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Chapter 15 : the usual atticus
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“Wilderson,” barked Augustine, our Professor. “What did I just say?”
My head flew up as soon as I heard my surname, and I stared at him in bewilderment.
“You don’t know, do you? Too busy chatting,” he snapped, striding towards me. “Tell me, Wilderson, what is the third listed symptom of Human Transfiguration Syndrome?”
“Weakening of the spine,” muttered Jasmine under her breath.
“Weakening of the-”
“Nice try, Wilderson, but I heard Azalea whispering it to you. Detention, tomorrow evening.”
My mouth gawped open with the utter injustice of it all but he turned around before I could protest, and when he was out of earshot, Jasmine turned back to me again.
“What a prick,” she said, rolling her eyes. “He gave Ruddy and Louis a month’s worth of detention just for drawing on his desks. I suppose they were drawing his head shaped like a penis, but still... Talk about oppression of the media! It's like Communist China up in here!”
I smirked. "Scotland's very own Chairman Mao,” I said, flicking my hair over my shoulder. “Okay, so let’s see… Ivy Pewter-Lyons. Will definitely end up as some elite Ministry wife.”
“Throwing dinner parties for the Potters and the Minister,” added Jasmine, ticking her name off our list. She had stolen Parker Wills- the Gryffindor girl prefect for our year, but God knows how she was chosen- complete list of the sixth year class of 2024, and we had been spending the past week of Transfiguration using our A (Jasmine) and E (me)’s grades at Divination to predict their future in ten years’ time.
“Oh look,” said Jasmine, running her finger down the list. “Your future brother in law is up next.”
“Who else?” she giggled, nudging me in my elbow. “High-ranking Healer, maybe something else too.”
“What, like a night job?”
“Like a Professor at Healer school, you retard. Also, the best man at yours and James’ wedding. Actually, maybe that would go to Alfie Ronson.”
“No, he’ll be passed out by the end of cocktail hour.”
“Who said we’d have a cocktail hour?”
“Who said you were going to get married? You’re not even official yet,” she said, smirking at me.
I rolled my eyes, and we both buried our heads into our parchment as Augustine passed us again. As soon as he left, I turned to Jasmine.
“I just have no energy for this subject anymore,” I said, hastily packing my parchment and quills into my bag as the bell rang above us. “They say to live without regrets, so obviously they, whoever they are, haven’t spent two hours with Augustine-”
“Queen of banter, over here,” said Jasmine drily, as we walked out of the classroom. “I’m just so happy that’s my last lesson for today, the rest of the girls are busy and I’m going to have the dormitory all to myself.”
“I’m so jealous,” I sighed, as we turned down a corridor. “I- oh, hey.”
James and Freddie were walking down the crowded corridor, and James grinned as he saw me.
“Hey,” he said, putting his arm around me. Hearing his voice made my heartbeat speed up and my spine tingle, and having his body so close to mine made my breathing irregular.
“Hi,” I said, as he leaned his head on top of mine.
“Jasmine Azalea,” drawled Freddie, winking at her. “What a pleasure.”
Jasmine snorted. “Mm, it is. Anyway, I’ve got to go.”
“Nice speaking to you,” he quipped, and Jasmine tossed her hair over her shoulder.
“The pleasure is all yours,” she said, and she flounced away after squeezing my arm in good-bye.
I watched her walk away, and then turned to James.
“How was Mermish?” I asked, regarding the oral he had sat this morning.
He shrugged, and ruffled a hand through his hair. “Not great. It’s partner work, and I was paired with Alexander Boot, so obviously I looked like a halfway idiot next to him.”
“Come off it,” said Freddie, punching James playfully. “You know you did well.”
“Mm, true. Anyway. How’s your day been?”
“Shit,” I said, all ready to go on a rampage about Professor Augustine. “Transfiguration may just be the biggest regret of my life-”
“Hang on,” said James, sounding distracted. “Did I set Quidditch practise for today?”
Freddie snorted. “Did you forget?”
“Oh shit. I probably should set up. Speak later, Wilderson,” said James, kissing me on my forehead. Freddie winked at me in his classic Freddie Weasley way, and the two were off as soon as they came.
“Snog, marry, avoid,” said Aspen, throwing an ancient snitch at me, “Longbottom, Slughorn, Augustine.”
“Obviously snog Longbottom,” I said, wrinkling my nose as I thought about it. “Um… Marry Slughorn, avoid Augustine.”
“Are you joking? Augustine is way fitter than Slughorn. I would avoid that Potions wanker like the bubonic plague,” said Oscar, sounding disgusted.
“Yeah, well, I’m a personality over looks kinda girl,” I said, and Aspen laughed.
