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Just James by Cedrics Blueyed Girl

Format: Novella
Chapters: 12
Word Count: 36,788
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Rose/Scorpius

First Published: 06/06/2009
Last Chapter: 07/27/2011
Last Updated: 07/27/2011

Summary:
Amazing banner by justonemorefic @ TDA





Hogwarts is his playground, but she's not playing by his rules.

 


Chapter 1: No More Mr. Nice Guy
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“James Sirius Potter! How many times to I have to tell you? Get out of bed this instant or we’ll miss the train!” Mum screamed up the stairs, sounding as terrified as if a herd of hippogriffs was prancing through the living room. Let me tell you, if there's one thing my mother doesn't understand, it's the importance of a good night’s sleep.

“Whatever, Mum,” I grumbled through my nose, fairly certain she hadn't heard me. As much as I enjoyed my sleep, missing the train was not an option. I obviously had to be there, in order to greet my loving fans first thing; lateness is never acceptable from a celebrity.

Cursing loudly at nothing in particular, I rolled over and fell out of bed. “Oh, shit. Why can I never remember not to do that?!” I lumbered into the bathroom in search of a comb and, once I had found it, yanked it through my hair a good three or four times. “There, all set!”

After pulling on my ratty jeans and a sweatshirt, I grabbed my Hogwarts clothes that were strewn in clumps about the room and stuffed them carelessly into my trunk, where they rested with all the other disgusting debris. Cleanliness and I are about as good friends as my father and Lord Voldemort.

I set aside my uniform in a separate bag so I could change into it on the train. Unless, of course, I had a sudden urge to irk Professor Nott into giving me a detention first thing. Like they say, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.

I dashed down the stairs like a mad man, my tousled, longer-than-too-short hair probably sticking out every which way, judging from the appalled look Mum gave me as I sat down. “Did you think of combing your hair this morning, James?”

I nodded emphatically and stuffed a piece of toast into my mouth to avoid having to answer.

“Did you, really?” Her left eyebrow lifted like it always did when she was skeptical. Blimey! I just used a big word!

“But mom,” I pleaded through my mouthful of bread. “I did comb it, I swear on Dumbledore’s grave!”

There was a collective gasp from everyone seated around me.

“Excuse me?”

“Erm, I meant, yeah, I did comb it.” I swear on Dumbledore’s grave, I added sullenly in my head.

My mum heaved a sigh. “I’d like to make you go comb it properly this time, but we’d miss the train, and I can’t have that happen now, can I?”

“Uh-uh!” I insisted helpfully. Snatching another piece of toast from the table, I slung my bag over my shoulder and sprinted out the door before she could change her mind.

Flinging open the passenger side door, I opened my mouth wide and crowed, “Shotgun!”

My father came up behind me - shaking his head like he usually did whenever I spoke -and laid a hand on my shoulder. “Sorry, James, but your mother gets shotgun.”

I sighed. “Damn.”

“James.” His voice was dangerously soft.

Even I, the King of Pranks and Mischief, knew better than to backtalk my dad. “Sorry.”

Disappointed, I turned away and stuck my foot in the backseat. “Move over, Al,” I commanded.

My little brother, Albus, looked up from his ever-present book and rolled his emerald eyes. “You know I hate the middle,” he complained, scooting over anyways.

“Then make Lily sit in the middle,” I suggested amiably, stepping into the car and settling into the window seat.

“Um, I think not,” my little sister, Lily, snapped. She strode towards us, her ponytail swinging commandingly behind her like it always did. “Move,” she ordered me, the look in her eyes leaving no room for argument.

I scurried to do as I was told, trying to avoid incurring her wrath. “Wait a minute, there is no way I’m sitting in the middle!” I exclaimed, flailing around the car wildly. But it was too late. My dad had already packed the trunks away and both he and Mum were climbing in the car.

“I get carsick,” I muttered, feeling persecuted.

“James, the train station is five minutes away,” Mum said impatiently.

I let out an elongated sigh. “Fine.”

After about four hours of extreme pain and suffering we finally pulled to a halt in front of the train station. I never have been very saintly, nor a good judge of time.

I shoved my way out of the car, ignoring Lily’s complaints, and took a deep breath of the fresh fall air. At least, it was fresh until the station decided to billow about a hundred tons of smoke, filling my lungs with soot.

I coughed and coughed until Lily climbed out of the car and began patting me on the back. I jerked away from her instantly. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked, immediately ceasing my fake coughing.

“James, please try not to die now. I don’t know what your fan club would do without you,” she replied sarcastically, picking up her bag and sauntering off towards the station.

“Don’t be snarky! I am their guiding light.” My clever response was totally lost on her swishing ponytail.

Before I could keep yelling at my obnoxious little sister’s retreating back, however, Mum stepped out of our car and came over to me.

“I almost died in there!” I clutched my stomach and doubled over, feeling a bit like an old man without a cane.

“James, you are one strange kid.”

“Thank you, mum.”

“But I love you anyways,” she added, ruffling my hair.

“You’re messing up my hair,” I fake-whined.

“Very funny. Now go help your father with the suitcases so we can get you kids to the train on time.”

“Right!” I exclaimed. “Got to be on time. Dad!”

Ten minutes later, the five of us stood at Platform 9 and ¾, enjoying the somewhat peaceful surroundings until a sudden, piercing scream pierced signaled the arrival of my cousin Rose.

"Rose!" Albus exclaimed, as she and her trolley clattered to a halt.

"Hi!" Rose let go of the trolley and gave my little brother a huge hug. Over her shoulder, he wrinkled his nose at me. The two of them were practically close as bread and butter, though, in my mind, their differences were numerous.

Rose squealed as her trolley gave a jolt and began rolling away in the crowd. "No! My trunk!" she exclaimed, trying to push through the hordes of people to grab it. But, as if it were hexed, it spun just out of her reach and propelled up the length of the platform.

Dropping my bag, I took off after it, dashing and weaving around the clusters of families. But when I reached the trolley, I realized that someone had already found it. And that someone was staring at me with the coldest, grayest, most menacing stare I’ve ever seen.

"Malfoy." I acknowledged him with a nod of the head.

"Potter," he spat back.

I knew I should thank him for retrieving my cousin's trolley but I couldn't quite work up the courage. Turning my back on him, I maneuvered the cart away, back up the platform towards my family.

"Was that Scorpius?" Rose inquired as I shoved her trolley at her, craning her neck to see over my shoulder.

"Malfoy you mean?" I asked pointedly.

"Er, yeah," she replied hastily, the smallest blush coloring her cheeks.

"Look, I don't want to get into this now," I muttered to her, "But if I hear so much as a whisper about the two of you-" I trailed off, leaving my meaning to her imagination.

Behind me, Lily and Hugo greeted each other much in the way Rose had greeted Albus. Lily was practically squeezing her poor cousin to death as she hugged him and he was frantically trying to pull away.

"Okay, Lil, glad to see you too, now would you please let me go?"

Sick of the family gathering already, I moved to pick up my trunk and board the train, but my dad's hand on my shoulder stopped me. "Son, you haven't even said hello to your aunt and uncle yet."

I slouched over to them and mumbled a greeting. "Hi Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione."

"Hello there, James. Seventh year already, huh?" my Uncle Ron asked, patting me on the back.

"Yup."

"They grow up so fast," Aunt Hermione said in an aside to my mum.

Uncle Ron leaned towards me conspiratorially. "You keep an eye on my Rosie now, won't you? I know Albus is looking out for her, but I'm a bit suspicious of goings-on with that Malfoy boy."

"Of course I will, Uncle Ron," I assured him.

"Thanks, my boy. You won't tell her I suspect anything, though, right?"

"My lips are sealed."

He gave me a wink. "Good, good. Glad I can count on you."

Smiling at him, I walked over to my Dad. "Hey, Dad, do I have to wait for Uncle George and Aunt Angelina? Or-" I paused and shuddered, "Uncle Percy?"

"No, son, you can go now. I know you're eager to meet your friends."

"Thanks a lot, Dad."

I gave my mum a brief hug. “Bye, Mum.” Shaking hands with my dad, I said good bye to him, too.

“Later, Al,” I told my brother, giving him a charming wave.

I winked at Rose. "Watch out for Malfoy, you never know what he might have up his sleeve." She blushed and I chuckled to myself.

“Stay away from the boys, Lily,” I instructed my little sister, delighting in the enraged look on her face. Flashing one last smile at them all, I grabbed my bag and dashed up onto the train.

Shoving my way through the throngs of people cluttering the aisle, I craned my neck, looking for my friends, all the while basking in the reverent glances people were giving me.

“Oi, Jamesie!” called a voice I knew to be my best mate, Luke’s.

Damn! I thought. Those girls up there are really hot! But the hotties would have to wait. My best friend stood behind me, grinning his devilish grin with his green eyes twinkling, giving him an air that made him look as if he were ready for anything.

“Hey, mate, good summer?” I greeted him.

“Couldn’t have been better. Well, unless that hottie, DeAndra Wilkes had moved in next door, I suppose. But a guy can always dream.” He reached out a hand for our secret handshake as we chortled at his joke. Weird ritual finished, Luke dragged me along behind him, leading me up the aisle to our compartment.

The moment the glass door to our right slid open, I caught sight of my other two partners in crime. Eddie Bryant, the soccer guy, and Alex Eckersley, the crazy guy.

“Hey, mates!” I greeted them, cocking my head to the side in our customary gesture of greeting. The handshake was reserved for only Luke, even though I was almost as close with them as I was with him.

“Hey, Junior, or should I say Captain,” Eddie exclaimed, looking up from his Muggle newspaper. Ed has called me Junior since the first day we met, seeing as how I’m the second James Potter.

“Wow, James, I am wicked psyched to be 7th years, aren’t you?” Alex practically screamed in my ear.

I know the bloke either seems crazy or high but he just takes a tad bit of getting used to is all.

“Yeah, yeah, of course buddy, but you’ve really got to relax,” I told him, patting his shoulder calmingly. Or, at least, what I thought was calmingly; it only seemed to excite him more.

“Blimey, though, James, I’m gonna die I’m so cock-a-hooped!” he yelled again.

“Alex, please, don’t die.” I slid gracefully into a seat. “Where would we all be without your charming sense of humor?”

That quieted him slightly. “Aww, that’s nice of you so I’ll just shut up now. It’s just that I’ve had too many chocolate frogs, I guess.”

I made a face at him. “Is there ever a time of day when you haven’t had too many chocolate frogs?”

He looked at me seriously for a minute, as if he were actually thinking about my question. “Nope, not really.”

Sparing me further idle chatter, the door opened revealing two of the prettiest, most popular girls in Gryffindor by the names of Stephanie Langan and Meygan White.

“Hey, boys!” Steff chirped, smiling and twisting her blond ponytail around her finger as she sat down next to Luke. She’s always had a thing for him but I don’t think he returns her obsession. Wait, did I say that? I meant, her, um, enjoyment of his company. Ha. Haha.

Meygan settled into the seat next to me and tossed her straight red hair out her eyes with one of those classic head flips girls always do. I think they think we like it when they toss their heads like thestrals. Not that I’ve ever seen one. A thestral, I mean.

“Hey, James,” she greeted me, sliding an arm around my waist casually. ”I heard you were picked for Quidditch Captain.” There was no disguising the admiration in her voice.

I couldn’t help but puff out my chest a bit and reply, “Of course. Hasn’t the job been destined for me for the past six years?”

Everyone laughed at my pompous comment and Meygan fluttered her eyelashes, rather sickeningly if you ask me. But no one really asked me…

Steff got to her feet and stepped into the hallway outside the compartment, returning a second later dragging another girl behind her. Another girl who, in my opinion, had the most gorgeous blue eyes known to man.

“Kat, I told you to come in already!” Steff admonished her friend.

Katherine Willoughby – or Kat, as she preferred to be called – was the third girl in their trio. Somehow, though, she had always seemed to be different than the other two. Don’t get me wrong, Steff and Meygan are my friends and are undoubtedly very attractive girls. But Kat. There was something different about her.

Every day of my six years at Hogwarts had been spent with these girls, the most popular girls of course, and we always had an elephant-sized lump of fun when they were around. The only hitch in this whole set up was the fact that Kat hated my guts.

Yes, witches and wizards of the Wizarding World. I’m the lucky fellow who gets to be the object of all Katherine Willoughby’s inner rage. Don’t ask me where the rage comes from, all I know is I pay the price for it. And it costs a pretty penny, let me tell you. Or a pretty Sickel, as the case may be.

The girl in question gave a charming roll of her eyes. “Steff, I told you already! I’m not interested.”

“Sweetie, why not? You’re, like, the life of the party around here,” Meygan coaxed, toying with my hair as she spoke.

“Well, no, actually. That would be me,” I butted in, receiving a round of laughter and applause.

Despite my charming sense of humor, Kat looked livid. “James Sirius Potter! You are an arrogant prat, do you know that? It’s all about you, all the time!” she blew up at me.

“How do you know my middle name?” Okay, fine, so I changed the subject just the teensiest bit but she shouldn’t be mad at me just because I’m naturally popular!

It looked as though she’d just gotten past mad on the angry-meter because her face was turning a lovely shade of pink. “You think you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread!”

With a struggle, I extricated myself from Meygan’s arms and sauntered over to Kat. Setting my hands comfortingly on her shoulders, I gave my best puppy-dog face. “I am, darling.”

Before I could do anything, she had wrenched away from me and slapped me hard across the face. “Don’t you ‘darling’ me, you ignorant tosser!” And then she was gone.

“What was that?” I whirled around to face them all, astounded, my hand to my cheek.

Meygan rolled her eyes and patted the seat next to her for me to sit down again. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her. You know she’s always like this, Jamesie.”

Jamesie? Since when did Meygan call me Jamesie?

“Why do you insist on antagonizing her?” Steff asked accusingly.

“What? Antagonize her? That was purely, one-hundred percent, her fault, okay?”

“Fine, maybe she started it but you know she gets mad easily.”

Yes, thank you, Eddie. Now I feel just splendid. “Excuse me? Whose side are you on here, anyways?”

“Hey, Junior, I’m on the side… of the truth!” Eddie jumped to his feet and pulled out his wand, being dramatic as usual.

“Whatever, Ed. I just want to fix this. I mean, maybe one of you should go talk to her,” I suggested, trying to be helpful.

“She’s not gonna drop it until her problem gets fixed. If she’s anything, she’s stubborn,” Steff replied.

“Well then what are we supposed to do?”

“Why don’t you go talk to her, James?”

“What?” I yelled in total outrage. “You’re kidding, right? I’m the one who started this problem in the first place.” I glared at them all for even suggesting such nonsense.

“Exactly,” Meygan remarked, losing me completely. “So only you can resolve it.”

I gulped visibly. “But I, but-”

“Face it, man, you’ve got a job to do,” Luke told me, laughing and patting me on the back.

“Oh, fine.” I got to my feet, still pouting, and marched to the door before I could change my mind. “But if I don’t come back, it’s your fault,” I tossed over my shoulder, hoping someone would stop me.

Alex threw back his head and laughed, sounding slightly maniacal. “Not likely. The great James Potter can survive anything!”

I tried to laugh too but because no one important is reading this, I’ll admit that I was anything but excited. And that it came out sorta like a snort.

“Good luck, mate,” Eddie called as I slid the door closed behind me.

“Oh, great, that helps a whole lot,” I muttered to myself as I forged my way through the clogged aisle, craning my head to find that stubborn Willoughby.

Everywhere I looked, the compartments were full of kids: first years stuffing their faces, second years reading books, and more normal people laughing and joking around. But because I have the worst luck of the century, none of them held the person I was looking for.

After a moment, I realized with annoyance that I was almost at the end of the train. And I still hadn’t found her. Here in the no-man’s land of the back compartments, hardly any people were around and I was about ready to turn around and head back empty-handed.

“You can do one more compartment, Jamesie,” I told myself with a shrug, grabbing the handle of the nearest door. I slid it open with a vicious bang and my mouth dropped open when I saw Kat sitting alone by the window.

She turned to see what the noise was but when she saw me, the pleasantishness on her face turned to what looked a lot like annoyance. It actually looked rather like a storm cloud had just landed on her head and started spewing cold rain. “What’re you doing here, Potter?” She put the accent on the ‘you’ in an accusing way.

I shrugged nonchalantly and sank onto the seat across from her. “I figured I should come make sure you were okay,” I told her, sticking my hands lazily into my pockets. Inside, though, I didn’t feel half as careless as I was trying to look.

She rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh, and I’m the Minister of Magic!” Her voice was much more sarcastic than I thought necessary. “What do you want?”

I widened my eyes innocently. “Me? Nothing!”

She looked away from me, back out the window. The look on her face made it seem like she’d never seen rain before in her life.

I sat silently for a minute, thinking. “Kat, in all seriousness, what did I do?”

“I told you already.”

“Well, I don’t remember, so tell me again!” I insisted.

“First of all, you’re the most arrogant person I’ve ever met.” She turned her stunning blue gaze on me, blinding me for a second. “Second, you think everyone is your slave,” she added, her amazingly pretty, chestnut brown hair distracting me immensely.

“I do not,” I protested weakly, crossing my arms.

“Yes, you do. Even your friends are like your house elves! I mean, tell me, is that fair? I didn’t think so!” she exclaimed, looking ready to blow up.

“I didn’t even answer yet,” I whined. “I don’t treat my friends like slaves, why would you even say that?” I liked to joke, but this just wasn’t funny anymore. I paused. “Okay, so maybe I treat other people like my servants sometimes. But they want to be, just ask them!”

“Even so, that’s exactly what I’m talking about! You totally take your popularity for granted. Did you ever think that maybe being popular is a chance to influence people for the better, not to throw your weight around? Of course not. You never think of that; you never think of anything but yourself!”

“That hurts,” I answered, a little exaggeratedly, sounding as if I didn’t really care. But deep down, I did. I had always thought Kat and I were kind of friends. Why did she think these things about me?

“Well, good, because what you do hurts me!” she exclaimed. In a much quieter voice, she whispered, “You used to be so different.”

“How was I different? I’m me now, I’m exactly the same as I’ve always been,” I replied, thoroughly confused.

“No, James. No, you’re not. You think you’re so smart!”

“Well, I did get eight OWLs,” I told her, not able to help myself.

She stared daggers at me and I figured that hadn’t been the right thing to say. “I got nine.” Her blue eyes flashed dangerously and for a second, I sorta forgot where I was.

Shaking my head to snap out of the momentary trance, I decided to show her I’m the same old James. “Good for you,” I answered sincerely, patting her shoulder.

She jerked away. “You’re impossible! Just go away until you can learn to do something right,” she told me harshly.

“You know what.” I threw my hands in the air. “Fine. I came in here to try and apologize for whatever it was that you think I did, but I just don’t care anymore.” There wasn’t an ounce of humor in my voice, for maybe the first time in my life.

She didn’t answer, just kept staring out at the falling rain.

I got up, thoroughly disgusted, but then on a sudden impulse I turned back to her. “I hope you’re happy with yourself, Kat,” I told her, my voice full of unintended contempt.

Still she acted as if I wasn’t there, ignoring me completely. I was done. I wasn’t taking it any longer. No more Mr. Nice Guy from me!



Author's Note: Edited 7.21.11 for grammar and style :) Please leave a review!

Chapter 2: Uncle George's Genius
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Author's Note: Hello there, nice to have you back! I'm going to save all my witless rambling for the after note, okay? Sounds good...




I stalked up the hallway like a raving lunatic, recklessly shoving little imps out of my way as I went. With each step I screamed at myself, regretting my decision to listen to my friends and go find Kat in the first place. She’s a frickin’ unfeeling witch! Needless to say, my ego was in pretty bad shape. Well, no, I reminded myself, okay, so maybe she's unfeeling. But she’s also the most amazing, gorgeous witch I’ve ever met. Only trouble is, she just happens to hate me with a fiery passion… damn.

Even angry at my own thoughts I cursed repeatedly under my breath with each step. I didn’t even notice – let alone care –that everyone around me was looking at me as if I’d grown as many arms as the Great Squid. Giving them all the dirtiest glare I could muster, I burst into our compartment in the worst mood ever.

“How did it go?” Meygan asked, her teeth sparkling as she flashed me a smile she undoubtedly thought was pretty cute.

“Just great,” I replied, my voice oozing sarcasm.

“I take it that means it didn’t go so well.” Luke sounded way too bloody cheerful so I gave him a hard whack in the left ear. “Hey!” he exclaimed, putting his hand to it where it was rapidly turning red as a forgotten Remembrall.

“Deal.”

“So it didn’t work out, huh?” Steff’s voice was sympathetic but I was in no mood for pity.

“So what?” I asked sullenly.

“What’d she say?”

I shrugged, brushing her off.

“James!” she exclaimed reprimandingly, her blue eyes imploring me to elaborate.

“I don’t know; she just wasn’t interested in my help. And as far as I’m concerned, she’s not getting it anymore!” I yelled at my friend sounding more like a first year girl than I care to admit.

“Whoa, man,” Luke said, taken aback. “Relax.”

“Yeah, James, you sound a little stressed! Breathe, breathe!” Alex exclaimed, patting my arm fiercely.

“No, I’m not gonna relax! And I’m not gonna breathe either so leave me alone!” I yelled, my voice going from first-year-girlish to frenzied-Blast-Ended-Skrewtish. What? I just needed a minute to nurse my pride, was all.

The five of them knew me well enough to leave it at that. When I was angry, I was angry, and Merlin help the person who dares to cross my path then.

“Maybe we should go talk to her,” Meygan whispered to Steff. “James was just trying to help.”

Steff nodded and then laid a hand on Luke’s leg. Eww! “Be back in a sec.”

The two of them stood and stepped out, leaving us wallowing in silence like pigs in mud. I saw pigs once at this random county fair my Grandpa Weasley dragged us all to. I’ve never been the same since.

“So, did you blow up at her?” Luke asked me, a mischievous look taking over his blue eyes.

“Maybe.”

Incredulous silence.

“Okay, fine, I did! But she deserved it.”

“What’d she say?” Luke sounded like Rose when she hears about a new spell she can research. Way. Too. Bloody. Curious.

