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The next morning, which was conveniently a Saturday, I hopped out of bed so fast that Eddie stuck his head out of the bathroom door and stared at me in a very scared fashion.

“Where’s the fire, mate?”

I shrugged. “Not in here.”

“Then why are you out of bed at-” he glanced over at the clock, “-eight-thirty in the morning?”

“I have things to do,” I replied, grabbing a pair of sweats from a random pile on the floor. I scoured our room for a moment and took in the fact that Alex was nothing but a very large lump under his blanket and Luke wasn’t anywhere in sight.

As if he had read my mind, Eddie shook his head. “Yeah, he was gone before I even got up.”

“Does Alex know what happened?”

“Nope, I was gonna tell him when he woke up. Where are you going?”

“Oh, just places.”

“You do know tryouts are a week from today.”

I scowled. “Yes, I do know that.”

“Well, we have no Seeker,” he pointed out.

“I know that also.”

“Look, I know you have your bloody Potter pride and all, but seriously, you’ve got to apologize to Kat.”

“Never!”

“James.” I knew he was serious, because he never called me that unless it was a life or death matter.

“Yes, sir.”

“Gryffindor is going to lose. Kat’s the only half-decent Seeker in our House.”

“You think I don’t know that? She’s way better than half-decent, she’s bloody brilliant! But I screwed it all up like I screw everything up!” I was mad now. No matter how hard I ever tried to make things right, nothing between Kat and me ever worked out. And yet I bloody loved her. How bloody typical…

Alex slowly sat up and rubbed his eyes groggily. “Where’s the fire?” he inquired.

“There isn’t a fire!” I half-yelled at him, whirling to face his bed.

His eyes widened nervously and he fell back onto his pillow. “Well fine then. Excuse me for asking.”

“You’re excused.” I suddenly had a craving for porridge. “Alright, gentlemen. Please excuse me, I’m going to eat some breakfast. I have work to do this morning.”

“Ha, yeah right! You? Do work? On a Saturday morning? I think not.” Eddie gave me an incredulous stare.

“You’d better believe it, chap.” I grabbed my favorite sweatshirt – or, at least, the only one I could conceivably find without digging through piles of scrap – and darted from the room before I was tempted to fall into my bed and go back to sleep.

The Common Room was abuzz with activity as I took the stairs a few at a time. I quickly scoured the groups standing in their usual formations, hoping to see Luke and catch his eye, wishing that if I did he would forgive me and everything would go back to normal. But I didn’t let any of this show on my face as I wandered across the room towards the door.

Traipsing into the Great Hall, I surveyed the Gryffindor table with grim focus. She had to be there somewhere. And then I spotted her, sitting with Steff and Meygan at the far end of the table, smiling and laughing. I growled. How dare she be happy while I was so frustrated with myself? Wasn’t she mad at herself too? Apparently not. And if she was, I couldn’t tell from the look on her face.

This, for some reason, only served to make me angrier. I stalked down the broad aisle towards the end of the table and stood glaring down at the three girls, not quite sure what I was doing there or what I would say. It was an affliction that often plagued me, this uncertainty around Kat. How I hated it.

“Hey, James!” Meygan squeaked, looking up brightly at me.

I withheld a grimace. “Hey.”

“What’re you doing up so early on a Saturday?” Steff asked with a smile.

“Ah, well, a fellow’s gotta get up sometime. I was wondering if I could talk to you, Willoughby.” Ah, Merlin, why didn’t I just call her Kat? Huh, James, why didn’t you? Yeah, why? You know girls like it when you use their first name! Although Merlin knows why…

“Funny, sounds like you already are talking to me.”

I restrained myself from sighing. Honestly, spending time with girls makes me hold so much in… “Okay, well, can I actually have a conversation with you then?”

“If it has something to do with Quidditch, Quidditch tryouts, or anything starting with the letter ‘Q,’ then no.” She didn’t even bother to look up at me as she spoke. It was probably better that way anyways. If I didn’t have to see her eyes, maybe I’d be able to speak English properly.

“Well then, excuse me for trying to be friendly.”

“Excused.”

I groaned aloud. I’d had enough of holding it in for one morning. “Next time I try to be nice, remind me not to.”

“Don’t worry, I will.”

I whirled around dramatically and began marching away in a manner that I believed would save a bit of my dignity.

“Oh, Potter?”

Merlin, she gonna change her mind! She’s gonna talk to me! “Yes?”

“You’d better apply for a weekend job in Hogsmeade.”

I stared at her, puzzled. Was this another insult? Or was it just an awkward attempt at a compliment?

