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Nothing belongs to me.

Edit: Re-edited, guys! :)






 

 Drag Queen Halloween
 
 
I was back in the dorm, and I had just finished telling the girls my horrible story.

“Sucks for you, mate.” Zelda patted my arm sympathetically.

“I know.” I sourly leaned against my pillow. “Someone up there hates me.”

“But what did Liam think?” Xander asked worriedly.

I grimaced and closed my eyes, trying not to bring the memory back. “Well, all of his suspicions were confirmed, weren’t they? I turn out to be lusting for my worst enemy after all. He caught us red-handed: on top of each other, almost kissing.”

“But it was Lynette’s fault.”

“Does it matter?” I sighed again. “He told me that we were better off as friends.”

“And Malfoy?”

“Oh. He just lay there. Smirking. Without any clothes on.”

“Then you came back to the castle?”

“I drowned myself in butterbeer, and then I came back.” I corrected and fell back on my bed with a small “Oof!

“So, you guys are just friends now? Liam and you?” Xander said, creasing her brows. “But you kissed! That's gotta count for something!"

I made a small noise in my throat. "No, it doesn't."

Zelda put a hand on my head. “You want me to go set Lynette’s hair on fire?”

I shook my head slowly. “Just put something into her shampoo. Hippogriff dung, I’m thinking, or maybe undiluted bobotuber pus. Let’s see how much she likes that.”

“Ugh! That bitch!” Xander raged, bashing a pillow with her fist. “She thought it would be so fun to ruin your relationship, didn’t she?!”

“Xander, calm down,” I said wearily. After the whole day, I was dead-exhausted, both physically and mentally. And it was then that a sudden realization hit me. It was something that had been bugging me for a long time, but... I really had never admitted it to myself. “Guys...I don't know. I don’t think I fancy Liam anymore…He isn’t the guy I thought he was.”


I ended up sleeping through the afternoon. I felt myself being shaken awake. I opened my eyelids a tiniest bit, and I saw blond. “ARGH, LYNETTE!” I tried to swipe her face off.

The blond stepped back. “Eeek, Rose, watch it! Do I look anthing like Lynette Queen?”

I sat up. Oh, it’s Kai. “Sorry, man.” Then, “How on earth did you get up here?”

“Flew up.” He showed me his PheonixFyre. “I heard about Liam. That really has got to suck. After all, he is a really--" He stopped awkwardly. I stared at him with my eyebrows raised. "I mean, he was a really nice guy, after all. Ugh.  I can't believe that Lynette did that!  She's such a daft bint!"

I shrugged. Mentally, I added Liam to the list of boys who might/might not be the reason why Kai joined the Quidditch team. “I don’t care about Liam anymore. He pretty much ditched me for no fucking reason whatsoever. Are Al and Lysander still angry at me?”

“Don’t know about the Scamander, but Al was pretty pissed. He spent his day in the Common Room cracking his knuckles and making a dartboard out of a photo of Liam’s face. He’s calmed down a bit now, but I’m not too sure.” A sad look appeared on his angelic face. “Albus kicked me out of the boys’ dorm again.”

No,” I said, standing up in shock. “Why?”

“Er…” he looked away shiftily. “It happened after he saw my Halloween costume.”

I deadpanned at him. “Kai, tell me now. What are you planning to wear?”

He smiled brightly. “An Alice in Wonderland costume!”

“A what?” I racked my head to remember the names of the characters. “Wait, are you being the March Hare or White Rabbit?” I had a vision of Kai with cute, snow-colored bunny ears sticking out of his head. Aw, cute.

He shook his head.

“Er…the bloke in the hat?” I ventured to ask. “The Mad Hatter whotisface?”

“I do have the costume,” he announced, “but that’s not the one I’m wearing.” Then, he pulled out a gorgeous, Madonna-style yellow-blond wig from inside his robes.

I slapped my head. “You’re being Alice?

“Well, duh, Rosie! I L-O-V-E her dress.”

“No wonder Al kicked you out,” I muttered to myself. "You're fucking insane."

He didn’t seem to hear me. “What?”

“Nothing,” I muttered. “Take my advice and wear the Mad Hatter one.”

“Whyyyy?” he moaned. Then he brightened, mismatched eyes lighting up. “Hey, wait! I’ll show you how awesome I look in it! Then you’ll change your mind!”

And with that, he jumped into the girls’ bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

“What the—

Kai
!” I yelled indignantly.

His muffled voice sounded beyond the door. “Give me a few minutes!”

I slumped back onto the bed in exasperation, and at the same time, Zelda and Xander appeared in the doorway of the dorm room. “You’re awake, finally!” Zelda ran over in excitement. “I’ve decided! We’re going to do it right now!

“What?” Xander and I said in perfect synchronization.

Grinning deviously, she bent and rummaged underneath her bed. “This!” She pulled out a shopping bag with the Halloween store logo on the front.

“What about your costume?” I asked perplexedly.

“Wait—that’s not your costume!” Xander’s yellow-amber eyes went round. “It’s the extra one! The ballerina outfit!”

Zelda’s eyes glowed. “Exactly. Can you guess what I’m going to do with this baby?”

I had a hunch, but it was so wacky that I wasn’t going to voice it. “Umm…Zel, you’re not making any sense. Are you going to wear—that thing?” I gazed at the poufy, pink tutu.

“No! I’m going to make Jag wear it!” She tossed her black hair back and started laughing madly.

My mouth fell open, and then I started laughing too. “I knew it! Zelda, that's insane! How're we gonna pull it off?"

“Yeah,” Xander added, flicking her hair. “Jag isn’t that much of a girl.”

Zelda shrugged, but didn’t stop grinning. “I don’t know how the hell we’re gonna do it, but it’s gonna be mad fun. You in?”

“Are you mental? Of course I am! I just don’t want Al falling in love with Jag if he sees him dressed in drag—”

“WHO FELL IN LOVE WITH WHO?” yelled a high-pitched voice from the bathroom. The bathroom door burst open with a bang.

“WHAT THE HELL?” My friends and I cried at the exact same time.

It was a girl, well, um, at least it looked like a girl. She was um tall-ish and had a head full of gorgeous, tight, golden curls that tumbled down over her shoulders. She was wearing an artfully ripped, flouncy blue dress that went down to her knees and striped, torn leggings underneath.

Kai?” Xander whispered questioningly. She had blanched, her face going the color of milk.

“Why the flipping fuck are you wearing a dress?" Zelda bent double, pretending to puke. "Ugh-- take it off! Take it off! My eyes are bleeding!"

