A/N: Alright, so the last chapter was bordering dangerously on being a filler, but rest assured that the general insanity quota will be filled in this one. :) 

Anyway, thanks so much for reading, and your reviews have been absolutely amazing ;) I hope y'all like the chapter! 

Chapter Nine

In Which I Break a Desk 



"For Merlin's sake, Charlie, who've you killed!?"

I groaned. "For the last time, I haven't done anything!" I insisted, though my testimony seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Sarah shook her head and raised an eyebrow. "We know you better than to believe that, love," She muttered as she barely avoided a collision with a snagging couple.

A cacophony of giggles broke out as we hurried past a group of third year girls, and it didn't take incredible skills of deduction to know I was likely the topic of their conversation. Third years were so gossipy... Not that I was much better. Still, I stuck my tongue out at them as we walked by, as a testament to my maturity. It was a wonder I wasn't in Mungo's by that point.

"I've behaved, just like you bloody told me to, and it doesn't bloody seem to be working out for me!" I complained to Sarah as I sent a "subtle" glare at the source of a rather lurid rumor of my involvement in about five different relationships with Quidditch players.

So far that week, I'd been cornered in the girl's lavatories, received several threatening letters, had my dinner dumped down my shirt, and been chased around school by a cackling Peeves...

And it was only Tuesday.

But would my so-called "friends" help me plot multiple murders, or even let me? No, of course not; They'd decided that my best chance would be to avoid more violent outbursts and ignore the problem. 

My mates are even loonier than I am.

"Then why have you been glancing around like you've got plans to murder the bloody Minister?!" Bailey demanded, not for the first time. She may have said the last part about the minister a bit louder than necessary, though, as soon even more suspicious looks were bring directed at me.

In truth, I was just dreading Defense Against the Dark Arts, for obvious reasons, and had been trying desperately to get out of attending all day.

And so my friends were left to assume that I'd been unsuccessful in hiding a body or revenge plot.

Bailey eyed me doubtfully. "You haven't even hexed anyone? You've got that crazy glint in your eye again," She pointed out. I was well aware.

Still, I rolled my eyes and groaned. "Yes, I'm bloody sure! See, I came close to locking some bint in a broom closet, but then I figured 'Hmm, if I do this, I'll have to face the wrath of my ex-mates', so I decided, like a bloody rational human being, that I'd better not do it."

"See, now you're learning," Sarah said with a nod of approval. She took her cue from me and sent another gossipy group a rather rude hand gesture, to which they only continued muttering, just in a slightly angrier tone.

I narrowed my eyes at her. "Using intimidation tactics to bend me to your will is not helping me learn!"

Tara shrugged. "No one's died yet," She pointed out as she motioned around, likely at the suspicious lack of dead bodies.

"Yet," I grumbled, looking pointedly at Sarah.

"Well, you told the entire school- not to mention the professors- I was absent from the party to sleep with a boy I'm not even officially dating, so now we're bloody even!"

Both Tara and Bailey groaned. "Not again," Bailey moaned into her breakfast.

"You know I'm terrible under pressure," I defended. "And anyway, it's not like my reputation wasn't damaged in that conversation, too."

Sarah raised an eyebrow. "That's called self infliction, love," she laughed.

bailey urged us to hurry, as the halls were rapidly clearing, and we really couldn't afford to be late again.

I made a face at Sarah. "Don't use big words against me. Are you done yelling now?"

"Until we find out what you're so nervous about, then yeah, I am," Sarah decided. She waved back at a group from the Quidditch team, and Tara grinned shyly at the sight of Alan Watts.

"Good," I grumbled, ignoring Tara's dilemma for the time being, "I don't think I can take any more of this."

Tara giggled, seemingly done pining. "You can be so dramatic... And that's saying something, coming from me. Anyway, what's your strategy for surviving DADA?"

I scrunched up my face in thought. "... Have you lot tell Lupin I've left the school?"

"I know we said we'd support you, love, but that's not going to happen, and you know it," Bailey laughed. "For now, I'd suggest avoiding eye contact at all costs."

Sarah laughed. "Avoid eye contact with Professor Lupin or with James?"

"Both!" Tara nodded earnestly.

Sarah rolled her eyes. "So what's the strategy, then?"

"I've honestly got no idea," I huffed. I was about the worst person imaginable in awkward situations, which I'm fairly certain a teacher thinking I'm snogging my rival, who's practically his family, qualifies as.

