A/N: Hello dear readers ;)
I just wanted to say, before you read this, that I'm not very happy with it. I dunno, maybe you will like it, but I don't, so all critisism is welcome. I've tried re-writing it better, but I just couldn't do it, so...
Yeah. It's not that great, and that last bit is terribly cliche and written really lazily to top it all off, but as I said, I tried editing and it didn't work.
Alright, so I apologize if this sucks. The next couple of chapters will be better, promise, I just needed to get this out of the way.
Ok, Peace Out =P
This pretty picture is by flightless @ tda (:
‘Look at the pretty kitty!’
‘Dom, you already have five cats’
‘But look at him!’
I dutifully looked in the opposite direction of Dom and her cat, tapping my foot on the ground impatiently while I glanced around at all the animals in the store.
We were currently inside Magical Menagerie, waiting for Lily to buy her owl treats and passing that time by looking at all the strange animals prowling around the shop.
Among these strange animals was a purple mouse scuttling across a shelf, a giant goldfish with its bowl on its head sitting casually in a corner, and even some sort of long, thin, snakelike thing hanging from the ceiling above out heads, yet Dom was looking at a sodding cat.
Granted, Dom liked cats. A lot. She had five of them.
And she brought them all to school.
Add in my cat, a short-tempered Lily and three girls who won’t even make their beds in the morning, and you get one extremely chaotic Dorm.
Plus, House elves seemed to be allergic to cat hair, so they won’t even stick a toe over the threshold of our room.
We once lost Cactus, one of Dom’s cats, for three whole days.
Turned out he had just been sitting in a corner.
‘Cherry, look at it!’
‘I’m FUCKING LOOKI- What the fur!?’
The cat Dom was tickling had rainbow fur. No joke, it was stripy and rainbow, red, orange, yellow…Wait, now it was turquoise. All turquoise, with just a glint of…DISCO CAT! It was silver! Silver and sparkly! Like a disco ball! A Pink fluffy disco ball that looked so much like fairy floss I wanted to lick it. No, not really. I wouldn’t lick a cat. Especially not a cat who looked like a panda, black rimmed eyes and all.
‘That is fucking awesome!’ I exclaimed, and raced over to Dom and the magic cat.
‘What’s happening over here?’ Asked Lily, sauntering over. She was clutching a packet of owl treats in her hand, and was staring down at us imposingly, in true Lily style. We both looked up her at the same time, wide grins on our faces.
Lily just rolled her eyes at my comment, and glanced at the door, frowning slightly.
‘Should we get going, then? I told Al we’d meet the boys at-’
‘Gringotts!’ I exclaimed suddenly, cutting Lily off as I leapt to my feet. I smiled sheepishly at my friends bewildered expressions.
Lily glared at me impatiently. ‘No, not Gringotts. The Leaky Cauldron, actually.’ She corrected, shifting her packet to the other hand.
‘No I mean I – Gringotts. I need to go to Gringotts,’ I invented wildly. I looked at my two friends desperately, turning a light shade of pink from my lie.
‘Alright then,’ Lily said uncertainly. ‘We’ll go to Gringotts. And then to the boys?’
Lily was positively seething by this point. Dom was still playing with the cat. ‘What on earth for!?’ She exploded, throwing her hands into the air and sending her owl treats sailing past my ear. ‘We’ve already been there!’
I smiled sheepishly. ‘I forgot something?’ I said in a small voice. I loved Lily, I really did, but by Merlin did she scare me sometimes.
‘In the name of Merlin’s saggy left-’
‘I’m sorry! We don’t have to go Malkims, its fine, really,’ I hastened to say, biting my lip nervously. Without taking my eyes of Lily’s fuming figure, I reached out an arm behind me and grabbed her owl treats, passing them up to her as a peace offering. She took them grudgingly.
Are you wondering what my strange behaviour is about? Well, when Lily mentioned Al…I sort of freaked. We hadn’t talked one-on-one since the…incident, and everytime I was in the same room as him, I fired up. And if I was holding something when he was mentioned, that something ended up splat on the floor. It was like everytime someone said his name, they were slyly aiming the jib at me.
So in the sentence ‘I told Al we’d meet him’, I hear ‘I know what you did with him, Cherry. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID!’
Yeah, so you can understand my distress. I’m surprised no one has noticed anything yet. Take this morning, for example:
Time: 10:30 am
Location: Potter Residence
‘Louis, could you please ask Dominique to pass me the jam?’
This was Lily not talking to Dom. She took these things very seriously.
‘Cherry, could you get Dominique to pass me the jam?’ This time, it was Hedge asking the question, which was now directed at me. He wasn’t talking to Dom either, because she wasn’t his sweet innocent little sister anymore. We had all refrained from telling him that she hadn’t been innocent for a long time.
‘Dom? Just pass Lily the jam,’ I sighed, wondering how long their no-talk policy was going to go for.
Dom huffed angrily. ‘Al’s closer to the jam, ask him to pass it to her.’
I blanched. ‘Dommy, please just be a good friend and pass Lils the jam jar,’ I requested desperately, shooting a quick, terrified glance at Al.
