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 So come on, spin me around

I don't wanna go home

Cause when you hold me like this

You know my heart skips, skips a beat

Olly Murs, Heart Skips a Beat






 

 I clasped my book to my chest to hide my smile. Teasing him really was fun. He really was funny. Maybe a little average, but I liked it on him. He wore it well.
 

I walked down to the Common Room, where Dom and Scorpius were probably discussing Quidditch plans and I could read my books in peace.

 

I plopped down on a couch in between Scor and Dom, who were- you called it!- bickering about formations or some other crap. It was then, and only then, that I realized I left my rulebooks on the table. Damn. When I ran back up to the now-full Hall, they were gone. So was my highlighter. Not on the floor, and no one had them. I rolled my eyes. Someone probably took them. How, I didn’t know, and for what I couldn’t fathom. Those books were fucking HUGE, and were impossible to hide.

 

Unless you have a wall. Or a Scor. Which I do. Then it’s easy.

 

I decided to skip on back to the Common Room. If it turned up, it turned up. And if it didn’t, there’d always be Volumes 4 through 8.

 

**************

 

I trained and trained and trained that week. I’m pretty sure I saw Dom more in my classes than I did out of them. This is to say I really didn’t see her, because Dom always skips her classes. It’s one of the things I love most about her.

 

The Olympics were coming up in a couple years, and when they did, I would just barely be of eligible age. I was going to have to compete with the undefeated, the reigning champs, the experienced. I had to be ready for it.

 

Dubai 2024, kids. Get ready. It’s fucking coming.

 

Dom grunted from her place on the big couch. “Jesus, Lici,” she snapped. “They’re not for another two years. Just relax already! You’re stressing me out with all this hyperactivity.”

 

I had just come back from the Room of Requirement. Sixth year meant free periods, and today I had two in a row at the very end of the day. I was hopping around the Common Room, explaining to Dom yet again why I couldn’t accompany her to one of the Hufflepuff sleepovers. She begs me every year that she can’t get through it alone, but every year I have “training” and so cannot attend. Today I have the excuse of Al- actually, I have the excuse of Al disguised by “training”.

 

I merely smirked at her and kept dutifully trotting my circuit around the Common Room. “I don’t know why you bother hanging out with Hufflepuffs anyway. Can’t you come up with a random excuse to get out of this?” Dom groaned. “If I don’t go they’ll nag me for ages afterwards, and I fricking hate Hufflepuffs.”

 

All around school, Dom is known as the sweetest Slytherin Hogwarts has ever known. She could easily be the most popular girl in school. So many other students say they’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone else. Dominique Weasley is their sugar-sweet goddess.

 

Fortunately, I know the true Dominique Weasley is a bitch who hates virtually everyone. I’ve overheard people wondering why she hangs out with me so much. Well, who else will listen to her vicious ranting, agree with it, and then never mutter a word to anyone else about it? Me, of course. Our friendship is an odd one.

 

I made a grand show of flopping to the ground before attempting to change the subject. “Is there any new news on the ScoRose front?” Dom rolled her eyes yet again, and started in on another rant about the disgustingly mushy non-conversations that had become the highlights of Hogwarts gossip as of late.

 

I closed my eyes and let the now-familiar drone of Dom’s agitated voice float around me. I was lucky; for whatever reason, Dom hadn’t mentioned the considerable gap in my story: I had just come from training in the Room of Requirement. I supposed the extra jogging was distracting enough to her. Either way, she would go on to sleep over with the Hufflepuffs (who were psychotic enough to think that having sleepover on a school night was pretty durn badass of them), and I would go on to visit the Boy. Actually, I could just tell Dom that I just remembered I have patrolling instead of training. I hadn’t thought of my visit with him as Prefect work, seeing as that’s not what happened last time, but patrolling is a more binding excuse because I can’t actually skip out on that. Excellent work, Lici. You truly are a mastermind.

 

Why, thank you, Lici. I do try.

 

**************

 

I showered and shooed Dom out of the dorm, telling her that she’d best be on her way before I got my Prefect badge on or else I’d have to report her for being out of bed after curfew. She laughed and told me to never, ever try to imitate Imogen Davies ever again.

 

You’d think I’d be able to imitate British people after all this time. Nope. I sound so New York, it isn’t fucking funny.

 

As I was brushing my hair in the mirror I was reminded of my mother’s old vanity. It was ugly and had strange spots on the top. CiCi would spend hours poring over her reflection. CiCi was the vain one, and my mother’s favorite. “Too quiet,” she would complain of me. “You never know what goes on in her head. She acts simple.” She would raise an eyebrow critically. “Looks simple, too.”

 

Mama was a loud charismatic sort of woman, and it was obvious that she had been exactly like CiCi when she was growing up. She could never understand me, the baby who never cried, the girl with the stellar grades, the one who would rather watch than partake in any of the action. She knew I wasn’t stupid, and she knew I didn’t look it, but when she said I looked simple she meant I wasn’t like her. CiCi told me I didn’t look good in bright colors and sparkles, and naturally, I agreed with her.

 

Unlike most things I agreed with her on, this was actually true. She and Mama pulled off loud clothing well, but I was the spitting image of my father. Mama and CiCi had been tall and thin. I was short and extremely curvy. Sequins, neon, and fringe were all over CiCi’s wardrobe. I wore black and white, and never any makeup. I was not pretty. I was beautiful, I knew that. There is a difference, and maybe one day I’ll explain it all to you.

 

I gave my hair, plain and dark, one last stroke, and found my eyes drawn to Pedro, who was on my bed. Pedro wasn’t pretty either. I got up, plucked him off my bed, folded him up, and stored him at the bottom of my trunk. Pedro was beautiful, a piece of art. A piece of history. Pedro was beautiful, and he had a story, too.

