Never more than a hushed voice, or a hurried whisper in passing, but I know. In my classes I always have at least one spot open on either side of me. In line at the cafeteria the older students look back to make sure they aren’t taking the last thing they think I might want. I know no one’s birth name, not even those I might consider a friend.
I know exactly when the change was too, in how my fellow students view me.
My dormmate had disappeared for a night before returning, pupils a little too slitted to not be like Them, but who was I to say anything? The change was not unusual at campus, and Hay had been more depressed than before anyway. Staying out late, carrying more candy than iron or salt.
No one said art majors weren’t already a little Lost.
We had never really gotten along greatly, but he had been a grounding presence for me, an easy source of chatter to draw me out of the math calculations that consumed me. I don’t know why I chose Elsewhere U as my university, seeing as I had planned on being a civil engineer, but I had been drawn into the beauty of it when I toured the campus. Our group of 15 had returned as a group of 16, but details.
After Not Hay had taken over, I noticed small things. Batteries missing from my calculators, thrown in the waste bin and covered with crumpled papers. All the fruit gone from our shared mini fridge, replaced with food that looked a little too ripe for the season. I started eating at the cafeteria more often after that. My side of the room was always left untouched, but I still left more ramen seasoning packets under my pillow and in my dresser. July had told me it was better to be safe than sorry, words that campus lived by.
Not Hay would try and help me with my homework sometimes in exchange for me playing a small tune my Nana had taught me on a fiddle that had been passed through generations, but they weren’t much help. I always told them I appreciated the effort though, a small nod of my head that could be interpreted as a bow.
But that’s not why I’m the one they tell stories about.
The finals for the first semester of the year had creeped up on me, resulting in many nights staying awake on at my desk fueled by nothing but energy drinks and cafe mochas as I worked on advanced quantum physics questions. I had just wanted to build bridges, not understand how the universe worked on a quark scale. I could tell I was upsetting Not Hay by the icy looks I felt on my back. Not that Not Hay slept.
I don’t remember how long I was in the library before, or how I got so far back in between the shelves of books whose names I couldn’t pronounce, but I had found a desk and an outlet, and honestly what more did a university student need as they crammed for their final that was worth 75% of their grade.
I had been working over the same problem for over an hour, several steps needed to find the final value but I was stuck on the very first one. I could have been muttering to myself, or maybe They had just sensed my panic. I hadn’t spoken to anyone in several days, even if I had seen Not Hay most of the time. Not Hay never seemed to speak while I was in the room, something I had been thankful for at the time.
“Are you alright?”
The voice had started me so badly I had marked up my paper with a twitch of my pen. I remember trying to find my voice, knowing it was rude to leave a question unanswered. The girl in front of me seemed to take my silence as an answer anyway. She had looked over my station of worn down pencils, crumpled up papers, and my long empty coffee mug I had taken to stabbing in distracted worry, intelligent eyes scanning my notes before looking at me again. Her freckles reminded me of constellations, the way they appeared and disappeared across her pale skin like stars.
“Are you happy?”
Her voice seemed to come from behind me, even as I was facing her. Looking back, she could have been trying to get me to make a deal with her, but at the time all I could do was cry. No one had asked me if I was happy for years, my family pushing me to follow the lineage of engineers before me and my classmates too caught up in their own studies to notice.
I didn’t answer again, instead letting my head fall to the desk as I sobbed. A cold hand was placed on the crown of my head cautiously. That was all the invitation I had needed before I had thrown myself at the girl and sobbed in her arms.
I missed my final.
Not that it would have mattered.
I had cried myself to sleep, for once not dreaming of failing out of school, but instead of a tall and spindly creature with hair as fine as spun silver and eyes as white as snow. They soothed me, the same voice as the girl from before ringing through my ears. When I woke up I was much closer to the entrance of the library than I had been before, my textbook and notebooks stacked neatly and my coffee cup gone.
I looked at my notes, unable to read anything.
I don’t know if it had been a curse for dirtying Their clothes with my tears, or a pitied gift meant to free me in exchange for my tears, but either way I grew to be grateful for it.
I switched majors after a brief conversation with a guidance counselor. I could still do everything up to basic calculus, and so decided I’d look at teaching careers instead. I had always liked children, and the small town at the bottom of the hill had opened a new primary school suddenly.
But that’s not why I am the one they tell stories about.
They tell stories about me because I had been given the Sight when the Fair One had taken my ability to cry.
