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Like A Soda Can by FoundriaPenguin

Format: Novel
Chapters: 6
Word Count: 7,525
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Characters: Albus, James (II), Rose, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 03/16/2010
Last Chapter: 01/12/2011
Last Updated: 01/12/2011

Summary:
banner by nantes @ TDA!







...I figure I’m like the soda can that people kick around on the sidewalk. Those people are too lazy or don’t care what happens to it. They don’t bother to pick it up and put it in the recycling bin so the soda can has a chance at a makeover into something new. Something with purpose.


Chapter 1: Prologue: Alliteration
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disclaimer: I own nothing but Alice Nicholson(:


 

 







It's the second day of 5th year.

Do I have anything to be happy for?

I guess the fact that I'm alive is something to be cheery about.

I can't help but ponder the question that's been floating around my mind for all of the years I've been at Hogwarts once more. Yes, the question that I've thought of since the first time I met him and tried to imagine our status as a couple.

Is it strange that my name is Alice, and the boy-I’m-crushing-on’s name is Albus?

Yes, I'm talking about the Albus, as in the Albus Potter.

The two names are eerily similar. They even rhyme! Kind of. Not to mention our first initials are the same!

Everyone’s probably seen the movies where the couple writes their first (or both) initials in sand or carves it into a tree, right? Or something like that.

Well, yes, if I put mine and Albus's first initials together, it looks like this:

A+A.

It's alliteration, I swear. And it looks awful. Why was I cursed with this?

My parents could’ve named me anything else, but they chose Alice. Seriously. I understand, Alice Longbottom was very noble and all, so I’m named after her. I mean no offense to the great witch who battled Bellatrix Lestrange.

And lost.

But that’s not the point.

I've tried to assure myself that A+A could possibly mean AA, like double "A" batteries. Maybe we have some kind of electrical charge.

Oh, who am I kidding? That's the lamest, most desperate explanation I've ever thought of for this predicament!

I'm definitely overanalyzing the situation here.

That's what I've been telling myself for the past 5 years, actually.

Albus is lucky that he’s of the Potter kin. He’s got family that actually cares about him. He doesn't have the time to even think about these things. Not that he would, I mean. But at least he’s not stuck in the library alone, his nose stuck in a huge book because he’s got nothing better to do.

Hmm, that sounds familiar...

I stop straight in my tracks before I enter the Great Hall for dinner, and stare at the bedsheet stretched across the entrance.

Welcome to Loserville.
Population: 1*
*Alice Nicholson


There is no one else to thank for this besides James Potter, Albus’s infamous older brother, who never fails to remind me of my absolute aloneness everyday.

Creatively.

Apparently, I am the sole populate of Loserville today.

Okay, so maybe I haven’t been exactly the most sociable person these past years at Hogwarts. Er...now that I rethink that I figure I’ve been way worse.

Oh, I’m not going to bother putting butter on the bread. It’s easier to take things with a sharp knife than a blunt one. Gets it over with easier.

I’m the social outcast of Hogwarts. There are no others that I know of who would like to join me in my position, no less be my friend. I am like Moaning Myrtle, but maybe a slight bit better because, and I’ve even created a list to show others (who sadly aren’t interested) why I’m better than Myrtle.

1. I’m alive.
2. I do not live in the girls’ bathroom.
3. I get to attend classes everyday.
4. I am not stuck on getting revenge on someone, e.g. Moaning Myrtle is dead set on making Olive Hornby even more miserable.

Let me pause here on the list. I’ll continue it later, don’t worry, but I’m sure that you’ve figured that I would like to rip James Potter to rips and pieces till he’s barely visible on the sidewalk.

Don’t think I didn’t try. But after three years of hard-edged tenacity, I had to give up. That boy is surrounded by too many people who love him. So I no longer bother to try and get back at Potter, mostly because of that and also because he can get back at me in an even worse way.

Cue the sad face and the pout, everyone.

After many years of consideration, I’ve thought about it, and I figure I’m like the soda can that people kick around on the sidewalk. Those people are too lazy or don’t care what happens to the can. They don’t bother to pick it up and put it in the recycling bin so the soda can has a chance at a makeover into something new. Something with purpose.

Let me tell you, I could really use one right now.

Maybe 5th year will be the answer to that calling.

 

 

 








A/N: My first Albus/OC! I was strangely inspired by the Alice in Wonderland movie I saw today to write this.

Review please! :D I eat them. I love them.

~foundriapenguin

 
 


Chapter 2: Sprite
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disclaimer: I own nothing but dear, dear Alice!








“Miss Nicholson? Miss Nicholson, I would appreciate if you didn’t sleep in my classroom at this time.”


My eyes flew open and laughter pressed against me. I shot a weak smile towards Professor Mink,  the Muggle Studies professor, whose eyes twinkled at me.


