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Pennywise the Dancing Boggart

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“What if the Werewolf turns during a time other than the full moon?” 

“Yeah, like during a blood moon!” The two Slytherin girls cried out in the classroom as they looked at the diagram up of the anatomy of a werewolf in horror. Make no mistake, this was a question probably most students held with the fear of other creatures being taught as monsters rather than people with an affiliation. To most, that’s what they were – monsters who deserved no less than the pain they had to endure each month; and so it was very likely that others within the room silently urged the answer from their professor, who looked at the girl’s quizzically. He could understand why the teacher looked at them this way, this was just revision – all students should have known the fundamental laws of the beast’s biology; werewolves only changed during full moons - whether it be once or twice a month, it was only then, a simple fact most spend their lives never believing. 

“It’s basic biology,” an additional female voice joined in – high pitch and almost comically terrible to listen to, as if the speaker was the sickly-sweet popular girl in muggle movies “Full moons only, dumbass!” 

“Mr Tozier!” The professor called, looking to a girl who sat in the second row from the back of the classroom with her elbow on the desk and chin in her palm. The sliver and green tie, which had been sloppily tied around the collar, turned into a perfect black and yellow Windsor knotted tie at a flick of the wizard’s wrist before they changed also; the blonde bun turned into a sea of black curls while and the disinterested look behind shades became one of humour behind the coke bottled glasses “Aren’t you expected elsewhere?” Richie, now no longer using his shape shifting abilities, looked to where the professor had pointed at his tie  

“Oh, nah, I have a class next though,” Richie grinned, leaning back on his chair. “C’mon professor, you can’t reprimand me on the base of using my free time to come to /another/ lesson. Can you?” This is what he had meant when he had written home to his mother after the sorting hat ceremony during first year, saying that he didn’t belong in the ‘badger house’. His family were a mix of houses; his father was a muggle dentist while his mother was a proud (yet anti-blood purist) Slytherin; his grandparents had both been Ravenclaws and now he was a Hufflepuff. In all honesty, it made no sense - he made witty jokes (although Stan would disagree heartily that they were either witty or jokes), he was brave when he stood up to Bowers when he made fun of some random Gryffindor for being a half-blood, and the constant ‘abuse’ of his ability to change his form was cunning behaviour – what in Godric’s sake made the fucking hat believe he was a Hufflepuff? 

“Out, Mr Tozier, before I take up more of your free time in detention.” 

Bullshit , Richie hisses in his own head, not only to the fact he was sent out of a voluntary lesson, but also the unheard argument in his head. Upon slamming the door of the classroom, Richie found himself walking to the library, knowing he’d see at least some of his friends there. “Ten points for Hufflepuff,” Richie whispered to himself with a chuckle before walking up to the occupied table.  

 “Hello my dear fellows,” the voice which had belonged to Richie now turned into one belonging to an English man  

“Fuck you, Tozier, stop doing that!” Stan couldn’t help but find the whole ordeal of Richie using his abilities as a Metamorphmagus to be getting very old very fast while still having the ability to have Stan jump out of his skin. The boy who sat next to him - their friend and fellow Hufflepuff - Mike, just shook his head, amused.  

“I have to say, Richie, you should focus on other voices that aren’t somewhat British,” 

“You’re either English or Irish all the time,” Stan huffed while looking down at his book and shot his head back up, finger pointed at Richie accusingly “but that does  not  mean I want to hear you attempt any more of your voices while I’m studying.” 

“First of all, bitch,” Richie pointed back to Stan who smiled sarcastically before resuming reading yet made sure to also listen as Richie continued to speak “and second of all, you totally spaced Senor Mendoza.” The drawn out groan from stan and the ‘no, no, stop, don’t’ from Mike just egged the teen on as he rocked on the library chairs while the students from various years glare at the table “no hablo espanol, señor.” 

“Nope, no more.” Stan closed his book too loudly to silence the other, but only succeeded in making both Richie and Mike laugh.  

“You r-realise you said you don’t speak Sp-spanish... in Spanish?” An additional voice added from behind Richie, moving over to take the last chair at the table with a smile.  

“Billiam!” the Metamorphmagus said, way too loudly for the library, earning a frown from others for the second tie in the space of 6 minutes 

“You’re gonna get us kicked out, Rich.” Mike said, nudging Richie’s foot under the table, causing Bill to have to catch Richie’s chair from where he sat beside him in order to stop the fall. He wished he could be apologetic, but Mike and Stan had to cover their mouths as Richie gripped the table in fear  

“I could have died!” Although his voice was a whisper, Richie’s voice was filled with surprise and faux-annoyance, frowning childishly at the pair who still were trying to no laugh loudly “Thanks, Bill.” To which Bill nodded. 

“Where have you been?” Mike asked  

Stan looked between the two boys he was in between before falling back on Bill “I thought you had a lesson?”  