I have been having lovely conversations with Not Hay lately. About riddles and dances, all smiles and twisted words as students hurry by us, pretending not to hear the hiss in our voices.
You were taking out the trash in the middle of the night because your roommate was complaining of the horrid stench behind it. You rolled your eyes and complied with it, making sure you turned on the front porch lights so you can see down the stairs, and in front of the yard.
Sadly the trash can was outside the fence around the house. You pushed open the little white picket fenced door and dashed towards the can, accidentally knocking it over with your thick thighs.
“Fuck!” You cursed. You quickly tried to scramble the trash can upwards but jumped ten feet into the air once you hear the sound of an animal not too far from you. You let out an alarming sound, dropping the trash back and turned around about to leave when you ran into the door, flipped over it and landed on your back on the other side of the fence.
In shock, you just laid still on the cobblestone pathway.
You could hear a laughter that resembled a window being wiped down with Windex. You were staring up into the sky when you see a man peek over at you. Your eyes widened as you were too scared to move or scream, however, you noticed how he had some toy ears on top of his head.
OR so you thought they were fake…
until they twitched, he had a small smile that twitches against his lips as he stares down at you. His ears were circular, and his hair seemed to be dyed red.
“Hello.” He tilts his head at you. Your mouth was glued shut. “Am I scaring you??” His smile slowly falls slightly.
“Yes, very much so. What are you even? Those shouldn’t be moving on your head unless they are some really expensive ass robotic ears that act so real…”
“I’m a fox hybrid.”
“Human half fox.” He says looking away from your shocked expression. “I’ll leave if I am making you uncomfortable.”
“Wait I’m curious…” he turned around but stopped when he heard you say you were curious.
Just tell swished back and forth, he his body to look at you. Tells big and fluffy and soft looking. “About..?”
“Well I’m already looking at it… that tail is real.” You said shocked. It swishes again as he fully turned back to look at you.
“Yes. Like I said I am a hybrid. Have a tail, I have ears like a Fox would. I can even communicate with other foxes, and or animals.” You stood up brushing the dirt off of you. You looked him right into his chocolate orbs. He smiles while tilting his head at you.
“Why are you were here, in front of my home?”
“I’m so very hungry… are usually run back to peoples trash, right after that I’d neatly clean it all up back into the can.”
“So you’re just hungry.”
“Don’t you eat other wild life.”
“I do not.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I was raised differently with my last owner. She taught me to eat well nourishment food.”
“She spoils you..” you frown.
“She did not. I only got food when it was time to eat, not whenever I wanted!” You hold your hands up high in defense. He jumps at his own actions and his ears dropped. “sorry, just wish for no want to talk about my owner like that.”
“Well, why not go back to her.”
“She passed away..”
“Oooh…” you watched as His face turned to one of sadness. “She was already old, and she never discriminated against me even though I had a tail and some fox ears. She loved me like her own son.”
“I’m so so sorry..” he smiles again.
“No need, it’s ok.”
“Well how about I go in and get some cold cuts for you?”
“What is a cold cut?”
“It’s ham, chicken slices, baloney, roasted beef. Basically, meat cut into slices for sandwiches.”
You grabbed his hand, leading him to your porch and told him to patiently wait there. Once back, she opens the door wide and motions him in. “Come on in.”
He hesitated for a second.
Last time he did that, he was almost a pet to 5 children and an angry cat. He stares at you.
“I wouldn’t dare to hurt you.” You made sure he understood the severity of the situation. “Just come enjoy a nice dinner.” He walks past her with hesitation as his mind slightly goes blank. She closes the door and tells him to follow her.
He is led to a living room full of boxes. His eyes bounced curiously to all of the art paintings that hung on the walls already. They all looked quite interesting to the hybrid. He stood in front of one of the masterpieces he found intriguing.
“You like that masterpiece?” You questioned the fox. He looks at you with a smile.
“Usually lions are very intimidating. She isn’t intimidating at all, but instead breathtaking.” You smiled.
“My Dormmate Elizabeth painted this a few years back she told me. This is a picture of her mother.” His mouth drops to the floor.
“She was beautiful.” You smiled nodding.
“Come on, before the bread hardens and get all icky.” You led him to the kitchen, and he gasps again. Noticing how everything in here was just as beautiful as the half empty living room. “The house would look better than this when all is unpacked. this is only HALF of it.” You boasted.
