[identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] prefer_my_life
Title: magic was never in my bones, but yours
Fandom: Skins/Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Cook/Effy
Author's Note: Word Count - 2,105. Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] stainofmylove, who wanted Cook and Effy at Hogwarts.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.

He spots her right away, waiting in the Great Hall with everyone else. Most of the other first years seem to vary between terror and excitement, but not her. She’s wearing a look of casual amusement on her face, as though she’s superior to all the other kids here.

(She is. He knows this, immediately.)

Cook finds himself Sorted to the Gryffindor table pretty quickly and is joined shortly thereafter by Seamus Finnigan, who seems like a good enough bloke. He doesn’t take his eyes off the girl, who McGonagall calls Elizabeth Stonem, not even when the Sorting Hat barely settles on her head before shouting out Slytherin! A slick-haired blonde at the Slytherin table seems pleased but when Elizabeth waltzes past him, his face crumbles a bit.

Cook is too young to fall in love, but he thinks later this might have been it.

+

The boys dorm is crowded with first years and while Cook hasn’t learned all their names yet, Seamus is whispering about how Harry Potter is in their dorm and how long it took for the Hat to decide. Cook shrugs and figures it doesn’t matter; his ma’s not a witch but his da was, or at least was when he took off two years ago. He knows enough to know it doesn’t really matter.

“I’m Freddie,” says a boy about his height and looks like he’s going through a Goth phase. Cook shakes his hand and takes the bed next to his. “James Cook,” he replies and then grins, his desire for mischief taking over. “So what do you suppose there’s to do around here?”

+

James Cook and Freddie McLair earn themselves a track record fast enough; three detentions in the first two weeks and McGonagall’s threatening to send them on the next train home. Cook just winks at her, knowing better. There’s something sad – wistful – when she looks at the pair of them, though maybe Cook’s imagining it.

(Then again, maybe not.)

They pick up a third kid, another Gryffindor first year named Neville Longbottom, after a shared detention cleaning out bedpans. While it’s disgusting and worse than the detentions back at his primary school, Cook sees dependability in the other boy.

After that, they’re inseparable.

+

Elizabeth flits in and out of Cook’s view, between Potions and flying lessons and the crowded halls between classes. She’s forbidden – he knows this much – but Cook was never one to back down from a challenge. There’s a girl who follows her around, someone called Panda and who looks it too, between the frills she’s added to her Slytherin robes and the ribbons in her hair.

But Cook is too young to fall in love, so he just winks at them one day when he passes by and tells them to take care.

Elizabeth doesn’t even blink, but Panda turns pink to the roots of her beribboned hair.

+

Second year – well, second year there’s so much time spent dodging professors and monsters that Petrify people Cook barely has time to spare for Elizabeth – Effy now. The Slytherin girls trail after her like a queen, babbling in the wake of her borrowed majesty. Of course, the monsters don’t stop Cook and Freddie and Neville, and they land a triple detention after stealing broomsticks from the lockers for a joyride over the Forbidden Forest.

“I don’t know what to do with you anymore,” McGonagall says wearily and if Cook’s not mistaken, it looks like Freddie’s almost embarrassed.

Truth is, Cook is occupied by monsters and mischief and the tiniest amount of homework (it helps that he’s chums with Ron Weasley whose best friends include the smartest witch in the school), but he’s heard a rumor. Word is the Weasley twins have a secret way in and out of the castle, a way to tell when professors are near, and more importantly where the kitchens are. He’s desperate to impress them and spends more and more time causing trouble.

(He catches her watching him, once, but she looks away so fast he can’t be sure.)

And then Harry Potter, his famous dorm mate, rescues a dying girl from a chamber deep in the school’s bowels and Cook wonders if maybe it does matter, after all. It matters where you come from.

He doesn’t come from anywhere.

