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Missing by Courtney Dark
Chapter 7 : Me
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14


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Another great chapter image by phoenixn @TDA

 

I can hardly believe it when I realise I’ve been at Hogwarts for over a month.

Where has all that time gone?

Lessons start to get even harder, and Fred and James are in detention at least four lunchtimes a week for not handing in homework on time.

As it is our last year of schooling, the teachers are getting very strict on us.

Especially Professor Smith.

Last lesson, he gave us two books to read for homework, plus a two foot essay to complete on the properties of Human Transformation.

He is such a wart!

Whenever the five of us (me, James, Aine, Mickey and Fred) all have a spare lunchtime, which is not very often as we have to juggle school work, Quidditch practise and Fred and James’ detentions, we use it to sit out by the lake, drinking up the last of the warm weather before the winter season begins.

Today is an unusually warm October Sunday, and we’re all lounging under our favourite tree, enjoying a selection of blueberry muffins, chocolate tarts and jam drops that Fred and James stole from the kitchens.

“I’m seriously worried about the upcoming Quidditch match against Slytherin,” James is saying, through a mouthful of muffin. “Malfoy’s put up a very good side this year,” he adds darkly, looking to our right where Scorpius Malfoy, a pale, blonde haired boy is mucking about on the bank of the lake with his friends.

I know James has a grudge against Scorpius-apparently their dads didn’t get on well at school. Personally, I don’t have anything against him.

Admittedly, he is pretty rude, and is an absolute bigot, but he is very good looking, which makes up for these negative traits.

Of course, I haven’t given James this opinion, as he is always complaining about Scorpius, and how he always tries to ‘get it on’ with his cousin, Rose.

“For the love of cheese, will you stop moaning about Quidditch?” Aine sighs. She’s lying on the grass with her head in Mickey’s lap, who is playing with her wavy hair absent-mindedly.

Fred grins at her. “For the love of cheese?”

James, on the other hand, shoots her a glare. “Girls just don’t understand the importance of Quidditch,” he says. “Gryffindor hasn’t lost against Slytherin since my dad was at school. I don’t want to go breaking that winning record.”

“Well, if we lose, we’ll blame it all on you,” grins Fred. “As you’re captain and all.”

James groans. “Don’t remind me.”

“You boys will be fine,” says Aine. “You have the best team I’ve seen since being here.”

It’s true.

I don’t know a lot about Quidditch, nor do I have much interest in it, but as James, Fred and Mickey are all on the team, Aine and I have gone down to watch a few of their training sessions, and boy are they good!

The team is also made up mainly of Potter/Weasley cousins.

James, the captain, plays Chaser, and so does his younger sister, Lily.

I don’t know Lily very well, though I’ve noticed she seems quite feisty, but she can fly very well.

Fred is also on the team, as beater, and his beating partner is his cousin, Louis Weasley, from the year below.

Then of course, there’s Albus, who plays Seeker.

I never imagined him as the sporting type, but he’s pretty good.

Of course, as James and Albus aren’t on speaking terms, this makes for some pretty awkward Quidditch practises.

The only other people who are on the team are Mickey, who plays keeper, and a tiny third year girl, who reminds me of a pixie, but flies very fast.

When I asked James why there are so many of his family members on the team, he told me, and I quote, “We’re just better than everyone else” which is a little bit stuck up if you ask me.

But also very true.

“I just hope Malfoy doesn’t try to bend the rules, like he did last time,” says James sourly. He turns to me. “In a match against them last year, he committed about a hundred fouls, and the ref only pulled him up for one of them.”

I think a hundred is a bit of an exaggeration, but I don’t say anything.

“Do you know what the bad thing about Quidditch is?” says Aine suddenly. “It creates this huge rivalry between the houses.”

The boys all look at her like she’s insane, but I privately agree.

The first Quidditch match of the season is coming up, and the closer it gets, the worse the Slytherins and Gryffindors are treating each other. Yesterday there was a duel in the fifth floor corridor, and two fifth year Slytherins and one Gryffindor ended up in the hospital wing with watermelons growing out their ears.

I don’t quite know how they managed to pull that off, but I’d really like to know how.

Watermelons are totally my favourite fruit.