“All of the stuff belongs to Elizabeth. I’m not as stylish as she is. I’m just a simple gal, you know? A desk, A bed, Rug, Computer, w.e.” You shrugged as you pulled out the chair for the hybrid to sit in. He looks down at the chair and tilts his head.
“I’m used to eating in my fox form.” He smiles cutely.
“O-Oh….go ahead.” You tried hard to hide you’re excited. He had a fox form, and he was going to change in front of you.
“Can I change…privately please?”
“I have a bathroom..” He nods kindly, so you led him to the bathroom and he closes the door. Five minutes later you heard little whimpers, you open the door to see a fox laying there looking up at you.
“Oh My god.” You whispered. He stands up while swishing his tail, he stares right at you with a cute head tilt. The squeal you wanted to hold back came out full force, making the fox wag its tail happily.
“Okay, Sorry Sorry! Let’s go feed you. Oh my god you’re just the cutest little thing~” The Fox chirps in response.
After feeding the fox, your dorm mate was shocked and scared out of her mind about seeing a red fox laying on the couch, on your lap as you both we’re dead sleep. The fox’s tail swished as he was in deep sleep, his chin laying on your thigh.
Elizabeth lightly shakes your shoulder, making you wake up. You looked up at her, she points to your lap with wide eyes and her mouth twisted in confusion. You look down, and jumped slightly, forgetting about the cute fox in your abode.
You don’t want to know how badly I wanted to floo to your house and hug you to death when I got your last letter. I read it at breakfast and you totally got me out of sorts before charms class, and then Angelina comforted me and that reminded me that you don’t have an Angelina to comfort you so that didn’t exactly help.
Albus and I thought off a plan to lift your spirits during charms though, which should have arrived by now so you won’t read this while sad. I’m not saying anything about it in case you haven’t gotten it yet but I do know it will without a doubt cheer you up.
Also talking about Albus, he is now thick as thieves with Scorpius Malfoy, who is not at all alike his father in my dad’s stories. First of all because he’s not a ferret. I actually wonder how a person could look like a ferret? Does Malfoy senior have whiskers? A huge blindfold shaped marking around his eyes? Is he covered in black and white fur? How does that even work?
I think I’ll ask Scorpius if he has a picture of his father to see if he resembles a tiny carnivorous mammal. I highly doubt it since I found Pansy Parkinson doesn’t look like a pug either. (Again, how do you even look like a pug? People just don’t look like pugs? I don’t understand my dad sometimes)
Talking about the Parkinson’s, Eris Parkinson is a pain in the butt. Like I now finally understand my dad when he describes how much he dislikes Malfoy senior. Everything she does is annoying. She chews loud, she eats large chunks of meat just to annoy me because I am a vegetarian, she snores, she is the messiest roommate ever and she hogs the shower for hours.
Did I tell you she’s my dormmate yet? I can’t imagine I haven’t because I can barely focus on anything else but her. Angelina thinks she’s annoying too, but it doesn’t bother her too much because she grew up with four siblings, all of them adopted by her two dads Marcus and Oliver.
You know your father’s old quidditch captain? That guy is apparently married to his rival Slytherin captain. According to Angelina they’re really cute together, and they are with exactly the right number to make a quidditch team. (Her dads keep saying that’s not why they adopted five kids but none of them believe it)
I have to round this letter up now, I am about to start my first inter house trivia quiz as the representative of the Ravenclaw first years after winning the first round against Parkinson the Prat (Or Eris the Evil, I haven’t decided yet). It’s a thing the Slytherins organize and I plan to win it. So far no first year has managed that in the past fifteen years.
Anyhow have fun with the thing Albus and I send you!
With haste because I’m about to go up against Scorpius Malfoy,
Ps. Albus here. Please don’t forget to water the plants, Neville won’t forgive us if we let them die again and I’m pretty sure dad will forget
Pps. Angelina here. I’ll see what I can do around christmas. Maybe I can organize a Granger-Weasley-Potter-Flint-Wood meet up, that should distract James enough. Also if I could I would have given you a statue for that howler you send. Absolutely brilliant.
“If you show a hint of a fear,” Severus said darkly, hand suspicious still on the whiskey glass, “they come piling in like bloodhounds, baying for blood.”
Sluggy regarded him fondly. They were sitting by the fire in his second-favorite private study, the one he used for private professional meetings. He was reclining in his overstuffed arm chair. Severus was ramrod straight. “Severus,” Sluggy said, “there is still a line between showing no fear and terrorizing a seventeen year old to the point of hysterics. What did you even say to him?” Graeme Fawley was a little shit who had it coming, but public humiliation that overt was not his style.
