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 Chapter 7

I didn't notice that my jaw was hanging from its hinges like a pair of string lights off a Christmas tree until I saw people's heads turn in my direction.

I don't know if they were either seeing if I was surprised by this or trying to compare the resemblance between us. I quickly shut my mouth and put on a small smile, as if I had been expecting this.

But really, my mind was going a million miles an hour. We had two days before I moved across the freakin’ world, and we were in England for who knows how long - like two weeks - and my mom didn't find the time to say, Oh by the way, I will be working at your fucking school, Nic! Did they think it was some kind of sick joke? Did they think this would be a pleasant surprise? What was their main goal with not telling me this?

I was so prepared to finish off my last school year meeting people, going to classes, going to parties, whatever upperclassmen do, without my mom in the same building as me.

I slowly get out of my small mental tirade to realize others’ reactions: more mumbling and whispering (of course), some delighted (mainly boys who are Fours and older - which, by the way, EW), and some just shocked (some people just don't like change I guess).

“Okay, so now you can tuck into the wonderful dinner that has been made for us!” McGonagall goes to sit down and the food magically appears (I will never tire of that joke) in front of us. The din arises once again and everyone is eating and talking happily.

“So I take it that you probably didn't know your mom was going to be the Aid, huh? I could tell from your reaction,” Charlotte mumbles to me while I make for the mashed potatoes.

“Yeah, no - she forgot to tell me that little detail when she said to pack up and that we're moving to a different country,” I whisper to her.

Unfortunately the boy across from me heard what we talked about and says, “Well that can't be all that bad, to have your parent here - I get pretty homesick, you see.”

I look up and try not to glare at the kid - I don't want to burn any bridges the first night I get here. “Yeah, well I've always been pretty independent and have never been homesick,” through bites of my asparagus.

“That must be nice, not having to be constantly wanting to be back in your home with a nice bed and siblings - but they have nice comfort food here,” he rambles. Seriously, who is this kid and why is he suddenly in our conversation?

“So, Nicolette. . . What did you like the most at Ilvermorny?” Charlotte asks me, a bit louder, noting my annoyance towards some kid who didn't even tell me his name. I give her a side look of thankfulness for the change in subject, which quickly is changed to a face of disgust at the boy in front of me stuffing a huge chicken leg right in his face, not caring at who in the world is watching.

“I really enjoyed Quidditch, but not sure if I'm going to play here at Hogwarts. It was cool to see and meet the other teams around the whole of North America,” I say to her.

“What do you mean?” the boy in question asks, cutting off what Charlotte was about to say. Although, with his face full of chicken, his tan cheeks protruding out like a squirrel’s would, it came out more like “wguh’d’yuh bean?”

“Our Quiddtich games are House against House, I think he means,” Charlotte explains to me for this boy.

“Oh, okay. Yeah, so we play as one school against other schools. Try-outs end up having two teams with two captains and we scrimmage against each other for practices, mixing the players up. And for travel games, they take people on a type of rotation,” I explain while spearing a tomato half.

“That's so cool!” both Charlotte and the boy in front of me exclaims. Now a girl, next to the boy who's across from me, turns from her previous conversation to listen in.

“Do you play?” I ask Charlotte and the boy.

“Yeah, I'm a Chaser on Ravenclaw’s team, if I make it again it will be my third year,” she beams, her dark brown eyes lighting up.

The boy across from me cuts in and says, “I'm not on the team, but I've been practicing the last two summers and last school term, I hope to make Beater. My aim has been improving my older brother says.” He's now spraying whatever other food he had in his mouth on the table. The more I look at him, the more I decide he does have a Beater’s build.

“I've never played, but I just love to watch. Being a spectator is really nice at times,” the girl diagonal of me says dreamily. “The commentator is so funny and exciting, his voice is perfect for the role.” I'm, like, a hundred percent sure she sighed at the end.

Charlotte and I exchange glances, knowing full well what this girl means even though she didn't say much. The boy on the other hand just gives her an incredulous look, not willing to believe someone wouldn't want to actually play the sport, and chomps down on his food once more.


