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Chapter 33 : The One Where We Go Back to Hogwarts
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It had been, by far, the best Easter holiday that I had had in years. I don’t think I went a day without seeing or speaking to Isabella, who had spent the night before at my house so that we could get the train together. It was still odd to have someone staying at my house that wasn’t Michelle. I knew who I preferred to have over, though. It was like a proper sleepover, with junk food, music, and makeovers.
I was still sporting the curls that she had put into my hair, using only rags of material. I had no idea how she had done it, but I loved it so much. I loved the way that they bounced around my head, which Isabella found hilarious. I would often catch her smiling my way when I would shake my head.
James loved them more than I did. When he had seen me on the platform, he had run straight over to me and picked me up for a hug. I laughed in embarrassment as my brother frowned at us, trying to put his best angry face on as he stared at James.
“I love the hair,” James told me after her had put me back down. His hand found one of the curls and he twirled it around his finger.
“Isabella did it,” I told him happily, watching his face as it lit up.
He raised my long hair up to his mouth and put it just under his nose.
“It’s like a fancy moustache,” James said happily, wriggling his eyebrows as he held my hair to his face. I couldn’t help the snort that escaped me, as I tried to move away from James.
A cough from my brother caused James to stop playing with my hair. We both turned to look at him.
“Hi Darryl, how are you?” James gave a small wave to my brother, who was still frowning, arms crossed against his chest.
“Fine, when you’re not manhandling my little sister in front of me,” Darryl stated. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at his behaviour. I had been witness to him and his ex-girlfriend doing a lot worse than mucking around with hair and pretending to have fancy moustaches.
“There was no manhandling,” I told Darryl, giving him a hug as I bent down to pick up my bag that I had brought back with me. James was quick to pick up Snowball’s cage for me.
“There better not be either,” Darryl warned, more to James. “I’ll be watching you James.”
“At school?” James asked with a small exaggerated frown, and I tried to stop myself from laughing.
“You’re not funny,” Darryl stated.
“I think he’s very funny,” I told Darryl, knowing that he was just joking. He had told me the other day that he approved of James, so I knew that he was just trying to intimidate him. “Now, stop being so protective. Thank you for bringing me here. I’ll write you later.”
“Keep your hands to yourself, Potter,” Darryl called across the platform as we walked away.
“Will do, Higgs,” James called back, his free hand raised above his head. We climbed onto the train, and I led the way down the carriages as we tried to find a compartment to sit in. Quite a few students had gone home for the holidays, so it was busier than it normally would have been.
I found a free compartment and we both settled into it, waiting for Isabella and William. Isabella had gone to get Sian and had told me that she would meet me on the train, and I had no idea where William was.
“Your cat is staring at me,” James stated, nodding at Snowballs cage, which was on the seat opposite us. “Surely he stared at me enough when I came around to yours?”
I leant down to look in Snowballs cage. “Apparently you’re fascinating.”
“I’ve been told that,” James said, moving his arm behind me and pulling me to him in a hug. His hands found my hair again, and he began playing with the curls. “Don’t understand why, I’m boring.”
“You’re not boring. You’re one of the most fascinating people I’ve met.”
“I’ll try not to be offended by that comment,” Isabella stated, coming into the compartment with Sian following close behind her. I leant over and moved Snowball onto the floor so that they could sit down.
“I said one of,” I tried telling her quickly, scared that she would be annoyed. I hated that I felt the need to defend myself so quickly. I knew that Isabella didn’t mean it like that. I was so used to having to defend myself around Michelle, that it was second nature to do so.
Isabella gave me a wink and a smirk and I had to remind myself that she was joking. It was a struggle to remember that not everyone acted like Michelle did.
James was looking out of the window as the train began to move slowly away from the platform. “Has anyone seen William?” he asked us.
Isabella and Sian shrugged, and I shook my head as James turned to look at us. He gave a small frown before standing up.
“I’m going to go and look for –“
“Sorry I’m late,” William stated as he came into the compartment, two people behind him. James seemed to relax at the sight of his best friend and sat back down next to me. He had a smile spread across his face as he looked at William, who threw his bag under a seat, and sitting next to Isabella. “I tried to lose the siblings, but they followed me.”
