Chapter 15 : 10+5=? HELLS YEAH IT EQUALS CHAPTER 15.
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of his pals or the magical land they live in, Charlie's Angels, or the ability to approach warp speed. I borrowed that from Star Trek.
I stared at the squid tentacle grazing the surface of the lake while Freddy ate his muffins, waiting for me to start talking.
So we're sitting on the grass a bit beyond the shore and ditching Herbology.
I should be venting right now. I really should.
I just don't know what to say. I mean, I want to tell Freddy so he'll tell me how to feel about all this.
But how do I say it?
Hey Fred, your mate James Potter has recently informed me that he's taken a minuscule fancy to me.
Oh, and by the way, he and I are friends now. Thoughts?
I rubbed a hand across my face in frustration while Freddy just looked at me, taking a bite out of a banana nut muffin before recoiling in disgust.
I smiled, trying not to laugh, "What's wrong?"
He continued to look offended and disgusted and just generally upset, "Fucking banana nut. Who even likes them?"
I shrugged, "They aren't the worst ever."
He stared at me before shaking his head, "You are in a pickle so I will pretend you didn't say that."
I frowned, "Who says I'm in a pickle?"
Fred gave me a look, shaking his head, "Don't even try that with me Walker. I came into the Great Hall this morning and saw your face and instantly I thought, 'Oh, poor Tiff's in a pickle'."
I stared at him and stated, "You're a freak. And I'm also strangely content with the fact that you look at my face and think of pickles."
He shoved my foot with his, "Not a real pickle, weirdo. A figurative one."
I continued to look at him with judgement on my face and Freddy gestured wildly with his hands, "You know, a sticky situation. A fix. A bind. A predicament, jam, dilemma, tight spot, quandary-"
"You need to stop."
"You get it?"
"I get it."
He nodded, satisfied, "Good. Start talking or I'll keep spewing pickle words at you."
I took a deep breath and looked at him once before out at the lake, "James fancies me."
He stopped mid-bite into his muffin as his eyes widened, his eyebrows sky high, "He told you?"
I narrowed my eyes at him, "You knew?"
He scoffed, regaining his composure, "Course I knew. I'm his best mate. So what'd he say?"
I thought back to the previous night, "Well, he said it's only a tiny crush and not to worry about it. And he said he wasn't planning to ever tell me."
Freddy pressed his lips together as he fought what looked like a laugh, rubbing his fingers against his cheek absentmindedly.
I'm glad you find all this so funny, Freddykins.
I exist purely to be your source of amusement.
He took a steadying breath and said, "Just a tiny crush, huh?" I nodded and he nodded back, "So what did you say back?"
I blushed slightly, "Nothing really. I fumbled with my words for a bit and then I told him I didn't know what to say."
He shook his head at me, his tie fluttering in the breeze, "You suck."
I groaned, flopping back on the grass, "I know. What do I do?"
He held up a finger, "Just one more thing before I get to the good stuff. Why did he tell you in the first place if he wasn't planning on it?"
I shrugged, "Because I asked."
His eyebrows shot up impossibly further, "You asked him if he's taken a fancy to you?"
Why yes Freddy, that's exactly what I did.
"No, I asked why he decided I should be special enough to hang around you lot."
Fred snorted, "Pffft, like James is the one who decides those things. So he said it's 'cause he fancies you?"
I shrugged, "Basically. He said some other stuff too."
His eyes lit up, "Like what?"
I cupped a hand over my eyes to block out the sun when I turned to look at him, "I won't tell you. You'll tease the bejesus out of him and he'll know I told you."
He collapsed on the grass next to me and scooted over, offering me his pinky and a sincere look, "I won't tell him or anyone. Ex-lover's honor."
I laughed and hooked my pinky around his, "Ex-lover's honor."
He sat back up and grinned excitedly, "So tell me!"
I sat up too and shook my head, smiling, "You're girlishly excited about this."
He shrugged lightly, "I keep telling you Tiffany, it doesn't bug me one bit when you insult my manhood."
"Good, I'll do it more often."
"Quit stalling and spill the beans."
I blushed again and looked away, "He just said I'm smart and funny and your family likes me."
He shook his head disapprovingly, "Not a real romantic, is he? Those are all things a friend would tell you."
