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Hungry Like the Wolf

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James perspective

 

One second March has just begun and the next its almost over. I’m currently walking down to the Quidditch pitch for my final match ever at Hogwarts. Before Easter we played against Ravenclaw and won by a landslide, thanks to Lily. Which means we’re in a great position for our match today against Slytherin. It’s been a busy month for the team, exams are fast approaching and everyone including Fred and I have been revising in our spare time. Not that we haven’t found the time to be causing mayhem. Due to the terrible weather Fred and I thought we would bring summer to Hogwarts a little earlier than normal. Honestly, I don’t think most of Hogwarts knew what to think when they walked into the Great Hall, that Sunday, to find that we had turned into a beach, complete with sand, sea and deck chairs. It took us all night but it was worth it. We had to remove the tables, benches and chairs then charm the sky to be a perfect sunny summers day and the room to be warm with a soft breeze. After that we had to lower the entire floor to be able to fit the sand in for the beach umbrellas to stand up and also at one end to accommodate the 'sea'. Temporarily lowering the teachers end of the floor took hours to get right, we then had to fill the dip with water and charm it to move like a tide would. By the time we had finished all of that it was 5 am and we only had little under two hours to finish all of our set dressings. The deck chairs and towels we’re easy enough to assemble but the umbrellas just kept falling down. After that we set up a volley ball court, a slip and slide into the sea. We even found time to build a sand castle with a big J and F in front of it and blow up some inflatables, before we fell asleep in two of the deck chairs. We should never have trusted the Wolf not to fuck with us. Waking up to Professor McGonagall swearing at the top of her voice wasn’t scary enough we also woke up buried in sand, Fred to look like a crab and myself to look like a mermaid, boobs and all. Next to each of us a little paw print that vanished seconds after I saw it. McGonagall was genuinely impressed though and let us get away scot free. Apparently as it was a Sunday and didn’t really get in the way of anything it was ok. She then headed to one of the numerous tables filled with a buffet style breakfast grabbed her food and leaving. The food that day was brilliant, I don’t know when they found out what was going on, but the house elves join in and served beach type food all day! There were burgers, skewers, salads, couscous, fruit and fried Halloumi and on one table there was ice cream available all day! It was brilliant. Easter hit not long after that which is probably why the Wolf hasn’t responded yet. And while lots of the school left for Easter break that has never stopped me, Fred or the Wolf from continuing with tradition of pranking during the holidays. The Wolf went with a simple but effective prank of turning Hogwarts in to a pastel dream land, with a meadow filling the corridors, classrooms, library and Halls. They even added duck ponds and an assortment of spring creatures like sheep, lambs, chickens, chicks, rabbits, ducks and ducklings. On top of all that there were Easter eggs hidden though out the castle with pawprints decorating them. It was insane and I’ve never been more grateful not to get hay fever. Fred and I however went for a complex charm that while not too disruptive to people's lives everyone who entered Hogwarts grounds would be affected by it. We gave everyone rabbit ears, nose and tail. Uncle Neville apparently quite enjoyed the experience, supposedly they helped him with Herbology as he could smell when a plant was dying before there were any visual signs. I’m still not sure if he is joking but Scorpius agreed with him, so I guess not. It wasn’t the most distracting prank but with exam season coming it seemed cruel to do anything to intrusive. But right now, I need to focus it’s my final match and I want to end on a high note; however, Fred is not helping me with this as he is constantly muttering under his breath.

“Will you calm down!”

“Sorry I just don’t want to mess up today.”

“I know but seriously you’re never this nervous. What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing.”

“For fucks sakes you’re just worried about Emma, aren’t you?”

“No.”

“You are! What are you worried about? Disappointing her in your last game?”

“Yes, but it’s not just that.” rather than drag it out of him I let him process his thoughts, he’ll keep talking eventually. “It’s just that it’s only just hit me that I'm leaving Hogwarts forever in a couple of months, and I might not see Emma ever again after that. And then She’ll return to Hogwarts undoubtedly get asked out and I’ll have never have the chance with her ever again. And she defiantly won’t ever talk to me ever again if I fuck up today.”

