Insecurities Her Father Made
"Haven't seen you around recently, Cry Baby."
Skylar's back smacked harshly against the hard wall of the Transfiguration corridor, her head hitting the harsh stone with a sickening thump! Lisette, Jessica, and Teresa had somehow managed to track down Skylar shortly after she had left the Great Hall for lunch.
"Word has it that the Weasley twins are acting as your sort of bodyguards," Lisette sneered. Her long nails were digging into the skin around Skylar's wrist, causing her to wince and whimper in pain.
Skylar shook her head frantically, she was making sure not to move her arm so that Lisette's nails didn't scratch further into her skin which was already throbbing painfully. "They're m-my friends!"
"Ohhh friends!" Jessica shrieked, swishing her blonde hair deliberately so that it hit Skylar around the face. "What friends they are! They aren't even here to help you."
She limped away from the scene several minutes later. Her lip was bleeding rather badly, curtesy of Lisette's nails that had scratched her, and she was nursing her lightly bleeding wrist to her chest. She was limping because Teresa had found it prudent to give her a good kick in the shins. Her books were also not in the best shape – Jessica had made sure to rip them all cleanly in half and had 'accidentally' lost most of their pages. But, miraculously, Skylar had managed not to cry in front of them. She had at least managed to hold it in.
Now, she had several injuries to heal and books to mend. It appeared that the Slytherin girls had taken to physically bullying her now. At least it was just Lisette and her cronies, Skylar thought miserably. She shuddered at the thought of one of Malcom's fat knuckles punching her – she would probably be out cold for days.
Skylar sat down on a vacant bench in one of the courtyards and let out a deep sigh. Fred and George were yet to find her so that they could drag her along for her dreaded first time at flying. So far, Skylar felt like she was doing a very good job at hiding from them. She had seen them once today however briefly during breakfast before they were whisked away by Snape for a detention.
Her back still ached from being forced against the wall and her knee throbbed from the harsh contact of Teresa's dolly shoes had made with it. She winced slightly, flexing her leg, but almost immediately ceasing the movement as a sharp pain shot up her leg. Stupid bloody Slytherins.
"You ready for your flying lesson Miss Harrison?"
Fred and George had arrived. Skylar mentally noted that she would have to ask them how on earth they could find her so easily.
"Uhm…" she murmured, looking down at her shoes so they could not see her cut lip. "Can we take a rain check? I have homework to do."
Fred grabbed Skylar under her arms and hoisted her up to her feet. Skylar immediately let out a loud gasp of pain and crumpled to the ground, her knee throbbing madly.
"What happened to you?" Fred asked, carefully trying to lift Skylar to her feet without causing her any further pain. He inspected her cut lip while George poked and prodded her knee.
"Ouch! George!" Skylar hissed, squeezing her eyes shut in pain.
"Sorry," he called cheerily before he withdrew his wand from the pocket of his robes.
Skylar recoiled instantly.
"What?" George asked her, looking rather amused. "I'm going to help soothe the pain and get rid of that bruise. It looks rather painful."
Skylar grimaced. "Oh yes, it's very painful."
George managed to soothe the pain significantly and used a tub of thick yellow paste to help the bruise fade a little, while Fred on the other hand had managed to stop her lip from bleeding by dabbing it with a tissue.
"So how did you hurt yourself exactly?" Fred asked after wrapping a bandage he had conjured around her wrist.
"I was going to say that I walked into a wall but I highly doubt that you would believe me," she tried to laugh but instead she winced as Fred tightened the bandage on her wrist a little too tightly.
"Sorry," he said, his eyes meeting Skylar's before focusing his attention back to her wrist.
"We would have believed you if you told us that you had walked into a wall," said George in a cheerful manner. "But we wouldn't believe you if you told us that the wall had somehow managed to cut your lip, wrist and damage your knee."
"If you must know it was Lisette and those other Slytherin girls," Skylar muttered, careful to not speak too loudly in case any sneaky Slytherins were listening in. "They cornered me after lunch."
"We'll get them back for you," Fred assured her.
Skylar looked at Fred curiously, "What are you going to do to them?"
"Oh you know," George smiled with a far-away look upon his face. "Maybe slip a couple of fainting fancies into their breakfast."
