Search Home Read Write Forum Login Register
For the first week of November, all anyone could talk about was bloody Quidditch.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Quidditch. I see it as being a bit like football, except I think I understand football and I definitely don’t understand Quidditch. It’s like football in the way that everyone gets caught up in it, no matter how old or young or dorky they are or whatever. Once a game gets going, everyone gets so totally absorbed in it that, if you’re not into it, you may as well be an amoeba or something because nobody wants to notice you.

To be fair, most of my memories about football are from when I was pretty young, before my dad left, because my mum can’t stand it. Whenever there was a match on telly dad used to let me sit on his lap so we could watch it together, and even if I didn’t really get what was going on, it was nice to be able to cheer at the same time and whatnot. My dad’s from Glasgow, and he used to tell me about how intense the rivalry was there, how the family would disown me if I ever supported Celtic. It didn’t really matter because I could enjoy it without really supporting any team. It was time I got to spend with my dad. And I guess I’ve never really felt that way about Quidditch because there isn’t that nice, nostalgic feeling about it.

Most of the time I skip the school matches and use the time to chill out in the empty common room. Scorpius and Fauna go a lot, but that’s because they grew up with Quidditch and I bet they’d feel like I did if I tried to take them to a football match. I guess the three of us all have really different feelings about Quidditch, though. Like how Scorpius actually really wanted to be on the team but he’s just not good enough and, besides, he said that when you’re up that high and going at that speed, breathing is like getting punched in the lungs. So it’s sad he can’t play, but it hasn’t stopped him going. He even has an Appleby Arrows scarf from his Dad and all, just like I have a Glasgow Rangers scarf my dad sent me for my fifteenth birthday.

I don’t know why me and Scorpius have so many feelings about Quidditch. I mean, Fauna’s just in it for the hot sporty boys. She doesn’t have to get all emotional and sad about it.

Anyway, the match that week was no exception. Scorpius went for the game, Fauna went to ogle Toby McFarlane from Ravenclaw in his flying robes, and I lounged about in the common room doing absolutely naff all for the three hours they were gone. It was bliss. I sat on a sofa in front of the fire and flicked idly through New Magical Express, (just looking at the pictures, if I’m honest) whilst Willoughby sat on my lap and purred like an articulated lorry.

I was midway through a mega exciting interview with Myron Wagtail about Weird Sisters Greatest Hits album that was about to be released when the common room door opened and people started to flood back in from the match. I read to the end of the paragraph I was on and then put my magazine away, waiting for Fauna and Scorpius to come back.

When they finally turned up, Fauna looked over the moon. Scorpius, by contrast, looked sufficiently under the moon, if that’s even a thing. I gathered up Willoughby and my bag and headed over to our usual little nook of the common room so I could find out why they were, between them, pretty much making a full orbit of the moon mood-wise. We all took an armchair each, then Fauna leant in, flattening her hands upon the surface of the little coffee table. At once, the wobbly legs lurched sideways and she was left clutching onto it for dear life.

‘Well,’ she said, once she’d wrestled the table back upright again. ‘We have been invited to a party.’

‘Oh?’ I said, just as Scorpius rolled his eyes.

‘Yup! Post-match party!’ Fauna said brightly. ‘Dermot said I could come and bring my friends if I wanted, so…why don’t we go?’

‘Hang on,’ I said. ‘Whose party? Who even won the match?’

‘Gryffindor, of course,’ Scorpius said.

‘Flora, you should’ve seen it! Albus and Toby were, like, in a headlong dive to get the snitch-’

‘Yeah, Potter pulled a Wronski Feint, it’s nothing special,’ Scorpius said. ‘He barely did anything for the rest of the match.’

‘So it’s a Gryffindor party?’ I cut in, before Fauna could snap at Scorpius. ‘Oh, I dunno, the tower’s miles away.’

‘Eh, not really,’ Fauna shrugged. ‘We can take the shortcut from the third floor.’

‘It’s not like we know anyone in Gryffindor,’ Scorpius said.

‘I know Dermot,’ Fauna said archly. ‘And Flora knows Albus.’