A soft ‘oooooh Bill’s skipping!’ in a sing song tone came from Richie which they all ignored, but smiled at the idea – Bill was on his way to being head boy in the next few years and possibly prefect before that. He was not going to skip – at least not in order to randomly sit around with his friends. Bill shook his head “I have a free pass for today. I have to go back to the grand hall in fifteen minutes.” The range of faces around him had Bill now being the one who had to hold back his laughter; Stan had a raised brow and almost blank expression, while Mike’s brow was knotted in a confused frown and Richie just seemed to lean in more, silently asking for Bill to spill the beans. He had been rather secretive for the past week since the headmaster had asked to speak to him privately. Leaning in, the other two also leaned with him until the four huddled around the centre of the table “We have new students.” 

“New-” Bill smacked a hand over Richie’s mouth when his voice was way too loud  

“Now?” Mike whispered “The year’s already begun, how are first years supposed to know where everything is if they don’t have the tour?” 

“That’s what Bill’s for right?” Stan asked, voice equally as quiet. Seeing Bill nod had Richie huffing out a ‘ Okay Ravenclaw’,  earning it’s own middle finger aimed back at Richie. “Now we’re going to have first years at our tails.” The idea had both Mike and Richie grimacing at the idea; sure, they all had been first years, but once you leave that stage between first and third year, you look back and realise how annoying you were. Even Richie could say that he was much better than back then. 11-15 were not the best of times for anyone. Now in fifth year – all four either 16 or 17 – none of them liked the thought of some puny 11-year-old following them around randomly.  

“They’re not f-first years.” Bill paused, a small smirk on his lips as he stretched, pulling away from where the other three remained huddled for the news before leaning back into normal sitting positions “They’re in our year.” 

“Fuck off!” Richie cried, which was the straw which broke the camel’s back and had the four sent out of the library. No one was that shocked, nor could they really blame Richie; no one joined before the start of year, let alone joined Hogwarts after first year – doing both was … weird. Stan was packing up his books, the last one in his hand, when he was literally dragged out by the impatient Hufflepuff. 

“Shit, slow the fuck down!” Stan still whispered as he was manoeuvred through the aisles and out of the library doors by his robes. As he was let go, Stan put the book in his bag and rearranged where his robes had slipped thanks to Richie before looking to Stan “So,” he spared a pointed look to Richie before turning his attention to Bill – the two walking in sync while Mike and Richie looked at the pair quizzically

“Fucking Typical,” Richie huffed  

“Tell me about it,” Mike rolled his eyes fondly at the pair “They do this all the time.” The pair caught up with the other duo, Richie on Bill’s left while Mike was on Stan’s right, catching Stan’s question regarding which houses they were in.  

“That’s w-why I was sent out. We h-hoped they’d all be in Gryffindor, b-but Bev is a Slytherin and B-Ben is a Ravenclaw.” With a gentle nod sent Stan’s way, Stan blinked before understanding  

“Oh, you need me to show him around?” 

“If it’s a-alright. Y-you're off time-table if you do.” The phrase  ‘say no more’  was practically written over Stan’s features while Richie and Mike looked at one another with open mouths  

“Oh, come on! That’s so not fair!” 

“Yeah,” Mike huffed, a rarity in itself “Richie and I have a test in Herbology last thing, why can’t we come?” Stan only shook his head, amused but smug. “Wait why do you have to be in the Great Hall if the students aren’t in your house?” 

“Oh, E-Eddie is a Gryffindor.” 

“Three new kids?” Richie was shocked yet excited, as if the new arrivals meant more fun – it did mean new people to confuse with the shifting physique and voices, but it also seemed promising since Bill seemed interested in all of them despite only one being in his house. “Come on, Mike, we can help!” The Ravenclaw shook his head, expecting Bill to shut that down, but it seemed to not come. In a moment of confusion, Stan looked to the eldest and saw him contemplating the idea as they all walked back to the Grand Hall together already  

“No. There is no way you’re actually saying that’s a good idea,” 

“Well,” Bill dragged the vowel, earning a broad grin from Richie “I-if I say it’s for an inc-clusive experience...” 

“I’m in!” 

“Yes, Mike!” 

Stan was left open-mouthed as he stared at Mike, not expecting the response at all  

“What?!” he asked around a chuckle, eyes crinkling softly as he did so “If I can get out of a test, I will. Wouldn’t you?”  

After a brief pause with three pair of eyes on him, Stan huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, not answering verbally despite it being clear as day “I hate you all.” 

“Sure y-you do.” Bill’s arm went around his shoulders and finally a small smile appeared on his face.  

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The walk was longer than expected, but surprisingly the teacher which opted to supervise the sorting of the three new arrivals had seemed more than happy to see extra faces “Oh thank all above,” the muggleborn professor placed a hand over her chest with a smile and walked up to them all; while Bill, Mike and Stan’s attention had been on the teacher at hand, Richie could never stop his curiosity as gently leaned to the side, peering around her to see the three talking, wearing their respective house colours. The girl in green was quite obviously this Beverly; she looked nice and smiled enough, a welcoming face, but one Richie was unsure of being in their group considering the fact that she just looked too nice. No one with innocence would ever click with Richie’s humour. Ben looked even more innocent and probably would suit the Hufflepuff stereotype - the fact that he wasn’t intrested Richie since it was another person who seemed to be in the wrong house from the outside. And then the boy who fixed his tie perfectly. That must be Eddie. Now he looked innocent – his hair was obviously straightened and combed neatly since the fading summer heat still had a part of his fringe curling and wore a generic Hogwarts jumper under the newly given robes – but the soft whack he gave the Slytherin girl’s arm coupled with a hissed comment back to her (ending with her in hearty laughs and Ben looking down fondly as she  held on to her knees to catch her breath) proved that he was probably the biggest juxtaposition Richie had ever had the pleasure of seeing, and he had seven years of muggle school education which was hard to beat. But that Eddie kid.  

