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Chapter 16 : unicorn blood
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I looked up at his sharp boned, pale face and smirked. “Market research?”
“Mm. Conducting a survey.”
He dropped his serious tone and laughed, and I smiled at his merriment. It had been exactly a week since James had asked me out, and six days since Ruddy Walcott found Rose Weasley and Scorpius having sex in the prefect’s bathroom. To say Scorpius and Rose were talked about was an under exaggeration, borderline lie; the school was saturated in discussion regarding the two. And to a lesser extent, people were discussing my relationship with Witch Weekly’s most eligible bachelor, but that was more girls’ bathroom gossip and bitchy looks than anything else.
“I mean, she’s really not that pretty,” said a girl, as I tried desperately to remain as quiet as possible to overhear what they were saying. “There are so many hotter girls in her year, let alone the year above.”
“Clarissa thinks she has him under a love potion.”
“No, Dressy told me James Potter got eleven Outstandings in his OWLs, he’s not an idiot or anything.”
“You know? I bet he’s just using her for sex.”
“She’s too skinny to be any good at it- and she’s so flat chested! I have this theory that her thighs are probably really weak from sitting on a broomstick for so long…”
I flushed the toilet, and walked out of the cubicle, straight to the sink. The three girls fell silent, and as I left the room, one of them wondered if I had heard them?
“Are you going to Louis Weasley’s party this weekend?” I asked, reading over my essay, frowning as I realised I had written to conclude two times, distracted by Scorpius’s arrival.
“Of course,” he said, taking out his books and parchment from his bag. “Rose and Parker want to dungbomb it, but I don’t think they will.”
“Dungbomb it? Why?”
“Protest against capitalism or something,” said Scorpius, flicking through his Potions book. “Perhaps the patriarchal society. Rose is also a massive feminist, Effy, maybe you two could talk about it.”
“Mm,” I said smiling, deciding not to add that the last time I spoke to Rose Weasley she called me a fucking fascist.
“What you working on?” he asked, peering over at my side of the desk. “Patronuses?”
I sighed, and ran a hand through my hair. “I still can’t conjure one, and Lewis won’t let me go onto next year until I can.”
Scorpius looked at me sadly. “Bummer.”
“Tell me about it.”
“You’re probably just not thinking about the right thing,” he said, his face lighting up. “I was thinking about Aspen, when I should have been thinking about Rose.”
“Except for those who aren’t engulfed in a love triangle- you know, the rest of society- that just isn’t really a solution, is it?”
Scorpius glared at my sudden rudeness, and I apologised, blaming it on the stress.
“Are you thinking about James?”
“What’s there to think? I like him, but I’m not in love or anything. I barely see him anyway, he’s always working.” It was almost as if he had decided to suddenly care about his school work. Aspen told me I was being unfair, that he’d been taking nine NEWTs long before he even knew me, but I couldn’t shake it off.
“Mm,” said Scorpius, thoughtfully. “Well, sucks to be you.”
He grinned and then looked down at his work, humming the theme song to Scrubs.
It was unusually hot for April, and the skies were wonderfully clear. Vivid azure blue skies turned into pink sunsets and orange wisps of clouds, when then faded into an inky canvas studded with stars. The summery weather distracted me from my work, made me restless, and I wasn’t the only one; people were being drafted up detentions all over the place, the impulsiveness of the upcoming summer making the castle throb with impatience.
“Let’s go do something,” I said to James. “I haven’t seen you since that Quidditch meeting last week.”
“I have exams, Wilderson,” he replied. “I’ll see you at Louis’s seventeenth.”
“It’s a Friday night!”
“Yeah, and I’m going to a party tomorrow night.”
“Everyone’s going down to the lake-”
“Your everyone is going down to the lake. My everyone is working.”
“You’re always getting me to spend time with your friends, can’t you-”
“No,” he said, slinging his bag further up his shoulder. “I’m going to be late for Transfiguration Catch Up, and you know what Augustine’s like. See you later, Eff.”
