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Infamous by R o s m e r t a
Chapter 5 : Friends With Benefits...Sort Of
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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{amazing CI by Lady Asphodel @ TDA}

*          *         *          *          *

I dreamed of Al. 

When I woke up, his body was pressed against mine, his breath tickling the back of my neck, his arm wrapped tightly around my waist underneath my pyjama top, as if he’d never let go.  I smiled to myself and nestled back into him…

…before realizing it was James who I was in bed with.  My eyes popped open, but before my brain had a chance to really process this information, the curtains were wrenched back and Freddie appeared before me, clad in nothing but pyjama pants and grinning like a fool.  “Aw, look at Hazel and ickle Jamie-kins!” he crowed, clearly pleased by what he’d found.

Unfortunately, this did little to rouse James, who merely groaned semi-consciously before burying his face into my neck, his lips grazing my bare skin.  I tried to wriggle out of his vise-like grasp, to no avail.  “Help?” I implored Freddie weakly. 

He considered this for a moment, an evil glint in his light-coloured eyes.  “Right.  For immunity from your next prank.”

My eyes widened.  No way would Lily agree to that.  But Freddie didn’t necessarily know that.  “Hmm,” I pretended to deliberate, hemming and hawing.  “I don’t know, Freddie…”

“You could very well be stuck here all day, you know.”

“Done,” I told him quickly.  I could sort that out later.  Hopefully.

“Excellent.”  Freddie grinned as he leaned down, grabbed me round the waist just above James’s arm, and wrenched me out of his grasp.  I tugged my pyjama top down as Freddie set me gently on the floor.  The only thing James seemed to notice was that his teddy bear had disappeared, because he immediately latched on to a pillow to cuddle instead.

“Thanks, Freddie,” I said, grabbing my robe in preparation to hightail it out of there.

I should have known it wouldn’t be so easy.  Freddie easily mirrored my steps so that he was blocking my path.  “So,” he began conversationally, crossing his arms and leaning against James’s bedframe, “how was the sleepover?”

I narrowed my eyes at him.  “Platonic, thanks.”

“Mm-hmm.”  Freddie studied his nails casually (aren’t girls supposed to be the ones who do that?).  “Well, I’m sure you won’t mind, but that’s not what I’ll be telling the rest of the school.”  He met my eyes and grinned wickedly while I scowled back.  “Now, off you get!" he fluttered his hands as he motioned me away.  "We have Quidditch practice at 10:00, and I must awaken Princess Jamesie.”

I trudged across the boys’ dormitory, which was blessedly empty—until the bathroom door opened and Charlie Thomas emerged, wrapped only in a towel round his waist, dark skin glistening with droplets from his shower.  He beamed at me, and I managed to return his smile weakly before averting my eyes so as not to ogle his perfectly chiseled abdomen.  Damn.  Does this mean I’m “one of the guys” now?  That they were all going to be running about in their underoos and ignoring the fact that an actual female was present?  For Merlin’s sake, I was in a (fake) relationship, not dead.

I left the dorm just as Freddie yelled something incomprehensible in James’s ear, and the rude awakening caused James to start screaming.  I smirked to myself.  He sounded even more like a girl than Al had.

*             *             *             *             *

As it transpired, my status as James’s supposed girlfriend did nothing to free me from his tyranny on the Quidditch pitch.


Charmer, that one.  He was really lucky I’d left my wand in the changing rooms.

Al flew up beside me, grinning and mussing his dark hair.  “At least he doesn’t play favorites, eh?”

“Oh yeah,” I replied dryly, pushing my hair back from where the wind was whipping it around my face, “we wouldn’t want that.” 

Al chuckled appreciatively, his emerald-green eyes gleaming in the blazing sunlight as he swung his Beater’s bat round in circles.  Merlin, I loved Al’s laugh.  The sound seemed to come from somewhere deep within him, which only made it all the more genuine.

Al was like that—a genuine bloke.  It was a bit odd to think that despite their similar physical features, big brains, and wicked senses of humour, he and James were actually quite different.  James was, in general, in the habit of being the most ridiculous human being on the planet, and a loud-mouthed one, at that.  Al was much more quiet and reserved—he started off a bit shy around new acquaintances, but was warm and caring once he opened up.  When you were talking to him, his gaze would be so intent as to make you feel like everything you had to say was of great significance.

