Chapter 6 : Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
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Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Jo.
How was it that everyone and their third cousin knew about my drama with Victoire, but absolutely no one had a clue about the White brothers’ problems?
Seriously, whenever Vic and I went at it, back when she was still at Hogwarts, the entire school tuned in for the show. But nooooo, people actually had the decency to ignore whatever it was that was going on between Dare and Calvin. Well, the seventh year Gryffindors and whoever else was close enough to hear were paying attention, but that was about it. Everyone else just went about with their dinner, completely oblivious to the intense family drama that was unfolding right before their eyes.
Granted, since Dare was just kind of silently standing there, staring at his brother with this creepily empty look, it wasn’t really that intense. Minus the extremely awkward tension that was drenched all over the air. Whereas, whenever Vic and I argued, there’s always plenty of yelling and cursing and occasionally hexing involved (all of which came from me).
Merlin, I had no idea how he was able to act so calm about this. I mean, I figured that inside he was probably going mad and it wasn’t like he was the type to cause a scene or anything, but he could have at least said something. Instead, the bloke just stormed out of the Great Hall without a word!
How was that even physically possible? God knows what my reaction would have been like, had it been Vic the one to replace our Defence teacher.
“Ah, Professor White!” Professor Flitwick’s voice exclaimed, bringing me back to reality. Calvin looked up, also being shaken out of the daze he had fallen into after watching his brother’s reaction, and quickly composed himself.
“Can I help you, Professor?” he asked, clearing his throat. I could tell that he was pretty disappointed with Dare, but was doing his best to act professional in front his new colleague.
“The Headmistress has requested a meeting with the entire faculty in her office,” Flitwick explained, with a cheery smile. “Oh hello, Miss Weasley! That was quiet a pleasant surprise you gave me this morning. I look forward to reading your paper once I return from my meeting.”
Alright, I had to admit – it was kind of nice being praised by a professor. Even though I was pretty sure his opinion would change, once he got around to actually reading it.
“Er, thanks,” I replied, as I watched my two professors leave for their meeting. As soon as the door closed behind him, the light heartedness I was feeling immediately vanished as Nat brought up the subject of Dare’s little exit again.
“Someone needs to go after him,” she stated, her face filled with worry.
“Why?” I asked, while everyone else nodded their heads in agreement with Nat. “He’s seventeen, I’m sure he can handle a little angst every now and then.”
“Minnie, did you not see his reaction? His face?” Freddy exclaimed, shaking his head. “I mean, yeah he’s a quiet guy and all, but that was just… Merlin, that even got me worried.”
“He can’t be left by himself when he gets like this,” James added, brows furrowed with concern for his best mate.
“You lot are acting like he’s going to throw himself off the Astronomy tower just because he got in a little tiff with Calvin,” I retorted, rolling my eyes. “Vic and I fight all the time, yet you’ve never been this concerned about me.”
“That’s because you actually express your emotions.” Brain explained, “Dare bottles everything up and when he’s alone, he starts overanalysing things and thinking that he’s this useless loser.”
He was a useless loser, but I figured now wasn’t a good time to share that. Instead, I just sighed and shook my head.
“Okay fine. Someone go after him, then,” I said, crossing my arms.
“You need to do it,” Nat announced, and I looked at her like she’d lost her head.
“Why the hell do I have to do it?” I protested. “We aren’t even friends!”
“Not according to this!” Freddy reminded, pulling out the contract to the bet. Voldemort, I completely forgot about that.
“But… it’s a family matter. Brain should be the one to do it, not someone who has only been his ‘friend’ for less than twenty four hours,” I argued, although I knew they weren’t going to fall for it.
“Dare knows that I won't choose sides between him and Cal,” she retaliated, a sad tone in her voice. “I’d only make things worse.”
“Like I won’t?” I countered, “Bloody hell, I make everything worse. I doubt that this will be the exception.”
“He won’t talk to any of us about it,” James explained, his hazel eyes anxious and convincing. “You’re the only one who hasn’t tried yet, Minnie. It’s your turn.”
I let out a sigh, hating myself for being so easily manipulated. It wasn’t fair how one look from James’s puppy dog eyes could make me feel so guilty. Finally, I swallowed my pride and accepted defeat.
