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Chapter 14 : His Story
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Previously on We Gryffies:
‘Resolution the Fourth: V.O.L.D.E.M.O.R.T. is on strike until The Man concedes.’
As soon as that miserable little sod rolled up his heinous declaration, all smug and content, I lost it. Considering the company I keep, and my genetic disposition towards rage, I usually do an excellent job of keeping my emotions in check. But this—this was going too far. I had lost my girlfriend, my dignity, and now my Quidditch, and there was only one person to blame.
‘I’m going to fricking murder you!’ I bellowed, lunging at J.S. His stupid, beady little eyes went wide when my hands grabbed his throat.
‘Get the frick off him!’ Tegan shrieked, pulling at my shoulder. I managed to pull one arm away and shoved her off of me, then focused both hands on minimising the flow of oxygen to J.S.’s lungs.
‘Why?’ J.S. choked faintly, becoming more and more limp. Piss, now I had to hold up all his body weight while I killed him? Eh, at least he’s scrawny. Got bird bones, he does.
‘I blame you,’ I hissed. ‘I blame you for the pile of hippogriff excrement that my life has become.’
Just then, I catapulted back and my body slammed against the common room wall. I managed to hit the tapestry of the blind dragon, but it didn’t do much to lessen the impact of the stone wall on my back. I fell to the ground and lay there, writhing and twitching.
‘Nice work, Freddie,’ I thought I heard Micah say in the distance.
‘Thanks,’ Fred said. ‘Dunno wot’s gotten into J.D., though. The entire house is watching. Tegs, is James all right?’
Cor, how stupid am I? I’m a goddamn wizard, after all!
I pushed myself up off the floor and grabbed my wand from my pocket. ‘Chiroptera Mucusa!’ I shouted, a yellow string of light bursting from my wand and hitting J.S. in the face.
All at once, a thousand bogey bats flew out of his nose and began attacking his face. ‘Gerroff gerroff GERROFF!’ J.S. screeched in that way he frequently does, running around in circles and swiping the bats away from his face. But it was to no avail, and most of the common room stared in awe of my fine hexing abilities.
But not Tegan. ‘J.D., where do you get off?’ she demanded hysterically, approaching me. ‘James didn’t start the strike! If anyone, you should be hexing Snorky!’
I turned my head and spotted Snorky Scamander, glued to the staircase and looking nothing short of terrified.
My eyes fell to J.S., who had managed to petrify the bogey bats in a lumpy mess stuck to his face. ‘Move over, Tegan,’ he said in his stupid dramatic manner. ‘This is my battle to fight.’
She obliged and shuffled to the corner with Freddie and Micah, grumbling something about the Stupid Potion J.S. and I must have taken this morning.
J.S. carefully pulled out his wand and pointed it at me. ‘This…is…Gryffindor!’ he yelled, running towards me.
‘Locomotor Mortis,’ I said lazily. J.S. stopped in his tracks, his legs slammed together, and he fell face first into the floor.
‘It’s best not to get involved,’ Micah said to Tegan, who looked furious. ‘Sometimes they just need to work things out on their own.’
But J.S. had pushed his upper body up off the floor and pointed his wand at me once again. ‘Expelliarmus!’ My wand flew out of my hand and sailed across the common room.
Damn! I thought. He knows that wandless magic is my weakness! I’ll never make it over to my wand—quick, something simple—perfect.
‘Langlock!’ I shouted. In a stroke of luck, J.S. opened his mouth but nothing came out. His legs and tongue were useless to him now—not ideal for a bloke who can’t perform nonverbal spells to save his life.
A number of Gryffindors began applauding me, so naturally I went to take a bow. For a moment I saw J.S., his face all red and scrunchy-like, and I felt the slightest pang of guilt. But it passed. Without his dazzling diplomatic skills we’d all have Quidditch and without his family of Catholic proportions Rose Weasley would not exist. And I would be so much happier.
But then my life got even worse. I got Levicorpused. Yes, I flipped upside down, flew towards the common room ceiling, and dangled by my ankle. The applause turned to laughter, and upon wheeling my head ‘round, I saw J.S. pointing his wand at me, looking sad and fully getting his pout on.
I’ve never had much that’s bad to say about Professor Longbottom. Sure, I’m crap at Herbology and I blame him for it, especially when he brings my work ethic into question. (I’d do my homework if he didn’t make it so boring. Fanged Geraniums? Who cares?) He’s also our head of house and J.S. is almost as in love with his kid Dobby as he is with Tegan. But there’s this one thing about Longbottom that I find unsettling, and almost no one has a good explanation for it.
