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The Potter Paradox

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Bryony Sarah Merton

 

If seven years at Hogwarts had taught me one thing it was that everyone, at some point in their Hogwarts life would have a Weasley or more commonly a Potter phase. Often both but never neither it was currently an initiation of sorts into the world of wizarding heart-break. Obviously, there are exceptions, the power of the phase did not incite incest (thank Merlin) nor one could suppose, did it occur when there were no “Wotters” as they’re now more commonly called, present. But since the onslaught of offspring from the Potter/Weasley clan had come pouring into Hogwarts so had their power to charm young witches and wizards into a love-struck frenzy. And no one was safe.

 

Luckily for me I am now immune, my infatuation had occurred in first year back when crushes and cringe-worthy actions because of said crushes, could be blamed on age rather than any trait I still possessed . Clara, however has not been so lucky which was why she was currently recounting to our hufflepuff dorm her latest run in with a certain Mr Potter.

 

 ‘So, basically, I stumbled into this charms classroom, face the colour of a tomato, dripping with sweat, probably smelling like the backend of a hippogriff, all to avoid being pelted by Peeves which in hindsight would have been a better option. For who else was in that classroom, other than the God that is James Sirius Potter’

 

‘Oh, here we go’  I could tell Agatha was trying not to let a look of excitement creep onto her face as she said this but as much as we all empathised with Clara’s plight not to completely embarrass herself in front of the boy she liked, her interactions with them had been too good of late to not look forward to them.

 

 ‘So, after nearly falling onto him I began to worry that I smelt of the aforementioned sweat so of course I started to reassure him that I didn’t normally smell like this because obviously I showered regularly. And then I tried to joke about how I bet he didn’t need to reassure people he showered regularly, and that at least I definitely knew he showered regularly, but then I thought it sounded like I’d been watching him in the shower so I started to spout shit like “Not that I watch you or anything, don’t worry I’m not a pervert I

definitely don’t watch you in the shower” which of course just made it seem even more like I watched him in the shower '

 

A burst of laughter came from the corner of the room where Harriet had been brushing through the dark tangled heap of hair on her head ‘please tell me you didn’t really say that!’

 

‘Oh yes I really did, which of course made me seem more of a pervert, so obviously I tried to change the subject so I started to talk about stamps you know like postal ones.’

 

‘Stamps?’ I think now is a good time to mention that Clara, not even excepting Molly who is a Weasley and therefore subject to the paradox, is the best at flirting out of all us Hufflepuffs, this is the kind of power that the Potters can incite.  I mean the other four of us don’t exactly brim with allure but talking about stamps really was a low point.

 

 ‘Look, it was the only thing I could think of. We’d just been speaking about them in muggle studies and I just rambled on and on. I just couldn’t stop myself I kept going and going, I didn’t even know that there was that much to say about stamps and I could see he was trying not to laugh but I just couldn’t stop speaking’

 

‘It’s better than saying you watch him in the shower’

 

‘Yeah but that’s not exactly setting the bar high is it? I mean stamps, really? Why? Anyway, eventually I manage to think of something less embarrassing that we even had in common. You Molly! And I was actually sounding normal but then who turns up but Ofelia bloody Newton who floats in with her hair perfectly groomed and her make up completely on point and started to apologise for being late but that now she was here she was up for some fuuuuun, like when did that even start to happen I thought she was with Ian Davies!’

 

‘Well I don’t know when her and Ian Davies ended but James has been around her since we got back after summer… And why on earth would you start to talk about me! Half my family already thinks your psychopaths after Harriet’s obsession with Fred’ Molly responded turning the inane grin on Harriet’s face into something slightly sinister.

 

‘Please do not remind me of that period of my life’

 

‘It was only 6 months ago!’

 

‘Bea you’re meant to be on my side!’

 

‘Cruel to be kind mi amigo, cruel to be …’

 

‘LADIES LADIES, I believe I was in the middle of a story, thank you. The reason I mentioned you my darling Mollinda was because you were the first thing I could think of I had in common with him or that wasn’t stamp related anyway, but just as I was getting back on track…’

 

‘Were you ever on the track to begin with?’ I managed to snicker before being silenced with a pillow to the face.

 

‘Just as I was getting back on track…’ continued Clara ‘Ofelia went and ruined it all and when she noticed me, it got worse and we all just stood there in the most excruciating silence looking at each other. Or rather them both eyeballing me.’

 

‘Why didn’t you just leave?’

 

‘I tried to Harry, I really did but I was kind of frozen in awkwardness and shame and then James kind of coughed and did that little hair ruffle thing he does and was like “errr well it was nice to see you again Clare” and was kind of ushering me out, not literally, but pretty much’

 

‘Clare?’

 

‘As long as he’s speaking to me he can call me whatever he wants, I do not care. Though I think I’d prefer it if we were doing something other than speaking’ this statement was accompanied by a waggle of her eyebrows and groans from the rest of us.

 

‘You repulse me’ Molly said with mock disgust.

 

‘So go on, what happened next? Please tell me there’s not anymore’ Agatha muffled from behind her hands that were already covering her face in an attempt to shield her from the second hand embarrassment.

 

‘It’s as if you don’t know me at all, of course my tale continues. So out I go but of course I’ve completely forgotten about Peeves who seemed to have disappeared for precious Ofelia but was kind enough to show up again in time to dump a heap of dung bombs on my head. Which of course made me say some not too pleasant things in a not too quiet voice, which made James and his lady love come out and see me looking and smelling like a pile of shit. It was not pretty. She headed to the common room then and he went to the library. I guess hearing someone screaming at Peeves what a floppy wanded fuck face he is kills the mood a bit.’

 

‘Oh Clara’ it really was difficult to sound sympathetic when trying to avoid laughing ‘At least he won’t forget you now’

 

 ‘It could have gone worse’

 

‘Really Moll, how?’

 

‘At least he didn’t catch you sniffing his hair’

 

‘That was ONE TIME MOLLY!’ Harriet yelled

 

‘At least you didn’t send him a singing howler professing your undying love’

 

‘Let me forget that please, I was only thirteen’ Agatha shot at me ‘And you were the one that helped me write the bloody thing!’ I stand by that poem, it’s harder to rhyme Potter with something romantic than you’d think.  

 

‘And I suppose I didn’t use someone as a pole to dance around and slut drop down either’ chuckled Clara as everyone’s head turned to see Molly’s face turn a deep beetroot colour which generated a fit of giggles from us all.

 

‘I hate you all.’

 

‘Yeah yeah Mollykins, we know you love us really. Almost as much as you loved Malachy Finnegan when you gave him that lap dance’ I said jumping onto her bed to engulf her in a hug.  She pushed me off but failed to suppress her grin.

