Status: In very, very, very slow progress


Lupin's message and Gerard's accident

As the summer ball was only two days away, Bleeding On The Ballroom Floor had a band practice that night, as they had every night for the past two weeks.

Vanessa dropped onto her bed and smiled. Band practice had been productive, and they had had a laugh. However, she was glad Professor McGonagall had given them so much advance warning. It had taken them around a month to experiment and make their sound and really form the band, and also to create enough songs for a decent length-set. Plus, it had helped her have time, between band practice, homework and meeting up with friends, to buy a ball gown.

The teachers involved had been very lucid and adamant regarding the dress code. It was to be formal, meaning all the girls would have to wear ball gowns or dress robes (not that they looked very different!), and the boys would be in wizard’s dress robes or a formal suit.


“Professor?” Vanessa called, rapping on the door of Lupin’s office.

“Come in.” came the reply. Vanessa stepped in to the room, her black Converses making a tapping noise on the bare floorboards.

“Ah, Vanessa, yes, sit down, I’ll be with you in a second.” He smiled. Obliging, Vanessa sat in the chair opposite the desk, and made sure that her inhaler was in the pocket of her black combat trousers.

“On second thoughts, let’s walk and discuss this by the lake.”

“Alrighty then….” Vanessa agreed.

“I knew your parents well; we went to Hogwarts together. David was my best friend and Bertha was the best friend of Harry’s mother, Lily. I was also a good friend of hers, and I daresay your father told you about the Marauders?” Lupin began.

“Yes.” Vanessa replied. Her father had told her loads about his and her mother’s school days.

“Well, David was a friend of them. He was great friends with both of Harry’s parents, and Sirius Black.”

“I believe he’s innocent. He’s just a victim of injustice, circumstances and maybe a bit of foul play.” Vanessa interjected.

“You really are your father’s daughter.” Lupin smiled. “Anyway, he didn’t get on well with Peter Pettigrew. He always said he suspected something, and didn’t trust him.”

“I don’t either. Even if he’s said to be dead.” Vanessa interrupted again. Lupin gave another smile and continued.

“At their wedding, your uncle was the best man; that was a week before a dirty cauldron cost him his life, yes? Nevertheless, your sister’s godfather was or rather, is James Potter. And your godfather… is me.” He finished.

“That means… you’re Moony. Ah. Wow. I lose a father, and then find the next best thing! This is great!” Vanessa smiled, after a moment of silence, wiping her eye on the sleeve of her plain black hoodie, underneath which a Fall Out Boy t-shirt was hidden. “So, um… Professor-”

“Please, unless you’re talking to me as your teacher, call me Remus. I’m your godfather out of school.”

“Right. This is all so weird; but in a good way, I mean, like peanut butter and Marmite sandwiches. Now that is a good sandwich!” Vanessa replied. “Man, this is just crazy!” Feeling it was necessary, Remus hugged her, and pulling away asked,

“So, is everything going okay?”

“Well, you know the Summer Ball coming up? I’m in a band that’s performing at it and I’m so nervous!” Vanessa moaned.

“Oh, what do you do?” Remus asked interestedly.

“I play a little bit of basic acoustic guitar and I’m the band’s lead vocalist. We’re called Bleeding On The Ballroom Floor.” She answered.

“Sounds nice. I heard the older Way brother saying how beautiful your voice is the other day to one of his classmates as they came in.” He smiled.

“He… he said that about me?” Vanessa asked disbelievingly. Remus nodded.

“I’ve overhead him complimenting you many a time. Nearly never has a bad word to say about you. Besides your house.” Vanessa was silent for a moment, and then smiled absent mindedly.

The chat continued reminiscent of that for some time until lunch, after which Vanessa had a final band practice before the Ball, as it was the next day.

They had dropped the idea of their Fall Out Boy and Green Day covers, and replaced it with a song of their own and a cover of ‘Pressure’ by Paramore. All they needed to do now was decide on a set list.

“So we’ll start with ‘Here We Are’, then ‘Fuck It All’, then ‘Not The Normal Lot’, and then….” Lewis recapped the set list that he had written in his usual calligraphic handwriting. The band then discussed their stage outfits and surprise at the houses they belonged in, before setting down to practice a final time before tomorrow’s sound check and rehearsal.

An hour and a half later, it was four o’clock, and Vanessa was trailing back to her common room, or maybe to the lake, she was undecided, when she heard the sounds of someone yelling and the noise that someone else was being beaten up. Turning the corner she saw Gerard being punched by two fifth year Slytherins, Crabbe, Goyle, a fourth year Slytherin and Malfoy was yelling at him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Vanessa yelled, outraged and hoping against hope that Gerard was alright.

“Thumping this freak.” a fifth year replied casually.

“Oh, well, thump him one more time and you’ll regret it.” She said menacingly. The Slytherins just laughed and punched Gerard, who was bleeding from the nose and lower chest. He was slumped against the wall and looked painfully just about conscious and had obviously given up trying to defend himself.

“What do you care, he hates you!”

“Even so, he’s a human being. Stop.” They ignored her. “You asked for this.” Vanessa grimaced, drawing her wand. The others drew theirs and then-
“Expelliarmus! Wingardium Leviosa!” she yelled. The Slytherins’ wands flew into the air and whizzed down the corridor. Malfoy’s cronies ran after their wands and their leader scowled and said angrily,
“You are too smart.” before rushing after his wand.