He’s got an eye patch. Over his right eye. Presumably cos there’s no eye there.
No one knows how he lost it. Every kid at Hogwarts has his own hypothesis, which leads to approximately 1000 different theories. Even Dobby Longbottom doesn’t know. Or that’s what he insists.
Then there’s the issue of why Longbottom doesn’t use a magical replacement eye. In China, they give them away like free Sneakoscopes. Our neighbour has one and he can see all sorts of weird shit, like what’s going on in the next room and who lit his cat on fire.
I got in so much trouble for that. But Mr. Flowers is one odd bloke, and his cat’s possessed. Seriously. It’s evil and follows me around during the summer holidays and hisses and attacks me with his little claws. It isn’t wrong to hex animals when it’s in self-defence!
But back to Professor Longbottom. He has an eye patch and doesn’t care for me.
‘Messrs Potter and Nott,’ Longbottom addressed us in his office about ten minutes after Freddie and Micah got me down from the common room ceiling, ‘I was under the impression that the two of you were close friends.’
I stared at his eye patch while J.S. answered. ‘We were, Neville,’ he sniffed. ‘We were as thick as peas.’
When did I let something like that become my best mate?
Professor Patchy coughed. ‘Please, it’s Professor Longbottom during the school year.’
‘Sorry, Neville,’ J.S. moped. ‘I’m rather distraught!’
Honestly? Maybe he’s as thick as a pea, but does he have to be such a girl about it?
Patchbottom rolled his eye. ‘Mr Nott, eyewitness accounts say that you were the first to attack. The prefects also seem unsure as to what provocation on Mr Potter’s part may have warranted your actions.’
Piss. Well done, Freddie and Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains, sixth-year prefects extraordinaires! For complying with Longbottom, you are both guilty of treason against John Dorian Nott, Esquire.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure what ‘Esquire’ means. I think it’s a Muggle title or summat. But it sounds cool affixed to the end of my name, yeah?
I will inform them of their treason later, complete with a biting ‘How do you like them egg rolls?’ exclamation of passive-aggression. MMMS has never received the full shun from me, mostly cos she’s too busy being vapid and short a chromosome or two to ever do wrong by me, and Freddie has been shunned once before. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem too phased by it. But it is not okay to tell your mate that his mum is quite fit. So I told him that his mum looks like a Blast-Ended Skrewt and Freddie overreacted and started hexing me, so I started jinxing him, and soon enough we both found ourselves at St Mungo’s, me bald and him with both his little fingers gone. The Healers managed to fix us up well enough, but I refused to talk to him for the rest of that summer. I even declined my invitation to his birthday party, which is a shame because his mum really is quite fit.
Now J.S., I shunned him once just to see what reaction I’d get, and the poor sod burst into tears.
‘Mr Potter knows what he did,’ I told Longbottom coldly, making certain to keep my gaze straight ahead so as to avoid eye contact with J.S. ‘I will not dignify his actions by repeating them here.’
Patchy might’ve clenched his jaw. He looked displeased, but as badass as any day. ‘You began a fight, Mr Nott,’ he said matter-of-factly. ‘This is obviously a violation of school rules, and the only chance you may have of exoneration is to provide an adequate explanation of what Mr Potter did to provoke you. Are you still unwilling to admit this?’
I sat back in my chair, folded my arms, and stared at Longpatch’s single, cold eye. ‘Yes, Professor,’ I said without emotion. ‘I won’t tell you my perfectly legitimate reason for attacking my best mate Muggle-style. Let’s have the punishment, then. Lines with Professor Lupin, or something a bit less enjoyable? Cleaning out cauldrons down in the dungeons? Giving Pointy Teeth, Hagrid’s wolfhound, a walk through the Forbidden Forest? Checking every reference book in the library for stray ink splotches?’
But Longbottom turned to J.S. ‘Mr Potter, are you aware of Mr Nott’s “perfectly legitimate reason” for attempting to strangle you?’
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted J.S. shaking his head. ‘No, Neville,’ he said quietly. ‘Well, it might have to do with the fact that V.O.L.D.E.M.O.R.T.’s gone on strike and he blames me for it. But don’t punish J.D. I’m sure that this was simply a crime of passion and that deep down, he’s very sorry. He’s a good-hearted fellow, he really is. Please don’t make him sort through books in the library. All those old, leather-bound books stir up his dust allergy. And he hates reading.’
Frick. What kind of bloke is all Kumbaya and shit towards his best mate who tried to kill him? ‘Snot healthy behaviour.
