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etc. etc. (and life goes on) by justonemorefic
Chapter 20 : Love Overrated, Overruled
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 54

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Somewhere in the maze of Hogwarts, there is a girl, yellow-shirted, furiously scribbling notes on a page ripped from her textbook. The book is thrown to the side and the sticker on the front reveals her full name: Leonora Leech. Leon for short.

Under her knee is the recent issue of Witchy Business. She murmurs the words as she transcribes them. The master copy is due to be wiped within the next half hour. She'll have to write fast to get all the details in time. Better to write fast anyway, lest risking discovery.

Appy announced a new rule at the last meeting: anyone seen reading Witchy Business gets a taste of her excommunication quill. The lawyer-twins Edna and Ella were the first to be struck down—outside of Arithmancy class, where one of the Q.G.A. officers pulled a copy out of Edna's coat pocket. Haughty chins in the air, the twins had their shirts charmed green by the hour's end.

Leon doesn't quite have their dignity, but she too knows little of loyalty. She joined Q.G.A. for the boys and the free sticker. With each meeting Appy's been talking less about boys and more about war and other things Leon didn't sign up for. Bring back the boys!

When she really thinks about it though, Appy isn't very good at bringing in boys. In fact, they tend to run from her.

They're intimidated, Leon figures. Appy's so quirky and all S.A.S.S.—stubborn, awkward, shy, special, the core qualities every Quirker strives toward. Boys are afraid of falling in love with her at first sight. Appy has such lucky flaws, no good for average girls like Leon who are only ever awkward and shy and not in the good flouncing-her-skirt-cutely-as-she-tripped way.

When Leon tripped down the stairs, she broke her leg plus the leg of the boy she fancied since third year, Danny Bletchley, by literally crushing on him.

A year deep into Q.G.A. she's faring no better, so in a fit of desperation, she skulked into a loo after Charms and peeled a soggy Witchy Business issue from the floor. Margie, who doesn't understand how to use air-quotes, said that the head editor's tell-all has quote-unquote "tips"—tips for averagely awkward girls like Leon.

Leon didn't believe them at first read. They're so boring:

'No stalking and don't even think about mobbing.'

And 'No keeping snippets of hair by the bedside.'

'Drool less from afar, not at all when close up, and then actually talk to the bloke.'

But they sort of make sense. And Clemence did win over Albus. More than what Appy can say.

They're still boring though.

Leon finishes copying the tips just in time; the newspaper turns blank. Huddling her notes close to her chest, she makes her escape toward the stairwell. When she reaches it, she pats down her bag and runs back, panting. She forgot her textbook.

She skids to a stop at the last corner. Her book is on the ground, adjacent to Gunhilda's gnarled statue, but someone is there. Ready to double back, Leon trips over her shoelaces instead. Merlin's dotted pants, not so soon. She isn't ready to give up the yellow! Appy'll wring her like a wet rag.

Pressing a hand close to her notes, she squeaks as the person peers up. Stupid, stupid Leon. What a dead giveaway.

But then she looks again. The person's not a Quirker. He's not even a girl.

Deep hazel eyes glinting in the sconce-light, with curls as soft as fleece and a smolder that could ignite steel, Danny Bletchley emerges into view. He moves in slow-motion through a saturated haze, and a sudden draft unveils a hint of his Beater's torso. Amy said he worked out twice a day. Enchanted his wand to double as a dumbbell so he could lift in class.

He takes her book in his hand. Turns it over, scans the name—her name. Saliva waterfalls down her chin. Danny Bletchley, man of her least decent dreams, is reading her name. Leon wipes the dribble on the length of her sleeve. The notes under her jacket crinkle.

Could it be? All she did was write down Clemence's tips and she's already closer to him than ever before, stairs incident not withstanding. Hope blooming, she remembers from the third column: actually talk to the bloke. If something as boring as that works, she'll deliver to Clemence her firstborn on a silver platter. She and Danny will just have to make ten more babies.

Leon manages to stutter, "H-h-h...i," as her eyes glue themselves to his full, kissable lips. Is that creepy? What'd Clemence say?

If you have to think about whether it's creepy, it is.

She shifts her gaze upwards—and hey, the rest of his face isn't bad either. Danny's already waiting for her when she meets his eyes, kissable lips spread out in a smile. He holds out her book as he walks toward her. The background music swells. Where did it even come from?

