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When me and Fauna were, like, fourteen and mildly obsessed with all things boy that weren’t Scorpius, we often used to sit up into the night talking endlessly about which boys in our year we’d like to kiss or, in Fauna’s case, talking about the one boy in our year that she had kissed. This meant that a lot of our conversations after the hours of darkness tended to revolve around Dermot Finnegan’s lips and how much they apparently tasted like cinnamon.

Before I go on, I should probably point out that Dermot Finnegan is totally squick and I would never want to kiss him even if his mouth tasted like Honeydukes’ best milk chocolate. I don’t know what Fauna saw in him but Scorpius says he’s really good at Quidditch, but obviously I wouldn’t know that because I’m not a boy and I’m practically a hermit anyway.

But I was sort of glad for those endless conversations, because without them I wouldn’t have known that Albus was actually pretty alright at this kissing lark and it was pretty decent for a first kiss, if a little unexpected and spontaneous and, frankly, quite frightening.

It did the trick as far as the Slytherins were concerned. There was a moment’s stunned silence, then Fletcher seemed to explode.

Ewww, Potter! That’s mingin’!

I just tried to stand as still as possible and let Albus get on with it, seeing as my legs felt like they were being sucked down two little whirlpools and my brain still felt like an over-cooked roast dinner.

‘He’s not worth it, mate!’ another of the Slytherins shouted.

‘Bloody sap,’ Fletcher said, as Albus finally pulled away from me. I stared hard at his shoes and tried to act like this was total normal and my heart wasn’t going like an aphid in a tumble dryer.

‘Big girl’s blouse,’ Fletcher finally spat, and then the three Slytherins marched off, walking like they’d all just got off horses or something.

As soon as they were round the corner, Albus took a full step backwards, grimaced, wiped his mouth with the back of his hands, and apologised ten times in a row. If I’m honest, I didn’t think the moment had been all that bad (I mean, like, it was better than the alternative, which was probably getting beaten up by the Slytherins) but I copied him anyway just to be sure.

‘I’m so sorry, Flora,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know what else to do.’

I was about to blurt out something along the lines of, don’t worry, I think you’re actually a decent kisser! but all the words sort of got blocked up in my throat and I just ended up nodding like an idiot.

‘Desperate times, huh,’ he said, giving his mouth another cursory wipe.

‘Sorry!’ I shoved my glasses back up again so I could see him properly. ‘I think I had lip gloss on!’

‘It’s okay,’ he said, but he wouldn’t meet my eye.

I didn’t have a clue what to say. Alright, the situation was a bit extreme and more than a bit out of the odds, but, you know, I had no idea what the post-kiss protocol was.

The silence stretched like an old scrunchie.

‘Thank you for sticking up for me,’ I finally said. ‘Nobody ever does that.’

‘It’s nothing,’ he said, but he looked troubled.

‘I owe you one,’ I pressed on, although I knew that I was about as much use to him as, like, a dead shrub or something. ‘I really do. That was very kind.’

It was his turn to stare at my shoes, which were still scuffed and muddied from the previous year because I’d forgotten to polish them. At once, my mind exploded with a thousand glorious images of how I could pay him back, about ninety-nine percent of which revolved around Honeydukes and/or the school kitchens.

‘There…there is one thing,’ he said, very slowly. ‘I hear you’re good at History of Magic.’

I’d got an Outstanding on my O.W.L History of Magic paper, but I was a bit too shy to admit this. I’m still kind of convinced it was a fluke, because I got the name of the first Minister for Magic mixed up with the name of one of my uncles on my dad’s side of the family and pretty much wrote a whole essay about how Lancelot Lancaster unified the magical peoples when he’s actually a plumber.

‘Sort of,’ I said. ‘Not really.’

‘I only just scraped a pass in the Summer but I can’t afford to drop it,’ he said, finally meeting my eye. ‘Would you tutor me?’

My heart did a little backflip.

‘Me?’ I said. ‘But I’m rubbish-’

‘Apparently you got an Outstanding,’ he said, before adding, in a sort of offhand way – ‘Lucy told me.’

Albus seemed to know a lot more about me than I ever could have guessed. I suppose this should have been, like, a little bit suspicious, but my mind was a bit wobbly and I didn’t want to do much thinking until I’d had something to eat, preferably of the pudding variety.

‘Of course,’ I said.

And, with that, we went off to see Professor Carter as if nothing had happened.


By the time I finally got to the Great Hall, the main course was well over and everyone was midway into pudding. Almost the second I saw apple crumble in the serving dishes, I abandoned Albus with a hasty farewell and practically sprinted to the Hufflepuff table, where Fauna and Scorpius had saved me a seat.

‘You missed chips,’ Fauna said, as I began ladling huge helpings of crumble and ice cream into my bowl. ‘Also, hello.’

‘Can’t talk,’ I said, almost dropping my spoon in my excitement. ‘Crumble!’

