Chapter 4 : Honesty Is The Worst Policy
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The smell of alcohol had filled the Room of Requirement.
Cheers, Fifi and Rose.
They should start up their own business.
Like, stealing alcohol for minors.
I was probably already a bit tipsy.
I walked – well, it was more of a clumsy stumble – across the room to wherever it was that I wanted to go. The makeshift bar that had been temporarily set up, probably.
Ah, James. But what the fuck was Nathan doing there? With a girl? He was too young to even know what a girl was, let alone be awkwardly talking to one.
“NATHAN DANIEL EVERGREEN! GO TO BED! NOW!” I yelled. He took one look at me, made hurried apologies to the random fourth year chick, and scurried away, like the cowardly little mouse that he was.
I snorted. I would have stood up to me.
“You're a good sister,” announced James, and handed me a couple of vials containing – I assumed – Veritaserum.
“I do try,” I laughed, “Truth or Dare?”
I motioned towards the magically enhanced microphone.
“Go for it,” James said.
“Okay everybody,” I grabbed the MEM (Magically Enhanced Microphone, get it?), “we're going to be playing Truth or Dare. I assume everybody understands the rules? Well, it's pretty simple. Before you answer a Truth question, you have to take a swig of this lovely looking potion,” I held up the Veritaserum, “It will force you to tell the truth. If you choose Dare, and you refuse to do it, you have to answer five Truths in a row. You can't do two Truths or two Dares in a row. Everybody, now gather in a circle, please.”
Everybody gathered in an oddly-formed circle shape, and sat themselves down. There were about 20 people, and I knew all of them.
“Okay, I'll start. Albus. Truth or Dare?”
“Truth.” He gulped down Veritaserum. Excellent.
“What has been your most embarrassing moment? Ever.”
“Last year, the end-of-year party, when Dom walked in on me and Flora making out, and then went and told Mum that I was fucking her in the cupboard whenever I could.”
Ouch. Poor Albie. Dom didn't even look remotely abashed.
“Okay,” Albus hesitated. So many people to choose from, right? “Um... Rose. Truth or Dare?”
I grinned at her, as she took a deep breath and did what no sane Ravenclaw ever did.
And so it continued. Rose was forced to keep her hair bright green for an entire week, Lysander liked Eloise, Eloise liked him back (really surprising and all considering they were dating), Jessica had snogged seven boys since last Friday, Scorpius ran around in a chicken costume singing a Spice Girls song, Hamish had to flirt with Moaning Myrtle, Lance had to eat six bowls of purple spaghetti, Tyler once smashed an egg over a five year old for a Dare, Lucy Weasley was dating Shane Finnigan and Molly Weasley had to go down to the Black Lake in a bikini.
Then it was Molly's turn, and I could almost literally see the cogs turning inside her head. I gulped. Mol had a reputation for having a vivid imagination. It was finely tuned for moments such as these. Strange, for a Puff.
“Yep.” I tried not to let apprehension show.
“Truth or Dare?”
“Dare.” I was not a Gryffindor for nothing. Plus, there were things that I would prefer to keep out of the limelight. Like my crush.
“Ok...” Shit, that wasn't good. Thinking caps on, much!
“You, Willow Evergreen, will proceed to sneak out to the Black Lake, kiss the Giant Squid, then strip down to your underwear and go to the Astronomy Tower and back.”
It wasn't the worst Dare ever.
She wasn't the one who was going to have to jump in a dark, cold lake, kiss a creature that looked like it belonged in a fantasy/horror movie from outer space, strip down and run from the Astronomy Tower to the Room of Requirement, all hopefully without being seen.
“Hurry up, Greenie,” she hissed, “it's cold.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
Of course she wouldn't know who Sherlock was. Dumb non-Muggleborns.
“Don't worry. Muggle thing.”
I started stripping.
“What're you doing?” Honestly, for a Ravenclaw, sometimes Fi could be so oblivious.
“I'll need something warm to change back into, else I'm going to freeze.”
“I can fix that with a simple spell.” Or maybe she wasn't so oblivious.
But I digress.
I caught sight of a tentacle, and jumped in. It wasn't so hard to find a spot to kiss it. There was a lot of Giant Squid parts to choose from. I wondered briefly how large Giant Squid calamari rings would be, but then decided that they probably wouldn't have a big enough sized pan in which to fry the buggers.
I thrashed my way to the surface. Fifi was watching warily. I clambered out and tackled her.