Fred shakes his head in disgust. “If I didn’t have Quidditch to look forward to, I’d quit school here and now,” he says. “The thought of that bloody pile of homework up in my dorm is dead depressing. I’ve already got a detention for eight o’clock tonight.”

“What are you doing?” I ask him curiously.

He grins at me. “Clearing out the rotten potions ingredients,” he says grimly. “Should be fun.”

“You really should keep on top of your work, Fred,” says Aine, though she can’t really talk. She’s been putting off her Herbology essay for weeks! “How will you ever get anywhere in life if you don’t aim to succeed?”

Fred snorts. “That’s a bit rich, coming from you,” he says, and Aine and Mickey both scowl at him. “Anyway, my dad left school in his seventh year, he told me. He and his brother opened up a joke shop.”

It’s true. James told me Mr Weasley let him come and work there last holidays. It’s the most popular shop in all of Diagon Alley.

Aine sighs. “Well, I’ve got to pass all my NEWTS if I want to get my dream job,” she says.

Aine wants to be a healer, though I can’t imagine why. I can’t see anything worse than treating infections and binding wounds and…and prying watermelons out of peoples ears

Urgh.

“Don’t talk about NEWTS now, babe!” Mickey groans. “The years only just begun. I’m already flunking most of my classes, thanks to these two over here.” He glowers playfully at James and Fred, who grin cheekily back at him.

“It’s your fault, mate,” Fred says. “You chose to sit with us on the Hogwarts express in our first year.”

Mickey rolls his eyes. “Yeah, and I didn’t realise you guys would have such a bad influence on me!”

Aine pats him on the knee. “You have nothing to worry about, Mick,” she says. “There’s practically a spot on the Puddlemere United Reserve team with your name on it.”

Mickey’s dad, Oliver Wood, is the coach of the Puddlemere United Quidditch team. He was also a Keeper in his day.

Like father like son.

“What are you planning on doing when you leave school, Charlie?” James asks me suddenly.

I sigh. In truth, I haven’t thought an awful lot about what I want to do.

I’m one on those people that likes to live in the moment, rather than looking ahead and wishing your life away. You know, live and let live-peace, love and ice cream and all that rubbish.

“I dunno,” I say. “Maybe something to do with animals?”

“You could study dragons, like my Uncle Charlie!” Fred suggests eagerly, and I give him a look. I still remember his story, from our first Care of Magical Creatures lesson, when he insisted his uncle almost got his hand burnt off.

I don’t want to get into any career that involves my possible death or fatal injury, thank you very much. I'm perfectly happy with the placement of my nose as it is.

James and Fred are discussing the possibilities of opening up a shop that sells food which expands in your mouth, when I hear the unmistakeable sound of Slytherin laughter from where Scorpius is sitting.

Trust me, Slytherin laughter is easily identifiable. They always sound like evil geniuses chuckling about their doubly evil plans-in other words, a manic cackle.

“What the hell is going on there?” I ask aloud, and we all turn to watch.

Scorpius has moved away from his group of Slytherin cronies, and is standing, arms folded, in front of Rose Weasley, blocking her way.

“Move out of my way, Scorpius,” she says calmly.

He smirks. “Why should I? Is it against the law to stand on this spot? Because if it is, they really should put a plaque in.”

The Slytherin boys behind him roar with laughter, and I see Rose roll her eyes. “Very mature, Scorpius. Now MOVE.”

She tries to get past him, but Scorpius does a little side step, and blocks her way again.

James and Fred jump to their feet at once.

Great.

The boys are very protective of their female cousins.

“OI MALFOY!” James hollers, and he and Fred strut over to him. And when I say strut, I mean strut. They look like a couple of gay models working the cat walk. James pushes Scorpius out of Rose’s way rather roughly.

“Here we go again,” murmurs Mickey, rolling his eyes, and I gather this has happened before.

Rose goes bright red-which looks hilarious, as it matches the colour of her hair. “James,” she says quietly. “It’s okay…”

“You heard her,” Scorpius smirks, and James and Fred glare at him dangerously. This just makes him smirk even harder.

“Oh, shut up, Scorpius,” says Rose tiredly. “I’ve had it with you. I’d really rather you just leave me alone.”

With one last glare at all three of the boys, Rose sidesteps her way around them and marches off, her satchel swinging at her side, crammed with books.