“We don’t want to follow you,” Sophie said as she took a seat next to me, glaring at her brother. I saw that their younger brother Steven was hovering in the doorway awkwardly. I hadn’t realised just how tall he actually was, and he was only a fifth year. He had to be six foot already.
“You can sit down Steven, they don’t bite. Well, Isabella might.” William patted the seat next to him. Steven seemed to be questioning whether he wanted to sit down until William grabbed his hand and pulled him over. Steven seemed to flop into the seat, his long legs stretched out in front of him.
“I’ll bite you in a minute,” Isabella stated to William, nudging him with her elbow.
“Promise?” He asked her with a smirk crossing his face.
“Oh god,” Sophie groaned, shaking her head so that her short blonde hair brushed against her shoulders. The last time I had seen her, her hair was much longer. “Please tell me this isn’t going to happen for the entire train ride.”
“I can assure you, that it probably will,” Isabella stated, turning to wink at William. I couldn’t help but watch them. I knew that they were mainly doing it because it was annoying Sophie, but Isabella’s confession last night at mine couldn’t help but run through my head. She had told me that she fancied William, but liked the flirting between them too much to act on it. I had been sworn to secrecy, so I would never divulge that information, not even to James.
“You both sicken me.”
“No one’s making you stay,” Steven told her, his voice was quiet, but deep. William nudged his brother and laughed at his words as they both looked at their sister.
“Unluckily for me, there’s no one else to talk to.” Sophie held up her hand to swear at her brothers.
“Why don’t you go and talk to Rebecca? I saw her skulking around,” Steven stated, and the mention of the name had my stomach squirming unpleasantly.
“That bitch isn’t my friend,” Sophie shot back angrily. “She tried to hit on my boyfriend.”
“The one that you were cheating on?” William asked, James had wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me closer so that I was leaning against him. The rest of us in the carriage were silent as we watched the siblings fighting amongst each other. I knew better than to get involved in it.
Sophie rolled her eyes. “He cheated on me first with that cow. I just got my revenge.”
Steven frowned, a look of disgust across his face as he pushed a hand through his extremely messy bed hair. “You got revenge by sleeping with our neighbour? Surely you can’t have been that desperate.”
“Speaking of desperate, remember when you hit on Nikolos Demarcus?” William asked. Sophie actually did kick him this time.
“I thought I told you to never bring that up again,” Sophie hissed dangerously. William cradled his leg, but didn’t look sorry for what he had said.
“You tried to hit on Nikolos?” Isabella asked intrigued, she was actually leaning forwards in her eagerness to hear more about what had happened. William was staring at her in confusion over why she was so interested. I had to admit that I was just curious because of what I had heard Sian and Isabella gossiping about. “When? I thought he left halfway through his seventh year?”
“I saw him at a party over Christmas.” Sophie gave a shrug as though it wasn’t important, although there was a slight red tinge to her cheeks. “I was drunk, so was he. I went to kiss him and he told me that he had a boyfriend, but he was flattered.”
“I was there,” William stated after laughing at what his sister had said. “His exact words were, ‘please leave me alone, you’re the wrong gender’.”
“No it wasn’t, don’t be an idiot.” Sophie snarled at him.
“Why is everyone so obsessed with Nikolos Demarcus anyway?” William asked, looking at Isabella and waiting for her answer.
“Let me see,” Isabella pretended to think, a smirk playing across her lips. “The tattoos, the piercings, the Mediterranean good looks. Should I go on?”
“Yes,” I said before I could stop myself. I threw my hand over my mouth as everyone turned to look at me. James had stopped playing with my hair and was waiting for me to say something else. “I didn’t meant it like that. He just sounds like he could be a good character, that’s all. Oh, look, Snowball wants to get out of his cage.”
“Am I going to need to get tattoos and piercings?” James asked quietly after a while of very awkward silence.
“Maybe a leather jacket as well,” Isabella stated. I was trying to hide my face with my hair as I fumbled with the door on Snowballs cage. I can’t believe I had just said that.