Severus smiled thinly. “I only asked him if he thought Dumbledore would have hired me if I were sniveling like him. Amongst other things.”
Horace raised a teacher eyebrow.
“Like what his pals have been up to. And my dormmates. If I were so snivelling, how am I still alive?” Severus folded his arms defensively, crossed his legs, gave a defiant look.
The fire crackled. Horace sighed. “You went Death Eater on him.”
“I may have channeled by inner Bellatrix,” Sev smirked, “but you told me to work on my presence and authority.”
“Try something else.”
Shadows deepened in the room, and when Sluggy looked up at Sev in shock he saw his eyes were dark, fathomless holes. In a cold, piercing voice an octave higher than usual, Snape said, “I regret it.”
Horace finished the shot, and grabbed Severus’ too.
Can you tell us about any real life experiences that influenced SHIP IT?
There have been so many but I’ll tell you about one influential one.
Sophomore year of college, the show HOUSE M.D premiered. My dorm had been previously obsessed with the sketch comedy show A BIT OF FRY AND LAURIE (I think someone had bootleg DVDs of it? I don’t remember, but we were obsessed.) So we watched that first season in one of our dorm rooms as a group, and about halfway through the season I became convinced that the show was telling us that House and Wilson were in love. I told the rest of my dorm and they laughed at me, but it didn’t matter because I was convinced that I was right and they would be proven wrong. I could see the signals and they couldn’t. All these gay jokes on the show couldn’t just be jokes…….. could they?
Look, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen House, but that queerbaity relationship went on for the entire run of the show, finally culminating in House and Wilson sharing a (presumably platonic???????) motorcycle ride into the sunset. No literally, these two bros *rode into the sunset* together to live together until death do they part. That’s canon. Yet their relationship was a subject of gay jokes until the end.
I was mad. I felt betrayed. And I felt, frankly, like a fool for ever believing a lead character on a show could be revealed to be gay. My dormmates knew what I didn’t: That just. Doesn’t. Happen.
I’ve seen this happen over and over on other shows since then and I get frustrated and angry all over again every time. So I wrote a damn book about it.
A/N: Look at this exciting thing! I think many can agree that the ending of The Bet sucked big time, and as I’ve mentioned before I don’t like posting something I’m not satisfied with! So here’s a little story taking place a year after the series! I hope you enjoy it :-) x
A person like me need:
1) eyemask - so I can sleep at school because my dormmates sometimes doesnt like to switch off the light
2) sketchbook - its my life
3) sharpies - 2nd thing of my life
4) scissor - so i can cut my hair monthly
5) sticky notes - i like to write important stuff on my notebook
6) stapler bullets - homework stuff
7) gluesticks - for homework
8) Colourful pomade - so i can be hot.
Someone should teach me to not google “creepy things that’s happened in haunted freshmen dorms” at 2am on a Saturday night. Maybe it’s just because I don’t enjoy the fact that my roommate ( dormmate? which is it even called? ) hasn’t actually moved in yet. Maybe it’s also because of the fact that I absolutely heard something about seventeen and a half minutes ago ( and counting! ) and it’s scared the ba-jeebus out of me!
Either way, welcome to this brand new segment I call: Mason’s Ghost Experiences & Wishing Madison or Jane Were Here to Fight Them Off For Me. I should get a shorter title for the segment. Also, kidding… on the segment thing. I can totally fight off ghosts on my own. Or at least with some sage. … New York has that right? Like it’s totes possible to get that in the middle of the night?
Anyhow, my super nifty inbox is totes open for advice on this ghost sitch because I don’t wanna be a ghost-host… or maybe I just need advice on how to deal with not having my dormmate here yet.
We met in college. She was hanging out with a mutual friend of ours. They talked and texted. Eventually, he friend introduced us. We became fast friends.
Shortly after, she got sick. He became clingy, and accused her of cheating with me. She then told him she wanted nothing to do with him. He persisted.
Amid all of this, we had started seeing each other. He found out and texted me about how he was going to kill me. I showed the text to campus police who said they couldn’t do anything. My dormmate was his cousin, so he was always in my room. I was afraid for my life. Eventually, I was able to switch dorms. But I had demerits on my record instead of him.
