Oh hey, this exists.
So it's been nearly a year since I've updated this, or any of my stories. After banned RTB and MST stories, I set up my own forum for my Reading the Books series but it was shut down. Since then, I've been overtaken by a new job and all sorts of real life goodness (and badness for that matter). I also decided to take a break from fan fiction in general in order to write some of my own original stories, for contests, my own benefit, and to possibly publish one day in the future. I also got into the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fandom which overtook Harry Potter for a while (and to be honest, still is overtaking it)
But I'm back for now. I definitely want to finish this story. However I'm done with any future Reading the Books story. I emailed chapters to hundreds of people but only got like 20 reviews, so I decided not to waste my time with it anymore. Also, RtBs were cheap in a sense and filled with copyright issues, so please don't ask for me to put them up anymore since I wont be.
But anyway, here's to finally getting back to Hells Bells! Remember that all bolded parts of the story are from the books
Chapter written to One Million Miles by J. Ralph
It seemed like Hogwarts was doing its best to make regret that this was her final year, Katie thought wistfully as she looked at the Christmas decorations adorning the Great Hall.
Leanne would really enjoy this. Of course, St Mungo's was decorated beyond reason for the holidays, in an attempt to lighten its normally somber atmosphere. But there was a difference between lying in bed and seeing a wreath on the far side of the room, and standing in the Great Hall and seeing what Hagrid and the elves had done for festive cheer.
The biggest tree that she had ever seen stood near the professors' table, towering over all. It was so large that it nearly touched the enchanted ceiling where flurries of snow swirled around the tip. Holly wreaths were hung around the back of every chair and (most importantly of all) mistletoe hung over the entrances to the Hall.
Some of the more exhibitionist couples (and some singles) had ended up blocking traffic in and out of the Hall because of this, until Professor McGonagall had threatened two weeks detention; one before and one after the holiday. Needless to say, it ceased shortly thereafter, for all but one.
Harry had a tough time of it, thought Katie as she saw him and Ron quickly disappear behind a disused secret exit that the twins had discovered years before. Now that he was, once again, the Boy Who Lived instead of the Boy Who Lied, many other girls were eager to get with the hero, through whatever means necessary. Harry had told her of Hermione's warning about the spiked Chocolate Cauldrons, and she had witnessed first-hand Harry's attempts to get through hallways laced with mistletoe. It would be funny, Katie thought, if she weren't so conflicted.
It had started after they had kicked Slytherin's arse a few weeks earlier. The win was sweet, without a doubt, but the important bits had happened during the post-game party. She and Harry had been hanging out with each other throughout the party, (with some interruptions by Ron and Lavender, and Harry comforting Hermione) when she had been confronted by some fourth-year named Romilda Vane and her gaggle of followers.
"You're obviously trying to get him to ask you to Slughorn's Christmas Ball."
It wasn't as if she couldn't handle the situation by herself against some fourth year midgets, but Ginny had come on over to tell them off.
"Because they're jealous of you. Because the only woman that Harry actually paid genuine attention to all night has been you."
When Katie had asked her whether she thought Harry had been paying attention only to her Ginny replied cheekily
"I'm sure of it. Of course, you might want to ask yourself exactly why you asked me that question."
And Katie had, despite her best attempts to ignore Ginny's advice. And she wasn't pleased with the answer.
Oh, it wasn't as if she were some prude or someone who put her future over romance, Katie wasn't nearly that cliché. It was the fact that she had just told off Vanessa over going for Harry during the Hogsmeade visit, the fact that she had sneered at Romilda and the other girls trying to waylay Harry in the hallways for a quick smooch. In the end, was she better than any of them?
Because Katie could now finally admit to herself that she fancied Harry, not that she had told anyone else. Perhaps she would have told Leanne, if she hadn't been recuperating at St Mungo's and perhaps she might have told Angelina and Alicia, if she hadn't known that they would tease her for it. She definitely was not going to tell Vanessa or Sarah though; there was no quicker way for it to spread around the castle than telling her roommates.
