Italics: Thoughts or emphasized words.
Bold Italics: Foreign language (Russian, Bulgarian, French, etc.)
Mark couldn't sleep.
Not that he didn't try, but that James was in the bedroom bathroom, preparing the potion that, according to him, would give him the fixed entry to the Triwizard tournament.
With the door half open, the light fell on him from the front of his bed.
Apparently the rest were craving of sleep when they returned, because they didn't react at all when James started his little experiment. He also supported that the smoke didn't have any special smell.
Mark's mind varied between the Goblet of Fire, her, and the bloody OWLs.
All subjects seemed to be ten times more difficult than last year. Even the course he loved the most, Arithmancy, had become tedious.
Perhaps it could influence that he was at the peak of his youth, just when his brain forced him to think about the female body. And now it got worsened with the arrival of the French girls, consolidating the effect it had on him.
But he was not thinking about them at the moment. His brain was remembering the times he had seen her in casual clothes in Hogsmeade, in the beautiful spring season.
It would be normal to go there for a butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks, or maybe get a huge supply of Honeydukes treats, but he had a more sinister desire, to see her.
At school it looked weird when he did it, besides, they didn't share many classes together. However, in Hogsmeade, he could go unnoticed, having students all around,.
In any case, being next to James Porter meant drawing attention in some way.
He was fun, Mark couldn't deny it. Without him, none of the Ravenclaw fifth years would be friends, because the other four, on arrival to the castle, fulfilled all the characteristics of the social misfits.
The first was brilliant, but with chronic shyness close enough to selective mutism, the second also brilliant but extremely lazy, to the verge of not even care about his fellows, the third enormously brilliant, but with Asperger syndrome, and the last seemed to never had left home before getting to school, but also brilliant.
The sorting pattern of the Sorting Hat was not so hidden, to tell the truth.
The bathroom door opened, letting out even more light to the room.
Masaru rolled over in his bed, but continued to sleep peacefully.
Mark closed his eyes, covering the rest of his head with his blanket, waiting for James to finally turn off the light.
Instead, he heard silent footsteps heading towards him.
"Hey, Mark." James' voice whispered above.
The silent boy froze in site on purpose, waiting for James to leave.
"I saw you moving, you are awake. Would you go out with me?"
Mark uncovered his face and narrowly opened his eyes to him.
"I need to take my chances now. If something goes wrong, I don't want everyone to see in broad daylight."
Mark gave him a silly smirk and tilted his head.
"Come on! I've also done some for you!" James took out a tiny pot with green potion.
His answer was a blanket covering Mark's face.
"Oh. It's okay. Tomorrow everyone will know what you're hiding. Bye~"
"You wouldn't dare."
"It depends on you. Chop-chop, put something warm on, it's cold outside."
James stepped out of the bedroom door, being careful to not make too much noise.
Mark hated when he used that threat, but it meant what he was doing was certainly important. To himself at least.
Also, if something bad happened, at least he knew James trusted him enough to be his first option. That's what friends are for, right?
The silent boy put on the sweater he had on the feast and a pair of jeans. He then chose a pair of sneakers, in case they found Filch and needed a quick escape.
He left his pajamas on his bed, ready for a swift change when he returned, and slipped out, closing the door.
James was waiting for him in the common room. His clothing wasn't out of the ordinary, but he had changed his usual red sweatshirt for a dark colored one, probably to camouflage him with the night.
They both left, heading for the Great Hall. The corridors were deserted, as expected, but Mark didn't lower his guard.
Then, James explained that Dumbledore had given the candidates twenty-four hours, so it was normal to see students hanging around at night.
Even so, Mark ignored him anyway, because in theory, them two weren't possible candidates.
They went down the stairs, finding the Grey Lady by the third floor. Out of respect, they both bowed their heads at the sight of her, and quickened their pace. She didn't seem chipper to see them, but kept floating, until she got away.
When they were about to enter the Great Hall, they saw the shadow of someone approaching, notable for the strong blue light from the flames of the Goblet and the door open. The steps were strange, as if one of them was normal and the other was made of a harder material, like wood.
Mark and James instantly recognized who was doing such noises.
"Professor Moody." James muttered as soon as he saw him.
"What are you blokes doing here? Looking for a romantic date by the moonlight?"
His magic eye examined them both, while gazing at only one at a time with his normal eye, waiting for an answer.
"An ageing potion? Well, who am I to destroy your dreams. Suit yourselves."
