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How to Organise Strangers and Create Chaos by TheGoldenKneazle
Chapter 7 : Job 7: Work Out What's Between James and Me, and Convince Everyone Else It's Nothing
 
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Job 7: Work Out What’s Between James and Me, and Convince Everyone Else It’s Nothing

I have to admit at this point that perhaps that wasn’t the best two days I’d ever spent at the Potters. I mean, in the plus side, the List now looked like this:

Pepper’s List of Stuff to Do
Find out a way to summon the knight bus off the top of muggle houses
Find out a way to normalise my eyebrows
X Investigate the Lily Potter situation X
Challenge the Fates about my destiny of ‘Death Before 17’
X Talk to Rose V.2 X
X Get a brilliant evil plan X

…but on the minus side, most of the above had gone horribly wrong.

First, I had talked to Lily before dinner. She had been ok for about 30 seconds – just acting a little dreamy and pretty much unlike her usual sarky self – until I asked her why she liked her boyfriend. Then she went spastic on me.

You see, dear Lils was fine when I asked her how her and Boyf were doing (“Great! We’re really in love and only feel right with each other!” Barf). She was fine when I asked what sort of things they did together (“Homework, muggle movies, snogging extravaganzas.” Lovely). And when I asked why the said boyfriend was so great, I got a snarled, “Why are you questioning me?”

So I backed off. And asked more nosy questions, concerning a) the boyfriend, b) Rose, and c) Lily herself. Like why had she suddenly agreed to go out with this tosser who was a well-known Slytherin dickhead? And what had happened on the train home?

I’ll admit that the screams and curses took me a while to sort through, but I eventually managed to find out that: Lily suddenly decided to go out with Trevor on the train home, she doesn’t really remember why (“We’re made for each other!” “Why?” “We’re made for each other and in love!”), and doesn’t like any of her family anymore because they don’t like Trevor.

Ugh, it feels wrong calling her slimeball ‘boyfriend’ Trevor. I quite like just calling him The Boyfriend anyway.

Okay, that’s exactly who he is from now on. This so-called Trevor guy is dead to me.

But eventually, I came around to the last bombshell set of questions for Lily. “So. I heard you’ve been with Rose a lot this summer, Lily? Or at least, that’s what someone said. Not Rose, anyway.”

Lily froze, her eyes wide.

“And how was your time with Hugo?” I stepped forward in a mock-thinking pose, then dropped it with a fake surprised expression on. “Oh yeah! I forgot… you haven’t actually been able to stay with your aunt and uncle, right? Because Hugo’s actually with Roxy and Lorcan and Lysander. Huh, how stupid of me to forget.” I stepped closer again.

“It was a cover-up, bitch. I can’t believe only you worked it out – you’re the thickest bint on the block. So what’s your answer, Miss Know-It-All?” Lily snarled.

I narrowed my eyes even more. I hadn’t expected her to own up to it. “There’s nothing. Go retrieve your boyfriend from wherever he’s been tied up to prevent him bursting in… and I’ll see you later.”

Then I whirled around and made a sweeping exit, leaving a seething Lily about to explode behind me.

During dinner, I’d ignored all Lily’s horrid little comments, everyone’s questions about my awful eyebrows, and tried to muffle my giggles at all of Louis and James’s suggestive and often downright explicit comments to Lily and The Boyfriend, who was meant to be having a nice family tea with the Potters. Of course, neither Mr. or Mrs. Potter liked him, ‘cuz The Boyf was an even worse slimeball in front of them, and kept on trying to suck Lily’s tonsils out during dinner.

I feel scarred, honestly. But Al had refused to join in the innuendoes because he said it made him feel sick, and Rose didn’t know what we were doing.

After tea, I grabbed the other three that weren’t Rose and pulled them into a random room with me to tell them the final details of the Evil Plan.

To cut a long story short, the next day I pretended to talk to Lily again, then Al stunned her when she tried to pounce on me, and we locked her in a cupboard and called Al’s dad to come and rescue his Imperiused daughter.

Because yeah, the fucking tramp Trevor MacNair had put Lily under the Imperius curse to cut herself off from the Potters, and MacNair would then use her as ransom.

We confirmed this when we burst in on him trying to hack the Potters’ vault, and Louis and Al held him down while James gave him a punch across the face, I led an unsuspecting Rose into the room, and we shoved Veritaserum down his throat.

We got all the answers, because James and I, and sometimes even Rose, asked him questions and I filmed him on a muggle Video camera. Then Louis’s Uncles Harry, Ron and Bill (for good measure) burst through the door and took the idiot off to wherever they take child-stealing crapheads.

