With November came snow.
Snow and I, we didn’t get on so well. Soppy mess, that’s what it was. As though living in a castle, P.O Box; Middle Of Nowhere, Scotland, wasn’t enough. Might as well throw in frozen water falling from the sky. Who was going to care, right? It was miserable anyway. Why not just chuck all of us in Azkaban? There wouldn’t really be that much of a difference.
“Bloody snow,” Fitz muttered angrily as we trudged across the grounds back from the greenhouses.
See? This is why I loved the boy.
“It’s like Merlin wants to see how many of us he can drive to suicide,” I said darkly.
“Sadist, that Merlin,” Fitz said.
“Bet he kicks puppies too.”
“And wastes cake.”
“And steals from little old ladies.”
“And doesn’t like Quidditch.”
“I don’t like Quidditch, Fitz.”
“I rest my case.”
“I’m appalled,” I informed him. “And offended. And-“
“Hi you guys. I would ask what you were talking about, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to weep in a foetal position.”
Potter was losing it, I think.
“I need a word, Marley,” he said when he realised that both Fitz and I had respected his wishes.
“You’re being nuttier than usual, Potter,” I said, slightly suspicious.
“Yes, well, I need you to give me this,” he said. Then he shoved a white box wrapped in gold ribbon at me. I took it, briefly considered not messing with him, and then laughed lightly at my vain attempt at basic human decency.
“Alright then. Potter, here you go,” I said, holding the box out to him.
He looked so beyond hassled.
Totally worth it.
“Not here,” he said in exasperation.
“Alright… How about there?” I asked, pointing to a random spot in the Great Hall. Potter groaned in frustration. I really crack myself up sometime.
“At lunch, Marley. When you see Jillian come anywhere near me.”
“Potter, this is insane-“
“Yes, just like you. It’s destiny.”
I didn’t even waste my time glaring frostily at him. I knew Potter too well by this point. Almost hacking my lungs out from the smell of pink hair dye and the universal pariah-like treatment I’d received, all by his hand (directly or not) had equipped me for situations like this one. So, it was with the airs of a total baws (note the wrong spelling to emphasise boss-ness) with which I looked over his shoulder and grinned hugely.
“Oh hi, Jillian!” I said loudly. Potter squeaked and spun around.
What a dork.
He came face to face with Rebecca. His shoulders slumped in relief while I cackled manically in the back.
“Potter and Jillian sitting in a tree,” I started in a singsong voice.
“Crazy bint,” Potter muttered, turning around and walking away.
“K-I-S-S-I-N-G,” I hollered, skipping after him. Rebecca was giggling because she’s a good friend like that.
“First comes loooove-”
“Leave me alone.”
“-then comes marriage-“
“Honestly, what is wrong with you?”
“-then comes a baby in a baby carriage!”
Potter completely ignored me of course, and just continued on his merry way to wherever he was going. None of us seemed to have thought about the fact that it was third period and we were all, more or less, in different classes.
“Stop following me,” Potter groaned when Fitz predicted that Jillian would paint their future living room peach.
“I’m going to class, mate,” Fitz shrugged. “Terrorising you is just a perk.”
I stopped and realised that we were in some random fifth floor corridor, and I had Care of Magical Creatures in the grounds.
“Crap,” I said loudly, turning on my heels and sprinting away.
“Told you Care of Magical Creatures was going to bite you in the arse someday,” Fitz shouted after me.
“It’s better than Muggle Studies!” I yelled back before turning the corner.
Yeah, so Professor Hagrid gave me detention shorty after.
Don’t tell Fitz.
I am so sorry. I have been terribly busy with school work, and I haven’t had time to write to you. We are hearing stories about attacks and I must hear back from you. Please write me back as soon as you get this.
I stared at the four sentences Henri had written for a good five minutes before the indignation started to set in.
‘Haven’t had time to write to you’? To what? See if someone had offed me? What did my death have to do with the stupid git anyway? He probably just didn’t want to have to deal with the guilt of me dying with a broken heart or whatever other romanticised idea he had concocted in that thick head of his. Plus, if he honestly cared about my death, Charms homework wouldn’t have kept him. It isn’t even like it was a proper letter or anything.