“Yeah,” said Oscar, nodding passionately. “That’s why you’re dating James Sirius Potter.”
“We’re not dating,” I said, throwing Aspen’s snitch at Oscar’s head, and he shot me an aggravated look as it bounced off his head. I had been saying that for so often now, it was beginning to sound like a soundbite- Effy “We’re Not Dating” Wilderson. Has an unfortunate ring to it.
“So then what are you doing?” asked Liam, crossing his arms and looking interested.
“Liam, you’re such a gossip,” said Oscar, smirking. “I love it.”
“Oh sod off. Mikey’s writing some essay and Declan’s off with Cecelia Keegan.”
“Since last month. How did you not know? They’re practically joint at the hip.”
“I don’t know make a habit of caring about anybody else apart from me,” said Oscar, and we all laughed out loud at that, because Oscar was one of the biggest gossips in our year.
“They’re just seeing each other,” said Aspen, answering for me. We were sharing an armchair in the Ravenclaw common room, as the day was coming to an end. Liam had joined Oscar and me in a game of Exploding Snap a half hour ago, and we stopped once we realised the dirty looks we were attracting from our snobby housemates. And then Aspen joined us five minutes ago, eager for a distraction from her Ancient Runes homework.
“Why don’t you make it official?” asked Liam, interested.
I shrugged. “I’m really not that bothered.”
“Liar,” said Oscar, pointing at me theatrically. “You are so bothered. Elizabeth Jane Wilderson, don’t you even try to pull that over me-”
“Alright! Fine!” I said, putting my hands up in surrender. “Is this the KGB or something?”
“Darling, I’m too capitalist for that.”
Liam laughed, and Aspen turned to me.
“I just can’t get over that you’d rather marry Slughorn over Augustine. You know marry includes having sex, right? Augustine would be so good in bed, don’t you think?”
“So true!” cried Liam earnestly, and we all turned to him.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, and pulled on his tie. “I’m going to go find Mikey,” he muttered. “Go do guy stuff. Fuck some girls, kick about some football. You know.”
“Oh darling, don’t go,” said Oscar, as Aspen and I laughed. “I have so much to teach you!”
We laughed at Liam’s retreating back, and I yawned, just as Danny Alton approached us.
“Hey Effy,” he said, leaning against Oscar’s armchair. Aspen beamed at him happily, and Oscar snorted at her reddening cheeks. “I just booked the pitch for tomorrow night, six to eleven.”
“That’s so much longer than usual!”
“I know,” he said, apologetically. “Semi-finals, you know the drill. In fact, actually, I can’t remember if I booked it for the rest of the week, or just tomorrow. Shit- the match is next week this Saturday…”
“Do you want me to check for you?” I said, getting up and stretching.
“That would be so helpful, Effy. Thanks,” he said, looking surprised. “You’ve actually been quite helpful recently, haven’t you?”
“Well,” I said, tossing my hair over my shoulder. “I’m just trying to do my best for the team.”
He grinned at me, and patted me on the shoulder. “Appreciate it.” I watched him run off to his group of Seventh Year friends, as Oscar and Aspen looked up at me.
“I’m just trying to do my best for the team,” Oscar mimicked, as Aspen laughed.
“Fuck off,” I said, ruffling his hair. “Danny’s in charge of selecting who’s going to replace him next year, and I need Quidditch Captain, especially since McGonagall won’t let me start up a Feminist Society.”
That was annoying. I had approached her last month with Eve Feltham, the Hufflepuff Quidditch Captain in my year and another earnest feminist, proposing to run the society every Tuesday lunchtime, but McGonagall wearily turned it down, saying if she let Feminist Society go on, she would have to permit SPEW, and she didn’t want even more grey hairs than her age permitted, thank you very much.
“See you in a bit,” said Aspen cheerfully.
I laughed, and walked away, as Oscar and Aspen started discussing Slughorn against Augustine again, and I left the common room with Aspen’s passionate voice advocating personality over physique, and Oscar’s juicy laugh as he called her a hypocrite.
The castle was pretty empty, but it wasn’t quite past curfew yet. I passed a small huddle of smaller girls by the library and a few prefects starting their patrols early, giving me disapproving looks, for whilst it wasn’t nine pm yet, I was treading on thin ice.
I was never a stickler for the rules. I suppose I was in lower school, when you think every detention further increases your likelihood of spending your twenties in Azkaban, but I got over all of that in Fourth Year when Aspen, Oscar and I befriended Mikey and Liam, the duo passionate in their stance against rules they found unnecessary.
