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I stared at X. "You've got to be kidding me. I'll do anything but that."
X laughed. "It's then only thing I'd accept as payment, so unless you want to be the school leper, I suggest you comply."
"I'll give you money, a broom, books, anything but that."
"No, this is all I can accept."
I frowned and debated with myself. I didn't want to kiss him. He could have cold sores.
It's the only way, said my brain.
No it's not. I can find another way.
Face it, lady, you have to kiss him.
I sighed and turned back to X. "Fine. I accept. Now let's get this over with."
X beckoned me with a hand gesture. I walked over slowly and stood in front of him. "How exactly are we supposed to kiss if you have a full face mask on?"
X slapped his forehead. "I didn't think of that." He grabbed his wand and made some twirly motion, muttering a few words. The bottom half of his mask became silver smoke that curled away, revealing a smooth chin and thin pink lips. "Go ahead, Taylor." I leant forward carefully and gave him a kiss. Not a full-on snog, but a little peck.
X had other ideas.
He put his hand on the back of my neck and full-on snogged me. I resisted for a second, until I realised that X's snog was actually quite nice. Then I started to respond, pressing against him. He smelled nice, like cut grass and man. His mouth was soft, and so were his hands where they pressed against my spine. His lips tasted like Butterbeer.
Wait a second...why are you enjoying this? This is the man who threatened you! Stop it!
I chose to ignore the reasonable part of my mind. What did it know, anyway?
Of course, it did have a point.
I pulled away. X frowned - I think - and stood up. "Thank you for that. I will be seeing you." He walked away stiffly, leaving me sitting in the kitchens with a hand pressed to my lips.
If he had threatened me, why was his snog so gentle?
I was still processing this half an hour later when Winky tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that it was almost time for the feast.
Thank Merlin for Winky. If not for her, I'd still be in the kitchen hours later.
Dammit, why can't I stop thinking about the snog?
It was two hours after my meeting with X. I was in my dorm, sitting on the bed, doodling idly on a piece of parchment. Why was it that the snog was stuck in my mind?
Maybe it was because it was so good a snog.
That couldn't be it. This guy had threatened me. Why would I like his snog?
Fuck it, this was getting me nowhere.
I looked down at the parchment. I'd drawn a curly X with fancy swirls, like the mask. I crumbled up the parchment and set it on fire.
There. Now if I could forget the snog, things would get back to normal.
An hour later, I still hadn't forgotten.
So I'd gone to Kaitlin Chang.
Thank Merlin I could do logic puzzles, otherwise I'd still be in the corridor instead of curled up on the sapphire blue couch that was the centrepiece of the Ravenclaw common room. If you didn't count the bookcases.
There were so many bookcases, it made my head spin.
I'd told Kaitlin about the snog, and about the threatening letter. She was the only person who knew I was a Parselmouth, due to a zoo visit in first-year.
"Kaitlin! Wait up!"
Kaitlin had given me a scornful look. "Maybe you should be faster, Taylor."
I had poked my tongue out at her. "Come on, I wanna see the snakes!"
Kaitlin had sighed and consulted the map. Ten minutes later, we were looking at a huge boa constrictor coiled on a log inside a glass enclosure.
"Taylor, this glass is cracked. Be careful." I had scoffed at Kaitlin's worries and knocked on the glass. The snake didn't respond, so I'd knocked harder. It barely lifted its huge head. I knocked a third time.
That was when the glass smashed into dust. The constrictor had looked at me and slithered out. It looked at Kaitlin and started to wind itself onto her chest.
"Taylor, what is it doing. Taylor? Taylor! TAYLOR!"
The snake had begun squeezing Kaitlin. I screamed. "Stop! Don't hurt her!"
To my surprise, the snake uncoiled itself from Kaitlin's midsection. It glared at me. "Next time, don't stop me. I'm very hungry, you know." It made its way out of the pathway. Kaitlin had looked at me with fear in her eyes.
"Taylor...you were hissing."
"No I wasn't, don't be silly. I was talking!"
"No, you definitely hissed."
An hour later, we had found a book entitled 'Parselmouths: The Real Snake Charmers'. We read it, and my world was turned upside down with every page.
Kaitlin had kept my biggest secret for five years. She was possibly the person I trusted most in Hogwarts, possibly in the world. Right now, she was scared.
When Kaitlin was scared, everyone should be scared. She has endless courage and almost no fear.
"You're kidding. He found out? After everything you did to keep it a secret?"
I swallowed. "He must have seen me talking to the snake. Speaking of which, do you know what type it was? It was black and orange striped."
Kaitlin stiffened. "You're really lucky, you know. If you weren't a Parselmouth, you'd probably be dead. That was a tiger snake, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Merlin knows how it got here, it's native to Australia."