“I forgot my own feelings for a minute to try and see things her way and all she can do is criticize me.” I stopped speaking and took deep gulps of the compartment air, which tasted more stale than usual in my mouth.

“Aw, poor little Jamesie got hurt by the big bad Kat,” Eddie taunted me, all in good fun, of course, but I wasn’t in the mood.

“I’m not laughing Eddie,” I informed him helpfully.

“I am,” Alex choked out between bouts of giggling. No, normal boys don’t giggle. Yes, Alex does.

“Well bully for you.” I said a silent prayer to my best mate Merlin that Luke would read my mind and change the subject.

“So, who’s siked for Quidditch?” Thank you, Merlin, always there for a bloke.

I perked up immediately at the mention of my favorite subject. “Ooh, me!” I exclaimed, throwing my hand in the air.

“Fine, make me feel left out then,” Alex pouted. He’s not on the team but then again, we would probably win even less than we do if he was.

“Sorry, Alex,” I told him, patting his shoulder consolingly. “But at least you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays like us.”

“Crack of dawn?” Eddie repeated solemnly.

“You heard me.”

“Damn,” he whispered. “But Burnett used to always let us wander in on Saturdays!”

“Well Burnett’s not the Captain anymore, now is he, Eddie?”

“No.”

“There you go.”

“Shit, I was hoping we could slack off all the practice now that you’re in charge!” That was Luke, helpful as always.

“No chance,” I told him. “I’m interested in winning the House Cup this year and slacking won’t get the job done.”

“Ha! Hahaha! Gryffindor? Us? Win the House Cup? Mate, you are one funny bloke!”

Okay, so maybe I should mention that our Quidditch team sucks. No, really. We’re even worse than Hufflepuff and that’s saying quite a lot. It hurts more than eating food from my Uncle George to admit it, but I’ve got to speak the truth. “It’s not funny, mate! I’m in charge this year and things are gonna be different!”

More of that dreadful incredulous silence.

“So, when are you having tryouts?” Ah, how I love subject changes.

“First thing when we get back; that first Saturday, of course,” I replied, looking forward to the event, of which, for the first time, I would be in charge.

“Will we make the team?” Eddie asked me, his tone implying he already knew my answer.

“Duh, we will. Or else we’ll beat him up!” Luke said with joking menace in his voice.

Eddie ignored Luke’s comment. “Well, Jamesie, will we?”

“Well, gentleman, that depends on how well you fly.”




The train rumbled on leaving nothing behind it but a column of black smoke, spewing up from the conductor’s car like me after Uncle George slipped that test nougat into my Thanksgiving dinner.

“Anyone for Exploding Snap?” Eddie called out, whipping a pack of playing cards from his pocket.

Silence. Poor bloke. With a sigh, I helped him out. “Fine, Eddie, one game.” Eddie, you see, is quite literally obsessed with Exploding Snap. Only problem is, he makes us play so much we hate it… and won’t play for anything. I was feeling particularly charitable, that was all. Besides, it was something to get my mind of what had happened with Kat.

As we settled in and began to play, the door opened and Meygan slipped in, taking her seat once more. “Eddie, are you making James play Exploding Snap with you again?”

Eddie grinned up sheepishly at the pretty redhead. “Maybe?”

She rolled her eyes jokingly. “Whatevs. It’s his own fault for being such a sucker.”

I chose to ignore that comment for her personal well-being.

“Where’s Steff?”

“Still talking to Kat. I seriously don’t know what’s up with that girl! She was fine a minute ago.”

I think I know… “Erm, I think she’s mad at me,” I volunteered.

“But why? What did you ever do to her?”

“That’s where I’m stuck, too,” I lied, knowing full well what I had done. Well, what she thought I had done.

Meygan favored us all with a drawn-out sigh. “That girl! Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, James; she can just be like this.”

I gave an attractive snort. “Me, worried? Ha! No way I’m worried about this!” Nice, Jamesie, nice cover. Of course you’re worried!!!

Meygan looked slightly disgusted, probably because of my snort. “Well, okay, but Steff’s talking to her.”

“Don’t let her waste her time. I speak from experience.” My voice was as bitter as that damn wolfsbane potion which freaking Gregory Flint forced me to drink in my third year.

When the train finally chug-chugged to a halt in front of the Great Lake, I was more than jubilant to escape the compartment. Grabbing my bag and leaving my trunk to be levitated in by the conductor, I left the compartment and my friends behind without looking back and jumped from the train quickly.

Sprinting down the long dirt path to a small covered lot, I approached the horseless carriages and pulled myself up into one. Unfortunately, Luke wasn’t far behind, jogging up to the carriage and giving me a skeptical look. “Come on, mate, cat got your tongue?”

I narrowed my hazel eyes and glared at him. “You just had to say cat, didn’t you?”

Chuckling at his own, unintended pun, he settled into the seat beside me. “I thought you got over the thing with her an hour ago!”

“Well I didn’t.”

He gave me a playful punch on the arm. “You can’t let her ruin our first day back! We have our prank to look forward to and everything! We’re seventh years, mate, seventh years!”

I gave a hesitant smile. “Yeah, you’re right.”

“Of course I am! So, please, lighten up.”

“’Kay, mate. You got it.”

“And James, you know you never changed into your uniform, right?”

I gasped. “Damn, you’re right! Nott’s gonna have my skin for a cloak…”

“Just avoid him,” Luke advised as Eddie and Alex caught up with us, swinging into the carriage while laughing together.

“Where are the girls?” Luke asked.

“Meygan went to find Steff and Kat, said she’d meet us in the Great Hall,” Eddie offered. “You done pouting, Junior?”

I nodded, not bothering to deny it.

“Good, because tonight’s gonna be awesome!”

Making a promise to myself to forget about the Kat episode for at least a little while, I grinned. “I know! You guys ready for our prank?”

“Of course! When have I ever not been ready for a prank?” Luke asked incredulously.

“Good point, mate. Let’s go over the plan one last time, okay?”




Now, because some weird people enjoy reading the details of boring stuff like the Sorting and dinner, I had planned to have that in here. However, because I find it boring, I ate one of my Uncle George’s Day-Dreaming Chews and zoned until we had finished eating. I mean, obviously I ate. I shoveled the food down like a ravenous man. I just didn’t pay enough attention to describe what actually happened…

So I’ll just move on to the interesting part of our first night: our annual, opening year prank. Unfortunately, because my dad’s a flaming toss-pot, every year he refuses to let me take the Invisibility Cloak to school. This year, though, I decided it was time to pull the wool over his eyes and take it anyways. I can’t say honestly that I felt no guilt about it, but it was our last year and how were we supposed to make a huge lasting impact without it?

When dinner concluded, I decided I’d have to sneak out of the Great Hall because, like the irresponsible bloke I am, I never changed into my uniform and Professor Nott – our Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher – had been eyeing me menacingly ever since I entered the room.

Tapping Luke on the arm, I leaned over to him and whispered, “Hey, mate, I’m gonna make a run for it. Nott’s glaring at me like I’m a Death Eater in disguise.”

He nodded. “Meet you upstairs.”

Trying my best to look inconspicuous, I slunk from the room behind a pack of giggling first year girls, realizing a little too late that they were at least two feet shorter than me. “Shit,” I muttered, ducking out of the room into a dark corridor that led to the stairs. As I sprinted my way to safety, though, I heard a familiar yet most unpleasant voice from behind me.

“Mr. Potter, I believe you and I have an appointment in the Headmistress’s office.”

“We do? Nope, don’t remember scheduling that. Sorry, gotta scram, Nott.” Whirling around hastily, I tried to escape but a vice-like grip on my shoulder successfully impeded movement.

“I set it up especially,” he drawled, his voice cold enough to freeze a fireplace. “And it’s Professor Nott, to you, Potter.”

“Right, mate, musta slipped my mind.” I followed him, wincing, up to Headmistress McGonagall’s office.

As we walked – well, he walked, I was dragged – we passed all the clumps of people being escorted to their Common Rooms by the Prefects. Ooh, I forgot to mention, Eddie got picked as Gryffindor Prefect this year, along with Kat. As Nott paraded me past the Gryffindor line, Eddie gave me a sympathetic look and a half-hearted shrug.

I gave him a wink, as if to say, ‘Sod off! The great James Potter has it all under control.’ I think he got the message.

Kat, however, like the prude she was, gave me a disgusted look. Some people, really!

When we reached the Headmistress’s office, I was thrown quite roughly into a chair opposite her desk. Needless to say, Professor Nott has never liked me very much.

“Ah, Mr. Potter. The annual first-day visit. Good to have you back.”

“Same to you, Minnie,” I replied with a charming wink.

The slightest blush worked its way onto McGonagall’s wrinkly cheeks. “Mr. Potter, please restrain yourself from foolish behavior. I’m in a fairly good mood and if you don’t disrupt that, I may be lenient.”

“Good news. Look, it’s not my fault Nott here is such a stickler,” I explained, pointing at the Defense Professor.

The Headmistress closed her eyes and took a deep breath. I think she was counting to ten. “Mr. Potter. James. Please. It is your last year here and I would very much like it to be the best, for both me and you.”

“Well since our ideas of good are quite contradictory, how is that going to work out?” I asked sincerely.

“Never mind.” Her thin lips were pressed tightly together, the way they always were when she was trying to keep her patience. “Mr. Potter, I am giving you a detention to be served with Professor Nott this Saturday. Now please, go.”

“Saturday?” I screamed in outrage. “But that’s when I’m having Quidditch tryouts!”

For a moment, McGonagall sat, obviously torn between the two goods. One, her love of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and two, her love of justice, namely punishing me. Finally, she shook her head. “I’m afraid you’ll have to push tryouts back a week.”

“But Minnie, our first match is vs. Slytherin three weeks from Saturday!” I exclaimed.

She closed her eyes again. “Mr. Potter, let me make something clear to you right now. This year, good behavior and school must come before your role as Captain. I love the team as much as you do, but I am establishing the fact right now that it will not come first for you this year. Understood?”

“If I say yes, does that mean I agree?” I grumbled.

“Just go, James.”

“’Kay, bye.” On a ranking scale, I’d say that was the best our opening day meeting has gone in three years. Giving Nott a dirty look as I went, I sprinted from the office and up to Gryffindor Tower.

When I arrived, the Fat Lady eyed me disapprovingly. “Back from your meeting with the Headmistress?” she asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “Wait, how did you know that’s where I was?”

She sighed. “James, you go to her office on the first day every year, for one thing or another.”

“Oh, right. Well, listen, could you tell me the password, because I missed it.”

“Nope, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“What? Why not?” I blubbered.

“Because.” She could be so arbitrary sometimes!

I heard footsteps behind me. Thank Merlin, now I can get in! I thought. But the person who emerged from the shadows was the last person I wanted to see at the moment. Kat.

“Erm, hey, Kat,” I mustered.

“Potter.” She regarded me coldly. “Back from your meeting with the Headmistress?” She sounded oddly like the Fat Lady.

“Yup. I guess everyone sorta figured out the tradition.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I guess so. Canned newts,” she told the portrait, and it swung open.

“Um, where did you come from?” I asked.

She looked slightly uncomfortable and I wondered if I had hit on a nerve. “None of your business, Potter.”

“Uh-huh,” I replied, unconvinced.

She pursed her lips and disappeared quickly through the Portrait Hole, leaving me staring after her, feeling like the residue on the bottom of a cup of pumpkin juice.

I trailed after her like a lost puppy, but once I was inside, I turned and sprinted up the stairs to the boys’ hallways. Because we were 7th years, our dorm was all the way at the end of the hallway, where we wouldn’t be bothered by snot-nosed children running amok.

Since 1st year, me and my mates have shared a room, and luckily we have escaped having a fifth boarder with us each year. I can’t even begin to explain the crazy stuff that goes on in that room… stuff you’ll become closely related with soon.

Anywho, as I walked in with my trunk and backpack in tow, my three mates were already unpacked and sprawled out across their beds. “Hey,” I greeted them.

“Jamesie!” Luke exclaimed from his bed. But it came out more like, “Jkmaismie,” because his face was stuffed underneath about four pillows and couldn’t seem to be able to get up.

“Okay, Eddie, what’d you do to Luke?”

“Me?” Ed raised his hands and widened his eyes, protesting innocence. “Why so fast to look at me?”

“Because it’s always you.” I paused. “Well, when it’s not me.”

He sighed. “True enough.” He gave a flick of his wand. “Reducto.”

The fluffy white pillows flew off in every direction, zooming around the dorm before coming to a neat landing in the corner.

“Thank you. Now, gentlemen, suppose I told you I had a surprise,” I continued, settling my trunk down at the foot of my bed.

“I’d ask what it was,” Alex answered, always ready to play along.

“And I would-” I stopped and hopped excitedly to my feet, tearing open my trunk and whipping out the Invisibility Cloak.

I glanced around at them all, waiting for a response. But none came because the three of them were simply staring back at me with their mouths hanging open. Ah, power. “Yes, that’s what I thought you’d say.”

“How’d you get it?”

I shrugged, not wanting to describe the deception in detail… bad for the conscience, you know. “I just took it.”

“Your dad doesn’t know?” Alex asked.

“Nope.” I did feel bad, yeah, but bad enough to confess? Definitely not. Besides, this prank would certainly be worth it. “Look, can we just leave it and review the plan?”

“Man, we must’ve reviewed the plan at least, oh, I don’t know. Seven hundred times!!!” Eddie screamed, sounding a little like the Giant Squid at molting time.

“Whoa, whoa, chillax, mate. It can’t hurt to review. Okay, so Alex, you’re gonna go in first and hex all the mirrors in their bathrooms so that they’ll distort the image of anyone who looks into it. And by distort, we’re talking major ugly!” I explained, detailing the first part of our mastermind prank.

“Then I, under the Invisibility Cloak, of course, will go in and hex their broom closet so the Quidditch team can’t get their brooms out,” Eddie continued.

“Right. Luke, you-”

“I know, I know,” he cut me off. “I hex the staircases to turn into slides when someone tries to walk up them.”

“And finally, I add the crowning touch.” I reached into my trunk and retrieved a small package wrapped in brown paper. “The Weasley Wizarding Wheeze,” I paused for full dramatic effect, “Fireworks.”




Author's Note: Yay, time for my ramble! Haha, well, I just thought I'd say that I'm having an elephant-sized lump of fun (as James would say) writing this so I hope you all like it. Also, I have a favor to ask - when you review, could you leave your favorite quote(s) from the chapter? Thanks a lot; I love you all for reading! Tune in soon for the next chapter *containing a mastermind plan and a certain someone getting extremely angry at a certain someone else*

Chapter 3: The Great James Potter Never Chickens Out
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Author's Note: I like this chapter a lot - hopefully you will too!




I simply adore the dark hallways of Hogwarts. Nothing like a lovely midnight stroll with a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavored Beans or a pocketful of Chocolate Frogs. Except then maybe the Chocolate Frogs would melt. So I guess it would be better to go with the Every-Flavored Beans.

Sometimes I feel like I see these hallways more often at night than I do in the daytime. It’s perfectly logical, of course, considering the amount of time I spend out of the Common Room at night. Just sounds sorta shady, is all.

Anywho, the four of us somehow managed to stuff ourselves underneath the Invisibility Cloak, like deluxe-size sardines in an extra tiny can, and shuffled out of Gryffindor Tower, along the hallways to our destination.

“Ow, you stepped on my foot!”

“Shut up, Alex! The Prefects could be out!” Luke shushed him.

Eddie gave him a look. “No, tosser, I’m a Prefect, so if they were out, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Right.”

We did some more helpless shuffling. “Okay, mates, this is so not working.”

Suddenly, a high-pitched giggle from around the corner interrupted my complaining. “You are quite right, Potty!” I know that voice. I’d recognize the foulness of it anywhere. Peeves.

I tore out from under the Cloak and raced around the corner. “Alright, Peeves, don’t even mess.”

The sodding Poltergeist lay sprawled out across the corridor, grinning like the damn Cheshire Cat. “Why, Potty, so nice to have you back for another year.”

“Uh huh, right. Whadya want?” Peeves never – and I mean never – just stops to have a dandy conversation with his favorite pranksters. Oh no. There’s always something in it for him.

“I want to know what the four of you are doing out of your Common Room after curfew.”

“You know what we’re doing Peeves. It’s our annual opening day prank.” Luke was having none of this. He had left Alex and Eddie under the Cloak like the lazy slugs they were and come over to us.

“Well I want to be a part of it!” Peeves pouted. He looks even uglier than usual when he pouts.

“You know this is our thing,” Eddie growled from his crossed-arm stance behind Luke. Seemed like Alex was the only one under the Invisibility Cloak now. Poor bloke just can’t keep up.

“Fine then, maybe you’d prefer if the teachers got in on the joke.” The poltergeist raised his thin black eyebrows evilly, knowing he had us. He was unbearable when he got like this.

“No, no, Peeves, let’s not be hasty now. How about-” I flailed around wildly for something to promise him.

Alex, finally having disentangled himself from the folds of the Cloak, stumbled over to us. “We let you come to the first Gryffindor Party we throw!”

In unison, the three of us turned to face him with disgusted glares painted on our faces. “We will?” we spoke together.

“You will?” Peeves’s face was a mix of excited and utterly disbelieving. Let me tell you, it did not look flattering on the guy.

“No, no, we won’t!” I hastened to offer, shoving Alex face-first into a portrait of an old man playing the flute and the piano at the same time.

Luke, though, took my arm and pushed me behind him. “Yeah, Peeves. You leave us alone tonight, make this our little secret, and you can come to the first party we throw.”

The poltergeist looked as if he was about to wet himself. “P-p-par-party? Me? Word of honor?”

“You heard my mate.” I stepped forward and stuck out my hand reluctantly, giving Luke my best death glare.

“Yes!”

I’m pretty damn sure Peeves’s squeal could be heard clear around the castle so I decked him. “Remember the ‘our little secret’ part?”

“Yes.” His voice was slightly quieter.

“Well let me tell you, Mister, it ain’t gonna be much of a secret if you scream like that.”

“Sorry.” I could barely hear his voice it was so quiet. Amazing what the promise of a party will do to a poltergeist.

“Great, so we’re clear.” I paused and took a deep breath. “Now sod off!” I screeched. Gone. Ah, sweet relief. “Now, gentlemen, to our prank.”




There’s nothing in the wizarding world I hate more than the dungeons of Hogwarts. Not even Christmas parties at Uncle Percy’s house. Nope, even that horror is preferable to these hallways. They’re musty, dim, and, I’ll admit in private, even a bit scary. Just don't tell anyone I said that...

I can never see into the endless shadows that pervade the long corridors because the torches on either side of the hallway don’t seem to light it up at all. And to top all that cozy cheer off, it’s cold as London in a January blizzard. I hate it down here soooooooooo freakin’ much!!!!!

“Blimey it’s cold down here.” Leave it to Alex to complain. Tosser cares for nothing but his own comfort, I tell you. Really, some people lack the emotional stamina that oozes from my very pores.

“Shush. We can’t let anyone hear us."

As the hallways grew darker and colder, I knew we were getting closer to the Common Room. Alright, alright, hold the questions. I’ll take a moment to clarify.

Yes, the four of us were heading for the Slytherin Common Room. Yes, that was where we would each do our part to make the already wretched lives of the Slytherin students miserable. Yes, we knew where their Common Room was. How? I’ll give you three hints: my genius, a few choice hexes here and there, and a whole lot of Pumpkin Juice. No, not a pretty story.

“It should be at the end of this hallway,” I whispered. “Did you bring the knife?”

Eddie pulled a short blade from beneath his cloak. “Right here, Junior. Who’s going in first?”

But any response I might have had was promptly shoved back down my throat by a sickening sight. In the dim shadows of the hallway before me, I could clearly see two people having an enthusiastic tongue-wrestle. Now, normally, I’m all for a good snog. No really! I’m the last one to protest a spur-of-the-moment ‘visit’ behind a tapestry somewhere.

But right now I wasn’t feeling very snog-friendly. Oh no. Because these weren’t just any two students. It was my cousin. My cousin and Scorpius Malfoy. Sodding Scorpius Malfoy was sticking his bloody tongue in my little cousin’s mouth. In. Her. Bloody. Mouth.

Before I could even think about what I was doing, I began struggling to escape the confines of the Cloak. But Luke’s hand on my arm was painfully firm. “No way, mate. I know she’s your cousin but if you go out there, it’ll blow our cover.”

“I don’t care,” I whisper-yelled. “He’s got his sodding tongue in her mouth!”

“I know. If it was Cassie I’d be out there ripping his arms out but we’ve been planning this thing since first year practically. We can’t blow it now! Just go find him later and kill him then.” He had irritatingly good point.

“Fine, but sure as Al is a bookworm I’ll have his phalanges for a necklace when we’re done.”

Eddie gave me a consoling pat on the back. “’Course you will, mate.” Under his breath he muttered, “Whatever phalanges are. Now come on, door’s just up here around the corner.”

It was prank time. No way I’d let my cousin ruin this blissful moment. Finally this life-long dream of mine was coming true; we were getting into the Slytherin Common Room! Not thinking about Rose. Not thinking about sodding Malfoy. Not thinking about either of them. Not thinking. Not thinking. Definitely not thinking. No way, not me. Thinking about them? Ha. Haha. Yeah, right. Right.

“Junior, get back here!”

I shook myself from my thoughts of murder to find myself out in the open and alone. “What? Where are you?”

“Behind the tapestry. Remember the plan?” Eddie reached out an arm from behind a musty old tapestry next to the Common Room door and pulled me behind it. “Keep up, mate.” He turned his attention away from me to Alex, who was looking even more excited than he had earlier on the train. “Okay, Alex. We’ll stay hiding behind here while you go in first with the Cloak. Hold out your hand.”

Squeezing his eyes shut tight, Alex extended a hand and Eddie slit his fingertip with the little knife. “There, wipe that on the door and it should let you in.”

“How did you figure it out?” I asked Eddie. We may have found the Slytherin Common Room but we had never known how to get in. Leave it to sneaky Eddie to figure it out.

