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The Middle by purplewings721

Format: Novel
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 62,026
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Spoilers

Genres: Humor, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Bill, Charlie, Fleur, Albus, James (II), Rose, Teddy, Victoire, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, Bill/Fleur, Teddy/Victoire, OC/OC

First Published: 03/11/2009
Last Chapter: 10/13/2015
Last Updated: 10/13/2015

Summary:
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The middle has never been so wild.


 


Chapter 1: A Little Less Seventeen Candles
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything but the plot and OC's. All credit goes to JKR. 

Title credit goes to the band Jimmy Eat World, whose song "The Middle", my story was inspired by and named after. Chapter title is a play off of Fall Out Boy's song "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me".


 





 


August 28th.
 



 


My birthday - seventeenth, if you're wanting the specifics.




 

 
Exciting, right?



 

 
Wrong.




 

There hasn’t been one year when something happens that wasn’t supposed to on this day. I swear, it's as if I was born to have horrible birthdays. From the moment I popped out of her uterus, my mother has found a way to ruin every single one of them.





 

Honestly, what sensible woman names her child Dominique Seraphina? Way to set me up for a lifetime of ridicule, Mummy dearest. She might as well have called me Chrysanthemum Waterfall or Amethyst Butterfly, for all I care. Merlin, what was so wrong with a simple Jane?




 


Oh that's right, my mother's a raving lunatic that doesn't understand the concept of simplicity. 




 

She complicates everything.




 

Take my fifth birthday, for example. Not every five year old wants to have a purple unicorn that shoots rainbow fireworks out of its horn at her birthday party. Or a singing house-elf that specialised in making glow-in-the-dark balloon animals. The only things I cared about at five years old were chocolate cake and my miniature dragon toy set. But of course my mother didn’t pay any attention to what I wanted. No, all she wanted was another excuse to throw a party and show off her wonderful hostess skills to her stupid Beauxbaton friends.




 

God, I don't understand why she always has to make such a huge deal out of things.




 

I mean, I guess my eleventh birthday was fairly important, but did she really have to drag me all the way to Paris for it? And to visit my grandmother, no less. If it was Easter, sure, I might have tolerated the trip, but not for my birthday. 




 

There was absolutely nothing I enjoyed about Paris. 





 

It’s the same bloody routine every time we go. My mémé will spend the first twenty minutes of our visit nagging me about how I should dress more like my sister Victoire, whilst pinching my cheek every other word as if to emphasise her point.  Then once we finally got past all of the multiple kisses and lecturing, she’d drag me and Vic around for countless hours of shopping. Chiffon dresses, stiletto heels, and fur coats would haunt me at every street corner. I still get nightmares where I die from suffocating on designer perfumes.





 

And let's not forget my psychotic tante Gabrielle. The woman somehow always manages to get pissed-drunk when we're over and starts hitting on every middle-aged man in her sight. It's quite embarrassing, really.
 


Then there was the time Mum ruined my thirteenth birthday party. Unlike the Paris fiasco, that year we spent with Dad's side of the family over at the Burrow. It should have been a good time, because let's face it - I was way more of a Weasley than a Delacour. And for the beginning, it actually was. But then Mum had to go and be her usual fun-sucking self. 
 


See here, I had been plotting to pull this prank on my cousin Rose, whom I deplore. It involved a bucket full of frog spawn, numerous Weasley Wizarding Wheezes fireworks, and a ball of yarn. It was going to be legendary! James, Freddy and I had been working on this plan our entire second year - well it was Freddy's first, since he had a late birthday. Either way, we were all excited to see its execution, especially since it was involving this new technique that James had come up with. Plus, Rose has the most hilarious reactions whenever we prank her, which always makes everything better.
 


But I guess when Mum saw the three of us all huddled together, hiding behind Granddad Arthur's garage with a load of fireworks in hand, she figured we were up to no good and came to put an end to it. However, what she didn't know when she yanked me by my collar, was that I had been holding a lit firework, and so when she grabbed me, I accidentally threw it over my shoulder in surprise.
 


It landed right onto the lap of my unsuspecting Aunt Hermione. 
 


Her left ear took three weeks to regain its full hearing again. Not to mention all of the other damage that the explosion had done. The table where all of my gifts were located had completely burned down, my cake blew up and made a giant mess everywhere, and a good portion of my Nan Molly's vegetable patch got absolutely scorched. Add that to being grounded for the rest of the summer (which was only three more days, but it still sucked) and I've got another rotten birthday.
 

So by now, I think it’s a pretty reasonable reaction to be having feelings of anxiety around this time of year. Ever since that disastrous party at the Burrow, I’ve spent all of my next birthdays sort of anticipating all of the things that could go wrong. However, with me coming of age this year, I’m a bit more worried about how Mum will go about ruining it this time.




 

My guess is that she’s going to ruin my ‘coming of age’ necklace.
 

Tradition in the Weasley family whenever one became of age was that they were presented with either a watch (if you were a bloke) or a charm necklace (for the ladies). So far there have only been three in our generation to receive theirs. James, who just got his last month, our cousin Roxy, who was presented with hers two years back, and of course Victoire, who was the first to receive it. James's watch was rather posh and the huge bash that the Potters threw to celebrate it, has definitely been the most fun thing I’ve done all summer. Roxy's charm was unforgettable, which was to expect, what with Uncle George picking it out for her. 
 


A fox, for his "foxy Roxy".



James, Freddy and I couldn't stop laughing when we saw it.
 


But nothing came close to the ridiculousness of Victoire’s necklace. A fifteen-karat gold unicorn, with the inscription "unicorns live in the true believer's heart" engraved in French on the back, and a horn that was covered in tiny crystals. It was the gaudiest looking thing I’ve ever seen and pairing that with Vic’s over-the-top emotional reaction, well, let’s just say that I had to run out of the room to keep myself from bursting out with laughter.



 

 




 

Twice.




 


Merlin, I don’t even want to think about what my mother has picked out for me. If it has any sort of bedazzling on it, rest assured I won’t be caught dead wearing it. James and Freddy would never let me hear the end of it, if I did.




 

The pricks.




 

Before I could go any further dwelling on my anxiety for today, the irritating pecking sound of an owl at my window interrupted me. Dragging myself out of bed, I pulled back the drapes framing my window to let the creature in before it pecked its way through the glass.



The creature came flying into my bedroom, screeching at the top of its lungs, and I already knew who the letter was from. There was only one person in this world who owned an owl so loud and obnoxious. I glared at the ugly brown bird, as it scratched its enormous orange beak against the wooden frame of my bed. 
 


"This better be one damn good present, James. Sending me a letter at nine in the morning, on a Sunday," I muttered under my breath, and went to calm Herpes down.
 


Weird name, I know. But it wasn't always like that.
 


Originally, the owl had been named Hermes. Albus thought it would be clever to name an owl after the Greek messenger god, but James had something else in mind. So he changed it up, and the name has stuck ever since. Much to Al's dismay.
 


"I'm coming, I'm coming. Merlin, calm yourself, you little bugger," I snapped, as the bird began to squawk. I untied the sloppily wrapped parcel from his leg, and after tossing him a few treats so that he'd shut up, I began to read the letter.



"HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINNIE! 
Welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood, love. Hope old Herpes didn't wake you up too early, hahaha.
I would've came and delivered your gift myself, but Dad's got someone from the Ministry coming over for an important dinner, and so Mum has us working like house elves to get the place clean. As if they were going to be having dinner in my bedroom! Mothers these days... 
Anyway, I'll try and sneak out later. After all, we can apparate now. Have a spanking good time today, Min, and try not to blow anything up without me. 

Keep it classy.
Lurve, James :) 

PS: Dad, Al, and Lily all wish you a happy birthday as well, and are sorry that they can't come and see you today. Mum's sending her letter separately, because I'm too "irresponsible" to be trusted with it. Honestly, the woman could give me a little more credit. Alright, now I'm officially ending this letter. End."

 


I snorted at James's letter, and moved to open the package he had sent. Inside was a giant slab of Honeyduke's finest (from Al and Lily), seventeen galleons (from Uncle Harry), and a pair of florescent yellow knee socks with little gray hippogriffs knitted on it, handpicked by James himself. I could only assume that my gift from Aunt Ginny would come later, along with her letter.
 


Overall, not a bad haul. I could always trust the Potters to get me things I actually wanted. Or would use, since I don't think I've ever actually wanted a pair shockingly bright socks. I wrote a quick reply back, thanking them for the gifts, and sent it with Herpes. 
 


I left my window open, since I was probably going to get a few more owls later today or at least the one from Aunt Ginny, before putting my gifts away and heading downstairs. My friends usually waited until we were at school to give me mine, since my birthday was so close to the start of term.





 


I was about halfway down, when I realised something was wrong. The mouth-watering smell of frying bacon wasn't flooding my nostrils, attacking me in that oh-so-seductive way of theirs. The scrumptious waft of sizzling cheese and eggs wasn't intoxicating the air and absolutely no trace of my favourite birthday special, delicious chocolate-filled crepes that melted in your mouth and made you want to moan with heavenly delight, could be found. I was instantly worried. What was a birthday without the house smelling like greasy pork fat? 


When I entered our kitchen, I saw Mum poaching eggs at the stove. On the counter next to her were a neatly stacked tower of whole grain toast and a bowl of fruit.
 


"What the hell is this?" I blurted out, looking at the food as if it were from Mars.
 


"Language, Dominique," Mum warned, sliding the eggs onto a platter.
 


"Why are we eating rabbit food for breakfast?" I asked, incredulously.



"It is not rabbit food,” she reprimanded.  “And we are going to start eating more 'ealthy in this ‘ouse. I will not 'ave my children clogging their arteries with junk, nor will I allow them to blow up like a bunch of pigs."



"We're part Veela. It's practically impossible for us to get fat," I snorted, throwing myself into my seat. 
 


"Don't throw yourself, Dominique! I did not raise a troll for a daughter," Mum scolded, placing the food onto the table. "And I will 'ave you know, I just read an article in Magique à la Mode about a girl who also 'as Veela blood in 'er, and she became obese because she thought she could eat whatever she wanted and not 'ave to deal with the consequences."



I rolled my eyes at Mum's loyalty to that dumb magazine. It was practically the French Witch Weekly, and like its counterpart, filled with rubbish. One time, she had us go on this weird radish diet for a full two weeks, because she had read an article about how it helped clear up your skin.
 


"Now, go make sure that your brother is awake, and tell 'im that breakfast is ready," Mum ordered, as she began to set the table.
 


I pulled myself up from my seat and trekked back up the stairs. I always hated the staircase, which should really be called "The Hall of Victoire's Many Accomplishments". One certificate after another, the wall following along the staircase was flooded with every single achievement my sister has done. Ribbons that Vic won for getting the best marks, being an exemplary student, becoming Head Girl - whatever you could win at Hogwarts, Victoire won it. Everything that didn't involve Quidditch, that is. She never really had an interest in the sport, but that didn't stop her. You could barely see the pale blue paint of the walls, there were so many awards hanging off of it. 
 


The wall opposite it was equally as horrible. That was the location where Mum decided to display all of our family photos. Every year we were forced to dress up and pose for an hour, while some photographer took our picture. It was completely dreadful. I can count on one hand the number of photos in which I'm actually smiling. And then, there are all of the other family pictures - the ones that Mum sneakily captured when we weren't looking. Like the time when Vic and I were playing "Princess", and Vic got to wear the sparkly tiara while I was stuck being her dumb cat. Or when I lost my tooth, and so there's just this giant close up of my face with a huge gap in my mouth. There's also one where I was reading Louis a tale from the Beedle and the Bard, while sitting on one of my gran’s quilts wearing only our underwear. 
 


And Mum wonders why I never invite any friends over. 
 


I shook my head at the photos and tried not to make eye contact with any of them on my way up. I quickly got off the landing, making my way to Louis's room, which thankfully was the first one to the right.
 


"Hey bed wetter! Mum says breakfast is ready!" I yelled, pounding on his door. 
 


I heard a loud thump, then a string of French swear words following suit. I couldn’t help but smirk at the sound of my supposedly ‘angelic’ baby brother cursing the hard floor. He was only twelve, but Mum and Vic still treated him as if he was a toddler. If either of them heard what was coming out of his mouth, they’d just about have a heart attack.
 


"Honestly Minnie, must you always be so loud?"




 

 

Speak of the devil.
 


I turned around to see my sister coming out of her room across the hall, already dressed and ready for the day. That long blond hair, with its soft and loose waves all brushed to perfection. Her makeup was flawless, brightening the blue of her eyes just the way she liked it, and her silk dress pants were neatly pressed. The diamond engagement ring on her finger completed the outfit. She looked so much like Mum, it was sickening.



"I'm sorry princess, did I interrupt your beauty sleep?" I asked, in a mockingly sweet voice. 
 


"Nice try, but I've been up since seven. Unlike you, I don't waste my life away by sleeping in," Vic answered, and I scoffed.
 


"That's only because you needed to sneak Teddy out before Mum and Dad caught him in your bed," I said, smirking at her flushed face.



"I have no idea what you're talking about," she replied, defensively. 
 


I let out a loud snort. Teddy and Vic had been sneaking into each other’s room ever since she left Hogwarts, four years back. The view I have from my bedroom window allows me to see Teddy run out of the house and into the woods, so he could apparate without our parents overhearing. It's amazing how many times I've seen Teddy in only a pair of boxers, when I'm not even the one who's dating him. And now that the two were engaged, it was even worse. They were like rabbits! Never getting enough of each other.
 


"Whatever, prat," I told her, laughing at how flustered she got whenever I brought up the fact that the two were shagging behind our parents' back. She hated how I had that kind of information over her, especially since it could easily ruin her reputation as the "perfect" child.



"Git," she snapped, causing us to go into a rampage of insults.



"Fairy queen."

 

"Night troll."

 

"Kiss up."

 

"Lazy bum."

 

"Slag."

 

"Spinster."

 

"Oi! Could you two move your fight somewhere that wasn't in front of my bedroom? I'm trying to sleep here!" Louis yelled, from inside his room.



"You aren't even supposed to be sleeping, you little bugger!" I yelled back, turning away from my prick of a sister.
 


The door opened and revealed an irritated looking Louis. It was obvious that he had just got up from bed, what with his blond hair sticking up in every possible direction and wrinkled pyjamas. His eyes were all squinted, probably trying to adjust themselves to the bright light of the hallway. I could see the trail of drool all dried up on his chin, and I tried not to laugh.



"You guys suck," he muttered, going downstairs. I flicked his ear as he passed by me.
 


"Don't hit your brother, Minnie," Vic scolded, and I rolled my eyes at how much she babied him.
 


"He can take it," I replied, following Louis out, with Victoire in tow.
 


"That doesn't give you the right to hurt him! You know, you can be a real bully sometimes,” she continued, and I scoffed.
 


"You know, you can be a real pain sometimes," I mimicked, knowing how much that irritated her. 
 


"Merlin, why can't you ever act mature?" 
 


"Why can't you ever take out that broom that's shoved up your-"
 


"Please tell me that you haven't picked a fight already, Minnie," Dad interrupted, his deep voice sounding exasperated.
 


We had arrived in the kitchen, to find our parents already seated at the table. There was a stack of papers next to Dad, probably a bunch of files from work. Although he had the weekends off, he nearly always brought it home with him - much to my mother's annoyance. And ours, now that I thought about it. 
 


Normally, Dad was the laid back, fun parent. When Mum grounded you because you were hiding under your little brother's bed pretending to be a werewolf that would eat him in his sleep, he would come into your room with a bowl of ice cream and laugh at how clever his ten year old was. He rarely got upset with us, and usually tried to find a way to soften Mum's punishment. But now with all of his work swamping him, he was a lot less easy going. Add that with the fact that we were being forced into a "healthier lifestyle", a pair of bickering kids, and a wedding, it was no wonder he was irritated.
 


"Vic started it," I replied, knowing perfectly well that he wouldn't buy it.
 


"Just sit down and eat your breakfast. And that goes for the two of you, as well," he said, looking at Louis and Vic who were still standing. We all did as we were told and took our usual places around the circular table. I couldn’t stop the grimace from creeping onto my face, as I watched Mum slide an egg onto my plate.




 

I couldn’t believe she chose my birthday to begin her new diet plan. I mean, it’s not like Lou and I will even follow it once we got to Hogwarts. She could have at least waited until after we left for school.






 

Shaking my head at the bowl of fruit Louis offered me, I turned to my parents and asked them what the plans for today were. I figured if they weren’t going to give me my proper birthday breakfast, they could at least take me out to go see the Falcons versus Tornado match or something. I didn’t really care for either team, but it’s better than lounging around the house all day.





 

"As soon as breakfast is over, you and your brother need to get dressed so we can go get you fitted for the wedding. If we wait until Christmas, your dress robes won't be ready in time," Mum explained, and I felt my stomach begin to drop.
 


"Anything else?" I insisted, hoping that I didn't have to spend my entire day running errands for Vic's wedding.




 


"We might drop by Diagon Alley. There's a sale going on at the flower shop, and we need to put in the order for my bouquet," Victoire added.



What, no birthday dinner? No one's going to throw me a ridiculous party that I'll hate? Not even a "Happy Birthday, Minnie"? Come to think of it, the only person who's wished me a happy birthday was James.





 

And that was through a letter.
 


The realisation that my family may have forgotten my birthday was quickly beginning to sink its way in. I hurried to finish my breakfast and asked to be excused, dashing for the solace of my bedroom before anyone could see the tears that were threatening to appear.
 




 

My room has been my ‘get away spot’ long before it was even my room. 



 



 


Every time Victoire pissed me off or ditched me for her snotty Ravenclaw friends, I would climb the wooden ladder up to the attic. Louis was terrified of the place, Vic hated being around anything dusty and my parents were too busy to go up there, making it the perfect place to hide. Once you got past the musty smell and overall creepiness of it, the attic really wasn't all that bad. Little by little, I had started to bring my things up, until it reached the point that I had completely moved out of Vic's room. When my parents finally noticed that I was sleeping on the floor of the attic, they decided to renovate it and officially make it my bedroom. It was the best gift I could have ever asked for.





 

The first thing I noticed when I entered my room was that there was an owl waiting for me. However, I chose to ignore it and went straight to my bed to sulk. I flopped down onto the burgundy duvet and buried my face into the pillows, cursing the Fates for allowing my family to forget about the day that I was born.




 




That sinking feeling that had been churning in my stomach, took a straight plunge.





 

How was that even possible - to forget your child's birthday? They were the ones who gave it to me, in the first place. And it was my seventeenth! That's like, the most important one! The pathetic sadness I had been feeling was rapidly turning into anger. I wanted to punch something, or rather someone. A lovely roundhouse kick to the gut. Or maybe even a jinx! I was of age now, so I could get away with it. 



 



  
Bloody hell, the owl just bit me.
 


I turned towards the creature and snapped at it for interrupting my fit of rage, until I recognized the neat handwriting that was on the letter it had brought for me. My aforementioned gift from Aunt Ginny had arrived, and for a moment, I allowed myself to forget about how upset I was in order to read her letter.
 


"Minnie,

I can't believe that you're seventeen, already! It seemed like just last week, you and James were running around the backyard, chasing each other through rain, with ice cream smeared all over your faces.

Oh wait, it was.

Merlin, I'm still amazed that the two of you are now adults. How the hell did that happen? And Freddy's next in line, too. Oh god, now that is hard to imagine. Seriously, the three of you need to stop. You're not supposed to be growing up so fast! It's making me feel like an old woman. 

Alright, enough of my rambling. As your godmother, I'm supposed to be providing you wisdom and so here it is:

Enjoy yourself. 

I know that doesn't sound like sage advice, but I'm not Dumbledore, so to hell with it. You need to have fun with life, Minnie. Even though you're an adult now, you're still young and you need to be living your life to its absolute fullest. 
You, James, Freddy and the rest of your cousins, have been blessed to grow up in a time where the Dark Arts aren't consuming the world and Voldemort isn't trying to take control. Your parents, and aunts and uncles (which includes me, thank you very much) gave up their adolescence
 so that you could have yours. 

So you better appreciate that, damn it. You hear me, Min? You appreciate this life that you've been given, and you make the most of it, or I swear I'll hex your tiny little arse to Jupiter and back. 

That being said, I hope you have a lovely day and I'm truly sorry that we weren't able to come visit. See you on the first.

With love, 

Aunt Ginny

PS - I am perfectly aware of James's plan to escape and come see you, so my only request is that you make sure he gets home at a reasonable hour. No more of this sneaking back into the house at three in the morning, alright? School is starting up in just a few days, and your bodies need to get used to having an actual schedule. So try to keep the mischief making to a minimum. ;) Oh, and I hope you like your present!
"
 


It wasn't until I saw the tear drops staining the parchment that I realized I had been crying. I knew that she meant well, sending me this letter, but in all honesty it only made me feel worse. That bit about enjoying life to its fullest - how in the world was I supposed to be happy about my life when my own family forgot my birthday? Lovely timing, Aunt Ginny.
 


I sighed, knowing that it wasn't her fault my parents were being gits. Deciding to avoid throwing myself a pity party, I moved onto the neatly wrapped parcel lying on my bed. Hastily drying my tears, I began to open it, and was surprised to see what had been wrapped inside.
 


To put it simply, it was a framed picture of James and I.
 


We were laughing, his arm thrown casually around my shoulders. Every now and then I'd try to shrug it off, but to no prevail. Our hair was drenched, and there was mud splattered all over our bodies; we had just been running around in the rain (it was a favourite hobby of ours). We were seven, when the picture was taken. 
 


Oh great, here come the waterworks.
 


What was it with Aunt Ginny and her emotional gifts? First she writes that blasted heartfelt letter, and now she gives me this.  Sure, it's a great picture, but was she trying to turn me into a pansy?






 

I never cried!





 

 When I accidentally fell out of the Potter's second story window, I swore then brushed it off. When Freddy pulled my hair, I punched him in the gut. When my cat died, I blamed it on Victoire and ignored her for days. I never actually shed tears. Yet there I was, crying over some mushy present and my parents forgetting about me. 
 


Blimey, I was turning into Louis. 
 


Something had to be done about this. I was seventeen - an adult, for Merlin's sake! In just a few days, I'll be off to Hogwarts for my final year. Away from my parents, away from Mum's ridiculous diet, and away from Victoire and her stupid wedding. No more sentimental mushiness. Just me, my (very few) friends, hearty meals, and a crap load of homework.
 


Bugger.
 


I completely forgot about the N.E.W.T.S.
 


I had no idea what I wanted to do after school. I could barely manage my personal life, much less a career. While the rest of my classmates were figuring out the next five years of their lives, I couldn't even come up with what classes to take. It drove Professor Longbottom up the wall, whenever we sat down to discuss "my future". It didn't help that I was a rubbish student.
 


Honestly, the only subject I got a consistent amount of O's in was Divination. And that was because Professor Trelawney thought I was a Seer. The old bat really ought to just hang up her crystal balls, and retire already. Although, I'd prefer it if she waited until I had already left Hogwarts. The only reason I was taking NEWT level Divination this year, was for the guaranteed O. As for my other classes, let's just say that my goal was to scrape as many E's as possible.
 


Merlin, I have no idea how I’m going to survive this year. But who knows, maybe seventh time's the charm?



.....





Yeah, right.


 





Weasley-Delcour Family:
Bill - Iain Glenn
Fleur - Cate Blanchett
Victoire - Teresa Palmer
Minnie - Emma Stone
Louis - Nathan Gamble

A/N: Tada! I hope you enjoyed this new, revised version of The Middle! Thanks to all of my readers, both old and new. Leave me a review, and let me know what you guys think. Your words mean the world to me! 

-Camila (purplewings721)


Chapter 2: Self-Depreciation Is My Specialty
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Disclaimer: It's all Jo's. 





"Psst, Minnie!"

My eyes flew open at the sound of a failed attempted whisper.

It was dark out, but not late enough for the house to be silent. Dad was locked up in his office, hurriedly trying to finish a couple of reports for work tomorrow. Victoire and Teddy (who had shown up for dinner) were talking about their stupid wedding in the parlour. Mum kept a close eye on them from the kitchen, where she was washing dishes. I had no clue what Louis was up to and my parents were under the impression that I was asleep.

Unfortunately, that was far from the case.

I was still reasonably pissed at my parents, and with all of the emotion from today rushing through my mind, I was so livid it was practically impossible to fall asleep. I was going through an on-and-off pattern of lying down and closing my eyes, then getting up and pacing around my room five minutes later. The entire day was spent running around Diagon Alley, going to one shop for this and another for that. Those so called "few errands" had quickly turned into twenty, my patience running thin with each one. I had made the experience a miserable one for my mum and sister, and I honestly could care less.

"Oi, are you going to wake up or not?" The voice asked, shaking my arm.

I blinked a few times, my eyes still trying to adjust, before turning my head to find a dark silhouette leaning over me. I shot straight up, tugging my blanket so that it covered the rather thin camisole I was wearing. It took me a while but I eventually realized that the figure was James, his broad shoulders and messy hair giving him away.

"The hell, James?" I exclaimed, staring at my cousin in surprise.

"Lovely to see you too, sunshine," he greeted, sounding rather amused.

I turned on the lamp that sat next to my bed, it's dim light allowing me to get a better look at my cousin. He was grinning cheekily at me, the always present mischievous glint shining in his hazel eyes. His rumpled pyjama bottoms were a vivid red, little gold lions decorating the fabric. I had given those to him a few Christmases back along with a few other random items. 

"Who let you into my room?" I asked, slightly concerned.

 "No one. I apparated onto the beach, walked the five minutes to your house, and then climbed the tree with the branch next to your window. You know, the usual," James explained, taking a seat on my bed. 

Its wooden frame creaked underneath his weight, and for a second I was worried it would give out. I had no idea how old this bed was, having been around since before my time. My parents assured me that it was safe, it being made of a rather sturdy wood, but the fear of it breaking while I slept always nagged at the back of my mind.

"Why?" I asked, trying to ignore my irrational concern.

"To see you, of course! Have you forgotten that it's your birthday? I said in my letter that I'd drop by."

"Yeah, but I didn't expect you'd show up at-" I turned to see the time on the clock which hung from my wall, "-a quarter to eleven."

He merely shrugged, a sheepish look on his face. I rolled my eyes and got out from underneath my covers, grateful for the fact that I remembered to wear a pair of shorts to bed. Figuring that any chance I had at falling asleep just went out the window, I started to stretch, my muscles stiff from lying down.

"Fancy a stroll around the beach?" James asked, and I nodded, eager to get out of the house.


Grabbing a worn jumper from the numerous piles of clothing lying across my bedroom floor, I began to scrounge around for a pair of trainers. My room was a right mess, having not cleaned it since the beginning of the summer holidays. Text books, late homework assignments and crumpled Chocolate Frog wrappers were scattered everywhere. It took a little digging, but I eventually found an old pair of Chucks to slip on.

As James began to make his descent out of my window, I tucked my wand into my back pocket and turned off the light. Quietly, I climbed onto the ledge, and lowered myself down. We carefully swung ourselves onto the tree limb that hung nearby, shimming down the trunk and onto the floor, and started the five minute trek to the beach. It was a routine we had been doing since we were eight, and mastered at nine.

"I can't believe this is going to be our last year," James said once we reached the shore, his tone a bit more solemn than what I was used to hearing.

"Tell me about it."

I slipped off my shoes and took a few steps closer towards the sea, letting the waves splash against my feet. James followed suit and we stood like that for a few moments, quiet and thoughtful. Two words I would have never used to describe the pair of us. Yet there we were, looking over the vast ocean that seemed to glow in the moonlight like we were a couple of philosophers.

"Any idea what you're going to do once it's all over?" James asked, breaking the silence.

"No bloody clue."

Whatever it was that had been keeping everything so serious shattered. We turned to each other and broke out into a mad fit of laughter. Silly grins spread over our faces, completely ruining the spell of serenity that had been cast on us. I lightly splashed James who in return shoved me into the water. It was ice cold, causing me to shriek the moment my skin made contact with it. In an act of justified revenge, I grabbed my cousin and attempted to pull him down next to me. It was like trying to drag a brick wall, he weighed so much. He wasn't thick or anything - just full of hot air. And muscle, but I wasn't going to admit that to him anytime soon. Thankfully, I seemed to have caught him off guard which made it a lot easier to bring him down. He landed with a loud thud, a large splash of water soaking me to the bone. This of course caused us to laugh even harder.

"God, Min. What are we going to do with ourselves?" James asked breathlessly. We were sprawled along the sand, our breaths ragged, with the waves lapping at our legs. 


"Whatever the hell we want to do,” I replied, closing my eyes.

I wished I could have remained like that forever, lying on the beach without a care in the world. Not having to worry about "my future" or being a disappointment. Not having to put up with Victoire and her dumb wedding. Not having to go to school, where I'd be swamped with a bunch of homework I didn't understand. Or having to deal with all of the annoying gits that I had the misfortune of being classmates with. Not having to face the fact that my parents seem to constantly forget about me.

My eyes had begun to sting, but I blamed it on the salty water. I had done enough crying for today.

"I like the sound of that." I heard James say.

I wasn't sure how long we stayed like that. The two of us lying side by side, watching the waves crash into each other. The stars glow. The sun rise. We talked about everything and nothing. We gossiped about the kids at school. We planned future pranks. We wondered about who was going to be Head Boy and Girl. We made bets on how many detentions we'd get this year. We sang old Weird Sisters songs at the top of our lungs.


It was the most fun I had all summer.

It wasn't until I heard birds begin to chirp that I realised we had spent the entire night outside. I remembered Aunt Ginny's letter where she had asked me to make sure James didn't stay out too late, and a feeling of guilt crept into me. I had a feeling she'd be waiting for him when he got home, and this led me to suggest that we should head back. He could have apparated then and there, but James decided to walk me back. Always the gentleman, my cousin.

"So I guess I'll see you on the first," I said, once we had reached the tree outside of my bedroom.

"Save me a seat?" he asked, a little smirk playing at the corner of his lips.

"I'll think about it," I replied, with a smirk of my own. He rolled his eyes, enveloping me in one of his signature bone-crushing hugs. I faked a groan then buried my face into his shoulder, allowing myself this small comfort. James was good at many things but hugs were his specialty. Reluctantly I had to let him go, and begin the routine of sneaking back into my room. I had just climbed into my window, when he called back to me.

"Hey, Minnie!"

"Yeah?" I asked, leaning against the edge.

"Happy birthday," he said with a grin, running his hand through that mess of auburn hair.

"Thanks, James."

I watched him turn around and head back towards the beach, where he could apparate without my parents overhearing.  I sighed and closed my window, smiling the entire time. It wasn't until I had crawled back into bed that I realised how exhausted I was. The sun was already out, and I could hear the faint sounds of my parents getting ready to leave for work. Victoire would also be waking soon to start her day. I snuggled deeper into the comforts of my blanket, and found myself falling asleep. 

 





"Minnie, let's go!" The ever-so-obnoxious voice of my older sister yelled.

It was the first of September and I was hastily trying to find a clean shirt to throw on. Not only had I overslept, but I had forgot to leave out a clean set of clothes to wear on the train. The last few days of summer were always spent getting ready for school, which also included Mum's cleaning rampage. She had this weird obsession with neatness, and went a little crazy whenever there was a mess anywhere in the house. While I was home she'd put up with my messy room, but as soon as I left I knew she'd jump at the chance to tidy it up. The idea of her snooping around my room was enough incentive for me to go along with her end-of-the-summer cleaning spree. 