When I pulled Snowball out of his cage, I sat him on my lap and began petting him. Trying not to think about how James hadn’t put his arm back around me.
“This is hilarious,” William stated and I finally glanced up at him. “Come on, James. Abi isn’t going to run off to find Demarcus and be with him instead.”
“I don’t want to run off with Nikolos,” I tried to assure the room, turning around to look at James and being terrified of what James would do. He was glaring at William, but turned to look at me. The glare melted off of his face and was replaced with a grin, he leant forwards and kissed me, his hands cradling my face as his lips moved against my own.
It was the kind of kiss that took my breath away, that made me forget how to breathe, that made me forget everything including my own name. James pulled away and I took in a deep breath as my eyes fluttered open again.
“Do you have to do that here? It’s not like Nikolos is waiting in the darkness to steal Abigail away from you,” Sophie stated, and I felt the blush creeping across my face at the realisation that we had done that in front of everyone. I bit my lip as I leant back onto the seat, James’ hand laying on my thigh, his fingers running gently over the material of my jeans.
“Well, if he was, he now knows that Abigail is taken.” I heard William state as I turned to look at him. I realised that Snowball had left my lap and had gone to take refuge on Steven’s, who seemed quite happy stroking him.
Isabella and Sian were talking animatedly to each other about their holidays, both of them laying across Sian’s bed as Sian told us about her holiday abroad. I spoke a few times, to give them my own input, but otherwise kept quiet as I lay on my own bed. I was feeling tired from the long train ride, and wanted to go to sleep, but we had dinner soon and I was feeling hungry.
Michelle was in the room with us, pointedly ignoring us as she put her things away, but I would catch her shooting dark looks in Isabella’s direction, who would just roll her eyes. I wanted to snap at her to stop being so childish, but I found myself holding my tongue, especially when her dark looks would come my way. The silence between us was something that I hated, It was exactly like we used to be when Michelle would fall out with me and I was expected to be the one to apologise. I felt the need to do it now, a reflex that had been manipulated into me over years of our supposed friendship, that I struggled to ignore. I couldn’t forgive her for what she had done.
Around seven we all made our way to the Great Hall, not in a rush as our common room was close and Michelle followed behind us slowly. I couldn’t help but think that she was up to something, especially when she chose to sit near us and next to Freya Jackson in the year below, engaging her in conversation. I had no idea when they had started talking to each other.
“How many times did you meet up with William over the holidays?” Sian stated, bringing me out of my thoughts on Michelle.
“Not that many times,” Isabella replied with a shrug and a coy smile across her face. “Just a handful. His dad is hilarious, I think I may love him.”
I grinned at her words, excited about when I would be able to meet Duncan properly, especially after everything that I had heard about him from James, William, and now, Isabella.
“Oh, we also saw Ethan Richards,” Isabella stated, and I could sense Michelle sitting up just a little straighter at her words. I told myself that I wouldn’t look at her, focusing on Isabella as she spoke.
“Where did you see him?” Sian asked a little louder as the chatter in the Great Hall rose, with the rest of the students filing in. I glanced up but couldn’t see James or William, but I did see Steven’s head above most of the others, he headed over to the Gryffindor table.
“We met him near his house. William wanted to meet up with him and dragged us all along with him, he’s actually quite a cool person. I know he’s got that angry look on his face all the time, but I think that’s just his resting bitch face.”
I snorted at her words, covering my nose and mouth with my hand in embarrassment. Sian and Isabella turned to look at me in amusement.
“Sorry,” I apologised, dropping my hand as the noise in the hall quietened down so that Headmaster Flitwick could talk to us. I dropped my voice as I leant closer to her to speak. “Resting bitch face?”
“It’s when your normal face looks like you want to hurt or kill someone,” Isabella told me.
“Like your face all the time,” Sian whispered with a laugh. Isabella responded by slapping her lightly on the arm.
I smiled at the ease that they both joked around each other, without the fear of hurting the others feelings because they knew their friend so well. I wished that Michelle and I had had that kind of friendship, maybe none of this would have happened between us? When I looked at her, she was glaring at me as though I had stabbed her in the back. A feeling of hurt filled me as she sneered and turned away.