It doesn't matter; it's perfect.

Appy who?

"Merlin's haggy—watch where you're—oh. You."

"Morning to you too, buttercup."

Stumbling out of the newsroom is a part of my day I prefer no one witnessing. Sleep-deprived, broadsheets stuck to my heel, I'm cranky and have the grace of a moose in a swimming pool. Potter is currently blurry enough to qualify as an Impressionist painting.

An awful stench wafts from the coffee in his hands. I don't know how he brews it so badly, but the smell alone wakes me up.

There is something like a frown on his face. "Did you stay here all night again?"

"Does Appy still sleep in my room? Yeah." Pinching the bridge of my nose, my other hand gropes for his and he charitably obliges. Laces our fingers even, before leading me out of the dungeons. Such a loving boyfriend. What would I do without him?

Die, probably.

The taunts begin as soon as we set foot into more populated areas. Spit-laced vitriol sneered in my face as we pass, declaring me a bitch as if I didn't know first (those too young for the term have taken to calling me 'toad'—and once, 'knotty-pated toad,' from the daughter of a Shakespearian troupe actor). I'm accustomed to having enemies but pissing off Appy's entourage has doubled their numbers, and the hand in mine is the only thing keeping their attacks purely verbal.

On Sunday, Albus made the "official" announcement that we're together—because you can't take my word for it. The dodgy hallway ambushes stopped after that. It was hope—or some feral second cousin of hope—that set those girls on me. Hope that I was lying or that Albus would change his mind. I should've known better than to ignore the distinction between being his supposed girlfriend and one with an anniversary date.

We sealed it with kiss in the courtyard. On the second Sunday of February six days before Valentine's Day, in front of an audience of girls who ought to get a hobby, he became a taken man and I became a romantic obstacle.

"You don't deserve him!" someone shouts behind me as Albus and I enter the Great Hall.

"Got your pronouns switched around, dearie," I call over my shoulder, catching a glance of Albus peering in the same direction. "Way to swoop in, Potter—Al." Trying to break the last-name habit.

"Your ego doesn't need protecting." But his arm snakes around my waist when he sees Appy stationed at the end of the Slytherin table.

Green-shirts amassed nearby clamor and sigh. "He's so sweet..."

Meanwhile, his ego blooms.

We find Dom pushing a pile of berry mush around her plate and sit across from her. Yesterday, Albus and I sat in Gryffindor and entertained his cousin Hugo who guffawed, "So it's Clemence after all, you numpty," upon seeing our linked hands and gleefully threw his dinnertime chess game to regale tales of how Albus had denied it. He begged me to visit over Easter so the whole clan could meet me. "He's been smitten since your first interrogation," Hugo said grinning, to which Albus snarled, "I'll smitten you."

Dom barely looks up when I sit. "This week's been godawful," she mutters. Her fork scrapes metallically as she draws lines in her food.

"Does it involve getting showered with rubbish, forced out of your room, and an elaborate fake-relationship-Quirker-sabotage scheme primarily conceived to get in my pants?" I drawl, scooting right to give Albus space. "Because I think I've got you beat."

Albus raises a brow. "The fake part was your idea."

"And the sex was yours."

Dom rolls her eyes. "Get a broom cupboard."

Melding into each other's friendship circles has been alternately maddening and disturbingly easy. Those closest to us share a similar sentiment about Hogwarts' latest power couple: what a pair of eejits.

"The entire class failed Professor Bechdel's test, so she's making us retake it," Dom says, leaning into her knuckles. "Detention until we pass."

"Muggle Studies?" Albus snorts. "You deserve that." He reaches over to tuck Dom's hair back so it doesn't dip into her drink. I forget they're cousins—cordial cousins at that. How he juggles Rose and Dom is beyond me.

"Oi, you take it. And I got to class late because a certain nut I'm living with was hogging the sinks, dolling up to seduce you. Disgusting."

The three of us turn toward Appy's end. Seeing Albus, Appy perks up, wiggling her fingers in a wave. There's enough makeup on her to make a whale blush. With a shudder, Albus slinks behind me, arm retreating to its previous position around my waist. Her cheeks turn black. Ah, mood makeup.

"I am not your shield," I mutter, wriggling from his fingers on my ribs. I tap my plate. A pancake inflates on the bare porcelain, blowing up like an air mattress.

"I might want you farther away from her."

"But you don't."