He was interesting.  

“Do you think you three could all show them around after the tours of the common rooms and domitories?” Richie heard as he zoned back in when it looked like Eddie would look their way, missing the chance to not look like a creep. “Obviously, Bill will show Eddie, Stanley will show Ben and you two,” she pointed to Mike and Richie “may choose to accompany whoever you like.” 

“Who’s s-showing Beverly around?”  

“Greta Keene has taken the liberty,” the four grimaced and then quickly put on smiles of varying degrees in order for the professor to not catch the expressions of disgust “however, Miss Marsh and Miss Keene have seemed to … get off on the wrong foot. If Beverly wishes, I expect you to make her feel as welcome as Edward and Benjamin.” 

Edward?  Richie smirked softly  I am never letting that one go.  

As the professor left the four, the Ravenclaw turned to look at the other three around him So, what’s the-” he began, but as Richie guessed what Stan was about to ask and he wasted no time in interrupting with a smile  

“Dibs on going with Bill.” 

Mike smiled and patted Stan’s back “And then I’m with Stan, come on.” The four walked over together and Richie suddenly felt his hand begin to fidget at his side under the robes which minutely hid his hands. At this rate, he’d be speaking like Bill. For the most part, Richie let Bill do the speaking, but after the boy introduced them, he apologised for his stutter, to which the two in front of him assured it was fine as they walked out of the hall. Still, Richie couldn’t stop his mouth as he said

“S-Spit it out B-B-Bill,” which earned the Hufflepuff an elbow to his stomach, winding him in a split second 

“Don’t mind him,” Stan rolled his eyes, but laughed behind his firt which he put to his lips “he’s always like this.” Richie still put his middle finger up at his best friend with a playful pout  

“Also, not to mention I’m Bill’s friend. Not an asshole.”  

“Well,” Eddie said, being the second person to draw out the vowel and ending up with those around him in a fit of laughs as Eddie smirked. The two looked at one another and Richie could feel his hands clamming again while Eddie smiled “No one ever said you can’t be both.” Richie wanted to hate it, he often hated arrogant Gryffindors, which was why he was friends with Bill; he was anything but arrogant. Yet, Richie could see something in the boy on the other side of Bill – he could see the humour, something deeper than what he usually saw with people who made similar comments. There was, in short,  something   about Eddie which made Richie second guess the nature of Eddie outside the boundaries of a stereotypical Gryffindor based on the tease which came out of his mouth. 

“Wow, Eds, so harsh,” Richie bantered back, the playful pout turning into a broad grin at the objection of the nickname already  

“That’s not my nam-” 

“No!” Bill, Mike and Stan said unison, having Ben look questionably at the three while Eddie had been looking oddly at Richie’s grin  

“I’ve fucked up haven’t I?” It was almost nervous, but Eddie played it off well, presenting it as genuinely confused rather than fearful that he made the wrong impression or said something which had him already kicked out from the group of people who he had been walking with for no longer than 10 minutes  

“It just that when Richie finds a name you hate,” Stan started 

“He n-ever forgets it.” 

“That’s right, Billiam – I do not.”  

Ben chuckled and shook his head “Really? What if they really hate it?” 

Richie thought for a moment before answering. “Well, if it’s like – you know – hated for a reason other than it’s comedically bad,” Mike made air quotes around and mouthed the word ‘comedically’, earning a chuckle from Ben “then I’ll drop it. But if not, then it stays!”  

“What’s Stan’s and Mike’s nicknames then?” The curiosity was written all over Ben’s features, Stan noted as he silently studied the other, thinking of the possibility of another Ravenclaw being like him, but possibly more vocal on the matters at hand.

“Oh you mean Michelangelo and Mr. De-”  

“Beep fucking Beep, Richie.” Stan interrupted hastily and glared at the other, to which Richie instantly shut his mouth, while Bill seemed out of the loop. Mike just smiled at the idea of Bill and Stan being equally as oblivious as each other while Eddie and Ben looked to one another; the Ravenclaw shrugged as Eddie raised his brow in a silent question  

“When Richie goes too far or is just- well,” Mike fumbled with how to phrase it, but luckily had Bill to aid him 

“B-Being a pain in the ass on p-purpose,”   

“Right, that! Then we say ‘Beep Beep, Richie’ and that gets him to stop. Remember that,” Mike suggested as he looked to the new students “it might be useful.” 