Harry had changed a lot from the scrawny bespectacled midget whose head had nearly been engulfed by the Sorting Hat during his first day at Hogwarts. He was still bespectacled of course, but he had grown into his previously oversized glasses. Six years of Quidditch (and of fighting the Dark Arts) had done him well.
Granted, any lunkhead could be good looking. Draco Malfoy and Roger Davies were okay on the eyes, but the former was an evil scumbag and the latter merely an egotistical one. Harry had what so many others in Hogwarts lacked; a good personality. There was an inner strength in him, apparent to anyone who spent more than five minutes in his company. So many others, faced with Harry's tragic past, his stressful present and his dark future would have crumbled in the face of it, Katie reflected. But not Harry. No, he was made of sterner stuff indeed. He didn't only have to face the evil of You-Know-Who, but he had to deal with cowards and skeptics who were supposedly on his side, like the former Minister of Magic and his lackey, Umbridge. Almost as bad was the whisper campaign against him last year, by his fellow students, and four years ago during the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Yet Harry had persevered.
It wasn't just that which so intrigued Katie. It was Harry's sense of humor, his loyalty to his friends, the way she felt so comfortable in his presence, even last year in Dumbledore's Army. Yet she hadn't felt anything for Harry until this year, not until they had started spending time with each other drawing up practices, and even hanging out periodically outside of the Quidditch team. She remembered the first day Harry had joined the team. Though she had been excited that she would be flying alongside somebody famous, she was mostly happy that she wasn't going to be the youngest person on the team. Times certainly had changed.
The problem was, it seemed like half the girls at Hogwarts had their eyes set on Harry as well, and with the biggest party since the Yule Ball coming up, they had stepped up their efforts to get Harry to ask them to Slughorn's celebration, like Romlida trying to slip love potion to him. Katie wasn't going to play that game though, she wasn't going to stoop to that level or give Vanessa, Romilda and any others the satisfaction of watching her do so.
Unfortunately for Katie, there was somebody else who was intent on taking her to Slughorn's party.
She reluctantly turned to see the unwelcome figure of Cormac McLaggen looming at the entrance of the Great Hall. His arms were spread out wide as if in greeting, but only served to make sure that she couldn't push past him into the hallway.
"What do you want, McLaggen?" she asked in a resigned voice. Her fellow seventh year raised an eyebrow dramatically.
"I can't say hello to you anymore without you sounding irritable?"
"You never said hello," Katie replied as she walked towards him. "Now can you move out of the way? I want to go to the library."
Cormac grinned as he slid aside. "Oh good I was headed that way myself."
"Alone!" Katie snapped. "I need to study, and it'll be a lot easier without you around."
"A fair point, Bell," McLaggen replied, the hint of a smirk in his voice. "I imagine there would be a lot of staring on your part."
Katie shuddered. With anybody else, she would assume they were kidding around. But with McLaggen, one got the sense that he actually believed what he said. Not to mention that the boy had no sense of humor when it came to himself.
She had hoped Cormac would have taken the hint, but she could still sense him close behind as she walked up the stairs. Probably staring at my butt she thought, irritably. When she reached the third floor landing, she whirled around.
"I thought I told you to leave me alone!"
"Just a second Bell, you never gave me a chance to explain myself."
"Explain what?" Katie said with confusion. Was the idiot actually going to apologize for four years of being the most annoying tosser in Hogwarts' existence?
McLaggen hesitated slightly, surprising Katie. It was perhaps the first time she had ever seen anything crack his giant ego. The moment quickly passed, however as he found his footing
"Well, seeing as you don't have a date for the biggest party of the year and seeing that I am attending it, and seeing that the party is tomorrow night...I was wondering if you'd go with me."
Katie stared in disbelief.
"Why on earth would you ask me, McLaggen? I've turned you down every time you've asked to do anything with me. Don't you get that you treated me abominably at the Yule Ball? I mean, surely it would occur to anyone else that I wasn't interested in them, but no, for some reason you keep on pretending that I'm going to cave and go gaga over you. Have you been watching too many Muggle romantic comedies?"
