Justin Finch-Fletchley was hungry.
As in very hungry. While being a muggle-born wizard attending in Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry might not have anything related to it, it was his 'muggle' tendencies that landed him in the predicament in the first place. You see, Draco 'cussing-like-a-magical-sailor' Malfoy had insulted one of his friends the other day. The war was over, and naturally, no more evil dark lords sprouting inbred nonsense. And with that said, there was a new found confidence for magical equality from blood status; after all, no blood status was better than any other. So when Draco insulted one of his muggle-born friends, he punched him. And Merlin, was that one hell of a punch!
Sadly, a professor was nearby, and rewarded him detention with the school's caretaker.
He hated detentions with Filch – a pathetic excuse of a Hogwarts Staff - but the punch he gave to that ferret Draco after insulting him and his friends definitely made it worth it. He had been up all night with the slave driver – on a bloody Friday no less – scraping the halls of the dungeons with a friggin toothbrush. The thought of stealing Malfoy's toothbrush and using it to clean the dungeons was the only thing keeping him sane last night. Not only did he miss dinner, he had to continue his 'job' early in the morning. And it took him four bloody hours to finish. So he also missed breakfast as well, seeing as it was now 11:30AM. And what's worse is that today was a Hogsmeade weekend and the entourage of the upper years going were were now gone.
One of these days… he thought. I'm gonna make him pay...
So he was left with going to kitchen, hoping to scrap food from those busy house-elves. He was about to open the door when something hit his nose. No, it wasn't anything painful, in fact, it smelled absolutely phenomenal.
He took a big whiff and let his nose and brain process the information. Someone was making something absolutely cheesy and meaty at the same time. Add that to the smell of bread and his mouth was starting to water. It smelt distinctly like…
"Pizza?" he said to himself, forgetting the fact that he'd been standing in front of the blasted door for a couple of minutes now.
Justin was aware of all the bigotry and backwardness of the British Wizarding World. Sure Potter had rid the most disturbing dark lord to date, but the world – or the magical world of Britain – refused to move forward. The revolution only paved way for blood status equality. And muggles were still considered filth among purebloods.
Okay, I am not going crazy… I'm just sleep-deprived and probably hallucinating. Why would there be pizza–a muggle cuisine which the wizarding world of Britain refuses embrace–be here in Hogwarts? Hunger combined with sleepiness could do that to a person – muggle or wizard. So with his deductive reasoning, it just meant that he was too hungry that he's now hallucinating.
His grumbling stomach eventually canceled his train of thoughts and he merely answered his questions with a shrug.
The sooner I could eat, the sooner I could sleep. He thought as he pushed the door open.
What was behind those doors definitely made his eyebrows rise. Usually, the room was filled with bustling elves shouting orders and requests regarding the next meal. Since it had been less than two hours after breakfast, he was sure the elves were now discussing about the menu for lunch today.
Today however wasn't what he'd expected.
"Potter? Hermione?" He eyed the two, technically-legal adults standing up in front of a small crowed of the underclassmen that comprised of firsties to third/second-years from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. The two said people's head badges managed to glint and for a moment making him forget all about his tummy problem.
Hermione Granger – he saw – was the first one to have recovered from shock. It wasn't like they were preparing for a war – he mentally chuckled at the irony. But those days were over. "Yes, Justin?"
"Planning on another 'Army'?" there was a hint of amusement in his tone. One which somehow earned a chuckled from the two people.
"What army?" a small, petite-looking first year from Gryffindor that reminded him of Hannah when they were younger asked.
"Inside joke…" Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Needs-Hyphens-For-His-Name said with a small grin.
"Must be a senior thing…" a Ravenclaw first year added.
"Well we're not…" Hermione started, shaking her head, with a smile plastered on her face, "We're just making sure the underclassmen here don't get homesick. And... well… maybe teach them about the wizarding world or two."
Justin shrugged, "Sure…" not really paying attention as he made his way towards the house-elves.
He noticed that the room had been magically expanded; one side were from Potter's group and the other side had the house-elves, who looked like they were parodying the Wizengamot on a trial. Only this time, they were suggesting about what was going inside their chicken soup.
Then the amorous aroma he smelled earlier reached his nose. He sniffed for a moment, and turned his head to all sorts of directions. Eventually, it pointed not towards the elves but towards Granger's group. He never noticed that the desk in front of Harry and Hermione was actually a long oven until he heard that 'Ding!'
Harry used his wand to open up the oven and Hermione did a swish-and-flick motion whispering, "Wingardium Leviosa." Justin's was now drooling as seven big saucers of pizza floated out from the oven.
"No way…" he said to himself as the younger students started to surround the Head Boy and Head Girl.
"Want some?" Hermione asked, motioning to the pizza floating around her.