“Oh I will,” Eddie jabbed at Richie again  

“Oh, will you,  Edward? ” 

“How about you fuck off, Richard .” 

Ben leaned into Mike’s side and asked all present (other than the bickering duo)  “Do you think they’ll always be like this?” to which the tallest teen nodded; just looking at the two, the other four were ultimately certain that the two would drive everyone, including each other, up the wall.  

Chapter Text

While Eddie, Richie and Bill went up to explore the dormitories of the Gryffindor house, the other three students made their way to where Ben would be residing for the next two years.  

“And here’s the common room,” Stan explained, showing groups of friends and individuals hanging out; some were reading, some playing board games while others simply just hung around since they had nothing better to do “You should know that a lot of people from other houses think all we do is study, but it’s wit that defines us – not brains.” Stan looked to the other Ravenclaw and smiled, as he nodded his head to the couple on the other side of Ben “Most of the time we’re doing what everyone does – panicking about tests and procrastinating.” 

“It’s just a coincidence that Stan is really smart,” Mike joked, earning a chuckle from himself and Ben  

“I can imagine.” Stan wouldn’t have called himself smart – worrisome to a fault about the future and was aware good grades could get him far, yes, but naturally smart like Richie? Not Stan’s style. Sometimes it was horrible, but on the rare occasion – when it was something he enjoyed, like studying mystical beasts– Stan liked being able to go over things in order to understand them better instead of being satisfied with the bare knowledge classes give. Stan then showed Ben to his own dorm, which had a free bed since the beginning of fourth year when a student transferred to Beuxbatons. The room was dimply lit and empty, but the only beds which were made was the one which was now unclaimed and Stan’s, while the blue accents on the wall made it seem more homely than other houses – at least to what Ben could guess. Gryffindor seemed too flashy with red and gold – Slytherin seemed to bleak to give the same vibe as Ravenclaw, but Hufflepuff did seem to put up a fight considering that the yellow would be soft, yet the dark accents would make the room pop. “My dorm-mates aren’t entirely tidy, but they keep the bathroom clean and that’s the only thing we really share anyway.” The crinkle of his nose indicated that, yes, he did actually mind that the two other Ravenclaws didn’t share his need to keep organised, but for whatever reason Stan didn’t make them change.  

“Who sleeps there?” 

“Oh, that was Calvin’s, but he’s a French transfer and I’m guessing he isn’t coming back. Could be yours.” 

“I’ll try to be tidy,” Ben joked, but it was true – he wasn’t one for mess either, even if he wasn’t a perfectionist. Stan’s own area seemed to have some notes to be organised, yet a mess to anyone other than Stan himself, so it was something that the two shared – a need for organised chaos rather than chaos crammed into neat spots. After seeing the interest in the dorm especially, Mike gently nudged Ben, who jumped slightly at the touch  

“Woah,” Mike smiled – a sight Ben was sure he’d see often and a welcome one at that “sorry. Was just wondering... what’s the deal with the room? You don’t like it?” 

“Oh no!” Ben said with a shy grin of his own, quickly stating the opposite “I just really like interior design, but also architecture? I don’t know which is better here, but the room has intricate beams and old styles of decoration – like that’s a possible old English design on the roof outside – it's pretty interesting.” The two others listened as Stan sat down on his bed after collecting the notes which had his Defence Against the Dark Arts revision on it and putting them to the side of his bed; Mike opted to sit on the other side of Stan as they listened to the new student, who touched each piece of wall, furniture and tapped the flooring when he spoke about it. “But then the colours of the room are newer – goes with the decoration and bed posters.” 

“Old English? That’s around the time the school was founded right?” Stan asked, knowing it was in the medieval era, yet was never really was engrossed by ‘Hogwarts: A history’ himself, but knew that Richie loved it – mainly because it gave him the one up in arguments about certain rules, especially that which included his ability to change his appearance; Bill on the other hand, knew the book so well because it was the only one which was rarely spoke about in class, giving the Gryffindor time to read it on his own time – actually able to process it rather than just reading it quickly in fear of the stutter acting up if he was called on.  

“990 A.D,” Mike said easily. Seeing Stan’s raised hands in a questioning pose and look of ‘ not you too’   had him laughing as he fell back on the dark blue sheets of the made bed, covering his mouth as Stan gently swatted his knee “I-If I was Richie, I would have had a pillow in my face. Multiple times.” 

“Do you not like Richie?”  

“Oh no, he does,” Mike answered for Stan, who rolled his eyes and laid against his bed when Mike sat up after the little fit of laughter “they’re best friends since forever,” a hand came up, belonging to Stan, showing that four fingers were risen; Ben was unsure if that meant for four years or since they were four, but he assumed the latter by the way Mike described it “and so they’re just like that a lot. Don’t worry, we all were confused too.” 

