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The simple truth was that Albus was actually pretty good at History of Magic.

Okay, he wasn’t perfect and, okay, he didn’t quite get the marks I got. Okay, he did have to work a bit harder than most in the class and, okay, his essay technique was far from amazing, but the boy barely needed tuition. And yet he kept agreeing to meet me twice a week in the Library and, somehow, we found enough work to fill those hourly sessions every time.

It got to October, and I was certain that I’d have to tell him pretty soon that he didn’t need to keep meeting me because he was actually doing alright in the subject. But I didn’t really want to tell him that, because our meetings were actually pretty fun and I seemed to have made a new friend in him. It was nice, like we’d gone about becoming friends the normal way through lessons and studying and stuff, and not through train robberies and diversionary kisses. He never ever once brought up that spur-of-the-moment snog in the first-floor corridor, although I found my mind drifting back to it now and again. It had been my first kiss, after all. And I still hadn’t told a single person about it, not even my best friends. That made me feel pretty crummy.

It was like it had never happened, which I supposed was for the best. But I had the niggling thought in the back of my head that, had the school found out just what had gone on then, I wouldn’t be frigid old four-eyes Flora with her Myron Wagtail posters and pockets full of Opal Fruits any more. I’d actually be…well, you know, somebody else. Maybe just Flora.

I ended up being really glad I didn’t tell Albus to stop meeting me in the library, though, because during the very session that I was going to tell him to give it up, there was this very weird but very cool little moment that made me change my mind.

Like most weird but cool moments I’ve had in my life, it started with an accident. I was a bit late to the Library because we’d been let out of Runes five minutes after the bell, so when I found Albus I just threw everything I was carrying straight onto the table and then flopped into a chair. Unfortunately, my Runes folder landed at a strangle angle and flew open, so that Albus was left sitting right in front of the huge collage I’d made of Myron Wagtail and the Weird Sisters on the inside of the cover.

I felt pretty mortified because it was not cool to fancy Myron Wagtail, as Fauna had pointed out many times, and I’d made it so much worse by adding loads of little doodles of hearts and stars and song lyrics in curly script around the edges. So I snatched the folder back, slammed it shut, and tried to pretend that he had never seen it when, in fact, he was laughing into the cuff of his jumper.

‘You’re a Weird Sisters fan?’ he said, once we’d both regained a sufficient amount of composure, although I couldn’t stop blushing.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I know it’s bizarre-’

‘It’s not bizarre at all!’ he grinned. ‘I love them!’

I felt a little less awkward, so smiled back at him. ‘They’re pretty much the only, like, magic band I like,’ I said. ‘You know, being muggle-born…they were the only magic band I clicked with.’

‘Well, yeah, because they’re awesome,’ Albus said. ‘Have you ever heard the purple album?’

My heart skipped the tiniest of beats. ‘You mean the one with all the unreleased demos and b-sides? Of course.’

‘Oh, thank you!’ he said, throwing his hand up to the ceiling in mock worship. ‘Nobody’s heard of that album! It drives me mad, because Lacewing Lullaby is easily their best track.’

‘Track four,’ I said, and Albus raised an eyebrow at me. ‘I’m a huge fan…’

‘Did you catch them on their last tour?’

‘Ooh, yes!’

‘Really?’ he sat forward, suddenly animated. ‘Me too!’

‘Were you at the concert when Myron tore the knee of his corduroys during Accio Love and he got the roadie to tape them up for him-’

‘Yes! It was the best night of my life!’

In the end, we didn’t get any History of Magic work done that session. We were far too busy swapping stories of that particular Weird Sisters concert, our favourite lyrics, our favourite EPs. About half an hour of this went by and I’d just promised to lend him my special edition of New Magical Express when they’d done a whole issue on the Weird Sisters when Fauna and a couple of the other girls turned up at our table.

‘Hi,’ Fauna said. ‘Do you mind if we join you?’

With a sinking heart, I realised that there were only two spare seats at the table.

‘It’s alright,’ Albus said, sweeping his notes together. ‘I’ll move-’

‘You don’t have to,’ I protested, but I sounded a bit feeble. ‘We’ll find a bigger table-’

‘There aren’t any tables left,’ Tabitha pointed out. ‘That’s why we came over here.’

‘I’m really sorry,’ Fauna said to Albus, as Tabitha and Georgina took the two spare seats. I got the feeling, though, that Fauna was apologising to me as well. And she actually looked genuinely sorry, unlike Tabitha and Georgina, who had these horribly smug looks on their faces, like they knew something I didn’t.

‘Oh, Flora,’ Albus said, swinging his satchel over his shoulder. ‘You know Myron does a show every Sunday on the WWN?’