“It’s alright, Miss Nicholson. Now, as a reward for you sleeping in my class--” here everyone else chuckled or snickered at me, “why don’t you tell me what this is?”


Professor Mink held up a cylindrical, shiny object that I identified at once. “That,” I said slowly, enunciating every letter so that everyone in the class could hear, “is a can of Sprite. It’s a Muggle soda.”


“Correct,” Professor Mink smiled. “Five points to Hufflepuff. And as a reward for knowing the answer to my question so quickly after distracting yourself in class, I’ll give you the soda for you to enjoy.”


Whispers of disbelief ran across the room as the professor handed me the can. I stared at it in wonder. I couldn’t believe someone was actually handing me a gift. A real, heart-warming gift.


Was there a catch?


Apparently not. Professor Mink was still smiling at me, encouraging me. “Open it.”


My breath caught as I pulled back the soda can ring, and a popping noise emitted in the silent room. I lifted the can to my lips, taking a cautious sip.


It was perfect: the right balance of flavor and bubbles, giving an elated feel as it ran down my throat. I put the can to my mouth for another taste, but it was ripped away from me by a forceful hand.


Some soda spilled on my lap, and I gasped in disbelief. Who was taking my gift from me? Was the professor taking it back?


No, that was impossible. I slowly turned around in my seat to face a mocking James Potter. “Want your soda back, Nicholson? Come and get it!”


I froze in terror as James Potter stood up, taunting me. Professor Mink, who was calmly examining the situation, lifted her wand. “Accio soda!”


The class’s attention turned to her, and she stared at Potter with a disapproving look. “Detention tonight, Mr. Potter. My office.”


She looked at me with concerned eyes. “Alice,” Professor Mink said softly to me, “I’ll keep the soda for you, and you can pick it up after class.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I jerk awake from my memory and back to the present. As I realize that today is the first day of classes, I jump off my bed and prepare for breakfast. It is 5:30 in the morning, but the time is absolutely necessary.

I’m sure everyone knows the maxim that says something along the lines of, “Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people.”

It couldn’t be more wrong!

If Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people, then I don’t need to wake up at 5:30 every morning. I don’t need to sit by myself at breakfast. I don’t have to creep into the dorm after everyone else is asleep.

If Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people, they always rally against James Potter in my defense, since I am a fellow house member. But no, they are all wimps. They are all scared of his power over the school.

I gather my books and trek out of the dorm quietly to the Great Hall in my storm of defiant thoughts. As usual, I am the only one around in the corridors. Well, at least that’s what it seems to be.

I hear a clanking noise around the bend, and I freeze, inching back along the wall. I see the person’s shadow from the torches, and the figure emerging is just a little first year. Apparently he already knows his way around, as he’s carrying a pack of Muggle sodas from the kitchens.

As he approaches I notice they’re cans of Sprite. I walk past him as nonchalantly as possible, trying to not let it show that I was afraid of him at one point. But then I discover what the clanking noise was.

A lone, empty soda can lay on the floor, a few feet away from the wall. I assume the boy drank what was inside, tossed it, and didn’t pay it any mind. Fury grows within me as I compare the small action to my personal situation. I gently pick up the can, cradling it, and head for a stop to the kitchens before going to the Great Hall.

“Miss Alice! How can Ellie serve you this day?” squeaks out my favorite house-elf.

“Can you put this can in the recycling, please?” I ask her. “I found it lying on the ground in the corridor.”

“Why, of course, Miss Alice! You are so caring about the environment,” Ellie babbles as she takes the can from me, “and Ellie has never met someone as devoted as you.”

I smile fondly at her retreating back, not noticing the other presence in the kitchen watching me curiously until I heard, “Mr. Alby Potter, would you like anything else?”

I freeze once more. Alby? As in Albus Potter? I think I am almost dying of embarrassment. I have been so caught up in the idea of that first year littering that I haven’t even noticed Albus’s presence.

I slowly turn to face him, and he chuckles at the incredulous look on my face. “Hello, Miss Alice.”

“Hi...” I trail off a bit before I gather my wits again, smirking, “Mr. Alby Potter.”

“Fair enough,” Albus replies, grinning. “I’m not sure we’ve properly met before.”

I uncertainly take a step back from him. I do not need another Potter/Weasley making fun of what they know about me.

“Look,” I spread out my hands, my heart thumping with regret at what I was going to do. “I’d love to be able to meet you properly, but I’m sure you already know quite a bit about me from your wonderful brother, James. I don’t need to be hurt anymore.”

A pounding in my head ensues. I cannot believe I just rejected Albus Potter’s hand of friendship. Hell, I think I’m in love with him! Why am I doing this?