So someone had put that snake in the common room. That was suspicious. What purpose would it serve to have a poisonous snake in our common room?
Kaitlin coughed. "You do realise that it's almost midnight, right? That's way after curfew, and besides, I have classes tomorrow. So...you should leave."
"Oh. Right. Well, see you tomorrow." Kaitlin smiled, flashing her brilliant white teeth, and I fled the blue-filled room.
Somehow I made it back to the Slytherin common room without being spotted. What's more, I made it into my bed without waking any of my light-sleeping dorm mates. I looked at the emerald green curtains and sighed. I turned over and closed my eyes.
The last thing I thought before I fell asleep was that X's snog had been very nice, and I wouldn't say no to another one.
The next day brought upon us my most loved class of all: Defence Against the Dark Arts, which we shared with Ravenclaw.
Yes, a Slytherin loves the subject which is basically defending yourself from people who used to be in your house. Feast your brain cells on the irony.
If you have any left, that is.
We were taught by the ever-changing Professor Lupin. No, not the werewolf who died in the Second Wizarding War, his son. Teddy Lupin. Who just happened to be the best teacher in the world, mostly due to his ability to change what he looked like at will. Today he had bright green hair and black eyes.
"Okay, today we will be learning possibly the most important defence magic of all time: the Patronus Charm. I am aware that some of you have experience in this field, but we will be starting from scratch, for the sake of those less informed. Now, who would liked to tell me what a Patronus is?"
Albus Potter's hand shot into the air. "Yes, Mr. Potter?"
The twat cleared his throat royally. "A Patronus is a sort of shield from dark creatures, mostly Dementors. They can also give messages."
Professor Lupin nodded. "Yes, very good. Now, who can tell me what a Patronus looks like?"
This time, Kaitlin put her hand in the air. "A Patronus can take two forms - corporeal and non-corporeal. The former takes the shape of a silvery animal, depending on the caster. The latter is merely silver vapour, but has the same effect as a corporeal one, just diluted."
"Thank you, Kaitlin! Now, who'd like to have a go at casting a Patronus?"
Everyone's hands were raised. Professor Lupin clapped his hands together. "In that case, wands out, class!" Everyone grabbed out their wand. I stood up as Professor Lupin directed us into a line. "Now, you first, Mr. Potter!" Albus held his wand out in front of him, but before he could try, Professor Lupin waved at him frantically. "I've forgotten the most important thing! In order for the charm to work, you have to think of a happy memory, preferably the most happy one you have. Now, Mr. Potter, you may proceed!" Albus raised his wand again and frowned, looking like someone who'd forgotten where he'd left his car.
A silver mist burst out, and started to merge into something, but it stayed as mist. Professor Lupin clapped anyway. "Very good! It takes a fair bit of effort to actually produce a corporeal Patronus! Now, if you will, Mr. Malfoy!" Scorpius raised his wand and sneered at Albus.
A silver fox burst from his wand and ran around the room, yipping. Professor Lupin smiled. "You've done this before, am I right? Yes? It is quite impressive, I must say. Next!"
Everyone tried their best, some making an animal appear, some mist and some nothing at all. Then, it was my turn. "Ms. Zabini! Let's see what you can do, shall we?" I wiped my brow and raised my wand, trying to find a memory. I settled on a picture of my mother before she died, her and I smiling on a swing-set.
A little mist flooded out of my wand, but nothing too good. I lowered my wand and looked at the ground, fighting tears. Even Jason had done better than me, and he was rubbish at DADA.
Five o'clock had me sitting in Professor Longbottom's office while I sorted Gillyweed from Fluxweed. Seriously, who got them mixed up in the first place? Professor Longbottom kept an eye on me while I sifted through the plants. Gillyweed. Fluxweed. Gillyweed. Fluxweed. It took me an hour, but finally, it was all sorted. Professor Longbottom let me off with a warning and I ran off, not to the Slytherin common rooms, but to Gryffindor, where hopefully Roxanne was waiting out front for me.
Thank Merlin she was, otherwise I would have been stuck outside while people glanced at me suspiciously. Hard is the life of a Slytherin.
I blocked my ears as she said the password, and as the Fat Lady opened the passageway and shot me a dirty look, Roxanne had already started chatting excitedly about the party. I blinked at the common room. I always forgot how red it was. Except for the spot of purple where someone had tried to charm the carpet, the whole room was crimson. Roxanne fell into the squishy armchair while I chose a more supportive wooden chair. James Potter winked at me from across the room, where he was flirting with a blond ditzy girl who giggled at everything. I flipped him off. Slytherin attitude for the win!
Roxanne made a choking noise as Fred sat next to her, chewing on a tuna fish sandwich. Merlin, that boy was always eating.