When she said that, Justin almost flew towards them, "Whatcha got?"
Harry handed a big slice of pizza to a madly-blushing Gryffindor girl. "Well, there's anchovies, veggies, olives, pepperoni, and bacon-meaty supreme." Justin watched a Harry took a massive bite on his slice.
He took a one with pepperoni and thanked him, "By the way," his mouth was uncontrollably watering as he blew his piece of pizza, "Why's there pizza here?"
Harry shrugged, "Well, the Headmistress asked if we could make the muggle-borns from the lower years more comfortable. Everyone here has had contact with the non-magical world. Professor McGonagall said that it's best if we give them something muggle to do in order to not get er… homesick." he then pointed Hermione with the pizzas hovering around her, "She thought of doing a study session, but I though we just give them comfort food."
"You actually made Hermione agree with you?" he joked. Everybody knew a study session was Hermione's way of getting 'comfortable.'
"Hey! I heard that!" Hermione said with a smile, earning a few sniggers and giggles from the younger students nearby.
Justin laughed before taking a bite from his slice, and he immediately groaned, "Bloody hell! This taste brilliant! I never knew the house-elves know how to make them…"
The once-bucktoothed brunette walked towards them, "Language please, we're supposed to be role models here…" he saw Harry role his eyes, but Hermione chose to ignore him, "Anyway, the house-elves didn't made them though…"
The Hufflepuff knew about Hermione's obsession to S.P.E.W. It should've been obvious; she would ask to burden the house-elves. "So who made them?"
Hermione nudged him and pointed towards Harry with a grin on her face.
This apparently shocked Justin, "You know how to cook?" Justin a person who only knew how to boil water using a stove – and nothing else – just couldn't grab the idea that Wizards knew how to cook. Then again, Harry was a muggle-raised.
"My aunt made me cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner before I could even write. This is a breeze to me, you know." Potter said with a faint grin on his face but his eyes otherwise betrayed that feeling of mirth. Hermione turned to Justin with a fierce look on her face.
Then it hit him like a ton of bricks. He'd heard the rumors about his beatings. The abuse. As well as the forced-slavery from his childhood. Damn, he'd even heard he was treated far worse than a house-elf. He'd didn't need to be a rocket scientist to know what that meant. "I… I'm sorry."
The Hufflepuff senior looked at the floor with his eyes glued on his shoes until he felt someone clap his back, "Its okay. Don't worry about it, it's in the past. Besides, the house-elves here seemed okay with letting us the kitchen for a cooking session." Harry said with a small smile. Hermione seemed to soften her featured but the glare in her eyes were still there as she patted Harry's back.
A few of boys walked up to him and asked if he really defeated a pack of werewolves when he was three years old. Justin couldn't help but chuckle as Harry shook his head no, while Hermione was trying to hold her laughter. It never did get old when younger students asked about all the rubbish from those fictional reference materials including the Prophet.
A few minutes, and a few more slices of pizza later, Harry was telling the story of how the D.A. practiced against a toad-woman and her band of misfits. It was technically true, even if Harry was exaggerating Umbridge's physical description. Then again, if it made the world a better place by making Umbridge look like a deformed half-toadling then who cares? Justin watched as every one in the room except him and Hermione – not to mention the still-discussing house-elves – were hanging on Harry's every word. The Boy-Who-Lived was now telling the part when they had been practicing how to do their corporeal Patroni when Justin suggested to show them his own Patronus.
It naturally earned a glare from Harry but was soon softened when everyone especially the first years pleaded him to do so. Harry glanced at Hermione, who shrugged, and Harry grabbed his wand. Soon, Prongs – or Harry's stag which he named – came out from his wand and started walking majestically around the room. Prongs was soon joined by Hermione's otter as it floated slowly and landed on the stag's back. Not wanting to be left out, Justin grabbed his wand from his pockets and concentrated on his most treasured memory.
Whitish-silver mist poured out from the tip of his wand, and a small flying squirrel started to glide towards Harry's stag, landing on one of Prong's antlers. Harry, Hermione and the rest of the students looked at him in shock.
Harry was the first to regain his composure and grinned at Justin, "Nice work there, Justin."
The smirk on the Hufflepuff's face was clear, "Don't flatter yourself, prof…" he said in feigned mockery.
A Hufflepuff boy named William Needle slowly made his way to the corporeal patroni. "Can I touch it?" he asked, his eyes fixed on the stag, otter and squirrel in front of him. The other students turned to them, and Hermione nodded. Shortly enough, almost everyone was petting the three animals.