 There was an hour spent within the room, filled with mindless chit chat, looking around and listening before deciding to wait for Bill, Richie and Eddie. They had still some time to kill before they agreed to reconvene as a group by the lake, so the trio sat on grass and sat in comfortable silence; Stan looked at the wildlife around them – trees, the sky, birds; Ben’s hand slowly crafted daisy chains lazily, which he explained that Bev had shown him to do at their old school while Mike chose to simply lay down on the grass, enjoying the rare moments of calm within the very likely expanding group, only proven to be short lived as a mock argument between Eddie and Richie was heard before Richie’s laughter flowed past the resting trio as Richie was chased by the smaller teen towards the bank of the lake. 

“Were they like this the whole time?” Stan asked, smiling up to Bill where he stood once he finally made his way over – Richie and Eddie dangerously close to the lake side now. Bill looked down – momentarily letting himself take Stan in Stan’s squinting eyes due to the sun which had the Ravenclaw smiling and face illuminated – before sitting down beside his friend, so Stan no longer had to face the sun, yet had a front row seat to Eddie being lifted by Richie to the very edge of where the field was cut off by the school’s lake. 

“From the v-very moment we all went our separate w-ways,” Bill smiled fondly at the pair, hearing Eddie’s shrills of ‘ Richard! You drop me into the lake and I will drag you in’  only earning a chorus of  

“Do it, do it, do it!” By Bill himself, Stan and Mike while it seemed Ben joined along with a thumbs up  

“Oh, you motherf-” Eddie called before a scream was heard and the splash followed. It took less than five seconds before Richie’s confident smirk turned into surprise as a hand sprang out of the water and gripped the Hufflepuff’s ankle – Eddie pushed back while holding Richie’s ankle, causing Richie to fall forward with an equally loud wail before one final drag had Richie also swimming in the lake water. Stan had his hand on Bill’s knee while laughing so hard that the teen could hardly breathe, which only had Bill laughing softly compared to everyone around him – the pure panic of having Stan so close all of a sudden had Bill’s attention much more than the duo still ‘fighting’ in the water; the fight consisted of diving on one another, but it seemed neither Richie nor Eddie seemed to be in trouble. It was weird, Bill reasoned as he thought about how his stomach felt weird after seeing Stan smile so wide, Stan was his friend, but any sudden close proximity and the time spent one-on-one (even if it was just when the pair had been studying) was becoming more special than the moments had the right to be; they were mundane activities at best, yet still had Bill’s perspective becoming tunnel vision, which was only broken this time by a female voice asking 

“Are they alright?” It was Beverly, who Bill had recently met not too long ago; she also seemed humoured, but was obviously trying to hide it, probably due to the fact – to anyone else – it would have seemed that the two were in an actual spat 

“Oh th-they're fine,” Bill smiled “Just being –uh, Richie is ju-just being Richie.” Beverly nodded and smiled with understanding as she looked over to them both  

“Oh, good, I thought Eddie became feral again.” Pointing at the space near Ben, she silently asked all present if she could sit, to which Mike presented the wide and open space no one was occupying as a throne for the taking. Laughing softly, Beverly sat down near Ben, as Stan moved back into his sitting position. Bill looked to Stan with a gentle frown since it seemed that the other didn’t just sit where he had before, but shuffled slightly away from Bill. “Sorry, I'm Beverly. Beverly Marsh, I’m friends with Eddie and Ben,” which resulted in greeting from Stan and Mike and Bill although Bill had already known who she was. 

“Feral?” Stan asked, backtracking to the redhead’s previous statement 

“Yeah,” she shrugged before laying her head on Ben’s shoulder as she leaned into the boy’s side - her robes pooled on the grass, while everyone could see Ben’s cheeks flush the same shade as the dusted pink daisy which he used to complete the flower crown “Eddie is the type to get pissed off quickly and is not afraid of making his aggravations known, but-” she paused, almost shocked but having a playful smile on her face when looking at Eddie and Richie, who were getting out of the water finally – or Richie was out of the water, aiding Eddie, who looked like he was refraining from pulling Richie back in “he seems like he’s enjoying himself.” 

“Enjoying himself?” Mike asked, squinting slightly as he tried to decipher Eddie’s facial expression “you sure? He was just thrown into the lake.” 

“If he was angry – like, actually angry – you would know.” Ben could only nod as he also looked back to where the Gryffinpuff friendship was developing; it seemed they dried one another with spells rather than drying themselves, but Ben was almost certain Eddie was ranting about how dirty it could be, or the fact that he was not going to be responsible for Richie getting hypothermia.  

“He once punched some guy in our old school because he used a mocking nickname,” Ben grinned, which had Beverly laughing as she sat up, pointing at her friend and nodding  

“Yes! Harry Mulligan!” 

“Yeah!” 

“Oh, he was the fucking worst!” She said before turning to the other three after catching her breath “Oh he was so annoying, like in general, but especially to Eddie; he only ever got to use the nickname ‘Eddie-bear’ once and he was  decked.”  Bill looked between Beverly and Ben with a confused look, almost as if he was looking at muggle math equations and trying to find the answer using mental arithmetics.  

“But Richie wouldn’t stop using nicknames,” 

“Rip Richie’s nose, I guess,” Mike shrugged as everyone shared a gentle chuckle, but Bev was no fool  

“Nah,” she said with ease “if Eddie wanted him punched, he would be. What were they – the nicknames?”  