By the time dessert comes around, everyone is full, yet has enough room to eat even more.

I find out during dinner that the boy across from me’s name is Elijah Mii, a dark-haired Five. He is kind of oblivious (“for a Ravenclaw,” Charlotte says), yet has a really good photographic memory and a big goal-getter. The girl sitting next to him is Aria Copenhaver, a thin white-blonde Six who doesn't play, but she has a knack for Arithmancy and decoding Runes.

I also come to find out Charlotte Chang-Watson is in my year, and she loves Quidditch and anything to do with the sea, which is ironic to me since neither of them are on land.

Her mom once was the Seeker for Ravenclaw, but Charlotte wanted to do something different than to follow her footsteps. Her aspiration after Hogwarts is to be a researcher for magical water creatures, and anything that that can entail.

The food and plates disappear and everyone heads to go back to their Common Rooms, McGonagall said the First Years are supposed to go before us. On my way out the Great Hall, Charlotte and I walk together as we are heading to the same place.

Dom somehow manages to weave through the crowd and find me. “Every year there's a back to school party - Fifths and up, this year we’re having it by the lake. Tomorrow night. You in?” She looks to me and then Charlotte, noticing she and I are walking together.

“Yeah sure, sounds good to me,” I tell her; Charlotte nods in response.

Dom wobbles a bit as some people try to push by her, “Great, it's a wandless party, but bring your bathing suit. You want to come see the Slythie Common Room before bed?”

“That would be cool, yeah - give me a minute, I need to do something first,” I say as my eyes trail over where my mom is sitting at the Staff Table. Dom and Charlotte pick up what I mean and say that's fine.

I walk over and up the raised platform, noticing people's eyes are following my body, Mom’s talking to one of the professors who isn't McGonagall (every teacher is “Not McGonagall” to me right now). She looks up when she feels me approach her.

“-I agree. Um, I need to talk to my daughter now, but it was good to meet you Ted,” she says. Ted (I'm guessing Lupin) gives me a nod and a kind smile to my mother; I took note of just how much time he took looking at her body as a whole before turning his attention to a different professor. Ugh, not another one.

Mom gets up from the table and walks down a few steps to where some of the profs have already left. “Hey, Nikkie, what's up?”

I stare. “Wha-what's up? What's up? Well I don't know - maybe the fact that you're here at my boarding school working for the whole year, is what's up. Mom, why didn't you tell me this before so I could know ahead of time?”

Mom sighs, as if she knew this was coming, “Nic, I was going to tell you, but we didn't want to say right away since moving away was already a big change for you. I thought it would be best to wait, but then I was trained more and more and gone from the house more.”

She pauses before saying, “I didn't have time I guess - don't give me that look. I didn't want to freak you out before school, and - hey just wait - I will give you your space so you can still have the same year you were going to. You can even write to me as if I'm not here, plus I probably won't see you much except for Quidditch - if you try out. I'll be in the Hospital Wing, you'll be everywhere else.” She finishes as if she practiced this speech for me.

I weigh my words before saying, “I know, but I just didn't want to be informed with everyone else. I've had time now to let it sink in during the feast, but still not super happy with it all. You promise not to, like, embarrass me or tell me what I'm doing wrong or whatever parents do? Please? Let me make my own mistakes and do what I want?”

She purses her lips into a thin line, thinking of what that would take (which wouldn't be a lot, my parents were never strict, but they also were never at school with me before). “Fine, I guess so. I owe it to you in a way anyway.”

I give a soft squeal and hug her, “Thank you, thank you! So how much will you be here exactly?”

She rolls her eyes, not unlike I do, “Ha ha, I get it - don't want me around too much now do we? Well, during class hours and on Quidditch games. If she needs me for a certain day, she will call me in, but most nights I will be home with your father.”

“Okay, awesomethanksgottagobyeloveyou!” I say while spinning around to my friends that are waiting for me by the doors.


The Slytherin Common Room is something I wouldn't have guessed it to be, yet also not surprised by it.

