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Chapter 7 : Moving Foward
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Sorry for the typos, I wrote this and stuck it up immediately for you all!
I'll go back & fix them later :) Enjoy!
I kept to my room for the next couple days, parchment scattered over my duvet, and compared skill notes on the Ravenclaw team. The game wasn’t for a while, but I could never be too prepared, especially with Fred snogging the Claw Captain. She was feisty too, I could see her using her curves to get him to tell her things.
And let’s face it. Fred would do it.
I glanced up, hearing a knock at the door, and smiled at the thought of Avery letting me escape from this mess of Claw rubbish. “Come in.”
It was Albus. He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose and closed the door behind him, frown etched into his face.
“Hey, little brother, what’s going on?” I asked, pushing some notes aside so he could sit down.
He stood by the door. “Can I talk to you about something?”
“You never talk to me about anything,” I said, practically dumbfounded. Albus would usually rather talk to Professor Longbottom than ask me my middle name.
“I know. I don’t particularly want to do it now, but my common sense is telling me I should probably be the bigger person here.” He tossed a book down on my trunk and returned to leaning against the door. “I need to talk to you about Paloma.”
I should have known that was coming.
“About her kick-offs? I know she’s not as good as Wes yet, but she’s getting better.”
“About how she fancies the pants off you, James, don’t play dumb with me.” Albus folded his arms and I noticed he tried to flatten his black hair this morning with water but it just clumped and stuck up.
“I hadn’t noticed.”
“You’re such a prat.” Albus groaned. “Are you going to ask her to Hogsmeade or something? On a date? It’s obvious you get choked up when you see her so I wanted to get it out of the way and check and see.”
“Are you daft—the bleeding Code!” I cried. Being called a prat by my baby brother didn’t sit well with me. Where was Lily? She would stick up for me. Well, she would think about sticking up for me and then remember all the bad things I did to the blokes that fancied her and then probably stick up for Al.
“I don’t care about the Code. I always thought you’d be the one to break it anyway. Answer my question.”
“I’m not going to ask Paloma to anywhere other than the pitch during the Ravenclaw game. Why does it bug you so much?”
“Because I’ve liked her since our fourth year!”
“I thought you didn’t like her, that’s what you said,” I replied tactfully.
“Well, I lied. I like her.”
“Since your fourth year?” I asked. “Why haven’t you done something about it?”
“I tried to bid on her at the auction.”
“I mean go up to her and maybe say a few words. Start with hello.”
Albus rolled his eyes. “You may be unable to understand this considering you’re the silly famous Gryffindor Captain with all the girls falling over his eggs at breakfast, but some of us don’t have some special talent to lean back on.”
“What about that you look like Dad?” I said. “Why not go up to her and say, do you know my pops is Harry Potter? You know, bloke that killed Dark Lord Whathisface?”
He groaned. “Paloma doesn’t even know my name.”
“How is that possible? You have the most ridiculous name in Hogwarts.”
“Being honest,” I said cheerfully, stacking a few more notes by my pillow. “How do you know that anyway?”
“Because she asked me for my notes not too long ago and she called me Amon.”
“Least she got the first letter right.”
“I’m just going to give up and let her fancy you so you have yet another woman fawning over you and I can concentrate on my Charms essays.”
“You know Charms essays won’t get you anywhere in life, right?”
Albus pulled the door open. “Yeah, just to graduation. Nowhere at all. Well, I’ll see you around, James.”
I frowned, unsure of if this situation needed closure or not. He looked disgruntled but considering Al and I didn’t talk too much I wasn’t sure. “I don’t fancy her.”
He paused, hand lingering on the doorknob. “That doesn’t change anything.”
I had to take this into my own hands—do something about my baby brother being miserable and hating me for something completely beyond my control. It wasn’t my fault I was so terribly good-looking. Apparently the mix between Mum and Dad had something going for it.
Eww. Gross parental thought.