This was news to me: ‘really?’

‘Yeah. You should listen to it, it’s mega.’

The girls bade him farewell, and he turned and went off to take the spare seat at a table of Gryffindors on the other side of the Library. I actually forgot to say goodbye to him because he’d thrown me so much by using the word mega.

Maybe my weird habits were just rubbing off on him or something.

Anyway, I was lurched out of my little reverie when Tabitha and Georgina started giggling hysterically. I thought they were just being Albus-obsessed idiots, but then I saw that they were both staring down at the Weird Sisters collage in my folder, which I’d let Albus write his favourite lyric on.

I snapped the folder shut. ‘What?’ I said. ‘They’re a good band.’

‘You’ve got a crush on Myron Wagtail,’ Tabitha snorted, but then Fauna dived in to the rescue.

‘Yeah, they’re a good band,’ she said. ‘Good for…um, dancing.’

I knew she was lying because Fauna totally wasn’t a fan of the Weird Sisters (it’d been Scorpius who’d been dragged along to the concert with me), but I appreciated that she’d cut Tabitha off like that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Tabitha and Georgina, but they were mega annoying and it wasn’t like I actually liked them either.

‘Ugh, they’re so old,’ Georgina pouted. ‘My dad listens to the Weird Sisters. It’s really lame.’

‘It’s not lame,’ I said, trying to defend myself. ‘It doesn’t matter whether they’re old or new as long as they make nice music.’

‘Yeah, but Myron Wagtail is like, five hundred years old and you have a poster of him by your bed, that’s a bit weird, just saying.’

I couldn’t resist a scowl. ‘He was twenty when they took that photograph, actually.’

‘But he wasn’t even fit or anything-’

‘I don’t think Johnny Glimmer’s that fit,’ Fauna cut in. ‘But I still think Modernism are a really mega band. It’s music over looks, really.’

‘Ugh,’ Georgina said again, although her tone had changed entirely. ‘Johnny Glimmer is so hot.’

‘Oh, definitely,’ Tabitha said, just as Fauna rolled her eyes and reached into her bag for her homework. ‘Did you hear Modernism are putting out a new album soon?’

I completely tuned out at that point because, honestly, I thought Modernism were a pretty crap band and I could hardly care less if the lead singer had been photographed with Emmeline Puckle, who was only the face of Life’s a Witch makeup and all. And I only knew that because I got my lipgloss from Life’s a Witch whenever I went to Diagon Alley. Celebrity scandal really isn’t my cup of tea, mostly because tea is more my cup of tea.

I tried to ignore them and get on with my Runes homework, but I had the weirdest feeling of being watched. So I glanced up, shoving my glasses back up to the bridge of my nose, and then I saw him. Albus, on the other side of the room, had caught my eye. Then, pretty deliberately, he lifted both hands, made the little rockstar devil horns symbol with both, then put them together to form a W. Straight afterwards, he turned his hands around and put his little fingers together to turn it into an S. Then he smiled and went back to his homework.

And, yeah, I couldn’t quite believe it. Albus Potter had made the secret hand sign of the Weird Sisters fanclub at me across the Library.


Near the end of October, a sign went up in the Hufflepuff common room saying that the first Hogsmeade visit would be in the second week of November. Of course, the usual flurry of activity ensued. I don’t even know why, but people are always obsessed with the idea of going to Hogsmeade with someone, and I’ve been at Hogwarts long enough to know that that someone isn’t necessarily a friend but probably a bit more. It all seems a bit stupid because, essentially, Hogsmeade is just a really titchy High Street. Compared to where I’m from in the Midlands, Hogsmeade is the tiniest place ever and the only reason it’s exciting is because it’s magical.

I always find myself getting unreasonably excited before a Hogsmeade trip and then finding it to be a huge let down once I’m there. Usually, I’ll just go into Honeydukes with Fauna and Scorpius, then we’ll meander round the other shops for a bit, not really buying anything. Fauna likes the macaroons in Madame Puddifoots, Scorpius likes going to the record shop near the end of the High Street – and me? Well, barring Honeydukes, the only real place of interest is Scrivenshafts, because I’m the sort of weirdo who really enjoys shopping for stationery.

So as soon as the notice went up, I knew that, inevitable, it’d be another Saturday afternoon of wandering about and coming back to school with bags full of sugary treats. One of the noticeboards was right above our usual spot in the common room (in the far left corner, hidden in a sort of alcove, featuring three squashy armchairs and a coffee table with wobbly legs), so I brought it up one Friday night after lessons when the three of us were together.