“Wow, ok. One you’ll defiantly see Emma again I mean she’ll be a bridesmaid at Al’s wedding.” Ok not even a gin at that. “Not to mention Scorpius and Rose’s wedding. Two if you’re that worried about someone else asking her out then you ask first. At the party tonight go up to her ask her for a dance and after a couple of spins around the dance floor ask her if she wants to watch the Hufflepuff vs Ravenclaw match with you next weekend, or to the Hogsmeade for the weekend after.”

“But what if she says no.”

“Well if she says no at least you can stop pining.” Fred seems to take this on board but before we can talk further, we reach the changing rooms.

 

 

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“Welcome to the Gryffindor vs Slytherin Quidditch match, the penultimate match of the year and the deciding match for the Quidditch Cup, I’m your commentator Nick Jordan. Now let’s look back at how the teams have been playing this year. Despite rumours of favouritism Lily Potter has proven herself to be a sensational seeker, especially in Gryffindors last match against Ravenclaw where she caught the snitch in a record a time of sixteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds. Outstanding. Albus, Rose and Scorpius started this year on top form, however there is fear that Scorpius and Rose getting together has changed the dynamic on the trios playing style. The previous match did nothing to quell these fears, some have suggested that the quick snitch catch was a deliberate ploy so we wouldn’t see how much they have been struggling to perform. Emma as usual has been ruling those hoops and has only let one Quaffle in this entire season a figure that surly has to be better than her father's back when he played here. And lastly, it’s their final match here at Hogwarts James Potter and Fred Weasley. While they have found time to turn the Great Hall into a beach, fair play lads that was brilliant, they have been nothing but focused on the pitch. There is no chance of these going easy on Slytherin today.” great that’s going to calm the team down, Lily already looks like she’s about to throw up, Emma has been pacing for the last ten minutes with Fred following her with his eyes and getting worked up again. “Now in spite of winning both of their matches Slytherin has had a tough time of it this year. In their last match their Captain and beater Philip Flint and chaser Dominic Donaghy both fell from their brooms due to the sickness midway through the match. While their other beater Paul Bulstrode also fell off his broom but just after the snitch was caught though it is unknown if the sickness or the falls have affected any of them. Antony Watson has not been doing well, Hufflepuff got 9 Quaffles passed him while Ravenclaw scored 16 times before the snitch was caught. Similarly, the Nolan twins Edger and Ramona however have not been shooting well this year, of the times they have reached the hoops with the ball they have only managed to score half of the time. The star of the Slytherin team this year has been little Lottie Bell, she maybe only a second-year but man can she fly. With two spectacular catches under her belt especially in her first match where both of her arms were broken by a Bludger as she caught the snitch in the Ravenclaw vs Slytherin match. Watching Lily and Lottie compete for the snitch is going to be very interesting indeed” Wow, Nick is being really kind, with that description of the Slytherin team. They have been utter shambles, the only reason they have a chance of winning the cup today is thanks to Lottie. She is just as awesome as he says. But the twins and Watson have been aweful. Dominic is the main reason they manage to score at all. We all are lined up ready to go and are just waiting for Mr Preece to stop trying to flirt with Professor Reid, I mean everyone knows that she’s started going out with Professor Graham after Valentine's day, creep. “And I have just got the signal from Mr Preece” finally “The teams are ready to leave the changing rooms. First to enter the field is the defending champions Gryffindor, Captain and Keeper Emma Wood, Chasers Albus Potter, Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy. Beaters James Potter and Fred Weasley and finally their Seeker Lily Potter. Yes, that sounds confusing but I’m sure we can handle it. And now for Slytherin! Captain and Beater Philip Flint and fellow Beater Paul Bulstrode. Chasers Edger and Ramona Nolan, I’m going to be calling you by your first names and Dominic Donaghy, see I can say your name however I’m still calling you DD. Their Keeper Antony Watson and Seeker Lottie Bell.” Ok, deep breath, concentrate. “They're all in position the Quaffle is released and we’re off. DD gets the Quaffle passes to Ramona but is intercepted by Potter. To Malfoy, to Weasley, Malfoy, Weasley, Potter, Malfoy. Bludger from Bulstrode at Malfoy but Weasley already has the Quaffle. She’s at the hoops, she shoots... And she scores! That ten points to Gryffindor and a great start to the game.”

