Present time:

Darcy was lying on the couch with a terrible headache. She had woken up still wearing the dress she used in the previous night so after a shower, she changed to he pyjamas.

“Hangover is a bitch, isn’t it?” Mandy asked when she arrived to the Head’s dorm. “Where’s Will?”

“Bedroom,” she answered, unable to say anything more than that. “Sobering potion?”

“Alex went to get it from Lulu. Apparently, he wants you to owe him a favour,” Mandy said and entered her boyfriend’s room.

The minutes that passed before Alex arrived with the potion, seemed like months in Darcy’s mind. She felt like her head had been hit by the Hogwarts Express.

“Here you go, Finn, one sobering potion for you,” Alex told her, grinning.

“Take that smile of your face!” she demanded. “You are enjoying my pain!” She looked at the potion. “What does this thing have?”

“Chocolate milkshake,” he lied.

She shruged her shoulders and drank it.

“This surely does not taste like chocolate milkshake,” she stated, making a disgusted face.

Mandy and Will got out of his room.

“We’re off to breakfast. Are you coming?” Mandy asked.

“I think we’ll stay. Finn looks like she can barely stand and I can’t lose this perfect opportunity to make fun of her pain,” Alex answered.

They nodded and left the dorm. Alex and Darcy were finally alone.

“So, Finn, do you remember anything about last night?” Alex asked.

“Last night is a like a shadow to me. Why? Did I do something embarrassing?” she asked.

“You did several embarrassing things, Finn. Yet, only I, Mandy and Will got to see them. Don’t worry, your reputation is intact,” he assured her. “Still, when I was putting you in your bed you said something.”

Her eyes darted to him. “What?”

“You said you loved me,” he told her. Her face took a desperate look and she was about to talk when he interrupted her. “There are no take backs on this, Finn. Now, it is my turn to talk. After I’m done, you can say whatever you want, agreed?”

Darcy sighed and nodded.

“Okay, for starters, I never hated you, Finn,” he declared. “I know we kept telling that we despised each other, but that was not true, at least not to me. It was not you that I hated, that I still hate, it is who you have been trying to become. You don’t need to be the top student, the head-girl, the extraordinary prefect. You don’t need it all to be perfect. The only thing you needed to be perfect was the one you kept trying to push away. You just needed to be yourself, because the real Finn is perfect, no matter how many defects she has. The conclusion of all this is that I hated the perfect Darcy Finnigan, who doesn’t actually exist, because she had been trying to destroy Finn. And guess what. I love Finn.”

Darcy’s face was shocked. She was not expecting that declaration at all.

“Last night,” Alex continued, “I knew that Finn was there. It is difficult to pretend to be someone that you are not when you are drunk. And she said she loved me. She was free, she was sincere, and she wanted to live, unlike the perfect Darcy Finnigan. Darcy is contained, she doesn’t speak her heart, and she is stoic. All of this because she is afraid. I know what happened to you. Mandy didn’t tell me, but I heard you telling her. I know you saw your parents die and I know what that made you. You created the perfect Darcy. The stoic one. You refuse to get attached because you can’t l m bear loosing someone else. But you did get attached, to your family, to Mandy and later to Will as well. Mandy had to make you get attached to her, you didn’t want to, but she succeeded. Eventually, she also made you grow into Will. The thing is, part of you does not want to get attached to me, that part is Darcy, the stoic. But tomorrow, I realized that Finn does. Now, it is up to you to choose. Do you want to be Darcy or do you want to be Finn?”

She couldn’t think. He read her. He simply did. In that single conversation he summarized the way her head worked, something that she couldn’t do herself. He understood her mind and explained it to herself. And it all converged in that simple question. Darcy or Finn? Stoic or free?

“Can I talk now?” she asked.

“Sure,” he told her.

She sighed. “I didn’t despise you either. Since day one, I could not get you out of my head. I had to fight it, so I tried to hate you. People say that hate is the closest thing to love that exists. I didn’t want to love you, so hate was my best chance. You picking on me helped me sending the message that I hated you, even though I didn’t. There were times when I couldn’t stand you, that’s a fact. I didn’t want to get attached, you’re right, I still am a bit afraid of it, but the lack of ties seems less crucial now. This ‘hate’ was even more difficult to keep after we…you know. I didn’t regret losing my virginity with you, even though we were not in any kind of relationship, not even an actual friendship. Still, I had to keep the cool. After we slept together I did not want to let you go, but ‘the stoic one’ kicked in and the only way to half-satisfy both was that ‘no-strings-attached’ thing, making it sound like a physical thing. You don’t imagine how many times I kicked myself inside for that. Calling a physical thing to what we shared was like a sin. Because giving yourself to the person you actually love, is so much better.”