“Where should I look?”
“How about the library?” Freddy suggested, but Brain quickly shook her head.
“By the time he gets there, it’ll be closed,” she told us.
“The library closes?” I asked surprised, earning myself a questioning look from Brain. Nat smacked her forehead, while my cousins rolled their eyes at each other.
Well, excuse me for not knowing!
I mean, it’s not my fault that nerds like Brain, Dare, and the entire Ravenclaw house, seems to live there, leading all of us normal students to believe that they kept the place open for them twenty-four/seven. Although, I do remember overhearing Matilda Ramsey rant about how the library hours should be extended for fifth years and up, one day when we were studying for our OWLS.
I wonder what they did then, after nine o’clock. Then again, considering how they were the type to willingly submit themselves to the authority of Madame Bates, the obsessive-compulsive dictator that ran the library, they were probably also the kind to go to bed at a decent hour. Unlike me and my cousins, who preferred to raid the kitchens and go on pranking expeditions until some ungodly time in the morning.
“Try the dorm then,” James offered, “And don’t even think about using the whole ‘that’s too intimate’ excuse to get out of it. You’ve been to our dorm probably more times than us.”
“That’s only because you lot are constantly forgetting things and I’m such a wonderful human being that I willingly go get them for you,” I replied back, sticking out my tongue.
“No, you get them because you suck at Rock, Parchment, Quill.”
“How the hell does a piece of parchment defeat a rock? That makes no logical sense!” I stated, “And I don’t know why you bother to include me in those games. I don’t even live there!”
“Oh shut up, Minnie,” Nat said, rolling her eyes. “Just go find Dare and make sure everything’s alright. You are not allowed to leave him until you figure out what’s going on, you got that?”
“Aye, aye Captain,” I replied sarcastically, before getting up to leave. The worst part about all of this, however, was that deep down, I was actually kind of worried about him too.
Okay, maybe not worried because that would just be ridiculous, but I was definitely curious. The only thing we knew about Dare and Calvin’s relationship was that it wasn’t good. And it was killing me not knowing the details. However, I couldn’t just let my friends know that, or else I’d never live it down.
With dinner coming to an end, the halls were starting to fill up as students journeyed back to their own common rooms. I quickened my pace so that I wouldn’t get stuck in the traffic, and grudgingly began my trek to Gryffindor tower.
Surprisingly enough, the seventh year Gryffindor boys’ dormitory was not as chaotic as one would assume a room full of rowdy seventeen year old guys (plus Dare) would be.
There was still a fair share of old candy wrappers and unfolded laundry tossed about, don’t get me wrong, but at least there weren’t any unidentifiable green fungi growing along the walls (unlike my cousin Hugo’s dormitory). I suppose the worse part of the room would have to be the empty bottles of smuggled Firewhisky that peeked out from underneath Devon Finnegan’s bed. As well as the tacky Witch Weekly calendar Eli had pinned up, but other than that, it was actually not half bad.
Granted, there was also the little factor that Quidditch season hadn’t hit yet. Once practice started, the oh-so-familiar scent of eau de sweat settled its way into the atmosphere, choking anyone within a ten metre radius of the room. Fortunately for me, tryouts didn’t start until next week, so I was perfectly safe walking into that dormitory without the use of a Bubblehead charm.
It wasn’t very hard to find Dare, once I entered. There were only so many places a person could hide in the dormitory, and considering how Dare was too tall to fit into a wardrobe or underneath a bed without his feet poking out, the only place left for him to be was on his bed with the curtains drawn.
There was also the loo, but I knew better than to go in there unaccompanied.
Letting out a sigh, I walked up to his four-poster bed and taking a moment to compose myself, I reached over and threw back the drapery. He was lying down on his back, brown eyes staring intently up at the ceiling as if the answer to the universe was encoded on the water-stained titles and he was just moments away from discovering it. Taking a break from pondering the meaning of life, he turned his face towards my direction and gave me a questioning look.
“What?” he asked bluntly. The flat-out lack of enthusiasm in his tone threw me back some, and I struggled to find a way to reply without sounding snappy (although he kind of deserved it for being so difficult).
“Merlin, what’s with the hostility?” I joked, hoping it would ease the tension. “Can’t a girl visit her friend these days?”
