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Let Halloween commence!

Halloween was my favorite holiday of the year because no matter what I could always spend it with people my own age. When I was little Mum and Dad went off to adult costume parties where Uncle Ron blushed whenever someone mentioned Aunt Hermione in a nighty and where they’d come home splitting drunk falling over furniture. Albus always made them tea while I laughed openly.

I, however, used to drag my siblings all over trick-or-treating and got pillow cases full of Muggle sweets. Strangely enough, we always dressed as wizards and made Lily dress like a princess. That really rubbed off on her.

This Halloween would be no different than those in the sense I got to spend it with people my age, but it would be better than all the previous Halloweens because I’d do it all with my friends and my teammates and I would be a professional Quidditch player. That, and because it was my last year and I was going to sodding do things right.

I stared at myself in the mirror, swishing the Tornadoes uniform around my legs with a stupid grin. It just fit. Blimey, I wanted to play for the Tornadoes one day. The only thing missing, however, was the big “Potter” on the back. No matter. There was a simple fix for that.

After some large tape I charmed to be sky blue like the rest of the robes, a quill, and some very neat handwriting, my name was on the back in the same lettering as the dark blue double T in the front. Fancy.

“Looking good,” Bink said, walking in from the bathroom in his doctor costume. It was made from loose blue material that didn’t look entirely comfortable and he had something around his neck with two ear prongs and a round metal do-dad. Bink messed up his hair and put some sort of gel hex on it to get it to stick up oddly and I figured Paloma was right, women would probably eat that up. Finally, that bloke would get a girl.

“Thanks, mate,” I said quickly. “Hopefully I’ll have my own Tornadoes robes one day. We’ll see. Is Fred out yet?”

Bink immediately laughed. “He’s almost finished. I had to help him into the wig. Kay’s right, his hair is uncommonly soft.”

“I’ll have to tell Kay she has competition.”

Bink flipped me off and laughed.

“All right, lads!” cried Fred, sticking his head out of the bathroom door. This in itself was an amusing feat because in place of his dark, shiny hair was a huge blond wig with curls past his shoulders. “Are you ready to suddenly become nonplatonically attracted to me?”

I snorted. “Come out then.”

I should have better prepared myself, considering my cousin and best mate Fred Weasley was in a dress. It wasn’t just a dress either, I noticed as Fred sauntered out, it was something else entirely. He curled one of the blond locks around his finger as he showed off the pink sweater around his shoulders and white button up blouse underneath which was tucked into a knee-length pink skirt that looked to be made out of a wonky felt. There was a white poodle on it with red eyes and cotton balls for the round plumps of fur on the tail and legs.

Oh boy, what a sight he was.

“This is why I didn’t make the bet,” I said and Bink roared with laughter. “Freddie, you look completely ridiculous. I guess it’s good you already have a girl and don’t need to, erm, find one.”

“Too right you are,” he said cheerfully. “I haven’t told Kay what I’m going as. I think she’s going as something with a lot of leg so it’ll be a good balance.”

“What did Avery decide on?” Bink asked, adjusting his spiky hair one more time.

“She won’t tell me,” I replied in wonderment. “That probably means I won’t approve of it.”

“Well, I will.” Bink grinned and I punched him in the shoulder. “And by me I mean Edwards, what a sod.”

I made a face. “He’s cruising for a hexin’ if you know what I mean. He’d better stay away from her.”

“When are you going to let anyone get near her?” Fred shifted his wig in the mirror.

“When someone is right for her—or when I die. Either or.”

“Are we ready then? I think we were supposed to be downstairs ten minutes ago.” Bink pulled open the door. “I hear everyone down there. Blimey, I feel like a girl being late.” He peeked his head in the direction of the staircase. “Oh, my. James, you’re going to want to see this. Or maybe not. I haven’t decided. No, definitely not. You should probably leave your wand here.”

“Blimey.” I took a deep breath and followed the boys out, making sure my robes were tight around my shoulders.

Immediately I knew what Bink was talking about. I saw Avery right away. In fact, she was the only one I saw, talking to Emerson Edwards by the fireplace. She was dressed as Bo Peep from the nursery rhyme and I had never seen so much leg on her in my entire life. I paused on the stairs, taking my eyes from her white and pink corset top to the little tulle bottom and the stockings stretching all the way up her thighs. I stared at her heels and the little muffin hat on her head and my throat went completely dry.

What was Avery playing at, dressing like that? Of course Head Boy prat-face was all over her. Speaking of which, I noticed he wore a silly Renaissance Nobleman costume with a fake sword and his hair messed up in an attempt to look as wicked cool as me or Bink or Freddie.