‘No,’ Dom said, sticking her chin out stubbornly. I groaned. It was nearly impossible to waver the veela stubbornness.
‘Just do it!’
‘Dom, pass Lily the damn jam!’
‘Oh you lot are ridiculous!’ Exclaimed Al, shooting an irritated look in our direction and pushing the jam jar towards Lily. I smiled sheepishly.
All this for Lily’s stupid toast.
‘Alright you lot, your school lists arrived this morning,’ Ginny said from her spot by the stove, where she was happily burning pancakes for us. ‘I was thinking we go into Diagon Alley today, just to get it out of the way.’
We all mumbled a response. Ginny grinned and turned her back to the cooking food, placing both her hands on the bench and leaning back slightly.
‘We’ll do it in groups,’ She continued. ‘Dom, Lils, you can get all the cat food, owl treats, flea repellent and such. All the animal stuff. Kite and Louis, you guys get the books. Al, Cherry? How about you do Potion ingredients?’
Ok, that’s not exactly what we said, but with me screaming ‘Repellent!’ and Al screaming ‘Books!’ that’s pretty much what it sounded like.
‘What was that?’ She asked. I blushed, and Al blushed harder.
‘I…I need to get a special type of food. You know, for Artemis,’ I said, blurting out the first excuse that came to my head.
‘And I need a special book!’ Al added, taking my example.
‘Yeah, special, erm, owl treats. For, you know, a special owl…’ I continued, looking at anyone but my (former?) best friend.
‘Yeah, Artemis sure is special…’ Lily muttered under her breath. I poked her in the ribs.
‘She flew at a closed window once!’ I protested, my quest for a valid excuse momentarily forgotten as I rushed to the defence of my gracious (read: unbearably clumsy) owl.
Lily snorted. ‘What about that time during-’
‘Twice.’ I corrected, sighing.
‘And at breakfast, when she-’
‘Shut it, Lils.’ Lily pouted at my tired response, and crossed her arms over her chest.
When I turned back around from Lily, I noticed that everyone at the breakfast table was staring at me open mouthed, cereal and steaming coffee forgotten.
What? I don’t usually lash out, that’s all.
My gaze flitted nervously from person to person; Lily, Kite, Dom, Louis, James, James’s girlfriend, Harry, a sceptical looking Ginny, and finally, fleetingly, at Al.
‘Well this is awkward!’ Pipped up James’s girlfriend. She was a pretty thing, with wild red curls and rather cheeky looking dark eyes. I would have been annoyed at her comment, but her and James had been going out for years, and I knew she was just blunt like that.
‘What book do you need to get, Al?’ Asked Ginny, turning back to her pancake, which was now on fire. I heard Al gulp.
‘A special book…’He muttered. Merlin, he was the worst liar. You would think that spending six years near my skill would have rubbed off on him, but no, the guy even blushed. ‘A book on…pumpkins.’
Inwardly, I groaned and hit my forehead with the heel of my hand. Outwardly, I stared morosely down at my half buttered toast and hoped Ginny wouldn’t deign her pancakes edible.
‘Pumpkins?’ Ginny repeated, flipping the charred lump of coal in her pan over to its other, equally burnt side.
Al nodded his head fiercely. ‘I’m all about the pumpkins.’
And so on and so forth.
But no, apparently neither of us was acting weird enough for anyone to take notice.
I thought about this as we strolled through the semi-crowded streets of Diagon Alley, peering into shop windows and pointing out strangely dressed people (‘Ooh, look orange afro!’).
Lily and Dom had ‘convinced’ me that I didn’t need to go to Gringotts, so we were now making our slow way towards our brothers much sooner than I had hoped.
Interesting side note: Me, Dom and Lily were all in the same year, and our three elder brothers were in the same year as eachother too, and were all friends. Neat, hey? But I think this phenomenon was edged on a little by the fact that Kite and I lived at the Potters for the past seven years.
How did this happen? Well, when Kite received his letter inviting him to Hogwarts, my parents thought it was some kind of joke. A prank, of sorts. They wouldn’t let Kite go and buy his books, or board the Hogwarts Express on the first of September. They had taken his letter off him, and forbade him to follow any of the instructions written on it. I didn’t know what to think at the time. I was only nine, and even though I loved the idea of a witch and wizard school, were they taught magic to normale kids like you and I, my parents disdain of it all made me a little sceptical.
Kite rebelled against out parent’s decision. He thought that this was real, and it was important, and he had to get on that train on the first of September no matter what. I begged him to just stay home, to stay with me, but he refused. He packed his bags, and by sunrise on the first of the ninth, he was gone.
I missed him so much. We had always done everything together, Kite and I, and when I went back to my own boring, muggle school, I found myself daydreaming about pointy hats and magic wands, and turning bullies into frogs. Because surely, that was what they did at that school of his? I couldn’t wait for the holidays, when Kite would come home and tell me all about his adventures. I tried talking to my parents about it, but they forbade me to speak of anything to do with my brother.
But when the first day of the holidays arrived, it wasn’t my brother I woke up to. It was an owl, a rather scruffy looking owl with a couple of wonky feathers and yellow eyes that looked way too human for something with wings.