“Eds - he hates that apparently; Eddie spaghetti – he hates that more; Edderson. The list goes on. I’ve had two hours with those two.” 

“I’m sure that Richie just hasn’t got under Eddies skin enough yet,” Stan smiled to Bill and the feeling was back again, to which Bill had to look to Bev in order to finally let the tunnel vision fade again. 

“Well,-” Bill was cut off by two voices they hadn’t heard for several minutes 

“And your mom-”  

“Shut the fuck up, Richie!”  

“Your mom jokes are commonplace it seems.” Bill concluded after hearing the gentle bickering from Eddie and Richie who were now mere feet away, yet unaware that they were the topic of conversation. Only when they arrived on the edge of the slowly forming sloppy circle did the two finally fall into mutual silence as if to not break the conversation despite doing so by their presence (it’d be rude to talk about them when they’re right there, right?) 

“So, what b-brings you us, Beverly?” 

“Bev’s fine,” she said simply before motioning between Ben and Eddie “do you mean what brought us  here  or why I came to join the sausage fest?” The comment had Richie falling on his back in a fit of laughter while Eddie groaned  

“Nice one, you set him off, Bev.” 

“Awh, Eds, you love it.” By instinct, despite being told that Richie had already used the nickname before, both of the other two new students sat upright, almost as if they were ready to stop Eddie from taking physical action, but the two side-eyed one another with confused smiles as Eddie just huffed and used his knee, which was touching Richie’s, to shove the other. It was a pathetic shove at that – a jab, maybe.  

“Not my name, dipshit,” but there was a curling of a smile on Eddie’s lips since Richie was unable to see.  

“I think he meant why you ditched Greta,” Mike responded with a fond shake of his head at the two “not that we’re judging.” 

“Oh no, she’s a bitch – and not like a bitch in a ‘ wow Lindsey is such a  bitch ’ - like she’s a legitimate grade A pain in the ass.” Richie said after sitting up  

“Oh, I definitely found that one out.” There were six faces which showed concern, knowing there were multiple girls from various houses who had faced Greta and ended up in tears. “Woah, I’m not dead, guys. She actually is in the hospital wing with a pig’s snout so, I think I won’t be her friend anytime soon.” Stan was sure he’s laughed more this afternoon than he had over the whole summer before school started – something in him just felt like this clicked; the personalities just... worked and there was little doubt found in thinking the others felt the same. 

“Join us then – all of you,” Bill proposed, 

“Really?” Ben asked, shocked, but Bev was beaming. Eddie seemed less confident than he did minutes ago – only Bev thought she could tell, but as an arm slinged over Eddie’s shoulder and the hand ruffled Eddie’s hair, she saw Richie momentarily scan over Eddie’s creased brow. 

“C’mon Eds – this way you can shove me in the lake without it being considered a hate crime.” 

“That’s not what a hate crime is, Rich,” Eddie smiled softly – the two whispering friends had only been picked up by Beverly thanks to her animagus form of a dog, which heightened her human hearing, causing her to wince a bit as Eddie’s voice went back to normal, addressing the six other people around him “Okay, fine. Only if Richie stops the fucking awful names.”  

“No can do Edbert,” Richie grinned before being tackled to the ground with a much less aggressive thud than before. 

Chapter Text

Stan wasn’t ashamed of his heritage or traditions, but he must say the very ‘Christmas-y’ vibe he got from the school each year was enough for him to feel very lost in the holiday season; of course, the Christmas celebration didn’t really have much to do with Christianity at a magical school and more of the fact that the event had become a commercial event among muggle families unless their religion had their own holiday events, such as Judaism with Hanukkah. Despite not celebrating the holiday of Christmas, Stan often found himself admiring how well decorated the typically cold brick and bleak wooden structures of the school had become in the month upcoming to the 25th ; it seemed that Ben was a welcome addition to his ‘quiet time’ in which Stan found himself breaking off from the core group to have time just to sit and think – possibly reading if he felt like it.  

The two were in the Ravenclaw dormitory during a free period, each supposedly completing various assessments (although, by the way Ben was lying next to his work rather than in front of it and how Stan seemed to be looking at anything other than his paper, one could easily assume both had forgotten about the tasks at hand) when the subject of the holidays was brought up 

“Stan,” Ben began, eyes trailing over the lights he had spelled to hang over the bookshelf “Are you going home for Christmas?” For a while, he had been questioning that himself, but in the end, Stan couldn’t deny that he wanted to be surrounded with his own tradition and family rather than being shoe-horned into someone else’s.  

“I imagine so, Hanukkah is a big deal and, normally big family events aren’t what I find fun, I’d like to be home for the celebrations, you know? It’s different than random family events, you know, like weddings.” 

“Hanukkah?” Ben asked, sitting up to face the other, seeing Stan’s shoulders tense slightly as he looked down at his book again “What’s it like? That’s kind of general, I mean – like, what’s the best of the holiday to you?” 