I crossed my arms in annoyance, as I watched him walk away into the crowded corridor.
“Hey,” said Mikey, walking up to me with Albus. “You coming to the lake?”
My gaze slowly left James’ retreating back, and I turned to the two boys, their usual school bags stuffed with towels.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m going to go find Aspen, I’ll see you down there.”
I found Aspen in our dormitory, where she was preparing not only her duffle bag for the lake, but mine too. She looked up and grinned when she saw me, and said she had cast a charm over the bags to make them look stuffed with parchment and quills, in case Veronica Clearwater was to pop in.
“Clever,” I said, grinning.
She smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “You wearing your bikini under your uniform, then?”
I looked up from inspecting my bag, startled. “What?”
“Your bikini,” she repeated. “Oh come on. It’s like, thirty degrees, we’re going down to the lake.”
“I thought it was only a few of us?”
When Mikey mentioned the lake gathering yesterday, it was only us five- him, Liam, Oscar, Aspen and me- and Albus, Scorpius and Rose, maybe a few Slytherin boys. It was initiated by Scorpius to get his friends to know Rose better, especially Aspen, who he was desperate to make friends with his new girlfriend.
“But then Scorpius invited Ophelia- you know they’re practically brother and sister, what with being the grandchildren of murderers and what not-”
“Funny. Good one, As!”
“Thanks babe- and Ophelia invited Jasmine, who of course invited all her Gryffindor girls-”
“Right? And so wherever the Gryffindor girls go, the Gryffindor boys follow- what is that, animal magnetism or something? And by this time, Declan and Teddy Oliver and that crowd of boys caught on, and of course, Ophelia had mentioned it to her Hufflepuff girls- Poppy, Eve, the usuals. And now it’s a proper little party.”
“Oh really,” I mused, picking up Aspen’s bikini. “I haven’t even brought a swimming costume with me this term. I assumed when the weather got hot I could just owl my mum to send it over.”
“You say it like you only have the one-”
“Well, I do-”
“Luckily for you, I have plenty!” Aspen pointed her wand to her suitcase, and out came a dozen bikinis in varying styles and colours, dancing their way in between us. Aspen Spinelli was forgetful and at times a ditz, but her talent for unspoken spells was above anyone else in the year.
“I like this one,” said Aspen, pointing to a skimpy black piece.
“I shave, but I don’t shave enough,” I replied, and Aspen snorted, dismissing the bikini back into her trunk with a flick of her wand.
I tilted my head as I studied her second suggestion, a scarlet red bikini with thin straps and a triangular bra formation.
“Am I not too pale for red?”
“You’re too pale for anything else. Go change, but slip your uniform back on afterwards. Scorpius told everyone to come down like that to avoid suspicion.”
I decided not to mention there was nothing more suspicious than fifty of so sixth formers with a reputation already of sneaking out of school grounds to go party, congregating around the Black Lake during a heatwave on a Friday night. But as I looked outside, the first glimmers of sunset was setting onto the horizon, and I decided I didn’t want to miss a second of it.
“Hey!” cheered Scorpius, his uniform shed, staggering in a pair of swimming trunks towards us with Albus as we walked down the hill. We had discarded our uniform and stuffed it into our bags when we noticed other people doing the same, a weird collection of various school bags, backpacks, duffle bags and totes clustered around a wide tree stump.
I beamed at Albus, as he kissed me on the forehead, something I noticed he and his brother do with close girl friends of theirs. “You alright, Eff?”
“Hey!” said Aspen cheerfully, knowing she looked like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Bouncy blonde hair, perky boobs, perky bum, flat stomach and long, willow legs? I wasn’t surprised to see Rose Weasley slither up to Scorpius and place her arm through his. Although she was grinning, so that was nice.
“Hi,” she said, her cheeks turning slightly pink.