Once I got over my initial shock and got up to go see what it was doing, I noticed something tied to the owl’s leg. It was a letter, from Kite, written on heavy, yellowing paper. The owl waited on the windowsill as I read.
I wish I could tell you about all the magical (pun intended) things that happen at Hogwarts! You would not believe it. There are talking paintings, moving staircases, ghosts, and one very annoying poltergeist. It’s brilliant here!
But I can’t tell you all this in person, Cherry, because mum and dad wrote to me and said that I wasn’t allowed to come home. I’m not sad, though. Trust me, you will be the only person I’ll miss.
Instead I’ve crashed at a friend of mine’s. His name is Albus Potter (strange, isn’t it?), and I met him at Hogwarts. He’s a great guy, and has a sister around your age, and a brother in the year above us. His parents told me I could stay as long as I needed, because Merlin, do they have the space.
I promise I will write to again soon, Cherry, and don’t you behave while I’m gone. I want to hear that that devilish mind of yours has been hard at work.
I’ll miss you, Cherry pie. Lots of love and slobbery kisses.
Your insanely attractive brother, Kite.
P.S The owls name is Artemis. You can send a letter back to me by tying it to her leg. She’s a little clumsy, though, so make sure you help her take off. She might also crash into a street lamp or two, but don’t worry, that’s normale.
I read and I re-read the letter, my eyes tearing up. My brother wasn’t coming back? After I had marked the days till his return down on my calendar ever since he left?
I was sad, at first, but then angry. Angry at my parents and their inability to accept something they couldn’t explain.
The next couple of months where probably the worst of my life. I missed Kite so much that some nights, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t concentrate at school, and instead of focusing on spelling and geometry, I was daydreaming that a ghost would sail through the blackboard and my spectacled teacher would suddenly grow a pair of long, green, frogs’ legs.
But things got better after one of Kite’s letters came and asked me to meet him at the park. By telling my parents I was spending the afternoon at Cassidy’s, I managed to get escape their clutches and catch a tram to where Kite was waiting for me.
I was very independent for a ten year old.
Kite was waiting for me by the pond, along with another boy and a girl. The boy had a shock of messy raven hair that stuck out in just about every direction, and the girl was tall and slender, with long reddish brown hair that fell so perfectly down her back, my initial response was to hate her guts.
Kite introduced me to them, and that was the first time I met Albus and Lily Potter.
(Don’t worry, my story will be finished soon. Just bear with me for a couple more minutes)
So anyway, Kite asked me if I wanted to go to one of the Potter family dinners that night, so I could meet his friends and see some magic, and by telling my parents that I was sleeping over at Georgia’s, I met the whole, crazy Wotter family clan:
There was James: mop of dark hair, mischievous brown eyes, never stopped talking about something called Quidditch.
Albus: Same mop of hair as James, except that his was a little lighter. Mocking green eyes, mocking roguish grin, mocking laugh. We got along great.
Lily: Didn’t smile once that night. Didn’t uncross her arms once. Did, however, help Al and I set a timer on a pile of dungbombs so they would go off after we had escaped to the fresh, breathable air of the outside. I decided we had much diabolicness to share.
Dominique: Pretty blonde hair. Pretty blue eyes. Pretty soft skin. We got along great.
Victoire: Pretty red hair. Pretty chocolate eyes. Pretty pale skin. Didn’t get along so good.
Teddy: Not really a Weasley, but family nonetheless. Worshiped the ground Victoire walked on.
Louis: Crazy blonde hair. Or so I heard. Never actually saw him that night.
Molly: Never once did she put down her lipstick or stop fluffing her perfect brown curls. They were so fake.
Lucy: Was five. Bit my finger twice
Roxanne: Was eight. Followed Molly’s lead.
Fred: seemed to have a strange fascination with my hair. Yeah, it’s really curly. Yes it’s very long and gets caught on things. Yes, it’s blonde.
Hugo: Two years younger than me. Locked me in a room and wouldn’t let me out until I had read the entire copy of The Tales of Beetle the Bard to him.
Rose: Didn’t stick her button nose out of her book once.
I went there a lot after that night, and got to know the whole crazy clan of wizards quite well. And when school started again, I kept going to visit. I formed a pretty tight friendship with Dom, Lily and Fred, and a pretty strong enemyship with Molly.
You can imagine my delight when I received my letter.
I wrote to Kite as soon as it came, and he wrote back a half happy, half worried response. He told me that I shouldn’t show the letter to mum and dad, and instead pack my bags and meet him at the Potters straight away.
I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t leave my parents, not like that. But my decision was soon made for me.
Because I was so happy at the prospect of going to a big, magical castle to learn how to do spells, I carried my letter around with me everywhere, in my wallet, under my pillow when I slept, in my pocket...
Not my smartest move, I must say.
One day I forgot to get the letter out of my jeans back pocket, and, well, they kind of got put through the wash…The paper must have been water-absorbent or something, because it came out in one piece.
And guess who found it?
Yeah, the next couple of hours weren’t pretty.