I rolled my eyes, "It was sweet enough. Now tell me what to do about all this."
He squinted his eyes as he looked thoughtfully out at the lake, "So you don't fancy him back?"
I shook my head, "We've just officially become friends. How could I fancy him?"
He nodded, still lost in thought, "And you told him you don't like him like that?"
"He got the message. Why?"
"Just want to make sure you weren't planning on leading him on or anything."
I glared at him, "What kind of friend do you take me for? That would be horrendous."
I am no tease, thank you kindly.
He grinned at me, "Glad we're on the same page. So how are you feeling about Noah right now?"
I collapsed back on the grass again, hands over my face, "Ugh, I don't know. When the hell did this all get so complicated?"
"When you started hanging out with us."
I've been sucked in with the Wotters and now have a bit of my own Wotter drama.
But the question is, how do I feel about Noah?
I mean, don't get me wrong, when I see him in the halls and he smiles at me I feel like I'm going to become a puddle of goo on the spot, but does that mean I fancy him?
Or just that I find him dead sexy?
Mreh. Too confusing. Need girl advice.
I wonder how Rose would feel about talking to me about this.
I mean, I did allow her to soil my clothing with her snot and tears.
Woman owes me.
I miss Jen and Addie.
Jen would simultaneously hit me round the face for James liking me and squeal her head off, while Addie would probably try to give some helpful advice.
Freddy nudged me, "I say if James told you not to worry about it, then don't worry about it. Let him handle it however he wants to."
I looked up at him, "You think?"
He nodded, "He'd probably prefer it if you didn't bring it up again."
I sighed in relief, "Thank merlin. I'd probably explode if I had to talk to him about it another time."
He chuckled, "You're such a weirdo when it comes to feelings."
I grinned and winked at him as I got to my feet, the hour for Herbology almost over, "You know it Freddykins."
He laughed and stood, swiping the grass off my back as I did the same for him.
We grinned at each other until I said, blushing slightly, "Thanks for everything, Fred."
He beamed and bent down to hug me, his stubble tickling the side of my face.
We headed in the direction of the doors leading into the Entrance Hall with our next class, double Transfiguration, vaguely in mind.
We walked in silence for part of the way, until a thought struck me, "Hey, does Noah know about James liking me?"
Freddy grimaced uncomfortably, "Why do you ask?"
I shrugged, looking carefully at the slippery marble staircase we were walking up, "I dunno. It just seems odd that he would make a move on me like he did if he knew his best mate fancies me."
Well that was blunt.
What's the point of sugarcoating it anyway?
Facts are facts.
Freddy scratched at the back of his head awkwardly, "I'd rather not get in the middle of that."
I stared at the side of his face, eyebrows furrowed as I tried to keep up with his quickened pace, "What does that mean?"
He shook his head, refusing to look at me.
We were fast approaching the crowded queue of students standing outside of the Transfig classroom.
Freddy was practically running trying to reach them.
He was trying to run out the clock and avoid my question, the little bastard!
I was about to shout my question again when James stepped into sight from amongst the crowd and Fred and I both stopped short.
James was pouting, his bottom lip stuck out, "You guys left me all alone with Longbottom and Parker in Herbology."
Freddy and I exchanged a look (a glare from me, a pair of widened eyes filled with innocence from him) before turning back to James, Freddy patting his shoulder, "Sorry mate. It was strictly ex-lover business."
And with that, Freddy melted in the crowd, muttering about finding Gretchen Richards.
I detest Gretchen Richards.
She's too blonde and perky and perfect.
Plus, her boobs are huge.
I've said this all before.
Her blonde perky perfectness upsets me so much I have to mention it more than once.
Fucking Gretchen Richards.
James looked at me, bewildered, "What exactly is ex-lover business?"
I reached up to pat his shoulder like Fred had, grinning innocently, "Nothing you need to concern yourself with."
McGonagall opened the door to her classroom, all of us filing in behind her and finding our seats.
"Now I really want to know." James said, thunking down in the chair next to mine.
I smiled, "That's too bad."
His bottom lip was stuck out again, "It's not nice to keep secrets."
I shrugged, still smiling, "You're right."
"You're still not going to tell me, are you."