A now soaking wet Sophia Lovegood - courtesy of her brilliant friend, Willow Evergreen - waved her wand.
“The Tower awaits.”
Hey, don't judge me. I've always wanted to say that. Maybe not in that exact situation, and minus the 'Tower' part, but still.
“You're weird, you know that?”
“You made your choice Fi, you made your choice.”
Indeed she had, back in Diagon Alley, before either of us had even started at Hogwarts.
It was warm, sunny and a fantastic day. Normally, I despised shopping, but this was different. This time I was buying magical items. My parents hadn't wanted to let me go, but I suppose their hands were forced when their furniture was set on fire, and a hat stand had been transformed into a bounding, slobbery mass of black labrador, by a rather gargantuan, hairy man brandishing a pink umbrella.
Needless to say, Hagrid and I really hit it off. Anyone that could scare the living daylights out of my family with a labrador was well on the way to being my best buddy.
I'd been so excited, I was having a hard time keeping my two feet planted on the ground.
No, literally, I kept floating. Like an oversized helium balloon.
I'd skipped into Madame Malkin's robe shop, like a freaking leprechaun, and I'd stood happily on a stool, while my measurements were being taken.
Hagrid had disappeared, probably to get away from my overwhelmingly exuberant attitude.
Or to, you know, have a drink somewhere.
A small, blonde, pretty, blue-eyed girl had walked in. I jumped off the stool, almost tripped over a magically suspended mop, and yelled out excitedly, “HI! I'm Willow Evergreen! What's your name? How old are you?”
She'd been nervous, but she'd replied anyway.
“I'm Sophia Lovegood. I'm eleven, and I'm just starting Hogwarts this year.”
“I'm sorry! I'm really weird, but I'm okay once you get to know me, promise. I'm starting Hogwarts this year too!”
And therefore she had made her choice. She didn't have to answer me, she could have walked away, but she was now stuck with me.
For all of eternity.
Cue evil laugh. Mwah ha ha ha.
“Whatever,” Fi said, “now let's go, already.”
The Astronomy Tower was colder than the Black Lake. Okay, so a bit of an exaggeration.
But you get my drift.
It was cold.
“Okay, Fi, let's do this thing,” I said, stripping down, “You can carry my clothes.”
I pause at the entrance.
“Wish me luck!”
“Aww, go break a leg!”
I laughed and skipped two stairs at a time. The Room of Requirement wasn't too far away, luckily. It only took five minutes of sprinting for me to skid around a corner, and-
I stopped dead in my tracks. Ew, PDA alert.
Well, it had been an empty hallway, but now I was present, it was obviously a public display of affection. Gross.
Eloise was up against a wall, her legs wrapped around a topless Lysander. They were having a ferocious game of tonsil hockey, and by the looks of the proceedings, they wouldn't be noticing me any time soon.
I walked past, whistling loudly. I wondered if they'd seen me, but decided that it wasn't worth checking.
Poor Fi. She was going to have to deal with that once she caught up.
I sauntered casually into the Room of Requirement.
“Ah, there you are, Will. It's Lorcan's turn,” Dom hissed as I sat down next to her.
Nobody doubted that I'd done the Dare.
Good, I thought.
They know me well.
“Willow, seeing as you just turned up...” began Lorcan, evilly. Honestly! I thought all Puffs were meant to be mild and kind.
“Truth or Dare?”
“Well, I just did a Dare, didn't I?” Damn my rules. Damn them to the pits of hell. I knew exactly what Lorcan was going to ask.
“Yup,” I popped the 'p', and swigged Veritaserum.
“Who do you fancy?”
Yeah, that question. The one I'd been totally dreading.
“I fancy James Sirius Potter,” I blurted.
They sat there, every last one of the Wotters, and their friends.
Until James Sirius Potter started to laugh.
I didn't realise I was laughing, until it was too late.
Too late to apologise to Willow, who stood up and simply walked out of the room. To late to explain why I was laughing – that her answer had been so unexpected.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I'd lost Willow.
Willow, who was always so happy, never giving a shit about what people thought of her.
Willow, who had always been there for me, even when it was two in the morning and I'd needed someone to talk to.
Willow, crazy Willow. Beautiful Willow, who thought she was ugly. Smart Willow, even though she told herself she was dumb. Kind Willow, who couldn't even kill a spider.
And I'd let her go.
Just like that.