I don’t know what mum had against magic. Her and Dad were 100% hippy, so shouldn’t they have been into these kinds of things?
Anyway, they obviously weren’t, and when mum found the letter, she screamed at me and said that it was unnatural, and if I wanted to be unnatural, I could go join my brother and ‘that family of heathens’.
That was exactly what I did.
Mr and Mrs Potter were really cool about the whole thing. They said that I was just like family already, and that seeing as they already had Kite, they may as well have the set.
I hurt, at first, from leaving my home. But Kite said the Potters and the Weasleys were my family now, and that everyone here loved me for who I was.
And I have lived there ever since.
What a lovely story, hey? It’s so full of rainbow ponies and sunshine dust. A little corny, I must admit.
Nowadays we just don’t talk about our life before the Potters. It stays hidden, secret, never to be looked at.
Thinking about my parents was like looking back at someone else’s life. Like it never really existed.
This was my life now, my home. Magic, Hogwarts, my friends, my brother…Al.
Sure, we were going through a rough patch. But it would work out.
It always did.
‘Hey, you. What’s going through that blonde head of yours?’
I jumped as Dom laid a comforting hand on my shoulder. She could always seem to tell when Lils or I was upset or preoccupied.
‘You aren’t allowed to call me that anymore,” I reminded her triumphantly, pointing at my darkened curls. “Anyway, who are you calling blonde?’ I pulled at a strand of her golden hair, shooting her a smile. ‘You have no right, miss!’
Dom seemed to catch my subject changing attempt, and thankfully, she let it go.
‘Stop your dawdling, girls!’ Lily said, turning around. She was a couple of meters ahead of us, and had been edging us along ever since we had left Magical Menagerie.
‘What are you so impatient to see?’ Asked Dom, jogging a little to catch up to where Lily was standing tapping her foot.
‘Or more importantly, who,’ I said slyly, waggling my eyebrows. I had meant it as a joke, but was surprised to see Lily blush and stare at her feet.
‘That’s just silly,’ she muttered, not looking at either of us. I exchanged a look with Dom. She was just as wide eyed as I was.
‘Does the cold-hearted Lily Potter have a crush?’ I teased. Lily crossed her arms.
‘No.’ She said firmly, shooting us a disapproving glance. ‘C’mon, let’s go.’
And she continued walking down the cobblestone street.
‘Someone’s in denial,’ Dom muttered. I nodded, a slight smile on my lips.
‘How about the barman?’
‘Really, Cherry? Really?’
‘Good point, he does look a bit old. The waiter?’
‘One of the boys at that table?’
Dom jumped at my suggestion. ‘No.’ She said firmly, shaking her head. ‘Definitely not.’
I grinned. ‘denial.’ I singsonged.
‘What was that?’
As soon as we had walked into the Leaky Cauldron, Dom and I had stopped to look around at every person of the opposite sex to figure out which one was the one to have spiked Lily’s interest.
The latter had left us at the door and gone to greet the boys over at their table in the corner.
‘So who have we got so far?’
‘That cute waiter,’ I began, counting them off on my fingers as I went, ‘That guy drinking Butterbeer-’
‘Cherry. He’s a teacher.’
‘Well scratch that. Kite,’ Dom let out an outraged huff, which I ignored. ‘Kite. The bloke over there sucking the face off his girlfriend…’
‘And anyone of those boys in the corner.’
We both glanced at the group of testosterone filled males guffawing stupidly at their table. I recognized them to be in Al’s year. There was Jimmy Williams, Lysander Scamander, some blonde guy, some muscly bloke, Scorpius Malfoy…
Jimmy and Lysander were in my house (Slytherin), Scorpius in Ravenclaw, and the others, I wasn’t sure.
These boys were the men of seventh year. You know what I mean? There’s your average group of geeks: Frank Longbottom, Alex Finnegan, Martin Wood…Then there’s the Quidditch freaks: David Spinnet, Jeffrey Rolf, Tom Abbot. You also have those cool, relaxed guys who hang out with girls, have an unmanly attraction to their hair and listen to Indi music (cough-AlKiteLouis-cough), and then there’s the men. The ones born with a testosterone overload, so that their only way to let it out is to laugh stupidly and wolf whistle to every girl who walks past. These guys are the ones who are interested in only two things: Sex, and boobs.
Yes, those are two very different things. You see, boobs is what you see if a girl is skanky enough to undo the top button of her T-shirt, and sex is what you get once you have fed this girl several bottles of firewhiskey.
How do I know all of this? My best friend is boy. I hear things.
Dom and I decided to temporarily abandon our search, and went to sit down with Lily and the boys.
‘Hello ladies,’ I said brightly, slipping into a chair as far away from Al as possible.
‘Hello men,’ Louis answered in an equally bright voice. I snorted.
‘That’s not how it works, Hedgehog,’ I explained. Louis frowned.
‘Because when you say it, it just sounds silly.’
‘I disagree with that.’
‘Are you really going to argue with me on this one?’
Louis hung his head sadly.
‘No.’ he mumbled. I smiled victoriously, and glanced proudly around at my friends.
