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Hazel Wheeler

she's absolutely smitten

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Hazel Wheeler

Hazel had admitted to herself a while ago that she certainly did have feelings for Julian. They were confusing, butterfly in the tummy inducing feelings. It was kind of confusing after spending so much time denying that there was anything there, but she had to admit that it was almost predictable. She had been caught several times rambling on about how wonderful Julian was, and she was certain that if she had to have stolen a kiss under the mistletoe, she really wouldn't have minded it.

 

She was walking arm in arm with Arwa as they left the small study group they had created in the library. Arwa was one of the two people Hazel had confided in outside of her mum because she was afraid of it being blown out of proportion as it had with Simon. Plus, Arwa had grown up with Julian, and she was one of the few people Hazel trusted to keep a very special secret. 

 

The study group had been lovely, and Hazel had even gotten a dimpled smile from Julian! She almost dropped her pen in the awe of his smile - and she was certain Arwa had to poke her out of her reverie. And now, as they walked and chatted along the corridor, Hazel was still giddy from the way his smile made her feel gooey on the inside. She looked like she was just walking arm in arm with Arwa, but in reality, she was using her as support.

 

 

If she could say something, or if she had the nerve to make it known how much she enjoyed him, she wouldn't act so scared as she did under the threat of the mistletoe. Julian made her feel happy, and she couldn't even imagine what her days would be like without spending time with him. Her free time was wrapped up in him, studying in the library, making goofy faces at him over breakfast, doodling gel pen images of him in her notes, or whispering flower facts to him in classes. It was almost inevitable that she would come to crush on the dimpled cheeks and swoop of brown hair.

 

His intelligence amazed her as it did with everyone else. However, it was the care and love for animals that had really been her downfall. The way they had snuck out puppies under the veil of her flower baskets, how she had discovered him trying to find gnomes in the bushes of Crystal Fountain Park, or how they rambled on about bowtruckles. He was her best friend. And she was completely smitten with him.

Edited by Hazel Wheeler

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

People occasionally questioned Arwa and whether or not she was even aware of her surroundings, because of how oblivious she tended to be in most situations. It was certainly true that when it came to most things, someone could whip by her with a secret riding on top of their shoulder and Arwa wouldn’t notice anything amiss. However, it was the complete opposite when it came to her friends and the people she cared about. In that particular scenario, Arwa was always alert, almost hypervigilant.

 

It hadn’t been that difficult to discern that Hazel and Julian were more inclined towards each other than they were towards anyone else. Julian was her best friend, and Hazel was almost just as good a friend (not to mention the secret crush Arwa had been harbouring, a crush that would definitely remain a secret). There was no need to put two and two together when it was so obvious. It helped that both of them had chosen to somewhat confide in her, but she had started guessing a long time ago.

 

She was pretty sure that at this point, the only people who were unaware that their feelings were fully reciprocated were her two friends in question.

 

“If I didn’t know any better,” Arwa said, grinning, taking advantage of a sudden break in their conversation. “I’d say you’re in love with Julian.” It was a shame that both of them had sworn Arwa to secrecy, or she could have fixed everything. That should be her next plan - to fix everyone’s lives. She wouldn’t even ask for any money this time. Arwa was a third year, now, and she needed to start taking some responsibility.

 

”So...where is Julian?” She asked, peering around, as if half expecting him to pop out from behind a wall. “I didn’t see him leave the library,” she added, after a quick minute.

 

No, really, where was Julian?

Edited by Arwa Hashmi-Andrada
arwa’s a third year, not a fourth year...

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Julian Pritchard

Julian was scrambling to catch up to Hazel and Arwa, thanks to a slight mishap with an inkpot. They’d been getting ready to leave and Hazel had smiled at something Arwa had said and Julian had been watching them instead of what he was doing, which had turned out to be a fatal mistake. The next thing he knew, his elbow was half in an inkpot, and there were several droplets of ink in places where they really shouldn’t be - like the library table and the book he’d checked out.

 

It hadn’t been as bad as it could’ve been. He wasn’t even sure the girls had noticed, but even a small mess was too much of a mess when it came to the library and the terrifying librarian that inhabited it, so he’d hung back to clean it up. And, well, regroup. Nothing cleared one’s mind quite like a properly executed cleaning charm and his mind seemed to desperately need it.

 

It felt like his brain had been somewhere else for days. Weeks, even. He’d been constantly distracted in class, finding himself daydreaming about going to the greenhouses with Hazel or -worse- outright stealing glances at her when he should’ve been focused on the board and their professor. He kept chattering to her about nothing when he should’ve been reading, and he didn’t quite understand why. Was this what people talked about when they mentioned teenagers ‘acting out’? Maybe he was secretly so upset with his mum and the fact that she was basically glued to Mr. Reed now that he was unconsciously ignoring his studies to upset her.