Fauna turned to Scorpius with a sort of well isn’t this typical look on her face, but he, too, was busy devouring what is pretty much the best pudding in the entire universe. Like, nothing beats apple crumble.

Five minutes later, I scooped the last bit of ice cream from my bowl and began to search for second helpings. ‘So, what did I miss?’

‘Oh, the sorting was pretty lame,’ Fauna said, toying with her cutlery. ‘Hat told us to appreciate the little things in life and work, like, mega hard. I think Flitwick told it to sing that or something.’

‘Oh, fun,’ I said, having just discovered an entire dish of strawberry jelly that had been concealed behind a third-year. ‘Look, Scorpius, jelly!’

Fauna, who isn’t quite as enthusiastic about puddings as we are, gave an almighty sigh. It’s probably a good thing that she knows where to draw the line when it comes to sugary food, but she can be so boring.

‘What did Carter want?’ she said.

‘Oh, not much,’ I shrugged. ‘Just, like, a couple of incident forms, and then the mean Slytherins are getting a mega load of detentions, and…’

I trailed off into silence, with my mind filling in the little and I kissed Albus Potter and now I’m his History of Magic tutor but that’s no biggie. Like, that’s a mega no biggie.

‘Serves them right,’ Fauna said, firmly. ‘Poor Agnes.’

I nodded, stuffing myself with strawberry jelly so I wouldn’t have to speak. The fact that I’d kissed Albus was sort of hanging over my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, even though we’d agreed that it had never happened and it had only been a diversionary tactic. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that. I don’t think he realised that I’d never kissed anyone before, because I guess kissing barely meant a thing to him or he wouldn’t have done it.

When I looked up, I noticed Scorpius was looking at me funny, but as soon as he caught my eye he burst into a grin and then switched his gaze to the table, and so Fauna frowned at us because she evidently thought we’d been in on some joke that she wasn’t part of.

This is totally mad, but I’ve always thought of me and Scorpius as being like velcro and a woolly jumper. We weren’t really meant to be friends, but we sort of clung to each other by accident and now, if we got pulled apart by something, the velcro would be all covered in fluff and the jumper would end up all bobbly and neither of them would really be nice and neat anymore.

Seeing as he was my best friend and all, I really wanted to tell him about the whole thing with Albus in the corridor, but I figured that Fauna was probably the person to go to in this situation and Scorpius would probably be a bit funny about it seeing as he doesn’t really like Albus and all. But it made me feel a little bit guilty, thinking that I couldn’t tell him.

Back in the dorm after pudding (and a plate of sandwiches that had been sent up to the dormitory by Professor Carter – she was the Head of Slytherin, but obviously understood my need for sustenance), I meant to tell Fauna about the whole thing. Like, I really meant to tell Fauna about it. The words were literally on the tip of my tongue, but somehow they just couldn’t come out.

I think I felt that it’d be something of a disservice to Albus if I went around blabbing about the diversionary kiss that had never happened. I sort of wanted him to think I was sane and normal and not a gossip or anything, and I knew that, as soon as Fauna knew, Lucy Weasley and Georgina Herring and Tabitha Hendricks from the dorm would know and then everyone would want to ask me questions and it’d be mega awkward.

When I say I’m a Japanese knotweed and a hermit and that Scorpius and Fauna are my only friends, I don’t mean it like everyone else hates me or anything. They’re actually really nice to me, apart from the Slytherins and the Ravenclaws, and I guess I get on fine with them. I’m just really quiet and I don’t like it when people ask me things because I tend to get flustered and say silly things like I’ll be there and be a square!

Fauna made me tell her all about the initial Albus incident though, as in the one that didn’t involve any kissing.

‘Wait, so,’ she said. ‘You were standing in front of the Slytherins-’

‘And they were like, oh, back off, sunshine, and then Albus just came out of nowhere behind me and was like oh, why don’t you back off, and I was like, woah, this is weird, and then, like, I was on the floor.’


‘One of the Slytherins, like, hit me,’ I said, sounding as if I didn’t quite believe myself. ‘They hit a girl with glasses!’

‘That’s so mean,’ Fauna said, with a sympathetic nod.

‘What happened?’

Lucy and Tabitha walked in through the door just at that moment, and were looking down at me with a vague sort of interest.

‘Flora took on the Slytherins!’ Fauna said, excitedly.

‘It wasn’t like that, Fauna,’ I sighed. ‘They were picking on Agnes.’

‘Agnes?’ Tabitha said. ‘Who’s Agnes?’

This made me a little bit angry. I mean, like, the woman serves you tea and coffee and sweets without a single complaint, and you can’t even be bothered to learn her name? So Fauna filled in for me, explaining that Agnes was the lady with the trolley, and I sat and wound the corner of my blanket around my fist and tried to pretend that I wasn’t irritated.

‘Anyway,’ Fauna continued, as Georgina finally turned up and the three other Hufflepuff girls settled around us, listening intently. ‘The Slytherins were picking on Agnes, right, so our Flora went and stood up for her!’

