Friday, 26 August 2011

Chapter 2: We could get killed! Or worse, expelled!


I watched Gwen lick her ice cream, mentally capturing the image of her with blobs of ice-cream on her nose, left cheek and chin.
“What?” she said, looking at me in a mock-irritated expression, “quit staring at me!”
“Fine, but only if we can go and finish the shopping after this!”
“Why? What could you possibly have left to buy?” she said, looking at the plethora of shopping bags I was carrying with me already.
“Robes, quill, ink, some sweets, potions set, broomstick” I reeled off the remainder of my shopping list.
“Do I have to?”
“You don’t, but I do.”
“Hmph,” she grunted, “fine, you go buy whatever you need to, and I’ll wait here.”
“Seriously? Are you sure you won’t burn the place down?”
“No promises.”
“Alright, I’m off then,” I span on my heels, and headed to the door.
“Okilee dokilee!”
I shot her a look, “don’t ever say that again.”
“Sure thing, butterfly wing,” she yelled through the door.
“Go away!”
“Bye bye, fruit fly!”
I groaned and speed-walked into Madame Malkin’s.
After half an hour of  admiring the various shops’ windows, standing in queues and mentally battling between the wood and silver finish on the broomstick, I was finally ready to head to Gambol and Japes. Gambol and Japes was my favourite shop in the entirety of Diagon Alley. It was the joke shop. Now, to everyone in Hogwarts, I was far from the practical joker. In fact, I was pretty much the clumsy girl with good intentions. But the joke shop was my favourite place to be. It was so wonderfully vibrant, in looks and atmosphere. When I walked in the room, my ears were filled with the various sounds of bells, whistles and animated chatter amongst a host of yet to be identified noises. I immediately zoned in on a jar of colourful looking sweets.
‘Tongue tiers,’ the jar said, ‘ just one sweet and the victim will be placed in a state of silence for upto 4 hours! Only 10 knuts a jar!’
“Nice,” I mused aloud.
“They are quite,” said a voice behind me, “but not as nice as you.”
I span around. It was Fred Weasley.
“Wha-? Arianna?”
“Hi Fred!” I grinned.
“Sorry,” he blushed, “I thought you were someone else.”
“Did you now?”
“He did,” George Weasley appeared, from behind some shelves, “he thought you were-”
“Shut up George!”
“Go away!”
“Angelina Johnson!”
I laughed.
“Anyway,” Fred turned to me, “what are you doing here, Arianna?”
“Yeah! Go away! Fred wants his Angie-boo-boo here!”
Fred replied with a hard punch on George’s shoulder.
“No, what I meant was, you’re hardly known as the prankster...”
“I like it here,” I shrugged, “what about you?”
“Ah, now we’re here for market research,” said George.
“Market research?”
“Yes, we’re opening up a business…”
“In Hogwarts. We’re calling it…”
“Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. It’s going to be…”
“Awesome. Way better than all…
“The junk they’ve got out here.”
“Can you stop doing that?” I looked at the two of them.
“Doing what?” they chorused.
“Finishing each other’s sentences. It’s slightly freaky,”
“Freaky?” they both grinned, giving a new definition to the word freaky.
“Whatever," I looked at my wristwatch, "I’ve got to go meet Gwen now.”
“Gwen? You mean the creepy goth chick?”
“Yes. Gwen, the creepy goth chick.”
“Shall we come? You know, to protect you from all her dark magic?”
“She’s my friend.”
“Really? Arianna is friends with the creepy goth chick?”
“Yes. Yes I am.”
“Well now, this has to be a mistake. We’ll have to see it to believe it, won’t we, Fred?”
“Indeed we will, George.”
“Let’s go then!” I smiled. This was going to be fun.
I didn’t end up finding Gwen at the ice cream parlour, actually far from it. We were walking towards Florean Fortescue’s, when we heard a terrible screeching noise come from the Magical Menagerie. Fred and George ran inside, almost instantly, with me following after. Inside was a dark, furry catastrophe. And at the centre of all of it, who other than Gwen?
