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Infamous by R o s m e r t a
Chapter 3 : Plans
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3

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{amazing CI by Lady Asphodel @ TDA}

*          *          *          *          *


She ignored me and stormed out of the Great Hall. James and I exchanged an anxious glance before moving to follow her.

The moment the Great Hall doors shut behind us, I attacked James—punching, kicking, scratching, and biting at whatever I could reach. “OW!” he cried, holding up his arms to protect his body from my wrath. “Hazel!”

A group of second-year Hufflepuffs passed by, looking downright terrified at the scene before them. I Death Glared at them and they scurried away (I know, I'm a fantastic prefect). “You—complete—prat—James—POTTER!” I seethed, accentuating each word by lashing out at him before clenching my fists at my sides furiously. “How dare you kiss me in front of the entire bloody school, including your sister!And your brother, I thought. “Without my permission!”

“Oh come on, Hazel, you didn’t seem to mind that much at the time.” James waggled his eyebrows at me suggestively and I immediately resumed my bodily attacks. “OW! Okay, okay, Hazel, I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” he yelled when I didn’t stop. He finally managed to grab my arms and pin them behind me. I Death Glared up at him as he pulled me close against him again. “Seriously, Hazel. I didn’t mean for that to happen. I just got so desperate to be rid of her, and maybe a little carried away—“

Maybe a little carried away?!”

“Well, okay, I did get kind-of-a-lot carried away! But after everything you said earlier…” He trailed off.

“I didn’t mean for you to date me!” I exclaimed incredulously.

“I know that!” he yelled back. “But you’re not afraid of her! And you were the closest proximate female who wasn’t related to me!”

“How flattering.”

James sniggered. “You’re just going to be upset with me no matter what I say, aren’t you?”

“Pretty much.”

“Will you at least stop attacking me if I let you go?”

I continued glaring at him. He pouted back at me. I finally sighed, resigned. “Fine.”

James unpinned my arms, then quickly wrapped me up in a bone-crushing hug. “I really am sorry, Hazel.” He pulled away a bit and rested his forehead against mine, deep amber eyes gazing down into my own as his fingertips gently caressed the small hairs at the back of my neck. “But I can’t thank you enough for helping me out back there.”

My skin tingled where he touched it—I hated that the git really knew how to turn on the charm. I sighed again. He’s lucky he’s so bloody adorable (do not tell him I said that) and the entire country would hate me for messing up the git’s face (oh wait, they were going to hate me already anyway thanks to Serena bloody Shacklebolt). “You’re welcome, James.” He squeezed once more before releasing me. “Just give a girl a bit of warning next time.”

He flung his arm around my shoulders and grinned cheekily. “So there’s going to be a next time?”

I elbowed him in the ribs as hard as I could and got a satisfactory yelp in return. “Come on. Let’s go face our impending doom.” We trudged off in search of Lily.

*          *          *          *          *

Lily, as it transpired, had sought refuge in the kitchens. It had taken us nearly an hour to find her, since a certain handy map was currently in her possession. After James and I had no luck in the common room, dorms, Astronomy Tower, or Potions classroom (she’s a regular little mad scientist, that one), we trooped downstairs, tickled the pear (not a euphemism, thank you), and were welcomed into the warm, cosy kitchens by the scent of freshly baked bread and cooked cinnamon apples. I suddenly realized I still hadn’t eaten and was starving. Once the house elves led us to where Lily was sitting, slumped against the wall and moodily picking at her food, I asked them to bring a couple of plates for James and me. I sat down beside her. “Lil? You okay?”

She sighed. “Yeah. Sorry I stormed off like that. I just…couldn’t wrap my head around it.”

James sat down, cross-legged, on her other side. “I’m sorry, Lily. I really didn’t mean for that to happen. Serena just got to me.”

“I know.” Lily smirked. “That part was brilliant actually, you should have seen her face before she took off.” Her own face fell again. “I just don’t want to think about my brother and my best friend snogging.”

“It won’t happen again,” I quickly promised her.

Lily looked at me in disbelief. “Are you mad? Of course it’s going to happen again!”