‘See that?’ I said. ‘That is skill.’
Insulting silence, sceptical expressions. And I called these people my friends?
‘Sooo, who’s getting the drinks?’ Dom asked, clearing her throat and shooting me a crooked half smile. I scowled at flipped her my favourite finger.
‘Thank you for offering, Dommy, I’ll take a Butterbeer.’ Lils said happily. Dom scowled, crossing her arms as everybody yelled out their orders.
‘Did you get your book on pumpkins?’ Lily asked Al, slouching back in her chair lazily as Dom stomped up to the bar to order. He looked up at her, surprised.
‘Pumpkins. Your new hobby,’ She elaborated, frowning slightly. I decided to come to Al’s rescue, just this once.
‘I think they’re all sold out,’ I said, adding a tiny hint of nonchalance to my voice. Because I’m just a skilled liar like that. ‘I went to get him one for his birthday, but the shelf was empty. And I doubt they will be re-stocking soon.’ I raised an eyebrow at Al, smiling slightly. ‘I mean, pumpkins? Not the most popular choice of book.’
Dom soon returned with the drinks, shooting us all murderous glances which we happily ignored. We all got hold of our bottles, clinking them together and taking one, long swig, in a very synchronized fashion.
And that’s when it happened: It was a simple thing at first. An innocent idea. But it grew into something much, much bigger, something colossal, reaching somewhere near end-of-the-world on the catastrophe meter.
It all started with a sentence. One, small, naïve sentence, that changed our lives forever. When I think back at it now, I see Lily’s lips moving in slow motion as she utters the fateful words:
‘Guys! How about we play a drinking game!?’
I can handle
A drunken Al?
A drunken Al who could at any moment blurt out things that are best left unsaid?
Um, check please!
But my protests went unheard over the excited exclamations of,
‘Oh, yes please!’
‘What a jolly idea!’
‘Ooh, I absolutely love getting sloshed for no apparent reason!’
You may not see it, but my face is set to a broad, fake smile, and what I just said, it was said in the most sarcastic voice I could manage.
I wish it had been recorded. It was legendary.
I guess everybody was ignoring me because I was generally the one suggesting these types of things. But times had changed.
I had a life to cherish.
And I sure as hell wasn’t going to give Kite the incentive to take it away from me.
You know what the worst part about all this was? The drinking game Lily decided to peer pressure us into was I never.
For those lucky folks out there who don’t know the rules, what you do is, one person will say something they have never done. Or have done, it doesn’t really matter.
Let’s use the example of ‘I have never wondered what life would be like if we were all flamingos’. Now, anyone who has wondered what it would be like if we were all flamingos, they drink. Including the person who said it in the first place.
But only if he was lying, and had actually done the thing he said he hadn’t, in which case I would have drunken to my flamingo statement, because I have wondered what it would be like if we were all flamingos. Wouldn’t it be cool? Everything would be pink, and it would be so easy to spy on fit boys training for Quidditch…
Anyway, back to I never. It’s a fun game at the best of times, but when the only people playing are either rebellious in every possible way, angry at their older brother, angry at their younger sister, trying to forget an awkward situation and sad that the girl of their dreams runs away from them (Kite, it’s your fault for being creepy), everyone will take any chance they get to have a drink.
Five minutes in and everything was pleasantly hazy, and laughing became as easy as breathing.
‘I never kissed my toe!’ Giggled Dom, bringing her bottle to her lips. If that didn’t turn Kite off, I didn’t know what would. Laughing madly, Lily, Al and Kite took a sip of their own. I caught Louis’ eye from across the table, and we both burst into hysterics.
It was just so darn funny!
‘I never had sex,’ Louis said, smile gone, staring at Dom stonily. She ignored him and slurped down her firewhiskey, while everybody else did the same.
Merlin, we were a group sexually active rabbits, weren’t we? Maybe it was a Weasley thing. I mean, have you seen how many of them there are?
I looked at Louis again, and he shrugged and took a sip, like the bloody hypocrite that he was.
Once his noisy mouthful was finished, everybody turned to stare at me, waiting.
‘Oh, fine!’ I said, lifting my drink to my lips. Everybody cheered, except for Al, who was busy staring at me questioningly.
‘Who?’ He asked, and I blushed, staring at the bottle clutched in my hands.
‘Simon Wood.’ I answered in a small voice, avoiding his gaze at all costs. Dom gave a little ‘hooray’ and an excited clap.
‘Well done, Cherry.’ She congratulated. I finally glanced up from my heart to heart with my hands, rolling my eyes in her general direction.
‘You already knew, Dommy,’ I reminded her. She grinned.
‘I know, but he’s such a dish I thought I’d congratulate you twice.’
Her mind worked in strange ways.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Al looked a little hurt. I snorted, because sometimes I wondered if he was secretly a girl and that always made me laugh involuntarily.
‘It was after Dom’s party.’ Was all I said. He gulped and looked away, seeming to understand. No one else did, though.
I thought I’d laugh at this too, because you know, it seemed like the right idea at the time. And when I did, no one even sent me strange looks/frowns/questioning expressions (though that was probably because they were all busy guffawing at the fact that all the boys here had had at least one fantasy involving our DADA teacher).