When he found out, he started sending threatening messages to my girlfriend. Things like how he would hurt her and myself. We went once again to the campus police. They still couldn’t do anything, even with all the proof we showed them.
He followed us everywhere, and sent threatening messages through his friends to us. We went to the dean, who went to the campus police, who still didn’t do anything. None of this stopped until we moved last summer.
I watched as the clock changed from 8:29 to 8:30. Shit, my first day and I was already late for class. It’s not that I am irresponsible. In fact, I could’ve been early to class if the damn hallways weren’t so confusing here. And fuck those moving staircases too.
My parents decided on a whim to move to England from America a month ago. And just like that, my perfect life was flipped upside down. I had to leave all my friends, and everything I’d ever known. I had less than two years left at Ilvermorny, and now I had to transfer to Hogwarts, right in the middle of December.
That was the worst thing of all. Everyone at Ilvermorny knows how stuck up everyone is at Hogwarts. And now, I’d have to show up in the middle of the term and figure everything out from scratch.
Honestly though, I came in with a good attitude. I was hoping so badly that we had the wrong idea about Hogwarts students. I really didn’t want to spend my sixth and seventh years without any friends.
But alas, here I was. Sitting on the ground against the wall. I had dropped my books to my left and rested my head on my hands.
People at Hogwarts really were jerks. I asked at least six different people for directions, and all but one ignored me. The one who answered, a Hufflepuff of course, said something along the lines of, “Okay go down that hallway, at the knight turn left, then turn right three more times and you’ll see a winding staircase. Go past the winding staircase until you see the door with an iron handle. Pull the iron handle and inside of the door will be another staircase. Go down the staircase and you’ll be in your classroom.”
What the hell was that supposed to even mean? I missed the simple and easily-accessed classrooms at Ilvermorny.
I was feeling really quite pathetic and sorry for myself when I felt someone plop down on the ground next to me.
I looked up and my breath caught in my throat. Sitting next to me was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. The sun glinted off his long red hair and he smiled.
“Hi there, I’m George. You look like you need some help.”
“Y-yes I could used some help actually.” I stammered. “Could you show me how to get to Professor Snape’s classroom? My potions class started ten minutes ago but I got lost.” He gave me a questioning look, so I kept talking. “It’s my first day here and nobody would help me find my way around.”
He laughed. “Well good thing you came across me then! I can show you around. You must be from America. Your accent is lovely, by the way. What’s your name?”
George stood up and offered me his hand to help me stand up. I shivered at the contact. “I’m (Y/N). T-thanks for helping me.”
He smirked. “No problem. We can take the scenic route. I’ll give you a nice little tour. Maybe then you’ll be able to find your way around.”
George levitated my books into his waiting arms and began to walk.
“Did you have any breakfast yet, (Y/N)?”
I shook my head.
“Well then, the kitchen is the first stop. I’ve made friends with the house elves, so I’ll be able to get you some food.” He winked.
I was already starting to fall for him, just a bit. We made it to the kitchen and before I could blink, I had a full English breakfast in front of me. I ate most of it, but left the baked beans on toast. That’s just nasty.
George was talking my ear off the whole time. I learned he had five brothers and one sister, and they were all ginger too. He was in his sixth year, like me. He played on the Quidditch team and wanted to start a joke shop.
Once I was done eating, he stopped telling me about himself and starting peppered me with questions.
“What year are you in?”
“What house are you in?”
“What is your favorite food?”
“Do you like it here?”
“I like it better now that I’ve met you.” It slipped out of my mouth before I could stop it. I didn’t really care though. It was a true statement, and I live by a very strict philosophy of YOLO.
George’s ears turned a bit pink. “Do you have a boyfriend?” He asked this question a bit quieter than he had asked the others.
I smiled to myself. “Nope.” His face turned the same color as his ears, and I celebrated inwardly. If he liked me too, then maybe Hogwarts wouldn’t be so bad. I winked at him and then laughed out loud. Boy, I could be cheeky when I wanted to.
George grabbed my hand and continued the tour. It was so thorough; I briefly wondered how it was possible for him to have such a deep knowledge of the castle. He showed me all of the classrooms I would be in. We went out to the Quidditch pitch, and he introduced me to Hagrid. During the tour, he was telling me all about the Triwizard Tournament that was going on. When he mentioned the Yule Ball, he turned pink again.
By the time George was finished with the tour, it was dinner time. He was holding my hand, walking me to the Great Hall, when we were stopped my Professor Flitwick, the head of my house.