My lips were even chapped and I couldn’t bring myself to look away. I bet every bloke in the place was gawking at her for that. I knew if she wasn’t my best mate I might have gawked, but considering she was like a sister, I merely stared for a minute until my attention was diverted elsewhere.

“James!” Paloma rushed up to me once I made it to the bottom of the stairs and I finally tore my eyes away from Avery. She caught me off guard a bit, that Beater of mine, and she was honest in saying she’d be a Muggle school girl. Except, she wasn’t just a school girl, she was a school girl majoring in skin since her skirt was almost up to her bum and I was certain their socks didn’t resemble stockings with little black bows. Her white shirt was tied up around her middle and down into a v by her…well, I was staring. Her stomach was the same tan as her arms and there was a tiny jewel near her bellybutton. Bleeding why?

“Oh, hey,” I choked, glancing around for something to rescue me. Fred was already being heckled by everyone and Bink entered into a conversation with my baby brother. Bollocks. “You look…well, nice costume.”

She beamed. “Thanks, I really love it. I’m so excited. I’ve already told basically everyone.” She bounced on her heels again and I forced myself to look away.

“I’m sure we’ll have a great time.” My skin was starting to get hot so I excused myself and made my way over to Avery and Prat Boy, budging him out of the way with a smile. “Avery, I’m going to hex you into next week.”

Emerson pushed me back. “I was having a conversation, Potter.”

I rolled my eyes. “Talking about your color coordinated trunk? You’re lucky I haven’t hexed you yet.”

“And gotten detention,” he snapped back.

Avery put up her hands. “Boys, cut it out. Emerson, it was nice talking to you. I’m sure I’ll see you in Hogsmeade.” She smiled innocently and Emerson made his way back through the crowd of Gryffindors in costumes to find someone less beautiful to talk to. “James, the costume fits you nice. I see you put your name on the back, arrogant bugger.”

“Hey, if I’m going to do it I’m going to do it right.” I beamed. “Shall we?”

Avery hooked her arm into mine and we led the way out of the common room and down toward Hogsmeade. Her skin was soft and she probably used that stupid lotion again. I wanted to hex every passing bloke since they all stared and I feared a gust of wind would have her showing her knickers to all of Gryffindor Tower. Crazy woman, making me worry.

“So I got another letter this morning,” she said out of the blue, her grip tightening a bit.

“A letter? From who? Not your dad?”

Avery nodded. “The very one. He wants to meet me in Hogsmeade to talk. He still wants to go to the game I guess.”

“You can’t,” I said breathlessly. “I mean, you can, but won’t that be so weird after everything?”

“It would.”

I hated when she didn’t give me straight answers. “So what are you going to do?”

“Not sure yet. I guess I’ll decide before Tuesday, which is when I’m supposed to meet him.” She let out a long sigh. “But until then I’m not going to be Avery Flynn, I’m going to be Bo Peep the sexy shepherdess.”

“I don’t approve,” I said with a large smile.

“Don’t think I look good in this?”

“Oh, don’t make me answer that,” I replied, laughing nervously. “You’re my best friend, I can’t answer that.”

Avery shoved me playfully. “Fair enough. I think you look handsome in your robes, though. Maybe Nia will notice.”

“Nia would notice if I was covered in dirt and wearing Emerson’s Head Boy badge,” I muttered.

“All the better then! Has she learned anything else about Quidditch yet? Or are the two of you too busy snogging?”

“The latter I believe.”

“Good luck with that,” she said. “Once you want a relationship you won’t be too happy with her serious lack of knowledge in reference to anything worth knowing.”

“Who says I want to date her?”

“You’d better date someone or even Bink will be ahead of you and you don’t want that.”

Hogsmeade was completely decorated for Halloween. There were streamers hanging from all the shops and The Three Broomsticks boasted over twenty Jack-O-Lanterns out front for photo opportunities. In case, like me, wizards didn’t own cameras, the owner provided them.

The place we were headed to was just behind The Three Broomsticks. It was a large barn previously for the equipment used to keep Hogsmeade clean and tidy, but it all that was moved out and the place was cleared for Hogwarts students like myself. There was a large bar on the far side with black vinyl stools and tables around that with candle centerpieces. The dance floor was enormous and stretched for most of the barn, littered with bits of straw.

Along the sides were chairs and more pumpkins and cheap imitations of ghosts done with white sheets and scissors. The music came from huge speakers in the back and immediately Fred was dancing in his poodle skirt with cheers from onlookers.