I found Albus later that night in the common room. He was by the window with his glasses buried in a Transfiguration book. He wasn’t actually reading, which I realized when I saw Paloma giggling with Mary Mary Quite Good Gradsie across the room. I avoided eye contact and approached them.
“Hey, Paloma,” I said. I felt Al’s eyes on the back of my head.
“Oh, hi, James,” she said cheerfully. “I was just telling Mary about practice the other day when Meta yelled so hard at Fred she actually fell off her broom and skinned a knee.”
I smiled. “She’s quite the character, isn’t she?” I said awkwardly. “Anyway, listen, Paloma, I had a bit of a question—have you talked to my brother lately?”
“Your brother?” She cocked her head to the side. “Isn’t he a first year or something? Andy?”
I groaned. “Do you have a lot of friends, Paloma?”
She nodded. “I hang out with a lot of girls.”
“And none of them talk about Albus at all?”
“Oh, of course,” she said, twirling a finger around her hair. I watched her intently. “Albus helped my friend Micha with her Transfiguration the other day. I don’t know who he is though—a Ravenclaw?”
“You seem pretty bright to me, Paloma.”
She smiled. “I get pretty good grades.”
“Yes, you do,” I said, not thinking about academics. “That boy sitting over there by the window, what’s his name?”
She glanced over. “Amon? Isn’t he that dishy sixth year that doesn’t talk to anyone but Rosey Weasley?”
I nearly groaned. “That’s my brother. That’s Albus.”
She gaped at me. “Oh, my—are you serious? I feel like an idiot. I always thought he hated me so I never said anything to him. He seemed almost…too cool, good grades and all that.”
“He’s really not cool at all—well, not as cool as me. I almost feel bad for him, really, living in the shadow of such a sweet older brother.” I laughed a bit. “But anyway, you should talk to him sometime if you need help with school or someone to hang out with or a date or whatever.”
“Huh? Did you just say date?”
I raised a brow. “I didn’t, but now that you mention it I hear the little brother is quite a good snogger.” I placed a hand on her shoulder and nodded to Mary. “Have a good night, ladies.”
Then I retreated upstairs, flopped back onto my bed, and buried my freckled nose in more Ravenclaw notes. I reckoned I knew more about Kay Davies' thighs than Fred did, and that was saying something.
“So what do you think?” Fred put on his socks and stretched. “About me being with Kay and all? Do you think it’ll end bad?”
“Everything ends well with you, Freddie,” I said, rolling over in bed. “You just convince the ladies it’s their idea and you can be friends and then you have a little snog buddy or something.”
He chuckled. “Well, it’s official. We’re together. An item or whatever you call it. No more Fred Weasley being a ladies man around Hogwarts. I am tied down. For now.”
“When are you going to get yourself a lady, Mr. Potter?”
I groaned again. “I hate women. They’re weird and wonky and I just like their lips attached to mine.”
“How about Nia then? She seems to fancy you a lot.”
“I’m not even going to think about it,” I replied, burying my face into the pillow. “Nia’s helping me tonight with my Herbology since Professor Longbottom is going to hex me if I don’t get a good score on the next exam.”
“That’s good at least,” Fred said, grabbing the hangings on Bink’s bed. “Where is that bugger? I wonder if he’s practicing hard to get better than me. Let me tell you, James, that’s not going to happen. Ever.”
“Is Edwards over there?”
“Nah, I heard him muttering some rubbish about talking to Avery earlier.”
“Avery? As in, our Keeper?”
“The only Avery in Hogwarts.”
I narrowed my eyes, hoisted my feet over the side of the bed, and threw on some clothes. Then I grabbed my wand and marched down to the Great Hall to try and find that ridiculous bloke I called a roommate. He was near the end of the table, hovering over my Keeper practically licking his chops.
“Oi, Edwards, someone broke into the dormitory and raided your perfectly organized trunk and probably stole a pair of your pink socks.”
Emerson looked up, expression pained. “What are you—who could have possibly done that?”