 

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We’re two hours into the game and the score currently stands at 190 – 10 to Gryffindor, with no sign of the snitch. Slytherin aren’t playing well as usual, their beaters have been doing well as they’ve been keeping the Bludgers away from Fred and I pretty well but nothing they can do can make up for the Nolans and Watson. I think this might be the worst I've ever seen them play. I really hope either Lily or Lottie for that matter spots the snitch soon so this can be over. I’m really board but for now, I need to keep my head in the game. Our Chasers have the Quaffle and are quickly making their way to the hoops. I quickly hit the Bludger near me at Watson causing him to dodge and let Scorpius’s Quaffle through. Bringing the score to 200-10 to us. The Quaffle is making its way back down to Emma when a blur of red and green smashes through the chasers. Apparently, Lily and Lottie have seen the snitch. Al has stolen the Quaffle but for once the opposing chasers aren’t distracted by the seekers. A quick Bludger from Fred stops the Slytherin chasers. Lily and Lottie are neck and neck alms outstretched, there’s nothing I can do to help. Al scores and Lottie pulls up arm raised.

“And after that fight for the snitch Lottie has come out on top. That was truly spectacular! Final score 210-160 to Gryffindor, along with the quidditch house cup. I hope you’ve enjoyed the match today; I’ve been Nick Jorden thank you for listening.” We’ve won the cup! I quickly fly down to the ground and pull Fred into a hug. I can feel hands slapping me on the back.

“I can’t believe that was our final match here!” Fred exclaims

“I know but you know what this means? It’s time to party!” Every year after our final match, even if it’s not the final match of the year we always have a big party with all the houses it was stated by Victoire as Teddy was a Hufflepuff and she wanted an excuse to party with him, and this year will be no different. The party is always held in the Room of Requirement due to the fact that after the war so many people knew how to get into the room and as it is always the way we need it became the obvious place for parties. Ever since Victoire has left the party has always been organised by Gryffindors as we’re the closest to its entrance. Everyone brings their own booze and Hufflepuffs will bring some food as they’re near the kitchens and it’s always a great time. I quickly shower head back to my dorm, after dumping all my Quidditch gear in a corner, Godric bless the house-elves, for cleaning it all, I do not have the patience for that much mud and blood I jump into my shower so I can properly wash all the grime out of my skin and hair. I have time as the party starts after dinner, after all if half of the school was missing at dinner it would be a bit harder for the teachers to pretend that they don’t know what’s going on. I mean with the number of hangovers the next day there’s no way they don’t know, that and I’m certain the Audrey Nott would have told one of the teachers. Either way we act like the teachers don’t know and they play along, as long as we aren’t too ridiculous. I get dressed before attempting to get my hair to look like I have some form of control over it but as usual that’s a lost cause as usual, before I head to the Great Hall for dinner. Afterall I have to line my stomach before the party.

 

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As usual the party is only for fifth years and higher, sometimes some forth years manage to slip in but generally they know the rules. The party is in full swing there is a table covered in food curtesy of Hufflepuff, Olivia clearwater has taken over the music and is playing a mix of muggle and magical music. People are dancing talking and just generally having a great time. I spot Al and Rachel dancing, Fred off chatting with some of his Herbology mates while Scorpius and Rose are tucked in a corner in their own little world.

“James! It feels like ages since I last saw you!” Jack wraps me in a bear hug and I can feel a bottle of something digging into my back as he says this, over his shoulder I spot Alex and Archie following behind rolling their eyes.

“Yeah, you and Fred keep hiding in your dorms, we never hang out any more!” Alex laughs giving me a one-armed hug

“Sorry! We’ve just been so busy this year, with NEWTs and all the pranks then the illness. We just get to my dorm then don’t want to move.”