“I have my ways,” he replied mysteriously. “Now go, and don’t forget what to do.”

“I won’t!” came Alex’s disdainful voice from beneath the Cloak. The old black door suddenly creaked open and shut behind him with a soft bang.

“Way to go!” Luke gave Eddie a congratulatory high-five when we saw that the blood had worked. “Leave it to the Slytherins to have an entry key like that.”

As the seconds ticked by, I thought of chocolate frogs and treacle tart, firewhiskey and tasty steak & kidney pie. Anything to get that nasty picture out of my head. When I ran out of foods to think of, I moved on to imagining all the creative yet painful ways I could make Malfoy die.

I was so enthralled by my daydream – or should I say, nightdream – that I didn’t even notice Alex slip back behind the tapestry and Eddie leave under the Cloak.

“What’s he doing again?” I asked Luke.

“Jamesie, this is your brilliant plan. You were the one obsessing over it in the dorm an hour ago. How did you forget what he’s doing?”

I muttered something random that probably made even less sense than our bloody Astronomy star charts.

“He’s hexing their broom closet shut so the team can’t get their brooms.” Luke laid a hand on my shoulder. “You’re really hung up about Rose, aren’t you?”

“You think?”

“Sorry, love to have a heart-to-heart now, mate, but I’m going in.” And then he was gone, leaving me with Alex on one side and Eddie on the other. Ah, so much for getting it all out.

Within a minute, Luke was back from his staircase hexing and it was my turn. “Damn, it’s freezing in there. Like a meat locker, I tell you,” he muttered.

“At least you’re alive!” Alex always did have the annoying habit of being optimistic.

“Finger, mate,” Eddie commanded.

Confused, I made a the requested rude gesture at him.

“No, you berk. I meant so I can cut it!”

“Oops.” I held out my hand and felt a sharp prick as Eddie sliced my finger open just the tiniest bit. As I pulled the Cloak on, an unmistakable feeling of excitement fluttered through me. Nothing in the world gave me a rush like pranking. I love it. And, all of a sudden, I wasn’t thinking about my traitorous cousin. I wasn’t thinking about sodding Malfoy’s sodding tongue. I wasn’t thinking about anything but living for the moment, this moment.

The Invisibility Cloak was light and cool on my shoulders and I almost felt like I was flying. I tugged the small, brown paper bag from beneath my cloak as I swiped my bloody finger on the doorpost.

I was going in.

The Slytherin Common Room was even colder than the hallway outside and if it weren’t for my customary pranking high, I might have chickened out. What am I saying? The great James Potter never chickens out!

I stepped through the dark, grimy antechamber and into the main room. It was insanely different from the Gryffindor Common Room. Instead of cheerful, loud people hanging on the walls in their frames, all the portraits were somber, morbid beings with dull faces and closed mouths. Boring, boring, boring. But then again, what else would one expect from Slytherin?

Now, where would the prime spot for these babies be? I wondered, stroking the crinkly paper of the bag beneath my arm. This was gonna be so good.

Walking to the middle of a circle of couches in the center of the room, I set down the clump of fireworks. I put them in the middle of the room, of course, for the viewing pleasure of the lovely Slytherins around me. Making sure to hide the fireworks beneath the hem of the Cloak, I withdrew my wand from my cloak, savoring the dangerous sensation deep in the pit of my stomach. I felt like a little girl with a new dress. Not that I know what that feels like or anything…

“Incendio,” I whispered, careful not to let the people around me hear. I jumped back fast, not interested in perishing on my first night back. One at a time, the fireworks sounded off, each working on its own for a moment before the next lit up.

“Wingardium leviosa!” I exclaimed under my breath, levitating one firework to collide with another mid-air. This resulted in an even larger bang that I’m sure scared the shit right out of a first year girl on the couch nearest me. Whatever, she deserved it for being in Slytherin.

As the sparks grew and multiplied, I retreated to the door to admire my handiwork. Pandemonium was breaking out among the students, creating quite an entertaining scene. Ah, the beauty of Uncle George’s Wildfire Whiz-Bangs. But I knew I had to get out before someone ran to get teachers, which would undoubtedly happen in just a moment or two.

Grinning uncontrollably, I turned and slipped out through the antechamber, delighting in the fading out of frenzied yells from behind me. “Mission accomplished,” I whispered, squeezing back on the farthest side of the tapestry.

“We should get out of here,” Eddie suggested, after participating in the round of hearty high-fives.

“We’ve got to wait at least a minute or two,” I insisted. “Someone’ll be running to get teachers soon and we can’t miss out on that fun.”

“Fine, just a minute or two. But we have to be careful not to get caught.”

“Eddie, since when did you become such a sodding spoil-sport?” Luke asked, elbowing him.

“I’m a Prefect, I can’t get caught!”

“Oh, come on. You know you love the thrill.” I winked at Eddie. “Don’t deny it.”

He gave a shrug, as if to say it was pointless to argue, which of course, it was, because my debate skills are flawless. “I can’t say I would mind terribly if someone found us, I suppose. It might be nice to get in a little trouble, like the old times.”

“A little trouble? Yeah, right! A mess like this would land us in detention forever!” Alex piped up, looking more excited than disturbed at the prospect.

“Don’t wet your pants now, Alex, but I’m sure we’ll get in quite a heap of trouble before our last days here are up,” I assured him.

“Shh, someone’s coming!”

As Eddie spoke, the Common Room door creaked open to admit one of the Slytherin Prefects, an unfortunate soul by the name of Edwina Bleazle. Poor, poor girl. As she scurried down the hallway past us I could tell from the look on her face that this whole prank of ours was turning her pathetic little world upside down.

"She looks awfully frightened," Alex whispered.

All of a sudden, Edwina stopped and turned around. She had heard Alex! Eddie gave Alex a sharp elbow in the side to shut him up. I held my breath tight inside my chest as the Slytherin Prefect surveyed the hallway, certain she had heard something.

She stepped out of the dim shadows into the torchlight from the wall, coming so close to the tapestry I could have sworn she would hear me breathing. Through the worn-out moth holes, I could see her beady eyes dart around the hallway, scouring it for clues. After a moment, she seemed to be satisfied and continued away up the hallway.

"Way to go, Alex," Luke whispered, as her shuffling form disappeared around the corner. "She almost found us."

"Sorry."

Moments later, I could hear the harried whispers of teachers drift up the hallway as Bleazle led a parade back towards the Common Room. “This oughta be good,” I whispered, leaning over to Eddie.

Suddenly, as the voices came closer, something – or rather, someone – pushed me back into the wall and slipped behind the tapestry with us.

“What the hell?” I blurted before Eddie gave me a sharp poke between the ribs.

“Shut it, mate. They’re coming!”

I wiggled around a bit, trying to get a better view of the assailants. It was Malfoy and my traitor of a cousin, ducking behind our tapestry to save their miserable hides. “You, Mr. Malfoy, are a dead man,” I muttered, remembering Eddie’s warning and hearing the teacher’s proceed down the hallway towards us.

“You four are the ones who pulled the prank, aren’t you?” At least the bloody tosser had enough good sense to keep his voice down.

“Nope, just out tapestry sniffing, Malfoy,” Eddie informed him.

Malfoy gave a charming eye roll. “I know you did it and I’m going out there right now to tell them.” He made a move to step out and approach the teachers but Luke reached out a hand and set it firmly on Malfoy’s forearm.

“Uh-uh. I don’t think so, mate.”

“Mate?” Alex protested. He hates Malfoy as much as I do. Well, almost as much. I hate the him way more now that I witnessed that unpleasant display before.

The two of them ignored Alex though and faced each other. “Look, I know you would probably be overjoyed to turn us in, as you are a Slytherin, but face it. You go out there, they know you and Weasley were exchanging spit in the hallways. After curfew.”

Ah, Luke, how I love you and your logic. He had Malfoy, and he knew it. Luke had that lovely smug look on his face and I was proud of him for it. Rose, however, looked slightly sick, like the Great Squid when he eats too many wayward pelicans. Served her right.

Shifting from foot to foot, Malfoy finally relaxed against the wall. “Fine. We keep quiet, you keep quiet.”

“Deal.”

“But don’t think that gets you off my hook, Malfoy,” I exclaimed, spitting his name out with disdain. “Oh no, I’ll reel you in like my uncle Charlie lures in his precious Romanian dragons.”

I had expected him to gulp visibly but he simply shrugged. “Whatever, Potter.”

“Whatever?” I began, but Eddie’s hand on my arm stopped me.

“Save it, they’re coming past us.” The six of us kept very quiet as the group of teachers entered the Common Room on our right.

“This part’ll be good,” I whispered when they had gone. “Foolish teachers always try to stop the things, but my Uncle George is way smarter than that.” I sighed. “Three, two, one.” As I finished counting, shrieks and bangs erupted from inside the Slytherin Common Room.

The teachers were undoubtedly attempting to use some spell to stop the Whiz-Bangs. No way, not on my watch, or my Uncle George's, for that matter. “Well, the good part of the show is over, so we can head back.”

Eddie gave me a pat on the back. “That really was awesome! I just wish we could see Minnie’s face while she tries to deal with the Fiz-Bang Whatsits.”

“Wildfire Whiz-Bangs,” I corrected. “But I knew what you meant.” It's funny, 'cause I woulda thought Minnie had learned how to handle this brand back when my uncles were at school. Apparently not...

“So are we heading back?” Luke asked.

“As much as I’d love to stay and hear the rest of the panicking, now’s our best chance to get out.” I turned slightly and surveyed Rose with disdain. “I suppose she’ll have to come back with us.”

“Come on, don’t be hard on her.” Luke stepped out from behind the tapestry and ushered Rose under the Cloak.

“Don’t side with her!” I exclaimed, my voice raising a few pitches too high to be manly.

“Look, not now, mate. If you want to make a scene, make it back at the Common Room.”

Knowing he was right, as usual, I pouted. “Fine. And you, expect a visit.” I eyed Malfoy menacingly as I stepped underneath the Cloak with Eddie and Alex. Then we were off, shuffling back through the dungeon passages and up all the staircases to the Common Room.

More than anything, I wanted to jump out and holler my head off at Rose, but Luke’s warning rang fiercely in my head and I somehow managed to restrain myself. Almost at the Common Room, Jamesie, I encouraged myself. You can wait another minute.

The moment we were inside and had pulled off the Cloak, I was on my cousin. “What was that lovely little display there, Rosie? Huh, what was it?” I demanded.

Most people would expect her to bow her head ashamedly and admit her fault, but no, I knew my cousin way too well to believe that. She was gonna fight me on this one, if she cared about sodding Malfoy at all. “Who do you think you are, my dad?” she screamed.

“Actually, he told me to keep an eye on you, so yeah, maybe I do!” Oh, shit, Uncle Ron told me not to say anything. Ah, well, too late now…

“Whoa, whoa, what’s going on over here?” Al strolled towards us from his seat by the fire where he and his best friend, Seth Tompkins, had been playing wizard’s chess.

“Oh, look, the pacifist is on his way to cool everything down!” I shouted.

“James, calm down and tell me what happened.” My brother knows me way too well. Sometimes I wish he didn’t know how to handle my temper, but Merlin he does!

“That – that, witch you call your cousin! She was sharing her saliva with none other than-” I took a deep breath, but I never got to deliver my dramatic ending.

“Malfoy?” he asked me, raising a dark eyebrow.

“You know about this?” I was incredulous. “And you didn’t tell me?”

“Well, she hadn’t told me, if that’s what you mean.” He gave Rose his version of the classic puppy-dog pout. “But I had pretty much guessed. They don’t call me the smart kid for nothing, James.”

By now, everyone in the Common Room had gathered around us to watch the spectacle. It wasn't every day they got to watch a genuine family fight among us celebrities, after all.

“How did you find out?” Rose was on him in a second, obviously annoyed at her best friend, aka my brother.

“You stay out of this!” I barked at her.

“Hey, hey, calm down, you two.” Luke shoved through the ring of people around us and gave my back a pat. “Don’t let this ruin our glorious night! I’ve got a surprise upstairs.” He winked and I almost forgot about the crisis as I thought about the celebration ahead.

“Just let me deal with this twerp here and I’ll be right up.”

“Don’t be too hard on her,” Eddie cautioned, turning towards the stairs with Alex.

“You’re all bailing on me?” Rose screeched. She knew she could win my mates over to her side on this one. They’re very susceptible to the lies of my opponents.

“Sorry, Rosie. You’re just gonna have to hope Al sides with you tonight. We got a party to get started.” Luke flashed her a sympathetic smile. “Good luck with this tosser here.”

She groaned and folded her arms across her chest, tossing her red hair out of her eyes. “Al?”

“I’m not taking a side. You’re both being ridiculous.”

“Ridiculous? How is it ridiculous that I don’t want her going out with Malfoy?” I gave my little brother my best beseeching look. “Malfoy!” I repeated, emphasizing the name.

“His last name shouldn’t matter, James! Maybe he isn’t like his family. You have to trust Rose to decide if he’s the best guy for her.”

My mouth fell open in shock but I had no time to respond as he turned to Rose. “And you, Missy, need to understand that James – and I, for that matter – only want the best for you. We’re not doing it to be mean, we just feel like we need to protect you.”

“Well you don’t!” She stomped her foot, looking an awful lot like Lily did when she was little and didn’t get her way. “I’m a big girl, as much as you both hate to acknowledge it. I’m pretty good at taking care of myself actually!”

“Yeah, you’re also pretty good at keeping secrets from your friends.” Al’s tone played at joking but I could tell he was hurt underneath.

“Al, I didn’t tell you because I knew the two of you would react like this!” she protested.

“The two of us? Did I get mad at you, Rose? No, I told James he was overreacting. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe we can’t trust you.”

Oh no. When Al gets mad, it’s a bad, bad sign. See, he’s usually pretty even-keeled. Always getting everyone to make up, always smoothing things over. So when you make him angry, you know you messed up. Big time.

Rose’s blue eyes widened. “I didn’t realize – I mean-”

“Save it. You’re on your own.” My little brother’s green eyes flashed and he stalked off, turning his back on his friend, leaving her to my mercy. Mwhaha, just how I like it.

“Alright, Rosie, what do you have to say for yourself?” I, for one, wasn’t gonna do anything to get Al on my bad side so I figured I’d have to tread carefully. Besides, my whole fan club was watching so I'd have to make it good. But, damn, I really wanted to just get upstairs and celebrate!

“I never meant any harm. I mean, we just talked one day and everything sorta clicked.”

“I didn’t ask to hear the details of your love life.” I wrinkled my nose.

Her eyes flashed. “Don’t tease me, James. I’m serious this time. I really like Scorpius and I’m not going to let a big Neanderthal like you ruin everything!”

“Neanderthal?” I shrieked. “You just crossed the line!” The invisible line, mind you.

She rolled her eyes, as if she was way too cool for me. But, of course, I’m actually way too cool for her. “Whatever, James. Just leave Scorpius alone.”

I gritted my teeth. “His name, is Malfoy. And I very well won’t leave him alone. If I have my way, your boyfriend will be nothing more than a pile of broken bones by tomorrow at sunset.”

“Not if I have anything to do with it.”

Merlin, that girl’s turning out just as stubborn as I am. Not wanting to further ruin my blissful evening, I turned elegantly on my heel and stalked off to my dorm, leaving my cousin staring despairingly after me. Or, what I’d like to think was despairingly, at least.




“What is that smell?” I inquired the moment I stepped inside our room.

Luke raised his eyebrows mysteriously. “The great James Potter can’t figure out what it is himself?”

I sniffed the air. “No way! You didn’t!” I tossed the Invisibility Cloak on my bed and settled into the circle on the ground between Luke and Alex.

“I did,” came his dignified response. Luke ran a hand through his sandy hair. “I figured a major prank like this deserved a major celebration, right?”

“But, mate, firewhiskey?” I protested.

“I thought you’d be the first one to thank me, Jamesie.”

“Well, yeah, but- I don’t know. This seems a little extreme.”

“You won’t say that once you taste it! Here, have some.” He shoved a little glass of the stuff into my hand and for a moment, I considered not drinking it. But no, the famous – and infamous – James Potter never chickens out. Never. And so, telling myself fiercely it would be fine, I took a generous swig.

The firewhiskey burned like hell on the way down and left my mouth buzzing with a sensation that made me believe Cornish Pixies were flying around inside. “Bloody hell,” I whispered, my voice hoarse. “That’s quite something.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never had firewhiskey before!”

I gave Luke my best disdainful look. “Of course I have! The stuff’s literally flying at my family’s holiday parties. Well, when the party isn’t at Uncle Percy’s, at least. I’ve drunk it before, just not so much at once.”

Luke shrugged and began pouring more into glasses for the rest of them. When he had finished, we all took up our cups and held them out, touching everyone else’s in the center of our circle.

“To us, pranksters of Hogwarts, masters of mischief,” Eddie intoned, deep voice solemn.

“To us!”

“To us!”

I glanced around at the three pairs of eyes sitting around in our circle. Alex’s gray. Luke’s blue. Eddie’s brown. “To us!”




Author's Note: Thanks for reading! I've been getting a pretty enthusiastic response which makes me very happy... as before, favorite quotes please? They made me smile =]

Next time on Just James: remember that detention James got? Well, the time has come to serve it. As well as the thrill of Quidditch tryouts. See how much there is to look forward to? So don't forget to check back soon =]

Chapter 4: The Battle of Victuals
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Author's Note: Sorry this chapter took so long. I've been awfully busy lately!




Up until today, life seems to be all fun and games for me and my mates, doesn’t it? Not so when one has detention with the irksome Professor Nott. All I could think of as I trudged to his office was the fact that I was supposed to be having Quidditch tryouts – my Quidditch tryouts! But no, I was stuck in detention with the most annoying teacher in the wizarding world… sometimes I really do hate my life.

As I walked, I wondered what the smarmy fool had planned. Usually, his detentions had something to do with the infraction committed. But how was he going to punish me for not wearing my uniform? I’d like to see him think of something clever this time!

“Ah, Mr. Potter. Delighted to see you. I’m glad we set our appointment for so early.”

“Of course you are. You do seem to take pleasure in destroying all the happiness around you.” It was nine o’clock on a Saturday morning, a time when 1) I should be in my bed sleeping and 2) am not prudent enough to keep my smart comments to myself.

“We’ll see if your tongue is so eager when you’ve finished with your detention. Come with me.”

Afraid I’d be dragged if I didn’t follow, I reluctantly trailed after the Defense Professor, out of his office and through the hallways until we reached the Great Hall. On either side of the huge doors, there were two small rooms, one of which Nott led me into.

Inside, we were greeted by a most unpleasant sight. Piles of uniform clothes were scattered all over the floor and the tables were covered in assorted debris. “Welcome to your home for the day, Potter.” His voice sounded a little too pleased to be considered human.

“What am I supposed to do with all this shi- I mean, stuff?”

“Sort and clean it, of course. You will be hosting a sale next week, to relocate all of this Lost & Found material.”

“A sale? Whoa, I didn’t sign up for that. This isn’t a week-long detention or anything, you know,” I protested, not liking where this was going at all. What did the bloke think I was, some sort of house elf?

“The Headmistress put you in detention with me, Potter, and if I say that means a sale, then by Merlin you will have a sale.” His beady eyes narrowed and he gave me a forceful push into the cramped space.

“Okay, okay, no need to get antsy about it!” I put up my hands in defense. “Can I get a few people to help me with the sale then?”

“Anyone else who gets detention between now and the sale will be helping you,” he informed me, lips curling into a delighted sneer.

“Right, well then, can I just sort this any old way or what?” I imagined a couple haphazard piles strewn around. Yeah, that’d do the trick nicely, and get me out of here fast.

“You will sort it in a way that someone besides yourself would be able to understand its order. In other words, you do actually have to sort it.”

Damn, it’s like he can read my mind. “You wouldn’t happen to be a Legilimens, now would you, mate?”

The words were hardly out of my mouth before his hand clamped down in a vice-like grip around the scruff of my neck. “No, I am not a Legilimens, Potter.” He lowered his head so he was whispering right in my ear. “And I am not your mate.”

“Right. I’ll just be off to my sorting then.” Wrestling away from him, I scurried away and began pretending to arrange the piles.

Nott stood in the doorway for a minute, surveying my “work” and then, with a swish of his long cloak, was gone.

“A sale? Yeah, that’s bloody likely!” I called after him, making a rude gesture at the door as he slammed it behind him. I gave the mess around me a dismayed stare. “Nothing for it but to start sorting, Jamesie. These people don’t give you a magic wand for nothing…”




Two torturous hours later, Nott was back, and I hoped to relieve me from this suffering.

“Mr. Potter.” I never knew so much contempt could fit into only three syllables. “I see you’ve somehow managed to clean all this mess. The sorting, I’m not so sure about, but if you can pull off the sale, I suppose that will be enough.”

I couldn’t resist giving him a smug smile.

Stepping out of the doorway and into my own personal ring of Hell, he gave me a very menacing glare. “Now that you know what all the pieces of the Hogwarts uniform look like, Mr. Potter, perhaps you will be able to wear them yourself.”

“I make no promises, mate, but you’ve given it your best effort, I suppose.”

“Perhaps I am not making myself clear. I am not a teacher to be trifled with. I do not find you amusing. I am not charmed by your witty sense of humor. I do not favor students because they are worshipped by the rest of the school. In the past six years, you have never quite understood that, but I intend to help you comprehend it in your final year here with us.”

Merlin, did he have a bug up his arse. If I hadn’t seen the Giant Squid just that morning, I would have thought it was stuck up there. “Sure, Professor. Got it.”

He didn’t reply, just gave me a death stare as I tried to inch from the room.

“Right, glad we had this heart-to-heart but I really gotta be going. Looking forward to our sale!” Whew, glad that torture is over with! Now on to my mastermind plan… Realizing that it was probably lunch-time by now, I trotted across the antechamber and into the Great Hall. Ah, how I loved the refreshing scent of lunch, especially when it was banger-scented.

As I made my way to the Gryffindor table, I was stopped by a most eager looking Meygan. She ran a hand through her red hair, fluffing it up so it looked very poodle-esque. I know because my Grandpa Weasley bought Lily a poodle for her 7th birthday and it scared her so badly that he had to take it back home and hide it in his tool shed. Not an experience I would care to repeat.