It was a disturbing thought.
‘I neverrr…’ Kite stared up at the ceiling, lengthening the ‘never’ as he thought of something that would impress Dom. I knew that whatever it was would surely make her run for the hills (something along the lines of ‘I have never watched Dominique Weasley sleep or stolen her knickers’ *Takes long sip*).
So I decided to come to his rescue in the least obvious way I could manage.
‘FIRE!’ I yelled, emptying the entire contents of my half full bottle on my brothers head.
I’m as skilled as a ninja when it comes to the art of discreetness.
‘What, where!?’ Al said, glancing around wildly. Lily hit him across the head and he rubbed the spot, muttering darkly under his breath.
‘Cherry?’ Dom said cautiously. ‘Why did you pour Firewhiskey on your brother?’
But I didn’t answer. I was busy surveying Kite, biting my lip nervously.
He was sopping wet, droplets falling from his hair and into his eyes, latching onto the end of his nose, rolling down his cheek. His T-shirt had a big, dark stain on it, and as it was red, it matched the colour his face was going to be in three or four seconds, give or take.
What is it about full names that people find so intimidating? Personally I couldn’t care less, unless my middle name was thrown in.
That was when I started to cringe.
‘CHARITY BEEP BLACKTHORN!’
Is anyone getting a strange feeling of déjà vue here? No? Yeah? Well I am.
‘WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT FOR!?’ Kite was now, just like I said he would be, the exact colour of his cherry red T-shirt. He wasn’t standing yet, but I knew that was coming.
Everybody else at the table was trying their hardest not to laugh, though I could so see them sneak a chuckle behind their hands when they thought I wasn’t looking.
‘I thought I saw fire?’ I said meekly, widening my eyes and turning the power of The Puppy Dog Face on my fuming brother. He didn’t succumb to it however, so my expression fell into a pout.
My puppy dog eyes were heart melting! They worked every time! What was this nonsense?
I cringed as Kite’s eyes lowered into two angry slits I like to call The-look-Kite-gives-the-people-he-is-about-to-kill. L.K.G.P.A.K for short.
Thankfully, though, I was saved by a painful death by one of Lily’s potential crushes.
‘Hey, Charity!’ Lye called out from the table he was sharing with his friends. ‘Come here for a sec, I need to ask you something!’
I shot him a grateful smile (though he had no idea what he had just rescued me from), and placed my hands on the table, pushing myself up.
‘Kaygottagobye!’ I said, and quickly scuttled over to Lye and his friends, leaving a fuming brother and laughing friends behind me.
‘Hey guys,’ I greeted, sauntering over to the corner table and resting the palms of my hands on the table top, leaning forward slightly. ‘What’s up?’
‘Did you really shag Wood?’
Whoa there, buddy. Way to be up front! I shot Lye a confused smile.
‘No? Why d’you ask?’
See my skill? I was born with it, you know. I could lie about just about anything to just about anyone before I could even walk. And talk.
This is why, whenever me and Al pulled one of our breathtaking pranks, I hardly ever got in trouble, because all our teachers thought I was an innocent little angel.
It was priceless to see the look on Al’s face when he got detention and I didn’t.
‘We heard you guys talking about it,’ Scorpius Malfoy put in with a smirk. ‘You weren’t exactly quiet.’
I scowled and slid onto the bench seat beside Jimmy.
The last thing I needed was a rumour going around about Wood and I. It was a onetime thing, and though I wasn’t drunk, I still like to regret on occasion. Plus, it would give me an image that wasn’t entirely truthful.
Normally, I wouldn’t even snog anybody who wasn’t my boyfriend. Or best friend.
But let’s not talk about that.
‘Well I know that you spent a night with Hannah Nott in a broom closet, so I wouldn’t be so quick to judge,’ I told Malfoy wisely, crossing my arms and raising an eyebrow. Malfoy frowned and opened his mouth to say something, but then seem to think better of it and closed it again.
‘Still, Simon Wood? Cherry, you could shag any guy you want and you go with Wood?’ Lye said in disbelief, shaking his head sadly and letting out a confused sigh.
‘I hope you aren’t implying I should have slept with you, Mr. Scamander,’ I said loftily, shooting the boy a stern frown. Lysander grinned stupidly and shrugged.
‘Simon Wood…now that would make for a good story…’ Mused Jimmy, looking at me from behind his man fringe. Everything about these guys just oozed large amounts of man-gene.
It was sickening.
‘Rebecca Harris,’ Was all I said, and Jimmy shut up immediately.
‘Join us for a drink?’ Offered the buff guy whose name I didn’t know. Was it Albert? No, Alan. Alfred? Arnold?
‘Arthur here as a thing for brunettes,’ Joked Malfoy, clapping his friend on the back in a manly fashion. ‘Though if I remember correctly, you were a blondie not so long ago …’
I ignored Malfoy’s comment and pushed myself to my feet. ‘As much as I would enjoy your…company, I have friends to attend to,’ I said grandly, smiling as the boys protested. Not that it was very flattering. They would enjoy flirting with hag if she had a decent set of boobs on her.