"Or perhaps we should cut of their hair," smirked Fred. "Then they won't be swishing it around all the bloody time."
"Don't do anything to them," Skylar said in a desperate tone that was identical to the look on her face. "They think you two are my bodyguards or something! They'll know it was you and then… then they will come and get me again!"
"They won't," said Fred with a wave of his hand. "If you hit them hard enough."
"Of course I won't hit them!" Skylar shook her head madly, "I'm not going to get chucked into detention for hitting someone! How many times I have told you this?"
Both Fred and George shrugged.
"Well time's a ticking!" said Fred, jumping to his feet, George mimicking his actions a few seconds later.
"You, Skylar, have a date with a broomstick!" said George as once again Fred hooked his arm underneath hers and pulled her to her feet.
"Let's go then Sky!" Fred and George bellowed happily, both of them linking their arms around hers and marching her out down the Transfiguration corridor.
"But I have homework to do–"
"Homework, somwork!" Fred roared as they practically carried her down the marble staircase. "There's no time like the present."
"Fred! George! What on earth are you doing to her?" Angelina Johnson bellowed as they reached the sun-lit entrance hall.
"Nothing!" George said in a not-so convincing tone of innocence as he and Fred wheeled her about. Angelina looked torn between amusement and annoyance at the sight of Skylar being dragged around by the her Beaters.
"Help me!" Skylar squeaked.
"What are you going to do to her?" Angelina asked, raising an eyebrow at them.
"We're going to take her on her very first ride on a broomstick!" Fred hollered back, his tone was as light and cheerful as the smile on his face.
"Oh right," said Angelina as she turned back round to Katie and Alicia, who were both giggling. "Have fun!"
So, reluctantly, Skylar let Fred and George Weasley drag her down the lawns, which were rather muddy from the recent downpours of rain, and towards the Quidditch pitch. They reached what Skylar presumed were the Gryffindor changing rooms and they threw her down onto one of the benches.
"Right," George said, clapping his hands together and beaming. "We're going to teach you how to fly!"
She crossed her arms over her chest and huffed rather loudly. But this obvious disprovable and discomfort from Skylar seemed to make Fred and George's identical grins grow wider.
"She's a stubborn one isn't she Fred?"
"Couldn't of said it better myself George."
"Can you stop doing that?" Skylar asked them.
"Doing what?" They chorused.
Skylar raised an eyebrow; she always found it rather endearing how Fred and George seemed to be able to read one another's thoughts. The way their sentences flowed so easily between them always fascinated her, though she would never admit that to them.
"Doing that!" She guested between the two of them. "Finishing each other's sentences like it's your job – it's intimidating!"
Fred's grin turned into a smirk and he nodded at George, who gave him an identical smirk and walked over to nearby broom cupboard. He flicked his wand and the door flew open, and pulled out two identical broomsticks. Skylar glared at them as though it was their fault that she was being pressured into flying – which in fact it was.
"Cheer up!" Fred barked brightly. "Flying feels great, I'm sure you'll love it!"
"B-but there's only two broomsticks!" she said in a high voice that was quite unlike her own.
"Do you really think we're going to put you on a broomstick by yourself on your own the first time flying?" George asked her incredulously.
Skylar shrugged, she really did think that they were just going to chuck her on a broomstick and watch her make a fool of herself.
Fred grinned, "Well since we're such gentlemen we decided that one of us should fly with you."
She didn't much like the idea of sharing a broomstick with one of the Weasley twins for various reasons. A) she knew that they were both superb flyers but that didn't mean that they could turn to quickly and 'accidentally' send her falling fifty feet from the ground and, b) they probably only thought of this simply to attempt to hit on her.
"I-I don't know…" she said skeptically and the twins both rolled their eyes in exasperation. "I mean those broomsticks don't look exactly… built for two do they?"
"I'm sure you can squeeze on one of our laps," George winked.
"No!" Skylar squeaked and brought her knees to her chest.
"Just a little joke Sky," Fred chortled. "You're pretty small, I'm sure there would be enough room for you."
"Why am I doing this again?" Skylar groaned, putting her hands over her face and pulling slightly on her hair. She felt both twins sit on each side of her.
"Because, it will make you feel better," said Fred in a slightly less joking voice, though he was still grinning from ear to ear.
