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Being Summer by PygmyPuffLover

Format: Novel
Chapters: 32
Word Count: 242,791
Status: COMPLETED

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

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: Teddy, Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, Victoire, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Harry/Ginny, Rose/Scorpius, Teddy/Victoire, Other Pairing

First Published: 10/20/2011
Last Chapter: 08/19/2013
Last Updated: 08/19/2013

Summary:
|| gorgeous banner by Girl with one eye @ tda ||



Being Summer Lancaster is not all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, being James Potter’s official snog buddy - seriously, he made me a badge – and trying to stop my charming cousin – curse you, Scorpius – from wreaking havoc on Hogwarts is much more stressful than it sounds.
Trust me.


Chapter 1: The First One
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Beautiful chapter image made by Magic_Phoenix.
 

 




"James, James.” I muttered against his mouth, pushing his chest slightly with my hands. “The others will be back from class soon; I don’t want them to catch us.”
 

Oi, stop looking at me like that, we’re not skiving, we have a free period. Okay, I do. James actually is skiving, but that’s just him. So stop with the judgemental little eyebrow raising thing, alright?
 

James merely grunted slightly and pressed his mouth back against mine to stop me from talking. It seems to be his improvised gag of choice.
 

“James.” I muttered again, but it came out more like a load of garbled rubbish.
 

I’m so eloquent.
 

I shrugged and wrapped my arms back around his neck, pulling his face closer to mine and slipping my tongue inside his mouth. James grunted again – I think that one might have been the approving one - and leaned forwards so I was flat on the couch.
 

Ah, maybe I should take a moment to explain. How about I just start at the beginning?

I can see you all sitting up a little straighter with interest now.
 

I am Summer Lancaster – woah, no shit – and I am the daughter of Daphne Greengrass and Jason Lancaster. I was born in London, exactly a year before my favourite cousin. And I mean exactly to the day. Scorpius and I generally have joint parties. Yeah, our families are cheapskates, what you gonna do about it?
 

I’m in Gryffindor, and best friends with Dominique Weasley – nutter if there ever was one – and Penelope Wright – the ‘are you sure you’re not in Ravenclaw’ girl – and the official snog buddy of James Sirius Potter.
 

I would just like to point out that I do not hate him. Most people think ‘snog buddy, oh, they must hate each other, which is why they’re not dating’, but it’s not like that. There are several reasons why we aren’t actually dating. I’m not going to bore you with them now.
 

Okay, scratch that, yes I am.
 

LIST OF REASONS WHY SUMMER LANCASTER AND JAMES POTTER ARE NOT DATING:


1. James and his brother Albus are very close, and therefore James is very close to Al’s best friend, who just so happens to be my darling cousin. Said cousin would actually murder James in his sleep if he found out that we were dating.
 

2. Snogging him is too much fun to screw it all up by involving feelings and all that shit. Yeah, hopeless romantic, that sums me up perfectly.
 

3. James has some freaky thing where he is terrified of falling in love. Therefore, he does not have girlfriends, he just has me, whom he snogs in the oh so romantic locations of his choice – generally the empty Gryffindor Common Room, the roomy broom closet on the second floor or his dorm.
 

4. Having been snog buddies for a year, we really can’t be arsed changing that status now.
 

5. Snogging James is fun. Did I mention that?
 

Anyway, moving away from the boy who is currently snogging me like there is no tomorrow, and onto the rest of the Summer Lancaster Story.
 

I would just like to take a moment to lament on the actual bane of my existence, none other than Mr Kane Owen. Not that the bleeding twat knows that I can’t stand him, and my skin crawls at the very thought of him, since Penny begged me to be nice to him.
 

Just because she’s been dating the arse for two years. Honestly, if she wasn’t one third of THE AWESOME GIRLS – shut it, we came up with the name in First Year – then I would pummel his arse to hell and back for all that he’s put her through.
 

But I’ll tell you more about Kane Owen later, thinking about him too much in a short period of time makes me want to either throw up or claw my brain out so I don’t have to think about him anymore. Yes, I really hate him that much.
 

I suppose I better tell you a little more about Dom then. Do you know what is a serious morale crusher? Having an absolutely stunning part Veela for a best friend, who is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met, and can get any bloke she wants.
 

I can’t get anyone, mostly because I’ve never tried. If I ever try to talk about how hot some random passing bloke is, James gets in a girly mood and starts stabbing his bacon with a fork rather viciously. He denies any form of jealousy and says that I’m ‘at perfect liberty to date whichever arse I like’
 

This does not help Dom’s already high suspicion levels on whether there is something going on between James and me.
 

Anyway, the thing about Dom is she knows she can get any bloke she wants, and she takes advantage of that. She’s probably had about six different boyfriends in the past two weeks, but the annoying thing is how easily she falls in love.
 

After a couple of hours, she’s proclaiming undying love for the new lad, and in a couple of days, when he’s snogged her enough and is bored, her heart gets broken when she’s embarrassingly and usually publically dumped.
 

Still, Penny and I are usually on hand with three tons of chocolate ice cream and sympathetic expressions. We are ace at being sympathetic, because let’s face it, we’ve had plenty of practice over the years.
 

If only she’d realise that she’s destined to be with Connor. Everything would just be so much simpler Dom-wise, and Hogwarts’ chocolate ice cream bill would shoot down by so much we could probably get...well, everything.
 

Dom eats a lot when she’s depressed.
 

Oh yeah, Connor. James’ best mate, along with Fred. However, unlike James and Fred, he is much more studious, and is actually the owner of an obsessively shiny prefect’s badge. That doesn’t stop him from being one of the three Princes of Pranks.
 

The little cutie doesn’t even realise how perfect him and Dom are for each other, because he’s really, really bad around girls. Seriously. Like, terrible. He can barely even talk to any girl that isn’t me, Penny or Dom, simply because he knows us so well.
 

But they’ll end up together one day, I just know it. Call it best friend telepathy if you want. In fact, you can call it whatever the hell you want, I’m not really arsed.
 

Fred, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He doesn’t even bother to make girls his girlfriend, he just snogs them and then leaves them to squeal with their little friends about how ‘OHMIGAWD, I just like, totally made out with Freddie Weasley’. Just a little note, fan girlies at the back there, Fred absolutely loathes being called Freddie.
 

He’s the kind of bloke that takes life by the horns, and then proceeds to dance around naked, holding onto said horns. Now that is an extremely disturbing mental picture, and I have probably just scarred myself for life.
 

Joy.
 

But anyway, moving over Dom’s boyfriends, Penny’s twat of a boyfriend, James’ girly huffs, Connor’s quietness, Fred’s naked dancing, Scorpius’ best friend roster and pretty much every other part of my incredibly average life.
 

Well, you know, average in every aspect except for the part that currently has been lying on the couch with a topless James Potter pressed against me. I should probably get my head back in the current moment, now I think on it.
 

I groaned slightly and tightened my arms; crushing his lips so hard against mine I was sure that I was going to have a very bruised face in the morning.
 

But Merlin, it just felt so good.
 

Snogging James is like nothing you can ever imagine. The way his hands are running up and down the length of my legs, the way his tongue is doing that, the way his mouth feels so hot and rough and perfect on mine, the way my hands are wrapped around his neck, my hands clutching at the roots of his hair...it’s indescribable.
 

And then reality can-canned its way back into the picture and I remember what I had been saying a couple of minutes ago. I pushed against his annoyingly perfect abs and tried to pry his lips off mine.
 

“James, there is going to be fifty people in this Common Room in a moment, so unless you want them to walk in on the pair of us snogging on the couch, I suggest you get off me.” My voice was muffled, but I think he got the rough gist.
 

“I – don’t – care.” He muttered, in between pressing his lips down on my mouth. I could feel my resolve crumbling. I hate being the one that always has to end the snogs.
 

I feel like such a frigid prude. Or a masochist, because snogging James just feels so bloody amazing.
 

“People might think that I’m your girlfriend.” My voice was a little airy, and my lips were pressed against his neck at the time, so I was surprised when he actually registered what I said.
 

He nipped by bottom lip a couple of times and then pushed off the couch, sitting up straight and flicking his mess of brown hair off his forehead. I grinned at him and tried to smooth down my own dark brown hair.
 

James has only ever had one girlfriend. Oh for Merlin’s sake, it’s not that surprising, shut your mouths. He dated her from the beginning of Third Year, right up to the beginning of Sixth Year. Three years, for all of those of you that can’t do incredibly simple maths.
 

Anyway, after they broke up James got really weird. I mean, you can sort of understand, he really loved her. He wouldn’t tell any of us why they broke up, but he was really crushed. And ever since that day he has refused to have a girlfriend.
 

That’s part of the reason that James and I are official (yes, you have to put official almost every time) snog buddies. I just do it because it’s fun.
 

The only fly in the ointment – is that world’s best saying, or what? – is that Connor, Fred, Dom and Penny get really worried because they think that James is still hung up on Natalie. I mean, I’ve been his snog buddy since a couple of days after they broke up, so I know that James is absolutely fine, but they think there is something wrong since he hasn’t been with anyone else since.
 

Honestly, they’ll get wrinkles if they don’t stop worrying so much.
 

“Here’s your shirt.” I grinned at James, and I tossed it over to him. Since I can’t play Quidditch to save my life, due to my awful hand-eye coordination, the shirt sailed over his head and landed on the lamp behind him.
 

That sums up perfectly the failure that is my life.
 

“Thanks.” James grinned, and he unfortunately pulled the shirt over his head. Sigh. He looks so much hotter without a shirt on.
 

Honestly, I know that he plays Quidditch and all that, but how does a seventeen year old boy –man? I never know what to say at this age – get abs like some kind of demigod? They, ahem, may have been the main reason that I started snogging him in the first place.
 

They’re just so bleeding perfect.
 

I went to get up, but before I could even take one measly step, James had wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me down onto his knee. He bit my bottom lip lightly and then leaned in so his mouth was next to my ear.
 

“Transfiguration classroom, tonight, 11 o’clock.” James growled, and I nodded. He kissed me one on the lips, once on each cheek and then once on the tip of the nose, slapped my arse and shoved me off his knee.
 

I landed in a heap on the floor, and he laughed.
 

And what idiot said that chivalry was dead?
 

“You’re an arse.” I moaned from the floor, as I watched him walk to the boy’s dorms.

James laughed. Again.
 

~*~
 

“So, what did you do in your free period this morning?” Dom asked, pouring about a lakes worth of gravy onto her helpless roast potatoes. You could practically hear the potatoes crying out as they were unceremoniously drowned.
 

Well, you know, you would...if potatoes could talk.
 

“Oh, just read up on a load of Transfiguration shit.” I shrugged, and Dom nodded vaguely. I should probably have mentioned that James and I are excellent actors. Well, he’s an excellent liar and I’m a great actress.
 

Yes, you little shit, there is a difference.
 

“Oh.” Dom said. “How come you skipped Ancient Runes this morning, James?”

James looked up from his mountain of turkey and hill of peas to blink at her. He ruffled his hair slightly – oh yeah, Merlin forbid that it lie flat. Oh the horror! – and shrugged.
 

“I was tired. I went to bed instead. Besides, you know I’m a beast at Ancient Runes.”

That is true; the bloke can translate anything with just a glance. Dom rolled her eyes and started on her gravy, I mean dinner.
 

“Dude, you know Victoria from Hufflepuff?” Fred asked, looking up from his own enormous dinner. Honestly, the boys don’t half eat like cavemen.
 

It’s actually disgusting.
 

“Yeah, what about her?” James asked, looking up from his dinner with a little bit of gravy trickling down his chin. Lovely. And to think I voluntarily snog the bloke on an almost daily basis.
 

“She’s got a massive crush on you.” James nodded his head, his expression thoroughly disinterested. Who on earth is Victoria? I scanned along the Hufflepuff table and my eyes fell upon a pretty blonde girl with brown eyes and a little too much makeup on for my liking.
 

She looks like she’s just escaped from Whores ‘R’ Us, but that is just my opinion.
 

“Good for her. I’m not interested.” James shrugged, and he glanced over at me. I resisted the strong temptation to roll my eyes. Remember I said that I was the better actor, but he’s the better liar? Well, that is what I mean.
 

I’m generally shit at cover stories, but James is ace at them. But once I have a cover story, I can get anyone to believe me. James is a little sketchy at times.
 

“Dude, she’s hot.” Fred said, looking really shocked. I again had to resist the urge to roll my eyes. Fred’s general opinion is that if a girl is ‘hot’ or ‘smoking’ – yes, he honestly did use that word one time. I think he may have scarred me for life – then you should just pounce on them like a rat on a biscuit.
 

“Yeah, she’s hot, and I’m not interested.” James shrugged again. He’s going to get shoulder spasms if he keeps doing that. It can’t be good for you.
 

“Merlin, you’re going to have to date someone sometime. You haven’t snogged a girl since you broke up with bleeding Natalie, and that was a year ago.” Fred actually put his fork down, which was a big sign of how serious he was.
 

Fred never puts his fork down unless he really wants to talk.
 

“Who says I haven’t snogged anyone?” James asked, and my heart missed a couple of beats. If I have a heart attack, then it’s all his fault. I quickly, and I like to think subtly, kicked him in the shin and dug my nails into his arm.
 

“Mate, if you’d snogged someone then it would have been all over the school.” Connor chipped in, and I nodded like a nodding dog.
 

“That’s a good point. Anyone that you’d snogged would have spread it around the school like a Slytherin with an STD.” Penny snorted at my example but didn’t join in the conversation. She’s always been quiet.
 

“Really? Are you sure about that? Anyone?” James asked me, his eyes widened in innocence. I resisted the strong urge to pour the rest of the gravy boat over his annoyingly messed up hair. Would it kill the bloke to brush it once in a blue moon?

No, is the answer you’re looking for.
 

“Guys, just trust me. I’m completely over Natalie, and I really don’t need you trying to set me up with people. That reminds me, Dom, will you tell that creepy friend of yours to stop following me around everywhere? If she asks me out one more time, I swear I’m going to combust.”
 

Dom blushed slightly and widened her eyes. James shot her look that quite clearly told her that he didn’t believe her in the slightest. Charming. Cousin love, right there people.
 

“Right, well, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go study for that bloody Transfiguration test tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes – yes, I do know that I do that a lot – and pushed myself off the bench. Dom frowned and grabbed my arm.
 

“I thought you said that you studied for Transfiguration this morning?” Dom said suspiciously, and I froze.
 

It would be right around now that you get to see how truly dreadful I am at those bloody things called cover stories. You would have thought that after a year of being James Potter’s snog buddy, I’d be good at them, but nooooo.
 

I’m still bloody dreadful at them.
 

“Yeah, well, pfft, you know, I...um, need to revise for...NEWT Transfig, you know, because, um...I’m so studious, and...” Thankfully, James decided now was the time to cut off my pathetic excuse for an excuse.
 

“Summer, it’s alright. You don’t need to lie for us; we know that you’re terrible at Transfiguration. You can just say that you didn’t understand what you read this morning.” He smiled at me, and it seemed so real that I almost believed him.
 

“Right, well, I’m just gonna go...” I said awkwardly, and I headed out the hall. Honestly, that was a seriously close one. Normally James jumps in before I dig myself that far into a hole.
 

~*~
 

I wish Dom would go to sleep already. How am I supposed to sneak out to meet James if she’s faffing around, brushing her hair and reading and just generally not going to sleep? I jiggled my leg slightly, my tell tale habit for when I’m getting impatient.
 

I glanced down at the watch on my bedside table, which is actually Penny’s, and glared at the little screen. 10:58. I’m going to be late.
 

“Dom, I’m just going to get some food from the kitchens.” I said. Yes, that was the excuse that I have spent the last fifteen minutes coming up with. Dom glanced up and stared at me.
 

“Is that why you’re still dressed? I wondered why you hadn’t put your pyjamas on.” I nodded like a rabbit on nodding tablets and climbed off my bed, headed over to the door and grinned at her.
 

“Oh, and will you get me some apple pie?” She asked. I nodded and smiled but was inwardly cursing her to the fiery pits of Hades and beyond. Now I actually have to go to the kitchens. I hate the school kitchens, the giggling pear creeps me out. I don’t know why, it just does.
 

I’ll send James instead.
 

I snuck down the stairs to the girl’s dorms and across the empty Common Room, climbed out of the Portrait Hole, ignoring the disapproving look from the Fat Lady, and shot down the stairs, being as quiet as I could whilst still running.
 

Considering I have the fitness levels of a twenty five stone office worker, you can probably tell that I really wasn’t being that quiet.
 

I reached the Transfiguration classroom and shoved the door open. James looked up from the desk he was sitting at, a scowl already set on his face and his arms folded across his chest. Did I mention that James hates people being late? Probably something to do with being a Quidditch Captain or whatever.
 

“You’re late.” Woah, no shit Sherlock. Someone should make you a detective.
 

“I know, I’m sorry. Dom wouldn’t go to sleep. Now I have to go to kitchen and get her apple pie when we’re done, and you know I hate the giggling pear.” James cocked an eyebrow as I walked over to him.
 

“I don’t like people being late.” He said, but his tone was a little softer now. He leaned up and pressed his lips against mine. “I don’t think I’m going to snog you now, just to show you how annoyed I am.”
 

I raised an eyebrow at him.
 

“So, you’re not going to snog me now?” I asked and I leaned forwards, unfastening the top button on his school shirt.
 

“No, I’m not.”
 

I undid the second and third buttons on his shirt, running my finger down the exposed part of his neck and chest. I leaned my face close up to his and smiled slyly. James held his breath.
 

“Are you sure about that?” I whispered. He nodded, but his resolve was crumbling.
 

I slowly undid the rest of the buttons, running my fingers up and down his chest.

James growled quietly and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me into his bare chest and kissing right the way up to my jawbone.
 

Not going to snog me, yeah right. Honestly, I should get a badge or something. The Official Seducer of James S. Potter.
 

And then his lips found mine, and all thoughts of badges fell out of my head. The boy really does know how to snog. 
 

 




disclaimer: nothing belongs to me. everything in this story belongs to their respective owners.
 

so...new story :)

the idea for this popped into my head a couple of weeks ago, and it wouldn't go away, so i decided to start writing it. i really hope you guys like it.

so, any thoughts so far?

 


Chapter 2: The Second One
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Nom-nom. Gorgeous chapter image made by Magic_Phoenix.

 




“Merlin, Charms stresses me out so much.” I moaned, dropping into the seat next to James and reaching for the plate of broccoli. Yes, it has officially happened, you have found someone that actually likes broccoli.
 

“What happened?” Fred asked through a mouthful of sausage, and I got sprayed with all the lovely crumbs and spit that came flying out his gob. Aren’t I just the luckiest ducky in the whole wide world?
 

“Stupid Professor Flitwick.” I put on a high voice. “Now Miss Lancaster, you have NEWTS at the end of this year, you should be able to make a pillow tap dance. Why on earth would I want to make a pillow tap dance, you stupid git? Which situation would I possibly be in when I’m older that would need me to make a pillow tap dance?”
 

James and Fred blinked at me for a moment.
 

“Well, you’ve got your knickers in a twist.” Fred said mildly, and I scowled at him.

Stupid - little - fucking - imbecile. My knickers are going to be twisted around his neck in a minute, suffocating him to death.
 

“Come on Summer, it was only a lesson.” James said. Do you know what I really hate about my name? I mean, I like it most of the time, but it annoys the shit out of me at the same time. You can’t shorten it at all. I mean, what could you shorten it to? Sum?

That just makes me sound like some kind of bleeding maths problem.
 

You can’t shorten James either, other than to Jamie, and that’s just the same length. Dominique is shortened to Dom, Penelope is shortened to Penny, Fred is already short and Connor is Con. Stupid un-shortenable Summer.
 

“Looks like you need to unwind later.” James murmured in my ear, the second Fred and Connor were busy eating their dinners again. Penny was off with Kane – insert boiling blood and furious glaring at innocent First Years – and Dom was hunting down Louis. Poor bloke.
 

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, looking sideways at him and watching the grin unfurl on his face.
 

“I think you know.” He smirked, and I had to hide a smirk of my own. “Gryffindor Common Room, midnight.” He bit my ear lightly and then leaned away, back towards his own dinner.
 

I looked up a second later and saw Connor staring at the pair of us. His eyebrows were raised so high they were almost disappearing into his blonde fringe, and his mouth was hanging open slightly.
 

“Dude, did you just bite Summer’s ear?” James’ head shot up to stare at his best mate, a pink flush appearing on his tanned face. Fred also looked up, but his face was free from any pink tinge.
 

“No. Why the fuck would I bite Summer’s ear?” James asked, and his voice was so convincing I couldn’t blame Connor for shrugging and looking back down at his dinner. That bloke should be a lawyer or something; he is that skilled at lying. Or a politician.
 

~*~
 

“Please Summer.” Insert widened puppy dog eyes and a slightly pouting lower lip from none other than Scorpius Malfoy. “Please, you did it last time.” I rolled my eyes and kept my eyes down on the homework. Scorpius leaned over the table and put his head down on my parchment.
 

“Pleeeeeeeeeease Summer.” And here comes the second round of pouting and extreme eyelash batting.
 

“Scorpius, just because I broke up with your girlfriend last time does not mean that I am going to do it every time you get sick of your latest whore.” What? The boy needs to hear the good and honest truth. And I’m still pissed off about Charms this morning.
 

“I know Summer, please, just this one.” And here comes some more eyelash batting.
 

“Fine, I’ll break up with whatsherface for you, on one condition.” Scorpius looked relieved and his face broke out into an enormous grin. I should probably take a moment to explain the whole thing with my cousin.
 

Well, Scorpius is what my mother likes to call a player. Yes, it is mentally scarring to hear someone over the age of twenty five saying that, I know. He dates girls like they’re going out of fashion, but he has this thing where he absolutely hates breaking up with them. I have broken up with every single girlfriend he’s ever had.
 

Let’s just say I’m a bit of an expert at it by this point, and I’m extremely popular with my cousin’s ex girlfriends. They all think I’m some kind of goddess, since I’m always there with a box of tissues and a bucket of ice cream. I have yet to find one of them that eats as much as Dom does.
 

Honestly, between Scorpius’ exes, Dom and Penny when Kane has one of his funny turns, I might as well become an official agony aunt. At least then I’ll get paid for having my ear chewed off about twelve times a week.
 

“Whatever it is, I’ll do it. This one looks like she might be a crier.” Introducing my cousin, ladies and gentlemen, the most sympathetic and emotional bloke on the face of the planet. Second only to Fred Weasley.
 

“You have to tell Rose that you like her.”
 

...well, this is awkward.
 

“Pfft, pfft...wha-what gave you the impression that I like Rose Weasley?” He said, and the way he said her name made it sound like it was the last thing he would ever do.
 

“Because you do like Rose Weasley.” Yeah, I just blew that shit wide open.
 

You can all bow to me now.
 

“No I don’t. Anyway, thanks for breaking up with her for me, and I’ll see you at dinner.”

Scorpius leaned across the table, pecked me on the cheek and hightailed it out of the Library. I stood up and called after him, but the charming little bugger ignored me.
 

“Wait! Scorpius, what’s her...name?” I sat back down and slammed my head into my hands. Why is my life such a pathetic failure?
 

~*~
 

“He’s...he’s breaking up with me?” Random blonde chick said, shaking her – very obviously dyed – hair out of her eyes and blinking up at me. Woah, she wears way too much mascara. I’m surprised she can even lift her eyelids up.
 

“Yes. Scorpius just thinks that he’s not ready for a relationship with someone as amazing as you. He just thinks that you can find someone better.” And if believe that, you’re actually as dim as you look.
 

And this would be the point where I hand over the box of tissues, pat her on the back and offer her a comforting ‘don’t worry; we’ll get through this’ smile. As you can see, I have done this far too many times.
 

“Thank goodness you’re here Summer. I don’t think I could have gone through this alone.” Right, let me get this straight, you’ve been dating Scorpius for three days, and you think that you’re going to have to get over him?
 

These people really need to get lives.
 

“Scorpius doesn’t deserve you, honey. Now you can move onto bigger and better things, you can date people who will take you to Hogsmeade and hold your hand in public. Just imagine that!” Random blonde chick blinked up and me and shot me a wavering smile.
 

“Yeah, I guess.” She sniffled. Lord save me. “I’ve been on the waiting list for nine months though; I’ve been waiting so long for this. And it’s only been three days.” She threw her head down onto my shoulder and sobbed unrestrainedly.
 

“What waiting list?” I asked. Nobody had ever mentioned anything to be about a waiting list before.
 

“Yeah.” She said, blowing her nose like trumpet and looking up at me. “You know, the waiting list to become Scorpius’ girlfriend.”
 

“He has a waiting list for people to become his girlfriend?” I said, struggling to keep the horror out of my voice. My cousin – who everyone knows I share genetic information with - really is a grade A arse.
 

Yeah, it’s pinned up on the board in every Common Room, have you never seen it? Oh wait, Scorpius said that he charmed it so if anyone who was related to him read it, it would just look like a poster for Chocolate Frog cards. Oh shit! He told us never to tell you about it.” She looked at me with her panda eyes and a very worried expression on her face.
 

“No, no...it’s alright.” I said vaguely, patting her on the head and absent mindedly handing her the bucket of ice cream. “Just get stuck into that, it will make you feel better.”
 

He has a waiting list of girls to become his girlfriend? And this would be right around where I lose my faith in humanity.
 

~*~
 

“You are an arse.” I informed Scorpius, after storming along the Gryffindor table and throwing myself down into the seat opposite him. “And why are you and Al here, you’re both in Slytherin.”
 

“What’d I do this time?” He asked, spraying me with roast potato. Marvellous, that’s the second time in one day some bloke has sprayed his half digested food all over me. That is right about when you realise that there is something really wrong with your life.
 

“You have a fucking waiting list for girls to date you?!” Scorpius’ head shot up. “That is just so demeaning, and sexist, and do really think that you’re so bloody awesome people will actually get in a queue to date you? That’s just –”
 

“Um, Summer, honey. People do get in a queue to date me.” He quailed under my furious glare. “I mean, um, yeah...how did you find out anyway?” I growled and clapped him over the back of the head.
 

“You’re such an arrogant arse.” And people know that I am actually a close relation to said arrogant arse. Marvellous.
 

“You have a waiting list of girls that you’re going to date?” A quiet voice said from next to Al. All three of us froze, which would have been rather comical if we weren’t in the situation we were in. Our heads swivelled as one to stare at the hurt face of Rose Weasley.
 

“Well, um-” Scorpius said, rubbing the back of his head and looking incredibly uncomfortable.
 

“That’s so, so...” Her voice trailed off as she tried to search for a bad enough word.

Trust me honey, I’ve spend the whole walk down to dinner trying to think of one, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
 

“Demeaning? Sexist? Stupid?” I suggested.
 

“Slytherin.” She finished, but the way she said left no one in any doubt that it was meant as an insult. Scorpius’ face fell, and I started to feel a little sorry for him. He may be an arrogant prick, but he is my cousin and I do love him.
 

And with that, Rose clambered off the bench and stalked out of the hall, her red hair rippling down her back behind her.
 

Scorpius slammed his head to the table.
 

“But I thought you didn’t like her?” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm. “But then, why do you look so upset that she realises what a prick you can be?” My voice was lofty and innocent, and earned me the ‘shut it now or I will kill you’ glare from Scorpius.


Cousin love, right there. Try not to be too jealous.
 

“I don’t like Rose.” He said. Honestly, the boy has more denial issues that bloody Joanne Ledger, who actually spent Hogsmeade walking around in the same leather look leggings she had owned in Third Year. And her arse is not the smallest. I think she may have rendered a couple of poor First Years in desperate need of serious therapy.
 

“Hang on, dude, do you like Rosie?” Al’s voice said, and his expression was screwed up in concentration. Alright, I love the bloke and all, but he really can be extraordinarily dim. Even for James’ brother, and that is saying something.
 

“No.”
 

“Yes.”
 

“NO.”
 

“YES.”
 

Scorpius and I have such mature and original arguments.
 

“NOOO!”
 

“YESSS!”
 

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
 

“How on earth do you have a list of girls that want to date you?”
 

“Shut it, bitch. Just because people actually want to snog me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you don’t snog anyone, it means there is less people for me to beat up, but there is no need for you to be a hater.”
 

I froze and glared at him as poisonously as I could.
 

“Where did you get the impression that I don’t snog people?” I asked tightly, and Scorpius’ face twisted for a moment. His eyes glimmered in anger, and Al discreetly took his knife from next to his plate.
 

“You have not been snogging people.” He said firmly. Honestly, I’m a year older than him and he still treats me like I’m five years old.
 

The Princes of Pranks and the rest of THE AWESOME GIRLS – alright, shut it. Their names are too long to list off individually – dropped down next to us, took in Scorpius furious expression and my annoyed one, and then looked slightly worried.
 

“What’s going on?” James asked.
 

“My dear cousin is under the impression that I live my life as a nun.” I said, and Scorpius glared at me.
 

“Summer is under the impression that I have granted her permission to snog people.” He shot back, and my eyes narrowed into green slits.
 

“What? Who has she been snogging?” Dom asked. I curse her to the deepest and most foul smelling pits of Hell in the hopes that she will rot there for the rest of eternity. I’m such a cheerful and just all around optimistic person, don’t you agree?
 

“Yeah, that’s a fucking good question. Who have you been snogging?” I hate Scorpius.
 

“None of your business.” I shot back. I am the epitome of maturity. All I need now is to stick my tongue out and waggle my fingers in front of my nose and I can officially pass for a three year old in a seventeen year olds body.
 

“Hang on, so you tell me that you go around snogging random blokes, and I know that they’re not your boyfriend because they are not in Hospital Wing with a broken face, and now you won’t tell me who you are snogging?”
 

“Yes.”
 

“Does it really matter? Honestly, it’s not like Summer is knocked up or anything. Did you really think that she’d gone her whole life without snogging anyone?” Thank you James. Surely even Scorpius wouldn’t be dim enough to think that.
 

“Yes.” I stand corrected.
 

“You’re so bleeding annoying. You’ve actually made a list of people that you’re going to date, and I think we all know what your relationships consist of, since you’ve never taken any of them on a date, but when you find out that I haven’t been living in a hole wearing a veil and praying my whole life, you think it’s wrong? How is that fair Scorpius?” My voice was furious. Today has been TOO – BLOODY – STRESSFUL.
 

“You’re my baby cousin. You’re not supposed to snog anyone!” Scorpius stood up at the same time I did.
 

BABY COUSIN? I’M OLDER THAN YOU, YOU FUCKING IMBECILE!” I have a tendency to get angry rather quickly, I don’t know if you’ve noticed.
 

“Yeah, well, I know better than you, so I’m mentally older.”
 

“I don’t know about mentally older, how about just mental? And in what world do you know better than me? You bleeding fancy the pants off Rose but are either too thick to realise it or too stupid to admit it. I think in either case, it’s quite obvious I know better than you.”
 

Yeah, Scorpius and I tend to fight a lot. But we love each other deep down. Ahem. Way, way deep down.
 

“I do not fancy Rose.” He hissed, shooting an anxious glance at Al, who looked confused.
 

“Denial.” I sang, and he scowled.
 

He opened his mouth to retort when a muffled sobbing noise distracted the pair of us. We all whirled around to stare at Penny, who was sobbing into her arms, her head lying down on the table. Dom shot me a panic stricken glance.
 

“Penny, honey, what’s the matter?” I asked.
 

Penny froze and looked up, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. Her eyes were red and puffy; her lips red from where she had been biting them and a thin line of black down each cheek where her makeup had ran.
 

I am going to murder Kane.
 

I suppose I should tell you a little bit about him. I’ve been putting it off, because thinking about him makes me want to club my own head in with a Beater’s bat, but I suppose the time has come.
 

Kane Owen asked Penny out when we were all back in Fifth Year. He was the Hufflepuff Golden Boy. He was attractive – even I can’t deny that, unfortunately – and on the Quidditch Team, got excellent grades and was generally just charming to everyone. Dom and I were ecstatic for Penny; she’d fancied him for absolutely ages.
 

They’re now second in the longest relationship any of our group has ever had. First is James and Natalie – otherwise known as heart breaking bitch, but that’s just between Dom, Fred and I – who dated for three years, and second is Penny and Kane, who've been dating for a little over eighteen months.
 

Anyway, for the first couple of months they were good. And I mean really good. Penny would come bouncing into the dorm every night with a huge smile on her face, completely elated.
 

They fell in love pretty quickly. He does love her; that much is obvious, and she unfortunately loves him, as much as I’m not happy about it.
 

But after the first four months or so, something changed about dear old Kane. He became moody, and surly, and would go up to his dorm and only come out for lessons and dinner. He didn’t speak to Penny for nearly two weeks. She was beside herself, it was awful.
 

But then one day he just came down to breakfast, sat down next to her on the bench, kissed her on the cheek and started eating a piece of toast, acting as though nothing ever happened. None of us could understand what was going on, and Penny didn’t want to ask.
 

So can you guess who did ask? How on earth did you get that? Of course it was Fred.
Kane got quite angry and started threatening Fred, telling him that it was none of his business and that what happened between him and Penny was nothing to do with him. Penny started crying, and he calmed down.
 

This was when we started to realise something was very wrong with Mr Perfect.
 

At Penny’s request we didn’t mention him disappearing again, and everything went back to normal. He was just as sweet as usual, just as matey with Fred, Connor and James as usual and just as jokingly flirty with Dom and me. We decided that something might have happened in his family, and that we were just going to forget about whatever happened. Fred took a little longer to convince, but he eventually agreed to just let it go.
 

And for three whole months everything was absolutely dandy – I’ve always wanted to say that. We went home, had the summer holidays, and when we came back everything was still normal. Well, other than having to deal with the bleeding James/Natalie split.
 

Penny and Kane celebrated their eight month anniversary and we held a huge party in Gryffindor Common Room. They seemed like the poster couple for teenage love.
 

It was the middle of October, just after they had been dating for nine months, when things started to go wrong again. Kane didn’t disappear to his dorm for a couple of weeks, or start threatening Fred because he asked a question, it was just his personality changed.
 

He started being horrible, moody, angry, aggressive and rude for days at a time, and when things didn’t go the way he wanted he would throw things against the wall, smash things and just...he became unstable.
 

It got to the point where James forbade Dom from sitting with him at the dinner table, and Scorpius refused point blank to let me, telling me he would drag me away by my hair if I got within three metres of him. Normally Dom and I would have snorted and refused, but we were both quite relieved.
 

This went on for weeks, and things didn’t get any better. Penny tried to convince him to tell her what was the matter, but he insisted that nothing was wrong, and when she asked again he would get angry.
 

She wrote to his parents without telling him and asked if anything happened that she should know, anything that she could help Kane with, because he was acting like something was wrong. His parents sent a very surprised but very polite letter back, saying nothing had happened in their family.
 

Nobody understood what was going on.
 

Penny was a wreck. She would wake up sobbing and cry herself to sleep every night, yet she still refused to leave him, insisted on trying to help him, because she loved him as much as he loved her. Dom and I got more and more worried.
 

And then...poof. Can you guess what happened? It’s not hard.
 

Kane went back to normal. Again. He acted as though he’d never changed, he acted as though he hadn’t broken any furniture or ripped the picture of the six of us by the Black Lake up, just because Penny ‘shouldn’t own something that has so many other blokes on it’.
 

Penny begged us to act as though nothing had happened again; she was just over the moon that she had her boyfriend back after almost a month. It was sick and twisted and kept me up at night, wondering what the hell was wrong with the arsehole.
 

And there was another month when Kane went back to being Mr Wonderful. We were all suspicious of him, wary, avoided him if it was possible, but none so much as Fred. He avoided the bloke like the Black Plague, and only agreed not to beat him up because he was so worried that he might snap and go back to how he was before.
He didn’t want to put Penny through that again.
 

Merlin, it really does sound depressing now I’m writing it all down, but it wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. Of course, for Penny it was worse, but mainly life just went on. We dealt with Kane when we had to, and my life just carried on revolving around snogging James, helping Dom and arguing with Scorpius. You know, same old, same old.
 

And after a month or so, it happened again. Kane went back to being angry, aggressive and just downright violent. It got to the point where McGonagall had him removed from the Hufflepuff Quidditch Team, because he couldn’t be trusted to use a Beater’s bat. Yeah, it got that bad.
 

Penny didn’t take it as hard this time. I think she was sort of expecting it. He became moody again, but she didn’t go out of her way to try and help him. She just kept her distance when she thought she should.
 

It wasn’t healthy for her in the slightest sense.
 

Dom and I were worried out of our minds, because whilst Penny was convinced that he would never hurt her, we didn’t know where the line would be drawn between hitting furniture and hitting our best friend.
 

But after a couple of weeks – the shortest time yet – he got better. We still had no idea what was wrong with him.
 

And yet again, on Penny’s request – we do what that girl says far too much – we didn’t say anything. This also meant that we couldn’t drag him to the Hospital Wing and have him checked over for whatever the hell was wrong with him.
 

And I won’t bore you with the rest. But basically, this went on every couple of weeks, right up until now. And Penny breaking down at dinner is usually a sure fire sign that something’s gone wrong again.
 

Now do you see why I hate him so much?
 

He’s no good for my best friend. She deserves so much better.
 

“Not again, Penny?” Dom eventually said, and Penny nodded, her eyes streaming.

The glass in Fred’s hand smashed as he closed his fingers around it too hard.
Scorpius and I both sat back down. And to think we’d been arguing about who was ‘mentally older’ and whether or not I had a right to snog people – I do, just saying.
 

“Ice cream?” I said eventually, and both Penny and Dom’s heads shot up.
 

“Thought you’d never ask.” She chuckled weakly.
 

“TO THE KITCHENS!” Dom yelled. Yes, she is a bit strange. We pretend not to notice.
 

~*~
 

I glanced at Dom’s bed, then Penny’s, then the other two snoring lumps that I like to call dorm mates that were sleeping in the corner, before sneaking out the room and down the staircase. I’ve made careful effort this time to make sure that I’m not late.
 

I really hope he is. I will go apeshit on his arse.
 

Damn, he’s sitting on the couch. Ah well, you can’t have everything in life.
 

I headed across the room and dropped onto his knee, putting one of my legs on either side of his, my nose practically touching his. He blinked a couple of times in shock and then grinned.
 

“This has officially been world’s most stressful day.” I moaned to James, and whilst he nodded sympathetically, he seemed a little more interested in staring at my mouth.
 

“Sweetheart, if I wanted to talk about it, I would make you my girlfriend.” James Potter, King of the Charmers. Yeah, right.
 

“Well, maybe I want to talk for once.” I said indignantly. I’m not a bleeding hooker; I don’t bloody snog on command.
 

He put a hand on either side of my face and brought my mouth to his, tracing the outline of my lips with his tongue.
 

“Do you still want to talk?” He murmured, and I cursed myself for having hormones.
 

“Yeah?” I said, and James raised his eyebrows.
 

He then seemed to be struck with an idea, because his eyes lit up and a smirk twisted his face.
 

He ran a finger along my back and then around my waist, running it all the way up to the collar of my shirt.
 

He slowly undid the top button.
 

And it was right about now that I realised the little arse was doing to me what I did to him. And yet, having absolutely zippo willpower when it came to James, I found myself not pushing him away.
 

Slowly, absolutely maddeningly slowly, he ran his fingers down to the next button.
 

It popped open.
 

Oh gawd, oh gawd.
 

“Now, you said you had a stressful day.” James said as he pulled open another button.
 

He leaned down and gently kissed my collarbone.
 

“Yeah...” I breathed.
 

Another button.
 

“Is there any way I can help with that? But, you know, just talking.”
 

Another button. I think I’m going insane.
 

“Um...” I’m so intelligent.
 

James slid the shirt off my shoulders and down my arms, tossing it a heap on the floor.
 

“So, what’s been so hard about your da-” This would be the point where I slammed my chest against his and started snogging him senseless.
 

Nice to know I have complete control of myself.
 

I opened my mouth and the kiss deepened, my blood started pumping faster in my veins, my head started to spin, all thoughts of Rose and Scorpius and bleeding waiting lists, NEWTS, Kane Owen and the waste of human flesh that he is fell out of my head, and I remembered why I enjoyed snogging James so much.
 

He’s like my own little pick-me-up at the end of the day.
 

James’ hands slid up my skirt and I pressed myself harder onto his now bare chest – when did he take his shirt off?

"God you're hot." He moaned.
 

“Shh...” I said against his mouth, nipping his bottom lip a couple of times.
 

James just shrugged and pulled me deeper into the snog.
 

No big deal.
 

 

 

 

 







Hello :) 

First off, can I just say thank you so much for the amazing response to chapter one of this story. Thirty favourites for one chapter - I'm so grateful, thank you.

Second off, I don't like this chapter. AT ALL. I was going to put another chapter of Typical Clueless Guy in the queue instead because I disliked this chapter so much, but then I thought since people were so nice about chapter one, I'd put this in.

I really, really don't like it :(

Anyway, thanks for reading.

- Ellie :D
 
 
 
 


Chapter 3: The Third One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Beautiful chapter image by the lovely Magic_Phoenix :)

 




“Fred, put the chicken down before I kill you.” Dom really is a charmer when she’s hungry. Honestly, she’s practically skipping through the hills singing songs about, well, hills.
 

And that, of course, was a blatant lie.
 

“Why?” Fred asked thickly, looking up from the chicken that he was ravaging, tearing apart with his teeth. It was actually rather nauseating. A lovely piece of chicken was hanging from his mouth, and the grease was smeared halfway up his nose.
 

What lovely table manners my best friend has.
 

“Because it’s making me feel sick.” Dom said bluntly. “And if I am sick, I’m aiming it at you.”
 

“Charming.” I muttered, and she glared at me.
 

A couple of minutes later the silence was broken by Fred choking on the aforementioned chicken, and having to be clapped on the back by an all too amused looking James.
 

“Hey guys, I’ve got a game we could play.” Penny’s voice broke through the silence. Her eyes were still slightly puffy from yesterday, and her voice was a lot quieter than usual. But at least she was talking, and that was progress.
 

“Oh. What is it?” I asked. I don’t like games, I never have. When all the other children in my class played hide and seek and tag, I would sit on the floor and watch them, never wanting to join in. But, if it makes Penny feel better then I’m sure I can live through it.
 

“Right, I say a word and then you have to say the first word that comes into your head when I say it. So if I say fun, then you might instantly say ‘Quidditch’ and then I would say another word, like yummy and you might say ‘yoghurt’.”
 

I don’t like yoghurt. Or Quidditch. But I think I see the aim of the game.
 

“Okay, I’ll say the words.” Dom volunteered, grinning around eagerly at us to see who she would be playing against. Everyone kept their eyes down on the table.
 

“I’ll play.” James eventually sighed, after Dom kicked him in the ankle a couple of times. Dom beamed and started clapping, a million miles away from the chit she was when she was threatening Fred with projectile vomiting.
 

“Okay. Dog.” Dom grinned.
 

“Cute.” James said, so fast he couldn’t have even thought about it.
 

“Monkey.”
 

“Bananas.”
 

“Boring.”
 

“Lessons.”
 

“Cheese.”
 

“Creepy.” Did I mention that James has some weird fear of cheese? I would have laughed at him for it, but he pointed out that I’m terrified of a portrait of a giggling pear.
 

“Swimming.”
 

“Squid.”
 

“Books.”
 

“Penny.” Penny looked up indignantly, but was cheerfully ignored.
 

“Llama.”
 

“Pet.”
 

“Snogging.”
 

“Summer.”
 

“Air freshn – wait, what?” James blinked a couple to times and then stared at his cousin.
 

“What?” He asked.
 

“I said snogging, and you said ‘Summer’.” She said, her mouth falling open slightly. “Have you snogged Summer?”
 

“Ew, no, of course not.” If I didn’t know the boy was an excellent liar I would have pummelled him for the disgusted look on his face.
 

“Then why did you associate the word snogging with the word Summer? Do you want to snog Summer?” James looked like he was struggling, his cheeks flushing slightly pink and his hand messing up the back of his hair.
 

“No.”
 

“Then why –” Fred started, but this was the point when I decided to be the dutiful secret snog buddy and step in.
 

“Well, isn’t it obvious?” I asked, staring at them all. James turned to look at me in horror. “James always snogs girls by the Black Lake in the middle of the summer, so when you asked him about snogging, he immediately associated it with that season.”

Dom blinked for a moment. Yeah, sometimes it comes in handy, being named after a season.
 

Another example of that would be last July –
 

“James, why are you covered in sweat?” Dom asked.


“Summer.” James grunted without thinking. Dom’s mouth fell open.


“You know, because it’s hot, and he had to walk all the way up here from the greenhouses.” I said.


Yeah, it’s got nothing to do with the fact the two of us were just snogging behind said greenhouses. Nothing at all.


“Oh.” Dom said, and she nodded. James gave a sigh of relief, and I relaxed slightly on the bench. Honestly, the boy just doesn’t think sometimes. It’s a good job he’s got nice abs. “Can we carry on playing the game now?”
 

“I think it’s best if someone else has a go.” I said quickly, and everyone turned to look at me. What? I don’t need James nearly giving everything away again. “How about I have a go?”
 

“Alright.” Dom shrugged. “Sport.”
 

“Boring.”
 

“Homework.”
 

“Puke.”
 

“Freak.”
 

“Fred.” I shot him an apologetic glance.
 

“Bitch.”
 

“Natalie.” James’ head shot up as someone turned around on the next table.
 

“Did someone just say my name?” A voice called. I cursed under my breath. Looking up with a false smile plastered on my face, I stared at the blonde girl that had just risen and walked over to stand behind Fred, shooting James a friendly smile.
 

“Yeah, me. But I wasn’t calling you, I was just telling Dom about...” I trailed off, and Dom quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
 

“About her friend from Primary School, who was called Natalie.” Natalie nodded, her blonde hair swinging from one shoulder to the other and her smile becoming even friendlier. It would be so much easier to hate her for dumping James if she wasn’t so bleeding nice all the fucking time!


Honestly, does she get paid by the smile?
 

“Oh right. Well, I might as well talk to you for a bit now I’m here.” And here comes another smile. Does she have false cheeks?
 

“Great.” Fred muttered, and because he had his back to her, she couldn’t see him rolling his eyes or shooting nervous glances at a frozen looking James. I kicked him under the table.
 

“Um...” James said, ruffling the back of his hair. “It’s nice to see you.” Is it? I can’t imagine it would be; she’s the girl that ripped his heart out and then proceeded to dance upon said heart in six inch heels, so therefore I am having a hard time imagining it to be nice seeing her.
 

It would make me want to kill myself, but Scorpius says that I am melodramatic.
 

Scorpius can be an arse sometimes.
 

“So, Natalie...how are you?” Fred slammed his hands into his hands at the supreme awkwardness of James’ question. James shot him a glare and then went back to stare at a little spot on the wall just next to Natalie’s head.
 

“I’m absolutely fine. Are you alright?” She chimed, beaming like he had just saved a grandma from a burning building. Honestly, I just can’t imagine her breaking up with him. She’s far too cheerful to do something like that.
 

I’ll ask James again what happened.
 

What? I’m nosy, deal with it.
 

“Natalie!” One of her equally cheerful friends called her from the Hufflepuff table and Natalie flipped her hair over her shoulder so she could nod and grin at them.

Honestly, it makes my cheeks hurt just thinking about how much that girl smiles.
 

“Bye guys. It was nice speaking to you again James.” She grinned at us all one last time, winked at James and then skipped – I swear to Merlin, she skipped – back to the Hufflepuff table and sat down with her friends.
 

Fred shuddered slightly. The bloke may be the cheerful one of the lot of us, but he’s never been able to stand Natalie. Even when they were dating, he never seemed to like her. I asked him about it once, and he said he just felt like there was something a little off with her relationship with James.
 

I think he might know why they broke up as well, because every time she passes us and he sees that James isn’t looking at him, he glares at the back of her head.
 

~*~
 

“Hey.” James said, and without giving me time to even think about returning the greeting, he had pressed his lips up against mine and was knotting his fingers in my hair. I slackened slightly against his chest, and then summoned all of my willpower, shoving James away slightly and leaving a couple of inches space between our lips.
 

“Don’t-” James moaned, wrapping his hands around my wrists and pulling my hands off his chest, edging closer to me again. I groaned slightly and ducked my head.

James sighed and sat down on the desk next to me.
 

“What’s the matter love?” He asked, an annoyed expression creasing his brow. I blinked at him for a moment.
 

“Why did you and Natalie break up?” I asked, and James stiffened slightly next to me.
 

“Doesn’t matter.” He grunted, and I noticed that his hands had clenched into fists on the desk.
 

“I want to know.” I said, and James looked at me, his eyes narrowed enough for his expression to be classed as a glare.
 

“Well, it’s none of your business.” He said, his tone becoming more annoyed and his knuckles becoming more prominent on his hands as he clenched his fists tighter.
 

I could see that he didn’t want to talk about it, but acting on that has never been a strong point of mine. I wanted to know what happened between the two of them, because I believe that it does have something to do with me if he’s using me as a snog to get over her.
 

It’s been a year now. Shouldn’t he have already gotten over her?
 

“I think it is my business actually.” I said stiffly, and James crossed his arms over his chest.
 

“Well, I don’t. What happened between Natalie and me is nothing to do with you. It’s not like you’re my girlfriend, Summer.” I winced. I know I’m not his girlfriend, and trust me when I say I cherish no desire to become his girlfriend, but it still hurt.
 

“I know that. But if that’s the reason we snog, then I think I have a right to know.” James rolled his eyes.
 

“Natalie has nothing to do with...whatever this is.” What does he mean, ‘whatever this is’? We both know perfectly well what ‘this’ is. “So just drop it Summer. I don’t want to talk about it.”
 

“Do you not trust me?” I asked. James looked surprised.
 

“Why would you think that?”
 

“Because you’ve told Fred.” I shrugged, and James looked a little uncomfortable for a moment.
 

“I didn’t mean to tell Fred. When I got back up to the dorm after...it happened, I sort of lost it. I threw a couple of things, trashed the room. I was just really angry. Fred demanded to know what was going on, pulled the ‘cousin’ card. That’s why he knows. I haven’t even told Connor. Summer, you’re one of my best friends. Of course I trust you.”
 

I could tell by the expression on his (hot) face that he thought the conversation was over.
 

“So if you trust me, why won’t you tell me?” Remember when I told you that I never really know when to stop? Yeah, that comes in here.
 

“For fuck’s sake Summer, I don’t want to talk about it. It happened a year ago, I don’t want to still be talking about it now.” His voice was frustrated, and he ran his hands through his hair.
 

There was a pause.
 

“You’re not over her.” I muttered to the floor, and James froze again, his expression falling.
 

“I am.”
 

“No, you’re not. You didn’t see the way you were acting with her this morning; it’s quite obvious that you’re not over her. Don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that you are.” I don’t know why I’m getting so worked up over this.
 

“I am completely over Natalie. It’s just embarrassing for me to see her, that’s all.” James froze, obviously cursing himself for saying too much.
 

“Why is it embarrassing for you to see her now?” I asked slowly, and James glared at the ground.
 

“Fucking hell, it doesn’t matter Summer. It’s none of your business, so just fuck off.” I froze. James had never spoken to me like that before.
 

“Fine.” I spat, leaping off the desk and storming to the door.
 

James sighed.
 

“Summer, I didn’t mean it. Come back.” I carried on, pulling the door open and storming out into the corridor.
 

“Summer!” He called again.
 

I ignored him.
 

~*~
 

“Your cousin is a good for nothing twat.” I informed Dom as I stormed back into the dorm, completely forgetting that I had actually told Dom that I was going to the Library to study alone, not with James.
 

Dom looked up at me for a moment, and then back at the door of the bathroom. I waited for her tirade of questions, but none came. Dom remained silent, an uncomfortable expression on her face, which was still staring at the door.
 

When Dom doesn’t say anything, you know that something is wrong.
 

“What’s happened?” I asked.
 

“Penny has been in the bathroom for two and a half hours now.” Dom said woodenly.

“She’s been crying the whole time, I can hear her.”
 

“Have you spoken to her?” I asked, lowering my voice and dropping down on the bed next to Dom. She shook her head, her mane of silvery blonde hair rippling down her back as she did so. I bit my lip and frowned at the door.
 

“Do you want to knock, or should I?” I asked eventually, and Dom widened her eyes at me, the perfect picture of a puppy dog.
 

“Fine.” I grumbled, hauling myself to my feet and heading over to the door. I raised my fist and knocked a couple of times. The quiet sobbing inside immediately stopped, and there was a scrabbling noise, as though a lot of things were being picked up from the floor at once.
 

“Penny, are you alright?” I called. “You’ve been in there a long time.” Best not to mention that we can hear her crying, I think.
 

“Yeah.” She called, and her voice broke. She coughed a couple of times and then carried on. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
 

It would be so much easier to believe her if she wasn’t crying as she said it.
 

“Right, I’m coming in.” I called, and before she could argue I twisted the knob and let myself in.
 

Penny was sitting on the floor next to the bath, her head resting on the lip and her arms wrapped around her knees, which were tucked into her chest. Her eyes were red and puffy, her lips swollen slightly from being bitten and her cheeks stained with tears.
 

“Penny.” I whispered, dropping to my knees and wrapping my arms around her.

“What’s the matter?” Penny shook her head, burying her face into my side and crying a little bit more. “What’s he done now?”
 

“He’s just angry again.” She muttered, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. My stomach clenched. “He told me to fuck off and leave him alone, so I did.”
 

Hey, would you look at that. James and Kane have something in common. I wiped the tears off Penny’s cheeks with my sleeve and then smiled at her, ignoring the anger that was bubbling in the pit of my stomach.
 

“Why did he tell you to fuck off?” I asked eventually, and Penny sniffed, brushed her hair off her face and chuckled darkly.
 

“Because I asked him to tell me what was the matter.” I hate him, I hate him. I literally want to pull his skin off and rub salt on the wounds.
 

But not really, because the sadistic and violent, and would probably make me throw up.
 

“You still don’t know why he gets like that?” I asked, and she shook her head.
 

“No.” She fiddled with the sleeves of her shirt, pulling them down so they covered her hands. “He won’t tell me, and it’s gotten to the point where I’m too afraid to ask. I’m just...” She trailed off, some fresh tears spilling out of her eyes and down her cheeks.
 

“What?” I asked softly.
 

“I’m just tired of it all. I want it to end.” She whispered into my side, and I closed my eyes.
 

“Then leave him.” Dom said abruptly, appearing in the doorway, no forgiveness or illusions in her voice. “Leave him, and then he won’t hurt you anymore. You won’t have to deal with him when he gets like this.”
 

I opened my eyes and shot Dom a quick glare, but she just continued to stare at Penny, an unforgiving expression glistening in her eyes.
 

And that’s when I understood. It killed Dom as much as it killed me to see Penny so broken because of him, because of the way he treats her. But whilst I just make inner homicidal proclamations and glare at the back of his head while nobody is looking, Dom just snaps and starts saying things as they are, not bothering to think about tact and sensitivity.
 

“I can’t.” Penny moaned, her voice breaking. Dom’s expression wavered, but before Penny had time to notice she had fixed her calm and hard mask on again.
 

“Why not?” Dom asked.
 

“He- he needs me.” Penny muttered, more to herself than to Dom. “He needs me to be there for him, I promised him I always would be. You don’t u-understand Dom, I’ve been with him for a year and a half, you can’t j-just forget about that. I love him, and I want to help h-him.”
 

“Who are you trying to convince, me or yourself?” Dom asked, and I glared at her again. She was being too hard on her. She wasn’t helping, she was making things worse.
 

“W-what?”
 

“He doesn’t want you to help him Penny.” Dom’s tone was softer, and she got down on her knees, took Penny’s hands in her own and looked into her tear stained face.

She shoved the door shut with her foot as our dorm mates walked into the room.
 

“Y-yes he does.”
 

“Penelope, if he wanted you to help him, don’t you think he would have spoken to you by now? Told you what is the matter, why he is so angry, what’s happened to make him Mr Sunshine one minute and Mr Thunder the next?”
 

Wow Dom, wonderful weather metaphor.
 

“I-I’m not leaving him. I’m going t-to help him.” Penny said, and Dom stared at her for another moment.
 

“That’s...your choice.” She said eventually, getting up off her knees and tossing me a box of tissues.
 

See, there is a reason that I’m not on the Quidditch team. The box sailed across the room and promptly smacked me in the face, bounced off my nose and rolled across the bathroom floor, circus style. Even Penny stopped crying long enough to chuckle at my expression.
 

Dom grinned at me for a minute, then turned around and walked out the bathroom, shutting the bathroom door behind her a little harder than necessary.
 

“Come here, let’s clean you up.” I muttered, pulling a tissue out of the box and dabbing at Penny’s eyes, an expression of great distaste fixed on my face.
 

Why am I on best friend clean-up duty?
 

“I’m sorry, Summer.” Penny whispered after a couple of minutes of silence. I started.
 

“It’s not your fault.” I said honestly.
 

“It is.” She muttered, and with that, she got up off the floor and headed back out into the door, leaving me sitting on the floor, watching her retreating back with an oddly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
 

~*~
 

“I didn’t mean it.” Were the first words out of his mouth, the moment I stepped into the room.
 

“I know.” I said quietly, and I walked into his hug without even thinking about it.
 

After dealing with Penny, I just didn’t have the energy to continue being angry at James. When he sent me a note asking me to meet him in the charms classroom at midnight, I didn’t even bother thinking about it.
 

“I’m really sorry.” He muttered into my hair, kissing my forehead a couple of times, then my nose, and then each cheek.
 

“I know. I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have pried.” I muttered, and he chuckled darkly, tangling his fingers in the roots of my hair and leaning down to press his lips against mine.
 

“Should we forget about it?” He asked, pulling away, and I grinned.
 

“Merlin, yes.” I said quickly, and then pressed my mouth back up against his. It’s so much easier not being angry at James. Plus, I get a free snog out of it.
 

 




Hello my beauties :)

Can I just say another huge thank you to every one who reviewed the last chapter, I was so insecure about it and you all made me feel so much better, so thank you so much :D

Sorry the update for this took a bit of a while, because even though the queue is a great speed (whoop) I have another WIP running at the same time...so yeah.

Thank you for reading, love and hugs and kisses (in a totally normal way)

Ellie :)
 


Chapter 4: The One After That
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Now loves, try not to ogle my future husband too much. Another gorgeous one by Magic_Phoenix.





“YOU LITTLE ARSEHOLE, THE WATER IS BLOODY FREEZING!” I screamed, and Scorpius tipped his head back as he roared with laughter.
 

I scooped as much of the water as I could up into my hands, and then tossed it at him. It hit him straight in the face, and slicked back his hair, which had been carefully styled into a mess of blonde spikes.
 

Vanity, thy name is Scorpius Malfoy.
 

“You bitch; you’ve messed up my hair.” Hang on, being the female in this situation, aren’t I supposed to be the one saying things like that?
 

Well, if he hadn’t pulled me into the bleeding Black Lake in the first place, then I would not have poured water all over his head. So essentially, he did it to himself. At least, that’s what I’m going to go with.
 

“Essentially, you did that to yourself, since you pulled me into the bleeding lake.” Hey, if I managed to come up with an excuse like that, then I’m not just going to think it. I’m going to say it too.
 

“That’s utter crap and you know it.” Ah, cousin love. There’s nothing like it.
 

I shoved back the heavy, sopping wet sleeves of my jumper to reveal my arms, and slowly crawled through the water so I could pummel him until he was barely recognisable as a human being any more.
 

But the moment I had managed to cross the tiny distance between us, Scorpius kicked his legs out with ease and gracefully slid backwards through the water, somehow managing so splash a mouthful of water into my face.
 

How symbolic is this of my whole life?
 

“Scorpius.” I growled, shaking a chunk of straggly, dripping brown hair out of my eyes.

Scorpius grinned at me, flicking his damp blonde hair back off his face, looking remarkably like a model as he did so. We’re bloody first cousins, how did he get all the good genes?
 

That is what I like to call bloody unfair.
 

“I’m going to kill you.” I finished my threat, still in the same low growl as before. I kicked my legs around like a spaz - which did nothing but get me even wetter – and Scorpius merely rolled his eyes, not even the slightest bit threatened by my livid expression.
 

Typical.
 

“Come on Summer, you’ve got to learn to live a little.” Scorpius grinned, flicking some more water in my face and then gliding backwards smoothly when I tried to whack him. I faceplanted the surface of the lake as a result.
 

“I live plenty, thank you very much. I don’t see how you flicking water at me means I’m not living.”
 

“Please Summy –” Scorpius snorted, but before he even had a chance to think about finishing his sentence, I had cut in.
 

“I’m sorry, but did you just call me Summy?” I asked in horror, and Scorpius nodded, the expression on his face confused, as though he didn’t understand my scandalized expression or the reason I was hitting my head over and over again.
 

“Yes. You’re always moaning about how you don’t get a nickname, and I just thought of one. What’s the problem?”
 

“Let me make one thing quite clear to you, my dear, deluded cousin.” I said staring him dead in the eye. “And let there be no illusions in that gaping black hole that you call a brain. If you ever call me Summy again, I will rip off your manhood and feed it to the giant squid.”
 

There was a sloshing noise and Scorpius flapped away from me, splashing more water into the air. Summy. Honestly.


“Got it.” Scorpius said, nodding quickly. And with that, he pushed off through the water and shot to the bank, where he clambered out of the water – showing a surprising amount of grace for a boy of his size – and shot off towards the castle.
 

Charming.
 

Let’s have a little overview of my current situation, shall we? I am abandoned in the middle of the Black Lake, abandoned by my own cousin I should add, and I can barely even doggy paddle a couple of metres without nearly drowning myself.
 

And just factor in the giant squid, and you’ve just got yourself a fucking dandy time.
 

I am going to murder Scorpius in the most painful and creative way I can think of. Any ideas?
 

~*~
 

“I am so bloody exhausted.” I groaned to Fred and Dom. “Honestly, Scorpius is going to kill me one day, I just know it.” Fred nodded sympathetically, chewing some chips with his mouth hanging wide open. Dom grunted.
 

It’s strange that Fred had the more feminine response of the pair of them. I will probably bring that up again when neither of them are holding knives as though they might impale me with them.
 

“Well, you know what they say.” Fred said, spraying me with chip. “You must go through the dark before you can get to the light.”
 

Dom and I both looked up from our dinners to blink at him.
 

“What the bleeding fuck does that have to do with anything?” Ah, the ever so charming Dominique Weasley. Class of a princess, that one.
 

“I have plenty of deep sayings like that, would you like to hear them?” Fred grinned at us, looking like a child that had been told that Christmas was coming early. It’s not, by the way, Freddie my boy.
 

“No.” Dom again – how did you guess?
 

“Wit is educated insolence.” Fred grinned. Dom glared. I slammed my head against the table.
 

“Shut up.” I might as well not even bother telling you – it was Dom.
 

“As soon as you’re born you start dying, so you might as well live every day to the full.”
 

“I will kill you.”
 

“Life is a shipwreck but don’t forget to sing in the lifeboats.”
 

“Give it a rest, you wanker.”
 

“Defeat isn’t bitter until you swallow it.”
 

“Fred.”
 

“Never take life seriously; no one gets out alive anyway.”
 

“Fred Weasley.”
 

“If practice makes perfect and nothing’s perfect, then why practice?”
 

“Fred Arthur Weasley, I am going to strangle you if you don’t shut up.”
 

“If you –”
 

“SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU BLEEDING ARSEHOLE, I HAVE A FUCKING HEADACHE AND YOU A FUCKING WELL NOT HELPING!”
 

Maybe it was a little challenge she set herself – let’s see how many times I can say the word ‘fucking’ in one sentence. If you say it at least three, then you get...nothing.
 

Fred blinked at her for a moment and then pouted.
 

“That was a little bit grouchy. You’re my cousin Dommie, you’re supposed to love me whatever I say, and all that other family shit.” Dom glared at him for a moment, but under his hurt looking pout, she relented slightly.
 

Well look at that, Fred lad, you managed to melt the ice queen.
 

“Fine. I’m sorry I shouted at you.” She muttered. Fred did not stop pouting, so she cocked an eyebrow and stared at him in slightly wary confusion.
 

“And you need to tell me you love me.” He said, and Dom’s face wore an expression that quite clearly said ‘I would rather die’. But another round of pouting from Fred wore her down, and she resentfully murmured –
 

“I love you Fred.”
 

“Aw, I love you too Dommie! I love you to pieces! You’re my seventh favourite female cousin in our family.” Fred’s grin was wide enough to light up the entire room.
 

Dom’s head snapped up and she glared at him with more poison than I thought was humanly possible without bursting into flame. Fred glanced at me quickly and I took a leaf out of Albus’ book, sliding the pointy cutlery away from her plate.
 

“You only have seven female cousins.” She snarled, and Fred’s face fell, as though he was straining himself by trying to work out a very difficult maths problem.
 

“Yeah, I know I do. Why did you bother pointing that out?” Fred stared at Dom as though he was sure that she was a couple of sweets short of a full packet of sweets.
 

“Because you said, and I quote ‘you’re my seventh favourite female cousin’. And you have seven female cousins. And since you’re not very bright Fred, I will elaborate, especially for you. That means I am your least favourite female cousin.” Dom’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and Fred’s gob fell open slightly.
 

“Shit. No Dommie, I meant you are one of my seven favourite female cousins. Damn, I hate English. Everything sounds the same to me.” We both stared at him for a moment. “But if we were talking in my native language, I would be making perfect sense.”
 

“Um, Fred.” I cut in. “One – you would never make sense, no matter what language we were talking in, and two – English is your native language, you twat.”
 

Fred opened his mouth as though he was going to protest, but then closed it again, showing a remarkable likeness to a goldfish.
 

“Yeah well. Haters gon’ hate.” And with a strange gesture that mostly resembled a hand spasm, he got up off the bench and skipped out the Great Hall.
 

Always a strange one, that one.
 

~*~
 

“Wassup biatch?” I asked as I dropped into a seat next to Penny. She looked up and stared at me as though she was slightly fearful for my sanity.
 

Ah well, wouldn’t be the first time.
 

“Nothing is up; I am sitting down, and please never call me ‘biatch’ again, as I fear for my mental health enough as is.” Penny grinned at me as I pretended to hold my hand over my heart. “Okay, I tell you what – no, in fact, you still can’t call me ‘biatch’.”
 

“Meanie pants.”
 

“Wow, that hurt.”
 

“If you weren’t my Penny-kins, then I would –”
 

“Never call me Penny-kins again, I beg of you.” Another round of pouting from me wore her down slightly – hanging out with Fred for so long has had its benefits. “Okay fine, Penny-kins I will allow, but there is no way I am letting you call me biatch.”
 

“Deal.”
 

“Deal.”
 

And with that, we shook hands. We’re pretty cool, it’s no big deal.
 

~*~
 

“This is so nice. How long had it been since we’ve all sat down and eaten dinner together?” Fred asked, sighing contentedly and patting his stomach as he swallowed another mouthful of Yorkshire pudding.
 

“Twenty four hours. We sat down and ate dinner together last night.” Connor said, cocking an eyebrow at Fred, whose face had fallen.
 

“Oh yeah.”
 

“I do love you sometimes, Fred.” Penny laughed, as everyone else chuckled under their breath. Fred’s head snapped up and he stared at Penny with his mouth hanging open slightly. Penny continued to laugh, not even noticing.
 

I watched Penny, a smile spreading on my own face. Kane put her down so often, and crushed that smile of hers, but when she was just happy, and completely free, she was really beautiful. Her hair rippled down her back as she laughed, her whole body shaking, and her face just looked so happy it made my heart ache.
 

My hatred of Kane pounded even more furiously in my veins.
 

“Well I love you all the time, so I win.” Fred grinned as Penny laughed harder. The euphoric mood was ruined slightly however, as Connor choked on a piece of chicken as he laughed, and turned a strange shade of purple.
 

Being the oh-so-helpful friends we are, we just sat there and stared at him as he went from purple to red, and then to hot pink.
 

...and then back to purple.
 

Oh how strange, now he’s an odd shade of blue.
 

Help.” Connor choked, and James jumped slightly, as though he had forgotten that the bloke with the blue face was actually his best friend.
 

“Oh, right.”
 

He started thumping Connor on the back, so lightly it barely even made a sound. I rolled my eyes and shoved his hand out of the way, and started clapping him on the back the proper way, making loud banging noises that echoed across the room.
 

After a few seconds, with one loud, definitive bang, the piece of chicken shot out of Connor’s gob and landed in the middle of James’ soup. We all stared at it for a moment, Dom with a mildly revolted expression on her face. Oi love, he’s your future husband. I just know it.
 

“Thanks for sharing.” James said drily, and Connor flushed pink.
 

“No problem, mate.” And with that, all three lads turned back to their dinners. I will never understand the mystery that is the brain – or lack of – in males.
 

~*~
 

“James, stop it.” I grumbled, elbowing him in the stomach as he kissed the nape of my neck. He slid his arms around my stomach and stared to kiss up the back of my neck, causing me to elbow him in the chest.
 

“Come on Summer, just do the homework tomorrow.” He grumbled against my skin.
 

“This essay is due in first thing tomorrow morning, I have to finish it.” I told him, giving him another forceful elbow and pulling forwards, trying to get his lips off my neck. I used the hand that wasn’t clutching my quill to pull his hands off my waist.
 

“Then do it later tonight.” He mumbled using both of his hands to trap my fighting one, and kissing my collarbone by leaning his head over my shoulder.
 

“James, its half past ten at night already. The library is completely empty.” James snorted under his breath.
 

“Yeah, I did notice.” He ran his tongue along the bottom of my jaw, and I elbowed him sharply again. Maybe he would leave me alone if he was the one that was afraid of being eaten alive by Professor McGonagall for not doing their homework. “Now give us a snog and I’ll leave you alone.”
 

I huffed and elbowed him – boy, is he going to be covered in bruises in the morning or what? – glaring at my parchment as I tried to remember what I was going to write as my next sentence.
 

“Fuck off James; I am trying to write my bleeding essay. I’ve got another half an hour’s work to do and the Library closes in ten minutes. Stop – bugging – me.” James sighed, and for one glorious moment I thought he was actually going to leave.
 

But nooooo, of course that didn’t happen. This is my life, after all.
 

James growled under his breath and wrapped his arms around my stomach again, pulling me into his chest and pretty much attacking my neck with his mouth.
 

What part of ‘I have homework to do’ is not getting through this bloke’s thick skull?
 

“James –” I grumbled, wondering whether or not I should even bother shoving him off me again, when somebody else broke us apart.
 

“WHAT IN THE NAME OF MERLIN DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? CANOODLING IN THE LIBRARY! THAT IS DISGUSTING – OUT, NOW, OUT!” Madame Pince screeched, bursting out from behind a bookshelf and waved her feather duster around like a prize winning lunatic.
 

I could hear James laughing, his chin resting on my shoulder and his arms still around my stomach. I blushed bright red and tried to shove him off me again, but he merely planted a kiss on my cheek.
 

“RIGHT, THE PAIR OF YOU, OUT. NOW! You are both banned from the Library without a note from a teacher saying you need to take out a specific book. That will teach you to canoodle in such a sacred place!” She rasped.
 

“Um, okay. Listen, no one says ‘canoodle’ in normal conversation,” James said, cocking his eyebrow at her. I groaned. “And also, are you even allowed to ban us from the Library?”
 

“YES I AM! NOW OUT!” She all but screamed. Why is she so highly strung? Has Filch broken up with her or something?
 

“You were here when my dad was at school.” James muttered under his breath. “How are you not dead yet?”
 

I blushed a little brighter and started shoving my books into my bag, trying to ignore the fact that James still had his arms wrapped around my waist, one of his hands up the front of my shirt, running his thumb up and down my stomach.
 

“Let’s go.” I said quickly, grabbing his wrist and pulling him off the bench. “Before she tries to stab you with her duster.”
 

So we hurried out the library, James’ arms still around my waist.
 

We got about halfway down the corridor when I rounded on him, my cheeks a fuming red and embarrassed out of my skull. The school librarian just saw James giving me a hickey. I feel besmirched.
 

“I just got banned from the Library because of you and your apparent inability to keep it in your pants. And I also have to finish my Transfiguration essay in the Common Room, where there are a load of squealing first years that act like bloody hamsters on helium.” I glared at him and he rolled his eyes.
 

“Yeah, well, it’s your own fault. I only wanted a snog.”
 

“James! Right, I’m going back to the Common Room. You can just...do whatever it is you do. I don’t even want to know.” I glared at him, and he rolled his eyes.
 

“You’re not going back to the Common Room.” He said simply.
 

“I think you’ll find I am.” I snapped back snottily.
 

“No, you’re not.” And with that, he yanked open the door of a nearby broom closet and shoved me inside.
 

“James.” I said in a warning tone, but he ignored me, stepped inside the closet and pulled the door shut with a devilish wink and grin.
 

“Oh sod it.”
 

~*~
 

“You haven’t finished your essay!?” Dom hissed as I frantically scribbled a sentence.
 

Dom alternated between disapproving glances at me and nervous ones at Gonnie, who was talking to some thin lad at the front of the classroom. I shot Dom a glare and then went back to my frantic writing; my words looking more like a spider had dipped its legs in ink and ran across the parchment than actual handwriting.
 

“How have you not finished it, you didn’t get back to the room until half past twelve last night, and you said you’d been in the Library all evening.” Penny frowned, and I saved myself the trouble of answering by ending the conclusion with a flourish and a flying blob of ink.
 

“Yeah, that’s a good point.” Dom chipped in. “You didn’t get back to the room until really late, how come you didn’t finish your essay?”
 

“She was too busy snogging me.” James grinned, leaning backwards on his chair with his hands behind his head, a casual grin stretched across his face.
 

I froze, blood running cold for a moment, but Penny and Dom started laughing, and I relaxed slightly.
 

“Oh yeah, you two snogging. Oh that made me laugh.” Penny giggled, and I forced myself to laugh along with her.
 

“Yeah, can you imagine me snogging James? I’d have to burn my face off afterwards.” I laughed, and Dom grinned. James shot me an annoyed glance, and I blew him a kiss.
 

Serves him right for taking a risk like that. Bleeding tosser.
 





Did anyone else love Fred in this chapter, or was it just me?

It might be just me. Now I feel a bit weird. Ah well.

ellie :) xx


Chapter 5: The Next One
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Aah, pretty girl. Gorgeous chapter image by the lovely Magic_Phoenix.

 

 

 






“Yo Con-Con. Where my other bitchezz at?” I asked, dropping down next to him on the bench. He looked up from polishing his prefect badge and cocked an eyebrow at me.
 

“I am going to pretend you did not just say that, and you just asked me where the rest of our friends are. They’re playing Quidditch, by the way. Penny went to watch.” Connor looked back down at his badge, jabbing me with his elbow when I nicked a piece of his toast.
 

“Why aren’t you with them? You’re the chaser, aren’t you?” I asked through a mouthful of toast. Connor cocked an eyebrow at me again. Now I think on it, we all seem to have a little movement that we make, like a signature move.
 

I roll my eyes a lot, Connor cocks his eyebrow and lot and James shrugs like there’s no tomorrow.
 

Fasca-bloody-nating.
 

“I was hungry, and they wanted to go and play straight away. But the bacon was calling me Summer, IT WAS CALLING ME!” And with that, he slumped forwards over the table and laid his head on the surface.
 

And the sad news is Connor is the normal one out of the lot of us.
 

“It’s alright, I believe you.” I said mildly as he made loud sobbing noises against the table. I patted him on the back gently.
 

“I need my bacon.” He sniffled, sitting up and pretending to wipe the tears from his cheeks with his sleeve. I nodded, and pulled him into my chest in a hug.
 

“I know sweetheart, I know.” I murmured, stroking his hair.
 

“I love you Summer.” He stage-whispered, making more sobbing noises against my robes.
 

“I love you too Con-Con.” I stage-whispered back, and he nodded. “Even if you are as strange as hell.”
 

Ah, the wonders of friendship.
 

~*~
 

“Dom, why are you wearing a spandex leotard?” I do believe that question sums up perfectly what I have to go through every day. Most normal people don’t have to deal with a best friend that seems to enjoy wearing shocking purple leotards to lunch.
 

Especially not one’s that wear feather covered headdresses to match. And war paint.
 

“Because I had a theory.” She grinned, dropping down into the seat opposite me and stealing my chicken leg. Now I think on it, we do seem to eat each other’s food more than we eat our own. “Guys break up with me a lot, and I think it might be because I can get a little boring after a while. So I decided that I need to become a bit more spontaneous.”
 

“If the definition of spontaneous is terrifyingly abnormal, then you’ve got it damn right, Dommie.” Connor grinned. Dom blushed slightly, and looked down at her dinner, a couple of the feathers falling onto her plate from the three foot tall monstrosity of a headdress she was wearing.
 

“Dom, trust me when I say that there is no way that anyone could ever get bored of you.” James smiled, and Dom smiled sort of sadly at her plate.
 

“Why do they always leave me then? Am I that bad of a girlfriend?” Her voice was much quieter now, and her hands were folded softly on her knee.
 

“You could never be a bad girlfriend Dom; you’re too amazing for something like that.” Hey, who knew Connor was so good at being mushy and sentimental?
 

Dom looked up from the table and stared at Connor for a moment.
 

“Thank you.” She murmured, and he smiled.
 

Aw, how sweet.
 

Hang on; do you think that those two like each other? They both look a little pink, and they’re being all sweet and mushy when they know there is a high chance that I will upchuck my lunch onto one of them for being so sickeningly cute whilst I’m trying to eat.
 

Merlin, can’t you just imagine me in a turn-of-the-century romance film?
 

“Oi, Summer.” James grunted, showing the same level of romance that I seem to constantly embody. “Did you manage to finish that essay before Gonnie collected them in?”
 

I took a moment to glower at him before I graced him with a response.
 

“Yes. The last few lines looked like mad woman’s knitting, but it could have been worse. If I fail this, I am going to blame you for the rest of your life. You have been warned.” I sniffed disdainfully and took another bite out of Penny’s beef sandwich.
 

“Why would it be James’ fault?” Dom asked.
 

The pair of us froze and then blinked a couple of times. I even opened my mouth and then closed it again, just to be extra helpful.
 

“Because I stole her textbook, the one she needed to finish the essay.” James said smoothly, turning his head to shoot Dom one of those smiles that makes the younger students scream and fall off random benches.
 

“James, that was really mean.” Dom said. “I’m surprised at you.” What made it even more hilarious was the fact that she was being completely serious.
 

“Yeah, that was a bit tight of you, mate.” Fred said, shooting James a disapproving gaze and waggling his fishstick.
 

“James, I repaired your textbooks the other day, removed any graffiti and I bought you some general knowledge books for Christmas, you could have used them.” It was Penny’s turn to shake her head.
 

“Yeah. Not cool man.” Connor always has been a man of few words.
 

“Yeah James. Make sure you don’t interrupt my essay writing when I really need it ever again.” The five of us nodded, staring at James in a very disapproving manner.
 

James’ gob fell open and he stared at us all for a moment, wordlessly. And then he found his words again – unfortunately for all of us.
 

“Are you guys taking the fucking piss right now?”
 

“I never kid about a person’s education.” Penny said, peering at James over the top of her reading glasses. I don’t know why she’s wearing her reading glasses to lunch, but maybe it just makes her feel smarter.
 

Maybe she likes to intimidate her sandwich.
 

“This is ridiculous.” James said, shaking his head. “I’m going back up to the dorm...to be the evil thief of textbooks.” He muttered, ran his hands through his hair and hauled himself off the bench.
 

As he left he winked at me and blew a kiss.
 

I don’t think that Connor noticed, but he did peer at me a little strangely for a moment afterwards.
 

~*~
 

“Now just hold still.” Dom said sternly, holding the needle next to my ear with an oddly determined look on her face. Why she has suddenly decided that I must have pierced ears I will never know.
 

I’ve gotten through seventeen years of my life without wearing earrings, I’m sure I can cope.
 

I also do not know why the other four insisted on watching. Sadistic gits. I bet they hope I’m just going to bleed to death so they can stand there and feel superior and laugh at my misfortune.
 

“And you promise it won’t hurt?” I clarified.
 

“No, I’ve cast a spell. It will be super fast and you won’t feel a thing.” Dom smiled.
 

“Sounds like having sex with James.” I smirked, and his face fell into one of outrage, his eyes falling into a flat glare.
 

“And you would know all about having sex with me, apparently.” James said, hitching an innocent expression onto his face and badly disguising his smirk. I resisted the urge to swing my leg out and kick him in the shin.
 

Come on Summer, WILLPOWER. You can do it!
 

“Only in your dreams, darling.” I smiled back, and his smirk fell into a grimace. Connor cocked an eyebrow – he’ll pull an eyebrow one day, I just know it – and stared between us again. Fred yawned, ate a crisp out of his family sized bag – which he won’t let any of the rest of us touch – and then cleared his throat.
 

“Sorry to break up all this sexual tension, but can you get on the with the blood and guts thing?”
 

Oh Fred, what a charmer.
 

And why exactly would my guts be coming out my ears? I would have to be some kind of freak of nature – I’m going ignore that obvious joke and move on.
 

“Sure.” And with that, Dom stabbed the needle though my ear, made a little hole, slipped the diamond earring inside and clicked the butterfly on the back. She did the same with the other ear, and then leaned back, a giant grin on her face.
 

“There was no blood.” Fred sighed and stared down at the bag that was nearly as big as him. “I guess I’ll have to drown my sorrows with this bag of crisps.”
 

Yeah, like you wouldn’t have eaten them all anyway.
 

“Come on Connor. Come on sucks-at-shags.” Fred clapped James on the back and he fell off his chair “See that might be part of your problem, if you haven’t got any strength then you won’t be able to...”
 

Fred cut off when James bit him on the ankle.
 

Wow, manly.
 

~*~
 

“IT’S A LOVE STORY, BABY JUST SAY YES.” Fred warbled, playing the imaginary piano on Dom’s legs, which were sitting on James’ knee.
 

“No.” Dom said flatly.
 

“I don’t think you get it Dommie.” Fred sighed, picking up Dom’s legs, dumping them on the floor and then proceeded to jump on James’ now free knee, ignoring James’ less than quiet yelp and murderous scowl. “IT’S A LOVE STORY, BABY JUST SAY YES.”
 

“No.”
 

“Yes.”


“No.”
 

“Yes.”


Hey, they sound just like Scorpius and me. What a mad coincidence. I think they’ve been spending a little too much time with us. I always knew that he was a bad influence on those around him. I’ll have to mention that to the little twat when I next see him.
 

“Don’t worry Dom,” Connor chipped in from the chair that we were both squished in – hey, it saved us from having a flicking war to decide who got to sit in it – spitting some of my hair out of his mouth, “Just do what I do, and collect a load of material for the speech that you make at his wedding reception.”
 

Fred turned around, his mouth falling open in indignation.
 

“Mate!” He protested, widening his eyes to proportions that could not be medically safe for a normal human being – still, that is not the best description for my dear Fred. Just human being would be a little bit of a stretch.
 

“In what world is Fred ever going to get married? That would involve actually having a conversation with a girl, instead of just snogging them in a broom closet.” I chipped in, and Fred turned his puppy dog eyes on me, his bottom lip jutting out slightly.
 

“Don’t be mean.” He whined.
 

“I don’t know, maybe he’ll get one of them knocked up, and then they’ll have one of those shotgun weddings.” James added.
 

I marvelled at how casually we could sit around discussing something like that.
 

“True...” Dom nodded. “Or maybe it will be one of those really romantic movie style romances where she cures him of the ‘I want to snog any chick with boobs bigger than her IQ’ complex he possesses and makes her fall madly in love with her, and then he proposes to her in the pouring rain in the field where they had their first date, which was a homemade picnic. They’ll get married and live happily ever after...”
 

The whole lot of us burst out laughing, sans Fred.
 

“You guys are really mean. One day, one of you girls is going to get knocked up by some mysterious, tanned stranger that you’re actually madly in love with, and I will just point at you and laugh. And then nod in an ‘I know better than you’ way.”
 

THE AWESOME GIRLS – do not say a word – all blinked at him, unimpressed, as the weight of his threat did not quite hit the spot he wanted it to. Fred glared at each of us in turn and then jumped off James’ knee, flounced across the Common Room and stalked up to the boy’s dorms.
 

“At least us two are related to him. What’s your excuse for voluntarily associating yourself with him?” Dom asked into the silence.
 

Penny snorted and fell off her chair.
 

Cool beans.
 

~*~
 

“So... Weasley.” Scorpius leaned one hand down on the Gryffindor table, towering above Rose with what I’m sure he thought was a seductive smile on his face.
 

The result? He looked constipated.
 

“Malfoy.” Rose said flatly, not even looking up from her dinner. I heard Al holler Scorpius’ name from the other side of the hall, but Scorpius ignored him and continued to stare in a slightly stalkerish way at the side of Rose’s head.
 

What’s so fascinating about the side of Rose’s head? It’s red. Big whoop.
 

“How are you doing?” This would be right around where I facepalm at the extreme awkwardness of my cousin.
 

I think this is what I get for deciding to eat dinner with Rose while the others buggered off to play Quidditch. I guess that’s the punishment for not liking a sport where people get on enchanted sticks and fly around in air aimlessly.
 

My dad tried to teach me the rules when I was younger, but he gave up when I fell asleep on my broomstick.
 

“I’m fine.” Rose said stiffly. Scorpius’ face fell slightly as he waited for her to ask him how he was doing. She didn’t.
 

“Well, I’m fine too.” He said, dropping into the seat next to her, seemingly not noticing the way her cheeks flushed pink and her mouth twisted into a scowl that looked slightly posed to me.
 

“Cool.” She’s being a bit mono-syllabic, isn’t she? She must still be in a mood with him because of the other day.
 

“Yeah, it is.” Scorpius agreed. “Listen, I was just sitting over there when I started wondering something.” He stopped and ran his hands through his hair. I was wondering how long it would be before Scorpius stopped trying to act like a knight in shining armour and started acting like his usual prat self.
 

There was a pause as both Rose and I waited for him to finish his sentence.
 

“And what where you wondering?” I chipped in, as it became abundantly clear that neither of them were going to say anything this side of the grave. My dear cousin jumped slightly, as though he had only just realised I was there – he probably had – and then swivelled back to Rose.
 

“I decided that if you would like, you could go straight to the top of the waiting list to be my girlfriend. I have one more girl that’s been waiting for a while, but straight after that it will be you.” Scorpius grinned at her winningly and my jaw nearly smashed the floor tiles.
 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a prime example of how you do not ask someone to be your girlfriend.
 

Rose’s cheeks went back to their usual shade of white and her scowl deepened, her eyes flashing and narrowing.
 

Scorpius was too busy grinning and being a prat to notice.
 

“Are you a fucking imbecile?” She asked, and he jumped. I facepalmed again (I’m going to get a flat nose if I keep doing that).
 

“Huh?” Wow, intelligent Scorpy.
 

“Do you know – do you have any idea how long I have waited for you to ask me out, how long I’ve hoped that you would forget about the whores you would normally date, and just ask me?” Rose hissed, and my mouth fell open. Yes, I’m a nosy bugger, get over it.
 

“Um... no, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me.” Scorpius said, his face falling so much I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
 

“And now – after all that time I spent wishing for it – you tell me I can go to the top of your waiting list?!” Rose’s eyes were shining slightly with angry tears. “I can’t believe you – I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE YOU. You know what? That’s it. I’m not waiting anymore; I’ve been patient long enough.” And with that, Rose kicked the bench out the way and stormed out of the Great Hall, both Scorpius and I blinking after her like gorms.
 

“What the fuck?” I said on behalf of both of us.
 

Scorpius looked slightly frozen, his eyes staring at the spot where Rose had been sitting with his mouth open slightly, his hand reached out as though he was hoping to take hers.
 

Yeah, Scorpy, she’s not there anymore.
 

“I can’t believe she said no.” He said hollowly, and my mouth fell open again. I’ll start catching flies in a minute. “I was so sure she would say yes.”
 

“Scorpius, Rose Weasley is one of the smartest, kindest, prettiest girls in the whole school. Did you really think she would agree to date someone that told her she could go on their waiting list?” Scorpius blinked for a minute and then slammed his head into his hands.
 

“I messed up.” He groaned.
 

“Yeah, you did.” What, I have no sense of subtlety.
 

“Here,” I opened his palm and pressed one of my chicken legs into it. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards slightly, as though he was going to offer me an appreciative smile.
 

“Thanks.” I had never seen Scorpius so defeated looking.
 

He must really like her. Why does he always insist on being such a giant pratty pain-in-the-arse?
 

“I thought you didn’t like her anyway?” I asked, and he shot me the finger quickly. I would have smirked if he hadn’t looked so sad.
 

“You know me better than I know myself Summer; you’ve always known I liked her.” Scorpius ran his hands through his hair. “I’m going to win her back you know, I’m not giving up.” Suddenly his hopeless expression was replaced with one of great deviousness.
 

Oh Merlin, this cannot end well.
 

As Told By Connor Dale


I’ve started noticing the strangest things lately. Between James and Summer, I mean.

 

With my friends you’re most likely either unconscious or dead if you’re not noticing strange things.
 

I mean, at first I thought I was just being over analytical, being the quiet one of the group, but I swear that things are strange between them. Like, take the other day at breakfast for example. Fred, James, Summer and I were just sitting at the table, eating breakfast, when all of a sudden I swear he leaned over and bit her ear.
 

I mean, he was whispering something – which is odd enough in itself, because our group is made up of very loud and outspoken people, other than Penny and me – and I happened to glance up to see what they were being so Secret-Ninja about, and just bit her ear, in that sexy, come hither way that people talk about.
 

Yes, I did just say come hither. Don’t like it? Suck my... elbow.
 

I mean, he denied it when I asked, but I swear to Merlin he did. I am not going insane, and I know I saw him to do something. If he didn’t, then he kissed her hair, and that is even more disturbing.
 

But I was willing to let that go, put it down to me being over analytical, like I said – even though I’ve been noticing things between the pair of them for months – but I was doing my rounds the other day when I happened to walk past a broom closet on the second floor.
 

I think you know where this is going.
 

I could hear whoever was inside thrashing around, knocking over buckets and whatnot, groaning and making disgusting baby-seal-style smacking noises, when they started moaning each other’s names in that disgusting way snogging couples do.
 

And I could have sworn that the bloke’s voice said ‘Summer’. So I did the natural thing for a curious – read: nosy – person, and pressed my ear up against the door.
 

The girl said ‘James’. I’m sure of it.
 

I was so close to pulling open the door and seeing what the hell they thought they were playing at, but I stopped myself. If James and Summer were in there, I did not want to be scarred for life, since Merlin knows what they’re actually doing in a broom closet. There was also the small factor of if it wasn’t them, then I was barging in on some random snogging couple. I don't give one if that is part of being a Prefect, I don't want to be scarred for life.

 

And then I would have to wash my eyes out with Purell, which would probably be quite painful.
 

So that is why I am in my current situation – for the dim of you out there, that means I’m sitting on my bed, waiting for James to come in so I can just ask him what’s going on.
 

Yeah, that’s my genius plan.
 

James shoved the door open, flicking his hair out of his eyes and rubbing his hands over his mouth.
 

“Oi, mate, can I have a word?” I asked, and James nodded.
 

“Sure. What’s up?”
 

Now, how do you think I should I should approach this? I want to be quite tactful and sensitive, handle the whole thing quite smoothly if I happen to be wrong...
 

“Are you and Summer secretly dating?” Well, subtle enough. It will do.
 

James stared at me with his mouth hanging open for a moment and then laughed once. Just once, a quick bark of laughter that seemed to echo around the empty dorm.