A sarcastic tone creeps into my mind. Oh, wait. Maybe it’s because I know it’ll never work out.

Albus frowns, but his eyes are still smiling. “What does this have to do with James?”

“You seriously don’t know?” I start to laugh, to get a bit hysterical. My heart is sinking. Albus knows absolutely nothing about me. “Where have you been all these years, Potter? Under a rock?”

Albus stands up, a ghost of a smile on his face, but now concern is showing full force in his emerald eyes. “Hey, calm down. I’m pretty sure I haven't been under a rock.”

He thinks this is funny? He thinks this is a joke? I can’t, I cannot calm down. My hands ball into fists as I acknowledge the fact that after all these years of pining for this boy, this clueless boy, he doesn’t even know who I am. I have been humiliated countless times in front of the public, and he is still unable to recognize who I am. Even "the girl that James tortures" would suffice.

Ellie returns to my side. She chirps out, “Is there anything else Miss Alice would like?”

I let out a whoosh of air as I turn to my little friend, giving her a small, forced smile. “Nothing else, Ellie. I’ll be going.”

“Hey! Wait!” Albus runs to me as I reach the portrait door, his long arm snagging my shoulder. I struggle, but his grip is relentless. “Come on, I don’t even know your name.”

“My name?” I wonder out loud, a bit like a lunatic. He doesn’t even know my name. I think of the soda can lying on the floor in the corridor one more time. “My name is Sprite.”

I wrench out of his grasp and run for it.









A/N: So, what do you think of this chapter? Alice pushed Albus away :(( Aw..

I had some issues with past and present tense in this chapter...so any help with that would be great! Comments and constructive criticism are, of course, appreciated!

~foundriapenguin


Chapter 3: Coca-Cola
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disclaimer: I own nothing but Alice and Raina Nicholson! Who are purely fictional, by the way.








Piles of books spill out of my bag as I walk to Charms. I don’t even need to turn around to determine the culprit.

I hear his snickering first.

“Nicholson,” he sneers at me. “Want me to help you with those books?”

I am stuck, I am frozen. I can’t move. His friends urge him on as they jeer at me. They want to see some action.

Potter, the ringleader, steps forward. He spies a flattened and empty soda can among the books. He picks it up like it’s dirt.

“What’s this, Nicholson?” Potter asks mockingly. “Still drinking this Muggle soda? I’ll throw it away for you.”

He tosses it over his shoulder carelessly. “I’ll throw it away for you, just like your sister was thrown away from you, Nicholson,” he says softly, maliciously, watching for my reaction.

I am seeing red. Red like the Coca-Cola soda can that Potter has just thrown away. I can feel the fury building up inside of me, but I will not give Potter the satisfaction of a reaction today. No, not today.

Just like your sister.  The words echo in my head. I try to block the memory but it flies through my shield.

“Nicholson, Raina!” Professor McGonagall shouted.

I held my breath anxiously as Raina skipped up to the Sorting Hat. The Hat covered her eyes as she pulled it on. The Hall was silent as many wait for the Hat’s decision.

“GRYFFINDOR!” it screamed amid cheers and applause.

My sister beamed at me and joined the table next to mine. I was so happy for her that I failed to notice that Potter sent scheming looks her way...

I can feel heat behind my eyes, but I will it to go away.

“Alice,” Raina looked at me sadly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Her voice echoes against the suits of armor as we stroll down the corridor.

“What do you mean?” I asked her unsuspectingly.

“Why didn’t you tell me that you don’t have any friends at school? Why doesn’t anyone like you?”

Startled, my breath caught in my throat. “I...I didn’t think that was important.”

“Look, Alice,” Raina said to me, her eyes brimming with disappointment. “I don’t think I can talk to you at school anymore.”

I could hardly believe my ears. “Are you serious?”

“Why would I be kidding, Alice?” Raina waved a hand at me. “I need friends here. I can always talk to you at home. But here...it’s different. You understand, don’t you?”

I don’t understand, I don’t. But I nodded numbly, and Raina, in her first year robes, skipped away, and I, in my second year ones, slumped against the wall.


“Nicholson?” Potter jabs at me with his wand. “You still there? Or is your head off in loony land again?”

I snort derisively at his poor insult. Loony land? Really, Potter?

I whip out my wand, and Potter looks taken aback. He does not expect a duel from me, but he does not know what I will do next. And I will not give him a hint, either. I like this rare feeling of power over him.

I simply cast a Repairing Charm on my bag and summon my belongings back to me. Potter’s eyes narrow. He will not let me get away so easily.

Everything slows down as I carefully watch my enemy. Potter lifts his wand, and I do the same. We both shout simultaneously:

“Furnunculus!”

“Protego!”