 

'Why do we always end up talking about my cousins like this?’

 

‘Because luckily for you your entire family has been blessed with godly beauty that us mere mortals cannot resist’

 

‘It’s true, it’s all part of the POTTER PARADOX’ I half yelled whilst flinging myself dramatically back on the bed.

 

‘What in the hell is that?’

 

Ahh at last a chance to discuss my hypothesis ‘The proven theory that at some stage in your Hogwarts life if a Potter is within a year’s distance of your age, though that rule is not always applicable, you fall mad-ly in love with one’

 

‘Seriously Bea, have you been on the fire whiskey?’’

 

‘Oh har har, just think about it, nearly every single girl in our year and the year above has at some point been obsessed with James and nearly every single girl in Albus’ year has pretty much been in love with him too and if they haven’t then they’re scheduled to be soon’

 

‘Bullshit.’ Molly was always going to be the hardest to convince.

 

‘No… that’s all true to be fair, I think you might have something there’

 

‘And it applies to Weasleys too, to a lesser extent but it still works’

 

‘This is genius, actual genius’ I knew Agatha would like this theory, if you’d have sent that howler, you would want an excuse for it too.

 

‘You’ve got to be kidding me’

 

‘And it’s not just the girls who are effected either’

 

‘You’re not going to suggest that my cousins have managed to convert the whole male population of Hogwarts into rampant homosexuals, are you? Because that’s a stretch even for you lot’

 

‘No but look at the girls in your family too, every male in our year has gone after you or Dom with the only exception being Derek Keats who used to like who? James!’

 

‘Then there’s the way the lads are around Rose too’

 

‘And have you seen the attention that Lily’s had lately’

 

‘She’s right you know’

 

‘Wait but then if you’re saying this theory is true then at some point YOU must have liked James or Albus, right?’

 

‘First year from September until Christmas, James smiled at me on the train, I was instantly smitten, so I attempted to learn how to fly to impress him which is how I broke my arm’

 

‘But that’s first year that shouldn’t count’

 

‘Why not?’ If breaking your own limb for someone isn’t a declaration of love, what is’

 

‘I thought you didn’t believe in the theory Moll’

 

‘Well no not really but if I’m going to except it then I reckon first and second year crushes shouldn’t count, people only started dating properly when we could go to Hogsmeade and third year’s when James started getting any attention off girls so you should start from then’

 

‘Nope, first year counts right Clara?’

 

‘Erm actually Bea, I’m with Molly’

 

‘Ditto’

 

‘The aye’s have it first and second year don’t count’

 

‘Woah woah woah, first year does count I’m the creator of this theory so only I can change it especially seeing as you don’t even believe in it Molly’ The Potter Paradox may have only been created in an hour’s procrastination at the library, when I was meant to be doing N.E.W.T revision but was really only watching and accompanying Clara on her latest stake out of James, but it was still my theory.

 

‘Your scientific evidence has convinced me and theories don’t work like that any way’

 

‘Yeah and we agreed with you, you skerewt so we should have a say’

 

‘Yeah, we’re part of the Potter Phase Theory Committee’

 

‘I liked Potter Paradox.’ This came out slightly sulkier than the situation warranted but I am a sucker for alliteration.

 

‘Fine, Paradox. But you’ve still been out voted. How long do these phases normally last wise warlock Bryony maybe that painful event has helped shake me out of it?’

 

‘Normally about two to three months, the longest one on record belongs to Penny Midwinter in the year above whose phase lasted at least a year. But you should be about done Clara, though people have been known to relapse’

 

‘You’ve sure spent a lot of time analysing James Potters love life’ I didn’t like what that tone was implying.

 

‘It’s hard not to when it’s basically all the school talks about Molly’ I mumbled, as I felt my cheeks colour slightly. Sliding off my the bed and in the hope I could hide this(though the suspicious smile currently spreading across Molly’s face seemed to suggest otherwise)

I started to make my way across the room towards the bathroom.

 

‘Where are you going, I want to develop this theory?’ protested Harriet

 

‘The committee can develop it without me I’m going to jump in the shower for a bit, but could you make sure that perv Clare keeps away, we all know what she’s like’. Shooting a grin in the direction of Clara and avoiding any eye contact with Molly, I backed into the bathroom, closed the door and let out a sigh of relief.

 

 

James Sirius Potter

 

‘Mateeee when were you going to tell me you finally got on Newton, I had to hear it from some group of weeping first years who are probably already plotting Ofelia’s death’ said Fred with a laugh as he wrapped his arm around my neck and scratched my head with his fist.

 

‘I haven’t “got on her” as you so delicately put it and I didn’t think we were going to tell anyone yet if I’m honest’ I tried to pull away from my cousin.  I knew I was acting like a moody get but I wasn’t quite ready for everyone to know about me and Ofelia quite so quickly. Sure, I was expecting the news to spread sooner or later especially after we gave the game away in front of Molly’s slightly eccentric friend Clare but surprisingly, she wasn’t the main source of the spread. 

 

‘Oohhh sorry Jim I just assumed…’  So would I if he had a girlfriend who told everyone they were together even though they’d agreed to wait a while before the Ian situation calmed down. It’s not like I didn’t want people to know about us I really liked Ofelia but I also really liked having my head attached to my body.

 

‘I know I know, sorry it’s …I’m just a bit pissed off, not with you just with…’  I waved my hands frustratedly in the air as a way of explanation.

 

‘With Ofelia?’  

 

 ‘No! well yeah…I don’t know. I suppose. I just wish there wasn’t this massive fuss over it y’know? I mean even I know I’m just a rebound’

 

‘Right, hmm but still’

 

‘And she probably only let it get out to wind up Ian but it’s not her who’s going to have to deal with all that shit it’s going to be me, I’m the one who Ian Davies is going to be out looking for, ready to murder’

 

‘So basically, you’re pissed because you’re scared of Ian, Jimmy you could totally take him, the muggle or the wizard way stop stressing’

 

‘Yeah I reckon I could’ Fred could also make me crack a smile even when I didn’t want to ‘but I don’t want to, I shouldn’t need to, I can’t risk being out injured for quidditch not this year, especially if it’s just to make her ex jealous’

 

‘James seriously…’

 

‘It’s cool Fred I’m fine, look I promised Dad I’d check in on Hagrid and I haven’t since we got back so...’

 

‘I’ll come with then’

 

‘No it’s fine go with Mal and the boys, I think they were looking for you before, go I’ll see you at dinner’

 

‘If you’re sure’ Fred shouted confusedly but I was already almost out of earshot.