“Oh, so we’re friends now?” he said sarcastically, and I bit back the snarky remark that so desperately wanted to be set free. Instead, I decided to go with a more logical route and point out what Freddy had reminded me of earlier.
“According to that contract we signed, we are.”
Dare scoffed, his attitude igniting my temper. Not even a day in and I was already struggling to keep my cool. Bloody hell, I was hoping I could have gone at least a week without feeling like I wanted to strangle him.
“Look,” I began, taking a seat on his bed so he would stop brushing me off and realize that I wasn’t leaving until he gave me some explanations. “Whatever it is that’s going on between you and Calvin, you can tell me. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to understand.”
Or fake it, at least.
“Do you really expect me to believe that?” he asked snidely. “I know how you feel about my brother, Minnie. There’s no chance in hell that you’re going to be understanding when Calvin’s involved - despite the bet.”
Good Godric, he did not just imply what I think he did.
“And um, what exactly are these feelings?” I asked coolly, biting my lip as I tried not to smack him against the head for being such an idiot.
“Oh don’t act dumb,” he commented. “I saw the way you were all over him during dinner, batting those ridiculously long eyelashes at him and what not. He’s the only person I’ve ever seen you flirt with, which makes it pretty obvious that you like him.”
Dear Merlin, was this boy high?
I mean, yeah I may have been the slightest bit infatuated with him, but that was when I was ten. It was the end of Victoire’s third year, when she and Calvin had begun dating. Mum had been pestering her all summer to introduce him to her, so sometime in August she finally agreed. At first, I couldn’t stand the bloke. I hated all of my sister’s friends and I figured that Calvin would be just like them. That is, until I found out that he was in Gryffindor.
My family has always glorified Gryffindor, and so I grew up thinking that anyone from that house had to be awesome (of course, I now know better than that and am aware that every house is capable of having idiots - ahem, the Andies, ahem). So once Calvin told me that little detail, my attitude towards him completely changed. It also helped that he actually showed an interest me, and not brush me off like all of Vic’s stupid Ravenclaw friends.
Every time he came over, he’d always ask me how I was doing and give me whatever piece of chocolate he had on him. If that hadn’t won me over yet, then it was probably the fact that he was always giving me pointers with Quidditch. The only “big brother” figure I had in my life was Teddy, who although I love dearly, wasn’t exactly the best when it came to advice on athletics (or anything that required a need for coordination). So I loved having Calvin over to help me out with my form and talk to about how I can improve my chances of making the team. This annoyed Vic to no end, since she never really got a hold of the sport and so she hated how I had something in common with her boyfriend that she couldn’t participate in.
So yeah, I had a crush. And sure, maybe that crush continued all throughout my first year at school, too. I mean, what eleven year old girl wouldn’t fancy an attractive, cool, popular, athletic bloke that smiled at and acknowledged her in the corridors or saved her a seat at the Gryffindor table after she had just been sorted and needed someone to sit with?
The important thing here though, was that I grew out of it. By the end of my second year I was more than over Calvin, knowing perfectly well that I stood no chance with him. That, and all of the other girls in my year were completely obsessed with him, and I really did not want to be on the same level as them. So for Dare to accuse me of flirting with Calvin (I know for a fact that I did not bat my eyelashes – a piece of dust had just flown into my eye, was all) was just absolutely ridiculous.
“Let me get this straight,” I began, trying really hard to keep calm. “You are under the impression that I have more than platonic feelings towards my older sister’s ex boyfriend, who is not only five years older than me, but also my Defence Against the Dark Arts professor?”
“Well, when you put it like that, it does sound a little absurd –”
“A little?!” I exclaimed, cutting him off. “Bloody hell Dare, he’s my professor. To have feelings for him is not only insane, but also completely cliché.”
He rolled his eyes, “Okay fine. I guess you have a point. But can you blame me for assuming so? Honestly, it was a little pathetic the way you threw yourself at him.”
“I did not throw myself!” I protested, feeling my cheeks go red. “He’s a friend whom I haven’t seen in a long time. Of course I was going to hug him and be excited – which is more than I can say for you. Really Dare, he’s your brother. You could have at least pretended to be civil.”