‘Mr Potter, I cannot avoid punishing Mr Nott,’ Professor Cyclops said incredulously. ‘He is the perpetrator in this situation and put you in danger, whether you recognise that or not.’
‘That’s it, Longbottom,’ I encouraged him cheerfully. ‘Let me have it!’
Our head of house rolled his eye. ‘Is it true, then? Mr Scamander has actually gone through with his “strike”?’
J.S. nodded vigorously. I sneered.
‘Yeah, that freak Snorky’s on strike,’ I taunted. ‘What’re you going to do about it?’
Longpatchbottom gave one of his Formidable Looks. ‘Nothing. The student body will pressure him to give up and count his losses soon enough. Few students are as unpopular as Mr Scamander, and if he doesn’t watch it, he will become the most hated young man in all of Wizarding Britain.’
‘Good plan, Longbottom!’ I said in encouragement. ‘Only problem is that this school, not to mention this country, is full of idiots who love supporting pointless causes. Now, onto my punishment!’
Polyphemus narrowed his one eye. It must be a difficult feat to achieve.
‘Very well then, Mr Nott,’ he said dryly. ‘As I am your head of house, you will serve your month-long detention with me. Germinating and tending to the mandrakes. Come to Greenhouse Number 3 at five o’clock this evening, and bring earmuffs.’
I jumped out and reached my hand toward Longbottom. He cautiously shook it.
‘Thank you, sir!’ I grinned, grabbing his hand vigorously. ‘Absolute pleasure doing business with you!’
‘Likewise,’ Longbottom replied, dry as a prohibitionist.
Without making eye contact with my former best mate, I spun on my heel and swanky-walked out of Jolly Roger’s office. My father always stresses the importance of a memorable exit, and the Heel-Spin and Swanky-Walk are two of the finest tools in his arsenal that he has passed on to me. Use the velocity you garner from the Heel-Spin to create a small breeze that will cause your cloak to billow. Then, sticking out your lower lip, strut to your desired location. It’s important to keep your speed at around a tempo of adagio, and if you don’t have much meat on your bones, you may have to swing your hips a bit. I always throw in a Shoulder-Sway to complement my Hip-Swinging to make a memorable impression.
Left, right, left, right, I marched out of the room, left, right, left, right, and that’s a Nott Brand Swanky-Walk.
I grabbed the door handle, gave it a twist, swanky-walked right through, and let it slam shut behind me. I minimised the Hip-Swinging as I made my way down the corridor, and I almost made it to the trick staircase before I heard his stupid voice.
‘J.D.!’ J.S. cried from behind me, and I sped the Swanky-Walking up to an allegro. ‘J.D. J.D. J.D.!’
‘Why don’t you find a nice hole in the ground to go die in?’ I called, keeping my gaze forward.
‘J.D.!’ I felt something tug at my shoulder.
‘Gerroff!’ I barked at my ex-best mate and pulled away.
‘Please!’ he whimpered, but I still wouldn’t look at him.
‘I have a message by owl post here for James Sirius Potter,’ I chirped. ‘It says, and I quote: “Piss…wait, let me finish…off.”’
‘Look at me,’ J.S. requested softly.
‘Now, why would I do that, Pig Whore?’ I laughed. ‘Pig Whore isn’t pretty to look at.’
‘Look at me!’ he screeched.
I stopped my Swanky-Walking, gave a 90-degree Heel-Spin, and looked at him.
‘It hurts my feelings when you call me Pig Whore,’ J.S. said, his normally beady eyes looking strangely wide. ‘I feel emasculated, too. But it doesn’t take much to emasculate me these days.’
‘I’m angry with you,’ I said matter-of-factly. ‘Are you not aware that people tend to say rude things when they’re angry with someone else? Or are you permanently stuck in that mythological kingdom of Potterweasleydonia, where it rains marshmallows and the government provides an Imagination Journal for every naturalised citizen?’
‘You say rude things to me a lot,’ he said, looking shorter. In height. Which is weird, cos he’s normally slightly taller than me. But only slightly. Don’t tell him I admitted it.
I exhaled and crossed my arms. ‘I’m a jerk most of the time,’ I said. ‘You should know that by now.’
‘But why are you a jerk now?’ J.S. asked desperately. ‘What did I do wrong? Well, I know the answer to that: I accidentally entered a pact with the Alliance of Hogwarts Quidditch Cap’ns and now we can’t play Quidditch anymore. But none of the other Gryffies tried to physically hurt me, J.D.’