 

By the time I’d reached the double doors leading onto the grounds I was beginning to feel bad about brushing Fred off so abruptly but I really couldn’t face anymore Ofelia talk today and I really had promised Dad to go visit Hagrid.  All I needed was an hour, less even, where there was no mention of her, at all. I’d already had a lecture from Rose and Lily for trying it on so soon after the break up (even though it was her who first instigated things) and then another one from Albus because according to him the only reason I was with Ofelia was to wind up Ian.  And then there was the three fourth year girls who decided that it was there duty to tell him that Ofelia wasn’t the one for me and that I  needed to open my eyes to the fact that she was really a cold-hearted bitch. Then came the obligatory threats from her friends that seemed to last a lot longer than usual about how they’d kill me if I hurt her. Oh and that’s not forgetting Ofelia herself telling me how she’d already heard how mad Ian was at them both and all the awful things he’d threatened to do to me, all with this inane grin on her face like she was overjoyed at the fact that her ex-boyfriend already had a full-fledged assassination plot ready for me. Fred was just the icing on the cake. Visiting Hagrid had never looked more appealing, at least he wouldn’t know anything about Ofelia, breaking a tooth on a couple of rock cakes was surely worth the break.

 

While crossing the grounds towards Hagrid’s Hut, debating the best way to avoid acquiring a new filling, a sudden shriek and a clatter

of brooms came from the Quidditch supply cupboard. It was probably just a little first year, no couple could be deluded enough to think they could find somewhere private anywhere in Hogwarts, or at least I hoped not.  As much as I didn’t want to risk interrupting, I had to check the brooms were okay. Praying that I wasn’t about to witness a case of un-tempered young love, I marched forward and swung open the door.

 

Fortunately for James it wasn’t a couple. Unfortunately for Bryony, it was Bryony.

 

Chapter Text

‘Err you okay there?’  

 

As I lay on the floor of the broom shed pinned down by dozens of broomsticks I realised that perhaps skipping dinner to finally try and learn how to fly probably wasn’t the best idea. And as James Potter looked down at me with the smuggest of grins on his face asking if I was “okay” I realised it was the worst idea I’d had all year. And although James was at least attempting to hold back his laughter, his complete failure at this was in no way appreciated.

 

‘Yep.’

 

Which translated meant no please leave me alone. I was 100% not okay, in fact at that minute I would have preferred to be anywhere in the world but lying under a pile of brooms for the entertainment of the ‘chosen one’s’ son. Praying that James’ Gryffindor chivalry wouldn’t kick in, I began to attempt to escape the pile of brooms surrounding me. Sadly, this did not happen and as I was extracting the brooms from my pathetic self, James began to too. 

 

‘Thank you, you don’t have to help though, I’m fine really.’

 

‘Yeah you look it’

 

I gave him my best withered look ‘Hilarious.’

 

Despite the removal of the brooms only taking a few seconds, it seemed to last forever. After stacking one of the last brooms to the side of the shed James held out his hand to help me up the smug grin returning to his face which caused the deliberate and very open rejection of his hand and instead resulted in me pushing myself up very ungracefully.

 

'And like a phoenix, she rises from the ashes but with even more grace' Smug git.

 

'And like a troll, he grunts but with even less intelligence'  James let out a bark of laughter that the comment didn't deserve though it was most likely down to his surprise a my outburst which if I was being honest so was I.  I mean the boy found me buried underneath a pile of brooms, tried to leave me with some dignity by at least attempting not to laugh and helped me out from under them. But one jokey comment and I insult him and I did't even do him the curtsy of thinking of anything particularly witty. 

 

With both of us now standing, and in rather close proximity too, the situation was becoming even more awkward. Why did I call him a troll? 

 

‘Right erm well thanks for… y’know, I better get going’ 

 

‘Yeah it’s fine, ‘course’

 

‘Right well’

 

An uncomfortable shuffle ensued as I edged around James to get to the door. As much as I would have liked to just leave in silence and never think about this encounter again, the embarrassment was oosing out of me. 

 

‘Wait, look I’m sorry, I don't know why I said that troll thing’

 

He looked amused 'I guess being found after managing the quite impressive feat of having every single broom in the broom closet to fall on you doesn't exactly enamour you to the onlooker but I'm sorry too' 

 

‘For what?’  my voice sounded  blunter than I wanted. 

 

‘Laughing … or grinning at least and my ill timed comment but in my defence, you were pretty funny’

 

I grimaced ‘yeah I suppose, to be fair’

 

At this James grin changed and somehow became less annoying, a look that not even I could resist.

 

‘What were you even doing in here?' he said 

 

My face turned scarlet; I swear other people’s faces don’t stab them in the back as much as mine does. Not only has it cursed me with strangely proportioned features and buggy eyes it also feels the need to announce my shame to the world like some sort of homing beacon.

 

Trying to seem nonchalant I laughed out a response ‘I was, I was trying or I was going to try to, to learn how to fly’ I hung my head in shame and headed out of the shed onto the lawn with James hurriedly following me out the door.

 

‘You never learnt?’ it was a surprised but nonjudgmental tone.

 

‘Nope. I’m muggleborn and I was so scared that I’d humiliate myself I bunked flying lessons first year,  it’s the only lesson I’ve ever skipped, being the swot that I am’  Okay too much information Bea could’ve just said you never went, it’s not like he’s actually interested.

 

Before I’d even finished my sentence, James had begun to smile to himself. ‘What?’ I questioned suspiciously.  I didn't like that smile. I mean I did, aesthetically it was very pleasing but not knowing why he was smiling, not so much. 

 

‘Nothing, nothing, I was just thinking avoiding broom related humiliation hasn’t exactly worked out for you has it’ he chuckled.

 

‘Oh shut up, I’m just a very clumsy person, it’s not my fault’  Thankfully I'd started to sound jollier than before. 

 

‘Wait! I remember now, were you the girl in first year who broke her arm just before a Gryffindor practice?!’ Oh god, of course that’d be

the thing he’d remember about me, doubt he remembers my name though.

 

‘Look, having literally no hand eye co-ordination is not a crime you know’ but James had just stopped dead in his tracks. I looked back confused.

 

‘Wait, where are you going?’  

 

‘Back to the castle?’

 

‘But you haven’t even got on a broom yet!’

 

‘Well I took the fact that I couldn’t even get some old cleansweeper out the shed without injuring myself as a sign’

 

‘Oh come on you can’t quit before you’ve even started, you’re missing out on so much’

 

‘I can live with that’

 

‘No one can live without playing quidditch at least once in their life’

 

‘Well if muggles manage to live perfectly fulfilling lives without it, so can I’

 

‘Just try it’

 

‘No! God you’re so annoying’ He really was and was made more so by that annoyingly perfect face, I mean you could cut rocks on those cheekbones.

