest.
LOOK AWAY AND RUN!
I walk backwards into another space and call another few spells, which he shields himself from and then sends jets of light at me which I shield.
Teddy whistles loudly to stop us and gives us the thumbs up. Breathing loudly, we turn to him. “Excellent you two! You guys can start stunning.”
We face each other again. “We can’t just ignore it, Kat. I mean, you and James, and me and Sarah and this is awful. We have to talk about what happened and come on, help me out here.” Al pleads with me, tugging at his tie. He’s just as uncomfortable as I am, but I’ve gotta hand it to him- he’s doing something.
Unfortunately, a Defence Against the Dark Arts class isn’t the place to do it.
Especially with some very nosy Slytherins listening in.
Albus opens his mouth again, and I’m terrified he’s going to say something actually about it. Way too many pupils are listening in eagerly.
“STUPEFY!” I shout. A jet of red light shoots out of my wand and hits Albus square in the chest. He doesn’t even have chance to look hurt before he is propelled into the air. He lands crumpled in a heap on the floor.
Everyone stops yelling spells and turns to gape at me, just as Rose sends Scorpius flying too. Quickly, I run towards Albus and point my wand at him. “Rennervate!” I mutter and Albus blinks and sits up, groggy.
“Fucking hell that hurt,” he grumbles.
“Shut up,” I tell him, through gritted teeth. His eyes widen and he guesses I’m not telling him to shut up winging, but to shut up talking about the kiss. He simply raises his eyebrows at me and looks at me all annoyingly wise which isn’t like Al, he usually just looks like somebody has hit him over the head with hammer.
Wait. NO. NO IT IS NOT.
“Brilliant guys! Very powerful Katrina, excellent!” Lupin calls across the room. Rose beams, looking flustered as she helps a very dazed looking Scorpius to his feet. Quickly, he slicks his hair back into its well-jelled greasy hairdo. I chuckle at him but stop when I catch Al’s eye again.
And just like that, the bell goes.
THANK YOU MERLIN! For once, he is on my side and is helping me out. I swear, Merlin, I am in debt to you and will do your bidding for all eternity.
Actually, Merlin is usually a twat, so maybe not.
Am I talking to myself again? Jeez, I digress.
I haven’t done that in a while. Huh.
“Alright gang! You’re dismissed, now get lost! See you next lesson!” Teddy shouts and we laugh, heading to collect our bags and run out of the classroom. I grab my bag and make a break for it, not waiting for Rose. I need time to think (not like I haven’t had plenty of that already) and possibly eat (what? The house-elves are very accommodating!).
“So I saw Sarah crying before,” Rose says as she sprays bits of honeycomb at me.
I blink and look at her. “What?”
“I said I saw Sarah crying before,” Rose repeats, completely chilled, and takes another bite of chocolate.
“I mean… Sarah. As in Sarah Sarah?”
“Like Sarah Yusuf?”
“Albus’ girlfriend Sarah?”
“Bloody Hell, Kat. YES Sarah Yusuf, Albus’ girlfriend. There’s no others are there?” Rose snaps crossly.
“Sorry.” I mutter and roll my eyes. Rose is becoming increasingly moody with me. She’s pretty cheerful with everyone else, not to mention with bloody perfect Connie. She won’t shut up about “gorgeous Connie”, “darling Connie”, “Brilliant Connie”!
“Yes well, that’s okay.” Rose replies quickly, finishing her bar of chocolate.
“Um, why was she crying?” I say casually, flicking my hair and looking away. Out of the corner of my eye I see Rose look at me suspiciously.
“I don’t know, do I? Why are you so interested anyway?” she answers sharply.
“Because she’s my best friend’s girlfriend, that’s why. I’m allowed to ask about them aren’t I?” I retort, letting my frustration with her (that’s been pretty well hidden actually) seep into my voice.
She frowns at me and we sit in silence. We’re sat in the kitchens, if you’re wondering. It’s my favourite hiding spot and Rose loves it because she can eat her body weight in chocolate, no questions asked. The fire is roaring in the one corner of the vast room and the house elves are mostly gone, appearing in empty classrooms to tidy. The remaining ones have given us respectful distance and are either cleaning the vast amount of washing up, knitting (?) or chatting.
A lot more house elves have learned how to relax, which is nice to see.
“It wouldn’t have anything to do with you, would it?” Rose says suddenly. She’s not looking at me and instead is watching a group of house elves natter as they wash a massive pile of pans.
“I wouldn’t see why it would,” I say. I’m not lying. I wouldn’t think Albus would have told her.
“Because something has happened between Albus and you, hasn’t there?” Rose adds quietly.
I stay silent and consider my reply. “Why would you think that?” I answer finally.
“You’re both acting funny. Too normal. Too civil. Not enough slightly flirtatious jibes,” Rose replies quickly and easily, voice still dangerously quiet.
My heart skips a beat. Albus flirts with me? How have I not noticed?
“Um. There hasn’t been anything, so I don’t know why you think that,” I lie, voice neutral.
“Don’t lie to me!” Rose hisses, losing control of her quiet and relaxed voice. Some house elves jump and with a nervous look at us, scuttle away. “Tell me what happened. I’m asking this as your friend now.”
