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I went back to the compartment pretty much straight away after the mega dramatic events of my trip. It wasn’t like there was much I could do, aside from pour Agnes a cuppa from the urn on her trolley (miraculously, it survived the fall), give her a few sickles for the chocolate frogs and pasties I’d taken, and then take my leave of the scene. Albus disappeared up to the front of the train, ready to report the incident (it transpired that he was a Gryffindor prefect). The three Slytherins were nowhere to be seen.

‘You’re such a dear,’ Agnes said, pushing the sickles back into my hands. ‘Have them for free. Please.’

Who was I to turn down free food? It was pretty mega, getting a sugar fix for free – but, somehow, when I got back to the compartment, I couldn’t tell Scorpius or Fauna about what had happened. I still felt a little shocked, as if it hadn’t really happened, as if I’d been dreaming or something. I mean, Albus Potter knew my name. And Agnes’ name. That’s kind of mega special.

So I sat down, still a little bit in shock, and let Scorpius and Fauna burrow their way into the pile of snacks I’d dumped on the little table that poked out from the wall of the compartment. I didn’t say anything or do anything – didn’t even reach for a chocolate frog – but they didn’t seem to notice, preoccupied with their homework and eating.

Okay, they did notice after a while. And, okay, Scorpius noticed after a while. But I think his ginormous specs have given him x-ray vision or something because he can always read people like a book. Okay, within reason. He can read people like trashy thrillers or like children’s books or something. I doubt he could read someone if they were, like, the human personification of War & Peace.

He looked up at me, did one of his little trademark squints that made his eyes go into little crinkly crow’s feet at the corners, and said ‘something up, Flo?’

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘The sky.’

Scorpius gave me a very disapproving look. ‘You always say that.’

By this time, Fauna had looked up too. ‘Yeah, something up?’ she said. ‘No, seriously. You haven’t eaten anything yet. That’s weird.’

I snatched up a chocolate frog at once. ‘Look,’ I said, picking the wrapper apart. ‘Eating now. Yummy. Chocolate,’ I stuffed the frog into my mouth before it could hop away. A long time ago back in the age of the dinosaurs when I was a little firstie, I’d been dead freaked out by the chocolate frogs and the way they hopped about. Being muggle-born, I wasn’t exactly used to chocolate jumping all over the place. But six years of being permanently peckish in a magical universe had rid me of my silly squeamishness. Chocolate was chocolate and the quicker it could be consumed, the better.

Funny thing is that me and Scorpius are friends because of sugary snacks too. I think my destiny lies in sugar. I mean, I’m pretty sure that my mum and dad bonded over a shared love of Opal Fruits when they met. I’m convinced that the only reason dad left was because mum’s a devil for hogging all the Opal Fruits in the cupboard. Okay, that’s not true at all, but I like to think it was because of that. I don’t want to think about reality. Not ever.

I was eleven when I met Scorpius, just as everyone else was eleven when they met their future mates at Hogwarts. I remember the queue for the trolley was mega long when I went because I was too scared to leave the compartment I’d been sharing with some kids I didn’t even know until we crossed the border into Scotland. He was in front of me in the queue, and I remember he was just as nervous as I was because when I dropped my bag and he went down to pick it up, he dropped his bag too and we both ended up crouching on the floor apologising to each other. Then, when I asked whether he knew if the trolley had any Opal Fruits or not, he gave me a really funny look and eventually I found out he was a Pureblood and he spent the rest of the ten minute wait telling me about all the sorts of snacks you could get in the wizarding world.

I don’t remember thinking he was weird at the time. Maybe he got weirder since. But he’s weird in a really cool way, and without that first meeting, I’d probably have ended up buying something healthy from the trolley and then I’d probably be a Ravenclaw and be really boring. Look, I’ve tried diets, and they all just made me boring. I’d rather be a jolly heifer with a chocolate addiction than a skinny little madam munching on rabbit food.