Kai trailed his eyes over to me. His eyes, I noticed, were both blue now. Colored contacts, probably. His penciled eyebrows had contracted as if he was troubled. “Did someone fall in love with someone? Jag? Or is it… Al?”

“Yeah, this is disturbing me.” Zelda held up a hand to support her head. “Pray tell, why the hell are you wearing a dress? I mean, that dress would look great if you were a girl. But you're a boy. With bollocks. You--have--bollocks--"

“Yeah, I know I have balls, thanks,” he replied, sounding unperturbed. It was really disturbing to hear a masculine voice coming out of the lipstick-ed mouth. "It’s my Halloween costume."

“Kai, Zelda's right. Take that thing off.” Next to me, Xander was rooted to the spot, white and frozen. It was like she had seen a banshee. “You don’t look bad….but, please, just take if off. We're getting scarred here.”

Kai twisted his mouth around in a frown. “I don’t know…Xander, what do you think? Don’t I look good?”

Xander reached out with her hand and cupped his face. Her eyes were still wide with astonishment. “Kai…”

“Yeah?”

She fell at his feet, bursting into tears. “HOW DO YOU DO THAT KIND OF MAKE-UP? TEACH ME, PLEASE! WAHHH!”

I was struck dead. What in hell?

From a foot away, I heard Zelda swear. We shared the same look of utter, utter disbelief.

“OH MY FUCKING GOD, KAI EVERGREEN!” Zelda barked, “JUST TELL HER FOR HEAVEN’S SA—MMMHH!”

I had slapped my hand over her mouth. I smiled at Kai and Xander, who were looking alarmed all of a sudden. “Nothing. What were you saying about make-up?”

I let go of Zelda, who was flapping her arms around indignantly.  We moved away behind to behind a four-poster bed, away from the other two. She frowned in a cross manner. “What the hell you playing at, Rose? Can't you see how much of an idiot Alexandrina's being? She has got to know that he's--”

“Lower your voice!” I whispered harshly. Kai and Xander were blabbing in such loud voices, it was unlikely that they would hear us, but still. “What do you mean, ‘what am I playing at’? You can’t just gaudily yell out something like that! It's his flippin' sexuality!”

Zelda shrugged, and then looked down at her feet. “I s’pose you’re right."

I gave her a small smile. “It’s okay. I know it’s a shock seeing him like that, but that’s all just a part of him. It’s what makes him Kai. It would be heartless to tell everyone about…you know. And anyway, I’m damn positive everyone knows already. Kai doesn’t exactly keep it a big secret. I don't think he even knows that he doesn't keep it a secret.”

“Everyone except Xander,” said Zelda bitterly. “She’s just so effin’ daft.” She bit her lip. “She's our friend, Rose. We can't just watch while she gets her heart crushed!”

I was thrown in the same dilemma again. Tell Xander and save her from heartbreak or reveal Kai’s secret? “She’ll be okay. She said it was ‘just a crush’ so she doesn’t like him that much. Hopefully.”

Zelda flicked her head up, her face lighting up with a sudden thought. “But, Rosie, wait! Does Kai--Who does Kai like?”

“Here they are!” Kai popped his curly-haired head around the bedpost. “Who’re you gossiping about?”

“Guess what?” Xander said excitedly, bouncing up and down, “Kai’s going to help us with Operation Ballerina! Isn’t that great?”

“Ballerina?” mouthed Zelda, looking a little lost. Then: “HELL YEAH, KAI, I LOVE YOU!” She jumped on him and hugged him tightly. Then stepping back, she proudly surveyed her group of minions (me, Xander, and Kai).

“LET’S DO THIS, GIRLS!”

 

The Dance started at eight in the evening sharp. When we left the girls’ dorm with the intent of forcing Monsieur Jagneaux into a ballerina tutu, it was already five o’clock. I didn’t notice, but Xander sure did. She kept up a constant grumble underneath her breath about how there wouldn’t be any time left to get dressed.

“Three hours!” I snapped finally. “We have three hours! Stop blithering, woman!”

“It’ll take at least two for the costume and make-up and two for the hair. Especially your hair,” she shot at Zelda.

“What’s wrong with my hair?” said Zelda defensively, touching her black locks.

“It’s boring.”

“Thanks.”

“I’m just worried that Jag’ll look prettier than me after we finish with him,” muttered Kai fretfully. He had taken the outrageous wig off and had washed most of the foundation and lipstick off his face, so he didn’t look like Blond-Girl-In-Alice-Dress anymore. He looked like Teenage-Boy-In-WTF-Girly-Outfit. I told him so.

“Rose, for being a female, you have absolutely no sense of subtlety.”

I snorted. “So I’ve been told.”

We were creeping up the boys’ stairs. Slowly, step-by-step. Not making a single sound (or at least we were tying not to). Zelda was in lead, clutching the ballerina dress. Then Kai, Xander, and finally me, taking up the rear. Sean and Chatty clattered down the stairs, and then came to the halt when they saw our odd procession.

“Whoy the hell’re ya dressed in drag, Evagreen?” Sean demanded, rubbing his short buzz-cut.

Chatty flipped his notebook open and peered at a page studiously. “It’s the eleventh time this month.”

“Bugger off, you morons,” Zelda said, brushing past them.

“Zelda,” muttered Chatty. He gazed wondrously at her and started to blush. “You…you talked to me?”

“I am going to crush your brain matter into flobberworm excrement.”

His eyes shone and he whipped out a quill and fervently began to write her words down. Kai, Xander and I stared at him. “Okay, awkward,” Xander muttered under her breath.

“Do you know where Al and Jag are?” Kai asked them.

Sean raised his eyebrows. “Dunno. Why you askin’ me, little fl—”

I rammed my fist solidly into his nose.

“OW! Fuck..”

“You deserved it,” Zelda hissed down at him.

“Yeah,” Chatty told his friend, “you deserved it.” He turned to Zelda. “I think Al and Jag are in the dorm room. Is that helpful?”

“I won’t pulverize you yet.” Zelda turned her back on him and beckoned to us. “C’mon.”

We continued up the stairs. None of us wanted to talk about the encounter, especially not Kai. He looked the slightest bit awkward, but Zelda and I were ignoring it. Xander, like always, was clueless.

Stopping in front of the dorm door, I said in a low voice, “But Al’s in there too! How the hell’re we going to get the ballerina thing on Jag without him interfering?”

