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How not to be a Woodley by NH Stadler
Chapter 17 : The Naked Bathroom Occurrence
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 16


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Chapter 17 - The Naked Bathroom Occurrence

The seasons always seemed to fade fast at Hogwarts; where the grass had still been green and juicy a few weeks ago, white frost now covered the grounds on this cold November morning. Thick bands of smoke curled above Hagrid's hut and the fires in the castle burned brighter to provide the lofty corridors and halls with enough warmth. There was, however, unusual bustle in the castle for a chilly Saturday morning, which might have best been spent in bed, as throngs of students poured out into the bone-chilling cold.

"Quick, hide me!" Katie squealed, jumping behind my back to duck. She had been doing this all morning already; giving me half a heart-attack because some lanky bloke in skinny jeans had strolled by.

"Katie," I sighed as I watched the tall kid with floppy blond hair and bad acne pass by, "that guy doesn't even look like Tarquin."

"Are you sure?" She peered over my shoulder, sounding anxious.

"Quite."

"Good." Katie surfaced again, although still looking wary as she scanned the groups of people around us. She seemed to expect Tarquin to jump out at her any second, even though he had left her well alone ever since Halloween; in fact, he seemed to have made sure to stay out of both of our ways.

"Oh look," Katie whispered as we climbed up the slippery steps to the top of the stand, where clusters of blue-clad people were already huddled against the cold wind, "it's Sam. He looks lonely."

He did indeed look lonely; sitting all by himself on an empty bench with his elbows propped up on his knees, staring at the Quidditch pitch.

"Mind if we join you?" I asked as I sat down next to him, giving him a smile; I was still not happy that he had told his ex-girlfriend I was the reason for their breakup, but then again, the boy didn't have it exactly easy at the moment and, really, I cared only little what Felicity Bolder thought of me.

"Yeah, sure." He looked at me, slightly taken aback. "Aren't you mad at me? You should be. I'm a horrible friend."

"Oh please." Katie had leaned forwards, rolling her eyes at him in a perfect circle. "You're just a bit of an idiot, really. But we all are sometimes." She glanced at me with a crooked smile on her face.

"Katie's right," I sighed, wrapping my blue scarf a little tighter around my throat as a cold gust of wind swept across the stand, "let's just forget about it."

"Sure." Sam grinned as I bumped my shoulder against his. "So who do you reckon will win? Us or Slytherin?"

"Ravenclaw, of course," I said as though I had an actual clue about Quidditch; after all, Bernice had insisted they would win the Cup this year. "What do you think?"

But Sam wasn't listening to me anymore; he was staring at something further down the stands, frowning deeply. I didn't even need to ask what was wrong with him; a couple of rows in front of us, Adina Singer was holding up a hand-painted sign saying 'I love you Hector Chang' in flashing blue writing.

For a second, I had the urge to tell Sam not to be bothered by her, but I quickly remembered that I wasn't supposed to know anything about Hector and him and so I simply leaned back and studied the green bevy of Slytherins on the opposite stands. They looked horribly certain of victory.

"James Potter is looking at us."

"What?" I turned back to Sam, who was still frowning into the same direction as before, squinting slightly as though he was trying to sharpen his vision.

"James Potter," he repeated, without moving his head, "he is looking at us."

Still rather confused, I followed his gaze, moving past Adina Singer's poster this time, and there he was; looking straight at me. I hadn't seen him since he had gotten me out of sports to skive off class with him and I hadn't expected to, after the way we had said goodbye; it had felt somehow final.

It was only a second that our eyes met. I couldn't be sure that he had even been looking properly before, but, without really thinking about it, I raised my arm and waved at him.

I was actually waving.

At James Sirius Potter.

And it wasn't the cool, nonchalant kind of lifting-your-arm-for-a-second wave, but the spastic, dorky kind that made people look like overly excited Golden Retrievers. The kind of wave that only got more embarrassing the longer it lasted.

"What are you doing?" Katie hissed into my ear and, realising that I had drawn the attention of a couple of sniggering onlookers, I finally dropped my arm lamely again, feeling heat crawl up my face.

James was still looking at me, slightly dumbfounded. Then, quite unexpectedly, his mouth suddenly curled upwards as though he was trying to hold in a fit of laughter, and he raised his arm high above his head, waving back at me.

Despite myself, I couldn't help a smile.