It was weird thinking about Mikey, as I walked through the darkening school, dimly lit by fire brackets on the stone walls. I was fully aware that he was taking eleven NEWTs, but it seemed that only now his workload had caught up on him. I hadn’t seen him recently: Oscar and Liam kept me casually updated that he was in the library, or in their dormitory working. Whenever I did see Mikey, dark circles surrounded his eyes, and his skin looked dry and pale.
A tremor of guilt fluttered within me, and I made a mental note to check up on him. I suppose I would see him tomorrow at Quidditch practise- Mikey and I only shared Defence together as a class, and even then we sat far away from each other.
Mikey Lancaster possessed my thoughts as I made my way to the Quidditch changing rooms. The appointment book was magically charmed a few years ago, rendering it and its appointments immune to tampering with or removing, and it sat permanently in the Captain’s changing room, right on the desk table.
I walked into the empty changing rooms, the fluorescent lighting making my eyes water as it contrasted against the dark surroundings of the rest of the castle. The room stunk of boys’ deodorant and sweat.
The appointment book lay open, and Danny was right, the next week wasn’t booked. I picked up a pen, and was about to doodle in Ravenclaw, Daniel Alton into the evening margins, when the door closed behind me.
“Effy,” said a surprised voice.
I spun around guiltily, and saw James standing there. My heart skipped a bit. It sounds horrendous- cliche, trashy, borderline vulgar, all those romance stereotypes I used to scoff at- but as I stared at him, dripping wet, in nothing but a towel around his waist, adrenaline rushed through my core, and my breathing stopped momentarily.
I could see his sculpted arms, chest, stomach.
“Hi,” I said, entranced by him.
We had never been this intimate before, as we stood there, a metre away from each other. His hair was sticking to his scalp, and droplets of water dripped off his body. He was so toned, so sculpted. I felt like a limp insect, as he smirked at me.
“What are you doing?” he asked, tightening his towel.
“Nothing,” I said quickly. He raised his right eyebrow at me, and I clarified. “Booking the pitch for Danny.”
“Have you already pencilled it in?” he asked, walking towards me.
“Good,” he said, snatching the pen from my fingers. “I was just about to do that.”
He reached for the appointments book, and I jumped on top of it, my bottom covering the pages perfectly. He looked surprised, and then seriously annoyed, as I crossed my arms and smirked at him.
“Are we going to have an argument over this?” he asked.
“I hope not,” I said, crossing my legs and folding my arms tighter. “Pencil, please.”
He tilted his head and looked at me for a moment, as I pretended to look concerned with my nail beds. Then he smirked, and put his hands on his hips, totally conscious of the fact he was naked under his tatty white towel.
“Wilderson,” he said, softly. “Get off the book.”
“Potter,” I replied, uncrossing my legs and leaning forwards towards him. “I just don’t think I’m going to do that.”
“Five points from Ravenclaw,” he said, in his same tone of voice.
“Bringing out the big guns, huh?” I said, twirling a strand of hair around my finger.
“Ten points from Ravenclaw.”
“I hope you’re having fun,” I said, as he approached even closer. “I could sit here all night.”
“So could I,” he said, smirking.
“You’re wet and naked,” I said, intimidating his smirk right back. “I, on the other hand, used the toilet twenty minutes ago.”
“Looks like I’m going to have to remove you by force,” he said, drawing even closer. His body was so close to mine, I could feel the damp heat radiate on him, and my heart was beating at a hundred miles per hour. My breathing was jagged, and my cheeks were red.
“Looks like it,” I said, and he put his hands on the table as I leaned away from him. His legs touched my knees, and his face was above mine, as he looked down at me. My hair cascaded down, and I could feel it touch the table beneath me.
“Elizabeth Wilderson,” he breathed, and I looked up into his vivid brown eyes. “Get off the table. Let me book the pitch for the week. Come on now.”
He pushed harder against me, and I felt my legs buckle, as they slid around him, encompassing his thighs as he leaned into the table. His thick arms pressed against my willow limbs, but I smirked up at him.
“I swear to God, James Potter, you can try to intimidate all you like, but I am not moving.”
“What do I have to do to get you to move?” he said, and I wondered if he was as aware of my fragmented breath as I was.
“I could break up with you.”
“We’re not even official,” I said, biting the bottom of my lip as I smirked up at him.
“True,” he mused. “Let’s go out then.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Be my girlfriend, Wilderson.”
I pushed my face further towards him, tired of leaning back, tired of him pushing into my personal space. But he didn’t move back- if anything, we were as close as we could be without touching, stuck in this weird tango on a Tuesday night in the Quidditch Captain’s room.
“I’m serious,” he breathed, smirking into my mouth. “You’re right. Let’s make this official.”
“Let’s make it official after you give me the pen,” I said, raising my eyebrow.
“Well,” he said, shrugging. “Since you’re not my girlfriend- my nothing, really-”
“What a title. How about you laminate it? I could hang it up in my dormitory.”
