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Thanks to PaulaTheProkaryote for being a wonderful friend and beta.
On Monday morning I sit at Gryffindor hiding my face. Everyone still whispers around me, laughing, and probably spreading rumours so that everyone who wasn’t at the party can assume the worst. I’ve been hiding out in my dorm all weekend, with Lily supplying me food, and TJ saying sorry over and over again, Ben doing his best to get up the slide with his bandaged arm and head, and Audrey not really talking to me.
Audrey walks into the hall. She sits next to me, but she doesn’t say a word. She turns around and starts chatting Ben up. “It wasn’t her fault.” I hear Ben say to her. I get some hope that maybe Audrey will forgive me… But she doesn’t. All she does is play dumb and say, “what wasn’t who’s fault?” I walk away, not wanting to eat lunch with friends who don’t want me there, and on a total whim decide to sit with Tim.
“Hey Lyra.” Tim says quietly. Oh no, are tears falling out of my eyes? His friends aren’t with him, so I sit down next to him and look at him.
“I barfed on my best friend’s boyfriend by accident, and now she won’t talk to me.”
“Yeah, I heard. Well, I wasn’t there… But I mean, people are talking about it.” Now I can feel the tears trickle slowly. Thank Merlin it’s still early in the morning, so not too many people are in the hall. Tim smiles sympathetically, and pulls me into a hug.
“Is everyone talking about it?” I ask, my eyes widening in terror.
“No, just a few people” Tim reassures me. After a squeeze he says soothingly, “hey, it will work itself out.”
“I know, yet I don’t really even care about the puke! But I care about Audrey, she’s been my best friend since we were eleven, and I can’t afford to lose her. More importantly: I don’t want to lose her.” I cry.
My heart falls to the bottom of my chest when I see Annika making her way toward me. I’m not the type of girl who calls people ‘bitches’, but she’s a bitch. She walks straight up to the bench on the other side of the table and smirks. Loudly she says, “I see Malfoy’s regretting taking those Puking Pastilles so that she could throw up on people last night.” I can’t help it, I sit feeling sorry for myself and more tears come out of my eyes. Normally I’d have the perfect snarky comment falling off of my tongue, but words don’t seem to come out of my mouth when I open it. I don’t have the emotional stamina for this.
“You’re just that kind of girl aren’t you, Malfoy? The kind who throws up on her best friend’s boyfriend because she’s jealous.”
“Hey, stop talking to her, Annika.” Tim snaps, rubbing my back.
“Oooh, cheating on her boyfriend I see. What a slut.” She taunts.
“I’m not cheating on anyone.” I cry. Before I know it Scorpius is at Annika’s side.
“Say anything to my sister ever again, and I’ll kill you will my bare hands.” I catch a glimpse of Albus staring proudly at him. Even though they’re still in a fight, it’s important to realize that they love each other to the moon and back.
“Bringing back your father and grandfather’s violent foolishness again, are we?” Annika laughs menacingly.
“Don’t say a word against my father!” Scorpius growls. “Come on Lyra.” He motions to me. By now I’m a crying wreck. Usually she doesn’t get to me, but I’m not usually the one she’s attacking anyway. I hop over the table to the other side, and Tim follows me. We all head out together.
“Hey, don’t worry.” Scorpius says right before we exit. “Girls who call other girls sluts have a 90% higher chance of dying at age twenty.”
“Is that true?” I ask quietly.
“No, but don’t you wish it was?” Scorpius laughs. I turn around, and I’m surprised to see Audrey walking up to Annika. Did she get her to say those mean things to me? It really wouldn’t be like her, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much. My eyes widen as I hear the crack of a slap, and Audrey nodding triumphantly as Annika holds her face in disbelief. Thank Merlin no professors were looking. Though she deserves it for ignoring me for something so petty, I wouldn’t want her to get in trouble. For the first time since I’ve met her, Audrey’s being a total boss.
Sitting in the greenhouse surrounded by all the plants is incredibly peaceful. I write a paper on one of the seven NEWT plants and try not to think of the outside world. Herbology and Potions, and Alchemy are my absolute favourite subjects.