“I don’t know; I saw some twitchy first years downstairs going through a bag of stuff though.” I shrugged and Emerson gaped at me.
“Oh, um.” He paused and glanced down at Avery. “Excuse me, love, I have to get upstairs and put some people in detention.” He did a somewhat awkward bow and then rushed very ungracefully out of the room.
I chuckled. “What a tool.” I slid down beside Avery and grabbed a plate of toast. “So how’s your morning, love?”
Avery punched me in the shoulder. “Shut up. What are your plans for the day? Locking yourself in your room again and reviewing Ravenclaw notes. I think you’ve lost your V card to those notes already.”
I rolled my eyes. “Inappropriate, Flynn. Inappropriate. And for your information no, I’m going to study with Nia tonight for the Herbology test tomorrow.”
“So you and Longbottom are getting along quite well then, huh?”
“Like besties.” I munched on my toast and glanced around as Bink plopped down beside me. “Oi, where have you been?”
“Out on the pitch, git-arse,” he snapped, running a few fingers through his blond hair. “After you yelled at me for not diving right I thought about practicing.”
I frowned. Of course he was out practicing. Bink was quite the trooper. “Did you notice a wonky smell in the dormitory this morning? Smelled like rotting Edwards.”
He chuckled. “I did, but rotting Edwards would smell like glory.”
“Very true story, good comment, friend.”
It didn’t take long for the Herbology book to find its way against the wall as I threw it in the empty classroom that night. I just didn’t get it. All those rubbish plants—who cared unless a wild one started growing in my garden and killing my party guests. They would be there for my Quidditch parties so that would be a pretty large problem.
Other than that, though, who cared about the pus coming from certain plants or the color of the spine secretion? That sounded appalling. It really was.
“James, just concentrate,” Nia said, placing a hand on my thigh. She was next to me at the professor’s desk in the front and wearing a low cut purple top that I concentrated on harder than my schoolwork. “It’s not difficult—look at the pictures. The way to tell them apart is the pus color coming out of there—see that? Now, what’s the first one?”
She pointed at a picture of a wonky cactus-looking plant with purple spikes and yellow rotten-looking spots around the top. It looked sick. I shrugged. “I don’t bleeding know. What is it?”
“James, are you even trying?”
“I’m trying!” I threw the second Herbology book at the wall and it bounced off, landing on the tiled floor. “I just don’t care.”
“How about for every plant you get correct, I’ll give you a kiss.”
I glanced up. I knew she tried to seduce me, but I didn’t expect study incentives.
Didn’t expect, but definitely enjoyed.
I stared hard at the plant. It was strange, that’s for sure, but I had no idea what the name was. I tried to look out of the corner of my eye at the book. It wasn’t there because I threw it. My eyes went back to the picture.
“I have no idea,” I muttered. “Can I study again?”
Nia beamed, a blush forming on the outside of her cheeks. “Of course you can. Your books are across the room.”
I rushed for it, pulling the book open and flipping through the pages. There it was—yellow weird and rotten looking, just staring back at me. I glanced around for a caption. There wasn’t one. “It doesn’t bleeding say!”
“Aw, sad,” said Nia cheerfully. “I guess you don’t get a kiss.”
I nearly tore the page. “It looks like both of these stupid ones—the yellow bumps are on the Tactella and the purple spikes are on this Yelnia. What does that even mean?”
“What do you think it means?” She propped herself onto the desk and two long, slender legs found their way out of the front of her robes. I stared.
“It means those two plants got it on by defying plant segregation and produced that ugly bugger?”
Nia grinned. “Way to go, James. Now, what do you think its name is?”
I flipped pages. It wasn’t anywhere, but then I found the chapter on plant sexiness and all that and there it was again—yellow spotter bloke! It was a Tactnia. It took me all those pages to find out they just combined the two names. Slick, Herbology. Real slick.
Nia clapped her hands. “You’re not going to forget that one real soon, are you?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think ever. I may just buy one because of that ridiculously amazing achievement.”