“Hey, Jamesie,” she simpered.

“Hiya, Meygan. How is my favorite lovely lady today?”

“Better now that you’re here.” She reached out and took hold of my hand. “Come on, we’re all over here.” Meygan proceeded to drag me across the Great Hall to where my mates and Steff were sitting at the Gryffindor table, surrounded by random girls in pounds of makeup.

I pushed through the gathered crowd, slid onto the bench next to Eddie, and gave my mates a wink. “Done!”

“With what?” Luke asked, his mouth full of some sort of greenish grub. So it actually came out sounding rather like, “Wif wug?”

I wrinkled my nose. “Detention, dumb arse.”

“No need to insult me.” He swallowed his mouthful of mush and smiled charmingly. “How’d it go?”

“Fine. Well, not really. I had to sort and clean all of the Lost & Found clothes. So as fine as that could possibly go I suppose.”

“The Lost & Found clothes? Don’t you think that’s a little harsh for just forgetting to wear your uniform?” Alex asked as he shoved a Chocolate Frog in his mouth.

“This is Nott we’re talking about here, mates. Of course it’s a little harsh. And that’s not even the extent of it-” I leaned closer to them, excited to launch my complaint about the sale. But before I could say anything, Eddie gasped loudly. “Way to ruin my dramatic announcement,” I scolded him.

But when I looked at my mate, I realized that he hadn’t heard me at all. His eyes were glazed over - sort of the way Alex’s eyes always looked when we went to Honeydukes - and his mouth hung open as if he were trying to catch escaped Cornish Pixies in it. I followed his gobsmacked gaze over to DeAndra Wilkes, practically the hottest girl in the entirety of the Hogwarts student body (just don’t tell Meygan I said that). Needless to say, Eddie adored her.

Only problem with the setup was that DeAndra was dating Jason Schaffer, the oh-so-dashing Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain. The two of them were known as “the Hogwarts item.” People were all “Merlin, DeAndra and Jason did this” or “Jason and DeAndra said that.” It made me quite sick, to tell you the truth. See, I personally thought DeAndra should be dating one of us. We’re the celebrities of Hogwarts, right? So, shouldn’t one of us be part of the ideal couple?

But if the two of them made me mad, I could only imagine how angry Eddie must be. He was in the same predicament as me, really. Could have any girl he wants, but only wants one, who doesn’t want him. Judging from our popularity, you’d think the two of us would have nicer lives than we do…

As Eddie gaped over at the tall, long-legged beauty – who was casually taking a sip of pumpkin juice over at the Ravenclaw table – Luke shook his head. “Merlin, he’s got it bad.”

Eddie’s frenzied stare snapped back to us. “She’s always saying she likes troublemakers!”

“Excuse me?” I gave him my best confused look as I began shoveling mashed potatoes into my mouth.

“DeAndra is always telling people how much she likes troublemakers!” he repeated.

“Well, mate, lucky for you you’re one of the best the school has then.”

Steff gave Luke a look. “You think he should get it trouble on purpose?”

“Hey, if it works!”

“I just don’t get it,” Eddie murmured, not even hearing them. “If she likes troublemakers, why is she going out with goody-two-shoes Schaffer?”

“Because they’re Hogwarts’s item, that’s why. No self-respecting girl could say no to that!” Alex exclaimed, chewing his sweets vigorously.

I shot him a dirty look and turned to Eddie. “Look, she likes troublemakers. You’re a troublemaker extraordinaire. Put two and two together.”

“Junior, I’m a Prefect! Merlin only knows how that happened, but I can’t just start causing trouble all over the place!”

“Then I think it’s time for you to buck the system.” Luke’s eyes sparkled, the way they always did when he was plotting.

“Buck the system?”

“Forget his weird clichés. Look, you can’t get in too much trouble for one or two minor infractions, right? So let yourself think the way your twisted mind has been longing to. You know you want to…” I waggled my eyebrows in a way I’d like to think looked tempting.

Ed took a deep breath. “You’re right. Here goes nothing.” He reached out a tentative hand and grabbed hold of a string of sausages.

“Oh no, you wouldn’t!” Alex gave a frightened gasp.

“Oh, but I would.” Clearly Eddie had been longing to do this for some time. He dug his other hand deep in a bowl of mashed potatoes. Then, climbing up onto the bench, he yelled grandly, “Food fight!” and began flinging his handfuls of bangers and mash in opposite directions. Ed’s a Chaser too so his arm strength is pretty good and the food ended up whacking some poor victims in the face.

Pleased at this new development, most of the student body played along, whipping their own lunches around wildly and laughing like the maniacs they all were.

I glanced over at the Ravenclaw table and saw that DeAndra sat beside her toss-pot boyfriend, clearly amused as she was laughing really hard and pointing over in our direction. Schaffer, however, wasn’t quite as pleased. He looked rather ticked, actually, judging by the scowl plastered on his face. Bloke probably didn’t want his girlfriend laughing at anyone else’s jokes.

As I watched Schaffer glower in our direction, I noticed that he was no longer sitting at the Ravenclaw table. Oh no, he wasn’t sitting at all. He was heading straight for us, stalking down the aisles, glare intent on Eddie.

“Erm, Ed, we might have a problem here,” I whispered.

My mate turned to face me and his dark eyes got very wide as he saw the furious Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain. “Oh no.” His voice was very, very soft.

“Hey, Bryant, do you like your face the way it is?” Bryant is Eddie’s last name, you see, and Schaffer simply adores referring to us by our last names, as it sounds more menacing that way.

Eddie gulped. “Yes,” he whispered.

“Then stop making my girlfriend laugh.” Schaffer’s teeth were tightly clenched making him look slightly constipated. Merlin, possessive much?

I stood up. “Hey, hold on a minute there, mate. Stop making her laugh?! It’s not Ed’s fault if your girlfriend laughs at his jokes – take it up with her, not Eddie!”

I regretted my bravery, though, when he fixed me with an equally threatening glare. “Don’t get involved, Potter, this is between me and your mop-headed friend there.”

“Mop-headed!” Eddie exclaimed, standing up beside me. “Whoa there, hot stuff, take it easy.”

Luke, too, got to his feet and faced Schaffer with us. “Look, Schaffer, you may fancy yourself some sort of muscle man – and, hey, who am I to disturb your illusion? But let me just tell you this: there’s no way in hell you have a chance against all four of us.”

Luke was right, of course, and Schaffer hated it. But there wasn’t anything the tosser could do. At least, not while we were all together. “We’ll settle this on the pitch, boys, got it? Three weeks from Saturday, Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw. You’re going down.” And then he was gone, stomping back off up the aisle, broad shoulders hunched.

We watched him leave with DeAndra, wasting a bit of time mocking the smarmy git as we finished our lunch.

“Settle this on the pitch, boys,” Alex mimicked. He’s our resident imitator, you see. Seriously, the bloke can do everyone. Ew, that sounded so wrong.

“Stop making my girlfriend laugh!” Eddie choked out between bouts of cackling. “What a dolt.”

Thankfully, because it was Professor Lovegood’s lunch monitoring day, there was no supervision, so Eddie’s Battle of Victuals was still progressing quite energetically around us. At least, until Kat came in, that was.

“Eddie Bryant, what do you think you’ve done?” she hollered, marching over towards us and yanking him down off the bench by the hem of his jumper. Clearly she had witnessed the entire scene. She’s like a ghost, that one – invisible one second, right beside you the next.

Ed gulped visibly. Even though Kat stood at about eight or nine inches shorter than him, he was clearly intimidated by his fellow Prefect. “Erm, hiya, Kat.”

“Don’t you ‘hiya’ me, you smeghead! You are a Prefect – what kind of example do you intend to set for everyone else?” Her blue eyes flashed and, for some reason, I found myself momentarily forgetting where I was.

“It’s kinda a long story, actually,” Ed attempted, wiping his greasy, mash-potatatoed hands on the front of his jumper.

“Then you can tell it to Headmistress McGonagall.”

“Kat,” Eddie whined. “Give a bloke a chance to explain!”

Reluctantly, she let go of his jumper and crossed her arms. “Fine, spit it out then.”

“See, it has quite a lot to do with DeAndra,” he whispered.

Kat’s eyebrows rose incredulously. “DeAndra Wilkes?”

“That’s the one. See, she’s always said that she likes troublemakers.” He stopped, as if that fully explained the situation.

“So what?”

“So, I’ve always kinda fancied her, you see. And I figured, it couldn’t hurt to cause a bit of trouble. To impress her.” Eddie bowed his head, evidently waiting for Kat to yell. And she certainly didn’t disappoint.

“You caused trouble to impress a girl? I can’t believe you, Eddie! Why were you even picked to be a Prefect in the first place?” With her hands on her hips, Kat bore a striking resemblance to my Grandma Weasley. It was actually rather frightening…

“I ask myself the same question every day, babe.” Eddie gave her a hopeful look.

“Don’t you ‘babe’ me Ed, we’re going to the Headmistress!”

“What? No! You wouldn’t rat me out! You wouldn’t turn in your fellow Prefect!!!” he wailed, flashing desperate looks at us all as Kat reached for his jumper once more.

“Watch me.”

I did as I was told and watched, disturbed, as Eddie let Kat drag him from the Great Hall, whining and whimpering all the way.

“Why doesn’t he just shove her off him?” Alex wondered out loud.

It was a reasonable question, considering the fact that Eddie was almost a foot taller than her and endowed with an intense set of muscles.

“Did you not even see how she just handled him?” Luke asked. “Bloke would be nutters to try and resist.”

When our snorting subsided a bit, Alex piped up. “Hey, Luke and I are going to run down to Professor Marigold’s office to get our Potions books from her. Meet you up in the Common Room?”

“Yeah, I’ve got to post the sign-up sheet for trials,” I explained. “That should be a blast.”

We dispersed along with the rest of the students, Luke and Alex to Marigold’s office, me towards the stairs. As I rounded the corner, though, I was stopped by the sound of voices floating towards me from a hallway behind the antechamber.

“You know I hate it when you get like this!” yelled a voice much too dumb-sounding to be anyone but Schaffer.

“Jace, you’ve been super controlling lately! I don’t know what’s up with you, but I’ve had it. What Bryant did was funny and if you have a problem with me laughing just because you and I are going out, then maybe we shouldn’t go out anymore.” DeAndra’s clipped tone floated towards us from the hallway.

“I’m sorry, baby, you know I’m just doing it because I love you,” Schaffer murmured.

I stifled a gag in my sleeve.

DeAndra heaved a sigh. “I know, Jace, but I’m sick of it. You’ve got to trust me, okay?”

“Of course I trust you, Dee.”

Silence. My imagination went to work, conjuring a most unwelcome picture of what the two were doing over there in that hallway. “Right. On that note, I suppose I’ll be going,” I whispered to myself. "But sure as hell, Ed's gonna be hearing about this..."




Author's Note: As always, favorite quotes please? I adore getting reviews =] Hope you all liked this chapter and I should have the next one up soon!!!

Chapter 5: Every Day Observations
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Author's Note: Sorry this one took a while - hope everyone enjoys it!




When I entered the Common Room, I was greeted by the smell of parchment, freshly cut grass, and the starchy smell of new robes. I loved that mix of scents; it always reminded me of the Common Room, for obvious reasons, and made me feel like I was at home. Ah, well, enough sappy talk.

It was Saturday, which meant that one week from today I would be holding the Gryffindor Quidditch trials in order to put together some semblance of a team. I was frantically excited for the event because, of course, I was Captain. Which meant I was in charge. And there is nothing I love more than being in charge. Except for maybe snogging.

Like I said before, I was bound and determined to make something of my House’s Quidditch team this year. We were literally the laughing-stock of the school. And I can’t stand being the laughing-stock of anyone. So this year, I told myself, we would be different. I was in charge and I was going to make a change. That’s why these trials were so important – I had to perfectly equip myself to show the rest of the school that Gryffindor would no longer be their laughing-stock!

Pulling the sign-up sheet from my pocket, I strolled nonchalantly to the bulletin board by the bookcase and stuck the paper on it. Making a cup around my mouth with my hands, I called out, “Witches and wizards, step right up! I have just posted the sign-up sheet for Quidditch trials – please write your name on it in order to try out.” The words were hardly out of my mouth before a swarm of girls descended.

“Oh, Jamesie, you look simply ravishing in that tie,” simpered one girl, whose name was Angela. Angela was the unofficial head of the James Potter fan club.

“I know,” I replied sourly.

“Did you have that sweater made for you?” another random girl asked. “It looks like it was.”

“No, it actually wasn’t. I just look this great in everything I put on.”

The two of them actually giggled behind their hands before rushing into the fray before the bulletin board. Merlin, I had no idea so many people would want to try out! The funny thing about it was that there were no boys around the board at all. The only blokes who wanted to try out it seemed, were pushed to the edges of the crowd by hordes of enthusiastic fan girls.

Watching the spectacle for only a second more, I disentangled myself from a few incredibly eager fan girls and strolled nonchalantly past everyone to my favorite seat by the fireplace. As it was still early September, the hearth wasn’t blazing with lit logs; it was simply a cold, gray cave of cement. Perfect to use as a launch spot for Dungbombs, actually. As a prank began to shift and take form in the dark recesses of my mind, I heard a voice from somewhere far, far away.

“James! James! Merlin, what is wrong with you?”

Irritably snapping out of my daze, I turned to face the criminal who had interrupted my pranking daydream. Standing before my chair, hands stuffed into his pockets, was my little baby brother, Albus.

“You were thinking about some sort of new prank, weren’t you?” he asked me rhetorically, raising a dark eyebrow.

“Yup. I was. Now will you leave me in peace?”

His mouth twisted into a smile. “In a minute. First, I have a question.”

“Does it have anything to do with our classes,” I requested.

“Nope.”

“Fine then, what is it?”

“Have you done anything yet about Malfoy?”

Suddenly, as if a flashbulb had exploded in my head, I remembered. That no-good, dung-for-brains Malfoy! I hadn’t torn him to pieces yet! “No!” I exclaimed vigorously, drawing stares from all around the room.

“You haven’t? Must have something else on your mind then,” Al surmised. But, like the lovely little brother he is, he didn’t inquire further as to what that something else was. “Anyways, since you haven’t massacred the poor bloke yet, can I ask another question?”

“Only if I can ask you one first?”

“What?”

“Have you made up with Rosie yet?”

The joking look disappeared from Al’s eyes. “No.” His normally bright voice was hard with anger.

“Hmm, why not?”

“That’s two questions. My turn.” I could tell from his tone that it was more about changing the subject than sticking to the rules.

Sighing, I gave him a nod. “Fine.”

“Can I help you get back at Malfoy?”

My jaw dropped open. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“Al, I – I don’t know what to say! This is a big day, mate!” I gave my little brother a hearty pat on the back, but he shrugged me off.

“Whatever, James. I just want to help.”

“Sure, sure, of course you can! I’ll think of something tonight and get back to you.” I grinned eagerly at the prospect of planning Malfoy’s untimely death. As Al stood to leave, I opened my mouth to ask again why he and Rose hadn’t made up, but then thought better of it and watched him stroll away, pondering on it curiously. I guess I’ll just have to figure that one out myself, I figured. Shouldn’t be any trouble at all…




That night, I lay in my four-poster bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking. Just thinking. It wasn’t often I did this. Usually, I just got an idea to do something and then, without any putting in any thought, I simply did it. But now, for some reason, I felt like I needed to think things out. Maybe I was growing up a little, or maybe Al was just rubbing off on me, but either way, I decided it was time to come out in the open, at least with myself.

I knew this because, as I tried to focus on my pranking plans, I found myself constantly distracted by the memory of her sparkling blue eyes. The way her bangs frizzed up just the tiniest bit when she was worked up. How charming she was when she called me a prick. Kat. The word flew through my head on gossamer wings and no matter how hard I tried to get her out, I couldn’t.

But I didn’t fancy her! No way! Kat hated me, and I only thought of her as a friend. If I fancied her that would go against everything I had ever sworn to my mates. I didn’t fancy her and that was final!

Argh, I was talking in circles, and to my ceiling no less! I must be loony. They’d have to cart me off to the loony-bin. And I’d rot there, swimming around in my head with Kat. Sitting up quickly in the semi-darkness, I gave my head a vicious shake.

“Ed,” I hissed. Stumbling out of my bed towards his, I tripped on something that lay on the floor and went flying across the room onto Eddie’s bed. Merlin! How many times have I told Alex not to leave his shit all over the floor? And now, because of his unidentified object, I’m lying on top of Ed…

As I grumbled under my breath, Eddie rolled over and cracked open an eye. “I didn’t know your gate swings that way, Junior!” he exclaimed, astounding me with his ability to make dirty jokes even in the wee hours of the morning.

“Shut up, Ed. I need to talk to you!”

“Alright, alright. Calm down.” He sat up and rubbed his eyes forcefully. “What is it?”

“I can’t fall asleep.”

He narrowed his eyes. “You can’t fall asleep? And so you needed to wake me up?”

“Well, it’s kinda more than just that. It’s… a lot of stuff.”

“So, you need to have a heart-to-heart?”

I groaned. “Don’t say it like that! Blokes don’t have ‘heart-to-hearts,’ they talk.”

“Fine, so you need to talk then. What’s wrong?” Clearly he wasn’t interested.

For a minute, I debated whether or not I wanted to tell him about all my pent-up problems. After all, how weird was it for a guy to talk about all his inner issues?! I knew Ed didn’t care about the – he would be there for me no matter what, as I would for him, and our other two mates would be for us. It just… didn’t seem right, you know? Something inside me didn’t want to tell him. But the knowledge that I could never focus on my pranking until I talked to someone forced me do it.

“Okay, so what would you say if I told you I fancied someone?” I ventured, rolling off of Ed and situating myself on the end of the bed.

“I would say ‘tell me something I don’t know.’ I mean, you are the one who goes around snogging girls for no reason at all.”

“That would be all of us, Ed,” I pointed out. “But that’s not even what I meant! I meant fancy, not snog. There is a difference.”

“Erm, well, I suppose I’d ask who it was.”

Heaving a sigh, I replied, “Oh.”

“Is that the problem?” he inquired, surprising me yet again with his ability to read my mind.

“Are you a Legili-”

“No, James, I am not a Legilimens. You ask me that all the time. As a matter of fact, you ask everyone that all of the time. We are not Legilimens!” he whisper-shouted.

“Well thank you for making that clear,” I grumped. “And yes, that’s the problem.”

“Oh no, she’s not in Slytherin, mate, is she?”

“No.”

“Are you going to make me guess?”

“I wasn’t going to, but now that you suggest it, yes, I suppose I will make you guess. Only yes or no questions, please.” Ah, this would be fun, and it should take him a while…

“Is it Kat?”

My jaw dropped and I gave him a dumb-founded stare. “Erm.”

“Yes or no, Junior?”

“Maybe.”

Eddie sighed. “Mate, why are you worried about that?”

“How did you guess?” I shrieked, still outraged.

“Junior.” He shook his head. “I’ve known you since forever, you think I wouldn’t notice when you fancy a girl?”

“Well, fine. But isn’t it awful?”

“Not particularly, no. Kat’s a nice girl,” he commented nonchalantly, making my blood boil.

“Aside from the fact that she dragged you across the Great Hall, ratted you out to Minnie, and takes insane pleasure in following the rules,” I added. “She’s absolutely awful, Ed – she’s bossy, and loves rules and hates me! But, I can’t make myself hate her…” As I spoke, I cursed myself inwardly for opening up this way. It was weird, but somehow felt good getting it all off my chest.

“I think you may just need some sleep,” Eddie ventured, patting me kindly on the back.

“Yeah, that’s it,” I muttered. “Sleep’ll fix everything.” I slumped across the floor again, remembering not to trip on Alex’s stuff, and fell into my bed. “Thanks for listening, Ed.”

“Anytime, Junior.”




Morning came much too early and with too much cheer, forcing me to stumble out of bed and trip yet again on the nameless object between my bed and Eddie’s. And it turned out it hadn’t been Alex’s shit after all – it was a small box. A very mysterious looking small box. Although it wasn’t my mine, I was feeling a strong temptation to open it and see what was in it, but just then the bathroom door opened and Luke came out, half-wrapped in a towel.

“Morning, Jamesie. You look chipper.”

“Thanks,” I muttered in response, still curious about the box on the floor.

“We’ve got Potions first,” Luke continued, pulling a rumpled uniform shirt off the floor.

“Sounds lovely.”

“Lovely? What’s hit you this morning?”

Truth be told, the realization that I fancied Kat had hit me that morning. But I regretted telling Ed enough to not want to say anything to Luke, so I just shrugged. “Tired, I reckon.”

“Yeah. Hey, you and I need to figure out what we’re doing about Malfoy, okay?”

Ugh, add that to my list of things to fix! “’Kay. By the way, Al said he wants to help us! How weird is that?”

“Al? That is weird. Why do you think he’s gone troublemaker?” my mate asked.

“Don’t know. Maybe to impress someone,” Ed offered with a wink as he came in from the hallway with Alex behind him.

“Isn’t Al really mad at Rose about the whole thing with Malfoy? Maybe he wants to get back at her,” Alex suggested.

“That, my friend, is most likely the smartest comment you’ve made in your life! I’m sure that’s why,” I replied. It made perfect sense – Rose hadn’t told Al about Malfoy, now he’d help us take the Slytherin King down.

“That’s probably it, yeah,” Luke agreed. “Maybe we shouldn’t let him help so the two of them will make up.”

“Oh, please. It’s so much more fun this way!” I exclaimed, but deep down I knew Luke was right.

“At least talk to him about it. If worst comes to worst, we’ll just have to cook up a plan to get them to make up,” Eddie suggested. “Come on, we’d better get down to breakfast if we want any.”




We somehow managed to make it through double Potions with Professor Marigold – only the most boring teacher in the whole school – and were meandering along outside in the Transfiguration Courtyard. It was a free period for all of us 7th years and almost our whole year was out enjoying the lovely fall weather. As for me and my mates, the Black Lake was our spot of choice and, after harassing some Slytherins by the front gates, we wandered down to sit by the willow trees.

