“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.”
“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.
“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.