 

He ran his hand over the back of his hair again and then laughed again.
 

“No mate, I’m not dating Summer.” He took in my disbelieving expression. “I swear!” He added.
 

“So she’s definatley not your girlfriend?” I asked, and James shook his head.
 

“No, I swear on Merlin’s grave, Summer is not my girlfriend.” I stared at his serious expression one last time and then nodded.
 

Maybe I am just being over analytical. I’ll just keep my eyes on the pair of them in the future.
 

 

 

 






so what did you think? ♥♥

disclaimer: the lyrics are property of taylor swift and do not belong to me. 

p.s. sorry this update took a little longer than usual - i forgot that (^^) disclaimer before so the chapter got rejected. lots and lots of sorrys :)
 
 
 


Chapter 6: The One That Comes After The Fifth One
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i had forgotten how gorgeous this man was. yum. gorgeous chapter image by Magic_Phoenix.

 




“Sorry,” James muttered, pressing his lips back to mine and running his tongue along my bottom lip. “What were you saying?” The moment he finished his question he pressed his lips back to mine and knotted his fingers in the roots of my hair.
 

I tried to think but then decided that I couldn’t remember what I had been saying.
 

“Doesn’t matter.” James made a strange moaning noise that I think was supposed to be a way of saying ‘alright, that’s fine’.
 

At least, that’s what I like to think.
 

James grabbed my knee with his hand and forced my back up against the side of the broom closet, hooking my knee around his hip and running his hand all the way up my thigh to my hip. He moved his mouth from my mouth to my neck, nipping at my skin and tracing patterns with his tongue, his hands pressed up on either side of my head.
 

“James...” I breathed in his ear, and he pressed his chest even harder up against mine.
 

“Yeah?” He groaned, and nipping at my neck a few more times and then pressing his lips against my jawbone so I could speak.
 

Now what was I going to say?
 

Fuck. Never mind.
 

James’ hands moved from the wall on either side of my head to the part of my thighs that were hidden under my skirt, pressing insistently on my skin, his fingers leaving hot traces on my flesh, feeling like a painless burn, magical, tingling, so strange yet so right.
 

James’ hands moved slightly higher up my skirt and I groaned as James continued to ravage – ahem, kiss the skin of my neck, his hands sliding dangerously high up my skirt and the other slipping up my shirt and brushing along the skin of my chest.
 

“James.” I hissed, using the hand that wasn’t locked in his hair to shove his hand away as it roamed uncomfortably high, and he groaned, pressing his chest even harder against mine.
 

“Shut up and kiss me.” He grumbled into my neck, and I rolled my eyes. Sometimes I could swear that the boy lives in his trousers.
 

~*~
 

“What the hell have you been doing, you look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” Ah, the friendship of Dominique Weasley and Summer Lancaster.

Try not to be too jealous now, children.
 

“Nothing.” I grunted, flapping my hands on top of my head to try and smooth down the knots. Dom cocked an eyebrow and hauled herself off the bed with a noise that suggested it cost her great personal effort.
 

She opened her fingers and dragged it through my hair, ignoring my startled squeals and angry hisses as she yanked at the roots, prying open the tangles and trying to get it to lie smooth. How on earth James’ hands manage to get it so knotty I will never know.
 

“Okay, you’re not telling me that this happened on its own. What have you been doing?” Dom muttered, grabbing hold of a comb off her vanity and attacking her head with it.
 

I don’t think she realises that the hair is still attached to my scalp.
 

“I’m going to get these fucking knots out if it’s the last thing I ever do.” She growled under her breath, ignoring my mingled yelps of protest and the fact I was trying to punch her as she help my head in an iron lock.
 

“Get off me!” I grunted as her finger jammed itself into my eyeball and nearly blinded me.
 

“No. People know you’re my best friend so you can’t go around with something that mostly resembles a dead cat on your head. It’s undignified.” Dom sniffed. Since when has Dom cared about being dignified? At the last party we held to celebrate Gryffindor winning the House Cup Dom got so pissed that she ended up tap dancing on the top of the table wearing nothing but her underwear and a pair of (borrowed) denim shorts.
 

Not her best moment, I have to say.
 

“Right.” I would have looked very sarcastic and belittling if my head hadn’t been stuck under Dom’s armpit as she tried to pull the comb out, which had somehow managed to get stuck in the roots of my hair.
 

“This is my favourite comb, it’s not staying in this beast that you jokingly call hair.” Dom grunted as she leapt onto my back, and I glared at the floor.
 

My hair doesn’t normally look like this; it normally lies relatively flat, which is surprising considering my mother’s hair generally looks like that of an electrocuted poodle. And because of the fact that the only time my hair looks like this is when her darling cousin has been involved, I take offense to her comment of my hair being a beast.
 

My hair’s not a beast. Hers is. Stupid part Veela.
 

“Okay, I’m not joking now. This comb is stuck.” Really Dom. I had no idea from the fact you’ve been swearing and grunting about it for the past ten minutes.
 

I thought you were practicing your audition to be the next Mary Poppins. Whoops, my bad.
 

“What are you two doing?” Penny’s voice floated across the room, her confused tone laced with amusement. Dom whipped around, her mouth twisted in a dramatic scowl and my head trapped under her arm and resting in the nook of her elbow.
 

“Baking a fucking cake.” Dom scowled, giving the comb one last yank with some kind of devilish war cry that echoed around the room.
 

“Got another comb stuck in her hair?” Penny asked, folding her arms and smirking at the pair of us.
 

“Yes.” Dom grunted, nearly snapping my neck as she twisted me around with some kind of vicious snapping motion.
 

“Did you never think of just using your wand to get it out?” Penny asked, and the pair of us froze just as Dom leapt on my back and I screamed like a startled banshee. I turned my head slightly so I could glare up at Dom’s armpit.
 

“Yeah Dom. Did you ever think of just using your wand to get it out, as opposed to nearly ripping all the hair out of my skull?” Dom glanced down at the floor and slowly climbed off my back, her cheeks flushing pink.
 

“Yeah well, um, where’s the fun in that?” Dom shrugged.
 

“The fun is in me not having to drown you in the bathtub and pummel you to death with Penny’s Encyclopaedia of Mushrooms.” I hissed, and Dom suddenly became very interested in a patch on the wall.
 

“I think I’m just going to go to dinner.” She said quickly, and in one of those lightning fast and ethereal darts that you can only make if you’re part Veela or an angel she had bounded across the room and shot down the stairs towards the Common Room.
 

One day I am going to be in prison for homicide. And it is going to be because of Dom. I just know it.
 

~*~
 

My darling Summer,


How is Hogwarts? How are you feeling? Are you eating healthily? Are you keeping up with all your homework? Are you doing well in class? Have you started studying for your NEWTS? Have you managed to sneak around Scorpius and found a nice boy that you might like to settle down with?


Ah, only one paragraph into the letter and I am already feeling the pressure. Honestly, what other seventeen year old girl has her mother writing her letters at school and asking her whether or not she has found someone to ‘settle down’ with? I don’t plan on getting married until I’m at least in my thirties.
 

Everything is fine at home, we have actually purchased a new settee and I can’t wait for you to see it. It’s lovely, brown leather and knitted beige cushions, oh it’s exactly what I always wanted when I was younger, the couch I always dreamed of owning.


Who on earth has decided on their dream couch? That’s like me deciding on my dream ironing board cover or my dream curtains. Honestly, my mother is such a strange person.
 

Your father has been away for business for nearly two weeks now, and with you being away at school I’m starting to feel very lonely. The house seems so much bigger without any of you here, especially as I had grown used to those friends of yours being around the house in the summer, and walking into the kitchen to find that handsome friend of Scorpius’ raiding the fridge.


Why don’t you settle down with that boy? The two of you would have such attractive children, and you both have that lovely dark hair so you would complement each other nicely.


Please tell me that my mother is not encouraging me to ‘settle down’ – honestly, does she think I’m a pigeon or something – with Albus Potter. The little brother of my best friend/snog buddy. I think my brain is bleeding.
 

Anyway, the reason I wrote you the letter is to tell you something rather important. As you know, Scorpius’ seventeenth birthday is in a couple of months (well, you should know, considering it’s going to be your eighteenth!) and we have decided that he has reached an age when his parents can no longer plan his birthday parties, so we have decided that you should plan the party for the pair of you!


You can invite whoever you like, and it will be held in the ballroom of Malfoy Manor, just like usual. I got the impression that Scorpius is quite a popular lad, so if you need any help with writing out invitations, I’m sure you can always ask that Albus Potter to help you (wink wink!).


Anyway, keep up with your schoolwork and make sure that you eat a balanced diet.


Lots of love,


Mummy.


My mother’s letters try far too hard to remain ‘down with the kids’. It’s quite sad actually.
 

And what she means when she says ‘he has reached an age when he parents can no longer plan his birthday parties’ is that they have finally taken the strops that my cousin has thrown for the past four years into account, and decided that hiring a clown and dressing him up in face paint and party hats is a little below his age bracket.
 

And the age bracket of everybody else at that party. Scorpius swears that he has never been able to look Joseph Scart in the eye ever since. Still, it wasn’t his fault. How was he supposed to know that a sixteen year old boy would be terrified to death of clowns, and would go into a heart-attack-like fit if one squirted water at him?
 

Honestly, the bloke should wear one of those bracelets, you know like the ones that epileptic people wear?
 

WARNING: WILL HAVE A FIT IF I COME INTO CONTACT WITH A CLOWN BECAUSE I AM A GINORMOUS WUSS THAT SEEMS TO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SITTING IN DRY TROUSERS.
 

...or something along those lines.
 

I don’t think I should be allowed to think. Ever.
 

~*~
 

“They are letting you plan my birthday party?” Scorpius cocked an eyebrow and dropped down onto the bench next to me, his expression drawn up in haughty derision.
 

“No, they are letting me plan our birthday party. Get your head out of your arse, you little git.” I am such a marvellous cousin. Really, I am. You should take a leaf out of my book and try to be just like me.
 

“If they put you in charge then I’m probably going to end up sitting in a dark room with a glass of warm water playing sober Chinese whispers with my clothes on.” I closed my eyes to try and get the image of Scorpius’ idea of a party out of my head.
 

Seeing your cousin ‘dance’ with a pair of your dorm mates wearing nothing but a lovely pair of women’s...ahem, undergarments scars you for life. You are the never the same again.
 

“I was thinking more along the lines of a party with most of your year and some of my year in the hall of Malfoy Manor, were we do wear clothes, but you will not be drinking warm water. Possibly iced water, but not warm.”
 

Scorpius cocked an unimpressed eyebrow, and by that I do not mean that his eyebrow was unimpressed, but he was unimpressed and his eyebrow was just part of the master plan of his face to look unimpressed...
 

I go back to what I said about me not being able think. Ever.
 

Things can get rather dangerous at times.
 

“This party is going to be bloody awful, I just know it.” Scorpius groaned and slammed his head into his hands. “This is my seventeenth Summer, you’re going to have to make it a good one for me. I don’t want to end up looking like an even bigger idiot in front of Rose after the other day.”
 

I blinked at him for a moment and then patted his hand with my fork.
 

“I’m going to be the best fucking party planner in the whole world, just you wait and see.” I said confidently through a mouthful of waffle. Scorpius nodded, his eyebrows still drawn together slightly, looking uncannily serious.
 

“Alright.” He said, not sounding at all appeased.
 

My cousin has so much trust in me. He got up off the bench, nicked a piece of my toast – hey look, he’s another one that never eats food off his own plate – and pecked me on the cheek. He turned to walk back towards the Slytherin table when he turned around and suddenly asked –
 

“Who’ve you been snogging?”
 

I think Scorpius believes if he springs in the question on me at random intervals without any warning then I’m just going to tell him. Well, har-he-har you little mongrel, you’ll have to get up earlier than that to beat Summer Lancaster.
 

“None of your business.” Scorpius scowled and then stropped off to the other side of the Great Hall to sit with Al, who was waving at him like some kind of prize winning ninny.
 

“I’ll find out one day, you know.” He called over his shoulder, and I rolled my eyes. Over my dead body, Scorpy-poo, over my dead body.
 

~*~
 

“Are you wearing glasses?” I asked James, but the evidence was sitting right upon the nose of his face. He looked up and peered at me through the thin metal frames, blinking a couple of times.
 

“Yes. I ran out of contacts because my dad forgot to send in the new order. He forgot to tell Aunt Hermione, so unless I want to be blind for a couple of days then I have to wear these bloody things. I look like such an idiot.” He pushed the glasses up his nose and scowled at the table.
 

“No, you look fine.” Penny smiled, patting him on the shoulder and sitting down on the bench next to him.
 

“I look as stupid as hell, I hate wearing these things.” James grumbled again, and his cheeks flushed slightly pinker as well all turned to look at him. He actually looked alright in his glasses; they made his jaw look manlier and brought out his cheekbones.
 

James glanced up again, glanced at Fred and then pulled the glasses off his nose and shoved them into his pocket.
 

“I’m not wearing them, I look like a twat.” James decided, and I rolled my eyes. Not that he would be able to see me roll my eyes, he’s as blind as a badger without his glasses, it’s actually quite funny. I had the good fortune to have to wake Connor up one morning, and upon entering their dorm at half six in the morning, I woke the three of them up and got to watch James blunder around like a beaver until he found the bathroom door.
 

The highlight was when he walked into the wall and had to be woken up by Fred slapping him across the face with a used sock.
 

Lovely.
 

“I have to go, you coming Dom?” Penny asked, grabbing her bag from the floor and swinging it over her shoulder. Dom nodded and grabbed her bag as well.
 

“Oh, are you going to the library? I need to copy down one of your essays for Charms; Flitwick wants my blood because I haven’t done the past four homeworks.” Fred grabbed a quill from James’ pocket – his version of a school bag – and followed the two of them out of the hall.
 

Connor glanced up for a second, his eyes stared at the back of Dom’s head for a moment and then he leapt off the bench and followed the trio, leaving James and I sitting on a bench together looking like a pair of sad little loners.
 

James’ bottom lip was still jutting out slightly, and I could hear his fingers flicking against the lens of the glasses in his pocket. Honestly, the bloke cares more about his appearance than I do.
 

That’s rather disturbing.
 

I leaned sideways, pressed my forehead against his jaw and slid my hand down the top of his shirt, my fingers playing with the silver chain around his neck.
 

“I think your glasses are hot.” I murmured, and James shrugged slightly, his hand sliding out of his pocket and resting on the small of my back instead.
 

“I look like an ugly idiot.” James grumbled. Honestly, the bloke moans more than my father does, and that is an achievement in itself. I kissed the bottom of his jaw and ran my tongue along the bone, pressing my other hand against the back of his neck.
 

“No you don’t. You look hot.” I kissed James’ jaw again, and he lifted his head slightly so I could kiss further down his neck. I twisted the chain around my finger and let it bounce back down onto his chest. “Put them back on, you’ll probably fall off the bench without them.”
 

James chuckled and I could hear the sound echoing in his chest.
 

“Are you sure I don’t look like a grade A prick?” He asked, and I kissed his neck again. I slipped my hand into his pocket and pulled the glasses out myself, deciding that I was too bored with waiting around and to just put the bleeding glasses on him myself.
 

I pulled each of the arms out and slid them onto his nose, kissing his chin and each of his cheeks.
 

“There. Very manly.” I grinned, and he frowned but managed to twitch the corners of his mouth up anyway. I pressed my lips against his quickly and then pulled back, ignoring the way he clawed at my back and tried to pull my mouth back to his.
 

“James, we’re in the middle of the Great Hall. Just wait until later, will you?” I kissed the bottom of his jaw again and pulled my finger out of his chain.
 

“I don’t want to. You’ve already made me put my stupid glasses on; don’t make me wait until later as well. That’s just mean, you teasing little minx.” James lifted his chin so I could kiss his neck one last time and then let me pull back.
 

Gah. Sometimes I think it would be easier if we were dating, then we could snog in the middle of the Great Hall and no one would even bat an eyelid.
 

But nooooo. It’s all sneaking around and being all Secret-Ninja and lying and deceiving and...oh who am I kidding? The whole thing is made so much more fun by the fact no one else knows about it. Being James’ girlfriend would take the fun out of everything.
 

“I’ll see you in the Black Lake at midnight tonight.” James murmured, winked at me and then let his face back into a scowl as he crossed his eyes to stare at the frame of his glasses.
 

I froze and then turned my head back to look at him, my mouth hanging open slightly.
 

“Did you just say that we’re meeting in the Black Lake tonight?” I asked James, my brain quickly coming up with a couple of possibilities for his sudden onset insanity.
 

“Yep. We never do anything new, so I thought it would be a cool experience.” James grinned quickly again, still pulling the face of an insane person as he attempted to stare at his glasses without a mirror and without taking them off.
 

Strange child.
 

“A cool experience would be you taking me to a theme park and us snogging whilst riding a rollercoaster, not us snogging whilst being soaking wet and under constant threat of being eaten alive by the bleeding giant squid.”I said flatly, and James rolled his eyes.
 

“It’ll be fun. And Stan wouldn’t eat you if I was there, we’re mates.” I blinked.
 

“Did you just call the giant squid Stan?” I asked, and James nodded. How on earth do these people find me? Do I have some kind of beacon that draws lunatics towards me? Or do I just have sign on my back that says ‘IF YOU HAVE EXTREME MENTAL ISSUES, PLEASE BE MY FRIEND’?
 

~*~
 

“Are you going to get in the water or just sit on the bank like a twat?” James called from the middle of the Black Lake.
 

“Sit on the side like a twat.” I promptly decided, and James rolled his eyes, kicking his legs out like a frog so he could zoom through the water towards me. His head disappeared under the surface and a couple of seconds later it popped up next to my leg, a devious smirk twisting the corners of his mouth up.
 

“Get in the water Summer.” James grinned as I raked my eyes down his chest, which was wearing a soppy wet white school shirt that was clinging to his muscles in a way that should have been made illegal.
 

“No.” I said, sticking my bottom lip out and folding my arms. James grinned at me for less than a second, and then fast as lightening grabbed hold of my leg and pulled me into the water, sending water cascading everywhere as I hit the surface.
 

I shoved my head out from under the water and grabbed hold of his shoulders to prevent myself from drowning again.
 

“That was evil.” I growled, running my hands down his arms and leaving them to sit in his elbows, kicking my legs around to keep myself up at the top of the freezing body of water.
 

What is it with blokes at Hogwarts and pulling me into the Black Lake? Seriously, do they just like seeing me with my hair sopping wet so I look like a stupid fuck?
 

“Yeah, well, what are you gonna do about it?” James shrugged, looking completely disconcerted, his glasses slipping down his nose with the water on his face.
 

James leaned down and pressed his lips against mine, slipping slightly with the water on both of our faces. I locked my fingers in his hair, the wet strands tangling around my fingers.
 

After a couple of minutes I pulled my face away and stared James straight in the eye.
 

“How exactly is this more fun now we’re in the Black Lake? Couldn’t we have just done this in a broom closet? I would have been one hell of a lot drier if we had.”

James rolled my eyes and smirked, pressing his lips down on my collarbone.
 

“Well, this way I get to see you in a soaking wet white shirt. I prefer this situation much more.” James smirked and flicked his eyes down, which resulted in me hitting him upside the head and trying to poke his eyeballs out when he didn’t look up.
 

“You little –” I was cut off by James slamming his lips back on mine and shoving my shoulders down so I was further under the water. I still maintain that this would have been more enjoyable if we were in a broom closet.
 

 




disclaimer: none of this belongs to me.

sorry this chapter took a little longer than usual, i put a one-shot in the queue instead of the next chapter of this.

but anyway, apart from my general updating-suckiness, how did you find the chapter? 
 


Chapter 7: The Seventh One
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amazing chapter image by Magic_Phoenix. even the picture makes me hate the guy.

 




“Fred, are you wearing a turtleneck sweater?” I asked, wondering idly what my life would be like if neither of the Weasleys were in my circle of friends. I’d ask a hell of a lot less questions about questionable clothing choices, that’s for sure.
 

And people wonder why I’m so fucked up.
 

“Yep. I thought I needed something to make me stand out a little more, and what could make a person stand out more than a turtleneck and necklaces from the Mr T Collection?” Fred grinned, dropping down on the seat next to me and ignoring the fact that the people on either side of us shuffled away slightly.
 

I cocked my eyebrow down at the table as Fred scooped a spoonful of spaghetti bolognaise off my plate and dumped it into his bowl.
 

“Fred, you stand out enough as it is with a voice as loud as yours and a brain as... unique as yours.” Fred looked up from ravaging his dinner to beam at me, red sauce dribbling down his chin and mince stuck to the side of his lip.
 

Lovely.
 

That doesn’t make me want to throw up at all.
 

“Oh, by the way,” Fred said through a mouthful of food, “Scorpius asked me to ask you who you’ve been snogging.” He stared at me with oddly inquisitive eyes.
 

“I’m not going to tell you.” I said flatly, and Fred shrugged.
 

“Alright then. I tried.” Fred said, twirling some more of my spaghetti up on his fork and shovelling it into his mouth, our short conversation already forgotten. See, why can’t Scorpius be more like Fred? Honestly, you tell Fred that you don’t want to tell him and everything is perfectly fine, but you tell Scorpius that and he thinks that you’re shagging every bloke on the Slytherin Quidditch team.
 

Seriously, he actually accused me of that last night.
 

And now, because Dom was in a bad mood and got a little sarky, he believes that I’m pregnant with some Sixth Year’s baby. Yeah, the last I heard the bloke was in the Hospital Wing, but he might have been transferred to St Mungos in the time since I last checked.
 

Scorpius is surprisingly nimble with his fists. And his feet. And his wand.
 

“Oh, have you checked in on that bloke that Scorpius put in the hospital today?” Fred asked, and I wondered idly whether or not he was able to read minds.
 

“No, I was going after dinner. I sent out for a bottle of Firewhiskey as an apology and it arrived before, so I’m going to pop round and give it to him. I hope he’s awake, I feel so awkward when he’s just lying there.” Fred nodded sympathetically and took a deep swig out of my pumpkin juice.
 

“I’ll come with you if you want.” Fred offered, and I looked up so I could beam at him.
 

“Really? That’s really nice of you.” I smiled at Fred, and he grinned back at me.
 

“Yeah, well Scorpius asked me to spend as much time with you as possible so I could take note on which guys smiled at you, acted overly friendly or stared at your arse when you bent over. So I decided to come with you tonight.”
 

And with that lovely, sentimental friendship moment ruined, I think I’ll just finish my dinner.
 

~*~
 

I think James is a little offended. It can’t be very fun when the girl you’re snogging suddenly starts laughing whilst you’re nuzzling her neck. But it was just funny in a kind of sick, twisted way. It wasn’t funny in a humorous way; it was just strange to think about.
 

“What?” James asked, shooting me an offended glare.
 

“I was just imaging Scorpius beating you up because he found out that you’ve been snogging me for over a year.” I smirked, and although he tried to hide it I was sure that I saw his face pale a little bit. So much for being a Gryffindor.
 

“I don’t ever plan on him finding out.” James shrugged nonchalantly, but the fact he wouldn’t look me in the eye kind of ruined the whole ‘I’m not bothered’ attitude he had going on.
 

“Really?” I asked, biting the side of my lip and widening my eyes, shoving me backwards so I could look at his entire face. “That’s so very, very brave of you.” Heavy sarcasm. I leaned forwards and kissed his ear, moving my lips slightly so I could nuzzle his jawbone.
 

James chuckled slightly and leaned forwards so that my back against the headboard, my legs still folded on the bed and my arms wrapped around his neck.
 

“I’m very brave.” He murmured, then he pressed his lips against mine quickly, before leaning backwards again. “I’m so brave you can’t even class me with all the other normally brave people.” James leaned forwards and pressed his lips against mine again.
 

It would have been a lot more impressive and awe inspiring if his sentence had actually sense.
 

I told him this.
 

“That would have been a lot more impressive if your sentence had actually made sense.” James rolled his eyes and then pressed his lips back against mine, hands sliding down onto either of my hips, lifting the hem of my shirt slightly.
 

“I don’t need to make sense. I’m good looking and my dad is Harry Potter. I could make no sense for the rest of my life if I wanted to.” I rolled my eyes again and ran my finger along the side of his jaw.
 

“I know that you don’t actually believe that thing about your dad. You’re always moaning about how you live in his shadow.” James’ expression instantly fell a little bit and he ran his hand over the back of his hair.
 

“Yeah, well. Can we not talk about my dad right now?” James asked.
 

“Alright, no need to get your thong in a twist, darling.” I kissed his bottom lip as he jutted it out at me. When he didn’t kiss me back I leaned my head back towards the headboard and stared into his face. “Alright, I’ll bite. Why are you in a huffmobile now I mentioned your dad?”
 

“I just don’t want you thinking about my dad when we’re in the middle of snogging.” James said, and I rolled my eyes.
 

“Alright, I’m thinking about you without a shirt on. Now, can we get back to snogging?”

James grinned triumphantly and shoved his hands into the roots of my hair, shoving his tongue into my mouth with an intensity that I swear could be classed as violent.
 

“Much better.” He grumbled against my mouth, pulling open the bottom buttons of my shirt. Honestly, the bloke can get so touchy when people mention his dad.
 

~*~
 

“Hey James, were you snogging someone last night?” And cue: me choking on my pumpkin juice and consequently spewing half it out over Penny, who was very pale and holding her spoon in shaking hands. Penny jumped slightly and brushed herself off, looking a little disgusted.
 

“Thanks for that.” Penny grumbled quietly, her eyes swollen up, which made her glare much less threatening.
 

“Um, no. Why would you think something like that?” James asked, his voice shooting up to an octave that cannot be considered safe in a seventeen year old male.
 

“Because I woke up in the middle of last night when someone knocked over the lamp next to your bed, and I heard a hell of a lot of moaning. I just hoped that you were snogging a girl.” Fred cocked an eyebrow suggestively.
 

James followed my suit and spewed a mouthful of pumpkin juice out of Connor. His disgusted expression rivalled that of Penny.
 

“I mean, yeah, of course I was snogging a girl.” James said, and I choked on my chicken. Great, now I’m pulling a Connor. If I turn blue, please whack me on the back.
 

“What?” Dom asked. “Who were you snogging?” I shot James a glare so ferocious I nearly burned the flesh off his body.
 

“Yeah James.” I said tightly. “Who were you snogging?” James assumed the expression of a deer trapped in headlights and quickly crammed a mouthful of Dom’s beef into his mouth, waving his arms around to show that he couldn’t talk.
 

Eventually he swallowed his food and winced when he noticed that Fred and Dom were still staring at him. Penny and Connor had lost their interest and were now drinking their soups again.
 

“I was kidding, of course. I wasn’t snogging anyone.” James said, and Fred opened his mouth to ask the question that we all dreaded, but James cut him off before he could even formulate the first word. “I was just snoring. You must not have heard me right, you’re like a zombie when you wake up.”
 

Fred looked like he was going to object and then closed him mouth, shrugging.
 

“Alright. I was pretty out of it, I’d spent the night drinking Firewhiskey with this gorgeous bird from Ravenclaw –” And that was right around when I zoned out, no longer interested in whatever Fred had to say. I’m such a fabulous friend.
 

“Do you guys think I’m a doormat?” Penny asked suddenly, looking up from her soup and staring at us all with oddly bright eyes.
 

All of us fell silent, none of us wanting to tell her what we really thought.
 

“No, of course you’re not a doormat.” Fred said softly, his tone immediately changing from bold and obnoxious as he told us about the girl he was snogging last night to soft and gentle, staring at Penny with eyes that were much more sweet and sentimental.
 

I blinked at him in confusion.
 

“Then why does he walk all over me?” Her fingers were curled around her spoon, clutching the metal handle so slightly her hands were shaking. Fred suddenly seemed to lose his voice, and he looked down at the table, his lips pressed together and his hands curled into fists.
 

“Because he’s a grade A arse that doesn’t deserve you, that’s why.” Fred hissed, and his tone was so completely livid Dom shuffled sideways on the bench slightly.
 

Of the six of us, Fred is the most likely to commit homicide. He may act like a happy-go-lucky charmer, but he can get pretty darn angry when he wants to.
 

“He told me today that I should count myself as lucky because he’s stayed with me, even though I have less personality than a door handle.” Penny’s hands shook worse than ever and Fred’s fists clenched tighter.
 

“Did he say anything else?” James asked through gritted teeth.
 

“He said that one day I was actually going to stand up to someone and grow some balls. Either that or I’m going to stop bugging him and just let him move on with his life without hanging around like some kind of overgrown bat.”
 

Fred’s goblet smashed into pieces in his hand and sprayed bits of golden metal all across the table.
 

“I’m going to fucking murder him and pour the pieces into a blender and drink it.” Fred growled, and his eyes flashed so menacingly that I leapt backwards slightly and nearly jumped onto James’ knee.
 

“No Fred, please, he doesn’t mean it. He’s probably just having a bad day, and I wasn’t really helping by being all persistent and trying to force him to talk to me.” Fred’s eyes flashed brighter and he turned to look around Connor, staring Penny dead in the eye.
 

“I’m going to tell you this once, and once only Penelope. You are worth one hundred times more than that idiot, and one day you are going to realise this and get with someone who actually deserves you. You are smart, beautiful and the kindest person I know, and he is nothing other than an evil bit of slime that should be stomped into oblivion. You’re perfect. Remember that.”
 

I breathed out heavily through my nose and resisted the urge to stand up and slow-clap, deciding that Fred would probably sock me in the nose for that.
 

Since when has Fred gotten all sentimental over things like this? He’s normally the laid back friend that offers to use muscle rather than encouragement.
 

“Thank you.” Penny murmured, and without another word Fred hauled himself off the bench, stepped around Connor and pulled Penny’s shoulders into his chest in the most awkward hug in the history of the world.
 

Fred NEVER hugs people, so it’s really unnerving to watch.
 

“What the fucking hell is going on here? Get your arms from around my girlfriend, or I will club your head in.” Shit no. Hell no. Fuck no. Oh god, please no.


“No.” Dom breathed. I knew that girl was my best friend for a reason.
 

“Dominique, Summer, if I say step behind me then you do it, got it?” James hissed, and the pair of us nodded. I didn’t miss the way Connor slipped his hand into the pocket that I was almost sure his wand was stored in.
 

Fred stepped backwards and grabbed his wand out of his back pocket, holding it next to his hip and glaring at Kane Owen, who had stood next to Penny and clicked his fingers, which resulted in her immediately springing out her seat.
 

He may be a giant prick, but she’s nearly as big an idiot for going along with it.
 

“So what, are you trying to steal my girlfriend or something?” Kane asked, and his tone was so completely homicidal even Fred took a step back, and his muscles are twice as big.
 

“She’s my friend and I gave her a hug.” I noticed how he left out the reason that she needed a hug. “Feeling a little insecure, are we?”
 

“Fred...” Penny moaned quietly, closing her eyes tightly and locking her fingers around Kane’s hand. Something twisted in the pit of my stomach as I stared at Penny.
 

Her warm brown hair was waving down her pale face, her cheeks splashed with pink, her eyes rounded with deep purple circles from lack of sleep and her bottom lip swollen slightly from where she had been biting it – her nervous habit.
 

And even with her eyes closed it was impossible not to see the innocence that seemed to radiate off her in waves, projecting such a strange angelic vibe that all you ever wanted to do was protect her and get her away from the bloke standing next to her – who incidentally gave off a vibe of pure evilness (which is now a word).
 

“You give her a hug again and you’ll be dead before you even say the word ‘insecure’.” Kane threatened, and there was something so completely terrifying about his voice that James grabbed my arm and pulled me onto his knee, shoved me off his knee on the other side of the bench and got his wand out his pocket.
 

“Dom, get behind Connor.” He murmured, and the pair of them flushed pink as Dom climbed over his knee.
 

“You think you’re so bleeding hard, don’t you?” Fred hissed, stepping forwards and cracking his knuckles. “You think just because you’ve got a wand and eyes that look like you’ve rolled around in eyeliner you’re somehow some kind of big shot that can actually get away with threatening to kill people?” Fred scoffed.
 

Kane folded his arms.
 

“You sound ridiculous, and you cover up the fact that you’re so bloody insecure about the fact your girlfriend is about an inch away from leaving you by threatening to kill people who actually care about her. Just get over your fucking –”
 

He cut off when Kane stepped forwards and punched him in the nose, knocking him out cold.
 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the man that Penny chooses to make her boyfriend. Maybe that means she’s a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.
 

“Kane!” Penny protested weakly, and pausing only to shoot her a furious glare he stalked away from her, tearing his hand out of hers and jamming his wand back into his pocket. James relaxed slightly and dropped my hand.
 

Penny dropped to her knees and pulled Fred’s knee onto her lap, brushing his fringe off her forehead, her eyes slightly glossy as she stared down at his face.
 

I slammed my head down onto the table.
 

“I hate him.” I murmured into the wood, and James ruffled my hair as a way of agreement. I hate Kane so much it nearly makes my marrow run cold.
 

~*~
 

“Are you sure you’re alright, you don’t feel faint or anything like that?” Penny asked, running his hand over Fred’s forehead and blinking at him like some kind of Florrie Nightingale.
 

That’s a strange surname. Nightingale. It’s kind of like the word nightmare. And to be perfectly honest, it would be a bit of a nightmare to have that as your surname.
 

“No, I feel fine. I was only out for about a minute, I’m absolutely fine.” Yeah, Fred should have realised that Penny would worry the hell out of this when she insisted on sleeping on a camp bed in their dorm in case Fred stopped breathing in the middle of the night due to having some kind of concussion – not that we would know if he did, because he refused to go to the Hospital Wing.
 

“Alright.” Penny moaned, biting her bottom lip. With one last worried glance she took a delicate bite out the side of my waffle and then sat down so she could watch his face.
 

That girl is going to be grey by the time she is twenty if she doesn’t stop worrying.
 

She should be more like me and just not give a rat’s ass. Everything is so much easier.
 

~*~
 

“I have a fabulous idea!” Dom cried, and Penny winced at the same time I slammed my head into my pillow to try and block out her voice.
 

Yeah, it didn’t work.
 

“What’s your fabulous idea?” I deadpanned, and Dom bounced to the end of my bed and sat down like some kind of chipmunk on drugs. Maybe she’s drunk. Or maybe she got in the way of Fred trying to practise his Charms again.
 

“Let’s have a girl’s night tonight. We can wear our pyjamas and I’ll sneak down at get popcorn and we’ll just have girl’s night in.” Merlin on a motorbike, it’s been about two years since we last had a girly sleepover.
 

“I can’t Dom; I promised Kane I’d go round to the Slytherin Common Room tonight to help him with his homework. He’ll get ang – upset if I don’t show up.” Dom opened her mouth as though she was going to say something – most likely something that involved a good few swear words – but she closed her mouth again and nodded stiffly.
 

“What about you Summer? Should we have a girly sleepover, just the pair of us?” Dom blinked at me, Bambi-style.
 

What would be the correct answer to this question?
 

Well, not the truth, that’s for sure. ‘Sorry Dom, I can’t spend the evening painting my nails and wearing face masks with my best friend because I already have plans to go and snog your cousin.’


Oh yeah, that will go down a storm.
 

“Sorry Dom, James is helping me with my homework, so I’ve got to... go round to the lad’s dorm...” Dom cocked an eyebrow at me.
 

“You’re going to do homework with James in the boy’s dormitories?” She asked disbelievingly. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to go to the Library?”
 

Yeah, not allowed to go there. Turns out Pincy was being serious when she said we were banned. I tried to walk in there the other day and she physically chased me out, waving a textbook above her head. I was sure she was going to die, because surely it can’t be healthy for a woman that age to run that fast.
 

I asked James, and he said he tried to go in the other day with Connor and Fred – I didn’t even know Fred knew where the Library was up until this point – and she grabbed him by the earlug and dragged him out.
 

I think she has issues.
 

Maybe she thinks books are gods or something, like she goes back to her room and gets down on her knees and prays to the great Encyclopaedia in the sky.
 

Tee-hee. Amusing mental image. I’ll share that with James later.
 

“Um... I need the loo.” I darted away from Dom’s curious stare and slammed the door of the bathroom shut behind me. I’m not cut out for this kind of thing.
 

I would be the world’s worst ninja.
 

This is a shame, because it would be awesome to be a ninja. You could wear one of those cool masks and swing around on ropes like there was no tomorrow. Pretty amazing way to live, don’t you think?
 

I think I need a serious life re-evaluation. You know you’ve hit rock bottom when you’ve locked yourself in a bathroom to have conversations with yourself about ninjas.
 

“Oi, Summer.” Dom hammered on the door, showing her usual levels of femininity and grace – did all the Veela-personality genes go to Victoire or something? “I need to pee, so hurry and go study with James.”
 

I grinned at myself in the mirror – I go back to what I said about me needing a life re-evaluation – and pulled open the door.
 

I grabbed my school bag from next to the door and called goodbye to the dorm at large.
 

“See you in a bit.” Dom called through the bathroom door. “Oh, and do us a favour.”

There was a very loud flushing noise, a pause, and then Dom walked back into the dorm. “While you’re there, ask James what’s going on with him and Erin for me.”
I turned around so fast I was almost positive I’d snapped my neck.
 

“Who’s Erin?”
 

“Oh, some girl in Ravenclaw. Erin Jameson, I think.” My head was filled with an image of a pretty blonde girl with very blue eyes. “Fred convinced James to ask her to Hogsmeade next weekend, so he’s taking her. I don’t know if he fancies her or something, so do me a favour and ask him while you’re there?” Dom grinned at me, and I forced my face into a wooden smile.
 

James is going to Hogsmeade with some fancy-arse Ravenclaw girl?
 

And he didn’t bother mentioning it to me. I mean, it’s not like he has to mention it to me, but James, Connor and I normally go to Hogsmeade together, because Dom is normally off with whatever twat she’s dating, Penny is forced – ahem, chooses to go with Kane and Fred is off with whatever chick he wants to snog against a tree.
 

It never occurred to me that James might take someone else with him. Well, he can, that’s his choice after all.
 

This is going to be a very awkward snog.
 

 




disclaimer: none of this is mine. how depressing.

 A/N: so... first time we ever saw kane. what do you think? live up to your expectations or not?

what about james and erin and their sooper-special-hogsmeade-date? anyone have any predictions as to what is going on there? 

kisses, ellie ♥♥
 


Chapter 8: The Eighth One
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this image of lovely-ness is by Magic_Phoenix.

 




I stormed into the DADA classroom – rule number one of snogging your best friend in secret: don’t ever actually be where you’ve told your friends you’ll be – and marched right up to James, who was fiddling with a quill absent mindedly.
 

“So, you’re taking Erin to Hogsmeade then?” I said, and I was surprised at how vicious my tone came out. I was angry, and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t recall deciding that I was angry, but I was.
 

James blinked at me, his face twisting slightly.
 

“Yeah. Fred basically forced me,” He started, but I cut him off.
 

“Yeah, it’s a shame no one has invented the phrase ‘I don’t want to’, isn’t it? Oh wait...” I scowled at him and he sighed.
 

“Summer,” He began, but I cut him off again.
 

“You know, maybe it’s just me being stupid, but I always just assumed that you would tell me before you asked someone else out – if not because we do this,” I gestured between us, “But because we’re actually friends.”
 

“Summer, I haven’t asked her to be my girlfriend; I’m just taking her to Hogsmeade. You know I’d rather be with you and Connor,”
 

“Oh sure. You’ll be desperately pining over Connor and I when you’re snogging that girl in the Three Broomsticks. Wishing you were with us, you’ll be.” I glared at him, and he stared back at me, defiance growing in his eyes.
 

“Why are you getting so pissed off about this? It’s one date; it’s not the end of the world.”
 

“When were you going to tell me, huh? Were you just going to snog me tonight and then tell me later, or where you just not going to mention it at all? You know full well that I won’t snog you when you’re dating someone else,” It was my turn to be cut off.
 

“For fuck’s sake, we are not dating! I’m taking her to Hogsmeade, which will get Fred off my back, and I don’t plan on ever having to see her again.”
 

“You know what James, maybe we should take other people to Hogsmeade. I mean, neither of us date other people, and maybe we should because it’s not like we’re going out. Yeah, maybe I’ll ask someone to go with me.”
 

James’ eyes darkened and his mouth twisted into a scowl.
 

“Like hell.” He spat. “You’re not having some sleazy bloke take you to Hogsmeade, no way –”
 

“So what, it’s alright for you to date other people but not me?” I asked, folding my arms, my angry eyes boring into his furious ones. We were both seething; both angrier than we had ever been with each other, but neither would have been able to tell the other why we felt like that. The anger was so thick it was almost pulsing between the two of us in waves.
 

“Why the hell do you have such a problem with this? Are you jealous or something?” He asked viciously, and I narrowed my eyes until they were only slits.
 

“I am fucking well not jealous – I’m just pissed off that you thought you could just go without mentioning this to me. I’m your friend James, I expect you to tell me things like this. I don’t give a flying fuck that you’re taking someone else to Hogsmeade.”
 

“I was going to tell you,” James sighed, some of the anger leaving him.
 

I laughed one quick, humourless laugh.
 

“When exactly? After you’d already got a snog out of it?” James’ eyes narrowed again, and the little anger that had left him before returned with a vengeance .
 

“Oh for fuck’s sake, get off your fucking high horse and just admit that you have a problem with this. If it bothers you that badly, then I’ll cancel. Do you want me to?”
 

Yes.
 

“No, I don’t want you to, but I want you to tell me what you should have told me. Tell me that you asked someone else to Hogsmeade and that you’re going with them instead of with me, like normal.” James glared for a moment longer, and then sighed.
 

“Fine. I asked Erin Jameson to go to Hogsmeade with me, and she said yes. I’m picking her up at twelve and taking her to the Three Broomsticks for a Butterbeer.” He was glaring at me the whole time.
 

“What, no Madame Puddifoots?” I asked, and he glared.
 

“Happy?”
 

Not particularly.
 

“Yes.” I seem to contradict myself a lot.
 

“Why are you so pissed that I didn’t tell you?” James asked bitterly after a couple of minutes of silence, and I had to swallow the desperate urge to hit him across the face until he looked more like an eel than a teenage boy.
 

“Imagine if it was the other way around James, imagine that you’ve just gone up to your dorm and Connor mentions to you that some bloke – David from Hufflepuff, let’s say – is taking me to Hogsmeade, and not only did I not ask you, I didn’t even mention it to you. Everything would be okay between us?” I used a sugary sweet voice that I knew annoyed the shit out of him.
 

“Yes.” He said, but he swallowed with difficulty, his eyes fuming.
 

“So you would be alright with the fact some lad would be walking round Hogsmeade with me, buying me drinks and holding my hand and kissing my neck and –” James slammed his hands down on the desk and I allowed myself a brief smirk.
 

“Look, it’s different.” James insisted angrily, and I shook my head.
 

“No, it’s not.” I shuffled back to the door, shoved it open and stared at him. “Oh, and Dom asked me to ask you if you fancy her.”
 

James cocked a sceptical eyebrow at the ‘Dom’ part, but I couldn’t give a shit.
 

“Ask Dom to ask me herself then, if she’s that interested.” He smirked, and I shrugged offhandedly. His smirk fell a little bit.
 

“Fine, I will. And if she asks, we were studying in your dorm.” James looked like he was about to say something to me, but before he could I had stepped out of the room and shut the door behind me. No, I wasn’t alright with the fact he was taking Erin whats-her-face to Hogsmeade, but he wasn’t to know that.
 

God, what happened to the good old days of simplicity and snogging?
 

~*~
 

“Why are you back already?” Dom asked, peering up at me through her green face mask. Looks like she’s doing that girly sleepover on her own. I smiled slightly and padded over to her, dropping onto the bed next to her.
 

Dom was clutching the latest issue of Witch Weekly in her hand, and the name emblazoned across the front cover caught my eye.
 

HARRY POTTER GIVEN BRAND NEW HERO STATUS BY MINISTRY.
 

Underneath the picture there was a photo of the Potter family, Mr Potter with his arm around Mrs Potter, who was holding hands with Lily. James and Albus were grinning next to each other on the free side of their father. I couldn’t help but smile slightly at how much they looked like the picture perfect family.
 

My eyes fell onto James’ face, and I couldn’t help the unease that rolled in my stomach.
 

I hate fighting with James, I really do. It makes me feel so awful – confused and strange and it makes me want to curl up into a ball on his knee and let him stroke my hair and kiss my neck like normal.
 

I want James to kiss my cheek and tell me I’m beautiful like normal, and knowing that he won’t even talk to me properly, that when he looks at me it won’t be with a cheeky wink and a smirk, it will be with narrowed eyes and an angry expression, everything seems wrong.
 

James is my rock, he makes everything make sense.
 

And without my anchor to hold me down, who knows where I’m going to end up.
 

“Summer, are you alright? You look a bit funny.” Gee Dom, don’t lay the compliments on too thick, you might inflate my ego.
 

“I’m fine. I didn’t take as long as I thought I would with James, so I thought we could have that girly sleepover like you wanted.” I smiled at her, but kept my eyes staring at the door, refusing to let her pale blue lock with my green.
 

Dom squealed and tossed something at me, which I attempted to catch, but failed so royally I ended up ninja rolling off the bed and landing in a groaning heap on the floor, the UTO (unidentified thrown object) lying three metres away from the tips of my outstretched fingers.
 

Well. This day has turned out to be just dandy, hasn’t it?
 

~*~
 

“Will you pass me the salt please, James?” I asked woodenly, not raising my eyes from my plate. James didn’t move, and eventually I glanced up in irritation.
 

The salt shaker is right next to his hand. Right next to it. He would literally have to move his fingers a couple of centimetres and then he would be able to pass it to me.

How petty and ridiculous is he? God I just want to hit him... or snog him. I’m undecided as of now.
 

“Oi, James, Summer asked you to pass her the salt.” Fred grunted, jabbing James in the ribs. He winced slightly but didn’t look up from the lasagne he was jabbing angrily with a steak knife. He hasn’t had a single bite of it. He just sits there and stabs it with a steak knife.
 

Aggressive child.
 

“Yeah, I’m sure it takes her so much effort to get her lazy arse off the bench and get it herself.” He hissed back angrily, and a crease appeared between Fred’s eyebrows.
 

“I don’t get it.” He said eventually.
 

“Don’t worry, Freddie my boy,” He glared at me as I used his most hated nickname, “It’s his time of the month. I’ll get it myself.” I leaned across Connor and Dom, put my hand next to the bowl of soup and stretched my fingers out.
 

After a couple of seconds of oh-so-sexy grunting I managed to grab it, and I sat down and glared at James as he did his best to hide a smirk.
 

He wanted to watch me suffer, didn’t he?
 

Right, I definatley want to hit him. It’s decided.
 

“Alright, I’m getting the distinct impression that something has happened between you two.” Fred said after a couple of minutes, glancing between James and I. We both blinked at him. “You’re not talking to each other, and when you do you’re all icy and cold. And James wouldn’t pass you the salt. And you’re both glaring a whole lot. I’m just getting an inkling that you’ve fell out. Am I barking up the wrong tree here?”
 

“No, we haven’t fallen out.” James sighed heavily. I raised my eyebrows at him and he shot me a quick look before he looked back at his cousin.
 

“Alright.” Fred shrugged, and without a moment’s hesitation he grabbed his fork and started eating Penny’s chicken again. Dom shrugged too, and Penny continued polishing her glasses. Only Connor continued looking at the pair of us, a knowing look in his eye.
 

I don’t like that look. Not one bit.
 

“So, James,” Connor started, and I noticed that even though he was talking to James he was staring at me. “I heard you and Fred talking, are you really taking that Erin girl to Hogsmeade?” His eyes still didn’t leave me.
 

I clenched my fork tightly in my hand and shovelled a piece of chicken into my gob to excuse myself from having to say anything.
 

“Um... I don’t know.” James said eventually, staring at the tabletop as though his life depended on it. Fred glanced up at him and he quickly started speaking again. Best not to get Fred involved, you know. “I don’t know if I should go with Erin. I don’t want to lead her on or anything, and it’s not like I’m going to make her my girlfriend or something ridiculous like that.”
 

“Who said anything about making her your girlfriend? That’s crazy talk, who would do something like that?” Fred chipped in, clutching a forkful of chicken in each hand and wearing a scandalised expression.
 

“Yeah, I’m just not sure. Look, I think I’m going to go back up to the dorm and work on –”
 

“SUMMER! SUMMER! SUMMER, I NEED YOU, QUICK!” Scorpius came skidding down the aisle, his blonde hair windswept (how on earth does that make him look more attractive?) and practically leaping up and down with excitement.
 

“Do you want me?” I asked mildly, and he nodded like a nodding dog on nodding tablets, rather than shooting me the usual exasperated glance and sighing like the Burrow’s mirror.
 

“Yes! I have had the most amazing idea in the history of amazing ideas. I may go down in history for this. But I need your help, so if you’re all done here,” Scorpius grabbed my arm and hauled me off the bench, “Then we need to go. Come on, chop chop.”
 

I waved a spazzed hand in the general direction of my friends and then allowed myself to be towed off.
 

Why do all the males in my life seem to control me so much?
 

When we reached the entrance hall Scorpius turned to look at me with a look of pure glee.
 

“I am a complete and utter genius of the first water.” He informed me happily, ignoring the looks I shot around, making sure no one saw me fraternising with someone that was almost positively clinically insane.
 

“And before I correct that blatant lie, would you like to tell me why?” I asked.
 

“I have figured out a way to get Rose to fall in love with me again.” He said cheerfully, practically skipping along next to me.
 

“You’re speaking as though you know she was in love with you in the first place. If she really loved you then she wouldn’t have fallen out of love with you yet. So you just need to get her to realise that you are not the giant prickhead she thinks you are.” I told him matter-of-factly.
 

He frowned as he thought about what I said.
 

Jesus mate, don’t strain yourself.
 

“Do you think she was in love with me?” He asked, and I slowed down slightly as I honestly thought about it. She fancied him, that much was obvious, but did she love him?
 

She always blushed whenever he got within a three foot radius of him, but that could just be put down to shyness. And she always watched his Quidditch matches, even though she hates the sport as much as I do - she sits there as white as a sheet because she is so worried he is going to get hit by a bludger. She cried for hours with Lily and Dom every time he got a new ‘girlfriend’, and always refused to go to parties because it was ‘too fucking painful’ to see Scorpius grinding with some random bint.
She... holy shit. She was – is? - in love with him. With Scorpius Malfoy. Poor girl.
 

“Yeah, I think she was.” I told him truthfully, and I almost didn’t want to continue when I saw how bright the resulting beam was. “And I think she still does too – but I think she’s trying really hard to stop. You disappointed her time and time again, and then you were a complete tosser to her. You can’t blame her for giving up. I would have long before she did.”
 

“Well, as confusing as this exchange has been, would you like to hear my excellent idea?” He asked brightly, and before I could tell him that I had no interest whatsoever, he had launched into a stupidly long winded explanation.
 

~*~
 

“You’re fucking insane.” I told him weakly. “There is no way that I am going to do that – there is no way that I am going to be involved in one of your schemes to win Rose back full stop.”
 

Scorpius pouted at me.
 

“But please Summer, it won’t work without you. I need someone to be the evil villain so I can be the knight in shining armour and sweep her off her feet.” He stared at me as though his argument was completely rational and made complete sense.
 

Yeah, it doesn’t.
 

“I am not, and I repeat NOT, going to break Rose’s leg for you. No. How could even think about that, I thought you were supposed to love her, and you are actually asking me to go and break her leg?! You are such a fucking idiot.”
 

“Look, all you have to do is ask her to show you how well she can fly a broomstick –”
 

“Which she wouldn’t, because she can’t stand broomsticks. And neither can I, for the record.”
 

“And then once she has gotten far enough up into the air that she can’t see you any more, you need to whip out your wand and zap her to the ground –”
 

“Can you hear yourself, you bleeding tosspot!?”
 

“And obviously you can catch her or something so that so that she only breaks a couple of bones, and then when you say that you can’t take her up to the hospital wing because you can’t carry her –”
 

“This is the most sadistic, idiotic scheme that even you have ever come up with, it’s ridiculous!”
 

“And I will suddenly stroll up to you, scoop her up into my arms and carry her up to the castle. Then I’ll insist on waiting with her while Madame Pomfrey heals her and then I’ll kiss her really lightly on the lips, and everything will be Jim dandy again. See the brilliance?”
 

I blinked at him in sheer shock for a moment.
 

He cannot be being serious. He just can’t be.
 

“Scorpius, you have just asked me to break some of Rose’s bones so that you can act like her knight in shining armour. Why don’t you just tell her you made a mistake and ask her out like a normal person? Then maybe she’ll go on a date with you, and everything will be just Jim dandy. Plus, that plan means I’m not breaking anyone’s bones, and basically, I’m not involved. Everyone wins.”
 

Scorpius stared at me.
 

“I can’t do that!” He said in horror. “Then she’ll realise I like her and I’ll look like a proper idiot.”
 

I lost my patience.
 

“Then maybe you should evaluate how much you really love her Scorpius, because until you learn to suck in that enormous ego of yours, nothing is ever going to happen between the pair of you. Grow a pair and get over yourself, then maybe I’ll consider helping you.”
 

And with that, I turned around and walked away.
 

What can I say? I’m a fan of tough love.
 

~*~
 

“What the holy shit is going on here?” Dom asked. My sentiments exactly, Dommie my girl. Sometimes I think we are like identical brain twins.
 

“Well, he is the biggest arse in the history of the world and deserves to be thrown off a cliff, but I suppose that since they are dating, they do kind of have a right to snog each other.” Rose put in gently, and upon seeing the utter outrage on Dom and my faces quickly backtracked. “But most definatley not in the middle of the Gryffindor common room, which he doesn’t even have a right to be in because he’s a Slytherin...” She added hastily.
 

“Well, it’s not like you have a problem with all Slytherins hanging around in here.” Dom added waspishly. “I seem to remember you begging Summer to bring Scorpius in here after –” Dom cut off when I kicked her in the ankle.
 

Rose was a delicate red – her cheeks flushed and her lip caught tightly underneath her tooth.
 

“Yeah, well, I don’t think that Scorpius should be hanging around in here anymore either.” She muttered. “I think he should be hanging upside down off a cliff actually.” She added quietly.
 

I don’t think she realised I heard her.
 

“Yeah, well –” I started, but I stopped as Penny giggled and Kane flipped her upside down on the couch, his chest pressed flush against hers. “Look, Rose, will you just do me a favour and break the pair of them up. I feel nauseous.”
 

Rose stared at me as though she thought I’d just escaped from the local mental asylum.
 

“Are you off your fucking rocker, he’ll tear my head off and feed it to a herd of wild giraffes! I do have a wish to live past the age of sixteen, funnily enough, so no; I will not go over there!” Rose spluttered, and with another terrified glance at me she quickly scurried away and left the common room.
 

I am such a loser. Even Rose Weasley – the nicest girl in the history of the world – runs away from me.
 

“Oh god, someone please stab a quill into my eye.” James moaned, covering his eyes with his hands and staggering across the common room. Connor was guiding him, his eyes wrinkled in a squint and his mouth twisted in distaste.
 

James somehow managed to end up next to me, and when he opened his eyes a crack and realised this, he nearly leapt to the other side of Dom, like I had some kind of rampant disease.
 

Connor blinked between the pair of us.
 

“Oh bleeding hell, that is fucking disgusting!” Fred’s voice boomed across the common room, as he stepped through the portrait hole with his arm wrapped around some blonde chick’s neck. “Someone break the two of them up before they de-virginise the eyes of all the first years in the room.”
 

Penny stiffened slightly under Kane’s massive frame and slowly laid her hands on his chest, pushing him off her body with an almost worried movement.
 

He shot her a glare and sat up, running his hand over his jaw – which was in need of a good shave – and staring at Fred as though he wanted him to just drop dead on the spot.
 

He slowly rose from his seat, the eyes of the whole common room on him in the dead silence, and walked across the room. The whole room waited with baited breath as the steady thump of each of his steps echoed off the walls.
 

He reached Fred and his eyes narrowed, his mouth twisting into a vindictive sneer.
 

“Go fuck your whore upstairs, but fuck out of our lives.” He hissed, and with that he shoved past Fred, bashing him to the side, and hauled himself out of the portrait hole.


Just before it closed again he turned around and stared Penny straight in the eyes, his expression dead, his eyes flat and dangerous.
 

“If you ever feel like not being a frigid prude, come down to the common room.” He hissed, and then slammed the portrait shut with a shuddering thud.
 

I turned to look at Penny and was not surprised to see red flush splashed across her cheekbones, her eyes glassy. More and more people turned to look at her, and with a muffled sob she launched herself off the couch and flung herself through the doorway to the girl’s dorms.
 

“Shit.” Dom breathed.
 

~*~
 

I have no idea why Scorpius thinks that he is a genius of the first water, when that title is quite clearly being reserved for people like me. Absolute genii that need recognition for how bleeding wonderful and brainy they really are.
 

Anyway, what was my point?
 

Oh yeah, I had the best idea before. I was sitting in a Charms theory lesson and I started thinking about James and how he wasn’t talking to me at the moment, so my mind travelled back to a couple of weeks ago when we had a bit of a spat over the whole Natalie fandango.
 

And that’s when I remembered that I never did follow up on why that actually happened. But then, if James wouldn’t tell me – especially now – then I needed someone else to tell me.
 

Someone who knew the whole story.
 

And that’s when I found the weak link. The easiest person to break, the person that can be charmed with a packet of strawberry bootlaces and a friendly smile (and a willingness to let him tell you about whatever bint he had been snogging the night before).
 

Fred.
 

“Hello Fred, how are you doing?” I asked cheerfully, dropping down into the seat next to him and offering him a wide smile.
 

He smiled at me just as widely and offered me a bite of his chicken leg, which I accepted with a smile (even though I was actually cursing all chickens to Hades for making me exchange saliva with Fred Weasley).
 

“You know what Fred, I was thinking before and I realised that we never talk enough. So I thought that it might be nice if we spend a little time together while all the others are off doing homework and Quidditch and whatnot.” Fred beamed at me again and took another chicken leg off my plate.
 

“You’re right, we never do talk enough. That was a very nice idea of yours.” One day Fred’s unflappable happiness is going to get him in some deep shit.
 

But for now it is my friend.
 

“So, what could we talk about?” I asked, casually pulling the packet of strawberry bootlaces out of my bag and dropping them onto the table. I pulled one out and waved it in front of his face, pinching my lips together to stop myself from smirking when his eyes grew and a smile split his face.
 

Fred is such a cutie-pie when he wants to be.
 

“Did you buy them for me?” He asked, and I couldn’t help but smile at how goddamn happy he sounded.
 

“Of course I did, I thought you’d enjoy them. And what are friends for, you know, they buy each other food and talk to each other and... tell each other secrets.” I pulled another bootlace out of the packet and dangled it above his open mouth, dropping it into his gob.
 

He chewed twice and then swallowed it.
 

“Can I have another one?” He asked quickly, beaming at me like an I-don’t-know-what. I nodded and pulled another bootlace out, tossing it randomly into the air and letting him catch it with his teeth.
 

Does the smile ever leave his face? He’s like Natalie in that respect – well, other than the fact he can act like a fucking boxer when he gets pissed off – but on him it actually looks natural, rather than giddy-goody-girly-girl.
 

“You can have as many as you want, sweetheart.” I smiled, pushing the whole packet towards him. Fred looked as though all of his dreams had come true at once.
 

As Fred ravaged the bootlaces apart, I decided that it was as good a time as any to bring it up. If anyone was going to be cool about discussing it, it was going to be Fred, so I might as well just get it over with.
 

“Fred, can you tell me something?” I asked hesitantly.
 

“Sure, what do you want to know?” He asked, and I stumbled over my words as I tried to find a way to ask that would not make me seem like a nosy cow.
 

Fred – he was the easiest to get the information out of, and he was the least likely to ask questions, as well as the least likely to accuse you of prying and go off in the huffmobile, but he loved his family more than anything. He might not be too happy about the fact I’m prying into James’ private business when he asked me to drop it.
 

“Whydidnatalieandjamesbreakup?”
 

Wow, smooth Summer. Real smooth.
 

“What?”
 

“I mean, why did Natalie and James break up?” I asked slowly, and something in Fred’s eyes instantly seemed to harden, become a layer of solid oak instead of a pool of melted chocolate. He turned to look at me, his eyebrows drawn together, and in that second I could predict exactly what he was going to say.
 

“I can’t tell you Summer, not if James won’t. If he wanted to tell you then he would.” It was one of the only times I had ever seen Fred serious when Kane wasn’t involved. “If you really need to know, then you’re going to have to hear it from James.”
 

Gee Fred, way to make me not want to know.
 

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE BLEEDING SECRET IS ALREADY!
 

I want to be in the loop, I hate being on the outside.
 

“Fred please, I really want to know. James let something slip the other week and I really want to know – what harm can honestly come from telling me? Please Fred.”

And unleash the giant puppy dog eyes, as taught by Scorpius Malfoy.
 

My cousin may be a git and a half when he wants to be, but I can’t say that being related to him isn’t without its advantages.
 

“Stop looking at me like that.” Fred grunted. “And if James won’t tell you, then I’m not going to. That break up was really tough on him, that’s why I forced him to go on a date with this blonde chick from Ravenclaw. He really didn’t want to, kept prattling on about how he wanted to go with you and Connor, but I told him he had no choice. He’s got to get over that bitch – I mean Natalie eventually.”
 

“Wait, you really did force James to go on a date with that Erin girl?” I asked, my voice hollow with shock.
 

“Yeah, why?”
 

Oh shit. Oh crap. Oh buggering bleeding hell. Holy mother. He was telling me the truth. He really was forced to go by Fred – I thought he just said that to get himself off the hook.
 

Oh bleeding hell.
 

“Um, no reason.” I muttered. “So you’re really not going to tell me what happened between James and Natalie?” Fred shook his head. “Alright. Well, enjoy your bootlaces. I gotta go.”
 

I pecked Fred on the cheek, pushed myself off the bench and walked out of the door to the Great Hall.
 

So... James is going to Hogsmeade with some random blonde bint because Fred forced him to, and I blew up at him because I didn’t believe that Fred had forced him to – but he didn’t tell me when he should have. I have no idea what’s going on.
 

Oh buggering hell.
 

Merlin, why don’t you just make my life a little more complicated?
 

“Excuse me!” A happy voice called out behind me, and there was a sound of light footsteps pattering behind me on the entrance hall floor. “Summer Lancaster, can I have a word with you?”
 

I whirled around, right into the face of Natalie Duchess. My gob oh-so-intelligently fell open and she stared at me, her smile falling slightly when I didn’t reply.
 

“Um... sure.” I said in shock.
 

I hate you, Merlin.
 

 




disclaimer: none of this is mine.

happy belated holidays everyone! right, well, i cant think of anything to write right now, so im just going to leave it there. yep. sounds good.
 


Chapter 9: The Eighth One Plus Another One
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gorgeous chapter image by Magic_Phoenix!

 




 

“How about we go for a walk in the grounds?” She suggested, her face bouncing back up into a smile the second I had forced myself to talk. “It’s a nice day.” She waved her hand in the rough direction of the window, which showed an iron grey sky splattered with a few, deep grey clouds.
 

I raised an eyebrow in an elegant arch and nodded, wondering vaguely what someone like Natalie would ever have to say to me.
 

She fell into step next to me as the two of us headed down the concrete steps onto the dewy grass, her bouncing along, her blonde curls swinging around her face, and me slouching and dragging the soles my school shoes along the ground.
 

“So, you said that you wanted to have a word with me?” I prompted, and she nodded, but didn’t open her mouth. Her lips were pinched together, white with the pressure of it, her lip gloss spilling over slightly on to the skin under her mouth.
 

“Look, I probably should just forget about this, and I know I’m being nosy but I was just wondering if you would tell me something.” She started, and I nodded warily and she knotted and unknotted her fingers together.
 

She seems a little bit edgy for someone who is supposed to be completely happy-go-lucky.
 

When she didn’t start talking again I resisted the temptation to roll my eyes, and instead thrust my hands into the pockets of my robes and looked back over at her.
 

“Natalie, just ask me what you want to ask me.” I said shortly, deciding that the fact that the wind blowing at me was like an icy cold bitch-slap across the face and the fact my school shoes were a little small and were therefore squeezing the living bejesus out of my feet meant that I was going to get very impatient if she didn’t start talking pretty soon.
 

“Did James tell you guys – you know, the six of you that hang out together – what actually happened between us. The reason we broke up, I mean.” I blinked at her a couple of times, my eyebrows rising slightly in surprise.
 

“Um, no. He told Fred, but he wouldn’t tell the rest of us. I’ve asked him a couple of times but he won’t tell me. Got a bit snarky, in fact. Will you tell me why?” Natalie instantly looked a little uncomfortable, but quickly smothered it with another one of her giant smiles.
 

“Well, that’s not really what’s important.” She smiled. “What I was really wondering was, even though we did break up – and I’m glad he didn’t tell you why – does he ever talk about me?”
 

What’s the right answer to that question? Yes, James does talk about you all the time, because even though you broke up a year ago he still hasn’t managed to let go – that would be an outright lie, James never talks about her if he can help it.
 

Nah, he never talks about you because he got over it the second you broke up and never actually gave a shit about you – that one sounds a bit heartless.
 

When in doubt, dance out? Nah, that wouldn’t really work in this situation.
 

“In what way?” I countered, trying to buy myself more time before I actually answered his question. Natalie tucked one of her curls behind her ear and looked back down at the ground.
 

“In a way that would suggest that he’s still in love with me.” She murmured, and there was a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach like my colon had exploded and suddenly started tap dancing on top of my lungs.
 

Actually, now I think about it, James doesn’t speak about her in a way that would make me think that he’s still in love with her. I mean, he did love her – they dated for three years for Merlin’s sake, I saw them act all gooey and proclaim love to one another – but he never mentioned the word ‘love’ and the word ‘Natalie’ in the sentence ever since.
 

“No, he doesn’t.” I did tell you I was tactless, didn’t I? Yeah, well, that would be another example of that.
 

If she now breaks down in tears and tell me that even though it’s been a year, she’s still madly in love with him and wants to go off and get married and have loads of sex, then I swear to Merlin I am pegging it to the dormitories faster than you can blink.
 

“Oh, thank Merlin.” She sighed, and her face broke into another enormous Natalie-Duchess-Beam.
 

“Come again?” I asked, and she turned to look at me.
 

“I’ve been so worried that he might still be in love with me, this is such a weight off my shoulders.” She grinned at me once more, gave me a quick hug around the middle and then turned on her heel, and started heading back up to the school.
 

“WAIT!” I yelled after her. “Why did you want to know?”
 

“No reason.” She yelled back over her shoulder, and I frowned in confusion.
 

Why does it seem like I’m the only person in world that doesn’t know what’s going on any more?
 

~*~
 

“Summer Lancaster! Wait up a minute!” I turned around and saw a handsome bloke jogging towards me – his blonde fringe jumping up and down on his forehead and his bag swinging around. Surely that must be a health hazard.
 

What if some innocent first year was just walking along next to him – they could get knocked into next week.
 

“Hello.” I said pleasantly, smirking slightly in amusement as he leant against the wall and pressed his fingers into his sides, huffing through his nose like there was no tomorrow. Maybe I have a cocked up idea of what male fitness levels should be, hanging around with Quidditch players all the time.
 

“Hi. I’m Kyle Davies.” He said, smiling at me. I smiled back and leant against the wall next to him.
 

“Hey. Can I help you?” I added when he didn’t say anything. He blushed slightly and ran his fingers through his fringe, as though he was trying to do that thing that James does where it sticks up like he styled it that way. Lucky bastard. If I run my hands through my hair I end up looking like an electrocuted hedgehog.
 

“Um, yeah. I’m in Hufflepuff – you’re in my potions class. Anyway, I’ve noticed you around and I was just wondering whether or not you’d like to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend.” ‘Kyle’ bit his lip as he waited for my answer.
 

“Oh! Well, I’m flattered – I really am – but I don’t think that would be a great idea.” I said, and Kyle’s face fell so fast I instantly felt really guilty.
 

“Oh. Well, that’s alright. I was just wondering – yeah, it’s no big deal.” Kyle shrugged and kicked off the wall, offering me a quick smile.
 

“I mean, I really am sorry.” I said, and he shook his head, his fringe bouncing into his eyes. He does have nice eyes actually, they’re all blue and shimmery and ocean-y.
 

“Don’t worry about it, its fine.” He smiled, and guilt washed over me as I stared at this honestly nice guy. He waved at me slightly and then walked off down the corridor, looking back over his shoulder to smile at me.
 

Why did I just say no to him? So what, James can date people and I can’t? Maybe I should have said yes to him.
 

I looked up again and I saw him rounding the corner, and another wave of guilt crashed over me.
 

~*~
 

“Hey, bro.” Al Potter grinned, clapping James on the back and dropping into the seat next to him. I smiled at him vaguely, and he shot me a quick smile. “Are you alright? You seemed sort of down this morning.”
 

James ran his hands through his hair and nodded, grinning at his brother – which looked rather forced if you ask me – and thoroughly avoiding my gaze.
 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” He muttered, and for the first time in a couple of days he looked up and stared me straight in the eyes. His brown irises were tired looking and faint purple bruises were appearing under them, probably from lack of sleep.
 

Maybe not talking is as hard for him as it is for me. He shouldn’t have said some of the things he said to me then, should he?
 

When he feels like strapping on a pair and apologising, I’ll snog – I mean talk to him again.
 

“Yeah well, if you hadn’t got sorted into Slytherin then we would have been able to spend time together in the common room, wouldn’t we? Little family traitor.” James shot his brother a grin and reached up to muss up Al’s hair, which already looked like the home to a family of birds.
 

“Why did you get sorted into Slytherin?” I asked suddenly. “You’ve always seemed like a Gryffindor to me.”
 

Al stared at me for a moment, his smile faltering slightly, and then shrugged.
 

“I dunno. The sorting hat said something about me being loyal and brave, something that would serve me well in Gryffindor, but I had an edge that my father never had – that I would put myself before others if I had to.”
 

That doesn’t sound much like the Al I know.
 

“Oh.” Wow. I have been using the English language for the last seventeen years and that’s the best I can come up with.
 

“Yeah.” Al shrugged, seemingly not bothered by my rather personal question. “Anyway, I gotta go study for some History of Magic test or something, but I’ll see you guys later.”
 

Al leaned across the table and pecked me on the cheek, then clapped his brother on the back and headed off out of the Great Hall.
 

“Al, do us a favour and sit with us at dinner? I don’t see you much anymore.” James called after him, and Al turned around so he could shoot him a quick thumbs up sign.
 

Why did Al have to leave? Little tosspot.
 

Now there is just James and I sitting at the Gryffindor table in silence, not eating anything but not wanting to be the first to break the thick silence.
 

Eventually James did.
 

“You’re a nosy bitch, did you know that?” My head snapped up as I realised that his words were not laced with amusement or humour like usual, but with anger.
 

“Excuse me?” I hissed.
 

“No, I don’t think I will.” He spat back, glaring at me. “I told you that I didn’t want you to know what happened between Natalie and I, and yet you go and try to bug the answer out of Fred. What part of ‘private’ didn’t manage to make it through your thick skull?”
 

“Merlin James, I didn’t realise it was such a super special secret.” I snarled, furious with the way he was talking to me. “And did Fred tell you that I asked him?”
 

The question seemed to bring James up short.
 

“No, not really, he didn’t realise that it would piss me off – you know Fred hates it when friends argue, but he asked me why I wouldn’t tell you because you seemed to really want to know. There is a reason I didn’t tell you know.” Some of the anger returned.
 

“Whatever Potter, I don’t care.” I shrugged.
 

Shrugging is good, very blasé and uncaring.
 

The use of his surname and my instant dismissal of everything he said seemed to wind him up, because he got up off the bench and went to storm away, but not before hissing –
 

“Maybe your life is so shit boring that you feel the need to stick your nose into other’s – where it’s not wanted – but here’s a little hint. Stay the fuck out of mine.”
 

He turned and walked away without a backwards glance.
 

Well shit.
 

~*~
 

“Summer!” Dom squealed, running over to me, dragging some blonde bloke behind her by the wrist. He did not look like a happy chappy.
 

When she reached me she was slightly out of breath, but was grinning like an idiot.
 

“This is my new boyfriend, -” She cut off and turned to look at the new bloke.
 

“Jacob.” He provided.
 

“Yeah, that. Jacob, this is my best friend Summer.” Dom waved a vague hand in my direction, and then noticed who I was sitting next to. “Oh, and that is one of my other best friends, Connor.”
 

Connor stared coldly up at the new guy, his hand tightly curled around his fork. I tried to stay interested in the current conversation, but my eyes kept drifting down to a short way down the table, where James was sitting with Al.
 

James was smiling slightly as Al was talking, but his eyes looked somewhere else.
 

I wonder what he’s thinking about. Not that I care or anything.
 

“So yeah, these are my friends –” I heard Dom say, before she was cut off by random-bloke-who’s-tongue-I-do-not-need-to-see-shoved-down-my-best-friend’s-throat put his hands on either side of her head and slammed his lips to hers.
 

Connor threw his fork down onto his plate, grabbed his books and stormed out of the Great Hall, with me gaping after him like an idiot.
 

Dom and Lover Boy sank down onto the bench, their faces still attached to each others.
 

I leapt off the bench and ran after Connor, but as I skidded into the Entrance Hall I realised that I had no idea which direction he had headed in.
 

“Why it’s Summy Lanky!” A high voice cackled, and I whirled around to see Peeves floating through the wall, his translucent hair floating wispily in the non-existent breeze.
 

“Leave me alone Peeves.” I swear to Merlin, he has some kind of obsession with me.
I’ll just be walking down the corridor and all of a sudden – BOOM. He’ll just be there for some reason, throwing dungbombs or screaming at the top of his lungs. I’m always paranoid that he’s randomly going to float through the wall when I’m snogging James.
 

“Why so down, Summy?” He crowed. “Are you looking for someone? Don’t you want to talk to Peevsie?”
 

I went to head out of the door that led to the Grand Staircase when something cold and reasonably solid hit me on the side of the face. I whirled around as water cascaded through my hair and shot icily down the front of my robes, gaping through the water on my face.
 

“What the fuck, Peeves?!” I shrieked.
 

“Tsk tsk, mind your language, Summy.” In a lightning fast movement he had whipped another water balloon out from behind his back and tossed it at me.
 

This one hit me square in the chest and soaked me right through. I whipped around and started to trip and stumble my way over to the door, trying not to shriek as more water balloons were pelted at my back.
 

I managed to get to the Grand Staircase and then got onto the corridor with the Fat Lady at the end, when something made me stop. There was a sound of things crashing and smashing about, coming from behind a tapestry that concealed a smaller, hidden corridor.
 

James and I had snogged there a couple of times.
 

I pulled back the tapestry gently, and sure enough, there was Connor, throwing hexes at a random suit of armour. He stopped as I started walking towards him.
 

“Summer.” He said thickly. “What are you doing here? Why are you soaking wet?” He looked slightly vague, as though he was talking to me but he didn’t really realise I was there.
 

“Peeves.” I said simply, but he made no movement to acknowledge that he had heard me. “Connor, are you alright?”
 

Connor turned to look at me, and then slowly sank down to the floor, his back against the wall, the window behind him ruffling his light brown hair. I padded over and sat down next to him.
 

“I’ve liked her since I was twelve, you know.” He said, and I stared at him in confusion for a moment. And then it hit me.
 

“Are you talking about Dom?” I asked, and Connor looked at me, some amusement breaking through his frozen expression.
 

“Of course I’m talking about Dom – I thought you’d have realised by now. Then again, it is you.” I glared at him and he chuckled dryly. “I’m not being funny Summer, but you’re not the most observant person in the world.”
 

The smile fell off his face and he closed his eyes, leaning his head against the wall behind him. I leaned my head down on his shoulder and tucked myself into his side.
“Twelve?” I prompted, and I felt his chin move slightly against the top of my head as he nodded.
 

“Yeah. She’s always been the most beautiful person in the world to me, and I’ve always had a crush on her, but I always just thought it would pass. I didn’t want to mess things up with her, because we’re best friends, you know.” I nodded. “But recently I just can’t get her out of my head, and it’s driving me insane. And I thought that maybe she’d started to feel the same way about me, because she hasn’t been out with anyone for two weeks – which is about twenty years in Dom time – and then she just waltzes into the Hall with that bastard today and...” Connor trailed off.
I don’t really know what to say.
 

“You know Dom never stays with any of those blokes, they’ll have broken up by the end of the week –” I started, but Connor cut across me.
 

“Yeah, but that’s the thing Summer, how many other guys is she going to be with until she realises that I like her? And if she did get with me, would I just be another one of her boyfriends that would get ditched within a couple of days?”
 

“No, of course not –”
 

“I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve tried so hard to get over her, and I can’t. I want to be with her, and only her.” Oh bloody hell; do I look like some kind of Agony Aunt to you people?
 

“Then you know what you have to do, don’t you?” I asked softly.
 

“No, what?” He peered up at me hopefully.
 

“Ask the bint out you adorably idiotic twat!” Well, subtlety has never been my strong suit.
 

“What? I can’t do that!” He shrieked in a very girly manner, leaping away from me like I carried some kind of rampant disease.
 

“Why the hell not?” I asked flatly.
 

“Because she’d say no, why the hell would Dominique Weasley want to be with me? I’m just the boring friend of James Potter and Fred Weasley, the prefect.” He sighed.
 

“I know you said that I’m not very observant, but Dom likes you, even I can see that, and if I had to make a guess I would say that she’s got this new boyfriend because you didn’t ask her out.” Connor opened his mouth to speak but I talked over him. “And in response to your question of why would she want to go out with you, I can just say that you are the kindest, sweetest, funniest and one of the best looking blokes I know. Of course she would want to go out with you.” I leaned up and kissed his cheek.
 

“So I should ask her out then?” Connor said, and I couldn’t help but grin at the hopefulness in his voice.
 

“Yes.” I said confidently. A small smile broke across his face.
 

“Shh Jacob! Someone will hear us!” A giggling voice cut across the moment as Dom herself stumbled into the corridor, pulling along Lover Boy by the wrist.
 

She froze when she saw the two of us sitting there, and then smile on her face faltered slightly.
 

Connor hauled himself to his feet and then stalked off along the corridor without another word. I sighed and turned back around to look at Dom, only to see that her face was now latched onto Lover Boy’s.
 

Oh good lord.
 

~*~
 

“Braveheart.” I said wearily to the Fat Lady, running a hand through my wet hair and tugging at my uncomfortably damp robes. The Fat Lady turned to look at me, holding up a glass of wine with a coy smile on her face.
 

“Sorry, the password has been changed.” She said flatly, and then hiccupped. I stared at her in shock.
 

“Are you being serious?” She nodded. “Well that’s just fucking fantastic, isn’t it? First James won’t talk to me, and then he calls me a bitch and won’t even sit with me, then Peeves pelts me with freaking water balloons and then Dom has a new twat for a boyfriend, and somehow manages to break Connor’s heart in less than a couple of seconds and now you won’t let me into the fucking common room!? What the fuck is going on here?” My voice shot up a few octaves as I became more and more hysterical.
 

The Fat Lady stared down at me disapprovingly.
 

“There is no need to use that kind of vulgar language –” But she stopped when I leant against the wall next to her and started sobbing.
 

Yes, I have issues. Don’t judge.
 

“Summer? Are you alright, what’s the matter?” I looked up to see James striding down the corridor, his face worried and his eyes trained on me.
 

James.
 

Without a moment’s hesitation I had launched myself across the gap in between us and thrown myself into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder as he rubbed soothing circles onto my back.
 

James picked me up like I was some kind of toddler and I wrapped my legs around his waist so I wouldn’t go plummeting to the ground, and he silently carried me down the corridor to an empty classroom as I carried on crying into his shirt.
 

When we reached an old Transfiguration classroom he sat down on a desk and pulled me onto his knee, still not saying a word but letting me sit there and just cry.
 

After a couple of minutes he put two fingers under my chin and brought my head up so I could look him in the face.
 

“Summer, are you hurt?” He asked, and I hiccupped a couple of times (wow, sexy) before shaking my head, my wet hair slapping my across the face. The sharp sting brought on another round of tears from me.
 

James quietly pulled out his wand and cast a quick drying spell over me, and as I leaned into his chest he wrapped his arms protectively around my waist, placing a light kiss to my hairline.
 

“What’s the matter, love?” He asked. “Is it me?”
 

I shook my head slightly, then froze under his disbelieving expression and shrugged.
 

“No, it’s not entirely you. I’ve just had a bad day, is all.” James stroked my hair and murmured –
 

“Do you want to talk about it?”
 

“Well, it started with you having a go to at me in the Great Hall – not that I didn’t deserve it – but then at dinner Dom comes running over with her latest git and Connor storms out so I follow him, and Peeves pelts me with water bombs as I try and leave, then I find Connor and he tells me that he’s liked Dom since he was twelve. Twelve. And then after I manage to convince him to ask her out, Dom comes running up to us and starts snogging the twat, and Connor storms off, and I got to the Fat Lady and she wouldn’t let me in because she said the password had been changed and I just sort of snapped.”
 

James nodded and pulled me back into his chest.
 

“And Penny is still with Kane.” I tacked on the end.
 

“Well, I don’t know what I can do about Penny and Kane, or about Dom and Connor, but you’ve just got to have a little faith that it will all work out. But I can apologise for the things I said at lunch today. It was uncalled for and I was out of line.”
 

I shook my head.
 

“No, I was. You’d already told me that you didn’t want me to know, and I still went and tried to get the answer out of someone else. That was wrong, it’s your business and not mine and I’m sorry.” I said sincerely, brushing some hair off his forehead.
 

“Well, how about we make a deal. I shouldn’t have said the things that I said, and I shouldn’t have called you the things I did, but you shouldn’t have tried to get the answer out of Fred. Sound fair?” I grinned and nodded.
 

“Now, do us a favour and snog me, will you?” I looked up and him and saw that his usual insufferable smirk was plastered on his face.
 

“What?” I asked in shock.
 

“Well, I’ve gone a bloody long time without snogging you, so come here you daft tart.”
 

James slid his hands into the roots of my hair and leaned down to press his lips against mine. The moment we touched I relaxed, my chest slackening against his and my fingers winding gently into his hair.
 

Holy Merlin, have I missed this.
 

After a couple of minutes – during which James’ shirt somehow managed to get removed – I pulled away and looked up at him.
 

“Wait, are you still taking that Elizabeth girl to Hogsmeade?” I asked, and he frowned, before some realisation lit up his eyes.
 

“Um, do you mean Erin?” I nodded. “Yeah, I am.” I slowly slid off his knee and sat down on the desk opposite him, taking his hands in mine.
 

“James, I told you that I wouldn’t snog you if you’re with someone else.” I said flatly, and he rolled his eyes.
 

“And I told you that I’m not with Erin, I’m just taking her to Hogsmeade because Fred is an insistent little tosspot.” I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest. “Now please, will you just snog me already?”
 

I snapped. I just snapped. I felt like I had snapped before, when the fat lady wouldn’t let me into the common room, but this was different. This time my snapping wasn’t emotional – I felt angry. Who did he think he was?
 

Yes, he did apologise for the stuff he said to me, but he is still taking someone to Hogsmeade. And he has the nerve to sit there and ask – no, tell – me to snog him?
What the fuck is up with that?
 

And that was when it hit me. It hit me like the knight bus, and left me sitting there in silence for a couple of seconds. I am not jealous of Elizabeth – no Eleanor... Erin! That was it. Anyway, I’m not jealous of her, but it still hurt when I found out James was taking her to Hogsmeade.
 

I want him to feel that too. And then we’ll see whether he still wants to sit here and snog.
 

“Fine.” I said, using a sickly sweet voice that I usually save for when I am about to kick someone in the unmentionables. “But I just feel like you have a right to know that I’m going to Hogsmeade with someone else too.”
 

I waited a moment for the words to sink in and then leaned across the gap as though I was going to kiss him. And sure enough, James leant backwards.
 

“What – what? What are you talking about? No you’re not. What do you mean, someone else is taking you?” James’ confusion was quickly taken over by anger, and – dare I say it – jealousy.
 

“I’m going with the Hufflepuff – Kyle.” I said, and James’ shoulders tensed so fast I couldn’t stop myself from peeking around him to see if someone was standing behind him, throwing around freezing jinxes.
 

“Kyle who?” He asked, his hazel eyes flashing golden and his hands clenching on the side of the desk so hard I thought that he might snap the rim off.
 

Well, James my love, that’s a bloody good question. Kyle who? Um... well... nope, I haven’t got a clue.
 

“There is only one Kyle our age in Hufflepuff, isn’t there.” I said, crossing my fingers behind my back and hoping that there was indeed only one Kyle in Hufflepuff our age.

Well, I better hope that Kyle stills wants to go to Hogsmeade with me, anyway.
 

And that he’s not a mad psycho rapist. Yeah, that will probably put a damper on the ‘date’.
 

“The blonde manwhore that has a new girlfriend every other day?” James hissed, realisation lighting up his eyes and his lip curling up over his bared teeth.
 

Blonde... sure, why not. That can be him.
 

“Yes, that’s him.” I said confidently, and James’ growled. Like, legit growled. I didn’t even know humans were actually capable of making that noise. It can’t be good for his tonsils, or whatever else you’ve got in your throat.
 

“Like fuck. Like – fucking – hell. You’re not going on a date with him – he’d have you in his bed by the end of the night. No.” James crossed his arms over his chest.
 

“Oh, so you’re allowed to take someone else to Hogsmeade, but I’m not?” I asked, getting wound up. James stared at me for a moment, and then nodded stiffly. “Don’t be fucking ridiculous, I’m going on this date whether you like it or not – and I can assure you that I will not end up in his bed. I won’t even shag you, and we’ve been snogging for a year.”
 

James’ anger slipped out of his eyes for a minute as a pensive look filled his eyes and his mouth hitched up into an insufferable smirk.
 

“Well, it’s not like I haven’t offered...” He said vaguely, and I leaned across the gap between us to smack him on the arm.
 

He snorted slightly.
 

“James, I’m going to go on this date with Kyle, and you can go on that date with Elizabeth –”
 

“Erin.” He put in. I ignored him.
 

“Anyway, we can go on our dates – it’s not like I plan on dating him again or whatever. And you said you’re not planning on seeing her again – so then we can go back to snogging. Yeah?” James crossed his arms over his wide chest again.
 

“I’m still not happy about you going on that date with him –” He started.
 

“You don’t have to be.” I cut in.
 

“- but I don’t like arguing with you. I miss you when we don’t talk. So yeah, we can go on these dates – it’ll get everyone off my back as well and stop Connor being so bloody suspicious and then we can go back to snogging.”
 

I nodded. James leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine, but I shoved him off almost immediately. Yeah, I have the willpower of iron woman. I should be saluted.
 

“You have a date.” I reminded him, and he rolled his eyes, pulling me in for a hug instead. I really have missed him.
 

 




disclaimer: none of this belongs to me.

review? please? yep, sounds good :)
 


Chapter 10: The Tenth One Has Arrived
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Gorgeous chapter image by Magic_Phoenix - isn't it lovely? 

 

 





I guess Merlin was on my side for once, because after I had spent the entire of dinner nearly snapping my neck as I tried to look for that Kyle bloke that had asked me on the date, I noticed him watching me from the end of the Hufflepuff table.

Under the pretence of asking him where he wanted to meet on the Hogsmeade weekend, I went over and accepted his invitation. I thought that his bloody face was going to tear in half he smiled so widely.

Well, the most I can do now is hope that he's not a raging psychopath that is going to take me to the shrieking shack and attempt to have his wicked way with me.

My imagination tends to run away with me at times.

But this is it – the day of the big date. And how do I start off that big date? Well, by standing in the middle of the room in my knickers and bra and moaning to Dom about how I'm So Wonderful and Marvellous (Erin) has probably already decided what she's wearing.

Dom is going with her new boyfriend – no, not the one she snogged the other day, the next one – and Penny is going with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. No, not Voldemort, but the bloke could be the re-incarnation of him and nobody would be able to notice the difference.

"I could wear this, but I might as well be wearing a giant sign on my head that says 'I'm a giant whore'." I said, tossing one of my netting catsuits – do not ask – over my shoulder and onto Dom's bed.

"Well, considering that you bought that to wear to the Halloween last year, I don't really think that it's the kind of thing that you would wear on your first date with some guy that is also known as the Hufflepuff Manwhore." Dom said mildly, blowing lightly on her nail after she finished filing it.

"The Hufflepuff Manwhore? Is he really known as that?" I asked, turning around and shooting Dom a surprised look.

"Yeah, how did you not know? You never pay attention when I gossip to you, do you?" I shot Dom a wide smile in apology and turned back to my open wardrobe.

A ballgown? Nope, that won't do. A pair of mini denim shorts and a blouse that Dom cut the chest off of when we first watched that film... what was it called – Mean Girls? Nope, that might give off the wrong impression. High waisted jeans and a tight grey jumper – well... that's the least objectionable of them all so far.

That will do.

I bet James' date is going to be wearing some kind of mini skirt and belly top like the whore she is. Which one is Erin, again?

"Alright, I'm wearing this." I decided, pulling the clothes out of my wardrobe and waving them in Dom's vague direction. She cocked one eyebrow and nodded approvingly, before turning back to her nails. So nice to feel appreciated.

"Right, so let me get this straight." Dom said, getting off her bed and brushing down her pyjama shirt. "You woke me up at six o'clock in the morning so I could lie in my bed and watch you flutter around in your underwear, moaning about how nothing in your wardrobe looks good on you anymore and you might as well just go into an ugly home?"

"Yes." I said flatly, and then flounced off to the bathroom to get a shower.

"Why is she getting so wound up over this date? Does Scorpius not know that she's going on the date or something?" I heard Penny whisper to Dom.

No, Penny my darling, it's nothing to do with that – well, Scorpius actually doesn't know that I'm going on this date – it's actually to do with the fact that if I run into... certain people, then I don't want to be looking like an ugly cow.

And those certain people are most definatley not James and his date. Because I am not arsed about whatever they do.

They could go shag in the middle of the three broomsticks and I wouldn't care in the slightest.

~*~

"I can't believe that both of you are ditching me on the first Hogsmeade trip of the year." Connor grumbled, crossing his arms and digging both James and I in the ribs. We both turned to look at him with identical sheepish expressions.

"Sorry Con." We chimed, and he tried to hide a smile as he walked a little faster to get away from us.

Well, that would have been fine and dandy if it hadn't left James and I walking along next to each other in awkward silence, his arms swinging like pendulums by his side and my hands clapping together in time with our footsteps.

We reached the door outside the entrance hall about a minute later, and James turned to look at me, a serious expression on his face and cool indifference clouding the real feelings in his eyes.

"Have a nice date." He said stiffly, and I nodded.

"Yeah, you too." I was just about to step around him and enter the entrance hall when he grabbed hold of my wrist and spun my around until we were chest to chest.

"Summer, just be careful, yeah?" I frowned in confusion and he sighed, deciding to elaborate. "I know you think you can handle it, but I know what guys are like. I was walking up to the common room after breakfast this morning and I heard him betting with his friends about how long it would take to get into your pants. Seriously, look after yourself. And if he makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave. Come and find me." I nodded and he leaned down, kissing me on the cheek.

"Thanks, James." I smiled.

"Oh, and fair warning - shag him and I'll kill you." I laughed. "He's not shagging you before I've had a chance to." The smile fell off my face as I turned to glare at him.