“They’re mammal killers so I wouldn’t suggest it.”
“Why are you so bleeding smart?”
Nia shrugged. “I don’t know beans about Quidditch so I have to have something else going for me, haven’t I?”
I grabbed both books and stood, walking back over to her without losing eye contact. I set them on the desk beside her hip. Nia smiled warmly and bit the bottom of her lip slightly. Her eyes were not on mine—they were on my lips and before she could push me away or even try to seduce me again, I put a hand on her neck and pulled her in for a kiss.
I liked how Nia tasted like chocolate and mint and chills ran down my spine when she brought her fingers up to touch my face. She knew what she was doing, I didn’t want to know how, but she did. I pulled her closer.
“You have another question to answer,” she breathed, not opening her eyes. “I said one kiss per answer.”
I groaned, trying to think about something other than her top or her legs or her lips or…I just had to think about my parents snogging to keep the hormones down.
Snogging Mum and Dad. Over the kitchen counter.
And there they went. I glanced back at the books. “Bring it on.”
Nia and I made out several times that night and never did the subject of a handbag or frilly dress come up. I liked her, and that was enough. She wasn’t too pressuring like she was before and we didn’t talk about Quidditch (which was basically a first for me) so I didn’t get a chance to be irritated by her lack of knowledge on the subject.
It was just Nia and me snogging in an empty classroom over a book about plant pus and their mating rituals in the wild.
Trust me, those plants got pretty kinky.
“I can’t stand these analysis papers,” I muttered, titling my parchment. The assignment was due in two days and Nia volunteered to help me with my research. I hated spending time in the library, just like the other two Chasers, and even though Nia seemed ditsy and stupid at times, she loved the library.
“Why? All you have to do is look up the information and then rewrite it and give your stance,” she said, moving the bottle of ink next to me so she could sit on the desk again. Her thigh was centimeters from my hand and I brushed it gently. It was things like that that got me in trouble.
“Because I always want to abbreviate the word analysis,” I said, writing it again in my introductory paragraph, “but then it just becomes anal and we can’t have that. I'm anal about having the correct wording. Professor Longbottom would have a heart attack. I’m sure the poor bloke doesn’t even know what that is.”
“You’re getting a bit raunchy today, you know that, James?” Nia giggled.
“I have no idea what you mean.” I smiled and continued on.
“I bet you don’t.” She shifted beside me and glanced at her watch. “Holy shit, it’s nearly midnight. Do you want to head back? Being caught out of bed doesn’t sound very fun to me at this point in the night.”
“Would it be worth it if we were snogging?” I asked slyly, closing the book with a snap.
“Not even snogging the infamous Quidditch Captain James Potter would make detention worth it,” she said and I was a bit put out. “Maybe next study date if you keep improving.”
“I think I just got rejected by Nia Baker,” I said under my breath and she laughed. “You’re probably right though, classes tomorrow are going to be ridiculous if I don’t get any sleep. Aw, and blimey, I promised Avery I’d talk to her before I went to sleep. I’m sure she’s sour with me.”
“You’re always talking to Avery,” Nia said, pulling the door open.
“We’re best mates,” I replied, treading on metaphorical eggshells. “I promised to let her know if I wanted extra help before the test.”
“I don’t know what she has your other guy friends don’t.” We crept along the hallway for a few more minutes and paused when we thought there was a noise ahead. It was only a few subjects of a painting. “I mean, she’s so blunt, you know? I feel like she’d overshadow anyone. That’s probably why she hasn’t had a decent relationship.”
“That isn’t why,” I said, taking the steps two at a time. The castle was empty and cold, the way I hated it, and my shoes made loud noises against the stone floor. “She hasn’t had relationships because I hex any bloke that so much as thinks about asking her for a date.”
“So why not Edwards?”
“Because he’s a twat and stands no chance.”
“From what I heard he’s been chatting with Avery quite a lot lately.”
