Round 2 for QLFC! I'm the first Chaser on the Caerphilly Catapults, and this round, my over-arching prompt was to write about a Gryffindor friendship. WHO TO CHOOSE?! So I settled on these two. My optional prompts were the emotion of 'shock', the word 'derivative', and the opening sentence 'It had been a very long day.' Off we go! :) Y'all know how much I love my Gryffindor girls.


9 May 1996

It had been a very long day. Actually, it had been a very long year, by Angelina's estimation. She sighed as she crossed off another item on her Charms N.E.W.T. to-do list and pressed the heels of her palms against her closed eyes. She cracked her neck and picked up her quill again, starting to copy out the important notes from her own essay on Giddiness Spells.

At its core, a Giddiness Spell is simply a derivative of the much less complex Cheering Charm, but the effects are much easier to control and predict than its parent spell. The goal of the charm has taken on a somewhat less well-intentioned meaning in the decades since its invention, and has been categorized by some as a jinx, rather than a charm. However, its usefulness has been found in medical treatments—

From somewhere in the nearby shelves, she heard a familiar laugh. She sat up straight, looking around. Then she remembered that there was no way that Fred or George Weasley would be laughing in the Hogwarts library. Ever since the twins' abrupt departure a week ago—without so much as a word of warning to anyone else—Angelina had felt as though she were floating, directionless through the castle.

It was like she was biding time until her inevitable graduation arrived, looming ever closer, with absolutely nothing that lay beyond it. In truth, perhaps, she had felt similarly for most of her seventh year, but until recently she had managed to control it, somehow. She rested her chin on her hand and doodled on the corner of an old Charms essay, allowing her mind to wander.

Alicia was sitting in one of the chairs on the opposite side of the table, her Potions work spread all around her, scribbling furiously on a page full of notes. She had the fingers of her left hand, which was supporting her head, tangled in her thick brown hair, and her brow was furrowed in concentration.

"Hey. Al," said Angelina, reaching over and prodding her with the end of her quill.

Alicia looked up, frowning over her reading glasses. "What?" she whispered.

"I can't take much more of this," Angelina whispered back. "I think I'm going mental."

"Going?" Alicia grinned.

"Al."

"Sorry, sorry," she smiled, looking over her shoulder and all around to make sure that Madam Pince was nowhere nearby. "What's going on?"

Angelina bit her lip. "Can we—go somewhere else? I can't be in here anymore."

"What? Ange, this is the only night you haven't scheduled us for Quidditch practice for the next three weeks," Alicia said. "You've got five N.E.W.T.s to study for, and so do I."

"Alicia, please," Angelina moaned, suddenly and inexplicably feeling as though she were close to tears.

Alicia looked surprised. She pulled off her glasses and folded them. "Okay—all right, just—take a deep breath, Ange. We can leave," she said quietly. "Just give me a minute to pack up."

Angelina did as she said, swallowing a painful lump that had risen in her throat; she couldn't possibly fathom where this sudden, overwhelming wave of unhappiness was coming from, but she knew she couldn't be in the library when it finally hit her.

She crammed all of her books and parchment into her bag haphazardly and led the way out of the library, Alicia on her heels. Angelina focused on the rhythm of her pace as she hurried down a corridor, taking a right and a left before she heard Alicia calling her.

"Ange! Merlin's pants, will you slow down?" Alicia called. She was a head shorter than Angelina and was practically jogging to keep up with her long strides. "Have a little mercy on the unfortunately short." She caught up at last, panting. "What is up with you?" she asked, placing a hand on Angelina's elbow and looking worried.

"Sorry," Angelina muttered, looking down at the floor. "I just…" she trailed off, looking away for a minute.

"Okay," Alicia said slowly. "Care to elaborate a bit more?" Angelina gave her a look. "Oh, don't be so crabby," she snorted, "you're going to give yourself frown lines."

"Alicia, stop," Angelina snapped, perhaps a little more harshly than she had intended. "I don't know what's wrong, all right?" She took a huge breath, and the words began flooding forth. "I mean, I don't know what's wrong except for the fact that thisall this—is barely Hogwarts anymore, and yet we're meant to graduate in seven weeks anyway, with Umbridge breathing down our necks and You-Know-Who just waiting for the right moment to make a move, and on top of that we lost the D.A.—"

"Shh!" Alicia gasped, hurrying forward and clapping a hand over Angelina's mouth.

"Let me go!" Angelina snarled, tears rising against her will as she jerked back, shoving Alicia's hand away. Then she felt guilty. "I—I'm sorry," she muttered. "Sorry."

"Okay…it's going to be fine, Angelina, I promise," Alicia said, setting down her bookbag and taking Angelina's as well. She brought Angelina to sit on a bench that was near the balcony that hung over the main staircases that crisscrossed through the castle. "Here," murmured Alicia, drawing a handkerchief from her pocket and wrapping her arm around Angelina's shoulders.

Angelina took the handkerchief and sniffled, wiping her eyes and feeling idiotic. "This is so stupid," she said, clearing her throat. "I'm being stupid."

"You're not," Alicia said quietly. "I understand."

Angelina stared down at her hands, twisting one of her braids around her fingertip. "Well, maybe you can explain it, then, because I definitely don't understand."

Alicia laughed, but not unkindly. "You're in shock, Angie," she said gently. "You've been in shock since Fred and George left—so have I, to be honest. This year has already hit you so hard, between being Captain and Harry and the twins getting banned, and Umbridge, and everything else," she added, lowering her voice. "It's no wonder you're reeling. I understand, I really do."

"They annoy me," Angelina said, shaking her head and looking up at the ceiling. "Merlin's pants, Fred and George aren't even here and they still know how to make me furious."

"They're our friends," Alicia said. "And they didn't say goodbye, and that really hurts, but I think you know this isn't really about Fred and George, because it's not like they've gone forever. This is about everything else, hitting you all at once." Angelina sniffled again and nodded as Alicia went on, "But you've still got me, right? And Katie…and Oliver, when he remembers to stick his head out of training camp and let us know he's alive. A wonderful boyfriend, that one," she said, rolling her eyes.

Reluctantly, Angelina laughed. "I feel like we're all so scattered, you know? First Oliver, now the twins have gone…you and I'll be gone soon, and Katie's going to be here by herself…"

"All right, well, let's not go composing our obituaries," said Alicia, sounding rather alarmed, and Angelina gave a miserable sort of laugh. "Okay, yes, things are—well—really bloody awful right now, actually, and we've all ended up a bit spread apart. But Ange, we've got some of the best people in the world on our side, waiting for us as soon as we walk out of those gates," she said, gesturing off into the castle, in the general direction of the grounds. "And…I've got the best friend I could hope for, at a time like this."

"Who?" Angelina asked, and Alicia snorted. "Okay. Fair point. I suppose I've got one of those, too."

"It is so easy to fish for compliments with you," Alicia said, shaking her head in wonder, and Angelina shoved her shoulder, then wrapped her up in a tight hug. "I expect there'll be a few more days like this before we get through the next couple of weeks," said Alicia quietly.

There was a long pause; in Angelina's opinion, it would be more than a few weeks before things began to feel normal again, and she knew that Alicia was thinking along similar lines.

Finally, Alicia spoke, her voice even softer than before. "But we'll keep going, right?"

"Yeah. We will," Angelina replied. "I'll even let you have a few turns at being mad and hysterical."

"Thanks, Ange."