I don’t know much about Rose, but she is apparently top of her year. Though her mother is Hermione Weasley, which makes sense.

“Oh great,” says Aine. “Here we go.”

I stare at her. “What’d you mean ‘here we go’?”

She smirks slightly. “Watch.”

“Stay away from Rose,” says James, still towering over Scorpius. In that moment, I can’t tell whether James is extraordinarily tall, or whether Scorpius is super short.

“Make me,” Scorpius sneers, and Mickey slaps a hand to him forehead.

“What?” I ask him, but he just shakes his head.

“He really threw himself into the deep end there,” he says, though I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Then suddenly, I see James and Fred exchanging manly sort of nods. Then together, they pick Scorpius up by the ankles and wrists, haul him over to the lake and toss him right in. He lands with a loud SPLASH and Mickey and Aine groan. I guess Mickey was right about him being thrown into the deep end. Har har...I don't think.

“Has that…happened before?” I ask them, and Aine nods.

“He really should know by now not to irritate James and Fred.”

I watch as Scorpius resurfaces, coughing and spluttering and looking absolutely furious.

James and Fred walk back over to us, James with a determined expression on his face. He looks seriously at Mickey and Fred. “Boys,” he says. “If we don’t beat Malfoy’s team in the Quidditch game, we’re toast.”




On the morning of the first Quidditch game of the season, everyone wakes up bright and early and heads down to the Great Hall for breakfast.

I am not a morning person, so this highly inconveniences me.

I also happen to be a very deep sleeper-in fact, I usually only wake up when someone touches me, because of my fear of…well, people touching me.

Anyway, I get such a fright when Aine shakes me awake at some ungodly hour on Saturday morning that I almost have a heart attack.

“Why do we have to get up so early?” I grumble, as I wander around the room looking for a sock. Even though I’ve only been here for just over a month, my stuff is everywhere-I’m serious! It spews out of my suitcase all over the room-it drives Rebecca insane. She’s always yelling at me about how tidy Tori was and how she would never be so filthy and disorganised.

I reminded her politely that I wasn’t perfect Tori, and kindly asked her to stop shouting at me.

That’s a lie.

We sort of stood on either side of the room screaming at each other, resulting in me getting so angry, that I ripped the remaining photos of Tori off my wall, and threw them to Rebecca, telling her to put them on her wall if she wanted them so bad.

She did as I suggested.

So now I still have to stare up at the gorgeous face of Tori Heron, even though she smirks down at me from the other side of the room.

Merlin, I really need to stop going off on random tangents.

I’m sure none of you care about the complexities of being the magnificent Charlie Parker.

Ha.

When I’ve found a pair of matching socks that don’t have mud stains all over them, and have borrowed some of Aine’s Sleakeazy’s Hair Potion to try and tame my hair, we join the rest of the school in the Great Hall.

The Gryffindor Quidditch team are huddled in a tight knit group near the end of the table. James is going over last minute tactics with them and forcing his team members to eat large quantities of eggs and sausages while not touching any of his own food himself.  He looks pale and nervous, and I bet he’s remembering his little run in with Scorpius the other day.

Against my better judgement, I glance over at the Slytherin house table.

Scorpius stands out a mile with his platinum blonde head, and I can see him muttering with two very large blokes on the Slytherin team.

Aine squeezes in next Mickey, who pulls her onto his lap, and begins nuzzling her cheek. I sit next to Fred, who grins his trademark grin and loops his arm around me.

Damn Fred!

He knows too much human contact makes me feel awkward.

He just likes to embarrass me, the asshat.

“…and this is exactly the sort of behaviour that will make us lose the match!” James says furiously, glaring at Mickey and Fred, who have the decency to look embarrassed. “We don’t need distractions!”

Aine rolls her eyes. “Honestly James, don’t get so worked up,” she says. “It’s just a stupid Quidditch match!”

James looks at her in disbelief. “Just a stupid Quidditch match? Just a stupid Quidditch match?”

Mickey rolls his eyes. “Honestly mate, lighten up,” he says, and James turns on him again.

Mickey looks mildly terrified.

I chuckle.

Yes, everyone. I do have a sense of humour, if you were wondering.