 





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"This is actually perfect." Katie tapped her red-lacquered nails on the oversized Ravenclaw notice board, where Professor Flitwick had put up the dates of our apparition lessons earlier today.

I couldn't bring myself to muster more than a half-hearted nod as I continued to stare at the opened book in my lap, muttering a listless 'hmm'. Arithmancy was working my last nerve today.

"You're not even listening, are you?"

"What?"I mumbled in response as I flipped back a couple of pages to find clues on where I had gone wrong in my calculations.

"Seth," Katie huffed, slumping in the wingback chair across from me, her arms knotted tightly in front of her torso.

"I'm sorry." I pushed away the book a little and leaned back in my chair, cradling the now lukewarm cup of tea in my hands as I looked at my best friend. "So, apparition lessons?"

Katie shook her head with exasperation, but I could detect the hint of a smile that lurked behind her unnerved expression. "I'm not talking about apparition lessons," she said as though it was the most boring thing she had ever heard, "I'm talking about the next Hogsmeade weekend."

I frowned at her, unable to hide my confusion; sure, Hogsmeade weekends were great but they certainly weren't more exciting than the upcoming apparition training. Everybody in sixth year was talking about it, telling wild stories of horrible splinchings that had happened to people they knew.

"Have you heard anything I've said this past half-hour?" She asked, clicking her tongue at me as though chastising a toddler.

"Don't be such a drama queen," I laughed, leaning over to tickle her chin with the end of my teal glitter quill. Katie flinched, swatting at the feather like it was an irksome fly; it was obvious from the way she pressed her lips together that she was trying hard not to laugh.

"I'm serious," she insisted, "Next Hogsmeade weekend is in two weeks' time and it's probably our only chance to go dress-shopping for Slughorn's Christmas party."

"Oh right." I leaned back in my chair, piling my hair high atop my head and fixing it rather haphazardly with the hair tie that was dangling from my wrist. "Slughorn's party."

Katie rolled her eyes as she eyed the messy bun I had just created; it was probably crooked. "Please, don't be so enthusiastic."

"I am, though," I insisted, and I actually meant it; Slughorn's Christmas parties, which were some sort of Hogwarts tradition, were really quite fun; he usually invited a couple of famous people to showcase his web of influence, but there was always great food and drink and fantastic live music. The party was, however, also highly exclusive, which meant that towards the middle of December, people were getting reckless to score an invite.

"It's going to be really good this year," Katie sighed; she had picked up my glitter quill and twirled it lazily in her hand, watching the glitter particles flash as they met the light. "I heard that Hey Hey Hippogriff are playing," she hesitated for a second, giving me a weird look, "and Harry Potter might be coming."

I grimaced at the sound of the familiar surname, well aware that Katie was closely watching my reaction. She had been waiting to bring this up, of course, ever since the Quidditch match last weekend; ever since James Potter had reciprocated my dorky wave in the packed stadium.

Not many people had actually witnessed the scene but somehow, by Monday the entire castle had known. And even worse, as the story milled through the Hogwarts gossip machinery, it got distorted beyond recognition so that, by Wednesday, James Potter was having a secret affair with 'that Ravenclaw sixth year', who no one had ever seen before and who - and people would insist on that - was probably a veela, a ghost, an undercover princess, a mermaid, an undercover mermaid-princess, or a transfigured bowtruckle.

"Can we not talk about this?" I groaned, hugging my legs to my chest for comfort. For the past five years, I had perfectly slipped under the radar; there might have been the odd occasion in which someone had realised that I was, indeed, a girl and not a small boy crossdressing in a girl's uniform, but those instances had been rare and so insignificant that they had been nothing more but a mere dust grain on the dirty floor that was Hogwarts' social scene.

"Well, we have to," Katie said firmly, sitting up a little straighter, some sort of stubborn determination glinting in her eyes. "Do you like James Potter?"

I almost spilled my tea from indignation. "No! Definitely not! I don't like him. At all."

"Then why did you wave at him like a frantic pygmy puff?" She arched her eyebrows. "People don't wave at people they don't like."

She did have a point, but I wasn't going to admit that; I didn't like James Potter. I couldn't.

"It was just a weird spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. I wasn't thinking."

"Because you fancy-"

"Don't!" I cut her off, giving her a stern look. "Don't go there."

Katie threw up her arms as though mere words were not enough to express her exasperation with me. "But you are friends?"