Skylar removed her hand over her face to stare between the two redheads.
"And think about it! If you get this off your list then maybe you'll feel more confident about completing the others!" George reasoned. "Next thing you know you'll be in broom cupboards all over Hogwarts, indulging in all sorts of sexual endeavours–"
"Is that where people do it?" Skylar shrieked.
Fred and George both nodded.
"Especially Lee," Fred added. "I think he should have a broom cupboard named after him."
Skylar shuddered. She didn't want to even imagine Lee Jordan's sexual endeavours – she had heard far too many stories about Lee's certain… fantasies.
"But really Sky," Fred continued, "By the time we have graduated from this place, the Slytherins will be too scared to even look at you."
She really couldn't see the logic in where flying a broomstick with one of Hogwarts's most notorious pranksters would make her feel any better about standing up for herself, but then she remembered that logic and the Weasley twins never really crossed paths. She could say yes and it would be all over and done with. She could say no, but they would probably throw her on a broom anyway, they were after all brilliant Beaters and to them, picking up a just under average height, seventeen year old girl and putting her on a broomstick would be as easy as blowing up a toilet. Either way, she knew that they'd put her on a broom somehow.
"Okay!" She exclaimed and Fred and George both cheered. "But don't make fun of me if–"
"You get scared?" Fred smirked and Skylar looked down at her shoes. "Don't worry, if the worst happens and you do fall off–" Skylar looked up at him, alarmed as he said this, "–one of us will just catch you,"
"So," George said briskly, clapping his hands together, "who do you want to fly with?"
Skylar looked from Fred, then to George. She really hadn't thought about that.
"Erm," she said, rather awkwardly, "I don't know…"
"She wants to fly with me," said George, flexing his arms and smiling, "I'm the better looking one,"
"You're identical twins," Skylar pointed out but George ignored her and turned to Fred.
"Any ideas how we're going to settle this matter Fred?" he asked.
Fred pretended to think, Skylar knew that he was pretending because she didn't think she had ever seen Fred think in his life, "A nice, friendly, Muggle game of rock, paper, scissors might do the trick."
"Best out of three?"
In the end, Fred had beaten George. He grinned down at Skylar as they exited the changing rooms and walked towards the Quidditch pitch. Skylar had only seen the Quidditch pitch from the safety of the stands and how to admit that looking around from the player's perspective, it looked very impressive. She couldn't imagine walking out onto the pitch in front of the entire school, as the pitch looked a lot larger and longer and much more intimidating.
Fred mounted his broom first and Skylar stood, looking rather awkward, beside him.
"Well then, hop on," Fred encouraged.
"Where though?" she asked in a small voice, her eyes following George who was zooming around above them already on his broomstick.
"Well, you could hop on the back…" said Fred thoughtfully, "but you could fall off more easily then–" Skylar gulped as he continued, "–it would probably be best to sit in front of me, that way you can hold the broom too,"
"Erm," Skylar said, still her eyes following George who was doing a couple of loop-the-loops, "I-I still don't know–"
Fred let out a sigh of exasperation, grabbed Skylar around the waist, hoisted her feet from the ground and placed her on the broom in front of him. She immediately grabbed onto the broom handle before her, her arms already shaking. The feeling of being up in the air without any real means of safety unnerved her.
"There!" said Fred, he wound one around her waist and the other to hold onto the broom handle. Skylar flushed, even more feeling incredibly nervous as she could feel Fred's chest against her back, "was that so hard?"
She felt herself blushing at how close he was to her as she said, "N-no,"
"I'm going to kick off the ground, are you ready?" he asked cautiously.
"No!" she squeaked, her knuckles turning white from how tightly she was gripping the broom's handle. "Just count down from five!"
Fred laughed, "Alright then… five… four…" she breathed in and out slowly as Fred counted down, "three…" but suddenly, without warning, he kicked off, hard from the ground and Skylar almost lost her grip as they soared high into the air.
She screamed as Fred put on a burst of speed to reach his brother, who was laughing loudly.
"Having fun there Sky?" he asked as Fred stopped abruptly in mid-air beside George.
Skylar shook her head and tentatively looked back down at the ground. She screamed again and covered her hands over her face. Fred's broomstick gave a dangerous wobble.