“Oh don’t lecture me on how I should treat my siblings!” he fired back. “You’re the one who would feed your own right arm to the Giant Squid just so you don’t have to be in your sister’s wedding.”
“You’d want to too, if you got stuck being her Maid of Honour,” I muttered, before letting out a sigh. We were getting way too close to fighting, and I knew I had to calm down before I said something that I would regret. “Listen, I didn’t come here to pick a fight. I saw the look on your face after your little confrontation with Calvin, and I got concerned.”
“For some reason, I’m having a hard time believing that.”
“Alright, so maybe Nat and James might have given me a little push. But that doesn’t exclude the fact that your lack of emotion towards your brother’s return wasn’t worrying. So can you just please tell me what the hell is wrong and be done with it?”
“Nothing’s wrong!” he exclaimed, and now it was my turn to scoff.
“Obviously something is, since you always turn into this moody little piss every time he shows up,” I pointed out, and he scowled at the fact that I was right.
“It’s just...” he began, running a hand through his hair with frustration. “Whenever something good is finally going on in my life, he always manages to pop up and take that away from me. He’s like my own personal raincloud, constantly following me around wherever I go so he can overshadow me and make everything I do seem so much more inferior to him.”
From the sound of it, it seems that Dare’s problem was just another case of Middle Child Syndrome – and a nasty one at that. The angst and pessimism were only a few of the symptoms, but they were the ones I was most familiar with. You know, it was starting to get a little creepy how much the two of us had in common.
I opened my mouth to tell him how I completely understood what he was going through, but he was too far into his rant to notice. My pestering him had made a dent in his steel armour, and once I got that first crack in, it didn’t take long for the rest of it to crumble.
“And it sucks, because this was supposed to be my year. I made Head Boy, I no longer have to rely on James to get invited to parties, professors actually notice me, I finally got you to stop hating me, even the Slytherins aren’t bothering me as much as they used to! But no, none of that matters anymore because Calvin’s here, which means that all of those things can fly right out the window. Who care’s that I made top of my class, when Calvin can teach everyone how to produce a freaking Patronus charm? For god’s sake, he’s not the only one who can achieve things in life!”
“I mean, when are people going to stop bloody comparing me to him? Just because I wear glasses and choose to spend my free time reading than working out, does not make me any less than him. I can transfigure a watch into a wolf in half the time he takes, with my eyes closed. But of course, no one ever cares about that. No, all they care about is whether or not I can lift a boulder over my head while I do two hundred press-ups. Who needs muscles when there’s magic? Honestly, not even Quidditch requires that much strength, yet girls are always obsessing over which player has the biggest biceps and how toned their abs are. Why the hell is that even relevant? God, girls are so damn illogical!”
I had to admit – I was kind of amused by Dare’s rant. I’ve never seen him lose his cool before, or at least not like this. Sure, there have been plenty of times when he’s snapped at me because I wouldn’t stop picking on him, but that was more of an annoyed frustration than anything else. This on the other hand, this was real.
For starters, he was rambling. Dare never rambled. He was far too analytical for that, and preferred to get things straight to the point. But there he was, going off about girls and Quidditch when all I asked him was why he was angry with his brother. It was pretty entertaining, to be honest.
Not to mention, he looked absolutely ridiculous. He was panting by the time he had finished his rant, his face red from all of that pent up emotion that’s been building inside. His hair was a right mess, it looking like it belonged on the head of a mad man, what with the way it was all tousled and sticking up in every direction. The slightly crazed look in his eye just topped it all off, making it really hard for me to keep a straight face.
“What are you smiling at?” Dare asked callously, and I shook my head so that he wouldn’t see me silently laughing at his appearance.
“Oh you know,” I began, clearing my throat. “I’m just so happy that you were finally able to open up and share your feelings with me. It means a lot to hear you pour out your soul.”
If he falls for that, then he’s even more screwed up than I thought.
“Shut up,” he growled, but I could see the faintest of smiles hinting at his lips, giving away that he wasn’t mad with me. Not that I actually cared if he got upset, but since it could violate my chances of winning the bet, I tried to be a little bit more careful.
“In all seriousness though, it’s a good thing to let out your emotions,” I told him, rather proud of myself for being able to accomplish what had been previously known as an impossible feat. “Helps balance your chi.”