Professor Longbottom sits at the front of the room doing paperwork. Even though he’s headmaster now, the thought of giving up his spot as one of the school’s herbologists was heartbreaking. He always makes sure I’m in this class rather than his wife’s with that power, because it’s one of the three classes I didn’t cause trouble in during my past school years. Now I’m a prefect. I see the prefect, I feel the prefect, I am the prefect.
The door to the greenhouse opens, letting in a gust of freezing winter air. It hasn’t snowed quite yet, but the sky seems to be thinking about it. It closes and the chattering of Professor Slughorn is heard as he approaches Neville. He’s talking about all of these plants he needs for his different classes, and does Neville have them, and how has he been. He doesn’t even see me quietly drawing my quill back and forth across parchment and occasionally getting a refill of ink. But when something caught my eye, I didn’t realize that this would be the day Professor Slughorn’s view of me changed.
I see one of Professor Longbottom’s most rare and famous plants open its big gaping mouth and start approaching Professor Slughorn. It’s a big dark green thing, with an acidic looking purple mouth and long vicious teeth. It’s right about to take a giant chomp out of Professor Slughorn, when I jump at him and push him out of the way.
“Miss Malfoy, what is the meaning of this?” He asks angrily after turning around to see who is on top of him. Professor Longbottom grabs his plant, opens a trap in the floor, and puts it in, then helps me and Professor Slughorn off of the floor.
“She saved you from the Purple Hibiscus Long tooth Plant.” Professor Longbottom says, putting a hand on my shoulder and looking proud. “I’d completely forgotten that I’d left it on my desk. If it feels threatened it bites, and it’s rather poisonous. It’s meant to be taken to St. Mungo’s today, as it does have healing properties if used right.”
“Miss Malfoy, thank you so much. You’ve quite literally saved my life.”
“Oh, it was nothing Professor Slughorn.”
“Nonsense!” Professor Slughorn protests. “In fact, I’d like to thank you by inviting you to become a member of the Slug Club. A brave young woman such as yourself deserves to be recognized.”
Saturday morning, a week later, the news of my barf show has passed, and Hoggy chews on new gossip. Even so, Audrey is still mad at me, so I’m not really hanging out with her and Ben at the moment. I really miss them, but I don’t really know what to say to her. In my opinion, barfing on someone is totally not my fault and seems like something that can be forgiven and laughed about five minutes later, but as I continue to grow I realize that we all react differently to the same things.
Anyways, since I haven’t been able to sit with my friends, I enjoy (as much as one can with the absence of their friends in their life) most of my meals with Tim, Scorpius, and even occasionally Lily and Albus. Sometimes I sit with TJ, but I’m still a bit mad at him for not understanding that I hadn’t exactly agreed to being his and Ben’s back up plan. I mean, I’d do anything for them, and they know that but… I’d just like a bit more of a head’s up next time.
I’m sitting with Tim eating lunch when I realize that Slughorn’s dinner is tonight. “Tim, I’m sorry but I have to go!” I tell him, sprinting to leave the hall. He watches me leave, baffled into silence.
I run all the way up to Gryffindor tower, shout the password at the Fat Lady and jump into my common room. I race passed students quietly studying or loudly playing Exploding Snap and up into the 6th Year Girls dorm. Once in a while there are special occasions at Hogwarts, so I’ve always made sure to pack nice clothing. I toss flowing dresses and dress pants out of my trunk and groan in frustration when nothing seems good enough. After about an hour of attempting to make a decision, I finally settle on a dress. It’s knee length, emerald green, and all swoosh and flow. It’s casual enough to not stand out too much and formal enough to be, well… Formal enough.
Now I have to decide what to do with my hair. Bun? No. Pony? No. Braid? No. My usual unbrushed mess because no one has time for anything ever? Definitely not. Whatever, I’ll decide tonight. I slip off the dress, stepping out of it and getting back into the clothes I usually wear on weekends.
That night I stare at myself intensely in the mirror, trying to get the gold liner that I’m putting on the corners of my eyes just right. I adjust my green dress, I smear pink lipstick on and then decide that it looks horrible so I try red instead, and I twirl my wand around my hair for a bit to eventually form nice ringlets.