By contrast, most found James's arrogance and ostentatiousness rather off-putting (or attractive, depending on the IQ level of the individual in question).

I suppose, growing up in James's shadow, Al really couldn't have turned out any other way.

Somehow, I knew better than to allow myself to become completely entranced by Al while flying fifty feet in the air (believe me, I’m just as impressed with myself as you are).  “Want me to hit a few Bludgers your way so you can practice the roll?” he asked.  “I wouldn’t put it past James to keep you out here all day and night if it’s not to his exacting specifications.”

“Oh, I am fully aware of that fact,” I mumbled, clutching my broom between my thighs so I could sweep my hair out of my face with a spare rubber band.  “But yeah, actually, Al, that would be great, if you don’t mind.”

He shrugged.  “It’s no problem.  I need to work on my aim, anyway.”

By the time practice ended a little over an hour later, I had performed not five, but seven of the most perfectly executed Sloth Grip Rolls Britain has ever seen (did I mention how incredibly modest I am?).  Al and I high-fived when we hit the ground.  “That was brilliant!” he exclaimed.

“Well, I suppose I’m particularly motivated when my life is at stake,” I replied.  “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were actually trying to put me in the hospital wing!”

Al laughed and swung his arm around my shoulder casually.  “I would never!”  I could feel my face growing hot, so I was somewhat relieved when we reached the changing rooms and he released his grip on me.

I emerged a few moments later to find Lily and James at each other’s throats.




Lily’s fist was clenched around her wand at her side.  This couldn’t possibly end well.  I had barely taken a step in their direction before Freddie swooped down and steered me back toward the castle.  “Shall we not?”

“They’re probably going to kill each other, you know,” I pointed out.

Freddie waved a hand dismissively.  “Right.  Well, survival of the fittest, and all that.”

Al, Frankie, and Charlie exited the changing rooms a few moments later and joined Freddie and me on our ascent back to the castle.  “What shall we do on this lovely Saturday evening, gents?” Charlie inquired.  I coughed pointedly and Death Glared at him.  “…and lady,” he added sheepishly.  (Yeah, that’s what I thought.)

Freddie pretended to ponder Charlie’s question for approximately 2.4 seconds before suddenly “remembering” that he and James had leftover Firewhiskey from the last bash they threw in the Gryffindor Common Room.

“I’m in,” said Charlie, high-fiving Freddie.

“Samesies,” Frankie agreed, running a hand through his short, light-brown hair.

Freddie turned to me.  “What d’ya say, Haze?  Have a few drinks, make a few bad decisions?”

I rolled my eyes.  “I can’t.  I’m going to the library—I have an Ancient Runes project to finish” (I know, it’s a huge mystery as to why I haven’t had a boyfriend—fake or otherwise—before now).

Freddie, Charlie, and Frankie groaned in response.  “Come on, Hazel!” Frankie nudged me teasingly, a huge grin on his freckled face.  “You’re practically throwing away your youth!”

“Thanks for that,” I told him, “but Professor Babbling is already up my arse about my grades.  I need to do really well on this assignment.”

“Actually, I need to go to the library as well,” Al put in quickly.  “I still haven’t finished that Herbology essay your dad assigned last week,” he said to Frankie.  The other three boys complained loudly as Al turned to me.  “Want to go together?  It’ll be awfully lonely in there on a Saturday night, you know.”

Okay, I am all about keeping my cool in these types of situations, but it took me a few seconds to pull my shit together this time, so I literally pinched my own arm to make sure this was actually happening.  Which is probably the lamest thing I’ve ever done, so I really hoped it was as discreet as I thought it was.  I glanced up to find Frankie looking at me strangely.  Whoops.  Guess it wasn’t.  “Sure,” I (somehow) managed to reply casually as my insides flailed about anxiously.  “Meet you outside the portrait hole at 7:00?”

Al grinned at me.  “It’s a date.”