‘It’s not even that, J.S.,’ I grumbled. ‘Although that was the straw that broke the thestrel’s back.’
‘What’s the matter, J.Dizzle?’ he whispered. ‘You know you can always share your feelings with me. I love talking about feelings.’
‘Well, I don’t,’ I snapped, but almost regretted the tone. ‘Everyone in my family keeps their feelings bottled up until they explode, and who am I to break tradition?’
‘Isn’t shouting “I’m going to fricking murder you!” approaching the point of exploding? Not to mention the fact that you incited a duel with me?’ he asked meekly.
I glanced down the corridor, to make sure that it was deserted. It was.
‘You have a point,’ I said wryly. ‘Sorry about that. The whole threatening-and-attacking-you thing, I mean. Bad form.’
J.S. gave a small smile. ‘I forgive you, because I know you must have a very good reason. And speaking of that reason, wouldn’t it be nice to share it with me? To share some of your feelings?’
I looked up and down the corridor again. ‘Okay, we’ll do it your way. Your little poncey way.’
I grabbed his arm and roughly pulled him towards the statue of Cúchulainn the Hound-Slayer.
‘Táin Bó Cúailnge,’ I whispered to it. A dark green wooden door appeared, and I opened it and stepped inside.
‘Where are we?’ mumbled J.S., whipping his head around around the prefects’ common room.
‘Prefects’ common room,’ I answered languidly. ‘Medb Feidlech is Head Girl, and she’s gone a bit mad with power.’
‘You’re not a prefect,’ J.S. stated dumbly. ‘How d’you know where the prefects’ common room is? And the password? Freddie didn’t tell you, did he? Why did he tell you and not me? We’re family! Doesn’t that mean anything to him? Why doesn’t Freddie like me?’
‘Relax, mate,’ I said as J.S. looked around the room, no doubt admiring its architecture and furnishings. I don’t have the patience for that sort of crap.
‘Freddie didn’t tell me anything,’ I continued. ‘I have, er, other connections.’
‘Rosie isn’t prefect,’ J.S. babbled. ‘Al and Niamh Finnegan are. But Kate’s prefect…have you unshunned her?’
‘Stop with the interrogation!’ I threw my arms in the air. ‘I sweet-talked Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains and she gave me the password! Who gives a frick? And aren’t we supposed to be talking about my feelings?’
Like clockwork, a grin returned to J.S.’s smug little face. ‘Yes, begin whenever you are ready.’
He plopped on the furry couch and I sat beside him. Not right beside him, cos I’m no poofter, but a safe distance away.
I exhaled and clenched my teeth. ‘Rose and I…Rose Weasley and I…have come to the decision that we should break up. Amicably. Amicably part ways. Which is what Rose and I did.’
J.S. cocked his head to the side. ‘Why?’
‘Aren’t you happy?’ I demanded. ‘You’ve been trying to sabotage our relationship from the start!’
He appeared to be in Deep Thought. ‘No,’ J.S. mumbled. ‘I’m not happy. I should be, but I’m not.’
I rolled my eyes. ‘We’re focusing on me now. A major part of my life has changed, and you know how well I deal with change.’
He giggled. There isn’t any other word for it. How I deplore the word “giggle”.
‘Remember that time Snorky called a strike,’ J.S. asked, ‘and you started to strangle and hex me? That was crazy!’
‘That this afternoon,’ I murmured.
‘We’re not laughing about that yet?’
‘Yeah, half an hour isn’t enough time. Let it simmer a bit.’
‘Oh.’ He sounded disappointed. ‘Well, you and Rose aren’t together anymore, and you’re both amicable about it. You might need some time to heal, J.Dizzle, but you’ll be all right. Chin up, solider!’
I swallowed. Something about the vague and ambiguous declaration of why I was really upset wasn’t clicking with J.S.
‘I’m—I’m sad,’ I blurted. ‘I am currently dissatisfied with my life. I want the unhappiness to go away.’
He tried to pat my shoulder, but I hit his arm away.
‘Even with all this amicability, breakups are hard,’ said J.S. ‘I myself have never been in one, cos Tegan’s my first girlfriend, and I never will be, cos we’re going to get married and live happily ever after, but the latest issue of Witch Weekly has a really good article, with a bunch of suggestions to “help you forget him”. Or in your case, “help you forget her”. Oh wait, Rosie borrowed my copy. I could get it back, if you like.’
J.S. should really win some sort of award for saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. They could call it The Spazzies...awards for the most inept and oblivious people in the Wizarding world.
‘Thanks, I’m fine,’ I croaked.