I tried to push down the need to apologise to her, and instead focused on the words that our headmaster was speaking, but the only things I heard were that our Apparition lessons had been late because the instructor had developed a small case of Dragon Pox, but they were starting in the next few days.
“Why were you so preoccupied during dinner?” James asked me as we walked slowly around the field. He had found me after dinner and asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him before our curfew.
I gave a small shrug and felt his hand tightening in my own. “I just struggle a bit with not speaking to Michelle. I keep feeling like I should be apologising to her so that she stops hating me. It’s something that I’ve done for so long, even if I don’t need to apologise. I don’t like the idea of someone hating me.”
James let go of my hand and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, placing a kiss on the top of my head as he pulled me to him.
“Noone could hate you, Abigail, you’re too cute and adorable,” he told me and I grinned stupidly at his words.
“You have to say things like that, you’re my boyfriend,” I said quietly, wrapping my arms around him and leaning my head on his chest as we stopped walking.
“And you’re my girlfriend. You’re also the nicest, sweetest, and best looking girl that I know.”
I buried my face into his chest to hide the blush as my stomach flip-flopped at his words. My grin was wide and I moved my head up to place a kiss on his cheek.
He turned his face to try and capture my lips with his own, but we were interrupted by someone yelling across the field.
I barely had time to move away from James before a small dark skinned teenager came running at us, jumping into James’s arms and hugging him tightly. Her hair was sticking out wildly, and looked really soft and bouncy.
“Roxanne,” James said happily, and I realised that it was his cousin Roxanne Weasley. James hugged her for a few more moments before letting go of her. Roxanne smiled widely at him, before turning to face me, she took a step forwards and held her hand out to me.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Abigail,” she said happily, her tone friendly as I shook her hand.
“You too, Roxanne,” I replied. James laughed as he put his arm back around me and looked down at his cousin.
“What’s up, Roxilocks?” James asked, his hand reaching out to mess up his cousin’s already wild hair. She pulled away from him and shot him a look as she tried to smooth it back.
“Don’t James, I lost my hair band and I can’t fix this,” Roxanne told us with a groan. She turned to me and reached out to touch one of my curls, pulling it gently so that it bounced when she let go of it.
“I wish my hair was like this, instead of the frizz bomb that I have,” she grumbled.
“It’s not normally like this,” I told her, even though I wished that it was. “Isabella curled it for me last night.”
“it’s really pretty.”
I felt my cheeks heating up at her compliment. “Thank you.”
“Are you busy? I want to go for a run,” Roxanne said, turning to James and bouncing up and down on the spot as she spoke. “I ate a lot of sherbert earlier and I need to burn off some energy.”
James rolled his eyes, as though this was a very big inconvenience for him. “I suppose I could be persuaded. Did you wanna join us Abigail?”
I laughed at the joke, before realising that they were being serious. “Oh, you don’t want to see me running. I give up after a few steps and need to sit down.”
James and Roxanne both laughed. “Do you mind if I go for a run with Roxanne?”
I was amazed that he asked me, he really didn’t need to.
“Oh, er, yeah I can see you tomorrow in Muggle Studies,” I told him with a nod, I could work on my comic if I went back now.
“I’m sorry I cut our walk shut for my crazy cousin,” James stage whispered to me, and Roxanne shoved him in the shoulder, causing him to laugh.
“Oi! I am not the crazy one, that’s Hugo. I was voted the least crazy member of our family,” Roxanne grumbled, shaking her head and pointedly turning away from us to give us some privacy to say goodbye. James gave me a quick kiss goodbye, before kissing the tip of my nose which made me giggle.
“I really like you, Abigail,” James whispered, and my heart sky rocketed as he moved away from me and walked over to his cousin. He pushed her in the back and she stumbled forwards before attempting to run after him to shove him back.
I watched them run off before walking back to the castle, heading towards the Hufflepuff Den.
I really liked him too. Quite a lot.
A/N: I would love to know what you all thought of this chapter! I have the rest of this planned, so woo! :D
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