They stood silent for a while, simply looking at each other.

“That sounded a lot like Finn,” Alex stated, breaking the silence.

“I am Finn. What did you expect? It is difficult to pretend to be someone that you are not when you are having a hangover,” she declared with a shaky voice.

Ales took a few steps ahead and wrapped his arms around her. She rested her head in his shoulder.

“So that’s it? No more perfect Darcy?” he asked.

“Well, I plan on keeping my grades up and I can’t really give up the head girl position, but I think I can still do that with a more relaxed mind,” she told him.

“I’ll help you in that,” he assured her. “As your legitimate boyfriend, of course.”

Hearing that, she took her head of his shoulder and looked at him in the eyes, those infatuating grey eyes. And then, for the first time, they kissed with all the feeling that was inside them. Finally they were able to show how much they loved each other just in a kiss. Darcy’s body shivered starting in her toes and ending in the tips of her hair. A wave of heat was filling them.

Their foreheads touched when that passionate kiss was over.

“I’m sorry,” Darcy laughed nervously, “I can barely keep my eyes open.”

“Let’s put you in bed then,” he told her, kindly. “I want my girlfriend fresh and shiny.”

He took her hand and walked with her to her room. She laid in bed and he turned to leave.

“Don’t go,” she asked him, not letting got of his hand.

“Finn, it would be extremely uncomfortable if Mandy and Will found us in the same bed before we could tell them that we are a couple,” Alex said.

Darcy took her wand from the bedside table and waved it in the door’s direction, locking it.

“They will assume I am sleeping,” she told him.

Smiling, he took off his jacket and joined her in the bed, wrapping his arms around her.

They quickly fell asleep together.


Around noon, Mandy was starting to wonder where Alex was. Darcy was probably asleep, with all the drinks she had last night… But she didn’t see Alex since that morning, when she left him with her friend.

Several students had already left the school, in order to spend Christmas at home with their families.

Mandy was in the Entrance Hall with Will when her parents approached her.

“Where’s Alex?” Sirius asked his daughter.

“I wish I knew,” she said.

“He’s better not skip lunch,” Mia said. “He already missed breakfast.”

“Wait, he didn’t show up after I left?” Mandy asked.

“No, that is why we were asking you if you seen him,” Sirius explained.

“No offence, bit if you asked me, he must be caught up flirting with some girl,” Will said.

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Mandy agreed.

“Well, I hope she was worth missing breakfast,” Sirius said with a smirk. “What about you, Mandy? How did the ball treat you?”

“Very well, thank you,” she answered, smiling. She was aware that her father had seen her, Alex and Will taking a very drunk Darcy to her room.

“No pre-marital sex?” he asked.

She pretended to be embarrassed. “Oops, dad, my bad,” she joked. “But I swear you’ll like the guys.”


It was already half past noon when Alex woke up in an unfamiliar room. It took him a couple of seconds to remember what happened.

He found Darcy sleeping against his chest. They could not miss lunch or everybody would start to worry.

He kissed his girlfriend’s hair softly. “It’s time to wake up, Finn. We have to go to lunch.”

She stirred. “Can’t we skip it?” she asked sleepily.

“We already skipped breakfast, we need to eat something. Plus, everyone would start to worry,” he said.

She sighed and got up, leaving him alone in the bed. Darcy was still wearing her pyjamas so she went to her wardrobe in order to find some Muggle clothes to wear. She found a pair of jeans and a pale yellow sweater. Darcy rarely used these clothes outside, preferring a more formal style, however, it was time to change.

After she removed her pyjama tops, Alex showed up behind her and hugged from the back.

“How’s your head?” he asked.

“Better,” she told him. “You should go find Mandy; she must be worrying about you.”

“We have to tell them,” he stated.

“I know. How do you think they will react?”

“Surprised, but I trust that they will accept, we’ll tell when we find them,” Alex declared. He kissed her neck. “I’m better get going.”

She turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Finn,” he told her and kissed her softly. “See you a while.”

Darcy smiled right after he left. Thank Merlin I got drunk, she thought.


Alex was descending the main staircase when he found his twin sister wit his best mate.

“Let, me guess, you were with a girl,” Mandy said.

“Yep,” he told her.

Mandy shook her head in disbelief. “And here I was, worrying about you when you were spending the whole morning snogging a girl.”

“I didn’t spend the whole morning snogging a girl,” he said.

“Still, you could have warned us,” Mandy said. “I was worried.”