Zelda pondered this for a moment. “Kai, Xander…could you two take care of Al?”

“What does ‘take care’ mean?” they said at the same time, and then looked at each other curiously.

“I mean,” Xander added, throwing a glance at Kai, “do we have to do anything to him?”

“And what does doing something mean?” said Kai shiftily.

I studied them for a brief second. That was odd. They reacted in the exact same way. This can’t mean…

“Just hold him down, Stun him, strip him, whatever,” Zelda waved a hand. “Meanwhile, Rose and I’ll get Jag.”

“Me too?” I said a little nervously.

“Of course! Do you think I can handle that big buffoon all on my own?”

I swore under my breath.

“Everybody ready?” Zelda looked at us brightly, and then pointed her wand at the doorknob. “One…Two…Three…Alohomora!

The door BANG-ed open, and we were in.

A strange sight met our eyes.

“I WIN SUCKA!”

Al and Jag were shirtless, in their boxers, and amidst the smelly underwear, textbooks, and socks that littered the place they were having a full-out wrestling contest. Al had trapped Jag’s head underneath one armpit.

“EW!” screamed Xander, while Kai said, “GUH-ROSS!”

Jag stopped struggling. He pointed at us from underneath Al’s armpit. “Er, invasion?”

“Never mind that,” Zelda growled frustratingly. “Xander, Kai, take him!

“Er, no,” Xander muttered. Kai coughed and added delicately, “He’s shirtless.”

So?” roared Zelda, waving her wand wildly around.

“What the hell’s going on here?” Al said, looking at me.

“Er…Al? It would be best if you went away… This scene might be potentially scarring…”

“I’M SCARRED ALREADY!” Al fell backward in horror, pointing at Kai and his dress.

“Now!” Zelda said to me. She jumped forward and tackled Jag to the floor, pinning his hands over his back.

I didn’t move. Zelda could handle it.

“OI!” Jag struggled. “What’re you doing to—”

“You can’t seriously be this stupid, Jaggy.” I said in a dry voice. “She has a ballerina outfit. You’re not wearing any clothes. What do you think she’s going to do?”

“Nooooooooooooooooooo!”

“THEY’RE TURNING US INTO FEMALES!” Al screamed intelligently, running toward the door.

“Stop him! He might alert somebody!” I barked at Xander.

Xander didn’t move, instead it was Kai who body-tackled Al into the nearest four-poster. I tried not to think of the implication.

Meanwhile, Zelda, who was straddling Jag’s back, had pulled out a glass vial from her pocket. She unstoppered it with her teeth, pulled his head back, and jammed the potion down his throat. He made a sorry gargling noise like someone drowning underwater.

“HELL, EVERGREEN, STOP IT!”

“WHAT? I’m just—UGH, TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T— UGH—” Sounds of furious wrestling came from inside the depths of the four-poster.

“He died!” Xander gasped, pointing at Jag, who had just gone lifeless.

 “Paralyzing Potion.” Zelda got off his unmoving body. “Now, where’d the costume go?”

“STOP IT, I SAY STOP IT!”

“I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING! YOU’RE THE ONE WHO’S WRIGGLING SO MUCH—”

“JUST LEMME GO, DAMMIT! LEMME--AHHHHH---”

I did my best not to look in the direction of the four-poster. I didn’t want to know what was going on in there. “Right. Um. How’re you going to get the tutu on him?”

Zelda held the tutu, looking at it, to Jag’s bare legs, and back to the tutu again. “Er, Rosie, you lift his legs, and I’ll slip it on.”

No way! You lift his legs, and I’ll slip it on!”

“I don’t want to touch him!”

“You just straddled him!” I shot at her. “What’s the difference?”

“That was—Urgh. This is awkward.”

“So?”

“Oh, Merlin, you guys,” said Xander finally. She stood over us, arms crossed. “Rose, you take the tutu. Zelda, you get the guy’s legs. And it doesn’t matter if you touch him or not, ‘cos you two’re getting married anyway—”

“WHAT THE—” Zelda swore loudly. “I THOUGHT WE DECIDED ON THIS ALREADY! I’M GETTING MARRIED TO ROSIE’S BROTHER, AND JAG’S GETTING MARRIED TO A GOAT!”

I sighed and bent over Jag’s leg with the tutu in hand. “Why did you even want to do this, Zelda?”

A few minutes later, with a lot of 1) me and Xander wincing and grimacing 2) Zelda cackling evilly (though determinedly going nowhere near Jag’s half-naked body) 3) me and Xander squeezing the mini-XXXS size pink glittery top over Jag’s head (the shirt split at the seams, eventually( and 4) Al and Kai screaming and yelling from the bed (…okay then…) we ended up with our finished product.

I used a Charm to magically prop Jag up on the side of the bed. He was still paralyzed and basically like a life-size, gorgeous, human doll, but his eyes still darted around frantically. His pupils had changed color to a pale, celery-green. He was wearing the poufy, glittery pink tutu, which basically covered six inches of his upper thigh –thank Merlin he was wearing briefs underneath—and the split top looked more like a bra on him, since it was so short…

The girls and I were laughing our freakin’ asses off, he looked so fucking stupid.

Zelda added the finishing touches herself, putting a fake tiara on his head (the kind preschool girls wore while having tea with their teddy bears), and making him grip a plastic, Made in China!Princess wand in his hand. Grinning mischievously, Xander pulled out her camera…

 “Hey, Al, check this out!” I called quickly in the general direction of the four-poster. “You have got to see this!”

“SEE, EVERGREEN! YOU CAN FUCKING LET GO OF ME NOW!”

Kai sounded extremely harassed: “I’M TRYING TO, FOR PETE’S SAKE! YOU GOT MY DRESS ALL TANGLED UP IN YOUR—”

Meanwhile, Xander had been going mental with the camera. Snap! Snap! Snap!

“Zelda, go pose with Jag!” I told her, holding back my laughter.

No! Argh, stop that!"

Shrugging, I waved my wand around. Jag rose into the air and I found that I could control his arms and legs with a simple wrist-movement. An evil idea came into my mind. I swished my wand to the side, making Jag float over creepily toward Zelda. A second later, his arms were around her.

Zelda started screaming her lungs off, and tried to bat him away. “AHHHHHHHHHH! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!”

I bent double, cracking up. “Q-Quick, Xander! Get a picture!”

“WHAT IN MERLIN’S NAME IS GOING ON IN HERE?” a man’s voice thundered.

There was a pure, utter silence. Xander, who had a clear view of the doorway, opened her eyes wide in horror.