“I’m ok!” she said, coughing and spluttering from under the large assortment of magical creatures piled on top of her.
“Gwen?” I asked.
“Yup!” she picked herself up and sprang onto her feet, “and I see you brought company.”
I nodded.
“So… Tweedle dum and tweedle dumber?”
“Fred and George.”
“Gred and Forge?”
“If you want.”
“Hey!” Fred said, interrupting me, “That was once! Four whole years ago!”
“So?” Gwen grinned. She had a funny habit of knowing things that she wasn’t supposed to, I’d noticed.
“Gwen…” I looked around, “what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to buy something!”
“What exactly?”
Gwen pulled out a little glass jar from her pocket, inside which I could make out a strange, fluorescent orange blob, “say hello to Phyllis.”
“Phyllis?” the twins chorused.
“She’s beautiful,” I said, “but you know Hogwarts will never let you keep her.”
“It’s a he,” Gwen looked at me gravely,
“A male snail called Phyllis!” George burst out laughing, “Pass him here, will you, I’ve got to have a look at this.”
“Yes,” she said, gently lifting the snail out of the jar and handing him over to George, “And you three are going to help me protect him.”
“What?” I said, “Gwen, I am not getting kicked out of Hogwarts for some snail.”
“It’s not just some snail! It’s Phyllis! Besides, you won’t get kicked out of Hogwarts, so long as we don’t get caught.”
I glanced at George playing with Phyllis, “he’s poisonous, you know. There’s no way we can keep him.”
“But he’s adorable!” George said.
“Isn’t he just,” Fred said, stroking the back of Phyllis’ shell.
“Look, even they agree!” Gwen widened her eyes.
“Fine," I said, "but don’t count on me to feed him."

Chapter 1: Together We're Totally Awesome


“Miss Gardenia. If you don’t turn around this instant I am going to hex your nose right off your pretty little face.”
Arianna looked up from the copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5 she was holding and wheeled around. 
“I swear Gwen, one of these days you’re going to give me a heart attack sneaking up on me like that, and then you’ll be left friendless and alone for the rest of your life.”
“And hello to you too!” I rolled my eyes and hugged Arianna tightly. “I haven’t seen you for six weeks, and the first thing you tell me is that I’m going to end up living alone with fifty cats. Honestly Ari, way to put a dampener on things.” 
She laughed and held me at arm’s length. “Let’s have a look at you…your hair is actually longer than your ears. What happened?” 
“Mummy dearest confiscated the scissors. Last time she gave a banshee a run for its money with her screeching.” I smiled fondly at the memory; last Summer I decided to cut all my hair off, and she walked in as I cut the last lock of those dark curls off. The house elves were sweeping hair off the kitchen floor for weeks.
“And it’s not green this year.” 
I shrugged. “She’s made sure the elves don’t take orders from me anymore, so I can’t send them out to get any dye. I would just magic it purple or whatever, but I don’t particularly want to be expelled just yet.”
Ari gave me a look that said she knew exactly what I was thinking. 
“No, you just don’t want to be separated from your precious Severus.” She wrinkled up her nose in disgust. “I honestly don’t know what you see in him. His hair is greasy, his nose is too big and he’s just plain mean. Oh, yeah; and he’s a teacher. What possibly possessed you to fall in love with him?”
“I’m not in love. I just want to have his babies.” I sighed wistfully.
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“What an innocent world you live in.” I ruffled her black tresses. She flinched back and defended herself with the book. “Now c’mon. I’m hungry and I want ice cream. Now.” 
Ari rolled her eyes and gathered up the pile of books. 
“Fine. I’ll just buy these, then we can go.”
“You can buy these later! I want ice cream!” I pouted. 
“But we’re already here!”