“Sorry, sis,” he apologized. “Next time I’ll warn. Promise”

They kept talking until Darcy arrived.

“Hi again,” she greeted them.

Mandy looked surprised at her friend, who was smiling widely and wearing very casual clothes. “You look…relaxed.”

“Thanks, I am relaxed,” she declared. “Can we go somewhere more private?”

“Sure. What’s wrong?” Will asked.

“Nothing, I just need to talk to you.”

They found an empty classroom and went in there.

“First of all, I wanted to thank you for taking care of me yesterday,” Darcy said sincerely.

“It was no big deal,” Mandy said and the others nodded.

“Yes, it was. If it wasn’t for you, I would have been utterly humiliated,” she said. “But what I really wanted to tell you is not only about me,” she told them, looking at Alex.

He walked next to her. “It has to do with me as well,” he stated.

“Oh, boy,” Will murmured.

“They are together in something,” Mandy finished.

Will and Mandy were staring at them like they were about to announce the world’s end.

“We’re dating,” Darcy said.

With that, her best-friends burst out laughing.

“Merlin, I was starting to worry,” Will stated. “After all this was just a joke.”

“I assure you this is NOT a joke,” Alex insisted.

“Yeah, right,” Mandy said, not believing her brother.

“We’re not kidding Mandy, I was the one he spent the morning with,” Darcy said.

Will raised an eyebrow. “You trained really hard for this prank.”

Alex sighed frustrated. He turned to Darcy. “I didn’t want to do it this way, but well…” He grabbed her by the waist and kissed her passionately. She responded the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck.

That was enough for Mandy to realize that they were not lying. “Oh my god,” was all she could murmur.

“They are not kidding,” said Will.

They broke the kiss and looked their friends.

“I can’t believe this,” Mandy said. “You two are actually dating!”

“We just got together this morning,” Alex told her.

“I hope that both of you know what you are doing,” she stated.

“We’re following our hearts,” Darcy said. “I love Alex, I’m not afraid of saying it anymore. I love him and I am going to change. From now on, Darcy the perfect is gone. The real Darcy is coming out!”

Will and Mandy were staring at her completely shocked. “Why didn’t you get together sooner? It would have spared us of several lectures made by her!” Will mockingly accused Alex.

“Shut up,” Alex answered. “I’m starving, let’s eat!” With that, he followed Will to the Great Hall.

Mandy was still numbed by all that conversation.

“You should start thinking of following a divination career,” Darcy told her.


“Don’t you remember when last year you hinted that Alex and I would get together? Looks like your prediction came true,” she explained.

“I was just joking!” Mandy declared.

“I know, but it did come true. I want you to know that I really love you brother, more than anything in the world. I could never hurt him intentionally,” Darcy promised.

“I trust you, Darce,” Mandy said. “It is incredible how much you changed in one single night! It’s seems like getting pissed caused you brain damage. Not that it is bad.”

“Well, thank you. I love to know that my best friend would be happy if I had brain damage,” Darcy told her sarcastically.


Mia was in the staff table talking to her god-daughter and co-worker Evie Brennan, her best-friend Liz’s daughter when she noticed Will and Alex coming into the Great Hall.

She turned to her husband, who was discussing something with Hagrid. “Look who’s finally shown up.”

“Want to bet there was a girl involved in his disappearance?” Sirius suggested.

“I don’t make bets that I am sure I’ll lose,” Mia declared. “He used to be so cute when he was a baby. I actually thought he would not become a womanizer.”

“We, the Blacks, always have that phase,” he stated. “However, its length depends on the person. Mine lasted five years; uncle Alphard’s lasted his whole life; Regulus had it for a month or two in his third year. Let’s pray he does not turn out to be like the old man.”

Nevertheless, they did not have to pray that long. Right after lunch, they saw Alex holding Darcy’s hand and kissing her, for the other students’ shock.

“Shut. Up.” Sirius murmured.

“They can barely breathe the same air, still, they are kissing,” Mia whispered to her husband.

“This is Lily and James all over again,” he stated.

“Except that with Lily and James we were already expecting it to happen,” Mia settled.

“Darcy Finnigan…who would imagine?”

“Not me, that’s for sure,” she said.

“Unbelievable, isn’t it?” Mandy asked, coming from behind them. “I thought they were joking when they told me.”

“She’s somewhat different, isn’t she? Calmer,” Mia asked her daughter.

“Surely less formal,” Mandy stated. “He’s changing her…for better.”

“Our prayers were answered, Mia! Alex is not another uncle Alphard,” Sirius teased.

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