 

**************

 

Al, or the Boy, as I prefer to call him, was leaning on the wall next to the alcove with his head tilted way back and his eyes closed. The slightest of bags were under his eyes. He hadn’t slept well last night. It was funny how I noticed these things about him. I stood next to him and stared straight ahead at the wall. It was nasty, old, and dank, just like everything else at Hogwarts. The Boy showed no signs of noticing me.

 

“Once upon a time, there was a family.” I spoke to the space around us. He jumped and his eyes flew open. I didn’t wait for a response. “A man, a woman, and their little girl. They lived in a cozy little apartment on the Lower East Side.

 

“One day, the woman found out she was pregnant. They were going to have another baby girl. Their daughter didn’t particularly care about it all, but the man and the woman went all out in trying to get ready for the baby. The woman always was throwing herself 100% into everything, and this would be no different. The man, on the other hand, was far lazier. He tried- sort of-with the first daughter, but after she was born he couldn’t understand her presence. As a baby, she wailed and giggled and puked and then bawled some more. When she got older, she stayed that way. The man didn’t understand why she couldn’t just be silent, or listen at the very least. But with this baby, he have this feeling that it would be better. Maybe their daughter was the way she was because he was never around for her. Maybe this one would be better, if he helped more.”

 

At this point, the Boy’s eyes were wide and he still looked straight at the wall. I continued with my story.

 

“Each night, as the man lay on the couch with a pipe and the newspaper and the girl and her doll played at the fireplace, the woman would knit. It was her latest project. The woman often went into phases; this one was her knitting phase. They never lasted long. This time it was an orange blanket, for the baby. The woman never was a very good knitter, and the blanket took up most of her time. She spent so much time picking out stitches that she worked on the blanket up until the very last minute. It took her seven long months to make that blanket, but it paid off. The blanket stays intact still today. It smells like the kitchen where the woman spent so much time working.”

 

Still no response. Strangely enough, I was sort of glad. I don’t wax poetic aloud often, and I’d rather not get a response until I get this off my chest.

 

“The baby was born, and they named her Alicia Rosa Maria. The blanket went with her everywhere. Alicia Rosa Maria had no friends, save a single boy. They met only once, but after the fact she named the blanket after him. Pedro. Years later, the girl would look at the blanket and would be reminded of the original Pedro. She would look him up, and would see that very soon after she met him, he was hit by a car and killed. They were two at the time.” Suddenly, and rather crazily, I found it in me to smile. “Actually, not two. I’ll never forget, Pedro introduced me to the idea of halves. “We were two-and-a-half when he died.”

 

I left the words hang in the air, like an unanswered question. The Boy shifted next to me, inadvertently moving closer to me. His arm pressed against mine. I found that I didn’t mind.

 

“How did it happen?” Ah, he speaks. “Bus. He broke away from his mother and was running across the street when it struck him, apparently,” I replied. I turned to him. “Enough about me. How was your day?” And from there we fell into our silly old pattern, one that I could feel becoming familiar with each word we spoke.

 

We talked shit again, ridiculous things as well as serious ones. He giggled over my Dom story. I agreed heartily when he complained about his brother and Abigail McLaughlin. I told him about Abigail being creepy, about how she talked about me when she remembered I exist. He said he said that I do a good job of camouflaging myself but once he noticed me he started looking for me. I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I just told him about how she came down, saw him, said some creepy crap about finding me out or some other shit, and slithered back to our dorm. He scowled and said she was probably plotting our deaths. I laughed and agreed. Conversation was smooth. I could laugh, take down my usually-tight high ponytail, and just talk about whatever. It was quite liberating, actually.

 

**********

 

Hours later, I got off the wall with a yawn and stretched every limb like a cat. Al grinned. “That was some yawn,” he said, and I stuck my tongue out at him in response. “I need to go to bed now.”

 

He moaned and pushed himself off the wall too. “Do you have to go?” he whined. “I do.” I laughed at his pout.

 

“Don’t go,” he whispered, but this time he wasn’t joking. It almost made me uncomfortable, the way he wore his heart on his sleeve, for all the world to see. He made no secret of the fact that he wanted me, and was willing to do anything to see me again. He had already conned me into seeing him Saturday. I would be leaving on the Sunday after for a tournament, and was already regretting agreeing to it all.

 

I turned to face him and looked him in the face. “You’ll see me later, okay?” I softened my voice, and he gave a reluctant nod. I smiled one last time, kissed his cheek, and began walking back to the portrait hole.

 

Goodnight, Al.

 

**************

 

A/N: I’ve resolved to keep my A/Ns short so I’ll just be giving you something to think about here, something to keep you watching in the chapters ahead.

 

This story is named for both “The Fighter” by Christina Aguilera and “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes, but it’s based off the song “One More Night” by Maroon 5.

 

Take from that what you will; I’m exhausted and I still have other crap to do. Applications are due, and I’m STILL NOT DONE. I need to go answer obscure questions. I think the next one is “ Ask a question to which you do not know the answer. Why is the question interesting and important to you?” I need caffeine. Yeah, that’s it. Time to bust out the espresso.

 

Hope y’all had good holidays,

 

Simone



April 5 edits


As it happens, I'm still editing this story. The next chapter is proving VERY difficult to write, and it's taking me so much longer than I thought it would to put out. It's a lot of drama and I'm still trying to figure out how to write a boxing match.  It's so much more complicated than Quidditch ever was... I guess that's what I get for deciding to write a story about a sport I've never actually watched. Wish me luck!

 
Simone

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