Okay, I’m going really off the point now. I did say I was going off on a tangent. While my mind had gone cartwheeling off into memory at the taste of a chocolate frog, Fauna had turned back to her homework and the sun had come out outside. But Scorpius was still looking at me really funny.

‘I’m totally fine,’ I told him. ‘No, really, I feel mega.’

Except I didn’t, because I’d just basically witnessed the worst robbery like, ever and talked to Albus Potter all in one go and my brain felt like mashed potato.

As a sort of distraction, I ended up looking down at the card that’d come with the frog. And I ended up looking right into Albus Potter’s face.

Except it wasn’t. It was his dad but, you know, they look kind of similar except Albus doesn’t wear glasses. But my mind was so fixated on him that, when I looked down at the card, I was basically just convinced that I was looking straight at Albus and ended up letting out this little gasping sound that sounded like balloon deflating at speed.

‘Harry Potter!’ I cried, desperately, in a feeble attempt to diffuse the smog of awkward I’d created with that little gasp sound. ‘Ain’t had him in ages. No sir. This is going right into my collection.’

The collection, which took up most of my trunk, actually had seven Harry Potters in it, and I’m pretty sure Scorpius knew that, but his family has some sort of feud with the Potters and so, at the mention of the boy-who-lived’s name, he clammed up like a clam and resorted to staring at the window. I would say staring out of the window, but there was something in the way he was staring that told me he wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention to the countryside flashing past him.

I kind of felt bad. But desperate times calls for desperate measures.

Fauna was the one who recovered the situation, tossing back her immaculate black hair and launching us all into a new thread of conversation about the History of Magic homework. Fauna’s good at that. Tossing her hair, I mean, not recovering situations. She can kind of help diffuse awkwardness sometimes, but usually it’s a fluke. But Fauna’s pretty, like, photo pretty, and she’s kind of perfected this little hair toss that makes everyone shut up and pay attention to her like she’s got authority or something. She’s probably the most popular out of all of us, but that’s probably because she’s pretty and she used to have a boyfriend from Gryffindor. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I look like a dork. Scorpius, likewise, has never had a girlfriend, although I guess he’s kind of pretty in an ugly duckling way, not that I’ve been looking or anything.

Talking about my friends is really boring, but I’m such a dork that there’s not really anything else of interest in my life to talk about apart from school and going to Honeydukes. But Albus Potter changed all that, so hopefully I’ll stop being such a dull twerp soon.

Okay, first things first and second things second. By the time the train pulled into Hogsmeade station it was getting dark, and we were probably some of the last off the train because we’re not very good with our elbows and there’s always a bit of a crush on the platform. The three of us trundled out into the cold, me carrying Willoughby, Fauna carrying Mr Darcy and Scorpius carrying our bags, and we headed off towards the horseless carriages that would take us to school. I say horseless, but Scorpius tells me that there are actually horses there and he always goes a bit quiet when we have to ride in them. Once I even had to hold his hand. But he doesn’t like to talk about it so I try not to think about it either.

We’d only been off the train for three minutes, though, when Albus Potter suddenly drew up alongside us, satchel swinging off his shoulder, looking a little harried.

‘Hey, Flora,’ he said, and my stomach did a little backflip when I realised that he still knew my name. ‘D’you mind if we see Professor Carter straight away up at the castle? Sorry, I don’t want to keep you from the feast…’

Not only did he know my name, but he seemed to understand my love of edible things.

‘Cool,’ I said. ‘No, cool, I’ll go.’

‘Excellent,’ he smiled. ‘Could I just meet you in the entrance hall? By the hourglasses?’

‘Cool,’ I said. ‘Mega cool. I’ll be there, and, er, be a square!’

I don’t know what possessed me to say that, or even what possessed me to laugh so awkwardly afterwards, but what is done is done and unfortunately I don’t have a timeturner to fix all the mistakes in the past so I’ll have to let it be. Albus just gave me a warm, if a little quizzical smile, and then dashed off to join his friends.