Albus sips from his coffee. His arm does not leave. I let it slide this once. Relationships are about compromise. Even—especially—fake ones.

Besides, Hogwarts is chilly in the morning.

"Potter men. Tsk, not a single bone in their backs." Dom uninvites Albus from the conversation with another roll of her eyes but a twinkle remains that only I can see; she thinks we're adorable—as adorable as messed-up can be—and if I didn't threaten to cut up her mint-condition Tutshill Tornadoes calendar (shirtless summer edition), she'd be expressing it loud and green. "Clem, are you sure you like sleeping in the newsroom? I really don't think Appy'll do anything. Playing up that whole, you know, being the good girl."

"Are you kidding? She slashed my pillow. Could've been my head." I jam a wedge of pancake in my mouth. A placard between the bread baskets states that the school is rolling out whole-grain breakfast items, anything to prove that Hogwarts is a progressive institution, at least in its menu options.

"I'm telling you, Leon's ninety percent sure her kneazle got loose—oh, and did you hear? She and Danny are a thing."

"Mm, really?" At the corner of my eye, I catch the edge of Albus' smirk.

"I'll get a statement from her later—but anyway, her kneazle slashed up the fifth-year's dorm, too. Found holes in my favorite leggings this morning."

"You can mend that."

"But I'll know." Dom whines. Her hair is mussed from her frustrated kneading. "It's just been a bad week, okay?"

She's restless, I'll give her that. The Battle for Albus Potter has been primarily long-distance glares and slander, none of the brash, destructive fun of her feud with Rose.

"Cheer up. Gravy's stopped dripping from the ceiling at least. Get some sugar—some pancakes." Not pancakes. They taste like rubber. Well, I can spin it: "They're whole-grain." I shake the placard. "See? And twenty-five percent less fat."

"I need twenty-five percent more fat."

Dom stabs her fork into an entire stick of butter. Albus' eyes round. She cleaves the butter in half, almost exactly. Right next to the dish, Albus has been resting his hand. It is now two shades paler.

The root of her misery surfaces: "Clemence, tell me the truth. Is Henry mad at me?"

"What?" So it's Pickett. I glance around the table, but it's mostly Appy's crowd and a few of the younger set eating breakfast. Sandra's troupe waves back at me; I ignore them. He's not here. It's not like Pickett to miss meals. "Did you piss him off—well, of course you did. What'd you do this time?"

"I didn't do anything!" she wails. "He's avoiding me."

Albus pushes his plate aside, finished with his two bites of toast. His hands are well-away from Dom's striking distance. "You're bloody oblivious."

I stomp his foot and his knee jerks up, clattering the table's silverware.

"Ow—the hell—"

"No hinting."

Dom frowns. "What?"

I cough. Albus clears his throat.

Her frown creases deeper. "What?"

"If you can't already see it..." Albus mutters.

I glare, shutting him up, but his brows strain at the top of their arch with frustration.

Dom slams the table and makes a move for her fork. "You two are not allowed to conspire!" Steam pours from her nostrils. A fleck of butter on her nose melts into a greasy sheen.

Someone ought to take a snapshot of her like this—and coincidentally, someone does. But before that, there is the matter of my eye twitching at her emphasis of you two. Albus and I are barely a couple, not something as casual as you two and certainly not when it's spoken by Dom who knows better.

But a click and a bright flash steals the thought. I flinch. Albus swears. On the bench behind Dom, Team Green General Sandra is obscured by her camera's viewfinder. The single-woman paparazzo leans back for a second shot, casting a precarious shadow over the Ravenclaws' food spread.

"Smile for this one. Al, scoot a little closer. Dom... move."

Eyes veined, Dom starts squabbling loudly about the dangers of unannounced flash. One could blind someone or get bludgeoned by a blonde in a bad mood. Sandra snaps photos through her tirade.

A daily photo-op was my idea. Stifling a sigh, I kiss Albus on the cheek. He turns his face for a better angle. Our foreheads brush—I pull back, swallowing. The next flash catches me full-on.

"Oh, damn," I hear Sandra mutter. "Could we try that one again?"

Black spots swarming my vision, I quickly go in for the kiss, missing his mouth by an inch. "Thanks for the dedication, really, Sandra," I say, shielding against the next flash with my hand, "but if we're trying to eat—"

"Hallo!" A new voice exclaims.

I groan. And so the green parade begins.