The place has this weird eerie feel yet it's homey at the same time. Dom says it's by the Black Lake, and one of the windows is like an aquarium where fish and creatures swim by. They can't actually see in, since it's enchanted, but it's pretty.

Most of the windows that line the room are bewitched to mimic the outside, like a lot of the windows in The Dungeons. Apparently it was a change Slughorn made and no one wanted to change it or knew how to.

Everything is a deep green shade that could be mistaken for as black, velvet and dark wood being most of the elements. The curtains are the velvet material that the couches are. There are a few fireplaces dotted around, the biggest being on the right side, where most of the upperclassmen are lounging around.

I met Sophie Zabini, who came up to me from the group of lounging students saying, I heard you're into Quidditch, think you're gonna try out this year? To which I said, I don't know. I never even talked to her, but of course word gets around fast at boarding schools. She's been on the team a while now as Slytherin’s Beater. Dom told me later that she was real close to being the captain this year, but it was given to her cousin Al instead.

Dom is a Chaser for their team, even though she doesn't look like the athletic type, being curvy in all the right places with a pretty face and nice social status. She looks more like a Quidd player’s girlfriend than one herself, but I'd never tell her that. She probably already knows anyway, being a quarter Veela.

I find out Dom doesn't particularly love Sophie Zabini, but gets along with her for the game’s sake. Other than that, they don't talk much. Ellery Webster and Celeste Faire (I haven't met her) seem to be her closest friends that's not related to her.

The Slytherin dorms are different to Ravenclaw’s in where all the rooms are on the same level. You go to the girls’ side, up the stairs, and get off the landing, it's all one big hallway.

The Ones are the first door on your left and you make your way back to the Sevens, which is at the end of the hall on the left as well. On the right is a long stretch of a window with stained glass mermaids. They swim back and forth, sitting on rocks or swimming together.

Charlotte and I don't stay too long, but Dom wanted to give me a tour (and Charlotte too, since she's never been).

She said the rooms get progressively bigger the more you age (a similar system to Ilvermorny’s dorms too). The Sevens’ room is fairly large with ample space in between each bed, all having the same color scheme as the Common Room. There are desks and wardrobes for each girl, with a bookshelf that is in the wall above the desk.

After chatting a bit, Dom bids us adieu, and we head all the way up to our Common Room. Luckily Charlotte knows her way around, or I'd be lost already.

Before we can even leave the Common Room, I'm stopped yet again by someone I don't know. This time, it's a boy with black hair who I'm pretty sure I've seen before.

He leans against the exit nonchalantly, “So, you're the new girl. My name’s Al, as in Albus Potter. I see you've met my cousin Dom then?”

“Yeah, she's nice. Very beautiful and smart--”

“I'm sure you are. Are you coming to the welcome back party?” He’s smirking, running his hand through his hair, messing it a bit. Now it’s just sticking straight up. I notice he hasn't acknowledged Charlotte and she hasn't said anything.

“Uh, yeah, we are - Dom invited us, are you going?” I ask, not sure where this is going, but have an educated guess.

“Well, I am - why don't you come with me? We can show up together, it'd help with getting people's attention, if you want any.” He looks down at his nails and then to my feet, going up my body somewhat slow - just like in Diagon Alley.

Yikes. Charlotte looks somewhat uncomfortable and I don't really want to be here any longer. “Um, no thanks, I'm going with my friends. And I've already got people's attention - I'm new, remember? Why do I need more?”

“Oh I know, or else we would've definitely been together already,” he says suggestively, the wink he sends me doesn't help. “Everyone wants attention, at least to some extent. Why wouldn't you want to not hang out with me, Al Potter? So, you down?”

I look at Charlotte and she just gives me a small shrug. I look back at this boy who not only asked me out twice, but claimed going with him will make me popular. I can't help myself and ask, “Are you really that full of yourself? I'm going with my friends, what more do I need to say?”