“When he’s hexed you’ll know.” I whispered the password as the portrait hole swung forward and immediately I knew I wasn’t the only one up studying ridiculously late.
Fred was at the table by the window going over notes and several books that looked taken from the restricted section. Rosey was beside him pointing out passages and handing him quill after quill. Emerson had his feet up by the fireplace, nose deep in a book probably about how to be a pompous bag of douchery and Elizabeth took one look at Nia and me walking through the door before she excused herself upstairs.
“Be prepared for a knife wound when you go upstairs,” I whispered to her. Then I thought about the lotion and decided Knife Wound would definitely go with my personality. “Night, Nia. Thanks again for all the help. I think I’ll do great on the test.”
She beamed. “Anytime, James. Good night.” She kissed me briefly on the cheek and danced off toward her spiral staircase.
I felt my face turn red as I made my way toward Fred. “Studying hard? Bink go to bed already?”
“I’m pretty sure. That bloke’s too smart for his own good—never studied a day in his life.” Fred turned another page. “You having fun studying? Or did you not get any Herbology done?”
I snorted. “Two for one special. Studying and snogging.”
“What’s the one?”
“Shut your mouth.” I spun around and walked up my own spiral staircase. It was dark and I used my wand to light a few candles around my dormitory, but immediately I wished I didn’t.
I came face to face with several creatures I only studied in Defense Against the Dark Arts years ago—Doxy’s. They were black and hairy and covering most surfaces in the room, including the draperies on my four-poster and the window where no moonlight could shine through.
My heart nearly stopped—what in Merlin’s beard were these things doing here? Doxy infestations took weeks, not a day. One gnawed on my Transfiguration book.
I did know, however, from paying attention one lucky day in class, that their stupid bites were poisonous, so I did what any sane seventh year would do when put into that position.
I made a run for my bed and grabbed my broom cleaning kit. Then I booked it out the door, slamming it behind me. Several Doxys ran into the door and I heard a couple collective thuds from the other side.
“Freddie!” I cried, dashing down the stairs so my broom kit hit every rail on the way down. “Doxy alert in the dormitory! They’re everywhere!”
“How can they be everywhere? I was just up there before lunch.” He raised a brow. “Are you pulling a bit of a prank, Potter, because I have studying to do.”
“Doxy infestation. Upstairs. Just got my broom kit out in time. I thought they were going to take me down.” I just realized I was breathing heavily. “Do you have anything valuable up there? Kay’s bra or something?”
Fred rolled his eyes. “You’re being serious, aren’t you?”
“What’s going on, Potter?” Emerson said, straightening his Head Boy badge as he waddled over. “What’s all this noise about a Doxy infestation?”
“In our room, twat.”
His eyes grew wide. “Is this a joke?”
“Why do people think it’s appropriate for me to joke about Doxys after midnight the night before a test?” I pointed toward the spiral staircase. “Go bleeding check! I’m not going back up there. Ever, actually.”
Fred shrugged and followed Emerson up. I glanced out the window into the darkness. I spotted the lake in the moonlight and wondered what it would be like to take Nia out there.
No, bad, horrible, James. I couldn’t be thinking like that. I could just take Avery out there and we would have friend bonding time and talk about how stupid Emerson was or something. Though Avery didn’t seem to keen to Emerson-bash lately and that was highly disappointing.
Emerson’s scream sounded a lot like Nia’s as he tore down the stairs in a painful-looking sweat. Even his bunny slippers looked scared. “Okay, so maybe you didn’t lie. They’re there.”
“They’re not just there,” said Fred, coming down the stairs a little calmer, “they’re everywhere. They must have fucked like rabbits or kneazles or something else that has a lot of sex.”
“Humans?” I offered.
“Don’t effing joke—what are we going to do?” Emerson said, visibly shaking.
“Did you get bit?” I asked.
He threw a pillow at me. “No, I didn’t get bit—what are we going to do, Potter?”
“You’re Head Boy. That makes you Head of the Doxy Discharge Unit.”