“-I have no obligation to consider your feelings regarding this,” he mused. “I mean, if we were dating, I would feel guilty about this all.”
“You must be feeling quite cold, Potter,” I said, ignoring him. “I can feel the dampness. Aren’t you simply desperate for the toilet? I always am, after a shower. Go on, James. It’s fine. Sometimes we lose battles-”
He pushed further into me, and pulled the appointment book closer towards the curb of the table, with my body riding on top of it. My legs were fully circling his naked torso.
None of my skin was actually touching his, and yet my body felt on fire.
“Wilderson,” he said, pushing further into me. I looked right into his dark brown eyes, and noticed the flickers of gold and green dotted around his iris. My head collided with his neck, and I could smell the clean scent of his shower gel and soap.
Suddenly he picked me up by my thighs, hoisted me right up onto him, my legs clutching onto his lower torso for total support. I was completely off the ground. The appointment book was left ignored beside us as he gently pushed me into the wall beside us.
My arms held onto his neck, clutching his hair. My legs gripped his body as his hands grabbed my thighs. We were kissing like we had never kissed before, like I had never kissed anyone before. His hot, damp body was pressed up against my school uniform, and my hands moved from his neck to cup his face. Everything became messy and hot. He started to unbutton my blouse as he pressed even more into me.
Suddenly we were on the floor, a tangle of limbs and heat. He held my bum as I sat on top of him, and we were kissing like it was a competition.
I lay between his legs, my head on his chest as he leant against the captain’s desk, his arms circling mine, the tips of his fingers drawing circles on my wrists. His towel was still hanging loosely on his hips, and my hair was damp and warm as it lay plastered against his equally moist chest, curling down around my unbuttoned school blouse, cascading down both our bodies.
“So both our dads were Gryffindor Quidditch captains?”
“Well I wouldn’t make something like that up,” I said, watching the blackness of the night outside the windows opposite us.
“I’m not saying you’d make it up,” he said quite sharply, and I looked up at him and touched his jaw.
“I know, James, I was joking. Go on with what you were saying.”
“I’ve forgotten it.”
“Are you sulking?” I said, turning around and grinning. “Oh James, you are eighteen years old-”
“Shut up,” he said, a sheepish grin emerging on his face. His hair was seriously all over the place, and I found it weirdly attractive. “No but seriously, I forgot. It probably wasn’t that interesting anyway- but I suppose you find everything interesting- Wilderson! That’s not very nice!”
He had caught my wrist as I was about to hit him, laughing at my pretend scowl. I had told him that History of Magic was my favourite subject that evening, and he didn’t believe me.
“History of Magic’s just taught really badly here,” I moaned. “How can you not find history interesting?”
“Yeah, I mean history’s interesting,” said James, as I lay back into his warm chest, feeling his bare skin against my cheek as he started stroking my hair. “But wizarding history is so repetitive. Haven’t you noticed? And it’s literally just of magic as a science, not as a people who use the magic.”
“You sound like one of those Hogwarts bashers down in London.”
“Oh, they’re fucking crazy. My aunt Hermione’s constantly getting Howler hate from them. I’m surprised you haven’t joined them.”
“Just because I’m a feminist, doesn’t mean I’m an anarchist-”
“But if the establishment is patriarchal- and you’re against the patriarchy- then really, Wilderson, you are advocating anarchy-”
“Anarchy’s against all establishments in general, not just the Western male dominated ones-”
“Actually, right now there are more women on Wizengoamot than men-”
“Yeah I know, but female goblins still aren’t allowed to work in Gringotts-”
“Are you talking about goblins? You’ve just killed my boner.”
I laughed, and heard my voice ring through the small room coated in trophies and cupboards and the ratty green carpet underneath us. I wondered if the colour green was some weird bias towards Slytherin.
“Oh shit,” I said, noticing the clock tucked into the corner of the room. “It’s so past curfew. Aspen and Oscar’ll be wondering where I am.”
“They’ll probably assume you’re with me.”
James drew me in closer to him. “So annoying that you have friends that care about you.”
“Oh ha ha ha. Do yours just drag you along for the surname?”
He laughed. “No, you idiot, I was talking about Dahlia. Her and her friends never stop bitching about each other. It drove me crazy.”
“Jasmine and her dorm friends are like that-”
“All Gryffindor girls are like that. Lily- my sister- and her mates too. But they’ll find out and fight about it for a week before, oh God, having the biggest confrontation in the common room. They always make up, it’s so annoying.”
“You’re just pissed because the attention’s off you and Freddie,” I said, yawning. And to my surprise, he agreed.