Since the vast majority of my mess was the contents of my school trunk sprawled across the floor - I had the habit of dumping my trunk the moment I came home - I also managed to get everything packed on time. The only problem with that was when I'd pack all of my clean clothes and end up not having anything to wear the next day. 

Hence, my current dilemma.

Realizing that I had about thirty seconds to leave, I resorted to grabbing one of my dad's old t-shirts from his room. With my wand placed safely in my bag, I made my way downstairs. My trunk was waiting for me there, having brought it down last night.

"About time! Must you always leave everything for the last minute?" Victoire said, tapping her foot impatiently.

God, she was such a prat.

"Why are you still here, then?" I snapped, noticing that neither my parents nor Louis were around.

"How else are you going to get to the train? Someone has to apparate with you to King's Cross."

I began to say that I was of age and could very well apparate by myself, but decided against it. The longer she went without realising she'd forgot my birthday, the greater the guilt will be when she finally did. So with one hand I grabbed my trunk, the other her wrist, and braced myself for the weird sucking sensation that came with apparating.


We landed rather smoothly, everything still intact, at the entrance of King's Cross station. It was fairly busy, but nowhere near as hectic as it would get in just a few hours. Having parents that worked for Gringotts, where they were expected at nine o'clock sharp with no exceptions meant that we had to be at Platform 9 3/4's by eight forty-five. We were always the first ones on the train, along with all of the other poor unfortunate souls with parents that worked for the bank. 

Grabbing a trolley for my trunk, Vic and I quickly made our way towards Platform 9 3/4. Dad was waiting for us at the entrance, Mum and Louis probably having already gone through. He raised his eyebrows when he saw me wearing his shirt. "Forgot to leave out a set of clothes?"

"Yep."

"What am I going to do with you, Minnie?" he shook his head with a small smile, placing a warm hand on my shoulder. We let Victoire go through first, before going in ourselves.

The platform was still rather empty, which was expected at this hour. Spotting Mum and Louis, we made our way towards them. She was fussing with his collar, rambling last minute reminders in French which my brother paid no attention to.

"Ne pas oublier d'écrire," she told him, in that rapid way of hers. "And please make sure that your sister stays out of trouble."

"Shouldn't that be the other way around?" I asked, rolling my eyes.

“Maybe if you would write back every now and then, I wouldn’t ‘ave to worry.”

I chose to ignore her.

“Really Min, is it that hard to write a simple reply?” Dad asked me.

Is it that hard to remember your own daughter’s birthday?

“I’ve got homework,” was my answer.

“If you’re spending so much time doing ‘omework, ‘ow is it that you don’t ‘ave better marks?"

Touché.

“Because you raised an idiot for a daughter.”

Blimey, I was on a roll.

"Hey, you know better than that,” Dad began, his blue eyes concerned and serious. “You’re a smart girl Minnie, albeit a little lazy. I don’t want to hear any more of this self-depreciation, alright?"

If that was the case, then it’s a bloody well thing he’s rubbish at Occlumencey. Merlin knows my thoughts were just a cesspool of pessimism. Self-depreciation was my specialty.

“It was just a joke, Dad. No need to go all suicide alert on me,” I replied, with only a smidgen of defensiveness.

“There are better ones,” he said, simply.


I decided to let it go, and began the ritual of saying goodbye. I allowed my mother to hug me, ignoring her nitpicky reminders to comb my hair and make my bed. Dad embraced me, kissing the top of my head like he did every year. His hug lingered a bit longer than the norm, probably still worried that I might throw myself onto the tracks in a fit of wild self-hate. Victoire played the role of the endearing big sister which I knew she wasn’t and hugged me as well. With one last “See you at Christmas”, I boarded the bright red engine with Louis in tow.

We parted ways once I reached Compartment J, the same compartment I’ve rode in for the past seven years. Tossing my bag onto an empty seat, I took my place at the window and made myself comfortable. 

If I had any ounce of responsibility in me, I would probably use this time to look over my textbooks and get a head start on the lessons. Too bad that that wasn't the case.

Instead, I dug through my bag for the stash of Chocolate Frogs I always kept in there and began to stuff myself as if there was no tomorrow. It was moments like these when I really loved being an eighth Veela. Merlin knows I should be as thick as an elephant by now.

I was working on my seventh frog when the compartment door slid open and a flustered Louis appeared. His stick-straight blond hair stood in various directions, giving him the appearance of an albino hedgehog. He was panting, his small chest moving up and down as he caught his breath.


“There’s a creepy girl following me around,” he explained, once he saw that I was looking expectantly at him.

“What house is she in?” I asked, wanting to make sure if it was worth getting concerned.

“She’s a Puff.”

“Get in.”

He shot me a grateful look and all but ran into the compartment. If there was one thing I was going to protect my brother from, it was a creepy, hormonal Hufflepuff. Or any Puff to be honest, but if I went around saying that then people would get the impression that I was prejudiced. Throughout mine and my cousins’ childhood, the authoritative figures in my family have drilled into our minds to not be prejudice. Sometimes Uncle Ron would slip and say that it was okay to hex a few Slytherins every now and then, but I never considered him to be an authority so it all worked out.

“Can I have a frog?” he asked, noticing the wrappers. I gave him a look that said, “you’re kidding, right?” which shut him up.

An awkward silence filled the room, as we tried to figure out what to say to each other. Our entire relationship was built upon my teasing him and his bursting into tears. Of course now that he was a “cool twelve year old” the crying stopped and transformed into him rolling his eyes at me.

I really ought to be a better influence on him.

“So... excited for school to start?” I asked, figuring it was the sisterly thing to say.

“Are you?” he deflected.

“Eh.”

“Likewise.”

I could tell that he wasn't going to make this whole building-our-relationship thing easy for me.

I racked my brain for topics that would entertain a twelve year old boy and began to spit them out like clockwork:


Are you trying out for Quidditch? No.
Are your friends trying out for Quidditch? No.
What do you and your friends do for fun? Nothing.
What did your friends do over the summer? I don’t know.
Do you even have friends? Duh.
Do you like any girls? Blank stare.
Do you like any boys? Death glare.

I was about to start round two of twenty questions, when the door to the compartment opened and revealed our Aunt Ginny.

“Get off your lazy bum and come give your favourite aunt a hug,” she said, grinning.

I got up and approached my godmother only to be smothered by her red hair and perfume. Her thin but surprisingly strong arms wrapped themselves tightly around my shoulders. I was starting to wonder if suffocating hugs were a genetic trait.

“Hey, Aunt Ginny,” I said, although it was muffled by the fabric of her navy cardigan.

“Hello, love. Where’s that shiny new charm necklace of yours?” she asked, glancing at my bare neck.


Damn.

I quickly tried to come up with a passable lie to explain for its absent: stolen by a crew of Transylvanians pirates, got mugged in Knockturn Alley, accidentally flushed it down the toilet. However, before I could choose one Louis opened his fat mouth.

“What necklace?” he asked, confused.

Oh, hell.

Aunt Ginny looked at him like he was insane and I jumped in to prevent any further damage. “Merlin, Lou! You were sitting right next to me when Mum explained about the mix up.” I turned to my aunt and continued explaining, “The order got mixed up so it won’t arrive until November.”

She raised an eyebrow and I prayed that she would buy my lie. I had to pinch Louis’ arm to keep him from saying anything else that would give Mum and Dad away. As much as I’d enjoy watching Aunt Ginny get on their case for forgetting my birthday, I really did not want to put with anymore family drama.

“Blimey, I’m sorry to hear that Min,” she finally said, and gave me another squeeze.

"Oh it’s alright; I’m not much of a jewellery person anyway,” I replied offhandedly, letting out a breath I had no clue I was holding.

"Well, I just wanted to stop by and wish a quick hello. James is helping Lily put her trunk away, but he should be here soon,” she told me, before turning to give a hug to Lou. “You two be good now, you hear?”

We nodded, and watched our aunt as she waved goodbye and left the compartment. I heard a loud shriek that sounded like it belonged to our cousin Lily, who was probably mortified at the idea of her mum on the train where all of her friends could see her. I listened to my aunt tell her daughter to get over it and how she’s lucky to have such a cool mother, before it faded and the awkward silence between Louis and I returned.

“Your birthday... we forgot, didn’t we?” he asked, looking both extremely guilty and uncomfortable.

“Yep.”

There was no point in trying to keep that hidden from Louis. He may be twelve, but there was a reason the kid was placed in Ravenclaw. He had an ear for sorting out the bull from any explanation. I glanced at my brother, who had a thoughtful expression on his face as he began to put all of the pieces together.

“I’m sorry.” His tone was genuine, apologetic.

It would have been the perfect moment to hug him, had we had a less awkward relationship. Instead, I settled for punching his arm.

“Don’t worry about it. You can always make it up to me by buying out Honeydukes.”

“I thought only I could buy your forgiveness with chocolate!” James exclaimed, as he walked into the compartment.

“So long as I’m getting chocolate, I really don’t care who’s buying it,” I answered, grinning at my cousin.


He returned the smile before greeting my brother with a giant hug that could’ve snapped him in half, had he squeezed any harder.

“Lily’s over at Compartment G if you want to go sit with her,” he said to Lou, ruffling his hair.

My brother took that as his cue to leave and made his way towards the exit. He hesitated, before running back towards me and wrapping his small arms around my waist. I was too shocked to say anything and by the time I had regained my composure, he had ran off.

“What was that about?” James asked, staring at the empty spot where my little brother had once stood.

“I have no idea.”
 




Minnie - Emma Stone

A/N:Aaaannnd there it is! I hope you guys liked it, and don't forget to leave a review to let me know what you think! Next chapter is at Hogwarts and we'll meet my OC's. Thanks again everyone!
-Camila 

"Ne pas oublier d'écrire" = Don't forget to write

:)   


Chapter 3: For A Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic
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Disclaimer: The only things I own are the OC's and plot. Chapter title credit goes to Paramore.







You'd think that after six years of riding the Hogwarts Express, you'd run out of things to do on the way to school. 


That couldn't be any more wrong.



Hidden compartments that have yet to be explored, the secret cupboard where the trolley lady keeps her stash of treats, fresh young first years who'd believe every word that comes out of a big, scary, seventh year's mouth - the possibilities were endless!

 

In fact, it's the first few years on the train that are the dullest. If you're clever, by the time fourth year comes along you know the system well enough to use it to your advantage. Like being able to convince the naive first years that the train is powered by a Hungarian Horntail that could burn the whole thing down if they got too rowdy, or tricking them into lugging your trunk around, even though there's a steward at the front who usually takes care of that for you. Each year there's a fresh batch, completely oblivious to the way things ran around here.

 

James and I were currently roaming around the corridors, looking for our next victims while we waited for our friends to show up. We had the misfortune of having friends who were either too responsible for their own good and therefore stuck in Prefect meetings, or too irresponsible that they were always the last ones to show up. Either way, it wasn’t until a quarter of the way into the trip that we got to meet up with them.

 

“Chubby blonde, nine o’clock.”

 

I immediately spotted the puffy-cheeked eleven year-old whom James pointed out, his watery eyes and anxious expression marked him as the perfect target. He was fidgeting with the frayed ends of his wool cardigan, his chapped lips quivering as he looked for a compartment to sit in. I was particularly amused with the unevenness of his knit socks; one was stretched all the way to his calf while the other lay crumpled along his ankle.

 

He had Hufflepuff written all over him.

 

With a quick nod towards James, I let the French in me kick in and approached the boy with the most confident posture I could summon. I felt like a prick that had a broom shoved up her arse, but intimidation was everything when it came to screwing with first years.

 

“Oi, tubby!” I called, positioning myself so that I would be looming over him. James stood behind me in an equally daunting position.

 

The boy turned around so quickly I was worried he might have broken his neck. I noticed that his knees were shaking, as he glanced up at me. Judging by the look on his face, you’d think that we were a couple of Death Eaters.

 

This was going to be good.

 

“W-w-were you t-t-talking to me?” he squeaked, his voice an entire octave higher than what could be considered normal. Then again, at this age it was rather hard to tell with boys.

 

“Do you see anyone else in the corridor?”

 

Chubbers looked around him, swallowing hard when he noticed that we were alone.

 

“C-c-can I help you?” he stuttered.

 

“I don’t know. Can he help us, James?”

 

“We have to make sure that he’s worthy first.”

 

I had to bite my lip to prevent from laughing at the way his eyes widened. Bloody hell, we were just getting started and he already looked like he was going to wet his trousers.

 

“Of course! We can’t have just any old first year helping us,” I said, glancing at the boy in a way that would make him think I was inspecting him. “What’s your name, boy?”

 

“Barney Welbourne, ma’am.”

 

Sad thing was that, that wasn’t the first time a scared first year referred to me as “ma’am”.

 

“Well, Barney Welbourne, do you have any idea who you are speaking to?”

 

Barney shook his head.

 

“What?! You don’t know who we are? Dear god, do you live under a rock?”

 

“Honestly, how do you expect to survive at Hogwarts without knowing who we are?” James added, shaking his head disapprovingly.

 

“Inconceivable!”

 

“Blasphemous!”

 

“A disgrace, really.”

 

“And here I was thinking that you could help us.”

 

“Way to let us down, Barney Welbourne.”

 

“You ought to be ashamed.”

 

At this point Barney was so scared and confused it seemed like he would burst into tears at any second. He turned his head between the two of us, trying to give an explanation but all that seemed to come out were gargled little cries. His face was starting to turn red, a combination of embarrassment and terror.

 

Merlin, I ought to become an actress.

 

“What on earth is going on here?” the most obnoxious voice on the planet shrieked.

 

James and I jumped at the sound that seemed to come out of nowhere. Quickly recovering from the initial shock, I whirled around, accidently smacking Barney's face with my hair in the process. My suspicions were confirmed, as I looked upon Hogwarts' most annoying prat standing in the corridor, her arms planted firmly on the boniest hips I've ever seen.  Perfectly polished like always, her silver Prefect badge was safely pinned to the front of her school robes. She was the only person I knew that wore her robes to the train. They were two sizes too big and combined with her frizzy black hair and beak of a nose, she strikingly resembled a crow.

 

“Nothing that should concern you,” I told her, using my height to defy her. There were moments when being freakishly tall for a girl had its advantages.

 

“I am Head Girl,” she said this like it was the answer to everything. 

 

I did a double take and indeed found that her Prefect badge had been upgraded. My stomach dropped at that realisation. Matilda Ramsey, the snitch responsible for my impressively extensive detention record, now held the authority to actually assign me one.

 

Oh, hell.

 

“Come off it, Matilda. The two of us were just having a laugh,” James said, offering her a charming grin that would have made most girls melt into a puddle of pathetic hormones.

 

Matilda Ramsey however, was about as hormonal as a slug.

 

“A laugh at the expense of poor, innocent children? I expected more out of you, James Potter,” she scolded, wagging a finger at him. James just looked amused.

 

Honestly, she acted like she was forty.

 

I started to open my mouth to say some snarky remark about how she should stop acting like she was superior to everyone, but Barney Welbourne started uncontrollably flapping his mouth like he was some rogue puppet. At that point I probably would have turned to glare at him, except he was too busy gawking at James in complete awe to notice my annoyance.

 

“Y-y-you’re James Potter?” he gasped.

 

“Took you a while, eh?”

 

I had to roll my eyes at Barney’s expression. His eyebrows were now so high up his face they may have very well never existed.  It was like a switch had flipped inside of him, transforming him from a terrified first year to a mega fan boy. He went all starry eyed on us and I could have sworn there was a bit of drool forming at his lips. I preferred it when he was about to piss his pants.

 

“If you’re James, then you must be Rose Weasley!” Barney exclaimed, turning his attention towards me.

 

It was like a slap to the face.

 

 

How on earth could someone mistake me for Rose-freaking-Weasley? It wasn’t like I had a wand shoved up my bum or walked around like I was some fairy princess. I haven’t stepped foot into the library since fourth year, unlike my prissy cousin who seemed to live there. Not to mention she was two years younger than me. He obviously wasn’t a very smart fan boy. Had he done his research, like a real obsessive fan, he would have known that little fact, as well as the one about Rose and me looking absolutely nothing alike.


Rose wasn’t even a full ginger!

 

There were so many things I wanted to say to Barney Welbourne. The Veela in me wanted to claw his throat out for making such an accusation. I also had a miniscule portion inside of me - also known as rationality - that wanted to lecture him on the dangers of Weasley profiling. That part of my brain understood that he was only an ignorant first year that didn’t know any better and therefore was in need of being educated. However, before either side could do anything, a loud chuckle filled the corridor. 

 

“That kid has to be the bravest first year on this train.”

 

The voice came from behind Matilda Ramsey and judging by the way my prick senses were tingling, I knew it could only belong to one person. Said person was the only one I knew who managed to be so obnoxious that my body had its very own defence system which alerted me of his presence. He also happened to have the worst timing possible, with the tendency of walking in on moments where his mere existence would set me off.

 

This so happened to be one of them.

 

“No one asked for your opinion, White,” I snapped.

 

“Dominique Weasley! That is no way to talk to your Head Boy!” Matilda exclaimed, positively mortified at the idea of someone talking back to a figure of authority.

 

Wait a minute...

 

“You’re head boy?” I asked, turning my attention to the bigheaded git.

 

It was like déjà vu. The way I double checked his chest, searching for the silver sign that would determine the fate of my seventh year. The way my stomach clenched with despair once I spotted it. The way I felt after having lost that final sliver of hope. If Matilda Ramsey was the one to rat me out, then Darren White was the one to get me into trouble in the first place. I honestly believed that if the prick didn’t exist, then I wouldn’t have half of the problems that I had now. 

 

“Does that really surprise you?” he asked, with his usual amount of arrogance.

 

Oh how I wanted to wipe that smirk off his stupid tanned face.

 

 “I can’t believe old McGonagall picked a twit like you for head boy. Maybe it really is time for her to retire.”

 

“Excuse me, but insulting the Head Mistress’s choice for Head Boy falls under the category of disrespecting authorities,” Matilda Ramsey added. “That’s liable for a detention.”

 

“Shut up, Ramsey.”

 

...

 

I mentally smacked myself on the head, wishing that I had better control over my tongue.

 

DETENTION!!!

 

Damn.








 

Kicking off the year with a detention was never the way to go. Unless of course, you actually enjoyed having a hundred pairs of eyes follow your every move, snickering behind your back, while you ate your dinner. It didn’t help if you were sitting all by yourself because your best friend still hadn’t shown up.

 

We were in the middle of the Start-of-Term feast, and the only thing keeping me from wallowing in utter self-pity were the mountainous plates of Hogwarts food sitting before me. James was deep in conversation with his dorm mates and our cousin Freddy about some Quidditch player that lost his leg to a rabid hippogriff, and my only other friend was too enveloped in her book to participate in petty dinner conversation. I could have gone and started talking with Dare, who was being an antisocial nerd and keeping to himself, but I wasn’t that desperate.

 

So I did what I always did when I had nothing better to do: I ate.

 

I reached for the roasted potatoes and served myself a generous helping, making sure to leave enough room for a few entrées. The closest in arms’ range were a beautifully glazed ham and a golden rotisserie chicken, gleaming in the warm light of the Great Hall. I felt my mouth water at the glorious sight, and piled on double servings of both. There was just enough space left for a hot, buttery roll, which completed my masterpiece.

 

Sorry mixed greens, but you didn’t make the cut.

 

“How are you not the size of a hippogriff?” Dare asked incredulously, watching the warm trail of juice that was dribbling down my chin after having taken a giant bite out of my chicken.

 

God, wasn’t I an attractive sight.

 

I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my robe, before answering. “By keeping a steady diet and exercising regularly.”

 

Yeah, right. The only way I’d ever go on a steady diet was if it meant I got to eat chocolate every day and have as much steak my willowy body could handle, which was, surprisingly, a lot.

 

He rolled his eyes, taking off his glasses to wipe them clean, a habit I have learned he often did when he was bored.

 

“You know, if you wouldn’t eat like such a rabbit, maybe you’d bulk up enough that the Slytherins would stop beating the crap out of you,” I told him, glancing at his plate that only held salad.

 

“Excuse me for not wanting to sink down to their barbaric level and fight,” he snapped, always defensive when it came to his gangly appearance.

 

“It’s not barbaric to defend yourself.” I explained, “Seriously, your street cred would rise immensely if you’d swing back a punch or two, instead of whimpering against the wall like a little girl.”

 

“I’m not going to take advice from a girl who managed to get a detention before school even started.”

 

“I wouldn’t have gotten that had you not stuck your giant nose into my business!”

 

“Oh, so your lack of self discipline is my fault?”

 

“Of course it is!”

 

“Really, you two? We haven’t even gone through dinner and you’re already arguing,” a small voice exclaimed, and I turned around to see my friend Brain shaking her blonde head at the pair of us, her book closed.

 

“I can’t help it that your brother’s a git,” I replied.

 

I honestly had no idea how the two were related. Brain, or Brianna if you wanted to be politically correct, was the most reasonable and calm fifteen year old girl I’ve ever met. Not to mention, she was actually nice. Whereas with Dare, you just had to look at him to see that he was the devil reincarnate. I mean sure, they were both smart and reserved and rather awkward, but that probably has more to do with their upraising than actual genetics. They didn’t even look alike!

 

Brain was tiny and delicate, with big blue-grey eyes that I swear could gaze into your very soul. Dare was tall, lanky, and had a mess of rust-coloured hair. All his eyes ever did were smoulder and make you want to vomit.

 

“Neither can I, but at least I’m not fighting with him every other minute. And I have to live with him,” she scolded, and I felt a sliver of shame. “Same goes for you, Dare. Would it kill you to stop baiting Minnie? It’s a wonder how I manage to get anything done, what with you guys constantly at each others’ throats.”

 

Dare started to object, but Brain gave him a stern glance before returning to her book, her sign that the discussion was over. The moment after a fight was always the most awkward, never sure how to react after being put into place and by a fifth year no less. Usually Brain ignored our arguments, leaving it to my best friend to handle everything. But since she wasn’t there – which was starting to make me worry – I guess it was her turn to be the hand of discipline.

 

Thankfully, we didn’t have to suffer too long, for the feast had come to an end and Headmistress McGonagall made her way to the podium.

 

“Before we head off to our common rooms, there are a few notices that need to be announced, so I ask that all of you pay close attention,” she began, silencing the room. “As I’m sure all of you have noticed the seat which Professor Figgins usually occupies here at the staff table is empty.”

 

To be honest, I actually hadn’t notice that. I was too busy ignoring everyone’s annoying stares and pretending like I didn’t exist.

 

“Your Defence Against the Dark Arts professor was infected with a rather sudden case of dragon pox over the holiday. We were informed of his ailment only a few days prior to the start of term, and are hastily working to find you a replacement professor. That being said, your new professor should be here by next week, so all Defence classes are going to be cancelled until then.”

 

At this, there was an outburst of cheers from the students. Granted, there were only two school days left of the week, but the idea of an extra free period was enough for anyone to get excited.

 

“This does not mean you are going to be dilly dandling for an entire period. Instead, whatever class you had prior will become a double class period. Or if that class was already a double period, then the next class will be doubled.”

 

The Great Hall filled with groans, and I could only hope that I didn’t have Charms before or after DADA. That would be just plain torture.

 

  “Now, I am sure all of you are ready to retire to your common rooms, so I will keep these last few words short. As we all know, this year will be the last for our seventh years. However, they aren’t the only ones who will be leaving, come June.”

 

There was a collective outburst of whispers, mainly from the younger students since we seventh years weren’t going to be affected by the news. Still, I was pretty curious to see who wasn’t coming back.

 

“It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement. For sixty-five years I have taught and administered at this great school, and have come to know this castle as my home. I would like to thank each and every one of you, both students and faculty, for allowing me to be a part of your experience at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

 

McGonagall paused, and I could’ve sworn I saw tears forming at her eyes.

 

“Arrangements for your new Headmaster are being made, and will be announced later on in the year. That being said, you may now leave for your common rooms.”

 

She moved back to her place at the staff table with confidence, her posture as proud as ever. I saw some of the older staff, like Hagrid and Professor Trelawney, hastily wipe their eyes. Or in Hagrid’s case, noisily blow his nose. I probably would’ve continued picking out which teacher was emotional or not, had young August Longbottom not come up to me.

 

“This is for you, Minnie,” he said, handing me a neatly folded note before running off to join the other first years.

 

I looked at the piece of parchment anxiously, knowing perfectly well that it was from Professor Longbottom. Opening the note, I saw that there were only five letters scrawled onto it:

 

Please see me after dinner.

 

I gulped.








 

 “Sooooo… have a good holiday, Professor?” I asked, as I stood in his office nervously waiting for whatever it was he needed to speak to me about.

 

“Have a seat, Minnie.”

 

I quickly did as I was told, sitting down on one of the overstuffed armchairs that faced his desk. Professor Longbottom’s office was a room I have come to be fairly familiar with over the years. I practically memorised the charts and diagrams of exotic plants that hung on the pale yellow walls. They have actually helped me a lot, especially when it came to Herbology exams. His desk was made of a sturdy oak and covered with framed pictures of his family, miniature potted plants, piles of paperwork, and a tray of chocolate covered biscuits.

 

I learned that the silver picture frame on the right held a portrait of him and his wife Hannah on their wedding day. I was surprised to see it still there, having heard rumours that the two were getting a divorce. The three smaller frames each had a photo of one of his children. The one on the left was of his oldest, August, after he lost his two front teeth. A picture of his daughter Alice, wearing a pink tutu, was in the middle and his youngest son, Harry Frank (or Dobby, as we have come to call him), occupied the final frame. Victoire used to babysit them during summer holidays, and she would sometimes drag me along to help. It wasn’t too bad. I got half of whatever she made, and the only thing I had to do was play with August while Vic watched the two babies.

 

 Scattered about the room were candles, mainly used during the night, since the three tall windows that sat behind his desk gave plenty of light during the day, as well as a view of all seven greenhouses. Overall, the room had a rather warm although cluttered feel to it, which helped make students feel more at ease whenever they were inside for disciplinary issues. Although, since I come here so often, that cosy feeling has become immune to me.

 

 “I think we’ve had this conversation often enough to know that disregarding authorities is not tolerated at Hogwarts, am I correct?” Longbottom asked, confirming my suspicion that I was here due to a disciplinary incident.

 

It would’ve been foolish to think that he wouldn’t have found out about what happened on the train with Matilda Ramsey.

 

“Yes, you are. But to be honest with you, Professor, I find it fairly hard to regard someone who’s only a few months older than me as an authority,” I replied, not being able to restrain myself.

 

Longbottom let out a sigh, running a hand through his hair. I watched my Herbology professor carefully, and couldn’t help but notice that he looked a hell of lot more stressed this year than when I last saw him. The deep creases on his forehead, the ever multiplying grey hairs, even his clothes were more dishevelled. I couldn’t help but wonder if the rumours of his divorce were true. It would have explained his appearance perfectly.  I felt a pang of guilt for all of the added trouble I was giving an already troubled man.

 

“Here’s the situation, Minnie. We both know that your marks and classroom participation are anything but satisfactory,” he began. “On top of that, you also happen to have the largest amount of detentions out of anyone in your year.”

 

Merlin, I really was screwed.

 

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t plan on doing anything remarkable with my life,” I replied, knowing that I sounded like some overly cynical teenager.

 

Which, you know, I kind of was.

 

“That’s dung, Min, and you know it.”

 

Of course I knew it. I wasn’t that morbid that I had absolutely no expectations for my life. When I was younger, I always thought I was going to be a Healer. However, that dream got shot down the moment I received a Troll on a Charms paper back in first year. Ever since then, I’ve just been coasting through school with the hope that I might have an epiphany and realise I wanted to become the next Celestina Warbeck. I even joined the choir back in fourth year, because of that. I got kicked out though, because of a prank I pulled on the assistant director. She was a nasty seventh year Hufflepuff that thought she was better than everyone because she could reach a high A, while the rest of us girls were screeching to reach the C. They were all pricks though, so it wasn’t like I was missing out.

 

It wasn’t that I wanted to have a mediocre life. I was just pessimistic enough to know that that was my only option left.

 

“But it’s like you said, Professor. I have terrible marks and an even worse disciplinary record. I highly doubt that the blokes over at St. Mungo’s are going to look past that and hand me a respectable job as a Healer,” I told him bluntly.

 

“You’re still interested in becoming a Healer?” he asked, rather surprised.

 

“I don’t know. I just sort of threw that out there to make a point,” I lied.

 

When I first formally met with Professor Longbottom to discuss my “academic career path”, I had mentioned to him my unrealistic interest in healing. He, along with McGonagall, thought it was a wonderful idea. Until I screwed it up by forgetting to do my homework for three consecutive months. Since then I established my reputation as a slacker, and in return, whenever someone finds out about how I wanted to work at St. Mungo’s they act all shocked and taken back.

 

After a while, all of the “Really? You want to be a Healer?!” and other exclamations of surprise tend to eat away at your self-confidence.

 

“Well, I still think it would be a wonderful idea for you to pursue that path,” he told me, and now I was the one to be taken aback.

 

“Seriously? You don’t think it’s a hopeless cause?”

 

Longbottom shook his head, and offered me a warm smile. “The point I’ve been trying to make to you Minnie, is that you still have time.”

 

I gave him an incredulous look.

 

“It won’t be easy, and it’ll take a hell of a lot of self-discipline on your half, but I truly think that if you work really hard this year, you’ll be able to land an internship at St. Mungo’s.”

 

Well, damn.

 

“So what do I have to do?” I finally asked.

 

 “For starters, you’re going to have to stop insulting Matilda Ramsey every time she walks by,” he stopped for a moment, before adding, “As well as Mr White. Preferably it’d be better if you didn’t insult anyone this term, but I figured that’d be a bit of a stretch for you.”

 

He knew me so well.

 

“Do you think you could talk to the pricks and tell them to stop being so annoying? It’d be a lot easier to control myself that way,” I asked, before wincing at the realisation of what I said.

 

“You’re already starting the year off with two detentions because of the little charade you put on in the corridor. Let’s not add on to that,” Longbottom warned.

 

“What?! Why the hell am I getting two?!” I whined, completely offended by the injustice of the situation.

 

“The amount of disrespect you showed the Head Girl was inexcusable, Minnie,” he explained, his tone mildly condescending. “Be grateful that it’s only two nights. She was trying to get you a full week’s worth, but I managed to calm her down some.”

 

Damn that stupid hag.

 

“So much for turning things around,” I muttered, my hopeful mood demolished with the news of an extra detention. I was perfectly fine with the one – that was deserved. But two? That’s just plain greedy.

 

“You can turn things around! So long as you make sure that these detentions are your last. That and you start making an effort in your classes, more specifically Charms.”

 

I groaned at the thought of Charms class. For some reason, Professor Flitwick allowed me to take NEWT level Charms, even though I only got an A in my OWLs. Apparently, Longbottom managed to convince him in giving me another shot, feeding him some rubbish about me having potential. I would’ve much rather preferred to have dropped the class, but unfortunately for me, I needed the NEWT to become a Healer. 

 

“That’s an awful lot to ask for,” I replied, my attitude getting the best of me.

 

“Then how about I give you an ultimatum? Either you promise me that you’re going to get your act together, or I let Matilda Ramsey give you that week of detention. And let me tell you, what she has in mind is not going to be pretty.”