He stands up fully so we're almost eye level. “I am pretty great - been told by countless of girls. Look, love - it was just an offer, I thought I'd ask so you don't need to be wondering if I would or not. It could always be more than one date to a party, you know,” his eyes flicker down to my lips, my neck, my chest and back up to meet my eyes. The little smirk is back - I want to smack it off.

Charlotte’s mouth drops just a sliver and I've had it with this kid. “Look, love - you're like, what? A year and a half younger than me, prancing around with all types of girls and you expect me to think that's attractive? You have another thing coming if that's it. We need to go,” I make for the door and he actually has the courtesy to move when I do.

The stone door slides and on my way out I hear, “Don't come crawling back for some Al then when you decide you want more!”

“Oh my god, I can't believe you said that to Al Potter,” Charlotte breathes. It seemed like she was holding her breath.

“I mean, Potter is a name we are familiar with obviously, but that doesn't mean he can take what he wants,” I say, climbing the stairs with her.

She nods, “Well, Al does. He always has, and when he hit Fourth Year he went after girl after girl and hardly any of them has turned him down. James could too if he wanted - but he doesn't like to use his surname and good looks for benefits like that.”

I stop, almost causing her to trip, but go again so she wouldn't ask what happened.

James is Al’s brother. Of course he'd be a Potter too, why didn't I realize that and put two and two together? Damn, maybe that old hat was wrong, I'm not meant to be in Ravenclaw.

But James never made it a big deal - or any deal - about his last name. “And how many girls has James been with?” I ask, only half wanting to know the answer.

Charlotte doesn't know that I've met him yet, let alone have talked with him for hours weeks ago.

She's also not related to him so can give me a non-biased rundown.

“He's had two girlfriends; one in Fourth and one last year, and had an unofficial thing with a girl in between girlfriends. He stays within his circle of friends usually, but doesn't pull crazy pranks like Al and his best friend Scorpius do. Louis Weasley sometimes helps when he wants. Those three can get into so much trouble. . .” I remember she's a Prefect and has probably had to deal with them before. “Yeah, no - James is friendly and charming, but never tried to get into trouble or girls or drama, really. At least that's what I know of, being in a different House than him.”

Once we finally (and I mean finally - it's a long trek from The Dungeons to the second highest tower) get into Ravenclaw Tower, we head straight upstairs. There are people hanging around talking, laughing, playing games, but I'm interested in hearing more about who James is, Hogwarts James anyway. Not Coffeeshop James, he was different - and a No-Maj for all I knew back then.

Trying to keep it on the subject I say, “So does he play Quidditch or what?”

We flop on our beds, hers next to mine, “He used to,” she replies, “until this year. Now he’s Head Boy and Hogwarts made a rule that you can't be Head Boy or Girl and be a Quidditch captain, as it's too much responsibility.”

“Are you talking about James Potter?” A head of frizzy black hair pops out of the curtains hanging down from the posters on Anusha’s bed.

Charlotte laughs, “but of course - you know Anusha, right?”

“I gave her a tour of Diagon Alley and took her on the boat ride to Hogwarts before school started,” she says triumphantly.

“We've met,” I say, smiling at Anusha across the room.

The dorm is an almost-circle, not being a half, but not being a whole. Anusha has the end with a bigger desk and bigger bed, being Head Girl. She also has a nice window view and the side with the fireplace and couch, but has told us we can use it if she isn't there. They said it's to make up for not having a Head a Common Room anymore.

We shared the room with Verena Kamazel, Rosabel Flinn-Fletchy, Suri Patil-Musco, and Eve Silverson. They currently were out of the room - except I think Suri is sleeping, but it could be a bunch of pillows - and I haven't met them yet.

“James Potter is the Untouchable One, as we call him,” Anusha continues. She came over closer to us, eager for some girl talk, and is now sitting on Charlotte’s bed. “He doesn't go after a billion girls - we thought he was gay at one point, but then he dated Eve Chelan and that threw off our theory - sure, he jokes around, but doesn't pull crazy huge pranks or anything.”

Charlotte nods her head vigorously, adding, “Most people would have thought he'd be a huge prankster - like his brother and dad and grandfather, but nope; the only time that happened was during his First and Second Year.”