And ‘Love, Henri’. Hell no. He chucked me. Via owl post, no less. And now he was asking me to ‘please write back’. He was reaching almost troll levels of stupidity here.
I scrunched up the letter and, pretending it had lungs, drowned it in my coffee mug.
“Um?” Fitz said uncertainly.
“Henri,” I grunted angrily.
“Why are you communicating with me in sound?” I snapped at him. He rolled his eyes and chewed his chicken like an obnoxious git.
“Hello, peers,” Fred said happily, plopping down next to me. Fitz grunted, I continued to glare at my coffee mug.
“There’s parchment in your coffee, Red,” Fred said good-naturedly.
“There’s stupid in your brain, Fred,” I shot at him. He held his hands up in a sign of surrender and mouthed ‘wow’ to Fitz.
“Hell hath no fury,” Fitz said in explanation. Fred gasped dramatically.
“Has someone scorned you, Red? Who is it? I haven’t been in a good fight in ages.”
He then cracked his knuckles and looked around the room as though he expected someone to raise their hand and cop to it. I suppose I should have been flattered that Fred was jumping to defend my honour the way he was, but seeing as I had just received correspondence from my swine of an ex who, reasonably, had absolutely no right to any sort of information regarding my whereabouts, I thought it was quite mature of me to settle for sitting and glowering at my coffee as though it had personally offended me.
“Erm… Ness?” Fitz said hesitantly.
I ignored him.
“Fine,” Fitz huffed. “Be that way. I was only trying to tell you that James is coming this way, and seeing as we ate all those cupcakes he wanted you to give him-“
“Cupcakes?” Fred perked up. “James is giving out cupcakes? Why didn’t I get any-”
Potter was actually smiling at me. It felt odd because I was mostly used to scowls. I wasn’t fooled though; I had to make a conscious effort to ignore Jillian as she glared at me over Potter’s shoulder.
“Potter… right,” I said, getting up and smoothing down my robes.
“So… erm, how are you?” he asked, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. Probably because Jillian was so close she was breathing on him or something equally creepy. I shrugged, grabbing the strap of my bag in one hand, and an apple in the other.
“Do you… uh, where are you going?” Potter sounded a little panicked as Jillian looked on with glee. The crazy bint had probably been expecting me to slack off on my gift giving duties. Personally, I thought the whole set-up was more than a bit stupid, but hey, if someone offered to be my personal slave for forever, I knew I wouldn’t have said no.
“Quidditch Pitch,” I said, raising an eyebrow at him. “You do remember you promised me flying lessons, don’t you?”
“What?” Jillian hissed. Fred was looking between Potter and me, trying to figure out what in Merlin’s name was going on, as Potter grinned broadly at me.
“You’re an idiot,” Fitz volunteered before going back to his chicken. Told you he was a git.
“Right,” Potter beamed. “’Course I didn’t forget. Always happy to pass on the skills.”
“What- but… no,” Jillian spluttered. “That’s not how this works… It’s not- you’re not-“
“But teaching me to fly without, you know, dying, will be just like practice, Jill,” I said. “You do want Gryffindor to win the game, don’t you?”
Then I blinked all innocent like.
Jillian would have murdered me with her bare hands if she could, I was sure of it. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone that livid before.
“I mean, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?”
In retrospect, I suppose I didn’t have to rub it in her face that much. But my mind was on the letter I’d drowned in my coffee, and although that wasn’t much of an excuse, I was far from feeling too bad for the girl who’d made it her mission to make my life horrible at Hogwarts.
“I suppose I should thank you,” Potter said happily. He was practically skipping next to me as we headed out into the freezing cold. I glanced back, just to be certain that there was no way I could change course to the warm library instead. No surprise, Jillian was still watching us. So it was with a small sigh that I steeled myself and followed him grudgingly into the cold.
“I’d say you’re welcome, Potter, but I’m afraid I’ll have to do your laundry next,” I grumbled.