 

Whatever happened to Longbottom being the wimpy doormat my uncle Ron used to say he was? Oh that’s right. He had to go and grow a spine and pull that blasted sword out of the sorting hat.

 

“I promise,” I finally said, a bit defeated.

 

“Good. I’m going to be keeping tabs on you, and in a month we’re going to have another meeting to check on your progress,” he finished. “I believe in you, Min. I know you’ll be able to pull through.”

 

If only I could feel the same way.









James - Sam Claflin

A/N: So there's chapter three! I hope you guys enjoyed it and please remember to leave a review, telling me what you think. I've already got most of chapter four done (it was originally going to be part of this chapter, but it ended up being too much) so it shouldn't take as long to update. I'm thinking around Christmas time. But then again, I change my mind so much, it's kind of hard to tell. Speaking of which, I'm still trying to find chapter images that I like, so it might be updating every now and then because of that. 


Thanks for reading!

-Camila (aka: purplewings721)

Chapter 4: Top Marks For Not Trying
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Disclaimer: Chapter title is a line taken from the Arctic Monkey's song "Brianstorm". Everything else that isn't an OC or attempt at a plot line belongs to Jo.



 


There’s something about waking up to find a flock of dust bunnies migrating towards your face that’s just a little unnerving. Just because they look all innocent and harmless, what with their fluffy little bodies that like to float around, does not mean that they aren’t a force to be reckoned with. Everyone knows that dust bunnies are some of the most devious little creatures to have ever risen from the depths of the Underworld, endlessly plotting to get up your nose so they can throw you into a wild sneezing fit.




And if that wasn’t worrisome enough, how about trying to figure out how the hell you ended up under your bed in the first place?




Talk about starting off on the right foot.




I let out a groan and tried not to get caught in the dust as I rolled out from underneath my bed. I winced at the bright sun shining from the windows, cursing the idiot who decided to draw back the curtains so early in the morning. Stretching my arms so that I wouldn’t ache for the rest of the day, I looked around my dorm for any evidence of human life forms.




Every single bed was empty, made, and neat.




Damn, I was late.




I tried to ignore the rapid panic that was rushing through me, and I scrambled to get my things. I had skipped out on unpacking my trunk last night, too tired to do anything after the meeting with Longbottom. Grabbing the first skirt I could get my hands on, I dashed into the loo to finish getting dressed. I had no time for a proper shower, so I settled for a quick face wash and a spritz of one of my dorm mate’s numerous perfumes.




Double checking to see that I had my wand, I grabbed my bag off of my bed before running out of the room and right into no one other than my best friend.




There you are!” she all but shrieked. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been looking for you? Class starts in ten minutes, and we’ve got to get all the way to the fifth floor!”




With a voice loud enough to silence a banshee, Natalie Wood was the most demanding, overbearing, and controlling person I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Her glare was so terrifying it would have made Medusa cower in shame, and it didn’t help that she had the hair to match. Wild brown curls flew around her head, a crown of insanity. I still have no idea how I’ve managed to survive living with her for the past seven years.




“Why didn’t you wake me sooner, then?” I asked, irritated and out of breath. Even though she was “technically” my best friend, that doesn’t exclude her from being the biggest pain in the arse I’ve ever known. And that’s saying something, considering I’m related to Freddy.




“Your bed was empty, so I thought you had already left for breakfast!” she replied defensively, always one to play the victim.




“I never get up early.”




“Then where the hell were you?”








I stood awkwardly for a moment, debating whether or not it would be worth telling her. It was one thing to fall off your bed in the middle of the night. It was another to roll underneath it and stay there. And judging by the look of impatience on her face (which was never a pretty sight) I figured I had about two-point-five seconds to figure out what I should do.




“Ikindoffelloffandrolledunderneathmybed,” I muttered, deciding that it was better to just get it over with.





“In English, please.”




“I kind of fell off and rolled underneath my bed,” I repeated more coherently this time, my face burning at how truly pathetic I was after hearing it out loud.




She stared blankly at me for a few moments, her round brown eyes blinking back in confusion as she stood with a complete loss for words (which was rather rare, on her part).




“Here’s your timetable,” she finally said, handing me a piece of bright crimson parchment. “We’ve got double Transfiguration first, so we need to get going.”




I decided to take her lack of comment on my whereabouts as a good thing, and quickly followed her down the stairs and out of the common room. Thankfully, we were on the seventh floor, which meant that all of the staircases we had to climb were downhill. Had it been the other way around, we would have never been able to make it to class on time. Well, Nat would have been able to, since she was all athletic and such (and tended to lean towards the whole “every man for himself” concept, then that of “no man left behind”), but I was in such poor shape I bet even the Giant Squid would have been able to beat me.




It didn’t help that she kept trying to have a conversation with me (although, for the most part, it was rather one sided).




“And so then, Dad starts going off on how corporate is trying to change Puddlemere’s uniform from navy blue to midnight blue, because of a conflict with the Sweetwater All Stars. Apparently, the Americans feel that they deserve that to be their colour since it’s the same shade of blue as their flag, but like, so is ours. So I tell Dad to tell corporate to suck it, because Puddlemere has been around way longer than those All Stars and that it’s a matter of first come first serve. I mean, we’re like the oldest team in the League, for Merlin sake!” she rattled, though I honestly did not pay her any attention.




“That’s... lovely,” I panted, trying to ignore the stitch in my side as I attempted to catch up with her. It was kind of sad how slow of a pace I had, what with me having legs about three times longer than Nat’s. How she managed to walk so fast and spit out a million words every other second without even breaking a sweat was beyond me.




“But he was just like, ‘It’s not that simple, Natty’ and starts explaining all of these legal terms and how we live in a time where everything has to be politically correct and what not, and so then I just suggested that we drop the subject and go out for an ice cream. But Dad was all like ‘You can’t have ice cream when you’re in season!’ and then I’m like ‘But Dad, school doesn’t start for another three weeks’ and he’s like ‘If you want to be a good captain, you’ve got to maintain a healthy body year round’ and I was like ‘Just one scoop!’ but he was like ‘That one scoop will go straight to your arteries’ and then Mum intervenes and tells him to relax, which he returns with a growl about how he is relaxed, and then me and Mum just look at each other cause we all know that Dad is never relaxed, and then-“




“Nat... could you... please... slow the hell down!” I interrupted, as I stopped to lean against the cold wall. We were on the fifth floor by now, approaching the Transfiguration classroom, and I really did not want to start my first class all sweaty and out of breath.




She turned around and rolled her eyes once she saw the state I was in, although, she did stop and wait for me to catch up to her. I sent her a grateful look and began to compose myself, hoping that I when I walked into class, I wouldn’t look like I had just ran a 5K around the castle.




“If you want to try out for the team this year, I really suggest that you get yourself in better shape,” she commented.




“When did I ever say I wanted to try out?” I scoffed, speaking slowly so that my heartbeat would go down.




“You didn’t. But since I’m captain this year, I’m kind of forcing you to.”




“Longbottom made you captain?” I asked, surprised.




“Hell yeah, he did!” she exclaimed, and I felt an immediate sympathy for every single member (both future and returning) on the Gryffindor team.




It was bad enough to be playing on the same team as her, but to be under her rule? Professor Longbottom might as well have called Voldemort up from the dead and given him the job. I mean, yeah Nat was undeniably the most qualified person in the house for the role (being the offspring of two highly esteemed professional Quidditch players will kind of do that to a girl) but she was also the lastperson on this planet that should be given a position of authority. To say that she had a control problem would be an understatement.




Raving tyrant was more like it.




Nat was famous for her constant need to challenge authority. Ever since she first made the team back in third year, she and Roxy (who was the captain back then) were constantly butting heads. Off the pitch, the two got along great. But the moment someone started mentioning what plays to be used or which method was best, it was like the Battle of Hogwarts all over again (except they preferred to use the verbal abuse tactic and yell over each other, rather than the whole, you know, Avada Kedavra’ing thing). If it weren’t for the fact that Nat was the best female beater our school has seen in over a decade, then I would honestly question why Roxy didn’t bother to throw her off the team.




“Your dad didn’t bribe him, or anything?” I asked suspiciously, because if there was one father who was mad enough to buy his daughter’s way into captain, it’d be Oliver Wood. The man would give his right lung for the opportunity to leave behind a legacy.




“No!” she snapped back. “Just because he slipped Longbottom a few galleons to forego a detention back in fourth year that one time, does not mean he’ll do it for everything! Give my father a little credit!”




“Don’t get your knickers in a bunch. I was just double checking!” I told her, as we neared the Transfiguration classroom.




“Is your lack of faith in my captaining skills really that little?”




“Pretty much, yeah.”




If there was one healthy thing about our relationship, it was our ability to be absolutely honest with each other. Or at least honest enough to know when to draw the line between not hurting each other’s feelings, and saving our own lives.




“I’m not that out of control,” she replied, and I rolled my eyes, deciding that it’d be best to just drop the subject.




We were walking into the classroom now, and had arrived with just enough time to scan the front board to find our assigned seats for the term. Professor Cobble was a young but stern teacher, which was to expect being McGonagall’s replacement, and liked everything in her class to be organized. She was fair about her seating chart though, and as strict as she was, she could actually be pretty cool.




Nat let out a squeal as she found her seat. “Oh my God, this is great!”




“What? Did we get paired together?” I asked hopefully.




“No, but I got paired with Paul freaking Abercrombie!” she exclaimed, her face glowing with excitement at the thought of having to sit next to the most attractive bloke in our school for the next three months.




The lucky witch.




“Paul is overrated,” I lied, apathetically.




“Overrated? Merlin, have you seen the man’s chin?” she asked incredulously.




It was true; he did have a rather impressive cleft chin… and chiselled jaw line. As well as the most amazing dimples, whenever he flashed a smile that would have made Voldemort go weak in the knees. I quickly shook my head, discreetly pinching myself so that I would stop fawning over him.




“He’s still a Puff, Nat,” I explained, trying to get a hold of my hormones. “That immediately drops his attractiveness level down to right above Dare and just under the Giant Squid.”




“Yes, well he’s the exception.”




Of course he was the exception.




How often does a girl come across a fit badger? Not often, let me tell you that. It didn’t help that he had perfectly toned arms and the tightest set of abs this generation has ever seen, or that he was also one of the few blokes in this damn school who were taller than me, or that he just so conveniently happened to be the nephew of one of my favourite Quidditch players. But none of that mattered, because he was still a bloody Puff. And the moment people found out that Dominique Weasley was getting googly-eyes over Paul I’m-A-Smoking-Hot-Hufflepuff Abercrombie, my street cred would go down the drain.




And Merlin knows we can’t have that.




“Is he exempt from that whole Quidditch captains not being allowed to date each other rule?” I asked her, taking joy in her sudden disappointment.




“Bugger, I forgot about that,” she muttered, her face immediately crestfallen. “Of course life would have it that the one year I get to sit with him, our relationship is prohibited.”




It was nice to see that I wasn’t the only person whom Fate liked to screw around with.




“You poor thing,” I replied dryly, which earned me a smack on the arm from Nat.




“Just because you’re so hell-bent on being a spinster for the rest of your life, doesn’t mean you can’t be sympathetic.”




I snorted at that. Nat may not have a chance to hook up with Hogwarts’ Most Desirable, but that didn’t mean she was deprived. The girl has had more than her fair share of boyfriends and snogging partners. If anything, I should be the one demanding a pity party, since I was the one who’s never been on a proper date.




All those occasions where either Nat or James dragged me along as their last minute double date, I never really count. It usually ended up with me having to entertain some dull bloke via petty small talk or improvised shadow puppets, while whomever I had been dragged by went off with their date to do Merlin knows what.  Not to mention, I was usually the one who got stuck with the bill.




Fun times.




“Whatever, Nat,” I finally replied. “You go sulk about how you and precious Mr Perfect aren’t meant to be, while I actually learn something sitting next to-”I quickly glanced at the board for my name. “-oh for Fawkes’ sake!”




“Would you fancy that?” an irritating voice asked. “Looks like you’re stuck with me.”




I turned around and glared at Dare. He looked highly amused with the seating arrangement, his brown eyes holding a rare mischievous glint that usually got lost behind those thick glasses of his. I could hear Nat’s unsupportive and vindictive laugh as she sashayed towards her new seat, taking pleasure in the newly turned tables.




The way the Fates have been treating me lately, you’d think I was Grindlewald in a past life or something.




“I hate life,” I grumbled, grudgingly making my way towards our assigned table. It was in the third row, my seat being on the outer left side facing the window. Well, at least I would have a nice view of the lake while I died from boredom.




“Hey, at least now you can actually learn something in this class,” he offered, ever so humbly. Dare was, unfortunately, the best in our year at Transfiguration. Ever since first year, he’s always been quick to grasp whatever new concept or theory we learned and was always the first one to master a spell. It was highly annoying.




“Oh hush,” I snapped, ungraciously plopping myself down to my seat.




“I mean, it’s obvious that Cobble did this on purpose,” Dare pointed out.




“No really?” I replied, rolling my eyes.




What was obvious was that my professor hated me and was punishing me via the Head Prick. Whatever comments I made earlier about her being fair or cool, I completely take back. The wench clearly had it out for me.




“No offense Min, but you’re not exactly the sharpest claw on the dragon when it comes to the subject,” he continued. “And since I just so happen to be at the top of the class, I figure that she paired us together so that I could help you out.”




“Wow! You managed to come up with that all by yourself?” I asked, in false amazement. “Don’t you deserve a gold star!”




“Okay fine, be an ungrateful brat then,” he exclaimed, his patience running thin. “See if I care if you fail the class.”




“I will and you shouldn’t,” I told him, defiantly. “Care, that is.”




“Excuse me for trying to be a good person.”




“You’re excused. And you were doing a pretty shoddy job of it, anyway.”




“It’s like you want people to hate you.”




“Did I ask for your opinion?”




“God, you’re impossible!”




“And you’re an arse! Guess who wins?”




“Good morning, class!”




The two of us whipped our heads to the front of the room, turning our attention towards our hag of a professor.  She was smiling cheerfully at us, but I knew that that was only to mask her evil grin as she relished in my despair. There was a wicked amount of humour that gleamed in those dark grey eyes of hers... or it could have possibly been the sunlight reflecting off the windowpanes, but that was highly debatable.




“I trust everyone has had enough time to get to their new seats,” she continued, hanging her robes up against the back of her chair. “Since you’re all NEWT level students, I’m going to assume that you did the responsible thing of doing the assigned reading over the holiday.”




Damn it.




“I hope you lot put some honest effort into those assignments, because that was your review for this term. We’ve got a lot to cover in the next nine months, so I don’t want to waste any time going over things you all should have already learned.”




I could literally feel my stomach drop at the news. The instructions had said that the assignments were optional! Granted, there was also a notice that “strongly encouraged” students to complete the work, but I didn’t think it was serious.




Why, why, why was I such a lazy student?




“That being said, take out your books and turn to page seventeen. Today we begin with Conjuring Spells!” 




Trying not to let my panic show (or do anything else that would give my procrastination away) I casually reached into my bag for the text. Of course, it had to be located at the very bottom, beneath all of my other books, parchments, and miscellaneous items (What were a pair of dirty trainers doing underneath my old Potions assignment? I had no clue, but they were there none the less). I tried not to make too much of a mess as I tugged the heavy book out, wiping a few crumbs from a half eaten Cauldron Cake off the cover as I sat it on the table. It made a large thud and a cloud of dust formed around it.




“Looks like someone didn’t do their summer reading,” Dare muttered, his nose wrinkling at the trail of dirt that had fallen out.




“You’re making unnecessary comments again,” I reminded, my tone as dry as the ancient pages of this hand-me-down book (it had been Victoire’s when she was in school).




“Just pointing out another reason why my theory is right.”




“No one cares about your damn theory!”




“Miss Weasley,” Professor Cobble’s voice cut through the air, causing me to sharply turn towards her direction. “I understand that Mr. Gamp’s law may not be the most entertaining subject to a young adolescent like yourself, but if I can recall, there’s quite a number of people who find his ‘damn theory’ to be rather important.”




“Of course, Professor” I replied, my face going bright red.




“Since it’s the first day, I’ll let you off with a warning,” she said sternly. “But keep in mind Miss Weasley, that your head of house has informed me of your particular situation, and I am not one to keep information away from my colleagues.”




My heart sunk at the news, mentally cursing Longbottom for telling my other professors about our deal. I had been planning on only having to be nice to the Head Pricks when he was around, but now I actually had to make an effort.




I tried to ignore my classmates, who were all quietly snickering at my embarrassment, and ducked my head down. Professor Cobble turned her attention back to the lecture, resuming with whatever the hell she had been talking about. At the front of the classroom I spotted Nat, who was shaking her head before leaning in to whisper something into Paul I’m-So-Bloody-Dreamy Abercrombie’s ear. A few rows down James and Devon Finnegan were desperately trying to contain their laughter, completely oblivious to the telepathic death threats I was sending them. They were damn lucky that I was probably never going to be an accomplished Occlumence.




Dare chuckled softly under his breath and I shifted my eyes to see that he had a slightly curious look on his face. He was probably wondering what my so called “situation” was and how he could use it against me. Merlin knows I cannot have him finding out about my having to be nice to him. I’d never hear the end of it, if he ever did.




“What are you staring at?” I hissed, hoping that the intensity of my tone would scare him (which of course, it didn’t).




“You’ve got something hanging off of your nose,” he motioned towards his own, and I instinctively moved my hand to my face.




My fingers immediately came in contact with what I hoped was a stale crumb of chocolate. I figured it probably came from the giant dust cloud that had formed when I had taken out my textbook, and I only hoped that no one else had noticed it.




As if they really needed another reason to laugh at me.




I let out a sigh, brushing away the stray chocolate, before I began to copy the notes off of Dare’s parchment.  Not that they would do me any good. It’d be like trying to study something written in Troll – useless and absolutely infuriating.




It was going to be a long year.





 





For someone who had made it her goal to not put herself into situations of public humiliation, I was doing a pretty poor job of keeping up with it.




This was like, what, the second time in only twenty four hours? Blimey, I was on a roll.




“How many more times do I have to suffer before I finally learn my lesson?” I asked, to no one in particular.




Classes had come to an end for the day and I was absolutely exhausted. My robes reeked of stale lavender incense, were covered with flobberworm mucus and stray porcupine quills, and stained with spilled pumpkin juice (thank you Devon Finnegan, and your lack of coordination skills). I could have gone up to my dorm and taken a nice, long shower, but that would require me actually moving from my rather comfortable position on this overstuffed sofa.




“Oh your day wasn’t that bad,” Nat said, as she lifted my legs off from the cushion so that she could take a seat. As soon as she had accommodated herself, I roughly placed them back onto her lap, enjoying the umpf sound she made as the wind got knocked out of her.




“Right, because nothing compares to the injustice of not being able to date Paul Look-At-Me-And-My-Rock-Hard-Abs Abercrombie.”




“Don’t undermine my hardships!”




“That hardly constitutes as a hardship, Nat,” Dare snorted, always one to eavesdrop onto our conversations. Granted, we were talking rather loudly and he was seated right across from us, doing his homework like the nerdy model student that he was.




“Oh like you would know, Mr My Life Is Handed to Me on a Silver Platter,” she snapped back, sticking out her tongue.




On top of being ridiculously responsible and intelligent, Dare also just so happened to have been born into one of the wealthiest Muggle families in England (technically, his family was from Australia, but they currently resided in Chelsea, so my exaggeration was still somewhat correct). The White family was famous in the Muggle world for their giant cattle ranch and leather factory, where they exported high quality cuts and genuine hides to countries all around the globe (as well as raising and selling some Grade-A livestock). Considering how Dare was practically an unofficial vegetarian (if you ever have the misfortune of seeing him shirtless, you’ll see just how much he was lacking in the protein department), I always found this little fact about his family highly ironic.




But it wasn’t just their dad’s side that was bringing home the bacon.




Combining the fresh, hip styles of Muggle fashion with the traditionalistic clothing of wizards, Alicia Spinet-White was a vastly renowned designer in both worlds. Her unique yet impeccable taste has earned her not only a regular spot on Witch Weekly’s cover page, but has caught the eye of some major fashion giants. She has over seventeen boutiques scattered around Western Europe, Australia, and America, two fragrance lines, and her very own charity that provides underprivileged orphans in Brazil (where her own family is from) with fashionable handmade sweaters. 




There’s a pool going on where kids are betting how far down their Gringotts vault is located (their Muggle money is kept in some high-security bank in Switzerland).




“Says the girl whose father is the owner of Puddlemere United,” Dare replied back, and Nat immediately shut her mouth, knowing that he had got her there. 




It was at that moment in which I realized I spent the vast majority of my time around the rich and famous (or rather, their offspring). I mean, my whole family was littered with them, being war heroes and such. My parents were among the more “homely” of the bunch, but still, it wasn’t like we were poor or anything. Although, if you were to put our modest little cottage right next to the Potters’ bloody mansion, then I guess it would look a bit shabby. It was kind of unnerving to think about, to be honest.




“Touché,” Nat finally replied, and I rolled my eyes at her constant need to have the final word. Dare merely shook his head and returned to his work. I was a little surprised at the amount of books and parchment he had out, but then I remembered that he was an overachieving maniac who actually did his homework when he was supposed to.




“How many classes are you taking?” I asked him, figuring that all of that work couldn’t possibly be for just one class.




“Not that many, actually,” he replied, pushing his glasses up with his forefinger. “There’s the basic core, and then just History, Muggle Studies, Ancient Runes, and Arithmancy for electives.”




“Are you suicidal?”




Just the thought of having to take eight classes was making my blood pressure rise. Of course I really shouldn’t talk, since I was only taking Divination and Herbology for electives. I believed that to set up high standards and expectations, was just setting yourself up for failure. Honestly, the only thing those so called “extra classes” were good for, was to stress you out even more.  I had no idea what nerds like Dare and my cousin Rose found so attractive about them.




“I like to keep my options open,” Dare answered, defensively.




“Options open? What the hell do you need Muggle Studies for?”




That class had to be the most useless one we had here at Hogwarts. All students ever did in there was listen to Professor Humphries ramble on about this thing called the intynet, or whatever, and how it’s the invention of the century and stuff. It was the easiest class to get an O in, besides Divination of course, and I probably would have taken it were it not for the fact that Humphries actually made you write essays for the class. It wasn’t like he bothered to read them or anything, but if I had to waste time doing assignments I’d rather do it by coming up with a whole bunch of intricate lies for Trelawney. It beats spitting out random facts about book faces and goggles any day. At least then I’d be exercising my creativity.




“I don’t know, in case I choose to go into the Ministry or something!” he replied frustrated. “What’s wrong with wanting to take a few additional classes?”




“Nothing!” I answered, amused with how worked up he was getting. “Except that it’s completely mental.”




“You’re completely mental.”




“Very original, Dare.”




“Aw, you guys are so cute!” Nat commented, and I threw a cushion at her head. However, having the excellent hand-eye-coordination that she did, she managed to catch the cushion midair and tucked it safely underneath her arm.




“Don’t you have some Quidditch planning to do, Nat?” Dare asked annoyed, cheeks red with embarrassment.




“Oh that reminds me!” she exclaimed, and jumped off of the sofa before running up to our dorm. I looked at Dare questioningly, but he just shrugged.




God, he was useless.




I let out a huff, and began to look for something to do while I waited for Nat to return. Dare went back to his homework, as if I had never interrupted him. I would have asked him which class he was working on, but I figured that that conversation would probably just end up in another argument. And considering how I was supposed to be making an effort to get along with him, it was probably best if I just left him alone.




I settled for pulling apart the split ends on my hair.




“I’m baaack!” Nat finally sang, and I quickly looked over towards the girls’ staircases to find her carrying a neatly wrapped white package.




“What’s that for?” I asked, brushing off the mountain of dead hair that had accumulated on my lap. She was gone for a pretty long time, okay?




“It’s your belated birthday gift!” she exclaimed, dumping the parcel onto my lap and I glanced at it with a cautious curiosity.




The box was thin and rectangular – the exact shape you’d find at a clothing store. I shuddered at the thought of Nat buying me clothes. Anything she picks out has a fifty-fifty chance of being either something you’d wear to work a street corner or something that was so ridiculously fitted you couldn’t even gasp without busting a seam.




“How did Dare mentioning Quidditch remind you to give me my birthday present?” I asked, looking for any excuse to avoid opening the gift.




“Unwrap it to find out,” was all she offered.




Trying not to hold my breath, I warily opened the box and after moving some tissue paper, felt a rush of relief. The piercing silver letters of Mason Abercrombie’s name shone crisply amongst the jersey’s pale blue background. Abercrombie was the Appleby Arrows’ current Seeker and he was an absolute genius – as well as being Paul’s uncle. He was definitely not the most popular player on the team, which I find an injustice, but his jerseys still racked up a good number of galleons that my measly allowance would never be able to cover.




Well, I suppose I could’ve afforded it, but that would’ve meant sacrificing some of my chocolate budget, which is never an option.




“This is brilliant, Nat,” I told her, handling the jersey with care.




“I figured you’d think so,” she answered, ever so humbly. “Although why you continue to faun over him is beyond me. Everyone knows that O’Leary is the Arrows’ best player.”




“O’Leary is completely overrated.”




“You only say that because you’ve got a vendetta against the Irish.”




“I do not have a vendetta!” I protested. “Just because I can’t stand Devon Finnegan, does not mean I hate his people.”




Devon, a fellow seventh year Gryffie, has been on my bad side ever since he jinxed an army of chocolate frogs to follow me around for an entire week back in fourth year. If it weren’t for the fact that he defiled the sanctity of chocolate for his own juvenile whims, I would have found the prank to be clever. But that wasn’t the case, so instead I spiked his morning pumpkin juice with an especially strong laxative potion that my Uncle George had taught me to make. We both earned a week’s worth of detention for those stunts, although he had the added misfortune of having to deal with the runs.




“The only reason everyone likes O’Leary is because he’s a show-off. Just because Abercrombie doesn’t fly around shirtless and flexes his muscles every other minute, doesn’t make him any less of a player,” Dare added, and I stared at him with a new found admiration.




“You follow the Arrows?” I asked, amazed.




“They’re only the best team in the league,” he answered bluntly, looking at me as if I were stupid.




“I’m sorry but that title goes to Puddlemere, although the Arrows aren’t half bad,” Nat commented, and I rolled my eyes at her bias.




“Whatever you say, Nat,” I told her, before turning my attention back to Dare. “How come you never told me that you were an Arrowhead?”




He shrugged, “You’ve never asked.”




Huh.




Well, would you look at that? It seems that I had something in common with the prick, after all.




“When was their best season?” I inquired, double checking to make sure that this wasn’t a fluke.




“Back in thirty-two, the same year when they defeated the Vratsa Vultures. Although, the last couple of years they’ve been making an excellent comeback.”




I felt my mouth drop. He truly was an Arrowhead.




“Faulkner or Hoppsworth?” I asked, referring to the Arrows’ two greatest coaches of all time.




“Hoppsworth, hands down.”




I couldn’t believe my ears. Not only was he a fan of the Arrows, which made him one out of three people in the entire school (the third being Paul My-Uncle-Is-A-Bloody-Amazing-Seeker Abercrombie, of course), but he also shared the exact same views that I had of the team. Maybe this whole having to be nice to him thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.




Right, and maybe Dumbledore was gay.




“Is it just me, or are Dare and Minnie actually getting along for once?” James’ voice asked, and I looked up to find him walking into the common room with the other seventh year Gryffindors.




“Someone call the Daily Prophet and let them know of this monumental moment in history!” Eliot McLaggen announced loudly, causing a crowd of fourth year girls to look over at our direction.




Not that that was surprising.




All Eli had to do to draw a bunch of attention towards him was breathe. Then again, he also had a flair for dramatics, so I don’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to prove that theory. But considering how the general population at Hogwarts was fairly superficial, only paying attention to the attractive and over confident, I wouldn’t say that it was much of a long shot.




“It’s not that big of a deal,” Dare told him, embarrassed by the sudden attention.




“Not that big of a deal?” Eli exclaimed, “Mate, Minnie has hated your guts since the dawn of time. To have her willingly be nice to you...that’s... that’s pretty freaking epic.”




He had a point (although, I couldn’t believe he just used the word ‘epic’. What was he, a first year?).




“Anyone care to explain the sudden change of heart?” Devon asked, taking a seat on the armrest which my head was leaning on. I quickly shoved him off before he could make himself comfortable, relishing in the loud thud he made once he hit the floor.




“They were bonding over their mutual love of the Arrows,” Nat explained, a pleased look on her face, and the lot exploded into laughter.




“Ah, the power of Quidditch!” Eli exclaimed, wrapping his arm around Dare’s shoulder. “It can either cure a rivalry, or make it completely worse. Lucky for you, you managed to pick the right team.”




“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who says that I stopped hating him?” I interrupted, “That was just one, miniscule moment in time where we just so happened to get along on a slightly semi-important topic.”




“Slightly semi-important?” James asked, incredulously. “Min, one of the main criteria you judge people on is by who they root for during the European Cup.”




It was moments like these (where I was trying to get a point across) when I really hated the fact that James knew practically everything about me.




“Well, that doesn’t mean that Dare and I are suddenly going to start being best friends,” I protested, annoyed.




I mean yeah, I sort of promised Professor Longbottom that I was going to make an effort to get along with him, and the fact that we’re both fans of the same Quidditch team helps a bit (okay, maybe a lot), but that doesn’t necessarily change anything. I wasn’t just about to give up seven years of hateship, which I just so happened to put a lot of effort into, for one (rather significant) similarity.




“Why not?” James asked, and I glared at the little smirk that was forming at the corner of his lips.




“Yeah, Min. Why not?” Nat added, taking joy in my discomfort.




“He’s really not that bad. A little quiet, but overall, he’s a pretty decent bloke,” Eli offered, and I looked around to find that not only were my fellow classmates looking at me expectantly, but so was the entire common room.




Bloody hell.




I looked at them at a loss for words, trying to figure how to put together a reply that wouldn’t sound completely irrational and childish (even though that was the whole reasoning behind my answer). Their faces screamed victory, knowing that I couldn’t come up with a reasonable response. And then I had to make the mistake of glancing at Dare.




For once in his life, he didn’t have that smug, know-it-all expression that I was hoping he’d have. He appeared genuinely intrigued, his larges eyes holding a hopefully expectant look in them, which made it all the more difficult to answer.




Damn it. He’s been taking puppy eye lessons from James. 




“Because... because Nat’s my best friend, and it would be completely unfair to her if I replaced her for Dare!” I finally stuttered out, although it was only half-hearted.




“She makes a good point,” Nat replied, and the guys rolled their eyes.




“It’s useless, guys.” James admitted, “In fact, I bet ten galleons that Minnie couldn’t go a month trying to be friends with Dare.”




Oh no he didn’t.




“I’ll call you on that bet,” Eli added, and I felt my eye twitch. “We should start a pool. Go around asking everyone in our year how long they think Minnie can go being friends with him. I’m pretty sure we could raise a decent amount of cash once she finally breaks.”




Now they were just being evil.




“Oooh, I want in on this!” Nat exclaimed, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “I’ve got seven years of experience of trying to get Minnie to change her ways. I give her a week until she cracks.”




“You lot are way too optimistic. I say seventy two hours,” Devon said, and I groaned.




Damn them all to hell.




“I bet you all that I could go this entire term being friendly to him!” I finally remarked, my stubborn Gryffindor pride getting the best of me.