“Well,” I said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, feeling a bit self conscious in my lack of clothing, even though all around me people were milling about wearing the exact same, basking in the evening’s glorious heat, the evening’s glorious setting sky. “If it isn’t the bitch that’s stealing the limelight away from me. I mean, what is the point of dating a year above if nobody’s talking about it because of you and Scorp?”
Rose laughed, as Aspen, Albus and Scorpius chatted away. “Fuck’s sake, Effy. What’s the point of being caught having sex with the son of your dad’s worst enemy when some bint in your Transfiguration class is dating your cousin?”
“Honestly. We could take over this school on our throne of gossip.”
“We could? How about we should?”
We laughed, and the corners of her eyes creased. Even though her hair was dyed ketchup red, as opposed to the glorious locks of ginger they used to be, Rose Weasley was very pretty, in a girl-next-door kind of way.
“Party time!” yelled a familiar voice, accented with that West London prep boy poshness of somebody who would have gone to Eton, Oxford, Houses of Commons and Prime Minister’s cabinet if he hadn’t received his Hogwarts letter. It was Ruddy Walcott with Louis Weasley, the two charging down the hill with a massive crate of firewhiskey bottles shifted onto their two shoulders.
“Now,” said Rose, her eyes twinkling. “Shit gets interesting.”
A half hour later, almost everyone was either in the lake itself, paddling close to the shore of the specific corner we were situated by; sitting by the lake, legs dangling, talking lazily with bottles of firewhiskey between their fingers; standing in small clusters by the lake, talking loudly, drinking excitedly, dancing wildly to thumping music booming out of a Muggle radio, for we were far away enough from the castle for it to work.
People milled around in bikinis and swimming trunks, every hand holding a bottle of firewhiskey, some a cigarette, a few a joint. Somebody had distributed flower garlands and Scorpius was wearing a plastic crown that Ruddy, from the lake, eyed enviously.
“Hey,” said a voice I recognised, and I looked up from my conversation with Teddy Oliver and Albus, the three of us perched by the lake, our legs dangling in the cool water.
“Hey!” I said, beaming at Mikey. He made to sit down, and I moved closer to Al, as he slipped in between the gap between Cecily Dazenhorst and me.
“Some party,” he commented, tilting his bottle in the direction of the half dozen people in the lake in front of us, engaged in some water fight. The sunset was in full bloom above us, the vivid pink sky streaked with orange clouds with lilac underbellies, reflected perfectly in the clear lake beneath us.
“I’m having fun,” I said, grinning.
“Tipsy. If there’s another party again tomorrow, I don’t see the point in two hangovers.”
Mikey laughed. “That is such you logic.”
“And what does that mean?” I cried, and he laughed again, throwing his head back and grinning to the sky above.
“How you been? I haven’t spoken to you in ages,” I said, placing my hand on his arm. “When did you develop those?”
He looked down at where my hand was touching his bicep, and smirked. “I cannot believe we’ve been playing Quidditch together for three years now and you’ve only just noticed.”
“Oh come off it,” I laughed, brushing my hair over my shoulder. “As if you had those bad lads in Fourth Year.”
“Fuck off,” I said, smiling, and he looked down at me, grinning. The music played on, and the happy buzz of chatter around us- the occasional scream, cry and screech of laughter, the ripple of the water around my legs- engulfed me. I looked up at the pink sky, and down at the lake beneath me, and thought of the infinity the two extremes promised. I thought of everything life had to offer, and how I hadn’t even started yet. School? That wasn’t life. That was practise, baby steps.
“What are you thinking?” asked Mikey. “Drinking always gets you whimsical.”
“I think,” I said, suddenly elated, “I have just found my happy thought.”
“Your- oh, for your patronus?”
I nodded, my lazy smile concealing the ecstasy inside me. “You have your wand?”
“No, but there’s one here,” he said, stretching over and picking one left forgotten on the grass next to him. He handed it to me, and I weighed the unfamiliar wood between my fingertips, stroking the wand with my thumb.