"Wow there Skylar!" George said warningly, flying slowing closer to them to pat her on the back. "Its fine, you're completely safe."
She didn't want to move her hands from over her face because she felt her eyes burning as tears swam in them. If there was one thing that Skylar Harrison feared more than disappointing her parents, more than failing an exam or the idea of intimacy, it was heights, which was probably the reason why Skylar was so reluctant to fly in the first place.
"C-Can we please get off?" She squeaked, her voice mumbled as her hand was still covering her face.
There can no reply, instead, one of the twins gently grabbed her wrists and pulled her hands away from her face.
"Are you crying?" George asked.
Skylar shook her head but as she had nowhere to look but straight ahead (she wouldn't dream of looking back down at the ground) and she couldn't hide her tear filled eyes from the twins.
"A-Are you going to l-laugh and c-call me C-Cry Baby?" she hiccupped.
"No!" Fred proclaimed.
"I-I'm such a w-wuss!" she exclaimed, "I just d-don't like h-heights!"
"Skylar, its fine," said Fred, "Ginny used to be scared of heights, but we taught her how to fly–"
"And w-why aren't you m-making fun of m-me for crying?" she whimpered, rubbing her eyes furiously.
"We find your innocence rather endearing," said George, "and we really can't stand to see you get bullied by those blubbering idiots that are, most unfortunately, part of the same species as us,"
Skylar gave a shaky laugh.
"Just trust us," said Fred.
"N-no, I want to get down!" she burst out, returning her grip to around Fred's broom handle and trying, but to no avail, to bring them towards the ground. The broom gave a lurch and Fred had to grip to its handle to stop Skylar from trying again and risk them both being flung off his broom.
"Skylar we're just trying to–"
"Let me down please!" She sobbed, "I-I can't do this! I'm too much of a coward!" Her hands that were clasped tightly around Fred's broom handle which shook rather violently.
"Sky just trust–"
"No!" She shrieked, her voice shook as her eyes stung once again and a lump formed in her throat, "I-I want to get o-off!"
She heard Fred and George both sigh before she suddenly felt herself and Fred descending, very slowly and rather cautiously. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the broom handle even tighter, if that were even possible.
When she was finally a foot of the ground, Skylar almost fell over in her hast to get her feet back on the grass. She swayed ominously on the spot as Fred and George both dismounted their brooms, much more gracefully than she had.
"Steady on," Fred grunted, shouldering his broom and grabbing her arm to help keep her from falling over. "We're sorry we made you get on the broom."
"N-No it's fine," Skylar shook her head quickly and wiping her eyes. "It's over and done with now. And anyway," she turned to face them, smiling a little. "Two down–"
"–Eight to go," Fred and George finished.
Fred and George both put their broomsticks back into the cupboard. Skylar sat down on one of the benches, humming as she rummaged through her school bag.
"So, why didn't you tell us that you were afraid of heights?" George called over the noise of the broom cupboard door being slammed shut.
"Huh?" she murmured, resting her chin against her palm absently. "Oh, erm – it never came up in conversation?" She said with uncertainty.
"You didn't even think to mention to us you were scared of heights when we were planning to take you about fifty feet into the air on a broom?" Fred's arms folded across his chest, the corners of his lips were curling into a smile.
"Must have slipped her mind Fred," said George with an amused glance at Skylar's raised eyebrows.
"It didn't slip my mind," she scoffed, "I just thought – rather stupidly – that I would just forget about the heights once I was in the air… foolish right?"
"No, I understand. But that's only because I'm a Quidditch player," said Fred, sitting down beside Skylar and stretching his legs out before him, "Once you get on a broom you do forget about the height. But I suppose because it was your first time you couldn't really do that."
"If you don't mind me asking, but why are you scared of heights?" George enquired; he was now sitting on her other side.
"Oh uhm," Skylar was blushing slightly, "Well it started because when I was around… eight or nine, my father magically built this treehouse in our garden and it was really high up. I'm not kidding, if he had built that without magic, I highly doubt that it would be safe to use. But anyway, one day I was in the treehouse – colouring I think – and Lewis came up. You see, me and Lewis always used to fight. Still do in fact. But it was a lot worse when we were younger. And so, he climbed up the ladder with some of his friends and told me to go away. I told him that I was there first. And then one of his friends grabbed me and literally dangled me over the decking around the treehouse. It was terrifying, especially since it was about a twelve-foot drop. I didn't fall off, thankfully. My father had put magical protections in case one of us did fall off. But all the same, seeing the ground so far away unnerved me a great deal."