James just winked roguishly and turned on the heel of his converse, heading into the entrance hall while I stood there and fumed.

I watched James enter the entrance hall and walk over to a tall girl who was standing with a group of giggling girls that I vaguely recognised as the Ravenclaws that got up at six every morning to cram in an extra hour in the library.

He stood awkwardly in front of her, his hands in his pockets and his eyes staring at the stone wall over her shoulder as though it fascinated him. Deciding that James was no longer interesting to stare at, I instead turned my attention to the girl opposite him.

She was tall, as I said before, but was still over half a head shorter than James' 6 foot 3 inch frame. Her blonde hair – huh, a blonde. Typical – came down to just below her shoulders and sat in delicate curls, her willowy frame accented by the loose blouse she wore and some deep blue jeans making her seemingly-endless legs look even longer.

I guess she wasn't as big a whore as I thought she was – and yes, I am aware of the fact that I'd never actually met the girl before.

James glanced around for a moment and then leaned forwards, freeing the blonde curls that were trapped in her collar. As he leaned back his hand brushed her face accidently, just above her jawbone.

Her cheeks flooded with colour and my breath caught in my chest.

James also flushed slightly, and hastily snatched his hand back before stuffing it into the pocket of his coat as though he was worried it might go back on an expedition to her face.

Erin shrugged slightly, tucked one of her curls behind her ear and said something to James, to which he merely nodded. She shyly reached out her hand and took his.

Something seemed to fall out of the bottom of my stomach as I watched James lead Erin over to the entrance hall doors, their intertwined hands swinging between them like they were actually a couple.

Staring at them like some kind of paedophile creeper from the bottom of the grand staircase, I tried to perform one of those self-analysis things that shrinks always recommend.

It bothers me that James is going to Hogsmeade with someone else, but believe me when I say I have no idea why. Maybe it's because I always think of him as mine – not my boyfriend, or my possession, but just mine...

I don't know.

But he shouldn't be with her, in any sense. He should be with Connor and me, like usual. Why has the twat got to go changing things now? It's annoying, everything was perfectly fine the way it was but nooooo, he has to go and change everything, it's just –

"Penny for your thoughts?" A voice murmured in my ear, breaking me out of my hysterical inner monologue.

I turned my head slightly to see Kyle... Someone-or-other standing within my personal space boundaries, his mouth pulled up into a smirk and his arms crossed over his chest.

He looked a lot more confident than he had when he asked me out. Maybe...

No, James and Dom are not right about him. They are just making stuff up because they are evil villainous monkeys. Yes. That is all. Night night.

"Uhm... sure. You ready to go?" I asked, smiling at him. He nodded, and without another moment's hesitation had wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me into his side, my face smushed against the side of his chest.

Lovely.

Because this is a completely normal thing to do with someone that you have spoken to once in your life.

We walked over to the doors (well, he walked and I jogged along, my head bashing obnoxiously against his ribs) and he pushed them open, pulling us into the blinding sunlight that was the Hogwarts grounds.

Who made the sun so bright, anyway? Why didn't it come with a dimmer switch?

"So, where do you want to go first?" I asked, after a couple of minutes of ploughing along in silence. I felt his chest muscles move up and down as he shrugged.

"I don't mind. Three broomsticks?" He suggested, and I said –

"Okay."

Wow, the two of us just don't seem to shut up around each other. Not. I shifted sideways slightly as his thumb slid into the waistband of my jeans, and I felt his breath on my forehead as he sighed.

We walked through the packed street, only waving to Connor as he wandered past with some bloke from the Quidditch team and Fred as he walked past with his arms around the necks of two different blondes, who looked like they had swallowed about a vat of enhancing potion.

Have they no pride? Honestly.

By the time we reached the Three Broomsticks I was actually counting the steps until my face would be freed. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world.

Kyle shoved the door open with his foot, shooting a roguish wink in the direction of the pretty barmaid and pulling me down next to him in the nearest booth.

"What'd you want?" He asked me, and I shrugged.

"Butterbeer is fine." He nodded and then got up off the chair, sauntering over to the bar and slipping our drink order in the middle of a sleazy innuendo. The barmaid glared at him and stalked off to pour our drinks. Sighing, I laid my head onto the headrest of the chair and watched the doorway.

If I was with James and Connor right now, we'd all be heading down to the Shrieking Shack and playing a game of who-can-reach-the-roof-first (we have not yet alerted Penny to the existence of this) or walking round Zonko's and trying to stop James throwing the samples of dynamite at random Slytherins.

But no. Of course that is not happening.

Stupid James.

Stupid Fred. What does he think he's doing, messing everything up? Couldn't he have just kept his beak out of James' business? Noooo.

Harumph. This is all Fred's fault.

I was staring at the door without really seeing, and it wasn't until the couple that had just entered sat down into the booth next us that I realised who it was.

James. And Blondie.

He looked slightly bored, his jaw set, his eyes cool and distant, whilst she was chatting away with her arm linked through his. A beam was set on her face as she babbled away.

James sat down with his back to me, and she dropped into the seat next to him, laying his hand on the table for him and putting her palms on top of his clenched fists. She smiled cheerfully again – seriously, what is it with people and being so goddamn cheerful?- until James eventually spoke.

"Can I get you a drink?"

"Sure, a gillywater would be nice." She replied. Does James only date really nice people, or something? Because seriously, people like that make me want to kill myself.

I don't think I could deal with another Natalie.

Kyle returned soon, dropping down next to me and handing me my drink, snapping me out of staring between James – who had moved to the bar by this point – and Blondie.

"So, who are you trying to make jealous?" Kyle asked conversationally, leaning back in his seat with a completely comfortable look on his face. His hand was curled coolly around a tall glass of Firewhiskey, and the deep green sleeves of his shirt had been hastily rolled up to show his forearms.

I choked slightly on my drink.

"What? No one! What makes you think that!" I squeaked. Wow Summer, way to go at making him think that you have nothing to hide. You are such a ninja.

Not.

Kyle grinned and took another sip of his drink.

"You weren't gonna go on a date with me, and then all of a sudden you want to, and, well, don't take this the wrong way, but girls are normally throwing themselves at me. You're not. So back to my question. Who are you trying to make jealous?"

I sighed and looked at him.

A boy I didn't know. A boy that I was on a date with, just because I got caught up in the heat of an argument and wanted to make a point. A boy that could help me get back at James.

"James Potter." I eventually answered. Kyle's eyebrows shot up into his fringe and his glass nearly slipped from his hand.

"As in, your best friend James Potter?" I rolled my eyes at his extreme dimness. How many James Potters were there in this school, exactly? As I nodded, his mouth dropped open. "Hang on... you like James Potter?"

Wait, what? Where did that come from?

"What? No!" I protested, and Kyle's eyebrows drew together in confusion.

"Then why do you want to make him jealous?"

"I don't want to make him jealous."

"Wh- wait, what?"

I sighed and slapped a hand to my face. This is getting ridiculous.

"I can't tell you why, but I want to make it very clear that we have never dated. Never. But I want to get back at him. And I thought that going on a date with someone else might be the way to do that – he gets overprotective, you see." Kyle nodded. "I'm not trying to make him jealous – I'm trying to... rub it in his face. Give him a taste of his own medicine."

There was a heavy pause.

"Is this because he is on a date with that girl over there?" Kyle asked, nodding to their booth.

"No – well, sort of. It's very complicated." I tried to explain.

"Look, I don't really get what's going on here." He said, shrugging his broad shoulders. "But I like you Summer, you seem pretty chill. As long as you say that you've never dated Potter, then I believe you. And I'll help you get back at him."

My mouth fell open in surprise.

"But... why?"

"Any excuse to get back at Potter for that Quidditch match last year. Publically snogging his best friend might be a petty way to do it, but hey, I never claimed to be a Gryffindor." I grinned. "But seriously, you owe me one."

I nodded. "Of course."

"And don't think I won't collect."

Watch out James, my love. Let the games begin.

About half an hour later, James finally realised that were sitting behind him. Yeah, not the brightest, that boy.

"Oh, hey Summer!" James said, a grin springing up onto his face for one of the first times this whole day. But then his whole demeanour changed, and his face became a lot colder. "Davies."

Is that his surname? Davies? I should probably get around to learning that.

"Potter."

Are they honestly having a staring competition? Seriously, what are they in, Primary School? Are they really having a good game of who-can-go-the-longest-without-blinking? I am ashamed to publically associate myself with these people.

I clicked my fingers sharply in front of their noses, and they both blinked in surprise at the same time. Huh. So I guess they both lose. Does that mean I win? Yay!

"You could join us at our table, you know –" James started, but he cut off pretty quickly, his face flooding a lovely beetroot colour and his hands clenching into fists at his sides. He had stopped talking the second Kyle had leant towards me and started nuzzling my neck, pressing kisses along the bottom of my jaw and underneath my ear.

"OI! Do you mind, I'm trying to talk to my friend, you know." James snapped, and Kyle lifted his head up so he could smirk at him.

I have to hand it to the boy; he is a bloody good actor.

"We're fine here, thanks James." I smiled, trying not to smirk as Kyle pressed his lips against my collarbone and a little of the colour drained out of James' cheeks.

As James turned around, I expected Kyle to lift his head, but nothing happened. I gently moved my shoulder and lifted his face off me, but he merely grinned and my once more and pushed his face onto mine, his lips rough and aggressive, forcing mine open almost immediately.

I had to fight the knee-jerk reaction to bite his tongue.

I had just raised my hands to his shoulders to push him off me, when there was an unmistakable sound of a glass smashing from the next table. I glanced over Kyle's shoulder and saw James staring at us, the remains of a broken cup clutched in his clenched fist.

And so instead of shoving Kyle off me, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him closer to me, not flinching when he wrapped his arms around my waist or when he broke away and started pressing kisses down to my neckline.

"Do you mind? This is a public place!" James yelled from the next table, and Kyle pulled away.

He smirked at me for a moment and then pulled me onto his chest, wrapping his arm around my waist and picking up his glass of Firewhiskey in the other hand.

"Oh, this is fun. This is very fun." Kyle muttered into my hair, and I rolled my eyes.

"Other than the fact that my best friend now thinks that I am the Whore of Hogwarts, I have to admit, that was pretty fun. Watching him squirm, I mean. Not the actual snogging." Kyle pulled my head off his chest and looked down at me, annoyance and surprise mingling in his eyes.

"Is that some kind of comment about my snogging? Because I am a fucking fantastic snog, I'll have you know." I laughed and nodded.

"I wasn't making a comment about your snogging, don't worry." I laughed.

"So you agree, I am a great snog."

"I am not answering that."

"Then I'm not helping you anymore."

I sighed and ran my hands through my hair. "Fine, it was a very good snog. Clearly you have a lot of practice." I cocked an eyebrow at him. He chuckled.

"I'm very skilled at other things too, you know." He murmured, his voice suddenly becoming a lot huskier. He leaned down and pressed a few soft kisses onto my collarbone, his hands running across my chest and then pressing against my hips.

I squawked ever so attractively when I realised exactly what he was implying.

"Don't be insane." I hissed, and he chuckled against my neck.

"So I give up my entire afternoon to help someone I barely know, just out of the goodness of my heart, and I don't even get a shag out of it?" I grabbed hold of his head and pulled him off me, nearly hissing cobra-style when I realised that he was smirking. Smirking.

"I am not going to have sex with you, Davies." That was his surname, right?

"Alright, alright. No need to get pissy with me, clearly I'm not as good a fuck as your precious Jamesie-poo."

He did not just say that.

He did not just say that.

If Connor was here, this would be right around the point that I yank my earrings out with a screeched 'Connor, hold ma shit!' and launch myself at Kyle, throttling the living daylights out him.

But no, I shall restrain myself. Because I am a calm and controlled individual who believes that violence and revenge are the never the answers.

"Bloody hell! Jesus woman, you can't elbow me there! I want to have children someday!" I smirked to myself. Does that make me a sadistic bitch?

Probably.

Ah well.

~*~

Half an hour, we still hadn't left the pub. Does that girl ever shut the fuck up? She has just been sitting there, nattering away, and because she hasn't left, we can't either.

We have to be where they are; otherwise the whole thing is completely pointless. I might as well actually be on a date with Kyle, and that would most likely kill me. Seriously, if what comes out of his mouth is what every boy thinks like, then the future of the human race is doomed.

I'm serious. Doomed.

"Look, Erin." James said, finally breaking his fifteen minute silence and speaking over her. "As much as I'm enjoying this conversation –" Conversation? What is this marvellous sounding thing? Something that actually involves two people talking to each other? "I think that we should probably get moving – I need to go to Zonko's and it's probably going to get dark soon."

Seriously, James? It's half past two in the afternoon.

"Great, let's go!" She beamed, and both Kyle and I winced. People should not be that cheerful! It's not right!

"Jesus, even I wouldn't shag her – she'd probably never shut up through the whole thing." Ack. Mental images. ACK, MENTAL IMAGES.

Oh good lord. Why did I agree to this? I could have been walking around Hogsmeade with Connor but nooo, instead I am sitting under the armpit of a bloke I barely know, watching the most annoying bint in the world attempt to flirt with my best friend.

Add in the perverted comments that Kyle hisses in my ear every thirty seconds or so, and you've got yourself a right fucking party.

James got up out of his chair and walked a few steps, and then stopped. He turned around so he was facing his table, his movements wooden, and pulled her chair out for her, sticking his arm out poker straight and wincing slightly as she curled her fingers around his hand.

Jesus James, you're not being crucio-ed.

Can you imagine what he would be like if she tried to kiss him?

"Let's make like some legs and split." Kyle hissed, ignoring my mimed gagging and dragging me rather roughly out of my seat.

I staggered to the left, tripping over my own feet like the elegant ballerina that I am, and had to be yanked up by arm – which nearly got popped out of its socket, thank you very much – and dragged halfway across the pub.

I'm pretty sure James was pissing himself, but he sorted his face out before I could properly check.

His date didn't look best pleased that she wasn't getting his undivided attention, I can tell you that much.

We reached the door of the pub before James and Erin did, and after shoving open the door and pulling us both out into the chilly wind that was a fine September afternoon, Kyle wrapped his arm around my waist and tucked my head into his neck.

Seriously, am I ever going to get some fresh air today?

I am never going to be able to smell men's cologne again without remembering this day. This is quite obviously something that I really want to remember.

"So, where did you want to go again?" Urgh. Even her voice is cheerful. She's like some kind of chipper chipmunk all the fucking time. She makes me feel like some kind of cynical bitch that is never impressed with anything.

Shut up. I am cheerful sometimes.

"Zonko's. Fred is going to be there anyway, you can come and say hello to him." James sighed, pulling her past Kyle and I – oh-so-maturely shoulder shoving Kyle as he went – and heading off down the street in so fast you could barely hear what she said in reply.

Kyle and I began to speed-walk after them, trying not to laugh at the oddness of the situation.

I would make such a dreadful ninja.

"Oh wow! I would love to meet your family!" James turned his head to look at her.

"...okay. It's only Fred." Blondie shook her head, her curls bouncing around insanely, making her look like some kind of demented poodle.

"Yeah, but in spirit you are basically inviting me to meet a member of your family – this kind of shows how you feel about me."

Yes love, it does. It shows that he is sick to the back teeth of you and wants you to talk to someone else so he can try and preserve the last few of his brain cells that you have not already killed off.

"Right... okay then." James said, running his free hand through his hair and glancing behind him.

When he saw that we were walking behind him his eyes nearly bugged out of his sockets, giving him the very amusing look of some kind of puffer fish for a while.

But then something changed. His expression became more detached, calculating... and then he pulled on Blondie's arm using the hand that he was holding, dragging her towards his side and wrapping his arm around her shoulder, their position similar to ours.

I think I might have just choked on my own spit.

What the fuck does he think he's playing at? He hated her five seconds ago! Jesus, bipolar much?

He glanced slightly over his shoulder, and the corners of his mouth seemed to twitch upwards, like he was trying to hold back a smirk.

What the hell is he smirking for? Little git.

Kyle leaned down and pressed his lips to my ear – I did my best to not have him notice the resulting shiver of disgust – and hissed at me –

"I think he's playing back, sweetheart." What? Playing what back? I don't get what you mean.

I opened my mouth to ask Kyle to explain what he was talking about before I kicked him in a very sensitive place, when all of a sudden it hit me. It was a game – a game to see how far I could push James, to see what I had to do to make him feel what I felt.

It was a game. And in a game there are players. James is playing back – he's trying to do to me what I am trying to do to him. Kyle and Summer vs. James and Erin, essentially.

Well James, if you're going to make this into a war then you better be aware of one thing – you are going to lose.

"Then let's show him what a real game looks like."

That's it Summer, fighting talk. That's the way to go.

~*~

James pulled into Zonko's a little while later, and was immediately greeted by Fred, whose booming voice managed to bounce around the entire store and then out into the street, so loud that even I winced. I feel bad for the people who were standing next to him.

"Jamie, my boy!" James raised his free hand and waved like a manic person, and then suddenly disappeared, his hand torn out of Blondie's as Fred ran out of nowhere and scooped him up into a hug, spinning him around and then setting him back down on the counter.

James flushed and stared at his cousin angrily, before glancing at the door and staring at me for a second.

"Freddie," Fred scowled, crossing his arms over his wide chest, "I want you to meet Erin, my date for this afternoon." Seriously James, when did you become the Queen?

"Cool to meet you, sexy chica." Only Fred. Only Fred could possibly get away with saying something like that.

Blondie giggled and held out her hand for him to shake, the smile on her face wide enough to rival that of Natalie. And that is saying something.

James suddenly turned around, flicking his fringe off his forehead and smirked in my direction as he saw me pretending to read the back of some random bottle. What's it even for? Oh. Fart powder. Lovely. Someone up there hates me, I just know it.

"Summer! Why don't you come and introduce yourself to my date?" I froze, and the bottle nearly slipped from my hand. Oh, he fights dirty. The little git.

"Sorry Potter, she's busy." Kyle stepped in smoothly before I could even think about opening my mouth and attempting to get out of it. And then without even so much as a wink of warning, Kyle had grabbed the tops of my arms and pressed me up against the wall, bringing his lips back down onto mine.

Seriously, I'm not asking for much here. Just a little wink of warning would be nice.

What if I had been eating chewing gum at the time? I could have choked to death. Wait, can you even eat chewing gum? Anyway, not the point.

"Hey! What do you think you're playing at, get your hands off her, or I will come over there and pimp slap that white-boy ass of yours!" Fred. Oh good lord, Fred.

I pulled away from Kyle in time to see Fred pull his t-shirt off over his head, revealing his lovely lycra superman vest, which was emblazoned with the words 'Captain Fred'.

Honestly. You could not make this stuff up.

I do not even want to know why he owns something like that.

And without further ado, Fred jogged across the shop, humming the superman theme tune, and after getting within a couple of metres of the pair of us (we were both standing completely shell-shocked, by the way) he cartwheeled to bridge the gap.

Yes, my six foot one, Quidditch playing best friend cartwheeled across a packed shop wearing a superman vest, just so he could wrestle me out of the arms of my date.

Which he is currently doing. Marvellous.

Fred slammed Kyle into a counter, lifting his feet a couple of inches off the floor and then standing there, looking like he wasn't quite sure what he should be doing now.

"Frederick Ronald Weasley, put him down this instant!" I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. "Fred, I'm serious!" I can hear James laughing from here. "Fred, I have bootlaces."

Fred's head whipped around almost comically, like some kind of cartoon character. A smile broke across his face, and before I knew it I was being greeted with the lovely sight that is all thirty two teeth in Fred Weasley's mouth.

And the sad news is it is not the first time I have seen them.

"Ooh, bootlaces?" He asked, and he immediately perked up as I nodded. Then some hesitation flickered across his eyes. "Wait, it's not the supply that you keep in your knickers, is it?"

What? What?

I do not even want to know what goes on it that boy's head. I don't think anyone would manage to make it out in one piece.

"Fred, I don't keep strawberry bootlaces in my knickers." I sighed, running my hand through my hair in frustration. Fred grinned, dropped his hands from Kyle's shoulders and letting his feet touch the floor again.

Pulling the bootlaces out of my bag and tossing them to Fred, he immediately skipped off to the other side of the store, leaving Kyle massaging his neck and me grimacing in apology.

"Sorry about that, he's... well, he's nuts." Kyle laughed, glanced slightly over his shoulder and then grabbed hold of my hand, his sweaty palm sliding slightly over mine. His hand was hot – too hot. It doesn't feel right.

Kyle smoothly drew his arm in, pulling me towards his chest, and wrapping his free arm around my waist. I nestled my face into the skin of his neck – seriously, does he just bathe in cologne? – and had to work to stop myself from smirking as Kyle buried his face in my hair and I saw James drop the box he was holding.

"Erin?" He said, suddenly whipping around and nearly taking the head off Blondie with his elbow. As she opened her mouth – for the love of god, do not let her speak again! – he leaned forwards, squeezed his eyes shut and slammed his lips down onto hers.

A couple of girls standing near to them, who I dimly recalled as being quite serious members of James' fan club – please, do not ask – gasped and clapped their hands over their mouths.

Something was writhing in my stomach. Seeing him with her was bad enough, but kissing her. His hands around his waist, her hands in his hair – no. The Something was now twisting, worming its way up my throat and making me feel sick, my head spinning and –

It was like I had no control over my own actions.

I grabbed hold of Kyle's shirt, my fingers clenching around the thin material, my nails digging into my own palms, my blood rushing in my ears, and I slammed his lips down on mine harder than ever before.

I dropped my hands from his shirt and wound them around his neck, threading my fingers through his hair and letting him slide his tongue into my mouth. Some muttered cursing told me that James had pulled his tongue out of Blondie's throat and had noticed the pair of us.

A tinkling resonating around the store made me pull away, especially when I recognised the voice that accompanied it.

"What the bloody fuck are you playing at, Summer?"

Connor. Oh shitballs.

"Nothing." I murmured, my voice deep and splitting down the middle. I cleared my throat as Kyle dragged his hand across his jaw, clenching his eyes shut and opening them again, before stumbling rather dazedly to the back of the store, where he leant against a counter for support.

What the hell is wrong with him?

"So why the bleeding hell are you and James sucking the faces of random people in the middle of a store?"

Ahem. I would feel a lot more comfortable right now if there wasn't about fifty pairs of eyes staring at me. Honestly, don't the nosy buggers have anything better to do than stare at something that doesn't concern them in the slightest?

"I've gotta go." I eventually broke the silence.

Seizing hold of Kyle's hand, I dragged him from the store, pushing past Connor, who was staring at me with a mixture of suspicion and realisation on his face, the corners of his mouth hitched up into a very un-Connor-like smirk.

The second we had ploughed a about ten metres down the street, Kyle turned to look at me, still with a slightly unfocused look in his eyes.

"What the fuck was that? You asked me to help you piss off your friend, not to be assaulted and dragged into some kind of snogging war in the middle of a shop! Did you even think about what that could have done to my reputation." Kyle dragged his hands through his hair, his eyes trained on my lips.

Um... he does realise that my eyes are about eight inches north of there, right?

"Oh, what reputation?" I snapped. "Everyone already thinks that you're a manwhore."

Kyle raised his hands slightly in surrender and stepped back. "Merlin, no need to get so pissy about it. It's not my fault that he sussed out what you were doing – why the fuck did you even want to make him jealous?"

There was a moment of silence as I thought.

"I don't know."

"... Look, let's just go back up to the school, shall we?" I nodded, and Kyle grinned as he started babbling away, unaware that I was no longer listening to him. Because out of the corner of my eye, I had spotted something.

"You know, I would actually call this a fucking successful date – never before have I been snogged so many times by such a hot chick..."

His voice faded into the background.

Penny was sitting next to Kane on a bench just off a little side-street down the main road, her legs tucked up under her chin and her head resting on Kane's shoulder, her eyes closed and her nose against his neck. His chin was on the top of her head, and he was staring at their interlocked hands with the strangest expression on his face.

"I love you, Penny." He whispered.

"I love you too, Kane. I always will."

Closing my eyes slightly and leaning against Kyle's side for support, I continued to trudge up the street towards the castle, my stomach churning and my head spinning all the way.

 

 





disclaimer: none of this belongs to me. none of it. what a shame.

hello :D first off, sorry about how long this chapter took! there are a whole host of reasons (writer's block, i am drowning in homework, the chapter wasnt finished, i now have two other WIPS as opposed to just one) but the nub and gist is, sorry!

but this chapter is a little longer to hopefully make up for it all! 

soo... who hates me for the little penny/kane thing at the end there? im sure all of the penny/fred shippers want my blood right now, but hey-ho. there had to be a reason she loved him, right? and that is because he can be very nice... when he feels like it. and hey, lovely reviewer who asked for more fred last chapter - he was added especially for you! i know there isnt much freddie, but he shall be in the next chapter more, i promise.

anyway, sorry for the wait and i hope you liked the chapter,

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 11: The One with Lots of Talking
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disclaimer: none of this belongs to me.

so... hope you like it. thanks to ramita for her help with this chapter, because it was suckish and now its not as suckish. so yeah. sorry about the fillery-ness, but the next chapter has a lot more plot, with the return of rose/scorpius! yay! ♥♥♥♥

 

 

 






"Oi, whore." Dom barked, leaping on the end of my bed and then bouncing off before my arm hit her. "Get up, we've got to get down to breakfast soon or all of the bacon will be gone."

I pressed my face further into my pillow and grunted like the elegant female that I am, once again waving my hand around in the air to try and hit my lovely best friend, before drawing it back into the warmth and protection of my duvet.

After waiting for a couple of seconds, during which I did not even attempt to haul my arse off the bed, Dom let out a noise that can only be described as a war cry and launched herself at the end of my bed, grabbing hold of my feet and attempting to pull me off the end of the mattress.

With a startled yelp I wrapped my fingers around the iron bars of my headboard, refusing to leave my comfy haven.

"GET OFF ME, YOU BLEEDING BITCH." I am such a pleasant person in the mornings.

"NEVER. I WANT MY BACON." Didn't Connor say something like that to me a few weeks ago? Those people are so good for each other it's not even funny.

"Then go and get your bloody bacon, but I want my beauty sleep."

"You need it, you look like a demented troll right now."

"You are such a cow."

"But you love me anyway."

"Yeah, keep telling yourself that."

"I told you that you wouldn't be able to get her up." Penny laughed, and I opened one of my eyes a crack so that I could stare at her. She was sitting on the end of her bed, her legs crossed and her hair tied in a long brown braid to her waist.

"Oi, what's the supposed to mean?" I grunted into my pillow, and Penny laughed again.

"That you're as miserable as sin in the mornings." She grinned.

"Bitch."

"Thank you for proving my point." Gah. Screw Penny and her little mind games.

There was a moment of blessed silence, and for one moment I actually allowed myself to believe that they were going to bugger off to breakfast and leave me to sleep in peace. My dear, naive mind actually forgot that Merlin hates me.

"On the count of three?" What the hell is Dom on about?

"On the count of three." Penny confirmed, and I could hear the shuffling of her converse on the carpets as she crossed the room. What are they going to do on the count of three?

"One." Dom said slowly.

"Two." Penny followed.

"Three." They said in unison, and before I could even think about opening my gob and asking them what the fuck they thought they were nattering on about, they had grabbed hold of one side of my duvet each and yanked - hard.

With a startled screech I tumbled out of the bed, whipping around in some kind of horizontal pirouette and landing with a dull thump on the floorboards.

Owwww. The pain. Owwww.

"I think you two may have broken my boobs." Ah, the joys of being me are almost unparalleled.

~*~

As we walked to breakfast – after the two of them locked me in the bathroom with a pair of joggers and a t-shirt and told me to get changed or very unpleasant things were going to happen, I decided to just do what I was told – I suddenly realised that this would be the first time that I would be face-to-face with James after the disaster that was yesterday.

The only thing that I can say actually went well on that godforsaken date was that it seemed to irritate the shit out of James.

Seriously. He went through most of the afternoon with his face the colour of a beetroot. It was rather amusing, now I think back on it.

"You look like you're going to be sick – are you alright?" Penny asked, brushing a few strands of hair out of her eyes as she peered at me in worry.

"What? Ace. Fabby. Wonderful. Marvellous. Fan-Bloody-Tastic." I muttered, and I didn't miss the way Dom and Penny exchanged the 'is there something wrong with her?' look.

Penny shook her head and shoved open the door, immediately glancing down the table to try and find the other three. My heart rate quickened slightly as I saw Fred leaning across the table, smearing some marmalade across Connor's forehead – I had forgotten that they would also have questions as to what the fuck I was thinking yesterday.

I think Connor expressed his opinion pretty loudly yesterday, but the look on his face is bugging me – the mixture of suspicion and realisation – what the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Penny seemed to notice my hesitation, because she waited for Dom to skip ahead and then turned to me, one of her eyebrows cocked and her hand reaching out to pat me comfortingly on the elbow.

"Summer... well; you know you skipped dinner yesterday." I nodded, brushing some hair out of my eyes as I stared at her warily. "Well, James wasn't there either. But Fred and Connor were talking about what happened on your date with Kyle Davies yesterday – something about you guys sucking face in the middle of the shop. Are you worried about seeing those three – because you look like you're going to be sick right now."

I do? I need to learn to control my facial expressions better.

"No, I just..." I sighed, rubbing the palms of my hands over my eyes. It's far too early for conversations like this – it's only about half eleven in the morning. "I don't know. I need more sleep."

"You are unbelievably lazy, you know."

"That hurts, Penny." I pouted. She grinned and pulled me into a hug, patting me on the back and grabbing my hand.

"Now come on – you can't avoid them for the rest of your life." I opened my mouth to rebuke her, but before I had the chance she had started walking, me stumbling along behind her like some kind of blind beaver.

This is exactly what every girl wants to look like, obviously.

James glanced up as we got closer and a small amount of blood rushed into his cheeks, at exactly the same time I blushed and started to stare very hard at the floor. Penny sat down next to Fred, subtly grabbing hold of my wrist and pulling me down on the bench next to her.

"Good morning." Connor said, looking up from his bacon with a smirk already set on his face. I did my best not to scowl as I tucked into the plate of scrambled eggs that Fred had handed to me.

"Morning." I grunted. James and Connor exchanged a look of understanding.

"What creative way did you wake her up today then, Dommie?" James asked, and my mood was not improved with the knowledge that pretty much all of my friends knew that I was a bit of a crazy!super!bitch in the very early hours of the morning.

Yes, I do class half past eleven as very early in the morning. And no, that does not make me lazy.

"Rolled her out of the bed with her duvet. Nearly broke her boobs, according to her." I glared up from my dinner to shoot a couple of death rays from my eyes.

"Nah, you don't want to break them, Dom." Fred chipped in, flicking his hair out of his eyes with some kind of vicious, neck snapping motion. "I'd have nothing to look at in the mornings."

What did he just say?

"Fred!" Dom said, her mouth falling open in indignation. Penny elbowed him roughly in the side (I would like to point out that she winced and clutched her arm moments later) and Connor choked on the bacon he was eating.

James just laughed. Git.

"What? You think I'm going to hang out with two hot girls – sorry Dom, you don't count – and not act like a seventeen year old bloke? You guys think too much of me." Fred shrugged, as though it was no big deal.

I was still struggling to speak.

"So what do you stare at on me, Freddie?" Penny asked indignantly, tossing her braid over her shoulder so she could cock an eyebrow at him.

Fred's expression switched from a cocky and self assured smirk to that of a deer caught in headlights. He ran his hands through his hair and then laid them on the table.

"Nothing. I'm not an animal, Penelope; I don't stare at anything on you. You're my friend; I wouldn't do that to you." He said calmly, blinking a couple of times as he looked into her eyes.

"What the bleeding fuck?" Ah, I seem to have found my voice again. "So you just stare at me like that then, Fred? Well that's bloody charming, isn't it?"

"I have a feeling that you would have taken that better if I had mentioned it at dinner as opposed to breakfast – we all know that you like mornings about as much as Voldemort liked Uncle Harry." I gaped at him for a moment.

"REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT I LIKE MORNINGS, I DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF YOU STARING AT MY BLOODY BOOBS WHEN YOU'RE BORED." I yelled. The people within a good square ten metres of us all went silent, turning to look at us with either amusement or jealousy splashed across their faces.

And the sad news is, I might be the only non-Weasley female in the world that doesn't want Fred Weasley staring at their boobs.

It is far, far too early for all of this.

We lapsed back into silence again, only the sound of our cutlery scraping the plates to make any noise. The only difference of now to any other morning was the fact that James and I were both avoiding each other's eyes, and Connor was staring between the pair of us with a curious look on his face as he chewed absent mindedly on a piece of toast.

Honestly, it's like he's turned into a bloody sniffer dog lately.

"So, where's your little fuck-buddy this fine morning?" James asked, looking at me with narrowed eyes, his hands clenched rigidly around his fork.

Freaking cheek of him! I would kick him if my legs didn't feel like giant tubes of lead.

"I dunno. Where's your whore?" I asked, putting my forkful of eggs down so I could cross my arms and glare at him. James merely smirked, one of his eyebrows quirking up coolly and his shoulders relaxing. He leaned forwards on his elbows, his fists under his chin.

"Do you have a problem with Erin, Summer?" He asked. "I can't imagine a reason that you would have a problem with her."

His tone was mocking, his eyes dancing with amusement as he watched my struggle to say something that wouldn't attract the attention of my friends.

"I don't have a problem with Erin." I shrugged, tucking some hair behind my ear. "I think she seems like a very, ahem, cheerful person. Do you have some kind of problem with Kyle?" We were speaking in code, taunting the other until one slipped up.

"No, none at all." That's funny, considering he spent half the visit either yelling or glaring at him. "Hmm... just out of curiosity, Summer – what is his surname?"

Oh, the crafty bastard.

"Um..." As I floundered, Penny looked up from her dinner and Fred smirked. "Well, it's obviously..." Penny rolled her eyes and nudged me slightly in the ribs, and as I glanced at her she mouthed 'Davies'. "Davies!"

Penny ducked her head so that I wouldn't see her giggling. Oh, I love my best friends.

"Right, and what year is he in?" Well... if he is in my potions class then he must be in the same year as me, so therefore, he is a seventh year. I should most definatley consider a future as a detective.

"Seventh year, of course."

"Right, and what –"

"James, my love, why are you so interested in Kyle all of a sudden? Is there something that you haven't told us?" I cocked an eyebrow, and Fred's booming laugh bounced across the Great Hall, causing the nosy buggers sitting near to us to turn in our direction again.

"Oh shut it." James scowled.

Haha. Looks like I won that one, my love. James Potter – 0, Summer Lancaster – 1.

Just the way I like it.

"Hey, Summer." Huh, that's funny. It must be because we were talking about Kyle – all of a sudden I can hear him talking to me. James is even glaring over my shoulder like he would be if Kyle was standing behind me.

He is standing behind me, isn't he?

"Hi, Kyle." I said awkwardly, twisting around slightly in my seat so I could glance at him over my shoulder. He was wearing a pair of baggy jeans – you know the ones I'm talking about, the ones with about fifty pockets and the crotch where the knees should be – and a blue shirt with the sleeves pushed up.

"Can I sit down?" Connor's brow furrowed, Dom laid her spoon down on her plate so she could stare at the pair of us, Penny raised her eyebrows and glanced at me for an explanation, Fred stroked his imaginary Dumbledore beard and stared between the two of us, and James... well, James looked like he didn't give a flying monkey's arse who was standing behind me.

He was actually digging into his breakfast again, our conversation about the very person standing behind me seemingly already forgotten.

Maybe he has short term memory loss. He should really look into getting that fixed.

"Um, sure." I said, shuffling up slightly on the bench. Kyle grinned at me and sat down, reaching over me and taking the platter of toast from the middle of the table.

Connor didn't look happy, considering he had been reaching for it at the time. But hey-ho, life goes on. Con doesn't want a spare tyre by the time he's twenty five, anyway.

"So, I was actually wondering whether you wanted to come down to the Quidditch pitch and make out." Kyle said, demolishing half a piece of toast with one enormous bite, chewing with his gob hanging open as he waited for my answer.

Does he have short term memory loss too?

Maybe he and James should start a club.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that he is trying to help me by pissing off James and everything, but I thought that I had made it pretty clear that we were only a 'couple' for that one date, and nothing else.

I don't want to complete fuck things up between James and me.

I may begin to get snogging withdrawal if I have to wait too long to snog him again.

"Sure, I need to talk to you about something anyway." I said, staring at him pointedly. Looks like he's going to need something a little more than a look for him to remember that the date was bloody fake.

"Great, I'll see you there in five minutes then." He said, and before I could even open my mouth to say goodbye, he had pressed his lips down against mine, leapt up off the bench and headed out of the Great Hall after his friends.

There was a few moments of painful silence as the six of us looked between each other.

"Well, I don't really get what's going on here," Fred said, stroking his imaginary Dumbledore beard again, "But I would like you all to know that I have now decided to grow a beard."

"Why?" Dom sighed, slapping an over-exaggerated hand to her forehead.

"Because they're cool. And I want to be able to curl it – it would be a talking point, wouldn't it? The bloke that can tuck his beard into his socks."

Oh good lord. I go back to what I usually say – only Fred.

"That sounds... very unique, Fred." Penny laughed, shaking her head at his blatant weirdness. I'm sorry, but there is no nice was to put it. Fred is a freak, and that is that.

But I love him anyway.

"You know what I was thinking?" Dom said, and she began to talk louder when she noticed Fred open his mouth to actually start guessing. "That we haven't actually held any parties since the beginning of the year – don't you think we should get round to it?"

Urgh. Not another Dominique Weasley party.

Would you like a brief summary of what happens at basically every single one of those?

I don't know why I bothered asking, because I'm going to tell you anyway.

I, being the avid party animal that I am, decide to stay sober and look after Fred, Dom and James after they get so hammered that they can't even remember their own names. Fred is the worst. He always ends up taking off all of his clothes and mounting the nearest table, where he exhibits the way that he believes that, and I quote, 'Sexin' Quidditch Playas' should dance.

After about an hour, Connor gets bored of sitting around drinking lemonade and bogs off to find some alcohol – generally after Dom has begun to snog her random bloke in the middle of the room – which results in him also getting hammered.

The only difference is Connor tends to curl up in a ball on the nearest chair and sob about how no one loves him.

My friends are such freaks.

This leaves Penny and I sitting in the corner, making small talk and filing our nails. Then Kane will mosey over, bog off with Penny and get her drunk. She generally returns to the dorm about half past six the next morning.

The grand finale is, of course, Scorpius finding three blondes, dragging them to the middle of the dancefloor and grinding against them like his life depends on it.

Yup. Fun times.

"Oh god, please no." I sighed, slamming my head into my hands.

"So, we should probably have it in the next couple of days," Dom continued, acting as though I hadn't even spoken, "Otherwise someone else will throw the first party of the year."

"Why does it even matter who throws it? They're all exactly the same, anyway." I sighed. But it's true; they're all basically the same event. Scary amounts of illegally-acquired alcohol, lots of half dressed people wandering around and my best friends acting like complete and utter tits in public.

"Right – so we should probably hold it next Saturday then, right?" Fred said, once again stroking his Dumbledore beard. The others nodded in general assent.

I just love being ignored.

"Great, I'll start telling people." James nodded, and Fred motioned to himself indicating that he would do the same.

Oh good lord. Fred's idea of telling people is standing in the middle of the great hall with a foghorn and blasting it out until he has everyone's attention.

My ears ring for days afterwards, it's a bloody pisstake.

"Seriously, do we have to hold a party?" I sighed, resigning myself to the fact that I might indeed have to once again drinking my body weight in orange juice and looking after several piss drunk friends. As you can see, I am just thrilled about that fact.

"Don't you have a manwhore to go and snog?" James snapped, looking at me for the first time since our conversation before.

"Yeah." I muttered, and pulling myself up off the bench, I quickly made my way out of the great hall.

~*~

"Oi, what the bleeding hell do you think you're playing at?" I yelled to Kyle as I crossed the Quidditch pitch, heading for where he was standing.

He turned around slowly, ruffling his blonde hair and looking at me with a giant smirk set on his face. What is he smirking about? Urgh. I've already gone off him.

"And here was me thinking you actually wanted a hand with pissing Potter off. You're really going to have to work on making your wishes more clear, my love." I crossed my arms over my chest as I finally reached him, but he just rocked back on his heels and smirked at me.

"Yeah, I did – yesterday. So what the fuck are you thinking, coming up to me at breakfast – and in front of all of my friends! What the bleeding fuck are you playing at?" I ran my hands through my side fringe and glared at him in frustration.

"Well, I actually needed to talk to you." He shrugged, his muscular shoulders rippling in his tight grey t-shirt.

"What about?" I asked through gritted teeth.

"How would you feel about going on a date with me?"

What?

"What?" Hey, look at that – I just repeated my thoughts.

"Well, as much as I enjoyed shoving my tongue down your throat yesterday, it wasn't exactly what I would call a date. So what do you think about going on a proper date with me?"

I'm sorry, maybe I didn't make myself clear. What I meant before was – what?

"... why would we go on a proper date? We only went on a date yesterday to piss James off." Kyle rolled his eyes at me.

"Well, for the same reason that I asked you out on a date in the first place – I think you're fit, and I actually want to go on a date with you because you want to go on a date with me."

Oh shit.

Now would be an ideal time for Fred to zoom past on a broomstick singing the national anthem.

"I'm sorry Kyle - I probably should have made this pretty clear from the beginning. I don't date, well, pretty much ever. And as much as this is going to make me seem like a heartless bitch, I might as well just come out with it – I only agreed to date you because I wanted to piss off James."

Kyle's brow furrowed and he ran his hands through his hair again.

"Oh." Another sweep through of the fringe. "Alright."

"I'm sorry. That's why I said no when you first asked me out." I tried to explain.

"Nah, it's alright." This time it was a neck-snapping movement to try and bounce the fringe out of his eyes. "I should have realised yesterday, you like Potter." With a resigned shrug, he turned his back on me and started to head towards the exit of the Quidditch Pitch.

I could have let him go.

I could have just let him leave, let this random stranger think whatever they hell they wanted, because it didn't matter what they believed. That's what a smart person would have done – just moved on and forget this little blip on their radar.

But I think we established a while ago that I am not a smart person.

"I do not like James." I said, grabbing hold of his shoulder and whipping him around to face me. "Not in the way you mean, anyway." I clarified.

"Then why don't you want him dating other people?" He snapped, and I quailed under the probing look he shot me. It was like he was reading my mind, like he was determined to coax all of the secrets out of me – and I didn't like it one bit.

"That's private." I snapped. Kyle nodded tauntingly, a smirk tugging at the corners of his lips again. "And it doesn't matter – all you need to know is that I don't like James. It's because I don't like you, that's the reason that I said no."

Where are all the little firsties that go 'BURN' when you need them?

Midget buggers.

"Charming." Kyle snorted. "Well... if you don't like Potter –"

"James." I sliced through. "His name is James, not Potter."

"Whatever. As I was saying, if you don't like James, then where is the problem in going on a date with me? You might end up liking me." A lecherous smirk twisted the corners of his mouth, and he folded his arms across his wide chest as he watched me struggle to reply.

"I don't want to date." I said, and Kyle's smirk widened ominously.

"Well, I want to date you." He said. "So it looks like we have a bit of a problem."

I licked my dry lips.

"What do you mean?"

"What part of that sentence was hard to understand?" He asked, rolling his eyes and smirking at my seemingly-lacking brain power. "I want to date you. Simple enough for you?"

I floundered around for words, opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish.

"But... why?" I eventually managed to get out.

To this Kyle just shrugged, once again running his hands through his fringe. The thing is going to be a bloody grease pit if he's not careful.

"I don't know. But this is it – I'm going to get you to date me. You'll have to give in eventually." With a cheery grin and a smack on the lips – I had been too shocked to pull away at this point – he headed back off across the pitch.

What in the name of Fred's snitch patterned undercrackers is going on here?
 

~*~
 

Summer,

How are you, my love? You haven't really written home much since the beginning of the year, and I was just wondering how you are. Your dad is away on business again – he was only back for a week last time before he had to leave again, so I'm feeling a little lonely. Do write back soon, won't you pet? I need someone to talk to.

And this is where the guilt rushes in. Honestly, how does mum manage to make me feel like this without even unleashing the puppy dog eyes? It's a talent, I tell you.

I wonder why dad is going on so many business trips at the moment. He was away for a lot of the summer as well.

The cat leapt up onto the settee last week and knocked over my glass of red wine – long story short, we now have a tie dye couch. I like to think that it adds a little something extra to the room, but your father disagrees. You know that he never liked the cat anyway – that's probably the main reason that he hit the roof.

Of course dad hit the roof. He hates – well, he hates most things – but he hates our cat more than most things in the world. Seriously, I don't know what he has against Oliver but it's like every little thing that he does pisses him off.

If your grandmother ever comes around for dinner then I will ask her to try out one of those house hold spells that she's so good at, and see if she can get it out. I've never quite managed to grasp the concept of them. Thank Merlin we have house elves, that's all I'm going to say!

Anyway, remember my love, study hard and do all your homework, eat a healthy and balanced diet and make sure that you keep out of detention with those friends of yours. Keep safe and happy,

Mummy.

“Letter from your mum?” James asked, dropping down onto the bench next to me. I nodded and took another sandwich. James lapsed back into silence.

“You alright?” He tried again, and I nodded again. “You’re still pissed off with me for this morning, I take it.” He sighed.

What happened this morning? Oh right. The argument.

“No, not really.” I sighed, shaking my head and lying my head down on his shoulder. “But it’s nothing, I’m fine.” I muttered, and James sighed.

“Whatever it is, it’s going to be fine.” He said, playing with my fingers on the table. He took the letter and scanned it quickly. “Come on princess, it’s not that bad. Families have little spats all the time. What’s also bugging you?”

I elbowed him in the gut like the sweet and charming person that I am.

“Summer. You can’t hide anything from me very well. Tell me.” I looked up into James’ hazel eyes – wait, hazel? How long have his eyes been hazel? Since when have his eyes had golden bits in them, as well? – and moved my head sideways slightly my cheek was nestled into the crook of his neck.

“Kyle is being a tosspot.” I grumbled, and I could hear the rumbling in James’ chest as he chuckled.

“Problems with the boyfriend, is there.” I swung my leg backwards so that I could give him a swift kick in the ankle, and the sharp hissing noise into my hair told me that I seemed to have hit the right spot.

“He’s not my boyfriend, you git. But yes, we have a problem.” James grinned, and I pulled my head off his neck so I could look at him.

“What’s he done? Do you want me to knock the shit out of him for you?” Hmm, tempting. Very tempting. Maybe if he had the stuffing knocked out of him, he might also have a little bit of sense knocked in to him.

Yeah, pacifism all the way, that’s me.

“Nah, it’s alright.” I smiled, and James nodded warily, still waiting for me to tell him what had happened. “He wants to go on another date – and he’s not very happy that I said no, I didn’t want to go on another date with him.”

James chuckled and mussed his hair gently with his hand.

“Bloody typical. That would happen to you. Well, on the bright side, the party is going to be held this Saturday.”

THE BRIGHT SIDE?! THE FUCKING BRIGHT SIDE?!

“Great.” I groaned, and James laughed his booming James-laugh, and I couldn’t help but join in.
 
 
 


Chapter 12: The Big One After the Filler
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“OF ALL THAT IS HOLY MOTHERFUCKING FUCK, WHERE THE BLOODY HELL, FOR THE LOVE OF SATAN DID I PUT THAT GODFORSAKEN FUCKING HAIRBRUSH?!” Penny winced and ducked into the bathroom to avoid the hurricane that was Dominique Weasley, whilst I decided to face the storm head on and grabbed the hairbrush from the floor, tossing it in her general direction and hoping that her Quidditch skills would kick in before the brush seriously marred the wall.

“FOUND YOU, YOU BUGGERING LITTLE MOTHERFUCKER. YOU’VE BEEN HIDING FROM ME, YOU LITTLE SHIT.” Dom screamed at the brush, and Penny poked her head out of the bathroom to exchange startled glances with me.

Screaming at an inanimate object is a new low, even for Dommie.

And hey, maybe you’re thinking ‘well she needs to rush, the party is clearly quite soon and she hasn’t even brushed her hair’. Well, I say screw you, and would like to point out that the party isn’t for nine hours. NINE – BLOODY – HOURS.

It’s a freaking pisstake, that’s what it is.

Dom dragged the brush through a few of her golden curls, and then practically sprinted across the room to the bathroom, screaming about how she had to brush her teeth or she would just die.

“This is going to be a long day.” Penny sighed, dropping onto the bed next to me and wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug.

“A very long day.” I emphasised.

~*~

“BLOODY HELL DOM, WHAT DID YOU JUST DO TO MY ARM? I THINK YOU’VE BROKEN IT!” Penny shrieked, clutching her arm to her chest and gaping at a manic looking Dom.

And why was Dom manic looking, I hear you ask. Well, because the party is in two hours, and due to the major spaz attack she just had (which resulted in the near breaking of Penny’s arm) she looks even more demented than normal. Half of her hair has been curled, whilst the other half is just the usual tousled waves, she has three pair of false eyelashes on one eye, and none on the other, and she is tottering around in athletic shorts, a tank top, a feather boa and one heel.

I, on the other hand, was lying on the bed, looking the epitome of cool. Well, as cool as you can look when you have your foot stuck in the air and you’re lying flat on your back, attempting to paint your toenails.

Penny was hopping around the room clutching her arm, glaring at Dom and trying to squeeze her feet into a pair of skyscraper heels and put on mascara without a mirror.

I’m not even going to feel sorry for her when she stabs herself in the eyeball.

“OW! MY BLOODY EYE!” Like I said, I don’t feel sorry for her at all. Does that make me cold hearted? Eh. I am currently searching for a shit to give.

~*~

“LAST HALF AN HOUR GIRLS, WE HAVE TO MOVE – MOVE – MOVE!” Dom screamed, legging it out of the bathroom in her knickers, a tank top and a different heel on the opposite foot to before. The only difference was that both sides of her hair were now curled, and she had false eyelashes on both sides of her face.

Penny was struggling to pry her fingers apart after accidently sticking them together with her nail glue, and I was attempting a couple of spells on my legs to make them appear more tan.

“How are you two so calm?” Dom shrieked after a while, looking like she wanted to run her hands through her hair but stopped herself at the last minute.

“Because we’re not mad psycho bints.” Penny commented mildly, shrugging as though she had made a generic comment about the weather. “And we have actually managed to grasp the concept that it is only a party.”

Dom yelped and pointed at Penny as though she had just said something completely blasphemous.

“Do not say that! I may meet my handsome Prince Charming tonight and live happily ever after!” Dom protested, and Penny rolled her eyes.

“Well, I’ve already got mine, so I’m alright.” She grinned as she headed over to the bathroom again. Honestly, the girl must have a bladder the size of a fucking pea.

“I’m sorry, did she really just say what I think she just said?” I snorted, and Dom grinned at me.

“I can hear you, you know!” Penny yelled from the bathroom, and we both had the decency to look abashed as she stuck her head around the door – with an oh-so-sexy toothbrush stuck in her gob – to glare at the pair of us.

~*~

“Last ten minutes, ladies! Come on, we can do this!” Dom yelled, running backwards and forwards to collect things from the bathroom at such a rapid rate that I nearly got a fucking whiplash.

She failed to notice that Penny and I were already ready, sitting on my bed having a thumb war.

Yeah, I’m wild like that.

“Buggering hell, Penny, your false nails hurt!” I yelled as her thumb dug into mine, the nail spearing my skin like some kind of fucking sword. Surely there must be some kind of human rights rules against selling nails that could probably kill people.

“Not my fault you suck at thumb wars, babe.” She smirked. I hate the bitch sometimes.

Another eight minutes passed, and Dom became more and more frantic with each passing second, abandoning the mirror entirely and bronzing her face with a brush bigger than a fucking hamster whilst running around the room in search of her spare hairspray.

Did I mention that she has already gone through three cans?

She doesn’t even use most of it, she just sprays it in the air and then walks through it so that her ‘entire body has complete protection and hold-ability’. I don’t even want to know what goes through that girl’s mind.

The second hand anti-climactically approached the crack of nine o’clock, and in the last few seconds before it reached the top, Dom froze.

She watched the hand reach the twelve, sighed, and then sank down on the end of my bed.

“Well, we have about fifteen minutes now. We can’t show up on time for the party, that’s just sad. Maybe I should get started on that Transfig essay for next week.”

FML.

~*~

“Alright, it’s twenty past. Want to head down?” Penny eventually said, hauling herself off my bed and then staggering sideways as she lost control of the ridiculous heels she was in. It’s so odd, seeing 5’ 4’’ Penny so tall. But hey, I’ll just take it in my stride, like the boss I am.

She looked gorgeous tonight, there was no denying it - in a short, backless black dress and tall heels, her long brown hair straight down to her waist and expert makeup that Dom had forced on her by sitting on her legs until she gave in – she could have passed for a supermodel.

Well bully for her.

And my morale was only boosted as Dom skipped up next to her in a short blue jumpsuit, her blonde hair curled down her back and her legs looking like freaking lampposts in silver stilettos. I scowled and stalked to the full length mirror that Dom just had to have.

I went to yank my top up a little, but a strangled-yet-still-somehow-oddly-threatening yell from the opposite side of the room told me that Dom would most likely rip my tonsils out for trying.

Flipping charming.

Somehow Dom had managed to search through the deep pits of the mess I call a wardrobe to find the rubbish pile that I had thrown the bra she got me last Christmas onto. I’m not being funny, but the only person who ever sees me in a bra is James, and he would take the piss out of me for wearing a black push up bra studded with nearly one hundred crystals.

It pushes my boobs up to my bloody chin, almost.

Pair it with the high waisted booty shorts; see through blouse and stripper heels, it would not be a stretch to say that I was a little less than a happy bunny. Dom gets very violent when she doesn’t get her own way, and I would like to point out she was holding a curling iron at the time.

Didn’t want that lodged up my nostril, tar very much.

“Let’s go.” I eventually grumbled. I can’t even run my motherfucking hands through my motherfucking hair because Dom has waved it with some other boiling metal stick.

“Party in USAAAAA!” Dom warbled as she rocked her hips, strutting down the staircase with what she fondly likes to think of as ‘swagger’. I tried not to gag at her word choice.

“...we’re in England.”

~*~

When the three of us managed to totter around half the motherfucking castle, including three staircases of death and so many fucking corridors that I think my toes may have shrank back into my fucking heels, we reached the door to the Room of Requirement.

Penny leaned against the wall and whimpered in relief, grabbing one of her feet and trying to give it a massage through her shoes, and Dom started jogging up and down in front of the door. How she can do that in those shoes is beyond me.

Eventually the door appeared, and seizing one of our hands each, Dom yanked us through the door.

After letting Dom dressed me up like some kind of black-haired Barbie doll and choose my outfit without too much of an argument, I had forgotten all about a certain someone who would not be happy to see my outfit tonight.

I was only reminded as I was greeted by the sound of their roar.

“FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, SUMMER. YOU ARE NOT GOING AROUND THE PARTY WEARING THAT SO YOU CAN GET THAT FUCKING IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD NOW.” I rolled my eyes, but Scorpius didn’t seem to be finished.

“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, DRESSING LIKE SOME KIND OF HOOKER? GO AND GET CHANGED – RIGHT NOW. I DON’T WANT THE SICK BASTARDS IN THIS YEAR LOOKING AT YOU LIKE THAT – FUCKING CHANGE. NOW.”

Dom just laughed her tinkling-Veela laugh and pulled me past him, heading over to where the three lads were sitting by the bar.

Scorpius was not finished, however. He always has issues with my clothes at parties – I could probably show up in a snow suit and he would yell at me for showing my nose.

And you think I’m exaggerating.

He followed after us, staggering slightly – seriously, it’s been twenty minutes. How much has he had to drink? – and glaring at my back as though he hoped my clothes would magically transfigure into something a little more respectable.

No such luck, Scorpy my boy.

“Ah! You finally decided to show up!” Fred cried, leaping out of his seat and spilling some smoking liquid onto the floor in the process.

“And the sky is blue. Are we just stating obvious facts for funsies, or is there a reason for it?” Dom sassed, rolling her eyes and grabbing the plastic cup from James’ hand and downing it one.

She then tossed the empty cup onto the floor like the little litterbug that she is.

“Hello girls.” Connor said quietly, glancing up and down Dom’s outfit with a giant, appreciative smile on his face, a cup of what looked like alcohol already in his hand.

Well, looks like Connor is getting drunk sooner than expected tonight. Huh. Guess it’s going to be Penny and I playing the lonely spinsters for tonight. Great. It’s fun to look like a killjoy and a loner at the same time.

“Fancy a drink?” James asked, holding out a bottle of some clear liquid, nodding towards the three of us. Dom accepted whilst Penny and I declined. Typical.

~*~

“Have you seen Dom?” I asked Penny curiously. She shook her head, fiddling with a few strands of her hair absentmindedly, her heels kicked off and her long legs stretched out onto the pouffe in front of her.

“I saw her disappear with some Ravenclaw a while back – I haven’t seen her since.” How typical of Dom. We’ve only been here for an hour and she’s already staked her claim on some poor, unsuspecting bloke. Not that he’ll see it that way – he’ll think he’s won the lottery.

Glancing up through my eyelashes I saw Connor twisting with some blonde bint from the year below, and Fred sitting on a couch surrounded by three giggling girls.

I know for a fact that none of them would be there if his last name didn’t rhyme with Freasley.

But it was the last person I saw the knocked the breath out of my lungs – which I don’t think is medically safe, by the way. James was grinding with one particularly pretty girl, right in the middle of the dancefloor.

Her head was tipped back, her red hair spilling onto his shoulder and her lips skimming his earlobe as she whispered something.

James grinned, and leaned down to press his lips against the hollow of her throat, his hands moving lower down on her hips. My stomach clenched uncomfortably – you know what they say, Potters love redheads.

I glared at a few of the inky black waves that were resting on my chest.

“Alright, babe?” A deep voice asked, and before I could even think about cursing the heavens for putting me in this position, Kane Owen had sat his (...alright, rather attractive) arse on the armrest of my seat.

On the armrest. Of. My. Seat.

How the fuck do I manage to get myself into these situations?

“Hey, love.” Penny smiled, slipping her heels back on and pushing herself out of her seat. Kane grinned and slapped her arse – insert gag here – before grabbing her hand and pulling her to the bar.

Huh. Guess the pathway to Lonerdom begins here, then.

“It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, you know.” A voice slurred, and I looked up to see James (sans the slutty redhead) smirking at me, another drink in his hand and his whole body swaying slightly.

“And I’m going to have a liver that works by the time I’m forty.” I shot back, narrowing my eyes at him slightly.

“Alright, what’s your fucking problem?” James snapped – the angry effect marred slightly by the fact that he could barely keep his words separate – dropping (well, more like staggering) into the seat next to me and turning to me with a distasteful expression on his face.

“I don’t have a problem.” I shrugged, taking another sip of my rum-and-coke-minus-the-rum through my crazy straw.

Yes, you heard correctly, I’m drinking through a crazy straw. It’s red.

And yes, I am aware that most people stop using them when they turn six, but I say fuck them, because they make something as generic and boring as drinking a lot more fun.

“Oh fucking hell – is this because I was dancing with that girl over there?” He asked, flicking his arm slightly in the direction of the dancefloor.

I raised an eyebrow coolly, a thoroughly disinterested expression set on my face.

“You were dancing with someone?” I said, my words dripping with surprise. James shot me a glare that quite clearly told me not to waste my time – he had seen me watching them.

What the fuck is the point in being a good actress if I can’t even get myself out of situations like this?

“Summer,” His tone was different this time, softer – it sounded sweeter, even though the words were still mushed together and he was mumbling through his teeth, “you know I would have asked you to dance – I’d much rather be with you. But you’re the one always saying we have to keep up appearances – fucking appearances.”

I smiled at him slightly and shrugged.

“Go and dance, James.” I chuckled, already feeling a little uncomfortable. I’m not really the heart-to-heart kind of person. I’m more of a ‘skate around the subject until it comes back and bites you on the arse’ kind of person.

“Yeah, I will,” He said, stumbling up from his chair and leaning his hand against the wall for a little support, “with you, though.”

I rolled my eyes.

“I don’t dance.”

“You can start.” And with that, James grabbed hold of my hand and dragged me into the middle of the dancefloor, throwing my arms around his neck and pushing my head down onto his chest.

He was swaying in a way that was completely out with the music, but he didn’t seem to care. With a throaty chuckle, he grabbed hold of my hand and thrust it above my head, spinning me around in a huge twirl, my hair flying out in a circle and damn near slapping him across the face.

“James, what are you doing?” I giggled, but he just shrugged, laughing along with me.

The next song came on – this one was even faster, the thumping beat travelling along the floor, making everything on it shake and bounce in time. It blasted around the whole room, practically deafening me – but I didn’t care.

James also didn’t seem to care about the blasting rap song, because sweeping me up into a ballroom dancing stance; he proceeded to waltz us around the room – admittedly with a lot of drunken stumbling on his part.

“You complete freak –” I started, but I was cut off my James bowing me down into a dip so low that my hair fanned out on the floor, before he pulled me back to his chest and spun me around a few more times.

I glanced sideways and saw Connor smirking at me from a couch in the corner, his eyes narrowed slightly, as though he knew something no one else did.

I grinned at him and he winked, the smirk on his face growing wider as he did so.

Wrapping my arms around James neck and resting my head on his shoulder – he had pulled me closer for a slow song – I glanced in the other direction, in time to see Penny and Kane darting through it, both laughing.

Something clenched in my stomach again.

I closed my eyes and rested my forehead against the side of James’ neck, smiling as he lightly kissed the side of my throat.

Really lovely moment? Check. So what do we need right now? Oh yeah, a lovely moment wrecker.

“Well, this does look cosy.” A voice snapped from next to me, and I pulled my head of James’ neck to glare at Kyle, who was standing next to us with a beer clutched in his hand and his teeth bared in classic I-think-I’m-the-alpha-male pose.

“Fuck off, Davies.” James snapped, not even bothering to turn around.

Funny, here was me thinking you two were just friends. You look a little more than friendly right now, if you get what I’m saying.” Kyle’s eyes were still narrowed at the back of James’ head.

“Sorry, are you deaf as well as fucking stupid? I said FUCK – OFF.”

“Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to hap-” Kyle was cut off by a third voice, a voice I have never been happier to hear in my entire life.

“Sorry dickhead, is there something you want to say to my cousin?”

Scorpius stood behind him, his eyes narrowed into slits and his arms crossed over his broad chest.

A little of the alcohol-induced colour in Kyle’s cheeks drained into his neck.

“Because as far as I’m concerned, I would much rather have Summer dancing with her best friend than the fucking sleazy arseholes – yourself included – in this room. So if you don’t mind leaving them alone, I won’t have to beat your arse.”

Kyle turned around slowly, a smile lilting at his lips and his eyes dancing with mischief.

“You don’t know anything about your cousin; let me be the first to tell you.” He said quietly, and I swallowed against the lump in my throat and Scorpius quickly glanced towards James and I in suspicion. Kyle went to walk away, but just before he stepped out of hearing distance, he turned his head.

“Great job protecting her, by the way. She looks great dressed like a fucking whore – I know I prefer her ass that way.” Before Scorpius could register what he said, Kyle had pushed himself into the grinding crowd and disappeared.

“I fucking well told you to get changed.” He snarled, looking at me angrily, clearly incensed by the implication that the way I was dressed was his fault.

James finally broke his silence, turning his head to send a grateful smile to Scorpius.

Scorpius’ eyes stayed cold as he stared at the pair of us, his eyes drifting from James’ hand on the small of my back to the way my head was tucked into his neck.

“I’ve got my eye on you two.” He finally said, and then turned and walked away without another word.

He always did have a flair for the dramatics, even when we were children.

~*~

Half an hour later, I was still dancing with James. These parties aren’t too bad, you know - when you’re not sitting at the side feeling sorry for yourself for being made to come.

However my ‘maybe these parties aren’t too bad’ attitude was being tested as Scorpius and his little fuck-grinding-buddy ended up next to us, gyrating in a way that a cousin should never have to see –goodbye youthful innocence, that’s all I’m going to say.

And that’s when I saw her – Rose. Standing a few feet away, she was staring at the pair of them with the strangest expression on her face – it almost seemed amused.

Downing whatever was in the cup she was holding, Rose covered the distance between the two of them in a few steps – from the way she was staggering you could tell that she was way beyond drunk – and grabbed hold of Blonde Bitch’s shoulder.

Pulling her away from Scorpius – looking mildly surprised at herself as she did so – she thrust her at the nearest passing guy, who just so happened to be the bloke that sits at the back of glass seeing how much paper he can eat before he feels sick.

Scorpius looked like he wanted to ask her what the hell she thought she was playing at, but before he could even form the words, Rose leapt up at him, through her arms around his neck and attacked his face with her mouth.

Scorpius scooped her up, wrapping her legs around his hips and pushing her against the nearest wall, playing tonsil hockey with her like his life depended on it.

With a horrified squeal I jammed my eyes shut and slammed my head down onto James’ shoulder, pulling him backwards slightly so he wouldn’t see what was going on and beat the living shit out of my cousin.

He may be a right royal git, but I do like having him around... sometimes.

“Awwwwwww, you guys look so cute together!” Dom squealed, returning from wherever the hell she had been – I would like to point out that her hair was so bad she could have just been sticking her fingers in an electrical socket – and grinning widely and James and I.

James shot her the finger. She did not look pleased.

“Well, if I’m not wanted then I’m just going to go dance.” She huffed, pouting at us as she pretended to be affronted. Small note about Dominique Weasley – not the best actress in the world.

Grabbing the nearest bloke – I’m not sure whether she knows that he’s the one that was just chucking up in that pot plant over there, but hey-ho – Dom wove into the crowd and started to ‘dance’. I would like to point out that I use the word ‘dance’ in the loosest way possible.

As James spun me around again I caught sight of Connor out of the corner of my eye – he was staring at Dom and New!Bloke with slightly glassy eyes, not seeming to notice the girl to his left who was absolutely throwing herself at him.

Honestly, some of these girls have no pride whatsoever.

Generally, when a guy is staring at another girl whilst you’re trying to talk to him, that means he is not interested.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like the only girl in this school that actually possesses a pair of eyes. Well, other than Penny, but her judgement can’t be trusted; she’s off fucking Owen somewhere.

But anyway, back to the situation at hand.

I raised myself onto the balls of my feet slightly, pressing myself harder into James’ chest so he wouldn’t notice how I was peering over his shoulder.

Connor slowly pushed himself off the wall with his foot - leaving the bint that was chatting him up with her gob hanging open, looking incredibly attractive as she did so – and started to stride across the dancefloor, cutting a wide berth through the dancers, stumbling slightly as the alcohol he had been chucking back all night finally started to get to him.

He reached Dom and Sir Chuck-A-Lot, and acting as though the bloke wasn’t even there, spun Dom around to face him. I bit my lip as I waited anxiously for what he might do.

“Dom,” He said breathlessly, holding on tighter to her shoulders as he rocked from side to side. See, if they had done what I did and stayed bloody sober – seriously, it’s not that hard – then this would have been going a lot better. “Dom, will you go out with me?”

Did he... did he just say what I think he just said?

OH MY GOD, CONNOR JUST ASKED DOM OUT. FINALLY, THE BOY HAS LEARNED THE CONCEPT OF BALL-GROWING. WELL, NOT LITERALLY BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE GROSS AND PROBABLY NOT MEDICALLY SAFE, BUT STILL. HE DID IT. HE ASKED HER! HE ASKED HER! AND SHE... hasn’t replied yet.

Oh shitmuffins.

“What?” Dom said weakly, staring at Connor as though she couldn’t believe the sentence that had just burst from his lips.

Sir Chuck-A-Lot looked like someone had sucker punched him in the stomach, but we won’t worry about him. There are bigger issues at hand, more important people to worry about.

“Will you –” Connor faltered, looking a little nervous that she had not immediately leapt into his arms and let their happily-ever-after just play out. I wonder where he got the impression that she would most definatley say yes? Oh yeah. Me. “Will you... go out with me, Dom? Will you be my girlfriend?”

Dom’s expression switched to one much like Sir Chuck-A-Lot – in case you’ve forgotten, in the short time since I last mentioned it, Sir Chuck-A-Lot is the one that looks like he’s just been punched in the gut – and swayed slightly on the spot.

Yeah, I bet they both wish they’d followed in my footsteps now – I seem to be the only one with any sense of balance in this room right now.

I’m practically holding James upright while we’re dancing – he’s so out of it that he hasn’t even noticed that I haven’t been paying a dot of attention to whatever he’s been talking about for the last couple of minutes.

“Did you just ask me to be your girlfriend?” She asked quietly, so quietly that I couldn’t hear her over the thumping bass of the rock song currently blasting out. I had to read her lips – note to wannabe spies of the word: not as easy as it looks.

“N-n... yeah.” Connor stuttered, blushing tomato red and staring determinedly at his shoes.

“Well finally!” Dom shrieked, leaping forwards and whacking him across the chest, curling her manicured hands up into fists so she could hit him harder. She’s a lovely person, honestly. “It took you long enough, you daft twat!” Each word was punctuated by another whack across the chest.

“Wh- what? Are you saying yes?” Connor asked, his face lighting up like he’d won the lottery. Honestly, it’s just Dom. I will never understand love-struck idiots.

Sorry if it makes me cold that I would rather live in a huge-ass mansion with bucketloads of servants and a wall made of tropical fish, with so much money that I can make papier mache out of fifty pound notes, than risk everything for ‘true love’.

Honestly, people like that knock me sick. The price doesn’t always outweigh the prize, my friend. Just remember that. A little life lesson, courtesy of Summer Lancaster. No need to thank me.

“Of course I’m fucking saying yes!” Dom shrieked, throwing her arms around his neck and pummelling his shoulders instead. Yeah, because that’s the way to convince someone that you want to be their girlfriend.

The alcohol must be getting to her.

Connor’s entire face lit up like a fucking Christmas tree, his mouth dropping open into a grin to rival the Cheshire Cat and his blue eyes shining so brightly that even I could see the difference.

“James –” I shrieked excitedly into his ear, ignoring him as he leapt into the air in surprise and clutched his ear. “James look, they’re together! Connor and Dom!” James whipped around just in time to see Dom fling herself at Connor, latching her mouth onto and shoving him into the wall.

Ew. I’m going to look away now.

Apparently James had different ideas.

“WHOOOOOO! GO CON-MAN!” He yelled, and I giggled against his chest. I can’t wait until he’s sober and remembers that Dom is his cousin, and he needs to have the Older-Cousin-Slash-Best-Friend chat with Con. Oh, that won’t be a sight to miss.

But another jewel of wisdom seemed to have hit the pit that we call James’ ‘brain’.

“OH WOW, DID YOU GUYS NOTICE THAT YOUR COUPLE NAME IS CONDOM?” I tipped my head back and roared with laughter, my legs sagging beneath me until I was sitting on the grimy dancefloor, on top of god knows how many types of alcohol, and I don’t even want to think about what else.

That was such a Fred comment.

“Funny,” James slurred, turning back to face my way and grinning down at me, “you act like a complete freak and you haven’t even had anything to drink.”

Pushing myself off the floor, I rolled my eyes at him.

“You know perfectly well why I don’t drink.” I said, hooking my arms around his neck as he pulled me back into his chest. “And you know perfectly well that it’s your fault.”

Under my accusing glare James merely widened his eyes, hitching the corners of his mouth up into a smile that practically screamed innocence. Yeah, I’ve known you since first year, babe. I’ve seen you and Fred swap all of the Slytherin pumpkin juice with troll piss at breakfast, make a banner out of McGonagall’s knickers and hang it from the ceiling of the great hall and practically shag innocent girls on the couch. Yeah, don’t try and pull the innocent act with me, mister.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He murmured, pressing hands against the small of my back and pulling me closer into him.

“I’m talking about the fact that the last time I got drunk, I agreed to become my best friend’s snog buddy.” I smirked, and a smile quirked the corners of James’ lips as he tried to stop himself from smirking in self-approval.

“I was drunk that time as well! It hasn’t stopped me drinking!” He protested.

“Yeah, well you’re a twat.” I grinned, and James flicked me in the forehead as he oh so mature way of retaliation. Honestly, his mother would be so proud.

I rolled my eyes and tucked my head into the crook of James’ neck, nuzzling the side of his jaw as he pressed his hands against the small of my back and kissed the back of my hair. I could smell the alcohol on his breath from here.

The song blasting out from the DJ’s station suddenly became much slower, and some the DJ himself grabbed hold of the microphone – nearly tipping himself over the process – and roared into it, with the tone of a rabid bull.

“HELLO LORDS AND LADIES. NOW FOR A SLOW UN.” He yelled. Yeah, that really doesn’t get people in the mood for a ‘slow un’. “SO GRAB A SEXY BEAST, AND LET’S DANCE!”

James chuckled and moved one of his hands to my hip, taking my other hand in his and resting his chin on the side of my temple, breathing more of that lovely drunk-chemical-alcohol breath onto my face.

We were dancing for a few minutes when it really hit me – how close James and I were, how tightly we were pressed together, the way his breath was tickling the side of my neck and his fingers tracing hearts along my hips.

I looked up slightly and locked eyes with him – okay, I swear that his eyes have not always been that colour. They have not always had gold in them, or twinkly little green bits – and he dropped his face down slightly, resting his forehead against mine and bringing my hand up over his chest, so I could feel the beat of his heart.

If he wasn’t drunk right now, and probably completely unaware of his actions, I would have kicked him in the balls for being such a sop.

James’ hand free hand gently brushed down my back, across my arse, around to my stomach, up my side, and then he leaned down to kiss me.

Reluctantly – very reluctantly. Have I mentioned that I haven’t snogged James in two weeks? – I ducked my head to his shoulder, breathing gently against his collarbone.

“James, we’re in public.” I sighed, and I didn’t even have to look up to know he was pouting like a five year old girl. Glancing upwards quickly, I saw I was right. He shouldn’t be allowed to pout when we’re in public – it is not good for my willpower.

“Well then,” He said after a pause, his hand sneaking up my back again and his head dipping down until his lips were grazing my ear – I pretty much went as rigid as board so as not to give him the satisfaction of seeing me shiver.

Huh. Does he really think that I’m going to skive off the first party of the year just so I can go and snog him upstairs for no reason whatsoever and I don’t know why I’m not agreeing to this because this party is shit and James is a good snogger and I’m going to shut up now.

“Let’s go.” I said, seizing his hand and dragging him through the crowd of people dancing like sops, staring into each other’s eyes and all that other romantic shit.

We had to pass Connor and Dom – or Condom, as James has so affectionately nicknamed them – and Rose and Scorpius – Roseius, anyone? – on the way out, but both pairs were too busy sucking the saliva out of each other’s mouths to notice where I was going.

The second we stumbled out of the room of requirement, James glanced around like a startled otter before seizing my hand pegging it down the corridor.

Right, I am never letting him drink alcohol again.

Clearly there is something in it that addles his brains.

Now, I can understand sprinting along a corridor in heels in the middle of the night when you’re being chased by someone, but when nobody is behind you and you’re running for no good reason, there is generally only one thing you’re thinking.

Die Potter, die. Die a painful and horrible death – preferably involving turtles.

What? Turtles are cute. Plus, imagine how demeaning that would be for Jimmy-boy – Here lies James Potter, death by turtle. That’s the way the son of the Saviour of the Wizarding World wants to die, obviously.

We reached the portrait hole a short while later, and despite being as pissed as a nun after a shot, James was not even panting.

Me? I was keeled over in the foetal position, just waiting for death to come.

“Come onnnnnn, Summer.” James whined from above me. “I wanna go snog.” Charming.

“I hope the turtles hurt you real bad, Potter.” I growled. He just blinked at me. Ah well, he’s known me long enough to know that I’m not completely normal at the best of times.

“...Right. Hurry up.” James seemed to have lost the small amount of patience that he had previously had, and started to lightly kick me in the back with the toe of his converse. Which is really charming, you know. Such a gentleman.

If he wasn’t drunk out of his mind right now then I would be kicking him very hard, right where the sun don’t shine. Bleeding tosser.

After a couple of minutes of rubbing my fingers in a circular motion on top of the burning stitch in my side, I hauled myself to my feet with the bottom of James’ shirt and let him open the portrait hole.

He half sprinted across the common room and headed up the staircase.

Rolling my eyes I followed him up, wincing with each step as my heels began to kill my feet. Why the fuck does Dommie feel the need to own such ridiculous shoes? She’s going to ruin my feet at this rate.

I suppressed the urge to cheer when I reached the Seventh Year dorm, and the second I stepped through the door that James had left open I kicked off the stupid heels and let them fly across the room and land on Freddie’s bed.

I turned around to look for James, but I had barely had time to blink before his hands were on my waist, gently pushing my back up against the wall behind me and pressing his lips against mine.

Oh buggering hell.

How long has it been since we last did this? Two weeks? That is far too long.

I slid my arms around his neck and pulled him tighter to me, letting him slip his hands up the back of my shirt and his tongue run along my bottom lip with maddening intensity.

He used one of his free hands to lift me up, and I hooked my legs around his waist so I wouldn’t fall, pressing my chest harder against his and letting him move his mouth to my neck, tipping my head back so he could reach it better, tangling my fingers in his hair...

We made out for a few minutes before things started to get more intense – it was odd, there was a sort of tension building, one there hadn’t been before. It was unnerving, but I didn’t like to linger on it.

James stumbled backwards, spinning around so when he fell onto the bed I was underneath him, his body held off mine with his muscular arms, one of his hands still on the small of my back and the other in my hair, which moved down to trace along my side, his alcohol-breath panting against my neck.

Which, you know, is really romantic.

And then the tension was building again, and I was tugging off his shirt and he undid the buttons of mine, pushing me further up the bed until my head was resting on his pillow, and my legs dropped from his waist so they were on either side of his chest, bent at the knee. My nails were scraping against the tan skin of his shoulders as he nipped at my neck, driving me absolutely fucking insane, I can tell you that.

James ran his hands from my ankles to my thighs, dipping down to place a light kiss on the inside of my knee – and then he was tugging at the waistband of my shorts.

What?

Wait – what?

“James,” I muttered, trying to get his attention as he pressed open mouthed kisses across my stomach and down to my bellybutton, kissing down to my hips as he slid the zip of my shorts down. “James!” I tried again.

“What?” He breathed, bringing his mouth back up to my neck. As he started to work on giving me a giant hickey I lost my train of thought, and it was only when his hands started to skim down my stomach again that I remembered.

“James, stop.” He just grunted at me.

What does he think he is, a pig? Honestly. I don’t speak pig, love, mind translating that into English? Am I honestly having an internal conversation about the grand old language of pig at a time like this?

I need to get my head checked.

Please James, stop.” James stiffened slightly, his shoulders tensing under my hands, and then he slowly pushed himself from on top of me, sitting on the edge of the mattress with his head in his hands, counting under his breath.

Okay, odd...

“I’m so sorry – I took it too far, didn’t I?” He murmured, his voice low and cracked. He took his head out of his hands and turned to look at me as I pulled my shirt on again, his eyes full of remorse. I leaned across the gap between us, wrapping my arms around his shoulders in a tight hug.

“It’s alright. You’re drunk, love. Go to sleep.” I whispered.

“You really should drink more, Sum.” He slurred sleepily as I pushed his back down onto his pillow with one hand, buttoning up my shirt with the other. “We’d have a lot more fun at parties.”

“Goodnight, James.” I laughed. The boy is bloody lucky I have a sense of humour. “I’ll see you in the morning – remember to take some hangover potion before you come down to breakfast.”

I leant down and pressed a quick kiss onto his forehead, pulling the duvet up to his neck.

I watched for a moment as he drifted off to sleep, a small smile on my lips. James looks like a right angel when he sleeps.

Shame he has to wake up, isn’t it?

 




disclaimer: none of this belongs to me.

hello loves. sorry that chapter took a while, but school is an absolute pisstake at the minute. seriously. it's insane. i've had this chapter nearly finished for a long time, and even though i should be working on my mountain of homework, i decided to try and type this last bit of this instead. and i managed! yay! so sorry if the ending seems a bit rushed.

so yeah. small hint of what's to come in the next chapter? more rose/scorpius, a little bit more ConDom, a very awkward conversation, and our first introduction to the whirlwind that is Hangover Dom - (caps necessary).

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 13: The Thirteenth One
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“I am going to motherfucking murder whoever invented alcohol.” Dom growled from her bed. Ah, good. The morning after a Gryffindor party always means the same thing – we all get to deal with Hangover Dom (capitals must be used every time, people).

What is Hangover Dom? Ah yes, I can hear you all crying that in utmost curiosity. Well, Hangover Dom is relatively simple to explain, just not simple to deal with.

Hangover Dom is what we call the by-product of a large amount of alcohol and a period of around eight hours, most of which is generally spent sleeping.

“Stop shouting Dom, my head is fucking killing me.” A voice hissed, and there was a dull thump as though someone had picked up a pillow and clapped it across their ear to block out Dom’s ‘shout’. I would like to point out that she had spoken so quietly that I had barely heard her.

Hang on... was it just me, or did that voice sound male?

“Shut it Connor, you’re not helping my headache.” Dom hissed. Wait, Connor? What the hell is he doing in our dorm?

Did Fred move his bed in here again for a joke? I am going to murder that boy; I swear that he has taken about ten years off my life in the time I’ve known him. It’s more like babysitting than hanging around with a friend, sometimes.

Groaning and pushing myself off my pillow so I could glance around the room, I frowned. There was no extra bed in here. Is Connor on the floor somewhere?

My glancing around was interrupted as the door swung open and Penny staggered in, her hands clutching her shoes and her eyes squeezed together as she winced from the banging noise as the door swung into the wall behind it.

“SHUT UP!” Two voices roared, both of which seemed to originate from Hangover Dom’s bed.

Penny glanced over to their corner of the room before wincing again and staggering over to her bed, dropping down onto it and resting her head on her knees. Ah, this is another benefit to not drinking at parties.

You do not get so pissed that you can’t feel your head the next morning (Dom) or go and shag your arsehole of a boyfriend (Penny) or attempt to shag your best friend (James) or ask a girl three years younger to marry you whilst wearing a hula skirt (Fred).

Just a quick aside – I think the girl actually said yes. So technically, Fred is getting married before all of us. Who’d have guessed it? I’ll have to remind him to call that off later.

I hauled my ass out of bed and tiptoed over to where Penny was sitting (best not to provoke Hangover Dom, you understand of course) and shot her the traditional ‘I’m judging you...’ look.

Standard procedure of course, after the walk of shame. Penny should come to expect it by now – it happens every time.

You drink a lot, get pissed, fuck Kane, stagger back in the morning and are greeting with the Summer Lancaster ‘I’m judging you’ look. That’s just way it goes.

But the fact that she should have fully expected said look did not stop her from sticking her finger up at me and falling flat onto the bed, slowly dragging her pillow over her face and letting her heels drop to the floor with a dull thunk. Simultaneous whimpers floated from Hangover Dom’s bed.

“So Penny, what did you get up to last night?” I asked, my voice dripping with disdain. Penny groaned quietly at the volume of my voice and chose not to answer the question, instead greeting me to another flip of her middle finger.

Charming. Well aren’t my friends just a bundle of laughs this morning?

And that’s when it hit me – I had been so busy taking the piss out of Penny for what she did last night that I had overlooked the two people in the bed next to me. Whipping around (and spitting the hair out of my mouth that resulted from said flip) I stared at the closed hangings of Hangover Dom’s bed.

I jumped lightly to my feet – Penny trying to kick me when I jostled the end of her bed – and crossed the room, before gripping the edge of the drape and yanking it sideways.

The two bodies in the bed jumped, clapped their hands over their eyes and groaned in perfect synchronicity.

I paused for a moment to gape at the coolness of the scene that just happened, and then glanced down at them both, eyes narrowed so they could be snapped shut immediately if it was ever deemed necessary.

But I needn’t have worried. Because lying, fully clothed, were Hangover Dom (yes, you really must call her this every time) and Connor, her head on his chest and his arm draped loosely around her shoulders.

The whole scene would have been a lot cuter if they weren’t both a sickly white colour and looking like they wanted nothing more than to hack up their dinner over the loo.

Wow, that’s a lovely mental image. Sorry about that. I really need to learn to think before I speak, James is always telling me that. He says that one day I am going to give everything away because I just never think before I spea –

Wait, am I seriously rambling in my head?

Anyway. Moving swiftly onwards.

“Well my, my, my.” I smirked, using a slightly louder voice than was strictly necessary. “What do we have here?” Connor groaned and wrinkled his eyes up as Hangover Dom hissed and snuggled in closer to Connor’s side.

Well would you look at that? There is Dominique Weasley – snuggling.

Never thought I’d live to see the day.

“Fuck off Summer, unless you want to lose something very precious to you.” Hangover Dom hissed. What a charmer. Got yourself a good one there, Con.

“I think that insult only works with men, sweetheart.” I smirked, and Dom growled under her breath. Oh, how I do love to provoke Hangover Dom. I normally end up paying the price later, but it’s so worth it at the time.

“Fine then.” She snarled, cracking open one of her eyelids delicately and glaring at me with those shimmery blue eyes of hers, which were right now unleashing the full force of her current hatred of me. “You will lose two things that are rather precious to you.”

The speed with which I crossed my arms was shocking.

I rolled my eyes and leaned down, poking Connor lightly on the side of the head to check that he was still breathing. What? He looked half dead.

“Right. How many of you want hangover potion?” I asked, and all three of them slowly raised a hand, Hangover Dom letting her one open eye slide shut again. I smirked slightly and headed off to find the bottle of potion that Penny had hidden in the bathroom after the last party.

Honestly. It’s quite sad that events like this make me seem like the beacon of responsibility.

~*~

“You alright, Potter?” I smirked, nudging James on the back of the head as I slid down on the bench next to him. I noticed a pale pink flush slide up his cheeks and a wrinkle appear between his eyebrows, but other than he made no effort to greet me. He didn’t even bother to lift his head off the tabletop.

Lazy bugger.

Fred, on the other hand, was as chipper as a chipmunk. Seriously. He must have drunk more than everyone else last night, and yet the bloody twat was sitting there with a shit-eating grin on his face, wolfing down bacon and eggs like his life depended on it.

“Hey, Summer!” He grinned, spraying mouthfuls of egg all over the table.

“Shut the fuck up, you twat.” Dom snarled – after the hangover potion, she may no longer have a thumping headache, but her personality hasn’t improved any. “Nobody has a right to feel happy after a party like that – well, other than Summer,” She tugged on my hair, “because she’s a bloody prude.”

Ah, the wonders of bestie-ship.

I thought I heard James snort from next to me, but with his head on the table and all, I couldn’t be sure.

“You know, I would have thought you’d be a bit more cheerful this morning, Dommie.” I teased, my tone lofty and mocking. “What with a certain somebody waking up in your bed with you this morning.”

That got Jamie-boy’s attention. His head snapped up so fast that his eyes rolled back into his skull and for a moment I thought he was going to faint, but I leapt forwards on the bench and grabbed him by the collar before he could fall backwards.

Of course, James is not the lightest of children.

I was pulled out of my seat and slammed into his chest, but somehow still managed to stop him from collapsing.

Connor sniggered and Fred began to wolf whistle, to which Dominique tossed a handful of baked beans at his face, then groaned when she realised that the bean sauce was now all over her hand.

Honestly, when they were giving out brains she didn’t even bother to get in the queue.

~*~

“Can we talk?” James murmured in my ear, after Dom and Penny had already left to go to so and shower in the prefect’s bathroom and Connor had left to go and start some essay. Fred was too busy trying to touch the end of his nose with his tongue to pay any attention to us.

“Sure.” I said, glancing sideways and jumping slightly when I saw his face a lot closer than where I expected it to be. He was so close that his eyes had blended together into one and he looked a bit of a funny shape.

“Great.”

“Excellent.”

“Fab.”

“Wonderful.”

“Ace.”

“Okay, stop it now, you twat.” I grumbled. “Let’s just go.” Seizing his wrist, I pulled him out of his seats and down the aisle between the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor table, ignoring the pointed cough and look that was sent to me from Kyle Davies across the room.

I pulled him down a maze of corridors until I found an empty classroom, shoved him inside and closed the door. Casting a quick silencing charm on the room, I let rip.

“Would you like to explain to me what the bloody hell happened yesterday, you fucking twat!?” I yelled, stepping forwards and slapping him across the chest.

He looked bewildered for a moment, before hopping straight onto the defensive.

“What the fuck? Is this about the fact I wanted to shag last night – come on Summer, you know I’ve never bothered to keep it a secret that I want you. But I was drunk – you were so nice about it last night!” He yelled, incensed.

“Yeah, that’s because you were piss drunk! I wasn’t going to yell at a drunk person!”

“So what, you wait until I’m sober and then yell at me?” He snarled. “How the fuck is that fair? If you’ve acknowledged the fact that I was drunk then you should know that I didn’t mean to do that!”

“So if you hadn’t been drunk then you wouldn’t have shagged me?” I hissed, stepping forwards slightly and glaring up at him through my eyelashes. Damn him and his unreachable tallness. I wouldn’t mind, I’m not even short.

“Did I say that?!”

“You arsehole-”

“Summer, I think you’re fucking gorgeous, you know that, and I would fucking shag you right here, right now if you would let me, but I didn’t mean to do that last night, I swear.” James’ voice had grown quieter, his eyes shining softly with honesty.

I didn’t know what to say.

“I love you Summer, you’re my best friend – and I’m sorry if I’ve really fucked up our friendship. But seriously, I was drunk. And as much as I make jokes about it, I really don’t know if that would even be any good for us. I just – I dunno. Maybe that would fuck us up completely.”

I blinked a couple of times and then stepped forwards, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him into a tight hug. And maybe kissed him a little bit. Eh. What’s the difference?

And then I punched him in the gut.

“What the bleeding fuck was that for?!” James yelped, clutching at his stomach.

That was for ‘I’d shag you right here, right now’, you little pervert.” I grumbled, before leaning down to kiss the spot I punched and hugging him again.

“I’d miss you if you weren’t here, Summer.” He muttered into my hair.

“Well of course you would. I’m made of awesome, that’s why.”

“Way to ruin the sentimental mood, bitch.”

“No problem, jackass.”

“Slut.”

“Prick.”

“Whore.”

“Arsehole.”

~*~

It was dinner when I next saw my darling cousin. Turns out we’re a lot more similar than either of us ever realised. He did exactly what I did – I waited until the next day to yell at James, and he waited until the next day to yell (some more) at me.

“SUMMER ORIONA LANCASTER!” Oh no. The full name. Oh bugger. Shit. Maybe if I get down on my knees I can just crawl to the door and try to escape. That sounds like quite a good plan. Yep. Ace.

“Would you like to explain to me what the bloody fucking hell was going through that pit you call a brain yesterday? Dressing like a whore and dancing like a slag with Potter - one of your best friends! And what the fuck is with that Davies bloke as well – do I need to beat him up?”

I don’t think he took a breath in that entire sentence.

“Hello Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy. Yes, I did enjoy myself yesterday, thank you for asking. Yes, I was scarred for life after seeing you snog darling Rose Weasley against a wall, and yes, I am going to make our birthday party a living hell for you because of it.” I smiled sweetly.

Scorpius looked livid.

Oh, I do like winding him up. It’s so much fun. They should make it an Olympic sport.

Explain yourself.” He hissed.

“Well, how about – I’m not a freaking nun, Scorpius. I can dress how I like and it’s bloody nothing to do with you. You act like a complete and total arsehole with every ‘girlfriend’ you’ve ever had, and yet when I want to have a bit of fun all of a sudden I’m in trouble?! You are such an arrogant, conceited arsehole.”