I was grinning, "No way in hell."
He tugged on a lock of my hair as he slumped on his desk petulantly.
Kate shot me a grin as she sat down in the row in front of James and mine, sitting next to Stephanie Abrams who also gave me a smile.
I smiled back.
Kate leaned back in her chair and I leaned forward, listening as she said in a hushed voice, "James was practically in tears without you and Fred there for company in Herbology."
I grinned as I whispered back, "He's pouting because I won't tell him what Fred and I were doing."
Kate and Stephanie laughed as James shouted, "I heard that!"
"Silence, Mr. Potter!" McGonagall reprimanded.
There was stifled laughter from behind us as Noah and Fred occupied the seats in the row above ours.
McGonagall was ten minutes into her lecture on human to animal transformations when Addie and Jen tried their best to slip into the classroom quietly.
Our dear professor was not pleased.
Jen was embarrassed, but apparently not embarrassed enough to keep from whispering viciously to Addie as they stepped past us, "Look at her, placing herself in the middle of the Wotters like she's something special."
It was like we all turned as a unit to glare at her retreating form.
Kate shook her head and whispered in an undertone, eyes toward the front but her body turned toward me, "I hate when girls do shit like that."
Stephanie nodded in agreement and I sent them a grateful smile.
Still, I'm a little sad that Jen of all people would be saying things like that about me.
I looked down and fiddled with my quill until James leaned over, smiling reassuringly and whispering in my ear, "Don't let O'Conner get to you. She's jealous."
James is right.
Who is Jennifer to judge me for making friends when she decided I wasn't worth her time anymore?
Tiffany Walker is strong, and confident, and even when her best mate is talking shit about her she peptalks herself in the third person and gets her mojo back.
Fuck yeah I'm badass.
I bit my lip before smiling up at James, nodding in agreement.
He nodded back before leaning away from me and back in his own seat, returning to taking notes with a smile on his lips.
McGonagall talked on and on, the class being twice as long, before she set us to practical work.
James turned to me as soon as McGonagall let us loose, his eyes excited, "Are you coming Saturday?"
I blinked at him, "Coming to what?"
His brows furrowed, "To the party."
Blank stare. "Party?"
He looked at me incredulously, "You know, after the game."
He raked a hand through his hair, his eyes wide, "The Quidditch game! Y'know, first of the season? Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff? Any of this ringing a bell? Honestly Tiff, are you being dim on purpose?"
I waggled my brows at him, "I guess you'll never know. Um, maybe I'll go. I hadn't planned on it."
It was like I had said something blasphemous.
Kate and Stephanie whipped around, exclaiming, "But you have to come!"
Fred stated calmly, "She's coming."
James looked hopeful, and I couldn't just crush something like that so I said, "I'll think about it."
He squinted at me suspiciously but smiled crookedly anyway.
Noah cleared his throat, looking from James to me expressionlessly before clearing his throat again and saying, "Right, who was paying attention enough to show me how to do those porcupine quill things?"
You know what's the really great thing about Seventh Year?
You wise up after OWLs and realize that you most definitely do not want to take Divination or Care of Magical Creatures for your NEWTs.
They may not be hard courses, but I have never had a knack for magical creatures and it's impossible to perform a Cheering Charm right after you've gotten more than a little high in Divination the period before.
Though you giggle like mad anyway so Flitwick probably thinks the charm worked.
Also, the stars have aligned in just the perfect way this year that I get to have a double free period in the morning every Monday and Thursday.
It's a beautiful thing.
And since Freddy knows exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his life (spend it in a joke shop) he's taking the bare minimum of courses and has a considerable amount of free periods.
Since I have recently formed a beautiful friendship with aforementioned Freddykins, I now have a pal to wander the halls and wreak havoc with.
It's Thursday morning and we're out on the Quidditch pitch.
It's real deviant behavior, let me tell you.
"So when do I get to see your skills, Walker?" Fred asked, coming out of the changing room dressed in full Quidditch garb just for fun.
I rolled my eyes and pushed myself off the Quidditch stand support beam I'd been leaning against before walking towards him, "What skills?"
He narrowed his eyes at me over his shoulder while he got his broomstick and a practice Quaffle out of the supply shed, "Don't play coy with me, Tiffany Walker. I heard what those bints said about your skills at Keeper tryouts."