Fred and George didn't say anything. They simply nodded.
"What are you both afraid of?"
The question rather surprised both Fred and George. They had identical looks of surprise on their face as they stared hard at Skylar.
"Why do you want to know what we're afraid of?" Fred asked her slowly.
"It's only fair," she shrugged. "I told you what I'm scared of…"
"We're not telling you!" said Fred, his familiar smirk curling his lips. "We are both far too macho."
"Oh I'm sure," Skylar mumbled, her eyes moving back to her bag where she continued to leaf through it.
"Skylar, can we ask you something?" Fred asked, watching her closely.
"Sure," she replied distractedly, "Feel free."
There was a pregnant pause. Skylar knew that the twins were sending one another looks over her head. "Why are you so scared to let down your parents?" George finally asked.
Skylar froze. Her hand still deep in her bag.
"Why do you ask?"
Fred and George both shrugged in reply. "Just curious really," said Fred.
She dropped her bag to the floor and leaned back against the wall, her bottom lip between her teeth as she chewed on her next words.
"Well, put yourself in my shoes. My father is the most famous Healer in St. Mungo's. He got eleven Outstandings in his OWLs and eight in his NEWTs. From my first day at Hogwarts I was hit with these tidal waves of comments like 'oh, when Edgar was here he was a born Potions marker' – and – 'when Edgar was here, he always studied until steam was coming out of his ears'. I always looked up to my father because, well, he is brilliant. Head Boy for Ravenclaw, he received an award for Special Services to the School and he got one of his essays published simply because it was that good. Even my mother was brilliant at school – bearing in mind she's a Muggle – she's an Art & Design professor at a Muggle University as well as a self-employed Artist. She has one of her paintings hanging in the Art Museum near our house for Merlin's sake! And when I got my letter from Hogwarts my father had never looked so proud of me. And I liked it because it took a lot to make my father proud. He kept saying 'you'll be great in Ravenclaw'. But then when we got sorted and I was placed into Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw, I…I just got the feeling that he wasn't proud of me, even in his and my mother's letters. So I wanted to make up for it by showing him that I could be in Gryffindor and get the grades that Ravenclaws got. And I did. But the feeling of even thinking that I let them down made me completely powerless because I couldn't just demand the Sorting Hat to change its mind," she ran her fingers through her hair and then rapped them against her knee, "that's kind of the reason I don't want to let them down again. Ever."
Another loud silence followed this. Fred and George seemed to be digesting her words while Skylar fixed her attention on what appeared to be the Gryffindor Quidditch team's robes hanging up on several pegs.
"Edgar Louis Harrison is your father?" Fred finally asked her, his eyes wide.
Skylar very nearly scowled at him.
"I'm sorry," Fred muttered, rubbing his shoulder where George had just flicked him. "It's just… that is an awful lot to live up to."
"I know," Skylar sighed as she fiddled with her fingers. "Don't get me wrong I love my father but he is just one of those people who you don't want to let down."
"If it makes you feel any better we let down our mother and father a lot," said George with a sad sort of grin. "See we have three older brothers. Bill was a prefect, he was Head Boy and now he's working for Gringotts Bank as a Curse Breaker."
"And then there's Charlie," said Fred. "He was also a prefect – never Head Boy – but he was Quidditch Captain. And now he's studying dragons in Romania."
"Dragons?" Skylar repeated in an awed voice.
"Yeah-uh," Fred replied distractedly. "Dragons."
"And then we have," George stopped so that he could scowl menacingly. "Percy."
"He was a prefect and Head Boy wasn't he?" said Skylar, remembering the old red-headed prefect who had often helped her with her homework during her OWL year. He was a complete polar opposite of Fred and George Weasley – it was so hard to believe that they were related, sometimes Skylar had forgotten.
"Course," Fred muttered. "Bloody git. He works for the Ministry of Magic now. Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic himself."
"And now he doesn't even talk to us," said George darkly. "He chose work over his family."
"That… that's horrible," Skylar said in a small voice.