 

It was, admittedly, a convoluted explanation. But the explanation Arwa would’ve proposed wasn’t much better. He couldn’t fancy Hazel. She was one of his best friends, and that he constantly wanted to be around her made perfect sense. It was just the logical conclusion that followed from her being constantly funny and kind, and him appreciating those qualities in others. It didn’t explain why he suddenly found her face so interesting to look at, but that was just what hormones did, probably; he was fourteen now, a proper teenager, and he’d been told to expect things like that.

 

“I’m here,” he called out in response to Arwa’s question, as he jogged up to Hazel and her. “Sorry. I thought I’d told you I’d be a second,” he muttered, eyes flicking down to meet Hazel’s, just in time for him to walk into straight into a bust.

 

“Ow.” So much for the miracle of cleaning charms.

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Hazel Wheeler

Her arm dangled limply in the curve of Arwa's. She hissed a shhh at the Gryffindor, afraid that the Ravenclaw in question would somehow appear at that exact moment. Glancing around to check and see if the coast was clear, she breathed out a sigh of relief. Hazel started to giggle as she felt the pressure of being found unwind her chest, "Careful, Arwa. I'm not sure what I feel..."

 

The Hufflepuff unhooked her arm and ran a hand through her hair before cupping her head into her hands, "I fancy him."

 

It had been a while since she had said it out loud. She felt like a spy but instead of going on a mission to save the country, she was pathetically gazing after her best friend. It was like her life had become some cheesy rom-com she would watch with her mum as they snuggled under a blanket in front of the telly. Girl meets boy. Boy and girl become friends. Girl trips herself up by crushing endlessly on the aforementioned boy. If she didn't have someone to confide in, Hazel would have probably told Julian a long time ago. Successfully ruining the one constant in her life.

 

Hazel turned back at the sound of Ju's voice, a smile immediately covering her features and she subconciously rocked from the heels of her feet to the balls of her feet before settling back down. He had grown, and it was almost attractive the way she had to crane her neck a bit to see him fully. He had a full five inches on her - perfect cheek kissing height (not that she had thought about that situation at all) - and Hazel liked the way they looked side by side. She could almost imagine them walking down the corridor together, her hand intertwined with his as they animatedly talk about their shared custody of her cactus. Putting flowers in his hair as he rests against the trunk of a tree. Sharing toast at the table as they recite incantations back and forth despite Arwa's protests.

 

They'd be so cute.

 

Interrupted from her reverie suddenly, Hazel heard a crash come somewhere from Julian. Her eyes widen and she practically jumps over to him. Her left hand lightly grasping his forearm and the other carefully rubbing circles into his shoulder with her thumb. It was instinct, caring for him was instinct.

 

"Are you alright?" Hazel looked down around them, seeing the fractured bust that he had most likely toppled into in his hurry to catch up to them, "I think he got a majority of the damage."

 

She looked back up at him before withdrawing back into herself, aware that Arwa was surely smirking over at her with an all-knowing look. She couldn't help it. Protect Julian Pritchard at all costs.

 

"M-Maybe if we find a cupboard they'll have some supplies to put the bust back together. Maybe some glue? Unless someone is good at the reparo charm... You probably are, Ju. You're good at lots of things."

 

You're as subtle as A WHALE Hazel.

Edited by Hazel Wheeler

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

Julian’s sudden appearance almost startled Arwa, but she managed to internalise it. She was here to set things straight between her two friends, not turn their attentions on her. It was just as well that mere moments ago, Hazel had once again confessed her feelings for Julian.

 

This was going to be a piece of cake.

 

”Careful, Ju...” Arwa warned, just as he ran right into a bust. “Yeah, that,” she nodded, though she was grinning. The sudden crash had sent Hazel into a frenzy as she made sure that Julian wasn’t in any way hurt. It was adorable to watch, and it only made her mission that much more important.

 

“You mean like that one?” Arwa pointed further down the corridor, where a door could be clearly seen. If she wasn’t wrong about their location, it was a supply closet that housed all sorts of equipment. Why something like that existed in a school that taught nothing but magic to its students, Arwa didn’t know, but she did know that it would greatly help her in her plan.

 

Without another word, the Gryffindor approached the closet, looking over her shoulder to make sure her friends were following her. It wasn’t that difficult to force open the door; a second later, Arwa was peering into the dark, wondering if it was big enough for two third years to sit in and have a heart to heart.

 

It would have to do.