“Yeah, I suppose. I think I’m better about it now than I was last year. Freddie’s still kicking off about pranks and stuff, but I don’t know. I think I’m pretty much over it all.”
I gently pulled myself off him, and rose from the floor, offering my hand to the sheepish looking messy-haired boy- man- leaning against a desk in nothing but a towel.
“Take my hand,” I said, almost shaking it in his face.
“Go out with me,” he said, getting up himself, cupping my chin in his big, coarse hand.
I looked into his brown eyes, and then at his thick eyebrows, his set jaw. His sharp cheekbones, his straight nose, his ruffled hair. His broad shoulders and his slanting collarbones, the small freckles on his nose.
His temporary state of vulnerability, the undying confidence that was so weaved into his subconcious being. The way he tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear as we stood there.
“Okay,” I said, nodding. And then he raised his eyebrow, and I let go of the massive beam I was trying to play off in an attempt of nonchalance.
He smirked, and placed his hands on his hips. He tightened his towel, and looked over at the appointments book.
“Alton can take Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll take Friday and Saturday morning,” he said, as he strode over to the table and wrote it in. “Saturday morning is longer hours than weekday evenings, but that makes up for the first hour lost on sleepy behaviour.”
“Sick one,” I said, yawning, as he walked out of the room, my heart rate throbbing at a gazillion miles per hour, whispers of the conversation buzzing through my head, my skeleton, my core.
“Hey,” I said, sliding down next to Mikey, as he sat alone reading the morning’s Prophet in the quiet common room. Morning sunlight filled the circular room in fragments of weak sun and golden shades, and the smell of the impending summer loitered through the opened windows.
He looked up and smiled at me. “Hey Eff.”
“I haven’t seen you around in ages,” I said, stifling a yawn.
He shrugged. “Actually studying for eleven NEWTs isn’t as glamorous as it sounds at family gatherings.”
“Mm. We have Quidditch practise tonight.”
“I might drop Quidditch,” he said, and my eyes widened in shock.
“I have so much work-“
“Mikey!” I cried loudly, and several Third Years looked over at us. “You can’t drop out of Quidditch! Look- you’re doing Magical Creatures at NEWT level. Tell me that is more important than Quidditch.”
He shrugged, and yawned. “I don’t know.”
“And anyway, you’re a shoo-in for the Captain spot next year-”
“Really? I always thought you would get it. Alton definitely trusts you over me.”
His voice sounded weary and his face was devoid of its usual expressions that Liam and I would impersonate in the changing rooms, and he would laugh, telling us it was a sign of character.
“You’re over-working yourself,” I said, rubbing my thumb on his hand. “You don’t need to be doing all this- maybe drop a few, you only need eight NEWTs for that Parisian university you were talking about, right-”
He ruffled the back of his hair, and nodded. “I don’t know. Flitwick wants to see me this afternoon so I suppose I can discuss it with him then.”
“Good,” I said, smiling, absent-mindedly drawing circles on his ink-stained palms. He was about to open his mouth when across the room from us, Oscar came running down the stairs with the impact of an elephant, running straight to us.
“Effy!” he said excitedly. “You and James!”
“What?” said Mikey, tilting his head as he looked at me.
I grinned at Oscar, and tucked my feet up under my thighs. “Yeah.”
“Tell me all about it,” said Oscar, waving his wand to summon an armchair. He sat down on it and beamed, his chin propped up by his hands.
“I thought Aspen said she owl’ed you.”
“Yeah, but her handwriting is a joke,” he said, dismissing her signature scrawl with a wave of his hand.
“What?” repeated Mikey, turning towards me.
“James asked me to be his girlfriend last night,” I said, turning to Mikey, although I wish I didn’t, because his eyebrows furrowed slightly and his nose crinkled and I knew, after six years of putting up with Michael Lancaster, that he was not impressed.
“I’m going to breakfast,” said Mikey, rising from his chair, tucking his newspaper under his arm.
“Why?” I asked, as he walked away. “Tell me how your meeting with Flitwick goes!”
He turned around and nodded, and then slipped through the common room door.
I turned to Oscar. “Don’t you think that was so weird?”
“Urgh. Teenage boys,” said Oscar, flicking his hair. “God knows why I’m gay, girls are so much more easier.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Eff, I could write a book about it. A saga, even. Anyway! Tell me everything!”
“And do not forgo any sexy scenes! I am not your mother, Elizabeth- if you omit a single thing I’ll just have to owl James for the details myself!”
And I delved into retelling last night’s events for the second time since then, and completely forgot about Mikey and his ridiculous reaction.
We had Transfiguration again, straight after breakfast, as was the schedule for every Wednesday ever. Professor Augustine was running late, and I stood in a huddle with Jasmine and Oscar, lazily comparing our homework essays from last night
Suddenly, Ruddy Walcott came running up to us, his eyes wild with excitement.