“Oh don’t try and pull that shit with me, you knew –” Scorpius’ furious tirade was interrupted by a certain redheaded someone sidling up to our table with some random bloke on her arm.

“Hi!” Rose grinned at us all, seemingly oblivious to the raging argument going on between me and Scorpius, whose skin had suddenly gone the colour of badly mixed porridge.

“Hey, Rosie.” James grinned, flashing a lovely smile full of the chicken he was eating.

Honestly, sometimes I wonder where the parents went wrong with their family. Their table manners are absolutely appalling. What, where they born in a barn?

“Hey everyone,” She greeted back, and James looked a little put out that he didn’t get his own greeting. Well, someone’s up themselves. “I just want you all to meet Jack Goldstein – he’s been my boyfriend for a couple of weeks now.”

What? What? WHAT?

“What?” Took the words right out of my mouth, Scorpy-boy. My sentiments exactly.

“Sorry Malfoy, are you unfamiliar with the concept of a boyfriend? I imagine that you would be, considering the total bints that you date.” I’m sorry – is Rose Weasley, otherwise known as the Nicest Person on the Planet, really being a bitch?

Quite a bitchy bitch, in all honesty.

“And he’s been your boyfriend for a couple of weeks, has he?” Scorpius snarled. “Funny, I don’t remember seeing the two of you together at the party last night.”

Rose flushed slightly pink and Jack Goldstein ruffled his hair, looking a little bit uncomfortable. I don’t blame the lad, this whole situation just screams awkward.

Like the turtle.

Actually, if I ever got a pet turtle I wouldn’t call him Awkward, I’d call him Torpedo. That’s a much better name for a turtle. Anyway.

“Unfortunately, I had a detention yesterday evening and was unable to attend the little get together in the Room of Requirement. However, I’m sure Rose had a marvellous time without me.” Jack Goldstein smiled charmingly at us all.

The blokes stared at him in horror as the girl sighed and stared up creepily at his face. Seriously, that boy is fine. If he ever comes out with a naked calendar then I’m buying twelve. And not sharing any of them. I may suggest that to him later.

But seriously – that accent. Pure British. Screw James, I want him. Not that it is anything to do with James, because it’s not. At all. If I wanted to be with someone then it would be absolutely nothing to do with James, okay?!

“Yeah, I’m sure she had a great time too.” Scorpius hissed, never taking his eyes off Rose’s pink face. My heart ached for the poor bloke, which was odd considering I had been screaming at him less than two minutes ago.

“I’m sure she did. Anyway, I must dash, I have to go and see McGonagall about an essay that I’m having a spot of trouble with.” Jack leaned down, took my hand and pressed his lips against it – James stiffened and glared at him as though his life depended on it – and smiled charmingly at Dom and Penny. Fred and Connor didn’t look to happy about that either.

Leaning down to kiss Rose on the cheek – good job he didn’t snog her, or I might have just jumped him right there and then – and then headed out of the hall.

“Bloody hell Rose, he’s fucking gorgeous.” Dom screeched, and Rose flushed. Connor coughed pointedly.

“I agree – he is one good looking bloke.” Penny chimed in, and Fred threw his fork down at the table and crossed his arms.

“I don’t think my brain is working properly – so very British, gorgeous, charming... I’m in love. Move over Rosie, he’s mine.” I breathed, staring at the door that he had left from. James kicked me rather hard under the table, his jaw clenched. Connor stared at us both afterwards, a little suspicion glinting in his eyes.

“What a bloody git.” Fred said.

“Arsehole.”

“Prick.”

“Bleeding wanker.” James, Connor and Scorpius agreed. I nearly slapped them right here and then.

“So Rose, would you like to tell me why you snogged the fucking daylights out of me last night when you had a boy friend that nobody knew about?” Scorpius asked, a scarily calm tone taking over his voice.

“What?!” Fred and James yelped. It was my turn to kick them.

Felt good.

“I was drunk, Malfoy.” See, and there is another reason that I don’t drink. You people should really follow my example. “I didn’t mean for it to happen – but then again, it’s not like you weren’t snogging some other drunk girl after I left.”

“Please, like I would snog anyone after snogging you.” Scorpius’ voice was softer now, though anger was still glimmering in his eyes. Rose froze.

James opened his mouth to talk, but was cut off as I kicked him a particularly sensitive place. In my own defence, I was aiming for his leg. He whined and sank his head down onto the table.

“Uhm... I think I need to go.” Rose said quietly, and before Scorpius could even think of a response, she had turned on her heel and hightailed it out of the great hall.

Well, he’s fucked.

~*~

“Erm, Summer?” James said suddenly, a little while later. I glanced up from my dinner to stare at him. “Do you wanna head up to the library and work on that essay we got set a while ago that’s due soon?”

Good grief. With acting skills like that, how the fuck we’ve not been found out is beyond me.

“Sure.” I glared at him slightly and grabbed my bag off the bench, ignoring the ‘I know something is going on here’ look from Connor.

“And what essay would that be, James? Because I might have to come with you – I haven’t written a couple of essays that I need to.” Connor grinned, and my spidey senses started to tingle. Is he onto us? Connor hates coming to the library with James and I, he says that we never shut up whilst he’s trying to work.

“It’s Care of Magical Creatures, Con, you’re not in that class.” James shot Connor a quick grin and Connor cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh right. What’s it about then?” Damn him. Why does he choose now to be all interested in our lives. Honestly. Annoying git.

“It’s about the differences between Hinkypunks and Bitgers, and how you would treat the bite for each if you came across them in the wilderness.” James rattled off, not even looking slightly guilty. And shit, that actually is an essay that we have to do and I haven’t done it yet.

Snog James. Essay. Snog James. Essay. Snog James. Essay. Snog James...

Snog James. Screw the essay. I’ll copy Penny’s.

“Oh, well I have a charms essay to write so I’ll just come and sit with you.” What? “You don’t mind, do you?” Oh, if he wasn’t such a nice guy then I would be taking my fork and ramming it straight into his –

Never mind.

“Oi, you’re not going anywhere.” Dom said, pulling on the front of Connor’s shirt to get him back down onto the bench. “It’s our date in an hour; you can’t go and do homework.” Dom kissed him quickly on the cheek and Connor relaxed slightly, wrapping his arm around Dom’s shoulder.

This is the first and last time I will ever say this, but thank Merlin for Dominique Weasley.

“Come on, let’s go.” James said quickly, before anyone else could try and jump on the bandwagon.

~*~

Ew. Ew. Ew. I will never be the same. My poor eyes will forever be tainted with the horribly scarring image in front of me. I will never be able to sleep without nightmares again, this image will forever be stained onto the back of my eyelids.

And the sad news is that this is not the first time I have seen it. Urgh. I’m pretty sure that is a sign that I need new friends.

Fred was snogging some bint – I’m actually not sure what her name is. She’s probably one of Scorpius’ ex girlfriends – at the breakfast table, not even bothering to acknowledge the fact that none of us wanted to see his salivary amylase that close up. I wouldn’t mind, we tried to go and sit somewhere else and he detached himself long enough to guilt us into not leaving, or he would feel abandoned. Honestly.

“So, how was your date with Connor last night?” I asked Dom. “And while we’re at it, how did he get up the stairs to our dorm yesterday morning?”

“It was amazing. He’s so sweet and kind and funny and I really, really like him and he’s just perfect and he had all the house elves make my favourite dinners and he told me about how he’s liked me for ages and then we snogged for a bit and he is bloody fantastic at snogging and I would snog him right now but he had to go and do that charms essay he was talking about this morning and I really want him to come back her because he’s sweet and charming and the best boyfriend that I’ve ever had and –”

“DOM, BREATHE! Bloody hell woman, I wanted to know how your date went, not a bloody essay!” I cut her off, and gave her a second to catch her breath again.

“Sorry, I just really, really like him.” She blushed, and all of a sudden I felt this odd urge to cry. I don’t know, maybe it’s because Dom has been out with more arseholes than I can count, or maybe it’s because they’re both my friends and – I dunno. But it’s sweet as fuck.

“Hello, sweetheart.” Connor said, pecking Dom on the cheek and sliding down onto the bench next to her, wrapping his arm around her waist, not even noticing the two fucking eels across the table.

“Did I tell you that you look beautiful today?” He whispered.

“Twice.” Dom giggled.

Urgh. I take it back. They’re already annoying me. They’re too bleeding sweet; they’re going to give me a freaking cavity if they’re not careful. I was just about to open my gob and tell them exactly what I thought of their creepy cuteness when something incredibly shocking happened.

“You know, Fred, some of us are trying to eat our dinner here. Can you go and do that somewhere where members of the public are not subjected to the disgusting view?” Penny snapped, slamming her knife and fork down onto her plate and glaring at Fred and Whatsherface.

Did Penny just snap at someone? She only ever does that when she’s drunk/has a hangover. I have never seen her snap at anyone in an ordinary situation before.

I think I’m in shock.

Fred slowly pulled herself away from the girl’s face – which a charming noise like a plunger being pulled out of the loo – and turned to stare at Penny, and I couldn’t help but notice that a little smirk seemed to be playing at the corners of his lips.

“What, does it bother you, Penelope? It doesn’t seem to bother you when you and Owen snog over at the Slytherin table.” His tone was slightly cold, and I didn’t understand. Fred is never cold, especially not with Penny.

God almighty, what the bloody hell is everyone on today?

First Dom is snuggling and then Penny is snapping and then Fred is being cold, and what the bloody hell is with everyone changing all of a sudden?

“I am a prefect, Fred Weasley, and I do not think it’s appropriate for that scene to be... performed in front of the younger students. Go and be a manwhore upstairs, please.”

... and I repeat – what the bloody hell is going on here?

“Then we’ll go.” Fred said, his tone colder still. Thinking on it, he’s been in a bit of a funny mood since this morning – right around the time that Dom cracked a joke about what Penny had been up to last night.

He seized the arm of the girl next to him – at least, I think she was a girl. She looked more like some kind of deformed stick insect to me – and began to drag her down the aisle, not even bothering to glance back.

Connor blinked a couple of times and put down the chicken leg he was eating, Dom stared at the spot he had left in shock for a moment and James looked like someone had punched him in the gut – oh wait, that was me.

Penny’s eyes looked slightly glassy, and then without a word to any of us she pushed herself off the bench and half ran out of the great hall. We all turned to look at each other at the same time, equal expressions of horror on each of our faces.

Did the Slytherins pay the house elves to put something in our food again?

Bleeding wankers.

~*~

Connor, Dom, James and I were sitting together in the common room together a little while later, just reading and occasionally scratching down a couple of lines on our plans for the bleeding essays we had to write later.

Dom and Connor were sharing the armchair in front of the fire and James and I were squashed on a small couch together, me cross legged and James lounging diagonally with his feet propped up on the coffee table in front of us.

Every minute or so James’ knee would knock against mine, whether because he had dropped his quill again or was flaunting his apparent disability to stay still for longer than a minute.

But it was odd – every time his knee brushed mine, whatever the reason, I could feel the blush creep slowly up my neck and pool beneath my cheeks.

James would make an odd choking noise and start to write very fast, concentrating very hard, though whatever he was writing didn’t look like understandable English.

Connor seemed to notice something was up between us, because every now and then he would stop reading and writing and just watch the two of us for a moment, smirking slightly every time I flushed or James choked.

I don’t like that ‘I know what you’re doing’ look he keeps giving us.

It makes me feel like he knows something that I don’t want him to know.

Though I’m not sure what it is.

James’ knee knocked mine again, but this time a little harder than last time and his hand shot out to grab the knee that had hit me, but his hand landed on my thigh instead.

We both (and Connor) stared at his hand in horror for a second before he snatched it away, clutching it to his chest as though I was some kind of rabid animal that had just attempted to chew it off or something.

We never used to be like this. What changed?

~*~

Summer,

We need to talk, love. Charms classroom, midnight, tonight. Wear something short, yeah? Or see through. Or short and see through. I’m not fussed. Or wear nothing. Whatever.

James.

I rolled my eyes and set the note on fire quickly, tossing the ashes onto the carpet.

Can’t have any of those nosy buggers that I share a dorm with finding it and henceforth finding out about a certain something that might be going on between the eldest Potter and I. Even if it is purely physical. Ish.

So at ten to eleven I was ninja rolling down the charms corridor – in a pair of denim shorts and a see through black blouse, but that is neither here nor there – and glancing round the corners of each wall before I turned the corner, pure ninja style.

I should get a badge or something. Pure Ninja Here, or something along those lines.

So with all the extra time it took to roll down the corridors, lie on the floor for a bit in agony and then stagger down the rest of the corridor clutching the searing pain in my side, I had only just reached the classroom by the time the clock on the wall turned to midnight.

I tucked some hair behind my ear and pushed into the classroom, and the moment the door crashed open James spun around.

The light from the oil lamp behind his head cast an odd glow on his skin, his warm brown eyes shining out at me and his skin looking a delicious toffee colour in the darkness.

He was dressed in nothing but a pair of deep blue jeans and a tight grey t-shirt, which showed off those Quidditch muscles of his in a way that was so hot that it should have been made freaking illegal.

How he doesn’t get done for indecent exposure is beyond me.

Or very decent exposure, whatever.

I crossed the gap between us in less than two seconds, my arms flinging around his neck and my lips slamming against his with enough force to knock over a freaking lorry, all the awkwardness from this afternoon seemingly forgotten.

James’ arms wrapped around my waist and he scooped me up, pressing my bag against the wall and hooking my legs around his hips as I tugged his t-shirt off over his head, tossing it onto the floor without a second glance.

“So what – did – you want – to – talk – about?” I gasped between breaths as he moved his lips to my neck.

There was a moment of silence as James worked on leaving a huge hickey in the dip before my collarbone, and then his voice panted out against my neck.

“Dunno. Can’t remember.” I went to laugh but was cut off by his lips returning to mine.

This was it. Whatever shit seemed to be happening between us lately was irrelevant, because this was the reason that we started all this in the first place. This feeling when his lips were on mine, his hands touching my skin, his fingers knotted in my hair – it was perfect. That was why I agreed to this in the first place, I wanted that feeling without having to be tied down to someone, having someone else to have time for, to look after and go on stupid things like dates with. But this is different – it’s just feeling. That’s all I want. And all the rest doesn’t matter.

As long as this feeling stays, the floating feeling, the fun, the feeling that what I’m doing is right and not as wrong as it sounds when you put it on paper, then I’m not going anywhere. And neither is he, if the growling noises he’s making are anything to go by.

I was lying on the teacher’s desk with James help up by his elbows over me when it happened. When the one thing that James and I had worked so hard to make sure didn’t happen, happened.

James’ lips had just returned to my lips, my hands running up his stomach when a voice I recognised all too well rang out across the room, sounding a little more than horrified at what they were seeing.

“I knew it! I knew there was something going on between you two, I just knew it!”

Because standing in the doorway, clutching the Marauder’s Map in one hand and his wand in other, all dressed down in a set of Quaffle pyjamas and a pair of fluffy slippers, staring at us as though he could not physically believe what he was seeing, was Connor.

...

Well, we’re screwed.

 




disclaimer: none of this belongs to me. i own nothing that you recognise.

dun dun dun! i know a lot of people have been waiting for this chapter for a long time, and they've finally been caught. im sure a lot of you knew that it was going to be connor that found out eventually. so how do you think he's going to react? any guesses?

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 14: The One After the Cliffhanger
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disclaimer: none of this belongs to me. i own nothing you recognise.

 




James Potter is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest git on the face of the entire planet. Upon being discovered snogging on a teacher's desk by your best friend, most people would have gotten off said desk and put their shirt back on, correct?

But not James. Nooo.

Instead, James turned his head, stared at Connor like a gormless monkey for a moment and blinked. Then opened his mouth. Then closed it again. Then opened it. Then closed it. Open. Closed.

He looked like a goldfish. Connor looked like he'd been punched in the face. So did I, for that matter.

"Connor –" I started, but he held up one finger to silence me, his eyes slightly narrowed and trained on James. Well, at least he doesn't look angry with me. James opened his mouth again, managed to make one noise that sounded like what could have been the beginning of a word, then was silenced as Connor's finger was once again held up to stop him.

The room was eerily quiet.

It's kind of weird, actually. It's like Nearly Headless Nick is going to pop out of the wall any second and offer us a brew. But that would be weird.

And then sanity hit me again.

Shoving James off me and to the floor, where he thankfully landed on his feet, I grabbed his shirt off the ground and shoved it to his chest, trying not to whimper as he pulled it on.

I really have reached new levels of pathetic.

Connor had still not said a word.

So I turned to face him. Parked my arse on the end of a desk, pulled James down next to me and looked at him. Just waiting for him to talk, or shout, or throw things, or whatever the hell he was going to do.

"How long?" He eventually croaked. I blinked for a moment. If he knew that something was going on between James and I – according to his triumphant exclamations of 'I knew it!' when he found us – then why does he seem so surprised?

James and I glanced at each other quickly, but said nothing. Is there any way you can say that this has been going on for just over a year and it not sound really bad?

"How – long?" Connor asked again, this time through gritted teeth. I swallowed. Coughed slightly. Ran my fingers through my hair. Kicked James in the ankle – that was for no reason, I just wanted to something to do. But still I said nothing.

"A year and a bit." James said calmly from next to me.

Connor looked like James had just announced that he was moving to Poland to become a naked husky racer, the way his mouth fell open and his eyes grew to the size of saucers.

"A year! A freaking year?" Oh no. This is not what I hoped was going to happen.

Well, what was I hoping that was going to happen? That Connor was going to smile, shrug and let us get on with whatever was going on without getting in the way? Yeah, like that was going to happen.

"Yeah, but –" I started, but Connor didn't seem to care what I had to say.

"How in god's name can you two have been dating for over a year and not told us? How could you do that? I thought I was one of your best friends, but you just don't seem to care about that at all! Summer, you even helped me get together with Dom, and you don't even trust me enough to tell me that you're with James – am I that bad of a friend? I feel like such a fucking idiot – and yes, I did just drop the f-bomb, Summer, you don't need to gape at me. I'm so fucking offended that you won't even believe it-"

"CONNOR, TAKE A BREATH, MAN. You know we trust you, don't be an ass." Does James have any tact whatsoever?

"Take a breath – take a bleeding breath? You two are dating, and shagging by the looks of things, and you-"

"We're not dating."

... well. You could probably hear crickets chirping in here.

Connor stared in horror at the pair of us for a moment, before what sounded like a very warped chuckle escaped his lips. He blinked a few times, and then laughed again.

"You're not dating. Right. Then what are you doing, exactly?" He looked sort of amused, for the first time that evening. A smirk – a James-like smirk, not a Connor-like smirk – was lilting the corners of his mouth. He thought he'd caught us – he thought he'd cornered us into admitting we were dating.

He thought wrong.

"We're snogging." James shrugged, as though it was no big deal.

Yeah Connor, I've been snogging our mutual best friend for over a year – since I broke up with my long term ex, actually – and never bothered to tell you. We sneak out to together pretty much every night, but it's not a big deal. I'm James fucking Potter. This isn't even a blip on my radar. Nah. No biggie.

Connor clearly disagreed with my mental James impression, as he went the colour of porridge and looked like he was choking on his own saliva.

Oh, Dom is one lucky, lucky girl.

"You're snogging. So what, this is just a weekly thing where you get together and snog each other for no reason whatsoever other than your apparent inability to keep your hormones in check? Jesus James, I thought you had more respect for her than that!"

Wait, what? Who said that James doesn't have respect for me?

"Oi, who said that I don't have respect for her?" Took the words out of my mouth, James. You know what they say, great minds think alike. Of course Dom, being the charmer she is, tends to lean towards the phrase 'fools rarely differ'.

She's a lovely person deep down. Way deep down.

"Well James, would you say I respected Dom if I snogged her for a fucking year and didn't bother to make her my girlfriend? What, all the physical stuff and none of the relationship stuff?" There was something in his voice that made me feel almost ashamed of what James and I were doing – he just made it sound so wrong, like what we were doing was stupid and not just a bit of fun.

He just sounded so disappointed. Like he expected better of us or something.

He made me feel like I was five years old again and had just been caught scribbling on the walls in crayon, and instead of yelling at me for it, Mum would stand there and shoot me this look.

Just a look. The 'I expect more of you than this, Summer' look.

I bloody hate that look.

"Well, is that to say that Summer doesn't respect me, then?" James snapped, clearly angry that his best friend apparently thought so little of him.

"Don't be stupid, of course that's not what I'm saying," Connor began, but I cut him off.

"So what, it's different because I'm the girl? Because we snog but I'm not his girlfriend, that means I'm the one being used? You know full well that I don't like dating people, I think that huge fuck up with Andrew in fifth year proved that."

Connor blinked.

"I didn't mean James was using you because you're a girl, but it just seems like he is using you," he tried to explain, but James spoke over him.

"OI! Why do you automatically assume that I'm the user and not the usee?" He snapped. "For all you know, I could have begged and begged Summer to be my girlfriend and she refuses because she wants nothing else other than to have my tongue stuck down her throat!"

Connor froze for a moment, blinked again, and then leant forward to clap James' hand in one of those bromance high fives. Then he leant back and folded his arms again.

I will never understand the complete insanity that is the boy brain.

"Hey!" I cried, glaring at James. He smirked and slapped my arse, pulling me into his chest, attaching his lips to the side of my neck and giving it a couple of quick kisses.

"EW! Bloody stop that, that is freaking disgusting!" Connor cried, dramatically slapping his hands over his eyes and dropping onto a chair near to him, leaning his head down on the desk and muttering about his poor eyes being scarred for life.

Right, like Fred hasn't done that to all of us already.

I smirked at James and he winked, so I leaned forwards waited until Connor looked up and kissed James lightly on the lips, pulling his bottom lip away with my teeth.

Connor made a noise like similar to that of a drunk throwing up, and James smirked at me. Yeah, that will teach you to walk in on James and I snogging. We will scar you for life in punishment.

"How did you find us, anyway?" James asked, pulling me onto his knee and resting his head on my shoulder so that he could watch Connor, his fingers idly tracing hearts and stars onto the backs of my wrists. Connor was staring at us like we had sprouted three heads.

Which would admittedly be pretty cool.

"You left the Marauder's Map out on your bed, and I noticed that you'd disappeared. I was sending a letter to Dom," he explained, blushing a little, and it was bloody adorable, "and I asked her whether she knew where you were. She didn't, but she happened to mention that Summer wasn't in her dorm either. So I checked the Map and saw your dots pretty much on top of each other in this classroom," At this point James and I both flushed a pale pink, "so I followed you down here."

I turned my head slightly to look at James, and then snapped my arm forwards and backwards so I could elbow him in the chest.

"How could you be so fucking stupid? After everything we've done over the past year to keep this a secret, you just go and leave the Map lying on the bed. What the bloody hell is wrong with you? I swear to god, James Potter, you are such a fucking twat that it is fucking unreal, now my fucking best friend knows what we're doing and I feel like a fucking –"

"Summer, will you bloody mind your language?" Connor snapped, his eyes wide.

Well, sorry Mr High and Mighty. I do apologise if my language is disturbing the peaceful zen that surrounds someone as wonderful and calm and perfect as you.

"Well maybe if you hadn't been so bleeding obvious all the time, he wouldn't have gotten suspicious in the first place!" James cried.

Oh, the git.

"Maybe, Summer my love, he noticed that you don't seem to be able to keep your hands off me. I don't blame you, I am a bloody good looking bloke,"

"Modest, too." I muttered.

"But you're just going to have to embrace the fact that your desperation to shag me as often as possible has resulted in Connor sensing there being a little something off between us." He smirked down at me.

"You say that like I'm shagging you." I cocked an eyebrow.

"Wait, you're not shagging?" Connor asked. "Wow James, you've been snogging her for a year but haven't shagged her yet?" He smirked slightly and ruffled his hair, probably feeling a lot better about the fact that him and Dom hadn't had a roll in the hay yet.

Why do they say 'a roll in the hay'? It's not like anyone would actually roll around in hay at a time like that.

"Of course I've shagged her." James rolled his eyes at Connor like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I blinked a couple of times and then smacked him across the desk, pushing his arms from around me and glaring at him. "What?" James asked. "You really thought I was going to admit that I wasn't getting any?"

"But you're not getting any!"

"Yeah, but he doesn't need to know that!"

"James, you've just said out loud that you're not screwing her..." Connor said, and James frowned slightly, looking a little annoyed at himself.

Honestly, if brains were dynamite he wouldn't have enough to blow his hat off.

"See, if you had just fucked me when I asked the first time, then we wouldn't have had to have this conversation." James grumbled, elbowing me in the side and pouting slightly. Honestly, the boy is worse than a teenage girl sometimes.

"What? What happened to 'I don't know if sex is the right thing for us anyway'?" I said, widening my eyes and jabbing my finger at the gap between his eyebrows.

"I never said that." James said, such an innocent expression on his face that I almost believed him.

"Yes you did!"

"No I didn't."

"You did!"

"Not."

Then it hit me – one of those golden brain waves that all those geniuses have all the time. Well, maybe not a brain wave, per se. More like a brain ripple. But hey, it was a thought of the brain area regardless.

Ignoring the fact that Connor was watching the two of us with an expression flashing between horror, curiosity and nausea – as well as the good old 'pissed off' expression, but that really goes without saying – I laid my hands on the front of James' chest and kicked my leg over his knee, sitting on his lap, so close to his face that our noses were just brushing each others.

"Then let's shag." I smirked, brushing my lips against his before I kissed the skin below his earlobe. James tensed up, his shoulders stiffening so tightly that he looked like some kind of freakishly lifelike robot.

Connor crawled under the desk behind me, his hands clapped over his eyes.

I nibbled along the bottom of James' earlobe, then along his collarbone and finally placing a soft kiss on his Adam's apple.

"Come on James, you wanted to shag." I smirked, and James looked like someone had ripped his tongue out and glued his eyeballs open, by the expression on his face.

"I-I... well, I-" With one final smirk, I kicked off James' knee and dropped onto the desk that Connor was squatted under, grinning so widely that I could probably pass for the Cheshire Cat.

Except not pink and stripy. But I've the smile bang on. Because I am just that awesome.

"I am never going to get used to this." Connor groaned from under the desk. "I don't care if you two get married, I am never going to get used to seeing the two of you like that." I blinked for a moment, glanced at James and we both broke out in synchronised hysterical laughter.

Right. James and I getting married one day. Of course. That's going to happen.

Connor poked his head around the side of the desk, sighed in relief when he was us sitting a metre apart and sat down on the chair behind me, his confusion creasing the skin between his eyebrows. He really is a cutie, you know. I may have to kill Dom so I can have him.

"What's so funny?" He asked. "All I said was, if you guys got married,"

He was cut off by another round of hysterical laughter, me doubled over on the desk wiping away the tears that were rolling down my cheeks, and James clutching his stomach as he tried to breathe through the guffaws.

"What? What's so funny about me saying you two might get married?"

"Please, Con, stop – you're killing me here, mate." James laughed, rubbing at stitch in his side as I tried to regain control of my breathing.

"In what universe are James and I ever going to end up married? We've been snogging for a year and we haven't even been on a date, love. So I highly doubt that we're ever going to bloody get a ring on my finger, yeah?" I laughed, shaking my head at his stupidity.

Connor looked a little bit disappointed.

"So you guys aren't ever gonna date, then? I was wondering before if you could double date with Dom and I."

That sobered us right up.

"You can't tell Dom!" I screeched, jumping off the desk so fast that it collapsed backwards and landed with a clatter on the floor, the metal legs poking in the air. If someone lands on that later then they're going to be killed.

Oh well. Not my problem.

Connor's eyes widened slightly, before he shook his head and ran his hands through his hair.

"Two things. One – I don't think I even understand what is going on here, let alone be able to explain it to someone else, and two – are you honestly asking me to lie to my girlfriend when we've only just started dating?"

Damn. Here it comes again. That guilty, ashamed feeling. I don't like it. If I shove Connor out of that window over there then he won't be able to make me feel it anymore...

"Well... yes." I shrugged, a little something seemed to fall in Connor's expression, almost like he was hoping that I was going to say something else. "You don't have to lie to her – you just have to... withhold information, if you will."

Connor stared at me for a moment, then closed his arms across the chest and attempted a look that I think was supposed to be menacing. The fact he looked nervous about doing it made the whole thing a lot less convincing.

"I tell you what – I will think about not telling Dom what you guys are doing, if you explain everything to me. What this messed up relationship is, what you are planning to do in the future, how it even started."

Didn't seem so bad. I was expecting Connor to demand twenty midget slaves to carry his books around and feed him three peeled grapes every two and a quarter minutes, whilst a choir of wood nymphs play miniature violins every time he walks down a corridor. But no. Just explain what's going on, and you can be on your merry way. Sounds good to me.

I opened my mouth to start talking when something made me stop. James looked the exact opposite of me – as though this way the very worst thing that Connor could have possibly asked for.

I forgot. If there are two things that James can't stand, it's other people knowing his business, and talking about the past. And with this being a mesh of the two, you can't blame the bloke for not wanting to skip through fields of flowers playing the saxophone.

Which I hope he never does, because that would be very weird.

I watched him for a while and smiled slightly, watching him for any signs of how he was feeling. Honestly, sometimes it's hard, him acting like such a bloody rock all the time. But I don't give a flying shit if he doesn't want Connor to know, I will do whatever to stop Dom finding out.

It's not that I don't trust her, it's just... I want to be the one to tell her, if I ever have to. Yeah, I can just imagine how that conversation would go –

"Hey Dom, I just want to know that I've been making out with your cousin every day for a year."

"What?"

"Yeah, James and I. I'm off to snog him now, actually."

"AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME? YOU BITCH! And what, you're not dating him? What, is my cousin not good enough for you or something, huh, missy? Yeah, well you would be lucky to have James, you spoiled little cow! I can't believe you!"

And then she would go and tell the next person that she saw, not because she is mean like that, but because Dom can't keep a secret to save her life. So no. That's not gonna happen.

Nuh-uh. Nopes. Not while I still have a wand in my back pocket and breath in my gob.

"It was a couple of days after James broke up with Natalie – not that I know why that happened –" I shot James a pointed look, but he just stuck his finger up at me. Charming. "And we had that huge Gryffindor party to try and get him off his arse and cheer him up. We both drank far more than we should have,"

Connor interrupted me, one of his eyebrows shooting upwards and his mouth closing into a flat white line.

"See, I knew you were going to make something up!" He protested, jabbing a finger in my direction. I frowned. I'm not lying... "Summer, don't even bother, you're practically famous at this school for not drinking at parties, so don't try and make it sound like you were drunk and didn't know what you were doing."

"Ah, you don't remember." I said, suddenly remembering. "I used to drink a little bit, and I mean a little bit, but Andrew and I had just had that huge screaming match at each other, and I ended up breaking up with him,"

"After screaming your plans for his immediate castration, I remember..." Connor chuckled.

"And I was pretty cut up about it; because that was the reason I hadn't wanted to date in first place. I didn't want the heartache, the fighting, the jealousy. But being with Andrew had given me all that, so I just wanted something else – something to make me forget what a shithead my ex was."

I glanced at James, who looked a little sad; like thinking about it brought back things he didn't want to remember. I know it wasn't a great time for him, but hey – it's this or Dom.

"I found James in his dormitory – I wasn't going to find him for that, Dom had sent me to find out where he was – and he was drinking his way through a bottle of vodka all on his own. I took the drink from him and sat down on the bed, and we..."

I ran my hand through my hair.

"Ended up snogging on my bed for twenty minutes." James said quietly from the corner, his brown eyes surveying me softly as I blushed at the memory. Because I may have been pissed out of my skull, but I remember – I had been the one that kissed him.

Yeah, bet you all didn't expect that, huh?

So I went on to explain about how James and I had been too embarrassed to so much as look at each other the next day, how we had met in some corridor to try and talk things over – much to James' reluctance – and he had ended up snogging me against a statue of Gertrude the Gigantic (seriously, where do they come up with these names?).

And the same thing happened for pretty much every night for the next week, whenever we tried to talk things over we just ended up snogging right there and then. So James had suggested being friends with benefits, and keeping it a secret. And as we were both drunk again at the time (he'd crashed into Natalie and Andrew had given the underwear I left over at his dorm back) I'd somehow managed to convince myself that it was a good idea. And thus, our very strange situation was born.

Connor just looked even more confused by the end of my explanation.

I guess that shows something about my explaining skills then, huh?

"So what are you then? The pair of you, what are you?"

"She's my best friend." James shrugged, sliding off his own desk and wrapping his arms around my torso in a tight hug, kissing my cheek gently under I forced myself to smile. "And I love her to pieces, which is why I want you to really understand that I am not using her."

Connor nodded, looking a little appeased.

"I don't like this – this whole thing. Maybe it's the way I was raised, or just the way I am, but I just don't think that you can be in a purely physical relationship with one of your best friends and not have it be wrong – you just can't."

I shrugged.

"You're going to end up dating one day, I'm telling you this now." James and I both snorted. "Even if I personally have to see to it, I will make sure that you guys end up dating."

With a cheery wink at mine and James' horrified expressions, he began to head out the room. "And no, I won't tell Dom – but if you guys ever fuck up your friendship because of this mess, then I'm telling whoever I see fit to fix it. Oh, and keep me out of it. I know this is only going to cause trouble."

With Connor's oh so inspirational speech finished, he headed out the door, closing it softly behind him.

Huh. Went better than I thought it would.

~*~

"You alright, Dom?" I asked, plopping down on the end of her bed and leaning forwards to muss up the front part of her shimmery blonde hair. She immediately shrieked and leapt off the bed like it had burned her, rushing to the mirror to immediately fix it.

Yes, god forbid that her hair looks messy. Because that would just be the end of the world.

"Yeah, I'm okay. Where have you been, anyway? It's one o'clock in the morning." I blinked a couple of times and got up off her bed, busying myself with sorting the bottles of perfume on Dom's bedside table into height order.

"Uhm, I was just in the library with James." I shrugged, and noticing Dom frown slightly, I quickly added, "Connor was with us as well, he came to find us. We had fallen asleep at the table."

Dom shook her head lightly.

"You and James go to the library way too often, you know. You're going to end up like Penny, spending half your life in there." She chuckled under her breath. I had to resist from rolling my eyes.

Oh Dommie. How little you know me.

"What are you doing up, anyway?" I asked, pulling her back down onto the end of the bed and properly looking at her. Her eyes were worried, dints in her lip as though she had been biting it, her fingers toying with a stray thread on the bottom of her pyjama shirt.

"Oh, no reason. I'm fine." She shrugged lightly, innocence practically dripping from her words. And I didn't believe her for one second.

"What's worrying you?" I asked flatly, shooting her a look that told her not to bother denying it.

"Penny – she... she got into another fight with Kane tonight." She bit her lip again, and I sank my head down onto my knees as I groaned. I'll just kill him, that's easiest. Everyone alright with that? Yeah? Right, I'll start planning.

"What was this one about? Was there even a reason?" I asked my knees.

"Yeah, there was – not a good one, like, but when is there ever a good reason? I remember that fight they had – well, he had – because she was breathing too loudly when they ate dinner together." Dom rolled her eyes and I winced at the memory. "This one was because she left his dorm this morning without waking him up to say goodbye – said she was a rude, selfish bitch who didn't give a fuck about him."

"But if she had woken him up to tell him she was leaving, he would have yelled at her for waking him up." I shook my head at the absurdity.

"Exactly. She can't win with him."

"So that's what's got you so worried? Because Penny and Kane had another fight? You should be used to it, it happens every other day." I raised my eyebrows at Dom slightly, and was surprised to see that her eyes were a little glassy.

"No, that's not all. Well, she said she was feeling sick before, and she's spent nearly the whole night throwing up – and about the third time I went in to hold her hair back. Her wrist... her wrist has this huge bruise on it, it's absolutely horrible. Like someone has grabbed hold and twisted her arm or something – really, really hard."

I gasped quietly.

"And when I tried to ask her about it, she went really white and covered it with her sleeve, and practically ran from the bathroom. You don't think... you don't think he..." Dom shot me a look, and we both knew exactly what she was talking about.

"No, no, of course not." I said, only to reassure Dom. I knew perfectly well that he was capable of doing something like that. "Penny isn't stupid – if he did something like that, I have no doubt that she would leave him. Of course she would."

Would she?

~*~

"You girls alright?" Penny asked quietly, stepping out of the bathroom and into the dorm.

She was wrapped in a fluffy white towel, her long hair in deep brown tangles down her back, slicked back off her face with the water from the shower.

Dom looked up from painting her nails to smile at her, and promptly knocked the nail varnish bottle off the bed and onto the floor, where crimson red liquid began to seep out onto the carpet. But Dom didn't seem to care, because she stepped over it and quickly headed over to Penny, brushing a few stray tangles out of the way so she could peer at her neck.

... that's a little creeperish, Dommie my love.

"Penelope Wright, would you like to explain these bruises on your neck to me?" Dom hissed. "And the scratches down the top of your arm."

Penny went very white and quickly stumbled away from Dom, pulling her hair away from her back and trying to cover her neck with it. Yeah, nice try love. There are two of us and one of you, and we're both stronger.

I don't think you've got much hope if we both want to know something.

"I walked into a bush by accident, that's how I got the scratches." Penny said quickly, brushing some hair away from her forehead, "and the bruises on my neck are just hickeys."

Dom stood back and glared – I knew that glare. Dom Weasley can't stand being lied to – and she knew Penny was lying. Oh bloody hell, this is going to get ugly, isn't it?

"Your bruises are just below your collarbone, you don't get them there, Penny! Believe me, I would know! And Summer always seems to have some form of hickey – though I don't know how, because she's a total prude – so I'm sure she'd be able to tell you the same thing."

"Well of course they're hickeys, how else would I have gotten bruises like that –"

"Did he hit you?"

Penny went white again, her hands moving upwards to clutch her towel tighter around herself, her long hair swinging sideways to cover her face as she sank down on the end of the nearest bed. I grabbed Dom's dressing gown and wrapped it around her shoulders, taking a quick glance at the nasty red grooves first.

Shallow cuts were lined up along the tops of both of her shoulders, with a smattered pattern of purple bruises lining the bare skin of her chest.

I felt a little sick, closed my eyes and stepped back. Penny still hadn't spoken.

"Penny – did he hit you?" Dom asked again.

There was a very pregnant pause. Her eyes were shut lightly, a crease on her forehead and her hands clutching the fluffy belt of the dressing gown so hard that her knuckles had gone white and were straining against her skin.

Penny shook her head minutely, the movement so small that I could barely see it.

"I think I'm going to go and get ready." Penny whispered, shuffling to the next bed and picking up her uniform, smoothing them down into her arms and carrying them to the bathroom, where she proceeded to quietly close and then lock the door.

"Did she just lock the door?" Dom asked, glancing at me in surprise.

It was well known that we never locked the bathroom door in our dorm, just in case there was an emergency – if you didn't want to be disturbed in there then you tossed your tie over the handle of the door.

Locking it clearly meant – it clearly meant that you had something to hide.

"She has more bruises, doesn't she?" Dom asked quietly, rubbing her hands over her eyes, before jumping slightly and quickly turning to the mirror to reapply the mascara that she may have accidently rubbed off.

Honestly. The vanity of that girl. Her and Scorpius would make a good couple.

"I don't know." I muttered. "But she clearly doesn't want to talk about it, so maybe we should just –"

"Summer, I swear to god that if your words were going to be 'so maybe we should just leave it', then I will put you on a giant wooden stick and roast you over a bonfire." What a weird threat. "She's our best friend, we're not going to just leave the fact that she is all bruised up – someone has hit her, Summer, and we both know who it was." Dom spat, glaring at me slightly.

"Well if she won't talk about it, then we have nothing." I said flatly. "Kane will never admit to anything and she won't say a word against him, so what are we going to do, other that leave it until there is something that we can do?"

"Veritaserum!" Dom cried, looking quite proud of herself.

I forced myself not to roll my eyes or throw my hand to my forehead. It took a lot of effort.

"That's illegal, Dom." I sighed. She looked a little put out. "I don't want to sound like a heartless bitch, but there literally is nothing we can do – we can't tell anyone with no proof and we can't help Penny if she doesn't want our help." I shrugged, feeling a little helpless.

Dom frowned and crossed her arms over her chest, before stepping forwards and pulling me into a tight hug.

"I'm worried about her." She whispered, and I ran my hand down the back of her hair, feeling oddly like I wanted to cry.

"Me too, Dom. Me too." I sighed.

~*~

"Hello, chicklets!" Fred beamed, wrapping his arms around Dom and mine's shoulders and pulling us down onto the bench next to him, glancing around behind us. "Where's Penelope?" I rolled my eyes. I will never understand why Fred calls her Penelope.

"She's gone to the library; she said she needed to study." I said through gritted teeth, well aware that the only reason she was going to the library was because she wanted to avoid Dom and I. We've been like sniffer dogs for the whole day, and I don't think she likes it very much.

Yeah, well. When she leaves him, she doesn't get the Dom and Summer Prisoner Treatment anymore.

Her choice.

"Oh right. I feel a bit bad for snapping at her yesterday – maybe something happened with Owen or something and she was in a bad mood. I didn't mean to be rude to her." Fred looked a little sad that he couldn't apologise, and a little of my heart melted. What a cutie. "Maybe I'll go and find her and say sorry in person."

Dom smiled at him and nodded.

"Maybe I should wear my fake moustache, that would cheer her up!" Fred cried, and Dom rolled her eyes and slammed her head back down on the desk. "Or I could show her my new boxers, they'd cheer her up – Dad sent them to me. They're really cool. They're yellow and on the back they say have a huge picture of Uncle Harry on the arse."

Fred grinned around at us all and James looked startled.

"Why is there a picture of my dad on the arse of your boxers?" He asked, sounding a little more than appalled. Connor was having hysterics against the table.

"Dad saw them in a shop a few weeks back and thought they were so funny that he bought them. Uncle Harry found them and was so horrified that he tried to burn them, so he sent them to me for safekeeping."

Well, now I know where Fred gets his battiness from.

It's quite reassuring, actually, to know it's in his genes. He could have just been his own breed of weird for no reason, and that's a threat to everyone.

"Right... you go do that, Freddie." Dom laughed and shook her head, Fred pouted at the use of his hated nickname and James snorted. He got up off the bench and walked away, when I noticed something.

The waistband of his trousers were hanging stupidly low in that way that boys think makes them look cool, but really makes them look like they can't afford a belt. And above the waistband of those trousers, was the elastic waist of his bright yellow boxers.

"Please tell me he's not going to show Penny the boxers whilst he's wearing them." I moaned clapping my hands over my eyes.

"Oh, he's gonna get done for sexual harassment." Dom sighed.

James and Connor just laughed. Huh. Well, guess it shows who are the better friends. Yeah, that would be Dom and I.

Losers.

~*~

James looked annoyed. I don't know what was annoying him, but something was. I was sitting next to Fred on the couch, my feet propped up on his lap, Dom and Connor crammed into an armchair opposite, and James was sitting on the floor in front of me, his arms folded across his chest and a pout set on his lips.

"What's wrong with you, misery guts?" I asked, nudging him in the back of the head with my elbow.

He shrugged, and then leaned his head back onto the couch cushions so that his hair was flopping onto the side of my leg, his brown eyes upside down and annoyed looking.

Is it even possible for eyes to look annoyed from upside down?

Well it must be, because his are. That may be a talent.

I leaned down, my hair swooping between the other's prying eyes and my lips, and hissed in his ear –

"Seriously, what's the matter?" James shrugged again, but it was only when I grabbed hold of a pinch of his hair and yanked it really hard that he finally started talking.

Honestly, it's my friends' fault. They force me into a life of violence, I tell you.

"I wanted to go and snog you somewhere, but I know that Connor would know where we were actually going and now it doesn't seem as fun." James crossed his arms and pouted, and I rolled my eyes.

"OI! Are you two snogging behind Summer's hair?" Fred called, and I sat up so fast that I nearly cracked my spine in half.

"Don't be ridiculous, you fucking git," I said, ignoring the fact that Connor was doubled over and blooming red in the face from trying to force himself not to laugh. Oh good lord. That boy is going to give us away without saying anything isn't he?

But my snapping at Fred was interrupted by Dom screaming and clapping a hand over her mouth, her eyes widening and slowly tumbling out of her seat and to her feet.

I whirled around and screamed a little in shock myself. Because making her way through the portrait hole, shaking and as pale as a sheet, was Penny. The part that made me scream? Her eye was swollen and black, spreading from her eyebrow to her cheekbone.

Something crimson was spattered down the front of her shirt, and there seemed to be some blood trickling down her chin from her bloody lip.

She stumbled to the couch with Dom's help, ignoring James' open mouth and Connor's horrified expression, and the way Fred looked like he wasn't sure between murdering whoever had done it to her and throwing up.

"I did it." She whispered, barely able to get the words out. "I left him. I did it. I left Kane."

 




A/N: for fred/penny shippers everywhere. you're welcome.
 


Chapter 15: The Fifteenth One
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“Did he do this to you?” Fred asked hollowly, standing up woodenly and reaching out a large hand to touch her swollen eye. Penny flinched backwards and Fred stopped, looked a little offended for a moment and then took a step away from her.

“Penelope, I’m not going to hurt you,” he said quietly, and she stared for a moment, her bottom lip trembling slightly. She hesitantly took a step forward and let Fred stroke his fingers along the skin under her eye, watching her face for any signs of a flinch.

Well, as deep and meaningful as this is, I want answers.

“Why the bloody fucking hell did he do that to you?” I snarled, pushing Fred back down onto the couch. He glared blue murder at the side of my head for it, but I couldn’t give a shit.

“He didn’t do anything.” Penny said quickly, speaking to her feet. Yeah, my eyes are up here, sweetheart. I’d appreciate it if you looked at me when you talked to me.

“HE DIDN’T DO – HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING?! BLOODY FUCK, HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!” Fred roared, seemingly rediscovering his vocal chords. I was wondering when he was going to start yelling. Honestly, the temper on that boy.

He should learn to be a pacifist, just like me.

Ha. I just made a joke to myself. Shit – seriously Summer, not the time.

He leapt off the sofa and I panicked, jumping sideways slightly and consequently landing on James’ knee to avoid being trampled to death by a furious Quidditch player. Temper, temper...

“He really didn’t Fred, I swear, he hasn’t done anything –” Penny said, her eyes filling with tears again and her fingers tugging at the bottom of her shirt as she frantically searched for a way to calm Fred down, that preferably did not involve –

a) A chorus of dancing house elves dressed up as leprechauns

b) A large plate of Yorkshire puddings and a packet of strawberry bootlaces

c) A blonde walking past in her underwear.

“HE HASN’T – HOW THE BLOODY FUCK DID YOU END UP LIKE THAT, THEN, IF HE DIDN’T HIT YOU?” Fred roared, spraying the ground with spit. I grabbed hold of James’ hand and he squeezed it, staring at me in alarm. Connor smirked at our hands, shook his head slightly and then looked back and the scene unfolding in front of us.

I half expected Dom to pop out a packet of popcorn, but she just stayed frozen where she was, staring in horror at Penny.

“I-I just walked into something, is all, and –”

“YOU JUST WALKED – YOU JUST WALKED INTO SOMETHING?! Do I look completely imbecilic, Penelope? DO I!?” Fred tore his hands through the roots of his hair and slammed his arse down onto the couch, banging at the cushions in frustration.

“Fred, please stop shouting.” Penny whispered, closing her eyes – well, as much as she could under the current circumstances – and stepped forwards so that she was next to the couch. She slowly sat down next to Fred and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

Fred stiffened but didn’t move away, and a moment later he pulled his arm out from between them and wrapped it around her waist.

I blinked at them for a moment. Is there something going on here?

“I won’t kill him,” Fred whispered, “on one condition.”

“Which is?”

“You never speak to him again – stay away from him, Penelope. He’s no good for you.” Fred’s eyes were grave, staring at the side of her face, the brown irises swirling with emotion. It was odd, seeing Fred so serious, so solemn.

There was a pause as Penny pulled back one of her arms and wiped the tears from her eyes, before resting it on Fred’s stubbly cheek.

“I promise.”

Fred smiled softly, and he slowly brought his free arm around to pat Penny on the knee, his eyes cracking open so he could stare at the side of her face. I turned my head to shoot a bewildered look at James, but he looked just as dumbstruck as me.

What the fuck is going on here?

Connor was smiling from next to me, and Dom’s eyes were still wide and scared but the corners of her lips were tugging upwards, a few blonde curls falling out of her ponytail.

“Right, well, we must be off.” Fred said suddenly, kissing the back of Penny’s head – she smiled and began another round of silent tears – and pulling his arm back to his side. He stood up abruptly – Penny fell sideways so suddenly that she nearly faceplanted the couch but managed to right herself before she did. “We’ve got Quidditch Practice in two minutes, and McGonagall is observing this practice so we really don’t want to be late.”

James cursed under his breath and shoved me off his knee – charming – stepped over me as I landed on the floor – even more charming – and began to sprint toward the portrait hole, Dom, Fred, Connor and Penny all hot on his heels.

Leaving me all on my own, lying on the floor.

Bloody typical.

~*~

“Oh, it was the funniest thing!” Jack chuckled, and I tipped my head back as I roared with laughter. After all of my friends so charmingly buggered off and left me, I went and sat with Jack and Rose in the great hall, but Rose had to go to the library or something, so now it’s just Jack and I.

Oh, James’ face would be a bloody picture if he could see this.

But seriously – Jack Goldstein? Yum. All blonde hair and big muscles and charming smiles – and a great arse to go with it. Seriously. Fine piece of rump, right there.

I could always give Rose a bit of a shove off the end of the Astronomy Tower and steal him for myself. I’m sure Rosie would understand – she has seen this boy, after all.

Ooh! I have an idea! They should sell a doll version of him, and then everyone can have their own little Jack to cuddle with and talk to... and you wouldn’t have to creepishly stare at the real one! Seriously though, the staring can get embarrassing. I think I started drooling at one point.

He didn’t even seem to notice. He must be modest.

That’s a nice change, considering I normally hang around with Quidditch players that think they’re the best thing since sliced bread.

James actually said that the other day – that he was the best thing since sliced bread. So I said that if bread was so much better after it had been sliced, maybe we should cut him into little pieces as well. That shut him up fast enough.

“I feel like I haven’t stopped talking for the entire conversation,” Jack chuckled, brushing some of the hair back off his face, “so tell me a little about you instead.” He leaned back and watched me, like he honestly wanted to know. Again, quite a change. James never wants to listen to anything I have to say.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I’m hardly going to start telling him about the two goldfish – Basalt and Marble – that owned when I was younger.

I could tell him about the time that James, Connor and I went to the Shrieking Shack and ended up getting so scared that James peed himself. God, that was funny.

He denies it now, but there was a definite puddle on the floor.

Even Connor says so, and he never lies.

“I dunno – tell me about your friends, they’re Rose’s cousins, right?”

“Yeah, Dom, Fred and James are Rose’s cousins. Dom’s my best friend – my sister from another mister, or whatever the expression is – and has been since first year, because we share a dorm. Fred is... very unique, and um... one of a kind. He likes things that are quite unusual, and he has a habit of bursting into song and random intervals.” I shrugged. “And James is cool.”

Jack smiled warmly, a little mischievousness glinting in those bloody gorgeous eyes of his.

“Do forgive me for prying, considering we have only just been acquainted, but are you and James Potter dating?”

I spat my mouthful of pumpkin juice out all over the table – and all over Jack, who looked mildly surprised and a little horrified... whoops – and began to cough up hackloads of lung.

Yeah, don’t mind me. Just coughing up my colon over here.

“Who the bloody fucking hell told you that bloody James and I were fucking dating?” I snarled. Wow, Summer. Real ladylike. Way to seem cool in front of one of your good friend’s boyfriend. Very fit boyfriend. Jesus, why don’t you just start picking your nose and go the whole hog?

Jack finished wiping my spit from under his eyes and chuckled slightly, tossing a little more of that lovely hair of his out of his eyes.

“You do make me laugh, Summer.” He grinned. “And I didn’t mean to offend you or anything of the sort, it’s just somebody was telling a friend of mine that the two of you have been dating for a while, and I got curious. Forgive me, Summer. I should know better than to listen to mindless gossip.”

I smiled.

“Nah, don’t worry yourself.” I smiled woodenly. “But if you don’t mind, could you tell me who told your friend that James and I were dating?”

“The blonde Hufflepuff – I forget names, unfortunately. I think it began with a K.” He looked at me hopefully. My fists clenched under the table.

“And when did you get told?”

“Yesterday.” Jack looked confused.

“Was it Kyle, by any chance? The gossipers name, was it Kyle?” I asked through clenched teeth, angrily scanning the length of the Hufflepuff table to search for a head of stupid blonde hair.

“Yes, actually, I think it was. Kyle – Kyle Davies.”

~*~

“YOU – YOU ARE A FOUL EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING, DO YOU KNOW THAT?” I screamed, storming up to Kyle and poking him very hard in the chest. What? If I tried to punch him I’d probably just end up breaking my hand. I’m best just poking.

Kyle looked slightly surprised, blinked a couple of times and then snorted. And then he swung his arm around my shoulders, pulling me in so my face was smushed up against his chest.

HIS arm around MY shoulders. I am not happy. MY face smushed into HIS chest. I am really not happy.

“Ah Summer, I have missed you. I don’t know anyone else who makes so many random proclamations of death and violence to people that they barely know.” He chuckled, and I had to resist the urge to just knock him out right there and harvest his organs to sell on the black market.

Come on Summer, resist. You do not want to kill him, you do not want to kill him, you do not want to – oh who am I kidding, hypnosis is a load of shit.

I blinked a couple of times when I realised a little something – that I was bloody standing there and letting his poisonous arm infect my shoulder.

I DON’T CARE IF IT’S NOT POSSIBLE FOR AN ARM TO BE POISONOUS, I AM PISSED OFF AND THEREFORE I AM RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING.

I flicked him off with a movement to rival that of a bucking bronco, glared bloody murder at the side of his head and tried to control the angry eye twitch that had taken home in my left eye socket.

“What in the name of Merlin’s bedazzled snotrag do you think you’re playing at – telling people that James and I are dating? You know full well that we’re not, you’re just trying to cause trouble, you imbecilic, repulsive, foul little tosser – I could seriously just shove you into an effing pot of boiling water right now, and bloody –”

“You could shove me into a pot of boiling water right now? What do you think you are, one of the fucking three little pigs?”

I took a step back, blinked a couple of times and then started to laugh.

“What the bloody hell are the three little pigs?” I asked, staring at Kyle. He blushed and started to fidget with the collar of his shirt.

“It’s a muggle story – I’m Muggleborn, that’s the kind of thing I grew up with... anyway, what was your reason in coming all the way over here to scream at me whilst I’m eating dinner?” I glanced down at the half finished cottage pie on his plate with disgust, grabbed his sleeve and started to drag him from the room.

“You know full well what my reason for screaming at you was, you idiotic, twatty, gitfaced, sour, stupid, awful little liar, god I am so furious right now that I don’t even know what you were bloody thinking...” I trailed off, muttering furiously under my breath.

We reached a large classroom that was generally unused, and I whipped around so I could shove him through the door and glared at him as menacingly as possible.

He should have been pissing himself under my piercing glare, but instead he just looked amused.

Like I was a little puppy that was trying to act like a fully grown bulldog.

Yeah, well I can bite like a bloody bulldog so you want to watch who you’re smirking at, mister. Urgh. If there is one thing that really annoys me, it’s when people treat me like I’m a child. I am not a fucking child. Do not act like I am adorable.

Grr. I will bite you.

I shoved Kyle down onto the desk behind him, crossed my arms over my chest and narrowed my eyes until they were only slits, letting my eyebrows pull together as I glared at him as poisonously as I could.

“Who have you told?” I snarled, and Kyle let his mouth fall into an amused smirk, his eyes widening in fake innocence. Anger stirred in the pit of my stomach.

“Who have I told what, darling?” He asked, wrapping his arm around my waist and pulling me towards him, tucking a few of my inky black curls behind my ear. I growled. Legit growled.

“Who have you told that James and I are dating? And why are you telling people that James and I are dating – you’re not even telling people that it would affect, you’re just starting rumours because you’re trying to make things difficult for me!”

“Go on a date with me and I’ll tell everyone that it isn’t true.”

“Go to Hell.”

“If you come with me.”

“Fuck off.”

“What? Fuck you? Sure.”

“I bloody hate you.”

“You know that’s not true.”

“I’m pretty sure it is.”

“There is a fine line between love and hate, babe.”

“And I am quite firmly standing on the side of hate.”

“Hate is a passionate emotion.”

“I feel no passion whatsoever for you, you’re just a bloody annoyance to me.”

“So if I offered to shag you against the wall then you would say no?”

“Of course I would say no!”

“Kiss me.”

“What? No!”

“Why?”

“Explain to me why you’re telling people that I’m dating James when you know full well that I’m not.” I said quietly, stepping away from him and glaring at him a little more. If looks could kill then he would be a bloody corpse on the floor.

“Because if I hadn’t done something that I knew would really piss you off, then you never would have come and talked to me.” He said quietly, his watery blue eyes serious.

I glared a little more. I could probably get a prize for glaring. The official glarer of Hogwarts. Okay, maybe I need to work on the name a little bit.

“Well maybe there is a reason that I don’t come and talk to you.” I muttered, the eye twitch from before returning with a vengeance.

“Maybe there is. And maybe there isn’t.” And before I could reprimand him for such a vague and annoying answer, he had wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me in for a kiss.

His lips slammed into mine a little more forcefully than I would have liked – well, given that the fact any force from his lips to mine is more force than I would have liked, that’s not hard to believe – and his hands immediately flew to the back of my head to grip at the roots of my hair, stopping me from pulling my head away.

I went to push him away by pressing my hands against his chest, but he grabbed hold of my two wrists in one of his hands and forced them behind my back.

Charming. It’s blokes like this that make James seem like a regular gentleman.

I was just about to somehow manoeuvre my leg to manage to kick him off the desk when all of a sudden the door behind us crashed open and a livid voice rang out across the room with deafening intensity.

“WHAT THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU PLAYING AT?” James roared, spraying the ground with more spit than Fred had when he yelled at Penny.

Kyle finally dropped his hand from my head and let my wrists go – bloody hell; they didn’t half sting when they finally got dropped. His eyes were widened and a little frightened, and I had to resist the urge to smirk.

That’s my James. Scare them all off for me.

“Step away from her now,” he snarled, “or I swear to Merlin you are not going to be able to blink for two weeks.” Kyle stared for a moment, before something seemed to set in his jaw. He glared defiantly back at James.

“Nah, don’t think so.” He shrugged, and James’ eyes flashed through with pure fury. “I was kind of enjoying that.”

James stepped forward so fast that he was practically a blur, his hands curled into fists at his sides and his lips open past his teeth in a snarl. Seriously James, you’re not a dog and Kyle is not a smaller dog that you can intimidate with a snarl.

“What’s the matter, Potter?” Kyle taunted. I kept my shoulders tensed in case I was going to be forced to step between James and Kyle at the last moment.

Merlin only knows why I am trying to save that idiot’s arse, but I guess I’m just a nice person. Yeah, and Hell froze over last week.

“Don’t like the fact I’m snogging your girlfriend?” I was furious – Kyle knew exactly what he was doing. He was pushing all of James’ buttons, and James was trying to keep his cool, but he was struggling. I could see in his eyes how badly he wanted to hit him.

“No, I don’t.” James said coldly, and I nearly choked on my own tonsils. This would be right around where you deny the fact I’m your girlfriend, James. Right now. Any time today would be smashing, love. Right around now. Please? But James stayed silent.

Kyle looked like someone had slapped him with a wet fish. Which, incidentally, someone should do.

“So if you would kindly move away from her, I won’t have to pound your face in.” I frowned. I don’t like James like this. James is my James – he’s annoying and sarcastic and rude and perverted and nowhere near perfect, but he’s my James. This isn’t my James. I don’t like it. I want my James.

Kyle didn’t move, and not wanting to witness the act of James making mincemeat out of somebody’s face, I quickly took a couple of steps back and grabbed hold of James’ hand. James didn’t even acknowledge the fact I was touching him, his face stayed as cold and furious as ever.

“Stay away from my girl, Davies,” James hissed, and my eyes widened, “or I will kill you. Got it?”

Without another moment’s hesitation, James pulled on the hand that was clutching the life out of his and began to drag me towards the door, still not so much as looking at me.

I glanced downwards – I wasn't staring at his arse, I swear, I just happened to notice something about his arse as I was in the process of looking at the floor – and saw the Marauder’s Map had been hastily shoved into his back pocket.

Cheater! He can’t find me like that, that’s not fair!

But James still did not say a word, but continued to drag me down the corridor, his feet stomping so loudly that the noise echoed down the corridor and scared me even more as it bounced back down around us.

It was not until we reached some old tapestry featuring a picture of a troll dancing, that he suddenly dropped my arm like it was hot and slammed his way into the corridor behind it.

Why bother covering the corridor with a tapestry? That just confuses people. They should just put a fucking door there.

James stormed straight up to the wall nearest to him and gave it a kick, wincing and pulling his leg back when it hurt more than he thought it would. Smart, James. Get pissed off, kick a wall in trainers. Yeah, you’re a regular Einstein.

“James?” I asked timidly. “You’re not angry at me, are you?”

James let out one quick bark of laughter and turned around to shoot me a glare, before pounding his fist into the wall, just above where he had kicked it. I’m glad that wall isn’t alive. James would probably be really hurting its feelings right now.

So, of course, I had to try and diffuse the tension with a little Summer Lancaster humour.

“So, I’m your girl, huh?”

James flushed a funny shade of purple and glared at the wall again, because apparently it wasn’t enough to have upset it physically, now he wanted to hurt its feelings as well.

Poor wall.

It never did anything to him.

“You know full well that I only said that to Davies to keep him away from you.” He hissed.

Even though I knew that was probably the case, and should have known that from the moment the words had left his lips, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. I didn’t know why – maybe it was because I always think of him as my James.

Not in the sense that he’s my boyfriend, but just that he’s mine. I can’t explain it. I don’t want him with other girls, and he quite clearly does not want me with other blokes. So does that mean that I am his girl? Not in the girlfriend sense, but just that I am... his girl?

I don’t know. And he doesn’t appear to either.

I took a few tentative steps forwards – approaching an angry James is like approaching a hippogriff, you have to be careful and gentle – and reached out to touch his clenched fist.

He snatched it away from me at the speed of light. Charming. Well, sorry for trying to comfort you. Bleeding arsehole.

I waited a second whilst he glared out of a random window – seriously, this is the middle of the castle, how do we have a window? – chewing on the inside of his cheek. I took another step forwards until I was so close that my stomach was brushing his elbow, before I leaned forwards and pressed a kiss to his cheek.

He didn’t move, but the hardness in his eyes seemed to soften slightly.

“I can be, if you want me to.” I whispered, and James glanced sideways slightly in confusion, before he remembered he was supposed to be pissed off. “Your girl, I mean.”

James eyes widened and he looked like I had just told him I was leaving Hogwarts to pursue a career in burlesque dancing. Which I would never do, because feather headdresses make me look fat.

“You’re not my girl.” He hissed, and I don’t think he realised how rude and blunt he had made it until he noticed the colour rush into my face and my hands drop limply by my sides. Remorse immediately flashed through his eyes, and he reached out towards me.

I stepped back.

“You bastard.” I snarled, snatching my hands away. I wasn’t upset as much as embarrassed – this is exactly the kind of situation that I like to fucking well avoid!

“Summer, I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry,” James moaned, closing his eyes and wincing slightly, as though he expected me to hit him or something. What? Do I have a history of violence or something?

“I wasn’t saying I wanted to be your effing girlfriend, you twat,” I grumbled, elbowing him as he pulled me in for a hug, “but if you think about it, I am your girl. Who cherishes absolutely no desire you become your girlfriend, you can bet your ass on that one.”

James sighed against me and pulled me even tighter into his chest, deeply breathing in my hair.

“I know you’re my girl. That’s why I said it.” He whispered, running his fingers up and down my spine and pressing kisses onto the side of my neck.

“You’re a bloody git, do you know that?” I grumbled into his neck, burying my face in his hair. You know, for something that mostly resembles a bird’s nest, it’s pretty damn soft. Like silk. Or cotton. Or... I don’t know any more materials.

“I’m your bloody git.” He murmured, lifting my chin up gently so he could press his lips against mine, before kissing each of my cheeks, the end of my nose and the gap between my eyebrows.

“I didn’t mean that I want to be your girlfriend, because seriously, I do not – but you have to admit, if you don’t like me being with other blokes and I... am not particularly happy about you snogging other girls, then... I don’t know, I just thought...” I trailed off, and James leaned forwards to kiss me again.

“I didn’t mean to upset you, love. I told you – I know that. I’m the one that said it in the first place, for fuck’s sake. I just – what do you think you’re playing at, Summer?” James pushed my arms from around him, took his chin off my shoulder and unwrapped his arms from my waist.

“What do you mean?” I asked, tucking a little of my hair behind my ear.

“I mean – what do you mean what do I mean? I mean; why the fuck are you in old classrooms snogging a guy that was the reason we didn’t talk properly for weeks?” James’ voice was suddenly furious, and he stepped away from me so he could give the wall another kick.

Honestly, the boy should go to counselling for that temper. It’s going to get him into trouble one day.

“I wasn’t snogging him, he was snogging me – you saw him bloody holding onto me, he wasn’t letting me bloody move!” I said, running my hand through my hair in frustration. James shot me a withering glare and stomped over to the window, staring moodily out into the grounds.

I walked up next to him and stared out of the window too, trying to see what was engrossing him so intently.

It’s just a load of hills, a lake, a bunch of trees and a load of those mangy squirrels running around like they own the place. Ooh, and a couple of fifth years snogging against that huge tree over there.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” James muttered, and I glanced over at him. The watery October sun was reflected in his eyes, as was the outline of the great Scottish mountains in front of us.

“Um... it’s alright.” I shrugged, glancing unappreciatively at the grounds. Never been a big fan of nature, I have to say. I could never understand how beauty can be found in two things; art and nature.

The one thing that complete baffles my buttons is how someone can stare at a painting of a landscape and talk about its beauty. How can a bit of green paint smeared on a canvas be beautiful?

“James,” I said flatly, jabbing him in the arm to try and get his attention, “seriously, you could see that I wasn’t snogging him. So why are you angry at me?”

“So what, Summer – he dragged you to that classroom against your will and forced you to stay there long enough for him to launch himself at you?” James said, his voice only a little short of a sneer.

“No, I took him to the classroom, and we were arguing, and then he snogged me, and then you burst in and looked like you were plotting his violent and very painful death.” I said, and James glanced up at me in surprise.

“Why would you take him to a classroom when you know he wants you?”

“Because Jack told me,” I started, but James cut me off because my lips could even begin to form the fifth word of the sentence.

“Oh, Jack told you. Do tell me, how is the gorgeous dreamboat doing today? I hope that his breakfast was cooked up to standard and his perfectly written essay was handed in, written in his stunning Edwardian script.” James rolled his eyes and went back to glaring out of the window.

“Oh fucking hell, what’s wrong with you now?” I sighed. This boy has more mood swings than me, and I’m the fucking girl in the situation.

“Why the fuck do you do that, Summer?” He sighed finally, after leaving me stewing in silence for about a minute. “You have dinner with Jack the Prat – and before you ask, Rose told me you were eating with her – and then I show up in the hall and find you’re not there, so I check the fucking map, find you, show up and find you with someone’s tongue shoved down your throat... why do you do this to me?”

I blinked a few times in surprise.

“I’m a fucking seventeen year old bloke, and the only person I’ve ever snogged aside from you is that Erin girl, and I only did that to piss you off because we were fighting again.” James said, leaning his head against the stone wall. “Summer, I don’t like you... I don’t like you snogging other blokes.”

“I know.” I smiled sadly, and stepped forwards to pull him into a hug. He wrapped his arms around my waist again and kissed the top of my head.

“Stop it. Stop snogging other blokes. For me.” I glanced upwards in surprise. “If you promise not to snog other people, then I will too. Until one of us wants to date someone else, and then... well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

I blinked a few times and then leaned forwards to kiss his chest through his shirt. James chuckled.

“Summer. Promise – promise you won’t snog other guys. And I won’t snog other girls. Yeah?” I glanced upwards and smirked slightly, before holding one of my hands out and taking his.

“Deal.” I murmured, and James brought our intertwined hands upwards to press his lips to the back of my fingers.

“Anyway, you were saying.” He said finally, breaking the delicate silence between us. “You were talking to Jack the Prat and he told you what?”

“That Kyle had been passing around a rumour that the pair of us are dating. Jack told me, so I went and started yelling at him, and then I dragged him off somewhere so that I could yell at him in private, and he snogged me. Then you walked in.” James looked livid.

That fucking fucker has been telling people that we’re dating? Us two? Dating? As in, going on dates and calling each other ‘pookie’ and ‘darling’?” I snorted and James growled under his breath.

“Yeah, and because of you he’s going to think it’s true.” He smirked slightly and I punched him in the side. I hope it leaves a bruise.

“Well, I know how we can solve that problem.” James said, and from the look on his face I had a feeling that what he had in mind was not for the ears of the likes of my grandmother. Without another moment’s hesitation, James grabbed me by the hips and pulled me up to his chest, pulling my legs around his hips.

“Kiss me, Lancaster.” He breathed, and I smirked, leaning in until my lips were just a centimetre apart.

“Make me, Potter.” I whispered, and I ran my hand over his jaw so fast that the end of my fingers started to burn slightly as they ran over his stubble.

“Don’t worry, I will.” And without another moment’s hesitation, James spun us around and pressed my back up against the wall, leaning in closer until the only place my lips could possibly go was to his. I wrapped my arms around his neck and groaned as he nipped at my neck.

See, this is all I wanted. Is that really so much to ask for?

~*~

“Fucking hell Dom, would it kill you to smile a little when I walk into the dorm? Honestly, every time I walk in here it’s like you’ve just been poked in the eye by a mascara brush.”

Dom was once again sitting on the end of her bed, her knees drawn up under her chin and her fingers fiddling between the pieces of plastic from her flip flops between her toes. Her blonde hair was tossed over one shoulder and tied into a loose braid, and her eyes looked a red, her eyeliner smudged, as though she had been rubbing them.

“Dom, are you alright?” I asked, dropping down next to her and peering at her anxiously. Dom woodenly leaned over and passed me a tissue from the box next to her, shoving it at me.

“Wipe the bloody lipstick off your face, you’ve got it everywhere. Including the front of your shirt.” Dom stared at me and I flushed slightly, but stared back determinedly enough that she didn’t bother asking me if I’d been snogging anyone. She stopped bothering to ask months ago.

“What’s happened?” I asked through the tissue, so my voice came out stupidly muffled.

I sounded like some kind of bleeding alien.

“Penny, Penny has been...” Dom ran her hands through the front of her hair, and I laid my head down into my hands as I wondered what Kane had done now. Of course he wasn’t just going to let Penny go. When would anything ever just be easy and simple in the lives of my friends and I?

Oh yeah, fucking never, that’s when.

“Penny has been what? Beaten up again?” I hissed in fury through my hands, and Dom shook her head. I sighed in relief and then remembered something. “Did McGonagall say anything when you got to Quidditch practice before? About Penny being covered in blood, I mean.”

Dom shook her head quickly and crawled over to my side, leaning her head down on my shoulder, pulling the duvet up from next to her and draping it across our legs.

“I took her to the bathroom on the way down and cleaned her up. Told McGonagall that we were late because of womanly issues, and all the blokes shrieked and clapped their hands over their ears like I was screeching or something. She still won’t talk about what happened, you know.” I ran my hands through my hair is frustration. That girl is going to be the reason I have a heart attack one day, you mark my words. “But it’s something else.”

Dom nodded her head towards the door and pressed her finger to her lips in the universal sign for ‘shut it’, before tapping her ear to tell me to listen.

Dom and I should definatley consider future careers as spies. Clearly we are completely cut out for it. To not become spies would just be defying our fate.

And as I listened a little more carefully, I was greeted to the oh so charming sound of someone retching over the toilet. I groaned and laid my head down on top of Dom’s.

She bloody well better not have nits.

I’ll kill her if she does.

“She’s throwing up again? Didn’t you say that she was throwing up yesterday?” I asked worriedly, wondering whether or not that alone was the reason that Dom looked so worried. I mean, people throw up all the time. Surely that can’t be it.

“I.. I’m worried about her.” Dom said, and I frowned.

“I know, I’m scared for her too. Kane doesn’t seem like he’s going to just let this go, what if he tries to hurt her again? I mean –”

“Summer, that’s not what I meant.” Dom cut across me tiredly, tossing her plait out of her eyeline so she could roll her eyes at me. Charming.

“Well what do you mean?” I asked finally, picking at my cuticles in apprehension. Dom sighed and said nothing, but glanced around the room for any of our other roommates. I let my thoughts wander as we sat there in silence, until Dom finally spoke.

“What if she’s pregnant?”

I choked. After spluttering and hacking up lung for a good minute I finally sat up straight again, and fixed Dom with a horrified expression.

Penny – pregnant. No, that was completely ridiculous. Insanely ridiculous. Penny is the smartest one out of all of us, the most responsible, the one that we go to when we have stupid teenage problems, not the one who has them herself.

“Oh god.” I moaned, banging my head in my hands a few more times. “Of course, knocked up with your abusive ex’s spawn, of course that would happen.” I wrenched my shoes off my feet and threw them at the wall, swearing under my breath. “Of fucking course that would happen.”

“We need to talk to her about it.” Dom said calmly.

“You’re right, you do.” I agreed, nodding slowly. Dom flipped her plait out of the way so she could roll her eyes at me again.

“Yes, we do.”

“Yes, you should probably do that pretty quickly so we can make arrangements.”

“Right, so let’s get up and we’ll go and talk to her.”

“Yeah, I’ll arrange your perfume bottles whilst you do that.”

“Summer, get your fat arse off the bed and come with me to talk to her, or I swear to every deity in this universe that I am going to tell Kyle Davies that you want to shag him and then lock you in a broom closet together.”

“You wouldn’t.” I said angrily, quickly leaping off the bed and staring into those taunting blue eyes of hers.

“Are you willing to risk it?”

There was a moment of silence.

“Fuck. Fine. But I am warning you now; I am going to be absolutely no help to you.”

“Fine, let’s go.” Dom seized my hand and pulled me towards the bathroom, and I wrinkled my nose as I wondered whether or not I would be expected to hold her hair back or something. I’m not cut out for this sort of thing.

Crying friends, I can deal with. Dom doesn’t do great with them. Possibly pregnant friends? That’s Dom’s forte, my love.

Dom softly knocked on the door, and when Penny didn’t immediately speak, she kicked it open with the toe of her shoe and stormed in there, dragging me along by the wrist. Charming.

“Penny, are you okay?” Dom asked awkwardly, and I had to resist the urge to start banging my head against the wall. Sure, she’s choking up last night’s dinner over a porcelain bowl, but she is just fine. In fact, this is a regular occurrence for her.

I mean, who really wants to keep last night’s bangers and mash down?

Not anyone normal, that’s for sure.

Jesus Dom, use your common sense.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Penny muttered weakly, grabbing a flannel – oi, that’s mine! – from the rail next to her and dabbing her mouth with it.

You know, she can just keep it.

“Do you have any idea why you keep throwing up?” Dom asked, running another flannel under some warm water and dabbing at Penny’s sweaty forehead. Who knew that throwing up could be such hard work?

I guess that will teach you to use protection when shagging your psycho boyfriend.

Penny looked like she was about to answer, but before she could get a word out she had gone an odd shade of white and was leaning her head back over the toilet, retching again. What she can be throwing up, I don’t know, because she hasn’t eaten anything today.

Dom wiped down her mouth and forehead as I stood awkwardly in the corner, drumming my fingers on the rim of the sink, and Penny tied her long hair back into a loose ponytail so that Dom didn’t have to hold it back anymore.

Dom asked a few more questions, which Penny weakly answered, but nothing Dom asked actually resulted in Penny talking about what may or may not be causing her sickness (e.g. a foetus playing the bongos on the roof of her uterus).

Eventually I had enough, and stepped forwards to gain a little attention, dropped to my knees and gently turned Penny’s head to face me.

“Are you knocked up?” Subtle as a brick, Summer, subtle as a brick.

Penny looked like she was going to either laugh, choke or throw up, but instead she just went a little paler, and her hand reached up to cover her mouth, the corners of which were twitching slightly.

“What the bloody hell are you talking about, Summer?” She asked eventually, shaking her head at me and chuckling under her breath.

I glared a little. This is hardly a laughing matter.

I don’t want to be sharing a dorm with a knocked up teenager impregnated with the spawn of Satan. I don’t really find the situation a bundle of laughs, to be perfectly honest.

“What Summer meant to say,” Dom said, with a pointed look at me, “was, well, Penny – I know you and Kane were sleeping together. Is there any chance that you could be pregnant? I mean, you’ve been throwing up so often and you’ve not been eating, and he did beat you up – don’t bother denying it – and that could have been the reason, and... why are you laughing?!”

Penny had pressed her fingers harder onto her mouth to try and muffle the laughter, but she couldn’t completely hide the giggles that kept escaping her lips.

“I am not pregnant.” She said firmly, and I could practically see Dom deflate with relief. “I have a very mild case of food poisioning, that’s all.” Penny smiled slightly and took the flannel from Dom, dabbing at her sweaty forehead herself.

Dom grinned at me and wrapped her arms around Penny’s shoulders in a bone crushing hug. She wants to be careful, you hug Penny too hard and you could probably just snap her in half.

“Are you completely sure?” I asked, perching my arse on the edge of the sink and lifting my feet up off the floor.

“One hundred percent. K- Kane was really fussy on that kind of thing, he never wanted children - he told me that from the beginning. He always said that if I got pregnant then I would have no option but to have it aborted, he would make sure of that.” Penny’s eyes filled with tears and anger bubbled in the pit of my stomach.

“But... you want loads of kids, Penny. You’ve always said that – you want at least five, don’t you?” Dom asked in confusion, a crease lining her forehead.

“Yeah, I did – do. I do. I just kind of pushed that dream back when I got with... him, because he didn’t want them, and I wanted him.” Penny shrugged softly, gratefully taking a sip from the glass of water that I passed her.

Tip top friend, you see.

“Fred wants lots of kids.” Dom said mildly, as though it was an offhand comment of no importance.

Penny glanced at her in suspicion, one of her eyebrows cocked. Dom stared at the tiles behind the sink like they fascinated her, determinedly avoiding Penny’s gaze. The crafty bitch is up to something, I can tell.

“And why is that important?” She asked, her voice slightly nervous. Dom shrugged, her eyes once again widened in innocence.

“It’s not. Just thought I would mention it, you know, just in case you ever needed to know...” Dom said vaguely, and it took most of my willpower not to roll my eyes.

The girl was no subtlety whatsoever. Mind you, I’m not really in a position to talk.

“You two did look pretty cosy before, you know, when you came back into the common room...” I added, and Penny coloured slightly, some of the water draining out of the flannel and onto the floor as she squeezed it with nerves.

“If you two think you’re playing matchmaker then you’ve got another thing coming.” Penny said quietly, shooting the both of us warning glares.

Pfft. We’ve never listened to her before, what makes her think we’re going to start now?

Her and Freddie boy would make a pretty cute couple, and I don’t know, but it seemed like he was into her this morning. Fred doesn’t normally go that apeshit; he’s normally a mellow fellow.

“I’m going to love Kane for a very long time, you two.” Penny whispered, and from the pain in her voice I realised how much she meant it. We may have seen him as an evil bit of slime who deserves nothing other than a slow and painful death, but she loved him. And it took a lot for her to leave him. She wasn’t ready to move on, and she wouldn’t be for a long time.

Of course, she hadn’t factored in Dom Weasley.

“I know, I know.” Dom said, pulling Penny in for a hug, but there was a glint in her eyes when she winked at me that told me she had a plan. And that Penny wasn’t going to like it one bit.

“Come on Summer, don’t be antisocial.” Dom grinned, grabbing my suspended ankle and giving it a sharp tug. I flew off the side of the sink and landed with a thump on Penny’s knee, squashed like a sardine in between my two so-called besties.

“Group hug!” Dom cried, wrapping her arms around both of our necks and pulling us in together.

Penny and I both whined when our heads clunked together, there was a bad smell of sick floating over from the loo and my back began to throb after a few seconds, but it was perfect – just me and my girls, the way it should be.

And now I’m done with the sentimental shit.

~*~

“OI! OWEN!” Fred roared, storming into the Great Hall at breakfast the next morning. Penny leapt in her seat and the little colour in her face drained out of it, as Fred marched straight past the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables and hates straight for the Slytherins.

I saw Al Potter glance up in surprise as his cousin stormed past him, but didn’t try to stop him.

I don’t blame the lad, I wouldn’t want to get trampled by a furious Weasley boy, either. Especially not Freddie, he’s the most muscular of all of them.

Well, unless you count Teddy Lupin. Which you should, because that is one fine species of man. Seriously. I could just eat him up.

That sounded creepy.

But anyway, I digress.

Fred stormed the length of the Slytherin table, occasionally shoving first years out of the way when they got under his feet – I actually think he kneed a third year in the head and knocked him out – and flicking his dark hair out of his furious eyes, which were practically spitting fire.

Kane Owen stood up out of his seat and smirked as he saw Fred storming towards him – which is odd, because if it was me then I would have been pissing myself with fear – but he didn’t get to smirk for long.

The moment they came close to each other, Fred swung his huge arm out and punched Kane square across the jaw.

Kane staggered backwards and his expression quickly turned livid, but before his hand had reached his wand, Fred swung his arm out again and punched him in the gut, then the head again, then the, ahem... family jewels.

This carried on for about a minute, until Kane was on his knees and Fred was showing no signs of stopping, and Penny was half sobbing with her hands jammed into the roots of her hair.

He only let up when McGonagall hurried down from the staff table and forced them apart, looking absolutely horrified when she saw the state of Kane’s face. I couldn’t help but smirk in satisfaction.

That’s my Freddie.

“MR WEASLEY! YOU WILL MEET MR –” McGonagall began, but Fred cut her off.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Tell Filch to wear something nice tonight.” And without another glance, he stormed back over to our table, shooting a furious glance at our shell-shocked expressions.

“Fred!” Penny cried, lurching upwards out of her chair. “You promised! You promised you wouldn’t, if I stayed away from him!” She looked close to tears.

“I promised that I wouldn’t kill him, Penelope. There is a difference.” He growled, absent mindedly rubbing his free fingers over his already bruising knuckles. “He’s not coming near you again. I don’t care what I have to do to make sure that he doesn’t.”

Penny half smiled, and sank back down into her seat. She patted the bench next to her and indicated for Fred to take the spot.

He smiled roughly and sat down next to her.

“Thank you.” Penny whispered into the silence, and Fred smiled slightly. I glanced at Dom, and she winked again.

Oh, she so has a plan.

 






disclaimer: none of this belongs to me, and i own nothing that you recognise.

hello :D how was that for a fast update? im pretty proud of myself for that :D and there was no cliffhanger in thisi chapter, which pretty good :D so yeah, this is kind of a thank you chapter, because the response to the last two chapter has been incredible. its really inspired me to write, so thank youuu <3

second, i have a little surprise for you guys ~ the next chapter is in our very own James Potter's POV. yeps. so we'll see how that goes. it will probably fail, but you know. much love, as always ~

ellie :) xx

 

 
 


Chapter 16: The One in James' Point of View
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

As told by James Potter

I have one question for you. Yeah, for you. I don’t give a shit if I don’t know who you are. Why the bloody fucking hell is everything changing lately? I have no idea, and neither does Fred because I asked him before. But seriously. It’s not even funny. Things just need to go back to how they were.

First bloody Connor asks out my cousin – shit, I still haven’t had the Older Cousin Chat with him yet – and they start acting all cutesy and stupid around one another, and then Penny breaks up with that psychopath wanker boyfriend of hers – fuck I need to beat him up as part of the Male Best Friend Code, don’t I? – and her and Fred are acting all closey-close and whatnot.

And don’t even get me started on whatever the fuck is going on with bloody Summer at the moment. I don’t know what is. And to be honest? I don’t really want to know.

I mean, what if she cried? No. She’s better going to Connor for that kind of thing.

Speaking of Connor, I really am gonna have to have that Older Cousin Chat with him pretty soon. We will ignore the fact that Dommie is actually three months older than me.

That can be our little secret, yes?

“Oi, James!” Fred yelled, stepping into the dorm with a thoughtful expression on his face. Oh, this is never good. I’m pretty sure if Fred is thinking about something then that said something is going to go horribly wrong pretty soon.

“Fred, I’m right here, mate.” I sighed. “You don’t need to shout.”

“But if I don’t shout, how are you supposed to know that I want your attention?” Fred asked, his brow furrowing.

Oh bloody Merlin. God bless him and all who sail in him.

“Because – because I can still hear you, even if you just say my name. We were in the same room, and it’s not exactly loud in here, is it? Why do you need to shout?”

“Yeah, but I was on the other side of the door, wasn’t I? You could have been down in the common room, for all I knew, and needed me to shout so you knew I was looking for you.” Fred looked confused again. I wanted to pound my own skull in.

“You had to go through the common room to get here; you know I wasn’t in there!” I protested, but I had a feeling I was fighting a losing battle. Freddie is a very hard bloke to argue with.

“Well sorry for not scouring every nook and cranny of the common room in search of my fucker cousin before I came on up here.” Fred said, pouting a little and folding his arms. I sighed.

“Did you want something, Freddie?” I asked.

Fred immediately perked up and started searching in his handbag for something. Wait, handbag? What the bloody fucking shitting hell does my Quidditch playing cousin have a handbag for!?

“Fred, why do you have a handbag?” I asked quietly, staring at the brown suede monstrosity in horror. The thing has frills. And gold studs. GOLD STUDS. Hang on, I think that thing is Summer’s! She whacked me over the head with that bag, once.

“Summer leant it to me.” He grinned, holding it out to show me. “It’s so handy! Now I see why girls use them all the time. And Summer was right, it really is fantastic. She said she’ll take me shopping next Hogsmeade trip and help me choose my own! Isn’t that nice of her?”

I am going to kill that girl.

“I mean, just look!” Fred parked his arse on the bed next to me and unzipped it as far as it would go, pushing it under my nose until I could see right inside it. “This big zippy pocket here is perfect for my sandwiches, and then these little pocket things keep all my condoms, quills, parchment and vampire make up kit separate! Plus, it has a zip, so no one can see inside.”

I blinked in horror.

“Please tell me that is not what you came up here to show me.” I eventually muttered, shaking my head. Honestly, it’s hard work being related to such a nutcase. People start to think that it might be in your genes as well, and that’s just a whole new kettle of shit.

“No, I came up here to show you this.” And with a swift whipping motion, Fred pulled a bright yellow underwear set out of the bag and waved it in my face a little.

“Dad sent this one to me too, because your dad keeps trying to burn all of our Harry Potter novelty underwear. Don’t know why, but he does. This is the girl version of my boxers.” Fred indicated to the bright yellow boxers on the floor next to us - don’t look at us like that, we’re guys. The day Hogwarts get us our own personal maid is the day that our dorm is tidy.

Of course, Fred would probably sleep with her...

I groaned as I looked at the lingerie being waved in my face. The bloody bra featured a winking image of my father’s face on each boob-holder, and the knickers portrayed an image of my dad cackling over Voldemort’s dead body. Wow, and Fred wonders why my dad doesn’t want them around anymore.

Yeah, that’s a toughie...

You know who would look really good in that stuff? Minus the pictures of my dad, obviously. Summer. Seriously. I’m gonna buy her some of that stuff and have her wear it next time we snog.

She’ll probably hit me, but it will be worth a try.

“They have a whole range, you know – the company that Dad bought it all from. They even have stuff with Aunt Ginny on, but Dad says he wasn’t going to buy that because it was his little sister, and she would probably hex the living daylights out of him for trying.”

Fred nodded wistfully, and he absentmindedly stuffed the knickers and stuff back into his fucking handbag.

Luckily, a distraction arrived at that moment in the form of my other best friend – the blonde-gone-wrong bloke, Connor Dale! He sauntered into the dorm like he owned the place, lipstick smeared all over his face – this is the first time ever that I am going to hope that the lipstick on a guy belongs to a member of my family – and his hands in his pockets.

Yeah, well that king of the world attitude is going to die the second he realises that he’s just walked in on both of Dom’s older male cousins, waiting to have the Older Cousin Chat with him.

He should be shaking in those ugly converse of his – wait, they’re mine!

“Oi, twat, did you steal my shoes?” I asked, and Connor glanced upwards in surprise, a smirk on his lips.

And then I realised how female that sentence made me sound. Which is stupid, because I am not female. Ask Summer, she’ll tell you. She snogs me, and she doesn’t roll that way. At least, I hope she doesn’t. That would be awkward.

“Well you never wake up to look after the children in the night!” Connor adopted a high, simpering voice and clapped a dramatic hand to his forehead.

Fred laughed.

I glared.

He has clearly been spending too much time with Dom.

“Sit down, Dale.” I snapped, pointing to the bed next the one that Fred and I were sitting on. Connor cocked an eyebrow at me, a smirky little smirk playing at his mouth. If this is another one of those I Know You’re Snogging Our Best Friend looks, then I will knock his arse out.

“What’s the matter, Potter?” Fred coughed under his breath. “And Weasley.” He added. Fred nodded approvingly.

It’s a wonder I’m as amazing as I am with friends as thick as this. Seriously, they really take the fucking biscuit, stupid-wise.

“We want to have a little word with you, Dale.” I said quietly, and Connor adopted a constipated expression that suggested he was trying not to laugh. He better not laugh. I’ll knock his lights out if he laughs. This is a matter of the utmost importance.

This is where I show that I am the alpha-male in all things regarding the love life of my baby cousin, and that it is down to me whether this relationship is allowed to go ahead or not.

Please don’t tell Dom I said that, by the way. She may not like that too much.

And no, I am not scared of my 5 foot 4 female cousin. But you try being on the receiving end of one of her knee to groin snaps, and then we’ll talk about whether or not you want to be careful around her.

Judgemental prick.

“Erm... what can I do for you two?” Connor asked, clearly trying to not burst into hysterical laughter. Honestly, the bloke is such a bad actor. If Summer and I ever get found out, it’s going to be because of him, I swear it.

“We need to have a very serious conversation with you, Dale. Regarding my cousin.” I said solemnly, and Connor went a little red when he realised where the conversation was headed.

“Jimmy,” Fred hissed out of the corner of his mouth, and I turned my head slightly to look at him, “are we having the Older Cousin Chat right now, or are we going to talk about a different one of our cousins?”

“We – of course we’re bleeding having the Older Cousin Chat, Freddie!” I said, turning to look at him in shock.

“Well, I didn’t know, we have enough cousins to bloody make a human version of the Empire State Building.” I blinked at him for a moment, before deciding that I was never going to understand the delicate working of Freddie’s brain and that I wasn’t going to hurt myself trying. “We could have been asking Con whether or not he will tutor Al in the delicate art of pie baking.”

I blinked, shook my head and looked back over at Connor.

“Anyway, Dale,” I continued, “we would like to have a little word with you about Dominique.” I shot Fred a look. “Dom is one of my baby cousins,”

“Wait, isn’t she older than you?”

“Will you shut up, Fred?!”

“Sorry, snappy. Bloody hell, what’s got your knickers in a twist?”