+

The years bleed past him and when he finally asks Fred and George about how they get around the castle so easily they ruffle his bloody hair and tell him the legacy has already been bequeathed. It would sting, but Cook figures he knows enough – he and Freddie and Neville will do just fine. They do tell him where the kitchens are though, and Neville gets a little fatter even though Freddie and Cook keep him running around the halls.

(And then, there are girls. Girls who finally pay attention to Freddie, to Cook, even to Neville. Lavender and Eloise and an older girl, Marietta, who bursts into tears when Cook dumps her.)

Never Effy though.

And really, Cook is starting to die inside, wonders if his Gryffindor bravery might just backfire with a Slytherin. He still catches glimpses of her, but now she’s grown legs and any girlishness about her face has been replaced with thick waves of hair, heavy eye shadow and longer lashes. The disinterest hasn’t faded though, and when he finds her underneath the Quidditch stands during a game, smoking a clove, he leans close to draw in her exhaled breath.

“Nice day for it, innit?” he says and Effy smiles oddly at him, takes another draw on her clove and crushes it at his feet.

“I wouldn’t know,” she says, and he watches her leave with a pining in his gut.

+

He’s never told anyone, not even Freddie – what is there to tell? – so at first he tries not to hate him when Freddie says he’s asked Effy to go with Hogsmeade to him.

“Are you stupid?” Cook says, leaning up from his pillows to stare at Freddie, heart slowly beating out of time faster and faster. “She’s a Slytherin.” He pauses for effect, waiting to drop this bombshell he’d just heard. “Her father was sent to Azkaban. With the other Death Eaters,” he adds, when Freddie doesn’t seem to register, but it doesn’t seem to do the trick.

“Then maybe she could use a friend,” Freddie says and Cook snorts, leans back and stares up at his four-poster canopy. “It’s boring,” he mutters, but Freddie’s already gone.

(Effy is anything but boring.)

But Cook – he never stayed down for long, not him, and after dinner he’s waiting for Effy in the hallways, wanders back with her down towards the dungeons until she finally faces him and asks him for a cigarette. Snape’s got to be around here somewhere, so Cook lights it for her himself, sees something like respect filter behind her eyes.

“Impress me,” she says and disappears down a corridor Cook’s never seen before.

+

He finds it far too easy to throw away a five year friendship, but nobody gives a shit, really, because Harry Potter was right – they’re in the middle of a war and they’ve got bigger things to worry about, yeah? So when he finds Effy standing outside Honeydukes, he doesn’t think twice. Leans against the building next to her and smirks when she says nothing, just studies her face. She looks angry and bored, but like she’s trying to contain it.

None of that.

“How’s it going then?” he asks, and nicks her cigarette. “All candies and roses?”

“He’s getting me something right now,” Effy says. “Unless you have something else to offer?”

She’s a Slytherin through and through, but Cook came prepared. Pulls a flask of Firewhiskey from his robes and passes it to her in the cold, watches her take a swig as her cheeks glow red before she passes it back.

“More where that came from, princess,” he says, and when she spots Freddie heading for the door, Cook could give a victory whoop when she pulls him down the alley, stifles his mouth with her hand until a confused Freddie heads the other way.

“We were going to Madame Puddifoot’s next,” Effy says but Cook’s been waiting six years, he’s not waiting a second longer. He kisses her sudden and hard and ends it quick, panting in the cold air. When he looks at her again, she’s staring at him with black-laced eyes and he isn’t sure if his blood’s running hot or cold when she reaches up to dig her hands through his hair, pull him back down to her.

Cook is aware, somewhere, that the alley has a sweet stench to it, that dozens of Hogwarts students can see him pushing Effy back against the rough brick, but it doesn’t matter. When Effy finally pulls free, Cook trying to catch his breath, she studies him like he’s a special kind of assignment before pulling away from the wall.

“I’m going back to the castle,” she says, and Cook knows an invitation when he hears it, but when she steps into the street he whistles lowly. “This way,” he says, cocking his head towards Honeydukes and she frowns but this is Cook, after all, not Freddie.

