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And All That Jazz by ShieldSnitch3
Chapter 3 : Explosions, Curses, And All That Jazz
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 18


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[updated october 2016]


totally gah-worthy chapter image by shudder @ tda


Explosions, Curses, And All That Jazz


When I wake up the next morning, snuggled in a comfortable four poster bed, three pairs of eyes stare down at me - two brown, one blue.

I let out a shriek and sit bolt upright - hey, you wake up with three freaks staring down at you before judging me - and the eyes immediately jump back. Probably because of the freakishly loud noise that just issued from my mouth, if I had to guess. But it’s really their fault for staring down at me in the first place.

I mean, who does that? Staring at someone while they’re asleep - honestly, that’s practically taking stalker to another level.

“Who are you?” the blue eyes ask interestedly.

Wait, talking blue eyes? That can’t be right.

...unless Hogwarts is even weirder than I thought. At this point, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised.

“I’m Aria Fields, I’m new this year,” I say for what must be the ten millionth time, pointing to my trunk. Seriously, aren’t Ravenclaws supposed to be the smart ones? With a yawn, I paw at my bleary eyes with my hands, and the rest of the eyes’ bodies start to swim into focus.

“Oh.” The blue eyes blink. “I’m Gabrielle Ancrum.”

“And I’m Mia McCubbin,” the first pair of brown eyes adds.

The second set of brown eyes twirls her long, auburn hair and then fiddles with her prefect badge. “I’m Sophie Fincher,” she announces after she’s fixed the badge. “It’s nice to meet you, Aria, and I don’t mean to sound rude, but I’m afraid I have to leave. I’m starving, it’s breakfast time, and there are first years to be herded around.”

“Wait, it’s breakfast time?” I practically screech. The girls take another step backward, once again looking at me as if I’m utterly insane. “I’m supposed to meet Albus and Louis!”

You’re friends with Albus and Louis?” Sophie asks, eyes gone wide. I’m honestly not sure if I should be offended by her tone or not. “But - but - they’re... Wotters,” she says in awe.

Wotters? What the hell is a Wotter?

God damn British slang. It’s too early for this, dammit.

“I mean, they’re all so popular. If you hang out with one of them, you hang out with all of them. Including,” Sophie says, her cheeks slowly flushing a pale pink, “James.”

As if on cue, the other two girls start to giggle at the mention of his name, and a hazy memory drifts through my head. Messy black hair and hazel eyes glinting with that brilliant green. And, of course, the annoyingness.

Oh, wait! Wotters - that’s got to be Weasley-Potters. Duh. Mental slap.

“He’s so cute,” Gabrielle says, still giggling slightly. “I’ve had a crush on him since first year.”

“Haven’t we all,” Sophie adds with a sigh. “Perfect, popular James Potter.”

Um... did they meet the same boy that I did? Perhaps got hit on the head with one of those ridiculously heavy trunks? Or maybe this is this some sick, elaborate prank? I honestly wouldn’t put it past my father to orchestrate something like this.

THANKS, DAD.

“Trust me,” I say slowly, glancing warily between the dreamy look in all three sets of eyes, “I have no desire to hang out with James. But I really do have to go meet Al and Louis now.”

With that, I dive into my trunk and search for my robes for a good five minutes before realizing that I fell asleep in them last night. Because yeah, I just am that great at being a normal, functioning human being. One quick Scourgify charm to my hair later, and I pop out of the dormitory, heading down to the common room at a break-neck speed.

And I mean literally break neck. If I slipped going this fast down the stupidly spiral staircase, I might actually die.

But do Albus and Louis show any signs of recognizing my plight with death this morning? Bloody no. Louis simply taps his foot impatiently and Albus flips to the next page in his book as I come sprinting towards them, completely winded from my excursion. I shoot them my signature ‘I’m so cute and innocent, why are you looking at me like that?’ smile, but it doesn’t appear to work. Sigh. That look is really the only thing I have going for me. Merlin knows I’m not exactly great at any other social skills.

“Come on, you,” Albus says with a roll of his eyes.

I dutifully follow them out of the common room and through a maze of passages and staircases, still just as hopelessly lost and confused as last night. And yes, I can confirm that the staircases do, in fact, move. Even while you’re on them. It’s not exactly the most pleasant sensation.

At any rate, after what seems like ages, we finally arrive in the Great Hall. An owl swoops directly over my head as we head to the Ravenclaw table and I glance up, startled. But what’s even more startling than the seemingly random owls flying in and out of our dining area (hello, ever heard of sanitary eating conditions?) is the ceiling.