“Get that woman off your lap!” he says. “No females allowed!”

Lily, already wearing her red Quidditch robes coughs loudly. “What am I, some kind of alien?”

Aine sighs, climbs off Mickey and grabs my hand. “Don’t get your panties in a pickle,” she says to James, who glares at her. “Charlie and I will eat elsewhere if it’s such a big deal to you.”

“Is he always like this before a Quidditch game?” I ask Aine, as she leads me away.

She rolls her eyes. “He’s never been this bad before-then again, this is his first year as Captain. I just don’t think he could stand the humiliation if Scorpius’ team beat him.”

Great. Gryffindor had better win. If we don’t…well, James is going to be in a foul mood for the rest of the year.

And foul mood James is no fun at all to be around.




The Gryffindor’s in the stands suddenly let off an almighty cheer as something (I’m guessing good) happens.

Aine is dancing on her tiptoes in the stands, peering through the crowd with her binoculars.

“What just happened?” I ask her.

“We just scored!” she says excitedly. “James made a wicked shot, and the Slytherin Keeper is awful…”

“Odd how people say ‘we scored’ isn’t it,” I say thoughtfully. “I mean, it’s not like you scored, now is it? James did. So why would you…sorry,” I say, as Aine fixes me with a look, and presses the binoculars to the bridge of her nose.

I stay silent, and try to follow the game. Even though Quidditch is played high up in the air, and the stands are elevated, it’s still hard to see what’s going on. I wish I’d thought to bring binoculars.

“…and that’s Potter, Lily Potter in possession of the Quaffle,” the commentator, a fifth year from Ravenclaw is saying over a magical speaker phone, his voice ringing all throughout the pitch. “…passes it to Potter-er, James Potter, who narrowly misses a bludger hit by Nott of Slytherin, Potter passes to Potter who…er, passes it back to Potter…they’re approaching the goal hoops now…Slytherin Keeper Zabini prepares to block the throw and…and GRYFFINDOR SCORES! Gryffindor now leads 180 to 20.”

The Gryffindor’s cheer loudly again, and this time I join in.

Even though I’m not familiar with the rules of Quidditch, it is clear to see that James is a fantastic Chaser. In fact, the whole Gryffindor is amazing.

A Slytherin Chaser is now in possession of the Quaffle. Fred hits a bludger straight at him. I hold my breath, waiting for the hard ball to make contact, but the Slytherin narrowly misses it…however in the process he drops the ball.

“Come on James!” Aine mutters anxiously, as James swerves in to grab it.

Unfortunately another Slytherin gets there before him, grabbing the ball with his left hand, and shooting towards the Slytherin goal posts, which Mickey is flying around, waiting.

Aine bites her lip, and I see her crossing her fingers as the Slytherin Chaser prepares to shoot…

“Slytherin Chaser Flint is fast approaching the goal posts…” the Ravenclaw commentator says, as we all lean forward in suspense.

I have to admit, I’m really quite enjoying this!

“…he shoots, he…YES! Gryffindor Keeper Wood makes yet another spectacular save, and throws the Quaffle to chaser Bethany Harevale…”

“I LOVE YA MICK!” Aine screams at the top of her lungs, blowing him a kiss, then throwing her arms around me too, for a victory hug.

Alright, I’m enjoying the Quidditch, but not so much the hugs.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad sometimes.

After prying Aine’s arms off me, I scout the Quidditch pitch, looking for Albus, who has been keeping out of the way, looking for the golden snitch. Apparently the game doesn’t end until the snitch is caught, and the Seeker who catches it wins 150 points for their team.

I finally see Albus, sitting on his broom about halfway between the Slytherin and Gryffindor hoops. Even from where I’m sitting I can see the strange, almost distant expression on his face. He seems distracted, like he’s thinking about something completely non Quidditch related.

But apparently Albus has never failed to win a game for Gryffindor, so I put this troubling thought from my mind.

Aine told me she went to the Quidditch World Cup when she was ten, and the game went on for two whole days! But at Hogwarts, the time limit is two hours, because the teachers don’t want to interfere with our studying.

Which we totally do-study, I mean.

“…AND LILY POTTER SCORES FOR GRYFFINDOR!” the commentator shouts suddenly, and I see little red headed Lily zooming away from the goal posts, with what seems to be a huge grin on her face.