Fauna and Scorpius were both staring at me in disbelief. I hugged Willoughby closer to my chest, burying my face into his fur as if a cat was a suitable gag for all the stupid things that were about to come pouring out of my mouth.

‘Flora,’ Fauna said, frowning. ‘What.’

‘He saved Agnes,’ I said, sounding like a child. ‘Some mean Slytherins were, like, holding her at wandpoint for her money, and I was like, oh, back off, but they didn’t, and then Albus came up behind me and, like, saved the day. It was totally mega.’

Both Fauna and Scorpius spoke at the same time.

‘Why didn’t you tell us?’

‘What on earth?’

‘It’s totally cool,’ I said, digging my nose deeper into Willoughby’s fur. ‘Albus totally had it under control and everything’s totally cool and Agnes let me have your stuff for free.’

‘But why didn’t you tell us?’

‘I dunno,’ I said, as we reached the carriages.

‘Right,’ Fauna arched an eyebrow. ‘Is that all we’re getting out of you?’

‘Yeah,’ I said, firmly, unlatching the door of the last carriage and hoisting myself and Willoughby inside. ‘Not really anything else to say. It was over in a flash. Totally zoomified that he saved me and all, but, you know, just a little thing.’

I was totally playing it down. The fact was that it had been mega, zoomified, and mega zoomified, and my brain still felt like a basket full of steamed carrots. I think. I wasn’t sure. But Fauna, certain she’d hear more in the girls’ dormitory that night, didn’t press any further, and Scorpius was deep in one of his mysterious contemplative silences that he always went into round the carriages.

Once in the Entrance Hall, I let Scorpius take Willoughby from me, and waved him and Fauna off as they went to dump our stuff in the Hufflepuff dorms before the feast. Once they’d left me, my brain felt wibblier than ever. Standing there, all on my lonesome in the middle of the entrance hall, wearing my tatty uniform and my stupid gigantic spectacles, I was basically a magnet for staring. It felt like everyone was looking at me. Four-eyes Flora, the sugar addict. I ended up staring at the floor, which made my neck hurt loads. I sort of wished I’d asked Scorpius or Fauna to stay with me, even though I knew the former had a sort of hereditary hate of Albus Potter.

The boy himself turned up ten minutes later. I didn’t notice him until he was right next to me, apologising profusely for being late and keeping me waiting and whatnot. The hall around me had emptied: it was the half an hour or so of quiet time before everyone had to be in the Great Hall for the main feast, and I was all on my one.

‘I don’t expect Carter will want to keep you for long,’ Albus said, kindly, as we ascended the stairs to the first floor. ‘Probably just an incident form or two to fill in. Are you alright? Took a bit of a tumble earlier.’

‘I’m mega,’ I said. ‘Mega fine. Right as rain.’

He smiled. To be honest, it wasn’t like he stopped smiling. He was the sort of person who seemed pretty pleased with everything. I liked that.

‘Good,’ he said. ‘Yeah, nothing to worry about, I guess. Pretty cowardly to pick on someone like Agnes, huh?’

I felt my stomach do another little backflip when I remembered that he knew her name too. ’I know,’ I said. ‘Poor Agnes, she’s such a darling.’

‘Without her, we’d be nothing,’ he said, with a little laugh. ‘Don’t know what I’d do without a chocolate frog or two to keep me going.’

‘Me too,’ I said, a little dumbstruck. He knew my name, he knew Agnes’ name, and he – did he feel the same way about sugar as I did?

Then there was a really pretty glorious moment, right there in the first floor corridor, when I turned to look at him and he looked at me and suddenly there was this little sort of understanding that passed between us, like a little electric shock went through the air or something. Fauna would call it a frisson, because Fauna likes romantic stories and there seems to be a lot of frisson in them. Anyway, as I looked up into Albus’ hazely-green eyes and he probably looked down at two reflections of his own face in my glasses, I realised that this boy was on exactly the same weird kind of frequency that I was.