“He's Head Boy this year,” Anusha chimes in, “it's rumored that he took that over being Captain so Al could have the Slytherin Captain’s spot without too much competition. He's like a professor’s dream student.” She's smiling to no one in particular, but I can tell boys are a subject of interest for Anusha.

I can tell they haven't talked about this stuff in a while, if at all together. But nonetheless, I am thoroughly okay with having them tell me all these things, though. Who doesn't when they're new?

I take in what Anusha says, knowing she probably knows a lot about him, working alongside him for things. Twirling a piece of her hair she puts in, “He even tutors, like - how sweet is that?”

“Of course, girls fail classes purposely to be tutored by him, but still. A cute tutor? So hot. A smart, kind man, who puts others first - that's who I want in a guy,” Charlotte says, her dark brown eyes on the ornate blue and bronze ceiling.

“Oh, I thought you'd like the Al type, huh?” I joke at her, and she scoffs, I laugh. We retell the story of being stopped in the Slytherin Common Room to Anusha.

Anusha's mouth is slightly open, “Wow, I knew Al was a player, but not that much. Must've taken some nerve to say that to you?” Her hand is under her chin, she's laying down on her stomach.

“But then again, it is Al Potter,” Charlotte adds.

Not realizing that Verena Kamazel and Suri Patil-Musco had walked in, I still asked, “Who's cuter though - Scorpius Malfoy or Al Potter?” I've met Scorpius on the train, but only very briefly in passing. He is very attractive too - there are a lot of pretty people at this school. I'm very much enjoying this gossip since I need to know who is who and all that. Anusha and Charlotte pause as if they are going through a list in their heads.


“No, totally Al.”

“James, definitely-”

“They’re brothers-” I add.

“-of course they look similar, but-”

“So, both?”

“Louis Weasley.”

I roll my eyes, and we all fall into a pile of giggles. The two girls that came in decided to join in.

Girl talk can really soothe the nerves of being at a completely new school.


Waking up in the middle of the night is not an act that I do on a regular basis.

Usually I am one to sleep hard and through the duration of the moon’s stay. Even while I was trying to get on London time, I was only slightly jet-lagged, but was able to switch over time zones in a few days.

Tonight is different though, I guess. I woke up to the small noises of sleeping, one girl’s slightly snoring. I can hear Charlotte next to me mumble something in her sleep that sounded vaguely like a baking recipe.

I look out the window next to me to see the glistening moon greeting me high in the sky. It really is a beautiful view from all of Ravenclaw Tower; we see everything from the Forbidden Forest to the Black Lake, Hagrid’s hut in the distance on the vast grassy grounds in the foreground, rolling mountains far in the background.

I look to the clock and it reads it's almost one in the morning. I could definitely try to go back to sleep, but it's really peaceful right now. Looking at all of Hogwarts’ campus, I almost can't get enough of it. Everything is coated in a translucent opal color, making the atmosphere a mix of eerie and ethereal.

I don't know how long it's been since I've woken up, but I'm basking in the radiance down below, and starting to doze off.

Until I see two figures emerging from the Forbidden Forest.

I shot upright, noticing they are student-shaped, not creature-shaped.

Because I'm so up high, they look like ants and obviously I can't tell who they are. The two figures are striding together quite briskly, one holding their wand out in front of them. Another has just came to greet them from the castle; I turn to a sleeping Charlotte, contemplating on whether or not I should wake her. She is a Prefect after all, so it could be her job to take care of it.

When I look back, all three students have gone.

I strain my eyes to where I once saw them all gathered together at a hault. Seeing there's no one at that spot, I scan my eyes around the rest of the grounds, but come up short.

The Horned Serpent part of me is telling me to let it go and go back to sleep, but the Thunderbird part of me says to find them and figure out what they're up to.

Thunderbird it is.

I get out of bed, put on a pair of fuzzy slippers and a pullover maroon hoodie over my t-shirt and and pajama shorts, and head out the door. Luckily no one else has woken up when I left, the only people up it seems is a couple making out in the corner by a fireplace.