It's Margie, Sandra's eager beaver cadet. She runs up to me with a friend on her arm, chubby knees bopping. "Clemence! I have to tell you—I saw Leon holding Danny's hand this morning and it's a miracle, nothing short of it, all thanks to your advice! You need to, I dunno, write a book or something. Like Appy, but better."

I curl and uncurl my fingers. What good is ceaseless adoration if they won't let me eat? "Thanks. Look, I'm hungry—"

Another whirr and click from Sandra's camera. Albus gets up, saying something about "taking care of it."

"So I was wondering if there are any openings in Witchy Business?" Margie asks, twisting on her foot.

Maybe it's better I'm not eating or else I would have choked. Witchy Business is exclusive for secrecy reasons, but that aside, if we wanted writers, we wouldn't be looking in the direction of Margie Dinkle who uses smiley faces for punctuation because they're "more festive" than commas and full-stops.

"Why don't you send in a writing sample?" I say sweetly. "I'll get back to you in five to eight business days."

Margie jumps up with a squeal, shaking her friend who looks as enthused as a beached squid, and promises to not let me down. In Sandra's direction, there is a growing burble of activity. Hopefully it doesn't involve Dom and her beater's bat.

A hand slips in mine. "Let's go before she notices," says Albus. His books are tucked under his arm, and he is pulling me up before I can have a say.

"Oi, I barely ate—"

Then I see Sandra, and I can't help but roll my eyes. Albus is quick—unoriginal but quick. The fittiest bloke in Gryffindor is chatting the girl up. She's star-struck, her camera limp at her side. She might be suffering from heart palpitations.

Albus tosses me a muffin. Post-traumatic flashbacks of the food fight are still rampant, and a nearby diner ducks on instinct.

"Ditch me then," Dom huffs when I swing my legs over the bench. I hesitate and she shoos me away. "Go! Merlin, I'm kidding. Go before you attract more crazies. I'll see you in class."

Even without Sandra's attention, other eyes belonging to the curious, the suspicious, and Appy's seething yellow-shirts watch us leave the hall. Margie's babbling is not far behind but tapers off with the sudden entrance of the fittiest bloke in Gryffindor's fraternal twin.

"We'll need Sandra for tomorrow though. You know, for Valentine's," I tell Albus. I collect my books from him and reclasp our hands. On the first day, we fumbled through the small acts of intimacy. Limbs were snared, teeth were bared. But intimacy, I've discovered, is two-thirds routine. "We—well, you have to make a grand gesture. Something showy so she can snap a few pics. What's Hugo doing for what's-her-name—Wendy?"

"Hugo's strange," Albus mumbles, as if embarrassed for the boy. "He's weaving her a tapestry or something."

I snort and he grins. "Hugo, weaving?"

Albus and I can be friendly. That was never impossible. Steer away from psychology and politics—so all the fun stuff—and we've got a benign conversation to last the two minutes we take to get to the History classroom. After spending three consecutive nights in the newsroom, I haven't got the energy to argue. Albus... has been surprisingly accommodating.

Binns' door is already open as he never leaves. Students are crouched by other classrooms, waiting for the other professors who are living and rather enjoy their sleep, too. Professor Babbling is the first to waddle by, bungling her Unlocking Charm by flicking her teacup instead of her wand.

I unlink hands with Albus. "I'll find you later. Or find me. Whichever." I'll meet him again at Charms, at the latest.

"Don't pick too many fights with Caroline." A soft scold from someone who's accused me of being the devil.

He catches my wrist as I turn to leave. His thumb presses into the soft underside as if feeling for a pulse, a practice in the other third of intimacy, and he pulls me in for a kiss outside of anyone's view. He tastes like coffee and firewhiskey.

It's not the first time he's done this.

A flash of lightning eclipses the candle's glow. The roof comes alive with skittering rain in the first thunderstorm of the year.

I sit outside of the newsroom with my tongue bit down.

"I know, I know I fucked up." Dom's voice is muted through the tapestry. Her shadow flickers across the sliver crack of the door.

"Not just this once," Pickett booms. "All the bloody time. You knew Scorpius was gay."

"Rose did, too!"

"I don't care about Rose!" A chair scrapes against the floor. "You knew. Look what's happening because you were too proud—"

"It is not—you can't keep me in the wrong forever."

They're haggard; I can hear their breathing against the white noise of the storm. I should leave. I should have left five minutes ago when I discovered them, or at the very least, intervene, but my back is still against the wall. My feet are flat on the ground.