“Expecto patronum!” I cried, pointing the wand into the lake. Those in it shrieked when a big wisp of silver matter erupted, and I was suddenly pelted with water as a punishment. Ruddy and Louis pulled me into the water, as Mikey, to my left, clutched his sides laughing.
I plunged into the cold waters, and resurfaced, my hair sticking to my face and chest.
“Oh my God!” I yelled, and Ruddy winked as Louis told me I couldn’t retaliate, it was his birthday tomorrow. I turned to Mikey, my hands on my hips, as my toes grazed the bottom of the lake under me.
“You’re really not intimidating when your head’s the only thing above water,” Mikey informed me. “You look like a mermaid, good thing you take their NEWT- oh no, Effy, don’t-”
I dragged him in the water and he, being a few inches taller than me, didn’t fall underneath like I did, but gasped as the coldness hit him.
“We are not friends,” he stated, and I laughed, moving back from him, treading water.
“Well then,” I said, grinning. “What are we, Lancaster?”
He opened his mouth and then closed it, and I followed his gaze away from me to the grass beside me, where somebody stood, looming over the two of us.
“James!” I said, beaming. “What happened to Transfiguration?”
“As if we were going to do three hours of late night studying when this was going on,” said Freddie Weasley, grinning devilishly. “Yo, Azalea.”
Jasmine, who was on Louis’s shoulders and dancing along to the music with Cornelia Boot, on top of Ruddy’s shoulders, looked up and grinned. “Weasley.”
“I worked out my patronus!” I told him excitedly. Perhaps I was a bit tipsier than I thought.
James smiled, and squatted, giving me a hand to help him out of the water. He and Freddie were too, in their swimming trunks, and I ignored the looks girls were giving him, him and his sculpted, fatless, toned up chest. “You did, did you?”
I was on ground, and squeezing the water out of my hair. “Yeah, but it wasn’t corporeal.”
“Hey, no,” said James, putting his arm around me, because I was shivering coming out of that cold body of H2O. “That’s fucking great, Wilderson. Let’s celebrate.”
“Oh yeah? How?”
He took two bottles of peach flavoured firewhiskey, my favourite flavour, and banged the bottle tops open by clicking it against the rim of his shorts. He handed me a bottle, and I golfed it down, tipsy becoming drunk 0-100.
The music became louder, and the sky became darker. I noticed bright fairy lights were strung up between trees, and floating fireflies were buzzing around lazily.
“Scorpius is so good at throwing parties,” I said out loud.
James laughed, and shook his head. “Come on, you loser.”
And with his fingers entwined with mine, we left the lake for the growing dance scene by the Muggle radio hanging the low branches of a tree, his half naked body holding mine, my teethy smile and his lopsided smirk soon becoming as tangled in each other as our hands, his glistening chest pressed up against mine.
“Let’s go,” said Aspen, tugging at my hair, as she staggered out of the lake with Liam Finnigan. I was standing in a group with James, Oscar, Declan and Teddy Oliver and his girlfriend Sarah, James’ arm around mine, his fingers lazily playing with strands in my now dry hair.
The sky was a perfect inky black, studded with stars. The air around us was cooler than before, but the alcohol raging through my marrow kept me warm.
I turned away, my smile still on my face. “What’s the time?”
“Way past midnight,” said Liam, and my smile dropped. Every Ravenclaw knew the later it was, the harder the riddle, and there was nothing more embarrassing than the morning walk of shame through the common room to the dormitories after being let in by early bird Second Years.
“Fuck,” I said, and turned to James. “I’ve got to go.”
“Oh, why?” he asked.
“It’s late,” I said, not bothering to explain about the morning common room ritual. Other houses never got it. “Declan, we’re going up. You coming?”