“Hey, I’m the one giving you a flying lesson here,” he shot back good-naturedly. I glanced sideways at him.
“No. I’m going to freeze my arse off out here until I’m sure Jillian’s left the Great Hall and then go back inside and talk myself out of homicide. You can talk to your imaginary friends or whatever it is you do for fun.”
“You clearly aren’t in a good mood,” Potter noted.
“It may have escaped your notice, Potter, but it’s snowing. And I’m out here. Voluntarily.”
“Aww, is Princess not used to the cold?” he said in a mocking baby voice. I turned to glare at him. By the self-satisfied smirk on his face, he knew fully well I’d rise to the bait.
“At least I’m not a coward,” I shot back.
“Oh please,” Potter snorted.
“What? That’s exactly what you are, Potter. It honestly isn’t that hard to tell Jillian to leave you alone. Or do you enjoy the attention? Is that it?”
Potter raised an eyebrow and actually looked amused.
“You’re trying to fight with me,” he said.
“What’re you talking ab-“
“Well, I’m sorry that you’re pissed about something, but it isn’t my problem,” he shrugged. Then he skipped, skipped¸ off towards the pitch. I stood there, seething. Somehow, of all the insolent little pricks I’d known in my life, James Potter had managed to reach the top of the list. He wasn’t a horrid person or anything, but there was just something, some air about him that set me on edge.
And before I knew it, I was bending down, scooping up a palm full of fresh, white snow, and hurling it at Potter’s stupid head.
It hit the git in the back of the neck with a loud smack.
Potter froze. I smirked.
Then painfully slowly, he turned around to reveal the evil smile that had found itself onto his face. The very sight of it made my stomach plummet. I was feeling shit enough at this point; I did not need to get myself involved in a snowball fight. Potter didn’t seem to care one bit as he bent down slowly and plunged his hand fully into the snow.
“Potter, don’t you dare-“
“All’s fair in love and war, Princess.”
And then I was running back towards the castle. A snowball caught me in the left shoulder, and another one narrowly missed my hair.
“You complete wanker. STOP!“ I shrieked, ducking and spinning around, pulling out my wand in the process.
“You started this, Red,” Potter screamed back, pulling out his own wand, evil grin still in place.
It was battle from then on. Although Potter’s snow barricade was sturdier, mine had more style (it was shaped like turrets at the top and had snowmen guards on either side). I had a pile of perfectly round snowballs that I’d charmed to hurl themselves at Potter every time he emerged from behind his barricade. My tactic was far more effective than the continuous string of snowballs he had flinging themselves at me.
“Surrender, Potter, there’s no way you can win this,” I screamed from behind my snow-wall.
“Delusion, Princess; it’s a legitimate illness,” he yelled back.
“I have snowmen! You’ll never win,” I smirked as I shouted. I pointed my wand to the far side of my wall and fashioned a giant snowball roughly the size of my stash of liquorice wands. I briefly wondered if Potter would die from the sheer weight of it, but then when I realised that the closest people were by the lake and wouldn’t actually witness the murder, I resolved to just run for it if I actually did end up killing him.
The giant snowball was just about done (I was perfecting its roundness- if I was going to kill James Potter, might as well do it properly), when I realised that the sound of snow hitting my barricade had stopped. My heart skipped a beat just as snow crunched behind me.
“Gotcha,” Potter said quietly, right before he smashed a handful of snow onto my head. I stood there, both cold and in slight shock, as Potter cackled like the evil git that he was.
It was wet.
No, not the nice kind of wet. It was the half wet, half soggy kind of wet.
Potter was going to pay.
I stuck my boot behind his shoe and pulled it back hard. Potter, still laughing to himself in glee at catching me unawares, went tumbling to the floor. Wand forgotten, I bend down and began dumping as much snow as I could hold on him. He was wriggling, half laughing, half spluttering, as he attempted to get himself off the ground.
“Never go for the hair, Potter,” I panted, dumping another armful of snow onto him. “No wonder you’re single.”