What these idiots didn’t know was that I had already made that promise to Longbottom. So now, not only was I getting forty galleons worth of incentive to follow through with it, but I was also getting another victory to put on my rather long list of bets and challenges that I never lost.




Besides, being nice to Dare shouldn’t be that hard, right?




“I guess all that’s left for us to do now is to put it down on paper,” James said with a triumphant smirk. “I’ll go tell Freddy to start drawing up the documents.”




“You go do that,” I told him assuredly. “And the rest of you better start putting away your money, because come Christmas, I’m going to be one hell of a rich girl.”




“What makes you so sure you’re going to win?” Dare asked, an amused look on his face.




“Because,” I met his gaze with confidence. “When was the last time I ever lost a bet?”






Nat - Rachel Bilson

A/N: Well would you look at that? The plot's finally moving! Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! I know I said that I was going to have this up before Christmas, but honestly, when was the last time I actually followed through with an update promise? I am working on that though - I even made a resolution to write new words every day (and so far, I've been pretty good with it).

Also, I would like to take this time to thank all of you who have reviewed! You guys make my day! And a very special thanks to Emma (argetlam shadeslayer) for those lovely reviews on Sunday that motivated me so much, I got off my lazy bum and typed out the rest of the story. (That's the power of warm and fuzzy reviews, for you!) You guys should thank her too, and go check out her stories because they're pretty flipping great.


Speaking of checking things out, I also got a Meet the Author page! After you leave a review (like that subtlety?) you should also come by and leave me a few questions. Alright, enough of my babbling. Thanks again everyone!

-Camila :)

PS: As of now, I am posting this on Valentine's Day, so think of this chapter as my special gift to let you know how much I love and appreciate all of you! Hope all of you had a good one!


Chapter 5: Good News for People Who Love Bad News
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

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Disclaimer: Title came from the album of the same name by Modest Mouse. Tweedledee and Tweedledum belong to Lewis Caroll. Everything else that isn't an OC or attempt at a plot line belongs to Jo.






The thing with trying to change seven years of habit in the course of a weekend, is that it doesn’t really work.  It didn’t matter that I had made a promise to Longbottom or that I had foolishly told myself that this year was going to better. Once a slacker, always a slacker – and there was no way I could change that.

 

“I can’t believe that you forgot to do the essay,” Brain lectured, shaking her head as she watched me hurriedly try to finish writing.

 

We were sitting at a table in the back corner of the library, using our lunch time to work on our assignments. Usually, I’d never place school before my own stomach, much less willingly step into the Fields of Punishment. However, considering how the assignment was for Remedial Charms, which was in twenty minutes, I figured that I needed to rearrange my priorities a bit.  Brain always spent her lunch hour in the library, preferring to get a head start on her homework over food. 

 

“What were the exceptions to the Aguamenti charm, again?” I asked, deciding to ignore her comment on my lack of organisation.

 

“Fiendfyre is the only one that Flitwick cares about you mentioning.”

 

I muttered a quick thank you, and continued scribbling away at my parchment. The directions were to pick any charm of our choice and write a foot and a half essay on its properties and uses. I chose the Aguamenti charm simply because it was the only one that I didn’t completely fail at last term. Sure, my first attempt may have caused for the entire third floor to be flooded, but after that I managed to get the hang of it.

 

 “Don’t forget that it’s spelled with a ‘y'," she pointed out, and I hastily scratched out the misspelled word and replaced it.

 

I was nearly done, which I mainly owed to my slightly larger than average handwriting. The summer before I started school, Teddy had given James and me some advice that would help us out in our classes. One thing he mentioned was that the only way to get away with using big handwriting as a means for taking up space was if we did it from the start. He tried to make the switch in the middle of his second year, but his professor had caught him and gave him two nights of detention.  I spent the last few weeks of my summer practising enlarging my letters, until it finally became a habit. That little tip of his was probably the main reason why I managed to get such decent grades on my homework.

 

“Can you read over my paper to see if it makes sense?” I asked her, once I had finished. She nodded, grabbing the paper and began to read. Every now and then she’d take her quill and jot something down, and I waited patiently for her to be done.

 

“For the most part it was pretty coherent, with just a few spelling and grammatical errors,” she explained, casting a quick-drying spell on my parchment so that the ink wouldn’t smudge. “You kept it pretty simple though, but not to the point where it’s obvious that you had done this right before it was due.”

 

“What do you think I’d get on this?”

 

“Depending on whether or not Flitwick’s feeling merciful, you’ll probably get an E,” Brain told me, as she handed me back my homework.

 

“Good enough for me,” I told her, letting out a sigh of relief.

 

Low expectations - they’ve been proven to decrease stress levels by nearly eighty-five percent.

 

“I suggest that next time you’ve got an essay, you start it at least a day before you’ve got to turn it in. You can only get away with that level of simplicity for so long, Min. Especially now that you’re a seventh year,” she warned, as we began to pack up our things.

 

“I was busy last night!” I protested.

 

Instead of having dinner in the Great Hall with the rest of the school, I sat in the kitchens for nearly two hours listening to Freddy go over the rules of the bet. James and Eli had managed to get twenty other seventh years in on it, making the pool a grand total of one hundred galleons. Because there was such a large amount of money at stake, Freddy felt that a meeting with all of the participants was necessary.

 

The rules were simple: who ever placed a bet was not allowed to do anything that could interfere with mine and Dare’s “relationship”.  I remember hearing Nat argue about how unfair it was that she couldn’t give me any makeovers. According to Freddy, that was considered an interference since it could affect how certain people would react towards me. How and who it would affect, I’d never know. All I knew was that I was grateful that Nat wouldn’t have the chance to play dress up with me.

 

As for what I had to do, well that was also pretty straight forward. In theory at least. Until the day we left for Christmas holiday, I was to be Dare's friend. That meant no insulting, hitting, death threatening, shoving, name calling, malicious pranking, hexing, punching, yelling, or instigating. Unfortunately, ignoring him was also out of the question. If I wanted the money, I would actually have to engage in conversations with him and acknowledge his existence.

 

I honestly have no idea how I'm going to be able to pull this one off. 

 

By the end of the evening, the contract had been signed by all twenty-four of us, with Freddy acting as a neutral supervisor. He didn’t tell us what the consequences would be for breaking it (besides losing the money, of course). All he mentioned was that it would be highly unpleasant and that we would regret it for the rest of our lives. And knowing Freddy, no one wanted to risk the chance of finding out.

 

It was going to be a rough three and a half months, but the prize was so going to be worth it. One hundred galleons were enough for a lifetime supply of Chocolate Frogs! There was no way I was going to lose such an opportunity, just because I couldn’t hold my tongue.

 

“That bet you guys are doing is absolutely ridiculous,” Brain scoffed, shaking her head with disapproval.

 

“You’re just jealous because you can’t be in on it,” I retorted, sticking out my tongue like the mature seventeen year old that I was.

 

“Right, because my life really needs some extra drama right now,” she rolled her eyes, grabbing her bag as we got up to leave.

 

“I keep forgetting that you have no other friends,” I said sweetly, before getting elbowed in the ribs.

 

“And whose fault is that?”

 

Lurking in the dark aisles of ancient books and eavesdropping like the snitch that she was, was no one other than my dear cousin Rose. Her auburn curls were tied back in their usual neat bun and her uniform was impeccable as ever. A silver Prefects badge was pinned to the front of her robes, its freshly polished coat gleaming in the light.

 

“What do you want, Rosie?” I sneered, knowing how much she hated being called by that.

 

Her eyes narrowed.  “Did hell freeze over? Because that’s the only explanation I can come up with as to why my indolent cousin is actually studying in the library.”

 

“Not so loud, Rose! I can't have everyone here knowing that I'm related to you. Do you have any idea how bad that is for my reputation?”

                                                                                           

“What reputation?” she asked incredulously. “The one where everyone thinks you're a total failure that's only good at landing herself into detention?”

 

“Just because Minnie doesn’t go around kissing McGonagall’s bum all the time, doesn’t make her a failure,” Brain retorted, crossing her tiny arms across her chest. “There’s more to success than being a Prefect, Weasley.”

 

“Aw, is that what you tell yourself to help you feel better, White? It must be so embarrassing to be the only non-Prefect in the family.”

 

“At least my family likes me. How does it feel knowing that your cousins find you so annoying?”

 

“I wouldn’t be so annoying if they weren’t such trouble makers.”

 

“No, I’m pretty sure that you’ll still be obnoxious,” I added.

 

“Whatever, Minnie,” she scoffed. “Don’t you have a Remedial Charms class to get to?”

 

Bloody hell, I did.

 

“That’s what I thought.” And with that, she turned on her heels and stalked off like a bat flying back to its cave, getting lost amongst the numerous rows of bookshelves.

 

“God, what is her problem?” Brain exclaimed, her porcelain face red with frustration.

 

I’ve been asking myself that same question for the past fifteen years.

 

Being two years apart, me and Rose never really paid much attention to each other growing up. Whenever we Weasley’s got together for whatever family activity our Nana Molly had schemed up, she would usually be found reading quietly with Albus, while James, Freddy and I ran amuck across the yard wreaking havoc on whatever our freckly little hands could get a hold of. The only time the three of us would directly interact with Rose was when we were teasing or pulling a prank on her. But being the daughter of my Aunt Hermione, she usually ended up snitching and getting us into trouble. Which of course, caused us to mess with her even more.

 

Needless to say that she didn’t grow too fond of us.

 

It didn’t help that she practically idolized my sister. I’ve always felt that if Victoire got the chance, she’d exchange me for Rose as her younger sister in a heartbeat. Rose was her little lap dog, always going on about how pretty Vic looked and how she wanted to be just like her when she grew up. It nearly broke Rose’s heart when she found out that I was Vic’s Maid of Honour. How she could have expected anything different was beyond me. Everyone knew that that role went to the bride’s sister, although I would much rather go skinny dipping with the Giant Squid than participate in that dumb wedding. For being a certified genius, Rose was kind of thick.

 

“Just be glad that you’re not related to her,” I told Brain, rolling my eyes.

 

“I can’t even imagine how much of a nightmare that must be,” she shuddered, and I felt a rush of sympathy for my friend.

 

Mine and Rose’s mutual annoyance of each other was nothing compared to the harsh enmity that went down between her and Brain. Whereas I just couldn’t stand my cousin, those two had an intense rivalry that was fuelled with hate, gossip, and bitter jealousy. It all started in their first year, when Brain got back an essay with a higher grade than Rose. This of course scared the hell out of my cousin, who had grown up believing that she was going to become the “Brightest Witch of her Year”, just like her mum had been. In an act of extreme maturity and retaliation, Rose went around telling all of the girls in their dorm that Brain had switched their essays and that she was a cheating little manipulator that was never to be trusted.

 

This same insult came back during their third year, when Rose caught Brain helping a certain Scorpius Malfoy out with his Astronomy homework one particular evening. Except she adapted it so that now, Brain was a boyfriend stealing slag that flirted with all of the boys by offering to tutor them. Brain had already been running low on the whole friend department, but once that rumour spread and every single girl in her year shunned her like the village pariah, she was left completely alone. She had us of course, but it wasn’t the same as having friends her own age.

 

“Just do what I do and forget about her,” I told her, gently nudging her shoulder. “She isn’t worth it.”

 

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she admitted, letting out a sigh. “It’s a good thing she isn’t taking Arithmacy anymore. Merlin knows that the less classes I take with her, the better.”

 

I shuddered at the thought of being in the same class with Rose. Then again, I had to put up with Matilda Ramsey, who was practically the seventh year equivalent of my pretentious cousin, if not worse. At least I would never have to deal with them together. Now that would be a real nightmare.

 

“Oh, before I forget!” Brain exclaimed, reaching into her bag. “Happy belated birthday!”

 

She handed me a thick, leather bound book with a giant red bow on its cover. Every year for my birthday, Brain would give me one of her favourite Muggle books. Since she was so bloody rich, they were usually limited editions and sometimes even signed by the author. That is, if they were still alive (they typically weren’t).  I glanced at the title, Pride & Prejudice, and wondered if she was trying to say something about me.

 

“This isn’t like that last book you gave me, is it?” I asked carefully, flashbacks of feral children running amuck on a deserted island flooding my head. As interesting as that story was, it took me weeks to get rid of all those creepy images.

 

Brain laughed, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing like Lord of the Flies. This one’s a romance.”

 

“Great,” I muttered, sliding the book into my bag.

 

“Trust me, you’ll love it!” she assured, although I knew she said that about every book. “Elizabeth is completely relatable and not at all the typical prissy romantic heroine. And don’t even get me started on Mr Darcy! He’s such a darling!”

 

It always amused me how much my friend’s mood changed every time she’d go off about her favourite stories. That girl spent way too much time with her nose stuck in a book.

 

“Ah, I could go on for days about this!” she sighed, before shaking herself out of whatever daydream she was about to start. “Anyway, we should probably get to class. See you in the common room, and good luck with your essay!”

 

I waved goodbye to Brain, and made my way down the corridor towards the Charms classroom. It was only three doors down from the library, so I managed to make it right on time. Essay in hand, I entered the classroom cautiously and began to look around for a decent spot to sit.

 

The room was mainly filled with sixth years. I spotted Freddy with a group of friends, laughing at something his buddy Oscar Jordan had told him. There were a few slackers from my year scattered about too, but no one I ever talked to. Taking a remedial class pretty much meant having to repeat the same class you failed at last year. Usually when someone had a remedial class though, it was the only time they took the subject. But since I was a special case and all, I also had to take the regular one with the rest of the seventh years.


This was why I preferred to keep people’s expectations of me low. Once a professor starts believing in you, it just means a hell of a lot more work for you to do.

 

“Well, look at what the kneazle dragged in!” a sultry voice remarked, just as I took my seat in the back row. I let out a sigh, knowing exactly who the voice belonged to, and looked up to find two pairs of giant blue eyes staring at me.

 

“Why doesn’t it surprise me to find you two in this class?” I asked sarcastically, as the bimbos each took a seat next to me.

 

“It’s not my fault that Flitwick scheduled the exam on the same day as Witch Weekly’s Spring Fashion Show,” Slaggy explained, as she pulled out her compact mirror that was encrusted with pink crystals.

 

That wasn’t her real name, of course, but I found that it suited her much better than Candice Meadows ever would. The rest of the school called her Candi, which since it sounded like something a stripper would go by, was also appropriate and made her the only Andi whose real name I actually remembered. The Andies were a trio that bonded over their rhyming names and mutual love of all things pink, and unfortunately, made up the rest of my dorm. I could never remember which of the other two, Sandra “Sandi” Fields and Amanda “Mandi” Brown, was which, so in my head they were dubbed as Posh and Clue (short for Clueless).

 

 Affectionate, I know.

 

“Did you skive on your exams too, Minnie?” Clue asked me, a cheerfully ditzy smile on her face.

 

“Unfortunately, the owl with my invitation to the show got lost somewhere in Czechoslovakia, so I got stuck here,” I told her, and she nodded understandingly. Although, I highly doubted that she ever understood anything that didn’t have to do with makeup or unicorns.

 

“So, how’s the bet coming along?” Slaggy asked, an impish smirk playing at her lips.

 

“I haven’t cracked yet, if that’s what you’re wondering,” I answered, subtly knocking on the wooden desk once the words left my mouth. “Are you two in on it?”

 

They shook their heads, strands of glossy hair whipping back and forth. “Oh dear god, no! You know how Freddy gets when it comes to his little contracts. The rules said no interference, but where’s the fun in that?”

 

I internally groaned at that statement. One of the Andies’ favourite past times was meddling with my life, and since they weren’t tied to any contract, that meant they had free reign. And with the bet in play, I had a feeling that they were going to take complete advantage of that.

 

“Good morning class!” Professor Flitwick exclaimed, his squeaky voice cheerful. “Let’s settle down now, please!”

 

Slaggy rolled her eyes, and began to file her nails as Flitwick tried to get the class under control. Clue was colouring a picture of a unicorn on the inside cover of her Charms textbook, humming quietly to herself and I just sat there wishing for the day to be over already.

 

“If you would all pass your essays down the rows so I could collect them, that would be wonderful,” he announced, and I quickly handed my paper to Slaggy who was at the end. I noticed that I was one out of three of the eight kids in my row to turn in their homework, and I felt a feeling of great pride swell in me.

 

For once, I could actually be considered as one of the responsible students. Granted, I did the assignment only thirty minutes before it was due, but at least I got it done.

 

“Are there any more assignments?” Flitwick asked, his tone mildly desperate once he saw how short the stack was. “I expected that there would be much more than just-”

 

He paused to count the papers. “-eleven.” 

 

The class of about twenty three merely glanced back at him, eyes dead and expressionless. Our professor’s face dropped at the lack of enthusiasm he was receiving, and I could just tell that he was thinking about how this was going to be one long term.

 

You and me both, Flitwick. You and me both.


 








“Why isn’t this day over yet?” I whined, dropping my bag down as I took my designated seat next to Dare.

 

“I take it your last minute Charms essay didn’t go well,” he commented, while we waited for Professor Cobble to arrive.

 

Flitwick had let the class out before the bell, having gone through the lesson rather quickly since no students were willing to participate in a discussion. At first I was okay with that, until I realized I had Transfiguration next, which meant that now I was stuck dealing with Dare for even longer (he somehow always managed to get to class ridiculously early).

 

“Actually, I was one of the few kids who turned one in,” I told him, biting back the defensive tone that wanted to come out. “I just hate how everything’s been going by so damn slow.”

 

“Look on the bright side,” he started. “It’s the last class for the day, and you get to spend it sitting next to me.”

 

Merlin, kill me now.

 

“Joy,” I muttered, before throwing in a quick smile so that he wouldn’t think I was being mean. It probably came out as more of a grimace, but I doubt that he would notice.

 

“I’ve got a couple of Chocolate Frogs in my bag, if you want one. I figure you’re pretty hungry since you skipped lunch,” Dare offered, and I looked at him as if he had gone and admitted his undying love for me, or something equally as crazy.

                                                                                                                                    

That would never happen, of course. The whole admitting his undying love thing, that is. Or at least, I hoped not. No, no, no it would definitely not happen. I mean, it can’t. But he was offering me chocolate! Out of the blue! Maybe that was some weird Australian custom thing. But he’s never done that before and besides, he was much more British than Australian. I mean, Australian men were rugged and manly and wrestled with crocodiles during their spare time after they had eaten their body weight in steak. Not some skinny little nancy boy who wore thick-framed glasses and offered his sworn enemy chocolate so that she wouldn’t starve. Maybe it was a quarter-Brazilian thing. Those Brazilians were a rather crazy bunch. Yeah, that had to be it.

 

“They’re not poisoned, Minnie,” he added, once he realized my suspicion.

 

“I never said they were,” I replied, shaking myself out of my intense inner monologue.  “I was just wondering why the hell you were being nice, all of a sudden.”

 

“Don’t tell me that you forgot about the bet, already.”

 

Right, the bet.

 

“Of course not!” I protested, “Trust me, you would know if I ever forgot about it.”

 

If it wasn’t for my miraculous self-control and desperate wish for a lifetime supply of chocolate, he would probably be limping his way towards the hospital wing by now. Especially considering how I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast.

 

Sweet Salazar, how the hell was I even functioning?

 

“Good point,” he replied. “So, are you going to take me up on my offer or what?”

 

“What offer?”

 

Dare stared at me blankly for a moment, before reaching into his bag and pulling out three beautifully wrapped Chocolate Frogs.

 

 Oh, right. That offer.

 

I let out a weak laugh, and grabbed one of the frogs. As I took the chocolate out of its wrapping, making sure to keep a firm grip so that it wouldn’t hop away, I checked to see what card I had gotten. I was pretty sure that by now, I have collected every single card on the planet but some habits just never went away. It turned out being one of my Aunt Hermione, and I chucked it into the bin that stood next to the wall.

 

One of her was plenty.

 

Dare also took one for himself, putting the other back in his bag for later. A moment of awkward silence passed between us, as we sat there eating our chocolate. It was a little weird for us to be so close and not be arguing with each other. My hand was itching to reach over and pinch him or something, but I restrained myself. I wasn’t sure how long I could go like that before I started suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

 

Glancing around the room, I tried to find something to distract me from wanting to pick a fight with Dare. There were still a few minutes left till the bell rang, but I was pretty sure that my patience wouldn’t last that long. Unfortunately for me, James’s seat was all the way on the other side of the room, which I’m certain was Cobble’s way of preventing me from talking to him the entire class. It was that same reason why Nat was sitting all the way up front, except she always managed to find a way to talk during lessons. 

 

The only students who surrounded our table were some dull Ravenclaws that actually paid attention to the professor. There was also Vincent Goyle and Klinton Pucey, two Slytherins that either slept through the entire lecture or threw tiny paper balls at the back of unsuspecting students’ heads, but I wasn’t about to go and strike up a conversation with them. Just when I was about to give up and poke Dare in the ribs, Professor Cobble walked into the classroom and I felt a rush of relief.

 

It was torture not being able to argue with Dare, and I was confident that had Cobble not walk in when she did, I probably would have done something to lose the bet. I took out my quill and parchment, grateful that I now had an incredibly dreary lesson to try to pay attention to that would keep me from falling to temptation.

 

“Continuing with last week’s lesson, can anyone tell me one of the Five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law?” she asked, silencing the class.

 

Dare’s hand shot straight in the air, beating the other know-it-all’s who were trying to kiss up to Cobble. She nodded at him, signalling for him to go ahead.

 

“Of the five exceptions, food is the first.”

 

“Very good, Mr White,” she praised, and Dare’s face broke out into a satisfied grin.

 

Geez, what a nerd.

 

“I’m sure that exception is one we are all familiar with. It’s rather frustrating to know that we can do so many extraordinary things with our magic, yet something as simple as creating food out of thin air is impossible.” She continued, “Thankfully though, we have the ability to conjure it if we know where it already is.”

 

She took out her wand and waved it in the air, causing a delicious triple chocolate fudge cake to appear on her desk. I immediately recognized it as the same one from the display case at Enchanted Bakery, a new pastry shop in Diagon Alley. When Mum had taken Lou and I shopping for school supplies, this culinary masterpiece was the first thing to catch my eye amongst the bustling shops. It had a beautiful piped icing that covered the cake in a butter cream lace, with dainty dollops of whipped cream adorning the rim. Our little shopping excursion had been before the whole forgetting my birthday fiasco, and so throughout our entire trip I had been dropping hints to my mother that this was the cake I wanted for my birthday. I never got it of course, which I think was more soul crushing than the fact that my parents had completely forgotten about the day I was born.

 

“Ah, that got your attention, didn’t it?” she mused, noticing the eager faces of her students. “Today and tomorrow we are going to be practicing conjuring and transfiguring food of all levels of difficulty. You will work in groups of four, and I will allow for you to pick your own partners. At the beginning of our Thursday lesson, there will be a practical quiz on all that we have learned. The group with the highest score will win the cake, and may leave class early to enjoy it.”

 

The class broke out into excited whispers, already plotting out who would be in their groups. I knew right away that if I wanted to win that cake (which I sure as hell did) I was going to have to join forces with the dark side. I turned to ask Dare if he wanted to work together, and saw that he was already looking at me expectantly.

 

“I take it you’re going to want my help with this,” he said confidently, more of a statement than a question.

 

“You are the top of the class.”

 

Merlin, it was killing me having to admit that.

 

“Mind if Nat and I join in?” James asked, the two having got up from their seats and occupied the table behind us.

 

The rest of our classmates were also accommodating themselves as they gathered in their new groups, although why they bothered trying was beyond me. There was no chance in hell that I was going to let someone else win my cake. I may not have got it for my birthday, but the fact that Fate was giving me a second chance was evidence enough that this cake and I were meant to be.

 

“Looks like we’ve got ourselves a group, then,” Dare stated, and the four of us quickly began to plan how we were going to go about winning us that cake.

 

Nat wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic as the rest of us, going off about how chocolate did horrible things to her thighs and such. However, she was still a competitive psycho, so any chance she got to beat another team was enough incentive for her to make an honest effort.

 

Cobble came around handing each group a sheet of paper that stated the directions and grading criteria for the assignment. There were page references on there as well, for more detailed instructions on how to do the spells. My heart dropped a little when I saw how complex a few of them could be, knowing that I was going to have to do a lot of practising if I wanted to ensure our group’s winning.

 

“Don’t worry about the tricky stuff, Min,” Dare assured, when he saw the worried look on my face. “Nat and I will handle those ones, so you and James can be in charge of the more simple spells.”

 

“What makes you think that I…” I started to go off, my mind automatically thinking that he was insulting my intelligence. I paused, mentally reminding myself that I couldn’t yell at him every time I thought he was offending me anymore, before continuing. “…wouldn’t agree to such an excellent strategy?”

 

“Smooth save,” James muttered, and I kicked him in the shin. There weren’t any rules about me having to be nice to him. Dare just shook his head, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.

 

We went on like that for the rest of class. Dare would give instructions and I would have to bite my tongue to keep from snapping at him. He would point out what was wrong with my form and I would have to remind myself about the prizes at stake so I wouldn’t tell him off. My body was just not used to taking orders from him.

 

It didn’t help that I had to deal with Tweedledee and Tweedledum giggling every time they heard me politely ask Dare a question. Nat and James were definitely enjoying themselves as they watched me struggle to be nice to him. I lost count of how many times a “knowing look” passed between them whenever I (grudgingly) thanked Dare for helping me out. Dear Voldemort, those two were more obnoxious than the Head Prick himself.

 

By the time the bell rang, my head was pounding with all of the bottled up frustration and annoyance I was feeling.  Oh, and there was also the tiny fact that I was bloody starving. Never again was I going to skip a meal to do homework.

 

Merlin, what had I been thinking?

 

My stomach was probably eating itself just to keep me going. It was a miracle I hadn’t murdered anyone during this time, much less lose the bet. Lucky for me (and probably mankind), dinner was right after class. I nearly cried with joy when I finally reached the Great Hall, where I was able to help myself to some food.

 

Needless to say, I loaded my plate with triple the amount of servings that could be considered healthy for a lazy adolescent girl.

 

“Holy hell, leave some for the rest of us!” James exclaimed, as he hurriedly piled food onto his plate before I would eat it all.

 

I tore through my meal like a ravenous Hungarian Horntail, my taste buds barely getting a chance to appreciate the flavour. James was quickly catching up with me, being an equally fast eater. At every family gathering where food was involved (which was all of them), the two of us have always been the first to finish our meals. We did this mainly because we wanted to get up from the table so we could continue with whatever game or prank we had been playing. Although, sometimes it was so that we could get first pick on desserts before the rest of our family got to them.

 

With a family as large as ours, you had to be quick, otherwise you were stuck at the table listening to Uncle Ron go on about the time he and Uncle Harry crashed the Ford Angelina into the Whomping Willow (or whatever other story that we’ve heard a million times or could read for ourselves in one of their many biographies, that he felt like boasting about) while eating two-day old Rhubarb Pudding that Aunt Audrey had made for her weekly book club.

 

Dare merely watched the pair of us with amazement, his eyes wide with wonder and disgust. I noticed that Nat had ditched us to sit with the Andies, her curly head bobbing up and down as she agreed with something Posh, the Andies’ self-proclaimed HBIC, had said. Brain was, as usual, lost in some 800-page novel that probably weighed more than she did.

 

“I can’t believe that you two eat like this in public,” Dare commented, neatly cutting a piece of grilled fish with utensils like an actual human being. 

 

“Sue me for being hungry,” I replied, before taking a monstrous bite of my Sheppard’s pie. The warm juice trickled down my chin like a greasy river of heavenly goodness.

 

“Civility’s overrated,” James agreed, tearing apart a drumstick with his bare fingers before licking them clean.



God, we really were barbaric.









Dare shook his head with disbelief, but didn’t say anything else about our horrible table manners. It wasn’t until we were working on our third plate and James had accidentally flung a spoonful of Yorkshire pudding onto Brain’s face that we realized we should probably calm down. My stomach was bulging by then, and I had to unbutton the top of my skirt so that I could breathe. I patted my belly with satisfaction, having been nearly two months since I last indulged myself like that.

 

There was nothing like a hot, house elf-cooked meal to make even the worst of days look a little brighter.

 

“You two are out of control,” Brain muttered, wiping the pudding off her nose with a napkin. “Just be glad that that hadn’t landed on my book.”

 

“Or what?” James asked, opening his mouth in a yawn. “You’ll hit us with it?”

 

“Don’t underestimate the weight of those things,” A deep voice which I haven’t heard in over five years, said from behind. “They’re like bricks and are known for leaving some pretty nasty marks.”

 

I turned around, my mouth dropping once I saw the familiar face. He looked the same as when I had last saw him in my second year, except older and with much more stubble. Those hazel eyes were as charming as ever, winking at me with a playful grin.

 

“Well, look who’s all grown up?” He said, as he enveloped me in a friendly hug. “You’re nearly as tall as I am, now!”

 

“I barely reach your chin!” I laughed, hugging him tightly back.

 

“Yes well, that’s quite the improvement from the awkward, little twelve year old I had left behind.”

 

“Puberty can be a magical thing,” I replied, letting him go so that he could give his sister a hug.

 

Brain tossed her book aside, her attention focused solely on wrapping her tiny arms around the waist of the older brother who she hasn’t seen since he left for Auror Training. A smile spread throughout her face as he tightened his grip and spun her around, causing for quite a number of eyes to look in our direction.

 

“God, it’s good to see you again, Annie,” he said warmly, calling her by the childhood nickname that only her family ever used.

 

“I’ve missed you too, Calvin,” she replied, her voice muffled by the stiff fabric of his Oxford shirt. It was a sweet moment of sibling kindness, which of course, had to be ruined by the Head Prick himself.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?” Dare blurted out, asking the question we were all wondering (but had the decency to not be so blunt about it). His face had turned to stone when he caught sight of him, eyes darkening with hostility.

 

“Come on, Dare,” Brain intervened, torn between her brothers. “We haven’t seen Calvin in over two years. You could at least pretend to be happy to see him.”

 

He didn’t budge, though, and made no sign of moving to greet him. The tension in the air had grown to the size of a Hippogriff, as the two brothers stood awkwardly in the Great Hall, each one waiting for the other to make the first move.

 

Finally, Calvin cleared his throat. “I’m the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.”

 

And with just one look at Dare’s face, I knew that his world was crashing down.




Brain - AnnaSophia Robb

A/N: And we have ourselves a cliff hanger! If you guys are a little confused about who this Calvin character is, don't worry - his story will be explained in the next chapter. I hope you guys enjoyed this one and don't forget to leave a review or stop by my MTA page! Thanks again for reading!

-Camila :)

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!


-Camila :)

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.

Chapter 7: Flight of the Thestral
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Disclaimer: The only things that are mine are the OC's and the plot. Everything else belongs to Jo.





Eight o-freaking-clock.

 

That was the time I woke up the next morning. I never got up earlier than eight thirty, and that’s on a good day. But the craziest part about getting up a full half hour earlier than normal? I wasn’t even tired.

 

It was going to be one hell of a day.

 

Figuring that there was no point lounging around in bed, I hopped out and decided that maybe a head start wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Looking around the room, I wasn’t all that surprised to find the beds already empty. The Andies, being the insanely vane freaks that they were, usually got up around seven to begin their daily beauty rituals. Nat would join them half an hour later, which would explain why there was a bunch of chatter and laughter coming from the loo. Not wanting to have to fight my way through the jungle of lipstick and perfume, I decided to just change in the room and popped a few breath mints into my mouth. I always preferred night showers, anyway. Throwing my hair up into a messy bun, I grabbed my things and headed off to breakfast on my own.