“It’s not real, the ceiling. It’s just bewitched to look like the sky. You can read about it in Hogwarts, A History,” Rose says as she brushes past us on her way to the Gryffindor table.

“She really loves that book, doesn’t she?” I comment dryly.

“Oh, yeah,” Louis replies without even a hint of sarcasm. “She practically sleeps with the thing.”

My mouth waters at the sight of the food piled on top of the Ravenclaw table, and as soon as I plop down I ravenously pile my plate with everything I can get my hands on. I’ve just brought my first spoonful up to my mouth when Dominique bounces over to our table, looking unnervingly happy for... what time is it? Seven, maybe? Eight? I honestly couldn’t tell you, and it doesn’t really matter, anyway. I hate every hour of the morning equally.

“Hi, hi!” Dominique squeals as she sits down next to me, pulling a piece of paper out of her robe pocket with a flourish. “I’ve just gotten my schedule. What about you, Aria?”

“Erm, not yet Dominique, but I -”

“Aria Fields! From now on you will refer to me as Dom. That’s what all my friends call me.”

“Yeah, and everyone else calls her Dumb Dom,” Louis mumbles as he stuffs a spoonful of cereal in his mouth.

“Shut up, Lou! Just because I’m not a stuck-up, snobbish know-it-all in Ravenclaw -”

“Ms. Weasley,” a strict voice cuts in, “Shouldn’t you be sitting at the Slytherin table?” Dom lets out an audible gulp as Professor Chang appears behind Louis, shooting her an icy glare.

“I - um - I was just, uh -”

“You were just what? Insulting my house? Is that correct, Ms. Weasley?”

Dom’s mouth gapes open. “I’m gonna go,” she chokes out, practically sprinting back to the Slytherin table.

“How she’s related to you two boys, I’ll never know,” Professor Chang says with a sigh. “Ms. Fields, Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley - your schedules.”

I glance down at the paper. Today’s a Thursday which means I’ve got Charms first, followed by Potions, a free period, and lunch. After that I’ve got Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies. Seems like a pretty decent way to start the year.

“Oh no, I’ve got double History of Magic first,” Louis moans. “I’m going to die of boredom and wake up a ghost like Professor Binns!”

“Always the drama queen, Lou,” snickers Albus.

“Don’t laugh, Al. You’ve got it first, too!”

Albus’s eyes flicker down to the parchment in his hand, widening slightly in horror. “For the love of Merlin, somebody please Avada Kedavra me right now. Where’s Voldemort when you need him?”

“Always the drama queen, Al.”

I start to laugh, but two seconds later my laugh turns into a shriek as a loud boom rattles throughout the Great Hall. Usually loud noises don’t scare me, you know. But I think I should get a pass at shrieking when the boom comes from my pumpkin juice, which just exploded into an orange tidal wave of stickiness.

Yeah. Pretty sure that warrants a shriek.

“Looks like you’ve got a little mess there, new girl,” James says, sliding onto the bench next to me as he puts his wand away.

Gee, I wonder who exploded my pumpkin juice.

One of his fingers drags across my cheek - honestly, what is it with him and touching me? - and he pops the finger into his mouth with a self-satisfied grin. “Mmm. Pumpkin juice. Is that your schedule? Looks like we’ve got class together all day! Won’t that be fun?”

What. The. Hell.

“Potter!” I shriek, feeling my voice go raw with anger.

The entire Great Hall turns to look at us - oh, shit. I guess I shrieked a little bit louder than I intended, but - but he deserved it! My cheeks flush slightly as the pairs of eyes watch us intently and everything goes deathly silent.

“Oh no, you’ve still got some pumpkin juice left in your goblet,” James says with feigned worry.

Then he picks up my cup and promptly dumps the rest of it on my head.

That’s it. He’s going to die.

My wand’s out, aiming straight at his chest before I even have time to process what I’m doing. I see James’s eyes go wide in shock, the green flecks sparking in the morning sunlight, and he scurries backwards over the bench with his hands held up in the universal sign of surrender. That’s not going to save him, though. I’m not letting another boy walk all over me. I won’t.

“Melofors!” I screech. The jinx jettisons from my wand in a blast of light, but James ducks and the spell goes flying over his head.

I vaguely hear him cast a protection spell, but I simply don’t care. Anger pulses through every inch of my body, beating in time with the thump of my heart. He’s exactly like Ryan. And I won’t just take abuse lying down like a good little girl anymore.