James gives her the thumbs up, and a Slytherin Beater, Zabini, gives a bludger a good whack to let out his irritation.

Scorpius really needs to find a new Keeper. His current one has only managed to save one goal.

I turn back to the game, and my eyes widen.

The first thing I see is the white-blonde head of Scorpius Malfoy, zooming towards the ground towards a tiny fleck of shimmering gold.

I let out a shout of horror and grab Aine’s arm.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

I point towards Scorpius frantically. “The snitch! He’s seen the snitch!”

Aine claps her hand to her mouth. “ALBUS!” she screams at the top of her lungs, though I’m sure Albus can’t hear her. “ALBUS! THE SNITCH!”

Hmm. For someone who seems to think Quidditch is a waste of time, Aine seems very anxious for Gryffindor to win. I’ll be asking her about that.

The other Gryffindor’s seem to have noticed what is going on, as everyone is murmuring anxiously amongst themselves.

I see Rose, Albus and James’ cousin gnawing anxiously on her fingernails.

“I think Malfoy has seen the Snitch!” says the commentator loudly, and to my relief, Albus suddenly shoots down towards the ground, looking frantic.

The rest of the players have stopped mid air, watching the Seekers zooming towards the ground.

James is shouting so loudly, I can hear his voice from here.

“…and Gryffindor’s Seeker, Albus Potter is on Malfoy’s tail…”

Will he catch up?

Scorpius is so far ahead…his arm is stretched out in front of him…reaching for the Snitch…

Everyone in the stands is screaming.

I can see the determined look on Albus’ face…he’s flying faster than Scorpius…I think he’s going to make it but…

“And Malfoy has caught the Snitch!” shouts the commentator, and my heart plummets. I hear Aine groaning beside me, as we both see Scorpius, grinning like a mad-man, the tiny fluttering gold ball inside his hand.

“Scorpius Malfoy of Slytherin catches the golden snitch, and ends the game,” the commentator continues, and I suddenly realise something.

I clutch Aine’s arm. “We’ve won!” I say to her.

She shakes her head. “No, we haven’t Charlie, Malfoy caught the Snitch, you saw him as well as I did!”

I laugh, a stupid grin appearing on my face. “We were more than 150 points up, Aine! We won!”

Her eyes widen as she grasps what I am saying.

“…GRYFFINDOR WINS!” the commentator shouts, as if to confirm my point, and the Gryffindor section of the stands absolutely erupts, as the Slytherins groan and boo loudly.

The players are beginning to descend.

“Come on,” grins Aine, her eyes shining. “Let’s go congratulate them!”

We wind our way through the students and descend the stands, hurrying over to the edge of the pitch which the players are slowly making their way towards.

“Stupid Malfoy!” says Aine, who I’ve never seen look so happy. “Why did he catch the Snitch for? Why did he end the game?”

I shrug. “Maybe he wasn’t keeping track of the score.”

Albus is the first Gryffindor player to reach the edge of the pitch. He’s carrying his top of the range broom, and has an odd look on his face, but looks otherwise happy.

“Congratulations!” I tell him. “Good win!”

He smiles slightly at me, but I still reckon his eyes look a little distant. For some reason, I suddenly remember what Clementine told me about Albus, about why James hates him; “Because he was in love with Tori too” she said.

Is that why Albus looks so distant? Is he thinking about Tori? Was Tori a Quidditch player?

No, I seriously doubt it.

She seems more the cheerleading type.

“Thanks, Charlie,” he says, smiling weakly. “But I didn’t really do anything to help the team out. If I’d…if I’d paid a bit more attention, we could have won by a lot more.”

“It’s not your fault, Albus,” says Aine quietly, but at that moment, the rest of the team comes running over.

Mickey gives Aine a huge and disgustingly sloppy smack on the lips and Fred picks me off the ground in a hug.

But the first thing James does is walk straight over to Albus and punch him in the face.

Oh boy.

“James!” Aine shrieks. “What the hell was that for?”

But James doesn’t listen to her.

Albus’ nose is bleeding, but he doesn’t seem to care about that, either.

He grabs his younger brother by the front of his robes and growls; “You FUCKING MORON! WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU CATCH THE SNITCH YOU PATHETIC TWAT!”