As we settled down in the long grass, I decided it was a good time to bring up the Lost and Found clothes sale. “Hey, guess what I forgot to tell you – Nott’s making me run a clothes sale next week.”

“A clothes sale? What clothes sale does Hogwarts have?” Luke asked, lazily tossing a Sickel in the air and catching it in his other hand.

“He’s making me host the sale to get rid of all the Lost and Found clothes,” I said, my voice particularly whiny.

“All by yourself?” Alex rolled around in the grass a bit before settling down on his back.

“Don’t rush me, I’m getting there. Get this – anyone who gets detention from him before the sale has to help me with it as their detention.” I put on my very best pleading face.

“Aw, Jamesie, are you asking us to-?”

“Yup, exactly. Come on, I know you all love getting in trouble!” I moaned. “Besides, would you really leave me to run the sale all alone?”

“Yeah, we actually would!” Luke leaned closer to me. “I’ve got better ways to spend my time, Jamesie.”

“Oh, so conspiratorial. You’re just begging us to ask you what better ways you have to spend your time,” Eddie said, taking a crunchy bite out of a red apple.

Luke raised his eyebrows. “Well, since you asked – it just so happens that I have secured a date with none other than Miss Gloria Flyaway.”

“The hot Hufflepuff!” Alex screeched.

“The very one. And so, you see, that I can’t very well be spending my time organizing a sale,”
Luke explained.

Semi-satisfied with his excuse, I turned to Alex, who gave me a half-guilty, half-disdainful look. “I think not, James. You know I’m dead scared of Nott – I don’t want to do anything to get him on my bad side.”

“That’s pretty lame, Alex,” I told him. “Couldn’t even bother to come up with a better excuse than that.”

He shrugged apologetically as he blew Drooble’s blue bubbles into the air.

I turned to Eddie with an expectant look. “Et tu, Brute?”

“Aw, you know I would, Junior, but I really can’t.”

“You really can’t? Now that’s even lamer than Alex’s excuse!”

“I’m serious. You know I just got in trouble yesterday; Minnie was positively seething at me! She even threatened to suspend me as a Prefect! If I put a single toe out of line before this whole food fight thing blows over, I’m done, mate. Finished! And you know my parents’ll kill me if that happens.”

I heaved a great sigh. “And I suppose you’ll just give up on DeAndra while your chance is best.”

“What?” Eddie asked, suddenly alert at the mention of his favorite topic.

“Listen to this, mate,” I told him. “Just yesterday, when I was walking upstairs to post the trial sheet, I overheard Schaffer and DeAndra arguing in the hallway! Really, I think she’s had it up to here with him and if you play your cards right, you may be the lucky guy who gets to pick her up after the fall.”

“Really?” Eddie’s dark eyes glazed over a bit. Suddenly, though, he shook his head vigorously. “No way, Junior, you can’t make me do it. I can’t risk it now, sorry.”

“Fine, abandon me to the horrors of Nott’s detention then, why don’t you,” I grumped.

“I bet Meygan would get in trouble for you,” Luke offered, poking my arm and winking playfully.

“Shut up, I don’t want to talk about that.” Luke was right - Meygan would be perfectly willing to help me with the sale. But she’d been getting pretty annoying lately, and it made me wish that there might be at least one girl who didn’t fawn all over me and could just like me for me.

“She has been all over you since school started, hasn’t she?” Alex commented.

“Yeah. Just one more fan girl to add to the list.” I ran a hand through my hair, messing it up just the slightest bit. “And you aren’t one to talk, Luke. Steff’s had a thing for you since forever.”

“Speak of the devil,” Luke muttered under his breath.

“Hey, boys,” Steff called as she and Meygan tramped across the field towards us.

“Good luck to both of you, then,” Eddie whispered, as the girls sat down.

“Enjoying your free period?” Steff asked, settling down in the conveniently open spot beside Luke.

“Yeah, it’s a relief after double Potions,” Alex replied.

“Marigold’s boring as a dead toad,” I added.

Meygan high, trilling laugh filled the air. “Oh, James, you are so funny!”

I took a deep breath and attempted to bite back all of the comments that popped into my head. Eddie gave just the slightest eye-roll at me, and jerked his head towards Meygan as if to say, “Wow, she’s got it bad for you, huh?”

“So, are you all going to Hogsmeade next weekend?” Steff asked, obviously trying to deflect attention from Meygan. Steff may have fancied Luke, but she at least she wasn’t so annoying about it.

“I’ve got Quidditch trials to run, actually,” I answered, feeling very important.

“The trip’s on Sunday, mate,” Alex informed me.

“You girls going?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think so. Maybe we could all go as a group,” Steff suggested. “That would be fun, just like the old days, huh?” She blew a strand of blond hair out of her eyes.

“Definitely, we should do that.” Eddie’s enthusiasm most likely stemmed from the fact that he couldn’t get DeAndra to go with him. If he couldn’t go with her, going with a group of friends was the next best thing.

“I’m in,” I said, wondering if Kat would be joining us.

“Me too,” Meygan added, the moment I finished.

“We going to Honeyduke’s while we’re there?” Alex asked.

“If you want,” Steff replied with a smile.

“I’ll come, too, then.” His eyes lit up at the prospect of his beloved sweets.

Steff turned to Luke, waiting to hear his verdict.

Before he answered, I realized that his had a date with Gloria Flyaway, the Hufflepuff hottie. He wasn’t coming on our group trip to Hogsmeade and I felt especially bad for Steff about this. How would Luke answer?

“Sorry, everyone, but I’ve got a date to Hogsmeade. Maybe I’ll come with you all next time.” Clearly he didn’t realize how indelicate his words were. I mean, yeah, I’m pretty much the king of being tactless, but he didn’t have to be so brusque about it. Obviously he didn’t understand how much Steff liked him. I made up my mind to talk to him about it later, when we were alone.

Steff’s blue eyes clouded with hurt for a moment but were bright and cheerful just a second later. “Oh, okay, Luke, don’t worry about it. You can come next time,” she said quietly.

I couldn’t restrain my curiosity any longer. “Is Kat coming with us?”

“Haven’t asked her yet, but I bet she’ll come if she hears we all are going.”

Not if she hears I’m going, I thought, but I didn’t say anything.

“We’ll have great time, then, I look forward to it,” Eddie commented, trying to relieve the stress Luke’s announcement had brought upon our gathering. No one spoke anymore and the crunching of his apple was the only noise that filled the air.

Suddenly, a yell broke through the heavy silence. “Hey, you six, everyone’s needed in the Great Hall!” It was Kat, coming towards us with her book bag slung over her shoulder, its heavy load making her look even smaller than usual.

“She’s taking this whole Prefect thing much too seriously,” Meygan complained, rolling her eyes.

“Aw, don’t be so hard on her. You know she loves it, and she’ll relax after a while,” Steff defended her friend.

None of us cared enough to take a side, and we watched as Kat joined our small circle. “Sorry to interrupt the free period but I’m supposed to get all the students to the Great Hall.”

“No problem,” Steff replied, reaching out a hand so Kat would help her up.

“What does Minnie want?” Eddie asked, drawing an annoyed glare from Kat.

“Minnie didn’t tell me what she wants, she only said she wants everyone in the Great Hall. And if you were doing what you were supposed to be doing, you’d be helping me, Bryant.”

“Alright then, we should probably go,” I offered, before everyone could get riled up. I grabbed my book bag and gave Alex a hand getting up. “Wouldn’t do to keep Minnie waiting, ay?”




Author's Note: Review with favorite quotes, please! I've happy to see how much you've all liked it so far =]

Chapter 6: Hardly Helpful Herbology
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Author's Note: Hope everyone's still enjoying the story! Sorry the chapter took so long in coming - I'll do better in the future =]




Everyone was finally assembled in the Great Hall, one big, chattering clump that was obviously annoying McGonagall. With her most pointed strides, she marched over to her podium and stared out menacingly at us all. “Ahem,” she cleared her throat, before putting her wand to it and maximizing her voice. “Students!”

The quiet chatter ceased instantly, as we all caught sight of her narrowed eyes. Curious and subdued, everyone stared up expectantly at the teachers’ table.

“Much better, thank you." Always one to get straight to the point, she continued, "I have called you all here to discuss a matter of great importance."

“The Ministry was attacked by flying utensils!” Alex yelled from beside me.

I smothered my laughter into the sleeve of my jumper, but that only succeeded in making me suffocate, so I had to take several large, gasping breaths. All in all, not such a pretty scene.

Minnie glowered in our direction. “No, Mr. Eckersley, I’m very glad to say that the Ministry has not been attacked. And it is not a snorting matter at all."

I blushed a most flattering shade of crimson, that I'm sure clashed obstrusively with my scarlet sweater.

Letting her burning gaze flit over the other students, she began again. "What I have called you all here to discuss is a problem within our very school. On the first night back, someone – or, most likely, some group – played an abominable prank on the Slytherin Common Room.”

There was dead silence. And I mean completely dead. Avada Kedavra dead. I could feel my eyes get very wide as I stared blankly across the table at Luke. She was on to us - Minnie was talking about our prank!

“Whoever did this has done the Slytherin House a great disrespect. I know some of you-” here she paused and glared menacingly in our direction, “always take pleasure in creating trouble on the first day back. We don’t have any evidence to convict the pranksters as of yet but I hope that, whoever you are, you are properly shamed by your actions, and will confess at your first opportunity.”

"Yeah, right," Eddie whispered almost inaudibly. I still have yet to understand why they picked him as a Prefect...

A whisper ran through the assembly as everyone conferred about who they thought it was. Most likely everyone thought it was us. Merlin knows the four of us have played enough pranks for people to know for sure it was us.

“We will be investigating the matter further, rest assured. Dismissed!”

As the four of us made our way out of the Great Hall to our next class, I couldn’t resist laughing a little. “It’s like this every year,” I whispered, not wanting anyone to hear me and rat us out.

"Except that this is the hugest one we've ever pulled!" Luke exclaimed, his soft tone matching mine.

“I’m surprised she hasn’t flat out convicted us,” Eddie replied. “I mean, doesn’t everyone know it was us?”

Before any of us could respond, a yell came from behind us. “Potter, stop right there.”

I spun around to find Kat facing us, staring up at me angrily.

“What’d I do this time?” I inquired pleasantly.

“The Headmistress would like to see you four in her office immediately.”

“Now? But I’ll miss Herbology,” I whined.

“Don’t pretend you care,” she replied bitingly, her blue eyes sharp. “Everyone knows it was you who pulled the prank.”

“Come on, Willoughby, don’t the Slytherins deserve it?” Luke’s eyes sparkled playfully.

For a moment, I thought I saw Kat’s eyes soften. “Merlin knows the Slytherins deserve everything they get.” But then they were back to their usual fierceness, making me wonder if I had imagined it. “You’d better go see McGonagall before she blows a blood vessel. Watch what you say to her, she’s really mad about this one.”

“Thanks for the warning, babe,” I answered, smiling to myself as she rolled her eyes at me and stalked off up the hallway.




Most wizarding children like to say that they have two homes: their actual house, off in the country somewhere, and here, Hogwarts. I, however, like the lucky little bloke I am, get to say I have three: 12 Grimmauld Place, Hogwarts, and McGonagall’s office. Seriously, I spend more time in there than I do in my own dorm room.

Anyways, as the four of us rode the spinning stairs up to the main office room, I wondered how mad Minnie really was. I mean, yeah, she did have very low tolerance for me and my mates but was she as angry as Kat had said? I hoped not. I did have charm, but not nearly enough to win over Minnie. Charm didn’t seem to work on her.

The door slid open and we stepped out into the dim light of the office, me first, followed by Eddie, Luke, and then Alex, cowering in the back. He has a severe fright of authority figures.

McGonagall’s back was facing us as we approached her desk; she was looking out the window at some dot on the ground below. But as we shuffled our feet nervously, she turned slowly towards us and I nearly gasped with fright.

You see, our Headmistress’s face has a very unique quality: it always takes the form of one of three faces. The first face, which she wears most often, is simply the day-to-day exasperation. The second face is the one she uses every time she talks to me or my mates, a look of dumbfounded displeasure. But the third and most rare face is the scariest of all. The third face is absolute infuriation.

This third face is reserved strictly for times when she is so angry she doesn’t know what else to do with her face. Even us – the mastermind pranksters of Hogwarts – have to do something really terrible to deserve that face. And now, she was wearing it. It made me want to wet my trousers.

“Gentlemen,” she began, her voice especially severe, “I hope you know why you have been called here today.”

Gathering from the fact that she had on face number three, I decided it wasn’t the time for smart backtalk. It was time to turn the charm on full blast. “I’m afraid we don’t, Headmistress. Would you mind telling us?”

“Do not try to charm me, Mr. Potter. I am in no mood for your foolishness.”

I gulped – what was it with all these people, were they all Legilimens?

“I know it was the four of you who destroyed the Slytherin Common Room.”

“Destroyed? Don’t you think that’s a bit extreme,” Eddie asked, obviously not recognizing face number three.

“No, Mr. Bryant, I do not think that is extreme.” Her lips became such a thin line that they practically disappeared. “Not only did you break into another House’s Common Room, but you locked their brooms in the cupboard, hexed all of the mirrors, and made the stairs unusable! As if that was not enough, you set off fireworks – Weasley Wizarding Wheeze fireworks, which, may I remind you, are banned articles – in the middle of the room. Have you no shame?”

Merlin, it really wasn’t as bad as she was making it out to be - we were just having a bit of fun!

“Headmistress, why do you think it was us?” Luke asked, putting on his best innocent face.

“That is the problem, Mr. Tomlinson. I believe it was you, but I have no proof. I feel it would be unfair to punish you on a mere conclusion. However, if I find the slightest piece of evidence that convicts you, you will be banned from Hogsmeade trips, and given more detention than you have had the past six years combined. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Headmistress,” we all mumbled together.

“Very well, you may go.” She turned back to the window. “I hope you know how disappointed I am.”

Relieved she was done, the four of us scrambled back to the staircase and made for the safety of the hallway outside.

“Merlin, was she buggered!” Eddie exclaimed the moment we were out of her office.

“We’d better hope she doesn’t find any evidence, or we’re screwed,” Luke added stuffing his hands in his pockets.

“Come on, mates, it wouldn’t be that bad. We can handle getting in trouble,” I encouraged them.

“All the same, I’d just as soon be out of detention as in.”

“Well, I guess we’ll see you two later,” Alex said, walking off down a different hallway with Eddie, going to their NEWT level Divination.

“I don’t know why you’re all so worked up about this,” I repeated, shaking my head.

“A dead man can’t date Gloria.” Luke laughed a little at his own joke.

His words reminded me of my worries down at the Lake that morning and, in most un-me-like fasion, I decided to talk to him about it. “Hey, Luke, you know how we’re all going to Hogsmeade together?”

“Sure, what about it?”

“It’s just – well, you said you were going on a date.”

“And I am,” he pointed out.

“Yeah, but you could have been a little nicer the way you said it.” I didn’t really know why I brought it up, or why it bothered me so much that Luke had been callous about it. It was strange actually, the way I was correcting him. Usually it was someone else having to tell me I was being tactless.

“Who cares how I say it?” he inquired.

“Steff cared.”

“Steff?” Luke repeated, before suddenly seeming to understand. “You think it bothered her?”

“Didn’t you notice how strange she looked after you said you couldn’t come?” I inquired.

“So are you saying I shouldn’t go out with Gloria because Steff’s jealous?”

“No, mate, go out with Gloria if you want to. Just don’t be so, erm, obvious about it.”

Luke gave a helpless shrug. “I’ll try. I wouldn’t have done it if I had realized.”

“I know, just thought I should say something.”

Both a little surprised by the seriousness of our conversation, we walked the rest of the way to the greenhouse in silence.




Herbology had always been a pretty boring subject, at least for me. Who really cares about the properties of a stewed mandrake, I always say. I was only still in the class because it was easy, compared to my NEWT level Potions, Defense, and Charms.

Professor Lovegood, on the other hand, clearly enjoyed the subject. I never saw a professor get so excited about her subject, until I had her as a teacher.

Luna Lovegood was a friend of my parents, so I knew her pretty well. She often came to our dinner parties, at which she wandered around our house in a rather aimless manner. But she was a good teacher and I liked her for it, even if her subject was boring.

Today, it seemed, we were battling Venomous Tentacula. It felt as if every year we were required to do this at least once, although Merlin only knows why! As Luke and I entered the greenhouse, we could hear the rustling of supplies in our wooden trenches as everyone prepared for the wrestling ahead.

“Ah, there you are, boys,” Professor Lovegood trilled in her dreamy voice. “Where have you been?”

I threw a look over at Kat, who, even though she had known where we were, clearly hadn’t told the Professor.

“I’m sorry, Professor, I meant to tell you. They were with the Headmistress,” Kat spoke up, tossing the look right back at me.

“Very well. As you notice, we are removing Snargaluff pods from tentaculas today. Luke, please join DeAndra’s group over there, and James, you may join Kat’s.”

I gulped. Just my luck, I ended up with Kat while Luke got to be with DeAndra Wilkes! Dropping my books against the wall, I trudged over to the indicated table and slouched down in a chair.

“No need to look so unhappy about it, Potter. I don’t like it any better than you.”

As I gave Kat a disdainful look, someone else approached our table.

“Hey, mind if I join your group?” A gruff, deep voice filled the air and I tore my gaze from Kat’s face to look up and find Schaffer standing on the opposite side of the table.

“Sure, we’ve still got a spot,” Kat said sweetly.

Sweetly? Why did Kat say it sweetly? I thought she was above liking guys. Clearly she wasn’t above liking jerks like Schaffer…

“Brilliant, thanks.” The disgustingly broad-shouldered Quidditch Captain took a seat on the other side of the table, with me opposite him, and Kat on the end.

“Right now, students, don’t forget your gloves! This is dangerous work and I’d like you all to leave with as many fingers as you came.” Professor Lovegood’s voice floated towards us and the three of us pulled on our gloves, just as interested in keeping our phalanges in place as she was.

I picked up my half-pliers, half-pinchers object from the side table and poked delicately at the side of the Tentacula.

“Potter!” screeched Kat. “Don’t touch it!”

Startled by her yell, I dropped the pincers on the ground with a resounding clatter, drawing the stares of everyone in the classroom.

“James, are you having a problem with your Tentacula?” Professor Lovegood inquired kindly.

“No,” I grumped, giving Kat a dirty look. “No, I’m just fine.”

Luna sighed, used to my oddity. "Very well. Students, you may begin!”

Still sullen, I crossed my arms and watched as Kat and Schaffer pulled on their gloves, then reluctantly picked up my pincers from the floor and jabbed half-heartedly at the side of the Tentacula again.

“Now,” Kat began, taking charge, “Jason, you grab that branch, and James, you take the other.”

Puzzled, I gave her a look. “You called me James!”

“What?”

“Never mind.” Quietly, I took hold of the branches and tugged them away from the center of the plant.

Taking a deep breath, Kat pulled her gloves up and prepared to plunge into the hole of the stump.

“Wait!” I was as surprised to hear my voice as I was to hear Schaffer’s.

Confused, Kat raised her eyebrows at us both. “What is it?”

I shot a look at Schaffer, knowing he had spoken for the same reason I had. I gulped. “Why don’t you let me do that?”

Schaffer shot me a very dirty look. “No, let me.”

“Uh, I’m perfectly fine, thank you." Kat looked extremely puzzled, yet, if truth be told, a bit flattered.

“No, really, I can take care of it,” I repeated, moving closer to Kat.

“Don’t listen to him, let me do it, babe.”

Kat frowned. “I don’t know where all this chivalry is coming from, but I really think I can handle it.”

Professor Lovegood drifted past our table. “Is there an issue here?”

“No, Professor, I was just about to go in for the pods,” Kat informed our teacher with a smile, giving Schaffer and me an inquisitive look. Without saying another word, she thrust both of her gloved hands straight into the stump of the Tentacula.

As Kat focused on the slippery, green pods in the stump, Schaffer and I glared at each other over her head.

“You’re going down,” he mouthed.

I couldn’t think of a comeback short enough to mouth back at him so I cocked my head to the side in a menacing manner.

We were both so intent on staring each other down that we didn’t hear Kat in the background.

“Oi! Potter, Schaffer! Boys!”

I snapped my head to the side, finally hearing her.

“Can someone help me here?” Her blue eyes flashed in annoyance as she handed us each a pulsing green Snargaluff pod.

I set my pod down in the tray on my right and I glanced over at the table where Luke sat with DeAndra and another Ravenclaw. He caught my eye and gave Schaffer’s back a dirty look.

I grinned at him and winked in the direction of DeAndra.

He put up his hands as if to protest innocence. We both knew that DeAndra was fully Eddie’s, even if she was pretty hot. Besides, I knew now that Kat was the only girl I really liked. Now if I could just get her to stop hating me...

I wondered, for a moment, why DeAndra and Schaffer weren’t sitting together. Maybe their fight was even worse than it had sounded. It was too bad Eddie had to be a Prefect or he could’ve had her already!

As I thought about it, plans began to take form in my head. There were so many things I had to fix right now: Rose and Al’s fight, Eddie’s Prefect problem, slaughtering Malfoy, showing Kat I wasn’t a jerk. I didn’t even know where to begin. I decided that it was time to call an official meeting, to organize the mess in my head. And what better time than midnight?




Author's Note: Hope you all liked this chapter - please leave a review, I'd really appreciate it. Favorite quotes, as always, please ;) Next chapter should be up soon (and may quite possibly contain some very intriguing Kat/James interaction...)

Chapter 7: Arrangements and Antagonists
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Author's Note: Hello there. Sorry for the delay. School and real life hate me. Enjoy.




“Right then, mates. I have called you all together in order to, erm, fix some things. We’ve only been back at school for a week, and yet I already find myself attempting to plan too many operations. So, I’ve enlisted your help.” I pulled out a piece of chalk and gestured towards the small blackboard on the wall with flourish.