Slowly, I turned to the door…

And standing there was…

Professor Neville?

Shit.

“What is this?” Neville repeated, growing angrier and angrier by the second. His eyes surveyed the room, taking in our breathless faces and Jag’s obvious lack of manly clothing. “Delaney just reported to me. What have you done to him?”

“It’s j-just, er…” Zelda stammered. “A joke. You know, it’s Halloween.”

“Yeah,” I added, feeling lame, “like trick or treat.”

Al screamed angrily from the four-poster. Everybody turned their heads toward the bed. Neville’s face went slack. “And who the hell is in there?”

I couldn’t help it; I exploded in hysterical giggles. But Neville shot me a stern look and I sobered up immediately. “It’s…er, Al and Kai.”

“What?” Neville’s mouth opened in incredulity and disgust, but before he could continue, another professor showed up at the door. Normally I would have been horrified, but this professor was our savior, and he would definitely help in saving our butts from Neville.

“Teddy!” I cried in relief.

“Oi, girls, whatchu do to the poor bloke?” Teddy adjusted his silver wraparound glasses and stared in astonishment at Jag’s form.

“We’re making him into an art-form,” Zelda muttered randomly.

“Effeminate art-form,” added Xander under her breath.

“Halloween practical joke?” I offered with a bright smile.

“—LET GO ALREADY!”

“I’M TRYING TO! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’D EVER CALL YOU THIS, BUT YOU’RE ACTING LIKE A BIG FAT NINNY RIGHT NOW, ALBUS—”

“NINNY? WHOT THE HELL—GET YOUR GIRLIE RUMP OFF MY FACE!”

Teddy’s hair changed from turquoise to a sick green. “Is that…Al? And Kai? I could have never guessed. Oh, man, you girls should have told me about this wayyy earlier…”

“It’s not like that!” I said quickly. “We needed someone to get Al under control, and Kai was with us and—it’s complicated, okay?”

“Kai, you know you can let go of him!” Zelda called. No one seemed to want to approach the four-poster.

“D’ARGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” came Al’s voice in a mad animal roar. There was a mighty ripping noise and Al tumbled out of the curtain and onto the floor with a loud

thump
! His face was red, hair rumpled, and his grass-green eyes glittered with pure murder. There was a softer thump and Kai landed on his back, the blue Alice dress falling over his head. We got a lovely view of striped bloomers and Kai’s bare legs. I was laughing so much, my face started to ache.

“Er, why’s Kai wearing a dress?” asked Teddy, shooting us a wierded-out glance.

Kai rolled off my cousin and impatiently brushed his dress the right way up. “It’s my Halloween costume, Professor.”

Teddy cocked a smile on his face, pretending to understand. “I get it. And is that tutu-thingy Jag’s costume, too? I don't think it'll get past our dress code here.”

Nobody answered him. Zelda was going purple with the strain of trying not to laugh.

“Jag…?” Al got up from the floor and slowly walked toward him, his face slack with disbelief. “Jag? Jag?” My cousin got down on his knees in front of Tutu-Man, and shook his shoulders. “JAGNEAUX! SPEAK TO ME, MATE, SPEAK TO ME!”

“Won’t work. He’s paralyzed,” I put in with a small giggle.

“Paralyzed?” Professor Neville spluttered. “How did that happen?”

Zelda’s face went from bright purple to ivory. “Er…I, er, sort of brewed a Paralyzing Potion?”

“Nice. Isn’t that illegal?” Teddy sounded amused. His eyes cut over to our Herbology professor. “I’ll handle everything here, Neville. You can go back to the Great Hall.”

“I’m their Head of House, Ted!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Teddy grinned, “but you have bigger duties to handle. I personally saw a fifth-year Slytherin trying to shove a bat down one of the house-elves’ gullets. They were in the Great Hall.”

What? Who was the kid?”

“Er…Pucey. Yeah, it was Pucey.”

Muttering, Neville ran out the door.

The moment he left, Teddy turned on us. “Seriously, guys, what the hell have you been doing? Professor Longbottom was going to report you lot to McGonagall for sure!”

“Did Pucey really do that?” Zelda looked astonished. “That’s so cruel!”

Teddy shrugged. “I dunno. He was the first fifth-year Slytherin who came to mind. But, forget about that—”

“Oh man, Teddy!” I laughed giddily. “You’re a teacher and you just framed one of your students!”

Teddy’s hair sparked bright orange and he grinned at us. “I’m also a twenty-four year old Gryffindor dude who seriously needs to kick some ass. But, like I said, forget about that. I needed to make Neville bugger off somehow and….Zelda, how the did you brew a Paralyzing Potion?"

Zelda shrugged, her cheeks flushing a soft pink. “A book?”

I was suddenly reminded that Zelda allegedly might have a crush on Professor Teddy. Ooooh, this wasn’t good….

Teddy snapped his fingers, and a vial of potion appeared magically in front of his hand. He snatched it out of the air and went forward to Jag’s unmoving form. I watched as he tilted Jag’s head back and poured the potion down his throat. Teddy might a wild-card—hell, who was I kidding? If Teddy hadn’t been teaching it Hogwarts, he’d be an underworld crime boss—but, whatever it seemed like, he was extremely gifted at magic.

Teddy stepped back, a brooding expression on his face.

Then Jag’s eyelid began to twitch. He blinked. Then he finally regained control of all his limbs.

ZELDA!

“Oh, rooster bollocks!” Zelda dived to hide behind Xander and me.

“You know they eat rooster bollocks in China,” Teddy said absently.

“ LEGGO OF ME, YOU SUCKERS! I WANT TO KILL—” Jag fought against Al and Kai’s restraining hands. They were a sight. Three guys—two in drag—wrestling with each other.

“We need to get him a Calming Potion,” Teddy concluded, eyeing the scene critically. He turned to us. “Off you girls go, since I daresay you’ve done enough damage. We don’t need Mr. Jagneaux here getting anymore beastly than he already is.”

Zelda, quite happily, ran for her life. Xander and I followed her.

 

Safely in our dorm, we started cracking up hysterically.

“—Jesus, girl, Jag’s gonna murder you now!”

“Pshh! Who cares? I had the time of my life!”

“Did you see what Jag was doing in the end—after he got revived by Teddy? He—”

“—OMG, he like took that plastic princess wand and tried to stun Zelda with it—”

“Like that worked.”

“Idiot.”

“Did you see Teddy’s glasses? They are so freakin’ cool!