“What?” asked Jasmine, as he began biting his lip, but a grin escaped through anyway.
“You will never guess who I just caught snogging in the Prefect’s toilets,” he said, almost jumping up and down with excitement.
“Oo,” said Oscar, his face lighting up. “Dahlia Moss and James Potter?”
“Hey!” I said, and Jasmine rolled her eyes.
“No,” said Ruddy. “I thought he was with Effy?”
“He is, he’s actually officially her girlfriend-”
“Oh, really? Congrats, Effy-”
“Spit it out!” demanded Jasmine loudly, and the rest of our class turned around to face her.
Ruddy shrugged, hoisting his school bag further up his shoulder. “Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley!”
The corridor fell silent, and the only noise emitted was the sound of clicking shoes on the cold, hard ground.
“Ah! Nice and quiet,” said Professor Augustine, unlocking the door with his wand. “File in please. Let’s keep this level of noise for the whole lesson!”
I assumed that word would catch on and there would be the usual gossip whisperings in classrooms and toilets, but I was not expecting the rest of the day to practically revolve around the duo.
“So I hear,” whispered Ophelia over lunch, “that Ruddy Walcott caught Rose Weasley and Scorpius having sex in the staff room.”
“No way,” said Liam, adamantly. “Declan told me that he caught them in the Shrieking Shack.”
“What an idiot,” said Aspen, breaking apart her piece of lettuce into little pieces as she always did. “What would Ruddy be doing in the Shrieking Shack on a Wednesday morning?”
“I personally have called it since we wound up in St. Mungo’s over the winter holidays,” said Mikey, his usual voice back, the excitement in his eyes returned. “No offence, Az.”
“The only offence I’m taking from this is that he moved on from me to Rose Weasley. Rose Weasley! That emo! Could he not have picked an, I don’t know- model? Or something? Rose Weasley! Oh my God-”
“What happened in St. Mungo’s?” asked Ophelia, curiously.
“Nothing exciting,” said Albus, and I snorted into my stew. “With James and Effy and Scorpius and Rose… When is Poppy Atticus going to let me take her on a date?!”
“Is she going to Louis Weasley’s birthday party next weekend?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Ophelia?”
Ophelia, the resident Hufflepuff in this grouping of sixth years, looked up. “Well, Eve and I are going, so I don’t see why she wouldn’t.”
“I cannot believe you’re talking about Poppy again,” said Aspen, rolling her eyes. “Okay, back to Rose and Scorpius.”
I was walking with Jasmine from lunch to our next lesson, when a loud scattering of low-heeled shoes clanged on the floor behind us. I turned around to see the three other Gryffindor girls in our year Jasmine was close with; Cecelia Keegan, Cornelia Boot and Lucy O’Donnell, running to catch up with us.
“Have you heard about Rose and Malfoy?” asked Cecelia, in her high-pitched voice.
“I know!” cried Jasmine, and Lucy grinned at me. We were Potions partners.
“It’s so scandalous,” said Cornelia, linking arms with Jasmine and me. “We’ve tried to find her all morning, and she is nowhere to be seen!”
“Is that why you weren’t in Potions today?”
“Awh, Eff. Did you miss me?”
“You and Scorpius are my only friends in that class, and neither of you were there!”
“Speaking of which,” said Cecelia, chewing loudly on gum. “I haven’t seen Scorpius all day either.”
“Oh my God,” breathed Lucy, excitedly. “They’ve eloped.”
“No they have not,” said Jasmine, and I laughed. “You can’t get married when you’re sixteen!”
“You can in Ireland,” said Lucy, and Cornelia nodded, as if we needed reassurance. “Oh my God. They’re totally in Ireland getting married.”
“Dude!” said Declan Ainsley, as the five of us turned around the corner, looking up from his conversation with Teddy Oliver. “Rose and Scorpius are so getting it on!”
“Getting it on?” repeated Jasmine, crinkling her nose. “Is this the nineties?”
“Piss off, Azalea. You five fairies having a meeting about Weasley and Malfoy?”
“As if we’d congregate around Rose Weasley,” sneered Cornelia.
“Yeah,” said Cecelia, nodding earnestly. “I still probably have worms in my underwear drawer from when she and Parker Wills thought it would be so funny to take their Magical Creatures assignment into my cupboard.”
“Oi,” hissed a voice behind me in Herbology. It was one of the lessons held after supper, for the plantation we were learning about this week could only be taught properly at eight o’clock in the evening. Apparently.