Fred lets go of me. “That’s enough James,” he says seriously.

James doesn’t listen to him either.

Instead he punches Albus again…and then again until Albus is thrown back onto the ground. Aine begins shouting, and I see Lily and Bethany Harevale running over, looking horrified.

I have gone numb with shock.

What the hell does James think he’s doing?

Finally, Albus seems to realise he’s being attacked, and tries to fight back. He grabs James by the arms, and starts kicking out at him with his legs.

James starts screaming at him and then Albus starts screaming back as they roll around in the mud until they aren’t making sense anymore.

Mickey and Fred suddenly seem to realise the two of them are going to kill each other if they don’t jump in. Fred grabs James and Mickey takes Albus by the arms and they manage to wrestle the two boys apart.

Aine has tears in her eyes.

“What the fuck James!” she cries. “We won for gods sake! What are you doing?”

The boys both look terrible. They’re covered in mud and bruises, Albus has blood pouring down his face and James’ eyes is swelling up.

“LET THE FUCK GO OF ME FRED WEASLEY!” James shouts, and I’m scared by the anger in his voice.

I’ve never seen him like this, never. He always seems to hold himself together so well.

Albus just looks numb. “James, I’m sorry,” he says, and somehow I don’t think he’s talking about the Quidditch match anymore. “I’m sorry about what happened between us! But if we could just…”

“FUCK OFF ALBUS!” James shouts, and Fred grits his teeth, obviously having a hard time restraining him. “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY SIGHT! BECAUSE I CAN’T STAND TO LOOK AT YOU!”

Headmistress McGonagall comes running over, with surprising speed for a woman her age. Professor Smith and Professor Longbottom are not far behind her.

“What is going on here?” she barks, and her voice is deadly.

James makes another move as if to launch another attack on Albus, but Fred has too tight a grip on him.

McGonagall’s lips tighten. I wonder if she knows what is going on between the two brothers.

“Mr Potter,” she says, looking at Albus who is quickly losing a lot of blood. “Please go to the hospital wing. Professor Longbottom will escort you.”

Mickey lets go of Albus, who trudges desolately over to the professor, who puts a comforting arm around him.

I remember James telling me that his family and the Longbottom’s are close.

Speaking of James…

I look back at our famous Quidditch Captain to see James still staring at his younger brother with a venomous expression on his face.

McGonagall purses her lips. “As for you, Mr Potter,” she says, and I swear I see something in James’ expression crumble. “You will be coming with me, to my office.”

He nods. “Yes, Headmistress,” he mumbles, now just looking sad.

My heart is breaking for him, when it should be breaking for Albus. Whatever Albus did (because it can’t just have been the fact that he had a crush on his brother’s girlfriend, like Clementine seems to think) it must have been bad, because I have never seen someone looking as…lost as James looks right now.

He looks like he’s been broken, into a million tiny little pieces.

Fred lets go of his best friend, and pats him on the back gently. “You’ll be alright mate,” he mutters as James walks slowly towards McGonagall.

Over all, not the best end to a Quidditch game, I’d imagine.




Albus has been in the hospital wing for about a week, which puzzles both Aine and I.

His injuries didn’t seem that bad-nothing Madam Pomfrey couldn’t fix in a jiffy, anyway.

Aine reckons he’s in there because of ‘emotional scarring’ and I think she must be right.

James, meanwhile, is in disgrace. He has detention everyday for two weeks, and McGonagall wrote home to his parents. He also lost fifty house points for Gryffindor, which I think is what has upset him the most. James has a lot of house pride, and the loss of fifty points has meant that Slytherin has passed us in the running to win the house cup, something they haven’t done for about ten years.

It doesn’t help that Scorpius keeps ‘running into’ James, and thanking him for helping Slytherin to secure the top place. Whenever this happens, I can tell James is fighting the urge to give Scorpius a good punch. But apparently McGonagall warned him that if he got into one more fight, he’d be out of Hogwarts before he could say ‘gummy walnut’. 

Anyway, today is the first Hogsmeade trip of the year.

Aine and I were planning on going with James, Mickey and Fred, but as James has lost his Hogsmeade privileges and isn’t allowed to go, Mickey and Fred are staying behind to keep him company.