“Pathetic, Zel. You think everything about Teddy’s cool.”

“Do not, Rose. Are you saying that those glasses aren’t mega-cool?”

“I never said that they weren’t, but—”

“What? Teddy’s glasses? Pff, those are nothing.  Check out what Chanel comes out with—”

“Shut up, Xander.”

“Yeah, Xander, shut up.”

“But talking about Chanel,” I said, “What happened to Kai?”

“What do you mean ‘what happened’?”

“He and Al were doing some weird stuff in that four-poster,” Zelda snickered.

“Shut up, Zelda.”

“Yeah, Zelda, shut up.”

"Fuck! Look at the time!" Xander shrieked and leapt off Zelda’s bed where we were lounging. She pointed to Zelda’s alarm clock, the hellish one that woke me up every morning at the crack of dawn. “We're going to be late!”

“Er, Xander, we have more than an hour,” I felt necessary to point out. “Surely we don’t need more--?”

Xander ran up to me and exploded in my face: “ONE HOUR FOR COSTUME AND MAKE-UP, TWO FOR HAIR! DID YOU FORGET, DUMBASS?”

“Whatever,” I muttered, falling back on the bed. What’s Malfoy dressing up as?

“Stop dreaming about Malfoy,” Zelda snapped, getting her costume out. “Look excited or Xander’s going to eat you.”

Damn. Must've said that out loud. I dug underneath my bed and pulled out my awesomistic pirate costume. Looking at it, I did start to feel rather excited. Tonight was going to be so fun!

In moments the room was a mess, and we were frantically trying to find the right pieces to our costume. I tugged a pair of ripped tights out of the costume bag. No, not this. I pulled out a small, raggedy section of black and red lacey cloth and stared at for a second, trying to figure out what it was.

“It’s the skirt, you dumbass,” Zelda said. She was standing in front of the mirror, looking at my reflection in the background.

“Oh,” I mumbled, pulling it on. I noticed the interesting cut of the hem. Jagged and ripped into tatty triangles, like teeth. It was something that a real pirate gall would wear.

Then, I pulled a thin, white blouse over my head. It didn’t have buttons, and the sleeve was torn off at uneven angles. The thin white shirt-thingy had a really, really, really, mega-enormously deep V cut. It went down past my bra, that’s how deep it was. And over it, to cover the V up, I was supposed to put on a black corset.

I didn’t like that.

“Ooooh, a corset!” Xander had snuck up behind me. She was half-dressed; all she had on was a low-necklined, cleavage-showing, old-fashioned, olive and white pinafore-type dress that stopped at a little higher than mid-thigh.

“What is your costume?” I asked her. “It’s so not fair that you didn’t let us pick on out for you!”

Xander winked. “You’ll know soon enough. But right now…Oh, Zeldaaaa, Rosie needs someone to tie her corseeet!” she called in a sing-songy voice.

“NO!” I cried, trying to make a run for the bathroom where I could safely lock myself in, but no use, Zelda blocked my path.

They forcibly turned me around, and I heard Zelda say grimly: “If you want to live, suck in your stomach.”

Then she pulled the strings, and I think my ribs cracked.

“HUUUUUU!” I sucked in a great deep breath of pain. “STOP IT!”

“No,” Zelda grimaced, putting a foot on the bedpost to brace herself. Then she and Xander wrenched the strings again with all their might.

“Guys…I’m…stop…” I hissed with the last amount of air left in my lungs.

Zelda tugged on last final time and tied the strings. “There you are. Skinnier than a broom.”

I shot her a dirty look. “Thanks.” I pulled the stretchy tights over my bare legs. It didn’t do much difference, really, since the tights were slashed so many times. Then, I slid my legs into calf-high black sailor boots, and strapped them up. “Hey, guys, how do I look? Great, right?”

Zelda spared me a glance. “No. You’re missing something.”

“Yeah,” Xander added, “your hair’s a mess, your face is too pale, and you don’t have a sword. What’s the point of being a pirate if you don’t have a sword?”

I cursed at myself. The sword, of course! I had completely forgotten about that. Digging underneath my bed, I pulled out the metal sword I had bought at Hallow’s Spirit. It came with an extra dagger and belt. I buckled the belt around my waist, sheathed the sword with a nice shrrrrrip of sound and contemplated the dagger. It came with its own mini-belt. I suddenly remembered Jag’s words of wisdom from the other night:

I suggest keeping a dagger inside your bra, ‘cos you’re gonna to need it.

Hmph, well, inside my bra was out of the question, but wouldn’t it be brilliant if I tied it around my thight? So, I took the dagger and the small belt and buckled it securely around my upper thigh, underneath my ripped skirt. It would be a perfect backup if my sword was knocked out of my hand.

I grinned at myself in the mirror. You idiot, Rose. Stop fantasizing.

“Fair enough,” Xander said, appraising my figure. “Now come over here and let Madame Alexandrina fix your make-up…”

Xander herself had a ton of stuff on her face. Don’t get me wrong, she looked real pretty, but still seemed so….made-up. Especially because of the rouge blush she put on her cheeks. Her hair was gorgeous though, with all the colors of bronze and orange glinting in her flowing tresses. She had put a little green hat over her head, with a red feather stuck in it. She wore fishnet stockings and heavy boots under the revealing olive-and-white pinafore dress. She had a small bow and arrow quiver slung over one shoulder. “Er…Xander,” I asked, “What exactly are you supposed to be?”

She smiled cheekily and stuck a pose, hands on hips. “Meet ‘Racy Robin’!”

“Who the hell is that?” Zelda’s voice emanated out from the bathroom.

Xander rolled her eyes. “Robin. Like Robin Hood?”

“Oh,” I said. “That explains the green, the freaky hat, and the arrows.”

She nodded impatiently. “Zelda, get outta the loo already! I want you to see my outfit!”

“I can't!” we heard Zelda wail. “My—costume—isn’t—fitting!

“Come out, then!”

We heard some shuffling, then the bathroom door opened, and Zelda stumbled out. My eyes widened in surprise. Zelda…she was wearing something really…Her costume was called the ‘Dark Fairy’ I remembered, so that explained the tiny lacy black skirt, the three-inch black boots, and the odd, leathery bat wings sticking out of her back. What it didn’t explain she had a foot of scooped-out neck.

“Er…your boobs are almost spilling out,” I pointed out helpfully. Hey, I’m not the tactful one, okay?

“Exactly!” she yelled, red-faced. “I got the wrong size!”