 

”I don’t know what actually we’re looking for, guys,” she said, slightly fibbing. “Maybe you two should take a closer look?” Arwa had carefully schooled her face into a worried expression.

 

Maybe after this, she ought to start a drama club; she was just that good at this.

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Julian Pritchard

“I’m fine,” Julian muttered distractedly at Hazel. If he was entirely honest, his hipbone kind of hurt. but his eyes were completely glued to the mess he’d just made. He was dead. He was in so much trouble. He’d possibly just destroyed an ancient and valuable relic. He was so concerned, he almost didn’t notice that Hazel was now touching him. Once he did, though, it was very hard not to, and his eyes drifted away from the bust to where her hand was resting on his forearm.

 

Her hands felt warm and he couldn’t quite tell whether he wanted to pull away or not, so he just stood there awkwardly, feeling his cheeks grow slightly pinker.

 

He should probably focus on the bust, anyway.

 

“Right, Reparo. We’re wizards. That’s smart,” Julian gave Hazel a small smile. He was pretty good at the mending charm, if he was honest, but he hadn’t gotten that good at look at the bust before breaking it, which might make it a tad harder. He was frowning at the shattered bust, trying to picture what it might’ve looked like whole when he heard Arwa call for them. Still flustered at the accident and the close proximity to Hazel, he walked over to her, glad for a bit of a distraction, even if he wasn’t exactly sure what they were looking for in the closet.

 

“A closer look at what?” he asked, stepping in to glance around the shelves. He reached out to touch his shoulder. It still felt warm and tingly where Hazel had been rubbing it. Was that normal?

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Hazel Wheeler

Hazel curled her arms around herself, fully aware that she had been very affectionate with Julian a mere moments ago. Her skin felt warm as a blush ran up her neck and around the curve of her ears. If she could pick a flower for every time she felt this way when she looked at him, she'd have so many flower crowns.

 

At the mention of a new path - and a distraction from the fact that Hazel was smitten - the group moved their way along the corridor. Hazel hoped that this new prerogative would be the easiest way to just avoid it all. It had become Hazel's tactic for dealing with confrontation. To avoid the problem until she was forced to deal with how she felt. She couldn't take another Simon.

 

She didn't say much as they walked over to the cupboard, and she instead counted how many steps it took. Comparing her and Arwa's similar strides to the lengths and bounds of Julian's. Hazel had to walk two steps to compare to his one. She wondered if he'd find that fact interesting. Should she tell him? Would he gaze at her and spend minutes explaining ratios to her? Would he smile at her and be impressed with her findings?

 

Crushes were silly.

 

"Sure, Arwa," Hazel replied, eager to help and to do anything that Arwa needed, "I'm sure there's something in here we can use."

 

The Hufflepuff shuffled around Julian, feeling the warmth that radiated off of him as she moved closer to what looked somewhat Muggle. Turning back to see if one of them could help her read the torn label, the door clicked close. Hazel looked over at Julian and shot him a questioning look. Was Arwa alright? Why'd the door close?

 

"Arwa?" Hazel moved back around Julian - completely ignoring the warmth this time - and pushed against the old wooden door as she turned the knob, "Arwa I think it's locked. Arwa?"

 

Locked. She was locked in a very confined space with a very tall Julian. It didn't help that his warmth radiated around her and every time he moved Hazel could smell the scent of him. It hadn't changed in the almost four years she had known him, but recently it had been overwhelmingly comforting. Hazel sighed, pressing her palm into the grain of the wood.

 

Well, like she had been hoping for before, here was the opportune moment to talk to him. If she could say something, or if she had the nerve to make it known how much she enjoyed him, she wouldn't act so scared as she did under the threat of the mistletoe. Hazel knew it was probably best to just tell him. To put it all out there and to take the rejection in one swift moment.

 

"I think we're stuck together for a bit, Ju," Hazel turned back around and smiled at him in defeat, "I'm sure Arwa has gone to go get help..."

 

Not really. Hazel was pretty sure the Gryffindor was waiting for her to spill the beans. At least you could always depend on Arwa to get the job done.

 

"Uh.." Hazel ran her right hand up and down her left arm before crossing her arms in some sort of defensive position, "But since I have you alone for a second..."

 

The Hufflepuff coughed. Why was it so difficult to tell him how she felt? How she's spent the past two months staring at the curve of his bottom lip, or how she's certain their fingers would fit very nicely together if they held hands. Hazel had wracked her brain with possibilities and circumstances to where she could get Julian to like her. To get him to look at her like she looked at him. Did she make him as nervous as he made her?