My face turned stony and my voice was a little too cold, "Don't call them that."
His eyebrows shot up and he held up his hands in surrender, "Alright fine, I won't. Defend them to the best of your noble ability, but freezing you out isn't the most friend-like behavior if you ask me."
The silence following his words was awkward.
Freddy and I don't do awkward with each other.
So, to break the tension more than anything, I took the Quaffle from his hands and smirked at him challengingly, "Right Weasley, let's see what you can do."
He grinned back mischievously, looking relieved, "Show me what you got, Walker."
With that, he swung a leg over his Firebolt and kicked off from the ground hard, shooting high up into the air and performing tight loops just to show off.
Over twenty and some odd years since the Firebolt first came out, and it's still one of the best around.
I mean, the ability to reach a hundred and fifty miles per hour in just ten seconds?
Holy hell, that's practically approaching warp speed right there.
They do release a new batch of Firebolts every year, but it's almost the exact same as the first model that came out.
Now that is a thing of beauty.
I jogged over to the supply cupboard, tying back my long hair with an elastic that had been around my wrist and kicking open the supply shed door with my foot as I did so.
I saw the gleaming handle of my Cleansweep 17 that I had polished just before coming back to Hogwarts.
Zero to ninety-five in ten seconds ain't half bad and besides, it's all about how you use it.
I took the broomstick in my hands with a reverence that I reserved purely for Quidditch and looked at the grass beneath my feet.
Not too soggy with dew even though it's still morning.
I swung my leg over my Cleansweep and felt that familiar jittery rush course through my body, just like it always does right before I kick off.
I took a deep breath and pushed myself off the ground, harder than I needed to, and felt myself shoot up like a rocket as I pointed the broom handle towards the sky.
I laughed happily as the wind whipped my hair into my face and my clothes flapped around me.
I leveled out and soared along the rim of the pitch, cutting the turns too sharp like I always did and loving the jolt in my stomach that went along with it.
I slowed to a stop a hundred feet above Freddy's head, evening out my breathing to find my inner zen or whatever the fuck they call it before tilting my Cleansweep downwards, keeping my body flat to the broom as I dived towards the ground with my eyes on Freddy like a hawk spotting its prey.
I fucking love flying.
His widened eyes and dropped jaw came closer and closer as I waited a daringly long amount of time to pull up on the broom's handle, and when I finally did that feeling of vertigo that comes with a quick dive and a short stop made me grip the broom a little tighter and blink a few extra times at Freddy's stupefied face as I evened out next to him.
I couldn't keep the exhilarated grin off my face as I breathed deeply to try and slow my pounding heart.
Fred blinked at me gormlessly for a few moments before finally producing words, "What. The mother fuck. Was that."
I quirked a brow at him, "Flying?"
He shook his head vigorously, the slight bobbing of his broom lessening the power of his glare, "That was not flying. That was a suicidal romp around the Quidditch Pitch."
I smiled happily, "That's how I fly."
He stared at me, before shaking his head at me again and blowing out a breath, "You're nuts. And your hair looks ridiculous. But I'm impressed."
I felt at my ponytail and realized that half of my hair had come out if its elastic and was hanging loosely around my face. I laughed giddily, "Thanks Fred, you're a dear."
He squinted at me suspiciously, "Why are you so happy? You're supposed to be sarcastic and cynical."
I rolled my eyes at him, still smiling, "I am not cynical. Sarcastic, hell yes."
Freddy rolled his eyes back, shooting me a half-smile, "Sure you're not a cynic, sweetheart. You just keep telling yourself that."
I sighed and pressed myself against my broom, leaning over to the right and rolling into a Sloth Grip Roll before swinging myself back up into a sitting position.
Freddy was staring at me incredulously, laughing as he raked a hand through his hair, "Who just does a Sloth Grip Roll in the middle of a conversation, two hundred feet off the ground?"
I shrugged lightly, "Me, I suppose. You wanted me to show you what I've got."
"What you've got is a death wish." He muttered with a smile before groaning, looking at the ground beneath us, "Great. Just, great. Now I've got to deal with him as well as you."