Of course, Rose then did her nut and started screaming at me that I’d ruined her family and was getting out of control. I then got angry at her, ‘cause I’d just rescued her cousin and she was being a total bitch about it, and then somehow we ended up muggle-fighting while Al and Louis tried to make grabs at us because we were rolling around so fast and hard and painfully.

Then James came in, trying to soothe his little sister who was crying hysterically and on the phone to his mum at the same time (who knew he had such a soft side for Lilster, and could multi-task too?) and then he got angry that we were fighting, and blasted us two apart with a Reducto and then I was crying and Rose was crying and Lily was still crying and we all ended up having a giant crying hug while the boys stood around awkwardly for a minute until Louis decided to hug all of us at once and then Al did too and forced James into it.

And it was all really sweet and fluffy until James decided to squeeze my bum.

And that was when I went totally apeshit on him. I spent a good few hours trying to chase him down until he suddenly stopped in the middle of a hallway, had me run smack bang straight into him, and then…

He was on top of me and my head was spinning painfully, and James was pressed up against me and lowering his head down and holyshithishandisbetweenmyboobs. So I screamed bloody murder (‘cuz he was assaulting me unwontedly) and passed out because thanks to him, I now had concussion.

Like I say, not the easiest two days I’ve ever had at the Potters’.

Now, we were all lined up, as if at some mental army camp, in front of Ginny’s fireplace, and we were all either scowling at each other or eyeing up the injuries.

I was the worst off (surprise, surprise) because between Rose and James, I had 6 bruises, a black eye, a bandage around my head from Healer Corner (teehee. Healer Corner) at St. Mungo’s, a cut lip, a scab on my knee, two broken toes and a heavy headache.

On the plus side, Healer Corner had righted my eyebrows, so James and the world could no longer take the piss out of them. On the minus side, he had insisted that I let all the other cuts and bruises mend by themselves because ‘you need to see the downsides of street fighting’. So I was giving everyone the stink eye that I could.

Pepper’s List of Stuff to Do
Find out a way to summon the knight bus off the top of muggle houses
X Find out a way to normalise my eyebrows X
Challenge the Fates about my destiny of ‘Death Before 17’

Harry was strolling up and down the line grinning, and barking out people’s names. I winced with each one.

“James!”

“…ugh.”

“Louis!”

“Aye, commander.”

“Albus!”

“Yup.”

“Rosie!”

“Ca va?”

Harry seemed taken aback by her French. How are you? “Oui, ca va tres bien merci…” I’m doing very well thanks.

“Um… Pepper?”

I grunted, then groaned and held my head. Harry looked at me sympathetically and chucked a large Healing tome towards me off Ginny’s dusty Household Magic shelf. I just about managed to grab it and heave it towards the table, before starting to flip to ‘painkillers’.

“Lily!”

“Ugh, yes. I can’t believe you’re actually doing this, Dad! Don’t you have something else to be doing?” Lily’s eyebrows were cocked, her hands were on her hips, and her old attitude was officially back.

Unfortunately for her, Harry was rather enthusiastic. “Yeah! I actually have to go hex some people at work, so toodle-oo!” He waved and was off.

We all stared at the spot where he’d vanished for a moment, except for Rose who shrugged and recited my chosen spell at my aching head. I sighed in relief as the pain slid out of my head.

“Dad is so cool, it’s unreal,” Al deadpanned. His siblings looked equally grim.

“I love your dad!” I said before thinking, then rolled my eyes at their stares. “I’ll go first shall I?” I stepped forwards into the fireplace before anyone could say anything and shouted, “The Burrow!” before clutching my suitcase as I was thrown through those horrible, claustrophobic fireplaces to get to Ottery St. Catchpole.

Yeesh, the things I do to avoid awkward situations. I think I’m getting worse.

Well, at least I always know that Al is a hundred times worse in awkward situations. He sometimes fakes illnesses he then has to give himself, pretends to have dates with girls Louis is dating, and even snogged me once to pretend we were going out. That was fourth year… I seriously hope that bloke has improved his kissing since then, let me tell you. At the time, I went along with it because I am a fan-tabby-dozy friend and just screamed at him afterwards. It always works.

Still, Louis and James once had to get it off for a dare. I swear that was the funniest victory party of my life (end of last year, you see). It’s now known as the Great Victory Party of ’21, that’s how epic it is. Absolute Gryffindor legend, thanks to the fact that while normally other house friends are invited to large Gryffie parties, basically only the Gryffies can get in to the end of year victory parties. We’ve been winning since James was captained 3 years ago.