“What is that?”
“You have to go get the Doxy stuff to get rid of it.”
“Can’t we just wake Professor Longbottom?” Emerson asked, clearly petrified at the very thought of heading up some Unit I made up to freak him out.
“Do you really think Professor Longbottom won’t murder us if we wake him, because I really think he will,” I said. “Why don’t we just kip down here for the night and use the blankets in the closet and we can take care of it in the morning.”
“They’ll have eaten all my clothes!” Emerson cried, throwing his hands in the air.
“Thank Merlin,” said Fred, pulling open the closet door. “I thought we’d have to burn those suckers to get rid of your horrible ties and corduroy pants.”
I stared over Fred’s shoulder. “How do we have this many blankets in here?” There was a large tower of quilts and comforters and sheets and anything imaginable to make the largest blanket fort in the history of blanket forts. Certainly enough for a few blokes to sleep on the couch for a night.
“Where’s Bink?” asked Emerson suddenly, obviously ignoring Fred’s comment about his atrocious pants. “Do you think he got eaten?”
I snorted. “Yeah, I bet they’re eating his brains up there right now.”
“Not much there to eat, eh?” Fred chuckled and dumped over the entire blanket mound.
I grabbed a quilt. “I’m sure he’s…well, probably off snogging Rosey or something.” I choked on the thought. “Only kidding, he would sooner snog Lily than Rosey since he knows my reaction to that.” I threw the blanket onto a nearby couch and part of it draped onto the chair beside it. “Holy bollocks.”
“What? Do you see his dead body?” Emerson looked a bit peaky.
“Let’s make a blanket fort,” I said suddenly, staring at Fred. “I bet we could make a huge one with all these—maybe put it in the record books. At least for Hogwarts.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Fred replied, glancing over as the portrait hole opened and Bink swaggered in with his hair sticking up.
“Bad night on the pitch?” I asked. He nodded. “It’s about to get worse. Doxy infestation upstairs so we have to bunk down here for the night.”
Bink collapsed into a poufy chair by the fire and sighed. “What’s with all the blankets?”
“Blanket fort,” I said cheerfully.
Immediately he perked up and snatched a velvet comforter from Emerson. “Oh, yes. We’re definitely doing this. This will be epic.”
“I can’t wait!” Fred said, throwing blankets over onto sofas.
“Me either!” Emerson cried, grabbing for a sheet.
I put my foot on his hand. “Oh, no you don’t,” I said. “You’re sleeping over on that couch by the window.”
“Are you kidding me? We’re all locked out for the night.”
“And you are a sodding prat trying to put me in detention and asking my best mate out on dates on your way to getting very, very hexed.” I smiled slyly. “So, good roommate-y mate of mine, you sleep elsewhere because you’re a prick.”
He gaped at me as I removed my foot.
“And jump off the Astronomy Tower while you’re at it.” I tossed a few more blankets to Fred and started unfolding.
Emerson grabbed a sheet and wrapped himself up over by the window. I thought about drawing lewd images on his forehead but didn’t think detention sounded all that interesting. Besides, I had a fort to construct—an epic, giant fort made out of durable blankets from the Gryffindor ancestry of blanket-makers.
It would be so cool I’d never want to leave.
Seriously. Never. Tactnia indeed.
A/N: Hey everyone, sorry about the seriously long delay! But finals week is OVER now and I'm happy to report I think I did pretty well. I'll have my final grades later this week but I'm confident I did very well. After that I moved back to my hometown for the summer and have been unpacking, but I threw this chap together today as a bit of a filler and a bit of a background info/segway chappie so I hope you enjoyed it.
So anyway, thanks to everyone for all of the lovely reviews (for previous chappies, and for this chap) because it means a lot and writing this story is fun. I promise less of a wait now that it's summer and I guess one couple-week period of time is all right since I always update rather frequently.
So...favorite quotes? Predictions? Doxy infestation? Seriously?
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