(....aaand cue Jelly-Legs Jinx in full effect.)

*             *             *             *             *

He was already waiting for me when I climbed out of the portrait hole at precisely 7:06 (because obviously, I was far too busy and important to be on time to an event as trivial as a study date with the most beautiful boy to ever exist).  “Sorry I’m late.”

Al turned to face me.  “Hey!” he greeted me brightly.  “That’s all right, I only just got here.” (Of course he did.)  He looked adorable in jeans and a dove-grey henley t-shirt that somehow only made his eyes look even greener.

We chatted aimlessly as we made our way up to the library and settled ourselves at a small table near the Restricted Section, but were silenced by Madam Pince’s (much less effective, if you ask me) version of the Death Glare (also, let’s get real; that bitch is at least 1,000 years old if she’s a day—what in Voldemort’s reach was she still doing at Hogwarts?).

For quite a while, Al and I sat across from each other, engrossed in our respective assignments, but meeting each other’s gazes occasionally and exchanging little smiles (and yes, maybe my stomach did this little fluttery-type thing each time—shut your piehole).  To be honest, I was surprisingly comfortable with Al, considering how I felt about him.  Maybe I was just used to him being around, or maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I’d already reconciled myself to the fact that "we" would never happen, that he saw me as another younger sister and nothing more.  I’m actually quite proud of myself for not being quite as mental as most girls my age; in no way was I labouring under the delusion that Al would wake up one day and realize he couldn’t live without me, and ask me to elope at my earliest possible convenience so that we could have lots of sex and babies.  I knew how the world worked—not everyone got their happily ever after.

That’s not to say, of course, that I didn’t get a tiny thrill every single time I felt his eyes on me.

At some point I threw down my quill and groaned in frustration.  I just really could not wrap my head around some of this Ancient Runes stuff (and, okay, maybe Al’s presence was just a tad distracting).  Al glanced up at me.  “What’s wrong?”

“Ancient Runes makes me hate my horrible life.”

The corners of Al’s mouth turned upward slightly.  “A bit dramatic, aren’t we?”


He was still looking at me bemusedly.  “I have an O.W.L. in Ancient Runes, you know.”

I smacked my forehead.  “Duh, I’d totally forgotten!”  I turned on the puppy dog eyes with accompanying pout (if only my seduction techniques were even half as effective).  “Pretty pleeeeease help me?”

Al sighed at put down his own quill.  “How could I possibly say no to a damsel in distress?”  He scooted his chair around the table and leaned over my parchment until our arms were nearly touching.  I couldn’t help but inhale the scent of him (I know, I’m a creep; sue me).  He smelled so different from James; like a strange mixture of pepper and citrus that instantly set my heart racing.  “Here,” he said, pointing at something I’d written.  I jolted back to reality.  Right, homework, focus.  “You’ve put the symbol for ‘ice’ when you really need the symbol for ‘hail.’”

I frowned at the parchment.  “Isn’t hail just chunks of ice?” I pointed out.

“Well, yes, but—“

“Look, I put the symbols for ‘ice’ and ‘falling’ and ‘sky’ so what more could you possibly want?”

Al chuckled and leaned back in his chair, arms behind his head.  His leg brushed against mine, giving me goosebumps all over.  Thank Merlin I was wearing a jumper and jeans.  “Why are you taking Ancient Runes, anyway?”

I shrugged.  “I think it would be cool to be a Curse Breaker.”

He looked impressed.  “Really?”


“That’s actually really cool, Hazel.”

I flushed.  “What about you?  Why did you take it?”

It was Al’s turn to shrug.  “I don’t know, just for variety, I suppose.”  He gazed up at the ceiling pensively.  “Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.”

“Figured it out yet?”

“Nope.  Maybe one day.”  He sat upright again and grinned at me.  “Ready to call it a night?”

“Let’s go.”

As we trudged back to the common room, I felt Al glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.  “What?” I asked.

He shrugged again.  “I just miss you, Hazel.  I feel like we never get to spend any time together these days.”

Okay, no, seriously.  This time my heart really stopped.  He missed me?  I swallowed.  “I know,” I responded.
Al smiled down at me.  “We’ll just have to nerd out again soon.”
I laughed, hoping I sounded casual while my heart soared.  “Deal.”