I turned around, and saw Ruddy and Louis looking in mine and Poppy Atticus’s- my partner- direction. For Herbology this term, we’ve been set partners as opposed to being able to choose them for ourselves, and that may or may not have something to do with Ruddy and Louis managing to blow up half a greenhouse last term.
And yet somehow, the dynamic duo of Hogwarts’ Sixth Year are back, better than ever baby!
“What?” I hissed back, turning around. Outside was dark, but the greenhouse were illuminated by the glowworms within the soil we were digging around in.
“Guess what we heard in the Gryffindor Sixth Year girl’s dorms this afternoon,” said Ruddy, mischievously.
“What were you doing in the girls’ dormitory ward?” asked Poppy, frowning.
“Sexually exploiting women, enforcing the patriarchy, capitalising on your free domestic labour. The usual, Atticus,” said Ruddy, clearly not happy with our lack of interest.
“Go on then,” I said, tiredly. “What did you hear?”
Suddenly, the duo erupted in the loudest sex noises I have ever heard in my entire sixteen years of life. As an individual who hasn’t had sex, I don’t have that much experience regarding the accuracy of it all, but as an individual who grew up watching back to back episodes of Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and similar shows of absolute genius, I can guarantee they sounded sensual enough.
“No way!” said Poppy, her jaw dropping open as they stopped, and the rest of our class turned back to their project, the usual chatter resuming. “Weasley and Malfoy?”
“You betcha!” chirped Ruddy.
“Urgh. As if,” I said. “I’ve been up to the Gryffindor girls’ dorms, and they are so not fit for sex.”
“What do you mean?”
“Underwear, bras, make-up, magazines- everywhere. It’s like backstage at Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Poppy. Absolutely unbelievable.”
“Look,” said Louis, taking his hands out of his pot of soil to point an accusing finger at me. “As somebody who actually has had sex in the Gryffindor girls’ dorms, I can say that you are wrong, Wilderson, with a capital W.”
“Ooo,” I crowed. “A capital? Oh my!”
Longbottom appeared at the door of Greenhouse 4, his hands full with a peculiar turnip-looking species, and dismissed us to a collective sigh of exhaustion and happiness to leave. Eve Feltham, Hufflepuff’s Captain, waited for me by the door, so we could walk from the lesson to the Quidditch meeting together.
“I wish we had time to go clean up at least,” she grumbled, attempting to shake off the dirt caked on her hands and arms, soil deep in her fingernails.
“At least you just have to run your hands under a tap. I have to wash my hair for the second time today.”
“Yeah, I was wondering if you had washed it.”
“Right? You can always tell.”
“So true! I wonder what this meeting is all about.”
“Longbottom said something about the Quidditch World Cup at dinner today,” I said, and we chatted about said upcoming World Cup for the remainder of the ten minute walk, the two of us concluding our discussion with anxious looks as we walked into the meeting room, five minutes late.
“Sorry we’re late,” said Eve. “We came from the greenhouses-”
“Greenhouses?” asked Liam, looking skeptical. “It’s half past eight-”
“Don’t worry,” said Madame Hooch crisply. “We’re just waiting for a few more individuals, and then we can begin.”
Eve walked over to another girl on her team and I slid down next to James, who was sitting with Alfie on a back bench.
“Hey,” I said, and he raised his eyebrow.
“Guh-rass,” I hissed, and he laughed. I watched Ruddy and Louis come in and mutter the same excuse Eve and I offered, and Madame Hooch began talking.
I waited a moment, and then turned to James, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “So did you hear about Rose and Scorpius?”
He snorted. “I’d have to be blind, deaf and studying at Beauxbatons to have missed that.”
“What do you think?” I murmured, looking down at my shoes.
“About fucking time.”
“Yeah, I’ve always had an inkling. Rose is not my favourite cousin, but probably my closest. And Scorpius, of course, is pretty much blonde Al.”
“What about Freddie?”
“Fine. My closest cousin other than Freddie. Do you want to skip this?”
“Do you even have to ask?”
“Ask to use the toilet. I’ll meet you down the corridor in five minutes.”
So I ask if I can be excused, and Madame Hooch, who clearly has no idea who I am as I am not a Weasley, nor have I ever committed a foul (can Seekers even commit fouls?) shoos me out with a flick of her hand, and returns back to her speech. I walk down the corridor until the classroom door is practically unseeable, and I wait there for two minutes or three, perhaps four.
Suddenly, I feel something nip at my waist, even though the corridor is completely empty. I spin around in panic and a pair of hands held me at my hips, and I scream as James appears out of nowhere, half his body floating, half his body concealed.
“Fuck you, James Potter,” I half snap, half laugh, breathing heavily and hitting him on the chest.