 

"The Greeks..." she coughed, "Uh, they have six types of love, right? Eros, Philia, Ludus, Agape, Pragma, and Philautia, I think? I read about them when I was trying to figure out - um, something important to me. And I realized..."

 

Hazel broke eye contact with him, her hands shaking from where they were tucked in the crooks of her elbows, "I mean. I realize that we have Philia. This very important friendship. You... You're my best friend, Julian." It was almost as easy as breathing. Being friends with him was as easy as breathing.

 

But that wasn't enough. Hazel knew her feelings had changed over the course of the first term of their third year, and she wasn't sure why it had been as easy to fall for him as it was to be friends with him. Maybe it was always meant to be easy. She never had to question what Julian meant to her. Her feelings just transitioned like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. It was all so natural.

 

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Hazel pushed forward, trying to get through whatever she had to say, "But I think... I think that's changed for me. I don't think I can categorize you as just a friend anymore."

 

Looking up at him to gauge his reaction was a mistake. Hazel couldn't tell if he was following her, and she could see the gears practically turning in his head. She sucked in a breath and caught sight of the curve of his bottom lip again. Tracing the familiar curve with her eyes as she had done hundreds of times, Hazel felt like words just weren't enough anymore.

 

Determined not to think about it too much, she moved toward him and managed to cup his face in her hands. Her thumbs sat just under his glasses, and she could see the freckles on his nose. Hazel rocked up on to her tiptoes, pulling him toward her a bit.

 

She kissed him. Something soft and sweet that she could still feel on her lips as she planted herself back on her heels. Hazel let out a sigh and crossed her arms again, "I fancy you."

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Julian Pritchard

The answer to Julian’s question never came. Instead, he found himself suddenly joined by Hazel and, after a few seconds of shifting around so he could avoid accidentally stepping on her while he inspected the stuff in the closet, he also found himself suddenly in a much dimmer space. He turned back around to look quizzically, first at at Hazel, and then at the door. Apparently, they were locked in.

 

Hazel was turning the knob fruitlessly and calling for Arwa. Julian chewed on his lip as he watched her, pressing his back against the shelves. He was suddenly too conscious of his limbs and the space they occupied, and how very little of that space there was in the closet. He forced himself to take a deep breath and focus on the problem, instead of Hazel who was standing so, so close to him.

 

“I’m sure she wouldn’t have left,” he muttered. A locked door shouldn’t have sent Arwa for help. They’d known how to unlock doors using magic for a couple of years now. Unless she’d already tried it and failed? Julian tried to be quiet so he could hear outside, and started drawing his wand again so he could try and unlock the door himself when something Hazel was saying drew his attention.

 

He cocked his head to try and show her he was listening, and quirked his eyebrows slightly. He couldn’t really fathom what she wanted to say to him that was suddenly so important. They usually spent a significant amount of their days together, so really most hours of the day were a good opportunity to talk to him about anything she wanted. What she started talking about did not ease his confusion. He was admittedly having a bit of trouble paying attention, keenly aware as he was of how close Hazel was standing, of way her face animated as she spoke and how soft her voice sounded in the enclosed environment, but… Greek love? This wasn’t the first time he’d heard about these distinctions - his mother had read him the Symposium on a couple of occasions and talked a little bit about it - although he wasn’t familiar with all the Greek terms that Hazel was listing and - oh.

 

All the thoughts in Julian’s mind disappeared at Hazel’s declaration that she couldn’t categorise him as ‘just’ a friend, which clearly implied more-than-friendness, which was a confusing status if there ever had been one. Did she mean she liked him? Liked liked him? In a romantic way?

 

He hadn’t even finished processing what he’d just heard, let alone figured out what he wanted to say in return, and suddenly there were her hands and they were touching his face, and then there were her lips, and they were coming closer until they were on his lips. And it was soft and warm, and he froze, momentarily panicked.

 

This couldn’t be happening. Could it? What if he did something wrong? What if he did something wrong and Hazel stopped being his friend? He couldn’t lose Hazel. He couldn’t just stay quiet, though. That was definitely the wrong thing to do. He had to say something. Anything.

 

“Oh,” was what finally came out. “I - “ And then he stopped, mouth agape. It was like his mind had been emptied of all words.

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

Arwa couldn’t hear anything that was going on inside, but instead of walking away and leaving the pair alone, she chose to slide down and sit by the door.

 

She wasn’t going to miss this for the world; the instant Julian and Hazel fell out of the small room, she would be ready to interrogate them.