“Chi?” he questioned, quirking an eyebrow.
I waved him off, “Divination term. We’re studying about how different cultures harness their divine energies.”
It was actually fairly interesting. Everyone thinks that NEWT level Divination is just this big joke, and although the vast majority of it was rubbish, it did have a few good points every now and then. Not to mention, I was really looking forward to the “meditation” segment. Taking a nap for an entire class period had to be the greatest idea Trelawney has ever came up with.
“That sounds surprisingly rational,” he commented, and I shrugged.
“It has its moments.” I replied, right before the door to his dormitory flew open. It made a loud bang as it hit the wall, and revealed a very excited looking Eli. He had an impish grin on his face as he scanned the room, his eyes lighting up once they landed on me and Dare.
“Well, what do we have here?” he inquired, his voice loud enough for the entire tower to hear. “Minnie and Dare are in bed together at such a late hour in the night?!”
Oh my god.
Dare and I quickly exchanged glances, a sort of understanding passing between us as we realised just how bad things could get if anyone had overheard Eli’s announcement. Hopping off the bed, I launched myself onto Eli and clamped a hand over his mouth, which he had been opening to shout out yet another completely inappropriate comment. I had knocked him off his feet, which was rather surprising considering how I weighed practically nothing, and sat on his chest to pin him down. Dare moved to close the door, in hopes that no one would notice what was going on up here.
I tried to ignore Eli’s waggling eyebrows and suggestive looks, as I waited for Dare to finish casting a silencing spell around the dorm. By the time he gave me the okay to let Eli go, my hand was aching from pressing down so hard. There was also a slight moisture to it, which I only hoped was my sweat.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I exclaimed, smacking Eli up against the head as I got off of him. He grinned mischievously at me, completely unabashed by his actions.
“Oh have a sense of humour, Minnie,” he laughed, rubbing the spot where I had hit him. “The common room is in its post-dinner state. I doubt that anyone would have heard me over all the different conversations that are going on.”
“Do you have any idea how much damage you could have done with a comment like that?” Dare scolded, his cheeks still red from the initial outburst. “Gossip runs like wildfire around here.”
“Sorry, Dad,” Eli mocked, rolling his eyes as he moved towards his bed. “I’ll try and be quieter the next time I walk in on you and mum going at it.”
“For Merlin’s sake, we were just talking!” I cried, chucking the nearest thing I could grab a hold of, which just so happened to be one of Dare’s textbooks, at his head. Fortunately for him, Eli managed to catch the book just in time, saving his face from receiving what could have been one nasty bruise.
“Right, talking,” he repeated, nodding his head understandingly. His tone, however, suggested otherwise. “Because the two of you couldn’t have done that down in the common room, instead of hiding up here and being all private.”
I let out a sigh, figuring that it was better to just drop the subject and let the idiot think whatever the hell he wanted. Besides, I wasn’t sure how long I had been up here but I figured that it was probably long enough for Nat to start scheming up all sorts of wild theories. The sooner I returned to my dormitory, the better.
“Whatever, Eli,” I replied, moving towards the door. “It’s getting late, so I’m just going to head on out.”
“Oh don’t leave on a count of me,” he called out, a smirk on his face. “I promise I’ll be quiet so that you and Dare can finish your snog session.”
“Bye, Eli.” I didn't even bother to tell him off. I waved goodbye to Dare, who was sitting on his bed with a thoughtful expression on his face and nodded in reply.
“Night love,” Eli answered cheekily, before planting a sloppy kiss on top of my head. I slammed the door in his face and wiped the spot where he had kissed me, before I made my way back to my dorm.
As I passed through the common room, I noticed that he had been right about it being too noisy for anyone to overhear anything. The majority of Gryffindor house crowded the room, as students loudly chatted with their friends about their days and the latest gossip. I was relieved to not hear mine or Dare’s names thrown around, which mean that our little rendezvous was still a secret.
I spotted James sitting at our usual spot by the fireplace, playing a game of Exploding Snap with Freddy and some other sixth years. He looked up and caught my eye, a concerned look crossing his face as if to ask me how everything had went. I nodded at him to let him know that it went fine, which seemed to be good enough for him.