But then he’s disappeared again, and I’m not an idiot, I know it’s an invisibility spell of some sort- but as I squint my eyes in the dim candle lighting, I can’t make out any tell-tale signs of the enchantment’s faint shadows.
His invisible arm pulls me into a body I can only feel, and a burst of laughter escapes my attempted look of contempt.
“Hey,” he said, suddenly only his face and neck appearing, like some sort of ghost. I look down at his neck, and notice a ripple of fabric gleaming silver in the light.
“Is this an invisibility cloak?” I ask, stroking the crease of the silky fabric. He smirks and I pull it down slightly, and his shoulders are revealed. “Amazing. It’s so fluid. Where did you get this?”
“It’s my dad’s,” he said, taking it off all together, his body reappearing. “I stole it from his office when I was twelve, and Freddie and I’ve been using it ever since.”
“You absolute prick,” I said, awed, as I admired the light, shimmering quality of the fabric it took form in once off his body. “Is that how your crime and punishment scale remains so unbalanced?”
“Now come on,” he said, as we walked away from the meeting room. “It’s not just down to this old rag. Years of bribery, skill, cunning and- well, just simple, effective charisma.”
“Yeah, like if I have to hear the Fourth Years I tutor discuss whatever recent shenanigan you’ve pulled off one more time-”
“You tutor Fourth Years?”
“Lucas Cohen in the year above- well, your year- set up an inner-house mentoring system. Except there weren’t enough Ravenclaws seeking tutoring as much as there were students offering it, so he had to expand it to the other houses.”
“Oh shit. Is that what Lily does, then?”
“Maybe. I mean, it’s no big deal. It’s just an hour a week of listening to Fourth Year Gryffindors go to church on their compliments for you and Freddie.”
“So what’s it like dating such a local hero, Wilderson?”
“So what’s it like dating Hogwarts’ most talented Seeker and just overall top notch individual?” I asked, twirling in front of him, walking backwards, curling a lock of hair around my finger because I know it makes him go ever so slightly, kind of, wild.
“I’ll get back to you if I ever find out,” he said, and suddenly grabs my hand with his and pulls me into him, right by some tapestry of Arthurian legend.
“Really? Would you? I would love that,” I said, and he grinned, before kissing me right underneath the depiction of Lancelot and Guinevere. And when I broke apart because I heart footsteps impending on the cold hard floor beneath us, he whisked his invisibility cloak above the two of us, our bodies entwining under the sparkling silver translucence of the material.
“I definitely heard people,” said a voice, slightly muffled by the cloak draped across my head.
“Same,” said another voice.
Prefects, James mouthed, and I rolled my eyes to say well obviously.
“Come out!” said the first voice. “Disillusionment charms only last for a certain amount of time! You won’t fool us!”
James’ arms were still wrapped around my waist, my body still pressed against his, my hands rested lightly on his chest. I could feel the pace of his heartbeat under his thin school shirt, and I looked up at him as he smirked maliciously at me.
“We’ll give you thirty seconds before we perform a revealing counter charm and double your detention,” boasted the first prefect, and through the glimmer of the cloak I could see the two nod excitedly.
“Thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight…”
James started kissing my neck and I had to bite my mouth closed to stop any sound escaping.
“Twenty six, twenty five, twenty four…”
His fingers, rough and yet nimble, bring me in closer to him, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing into his neck as they slipped up my school shirt, the feel of his touch cool on my warm chest, the whole act excitingly- intoxicatingly- naughty, rebellious.
“Nineteen, eighteen, seventeen…”
“Counter charms don’t work on cloaks,” James murmured into my ear. I pressed my body into his roaming hands, too exhilarated to be embarrassed at how little self control I had.
“I know,” I breathed into his collarbone, and his lips came crashing onto mine, as the two prefects’ countdown continued, under the tapestry of Lancelot and Guinevere.
A/N Oh my god! I've had the absolute worst writer's block since I uploaded the last chapter- I knew where I wanted to go and what James and Effy were doing, I just didn't know how to write it- so hopefully this is okay! If not, please let me know! I not only love reviews but I need them as guidance and inspiration for where to go next. And I want to hear what you guys think! Of James and Effy? Of Rose and Scorpius? Of Mikey, Ruddy, Louis... I want to hear everything. Thanks again!!
Also, I don't own Book of Revelation by The Drums, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (Victoria's Secret) nor Desperate Housewives (ABC Studios) or Grey's Anatomy (Shonda Rhimes). After spending a week with my grandma, I've become obsessed. In addition, I by no means own the KGB, which is the Russian secret police. We've been studying European fascism- especially the rise of Stalin and communism in Russia- and look out for some major wannabe Lenin-ists that may or may not be inspired by my <3 <3 <3 for Russian history. Latersss!! xoxoxo
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