“No, you didn’t,” Xander countered, “I got you the perfectly right size. You look gorgeous! And her boobs aren’t spilling out, Rose. She’s got a bigger bust than the model on the front of the package.”

I watched as Xander steered a nervous Zelda over to the mirror and proceeded to coat her face with some sort of cream. Five minutes later, Zelda Nyx was wearing eyeliner, eye shadow, a little blush, and with her hair gelled at the tips, she looked like one of the gorgeous, windswept models off of the runway.

“I don’t know,” she muttered, making a move to smooth her “artistically tangled hair”, as Xander called it.

“Don’t!” Xander warned menacingly. “You. Look. Damn. Sexy. Got that? Good. Now, Rosie—”

I made a move to get away, but Xander already had her iron-grip on my shoulder.

“Oh—no—you—don't!” she said, raising an eyebrow pencil.

 

Ten minutes later, we were all set to go to the Dance. Xander—against my protests—had ironed my normally-straight hair into rich, luscious curls. That coupled with the outrageous amount of eyeliner she insisted on me wearing made me look like some sort of pirate-mermaid half-breed.

The Great Hall was decorated with the usual Halloween festivities, except that the House tables had all disappeared and instead had been replaced with little tables. There was an enormous food counter on one end of the hall, and a dance floor on the other. A catchy song played in the air.

“Can you see the boys?” Xander muttered nervously, squinting through the dim light.

“I can see a lot of chocolate cake,” Zelda said, licking her lips.

“I changed my costume. Happy?” Kai elbowed his way through a knot of people to stand next to us. It was true: he’d ditched the dress. But instead he was wearing baggy, oversize blue denim overalls, a colorful tie-dyed shirt and a bandana?

“You’re a hippie?” giggled Xander.

He nodded unhappily. “Shoot me, this is so unfashionable. I was going to be the Mad Hatter, then I found I got the wrong size. So I switched costumes with Jag. He didn’t mind.”

“Do you know where Jag is?” asked Zelda anxiously.

“No. I wouldn’t go near him.” Kai pulled his mouth into a grin. “You should see what he did to Albus!”

We three girls exchanged alarmed looks. “Er…what did he do to Albus?” I asked hesitantly.

“Stripped him,” growled a voice. “Of his dignity.”

Jag walked out of the shadows, a snarl set on his face. I heard a gasp from Zelda, and I think I almost knew how she felt. His costume—the one he switched in with Kai—was gorgeous. He wore skinny, ripped black trousers, almost skintight but they weren’t, and a black shirt that was thrown open at the chest. Belts and chains wrapped around his waist and his arms, and underneath it all he wore two heavy combat boots. His eyes glowed ice-blue, accentuated by a touch of eyeliner—courtesy of Kai, I imagined—and set atop his tousled black hair was a black top hat adorned with chains and a piece of paper with the number 10/6.

Next to me, Zelda slowly exhaled. “Jag.  N-nice to see you. Y-you look se— psycho.”

I stifled a smirk.

“I need to talk to you, Nyx,” he hissed. “Alone.”

“C’mon!” I immediately grabbed Xander and dragged her into another crowd. We watched as Jag similarly took Zelda by the upper arm and firmly marched her away.

“I wanted to hear what they’re saying,” Xander said disappointedly.

“Death threats,” Kai told us wryly. He had followed us. “He told us.”

“Let’s eavesdrop!” I announced, and we tiptoed our way to stand beside the open oak doors. The Entrance Hall beyond was devoid of people besides those two, and we could hear their voices quite clearly.

“—it’s funny? You thought it was funny.”

“I—Yes, I did! What’s wrong with that?”

“But why me? Why do you hate me?”

“I—I don’t know. You’re fun to pick on. I’ve never liked you very much in the first place,” replied Zelda haughtily.

There was a silence, and then Jag muttered, “I don’t want you to come to my house for Christmas.”

“So? Then uninvite me! I don’t g-give a damn!

“Frankly, Nyx, you’re going to be a bloody pain in the ass,” muttered Jag harshly. “Yet, my mum’s going to love you—she’s going to think you’re perfect.”

Then uninvite me, godammit!” There was the thump of someone kicking their boot into the wall.

“I’m doing this for Rose and Xander,” Jag went on in a low voice, “I’m doing it just for them. Inviting you. If you didn’t come, they would be heartbroken. Those two girls are like sisters to me.”

"And what am I?” murmured Zelda, almost too soft for me to hear. I listened harder.  “What am I? A sister?”

There was a silence.

“Don’t shrug at me!” came Zelda’s voice. “I asked you a question, Jagneaux! Do you think of me as your sister?”

“And what if I did?”

“You bastard. I'd fucking murder you.”

Jag gave a mirthless laugh. “Did you know—in French love and death are pronounced the same way? Love is l’amour and death is la mort.”

Footsteps sounded and Xander, Kai and I leapt out of the way as Jag strode past us into the Great Hall. Moments later, Zelda appeared, ashen-faced. She gave a start when she saw us standing next to the door. “D-Did you hear all that?”

We nodded, and Kai said, “If I didn’t know better, I’d have said that he was in love with you.”

What? He just said that I was ‘a bloody pain in the ass’!”

“He didn’t mean it,” Xander said unconvincingly.

Zelda snorted. “What do you think, Rose?”

“I think you guys need to get laid.” Like I said, I know I’m not very tactful.

Zelda made a noise like and angry cat and swiped for my head, but I ducked and dashed into a gaggle of third-years who were dressed as various Muggle household appliances “COME BACK HERE, YOU MORON!” Zelda cried, chasing after me. I turned and ran out of the crowd, only to find myself face-to-face with another pirate.

“Stalker!” I cried, because, you guessed it: it was Malfoy.

“Are you kidding me? I bought this costume back in September!”

“You don’t look like a pirate,” I spat, for need of something to say. He, unfortunately, looked quite a lot like a pirate. He wore ragged brown trousers, calf-high black boots, and a white shirt that was ripped down the front. Two belts crisscrossed over his chest, and a pistol and sword sheath was fastened to his side.

“Yes, Weasley?” he drawled, noticing my eyes wandering over his appearance. His hair was messy as usual—a complete crow’s nest. His white-blond Shetland-pony fringe fell over his eyes, almost obscuring them. Thank Circe. I would’ve died if I had to look into his eyes. The memory of the afternoon came back to again. My stomach churned uneasily.