Our spells collide in the air and a deafening boom resounds around the corridor. Potter’s friends duck for cover as the walls begin to tremble. Smoke begins to fill the air, and under its cover I run for Charms class.

I hear the angry cry of a wounded lion. “NICHOLSON!”

~~~~~~

The rest of the day passes in a blur to me. All the classes are the same. The teacher drones on until it’s time to do the activity. How interesting.

It’s not until dinner that the tone of my day changes.

My head is down as I carefully pick my way through the crowd eager to spill into the Great Hall. They are all staring at the note pinned to its entrance, whispering excitedly. I hear the words "Sprite" repeatedly. Some people give me condescending looks as I pass, which I ignore.

What has Potter done now? I bet he’s done something to humiliate me again.

But it’s not that Potter who has done the unthinkable.

No, it’s his younger brother. I can’t believe this. It’s one of those Muggle “Wanted” signs!

WANTED
BLONDE GIRL
BROWN EYES
5TH YEAR
GOES BY “SPRITE”
PLEASE CONTACT ALBUS POTTER, GRYFFINDOR HOUSE.



My mouth drops open in disbelief.

Albus Potter is looking for me.

This barely has time to sink in when the doors open. I am almost run over by the crowd. I stumble in after them dazedly and slide onto the bench nearest to the doors.

I summon a can of Coca-Cola to send the Sprite filled thoughts from my mind.









A/N: A new chapter! YAYYY.

So, what do you think? Thanks to Purple_Ink about the story of her dad that conjured up the type of soda I included for this chapter! (:

Please review! I LOVE THOSE THINGS:D

~foundriapenguin


Chapter 4: Root Beer: Part I
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disclaimer: I own nothing but ALICE! (: She's mineee.





Root beer.

I stare at the brown label.

Root.

Roots.

I need to get to the roots of all my problems. And this root beer is going to help me out.

I stare at that root beer so fiercely that my eyes cross.

I pop the can open and take the Very Important First Sip.

What day is it today?
Today..it’s been a full week since Albus Potter has posted his “Wanted” sign.

What does Albus Potter want with you?
I have no idea!

How come you have avoided him for so long?
I don’t want him to find out who I truly am. I’m very positive that his reaction to me will be like everyone else’s. I don’t need him to be another name on my list of mockers and scoffers. I’ve had several close calls, though, like that time near the kitchens. Has he staked out that place or something? I want my soda, and he’s blocking my way!

Has Albus’s search turned out any prospects?

Prospects! Practically a hundred girls have owled him or jumped him in the hallway, telling him that they’re secretly “Sprite,” that they love him! It’s sickening! I have half a mind to bash them all on the head and tell them to leave him alone.

Do you think Albus will give up searching for “Sprite” anytime soon, since you have not come forward?


I stop sipping root beer.

I’m scared to think of what could happen if Albus gives up. What if he moves on? What if he never thinks of the girl from the kitchens ever again who recycled the soda can?

But that’s impossible. Albus is a Potter. Potters. Never. Give. Up. It’s like part of their code.

I mean, look at Albus’s brother. Has he let up on bullying me? Has he left me in peace? No, of course not.

I check the time. It’s 8:30 PM, so I decide to slip in a quick walk around the castle before curfew. I gather my limp hair into a ponytail and pick up my precious soda before exiting the Hufflepuff common room.


~~~~~~











Time passes ever so slowly. I give up on my not-so-enlightening walk and turn towards the shortcut through the tapestry to the descending staircase leading to the Hufflepuff portrait entrance. That is, until I hear hushed voices inside.

A sympathetic voice says, “Mate, another letter from your dad?”

“Yeah...” An exasperated sigh. “He’s mad about me and Nicholson again.”

My breath catches in my throat. I can hardly believe my ears. It’s Potter. Not Albus, of course. It’s James Potter.

“Why do you even bother with her?”

I hear a little scratching, and I assume it’s Potter scratching his head thoughtfully. Ha, looking for his brain? It’s not in there!

“I’m not sure, mate. I mean, it’s kind of automatic. She doesn’t fit in and she’s a bit of a freak.”

My grip around my soda can tightens. I’m a freak? He should take a look in a mirror! What kind of person bullies people for no reason?

“Don’t be insulted, James, but you turn really nasty when you talk to her. It’s like you’re James Potter normally, and then ‘James the Monster’ whenever she’s around.”

Potter shifts uncomfortably in the passageway. “Look...I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”

“You’re going to have to eventually,” the other voice tells Potter reproachfully. “Don’t you even feel bad about messing with her all the time?”

Footsteps start walking towards me, but I need to hear Potter answer this question. It all comes down to this: Is Potter a monster or is he truly a nice guy?