I would have happily stayed behind, as I’m not the worlds best shopper, but Aine insisted on dragging me along, so we join the twins in the courtyard where the students going to Hogsmeade are assembled and begin the journey.

The weather is quickly cooling down, and the air today is cold and sharp, making me glad that I’m wearing a thick fleece jacket.

Yes, the jacket is full of moth holes, and yes it actually belongs to my dad, but so what? It keeps me warm and that’s all I care about.

“You’re going to love Hogsmeade,” Aine enthuses as we march down the cold street. “There’s the best sweet shop-Honeydukes and an outlet of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”

“And Madam Puddifoot’s is the best place for making out in,” Clementine sighs, and Aine and I look at each other. “James and Tori used to go there all the time.”

I sigh.

Great. Clearly Hogsmeade brings up yet more memories of the fantastic Tori.

Just when I thought people were starting to forget about her.

The narrow streets of Hogsmeade are crowded with students eager to get out of the castle, so Aine and the twins lead me into a small beauty shop where I am able to buy some of my own Sleakeazy’s Hair Potion and where Clementine and Lavender spend forever browsing the shelves of make up and beauty potions.

When we’re done in there, we go into Honeydukes, which is the best shop I’ve ever been in.

It’s an understatement to say I have a sweet tooth.

Seriously, I could live on chocolate if I had to.

And I finished off my emergency chocolate stash weeks and weeks ago, so I’m eager to buy more goodies.

I end up spending almost all the money in my purse on a large box of chocolate frogs and a little bag of chocolate coated salted caramels.

Then we head into the Three Broomsticks for lunch, and sit together at a small table in the corner.

The Three Broomsticks is an old pub and is a little stuffy, but it is crowded with chattering students.

As we wait for the waiter to come and take our orders, Clementine lets off a reminiscent sigh.

My immediate reaction is “Oh boy. Here we go.”

“This is the table we used to sit at when we came here with Tori,” she says, and I see Aine glancing at me out of the corner of my eye.

Lavender sighs as well. “We used to come here every Hogsmeade visit, and Tori would tell us all her secrets,” she says.

“Of course, we can’t tell you those secrets,” Clementine says sternly. “Those were reserved for me, Lavender and Rebecca of course.”

 I flare up at once, as I do every time Rebecca’s name is mentioned. “Oh, Rebecca used to come here, did she?” I say moodily.

Rebecca seems to spend most of her time studying quietly in the corner of the Gryffindor Common Room; glaring at any first year that makes too much noise. She opted out of coming to Hogsmeade today, probably because it reminds her too much of Tori.

The waiter comes round, sparing Clementine from answering my bratty question. The twins both order a salad, and Aine gets a shepherds pie, but I’m not very hungry (as I’ve already polished off several chocolate frogs) so I just get a butterbeer, which are apparently delicious.

When the waiter moves away, the twins look at me with these annoyingly knowing expressions on their faces.

“What?” I snap. “Is it against the law to order a butterbeer or something?”

“That’s what Tori always used to get,” Clementine says sadly. “Every time, never anything else.”

Aine stands up for me at once. “Just because Tori used to drink butterbeer, doesn’t meet no-one else can,” she says, flashing me a smile.

Clementine gives a watery smile. “I know,” she says. “It just brings up so many good memories of Tori, that’s all.”

As the twins suddenly launch into a big long story of the time Tori told them about how much James loved her, I find myself zoning out, not really wanting to hear anything more.

I’m beginning to wonder how everyone can have so many good memories of a girl who only went to their school for one year before she went missing.

I mean, I’ve practically been here for two months, and only a handful of students actually know my name. Even the teachers sometimes forget who I am, or compare me to Tori, which I find excruciatingly irritating.

It really makes you wonder what she must have done to become so well known in such a short time period.

The waiter brings our food around, and I begin to sip my large mug of butterbeer, listening to the dull voices of Clementine and Lavender as the continue to reminisce about all the good times the had with Tori and Rebecca, who seems a stick in the mud to me, but that’s just my opinion.

Tori threw parties, Tori made everyone laugh, Tori always looked perfect, Tori kept secrets, Tori was the best friend, Tori, Tori, Tori…

I bang my half drunken beerbutter on the table and the twins look at me in confusion.