 

‘I’m incredibly charming thank you very much’ that was met with an eye roll.  ‘I am! Come on you barely know me’

 

‘Yeah you lions are way too cool to talk to the likes me’ I can’t believe I just referred to Gryffindors as lions but as cringe-y as I phrased it, I was still right.

 

‘That is so unfair, it’s not like you spoke to me either, go on tell me when you ever tried’

 

‘Perhaps but unlike you I actually know your name which is more than you can say’

 

‘I do know your name’

 

‘Go on then what is it, my full name’ It was a stab in the dark but by the look of fear on his face I was sure I was right, which for once in my life I really didn’t want to be. I mean this really was a lose-lose situation. If he remembers, I was wrong and I hate being

wrong and if he doesn’t know my name after seven years well…

 

‘Bea, you’re called B’ Thank merlin, I know I’m a bit forgettable but not knowing my name at all after 7 years at the same school would have been a bit gut-wrenching. Though now I'd have to admit I was wrong in the first place,or did I?

 

‘I said my full name.’ Gotcha

 

‘Bridget Marton’ He stated it with such conviction that he’d nearly convinced me but as he was wrong I just carried on walking in the direction if the castle.

 

‘Aha so I was right!’ I turned and grinned so did he ‘I was, in your face’

 

‘My name’s Bryony, Bryony Merton’

 

‘Oh’ I continued to grin despite my inward disappointment. 'Oh, well, ermm’

 

‘hmmmm yeah’

 

‘Forgive me, Bryony’ he pleaded peeping through the gaps in his fingers as the rest of his hands covered his face.

 

‘Well we all make mistakes, yours was not realising what a wonderful human being I was’

 

‘I guess so’ the sincerity in his voice forced me to turn back round to avoid James seeing the blush that was slowly rising in my cheeks.

 

‘Hey how about I make it up to you’

 

‘Not knowing someone’s name after nearly 7 years isn’t something that is easily forgiven’

 

‘I knew people called you B I got that right it was just the -ryony I forgot’

 

‘Can I let you off so easily?’

 

‘Look I’ll teach you how to fly, how about that’ well that was unexpected. 

 

‘I appreciate the offer but no’

 

‘C’monnnn I’m a BRILLIANT teacher’

 

‘And very humble too’

 

‘Well I would never say so but my friends have often commented on my astonishing level of humility’ that comment awarded him another eye roll. ‘Let. Me. Teach. You.’  Gently bumping into my side on each word.  Even though this had been the longest conversation I'd ever had with James speaking to him now felt weirdly natural, this request even felt normal but I really did not want James Potter to be the person who taught me how not to fall flat on my face off a broom, from a great height, repeatedly. I didn’t need him thinking I was any lamer than he already did.

 

We’d nearly arrived back at the castle but as we neared the great double doors I realised that I didn’t actually know why James had been near the pitch in the first place which made for the perfect distraction to stop me having to give an outright no.

 

‘Why exactly were you near the pitch today anyway’

 

‘Don’t change the … Oh I was going to go to Hag..rid’s’ this was said with a look of confusion touched with bashfulness.

 

‘I think you missed your turning’

 

He threw his head back in a laugh and there was that hair ruffle ‘yeah so I did, so I erm better go back that way then’

 

‘Yeah, good idea’ I said giving a kindly smile. James turned and started back in the direction of Hagrid’s hut but just as I was about to

head in he ran back up to me.

 

‘I almost forgot’ he said ‘Your flying lessons’ I groaned. ‘No listen I’m serious let me teach you, it’s sad we’ve never spoken before even though your friends with Molly and we’ve been in the same class, maybe this is fate.’

 

Fate had never been particularly kind to me thus far concerning boys and broomsticks and whatever this was, fate or no I had a feeling it would not be good to me either.

 

But what.am.I.doing! Here was James Potter the most attractive boy in the year asking to spend plenty of quality time with me alone and I was going to turn him down. Yes he was incredibly full of himself but Clara would kill her if she knew. Clara, that’s why I'm turning him down I'm being a good friend even if Clara’s potter phase was due to be over it wasn’t quite yet.

 

‘Thanks, but…I’m fine. No really don’t look at me like that I appreciate the offer, genuinely, but I’ll just get Agatha to teach me, she is Hufflepuff captain it’d be a waste not to put her gifts to use, you’ve got your matches and newts and your girlfriend and Ian Davies to worry about. And I was just joking about the name thing’

 

A small shadow seemed to briefly cross his face.

 

 ‘Alright, but you have to promise you will actually learn! and if Agatha?’ I nodded rather glad at the disappointed look my rebuttal had caused ‘is ever too busy, come find me and actually speak to me so I don’t forget your name again’

 

‘I will’

 

And with that Bea turned and slid through the doors leaving them both feeling rather grateful that a giant heap of brooms had fallen on her when they had.

Chapter Text

The Scottish summer sun did not linger long into the first term of our last year of Hogwarts and as it left us so too did Clara’s infamous love for the infamous James Sirius Potter as she completed her Potter Phase and found a new and unexpected love in the form of Patrick Shaw. Unlike the change in weather this improved the mood of us hufflepuff girls considerably as this time her love was very much reciprocated. It turned out that the Peeves incident had been one of the last of the few encounters that Clara had had with James and in the month that followed a shy skinny Slytherin had managed to steal her affection. Patrick may not have been the first person you’d expect for Clara to fall for, he wasn’t exactly forward and Clara well, was. But after some gentle encouragement from his potions partner Agatha, Patrick’s quiet affection had managed to win her over.  However, Clara’s gratitude for Agatha’s subtle match-making scheme had started to wain since talk of the impeding Hufflepuff versus Gryffindor match had become unavoidable.

 

‘Agatha Hannah Fletchley I refuse to listen to a single word more about Quidditch, you need to calm down, I know how worried you are about your new team but I cannot take anymore, can we pleaseee, for once talk about something other than quidditch?’

 

‘But the match is only in a few weeks and everything’s on me. No-one thought I should have gotten Captain in the first place because I’m too quiet, everyone wanted Lee so if I lose this there’ll be a mutiny and I’m done for’

 

‘Ag, you’ll be great and Lee not getting Quidditch captain was a blessing to us all, I think his ego is big enough already’ I reassured as the rest of the girls nodded in agreement.

 

‘Great, now we’ve got that sorted, no more quidditch talk'

 

‘Fine but the teams so new and no one really trusts me and anddddd okay I get it no more quidditch talk, are you happy now Clara?’

 

‘Extremely, now to what I really want to talk about Bea - how long ago was it that you had that date with Angus Wedlock? ‘

 

 I glanced up from my morning cereal and gave her an exasperated look. By the expression currently on Clara’s face this was clearly a topic she had been planning to broach for a while. ‘I think I preferred the Quidditch talk’

 

‘Come on, seriously when?’