“Drink?” I said to Avery and she nodded so I ordered the both of us drinks (her something fruity because she’d kill me if I ordered her anything stronger and me a firewhiskey) and we sat with most of the rest of the team at a table beside the dance floor. Paloma laughed over her own drink, clapping Wesley on the shoulder as he finished some joke he was telling on the way there. Fred finally sank into a chair, laughing and sweating, and I looked around to see Bink was missing. He must have forgotten a piece of his doctor costume—probably the one to operate on Fred’s brains.

“This is really impressive,” Wesley said. “Is this the first year they’ve done this? Look at that pumpkin over there—cut out like an evil cat.”

“They used to have things in The Three Broomsticks but so many people started coming they had to do it out here,” I said, taking a chug of firewhiskey and screwing up my face. That rubbish was strong. “You going to ask someone to dance, Jordan? Can’t waist a costume like that sitting here being excited.”

Wes glanced down at his swashbuckling pirate costume and smirked. “You’re right. I think I will ask someone to dance in a bit—once I get some alcohol in me, though. I need a little courage, Captain.”

“You’re a Quidditch Beater for Gryffindor!” I said loudly. “That’s all the courage you need. Girls don’t say no to that!”

“Thanks, James. I think I will ask someone to dance.” He stared at me for a minute, surveying my expression. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but I smiled back and Wes finally stood, took a deep breath, and made his way across the room to the other tables. I watched him go, proud of my little Beater for growing up so fast.

“What a great chap he is,” I said fondly, leaning over to check how much of her drink Avery had left. “He has all this courage now when he used to be a twittery little git.”

Wes approached a table with a lot of younger students at it. Little brother Albus wore a wizard costume, just like when we were kids, and Rosey had on a bumblebee outfit with a wonky yellow tutu. I saw a few unfamiliar fourth and fifth years, a few pretty girls with blond hair, and a few of my other relatives, including Freddie’s younger sister Roxanne and Hugo adjusting the collar on his pinstriped suit.

Wesley extended his hand to Lily Potter.

She beamed, grabbed his hand, and followed him onto the dance floor in her Egyptian Princess costume. Since the song was slow, he put a hand on her waist and twirled her around.

I nearly choked and Fred held my arm for a minute.

“James, James mate are you all right?” he said.

Lily smoothed out the silk fabric of her dress and smiled wide. She looked like she was having fun.

I did not reply, but instead used my other hand to reach inside the Quidditch robes and pull out my wand. I then de-pantsed the pirate Wesley Jordan, subjecting him to giggles and an extremely red face. Lily’s eyes immediately found my own and she flipped me off.

I waved cheerfully.

“James, you’re ridiculous,” Avery whispered. “Poor boy finally got the courage to ask her to dance and you’ve ruined it.”

“He won’t be able to dance again with the amount of laps I’m giving him tomorrow.” I tucked away my wand, watching Wes hold his pants up and limp toward the bar for another drink. “My baby sister, yeah right.”

To make matters even more interesting, I happened to look over when Nia made her grand entrance through the barn doors. My jaw nearly hit the floor as I examined her French maid costume. She even had a feather duster and proceeded to dust everyone she walked by as more people rushed to the dance floor since it was now a fast song.

“James, you look positively sexy,” Nia said, smiling as she grabbed my hand. I had enough time to snatch up my firewhiskey before she dragged me onto the dance floor and we began to dance.

It wasn’t so horrible, mostly because Nia’s chest was a bit big for the dress, and we danced for several songs before I ran out of firewhiskey and bought another one, grabbing Nia a drink as well. The music pounded at my ears and every so often I did a check to make sure Lily wasn’t dancing with any perverted sods in the room. She frowned at me from her seat and I waved my drink at her to show I loved my baby sister.

I glanced back at the table housing my team. Fred wasn’t there but I spotted him shaking his rear end with Kay Davies not too far away. She was laughing in a black cat outfit complete with spandex and furry ears and kept trying to twirl Freddie so much his boxers showed. I wondered about her motives with him, whether or not she wanted Quidditch information.

No, I couldn’t think of it—not on Halloween with a mug of firewhiskey and a pretty girl in front of me. I glanced back at the table. Avery was in a conversation with Wesley and he seemed a bit peeved, though that could have been my doing. Bink hadn’t come back, but I was sure he could be in the back of the room dancing or snogging some random broad. Paloma disappeared as well and Meta wasn’t there, but I never expected her to watch to hang out with her team. Unless it was primarily her team and she was captain—which she wasn’t. Thank Merlin, ruddy woman.