I hear Potter begin to speak, and I press my ear against the tapestry eagerly. “The thing is--”

But the tapestry flings open and I fly backward against the wall! My soda can makes a frightening crunch as I channel all of my fear into being discovered, crushing it between my fingers. As I feel the small trickle of leftover root beer in the soda can run down my finger, I peek a glance at Potter’s shocked face as I slide down the wall opposite him.

His outrage washes over me like a sonic boom. “NICHOLSON?!”

Maybe wandering around Hogwarts wasn’t the best idea tonight.







A/N: Hey guys! I know it's been a long time since I've updated..but here I am! How'd you like this chapter? I know it was short! It's actually the shortest chapter I've written in this story....ever! Was it TOO short? Ack, now I'm stressing over it!

Leave a review with your opinion! Solve my problems 'cause I don't have root beer on hand right now!! Haha, You know you want to >:D

EDIT 5/11/10: I added a couple things to this chapter to make it a bit more satisfying, but not much. Don't worry, there's WAY more coming in the next chapter!

~foundriapenguin


Chapter 5: Root Beer: Part II + Dr. Pepper
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disclaimer: I own nothing but Alice! And Grayson, perhaps. Everything else is JKR's!




“I don’t believe this.”

Potter paces agitatedly around the empty classroom like a lion trapped inside a cage.

“You were outside the tapestry the whole time, listening to our conversation?”

I opened my mouth to reply. “Well, actually not for the entire--”

“You know what?” Potter interrupts me. “Don’t even answer that question. It’s a rhetorical one.”

Wow, Potter knows the word rhetorical! I thought he only knew the words “me,” “bully,” and “freak.”

Okay, I admit, that was a little harsh. I’ll mentally apologize to Potter’s dignity.

“What were you doing in the passageway anyways? You know it’s one of the entrances to the staircase that leads to the Hufflepuff common room entrance!” I bite back daringly. “It’s not my fault it was blocked by you two talking--”

“Nicholson, that’s bull and you know it,” his friend says firmly as he stands up from his lounging position in one of the desks. “You had no right to eavesdrop on our conversation.”

I scrutinize Potter’s friend for the first time. A Gryffindor, of course. It seems as if he’s a third or fourth year, though. Potter has friends outside his year?

“Does it matter if it’s my right or not?” I ask indignantly. “It’s more like that right was forced upon me!”

Potter collapses in the teacher’s desk and brings his hands up to rub his temples. Who knew I could cause him so much anxiety? I feel a pang of pity for him...but that is quickly erased once I remember all the terrible things he’s done to me.

His friend points his finger at me accusingly. “But you couldn’t resist listening, could you? You heard your name and you were like a gnome stuck in wand light. You had to hear what James was going to say about you.

“And to think, I tried to save your hide by trying to get the real reason behind all of this? James was complying with my attempts, Nicholson. We were working on getting him to lighten up on you this year.”

“This year?!” I cry out. “You’ve only started working on it this year?” I rise up out of the desk, furious.  “You could’ve started on it in first year! Second, third, fourth! And yet you only started in 5th year? I’ve endured so much hatred, so much pain, so much...”

I grip the desk and I can feel angry tears forming behind my eyelids. My heart is pounding so very loudly, filling my ears up with the sound. Bah-bump, bah-bump, bah-bump is the only thing I hear in the desolately silent room. Potter’s eyes are still closed, as if he can’t take the scene that’s unfolding in front of him. I don’t understand why not. He’s certainly seen me suffer more times than you can count on your fingers and toes combined. Potter deserves to see this. It’s the truth, a part of the roots.

Why am I the only person making a sound in this empty classroom?

I wait for someone else to speak, to say something.

I narrow my vision in on Potter’s friend, expecting him to speak since he’s been doing most of the talking so far. His arms are folded stiffly, and I want to beat him, break him, do something to him. Because if he is the key to ending my suffering, if he has a definite hand in curing Potter, I’m going to jam him into my keyhole so fast you can’t even say his name.

I definitely should have found this boy earlier. I’ve been missing my Dr. Pepper soda, wondering where it was. And finally, he’s here! My fists clench at the very thought of his absence.

But Potter mans up instead.

“Look, Nicholson...” He clears his throat awkwardly, as he holds his head up higher than before. “I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking.”

I raise my eyebrows doubtfully.

“No, really,” he says, folding his hands on the table. “You’re probably thinking that you want to butcher my friend over there because he’s taking too long to turn me around. Well--”

I let out a little gasp. Unintentional, I’m telling you! I in shock, that’s all. I’m just not sure if I heard him right.

Potter chuckles. “Yes, well, to tell you the truth, Nicholson, there’s some kind of aura around you that automatically makes me...puke?”

I wrinkle my nose at his word choice, and I have a feeling that’s only part of the truth. He’s giving me part of the roots. I want ALL of them. I want the can. Everything. Nothing should be left in the dark.