 

I had never seen the Great Hall at this time, so I was a little shocked to find it so full. Granted, the Gryffindor table was still fairly empty, but what else did you expect from a house full of pranksters and lazy bums?  I spotted Brain though, sitting by herself and completely oblivious to her breakfast as she read this morning’s Daily Prophet.

 

“Morning,” I greeted, taking my seat next to her.  She looked up from the newspaper, whose headlines showed that there had been a robbery at Flourish & Blotts this past weekend, and she quirked an eyebrow up in mild surprise.

 

“You’re up early,” She stated, and I shrugged.

 

“I surprisingly got a lot of sleep last night,” I admitted. After Nat left last night, it only took me a few minutes to fall asleep. It was the first time in years that I had gone to bed so early, which I guess was why I felt so well rested. I wondered how long it would take for me to get used to this new experience.

 

“I’m guessing your little intervention with Dare went well, then?” Brain asked, eyeing me with a certain amount of curiosity. Unlike Nat, Brain was much more patient, not to mention subtle, when it came to getting answers.

 

“Yeah, I suppose it did,” I answered, deciding to stick to my original plan of not giving out too many details. “We actually managed to have a civil conversation, if you can believe it.”

 

She beamed at me, “Good. I’m glad that the two of you are finally becoming friends and getting past all of the silliness.”

 

I wanted to point out to her that just because we were able to talk to each other without cursing the other to hell and back, didn’t mean we were actually friends. Contract or not, a piece of parchment was not capable of making two completely opposite people suddenly like each other and in a day, no less.  It just meant that we were getting better at pretending to be nice. Not to mention, there was nothing silly about mine and Dare’s hateship. The bloke was arrogant and annoying – if that wasn’t a justifiable reason for hating someone, then I don’t know what is. Of course, there was also the Great Quidditch Incident of 2017 to take into consideration, but I figured that it wouldn’t go over too well if my friends found out that the reason for all of my hostility towards Dare was because of something that happened nearly four years ago.

 

So I bit back the cynicism and offered her a small smile, turning to my breakfast as a welcome distraction.

 

One of the few advantages about getting up early was definitely the food. As Brain returned to her paper, I began the very methodical process of loading my plate with eggs and sausages, taking delight in the fact that I was actually getting hot, fresh food instead of all of the cold leftovers I usually got stuck with. There was no need to worry about someone else taking the last chocolate muffin or having to rush through my meal because otherwise I’d be late for class. If it weren’t for the fact that I highly treasured my sleep, I would make getting up early a habit.

 

The peaceful bliss of having all the food to myself didn’t last long, though. By the time I was working on my second plate, most of the seventh years had arrived. They were all surprised to find me there so early, to which Devon cracked some lame joke about how he was shocked to see that I had actually left enough food for everyone. I threw a slice of toast at his head for that.

 

“Watch it!” he cried, dusting off the crumbs that were littered in his hair. “I’m starting to wonder if this whole having Minnie be nice to Dare thing is actually a good idea. Now she has to look for new targets to release her anger on.”

 

“Didn’t think that one through, now did you?” I mocked, sticking out my tongue at him. Devon just scoffed and turned to his breakfast, while everyone else laughed.

 

“Well I say that it’s going rather well,” James added cheerfully, as he took a seat across from me and Brain. “It’s been great not having my two best friends at each other’s throats, anymore.”

 

“Yeah, now they’re going at it in a completely new way,” Eli smirked, and I took advantage of the fact that he was sitting next to me and stomped on his foot. He swore loudly, but I simply batted my eyelashes at him in false innocence. That’s what he got for having his mind in the gutter every other second.

 

“I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t abuse my boyfriend, Minnie,” Posh scolded, as she stroked Eli’s hair with concern.

 

I rolled my eyes at her, “And I’d appreciate it if your boyfriend would stop making bloody innuendos about me and Dare.”

 

“It’s not his fault that the two of you have so much sexual tension,” she replied, causing me to nearly choke on the sip of pumpkin juice I had just taken.

 

Across from me, James turned a bright red, his eyes going wide as he broke out into a nasty coughing fit. Even Brain went stiff at the awkward turn of the conversation. No one else seemed fazed by her comment, however. In fact, Devon and the other two Andies seemed highly amused by it, and couldn’t stop laughing. Well, maybe not Clueless since she was so... clueless and all, but Slaggy was definitely enjoying my embarrassment.

 

The wench.

 

“Excuse me?” I managed to splutter out, my cheeks undoubtedly flushed.

 

“Oh don’t act like you haven’t noticed,” Posh retorted, flicking her blond hair over her shoulders. “And now without the excuse of pretending that you hate each other, it’s so much more obvious.”




“It’s true,” Slaggy added, a wicked glint in her blue eyes. “Just put the poor bloke out of his misery and jump his bones, already. Merlin knows that Dare’s been in need of a good shag since fourth year. He can get so touchy sometimes.”

 

I think I’m about to throw up.

 

Honestly, how the hell did they come up with these kinds of ideas? I mean, I’ve always known that the Andies were rather blunt when it came to such... personal topics, but this was just taking it to the extreme. We were barely managing a platonic relationship as it was. To add in romance and all other sorts of intimate nonsense would be pushing it over the edge. And I wasn’t all too certain that that fall would be something I could recover from.

 

“Where is Dare, anyway?” Clue piped up, her dreamy eyes suddenly curious.

 

“Prefect’s meeting,” James replied, clearing his throat.

 

Merlin and I thought I was feeling uncomfortable. With only one look at James’s red face and I could tell that this had to be one of the most embarrassing conversations he has ever had in his life. Minus the time where Uncle Harry had to sit him down and finally break it to him that babies didn’t come from the Great Hippogriff. If anyone were to talk about him and Nat in such a way, there would be nothing more I would want than for a dragon to suddenly appear and swallow me whole. Bloody hell, it was giving me the creeps just thinking about the possibility of those two together. Thankfully, the subject was quickly changed when Eli abruptly jumped off from his seat.

 

“Damn, I completely forgot about that!” he exclaimed, accidentally knocking Posh, who had been draped over his lap, to the ground. I tried not to laugh too loudly at that.

 

“You live in the same room with the Head Boy,” Brain pointed out incredulously. “How in the world did you manage to forget that you had a Prefect’s meeting this morning?”

 

“I don’t pay attention to those kinds of things!” he cried, waving her off as he went to help his girlfriend, who also happened to be a Prefect that tended to neglect her duties, up.

 

I still couldn’t get past the fact that those two were Prefects. Well, Posh has been a Prefect since fifth year, but with Dare becoming Head Boy, his former spot needed to be replaced. However, the problem with that was that Dare was the only Gryffindor bloke in our year that was truly qualified for such a position, therefore making it rather hard on old McGonagall to find a proper replacement. I’m convinced that she just wrote their names down onto slips of paper and then pulled one out of her hat. It made much more sense than her actually thinking that Eli was an eligible choice.

 

It says a lot about our house when its supposedly two most responsible students were a shallow bitch and her degenerate boyfriend. Well, in my year at least. We were a special group of students, that was for sure.

 

And as if to prove my point, at the exact moment in which the dysfunctional couple left the Great Hall (Posh was nagging Eli the entire way out for dropping her), my equally dysfunctional best friend came rushing in. Her brown eyes zeroed in on me like a hawk, which made me want to cower under the table to avoid whatever lashing I was about to receive. Unfortunately, there were too many legs in the way for me to safely dash for cover, so I was forced to face her.

 

“Why the hell did you not wait for me, Dominique Seraphina?” she screeched, her face flushed with irritation. “I spent nearly twenty five minutes searching the tower for you! I thought you might have fallen under the bed again, like last night, but nooooo. You just bloody disappeared! I even checked the boys’ dormitory to see if you had slept walked or something. Do you have any idea how disgusting that room is? All of those dirty boxers tossed about as if they were decorative throw pillows. Good Godric, I had to take a second shower just so that I wouldn’t worry about contamination.”

 

“Oi, our room is not that bad!” Devon protested, which Nat responded with a withering glare.

 

“Your bed’s the worst part, Finnegan!” She scolded, “Those empty Firewhisky bottles are the perfect breeding ground for dragon pox germs and what not. I swear, not a single one of you know how to properly keep a room clean.”

 

“Sorry Mum,” James mocked, never one to take Nat’s OCD about neatness seriously. She smacked him up against his head, before returning her anger towards me.

 

“Explain yourself, young lady,” she demanded, hands on her hips. “Because of you, I am now scarred for life and thirty minutes behind schedule.”

 

I rolled my eyes, “I don’t get why you couldn’t have just gone down by yourself? I mean, you’ve never had a problem ditching me before. Yesterday ring a bell?”

 

“Yes well, you were the one who told me that you never got up early. Yet here you are, all dressed and ready.”

 

“It was a fluke. Those kinds of things happen sometimes,” I explained, not feeling any pity or remorse for my best friend. She let out an irritated huff, but plopped herself down and snatched a muffin off of James’s plate, hissing at him when he tried to protest. I watched as she tore through that muffin, her teeth gnashing at the chunks of dried fruit that had been baked into it, and let out a sigh.

 

Even when she was in a good mood Nat was, by nature, an overwhelmingly demanding person. However, whenever she became irritated or angry, it was like a Hungarian Horntail had possessed her and she turned into bloody Bellatrix Lestrange’s long lost daughter, making it next to impossible to tolerate her. The plus side to her extreme mood swings though, was that just like it didn’t take much to make her angry, it also didn’t take much to get her back to her old cheerfully annoying self. All I needed was something cute or fluffy, like a bunny, and so I quickly scanned the Great Hall in search of something to present her with, when someone called out to me.

 

I turned around and found my brother standing behind me, a weary look on his face as he held out an envelope towards me. I opened my mouth, to ask him what he was up to, but Nat’s high pitched squeal prevented me from doing anything.

 

“BABY WEASLEY!” she screeched, smothering Louis with her curls as she all but crushed him to death. I should have known that a first or second year would have done the trick. They were much more easily accessible than a rabbit, although why Nat found them so adorable I would never understand. She had a particular soft spot for my brother, which I couldn’t decide if that was amusing or just downright creepy.

 

“For Merlin’s sake Nat, let the poor boy breathe!” Brain exclaimed, seeing that Lou’s face had turned a slight shade of purple.

 

“Yeah Nat, it’d be great if you wouldn’t suffocate my cousin,” James added, and my best friend quickly put him down. She flashed Lou an apologetic smile, although I was pretty sure that my little brother was now scarred for life. Actually, Nat had already previously scarred him for life, so this was technically like a re-scarring.

 

Back at the beginning of last year, which was Lou’s first, Mum had forced me to allow him to sit with me and my friends so he wouldn’t be all alone on his first train ride. What my mother didn’t take into consideration, was that I had a bloody psychotic wench for a best friend who liked to dress like a slag and then flaunt her cleavage into little eleven year old boys’ faces. Alright, so maybe Nat hadn’t intentionally tried to oppress my pre-pubescent brother with her rather voluptuous... bosoms, but that didn’t make the experience any less traumatic.

 

Considering all of the damage that Nat’s done to him, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ended up swearing off women and turn to men. Or become asexual, it was still a little too early to tell. Either way, Nat was going to be the one to break it to my mother about why she won’t be able to expect any grandchildren from Lou.

 

Once my brother was able to regain his breath, he quickly turned towards me and thrust an envelope in to my hands. I moved to stash it away into my bag but he stopped me.

 

“No, you’re supposed to read it right away," he said, and I looked at him curiously.

 

“What’s this about?” I asked, tearing open the letter.

 

“Matilda Ramsey handed it to me as she left for her meeting and said that I was to get this to you as soon as possible. She also said that there was a second page that needed to be signed, to ensure that you actually read it and not chucked it into a bin.”

 

Oh my god, that woman was unbelievable.

 

I rolled my eyes as the parchments slipped out of the envelope and into my hands, and immediately went for that second sheet. Scanning the paper for where it wanted my signature, I grabbed a quill and signed the damn thing before handing it back to my brother.

 

“But, you didn’t read it,” he protested, and I scoffed.

 

“What Matilda Ramsey doesn’t know won’t kill her,” I replied, knowing full well that her letter was probably about my detentions – something I definitely did not want to deal with at the moment.

 

“Right,” he answered slowly, and I shook my head.

 

“So where’s your posse?” I asked, noticing that the two twelve year olds who usually accompanied him were nowhere to be found.

 

“Oh, they decided to stay back at the Ravenclaw table,” Lou explained, and I looked over there to find two small heads duck behind their goblets after we awkwardly made eye contact.

 

Of all the kids my brother could have picked to be best friends with, he just had to pick the weirdest – a chubby stickler for the rules and an obnoxious Indian who never knew when to shut up. Over the summer, they had been constantly coming over to our house so that they could ‘hang out’ with Louis (he always got annoyed whenever I used the word ‘play’ to describe their reason for being over). And since my parents and Victoire were usually at work during the day, I was the one who got stuck making sure they didn’t fall out a window or choke on their lunches (which I, of course, had to prepare for them). With my quarter Veela of a brother as their designated leader, they were definitely the oddest combination of kids I’ve ever seen.

 

“Smart move, considering how you’ve just been manhandled by my best friend,” I commented, figuring that they were probably terrified of her as well. They used to be the same way with me, always stuttering when they needed to speak to me and what not, but they eventually got over it. Although, I do kind of miss how they used to cower in my presence and address me as if I were their queen.

 

Those were the days.

 

“She scares me, Minnie.”

 

Well, no duh. As if I couldn’t already tell by the way his eyes widened with fear whenever she came into his line of view. He’d have to be out of his mind to not be scared of her.

 

“Don’t feel too bad, she scares everyone,” I reassured, only to be smacked by the devil herself.

 

“I do not scare everyone,” she protested, to which the entire Gryffindor table snorted at.

 

“You’re the most terrifying girl I’ve ever met, Nat,” James remarked, his tone completely and utterly serious.

 

“I used to have nightmares that you would pluck out all of my hair because I didn’t let you brush it that one time in second year,” Clueless added solemnly.

 

“I always make sure that you fall asleep before I do,” Slaggy admitted.

 

“You’re the reason why I’ve never tried out for the team,” Devon muttered.

 

Nat seemed to be completely dumbstruck at this new found information, as she stared at everyone with her mouth slightly open. I honestly didn’t know why she was so surprised by this. I mean, she was the girl that made a bunch of sixth year boys cry after she threatened to castrate them when they accidentally spilled pumpkin juice in her hair. And that was when she was a second year.

 

Finally, she seemed to gather herself together and abruptly stood up from the table. “Well then, since everyone’s so bloody scared of me, I guess I’ll just go on to class without you. Wouldn’t want to terrify you lot any longer, now do I?”

 

Oh hell, we’ve awoken the beast.

 



The rest of us silently watched her stalk out of the Great Hall, wondering just how long it would be before her anger would pass. I looked over to see if my brother was wetting his pants yet, only to find him slowly backing away from our table and over towards his own.

 

Smart move, Lou.

 

Before either one of us could say something about what just happened, the bell rang, signalling the end of breakfast. Since everyone else either had History or Ancient Runes (or in Brain’s case, Transfiguration) this morning, they all scrambled to get their things and head off to class so that they wouldn’t be late. Of the seven of us, I was the only one who was taking NEWT Herbology, which was on the grounds so I had plenty of time to get there.

 

Grabbing my bag, I made a silent prayer that Nat’s temper would calm down by the time Defence came around and headed for the greenhouses. Merlin knows that class was going to be difficult enough without her acting all pissy.

 

God, it was going to be one hell of a day.

 






I hadn’t even been in the Defence classroom for more than a minute, before I realised that this class was going to be a rough one. NEWT level Defence was the class that my Uncle Harry visited the most, coming in at least once every two months to give a lecture. It was also rumoured that he taught a small segment about Patronus charms, although I wasn’t sure if we actually got to learn how to produce one or not.

 

Anyway, since everyone wanted a chance to meet and talk to the Saviour of the Wizarding World, practically every seventh year took this class – that is, if they made it in. Which meant that, instead of seeing everyone in the smaller, healthier doses that I was used to seeing them, I had the pleasure of being with almost all of my classmates in a single room at the same time, three times a week.

 

Joy.

 

It didn’t help that Nat, who was still angry from this morning, had decided to ditch me so that she could sit with the Andies all the way up front, where there was a ninety five percent chance of drool and swooning. In fact, the entire first two rows were filled with only girls, all desperately trying to get as close to Calvin as possible. I didn’t bother hiding my disgust at the way they all hastily tried to fix their hair and makeup before class started. Like hell I was going to sit with them.

 

To make a point, I chose a table at the very back corner of the room, where James, Dare and Eli were sitting. Devon was supposed to be the fourth member but I quickly sat down before him, leaving him to find a new spot to sit.

 

“God they’re pathetic,” Dare muttered, as he watched his female classmates silently giggle with excitement at the thought of being in the same room as his brother.

 

“I wonder if they realise how truly ridiculous they look,” I added, rolling my eyes at Bridget McMillan, a Hufflepuff who I just caught stuffing tissues into her bra.

 

“Look on the bright side,” Eli began, wrapping an arm around Dare’s shoulders. “When they all come out of this classroom heartbroken and desperate because your brother paid them no attention, they’ll be looking for some manly shoulders to cry on.”

 

“Aren’t you dating Sandi?” James reminded, and Eli shrugged.

 

“She dumped me for accidentally dropping her on the floor this morning,” he said, with no sign of remorse. “I’m a free man.”

 

Oh god.

 

“Weasley!” someone barked, saving me from having to say anything to Eli. I looked around the room to see who had called me and found no one other than Matilda freaking Ramsey breathing down my neck.

 

“Can I help you, Ramsey?” I replied smoothly, as the blokes all rolled their eyes at our pretentious Head Girl.

 

“I was just wondering if you got my message this morning. Your brother returned the consent form, but you may have very well just signed it without even reading my letter,” she answered.

 

“You know me so well,” I placed a hand against my heart feigning flattery and James nearly choked on the snort he was trying to hold back.

 

Matilda Ramsey narrowed her eyes. “Don’t test me, Weasley. That letter was to inform you of your impending detention and if you continue to behave like this, I will be forced to make that detention even more strenuous than what I had planned.”

 

“I’m pissing my pants,” I remarked. “Oh, and next time you need to send me a message, do it your damn self. My little brother is not your own personal owl.”

 

“I’d watch that tongue of yours, Minnie,” Calvin warned, a playful tone to his voice as he entered the classroom. “Can’t have you defiling the ears of all my students, now can I?”

 

“Sorry Cal... I mean, Professor,” I replied, as Matilda and I simultaneously turned towards our professor. A faint look of disgust crossed the Head Prat’s face as she glanced at the way Calvin’s sleeves were unprofessionally rolled up to his elbows. As he walked up to the front of the room, he draped his robes over his seat – something that I knew bothered Matilda Ramsey greatly. The rest of my female classmates, however, could have cared less if he was dressed casually. I tried not to vomit when they all simultaneously sighed after seeing him unbutton the top of his collar and loosen his tie, revealing a rather toned looking chest.

 

“Apology accepted,” he said with a wink, causing the girls to swoon as if he had sent it to them. “Miss Ramsey, if you would please take a seat. I’d like to begin the class and I can’t do that with you standing around. Can be quite the distraction for such young minds.”

 

Eli and I had to bite back a laugh as we watched Matilda Ramsey huff with indignation before scurrying off to her seat. I think that was the first time she’s ever been told off for being a distraction by a professor and I could tell that she was not enjoying the new replacement. Well, that was one less girl Calvin had to worry about fawning over him.

 

“Right, now that that’s all settled – good afternoon everyone!” Calvin greeted cheerfully, clasping his hands together with enthusiasm. The class, or rather the girls, all replied with an equally enthusiastic ‘good afternoon, Professor’.

 

“Kill me now,” I heard Dare mutter, and I looked over next to me to see that he had returned to the same angst ridden fellow he had been last evening.

 

Not this again.

 

And here I thought that our little conversation had actually been a sign of progress.

 

“Now, I know that some of you may have a hard time looking at me as your professor, considering how I was a student at the same time you were for two years, but I am still an authority here. So, it’d be great if you lot would remember to treat me as such, understood?” Calvin went on, although his tone was fairly friendly.

 

“If he wants people to treat him like an authority, he should stop dressing like he’s a bloody teenager,” Dare scoffed.

 

Sweet Voldemort, was he going to be making comments the entire class period?

 

“Wonderful! So now that that’s been established, how about we start our lessons off with a bit of a review? Don’t worry, this is only for this first week. The year’s curriculum is rather similar to that of last year’s, except more in depth, obviously. I want to make sure that everyone has a chance to brush up before we really start getting into it,” Calvin explained, pulling out a piece of chalk. He then proceeded to write the day’s instructions onto the board up front.

 

 “You lot are already divided into groups of four, which I know is two more than usual, but again this will only be for the first week. Now, each table will need one sheet of parchment where you will make a list of all the things that you have either already learned about the Dark Arts, or are interested in learning. I want this class to be very involved and hands on, so please feel free to make any suggestions you have onto your parchment. Have fun with this and I’ll come around to check up on each table throughout the class. Sound good?”

 

The atmosphere of the class had burst with excitement as groups gathered together to work. Since we were technically already a week into the term, all of the ‘fun, laid back’ lessons were now done and over with, so it was rather refreshing to have this one amidst all of the lectures we had received today. The fact that Calvin was planning on visiting each table separately, only made the enthusiasm worse. Girls chatted animatedly with one another at the thought of having one-on-one (or rather, four-on-one) time with the ‘dishy’ (their words, not mine) new professor, while everyone else was just glad for the opportunity to talk to their friends for an entire class period. Well, everyone but Dare that is. Even with this special treat of relaxation and freedom, the bloke insisted on being Johnny bloody Rain Cloud.

 

“He has no clue what he’s doing,” he remarked, criticising his brother’s laidback-ness. “I bet he hasn’t even looked at the curriculum. We’re not going to learn anything in this class with him as a teacher.”

 

“Oh stop with the moping,” Eli said, leaning back on his chair so that it was balancing only on its two hind legs. “Who cares if we don’t learn anything? It’s healthy to have a break every now and then.”

 

“Really, Dare.” I added, “I thought we were past all of this.”

 

“Yeah, but that was before I saw how shoddy of a professor he was going to be,” he muttered back, and I rolled my eyes.

 

Looks like I was back to square one.

 

“Well, could you at least pretend to enjoy this? It is NEWT year after all. Like Eli said, it’ll be good for us to have this little break amongst all of the homework and whatnot,” I pleaded, making sure that my voice sounded extra sweet. He looked at me for a few moments, his jaw set with stubbornness and I batted my eyelashes for good measure. After about twenty five seconds of eye fluttering and lip pouting (all for the sake of the group, mind you), Dare eventually broke.

 

“Fine. But only for this week,” he compromised. “If his classes are still all ‘let’s not do any work today’ by the time lessons should start, then I’m going to complain all I want and none of you are going to stop me.”

 

Well, it was a start.

 

I grinned at him while Eli and James high fived with victory. Once we managed to get Dare sorted out, the subject quickly changed to that of Quidditch. Every now and then we’d jot something down on the list, but we really weren’t all that worried about it. It wasn’t like the assignment was for a grade, or anything.

 

Since we were in the very back, we were one of the last groups on Calvin’s ‘check up’ route. About thirty minutes had passed before he managed to make his way towards our table, although that may also have been due to the fact that every time he was at a table full of girls (which was about sixty five percent of the classroom) they would stall for as long as possible to keep him around. Anyway, by the time he came to check on us, we not only had finished our list but we also managed to discuss the entire history of the Australian Quidditch League.

 

“I’m telling you Eli, the Thunderers are definitely going to win this year. They’ve got possibly the best pair of Beaters in the entire League,” James insisted, as we wondered who would take home the cup.

 

“The Thunderers may have some amazing Beaters, but the Warriors have Jackman as their captain,” Calvin interrupted. “Looks like you guys are doing a lot of work around here.”

 

“We finished already,” I told him, handing over our parchment. “And they may have Jackman, but they also have Weatherington, who is like the worst Keeper ever.”

 

“That is true, but thankfully their Chasers make up for him,” he replied, before scanning over our list. “This is like the seventh time I’ve seen ‘learn how to produce a Patronus charm’ on these things. You lot do realise how difficult that spell is, right?”

 

“With all due respect sir, my father learned how to cast a full fledge corporeal one when he was thirteen,” James pointed out.

 

“And your father also managed to defy death twice, as well as defeat the Dark Lord all before his eighteenth birthday. He’s not exactly the average wizard, James.”

 

“Yeah but, he taught all his friends how to do it in his fifth year. Surely, some of us will be able to produce one as well,” Eli countered, and Calvin sighed.

 

“I’ll have to think about it. Besides, the possibility of everyone in this classroom successfully casting a Patronus charm, corporeal or not, is highly unlikely. It will be unfair for those classmates who are not as adept at charms to have to suffer a bad mark.”

 

Next to me I heard Dare mutter something about how the real reason his brother didn’t want to go over it was because he was too awful of a teacher, and I stepped on his foot so that he would shut up. Thankfully, Calvin didn’t notice this little exchange and continued on his way.

 

“What was that for?” Dare hissed, once his brother was out of earshot.

 

“You promised that you weren’t going to make any more comments about your brother for the rest of the week,” I reminded, with an equal amount of intensity.

 

“Is that arguing I hear, James?” Eli asked, giving the two of us a knowing look. Damn that stupid bet.

 

“We weren’t arguing,” I corrected, clearing my throat. “We were simply having a slightly heated exchange of words.”

 

Dare rolled his eyes. “You know Minnie, it’s a little strange how much you care about me trash talking my brother. I know you said that you don’t have any feelings for him, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe that.”

 

Seriously? He was bringing that up again? When was it going to stick in that massive head of his that I did not have a crush on Calvin!? Honestly!

 

“And it’s a little concerning how obsessed you are with the highly unlikely possibility of me liking your brother. Do you really want to play this game, Dare?”

 

“I do!” Eli interrupted, excitedly. “It’s like breakfast all over again!”

 

“What happened at breakfast?” Dare asked.

 

“Nothing!” James and I cried out at the same time, our faces turning a bright red at the memory of the extremely awkward conversation.

 

We were never, ever, ever, going to have that discussion ever again. Ever.

 

Dare looked at the three of us with a confused expression, probably wondering what the hell had happened. Too bad he will never find out. Unless of course Nat or Devon or one of the Andies told him, but I was crossing my fingers that their short attention spans would kick in and that they completely forgot about that uncomfortable encounter. Then again, considering how Nat was still angry about the whole ‘everyone being terrified of her’ thing, she may very well tell him just to spite me.

 

Oh, hell.

 

In a desperate attempt at preventing Dare from asking any more questions, I looked around the room for some sort of distraction. There weren’t many options, considering how everyone was either talking amongst themselves or trying to flirt with Calvin (and failing miserably, might I add). Neither were interesting enough to cause for a true diversion though, so I resorted to the window. I mean, we were on the first floor and all, and with the first years just starting their flying lessons, there was the slight chance of a rogue broom flinging an eleven year old against the glass or something. In fact, as I gazed out the window I saw a dark grey spot (my guess someone dressed in their robes) coming towards the classroom at full speed.

 

“Is that… Malfoy?” I asked aloud, once I was able to make out the spiky blond hair as it got nearer. The guys all turned their heads towards where I was looking, their eyes widening at what appeared to be a fifteen year old flying on an invisible broomstick.

 

“Oh that’s definitely Malfoy, alright,” James said, eyebrows quirked. “But how is he able to… fly like that?”

 

“Do you think he’s using a levitation charm?” Dare asked, intrigued by the peculiar situation and completely not at all interested in what happened this morning at breakfast.

 

Thank you, Scorpius Malfoy, and your abnormally accurate timing.

 

“Malfoy being skilled enough for a levitation charm?” Eli snorted, “I doubt it.”

 

“Then how is-“

 

“Oh my god, he’s going to crash into the window!” I cried, once I noticed that Malfoy wasn’t even close to slowing down. And now that I had a better look, I also noticed that he wasn’t alone.

 

“Hey, that’s Albus!” James exclaimed, but before any of us could say anything the two barrelled into the classroom.

 

Shards of glass flew around everywhere and showered over Matilda Ramsey, who had the misfortune of sitting next to the window. Girls screamed at the sudden interruption and the sound of horse hooves thundered in the classroom, although as far as I could see, there was no sight of a horse anywhere.

 

Wait a minute…

 

“Something just bumped into me!” Claire Alcott, a normally composed Ravenclaw, screeched and her eyes widened with fear.

 

“It was probably just the wind,” Gabriel Davies muttered, as he and the rest of the Ravenclaw blokes rolled their eyes at how silly all the girls were acting.

 

“No, no, no, there is definitely something there. It just stepped on Sara’s foot,” Jen, his twin sister, said. And surely enough, Sara Gupta’s foot was rapidly swelling to that of the size of a Quaffle.

 

“Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy – explain yourselves,” Calvin demanded, after ordering Gabe and his friends to help Sara to the Hospital Wing. The two, who had been sprawled across the glass and paper littered floor, quickly got up and addressed our professor.

 

“Well you see, Professor…” Malfoy began, a rather amused look on his face. “Al and I were in the middle of our Care for Magical Creatures class, when Henry Jordan dared us to ride one of the Thestrals we were studying about. The only problem with that was that none of us are actually able to see the creatures, although it did make the ride much more exciting.”

 

“And just for the record,” Al added, “I was completely against this. I was just trying to get Scorpius off of the horse, but it took off before I could get down.”

 

Of course it did. Honestly, when was the last time Albus ever willingly did something this reckless and idiotic? The poor bloke was far too sensitive for these kinds of things – something James and I learned at a very young age. We were always trying to coerce him into joining us on our pranking expeditions, mainly because he had the Invisibility Cloak, but he was too preoccupied with not getting into trouble to agree. Although, why he would go and be best friends with Scorpius Malfoy, a bloke who was constantly getting himself into sticky situations, was beyond me.




“You mean to tell that there’s a Thestral running loose in my classroom?” Calvin looked at the pair incredulously, not able to believe that this was happening and on his first week of teaching, too. I mean, there was already one casualty. Who knows what might happen next.

 

“That is correct, sir,” Al answered, a nervous look on his face.

 

Calvin took in a deep breath as he tried to figure out what to do. Chaos was everywhere, an odd mixture of high pitched screaming, laughter, and hoof steps flooded the room. Girls were jumping on top of desks and chairs, hoping to avoid a fate similar to that of Sara’s. The boys just couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Especially Eli, who looked like he was about to wet his trousers after he saw the Andies desperately cling to each other with fright. And then of course, there was still the matter of a Thestral galloping around the classroom.

 

“Alright, who in here is able to see the Thestral?” Calvin asked, finally getting himself together.

 

“My dad can see them!” a girl from Hufflepuff called out in a poor attempt at trying to win his favour.

 

“Right, well he’s not much help in this situation, now is he?” He remarked, annoyed with her stupidity. “Anyone else?”

 

“I can see them,” a deep voice replied and we all turned to see who was talking. Standing in the corner opposite where I was seated, was no one other than Castor Greengrass. Of course the one person in this room who’s ever “seen death” would be Mr Broody and Mysterious Slytherin, over here. The fact that he was also Scorpius’s cousin just made the whole situation even more ironic.