“To be honest I get that. I love Hogwarts I do, but I’m ready to leave and start new things. That and I don’t think I can sit many more exams.” Archie looks pretty done as he takes a deep drink of Salasar knows what.

“FIVE more Exams and we’re free!”

“Five left!” we cheer taking a swig of out of our drinks.

“So, what have you three been up to? Still chasing after Dawn?” Jack really needs to stop trying to get with dawn she’s never given him the time of day and I can’t see her starting now.

“Actually!” Jack puffs his chest out as he says this. “I know when to give up trying to persuade Dawn to go out with me.”

“Was it seeing her as a guy?” I doubt it if there’s is one thing that I know about jack it’s that gender isn’t an issue for him.

“No! Actually, she was still pretty hot as a guy. It was at the New Year's Eve party, she said she would rather snog Slughorn than me. Let me tell you, that is an image that you just can’t get out of your head.”

“I bet living with you and your mess was closer to dating you than she ever hoped for.”

“You know she said something similar.” Jack laughs “Anyway I’ve got my eyes on someone else now.”

“Oh, this is going to be good.”

“Go on who’s the poor soul?”

“Will Harwick.”

“Jack really? He’s thicker than two planks!”

“I overheard him asking Madam Prince where he could find body enhancement spells in the library. I though Madam Prince was going to pass out she was that purple in the face. Seriously who would just ask Prince that?”

“So, he’s probably lacking a couple inches.”

“Or he found the spell and now has a huge...”

“Ok Jack that’s my limit either shut up or go talk to him.”

“You know I think I will go talk to him.”

“Well that’s going to be awful no matter what happens.”

Yeah, good luck with that.”

“Does anyone know if Will is even into guys?” after a couple of shrugs, we watch Jack approaches Will. It looks like Jack might be right and he was successful in finding a spell, as he’s wearing very tight trousers and they leave nothing to the imagination. As we watch they start talking and then suddenly they are snogging like the worlds going to end tomorrow.

“Well, at least I won’t have to listen to him moaning this time.”

“True what about you two managed to have a life or lonely like me?”

“Well, Alex here might just like someone.”

“You prick! I told you that in private!”

“Oh, come on its James he can keep a secret. It’s not like I told Jack.”

“Come on you know I won’t tell anyone. Who is it?”

“Ugh, persephoneparkinson.” Alex mumbles

“Persephone! As in the only Slytherin in our year to take Muggle studies?” Well at least Alex like someone with a brain.

“She’s not the only Slytherin to take Muggle studies.”

“You’re right she’s just the only one to take it seriously.”

“I need another drink to deal with this.” while Alex goes to get another drink, I scan the room for Persephone. She’s currently chatting with Chloe. I get why Alex fancies her, she’s hot, and from what I know she’s friends with almost everyone. She's just a too timid for me.

“Why don’t you just pull a Jack and just go and talk to her?” I ask once Alex gets back

“You think I haven't tried. We have Care of Magical Creatures together but I don’t want to be rude and that’s practically impossible with Jack around.”

“Alright well there’s no time like the present I’ll be your wingman.” I grin a plan forming in my head

“No, it’s ok, I have a plan I’m going to bump into her in the Library and ask for her help with the Magical Creatures homework.”

“Mate that’s never going to work, because you are top of the class in Care so that’s going to come across as creepy.” Archie points out, as I nod in agreement.

“Ok here’s my plan we walk over that ways I pretend to spot Chloe and ask for her help as I've pissed off Maya and I pull her to the side and explain the situation. And while we’re talking you get chatting with Persephone.”

“You know that could actually work.” they seem shocked that I could come up with a sensible plan I don’t know if I should be hurt or not.

“And what do I do in this plan? All three of us can’t go over.” ah shit I forgot about Archie

“Err, I know. Maya’s over there you go over to her and explain the plan so if Chloe goes over to try and smooth things over, she won’t blow our cover.” It’s perfect

“No way! She’s scary.” Almost perfect

“What? Maya’s not scary. Just tell her I’ll give her a bar of chocolate if she plays along.” It’s really not that hard.