"It's not easy ending things that have gone on for so long." Dom is straining for someone to understand her. "Henry... I'm not a saint. I don't hide it. What do you want from me? I fucked up. I'm doing the best I can, and it's not much but I'm trying."


I shiver and bite down harder. Arguing has a bit of finesse, chemistry, and—if you're lucky—reason. But fighting is the opposite: books get thrown, tables topple, bodies are hunched and distant. Everyone is shouting and no one is listening.

"I can see it—I can bloody see it in your eyes—you don't get it." Pickett laughs; his emotions have gone full-circle. "Did you apologize to anyone? Clemence? She did so much for you. How is it that she apologized to you? Or you know, Scorpius who, hilariously enough, has nothing to do with you and Rose's fighting. But I suppose getting back at Rose is more important."


"What happened to the Dom I knew, who didn't give a rat's arse what people thought about her? Huh?" The volume escalates, and I can hear his heart beat out of his chest. "Who was more courageous than any Gryff I'd seen?"


"What happened to the Dom I fell in love with?"

Thunder rumbles. A chair crashes to the ground, fallen from a rush to leave as footsteps follow footsteps.


Pickett curses at the tapestry as he comes out, punching it to make his way through. He sees me staggering to my feet and curses again. Covering his face, he nearly knocks me into the wall as he pushes past. But I see the red in his eyes, hear his waterlogged throat. I follow, now that it's too late.

He doesn't go far. I find him pacing a dead-end hall like a stray wolf, viscous and whimpering in the same snarl.

"I told her," he says. "I told her."

"I know."

Dom hasn't emerged from the room. Another streak of yellow splits the sky.

"Damn it!" Pickett strikes his fist against the wall. The thunder doesn't quite mask the sickening crunch that follows. "Shit—god damn it." He crumples into a ball and cradles his hand, tears smeared across his face.

"Pick—hey, don't—hey." Dropping to my knees, I hold him; his stubble bites into my shoulder. I gulp down the feeling in my throat, pressing a thumb tentatively to his cheek. "God, I'm sorry. What should I—I don't know what to do."

"It was supposed to go away. I told her... so I'd move on." A garbled laugh escapes. Blame it on the delirium of a cracked heart.

In the distance, something like lightning flashes.

I take Pickett to his dorm. He refuses my offer to stay, pushing me out when I insist, and mumbling through the scarf pulled over his face, "People might get ideas."


He nearly clips off my fingers shutting the door, so I'm left alone, sleeves stained, for another night.

When I go back to the newsroom, Dom is gone. My hand turns the two-way compact I share with her in my pocket. What would I tell her? The same nothing I told Pickett? Or that she fucked up, she really did, and that I saw it coming and didn't say anything—or maybe I did, I forget—but I didn't make her listen because I'm more afraid of my friends than my enemies.

Albus knocks on the doorframe. He's been standing there for awhile, having parted ways with Scorpius who's on his rounds.

"Go away, Potter."

He comes in anyway. "I saw Dom."

"Is she okay?"

"No. Are you?"

When he is too close, I shirk from him, crossing my arms and burying my hands deep into the crook of my elbows. I pace to the other side of the printing presses.

"I'm fine."

Albus walks parallel to me, maintaining our distance while staring at the yellowed posters on the wall, old advertisements from The Daily Prophet asking for writers. There is another question on his tongue, the one he truly wants to ask.

"Do you care for him?"

I choke back a laugh.

But he means it: "He holds you close, calls you love, and you don't flinch?"

The barest smile lifts my mouth. "He loves Dom. Always has."

"Doesn't answer my question."

"I shouldn't have to answer it." My gaze narrows; I know where Albus is going and he won't like it. "Our relationship isn't real. Remember that."

"So if you had to choose—"

"Between you and Pickett, you won't even come close."

It stops his breath for a moment. He doesn't expect me to say it outright, without the apathy or long-winded arrogance that dulls my usual rebuttals, but it won't stick unless it hurts.

I only have one question for him: "Why did you never intervene between Rose and Dom? They've been fighting for a long time. You see how many people get hurt."

Albus sways on the spot, fingers fidgeting at his side. They count the regrets over the years, at family dinners, at school, in the quiet conversations where he could have pressed them harder. "It's their lives," he says, echoing the very excuse I once defended myself with.