The diminutive man smiled at me. “(Y/N), it is customary for new students to eat supper with their head of house after the first day of classes. Follow me, and I can answer any questions you have.” He turned and strode into the first door on the left, his office.
I turned to George and stood on my tip toes to peck him on the cheek. “Thanks for the tour, George” I batted my eyelashes, “I hope to see you again soon.”
I turned into Flitwick’s office to try and explain that I had not actually gone to any of my classes.
After dinner, and after I agreed to spend my free period, lunch, and dinner in Flitwick’s office to catch up on what I missed during my first classes, I headed back up to my common room. I knew how to get there now, thanks to my new friend George.
Speaking of George, I saw him down the hallway, standing all alone against a wall with his nose in a parchment.
This was my chance! I walked up to him. He was concentrating really hard on whatever was on the parchment, and he didn’t even look up at me until I cleared my throat. He quickly stuffed the parchment in his pocket, just as I reached up to plant a big kiss on his cute lips.
He looked surprised, but put his hands around my waist and kissed me back.
Honestly, it was a little disappointing, but what can I expect from a sixteen year old boy?
I pulled away to look at George. I leaned up one more time for a quick kiss, and then I disentangled myself from the embrace and made my way to the common room.
I looked back to see George staring at me, mouth agape.
I sat on my bed, thinking about how wonderful my day ended up being. I smiled to myself and changed into my pajamas. I grabbed my book and got comfortable in bed.
***THE NEXT MORNING***
I woke up early, still in a good mood from the day before. I quickly showered and dressed. I had to make it to breakfast before Potions class and I couldn’t be late. I walked out of the common room, and promptly smacked into someone and fell. I looked up to see George, holding a single yellow tulip.
George pulled me up and handing me the flower. “Sorry about that. Can I walk you down to breakfast?”
I was happy. My original plan was to scope out the castle for George, but him finding me first was even better.
“Yes you can.” I leaned in closer. “So what’s the verdict? Am I a good kisser, or what?” I asked teasingly.
George blushed. “Let’s find out.” He brought his face down to mine and pressed his lips to mine. I threw my arms around his neck and pulled him against me. I licked his lower lip, asking him to open up. He did. This kiss was so much better than last time. I felt the butterflies in my stomach come alive.
Faintly, I heard a voice. “Oi, mate. Hurry up, we’re gonna be late to Transfiguration. McGonagall’s not going to let us get away with that again.”
George stopped kissing me and looked away. “That’ll be Lee. I guess I’ve got to get going.” He sighed and lifted his hand to stroke my face with his thumb, and then he was gone. I heard him shouting down the hallway. “See you later.”
I smiled, but then frowned when I looked at the clock. Fuck, I was going to have to miss breakfast. But I could still be on time to class.
I was almost to Potions when an out-of-breath George ran up to me and stopped me.
“Fancy see you again so soon” I cooed.
George stood up, holding his side and heaving. “Do you want to go to the Yule Ball with me?”
“I’d love to!” I flashed him a winning smile and began my descent into Snape’s classroom. I wish I could have stayed to talk, but I really didn’t want to be late today.
For the remainder of my classes, I felt like I was flying. I was only two days into my new life, and already I had the cutest boy in school ask me to the dance. It was like a movie almost.
Even spending my free periods and meal times catching up on school work couldn’t dampen my mood.
After my long day of school, I was finally leaving Flitwick’s office.
I walked back to my dorm, keeping an eye out for George. Unfortunately, I didn’t see him.
Back in the Ravenclaw common room, my dormmate Hannah stopped me. This was strange, as almost no one had even deigned to speak to me yet.
Hannah handed me a folded piece of parchment. “He asked me to give this to you. I dunno why.” She left as quickly as she arrived.
I opened the parchment to read what was inside.
Please meet me on the Quidditch pitch at 10:00 pm.
My heart fluttered and I looked at the clock. I still had fifteen minutes. I grabbed my cloak and ran to the Quidditch pitch.
I saw George standing in the middle of it, and ran faster. Once I reached him, I jumped. He caught me and twirled me around as our lips met. God, he was so perfect.
He put me down, and I decided to be coy. “So, Georgie, what color tie are you wearing to the Yule Ball? I want to make sure my dress will match.
His whole face lit up. “So does that mean you’ll go with me?”