Then I realize that if I don’t leave now, I’ll probably be late.
When I get to Slughorn’s office, I knock on the door timidly. Slughorn opens and beams, ushering me in. I’m clearly the least one to arrive. Gazing around the room, my eyes meet the faces of the nine other attendees. Lily sits awkwardly next to Albus, in the most beautiful royal blue dress in the world; Tasha Fudge, the granddaughter of the previous-previous Minister of Magic, talks to Ian Macmillan, who’s father Ernie works a high Ministry position; Hugo, who is the best student in his year (like his mother was) chats up Anthony Bobbin. The other two students I don’t know much of, but my eyes fall upon the last member and I’m a little shocked.
James Potter looks up, hazel eyes pouring into mine and a look of unplaceable and inexplicable happiness on his face. He smiles and stands up, grabbing the chair next to his and dragging it back in an offer for me to sit. “Lyra.” He replies surprised.
I walk over and sit myself down, smiling at James. “Hi,” he grins, a red blush spreading onto his cheeks. I guess he didn’t think he would be seeing me here, and I’ve caught him off guard. I wonder what Tim would say and do if he too was in the Slug Club and he was as surprised as James. Maybe it would let me know whether he’s postponing his feelings until the end of the year or if he doesn’t have them at all. I hope that it’s the first one. I really like Tim.
“You look stunning.”
“I do? Uh, thanks.” Now I think I’m blushing. “Um, what are you doing here? You haven’t been a student at this school for two years.” I whisper.
“Slughorn loves me, always wants me to come for his dinners, so I try to make it. My siblings don’t like the fame, but to be honest I don’t mind it. Dad always tells me the same thing he tells you.”
“I should’ve been him.”
“Oh that!” I laugh. “I seriously thought that that was a joke.”
James cringes. “No, it’s not.” I laugh at this too. All of a sudden Slughorn taps his knife against his goblet causing a ringing noise to fill the circular room clink clink clink.
“Hugo, was Rose planning on coming?”
Hugo looks up from the book he’d started reading after finishing his chat with Anthony. “No.”
“Alright then, since everyone’s here I’d like to propose a toast.” Professor Slughorn raises his glass and smiles at everyone. “To Slug Club members, past, present, and future. And, of course, to all of you.”
We all raise our goblets as well, clinking them with each other’s and then sipping. James winks at me and I get this warm feeling inside, like butter melting on toast. It’s an odd kind of feeling, and I don’t know exactly where to place it.
“So I haven’t seen you since this summer, how are you?”
“I’m fine. November isn’t my favourite month though.”
“Understandable. Christmas too far away to be excited without looking like an imbecile and Halloween gone. The professors go harder on you too, until December when they know that you start getting lazier and lazier.”
I can’t help but stare into his lovely eyes as he speaks. They have this entrancing quality about them. Albus’s eyes are bright green, but it’s as if he’s envious always, at least that’s what the green reminds you of (but I guess most girls like intense eyes). James’s eyes are quiet and calm, which balances out his outgoing personality. His eyes are shy; is it even possible for eyes to be shy?
What am I even saying about eyes?! It’s Ben who’s got the obsession with them. Honestly, to tell you how many times that boy has talked about TJ’s eyes would take up an entire life of my time, as well as my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren’s life times. How the bloody hell does he manage it? I do have to admit though, he’s got a point: TJ’s eyes are beautiful. And Ben’s a total romantic, so of course it makes sense for him to pick corny sayings about ‘eyes being forever’ above all other corny sayings.
Corny sayings aside however, there are sparks in me when James is around.
Maybe there’s more to being in the Slug Club than I knew.
Author’s Note: The line don’t say a word against my father is property of JKR and Warner Brothers.
The line girls who call other girls ‘sluts’ have a 90% higher chance of dying at age twenty is a slightly changed line from the Norwegian TV Show Skam, in Season One, and was said by Noora.
Hope that you all enjoyed this chapter, and thanks for reading.
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