Potter, still occupied in snoring uncontrolled laughter, managed to make some vague noise in response. I spun around and lunged towards my snowman. I then proceeded to behead him and hurl the snow at Potter. Unfortunately for me, Potter, accustomed to years of Quidditch drills, had managed to get himself up off the ground during the brief respite. Unfortunately for him, the head of my sacrificed snowman hit him hard in the gut. He let out a painful wheeze, doubled over, and took a step back.
“Score!” I yelled, throwing my hands in the air. I then bent quickly to gather more snow. I got up, hand pulled back to lob the snow at Potter, but he was ready.
Still crouched slightly, Potter lunged towards me. What I was expecting was a face full of snow. What I got was Potter’s arms wrapping around my waist as he attempted to throw me on the ground. I caught his shoulder half way, which resulted in me trying to squirm my way out of his grasp, legs kicking.
“Let go of me, Potter!”
“Not until you surrender!”
“This is against the rules-“
“-there aren’t any rules-“
“I’ll bite you, Potter, I swear-“
“-going to sue if I get rabies-“
“-are you calling me mad?”
“-open an asylum in your name-“
“-you’re going to regret this- AARGH!”
I wasn’t sure if I was screaming or laughing hysterically as Potter full on threw me on the ground. My entire back was soaking within seconds. I was in half shock as I lay there, looking up at Potter clutching his stomach and laughing so hard it looked painful. It occurred to me that I’d never seen him laugh, actually laugh, before. Not like this, anyway.
So, naturally, I sat up, grabbed his shin, and yanked hard.
Potter ended up sprawled on the snow covered ground, still laughing helplessly. We stayed like that for a long time, me sitting cross legged and Potter laying on his back, laughing, with the remnants of our snowball fight, I’m sorry, war, behind us. My arse was getting numb, and I was pretty sure Potter was chilled to the bone too. I spoke when he finally stopped laughing.
“We should go inside,” I said, suddenly exhausted. Potter, whose forearm was laying lazily across his eyes, lifted it slightly at peeked at me.
“When we agree that I won.”
“In your dreams- NO!”
Potter had reached to his side and grabbed a fistful of snow. I lunged at him and grabbed his wrist with both my hands.
“Oh, I can’t wait to see how you two try and explain this.”
Potter and I both froze.
We stared at each other, and I realised for the first time that I was actually in physical contact with Potter.
His annoyingly pretty hazel eyes were a little larger than usual. I recognised alarm in them. I was pretty sure I was mirroring his expression as I slowly turned to my left.
Fred, Quin, Fitz and (as mine and Potter’s combined shit luck would have it) Andrea.
I was lying in the snow, practically straddling Potter.
And Andrea had seen.
“No,” I said quietly, scrambling to get away from Potter. “No, Andrea. It isn’t-“
But she had turned, and in a flash of brown hair, she was gone.
And then I just stood there, freezing and tired. Potter scrambled to his feet too and stood a good five feet away from me.
“Well, well,” Fred said with a glint in his eye I didn’t particularly appreciate.
“Shut up, Fred,” Potter muttered, eyes narrowed.
“I’m being best man,” Quin said loudly. “I called it!”
“You guys are hopeless-“ I tried to say.
“You aren’t going to make me wear a dress to the ceremony, are you?” Fitz demanded of me.
“This is stupid-“ Potter interjected.
“No way, I’m family. I get to be best man-“
“I’M NOT MARRYING POTTER!” I yelled over all of them.
“Yeah, she’s insane,” he agreed wholeheartedly.
“Yeah I’m- what?” I snapped. Potter was looking at me innocently, hands held up in surrender.
“Well, you’re nice and all, but the sheer amount of crazy you exhibit…” he trailed off, shaking his head.
“You,” I said, “are a git, Potter. And I’ll be surprised if you even manage to get a date, let alone married.”
“Oh, I can get a date if I wanted one-“
“-never heard such bullshit in my life-“
“Aww, lover’s spat,” Fred said fondly.
Potter’s well aimed snowball hit him square in the face.
A/N: I feel like this was a pretty fast update. This chapter was really fun to write as well. Hope you guys enjoy reading it as mcuh as I did writing it!
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