"I don't think so," I said, after I had considered the idea for a moment. Potter and I weren't exactly friends; however, we also weren't 'not friends'. It really didn't make any sense at all and the longer I was thinking about it, the more my head seemed to throb; it felt like my brain was twitching.

"How about we try sorting out your social life for once?" It wasn't the most elegant change-of-topic-manoeuvre but my synapses were threatening to snap cleanly in two if they had to process the word 'Potter' just one more time.

"No thanks," Katie said quickly, producing a glossy copy of InStyle from seemingly out of nowhere, "I'm good." And with that, her head disappeared behind the polished cover, announcing the perfect guide to choosing the right first-date outfit.

I stared at Emma Stone's beaming face for a moment; her eyes were huge and they were staring directly at me - as though she was watching me - and before I could help it, my mind dug up a flashback of the bodiless voice in the library, warning me to be careful. It might have been my imagination playing tricks on me, but sometimes I couldn't help feeling like I was being followed; like someone was creeping around the fringes of my vision.

"What's wrong?" Katie was peering at me over the edge of her magazine. "You look weird."

"I'm just tired." I rubbed my eyes, deciding that there was no need to burden Katie with this; it was probably only a figment of my imagination. "I think I'll go to bed."

"Already?" Katie had dropped her magazine in her lap, looking wary.

I only nodded. "I could use some sleep. And besides, there is a suspicious-looking first-year skulking around us for the longest time already and there is only so many times I can stomach being asked if my tail glitters under water."

 





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The first week of November had flown by, sweeping away the last remnants of what was left of the balmy October weather, colouring the sky above Hogwarts a permanent, drab grey. The fine drizzle that sprayed the grounds had blended perfectly with the misty, cold weather so that it felt like the air itself was wet. No one in their right minds would have ventured outside if they didn't have to; except for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, of course, who - as Bernice had told me quite indignantly this morning - had been on the pitch since six o'clock. It did explain why the Great Hall felt unnaturally quiet - even for a Saturday morning.

"Can you believe him?" Katie huffed as she proceeded to stab a fork into her bowl of cereal, her teeth clenched tightly as she peered past my right ear. She hadn't eaten one bite of her breakfast yet; and it was not because she was using the wrong piece of cutlery.

"Why does it bother you so much?" I said, after having caught a brief glimpse of Tarquin Digby, sitting at the Hufflepuff table next to a laughing girl, who I assumed was one of his classmates.

Of course I did know why this scene bothered Katie; it would probably bother anyone, really. First the guy has been running after her like a love-sick puppy for years and then she sleeps with him and suddenly he is Mr. Unavailable.

It's not exactly an ego-boost.

"It doesn't bother me," Katie said, her voice sounding just a little bit too high to be genuine, "it's just sad that he thinks he has to put on a show."

I glanced back at Tarquin again; he had apparently just said something hilarious, since his conversation partner let out a cry of mirth, her hand touching his shoulder; it actually didn't look as though they were putting on a show.

"Aren't you glad, you don't have to have the awkward 'let's-just-be-friends-and-forget-this-night-ever-happened' talk?" It was a legitimate question; after all, Katie had been keen to avoid Tarquin after Halloween, ducking and hiding whenever she had spotted him across the hall. However, when it had become clear that he had no apparent intention to talk to her, her attitude had changed abruptly.

"Sure," Katie puffed, aiming a particularly violent stab at her cereal bowl. "I'm thrilled."

I wanted to say something to her; to tell her to go and talk to him - tell him how she felt about this whole thing - but before I could even open my mouth, someone sat down heavily on the empty seat next to me.

"I hate people. All of them," Sam spat disgustedly. There was no need to ask; Hector Chang and Adina Singer had walked into the Great Hall holding hands.

"Me too!" Katie agreed and she and Sam bumped their fists above the table.

"I can't wait for apparition lessons today," he sighed, looking wistfully towards the closest window, "maybe I'll manage to apparate out of this hell-hole."





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"I'm like - I can't," Katie whined, leaning against a thick pillar in the Entrance Hall as more moaning people proceeded to spill out of the Great Hall, rubbing their necks and limbs. The chatter was subdued, as though something terrible had happened, and the sixth years quietly trudged back to their respective common rooms.

Clearly, the first apparition lesson had taken all of us by surprise; while we all had been supplied with enough horrible splinching-stories to last us a lifetime, no one had cared to mention that learning to apparate was actually exhausting - physically exhausting.