“And the thing is, I don’t really feel anything good when I talk to you.”

“You seem to be doing fine right now,” I say, snorting unattractively.

Dr. Pepper takes his seat. I feel like someone should bring him peppermint humbugs. It’s like we’re in a movie and he’s watching it eagerly like some fan girl!

Uh, fan boy. My mistake.

“This is going to sound weird, Nicholson, but...” Potter grabs a quill and starts playing with its feathers. “Look, the thing is...”

He takes a deep breath, and the doctor is excitedly waving his arms around like a windmill, encouraging him to continue.

“Well?” I ask a little rudely, put off by his friend’s action. “Out with it!”

I can practically see the pressure building up behind Potter’s mask. Will he just say it already? Is it that difficult for him? I’m so close to the roots of my problems. So close!!

“Er...” Potter is bending the quill so much that I’m worried for its well-being.

“Potter! Come on!”

He’s bending it farther, farther, farther...it won’t be long now...

Instinctively, I cover my ears and scrunch down in my seat when I hear a SNAP!

I peek up above the top of the desk when I see Potter staring at the two pieces of quill in his hands wonderingly. Is this an action that truly empowers him? Doesn’t he know acts of kindness give him the same feeling?

I whisper hesitantly, carefully watching him. “Are you ready now, Potter?”

He pauses, his light breaths stopping. Unfortunately, he comes in for the kill, shaking his head quickly. “No. No, not yet.”

The chair screeches as he gets up abruptly, gripping the shattered quill in his fist. “Come on,” he urges his friend. “Let’s go.”

Ugh. I should have known this would happen. Potter is a coward in his own way. Dr. Pepper stares at him with an unreadable expression on his face.

 “Grayson!” Potter says impatiently. “Get up!”

I can still detect a sadly disappointed one under it.

Grayson, my Dr. Pepper, slowly slides out of the chair and walks over to Potter. “Sorry, Nicholson,” he whispers as he passes by my desk.

Speechless, I watch their retreating figures leave the classroom. Sorry? Just sorry? Can’t the doctor think of a better cure than “sorry?”

Well then!

“SORRY IS RIGHT!” I yell into the corridor, my voice echoing off the suits of armor. “IF THAT’S THE BEST YOU CAN COME UP WITH, THEN I GUESS THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT, ISN’T IT?”

I collapse in the doorway of the classroom, worn out from the whole ordeal. “Sorry is all I’ve got, isn’t it.”