Every jinx and hex I can think of goes shooting towards him, but they bounce harmlessly off of James’s shield, flying in different directions around the hall. Various students scream and duck for cover as the streaks of light -

“Expelliarmus!” My wand goes shooting out of my hand as a professor appears out of nowhere, then steps between the two of us. “Enough. Headmaster’s office. Now.”

James groans and grabs my wand from the ground as we tramp miserably out of the Great Hall, all eyes glued to our retreating figures. By now my cheeks have gone a bright, flaming red - a combination of embarrassment, anger, and the heat of the moment - but I barely even feel the flush. Because, you know, my entire head’s kind of drenched in chilly pumpkin juice.

James reluctantly passes both wands over to the professor as we’re marched through the twists and turns of Hogwarts. I’m not sure how long we walk - it feels like years - but eventually we come to a halt in front of an ugly stone gargoyle. Honestly, what is it with this school and ugly objects?

“Peppermint toad,” the professor drawls, and apparently that’s a password or something because the ugly gargoyle immediately spins around to reveal a staircase.

James and I trail up the stairs behind the professor, keeping as far as possible from each other, and eventually emerge into some sort of tiny atrium. Then we’re marched through another door and I find myself staring straight into Wesley’s steely eyes.

Oh, shit.

Wesley - I mean, Professor Parkes - sits behind a huge mahogany desk, and the very stern look scrawled across his face stands in stark contrast to his usual jovial features. “Potter, Fields. Please, have a seat.”

We immediately obey him, dropping into the two chairs in front of his desk, and I take the flutter of movement as an opportunity to glance around the room. What? I’ve never been in a Headmaster’s office before. I’ve never even gotten a detention before. Don’t judge me for observing.

There’s really not much to see, though. Just a few scattered tables, enveloped with Quidditch memorabilia and stacks of The Daily Prophet.

“Ms. Fields, is that... pumpkin juice?” Wesley (eh, fuck it, I’m never going to remember to call him Professor Parkes) asks curiously. James tries (and fails) to stifle a snort, and Wes’s eyes immediately jump over to study him. “Something you’d like to share, Mr. Potter?”

“No, sir,” James says innocently.

“Really? Nothing at all?”

“Nope.”

“Ms. Fields?”


“He started it!” I blurt out. What? I told you I’ve never even had detention before. I’m a good girl, I swear. And good girls don’t lie to professors or refuse to cooperate in investigations!

“Thanks,” James mutters under his breath.

“Honestly, Wes - Professor Parkes - I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when he went and exploded my pumpkin juice -”

“Yeah, and then you sent hexes flying all over the Great Hall -”

“After you dumped pumpkin juice on my head!”

“It was funny -”

“Enough.” James and I both swivel our heads back to the Headmaster’s desk, where Wes sits with a stony expression. “I believe it goes without saying that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. You will both report to the caretaker’s office tonight at 9 PM sharp to serve your detentions.”

Detention?

Detention?

NO. This can’t be happening. No, no, no, no -

“That’s it?” James asks incredulously.

What the hell is wrong with this kid? It’s a detention. I’ve never had a detention - oh my God, I’m a shame to my family - what if I wind up getting addicted to drugs and dropping out - oh my God, my mom would have a heart attack - I’m going to accidentally murder my own mother -

“Yes, Mr. Potter, that’s it. You may go. But I’d like a private word with you, Ms. Fields,” Wes says, nodding at me as James pushes out of his chair. He waits until the door shuts softly, then turns to me with a disappointed look in his eyes. No, Wizard God no - why is this happening to me? Other people get that disappointed look. I don’t. I get awards, not private disciplinary talks. I get - “Aria, I expect more from you.”

“But Professor -”

“I know. Trust me, I know what James is like. But you can’t lose your temper like that, understand me? Veela blood - no matter how little of it you’ve got - is a dangerous fire we mustn’t play with. I’ve had this same conversation with the Delacour-Weasleys. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Professor,” I whisper, averting my gaze to the ground. My cheeks burn with heat, but it’s not because I’m embarrassed. It’s because I know he’s right.

“Good. Now, the next time you write your father, would you let him know that I’d like a Quidditch rematch? And this time, no cheating.” Ah, that’s the Wesley I know. Good to have you back.

“Will do, Professor,” I say with a mock salute.

“All right, out you go. Oh, and Aria, make sure that James gets his wand back,” he says, handing me the sticks in question.