It wasn’t that Stan hadn’t trusted Ben – especially after a month or so of friendship, the room sharing making them that much closer – but he had never known how people would react with different holidays and religions – living in a Muggle town and a Muggle world as a child showed him that not everyone was so accepting about certain aspects of himself and others, including religion. “Oh,” he looked back up to the other who smiled in response, looking genuinely interested. “Well, I love my family, especially around the holidays. There’s little talks of school and I feel like a kid again, even just for a bit. Traditionally, though? Playing the Dreidel game has always been a part of the fun.” 

“How do you play, if you don’t mind me asking?” 

“I think I enjoy it because it’s something everyone can play.” Getting comfortable on the dark blue couch, Stan slipped off his shoes and folded his legs, one elbow on each knee “So, there’s 10-15 coins for each player and one in the center of a pot, either gelt or currency works, and then each player spins the Dreidel,” Stan’s wand produced faint light which outlined the Dreidel spinning before the object split into four different Dreidels which rotated before each fell on different letters of the Hebrew alphabet: נ, ג, ה, ש. In that order, Stan pointed to each Dreidel “ ’Shin’ means the player who spun it would put in one coin to the pot with the original coin; ‘He’ means the player would take half of whatever is in the pot; ‘Gimel’ would require the player to take everything which is in the pot; and if it falls of ‘nun’, nothing happens.” 

“Wow,” Ben murmured softly, looking at the display of magic and listening intently before the display vanished “that sounds fun. When does the game end?” 

“When one player has all of the coins.” Stan shrugged as if it were obvious, but he knew for gentiles that it’s not often taught. “What do you do for Christmas?” 

Ben shrugged and explained that, although being raised Catholic, he had never done traditionally Catholic things, which he was thankful for after meeting Eddie, who very much had. 

“Is it that bad?” Stan asked, never hearing complaints from Bill or Mike who had rather typical rather than traditional upbringings; Bill’s was more odd as, for a time, his little brother was missing, ending in an injury, but other than that the foundations of the family were rather typical of a nuclear family – two opposite gendered parents and two kids – while Mike was more like Stan in the sense that he was an only child, but also raised with Catholic undertones like Bill.  

“It depends,” he began “my family are pretty traditional as far as Christmas goes – we go to church, we have Christmas dinner and play board games – but Eddie’s family seems to be more constricting. They do the same, but with the pressure of being around a restricting mother and rather,” Ben paused, trying to find the right words that wouldn’t be revealing Eddie’s whole family story to Stan, unsure if that would be appropriate– carefully picking his words Ben decided to describe the other Kaspbraks as a “conservative family. Politics and invasive questions are what Eddie calls his standard Christmas.” 

A grimace appeared on Stan’s features – it didn’t take a genius to realise how much that had to suck; politics with elder generations hardly ever seemed to have a nice ending, especially conservative family members. “I’m guessing they don’t see eye to eye?” 

“Not at all. I feel bad for him, but he often escapes with Bev and I after the dinner which happens rather early in the afternoon.” 

“You all live close?” 

“All in the same town in Derry.”  

Stan must have heard wrong. That couldn’t be right.  

“I’m sorry, Derry? As in... Derry, Maine, USA?”  

“You’ve heard of it?” Ben’s eyebrow was raised since the town seemed to be so obscure that only people from Maine really ever heard of the place, and even then, it was only known because of how conservative it was.  

“I live in it. Actually, so does Richie, Bill and Mike.” There was a pause of understanding between the two, a commonplace which often had their other friends joking the two were Legilimens. 

“So,” Ben began “will you all be joining us for our celebrations?” 

------------ 

They had all been already seated around the Hufflepuff’s table in the Great Hall as the two belonging to the badger house were playing Wizard’s Chess when Ben and Stan made their way down for dinner. The seating arrangement going Mike, Richie and Eddie on the left and Bill and Beverly on the right – Stan slotted in beside Bill while Ben opted to sit opposite Beverly. The pair had been too focused – Richie exceedingly so – to notice, but Bill greeted them with a wave.  

“Is he okay?” Ben asked Bill, sitting on the opposite side to him as they waited for the rest of the Hufflepuff House to filter in before they had to move, but Stan was the one who answered 

“Wizard’s Chess – he never loses, but he  takes forever to play !”  

Richie didn’t even face his best friend and instead raised a middle finger vaguely in Stan’s direction, only letting the profane gesture fall when finding the move he was searching for  

“Check Mate, Mikey-boy!” 

“Oh, come on!” 

“You see, Eds - simple.” There was a look between the five other friends, one which communicated the same ‘ Here we go again’  they all were thinking when it came to ‘Reddie’ - a name which was coined by Mike himself. Eddie flipped him off, knocking the Pawn out of Richie’s hand after the Hufflepuff declared they were the same height (while of course, Richie had declared himself the knight.” 

“Who’s the king then?” Bev asked “I’m the queen, obviously.” 

“How narrow minded, Miss Marsh, maybe Bill wanted to be the queen.” Bill, in response winked – a simple act which had the boy beside him feeling as if he couldn’t remember to breathe, earning Stan a knowing look from Richie, an obvious one at that. “Well, I was going to say Mikey was the king, but if you’re the queen... Ben.” 