“Because it looks like you’re gonna need those fifteen Galleons.”

A cocked a menacing eyebrow. “Is that a challenge, Willoughby?”

“You’d better believe it, Potter.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

“Would you two just stop it already?!” Steff yelled, silencing both of us and a large majority of the students milling around. For a second, everyone paused and stared at us. Then, seeming to realize that it was just another crazy occurrence in the crazy life of James Potter, they all went back to whatever menial task they had been focusing on.

“Fine!” I yelled right back.

“James, can we have a little talk,” she inquired, standing up and taking my arm. Giving Kat and Meygan that girlish ‘hold-on-just-a-second-while-I-take-care-of-this-slight-problem’ look, she prodded me along until we were out of the Great Hall. “Look, James, I know you and Kat had a little, erm, spat, shall we say?”

“Yeah. Spat. Sure.”

“And I totally get that she can be stubborn and all but I just feel like it’s way overdue for you two to start getting along.”

“Believe me,” I exclaimed, “I’d be more than happy to, um, get along with her.” More like get with her, Jamesie, I corrected myself mentally. “Anyways, it’s not my fault we always fight. She just seems to hate me and there’s nothing I can do about it!”

“James, she’s not a mean person you know. She’s actually quite a lovely person once you get to know her.”

“Don’t I know it,” I grumbled under my breath.

“What?”

“Nothing. Look, can you help me? I, well, this is hard for me to admit, but I need her on the team. If we don’t have Kat, we don’t have anything. Gryffindor’s already the laughing-stock of the school, but without Kat, we won’t even have a chance. But she won’t even talk to me about it!”

“I wish I could help you, really. But even I can’t figure out what’s going on in that head of hers when she’s thinking about you.” Steff twisted a lock of bright blond hair around her finger the way she always did when something was especially stumping her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means you’re out of luck. I hate to say it, but I think you’re on your own with this one.”

I groaned again. “I hate groaning on Saturday mornings,” I mentioned helpfully. “One out of two days when I don’t have to groan about classes, and yet I spend it groaning anyways, because of you damn confusing girls!”

She laughed a little louder than I thought necessary. After all, I hadn’t really meant it as a joke. But apparently she didn’t realize I was serious.

“Fine then. I’ll just have to plot something up myself.”

“Oh no, you’re getting that look in your eye.”

“Only in one eye? What about the other?”

She punched me lightly on the arm. “That look always makes me nervous. Who knows what’ll come of it!”

“Ah, soon you shall know. But until then, I’d better be off. See ya around.” I slumped towards the staircase, hoping to find Eddie and make him help me plot but as I grumbled to myself about the frustrations girls cause, a hand landed on my shoulder. “Argh!” I screamed, jumping about three feet and whirling to face the owner of the appendage on my shoulder.

Professor Nott’s narrow eyes grew even narrower as he stared me down. “There you are, Potter.”

“Yup, here I am. What of it?”

“Would it be too much for me to assume that you haven’t forgotten your responsibility of running the clothes sale?”

“Yeah, it may be too much for you to assume that, but thanks for the reminder, chap.”

“If the Headmistress didn’t favor Gryffindor and you smarmy Potters, I’d have you hanging from the dungeon ceiling,” he snarled, a little too vehemently.

“Calm yourself, there. Didn’t realize Mr. Filch’s disgusting habits had rubbed off on anyone else! And don’t worry yourself about the sale, I’ve got it all under control.”

“You certainly had better hope so, for your own sake.” With a menacing glare, he swirled around and stalked off down the hall.

“Well someone got out of bed on the wrong side this morning!” I muttered to myself. Suddenly, something dawned on me, like the sun over my Uncle Bill’s beach-side cottage. “The clothes sale! That’s it!” With new plots stewing and simmering inside my head, I rushed off again, in search of my trusty sidekicks.




I found Eddie sprawled out across his bed with a Charms book positioned delicately atop his face. Instinctive eye-roll was impossible to stop.

“Mate, what the bloody hell are you doing?”

He jerked up, book sliding off, eyes wide. “Who ‘zere?”

“That would be me, your roommate. Ring any bells?”

“Ah, Junior.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what were you-” I gestured confusedly with my hands, “-doing?”

“Studying.”

“With your book on top your face?”

“Yeah.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Positive?”

“Yeah! Bloody frickin’ hell, yeah, okay, yeah!” he screeched.

I convulsed into a fit of laughter. “I am quite literally driving you mad, aren’t I?”

“Don’t sound so pleased. Why did you interrupt my pleasant study session, anyways? I thought you had stuff to do.”