 

 ‘It wasn’t a date he was trying to see if I thought he had a shot with Molly, and it was the end of last year. Why? Where did that even come from?’ My rejection from basically the first boy who had ever shown any type of interest wasn’t exactly something I wanted to reminisce about, particularly as it turned out he hadn’t actually been showing any interest for me.

 

‘Well, it’s just that, well I was thinking, well you’ve never had a boyfriend or really had any romantic interaction, well unless you’ve hid something from us and I was just thinking about when was the last time you liked someone or just went out on a date it seems quite a while is all’

 

‘Oh Thanks.’ This was not how I wanted to start my Saturday morning.

 

‘Noo I didn’t mean it like that I was just thinking about setting you up like Agatha did for me! We should get you playing the field, Patrick has so many single friends and I’m sure any of them would be interested.’

 

This was definitely not how I wanted to start my Saturday morning.

 

‘Kill me now. I’m 17 and apparently I’m already an old maid’ I mean dying alone surrounded by cardboard cutouts of a young Myron Wagtail was what I inevitably saw in my future but hey maybe I wanted it that way. ‘Anyway, what about everyone else, why pick on me?’

 

‘They all have things to do, Harriet and Agatha have Quidditch, and Molly’s got head girl stuff’

 

‘Well, I have things too’

 

‘Oh yeah? Like what?’ Curse not actually having any hobbies.

 

‘It is our N.E.W.T year you know, so quite a lot actually’

 

‘Yeah but you need some down time, something else other than work’

 

‘Well actually I’m learning how to fly, aren’t I Harriet’

 

‘Oh as if’ scoffed Clara

 

‘She did ask me and Agatha to help teach her Clarabelle but with the match so soon we didn’t have time so she’s just been going off alone’ Harriet backed.

 

‘She’s been very dedicated actually’ Molly and Harriet exchanged knowing looks.

 

 ‘Oh come on please Bea just let me set you up! I’m boring and settled and need to live through someone else’s drama.’  

 

‘I hate to burst your bubble Clara but setting Bea up is not an option right now’ came Molly’s voice from across the table.

 

 ‘Sorry Clara maybe in about 3 months’ time’ added Agatha

 

I was happily surprised by this continued and unexpected support from my friends.

 

‘What, why aren’t you helping me? why three months?’

 

 With the new knowledge of back up I went to reply to Clara but was cut off by Harriet.

 

‘Her heart belongs to some else so any other boy wouldn’t have a chance’

 

The others all nodded. Well maybe my backup wasn’t quite what I thought it was.

 

‘Wait WHY does everybody but me know about this development in Bea’s love life?’

 

‘Because they’re winding you up, I don’t like anyone.’

 

‘Ahh but is that strictly true?’ Harriet chuckled

 

‘Yes.’

 

‘Well maybe it is now but not for long. You’re scheduled for it to happen soon.’ Agatha said happily.

 

‘What are you…’

 

‘Don’t you remember darling’ Molly grinned.

 

‘The POTTER PARADOX’ Harriet finished dramatically, shaking her hands at the sky.

 

‘I told you I did my time back in…’

 

First year we know’ spoke Harriet calmly.

 

‘BUT WE AGREED! FIRST YEAR DOESN’T COUNT SO THEY’RE RIGHT!’ Clara’s excited yell carried over the whole great hall and drew

the attention of the majority of the people in it who turned eagerly to see what was going on. The girls began to laugh whilst I turned a glaring scarlet.

 

‘And now rumour has it loverboy is single and ready to mingle’ said Harriet with a wink

 

‘Please never say that again ’ said Clara over the giggles of the others.

 

‘We haven’t talked about this in nearly a month why now?’ Bea hissed conscious of the attention Clara’s earlier shout had drawn to the conversation.

 

‘Because if James and Ofelia have broken up its relevant again and true’ Molly argued

 

 ‘It is not true. And I still standby the fact that first year does count.’

 

‘Remind me then Miss Merton, why have you been to the Quidditch pitch so regularly in the last few weeks?’

 

‘That has no connection, I’m learning how to fly’ admitted Bea slightly disgruntled.

 

‘Yes, learning how to fly, you’re learning to fly so you can impress James just like the time you were in first year’

 

‘No, not just like then, is it so impossible to believe I just want to know how to play quidditch’

 

‘Yes’ the girls chorused

 

‘Eughhh I swear on my life. I do not like James Potter!’ I really don’t understand how they have landed on this conclusion. Sure, I’ve been learning how to fly but since that day in the broom closet I’ve barely seen him. And okay so we’ve exchanged a smile or two when we’ve seen each other in class but it’s not like we’ve spoke or anything.

 

‘We don’t believe you’ sang Molly while Harriet, Agatha and Clara chimed in with ‘Bryony and James sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-  N-G’

I violently tried to cover the mouths of my so-called friends but it only made them increase in volume.

 

‘Shut uuup’ I pleaded half angry, half amused, (mainly angrily) but it was to no avail.

 

‘First comes love then comes marriage then comes a baby in a…’

 

 ‘Well, if that’s the way you’re playing this then I’m going the library I can’t take this… this…slander!’

Insults had never been my strong suit. I grabbed my bag, stood up and with a theatrical flick of my hair turned around only to collide with a very muddy and windswept James Potter. Perfect. Harriet, Molly, Clara and Agatha were doing a pretty poor job of hiding their giggles. I closed my eyes and grimaced before blundering though some sort of apology.

 

‘No worries, happens all the time.’ James smiled ‘Sorry if I got you wet’ he laughed with a wink and motioned towards to his muddy Quidditch kit. I really hope that euphemism wasn’t intended.

 

 ‘It’s fine’, my eagerness to extract myself from the situation making my tone harsher than I had intended. Knowing how much I or my less than subtle friends would embarrass me if I stayed and not wanting to give the girls any more ammunition than they needed, I abruptly turned and practically ran down the length of the Hufflepuff table, knowing the lines that the girls would be ready to throw at me when I saw them next.

 

James looked confusedly after me while Fred stood laughing next to him ‘Did I say something wrong?’ his eyes leaving me to look questioningly at Fred but he’d already started to make his way to the Gryffindor table.

 

I continued to hurriedly head for the door, shooting a dirty look at the section of the Hufflepuff table where my friends were sat, whose muffled fits of laughter had managed to grow in volume. Unfortunately, this backward glance caused me to trip slightly over a bump in the flagstone floor forcing me to cling to one of the statues either side of the door. As I quickly looked round to check if anyone had seen my clumsiness my eyes fell on James’ grinning face. Damn. I swiftly turned back, cursed myself for being so incredibly lame and swore never to leave my dormitory again.