“ANYWAY.” I interrupted loudly. “Dale, I want to have a word with you. You have asked my cousin to become your girlfriend, which begins the circle of dating between the pair of you.” Fred and I both nodded wisely. I knew he was good for something. “This circle is broken when the two of you break up, and this event is sure to seriously hurt my darling, innocent cousin. And so I am here to tell you, Dale, that if you dare break up with her for some bitch with massive tits and blonde hair, then I will make such a mess of your face that Dommie won’t even be able to recognise your ugly mug for the rest of her life.”

I stood up and leaned forwards until I was only a few inches away from Connor’s paling face. Fred cracked his knuckles behind me.

“You don’t break up with her without reason, you don’t cheat, you don’t shout, you don’t lay a hand on her and you treat her like the queen she is. Or we will make your life hell. Got it?”

Connor nodded quickly, his eyes the size of dinner plates and his bottom lip trembling a little. Huh. And he always laughed when I told him that I’ve made old boyfriends of Lucy, Molly and Roxanne cry. Fred actually beat one guy because he ‘blinked in the wrong way’ during said conversation.

Yeah, the girls love us being part of their family.

They just hide it by crying and telling us that we are the worst people on the planet.

One day, when they run into a psychopathic, deranged serial killer on the street, I will remind them of the time they called us that and ask if they still believe that. Mind you, the girls in my family are stubborn bitches, so they probably will.

“I know you’re a good guy, Dale. Prove it to me.” I finished gruffly, clapping him on the shoulder in the traditional I’m Not Going To Get Too Friendly Because You Are Still A Risk gesture.

“I love Dom, you two. You should know that I’m going to treat her as she deserves to be treated. I’ve had it with her asshole boyfriends – I love her, and she’s my it. So get used to it fellas, because I’ll be related to you one day.” Connor smiled and leaned back on his elbows, leaving Fred and I to gape at one another.

“You... love her?” Freddie breathed slowly, his eyes widening.

Connor nodded confidently, not a trace of embarrassment or uncertainty on his face. I gaped at him again.

“You’re in love with her?” Fred asked again, as though the concept in itself was completely foreign. I blinked a few times.

I was sure that I was the only one of all of us that had ever been in love – with fucking Natalie. At the time, you feel like it’s the best thing in the world, like its forever and nothing is ever going to split the pair of you up.

Of course, there is one thing I didn’t count on that did split us up, but that’s ancient history now.

But love – I was sure I was the only one of the three of us that had ever fallen prey to that human weakness. I know how Connor will feel right now – as high as a kite, floating on air, like the future doesn’t matter and everything is perfect. It’s a load of bullshit. But still, as far as falling in fucking love goes, Dom isn’t a bad person to do it with.

“Then I wish you all the best, mate.” I grinned, pulling him in for one of those classic bromance hugs. He should count himself lucky – I don’t give them out easily.

“Thanks, Jimmy. Can I have a word with you, by the way? In private?” I nodded slowly, and shot a pointed look at Fred, who was sitting there with an odd expression on his face – almost as though he was deep in thought.

“What is it like – being in love?” Fred asked slowly, leaning against the post at the end of the four poster as thought it was a throw away comment off the top of his head. I glanced at Connor, who looked equally as confused.

“Nothing you ever need to bother yourself with, Freddie.” I said slowly, and Connor nodded in agreement. But this response did not seem to float Freddie’s boat, because he glanced up in annoyance and glared at us.

“Will you just answer the fucking question?” Woah, bipolar much? Fucking hell, Fred has been getting more and more irritable lately.

It’s like sharing a dorm with a grizzly bear, at times.

“It’s – it’s nice. I mean, for me, it’s just strong feelings whenever I look at Dom, or think about her. I don’t know what it’s like to be in mutual love, because I don’t think Dom is quite there for me yet. But it’s like every time I see her, I can’t help but smile. She’s perfect – yeah, she’s stubborn and rude and a bit of a bitch at times, not to mention violent,” Fred shuddered, and bother Connor and I followed suit , “but she is perfect for me. And it’s amazing.”

I blinked for a moment.

I can practically feel my manliness draining out of my pores. This is not on. I need to go somewhere and scratch myself, and belch the alphabet, and hook up with Summer and snog the snot out of her. I should probably shag her, just to prove my manliness.

I’m sure she’ll agree if she knows that I have a legitimate reason for wanting to do it with her. Or maybe she’ll just hit me. Getting beat up by a girl is also not manly.

But what I should not do is sit here and discuss fucking love with my best mates.

That is not what manly men do with their days, and I am nothing if not a manly man. I am the epitome of manly. I practically ooze manly. Just ask the boyfriends of my cousins that I have beaten up, they’ll tell you.

So don’t ‘aww’ at us like we’re precious little teddy bears. We are manly.

“I want to be in love.”

MANLY, FRED. THAT IS NOT MANLY. THINK MANLY. BLOODY HELL, SOMETIMES IT’S LIKE SHARING A DORM WITH A LOAD OF FEMALES. THIS IS FUCKING –

What did he just say?

You – Freddie Weasley,” I said slowly, “would like to be in love.” Fred nodded slowly, a creased between his eyebrows. Connor continued to gape like a tosser. He has a very tosser-ish gape. He really needs to see to that.

“With who?” Connor asked eventually, glancing at me again. I shook my head.

“I didn’t have anyone in mind.” Fred said quickly – almost too quickly. It even looks like he’s blushing. Fred never blushes; I don’t think I’ve ever seen him embarrassed before. He’s far too happy go lucky for that.

Sure you didn’t.” Connor smirked, and I frowned. Who is Connor talking about? Does Fred have a new girlfriend? “Anyway, I’ve got to meet Dom in five minutes and I really need to talk to you, James. Can we just step into the bathroom?”

I nodded and followed Connor to the bathroom, but stopped when I realised that Fred was also following us. I turned around slowly and blinked at his, but he just grinned at me.

“Erm, Fred? I kind of wanted to talk to James alone.” Connor muttered, and Fred’s face fell.

“Are you two keeping secrets from me? I never get told anything! It’s so not fair! You know what, I’m going to go and gossip with Summer and see how you two like that! Yeah, and you won’t know what our super secret conversation was about!”

Fred turned around and stormed out of the dorm, his lips set in pout. I stared after him for a moment, and then switched my attention back to Connor.

“What’s up?” I asked apprehensively, and Connor scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

“It’s about Summer, James.” He said, and I immediately groaned. I had been wondering if Connor was going to try and have a conversation about her. Honestly, everything is going fine. I don’t see why people need to fuck it up by talking.

“Why haven’t you asked her to be your girlfriend?” Connor asked, clearly losing patience. I gaped at him for a second, then shut my gob and cracked my knuckles.

“It’s not really any of your business, Connor.” Connor eyes immediately narrowed and his expression became a lot colder.

“Actually, considering that this may fuck up two of my best friends, and two of my best friend’s friendship, then I think I am fully entitled to ask about it.” He said tightly, his lips clamped together in flat white line.

I breathed hard out of my nose, glared at the wall a little bit – best if Summer doesn’t find out about that, she’s always having a go at me for ‘wall abuse’ – and finally sighed.

“Two reasons.” I said flatly. “One, I don’t want a girlfriend, and two, she doesn’t want to be someone’s girlfriend. I think she’s expressed her opinions on the shittiness that is dating before.” I cocked an eyebrow at Connor.

“So you’re never going to date her, then?” Connor sighed, and I shook my head. “Well, I guess we’ll see about that.”

~*~

“Sup, Lilster?” I asked, dropping down next to my sister at her library table. She barely glanced up from the book she was reading, but instead just shot me a greeting from her middle finger.

I blame her parents.

“Anyway, Lilibon, I want to have a little word with you.” Lily glanced up from her book – ah, How to Tame a Hippogriff, that age old tale of fun. “There is a rumour going down the Hogwarts grapevine that you and a certain boy called Taylor Boot, unless I’m very much mistaken, are in a ‘relationship’.”

I raised my eyebrows as Lily flushed the colour of a traffic light, right from the top of her forehead to the base of her neck. I forced myself to keep a straight face.

“Who told you that?” She snapped, the white tip of her nose a very amusing contrast to the rest of her face.

“Now, Lilliputian, is that any way to speak to the older brother that loves you so very much?” Lily scowled.

“I am not talking to you about this.” She grumbled, glaring very hard at the surface of the table. The temper on that girl. She gets that from her mother. And her father. Let’s face it; both of our parents have fucked us children up, temper wise.

“Well, you’re going to be sitting here for a very long time, Lilipop, because I am not moving my arse from next to you until you start gabbing.” I shot her a look. You know which look I mean – the ‘I’m your older brother and you will do what I say’ look.

Judging by the finger she shot at me, she didn’t appreciate the threat.

“Tsk tsk,” I shook my head, “young ladies should not be using their middle fingers in that manner, Lilsickles.”

“If I talk, will you bugger off and leave me alone?”

“Yes.”

“Fine. Anything to bloody get rid of you.” She sighed, and I decided not to take offence. I know she loves me really. “Yes, I am dating Taylor Boot, no, I have not slept with him, no, I am not planning to, yes, he is nice to me, yes, I will let you beat him up if he cheats on me and yes, I will murder you if you beat him up before he does anything.”

Did she take a breath throughout that entire sentence? I don’t think so. That girl must have powerful lungs.

“You spoken to Al recently?” Lily asked suddenly, looking up at me reproachfully with those big brown eyes of hers. I swallowed hard.

There are two paths I can take right now – the path that involves me telling the truth and Lily finding out that I haven’t actually spoken to my brother since I ate dinner with him last month, or the path that involves me lying through my teeth and not having to see Lily tell me that she is disappointed in me. Lying through my teeth it is.

“Yeah, we spoke last week.” I shrugged, and from the look on her face I could tell immediately that she didn’t believe me.

“Funny, because I asked Al the same thing yesterday and he told me that every time you see him you nearly run in the opposite direction.” I stared at the floor. My fifteen year old sister should not be able to make me feel this guilty. It’s Al’s fault, anyway, for being such a fucking tosser.

“I have no idea why he said that. Maybe he was lying again.” I said flatly, and Lily shot me a contemptuous look.

“James, you’re my brothers. You might put on a face in front of your friends and mum and dad, but you are going to have to get over this. I don’t want to go my whole life with one brother that won’t speak to the other.” She shot me another look, this one was hurt.

I glared at the table. Connor and Summer are so lucky to be only children. Siblings suck.

“He’s apologised hundreds of times.” Lily sighed, staring at me intently. My eyes didn’t leave the tabletop. I wonder how that spot of ink got there. “You’re going to have to forgive him eventually, James; you know he wouldn’t do anything to hurt you again.”

“I bet he would.” I grumbled.

“He’s sorry, James. Please, for me, talk to him. It’s been a bloody year.” Lily widened her eyes to inhuman proportions, blinking at me like bleeding Puss in Boots.

We have the same brown eyes – how come she can get me to whatever she wants and I can’t even convince her to pass me the bacon?

“I’ll talk to him,” I mumbled grudgingly, “but I’m not promising that I’m going to be nice to him.”

“I’m not asking you to.” Lily snapped, losing her patience. “I’m just asking you to get off your fat arse and go and talk to your brother. You can’t be mad at him forever.”

“You clearly either don’t know me or don’t remember what he did.” I grumbled under my breath, but she decided not to grace me with a response.

“Go and talk to him, James. Be the bigger person. I refuse to go through life with brothers that won’t talk.”

~*~

I spotted my arsehole of a brother as I was walking to the Great Hall with Summer, just walking down the corridor like he owned the bloody place. I growled under my breath and Summer cocked an eyebrow at me.

“I’m gonna eat with Albus tonight, I’ll see you later.” I muttered to her, and she shrugged. I glanced around quickly, slapped her incredibly fit arse and then headed off after King Asshole himself.

As I headed towards the Slytherin table I heard someone call Summer’s name, and I turned around quick enough to see Jack the Prat waving her over to him, a shit-eating grin on his face. I wouldn’t mind, but she was smiling too.

What is she smiling at that prick for? I bet she’s shagging him. Summer never smiles if she can help it, she’s a miserable shrew - he must have done something good if he is actually being graced with the honour of a smile.

“Would you like to eat dinner with Rose and I tonight?” The fucking git asked, patting the seat next to him.

My hands were clenched so tightly in my pockets that I might have speared my own palms with my fingernails. Summer leaned around him to say something to Rose, and the fucking tosser might as well have been drooling.

He just – THE BASTARD JUST LOOKED DOWN HER SHIRT. HE CAN SEE HER BOOBS. WHAT THE FUCK?!

Right, I’m gonna pummel that bloke to fucking hell and back. He’s gonna look like effing road kill by the time I’m finished with him – he’s dating my fucking cousin and yet he’s staring at Summer. No. Not my girl. No.

I was just about to go and tear the fucker’s head off when a surprised voice came from behind me.

“James? Lily said that you were gonna eat dinner with me today.” Al was standing about three feet away, looking a little dumbstruck but still staring at me almost hopefully, and I swallowed hard.

Keep my promise to Lily and attempt to patch things up with my arsehole of a brother, or go and beat the shit out of the guy perving on Summer without her realising. Decisions, decisions...

Al ran his hand nervously through his hair – oi, that’s my habit! Twat, copying my habits. Get your own habits, you prick. He was biting the edge of his lip in anxiety as we stood there in cold silence, me bashing the toe of my converse against the tiles of the floor and him fiddling with the edge of his robes.

“Yeah, I thought it would be... nice.” I grumbled, turning my back on the blonde arsehole behind me and instead staring at the black haired arsehole in front of me.

“So Lily guilted you into it.” Albus smirked, and I resisted the urge to hit him.

Just think of what mum would do if she found out that you gave your brother a black eye. She wouldn’t let you go out to see your friends at Christmas. You would have to go two and a half weeks without seeing – snogging Summer. No. Self restraint, James.

WILLPOWER.

“Right, so are we gonna sit down and get this shit over with or not?” I grumbled, stomping over to the Slytherin table and dropping down next to Malfoy, who shot me an odd look that told me he still hadn’t forgiven me for grinding with his cousin the other week.

I can just picture Malfoy’s face if he found out what happened after that; if he’d walked in when I was trying very hard – in my piss drunk state - to take Summer’s clothes off.

Thank god she wasn’t drunk at least. Still, if she wasn’t a sober prude then I might have actually gotten some by now.

“So... how’s school?” Al asked tentatively, and I speared some chicken angrily. And so the slow descent into insanity begins...

~*~

“So why’d you ditch me to sit with Al at dinner?” Summer asked, pulling away from me and staring at me with those massive blue eyes of hers, framed with curly black eyelashes. She shouldn’t be allowed to look at me with those eyes. That isn’t fair.

“Less talk. More snog.” The girl should know that I don’t like stopping snogging to bloody talk about stuff. Especially not my git of a brother.

That may have been the most awkward dinner ever. Seriously. I tried to kill myself with my spoon just to escape it, but the bloody thing didn’t do anything. Other than leave me a crescent shaped bruise on the side of my hand.

Which is always fun, you know.

She looked like she was going to say something else, so I quickly pressed my lips against her neck and started to nip, and sure enough, within a second or so, she had shut her gob. Like – a – charm. She’s so predictable.

Her arms were around my neck in a second and she was groaning into my ear – music to my ears, love, music to my ears.

God, she smells lovely.

Like seriously. Like perfume and flowers and chocolate and all other shit like that. They should make her into a perfume. I would just spray that shit all over my pillow, she smells that amazing. She must use a fucking good shower gel. I may rob it.

Within minutes she was pulling off my shirt and kissing down my bare chest – so that will put a stop to all those buggering feminists that reckon I’m more into it than she is.

“So, you were sitting with Jack the Prat again.” I murmured as she brought her lips back up to my collarbone. She stiffened slightly and pulled away ever so slightly.

“Don’t start, James.” She grumbled, her breath tickling my stomach. “Just snog.” Well, not going to argue.

~*~

“James?” A voice called from next to me, and I look up to see Natalie running towards me, her blonde curls bouncing around face, the smile on her face exactly the same as it had been when I had fallen in love with her.

It’s so strange seeing ex-loves. Thinking about what it was like when you were theirs, when they were yours, what it was like to hold them in your arms, to kiss them, to love them...

But seeing her there, the smile on her face not making me feel anything in particular, just managed to strengthen the belief that I was completely and utterly 100% over her. Not that she meant nothing to me now, but I didn’t love her anymore. She was just a girl I used to love – a girl that broke my heart. But don’t tell anyone.

“You alright, Nat?” I asked, and she smiled at the use of her old nickname.

“Fine, I just wanted to talk to you – well, ask you something really.” She bit her lip and looked worried, so I shrugged and let her sit down on the bench next to me.

“Sure, what is it?” I asked, and she sighed, running a hand through her hair. She didn’t used to do that. She must have picked that up from –never mind, not getting into that now.

“Can we go for a walk? Around the Black Lake?” I nodded unsurely and followed her out of the castle, down across the grounds and next to the glassy surface of the lake.

Natalie looked nervous, biting her lip and picking at her cuticles. I thought I saw someone dart behind a tree, just out of the corner of my eye, but I managed to convince myself I was imagining it.

It’s not like they’re seeing anything interesting, anyway.

“You ever gonna speak, Nat?” I smirked, amused. She blushed slightly and opened her mouth, eventually planning to speak.

“Well – do you remember the reason that we broke up?” She asked, flushing slightly when I raised an eyebrow at her in disbelief. “Okay, that was a stupid question.” She allowed. “But, well, it has something to do with that. I was just wondering... well, it’s kind of awkward.”

“Just tell me.” I said nervously.

“Okay.” She took a deep breath and began to talk.

~*~

Forty five minutes she talked for. Forty five minutes. I was nearly falling asleep by the end of it. I’m gonna make a recording of her in case I ever have trouble sleeping.

“Oh, I can’t wait to tell him!” Natalie grinned, practically skipping along next to me and grinning so widely that I was completely assured that I had made the right decision in giving them my permission. “I was so worried, because he said he wouldn’t risk falling out with you again, not as bad as it was last time, and I knew if I didn’t get your consent then there would be no hope for the pair of us –”

I tried to listen, I really did, but she just talks so much. It never bothered me before; I used to like listening to her talk, but bloody hell.

It isn’t fucking half annoying.

It must be spending so much time with Summer and her sarcastic-not-bothered-about-anything attitude that makes Natalie just seem so much more chipper in comparison.

God, Summer. I’ll be damned if I know what is going on between the pair of us now.

Sometimes I think that she wants me to ask her to be my girlfriend (which don’t think I want, but I don’t even know anymore) and then other times it’s like she wants nothing other than my ability to snog.

She’s a fucking confusing woman; I’ll tell you that now.

As we rounded a corner – for some reason, I had ended up helping Natalie in a search around the castle. I don’t even want to know what is going through my head right now – I was pulled out of my thoughts by Natalie gasping and clapping her hands to her mouth.

I looked at her quickly and saw her eyes glistening with tears, frozen at the sight of something in front of us.

I jumped slightly when I realised it was Al. With his tongue shoved so far down some girl’s throat that it was hard to discern where one ended and the other began. Her legs were wrapped around his waist, his hand in her hair... it was disgusting. It was hard to believe that it was my brother.

“Albus Severus Potter, what the fuck do you think you’re playing at?” I snarled, glancing worriedly at Natalie as the colour drained out of her face and the tears in her eyes started to spill downwards onto her cheeks.

Al looked up quickly; leaving the girl he was snogging in full view. Natalie gasped. My heart seemed to die in my chest, then pick up again at double speed and play the drums on my lungs.

It felt like a part of me was dying painfully, for some reason.

Because the girl was Summer.

 

 

 






disclaimer: none of this belongs to me, and i own nothing that you recognise.

mwahaha. sorry for the cliffie! im not trying to kill you guys, there just seems to be a lot them going on at the moment. ironic, isnt it? the day after summer and james agree to not snog anyone else, he finds her snogging his brother... any guesses why she did it?

im sure lots of you will be able to guess what happened between james and albus now, and i wanted you to be able to guess after this chapter - but for those of you still didnt get it, everything shall be revealed in the next chapter - what's going on, what natalie wanted, everything about al... you shall see.

until next time, my friends,

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 17: The One That Changes Everything
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"Natalie!" Albus shrieked, pushing me away from him and leaping to his feet so fast he was almost a blur. I leant my pounding head against the cold stone behind my back and he stumbled over to her, dragging his hands through his hair.

She wiped away the tears streaming down her face and brought her hands forward to smack Albus repeatedly on the chest, shrieking something unintelligible as she sobbed away. I winced at the volume and closed my eyes slightly, trying to block out the bright lights from the torch bracket.

"HOW COULD YOU? YOU PATHETIC, CHEATING LITTLE ARSE – I BLOODY HATE YOU, YOU'RE A BLOODY GIT, ALBUS POTTER!" She shrieked, calming down just enough to make her words separate. "I CAN'T BELIEVE I TRUSTED YOU! I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT YOU CAN'T TRUST A BLOKE THAT WOULD HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH HIS BROTHER'S GIRLFRIEND!"

What? Have an affair with his brother's girlfriend?

His brother is James (wow, ten points to Summer) and James' last girlfriend was Natalie, so for Albus to have an affair with his brother's girlfriend...

What the fuck is going on here?

"Nat, Nat, just listen to me, please!" Albus said, not trying to defend himself but letting her smack him on the chest over and over as she began to cry again.

Honestly, the girl is like the Wailing Wall. She just never shuts up.

"Natalie!" He protested again, and she stopped hitting him long enough to fling her arms around his neck and pull him into a chokehold hug, his face buried in her blonde curls and her sobbing into his shoulder.

"I love you, Al; you can't keep doing this to me! I can't put up with your crap any longer." She wiped her eyes again on the side of her hand and Albus clutched her waist tighter.

"I love you too, Nat. I love you too." Albus said, honesty resonating through his every word.

A derisive laugh snapped me out of my confusion, and Albus pulled away from Natalie just in time to have James swing his fist out and punch him straight across the face.

Albus staggered backwards, blood already pouring out of his nostrils and his hands desperately cupping his nose to try and stem the flow. But James didn't seem to be done yet. He threw his arm backwards again, before ploughing it straight into Albus' stomach. Al leant over in agony as Natalie screamed – does that girl ever shut up? – and James went for his wand.

"James, no..." I slurred from my pathetic position curled up in the corner.

I had never seen him this furious before. Angry, yes. He was angry when he found Kyle Davies trying it on in that classroom, he was angry when he found out about Lily's first boyfriend last year, he was angry when he accidently drank Bowtruckle piss instead of pumpkin juice because Fred switched them. But never before had I seen him this furious.

James froze at the sound of my voice, turned to shoot me the most disgusted look I had ever seen in my life, before turning back to his brother.

He pressed his wand against the hollow of Albus' throat and backed him against the wall, his lip drawn upwards in a furious scowl and his eyes practically spitting acid in fury. Albus was the colour of a sheet – his brother was quite clearly on the verge of hexing the shit out of him.

"You arse." He snarled, his voice only a millimetre above a hiss. "You are the worst human being I have ever had the misfortune to come across, you complete ass. I can't believe your my fucking brother, I'm ashamed to be related to you – first you snog my girlfriend, then you sleep with her, then you fucking have her break up with me for you, and then when she asks my permission for the two of you to date officially, and I say fucking yes, she finds you snogging my best friend. You don't deserve her, Albus, you really don't. Now fuck off before I hex your ugly little shitty head off."

I started to shake. I don't get it. What's going on?

There was a sick sort of thumping in my skull, and I closed my eyes to try and block out the light. Your heart isn't supposed to beat in your head, is it?

"Natalie, I'm so sorry. He's right, I don't deserve you." Albus whispered, and I opened my eyes a crack to see that James still had him pressed up against the wall, his wand still pressed against his throat and his lips drawn up in sick amusement.

"Oh, you're sorry? Well, everything is fucking FINE then, isn't it? Because you're sorry. Well, I don't know what I was making a fuss about, because Albus Potter is quite clearly sorry." James sneered, and Albus went a little whiter.

Who knew James could be so completely terrifying?

"James, let him go." Natalie whispered, laying a hand on the arm pressed against Albus' chest and prying James off his brother.

I focused on the pounding in my head to suppress the urge to leap to my feet and beat the little whore off my James. I bet she (and he, for that matter) thinks I don't know what they were doing.

James took a step back and jammed his wand into his back pocket, his hands clenched into fists so tight that I'm surprised the bones in his fingers didn't snap.

"Why do you do this to me, Al?" Natalie whispered, brushing some of his fringe out of the dried blood on his forehead. She pressed her lips against his swollen ones for a moment and then pulled back. "Why did you kiss someone else when you knew what I was out there doing?"

Albus sighed and leaned his head against the wall, closing his blackening eyes.

"I don't deserve you. I stole you from my brother, and you're such a good person – I was willing to hurt my own family to get you, what does that show you about me? I thought – I honestly believed that James would say no. I know how much he hates me, and I didn't think he would agree to letting us date in public – and I knew you wouldn't do it without permission, and I didn't want to fall out with my brother again."

Natalie wiped away a few more stray tears and Albus took a calming breath.

"And I wanted to get back at him. I thought he would say no, that you wouldn't date me then – and then I found Summer. Don't blame her; she's off her head drunk. I don't even know if she can hear me right now, she's had that much to drink."

Uhm, I can hear you. I had a few drinks; I didn't carve my eardrums out with a giant spoon.

"I kissed her. And somehow that led to a rather, ahem... heated snog, and then you two showed up. I never intended for you to see, Nat. Or you, James." He turned to look at his brother, who stuck his middle finger up in reply. "I'm spiteful and selfish and I don't deserve you, Nat. That's why I did it – and I'm so sorry I hurt you."

Natalie started to cry again – seriously, she'll probably drown all four of us in a minute, with the amount she's crying. Fucking hell, the girl should just be crowned Queen of the Water Works.

"Promise not to do it again." She whispered, and Al's eyes flew open in shock. Well, they opened a little bit. They're so swollen now that he can barely move his eyelids. "Promise not to do anything like this again and we'll work through it – together."

What. An. Idiot.

And fuck you, the bint at the back who is simpering and going 'awh, how romantic!'

"I promise." Al said, stumbling over his words in his haste to get them out. He flung his arms around her waist and scooped her up off the floor, kissing her so gently that even I began to feel a little sentimental.

If only I could get rid of this pissing headache.

But seriously – that girl really is a twat and a half. I mean, what kind of bint breaks up with James? Have you seen the ass on that boy? You're dating a bloke that looks like James – you don't break up with that. In fact, you barely leave the dorm to go lessons if you've got that.

Hang on a second – why is Al kissing Natalie, if James and Natalie were just out snogging by the lake?

Shit, this is hurting my head. I'm just going to ignore that for now.

Al gently laid Natalie back down on her feet, before turning his back on her and facing James, whose back was pressed against the wall and whose hands were clenched into fists so tight that I would be surprised if he was ever able to open them again.

"James, mate –" Albus began, but James' hand was up to silence him before you could blink, his expression set in the ugliest sneer I had ever seen, his eyes just daring Albus to even bother to try and talk to him again.

"I don't ever want to speak to you again." James said coldly, after a pause that seemed to last forever. He glanced upwards and locked eyes with Natalie instead, his conflicted eyes setting as he made a decision. "Either of you." Natalie's mouth fell slightly agape and Albus' eyes widened as he realised that his brother had just practically disowned him.

"James – I'm your brother! You can't –" Albus began, but before he could even formulate the end of the sentence, James had ripped the torch bracket off the wall and chucked it across the corridor at the speed of light – Al's seeker skills was the only reason that he didn't get decapitated.

"I- I..." Natalie began, tears rolling down her cheeks again and her fingers clutching at the roots of her blonde hair.

"Just go. Both of you. Just fucking go. You can date, get married, get fucking pregnant, I don't give a flying shit – but keep as fucking far away from me as possible whilst doing it."

"I – you two are brothers, you can't stop talking to each other over me, please, don't –" Natalie started, rubbing the backs of her hands across her cheeks to try and get rid of the tears that just fucking seemed to never stop falling.

"It's not over you." James said, flicking his hand in her direction to dismiss her. Natalie immediately fell silent.

"Come on, Nat, I think we ought to go." Al said after a minute or so of awkward silence, during which James dug his fingers into a crumbling part of the wall, Natalie cried a little more and Albus stared at James as though this action alone may convince him to change his mind.

"Finally." James snarled, and Al sighed, before grabbing Natalie by the wrist and tugging her off down the corridor. The tapestry swung shut behind them with an echoing swishing noise, and the corridor was plunged into silence.

You'd think that would diminish the headache, but no.

Apparently the gods have not fucked up my life enough – see, this is why I don't drink. Fucking James and his stupid messing with my fucking mind.

I waited for James to talk – to explain, to admit that he was getting back together with Natalie or that he had just fucked her down by the lake or to just fucking explain what the shitting hell was going on here – but no.

James just stood there, his eyes clamped shut, his hands clenched into fists again and his jaw locked in anger.

And yet he still didn't say a word.

"James?" I eventually whispered, and his eyes slowly cracked open, flicking over to me. But the scene I had subconsciously pictured involving him explaining everything and then a bit of snogging – or would that be weird, because I was just snogging his brother? – was destroyed spectacularly when he shot me a look of absolute loathing, before turning on the heel of his converse and storming off down the corridor.

I sat in silence for a second before I realised what the utter hate on James' face must have meant.

I staggered to my feet and clambering after him, my hands flying to my temples as the pulsing pain in my forehead doubled. Alcohol is the invention of the fucking devil, I swear. It should not be allowed on this planet. It shouldn't.

People should just take fucking essence of euphoria instead; does the same stuff without the fucking pain in the arse aftermath.

I stumbled down the corridor, following the sound of his thumping footsteps and the clanging of metal as he angrily shoved down any suit of armour that he passed. That didn't help the balance issues I was already having – you try being half blinded and trying to play leap frog over the helmet of a metal man.

Not the easiest task in the world, I'll tell you.

"James!" I yelled, and there was a sudden, ghostly silence as James' furious footsteps stopped echoing down the corridor to me.

I glanced around, trying to figure out where the fuck I was in the middle of my swirling surroundings, when the footsteps started again – softer this time, but getting louder. And then he was in front of me, his hands wrapped around the tops of my arms and my back being pushed up against the wall.

But this wasn't like the other times when James had me against a wall – when his lips were on mine and he was most likely not wearing a shirt.

No, this time his face was squarely in front of mine, his eyes alight in fury and his jaw clenched together so tightly I'm surprised his hadn't cracked half of his own teeth. His look alone nearly poisoned me – he looked more than furious.

The way he stared at me made me feel like he didn't even want to look – to even think about me.

"How could you?" He hissed, his lips only inches away from my own – but this time it was not a good thing.

"James, I'm sorry, I don't – I can't feel my head, I don't know what's going –" James didn't release my arms, he didn't step back and he didn't free me from the bubble of pure loathing he seemed to have built up around us.

But he did tip his head back and laugh. Not his normal laugh, not the laugh that made the corners of my mouth twitch, even when I was trying to stay pissed, the laugh that often made me join in, the laugh that made me smile – this one made me sick.

It echoed loudly around the corridor, mocking me – taunting me.

"You bitch." He hissed, and my eyes widened in surprise. "You absolute fucking bitch – what did we agree yesterday? Yester-fucking-day?" I opened my mouth to try and respond, and then realised that I couldn't remember.

"To be best friends forever?" I suggested stupidly, and before I could stop it a giggle had escaped my lips. It was the alcohol talking – this is what I get for never drinking. It means I can't hold my liquor and then I turn into a prat and a half when I drink.

Fucking excellent.

If my friends were nice then they'd have forced me to drink in the past, to avoid situations like this.

But no. This is entirely their fault. It has to be. And Albus Potter's fault, for wandering the castle at night when he should have been somewhere else, nowhere near me.

James' expression went from furious to livid, and then it clicked – he thought I was making fun of him. And that's when the penny dropped and I realised what we had agreed only yesterday. But James wasn't going to give me a chance to correct my mistake.

Finally releasing my arms, he pushed back off the wall and strode over to the other side of the corridor, where he adopted a lofty and mocking tone, his eyes alone nearly burning me.

If looks could kill, I'd long have been in the mortuary by now.

"Yesterday, Summer, you and I came to an agreement that we weren't going to snog other people. This means that the only person we were going to kiss was each other. Now, when we made this little agreement, you seem to have decided that someone in this castle was above this little rule." James sneered the word. "Because I have to say, when I decided I was ready to commit to just snogging you, I did not expect to find you in a corridor with my little brother's tongue shoved down your throat."

I closed my eyes.

"James, I'm sorry," I started, but James began to laugh again – this same hair-raising laugh from before.

"SORRY DOES NOT MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER!" He roared, spit flying everywhere and his hands turning white as he clutched the window ledge next to him. "SORRY IS JUST A FUCKING WORD – ANYONE CAN SPIT OUT A SORRY! THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN GO AROUND AND FUCKING SNOG PEOPLE'S BROTHERS! DO YOU NOT THINK I'VE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH WITH HIM AND FUCKING NATALIE?"

I froze slightly, a few tears spilling onto my cheeks, despite my previous mocking of Natalie for doing so.

"HOW WOULD I KNOW, JAMES?" I screamed back.

I knew, deep down I knew, that I was in no position to be yelling at him – but I was angry. I was angry that he was angry at me, that he had clearly been through a lot and never told me about it. I was angry that he didn't seem to trust me as much as I trusted him - and I ignored the fact that I had done little to deserve his trust lately. So I continued to scream.

"HOW WOULD I KNOW WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH WITH NATALIE? THE LAST TIME I ASKED YOU, YOU STOPPED TALKING TO ME! WHY COULDN'T YOU JUST FUCKING TELL ME, WHY COULDN'T YOU TRUST ME AS MUCH AS I TRUSTED YOU?"

"RIGHT, BECAUSE YOU'VE DONE SO MUCH TO DESERVE MY FUCKING TRUST!" James spat back, his hands tearing through his hair as he glared at me.

I breathed heavily for a moment and contemplated whether to take the risk I was planning to – he couldn't get any angrier with me, after all. And that was what made my decision.

"Tell me what she did to you, James. Tell me what she did – her and Albus. Tell me." James' jaw clenched together and his eyes spat fire – but it was out in less than a second, replaced with a kind of bitterness I had never seen before.

"You of all people have no right to ask that, after what you just did." He said quietly, and I stood in silence as I waited for him to finish.

He needed to talk about it, whatever it was. Clearly it was still bothering him – and whether he wanted to tell me or not, he needed to. For his own sake, not mine.

"Tell me." I breathed after a moment. I prayed the pulsing in my head would go away as he began to speak, because it was making it exceedingly hard to concentrate.

"Natalie and I had been dating for two years." James sighed, sinking down to the ground and laying his head against his propped up knees. "I decided that I wanted her to finally meet my family, so I brought her over to the burrow and she met everyone. They got along well – Albus and Natalie particularly so. I never thought anything of it – they'd spoken before, after all, even if it was only to exchange pleasantries."

I bit my lip as I waited for him to continue. There was an odd punching feeling in my gut every time he said 'Natalie', and I wasn't sure why.

"Over the next few months I noticed things, but didn't say anything. They went out of their way to speak to each other, that kind of thing. They sent each other personal Christmas cards – that one I thought was extremely weird. But I let it slide. I was in... love." James choked the word out.

I clamped down on my tongue to stop myself being sick.

"It was a few months after that when things got really weird – Natalie was always busy, Al was never around and he avoided me like the black plague when I did see him. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and he once tried to start a conversation with me about whether Slytherins were bad people, people who would hurt their own family – and was that why he was put there? I didn't know what to make of it. I was a fucking twat."

The language shocked me a little – some of Angry James was sneaking in and overpowering Calm James that had been speaking before.

"She never wanted to have sex; she always claimed she was tired." James rolled his eyes at my horrified expression. I do not want to think about him and Natalie doing it. I'm having enough trouble keeping my lunch down, thanks. "But despite that, I noticed that she was always wearing really fancy underwear – what was the point, if I wasn't going to see it?"

I gasped softly as the pieces started to fall into place.

"She had hickeys – hickeys I hadn't given her, mixed in with the ones I had. She had no free time for me, she was always off somewhere and she was just plain jumpy and weird when we finally did get together. She wouldn't talk to any of my family – even Al, or so I thought. She avoided them all in public. That was about a month before we broke up." James ran a hand through his hair and banged his forehead against his knees a couple of times.

I wanted to crawl over there and give him a hug, but I knew better. The nostalgia was masking the fury that I knew would be returning soon.

"I confronted her about it, eventually – I'm not stupid, I knew she was cheating on me. She denied it, cried, sobbed, begged me not to break up with her because she 'did love me'. I knew she loved me. And I knew that she most likely loved the other person too, or she wouldn't be doing this. You know – that was the first time I had ever felt second best in my whole life. I couldn't stand it. So I didn't break up with her – another mistake. I told her to break it off with other guy – whom she hadn't even admitted was real – and left it at that."

I frowned. This story looked like it was going to have a happy ending. Only I knew it didn't.

"For three weeks or so, things got better. We spent more time together than ever before – talking mostly, we didn't even snog that much. I was beyond thrilled – I thought I had my girlfriend back, finally. And then, well, I was walking back from a late Quidditch practice one night when I realised I hadn't spoken to Al in the longest time – and I felt bad. So I headed over to the Slytherin common room to ask him to have breakfast with me the next day."

I closed my eyes when I realised where it was going.

"Some kid let me in – I headed up to his dorm, went in and found Natalie and Al snogging on his bed in their underwear." James' voice cracked slightly and he cleared his throat to try and hide it, his eyes boring into the wall as I brought back things he didn't want to remember. "They pulled away, got dressed – and I just stood there. I couldn't believe it."

He took a deep breath and rammed his elbow back into the wall behind him, his teeth biting down furiously on his lip in frustration.

"My own fucking brother had stolen my girlfriend – I found out later that she had tried to call things off with him, and he convinced her to choose him instead. Over me. His own brother." I felt sick.

I hated Albus Potter, all of a sudden. And then I remembered what I had been doing only twenty minutes before.

James had every right to hate me.

"So I stood there, pathetic and idiotic, and told her to choose. Stupidly thought she might actually choose me – I wasn't used to being second best, remember. Al was my little brother; surely she wasn't going to choose him."

I blinked slowly a few times, and then finally spoke. James jumped, as though his had only just remembered I was there.

"She chose him, didn't she? She stood there and chose him over you."

James nodded slowly.

"Then she was a twat, James." I said truthfully. "She was quite clearly insane," James cut me off.

"Funny, because you did the same thing." James spat coldly.

I opened my mouth to protest, but he wasn't finished.

"Maybe he is better than me, and this is just nature's sick way of trying to drum it into my skull." The bitterness in his voice made me feel physically sick again, and I prayed no one would be sitting in the grounds if I had to chuck up out the window.

"Don't be a twat – you're ten times the bloke your brother is, James," I protested weakly, but he shot me a poisonous look so strong that I quickly clamped my lips shut.

"You didn't seem to think so, since you had your tongue shoved down his throat twenty minutes ago." James snapped, and a little of the colour that the alcohol had been keeping down rushed up to my face with a vengeance.

Why the fuck did I do that?

And then I remembered. But James didn't seem to care, because he ploughed on with his rant.

"I mean, what the fuck is it, Summer? Am I just not enough for you? Because people have started to find out, it's no fun for you anymore so you decided that you'd get your thrills from someone else instead?"

I opened my mouth to protest, but James was nowhere near finished.

"God, I can't believe I was so fucking stupid – actually trusting you. You have all the rights in the world to snog whoever fucking floats your boat – but you didn't have to promise me first." And for the first time that night, the anger in James' eyes was tinted with something else – hurt.

My stomach rolled again.

"Why the fuck should I have trusted you?" I asked angrily, suddenly furious that he got to sit there acting like a fucking saint and martyr when he had done exactly the same thing.

"What the shitting hell is that supposed to mean?"

"You really are a snotty bastard, you know that?" I snarled, and the hurt filtered out of James' eyes as he glared at me, poisonous once again. "You have the fucking nerve to stand there and have a go at me for breaking some fucking pinkie swear, when you fucking went and did it first! You were the fucking reason that I did it too!"

James was now staring at me in a way that suggested he was slightly fearful for my sanity. Right. I am only ever taking essence of euphoria again. Vodka quite clearly does shit to my brain.

"I haven't snogged anyone other than you for a fucking year, if you don't count Erin!" James yelled, shoving himself to his feet and taking a step towards me, his eyes blazing and his hands clenched into tight fists. "And you fucking well better not count Erin, because I only did that to make you jealous and you know it!"

"YOU WERE FUCKING SNOGGING NATALIE OUT BY THE LAKE BEFORE, I FUCKING SAW YOU!" I screamed, and James' mouth dropped open. "STOP STANDING THERE AND LYING TO ME, JAMES. JUST FUCKING STOP IT."

"I haven't touched Natalie since she chose my prick of a brother over me." James said quietly – and I almost wished that he would start yelling again.

His voice was now low, full of resentment and bitterness and one hundred times worse than when he had been yelling. His eyes were staring into mine, but it wasn't the comfort that it normally was, it wasn't filled with friendship and smileyness and all that other happy shit that they normally were. They were dead. He was tired arguing. He was tired of me.

"I saw you." I muttered, once again flaunting my incredible inability to stop talking about something when I really knew that I should have.

"What did you see, Summer?" He sighed, rolling his eyes – he was just humouring me. And I intended to catch him out. "Do enlighten me, when exactly did you witness this alleged sacrilegious snogging between my ex-girlfriend and myself?"

"I was walking down by the lake – Fred had left his kimono and fan down there, and he was going around biting people in the common room until someone agreed to go and get it for them." I whispered into the silence. "I was already having a shit day, and I just wanted to clear my head. I had just gotten Fred's shit and was walking back through the trees when I saw you – you and Natalie. On a romantic walk around the lake. I snapped – I couldn't handle it. I thought... I thought the two of you were going to start dating again. And I'd be nothing."

James eyes flicked upwards suddenly and something flickered through them before they quickly died and went back to the cold brown they were before.

I shuddered.

"That wasn't a fucking romantic walk, you bint." James growled, before his head snapped up and he was suddenly shouting again. "She was fucking asking my permission to date MY FUCKING BROTHER, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE TO SNEAK AROUND ANYMORE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAD JUST FUCKING GIVEN THEM MY PERMISSION. AND THEN WE WALK IN ON YOU AND THE SHIT HIMSELF SNOGGING!"

I recoiled against the wall, pressing one of my cheeks to the cold stone to try and smooth the swirling in my head. Everything was fuzzy. All I could hear was the echoes of James' yell.

"You... didn't snog her?" I muttered, and James let out a quick bark of derisive laughter.

"You said you were already in a shit mood – why?" James said suddenly, his head snapping sideways to stare at me again. It was like he was trying to catch me out, trying to find some hole in my story so he could find something else to yell at me about.

"My parents – my parents have had another fight. I got a letter this afternoon – just after you went to sit with Al at dinner."

"What did it say?" James muttered, and I pulled the dog eared parchment out of my pocket and handed it to him, trying to ignore the fact he avoided my hand like I was infectious.

I already knew what the thing said, off by heart. The words bothered me, though I knew my mum hadn't intended them to when she wrote them – she was just angry, she wanted someone that she could rant to without being reminded that she was married to the bloke and needed to try and play the dutiful wife. She wouldn't have wanted something like that to bother me. But it did. The words had manifested in my brain, making little nests and holes were they weren't wanted – it scared me.

Other people's parents fought. Mine bickered. They didn't fight.

Summer,

Your father is without a doubt the lowest form of rot that I have ever had the misfortune to come across – he has been working away from home for four weeks now, and I've been left home alone the whole time. And guess what I have just found out? That the business trip he is on is with his very attractive, twenty five year old FEMALE colleague.

And no, I am not being overly paranoid – when I asked if he was going with anyone, he told me he was going with Fat Harold from the office below. You know, the one that tried to ask you out at your sixteenth, and your dad took him outside and we haven't heard from him since? That one.

So I flooed him and asked him about it, and he just completely dismissed me – then he apparated home, and started yelling bloody murder at me for not trusting him. Long story short, darling, the dining room is being repaired but I have to eat my dinner in the dining room on the third floor now. That table was a favourite possession of mine, that's why he did it. God, he is just a spiteful, rude, arrogant, hateful man.

Sorry darling, you don't need to hear this. I love you. I miss you. I'll see you at Christmas. Write me.

Mummy.

James frowned slightly.

"I don't understand. Your parents had a fight, so you snogged that prick that my mother tells me I am related to?" James cocked an eyebrow at me, just daring me to tell him that it was true.

"Don't be fucking stupid." I snapped, rubbing my fingers on my temples. "I was annoyed because of the letter, I went down to the lake and saw you and the bitch and thought you were getting back together – so I went to the kitchens and got drunk. I remembered how happy you guys always seemed as parties, when you were smashed, and I wanted to try." James' mouth fell open. "I didn't even drink very much, but I must have a very low tolerance or some other shit like that."

"Then?" James snapped, annoyed I had stopped talking.

"I was trying to find my way back to the common room, and I found Albus. He looked nervous, and so I sat down next to him and started talking – half of it was gibberish, but he just sat there and let me talk. And then – I wanted to do what he wanted to do. Get back at you. So when he leaned in to snog me, I didn't stop him. I didn't know what I was doing James – and you might hate it, but you are practically the fucking twin of him – I was confused. I – I don't know."

I dropped to the floor and put my head on my knees.

James didn't even attempt to comfort me – I wasn't surprised.

"You want to know what I was considering today, Summer?" He asked quietly, and I lifted my head off my knees to stare at him. "I was wondering whether or not we were being stupid, and I should ask you to be my girlfriend. And you know what? I had nearly decided just to bite the bullet, give it a go and ask you out on a date."

My mouth dropped open.

"But you can be bloody fucked if you think any of that is happening after all this shit. I can't believe you did this shit to me – I'm supposed to be one of your best friends!"

"You are!" I tried to say, but if fell on deaf ears.

"This is done." James said loudly, and I blinked in confusion. "The snogging, the meeting up, the not snogging other people and all that shit – it's done. We'll go back to being friends. You can go and snog some other bloke that will put up with your shit. And I'll go back to doing whatever the fuck I want."

"You're not – you're not going to snog me anymore?" I asked, frowning as I took in what I was saying.

"I don't trust you, I'm so fucking angry right now I feel sick, and I just want to be left alone – I barely even want to look at you again, Summer, but our friends are going to notice something if we don't keep up appearances. But we're done. As far as 'we' go – it's all over."

James shot me on last glare, hurt prominent instead on in the background, before turning on his heel and swishing off down the corridor.

The flick of his robes around the corner was the last thing I saw before I started to shake, tears started to leak out of my eyes – hey look, I'm turning into Natalie – and I clutched my stomach, the roots of my hair, anything.

James can't be done with me. I need him. He can't be.

But I know he is.

 




disclaimer: none of this belongs me, and i own nothing you recognise.

woah. so, heavy chapter, huh? just a whole chapter of furious james... which is fun, you know. this chapter depresses me. i didn't want to write it, which is why it didn't come out as fast as the past few. it makes me very sad. but it had to happen. if something big didn't happen, neither of them would bother to change anything.

so sorry about this, and please don't be too angry at me ~ things will get better, i promise. i actually planned the next four chapters, so i'm no longer flying it all blind.

OH. just remembered ~ thank you so much for the amazing number of reviews on the last chapter. i still stare at the little number with a really stupid expression on my face. i look like a right idiot. but seriously. it's 68 as i'm writing this. that's insane. so thank you so much!

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 18: The One with More James' Point of View
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for Jess the Enthusiast, for being my thousandth review as an author,
and for my love for teddy lupin, for being the five hundreth review of this story.




 The rest of October passed, as did half of November, and the cold air fizzled out into never ending drizzle and hailstorms – oh, and temperatures to rival the Arctic. And James stayed true to his word – though he seemed to relax a little a few days after the incident, he wouldn’t spend any time with me alone – or any time alone with any of us, for that matter.

Connor and James even seemed a little funny with each other, leading me to believe that Connor had ranted as much at James as he had at me, when he found out that our little ‘agreement’ had reached a bump in the road.

I mean, I knew that said ‘bump’ was completely my fault, I knew that – but that didn’t make it any less of a pain in the arse.

I’d fucked things up good and proper, in true Summer Lancaster style.

And Connor seemed to feel that screaming his tonsils out at me for an hour and a half was the way to fix things. And then, after ranting for so long that I considered pitching myself out the window, he just left the room with an ominous ‘fix it, Summer’.

If I could, I would.

The only plan I can possibly come up with is running up to the twat, grabbing him by the collar and forcing him into a broom closet.

But I don’t think that would really help the situation very much, considering James is working his arse off to try and rebuild the wall between friends and maybe-a-bit-more that we had started to knock down.

He didn’t trust me, I knew that too. And in all honesty, I hadn’t done anything in a long time that showed I actually deserved his trust.

And if he was telling the truth when he said he was considering asking me out on a date – why is my stomach clenching? It shouldn’t be clenching. Bloody stomach – then he was... he was getting over Natalie. With me. He was ready for something more – even if he was stupid enough to want that something more with me.

And then I’d gone and messed him up and James was probably never going to want to be in a relationship ever again.

He’s going to die an old man that shags all the old ladies staying with him in the old folk’s home, with no kids and his insane abundance of money going to some Save the Bowtruckle shitty charity. And it will be all my fault.

Still, at least I’ll know that my shittiness as a person has helped the next few generations of bowtruckles.

Which is always good, you know.

If you like animals, and all that shit. Which I don’t. Not really big on the whole animal front.

Albus and Natalie went public the day after that – though why the bint still wanted to be with him is beyond me. She must be as big a twit as I always thought she was – and were greeted with general astonishment and many hushed rumours from the rest of the school.

Particularly the Potter/Weasley Empire, whose spidey-senses seemed to be tingling as they sensed something a little off with the whole situation.

Many people actually got it bang on the nose – that there had been something going on with Albus and Natalie whilst she was still with James, but with no one confirming the rumour, it was left down to hear-say and bathroom gossip.

Seriously. The amount of times I have been trying to go to the loo in between lessons and have had to listen to the Potter boy’s fangirlies squealing about the new couple is making me sick.

It’s been a sodding month. Get over it, bints.

If I could just dig an enormous hole and toss the lot of them into it, then I would. But I have a feeling that some pest-lover would start claiming that bints have a right to live too.

Which they don’t.

But regardless, I would end up in prison and that really wouldn’t float my boat. James probably wouldn’t want to be with someone that was in prison for killing off the girls that have his posters pinned to their walls.

Shortly after Twit One and Twit Two became known to the world, Jack and Rose took the highroad to Splitsville.

I asked Jack the Pr – no, not Jack the Prat, just Jack – what happened, and he just said that whilst he enjoyed the company of Rose greatly, it was more like being in a very exclusive friendship than in a relationship. And then he had a laugh attack because I got confused and asked if that was just his Sexy-Suave-Man way of saying that she wouldn’t shag him.

For anyone interested, no, she didn’t shag him, but that wasn’t what he meant. He called me ‘vulgar’ for making that assumption.

I think that means I need to stop hanging out with teenage lads.

After finding out Rose was now back on the dating market, Scorpius – after nearly wetting himself in shock – ordered one hundred roses (you know, because she’s called Rose. Yeah, I didn’t get it at first either) to be sent to her room and laid out in crystal vases.

Cost him a fortune, and probably would have made everything finger-licking dandy – had the idiot not ordered them to be sent effing anonymously.

Rosie now spends her days wandering around with homemade rose perfume on and a moony smile on her face as she tries to figure out who was willing to break the bloody bank for her.

Scorpius was too busy ‘admiring from afar’ (his words, not mine) to try and approach her and explain that he sent them as a way of an apology. No. Of course not. Because why take the logical option?

Those two are getting on my last nerve.

But with a big Hogsmeade weekend coming up, I’m hoping that Scorpius is going to get off the Oblivious Thestral and just bloody ask the chick if she wants to go and snog him in The Three Broomsticks, and possibly be graced the privilege of a hand-hold on the way back up to the castle.

My cousin is a git. Shut it, prick at the computer there who just said that he learned it from me. I’m a lovely person. I’ll get James to smash your bloody head in if you keep muttering things like that.

Oh wait, not James. I’ll get Fred to do it – if you offer to buy him a packet of strawberry bootlaces then the bloke is putty in your hands. He’d even do your history of magic homework for you, but not many people want to hand in an essay scrawled in child script (most likely in red crayon) on a torn piece of parchment stained with peanut butter and teriyaki sauce.

Speaking of Fred and all the wonderful weirdness that surrounds him, I think he has a thing for Penny, you know.

I don’t know, but I’ve just started picking up on this vibe lately. They’re always sitting really close together, and they’re both smiling like the saps they aren’t, and they keep shooting these little lip-bite half smirks at one another.

And then, the other day – Fred offered her a bite of his Tuna-Mayo-Cheeseslaw-Tomato-Peanut-Cabbage-Bacon sandwich.

She declined, of course, like any person with normal taste buds would have, but the offer still stood. Fred Weasley was offering to share his favourite food with someone. And then when Dom asked for a bite, wanting to try the concoction for once and figure out what all of Fred’s hype was about, he snatched it away from her like she was poisonous and she had just threatened to rip off his manhood and feed it to a gorilla.

Apparently it was a Penny only kind of offer.

Not that any of the rest of us had any interest whatsoever in putting that shit near our gobs.

Connor and Dom, I hear you ask. Still going strong. Still sickeningly loved up, though they’ve thankfully just come out of the stage of calling each other ‘pookie’ and ‘sweets’ and ‘baby’ – I think it might have been James tipping pumpkin juice over Con and me pouring my tomato soup onto Dom that really got the message across.

That kind of cuteness is not appropriate for the dinner table.

They finally did the deed and just shagged, and I was greeted to a charming blow by blow description of exactly what happened and exactly how Connor did between the sheets – I even got a lovely out-of-ten rating. Scarred for life doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Dom spent three and a half hours telling me about how it really made her feel special and their relationship feel strong that they lost their V-cards to each other.

Yeah, yeah, gorgeously cute. Now go and gush to Penny, she’s the friend that wants to hear about that kind of shit. It makes me want to claw my own eardrums out.

Not that I’m dramatic, or anything.

You want dramatic, you go to Jamesie boy. I mean, can you get any more dramatic than practically renouncing your relationship with someone just because you walked in on them snogging someone else. Yeah, I was in the wrong – and please don’t ask me to admit that again, because it was painful enough that time – but James complete blew it out of proportion.

At the time I thought it would last a week, tops – it’s been a ruddy month and he’s showing no signs of just shoving me up against a wall and snogging my brains out like he used to.

That’s actually quite a depressing thought, when you think on it.

But no. After walking in one someone who was not your girlfriend (henceforth he cannot accuse me of cheating on him or some shit like that) snogging someone else, shout a little, maybe throw something, get in a hump and strop off.

Don’t scream half the school down, beat the living shit out of your own brother, disfigure the castle by ripping things off the wall and decide to never again snog someone who bloody liked snogging you. And then stay in a strop for longer than it takes Fred to go through ten girls.

“What are you thinking so hard about?” Jack asked, dropping down next to me on the bench and wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “I thought I’d warned you about that – thinking can be bad for people like you. You could hurt yourself.”

I elbowed him in the ribs but chuckled slightly anyway.

“Nothing. Just how far everyone has come in the last month.” I muttered, snuggling my nose into his chest and breathing in his overpriced cologne and shower gel scent.

Delicious.

Much better than the stink of those berks (cough, Flint, cough) that think smelling like a ‘man’ – in other words, stinking of sweat and the wrong end of a sewer – means that you’re more masculine.

I would much rather sniff Jack. In a none creepy way.

“Are you talking about the fact that Dominique and Connor can now sit in the same room without blowing kisses and drawing love hearts in the air to one another?” Jack laughed, his blonde hair tipping off his face as he did so. “Or the fact that Rose and I are no longer an item? Or perhaps, even dear Fred and Penny, who seem to be growing very fond of one another.”

“All of it, really.” I shrugged, secretly a little pleased that someone agreed with me. With Penny spending most of her time studying or with Fred, and Dom spending pretty much all of her time with Connor, I didn’t have anyone to talk about this with any more.

I used to talk to – well, at – James. Most of the time he would just stare at my chest and zone out, but at least he pretended to listen.

“Or are you talking about the fact that you and James Potter used to be as close as anything and now won’t sit next to each other, blush if you catch each other’s eye and don’t spend any time alone?”

My head snapped up so fast that the crown of my skull thwacked Jack on the bottom of the jaw.

“Merlin, sorry.” I squeaked, grabbing the roots of my hair as though his would somehow manage to stop the pain. It didn’t, by the way. “And I have no idea what you’re talking about – James and I are the same way we always were.”

My stomach flipped uncomfortably as I wondered how many other people had noticed the splinters between James and I. Surely not that many. I mean, Jack was just close to me and knew me well, that was all. He was perceptive.

We should be alright, because none of our friends have noticed anything out of the ordinary.

That’s because they’re too busy with their blokes to pay any attention to what’s going on with you anymore. Who are you kidding, Summer, it’s as obvious as fuck that something is very wrong with James and yourself – and yet neither of your two best friends have noticed. You’re just not as important to them anymore, face it.

Breathing hard out of my nose, I wrapped both of my arms around Jack’s middle and closed my eyes.

“I’m not thick, love. Did something happen between the pair of you?” He asked hesitantly, and I cracked my eyes open enough to see him biting his lip. Bloody hell, he looks hot when he does that. “Did you... break up?”

Once again, the top of my skull clanked Jack’s teeth together as I jumped so violently that I almost flopped off the bench.

Because I am just that cool and coordinated.

“Of course we didn’t fucking well break up!” I half yelled, my eyes now completely open and staring at Jack in part horror, part shock. “In order to break up then we would have had to have been dating; James and I have never been a couple.”

“You sure?” He asked suspiciously, taking a chunk of my black hair between his fingers and starting to weave it into a loose plait.

“I’m sure.” I said honestly, leaning my head back onto his chest and eating a couple of chips from Jack’s plate, occasionally holding my hand above my head to give him some. Jack let the braid go as soon as it was done, and brushed through my hair with his fingers until it was smooth again.

I sighed contentedly as he tightened the arm around my shoulder and placed a kiss on the top of my head, his free hand gently running up and down my thigh atop my skirt.

“Summer,” he whispered, and as I looked up he leaned down, “will you do me a favour?” I nodded slowly, and he lifted his hand off my leg to lightly run his fingertips along my cheekbone. “Will you kiss me?” Smiling in spite of myself, I leaned up and closed my eyes, pressing my lips lightly against Jack’s as his hands slid down and crossed behind my back.

Yeah, I know – I’m a bitch.

And to be quite frank, I don’t give one.

~*~

As told by James Potter

“But Connorrrrrrrrrr,” I whined, trying to attract my best mate’s attention away from gawking at my stupid cousin, “Summer and Jack the Prat are probably going to be there and I do not want to see them.” I shot him a pointed look, but he quite clearly didn’t care.

“What did I tell you, James?” Connor sighed, clearly not up for having this conversation again.

We’ve had it every night for the last nine days – since Summer made that bloody announcement at Dinner and everyone looked fucking thrilled – and Connor’s answer is always the same.

“You told us that you weren’t going to let us mess up our friendship if you agreed to keep quiet about this shit between us,” I muttered resentfully, pouting so much that a passing third year swooned into her friend and caused an amusing display of human dominoes down the corridor.

“And so that means?” He asked absently, glancing up and down the corridor for any sign of Dom.

The man is obsessed. He might as well just stick her to his side with a permanent sticking charm, and then he won’t have to crane his neck looking for her.

He’s going to end up looking like a giraffe one day. I won’t even feel sorry for him when he does.

“That means that Summer and I are going to have to sit at the table together at breakfast and dinner like we used to.” I sighed, crossing my arms over my chest and pouting like a three year old. I have cousins that do that.

I could practically hear Summer’s reaction to my face, tucking some black hair behind her ear and rolling those big blue eyes at me – big blue ugly eyes, her eyes aren’t nice or anything – and jabbing me in the ribs with her elbow.

“Since when did you become a little kid that broke its Lego house by sitting its own fat backside down on top of it?” She smirked. I speedily unfolded my arms and forced my lips up into a smile.

She glanced down the corridor quickly, checking for anyone that could see us, and then threw her arms around my neck, kissing my smiling lips with enough force to beach a whale. I picked her up and she kicked her legs around my waist, I pressed her up against the wall, she started to tug off my shirt, I kissed all the way along her collarbone and then up to her neck...

Woah.

Glancing down, I saw that my arms were still folded and Connor was still paying next to no attention to me, and was instead waving at the blonde bint running down the corridor to us – well, to him. I might as well not bloody exist to my own family anymore.

Even Fred, the bloke I could rely on for anything, even if he would do it wrong, was spending all his time and energy on his lady love.

Bloody Penny and her uncanny ability to somehow tame the biggest player in Gryffindor.

The one time I could actually use someone – after Summer goes and messes with my head so much that I can’t make bloody sense of anything anymore – and they’re all off being stupid and selfish and paying attention to people that aren’t me.

Not that I’m selfish and whiney, or anything.

“Hi,” Dom breathed, finally sputtering to a stop and sliding her hand into Connor’s a disgustingly sickly smile on her face. Please tell me I was never like that with She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named (hint: her name rhymes with Patalie), because I might just have to off myself with shame.

“Hello,” Connor smiled back, and I mimed chucking up into a nearby suit of armour.

The suit of armour flipped me off (honestly, where do they learn these things?) and Connor kicked me in the shin. He never used to be so violent. He’s getting that from hanging out with my cousin too much, that’s what’s going on.

I need to stop the two of them seeing so much of each other. At least until I find someone else to spend all my time with.

“You look beautiful today.” Connor murmured, and I mentally started drafting what I could say to people when I went around and asked for a new best friend. I’m supposed to have sodding five of them, to avoid this kind of situation.

But no – two of them are dating, two of them are so wrapped up in each other they barely even look up anymore, and I’ve barely spoken to the other one in a month.

I’ve actually said about twelve words to her in the past nine days.

I mean, we were getting better – we’d talk over dinner and it wouldn’t be quite as awkward, and then the little slag had to do what she normally did and stuffed the lot of it up – the little amount of progress we had managed to make.

Nine days ago she announced she was Jack the Tosser Prat’s girlfriend.

Yeah. Girlfriend.

As in, the thing that she claimed she would never be for me because she didn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend.

And the most fucking annoying part of the whole fucking thing is that she doesn’t even notice what she’s doing to me – and if she does, she sure as hell doesn’t care. You would have thought, out of common bloody courtesy that she would have at least kept this new 'relationship' quiet for a bit – but no.

At first I thought it was just Kyle Davies Round Two – a ploy to make me angry and jealous, some kind of plan to try and force me into forgetting everything that has happened. And then I thought that she just needed someone to replace me, so Goldstein was just something to hang off her arm and something to snog in classrooms, but not ever associate with her almost non-existent emotions.

But she seems... happy with him.

She smiles and laughs and acts all friendly, stuff she never did before. And he wraps his arm around her waist and plays with her hair and kisses her on the cheek and drapes his jumper around her shoulders if it’s a little bit chilly – it makes me fucking sick.

I want to throttle the little prick. The arsehole should learn to keep his hands off my –

No. He should learn to stop scarring all the poor pupils in this school with his disgusting inability to keep his hands off one of my acquaintances.

I mean, I suppose I could beat him up under the pretence of being the bloke that split up with my baby cousin – ignoring the fact it was a mutual decision and Rose is actually happy that me moved on with Summer. She told Dom that she reckoned he fancied my Summer while he was dating her.

It has taken every ounce of control in my body to sit opposite him at dinner for the past nine nights (I’m bloody counting) and not stab him with my fish knife.

I mean – she’s fucking smiling.

Smiling. I can count on the fingers of one hand that Summer has actually, genuinely smiled in the time that I’ve known her.

She normally just prefers to sit there and look all haughty and bored (and fucking gorg- never mind) and act like everything that everyone else is doing is below her amazing level of wonderfulness.

Maybe when she removes the stick out of her arse and learns how to treat somebody well, then I’ll actually consider trying to patch things up. If they even can be patched up.

This whole Goldstein shit seems to have stuck the axe in for good.

“Oi! Mate?” Connor asked, finally detaching his eyes from Dom and jabbing me in the ribs with his elbow. I glanced up distractedly and ran a hand through my hair, and he just stared at me suspiciously (and in all honesty, a little sadly) as though he knew exactly what – or who – I was thinking about.

“Dom, love, I just need to talk to James. I’ll meet you in the great hall, yeah?” He leaned down and kissed her gently. I looked away. “Save me a seat.” He kissed the tip of her nose and she blushed, before stumbling through the great hall doors.

The two of them are disgusting.

Did my pumpkin juice no do anything to convince those two that they need to calm it down in public?

“Talk to her.” Were the first words out of his mouth; no illusions, no beating around the bush – just the same words he had said to me who knows how many times.

“No.”

“You’re miserable without her.”

“Well, she was a good snog.”

“That’s not it and you know it.”

“What do you suggest it is then, Connor? Since you know it all?”

“I suggest that it’s because you’re in love with her.”

My jaw slacked in disbelief and a derisive laugh slipped past my lips. And before I knew it, my back was leaning against the wall for support as I clutched my stomach and damn near cried with laughter, as Connor stood calmly by my side.

“You’re insane.” I gasped after a while.

“Well, what else do you think it is?” Connor asked simply. “You haven’t touched another girl since you called things off with her, so don’t tell me you miss the snogging – you could have that with anyone.”

“You’re insane.” I repeated dumbly. “I am not in love with Summer.”

“You miss her.”

“She was my best friend! Of course I bloody miss her!”

“You’re not going to admit it, are you?”

“No! Because I’m not in love with her!”

“What do you think about Jack?”

“The little prick is an arse should just go and die, why?”

“Jealousy...”

“W- Wh- I am not jealous! James Potter does not get jealous!”

“You got jealous enough when she snogged Kyle Davies in that store.”

“W- Well she was trying to make me jealous!”

“And she succeeded.”

“You know what? Just shut up, Connor. Just fucking shut up. I didn’t ask for your advice or your psycho analysis, and I don’t want it. I’m not in love with her, and you can’t tell me I am. Just because Summer finally forced you to ask Dom out and you’re happy does not make you the master of all things relationship, okay? Summer and I are done.”

And with that, I turned away and stormed to the lake.

That’s the reason all this rubbish started, anyway.

Makes sense that it should be my location of choice for all my Dramatic Misunderstood Emo Staring into the distance.

~*~

“Will you pass the potatoes, James?” It asked me. Oh yeah, I haven’t told you yet – the thing that is claiming to be Summer’s boyfriend is now going to be referred to as ‘it’. I think that exudes the right level of hostility. You agree, right?

I shot it the dirtiest look I could muster and then forced one of Summer’s plastic smiles onto my face, grabbed the bowl of potatoes and shoved them into its hands with force intended to break its fingers.

I heard them all click, but it barely winced. It just continued to stare me down, and then forced an identical fake smile on its face.

“Thank you, James.” It said formally, before shooting a quick glance at Summer, who was poking at her sausage with the prongs of her fork.

And then it all fell into place – it couldn’t stand me. And it was putting on a ‘friendly face’ in front of Summer because it wanted her to think that it go along with all of her best friends – clearly it doesn’t know what things are scewed between us.

I wonder why it hates me?

Oh wait – I don’t give a flying monkey.

People think enough crap about me, being the son of Harry Potter. I’m not bothered about one more ‘person’ thinking one more thing.

“Penny – I want a word with you. Get up.” A voice dragged me out of my mental tirade as it sliced across the chatter of the table and dropped down on us. Summer’s head shot up and her eyes widened, and I noticed Goldstein slide its hand into hers on the tabletop.

She shot a worried glance at me and then slid their intertwined hands off the desk and onto the bench between them, out of my line of sight. I watched her glance nervously at me out of the corner of my eye.

My stomach fell when I realised she had done with that one simple gesture – she had erased one of my comforting reasons. If she was trying to hide her affections to Goldstein from me, then she wasn’t in this to make me jealous – she wasn’t.

“Penny – up. Now.” Kane Owen’s voice brought me back to the present moment. He was towering over our table, his deep grey eyes trained on Penny’s paling face and the hand that Fred had resting on her knee. I saw the ball in Fred’s throat bob as he swallowed, but he didn’t move his hand.

“I – I’m okay eating here.” Penny stammered, her eyes winced slightly shut as though she expected his hand to just swing out unexpectedly.

“Well, I’m not okay with you eating there. Get up and come with me.” Penny was practically vibrating by this point, and my hand clutched my wand in my pocket, reading to hex the life out of him if he tried to get any closer to Penny.

He screwed around with her for long enough. Not anymore.

Penny swallowed and stared at Fred for a moment, then lifted her eyes to Kane and attempted to stare him down. The fact she was shaking like a leaf kind of made it less convincing.

“N-no.” Kane’s jaw dropped open. So did mine. So did Summer’s. So did Dom’s. Goldstein was glancing at Summer every now and again, but carried on eating its roast potatoes. How can it eat at a time like this? Oh yeah, it’s never been through anything with us so it doesn’t know anything about this.

Nice bloke, Summer.

Kane reacted so fast that I barely had time to pull my own wand out of my pocket, and Fred only just managed to launch himself out of his seat and into Kane’s stomach. Kane’s wand had been whipped out and directed right at Penny’s face, but within seconds it was nearly a metre away from his oddly positioned arm.

“Fred.” I whispered gruffly, trying to pull my cousin off the bloke. Blood was everywhere. I hoped Penny was okay. “Fred, he’s out cold. Leave it.”

“I’m gonna kill him – I’M GONNA KILL HIM!” Fred screamed, and Penny quickly clambered off the bench and grabbed him by the hand, tugging him back down onto the bench with her. “I’m gonna disfigure the bloke so bad that his own mother isn’t gonna be able to recog-”

Fred cut off as Penny leaned up and pecked him on the lips.

It lasted less than half a second, was as light as a feather and involved absolutely no groping or feeling or tongues (and where is the fun in that, really?) but Fred looked floored.

And Kane Owen was literally floored, lying unconscious on the floor behind Fred’s rigid form.

“Thank you.” Penny whispered, but still Fred didn’t move. I could practically hear Summer’s brainwaves from where I was sitting, chanting ‘awkward turtle’ in that strange way of hers. I don’t think Fred was breathing.

And then slowly – painfully slowly – he raised a hand and brushed the tips of his fingers along her cheekbone.

“Go to Hogsmeade with me on Saturday.” He whispered, and my stomach jolted when I realised that it was a Hogsmeade weekend in less than two days. Penny’s mouth dropped open.

“Fred, I don’t know – I mean, I don’t think I’m over Kane and it wouldn’t be fair to you –”

“Do you fancy me?” Wow, Fred. Don’t beat around the bush; just tell us how you really feel. Penny’s mouth fell open again, but Fred didn’t look even slightly abashed. He just stared her down, his eyes wide and earnest.

He’s never looked like that before.

It’s weird.

“Well, I – I don’t – I wouldn’t... yes.” Fred’s face broke into a grin.

“Then go to Hogsmeade with me on Saturday.”

“Okay.” Penny laughed nervously and Dom grinned, high fiving Connor under the table. Goldstein continued to stuff his face. Summer stared at them with her eyebrow cocked and her fingers drumming on the tabletop. I stared around my friends like a creeper. Whoops.

And that was that. Simple and easy. Why isn’t it like that for me?

Oh yeah, because my girl was a bint.

“Oh snap, I’ve gotta go.” Fred said suddenly, kissing Penny on the cheek and jumping off the bench, slinging a suspicious looking backpack over his shoulder and heading towards the door. “I promised the owls I’d come and sing to them at six, and I don’t want to be late.”

"Did he just say 'oh snap'?" Dom asked slowly, glancing around at us desperately, waiting for one of us to tell her that she had indeed heard wrong. Nobody said a word.

 
Bloody hell. Penny, you got yourself into this. You have been warned.

~*~

As told by Summer Lancaster

“You were great, Pen,” I smiled, “standing up to him and all that. I’m proud of you.” I gave her a rough, one armed hug and glanced down at mine and Jack’s hands, which were locked and swinging between us.

It’s so odd that it doesn’t bother me, that it doesn’t make me want to run into a corner and scream about relationships being shit.

“Thanks.” Penny grinned, tucking a dark curl behind her ear. “I can’t believe I’m going on a date with Fred, though. I mean, do you think it’s too soon? Do you think I need to wait another month, or do you think –”

“Don’t be a twit.” I cut in. “You like Fred, and Fred is quite clearly head over heels for you, so just go on the bleeding date and get that moony look off your face.” Penny blushed. “And hey, if it doesn’t work out, you can come and be a lonely owl lady with me.”

Jack coughed from next to me, dropping my hand and wrapping his arm around my waist instead. Placing a kiss on my check and flicking the end of my nose, he murmured –

“Doesn’t being with me kind of mean that you’re not going to be a lonely owl lady?” I blushed slightly and glanced up into his (hot...) face. Penny smiled from next to me, and for some reason I found myself thinking about what his reaction would be if he was here.

Wait, why am I thinking about him?

Never mind. Ignore me.

“We’ll see, Goldstein.” I smirked. “Depends how long I let you stick around for.” Jack grinned and leaned down to kiss me. Our lips had only just brushed when a voice called down the corridor, and I cursed as I pulled away.

“Summer Lancaster! Get over here; I need you for a second.” Connor beckoned me over, his blonde hair flopping around his face, and looking a little excited.

Jack looked a little bit put out (okay, you have to admit that pout is adorable) but I ignored him, and suspiciously made my way down the corridor to where Connor was tapping his foot, leaning against the wall like he was holding the castle up.

“What?” I asked suspiciously.

“Come with me.” He said flatly, before seizing my arm and tugging me into the nearest classroom.

I whipped around as he shoved me, tripped over a stupidly placed desk and fell backwards, my hair flying into my mouth and my back making a terrifying crunching sound against the concrete. Connor’s eyes widened and I heard a muttered curse from behind me.

I opened my eyes in time to see James standing over me, his fingers curled around the tops of my arms and his brow furrowed slightly in worry.

Our lips were only inches apart. I closed my eyes again.

But James clearly had different ideas, because a second later I had been hauled to my feet and shoved onto the desk behind me, and James had retreated a good three metres away and was dragging his hand through his hair.

“What is she doing here?” James asked quietly. Connor cocked an eyebrow at the pair of us. “You told me that we were going to spend some time together and play Wizard’s Chess. She's hopeless at Chess, so what is she doing here?”

I am not hopeless at Chess. Just because I can’t see the fun in sitting down for three hours and having two bits of porcelain pound the tar out of each other doesn’t mean I am hopeless at it.

“The two of you are pissing me off.” Connor said flatly, locking the door with the tip of his wand and turning back to face us. I rolled my eyes.

“What the hell are you on about?” I snapped, though I had a rough inkling where this was going.

“Look, I know that a load of crap has happened between you because you’re both immoral, stubborn idiots, but I told you a long time ago that I wasn’t going to let you screw up your friendship.” I rolled my eyes again and James perched himself on the edge of the teacher’s desk, the sun setting in the window behind his head.

Damn, those cheekbones.

“So what are you saying?” I sighed, folding my arms and kicking one of my legs over the other in irritation.

“It’s Hogsmeade on Saturday.” Connor said simply, and James caught my eye quickly to shoot me a confused glance. You know, for a smart guy, Connor really can be dim sometimes.

“What about it?” I asked finally, since James’ vocal cords seemed to have fused together.

“Well, the three of us usually go together, right?” Connor said, leaning against the door with an arrogant smirk on his face – so irritating that it was almost worthy of the James Potter Smirk Award. “Well, I am attending Hogsmeade with my lovely girlfriend this Saturday, obviously,” he paused to smile goofily and I mimed throwing up onto my knees, “so the two of you are going to be going together.”

“I’m going with Jack – our first proper date.” I said quickly, my tone unwilling, and the pale flush on my cheeks was not helped when the chalk that James was rolling between his fingers snapped clean in half.

“No, you’re not.” Connor said flatly.

“Yes, I am. I can’t just cancel on him now, he’s my –” I cut off suddenly and stared at a fraying thread on the bottom of my skirt.

“He’s your what, Summer?” James asked coolly, and in annoyance at his tone I looked up and stared him dead in the eye. He glared back, his fingers still clutching the two halves of chalk.

“He’s my boyfriend.” I murmured, and James’ eyes flashed with something that looked like an odd mixture of revulsion and a small amount of satisfaction, as though he knew he had forced me to admit something that I hadn’t wanted to.

“Well, you’re going to have to cancel on him, and you’re going to have to go to Hogsmeade with James.” Connor shrugged, not looking in the slightest bit bothered that he could be ruining my relationship.

“And what’s going to make me?” I said coldly, sliding off the desk and stepping towards Connor.

His eyes widened slightly and he shuffled back a little, but continued to stare me down.

“Or I’m telling everyone that you spent a year swapping saliva with Jimmy here and kept it a secret from everyone, before snogging his brother in a corridor and having a screaming match so stupid and enormous that the two of you haven’t spoken properly in a month.”

My mouth dropped open.

Was Connor, the traditional definition of ‘nice’, actually standing there and blackmailing James and I into going on a – for a lack of a better word – date?

Why can’t he just let us stop speaking in peace?

I’m happy with Jack, I really am – he’s nice to me. He cares. He is just – he is just a really nice guy. And I need a really nice guy – I don’t need someone like James. So why can’t Connor just let us all move on in peace?

We’re of age; we can make our own decisions.

“Don’t be a prick, Connor.” James snapped from the corner, and irritation rumbled in my stomach.

“I’m not being a prick – I’m being a good friend. You’ll thank me for this one day.”

“No, I won’t.” I snapped.

“Me neither.” James agreed.

We both glanced at each other in shock when we realised that we had actually agreed on something for the first time in – well, actually, we haven’t agreed with each other in an extremely long time.

“Meet each other in the common room at eleven on Saturday, or I swear to Merlin I will announce to everyone what went on between to you – and ‘everyone’ includes dear Dom.” A little of the colour drained out of my face and settled in my neck.

Without another moment’s hesitation he had whipped around on his heel and stalked from the room, and another clicking noise told us that he had relocked the door from the other side.

“What the bloody hell are you doing?” James asked in confusion, quickly crossing the room and pounding on the door with the palm of his hand.

“Oh yeah, and the two of you have to talk. This door isn’t going to unlock for another half an hour.” Connor called back, and I bit down on my tongue to prevent myself from whipping my wand out, cursing down the door and hexing the little shit into oblivion.

I could hear some whistling fading off into the background as Connor strolled away.

James slammed his arse down onto a nearby desk and crossed his arms over his chest, his eyes glaring at the door as though he wanted to set it on fire with the power of his eyes alone (needless to say, it didn’t work) and his teeth pinching down on his bottom lip.

He’s going to leave a mark if he’s not careful.

After nine minutes of complete silence, I glanced up and decided to swallow a little bit of my pride.

“James?”

He said nothing.

“Oi, you. Do me a favour and actually pay a little attention to me, will you?” James’ head snapped up in anger and I stared into his fiery brown eyes, trying to ignore the fury. The bloke is far too dramatic for his own good.

“What do you want? To gush to me about how good Goldstein is in the sack? Tell me, does he have any secret tattoos that the world has never before been able to see?” James sneered, leaning his head down on his hands and staring at me was a faux interested expression on his face. I flushed slightly.

“Don’t be insane, we haven’t even been dating for a bloody fortnight.” I snapped, and the corners of James’ mouth twitched slightly before they fell back into a flat pink line.

“Why are you dating him?” James asked suddenly, and I stopped.

A heavy pause filled the air as I mulled over what I was going to say – whether I was going to be tactful and polite or whether I was going to act like myself and give the spiteful and snarky answer that was desperate to roll of my tongue.

Spiteful and snarky it is.

“Because he treats me well – and he acts like he cares.” I said loudly, and James’ eyes filled with something that looked a little more like hurt than anything else.

“You’re a right little bitch, do you know that?” He snapped, and the corners of my lips twitched upwards into a victorious smirk.

We both lapsed back into silence after that, and it stayed that way for another nineteen minutes, until we were both staring at the clock on the wall, waiting for it to tell us that it had been half an hour and we were allowed to leave.

“You’re only doing this because you want someone to snog, aren’t you?” James said suddenly, and I jumped slightly in the newly broken silence.

“No.” I said calmly, and James rolled his eyes.

Then suddenly he was briskly walking forwards, his fringe blowing backwards off his face and his brown eyes staring right through me, his muscles clenched under his school shirt and his hands curled into tight fists by his sides. He stopped when he was only centimetres in front of me, before leaning his face down until his lips were only an inch away from mine.

If I just move forwards ever so slightly, I will be able to kiss him really gently...

“Then why are you doing this, Summer? Why are you dating a guy that you barely know, being his girlfriend ­– something that you are notorious for hating – and acting all... happy and smiley and other disgusting rubbish? Are you doing this to get back at me for not dating you?”

I opened my mouth – and then closed it again.

I floundered for a moment, annoyed that James would think so little of me, to use someone as lovely as Jack like that, but no excuses came to mind.

"It's not really any of your business, James." I said calmly, trying to calm the fluttering in my stomach. 

"I think it's my business." James said coldly. 

I opened my mouth a few more times, before an escape plan quickly filled my head. I would have to run, and it might not work (not to mention Dom would kill me) but it was better than having to talk about myself. 

“I – I – Connor and Dom had sex the other week!” I shrieked, before leaping off the desk, shoving him backwards into a chair and pounding off down the corridor, hunting down the dark blonde bastard that had locked me in the classroom in the first place.

Well, I also have to tell my boyfriend that I’m spending Hogsmeade alone with James instead of with him.

I am screwed. 




disclaimer: none of this belongs to me, and i own nothing you recognise.

this chapter is also dedicated to two groups of people ~ the fred/penny shippers, and those who predicted that connor was going to meddle in getting james and summer back on track.

from the reviews of the last chapter, i noticed a lot of people seemed to be firmly on james' side or firmly on summer's side ~ so what are you? Team Summer or Team James? or, for the hell of it, Team Freddie?

ellie :) xx

next stop: james+summer, albus+natalie, fred+penny, connor+dom and jack are in hogsmeade.


Chapter 19: The One in Hogsmeade
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“What?” Jack asked, his eyebrows furrowing together in confusion and his bottom lip jutting out slightly in world’s most adorable pout. Did I just use the word ‘adorable’? What the fuck is wrong with me?

“What part of that didn’t you understand?” I sighed, sitting down next to him on his bed and resting my head in the crook of his neck, his hand immediately moving to rest on my lower back, his lips pressing a light kiss onto the tip of my nose.

I grinned in spite of myself.

“I don’t understand the part that involves my girlfriend blowing off our first proper date to go and spend the Hogsmeade trip with a guy that she hasn’t even spoken to for a month.” Jack said, his eyebrow cocked and his eyes staring at the pink flush that was crawling up my neck. I tilted my head so my hair swung over and covered some of my face.

“I’ve spoken to him.” I muttered resentfully. Jack snorted.

“The occasional ‘pass the salt’ does not count as a conversation, Summer.” Jack cocked his eyebrow again. “And, well, I don’t want to sound like the overbearing boyfriend, I really don’t – but...” Jack cut off and rubbed his hands together awkwardly.

“But what?” I asked, reaching out and taking both of his hands in mine. A small smile twitched the corners of his lips.

“No, you’ll think I’m being a controlling psychopath.” The corners of his mouth twitched again, and I dropped my arms so I could wrap them around his middle on press my face into his chest.

“Just tell me, you doof. I don’t think you could be anymore controlling than my friends already are.”

“I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of my girlfriend being alone in Hogsmeade with another bloke – I mean, would you feel happy if you found out I was going with Susan from Hufflepuff? It wouldn’t be as bad if someone was going with you, but it will just be the two of you.” Jack stared down at the floor in front of him and I smiled at the cuteness.

I shifted myself on the duvet and crawled onto his knee, my chest pressed against his and my legs stretching out behind his body, before wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him into a gentle kiss.

“If it makes you feel any better, I don’t want to be there either.” I murmured into his mouth, pressing kisses onto his upper lip. Jack pulled way eventually and buried his face in my hair, his lips pressed against my collarbone.

“Then why are you going?” He muttered, and even the fact it was muffled by my neck couldn’t mask the resentfulness.

“Tradition.” I said shortly, pulling his lips back to mine to try and shut him up.

“Can’t you just tell him you’re sick and come and spent some time up here in my dorm?” He grinned.

God, he was charming. His blonde hair was tossed back off his face, his jaw square in the light from his oil lamp, his warm eyes smiling at me – even if they were still narrowed slightly in suspicion – and his hands resting on my lower back.

It was refreshing – something as little as him putting his hands on my back instead of my arse, because it was something that James would have never considered doing.

Not that I’m comparing James and Jack, obviously.

Because they are nothing to do with one another. James is my past, and Jack is my present. If it will last to the future, who knows, but that doesn’t matter, because as long as James stays in the past then everything is okay.

Everything will be happy and dandy and wonderful.

“I’d love to,” I said honestly, leaning down to press a few kisses onto the hollow points of his neck, “but everything has already been arranged.”

My mind once again flickered to the dumbfounded expressions of Penny and Dom if they found out what had happened – and the reason it ended. Dom would not take that well.

Jack slipped his hands onto either side of my face and pulled my head up until it was at eye level with him, his blue eyes staring me down. I smirked evilly and he grinned a little, before letting go of my face and letting me shove his chest, pushing him down onto the bed and kicking one of my legs over either side of his stomach.

“Stay here with me,” he pouted, and I rolled my eyes, leaning down to kiss his stomach through his t-shirt.

“I’ll stay here with you now.” I offered, and he grinned as he pulled me in for a snog.

I feel like such a cliché – but hey, you can suck on that, James Potter. I don’t need your snogging or your shirtless chest or your muscles or your cheekbones or your – what year is it? Anyway – I don’t need you.

I’m fine as it is. I’m happy. With Jack. Happy.

So you can just go and snog the squid.

~*~

“Alright, you have a choice.” Dom said loudly, banging her clipboard and quill down on the desk and turning to face Penny and I with a scarily serious expression on her face. Penny and I glanced edgily at one another out of the corners of our eyes.

Dom turned back to the desk; dramatically ticked something on the parchment tacked to the clipboard and then grabbed something off her bed.

Brandishing the pair of artfully decorated jeans at us, she cocked an eyebrow.

“Now, I need you to tell me something, and be brutal.” She took a moment to stare us down.

Clutching the waistband of the jeans in one hand, she reached behind her and grabbed a pair of frayed denim shorts with a plaited brown belt threaded through the belt loops. Dom cocked an eyebrow at us.

“Which of these do you prefer?” She asked, and she took a step closer, thrusting the denim pieces in our faces to make sure we could see.

Penny leant backwards and bit her lip, the expression on her face suggesting she was afraid that Dom would go psycho ninja on her arse if she chose the wrong one. Dom might be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic at times, but I don’t think she’d go that far.

“Well, I like the shorts, personally – but it is the middle of November, so your arse will probably get frostbite.” I shrugged, and Dom nodded seriously.

“I could wear them with some tights,” Dom said, pulling open a drawer with her little finger and tossing a pair of flesh coloured, black and brown tights onto the bed, “or I could wear them with leggings, if it’s really cold – or long socks!”

“If you wear long socks with shorts then you will look like a complete and utter idiot, and the bits of your legs between the top of the sock and the bottom of your shorts will probably turn blue.” I shrugged, picking at the nail varnish on my thumb.

“Then what do you suggest I wear? The jeans are going to make my arse look enormous!” Dom threw the jeans and shorts onto the floor and stomped on them a few times in frustration, before dropping down on the ground
next to them.

“Why are you freaking out about this?” I asked.

“Because I don’t want to look ugly.” Dom said sincerely, looking up at me through the blonde hair that had fallen onto her face.

“Dommie, you could wear a potato sack and old man sandals and still look nicer than everyone else in the village – and don’t even bother trying to deny it.” Penny chipped in, rolling her eyes.

“Yeah, stop being a twat.” I agreed.

“Besides, you’re already Connor’s girlfriend and the guy would jump off a cliff if you told him to – I highly doubt that he’s going anywhere. You really don’t need to be freaking out this much – I’m calmer than you are, and this is my first date with Fred!”

Penny’s expression suddenly switched, like someone had opened the floodgates in her brain.

“Oh holy Merlin, this is my first date with Fred...” Penny muttered, dropping her head into her hands and shaking a little. The girl must have settings in her brain or something, and whenever she gets nervous it automatically sets itself to ‘vibrate’.

“Yeah, I know.” I said flatly. “What about it?”

“Summer, you told me that I was ready for this! You said that I didn’t need to wait another month because I do fancy Fred – I’m not ready for this. No. I’ll have to cancel.”

Penny stood up and went to cross the room to the door, determination written on her petite features. Dom and I glanced at each other in horror, and then both acted at the same time.

Dom threw herself off the floor at the door, splaying herself across it so that Penny couldn’t get out, yelling a nursery rhyme at the top of her lungs to stop Penny shouting anything down to Fred, and crushing his fragile feelings.

Fred – fragile feelings. Snort. I do make myself laugh.

I, on the other hand, launched myself off the bed into Penny, slamming into her stomach, wrapping my arms around her waist and throwing her onto the floor.

I landed on top of her – quite heavily if you believe the noises of pain she made.

“Summer! What the bloody hell are you doing?” Penny shrieked, as I pinned her shoulders to the ground and used my legs to press her knees into the floor.

“You’re not going anywhere,” I grunted, and I could practically hear Penny’s eyes rolling.

“Yeah, I kind of got that when I was wrestled to the ground – what is wrong with you two?” Penny’s doubts about Fred had seemingly been forgotten during the act of being pinned to the ground and locked in a room by her two best friends.

“I’m not letting you hurt my cousin,” Dom said flatly, and Penny’s eyes widened as she attempted to use her stick arms to push me off her. It didn’t work – I may be a little weakling myself, but I’m twelve times stronger than she is.

I wrestle with Connor when I have nothing better to do, since he’s the skinniest of all the guys.

“Fred wouldn’t be hurt – I don’t think the bloke understands the concept of the word ‘hurt’, he’s a little too happy for that.” Penny said, but the way she stared at me made me think that she was hoping that I was going to agree with her.

“Penny, you do know how much he likes you, right?” Dom said slowly, and Penny blushed a little.

I rolled my eyes. Why do people have to be cute all of a sudden? I don’t like cute stuff. I was four when I decided that I wanted to get rid of all the teddies off my bed – Penny still has them. I never saw the point of teddy bears – they’re just a bit of stuffed felt.

What’s so special and huggable about that?

“Well, I suppose he must fancy me a little if he asked me out on a date,” Penny said reasonably, a frown creasing her forehead and her teeth coming down to bite her bottom lip. I almost smirked when I noticed that logical Penny had once again made a comeback.

“The guy beat the shit out of Kane for you on several occasions, Penny – and I don’t really have to remind you how terrifying your ex boyfriend is.” Dom stared down at her. “He more than fancies you and you know it – don’t hurt him. This has to be hard for him, feeling this way about you – it’s not like he’s ever done any of it before.”

I cocked an eyebrow.

“Wow, so inspirational.” I rolled my eyes and Dom shot me a glare, grabbing one of Penny’s old banana peels off the desk and chucking it at my head. I rolled off Penny and laid my back flat on the floor to avoid it.

And who said that I have no reflexes? Pfft. You don’t need Quidditch to be able to dodge flying fruit skins.