On that note, I summoned up whatever dredges of courage had gotten me into that god-forsaken House and strode into the DADA classroom.

Tara grinned. "I don't suppose Potter's left school before you?"

"Wouldn't that be nice," I muttered. "No Potter, no rumors, no aggravating smirk, no pranks, no quidditch-obsessed, cocky, arrogant, self absorbed..." I trailed off after catching on to the eye rolls my friends exchanged.

Sarah, noticing this, brightened. "See, you're catching on! Now if we could just find a way to keep you from saying those things to him, we could practically achieve world peace."

"Still, if I'm neck deep in Hippogriff dung already, it's really no use trying to stay out of trouble anymore, is it?" I proposed hopefully, although I knew it was wishful thinking.

Tara shook her head as we rushed to find seats together. "Nice try, love, but we're too fond of you to allow you to commit an act of social suicide."

I sighed. "You lot have got such good morals; You're no fun anymore."

My mates sent me warning glances and quick shushes as Professor Lupin strode past us to the front of the room. I decided to use Bailey's suggested strategy, and determinedly avoided making eye contact with both Potter and the Professor, although I'll admit that attempting to hide under my desk may have been a bit much...

Still, I'd take what I could get.

Professor Lupin surveyed us with amusement. "Alright, alright. Finnegan, take a seat, Weasley, put that away or so help me, and Nott, do I have to say it every week? My desk is off limits."

The students in question scrambled to their desks, though none seemed too repentant. Fred grinned. "Sorry, Teddy," he conceded unabashedly.

Fred received a stern glare. "I can still see the Puking Pastille under the desk, Weasley, and, seeing as I know you, I don't feel very inclined to let you keep it."

Next to me, Sarah shifted uneasily, tucking something with a label that looked suspiciously like "WWW" into her pocket.

"And you lecture me on behaving," I muttered to her, though she shot me a grin and shrugged.

"I don't get caught."

We both looked up to see Professor Lupin clearing his throat. "Jordan, have you got something to share with the class?"

I grinned at Sarah as she shook her head. "Only wondering what Fred intended to do with the Puking Pastille, Professor, seeing as he's only got half of it."

The professor raised an eyebrow and glanced back at Fred, but offered no response. He turned his attention back toward the rest of the class.

"Since I suppose the Pastille answers the question of who hasn't got the homework done, make sure you've all turned it in by the end of class, and try not to let me see you finishing it under the desk."

Sarah scoffed. "More like starting it."

Professor Lupin glanced at her, then turned to the rest of the class, seemingly deciding it was a lost cause. "Moving on... Today we'll be reviewing a few spells you've worked with before, to make sure you'll all still remember them for exams."

There was a chorus of groans.

"Oi, you'll get to levitate desks, so you're not doing too badly," Lupin protested.

The class visibly brightened.

Lupin surveyed the room, then seemed to come to a decision. "Alright, we're counting off by sevens, so each group'll have three... Hayward, you're a one. Reynolds, two; Turner, three, Fisher... seven, Wells; four..."

He received several confused glances.

"What? You don't honestly think I'd choose random groups, do you? Nott, five; Poole, six; Sanchez, one; Jennings, two; Potter, three..." He continued in this manner, though I'd be willing to bet that he dragged it out for longer than necessary.

His gaze landed on me, and I shrunk down a bit. "Can I be with Sarah?" I asked hopefully.

Lupin raised an eyebrow. "We both know that's not an option, so, Simmons... three."

I swore under my breath, and began plotting my escape. Were the windows big enough to jump out of? Were there even windows in the room? Bloody hell, there were no available exits, what kind of institution was that place?!

"I've already made the mistake of promising you lot that you get to levitate desks, so find a desk with your group, and do your best to both remember the spell and execute it correctly to levitate it," Professor Lupin instructed. "And, if you manage to make it float, for Merlin's sake, don't just drop it," he added as an afterthought.

I trudged over to meet my group mates at a desk in the back of the room, sat down heavily, and pouted.

I heard Aaron laugh. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Charlie."

"It's not you I'm worried about," I grumbled.

It was a relief to at least have someone with some semblance of sanity in my group, although I still very much doubted that Aaron would be able to mediate a fight between Potter and I. As far as I knew, though, we were on good enough terms for the time being...

