“Suck it up, you pansy!”
A fist collided forcefully against my arm. I flinched and shot a glare at the blonde-haired girl sitting next to me. “Bloody hell, Val, are you trying to break my arm?”
“No, I’m trying to get you to go talk to Rhiannon,” she shot back under her breath. “You asked for my help, so I’m helping you. Now go talk to her.”
Val ended her sentence with another whack to my arm. I’m definitely going to have a bruise there later. Bloody girl is too strong for her own good. And violent, too.
We were sitting in the library, pretending to do work. Well, I was pretending. Val actually was reading a book of some sort, while simultaneous giving me impatient glares. I fixed my eyes back on Rhiannon. Her head was bent over a book as she sat alone, studying. Her curly black hair was falling over her shoulder, partially blocking her face. Talk to her. Right. I can do that.
“I can’t do it,” I whispered to Val. She rolled her eyes in exasperation.
“And why, pray tell, can’t you?” she asked.
“It’s not really that easy,” I hissed back at her.
She gave me a bland look. “Listen up, Fredward,” she began, but I cut her off.
“Don’t call me that.” Bloody Val and her bloody nicknames.
“Fine then. Listen up, Frederick. I personally think that you and Rhiannon would make a great couple. It’s so nonsensical that it works. However, there is the small issue of her being my friend and you being my ex.”
I made a small noise of protest – Val and I had been more like friends than boyfriend and girlfriend – but she kept going. “Rhiannon is never going to go for you if don’t do it first. In her head, you are my ex-boyfriend and nothing else. It’s your job to make her think differently. I can talk you up to her and make it very clear that I don’t have the slightest bit of interest in you, but there’s only so much I can do. So go talk to her.”
I frowned slightly. Okay, I’ll admit it. I feel like a bit of an insensitive prat for this. I don’t think of Val as an ex and she doesn’t think of me that way. We’re more like mates that used to snog on occasion, really. But now I was interested in her friend. I wondered if I was maybe crossing a line.
“It doesn’t bother you, does it?” I asked before I could stop myself. “Er, you know, that I like Rhiannon and all?”
“Why would that bother me?” she asked. “Look, Fredino, we’ve gone over this. You and I didn’t work. We don’t work. We both agreed that dating was weird. We’re mates. We work better this way. We moved on. It’s okay. Yes, Rhiannon is my friend, which makes it a little odd, but I don’t care. Neither will she, if we lead her in the right direction.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” I gave Val a sly look, remembering something. “Speaking of moving on, what’s going on with you and my cousin?”
“You’ll have to be more specific. You have a lot of cousins,” Val replied, but she didn’t meet my eyes, her face seeming to tighten.
“I’m talking about a certain cousin of mine with rather distinctive messy black hair, common in the Potter family,” I said, nudging Val. She sat stonily, arms crossed over her chest.
“Al, you mean? I’m his tutor. What of it?” Her tone was clipped, brusque.
I grinned at her. “Close, but not quite. I’m referring to my favorite cousin, James Potter.”
Val glared at me. “You asked about this before, Fred. Now leave it alone.”
“I think he likes you,” I said smugly. “I see him staring all the time. Another fly’s caught in the web, eh?”
Val stood up. “I’m going. Talk to Rhiannon if you want or don’t. I really can’t be bothered, either way.”
With that, she left the library, leaving her book behind. Huh. That was abrupt. Was it something I said? I turned back to look at Rhiannon, feeling guilty, only to find her looking at me now. Bloody hell, what do I do now?
She got up, leaving her things behind and walked towards me. There was a small frown on her face and she took a seat across from me. “What’s wrong with Val?”
Oh. She’s here to talk about Val. Yeah, that would make sense. “Er, I’m not really sure,” I said hesitantly. “I think I may have offended her somehow…”
Rhiannon nodded, a calculating look in her gray eyes. “Don’t feel bad about it. Val’s oddly sensitive about some things and has a tendency to overreact. If you don’t mind me asking, what were you two talking about?”