“Yes, she is! All I know about her is that she is insane at potions which means that she could poison me if I irritated her. And it would probably look like and accident because she’s so smart!” ok Archie is either drunker than I'd realised or he is genuinely scared of Maya and I don’t know what to do with that.

“Yeah ok, well then I’ll just make sure that Chloe doesn’t go over and speak to Maya then.” With a grin I add “But if she does, I’ll tell Maya it was your idea Archie.” I can’t resist teasing

“I hate you.” with a smirk I turn back to Alex how is glancing between Persephone and us before taking a sip of his drink and repeating the cycle.

“So, are we doing this?” I can’t deal with two guys today that can’t ask a girl out.

“Yes, let’s do this.” Persephone and Chloe are stood near the food table, so it’s fairly easy to walk in their direction without it seeming weird.

“Hey Chloe, Persephone having fun?”

“Hey James, great party.”

“You both know Alex, right?” Persephone actually gives Alex a really bright smile thank Godric she’s clearly interested

“We all have Care of Magical Creatures together.” Persephone supplies

“Awesome, actually Chloe could I have a word?”

“Sure, no problem, I’ll be back in a minute P.” We walk closer to the food table and out of hearing distance of Persephone.

“What’s up James?”

“Ok bit of a weird one. Alex fancies Persephone but has been too nervous to talk to her without pretext. So, I asked you over here to provide a reason.”

“Ok. And if later P asks why I was over here for so long what am I to tell her? That you were asking me for potions help when you live with Maya?”

“It’s funny you should mention Maya actually. The pretext that I thought would be best was that I’ve upset Maya and am asking you to speak on my behalf or asking what I should do to say sorry.”

“Well at least you’ve come up with a believable scenario.”

“Thank you. I haven’t come up with anything specific though. I thought that it could be that I’d accidently caused an explosion late at night and woken her up or something.”

“Plausible but surely the school would have heard about it. How about instead of you waking her up with the potion exploding she simply got coated in your potion.”

“Ok I like that, and I had the antidote, but I hadn’t brewed the potion quite right and she was stuck purple for a bit.”

“You do realise that I could just say that you’ve pissed Maya off and leave it at that.”

“Fair enough. How are they looking?”

“They seem to be getting along like a house on fire.”

“I knew they would.” I mean just they way they were smiling at each other told me that.

“It’s the Hogsmeade weekend in a fortnight here’s hoping they make the most of it.”

“Ah, that’s perfect. Guess you and John will be enjoying the time away from school.”

“I can’t wait, and speaking of the devil he’s on his way over.”

“Hey James, great game!”

“Thanks, I can’t believe that I’ve played my last match here. Anyway, I’ll leave you both to it.” Looking back at Alex and Persephone they are still happily talking away. Rather than disturbing them I head back over to were Archie is stood.

“Well, I see your mission was a success.”

“Just have to wait and see now.” Looking at Alex I can see that thinks are going well “Sickle says he somehow manages to fuck it up.” I mean I have faith in him but he does have a way of putting his foot in his mouth.

“You’re on. I have faith in Alex. He may be a twat at times but he’s a softy at heart.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

“Awww, you have always seen the best in us.” I croon jokingly

“Well someone has to.”

 

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The party is winding down, it’s been a fairly drama free. Well, Lily and Hugo were caught trying to sneak into the party but they’re forth years and with the quantity of alcohol around we try to keep fourth years and under away. Apart from that there was only a couple of arguments that resolved themselves fairly uneventfully. People have been steadily trickling away from the party for a while now. There are a few stragglers left sadly from different houses. This is going to be such hard work, but I organized this party, so I have to look after who’s left. Ok how to get the final three, two guys talking like these no tomorrow and a brunette who is sat against one of the walls staring into space back to their dorms. The guys seem fairly coherent, I think they just haven’t realised that the party is over.

“You two do realise that the parties over?”

“What? Oh shit!”

“Sorry we hadn’t realised.”

“We’ll head back to our house. Sorry again.”

“Do you know the girl? Is she form your house?”