“King of Charms,” Mike gave a nod in Ben’s direction, who smiled at the simple praise. 

“Oh, he's the king of Charms, alright!” Beverly leaned over the desk from where she sat and kissed Ben’s cheek with an audible ‘muah’ sound – if Ben hadn’t been blushing before, he certainly was now. It was rather obvious, but lending the fellow Ravenclaw a hand, Stan picked up a piece of the broken King, slotting it next to all of the other shards, mumbling ‘repairo’ before speaking properly  

“Ben and I were talking actually-” 

“I’d hope so,” 

“Shut up Richie,” Eddie huffed quietly 

“Yeah, shut up Richie,” in response to Eddie and Stan’s words, Richie raised his hands in a ‘ what did I do’  fashion as both Stan and Eddie shared a humored smile “anyway, Ben and I were speaking about traditions with Christmas and Hanukkah and such,” he said, seeing Eddie and Bev click but not hearing nor seeing any issue on their faces (which was a relief considering what Ben had said about Eddie’s family) “and hard about the Friendmas you guys do.” 

“Well, it’ll change to something like Friend – holidays,” Ben added, a small and grateful smile on Stan’s face 

“Planning on joining us, Stanley?” Bev asked as she leaned on the table to see past Bill 

“Are t-they s-stealing you?” Bill asked while Richie had his mouth wide open  

“No fair! What makes them better than me, Mike and Billy-Boy here?” 

“Just join us,” Bev said simply to Richie’s complaint while Eddie just murmured about how they ‘ don’t have chaos incarnate’  in response to the boy beside him; had Richie not continued, it looked as if both Ben and Bev were ready to call bullshit on the claim that Eddie was not as bad – if not worse than – Richie on the level of chaos. 

“We c-can't t-travel cross c-country,” he paused, looking to Bev “No Ap-p-paration licenses.” 

“Derry isn’t that big; they’d live like two streets away from us – max.” 

The simple phrase had everyone looking at him as if Stan had four heads – with the exception of Ben. Another round of ‘ no way!’  broke out, ending with Richie’s arms around Eddie, singing Santa Baby while Eddie was adamant that he was not spending his time out of the school halls with ‘ bitch brain over here’  of course pointing at Richie as he said the words. Still, the words held no malice. 

“Come on, Santa can come down your chimney too,” despite Eddie’s gag at the very noticeable double entendre, the Gryffindor smacked Richie’s hands which were circled around him until only one arm rested over Eddie’s shoulders, causing Eddie’s response to come out faster than his usual pace of speaking – happening, they noted, when the boy was flustered. 

“You’re so fucking disgusting,” Eddie shook his head, but didn’t shake off the affectionate hold the Hufflepuff had on him “Fine, I’ll take pity on you all, I’ll help handle the beast.” 

“Like beauty and the beast?” 

“Don’t push it, asshole.” 

------------------------------- 

Post dinner, Bev instructed Bill to go and distract Stan for a moment, not having to tell him why the group had unanimously asked for him to be the individual to do so before the Gryffindor began asking about Stan’s Hanukkah plans as they walked, only slightly ahead of the others. 

“Wow and we thought Reddie was obvious,” Bev smirked  

“What’s Redd-” 

“So, I was thinking,” Ben interrupted, not needing the whole discussion to be side-tracked before it began “we should help Stan celebrate Hanukkah, right?” 

“Whatcha thinkin’ Haystack?” Richie asked, careful to not be too loud – Stan had a self-professed ‘ inclination for when Richie was talking shit’.  It was used more than Richie, himself, liked to admit. 

“So, Hanukkah lasts eight days, right, so I was thinking maybe one gift from everyone individually and come together and get two more.” Once Ben received the enthusiastic go-ahead from the others, Mike asked  

“Deadline, then?” 

Eddie hummed, knowing they all lived close led Eddie to ask “Why not on the day? When does Hanukkah start for 2019?” 

“Evening of the 22nd “and maybe, just maybe Eddie felt his heart thump with fondness, knowing Richie was able to easily list off important days 

“So, we have plenty of time. One person each day gives Stan his gift for Hanukkah.” 

“And the remaining two presents?” 

“Bill, Richie and I give one present and you three give the other,” Mike offered with a smile  

“Three vs Three.” Richie said in a movie-esque serious tone  

“You make it sound like a challenge.” 

“And what if it is, Spegward?” 

“I’m about to put the ‘deck’ in deck the halls,” 

“I’ll deck  your mom’s halls,”  despite making no sense, Eddie still had to stop himself from gagging, knowing the meaning behind the poorly executed joke  

I’m about to commit a hate crime,” Beverly chimed to which Ben looked at her in confusion “The crime is double physical assault.” 

“Why’s it a hate crime?” 

“Because they’ll hate it.” 

The five friends were far behind the two who had been walking in front of them, both confused as they looked to find the friends they had lost, but Bill more humoured as he asked “You g-gonna keep t-trailing, or what?”