‘Barely,’ I said, although this was a bit of a lie because I guess I had got to know him a bit better through all the dorky Weird Sisters appreciation in the library. ‘And I haven’t got anything to wear.’

‘Psh, it’ll be casual,’ she waved me away. ‘Besides, we’re the same size, right?’

‘You’re skinnier,’ I said.

‘That is so not true-’

‘Anyway,’ I said, before we disintegrated into a meaningless circular conversation. ‘I don’t really, well, wear a lot of skirts.’

There was a pause.

‘Flora, not wearing a lot of skirts isn’t a good reason to pass up on a party,’ Fauna raised her eyebrows at me. ‘Come on, please come with me. I don’t want to go alone like a loser.’

‘I’ll go if Scorpius is going,’ I said, knowing that this probably put Scorpius in a bit of a bind because, if he refused, Fauna would be upset, but if he said yes, he’d have to spend his night hanging out with Gryffindors.

‘Fine, whatever,’ he said. ‘But I’m leaving early.’


People always say Gryffindor house throw the best parties. And this is probably true, because I’ve been to Hufflepuff parties, and Hufflepuff parties tend to be a bit of a jelly-and-ice-cream-and-party-games affair. Usually Hufflepuff parties just revolve around a lot of food because we’re so close to the kitchens, but that’s pretty peachy when you’ve got a sweet tooth like me. Gryffindor parties are more like parties in the sense that people actually go to socialise, not just to stuff their faces.

You hear a lot of rumours, though. Like, you hear a lot of rumours about kids smuggling in drinks or playing cheap games like spin the bottle, and, truthfully, that sort of stuff frightens me a little bit. Typically, the Gryffindors throw a party, and then all anyone can gossip about for weeks is how some girl is a slag because she kissed more than one boy, and I think it’s weird how nobody ever gossips about a boy kissing more than one girl. It makes me a bit mad, actually. I like how homely Hogwarts is, and all that gossip and stuff just…well, it’s like when you’re sitting in a warm room on a winter’s night, and then you open the front door and a sharp little breeze comes in and makes you shiver.

Girls are really cruel. And I don’t get why. It’s a bit sinister to think that, if Fauna just so happened to maybe kiss more than one boy on the same day or something, no matter how sweet she is, there’d be unkind words about her swapped in the corridors all week. But if Scorpius kissed a load of girls, everyone would probably think he was really cool. Okay, maybe not because it’s Scorpius, but the principle still applies.

I think this is why everyone thinks I’m so weird. I don’t understand them and they don’t understand me.

Okay, I’m getting really off the point now. I think I just wanted to explain why I ended up getting really nervous about going to this stupid party when Fauna was so excited about it. I just wanted to turn up, maybe say hi to a few people, have a few snacks, then get back to the common room before curfew. Just to make Fauna happy and maybe, you know, even say hello to Albus.

It didn’t start off well. I mean, Fauna made me wear a skirt. I’m one of those weird girls who favours comfort over style, and I’m a bit too attached to my jeans, but after a bit of persuading she got me to put on a skirt she dug up from the bottom of her trunk. It was a bit creased and way too short, but she pouted at me and told me it was about time I got my legs out so I wore it. If it’s any consolation, she let me keep my thick tights.

Apart from that, it was on with the favourite old comfy jumper, the not-so-favourite-but-necessary enormous glasses, and the pink lipgloss. Not that I’m ever parted from the last two anyway.

Walking back down to the common room was pretty awkward because I had to keep tugging the skirt down. We met Scorpius in our little nook; he hadn’t even changed out of his usual jumper-and-skinny-jeans combination.

‘Hey,’ he said, giving me a funny look. ‘You look a bit…different.’

‘She made me wear it,’ I said, as Fauna giggled behind her hand. ‘It’s alright, actually.’

I gave the skirt another tug for good measure.

‘Besides,’ I continued, as Fauna giggled away beside me and Scorpius’ lips started to twitch into a smile. ‘You look absolutely the same!’