“Huh?” James and I gaped at her, completely lost.

“You two are pretending you’re dating, are you not?”

James laughed. "No, Lils! That was just a one-off to get Serena off my back.”

"Always the charmer," I mumbled.

The house elves reappeared with our plates. After thanking them profusely (catch more flies with honey, and all that—though I haven’t quite worked out why you’d want to catch flies), James and I dug in as Lily snorted. “Are you honestly enough of an idiot to believe Serena will just leave you be after one little snog?”

James’s smile faltered and he shot me a worried glance. “You don’t think so?”

"She kind of has a point, James,” I reluctantly agreed around the mashed potatoes I was shoveling into my mouth (I know; I’m lovely). “Serena is evil incarnate. Look at everything she’s done over the past four years and all of her harassment since you broke up with her. No way will she give up that easily.”

James groaned and slumped against the wall, head in his hands, plate forgotten. I took the opportunity to heap his potatoes onto my own plate while he wasn't looking. “So what am I supposed to do now?”

“Keep pretending to date Hazel, obviously,” Lily replied, shoving most of a biscuit into her mouth (so dainty, our Lilykins). “As disgusting as it was, that kiss got Serena to lay off, at least for the time being. She knows by now that her intimidation tactics don’t work on Hazel, so if you two carry on long enough, Serena will eventually move on to her next victim,” she reasoned.

“But I don’t want to date Hazel!” James exclaimed. I crossed my arms and gave him the Death Glare. “No offense, Haze, but…you know I fancy someone else.”

“Which we will absolutely be discussing later," Lily told him, "but that’s why Hazel would be the perfect transition girlfriend. It’ll eventually get Serena off your back, and everyone will see that you’re done with her for good. Then when you and Hazel ‘break up’”—she used air quotes here—“whatever unfortunate, witless girls you’ve somehow managed to charm won’t be afraid to date you any more.”

James pondered this all for a moment.  He took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. “I guess you’re right, Lils.”

She scoffed as she smothered butter on another bisuit. “Of course I am.”

James glanced up at me. “What d’ya say, Haze? Be my fake girlfriend?”

“I don’t know, James,” I began slowly. “I just went with it back there because you kind of put me on the spot…”

“Come on, Hazel, do you have any idea how much this is going to piss off Serena? It’ll be brilliant!” I gaped at Lily in astonishment, my feeble brain still unable to process the fact that she was suddenly on board with all this.

James crawled toward me on his knees, hands clasped at his heart and a pleading, puppy-dog look on his face. “Please, please, please?”

I hesitated. In truth, I didn’t mind the idea in general—it actually sounded like quite a lot of fun, especially since I knew it would really get Serena’s goat. I couldn’t help but think of Al, though.

James had flung himself across my lap by now, still pouting up at me. I rolled my eyes at him. As long as Al knows it’s all for show…”Fine,” I conceded. “I’ll be your pretend girlfriend.”

James sprang upright and enveloped me in a tight hug. “Oh thank you, thank you!” he fake-sobbed. “I’ve always dreamed of the day a gal would say those words to me!”

I shoved him off of me and he fell over. “Keep it in your pants, Potter, it’s not Lily we’re trying to fool.” James laughed from where he lay sprawled on the floor.

Lily wrinkled her nose. “What I really can’t believe about all this is that you let my stupid, smelly brother be your first kiss.”

I felt my face flush as James shot up, mouth agape. “That was your first?”

I shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. “It’s not a big deal.”
James smacked his palm to his forehead. “I am such a prat.”

Lily and I both gave him looks that clearly said, Well, duh.

*          *          *          *          *
As it turned out, Lily’s “genius” reprisal against the boys for the hair incident involved a large-ish swamp of Bubotuber pus (rather reminiscent of the antics of her uncles, Fred and George, all those years ago, which were legend now). Somehow, I managed to persuade her that since we had managed to pinpoint Al as the culprit in this particular situation, we should just target him and save the more dramatic theatrics for another day (hey, I may be in love with the guy, but chicks before dicks, and all that rubbish).