Even the Dream Team – the hot, athletic, elite Ravenclaws – can’t get in. Mostly.

When the fireplace chucked me out, I staggered out drunkenly into the extremely busy kitchen of the Burrow. Considering that Molly Weasley always forces all of The Clan and their parents to stay for the last three days (two nights) before we leave on September 1st, it was horribly crowded.

In fact, the grown-ups tend to sleep at the Potters’ now. Us grown-up lot take up too much space and want privacy, so it’s a lot better this way, especially because there’s this thing where you have to sleep in your parents’ rooms.

Of course, this gets more complicated when you remember how we’ve all got our own little groups and that the kids might not want to be split up and sleeping in separate rooms. So to be honest, it goes something like this:

BILL’S ROOM: Victoire and Teddy called this room, like, forever ago. It’s not really fair that they get all this space to themselves, but whatever – nobody wants to mess with Teddy The Auror.

CHARLIE’S ROOM: Because he has no kids, everyone else kind of gets shoved in here. This means that often Dom has to come in here, but she doesn’t mind because she gets along really well with Uncle Charlie and always says that when she can’t play international-standard quidditch for France anymore, she’ll go out to him and help with the dragons.

PERCY’S ROOM: Lucy and Molly, when they actually feel like coming. They bring their own friends too; I basically have no idea about these kids, because they’re too much older and not even fun to interact with like Dom is. Even Louis and Al have no idea, and though Rose does, we fall asleep when she explains it to us.

FRED & GEORGE’S ROOM: ‘The New Marauders’: Freddie (his Dad’s), James, Fergal Finnegan, and Simon ‘Sleazy’ Head. They had the pick of Ginny’s or George’s, but naturally picked the one with all the pranking supplies in.

RON’S ROOM: Us, of course; Rose called it zonks ago, and Hugo gave in because a) Rose can be fucking scary, b) Lily claimed Ginny’s room and he wanted to be with her and their friends, and c) he probably couldn’t be arsed to start a fight. Instead, WE call it and have an awesome time at the top of the house!

GINNY’S ROOM: Lily called it right from the beginning, because she’s a girl and wanted her Mum’s room (of course). Her, Hugo, Roxy, Alice, Frankie, Lorcan and Lysander all squish in here, despite the tiny size… I feel sorry for them to be honest.

So of course this time was no different.

The minute I stepped out into that kitchen, I was swept up by Angelina who said a passing “hi, Pepper,” as she chopped vegetables, then Ron was there saying “oh, you lot are arriving then?” and then Fred was there, and Sleazy Simon was squeezing my arse (this is the second time in two days that’s happened, bugger it) and there were people coming through the grate behind me and pushing me forwards into the mad crowd where there were so many adults and ducking kids and my head was whirling and my breath was getting shorter and everything was spinning from the heat and noise and closeness…

“Come on, Pepper,” Louis said in my ear as I fell backwards. He gently grabbed my arms and half pulled, half supported me to the stairs, shoving people out the way ahead of him as I stumbled blindly behind him. Dimly I heard James shout obnoxiously, “what’s wrong with her?” before Fred and Simon came over to him and there was a very loud reunion.

Louis dragged me behind him, having thrown my trunk into Lily as she came out the fireplace, who I heard screaming at Al to take it while I was bundled away to Louis’s Uncle Ron’s room up all the rickety staircases. I was very thankful that Louis had helped me, otherwise I’d still be stuck on the floor, stumbling madly as I was buffeted by the mad Weasley Clan.

I’ll admit that I’ve built up a lot of resistance over the last few years, ever since Rose dragged eleven-year-old clutzy me to meet her two best friends after I’d fallen down those blasted stairs. But that doesn’t stop the awful kitchen from catching me unawares sometimes, does it? Ugh…

But considering how small his Uncle Ron’s room is, Louis did a very good job of helping me across the room. It also amazes me how much bedding their Nana Molly can get in such a small space too – although she only made up two ajoining beds this time, probably knowing that we’d all rather share what was effectively a double bed and use the small remaining space for things less trivial than sleeping.

So Louis helped me to one of the sides and dumped his (new) trunk at the foot of the bed before sitting next to me and hugging my arm while rubbing my back. It helped a lot, and my breathing soon calmed down enough for me to give him a shaky grin. “Thanks Lou.”

“Anytime, Pep.”