Of course, nothing of the splinching-stuff had happened - only Peony Butler, a quirky Gryffindor, had had a crying fit towards the end of the lesson because her friend had made her believe that she had apparated off her eyebrows. It took the apparition instructor a solid 15 minutes to convince her that that was not possible.

"Come on," I held my hand out to Katie, pulling her back to her feet. My limbs were sore and felt bruised and my back was seriously killing me; trying to get my rather rigid body to dissolve and reform at another place had clearly taken its toll on me.

"No, you go," Katie groaned as though she just had been mortally wounded on the battlefield, "just leave me here. I can't feel my legs."

"Don't be such a-" I began to laugh, but something in Katie's eyes made me stop; they had widened with shock, staring at something behind me, and I turned around to see what was going on, but it was already too late:

An icy cold wall of water hit me full-on, drenching me from head to toe in what smelled like rainwater.

For a moment, I was too perplex to even move; a couple of leftover sixth years, who had witnessed the scene, dissolved into fits of laughter, pointing at me and then at the group of tiny first-years, who stared at me, eyes wide and full of expectation, with their now empty buckets still clenched in their short arms.

"You little-" Sam roared all of a sudden, advancing on the small culprits like a maniac, making them all scatter and scream for their lives, "-that's 50 points from whatever houses you're in, you bloody-"

"Sam," I said quickly, shaking my arms to rid my soggy jumper of the excess of water, "it's fine. Let them go." There was no use in running after a horde of first-years; not only were they unbelievably nimble and quick, but also rather crafty. They could basically hide everywhere.

"But- they -" Sam spluttered, looking at me as though he wasn't sure the cold water hadn't rendered me temporarily incapable of thinking clearly. "They-"

"I know," I groaned, stepping out of the lake-like puddle that had pooled underneath my feet. The water had a distinctly stale, earthy smell to it and I suddenly realised that it wasn't rainwater; it was water from the Black Lake. "They probably wanted to see if I turn into a bowtruckle or something."

I wasn't even joking; Hogwarts first years could be extremely gullible - unhealthily so - even more if they were Muggle-born. And really, who could blame them? All of a sudden you were at a magical castle, living with other underage wizards and nothing seems impossible anymore; even the idea of mermaids living among the student body.





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My own squelching footsteps echoed loudly down the corridor; this part of the castle was eerily forsaken and I was glad for it. The last thing I needed right now was to hang out in the crowded common room, surrounded by people who either thought I was some supernatural creature or a creepy stalker. I had much preferred being that girl no one really noticed.

I wanted to blame Potter so badly for the dubious attention I suddenly seemed to receive from the student body, but deep down I knew that it was just as much my own fault as it was his; why did I have to wave at him? What the hell was wrong with me?

There was a strange rustle behind me and I stopped dead in my tracks, looking around; something was moving behind me. I had seen it from the corner of my eye, slinking along the stone wall.

I fumbled for my wand in my bag, expecting another attack, yet, when I had turned, I was almost surprised to find that I was still quite alone.

"Hello?" I called out, rather feebly, and my shaky voice bounced off the towering walls, multiplying to a strange echo. There was no answer; I hadn't expected one, really. Whoever had heard of an axe murderer announcing themselves formally to their victims before butchering them into pieces.

The dim, flickering light of the torches danced in the soft draught, casting odd, writhing shadows onto the walls, and I dared to take a shallow breath. It had been a mere trick of the light - I had been scared of nothing but shadows.

"Dewy Grass," I told the statue of Boris the Bewildered, who was guarding the entrance to the Prefect's bathroom at the end of the corridor, and he moved instantly, allowing me to slip inside.

The bright marble interior was a stark contrast to the gloomy passageway and I felt myself relax a little; it was hard to be scared of ominous shadows when there were about a hundred lit candles floating above you, dipping everything into a soft, golden glow.

I crossed the room swiftly, turning on the taps that surrounded the embedded marble pool, watching as it filled with foamy water. The scent of creamy coconut rose into the air and I peeled myself out of my wet clothes, dipping my toes into the balmy warmth before finally diving in.

Crack. The sudden sound - though rather soft - startled me as I surfaced again and I turned in the water, surveying the room. I could have sworn it had come from the door but, knowing that its magic prevented anyone from entering whenever the bathroom was occupied, I quickly convinced myself that it had yet just been another figment of my overly productive mind.

I really needed a timeout.