“Well, hello there, dahlings!”  a smooch lady’s voice said from behind me. I spun around, and stared with incredulity. A woman was standing there; she had black hair piled into an over creative ‘do, and was wearing an ankle-length blue 1700s-style gown. The type with lots of lace and bows. Her face was thick with powder, rouge, mascara, red lipstick and everything else women painted themselves with. The perfume emanating from her was overpowering. Think Marie Antoinette.

“Who are you?” Malfoy said in a disgusted tone. “A student?”

The woman waved a fan in front of her face; she had a large mole right on her tip of her nose. “Of course, I am not, dahling. Who are you, gorgeous boy?” She actually reached down and slapped Malfoy’s chest.

I felt puke coming up.

Malfoy backed away, a scandalized expression on his face, “WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM, LADY?”

The woman winked and giggled in a sickening falsetto, “Oh, from yooouur planet, boyo!”

He made a run for it.

The woman turned to me. “Bollocks! I'm going to kill Jag, that half-arsed, wanking pisspot!"

I didn’t believe it, I didn’t dare believe it. “….Al?

Al nodded, pulling his lipstick-ed mouth into a foul grimace.

“Al…” I said weakly, and then I started laughing hysterically. “Oh—my—hahahahaha!”

“SHUT UP!” he raged, punching my shoulder. “I got Malfoy away, didn’t I?”

Hahahahahahaha!” I bent double, tears poured out of my eyes, my ribs hurting like hell. “I—WILL—NEVER—HAHAHAHA—FORGET THIS—”

“SHUT UP!”

“So how much?” I asked, managing to control myself for a second. “How much was the bet?

He shrugged. “Hundred galleons. Jag never thought that I’d do it.”

“You—seriously—drag queen?

“SHUT IT!”

Jag, and Kai appeared at my elbow; I was too preoccupied to notice that the girls weren’t with them. The two of them acknowledged Al with good humor.

“Nice look you got goin’ there, Alberina. Give me a smoochy-smoochy?”

“All three of us have dressed up as girls today,” Kai said wonderingly

“I’m going to fork you in the nuts for this, Jagneaux,” Al muttered darkly. I couldn’t make out much expression beneath all the powder, but he looked like he was really regretting ever putting the costume on.

Jag smirked. “LOOKIE, EVERYONE, IT’S A DRAAAAAAG QUEEEEEEEEEEEE—”

At that split second, Smoochy Woman rammed her fist into the Hatter’s gut.

Jag made a funny little sound; the wind had been knocked out of him.

“Where’s Zelda?” I asked suddenly. I faced Jag, who was bent double with a grimace. “Where—is—Zelda?” I grinded out, curling my hand into a fist.

“How…SHOULD I KNOW?” he gasped irritably. “I didn’t do anything!”

“Are you kidding? She was so upset!"

“She’s probably with Xander, Rose,” Kai murmured, his eyes downcast.

Something in his tone made me stop. “Wait…what happened to Xander?”

Kai looked up, his eyes glimmering with confusion. “Xander just came up to me and told me that she liked me!”

Oh, mother—censored. I swore loudly into the air.

Xander confessed….

“You refused her, did you?” Al said in an odd tone.

Kai blushed a deep pink. “I—I told her that we’d be b—better off as friends,” he stammered, not meeting Al’s eyes.

Al swore loudly and moved away as quickly as his dress would allow.

“What’s his problem?” Kai asked, truly looking confused.

I really didn’t care what Al’s problem was. He had way too many to count. Who I was really worried about was Xander. “Where’s Xander? Do you know where she is?”

“I think I saw them heading off toward the girls’ bathroom,” Jag replied, shrugging.

I shoved him out of the way and ran out of the Great Hall. Girls’ bathroom, girls’ bathroom, here! I found them: Xander was hunched over a sink, and Zelda was standing a little ways off, arms crossed irritably.

“Mates!” I called in alarm. I approached Xander and put a hand on her shoulder; she had obviously been crying. “You alright, there?”

“Why?” Xander murmured. Her make-up was a complete mess. “I—I thought that we would be perfect together!”

I shot Zelda a glance. “Um…did, er, Kai tell you?”

Xander lifted her yellow eyes to my face. “Tell me what?”

I bit my lip. “Er, you know, that he’s….er….”

“He didn’t,” Zelda put in stoutly. “That idiot.”

“Tell me what?” Xander cried, grabbing my arm. “Tell me what? What's going on? Rose? Tell me! What's going on?"

Whoa. I had never seen Xander lose control before. She obviously liked Kai more than she had let on… “Nothing,” I said, averting my eyes. “It’s just that…”

“Oh, that,” Xander looked sad. “Yes, he told me.”

Zelda and I stared at her. “He told you?” I said, feeling a mixture of incredulity and happiness. “Finally!”

“You knew?” Xander cried, hurt appearing over her face. "You knew he liked someone else and he you didn't tell me?"

What?

“Wait,” I clarified hastily, “I didn’t know that he liked someone else! Do you know who is it?”

Xander shrugged. “He wouldn’t say.”

“Oh.” My mind was spinning with this new information. So, Xander didn’t know about Kai’s difference. But he apparently fancied someone! I knew it! That had to be the reason he joined the Quidditch team! But which guy could it be?

 

In silence, we went back to the Dance. I picked my eyes through the area, trying to pinpoint Kai. There! He was on the dance floor doing the Cotton Eye Joe. I ran blindly through the crowd, smashed into several little pumpkin-people, and found myself on the large square floor. Music was streaming through the speakers; it was a violin rendition of some song. I got an image in my head of a romantic French movie, set near a terrace where two lovers were passionately making-out.

I pushed it out of my head. Stupid Gone With The Wind.

Instead of finding Kai, I came face-to-face with Malfoy. “Get out of my way, costume-stealer,” I snarled, trying to push past him.

He stood firm, not budging an inch. “Oi! Wait a minute there, Weasel! I did not copy your costume.”

“Did too!” I countered, still raking the crowd with my eyes, looking for a glimpse of Kai’s hippie outfit.

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Did not!”

“Fine!” I countered. With a deft flick of my wrist, I had drawn my sword. “Let’s settle this with a sword-fight!” I pointed the tip of it at the base of Malfoy’s neck

Malfoy didn’t look unnerved, he didn’t even look scared at the thought of my slashing him into little potato peelings. On the other hand, a broad smirk grew on his face as he fluidly drew his sword with a chilling shrrrip! “I would love it, Miss Weasley,” he whispered dangerously. “Come and get it.”