They don't even notice when I leave, too engrossed in the other to let go.

I don't really know where to start, so I start by heading towards the Entrance Hall, where the main doors are.

Portraits are whispering, some knowing that I'm new say I'm going to get caught if I don't go back to bed. I just give them a small smile in return, most of the ones with aggressive comments I ignore completely.

As I've finally hit the first floor, I feel a cool rush of what feels like rain has just drenched me, yet I'm still dry as before.

A translucent figure has materialized in front of me, staring me down.

Before I can apologize to the ghost, he simply states, “Now, I haven't seen you around here, or at least haven't frightened you in the past. Who might you be, girl? Why are you out here so late?”

“I - uh -” I stop short, realizing that saying, I'm trying to see what three students were doing being outside, but then they disappeared out of thin air, isn't really a valid excuse. “I'm new and I wanted to see more of the castle,” I say quite lamely. “Who are you?”

“My name- I am known as the Bloody Baron,” he says slowly.

I look down and see that he is, in fact, covered in dried blood.

“I wonder why,” is all I could say.

To my surprise, the somber-looking man gives a small chuckle. Apparently he is a fan of sarcasm.

“Were you a student here?” I ask.

“But of course - I was in Slytherin,” he says proudly, “What House are you in?”

I tell him Ravenclaw, and notice his features both soften and have an even more somber tint than before. I don't know why, but also I don't really want to ask; this ghost looks like a very intimidating one.

I pause, deciding what to do or say. It seems like he's in this conversation and not planning on leaving right away.

“So what is your real name then, Bloody Baron?”

His eyebrows go up one or two notches, surprised by my question.

“What?” He asks me.

I repeat my question only for him to say no one has asked him that in a few centuries.

It was my turn to raise my eyebrows, “Really? No one?”

The Bloody Baron shakes his head slowly, and says that he frightens people, both intentionally and not; no one really talks to him. He quite likes it that way though.

I let him know that if he wants to talk to someone that he can always find me. He finally smiles to me - a small one, but still a smile no less. I can tell he was once a probably a nice and sweet man, with a smile like that. I say my thought and his features soften slightly once more.

I hear footsteps behind me, and tense up, ready to get busted by a professor - on the first night here no less.

Instead there's a deep, familiar voice that asks, “Who were you talking to?”

I turn around to see James Potter, a ghost of a smile on his face. I swivel my head slightly, only to see that the Bloody Baron has gone.

“Uh - I wasn't. Why are you up?”

“I could ask the same, Nic.” He's grinning now.

“Um. . . I woke up in the middle of the night - hungry,” I shrug. It's a flimsy excuse but I don't really care. Until I realize I am talking to the Head Boy - shit.

“You're not going to give me a detention or anything, right?” I ask tentatively.

He chuckles, “It is only your first night here, I guess I could just give you a warning.” He then looks to his right and then his left, “Come with me.”

I look at his outstretched hand with a raised eyebrow.

“You don't trust me?” He's still grinning.

“Eh, not a lot I must say. . .”

“After all we've been through?”

I realize he's referring to when we spoke for hours at that coffee shop inside the bookstore. He was a No-Maj to me back then, a stranger who was at the same place at the same time. I hardly know him.

Seeing at I didn't give an answer, he grabs my hand and leads me to a tapestry down the hall. I didn't protest, but am still skeptical. My person is too curious to let go and go back to my dorm.

We stop in front of a tapestry of a man surrounded by various plants. Just as I'm about to ask what this is, he pulls it back and there's a passageway behind it. My mouth drops.

He laughs and heads inside after looking both ways. Our hands are still linked.

After walking a ways in silence, “Aren't you going to get in trouble for sneaking around?”

He shakes his head and gives me a small glance back before going forward again. “Nah, I don't really do much of this.”

I nod, even though his back is to me.

I'm looking around, noting that it looks like someone dug it up, the stone walls around us are rigged, the ground dusty. Obviously this passage was meant to be a secret. There are little alcoves as we go by, enough for probably two people if they were close together.