How could I best go about talking to you because I fancy you. I wonder how she’d react if I just came out and said that. Nah, better not. “I was teasing her a bit about my cousin.”
“James?” Her gaze sharpened.
“Yeah. I guess it bothered her or something.”
Rhiannon nodded again, not looking surprised. See, this is one of the things I like about her. She understands things. She knows. She may not be a genius in the traditional way, like Val or my cousin Rose, but when it comes to intuition, no one can best Rhiannon. And now maybe she can help me figure out this whole James/Val mess.
“Do you think something is going on between the two of them? I mean, Val’s reaction wasn’t exactly normal and James has been acting odd for a while now. Also, not too long ago, they were shouting insults at each other. How weird is that?”
“And that makes you think they like each other?” Rhiannon asked, smiling.
“People are weird. I can’t exactly speak for Val because she’s a confusing bird, but I’m pretty sure there’s something there for James,” I said.
“What makes you say that?” she said, smile growing wider.
“James has always been a little odd when it comes to girls. Or really, just people in general. He doesn’t like making new friends and he’s never had a girlfriend. Hell, at one point in time, I thought he might be gay. But now, there seems to be something about the way he watches her… I dunno. Plus, he was kind of distant with me back when I dated Val for a couple weeks.”
Great. I just brought up the fact that I used to date Rhiannon’s friend. Good going, Fred.
“Hmm,” Rhiannon hummed, furrowing her brow. “Interesting. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see how this turns out.”
“Er, yeah, I suppose I would,” I said.
“Okay, so just… pay close attention to James. What how he reacts when Val is around. Even casually bring her up in conversation and see what he does. I’ll do the same for Val. And then we can… compare notes or something?”
Was Rhiannon suggesting we spy on our friends? I think so. Bloody hell, I think I like her even more now. Plus, I can spend more time with her. This is what I call a win. I nodded eagerly. “Sounds like a good plan. So do you want to meet here in a week?”
“Okay,” she said with a smile. “Also… can I ask you something? It might be a little… awkward, though.”
In that moment, I was strongly reminded of myself, back when I was asking Val for help to win Rhiannon over. “Go ahead.”
“What… uh, what’s up with you and Val anyways? I mean, you two broke up a while ago, but you still hang around with each other and stuff.”
Okay, Freddy, this is your chance. You need to completely convince her that there is absolutely nothing going on with Val and me.
“We’re mates. Just mates. That’s why we broke up, really. We had fun hanging around with each other, but it was always kind of weird. We both just realized that we were better off as friends. Once we split, things were a lot better. I have absolutely no feelings for her and she has none for me,” I explained, watching her face closely. Her lips twitched up slightly when I finished talking. Hell yes.
“All right. I was just curious,” she said, not meeting my eyes. She wants me.
Rhiannon stood up, brushing off her school skirt distractedly. “I’ll see you around, I guess. Next week?”
“It’s a date,” I said with a small smirk. A dull pink flush colored her cheeks.
“You’re in NEWT level Charms, right?” she asked abruptly, still lingering.
I raised my eyebrows. “Yeah. Why?”
“Oh, well I’m having a bit of difficulty with my essay. I was going to ask Val for help, but she’s not here. And you learned this all last year, so do you think you could…?”
I blinked. “Sure. I can help you, yeah.”
“I don’t want to be a bother,” she fretted.
“It’s no problem,” I said, getting out of my chair. “I wasn’t doing anything, anyways.”
Rhiannon tucked a curl of her hair behind her hair. “Thanks, Fred.”
Huh. I guess talking to Rhiannon really isn’t that hard. I’ll have to thank Val later.
I promised some Fred/Rhiannon (referred to as some as Friannon – which I love) and here it is! There’ll be some more of it eventually.
Next chapter for this will be James’s perspective of the Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff Quidditch match, as per the request of the lovely Akansha.
Let me know what you thought!