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Hazel Wheeler

It was so quiet Hazel could hear the sound of her own thoughts rattling around inside her head. It was like her brain was screaming at her, filling Julian's lack of function with disheartening words and fears to keep her awake at night. She felt exposed and raw - it didn't help that Julian just kept staring back at her, his mouth slightly agape. Her worries got the better of her, and she started to turn away from him.

 

"I'm sorry," she responded immediately, the apology as much as a defense mechanism as a natural response, "How silly of me, right? To think like this."

 

Hazel was starting to feel overwhelmed. Her throat was closing up and she could feel the pressure in her chest. Great, she was going to cry. She turned fully away from him, not wanting him to feel pressure or pity to respond to her. Hazel sniffed before knocking on the old wooden door again. 

 

"Arwa?" Hazel's voice sounded strained and she hated the way you could almost hear her emotions, "Arwa, I'd really like to be let out now."

 

Another vicious thought tore through her system, and she knocked again with more vigor. It was all too much. Feeling his eyes in the back of her head and how he could definitely see the shaking of her shoulders. Hazel didn't like him knowing how much it hurt. The Hufflepuff had just told him her biggest secret, opened up a box that couldn't be closed again, and severed the hope that he would respond well.

 

"Please," It was like the weight of it all was on her chest, and she was trying so hard not to cry.

 

"Please let me out." 

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Julian Pritchard

Julian’s brain was still trying to find the right words to fill the silence (a task made all the harder by the fact that his heart seemed to be beating ever louder in his ears) when Hazel spoke and Julian instantly felt the sort of sinking feeling that comes from knowing you have royally messed up. Of course, knowing this did not magically grant him insight on how to fix it and he found himself merely shaking his head at Hazel’s statement. What Hazel had said to him was many things - massively unlikely and nerve-racking, for instance - but he didn’t think silly was a particularly apt descriptor.

 

As Hazel turned away from him, he leaned his head back against a shelf and squeezed his eyes shut. He opened and closed his mouth again, several times, as if hoping to suddenly produce the magic words that would be both true and make Hazel sound less upset, but all possibilities sounded stilted in his mind - picked from pages of novels and stories; appropriate for someone else to say, maybe, but not him. The fact that he couldn’t convey how much he wanted Hazel to not be sad, coupled with the tone of her voice as she begged to be let out was frustrating. So frustrating it made him want to cry. He idly wondered if that would make the situation worse.

 

“Hazel.” He finally spoke, more in a desperate attempt to get her attention back than anything else. His voice sounded horribly loud in the enclosed space. He reached a hand to touch her shoulder before thinking better of it and letting it hang. He reached out to clasp his wand. Of the two things currently upsetting his best friend, one of them was eminently solvable, so he chose to focus on that one. The other one they could probably deal with after they were outside the closet. He hoped. “Alohomora.”

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

It didn’t wasn’t long before Arwa heard the soft whimpers coming from the closed door. At first, she thought it was something her imagination had conjured up from nowhere, but then she realised that it was Hazel.

 

”Oh, no,” she said, softly, hurrying to her feet. She hadn’t even spared a thought to how her friends would be feeling inside the tiny space where, well...there probably wasn’t enough air for the both of them.

 

There was a faint click from the door just as the Gryffindor approached it. Carefully, she reached for the doorknob and turned. The door swung open easily, and Arwa found herself staring wide-eyed at Hazel and Julian. The expressions on their faces were anything but happy.

 

”Are you guys okay?” She asked, as she quickly pulled her friends out of the cramped space. Hopefully, they still hadn’t realised that this was all Arwa’s fault.

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Hazel Wheeler

Hazel sucked in a breath when she felt Julian shift, thinking for a brief moment that he may wrap her up in a hug. She lingered on the thought - pondering how warm it would feel and comforting it would be to be held instead of feeling the cold wood of the door under her palm. Instead of pulling her close, however, Julian reached around her and managed to unlock the door for her.

 

They were wizards for crying out loud. And instead of pulling herself together and handling the situation, Hazel had shown so much of herself. She looked back at him, tears pricking the corners of her eyes. Despite everything, she wanted to hug him. To tell him that it would be alright. To reassure him that he'd always be her best friend and that they should have breakfast together in the morning.

 

"Ju-" Hazel stopped herself, hesitating over whether she could help, "I really am sorry. You're the best friend I've always wanted." 

 

She pulled her arms around herself as her emotions became too much again. Was there a balance between caring for others while also caring for herself? Was kissing him a mistake? Would he wish it never happened? Hazel looked away from him as the door swung open and she came face to face with a wide-eyed Arwa.

 

"Thank you," she breathed to no one in particular, "If you'll excuse me, I think it's best if I leave."

 

Hazel stepped out of the small storage closet and made the treck back to her dormitory.

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