Tilting back my head, I let the warm water swallow me again, shutting out all sight and sound for a blissful moment; I couldn't let things get to me like this; Hogwarts rumours - while ruthless - were also fickle things and prone to fade out after a couple of days if there wasn't enough fuel to power them any longer. All I had to do was to stay well away from James Potter and with some luck, by next Monday, the school would already be buzzing with the next great scandal.

A loud bang suddenly reverberated from the high bathroom walls and I emerged with a jolt, sure that I had not imagined things this time. My eyes burned as I struggled to keep them open despite the soapy water that ran down my face, but it was too late; all I could see through my blurry vision was the glimpse of a foot and the bathroom door snapping shut heavily behind it.

I swam to the edge of the pool, frantically groping for the towel I had placed there before, only to feel a slab of cold, hard marble underneath my fingertips.

It had gone.

And, with a wave of blind panic, I realised that so had my clothes and my wand.

I climbed out of the pool, not caring that I was causing a minor flood, and scampered to the usually well-stacked towel rack on the wall, just to find it completely cleared; apparently, someone had been doing a thorough job.

The air around me felt thick all of a sudden, like it was trying to smother me, and the whiff of coconut that was still lingering in the steamy air, filled my nostrils with a sickly sweet stench that made it hard to breathe. I was trapped; stark naked in the Prefects' bathroom, completely wandless and, alas, also without a plan.

All of a sudden, the thick stone door emitted a deep rumbling sound and I whipped around, instinctively covering my most private parts. I had heard this sound before; it was the sound of someone trying to get in. Usually, this wouldn't have bothered me; I had always counted on the door's magic to work. In light of recent events, however, I couldn't be so sure anymore.

"Is someone in there?" A muffled girl's voice carried through the thick wall and I stood frozen, like an awkward statue, my heart hammering against my chest and my mind racing.

"Hello?" She called again, knocking on the door. "It's only - I really wanted to take a bath and it's been occupied for quite a while now."

I could have let her in; ask her to lend me a jumper or to magic up a towel from the laundry. However, a small voice in the back of my head kept me from acting on my impulse; what if it was a trick? What if the pranksters had returned to put the finishing touch to their work. I couldn't risk being dragged out into the corridor completely naked.

"Anybody in there?" The girl now positively pounded on the door before finally aiming something that sounded a lot like a kick at it. It grew quiet after that and I tiptoed towards the door, pressing my ear against the wood to listen; she had gone, maybe to get Filch or a teacher, and I sank down to the damp floor, my back resting against the cold stone wall.

I was so screwed.
 





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In the minutes that followed (or was it hours - I couldn't tell) I had three fits of reckless indifference, in which I had actually considered simply taking the corridors at a run, hoping that they would be conveniently empty. This idea, however, had lost all its appeal the minute I had realised I really had nowhere to run. If I didn't find my clothes or my wand along the way - which was highly unlikely - the only place I could go was the Ravenclaw common room and, for obvious reasons, this was not an option.

The door rumbled again and I lifted my head, which had been resting on my knees, listening intently for the person on the other side to speak, desperately hoping that it was Katie who had come looking for me.

"You've got to be kidding me," a deep voice growled from behind the thick door and my heart sank.

So much for Katie rescuing me.

"Any idea how long you're gonna be?" The person called again, this time louder, and I felt a jolt in my stomach; I knew this voice.

"Only, I've had a really rough day of training and I'd really appreciate a bath. Now."

I scrambled to my feet, leaning against the rough wooden door, behind which I could hear impatient footsteps.

"Is anyone in there?"

I jerked away from the door as I felt someone lean against it from the other side, probably listening for a sign of movement. My heart was beating so loudly I was sure it was going to betray me; scattered yet rhythmic, it sounded like tribal drums in my ears.

"Potter?" I finally uttered, resting my clammy fingertips against the moist wood as I waited for an answer.

It came promptly.

"Woodley?"

"Um, yes," I hesitated for a moment, taking the time to choose my next words carefully. I really didn't want to explain my misery in too much detail; not to James Potter. "Could you - could you do me a favour?"

"Um, sure." He sounded puzzled but I decided to ignore the implicit question.

"Can you get Katie?"

"Who?"

"My friend Katie," I said, rolling my eyes at his obvious lack of interest in the people around him. "She's probably in the Ravenclaw common room. I really need-" I broke off, suddenly realising the absolute futility of my attempt; even if James managed to get into our common room on his own, which I seriously doubted, he still wouldn't have a clue who Katie was. It was hopeless, really.