“Can you go three and a half minutes without being sarcastic, Summer? Seriously, I honestly reckon that you couldn’t go a day without being snarky – one day someone is going to take you seriously and you’re going to get into some deep trouble.” Dom stared at me gravely.

“Wow, you really are in a preachy mood today, aren’t you? Tell me, are you planning on running around Hogsmeade today banging a tambourine?”

Dom shot me the finger. And she tells me off for being snarky.

She then glanced at the watch on her wrist and let out a noise that can only be described as an amalgamation of grunting, screaming and gasping. I imagine it was the noise that an ancient kind of dinosaur used to make when they were in pain.

But that’s just my humble opinion.

“What’s the matter?” Penny asked quickly. Dom just looked up at us, wide eyes and her face slightly whiter than usual.

“Guys – we only have three hours to choose outfits and get ready,” Dom said quietly.

It was my turn to chuck the banana peel at her.

~*~

“Alright, we’ve got to go and meet the guys,” Dom smiled. “Summer here has got to go on her date with dear James.” Dom nudged me playfully in the side so I kicked her in the ankle.

Sure, Dom didn’t know that she was treading dangerous waters and just thought that she was taking the mick out of the fact James and I were going to Hogsmeade alone, something we had never done before – but that didn’t stop anger bubbling in the pit of my stomach, most of it directed at my blonde best friend.

Of course, some of it was directed at said blonde best friend’s boyfriend, for putting me in this bloody situation to begin with.

God, people piss me off.

All humans should just be killed off, if you ask me – all of these people are too stupid to function properly and therefore come up with shitty ideas.

You hear that, Connor? I was mentally directing my thoughts towards you.

“Summer,” Penny asked suddenly, whipping around to face me – though, unlike usual, her hair only managed to move a few centimetres to the side under the three tonnes of hairspray that Dom had coated on whilst pinning her to the bed, “I forgot to ask you before – what does Jack think about you going to Hogsmeade with James?”

“He’s cool with it,” I lied quickly, offering up a nonchalant shrug to try and get the attention diverted elsewhere.

“Oh – sorry if I’m being nosy, you just don’t talk about him much, is all,” Penny shrugged and bounced down the first couple of steps, a spring in her step that had been missing since she broke up with You-Know-Who.

“Oh,” I said vaguely, squinting down at the toes of my ballet flats.

“Yeah, that’s a good point,” Dom butted in, turning around on the stairs and shooting me a suspicious look, “you hardly ever talk about him.”

I shrugged again.

“It just doesn’t come up,” I lied again, pulling on the ends of my curls and praying to every deity I don’t believe in that Dom would just trip down the stairs and the whole conversation would just be forgotten in the resulting panic.

“Yeah, because you don’t let it come up,” Dom rolled her eyes. “You’re the most freakishly private person I know, Summer. Seriously, we’re not going to sell all your details to the local newspaper, it wouldn’t kill you to tell us some stuff.”

Pfft. I tell the pair of them loads. I have no idea what they’re on about.

Yeah, because you told them all about you and James.

Shut it, brain. No one asked for your crummy opinion.

“You ready for this, Penny?” I asked as we reached the bottom of the winding staircase, Penny’s fingers locking in and out of one another in her nervousness. What she’s got to be nervous about I don’t know. Fred is gaga for her.

Poor girl. I mean, Fred is lovely, don’t get me wrong – but all the time?

I don’t think I could handle it. Then again, I can’t handle anyone all the time, so what do I know? I actually hid under a library table yesterday to avoid Jack because we’ve been spending so much time together lately.

I don’t want to cross over into that realm of ‘couple that spend too much time together’.

Besides, it always makes my gut hurt a little whenever I see James’ face when Jack and I are together – I don’t know why, and I don’t even know what the expression is, but I don’t like it. I may like spending time with Jack, but if spending some time apart every now and again means James gets a little bit of angst-free peace, then alright. I can cope with that.

I took the last step of the staircase slowly, taking careful effort to watch Dom skip across the room in Connor’s arms instead of glancing around for a certain raven-haired git.

“Hello, beautiful,” Connor grinned, and Dom’s resulting beam was bright enough to blind passers-by. She leaned up and planted a snog on his lips, but the kiss was interrupted in less than a second as Fred oh-so-subtly walked up behind them and scooped Dom over his shoulder, before flicking Connor on the side of the head.

“What the bloody – Fred Weasley, put me down this instant!” Dom shrieked, slapping Fred on the back repeatedly and trying to knee him in the nose with her flailing legs.

I suppose her Veela charms just melt away when she’s tossed as un-elegantly as possible over her cousin’s shoulder.

I’ll remember how ridiculous she looked in this moment whenever I feel a little self-conscious.

“Connor Dale! Stop being so bloody useless and help me – get me away from this bloody oaf!” Dom shrieked, but Connor was too busy laughing hysterically, clutching the armrest of the couch for support, to try and help her.

“Oaf?” Fred pouted, winking at Penny and I before spinning around so fast that Dom let out a very uncharacteristic scream. “That’s not very nice, Dommie – I expected better from you. If you’re not careful then I’m going to demote you from the position of my favourite female cousin, and give it to Lily instead – do you really want that?”

Dom scowled at his back. Fred smirked. Gotta admit – that bloke is made of win.

“Shouldn’t my little sister be your favourite cousin anyway?” James asked quietly, his voice curling around me from somewhere behind. My shoulders tensed at the sound of his voice and my knees felt a little shaky – see, this is what happens when you don’t have breakfast – but I didn’t turn around.

“Just put her down, Fred.” James continued, strolling around me, a smirk playing on his lips as Dom continued to hammer on Fred’s spine.

Poor bloke is probably going to be a hunchback at thirty now.

“Merlin, Jimmy, you always ruin my fun,” Freddie grumbled, dumping Dom carelessly off his shoulder and onto the plush couch behind him, not even sparing a glance to see whether she had landed safely.

His eye’s had already latched with the brunette’s next to me, and in that moment, he was hooked.

I rolled my eyes at the sickening cuteness. Alright, Jack and I don’t do this kind of thing – so why do they feel the need to? I mean, holding hands in public is bad enough, but they don’t even do that! Urgh, they stress me out.

“You look gorgeous, Penelope,” Fred beamed, shooting her two thumbs up – Fred’s idea of a romantic greeting. It appeared to win Penny over, however, as she grinned shyly and stepped forward to take his outstretched hand.

“You look nice too, Fred. I mean, the t-shirt is quite... ahem, unique, but you look lovely all the same.” Fred beamed proudly and pulled on her arm, bounding over to the portrait hole and offering the rest of the common room a cheery wink.

“See you lot of saddos after I get back from my hot date!” He winked, and before Penny could open her mouth to rebuke him, he had scooped her into his arms and jumped through the portrait hole, sliding down the banisters of the great staircase with ease.

Oh good lord. Fred.

What on earth could make someone think that wearing a t-shirt printed with the image of a headless, bikini-decked woman is at all appropriate for a first date?

I would pay good money to see what goes on in that bloke’s head.

“Well, catch you later, Summer, Jimmy,” Connor said awkwardly, glancing at Dom as she shot him a sappy grin, not paying a jot of attention to the three metres of cold air that was built like a wall between the prat and myself.

And before James could whip out his wand and hex him into a million and twelve pieces, scattered all over the floor of the common room – trust me, his expression told everyone that this was exactly what he wanted to do – Connor shot us a guilty grin and speedily exited the common room, dragging Dom behind him.

...which left James and I standing together, the temperature between us colder than ice, and splintering like cheap wood.

“Well, I suppose we should get this shit over and done with,” James grumbled, striding across the common room in a few long bounds, and jumping through the portrait hole without any semblance of a backwards glance.

Huh. Nice to know that Gryffindor chivalry withstands all emotions, isn’t it?

“James – bloody slow down, will you?” I snapped, inwardly cursing myself for borrowing Dom’s flats, which were half a size too big and flopped off my feet every time I stepped, clearly disagreeing with the fact I was hastening to catch up with good ol’ Jimmy.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, baby,” James grumbled back, not a hint of amusement on his stony face, his cheekbones deliciously prominent as he chewed on the insides of his cheeks.

“Since when have you called me ‘baby’?” I asked, startled out of my annoyance by the term of endearment, whether it was meant as one or not.

But James didn’t seem to be in the question-answering kind of mood, because he continued to plough his way down the corridor, his hands plunged deep into the pockets of his jeans and his hair blowing back off his face, styled a little more carefully and artfully than normal.

Did he do his hair especially for today? No, of course not. Why would he? It’s not like anything is ever going to happen between us again. Ever.

“Well, you’re always complaining about the face you don’t have a nickname,” James grumbled finally, as he turned left at the portrait of Doreen the Deranged, “In fact, you’re always complaining, full stop.”

I blinked, surprised that I actually felt the sting.

What happened to the playful James that I would banter with for hours over a pot of ice cream and a bottle of Butterbeer in the school kitchens? He would say things like that, and they would mean bugger all – but now it’s different. He’s trying to hurt me. He’s trying to get me to lose my temper, because he knows that will make everything so much more entertaining.

Well, if you want to play, Potter – it’s on. It’s on like mud on a pig.

“Well, if you always look on the negative side, you’re never disappointed. And then sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised,” I said nonchalantly, lengthening my strides to meet his and tucking a black lock of hair behind my ear.

“But if you look on the bright side of life, then you don’t spend your entire life as a miserable shrew with a face like a slapped backside,” James snapped, and I frowned. This wasn’t our usual playful banter – this was an argument, veiled to others as two friends being playful.

James Potter and Summer Lancaster, being their usual argumentative selves. Nothing different there. Except everything is different.

“Right, because you’ve been a right ray of sunshine lately. Breezing around the castle spreading hugs, love and giggles, that’s you.” I rolled my eyes, ignoring the dangerous smirk that was tugging the corners of James’ lips upwards.

That’s not the James Smirk.

That’s the Kane Owen Smirk.

Fuck.

“Right, because my best friend agreeing to become exclusive with me, before sucking face with my little brother to spite me, stopping speaking to me and then dating the ex-boyfriend of my baby cousin – who broke up with said baby cousin for said ex-best friend – and flaunting her new fucking relationship right under my nose is supposed to make me feel like floating on clouds and cartwheeling around the castle to a choir of cherubs.” James rolled his eyes again.

I gaped at him.

“How can you say that?” I shrieked, and my tone seemed to shock him slightly, because he jumped half a foot in the air and assumed a constipated expression. “I’ve made a real effort to try and stop Jack and I from being flaunted in your face – and you’re going and acting like – and what the fuck, James? I agreed to be your exclusive what, James? Your exclusive whore?”

James foot slipped backwards as he skidded to a halt, his head whipping around to gape at me. I bit my lip – maybe I’d overstepped the mark.

What did you just say?” James asked quietly, his eyes blazing and his hands clenched into fists so tight that I thought for a moment that his knuckles might pop out of the stretched skin of his hand.

Yep, definitely overstepped the mark.

“You know full well that you weren’t my girlfriend because you didn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend – and yes, I had commitment issues, which you now understand, but if you had wanted to date then I would have at least given it a go – a courtesy that you never bothered to extend to me. And made a real effort, my arse – the bloke’s all over you like a rash, it’s bloody sickening, Merlin, you’re pathetic, Summer –”

“SHUT UP, JAMES. JUST SHUT UP, OKAY? I FUCKING KNOW IT’S MY FAULT, I DON’T NEED YOU TO STAND THERE AND TELL ME HOW MUCH I COCKED EVERYTHING UP, ALRIGHT?” My chest was heaving, a flush crawling up my cheeks as my glare bore into James, poison practically leaking out of my look alone.

James froze, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, before he sighed.

“Look, I don’t want to argue with you,” he sighed, “so let’s just go on this thing and get it over with, and then we can go back to normal.”

I blinked a couple of times, trying to beat back the hope that unfurled in my stomach at his sentence.

“Normal – normal as in pre-snog with Albus normal, or normal as in pre-Connor interfering normal?” I asked, my fingers crossed behind my back.

James’ cold eyes flicked up to my face, one eyebrow raised and his lips twisted in another smirk – this one was different again. It was amused, but vindictive – he was going to spite me. My heart sank as we started to walk again.

“As in, the normal that was you throwing yourself under desks and behind statues if you saw that you were walking in the same corridor as me.” James said coolly, running his hand through the back of his hair.

I flushed.

“That was one time.” I muttered resentfully.

There was a short silence, broken only by my embarrassingly loud breathing – I was still worked up from yelling, and power walking around half the castle wasn’t really helping the situation. My shoes made odd clapping noises against the cold slate of the floor, and I noticed that James was chewing on his bottom lip, a habit that was usually reserved for Dom.

“Look,” he said eventually, as we reached the huge doors that led out into the Hogwarts Grounds, “can we just try and get along for the next few hours? Just act like friends – it’s so much easier than arguing with you; you’re too fucking smart for your own bloody good.”

I pressed my lips together to hide my reluctant smile.

“Alright. We can get along for today – but that doesn’t stop me being mad at you.” I agreed.

“What – what do you mean, you’re mad at me? You’re the one that was screwing around with my brother!” James protested, spinning around on his heel so he was walking backwards, watching my face in annoyance.

I smirked.

Walking backwards down a hill, James? Not the smartest idea – especially not when you’re walking with me. With a quick grin, I grabbed James by the shoulders and gave him a light shove – which caused him to consequently trip over a giant boulder.

Giggling as he rolled down a large patch of grass, hissing expletives at the shrieking third years, I strolled up to his side.

“Sorry James, we can’t discuss that now – my bossy date has insisted that we try and get along for the day.” With a what-can-you-do shrug, I carried on down to Hogsmeade, ignoring James foul language as he hauled himself to his feet.

Honestly, the mouth on that boy.

~*~

“We’ve been in the Three Broomsticks for forty minutes – can we go now?” James whined, absent-mindedly stirring his spoon around his empty coffee cup. Instead of ordering our traditional Butterbeer, he’d opted for a coffee and Firewhiskey – probably to rub it in my face that everything had changed.

So, being the mature and level-headed girl I am, I decided to get back at him – by taking as long as humanly possible to finish my drink.

Anybody who is anybody knows how much James Potter hates waiting around after he’s finished, for other people to finish their own things. It’s actually on the pet peeve list he has pinned up in the Captain’s office.

I should probably get a medal for getting under his skin so well.

“So, d’you ever say anything to Con about him shagging dear Dom?” I asked, and James’ expression instantly switched to one of a person that was being forced to swallow something unpleasant.

“Gave him a black eye,” James shrugged, a smug smirk tugging at the corners of his lips, “and told him that he bloody well better treat her well or I’d decapitate him like a moose and hang his head on my bedroom wall.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Not being funny, James, but Dom could probably beat Connor up better than you could.” I snorted. “Fuck, I could probably beat Connor up better than you could.”

“Funny you’d say that, considering you know full well how well I can beat people up.” He muttered.

“What’s that supposed to be mean?”

“Well, you had front row seats when I was forced to beat the stuffing out of the scum that I call my ‘brother’.” James shot me another glare. “Then again, as well as a viewer, you were also the cause – wow, you must have felt so special.”

I felt the need to blush – perhaps feel a little ashamed, but anger filled my stomach so fast that all of the shame was knocked back.

“Oh, don’t be such a fucking child – we were not dating so I was fully entitled so snog whoever or whatever I liked – and you didn’t have a right to say anything about it –”

“No, no, Summer. You did have the right to snog anyone you wanted – until you agreed to go exclusive with me – that’s when you lost that right. You don’t agree to things like that if you don’t want to do them, yeah?”

“Oh, fucking let it go! Why are you holding onto this so hard? You’re pathetic!”

“Pathetic? You are calling me pathetic? Miss I’ll Snog Anything That Moves?”

“I’ve snogged you, Albus and Jack in the past year – that’s three blokes! How the hell is that a valid argument?”

“You just need to face the fact it’s your fault –”

“I’ve admitted it’s my fault!”

“And that you’re only dating Jack to make me jealous –”

I froze.

“What?”

“Well it’s quite clear that’s why you’re doing this –”

“That’s bullshit.”

“Then why would you possibly date such a spineless, snobby, snooty bloke? He’ll bore you to tears, Summer. He’s not right for you –”

“And how would you know what’s right for me?”

“I was right for you.”

I stopped breathing.

“You’re insane.” I whispered, searching his face for any sign that we was joking. But his eyes bored into mine, wide and grave, and my jaw slackened. He couldn’t possibly believe –

How could he think...

“You were not right for me.” My eyes flashed and anger unfurled in my stomach. I wanted to hurt him, to piss him off as much as he did me. “You were just something convenient to get me to the next best thing – to get me to Jack.”

Of course, my feels for Jack where nowhere near as strong as that – or strong at all, really – but he didn’t know that.

James lurched to his feet, his hands clenched into fists and his teeth bared in what can only be described as the face of a predator just before they devour the pathetic animal in front of them. He was practically shaking with anger.

“You bitch,” He snarled, and I rolled my eyes, despite the strong urge to run away and cower under the nearest table.

“Well, would you look at that? We couldn’t get along for one afternoon, could we?” I taunted, swinging my legs up from under the desk and propping them up on the tabletop, leaning back in my chair, the image of coolness.

James’ eyes flashed, and he looked like he wanted nothing more to hurl a bucketload of insults at me, everything he’d thought about me for the past month – but instead he stayed quiet, bit his lip, shook his head once and turned on his heel, storming across the pub and jamming his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

He had nearly reached the door to the pub when the sound of a resonating bell alerted me to yet more people trying to squeeze into the packed room.

“And where do you think you’re going, Jimmy?” Connor asked coolly, pulling Dom further into the pub by her hand before dropping it and crossing his arms over his chest.

“I was just going... to the... loo?” James asked wildly, spinning around on his heel again and quickly scurrying in the direction of the toilets.

Smooth, James. Real smooth.

Christ, I could have come up with a better excuse than that.

Connor held up one finger to Dom, gesturing that he wouldn’t be very long, and swiftly crossed the room towards me, dropping onto the stool that James had abandoned.

“What the hell are you two playing at? I forced you to spend some time together today because I want the pair of you to bloody get along again, not so he can storm out on you and you can press all of his buttons for a bit of fun. Jesus, Summer – it’s like you don’t even want to fix things!” I blushed a little and stared at my knees.

“I – well, I...” I stammered, and Connor cocked an eyebrow.

“Do you even want to make things better between you and James? Or are you just putting up with this for a day because you don’t want me to snitch on you to the rest of them?” I knit my fingers together and banged my ankles together as we sat in stony silence.

“Well?” Connor asked eventually, and I started to chew on my bottom lip.

“I do want to fix things, I suppose...” I shrugged and changed tack as Connor’s eyes narrowed to slits. “But you know full well that James doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“Yeah, I know it’s my fault.”

“You know, someone should probably make a note of that and get her to sign it – it’s not like she’ll ever take the blame for anything that’s her fault again. She just bumps it off onto someone else.” A voice sneered from behind my head, and it took all my effort not to roll my eyes again.

“Oh fuck, you’re back,” I sneered back, and I heard James swear under his breath.

“What I ever saw in you is completely beyond me, do you know that? You’re a heartless – ” James started, but I was out of my seat and spitting fire before he had a chance to even think about finishing his sentence.

I’m heartless? Says the bloke that didn’t give a shit about my feelings until they messed with his own –”

“Oh please, like you have feelings, we all know you have a chunk of ice where you heart is supposed to be –”

“Don’t be such an egocentric pig, James Pot –”

“WILL THE TWO OF YOU JUST GIVE IT A BLOODY REST?” Connor roared, and everyone within a ten metre radius turned to blink at us in shock.

We both turned to blink at him, James flushing a little in shame as Dom turned around from the bar and peered at us suspiciously. My gaze was cold and fixed on Connor’s angry face.

“The two of you are going to be leaving this pub tied together if you don’t start bloody getting along,” Connor hissed, “because I have had it to the back teeth with the pair of you – either snog and make up, or make a mature decision to remain civil and engage in a non-sexual friendship.” Connor stared us both down, and I glared at my cup. James glared at the floor. Dom glared at the three of us. Connor just glared in general.

It was just one big glare-a-thon.

“We’ll get along,” James said quietly.

Gee, thanks for consulting me, idiot.

See, this is exactly what I can’t deal with – Jack would never do something like that. Jack would actually consult me first; see what I wanted to put me first because he’d want me to be happy. Not to whatever it took to save his own hide, like some people I could mention (James Potter).

“Fine,” Connor snapped, getting back to his feet and crossing the room back over to Dom, “but this is the last chance for the pair of you – or else.” He shot us a glare over his shoulder.

And by ‘or else’, he means that he’ll tell Dom.

Wonderful.

Life would be so much less complicated if we weren’t all scared of Volcano Dominique.

Connor smacked a loud kiss on Dom’s pouting lips, which brightened her up in an instant, grabbed her by the hand (not the wrist – are you taking note, James?) and started to tug her back towards the door, wrapping his free arm around her waist in some odd looking manoeuvre.

Dom blushed and grinned, her eyes twinkling in a way I had never seen before.

The Summer Lancaster Jealousy monster reared its ugly head, roaring up to the sky about the unfairness and crapness that was life, and why did Dom get to be so happy when I was miserable right now.

I wish Jack was here. He’d make me feel happier.

“Be careful what you wish for, Summer,” Mummy warned me, her warm blue eyes staring down at me. My father rolled his eyes behind her head, “Because sometimes, you won’t always want it when you get it.

I nodded my five year old head at her, taking in her words of wisdom, an impressionable child that pretended to care so they could get back to chasing the pigeons in the back garden.

“Daphne, please tell me you are not trying to teach life lessons to our five year old daughter,” Daddy snapped, rolling his eyes again. Mummy always said that they’d get stuck like that if the wind changed. Daddy used to hold one of his fingers up at her. I’m not really sure why. It wasn’t even the one with his nice gold ring on.

“I’m trying to teach our daughter to grow up to be a smart, balanced young woman,” Mother would reply hotly, her face glowing pink. Daddy would snort and walk away.

Be careful what you wish for, Summer.

“Summer! I thought you might be here!” Jack said over the tinkling of the entrance bell, his smile warm and sincere, his hair a little more styled than normal, his eyes sparkling at me and then dulling to coolly assess James’ frozen frame.

“What’s that fucker doing here?” James snarled, but I ignored him, watching Jack cross the room slightly clumsily, a goofy smile forming on his face as he got closer to me.

God, he’s adorable. He’s a like a big stuffed teddy bear.

He reached us quickly, wrapped his arms around my waist and planted a louder-than-necessary kiss on my lips, before pulling away and pressing a soft kiss on my forehead, nose, and each of my cheeks.

“What are you doing?” I muttered, cocking an eyebrow as his expression turned sheepish. As his eyes darted over to James, who was standing a little too far back, his arms folded and a scowl prominent on his face, my stomach dropped a little. He’s trying to piss off James. Well, Jack, why not just go the whole hog and pee on me?

That’s another way to claim your own territory.

Urgh. I will never understand the male species.

“I just wanted to see how your little day out with your... friend, was going,” Jack said brightly – too brightly – his grin that caused the dimples in his cheeks to pop out didn’t quite meet his eyes, which stayed cold and impassive and staring at James.

James stared back.

Do you think either of them would even notice if I suddenly just got swallowed up by the floor? If I didn’t know that both of them were as straight as an iron poker, then I’d rib the bejesus out of them for staring into each other’s eyes like that.

“Right, well... this is awkward,” I said flatly, flaunting my incredible ability to state the painfully obvious.

Jack jumped slightly, as if he was only just remembering the person that was folded in his arms, and James blinked a couple of times, staring at me for less than a second before he frowned and flitted his glance across to the window.

“Well, I suppose you should just carry on with whatever you were doing...” I said quietly to Jack, gesturing to the burly Quidditch buddies that he had abandoned in favour of a staring contest with Potter the Prick.

“Why? Do you want me to bugger off or something?” He glanced down at me, and the quick look into his face shocked me slightly. He looked hurt. I’d hurt his feelings by nicely trying to get him to leave me to fight with James in peace. Bloody typical. I don’t know why I bother trying to be a nice person sometimes. It’s so much easier to be a bitch, and people never expect you to be nice.

Lower their expectations of you, and they’re never disappointed. Jack needs some expectation-lowering, if you ask me. I’ll get on that.

“No, don’t be stupid,” I snapped, “I just don’t want your friends to miss you,” Summer Lancaster – bullshitting level 100.

“I’m sure my friends won’t mind if I spend the rest of the day with you two, there’s plenty of them,” Jack shrugged, and for some reason, I felt suffocated. It’s been twelve days. We have been dating for a grand total of twelve days – that’s not even two weeks. How can he expect to me to want to spend every waking minute with him?

Jack is amazing – he’s funny, charming, gentlemanly, charismatic, and he treats me like nobody ever has before. He was the person that I wanted to sit with, to be comforted by, after James and I stopped speaking. He’s the person that was always honest, always sincere, and never tried to force me to talk to him. He was the guy – the first guy in a very long time that I just found that I wanted to be with, whose company I just... enjoyed.

And that’s why I said yes to becoming his girlfriend. Jack was good to me. He treated me well and he made me laugh – and not that it’s anything to do with it, but the bloke is pretty easy on the eye, too – and there was just no reason not to. He didn’t suggest any crazy, pseudo relationship just because I had a history of not wanting to date guys. He just flat out asked – “Summer, would you be my girlfriend?”

No complication. No mess. Just Jack. And that was what I wanted, what worked, the one thing that actually made me feel normal again after the crap between James and I tipped everything on its head. But this – I feel boxed in. Standing there, in front of James, with a bloke I barely know refusing to give me two seconds to breathe – I just want out.

I want James. I want him to give me one of his reluctant hugs and tell me not to get emotional or he’ll toss me off the top of the astronomy tower.

“I think you should go back to your friends,” I said tightly, hoping he would get the message and just give me one bloody afternoon on my own.

He stiffened behind me, his arms dropping to his sides and a hurt expression slipping onto his face. He looked like a little wounded puppy dog. Regret instantly danced along the bottom of my gut.

“Right. I see how it is. Well, I guess I’ll just see you after your date,” Jack sneered the last word, and I just wanted to scream. Why does every guy have to act like that? I am perfectly capable of spending the day with another guy and not end up snogging him behind the dustbins behind Madam Puddifoots, “Bye, Summer. I’ll speak to you later – if you still want me to...” And with that, Jack walked away.

I swore under my breath.

“Well, thank Merlin that tosser has taken a hike. I was about three seconds away from decking him one,” James shrugged in what I’m sure he thought was a macho fashion. I cocked an eyebrow, unimpressed.

“Shut up, James,” I snapped, slamming my arse back down into my seat and pulling my empty glass towards me, “There was no need for all of that, and now Jack and I are going to be all weird as well.”

“As well?”

“As well as you and me,”

“We’re not weird...”

“So what, this is considered normal, this raging fighting and stony silence?”

“Well, it’s not my fault!”

“Oh just stop with the bloody blame game, James! You’re not entirely innocent in all of this shit, either!”

“Why the bloody hell are you even dating that toerag, Summer? He’s not the guy for you, and you know it. I know you better than anyone, and when he was... hugging you, just then, you looked like you wanted nothing more than to just scream at him to leave you alone. So why are you with him?”

“That’s none of your business,” I answered coldly.

James cocked an eyebrow and stood up again.

“Come on, we’re leaving. Another minute of sitting here saying nothing and I’ll probably go insane.” James said flatly, and after tossing some money down on the table – more than enough to pay for the drinks and leave a large tip, I should mention – he turned on the heel of his converse and headed across the packed pub.

I stumbled to my feet and followed him, feeling inexplicably nervous.

“Where are we going?”

“Where do we normally go on a Hogsmeade weekend?”

“The Shrieking Shack... but Connor isn’t with us.”

“So? Do we need him to be able to go and stare at some run-down house?”

“Well, no... But won’t it be a bit weird?”

“Just shut up and keep walking. It will only be weird if you make it so. So shut your fat gob.”

For once, I did as I was told.

We reached the edge of Hogsmeade, James remaining a few metres in front of me the entire time, his shoulders tense and his posture guarded, noticeable even through the thick padding of the winter jacket he charmed down to himself. His feet were banging against the cobbles as we made our way down the lane, making echoing noises as he stomped his way to the Shrieking Shack.

He stopped as we met the familiar fence – peeling red paint on a four foot fence, build a few years ago to try and stop students from running up to the Shack.

Clearly, it did not work.

James curled his fingers around the top of the fence and
looked ready to jump, to haul himself over the top like he normally did, when I reached out and grabbed his arm. He leapt away from me as though I’d given him an electric shock, his mouth dropping open.

“Sorry...” I said vaguely, surprised by his weirdness, “I was only going to ask if you could give me a leg up – you know I can’t get over on my own.”

James flushed a little, and reluctantly dropped down onto one knee. There was once a time, not so long ago, that I would have ribbed the life out of him for getting down in that position. But I bit back the humour, and focused on standing on his hand as lightly as possible, before ninja-rolling over the top of the fence.

I should so be an Auror.

I’m as agile as a jungle cat.

No –a jungle cat with an Olympic medal in gymnastics.

Fuck yeah, I’m that good.

James followed me a second later, landing more lightly on his feet than I had. Fine. I suppose he can be an auror too.

I grinned at James without thinking, breathing in the cold air and revelling in the familiarity that was walking to the Shrieking Shack with James, all kitted out in autumn clothes and filled with drinks from the Three Broomsticks. James returned the smile, and then we both seemed to realise what we were doing.

The smiles dropped from our faces faster than a Slytherin’s OWL scores.

I was just about to say something, anything, to try and smooth over the sticky moment – and no, now is not the time that anything I said would have most likely have made things worse – when another voice caught our attention. In fact, it was two voices, a boy and a girl, and both were raised and shrill.

“Just stay away from me, Malfoy! You’re wrong, I will find the guy who sent the roses to me! And I don’t bloody want you following me around all the time – do you not get it? You blew your bloody chance! Now you just need to accept the fact that I care about someone else!”

“Oh, you care about the bloke that sent the roses, Rose? Even though you don’t know who he is?” Scorpius yelled back, and I pulled James behind a conveniently placed tree so I could earwig better.

“I know what he’s like! He’s kind, considerate, funny, and generous – everything you’re not!” Rose screamed, stomping her feet a couple of times. I rolled my eyes. Teen diva, that one. That will be Mr Weasley’s doing.

“That’s funny, isn’t it? Because I’m the one that sent you them!” Scorpius yelled, his voice nearly shaking the few remaining leaves off the tree we were standing behind. I glanced at James in alarm. He was watching the scene with the most adorable look of dumbfoundedness (is that even a word) on his face.

“No, you’re not,” Rose said hollowly, shaking her head and backing a few feet away from Scorpius.

“Yes, I am,” Scorpius said calmly, taking a few steps forward.

“You don’t know anything about me!” Rose accused, and Scorpius actually rolled his eyes. I’m sorry, but she is being ridiculous. I don’t blame the bloke. Speaking from a non-biased point of view, Scorpius is hot. Rose should be pleased with that.

Beggars can’t be choosers, Rosie.

“I know plenty about you. I know your favourite colour is black, but you won’t wear black clothes. I know that you grow strawberries in the summer, but you won’t eat them because they taste awful – but your dad thinks you love your home-grown strawberries, because you never had the heart to tell him you hated them. I know how much you love William Shakespeare, even though he was a muggle playwright. I also know how idiotically stubborn you can be, how frustrating – I know a lot more about you than you think, Rose.”

“How did you know I like Shakespeare?” Rose asked quietly. “I’ve never told anyone.”

“You were reading it in the library one day,” Scorpius shrugged, “and so I asked the librarian who he was. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I blinked as Scorpius recited something, something I had never heard before.

“So are you saying that I would be as sweet if I wasn’t a Weasley? Do you have a problem with my family, Malfoy?”

“Oh, stop with the Malfoy, Rose! No, I don’t have a problem with your family – Summer is best friends with three of your cousins, for freak’s sakes. My name is Scorpius – Merlin, even my father isn’t as blinded by surnames as you. You – you are the most goddamn frustrating woman I know, do you know that?”

Rose gaped at him.

So did I.

So did James.

“I – I can’t be dealing with this anymore. You’re just... You know, you claim to have been in love with me – you’ve got a shitting funny way of showing it.” And with that, Scorpius turned on his heel and stalked off.

Rose half ran, half jogged in the opposite direction a moment later.

Well, shit.

~*~

A few minutes later, James and I stopped blinking gormlessly at the spot they had abandoned and instead stepped out from behind the tree and headed towards the Shrieking Shack, enveloped in a bubble of our own awkwardness.

It was almost hard to believe that we had ever been so comfortable with each other.

Could one kiss really change all of that? It must be something more.

As we got closer to the Shack, I felt a familiar pull of nervousness in the pit of my stomach – even though I knew there was nothing there, that it was never possessed, I still felt nervous. Just something about the trashed door, the smashed windows, the ripped up floorboards, knowing it was the place that a headmaster of Hogwarts had died in... I didn’t like it at all.

“Remember, you don’t need to be scared. There’s nothing there. You’ll be fine once we get in.” James murmured, evidentially remembering my irrational fear from the many times we had been here previously.

Strange thing was, I had never told him how much it freaked me out. He just worked it out, somehow.

Despite his comfort, I still slowed slightly as we reached the entrance, my eyes taking in the scratch marks along the doorframe, the gash missing out of the wall, debris in piles around the stone steps.

James glanced at me for a moment, his cold eyes softening a little, and held out his hand. I blinked at it like a gorm. Then I blinked up at his face. Then back down at his hand. I am so made of win.

“You’re supposed to take my hand, because you’re scared and your slowness is getting on my pissing nerves,” James snapped, and I jumped slightly, but slowly slid my hand into his. I could count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times we had held hands. James has held my wrist when he was pulling me somewhere, sure, but we didn’t hold hands very often. People might talk, and that was the last thing we wanted.

So James’ hand, warm and slightly sweaty with nerves, clutching mine as he tugged me further into the house of death, was actually more a comfort than he thought it would be.

“Stop shaking, there’s bloody nothing here.” James snapped, and I flushed.

“Why are you so angry with me?” I asked suddenly, and the expression on his face dropped from impassive to shocked in less than a second.

“You know why I’m angry with you,” James said slowly, “I think it’s pretty obvious.”

“Yeah, I know why you’re angry with me – and you know why I’m angry with you – but I don’t understand why you’re this angry.”

“Well, it’s really none of your business.”

“Well, since it involves me, I think it is my business.”

“Well, you’re wrong.”

“Well, I’m not.”

“Oh, just shut up. We’re nearly at the right room, we can argue about it later.” James snapped again, and I glared at the side of his ear. James has attractive ears. Not too big and batty, like our house elf, Minty, but not so small that he looked effeminate. Just nice ears. And quite tan. Can ears even be tan? Because James’ are.

My ears will be really pale. My whole face is pale. I’m like a walking milk bottle. My mum says it looks like someone has coloured me in with a white crayon, unless I smother myself in nasty smelling fake tan.

Seriously, we’re wizards. Can’t we make a fake tan that doesn’t smell like sweaty feet? Urgh.

James shifted next to me, and I glanced up in time to see him pulling his wand out of his back pocket, and holding it up in front of his face with the hand that was not still clutching mine.

“Lumos,” he muttered, a crease between his eyebrows.

Light glowed from the end of his wand, illuminating the dark hallway and casting strange shadows on the floor. You know, this place seems a lot less creepy when there are three of you. When there are two of you, and that person you’re with currently is pissed as hell at you, it’s not quite as fun.

“We’re here,” James murmured, pushing me into the room and slipping in behind me.

It was as small as I remembered, the windows smashed and a tattered couch covered in about three inches of grey dust was shoved into the corner, often used as a springboard out of the window when we were younger and therefore much smaller.

I smiled at it fondly, and noticed James was doing the same.

The remains of a rug were ruckled up by a traditional fireplace with half of the bricks missing, some coal spilling out of the fire and onto the chipped brown floorboards. A cold breeze was drifting in through the hole in the window, and I shivered.

The room always was freezing.

Connor and James always refused to charm the fire to work, in case we attracted some unwanted attention or accidently set fire to the place.

“Right, well, to the roof,” James smirked, dropping my hand and heading over to the window, which he steadily climbed out of, avoiding the sharp glass that was sticking out of the window panes. Now I think about it, this whole thing is quite dangerous.

Climb out of a smashed window in the most haunted house in Britain, and then proceed to have a race – without magic – by scaling the side of said house to see who can reach the roof first. The roof that looks like it could cave in at any minute.

It always seems funny when you’re with two of your best friends and it’s all just one big laugh.

Now? Not so much.

See what you’ve done, James? You’ve made me a stick in the mud.

Prick.

“Oi, Lancaster, get your cowardly arse out here,” James yelled, and I could tell he was joking. The thought made the corners of my mouth twitch. I headed over to the window and gingerly climbed through, balancing by putting all my weight on the foot that was balancing on the outside edge of the window ledge.

James was standing on the protruding roof about two metres below the window, waiting for me to get down so we could start the race.

The sun was sinking ever so slightly in the sky, and at the angle I was at, it looked like it was directly behind James’ head, illuminating his entire body in yellow sunlight. I blinked a couple of times, startled, and in my shock, lost my footing and fell off the window ledge.

“Fuck, Summer!” James yelled, leaping forwards and pulling me towards his chest before I hit the ground.

I was only two metres up, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have been hurt, but fuck, was it scary. My weight in mid air proved too much for James, however, who staggered backwards, whacked his bum on the thin metal railing around the edge of the mini roof and collapsed at the knees. I snorted as James blinked a couple of times and groaned.

“I think I just broke my bum,” he informed me sadly, “It’s going to be all swollen tomorrow.”

Trying very hard to get the image of James’ bum out of my head, I started to giggle. Yes. Giggle. I, Summer Lancaster, world renowned Giggle Hater, was sitting there, giggling. James’ bemused expression at my sudden giggling fit tipped me over the edge, and before I knew what was going on, I was leaning back down onto his chest and just shaking with laughter.

James chuckled slightly in bemusement, and before I had worked out what was happening, we were both shaking with laughter, James lying flat on the ground and me curled up on his chest, tears leaking out of both of our eyes as we just laughed for no reason.

“I’ve missed you so much, Summer,” James said suddenly, his chest still heaving slightly from laughing, but is expression suddenly much more serious.

My giggles stopped at once. My breathing hurt. Have his eyes always been that colour? My legs felt tingly. My head hurt. What was I supposed to say to that? I’ve missed him too? Well, I have. Of course I have. I’ve missed him more than I believed was possible. But... oh, I don’t know. There’s a reason I don’t do much emotion, I’m not cut out for it.

“I...” I stammered, and James’ face fell, “I... I’ve...”

James sat up rather brusquely, pushing me off his chest and onto his knee, before clambering to his feet and pulling me up with him.

“We should just race,” James said suddenly, heading over to the only adjoining wall, his face flushed red and his expression nothing short of mortified. I wanted to say something, but it was like my tongue had fallen out of head.

“Okay,” I managed eventually, and I took my place next to him.

“Three, two, one, go.” James murmured, and a second later I was hauling myself up the wall using the window ledge, my feet sliding on stone panels and my hair flying into my mouth. But unlike previous times, I didn’t want to win. I just didn’t care.

~*~

“So... I won,” James said eventually, both of us perched on the top of the roof, at least three metres apart, James with his arms crossed and his legs stretched out in front of him, and me with my knees tucked up to my chest and my hair spilling onto my knees.

“Yeah. Congratulations.” I said dully, watching the path that led to Hogwarts, which was just a little distance away. People were heading back to the castle now, the cold autumn air getting to them.

“Hey, is that Fred and Penny?” James asked suddenly, and I blinked at where he was pointing. And sure enough, it was Fred and Penny, heading up to the castle. He had an arm wrapped around her, the headless bikini picture on his t-shirt visible from even here.

“Yeah, it is,” I said softly, feeling the odd urge to smile fondly.

Fred stopped suddenly, and pulled Penny’s face up with the tips of his fingers. As he leant down to kiss her, I looked away. It felt too private, and just because I was sitting on a roof for no apparent reason, didn’t mean I could spy on their first proper kiss.

But a contrast to the softness of Fred and Penny was another pair of angered voices arguing, stomping along the shortcut to the castle that ran right next to the Shrieking Shack. For a moment, I thought Rose and Scorpius were back. But no. Worse. It was Dom and Connor. And they were... arguing?

What?

“You never tell me anything, Connor! You’ll tell whatever you want to bloody Summer, I’ve seen the private conversations you two keep having! What do you need to talk to James and her about that you can’t talk to me about, anyway?” Dom shrieked, and I winced.

“Nothing! I’m not keeping bloody secrets from you, why are you so bloody suspicious? Don’t you trust me?”

“I just don’t understand why you won’t tell me what you said to them in the pub, and why you wouldn’t let me sit with you while you talked!”

“It was nothing, Dom – just drop it!”

“If it’s nothing then tell me!” Dom was losing her rag, stomping her feet and bashing her blonde hair angrily out of her face. I winced again. Connor wouldn’t out us, would he? He is pissed that the two of us can’t get along at the moment.

“No,” Connor said quietly, and I felt my heart warming slightly for him – Dom evidentially did not feel the same.

“Fine! Don’t tell me! But bloody stay away from me, Connor Dale.”

And with that, Dom turned around and stalked away. My jaw was getting a nice massage from the floor. James looked like he’d been whacked with a Beater’s bat. Connor looked like he’d been punched in the stomach.

After a second, he recovered himself and slowly started to make his way back up to the castle. My mouth was still hanging open slightly.

“We should get down,” James said eventually in the silence, interrupting my mental tirade about how shit this day had been. Rose and Scorpius aren’t speaking, Dom and Connor aren’t speaking, James and I are as messed up as ever... at least Fred and Penny seem happy.

We climbed back to the ground, a lot more haphazardly than usual with my mind being so fried, but I felt a lull of relief the moment my feet touched solid ground. That is, until I heard the one thing that would make this awful day just a little bit worse.

“I love you, you know that,” Albus’ voice came from behind me, and Natalie’s answering giggle made my stomach roll. James froze, looking like he’d been struck dumb. I held my breath, but didn’t turn around. I didn’t want them to see me.

“As I love you, baby,” Natalie answered, and I nearly gagged. Baby? Ew.

“C’mere, give us a snog,” Albus chuckled, and that was when I finally turned around. James didn’t deserve this. This wasn’t right.

Pulling my shoe off my foot, I whipped around and quickly tossed it straight at Albus, who had just stepped around the side of the Shrieking Shack and had noticed me. It hit him straight in the forehead, and in his shock, he jumped away from Natalie.

“What are you doing here?” Natalie said coldly, her mouth dropping open. She looks like a child. She acts like a child. I really don’t think there are many people I hate as much as her. She’s just... awful. “Are you trying to steal my boyfriend again, you little whore?”

James whipped around, his wand clutched in his hand at his side, but I ignored him. In fact, I laughed. An honest laugh. She was just... There must be something wrong with her. Albus and Natalie both blinked at me.

You’re calling me a whore?” I said breathlessly, my derisive laughter subsiding slightly. Natalie flushed, and I felt a dull thump of satisfaction.

“Summer,” Albus started, but I held up a finger to silence him. I was angry, suddenly. I’ve always had a temper, I knew that, but suddenly I was just so goddamn angry. Why did they get to be happy when James and I were so miserable? They didn’t deserve it! I had gone from annoyed to furious in less than a second, and that scared me – but I was just so angry.

“Do not speak to me, Albus. I really hate you two, you know – you both... you both just ruined everything.” Feeling tears pool up in my eyes, I quickly turned on my heel and hurried away from the three of them, looking sexy in one shoe, back up to the castle where I would be sure to have another argument with Jack, and have to deal with the fallout from the ConDom disaster.

Yep. Shittiest day ever.

 




disclaimer: i don't own anything in this chapter ~ the quote that scorpius says is the work of william shakespeare, who does not belong to me... it belongs to william shakespeare. anyway. none of it is mine.

hello, loves! first of all ~ i am so so so so so so so so so sorry about how long this chapter took to get out! i know, i'm awful. but seriously. i have exams in two weeks, and so i've been revising like mad woman's knitting, and just look at the size of this thing. twenty five pages it was, when it was typed. in size 11. so sorry it took so long! but another huge thank you for the amazing reviews on the last chapter, and sorry if it took me a while to answer.

so yeah. poor james and summer, still fighting. and jack is annoyed with summer. and dom is angry with connor for keeping their secret. so connor is sad. and rose and scorpius aren't speaking. and on top of all that... albus and natalie are happy. sad face.

but hey, i'd love to know what you thought, and i promise the next chapter will be faster.

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 20: The One with Lots of Presents
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You’d all have been proud of me. James and I got slightly better from that point onwards. I mean, he froze still as a statue and flushed the colour of a beetroot whenever Jack was in the vicinity, but we sat at the same table together for meals without it being too awkward. It would have been better if Jack hadn’t insisted on sitting next to me every meal, but hey.

But still, I didn’t understand it. I mean – we hadn’t fought too badly in Hogsmeade, and yet the situation didn’t seem like it was on the road to recovery. I even considered shoving him into a classroom and hashing it out with him right then, right there, until we sorted the shit out, but a little thing called my pride got in the way.

And now the Christmas holidays were starting, the big day itself only a week away, and we’ve exchanged nothing more than the occasional ‘what was the Transfig homework?’ and ‘could you pass the butter?’.

It’s so strange that I think even Loved Up Couple 1 and Loved Up Couple 2 have started to notice.

Oh yeah, them. Dom and Connor were pathetic. Dom hadn’t even made it back up to the castle before she decided to get over it, and the second she had seen him again she had attacked her face with his mouth and they’d shagged in a nearby broom closet – classy lady, that Dom. They didn’t even stop speaking for an hour. They should take lessons from James, he’s king of holding a grudge over nothing.

Fred and Penny still aren’t official, though Merlin knows why. They want to take things ‘slow’. By all means, go ahead, but taking things slow generally doesn’t mean you spend every waking moment together and snog like you’re going to die tomorrow AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE.

People have no bloody pride.

Honestly, were they not taught basic table manners whilst growing up?

Actually, I’ve met George Weasley, so that might be a stupid question.

Jack, on the other hand, does not seem to understand the concept of taking things slow. He’s excited as fuck for exchanging gifts with one another just before we get off the train, so much so that even I’m a little curious as to what he’s got me.

Dom, however, is even more desperate to know. She’s taken it upon herself to guess what it is before he’s given it to me, to the point where I think she might commit if she’s wrong.

You know, if I could teleport back in time, maybe it would be a good idea to go back and choose some friends that weren’t so completely batshit psycho.

The list itself is actually quite interesting. It goes a little something like:


A talking Thestral.
A jewellery box that plays Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love.
A box of condo--- DOM IF YOU FINISH THIS ONE I WILL KILL YOU.
Roses, chocolates, a teddy bear, something really romantic.
A holiday getaway for two in Paris! (Really, Dom? Really?)
A spa gift voucher.
An engagement ring! (Are you actually taking the piss, Dominique?)
A castle.
A star named in your honour.
A weekend of free sex. (Dom, you are very close to being strangled right now.)
A candlelit dinner on Boxing Day!
A boat ride across the River Thames.
A diamond necklace. (You have to be kidding.)

Yes, I kid you not. The woman is insane. An engagement ring? We’ve been dating for a month and a half. If he bloody tried to give me an engagement ring then I’d chuck the thing at his head and run screaming from the compartment. Well, maybe not run. Power walk. Laziness prevails, pet.

And then the awkward question arose, and I began to lose faith in Christmas all together. Am I supposed to buy James a chrimbo present?

I mean, I don’t think I should, given the fact he’s pissed at me and he’s getting on my last nerve, and I seriously doubt that he’s going to buy me anything. But what if he did give me something, and then I was standing there with nothing to give him and end up pulling a Harry Potter and giving him a pair of old socks?

That would be awkward.

James always got me the best presents at Christmas. Right from first year, we used to have something normal, like chocolate, to give each other in front of everyone else, and then we’d meet somewhere before we got on the train and give each other proper presents.

Last year he got me a 100 galleon gift voucher for any of the shops in Diagon Alley, a charm bracelet with little crystals studded around it and some shoes that I’d pointed out to him and Connor once in Diagon Alley.

I got him some of those insanely expensive padded high top trainers that blokes like so much, some gold cufflinks, a gift voucher for a barber’s shop in Hogsmeade – I’m sorry, but you’ve all seen the bloke’s hair – and a six pack of Firewhiskey.

But I still didn’t know whether I was supposed to have bought him just a little something to give to each other in front of everyone – I mean, they’d get even more suspicious if we just suddenly stopped exchanging gifts altogether – or not. What if he didn’t get me one, then he’d feel awkward.

But then, what if he bought me his usual expensive present and I’d bought him some crappy cheap thing that looked even worse than not buying him a present at all.

THIS WAS TOO HARD.

And also – was I supposed to let him know that I’d bought him a present before we got on the train, or wait for him to say something? But then, what if he thought the same thing and didn’t say anything and we both left with the other’s presents still in our pockets?

So, being the little genius that I was, I decided to cover all the bases – and no, not in that way, you sick munchkin – and buy a present that would cover all of it. I’ve bought a card, in case we don’t get each other presents, I got him a box of chocolates as a small present, and a shirt and tie set from Merlin’s Suits which probably cost my dad about a month’s salary, as well as an expensive new watch with a gold face and a brown leather band.

Ha. You try and catch me on unawares now, Potter.

I’ve got you cornered good and proper. Mwahahaha.

“Summer! Get your attractive arse out of that bed now and get down here so we can swap our Christmas presents!” Fred yelled up the stairs to the dormitory, kicking the wall to try and attract more attention.

Urgh. Don’t wanna get up. Nooo. Don’t make me.

“Summer! If you are not down in the next thirty seconds with all of our presents, then I will fly my broomstick up there and carry you down kicking and screaming!” Oh Merlin. That got me up alright. Spitting my hair out of my mouth, batting it out of my eyes and grabbing the bag with all of their presents in, I ninja rolled down the staircase to the common room.

Well, I like to say that I ninja rolled. I actually missed the top stair and tumbled down to the common room, but nobody else knew that.

“Ooh good, you’re here,” Fred said, pulling me to my feet and shoving me onto whoever was sitting in the armchair behind me. I didn’t appreciate the dull oofing noise they made. I happen to have lost three pounds in the last two weeks, thank you very much.

I turned around to glare at source of the oofing, and nearly leapt out my skin as the warm brown eyes of James Potter stared back at me.

“I – I... I’ll just get off you, now,” I stammered, scrabbling to my feet and dropping onto the ground. Fred frowned at me.

“What are you doing? You two always share an armchair at Christmas...” Fred said slowly, cocking an eyebrow at me and glancing suspiciously at James, who was suddenly staring out of the window as though it was fascinating him.

“Right, of course we do... budge your fat arse up, Potter.” James glanced at me in surprise, but scooched up on the seat anyway, leaving a tiny gap for me to try and squeeze my butt into. Not being funny, but I don’t remember being the size of a breadstick.

Flushing, I tried very hard to squeeze into the tiny little gap and ended up cock eyed on the seat, half of my bum sitting on James and the other half digging into the side of the armrest. James swallowed hard and switched his gaze from the window to the floor, flushing slightly. I glared at Fred. Fred grinned back.

“Right, present time!” Fred grinned, and tossed a badly wrapped present at Connor’s head.

~*~

Five minutes later, I’d been given a pair of earrings from Dom, a box of chocolate cauldrons from Connor, a new set of quills and parchment from Penny, and a pair of luminous yellow socks with a matching scarf from Fred.

You know, I would pay good money to find out where he actually finds these things to buy. Last year he bought me a jumper with a giant Christmas tree on the front, decorated with moving baubles in the shape of Fred’s head.

Yes, honestly.

No, I don’t know where he bought it. And no, I don’t think I really want to.

“Right, now you two,” Dom smiled, gesturing to James and I with the arm that was modelling her new bracelet. Yeah, I get a box of chocolate cauldrons of Connor, and Dom gets a silver bracelet with an effing sapphire attached. I hope he knows that I’m expecting something like that next Christmas.

“Erm, right,” James said awkwardly, reaching back down into the bag that was holding all the presents. He pulled out a medium sized box wrapped in snowman-adorned wrapping paper, with a loopy silver bow stuck haphazardly on the top with liberal amounts of spellotape.

“Here,” he stuffed it into my hand a little brusquely and looked back down to the floor as I shifted on his lap, leaning down to grab his present out of my bag. I dropped it onto the armrest next to him.

Pulling the wrapping paper off and letting it flutter to the ground, I smiled at the Christmas Edition box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. James pulled the wrapping paper off his own box of Madame Rosetta’s Firewhiskey Filled Chocolates.

“Thanks, Summer,” James smiled awkwardly and offered me a rough grin, reaching around me to scratch the back of his neck awkwardly. I grinned back at him bent the cardboard of the box beneath my thumbs.

“No problem,” I muttered back, “Thanks for the sweets.” Dom frowned at me for a second, her fleeting glance enough to ask me if there was something going on, but Connor caught on in less than a second and quickly pulled her into a soft kiss. Dom’s confused glance was smoothed off her face faster than the speed of light.

“Right, well, I think we ought to go down to breakfast,” Penny smiled, her hair a mess from where Fred had forced her new lime green jumper over her head – yes, lime green, emblazoned with the words ‘I LOVE FRED WEASLEY’.

For some reason, Penny seemed to love it. I would have chucked it back at Fred’s head and told him to buy me a proper present, but that’s just me.

~*~

“Happy Christmas, everyone,” Connor smiled, holding up his goblet of pumpkin juice and clinking them against ours. A little spilled out Dom’s and splattered across the table. I watched the stain seep into the tablecloth instead of focusing on the fact that James’ hand brushed mine as we all brought our glasses back down.

“Will you pass the muesli, Summer?” James asked quietly from next to me – luckily Jack hadn’t come down to breakfast yet so he could flip the shit about the fact James was sitting next to me – and I nearly knocked over my own pumpkin juice as I leaned over the table to grab it for him.

“Thanks,” he said as I handed him the bowl, and suddenly he was leaning towards me. Jumping about half a foot in the air, I practically flew backwards and stared at him with my eyes the size of saucers.

“What – what are you?” I stammered stupidly as Fred cocked an eyebrow at me. James rolled his eyes, grabbed the sleeve of my jumper and pulled me back upright.

“I was only going to bloody whisper to you, you weirdo. Meet me in the Charms classroom on the second floor at half ten, just before we get on the train – so we can give each other our proper presents.” James leaned back again as I gaped at the side of his head, thanking the lord that I had actually bought him a decent present.

I wonder why he still wants to give each other nice gifts.

Maybe he bought it before we fell out and doesn’t want to waste his money.

~*~

“James?” I asked into the silent room, frowning at my watch. It’s twenty to eleven... James is never late. What’s going on? I scanned the room quickly, even looking under the desks in case he was going to leap out from under the table and try and give me a heart attack. But no, he wasn’t there. I chewed on my bottom lip, idly swinging the Christmas gift back around my wrist.

I sat down on the edge of one of the desks, glancing towards the door every few seconds or so. Where is he? Did he just send me here to let me know how pissed he was with me, and that he was never going to buy me one of our special Christmas presents?

Well, that’s a bit a douche move.

As my watch slid its way to quarter to, I started to chew on my bottom lip a little harder. Maybe this is his way of telling me that things are officially done between us, and nothing is going to be the same again. The thought made my heart sink.

Why is my heart sinking? That shouldn’t happen. That might be a sign of a medical problem. Hearts are supposed to stay in the same place, aren’t they? Does this mean I’m going to die? Oh goodness, James Potter is going to kill me.

Bloody typical.

I’ll kill the bloody tosser for killing me.

A second later the door crashed open, and James stood in the doorway, his hair blown back off his face and a very angry expression on his face. What’s got his knickers in a twist? Honestly, my friends really need to work on controlling their tempers.

“What are you doing in here?” James snapped, and I jumped slightly.

“I... am waiting for you! What are you not doing here?” James frowned and me and stomped forwards, curled his fingers around my wrist and pulled me off the desk, out of the door and down the corridor, the whole time hissing expletives under his breath. Once we reached the grand staircase he started to head up the third floor, and then pulled us into the first charms classroom in the corridor. I frowned.

“James, you said to meet on the second floor charms classroom,” I said slowly.

“No, I said third floor,”

“No, you said second. If you’d said third then I would have met you on the third.” I said slowly, rolling my eyes. He did say the second floor. He did, right?

“Can you not go three minutes without arguing with me?”

“I’m just saying...”

“Well, even if I did say second, I meant third so you should have come to the third.”

“What?! How was I supposed to know that you were thinking that we should meet on the third floor? I’m not a fucking mind reader, James!”

James grabbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger and squeezed down, breathing hard out of a small gap between his lips. He looked pissed. For once, I actually did the smart thing and just kept my mouth shut.

“Look, can we just swap presents now?” James said slowly, and I nodded. I hesitantly held out my hand patted his shoulder, before taking hold of his thumb and pulling him over to were his gift bag was sitting. I pushed him down into a seat and perched myself on the desk in front of him.

“Well, here you go,” I said awkwardly, handing over the bag and glancing down at my fingers. James pulled out the shirt and tie, held it against his chest and grinned. I reached back out into the bag and pulled out the box with the watch in, which was wrapped in shimmery silver wrapping paper.

He pulled the paper off and dropped it to the floor, and grinned again. Pulling the lid off the box, he snapped the watch onto his wrist and held it out to me, a smile crinkling the corners of his eyes.

“Will you fasten it for me?” He asked, and I shook my head slightly in disbelief, a reluctant smile playing on my own lips. I reached out and slipped the pointed end of the band through the gold loop, pulled it tight and fastened it securely – not being funny, but the thing cost an arm and a leg, I don’t want it flying off when he’s playing Quidditch.

“It’s really nice, thanks, Summer.” James grinned, mussing up my hair with the palm of his hand. I grinned back at him, but felt like frowning.

Why is he acting all happy and calm?

He’s acting like we normally do when we exchange presents – like no shit happened between us with his devil incarnate brother. Like he hasn’t spent the last two months trying to get away from me.

“No problem,” I murmured uncharacteristically shyly, picking at the chipped nail polish on my fingers. James mussed up my hair again. I bit my lip. Everything seemed awkward, slow – like we were going through the motions, but both of us knew that we were acting. I just wanted to talk to him, to get everything out in the open – but I didn’t want to shatter the calm and civil atmosphere that we had built around us.

I wanted to ask him what the fuck he thought he was playing at, wanting to swap presents and mess around with each other and sit next to each other at meals when he hadn’t wanted to so much as look at me before then, why he suddenly wanted to act all chummly-wummly and pally-wally when my name was mud a few days ago.

He makes no sense.

He’s the most damn confusing bloke I had ever met in my life – his mood swings, his grudges, his baggage, his opinions – and yes, I’m not the angel in white, but he didn’t mind.

He knew I made mistakes, he knew that I had cheated on people before – not that I cheated on James – but he knew that. And yet he seemed honestly shocked when he found out that I had kissed someone else.

I never claimed to be perfect, and he knew full well the reasons that I hated the concept of dating. It’s just – the idea of belonging to someone else, that you can’t be with anyone other than that person, the lack of secrecy, having everything out in the open for each other to see – having to be faithful to them all the time, the jealousy... I didn’t want that.

I still don’t. With Jack, it just feels different – it doesn’t feel like being in a relationship, not like it was with Andrew, or Callum, but different. Like he’s just a friend that’s there for me, who I occasionally snog. Like it was with James.

But it’s not with James. And I wish it was.

Wait – do I?

Fuck.

My frantic self analysis was interrupted by James’ voice, which broke through my thoughts and gently coaxed me back to Earth with the promise of presents.

“Here, this is for you – I’d been working on it for a while, and I wanted the chance to give it to you, even if everything is different now.” James held out the gift bag, and I quickly pulled out the large flat object inside.

It was about a foot by two feet and wrapped in a sheer layer of white tissue paper, which was bandaged at the corners with more layers of James’ signature spellotape. He likes to wrap presents by hand, he won’t use a spell – he thinks there is more a ‘charm’ that way. At least when you use a spell it doesn’t look like it’s been wrapped by a monkey’s uncle.

I pulled the tissue paper off and nearly dropped the picture frame. Inside a large, carved golden frame was a montage of tiny pictures, each one about the size of a postage stamp.

There was a picture of me by the lake at the end of last summer, one of James in a theme park, one of James and I in the Three Broomsticks, James on a broom, me chewing on a quill, James pulling bunny ears behind my head, James with his arm around my waist, James in first year, one of me in second year, a picture of James and I holding our OWL results together... at least a hundred different pictures, in all the colours of the rainbow, all blended together. In the bottom left corner there was even one of James planting a soft kiss on my lips.

I don’t even remember that kiss. I wish I did.

And in a small gap in the centre, written on heavy white parchment in gold cursive was the words ‘James and Summer, 2015-2021’. My mouth dropped open.

That was the most unlike James present that I could ever have imagined.

Since when did he do caring things like that? It must have taken him so long... I ran my fingers over a couple of the pictures, not really sure what to say.

“Thank you,” I eventually choked out, and James relaxed a little, letting out a breath that I hadn’t realised he was holding.

“You like it?” He asked hopefully, and I almost felt like laughing. Do I like it? How could I not like it? I just wanted to give him a huge hug and bury my face in his neck and tell him how much I love it, how it was the nicest thing he could ever give me – but I didn’t.

James was the one that said I needed to learn how to be faithful to someone. So I will. To Jack. This means no snuggling up to James, regardless of how lovely the presents he buys me are. Instead, I held my hands out and took one of James’, brought it up to my mouth and gently kissed his thumb.

I don’t know why. I just did. It seemed like the right thing to do.

James grinned and took the thumb I had kissed, brought it up to my cheekbone and ran it down to my jaw, his warm brown eyes holding me in place. My mouth dropped open slightly as his thumb brushed down the middle of my nose, across my eyelid, brushing through my eyelashes.

Oh, fuck Jack. I want to kiss the bloke.

Just as I had made the subconscious decision to snog the living daylights out of the bloke, James started to speak. Why speak? There was no need.

“Are you happy?” He asked, his eyes suddenly becoming a lot more serious and his brow furrowing slightly. I jumped a little.

“Happy?” I said slowly, testing the word. I said from the start that I was dating Jack because he made me happy – because he made me calm. And that’s true, right? I am happy. Happy with Jack. So I should tell James that I’m happy. Because I am. “Yes, I’m happy,”

James closed his eyes quickly, wincing slightly, but before I could properly decipher his expression he had smoothed it over and had plastered a painfully fake smirk on his face.

“Happy as Larry?” He said quietly, and I snorted.

“Depends. How happy is Larry? Because is Larry is some psycho depressive freak then I would have to say that I’m a little bit happier than Larry. Whereas if Larry is a billionaire with three wives in their early twenties and a yacht, then I would have to say that I’m not quite as happy.” The crease between James’ eyes smoothed out and he started to chuckle.

“You’re insane, you.” James grinned, flicking me on the temple. A second later the grin slipped slightly off his face, and he stood up. “We should probably get going, the train leaves in half an hour.” Shoving his hands into his pockets, James slouched off towards the door and left.

I blinked at the door, and then dropped my eyes back down to the photo frame.

The picture of James and I kissing seemed to burn itself on the back of my eyelids. That was the past, Summer. You have to let it go.

I hate the universe.

~*~

“And Nana Weasley makes the most amazing roast potatoes, they’re all crispy and delicious and salty on the outside and then why you bite in they’re so soft, and fluffy as a cloud, and you smother them in this amazing homemade gravy which is made with the broth from cooking the turkey, and ooh – the turkey! She always seems to get the best turkey going, and...” I zoned out as Fred moved onto the merits of his Nana Weasley’s turkey.

I mean, I know what a good cook the woman is, but I don’t need to hear a fifteen minute long blow-by-blow description of everything on his plate.

James had been nodding along originally, making murmurs of agreement every now and again, but had switched to staring out the window with his knees tucked up to his chest, a deep crease between his eyebrows.

Fred’s description of the carrots – with hand gestures – was interrupted by Jack knocking on the door and waving at me through the window. I back waved at him, smiled, grabbed his present from the rack above Dom’s head and excused myself.

James kicked the seat in front of him. Nobody but Connor bothered to look at him strange.

I think that might be a sign that something is wrong with you, when people don’t even look at you strange for kicking seats for no reason.

“Hey, love,” Jack smiled, leaning down to give me a peck on the lips. I pulled away quickly and grabbed his hand, towing him off down the train.

“So, where are we off to?” I asked as I towed him along, and Jack chuckled from behind me, grabbed my waist and pulled me into his chest, clamping his lips down onto my neck and shoving us into the compartment we were passing.

“Jack!” I laughed as he laid down on the seat and pulled me down onto his chest. Then he was kissing my nose, my cheeks, my forehead, the tip of my nose, the front of my neck, my collarbone – and I was melting onto his chest, just curled up like a child.

He’s not complicated, Jack. He’s just simple, easy – even when he was pissed off with me after the Hogsmeade disaster with James, he didn’t even bother to try and get all pissed with me, he just stayed calm, told me I’d offended him and let me apologise.

With snogging. I’m not really a talkative, apologetic person.

“Urgh,” Jack said suddenly, pulling away from our snog and sitting up slightly, “Just give me a minute to breathe, baby – I want to give you your present before we get off the train, and at this rate I’m going to snog you all day.”

“Well, I don’t see a problem with that,” I grumbled, and Jack laughed.

D’aww. He looks cute when he laughs. His cheeks go all chubby. Gah. He is going to have the cutest kids in the future.

“Here, this is for you,” Jack said, kissing me quickly on the forehead and handing me a perfectly wrapped box, about the size of one of those muggle leaflets you get through the letterbox, telling you how it would change your life to try the new pizza place down the road.

I pulled the paper off and stuffed it down the back of the seat – Jack pulled it out a moment later, folded it into a square and pushed it into his back pocket... strange – and stared down at the black suede box.

He’s bought me jewellery. Oh flying fuckmuffins. I’m not really the jewellery kind of gal, to be perfectly honest. I wear cheap ribbons around my wrists and bracelets that Dom buys from charity shops that are made from bits of wood painted rainbow colours.

I don’t do expensive jewellery that you can only wear when the Queen comes for tea.

It would stress me out to wear it. What if someone mugged me? My mum nearly got mugged once, because she wore her expensive pearls and diamonds to go to the muggle supermarket and get some bread.

With slightly shaking fingers – come on Lancaster, man up, it’s only a bit of jewellery – I pulled open the lid and blinked.

It was beautiful. A long, chunky silver chain twisted down to a smooth silver heart, which was adorned with a few diamond-like stones and embossed with a few twisting golden lines. Sliding my nail under the groove at the side – now I really wish that I’d repainted my nails – I popped the lid open and smiled.

In one half was Hogwarts, an illuminated picture of the castle at dusk with the windows alight, and in the other half was a tiny picture of Dom, Penny and I, when we were all about fourteen. I was wearing a dodgy flowery shirt; Dom was wrapped in a towel over her swimming costume and Penny was trying to block out the camera with a textbook the size of a boulder.

Picture-Summer waved up at me, and Picture-Dom cocked a hip and waggled her fingers. Picture-Penny tried even harder to stop the camera from focusing on her, but Picture-Dom was having none of it.

I smiled down fondly at them, and leaned up to give Jack a soft kiss.

There was something about the fact that Jack hadn’t tried to give me a heart necklace with a picture of him in it that made it so much more special; he had put something in it that he already knew I loved. I probably would have freaked if he’d tried to put a picture of himself inside it. Though I didn’t mind when James made that photo montage of the two of us.

“Thank you, I love it,” I smiled, kissing him on the cheek. Jack grinned.

“Really? You really like it?” He asked.

“Of course I like it, twat,” I smiled again and kissed him gently on this lips, “Why did you think I wouldn’t?”

“I dunno. I was convinced you were going to chuck it at my head and tell me to never come anywhere near you again.” I cocked an eyebrow.

“I don’t know why you lot all think I’m the devil incarnate, you know,” I rolled my eyes, and Jack quickly leaned into give me another. Smart move.

“Do you want your present now?” I asked against his lips, but he just grunted.

“Nah, give to me later. Right now you can snog me, woman.”

~*~

“Summer! Summer! Over here, honey! Yoo-hoo! Here! I’m over here!” Kill. Me. Now.

My mother was waving to me from across the platform, decked out in a powder blue skirt suit and some matching blue court shoes, two strings of pearls around her neck and the insanely expensive bag dad bought her for Christmas last year swinging on her arm.

“Summer! Your father is parking the car, so I said I’d come and wait for you,” I smiled at her and dropped my trunk onto the ground next to her feet. Dad would put that on a trolley when he got here.

Mum seized me by the shoulders and leant back, her eyes scanning my face, my hair, my clothes – maybe an oversized jumper and leggings weren’t the best choice for going home – with her pained expression like she’d been sucking on lemons. As she rubbed the ends of her hair between her fingers – I don’t know, she thinks it tells her whether my hair is healthy or not – I noticed that her own hair had been highlighted, the pale brown now filled with delicate blonde streaks.

“I’ll have Francois come over and give your hair a trim, sweetpea, it’s looking a little raggedy at the ends...” I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.

“I’m trying to grow my hair, Mum – I don’t want it cut.” My mum frowned, her perfectly pencilled eyebrows furrowing.

“You’ll have to have it cut, Summer, it will need to look nice and presentable for the Ministry dinner we’re having on Christmas Eve – your father would not appreciate either of us not looking our best.”

I frowned. There seemed to be something a little off with my mum – something strange had flitted across her face the moment she’d mentioned my dad. Has something happened? Don’t tell me he’s got a new hobby. There’s only so many times I can listen to him telling me the merits of hunting ducks as opposed to deer.

The screeching of metallic wheels alerted me to my father’s arrival, and the sound of his fancy business shoes clacking against the cold stone of the platform.

“Summer,” he said quietly, leaning forwards to wrap one arm around my shoulder and pull me into an awkward half-hug, “You look well, my love. You could do with a haircut, though,”

I raised my eyebrows quickly and helped him pull my trunk onto the trolley, knowing that if I left him to do it then I’d be treated to another rant about how just because he was the man didn’t mean he was going to do all the hard graft, and he still had a bad back from having the flu back in 1997.

“Right, well, let’s go,” Dad said suddenly, turning the trolley around and briskly walking away, “I don’t like leaving the car parked here, it’s probably going to get robbed...”

And we walked away, my dad pushing the trolley, my mum swanning along behind him, fiddling with the diamond bracelet on her wrist, and me dawdling behind them, keeping an eye out for any of the Looney Crew.

I caught James’ eye just before I got to the barrier, and he offered me a small smile. I twitched my lips back at him just as he raised his wrist, pulled his shirt sleeve up and shot me a flash of my watch on his wrist. I shot him a real smile and sank through the wall.

~*~

Gravel crunched beneath the tyres of the car as we pulled up the long driveway, right to the house that was perched on the top of our hill. Lancaster Hill – my dad had the name changed when he bought it. Our three other cars were parked next the fountain, the muggle gardener hacking away at some hedge next to one of the flowerbeds.

The house itself was ridiculously large. There was no need for it to be that big, not when there were only three people in the family. But my dad was one of those men that had to have the best of everything, just so he could brag about it to the rest of his Ministry friends.

They’re all just a load of baboons in business suits, the lot of them.

The house was Victorian, all small windows and ivy and black planks of wood crossed underneath the overhang of the roof. The door was double, a deep shade of brown, decorated with a giant number 10. Curling golden snakes made the door handle, just to remind the family of our Slytherin roots.

My dad nearly pissed himself when he found out I was in Gryffindor.

When I was home for Christmas in first year, and he didn’t know I could hear him, I could hear him telling my mum that he thought it was a betrayal to the family – as though it was something I chose.

I would have been happy being in Slytherin with Scorpius.

My mum would have none of it – she was a Slytherin too, but she told him right off that it didn’t matter what house I was in because I was still the same person. Regardless, we’d both learned to keep our gobs shut when it came to Hogwarts houses.

My dad pulled up in the last parking space, popped the boot of the car open with his key and headed off to the house, leaving me to get the trunk out of the boot.

Of course. We wouldn’t want to bring back your old flu injury, Daddy.

I dragged the trunk up the drive to the house, where Minty soon took it and sent it up to my wing. My mother had disappeared, presumably to talk to one of her equally stuck up trophy wife friends, or flick through Madame Malkin catalogues for more insanely expensive dresses for me.

My dad was probably off spending money on something flashy and unnecessary.

Well, what a nice welcome home.

~*~

As the silence around the dining table – which is a mahogany affair that seats sixteen, I would like to point out – reached a level that was just plain uncomfortable, I found myself shifting in my dress.

The thing was just plain itchy. Why do I have to wear a dress, smart shoes and make myself clean and presentable just to eat dinner in my own house? Back last summer, when I was round at James’ most days, we actually wore our swimming costumes to eat dinner because it was freakishly hot.

And here, my mother is actually wearing white dinner gloves.

It’s not even like there is anyone here to see her dressed like that. I think it’s just so she and Dad can remind themselves of how rich they are.

As I took a deep sip of mulled wine and tried to pick the steak out of my teeth with my tongue – what can I say, I was raised to be classy – as my mum put down her fork, nodded slightly at my dad and stared gravely at me.

I stopped chewing.

“Summer, I’m afraid we need to talk to you about something quite serious,” Mum said quietly, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. I put my glass back down and stared between her and dad. It was only now I noticed that neither of them were wearing their wedding rings – you can tell with my mum, the thing is about the size of the iceberg that the Titanic hit.

What the bloody fuck is going on?

“Summer, I’m sure you’ve been able to tell from a while now that your father and I haven’t been the happiest...” My mum murmured softly, reaching across the table to grasp my hand. The sapphire ring on her finger dug into me.

Ouch.

My dad shifted in his seat and shot my mother a warning glance.

“Well, we’re not happy, Summer. When you’re not home, we don’t even eat meals together. We – well, your father and I didn’t marry because we were in love, we married because pureblood families were dying out, what with the amount of them in prison after Harry Potter put an end to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named – and my father and your dad’s father insisted we married. I mean, we made a choice, duty to our families, over love. And that was fine for us. But we can no longer make it work, or pretend we’re happy. We all deserve to be happy, Summer. You understand, don’t you?” My mum stared at me sadly.

I struggled to swallow.

“What – what are you saying?” I asked, my voice raising several octaves.

“We’re getting divorced.” My dad said brusquely, taking a deep swig from the glass of whiskey that Minty had just refilled for him.

My mouth fell open.

“What – what do you mean, you’re getting divorced? I mean, I’m not stupid, I’ve known for a while that you’re not happy, but... you don’t need to divorce! I mean, you can just separate for now, and then, if you still don’t work, then...” I trailed off as my mother’s eyes filled with tears and my dad shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

I glared at the pair of them.

“What aren’t you telling me?” I snapped.

“We need to get a divorce, Summer,” my Mum said quietly, shooting a glance at my father.

“Why?” I said shortly. My dad sat up straight and looked directly at me with the bright blue eyes that I inherited.

“Because I’m marrying someone else, Summer – and until I’m divorced, I can’t get married again.”

My world flipped upside down.

My mum breathed out sharply through her nose and pressed her lips together. My heart went out to her, but I was too angry to comfort her. No, I’d surpassed angry. I was flat out pissed.

“You’re marrying someone else? Oh, and when were you planning on introducing your daughter to this mystery woman, Daddy?” I sneered, and my dad’s mouth dropped open.

“Don’t you talk to me like that, young lady –” Dad started, but I didn’t give a fuck what he had to say.

“No, you don’t talk to me like that! You cheated on Mum! How could you do that? Let me guess, she’s some blonde bint that’s about five years older than me – she’s gonna be a gold-digging whore, I can already tell – and just... urgh! I am so pissed at you! How could you do this? Where are mum and I going to live? You can the new bitch are probably going to live here, so what about us? Or do you not give a shit now you’re going to have a spanking new family?”

My dad’s mouth fell open.

“You’re going to live with me and Louise, Summer, and your mother is moving back in with her parents until I find an appropriate house to purchase for her. You’ll visit in the holidays.”

I laughed. A blood-curdling, hair-raising, dog-killing, bone-chilling laugh.

“You’re seriously fucked in the head if you think I’m going to live with you,” I said quietly, “I’d rather live with Nana and Grandpa Greengrass than live with you and the whore – tell me, do you call her Lulu yet?”

“Mind your language!” Dad kicked his chair back and got to his feet. Tears had begun to leak out of the corners of my eyes and my breathing was erratic as more hatred than I had ever felt before began to possess me.

“DO NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” I screamed. “YOU’VE FUCKING DESTROYED OUR FAMILY. I FUCKING HATE YOU!”

My mother clapped her hands to her face and leaned down to face the table as my father flushed the colour of a beetroot. I stepped back from the table and spun blindly on the spot, not knowing where I was aiming for – anywhere that would make me feel better.

Anywhere.

I was squeezed through a tight tube, spinning in an abyss until my feet slammed to the ground. I blinked through my tears, which were falling uncontrollably now, and peered at the house in confusion.

My stomach dropped when I realised where my brain had chosen to take me.

Somewhere that would make me feel better.

I staggered to the door and hammered on it, leaning against the doorframe as I tried to control my insane sobbing – I wasn’t even that upset, I was just so angry – how could he do that to us? Push Mum back into moving in with her parents so he could marry someone else.

The... the bastard.

The door was pulled open and Albus Potter blinked back at me, his mouth hanging slightly agape as he peered at my pathetic, curled up form on his doorstep. I opened my mouth to tell him what I wanted, but he didn’t even need to be told.

Stepping back, he turned around and hollered, “JAMES! GET DOWN HERE NOW! QUICK!”, at the top of his lungs.

James’ feet hammered on the stairs, and suddenly he was in front of me. Like his brother, his mouth dropped open, and then he was shoving Albus out of the way to get to me – actually, I think he just wanted to shove Albus – and pulling me into his arms.

“Summer, what happened?” He asked frantically, pulling me into his chest and smoothing down the back of my hair with the palm of one of his hands. I didn’t answer, but continued to sob, breathing in the special James Smell and letting him rock me sideways.

And we stood like that for I don’t know how long, until Albus sloped off somewhere else, until a light layer of drizzle started to fall from the sky, until Ginny Potter pulled the curtains back and peered out to see what was going on. But eventually, he spoke again.

“Summer, tell me what happened.”

“They’re getting divorced,” I murmured, “They’re getting divorced, and my dad is marrying someone else, and my mum is going to have to move out the house and in with Nana Greengrass, and the new woman is called Lulu and everything is changing and wrong and I don’t know what to do and – and–” James swore under his breath as I started to cry again.

“Summer, no, everything is going to be fine, I promise. I’m here, I’m here, please stop crying,” James whispered into my hair, “You know I hate it when you cry.”

After a minute, I wiped my nose on the back of my hand – yeah, I’m such a lady – and pulled away, taking James hand and squeezing it tight in both of mine.

“I’m so sorry about this,” I said roughly, my voice sounding like one of the Weird Sisters with all the crying, “You’re really pissed off with me right now and I just show up on your door crying... I should go. I’m sorry to bother you, you don’t need this,” I went to pull away but James pulled me back into his chest.

“Don’t be insane,” James said flatly, “Anything for you, Summer. I thought you knew that.” I buried my face in his chest again.

He kissed the top of my hair.

“It’s alright, you’re okay,” James said softly, taking me by the hand and pulling me into his house, up the stairs and into his bedroom. And as he dropped onto his bed, I took him by surprise and curled up on his knee.

He closed his arms around my waist and started to rock me gently again, and you know what? I actually started to feel better. So we stayed there, in our strange position, for hours, James just rocking me as I breathed into his neck, his fingers tracing patterns on my arms.

And everything was going to be okay.

I knew it was.

Because James promised it would be.

 




disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me, it all belongs to the respective owners.

so, bit of a faster update this time. i don't have much to say here... so any thoughts on the chapter? 

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 21: The Twenty-First One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Nearly three hours after I had shown up on James’ doorstep, there was a light knock on his bedroom door. I glanced up from James’ chest and blinked a few times. James glanced at me in surprise, and then back at the door. Does he think that he’s suddenly going to develop x-ray vision and be able to see through it?

“James, it’s me,” Ginny called through the door, “Can I come in?” I went to climb off James’ knee, but he wrapped his arms tighter around my waist and kissed my temple.

“Sure, come in,” James called back.

Ginny pushed the door open softly and poked her head around, her red hair swinging underneath her face. A woman with three teenage children should not be so good looking. I hope I look like that when I’m in my forties.

“I was just wondering if you’d like to stay here for the night, Summer,” Ginny smiled, subtly dropping down another box of tissues onto James’ chest of drawers. I blinked a couple of times and wiped underneath my eyes with the back of my hand.

“Are you sure?” I muttered, and James rubbed his hands softly up the backs of my arms.

Ginny smiled fondly at me, and I was a little pissed to see that she looked sympathetic. I don’t need sympathy; it’s not me that’s getting the divorce. I need my dad to drop off the face of the planet.

“Of course,” Ginny smiled again, “I’ve sent an owl to your mum and dad to let them know where you are, so they won’t worry, and I told them you’d be staying.” I nodded and leant my head back against James’ chest. “If you come with me, I’m sure we can find you something of Lily’s to sleep in, you’re about the same height.”

I nodded and crawled off James’ knee and headed into the hallway with Ginny, who instantly wrapped an arm and around my shoulder and stated to tow us off to the door covered in pictures of Oliver Wood.

Damn, that mine is fine. I don’t give a flying fuck if he’s in his forties now.

Ginny didn’t even bother to knock this time; she just shoved the door open with her free hand and pulled us into the violently pink room.

I think my eyeballs might have exploded.

Everything was pink – pale pink walls with a hot pink border, hot pink carpet, hot pink bedspread and hot pink curtains around the four poster, pale pink wardrobes and chest of drawers, pink teddies everywhere, pink lampshade, pink curtains, a giant pink canvas covered in pictures of pink roses...

“Hey Lily, what’s your favourite colour?” I asked weakly, and Ginny laughed from next to me.

“Lily, do me a favour, find something comfy for Summer to sleep in?” Ginny said, and Lily rolled off her hot pink beanbag and crossed the room to one of her wardrobes.

Ginny slipped out the door behind me with a comforting smile and closed the door softly behind her, leaving me alone with Lily in a room that could give Dolores Umbridge’s office a run for its money.

Lily rooted around in the wardrobe, pulled out a soft grey pair of jogging pants and a stretchy pink t-shirt, and tossed them to me.

“I’ll close my eyes if you want to get changed,” Lily smiled, dropping down onto the bed and clapping her – you guessed it – pink pillow over her eyes. I rolled my eyes a little and pulled the clothes on, praying that a gust of wind wouldn’t suddenly blow in through the closed window and make Lily drop the pillow.

After I’d dressed, I glanced in the mirror and started slightly. My eyes were the same colour as Lily’s room, and practically the size of pinheads.

Attractive, Summer, attractive.

“Well, thanks for the clothes,” I said slowly, and went to head out the door, but Lily called me back before I had so much as reached for the doorknob.

“Actually, Summer, I was wondering if I could have a word,” she said, and I raised my eyebrows. Slowly making my way over to the bed and dropping down next to her, I brought my knees up under my chin and waited for her to start to speak.

“Look, Summer, we both know about all the shit that’s happened between Albus and James,” Lily started, and I took to staring a patch of pink wall above her head to avoid looking in her eyes.

“Yeah, I know,” I said quietly.

“And I know that what happened with you and Albus made everything even worse,” I flushed slightly and started to pick at the new nail varnish on my fingers. It’s hard to believe I painted these a few hours ago because my mum can’t stand chipped nails.

“Yeah, I imagine it did,” I muttered.

“And you know why James is so pissed off with you, right?” Lily asked slowly. I blinked up at her in confusion. I thought we were talking about James and Albus.

“Well, because I snogged his brother, I suppose,” I shrugged. This is not the kind of conversation you want to have with the little sister of the two blokes. She probably thinks I’m some kind of man-eating slag.

Which I’m not. Shut up.

“Well, yeah, but you do know why he was so pissed that you snogged his brother... right?” I frowned at Lily. Yeah, I know exactly why. Because I’d been snogging James, agreed not to snog anyone else, convinced myself he was getting back with his ex, got pissed, snogged his brother and then started dating the ex boyfriend of his little cousin. But does she know that?

She seems to know everything.

Maybe she’s omnipotent.

“Uhm... yeah. But I’m not sure you know why James is so pissed off with me,” I said slowly, and Lily actually rolled her eyes. Shit, does she know? Did James tell her? I’ll murder him.

“Please, anyone who bothers to take their head out their own arse and look at the pair of you can tell,” Lily rolled her eyes good naturedly as mine widened. Anyone can tell? But we tried super hard to be mega sneaky ninjas!

Oh, fuck.

“What do you mean?” I asked slowly, and Lily stared at my face for a moment, looking confused.

“I mean, anyone can tell that James is in love with you... you do know that, right?” I thought Lily was joking. I honest to Merlin believed that she was joking. But one glance at her serious expression told me that she was being serious, that she honestly believed what she was saying.

And that’s when the laughter started.

It felt like I hadn’t laughed in so long, given that I’d spent the last three hours sobbing stupidly into James’ chest, and so the laughter was even more hysterical than it should have been. My hair flopped into my face and I clutched my heaving stomach through Lily’s shirt as I struggled for air.

The idea was just so insane. If James ‘loved’ me, then don’t you think he’d have, oh, I don’t know... asked me out on a date?

“Lily, I hate you burst your bubble, darling, but James is not in love with me. I promise you.” Lily’s face fell, and for one horrible moment I was worried that she was going to cry.

“Does that mean you’re not in love with him?” Lily asked quietly, looking quite heartbroken.

The question brought me up short. I opened and closed my mouth a few times, fishing around for anything that would get me out of answering the question, before I settled on telling her the truth.

“Lily, I have a boyfriend – a boyfriend that isn’t James,” Lily’s mouth fell open.

“I didn’t know that...” She murmured, flushing a little. I rolled my eyes and nudged her in the ribs. You know, I quite like Lily Potter. She’s pretty chill. I can’t pull off calling people ‘chill’, can I?

“I do love James, I do – but I’m not in love with him. And I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about me – or at least, he used to.” I glanced away for a second, troubled. “But we’re not in love with each other, we’re just friends – in fact, we’re barely that anymore.”

“Right,” Lily deadpanned, “That’s why you showed up on his doorstep when you were crying your eyes out. I notice that you didn’t head off to your boyfriend’s house.” I glanced down at my fingers.

Fuck, she’s smart.

Why couldn’t James have a stupid sister?

“Look, Lily...” I started, but she held up a hand to silence me.

“Just don’t hurt him again, Summer. That awful blonde bitch fucked him up enough, and completely ruined his relationship with Albus – and what you did didn’t really help the situation.” She cocked an eyebrow at me. “And I want you to know that yes, you pissed him off, but you also really hurt him. And I’ve told you why that is...”

I glared at her.

“He’s not in lo –”Again, she cut me off.

“But Summer, I won’t let you hurt him again. Just decide where you stand with him, and stick to it. I won’t have him hurt any more than he already has been. He’s the last person in the world to deserve it.”

I know he is. That’s why I feel so shit for messing him around.

“Alright. Thanks, Lily.” I said awkwardly offering her a strange half smile. If I was Dom, I would have given her a hug. But I’m not Dom, and the only person I hug is James, so I think I’ll just sit here looking miserable.

But Lily had different ideas, because she half lunged across the bed and flattened me in a hug, pecked me on the cheek – oh good Lord – and then smiled.

“I’ll see you in the morning, I’ll make sure that Albus and James leave some food for you,” Lily smiled, and I twitched my wrist at her in some semblance of a grateful wave.

I’d just stepped out into the hall, wondering vaguely how many heating charms the Potters used to keep their house so toasty and warm – it’s like walking in a house-sized fridge at night in the winter, back at home – when I was ambushed by Ginny Weasley, who stepped out of a bedroom behind me making no noise.

Alright, maybe ambushed wasn’t the right word.

“Summer, you alright, darling?” I shrieked slightly and leapt half a foot in the air. “Is this bedroom alright for you, for tonight?” She gestured to the room she had just exited, and I had to work to contain my surprise.

I’d just assumed I’d be in James’ room.

“Yeah, yes, that’s fine – thank you, Ginny,” I smiled, and she leaned forwards to give me a quick hug. I always feel rude calling her Ginny, but she always tells me off if I try to call her Mrs Potter. She says it makes her feel old.

James’ door opened as she released me, and he looked a little surprised to see me heading into one of their spare bedrooms.

“Where are you going?” He asked me, and I cocked an eyebrow.

Well, if I’m walking into the spare bedroom in pyjamas, as directed by your mother, then I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m going on a hike around the plains of the Sahara Desert. Merlin, James, use that thing that you like to call your brain.

“Summer’s sleeping in this room tonight,” Ginny smiled at her son, but her eyes were narrowed slightly in warning.

“No, she’s sleeping in my room,” James said flatly, taking a couple of steps down the hall and seizing me by the wrist, “She came here because she wanted to talk to me, she’s not spending the night on her own in the spare bedroom.”

Ginny cocked an eyebrow.

“James, sweetheart, I really don’t think it’s appropriate to let you and Summer share a bed,”She cocked an eyebrow as I flushed, but James looked quite unabashed, “I mean, how do you think Summer’s parents would feel if they found out that I’d let their seventeen year old daughter spend the night in my seventeen year old son’s bed?”

“They probably wouldn’t care,” I muttered, and James pulled me closer to his chest.

“Besides, as a responsible mother, I have to –” James’ expression was nothing short of mortified as he realised where his mother was going to go with this.

“Mum, she has a boyfriend!” James said quickly, and Ginny’s mouth fell slack.

“What?” Ginny asked. “A boyfriend that isn’t you, you mean?” James flushed the colour of a traffic light and stared down at the toes of his slippers as though his life depended on it. I rested my head on his chest.

“His name is Jack,” I said quietly, and Ginny’s eyebrows nearly disappeared into her hairline.

“Oh. Well... well, I suppose there is no harm in you spending the night in James’ room,” Ginny muttered distractedly, fiddling with the ends of her long red hair. I smiled a little at her, and she did return it, but there seemed to be something a little off.

But before I had a chance to look any closer, James had seized my wrist and was tugging me back to his bedroom, snapping the door shut behind us and kicking off his slippers.

I curled up on the end of the bed, my knees under my chin.

I was just about to say something to James when Ginny hammered on the door.

“Just keep it clean, you two!” She called, and James flushed the colour of a radish with bad sunburn.

“Mum!” He yelled back, but she’d already left. I laughed at his expression.

“Sorry about that,” he muttered, dropping down next to me on the bed and pulling me back into his arms. I breathed in the special James Smell – you know, one day I’m going to figure out what he actually smells like, because it’s not any body lotion I’ve ever smelled before – “She’s so bloody embarrassing.”

“What mother isn’t?” I murmured, wrapping my arms around him and pressing my face into his t-shirt. James chuckled and kissed the top of my head.

“So, are you going to talk to me about it, or just sit there in silence and let it eat you like usual?”

“Sit here in silence and let it eat me like usual,” I muttered back, and he moved his hand from my waist so he could flick me on the side of the forehead.

Charming.

If he had given me brain damage then he’s the one that would have had to pay my medical bills.

And buy me several of those helium balloons with sympathetic cats on the front.