It was a shame that the moment was really fleeting and kind of got trashed by the Slytherins.

They’d come out of nowhere; I’d been convinced that the corridor was deserted. There was one up ahead of us, one drawing alongside us, and another at the other end of the corridor – we were surrounded. As far as I knew, there were more around the next corner. There was a sudden tight feeling in my chest, and it felt like my backflipping stomach and mashed potato brain were leaking out through the soles of my shoes.

I was mega scared.

At once, Albus put a protective sort of hand on my shoulder, pushing me behind him a little bit. We’d turned about ninety degrees in the corridor, so my back was close to the wall, a little way along from a portrait of a sleeping warlock. I was pretty convinced that Albus could hear my heart, which was going about a light year a minute out of fear.

‘Where you going, Potter?’ the Slytherin I recognised as Fletcher said. ‘Gonna rat on us?’

‘Yeah,’ his friend called. ‘Gonna squeal?’

‘Of course,’ Albus said, and I was pretty impressed by how he’d managed to keep his cool. ‘Prefect’s duty, mate.’

‘We’ll stop you,’ Fletcher said. ‘You ain’t gonna squeal to Carter tonight. You’re gonna squeal to us first. We’re gonna make you squeal so you won’t say a word.’

It was possibly the worst threat I’d heard in all my days, but I was all a-flutter with the sheer terror of the moment, and so that was the point where I accidentally let out a nervous little ‘eep’ sound from behind Albus’ back.

The Slytherins made it worse by laughing.

‘Oo’s that?’ Fletcher’s mate said. ‘Oi, four-eyes!’ he called to me. ‘Didn’t see this coming, didya?’

I wanted to come out with some snappy retort about how glasses don’t help you see into the future, but I could certainly see clearly enough to have ascertained that he was ugly, thick, and needed a shower, but, again, I was kind of paralysed with fear.

Like Scorpius, I’m a better clam than most clams.

The three Slytherins advanced, drawing closer, until Fletcher was right in front of Albus. He really looked like he meant some pretty nasty business.

‘Scared now, are ya?’ Fletcher sneered, as Albus visibly cringed away from him. ‘Now the night’s out and you’re on your own?’

‘Hey,’ I said, in the bravest voice I could muster given the situation, which was a sort of wobbly squeak. ‘He’s not alone! He’s got me!’

And I don’t know why I did this, but I stepped forward so I was level with Albus, and raised a fist like I meant to fight. Which I totally didn’t.

‘Now, now, what’s this?’ Fletcher jeered, staring down at me. ‘Whatcha gonna do, four-eyes, blink at me? Oh, I’m so scared.’

‘Hey!’ Albus said, and he really actually did make a pretty good job of sounding sincerely threatening. ‘Leave off her!’

Fletcher was probably thicker than me, because he seemed to buy it. ‘Alright, alright,’ he said, with an incredulous look. ‘Keep your hair on.’

‘I mean it,’ Albus said, raising a fist just as I had, although his was way more convincing. ‘Don’t even try anything.’

Fletcher looked between the two of us, a smile brimming with mirth slapped on his stupid ugly face. ‘Why, what’s she to you, Potter?’

I knew the answer to that. I was nothing to him. I was four-eyes Flora, the girl who’d accidentally witnessed a robbery and the girl he probably hadn’t even meant to save, the inarticulate Japanese knotweed of a girl with enormous spectacles and a habit of saying mega.

But I never had time to say this, because that was when Albus suddenly seized me by the shoulders and kissed me.

a/n: I...I took a long time to write this. Classic trope of the genre, though, the spontaneous kiss. Had to give it a bit of time to stew. Lol jk I wrote this in like an hour flat and barely even edited it. If it makes no sense, that's because...because I'm incredibly lazy. Thank you to everyone who's reviewed to far, and I'm sorry I'm taking so long to respond (I am a bad, bad person). Thank you for reading & I hope you enjoyed it ♥
edited 09/08/2012 - minor grammar/phrasing edits

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