I was so close. So close.



~~~




I find myself aimlessly wandering around the halls once again. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where I’m going. Mutely acknowledging that it’s past curfew, I find myself heading towards Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.

Right. Her solace and advice is just what I need.

I stumble through the doorway, tripping a bit on the tiles. “Myrtle?”

I hear a toilet flush, and Myrtle’s form pops through a bathroom door. “Alice!” She squeals and starts forward so she can hug me, but I flinch backwards. I don’t need to be touched by a ghost and feel that cold trickling run down my spine.

“I feel terrible,” I tell her limply and take a seat on the cold floor.

Myrtle’s lower lip trembles in response. “You feel terrible? How do you think I feel every day, stuck in the bathrooms of Hogwarts? You have it easy! HUMANS! Always taking everything for granted! Ugh!”

A bathroom stall door slams at her words, and I bring my knees up, putting my face into them. I should have known Myrtle would be no help.

“Look...this may seem selfish, but I’m so confused. You’re the only one I’ve got, Myrtle. No one else is going to listen to me talk...” I take a deep breath. “I’ve had so many problems lately. And this--this situation I’ve just been through has sucked all the energy out of me. So even if you’re not listening, I’m going to say it anyway.”

As the words pour out, my tightened chest loosens. I’m telling the white wall about the empty soda can lying on the floor, going to the kitchens, meeting Albus...I’m telling the white wall about my confusion and stumbling upon Potter and Grayson at the tapestry...I’m telling the white wall about my root beer, and how it’s failed me....

I can feel a burden being lifted off my shoulders. Is this how people feel when they confide in friends? Telling someone, anyone, about anything that bothers you just feels so good. It’s like taking a shower or taking a walk in the rain. Old layers fall off and you’re new, smarter self is there instead. You’ve got it out there in the world. And now it’s up to the world to solve it.

I close my eyes, my chest rising and falling steadily. I feel strangely calm. This feeling is so alien to me. I haven’t felt it in such a long time, not since the last time I ranted to Myrtle a few years ago, not since Raina and I were true sisters.

A coldness washes over me and I shudder away from it, but the touch is firmly on my shoulder. My eyes fly open, and I see Myrtle floating next to me. She reaches behind her and pulls out a can of Dr. Pepper.

“I think you’re going to need this,” she says, sniffing as she turns up her nose slightly.

I laugh as Myrtle tries to hide her concern for me, but it makes me feel better. The popping sound of the can opening echoes in the bathroom and I take a sip.

“Ahh...”

I smile because it’s perfect. Just what I need.

“You’re the true Dr. Pepper, Myrtle, you know that?”




A/N: Hello everyone! So I've finally updated, woohoo! And this chapter was so long!!! How'd you like it? Feedback, please! I live off it. Eat it. Tastes good! I use your reviews to shape my next chapters, you know. It's the only reason I made a "Root Beer: Part II."

Anyways, if anyone is interested, I added small things to the last chapter ("Root Beer: Part I") to make it a little more satisfying. You probably will not notice anything new, but oh well. (: I try.

Thanks for faithfully staying with me and this story, guys! I really appreciate it.

~foundriapenguin (better known as Jordan ^_^)


Chapter 6: Crush
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disclaimer: it's Jo's except for Alice and Raina. :D And Grayson. Well, any characters you recognize belong to her.








Indescribable is how I feel today. Just indescribable.



It’s funny, because I’m describing how I feel today by even saying indescribable. I wonder if anyone else has ever thought about that....no?



Alright then, I’ll move on.



I skip down the steps in the Entrance Hall happily, reveling in the fact that I’ve got someone who’ll listen to what I actually have to say. I doubt Myrtle can actually empathize with me, but it’s a start. A good one, for sure.



People are chatting in the Entrance Hall before class about various things: assignments, teachers, classes, anything else of mere importance. They’re shouting across the Entrance Hall at each other, saying “How’s it going, mate?” and “Oi! What’s your next class?”



That’s when I hear an especially loud boy’s voice yelling, “OI! You! It’s you!”



I continue to skip, assuming that the boy is talking to someone else, but he shouts, “Stop! STOP! Wait up!”



I feel vibrations through my feet as the pounding of the boy’s feet approach me, closer and closer. I pay no mind to it. But as a reflex, I glance behind me when the vibrations are pretty strong.



My mouth drops open as I see Albus Potter only a few feet away from me, panting as he catches up to me, and fast. I want to run. I need to run. But I freeze up for a couple of seconds, like a gnome in wand light once again, and then my feet move for me. I run through the doors of the castle, sprinting to my Herbology class. I hear heavy panting once more as Albus sprints behind me. Unfortunately, I am fast, but he is faster. He catches up to me and flings his long arm out in a desperate effort. It winds around my waist, crushing me against him. He holds me there even though I fight his grip, dragging me behind the other greenhouses that aren’t occupied at the moment.



As soon as he releases me, I sink against the greenhouse wall, but not yet in defeat. Maybe if I bolt when his gaze on me is not as intense, an escape plan might actually work.



“So...” Albus begins hesitantly. “Sprite?”



An amused smile starts spreading across my face. “Sure. Sprite works.”



“Is that your name or not?”



“Could be.”



Albus impatiently runs a hand through his messy black hair. “Stop trying to keep me guessing,” he complained. “There’s no harm in telling the truth!”



Oh, but there is. I want to tell Albus this, but then he would pry even further. I cannot allow that to happen.



“I have a Herbology class to get to,” I remind him, who is still searching my face for answers.



“Why don’t you stop playing hard to get and tell me about yourself, then?” Albus retorts as stern as the famed Professor McGonagall.



I am in disbelief as I hear his words. What, does Albus think this will be the same game as the one his grandparents went through? No, absolutely not! For one thing, I don’t even hate Albus. And I am definitely not playing hard to get. I don’t even want to be “gotten.”