And boxes and boxes of my favourite chocolates. And bottles of Firewhiskey, and baskets of muffins, and a personal Healer to come in and wash my hair for me every day. And he’d have to buy me special silk pyjamas to wear when I get moved to the public ward. You know, I don’t know why sick people complain all the time – it sounds like the life.

Well, you know, other than the part about being sick.

“That’s not good for you, Summer,” James said, lying back on the bed and assuming some kind of freakish crab position so he could tug the duvet down from under his back. He slid under the covers and cocked his head to the side to instruct me to do the same.

As I crawled under the covers with him, I realised that I really hadn’t thought this through.

Sure, share a bed with James Potter sounds simple enough on paper, but in real life? It’s a lot harder than you think, and a lot more awkward. I mean, he’s got a double bed. There is no need for us to be pressed so close together.

I mean... Jack. My boyfriend. Right. I wouldn’t like it if he spent the night with another girl, so I shouldn’t really... well, James is a friend, so it doesn’t really count. And anyway, Jack doesn’t have to find out – what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

“C’mere, you’re freezing,” James said suddenly, wrapping one of his arms around my stomach and waist and pulling me onto his chest, so my nose was nestled in the crook of his neck.

You know, now he mentions it, I am pretty cold.

I slipped my arms down and tucked them into his sides, because James suddenly seemed to have taken on the properties of a space heater and was warming me up good and proper. James chuckled slightly into the darkness, but made no effort to speak.

After about fifteen minutes of silence, during which my eyes became so heavy that I was right on the verge of dropping off, James spoke again.

“If someone had told me this would be happening a week ago, then I’d never have believed them.” James whispered into the blackness, and I smiled a little into his neck.

“If someone had told me this would be happening this morning then I would never have believed them.” James chuckled again, his chest moving up and down slightly. I suddenly had to resist the urge to start kissing his neck. It must be something about sleeping in his bed.

Does funny things to my brain, you know.

The silence was comfortable, settling around us like a blanket as we both lay there, intertwined in the darkness for a while. It was peaceful.

“Summer – why... back in Hogsmeade, when I told you that I had missed you, why did you – why did you not say anything back?” James spoke into the silence, his hand loosening slightly on my stomach, and I could tell that it was so he could pull away at any moment if he needed to.

“I did say something back. I stammered ‘I’ a lot.” I retorted quietly, my voice thick from crying and the silence of the last twenty minutes.

James sighed slightly in the darkness and shifted as though he might be putting a little distance between us, and instantly I panicked. I tightened my arms around his waist so he couldn’t move and pressed my nose even deeper into the space between his shoulder, neck and hair. James’ pillow smells like him. I may have to steal it.

“Don’t be a smartarse with me, Summer,” James snapped, patronisation practically dripping from his words all over the duvets. I pouted like nobody’s business.

“Well if you don’t want me to be a smartarse, what do you want me to say?” I asked quietly, and James’ entire body tensed. His arm tightened around my back and I was pressed so tightly against him that his hip was probably going to bruise my stomach.

There was no way we could have slept like that; we would have been like mummified corpses for the whole night.

Silence fell like a curtain between us, but James’ grip didn’t relent. My unanswered question hung in the air.

“I want you to tell me how you feel,” James eventually said, and my eyes flew open so fast that I could have slit his throat with my eyelashes. My throat had gone dry.

I don’t talk about emotions, he knows that. That’s the fucking reason I didn’t tell him I missed him on that disaster of a day out. I didn’t even like having to feel the emotions, let alone having to voice them to someone who would hear and therefore remember how I felt. Feelings are shit. I would turn myself into an emotionless robot in a heartbeat if I was given the option.

“I know you do,” I whispered, once again proving my excellence at being the queen of the cop out answers.

“Tell me, please. I don’t give a shit what you’re telling me about, but tell me how you feel – your parents, your friends, everything that happened today, your crying... me. Just tell me how you feel.” I pressed my lips together.

I really, really didn’t want to.

James shifted the hand that wasn’t strangling my waist and lifted the arm of mine that was resting across his chest, lacing his fingers with mine and bringing my hand up to brush my fingernails with his lips.

“Talk to me, Summer. For once in your life, talk to me.”

“I talk to you all the time,” I whispered, and James suddenly turned on his side so our chests were pressed together, nose to nose, eye to eye, sternum to... well, boobs. I’m sure he wasn’t too upset about that.

“I mean talk to me, Summer. Please.” My eyes had adjusted to the blackness now, and the way James’ eyes were boring into mine nearly put me back onto the brink of tears.

I gulped down the excessive amounts of my spit that had suddenly arrived in my mouth, uninvited – hey, whoever said I wasn’t a lady? – and then parted my lips. I was going to do this. I was going to trust him. I was going to do it.

“I... missed... you, James. A lot.” The words were staccato, disjointed, like a badly made jigsaw puzzle, but they were out there. I couldn’t suddenly transfigure into a Hoover and suck them back out of the atmosphere and into my head, where no one could ever hear them.

James’ jaw slackened, before twitching up into a proper James Potter Smile. Not the James Smirk, but a much rarer occurrence – a James Potter Smile. The charming, ovary-exploding smile I missed so much.

“Really?” I rolled my eyes.

“You were my best friend, you fucker, and then you stopped speaking to me. Of course I missed you. And so did the charms and transfiguration classrooms of Hogwarts.” I winked at him and his lips twitched up into the James Smirk.

I missed that more than I thought I had. I wanted to kiss it off his lips.

“Past tense?” James said suddenly, the smile dropping off his face a little. I blinked, not understand what the bloody fuck he was rambling on about.

“What you on about?” I slurred sleepily, snuggling into James’ chest a little and pressing my head further into his cloud pillow. James tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and kissed my temple one more time, before snuggling down next to me.

“You said it in the past tense,” James said quietly, and listened but kept my eyes closed, “You said ‘you were my best friend’. Do you not reckon we’re best friends anymore?”

My eyes cracked open.

“James, this is the first time we’ve properly spoken in a month, and before that it was another month before you’d spoken to me. Once a month isn’t really a wonderful sign of best friendship, I have to say.” I kissed his chest through his t-shirt. He should sleep shirtless. Even if it is the winter. He can freeze to death, but at least I’ll have a nice view.

“Funny, because I think we look pretty best friendly right now,” James muttered, and I couldn’t help but feel a small urge to smile. I didn’t smile, but I felt the urge to. And that was something.

“Alright then, James. You’ll always be my best friend.” I offered him a giant, movie star style grin and he rolled his eyes good naturedly, but something seemed a little off.

“Yeah, best friends forever... excellent.” I frowned. Is he being sarcastic?

“Oi, you’d be lucky to have me as a best friend forever, I’ll have you know!” I protested, but my admonishment was cut short by the fact a yawn that a train could have driven through possessed my face, stretching my mouth out to inhumane proportions.

I could have entered the Cirque du Soleil with that freakishly flexible mouth.

“Yeah, lucky, that’s the word,” James rolled his eyes and pulled me back down to his chest. Before I could think of a snappy retort, the heaviness in my swollen eyelids had taken over and I fell asleep, tucked into James’ side.

~*~

“JAMES, SUMMER!” A voice yelled from outside the door.”I WANT TO COME IN, BUT IF I GET IN THERE IN FIVE SECONDS AND YOU TWO ARE NAKED THEN I WILL – well, I’ll ridicule you for life – BUT I WILL ALSO BLOODY MURDER THE PAIR OF YOU. SO GET DRESSED. NOW.”

I stirred a little against James’ chest.

“Fuck off, Lilibrat,” James slurred from underneath me, swatting a hand in the air ever so slightly, as though that might make Lily, who was on the other side of the door, go away.

Not likely, Jimmy, my pet.

“So you are naked? Is that why you don’t want me to come in?” Lily called, but she didn’t sound horrified enough for my tastes. This isn’t because of what she told me yesterday, is it? Her stupid little – wrong – theory.

“No, we bloody aren’t starkers, but we are tired, so bloody go away.” James shifted slightly in the bed and I was twisted slightly on his chest, so one of my legs curled upwards over both of his, my face resting on the side of his chest. I ran a splayed hand up his chest and wrapped it around the shoulder that was away from me, so I could hug him to me.

After receiving confirmation that James and I were in fact clothed, Lily seemed to disregard the rest of James’ sentence. Pushing the door open, she breezed into the room, bringing with her a lovely batch of blinding light.

Squinting and groaning, I pressed my face harder into James’ chest to try and bloke out the light.

“You two, I was told to come and get you up for breakfast. Mum’s made bacon and eggs because Summer is here, and Albus is eating the stuff so fast that you’re probably not going to get any if you don’t get a move on.” James grunted at her.

“’Kay.” James slurred, and I nodded into his chest. Easier than speaking. But Lily still didn’t go away.

She just stood by the door, all annoying and awake and... there. She didn’t even say anything. She just stood there and stared at us. Annoyingly. Blinking and everything.

“Lilitwat... can we help you?” James eventually asked, groaning and shifting slightly.

“You guys do realise that you’re in a double bed, and yet you’re both squeezed into the tiniest gap imaginable together? I mean, you both have enough room for two other people on either side. You look like Siamese twins. It’s going to take you half an hour just to detangle yourselves.” James stuck his finger up at her.

Lily looked like she was finally going to get the hint and leave, but as she reached the door, she turned around and said the one thing that would have caused me to knock her out, had I been properly awake.

“You know, you two are going to make the most gorgeous couple one day,” Lily grinned, and then – and then, she closed the door so we couldn’t shout at her.

Well, James couldn’t have shouted at her anyway because he was too busy choking on his own saliva. To try and save the situation, I started to ramble.

“Right, should we get up? I only had two bites of caviar last night before I left, and I didn’t have any lunch on the train, so I’m fucking starved. I feel like my stomach is going to randomly combust. Then you’ll have to go around your room and pick up all the little bits of Summer stomach.” James blinked at me and then started to laugh, kissed the top of my head and then shoved me off the bed and onto the floor.

“Get ready to go down to breakfast, then,” James smiled, and I hauled myself off the bed to start pulling on my clothes. James rolled his eyes slightly and cocked an eyebrow at me.

“Turn around, perv,” I snapped playfully, and James pursed his lips, showing a remarkable likeness to my grandmother.

“Well, if you don't want my wonderful company, then fine,” James grinned and leaned down towards me, to my pathetic position all curled up on the floor. His face was hovering above me, and the small distance between our faces took me back to when this was a regular occurrence.

Subconsciously, without even thinking about, I was leaning up slightly to press my lips against his, just like I normally would if we were this close, but James seemed to realise what was going to happen before it did.

Raising the index finger of one of his hands, he pressed it against my lips and stopped me getting any closer to him.

He tapped my lips with his fingers, an arrogant smirk on his face, and then leaned down to brush his lips against my ear.

“You,” he murmured, “have a boyfriend, missy. That means you’re not supposed to try to kiss other blokes. Maybe you should work on that.”

With a quick forehead smacker and a flick to the side of the head, James turned around and carried on getting ready. With nothing but the dress I had arrived in last night, and thinking that I was probably going to look like a walk of shame, I hauled myself off the floor and started getting ready.

I just stole James’ toothbrush.

~*~

“Oh, thank Merlin you’re home,” Mum simpered, jumping out of the armchair and folding me into the most awkward hug in the history of the universe. I kept my eyes still by my sides, my spine poker straight and not relenting at all.

Mum dropped her arms a moment later, and stared down at the floor as steady footsteps came into the room front behind me. I didn’t even bother to turn around – I didn’t want to look at him. I felt like I would have been sick if I had to look at his face, so smug with undeserving pride because his family name bought him a decent job at the ministry.

“If you ever talk to me like that again, or walk out without telling me where you’re going, you will be in big trouble, young lady, do you understand me?” My father’s voice was cold, sharp. My mum was begging me with her eyes to be polite to him.

“Yes,” I muttered.

“Don’t speak to me in that ungrateful tone. I’ve given you a lifestyle most children could only dream of.” He snapped, and I glared at the floor, my back still facing him. “Upon your... demand, you will live with your mother and grandparents, starting from your next break from school.”

I nodded at the floor, anger surging up my veins. In that moment, with anger making my head pound, I found myself wishing I had spoken to James about how I felt about it – maybe it would have made me deal with it better.

“Okay.”

“On Christmas Eve, a large selection of influential men from the ministry, like myself, will be coming here for a dinner party to celebrate the large donation your mother and I are making to St Mungos.”

“Fine,” I sighed, knowing it would be another night of me in a cocktail dress, sipping disgusting champagne that tasted like bubbly chemicals and being hit on by men in their fifties that had gotten bladdered and could no longer tell how old I was.

Oh, and a night of being polite to a load of up-themselves men and women wearing jewellery that cost more than our house.

“They do not know about the impending divorce, and I do not intend them to. Your mother and I will be acting as though we are together, and you will not say anything. Do you understand?” His tone was chilling, testing me. I glared harder at the floor.

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Dad crossed the room swiftly, picked up a bottle of amber whiskey in a glass bottle with a giant crystal stopper from a table in the corner, a faceted glass from a tray next to it and filled it halfway, before adding some ice from a small silver bucket.

I glared at him. Where does he think he is, a bar in the middle of the Caribbean?

“And Summer – you will be on your best behaviour. No swearing, no eye-rolling and no mouthing off to important ministry officials. Or there will be consequences. Am I making myself quite clear to you?” Dad stared at me over the top of the glass as he took a deep sip, and I snapped my head back around so I once again had my back to him.

“Yes,” I muttered.

“Good.” And with that, Dad turned on his heel and left the room, leaving my mother and I staring at the floor, refusing to look at one another.

“Summer, I-” She started, but I found that I just didn’t want to hear it.

“I don’t care,” I sighed, turning on my heel and following the path that my father had just taken. I just wanted to be back at Hogwarts. Or back at James’. One of the two.

~*~

“You look beautiful, darling,” Mother smiled, gently patting my cheek with the hand that was not clutching a glass of stupidly expensive champagne. I glared at the glass, because it represented everything I had despised about my upbringing.

“Thanks,” I said shortly. She sighed, and I almost rolled my eyes with relief. For the past five days, she had been trying in vain to get me to speak to her, making idle chitchat and trying to talk about things that you don’t even want to imagine that your mother thinks about.

The moment she’d started talking about her worries about the menopause, I’d screamed.

That shut her up fast enough.

“Look, Summer, I know you’re angry with... everyone, but I have a little surprise for you.” Mum smiled at me hopefully and resisted the urge to roll my eyes again. Most likely it was another bank breaking piece of jewellery that I would refuse to wear.

“What is it?” I grumbled, when she didn’t explain further. She smiled like it was all some big secret. I glared harder at the glass, wondering if it would pull a Harry Potter in the Zoo and just smash by the power of my peepers.

Judging by its consistently solid form, it wouldn’t.

Grabbing me by the elbow, she spun the pair of us around on the spot and gestured to the family that had just walked through the door, and were being greeted with a cool handshake and nod of recognition from my father. A family that I had never expected to see in our house.

A family containing a red headed woman and a red headed girl, both looking beautiful in long dresses. A family that contained three men with messy, raven coloured hair, two with bright green eyes and one with eyes a shade of chocolate that I would recognise anywhere.

The Potters.

“Mum, what are they doing here?” I hissed, glancing around.

The knots in my stomach were wondering if James would still be as sweet and tender as he had been after I’d shown up on his doorstep, or whether he would have reverted back to introverted, angry James that I had grown accustomed to over the past months.

I prayed it was the first one. I had liked having my best friend back.

But a more chilling realisation pooled in the pit of my stomach, and my eyes widened. Before my mother could answer the first question, I had asked her a second.

“Mum, did you think this through at all?” I swallowed hard. “Most of the men in here are family members of death eaters, purebloods, people whose family, maybe even parents got locked away because of Harry Potter. Do you really think they’re going to appreciate them being here?”

My mother blinked, looking a little shocked.

“Oh... I didn’t think of that,” she whispered quietly.

“Evidentially not,” I snapped.

My mother ran her fingers across her cheek, and I noticed that the iceberg sized rock had been restored to its place on her ring finger.

“Why are they even here?”

“Well, Summer, you’ve been so closed off these past couple of days – you won’t come down to meals, you won’t talk to either of us, you glare if anything comes near you... James has always had a way of cheering you up, so I thought you might like him to be here. He is your best friend, Summer.” She cocked an eyebrow at me. “And I couldn’t very well invite him and not the rest of his family, could I?”

I pinched the bridge of my nose between my thumb and fingers, breathing out through my mouth. I was just about to snap something back, most likely something more sarky than necessary, when a pair of thin arms closed around my middle.

“Summer! This is so cool, I love getting dressed up!” Lily squealed. “It was so nice of you to invite us, I mean, Albus looked like he was going to wet himself when Mum said it was for all five of us, which was hilarious, but I think it was nice of you to invite him too.” Lily gave me one final squeeze, and then let go.

The rest of her family caught up a second later, and smiled at me a little uncomfortably. A horrible thought hit me as I consider Lily’s words. They thought I’d invited them. Oh shit. And they weren’t exactly the best invitees for this kind of event.

“So sorry to have you all dragged out like this, on such short notice,” I said cheerfully – too cheerfully. It didn’t sound like me. “My mum seemed to think you’d all like to come and invited you – but the champagne is pretty good!”

I snatched one off a passing waiter and thrust it into the air.

“Long live the Minister, and all that – toodle pip, I need to visit the ladies room.”

And with that, I turned on the balls of my feet – if I tried to turn on these stilettos then they’d most likely fly off and puncture someone in the neck – and pegged it to the other side of the hall.

Smooth, Summer, smooth.

Still, at least the Potters might not think I’m a psycho for inviting them.

But after that little display of insanity? They probably think I’m psycho, full stop.

~*~

My mother found me in the bathroom, sitting in the gap on the counter between the two sinks, pulling at the bodice of my floor length plum dress, wondering what would happen if I just set fire to it right there and then. I’d have to walk back through the hall in my undercrackers, but maybe it would be worth it.

Fuck it, it would definitely be worth it.

“Summer Oriona Lancaster! I invite the Potters to come, they get all dressed up and come out here, and you treat them like that! You didn’t even acknowledge James!” I glared moodily at the floor. I didn’t like being reprimanded like a child.

“Sorry,” I grumbled.

“You don’t mean that,” Mum snapped, and I smirked a little bit. She always knew when I was lying.

“No, I don’t,” I shrugged. “But I am sorry you invited them.” I decided to be honest – fuck knows why. Honesty gets you nowhere.

“Why would you be sorry I invited them?”

“Because they had to come to this failure of a party, so you and dad can pretend be happily married and act like the family isn’t falling apart, just so you can flash the fact you’ve got a lot of cash. What are you going to do when we live with Nana and Grandpa Greengrass? They’ve got money, but not enough to keep you in this lifestyle. You’re going to have to get a job, Mum.” She jumped a little, like this thought had never occurred to her.

“Well, you’ll only be there over the Easter holidays,” Mum muttered, and I could tell she was trying to formulate a plan on the spot. “Your graduation is in six months, and then you’ll get your own place.”

“Get my own place?” I echoed, jumping a little.

“Well, yes. You’re not going to live with us; you’ll be eighteen by that point.” Mum blinked at me like it was obvious. “Summer, there is no need to look so shocked. You can live by yourself at eighteen. I was married at eighteen.” I jumped again.

Married at eighteen. Holy fuck. And I don’t even want a serious relationship.

Still, look where that marriage ended up.

“You’ll probably get financial help from your father, so you’ll be alright – and your job will pay for whatever you want to do.” I jumped again. I realised then that I would be leaving the protection of school in just over half a year, and then I would have to work.

Work. The notion had never occurred to me before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. There was nothing I had extreme skills in – what was I supposed to do? Get Daddy to buy me a decent job at the Ministry? I’d rather not.

“I – I don’t want to talk about this,” I stammered, pushing past my mum and out of the bathroom. “I’ll go and see the Potters, see if I can save this train wreck of an evening.”

~*~

I had only just skidded back into the hall when someone tapped me on the shoulder, standing a little closer than I would have liked.

I scowled, instantly beginning to plot the gruesome death of said person if it turned out to be one of my father’s friends asking for a dance. But I snapped my head to the side, I found myself wanting to smile instead.

What is it with all the smiling-urges lately?

People are going to think I’m a happy person if I keep wanting to smile. And we can’t have that.

“May I have this dance, dear Miss Lancaster?” James asked, holding out a hand and smirking at me in that stupid mocking way of his. Fucking twat.

But regardless, I dropped my hand into his and let him drag me onto the dancefloor, where my mother and father were doing an awkward waltz with their faces leaning as far away from each other as possible without causing permanent spine damage.

“I have to warn you, I have special skills on the dancefloor,” James smirked, and I rolled my eyes.

“Fucking bring it on, Potter – Mum forced me to take ballroom dancing lessons for five years until I threw a hissy and made her stop.”

James burst into laughter, pulling me into his arms properly, one of his hands on my waist and the other holding my hand, his shaking head resting against the side of mine.

I prayed he didn’t have nits. They’d be a bitch to get rid of with hair as long as mine.

Why don’t they invent a charm that gets rid of them? That could be my job after I graduate.

James started to rock us from side to side as I thought, my head resting on his chest and his lips pressed to my hair – I almost told him to get off, my hair took three hours to get right – and I just relaxed, for the first time in nearly a week.

“James, what do you want to do after we graduate?” I asked, realising I didn’t know.

“I want to be an Auror, like Dad,” he said confidently, and I smiled.

“You’ll have to do three years of training after school, you know,” I murmured, and he nodded. I could feel his chin against my head. I wanted to smile. I shouldn’t want to smile. Why do I want to smile?

“I know.”

“Oh.”

More minutes passed in silence, and the song changed three more times before James spoke again.

“What do you want to do, love?” I almost laughed at the endearment. If the circumstances had been of old, I would have kicked him in the you-know-where for calling me that. But instead I just laughed, and shook my head.

“I don’t know. Probably something at the ministry. Magical law enforcement, maybe. A healer, maybe.” At this, James outright laughed.

“Summer, you couldn’t be a healer – you don’t care about other people.”

“Shut up,” I snapped back, but it was playful, like old times.

“Make me, short arse.”

“Maybe I will, long arse.”

“Long arse? What kind of insult is that?”

“One that is too sophisticated and complex for you to understand.”

“You mean stupid and...”

“Are you struggling to come up with a word that begins with c?”

“Shut up.”

“Make me.”

“Oh, you are one damn frustrating woman, Summer Lancaster,” James chuckled, then something seemed to light his eyes. “Did you ever think of becoming a lawyer with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement? I mean, you love arguing more than anyone else I know, and you nearly always win...”

I raised an eyebrow. A lawyer? I’d never thought of that before.

“I don’t know... I’ve never thought about that before. Arguing for a living. Maybe I should look into that...” James grinned and looked like he was about to respond, when another voice spoke.

“Erm, could I cut in?” A voice that was very much not expected and very much not welcome slid between us, and I jumped a little when I saw Albus Potter standing next to us, shuffling his feet. Let me reiterate – Albus Potter wanted to dance with me. Instead of James. Oh fuck, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

“Of course,” James said coolly, and for some reason I wanted to cry. There was a time, not long ago at all, when he would have knocked Albus out for asking. And now... he doesn’t even seem bothered. He doesn’t care.

Shit.

James stepped back, let me go – no, I did not cling to his arm like a loser – and Albus took his place.

“What the fuck do you want?” I asked, furious that he had interrupted James and I. We were getting on, fuck it! And he just had to march over with his huge feet and stick them in where they weren’t wanted. Urgh. Prick.

“I need to talk to you, Summer. It’s important.”

“I’m sure it’s not.”

“What the fuck has got your knickers in a bunch; I was perfectly polite to him.”

“I don’t want to talk to you, you know that – James and I were getting along and you just had to come over and be all... there, and now James will be pissed again-”

“Were you dating him when we snogged?”

I froze.

“What?!”

“Were you James’ girlfriend when we snogged?”

“No!”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, I think something like being your brother’s girlfriend would be pretty well imprinted on my brain, you know,” I snapped back.

“So you weren’t going out with him?”

“I do believe I just said that.”

“Then what the fuck was going on between the two of you?”

“I don’t believe that’s any of your business, actually, Albus,” I said coldly, forcing myself not to clench my fists into the shoulder of his suit.

“Well, considering my brother is now treating me like I don’t exist; I think I have a right to know.”

“Well, I’m not going to tell you,” I snapped back.

“I know he’s just finally dealing with fact Natalie chose me over him,” Do not punch him in the head, do not punch him in the head, do not punch him in the head, “and he should have dealt with that at the time, but he didn’t –”

“Is there a point to this story, jackass?” I snapped.

“Yeah, yeah, there is a point. Anyway, I thought at first it was just him dealing with that finally, but he just didn’t seem to get over it. And then I noticed that you two spent like no time together, so I asked Connor and he let slip that the two of you weren’t speaking – why would he stop speaking to you? Just because you made out with his brother?” I blinked at him, my mouth twisting into a scowl.

“Like I said, it’s none of your business, in all honesty,” I was clenching my teeth together so I didn’t start screaming at him.

“Yeah, well I just wanted to tell you that if you were in some kind of relationship with James, then it was really shitty of you to snog me –”

I skidded to a halt, my hand dropping from his shoulder and my fists clenching in readiness to deck him one.

“Woah, woah, woah – back up a little there, princess,” I hissed, pretty sure that my eyes alone could have murdered him had I cared to test them, “You are telling me that I’m shitty for snogging you when I wasn’t with James, when you stole your brother’s fucking girlfriend of three years?”

Albus blinked.

“That was different, I was in love with Natalie, you weren’t in love with me,”

“I bet you weren’t in love with the bitch the first time you shoved your tongue down her throat,”

“Do not call her a bitch! She is one of the most amazing people I know – don’t make assumptions-”

“I don’t need to assume anything, she fucked her boyfriend’s little brother, I think that’s a pretty clear indicator of what I’m going to think about her,” I glared coldly at Albus.

“You are so judgemental, I have no idea how my brother has managed to put up with you for so long. I mean, are you physically capable of not being a bitch for a whole conversation?”

My mouth dropped open.

I could see James staring at us from next to the drinks table, a glass of expensive champagne clutched in his hand and a distasteful expression of his face.

“I – I don’t even know what to say to you,” I said quietly, glancing around subtly to check if anyone was looking, “Just – just stay the bloody fuck away from me. Get out of my house. Just get out.”

Albus cocked an eyebrow.

“You can’t just kick me out – my whole family is here. Just because I told you the truth –”

That was it. Satisfied that nobody was watching, I snapped my knee up at the speed of light, with as much force as I could muster.

Albus let out a strange noise that mostly resembled a dying pigeon, bent double and contorted his face into something that looked like the uncle of a pug dog.

“I’ll show you how much of a bitch I can be,” I hissed, leaning down and hissing in his ear. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that James had dropped his champagne glass in shock, having been the only one that saw.

And with that, I turned on the heel of my shoe and went headed out of the ornate doors that led to the entrance hall of the house – basically a freezing cold marble room that holds wet umbrellas and the mat upon which you wipe your feet after tramping through lovely British puddles all day.

I crossed the hall quickly and sat down on the third stair from the bottom, pulling my knees up under my chin.

That’s when I started to hear the voices.

And no, you prick, not voices in my head – actual voices. They were whispering – well, one was whispering. The other was doing something that can only be described as guinea-pig like whining.

“But Jason – why won’t you introduce me to anyone? We’re getting married; I should be able to meet your friends,”

“Keep your voice down, will you? And they’re not my friends, they’re my colleagues.”

It couldn’t be... my eyes widened and I pulled my knees tighter to my chest, praying that the voices were actually in my head and my imagination were playing a sick trick on me.

“Well, your wife is in there talking to them!”

“I only told her I was divorcing her three weeks ago, you can’t expect me to just drop her off the face of the planet,”

“She’s not your responsibility anymore, Jason – she can look after herself. You’re not going to be married this time in three days.”

“She’s the mother of my daughter, Louise, who hates me enough as it is – and Daphne and I were married for twenty years. I’m not going to ruin her life.”

“So you’re ruining mine!”

“Ruining your life? Because I won’t introduce you to a couple of wizards that sit in an office and do nothing?”

Like you, you mean, Daddy?

“Well, when am I going to meet your daughter?”

“Well, considering she won’t speak to me and glares poison whenever she sees me, I highly doubt she’s ready to meet you,”

“I’m going to have to meet her eventually – you said she was going to live with us!”

“She refused. She’s going to live with her mother and her grandparents.”

“Oh, good. I didn’t want some brat living with us anyway, spending all our money.”

There was a silence. My heart was pounding, anger and hatred coursing through my stomach. My hands were clenched. My dad didn’t say a word.

“She’s not a brat – she’s only eight fucking years younger than you. You can hardly call that a brat. And she still will be spending my money – she’s connected to my bank account.”

“Can’t you un-connect her from it?”

“She is my daughter, Louise. I don’t want to talk about this again.”

“When am I going to meet her?”

Without thinking about it, I was on my feet. I didn’t know what I was doing. I crossed the hall and over to where the voices were coming from. A small, doorless alcove just off the stairs. My hands were in fists again.

First Albus, and now this awful sounding woman. Eight years older than me... she’s twenty five. My thirty nine year old father is marrying a woman fourteen years younger than him. Well, the thing sounds like the traditional definition of ‘gold-digging whore’.

“How about now?” I asked, stepping into the eyeline of the door and crossing my arms over my chest.

My dad’s mouth fell open. The blonde woman next to him looked dumbfounded. I glared at the pair of them. The blonde woman dropped her hands from my dad’s chest. I glared a little more.

“Well, since you have no manners, I’ll start,” I snapped at her, “Summer Lancaster. It’s not really a pleasure to meet you.” 

 




disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me.

ahem. so. sorry this chapter is a little bit of a filler. so sozzles about that. major sozzlesticks. but anyway, i hope you enjoyed it. but yeah. so, we meet louise properly in the next chapter ~ oooh. ish. anyway - let me know what you think! <333

ellie :) xx

ps. sorry about the wait for this chapter ~ it got rejected twice... oopsie. but it's here now.
 
 
 


Chapter 22: The One with Loads of Fluff
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“I –I...” She stammered, and I rolled my eyes. Leaning coolly against the doorframe of the alcove, I took in the homewrecking bint that had the nerve to show up at my house and practically molest my father under the stairs.

“Merlin, no wonder you’re marrying rich – are you honestly so stupid you don’t know how to introduce yourself? This is when you tell me your name, and then you offer to shake my hand. Basic manners, you know.” I cocked an eyebrow at her.

My father frowned and closed his eyes. She blushed and blinked a little. I glared. Did Dad honestly think that I was going to live with her?

I’d have shoved my cereal spoon down her throat to kill her before the week was over.

“I’m Louise Cooper – it’s... it’s lovely to meet you,” Bitch Lady held out her hand – which I was pleased to see was shaking slightly – and blinked at me with her mascara-plastered eyes. I snorted.

“Sorry, Lulu, but I’m not going to shake your hand. I only washed them ten minutes ago, and I don’t want to get them all coated in slut.” I shrugged sadly. She flushed, her eyes flicking over to my father.

“Summer, be nice –” Dad sighed, but there was no real conviction to his words. He knew I wasn’t going to be nice to her.

“Don’t tell me what to do,” I snapped at him coldly, for once not caring whether he would lose his temper. I wanted him to lose his temper. If he lost his temper then I’d have even more of a reason to scream blue murder at him.

Instead of wasting my eyesight on him, I flicked my eyes back over to my new mummy and stared her up and down, paedophile style.

She was short – shorter than I was, anyway; maybe around five foot three. She had long blonde hair that hung just past her boobs – which, it might as well be said, looked fake – in long plastic curls. How much hair lacquer she’d put on them was beyond me.

Her eyes were brown, but not brown like James’ – they were cold, slightly too big for her face, and rimmed with so much kohl that I’d have been surprised if she could get it all off at night. Her lips were painted hot pink, which matched the strapless boob-tube thing she was wearing.

Yes, a boob-tube. In December.

I glanced down at her skin tight jeans with my lips pursed in lemon-sucking pose, my nostrils flaring in distaste as I realised that I owned the same pair, minus the strategically-placed tear on the left arse cheek.

I glared at her skinny arms. A diamond-encrusted watch was swinging off one of her wrists. It was the female version of the watch I had bought James, but with a pink strap as opposed to brown.

And since I had bought one, I knew how much they cost.

No doubt it was a present from Daddy Dearest.

“So tell me, how much money are you planning on conning out of my father before you fuck off and run away with Paulo the chimney sweep?” I asked coolly, blinking at her innocently. She gaped at me again. The woman was like a standing goldfish.

“I – I’m not planning to –”

“Do you realise that if I was a year older or you were a year younger, then we would have been in Hogwarts together at some point?” I glared at her as even more colour drained into her cheeks. Maybe some of the dye from her boob-tube is seeping into her skin.

“I – well, I – um... I - you might know my sister.”

I blinked at her. I might know her sister? What the fuck was the point in telling me that random piece of information? I don’t give a flying monkey whether or not I might know her sister.

“Fucking wonderful,” I snapped back.

“Sarah Cooper – her name is Sarah Cooper,” I snapped my head up to stare at her so fast that I’m pretty sure I was about a second away from snapping my own spinal cord. Sarah Cooper? My father is marrying Sarah’s older sister.

Sarah was one of my roommates. I didn’t really have anything to do with her – in the words of Dominique Weasley, because I was an ‘antisocial cow’ – but she was best friends with the other one of our roommates, Esme Boot.

“So I have to go back to school next week and tell one of my roommates that my father has left my mother to marry her skank of a sister?” Louise blinked, looking a little disappointed.

What, did she think that because I happened to know her sister I might jump into her arms, give her a huge tight hug and tell her that I was so glad that she was now going to be a part of my family? Yeah... no. I would shove the bitch off a cliff before I did that.

“Oh – I didn’t realise... I – Summer, look -”

“Don’t call me Summer.”

My voice was the vocal form of the word ‘ice’. It was practically splintering. Maybe if it splinted enough, I could take one of the icicles and kill her with it. She’d deserve it.

“What am I supposed to call you?” She looked confused, her heavily pencilled eyebrows furrowing slightly. I liked the fact she was confused. It made me feel like she was stupid. I liked the idea that she was stupid.

“It doesn’t really matter what you call me, because this is the last conversation we’re ever going to have,” I shrugged, and my dad sighed.

“You’ll have to talk to her at the wedding, Summer,” he muttered, and I raised an eyebrow at him. And suddenly, despite my efforts to hide it, I let out a giggle.

“At the wedding? Do you honestly think that I’m going to go to your wedding?” I laughed again, and my dad shifted uncomfortably.

“Look, Summer, I think we might have gotten off on the wrong foot –”

“Oh, where did you get that impression, bitch? From the fact you split up my parent’s marriage and are the reason for their divorce? The fact you’re a gold-digging slag? The fact that my mother is having to move back in with her parents at thirty eight, because you’ve had her kicked out of her home of twenty years? The fact you’d just tried to convince my dad to stop letting me spend his money so you could have more? The fact that you’re eight years older than me and you’re going to be my stepmother? Or the fact that I’ve known you for all of four minutes and I already hate you? Take your fucking pick.”

With one final glare in their direction, I turned around and stormed back to the entrance hall, then back through into the ballroom and over to the bloke that was sitting in a chair in the corner, a bottle of beer clutched in his fist.

I reached him quickly, pulled his hands off his knees and dropped down onto his lap, wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my face in his shoulder.

James patted my back awkwardly.

“Erm, Summer? You alright there, love?” James asked quietly, bobbing his knee up and down slightly like you would if a small child sat on your knee after falling over. I just pressed my face harder into his shoulder and didn’t say a word.

James brought his bottle up over my shoulder and took a deep sip. The bottle was cold. It nudged my back. I didn’t like it.

“Summer, tell me what happened,” James said suddenly, setting the bottle down on the floor in front of his seat and wrapping both of his arms around my waist. He was probably wondering why we were hugging so much lately.

We’d probably hugged more in the last week than we had in the rest of the time we’d known each other. I prayed it wasn’t a sign I was going soft.

“I just met sodding Louise, and she’s stupid and blonde and she was trying to get my dad to cut me out of his bank account or some shit like that, and she’s the sister of one of my roommates, and she’s awful and I hate her and she’s going to be my stepmother,” James kissed the top of my head. I immediately shut up.

“No, don’t stop talking,” James said suddenly, shifting me on his lap so the side of my face was pressed against his neck and he was looking down at me. He was so close that he looked like he only had one eye.

James the Cyclops. Has a nice ring to it.

“I have nothing more to say about her,” I sighed, and James’ expression looked almost pitiful. I hated that. I didn’t want bloody sympathy.

I mean, I know my mother is a hard woman to live with, I’ve known her for almost as long as he has, but she sounds even worse. I mean, how could he be stupid enough to want to marry her?

Can he not see the reason that she’s marrying him? Or can he see it, but just doesn’t care? Why would he want to spend the rest of his life with her? She’s not going to look like a slag forever – once she loses her ‘looks’, he’ll just be stuck with a gold-digging bitch with boobs that look like a pair of tube socks stuffed with bowling balls.

“Do you want to dance again?” I asked suddenly, and James jumped a little, and then chuckled. Kissing the top of my head again, he leaned away to raise an eyebrow at me.

“You want to dance with me?” James laughed, and I dug my elbow into his stomach. Maybe I should sharpen my elbows with a giant pencil sharpener, so when I jab him it hurts more. Do you reckon it would hurt to sharpen your own elbows?

“Do you not want to dance with me?” I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

“No, I do – not this kind of dancing, but hey. It’s just... well; I don’t remember you ever wanting to dance with me before. And I especially don’t remember you ever offering.”

I shrugged, hopped off his knee and pulled him to his feet.

Dragging him back onto the dancefloor – ignoring my father when he stormed back through the doors of the ballroom, looking ready to kill (sans Louise, I was pleased to note) – I wrapped my arms around his neck and rested my head on his chest.

James was a little tense. I blinked up at him.

“What’s the matter?” I asked quietly, and James shrugged.

“It’s just strange. One second you’re ignoring me, and the next second you’re showing up at my house, crying, or asking me to dance with you, or trying to fucking kiss me, and the next second you’re announcing that you have a new boyfriend, and then you’re screaming at me, and then you’re refusing to speak to me, and then you’re telling me you miss me – can you not just pick a personality and stick to it?”

I blinked, a little hurt. I lifted my head off his chest and stared at him.

“Why are you being like this? We were getting along – why are you trying to fuck everything up?”

James rolled his eyes but kept his hands on my waist, the pair of us swaying awkwardly as I watched his mouth twist as he struggled for something to say.

“I just – do you have any idea how goddamn frustrating you are? You’re just so hard to deal with – I feel like I don’t even know you anymore, you just switch personalities at the drop of the hat. I just – I don’t know how to – I – what the fuck were you and Albus talking about before?”

I blinked and cocked an eyebrow.

“Is that why you’re being all funny? Because I danced with Albus when he asked me to?”

“No! I just – what did you talk about, anyway? Can’t you just – you – you know how I feel about him! Why would you speak to him when you know how angry he makes me? I mean – you – he ruined me and you! He is the reason that you and I never –” James broke off, glaring down at the floor. I moved a little closer to him and tilted my head so he was looking at me instead.

“He is the reason that you and I never what?” I asked quietly, and he pressed his lips together.

“Nothing,” he grumbled petulantly.

“Why are you so angry with me? I know I’ve fucked up a lot lately but we’ve been getting on – why did you suddenly have to be all grumpy?” James’ eyebrow rose.

“Grumpy?” He asked, questioning my word choice. I glared at him. Now was not the time, James.

“Yes, grumpy. Now answer the question.” James clearly misunderstood what I meant, and translated ‘answer the question’ as ‘don’t answer my question, but ask me your own in return’. I could kick that boy in the shin, I really could.

“Why don’t you ever tell me how you feel? Why don’t you trust me?” James looked up from the ground and stared right at me, suddenly standing very still but keeping his hands in their loose position on my hips.

“I do trust you,” I replied honestly, because it was the truth. I did trust James. I trusted him more than I trusted most people.

“Then why won’t you tell me how you feel? What are you so afraid that I’ll do if you tell me? I trusted you – I told you about Natalie and Albus, and everything they did!” I blinked at him, dropping my arms from his neck and resting them from his shoulders instead.

“You told me about Albus and Natalie when you had next to no choice – you threw a hissy when I asked you what happened originally!” I said, glancing around as our argument got a little louder. I noticed my father drinking a large whiskey next to the bar, a sour expression on his face, his eyes focused on James and I.

I glared at him over James’ shoulder.

“But I still told you – you and I used to be so close, and now we barely speak – if you’d spoken to me in the first place then maybe we would still be like we used to be.” One of James’ hands slid up from my hip and slid it into the back of my hair. His eyes were sad.

“So what are you saying?” I asked, tilting my head sideways slightly so that my cheek was pressed against his wrist. James smiled a little at my uncharacteristic cuteness.

“I want you to talk to me – I want you to actually act like I mean something to you. No – I don’t want you to act like I mean something to you, I want to actually mean something to you. And I want you to show it.”

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you?” I whispered, and James raised an eyebrow at me questioningly. “Want never gets.” James rolled his eyes. “And you do mean something to me, you twat.”

“Sure I do,” James muttered grouchily, moving his hand from my hair so he could brush his thumb along my cheekbone. I kissed his thumb when it reached the corner of my mouth.

“James, you mean a hell of a lot to me. You should bloody know that – I can’t believe you don’t.” Thinking back to a few nights ago, to our conversation, I grinned a little. “After all, you’ve got to mean a lot to me if we’re going to be best friends forever.”

James rolled his eyes as I batted my eyelashes innocently.

“You’re a nightmare, you,” he smiled, but I could tell he was joking. I dropped my arms from his shoulders and I wrapped them around his waist, pulling him closer to me in a tight hug. From under his arm, I could see my dad slam his drink down on the bar, gesturing angrily at us to my mother.

My mum smiled at us and shook her head at my dad, swanning away before he could properly kick off. He glared at us again, and then stormed back out of the ballroom. I smirked into James’ chest.

“Prove it,” James said suddenly, and I jumped a little against his chest. Pulling my head back, I frowned in silent question.

“I mean – I just – you... you don’t ever act like I mean anything to you. And I know you’re saying I do, but... I just... prove it.”James shrugged, evidentially giving up on trying to phrase it a little more tactfully.

Prove that he means something to me? I began to contemplate the pointlessness of the conversation – how could he have been doubting meaning something to me, when he’d been my best friend for six and a half years? I wanted to kick him in the shin for being so dense.

I scanned my brain desperately, looking for anything I could use to ‘prove’ to James that I did give a shit about him. But nothing came to mind.

And that’s when it hit me. It hit me like a nugget in a gold mine, like a rock off a roof, like a pigeon that smashed into a window – it just hit me. I spent a second to revel in my own genius, and then pressed my hand against his jaw.

James was always complaining that I never told him how I felt – what if I told him how I felt, about everything? What if I spoke to him for hours? Told him that I trusted him more than I trusted anyone else, told him that I had realised, on the night that I had found out about the divorce, that I needed him... he’d have to believe me.

“Stay with me tonight,” I whispered, pulling James in for a hug so that my chin was resting on his shoulder. I could feel James’ eyelashes against my cheek as he blinked rapidly from next to me.

“What?” He breathed, and I leaned back so I could look him in the eye.

“Stay with me tonight. We’ll talk.” I said, brushing my thumb along the stubble on his cheeks. He should really shave that. It would be all itchy if someone snogged him. Not that anyone would snog him, because I’d rip their tonsils out for trying.

“You want me to spend the night with you?” James cocked an eyebrow at me, looking a little shocked.

“Well, yeah – we did the other night, at your house...” I said slowly, blinking at him. James was steadily turning the colour of a tomato, his mouth hanging open slightly.

“Oh! Shit, you just meant you wanted me to actually spend the night here...” James flushed again, looking a lot more than mortified, and I frowned at him. Did someone put something in his beer?

“Well, yeah what did you think I – shit,” I gaped at him.

“No, sorry, just ignore me, I misunderstood,”

“James, I – sorry, I didn’t mean it like that – I mean, I would like you to stay with me, but –”

“No, seriously, ignore me – I’d love to have another sleepover –”

“I just thought we could talk – I could prove I trust you, or whatever,”

“No! No, that sounds excellent! Tip top! I’d love to talk tonight – just talk, I mean –”

“Yeah, I mean, I have Jack, and –”

“Exactly! I mean, we couldn’t... you have a boyfriend, and...”

“It wouldn’t be right for us to... I mean, we’re still a bit weird, and we couldn’t...”

“Right, so I should just –”

James jumped a little as he realised that my hand was still pressed against his cheek, and I flushed a little as I hastily removed it. James was shuffling his shoes, and I was trying not to focus on the fact that his hands were once again loosely holding my hips.

“I’ll... I’ll go tell my mum that I’m staying here tonight...” James murmured, gently stepping out of our embrace and cocking his head to where his mum and dad were standing in the corner, laughing over something with Lily.

James blinked at me for a minute, smiled a little shyly and then scarpered over to his family, and I quickly scanned the room for some alcohol.

Grabbing a long champagne flute off a passing waiter – and downing it in one, I should probably add – I glanced around for my dad. I swear to Merlin, if he’s disappeared with Blonde Bitchsnot again then I will hunt him down and flay him alive over a bonfire.

As I was scanning the room, I caught sight of James talking to his mum and dad in the corner, and I couldn’t help but stare. He really did look good in a tight black suit, white shirt and thin black tie, his shoulders looking broad beneath the blazer – I could have jumped him right there in front of everyone. He looked lean – for once not looking like he’d been abusing the gym equipment.

God, he looked fine. I jumped a little when I realised I was basically perving on James Potter.

I flushed and quickly headed over to the bar, filling my glass with some expensive mulled wine from some place in California that I couldn’t pronounce the name of.

James really is good looking. He looks even better without a shirt.

So when you think about it, it’s all basic maths. I mean, James equals gorgeous. And then James minus shirt equals even more gorgeous. So, if you continue the basic pattern, then James minus shirt minus trousers should equal even more gorgeous. So maybe, for the sake of being the next Pythagoras and earning a fortune, I should test out my theory.

I mean... when you think about it...

I mean, he had assumed that was what I meant. Does that mean he was thinking about it? Shit, is that going to make tonight really awkward? Shit, what if something does happen? Would I have to tell Jack? I couldn’t do that; it would really hurt him...

I... fuck, this is why I don’t do feelings!

“Summer?” James was standing behind me, and I whipped around to see his livid expression behind my head, a new glass of champagne clamped tightly in his fist. He looked pissed. What did I do?

“What?” I asked quickly.

“They – they won’t let me stay here tonight. Because it’s Christmas Eve, and that would mean I wouldn’t be at home on Christmas morning, and they won’t...” I blinked a little, wondering why I felt as disappointed as I did.

“Oh. Alright. Well, what can you do?” I sighed, shuffling the bottom of my heels on the floor. James sighed, and suddenly his arms were around me, pulling me into a tight hug. He kissed the top of my head, and brushed his thumb down my nose.

As weird as that was, at least he didn’t miss my nose and stroke his thumb down my eyeball instead. That would probably have hurt.

“I really want you to talk to me,” James sighed into my hair, and I smiled a little into his chest. To be honest, a small part of me was relieved that our conversation had been put off for a while. I had no idea how I was going to start it, what I was going say – how I was going to say it.

I mean, I trusted James, but... but it was too hard. I didn’t like talking about it. He’d always respected that before. He’d never asked me how I felt about him before. Why now?

“Well, what if we met up on Boxing Day? We could go down to the promenade or something and go to the arcades – I haven’t been to the arcade in years.” James chuckled into my hair and stepped out of the hug, cocking an eyebrow at me.

“You want to go to the arcade to talk?” James smiled, and I rolled my eyes.

“No, I want to go to the arcade for a day out – but we could do the whole sleepover thing on Boxing Night,” I wound my arms around James’ neck and rested my head on his chest. James drank some more champagne over my head.

“I don’t think it’s called Boxing Night, you know.”

“It could be.”

“No, I think it’s just called Boxing Day, and then the night of Boxing Day.”

“That would be Boxing Night, then.”

“Can you not agree with me on one thing?”

“No.”

~*~

“Minty, where are my mum and dad?” I asked the house elf, dropping down into a seat the abandoned dining room table and pulling a plate of bacon and sausage towards me. Minty blinked at me with her huge tennis-ball eyes.

“Mrs Lancaster has gone to visit some friends in Cornwall, and Master Lancaster has gone to spend Christmas morning with Miss Cooper. Your mother asked me to pass along her dearest Christmas wishes, and to tell you that your presents are under the tree in the main living room.” I blinked.

“Oh. Thanks, Minty. And merry Christmas.” The house elf smiled broadly at me, sank down into a curtsey and then headed off to do house-elf things. I glared at my breakfast.

Alone on Christmas Day. Fucking wonderful.

~*~

Neither of my parents had come back by the time the morning of Boxing Day rolled around, and in a bout of teenage depression, I had woken up before the sun was up and was all dressed and ready for James by seven thirty. When he was most likely still snoring.

I think it is pretty clear to see, that I am, officially, a twat.

So I instead decided to bug Minty, and spent the next hour and a half moaning to Minty about the unfairness of having best friends that all played Quidditch, and wanted to race you. You, pathetic little sport-hating you, versus a bloke half a foot taller, with longer legs and fitness levels to rival a racehorse.

But eventually the clock rolled around to nine o’clock, and I decided that James had been blessed with enough time to get himself up, showered and dressed.

Why did I tell James to pick me up at my house whenever he was ready? I should have told him to meet me at the arcade at a specific time. Then I wouldn’t have been hanging around the house like a giant lemon, looking for something to do.

So deciding that I was bored of waiting for James, I stropped my way to my dad’s study and hunted around for a Howler. Why a Howler? Because I was in a bad mood, and if I couldn’t yell at James then I wanted something to.

Grabbing a quill and a pot of my dad’s most expensive ink, I started to scribble a message.

James,

Get your arse down here as soon as possible, because I’m bored and lonely and I need someone to talk to. After getting this, you have ten minutes to get here. If this Howler woke you up, then you have five. In a bit, my darling little baby boy,

Summer.

I had just penned the last word when there was a loud hammering on the door, and, jumping violently in shock, I accidently knocked over the pot of crimson ink I had been using. It seeped along the desk and dripped all over the carpet, leaving stains that looked strangely like blood.

I blinked at it and considered cleaning it up, and then realised that it was my dad’s ink and my dad’s study, and therefore I didn’t give a shit whether or not I’d spilled ink on the floor.

So stepping over the patch, I headed out of the door to the sound of a gruff male voice talking to Minty. I rolled my eyes and dropped the Howler into the soil of a nearby potted plant.

I rounded the corner and again felt the urge to smile – I am becoming far too cheerful; I’m going to have to work on that – as I saw James leaning against the doorframe of our front door, clutching what looked like a stitch in his side and panting heavily.

He looks like he’s just run a marathon. Maybe he had. Maybe he’d been doing a bit of fundraising before he got there. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care.

“Hey,” I grinned, and before he could say anything I had flung my arms around his waist and pulled him into a choking hug.

James choked and groaned as my arms dug into his sides, but patted me awkwardly on the back and made no attempt to buck me off him.

“Um... that’s a... warm welcome. You high, Summer?” I pursed my lips and pulled myself out of his arms, grabbed my bag with one hand and his hand with my other, and towed him out of the door like a toddler at an airport.

And like a toddler at an airport, he nearly tripped over his own feet.

Honestly, that bloke is smooth.

~*~

“Oi, that was on my half! Stick to your own half, woman!” James shrieked indignantly, bashing my blue plastic fork out of the way with his own blue plastic fork. I stabbed his thumb in retaliation and quickly stole another of his chips when he yanked it back.

Scowling, James flicked some tomato sauce at me. Mature.

“You know, next time we buy a portion of chips, we’re getting separate ones. First you smother them in enough salt to give anyone a heart attack, and then you hog them all! Bloody bint.” I grinned at him through a mouthful of chips.

James rolled his eyes, trying hard to stay annoyed, but he couldn’t suppress his grin.

“You know you love me,” I winked, smirking as James flushed a little. He stabbed a fork with a little more violence than was strictly necessary.

“Don’t get your hopes up, sweetheart. We’ll see how I feel after our lovely little conversation tonight.” James cocked an eyebrow at me and went back to stabbing his chips, shovelling them into his mouth with the passion of a bloke on the back of a gritting lorry at Christmas time.

“Don’t remind me,” I scowled, chewing on another chip. James chuckled.

“Why’d you offer to do it if you don’t want to?” James asked, picking up a few chips with his fingers and dumping them into the little pot of tomato sauce in between the pair of us. As he shoved them into the pot, some of the sauce splashed up and splattered along my hand, causing me to shriek.

You know that king that had the red hot poker shoved up his arse to kill him? Yeah, well I probably sounded like he did when he sat down on the thing.

And as I’m sure you can all tell – it was very sexy. How James didn’t leap across the table to snog my face off was beyond me.

“You little shit – that’s horrible. I hate tomato sauce!” I whined, flapping my hand about in the air as I glanced around for a napkin to wipe the crap off my skin. Knowing my luck, it could have sunk into my skin and changed me into a giant tomato.

James rolled his eyes, grabbed my hand and dragged it towards him. The edge of the plastic table cut into my stomach, and I scowled.

James grinned at me, winked and ran his tongue up the top of my hand, licking all the tomato sauce off my skin. I squealed and tried to bat him off with my other hand, but James was having none of it.

Laughing, I leaned across the table and tried to smack him off my poor, now-infected arm, but James just grinned and dodged. I launched myself out of my chair and slipped around the table, desperate to free my arm from bein slobbered all over by James.

Dropping onto James’ knee, I wrapped my free arm around his neck and used my knee to try and shove his chest away from me, but James was apoplectic with laughter and put up no fight.

After squirming myself free, I went to push myself off James’ lap, but he didn’t seem to like that plan. James wrapped his arms around my waist and held me on his knee, dropping his chin onto my shoulder and shaking with laughter.

I resisted the urge to biff him over the back of the head.

“Aww, Summy, don’t you want me to hug you? Come on baby, let’s hug it out. Cuddles!” James simpered into my ear, squeezing my waist tighter and laughing as I tried to fight my way out of his embrace.

A few of the other people in the random muggle cafe we were in started to watch us, an old lady at he table next to us nudging her husband in the side to tell him to watch us.

I considered glaring at the nosy old bat, but James squeezed me so tight that I squealed instead.

“James!” I scolded, but it just made him laugh louder. “James, I’m being serious – people are looking at us. Let me go!” I could practically hear James’ eyes rolling, but he reluctantly dropped his arms and let me crawl back to my own seat, much to the disappointment of the nosy teenagers sitting by the window.

“Aww, Summer – you never were a fan of showing emotions in public, were you? Oh wait – no... I’m recalling a certain afternoon, during which the inhabitants of Hogsmeade were treated to a lovely view of both your and Kyle Davies’ tonsils...” James smirked at me as I flushed and shovelled a couple more chips into my mouth.

“That wasn’t a display of emotion,” I snapped back, running the last chip around the edge of the plate to pick up any fallen salt. James smirked.

I hate that smirk. We should make it illegal.

If we all teamed up and made a petition, then the government wouldn’t be able to ignore us for long. And then they could hook James up to a couple of electrodes, and whenever he smirks... they zap him!

I grinned as the image of James flopping around like a fish on the ground filled my head. He stared at me warily, as you would if someone started grinning like a twat in front of you, for no apparent reason.

“So what are we doing for the rest of the day?” James asked, lolling back in his chair, throwing his arm casually over the back, like a regular cool kid. Ice, man.

“Going to the arcade – they’ve got all those old fashioned games that you find in carnivals, and stuff. They have this big plastic hand that you grab hold of, and when you put your money in, it becomes like an arm wrestle – but it’s really strong.” James rolled his eyes.

“Please, love – it’s strong to you. It won’t be strong to the likes of me.”

I cocked an eyebrow at the swollen-ego statement, and took a sip out of my bottle of sparkling water. I don’t know why I chose sparkling water instead of regular – it tastes like processed piss. But I was desperate after the salty chips – I felt like my throat was made of sandpaper.

Wincing, I swallowed down the ‘water’ and rolled my eyes, as James tried to hide the fact that he was clenching his fists under the table to make his muscles seem more prominent.

“Well alright then, strong man – I’m just gonna nip the loo, and then you can prove how strong you are.” I grabbed my bag and headed to the door labelled with a crude image of a blob balancing precariously on top of a triangle, and James pulled out the money for the bill.

He always snapped my head off if I tried to pay for food. Gryffindor git.

~*~

“What the bloody fuck is with these coins? These ones are just a midget version of the others – how do the muggles not get confused?”

James held up a two pence piece in one hand, and a penny in the other, blinking at me with a furrow between his eyes. He’s got big eyebrows, not I think about it – but he’d look strange without them. It always makes me laugh when men have feminine eyebrows.

My gaydar instantly goes off, which James thinks is hilarious. He didn’t think it was so funny when it turned out I was right, one summer when we were both fifteen, and the bloke asked him out on a date.

He was even less amused when I accepted on his behalf, and the bloke tried to take his number.

“Because one is bigger than the other, obviously. If it says that the machine needs a two pence, then you use the bigger one – if you try to use the wrong one, it won’t work.” I rolled my eyes as James groaned.

“This is so confusing – I swear, muggles are all secret genii,” James muttered, swinging the money bag from his wrist as he glanced around the arcade. I cocked an eyebrow at his use of the Latin plural of ‘genius’, but didn’t question it.

“Well, it’s the same as a galleon and a sickle being different sizes – it’s no more confusing than that.” I shrugged, and James frowned.

“Yeah, it is.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Is.”

“Not.”

“Can you seriously not stop arguing with me? It’s like you have an addiction.” James snapped, briskly strolling off towards a flashing machine covered in pictures of bikini clad women. I rolled my eyes and followed him, only to find him blinking cluelessly at the screen.

“What’s wrong with you?” I asked, as James pulled out a couple of coins and held them in the palm of his hand.

“What am I supposed to do now?” James asked, staring at the sliding metal shelf that was piled high with mountains of pennies and two pence coins. I started to laugh, grabbed the coins out of his hand and shoved one of them into a slit in the top of the glass.

It slid down the clear plastic tube and landed on the sliding metal shelf, where it was quickly pushed out onto the main shelf of the machine by the other coins. Looking thrilled, James shoved a few coins into the holes in the glass himself, and his face lit up in delight as a few coins finally slid down the front of the machine and pooled to the bottom of the bucket.

James dropped to his knees and scooped them into his hands, his eyes bright and his grin so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh. He was just too adorable.

“Summer, I won something!” He said excitedly, pushing the coins he had won back into the machine. I dropped down onto a nearby chair and watched him, chewing on my thumb nail.

“Yeah, you’ve probably won about a whole twenty pence.” I rolled my eyes as James scowled at me, tossing a penny at my head.

“Why do you have to see the negative side of everything? Can’t you just be happy for me? This is really cool!” I rolled my eyes and forced a sarcastic smile onto my face, all teeth and gums. James rolled his eyes again.

“One day you’re going to go blind with all this eye rolling you’re doing,” I informed him snottily, flicking my hair over my shoulder and fiddling with the ends of it, “and I won’t even feel sorry for you when you do. In fact, I may laugh.”

“What? You may make a positive noise? A positive reaction to something? Why, I do believe that I can see flying pigs – yes, here they are! They’re flapping around the ceiling – come down, piggies! Come down!” I scowled.

“Well, you’re clearly insane if you think that there are flying pigs in here,” I snapped back.

“Wow, excellent comeback there, Summer,” James grinned, and I scowled at the carpet. Rough, scratchy, blue shit that was plastered all over the floor of the place. It would probably scour all the skin off your body if you fell over on it.

“Shut up, prick,” I snapped. James grinned.

“Well, cheer yourself up with thoughts of the lovely heart to heart that we’re going to be having tonight,” James laughed, and my scowl deepened. It’s going to permanently carve its way into my face if I’m not careful.

“Shut up,” I snapped again, but James just laughed louder.

“I mean, just think of you and me, all curled up on your bed together, spilling our darkest secrets and talking about how we feel about everything... our feelings, our emotions...” James could barely get the words out around his snorting.

“Shut the fuck up, you’re making me nervous,” I snapped again, and James was clutching the machine to stop himself falling over with laughter.

“We could make friendship bracelets, and talk about all of our ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, and cuddle, and how we feel about current issues going on in the world, and tell each other secrets that nobody else knows...”

“Shut up!” I snapped again, jumping off my chair. “And I don’t have secrets!”

“Summer, you have more secrets than anyone else I know – you never speak to anyone. Of course you have secrets.” James stepped forwards and wrapped his arms around my waist, pressing his forehead against mine. “And I want to know them.”

James smirked as I gaped at him, digging him in the waist with my elbow.

“I’m not telling you any of my secrets, twat,” I grumbled, and James scowled before kissing the end of my nose and releasing me.

“Come on, let’s go and have a go on the slot machines – I want to win some real money,” James grinned, and seizing my wrist, he stated tugging me off towards the Over-18s section of the arcade. I hoped he had his fake ID with him.

~*~

“OI! Fucking prick – move out the fucking way, that was my shot!” I screeched, jabbing into James with my elbow as I waved my plastic gun in the air. James stomped on my foot and tried to shove me out of the way himself, shooting at the target that was meant for me.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, Summer!” James crowed, shooting the gun as fast as he could at the cardboard cowboy.

“Fuck off, prick, or I’ll shoot you,” I yelled back. You know, I really am a lovely person. I should get an award. Possibly a Nobel Peace Prize.

~*~

“I am so going to down my slush faster than you,” James said, grabbing his mango slush between his palms and grinning at me over the top of his crazy straw. I rolled my eyes and pulled my own strawberry and kiwi slush in front of me, accepting the challenge with my special vampire smile.

“Bring it on, Potter,” I laughed, closing my lips around the top of my straw. James winked at me and leaned down to his own cup, leaving fingerprints on the cold condensation of the cup.

“Three, two, one – go!” James yelled, attracting the attention of the majority of the grimy milkshake place we were sitting in. I grinned and winced as the ice went straight to my head – slushes are cold. I don’t know if anyone ever told you that.

~*~

“This cinnamon swirl is so good – you really have to try some of this,” I grinned, breaking off the edge of the pastry and shoving it into James’ mouth before he could respond.

“Fuck, that is good,” he muttered around the food, spreading the wooden floor in front of us with crumbs. After the rain had struck, we’d taken our pastries and ran to a nearby wooden marquee-style thing, which was circular and filled with wooden benches. “Gotta say, though – I reckon this muffin is ever better.”

James pinched a chunk of his blueberry muffin and shoved it into my mouth, much like I had done to him. I chewed quickly and swallowed it, and nearly scowled when I realised when it was actually nicer than my cinnamon swirl.

But I wasn’t going to let him know that.

“Mmm... that is lovely. But I think mine was nicer,” I smirked, and James turned to me with his mouth hanging open.

“Nuh-uh – no way,” he snapped back, and I grinned. And so the argument began.

~*~

“God, that was tiring,” I sighed, pulling my key out and smiling at the glittery heart keychain that James had given me, after winning it in the arcade. James pushed the door open and I stumbled into the hall, holding James around the waist to keep myself steady.

“It was fun though – we haven’t just had a day out like that for ages,” James grinned, pulling me down onto the nearest sofa we passed and kicking his shoes off onto the hearth of the fireplace.

“The last time we did something like that was when you, Freddie and I went to that theme park and Fred kicked his trainers off at the top of the rollercoaster. You know – they hit that woman and we had to run because she wanted to sue Fred?” James grinned, and I dropped my feet onto his lap.

“Oh, that was funny,” James laughed, and I closed my eyes after lolling my neck back onto the headrest.

“It was,” I sighed, “especially when Fred got confused between the cooked parsnips and the chips and started spitting them out all over the ground, screaming ‘rabbit food’.” I laughed.

“Yeah,” James sighed, for lack of having anything better to say. But I didn’t mind the silence.

~*~

“Oh, they smelled amazing – and when they had just come out of the oven and the chocolate chips were sort of melted and the cookies were all crumbly and warm, and the caramel sort of melted and... aww, they were gorgeous...” James grinned, remembering the one time we had made cookies together.

The state of the kitchen afterwards had meant a lifetime cookie-making ban for James and I, enforced by Ginny Potter.

Life sucks, what can I say?

“They were delicious – I would live off the things if they wouldn’t make into the human equivalent of a beached whale – ” I started, but I was cut off by a cold voice from the doorway, seeping into the room like poison and infecting the innocent couch that never did anything.

“And exactly who do we have here?” My father asked, and I sat up at the speed of light, pulling myself out of James’ arms. My father was standing at the door, his arms crossed over his chest and his polished shoes tapping on the floor impatiently.

“You know who this is – he’s been my best friend for six years,” I said coldly, as James rubbed his hand over the back of his head to try and flatten down his hair.

“And at no point during those six years have I ever walked in on the pair of you snuggling on a couch, I have to say,” Dad said snidely, stepping into the room and pulling off his blazer, draping it unnecessarily over the back of an armchair.

“Well, isn’t that wonderful?” I snapped. “And you know Daddy, it’s so nice of you to return home – tell me, did you enjoy spending Christmas with your whore, having ditched your family?”

James frowned from next to me. I hadn’t told him about the fact both of my parents had fucked off the day before.

“Do not call her that –”

“I’ll call her what I like – and do not tell me what to do. You lost that right when you left my family.”

“Summer, I don’t think this is an appropriate conversation to hold in front of non-family members, so shut your mouth.”

“No.”

“You little – Merlin, why I listened to my parents and married your mother is beyond me. I could have saved myself all of this trouble.” I felt my eyes fill up with tears, but I refused to blink. I was not going to cry. Not in front of him. No.

“Yeah, well sorry you got stuck with me, Daddy. I’d like to point out that I didn’t ask to be born.” My father sighed and ran his hand through the thinning hair atop his head.

“That’s not what I meant, Summer. You know I care a lot about you, you’re just angry.”

“You don’t give a shit about me. I don’t know who you think you’re kidding, but it’s certainly not me. You love me, sure, because I’m your daughter – but you don’t care about me. You never have.” I shrugged, and James stared down at his knees. I would have felt sorry for him, but I was too busy being angry.

“Summer –”

“Look, I want to go. James is staying the night, so we’ll see you in the morning. Maybe. If you haven’t left to go and shag Lulu again.” I shrugged and grabbed James’ hand, pulled him off the couch and started to tow the pair of us out of the room.

“Wait there, young lady – which bedroom will Mr Potter be occupying?”

“Mine.”

“Like Hell – he’s not sharing your room.”

“Yes, he is.”

“No, he isn’t.”

“Erm – yes, he is.”

“Summer, if you think for one second that I am going to let that boy share your bedroom, then you have another thing coming. I am the head of this family, and what I say goes. You will do as you are told – he can sleep in the room next door. I think him being allowed to sleep in your wing of the house is generous enough of me.”

I glared at him, my hand clutching James’ so tight that I probably crushed a few of his bones.

“Fuck off,” I snarled, and before he could react I had began to run, pulling James along with me.

~*~

“Why is your house so big? How do you find your way around this place?” James asked, lying on the bed with his hands clutching the stitch in his side, wheezing like the mirror over the fireplace in the Burrow. I rolled my eyes and grabbed a bottle of water from the desk, tossing it between each of my hands.

“Well, I have lived here for nearly eighteen years. You kind of get to know your way around. Amazing that, isn’t it?” James grinned a little and pulled my pillow down from the head of the bed to make himself more comfortable.

“What time is it, Summer?” James asked suddenly, and I glanced at the watch – my watch – that was around his wrist, which was flopping off the edge of the bed.

“Half nine, why?”

“Do you reckon it’s too early to go to bed? I’m absolutely shattered.” James sighed, and shifted slightly on the bed. I pulled a pair of fluffy trousers and a t-shirt out of the wardrobe, wondering whether that was the right kind of thing to wear.

I could always have changed into my shorts. But then again, my house was like a giant freezer, and my feet would have most likely fallen off with frostbite during the night.

“Nah, I reckon we can go to bed now. Do you want something to sleep in? Or do you have something with you?” James flushed a little and closed his eyes, scrunching them tightly in that way that children do when they’re trying to convince their parents that they’re actually asleep.

“I... I kind of forgot, this morning, to pack pyjamas... I got up quite early, and I knew you wouldn’t want to be kept waiting, so I sorta rushed out the house and... forgot.” James was speaking fast – too fast. Like he thought I might attack him for forgetting his pyjamas.

“It’s alright, you can borrow something. I’m sure I have some board shorts somewhere.” I shrugged, pulling open a random drawer to look.

I saw James blinking at me in the mirror.

“You’re not going to yell at me?” he asked, blinking at me in shock. I frowned. Do I really yell at him that often?

“Why would I yell at you?” I asked, confused.

“Because... because I forgot my pyjamas. And stuff like that normally gets on your nerves. And when things get on your nerves, you get annoyed. And when you get annoyed, you yell. Are you feeling alright?” James peered at me as I blinked.

Am I really that bad?

“I – I’m not going to yell at you for forgetting something, James. Am I really that awful to you?” I grabbed a pair of baggy board shorts that my mother had bought about three years ago for reasons unbeknownst to me, and tossed them to him.

“No! No, it’s not that, it’s just – I – look, forget I said anything.” James scratched the back of his head, and we both lapsed back into an uncomfortable silence. I tugged at a stray thread on the bottom of my shirt.

Why did all my shirts seem to have stray threads? And why do I have so many awkward moments in my life?

“Okay – um, are you alright sleeping shirtless? Or you can sleep in the shirt you’re wearing... if you want. Or I could go and steal something of my dad’s – but keep in mind that I did warn you that his tosser-ness might rub off on you, and then you’d have to stop speaking to me because I would begin to hate you.”

James laughed, and pulled his shirt off over his head and dragged on the shorts that I tossed him. You know, for something that was originally bought for me, they fit him scarily well.

“I’m gonna go – I’m gonna go change into my pyjamas. Brush my teeth. All that. Yeah. Back in a second.” I grabbed my clothes and scurried out of the room, anxiously checking the hallway to make sure that my dad wasn’t storming around, trying to drag James out by the collar of his shirt.

I bet he regretted putting a lock on the entrance to my wing.

~*~

“You have a comfy bed. It’s comfier than mine. Have you put a charm on it?” James asked as I padded back into the room, casting a sceptical glance over the knitted socks I had pulled on. He’d understand when he woke up shaking in the middle of the night because it was so fucking cold.

“No, we just bought it from India when we went on holiday there – cost a fortune, but it’s as comfy as a cloud. Amazing, isn’t it?” I dropped down next to him and slid under the duvet and the sheet, thanking Merlin that Minty had put a hot water bottle between the covers before.

It was amazingly toasty. Toasty enough for me to use the word ‘toasty’.

“Your bed is so comfy. I’m going to steal it. I’ve officially decided. Tomorrow, I am stealing your bed.” James said confidently, sliding under the covers with me. I cocked an eyebrow at the ceiling and rolled my eyes again.

“Um, two things. One – if you want to steal something, doesn’t it normally help not to tell the person you’re stealing from that you’re going to be stealing from them? And two – how exactly are you planning to steal a bed? It’s not like you can slip it under your jacket. You’d have to be wearing a marquee.”

James laughed and he shuffled his head from side to side, making himself a homely little dip in the pillow.

I turned on my side so I could stare at his profile like a creeper. Becoming bored, I decided to start taking the piss.

“You look pretty at night,” I sighed dreamily, and James turned on his side so he could laugh. Flicking me on the forehead, he sighed happily.

“Aw, thank you. You know, I do try very hard to look pretty at night. Loads of expensive cream and washes and whatnot, and I wear a special balm on my lips at night to make them extra soft. Wanna test them?” James smirked.

“Fuck off, pervert,” I snapped back, pursing my lips.

“You know you love it,” James grinned, snuggling down further under the duvet as the temperature seemed to drop even further. That was the problem with a house the size of ours – no matter how many heating charms you put up, they just couldn’t keep that place warm for long.

And it was piss annoying – especially in the dead of winter. In fucking England.

One of my hands was flat on the pillow in front of my face, and James smiled softly before sliding his hand across the gap between us and twisting his fingers between mine.

I smiled softly and pulled on James’ hand, pulling him a little closer towards me on the bed and wondering whether or not he would notice if I pulled his eyelashes out during the night and stuck them onto my own eyelids. Would they stick? Would they suit me? James looks gorgeous with his long, curly eyelashes, but maybe I’d look like a tosser.

“Summer, are you considering pulling my eyelashes out during the night and sticking them onto your own head?” James cocked an eyebrow, and I glared at the bedding.

“No,” I muttered petulantly.

“So, that’s a yes, then?”

“Shut up, you.”

“Nah, I don’t think I will.”

“Oh, be quiet.”

“Nopes.”

“I don’t like you much, anyway.”

“I’m sure you don’t.”

“You know, every now and again I think I might hate you.”

“Of course you do, Summer.”

“I do! You’re a git.”

“Nah, you don’t hate me.”

“I do. I’ve officially decided.”

“You don’t hate me. You love me. Just admit it.”

“I would rather die.”

“You love me.”

“I don’t. You’re a twattish meanie.”

“A twattish meanie that you love.”

“No.”

“It’s okay to admit it.”

“Shut up.”

“I mean, most people do love me. So it’s only natural that you do too.”

“How did your ego actually manage to fit through the doorframe of my bedroom? I’m amazed.”

“Summer loves James, forever and ever and ever. SUMMER LOVES JAMES, FOREVER AND EVER AN-”

“Shut up! My dad is in the house somewhere – for all I know, my mother could have come back without me realising. He’ll probably break in and rip your head off if he hears you yelling things like that.”

James suddenly went silent, and he moved our hands down so they were on the bed as opposed to between our faces, a frown appearing between his eyebrows that hadn’t been there before. I gulped. It looked like the conversation was about to become serious.

And I was shitting myself.

Well, not literally – because that would be disgusting. But figuratively speaking.

“Summer, did you parents leave you alone yesterday?” James asked slowly, one of his eyebrows quirking a little as I glanced down at the top of the bed quilt to avoid his gaze.

“A little. Maybe. Ish. Just a little bit.” I muttered, glaring at his fingernails.

“How can someone leave you a little alone all day?” James asked flatly, and I glared a little harder at his nails. Maybe if I glare at them hard enough, they’ll just fall off.

“Alright, they left me alone all day. My mum went down to visit someone in... Cornwall, or something, and my dad went off to be with Louise fucking Cooper. Yeah, leave your daughter and your wife to give thousands of Galleons worth of presents to the cow you’re marrying. That’s what decent blokes do.”

James blinked, the crease between his eyebrows deepening even further.

“Your parents left you alone all day on Christmas day? Did they even get you presents?”

“Of course they got me presents. They left them in the living room. I opened them with Minty, and she made me a hot chocolate after that. It wasn’t too bad.” James’ lips had curled up into a scowl.

“I can’t believe they did that.”

I blinked.

“Really, James, I’m not bothered. I reckon they wouldn’t have showed up last year if they had anything better to do. But I’m really not arsed – I would have just fought with them if they had been here, anyway.”

“No parents should leave their child on Christmas.” James said, his voice ringing with finality. I blinked a few times at his determination, and then nodded a little into the pillow. James shuffled a little closer towards me on the bed and wrapped his spare arm around my shoulder.

“Well, you can take it up with my dad tomorrow over breakfast, if you see him,” I laughed, and James snorted into his – my – pillow.

“Yeah, I’ll just tell the man that suddenly hates me and thinks I’m shagging his daughter that I think he’s a shitty parent.”

“Sounds good to me.”

James and I once again returned to the silence of before, but for some reason it was awkward – much more awkward than it had been when we were at James’ house. I mean, I’d had ‘sleepovers’, for lack of a better word, with James before, but this one was different. Maybe it was because I knew I was supposed to be talking to him – that’s what I’d promised if he agreed to get out of the huff-mobile with me – but I just didn’t know what to say.

I just wanted to snuggle – yes, snuggle. I, Summer Lancaster, did say snuggle – and fall asleep, and then have everything return back to how we had been two months ago.

But hey, my guardian angel must have fucked off for a night, because a time turner did not just drop out of the sky and flip everything back to the way it had been before.

But James did not want to lie there in silence and wonder how they managed to paint such intricate patterns onto my ceiling – or even why anybody had bothered to paint such strange pictures onto the ceiling. He wanted to do something that involved mouths and was not snogging.

Yes, it was the wonderful concept of talking.

You know, sometimes I could have sworn that he wasn’t a real bloke. There must have been something wrong with him. He’d known Freddie for too long.

“Summer, what are you going to do after the divorce is finalised? Are you going to live with your father and the new woman, or are you and your mum getting your own place?” James’ thumb started to run down the back of my hair.

“My dad originally planned for me to live with the bitch and him, but I wasn’t going to be able to do that without knocking her out with the couch, so I’m moving in with my mum.”

“Um, small point – how would you knock her out with a couch?”

“Shut it, you. The only downside to that is that my mum is moving back in with her parents until my dad buys her a house, and she has no idea how to live in the real world.”

“What do you mean?”

“I told her she was going to have to get a job, because Nana and Grandpa Greengrass couldn’t support her indefinitely, no matter how much fancy-arse inheritance money they got from their pureblood parents and their parents before them. And she was just so fucking clueless – I have no idea what she’d do for a job. She couldn’t even do something basic because she’d think it was below her. The only plan I could possibly think of that would not involve her spending all of our family’s money and getting into raging arguments with my dad about needing more money from him is if she married another rich man.”

James blinked at me again, as my rant began to get louder and a little more frantic.

“And I’m not being funny, but how many men do you know that are as rich as my dad, have a nice big house, are willing to accept her nearly-eighteen year old daughter with a bad attitude and spend a fortune on a woman with the personality of a dead fish? Oh, and they’d have to be good looking. Right James, how many men do you know that tick all of those boxes? Hmm? How many?”

“Summer, are you alright?” James asked warily, and I pulled my hand out of his so I could punch the pillow in frustration, all the stress of the last week building up.

“No! No, I am not fucking okay!” I said, panting too hard between each word. “But no one gives a shit how I’m doing, do they? No! They’ll fuck off to do whatever they want on Christmas day, and neither of them even bothered to call to wish me a fucking Christmas greeting, but then when I get angry, I’m the one with a bad attitude. I’m the one acting like a spoiled child, I’m the one who needs to grow up and get a grip – urgh! Life is just – just – urgh.” I flopped my head down onto James’ chest and clenched my fists so tight that my knuckles began to strain white against my skin.

James didn’t bother trying to speak again; he just pulled both of his hands out of mine and wrapped them around my waist into a tight hug.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you, babe? Life isn’t fair.” James muttered, leaning his head down so he could kiss the top of my head.

I just chuckled softly into James’ chest and found myself wishing, for once, that he was wearing a t-shirt – at least that way I wouldn’t feel bad for getting his chest all wet.

“Shush, love, shush,” James murmured again.

“Sorry about this,” I eventually sighed, “I know this probably wasn’t what you envisioned when I asked you if you wanted to have another one of our sleepovers. I kinda wish we had made brownies and had a water fight with the hose in the back garden.”

James chuckled a little.

“Pfft. Who wants to make brownies and have water fights with their best friend when they can curl up in bed with them and listen to them whinge about how much they hate life?” James asked loftily, and I could practically hear him batting his eyelids at me.

“Exactly. Besides, a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” I giggled, and James snorted.

“Excuse me, what?” James asked, and I glanced up from his chest to see him cocking an eyebrow at me.

“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips – it’s an expression. It means that the food might taste good while you’re eating it, but the taste won’t last forever – the fat lasts a lot longer than that does.”

James blinked at me, still looking a little confused.

“It’s basically just a stupid expression made up by some middle aged bint that was trying to convince herself to work off her middle-aged puppy fat.” I rolled my eyes and James smirked, a slightly dreamy look appearing in his eyes.

“I really want some brownies now,” he whined, and I jabbed him in the stomach with the tip of my finger.

“Did you not listen to me when I just told you that all of that fat would go straight to your hips?” I chuckled, resting my chin on his chest so I could look at his face properly. “I might not fancy you as much if you had fat hips.” I smirked.

But James didn’t seem to see the funny side, because his face dropped a little and his hand suddenly slid up so his hand was resting on the back of my head.

“You fancy me?” James asked softly, and I rolled my eyes.

“Nah, I snogged you for a year because I had nothing better to do,” I snapped back, my voice strangely playful for... well, me.

“You’ve never told me you fancy me before,” James said suddenly, and I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at him.

“Well, I thought it was pretty obvious,” I said pushing myself off James’ chest and sitting up straight, James’ hand dropping back down the bed with a dull thunk.

“Yeah, but... you just never said it, that’s all,” James flushed a little. “Trust you to wait until we’re not snogging anymore before you bother to mention it.”

I chuckled a little, and moved closer to James so that my nose was only a few inches away from his.

“Well, I can say it again if you’d like me to,” I whispered, winking conspiratorially as James’ grin grew a little and even more flush crawled its way into his cheeks. And then he was nodding. I cocked an eyebrow and he winked at me.

“Oh, fuck off,” I laughed.

James just rolled his eyes and smiled good-naturedly, his eyes crinkling merrily at the sides. And then he was speaking – and for once I didn’t mind.

“Oh, fuck it. C’mere, you.”

And then he was kissing me.

 




disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me. none of it.

hello :D sorry about the cliffhanger... again. but hey, at least this was a quick update. but sadly, a quick update means a slower update next time, because i need to actually write the chapter... :( booo. but anyway. there hasn't been a cliffhanger for about... three chapters. so i thought i'd add another one. mwahaha.

i'd love to know what you thought about pretty much a whole chapter of james & summer action :D 

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 23: The Twenty-Third One
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just before you read ~ i'm really sorry if there are a load of typos/mistakes/dodgy spellings/grammar mistakes, etc, but i haven't edited this chapter yet. sorry about that. hopefully it won't be too bad. 
 



Fuck, I'd missed this.

I mean, I knew I'd missed it, but – this was different. This wasn't even like before. Just James and I – it was different. Granted, this time James wasn't wearing a shirt and we were in my bed, but it was more than that – everything just felt different.

And whereas normally I run screaming for the hills at the slightest prospect of change, this seemed good. Really good.

James' stupid limbs eventually lifted themselves from their useless position on the bed and he slid one of his hands into the roots of my hair, his other winding around my waist so I was pressed against his chest. I brushed the sides of his hair down with the pads of my thumbs, and James smiled against my lips.

"Holy fuck, I've missed you," James muttered, pulling away and kissing me on each cheek. I snorted and planted a kiss in the gap between his eyebrows. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I pulled him into a hug and rested my cheek on his shoulder, my lips pressed to his neck.

"I've missed you too, James," I murmured, continuing my sudden, strange habit of actually speaking to James about things. "A lot." I added as an afterthought.

"Well, in that case," James muttered, and then he was leaning down and pressing kisses onto the exposed part of my neck, his arms circling my waist, my hands cupping his cheeks... and even though it was so similar to before, everything was different.

And I didn't know why.

I dropped my hands to his arms and ran them up and down as he continued to press open mouthed kisses to my neck, my nose brushing against the hollow of his throat.

As James' lips reached the underside of my jaw I started to hum contentedly, and James smiled as he brought his lips back to mine, his nose brushing the length of my cheekbone. I wrapped my arms tighter around his neck and pulled him to my chest, but quickly slid them down his shirtless back, pulling away so I could plant a kiss on the centre of his chest.

"Your kisses feel different," James murmured, running his hands through my hair as I slowly looked back up at him, my cheek resting on his chest and my hands drawing smiley faces onto his skin.

"Do they now? Maybe you'd just forgotten what they're like," I murmured back, stretching out one of my arms to trace the outside of James' lips with the pad of one of my fingers.

"Nah, I don't think I'd forget them in a hurry," James smiled softly, running one of his own fingers down my jaw.

"Wouldn't you, now? Do you need me to refresh your memory?" I winked cheekily and leaned forwards a little, running the tip of my nose up and down James', my lips only a few centimetres away from his. James groaned.

"You are a cruel, cruel tease, Summer Lancaster," James smirked, and before I could laugh he had pulled my face back to his and jammed his tongue into my mouth, the kiss taking a 180 degree swing from how it was before.

It was just like it used to be – fast paced, quick, thoughtless. None of the romantic shit, none of the feelings that had developed as of late – it was just James and I, in our own little bubble, kissing away our thoughts and feelings, kissing away our cares.

The way I wanted it to be.

I ran my hands down James' chest and tugged on the waistband of his board shorts, as James' hands became more intense and started to fumble with the bottom of my t-shirt, trying to pull my arms out of the sleeves and get it over my head without breaking the kiss.

The resulting moment of awkward kissing through the fabric of my shirt almost killed the mood, but a second later it was done, and I was re-plastered against James' chest, his hands resting comfortably on my arse.

I pulled my mouth away from James' so I could start to press kisses against the hollow of his neck, smiling when he lifted one of his hands to start running patterns onto the skin on the small of my back.

Half a minute later, James grabbed my legs and twisted them around his waist, pushed my back down so I was flat to the duvet and planted a kiss on my bellybutton, doing it several more times until I eventually giggled. James smirked triumphantly.

"You really are beautiful, Summer," James whispered, moving down the bed with me so he could rest his head next to mine, propped up on one elbow and one hip.

I blinked a little, my lips tugging up a little at the sides. It was the first time James had ever called me beautiful. He'd called me many nice things, yes – but never beautiful. I never ever thought I'd like the sound of him saying it – but I did.

"Thank you," I murmured, leaning across the miniscule gap between us to brush a chunk of his hair behind his ear. He smiled softly, and then shifted a little closer to me on the bed.

Brushing his fingers along my exposed collar bone, James leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to my shoulder, his fingers running up and down my bra strap. I blinked a few times, my mouth dropping open ever so slightly.

James shifted the strap to the side slightly, and gently kissed the skin where it had been. I struggled to press my lips closed again.

James glanced up as I was about to close my eyes, his own gaze wary and asking my permission to carry on with what he was doing. I nodded softly, running my fingers through the back of his hair. James smiled slightly and kissed my shoulder again, before kissing along my collarbone to my other shoulder, until he was leaning over me, propped up by his elbows.

I smiled and ran my thumbs of James' shoulder blades. He smiled too.

We were both just a pair of twits, lying on my bed with goofy smiles plastered on our faces, James' quirked lips pressed against the hollow of my collarbone, reaching out one of his hands to twine his fingers with mine.

After a few more minutes, James' soft kisses became a little more persistent, and I slid my hands to either side of his face to pull his lips back to mine.

And that was all that was needed.

It was like a flare, a firecracker – it shot up into the sky, burning, bright with fire, completely eradicating the part of my brain that would have usually told me that I was wrong, that I needed to stop doing what I was doing – the part of my brain that would have reminded me about my boyfriend.

But that was burned away as James' lips seared over mine, hot and insistent, his huge hands crushing me to his chest, his tongue thrashing with mine – it was almost too much. James had never been like this before – never so intense.

It was too much. I couldn't deal with it.

But fuck, it felt good. Good enough to stall me, good enough to make me kiss back as my thoughts whipped around in one huge mess, unable to differentiate between wanting to pull away and wanting to pull him closer.

As James' hands slid to my back, to the back of my bra, I made a decision – fuck it. Fuck. It. I wanted him, I'd wanted him for a very long time – so what the fuck?

Life is full of decisions, and some are good, some are bad. They all have consequences. And you know what; if the consequences are bad then you just have to deal with it. And that's that. We're teenagers; we're gonna fuck everything up anyway – why not live a little while you're at it?

Nearly grinning with my newfound philosophy, I slid my hands down to James' hips and fumbled with the waistband of his – my shorts, as he struggled to unfasten the clasp of my bra.

It's not that hard, blokes. Seriously, you just push both sides together and then let go. It is not rocket science. It's not like we're asking you to solve a Rubix Cube before we'll take our shirts off.

He'd just cracked it – I'd like point out that he grinned proudly like he'd solved some kind of impossibly problem – when something very, very unfortunate happened. The kind of thing that nearly made me decide that my previous philosophy of just taking consequences as they came was a load of bollocks.

The kind of thing that makes you want to curl up into a ball under your duvet and refuse to come out until no one remembers and the hedgehogs have taken over.

Do you want to know what happened?

My dad walked in. Yes, my dad, whom I was not even speaking to at the time, somehow managed to break through the lock charms on the door to my wing and barged into my room, without knocking. To find James and I making out – shirtless – on my bed.

You know, maybe it wouldn't be such an awful thing to wait until the hedgehogs took over. I mean, they're covered in spikes; it couldn't take too long for them to kill off all the humans. Or just my father, whatever. I'll see if I can speak to a few hedgehog overlords when I get back to Hogwarts.

"WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING –" Dad was cut off as I launched myself across the bed, snatched my wand off the bedside table and shot a random spell at the entrance to my room, launching my dad out of it and slamming the door behind him. YOLO and all that, you know.

"Just a minute!" I yelled, scrambling around for my underwear and shirt as James flushed crimson and flopped off the bed, scrabbling around desperately for his own clothes.

"Summer Oriona Lancaster, let me into that bedroom this second!" My dad roared, hammering on the door as I fumbled with my twisted bra straps, James cursing under his breath as he couldn't figure out which was the head hole and which were the arm holes of his t-shirt.

"When did this bloody thing get so sodding complicated?" James hissed, clawing angrily at the material as he struggled to get his head through the left sleeve.

"Get your sodding head out of the sleeve, twat," I hissed, tossing a slipper from under my desk at his head, which smacked him straight in the face and bounced off onto the bed.

"SUMMER! You have five seconds to get out into this hallway or I will curse my way in, regardless of how many clothes you're wearing!" My dad was back to hammering on the door, clearly getting more and more pissed as time went on.

"I said, just a minute!" I yelled back, my voice getting more and more panicked as I struggled to find my t-shirt. I dragged a random jumper from a drawer and dragged it over my head, checked to see if James was decent and crawled over to the door, regular ninja-style.

"Hello, Daddy," I said mildly, blinking up at my dad from where I was sitting, cross legged on the floor. My dad's mouth was hanging open, blinking down at me as I anxiously tried to smooth down the back of my hair.

"What the hell do you think you're playing at, Summer?" he snarled, and I glared down at my hands.

"You know, Dad, most people consider it polite to knock before they barge into someone's room," I muttered, blinking innocently at him as the tip of his nose turned an amusing shade of beetroot.

"You – knock – polite... you – you – knock!" My dad spluttered, seemingly losing the ability to formulate words correctly. I resisted the urge to smirk as the beetroot shade faded out of my dad's nose and pooled into his cheeks instead, as his words grew even more indistinguishable.

"I'm sorry, I don't seem to be able to understand you," I said calmly. "Maybe once you've calmed down a little, we can have a mature discussion about what is bothering you." When I had turned into the Queen, I didn't know, but I had suddenly started talking like her.

"You – I –" My father seemed to be finally lost for words, and so decided to become a man of action instead. Shoving my past me, he pushed his way into the room and glared around for James, who was standing next to the desk, staring at his shoes, red in the face.

My dad seized James by the collar and pulled him a little closer to him, his eyes blazing and his fists curled so tightly around James' shirt that I'm surprised he didn't tear if off.

"What the fuck do you think you're playing at?" he snarled, watching the colour drain out of James' face. "How dare you come into my house and try to do that with my daughter – in my own house." I flushed and James gaped a little.

"I – I, I'm very sorry, Sir," he stammered, and I watched my dad warily.

"Get out. Get out my house, and don't ever come back."