And then you have us… we're just a pair of troublemakers. We got three OWLs each. We weren't even in the running to become perfects – not that we would want to." Fred added as an afterthought and George nodded in agreement. "But you see, we have all these amazingly smart, ambitious elder brothers that our parents are oh so proud of. But us… it's like what have we got for them to be proud of?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" Skylar looked from Fred to George with a comforting expression. "The stuff that you two make is… is… well its ingenious! Some of the spells, potions and charms you use are far beyond NEWTs. You don't give yourselves enough credit."
"Never thought that I would see the day that Skylar Adella Harrison pays us a compliment," George beamed.
Skylar flushed as rain began to hit the high windows of the changing rooms. "It's true. You two are smart. You just exercise your cleverness into other things…"
"We're touched Sky," said Fred, his hands resting upon his chest in a dramatic sort of way that made her giggle.
"Shut up, I was being serious!" she laughed, pushing Fred's shoulder so that he tumbled off the bench and onto the floor. Both Fred and George burst in peals of laughter as Skylar shrieked, "oh gosh Fred! I am so sorry!"
"Its fine!" He chuckled, accepting the hand Skylar had offered to help him to his feet. But instead of her pulling him up, he had pulled her down so that she landed on the floor which made the twins laughter only double. She scowled at Fred who lay beside her, howling with laughter. A smile began to dance along her lips and before she knew it, her laughter had joined Fred and George's. For the first time in her life, she was not worrying about her parents or the homework she had not completed. She was simply enjoying herself. Feeling like the carefree teenager she ought to be.
Skylar woke up the next day, much earlier than usual though still feeling relaxed and well-rested. Angelina and Alicia were still tucked up in their blankets, Alicia snoring lightly and Angelina murmuring Quidditch tactics under her breath. Skylar stretched and quickly got dressed, falling several times due to her struggling to get into her tights.
She descended the stairs to the Gryffindor common room to see that Fred and George also there, surrounding the noticeboard.
"Morning," she yawned, tapping George's back and then Fred's. They turned so abruptly that she very nearly fell over again. They both looked rather worried about something. "What's wrong? Has Hermione confiscated one of your products?"
"No," Fred's laugh sounded rather odd and Skylar looked curiously between the twins. She felt as though she was missing something.
"Okay…" she turned, to go and do her usual check of the noticeboard but suddenly Fred had grabbed her.
"Don't look at it!"
"Why not?" she asked, perplexed. "I always check the noticeboard," she huffed, successfully managing to push Fred's arm out of the way to approach the noticeboard.
She had actually let out a shriek as she saw large sign had been pinned on overnight. It read:
BY ORDER OF THE HIGH INQUISITOR OF HOGWARTS
All student organisations, societies, teams, groups and clubs are henceforth disbanded.
An organisation, society, team, group or club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students.
Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge).
No student organisation, society, team, group or club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor.
Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an organisation, society, team, group or club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.
The above is in accordance with Educational Decree Number Twenty-four.
Signed: Dolores Jane Umbridge, High Inquisitor
Her mouth seemed to have gone dry as she read the large black letters. Expelled?! It was not a mere coincidence that had this 'Educational Decree' was made. Umbridge knew. Skylar would not have been surprised if Umbridge herself had been in the Hogs Head, perhaps hiding behind the bar or under a table – she was short enough anyway.
"Oh no," Skylar shook her head, her entire body almost feeling numb from shock. "Oh no, no, no! I am not getting expelled!"
"Skylar just calm down for a minute…" Fred said in his best attempt at a soothing voice.
"Calm down?" Skylar repeated in an incredibly high-pitched voice that was sure to shatter several windows. "How am I supposed to calm down when I am at risk of getting expelled? Oh Merlin. What would my father say?" She took a few steps back from the noticeboard and sank down into a nearby armchair, her face pale. "Why don't I just dig myself an early grave and be done with it?"
"Sky you won't get expelled–" George began but Skylar had cut across him.
"Oh really? Because the Education Decree says otherwise," she frowned deeply and rested back further into the armchair. "I knew we would have been easily overheard in that pub! What am I going to do?"
"Well first, we're going to breakfast," said George, looping his arm through hers, Fred's then following suit. Together they dragged her through the portrait hole and down the grand staircase like they had done on their journey to the Quidditch pitch only yesterday.