A couple of minutes later, Justin was feeling light-headed. Casting it really could knock you out. He glanced at the two Head Students and was amazed that they weren't showing any signs of fatigue yet. After a couple of seconds, Justin thought it was best if his Patronus left with a 'bang,' well, that or passing out in the kitchen and waking up in the infirmary. Since the answer was clearly obvious, his patronus jumped from Prong's antlers and started to glide towards him. Most of the eyes followed the floating squirrel as it slowly faded out.
He soon left the kitchen, muttering something about toothbrushes, personal hygiene and ferrets. After a pleasant 'goodbye' of course.
After taking a quick shower and dressing up in muggle clothing – plain blue shirt, jeans and slightly worn-in trainers – Justin found himself bored as the common room was unusually silent seeing as the only student there was him. Even the Great Hall was close-to-deserted. Well, there was Cho Chang and her friend what's-her-name in the Great Hall but anybody who knew them only talked about girly stuff. Well, he could talk to the Ravenclaw blokes there at the Great Hall but it was a freaken Saturday, why would he use his R-n-R time with people who talked about schoolwork? So, he got up from his seat and started to take a stroll inside Hogwarts. Unknowingly, he realized where he was going until he was already there.
"Where you going guys?" he asked as he followed Harry's lead that were being followed by the same crowd inside the kitchen earlier. Harry and Hermione looked like they was holding a stack of boxes, but every person who've had contact from the muggle world knew that they were pizza boxes.
"Oh, we were just escorting them to a place where they could play." Harry answered, grabbing the boxes of pizza from Hermione
Deciding that spend time with Head Boy and Head Girl be a better idea than spending it with Cho and her clique, not to mention those geeky blokes, might've been his best decision of the day. "How'd you keep the pizza fresh, Hermione? I know the pizza would only stay warm for about a couple of minutes."
Hermione actually looked happy at this, "Well, there is a pretty good stasis charm that I've been dying to try, I've read about it in the library." Harry couldn't help himself from chuckling. He turned to Justin who was giving him a weird look, he said, "When you've been best friends with her for the longest time, you'd understand."
The Hufflepuff shrugged, "Okay… but you didn't tell me where you were going."
"Would you like see Harry James Potter get bested by a girl?" Hermione said jovial tone in her voice.
Justin turned to Harry then to Hermione, then back. "Hell yes, no offense though Harry."
Harry smiled for a bit but actually looked like something wasn't settling down well with him, and Hermione was smiling to herself. The younger years seemed to be oblivious of them as they just silently followed the three senior students. Finally, when Hermione had composed herself, she asked him, "Have you ever ridden a bicycle before, Justin?"
He grinned and waggled his eyebrows jokingly, "Let me guess, this is your idea?" Hermione laughed before nodding. Justin never realized where they were going until he recognized the hall, "RoR?" it had been their secret nickname in referring to the Room of Requirement. Only D.A. members were allowed to use it, and only those who were trusted enough by the Golden Trio and Neville were told how it works. And he, unfortunately, wasn't one of them.
"And you're teaching Harry?" she nodded again. Justin, unlike some, was fortunately smart enough to not ask something that would make them feel awkward. Not to mention make him look like a complete git. He knew Harry didn't get these opportunities, so in order to avoid the awkwardness like earlier, he decided to think before talking.
Before long, they were there and watched Hermione as Harry tried to distract the lower years. While Justin supported the idea of free information to everyone, he could very much agree that knowledge about the Room of Requirement be an exception to that rule. He had an idea of what the room does and how it operates, and quite frankly, with that alone the possibilities were only limited by the imagination. Such information really didn't bode well especially to the younger students of Hogwarts.
As the door magically appeared, making the students turn to avert their focus from Harry, Hermione opened the door and motioned for them to come in.
Soon, they rode the bikes and ate pizza for snacks. Justin found out, and a shocker it was for him, that Harry didn't really have a good grasp over things with two wheels.
"You could ride on a piece of stick hovering meters above the ground and yet you can't even do this without wobbling and toppling over? I must say, I am very much shocked." Justin teased as Harry adjusted his position.
"Well, if he's like this with wheels, I would never be his passenger in his car." Harry stuck out his tongue in an overly mature may, earning a laugh from both seniors.
After a couple of futile minutes, Hermione tried to transfigure some support wheels for Harry. The younger years were all giggling and snickering as they watched the savior of the wizarding world, ride a bike with supporting wheels. Harry had, of course, taken this kindheartedly. They hadn't realized it but when they looked at the time, dinner had already started. With a fretful Hermione and a hungry Harry, the group exited the room and made their way to the Great Hall.
Justin Finch-Fletchley entered the Hufflepuff common room and looked like he was a prefect herding the lower years. While Ernie, the real prefect, was doing rounds with Hannah as it was almost curfew, Justin was escorting the younger years back inside the common room. Everyone who was currently inside the area had a brow raised when he saw them chatting with one of the first years. Come to think of it, most of the lower ones arrived by the bundle at the Great Hall (of the most unusual amount and house affinity).