Wes winks at me as I exit the office and head back down the stairs to the corridor. And so ends Aria’s first trip ever to the Headmaster’s office, a shame that I will never recover from. Pretty sure this has got to be a new record, too - not even here for a day before causing a scene. Great. Just the reputation I wanted.

“New girl, wait!” James calls after me as I frump down the corridor.

Wow. Really? What, do you expect me to just stay and have a chat with you after I got in trouble for the first time ever? Please. You’re not that cute.

“Please wait for me -”

I let out a huff of annoyance and continue stomping down the hallway, and behind me James’s footsteps break into a jog. Clearly the kid can’t take a hint. I mean, I thought I was clear enough with the annoyed grunts -

“Aria, would you please just stop and wait for me?”

I - what? He... used my name? My actual name? The hell is going on here? Did I actually manage to hit him with a curse?

Huh.

“Why should I wait?” I call back uncertainly. His footsteps grow even closer, echoing around the cold stone walls, and I glance over my shoulder at his approaching figure.

The unruly mess of black hair looks even worse than yesterday, if that’s possible. Like, did he not even bother to brush it this morning, or does he actually think that it looks attractive to walk around looking like you stuck your finger in an electric socket?

Well, it sort of is, but that’s beside the point.

“Because you’re heading in the wrong direction for Charms, you’re new and have no clue how to get about the castle, or because I need my wand back. Pick your favorite.”

Oh. Wand. Right.

Sighing, I pass over the wand (very civilly refraining from throwing it at him, I might add), but the sigh turns to a small squeal as he points it directly back at me.

See? This is what I get for actually being nice for once -

“Oh, relax. I’m not going to curse you. Scourgify,” he mutters.

And just like that, the pumpkin juice covering my body disappears. I’d kind of forgotten it was there, to be honest. Funny how getting detention does that to a person.

“You’re welcome,” James says pointedly. I, meanwhile, turn away and begin wandering my way down the random corridor again. Because yes I am actually that mature. “By the way, you’re going in the wrong direction, Miss Perfect. Just thought you should know.”

Dammit.

“You can follow me if you want,” James calls after me. I can practically hear the smirk in his voice, but I - well, I’d rather not get detention and be late to class on my first day. Not the clean start I exactly want.

James wanders off in the opposite direction while I trail a solid ten feet behind him, trying to figure out exactly where the hell we are. Sadly, all the stone bricks and suits of armor look pretty much the same, so I fail pretty epically at that part.

Regardless, James eventually turns off into a classroom on the left hand side of a corridor, where the gentle chatter of students floats out into the hallway. Apparently we’ve made it on time, despite our - ahem - eventful morning, so I guess I’ll give him credit for pointing me in the right direction.

The classroom reminds me a bit of a typical college lecture room, I guess. A series of stairs lead down to the professor’s podium in the middle of the floor, with rows of desks leading off from the stairs after every couple of steps.

A burst of chatter immediately greets James as he strolls over to a crowd of Gryffindors, both hands stuffed cockily in his pockets. Right. Forgot he’s sort of a big deal around here. Don’t ask me why; I’ve got no clue what these Hogwarts kids see in him.

Well, actually, I sort of do.

I mean, I saw it yesterday, didn’t I? The confidence and sense of humor and constant need to be the center of attention - it’s all crystal clear.

And I want nothing to do with anybody like that. Not again.

A flash of blonde catches my eye at the right side of the classroom - Dom waving me over to her little corner, looking too unnervingly perky for nine in the morning. But apparently all these Hogwarts kids are just beautiful little rays of sunshine in the morning, aren’t they?

“What was that?” Dom practically hisses at me as I drop into the seat beside her. Huh. I guess she really does belong in Slytherin.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I respond flatly.

Dom rolls her eyes as she reaches into her school bag - oh, shit. I forgot my books in the Great Hall. Funny how getting pumpkin juice exploded on you really takes your mind off of the small things, huh?

“Dom, I don’t have my things for class,” I whisper frantically.

And - I mean - I should be frantic! First the thing at breakfast, then the Headmaster’s office and detention, now not being prepared for class -

“Chill. I grabbed your bag after breakfast,” she says as she drops the bag in question onto my lap.

Oof. That hurt.

“Thanks,” I manage to groan out, squirming beneath the massive pile of books. I brought all of them with me this morning because there’s the little tiny fact that I DON’T KNOW HOW THE HELL TO GET AROUND THIS GIANT CASTLE.

And I couldn’t be unprepared for class, now could I?