The three of us traipsed out of the common room and up the stairs. Fauna had heard that a lot of the Hufflepuffs were going too, but it seemed they’d either gone before or they were leaving later than us, because we barely saw anyone on our trek up to Gryffindor tower.

‘I bet we’re too early,’ Fauna said. ‘Ugh, I hate that. Being early to a party is so awkward.’

‘How many parties have you even been to, Fauna?’ Scorpius said.

‘Okay, I guess that being early to a party is so awkward-’

I folded my arms across my chest and tried not to speak, because I was actually pretty worried that it would be awkward and cringey, especially with me walking around in a silly skirt spreading awkward like it was a contagious disease and all.

Okay, I really didn’t have high hopes for the evening. Not at all.

We eventually came to a stop in front of the Gryffindor portrait entrance.

‘Right,’ Scorpius said. ‘How do we get in again?’

No sooner had the Fat Lady (the portrait in question) asked us for the password than the portrait swung open, and Albus popped his head out.

‘Oh, hi!’ he said.

I think the three of us must have given him a really strange look, because he jerked his thumb back inside the door and said ‘one of the portraits told me there were people outside. In case you were wondering.’

I was the first to follow him in. ‘Thanks,’ I said. ‘Thought we’d be out there for ages…’

‘I’ll just have to keep an eye on the portraits,’ he shrugged. ‘I didn’t realise you were coming.’

‘Um,’ I turned back to look at Fauna. ‘I’m just a guest…of a guest.’

We reached the Gryffindor common room and came to a halt just inside the entrance, standing awkwardly in a little huddle. Scorpius was doing his best to pretend Albus didn’t exist, which was probably a bit hard seeing as they were next to each other.

‘It’s okay,’ Albus said, giving Scorpius a dead funny look. ‘It’s a nice surprise.’

I tried to say something nice in return, but somehow the words wouldn’t come out. It was probably just as well because, inside, the Gryffindor common room was a bit of a chaos of noise inside and he probably wouldn’t have heard me.

‘So…’ Albus trailed off.

‘I, um, heard about the match,’ I said to Albus. ‘Congratulations.’


‘Fauna told me about the match!’ I raised my voice. ‘Well done!’

‘Thanks!’ he said. ‘You didn’t go?’

My stomach did a little backflip of awkward.

‘Er, not really,’ I said. ‘Not a big fan of Quidditch, me.’

I’m pretty sure I told Albus something like this before, but he actually looked a bit disappointed. So I stared at my shoes, as if hoping they would jump in and say something witty to save the day. But, no, I just had Fauna and Scorpius either side of me, and they weren’t saying a word.

‘Well,’ Albus turned to look around behind him. ‘You know Lucy, right? And Tabitha and Georgina are here already, I think.’

I got what he was trying to imply.

‘Oh, them,’ I said. ‘Yeah, they said they might come.’

‘Anyway…’ his eyes drifted off to look at something behind my head. ‘Someone’s out in the corridor. I better let them in. See you later, okay?’

‘Okay,’ I gave him a little wave, but he’d already gone off to open the portrait hole.

‘Oh god,’ I turned back to Fauna and Scorpius. ‘That was so awkward.’

‘Really?’ Scorpius said.

‘Look, Lucy’s over there,’ Fauna nodded to a corner. ‘Let’s go and say hi.’

It got a bit better after that. The whole party atmosphere didn’t turn out to be half as sinister as I’d expected and, even though people were drinking, there wasn’t any of the sort of behaviour that usually caused gossip in the corridors.

I know, I know, I sound like such a prude. But, you know, being Hogwarts’ resident Japanese-knotweed-of-awkward Flora Lancaster had deprived me of anything resembling a social life since I was eleven and this was technically my first party experience. But it was way better than I thought and, after we’d been talking to Lucy for ten minutes, she said she was going to get a drink and that she’d bring us all back one as well. I was about to say no thanks, but Fauna elbowed me in the ribs and I stopped.

Seriously, it was way better than I thought. Sure, the drink Lucy brought back would by no means be replacing fizzy pop as my beverage of choice, but it made everything seem a lot brighter and happier. Just a little bit, like the lights had been turned up a notch.