He stared at the floor for a moment. ‘May I hug you?’
‘I know we have a no touching policy, but I really think this will be for your own benefit,’ he said methodically, sort of sounding like Dobby Longbottom. Except more poncey.
I sighed once more. Frick. ‘Very well. You may hug me.’
J.S. jumped up and threw his scrawny, gangly arms around me. Have I mentioned that I shy away from affection and am somewhat homophobic?
‘Hug it out, J.Dizzle,’ J.S. whispered. ‘Hug the bad thoughts away.’
I patted him on the back morosely, desperate to find a way out of this hug tout de suite. ‘Erm, thank you.’
J.S. squeezed me tighter. ‘I love you. I know about your homophobia, but I don’t care. Tell me you love and appreciate me too.’
‘No,’ I said dryly.
‘Come on, just say it.’ He still wouldn’t let go.
‘No!’ I protested, my voice hoarse. I go into anaphylactic shock whenever a bloke touches me for too long.
‘We’re alone,’ said J.S. calmly. ‘No one will hear you.’
‘Euauogflab,’ I whined, the walls of my throat closing in on themselves. I need a shot of Epinephrine Potion, and I need it now!
‘Three little words,’ whispered J.S. ‘And I’ll stop hugging you.’
‘I love you!’ I finally burst, almost to the point of tears. J.S. gently let go of me and the anaphylactic shock thing went away immediately.
My stupid, smarmy, daft poofter of a best mate smiled. ‘That wasn’t so hard, was it? Didn’t kill you, right?’
I coughed. ‘Almost did!’
‘Three lovely words,’ J.S. sang to himself. ‘Why don’t we say them enough? Why can’t we say them more often to each other? We’re bestest best mates and that’s a very special bond.’
‘I hate those damn words,’ I grumbled. J.S. didn’t hear me.
‘Well, then!’ he said, chipper as always. ‘Let’s head back up to Gryffindor Tower, yeah? We only have a few hours before your detention to do our Potions homework. Or at least convince Tegan and Freddie to give us all the answers.’
I stood up and he did the same. ‘Fine. Come on.’ I motioned for him to follow me, and J.S. skipped all the way back to our common room. I let myself smile for a second, but then it was gone. How macabre.
‘No,’ Tegan said pointedly as she continued to scribble away. Me and J.S. were sitting with her, Micah, and Freddie about an hour before I had to leave for detention with Patchy, working (or not working) on our homework.
J.S. took her hand and batted his eyelashes, which are unusually long for a bloke’s. ‘Have I told you how pretty you are recently? Cos you look particularly lovely today.’
She narrowed her eyes at him and bit her lip. ‘Yeah, you did five minutes ago. And thank you, again. And I’m not giving you the answers on the Draught of Living Death. Open a book.’
‘So pretty and so assertive,’ mused J.S., dreamy. ‘You’re special.’
‘Like “stop eating the frog spawn” special?’ Micah snorted.
‘Good one! Up top!’ exclaimed Freddie. He and Micah slapped hands.
‘What has pointy hair and the esprit of a five-year-old?’ Tegan smirked. ‘Micah Horowitz!’
‘Ooh, even better! Up top!’ J.S. chortled. He and Tegan slapped hands.
I am alone. Why should I always have to play second fiddle? Always picked third for everything. I’m about as useful as a fourth Triwizard champion. The woes of being the fifth wheel.
There are six things I’m angry about. And I can’t take it anymore.
‘I’m going to take a walk!’ I shouted, jumping up from my seat. My mates seemed startled.
‘I’m going to take a walk to forget about you lot!’ I continued. ‘See you when my rage dies down!’
And so I stomped off. Admittedly this was not my finest hour, but my life had gotten itself wedged down a U-bend and Reductoing the toilet didn’t work. It backfired and now my face is covered in fecal matter and I am dying of all the noxious vapours that entered the bathroom when I exploded the toilet.
Admittedly that is not my best metaphor. My descriptive skills were better when I had a girlfriend.
I stormed down the corridor. This is an entirely different style of walking from the swanky variety, as there is no swinging or shaking of anything and the tempo is somewhere around a presto (or a viviacissimamente if I’m particularly irked). Also, when I storm around I tend to squint really hard. I almost never run into things, though. And then I collided with her.
No, not Rose! How predictable do you think my life is? What, you think they sell The Life and Lies of John Dorian Nott, Esq. at Flourish & Blott’s? Real life doesn’t consist of thoughtfully constructed story arcs!