“You’re welcome.” Dom flips her hair primly and returns to her bag, pulling out the same Witch Weekly she was reading yesterday on the train. It lands open on her desk, prominently displaying a quiz entitled “Which Quidditch position does your dream man play?” so I simply roll my eyes and turn to gazing around the classroom.

Course, the only people I actually happen to know are the Gryffindor boys, and you’ll forgive me if I’m not too invested in their shenanigans and shameless flirting.

“What twits,” I comment absentmindedly, watching as a brunette with shiny curls bats her eyelashes and leans in closer to James.

“Hm?” Dom looks up at my voice, follows my gaze, and promptly rolls her eyes at the sight. “Ah, yes. James and his many admirers. ‘Oh my God, it’s James Potter. Oh my God, he’s so funny and cute. Oh my God!’ Oh my God. Do you know how annoying it is to be related to James freaking Potter?”

Dom sighs and mutters something about Gryffindors under her breath, then returns to her Witch Weekly quiz. I, meanwhile, seem quite unable to tear my eyes away from the utter stupidity occurring across the room. I personally blame it on the psychology of the human brain. I mean, have you ever heard of someone actually being able to look away from a train wreck?

Speaking of train wrecks, James lets out a laugh as he chats with some blond stick of a girl. He snatches one of her quills and starts tickling her with it, while the girl playfully smacks his chest and lets out a loud, obnoxious, “Oh my God, stop it, James!”

Kill me.

Please.

Seriously. I used to be one of those girls and it’s making me literally want to die of shame. Merlin. I can’t believe I ever used to fall for the attention and the flirting -

And then suddenly a pair of hazel eyes find mine, staring at me curiously, so I blink once and turn back to Dom’s Witch Weekly quiz. She’s circled “Beater” as her man’s position - I don’t even want to know - and now she’s intently reading over the corresponding personality analysis.

Sigh.

Luckily, our Charms instructor, Professor Abberly, decides to take that exact moment to stroll into the room with a chipper “Good morning, class!” so I primly pull out a clean sheet of parchment and prepare for our first lesson.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice the way James leaned back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, and continued to blatantly stare in my direction.

Weirdo.



“Oh, you’ve got Potions next? Lucky,” Dom complains as we file out of the Charms classroom. “I’ve got Divination. Don’t even know why I bother taking that stupid class. Anyway, you’ll want to head down to the dungeons, so hang a left at this corridor and then...”

I nod, taking mental notes as she describes the way to the dungeons (as if Potions wasn’t already depressing enough), and before I know it she’s waving cheerfully at me and heading towards the Divination tower. Pretty sure I hear her mumble “crazy oversized insect Trelawney,” under her breath, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, I actually manage to follow Dom’s crazy directions correctly and wind up in the dungeons approximately ten minutes later. The class slowly filters in behind me - I hear the obnoxious Gryffindors, oh joy - and everyone stands around the outside of the classroom, away from the two person lab tables. Guess that means we don’t get to pick our partners.

“Hello, class,” a dull voice drones as black robes sweep into the room and slam the door shut. Ah. Just my luck. Professor What’s-His-Face that dragged James and I off to the Headmaster’s office this morning. “I am Professor Spencer, as I suspect all of you already know, and it is time to assign partners for the term. To make things fair, I will be drawing names from a hat.”

Well, that would explain the hat clutched in his hand.

And yes, this one is ugly too.

It doesn’t help that I have to stare at the damn thing for what feels like eternity. I swear Spencer’s got the slowest drawl in the universe, but I have to pay attention so I don’t miss my name -

“Aria Fields.”

Yes!

Wait, who’s my partner? And where are we sitting? I totally zoned out while thinking about the ugly hat -

“Oh, come on,” a voice mutters, and then a strong hand latches itself around my arm and tows me off towards a lab table. I take a seat - or, more accurately, the hand’s owner forces me into a chair - and meet the gaze of two decidedly amused grey eyes.

Ah! Jett Nolton.

My savior from embarrassment in front of the entire class, my knight in shining armor - and (apparently) my partner for the term. I guess this shouldn’t be too terrible. I mean, if Rose Weasley has a crush on him, he can’t be awful -

“I hope you’re as good at Potions as you are at hexes,” Jett whispers.

I take it back. He is awful.

“Since this is the first day of term, we’ll be starting with a simple potion to act as a refresher,” Professor Spencer drawls slowly as he saunters towards the front of the room. “Everybody please turn to page six of Magical Drafts and Potions. You will have the remainder of the class period to create the Cure for Boils. It should take, at the absolute maximum, ten minutes to complete. You may begin.”