“First, and most importantly, we need to slaughter Malfoy.” I paused and wrote on the blackboard:

1. Kill the "Slytherin King" (The quotes give the words a mocking tone)

Eddie raised his hand and spoke without waiting for me to call on him. “We have to figure out how to get Rose and Al to make up.”

I sighed. “If we must.”

2. Force Al and Rose to stop fighting

“Third, we have to break up Schaffer and DeAndra,” Luke added.

But, unlike I would have suspected, Eddie shook his head. “What kind of guy would I be if I tried to break them up? As much as I like her, she’s obviously happy with him and I’d feel bad ruining that, even if they’re already mad at each other.”

I hate gentlemen. “Fine.” I crossed that off our group list and added it to my personal mental one. If Eddie didn’t want to help, I would do it myself.

“Go to Hogsmeade!” Alex piped up.

“Um, Alex, we don’t need a plan for that. We just sort of go.”

“Right.”

I paused and wondered what other plans we needed to form. I wanted to try and figure out why Kat hated me, but I didn’t feel like explaining that all right now when I could just ask Ed for help later. “Well, I guess that’s it,” I announced.

“You made it sound a lot more dramatic than just those two problems, Jamesie,” Luke pointed out.

I sighed. “That is not the point. The point is that we have no idea what we're going to do about Malfoy?”

“Do you really have to kill him?” Eddie inquired.

I gave him my best ‘are you mental’ look. “It’s only my civic and familial duty. So, yes.”

“Well fine then. But what can you do to him? If you try to get back into the Slytherin Common Room, Minnie’ll be sure to find out, and then we’re all done for,” Alex observed.

It was true; the Slytherin Common Room was off-limits, at least until the aftermath of the prank blew over. But if I couldn’t break into their Common Room, what could I do? And suddenly, it hit me: I was mad at him for dating my cousin, so all I had to do was break the two of them up.

If I was the sneaky tattle-tale type, I would have gone straight to Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, because Merlin knows if they found out about it, Rose would never see Scorpius again for the rest of her life. However, although I was many things, I wasn’t a tattle-tale. So that wasn’t an option. I must admit that it was quite tempting at the moment.

“Alright, here’s what I’m thinking,” I began, voicing my thoughts to the three seated on the beds around me. “What he wants is Rose, right? So to make him mad, all I need to do is, in essence, take her away.”

“That’s probably the brightest thing you’ve ever said, Jamesie.” The look on Luke’s face was too surprised to satisfy my ego.

“Well you don’t need to sound as if it’s never happened! I do tend to have bright ideas once in a while,” I pouted.

“But how do we take her away from him? They see each other every day!” Eddie inquired. He was, as usual, the annoying voice of reason.

“We could blackmail him,” Alex suggested, always one for the most intriguing method.

“With what?”

“We could threaten to tell Minnie that we found him out of his Common Room after curfew, snogging Rose in the corridor.” Luke shrugged helplessly.

“But then we’d have to say how we know that, which would lead to us admitting we were out of our own Common Room after curfew, which would lead to her being closer to being able to prove it was us who pulled the prank. Plus, as much as Rose deserves it, I don’t really want to get her in trouble.”

“Well how else are we supposed to accomplish the deed then?”

“All we have to do is figure out how to make him stop fancying her, it’s as simple as that,” I replied.

“So, make her less likeable, you mean? That doesn’t feel right.” Eddie’s bed creaked a little as he shifted around nervously.

“Well my little cousin dating a Malfoy doesn’t feel right either!” I stopped my random pacing to and fro in front of the blackboard and stalked over to my bed. “Here.” I pulled out a little paper bag from underneath it. “This is where I keep all my Wizarding Wheeze articles. My Uncle George promised to send me anything I needed if I ran out.”

“How are those going to help? We can’t pull another prank, Junior. Minnie would kill us!”

“We’re not setting off fireworks or anything. We’re just going to make Rose a little… less likeable.”

Alex’s evil little face lit up. “Puking Pastilles?” he inquired.

“No, although I suppose that wouldn’t hurt. What I have here, gentlemen, are the newest brand of Boil Bubble Gum!”

If there had been crickets in our room, they would have been chirping louder than Alex when we go to Honeyduke’s.

“Come on! Isn’t it a great idea?” I prodded.

More blank stares.

“Is that the best you’ve got, Junior?”

Before I could stick up for my semi-lame idea, there was a sharp knock on our bedroom door. “Come in,” Luke called, and the door swung open to reveal my little brother.

“Hey,” he greeted us all, picking his way through the mess and taking a seat on my vacated bed.

“Hiya, Al. It just so happens we’re in need of your help,” Ed began, giving me a dirty look. “We’ve heard you want to help us with getting Malfoy back, right?”

Al nodded. “Yeah, that’s why I came by.”

We all stared at him hopefully.

“I think I’ve got an idea,” he continued.

“Well just about anything would be better than your brother’s wise plan!” Luke exclaimed.

Al just rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I can only imagine. Look, so I was thinking. What Malfoy wants is Rose and what Rose wants is Malfoy. So all we need to do is find a way to separate them.”

“That’s what I was thinking!” I yelled, jumping up in excitement. Everyone stared at me in astonishment, so I calmed down a tad before continuing. “That’s why I wanted to give Rose Boil Bubble Gum.”

Again, Al shook his head and ignored me. “I was thinking more along the lines of a love potion.”

My mates stared at him in admiration. I just berated myself for not thinking of it first.

“But that can only last so long, right?” Alex asked, once the initial amazement had worn off.

“True, but we don’t need it to last forever, just long enough for our traitor of a cousin to realize Malfoy’s not worth it. She never has to know it was a love potion that made him infatuated with some random girl, right?” Al replied.

“Brilliant, Al, absolutely brilliant. But when we make the potion, we’re going to have to make him fall in love with someone in particular, right? Or else then he might fall in love with one of us.” Eddie made a disgusted face.

Al sighed at his incompetence. “Yes, we’ll have to make it a certain way. I suppose I’ll have to do that too."

“No, no, no!” I exclaimed. “I’ll do it!” I was extremely eager to do anything, so long as it would further our little plan.

My little brother raised an eyebrow skeptically. “You?”

“Yes, me!”

“Fine. But I wash my hands of the results.”

“Would you two stop bickering!” Luke yelled. “Seriously.”

I glared at him. “Alright then, but who are we trying to make him fall in love with?”

Luke narrowed his eyes evilly. “How about Edwina Bleazle?”

“Perfect!”

It was unanimous: the Slytherin King would be made to fall in love with perhaps the ugliest girl in the school. Nothing had ever sounded more delightful.




The Gryffindor Common Room takes on a lovely atmosphere in the evenings, less so on nights when I haven’t yet done my homework. But those nights are still lovely in their own way. It was on one of these nights that a massive problem began to brew among us Gryffindors. Namely me and one of those Gryffindors.

As a faithful member of Procrastinators United – which, now that you ask, doesn’t really exist – I was sitting on a fluffy couch with my Herbology book in my lap and my trusty little Spell-Check Quill in hand. Glancing up from the practically illegible words on the page, I noticed that Eddie had somehow wrangled a little 2nd year into playing Exploding Snap with him, and the two were intent over their game by the bookcase wall.

Luke was in the ‘Quidditch Corner,’ which was the little cluster of chairs and couches in the far corner that had been dubbed that of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Although Merlin knows we haven’t deserved it for years, bloody tossers that we are. He had a few girls on each arm for good measure and I could tell from the half-astonished, half-disgusted looks on their faces that he was telling them about his planned date with Gloria Flyaway that weekend.

Alex was nowhere in sight, and I figured that he was most likely in the kitchen, concocting some new biscuit recipe, or whatnot. He was best mates with all the house elves, because he was constantly getting them in on his ridiculous experiments.

It seemed I was on my own with the Herbology rubbish. I stared back down at the page and let my eyes roll in their sockets until the words blurred before my face. Not that they made much sense to start out with anyways. As I continued my odd antics, I was provided with another most welcome distraction in the form of two most lovely legs before my line of vision.

I let my gaze travel up the lean stems to see a plaid red-gold Gryffindor skirt, a white blouse, and House tie, all topped by a most attractive head. Those bright blue eyes and chestnut hair could hardly be anyone but-

“Potter, would you please stop staring at me like that? It’s making me nervous.”

It was, without a doubt, Kat.

“Oi! Are you in there, Potter?”

I blinked. “Yes, somewhere, I believe.”

She rolled her eyes and muttered something unintelligible.

“Excuse me?”

The same, half-hearted mumble.

“Kat, darling, I really can’t hear you. You’re going to have to speak up,” I informed her, with a kind smile.

“I need your help.” The words were so soft that, for a moment, I was certain I had imagined it.

I cleared my throat. “Perhaps I didn’t hear you correctly.”

She threw her hands up in exasperation. “You bloody heard me correctly, Potter! Now will you help me, or not?”

“Of course,” I offered hastily, patting the couch beside me, lest she change her mind and seek help elsewhere.

Somewhat stiffly, she settled herself down and handed me a book. “It’s Defense. I’m taking NEWT level.”

“Auror then?”

“No, Healer. Well, I’m hoping.”

It was the most cordial conversation we’d shared since the first day on the train. I told myself harshly to be on my best behavior so we could keep it that way. “That’s… nice. High goals, at least. But why are you asking me for help?”

She gave a soft laugh, and I loved the way it lit up her eyes. It was a side of her I never saw, and made me fancy her all the more. “Because it’s about your dad.”

That made sense. “Ah. Well, what is it you would like to know?”

Back to business, and looking relieved that she had something besides herself to focus on, she pulled the book back away from me and flipped open to the second chapter. “Right here,” she pointed to illustrate, “It says that he was the true possessor of the Elder Wand. But how is that? Didn’t the wand belong to Professor Dumbledore?”

Why did she have to ask me the one question I myself didn’t quite understand? It was one of those things I had never quite wrapped my mind around. “Erm,” I stuttered. “Well, you see.” I pondered it for a moment. “What it is, is that when Dumble- I mean, Professor Dumbledore died that night in the Astronomy Tower, he meant for Snape to end up with the wand. But because Malfoy – er, Draco Malfoy – disarmed him, the Elder Wand technically became Draco’s. When my father – Harry, of course – disarmed Draco, the possession of the Elder Wand turned over to him. So when he was battling Voldemort here at Hogwarts, the Wand actually did belong to him.”

I smiled, satisfied with the explanation.

She looked thoughtful. “That makes sense.” Tugging a piece of parchment out of the back of her textbook, she chewed on the end of her quill for a moment before scribbling something down. Glancing back up, she gave me the ghostly flash of a smile. “Thanks.” Pause. “James.”

I almost died of shock. Kat and I were getting along! She called me by my given birth name! It was too good to be true! “No problem.” In the interest of making conversation, I leaned back and cocked my head to the side. “So, you looking forward to Quidditch trials?”

Suddenly, a dark cloud of doom flew over her face. “Why are you so sure I’m trying out?"

I furrowed my brows. “Well, only because you’ve been on the team for the past four years straight, that’s all.”

She shook her head. “Look, I know you think you’re brilliant and all, but the Gryffindor team is bloody bad.”

Well, we’d be even bloody worse without you! No, I didn’t really say that. But I wanted to. Bloody pride.

“Seriously,” she continued, “if you win the House Cup this year, I’ll give you fifteen Galleons!”

My mouth fell open. She had crossed the line. The invisible line, mind you. I drew that line. How dare she cross it! “It’s a bet!” The words were out of my mouth before I could think them over, like most things I ever say.

I stuck out my hand and she took it, looking more disgusted at the act of shaking my appendage than at the prospect of losing fifteen Galleons.

“I wouldn’t try out for your Quidditch team if my life depended on it. Potter,” she spat. So, we were back to last name basis. I groaned. “Nothing you could say would make me change my mind.”

“Not if I want you to.” Again, the words just popped out.

She raised a thin eyebrow. “Are implying you’re more stubborn than me?”

“Implying? Hell no! I’m stating a fact!” I crossed my arms stubbornly in true Potter fashion and, with a most adorable yet irritating eye roll, she began to flounce away.

James! Don’t let her go! You need her on the team! a desperate little voice screamed in my head.

I bloody well know that! You think I’m going to hit my knees and grovel? Fat chance!


It appeared that the Gryffindor Quidditch team was about to lose their eighth House Cup in a row.




Author's Note: Sorry this one was so much shorter than usual. I haven't had a lot of time recently, so I wasn't able to write more. Plus, I really wanted to post something, even if it was short. Please don't hesitate to leave a review, it would make me terribly happy! Favorite quotes, please? They make me smile...


Chapter 8: The Semi-Lethal, Positively-Horrific Blowup
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Author's Note: Hey all. Sorry for the terribly long delay on this one - I'll be awfully busy with school through October/mid-November, but I wanted to get a chapter out for you all =]




I sulked in front of the fireplace for a little while, staring into the empty crevice with as much irritation as I could muster. Merlin! Why couldn’t I ever just suck-up and get along with Kat for once? I wondered. But the answer was obvious, even to me: I was James Sirius Potter. That explained it all.

Why I was such a jerk, why my pride always got the better of me, why I couldn’t get the one girl I liked to even call me by my first name. Why couldn’t I have been born more like my father, and less like his father?

My Herbology homework sat beside me on the couch, still unfinished, still staring me in the face. I slammed it shut, chucked it into the fireplace, and stalked off up the stairs to my dorm. Flopping down onto my bed, I crossed my arms and glared up at the curtain as if it had fed me a bowlful of hippogriff feathers instead of just hanging there innocently.

I’m not sure how long the following staring match continued but I do know that I didn’t move a muscle until I heard the door swing open. Like the mature seventh year I am, I sat up and threw a dirty look at whoever it was. “Luke, why am I such a tosser?” I inquired of my best mate as he strolled into our room.

He shrugged. “You just can’t help it, I suppose.”

Rolling my eyes, I jumped off my bed and began pacing again, my favorite pastime when I was nervous or annoyed. “No, I’m not fooling this time, mate. I can’t for the life of me shut my bloody mouth!”

“Ah, what happened?” he asked, sitting down and pulling out some books from his bag.

I muttered something under my breath, not really wanting to explain the whole situation.

“Hmm,” Luke began. “Sounds interesting.”

“It is most certainly not interesting! Can you just leave me alone?!”

“Whoa, Jamesie, didn’t realize it was that time of the month!”

I growled at him and threw myself face down onto my bed. “Eddie would understand,” I muttered into my pillow.

“What? Didn’t quite hear you there, pal.”

I sat up. “Eddie would understand!” And then I instantly regretted it.

Luke’s eyes narrowed in confusion. “Excuse me?”

“Nothing.”

“You know, James, I have no idea what’s been up with you lately.” He didn’t call me Jamesie, or mate like he always did. It made me want to hit him. “We used to do everything together, and now every time you talk to me, it’s to tell me what I did wrong!”

“You know that’s not true,” I argued, forgetting my frustration over Kat momentarily.

“No, I don’t, because it is true. I feel like I don’t even know you anymore. If you’re ready to be the old James again, then come get me. But until then, you can just tell Eddie about your problem!” To punctuate his yell, he calmly got up from his bed and stalked out of the room.

What was it with people and storming off in the middle of polite conversation?




I lay on my side feeling sorry for myself until my eyelids started to droop closed and my brain went delightfully fuzzy. There was nothing in the world more satisfying than the feeling right before one falls asleep, at least, not to me…

But my pleasant drifting off was suddenly interrupted by a loud slam as the door crashed open and Alex paraded in, followed by a crowd of house elves carrying a huge tray.

“Way to wake up the whole House,” I congratulated him groggily.

“Why, thank you! Would you care to see my masterpiece?” Alex waved grandly to the tray.

“What did you concoct this time?”

“Cranberry-orange pudding.”

I made a face. “Cranberry-orange? Even my grandmum couldn’t make that taste good!”

“How dare you!” He whipped out his wand, in what I hoped was a joking manner.

I raised my hands in a plea for mercy. “Okay, I was, erm, just kidding! I’d love to try it.” I gulped for effect. A rather clumpy piece of something or another was plopped in my hand. It lay there limply, giving off a rather menacing odor.

“Well, go on then! It won’t kill you!” Alex urged, eyeing me eagerly.

“I’m not so sure about that,” I muttered under my breath. Delicately, I raised the thing to my mouth and licked it. To my absolute wonder, it tasted good! I shoved it in my mouth. “Mmf, velishus!” I exclaimed through the mouthful of whatever it was.

“You see! I told you!” Alex said proudly.

As I chewed vigorously, Eddie strolled in, raising a puzzled eyebrow at the house elves gathered around. “What in Merlin’s beard is going on in here?”

“Oh, I just made a pudding, that’s all,” said Alex, rather nonchalantly for the excitement he had exhibited earlier.

“Lovely, may I try it?”

Alex answered by dropping a piece into Eddie’s hand.

Eddie eyed the gloppy mixture nervously. “Are you sure this won’t hurt me?”

“Oh just eat it, you wimp!” I exclaimed.

Alex raised an eyebrow at me and I fell silent.

With shining valor, Eddie took a large bite and chewed thoughtfully. “Tasty,” he provided, when he had swallowed. “Cheers, mate, you’ve made something edible.” He polished off the rest and plopped onto his bed.

“Alright, fellows, I suppose we’d better take the rest of this back downstairs. We can eat the leftovers later,” Alex announced. The little cluster of elves shuffled out with the tray and Alex followed, grinning widely at the thought of his first success. And by first, I do mean very first. We had reason to believe his food might kill us.

“Hey, Junior,” Eddie began. “Have you talked to Luke?”

Did he know? “Um, when?”

“Like, before ten minutes ago?”

“Why?” I inquired, knowing perfectly well why.

“Stop beating around the bush,” he commanded.

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“No.”

“Yes.” Pause. “Gah! You always get me!”

He grinned. “Yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Are you seriously trying that again? I mean it! I want to know what happened.”

“Nothing happened.” I stuffed my face into my pillow, further proving my guiltiness.

“Right, and the Giant Squid is really Dumbledore in Animagus form.”

“It is?” I looked up from the fluffiness of my pillow.

Ed rolled his eyes. “Did you believe me? Ah, Junior…”

It’s not my fault I believe people when they tell me things. Goodness!

“Look, you don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to. But I know something’s up.”

I pondered this. Did I want to tell him? Yes. But would that just make things worse between Luke and me? Probably. Did I care? Most definitely. “I can’t.” I put my head back under my pillow.

I hear the muffled sound of footsteps and my bed creaked as Eddie sat down on the end of it. “Yeah, he’s mad at me, too, Junior. I know what happened.”

“You do?” I didn’t bother to take my head out from under the pillow.

“Yeah. He kinda blew up at me in the middle of the Common Room. And then stalked out. Probably to snog that transfer student, but that’s rather beside the point, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, it is rather.” I sniffed. “Why does he always get the transfer students?”

“Because he’s a bloody git.”

“Agreed.”

“Look, I’m sorry I ruined things for you. I know you two have been friends since forever, longer than you and I have,” he said quietly.

That was just enough to make me take the pillow off of my head. “No way, don’t you apologize! I thought we were all friends and I just can’t believe he would get mad about this. But it’s his loss, and I’m not going to give him what he wants by getting mad at you.”

“That’s probably the most mature thing you’ve ever said, Junior.”

“’Tis true.”

“’Tis,” he agreed.

“Um, Ed.”

“Yes.”

“What would you say if I told you I lost our Seeker?”

“What do you mean lost her?”

“Um. We might have had a fight. In which I bet her fifteen galleons we could win the House Cup without her.”

Ed jumped up. “Junior! You’re joking.”

I laughed nervously. “No.”

Looking extremely defeated, he sunk onto the pile of dirty clothes that lay on the floor beside my bed. “Oh no. We’re done for.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say.”




Author's Note: Thanks for sticking around and reading my story, everyone. I really appreciate it! I know this one was pretty short, but I've been super busy and I thought a short chapter was better than none! Favorite quotes please, as always! I love hearing from you all ;)


Chapter 9: Squabbles and the Occasional Bright Idea
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The next morning, which was conveniently a Saturday, I hopped out of bed so fast that Eddie stuck his head out of the bathroom door and stared at me in a very scared fashion.

“Where’s the fire, mate?”

I shrugged. “Not in here.”

“Then why are you out of bed at-” he glanced over at the clock, “-eight-thirty in the morning?”

“I have things to do,” I replied, grabbing a pair of sweats from a random pile on the floor. I scoured our room for a moment and took in the fact that Alex was nothing but a very large lump under his blanket and Luke wasn’t anywhere in sight.

As if he had read my mind, Eddie shook his head. “Yeah, he was gone before I even got up.”

“Does Alex know what happened?”

“Nope, I was gonna tell him when he woke up. Where are you going?”

“Oh, just places.”

“You do know tryouts are a week from today.”

I scowled. “Yes, I do know that.”

“Well, we have no Seeker,” he pointed out.

“I know that also.”

“Look, I know you have your bloody Potter pride and all, but seriously, you’ve got to apologize to Kat.”

“Never!”

“James.” I knew he was serious, because he never called me that unless it was a life or death matter.

“Yes, sir.”

“Gryffindor is going to lose. Kat’s the only half-decent Seeker in our House.”

“You think I don’t know that? She’s way better than half-decent, she’s bloody brilliant! But I screwed it all up like I screw everything up!” I was mad now. No matter how hard I ever tried to make things right, nothing between Kat and me ever worked out. And yet I bloody loved her. How bloody typical…

Alex slowly sat up and rubbed his eyes groggily. “Where’s the fire?” he inquired.

“There isn’t a fire!” I half-yelled at him, whirling to face his bed.

His eyes widened nervously and he fell back onto his pillow. “Well fine then. Excuse me for asking.”

“You’re excused.” I suddenly had a craving for porridge. “Alright, gentlemen. Please excuse me, I’m going to eat some breakfast. I have work to do this morning.”

“Ha, yeah right! You? Do work? On a Saturday morning? I think not.” Eddie gave me an incredulous stare.

“You’d better believe it, chap.” I grabbed my favorite sweatshirt – or, at least, the only one I could conceivably find without digging through piles of scrap – and darted from the room before I was tempted to fall into my bed and go back to sleep.