“No sorry she’s not a Hufflepuff.” With that they head off but that two down and one to go but I don’t think this is going to be as easy.

“Hey you ok?”

“Huh?” oh god she’s crying, just treat her like Lily and hope for the best.

“What’s your name?”

“Ashley, Ashley Saunders.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you Ashley I’m James.”

“I know who you are.” she sniffles

“What’s up?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Why would you think something is wrong?”

“Well how about the fact that your sat on the floor after a party has ended?”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m just being stupid.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“I… No… I just… ugh.”

“Hey, it’s ok take your time.”

“Ok this all has to stay between us ok.”

“I promise.”

“Ok, well it’s just that I’m a Ravenclaw we’re the smart house, but I’m struggling with everything. Half the time I can’t even figure out the riddle to get into the fucking dormitory. There are first years that are better than me at answering the riddles. Then I get letters from my parents checking in on me telling me that as long as I try my best then that’s enough but I know it isn’t. My sister passed with O’s in everything, she went on to study further in Switzerland. Oh yeah, she’s also fluent in French, how can I not compare myself to her. But every time I compare myself to her I feel so shitty because there’s so much shit going on in the world. But I can’t help feeling so shit! I mean my sister even took extra subjects and nailed them. She’s such a bitch. She would always make small comments about how oh I shouldn’t be stressed about my exams because she was doing important ones. And now I’m doing my O.W.L.s oh she’s doing her masters or something and her exams are much more important and what I’m doing is unimportant. Anyway, I’m studying muggle studies and Care of Magical Creatures and according to her that’s not a proper subject or at least a hard subject like Arithmancy, and there for it doesn’t matter. The worst part is I don’t even think she realises how her comments make me feel. I just I feel like my mum and the teachers are expecting me to match my sister and I know that I’m not as good as her. And I’m not trying to compete with her, but it feels impossible not to.” Oh god she’s crying even worse now. Would she except a hug?

“Would you like a hug?” before I can finish the sentence, I have her arms wrapped around me and her face buried in my shoulder.

“Hey, it’s ok. I know what it’s like to feel like you have to live up to something. For Merlin’s sake my dad is the saviour of the wizarding world I was expected to be as amazing as my dad or as much trouble as my namesake. There’s a reason Fred and I chose to be mischief-makers. It’s easier to be a bad influence than to live up to a hero.” Though to be fair Al gets it worse as he looks more like dad, and then Lily apparently looks like a cross between mum and our Grandma which doesn’t help either. “Every family feels like they’re compared to each other, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But as for the riddles that I can help with that if you’d like.” I smile.

“Really?” Ashley gives me a watery smile.

“Of course. Come on, let’s get you back to your dorm.” I quickly glance round the room to make sure I haven’t missed anything. Turning back to Ashley she’s gotten up off the floor but is now swaying a bit. This is going to take some time.

 

It takes an hour but eventually we get to the Ravenclaw dorm entrance, for the last half of the journey I’ve had Ashley’s arm over my shoulder.

“Go on then show me how to defeat this stupid fucking door.” Ashley giggles before reaching out and knocking loudly.

“The man who invented it doesn’t need it. The man who bought it doesn’t want it. The man who needs it doesn’t know. What is it?” the Eagle spouts. This is one I actually know, it’s a coffin, but that won’t help Ashley.

“See they’re the worst. How the fuck do people figure these out?”

“Ok, this is how you get past it.” Ashley looks so sad, this better work. “What did he invent? Why the fuck would I know. Fuck you I’ve had a hard day now let me in.” Well at least Ashley doesn’t look sad any more, there’s a click and the door opens.

“What the shit! As if that worked!” I gently lead Ashley into her common room there’s no one around so I gently place her onto the sofa and tuck her up in a blanket that someone has thrown over the back of the sofa. “You’re my hero.”

“Get some sleep and try not to put so much pressure on yourself.”

“And remember to swear at the door.”

“Exactly.” Ashley is already asleep by the time I reach the door. It only takes half an hour to reach my dorm, and I can’t wait for bed. But at least I've sobered up enough that tomorrow morning I won’t have a hangover.