“Oh, Christ! Gerard, can you hear me?” Vanessa asked in a loud clear voice, kneeling beside him.

“Perfectly.” He replied, sounding slightly wheezy.

“Can you breathe?” She inquired.

“Just about.”

“Okay, can you sit up for me? That’s great. And tilt your head back…” Vanessa had one hand on Gerard’s cheek, steadying his head and the other hand was steadying her while resting on the floor. “Right, you keep your head forward, here, have this-” She handed him a white tissue. “And keep it on your nose. Just pinch it firmly and don’t lean back. Alright then! Umm…” she paused for a second, embarrassed. “You wouldn’t mind if I, um, unbuttoned your shirt a little? So I can see your wound, of course!” Vanessa was blushing, her pale cheeks dusted with pink.

“Not a bit,” Gerard agreed. “I don’t mind at all!” he added a little too hastily with a sheepish smile, which received him an odd look from Vanessa. He blushed and unbuttoned his shirt so the wound was nicely visible.

Vanessa gasped. “That must really, really hurt.” The wound was circular and gently oozing blood through Gerard’s shirt.
“A little.”

“Well, anyway, let’s bandage you up and get you to the Hospital Wing. Can you walk?”

“I guess.”

“What do you think life would be like if we were still together?” Gerard asked. After a short pause, Vanessa replied,

“Less stressful.”

“Why?” Gerard inquired disbelievingly. Without thinking Vanessa replied,

“Because you are the calm before, after and during the storm and knowing you like that was the best thing that ever happened to me. You’ve helped me through some of the hardest times of my life so far.”

“Seriously?” Gerard queried, stunned.

“Fuck yeah.” Vanessa admitted, sighing. “But, you know, its stupid thinking it can work. You’re a fourth year Gryffindor; I’m a third year Slytherin. Never ever gonna work!”

“Never say never ever.” Gerard smiled. Vanessa blushed and helped him turn the corner.

“So, are you all set for tomorrow’s performance?” She asked, changing the subject.

“Pretty much. How… theatrical is your set?” He replied.

“Slightly. During one song, we really go a bit OTT, but it’s cool. Yours?” Vanessa smiled.

“Not as much as the ‘Revenge’ Tour, but reasonably. So, how’s your band assembled? Who’s in it? What do they do?” Gerard inquired; stumbling slightly and tightening his grip round Vanessa’s shoulders as she tightened her grip round his waist, as she still could not reach his shoulders.

“You okay?” she asked, concerned.

“Yeah, we’re nearly at the hospital wing, look.”

Madam Pomfrey shook her head seeing the pair enter, as it was practically their second home – Gerard was always there with his brother and Frank, and Vanessa was there herself and with Gen.

“Which one of you is actually hurt this time?” she sighed.

“Gerard. He’s got a major chest wound, heavy bleeding and a nosebleed too.” Vanessa answered.

“How did he sustain these injuries?” the matron inquired sternly.

“He got beaten up by some complete jerks in my House.” Vanessa spat angrily.

“But you fixed them good, that was pure genius making their wands fly away!” Gerard grinned. Vanessa blushed (the matron muttered to herself,
“Lord, I can just feel the hormones!”).

“And I thought you were supposed to come and rescue me.” Vanessa smirked.

A silence began when Madam Pomfrey started to magically heal Gerard’s wound, during which Vanessa idly began to sing ‘Basket Case’ by Green Day.

“So, Ness, who got you into Muggle rock?” Gerard asked as the matron lazily pressed her wand to his lower chest.

“My older sister, Jenifer. She’s a Squib, so she’s the one who got me into everything Muggle that I like. Her fiancée, Joe, he’s a pureblood wizard, so it’s funny when you say things like Freddie Mercury and he has absolutely no idea who you’re talking about!”
A confused look on Madam Pomfrey’s face told them that she too had no idea what they were talking about, and this made the young pair laugh.

“Right, you should be alright now, just be careful. You too, Herbaceum.”

“We will.” They answered in unison.

“Aww, man, I’ve missed you, mate.” Vanessa commented, grinning.

“Would I be utterly deluded if I offered you a hug?” Gerard beamed, speaking in his (fake) English accent.

“That’s one of the things I missed!” Vanessa squealed, throwing her arms around him. Hugging her back, he whispered, not to anyone in particular,

“I’ve missed you more than words could ever say.”

Pulling away, Vanessa realised what had just happened, and where this left her organised, restrained lifestyle. It left it in tatters. Where was she with Gerard? All these questions buzzing in her head, but she knew she needed a parent-figure to help her sort it out in her mind.

“I have to- I- we- I’ve got to go.” Vanessa stammered, turning away and breaking in to a run.

“Vanessa! Ness!” she turned. “What’s going on?” Gerard asked. She winked.

“‘Skater Boy’ all the way, Lavigne.”

“Whatever, Avril.”

It was a thing they’d developed when they were together – if something could only be explained by a certain song, they would say the name of the song, and the surname of the artist, or the band name, and to say that the other person had understood, they would call them by the artist’s first name, or acknowledge what has been said.

Knocking on the door of the Staff Room, Vanessa took a deep breath and waited. There was no answer. She tried again and still nothing.