It does taste good, that’s for sure, but I’m not in the mood for it.

I’m not in the mood for sitting in the exact spot Tori once sat in and listening to the twins rabbit on about her.

I’m sick of hearing about Tori fucking Heron.

“I’ve had enough,” I say firmly. “I’m going back to the castle. I’ve got…studying to do. I have a Care of Magical Creatures test tomorrow.”

Aine quickly shovels the last of her shepherd’s pie into her mouth. “I’m coming too,” she says, standing up.

Clementine frowns up at us. “But we’ve barely been out two hours.”

I shake my head. “I’m sorry Clementine,” I say. “But I’ll never be her. I’ll never be as good as Tori.”



“That’s not true you know,” says Aine, as we trudge alone together back up to the castle.

“What’s not true?” I ask tonelessly.

The twins have put me in a bad mood, and just after I’d started to get along with them, too.

“That you’ll never be as good as Tori,” Aine says softly. “You’re worth twice of her, Charlie.”

That’s nice of her to say, but I know it’s probably not true.

I’m just so…me.

I’m a lousy conversationalist and have zero personality. I mean…I’m not funny or sporty, I’m not popular or super smart, I’m not a sarcastic, witty or quirky and I’m certainly not romantic.

I’m just boring, bookish me.

I don’t say any of this, of course, because I don’t want to sound like a Moaning Myrtle.

Instead, I grin at her weekly. “You really shouldn’t say things like that about a girl who’s missing,” I say.

I know something is different when we arrive back at the Great Hall.

There is a crowd of students, the ones who didn’t go to Hogsmeade or have come back early, grouped around someone sitting in the middle of the hall.

As the crowd parts to make way for Aine and I, I realise the person they’re all standing around is Rebecca.

She’s sitting at a small table, and there is a large bucket full of shiny badges sitting next to her.

There’s also a badge pinned to her robes, a badge that reads: ‘FIND TORI’.

A tricky little charm has been performed on the badge so that it flashes between the words ‘FIND TORI’ and an image of Tori looking beautiful and staring down at the ground all hipster-ish and so on.

“What’s going on?” Aine asks, and I see that students are handing Rebecca five bronze knuts in an exchange for a badge.

“Tori has been sighted,” says Bethany Harevale, the third year girl from the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and my heart gives a funny sort of flutter. “Someone from the Ministry of Magic thinks they saw her in London.”

“You want a badge?” Rebecca asks suddenly, and I realise she’s talking to me. “You can have one for free if you want.” Her tone is not at all generous. It’s deadly, and she is barely able to hide the smirk on her face.

“No, we don’t want one, thanks,” says Aine, and begins to drag me away.

“Cat got your tongue, new girl?” says Rebecca meanly, and this time, she does not hold back the smirk. “I told you Tori would come back. Your time is almost up, new girl. Tori is back. And soon…soon you’ll be gone.”

I feel as though all the wind has been kicked out of me. Tori has been sighted…what if that means she really is coming back? What will happen to me then? I’ve started to enjoy my life here at Hogwarts. Sure, not all of it is fun, but I’ve developed some really good friends. But if Tori comes back…will they kick me out? Send me packing?” 

Aine and I move away from the crowd, Aine whispering frantically in my ear. “It was probably a false sighing,” she says. “Things like that happen all the time. Tori wasn’t in London, I bet you.”

I try to smile, but inside, I’m trembling. I know it’s incredibly selfish but…I don’t want Tori to come back. I don’t.

My heart stops when I suddenly see James up just ahead.

His eyes meet mine and he smiles at me, but that’s not what makes my heart stop.

It’s the badge he’s holding in his hand, uncertainly, but as though it’s a lifeline.

Great.

Victoria Heron is taking over my life again.

 






 
A/N: I know, I know, there wasn't really any Charlie/James time in this chapter, but I promise there will be plenty in Charlie's next chapter-TRUST ME!!

Anyway, what did you think of this chapter? What were you thinking when James decided to take all his anger out on Albus? Are the twins annoying you to pieces? And do you think Tori really was sighted in London?

Whatever you think, please remember to review and, if you have time, check out my other fanfic, In Shadows We Roam (gotta love self promotion, right?)

Courtney:)
 
 
 


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