The Common Room was abuzz with activity as I took the stairs a few at a time. I quickly scoured the groups standing in their usual formations, hoping to see Luke and catch his eye, wishing that if I did he would forgive me and everything would go back to normal. But I didn’t let any of this show on my face as I wandered across the room towards the door.

Traipsing into the Great Hall, I surveyed the Gryffindor table with grim focus. She had to be there somewhere. And then I spotted her, sitting with Steff and Meygan at the far end of the table, smiling and laughing. I growled. How dare she be happy while I was so frustrated with myself? Wasn’t she mad at herself too? Apparently not. And if she was, I couldn’t tell from the look on her face.

This, for some reason, only served to make me angrier. I stalked down the broad aisle towards the end of the table and stood glaring down at the three girls, not quite sure what I was doing there or what I would say. It was an affliction that often plagued me, this uncertainty around Kat. How I hated it.

“Hey, James!” Meygan squeaked, looking up brightly at me.

I withheld a grimace. “Hey.”

“What’re you doing up so early on a Saturday?” Steff asked with a smile.

“Ah, well, a fellow’s gotta get up sometime. I was wondering if I could talk to you, Willoughby.” Ah, Merlin, why didn’t I just call her Kat? Huh, James, why didn’t you? Yeah, why? You know girls like it when you use their first name! Although Merlin knows why…

“Funny, sounds like you already are talking to me.”

I restrained myself from sighing. Honestly, spending time with girls makes me hold so much in… “Okay, well, can I actually have a conversation with you then?”

“If it has something to do with Quidditch, Quidditch tryouts, or anything starting with the letter ‘Q,’ then no.” She didn’t even bother to look up at me as she spoke. It was probably better that way anyways. If I didn’t have to see her eyes, maybe I’d be able to speak English properly.

“Well then, excuse me for trying to be friendly.”

“Excused.”

I groaned aloud. I’d had enough of holding it in for one morning. “Next time I try to be nice, remind me not to.”

“Don’t worry, I will.”

I whirled around dramatically and began marching away in a manner that I believed would save a bit of my dignity.

“Oh, Potter?”

Merlin, she gonna change her mind! She’s gonna talk to me! “Yes?”

“You’d better apply for a weekend job in Hogsmeade.”

I stared at her, puzzled. Was this another insult? Or was it just an awkward attempt at a compliment?

“Because it looks like you’re gonna need those fifteen Galleons.”

A cocked a menacing eyebrow. “Is that a challenge, Willoughby?”

“You’d better believe it, Potter.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

“Would you two just stop it already?!” Steff yelled, silencing both of us and a large majority of the students milling around. For a second, everyone paused and stared at us. Then, seeming to realize that it was just another crazy occurrence in the crazy life of James Potter, they all went back to whatever menial task they had been focusing on.

“Fine!” I yelled right back.

“James, can we have a little talk,” she inquired, standing up and taking my arm. Giving Kat and Meygan that girlish ‘hold-on-just-a-second-while-I-take-care-of-this-slight-problem’ look, she prodded me along until we were out of the Great Hall. “Look, James, I know you and Kat had a little, erm, spat, shall we say?”

“Yeah. Spat. Sure.”

“And I totally get that she can be stubborn and all but I just feel like it’s way overdue for you two to start getting along.”

“Believe me,” I exclaimed, “I’d be more than happy to, um, get along with her.” More like get with her, Jamesie, I corrected myself mentally. “Anyways, it’s not my fault we always fight. She just seems to hate me and there’s nothing I can do about it!”

“James, she’s not a mean person you know. She’s actually quite a lovely person once you get to know her.”

“Don’t I know it,” I grumbled under my breath.

“What?”

“Nothing. Look, can you help me? I, well, this is hard for me to admit, but I need her on the team. If we don’t have Kat, we don’t have anything. Gryffindor’s already the laughing-stock of the school, but without Kat, we won’t even have a chance. But she won’t even talk to me about it!”

“I wish I could help you, really. But even I can’t figure out what’s going on in that head of hers when she’s thinking about you.” Steff twisted a lock of bright blond hair around her finger the way she always did when something was especially stumping her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means you’re out of luck. I hate to say it, but I think you’re on your own with this one.”

I groaned again. “I hate groaning on Saturday mornings,” I mentioned helpfully. “One out of two days when I don’t have to groan about classes, and yet I spend it groaning anyways, because of you damn confusing girls!”

She laughed a little louder than I thought necessary. After all, I hadn’t really meant it as a joke. But apparently she didn’t realize I was serious.

“Fine then. I’ll just have to plot something up myself.”

“Oh no, you’re getting that look in your eye.”

“Only in one eye? What about the other?”

She punched me lightly on the arm. “That look always makes me nervous. Who knows what’ll come of it!”

“Ah, soon you shall know. But until then, I’d better be off. See ya around.” I slumped towards the staircase, hoping to find Eddie and make him help me plot but as I grumbled to myself about the frustrations girls cause, a hand landed on my shoulder. “Argh!” I screamed, jumping about three feet and whirling to face the owner of the appendage on my shoulder.

Professor Nott’s narrow eyes grew even narrower as he stared me down. “There you are, Potter.”

“Yup, here I am. What of it?”

“Would it be too much for me to assume that you haven’t forgotten your responsibility of running the clothes sale?”

“Yeah, it may be too much for you to assume that, but thanks for the reminder, chap.”

“If the Headmistress didn’t favor Gryffindor and you smarmy Potters, I’d have you hanging from the dungeon ceiling,” he snarled, a little too vehemently.

“Calm yourself, there. Didn’t realize Mr. Filch’s disgusting habits had rubbed off on anyone else! And don’t worry yourself about the sale, I’ve got it all under control.”

“You certainly had better hope so, for your own sake.” With a menacing glare, he swirled around and stalked off down the hall.

“Well someone got out of bed on the wrong side this morning!” I muttered to myself. Suddenly, something dawned on me, like the sun over my Uncle Bill’s beach-side cottage. “The clothes sale! That’s it!” With new plots stewing and simmering inside my head, I rushed off again, in search of my trusty sidekicks.




I found Eddie sprawled out across his bed with a Charms book positioned delicately atop his face. Instinctive eye-roll was impossible to stop.

“Mate, what the bloody hell are you doing?”

He jerked up, book sliding off, eyes wide. “Who ‘zere?”

“That would be me, your roommate. Ring any bells?”

“Ah, Junior.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what were you-” I gestured confusedly with my hands, “-doing?”

“Studying.”

“With your book on top your face?”

“Yeah.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Positive?”

“Yeah! Bloody frickin’ hell, yeah, okay, yeah!” he screeched.

I convulsed into a fit of laughter. “I am quite literally driving you mad, aren’t I?”

“Don’t sound so pleased. Why did you interrupt my pleasant study session, anyways? I thought you had stuff to do.”

“I did. And I did it.”

“Well then.”

Pause. Nice, comfortable silence. “So, Ed. You wanna help me? I’ve got a plan stewing.”

“I knew something was up! What’s the plan?” He fixed his dark, eager eyes on me, leaning forward on the edge of his bed. I wanted so badly for him to fall off.

“Nothing yet. But I think I know how I’m gonna get Kat back.”

“Was that where you were?” he inquired.

“Yeah. Sort of. See, I went down for breakfast and I saw her with Steff and Meygan. And she was laughing! What kind of girl laughs after fighting with me? She was laughing! And it slashed me off so bad that I just kinda stalked over and, um, well…” I trailed off.

“Did you two get in another fight?”

“Psh, no!” Pause. “Okay, so, fine, I did! What’s it to you?”

“Junior… okay, look. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that now you have a plan to get her back. So spill.” He looked as if he was trying very hard to forget the fact that I had most likely lost our team’s only hope for good. I loved him for it.

“Right. So I’ve gotta set up that clothes sale this weekend, because stupid Nott’s making me. But here’s the thing – he said that any student who gets detention this week’s gotta help me. Right now, Kat won’t even talk to me about Quidditch. But if we get her into detention before the sale, she’ll have no choice but to talk to me!” I grinned broadly and waited for the full effect of my genius to sink through my mate’s thick skull.

“Wait, so you’re proposing getting Kat in trouble?”

“Right.”

“So she’ll talk to you?”

“Right.”

“With anyone but Kat, I’d say brilliant. But with Kat… I don’t know, mate. Something about getting her in trouble makes me nervous. Must be that steely glare of hers.”

“Ed, it’s the only chance we’ve got! I don’t know if you’ve realized this yet, but we’re sunk without her!”

“We’re sunk anyways,” he muttered.

“Well that’s a lovely attitude! What’ve I got to lose anyways? It’s not like the girl could hate me any more than she already does!”

“True.”

Choosing to ignore that particular slight, I grinned. “So you’ll help me?”

“Of course I will. But if she never speaks to you again, you can’t blame me,” he warned.

“Nice disclaimer.” I settled onto my bed.

“So, how shall we get her in trouble?” Eddie inquired.

I held up a hand, ticking off fingers as I went. “Plant a stolen artifact, eat her homework, throw her shoes in the lake-”

“Wait, wait, wait! Go back one!” he cried.

“Eat her homework?” I was most excited that my bright idea had been recognized.

He waved his hands frantically. “No, before that!”

“Plant a stolen artifact.”

“Right! But not necessarily that. We’re gonna frame her!”

“Like in a picture?” I asked pleasantly.

“No, Junior, not like in a picture.” He rolled his eyes. “Like make it look like she did something she didn’t do.”

“Like what?”

“Anything! We’ve got to make sure it’ll be noticed by someone who’d be quick to give her a detention, someone who already doesn’t like her.”

“Well anyone capable of giving her a detention – namely teachers – like her. Not a single authority figure in this school doesn’t like Kat.”

“Well then we’ve got to think of something that would bug a specific authority figure and then make it look like Kat did it. Like tell the librarian, what’s her name? Tell her that Kat stole a book from the Restricted Section or something like that.”

“That’s a good start, yeah. We’ll just have to come up with the perfect frame. Maybe it should be cherry wood…” I flashed him an innocent smile.

“Junior, must you really?” Eddie sighed. “Maybe Luke’ll have something when we tell him.”

I blinked. “Um, Ed.”

His eyes widened. “Oh, Merlin. I forgot. Sorry, Junior, I just – um, I totally forgot.”

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to. Besides, who needs him anyways? If he’s gonna be a toss-pot, I don’t want him to help us.” But I did want him to help us. I missed him more than anything. A bond like that can’t just be broken, one forged through years, of prank playing and laughing and eating and all that. I couldn’t just forget it all over some fight.

Eddie must’ve read my thoughts with that creepy psycho power of his, because he got up from the floor and plopped down onto the bed next to me. “He’ll come around, mate.” He gave my arm a punch. And if he doesn’t, well, then we’ll just have to concoct another plan.”

“Thanks.” I sighed. “Well, that’s my deep moment for the month. Let’s go down to the dungeons and brew us up some love potion for Malfoy. That’ll keep me entertained until tryouts, I suppose.”

“Oh, Junior. What’re we going to do with you?”




Author's Note: Wow. I am a total failure... it has been entirely too long since I updated this, and I feel horrid about it. Hopefully it was good enough to make up for the long wait. If you all don't hate me now, I'd love to hear what you thought =]

Chapter 10: A Foolproof Plan Gone Awry
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Author's Note: Wow. So I am actually updating this poor, forgotten story. I astonish myself. Hearty apologies for the epoch of wait I've put you through...




There is nothing more inspiring than awakening to the thought of causing trouble. The scent of the morning air seems a bit more thrilling, when you glance lazily out the window at the fluffy clouds skidding by, and suddenly remember the all-important tasks you have ahead of you. Why, it’s enough to make a bloke bound excitedly out of bed and chuck his pillow at his roommate! At least, until he remembers that his roommate is sodding mad at him. And then he regrets throwing the pillow.

Luke grunted and rolled over sitting up and yawning slowly. “What was that for?”

Gulping, I managed, in a small voice, “Erm, nothing. Just, excited, that’s all.”

“’Bout what?”

Clearly said roommate was entirely too groggy to remember he was mad.

“Getting some people in trouble, cooking up some love potion. You know, the usual.”

Luke squinted up at me. Maybe the sunlight streaming in the window was blinding him and he thought I was someone else. Like someone who he didn’t hate with a burning passion for an unknown reason. “Sounds like fun. Don’t you have class?”

“Sunday, mate.” Mate? Why would I use that word?

“Right. Well if you’re done tossing pillows about, I’ll be off to sleep then,” he muttered.

“Uh, yeah, done with that. Sorry.”

“S’alright. G’night.”

Well that was bloody strange.




I trotted down the stairs ten minutes later, jumping from one set to the other with great exuberance. Breakfast awaited, and then Eddie and I would be concocting a plan. Nothing like that feeling. It was enough to make a bloke sing, that’s what.

The scintillating aroma of porridge wafted to my nose as I practically skipped into the Great Hall, my eyes alighting on Eddie, who sat beside Steff and – horror of horrors! – Kat. Swallowing with obvious effort, I shuffled over to them, strongly resisting the urge to brush a few 1st years out of my way as I paraded down the aisle. Maybe I was becoming a better person after all.

“Good morrow all!” I winked in a surreptitious manner at Eddie, hoping he would instantly recall our planning at the sight of my twitching eye.

He clearly didn’t remember, because he surveyed my covert eye-twitching with a look of disdain.

“Morning, James,” Steff chirped, spooning strawberries onto her plate. “You’re up rather early for a Sunday, aren’t you?”

“Ah well, you know what they say! Early worm gets the bird!” I smiled winningly.

“It’s early bird gets the worm, Potter,” Kat scoffed, rolling her bright eyes.

“So you recognize the phrase,” I replied.

She sniffed charmingly and bit into her toast.

“What have you got planned for today, Junior?” Eddie inquired.

“What makes you think I’ve been planning?” I attempted to look innocent.

“Oh nothing. Merely the fact that you’re awake, speaking coherently, and eating porridge at nine o’clock on a Sunday morning, that’s all.”

“Bloody hell, you’re right! This is rather odd of me, isn’t it?” I lifted a hefty spoonful of porridge to my mouth. Inside my head, though, as I babbled on like a lunatic, the gears were turning. The sale was tomorrow. If I wanted to fix things with Kat, I’d have to get her in detention today. But the million dollar question was: how?

Everyone loved Kat. She was a bloody Prefect for Merlin’s sake! I mean, even I, the best pranker and get-people-in-trouble-er ever would have a challenge framing her in a believable fashion.

“So I heard about that detention clothes sale you’ve got tomorrow, Potter,” Kat said.

My porridge lodged uncomfortably in my throat. I gulped. “Yeah. Uh, excited about that, definitely.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Who do you have helping you with it?”

My mind raced. Could I ask her for help? No, no, that would never work. She hated my guts after all… “Uh, not sure really.”

“You say ‘uh’ a lot,” Meygan observed, sliding into a spot next to me.

“Uh, yeah.”

She giggled and flipped her hair over her shoulder, biting into a piece of toast delicately.

Funny, so funny. Let’s make fun of a bloke who happens to stutter every now and again when confronted with the most bloody beautiful and sodding smart girl he’s ever met in his life who also happens to hate him for some unknown reason.

“Potter! Hello? Who’s helping you with the sale?” Kat yelped.

“Dunno,” I spit out quickly, jumping up from the table. “Gotta go.”

“Where to, Junior?” Eddie asked, puzzled.

“Come on, I just remembered something. Let’s go,” I commanded, grabbing him by the shoulder and pushing him up the aisle in front of me, leaving the girls staring after us.

“What’s gotten into you, mate? You’re acting like a house elf high on Drooble’s or something,” he yelled as I paraded him up the steps to the Common Room.

“Don’t you remember? The love potion! We gotta brew it!”

“I thought we were leaving the technical stuff to, Al. You know we’re gonna botch it.”

“Don’t be a doubting Thomas, Ed. We got this. We’re in seventh year, it should be bloody easy to brew a love potion!” I insisted.

“Fine.” He shook his head. “Let’s just look at the recipe and see how hard it’ll be.”

We barged into our room a second later to find Luke still lying in bed. I exchanged a meaningful look with Eddie that said ‘be quiet, the last thing we need is for him to wake up!’

He seemed to get the message because he tiptoed softly across the clothes-strewn floor, picked through a pile of assorted personal belongings, and lifted out his advanced potions book.

I waved wildly, gesturing him towards the door and the safety of the Common Room, far away from that bloke I thought was my best friend. When we were safely downstairs, I tore the book from Ed and flipped through vigorously.

“Aha! Here it is. Amortentia.” I began reading off the ingredients in an undertone, ignoring suspicious glances from students who were clearly astonished at seeing me both: one, up at nine on a Sunday and two, reading a textbook.

“I can’t believe they actually put the directions for how to make this in our textbook!” Eddie exclaimed. “I mean, you’d think they’d realize how dangerous that could be.”

“Well you are in Advanced Potions, mate. I mean for kids who are serious about it, I guess they figure it’s safe.”

“But it’s not,” he insisted. “Look at you. As if a potion like this is safe with you in the world.”

“Okay, whatever, mate. Let’s just make this potion.” I scanned the list of ingredients. “I bet we can find all of these downstairs in the potions cupboard.”

Ed grinned. “Well then. Let’s do it.”




Four grueling hours later, Ed and I trooped back up to the dormitory, me clutching a vial of the love potion under my cloak. Don’t ask how we managed to make it. It took every ounce of intelligence in my body, I’ll tell you that much.

We no sooner made it in safely then Al came knocking. “Have you two loons finished that love potion yet?”

“Yes, actually, we have,” Eddie replied.

“And I’ll thank you not to call us loons,” I added with a scowl.

“Right. Well let me test it then.” He reached out a hand for the vial I was about to set on the dresser.

“Excuse me?” I asked incredulously. “Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course, of course. But I might as well check.”

“Oh no, we did it just right, don’t you worry,” Eddie spoke up.

“So you don’t want me to test it, just to make sure?” Al asked, raising his dark eyebrows.

“Right,” I affirmed.

“Splendid. Hope that turns out well for you.” He left without a second glance.

“Well then.” Eddie looked nervous.

I gulped. “So.”

“This had better go well, huh?” he asked me.

If I’d had a mirror, I was sure I looked every bit as nervous as him.




Slipping Malfoy the potion was easy enough. It was the simple distract-attack method we developed in our first year. Have Alex cause a commotion at lunch with the help of his house elf friends, use the Invisibility Cloak to sneak over to the Slytherin table, and drop some of the potion into Malfoy’s pumpkin juice. Easier done than said. No, really.

It was done faster than you could say, “Oh my Merlin.” And that was it. As soon as that tosser of a Malfoy who had besmirched my poor little cousin took another drink of his juice, he’d be struck with a horrible heartache for Edwina Bleazle. Nothing to it.

I watched eagerly from the Gryffindor table as Malfoy reached for his goblet. Eddie elbowed me suddenly.

“What is it?” I hissed.

“You were leaning over so far I thought you’d fall into your beans.”

“Right. Thanks, chap.” I made a conscious effort not to lean forward in excitement as I observed Malfoy take a drink. “And that’s that,” I whispered to Ed. I must admit, part of me wished Luke could’ve been there to enjoy the result of this fabulous prank.

But the thought flew from my mind as quickly as a pixie flies from a dragon. What? Analogies have never been my strong suit…Luke had, after all, been a tosser. When he woke up and realized that we were too old for stupid bickering, well then, fine. I’d be the first to welcome him back. But until then, I was fine.

Who did I think I was kidding? I missed him like hell. I was just way too proud and stubborn to admit it. A very small part of me would sometimes whisper in the back of my mind ‘you should talk to him, fix things up.’ But then I’d squelch it quickly and pretend I hadn’t heard. It was a fool-proof method, I’d found.

But back to the prank.

So as I watched Malfoy drink the love-potioned pumpkin juice, I squelched that little part of me that wished Luke was there, and focused instead on our brilliance. Eddie and I were single-handedly – with the exception, of course, of each other’s hands – about to get revenge on Malfoy. It was a blessed moment.

I could see him swallow. I gulped along with him, nervous. What would happen? Would he suddenly scream her name? Would he race down the Slytherin table, searching for her? The possibilities were endless.

His head straightened suddenly and he craned his neck, eyes darting around the Great Hall. I was surprised to see that they didn’t rest on Edwina, who sat munching something quite strange way at the other end of the Slytherin table, but on us Gryffindors.

“Why in Merlin’s beard is he looking over here?” Eddie hissed at me.

“Dunno. Maybe he’s so in love with her he’s forgotten what House she’s in,” I suggested.

Albus strolled over beside us, breaking into our confused muttering. “So have you two loons given it to him?” he asked in a whisper, causing Meygan and Kat to look over at us. Whispered conversations always make girls nervous. I guess they think we’re talking about them. Usually we are.

“I said,” I began, “not to call us loons.”

Al shrugged and slid onto the bench beside me. “Right. Well you’d better hope that potion was right.”

“What could have gone wrong?” Ed asked, with a confident smile. Suddenly, a tall shadow stretched out over him, and he turned to find Scorpius standing behind him, eyes whipping frantically from person to person.

“Where,” Malfoy croaked desperately, “is Kat?”

“Oh, I dunno,” Al said with a shrug. “Maybe that?”




Author's Note: So I know it was awfully short, but I really wanted to update this while I can. It's taken me forever, I know, and I feel awful. I have a lot of work this year, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to stay on top of this...we'll see how it goes! I have some pretty intense plans for it, though, I can promise you that :)

If anyone actually remembers this story exists, or even cares to read it anymore, I would love to get a review! I can't even put into words how much the feedback/support means, especially considering how behind I am with this. Much love to anyone who's still around after all this time :)

Chapter 11: Oh My Merlin
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I blinked once. Maybe I was still asleep. Yeah, that’d be a nice solution to this newest mess I had somehow managed to rope myself into. But after blinking my eyes several more times, the only thing that changed was that there seemed to be a considerable amount of water in them. So no chance that I was dreaming. “Erm,” I choked out, when I realized the problem wasn’t just going to disappear.