Still, nothing could shake the awkwardness of that little meeting with Albus, the way he’d looked so disappointed and all. And when I saw him crossing the room a bit later, I caught myself looking at him for ages like I was wishing he would turn around, and that’s when I realised I actually cared what he thought of me.

I didn’t know whether that was good or bad or what yet, but, then again, I didn’t really have time to think about it. Time flew by pretty fast. It was nine o’clock before I knew it.

‘Can we go back yet?’ Scorpius said, ever the misery-guts. ‘It’s curfew.’

‘Just another half hour,’ I told him, and Fauna nodded.

‘You’ll miss all the fun,’ Lucy said.

‘I barely know anyone here,’ he whined.

‘Just half an hour more,’ I pleaded, and he shrugged and seemed to cave in.

And after that everything seemed to happen at once. Not really, I know, it’s not like by accepting one of Lucy’s drinks I managed to bend the rules of time and space or something. More like the lights got brighter, the room got a bit warmer, everyone started talking a bit faster. And then I was in the middle of the room, dancing with Lucy, and a bit after that I went back to the corner we’d been hanging around in and Fauna and Scorpius had vanished.

‘Forget them,’ Lucy said, when I got back to her and said that the other two had gone. She was too close, almost yelling in my ear, but I realised she was the only person I had left that I actually knew barring Albus, of course, but he was nowhere to be seen. So I let her press another drink into my hand and, really, I tried my best to ignore the fact that I felt like I’d caught contagious awkward disease again.

Truthfully, I just wanted to get back to the common room. But that was far away, and there was no way I was going alone, not at that time of night. I was still a bit paranoid about the Slytherins, and goodness knows what levels they might have stooped to if they’d seen me blundering about on my own past curfew. So I knew I had to wait for Lucy but, of course, she was – dare I say it – drunk, dancing like an idiot in the middle of the room whilst someone kept the beat of the music with half-hearted clapping.

So I asked the nearest Gryffindor where the loos were, on the off chance that I could find some peace and quiet and maybe run my wrists under some cold water for a bit to fix the dizziness in my head.

The directions were simple. Through the door and up the stairs, first on the left. But when I got through the door in question, there were two staircases. So shut my eyes, stuck out my finger, went on tiptoe, and then spun on the spot.

This didn’t really go according to plan. Okay, having a part-Scottish family, I’ve seen drunk, and I certainly wasn’t. I was just…merry. But being merry doesn’t necessarily mean having good balance. So I’d planned a sort of graceful spin that would hopefully end in me pointing at the staircase I’d pick, but actually ended up with me careering into a wall and landing on my backside somewhere near the skirting board.

Just as I was sitting there, confused and maybe even a little bit bruised, contemplating life, the door opened and Albus showed up with a drink in his hand and a weird look on his face.

‘Flora,’ he said, and it was like he couldn’t believe his own eyes. ‘What are you doing on the floor?’

I decided it was better to tell the truth. ‘Uh…just…blundering about.’

‘Right,’ he said. ‘Okay.’

I stood up, which was actually pretty difficult given how tight my skirt was. After a few seconds of me standing about tugging at the hem and Albus giving me a weird look, he dipped his head towards the door he’d come through and said ‘I was about to take Lucy back to her common room.’

My heart leapt up a little bit. ‘You were?’

‘If she can’t walk in a straight line, she can’t go back on her own,’ he said. ‘Plus, I’m a Prefect. She won’t get into trouble if she’s with me.’

I fidgeted with the cuffs of my jumper. ‘Good point. Er, can I come?’ I said. ‘Only…you know. The corridors are a bit…gnarly. At this time of night.’

Albus actually laughed at me. ‘Gnarly?’

‘I’ll help you prop Lucy up,’ I said. ‘I’ll be, like, a fourth leg.’

This made him laugh again, and then I realised how my wide-eyed desperation and frantic nodding probably didn’t make my weird comments sound any better. But, somehow, he trusted me to be a fourth leg, and ten minutes later we were halfway down the stairs with a giggling Lucy between us. Lucy seemed to find everything in the castle hilarious on that long walk down from Gryffindor tower, and we had to keep stopping to haul her back from some Gargoyle she’d just insulted.