“Are you sure you’re not asking as James’ cousin?” I retort curtly. We’ve always had a rule that we’d answer as best friends and not let family relationships get involved.
Rose turns to face me sharply. “How can I not, Katrina?”
I turn to face her too and stare into her eyes, not wincing. “Albus kissed me.”
Rose sucks in her cheeks and nods. “And I suppose you just let him.”
“No. I mean, I kind of did. I was confused and it was late. I broke it off. I didn’t mean…” I trail off when I realise oddly I have a lump in my throat. “I kind…” I cough, trying to clear my throat. “Rose, can you help me with this? I’m just so confused and I have no clue what to-”
I break off, startled. Why? Because Rose is laughing. Laughing. Not just a chuckle, no, but a full on semi hysterical laugh. I peer at her, blinking in surprise.
“Rose? Why are you laughing?” I ask quietly.
She continues to laugh for another few seconds before wiping her tearing eyes. “How could I not? Come on, Kat! Surely you can see how funny this is?”
I sit back, stung. “No I can’t.”
“Really? I suppose not, because you’re part of the joke,” Rose retorts, no longer laughing but smiling at me sickly.
I stand up, reaching for my wand. It’s an involuntary movement, I can tell you that, a reflex. I immediately think better of it and pull my hand away from my back pocket.
“I’m not a joke, Rose. Or at least, not as much as you’ll be when people find out!” I spit, not thinking straight. My head is pulsing and I feel dizzy.
Rose leaps up too and she grabs her wand. Heck, she’s allowed to stun me if she wants- I’m not pregnant.
“Oh shut up! Shut up!” Rose cries. Several house elves look up and scrabble away, frightened. “You’re a joke Katrina! Completely pathetic! You’re the one who’s chasing after two boys like a little puppy!”
She looks at me expectantly, waiting for a retort, but I have none. I don’t reply, I just focus on trying not to cry and slowing down my breathing. So I stay silent and just stare into Rose’s eyes.
When it’s obvious I’m not going to yell with a brilliant comeback, she stutters. Then she looks triumphantly at me and says, “If you think I’m not going to tell James, you have another thing coming.”
This time I roll my eyes. “Do you honestly believe I wasn’t going to tell James?”
I’m such a fabulous liar.
Until Rose found out.
“So you have nothing on me, Rose. I’m going to tell James. So I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell James yet because I’d like to. See you around.” And with that, I turn and leave the kitchens.
I’m charging down the corridors and knocking littlies out of the way, heading for the Common Room before Rose can tell James (I’m not convinced she’ll wait) when a hand grabs me and pulls me into a cupboard.
“I swear to Merlin I will scream! Getoffmenowplease!” I shout, but a hand covers my mouth as the door swings shut.
Hm, déjà vu much?
Oh shit, this guy probably will be an evil warlock.
“Oh shut up Katrina. I needed to talk and you bloody pegged it,” Albus pants as he removes his hand from my mouth.
I must confess, he has rather nice hands. Very soft and not sweaty (mine are absolutely gross). Not as nice as his lips, I’ve got to admit. He lips are very-
“I don’t think that’s a good idea so I’ll be off now!” I say in a very squeaky voice, my heart rate slowly decreasing in rate. I make a move for the door but Albus slaps my hand away and wrestles me from the door.
“No,” he says in a very patronizing voice and even though he can’t see me in the darkness, I roll my eyes. Suddenly, I feel his hand fumbling around on my arse and I squeak, shocked.
“What are you do-”
Instantly, he pulls his hand away and mutters, “Lumos!” I blink as the light illuminates the broom closet and crack a smile when I spot my wand being twirled in his left hand.
I always carry my wand in my back pocket. Ah.
“Broom cupboard, eh? Classy and not at all suggestive!” I taunt, keeping my tone light. He curses and murmurs an apology.
“Sorry Rena. I meant to grab you and pull you into a classroom or something, but you were bloody fast so I just saw the door and grabbed you. Didn’t realise it was, you know, a couple magnet,” he coughs uncomfortably.
I shrug and lean on a broom that is resting on the wall. “So, uh, why was Sarah crying before?”
Albus looks up at me and grimaces. “Broke up with her.”
“Why?” The question pops out of my mouth before I can stop it.
Albus shifts, looking awkward. “I, uh… It wasn’t just because of the kiss, you know. I would have told her about it anyways but I don’t think she would’ve broken up with me. She would have been pissed but I don’t know…”
I frown, puzzled. “But you broke up with her, didn’t you?”
“Well yes. Because it wasn’t just a kiss,” Albus replies, going slightly pink.
“Um. Yeah it was… We didn’t do anything but kiss so…” I answer, going red too, feeling awkward.
“I meant, like, the kiss wasn’t nothing. It wasn’t just a kiss as in a mistake. Well, it was a mistake but…” He trails off when he sees me looking even more confused. I grimaces and bounces on the balls of his head before looking down and bursting out, “Look, I have feelings for you okay?”
“I have, uh, feelings for you.”
*Ducks*. I KNOW! I’m sorry! I know I promised a quick update but exams took over my life and so did illnesses.
Please don’t kill me. Just read and review please? :)
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