Luckily, the portion of the plan involving Roxy’s Pygmy Puff was based on Al’s inexplicable fear of the furry little creatures…which is how, later that night, Lily and I ended up hunched under the invisibility cloak with Walter in tow as we crept into the sixth-year Gryffindor boys’ dormitory for what must have been the billionth time.

“Ya!  YA!”  Most of the boys were lounging around on their beds, reading or chatting, but Al and Rowan Finnigan were brandishing their wands like swords (get your mind out of the gutter!) in the middle of the large room. Swoon. Lily and I side-stepped them and the various textbooks, clothing, and other random junk strewn about as carefully as possible (seriously, how is their dormitory already this disgusting so early in the term?) and, while the boys were preoccupied with their various activities, I gently placed Walter in the crease formed by the bottom of Al’s pillow meeting the top of the comforter. To me it seemed as though the clash of Walter’s bright violet fur against Al’s scarlet and gold bedding was painfully visible, but I knew that no one would notice unless they were hovering almost directly over the bed. Lily and I scarpered off to the side, nearly under Frankie Longbottom’s bed next-door to Al's, and waited.

It didn’t take long for Al to deliver the “killing” blow and for Rowan to fall back onto his own bed, presumably “dead.”  “YES!” Al whooped. “I am VICTORIOUS!” After a few victory laps around the room, basking in the glory of his dormmates’ amused applause, Al moved to collapse on his own bed—then froze.

“Al?” Frankie asked, glancing up from his Herbology textbook.

In response, Al let out a high-pitched squeal (I never claimed to go for the manly types) and backed up a couple of steps. “P—p—p…” he spluttered. Then, he was gone, screaming his head off as he flat-out sprinted out of the dormitory.

Frankie, Rowan, and the others all looked at each other in confusion before rushing after Al.

Phase one, complete.

“Hurry!” Lily hissed.  We remained under the invisibility cloak, just in case, as we shuffled over to Al’s shower kit and located his bottle of body wash. Lily pulled on my dragon-hide gloves as I unscrewed the top of the bottle and siphoned out most of the liquid inside with my wand. Lily had previously added a pinch of dandelion root—stolen from Slughorn’s stores, of course—to the vial of Bubotuber pus she now held, which had alleviated the worst of the typically noxious odor. We hoped, once mixed with the rest of the body wash, that the scent of Bubotuber pus would be undetectable.

“Shit!” I heard footsteps outside the dormitory. “We gotta go!”

“Almost done,” Lily whispered back, as she finished pouring the contents of the vial into Al’s body wash. I tapped the bottle with my wand, muttered a couple of quick charms that rendered all the liquid inside the same color and consistency, and shoved it back into Al’s shower kit as Lily scooped Walter off the bed. She and Walter had just disappeared back under the invisibility cloak as the door banged open and Rowan, Frankie, and Alex Harris reentered the dormitory.

“I dunno,” Rowan was saying. “He managed to get out something about his bed before he fainted, so I just thought we could check...”

He fainted?! Lily grabbed my hand and squeezed, hard. We determinedly looked away from each other for fear of bursting into uncontrollable giggles. As the two of us were now seated on our bums, we slid backwards very slowly as the boys came toward us. While they were rummaging through the bedding and hangings and discussing Al’s panicked state, we got to our feet and tiptoed quietly out of the dorm.  

Once we reached the safety of our own empty dormitory (I assumed Roxanne and the other two girls in our year, Ruby Harper and Amelia Jordan, had gone down to the common room to ascertain the source of all the screaming), we collapsed on my bed and shook violently with the laughter that we’d been holding in since Al’s first shriek.

“Bloody hell…”

“I thought I was going to have to Silencio myself…”

“Did you see his face?!...”

“I can’t believe he fainted…”

“AHEM.” Lily and I raised our heads toward the intruder. Roxy was leaning in the door frame, arms crossed, a small smile playing at her lips. I always marveled at how remarkably similar she looked to her brother, with the same tanned skin and sparkling blue-green eyes. “What are you two doing with Walter?”