 

“Ah, Mr Greengrass!” Calvin exclaimed, looking relieved. “Would you mind rounding up the creature and keeping him in place until I’m able to get everything under control?”

 

“Of course, Professor,” he answered, a slight smirk crawling its way onto his face.

 

 Castor and his cronies, who had been sitting in the dark corner with him, started to make their way to the front of the room where the horse was currently located. I watched them curiously as they circled around the invisible creature. I had quite a few classes with those Slytherins, especially Castor. He and his best mate Klinton Pucey sat behind me in Divination, and they were always making snide comments about Professor Trelawney. He was definitely the leader of his friends, which was obvious now as he ordered them around and assigned each one with a different task. It was kind of interesting to see how they all obeyed him. Then again, considering the situation we were in, I don’t think there was much room for protests.

 

“Right, now that we’ve got that taken care of, I think it’s safe to say that class is going to be let out early.” Calvin announced, running a hand through his hair with stress. “You’re all dismissed, except for Mr Greengrass and his friends. Oh, and if the Heads would please stay as well. I need you to keep an eye on these two, while I go get Hagrid.”

 

Dare let out a groan at the thought of having to babysit the two idiots – and with Matilda Ramsey no less. The rest of the class all filed out of the room, talking loudly amongst themselves about how crazy the whole situation was. No doubt this little incident was going to be the highlight of Hogwart’s gossip mill for the next week.

 

“You feel like staying?” James asked me, a mischievous look on his face.

 

“Hell yeah.” I replied, returning his smirk.

 

There was no way I was leaving this classroom until I saw the situation through its entirety. I was pretty sure that Calvin would also be bringing the Headmistress over, to help him decide what Al and Scorpius’s punishment should be. I could just picture old McGonagall’s face now, looking all appalled at the sight of a Thestral in the castle. And I also couldn’t miss seeing Al burst into tears once he got his Prefect’s badge revoked. As much as I liked the guy, there was just something so entertaining about seeing him cry. Especially over something as silly as a Prefect’s badge.

 

Merlin, I couldn't wait.




Professor Calvin White - Alex Pettyfer

A/N: And there's chapter seven! If everything with the queue goes well, then that means I updated in a little over a week. Talk about progress! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. Finally I'm able to introduce characters from the other houses as well, and of course Albus and Scorpius also made their grand appearance. In the previous version of this story, I was ten chapters in and they still hadn't been introduced. So yeah, looks like everything is finally falling into place. I've still got a few more characters that need to be introduced (some Hufflepuffs, a Ravenclaw, and of course some more relatives) but for the most part, it's going rather well. 

Anyway, please make sure to leave a review! Favorite quotes, moments, characters - whatever you want to mention, I'd love to read! Thanks for reading and I'll try to get the next one up as soon as possible.



-Camila :)

PS: Also, if I haven't responded to your review yet, I'm terribly sorry! I was so busy trying to get this chapter up that I completely neglected some of you guys. I haven't forgotten about you, though, and now that summer's here, I should be getting around to those any moment. Thanks again!





 

Chapter 8: Consequences Are Overrated
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Disclaimer: Everything that's not an attempt at a plot line or OC belongs to Jo.






 “What in Merlin’s name is wrong with you two?!”


Matilda Ramsey didn’t even wait a minute after Calvin left to get Hagrid, before she turned on the fifth years with a surprisingly amount of vehement. Then again, considering how she had just been showered with pieces of glass, I suppose her anger wasn’t totally out of place. But that didn’t stop the two from looking at her in complete and utter fear.

 

I was trying really hard not to laugh at the way Malfoy and Al simultaneously gulped at our Head Girl. It was the first time I saw Malfoy show any sign of remorse or shame for his actions, his cheeky smile vanishing at the sight of Matilda Ramsey’s wrath. They hadn’t reached the point of looking like they were about to cry for their mummies, but judging by the way the Head Prat was all but frothing at the mouth, I knew it wouldn’t be too long.

 

“Oh give it a rest, Ramsey. They’re just kids,” Castor Greengrass muttered, still holding onto the invisible creature. He was strangely protective of his cousin and Al. Both were the youngest members of the Slytherin Quidditch team, and with Castor as the captain, I guess it made some sense that he would look out for the two. Still, I always found it weird how he was always keeping an eye on them. Especially since he and James sort of hated each other.

 

Actually, it was Dare who had the real problem with him, but with my cousin being the loyal best friend that he was, I guess he had to hate the brooding Slytherin by default.

 

“Potter here is a Prefect!” she reminded, intensely glaring at Al. “He should have known better! Look at all the damage these ‘kids’ created – a girl was even sent to the Hospital Wing! I am going to have a serious word with the Headmistress about making sure she gives him the proper punishment. A Prefect!”

 

At the threat of possibly losing his badge, Al’s face turned a ghastly white. His green eyes went wide with terror and his lower lip began to subtly quiver.

 

“Calm down, Matilda,” Dare remarked, not wanting to be one-upped by his rival. “There’s no need to scare the kid. And you heard what he said about it being an accident. He was only trying to stop the whole incident.”

 

Matilda Ramsey narrowed her eyes at her fellow Head, offended that he wasn’t siding with her. “Of course you’d think that. You’re so soft when it comes to discipline, just like your brother. I don’t know why McGonagall would choose someone who was so obviously biased towards his friends and their relatives as Head Boy, especially since most of them are troublemakers.”

 

I winced at her comments, knowing perfectly well how offended Dare would be by what she said about him being soft. His eyes immediately darkened from their normal brown to an almost deadly black and his jaw set in that stubborn way of his that I was so familiar with. I could see the snappy comment that was about to escape his mouth, which I knew would only make things worse for him, so I quickly jumped into the conversation and cut him off.

 

“You know, Ramsey," I began, walking out of the corner that James and I had been watching everything. My cousin looked at me with worry, probably thinking that I was about to say something incredibly stupid (which I was), but I ignored him. “Insulting the Headmistress’s choice for Head Boy falls under the category of disrespecting authority. That’s liable for a detention.”

 

The glare I received from the Head Prat would’ve made anyone else wet their knickers, but I was too much of an idiot to be intimidated by her. Besides, I was still relishing in the moment of using the very same words she had used on me against her. Merlin, did it feel good to give her a taste of her own medicine.

 

“You little hypocrite,” she seethed, nostrils flaring. “What gives you, of all people, the right to lecture me about how I talk to Dare?”

 

What I was about to say would probably be the dumbest thing I’d ever said in my entire life. And I knew that once those words left my mouth, I would regret it for the rest of said life. But I was enjoying riling her up and me being the reckless instigator that I was, didn’t really care about the consequences that would follow.

 

“Oh I don’t know,” I began, going up to Dare so that I could put an arm around him. I felt him stiffen at my touch, which probably should have been a warning sign for me to stop, but I was already too far in to quit now. “Maybe the fact that I’m his girlfriend.”

 

The look on Matilda Ramsey’s face was absolutely priceless. 

 

She had her mouth open so wide I could practically see her stomach, her pencil-thin eyebrows seeming to have disappeared altogether. Her face went so pale you’d have thought I just told her that her mummy died or something. And don’t even get me started on all of the spluttering. God, I was having such a hard time trying to keep a straight face.

 

“B-but that’s… that’s impossible!” she screeched, her cheeks flushed with frustration. “You two hate each other!”

 

I could have sworn that there was a hint of jealousy in her tone. Although why she would be jealous was beyond me. Who in their right mind would want to date someone like Dare?

 

“That, Ramsey, would be called sexual tension,” Castor remarked, and the light-heartedness I was feeling from Ramsey’s ridiculous reaction was suddenly replaced with a nauseating sense of déjà vu.

 

There was a wicked glint in his eye and an uneasy feeling began to settle at the bottom of my stomach. The memory of that meeting about the bet suddenly flashed in my mind and I racked my brain to see who had been in attendance. Just like the Andies, neither Castor nor his cronies had been there.

 

Bollocks.

 

“I beg your pardon?” The Head Prat exclaimed, offended.

 

“Yeah, Greengrass, I beg your pardon?” James repeated, looking both disgusted and confused. It was like breakfast all over again.

 

A devilish smirk made its way onto Castor’s face and his friends glanced at each other with amusement. They all had that expression of knowing something that no one else knew, causing for my stomach to feel like it was being tossed around by the Whomping Willow. I made the mistake of catching Klinton Pucey’s eye and he sent me a sinister wink.  I tried not to shudder.

 

“Oh don’t be so naive, Potter,” Castor replied, his tone suggestive and allusive. “Minnie’s far too fit to be truly hated. Whatever it is that White’s been feeding you about not standing your cousin is all a cover up. Everyone knows that he’s wanted to secretly shag the living daylights out of her since fourth year.”

 

The amount of awkwardness that was in the room was enough to suffocate a full grown mountain troll.

 

James turned away from Castor, who was looking creepily triumphant, to stare at me and Dare. It was hard to tell what exactly he was thinking, his hazel eyes filled with all different kinds of emotions that I couldn’t pick out. I glanced over at Dare to see what his reaction was to all of this, but it was like he had turned to stone. There wasn’t a single expression on his face, not even a slight blush. He looked exactly the way he did when he first found out Calvin was going to be our new professor, and that’s when I knew I screwed things up big time.

 

Oh, hell.

 

“Uh, James?” Al asked, nervously breaking the silence.

 

The fear of what would happen to him because of the whole ‘crashing a thestral in the middle of a class’ thing seemed to disappear, now replaced with a growing concern for his brother. His voice seemed to shake James out of whatever daze he had been in, although I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. A spark of anger flashed in James’s eye, a signal that his usually dormant Weasley temper had been ignited.

 

In less than a second, my cousin was crossing the room, fists curled as he headed straight for the cocky Slytherin. I tried to stop him, knowing exactly what he intended on doing, but I found myself rooted to the spot. Before I knew it, James had knocked Castor to the floor and was punching the hell out of him.

 

“Potter!” Matilda Ramsey cried, rather shocked by the sudden event. “Potter, as Head Girl, I must demand you to stop beating Greeengrass this instant!”

 

Right, because ‘demanding’ someone to stop fighting actually worked.

 

After Ramsey, Vinny Goyle was the first to react. He jumped from his spot, leaving Nott and Pucey to hold onto the threstral, and moved to aid his friend in the fight. A small gasp escaped my lips as I watched Goyle tackle my cousin to the ground. James was definitely one of the strongest in our year, his broad stature and years of being a Beater giving him quite the advantage. Unfortunately for him, Goyle was also a Beater and just as stocky. They were evenly matched, although James did have his fiery temper to his gain.

 

“Aren’t you going to do anything?” I asked Dare, staring at the way he just stood there with disbelief. He looked back at me dazed and I knew that he had been caught completely off guard. He had probably expected James to attack him.

 

He ended up not having to do much, though, because Calvin had returned with both Hagrid and McGonagall. Hagrid, who was too preoccupied with the safety of his threstral to notice the three seventh years going at it on the floor, went straight for the invisible horse and relieved Nott and Pucey from their duties. McGonagall, on the other hand, wasn’t as absentminded.

 

“What is the meaning of this?” she barked, and the boys immediately stopped their fighting. Their faces were all bruised and swollen with cut lips and nasty black eyes. James was breathing heavily, still too angry to say anything. Castor, who had received most of the damage, cleared his throat before speaking up.

 

“There was a slight disagreement,” he answered, wincing from the pain in his mouth.

 

“A slight disagreement?” she repeated incredulously. “Never have I seen such a barbaric display before in all my years as Headmistress. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! Especially you two, Potter and Greengrass. Look at the example you are setting for your younger relatives. It’s no wonder they managed to crash a thestral into Professor White’s classroom.”

 

At the reminder of their actions, Al and Malfoy turned a bright red. They were probably counting on James and Castor’s fight to distract McGonagall from their own misbehaviour, which was rather foolish on their part. Everyone knows that McGonagall has the memory of an owl.

 

“As for you two,” she began, turning her attention to the fifteen year olds. “Don’t think that just because their actions were far graver than your reckless joyride that you are off the hook. All five of you will be having letters written home as well as serving detention.”

 

“If I could add something, Headmistress,” Matilda Ramsey interrupted, “I would also like to point out that the younger Mr Potter and Mr Greengrass are also Prefects and that their behaviour is most uncalled for.”

 

“As honourable as you think your intentions are, Miss Ramsey,” McGonagall replied coldly, “I am perfectly aware of Mr Potter and Greengrass’s positions, what with me being the ones to assign them after all. Although, I must say I’m beginning to regret my decision.”

 

The Head Prat turned a bright shade of red, having been put in her place. I covered my mouth with my hand, hoping to hide the smirk that had made its way onto my face.

 

“Professor, the incident with the thestral was all an accident!” Al called out, hoping to change her mind about removing his badge. “I was only trying to get Scorpius down, when it took off. Honest!”

 

“He’s telling the truth, Professor.” Malfoy added, sticking up for his sensitive best friend.

 

“Accident or not, Mr Potter, it does not exclude the fact that you and Mr Malfoy caused the school quite some damage,” she told him sternly. “However, seeing as though it is still early in the year, I will allow both you and Mr Greengrass to keep your Prefects privileges. That is, if you two do not step out of line for the rest of the term. You will, along with Mr Malfoy, Potter, and Goyle, still have to serve the detention.”

 

The acknowledged pair both nodded their heads in silence, gratitude flooding their faces. Although, with one look at Matilda Ramsey and I could tell that she found this decision an injustice. But I guess since she had already been put into place once (twice, if we were counting the moment earlier today where Calvin had told her she was being a distraction), she decided not to say anything.

 

“Miss Ramsey,” McGonagall called, and the Head Prat whipped her head around. “I believe that you already have a detention scheduled for this Saturday, am I correct?”

 

“Yes, Headmistress,” she answered, “But I was only intending for Weasley to serve it.”

 

Damn, my detention was this Saturday? Maybe I should have read that letter, after all.

 

“I’m sure you’ll find room for a few more,” McGonagall said offhandedly. “Now, about this mess. Professor Hagrid, if you would please take the thestral back to the stables. Mr Potter and Malfoy, you two will be cleaning this classroom under the supervision of Miss Ramsey – with no magic, mind you, while Professor White escorts these three hooligans to the Hospital Wing where Madame Pomfrey can clean them up. Everyone else, back to your common rooms.”

 

It was a little impressive how she was able to list off all those tasks, without even breaking a sweat. With one last stern look at the room, the Headmistress strode past the doors with Hagrid and the now infamous thestral following behind her. Calvin shook his head at everyone and left with James and the two Slytherins, muttering under his breath something about how he should’ve taken that desk job in London. And since there wasn’t anything left for me to see – and I sure as hell wasn’t planning on sticking around with Matilda Ramsey – I followed McGonagall’s instructions and began to head off towards my common room.

 

I barely made it around the corner when Dare stormed up to me and yanked my wrist back, forcing me to turn around and face him.

 

“Watch it!” I cried, as I accidentally fell on top of him. Thankfully, he was able to balance himself and stop us from falling to the floor. Unfortunately, however, he had to use the nearest wall to keep us steady, meaning that he now had me pressed up against the stone barrier.

 

Oh Salazar, this wasn’t going to end well.

 

“Why the hell did you tell Matilda bloody Ramsey that we were dating?” he demanded. He was so close that I could literally see the anger that was radiating in his eyes, his fierce gaze fixed upon my own surprised one.

 

“It was the first thing that popped into my head,” I admitted weakly, finding myself a bit unnerved by the proximity of his face. Thankfully, his glasses provided the smallest of barriers between us, but with his hand still firmly wrapped around my wrist, practically burning my skin as he held me in place, it was getting hard to concentrate.

 

“Why did you say anything in the first place? I had the situation completely under control until you had to butt in! God, you ruin everything Minnie!” he exclaimed, roughly letting go of me so that he could run a hand through his hair.

 

“If it weren’t for me, you probably would have said something to her that would have made you lose your badge! I was doing you a favour!” I shot back, my confidence (and temper) rising now that we were no longer in contact. It was rather unsettling how the simple touch of his hand could wipe my mind completely blank.

 

“Why do you care so much if I get into trouble?”

 

Oh hell, why did I care so much?

 

“Because we’re supposed to be friends!” I answered, remembering the bet. “And why do you care so much about what I told Ramsey? It’s not like she actually believed it.”

 

“You weren’t exactly alone when you said that, Min. Not only do we have to worry about the Slytherins spreading that rumour, but now I have to deal with my best friend thinking that the two of us having been sneaking around his back!” Dare explained, his tone borderline hysterical. “Do you have any idea what he’s going to do to me once he gets out of the Hospital Wing?”

 

I rolled my eyes, “I can talk to Al to make sure that Castor and the rest won’t tell anyone. And you don’t have to worry about James. He’d never lay a hand on you.”

 

“Did you not see what he did to Greengrass in there?” he asked incredulously, obviously not finding my words very comforting. Judging by the slightly crazed look in his eye and his insistence on not believing me, I could tell that the fight had really shaken him up. However, my mind was too busy racing around with a billion different thoughts to pay him any sympathy.

 

“The only reason he went off on Castor like that was because that idiot kept going on about you secretly having feelings for me, which we both know is absolute rubbish.”

 

Or at least, I hoped it was rubbish.

 

But it wasn’t like I could let Dare know of my doubts. And yes I did have doubts. I mean, two different people on two different occasions mentioned the two of us having… that particular type of tension. And with something so specific as… that kind of tension, it was getting hard to believe if those two occasions had just been massively disturbing coincidences or not. But again, Dare could never know of these doubts I was having, because then maybe he’d start to get the impression that I was the one who had feelings for him. Which of course wasn’t true, but who knows if he would believe that. And so, in order to keep him from mistakenly thinking that I might buy into the ridiculous notion about the two of us having tension, I made sure to give him an extra hard glare. Like I was challenging him to tell me otherwise. And Merlin, did I hope that he wouldn’t tell me otherwise.

 

A few moments passed where he didn’t say anything. He just stood there, looking at me with an unreadable expression on his face. I searched his eyes hoping to find something that would ease my nerves, but I’ve always been horrible when it came to picking out emotions that weren’t blatantly obvious. I could feel my heart racing faster and faster as each second without a response passed.

 

“It is rubbish, right?” I finally asked, not being able to handle the silence. My voice seemed to break whatever trance that Dare had fallen into, the bloke shaking his head as if to get rid of his thoughts.

 

“Of course it’s rubbish,” he replied, looking at me as if I were stupid. “Why in the world would I have feelings for you?”

 

Well, excuse me! I wasn’t that repulsive, you know.

 

“Sorry, I forgot about how atrocious I was,” I snapped. “Silly me for thinking that there was a slight chance a bloke might like me.”

 

“No, damn it. I didn’t mean it like that!” Dare apologized, swearing under his breath as he quickly tried to correct himself. “You’re perfectly likeable, Min. And definitely not atrocious. Merlin, you’re like the farthest thing from atrocious. Terrifying yes, but on you it’s actually quite charming. In a sick and twisted kind of way.”

 

It was hard to tell if he was insulting me or if he was really just this bad at apologizing. Either way, it was still confusing.

 

“Not that you’re sick and twisted,” he continued, obviously flustered. “Because again, you’re the farthest thing from that. And all I meant from before was that it would be weird if I liked you. Because you know, we’re friends. Or rather, trying to be friends. And you’re James’s cousin, and he’s practically my brother, so in a way you’re kind of like my cousin too. So if I did like you it’d just be really sick and weird. And… and I think I should shut up now.”

 

That last bit was possibly the only thing he’s said that actually made any sense.

 

I stared at Dare for a while, trying to figure out how I was supposed to respond to such an explanation. I could tell that my silent staring was making him feel a bit nervous, but since he had just done that to me, I figured it was only fair for him to have a turn. Eventually I gave up on trying to decipher his rambling, although I still wanted to know what had made him ramble in the first place, and decided that it was best if the both of us just moved on from this whole entire experience.

 

“So I think maybe we should just forget about all of… this,” I told him, and I was relieved to see him nod enthusiastically.

 

“Forgetting would be great,” he agreed. “But what are we going to tell James?”

 

“The truth,” I said simply.

 

And with that the two of us headed off to Gryffindor tower, relieved that we managed to get things slightly sorted out, but still dreading the unavoidable confrontation that awaited us.











 

“Let me get this straight,” James began, looking at me incredulously as he held an ice pack against his black eye. “The whole reasoning behind you telling Matilda Ramsey that you were Dare’s girlfriend was to piss her off. And the only reason why you interrupted the two of them in the first place was because you were trying to be a good friend to Dare and save him from getting into trouble, despite the fact that it led to Greengrass saying those ridiculous accusations that, even though I knew they couldn’t be true, made me want to beat the bloody life out of him and ended up with me getting my arse kicked by Goyle and a bloody detention on Saturday?”

 

“Yeah, I think that’s the gist of it.” I answered sheepishly.

 

We were in his dormitory, having skipped dinner to avoid all of the questions and gossip that no doubt have sprung up from today’s events. James and I were sitting next to each other on his bed, eating from the pile of food Freddy had snuck us from the kitchens. Freddy ran into a bruised and aching James in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, arms full of baked goods and a mouth full of questions about the incident. The two of them then made their way up to the seventh year dormitory, where they found Dare and I waiting for them.

 

When James saw the two of us sitting together talking (about how we were going to break everything to him) on Dare’s bed, he went ballistic. He started going off about how we had betrayed him for not telling him about us and all of that fun rubbish. Dare being the bloody coward that he was, immediately froze up at his reaction, leaving me to calm my cousin down and to yell at Freddy to stop laughing. He apparently found the whole idea of Dare and I being ‘an item’ absolutely hilarious.

 

Anyway, it took a good ten minutes until I was finally able to get James to settle down and then it took another fifteen to explain to him everything that had happened. The only reason it took so long was because Freddy wouldn’t stop making ridiculous comments about the two of us, which of course only baited James even more. But it was finally done, and now the four of us all sat quietly as we waited for what would happen next.

 

“That has to be the most twisted thing I’ve ever heard,” James finally said, his tone no longer filled with anger. Dare and I let out a sigh of relief, whereas Freddy just snorted.

 

“Well, I got to hand it to you Min,” he began. “You sure know how to make your way around a bet. I could have sworn that that whole incident would’ve cost you it.”

 

“It’s called will power,” I remarked, feeling so much better now that I didn’t have to worry about James hating me.

 

Of course he could never truly hate me, but I still couldn’t stand the thought of him being angry with me. And even though it was a false alarm, I now know that it would be an absolutely terrible idea for me to get together with Dare. Not that I ever planned on doing it of course, but it was still good to know what would happen if I ever lost my head and agreed to date him.

 

“So, Dare,” Freddy began, a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Just because you and Minnie aren’t dating, that doesn’t mean you still don’t have feelings for her, right?”

 

Why? Why would he ask a question like that? I swear, it was like his life mission to make everyone in the entire world feel absolutely awkward.

 

Dare, who had been sitting on his own bed with a look of relief, suddenly started spluttering and turned three different shades of red. I also wasn’t in my most collected state, but that was just because Freddy’s question had thrown me off guard. Fortunately for us, James answered his question for him.

 

“Of course he doesn’t!” he said, “You don’t think my best mate would have told me if he’s been harbouring feelings for my cousin? Give him a little credit, Freddy.”

 

“I was just double checking,” Freddy replied, throwing his hands up defensively. Although judging by his smirk, I could tell he wasn’t completely convinced.

 

Great.

 

Just what I needed – another person under the impression that the two of us had ‘chemistry’ (or whatever it was they called it).

 

“Well, now that we’ve got all of that settled, I think I’m going to head off to my room,” I announced, before Freddy could go and make another awkward comment. “I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

 

“But it’s barely eight o’clock,” James protested. “Stay around for a bit and talk. Besides, we still haven’t gone on an adventure yet this year. We should plan something.”

 

I rolled my eyes at the way James called our pranks ‘adventures’, but decided to stay put. He was right – it’s been more than a week since we’ve been back and yet we still haven’t gone around and stirred up some trouble. Last year, we managed to fit in three different pranks all on the first day. Then again, considering how I was on ‘probation’ with Longbottom and all of that fun jazz, I guess I shouldn’t be sneaking around the castle causing mischief. And James wasn’t exactly in the best position to get into trouble either, what with McGonagall catching him in a fight. The only one who could truly risk a midnight prank was Freddy, but it’s never fun fooling around alone.

 

“I don’t think an adventure is a good idea right now,” Dare pointed out, as if he had read my mind. “You’re already extremely lucky that McGonagall only gave you a detention for the fight. If she caught you out after curfew, I doubt she’ll be as understanding.”

 

This seemed to make sense to James, because he let out a defeated sigh and nodded. I was secretly thankful for Dare’s ever reliable role as the wet blanket, not really feeling all that up for a night of running around the castle. Not that I’d ever admit that, of course.

 

“Well, what should we do then? We’re already all out of food now, thanks to Min.”

 

“Oi!” I protested, lightly smacking my cousin’s arm (I was only being gentle because he was still pretty sore from the fight). “Show a little gratitude. I applied ointment on your back when no one else would.”

 

Madame Pomfrey had given James a small container of Soothing Cream to apply on the spots that were especially sore every two to four hours. When Goyle had tackled my cousin to the ground, he had accidentally (well, I guess it wasn’t really an accident since he was trying to beat him up and all) bashed his shoulder against the hard floor. After the whole explanation scenario, James had begun to moan about his shoulder aching and how he couldn’t reach it. At that, Freddy and Dare both pretended to become highly interested in the tile pattern of the dormitory floor, leaving me to be the one to rub the cream onto his wound.

 

Freddy rolled his eyes, “You’re the one who wants to be a Healer. Dare and I were just giving you the opportunity to have a little practice.”

 

I hate it when he makes a point.

 

“I still can’t believe that you want to be a Healer,” Dare commented, shaking his head with disbelief. “I never pegged you as the type that would have a career where you had to help people.”

 

Oh great, not these comments again.

 

“I never pegged Minnie as the type to have any kind of career,” Freddy added.

 

The amount of faith my cousin had in me was just astounding.

 

“Right, so I think I’m going to leave now,” I threatened, jutting out my chin at their semi-insulting comments. I wasn’t really offended by them but anytime an opportunity of making them feel guilty presented itself, I made sure to take it.

 

“No, don’t go!” James exclaimed, grabbing a hold of my wrist and yanking me back down on the bed. “We promise we’ll stop picking on you, won’t we mates?”

 

The two gits nodded their heads, although I knew that they weren’t completely sincere. But still, James was giving me the puppy eyes and those were next to impossible to resist. I let out a long sigh, dragging it out so that it would seem like I really didn’t want to stay, but ended up doing it anyway. Besides, who knows if Nat was still upset over the whole breakfast incident, and I wasn’t really in the mood to put up with her. Maybe an evening in the boys’ dormitory wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. It’s been a while since I spent the night there and since we couldn’t go out pranking, I might as well enjoy their company.

 

“Fine, but I’m going to need a pair of pyjamas. I swear this uniform is going to be the death of me,” I told him and his face beamed at the realisation that I was staying. He quickly threw me a pair of shorts and one of his many tee shirts, which I then proceeded to change into in the loo. By the time I came back out, they were all dressed for bed and talking about – you guessed it, Quidditch.

 

“I can’t wait for the European Cup this winter. Dad says he can get us box seats at the England versus Portugal match during holiday,” James said excitedly, wrapping an arm around me as I curled up next to him.

 

 He was a bona fide snuggler and one of the few people in my life who I actually felt comfortable hugging. I wouldn’t be caught dead cuddling with Freddy or any other cousin, but for some reason, it felt natural with James. Besides, the way his body practically radiated heat, it was like he was born to be a human pillow.

 

“Portugal’s been bloody amazing this season,” Freddy pointed out, having made himself comfortable on the floor in between James and Dare’s bed. “I hope your dad can get us in, because that’s going to be one hell of a game.”

 

“When is it?” I asked, hoping that it wouldn’t conflict with any of the plans my mother had in store for us this holiday.

 

Christmas time was never as enjoyable as it should be, thanks to Mum’s incessant need for ‘family bonding’. Practically every single day was filled with some form of outing or activity, making it next to impossible for me to hang out with James or any of my friends. Usually whenever it would start becoming more than I could handle (which was normally around the first five days), I’d start acting up so that Mum would ship me off to the Potter’s so that I wouldn’t ruin what was supposed to be a precious moment together as a family. I honestly had no idea where she came up with all of that rubbish.

 

“The Prophet said it was going to be three days before Christmas, although the League hasn’t officially announced it,” Dare answered from his spot on his bed.

 

I think I’d be able to piss off Mum by then.

 

“Well, let’s hope Uncle Harry can get us in. That’d probably be the best excuse I can use to get out of the house,” I remarked, although that last bit got muffled by an unexpected yawn.

 

“Don’t tell me you’re tired already?” Freddy teased, “You’re getting weak on us, Min.”

 

“Oh hush, it’s been a long day.”

 

“Everyday’s a long day for you,” he countered, and I found myself unable to disagree with him. It was true, practically every day this past school year (which really wasn’t that much, but who was counting?) has ended with me feeling utterly exhausted. And here I thought that I would have it easy, since I was only taking six classes. God, I hate the NEWTS.

 

“That’s what happens when you choose to pursue something as competitive as Healing,” James lectured and I grumbled at the fact that he was right.

 

“And becoming a professional Quidditch player isn’t?” I retaliated.

 

“Not when I’ve got connections like Mum and Mr Wood to help me out,” he remarked, making me roll my eyes. “Besides, if that doesn’t work, then I’ll just do what Freddy’s planning on doing and work with Uncle George in the shop.”

 

And now I knew why my cousins could have never been sorted into Slytherin. Their lack of ambition was just remarkable.

 

“You know Min, Dad would love it if you came to work for him.” Freddy told me, “He could care less what we get on the NEWTS. The only reason I’m still in school is because Mum’s forcing me to.”

 

To be honest, I had been planning for the longest time to work for Uncle George and for precisely those reasons. Over the summers, James and I usually did help out around the shop and we loved every bit of it. However, as fun and exciting as it could be, a small part of me felt like I would be settling. I mean, yeah for the past six years I had been planning on settling and living the mediocre life that I thought was my only option. But ever since Professor Longbottom told me that I actually had a chance at getting into Healing School, well, I actually kind of wanted that to happen.

 

“If I don’t get into Healing School, which at the current moment is probably what’s going to happen, I’ll go work for him,” I promised. “However, that won’t mean I’m not going to try.”

 

“Atta girl!” James exclaimed, ruffling my hair. “Now enough with the career talk, it’s making my hair turn grey. Let’s play a game of Exploding Snap or something.”

 

 And with that, all talk of the future and school was finished. Dare, who had been quietly observing everything this whole time, went to get the cards out from his trunk while the rest of us made a circle on the floor. It was nice to just sit there and relax with the guys, without a care in the world. Even later on in the evening, when Eli and Devon came bursting in with question after question about what had happened, the mood still didn’t change. It didn’t take much to satisfy their curiosity, them being the simple minded fellows that they were, so a quick summarization of what went down was enough for them. It also helped that they had brought snacks, which makes everything better.

 

It was the first time this term that I felt completely at ease, which was rather ironic considering all of the chaos that occurred today. Not a single time did we mention the impending detention or the giant mess that had been our Defence class. Instead, we just fooled around and had ourselves a grand old time.