Al then struggled in with both my and his trunks, and Rose was behind him, shoving him forwards impatiently. He pretty much collapsed the minute he was in the door with our trunks, and Rose stepped over him distastefully. “Nice one, Pep. Every year you manage to forget that our family is huge, and every year you nearly faint, and every year one of us has to catch you. Honestly. Still, it’s a good thing you’re back to normal about ten minutes earlier than usual – hang on, how did that happen?” She looked genuinely confused as she perched on the end of the wall-to-wall makeshift double bed.

“I’m just an awesome comforter,” Louis said smugly, and I nodded in agreement. Rose raised an eyebrow but said no more. Huh.

“Uuugh...” Al groaned from the floor. Rose rolled her eyes.

“Come on, Sevvy, we’ve gotta get back out for the super-awesome picnic that Nana Molly’s throwing. It’s not far from here, but attendance is compulsory, even for non-Howartsers. So get better fast, Jam,” she added with a Steely Glare™.

I gulped, and so did Louis even though it wasn’t aimed at him, and started to scramble off the bed.

-~-

“Oh, come on, it wasn’t that bad,” Rose said, hours later as we trooped back into her dad’s old room. It was half past eight, and the giant picnic had gone on for hours, so long that some people had gone back to fetch the dinner and a barbeque so we could all have burgers and sausages. It had taken forever, considering how much meat even one of the guys wanted. *le sigh*

I’m not quite sure why it’s *le* , but just go along with it.

“I really enjoyed the games! I mean, come on, British Bulldog is hilarious. So is Sardines. And that quidditch? Awesome, man!” Al said enthusiastically, bounding in happily.

I scowled. “I can’t play quidditch! And even then, it wasn’t so bad – although SOME people got a little bit over-competitive…” I shot a look at Rose and the boys. Pretty much all the Weasley males had gotten super-competitive, and most of the girls too, except Lucy and Molly, who had only gotten a bit over-competitive. I had been left talking to the amazing Longbottom sisters (Alice and Frankie) whilst trying to keep Al’s old broom aloft. “…it was when people started playing ‘arse-grab’ I wasn’t so happy.” I scowled even deeper.

Rose muffled a giggle, while Louis snorted and Al tried not to grin. “Oh, come on, you know it was funny, Jammy,” he said cajolingly.

It hadn’t been funny, actually. Suddenly all the Weasley males were there, trying to grab my arse, whilst I tried to run away and kept tripping. I hated every single touch, especially considering only the Longbottoms were my new best friends; only they had tried to stop the severe perving.

“It really wasn’t!” I said angrily. “I mean, why is suddenly the whole universe trying to touch my bum? Is there some sign on it saying ‘pinch me’ as I walk past?” I turned around then swivelled my head round so that my head and bum were effectively being displayed to my three friends.

They all stared at my bum. Oh, for the love of Merlin… “WHAT?!” I turned back around and put my hands on my hips.

Rose smirked. The other two swallowed. I narrowed my eyes, at Rose, and raised my eyebrows. She knew what I was getting at; the Girl Code. No, it’s not anything written down, it’s just one of those girl-to-girl things that you just know.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “You have a nice bum. That’s why everyone started playing ‘Arse-grab’ – so they could poke it.”

Ok, what the actual fuck?

I was so freaked out I sat down rather heavily on the end of the bed. I felt the boys’ eyes go down with me and flicked them the bird without looking behind.

I am severely worried now, and not just about the fact that my bum has been dubbed ‘attractive’. It’s the fact that one or two actually felt kind of… nice.

I should just crawl to hell now, seriously.

Fifteen minutes later, The Knock came – two short raps, pause, three more. We all looked at each other from the unpacking and silently dropped out stuff to grab the brooms and fly out of the window.

The traditional First Night activities had begun.

They generally consisted of weird-arse games that the Marauders came up with. Considering that the Clan had grown in numbers quite a lot, it was no wonder. But for the last few years, the older lot had stopped coming. So now James was the oldest here… yay for irony.

We touched down in the forest clearing not very far away, guided by the fire they’d built there. As per usual, it was a decent size, and now Rose was here to stop it going above waist-height flames – otherwise, they’d build it forever, and the entire forest would get burnt.

No, I have no experience of this, but one or two near-death experiences with it have taught me enough.

But when we had come down, we sat around the fire and chatted a bit to the others (Al is a bit antisocial at the best of times, but I managed to force him into my conversation with Alice Longbottom, who’s a fifth year. He seemed to perk up fast, though), until James stood up and roared “SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!”

So everyone promptly looked to him.