Still, I determinedly avoided looking at Potter so as not to add fuel to the fire of the rumors, but I could practically feel his smirk. "C'mon, Simmons, don't put yourself down; You'll do fine."

I narrowed my eyes. "I know."

"Although, according to some of the girls in our year, you've got the I.Q. of a troll... Not sure if I believe them yet."

So much for being on civil terms.

"I've got the IQ of a troll? Have any of them taken a good look at you lately?"

Aaron sighed and held up a hand to keep James from responding. "Can you two just try to get through this without threatening homicide?"

That... Did not seem likely.

"Fine," I grumbled, "But if he's the reason we fail this, I get to fling him into the ceiling using the levitation spell."

Aaron glanced at his roommate. "Deal," he decided.

I sent James a smug smile, which he gladly returned.

Damn. I'd already given in and looked at him; What was next? Speaking rationally?

Aaron glanced between the two of use once more. "So, are we all at least in agreement that the levitating charm we're most familiar with is Wingardium Leviosa?"

I nodded, somewhat sheepishly.

Most of the other groups were well past that point, and several students could be heard struggling to recall the correct pronunciation from first year. A few of the groups' desks halfheartedly hovered a few inches above the floor, but the class was otherwise unsuccessful so far. At least the expectations weren't too high, though, eh?

"So... D'you want to try all casting it together, then?" I broke the silence in our group reluctantly.

James smirked. "So long as you don't try to take credit for lifting it once we've got it floating."

I made a face at him. "I think you're confusing my intentions with your own, Potter."

Aaron grinned. "She's got a point."

"She's also a bloody crazy bint," James muttered pointedly.

"He's got a point, too," Aaron shrugged.

"Yes, thank you, moderator, but should we just cast the bloody spell?" I demanded impatiently.

Both boys held up their hands in surrender, and I couldn't help but grin, relishing in my newfound intimidation factor.

There wasn't much I actually remembered academic-wise from my earlier years of Hogwarts schooling, but fortunately the proper way to cast a levitation charm had stuck with me, though I suppose a heavy desk would take more concentration... That could possibly present a problem, seeing as on an average day, I had the attention span of a Pygmy Puff.

"Alright, ready?" James glanced at me and smirked.

I rolled my eyes and drew my wand. "Wingardium Leviosa."

Two other mutterings of the spell followed, and our desk actually did make it off the floor. I grinned. "That was... Almost too easy."

James shrugged. "Well, I did most of the work, so..." He smirked at me, waiting for a reaction.

"Erm... Maybe you shouldn't..." Aaron muttered, nervously glancing at the hovering desk.

I did my best to glare at James out of the corner of my eye, though I don't think he was very intimidated... "You're barely even doing your bloody part of the work," I snapped as I kept my wand trained on the desk.

"Says the girl hardly even making a difference," James scoffed.

I narrowed my eyes. "Watch this, then," I muttered, and lead the desk further upward.

"Lupin's walking over; I'd say it's time to stop," Aaron hissed at us.

I didn't bother looking away from the desk; Really, I'm not sure that I could have, seeing as by that point, it was about as high as the ceiling would allow, and a lot heavier than it looked.

"Potter, Simmons, lower it slowly," Professor Lupin instructed, likely because he knew us well enough to predict that it couldn't end well.

Besides, getting it up there had been easy. Bringing it back down... Now that was going to be a bit more difficult.

I pitied Lupin, I really did.

I sighed. "Fine, Potter, let me lower it."

It'd be easier to bring it back down without trying to bicker at the same time, and we both knew neither of us was mature enough to work together without arguing.

"That's bloody unlikely," James protested.

"Potter, would you just let me -" I began.

Above us, the desk swayed back and forth as each of us attempted to pull it closer.

"Merlin, Simmons, you're not helping anything!"

"Well, I'm bloody trying!"

"Simmons -" 

"You two are going to bloody kill somebody!" 

Aaron probably had a point... Still, neither Potter nor I seemed to be very inclined to listen, so the general noises of protestation from the rest of the class didn't do us much good.

"Simmons, would you just let me do this?!" James growled at me, eyes still trained on the desk above us.

"You know what, no; The fact that you hate me doesn't make me bloody useless," I hissed as I glared up at the desk, and attempted to control the rapid movements.

"Godric, Simmons, I don't bloody hate you!"

"You - what?" I whipped around, which was apparently a terrible decision. In hindsight, it was probably the worst thing I could've done.