I looked beyond my feet to see the unmistakably ruffled hair of James Potter as he dashed to the supply closet, grabbed his broom, and shot up into the air at an alarming speed.
"You're gonna wish you never flew today." Fred muttered to me under his breath.
"What? Why?" I asked, confused.
"Because James saw you."
"Why does that matter?" I pulled the rest of my hair out of its elastic and tried to make it all lay smooth against my head.
Fred shook his head, his eyes on the fast approaching James, "He flies like a nutter, just like you."
James' grin was huge and his eyes were wildly excited as he came to an abrupt halt in front of us.
"James," Fred started slowly, "Aren't you supposed to be in Care of Magi-"
"Tiff," James spoke enthusiastically, talking right over Freddy, "I saw you fly. You're amazing."
I beamed at him, still on that addicting flying high, "Thanks mate. Freddykins seems to think I'm reckless."
James shook his head vigorously and flew closer, "Your flying style is exactly what the Gryffindor team needs. I mean, our players are amazing, but they just play it so safe-"
"Excuse me," Freddy interrupted, shaking his head with a smile and a roll of the eyes, "Just because everyone else has a healthy fear of falling to their deaths does not mean that we all can't fly as well as you two loons."
James waved a hand impatiently at Freddy before turning to smile at me again, that dimple in his right cheek showing, "You're all ace at flying, that's not what I'm saying. What I want to know is, Tiff, would you consider being my alternate?"
Freddy's jaw looked on the brink of becoming unhinged, "You hate alternates. You've said since third year that the option of sending in an alternate when you get injured makes you less determined to push through it."
James continued to look at me, the sun bringing out the green in his eyes, "That was before I saw Tiff fly. Why have you never tried out?"
I shrugged, blushing slightly at his intensity, "I dunno. I guess because even though I'm nuts about flying I haven't played much Quidditch. What's different about the way I fly?"
This is all very flattering, but all I did was take a few turns around the pitch and dive a little.
What's so special about that?
James flapped his hands again, "That just means you'll have to brush up on the rules a bit, that's the easy part. Besides, alternates rarely see any action. What's different about your flying?" He scratched as his chin as Freddy lazily flew in circles around us, "Your flying isn't smooth. And you lack proper technique. But you've got insane control and you're not afraid to do the dangerous stuff. It's important to have a wild card that has a handle on what they're doing."
My stomach swooped in a completely non-Quidditch related bout of nerves as I looked at him, "I'll consider it."
With that, I tilted my broom handle down once more into a dive towards the fast approaching earth, the wind whistling in my ears and drowning out the sounds around me.
I did, however, catch James' shouted words of glee, "Fred, just look at that control!"
It's a well known fact by now that I cannot stand Potions.
History of Magic.
I detest it like I detest Gretchen Richards.
I mean, it's a pretty standard class to hate, but holy fucking hell does it blow.
So I'm sitting there in class, watching old ghosty Binns do his thing and noting that the only mildly interesting part about him is that he never quite touches the ground.
I wonder why that is.
How does he move if he can't walk on the floor?
Is he just like, 'Binns Brain of Ghostly Proportions, I commandeth thee to propelleth thy divine self forward.'
Or maybe he just floats on some celestial tide that we can't see like some brainless jellyfish.
I wonder if he'd answer if I asked him about it.
Anything or anyone happening after the second wizarding war does not make sense in his see-through brain.
How did it happen that I'm one of like twelve students dim enough to not drop this class for NEWTs?
It's me, Stephanie and Kate, two Slytherins, four Ravenclaws, one Hufflepuff, and Jen and Addie.
It used to be awkward because our two roommates who were supposedly too cool to talk to us were in the class, but now I'm sitting in the middle of those two roommates while Jen and Addie are on the opposite end of the classroom.
Stephanie is doodling like nobody's business to my right while Kate is actually taking notes to my left.
What a loser.
I'll probably try my absolute best to get a copy of those notes at a later date, but whatever.
Not the point.
I was staring out the window at the cloudy weather that seems to be rolling in with October when Kate nudged me, pointing at the folded piece of paper she had slid in front of me.
I smiled and unfolded it,
You're coming to the party right?
I looked at her, smiling but rolling my eyes. She scrunched her nose up at me. I dipped my quill in ink so I could scribble back,
I'm thinking about it.