‘The next Hogsmeade date is up,’ I said, nodding up at the noticeboard. ‘D’you wanna go?’

It was a pretty daft question because we pretty much always went, but Fauna and Scorpius both took a while to respond.

‘I don’t think I can,’ Fauna said, from her upside-down spot on the armchair opposite me (Fauna usually sat upside down when she was doing her Divination homework, because she said it helped her focus on the ley lines, whatever those were). ‘I’ve got an Astronomy trip that day. Sorry.’

‘Scorpius?’ I said, turning to my right.

‘I’m not sure I can either,’ he said. ‘I’m busy for the next few Saturdays with Book Club.’

‘Book club,’ Fauna echoed, giggling. ‘You’re such a nerd.’

‘It’ll look good on my seventh year reference,’ he said archly, turning a page in the novel he was reading. ‘They always say you’ve got to have a few extra-curricular activities…’

‘Oh, fiddlesticks,’ I said. ‘The only thing I’ve got is helping Albus with his homework every week.’

‘You should join Cookery Club,’ Fauna suggested. ‘They do a lot of baking, Lucy says.’

‘I’m really naff at cooking,’ I said.

‘You can come to Book Club with me,’ Scorpius said. ‘They actually prescribe a lot of muggle stuff.’

‘Yeah, but I’d rather read magic stuff,’ I said, picking at a loose thread on the armchair. ‘I get to read enough muggle stuff at home. Is there a club where you get to sit around and eat crisps or something?’

‘If only…’ Fauna said wistfully.

‘I wish they’d do a Music club or something,’ Scorpius said. ‘I’m sick of them playing bloody Modernism records in the common room all the time…’

‘I think what you’d want is an elitist record appreciation group,’ Fauna said.

Scorpius didn’t respond, only pretended to be engrossed in his book. Me and Fauna shared a strange look, mostly due to the fact that she was upside down.

‘Hipster,’ she muttered.

‘D’you think tutoring Albus would count?’ I said hopefully.

‘Not really,’ Fauna grimaced. ‘You could always offer to tutor first years. The Professors like that.’

‘Oh, no,’ I said. ‘Too much social interaction.’

The conversation was basically over, so me and Fauna both went back to our homework and Scorpius went on with his book. I didn’t even know why, but I felt a little betrayed that they were both too busy to go to Hogsmeade with me. Like I said, Hogsmeade isn’t even that exciting, but I still wanted to go and didn’t want to go on my own like the loser I was.

I had a bit of a stroke of luck the next day, though, exactly a fortnight before the actual Hogsmeade trip. I hadn’t exactly planned to meet Albus in the Library, but I’d gone with a view of taking out some extra reading for Charms to deal with my setting-fire-to-water problem, and he’d been sitting alone at one of the group study tables so I’d joined him. He started out by offering me some help with Charms, and eventually we got really off-topic and ended up carrying on about the Weird Sisters and our mutual dorky love for them all over again.

‘I’m still missing a copy of the Enchanted Hearts album,’ he said. ‘I know it’s not the best, but it’d be cool to have the full collection. I might look for it in Hogsmeade.’

‘Neat,’ I said. ‘I would pop into Magic Sounds and have a look myself but, well, Scorpius can’t make the visit, and he’s usually the one that drags me in there.’


‘Yeah,’ I said, and I felt myself turning red. ‘Um, all of my friends are busy. Er, all two of them, that is. I was just going to go by myself so I can pop into Honeydukes and get some new ink from Scrivenshafts…’

‘Aw, Flora!’ Albus said, with a sort of pitying laugh. ‘You can come along with me and my friends, if you want.’

I couldn’t really tell whether he was joking or not. ‘Really?’

‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Well, it’s Quidditch next week, so I guess they’ll want to go to the Three Broomsticks for a drink. And you can’t go to Hogsmeade without going to Honeydukes.’

‘And…and I can really join you?’

‘Of course,’ he smiled. ‘It’d be awesome. Maybe I can drag you into Magic Sounds for a change.’

I smiled back. ‘I’d like that.’

a/n: New Magical Express is, of course, a play on New Musical Express, my weekly reading material of choice (hipsterrr...). And the lovely person in the lovely chapter image is the lovely Jarvis Cocker, who did (albeit briefly) play the part of Myron Wagtail in Goblet of Fire. Flora's feelings about Mr Wagtail are essentially just my feelings about the wonderful Mr Cocker, just with different names attached. Except the collage in my English Lit folder is mostly based around The Smiths and the wonderful Robert Smith~
coming soon: what's quidditch without a post-match party?, Flora and Albus and the trek through the snow, and Scorpius and the Mysterious Mystery Misery.

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