Cormac clenched his fists as his face turned a fine shade of red. If Peeves had been present he certainly would have started singing about how much the Gryffindor boy resembled a tomato. Yet Katie took a step back. She knew that McLaggen had an awful temper; he'd managed to snap his broom cleanly in half when he heard that Oliver wasn't going to call a second tryout the previous year after he had missed the first one in the Hospital Wing.
"Slughorn's party isn't just some regular party. Don't you understand you little... (Katie raised an eyebrow) don't you understand, Bell? Slughorn advances the careers of any student he takes a fancy to. I mean, they say Gwenog Jones is going to be at one of the Slug Club's meetings. If you come with me to this party, I can convince old Sluggy to let you in, and you'll get to meet her."
Katie opened her mouth to interrupt but McLaggen plowed ahead.
"Come on Bell, you'll get to meet the greatest woman Quidditch player in a century? You want a Quidditch career right? Jones will get you noticed by the Holyhead Harpies, you can get a reserve contract right after graduating!"
She couldn't deny that this was a most attractive prospect...if it didn't involve going with McLaggen. Katie had more pride than that, and it wasn't as if she lacked for Quidditch connections, even if she was one of Jones's biggest fans.
"First of all, McLaggen, you seem to forget that my family is filled with Quidditch pros," she said icily. "Secondly, it wouldn't matter anyway, since I'm not that desperate about my Quidditch future."
Cormac threw up his hands in dismay. "Come on Bell! Just come to the party with me, I promise that you'll enjoy yourself."
"No, McLaggen," Katie replied with an air of finality. She turned to walk to the library once more, thankful that there were no other students around, until McLaggen called after her. "Don't you understand that I like you?"
Enough is enough
"I understand that you'd probably like to sleep with me," she said, turning around once more, "but that's not going to happen, McLaggen."
She wasn't surprised that there was no embarrassment on the boy's face.
"What makes you think that?"
Katie's face twisted in disgust. She marched up to him, jabbing a finger to his chest
"Did you ever ask about how I nearly died last month? Did you come visit me in the Hospital Wing? Did you bring me my school work? Did you even express your condolences?"
McLaggen's mouth hung open. He looked as if he had malfunctioned.
"You didn't, McLaggen. So don't go pretending you're some long suffering martyr who's being denied by the love of his life. I'm just some challenge to you that you want to fuck and chuck...not that you're some suave ladies man in the first place."
To Katie's surprise, McLaggen didn't argue. Once he had his mouth under control, he simply shrugged and walked down the stairs. Katie felt oddly deflated. She'd been hoping that he'd somehow confess that he'd been an idiot and that he'd leave her alone forever...but perhaps she had been watching one too many Muggle movies herself.
It was a shame though. Slughorn's party did sound fascinating. But there was such a thing as self-respect and if she was going to accept that idiot's invitation just to experience a party, than how could she live with herself? Especially after she had gone to the Yule Ball with him, and how that had turned out.
Damn, Katie thought, as she glanced at her pocketwatch. She had hoped to get some studying time in before her next class, but now it was only twenty minutes away. Grumbling to herself, she set out back down to the first floor for Transfiguration. Trust McLaggen to mess things up.
As Katie made her way towards McGonagall's class, she was knocked over by someone heading in the opposite direction
"Watch it!" she snapped. Then she got a look at the other. "Oh...sorry Hermione, I didn't know it was you. Is...is everything okay?"
Hermione scrambled for her books, trying to hide her face. But it was clear that she was crying.
"N-no," she choked out.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Hermione looked as if she wanted to refuse again, but after a slight pause she nodded.
"Not here though, classes are letting out right now and I don't want anyone else to see me like this."
And so she marched off down a disused corridor, until they reached a bathroom on the far end.
"Moaning Myrtle's bathroom?" Katie asked incredulously. "You know, she's not going to make you feel better, unless you want to feel good by comparison."
"No one's going to overhear us in there," she said simply. Katie was pleased to note that her tears were drying on her cheeks.
"So what did Ron do now?" Katie began without preamble, once they had entered the room. Thankfully it seemed as if Myrtle had taken a trip to a septic tank
"How did you-"
"Come on," said Katie. "We were all at the after party last week, and Ron and Lavender were pretty...demonstrative."