Chapter Text

Bryony 

 

Telling the girls about the Potter Paradox may turn out to be the worse mistake I've ever made, curse my pride. It wasn't even something to be particularly proud of really, all it says about me is that I've spent way too much time in the past seven years paying attention to James Potter's love life.  Yes as a scientific phenomenon it is interesting but really it's easy to understand why the girls have come up with a ridiculous theory of their own.  Was James Potter an attractive man? Objectively  yes but does that mean I am attracted to him? No, of course not. I barely know him, we've had what, one conversation that lasted more than 5 seconds since first year and that was by accident.  We'll probably never have another conversation ever again.  I have spent too much of my time thinking about that boy. I refuse to go back to the girl who broke her arm trying to impress a boy. The girls may have been right about my dedication  to the improvement of my quidditch skills but I was not doing it for a Potter . I was doing it for myself. In fact seeing as Gryffindor practice has clearly finished early I'll go right now.  Watch out Ginny Weasley I'm coming for you. (And NOT  your son). 

 

James 

 

'Earth to James, Earth to James'  I looked up to see a bewildered Fred shaking his head 'Where has your head gone, it's like as soon as we sat down for breakfast you've been on another planet, I mean you've been stabbing that hash brown for like 20 minutes'.  

 

'Ahh the hash brown arguably the greatest of all the components that make up a full english' and I had truly destroyed mine 

 

'First of all' Fred started in an overly serious tone 'BACON, is the greatest and most important part of a fry up and the fact you can say any different is distressing' I looked over to see Malachay  nodding in agreement, his expression just as solemn. 'And secondly what is up with you! Normally you would be jumping at a chance to slag off old Professor Wormwood'  

 

I started to answer but stopped before any words had managed to leave my mouth.  There was nothing wrong with me, I'd been fine at practice and I was fine now. But then why had I not been paying attention to a single word the boys had said. 

 

Fred was now starting to look genuinely concerned and in what had to be described as a whisper but was actually the exact same volume as his normal voice asked 'if it's Ofelia you can say mate' The painfully awkward expression on his face forced me to laugh. Just the thought of a serious conversation would cause Freddie to balk so his statement was strangely  touching. 

 

'Thanks Freddie but it's not Ofelia I promise' grabbing an apple from the small healthy selection on the table I stood up. 'I think I left something at the pitch, I'll see you later' 

 

'Our company not good enough for you ay, charmin' Malachi grinned

 

 'Bye then' Fred shouted after me. 

 

I'd only left a book in the changing rooms but seeing as I was clearly just ignoring Mal and Fred there was no point in staying around and just being rude.  Once I've picked up the bag I'd go down by the lake and have a nice read. 

 

It was one of those bright but chilly days, my favourite types.  Cold enough to wear a jumper but warm enough to not need a coat.  Seems as if less people liked this weather than I thought though, the grounds were practically deserted, making it to just outside the quidditch grounds without seeing more than two first years was quite an achievement.  It was weirdly quiet but then breaking through the silence into my incredibly boring thoughts came some very strange sounding shouts. 

 

'ahh noo stop stop... good broom, nice and slow, that's rigahh merlin's for god arghh' 

 

Typical, you leave your perfectly good fry up and mates to try and get your mind off something and the very thing you are trying not to think about rocks up twenty odd feet in the air, clinging onto a cleansweep for dear life while it darts across the pitch like a horse trying to buck off its rider.  

 

'Flying lessons going well then?'  She only managed to look at me for the briefest of seconds but I knew straight away that my surprise shout had been a mistake. Her look of shock was immediately transfigured into one of fear as her loss of concentration had given the broom a chance to zoom forward and her to loss enough grip to be tossed off it and fall hard onto the turf below her.  

 

I ran forward berating myself for being too slow to grab my wand to do any sort of cushioning charm. Thank Merlin the ground already had an automatic one to prevent any serious damage. It wouldn't have stopped the fall hurting like a bitch though. 

 

'Bryony, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, are you okay? I'm sorry I didn't..' She managed to raise a hand and signalling me to stop talking but when she tried to move her other hand she let out a welp of pain. 

 

'Ahh, well I guess that answered your question' I couldn't help letting out a laugh as she used her okay arm to push herself into a sitting position. 

 

Trying to look as guilty as I felt I offered to look at her clearly broken arm. 'We've all had the odd quidditch injury, it's part of the wonderful journey' a look of weary amusement crossed her face. 

 

'Thanks for the encouragement and for offering to look at my clearly broken arm but as impressive as you are in a duel I really don't trust your healing skills' 

 

'You think I'm impressive ay' her cheeks flushed a endearing shade of pink but she looked me straight in the eye to reply.

 

'Not you, your dueling skills, not that your head needs any help getting bigger but even I'll not deny you're the best in our year for Defence' 

 

'Well thank you for noticing' I grinned 'But my skills do extend beyond hexing people I can help them to' 

 

'How very poetic but I'm still not sure if it's such a great idea'  

 

'Please' I reached for her hand as gently as I could 'this was my fault I want to make it up to you'  

 

'Okay' she didn't sound too convinced but a small nod of her head confirmed her consent. 

 

I slowly pushed back the sleeve of her robes revealing the scattering of freckles that adorned her arm , she scrunched up her face but gave no indication that I should stop.

 

Taking my wand I aimed it her arm 'Brakium Emendo' and then a sudden sense of panic settled over me. I had been so eager to help and make up for being a complete idiot that I had been a complete idiot again.  

 

'Well the pain's gone...' she tilted her head squinted in a way that so clearly said I told you so that I wanted to die 'but unfortunately so have all the bones' 

 

'Oh Merlin I didn't' I lifted up her arm which flopped around like, well like a floppy piece of boneless flesh.

 

'Oh Merlin, you did' she groaned.

 

 

Chapter Text

Bea

 

The look on James Potter's face as he stared dumbfounded at my arm is one I will never forget. Watching a boy not at all used to any kind of failure, realise he has failed so spectacularly is a rare and truly beautiful thing, made even more so by the fact that I was also proved right in the process. Unfortunately the price of that ridiculously satisfying feeling is having all the bones in your arms magically removed.

'Well on the bright side at least this proves I was right' that ridiculously satisfying feeling started to fade very fast as the expression on his face turned into a guilt tinged joy.