‘It was nothing,’ I mumbled.

‘She got punched in the face!’ Fauna said emphatically.

‘Oh, yeah,’ Tabitha piped up. ‘You’ve got a bit of a bruise, Flora.’

I stared really hard at the duvet cover, hoping I really didn’t have a bruise because bruises mean awkward questions.

‘And then Albus Potter saved her!’ Fauna said, sounding a little wild, and the girls around all went ooh simultaneously as if this was more exciting than getting punched in the face or sticking up for Agnes or whatever.

Well, all the girls went ooh apart from Lucy, who let out a giggle.

‘Oh, typical Albus,’ she said.

Everyone swivelled their heads around to look at her. I even looked up and all.

‘He kind of…kind of inherited a saving people thing from his Dad, you know?’ Lucy said. ‘I mean, he’s really nice and polite, but I’m terrified he’s going to get really hurt one day.’

‘What do you mean?’ Fauna pressed on.

‘He always has to intervene,’ Lucy smiled. ‘Terribly noble and all. In the summer, Molly and James took us to this club in Diagon Alley and – oh, I know,’ she beamed, as Georgina and Tabitha looked up at her in admiration. ‘Great having an older sister. Anyway, we went outside for some fresh air and there was this woman getting harassed by this really tough bloke, and Albus went over and tried to calm him down and got hit and all. I mean, it all turned out all right in the end,’ the smile dropped from her face a little. ‘But, you know, it could have gone so much worse.’

‘That’s so cool,’ Fauna said.

‘And he’s so handsome,’ Georgina chipped in.

‘Oh, definitely,’ Tabitha said, just as Fauna started nodding enthusiastically.

‘Oh, blee,’ Lucy grimaced. ‘Please don’t talk about my cousin like that-’

‘You don’t have to listen to us,’ Fauna said, defiantly.

‘Yeah, well, you’re kind of loud,’ Lucy said. ‘I’m going to go brush my teeth…’

She got up and went off into the bathroom, leaving me to face the other three on my own. I’d never been especially close to Lucy, although I thought she was a pretty alright person, but at that moment, I wanted nothing more for her to come back and keep talking to everyone so I wouldn’t have to speak.

‘What was it like, Flora?’ Tabitha pressed on. ‘When he saved you?’


My dithering voice faded into silence.

‘Mega, I bet,’ Georgina said, with a knowing smile. ‘Everything’s so mega with you.’

‘Yeah,’ I kept on winding the blanket around my fist. ‘Mega.’

Okay, it was pretty mega, I’ll admit, I just didn’t want to talk about it. Not in the slightest. I just wanted to hide under the covers and pretend I didn’t exist for a little bit. Plus I sort of knew that they took the mick out of me sometimes for saying mega.

‘Oh, you’re so boring,’ Tabitha said. ‘If Albus Potter had saved me from a load of bullies-’

‘He’s just really normal,’ I blurted out. ‘Like, mega normal.’

It was pretty much the truth. Regular guy, regular talk, regular walk, except I was pretty sure there was a little sugar addict beneath the surface wanting to get out.

‘Oh, really?’ Fauna said, but I could tell she wasn’t convinced.

‘Uh, yeah,’ I said. ‘And he…well, I said I’d help him out with his History of Magic work. You know, like, to pay him back.’

What?’ the three girls screeched. A moment later, Lucy stuck her head out of the bathroom door, toothbrush wedged in her mouth, staring at me in disbelief.

‘Oh my god, that’s, like-’ Tabitha spluttered.

‘Will you be in the library together?’ Georgina squealed. ‘Like, a lot?’

‘I dunno,’ I started up. ‘We didn’t really sort anything out-’

‘Wow, you totally have to introduce me,’ Fauna nearly yelled. ‘You have to!’

‘Fine, whatever,’ I almost yanked the blanket off the bed in my irritation. ‘Whatever.’

Eventually, they got bored of asking me questions when they realised I wasn’t going to tell them anymore, and talk turned to what they’d all got up to that summer – I made a show of cleaning my teeth, getting into my pyjamas and getting into my four-poster bed, already a teensy bit sick of hearing them rave on about Albus Potter when he’d just seemed like a regular guy to me.

Little did I know how mega he’d become. I mean, like, I’m kind of alright at Divination, but I couldn’t have seen it coming a mile off.

But when I lay there, all wrapped up in the duvet, listening to the other girls chattering on and on, I couldn’t help but smile. Because, even if it had absolutely never happened, I was the one who’d actually kissed him.

And even though I'd brushed my teeth, I had the weirdest taste of chocolate frogs in my mouth.

a/n: I have never written such annoying teenage girls in my life asdfghjkl;
Harry Potter's little 'saving people' problem was actually pointed out by Hermione in Order of the Phoenix, although I can't find the right page. I believe it is named on tv tropes as Chronic Hero Syndrome and, man, the Potters have that in buckets.
Anyway, thank you for reading, and I hope you liked it! ♥

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