"MERLIN!" James shouted as the desk lurched downward.


I... should have seen that coming.

A nervous giggle broke the silence, and I managed to find the strength to open my eyes, which I'd wisely decided to close when the desk fell.

Wood splinters littered the room, and chair legs were strewn hopelessly around. It didn't look like anyone had been killed, so thankfully, Potter and my feud was yet to have a body count, but from Lupin's face, you'd never be able to tell.

I finished my assessment of the damage and glanced toward James, who met my eye. "Erm... I'll let you lower it next time, Simmons..."

I bit my lip to keep from laughing, and saw that most of my mates were doing the same. "I think I'll pass," I decided as Fred and Sarah erupted into a fit of giggles.

I glanced once more at Professor Lupin, though I wasn't sure what I hoped to see. He didn't look angry, per say, but I'd say his duty as teacher meant that he didn't find the situation nearly as amusing as the rest of us (although I'm about 98% sure I saw him trying to hide laughter). Still, as long as he was the one to dole out the punishment, I figured we'd be alright.

"Potter, Simmons; Meet me in McGonagall's office after classes let out," Lupin sighed after a moment of silence, broken only by poorly contained giggles.


. . .


Tara casted me a puzzled glance, Sarah rolled her eyes, and Bailey looked up, startled. "Stop what?"

"You're judging me," I complained as I closed my Charms book. "It's wrecking my concentration."

Bailey huffed and returned her attention to her work, while Sarah turned back toward me. "Well, I wouldn't be judging you if you weren't a terrible person."

I gave an exasperated sigh. "You already knew I was a terrible person, and anyway, you're one to talk!"

Bailey casted both of us stern looks.

Sarah put up her hands in surrender. "Alright, I'm done, but you have to say something."

"What's there to bloody say? 'I didn't know you weren't plotting my demise, sorry for trying to ruin your life'? That's always a great conversation starter," I scoffed.

We'd been arguing the same topic for the past hour, since I'd gotten out of my meeting with McGonagall. By that point, it was getting late, we all wanted to go to dinner, still had loads of homework, and were about ready to murder each other.

Bailey slammed her book shut and glared at both of us, and I shrunk back a bit.

"Would you two stop bloody arguing? You've been at it for an hour, and you're obviously not getting anywhere! Sarah, you know it's no use, and Charlie, to answer your question, 'Sorry' might be a good way to start."

I huffed. "I haven't got anything to apologize for that he doesn't."

Sarah raised an eyebrow. "Except for assuming that he hated you and trying to ruin his life?"

"Merlin, I haven't even done anything that bad!" I insisted, though it fell on deaf ears.

Tara sighed. "Well, regardless of who's fault it was, you've both got another two weeks of detention to add to your lists - which are growing at a scary rate, by the way - and the rest of the school year to deal with, not to mention the rest of your Hogwarts career, so at least acknowledging that you two are just being bloody competitive morons might be a good place to start."

I groaned. "Don't remind me about the detentions. Anyway... Argh, fine; I'll acknowledge that he doesn't hate me."

Sarah casted me an expectant look, which I hoped meant that she was done being cross with me. "And?"

I stared blankly. "And..."

She rolled her eyes, for what seemed like (and very well might have been) the tenth time that night. "And do you hate him?"

"Oh..." I squirmed. "Erm, well, I... I don't know?"

Sarah shook her head. "Not good enough."

I glanced helplessly at Bailey and Tara.

Tara sighed. "If you hated him, I'd say you'd know by now."

"But I don't!" I moaned, and glanced determinedly at my textbook, desperate to find an escape from the conversation.

"Charlie," Bailey warned.

I continued to stare at my textbook, and flipped it over, having just figured out that it was upside down.

"Merlin, Charlotte, just say it," Sarah demanded.

I closed the book and whipped around to face her. "Fine: I don't hate him. I hope that's bloody good enough, because it's the best I can do!"

I held her gaze for longer than was probably necessary, praying that this wouldn't be the start of another fight.

Sarah looked away and nodded cheerily. "Thanks, love. Good chat."

I narrowed my eyes. "I maintain that I've done nothing wrong," I declared, glaring at my roommates.