"I don't enjoy being man handled like this," Skylar complained as Fred and George missed the last step to land rather dangerously in the entrance hall. "I could have broken my leg!"
"But you didn't and that is all that matters," replied Fred before they jostled her along into the Great Hall where students all around seemed to be buzzing about the Educational Decree.
"If they continue it then I'm definitely still going along," said Fred in a whisper as he poured himself some pumpkin juice. "What's the worst that can happen?"
"You could get expelled," Skylar mused, her tone as gloomy as her expression. "I for one am not going to get expelled. I don't want to be kicked out for that bloody study grou–"
"Keep your voice down!" Fred warned her, clamping his hands over her mouth as he and George stared widely around the House tables.
"We're still going along with it," George told her dismissively as Skylar stared at him, her skin turning white in the space of a millisecond. "And don't even think for a second about backing out!"
"But in case you do," Fred began with a wishful smile. "I have an essay Muffling Charms that has proven to be most difficult."
"This is your NEWT year Sky," George grinned, tapping her on the nose causing her to scowl at him. "How will you pass your practical for Defence Against the Dark Art exam without practising the spells beforehand?"
Skylar bit her lip but did not reply.
"And," said Fred, slinging an arm over her shoulder and grinning widely at her, "Harry could teach you how to do the Patronus Charm which has been, we all know, your dream since our very first year at Hogwarts."
"You know you want to Sky," George said watching Skylar as she stirred her porridge, deep in thought. "Think about the eight Oustandings NEWTs you so deserve,"
"Harry may not even want to continue with it!" She said after a few moments, trying to keep the hopefulness in her voice to a bare minimum.
They did not question her further after that. Instead they turned to the subject of the list. Fred was adamant that Skylar should next complete number nine and snog the next person who talks to her (she plainly refused this) while George thought that she should skip Charms so number seven would be completed (she also refused this).
"I'm not skipping Charms!" Skylar exclaimed in a whisper before asking Katie Bell to pass her some toast.
"Well what lesson are you going to skip then?" George asked her with a raised crimson eyebrow, "Because you are going to have to skip a lesson to complete the list."
"I've completed two things from that list in under a week–"
"Which is all more of a reason to complete more!" Fred reasoned.
"I'm not skipping a lesson until I find it prudent," she spoke in a manner that plainly told Fred to shut up, her butter knife pointed almost threateningly at him.
"Morning Weasleys." Roger Davies greeted the twins, high fiving both Fred and George with his trademark smile on his face.
Roger Davies was, from Skylar's knowledge, a good friend to both Fred and George. Though he was the Ravenclaw Quidditch team Captain, the twins and Roger had seemed to be good friends since their first year at school, there seemed to be no rivalry between them due to their teams. Roger Davies was also smart – not very surprising since he was indeed a Ravenclaw. He was also very good-looking – soft brown hair that was carelessly messy, but yet so flawless, dark green eyes that were enough to make any girl blush. Every year at Hogwarts a 'Hot List' was posted by anonymous pupils and Roger Davies always took first prize.
"Morning Davies," Fred grinned. "What brings you to this side of the hall?"
"That Educational Decree," Roger scowled darkly. "It didn't just mean groups like the bloody Potions club or whatever. They meant teams too! Quidditch teams!"
Fred and George's faces paled instantly.
"Quidditch teams?!" George looked aghast. "You… you can't be serious!"
"I wouldn't lie about this sort of thing," Roger frowned. "We have to go directly to Umbridge and ask her to re-form the teams!"
"Angelina is going to murder someone," George breathed, closing his eyes as though to rid the image of Angelina's furious face (which was everybody's worst nightmare). "Oh Merlin. This sucks."
"Do you know if she's awake yet Sky?" Fred asked her.
Skylar felt Roger's eye on her and immediately felt awkward and rather flustered. Though she now spent her days alongside the Weasley twins, Skylar was still incredibly shy when it came to talking to guys. Especially boys like Roger Davies. She felt herself blushing as she met Fred's eyes, determinedly not looking at Number One on Hogwarts' Hot List.
"She was asleep when I left the dormitory," she told Fred in a voice that sounded almost too normal. Her gaze immediately returned to her porridge.