My dad's voice was so chilling that I nearly followed the instructions – despite the fact he normally couldn't give a rat's fart about what I was doing and who I was doing it with, this seemed to have hit him quite hard. Maybe it was him trying to contradict me – to prove that he did care, even though I believed he didn't.

James grabbed his shoes from the side of the bed and yanked them on, before quickly shooting me an apologetic smile and scampering out the door.

I blinked a few times and turned my glare onto my dad, before pushing off the ground and staggering out of the room after James, jumping over my keys, which had fallen to the floor at point. Something flickered in my chest when I noticed the heart shaped keychain. I wasn't sure why.

Maybe I had indigestion from all the shit that James and I had eaten that day.

"James, wait!" I yelled as I got to the front door, barefoot. I glared around for a pair of shoes, but there didn't seem to be any. So with nothing else to do, I scowled and darted out the front door, wincing at the freezing cold gravel.

Small note for you all, because I love you so much – running around on gravel, barefoot, at ten o'clock at night, in the middle of December, in England – yeah, not the brightest idea on the planet. I would recommend trying to avoid doing such a thing.

"Holy mother of Merlin, what the fuck did I do in life to deserve this?" I hissed, running down the driveway like an insane leprechaun to where James was standing, watching me with an amused expression on his face, his eyes occasionally darting towards the door in anxiousness, like my dad might suddenly march out with a shotgun and make a rug with his brains for daring to stand in his driveway.

Mind you, he had seemed pretty pissed before.

"Summer, look," James said running his hands through his hair, which was still sticking up at strange angles from... ahem, certain activities.

"What?" I asked, rocking back onto my heels so less of my feet were touching the floor.

"I'm – I'm really sorry, I feel like I took advantage up there, in your room – I'm sorry, I just..." I frowned as James ran his hands over his closed eyes. "I didn't mean for it to go that far, I just – I fucking wanted you so bad, and I – I mean, you have a boyfriend, and..." James trailed off at the look on my face.

Jack.

Holy toast. Jack. I closed my eyes softly and ran my hands through the front of my hair, wishing the ground to swallow me up right there and then and take me back to two months ago, when everything was still normal – when what was going to happen upstairs would have barely changed anything.

"I – I," I stammered, chewing on my bottom lip. "Fuck. I forgot about – I forgot about Jack, and – shit, what have I done? I mean, you're always telling me that I've got to learn to be faithful to people, and... I just... Oh, shit."

I pinched the bridge of my nose between two of my fingers and let James drag me into a hug, patting my softly on the back.

"Summer, are you not wearing any shoes?" James asked suddenly, pulling away and staring down at my feet. I shrieked a little and curled my toes under, trying to hide the chipped purple nail polish that was covering my toes.

Not the sexiest thing in the world, I have to say.

"There weren't any by the front door," I muttered, and James sighed. Bending down, he pulled my up into some kind of backwards piggyback and carried me over to the wall that surrounded the expensive conifers in the front garden, setting me down on it so my feet dangled in mid air.

"I don't want you to hurt your feet," James shrugged, and I nodded.

I leaned forwards and rested my head on James' chest, just above his heart, and wrapped my arms around his waist, pulling him closer.

He smelled like me. He smelled like me, but he smelled like himself at the same time. It was actually a lovely smell – the strange muskiness of the James Smell with my stupidly expensive perfume, from some random shop in France.

I only bought it because the sales assistant had a stick up her arse and was being all funny with me, because she didn't think I could afford the shit that she sold in her shop. So I bought the most expensive perfume in there, just to stick it to her.

Of course, since she got the profit from flogging it, it most likely wasn't the best thought through plan that I had ever formulated.

"Hey James," I murmured, thinking back to what he had said about feeling like had been 'taking advantage', "I wish my dad hadn't walked in, you know." I could feel James tense in my arms, and then he pulled back a little.

"Really?" he asked unsurely, brushing his fingers down one my cheekbones.

"Really," I confirmed, staring up at him sincerely.

James' lips twitched up into a slight smile, and suddenly he was pulling me back into a hug, his lips brushing my hair and his hands squeezing my waist tight enough to make me squeal.

"Well, I'm glad about that – I really am," James murmured into my hair, and I opened my eyes slightly to stare at the side of his neck. "But Summer – whilst you're seeing someone else – I... I'm not going to make the mistake of letting anything else happen between us. Not whilst you're still someone else's girlfriend. That's not right."

I pulled back and wrapped my arms around James' neck, tucking another piece of hair behind his ear.

"Summer, I know what it's like to be cheated on," James whispered, and I felt my stomach drop a little. Other than when I was drunk and he'd told me what had happened, he'd never talked about how he felt about being cheated on. "And trust me when I say it is one of the worst things in the world. It makes you feel like you're not good enough, like you'll never be good enough, because on top of you they had to have someone else."

My mouth dropped open a little bit, but James wasn't done. I couldn't help but feel like a dam was being broken down, like James was finally going to move on from everything that had happened with Natalie and Albus. Like he was finally going to be able to let it go.

"And I know what it's like to find out that your girlfriend has slept with someone else – and that is one of the worst feelings on the planet. I know it would hurt you if Jack found out – I know it would hurt you to know that you'd hurt him. And he would feel shit too – thinking he's not good enough, thinking that he wasn't enough for you. He'd feel used. He'd feel like shit. And I don't think I'd be able to stomach making another person feel like that, no matter whether or not I can't stand the bloke."

I blinked, my mouth hanging even further open. Never before had I seen James so sincere, so completely serious, all pretences lying on the ground.

"And so I'm not going to touch you, Summer. Not until you're single again. And if you don't want to leave Jack, then fine – but things will be done with me. Summer, we're not ready for a relationship with each other. We're not. And I know you probably don't want one."

Don't I?

"But I want to be friends again. I want to be friends again so bad. I mean, you piss me off to no end, and sometimes I just want to push you off a cliff and be done with it because you're so goddamn frustrating, but... I don't know. I miss you. I started to miss you from the second I started trying to ignore you. And if we can only be friends, then I'll take that. I'll take that over nothing."

I blinked and went to speak, but I didn't know what to say.

Fuck, I wanted to be friends with James again. Of course I did, I missed him way too much not to. But at the same time, there was a part of me that wanted to be what we were before – friends with benefits, for lack of a better phrase.

There was just this thing about James – I didn't know what it was, but... No, in fact, I knew exactly what it was.

I fancied the pants off him, and I wanted to be able to snog his face off whenever I pleased.

But something made me think that James wouldn't take the kind of relationship that we had before. Something was niggling like an annoying little mushroom in the back of my head, telling me that if I wanted the good stuff with James, then it would come with the relationship label.

And fuck, that terrified me.

It just... it seemed so different with Jack. It was like being with James again, but without the fireworks and the all-consuming feelings. But it was just like having a friend that you could snog the face off when you felt like it.

It wasn't like Dom and Connor – or ConDom, as James still refers to them as – where they had to tell each other how much they loved one another three times an hour.

That would be too much. I'd be running for the hills if the L word ever cropped up into a conversation. In fact, I wouldn't be running for the hills. He'd be rolling down one, strapped up in a barrel.

I'm such a lovely person.

"We're going to be the best motherfucking friends on the face of the planet, twit," I said firmly, pulling James into a tight hug and patting him on the back in traditional bromance fashion. Like all the cool kids, you know. James looked a little surprised, but patted me on the back in return.

"You're a nutter, you," he muttered, pulling away and pulling me off the wall, so my feet were back on the gravel. Did I ever mentioned that gravel is really uncomfortable to stand on? Well, it is. It feels like hairy midgets are lying on the ground with spears, trying to stab me in the feet.

And it's not very nice of them.

"Erm... not to butt in or anything..." James eventually said, rocking sheepishly backwards and forwards in his converse, chewing on the inside of his cheek with awkwardness.

"What?" I asked flatly, and James stared quite hard at the floor. Maybe he's trying to impale a few of the hairy midgets to death with his eyesight alone.

"Do you – do you have any idea what you are going to do about Jack? I mean, are you going to stay with him, or..." James flushed as I cocked an unimpressed eyebrow at him. "I just, I mean, you – you snogged me. For fuck's sake, you were going to shag me – you clearly can't care about him that much."

I blinked and crossed my arms across my chest. I did care about Jack. I cared about him a lot. I actually did – he was the one that had been there for me when I fell out with James, when the other four gits stopped paying any attention to James and I because they were too busy being wrapped up in their other half's tonsils.

But I didn't care about Jack in the relationship sense – just in the friend sense. I only really agreed to go official with Jack because I was worried that he'd stop hanging out with me altogether if we didn't put a title on it all.

And even though it was true – I wasn't going to let James pick holes in my relationship.

"I care about Jack plenty, thank you very much," I snapped coldly, and James recoiled slightly, surprised by the one hundred and eighty degree turn that my mood had suddenly taken.

I wondered suddenly whether that was what James meant when he said that I was frustrating, that he never knew where he stood with me – the fact that if he said one thing then I was likely to snap his head off for it.

I frowned a little as I remember getting dressed for bed – when James was convinced I was going to have a go at him for something as trivial as having forgotten his pyjamas.

Was my temper really that bad?

"Woah, woah," James said, stepping back and holding up both of his hands, both of his eyebrows raised slightly, "Don't speak to me like that – you're the one that's been implying it all night." James narrowed his eyes at me and I flushed a little.

"Sorry," I muttered prissily.

"It's alright," James shrugged, "I don't give a shit if you speak to your prick of a dad like that, but don't talk to me like a bitch just because you've suddenly gotten yourself into a bad mood." I glared a little at the floor as he told me off like a misbehaving toddler.

I was not happy.

"Look, I've said I'm sorry, you don't need to keep harping on," I said tightly, struggling to bite my tongue and stop myself from snapping at him.

James sighed and ran his hands through his hair, and I kicked at a random stone with one of my big toes. We both stood there in silence, both of us a little pissed, both of us cold, both of us wanting to go back home – but neither of us moving.

"I'm sorry," James said suddenly, and I looked up in surprise.

"What do you have to be sorry for?" I asked in confusion, and James shrugged a little sadly.

"Despite nearly being throttled by your father, I actually had a really amazing day – and there was one part of it that I will probably remember for a long time," James winked cheekily and swatted me on the bum, causing me to scowl. "And I don't want to end that on a bad note – I want to remember this as being a good day when we started to patch things up."

I smiled and rolled my eyes at the soppiness, wondering when James became such a giant sap.

"I had a really good day, too," I smiled, and James grinned like a twat, a giant goofy grin that contorted his face so much that he almost looked like a cartoon. "You should probably go, if my dad looks out the window and sees you here, I wouldn't put it past him to hex your pretty face off."

"You think I have a pretty face?" James asked hopefully, and I rolled my eyes.

"Yes, I do. But I think the part of that conversation that you ought to have taken away was the bit about my father hexing said pretty face off." I cocked my head to the side sarcastically.

"Right, well, I'll go," James grinned, leaning forwards and planting a soft kiss on my cheek, smirking a little when I pouted. "And Summer – I hope you realise that I'm going to call a rain check on this."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, the reason I came here tonight was to have you talk to me, to prove that you trusted me. And to be honest, we didn't really get to chat – your dear daddy put a stop to that. But don't you worry – I will make sure we find some time soon to get together and talk about our feelings." I glared as James laughed.

"Bye, James," I said softly as he started to walk back out the drive. He turned around to grin at me.

"See you soon, love."

~*~


"Surprise!" I gaped at Jack, who was standing in the doorway to my house with an enormous grin on his face, his fringe flopping into his face quite sexily. He did look fit that morning. Nice chest in a tight grey t-shirt, arse looking quite fit in a nice pair of navy jeans. Not bad.

"I – Jack? What are you doing here?" I asked stupidly, blinking a couple of times in shock as his grin, if possible, got even bigger.

"Are you surprised to see me here?" Jack asked, stepping into the house as I rigidly waved him in and closed the door softly behind him. I nodded stiffly, gesturing him into the living room.

"Well, I think the shocked expression on my face speaks for itself," I said mildly, shoving him down onto the sofa behind him and dropping down to perch on the edge of his lap. "Would you like anything to eat, or a drink or whatever?" I asked.

"I'd love a coffee, if you have it. I'm really tired this morning, I could do with a bit of a boost, you know." I thought for a second, and then nodded. Pushing myself off his knee and pecking him quickly on the lips, I headed off to the kitchen.

"Minty, do we have coffee anywhere?" I asked, padding into the kitchen to find Minty stirring a giant metal pot over the oven, which smelled delicious.

"Yes, Miss Lancaster. How many cups would you like? One for you and one for Mr Goldstein?" I blinked and shook my head, wondering how she had learned his name without speaking to him. The little thing knew everything.

"Just one for Jack, I don't want any. Though a glass of iced water would be smashing, Minty." I grinned at her once and headed back out the kitchen, back up the stairs, down the corridor, to the left, past the other three living rooms, under the clay arch and back into the living room that Jack was waiting in.

Why we had to have a house like a labyrinth was beyond me.

"Um, Summer? Love – you seem to have forgotten something... you know, the drinks you went out to get?" Jack laughed in amusement and shook his head.

"No, I did go and get them... Minty will be bringing them in as soon as she's made them." I smiled at Jack and dropped back down onto his knee, wrapping my arms around his neck.

"Minty?" Jack asked, sounding confused. I frowned a little. Isn't 'Minty' fairly self-explanatory? I mean, how many people does he know that name their children Minty? And it's not like I'd be asking the dog to fetch him some coffee.

"Our house elf," I muttered. I was beginning to feel a little irritated, for some reason.

"You have a house elf?"

"Well, yes, that's why I just told you that Minty was our house elf."

"Oh. I didn't know you had a house elf."

"That's because I never mentioned it to you."

Our discussion was cut short by the entrance of Minty herself, which was probably a good thing – my tone had been growing colder and colder with every passing word. Jack was really beginning to get under my skin. Why does it matter whether or not I have a house elf? She's older than I am, and she's lived here for longer than I have.

"Mr Goldstein, your coffee," Minty squeaked, setting it down on the armrest of the couch and sinking into a curtsey, before handing me my glass of water. "Miss Lancaster, your water." I smiled and took a sip.

"That's fine. Thank you very much, Minty." She sank down into one knee in one more curtsey, and then left the room. Jack was blinking at his coffee, but hadn't touched it.

"Is there a problem?" I asked softly, tucking a chunk of hair behind my ear and forcing myself not to narrow my eyes at Jack, who was still staring apprehensively at the cup, like it might suddenly grow fangs, leap out and bite him.

"I didn't know you have a house elf, that's all," he shrugged, but there seemed to be something a little too cavalier in the way he was speaking.

"And do you have a problem with the fact I have a house elf?" I snapped coldly, shifting off his lap so I was sitting on the couch next to him.

"Sorry, it's just the way I was raised. My mum has some pretty intense opinions about house elves being slaves without a choice in the matter, and that all house elves should be set free. My dad told her she should join 'Granger's spew' or something, but neither of us knew what he meant by that. But I was just raised to believe that house elves are forced to work, and it's not right. And I didn't know you had one." Jack shrugged uncomfortably and I breathed out hard through my nose.

"Minty is actually paid to be here, and she chose her own wage, after the law was passed by Hermione Weasley that meant house elves could no longer work for nothing. My father gives her the option of leaving once a year, and she has never taken it. She enjoys working here – it's no different to being a maid, to be honest. She cooks, cleans, is paid to do so and is treated well. I don't see the problem." Jack shrugged again.

"It's slave labour," he shrugged, and glared at the side of his head.

"I just told you that she gets paid – you cannot be a slave if you get paid. Maybe you should actually listen to me before you and formulate some cock and bull opinion on the way I live."

"I'm not judging the way you live, Summer –"

"Yes, you are! You just told me that you think I have a slave – do you really think I'd treat another living creature like a slave? I'm actually offended that you think so little of me – and I'd always let you explain for I just went and jumped to conclusions."

"Look, Summer, I don't want to argue with you,"

"Yeah, of course you don't want to argue with me. You never do want to disagree with me, do you? You just agree with everything I say because you think I'll get angry if you don't! Do you have to be so spineless all the time?"

"Hey, love, I'm not a Gryffindor –"

"Oh, don't spin me that bullshit. People use their houses like an excuse – if they're a wimp, they claim it's alright as long as they're not in Gryffindor. If they're mean to people, it's alright because they're in Slytherin. It's bullshit. It's absolute bollocks. Whatever house you're in does not mean that you can't possess qualities of the other houses – look at Penny!"

"Why are you getting so pissy?"

"Because you're being such a prick!"

"Are you on your period or something?"

"What the – no! No, I'm not! I'm just angry!" I ran my hands through my hair and crossed my legs, folded my arm over my chest and leant back into the couch.

"Summer, calm down," Jack sighed, shifting up on the couch and wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I went to shove him off, but didn't. I just sat there rigidly, waiting for him to drop his arm. But he didn't. "I didn't mean to offend you, and I'm really sorry if I did. Really, I extend my utmost apologies for upsetting you."

"You didn't upset me," I grumbled, but Jack just raised an eyebrow at me.

"Alright," he murmured, but I could tell that he didn't believe me. "Now come here, I've gone nearly the entire Christmas break without snogging you, and I don't want to wait any longer." I smiled and leaned in to meet his soft kiss.

It was nothing like James' kisses from the night before, but I was grateful for that. I didn't want Jack to be like James – I wanted them to be different.

Jack was my coping mechanism for dealing with James, and I didn't want the two to collide. Jack was normal, he was sweet, and he was easy. James was complicated, addicting and confusing. And I wanted the two to stay on opposite ends of the Richter scale.

Of course, my dear father didn't seem to want the differences between them to stay too dramatic for long, because all of a sudden it was like history was repeating itself – déjà vu, other than the fact that I was wearing my shirt, we were on a couch and it was a different bloke...

Fuck, my dad is going to think I'm the Whore of Babylon.

"What the – I thought I told you never to come back into my house –" The moment I realised who was speaking, what they were saying and where it was going, I froze, pulled my mouth away from Jack's, and started to sing.

Look, I never said I was good at this kind of thing.

"THERE WERE THREE GREEN BOTTLES SITTING ON A WALL, THREE GREEN BOTTLES SITTING ON A WALL, THREE GREEN BOTTLES SITTING ON A WALL. OH, AND IF ONE OF THOSE BOTTLES, SHOULD ACCIDENTALLY FALL, THERE WOULD BE TWO GREEN BOTTLES SITTING ON THE WALL!"

My dad and Jack were both gaping at me, both looking a little dumbstruck. It's not my fault I can't carry a tune to save my life.

My dad turned his eyes onto Jack, a little wide and a lot less angry than they would have been, had I not started... well, singing. His mouth dropped open a little when he took in the face – the face that was different to the one I had been making out with the previous night.

Yep, he'll think I'm the Hogwarts Whore. Wonderful.

"And who do we have here?" Dad asked, his tone oddly bright and cheerful. This seemed to completely throw Jack off, because he stumbled to his feet and instantly started stammering his apologies.

"I'm so, so sorry, Mr Lancaster. I didn't mean to – I promise I'm treating Summer... I mean, your daughter, with a lot of respect, and – I mean, um, should I leave? I mean, I can leave, if you want –"

"Jack, sit down," I snapped, pulling on the back of his shirt so his arse was back on the couch.

He gaped at me for a second and then looked back down at his knees, as my dad's unimpressed gaze flicked to me instead.

"Summer? Who is this?" Dad asked, looking greatly amused. Oh, I bet he was just praying that I was dating him, so he could drop me in it for being with James. Or he was praying I was dating James, so he could be in the papers for being the father of the girl that cheated on James Potter.

"Dad, this is Jack Goldstein, a good friend of mine," I said calmly. Well, it was calm until Jack snapped his neck to the side to look at me, looking nothing short of very offended.

"And by good friend," Jack started through gritted teeth, looking a little pissed, in all honesty, "She means I'm her boyfriend of two months. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr Lancaster." I flushed and stared down at my knees, avoiding my father's amused gaze at all costs.

"Really? Summer's boyfriend? Right, well, that's very interesting. Tell me, son, how serious do you believe your relationship with my daughter is?" I glared harder at my knees.

"Pretty serious," Jack said, and I could practically hear the smile in his voice as he reached across to squeeze my knee. My dad looked like he was trying his hardest not to burst out into hysterical laughter.

Prick.

"Really? Pretty serious? So I guess you're at that stage when it's an official relationship, and you don't see other people, right?" My dad's voice was shaking with barely suppressed laughter, my eyes crinkling at the sides under the strain.

I hadn't seen my dad laugh for years – and he chooses now to suddenly decide to become Mr Funny Man. Typical.

"Well, yes, that's why I introduced myself as Summer's boyfriend – that generally is what you call each other when you get into the exclusive phase," Jack informed my father, and I resisted the urge to pull of my shoe and break his nose with it, just to get him to stop talking. Why was he so posh? And proper? Was he not capable of just having a laugh?

I mean, yesterday James didn't start kissing my dad's ass when we got caught. He just walked down to the driveway and started talking to me. But no, instead Jack is practically molesting my father's trousers with his lips.

Ew. Mental image.

Suddenly something James once said floated back to me, something I had completely dismissed at the time, but something that seemed a little too true for comfort right now – he'll bore you to tears, Summer. Why would you want to date such a snobby, snooty bloke?

I blinked.

Get out of my head, Mental James.

Now is not the time.

"Oh, that is interesting. If you don't mind, son, I'd love to just have a word with my little girl – she'll be right back, I promise." My dad smiled reassuringly at him, seemingly the very personification of the word 'friendly', before holding his arm out to me and beckoning me out of the room. I scowled and followed him.

My dad was not a friendly bloke, and never before had he ever been decent to any of my friends – let alone one of my boyfriends. So why the sudden change? Why suddenly did he decide to ask permission to do things in his own house?

It was an act – lulling Jack into a false sense of security. But I couldn't tell what he was trying to fool him for, what he was planning to do once Jack had relaxed.

And I was pissing myself with the tension. I mean, my dad was a nasty bloke – just look what he did to my mum. Can you imagine what he'd do to someone that he didn't know?

"So, Summer, how come I hadn't been introduced to your boyfriend before now?" Dad asked as we strolled down one of the hallways together, both of us pretending to take in the finger paintings/modern art that cluttered the walls.

"Because I didn't want to introduce you to him," I muttered, cocking an eyebrow at a particularly crude interpretation of a woman. It was barely possible to differentiate between the head and the body.

"Strange, because you've introduced me to James Potter many times," Dad said casually, taking a particular interest in a window that we passed, which showed a fascinating view of our second conservatory roof.

"Well, James has been my best friend for six and a half years. Jack has only been my boyfriend for two months." I muttered back tightly, glaring at the end of the hallway – a large door that lead to the ballroom we had held the party in just a couple of days ago.

"James is your best friend?" Dad asked, turning his head from the wall so he could shoot me an amused look. "Didn't look that way, from what I walked in on yesterday."

My dad smirked again as I scowled at the carpet, blood rushing to my cheeks. If there is ever a conversation I didn't want to have, it would probably be one about my love life with my dad. I mean it's bad enough with any parent – but when you don't like said parent, and you're actually arguing with them at that moment – well, it just makes it one huge big pile of shit, really, doesn't it?

"That was a stupid mistake," I snapped, not really believing myself. But my tone was convincing enough. James and I had been sneaking around for long enough to make me a bullshitting pro.

"Right, and a stupid mistake that would cause your boyfriend to break up with you – the boyfriend that has a lot more manners than Mr Potter, I have to say. Summer, if word about what happened with James Potter ever got out..." My dad trailed off as my eyes snapped upwards.

"Why would it get out?" I asked suspiciously, narrowing my eyes. "I don't have any plans to let it get out – like I said, it was just a mistake." I thought back to what James had said. "It's not going to happen again."

"Summer, James Potter is the firstborn son of Harry Potter," Dad said suddenly, jerking to a stop and turning to stare at me.

"Really? I had no idea, thank you for telling me."

"Less of the sarcasm, young lady. I will not be spoken to like that." I stared down at the floor. "But I'm only trying to look out for you, Summer. If the press ever found out what happened between you and James, then you would have the press hounding you. And if they found out you had a boyfriend... Summer, I will not have the family name tainted. I refuse."

I blinked coldly at him, refusing to drop my gaze as he refused to drop mine.

"Yeah, don't worry about me and what would happen to me – just worry about the family name."

My dad blinked and then sighed, running his hand over his jaw in frustration as he believed that I had completely missed what he had been trying to tell me.

"Summer, that's not what I meant –"

"I know what you meant."

"Then why would you – Summer..."

"It's not going to happen again," my voice rang with finality, signalling the end of the conversation. My dad blinked twice, and then nodded.

"Summer, are you happy with Jack?" Dad asked suddenly, and I jumped a little. This was not like any conversation the two of us had ever had before – it was so much more personal... and it wasn't even that personal. I wouldn't even be comfortable talking to my mother – talking to Dom like this, but my dad... it made it all worse.

"That's none of your business." I snapped coldly, and my dad cocked an unimpressed eyebrow. But I didn't back down – I was not going to have this conversation with him.

"Summer, tell me."

"No. Why don't you go and ask darling Lulu?" I snapped, and my dad jumped slightly at the mention of her, his eyes narrowing as he realised where the conversation was going.

"You don't need to bring her into this – you're just angry. It's rude to leave guests waiting, Summer, and you are not leaving my presence until you tell me whether or not you are happy with the boy sitting in my living room, waiting for you."

"I – I am comfortable. I am comfortable and safe in a relationship with Jack – and that's all I need. I am happy. I am. He makes me feel safe – and safe means happy. So it's fine. He's my security blanket. It's fine. Really fine. We're good. We're going to be okay. Jack and I are going to be okay."

I nodded firmly, and my dad's eyes softened a little. I had never seen them look like that before – he looked like he cared. He opened his mouth as though he was going to say something, but then softly closed it again. He was lost for words.

Again, a first. And not a bad one.

"Summer –"

"Look, Jack is waiting for me. I should probably go back." I nodded again and quickly whipped around, half sprinting down the hallway to get away from him. It was bad enough that I had James picking holes in my relationship; I didn't need anyone else to do the same.

I whipped around a corner quickly, not looking where I was going, and crashed into something – no, not something. Someone.

With a startled squawk, I leapt back and flattened myself to the wall, my hand flying to my back pocket where my wand was stored. The person I had smashed into shrieked a little as well, and raised their hands in the universal sign for 'surrender'.

"Jack?" I shrieked, rubbing the tips of my fingers over my heart as it slowed down its frantic hammering in my chest.

"Summer – look, I just –" Jack looked like he was going to apologise for... well, doing whatever he was doing, but suddenly his expression changed, his eyes crinkling at the sides and his jaw clenching and tightening.

"Jack, are you alright?" I asked, as he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. He looked pissed – he looked angry. Why? Is my house too big for his mother's tastes, or something?

"Am I alright – am I alright? Fuck! Fuck, no Summer, I am not alright! I just – I wanted to know what you and your dad were talking about and – fuck!" I jumped slightly with each swearword – I'd never heard Jack swear before. He was far too prim and proper for that.

"You were listening to our conversation," I muttered weakly, moving my hands to press them against my mouth, instantly skimming our conversation to see what he might have heard.

Fuck.

The bottom seemed to drop out of my stomach.

"What did you do with James Potter?" Jack asked quietly, keeping his eyes closed and leaning the back of his head against the wall. I blinked. "Summer, what did you do with James Potter? Your father said he walked in on something – what did he walk in on?"

I gaped at him, my mouth unable to form the words. What if he left me? Shit, I'd be single.

And what if James thought that I'd left Jack for him – he might think I'm ready to be his girlfriend and... shit. Jack can't do this to me. He can't. He's supposed to be my safeguard.

"Summer, tell me, or I'm leaving." I winced and dragged my hands through my hair, wondering whether my dad had fucked off or whether he was listening. Everyone else seems to be listening to my private conversations, anyway. "Summer!"

I jumped a little and Jack's eyes opened, softening a little as he looked at me. I probably looked pathetic – but I was panicking. He was going to change things.

And if there is one thing you should know about me by now, then it's how much I hate change. I hate it. If I could have my very own time turner and whip back in time whenever I wanted, to stop anything that might change things... I'd do it in a heartbeat.

"Did you sleep with him?" My neck snapped up. For some reason, that really seemed to hit a chord with me. It hurt that he would think that. And I wasn't really sure why.

"Of course not!" I half shrieked, and I was surprised at how offended my tone was – he was pretty much right, wasn't he? I mean, I was planning to... but I didn't. And that was the thought that I clung to. I wasn't lying. I was just... withholding information.

"Then what did you do?" Jack was holding no prisoners. Shit.

"I may have... kissed him a little bit." Jack cocked an eyebrow. "In my bed." Jack's eyebrows rose even further. "Whilst he wasn't wearing a shirt." I glared down at my feet as the colour bloomed into my cheeks.

"What was he doing in your bed?" Jack snapped quickly. Right, quick-fire round, is it?

"We were having a sleepover."

"A – a sleepover? Bloody hell. Right – why wasn't he wearing a shirt?"

"He'd forgotten his pyjamas and I didn't want to go and get him one of my dad's."

"Why did you lie to me?" My head snapped up as his tone dropped. "A long, long time ago, I asked you whether anything was going between you and James Potter – and you hit the roof. I mean, I always knew there was something... have you been cheating on me the entire time?"

"No! Of course not! And I really don't think you can call it cheating, Jack, I mean -"

"I'm sorry, I was taught that cheating was when you were in a relationship and you still engage in activities with other people. You are my girlfriend, and yet you sucked face with James Potter – that's cheating. Plain and simple. I don't care how you spin it. It is."

"I – I..." Jack sighed and shook his head.

"You know, most people would apologise – most people would apologise to their boyfriends if they got found out for snogging someone else. But not you. Of course not. No, you're above having to do things like that, aren't you?"

"I'm sorry."

Jack jumped slightly and ran the palms of his hands over his eyes, looking like he wanted nothing more than to start ramming his head into the wall.

"Have you done it before? While you've been with me, have you done anything with James?"

"No! I've barely even spoken to James since we got together, because we had a massive falling out." Jack nodded.

"Have you done anything with anyone else?"

"No!" I was starting to get a little frustrated, even though I did know that I was the one in the wrong.

"Did you ever date Potter?" I blinked a couple of times.

"No."

"Are you telling me the truth?" Jack stared hard at my face, trying to decipher any emotion that could be flickering across it, giving me away.

"Yes."

Jack sighed and ran his hands over his face.

"Why did it have to be Potter? Why did it have to be him? Do you have any idea how paranoid he has made me since day one? He's the reason I've been so clingy lately – I just knew something was going to happen between the two of you." Jack sighed. "I mean, I know you must have a severely fucked up past with him, you can see that just from looking at you –"

I pouted. There was nothing wrong with mine and James' relationship, thank you very much.

"But – but why did it have to come into our relationship? It's just not – it's not what I wanted for us. I really thought we could have been going somewhere, Summer. I mean, I know I'm more invested than you are, but you could have all the time you needed... why... I don't..." Jack trailed off again.

I was sick of the talking around it. I wanted to get to the point. I wanted to know.

"Are you breaking up with me, then? Are we done?" My voice was emotionless. I was good at that voice. I'd gotten so used to using it that it just rolled off the tongue.

"I – I didn't say that," Jack muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose again. I wasn't sure why he was doing that. Maybe he thought it was just erase all his stress.

Maybe he had a secret button on his snozzle that instantly drained all the stress out of his body.

"So what are you saying?" I said again, in the same tone.

"I – I don't know. I need a break. I need a break from you. I need – I need you to just think about things – whether you even want to be in a relationship with me. I – maybe I'm not enough, if you needed Potter –"

My heart started hammering again as I thought back to James' words – he'll feel like shit. He'll feel like he's not good enough, because you needed someone else on top. I couldn't stomach doing that to another person.

But it wasn't like that – it wasn't like that at all. It wasn't that Jack wasn't enough... was it?

"I just think we should take the rest of the Christmas holidays to think. And when we get back to school we can decide – decide whether this is going to work for us. I hope it does, but I need to know you won't do that again – I couldn't stand it. If you're my girlfriend, you're mine, Summer. And that is that. If you're not ready for that, you're not ready for me."

I blinked.

There is that word again – mine.

That one word that nearly made me run sprinting for the hills whenever someone I was in a relationship with dared to utter it. If I ever became Minister for Magic, then I would probably have it banned. It shouldn't be allowed.

A person is not a possession – they cannot belong to another person.

"I – I think the break will be good for us," I said quietly, and Jack nodded heavily. Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss against my forehead, and I instantly winced. But it wasn't a bad wince – it was a wince in the sense that it felt like was saying goodbye. I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him into a hug – the kind of hug that I usually reserved for James – and pressed my face into his chest.

Jack chuckled under his breath and patted me lightly on the back, but made no effort to do anything else. I didn't expect him to. In all honesty, I didn't really want him to. So when I pulled away, he turned around and headed off down the hallway, leaving me standing all aloney on my owney.

At least, I was on my own for about thirty seconds. That's when Jack poked his head back around the corner with an adorably confused smile on his face.

"Erm, Summer? How do I get out of this place?"

"Down the hall, left, right, left, left, through the arch, down the hallway, right, through the entrance hall and the door is in front of you." Jack nodded, his eyes widening a little, and then he poked his head back around the corner.

I didn't move for a while.

"Bye, then," I murmured.

Because for some reason, it did feel like a goodbye. It didn't feel like I was going to rush back to Hogwarts and leap into Jack's arms. A girl could dream, but it didn't feel like it. I was pretty sure that that was it for Jack and I – that it was the end of the road.

So maybe it was the last goodbye.
 



disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me. the rubix cube does not belong to me, and neither does the 'green bottle' song.

ooh, there was something really important i needed to say and i can't remember what it is now. oh no. erm... so yes. how many of you are pleased that jack is finally leaving the picture? anyone feel bad for him? i do. and lots of james/summer action in this chapter. whooo. little present to all you james/summer shippers out there.

fred returns next chapter! whoo :D anyway, i hope you liked it :D 

ellie :) xx


Chapter 24: The One where Summer Starts to Talk
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“Summer Ronny Lancaster! Open this door now, chica, or I’m going to find a window, smash it in and then release the full wrath of Frederick Arthur Weasley upon your skinny arse!” I frowned as the all-too-recognisable voice floated up the stairs, followed by the sound of Minty padding across the hall and opening the door with a crack of her bony fingers.

“Oh! Hey, Minto – do you know where my homegirl at?” Minty squeaked something unintelligible from the floor above, and then there was the sound of hammering footsteps on the stairs.

What my stairs had ever done to Fred was beyond me, but he seemed to want to stomp the shit out them. I’d ask, but he’d most likely tell me that the stairs insulted his family honour and that he had to invoke revenge upon them.

There was a second of silence, and then a giant bang.

I blinked up at the door, which had been slammed open with an unnecessary amount of force – to the point where it had probably knocked a chunk out of the wall behind it.

Fred was standing in the doorway, the sunless bright light of the December day illuminating his silhouette. His mouth was twitched up into an enormous beam, his brown eyes twinkling from across the room. What’s got him so happy?

I’ve never been that happy in my life. And I wouldn’t mind, it’s not even his wedding day or the birth of his sprog – it’s just him coming to visit me in the holidays. Speaking of which, why had he shown up at my house in holidays?

“What the bloody fuck are you doing here, wanker?” Fred’s smile dropped a little and his eyes rolled back into his skull, as he cocked a hip at me and strutted into the middle of the room.

And yes, I do mean strutted. He had his hand on one hip and everything. He dropped down onto the bed in front of me, seized the copy of Witch Weekly that I had been reading and tossed it on the carpet over his shoulder.

“Well, hello to you too, soul sister!” Fred scowled, clicking his tongue and flicking me on the side of the forehead. I swatted him away and leaned off the side of the bed, reaching for my magazine.

I’d just gotten to a really good article about ways to make your face seem glowier without overloading on the highlighter. It was also giving celebrity tips on how to contour your cheekbones – and I wasn’t going to say no to that.

“Git,” I grumbled under my breath, stretching my arm out and waggling my fingers to try and seize the bloody thing.

Fred gasped and clapped an exaggerated hand to his mouth, before launching across the bed and seizing my ankles, hoisting them above my head and flipping me off the bed.

I shrieked as I was tipped upside down, and landed flat on my back with a sickening crunch.

“WHAT THE FUCKING HELL, FRED? YOU COULD HAVE BROKEN MY BACK!” I screamed, sitting up painfully slowly, twisting from side to side, to check whether or not Fred had permanently hindered me from the use of my spine.

Fred was trying to disguise his snickers behind his offending hand – unsuccessfully. I glared up at him and hauled myself to my feet, cracking my back to either side.

“Aw, come on, Summer. Don’t get in the huffmobile with me.” Fred seized my hand and pulled me down onto my bed, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and face – rendering me unable to yell at him anymore.

“I’m not in the huff-mobile – now get your bloody arms off me, you giant oaf!” I squawked, but Fred paid absolutely zippo attention. As per usual.

“No! Not until you tell me you love me! Or I’ll never let you go! Not until you tell me that it’s true, that you really mean it!” Fred cried, his voice switching to soprano as he flung me around a little in his arms.

“Fred, get the bloody hell off me!” I yelled, trying to pry Fred’s arms off me as his grip tightened to the point that I could barely breathe.

“NEVER! NOT UNTIL YOU ADMIT IT! TELL ME YOU LOVE ME, SUMMER! TELL ME!”

“Oh for fuck’s sakes!” I yelled a little louder. “I love you, Fred!” I pulled my head away and spat my hair out of my mouth and Fred grinned proudly, looking like he wanted to pat himself on the back. “You do realise that isn’t the first time you’ve done that, don’t you? You big saddo.”

I poked Fred in the chest and rolled my eyes as he pouted. His eyes widened as he blinked at me, all doe-eyes and pouty lips, looking like a baby that had been robbed of its lollipop.

Why did Fred always manage to make me feel like the metaphorical lollipop snatcher?

“Anyway, what are you doing here?” Fred cocked an eyebrow at me and waved a hand in a circle, telling me to try it again. “Fine – Fred, how come you’ve decided to come and visit me?” Fred nodded in approval and leaned back on the bed, settling his head comfortably into my pillow.

Again, if he has nits – it’ll be off with his head.

On a slightly random note, did you know that cows have two stomachs? I found that out the other day, and I couldn’t believe it. I think it is quite plausible to say that my gob was officially smacked. Two stomachs. I mean, I’d love two stomachs, you can fit more food in – but you’d probably get really fat.

Maybe all cows are actually obese, but nobody realises it because all cows are the same. So their obesity is classed as normal. And let’s be honest, no one ever wanders down the streets of Wales and thinks – Cor blimey, isn’t that a podgy cow?

I mean, that person would have to be a weirdo for perving on a cow, but the point still stands.

“I just came around to invite you to the Burrow for dinner tonight. James and Dom want you to come too – Penelope and Connor are coming as well, to be introduced to the family.” Fred flushed a little, and my interest was instantly piqued. “And we’re... well, Penelope and I are going to introduce her as my girlfriend.”

I rolled my eyes at the sweetness and leaned forwards to muss up Fred’s hair, to which he just blushed further and tried to suppress a giant grin.

“Good on you, Freddie. You both deserve it.” I wrinkled my nose at him affectionately and turned to drop into the wheelie chair in front of my desk.

“Thanks, chica. Anyway, we thought that you might feel a little left out if you weren’t there,” Fred shrugged apologetically as I pursed my lips, “and James didn’t want to be left on his bill, so we thought that you might like to come. My Nana Weasley will be cooking.”

Fred grinned hopefully as I shrugged, nodding.

“Sure, I don’t see why not,” I shrugged again, “How come you came to invite me – wouldn’t that normally be James or Dom’s job? I didn’t even know you knew where I lived.”

“I’ve been here before! Of course I know where you live!”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know you’d taken note of the address.”

“Yeah well, people always underestimate those that will rise to power. When you’re enslaved to a race of superior beings, and I am their worshipped overlord, I will remind of this moment, O Summer of Little Faith.”

“What the bloody fuck are you banging on about, twit?”

“I dunno. What, am I supposed to know everything around here?” I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, James didn’t come because he was too busy having a screaming match with Al upstairs – something about staying the fuck away from someone, I’m not really sure – and Dom was sucking face with Connor in her bedroom. And you very rarely get off your lazy arse to read letters, so I thought I’d pay you a home visit.”

I chuckled a little and Fred beamed proudly.

“Wow, well, thank you for the special treatment, Fred. It makes me feel wonderful.” Fred’s grin widened, the sarcasm slipping over his head so fast that it could have scalped him.

“No problem, Summer. You’re my favourite snarky robot. And for my favourite snarky robot, anything is possible.” Fred flung his arm around my shoulder and pulled me off the wheelie chair onto the bed with him.

I almost shoved him off – knowing my luck, my dad would probably wander in again and think Fred was my newest flame. But then I remember that Dad had left that morning to take Louise to the Bahamas for the weekend, and so wasn’t even at home.

She had walked into the dining room that morning, whilst my mum and I were eating breakfast together – alright, it was in stony silence but that is beyond the point – all dressed up in a bikini top, a denim waistcoat and a pair of shorts so tiny that I thought she’d walked out in her knickers.

But no. She was wearing clothes. Barely, but they were still there. And after flicking around her hair extensions like she had damaged her spine and pouring herself a glass from our jug of water, she smugly informed us that my father was flooing her to the Bahamas for the weekend.

The last time my dad went to the Bahamas, he dropped my mother and I off and went home for the day to work, promising he’d be back that night.

He didn’t come back. He later claimed he’d been ‘too busy’ and ‘hated the heat’. But even then, I’d suspected he just hadn’t wanted to spend two weeks in a villa with no one to talk to but me and my mum.

Funny. His hatred of the heat seemed to have evaporated the moment Lulu Plastic Chest duck-waddled into the picture.

My mum had choked on her croissant and looked like she wanted nothing more than to run out of the room and smash a few vases – it’s what I did later, and it really does help let the anger out – but held her tongue.

At least my father had the decency to look a little abashed when he walked through the room and told us he was leaving.

Why the bint needed three hot pink suitcases for two days was beyond me, but I didn’t want to waste my valuable breath on her and ask.

But anyway – after deciding that even if my dad was home, I didn’t give a flying fuck what he thought, and what he thought about me, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him into a Dominique Weasley monkey hug.

“Well, I’ll see you tonight,” I sighed, climbing slowly off the bed and dropping back down onto the wheelie chair. “And Fred, for the love of Merlin, do not introduce Penny as ‘the hot piece of ass that has agreed to suck my face off’.”

“I wouldn’t do that!”

“You did it to Carmen! And I’d like point out that she stopped speaking to you two days after that. Small word to the wise – girls don’t like being called things like that.”

“You do.”

“What? No I don’t.”

“Oh. I thought you did. Only because you always seemed to prefer being call hot and fit and whatnot, rather than being called beautiful.” He was actually right. If a bloke used to call me beautiful, I’d laugh at their stupidity and walk away.

If a bloke called me fit, I’d give him the finger and wink. It just seemed preferable. ‘Beautiful’ makes you feel like a princess, like a precious little girl that needs to be looked after and treated like a child. And I didn’t want to be compared to a princess – I was very far from one.

But the image of James and I on the very bed that Fred was sitting on right then flooded into my mind. James calling me beautiful. And it felt right – it felt good. It made me feel special.

“I – I’m not really arsed, either way,” I frowned, wanting the conversation to end. Fred nodded, looking a little surprised. But he knew better than to push it – a nice fat scar above the eyebrow would be the price for getting on my nerves on a bad day.

“Right. Well, see you tonight, Summer. Miss ya ‘till then – stay crispy, doll.” Fred swatted me on the arse and spun me around in a hug that nearly had me kick the lamp off the bedside table.

“See you tonight, love,” I smiled, “I’ll miss you until then, too.” I added as he pouted.

“I know you will,” he winked, before slipping out the door and down the stairs, singing a soprano version of Sex on Fire. I don’t even want to know.

~*~

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I did not think this through.

Seriously, when they were giving out brains, I must have been in the bog or something, because I clearly have none. There are people that have to take pills three times a day – I could do with taking a good old dose of common sense.

I mean, seriously – James.

Yeah, sure, I’ll go to a Weasley/Potter dinner because all my best friends are going to be there. But there will also be the bloke that I’d – nearly shagged a few days ago. The best friend that I’d almost shagged a few days ago.

The best friend that would most likely think that the recent semi-breakup from my boyfriend was to do with him, and whether or not I was ready to consider a relationship with him... and I wasn’t.

I was becoming paranoid – what if we were awkward with one another? What if we got there and James just ignored me? What if he found out that I wasn’t with Jack anymore and his hopes or ideas or whatever went all whacked and...

And then he could become depressed and have to go into an institution, and then he’ll get out and turn to drink because he’ll see Fred and Penny being happy and he’d want that, and then he’d take skanky Erin and shag her when he was bored but he’d refuse to have a real relationship with her because he was scarred for life about the fact that I’d married Kyle Davies and had seven fat little children with super-gelled hair, and then he’d eventually die of alcohol poisioning and it would be all my fault.

Oh Merlin, I’m going to kill James. I hate my life.

But regardless, I am a strong, confident, happy, attractive, all the other shit that you’re supposed to say when you make one of these speeches woman, and I will not – what is it? I will not let negative thoughts stand in my way!

Fuck yeah!

I can do this! Right. Dinner at the Burrow. Nana Weasley’s roast potatoes. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Right.

~*~

“Summer! You’re here! I knew you’d come. James was convinced you wouldn’t, for some reason, but I just knew you would – he needs something to cheer him up, anyway, because Albus and him had another huge argument this morning. But anyway, you look lovely! Is that top new? It looks stunning on you, you look really skinny!” Lily didn’t breathe once, tugging me into the house and wrapping her skinny arms around me in a chokehold hug.

“Um... hi, Lily. Nice to see you too.” Lily beamed like I had paid her the biggest compliment in the world, before seizing my hand and tugging me into the living room off the kitchen.

“James! Summer is here! I told you she’d come – so you were wrong! That means you owe me a galleon!” Lily grinned and bounced over to her brother, holding her hand out flat with a James Smirk playing at her lips.

James’ trademark scowl was on his own.

“Do you have to speak so bloody loud, Liligit?” James snapped, plunging his hand deep into the pocket of his jeans and shoving it into Lily’s hand. Lily’s beam wasn’t even enough to turn that frown upside down.

“What? I already told her outside that you didn’t think she was coming. There’s no need to get all grouchy knickers with me.” Lily huffed defensively, crossing her arms over her chest.

“What?! Why would you tell her that? Why? Do you have any tact whatsoever?”

Lily pouted a little, looking hurt, and I decided that it was my turn to play the knight in shining armour. Stepping further into the room, abandoning my ice-cool position leaning against the doorframe, I smirked.

“You know, James, you’re not exactly the King of Tact yourself – I’ve just heard everything you’ve said.” I smirked a little wider as James jumped and his scowl deepened.

Such a miserable child.

Honestly. The life that most children dream about one day having and he still manages to find something to scowl about. That’s quite a skill.

“Yeah, well... it’s rude to earwig on people, anyway. So you’re just... rude. You should just... stop being rude. Yeah, Summer – stop being rude!” I blinked at him as Fred looked up from the slice of beef he was chewing on to cock an eyebrow.

Well, James, if you ever want people to think you’re insane, then you’re going the right way about it.

“Right,” I cocked an eyebrow. James frowned and rustled the back of his hair awkwardly, staring down at the floor with a pale flush on his cheeks. I coughed a little as Lily stared between the pair of us, her lips twitching.

Considering that girl is practically a fully blown psychic, that didn’t make me feel too wonderful.

If his little sister knows what is going on at the moment, then I’m pretty sure I’ll just run away to live with the druids. I don’t know where the druids are, but wherever it is, that’s where you’ll find me. There shouldn’t be any James Potters amongst the druids.

What the fuck is a druid, anyway?

“Summer! You’re here! Ooh, you look stunning – have you lost weight? You look like a stick insect.” Ah, Dominique Weasley. One of the only girls in the world who can give you a compliment and make it feel like an insult.

“Hey, Dom. Yeah, I’m fine, thank you. A bit hungry, but we’re having dinner soon so I’m sure that will be fine. Yeah, this top is new, thank you for noticing.” I smiled ironically at her as she rolled her eyes and flopped down onto the couch.

“Less of the sarcasm, missy. No bloke wants a girl with a sharper tongue than knife. After all, you’ll need the knife to make them sandwiches... well, no bloke other than Jack. He seems to have no problem with being the main recipient of the Summer Lancaster Snark.” Dom winked as I flushed a little and dropped down onto the armchair of Fred’s armchair.

Dom might be one of those girls that could be thrown on a wild goose chase if you told her that there was a mirror on the other side of the forest, but she could be intuitive at the worst of times.

From the corner of my eye, I could see James frowning at me as I glared down at my knees, struggling to keep my face impassive. I didn’t want to let on to any of the vultures that not everything was quite as peachy in paradise anymore.

Lily would probably collapse with excitement.

“You know, Penelope is never sarcastic,” Fred said conversationally, and I snapped my head up at him to cock an eyebrow. Fred looked quite unabashed, cramming the last of the beef slice into his mouth and wiping his lips on the back of his hand.

Charmant.

“And you mentioned that because?” Fred shrugged and started rooting around in his pocket, before pulling out a half-melted chocolate cake bar and pulling off the wrapper.

“I dunno. Why not?” Fred bit one half of the cake bar in one clean bite and chewed twice before swallowing. I gaped at him as he crammed the other half in whole.

The boy is like a walking dustbin.

“Aww,” Dom cooed. “I think it’s cute. He’s so obsessed with Penny that he feels the need to mention her whenever he can.” She winked at Fred’s reddening face and ignored the shut-it-you’re-embarrassing-him elbow that James jabbed into her ribs.

“Shut it, you. You and Connor are the ones that can’t keep their hands off each other – I’m pretty sure you stole the eye-virginity of ninety percent of the first years.” Dom didn’t look abashed in the slightest – quite the contrary.

Dom smirked arrogantly and looked a little proud, tossing some blonde hair over her shoulder.

“Right, because you and Penny never snog in front of other people – in fact, Fred, I was wondering – have the two of you even had your first kiss yet?” I covered my mouth to mask my giggling as Dom batted her eyelids innocently.

“Shut it, you. We don’t snog as much as you two do.”

“Oh, you so do.”

“We so don’t.”

“Wow, amazing comeback – switching around my own words. But regardless... you so do.”

“Do not!”

“DO!”

“Oh, for heaven’s sakes – are you two really going to sit there and argue about which of the pair of you has the more active sex life? That’s just sad.” James snapped, and I blinked a little at how abrupt he was being. They hadn’t done anything to him.

“Alright, snappy. What’s got your boxers in a twist?”

“Nothing.”

Dom blinked and raised an eyebrow at me, and I shrugged cluelessly. Why James was pissed off what beyond me – I didn’t have Lily Potter style psychic powers.

“And don’t call it a sex life,” Fred added, and I turned my head to the side to stare at his pink cheeks. He was fumbling with the wrapper of the cake bar he had eaten, not looking any of us in the eye. I bit my lip to hide a smile when I realised what was going on. Dom, evidentially, was a lot denser than my dear self.

“Why not?” Dom blinked, and James looked like he dearly wanted to elbow her again.

“You know, Dom, there is a curse that exists that I think would probably be very useful on you. Would you like to know what it is? I’ll tell you. Every time you’re nosy, your nose grows a little. Nose – nosey, gettit? So snout out, unless you want me to hunt down Penelope’s book and cast that fucker on you.”

Dom waggled her hands around in what I could only really refer to as a dodgy version of some Broadway jazz hands.

“Ooh, I’m quaking in my heels. Don’t curse me, Fred, please! I’m so scared!” I pressed my lips together to again try to hide my chuckling, and the colour in Fred’s cheeks grew a little again.

He clearly didn’t like being outsmarted by his younger, female cousin.

“You should be. You know what? I’m going to just leave this conversation – I’m going to be the bigger person and just walk away.” Fred nodded firmly and shoved himself off the armchair – I quickly leapt into his spot – and crossed the room, flicking his fringe off his face with a floppy hand, in traditional bitch-girl pose.

“I love beating him in arguments,” Dom sighed, leaning back into the cushions of the couch and smiling serenely, softly closing her eyelids.

I blinked at her for a second, marvelling at how strange her eyelids looked when closed for long periods of time whilst coated in a thick layer of glittery silver eyeshadow.

There was quiet rustling behind me, and I turned around in time to see Fred sneaking back into the room, shoes removed, standing on his tip toes. His eyes widened and he pressed a finger to his lips in warning when he saw me looking.

I rolled my eyes but didn’t bother to warn Dom – it wasn’t anything to do with me.

Besides, Fred taking out revenge on Dom (trust me, it had happened a lot) always promised to be entertaining – and loud, but that’s another story.

Dom’s a screamer. I can only imagine what she’s going to be like when she’s popping out her sprogs in the future.

Fred crept around the armchair that my arse was comfortably parked on and lapped the couch, until he was standing behind Dom, whose head was lolling back onto the couch cushion behind her. There was a tense moment of silence, before Fred leapt forward like a panther and launched himself onto Dom’s back.

Dom screamed and her eyes flew open as Fred kicked one leg over hers and forced her head into his armpit. Dom’s screaming got louder.

“Fred! You stink! When was the last time you had a wash?!” Dom shrieked, using her thin arms to try and shove Fred’s massive chest off her.

But a brick wall like Freddie-boy wasn’t going anywhere.

“See, Dommie, I don’t like it when people are rude to me,” Fred commented lightly, acting as though he wasn’t sitting on his cousin’s knee with her head stuck in his armpit, being held there by force. “It makes me a little upset.”

Dom blindly swung her fists out, trying to pummel Fred but failing miserably.

“It actually hurts my feelings a little. You know, every now and again I actually have a little cry at night because you’ve hurt me so much.” I pressed my hand against my mouth as Fred closed his eyes and shook his head regretfully. Lily was bright red and had pinched her lips together to try and stem her own laughter.

“GET. THE. FUCK. OFF. ME.” Fred shook his head again, using his free hand to biff Dom across the head.

“What the bloody hell are you doing, Fred?” A voice rang out across the room, and I jumped a little. I whipped around to see Connor standing in the doorway, an eyebrow cocked and his lips pursed a little. He looked a little shell shocked at the image of his best friend sitting with his girlfriend’s head in his armpit.

“Teaching Dom a lesson,” Fred shrugged casually, waving his free hand in greeting.

Connor opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but then closed his eyes and shook his head, deciding just to let it go. This did not please Dommie in the slightest.

“CONNOR DALE, YOU ARE THE MOST USELESS LUMP IN THE WORLD – GET THIS GIT OFF OF ME!”

~*~

I have such an awkward life.

I mean, seriously. It’s unreal.

Do you have any idea how awkward it is to be sitting at a dinner table next to Merlin knows how many pairs of couples? It’s ridiculous. And situations were not helped by the fact that Percy and Audrey were trying to engage me in an in depth conversation about whether or not they should invest in the muggle stock market.

There are only so many times that you can pretend to drop your fork under the table in an attempt to put a sharp end to the conversation.

But I was unsuccessful – Dom was nearly pissing herself, like she knew I was considering picking up the fork I was eating with and stabbing it into my eyeball.

But now was even worse – everyone was either asking Penny and Fred about their only-just unveiled relationship, cooing over Dom and Connor gazing lovingly into one another’s eyes, or chatting to each other over plates and plates of Nana Weasley’s cooking. Nana Weasley herself was cramming roasties into her mouth with a proud expression on her face, smiling happily at her family. Her husband was sitting next to her, discussing the purpose of jigsaws with Lily and Albus.

James was sitting next to me, poking the fat from his beef around his plate with the tip of his fork, a grumpy expression set on his face and his bottom lip jutting out angrily. I was sitting next to him, my face nearly paralysed with boredom.

Last time I had been at the Burrow, James and I had already crept off to his room to snog by this point.

But as I sat in the garden of the Burrow, surrounded by happily married couples and their children, watching them all interact with each other in a way that was easy as breathing, I could help but feel jealous.

They were all so lucky.

I bet none of them were alone on Christmas day. I bet none of them have ever walked out onto Platform 9 ¾ to find no one waiting for them. I bet none of them have ever spent the majority of the holidays eating dinner alone or with their house elf, in an empty house.

I wanted to be a part of a family like that – a loud, chaotic, slightly insane family with more members than I could count.

And as I thought about the future, about families, about whether or not I would ever have a family like this, I found my mind drifting back to Jack. I hadn’t thought about him since he had left my house last night, not until Fred had brought him up before, but now my mind was stuck on him.

Sweet, kind, safe, caring Jack. Jack who was always there for me, who was there for me after I fell out with James, when my friends were so wrapped up in themselves to pay attention to the fact James and I had fallen apart. Jack who had shown up at my house a few days after Christmas just because he wanted to visit me.

Jack who I had cheated on, regardless of whether or not I wanted to refer to it as that.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to be cheated on, to have someone you trusted and really liked be with someone else whilst they were supposed to be with you... and I couldn’t. It was too harsh. And to think I’d done that to someone like Jack, someone who’d never done anything to me but be a good friend, made me feel sick.

He was much too good for me.

And so then I realised that when I got back to Hogwarts, that it would be the end of the road for Jack and I.

He needed a girl that was ready for a relationship and serious and full-on as he wanted – a girl that could give him everything that he would give her. And that wasn’t me, not by a long shot.

I thought about how he might be feeling about me – whether he’d feel betrayed, upset, or just plain pissed off. I’d be pissed. But then again, it doesn’t take much to make me angry.

~*~

Jack,

I’m so sorry. I should have said that last night, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I really am. You’re lovely, and you’ve been an amazing friend to me – and I seriously hope that you will still want to be my friend, because I really do love your company. I didn’t mean for what happened with James to happen, not whilst I was with you. And I’m sorry it did. You didn’t deserve that. You are an amazing bloke, and one day you’re going to meet an amazing girl and have an amazing life. I don’t want you to ever feel like it was because of you, or because you weren’t enough, or anything like that. It’s my fault. Well, and James’. But mainly mine. And I truly am sorry if I hurt you.

Thank you so much for being my friend,

Summer

“What are you doing?” A voice came from behind me as I strapped the note to the leg of the Weasley’s owl, pushing open the window with my elbow. I jumped about a foot in the air and whipped around at lightning speed.

The owl clearly wasn’t happy about that, as she leaned forwards and pecked sharply at my arm in retaliation. Do you see the kind of treatment I have to put up with?

Even owls bully me. That’s how pathetic my life is.

“Um... James. What are you doing here?” I asked, quickly pushing the owl out of the open window before James had a chance to see the recipient. James folded his arms and leant against the doorframe, his eyebrows drawn together in suspicion.

“I asked you first.”

“Sending a letter.”

“To who?”

“Didn’t you hear Fred before – there is a curse that you can put on nosey people. To quote dear Freddie – snout out.” James rolled his eyes and walked further into the room, slipping alongside me and staring at the black dot that was Josie the owl, illuminated against the moon.

It goes dark far too early in December.

“Anyway, you never answered my question. What are you doing here?” I asked, cocking my head to the side so I could look at him.

“I was looking for you. You disappeared really suddenly, and I was worried you might have gone home.” I blinked and nodded slowly, turning back towards the window to hunt for the Josie-dot. It was no longer there.

“What are you thinking about?” I said suddenly, the words slipping past my lips before I’d even had a chance to think about them. I pinched my lips shut straight afterwards, but I’d already spoken.

James cocked an eyebrow in amusement.

“About what we were doing the last time you and I were alone in the Burrow,” James smirked, “and so by extension, I was thinking about how badly I want to kiss you right now.” James continued staring out of the window like it was no big deal.

I gaped at him.

“You – you can’t say things like that – I – you... I have a boyfriend!” Well, no I don’t, but James didn’t know that. “I mean, you’re the one that said that you wouldn’t touch my while I was still with someone else, and – you... you!”

James started chuckling along with my stammering, evidentially finding the deterioration of my mental health of great amusement.

Glad to be of assistance. I’ll be here all week.

“I said that I wasn’t going to touch you. I said nothing about speaking.” James shrugged nonchalantly. “Besides, it’s quite funny to watch you have a complete tizz and do when you don’t know what to say.” I scowled at him, but he didn’t seem to care. I really need to work on making my glares a bit scarier.

“You’re a twat,” I informed him. I like to be a helpful member of society, distributing information and whatnot. I’m practically a girl scout, when you think about it.

“Aw, I know you don’t really think that. I know you love me really.” This James was a complete contrast to the one that had been sitting outside, looking like he wanted nothing more than to go and pummel his pillow for a bit.

“I do not.”

“You do.”

“Do not!”

“Haven’t we had this argument before? You really need to stop repeating yourself.”

“I – you... urgh! You are such a git!”

“I know you don’t really believe that.”

“I do! You’re a git! A very gittish git!”

“Gittish? Is that a word?”

“Yes!”

“Nah, I’m pretty sure you just made that one up.”

“You – urgh! You should just not be allowed. Seriously. They should make an exhibition at the zoo for you and keep you locked up in it all the time so that no one ever has to deal with you,” I was almost giggling by the end of it, and James had one hand pressed against the cool counter top to prevent him against falling should his shaking legs give in.

Nothing was particularly funny, yet the laughter kept coming. Pretty soon I had been folded into a hug, and I was giggling away into the scratchy nylon of one of James’ seldom worn dress shirts, which had been shed of its cufflinks earlier in the evening.

I breathed the smell of his shirt in deeply, just like a good ol’ creeper, and opened my eyes. I wasn’t aware I had closed them.

“When I was ten I broke my arm,” I said suddenly, and James glanced down in amusement. Yes, yes, let’s all have a laugh at Summer’s expense. Very fucking funny.

“Right. And why is that relevant?”

“I had climbed a tree because the boy who lived down in the village had told me that snotty little rich girls like me couldn’t do real country thinks like climbing trees and riding horses. I fucking hate horses, terrifying buggers, so I decided to prove him wrong by climbing the giant oak in the park.”

James was silent, his breathing barely audible in the stifling tranquillity that was the Burrow’s kitchen.

“I got right to the top, I did. Sat there on the fattest branch feeling like the smuggest bastard on the face of the planet, as the snotty brat gaped up at me from the grass. Then he smirked at me and told me that I might be able to get myself up, but I wouldn’t be able to get myself down. I was hot-headed even then. I had to prove him wrong. So I swung my legs down and tried to climb down the fucker. Since I told you I’d broken my arm, I’m sure you can guess – I fell. Landed on my side. Broke my arm in three places.”

James blinked again and slowly pulled me down to one of the padded dining chairs that surrounded the scrubbed table in the middle of the kitchen, plopping me down onto his knee. I curled up into a ball, my knees under my chin.

“Carry on,” James murmured, when I didn’t immediately resume speaking.

“The bloke was a coward. Laughed until I glared up at him with tears streaming down the muck on my face, clutching an arm that was positioned like a crazy straw. Sobered up quick and ran back to the village, and didn’t look back. I was about two miles from Lancaster Hill, and I wasn’t getting picked up from the Post Office for another two hours. But the pain my arm was awful.”

I shuddered as I remembered sitting on the park bench for three hours, sobbing, clutching a broken arm to my chest.

Many nice old ladies with carpet bags and dogs that looked like backcombed rats had passed and tried to offer me a lift home or to the hospital, but I’d said no. I’d sat on that park bench until the park emptied an every other child went home, until my dad eventually drove up.

“He was an hour late,” I whispered, staring unseeingly at the large brass pot on the cooker, “He was always late. He pulled up and took one look at me, before flinging himself out of the car and nearly sprinting to me and tossing me over his shoulder to cart me back to the car.”

James shifted from underneath me and dropped his chin down onto my shoulder.

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” he muttered. “He just wanted to get you home so he could heal your arm, right?”

“Wrong. He shoved me down into the passenger seat and started roaring about what people would think about me being covered in dirt – did I want them to think that my parents never made me wash? – and about me hanging around in the park on my own – what kind of father did I allow the neighbours to assume he was? I was ten. And he’d let me go around the village on my own anyway. But he didn’t care about that. Yelled himself hoarse for a good twenty minutes, before he healed my arm quick with no bedside manner whatsoever, and drove me home in silence.”

James blinked at me as I refused to blink, refused to let my eyelids meet, because I knew that would mean that the tears brimming in my eyes were going to force their way out.

“He cared more about what the neighbours would think than he did about me. He never gave a shit about me. Never. And you know what, that never bothered me. Never did. I was good on my own, I always have been – I made friends and made them my new family. I didn’t need a man who didn’t care whether my bones were broken, only that my face had mud splattered on it from landing on the ground.”

James hugged me tighter to his chest as my eyes stung and my breathing grew more erratic.

“It did bother you.”

I looked up into James’ grave expression, and he quickly leaned forwards to press a kiss onto my forehead, before kindly deciding to elaborate.

“I’m not saying your father doesn’t care about you, because he does. He’s shown that a lot recently. He doesn’t care as much as he should, and he had a really dodgy way of showing it, but he does care. And when he acts like he doesn’t, it does bother you. You want him to care, because you do.”

“I don’t care about him.”

“Yes, you do. He’s your father. Whether you like it or not, every young girl cares about her daddy and wants him to love her like she loves him. Unconditionally and with all their heart. And you could never deal with the fact that your dad never loved you like that.”

“I was a burden to him,” I whispered. “He said that – he said that in front of you. He said that he didn’t know why he listened to his mother and married mine. Because then he wouldn’t have been stuck with me.”

“Your dad was nineteen when he got married and twenty one when he had his first child.”

“So?”

“Summer, that’s so young. I want to still be in school, in Auror training, when I’m nineteen. I should have only just started my career at twenty one. And to be married and with a baby – he’d missed out on being a twenty year old lad because he had a family to look after. And he was bitter about it. So he shut himself off from you two and poured himself into his work, the one thing that was his – and so you grew more resentful of him, because he made you feel resented.”

“When did you become a therapist, twit? I didn’t ask for a psycho-analysis.”

“Funny, because you need one. You’re fucked up, Summer, face it. You’re angry and bitter and sarcastic because you have all these unresolved issues that you won’t talk about, that you keep locked up because you don’t want to admit they exist –”

“I do not have unresolved issues!”

“Please, Summer, you’re practically the dictionary definition of ‘rich girl with daddy issues’.”

“Shut up.”

“Why do you think it bothers you so much that he’s getting remarried? It’s not because he’s leaving your mother, you know neither of them ever loved the other, it’s because he’s going to have a new family. He made you grow up feeling unwanted and alone, like he hated his family, and now he’s going to have a new one and he seems happy. You don’t want him to be happy with anyone else because he wasn’t happy with you.”

“Gee, don’t sugar coat it, James. Just tell me what you really think.”

“He wasn’t happy with you, Summer, and he made you feel like he hated you and didn’t give a fuck. So you forced yourself to believe that you didn’t give a fuck either, and you just had to show that to the world. If everyone thought you didn’t care about anything, then he’d think you didn’t care about him.”

“Please stop talking. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’m sorry I brought it up.” The tears were stinging badly now, and my chest was heaving. I wanted to scream.

“You love your dad, Summer. And you care about him. And you don’t want him to marry Louise because you want him to stay with you and be the target of your anger, to mask the fact that you do care. You would rather he was unhappy with you than happy with anyone else. Why he wants to be happy with that woman is beyond me, but it’s not my choice to make. Your dad was a shit father and a shit role model and the reason you’re as angry as you are, and I hate the fucker for being such a twat to his own family, but you love him, because he’s your dad and that’s what little girls grow up programmed to do. To love their dads. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll move the fuck on.”

“I don’t want anything to do with him after he marries her,” I whispered into James’ chest.

“Then don’t. He’s never done anything to deserve having you in his life after he leaves your mother.”

“She’s not much better,” I grumbled, finally succumbing and letting the tears slide down my cheeks, masking my face with a curtain of my hair. James could probably feel the tears through his clothes and knew what was going on, but said nothing.

“She is better. Better than him, anyway. She cares, and she’s made a conscious effort to try and make up for the fact that your dad was never there for you. She might go about everything in the wrong way – buying you jewellery that costs more than this house and shit that you don’t want – but she does it to try and show that she cares. And you get angry with her because you think she’s trying to turn you into the lady you’re not, and she isn’t. Do you not get it? This whole time, she’s just being trying to show you how much she loves you, because your father never did.”

“He – he didn’t ask me, not once, whether I was okay. After I fell from that tree.” I murmured, my voice thick. I sounded like I was recovering from a bad bout of flu. “He just yelled and yelled and yelled at me. I saw other kids falling over and scraping their knees, and being carried and hugged and kissed by their fathers who put plasters on their cuts and wiped their tears away with their thumbs. None of them got treated to another round of ‘you’re a Lancaster and it’s time you started acting like one!’.”

“He was a prick who didn’t understand children; it was as simple as that.”

“Then he shouldn’t have had any,” I hissed sharply, and James sighed.

“It wasn’t quite that simple.”

“Oh, and you would know, would you? Tell me, James, how is that you magically know all of this stuff about how my mother and my father feel about me? About how I feel about my father? How do you just miraculously seem to know how everyone is feeling?”

“Because I watch you. And I can figure it out – it’s not hard. I’ve known for years why you’re as bitter as you are. Every time you’d burn a letter from your father and spit on the ashes, I could see it. Everyone could. But it’s such a touchy subject with you that no one ever wanted to bring it up.”

“Cowards.”

“Good friends,” James corrected tartly. “I spoke to my dad last summer, after you showed up at the house and screamed my bedroom down. You’d gotten into a huge fight with your dad about something stupid. I asked my dad why your dad had bothered to have kids if he seemed to hate children so much, and he told me that I couldn’t understand.”

“What do you mean? It’s not complicated. You want kids, you have one. You don’t, you don’t. Not hard. I’m pretty sure a kid itself could figure that little riddle out.”

“Voldemort had fallen, and purebloods were suddenly the targets of a lot of hatred. People stopped thinking in terms of purebloods and death eaters, and merged the two into one. Purebloods really needed to start marrying amongst themselves and producing children, because they couldn’t marry anyone else. The community wouldn’t have them.”

My mouth had dropped open without me realising.

“You know your cousin, Scorpius?” I nodded. “Well, it’s only by chance that you have your mother and not his. Astoria and Daphne were part of the Greengrass family, and they were asked if they were willing to marry in order to preserve pure blood. They both agreed. Draco Malfoy – part of the oldest pureblood families going – and Jason Lancaster – a pureblood whose father had recently come into a lot of money – were chosen as appropriate suitors for the girls.”

I couldn’t imagine a time like that – when my parents and all their splendour and jewels would be frowned upon, when they would resent their blood status and not pride themselves on it.

“It was only a matter of which one would marry which. The story was everywhere. There had been a lot of controversy about my dad refusing to allow Draco Malfoy to go to Azkaban after his mother saved his life, and so it sparked a lot of media interest that he was going to marry. Astoria was sixteen and your mother was eighteen. Draco was eighteen and your dad was nineteen – they were just teenagers, Summer. Astoria was younger than we are now. In a month or so, you’ll be the same age your mother was at the time. The time when her husband was being chosen for her.”

Suddenly I was struggling to breathe. I had no idea. I’d never bothered to find out. I had no inkling something like that had happened – they’d never dropped a hint. I couldn’t ask if I didn’t know I should have been.

“It was decided that because your mother was the legal age for marriage without parental consent, she would marry the older of the two men. A one year age gap and a two year age gap looked better than a sixteen year old marrying a man that was almost twenty. They got married after being engaged for a month, and it was decided that Astoria would be eighteen before she married. Her and Draco were engaged for two years.”

I staggered off James’ knee and stuck my head under the faucet of the sink, gratefully gulping down mouthfuls of cool water.

It calmed the nausea that was rolling in my stomach.

“The moment they married, the pressure was on. Everyone wanted them to have a baby, and to have a baby now. But they weren’t in love, at all. They didn’t even know each other. Dad says that he needed to visit your dad about something law-related about six weeks after they married, and they were the most awkward couple he had ever seen.”

“It sounds like being back in the nineteen-thirties,” I muttered.

“Well, that’s what the pureblood society was like. Stuck in a time warp. Things have changed a lot now, which is good. Things are different. But anyway, your parents remained childless right up until Astoria and Draco’s wedding – much to the huge disapproval of the pureblood society at large – and it was only when your aunt and uncle returned from their honeymoon that your mother found out she was expecting. Your Auntie Astoria, doing what was expected of your mother and father, had gotten pregnant during her honeymoon.” I shuddered as unwelcome images floated into my mind. “Hence you and Scorpius having the same birthday.”

“Why are you telling me all this?” I eventually muttered, drumming my fingers along the countertop.

“Because you need to know.”

“Why?”

“Because you always assumed that your father treated you with such detachment because he was a rude bastard that didn’t give a shit about his family. That wasn’t it at all. He was frustrated. He married young – too young, to a woman he didn’t love and frankly never learned to love. Your aunt and uncle were madly in love by the time they got married, but your mother and father still didn’t love each other ten years later!”

“He wasn’t made to marry her! He made a choice to get married! He could have said no – I would have! He was given a choice – forced marriage is no longer legal in the wizarding world, and whilst some pureblood families expect arranged marriages, you can refuse. I did.”

James’ head snapped up so fast I worried for a second that he might have damaged his spine.

“What do you mean – you did?”

“It’s not a big deal. When I was sixteen, my father asked me if I would be willing to enter into a pureblood arranged marriage, because if I was then he would begin to organise it. I told him that over my dead body would I do such a thing. He called me ungrateful and stormed off. I always assumed it was because he wanted to marry me off so he didn’t have to deal with me anymore.”

James sighed sadly and held his arms open, inviting me to crawl back into them.

Something suddenly occurred to me, and it wormed itself into my brain and manifested itself there, plaguing my thoughts. I couldn’t get it out of my head – the stark realisation of what James actually meant.

“He didn’t want to get married, but he did. He didn’t want children, but he had one. My mother and I were both just a burden to him – is that what you were trying to point out this whole time? He didn’t love my mother and he didn’t love me?” My voice broke halfway, but I carried on anyway. I could barely see – tears were once again clouding my eyes.

James gaped at me in horror, and quickly threw himself out of his chair and pulled me into the tightest hug known to mankind – and I have been hugged by Fred Weasley.

“No, no, no! That’s not what I was saying at all! Your dad does love you – he loves you as much as a father should love his daughter. You were always so convinced he loved you but didn’t care about you – you can’t do one without the other. He does care about you. He just... he has a funny way of showing it. And to be honest, you’re too wonderful for him to deserve as much love as you give him.”

“I wasn’t aware I loved him at all – he always made me feel like shit.”

“And so you loved him more, because you wanted him to love you back. He was your dad – all you wanted was his approval and his affections, which you never received. He’s as negative as you are – he only ever sees faults. And you take that personally. One sided love is always the worst.”

“Well... ain’t that a bitch?”

James chuckled and leaned down to press another kiss to my forehead. I sighed and wrapped my arms around his waist, almost smiling at the crippling familiarity. In James’ arms, again. I always seemed to end up back there.

“Thank you.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“No, I seem to have gone deaf. Can you repeat what you said?” James smirked impishly at me as I shot him a scowl.

“I said, wanker, thank you.”

“You know, I don’t remember the wanker part last time...”

“So you did hear me, then?”

“Damn. Walked into that one. You should be a lawyer, I was right.”

“Damn straight, fool.”

Never again. And why are you saying thank you?”

“For figuring all that out. For finding out about my mum and my dad. For actually caring enough to stand here and talk about it. Thank you for –” I was going to say ‘thank you for being my friend’, but the words brought me up short. They were the exact words I had written to Jack not twenty minutes before. And that wasn’t right for James.

“Thank you for what?”

“Thank you for loving me.”

James laughed cheerfully as he beamed and tightened his arms, a feat I hadn’t thought possible. So tight, in fact, that my feet lifted a good six inches off the floor, and left me hovering there like a twat.

“No problem, love. What are best friends for?”

“They’re for coming round to my house tomorrow so we can go ice skating, because I want to talk a little more.” James pretended to faint against the counter, and I rolled my eyes. “Yes, yes, I want to talk. It feels good. I feel better.” James smiled, and looked like he was about to speak, when someone very unwelcome in that moment burst into the room and beamed at us.

“Come on guys, we’re going to start a game of strip poker!”

“Um, Freddie? You do realise that ninety percent of us here are related, don’t you?”

 




disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me.

RIGHT. i have three things to mention and i don't want to forget any of them. okay. first, THANK YOU SO MUCH for getting me to 100 favourite author... things. you know what i mean. i'm so happy :D ahem... second, sorrysorrysorry about how long it is taking me to respond to reviews at the moment. atm i have... nineteen odd waiting for me, but i had fifty-something yesterday so i am getting there! but yeah, no matter how long the response takes, i will always respond. promise. and third ~ on the subject of reviews... woah. you guys are being so amazing to me at the moment! i mean, it's insane. so. many. reviews! thankyouthankyouthankyou.

right, so... this chapter. summer has daddy issues, to put it lightly. all mixed in there will all her other issues. lovely. and let's face it, summer is basically the main reason her and james aren't together, because she's in the mindset she's in at the moment. did that make sense? i hope so. why am i still writing an author's note? this thing is too long.

um... yeah. sorry for this chapter taking a little long than before ~ i put up chapter seven of bang, and then a strange and random one-shot that i just felt like putting up, and then i had so many reviews (big hugs, people, big hugs) to answer and i only have like... 1000 words of the next chapter written but BLARGH. i break up on tuesday and then we're all good! ANYWAY. i hope you liked the chapter and i'd love to know what you thought! 

ellie :) xx
 


Chapter 25: The One at the Ice Skating Rink
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Where’ve you been, young lady?” I jumped about half a foot in the air and stumbled around blindly like a demented beaver, slamming into the banister that lined the stairs and almost tripping over my own feet. I do believe that makes the score Summer: 1, Coordination: 0.

“I – I went for dinner at the Weasleys’ house. Fred came round and invited me this morning.” I said slowly, wondering whether or not I should have mentioned to her that I was going out. I didn’t bother – usually she wasn’t even home when I got back from going places. Fuck knows what she does and where she goes when she leaves, but she does. I didn’t even know who she had gone to visit over Christmas when she went to Cornwall.

Because let’s be frank, who would want my mother hanging around them when they’re trying to spend some valuable family time with their... oh yeah, family.

Because that’s what you do during the Christmas holidays. You spend time with your family.

“Why didn’t you tell me that you were leaving?” I frowned and cocked an eyebrow at her, leaning back so my shoulders were supported by the banister, my expression cool and cut off.

“Because I didn’t think to. I don’t normally tell you before I go out, and you usually don’t notice. It’s not like I’ve been out all night – it’s only nine o’clock.” I gestured to the watch that was swinging around my wrist, a setting too loose.

My mum’s mouth dropped open slightly, and I realised that she had painted liberal amount of scarlet lipstick across her mouth, in what looked like an ill fated attempt to recapture her youth. The result? She looked like a puffin.

“Well... well, in future, Summer, I would like you to inform me before you leave to go anywhere.” I scowled, showing resentment towards once again being treated like a child. “I’ve been worried about you – you could have been anywhere. And with your father gone, I didn’t know how I was going to find you.”

My heart softened a little bit as she blinked at me, and I thought back to what James had said about her trying to prove she cared, but just going about it in the wrong way.

She’d been worried because I didn’t come home. She wasn’t trying to control my life by telling me that I must inform her before I go anywhere, and she wasn’t trying to weasel in on my love life because hers was officially ending. I just had to be more patient with her.

Right. Alright. Breathe. Calm down. Do something calm, casual, and something to show that you understand she’s going through a hard time.

To my mother’s enormous surprise – shown by the sharp intake of breath and gobsmacked expression – I stepped forwards and wrapped my arms around her waist, squeezing her quickly around the middle before pulling away and stepping back, sharpish.

“I’m sorry for worrying you. I’ll... I’ll tell you if I’m going somewhere in future.” I nodded.

My mum’s jaw dropped open a little more, and she blinked a few times. It was the first time I had voluntarily initiated a hug since the day I first left for Hogwarts, way back in first year, because it was the first time I had ever been away from home for such a long period of time. And even before then, it had been a rare phenomenon.

Other than with James, I just wasn’t the hugging kind of person. Snogging, yes. Hugging – not so much.

“I hope you’re doing alright over the divorce, mum. I... if you need to talk about it, you can come and talk to me, I suppose. If you want to. But I warn you now; if you start trying to talk to me about your sex life then I am going to hex you out of the room so fast that you won’t be seen for dust.” My mum laughed and dabbed at the slight moisture in her eyes.

Honestly. The woman is so emotional. It’s ridiculous.

“Thank you, Summer. I know your father and I handled everything badly when telling you about the divorce, but –”

“Yeah, we don’t need to talk right now. Seriously. I’m gonna go to bed – it’s been a... a messed up night, let’s just go with that one.” I shrugged again and dragged my hands through my hair to push it back off my face. The house felt oddly warm, all of a sudden – as did my cheeks.

“Alright. Goodnight, darling.”

Thankfully she didn’t try to push her luck and hug me again, so I quickly turned away from the emotion-fest and took the stairs three at a time to get back to the safety of my room, where there was no over-emotional menopausal woman hanging around.

~*~

“Mrs Lancaster – it’s really nice to see you again. You look as lovely as always.” I rolled my eyes as I heard James’ voice float up from the floor below, filled with a respect and friendliness that had not been there when he had been confronted with my dad. He’d been outright rude to my dad, to be honest. Not that I cared – I probably would have gotten pissed off if he’d been nice to him.

“Oh, James, thank you,” my mum giggled, and I nearly began to dry retch. My mother likes to think she’s youthful and whatnot, and that is embarrassing enough – but using her flirty and charming voice to speak to a bloke that is technically younger than me?

Not on, mummy, not on at all.

My father is already a cradle robber. I will not have you being one as well – I’ll get a reputation. My friends won’t ever want to come over for dinner. I’ll be called the daughter of a cougar! Oh good heavens, the world is ending.

I can just see it all happening now... what is happening to the universe?!

Next thing you know, James is going to have run off with my mother and I’ll have to marry Kyle.

Yes, because that would just be what would have to happen. The world couldn’t just continue as normal – apart from the fact that my sort of best friend/snog buddy/whatever you want to call it has run off with my mother. No, I’d have to marry Kyle Davies, for some reason. Just to balance the world out, you know. Because that just makes sense.

“No problem at all,” James said back. I scowled at the wall. Stop flirting with my mother and get up here. I didn’t ask you round so you could stand in the kitchen and act like a twat. Honestly. The audacity of some people is unreal. “Do you happen to know where Summer is? I’ve come to collect her, and I have no idea where she is – your house is just so big.”

“It is large, isn’t it? Her father has little man syndrome – he just had to have the biggest and the best of everything. So we had this place built – it’s ostentatious. But he likes it, and so do I. Not that I’m going to be living her for much longer...” Oh good Merlin. Do not get sentimental and worked up, mother. Just tell James I’m in my room and then go and have a nice cry to Carole down the Post Office. Don’t try and drag James into your problems... please.

“Um... yeah, I’m very sorry to hear about all that – if you don’t mind me saying, Mr Lancaster is a fool for leaving you.” Really, James, really? Really? “But I really need to know where Summer is – she gets annoyed if I’m late. Which is ridiculous, because she is the tardiest person I know.”

My mother laughed a watery chuckle and rustled around for something.

“She does have a temper on her, doesn’t she? She gets that from her father, I suppose, but she’s much worse than he ever was. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She’s going to get an anti-social behavioural order if she’s not careful.” James laughed, and my mother joined in. “She’s in her room, my love. Take care of her when you’re out today.”

“I will,” James promised, and I could hear his footsteps against the tiles as he made his way out of the kitchen.

“Um – James?” Mother called, and I could hear James’ footsteps clunk to a stop. I winced my eyes shut a little tighter, wondering what she could possibly have to say to him. Please don’t be anything embarrassing. Please don’t ask when he got so tall, or whether I was seeing anyone new. Please don’t ask whether he’d like to stay for dinner. Just walk away, mother. Just leave the poor boy in peace.

“Yes, Mrs Lancaster?”

“Call me Daphne, my love. I’m going to be changing it back to Greengrass soon, anyway.” James coughed awkwardly. “I was just wondering if I could ask you something. It’s a little personal, but I’ve been meaning to ask Summer and... well, with the mood she’s in at the moment, I don’t think it would be the smartest idea.” James laughed.

“She is in a bad mood at the moment,” James agreed. Gee, thanks, bestie. “So sure. What do you want to know?”

“I was just wondering... well, is there something going on between Summer and yourself?”

There was a sudden coughing fit from downstairs, so I could only guess that James had begun to choke on his own saliva. Sexy. How am I holding myself back from running down there and jumping his fit bones right now?

“I mean, I saw sparks between the two of you during the summer holidays and thought the two of you might have gotten together, but then I didn’t want to embarrass you by saying anything, so I kept quiet. But at the Christmas Eve ball, there was just something... she was so strange with you, but she seemed more relaxed than I had seen her in a long time when you were dancing together. So I was just wondering... is there anything going to between you and my little girl?”

“I – no, Mrs Lancaster – Daphne, sorry. Not in the sense you mean, no. I mean, there might be, one day... depending on how things work out. But right now, no – Summer isn’t my girlfriend.”

“Oh. That’s a shame. I want her to be happy, James, and she seems so unhappy at the moment. You make her happy – and if that’s what it takes to finally force a smile onto her face then that’s what I want for her. Just – just don’t ever leave her, James. I think she needs you.”

“You really think?”

“I do. And I’m pretty sure she’d agree with me if she wasn’t so goddamn stubborn all the time.” James laughed again.

“I – I think there will be something between Summer and I, one day. But... but we have a lot to work through before we get there. She has more issues than I care to think about that she won’t talk about, and I... well, I still have problems with something Summer did and something that happened between me and an old girlfriend... We have a lot of obstacles, basically. But I think – I think there could be something...” James trailed off, and even from the floor above I could tell that he was blushing.

“Sorry, James, I didn’t mean to embarrass you. You can go and find Summer now, I didn’t mean to keep you.” James’ footsteps started again, and I quickly leapt back from the door and more into the centre of the room so it didn’t look like I was being a creeper.

James’ footsteps hammered on the stairs, and a second later the door to the room next door to my bedroom went crashing open, followed by a curse. That door slammed shut again, and then mine was shoved open rather brusquely. James stood grinning in the doorway, his cheeks still a little pink and his hair flopping sexily into his eyes.

“You alright, love? I don’t know why your house is so fucking huge, I get lost every time I come here and mmmfff –” James cut off as I took two steps forwards, flung my arms around his neck and pulled him to me in a hard kiss.

He seemed surprised, to say the least. I had a feeling that if I hadn’t had my arms around his neck that his knees might have given way and he would’ve have gone crashing to the ground.

I pulled back and grinned at him, not caring how stupid I looked whilst smiling and bothering to consider why I was smiling, before leaning forwards and pressing my forehead against his.

“Hello, James,” I grinned, and James leaned forwards to recapture my lips in a kiss. I tightened my arms and we staggered out of the doorway to my bedroom, me kicking the door shut with my foot and jumping into the air, hooking my legs around James’ hips.

“Mmmf – Summer – Sum – mmm,” James stopped trying to speak when I slid my hands into the bird’s nest on top of his head and tugged gently at his roots.

After a couple of minutes or so of top notch snogging (if I do say so myself) James seemed to recapture his thoughts, and he slowed the kiss down gently before pulling away. I rested my chin on his shoulder and stared at the wall behind his head for a lack of anything better to do.

“Summer – I told you no.”

“Funny, you don’t seem to have remembered that until just then,” I muttered loftily, and I could feel rather than hear James sigh.

“Summer, I told you that I wasn’t going to do this. Not until – anyway. Just think about, I mean – think about... I mean, you and Jack –”

“Split up a few days ago,” I finished for him, and I screeched as James suddenly dropped his arms from beneath my legs and let me go flying. I slammed my feet onto my bed, and using James’ neck as a brace, forced myself into a sexy squatting position before leaping off the bed and onto the floor. James was gaping at me, his fringe all up in his face and his nose white.

“You – you and Jack split up?” I nodded, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. Stupid strand of hair, getting in my face and making the rest of my hairs looking like twats. “When were you going to tell me – were you just saving it for when you could get something out of it? Or were you saving it to see when you could make the most dramatic announcement? Fucking hell, I have never met anyone that is as much of a drama queen as you before.”

I cocked an eyebrow coolly and slowly settled myself down on the end of my bed, surveying James from beneath my eyelashes.

I was surprised, to say the least – annoyance and anger hadn’t quite been what I had pictured for the scene after I told James that Jack and I were now done, dead and buried. At least, to me we were. I hoped that Jack had realised from the letter that there was no getting back on the horse for the two of us.

“Well, no... I just didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. And yesterday we were talking about other stuff, so it wasn’t really the right time to mention it. Merlin, I thought you’d be pleased – you hate Jack.”

James ran his hands through his hair, across his chin before pressing the heels of his palms into his eyes.

“Sorry, I – I didn’t mean to snap at you. You just – you’re very... intense today, and I was just struggling to keep up. I mean, one second you’re yelling that it’s none of my business whether you’re with Jack or not, and the next you’re announcing you’ve split up. You’re... confusing.”

“And I haven’t always been?” I smirked, pushing myself off the bed and flinging the strap of my handbag over my shoulder. James rolled my eyes and wrapped his arm around my shoulder, pulling us both out of my bedroom door.

“Don’t remind me, love. I might run for the hills.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Try me.”

~*~

“Fuck!” I shrieked, my legs flailing out from underneath me and somehow managing to propel me forwards at breakneck speeds at the same time. I flung my arms out to try and steady myself, but the resulting feel of some random old lady’s boob put a damper on that escapade.

“Mind your language, ma’am, there are children present,” a random bloke in a neon orange vest droned, pulling one of his headphones out of his ears and shooting me a blank look that suggested he was daydreaming about the many fun hours he had spent the night before playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Fred tried to get us to all play that once. Two hissy fits from Dom, a couple of textbook whacks to the head from Penny, a lot of moaning from James, a bored sigh or five from Connor and a punch to the arm from me later, the box was burned to charcoal. Dom and James soon invented a war dance to chant around the common room, which consisted of a lot of grunting and the throwing of these ashes into random peoples’ faces.

They were made to stop after Mary Finch got some in her eye and started shrieking about feeling the eyesight draining from her body.

“Did he just call you ma’am?” James laughed, walking like a doof to the entrance to the ice rink and smirking at me pathetic position on the ground. I could almost feel the ice seeping into my knickers. If I got frostbite of the bum department then you know how it was caused.

“Yes, he did. Because some people, unlike you, have manners.” I shot James a glare and tried to push myself to my feet, only to slide back over on the goddamn skates and land flat on my arse again. I was going to be black and blue by the time the night was over.

“Funny, because you’re the most unladylike female I know,” James laughed, glancing apprehensively at the ice but not actually stepping down onto it.

“Really? You have met Dominique Weasley, right? There girl that had a contest with Fred to see who could finish the most cigarettes and shots in four minutes? The girl that sits with her feet on the table and wears boots that weigh more than I do? And I’m the unladylike one?”

“Yes, but Dom knows that right time to scream out obscenities and the right time when not to. For example, you do not scream out the f-word whilst in the middle of a crowd of children at the local ice rink.” James smirked down at me as I scowled and tried to force myself to my feet again.

“Oh, well aren’t you just oh so high and mighty...” I grumbled, wincing at the strange blue colour my fingers had turned and trying once again to shove myself to my feet.

Funny enough, it is not a walk in the park to use a giant pa