Kat, meanwhile, was looking stunned. And, I will admit, she had a good reason to be. Scorpius Malfoy was, after all, standing behind her looking as if he was ready to devour her, silky chestnut hair and all.

Al sighed. “I asked if you wanted me to test it. I asked, didn’t I? I did,” he answered his own question.

“Test what?” Kat hissed. “James, what is he talking about?”

I was almost too frenzied to notice that she had called me James. But not quite. “Nothing. Just let me handle this.” I got to my feet. “Excuse me, Mr. Malfoy. Can I help you?”

“If you can tell this beautiful lady that I have never loved anyone more in my whole life, then yes, I’d say you can help me.”

Damn. This was so so much worse than I had thought. “Right. Well, see, that’s not gonna work. Because you, in all actuality, don’t really love her. You love Edwina Bleazle.” I gestured to the poor Slytherin girl sitting some yards away, meekly eating her lunch.

“Edwina who?”

Clearly something had gone wrong with the potion.

“Bleazle,” Eddie repeated, getting to his feet too, and turning around to face Malfoy.

“No, mate,” I whispered. “Let me take care of this. We don’t want the teachers to notice anything’s going on.”

“Potter, will you please explain what in Merlin’s name is going on? What don’t we want the teachers to notice?” Kat was looking visibly worried. And she had called me Potter again. Things were looking down.

Malfoy’s face was getting considerably redder by the second. “I love you, Katherine Willoughby!” he exclaimed to the room at large, spreading his arms wide.

Further down the Gryffindor table, Rose jumped up. “Excuse me?” Her voice was shrill. She stalked towards us, hands on her hips. “What did you just say, Scorpius?”

“Oh my Merlin,” Al muttered, dropping his head into his arms on the waiting table top.

“Don’t just sit there,” I hissed at him. “Do something! Can’t you reverse the potion?”

“Reverse it?” he shrieked, sounding rather like a first year girl who discovered a spider in her sink. “This isn’t some second year spell, James, this is a love potion!”

“Love potion?” Kat’s voice was a mere whisper, her eyes dangerous. “Oh my Merlin.”

“Would people please stop using that phrase?” I requested, more than a bit annoyed at this point

Malfoy, however, didn’t seem to notice that anything was in the least bit out of the ordinary. He blatantly ignored Rose and the anger dripping from her every orifice, and reached out his hands to grasp Kat by the shoulders, wrenching her off the bench. “Why can’t you see how much I love you?” he shouted at her.

“Hold it right there,” I commanded, leaping on top of the table and knocking various platters aside in the process, my foot landing in the dish of potatoes. I could feel gravy seeping through my shoe. Damn. “Get your hands off her.”

Far from obeying me and getting his smarmy hands off my woman, Scorpius got his lips involved too, planting them firmly on top of Kat’s. I resisted the urge to scream like Rose was doing and instead leapt off the table and punched Malfoy in the gut. Let me tell you, he let go of Kat like she was on fire.

Before I could get another good hit in though, I heard Al yell from behind me, “Stop it right now!” And then he was grabbing my shoulders, and suddenly Luke was running down the aisle, stepping between Malfoy and me and trying to help Al push me down onto the bench. Ed was restraining Malfoy from going after Kat, patting him on the back and trying to convince him it was all just a trick, while Rose sobbed Malfoy’s name over and over again, much too loudly. Kat stood behind me, her blue eyes wide and she seemed more than bit scared.

And in the background of all this melee, I could hear Headmistress McGonagall’s harsh Scottish brogue. “What in Merlin’s name is the meaning of this?”

“Will everyone stop using Merlin’s name!” I yelled, feeling overwhelmed by it all. The Hall fell deadly silent.

I could feel all the eyes on me as Minnie strode towards us, her wand out.

“Now, Minnie, I don’t think there’s any need for wands,” I heard Luke say, stepping out from in front of me and towards our livid Headmistress.

“Do not call me Minnie, Mr. Tomlinson. And there is quite a need for me to use my wand. There will be no more brawling, is that understood? All of you will follow me to my office, this instant. All of you!” There was no mistaking that tone. Minnie was having a rotten day, and she was going to take it out on us.

Oh my Merlin.

~~~

“Who will explain to me what was going on in the Great Hall a moment ago?” Our Headmistress faced us all, her face a grim mask.

We were seated in her office, all seven of us. Al, green eyes nervous like always when he’s about to get in trouble. Eddie, face sober for the first time in a long time. Luke, looking as though he was asking himself why he got himself into this mess. Rose, sobbing quietly into Scorpius’s sleeve, while he ignored her. Scorpius, staring dumbly at Kat like a man in a mirage. Kat, obviously uncomfortable with said stare and incredibly bothered by the fact that she was, for once, in trouble with Minnie. And me. Wondering what in Merlin’s name was going to happen to all of us. But, of course, I shall refrain from using that phrase anymore.

When no one spoke up, I raised my hand tentatively. “It’s rather a long story,” I began.

“I have all the time in the world, Mr. Potter.”

So that was how she was going to play it.

“See, it’s like this.” Could I charm my way out of this one? Doubtful. However, it was worth a shot.

But Minnie raised a hand before I could even begin concocting some semblance of an excuse. “Never mind. I am not interested in your twisted version of the story. I realize that there is no way I will be able to get the true story with all seven of you sitting here in front of me. You all couldn’t keep any story straight, let alone a made up one.”

There was no answer.

“Therefore, you all have a month’s worth of detention.”

A collective gasp caused the Headmistress to roll her eyes. “I believe that is very lenient of me, considering that-”

But she got no further, for then, it seemed, Malfoy could contain himself no longer. “You can’t do this! I was only expressing my love. She is my everything, the reason the sun rises and sets!” He gripped Kat’s shoulders firmly. “You can’t punish me for loving her.” And then he kissed her for the second time in the past ten minutes.

“Mr. Malfoy, what is this nonsense? Release Miss Willoughby this instant!”

When he didn’t appear to hear her, I helped Minnie out and wrenched them apart, shoving Kat behind me. “Didn’t you hear our good Headmistress?” I inquired.

“Don’t even try, Mr. Potter.” Her voice was caustic. “There is no way you’re weaseling out of this. Mr. Malfoy is not of a poetic bent. There is no question to one with a trained eye that he is under the effects of a love potion.”

Out of all of us, only Rose looked relieved.

“I cannot even fathom why such a thing has occurred. No matter what the reason, I am sure you are all equally at fault and therefore you will each have a month’s detention. Mr. Potter, you will finish your detention organizing the Clothes sale, and then you will spend the remainder of your detentions working on general upkeep around the castle, with paintings, armor, and so on.”

Could have been worse, I supposed.

“Mr. Tomlinson, Mr. Malfoy, and Miss Weasley, you three will be cleaning the Owlery.”

I glanced at Luke to see how angry he was. I could see a muscle in his jaw twitching, but he didn’t say a word. Malfoy was still too whacked up on love potion to know the difference, and Rose appeared to be too happy about spending time with her beloved Scorpius to care that she would be cleaning up owl droppings for the next four Saturdays.

“Albus, you will be spending your time tutoring the younger students in Charms and Potions.” Her eyes sparkled with what appeared to be ill-contained mirth.

Damn, did he get off easy. Minnie had a definite soft spot for my little brother. I glared at him fiercely as he gave me a wink.

“Mr. Bryant and Miss Willoughby. I am most disappointed in you two, as you are both Prefects. As you and I have had a discussion prior to this incident, Edward, I will be suspending your title as Gryffindor Prefect.”

I felt bad about that.

“You and Miss Willoughby, in addition to helping Mr. Potter with the sale tomorrow, will be helping me in my office with filing and aiding the teachers with other odd and end tasks.”

I was so happy I felt like yelling. Somehow this whole mess had worked out so Kat was helping me with the sale! I didn’t even have to get her in trouble! Although, I guess that was what I had done with the whole love potion business. But I hadn’t meant for Malfoy to fall in love with her! How had it happened? Al would know. Imagine how differently the whole thing would’ve turned out if the potion had worked right and Malfoy had fallen in love with Edwina Bleazle. I resisted the urge to sigh happily.

“You are all dismissed.” Her voice was still harsh, but she appeared to be much happier now that she had gotten her fill of meting out punishments. “Oh, and Albus, please take Mr. Malfoy down to the dungeons and ask Professor Nott to whip him up some sort of remedy. We can’t have him like this until it wears off, can we?”

“Yes, Headmistress,” Al said in his smarmy, teacher’s-pet voice.

Somehow, that whole thing had gone a lot better than I had thought it would.

~~~

We left Minnie’s office in silence. Al had to physically drag Malfoy off of Kat and rush him off to the dungeons so he didn’t kill himself over his all-consuming love of her. That love potion was strong stuff. Maybe I’d consider using it on Kat sometime. But then I’d probably screw it up again and she’d end up falling in love with Edwina Bleazle.

Before I could think of anything to say, Rose began chattering. “I am so glad that was just a love potion. I mean, to think that anything could tear apart me and Scorpius.” She sighed. “I’m just really relieved. But why’d you guys do it?”

“First of all, it wouldn’t take a love potion to see that not much can tear you and Scorpius apart,” I commented wryly. “And second, we did it because we were trying to show you that there are way better guys out there than Malfoy.”

She wrinkled her nose. “And making him fall in love with Kat does that how?”

“Well I didn’t mean for that part to happen!” I objected.

Kat looked confused. “You didn’t?”

“Of course not! Why would I do that? I meant for him to fall in love with Edwina Bleazle.”

“Well that obviously didn’t happen,” Kat said with a sniff.

“I know.” My voice got quiet. “I’m sorry.” I was apologizing for more than just this whole incident. I was apologizing for whatever it was I had done to make her hate me so much.

“It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean for it to happen.”

Eddie shrugged. “What I can’t figure out is, why it went wrong. I mean, we followed the directions!”

“Directions? Where’d you find directions to make a love potion?” Luke asked, speaking for the first time. It was good to hear his voice not directed at me in an angry fashion.

“My advanced Potions book,” Ed answered.

“Why would they put that in there?” Luke asked, shaking his head.

“No idea. If they knew there were loons like him taking that class, they’d know not to put it in the textbook,” I offered.

Luke laughed. “Good point, mate.”

So suddenly things were back to normal? Weird.

“Well, I’ve gotta go meet someone,” Kat broke into our conversation. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow for the sale.”

“Yeah, guess so,” I answered, shoving my hands into my pockets, still feeling a little bad for getting her in trouble like that.

She apparently had read my mind, because she reached out and put a hand on my arm. “And really, don’t worry about what happened. It’s not every day a girl has a guy like Scorpius Malfoy in love with her.” Her eyes sparkled playfully in the sunlight streaming in from the huge window. And then she turned and disappeared down the hallway.

“Honestly, what do girls see in that guy?” I asked rhetorically, my arm still hot from where her hand had rested.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe he’s just gorgeous, and he has the most beautiful gray eyes and-” Rose’s voice was dreamy, but I had no interest in hearing her blabber on about Malfoy.

“I didn’t really want an answer, Rose. Save it.”

She shrugged. “Well you asked. See you guys later,” she said with a smile.

And then it was just me, Ed, and Luke, standing there in the hallway.

“Look, guys,” I began, turning to them both.

But Eddie didn’t wait for me to say any more. “Don’t worry about it, mate. I reckon a break from Prefect-hood will be good for me. And my parents can just live with it.”

I smiled. He, at least, knew I was about to apologize. I turned to Luke.

“Save it, Potter,” he said, holding up his hands. “I was an idiot to get so mad at you before, for no reason. I should’ve been there to save you two from screwing this whole thing up in the first place. We’re best mates, all four of us, and nothing’s gonna change that. I’m glad to be back. Even if I am stuck cleaning out the Owlery.”

We all had a good laugh at that, Luke chuckling a little less enthusiastically than Ed and me.

Suddenly, Ed stopped laughing and looked worried. “Wait a minute. Best mates, all four of us, right?”

“Right,” I echoed, wondering what he was going on about.

“But where’s Alex?”

“Right here!” Alex charged down the hallway, followed by a horde of house elves.

Ed, Luke, and I all spoke at the same time. “Oh my Merlin.”

~~~

Author's Note: So I updated again! Exciting, huh? Somehow I am managing to stay semi-on top of all my projects, and I really wanted to update this! I hope you all liked this rather adventure-full chapter! Please leave a review, it'd make my day to hear what you all thought :)

Chapter 12: The Almost Sell-Out Sale
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“The castle’s on fire, the castle’s on fire!”

I jolted up. “What? Fire? Where?”

Loud peals of laughter erupted around me.

Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I glanced around wildly. “Where’s the fire?”

“You’ve been ignoring your alarm for the past ten minutes and none of us can figure out how to turn it off. We were forced to take dramatic action.” Alex’s face twisted into a pleased grin.

“Well don’t pretend you didn’t enjoy it,” I grumbled. “And why, may I ask, is it so imperative I get to breakfast at such an early hour?”

“Not breakfast, mate, the sale,” Luke reminded me, lounging in his bed.

“Ah, bloody hell. I forgot about that.” I raked a hand through my hair. Monday morning could hardly get worse, but it just had. Spending hours with Nott and Kat. Shudder.

Eddie emerged from the loo, his dark hair dripping. “Come on, Junior, we gotta book it downstairs if we want to keep our organs firmly in our bodies.”

I groaned and flopped out of bed, landing in an uncomfortable pile on the floor. “I don’t want to.”

“I am aware you don’t want to.” Eddie ambled over and yanked me up. “Unfortunately, I don’t care. And neither does Nott. So go get in the shower. Now.”

“You sound like you’re turning into Minnie,” I muttered on my way to the shower. “Rather frightening, actually.”

~~~

Ten minutes later, Ed and I were staircase hopping, dodging first years on their way back from breakfast.

“If we’re late, he’s gonna have a hissy fit,” I yelled, trying to keep my voice at a normal pitch.

Eddie glanced at his watch and ran straight into a puny Hufflepuff. “Oh, I’m so sorry, excuse me! We’ve got a whole minute, run!”

We arrived, huffing and puffing, before our glowering Potions master, just as the front hall clock chimed eight.

“Hm, you’re here.” Nott’s voice sounded distinctly unhappy. No doubt he was disappointed we were on time, robbing him of the chance to give us more detention. Bloody git.

“And a good morning to you, too!” Eddie chirped, giving Nott a salute.

“None of your cheek this morning, Mr. Bryant,” Nott warned, turning and surveying the hall. “Miss Willoughby arrived early to set up.”

“Of course she did,” I muttered to myself.

“I will be downstairs in my office,” Nott continued, “but rest assured, if you try anything – and I mean anything – I will know. Is that understood?”

“Sir, yes, sir!” I exclaimed, giving him my best “I understand you completely” look.

His beady eyes got even smaller, if that’s possible. “Wonderful.” He whirled around and stomped off to the dungeon, black cloak sweeping along behind him.

“Glad we’re rid of him. What a Debbie Downer.” Eddie shook his head.

People were already beginning to filter in from the Great Hall, picking through tables of stuff. “I’m gonna go ask Kat what we can do. And hope she doesn’t bite my head off.”

Eddie gave me a wink. “Good luck, mate. And don’t forget, you’re trying to make up with her over that whole bet thing.”

I groaned. “Right. Thanks for the reminder.” And Monday morning gets even worse. I sauntered over to the long table where Kat stood, putting on my best “I’m really not a prat” smile. “Morning, Kat.” If she was going to call me by my last name, let her, but I was going in for the kill. That’s right. First names. What can I say, I’m just a daring guy.

“Morning, Potter.”

See what I mean about the last name? It just kills the vibe, really. “Thanks for coming down early and getting things set up.”

“No trouble.” She wasn’t looking at me.

LOOK ME IN THE EYE, KATHERINE WILLOUGHBY. Nope, still nothing. Mind control isn’t really my forte, I suppose. “So-” Pause. “Are you looking forward to-” I caught myself. I had just been about to ask if she was looking forward to Quidditch tryouts. How stupid can I get? That was how I got into trouble before. There was just something about this girl that made my brain freeze and my tongue go crazy.

“Looking forward to what?”

Well, at least she was looking at me now. Maybe like I had two heads. But still. It was something. “Erm.” I gulped. “The sale, I meant.”

Her dark brows rose skeptically, and she looked as if a derisive comment was on the tip of her tongue. “Oh. Yeah, I guess so.”

Thank Merlin, she took pity on me and my sad, sad inability to speak.

“Excuth me?” My eyes snapped over to a lisping Hufflepuff who stood pawing the lost and found articles.

The ingrained jerk in me wanted to snap “What do you want?” but the new, nice part of me I had only recently discovered reined me in. “How can I help you?”

“Um, may you pleath tell me how mucth thith cothts?” Her over-long teeth poked out over her bottom lip and her bright eyes looked up at me hopefully.

“Three sickels,” I replied, finding that I wasn’t even faking when I smiled down at her.

“Oh. Thankth.”

“No problem.” I turned back to face Kat. “You were saying?” There you go again, James! She wasn’t saying anything! She was pretending you weren’t an idiot for asking if she was looking forward to the sale!

“I was just saying, er-” Her eyes snapped away from my face and focused on something behind me.

I turned and glanced over my shoulder. “What is it?” It was Eddie. He had taken four of the Quaffles from the sports pile and was in the process of attempting to juggle them. “What the bloody hell is he doing?” I glanced over at the entrance to the Great Hall. “Oh. That’s what.”

DeAndra Wilkes was leaving the Great Hall, her book bag slung casually over her shoulder. She looked like a dream, as per usual. Explained Eddie’s suddenly deranged state, at least.

Kat was surveying the scene with a distasteful look, as if a fly had zoomed into her mouth and made a lodging there. Truth be told, I kind of agreed with the look. But as I watched Eddie make a fool of himself, I felt the gears begin to turn in my head. Something would have to be done to rid us of Schaffer and leave DeAndra open for the kill.

“He has a thing for her, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah, he most certainly-” Wait just a second? Was that Kat who had just inquired of me whether or not Eddie liked DeAndra? What on earth was the wizarding world coming to? I whirled to face her, trying not to exclaim my shock in her face. “Does,” I finished, my tone calm.

To my surprise, not only did she not proclaim her disgust for love and romance, she smiled. Actually smiled! “I think they’d be great together.”

While part of me was tempted to holler, ‘who the bloody hell are you, and what have you done with Kat,’ the more reasonable part of me managed to squelch the urge and simply nod. “I think so, too.” And then, like a lightning bolt thwacking the Whomping Willow, it hit me. “Hey!”

“Hey what?” Kat replied, taking a Sickel from a midget 1st year.

Though I was shocked she played along properly with the ‘hey’ and ‘hey what’ exchange, I somehow was able to convey my idea. “Why don’t you help me?”

Her blue eyes took on a puzzled glaze. “Yes, I am helping you. Haven’t got much of a choice now, have I, since I was roped into your little scheme yesterday.”

“No, no! Not with this, although I’m quite pleased you’re helping with this, too.” Oh dear, where did that sappy nonsense come from? That stuff’s supposed to stay locked inside my head forever…

“Well then with what?”

Crash! I whirled around from the table to see as Eddie collapsed, juggled Quaffles and all, into a heap beneath a pile of ancient armor.

I could tell DeAndra was trying to stifle a full-out guffaw as she sprinted over to help him. My poor best mate jumped to his feet, face flaming red, trying to sort out the pile of metal and plastic around him.

I shook my head dejectedly and turned back to Kat, leaning against the front of the table with what I’d like to think was nonchalant grace. “I meant help me with my master plan. I want to get Eddie and DeAndra over there together.”

Kat’s eyes sparkled – literally sparkled! – and she nodded. “Sure, I’d love to. I guess I act disdainful, but I’ve honestly always wanted to be in on one of your little plans.”

My stomach twisted with joy at her words. “She could really do a lot better than that Schaffer prick, that’s for sure.”

The smile dropped from Kat’s face instantly and she turned away.

“What? What’d I say?”

“Hi there, can I help you with something?” Kat asked a Ravenclaw who was poking at a stack of ratty old shoes.

I threw my hands in the air and uttered a prolonged groan. “Come on, Kat! Are we going to do this all year? What the bloody hell is the matter now?”

She whirled on me, eyes sparkling with anger, rather than the pleasant, excited sparkling I had seen just moments earlier. Somehow the angry sparkling was just as beautiful as the happy kind, although I couldn’t help fearing for my life when I realized the anger was directed at me. “First of all, do not curse. There are little children around here,” she hissed.

“Done,” I replied quickly, crossing my heart to show my sincerity.

All I got for my trouble was an eye roll. “Second, how dare you call Schaff- someone a,” her voice lowered, “prick. Of all the rude, conceited, horrible things to say!”

I shrugged. “Okay so it wasn’t very polite of me, I’ll give you that. And I won’t swear anymore, I promise. My dad always says I shouldn’t curse in front of ladies, guess he was right.”

“That’s not the point, Potter.”

“What is the point then?” I spread my hands wide, giving her my best imploring look.

Rather than address my perfectly logical inquiry, however, she simply gave a pained groan and turned away.

“The silent treatment, really? We’re 7th years, Kat, alright? Let’s both grow up a little. It’s been seven bloo- I mean seven years of this! And I still have no idea why you hate me so much.” I scurried around the end of the table and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Don’t shut me out.”

For a second, I thought I had finally done it, finally broken through her crusty, ridiculous, obstinate exterior. Those wonderful blue eyes flicked up and met mine, with the most unguarded, open look I had ever seen.

But then she tore out of my grasp and the moment was gone. “Just leave me alone, Potter.”

“Fine. Okay, fine. That’s it, I’m done with this.” And I meant it, too.

I was done with Kat Willoughby and nothing – I repeat, nothing – was going to change that.



Author's Note: Oh dear. I hope you all don't hate me for abandoning this poor story for months. I won't bore you with the many reasons for said abandonment, but suffice it to say, I'm back! I can't promise quick updates, but I can promise that I'm not abandoning this story, and I have wonderful plans for its future. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a quick review, just so I know there are still people out there who want to read it. I love all of you who've been waiting for me to get my act together :)

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