"Shy one isn't she?" Roger snorted which only made Skylar's blush grow a deeper red. "I'll see you both later."
As she stirred her porridge nonchalantly, Skylar could practically feel Fred and George's eyes burning into the top of her head. Tentatively, she peered up at them. They were grinning at her.
"You like Roger don't you?" they said together in almost terrifying synchronisation.
"No!" she said in a squeak. "I just… I just–"
"C'mon Sky," Fred beamed. "We could get you two together in no time! Get number eight and nine done in a flash–"
"I don't know how to talk to boys, okay?"
George frowned, "But you talk to us. You talk to Lee."
"I've spoken to you guys every day since the first day at Hogwarts. I'm used to you but guys like Roger I-I just get nervous around them," she covered her blushing cheeks by fiddling with the end of her hair. "I'm just really shy like – Harry's here!"
The twins stood up immediately, Fred grabbing Skylar's arm in the process and very nearly knocking over her cup of tea. Not only did Fred and George make their way over to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas, and Ginny Weasley had also rushed to their feet.
"Did you see it?" Dean asked Ron.
"D'you reckon she knows?" Fred asked Hermione.
"What are we going to do?" Ginny asked Harry.
Skylar and the others all looked at Harry expectantly, waiting for him to speak. Harry peered around the Great Hall and Skylar was sure he was checking if there were any teachers nearby.
"We're going to do it anyway, of course," Harry replied in a whisper.
"Knew you'd say that," George beamed, thumping Harry on the arm as Fred did the same to Skylar.
"The prefects as well?" Fred asked, raising an eyebrow and looking from Ron to Hermione.
"Of course," Hermione replied, her tone silencing Fred's skeptical look.
"Here come Ernie and Hannah Abbott," announced Ron, after glancing over his shoulder. "And those Ravenclaw blokes and Smith… and no one looks very spotty."
"Never mind spots!" Hermione hissed frantically, "the idiots can't come over here now, it'll look really suspicious - sit down!" she mouthed to Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott, moving her arms desperately around in the air as though attempting to fly. "Later! We'll –talk – to – you – later!"
"I'll tell Michael," said Ginny, her cheeks flushing ever so slightly as she rushed towards the Ravenclaw table, "the fool, honestly…"
"Did she mean Michael Corner?" George enquired of Fred and Skylar as they returned to their breakfast. "And why was she blushing?"
Fred shrugged but Skylar let out a quiet giggle that didn't go unnoticed by neither of the pranksters.
"What?" Fred asked her suspiciously.
"Oh don't tell me you don't know," Skylar said incredulously. "Everyone else knows about it!"
"About what?" said Fred impatiently, eyeing Skylar with curiosity.
"Ginny and Michael…"she said, looking from Fred, to George, and back again – they still appeared to be none the wiser. "They're going out… didn't anyone tell you?"
"What?!" George roared, his and Fred's entire bodies turning to glare at the back of Michael Corner's head as he spoke in hushed whispers to Ginny. "But he's a git!"
Skylar rolled her eyes before taking a sip of her tea. "Of course you'd think that your sister's boyfriend was a git."
Skylar did not skive off Charms that afternoon but it had appeared George had. Fred had told her that he had tested out some of the Fever Fudge. When she had asked what Fever Fudge did, Fred looked a little disgruntled.
"Well it gives you a high fever obviously," Fred stated as he waved his wand, a perfect fountain of water jetting out of its tip. "But they give you this pus-filled boils all over your… well," Fred grinned at Skylar and wiggled his eyebrow, "In a rather sensitive area."
"Where's tha – oh," she flushed, "Try Murtlap Essence."
"I'm going to get my peni–"
Skylar silenced him by covering his mouth with her hands, her face bright red as Fred grinned helplessly.
"So Sky, are you still coming along to our little 'bloody study group' as you so like to call it?"
Skylar frowned, still concentrating on the fountain of water spurting from the end of her wand. "Well… if it does help with my Defence Against the Dark Arts grade then I… I suppose I could… tag along."
Skylar wrinkled her nose at Fred. "But if I get expelled you and George are going to have to explain to my father that it was all your fault."
Fred didn't look at all discouraged. On the contrary, he grinned widely and said, "I'm sure your father, myself and George would get on quite nicely."