As we reached the portrait hole, Al hesitated before turning to me.  “Look, Hazel,” he began, running his fingers through his hair (ugh, why can’t I do that for him?), “I think it’s really great what you’re doing for James.”

“You do?” I breathed.

“Yeah.  I just…” Al trailed off, then looked directly at me.  “I’m just worried, you know?”

I studied his face, confused.  “About what?”

Al sighed.  “After those articles came out…I just want you to be careful.  You’re not used to the media being all over you, and I hope you’re prepared for how nasty it can get.”

I dropped my gaze to my feet and shifted uncomfortably, though I was honestly touched by his words.  “I know.”

“Good.”  Al sounded relieved.  “Because the press will follow you everywhere, so you won’t be able to set up every ideal photo opportunity like you two did the other night—“

My head snapped up.  “What are you talking about?”

He furrowed his brow.  “The picture of the two of you kissing in The Daily Prophet.”

“Oh,” I laughed.  “That wasn’t a setup.”

Al continued to frown at me.  “Oh.  Well I mean, I just assumed…it just all seemed a bit too convenient, you know?  That someone just happens to be walking down that corridor at that time of night and happens to have a camera and happens to take a peek behind that statue?”

It took a few moments for Al’s words to sink in.  He was right.  I was an utter fool.

And I was going to murder James Potter.

"Hazel?"  Al was watching me with concern.  "Everything all right?"

"Peachy," I assured him with a big, fat, fake grin.  "Thank you Al, this has been most enlightening."  I abruptly spun round, told the Fat Lady "Crumple-Horned Snorkack," and climbed through the portrait hole, a rather perplexed Al close behind me.

The common room was rather noisier than usual for a Saturday night. Gryffindors were lounging about everywhere, and most of the older ones seemed to have a cup full of some substance that looked suspiciously like Firewhisky in his or her hand.  I spotted James swaying about near the wizard's chessboard with quite a few of the Gryffindor boys and made a beeline for him.  His eyes lit up when he caught sight of me approaching.  "Haze!" he exclaimed, snaking an arm around my waist and planting a sloppy, wet kiss on my eyeball (clearly romance isn't dead). "Where have you been?"

I shrugged nonchalantly.  "Just finishing some homework."

"Well, I missed you!" he proclaimed.

"Yeah, me too."  James was too pissed to notice the Death Glare.  "Hey, since we both missed each other just so much today"--I'm not sure how I got the words out around my gritted teeth--"why don't we go over there and chat for a bit?"  I gestured to the couch situated in the far corner of the common room.

James nodded eagerly and followed me across the room while the group of his very mature friends and relatives cat-called after us.  The moment I had seated myself on the couch and James had collapsed beside me, he began attacking my face with his mouth.  I shoved him away roughly.  "NO!"  I scolded him as I would Kneazle.  "Get off me, you big oaf!"

James was taken aback.  He gazed at me, seemingly confused and somewhat hurt, like a toddler when you took his favorite toy away.  "We're not snogging?"  It appeared that this was almost too much for his brain to process.

"No," I told him firmly.  "I need to talk to you."

"Oh."  He slumped down into the cushions, clearly disappointed, and rested his head on the back of the couch.  "I thought that was like, code, or something."

I rolled my eyes and toyed with the frayed hem of my jumper and chewed my lip as I considered how to broach the subject.  "Look, I need to know if that kiss behind the Merwyn statute was a setup."

"Huh?"  James's eyes were closed now.  "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?"

He was just barely able to speak English.  Bloody fantastic.  I sighed. "Did you set up the whole thing so someone could take our picture and send it to the Prophet?"

"Why yew thin' tha'?" he practically gargled.  I was losing him, but for some reason I desperately wanted to know the answer.  It made me feel...I don't know, betrayed, that James might do something like that without telling me.  Especially after how sweet he had been that night.

"Al just pointed out how it all fit, that someone was just there at that particular moment with a camera in hand--"

"Al?"  James's eyes flew open.  He attempted--I think--to wave his hand dismissively, but only succeeded in lifting it approximately six inches above his lap before it flopped back down again.  "'S jus' jealous."