“Oh sure,” he said. “Fuck me, it’s like, half past one. I was only meant to be here for an hour!” Declan always said that he was only meant to stay at parties for an hour or so, I don’t know why. Oscar pointed it out to me last year.r
“I should go find Freddie,” said James, and I smirked as he stifled a yawn. “Night, Wilderson.”
“Night,” I said, as he kissed me on the cheek.
The four of us walked to the tree stump to pick up our stuff, chatting animately about the night.
“I love nights like this,” said Apsen. “I can’t wait for summer, you know?”
“Couldn’t agree more,” I said warmly, linking my arm with hers. Declan started chatting about some Slytherin girl he snogged, when I noticed two figures kissing intensely. If I didn’t recognise the swimming trunks, I would have thought they were having sex.
Mikey and Lucy O’Donnell, my Potions partner? When was that a thing?
“Hey Al,” I said, sitting down opposite him on the Slytherin table in the Great Hall. Students milled about as the week’s glorious sunshine continued into the weekend, the overheard glass ceiling basking the room in fragments of golden shades of sun.
“Hey,” he said, looking up and grinning. It was nine in the morning, but I assumed everyone who was down by the lake last night was still sleeping; Aspen was, spread eagle over her duvet, still wearing her bikini, and Oscar had ended up in our room too, taking up all of my duvet. I woke up freezing. “You alright?”
“Knackered,” I said, reaching for coffee and milk. “I have a one on one with Lewis in a half hour to help me conjure a patronus.”
“I thought you conjured one last night?”
“It was just a wisp,” I said, yawning. “And I was drunk. Anyway. Why are you up this early?”
“I never sleep in late,” he said chirpily. “And Rose stayed over the night, which wasn’t fun, her being, you know, my cousin.”
“Are you not used to it now?” I asked. “Being cousins with every ginger in this school and then some?”
“Not cousins with Poppy Atticus,” he muttered, ruffling the back of his hair. “She still didn’t talk to me last night, even though I was extra charming.”
“I mean,” I said, gulping my mug of steaming coffee down, “maybe she just isn’t straight.”
“No, I asked her that-”
“She’s definitely straight,” he said, looking sheepish as he ruffled the back of his hair. “And definitely not into me.”
“Well,” I said. “If you got married, her name would be Poppy Potter.”
“And what does that have to do with anything?”
“Bit of a shit name-”
“My name is Albus-”
“I’m going to win her over tonight,” said Al, looking inspired. “Yeah. This is going to happen.” He nodded and me and stood up, and I watched him walk out of the Hall, beaming like a raving lunatic. And then I realised that I was sitting alone in the Hall, fully conscious- perhaps paranoid- of the looks, whispers and sniggers from younger girls I glimpsed in the corner of my eye.
I had spent the past two hours with Professor Lewis, the Defence teacher, a dark-skinned man with brilliant white teeth and a slightly crooked nose. He was passionate about the subject, which I appreciated, because I don’t think any other teacher would take two hours out of their Saturday to help a student. Perhaps Slughorn if said student had ginger hair, or I suppose Longbottom, but who would ever need additional help with Herbology?
“People think it’s a memory,” said Lewis, a trace of Nigerian accent coming out with the harshness of his e’s. “But it’s more of a feeling, Miss Wilderson, that the said memory evokes. It is completely understandable if you don’t have a glorified singular memory at this age, Miss Wilderson.”
“So how do you feel happy?”
“Magic isn’t just handwork and potions,” he said, crossing his arms. “It’s about taming your emotions and cultivating the strength from discipline into power. A lot of the more advanced magic is more mind work than actual technique, Miss Wilderson.”
I nodded, and got my wand in position. He smiled at me encouragingly, and I breathed in. I looked out at the cloudless azure blue sky in the window beside me, and thought about the sunset from last night, the humid warm weather, the cool breeze. A sense of peace and happiness overrode me- I could catch a glimpse of the glittering blue lake from where I was stood, and I think it wasn’t what had already happened, but what will happen (perhaps not today, nor tomorrow; perhaps in a year, or maybe ten) that pushed me over.