"So, whersh the plansh?"
"Fred! Don't talk with your mouth full! It's disgusting! And the plans are right...here!"
Roxanne traced a pattern into the air with her wand, and the notice board appeared, covered in a huge plan of the warehouse.
Fred looked closely at it, then hugged Roxanne. "Thank you, sis! You got the bucking Buckbeak for me!"
Roxanne rolled her eyes and started to point out things to me. I listened, made comments and tried to ignore Fred until he stuck his finger in my ear.
Merlin, that boy is like a five year-old stuck in a sixth -year's body. Make that a three year-old.
Roxanne made the notice board return to its rightful place, minus the plans, and turned to me. "You're in charge of food and drinks. Remember, firewhiskey, Butterbeer, cocktails, stuff for martinis, beer, wine, and anything else you can think of. Only finger food, no roasts or anything." Fred had debated that one quite a bit. "Be at the warehouse by ten with everyone. Make sure you can smuggle the stuff out without being detected." I nodded and stood, stretching. "I'll get the stuff from the kitchens before we head off in the morning. See you then!" Roxanne smiled slightly. Fred waved like a madman. I pushed my way past some first-years and went through the portrait tunnel.
It was around ten. Evelyn was reading by wandlight under her doona, my other dorm mate Sarah was probably with Jason and I was still thinking about the kiss.
For Merlin's sake, stop thinking about it! It's over now, you'll never know who he was and stop thinking about it!
I rolled over and pressed my face into the pillow, trying to block out the light that streamed from under Evelyn's doona. I closed my eyes and started to breath slowly in an attempt to go to sleep.
Somehow, it worked, and I fell asleep.
Unfortunately, I couldn't escape my dreams.
I was back in the kitchens with X, and we were snogging again, only this time it didn't end there. We ended up half undressed and lying on the table with X above me when my wand started making the blaring noises that meant it was time to get up.
When I woke, I was covered in sweat. I did a quick charm to dry myself off and checked my watch. It was six, two hours before we left for Hogsmeade. The perfect time to get stuff for the party tonight. I got up and shook Sarah awake.
"Go 'way. I wan' sleep."
"Sarah, get up!"
She moaned and rolled over. I cast a silence charm over Evelyn's bed and shouted into Sarah's ear. "If you don't get up, I will strangle you! " Sarah still didn't sit up, so I grabbed my wand again.
Sarah screamed. "What did you go that for? Now I'm soaked!"
I laughed. "Come on, we have to get Scorpius and Jason." Sarah flipped me off and dried herself off. I changed into a plain white shirt, grey cardigan and jeans while Sarah slipped into trackie pants and a tight black shirt. We crept out of the dorm and into the boy's dorms, since girls could move between both dorms with no trouble. Boys couldn't walk in the door without it slamming in their face in Slytherin, Gryffindor had stairs that turned into slides, Ravenclaw had a hovering charm that made you fly back to the other side of the common room, and I had no idea what Hufflepuff had.
Don't judge me for never being in the Hufflepuff common room. I'd tried, and I ended up soaked in vinegar. Not a nice experience.
Besides, my father would murder me if I ever stepped foot in there.
I crept into the dorm room and tip-toed to Scorpius' bed. I checked to see that Sarah was next to Jason's bed and charmed the rest of the beds to keep the noise from leaking in. Sarah nodded at me. I turned back to Scorpius, who was snoring softly and had hair brushing his forehead. I lifted my wand as Sarah did the same.
Scorpius began thrashing around in his bed. His eyes opened, crinkling with laughter. "Taylor...what are you...stop it...Taylor!" I could hear thrashing sounds from Jason's bed, along with muffled laughter. I tucked my wand back into my pocket and looked at Scorpius again. His grey eyes were filled with tears, hopefully of laughter. His cheeks were red from laughter. I was possessed by a mad urge to kiss each cheek.
Stop it, Taylor. Control yourself.
Scorpius had sat up while I was pre-occupied with my thoughts. The blankets had slipped down and oh Merlin, he was topless.
Who knew that Scorpius had abs? Yeah, he was the Seeker of the team, and the Captain, but really, who would have known?
I regained my ability to look at places apart from Scorpius' midsection. "Come on, sleepyhead, we have to go to the kitchens and get everything for the party!"
Scorpius jumped up. "That's today? Shit!"
I tried to ignore the fact that he was only wearing silk pants and moved away. "Hurry up and get dressed. We have a little persuading to do."
This is by far my largest chapter so far! Are you proud of me?
Hope you loved Kaitlin Chang and the Weasley twins! Even if you didn't like them, review, but I think Fred is impossible to hate.
Disagree with me? Tell me so in the amazing grey box that tells me what you're thinking.