“I did. And I did it.”

“Well then.”

Pause. Nice, comfortable silence. “So, Ed. You wanna help me? I’ve got a plan stewing.”

“I knew something was up! What’s the plan?” He fixed his dark, eager eyes on me, leaning forward on the edge of his bed. I wanted so badly for him to fall off.

“Nothing yet. But I think I know how I’m gonna get Kat back.”

“Was that where you were?” he inquired.

“Yeah. Sort of. See, I went down for breakfast and I saw her with Steff and Meygan. And she was laughing! What kind of girl laughs after fighting with me? She was laughing! And it slashed me off so bad that I just kinda stalked over and, um, well…” I trailed off.

“Did you two get in another fight?”

“Psh, no!” Pause. “Okay, so, fine, I did! What’s it to you?”

“Junior… okay, look. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that now you have a plan to get her back. So spill.” He looked as if he was trying very hard to forget the fact that I had most likely lost our team’s only hope for good. I loved him for it.

“Right. So I’ve gotta set up that clothes sale this weekend, because stupid Nott’s making me. But here’s the thing – he said that any student who gets detention this week’s gotta help me. Right now, Kat won’t even talk to me about Quidditch. But if we get her into detention before the sale, she’ll have no choice but to talk to me!” I grinned broadly and waited for the full effect of my genius to sink through my mate’s thick skull.

“Wait, so you’re proposing getting Kat in trouble?”

“Right.”

“So she’ll talk to you?”

“Right.”

“With anyone but Kat, I’d say brilliant. But with Kat… I don’t know, mate. Something about getting her in trouble makes me nervous. Must be that steely glare of hers.”

“Ed, it’s the only chance we’ve got! I don’t know if you’ve realized this yet, but we’re sunk without her!”

“We’re sunk anyways,” he muttered.

“Well that’s a lovely attitude! What’ve I got to lose anyways? It’s not like the girl could hate me any more than she already does!”

“True.”

Choosing to ignore that particular slight, I grinned. “So you’ll help me?”

“Of course I will. But if she never speaks to you again, you can’t blame me,” he warned.

“Nice disclaimer.” I settled onto my bed.

“So, how shall we get her in trouble?” Eddie inquired.

I held up a hand, ticking off fingers as I went. “Plant a stolen artifact, eat her homework, throw her shoes in the lake-”

“Wait, wait, wait! Go back one!” he cried.

“Eat her homework?” I was most excited that my bright idea had been recognized.

He waved his hands frantically. “No, before that!”

“Plant a stolen artifact.”

“Right! But not necessarily that. We’re gonna frame her!”

“Like in a picture?” I asked pleasantly.

“No, Junior, not like in a picture.” He rolled his eyes. “Like make it look like she did something she didn’t do.”

“Like what?”

“Anything! We’ve got to make sure it’ll be noticed by someone who’d be quick to give her a detention, someone who already doesn’t like her.”

“Well anyone capable of giving her a detention – namely teachers – like her. Not a single authority figure in this school doesn’t like Kat.”

“Well then we’ve got to think of something that would bug a specific authority figure and then make it look like Kat did it. Like tell the librarian, what’s her name? Tell her that Kat stole a book from the Restricted Section or something like that.”

“That’s a good start, yeah. We’ll just have to come up with the perfect frame. Maybe it should be cherry wood…” I flashed him an innocent smile.

“Junior, must you really?” Eddie sighed. “Maybe Luke’ll have something when we tell him.”

I blinked. “Um, Ed.”

His eyes widened. “Oh, Merlin. I forgot. Sorry, Junior, I just – um, I totally forgot.”

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to. Besides, who needs him anyways? If he’s gonna be a toss-pot, I don’t want him to help us.” But I did want him to help us. I missed him more than anything. A bond like that can’t just be broken, one forged through years, of prank playing and laughing and eating and all that. I couldn’t just forget it all over some fight.

Eddie must’ve read my thoughts with that creepy psycho power of his, because he got up from the floor and plopped down onto the bed next to me. “He’ll come around, mate.” He gave my arm a punch. And if he doesn’t, well, then we’ll just have to concoct another plan.”

“Thanks.” I sighed. “Well, that’s my deep moment for the month. Let’s go down to the dungeons and brew us up some love potion for Malfoy. That’ll keep me entertained until tryouts, I suppose.”

“Oh, Junior. What’re we going to do with you?”




Author's Note: Wow. I am a total failure... it has been entirely too long since I updated this, and I feel horrid about it. Hopefully it was good enough to make up for the long wait. If you all don't hate me now, I'd love to hear what you thought =]

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