I smile to myself, knowing that people have probably been here to make out or whatever. Ilvermorny has small things like this too, where in our least-used library section has a small seat behind one of the shelves known as The Kissing Bench of the school. When I was a Five, Declan Westcot, my first-ever boyfriend, took me there to give me a sloppy kiss - he was really conservative, so a small kiss was enough for him at the beginning of our relationship.

Not realizing James stopped in front of me, I ran into his back, surprised of the hardness that lay underneath his soft long-sleeved grey shirt.

He side-glances at me, smiling. He lifts the tapestry’s material just a tinge, and peeks out. I try not to stare at his arms that have filled out the sleeves.

Once it's clear, he motions for me to follow. We are in a darker room, I can tell we've descended in elevation, and there are paintings of still life all over the walls.

James goes up in front of a painting of fruit, and starts to reach out to the pear. He's scratching it a bit.

As I'm about to critique James that you don't touch paintings, it swings open, acting as a door.

Warm light floods my eyes and I can feel my pupils detract. He walks forward and I can't stop myself from following.

“Welcome to The Kitchens,” he says to me as a bunch of House Elves come up to greet us.

My jaw has popped open and James simply says, “You said you were hungry,” shrugging.

I smile up at him. I didn't realize he had taken the time to bring me here just because I said I was hungry in a dumb excuse as why I was up at two in the morning.

“A snack for you, Miss?”

I look down to see a squeaky elf. I look at James and say I don't know what to have.

He asks me if I've ever tried strawberries and cream, and I say no - to which his eyebrows raise - and orders us some.

“Thank you Sparky,” he says to her retreating figure.

No later than two minutes, Sparky has brought us a bowl with two spoons, filled with strawberries and cream.

“So why were you out and around the castle tonight?” I ask, curiosity getting the best of me.

“Oh you know. . . I needed a quick snack. Woke up,” he says vaguely.

I notice he doesn't want to share much so I nod and shrug, hoping it suffices as a response.

We talk about other things, like classes and what we did over the summer, Quidditch.

“I just know how competitive Al gets, I didn't want to get in his way. If I was Captain, it'd be the only thing he saw - beating me and not actually playing the game,” he says after a bite of strawberry.

James is the type of boy I hardly ever go for, looking like a model on a food commercial. Boys that attractive don't normally go for me, as I’ve been told I’m outspoken and they usually want the spotlight themselves. “He didn't know I was offered it, but obviously there are rumors.”

I nod my head, take the fruit in my mouth, slowly chewing. “Well, a little competition is healthy, I think.”

He sighs, “Yeah, but you don't know Al. Ever since his Second Year he had to beat me in everything, even though he's a year behind me.”

“But he's your brother-”

“Exactly, which is why I don't want to be in his w-”

“-You can't expect to just leave will solve the proble-” getting frustrated.

“-Moretti, I don't think you-”

“James, come on-”

“So, Quidditch,” he says with finality, like we are done discussing his and Al’s relationship. “Are you going to try out?”

“Not sure yet, I'm torn right now,” I sigh, giving up on convincing him. We've had tiffs like this throughout the night, but every time he just stops the argument, not wanting to start yelling or anything. Every time he's frustrated, I can tell because his hand goes to the back of his neck or hair, pulling at it a bit.

He pauses, seeing my face has a tint of stress in it, “You're a Ravenclaw, tell me - do you like lists?”

I nod.

“Okay, tell me the pros and cons of trying out for the team.”

I smile at him, already equipped with the variables, and he grins at me, fully knowing that he's going to get a long list.

A/N: Thank you for reading another chapter! Hopefully the length makes up for the delay (again). Thank you to those who reviewed my last chapter, as it really gave me the push and motivation to keep going and write! Please tell me what you think about this one! Favorite parts? Least favorite parts? I want to know!!!

UP NEXT: Nicolette gets to know more of her peers at the Back To School Lake Party.

*I do not own anything of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, owned by J.K. Rowling, other than my own O/Cs.

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