Eventually we got her to the basement corridor. I could just about see the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room when Albus suddenly stopped dead in his tracks and hoisted Lucy’s arm off his shoulder.

‘I should probably get back now,’ he said, when I gaped at him. ‘You’ll be alright, won’t you?’

‘Yeah, fine,’ I said, although I wasn’t too keen about the idea of dragging Lucy into the common room by myself. I wasn’t entirely sure I was strong enough.

‘Thanks, Flora,’ he said.

I knew it was serious when the biggest disaster of the night was not knowing whether to hug him as a form of farewell or just give him a friendly little pat on the shoulder like I was some boy in his dorm or something. So I tried to compromise, going in for a sort of one-armed hug, but inevitably having Lucy clinging onto the other arm weighted me down a bit and I ended up just patting Albus on the back of the neck.

He gave me the weirdest look yet. Behind me, Lucy watched with rapt attention.

‘Wheee,’ she said. ‘This is fun!’

‘See you?’ I said, once I’d managed to unhook myself from both of them.

‘Yeah,’ Albus smiled, but it wasn’t really all that convincing. ‘See you around.’

I waited until I could hear him going up the stairs before I tried to drag Lucy the rest of the way. She was surprisingly cooperative this time, if a little tired. I guess all the dancing had caught up with her; she yawned all the way and, when we finally got inside our own common room, she could only managed a half-hearted little wave before she turned and stomped up the stairs to bed.

I stood near the door, tugged down my skirt, tried to gauge how dizzy I felt now I was back on home turf.

‘You’re back late.’

I turned around so fast I nearly lost my balance. In our usual little alcove, Scorpius was perched in an armchair, the magazine I’d discarded earlier in his hands. And if he’d been under the moon earlier, he was pretty much entering the earth’s atmosphere with the look he had on his face then. This was like a scowl and a half straight from scowl central with misery garnish.

‘Just an observation,’ he said, trying to sound casual. He didn’t really do a good job of it.

‘Yeah, well…you need to lighten up a bit.’

A bit of advice: if you make a cutting remark, it’s probably best to follow your cutting remark with a swift, smooth exit, the more dramatic the better. Well, I certainly went for the latter, but I’m not sure my two-steps-towards-the-stairs-followed-by-stumble-to-ground manoeuvre was really the most efficient way to leave the common room that evening. It was a bit clumsy and, well, it hurt.

It was also the second time I’d fallen over in the space of about half an hour. So I crouched on the floor behind a sofa, hoping Scorpius hadn’t noticed, and feeling mega glad that Albus hadn’t been there to see Flora Falls Over: The Sequel.

Luck wasn’t on my side. ‘You alright?’ Scorpius called out. ‘Need a hand up?’

‘I’m fine,’ I straightened up and did my best to brush the dust off of Fauna’s skirt. ‘Goodnight.’

‘Goodnight, Flora,’ he said, and his voice was distinctly curt. ‘See you in the morning.’

It barely registered with me at the time, but the thought was definitely there when I woke up the next day, right on the tip of my tongue. So I’d had a little bit to drink, I’d come back to the common room a little bit later than him. But what had I done to hack him off like that?

And I lay there with the covers drawn up to my chin and the weak sunlight spilling in through a chink in the curtains and, honestly, not one answer came to me.

a/n: an update at last! ah, the post-quidditch partay, love me a bit of that trope. okay, I barely proofread this one and I am posting at, like, 3am, so if there are any silly errors please point them out because it's likely I just scrolled right past them in my art student-y sleep deprived state. thank you to everyone who's been reviewing so far - I love how everyone's already picked teams, heee. the shipping hasn't even started yet! scorpius is definitely winning by a mile. well, hope I can change your minds. for a few chapters at least. (enigmatic comment is...not very enigmatic)
anyway, thank you so much! ♥

Track This Story: Feed

Write a Review

out of 10


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!