“James, you’re drunk!” Nia said, laughing loudly and taking the hand that was not occupied by alcohol. “You’re nearly falling on me.”

“Sorry, love,” I said quickly. “I’m a bit distracted.” The room was louder than before and a lot more people were there. “So many ridiculous costumes to look at.”

Nia giggled. “You’re very right. Are you having fun?”

I nodded. “Loads actually, I’m nearly out of breath. How about another drink?”

“I’d love one, thanks.”

I made my way up to the bar and noticed my walking wasn’t exactly as straight as it should have been. I bumped into a table and a Hufflepuff, but since I was the Quidditch Captain of Gryffindor no one seemed to mind. I got a thumbs-up from Darian Bay and then a thumbs down as I flipped him off for dating Nia.

The bar was horribly crowded but I managed to squeeze my way in between Albus and one of the Ravenclaws Fred dated last year. “Lo, little brother,” I said cheerfully.

He narrowed his eyes and waited for a drink.

“Oh, don’t do this, mate, you know I don’t fancy her.”

“I don’t see why you have to bring it up every bleeding day,” he snapped.

“Because you won’t let it go!” I smiled at the bartender. “Firewhiskey and a Manhattan please. Thanks, love.” I glanced back at Al. “Look, mate, she already told me she wants to see more of you.”

“Don’t give me that,” Al said, just as snappy and sulky as before. “Don’t try to make me feel better because you’re guilty since you’ve been a sod of a brother.”

“A sod of a—Al, come on. You don’t mean that.”

The bartender handed him a brandy. “You know what, James? I think I do. I think I really do.”

I watched him shift back into the crowd, over to where Rose put an encouraging arm around him. “Blimey,” I muttered, grabbing the drinks and making my way back to Nia.

She beamed at me. “Thanks so much!” She downed a quarter of it.

“Can we sit down?” I took a huge gulp, screwed up my face since it was horrible, and made my way back to the team table. Avery wasn’t there, but Wesley sat staring out onto the dance floor. “Hiya, Wes. Don’t have your dancing feet on?”

“Not so much anymore,” he muttered, nursing a small glass of wine.

“Don’t worry, mate, someone will catch your eye that is not of my immediate blood relation.” I beamed and offered Nia the chair beside me. “Sorry about that, by the way. Just a little friendly gesture of teammate love.”

“I’m glad my boxers have decent prints on them then.” Wesley managed a smile and I clapped him on the back.

“That’s a good lad,” I replied, taking another deep drink as my eyes strayed to Albus in the corner. He didn’t look so good and it was entirely my fault. I would fix it the next day. I had to do something, after all. I couldn’t just let him blame me forever. But for now, it was Halloween! I was in a Tornadoes uniform and the wonderfully large grades of Nia Baker were sticking out of the top of her dress and she took no notice. I, however, took a great deal of notice.

“James, my eyes are up here,” Nia said and giggled over her drink.

I managed to look up at her eyes. “Oh. Well, yes, of course they are. What intricate lace work on your costume.”

“I know, isn’t it lovely?” She glanced down at the lace around her breasts, forcing me to look back again. Well, hell. “I got it for discount but I knew it was worth more than that.”

“Just breathtaking,” I managed, prying my eyes from her breasts and taking another drink. The room started to shake a bit and I grinned. Now, this was more like it. Nothing could get in my way now that I was finally having a good time—sitting with Nia and Wes, listening to good music, drunk off my sodding arse, this was the way to spend Halloween. I adjusted the robes and glanced over to see if Fred finally unstuck from Kay.

Instead, what I saw was the bar. I saw a certain Bo Peep at the bar laughing. The Renaissance git was beside her on a stool, leaning over with a hand on her arm. Her bare arm. The arm with no material covering it. I watched them intently as Nia said something less than entertaining. Though I was rather intoxicated and I couldn’t tell how many fingers someone stuck up (unless they flipped me off like Lily occasionally did), I could tell what Head Boy Twat-Berry was saying to my best mate.

“What would you like?” he said, grinning stupidly.

“What do you mean?” Avery adjusted her corset.

Emerson gave a light squeeze to her naked arm. “A drink. Let me buy you a drink since I’ve occupied all your time.”

“That sounds lovely.” Avery smiled charmingly. “An Amaretto Sour, please.”

Emerson waved the bartender over and ordered the drinks. I felt an angered heat rise up in my gut and suddenly I was sweating in the robes. I watched him stare at her hungrily, that two-timing jerk. He was basically slobbering on his fancy Renaissance getup. He was disgusting, a regular pompous pig-headed twat and I wanted nothing more than to punch him in the back of the head.