I rolled my eyes again.  He was officially talking nonsense.  "Okay, let's just discuss this tomorrow."

"'Kay."  James's half-shut eyes swept over me again and he grinned lazily.  "Yer perty."

...and he's out.  What an idiot.  I covered ickle Jamie-kins with a nearby blanket as his random gurgling noises turned into thunderous snores (highly attractive--am I a lucky fake girlfriend or what?), bade the group of onlookers good night (noting that Al had disappeared), and made my way up the stairs toward my dormitory.

There, in my bed, only a few short feet from her own, was a second drunken Potter.

Merlin, I couldn't get away from these people.

The dormitory was dark, and Amelia and Ruby were nowhere in sight.  Roxy smirked at me from where she was reading by wandlight in her bed on the other side of Lily's.  "I tried to get her to walk a little further, but she refused."

I rolled my eyes.  "No surprise there."  Lily was well-known in our dormitory for her drunken obstinance.

My best friend was still fully dressed in her courduroys, hoodie, and trainers (fashion choices by which Dom would be absolutely appalled).  I pulled off my jumper, revealing the soft camisole underneath, and replaced my jeans with my favourite Quaffle-print pyjama shorts.  Kneazle was less than pleased about whatever turn of events had rendered Lily unconscious in our bed, and swished her tail in irritation while her golden eyes bored into my skull.  I scratched her under the chin in an attempt to appease her as I sprawled next to Lily and poked her in the side.  Slowly, Lily opened one eye to peer at me.  "You're back."

"So are you," I returned.  "Where have you been all day?"

Somehow, despite Lily's mostly incoherent ramblings, I managed to glean the tale of that day's little misadventure.  It seemed that after the rest of the team had left the Quidditch pitch that morning, James had challenged Lily, proclaiming that he could play Chaser and Seeker simultaneously and no one would even miss Lily's presence.  Unfortunately for him, James was flying round Lily in circles during said proclamation, like the stupid great prat that he is, so naturally, Lily nailed him with a Tickling Hex and, naturally, James promptly fell off his broom and tumbled to the ground.

Lily, of course, knew she'd be hit with detention if James went to the hospital wing and told Madam Pomfrey what had happened (obviously, she would never believe that a Quidditch superstar like James Potter would just fall off his broom of his own accord). After much negotiation, James agreed to let Lily patch him up the best she could, so long as she would accompany him to Hogsmeade, buy a load of Butterbeers, and help transport them back to the Gryffindor common room, where they drank approximately 834,584,230,423 of them.  What a lovely little family outing for the pair of them.

"Why weren't you in the common room?" Lily questioned me after finishing her tale.

"Al and I went to the library to catch up on some homework."

Lily's one eye seemed to narrow itself at me suspiciously.  "Al?"

I looked back at the eye quizzically.  "Yeah?"

She pondered this for a moment before coming to the only conclusion that seemed to make sense in her Butterbeer-addled brain.  "Are you dating my brothers?"

"Yep," I replied dryly.  "Sure am."

Lily's eye simply gazed at me in wonder.  "You know, we could be sisters."

"Beg pardon?"

"If you marry them," she clarified.  "James and Al.  Except they're both my brothers."

"You don't say."

She moved her head back and forth in what I assumed was an attempted nod.  "I do say. So we'd be, like, sisters squared."

"That makes total sense," I humoured her.  Kneazle, though still thoroughly disgusted by Lily's presence, had apparently resigned herself to the fact that she would be sharing the bed with both of us and was now snuggled against my chest.

"I know."  Lily sighed as her eye drifted shut again.  "Haze?" she murmured sleepily a few moments later.

"Hmm?"  I could feel my eyelids growing heavy as well.

"You're the tits."

I smiled before drifting off.  "Right back at ya, Lils."

 *             *             *             *             *
Author's Note:  Hi, all!  I wanted to give you guys some more Al time (as requested!) so I hope you enjoyed this chapter.  Thank you so much for the favouriting and the reviews--you have no idea how happy it makes me :)

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