Now, if only Nat were as easily satisfied. Merlin knows that the minute I stepped into my dormitory, she would be there just waiting to interrogate me.
And surely enough, I was right. She didn’t miss a beat once I entered our room, not even giving me the chance to settle down before she began to ambush me with questions.
“It’s about time! Dear God, what took you so long? Dinner’s been over for more than an hour!” she exclaimed, whacking me with a pillow. “Did you manage to find him? How did it go? What did he tell you? He did tell you things, right? Because, you were gone an awfully long time for him to not say anything. Oh my god, you guys were snogging, weren’t you? I mean, why else would it take you an hour? Was it good? Did he use tongue? Give me details, woman!”
“Bloody hell, you’re obnoxious!” I cried, plopping down onto my bed. “Give me a chance to catch my breath, will you?”
She let out a huff, “Excuse me for being curious. Now, you better not leave anything out about that kiss or else I will kill you, understand? I’ve always wanted to know what it would be like to snog a Head Boy, so spill.”
“If you’re so damn curious about what it’s like, then why don’t you go kiss him yourself?” I asked, rolling my eyes at her. “Because I wouldn’t know, since we didn’t do anything but talk.”
Nat crinkled her nose, “Ew, god no! He’s my god brother – that’s practically incest!”
“Then shut up about,” I answered back, throwing a pillow at her. “Honestly, you’re just as bad as Eli. Everything has to be about sex, with you two.”
“My mind isn’t that dirty,” she mumbled defensively. I gave her a pointed look, and she rolled her eyes. “Alright, maybe a little. But if you two weren’t snogging, then why the hell did it take you so long? Every time I try to talk to him, he just gives me these vague, one-sentence answers that take less than a second.”
I shrugged, “Well, it took forever for him to actually tell me something, that wasn’t the usual rubbish he feeds you and James. And once we got past that, he actually had a lot to say.”
Nat looked at me expectantly. “And? What did he tell you?”
“A bunch of stuff,” I answered offhandedly. “It was pretty much just the typical little brother/big brother rivalry kind of thing. Nothing that’s really newsworthy. Anyway, the point is that he opened up and actually talked about his problems, so now you and James don’t have to worry about him throwing himself in front of the Knight Bus or something.”
I wasn’t really sure why I was being so vague about the conversation Dare and I had. It wasn’t like he made me take the Unbreakable Vow or anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure he expects me to tell Nat what we talked about. However, a tiny part inside of me felt that if I did reveal to her what he had shared, then I would be betraying him. I mean, it’s not like I cared about him or anything, but still. I had enough decency in me to know that some things were better left private.
Thankfully, Nat realized that this was the most she was going to get out of me and decided to leave the subject alone. It was probably killing her to do that, but I was grateful that she didn’t press it any further. It wasn’t like she would have been able to understand, anyway. She was the youngest in her family, and therefore used to being pampered and getting special treatment. She had no idea what it’s like to be ignored or overlooked by your own family, and so she would have probably thought that Dare was just being a whiny prick. Which he was, but I was allowed to think that since I actually knew what it was like having to deal with Middle Child Syndrome.
As creepy as it was, I guess it was kind of a good thing that Dare and I had this issue in common. Sure, I still couldn’t stand the bloke, but since I was supposed to be making an effort to get along with him, having something like MCS to relate on made it a lot easier. Besides, none of my other friends knew what it was like, so it was nice knowing that there was someone else going through the same thing.
Sweet Salazar, when did I start getting so sentimental?
I shook myself out of my thoughts, and began to get ready for bed. Sure, the night was still fairly young, but I had had a long day. Nat decided to head down to the common room, probably to hang out with James and Freddy, leaving the room all to myself. I quickly took advantage of the situation and tucked myself into bed, hoping that by the time the rest of my dorm mates returned I would be fast asleep.
Dare - Andrew Garfield
A/N: Yeah, I know it's been forever. But now that school's over and summer's here, I'm hoping to get up to date with my writing. We'll see how that one goes. Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed the chapter and don't forget to leave a review! It means a lot to me! Oh, and also come by my MTA page and leave me a couple of questions. I love hearing from you guys!
PS: The chapter title comes from a movie of the same name, although it has absolutely no tie to the story whatsoever. I just thought it sounded cool.
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