I'd never really thought about her in that way. I hadn't known she'd thought about me like that, at all. I'd known her since first year, or before that, even, when she hadn't known about magic. When we were five I'd kicked her out of her own sandpit, and she'd grabbed two handfuls of ice and shoved them down my shirt. When we were seven, we'd built cubby houses out of blankets and chairs.
Why had I laughed?
Dom looked at me, her expression hard.
“What the fuck is wrong with you, James? A brilliant, sweet girl like that, who you obviously like as more than a friend, and you laugh in her face?”
Just like that, the party was over. The sense of celebration, hell, the reason we were even throwing the damn party was forgotten. The mood had turned sour.
“I... I have to go find her.”
I stumbled out of the room. Thanks, Firewhisky. Maybe I'd be in luck, maybe by the time morning came Willow would be too wasted to remember?
But no, I remembered in despair. She'd been outside for most of it. She hadn't had as much to drink as I had, and I would recall this tomorrow. Or later today.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
I'd screwed up.
I'd walked out of that room, before my dignity could abandon me. I saw their looks of pity, and it almost sent me into a fit of hysterical laughter.
I didn't cry.
I didn't even let loose one sob.
I just made my way to the Lion Den, and tucked myself into bed, and fell asleep.
So what James didn't like me back? So what everybody in the school thought I was a slag? So what my former worst enemy knocked my best friend up? There was absolutely no point in caring.
I woke up, feeling kind of like a zombie. Sort of there, and sort of distanced from everything. Bella was vomiting spectacularly over the bathroom basin. She hadn't been at the party, and neither had Fred. I wondered if they knew about James, already.
I showered, dressed myself, grabbed my book bag and slung it over my shoulder, and walked down to breakfast.
“Hey guys!” Most of my friends were gathered around the Gryffindor table, minus Bella. And Fred, but I didn't really know yet if he was a friend. Maybe more of an acquaintance.
“Hey, Will, about last night-” Albus started.
“Yeah, it was a great party, wasn't it? Did everyone have a good time while I was gone?Tackling the Giant Squid and all?”
There was an awkward silence.
I didn't see James.
I didn't care.
I avoided breakfast in the morning. By the time I'd gotten up to the dorms the previous night, Willow had been fast asleep, and I didn't really want to face her.
You're a bitch, James Potter. A lousy, cowardly little bitch.
I skipped breakfast, which was probably going to punch me in the gut later. With hunger pangs. Oh, what the hell. I could take it. I was a man.
“What the fuck, dude?” Louis Weasley was a force of nature. He bombarded me the millisecond I entered the Potions room.
“Language, Weasley!” the teacher – Professor Slughorn – sharply retorted. Old Sluggy was a good chap, really. He doted on my family.
“Dude,” hissed Louis, gingerly placing a caterpillar leg into the mortar with a pair of tweezers, “Willow. Explain.”
“I didn't mean to laugh! It was an accident!” I flipped my protective goggles on. Louis groaned.
“You have to fix it, man. I've never seen Will this upset.”
I didn't answer, and we completed the assignment in silence.
I left the Potions room in a fucking not good mood.
You're an arsehole, James Potter.
I had Herbology. Normally it was a great class, with Alice, Molly and Lorcan. But today they were being odd.
“Are you sure you're fine? I mean, it's pretty rough how he-”
“I'm fine.” I frowned, seizing a strange leafy plant at its stem. It attacked me, and I fell flat on my back. Lorcan and Alice bent down and pulled me up.
Damn Hufflepuffs. Always so nice.
“You know what?” I said. It wasn't a question, not really. “I'm fine. I don't really give a fuck about anything any more. I just wish people would stop trying to be so understanding.”
I walked out of Herbology. Been doing a lot of that lately. Walking out.
Knocking on the door to Charms, I wondered if what I was going to do was morally correct.
But hey, my life and all that shit.
The door swung open.
“Hi, Professor Flitwick! Professor Longbottom was wondering if he could borrow Sophia Lovegood for an experiment in Herbology?” I adopted a fake smile and innocent look.
Foolish teachers. They never did learn.
“Certainly, Miss Evergreen. Sophia? Mr Longbottom would like to see you.”
“So, what does Longbottom want with me?”
“Oh. What do you want then?”
I took a deep breath.
“I want you to make me forget.”
Seriously, I'm sorry I had to write that. I didn't mean for it to happen, but it's kind of important with the whole story line.
Please please please review! I'll love you forever!
Any thoughts? Are you shocked? What did you expect to happen? Love it? Hate it?
Do you like the whole 'other characters' perspectives?
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