"Hey, are you alright?" He asked and by the quality of his voice I could tell that he was standing close to the door now.

"Not really," I sighed, resting my head against the wood. All the steam and heat from before had evaporated by now, and I was starting to shiver as the cold from outside seeped through the cracks in the walls. "Someone stole my clothes and my wand."

There was a short pause. "Um, what?"

"Someone stole all of my things, including the towels," I repeated, feeling the blush creep up to my cheeks. It was one thing to be left stark naked in a boarding school bathroom; it was another to share this information with James Potter.

"So - um." I might have imagined it, but James's raspy voice had suddenly become just a little coarser, "you are-"

"Yup."

"Completely?" As he said it, I could basically hear the smirk that was plastered across his face.

"I'm already regretting this," I mumbled, more to myself than to Potter; if this hadn't already been a disaster before, it surely was now.

"I'm only joking, Woodley." His voice sounded oddly muffled, as though he was speaking through a piece of cloth. "Open the door, will you?"

"What? No!" I cried indignantly, automatically wrapping my arms around my torso. "If you really think I'd let you in, you're thicker than I thought you were."

"Don't be such a wuss, Woodley and open the door," he said, stifling a laugh. "I promise I won't look."

"Never."

"You can't stay in there forever."

"I don't know," I said stubbornly, looking around the marble-coated room, "it's starting to grow on me, really."

James laughed. "Come on, Lizzy. Trust me."

"But I don't."

"Woodley."

"Potter."

It grew quiet for a moment and I wondered if James had left; maybe he was getting a professor to break the charm on the door - it really couldn't get any more humiliating than that. In fact, that would have been even worse than streaking down the corridor.

"Please," he suddenly said quite softly and - for lack of a better alternative - I caved in.

"Fine. But I swear, if I catch you looking I'll hex you into next week."

"Deal," James said and, after I took one more steadying breath, I slowly turned the doorknob, opening the door just an infinitesimal amount.

I couldn't see James at all; only his outstretched hand, in which he was holding a burgundy coloured piece of cloth. I snatched it from his grip and then quickly retreated into the bathroom again, closing the door behind me for good measure.

As I unfolded the piece of cloth, I realised that it was James's Quidditch shirt.

"I syphoned off most of the dirt."

"Most of the dirt?" I repeated, looking at the crumpled T-shirt that had massive grass-stains all over its front. What the hell was he doing on that broomstick?

"I really don't think you are in a position to be picky, Woodley."

As much as I hated to admit it, he was right; a dirty Quidditch shirt was better than nothing. Even if it smelled of musk.

I pulled the shirt over my head and it fell down to my upper thighs, only just covering my bum. Considering that many girls at Hogwarts wore dresses like that on a regular basis, it really wasn't too bad. At least I wasn't naked anymore.

"I think that works," I told James as I stepped out into the corridor, both of my hands gripping the hem of the shirt, trying to stretch the rigid cloth as much as possible. "Thanks."

"Sure," he said, leaning against the doorframe, his arms crossed in front of his shirtless torso as he gave me a weird look. "Do you know who did it?"

I shook my head. "No idea," I sighed, thinking automatically of the bodiless voice in the library. Apparently, for whatever reason someone really had it out for me - a stunt like this wasn't a coincidence; it had to be planned.

"Well, I think I should go," I said awkwardly, not quite sure what the protocol for such situations was; what did you say to the guy who had just found you locked into a bathroom, completely naked. "Thanks again."

"It's no big deal." James smiled and, as I began to walk away, I realised that this was probably the most normal conversation we had ever had.

"Hey Woodley!"

I turned back, still clutching the bottom of the Quidditch shirt. "Yeah?"

"I was just wondering," he said casually, "does your hair turn blue underwater? Cause I heard that happens to mermaid princesses."

"Oh, shut up!" I called back, and - before James could see the grin on my face - I quickly turned away again, disappearing behind the next corner.









A/N: So I feel really bad for taking so long to finish this chapter... I just really wanted to get it right and uni is killing me right now :( All of your lovely comments actually made the last two weeks bearable for me, so thank you so much for that! I know I say it a lot, but you guys are all awesome human beings who deserve all kinds of wonderful things! This just had to be said.

I hope you liked this chapter and, as usual, I can hardly wait to hear your thoughts on it! I really greatly appreciate your opinions and the feedback you give me. Thank you so much and lots of love :)


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