“Expecto Patronum,” I cried, and a silver form with large wings erupted, floating elegantly around the classroom.
I turned to Lewis, beaming. “Oh my God!” I cried, resisting the urge to hug him.
He nodded, and smiled back at me. “A mute swan,” he said, scribbling it down in his book of notes. “Traditionally respected in various cultures for their elegance and intelligence. Also noted that their means of communication does not involve noise- I wish I could say the same about you, Wilderson.”
I just couldn’t stop beaming. “Thank you so much!”
He snorted. “See you on Monday, Miss Wilderson.”
I couldn’t believe I had conjured a patronus. I could feel the smile on my face, the wrinkles around my eyes, the bounce in my step. I think conjuring a patronus made me happier than the actual happiness behind it.
“Why do you look so happy?” grumbled Oscar, as I bounced into my dormitory. He was sitting on Aspen’s bed, flicking through a magazine. Aspen herself was sat up, rubbing coconut oil down her legs.
“I cast a-”
“Green,” snapped Veronica Clearwater, walking into the dormitory. “Boys are not allowed in the girls’ quarters. I’m going to have to ask you to leave, before I dock points.”
Oscar, as usual, ignored her. “Go on.”
“-patronus!” I said excitedly, jumping onto Aspen’s bed. Sunshine poured through the open window over our trunks in between our beds, and a gentle breeze circulated through the air.
Oscar’s eyes widened and Aspen clapped her hands. “Congrats!” said Aspen, wiping her hands of the oils and hugging me. “That’s so great-”
“MAZEL TOV!” said Oscar even louder, hating to be outdone. “Oh my God, Effy! What animal is it?”
“Oscar, if you do not leave now I will dock five house points-”
“Oh my God,” gushed Aspen, beaming. “What a great animal. So much better than Oscar’s hedgeho-”
“I say we celebrate,” said Oscar, interrupting Aspen. “Except we’re already going to Louis’s tonight, and I really need to catch up on Potions-”
“That’s it, Oscar Green! Five points from Ravenclaw!” snapped Veronica. “It’ll be a detention if you don’t move fast-”
“Veronica!” cried Aspen, swinging her head towards her, her voice dripping with annoyance. “Stop it! Go drink unicorn blood or something!”
I laughed, and Oscar clapped his hands in glee. “Very good, As!”
“I’ll just go and summon Professor Flitwick,” she swiped. “Detention, Aspen, for being rude to a prefect and questioning authority.”
“Piss off,” I said, struck by a sudden wave of energy and anti-establishment leanings, specifically said establishment’s poor choice in Ravenclaw sixth year prefect of the female sex. “You dungbomb ogre. Hahahaha.”
“Detention for all three of you,” she hissed, and raised her eyebrows, crossing her arms. “Oscar. I insist you leave immediately. It is totally against school rules and I-”
“Urgh!” he cried, throwing his hands in the air. “Like, whatever! I am leaving! Good bye Veronica!”
I watched him leave the room, but not before giving her a nasty look usually reserved for casual homophobic rhetoric and ugly schoolbags.
“Okay,” said Aspen, after he left. “Ohhhhkay. I want to hear more about your patronus!”
Veronica rolled her eyes and stomped outside, and Aspen clasped my hands as we sat cross-legged on her bed, under the Saturday morning sun, beaming at each other as I told her all about the past hour or so. Aspen was such a good friend: after the excitement waned, and I realised being the last person in the Defence NEWT class to conjure a patronus is more embarrassing than exciting, Aspen still continued to beam and talk animatedly about swans and how talented I was.
“Aspen,” I said, cutting her off mid-sentence. “You’re my best best best friend. Ever.”
She raised her eyebrow and snorted. “Yeah, I should think so!”