"Coward," I sneer.

He shuts his eyes. Swallowing thickly, he breathes the word in.

Valentine's Day begins with a photo and two hundred seventy-three copies of it.

The picture is grainy, but Pickett and I are visible enough. Our profiles are quite distinctive—me with my swoop of hair that cuts across my large forehead (all ego) and Pickett with his nose precariously close to mine. The distance is ambiguous, the center of the photo being extra fuzzy like it wasn't exposed correctly. If I squint, it almost looks like we're a lot closer than we actually were—and it already doesn't capture the finer details of the scene, such as Pickett's sniveling and my very wet sleeve, so that's context thrown out the window.

Basically, it looks like we're kissing.

Nearly three hundred prints of this photo plaster the hallways between the Arithmancy classroom and Trelawney's loft. Each one is lovingly, stubbornly glued with a Sticking Charm that makes it nigh impossible to tear down. In the most vandalized hall—the most trafficked one—a collage of them graces the windows in the shape of a broken heart, signed with red streaks of lipstick.

I stare it down, clenching and unclenching my fists. Bystanders who see me quickly look away. Those that don't continue whispering. It must be bloody Christmas for Appy.

"Clemence, holy shit, did you see this?" Pickett strides up next to me with a photo in hand.

"No, I didn't," I deadpan, eyes unmoving. Whoever did this would have to follow me with a camera ready. A heavy, clunky piece of metal. They were prepared.

"There's a bunch of photos with us and it looks like we're kissing and... you're being sarcastic." He clears his throat. "Right."

I turn toward him and a smile immediately springs to his face, but it doesn't wholly distract from the dark lines under his eyes nor the tufts of hair he forgot to smooth down this morning. He's freshly shaved though; he's putting in an effort.

"So about yesterday." He presses his lips together.

"We never speak about it again?"

"Thank you."

There are curious ears trying to listen in; our vague exchange is probably exercising their imaginations on overdrive. Sighing, I let the thought go. It's too late to change anything.

I walk down the hall, surveying the damage, and motion for Pickett to follow. It's probably not the best idea, but hell if I'm letting some lipstick vandal bully me around. "So did you and..." Dom didn't want to talk about it.

Pickett shakes his head.

"Too soon?"

"Way too soon, love. Give me a week and I might be able to spell her name without bawling." He throws his head back, hand clapped above his brow. Poor, dramatic thing.

"Let's get you drunk."

"Thank you."

As we pass Professor Vector's classroom, the door flies open and out comes Sandra charging at me with her arm pulled back. I make the mistake of hesitating before hauling arse, thinking that maybe she has a reason for the angry red face and odd pose. Maybe she wants a horizontal high-five.

She slaps me across the face.

I stagger backwards. Pickett holds her back from going a second round as tears stream down her cheeks.

"I trusted you!" she sobs. This is the most crying I've witnessed since a member of boy-band sensation Two Confections got run over by an elk. "I gave you everything and then you go kiss this—this hussy!" She wrestles from Pickett and points at him.

"For the love of—" I rip a loose photo from the wall and shove it in front of Sandra's face as Pickett mouths, 'I am not a hussy' with a scandalized glare. "Look, it's clearly manipulated. You can see the charms. I was just comforting him, not kissing him."

But she's beside herself and hasn't heard a word I said. "I hope you're happy. We lost."

"Lost what?" I clutch my throbbing cheek, and at the same time, see her camera. The thing's been attached to her hip the whole week.

"The war, you ninny!" Sandra waves her arm toward the yellow crowd I didn't notice until now. "Look!"

At the end of the hall, in the middle of a shrieking horde waving foam fingers marked with 'A's, a dark mop of hair stands out. Albus is amongst them, smiling broadly, and he's got his arm around Appy.

A/N: I'm a month late ;-; But here it is! In all its fluffy/angsty/punny (Professor Bechdel's test, hem hem) glory. This chapter is the beginning of a lot of fun, what with everyone's lives being casually tossed in the air like a salad :D

Teehee, reviews have trickled in and I am cackling. The next chapter is supposed to be fluffy and all Valentines Day, so you can try to figure out what happens from that. I'll be taking a brief break to NaNo-ing my original fic before I start on the next chapter as a heads up, but feel free to nag me about stuff, because I always need nagging.

♥ thank you all for waiting and reading and waiting some more. Please do leave a review!

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