I gave him a funny look before I answered. “Of course I’ll go with you! You know that.” I playfully smacked him on the arm and he retaliated by slinging me over his shoulder. I gently beat my hands against his back and he put me down.
George picked up his broom and straddled it. “Hop on, (Y/N). We’re going for a ride.”
Delighted, I sat behind him, and put my arms around his waist to hold on.
I leaned in. He smelled like the outside does after a big rainstorm. Fresh and new and exciting.
We circled the grounds, and eventually came up close to an open window. He stopped the broomstick.
“Well, (Y/N), this is your stop.” I looked into the room and noticed that it, indeed, was my dorm. I saw Hannah inside, wearing a shit-eating grin, sitting on my bed with my two other dormmates. I climbed in to the room and turned to face George. Before I could say anything, he kissed me. It was short and chaste.
George pulled back and winked at me. “Bye, (Y/N)” He smiled and he zoomed away.
Hannah pulled me onto the bed with the other two girls, and held up a bottle of firewhiskey. “(Y/N), tell us EVERYTHING.”
I woke up the next day with a pounding headache, but I still was happy. Last night had been so much fun. Between George, and my new found friends, life was shaping up to be quite excellent.
***EVENING OF THE YULE BALL***
The past week had been crazy busy, so I didn’t get to see George at all. I made sure to send George an owl, to ask him to meet me outside of the Ravenclaw common room at seven. I went down to the Great Hall with Hannah at five to eat an early dinner.
I saw George sitting all alone at the Gryffindor tablel. His dirty plate was pushed to the side, and he was drawing intently.
“Hey handsome.” I sat down next to him. “Can’t wait for tonight.” I leaned in for a quick kiss. George’s face turned red and I giggled.
“Hey. Where should I meet you?” George asked.
I furrowed my eyebrows. He must have not gotten my owl. “Pick me up at seven tonight. In front of my common room.”
He squeezed my hand as an affirmation and rose. “I’d better go and start getting ready, love.” He smirked. “This beautiful mane doesn’t look this good by itself.”
I said goodbye and rejoined Hannah at the Ravenclaw table. We ate quickly and returned to the common room to get ready. Hannah didn’t have a date, but that wasn’t going to stop her from having a good time.
At precisely seven, we exited the common room. There was a group of boys waiting. I was clearly not the only Ravenclaw girl with a date from another house. I saw George talking to a few people in the group.
He turned around. His mouth dropped when he saw me. I was wearing a tight and long black dress. It fit me well, and I knew it hugged my curves.
I started walking towards him, when the boy next to him turned around too. I stopped in my tracks.
Standing next to George was…George. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I insane? I stood there, just looking at one then the other.
While I was evaluating my mental state, both George’s noticed that they were staring at the same girl.
Left George shoved Right George hard on the shoulders, and Right George fell back a few steps. He walked back to Left George and shoved him back harder.
“That’s my date you prat.”
“No way, git. She’s my date.”
“NO I asked her.”
“Well, SHE asked ME.”
“YEAH WELL SHE KISSED ME”
“ME TOO YOU BLOODY IDIOT.”
I snapped out of my reverie and marched up to them. I pulled them apart, one boy’s shoulder in each one of my hands.
“What the FUCK is going on?” I whisper-yelled. “Why are there two of you? Why didn’t anyone tell me there were two of you?”
I heard laughing and I turned to see Hannah doubled over, guffawing like she had never seen something so funny. She stood upright, still laughing.
“(Y/N), you didn’t know George has a twin?” She was red in the face from laughing so hard.
I heard more laughing from next to me. Both Georges had started to chuckle too.
I let go of them.
“Who is George?”
Right George raised his hand sheepishly.
“So you gave me a tour on my first day?”
Right George nodded.
“And I kissed you after I ate dinner with Flitwick?”
Right George shook his head, so I turned to Left George.
“So I kissed you in the hallway on my first day.” I remembered the lackluster kiss.
“You did.” Left George Fred winked at me.
“And were you waiting outside my common room the next morning?”
Fred shook his head.
“So that was you then, George?” That kiss was much better.
George smiled and nodded.
I was beginning to understand the differences between my previous encounters with George (and Fred).
I continued talking, working out the details slowly in my head. “So Fred, you asked me to the Yule Ball.”
“And George, you brought me to the Quidditch pitch.”
“So then George, you were the one to get my owl. And that’s why Fred didn’t know where to meet me when Hannah and I just saw him in the Great Hall.”
Both boys nodded.