The class immediately launches into chatter as Spencer’s words fade away, and I reach for my bag to grab my book. Cure for Boils - hmmm, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Pretty sure we learned this one back in our first year of school at Ilvermorny.

“If I remember correctly, we’re going to need three horned slugs, three porcupine quills, and six snake fangs...” I comment absentmindedly as I continue digging for my book. Jett doesn’t respond, though, and when I finally resurface with the book I let out a gasp of shock. He’s already working on brewing the potion without even bothering to consult Magical Drafts and Potions -

“What the hell are you doing?” I nearly shriek, slamming the book on the table. Jett ignores me and continues crushing the snake fangs before pouring four measures into the cauldron.

“Relax,” he says, rolling his eyes. “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually really good at this sort of thing. We let it heat up, then it sits for three minutes.”

My eyes immediately jump to page six, tracing over the text, only to find that he’s right. Course, it was probably just a lucky guess. I mean, anybody could make the Cure for Boils in their sleep -

Except, apparently, James and Sophie Fincher.

The two of them are currently occupying the lab table in front of us, and Sophie anxiously stares down into their cauldron as something steams out of it, causing her hair to poof up.

“James! What are you doing? This potion doesn’t even use Flobberworms!”

Jett sniggers and checks our own potion, which looks a rather lovely shade of dark green, and calls Professor Spencer over to take a look at it. It’ll pass his inspection, of course. I always pass.

“Congratulations, Ms. Fields and Mr. Nolton,” Spencer says with a distinct air of sarcasm. “You can create a first year potion. You two are dismissed.”

Sophie promptly swivels around at Spencer’s words and stares at us with wide eyes and a frightened expression. “Save me,” she mouths as James dumps Essence of Dittany into their cauldron.

Jett, meanwhile, tries - and fails - to contain his laughter as he gathers his things and strolls out of the dungeon, with me trailing behind him. “So,” he comments happily, poking me in the side, “what class have you got next?”

“Actually, I’ve got a free period,” I say, poking him back.

“Really? Me too.”

“What does one do around here during a free -”

Just at that moment, though, a loud bang echoes from behind us and Sophie’s shrieks ring through the corridor. If I had to guess, I’d say that James exploded their cauldron, but - well, yeah, that’s definitely what happened.

“Everybody calm down,” I hear Professor Spencer yelling above the screams. “It’s just a simple Hair-Raising Potion! If your hair is standing on end, form a line in front of my desk at once - single file, Ms. Applebee, single file!”

Jett literally shakes with laughter as James’s inky head of hair rounds the corridor, a mischievous grin flickering across the self-satisfied expression on his face.

“What did you do?” he manages to choke out as James draws even closer

“Like Professor Spencer said - a simple Hair-Raising Potion. Honestly, I thought Sophie was going to figure it out before I finished. She is a Ravenclaw, after all.” Then his hazel eyes, which are currently glinting wickedly in the dim light of the dungeon, turn to me. Great. “You lot are supposed to be smart, aren’t you?”

“What is it with you and blowing stuff up?” I huff. The guy honestly has a problem. Maybe he should get counseling.

“I -” But before he can answer, Sophie comes storming down the hallway, cutting him off. Her hair’s back to its normal, auburn curls now, so I guess that means Spencer’s got the antidote all drafted up.

“James! Professor Spencer wants to see you in his office right now!”

James shrugs nonchalantly as Sophie shoots a death glare at him - does anything bother this kid? - then stuffs his hands into his pockets and casually saunters back in the direction of the dungeon. Like - like - I don’t know. Like he doesn’t even care that he’s about to get another detention, probably -

“Come on, we should head back to the common room,” Sophie says with a sigh.

“I - ah - okay?”

Hell if I know what we should do. Besides, I’m one hundred and three percent certain that I’ll never find my way out of the dungeons by myself. Doesn’t hurt to make friends, either.

“Well, I’ll see you ladies, later,” Jett says, nodding to each of us. “Hope the rest of your first day goes well, Aria.”

One hand runs haphazardly through his mess of light brown hair - which does not look like a rat’s nest, take notes, James - as he walks away, heading through one of the many doorways lining the corridor. And I - well, I can’t help but sort of like the guy. He seems nice and... normal. Unlike, you know, half of the other people I’ve met here.

Maybe Potions won’t be so bad after all.


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