"That was so cool! I never knew there was even such a room." Aiden Alasdair had been thrilled when he had learned that he was a wizard. When Professor McGonagall told him and his parents that the strange things happening around him wasn't ghost related or such, he couldn't really believe that he was a wizard. That was before she magically transfiguring their couch into a real life zebra. He had even been too excited to even get a wink of sleep for two straight days since after his parents agreed to send him to this school. However, one month after the first term, he'd started feeling a bit homesick. After talking to the Headmistress with a worried-looking Head of House, the two witches asked if he went into a bit of peer counseling with the current Head Boy and Head Girl. There were past experiences from the higher puffs and according to them, peer counseling was just a boring old study session and Aiden just didn't want to talk about something that's written in a book.
When he showed up earlier and saw the Head Boy and Head Girl in muggle clothes, he was a bit shocked–he didn't except to see a very down-to-earth pair of Head Students. Particularly since the Head Boy and Head Girl were two-thirds of the Golden Trio. He actually thought they were like Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman. Boy was he so wrong. When Harry Potter and Hermione Granger talked in the Great Hall, they spoke with amazing confidence but they weren't intimidating - at least, in a bad way. When they argued against that bully named Malfoy from Slytherin, they were dead scary. But when they said that they were making pizza from scratch, Aiden realized that the two of them were really nice people. Personally, he liked Hermione more - But Harry sure was cooler - since he loved listening to her stories about what she was like when she was a first year. Especially the story about some troll attacking her in Halloween and how Harry became her first friend after he jumped on the troll.
Today, he made his first pizza, had befriended a couple of classmates from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and had ridden a bike with his friends in a magical room. What could beat that? He was certain, he was gonna write something longer in his letters tonight. The sight of his friends walking beside him made his heart aflutter. He thought that today was just what he needed, a time to cool off and enjoy school like all other schools in the muggle world.
"Do we get to do this every week?" Aly Garnett looked eager, and Justin just couldn't say no to the puppy dog eyes from all the first years not to mention some few second years nearby. "I'll go talk about it with Harry and Hermione…"
"Thanks…" Aly said as the younger years all went up to their dorm rooms.
Tired but contented, Justin made his way to his friends who were now resuming their heated discussion since last night.
"I'm telling you, Filch is not a squib, he's just using that excuse to torment us during detentions. We all know if he could magically do the cleaning then there wouldn't be anything more reason for us to clean with our bare hands."
"What makes you say that?"
"I saw him transfigure Mrs. Norris into a shovel in order to dump something on the school yard earlier."
Susan Bones was raised by an aunt who believed in things when enough evidence was showed. In a no-nonsense environment, she was one of the few underrated students of Hogwarts. So, when discussing about the credibility of Argus Filch's magical capabilities, she chose to remain silent as she watched her friend Justin take a seat on one of the yellow beanbags near the fireplace.
"Haven't seen you today, Justin."
Justin shrugged and turned back to the fire, "Detention with said suspect resumed at 7AM earlier and finished sometime before lunchtime."
"Which explains why you weren't there for breakfast and why you weren't there when we were leaving for Hogsmeade." Susan said cheekily, they always talked like they were in a courtroom – even if Susan had to be explained with what a courtroom was. He grinned, "That about explains it. Though, I spent some time with Potter and Granger today."
"Really?" Susan adjusted her position, effectively tuning out from the conversation about Filch, "What did you guys do."
"Nothing, really, just ate pizza," he started before the strawberry-blond interrupted, "What's pizza?"
"Muggle thing…" he whispered before continuing, "after that, went to RoR and rode a bike." Susan's brow rose as she tried to think what a bike was, "Muggle thing?" He nodded.
Justin asked about the events that happened during the Hogsmeade weekend, and Susan just said it had been plain and uneventful. When Hannah and Ernie returned from their weekly rounds, Justin was surprised to see a familiar carton box held by Ernie. When he said Harry and Hermione wanted it to be delivered to him, Justin laughed out loud as he accepted the box. Placing it on his lap, he noticed that it had been tied with a lacy red ribbon and had a note attached to it.
Here, we've got some leftovers from earlier. We promise it's still fresh – the stasis charm works wonders – and yes, its pepperoni.
P.S. thanks for your help earlier Squirrel.
Justin smiled as he turned to Susan, Ernie and Hannah, "Ever tasted pizza before?" he called out loud, knowing that at least a third of the occupants of the room has had contact to the evil food. Slowly he opened the box, and took first slice knowing full well that it would last for five minutes.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything...
A/N: yes, it sucks, I know! anyways, ever wonder what would Daphne Greengrass and Theodore Nott think about popcorn?