After running into Niamh Finnegan, I found myself lying on my back while Albus Potter helped her up and held onto her hand.
‘Frickin’ eejit!’ she shouted. ‘You walked right into me!’
I debated lying on the floor of this corridor forever, but dragged myself up. ‘Sorry about that, Niamh,’ I mumbled. ‘Wasn’t looking where I was going.’
‘I know,’ she said, straightening her skirt. ‘I saw you stormin’ down the corridor and you were headin’ straight for me, so I stepped out of your way. But then you thought it’d be bleedin’ deadly to make a wide turn and run into me!’
‘Again, I apologise. I couldn’t see where I was going,’ I repeated, irritated. It wasn’t an ideal time for one of Rose Weasley’s friends to bother me.
‘Come on, Niamh. Let’s go,’ Albus said. I’ve always gotten the distinct impression that he disapproves of me and J.S.’s other mates.
That was a very poorly worded sentence. My descriptive skills were definitely better when I had a girlfriend.
‘Hold on,’ I said quickly. ‘Why’re you holding hands?’
Albus immediately let go of Niamh and took a step to his left. ‘No reason,’ he said coolly.
‘We’re friends,’ Niamh explained quickly. ‘And co-prefects.’
‘Al, you got yourself a girlfriend!’ I exclaimed and began to laugh.
‘No, he didn’t,’ said Niamh snidely. ‘We’re just comin’ back from the Divination Appreciation Society.’
I snorted and pointed at Albus. ‘You hate Divination! You once wrote a haiku about what bollocks it is!’
And he did. Mrs Potter is a fan of poetry and framed Al’s haiku to hang in their sitting room.
‘Is this true, Al?’ Niamh asked.
Albus Potter then sent me the most horrible, terrifying death glare, but turned back to his little girlfriend and smiled. ‘No. J.D. is a liar. It’s his niche in the world.’
‘Everybody lies,’ I grumbled.
‘You’re right, Al,’ Niamh said with more assurance. ‘I’d forgotten ‘bout what he did to Rosie.’
‘I didn’t do anything to her!’ I protested. And it was pretty fricking true.
‘Maybe that’s the problem,’ said Albus quietly, pushing his glasses up his nose.
‘What d’you know about it?’ I growled. Now Rose was blabbing our private business to everyone and her cousin?
J.S.’s wretched little brother gave a small smile. ‘We’ll keep your secret if you keep ours.’
I sighed. ‘Fine. I won’t tell anyone that you’re holding hands and divining together. Don’t know why you’re bothering with the secrecy, frankly. News travels fast when they cram a thousand students, a dozen teachers, and an assortment of ghosts, house elves, and poltergeists in one castle.’
Niamh shrugged. ‘It’s more fun this way. Keeps things spicy.’
I pointed at them. ‘And that’s your cue to go. Nice running into you.’
‘Remember to keep your eyes open when you walk!’ Albus called as they walked away.
I shook my head. Oh, to be a fifth year again. All the acne and self-consciousness and sexual frustration.
That would be an example of the rhetorical device commonly referred to as sarcasm. If you didn’t catch it.
I checked my wristwatch and realised that I might as well make my way to the greenhouses for my detention with Longbottom. I’d left my earmuffs in Gryffindor Tower, but Davy Jones would probably lend me a pair. Best case scenario would be if he didn’t, so I’d pass out and get to spend a few days lazing about the hospital wing. Bless those mandrakes.
I must have been thinking really hard, or else I’d very recently become a narcoleptic sleepwalker, because I’d collided with my second fifth-year Gryffindor girl in three minutes.
It wasn’t Rose! Stop speculating. It’s all for naught.
All right, maybe it’s not for naught. You win; I did run into Rose Weasley this time. It’s really irritating to the narrator when you interrupt him with your brilliant theories. Stay up in the gods and stop throwing peanuts at me.
‘By doze!’ she moaned, sitting up and grabbing her bloody nose. ‘You broke by doze!’
Once again, I found myself lying on my aching back while a fifteen-year-old girl shouted at me.
‘It’s not broken,’ I said sort of snidely. ‘Just bleeding. You’re overreacting.’
She wiggled her nose, as if to test it, and glowered at me. ‘What’s your problem, anyways?’
‘Well, isn’t this just Everybody Jump On J.D. Day?’ I grumbled, unwilling to move. ‘That’s what she said. Cor, did I just say that aloud? What is wrong with me today?’
‘You weren’t looking where you were going,’ Rose said bitingly. ‘Mumbling something about Davy Jones.’
‘Piss,’ I said under my breath.