Stephanie looked over at what we were doing when Kate scoffed loudly after reading what I wrote. She pulled the paper away from Kate and put her own quill to paper,
Stop being an aloof bitch and say you'll come already.
I attempted to stifle my laughter and Kate didn't even try, her laugh making Jen scowl from across the room.
Stephanie swears a lot. It's hilarious because she looks so sweet and I don't get offended when she calls me names.
She pretty much does it to everybody.
She has a potty mouth.
She embraces it.
She goes with her bad self.
I reloaded my quill,
Who will I even know that's gonna be there? I'll be that one awkward bint who hovers by the chip bowl.
Stephanie rolled her eyes, snatching the paper from Kate who was about to write back,
Um, everybody? You're friends with everyone who'll be there basically. Stop making excuses and come with us so we can be Charlie's Angels and be the baddest fucking bitches there.
I grinned before sighing exaggeratedly and whispering, "Fine, I guess I'll go."
Kate beamed at me and Stephanie drew a heart on my hand with her red ink.
It hurt real bad.
Don't draw on your friends with quills kids.
They'll potentially make a spastic movement with their hands and over turn the ink bottle all over freshly made notes.
I'm not speaking from experience, or anything.
Not at all.
After Kate siphoned off all the ink from her notes, waving off my apologies and ignoring Steph's roars of laughter that even Binns took notice of.
"Girls," his voice was raspy, "Please try to keep it down. What houses are you in?"
Without looking at each other we replied, "Hufflepuff."
I told Kate and Steph the night before about my loathing of Gretchen Richards.
Kate said she never liked her and Steph declared that Gretchen Richards is a scummy hoebag.
Alright, you're probably thinking, Okay, so she uses her bimbo looks to get what she wants. Does that mean she deserves your everlasting hatred?
Does that mean I won't be petty and turn my jealousy of her into dislike?
Hells to the no.
I mean, I'll most likely have a lovely conversation with her at some point in the future and realize that all my negative vibes toward her were totally unwarranted and she is fantastic and lovely and made of rainbows.
But right now, Gretchen Richards is the bane of my existence.
"Five points from Hufflepuff." Binns declared before continuing on with his lesson about the prejudices against wizards in 1692.
See, I listen!
We swallowed our giggles and quieted back down, going back to our previous occupations.
Note taking for Kate, doodling for Steph, and window gazing for me.
We're a highly productive bunch.
The bell finally rang after merlin knows how long and we shoved our things into our bags, practically running for the door.
When we were out in the hall and heading for dinner Kate breathed a sigh of relief, "Finally free! That class is torture."
Steph and I were nodding our agreement when I felt something slam into my back.
It was big and heavy and had arms that were thrown around my neck.
I grunted like a caveman as a voice said in my ear, "Fancy seeing you here Tiffybear."
"Fred!" I yelled, trying to get the hair that had flown in my mouth out, Kate and Stephanie guffawing as I struggled to be free.
I attempted to bat his hands away from my face while I could feel his laughter rumble within him, his chest pressed against my neck as he attempted to get a piggy back ride from me.
Needless to say, I fell.
"Get off me Fred." I said, my face squished against the floor with Freddy sprawled out on top of me.
How did he possibly think this was a good idea.
He rolled off of me, helping me up and patting me on the head, smiling innocently, "So I'll see you at dinner, yeah?" And with one last dashing grin he skirted around other commuting students and ran off into the distance.
I shook my head and smiled indulgently after him before turning to glare at Kate and Steph who were red in the face from laughing, "Thanks for the help guys."
They just rolled their eyes at me before linking their arms through mine.
"So," Kate said conspiratorially, looking around for eavesdroppers before continuing with a secretive smile, "How long have you and Fred been a thing?"
I choked on air, "What?"
A/N: AHHH I PUT OUT THIS CHAPTER SO PROMPTLY. Yay. So I can't say much because I'm already late to pick up my friend from class who is too lazy to get her own license SO, I just wanna make sure you guys know that I love and appreciate you all and I hope you liked the chapter and please tell me what you thought because I've never written a flying scene before and I can't write from experience so I hoped you liked it and OH MY GOSH I HAVE TO GO.
Talk to you lovelies soon <3
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