“Well, now what do we do?” I wondered aloud. I knew I wanted to go with George, after all, he did give me the butterflies. But this was such an awkward situation.
I wasn’t thinking long when Hannah marched up to Fred and snaked her arm through his. “Come on Fred, you’re my date tonight.” Fred smiled and turned to me. “Sorry, (Y/N). I’ve been claimed.” She pulled him away, leaving George and I standing there.
“I’m really sorry I kissed your brother.” I broke the silence.
He let out a loud laugh and put his arm around me. “’Snot your fault, love. We are identical after all.” He smirked. “And you didn’t know I had a twin.”
I blushed at his teasing. “I should’ve figured it out when you went from being a really shitty kisser to an amazing kisser.”
George raised an eyebrow and swept me into an embrace. “You really think so?”
I nodded shyly and pulled his face down to mine. The butterflies came back as soon as our lips touched.
My rabbi asked me if I want to schedule my bet den, I just don't know how to know if I'm ready!
Ooh, that’s a really tough question to know the answer to because it varies so much, person to person. I knew that I felt ready when I thought about my “goals” for Judaism and found that none of them could be solved by not going to the mikvah. I don’t know if that makes any sense.
Like, before my thoughts had been along the lines of “I need to learn what the holidays are, I don’t really understand services yet, and what really makes Judaism different from the religion I’ve practiced previously?” Those were things I could study more, and felt like I needed to study more before conversion. But at that point I was thinking more like “I’d like to feel more a part of my Jewish community, I want to incorporate x practice into my daily life.” These were specific things I could work on as a Jew, not as a convert-in-progress.
So here are some general questions you can ask yourself to try and gauge whether you’re ready:
how often do I think about Judaism and Jewish practices? is it something that’s centered in the synagogue and in my classes, or do I think about it at home, at work, going about my daily life?
do I feel comfortable at my synagogue? even if I am occasionally nervous or anxious, do I feel like this is a community I want to join? do I feel comforted, inspired, nourished by the service? does it feel familiar, or is it still a little strange?
when I celebrate a holiday, or Shabbat, or witness a life cycle event like a bar/bat mitzvah, am I thinking about how I want to celebrate it on my own? am I making plans for my future, or am I still thinking of it as someone else’s celebration that I’m just sitting in on?
can I explain some basic aspects of Judaism to people who don’t know much about it? do I have at least some confidence in my knowledge of kashrut, holidays, rituals, ethics?
do I disagree with anything I’ve read or witnessed? if so, can I articulate why I disagree in a way that draws on Jewish resources? (for example, at my beit din, my rabbi brought up the fact that my synagogue doesn’t have the kohenim bless the congregation on Yom Kippur, and asked if I agreed or disagreed with this break from tradition)
There’s one other thing that was very powerful to me that is hard to phrase as a question; it’s the way that, sometimes, I was recognized by others as (almost a) Jew, and how that made me feel. One of the first times I thought of myself as almost-a-Jew was when I was at a Yom HaShoah vigil, when my school’s rabbi recited the Kaddish, and I responded at the proper points, with the proper words, automatically, as did every other Jew in the crowd. But all the gentiles there looked around, puzzled, and one of my friends asked me later what cue she had missed. That sort of made me think Oh, I’m really learning this. I’ve changed.
Then, several months later, just a few weeks before I ended up converting, similar things like that kept happening. I was walking to my synagogue, and a couple recognized me and called “Shabbat Shalom!” from where they were walking across the street. A girl in one of my classes said something casually antisemitic, and another Jewish girl in class made eye contact with me before we both tried to correct her. One of my dormmates said she was really happy that I lived in the same hallway as her, because “this would have been the first time I lived without any other Jews.”
And every time this happened, I felt a little shiver of this feels right. I didn’t feel guilty, or like I had to prove myself. I felt that, not only could I pray by myself and light candles for myself, but I could be a Jew publicly and be recognized by other members in my community.
So. yeah. That’s what being ready felt like for me. And this got kind of long, and I’m sure I missed out on some other things, but those are some suggestions. Also, before I went before my beit din, my rabbi had me journal four questions: What has been my path so far? What do I love about Judaism? What does living a Jewish life mean for me? What (if anything) is still holding me back? These are much broader than the questions I suggested, but if you’re really stuck, getting a few sheets of paper and really taking the time to write out thoughtful answers might help you decide. And it’s a great way to “study” for the beit din, too!