It was so classic of Ruddy Walcott and Louis Weasley to throw a massive, Quidditch victory style party just to celebrate one of their birthdays. For Ruddy’s seventeenth at the beginning of the year, he decked out the Astronomy Tower until it got closed down by the Professors- and even then rumours of the after party in their bedroom rang on until Christmas.
“We’ve been in their year for six years now and I still don’t know if I like them,” dead-panned Aspen, and I laughed, taking a half full bottle of firewhiskey from a nearby table.
“Hey,” said a voice behind me, a pair of hands around my waist, and I turned around, knowing full well who it was. Alcohol surged through my inner core, and I felt a grin slip onto my face as I turned around, my lips meeting James’. He smirked into my kiss, my hands cupping his face, and I laughed at him, detangling myself, keeping one hand prompted on his shoulder. “Hi Aspen.”
“Hello,” said Aspen cheerily. “Oh, look, there’s the birthday boy himself. See you later, Eff.”
We watched her walk away, and he turned to me. “Was it because of me?”
“Aspen has a thing where she has to snog the host of every party,” I said, smiling as I spoke about her. “Well, ever since she and Scorpius broke up, anyway. Oh, hey! I always forget that Louis is your cousin. How crazy.”
“I forget that too,” he said, as we watched Aspen approach Louis, where he was stood with four other girls. “And what is my brother up to?” he asked, and I laughed.
Albus had spent the night pursuing Poppy Atticus, to the point where she told him to fuck off and leave her alone, and he said never, and she poured a class of blueberry flavoured firewhiskey over him. To be fair to Poppy, he had sent a dozen birds up to her room as a gesture of romance this morning, birds which had pooed all over her bed and trunks.
The party itself was great. Louis was very popular throughout the school, so people turned up for him: parties were also very popular throughout the school, and so people turned up for that. Some band of boys in the Seventh Year were playing heavy rock music, and people were dancing along, a few sneaking up to the rooms upstairs, a few others sneaking through the portrait hall, giggling into the hot and stuffy air.
“I heard you conjured a corporeal patronus,” said James, as we watched the party scene from where we were stood, by a staircase. Lucy O’Donnell and another Gryffindor in our year ran upstairs, and I caught Mikey’s eye across the room. He shrugged as I raised my eyebrow, and gave me a thumbs up as he returned back to his conversation with Rose, Scorpius and Al.
“Yeah,” I said, beaming, as I turned back to him. “A swan.”
“Nice one, Wilderson,” he said, smirking. “Absolutely nothing to do with my eagle.”
“Which has absolutely nothing to do with my house emblem,” I retorted.
“I would love to see your swan first-hand,” said James, his eyes twinkling. “Green told me all about it, and I hate to feel left out.”
“Well,” I said, the corners of my lips turning up. “What do you suggest?”
“I don’t know. It wouldn’t be practical to show me right here.”
“And I would hate to get house points docked for having to show you outside.”
“I know a place upstairs that would be alright,” he said. “I mean, you know, not ideal. But would do.”
“Well if that’s our only plausible alternative,” I said, looking up at him, as he was looking down at me. He inclined his head towards the staircase we were by, and I followed him up, our fingers entwining in the encompassing darkness.
I was happy to get away from the party. Last night, the dying sunset and the growing night of inky shades and vivid stars was sublime, but tonight was too loud, too fast. I knew talk in next morning would be flooded with rumours and gossip and regret, but as I followed James’ into the top room of the Gryffindor castle in my little silk sleeveless crop top and black satin skater skirt, I knew this wouldn’t factor in. Regret-wise, I mean.
His dormitory was similar to mine, except there were seven beds not five, and the a part of the ceiling showed the sky above, the beautiful summer’s sky, with stars and the moon and flying Muggle aeroplanes you could only see at the top of towers.
“Oh my God,” I said suddenly. “I don’t want to sound annoying… But what is that smell?”
James nodded, frowning. “Sometimes Ridley gets a bit too carried away with Potions homework,” he muttered, and I laughed into the quiet room.