I looked over to the end of the bed, where my enormous tabby-Kneazle cross, aptly named “Kneazle,” was batting Walter around like her own personal cat toy. “Just wanted a quick snuggle, Rox. He’s so fluffy!” Lily exclaimed before tossing Walter at her cousin.  He let out a squeak of terror as he flew through the air, before his owner caught him deftly (impeccable Quidditch skills run in the Wotter family).

“Uh-huh,” Roxy responded, now stroking Walter’s violently violet fur. “And I suppose neither of you have the slightest clue why Al came running into the Common Room, screaming like a banshee, and promptly passed out?”

I inadvertently let out a quick snort before burying my face in my gold-encased pillow. “Nope, not the slightest clue, Rox,” Lily managed to deadpan. 

Roxy studied us for a moment. “Right. Anyway, Hazel, your gentleman caller would like a word.” She couldn’t help but smirk.

I rolled my eyes. We had told most of the Wotters about James’s and my make-believe relationship, which they found to be quite hilarious. Of course, they were all sworn to secrecy, but this didn’t stop them from taking the piss in private. I gave Kneazle a head-rub before passing her off to Lily, her arch-frenemy, then rolled off my bed and slipped my feet into a ratty old pair of slippers. “He says to meet him at that new statue of Merwyn the Malicious,” Roxy called after me as I left the room.

I climbed out of the portrait hole and padded toward the statue, which stood outside the Muggle Studies classroom on the second floor. It was still about an hour before curfew, so there were quite a few people milling about. I couldn’t help but notice several stares and whispers in my general direction as I passed my fellow students.

That was new.

I arrived at Merwyn’s statue. No sign of James. “The git,” I grumbled under my breath. Just then, a hand covered my mouth as an arm firmly gripped me about the waist and lugged me into the small alcove behind the statue. 

“Was that entirely necessary?” I hissed as James released me, grinning.

“Of course.”

I studied him a moment, deciding he was almost as cute as Al—almost—and I could certainly do far worse as fake boyfriends go. Then I narrowed my eyes at him. “What do you want?”

James’s grin disappeared. He shuffled his feet nervously and looked down. I followed his gaze downward and noticed that he was now holding a single lavender tulip—my favourite flower, though I hadn’t the faintest idea how or why James would know that. He noticed that I had seen the tulip and reached out, offering it to me. I accepted it and looked at him curiously.

“I just felt so awful taking your first kiss away from you like that, Hazel,” he said softly.

I felt my face begin to flush again. “Really, James, it doesn’t matter—“

“Yes it does, Hazel, and I’m sorry.” I had never heard James apologize so much in such a short amount of time; he was usually much too busy being as pratty as possible. He took a deep breath. “I really appreciate what you’re doing for me, and since you’re going to have to be kissing me a lot anyway, I just wanted to give you a real, proper first kiss.”

My heart fluttered inexplicably. I had known, deep, deep, deep down, that James wasn’t really as much of a git as he liked to come off, but I had never seen this side of him before. I was speechless.

James took my lack of response as consent. We were already nearly pressed up against each other in the tiny alcove anyway, but he slipped his arm around my waist and drew me even closer to him. My breath hitched as he smoothed my hair back and gazed down at me. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his as I breathed in his aftershave—something woodsy and strangely familiar that I found rather comforting. James gave me a tiny smile before he gently cupped his hand around my face, and drew my lips to his own.

The kiss was sweet and tender. Unconsciously, I wrapped my arms around James’s neck as it deepened, our tongues exploring each other’s mouths. We stood there for what could have been minutes or hours before James finally pulled away and looked down at me, smiling. He pressed a lingering kiss to my forehead. “Thank you Hazel,” he whispered. The feel of his lips against my skin set my heart fluttering again. Before I had time to properly react, he was gone.

I leaned against the wall of the alcove and slid down to the floor, my fingers to my lips, where James’s had been just a few moments previously. My other hand clutched the long stem of the beautiful tulip.

What in the name of Merlin’s hairy armpits just happened?

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