Hermione pursed her lips at the mention of the girl's name.
"Right, but how did you know that I -
"Hermione, I might not be as smart as you, but I'm not a complete idiot. None of us are...well most of us aren't."
A ghost of a smile came across the younger girl's face, but quickly vanished. She told Katie about what had happened at Transfiguration, about how Ron had mocked her in front of the entire class, and how Lavender had laughed.
"I know he makes fun of me all the time, and I'm fine with that. But this time..."
"I understand," said Katie. What seemed commonplace one day, could turn into a crisis the next, especially to someone undergoing the amount of emotional stress that Hermione had.
"I just don't know what to do anymore, I-"
Hermione broke off, mouth open in alarm as the door creaked open. A second later, she sighed with relief.
"Luna, you nearly gave me a heart attack!"
Luna Lovegood stood at the entrance, looking both ethereal and bizarre at the same time. Her blonde hair was like a curtain framing her shoulders, but the entire ensemble was marred by the strange glasses she was wearing.
"Spectrespecs," Luna said as she caught Katie's gaze. "For finding wrackspurts."
"Oh," As if I have idea what those are
"I heard voices within," Luna said to them. I was wondering if Myrtle needed someone to talk to."
"She's not here," said Hermione, "but I could use another ear. If you don't mind of course, Katie."
"That's fine," said Katie. "I should get going anyway. I have McGonagall in ten minutes."
"You'd better get going then," said Hermione as Katie walked for the exit. "And Katie?"
With a smile Katie closed the door. Her heart gave an almighty leap when she turned around. Harry was walking swiftly towards her.
"Oh, hey Harry," she said breathlessly, mentally kicking herself for sounding like an idiot."
Get a grip Bell, you were fine talking to Harry only a week ago!
"Hey Katie," said Harry with a slow smile. "Have you seen Hermione around? She ran out of Transfiguration and I want to talk to her."
"She's in the bathroom with Luna Lovegood," Katie said, jerking her thumb behind her. "I was trying to comfort her earlier, she said that Ron was being an idiot."
"He was," said Harry, with a sigh. "I'll wait for her out here then, if Luna's taking care of her. With my luck, Snape's going to pop out just as I enter a girl's bathroom."
"He certainly has a habit of swooping down when you least expect it," Katie agreed. She had been on the wrong side of the Head of Slytherin quite a few times.
"I should get going," said Katie, cursing the fact that she had a class. "McGonagall will kill me if I'm late."
"Just a sec," said Harry. "How would you like to come to Slughorn's party with me tonight?
Katie, who had been about to reluctantly leave, stood frozen on the spot.
"Wait...what?" She couldn't have heard him correctly...right?
"We're supposed to bring guests," Harry said quickly. "So I thought you might like... I mean...I mean just as friends, you know. But if you don't want to."
Katie felt oddly deflated at Harry's words, particularly how intently he took pains to say that he was only asking her as friends.
But even so...it would be a lot of fun to go. Especially with Harry, especially now that she had taken a long hard look at her feelings for her fellow co-captain.
"Oh, no, I'd love to with you as friends," Katie replied with a wide smile. She would take what she could get. "Tomorrow night, right?"
"Yep, eight o'clock, up at Slughorn's office."
"AHA!" screamed a voice from overhead and both of them jumped; unnoticed by either of them, they had just passed underneath Peeves, who was hanging upside down from a chandelier and grinning maliciously at them.
"Potty asked Belly to go the party! Potty lurves Belly! Potty luuuuuurves Bellllllly!"
And he zoomed away, cackling and shrieking. "Potty loves Belly!"
"Nice to keep these things private," said Harry.
Katie snorted. "Knowing Peeves, this is going to be around the school in an hour." And I'm going to get a ton of questions from my friends.
"Probably less," Harry replied. "Anyway, you should get going, you're going to Transfiguration, right?"
"Oh bollocks, I'm going to be late!" And in an instant, Katie was running down the hall. Apparently there was always something to keep her from being truly happy.