He turned to me, crossing his arms, the outline of his muscles under his loose grey tee-shirt tensing in the pale moonlight. I raised my eyebrow defiantly, and he smirked, leaning against a particular bed. It was surrounded by clothes and books on books, stacked up with cups of cold coffee and sheets of parchment on top.
“I’m sure you can show me your patronus another time,” he said.
“I think I left my wand downstairs anyway,” I replied as I walked over to him, and his arms opened to engulf me as I pressed myself into him, feeling his lips on mine for the second time that night, but in the privacy of his deserted dormitory, it felt different. The intimacy of our shared solitude on this summer’s night made blood pound in my head, my heartbeat accelerate. My hands pressed against his chest as his one hand crept under my head, the other holding my back.
We tumbled onto his bed, laughing into each others mouths, as my fingers pulled off his top, the room growing hotter as clothes were shedded. My long, wavy hair curled around his exposed torso and his hands held my face, my neck, my waist, our bodies pressing closer- until-
“Wait,” he said, suddenly, his lips parting from my collarbone.
“Oh what,” I said, exasperated, sitting up with him.
“I have to make sure you’re not drunk,” he said firmly.
My mouth dropped open in outrage. “You have been a self-obsessed, arrogant, conceited dick your whole entire life and now you want to be Mr Good Guy Gary?”
“It’s important,” he said smartly. “Go walk in a straight line.”
I crossed my arms in resistance, but his eyebrows furrowed. We sat there like that more a moment or so, until I sighed. “I’m not parading through your room wearing only my underwear.”
“Fine,” he said, reaching over a throwing me a red baggy top. “Go.”
I glared at him as he smiled smugly, leaning against his bed frame, his toned chest almost gleaming in the moonlight. I walked up and down, hands on my hips, hearing him laugh as I imitated a supermodel strut, and then decided to polish it off with a cartwheel.
“Are you three?” he said, as I curtsied after my performance.
“Wow! Rude!” I said, crossing my arms. “As if a three year old could cartwheel like that-”
“I probably could-”
“One day,” I said, as he stood up and walked over to me, “I’m going to get really sick and tired of your arrogance.”
“No you won’t,” he said easily, holding my willow body in his muscular arms and looking down at me, a massive smirk on his face.
He didn’t reply, kissing me instead, finding my hands and leading me to his bed once again.
I woke up the next morning curled up, his arm around my shoulder, his fingers of that hand entwined with the ends of my hair. I was out of his Quidditch jersey- I could feel the cotton of his sheets against my naked body- and I squinted my eyes against the glaring sun ahead.
Beyond the closed curtains, I could catch a glimpse of the room ahead, empty. I was relieved, as I slowly woke up, but not surprised: it was more unusual for people of the party’s house to return upstairs rather than crashing out in the common room below.
“Hey,” said James sleepily, as my movements woke him up. I yawned, and turned to him.
“I know this is horribly misogynistic and all,” he said through a yawn, “and so very not Feminist Society of me. But I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like seeing you wearing my Quidditch jersey with Potter on the back.”
“Oh piss off,” I said, yawning, hitting him on his face with the back of my hand, feeling his nose in between my knuckles, his laughing breaths on my wrist. He caught my wrist with his hand and pulled me on top of him, and with his breath stale and smelling of butterbeer he kissed me, his fingers tangled in my matted hair.
(This is like the third time I've referenced Victoria's Secret in this story honestly whaaat I should stop). I hope you liked this! I'm really not too sure, I just wrote and wrote and hopefully the end result was okay, please let me know what you think! I ALWAYS say this but I'm sure other writers will agree- reviews are the primary form of motivation to continue writing and uploading chapters. I need to know people still like FA hahahaha. And didn't I say this would be the most Jeffy chapter yet! It can only go downhill from here... Spoil-lahh. Anyway let me know what you think!! I also own nothing you recognise xx until next time cool catssssssss :)
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by Maximum Dusk