'Sorry, what? How could you removing all the bones in my arm prove that you were right I told you it was a bad idea and...' I lifted up my arm to hammer home the point 'it very clearly was'

'Ahh yes but I told you that you should let me teach you how to fly and you didn't and now you have no bones in your arm'

'I..I..are you serious!' I gave an indignant laugh 'Am I wrong?' he grinned

'I..I..you're maddening, that's was you are' this time my laugh was genuine 'it's still you're fault though I'll concede that I could've asked for your help but after all it was you who convinced me that I needed to learn how to fly after I had already resigned myself to a life where my feet stayed firmly on the ground'

'Fine okay we can take the blame 50/50' 'More like 90/10 and that's being kind' 'I never would have pegged you for such a shrewd negotiator. I'll accept the 70% and as penance make sure you get to the hospital wing in one piece (kind of)' he stood up and reached out his hand to pull me up I quickly tried to wipe my hand as subtly as I could against the grass without him noticing, incredibly conscious of the unattractive amount of sweat that remained from my frantic attempt to stay on my broom,then took his hand trying to make myself as light as possible for him to drag me up. Our hands lingered for a second longer than they perhaps needed to before we met each others eye again and laughed.

'Hospital Wing'

'Hospital Wing' I nodded and we headed off towards the castle. Grasping for a topic to distract from my humiliating quidditch skills and to end the growing silence I asked his purpose for being in the grounds even though he'd literally just come in for breakfast. 'Oh I left my book in the changing rooms, I thought I'd go back and get some reading in' he seemed to colour slightly but I couldn't see why.

'I can wait if you want, while you go get, I understand the call of a good book' Now he was definitely flushed, I'd never seen him so red even after that poem from Ag.

'Nuu, no, no, it's fine I can get it later.' he started to pick up his pace.

'What book is it?' I asked half suspicious half amused.

'Just you know a book, I can't really remember' flustered James Potter was a James Potter I liked. 'Hmm sounds fascinating'

'No not really. Oh look the entrance hall' A look of relief spread across his face as he pushed open the door and ushered me in before him.

'After you m'lady' which was accompanied by a bow I went through and tried to give a little curtsy but the boneless arm seemed to have affected my balance more than I realised and I would have toppled over if James hadn't jumped forward to catch me.

'Woahh careful there'

'Sorry, thanks' well that failed, no wonder I'm so useless on a broom. He let go of my arm and we started to walk in step again up to the hospital wing. We didn't pass many people on the way up, most must have still been at breakfast, we did get a few odd looks off those we did see, though I'm not sure whether that was down to our frankly terrible impressions of the Professor Wormwood, the weird laughter that it extracted from us both or purely the fact they couldn't figure out why James Potter was talking to me. The trek to Madam Pomfrey felt weirdly short and the conversation unnervingly natural. I mean I suppose that's why he was so popular he it was probably this easy for everyone. He was just a very confident friendly guy, even being Harry Potter’s son didn’t get you a complete free pass to popularity you had to have some charm too.

'That was quick' you're telling me.

'I suppose yeah it was.' We smiled again (seriously this smiling business has to stop my resting face is slowly changing from vague and disinterested into a grinning maniac) and then started to scour the room for Madam Pomfrey. She spotted James first and fixed him with a suspicious and disapproving stare as she made her way towards us. 'Mr Potter, back again are we, what disaster have you managed to get yourself involved in now'

'It's actually Bryony whose hurt' she looked over and surveyed me so I gave a smile more akin to the awkward acknowledgement face when you accidentally make eye contact with someone and your chin is absorbed into your neck. 'you see she fell off her broom and hurt her arm and I tried to fix it' with the end of his sentence I held up my boneless limb so she could assess the damage.

'Really Mr Potter' she scowled 'what possessed you to think that it would be at all suitable or safe for you too attempt this level of healing charm' Feeling a wave of guilt at the devils that the older woman was giving him I tried to step in

'It really wasn't his fault Madam Pomfrey I was in a lot of pain and I was all for him helping, I encouraged it' I kept looking directly at Madam Pomfrey as I couldn't bear to see any smugness from my admission of some responsibility but when he eventually caught my eye his face conveyed gratitude more than anything, I may go as far as to say he was slightly touched by the gesture but perhaps that was going too far.

'Nevertheless Miss Merton, I' m afraid I will have to report your friend here to his head of house. Endangering another student is no small matter and I'm afraid I can't overlook this. Come along ' I mouthed an apology to a dejected James before following Pomfrey.

'Can I come with her.'

'I think you have done enough for now, and Miss Merton will be staying here overnight' bloody brilliant. 'but I suppose if you take a seat over there and not be a nuance then I can fetch you when she's ready for visitors but really I think it better if you didn't'

'You really don't have to stay you know, I'm sure you have better things to do on a Saturday than wait in the hospital wing' the amount of sincerity in my voice almost managed to convince me that I wanted him to go even if every part of me was praying he would stay.

'How very wrong you are Miss Merton, it's a nice change to be a concerned fr-visitor than a patient, I'll just be over there' he grinned and if my whole face didn't light up the rest of me did.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

James

It had been a very strange morning and when Fred burst through the doors of the hospital wing looking frantically around it became even stranger. 'WHERE IS HE? JIM, JAMES'

'Merlin Fred calm down, I'm right here.'

'Are you okay? What are you doing here?!'

I stood up and gave a spin 'yes Fred I'm fine, though I'm glad to know that you care about me so deeply'

'Oh fuck off' he said letting out a relived laugh 'I overheard some little second years say they saw you going into the hospital wing and you know how they can make things sound'

'Sadly yes I do' A stern voice cut through the air and stopped Fred from replying

'I will remind both you boys that this is a Hospital Wing and I will not tolerate such a raucous, do not make me warn you again. Mr Weasley if you too are waiting for Miss Merton I suggest you sit and keep quiet' she turned and left.

'Miss Merton?' Fred whispered

'Bea, she's in Hufflepuff'

Fred raised his eye brows 'is she now'

'Stop it.'

'I don't know why you couldn't just tell me and Mal this morning, if we'd of known why-'

'- I didn't mean to meet her I just bumped into her'

'Yeah well let's hope Ofelia finds out slower than I did'

I shook my head 'We broke up Fred'

'Have you met Ofelia, do you think the fact that you broke up would really matter'

'Well there's nothing to find out anyway, I just took her the hospital wing'

'Hmm okay mate but you haven't just took her, have you, you're waiting for her, and it's a Saturday so you can't even say it was just to miss potions'

I took a deep breath trying to make sure that my whisper stayed a whisper 'I was the one who put her here the least I can do is wait'

'You're joking how did you manage that Romeo?'

'Well she fell off her broom' Fred let out a bark of laughter before slapping his hand across his mouth to stifle the sound.

'You knocked her off her broom! Merlin!' Fred managed to splutter

'I didn't knock her off, that's not why she's here -she'd broke her arm so I thought I could fix it and well I removed all the bones in her arm'

'You what-' Fred laughed again 'didn't that happen to your dad once'

'Oh yeahh I'd forgot about that, but it was some barmy teacher who did it to him' How strange. Just then another figure burst through the doors and managed to mimic Fred's entrance exactly.