 

Besides, there would be plenty of time later this week to worry about things like consequences. We’d deal with our parents’ Howlers when they arrived, if they ever did. If my parents hadn’t written to me yet about getting a detention on the first day, then I doubted they would arrive now.

 

Consequences were so overrated, anyway. 




A/N: And there's chapter eight! I still have to go through and edit somethings - mainly grammatical errors and such - but I wanted to get this up already, so you'll just have to bear through it until I get around to fixing things. Hope you enjoyed this and if you'd please leave some reviews, that would be lovely. I don't know if I can get the next one up before the queue closes, but I'll see what I can do. Thanks again for reading!

-Camila :)

 

Chapter 9: Karma's A Witch
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything that isn't an OC or attempted plot line. Everything else belongs to Jo.



 


I had to hand it to Ramsey.


 




The wench sure knew how to throw a detention.


 


“I can’t believe she’s making us be here at six in the morning,” James grumbled, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes as we dragged ourselves towards the entrance of the thestral stables.



At precisely five-thirty, my cousin and I were rudely awakened by a Howler-esque letter reminding us that if we weren’t at the stables in half an hour, we’d be given an extra detention. Considering my whole promise to Longbottom about not getting into any more trouble (not to mention I already had another pending detention), it’s rather needless to say that I rolled out of bed without another word.  James took a little more time getting up, but after a few kicks in the ribs he too was ready to go.


 




We began our journey by lugging our half-dead bodies out of the dorm, past the common room, through the deserted corridors, across the school grounds and down the dirt path that was along the forbidden forest, until we finally reached our destination. I had never been to the stables before, but I knew from the stench of livestock and dirt that we were in the right place.


 



The Slytherins managed to arrive before us, looking like a hoard of zombies with their eyes closed and shoulders all hunched over. Their groans filled the air like a chorus of Gregorian monks, trails of dried up drool tracing their chins. They were practically impossible to miss.


 



“What else did you expect from the reincarnation of Grindewald?” I muttered in reply, leaning against the wooden door frame as I watched the Slytherins huddle together in that secretive way of theirs.
 



I was met with a few undecipherable grunts that sounded oddly similar to ‘clucking snitch’. His grumbling was staring to get on my nerves, so I tuned him out and began to eavesdrop on what the snakes were all chatting about.


 



“When is this hag going to show up?” Greengrass asked, inspecting his nails in that typical bored fashion of his. “Honestly, if she’s going to force us to be here at this god-awful hour, the least she can do is be on time.”


 



“She probably just got caught up sharpening her talons,” Malfoy muttered, looking awfully sombre for someone who was usually as perky as a Fizzing Whizbee. Dark circles hung underneath his eyes and his normally pristine posture had slumped into a rather unflattering slouch.


 



At least there was one good thing to being here so early. It would’ve been absolute torture having to listen to a hyper Malfoy all detention long.  


 



“Guys,” Al stuttered out nervously. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about the Head Girl like that. She could show up at any minute.”



 


“She better, considering she made us haul our arses here at bloody six in the morning,” Castor grumbled, muffling a yawn. “Damn bird, thinking she can control everyone just cos she prances around with some stupid badge on her-”


 



“Ahem.”


 



The subtle yet firm cough tore through the air like a battle horn, jolting us out of our sleepy states. James and I stumbled over towards the Slytherins, who had formed a somewhat uniformed line.


 



“How wonderful that you all made it here on time,” she greeted, pursing her lips in a smile so fake it would’ve given old Madame Pince a run for her money. “I truly appreciate your cooperation.”


 


She said this as if we actually had the choice.


 


 


“Although it is a bit early-” I snorted at the understatement, earning myself a withering glare. “-I’m sure you all had enough consciousness to assess that you will be doing a bit of manual labour this morning.”


 



“Normally, Professor Hagrid cleans out the stable every night,” she explained, in that annoyingly patronising voice of hers. “However, due to the current circumstances, I asked him yesterday if he would so graciously take the evening off so that you all would have some work to do this morning. I figured since you all had taken such a liking to the creatures, you wouldn’t mind doing them this bit of service.”


 



God, she thought she was so clever.


 



“Of course since this is detention, you will have to clean the Muggle way,” she continued, the smug look on her face growing more and more with each passing second. “So if you would be so kind as if to hand over your wands, I’ll hold onto them until your sentence has finished.”


 



She held out her hand, glancing at us expectantly as she waited for us to comply. A few moments passed of awkward silence. No one wanted to hand over the most prized possession a witch or wizard could own – especially not to some tyrant like Ramsey. As if she needed any more authority over us.


 



Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of interrogating looks, James cleared his throat. “I uh, left my wand back at the dorm.”


 



Matilda raised her eyebrow. “Did you now?”


 



“Yeah,” my cousin replied gruffly, his confidence growing now that he’s had a bit of time to wake up some. “I’ve been to enough detentions to know how they run. Only an idiot would bring his wand to one.”


 



I tried not to blush too hard as I fidgeted with the forbidden paraphernalia that sat in my back pocket. It was habit for me to not leave the room without it, okay? I didn’t exactly have enough time or energy to think that I wouldn’t need it, or that bringing it would mean letting the Head Prat confiscate it.


 



“I left mine too,” Greengrass added, quickly following James’s lead. Malfoy eagerly nodded his head in agreement, chirping out a “me three” shortly after his cousin.


 



Goyle grumbled out some combination of undecipherable grunting sounds. Although my Troll was admittedly a bit rusty, loosely translated I think he meant that he also didn’t bring his wand with him.


 



“Very well then,” Ramsey replied, her mouth tight with disappointment before she moved her stare towards Al and I. “I suppose that just leaves you two.”


 



“Um, I didn’t leave mine,” Al admitted, casting his gaze down so that he wouldn’t have to look her in the eye. Trembling, he dug his hand into his pocket and hesitantly gave up his wand, flinching when she snatched it up.


 



Finally, she turned on me.


 



I could practically taste the snarky remarks making their way up my throat, the bitterness of the phrase ‘over my dead body’ lacing my tongue as it waited to be unleashed. However, before anything even had a chance of making it out of my mouth, something strange happened. My hand, which granted was not exactly the most obedient of my body parts, began to reach its way behind me and into my back pocket. Before I knew it, I too was giving up the one last strand of hope I had of making it out of this detention unscathed.


 



The hungry look that burned in her beady eyes, glinting with triumph, would have sent shivers down Godric Gryffindor’s spine himself.



 


Voldemort, was she a creepy bint.


 


 


"Thank you for your cooperation,” she hissed, making me wonder if the Sorting Hat had placed her in the wrong house. “Now that that’s all settled, it’s time to assign you into pairs.”


 



Of course. Of freaking course she would be assigning us partners. I mean, what was one less freedom anyway? It was totally overrated.


 



“Greengrass and Potter A will be working in row one. Potter J and Malfoy will be working in row two and in row three will be Weasley and Goyle.” I tried not to roll my eyes as she read each pair off of her monogrammed clip board. “At the end of row two is a cupboard that contains all of the supplies you will need to complete your task. There are buckets, spades, pitch forks, etc. Fresh hay can be found outside of the east entrance, which is also where you can find the manure pile. Please do not throw away the soiled hay, since Professor Hagrid uses it for fertilisation. Any questions?”


 



Al raised his hand like the nerd that he was. “Do we have a time limit?”


 



“This entire stable needs to be spotless within the next two hours,” she announced. “All those who failed to clean their row by the time I return will be subjected to an extra hour of work. Good luck.”


 



And with that, she turned on her heel and strode down the path back to school as if she was the damn Minister of Magic herself.



“Someone needs to get that bint laid,” Castor muttered, his face full of disgust as he watched the Head Prat walk away. I gagged at the thought of anyone getting intimate with Matilda Ramsey, although I couldn’t help but think that he might have a point. Maybe a bit of nookie would finally get that giant stick out of her arse.


 



“Are you volunteering for the position, Greengrass?” James quipped, a smirk lifting at the corner of his lips.


 



The Slytherin narrowed his eyes. “Shut up, Potter. We all know that bedding hags is more up your alley.”


 



My cousin blushed at the embarrassing memory. Back in fifth year, when it was the Slytherins’ turn to host the Halloween party, James accidentally drank a roofied bottle of Butterbeer that sent him into one hell of a trip. He had stripped down to his pants, covered his face and chest with some random girl’s lipstick in a very tribal war-paint fashion, attempted to ride on the back of the Slytherin team’s then captain, only for him to fail miserably and face-plant onto the lap of a drunk Hufflepuff.


 


 


However, what really stole the show was when he strode up to Eugenia Flint – a seventh year Prefect with the face of a rat – and proceeded to snog her in front of the entire crowd. Freddy and I had tried to pull him off of her, but she had latched her bony fists into his hair and wouldn’t let go. They went at it for a good three minutes, until finally Eugenia’s ogre of a boyfriend (who also happened to be the bloke that James tried to piggy-back ride) walked into the picture and ripped him away from his girlfriend.


 



Half a second later, my cousin threw up all over the irritated Slytherin before passing out on top of his own vomit. It wasn’t until last January that the Hogwarts’ population finally allowed him to move on from the humiliation.


 



“Only because you drugged me,” he spat back, cheeks flaming.


 



“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


 



“Of course you don’t, you dirty snake.”


 



“Tsk, resorting to petty name calling.” Greengrass shook his head. “I suppose that’s the best you barbarians can come up with.”


 


 


“Barbarians?!” James exclaimed, doing that frightening half-scoff, half-evil chuckle he does whenever he gets pissed off. “Oh, I’ll show you a barbarian! You slimy, pathetic son of a-”


 



“Alright, that’s enough!” I yelled, stepping in between the idiots before another showdown could occur. “Honestly you two! The whole reason you’re here is because of a fight and now you’re trying to get into another one? I know it’s early, but really, use your brains!”


 



For a moment, neither one said anything – they were too busy huffing and puffing at each other to be reasonable. It wasn’t until Al timidly reminded everyone of our two hour limit that they finally stopped their petty glaring match.


 



“Whatever,” Greengrass scoffed, turning away from us and towards his assigned row. Al cautiously followed after him, sending an apologetic look towards his brother. James rolled his eyes and stormed off towards the supply cupboard with Malfoy, leaving me awkwardly standing next to Goyle in the now abandoned entrance.


 


 


Those two were such girls.


 



Letting out a sigh, I turned towards my partner who was looking impressively bored about the whole thing. This wasn’t the first time we got paired up with each other. In fourth year, we had to work together for an entire term in Potions class. It wasn’t exactly torture – like that time I got stuck with Jeremy Smith from Hufflepuff for a week in Transfiguration – but I wouldn’t call it a walk in the park, either.


 



Goyle was someone who I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand. It was sort of impossible to figure out a bloke that barely spoke more than four words a day. However, he pulled his weight and never complained, which is all you can really ask for in a partner.


 



We made our way towards the supply cupboard, which I was relieved to find abandoned. I had reached my dose of drama queens for the day. Grabbing a spade and a wheel barrow filled with fresh hay, I headed over to my end of the row. Since each row contained a total of twelve loose boxes (one on each side), we decided to split them between us and do six each. Well, more like I decided to and Goyle grunted out what I could only assume was an agreement.


 



Anyway.


 



Since I’ve never really mucked anything out before, I kind of had no idea what to do. I wanted to head over to James’s row and ask him how to go about doing this, but I figured he was still in a pissy mood and I didn’t feel like putting up with that. Goyle was over on the opposite end, working his way up instead of down, so it wasn’t like I could peek my head out and see how he was doing it.


 



Eventually, I decided that my first task should be getting all of the giant piles of crap out of the way. I took the clean hay stacks out of the wheel barrow, setting them down on the corridor floor so that I would have a place to put all of the poop.


 



And let me tell you, it was a lot of poop.


 



I had no idea how a creature could produce that much crap and in only one day. Honestly, how was that even possible? It’s like their diet would have to consist of pure fibre. What did they do, spend the day eating a bunch of straw or...


 



Oh.


 



Right, so moving on.


 



You’d think that shovelling out manure wouldn’t be such a hard thing to do. Disgusting yes, but not exactly difficult. I just slide my spade underneath the soiled hay, lift and then dump it into the barrow. It wasn’t like it was Occlumency or anything.


 



There was just one teensy, weensy, tiny problem... the crap wouldn’t stop sliding off of the damn spade!


 



It felt like I had been working on that same stupid little pile of poop for the past ten minutes. Those numbers didn’t exactly match up to the ones I had calculated in my head. Granted, I was terrible at Arithmancy but still. It shouldn’t be taking me this long to get some hay into a wheel barrow.


 



I wanted to blame it all on the spade but that nagging voice inside of me knew better. Maybe it was the angle I was shovelling at? Or the amount of leverage I was putting into it? God, I felt like I was doing homework - trying to figure out the physics of mucking out a box and what not.


 



After what felt like an eternity and with no visible signs of progress, I dropped my spade and decided to give it a break. At the rate I was going at, I was probably going to be stuck here all day. I needed time to figure this thing out, so there was no point exhorting myself in the process.


 



My fingers were already aching from the firm grip I had been keeping on the handle, the beginnings of calluses forming on my palms.


 



I was such a wimp.


 



Figuring that enough time has passed for James to be out of his mood, I decided that I needed to pay him a visit. Not that my cousin owned horses or anything, but since he was taking NEWT Care of Magical Creatures, he must’ve known something about the subject.


 



As I made my way towards his row, I began to notice how quiet it was in here. I figured that there would be some kind of sound coming from the others – especially from Malfoy. Even if he was half asleep, I didn’t think it would affect his canny ability of being a whiny prick.


 



But no, the halls were eerily silent. And it wasn’t just the lack of conversation. I couldn’t hear any sound of spades scraping the wooden floors or the rustle of hay being moved around. No grumpy teens cursing under their breath or the squeaking of ungreased wheel barrows.


 


 


It was rather unsettling, to say the least.


 



Picking up my pace, I hurried to see if I could figure out what the hell was going on. Of course, the lack of noise in here made finding James a lot harder. As I walked down the corridor, I had to turn my head at each stall to see if he was in there. He wasn’t in any of them, yet oddly enough, they were all spotless.


 


 


No. He couldn’t have been done this fast. Not when it was taking me so long just to move one little pile. It wasn’t possible.


 



Unless...


 



I had reached the final box, still without any sight of him, when I realised that maybe a quick glance for a bent auburn head working hard wasn’t what I should’ve been looking for. Walking up to the door of the stall, I looked down at the floor and found the answer to the mystery.



 


There, lying down amongst the freshly placed hay with a cedar wand tucked into his elbow, was my dear cousin snoozing away.


 



“You bloody prick!” I exclaimed, stomping into the stall. I kicked him in the ribs – much harder than I had done earlier this morning – and felt a great sense of pleasure when I heard him groan with pain. “I thought you left your wand in your room!”


 



“What the hell, Minnie?” he moaned, rolling over on his side. His hair was a mess, pieces of straw sticking up all over the place just like his famous Potter locks.


 



“You’re asking me what the hell?!” I demanded, placing my hands on my hips as I tried to keep my fury in check. “I should be asking you that! I can’t believe you snuck your wand in here and then lied about it!”


 



“Well I wasn’t just going to let Ramsey take it from me,” he offered, grunting as he picked himself off of the floor. A twinge of guilt filled me as I saw him clutch his ribcage in pain, but I quickly swallowed that down. I was not about to start feeling sorry for him. “Besides, you lie all the time. What’s the big deal?”


 


 


“The big deal?” I repeated incredulously. “The big deal is that it’s not fair that you get to cheat your way through this detention, while I’ve been working for half an hour on the same stupid pile of crap!”


 



He quirked an eyebrow, “It’s taking you thirty minutes just for one pile?”


 



“Don’t change the subject!” I scolded, my cheeks flaming with both embarrassment and fury. “And it’s not so much the sneaking and lying that bugs me, but rather the fact that you didn’t even bother to offer me any help. Some cousin you are.”


 



James let out a sigh, “Yeah that was a bit of a boneheaded move.”


 



“Damn right it was.”


 



“Well, what do you want me to do? Go clean it for you?” he offered, dusting the straw off of his trousers. “Because it’ll be rather suspicious if Ramsey comes by and sees that we’ve all finished in less than an hour.”


 



“Wait, Greengrass and Al finished early too?” I asked. “But Al turned his wand in!”


 



“Greengrass did his row for him,” my cousin explained. “I saw the Slytherins leave about fifteen minutes ago, right after I finished my last box. I decided to stay behind so that you wouldn’t be left all alone.”


 



“How thoughtful of you,” I muttered spitefully. “God, I can’t believe I’m the only one who’s actually been working.”


 



“Just think of it as taking one for the team,” he replied, slinging an arm over my shoulder. He quickly removed it after the death glare I gave him. Clearing his throat, he continued with his half-arse explanation. “If we all had used magic, Ramsey would’ve been able to tell right away. But with you actually doing the work, the stables now have a somewhat authentic feel to it. It really was for the best, Minnie.”


 



“Bollocks,” I spat. “You’re just saying that to make yourself feel better about being a lousy cousin.”


 



“Okay so that might be true,” he admitted sheepishly. “But can you really blame me? I mean, it’s too early for me to think of other people right now. The only thing on my mind is my bed and breakfast.”


 



“Yet it’s not too early for you to come up with an explanation as ridiculous as the one you just rambled off to me?” I narrowed my eyes at him. “You know what, James? Maybe it’s just better that you go on back to the castle without me. I wouldn’t want you to exhort yourself by being my friend or anything.”


 



“Come on, Min,” he groaned, the guilt finally settling in. “Don’t be like that. You know I love you and crap.”


 


 


“Yeah well, I’m not really in the mood for your ‘love and crap’. So just take your selfish arse back to the dorm and let me do some honest work in peace.”


 



We went on like this for a while – him protesting (although with still no sign of an apology) and me refusing – until finally I had to threaten to set fire to his precious Firebolt 5000 if he wouldn’t just go and leave me be. The moment the stable doors closed behind him, I immediately began to regret my decision.


 



With the thestrals out grazing the in the forest and the boys gone, a creepy silence had once again fallen amongst the stables. Add that to the fact that the stables were a good ten minutes away from the rest of the castle and that it was only six thirty in the morning, I was more than a little freaked out.


 



And to make matters worse, I still hadn’t figured out how to get my stupid stall cleaned!


 



The Fates clearly had it out for me.


 



-


 



After allowing myself a good fifteen minutes (or at least what felt like fifteen minutes, since I really didn’t have any way of knowing the actual time) of wallowing in self-pity, I picked myself up from the wall I was slouching on and headed back to work. There would be plenty of time to curse my cousin’s name afterwards, but first I had to find a way to get through this detention before I broke down in a pathetic heap of despair.


 



The whole situation was just border-line depressing.


 


 


I legitimately almost started crying once I returned to my row. The way those infinite piles of manure just sat there, practically mocking me in that impossible-to-clean manner of theirs. It was enough to make any sensible person fall to her knees in misery.


 



Fortunately for me, I wasn’t exactly the most sensible person. And so I quickly pushed all feelings of hopelessness aside and grabbed my spade once again. I was going to get these boxes clean even if that meant that it would be the last thing I do.


 



Because if there was one thing I was sure of, it was that I was not going to allow Matilda freaking Ramsey to defeat me. Not now, not ever.


 


 


Less than a second had passed after that little mental declaration of mine, when the doors to the stables burst opened. My spade fell to the floor with a loud clambering sound as the morning light flooded in. My heart begin to race at the fear of it being Ramsey, coming to reap my soul for of the lack of progress.


 



Bracing myself, I turned towards the entrance only to find absolutely no sign of a vengeful she-devil. Instead there stood a tall male figure, the golden sunlight hitting his back in a very halo-like fashion. I squinted my eyes to get a better look at this glowing guardian angel and noticed a silver badge pinned to the front of his robes.


 


 


“Dare?” I asked, utterly astonished.


 



He stepped away from the entrance and into the cool shadows of the stable, revealing his normally awkward self as the heavenly light diminished. His hair was damp and he smelled like soap, causing for a sharp stab of jealousy to overcome me. God, what I would give for a shower right about now.


 



“James wasn’t kidding when he said you were the only here,” he replied, glancing around the empty place. There was this odd disapproving tone to his voice, which sort of threw me off. What did he disapprove of – James leaving me or my slow progress? If this had been last year, the answer would have definitely been the last one. However, after this past week (more specifically last night), it was hard to tell where Dare stood on these types of things.


 



I didn’t want to say that we had become friends, but I’m afraid that that’s exactly what we had become.


 



And considering the overwhelmingly strange mixture of relief and joy I had felt once I realised that it was Dare standing in the stable entrance, I knew I couldn’t deny that fact. I don’t think I’ve ever been so... excited to see someone before, much less the Head Prick.


 



“I know he’s my best mate and all, but James can be a bit of a dick in the morning.”


 



One sentence – one sentence – was all it took to make me forget about any suspicions, misconceptions, doubts, etc that I’ve felt in the last week. Just one sentence and I was already fighting back the urge to fling my arms around his neck with a flurry of gratitude.



 


“Tell me about it,” I muttered, trying to keep my tone as neutral as possible. Even though we were friends now, I still had my reputation to uphold. “So uh, what are you doing here? Ramsey send you to check up on me?”


 


 


Dare shook his head, “No one did, actually. When James returned to the dorm without you and told me what happened, I figured someone should come down to help you. And so here I am.”


 



I couldn’t help it – my heart did a few back flips after hearing him explain everything. Maybe it was the odours getting to me or something, but I was genuinely touched that he would come all this way just to help me with my detention. So much so, that I was about this close from tackling him to the ground with hugs.


 



Thank fully, there was still some shred of rationality in me so I managed to keep my dignity.


 



“How thoughtful of you,” I replied cordially. I threw in a small smile so he wouldn’t think I was a total ice queen. “It’s nice to see that at least one of my friends care about me.”


 



“Anytime, since we are friends after all.” He paused slightly after the word ‘friends’, making me wonder if he too was flustered by this new development in our relationship.


 



“Right, friends.”


 



A few moments of silence passed between us, neither of us wanting to look the other in the eye. Merlin, could we be any more awkward?


 


 


“So,” he declared, a bit louder than necessary. “How about we get started on this cleaning? You’ve got a little over an hour left, but if I’m going to help you than we should try to be done before Matilda gets here.”


 



“Sounds like a plan!” I exclaimed, with a little too much enthusiasm. I turned towards the stalls that were left for me to clean and my heart sank when I realised that it was all of them. “Er, there’s just one problem...”


 



“You really have no clue about cleaning after horses, do you?” Dare asked, looking at those dirty boxes with a mixture of disappointment and amusement.


 



“Oh and you do?” I retaliated, before wincing at the harshness in my voice. I have got to stop thinking everything he says is some sort of jab at me. Here he was doing me a huge favour and I repay him by acting like a paranoid git.


 



Why was it so hard for me to be nice?


 



“Considering how there’s a stable in my backyard and I’ve had my own horse since I was eight, then yeah, I do,” he remarked hotly, his pride also getting to him. Maybe I wasn’t the only one trying to figure out this whole friendship thing.



 


I bit my lip, forcing myself to reign in the snarky comments I so wanted to throw at him. “No you’re right. I shouldn’t have sassed you, sorry.”


 


 


“It’s fine,” he replied, surprised that I would actually apologise (he wasn’t the only one). After a semi-awkward pause, he cleared his throat and continued. “Anyway, so I guess the first thing to cleaning this mess up would be the right tools. Pitchforks are ideal when it comes to this kind of stuff. If you use a spade, the hay will most likely end up sliding off.”


 



No kidding. 


 



“Cool, I’ll go grab some.” I moved to head towards the supply cupboard, only to be stopped by a rather warm hand which somehow made its way onto my arm. I froze instantly, my brain momentarily shut down from the sudden onrush of emotions which his touch had stirred in me.



 


“No need, I’ll just summon it.” His voice was smooth as he muttered the charm, flicking his wand with his free hand. As the two tools came zooming our way, I discreetly pinched my side to snap me out of whatever trance I had fallen into.


 



It was unnerving the amount of control his touch had on me.


 



Thankfully, my mind managed to wake up just in time to catch the pitchforks before they smacked us in the face. I handed one to Dare, silently hoping he hadn’t noticed my little… episode.


 



“Thanks.” He removed his hand from my arm, leaving behind a trail of goose bumps along my skin. “So I’ll do this first one by myself, so you can see how it’s done, and then we can work on the rest together. I’ll even charm the pitchforks so that they work faster.”


 



“Sounds great,” I told him, my tone completely genuine.


 



I sat down on one of the fresh hay stacks, making myself comfortable as I watched him go to work. It was obvious that he’s done this kind of stuff before. The way his hands moved so mechanically and in rhythm with the tools. Everything looked so easy for him. I swear, this stall would probably take him less than ten minutes. And I don’t think he even charmed the pitchforks yet.


 



I was definitely a little bit jealous.


 



It was weird, though, seeing him work like that. Ever since I first met Dare, I’ve always seen him as a bit of a ninny. With his scrawny build and terrible posture (which I always found ironic considering how his family was so filthy rich), he’s never been that impressive to look at. Yeah, being on the team helps with his image a bit, but not by much. I mean, he’s only a Seeker and they’re supposed to be lightweight.


 



Lately though, it seems like he’s finally been filling out. Not by much, of course, but it’s definitely an improvement. Although that may be because this kind of work emphasised the muscles in his arms, which were surprisingly toned.


 



Dare paused for a moment, to wipe the sweat that had begun to form on his brow. He lifted his shirt to wipe though, revealing yet another surprise and sending my nerves into a tizzy. So it wasn’t just his arms that were toned.


 



He’s definitely been doing something then, because the last time I saw him shirtless the only definition he had was along his ribcage. Then again, that was back in fourth year. Either way, my mouth went dry at the sight and I was starting to feel just the slightest bit uncomfortable.


 



Maybe that’s why my brain fried whenever he touched me. Because somehow it knew that underneath all the designer t-shirts and vintage jumpers, he was actually this secret sexpot.



 


Wait, what?


 



“Well, I think that should do it for this one.” His voice was like a splash of cold water, tearing me away from my mortifying thoughts. “You ready to start on the next one?”


 



I had to clear my throat before I could answer. “Totally.”


 


 


He grinned, the whiteness of his teeth enhanced by his tan. “No need to be so nervous, Minnie. It’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it.”


 



“Who says I’m nervous?” I exclaimed, silently praying that my voice wouldn’t betray me. I grabbed the other pitchfork and headed towards the next stall with as much confidence as I could muster (which really wasn’t that much). “In fact, I bet I could finish this stall faster than it took for you to do that one.”


 



“Oh yeah?” There was a rare mischievous tone to his voice, his eyes glinting with amusement. “On what terms?”



 


The idea of a bet got the adrenaline pumping through me, getting rid of any hints of anxiety. I tapped my finger against my chin as I tried to think of something worthwhile. “If I win, then you have to convince Ramsey to drop my second detention.”


 



“That’s not fair!” he protested, although he didn’t seem too upset by it. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to try and get her to do something that’s not her idea? Getting her to drop your detention would be impossible!”


 



I shrugged, “Not my problem. If you can’t meet the terms, then you’ll have to forever live with the knowledge of your incompetence.”


 



“Alright, I see how it is,” he said, pretending to be offended. “Now what happens when you lose this bet?”


 



“Considering how I’ve never lost a bet before,” I began, flashing him a Witch Weekly worthy smile. “I’ll be generous and let you figure that part out.”


 



Never mind the fact that I still haven’t properly cleaned out a stall. However, I’ll cross that mountain once I get there.


 



“Well then, it’s a bet.”


 


 


“You haven’t told me your terms yet!” I reminded. A dangerous smirk began to form on his face and he shook his head.


 



“I’ll be thinking of that while you attempt to clean out that box.”


 



So that’s how he’s going to play, huh?


 



“Fine,” I told him, my tone determined. With a pitchfork in hand, I entered the next stall and hurriedly began to work.


 



“Oi, I haven’t even started keeping time yet!” Dare objected, but I didn’t stop.


 



“Not my problem!” I shouted back over my shoulder. He was right when he said that pitchforks were much better tools than a spade. I was barely five seconds in and I already managed to move one pile into a wheelbarrow. A rather tiny pile, but it was progress nonetheless.


 



“You’ve got five minutes then!” he called out, but that only made me want to work faster. I was pretty sure it took him a little more than five minutes, but if he wanted to play dirty than that was okay. I mean, I did start it after all.


 



“Good thing I’m almost done!” I bluffed. I was probably ten minutes away from finishing this stall and that’s being generous. However, there was always the chance for a slight miracle to happen. Highly unlikely of course, especially considering my reputation with the Fates, but I had to have hope.


 



“You’re such a liar, Min.” His voice sounded much closer and so I stopped to look over my shoulder. He was leaning against the entrance of my stall, arms crossed and grinning like a mad man as he caught me in the middle of my lie. “James said you took thirty minutes on the same pile of hay.”


 



“James is also a dick, so you really can’t take much of what he says seriously.”


 



Dare laughed. “Let’s just call off the bet, okay? I don’t want you to ruin your perfect record because of a skill you haven’t had much practise with.”


 



“How chivalrous of you,” I replied, mimicking him as I crossed my arms across my chest. “But I think you’re only saying that cos you’re scared I’m going to win.”


 



God, I really was full of it.


 



He shook his head, moving away from the post he was leaning on and towards me with an amused look on his face. I tried not to gulp too audibly once he stopped less than an inch away in front of me. He bent his head so that his lips were almost grazing my ear, before whispering. “There is no way you are going to win this.”


 



My heart started doing that funny ‘about to pop out of my chest’ thing again, but I wasn’t just going to let him defeat me. So I did what any other girl would’ve done in my position – I gave him a taste of his own medicine.


 



With one hand on his chest for support, I reached the other around him until I found what I was looking for. Once I made sure I had a firm grip on his wand, which was sticking out from his back pocket, I tilted my head up so that my lips were next to his ear. Except unlike him, I made sure to make contact.


 



I couldn’t help but feel victorious once I heard his breath hitch.


 



“Just watch me,” I whispered, before promptly shoving his chest as hard as my left hand would allow me. He didn’t go very far but it gave me enough room to book it out of the stall and into the corridor. I wasted no time and started throwing out whatever cleaning spells I could think of (which really wasn’t that much).


 



It was rather risky on my part, considering my track record with charms, but for once the Fates were on my side. I was able to catch a glimpse of the stalls magically cleaning themselves, before being tackled to the ground by Dare. It wasn’t too hard of a fall, thankfully, but that didn’t stop him from rolling me over and pinning me to the ground. I locked my grip on his wand, knowing that that was what he really wanted.


 



“You little sneak,” he said, panting slightly. The corners of his mouth lifted up into a disbelieving smile. “That was totally cheating.”


 



“Technically, we never mentioned not using magic,” I countered, trying hard to keep a straight face. The endorphins in me were flowing freely and I felt like I was on some kind of high.


 



“You know you could’ve set this whole place on fire,” he mentioned. “Considering your reputation with charms.”


 



“True,” I replied. “But the look on your face was so worth the risk.”


 



He just rolled his eyes. “Can I have my wand back?”


 



“Once you convince Ramsey to drop my second detention.”


 



“That could take all day!” he whined, but I was having too much fun to give in just yet.


 



“Good thing it’s a Saturday, then.”


 



He stared at me for a good ten seconds before responding. “You’re never going to make things easy for me, are you?”