“Right. Everyone, if you can just shift to this side of the clearing, where we will be sitting in a kind of cross shape…”

The long and short of it was that we were playing Truth, Dare, Kiss or Promise; but so that there were no awkward cousin-on-cousin couplings, the Weasley girls had to sit at North, the Weasley boys at East, the non-Weasley boys at South and the non-Weasley girls at West.

The way James did it, you had to sit in a line, and the people at the head of the lines, facing the bottle, were effectively the four playing it – you were in until you were landed on, did your thing, and moved to the back of the line.

But it was only Alice, Frankie and I sat in the non-Weasley girls line; Rose, Lily and Roxanne were sat in the other. Then there was James, Fred, Al, Louis and Hugo set opposite us, and Lorcan, Lysander, Fergal (who had eventually arrived halfway through the picnic) and Sleazy Simon opposite them.

First up, the four players were Rose, Fred, Lorcan, and me. The bottle was spun; it landed on Rose. She picked ‘dare’, and the bottle was spun again to land on Fred.

“I dare you… to punch the person you like least here in the face,” Fred grinned, thinking he was so clever to have made Rose choose who she liked least. Rose promptly leaned over and gave him a proper WHAM right in his nose.

Then it was to the back with Fred and Rose. The bottle landed on Lorcan and ‘promise’; each of us had to come up with a promise and he had to choose which one to keep. He chose Roxanne’s (‘I promise to clean the girl’s room from now until we go to King’s Cross’).

Eventually it landed on me, and I chose ‘truth’. Rose promptly asked me how far I’d gone with a guy.

The bitch knew perfectly well, but she wanted me to tell everyone too. So I did – “Second base.”

Then things really started getting funny.

Hugo had to kiss Alice Longbottom, and Sleazy Simon had to admit who he’d like to shag most who he hadn’t already (‘Lily Potter’, the twat. James and Al immediately leapt for him and Lily just smirked as she watched the prick get beaten up). Then Louis had to promise to either clean his room entirely, eat with his mouth shut, or shag someone in a broom closet.

He picked the latter. I made a disgusted face at him; would it seriously kill him to do the others? Nobody likes him going around with blonde bimbos.

Except Lou, obviously.

Note to self: ignore Louis for a while.

Then Roxanne had to kiss Lorcan (Fred looked murderous as she said ‘kiss’) and Rose had to run around the clearing in her knickers. So she did (again, Sleazy’s fault). Merlin, Rose is shameless.

So then Frankie decided to have a dare too, and got told to go kiss one of the Weasley girls by some idiot until Alice pointed out that that was technically ‘kiss’ and plain weird. But Frankie got off.

Then I was at the front again. Lily was to my left, Lysander to my right, and James to the front. Fred then decided that it was a double-whatever.

But I don’t think James had taken in exactly who was sitting around him, because he picked ‘kiss’. So Lily walked around to Lysander and looked up into his eyes – you practically hear their heart rates picking up – and James looked murderous, but as I sat frozen, he leant over the bottle, on his hands and knees, and kissed me.

His hand was tilting my chin up, and my eyes automatically fluttered shut, but my heart rate picked right up until it was banging hard against my chest and I could feel my blood thrumming through my veins. James’s lips were warm and soft on mine, and I pressed into them, until… I lost control of my muscles and for some reason… I opened his mouth with mine. He flicked his tongue around my lips and was about to deepen our kiss, when –

“AHEM!”

We sprung apart guiltily. I couldn’t look him in the eyes, and I’m pretty sure Potter didn’t look at me. Instead, Al looked shocked, Rose looked shocked, Simon looked turned on by all the kissing, most of all the Weasleys looked grossed out and shocked, and Lou just looked murderous.

He’s so hypocritically overprotective.

But Alice winked at me as I shuffled to the back and spied Lily and Lysander still kissing behind a tree.

Whoops. It looked like in all mine and James’s new drama, those two had been forgotten and left to their own devices.

Pepper’s List of Stuff to Do
Find out a way to summon the knight bus off the top of muggle houses
Challenge the Fates about my destiny of ‘Death Before 17’
Set up Lily and Lysander
Work out what’s happening with James
Make everyone shut up about whatever’s happening with James

*A/N: Hey guys! Sooo… big chapter with a lot of words and a lot of drama! What do you think of the newest development in this? Pepper/James? Pepper/anyone else? How do you like Lily now?
I am so excited for the next chapter, “Job 8: Talk to Lou and Send Roses to Fred”. It’s hilarious… I think you’ll really love it, honest :D
~TGK*

 


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