'WHERE IS SHE, BEA! BRYONY!' she was a beater for the Hufflepuff quidditch team and I recognised her as one of Bea and Molly's gang. I was about to say something before I saw a slight glint in Fred's eye and he stood up.

'Harriet, don't worry she's completely fine - it is Harriet isn't it' Fred had put his two hands on her arms and though she seemed to have calmed down she had also now gone bright red.

'Yes' she confirmed 'Sorry, I heard some third years saying they'd seen her being carried into the hospital wing in a rush by um you' she looked awkwardly over at me 'and that there'd been lots of blood, serves me right for believing a word one of your fan club says, no offence.'

Fred looked amused 'How dare you insult his fans in front of him' he said with mock outrage. She gave a little laugh but was stopped from replying by another interruption from Madam Pomfrey

'I warned you that if you wanted to stay on this ward - Miss Smith what are you doing here?'

'I came to check on Bryony, can I see her?'

'You too well Miss Merton is perfectly fine, she will be drowsy from the skele-grow and needs rest but if you all insist on seeing her it can only be for a few minutes' Harriet immediately went towards the beds. With her arrival I'd started to feel demoted in order of visitor rights but I still stood up to follow her and unfortunately Fred did the same. When we reached her bed a strangeness set in as we started to feel the odd combination of the mix of stranger and friend. Everyone seemed to feel the awkwardness of this situation apart from Fred who was thoroughly enjoying himself despite being the one who didn't actually now the patient. We all waited for a moment waiting for one of us to talk, it was Fred who kindly obliged.

'Well, I should probably introduce myself seeing as we've never properly met, sorry my cousin broke your arm or whatever he did to it, I'm afraid our family attract accidents - his birth being the biggest one' Harriet laughed which Fred seemed pleased with but she did then give me an apologetic look. Bea looked at me too before giving my cousin a small smile and a 'Nice to meet you too'

'How are you feeling?' it was Harriet who asked 'Sleepy but not too bad' 'I-' All three of them turned to look at me, I wanted to say something but I had no idea what it was a lot harder with Harriet and Fred there

'I'm er glad you're feeling okay' at least it was something. I could feel Fred holding back a snicker, for once Madam Pomfrey's interference came as a blessing.

'Right that's it time's up, you will be able to see Miss Merton for as long as you like tomorrow when she is out of my care, please leave quietly'

Harriet said goodbye first 'I'll make sure Molly brings you some pyjamas for tonight when she goes on her prefect round' she gave her a little kiss on the cheek

'See you in the morning'

'Thanks, see you tomorrow Harry' her speech had started to become slightly slurred now as the grogginess set in then Fred waved and followed quickly after Harriet leaving us alone again.

'I'll see you then' I said and turned to go not wanting to outstay my welcome especially as what ever Madam Pomfrey had given her had clearly taken it out of her - she really did need some sleep.

'Wait, James' I stopped 'I just wanted to say thanks' 'For what?' Her face had gone slightly pink

'Well, for trying to fix my arm I know it didn't exactly work out but it was a kind to try so yeah thanks' we both let out a little laugh and I could feel my face turning as red as hers.

'Well you're welcome for the extra injury, get some rest, I'll see you tomorrow' I said slightly softer

'See you tomorrow' she nodded. I headed for the door and when I looked back her eyes had already closed ready for sleep.

'Mr Potter before you go - I have to send you to your Head of House. I'm afraid as good as your intentions were, performing a spell on another pupil outside of class that has caused considerable damage will have to be punished.'

'But-'

'- Please go to Proffesor Longbottom with this note before you do anything else and I will be checking with him that you have' Brilliant. I hope Neville won't be too harsh. When I got to the door Fred and Harriet were still just outside, Fred in full charm mode and Harriet looking fully charmed. Harriet was first to see me but it was Fred who spoke.

'There you are Jim. Are you ready?'

'No sorry, Pomfrey's making me go see Neville for a bollocking first'

'Ahh hard luck mate I'll probably just be in the common room when you're done, I'm just going up to the Library with Harriet to see Molly first' his less than sympathetic almost joyous face at me going to get told off made a lot more sense now.

'Tell Molly I said hi, Bye Harriet'

'See you' she smiled looking rather happy herself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bea

Molly came to see me on her prefect rounds and brought me my pajamas, some cake she'd smuggled in and a wonderfully trashy Fifi LaFou novel. She couldn't stay very long, so I managed to avoid answering any James questions she asked citing my injury as an excuse where absolutely necessary. Luckily for me from the sounds of it Harriet had provided our group enough gossip to live off when she'd apparently turned up at the Library with Fred Weasley! The next morning I managed to get off the ward with out much fuss my arm still ached from re-growing itself as you'd expect but it wasn't too painful. I went down to the great hall for breakfast and found the girls.

'You're back!' Clara jumped up and hugged me across the table. I sat down next to Agatha and grinned.

'Did you miss me' I said mockingly

'I did' said Harriet 'If you'd of been there, you'd of got the fourth degree instead of me'

'But don't think that you're off the hook, it's time for you too spill' said Clara

'There's nothing to-'

'Bullshit! He took you to the hospital wing!'

'To be fair' Agatha smiled 'ending up in the Hospital Wing with him wasn't the best move if you wanted to convince us you haven't fallen pray to The Potter Paradox after what we said yesterday' I shook my head though amused as the others laughed.

'Especially as it got James -' Clara started 'Oh look the post' she stopped happily.

I looked up momentarily distracted by the cascade of parcels and letters currently being deposited by Owls. 'What were you saying Clara'. Just then an Owl swooped down in front of me and dropped a crisp red envelope.

I looked up across the table locking eyes with Molly. 'Is that?'

'A Howler.' Shit. Shitshitshitshit. I snatched it up and jumped from the table getting my legs tangled in the process. I managed to extract myself as Molly urged me to hurry. I ran down the aisle, my brain was whirring as I tried to figure out who could of sent this but I had no time to think. I could feel the envelope heating up in my hand and I still wasn't close enough to the door. Panic was rising and my running had already gained me spectators that I was trying to avoid. I was nearly at the door but I was too late. The howler scorched my hand which forced me to drop it but before it hit the floor it burst open. I held my breathe as it rose up to face me and a booming voice began reverberating around the hall.

'MERTON YOU FAT UGLY SLAG GOD KNOWS WHY A POTTER IS GOING ANYWHERE NEAR A GROTTY LITTLE BITCH LIKE YOU! NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN HIS LIFE BUT NOW YOU'VE RUINED GRYFFINDOR'S CHANCES TOO! WELL DONE YOU SLUT! HOW CAN YOU EVEN SHOW YOUR TROLL FACE AROUND HERE ! TRY REMEMBERING WHAT A REPULSIVE SKANK YOU ARE AND STAY AWAY FROM HIM!'