‘You serving detention with Neville for attacking James?’ she asked. ‘Honestly, Davy Jones isn’t your best nickname for him. Pirates are so overdone. I’m particularly fond of Cyclops.’
I sat up. ‘Yeah?’
She shrugged. ‘Can’t go wrong with Greek mythos in this school.’
I almost smiled at her, but I remembered that we were on less than amicable terms. Crawling towards the stone wall, I did my best to pull myself to standing.
‘Albus Potter and Niamh Finnegan are holding hands and going to the Divination Appreciation Society together! Behind your back!’ I exclaimed.
Rose pushed herself up, mumbling something about chivalry. ‘I know, J.D.,’ she said pointedly. ‘Everyone knows. They’re both rather clever, Al more than Niamh, but they’re “smart, smart, stupid”, as my dad would say. They always sit in the common room and giggle together.’
Emasculated, and terribly angry about it, I crossed my arms. ‘You aren’t upset they’ve been lying to you?’
‘Even James isn’t angry!’ She gave a light laugh. ‘He thinks it’s adorable and precious. His words, not mine. We’re all pretending that we don’t know, to maintain the illusion that this is secret for them.’
‘Very well,’ I stammered. ‘Good day.’
‘Wait,’ Rose said. ‘You’re upset.’
‘Whatever gave you that idea?’ I retorted.
‘How can you be mad at me?’ Rose got louder. ‘I told you I love you and you ran away!’
I know similes are for fruity blokes like J.S., but her words stung like a knife. A big, pointy knife. Dipped in rubbing alcohol. Stabbed on the left side of my chest where my heart allegedly is.
‘I—I had to process it.’ Didn’t even convince myself with this one.
‘See, that’s not what you’re supposed to do,’ said Rose. ‘If you’re in love with someone, it’s considered polite to return their declarations of ardour.’
Maybe in Potterweasleydonia, I considered.
‘I’m not good with declaring ardour!’ I waved my hands around. ‘I’m cold and distant! My parents were never affectionate! And don’t you think fifteen’s a bit young to be in love?’
‘Lily and Dobby are in love, and they’re thirteen,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘And don’t change the subject. We’re on you.’
I groaned. ‘Look, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but you should have known going into this that I’m not your cousin.
‘Right, that came out completely wrong. I’m not touchy-feely and girly and sensitive. I’m a fun, jump-in-the-closet, devil-may-care sort of bloke. I’m not affectionate, I’m not nice, and you don’t bring me home to mum and dad.’
‘Mum and dad have met you on several Christmases at James’s house over the years.’ Rose rolled her eyes. ‘And I don’t believe you. You put up this my-middle-name-is-danger façade, but it’s crap. Your best mate is James, who, let’s face it, would make much more sense if he was gay! You get your first detention of the year in late November, after losing a duel to a kid who couldn’t produce a Patronus one month ago! And I don’t buy this my-parents-never-loved me angle. You’re afraid of commitment, which you blame on them despite the fact that they’ve been married for twenty years.’
‘I used to keep up weekly correspondence with your mum,’ she continued without taking a breath. ‘She worries about you. You need to write her more often.
‘Point is: you’re not a bad boy. You’re not misunderstood. You’re just a poseur who’s afraid of change and afraid of affection,’ Rose said, her brown eyes determined. ‘And you’ve got to get this all sorted out before you explode, but I’m not going to wait around for that. I loved you, yes, but I know that I deserve a boyfriend who can tell me the same. So I wish you nothing but the best, but we’re done. Excuse me.’
She shoved me lightly, out of her way, and strode down the corridor. I watched her go, her bushy red hair shining in the candlelight.
‘I…love you, too,’ I whispered.
After my detention with Professor Cyclops, I raced back up to Gryffindor Tower and nearly collided with Dobby Longbottom. But luckily I kept my eyes open as I jumped through the portrait hole.
‘Just the man I wanted to see!’ I proclaimed giddily.
He narrowed his eyes. ‘You returning from detention with my dad?’
‘What? Er, yeah,’ I said. ‘I need to schedule an appointment!’
‘You’re Gryffindor’s resident Psychological Healer, are you not?’
‘Well, yes,’ said Dobby, confused. Which is weird for him, cos he usually knows everything.
‘You’ve done wonders with J.S., and I need those wonders,’ I said very very quickly. ‘D’you have any openings this week?’
Dobby clicked his tongue and extracted his datebook from his bag. ‘What’re Wednesdays like for you?’
‘Free! I don’t have Quidditch anymore!’