Tara laughed. "Wouldn't it be a concern if you didn't?" She murmured as she scribbled down a translation for Ancient Runes. After finishing the line, she looked up, satisfied. "Anyway, who's ready to eat? These two are finally calm enough to go out in public now, and we've still got about twenty minutes 'till they stop serving dinner."

I was absolutely desperate to eat, if only to get away from my Potions essay. Really, the whole thing was a jumble of comma splices and angry lettering, but I had some of the required information, and that was more than I could normally say for my work.

We arrived in the Great Hall about five minutes later sporting fresh bruises (Bailey hadn't wanted to leave take a break from her reading, however badly she needed one, and we'd resorted to dragging her... She'd thank us later). I quickly fell into my "Rumor Routine", which basically meant that I hid my face and tried not to interact with anyone, although my antisocial tendencies weren't nearly as strong as my love for food, so it fell apart pretty quickly.

Sarah poked me as I shoveled mashed potatoes into my mouth. "You're the topic of conversation over there, love."

"Kill them all," I grumbled, and then returned my attention to my plate.

I heard Bailey mutter something along the lines of, "At least she's acting like herself again," but chose to ignore the comment.

Sarah laughed in response, and eyed me a bit warily as I stabbed my plate. "I mean because of the stunt you pulled today. Apparently, they heard the crash from the Charms room."

I groaned, although I'd already heard that from a group of Hufflepuffs earlier that day. "I didn't mean to!" I asserted.

At least four of the students in my general vicinity glowered as they chorused, "We know."

I... Hadn't exactly been subtle about the incident afterwards.

. . .

I jotted down my closing sentence with a victorious grin.

It was about 10:00, the common room was practically deserted, and the fire's cheery flickering was actually starting to annoy me, but I'd managed to finish my Charms essay against all odds. Anyway, the common room was a large step up from my dorm, where Tara was squealing about a book she'd received from her mom, Sarah was ranting about Quidditch, and Bailey was sending death glares at both of them from behind her Transfiguration book.

Still, the common room was nice. Trees swayed in the wind outside the windows, and I briefly wondered how long it would be before I'd have to start complaining about snow. I could faintly hear some of the portraits babbling, but everything was otherwise quiet.

It could have peaceful, really, except for the fact that I was there.

I cursed as I tried in vain to shove my textbook back into my rucksack. "I need a bloody extension charm," I muttered to myself.

"Sorry, am I interrupting your conversation with yourself?"

I closed my eyes and sighed. To my dismay, James Potter still stood in front of me when I opened them.

"Yes, actually, but we were just saying goodbye," I said with mock cheer as I grabbed my bag. A textbook spilled out of it, and I debated whether it was worth exerting the effort to pick it up.

"You're a strange one, Simmons," Potter smirked as he handed me the book with a flourish.

I was surprised, to say the least. "Erm... Thanks," I mumbled awkwardly, taking care not to drop the book again as I grabbed it. "Sorry, by the way, for the new detentions... I think we're making a habit of this."

James shook his head and laughed. "I think the quidditch team's about ready to murder both of us."

I rolled my eyes. "More reasons to watch my back."

James shrugged. "Eh, you've got Jordan on your side; Even the quidditch blokes are scared of her."

"She'll be pleased to hear that," I assured him. I stuffed the textbook somewhat violently into my bag and gazed longingly at the stairs.

I wasn't sure if James noticed, but if he did, he didn't let on. "Anyway, I should go; Fred'll be furious if I leave him and Aaron to help Eoin with the Transfig homework. Have fun trying to catch the boogie man tonight."

I groaned at the reference to whatever the hell he'd done to our dorm, then hesitated. Merlin, sometimes I hated the fact that my friends gave good advice. "Oh, and erm... Aside from whatever the bloody hell is in our dorm, I don't really... actually... quite hate you either. It's just..."

"Intense loathing?" James suggested, to which I nodded.

"Very intense loathing," I confirmed. Satisfied that Sarah had no more reason to dye my hair pink while I slept, I turned toward the stairs. "Anyway, see you in detention."

I'd say that I'd see him in class, but if we actually ended up interacting before detention, we'd probably ruin another desk.

James smirked. "Yup. See you in hell."

I rolled my eyes as he stalked to the stairs to his dorm. Bloody Potter.

A/N: Thanks for reading! I absolutely adore each of your reviews, follows, or favorites, so thanks so much! Anyway, now that we've established that they don't actually hate each other, we're getting somewhere, yeah? ;) Hope you enjoyed!

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