 



“Glad to see you’re starting to catch on!”


 



Dare just chuckled. It wasn’t a deep, hearty one but it wasn’t some wimpy little giggle either. He had a rather, neutral voice? Not low, not high but something right in the middle. I dunno, but it was a pleasant sound – especially when he laughed – and I couldn’t help but smile a little bit.


 



Shaking his head, he let go of my wrists and sat back on his heels, allowing me some room to sit up on my elbows. I saw him bite his lip, trying to hold back a grin so I gave him a questioning look. He motioned to my head and that’s when I remembered I had been lying down on a bed of straw. I reached my hand up to my hair and surely enough there were pieces of straw sticking up all over it.


 



“Well, this is embarrassing,” I muttered, as I began to pull out the hay. I probably looked like an idiot, what with my stupid straw crown and filthy clothes. Ugh, I just really needed to go and take a shower already.


 



“I dunno, I think it’s a good look on you,” Dare mentioned, as he plucked out a strand of hay. “Very down-to-earth.”


 


 


“Shut up,” I growled, but that didn’t stop a smile from escaping. He laughed – that gorgeously infectious laugh – and I couldn’t help but join in.


 



If any outsider were to walk in on us they’d probably think we’d gone mental. Here we were – the Head Boy and the girl who couldn’t stay out of detention – lying on the ground and laughing like a pair of loons. We were probably just a stupid grin away from a one-way ticket to St Mungo’s.


 



“What is the meaning of this?!”


 



It was almost comical the way we scrambled to get away from each other. You’d think one of us contacted the plague or something. Although I had to admit – I would much rather deal with the plague than face the wrath of Matilda Ramsey.


 



And boy did she look pissed.


 



“Matilda!” Dare exclaimed, clearing his throat as he tried to compose himself. He was failing miserably, by the way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so red before. “I was just... ahem... looking for my glasses.”


 



Someone had to teach this boy how to lie.


 



Ramsey, of course, was having none of it. “You are a disgrace to that badge,” she spat, absolutely livid. “I expected this sort of thing from Weasley but I thought you’d have more sense than this. Disrupting a detention just so you could canoodle with your girlfriend? I’ve never seen such a blatant disregard for the rules before and from the Head Boy himself.”


 



“Now just wait one minute,” I said, jumping in before Dare could say something that’d get us into more trouble. He tended to get a little testy whenever someone made a jab at his authority. Besides, I was a much better liar than him.


 



“In case you haven’t noticed, these stalls are clean. Dare happened to come by right when I was finishing my last box, so don’t even think about blaming him for disrupting a detention or whatever crap rule you made up. And he didn’t come down here to canoodle, either. Bloody hell, who even says canoodle?”


 



Honestly, what was she? Forty?


 



“Well why else would he come down here if not for that?” Ramsey asked, clearly irritated.


 



“Oh I don’t know,” I said, rolling my eyes as I tried to come up with a quick lie. “Maybe because he actually needed to talk to me. Professor McGonagall sent him over with a message about tomorrow’s detention.”


 



Since I was on such a roll with the whole lying thing, I figured it didn’t hurt to try and take a little more advantage of the situation.


 



“What about tomorrow’s detention?” she demanded, narrowing her eyes.


 



“Just that she decided it would be better if Dare was in charge of it, instead of you. Something about maintaining a balance of authority or whatever. I dunno, you’ll have to ask Dare for the details.” I tossed my hair over my shoulder, feeling rather confident with myself. “Anyway, the point is that there’s no need for you to be so upset because we did nothing wrong.”


 



I wonder if there was such a thing as a professional liar. Because Merlin knows I’d be a millionaire if there was.


 



“I could write you up for inappropriate public displays of affection,” she threatened, but we both knew it was a weak one.


 



“Except that it wasn’t in public,” Dare pointed out, finally speaking up. “Minnie and I were completely alone before you came barging in. And as far as I can remember, there aren’t any rules about couples being affectionate with each other in private.”


 



“That may be so,” she admitted, her tone suggesting that she hasn’t given up just yet. “But what I’m having trouble believing is the fact that McGonagall would actually agree to this whole ‘changing authorities’ rubbish. Especially considering the conflict of interest and all.”


 



“First of all, it’s Professor McGonagall,” Dare began, and I had to turn my head so the prat wouldn’t see the giant smirk on my face. “Honestly Matilda, have a little respect. And secondly, I could care less about what you believe. If the Headmistress believes that I am capable of keeping my personal life separate from my duties as Head Boy, then that’s all that matters. Why else would she give me the position if she didn’t think I could own up to it?”



 


Ramsey started to open her mouth to protest, no doubt with a list of reasons why she thought Dare was inept, but he wasn’t finished. That was the thing with Dare – once you got him going, he didn’t stop until he said everything he intended to say.


 



“So if I were you, I’d be a little more careful with what you accuse people of. Because as far as I’m concerned, criticising the Headmistress’s choice for Head falls under the category of disrespecting authorities.” He paused, most likely for dramatic effect even though we all knew what was coming next.  “And last I heard, that’s liable for a detention.”


 



I could’ve kissed him then. I honestly think I could have. Because hot damn, that was the most impressive, hilarious, attractive – whatever – tell off I’ve ever seen.  And the fact that it was towards Matilda freaking Ramsey, just made it even better.


 



Holy crap, the look on her face was pure gold. I don’t think she expected Dare to go off on her like that – hell, even I didn’t expect Dare to go off like that! I’ve never been so proud of him before. I felt like a mother hen whose chick finally grew up and became a bad ass rooster.


 



“I… I’ll have you…” Ramsey was just spluttering now, unable to function after such a burn. She kept going on like that for a few moments, while Dare and I did everything we could to stifle our laughter, before finally letting out a loud ‘ugh!’ and storming out of the stables.


 



“Oi, you forgot to give me back my wand!” I called after her. She didn’t even bother to turn around and just threw my precious wand over her shoulder. It came hurdling towards my face but I managed to catch it just in time.


 



“Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?!” I yelled, unable to control myself, but the only answer I got was the sound of a slamming door.


 



Stupid wench.


 



“Well, that was vastly entertaining,” Dare said, looking fairly pleased with himself. “I reckon that now that I’m in charge of your detention, you’d like me to drop it.”


 



“That’d be lovely, thanks,” I answered, offering my sweetest smile. I also handed over his wand because honestly, he bloody well deserved it.



 


He just laughed, placing his wand back into his pocket where it belonged. “I suppose there wouldn’t be any harm in that. Now, what do you say to some breakfast? God knows I’m starving.”


 



Yes, he’s definitely improved.


 



“You don’t have to ask me twice,” I told him and this time we both laughed. I linked my arm in his as we made our way out of the stables and into the sunshine. The morning was bright, filled with glistening promises and chirping birds.


 



Maybe it was the sudden bout of fresh air but I was suddenly hit with the thought that maybe, just maybe, Dare and I being friends wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. Then again, that could just be my empty stomach talking.


 



But, I highly doubted it.



 




 

Matilda Ramsey - Krysten Riter


 

A/N: What's this, an update? I was starting to forget how they looked like. But in all seriousness, this past year has been fairly hectic for me. I started college and also got a job, which meant I had like zero time to write. I've been working on this chapter since October, so I'm sure you can all understand how busy I've been.


 

Unfortunately, I'm going to be starting school again but I transfered universities and will now be living away from home, so hopefully I'll have more time to write. Thankfully I got a full-ride, so I won't have to worry about getting a job out there. That and I finally have my own proper laptop that I don't have to share with my sister anymore. But then again, I'm going to be an English major which means a lot of writing/reading, so I might get a bit burned out. We'll see how this goes.


 

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! There was a lot of Minnie/Dare development, which I mainly put in as a form of an apology for taking so long (and the plot might have something to do with it too). So yeah! Leave me a review and I'll do my best to reply to them!

 

-Camila




 

PS: I also updated the chapter images, so feel free to go back and have a look at them if you'd like. Oh and I changed the title for the first chapter. I finally got around to watching "Sixteen Candles" and realized that it's actually fairly similar to this story (at least the beginning of it) and figured I pay a little tribute to it. So yeah, in case you were wondering. 


 


Chapter 10: The Kids All Dream of Making It
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 





Disclaimer: It's all Jo's. 




 Since I had skipped dinner the night which I started the rumour, I didn’t really get to witness the aftermath of my stupidity. And what with consequences being like that nagging ex who you just can’t seem to get rid of, of course my lovely breakfast with Dare had to be ruined by an onslaught of gossip hungry students.

I’ve lived through my fair share of ambushes, but this one definitely took the cake – with no one other than my beloved best friend at its helm.

My skin still prickles whenever I think about the murderous look she gave me once she finally reached us. I think what made this certain occasion worse than her previous blow-ups was the fact that she actually sounded hurt. That and all of the annoying third years that kept trying to put their noses into places where they didn’t belong. What did a bunch of thirteen year old Hufflepuffs care if Dare and I were dating or not?

Talk about a creepy lot.

Anyway, it was quite the scandal. And it didn’t help that when Nat had spotted us, Dare’s arm was still casually wrapped around my shoulders. I don’t really remember how it ended up there, but it turned out being the muse for the most creative string of swear words I’ve ever heard used in a single sentence.

Had to hand it to that best friend of mine – she sure had a way with words.

On top of that we also had the Andies squealing like a bunch of giddy pigs, Professor Flitwick squeaking at us to settle down, catcalls coming from all four corners of the earth, and you basically got chaos in its purest form.

It took us about an hour to explain everything and clear up all the rumours.

The hardest part was getting Nat to accept everything. Being the irrational woman that she was, she wouldn’t just go and accept either of our apologies right away. To make a long story short, I was basically given two options of how I could make it all up to her: either allow her to give me a total makeover or try out for the Quidditch team.

Fast forward two weeks and you’ll find me standing on the pitch at 6:30 in the morning, silently cursing myself for having got into this mess in the first place.

I could feel the bones in my back pop as I twisted around my waist, trying to warm myself up before the try outs started. I was about as stiff as my Uncle Percy in a night club but I think it was mainly due to the nerves. As much as I loved Quidditch, it’s been a really long time since I played in front of a group of people that wasn’t just my family.

Granted, my cousins were like half of the house, but they really only filled up like half a row in the stands.  It didn’t make up for the other, twenty something rows that were filled to the brim with chattering students.

Practically the entire tower had shown up for the try outs. The majority of them were only there to either support their friends that were actually trying out, or get a front row seat to all of the drama that was bound to go down. This was Quidditch we were talking about. There was no chance any one was going to miss out on fresh gossip, even if it meant having to sit in the stands since six in the morning.

On a Saturday.

You can always count on Gryffindor to not disappoint.

As for all of us who actually came to participate, it was also a pretty good turnout. Out of my family, only Lily decided to give it a go. She was jogging around the pitch with two other kids from her year. I think one of them was Eli’s little sister, who I also think was her best friend. The boy I had no idea. Nor did I really care. Even though there were a ton of third and fourth years trying out, I doubted any of them would actually make the team. The only one who actually stood a chance was Lily and well, that was for obvious reasons.

 Hugo was also going to try out, but he broke his arm a few days ago after tripping down a flight of stairs, so he was stuck on the stands with his sister, the twins, and Albus – who even though wasn’t a Gryffindor, still showed up to support his siblings like the good brother he was .

 It was better that Hugo didn’t try out, though. Poor thing probably wouldn’t have been able to handle the rejection of not making the team.

Anyway, I don’t know why so many people showed up, since there were really only two open positions. Yeah, technically Nat had to say that just because someone had made the team last year didn’t guarantee their spot this year. But the chances of a former member not making the team again were slim to none.  

I would say that out of the twenty something that showed up, only like, five really stood a chance. They did have dedication though, considering they all showed up at such an ungodly hour of the morning and were actually warming up. It was more than what I could say for Freddy.

Having been on the team since his second year, he was a little too overly confident. Yes he’s been out here since six like the rest of us. But instead of taking the time to warm up, he’s been too busy flirting up a storm with some of the girls from his year.

Then you’ve got Dare on the other hand, who’s been jogging the pitch every morning this week. But what else did you expect from such an over achiever?

I made my way towards the nerd, who was currently chatting with Davie Fields – the fifth year prefect that was also one of the few that I could actually see Nat putting on the team. They both greeted me with warm smiles, though only Dare gave me a hug.

Ever since he rescued me from my detention, our relationship has improved quite impressively.

“Ready for tryouts?” he asked, letting his arm rest around my shoulders. It’s become a bit of a habit for him this past week.

“If you mean two whole hours of legalized torture a la Natalie Wood, then no, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that.”

“Yeah, I’m so glad Nat wasn’t captain back when I tried out for the team. I don’t think I would’ve made the cut, to be honest.”

At his comment, I had to bite my tongue.

He may not have remembered, but when he first tried out was also my first – and last, until now – time trying out for the team. It was also the day that has been forever dubbed in my memory as the Great Quidditch Incident of 2017. Or in other words, the day that I swore to hate Dare for forever and always.

It all started when the four of us –James, Dare, Nat and I – made the decision to try out for the team back in third year. Well, due to some poor communication skills and a misleading announcement, instead of going for the Chaser position like we had planned, Dare somehow ended up in the same line that I was in – the Seekers.

That might not have been such a problem had Dare not push me off my broom when I was just a finger tip’s reach away from catching the Snitch. Yeah, you can imagine how livid my thirteen year old self was when, after resurfacing from my impromptu nose dive into the Black Lake, I caught sight of the prick holding that little gold ball with a look of triumph on his face. And thus my hatred for him was born.

None of my friends believed me when I told them Dare had cheated, which I think added to my bitterness. They said I was just being a sore loser and maybe I was, but I knew what I saw. My cousin Roxy had offered me a spot on the reserve team but my pride didn’t allow me to accept.

Anyway, it was all water under the bridge now.

I mean, we’ve made so much progress and it really wasn’t fair of me to hold something he did when he was thirteen against him. Especially since he apparently had no recollection of the event.

“But I’m sure you’ll do great, Min,” he added in a rushed, worried tone, making me realize that I had gone stiff at the memory. “You’re a much better flyer than I am and Nat knows that. There’s no way you’re not going to make it onto the team.”

“Thanks,” I said, not helping but smile.

See what I mean by all of the progress we’ve made? The old Dare would have never in a million years admitted that I was better than him at something. Not to mention, the way those eyes got all filled with worry when he noticed my discomfort. Granted, he was the one who had caused it.

But still.

It was like trying to hold a grudge against a puppy.

“So how come Brain isn’t here? Is she not going to try out?” I asked, noticing the absence of my friend. Like her brother, she also had been jogging every morning and it wasn’t like her to miss out on such an important event.

“She had a thing for her Herbology class,” Dare answered. “I think they were going to plant some kind of herb that can only be planted at sunrise. I know she spoke to Nat about it and got permission to miss out. What I don’t know is if that means Nat’s going to let her try out separately or save her spot on the team. But she didn’t seem all that worried, so I’m guessing everything will work out.”

“Then how come you’re not there?” I looked over at the fifteen year old who as far as I knew, was in the exact same class as Brain.

“Professor Longbottom only picked the top student from each house,” Davie replied. “And well, there’s not really any competing when it comes to Brain.”

He had a point.

It also explained why Rose was looking especially bitter over there on the stands. It must have been killing her to know that she wasn’t considered the top of her house. Though I didn’t really see what the big deal was. The only thing being top of your class meant was more homework. Seriously, someone had to teach these professors what the word ‘reward’ actually meant.

“EVERYONE WHO IS HERE FOR TRY OUTS I WANT YOU ON CENTRE PITCH NOW!”

Nat’s ear-bursting yell tore through the air, bringing me back to reality. All chatter had ceased at the sound of her voice and everyone scrambled towards the pitch, lining up so that they’d be facing her. James stood at her right-hand side, arms crossed and face stern, like the good co-captain that he was. I made my way over so that I was standing between Dare and a trembling third year who was probably regretting having shown up.

“To start, I’m going to announce right off the bat that anyone who came today with a specific position in mind can kiss that idea goodbye. All positions are up for grabs, including those who were on the team last year. I don’t care if your Daddy has told you you’d be a great Chaser all your life. I’m captain, and that means I’ll be the one deciding what position you will fit best.”

I felt Dare stiffen up at the announcement and I could see from the corner of my eye that he was clenching his jaw ridiculously tight.

“She’s probably only saying that for protocol,” I muttered to him, afraid that his jaw might snap.

 “Yeah, probably.” He didn’t sound all that convinced, but at least he relaxed a bit and offered me a small smile.

 “Obviously, the Beater positions are not open since James and I are the only ones who already have secured spots on the team.” She smirked a little at this. “However, we are also looking for reserve players, so that means there are twelve positions open all together. And since there are about twenty five of you here, that means half of you are going to be cut. So let’s get started shall we?”

 




 

“YOU PATHETIC LOT CALL THAT RUNNING?! MY NAN RUNS FASTER THAN ALL OF YOU AND SHE’S HALF DEAD!”

It’s only been about an hour into the trials and I’ve already died and been brought back to life about five times. I stopped feeling my calves about halfway through and I’m pretty sure my left lung exploded fifteen minutes ago. Not to mention, I was practically swimming in my own sweat.

“GET THOSE KNEES UP! COME ON!”

Surprisingly enough though, I actually wasn’t doing half bad. You know, asides from the fact that I’m probably going to have to be levitated into the Hospital Wing by the time this torture is over. But there were only three fifth years, my cousin Lily, and Dare, that were ahead of me. And considering how I was expecting to be in dead last, I’d say that it was going rather well.

“LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO!!!”

Nat had decided to start the tryouts off with ‘a bit of cardio’ – as she put it – to not only get us warmed up, but also to weed out all of those whose conditioning wasn’t up to par with her standards. So far we’ve had to run around the pitch ten times, do a series of abdominals for ten minutes without stop, jumping stars for another ten, as well as press ups, and now we were running up and down the stands. Thankfully, this was the final drill of the cardio segment. However, she also didn’t give us a specific limit, so we basically had to hang in there until she’d had enough.

“OKAY ENOUGH OF THAT!” Nat blew her whistle, signalling the end of the drill.

Thank Merlin.

I don’t know how, but I actually made it to the top of the stands. Granted I was the last one to make it, but it was better than the other seven who either fainted or fell just a few steps short before the whistle blew.

We all collapsed onto the seats, chests burning as we waited for Nat and James to finish scribbling on their clipboards. My head was pounding and my vision was clouded with bright green and white spots, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t normal.

 “Alright, it’s time for the first cuts!” Nat announced happily. “All of you who made it to the top stand, congratulations! You will be continuing on towards the next round. As for the rest of you, thanks for showing up but you have officially been eliminated! If those that are conscious could please levitate your weaker friends to the Hospital Wing so that we may continue, it would be much appreciated.”

There were quite a bit of tears shed as the majority of the third and fourth years limped (or were levitated) off the pitch and collected their belongings.

“And that leaves us with eighteen! I’m surprised so many of you were able to survive this first half, but don’t celebrate just yet. What you just experienced was probably the most excruciating part physically speaking, but now it’s time to see if your skills match your conditioning. James, if you’d do us the honour of explaining what to expect during the last half of tryouts?”

“Gladly!” James exclaimed, his grin as wide as it was on Christmas morning. There was a wicked glint in his eye, one I was all too familiar with. It was the one he always had right before we were about to go through with an exceptionally devious prank. It was the one that usually would have first years running to take cover.

It was the glint that spelt trouble.

“Who’s ready to have a little bit of fun?”

Oh Fawkes.




Well, Nat was right about one thing – this last half of tryouts was nowhere near as painful as the first part. It didn’t make it any less draining, though.

I think for what the drills lacked in pain, she made up for in excess.

It wouldn’t have been hard to lose count of all the different routines she had us go through. However, since she would cut a person after each one, it made it a little easier to keep track.  So far we’ve had to throw a Quaffle as far as humanly possible, dodge a swarm of rogue Bludgers, try not to get hit in the face while simultaneously having to defend the hoops, fly laps around the pitch blindfolded, race from one end of the pitch to the other on multiple occasions, before finally ending with a scrimmage.

It has possibly been the most exhausting hour of my life, and that’s including when I had to take the OWLS back in fifth year.

I had to hand it to Nat, though. She really knew how to squeeze every last ounce of energy from a person.

“Whew! What a day!” she stated, wiping some sweat off her brow. “I don’t know about you lot, but I sure am beat.”

How? How could she possibly be tired from just standing around and yelling at us? She literally just watched us fly around the entire time, scribbling a few things onto her clipboard every now and then.

“Anyway, well done everyone! I’m sure I speak for the both of us when I say that you all put up an excellent fight, am I right James?”

He nodded. “Definitely. We could see you lot really gave it your all which is exactly the type of dedication we want to see on this team.  It’s been a long two hours but the hour of judgement has finally arrived.”

“Exactly,” Nat continued. “Twenty five started with us today and now we have twelve sweaty, exhausted kids who stand before us. As you heard at the start of the tryouts, this was the number of open positions on the team. However, after some careful consideration, we have decided that we are only going to keep eight of you.”

There was an outburst of protests, but Nat ignored them and continued on with her ridiculously melodramatic monologue.

“In my hand, I have the names of those eight who will go on to be either official or reserve members of Gryffindor’s Quidditch team. When I call your name, please come take your stand up here next to James. The names I do not call, must pack their brooms immediately and leave the pitch.”

She paused for dramatic effect.

“First on the team – Lily Potter.” My cousin squealed at the news, earning herself a warm smile from both captains. “Congratulations, you are officially a starting Gryffindor Chaser.”

“The next two names I will call are also going to be starting Chasers,” she continued. “Freddy Weasley and Davie Fields.”

Loud whoops and clapping filled the air as the two high fived each other, before going to take their place next to Lily.

“The next two names are not going to be starting players, but rather the two reserve Beaters. Since both James and I are leaving at the end of this school year, our hope is that after this year of being on reserve, you two will learn and acquire the skills necessary to take our places.”

Wow, that was actually pretty smart thinking of them.

Nat and James probably went down as one of Gryffindor’s best Beater duo and so whoever was going to take their places had some pretty big shoes to fill. By training their potential successors, they could ensure that the team’s success stayed alive.

“Robbie Thomas and Jillian McLaggen, congratulations for making the reserve team.”

Yeah, so that strategy was going great until they decided to give the spots to two third years.

 An audible gasp broke out amongst us, no one being able to believe that those two skinny twigs were now going to be whacking around Bludgers all year long. They both seemed shocked at the news as well and looked at their new captain as if she were insane.

“How the bollocks do you expect me to be a Beater?” Jillian exclaimed, her eyes terrified. “I’m a girl!”

“And what does that have to do with anything?” Nat replied, staring her down. “Just because the position has traditionally gone to males, it does not mean we are any less capable of doing the same job. I was also a third year when I made the team and we’ve been unstoppable ever since.”

Always the modest one, that best friend of mine.

“Nat’s right,” James added. “You’ve got quite an arm there, Jillian, and I know that with some training and a bit of practice, you’ll be able to bat a Bludger just as hard as anyone of us.”

She still didn’t look all that convinced, but after one more defying glare from Nat, she nodded her head and accepted her fate. It also helped that the crowd was going wild over by the stands. Eli was jumping up and down and shouting all sorts of praises at his little sister, giving her the confidence boost she needed to go take her place by her new teammates.

“Oscar Jordan,” Nat announced, once everyone had settled down. “Congratulations, you are officially Gryffindor’s starting Keeper.”

Wait, what?

How could he be Keeper when that was Brain’s position? How could they give her spot away like that?

Nat caught my eye, and upon seeing the outraged expression on my face, she shot me a quick ‘I’ll explain later’ look.

Oh she better explain! That was totally unfair to give away Brain’s spot when she knew she couldn’t make it due to school work. What kind of friend was she?

“Right now I only have two names left on my list, yet there are still six of you here. So to make things short, I’m just going to go ahead and say that those two names are Dare and Minnie. All the rest of you can leave.”

Holy Voldemort, I actually made the team?

Once the cries of injustice and whiny protests ended, and the four unlucky souls followed the instructions of immediately leaving the pitch, Nat turned to us with the most mischievous smirk I’ve ever seen to grace that pretty face.

This couldn’t be good.

“There’s only one starting position left,” she said, getting all dramatic again. “One of you that stand before me is going to be Gryffindor’s Seeker. The other earned a spot as a reserve Chaser. You both did excellent jobs but only one of you proved that they have what it takes to be on top.”

“Just cut with the overdramatic crap already, Nat, and tell us who’s going to be Seeker!” Dare exclaimed, testier than usual.

For the love of Grindewald, I really hope I got reserve.

There was no way I could steal Dare’s spot as Seeker – not after he’s had it for the last four years! I mean, yeah, technically he did kind of steal it from me back in third year. But I’ve finally gotten over that!

Besides, I just knew if things don’t turn out the way he wants them to, we’re going to be taking a huge step back in this whole friendship thing we’ve got going on. I mean, the levels of hostility he was expressing right now with just the risk of losing being Seeker was already too much for me to handle.

“Merlin, you take the fun out of everything!” Nat pouted. “But fine, have it your way. Congrats Minnie, you’re the new Seeker. Dare you’re on reserve. Happy?”

Oh bloody hell.




“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR DAMN MIND?!” I roared, once Nat and I were safe within the privacy of our dormitory. “How on earth could you make me Seeker?!”

I was absolutely livid.

How, how could Nat do this to me? I mean, just the look on Dare’s face when she announced her little plot twist was enough to have me feeling guilty for decades.

He had basically turned into a human gargoyle! His eyes had just completely hardened and it was like his soul had turned to stone. Not a single word left his mouth and after what were a few blinks of shock, he just silently stalked off the pitch. James sort of went running after him, after having dismissed the team.

Even though Dare wasn’t one to have a flair for dramatics, his reaction was probably the closest thing to a scene that he’ll ever cause.

“I made you Seeker because it’s what was best for the team!” Nat replied, equally as intense.

The entire walk back to our dorm she had ignored my demands for an explanation, her attitude firm and unrelenting. I guess she didn’t want to make a huge show in public because the moment we were alone, she let it all unleash.

“Bollocks,” I cried. “Dare’s been on the team for the last four years!”

“Yeah, and that was a mistake!” she shouted. “He’s completely predictable, which is the last thing I need from a Seeker. You on the other hand, you completely earned the position. Why can’t you just accept that you’re the better choice?!”

“Because it’s not right!”

“No, what would have not been right would have been giving the spot to Dare just because he’s had it forever,” she explained, her tone firm. “Look, he’s good, but he’s always been better suited as a Chaser. It’s not my fault that Roxy never saw that and had him continue doing a half-arsed job these last four years.”

“You’re a heartless wench, you know that?”

“If that’s what putting the best interests of the team makes me, then so be it.”

 “Oh enough with this whole ‘best for the team’ rubbish!”

“It’s the truth!” she cried. “You know how much being captain means to me! I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life. I need to leave behind a legacy, Minnie. That’s what Woods do – we create legacies.”

She paused, eyes closed as she took a seat on her bed. A defeated sigh came out of her, before looking back up at me.

“Why do you think I chose younger players for the team?” she asked, her tone much calmer now and with a hint of sadness. “It would’ve been so much easier to just pick the sixth years that already have the skills, but it would’ve all ended by next year. I need players who can keep it going for three, four years! Because let’s face it – one year is not enough time for a legacy. I needed to think about the future, Minnie. And if that meant sacrificing a year to ensure the team’s success for the years to come, then that’s what I have to do.”

I let out a breath, guilt creeping in at the sight of my best friend’s solemn attitude. I took a seat next to her, my voice softer now as well. “Okay, I get it. But I’m leaving this year too, Nat. What good does it do having me on the team?”

At my question, she let out a small smile. “You’re on the team because you’re a bloody brilliant Seeker. And no one on that pitch had what it took to do a better job.”

My cheeks flushed at the compliment. “And what’s going to happen next year?”

Nat smirked. “That’s why I made Brain your reserve.”

Wait, what?

How did that make any sense?

Seeing the confused look on my face, Nat let out a laugh and began to explain. “The reason Brain didn’t stay on as Keeper is because she asked for a break. With OWLS this year, she wants as much time as she can to dedicate to her studies. However, we talked about it for a while and decided that if she feels like she can handle it, next year she’s going to try out as Seeker. She’s got the build and has seen Dare play it for years. Plus as your reserve, you’re going to help train her so that next year she’ll be ready to take your place.”

“You really think of everything, don’t you?”

“That’s what I’m here for.”

I shook my head. “All this doesn’t erase the fact that Dare is going to hate me.”

“Oh don’t be ridiculous, Dare doesn’t hate you. If anything, he’ll hate me and James for a while. But you? He hasn’t hated you since fourth year and I highly doubt he’ll be starting that nonsense up again.”

Alright, now what was she smoking?

“I mean, yeah he’s probably going to be a little miffed for a while, but he’s much too in love with you to backtrack now.”

I nearly choked on my own spit.

“What?!”

“Don’t act like you haven’t noticed, Minnie!” she exclaimed, laughing now. “He’s been practically attached at your hip these last two weeks, and the way he just ogles after you. Really, I’m surprised you haven’t realised this earlier.”

“We’re friends!” I replied, my mind completely baffled at the suggestion she was making. “And he doesn’t ogle after me. We just finally figured out how to get along is all, and you lot aren’t used to seeing that.”

“Uh huh, friends. Because of the bet, right?”

“Exactly. It’s all because of the bet.”

“As it turns out, thanks to that little bet that you’ve been so diligent in trying to win, Dare has finally been able to get on your good side. As soon as his little tiff about you beating him out for the Seeker position is over, I’m pretty sure he’ll be confessing his love towards you.”

Dear Merlin, I think I’m going to be sick! This couldn’t be possible.

How have I not noticed before?!

“Are you telling me that this whole bet was just a plot you came up with so that the two of us would end up together?”

“As far as Freddy and I go, yes, that’s exactly what it was.” She didn’t even seem ashamed at admitting it. “James on the other hand, is a little blinder to these things. He just wanted you two to stop going at each others’ throats every five seconds.”

Well that settled it. There was no way I could let this happen. Things were already complicated enough – adding ‘love’ to the mix would just create chaos. With the decision made in my mind, I hopped off the bed and made my way towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Nat asked, startled by my sudden actions.

“To find Freddy,” I replied, stepping out onto the staircase. “The bet’s off.”




Gryffindor Team Members:

Oscar Jordan - Jason Castro
Lily Potter - Bella Thorne
Davie Fields - Louis Tomlinson
Robbie Thomas - Jayden Smith
Jillian McLaggen - Chole Grace Moretz


***Title credit goes to the Arctic Monkeys - it's a line from their song Teddy Picker. Credit for Nat's melodramatic monologue gos to the lovely Tyra Banks/my favorite guilty pleasure, America's Next Top Model.

A/N: *slowly comes out from underneath a rock* Heeeeeeeeeeeey, guys. Long time no update. Anyway, it's been a pretty crazy two years for me, hence the lack of chapters. Lots of stuff going on in my life. But I'm back now and that's what counts!

I'm not going to promise when the next chapter will be up because let's face it. I never keep my promises. However, I hope you all enjoyed this one! Lots of stuff packed in here -  you can consider it as a make-up gift for taking forever to update. It was a little hard getting back into the swing of things after taking such a long hiatus, so if it feels a little different from the other chapters, that's why. Feel free to leave a review!

Love,

Camila :)



 

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