I shared a man-punch with Lye and a man-shake with Malfoy, and then picked my way back over to the table I had come from.
Al was more than a little sloshed when I sat back down, and Louis was having a hard time holding him down and covering his mouth to stop him from singing Odo the hero at the top of his lungs.
‘A little help?’ He squeaked, but Lily, who was sitting on Al’s other side, just glanced at him with a wolfish grin on her girly features.
‘We need to sober him up before Aunt Ginny picks us up,’ Dom said with worried little frown. I felt my heart plummet to my feet as I thought of what Ginny’s reaction would be to finding her son in this state.
Granted, she would probably just laugh and make fun of him when he got a hangover, but still.
Why hadn’t we thought of this before playing the stupid drinking game?
Louis seemed to be thinking along the same lines. ‘Who sold minors alcohol, anyway?’ He asked, even though, having turned seventeen last month, he was technically legal by now.
‘Well…’ Dom said, paling slightly. ‘The waiter sort of…owed me a favour…’
‘What in the name of Merlin have you done to my baby brother?’
James had walked into the Leaky Cauldron, and, having spotted Al, had marched over to our table and was now surveying us with a half stern half amused expression on his face.
His girlfriend was standing next to him, hiding her smile behind her hand.
‘C’mon James, you were already getting sloshed by the age of twelve, give them a break,’ She said, poking her boyfriend playfully. James looked offended at this.
‘I was not!’ He protested, but his girlfriend silenced him with a kiss.
‘Lotte’s right, you know,’ Lily said, sharing a high five with the other redhead. James looked even more affronted by this sudden show of solidarity, but Lily continued before he could contradict her. ‘I have some rather disturbed memories of you dancing naked on the roof with Lou when our parents were out.’
‘Seriously? But you would have been, what? Eight years old?’
‘Hence the ‘disturbed,’
James shut up after this. ‘I don’t do that anymore,’ He whispered to Lotte, who smiled.
‘Anyway, you lot, Ginny sent us here to come get you. She’s ready to go.’ Lotte explained, giving Al a worried frown. ‘Shouldn’t someone take that off him?’
We all looked over at Albus, who was staring happily at the salt shaker in his hand and attempting to lift it to his lips. Louis promptly bear tackled him to the ground to wrestle it off him.
The things my best friend does. I’ll have you know that he is a terrible drunk. That’s why we all try to keep him as far away from alcohol as possible, but obviously, today we had overlooked it majorly.
One time, during one of the Quidditch winning celebrations, Al skulled a whole bottle of elderflower wine (?), and ended up on a tabletop in nothing but his red boxers, doing the moonwalk to staying alive.
And another time-
‘Huh? What?’ I shook myself out of memory lane, my eyes taking a minute to focus on Lotte’s annoyed face.
‘Ginny’s waiting for you guys, and we can’t bring Al to her in this state. You’ll have to stay here with him until he sobers up, and floo back to Shell Cottage. It’s Lucy’s birthday tonight, and Fleur insisted that we celebrate at her house,’ Lotte rolled her eyes at this. It was a well known fact that her and Fleur didn’t get along in the slightest, ever since the time James first brought her to meet the family, and her and Fleur got into a massive row about the importance of setting the knives and forks on the right side of the plate. The French are very peculiar about that kind of thing, and Lotte, having lived in Italy half her life, believes that it’s the food that should be enjoyed, and not the way the fork is positioned just so.
‘Charity! Listen to me, Godamnit!’
I blinked in surprise again, slowly turning my eyes to Lotte’s. “Repeat that, please?
‘Stay here with Al until he regains control of his brain and body. Then Floo yourselves to Shell cottage,’
I frowned at this. My own brain was reacting a little slower than usual as well, because even though I wasn’t even close to being as sloshed as a certain green eyed boy, I was slightly tipsy myself.
‘Kaythanksbye!’ Lotte said, and she gave me a quick hug before rushing off.
‘What?’ I said slowly, sounding like a recently blonde idiot. ‘Guys, I can’t look after Al all by myself! He’s…’
My voice died down as I realized that I wasn’t talking to anybody. All my friends had gone, and they had left me with one rather large problem on my hands.
‘Hello Cherry pie!’ Al said happily, smiling at me with slightly unfocused eyes. Him and Kite were the only people who still called me by my childhood nickname.
‘Hello Pumpkin,’ I answered. I was rather proud of this. I had nicknames for everybody, you see, but I had never managed to find one for Al. That problem seemed to have just fixed itself.
Do you want to hear my other nicknames? Of course you do:
Louis’, you already know: Hedgehog.
Dom’s started when a couple of us tried to shorten her name to ‘Nickie’. She hated it, and threatened to give green hair to whoever called her that, but I still got some amusement out of it. Ever since, I’ve called her Knickers.
Kite’s is rather simple. He’s my Bro with a capital B, so it really wouldn’t make sense to call him anything other than Homie. And occasionally Broseff. Word.
Lorcan gets special treatment. Her eyes are so blue it’s not even funny, so I thought I would be extra original, and I call her Blue. I know. It’s awesome.