(No candies or roses here.)

He shows her the secret passageway back to the castle and they come out near one of the lower level classroom halls.

(The castle is empty. They don’t bother to be quiet.)

+

The thing is, she doesn’t ever really break up with Freddie. Doesn’t ever really go out with Cook. They don’t have Potions or flying lessons together anymore but Cook doesn’t care because as much as she doesn’t care about anything else, Effy always seems to find him.

Freddie has less and less to say to him these days. Talks about the war and how they should fight, and Cook, yeah, he knows when the time comes, he won’t run. But then Dumbledore falls from the tallest tower and in the midst of crying students, a green-robed girl grabs his arm and leads him away from the fray. She looks tiny, here in the darkness, and Cook thinks she might have been crying if she knew how.

“You don’t want to be here when they come,” she says, her eyes searching his. “I’m going, now.”

(Cook figures they’ll come back. Eventually.)

In truth, he comes back alone. He insists Freddie needs him, Neville needs him, and Effy – she doesn’t need anybody.

“That’s what I always liked about you, Cook,” she says. “Brave.”

But he thinks she’s still coming – thinks she’ll hold his hand and they’ll face the world together (forever) – until he’s Apparating and she’s let go of his hand, disappearing from him in a swirl of voices and color. The loss settles real and heavy when he lands at Hogwarts but even as he adjusts and hears McGonagall yelling orders to the suits of armor, his heart’s a thousand miles away.

Cook is too young to be in love – but he is all the same.

+

It takes her months and months, but she does finally show up. Hogwarts is lying in rubble, Freddie is dead and buried without a single goodbye, and Cook’s killed the man who did it. There’s nothing left to do and nowhere to go.

He came from nowhere, it’s as good a place as any.

Just when he’s about given up though, he spots her coming across the Three Broomsticks with two drinks in her hand. She’s not wearing green today, and her face is more drawn than he’s ever seen it, but Effy – she survived, somehow.

Sitting across the table from him, she pushes one of the drinks across the table to him and they swallow it back in peace. Cook doesn’t know what to say – those hollow eyes should be full – and so he says something stupid instead.

“I’d do it all over again,” he tells her and Effy shakes her head, confused. “Everything, the fucks, fuck ups, everything, I'd do it all again.”

“I don’t need you to,” she says, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear and curling her hands in her lap.

“What do you need, princess?” he asks and there – finally – a haunted smile creeps across Effy’s face.

“You want to get out of here?” she asks, standing, and Cook follows suit. She doesn’t wait for his answer but they step outside together and clasp hands. Effy closes her eyes and with a rush, Cook feels himself Apparate somewhere far, far away with Effy.

(This time, she doesn’t let go.)

Finis

Date: 2012-10-14 01:37 pm (UTC)
ext_317107: (Skins; Cook/Effy; sex drugs blah blah)
From: [identity profile] stainofmylove.livejournal.com
EEEEEEEEE, it made me so happy to see that you posted this yesterday :D :D :D :D It's so many things I wanted, I love it, thank you! The repetitions of "too young to be in love" are wonderful, and the section where Freddie tells Cook that he asked Effy out on a date and Cook is a total dick about it was such a nice in character moment for both in the fantastical world. Effy trying to get him to escape the fight with her and your use of the "brave" line broke my heart--it reminded me so much of how when Effy saw how Cook's dad was in the s3 finale, she tried to get Cook to take off with her to escape and prevent that man breaking Cook's heart ... aka the first time I realized that she might have some real feelings for Cook ... ugh, these two. I'm not always a fan of AUs, but you wrote something so perfectly suited for me because it still feels so much like these characters and how they deal with each other and the world and themselves. And you edged up the Harry Potter world a bit for me ;P Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu.

Date: 2012-10-14 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fluffyfrolicker.livejournal.com

THIS WAS MAGICAL. ♥

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