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James had a sort of bizarre vendetta going on with that weird Hufflepuff kid. It wasn't like he started it, whatever Lily said—how was he supposed to know the new Slytherin had a brother? And that the brother was batshit insane? He'd only poured pondscum on the kid, it was practically a tradition, but all of a sudden Hufflepuff boy was in his face—he'd never even noticed the kid before, except to note that he was always drawing all over himself, and scribbling in class, and that he was chubby and weird and never washed his hair. And then suddenly he was screaming and jabbing James in the chest with a surprisingly pointy and painful finger.

Naturally, he'd retaliated by shoving and then they both had their wands out and the Hufflepuff kid, whose name was apparently something Way, Gregor Way, maybe? Anyway, he turned out to be decent at spellcasting, enough that even Sirius professed he was impressed by the talking boils that had sprouted all over James' body. Whatever, James' had totally paid Gerard back with the Uncontrollable Erection hex. Or he would have if that kid didn't wear such gigantic robes with, like, three hoodies underneath, anyway. It was a moral victory, he assured Remus, who for some ungodly reason seemed to sympathize with the enemy. Ungrateful werewolf bastard.

Anyway, that had been the beginning of all out war with G-something Way. Mikey, his little brother, actually turned out to be a pretty decent human being, despite being a Slytherin. He did stare blankly a lot, but James once caught the kid laughing at Gerard when Gerard was tangled up in the All Encompassing Demon Clothing—a charm James' was particularly proud of, he had to say. So maybe the younger Way was redeemable. At any rate, one of the first year Gryffindors, Peter Wentz, had latched onto the kid, so he was always underfoot in the Gryffindor common room, looking bored and unimpressed. He was dead brilliant at Exploding Snap, at any rate.

His brother, though, was another case entirely. Hufflepuff Way was going to suffer. Suffer greatly.

"His name's Gerard, you know," Remus said serenely, and passed James the pork chops. James seethed at his plate. No one was on his side.

"He's just pissed 'cause Gerard's bat bogey charm is better than his," Sirius said, which was mind-bendingly obnoxious. James stomped on Sirius' foot under the table. Peter howled indignantly.

"Sorry, Pete. Anyway, It isn't, and that's not the point," James said. "The point is that he's weird and unwashed and weird, and also a jerk. Sorry, Mikey."

Mikey, who was also weird but at least was clean, was sitting in Wentz's lap and looking dryly amused. "He sort of is," Mikey agreed.

"You see?" James said. "Out of the mouths of babes. Gross, Wentz, fuck, no groping at the table. We've discussed this!"

Wentz looked unrepentant. He always did.

Sometimes Wentz even brought Douchebag McWay into the Gryffindor common room, which was clearly an attempt to start an all-out war, but for some reason not even Sirius would join him in his noble quest to drive the enemy out.

"He's not even Slytherin," Sirius said reasonably. "No offense, Mikey. Plus, he does way wicked magical tattoos. Have you seen my lion yet?"

"Everyone with eyes has seen that stupid lion," James said, later. He was scrubbing at his face in the mirror where Gerard had 'accidentally' smacked him with a paintbrush of magical paint, which, apparently, never washed off. If James' cheek was going to be purple forever, with silver splotches, Gerard was going to die. Die so hard.

"Sirius, if you have ever called me your friend, you will help me with this," James said, glaring at his comrade through soapy eyelashes. And by comrade he meant backstabbing traitorous pig dog, because Sirius kept looking at James and laughing, and soon James was going to snap and replace Sirius' sheets with Mandrake threaded linens. See how funny he thought it was when he got talking boils. Sirius, despite the smile that kept reappearing on his face, looked as though he was aware of this, because after an eternity of chortling and mockery, he backed down and agreed to help James with his Cunning Plan.

"You realize you're really becoming quite pathetic, right," Sirius said as they finished the last touches on the newly collapsible dock. James was quite pleased with the clothing banishment spell they'd worked into the last few planks. Gerard would fucking regret ever messing with James Potter.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," James said haughtily, and surveyed the dock with great pleasure.

"Just, it's an awful lot of trouble to go through to get Way naked, you know," Sirius said, and of course then James had to feed Sirius his own shoe, so they didn't get to put 'Operation Humiliate Way Until He Knew His Rightful Place in the School Hierarchy' in gear until the next day.