Lily…well Lily was hard. I had to find something that wouldn’t make her bite my head off, but was still relevant. Finally, one day after she had a rather lethal cabbage fight with Scorpius Malfoy, I had the ingenious idea of calling her ‘Chou’, which, as Dom explained to me, meant cabbage in French, and was also a rather affectionate thing to call someone. Example: A Grandmother would say to her Granddaughter ‘Come here my little cabbage!’, and it would be considered completely normale.
The list goes on. I won’t bore you with it now, and anyway, I have more pressing matters to deal with.
Right now, I was huddled in at the very edge of the booth, staring at Al in fear. He was humming merrily, and trying to line all our empty glass bottles up in a straight line. He was also failing miserably.
This was the first time I had been completely alone with him since The Night (insert: ominous music), and the fact that he was completely off his face wasn’t helping matters much.
‘Cherry pie…’ He said, his words slightly slurred. ‘I’m not feeling too good…’
And then he leant over the edge of the table, a promptly emptied his stomach out right next to me.
‘Al! You’re disgusting!’ I exclaimed, leaping out of the way of his projectile vomit. He just smiled sheepishly and tried to wipe his mouth clean.
‘Oh come here, you dummy,’ I said affectionately, grabbing a napkin off the table and wiping his mouth with it. I grimaced in the process, but the toothy grin Al sent me was enough to make my heart melt.
He really was adorable.
“You need to get cleaned up,” I said glancing down at his T-shirt. God, this really was disgusting.
I helped Al walk over to the bathroom, steering him clear of chairs and dangerous table corners. The Leaky Cauldron was pretty empty today, so no one witnessed my sneak entrance into the boy’s toilet. I knew that Al would never be able to show his face in public again if he ever got caught in the ladies bathroom, so I was sacrificing my pride instead.
Sigh. I’m such a good friend.
It was rather crowded in the bathroom. There was only one small sink with dusty mirror hanging over it, and a red door to the left leading to the toilet.
I directed Al to the sink, and told him take his vomit-stained shirt off.
I wasn’t going anywhere near that thing, so I just watched as he struggled with the fabric, lifting it up his head and-
Was he taking steroids? I’m sure he was. Because last time I saw Al without a top on, that was before the summer holidays, and he was definitely not that fit. This was like. Wow. I never knew torsos could be that perfect. This was just. Just. I’m not. I can’t.
‘Um, Al? Just um, stay there, ok? I’m just going to, um. Yeah,’ I tore my eyes away from his chest, and pulled my wand out of my back pocket.
‘Scourgify,’ I muttered, pointing it at the piece of clothing on the floor. I picked up the now clean T-shirt, shook it out a little to get all the dust off, and folded it over my arm.
Al was now playing with the roll of toilet paper, pulling it out like a bobbin of silk and giggling as he backed up, more and more of the paper escaping from the roll.
‘Al, stop it,’ I said, gently prying the toilet paper from his hands. He let me do it, jumping slightly as my fingers brushed his. ‘Eugh, you smell foul’.
Grimacing, I lead him over to the sink, and turned the tap on, letting the water rush over my fingers for a second until it turned cold. Then I splashed some of the water on Al’s face, making him yelp out in surprise.
‘Meany,’ He muttered, sending me a disgruntled scowl. I ignored him, and splashed his face again. This was just like looking after a baby.
After the fourth splash, Al shook the water out of his eyes, sending droplets flying through the air. His eyes were a little more focused now, but he was still teetering, and he still smelt strongly of liquor.
I stood in front of him, hands on my hips, trying to stop my eyes from straying anywhere below his face.
I didn’t like Al’s eyes when he was drunk. Instead of their usual emerald jade colour, they turned a murky kind of dark green, like the depths of a gloomy pond.
He was looking at me with these eyes now, the expression on his face unreadable.
A thousand unsaid things hung in the air between us, filling the small space with their uncertainty and suspicion, making it hard to breath.
‘Al…’ I started, but before I could continue, he had backed me up against the wall, his hands resting on either side of my head, his face bent down so it was level with mine.
The smell of alcohol was intoxicating from this close. I tried to push him away, my breathing quickening to five breaths a second, but he ignored my feeble attempts.
‘Al…’ I tried again, but again, he ignored me.
‘You have no idea, Cherry.’ He said softly. I frowned at his enigmatic words, pointing my gaze to floor to avoid looking straight at him. I was expecting him to say more, but he didn’t elaborate. Instead he stood still, trapping me against the wall, his every breath making the tendrils of hair hanging in my eyes brush against my cheek.
I didn’t like being this close to him. It turned my head dizzy and my brain foggy, and I hated the way it made my heart beat at five miles an hour.
Best friends weren’t supposed to act like this.
‘We should go,’ I said, and this time, he didn’t stop me from pushing him away.
‘We should,’ He agreed, and when I turned to look at him, he was facing the other way.
A/N: *Runs to hide underneath bed*
Soooo, I'm sorry if you didn't like this. I'll make a better effort next time, promise! Even though this was rubbish, a review is still welcome!!
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