“And I’m already hungry!” I tugged on her arm and all the books tumbled out of her arms. A wizard who may well have been a witch (I couldn’t quite tell) peered around the bookshelf and tutted at us. Ari blushed and bent to pick them up, but I put a finger on my lips and pointed to a ‘Quiet’ sign on the wall. 
“Shh!” I hissed at her. “No tutting.” The witchard started tutting again, frowned, then disappeared behind her bookshelf. Ari stood with the books and started slotting them back in their places on the shelves.
“You are incorrigible.” 
“I don’t know the meaning of the word.” There was a pause. “Seriously. I don’t. What does it mean?” 
Sighing, Ari grabbed my arm and dragged me through the shop. 
“Before you cause any more destruction.”  
“But destruction is fun!” I flicked her on the forehead. 
“I see you’re still as violent as ever.”
I replied with a flick to the ear. Ari looked at me for a second, trying to fight a smile, before flicking my nose. I flicked her chin. She flicked my left eyebrow. 
“Now you’re neglecting my right eyebrow.”
“Huh?” she frowned.
“It feels left out.”
“It’s an eyebrow Gwen.”
“Flick it. Flick it and apologise.”
“I am not apologising to your eyebrow.”
“Say sorry!”
“Just flick it already!” This was a rather disgruntled looking wizard with rather impressive eyebrows. “Some of us have books to buy y’know, and we would prefer to do it in peace.” 
I raised a hand to point to the ‘quiet’ sign again, but Ari picked this moment to flick my eyebrow and apologise to the man.
“Sorry sir. It won’t happen again.”
The wizard harrumphed and stalked past us. 
“Idiot.” I muttered. “We were having a perfectly good flicking fight. No-one interrupts my flicking fights! Someone should flick his eyebrows. There’s no way you could miss them. Maybe I’ll hex them off…”
“You should’ve been in Slytherin, you really should. Ravenclaw is wasted on you.”
“And I’m sure I would have been honoured to have had you in my house Miss McKee.” That voice…
I wheeled around and saw the future father of my children stood a few metres away. 
“Professor Snape! How nice to see you again.” 
Ari shot me a look and Snape remained impassive. He was always impassive. Other people may find it disconcerting and even rather scary, but I thought it was extremely endearing. I loved imagining what he was thinking, even if none of it could be repeated out loud.
“Quite. I suppose I’ll be seeing you in my office again very soon, if your past record is anything to go by. I do hope you’ll prove me wrong.” He swept past us, his dark robes swishing as he turned the corner. I grabbed Ari and pulled her out of Flourish and Blotts.
“I think he’s quite fond of me really.” I stated, quite seriously, but I was fighting back a smile.
“And I think you’re insane. But I suppose I’m stuck with you now.” Ari stuck her tongue out at me, then giggled and bounced up and down. “Gwen! It’s our fifth year! We’re going back to Hogwarts!” She started to sing sweetly. “Hogwarts, Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts, teach us something please.” A smile tugged at my lips. 
“I don’t sing.”
“Whether we be old and bald or young with scabby knees.”
“I don’t sing!”
“Our heads could do with filling with some interesting stuff. For now they’re bare and full of air…” 
I couldn’t resist the look she was giving me. I sighed reluctantly for show, then muttered “Dead flies and bits of fluff.” 
Ari laced her arm through mine and started skipping down Diagon Alley, much to the surprise of a group of unsuspecting first years.
“Oh no. No skipping.”
“So teach us things worth knowing…”
“I refuse to skip.”
“Bring back what we forgot…”
“Singing I will accept, but absolutely no skipping!”
“Just do your best…”
“No. I refuse.”
“We’ll do the rest…” Ari turned and gave me the puppy dog eyes she does so well. These were the eyes that forced me to give her my last profiterole in First Year. And I loved those profiteroles.  
I caved.
“And learn until our brains all rot!” 
We skipped arm in arm down Diagon Alley, and never have odder looks been given in the history of odd looks.