Then, somehow, it had all gone terribly, terribly wrong.

"Oh my god," Gerard cooed. "Look at its little face!"

Gerard, it had to be said, was not as awkward naked as James had expected. He was also pink with cold and on his knees in front of James, which was alarming all on it's own, but then it got worse. Because Gerard was on his knees cuddling a baby squid thing.

"A squidling," Gerard had said primly, when James had expressed his dismay. "They're called squidlings."

"This has gone terribly, terribly wrong," James said, scowling. How was he supposed to have known the mermaids kept the squidling eggs by the dock? The dock had collapsed, all according to plan, and Gerard had staggered out dripping and naked and pale in front of the eyes of the entire school, but then as James was cackling in triumph, a tiny form had crept out of the water behind him.

The squidling looked like a human toddler from the waist up, all big liquid eyes and chubby cheeks and grasping hands, clinging to James' robes. James was too dumb-stricken with horror to detach it. Gerard, meanwhile, was beaming at it like a giant girl, which was only the more disturbing because the lower half of the kid was a mass of tentacles, seven or eight thick purple things that it balanced itself on. It had some trouble moving out of the water, and kept toppling over. James guessed that was why it kept clutching frantically at his robes, for balance.

The entire Quidditch pitch had gone eerily silent, and the Ravenclaw-Slytherin game had apparently come to a screeching halt. James had a dim awareness of the wrath of Dumbledore and McGonagall sweeping down on them, and the fact that Sirius had fled like the rotten coward dog bastard he was—man's best friend, James' ass—but he was somewhat distracted by the fact that Gerard was glaring up at him and demanding he take off his robes.

"I, what?" James said faintly.

"It's winter, asshole," Gerard said frostily. "I know you're a complete waste of space and humanity and magic, but he's only a baby and it's cold out. Give me."

The squidling did look cold, it was shivering and burying its face in James' leg, and James abruptly felt sort of awful. He stripped off his robes and had just wrapped the baby up in it—Gerard leaning over him—leaning over him naked, it had to be traumatizing for the baby, really—and okay, it was sort of cute, burbling up at him, its big black eyes crinkled up in a smile—when the aforementioned wrath of Dumbledore and McGonagall finally descended upon them.

"Gentleman," Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling alarmingly.

"Do you have any idea what you've done?" McGonagall said fiercely. "Oh, for pity's sake, Mister Way." She waved her wand sharply and Gerard was clothed again, draped in heavy black wool. James was glad.

"I… won the prank war?" James said uncertainly, and the baby burbled at him. "Hey kid, enough with the tentacles," he said, then glanced back up. McGonagall was massaging her temples and Dumbledore was beaming. That was… not good. At all. "So, um. Where's the baby's mom?"

"That would be you, Mr. Potter, I'm afraid," McGonagall said, sighing heavily.

"I beg your pardon," James said. Gerard snorted next to him.

"I wouldn't be so amused, Mr. Way," she said, turning her fierce glare on him. Gerard tried to subtly hide behind James. James was not amused, either. "You're the father, it seems."

"I knew it," James hissed.

"Oh, come off it, Potter," Gerard sneered in his stupid high-pitched duck voice. "You're obviously not the mother, so something else must be going on."

"Correct!" Dumbledore said, still beaming. This was so bad. "Minerva, perhaps you'd better get the rest of the game sorted out while I explain squidling imprinting to our two new parents."

"Imprinting?" James squawked. The baby squealed in his arms and stretched out a fat purple tentacle towards Gerard, who, obviously enchanted, offered it a finger. The baby cooed back at him. James was so fucking doomed.

"I want to name him Grant," Gerard said. "Or, oh! Danzig!"

"We're not naming him Danzig!" James hissed, and then hated himself a little. "I mean, it doesn't matter what we name it because we're not keeping it!" The baby had curled a tentacle around James wrist and was cuddling up to him, and James was resolutely not finding it cute at all.

"You're right," Gerard mused. "Danzig doesn't really fit. How about Cliff? You like Cliff Steele, baby?"

So fucking doomed, James thought darkly.