‘Right,’ said Dobby. ‘Eight o’clock Wednesday evening works?’
‘Yes!’ I grinned, giving the little bugger a hug. ‘It works marvellously!’
‘Great, then,’ Dobby said, bewildered and extracting himself from me. ‘I’ll see you then.’
‘Fantastic!’ I called after him as he scurried off.
Brilliant! I am going to turn over a new leaf! If Dobby Longbottom can help J.S. he can certainly help me, as I’m much more normal already. I am going to turn over a new leaf and become a man for the better! I am going to become more loving and kind and self-actualised! Look out, Hogwarts, cos Fancy New J.D. is about to burst forth from the chrysalis of his old self!
Cor, did I just think that? I’m not nearly that poncey yet, but hopefully Dobby will get me there.
Not to mention if I become more affectionate and verbally amorous, Rose Weasley will see what a valuable commodity I am and come crawling back to be. And I will relish the moment.
I skipped (skipped?) up the spiral staircase leading to the boys’ dormitories, a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
As I burst through the door to the sixth-year boys’ dormitory, I shouted, ‘I’m on the road to self-actualisation and I don’t care who knows it!’
When I finally opened my eyes, I saw Tegan and James. With guitars.
‘What in the name of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore are you doing?’ I asked breathlessly.
‘I can explain!’ squeaked J.S.
‘We haven’t done anything wrong, J.D.!’ Tegan insisted. ‘I’m—I’m teaching James how to play the guitar!’
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘It’s fun,’ J.S. said sheepishly. ‘Erm, see? Cee cee cee cee cee cee, ay ay ay ay minor, ef ef ef ef ef ef, gee gee gee gee seven.’ He began to strum it…or pluck it…I’m not quite sure what the proper term is.
I stared for a moment. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘You aren’t the most sensitive bloke,’ Tegan said dryly. ‘You’ve already incited a duel with James today, for something that isn’t his fault.’
‘So how do we know you’re not going to come after us for making beautiful music together?’ asked J.S.
‘No…you’ve got it all wrong!’ I protested. ‘That isn’t me anymore! Dobby’s going to fix me! I’m Fancy New J.D.!’
They looked at each other, eyebrows raised. If I wasn’t such a kind and loving bloke now, I would have been jealous that I didn’t have that sort of thing anymore. But I’ll get it back, and I’ll have Rosie begging for me to take her back.
‘Do you need a lie-down, J.Dizzle?’ J.S. asked. ‘You’re a bit red in the face.’
‘What? No!’ I said, chipper. ‘I’ve never felt so alive!’
Tegan bit her lip. ‘I daresay he’s gotten over the V.O.L.D.E.M.O.R.T. strike, wouldn’t you say, James?’
He nodded. ‘Caught me a bit off-guard. Even I’m a bit upset that I entered into A.H.Q.C. I mean, without our Quidditch, what’re we going to do all the time?’
It was as if some omniscient storyteller up in the heavens presented me with an Opportunity. Perhaps my life does follow a literary structure…has an introduction, rising action, climax, dénouement, and all that. Maybe there’s a Higher Purpose to it all.
‘We rock,’ I said solemnly.
‘What?’ Tegan and J.S. chorused.
‘Can you two teach us how to play instruments? The Gryffies, I mean,’ I said very quickly.
‘Er, I’m still fairly abominable,’ began J.S.
‘What’re you on about?’ demanded Tegan.
‘Do you have enough guitars? No, wait, we can’t all be guitarists,’ I thought aloud. ‘Where are we going to find drums in this castle?’
‘I don’t know how to play the drums, so I can’t very well teach you,’ Tegan said. ‘And what has come over you?’
J.S. rushed over and felt my forehead. ‘I think he’s running a fever! Get him to the hospital wing!’
‘I’m fine!’ I insisted. ‘I have never thought so clearly in my entire life! We…are going to start a rock ‘n roll band!’
J.S. looked concerned, while Tegan merely looked disillusioned.
‘A rock band?’ she clarified. ‘Pardon my Muggle idiom, but that would be jumping the shark.’
A/N: Neville’s probably very OOC, but I honestly think that the events of DH changed him. Plus it was high time I added a character with an eye patch.
I hope I didn’t offend any Catholics! I’m Catholic and I have a big family. I know it’s a stereotype and stereotypes don’t always ring true, but I like to have fun with stereotypes in this story.
Credit where credit is due: title inspired by Scrubs. And possibly on a subconscious level the idea of changing POV as well, but consciously I just wanted to play around with a fanfic cliché.
Reviewingness is next to Godliness =).
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