I felt immediate misgivings. He was acting too cocky. “Er…actually…”

He used the tip of his sword to scratch down the entire length of mine. The cold metallic sound cut through the air, sending shivers down my spine. Abruptly, all the dancing stopped around us. All the other students had made a ring of space around us.

“Go get ‘im, Rosie!”

“Remember what I taught you!” I heard Jag’s voice say from somewhere.

“SLAY THE BASTARD DRAGON!” roared one of the Scamanders. Lysander, undoubtedly.

“Cut the Mudblood up into ribbons, Scor!”

That fired me up. Who cared if I hardly knew how to use a sword?

I’ll impale him through the ass for the school to see!

I brought my sword down with a battle cry of, “For Gryffindor!”

He blocked it calmly; there was a harsh screech of metal colliding with metal.

The horribly romantic violin music still played in the background.

The impact jarred my bones. I leapt back, got into a fencer’s stance, and lunged carefully. Malfoy parried it back. I ducked out of the way and threw a blow at his unprotected side. He lifted his sword over his head, and met my blade at exactly twelve o’clock. Our swords crossed above us, we glared into each other eyes.

“You’re awful at this, Weasley,” Malfoy breathed.

“Then why haven’t you beaten me, yet?” I challenged, grimacing as I placed more pressure on the hilt.

We leapt away and started circling like wolves about to rip each other into shreds.

“I’m getting this all on camera!” I dimly heard Xander’s scream of delight. I felt a wry smile come to my face; at least she’s feeling a bit happy now.

Malfoy and I went at it again; now, he wasn’t playing around. He brought down every slash and blow with an extra panache of energy. I didn’t see how he was doing it; my mind was frazzled, I could hardly concentrate. My aching arm and legs moved on their own accord, automatically blocking every one of his attacks. My defense was becoming weaker by the second, but I poured all the energy I had into one last backhanded stroke to take his head off—

—but he hit my hilt with the flat edge of his sword—

—and the sword was knocked out of my hand.

Time froze. The crowd began to scream, and I confusedly saw a bright rush of color in front of my eyes.

In a split second, he had his arm around my waist, so that my back pressed against his chest. A sword glinted at my throat.

The screams and cheers from the Slytherins were almost deafening. I could hear my friends’ voices yelling ‘BOOO!” somewhere out in the crowd, but my ears weren’t working very well. I could only hear Malfoy’s voice as he whispered softly, “You’re dead.”

“Let go!” I screamed, snapping in anger. I tugged at the arm around my waist, but it didn’t slide. He was so strong! I would’ve back-kicked him between the legs, but then, he might’ve decapitated me in that time.

“Quiet,” he murmured in an amused voice. I could almost hear the smirk on his face.

The crowd began the traditional wrestling countdown.

“TEN!”

“NINE!”

I screeched and grabbed his wrist, the one that he was using to hold the sword to my throat. He didn’t budge. Not a single inch. “Leggo, you pervert!”

“SEVEN!”

“FIVE!”

Then, distinctly, very, very distinctly, I heard a click.

The click of someone using a camera to take a photo.

The blood rushed to my face. This position—that Malfoy was holding me in—had a very explicit other meaning… I couldn’t—I couldn't allow photos

“XANDER, YOU BLOODY IDIOT, DON’T TAKE PICTURES OF THIS!” I hollered at the top of my lungs.

Then, in a rush of adrenaline, I wrenched Malfoy’s wrist to one side, so effectively and painfully that he dropped the deadly sword with a shout. Then—then, twisting around, I grabbed the collar of his shirt and lifted him bodily over my head and smashed him into the ground.

There was a split second of silence, while my muscles screamed with the agony of the previous effort, and then I dropped to the floor with my knee on his chest, drew the dagger was strapped around my thigh, and pointed it as his throat.

The applause and cheers were thunderous.

Malfoy’s face was red and his eyes were wide open in disbelief. My mind didn’t believe it either. D-Did I just body toss Scorpius Malfoy?

I pushed the blade of the dagger against his throat, warning him not to sit up. “Now, now, Mr. Malfoy,” I smiled triumphantly, “I guess I won?”

“ROSE, WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE NOW?” I heard Professor Neville yell in the background.

Oh

dammit.


I reluctantly stood up, but still kept a foot on Malfoy’s chest. Neville appeared, shooing away the crowd with harried movements of his hands. Beside him, laughing his ass off, was Teddy in a vampire getup.

“That was brilliant, you two!” Teddy chortled. His hair was black this time, and he had two pointy fangs in his mouth.

“It was not,” Neville said pointedly. “Students don’t fight to the death during a school dance!”

We do,” Malfoy muttered, dislodging my foot and standing up next to me. He brushed some hair out of his eyes.

“Brilliant,” Teddy muttered again. “You lifted him clean over your head, Rosie. We’ll be talking about this for years!”

“Awesome!” I beamed, despite how horrible I felt.

“Great,” Malfoy spat sourly

“Fifty points from Gryffindor and Slytherin,” Neville continued in a hard voice.

What?” I yelped, “But—but you’re our Head of House!”

“So?” my Herbology professor said, almost exasperatedly. “Rosie, you know that I don’t show partiality.”

I turned pleading eyes onto Teddy. He shrugged.

“Do we get detentions?” Malfoy asked coldly, looking at the two Gryffindor professors.

“Er….” Teddy glanced inquiringly at Neville. Then he said, “No, you don’t.  Professor Longbottom, may I impose my own form of punishment?”

“Sure,” Neville said, grinning. I felt a dead weight drop in my stomach. This wasn’t good.

Teddy smiled at us. “Okay, you two, hug and make up.”

What? No!” Malfoy and I yelled in perfect synchronization. We looked at each other in surprise.

“See, you’re even talking together!” Teddy crowed, clapping his hands together in glee. “Now, hug!”

“No!” I said, crossing my arms.

“Or twenty more points from Gryffindor and Slytherin,” Neville warned.

I struggled with myself for a long moment, then catching Malfoy’s eye, we leaned forward and awkwardly placed our arms around each other’s shoulders. We broke apart hastily a second later. I stared at my boots, not daring to look at him. But Malfoy had already walked away.

I snapped my head up in anger. “What the fuck is your problem, Teddy?”

No sane student would curse at their teachers, but I wasn’t feeling very sane at that moment.

Teddy tsk-tsked. “Damn, girl.  I’m your professor. I’m the kind of person who’ll order you to fall in love with Scorpius Malfoy for homework. Don’t be cussin’ at me.”

I stared at him in horror.

Teddy considered it. “Actually, from now on that is your homework.”

 
 
 

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