“Before you try to interrogate me, you should get some things right,” I say firmly, standing up as I speak. “I am not trying to play hard to get. I will never be trying to play hard to get with you. I don’t know where you even got that idea, but I am not one of those gossipy girls who read Witch Weekly and the like that you always date.”



Albus’s eyebrows contract as he slowly comprehends what I’m saying.



“I want you to stop searching for me. Take the “Sprite” sign down because it’s ridiculous. You found me already! What else do you want?”



My voice grows steadily more sarcastic and angry. To my surprise, Albus calmly smiles.



“Fine, I agree to your terms. I have one of my own that you’re going to have negotiate with me, though.”



My eyes narrow and I spit out, “Bring it on.”



I regret the words as soon as they leave my mouth, tasting bitterness as memories return to the forefront of my mind. This is another factor that gets me in trouble with the eldest Potter. I honestly need to check my words before I speak. My suspicions are confirmed by Albus’s grin spreading even wider across his face.



Why isn’t it snapping yet?



“Tell me why you’re hiding from me. Am I really that bad of a person?” He quickly glances around consciously, but I can see a hint of a smile flickering on his face.



I snort. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”



And I desperately want to add, “There’s nothing wrong with you at all! You’re absolutely perfect! It’s just the fact that, you know, you and that evil spawn are related.”


Sometimes I think I’m just too good of an actress.



“Don’t tell me this is one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations,” Albus waves a hand dismissively. “Blimey, I hate it when girls say those things.”



Wow, way to stomp on my heart and crush it to bits. You just mentioned your ex-girlfriends in my presence. Am I not important to you at all?



“Well, it’s not you. It’s not me, either.”



It's your brother. Duh.



“Then what is bloody wrong with this picture?!”



Albus looks so distraught that I actually burst out laughing.



Needless to say, Albus gives me a strange look and I shut up immediately.



There goes his good impression of me.



In order to up my rating a bit, I decide to test him. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a little risk now and then, right?



“Do you remember that day in the kitchens when we first met?”



This sounds like it’s coming out of a soppy romance novel. Oh, Merlin.



“Well, what exactly did I say to you?”



Albus’s eyebrows furrow. “Um...”



“Exactly.” I smile with satisfaction. He doesn’t remember a thing. “When you remember, we’ll probably end up talking again.”



During that whole set up, I was actually convoluting a plan to escape. Well, not really. It’s a plan to walk away from Albus Potter with grace, leaving behind a cloud of mystery for Albus to unravel.



Actually, Professor Longbottom just really hates it when Hufflepuffs miss Herbology class. When he gave us this lecture at the beginning of the year, it had something to do with "Professor Sprout", "Head of Hufflepuff," and "upholding honor." Although I'm pretty sure that whole speech had absolutely no substance in it, I’m definitely not taking the risk of missing the entire class for yet another detention.



I start to leave as Albus stands there in the same spot. I concentrate very hard on not tripping; I’ve heard enough stories about girls who intend a dramatic exit but end up falling over their own feet. I’m concentrating so intensely that I don’t notice Albus shouting my name, footsteps following in my wake.



“Where do you think you’re going?”



I shake my head at him. Honestly, Gryffindors do not understand the result of Professor Longbottom’s wrath. Or they’re too thick to see it.



“Herbology class,” I say blankly, unable to think of anything else.



“We’ve barely talked!” Albus protests.



Oh Merlin, he’s so cute when he’s anxious.



“We’ll talk again when you remember what I said in the kitchens,” I remind him. At this rate, he’ll never be able to remember what happened back then, seeing as he couldn’t even remember what I said two minutes ago.



“Well, in that case,” Albus replies as his eyes smolder with determination. “I want you to meet me in the library tomorrow morning at nine.”



The strange, alien phrase hangs in the air between us. My mouth almost opens and closes like a goldfish, but I don’t want to risk looking stupid in front of Albus.



Actually, it’s too late for that, so I let my jaw drop. Is he asking me out to the library? My image of Albus has mentally been altered. I know he’s a bookworm, but this is a whole new level that I have yet to discover.



“What did you just say?” I sputter.



“All I’m requesting is to meet you again where you don’t feel so pressured. I know you have a Herbology class to get to since you’ve repeatedly reminded me during the past five minutes.”



“Wait--”



He holds up a hand. “Let me finish before I let you run off. I understand that there are some secrets that you have or else you wouldn’t be so ambiguous today. I also understand that I took you by surprise, but I was, well, excited.”



Wow, Albus is a lot smarter than I thought he was.



Right now, though, that’s absolutely unimportant. Albus was excited? Albus Potter was excited to see me, Alice Nicholson, social outcast?



Albus doesn’t seem to be ashamed of his blunt wording at all. I think my heart just melted into a soda puddle. A Crush soda puddle in particular.



Thankfully, though, I still manage to retain a shred of my dignity with a very Alice Nicholson remark.



“Before I let you run off,” I mutter to myself as I examine the tips of my shoes. “Yeah, right.”



“I heard that,” Albus tells me amusedly, using a finger to lift my head up to look him in the eye.



I swallow a nervous gulp and tremble under his gaze. Is it possible to be intimidated and like someone at the same time? Albus has me shaking under just a touch of his finger, yet I still feel attracted to him.



“So,” Albus says, his beautiful green eyes sparkling. “You in for tomorrow?”



How can I say no?









A/N: OK guys, as you know, I had a lot of trouble with this chapter, and my muse wasn't really cooperative for a while. However, it's recently returned to me and I just now wrote a very hurried insert smack dab in the middle of this chapter. I'm much more happy with it now and I hope you are too! Please review about the improvements made. I hope there's nothing missing now! :D

9/28/10: Thank you, FlyingRabbit, for pointing out a striking canon error! You're so observant! And awesome!

~foundriapenguin


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com