Who did he think he was anyway? Did he think he could just walk in and flirt his way into Avery’s life? Sure she saw right through him. Surely Avery knew he was good for nothing and a horrible person and didn’t know bollocks about Quidditch.

My hands shook on the table as I watched him hand her the drink. His fingers were off her arm now, but once he took a drink of his own sissy Cosmo, Emerson placed his hand on the top of her thigh where the tulle from her skirt came out against her leg.

I stood so suddenly I knocked the table back and Nia’s Manhattan nearly got her costume. She shrieked and jumped to the side, rushing to the floor to pick up the glass. Wesley’s drink also flew off the table, but he stared at me curiously instead of rushing off to grab it. My firewhiskey was still in my hand. A few others stared, but I felt too hot to notice.

No. Nope. This wasn’t going to happen. Sure, Avery and I agreed we should date more, but not him. Not my stupid roommate with his color coordinated socks and Victoria-loving ties. No bleeding way. I wasn’t going to stand for it. Not him. Who? I had no idea, but not bloody Emerson Edwards, prat-face extraordinaire.

“James?” Nia stood beside me with her glass and followed my eyes. “Really, James, there’s no need to be jealous. She’s just your mate, remember?”

I ignored her. Jealousy was not one of my emotions. Protectiveness, now that was something I was familiar with. I didn’t pay attention to anything else she said, but I grabbed my wand and held it straight out in front of me.

Well, straight as it would go considering I was rather wobbly.

“Eff no,” I muttered, marching toward them. Avery giggled at some convenient joke and Emerson took a swig of his bloody girl drink. “Stupefy!” I shouted and that bastard shot back against the bar, stunned.

Avery’s eyes flew over. “James Sirius Potter!” she cried, gaping at me and then motioning to her unconscious drink-buyer. “What do you think you’re doing?”

I couldn’t exactly find the words. “Hand on your thigh, I don’t bloody think so!” I pointed my wand at him again, stumbling a bit so things went in and out of focus. “No. No, I’ll have none of that.”

“Did it ever occur to you I didn’t mind?”

“Not once actually.”

Avery rolled her eyes. “How am I supposed to get to know anyone with you hexing them all?”

“Just not him,” I said. “Not him.”

“Anyone I very well please, James.”

I groaned. “Aves, come on. Don’t do this.”

She motioned to her drink. “Free, James.”

“I’ll buy you one.”

“I know you mean well, love, but I can handle it, okay? I won’t let him put his hand on my thigh again, I promise.” She beamed.

“Detention, Potter.” Emerson hoisted himself back onto the stool and rubbed his head a few times.

“We’re not on school grounds!” With that, I proceeded to jump up and down and get firewiskey all down my front. “Sucka!” I added, just for effect.

“Well, when we are you’re getting a bleeding detention.” He rubbed his head again.

“Oh, blow it our your arse,” I muttered, turning back to the rest of the room. Freddie and Kay were exchanging in very dirty dancing with her leg high against his ribs and Albus finally managed to have a bit of fun with some fourth year girl. Lily was still sullen and angsty, which is how I liked her, and Wesley kept casting unreturned glances in her direction.

I surveyed the situation. Where was blondie Bink? I still hadn’t seen him since the party began and that doctor costume was being completely wasted.

My hands were wet and I glanced around. I was on the floor—how did I get on the floor? My drink spilled all around me and I watched my fingers dance it in for a moment. The room spun around me and my lips tasted a little like blood. I must have bit my lip while getting down here.

“James, what’re you doing on the floor?” Avery kicked me a little with her high heel.

I groaned. “Erm,” I said. My robes were twisted around my legs and I found it difficult to regain composure and get up. “I was just inspecting—why, look! Did you know this was real straw? It is. It’s real sodding straw. The real stuff. Go on, take a bite.”

“I’m not taking a bite of the straw.” She smiled.

I grabbed it, took a bite and chewed it up, tasting all of nothing as I watched Nia’s breasts bounce toward me conveniently.

A/N: Oh, Halloween. What a holiday, eh? And how about those costumes. James has his hands full I think. This was such a crazy fun chapter to write! I love the idea of Jame attempting to be protective of half the people there and still having a good time. And yeah, take that Darian Bay.

I wanted to say thanks again for all the amazing reviews. This story has really taken off and it is amazing to see what people think of it! Thank you all so much.

Favorite lines? Favorite hexing? What the heck, Albus??

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