The D.A.D.A. professor went past the two, not giving them much importance. Mark blew air out of his lungs, releasing the distress accumulated in the course of ten seconds.
James puffed. He hadn't been ready to find the only professor who could automatically blow his plan to pieces.
However, they heard footsteps again, coming from the other side of the corridor.
The two Ravenclaws didn't make up their minds to either ran away or not. James tried to pull Mark into the Hall, but the poor silent boy was frozen in place.
He knew he had to put a Disillusionment Charm on himself. Or at least try, that was a pretty difficult spell to cast.
When the steps got close enough, Mark noticed those weren't teachers. They were two Durmstrang students, wearing their deep red long sleeved shirts, with their beige furry cloaks on their shoulders.
Each group inspected the other for a couple of seconds, before the older ones entered the Great Hall. Mark turned to James, waiting for his next move. Without much thought, he entered and Mark followed.
The room was fully lit by the Goblet of Fire, aided by a few tiny torches and the starry sky, seen from the Enchanted Ceiling.
The 'impartial judge who will determine the champions' as professor Dumbledore said, stood now on a pedestal, which rose it to a considerable height. Iana would have to do a good jump to put her name on it.
As the Durmstrang boys advanced towards the Goblet, James stopped Mark by the Ravenclaw table and retrieved a bottle of green liquid from his pocket. He offered some to Mark, but only got a bored gaze in response.
He drank a sip and stirred all the muscles in his body, trying to make the potion take effect as quickly as possible.
Mark watched him grow a few inches in height, and a bit of beard came out of his face. His hair also got longer, but nothing too noticeable. Fortunately, he wasn't wearing tight pants because he would look even more ridiculous than he already was.
However, James felt proud of himself, he no longer had to look up to see his friend in the eye.
They passed through the middle of the Hall, watching one of the foreigners throw a folded paper into the blue fire.
For a second, it changed color to red, and went back to blue again.
"What are you waiting for, Maxim?" One said to his fellow, as he left the circle formed by the age line.
Mark and James didn't understand a word, but they deduced he was calling his schoolmate, because the other entered stepped forward to the Goblet, and giving him the two cloaks he had in his possession.
However, he stopped before passing the age line, thoughtful.
The two roommates stopped near the stranger that got outside of the age line. He surveyed both of them, keeping a serious face. He had a scar near his eyelid, but it didn't seem to bother him at all.
Mark detected that the expression on James' face disappeared, imitating a poker face.
"You are from Hogwarts?" The foreigner asked them. He had a thick Bulgarian or Russian accent, judging the sound he made with the three 'r's.
"Yes, we are from Hogwarts. Nice to meet you, James Porter. " He reached out to the stranger with his hand open, looking at him in the eye.
"Porter." Although he was unsure at first, the Durmstrang student took his hand and shook it firmly. "My name is Timur Glazkov."
After a moment their hands parted. Timur glanced at Mark this time and then at James, as if waiting for him to do something.
"Oh!" James stepped aside and his two open hands pointed at Mark. "He's Mark Chandar, fellow student of this fine school."
It hadn't ever crossed Mark's mind that he would meet someone from Durmstrang, face to face and in the middle of the night, so he didn't know the etiquette, but doing the same thing as his fellow Ravenclaw was the best option at the moment.
"Greetings." He also stretched his right arm for a handshake, a gesture Timur accepted, less suspiciously than before.
"I vanted to zank you for velcoming feast. Zat was great food. " The foreigner said, relaxing his facial muscles a little, but keeping his steady expression.
Mark kept silent. He had forced the word he just said, but no more were left. Plus, he wasn't used to say hello to anyone like that, so he released Timur's hand as soon as he could.
"You are welcome. You're our distinguished guests." James said behind him, trying to curl his lips up from the habit, but instantly canceled it.
The Goblet of Fire changed the lights in the room again. The three looked over there, and the other guy from Durmstrang was coming out of the circle formed by the age line. His expression was confused, as if he didn't know why his schoolmate was talking to the two Ravenclaws.
"Zis is Maxim Basuda. Fellow student from Durmstrang."
Completely opposite to Timur's now softer expression, this Maxim regarded at them with a marked frown. It didn't seem like a good idea to get close.
He had a more noticeable scars on his face, but those had an animalistic pattern, like from an hippogriff or some creature with sharp claws.
The two roommates noted the danger and preferred to greet with a slight bow.
Maxim peered at them both, then imitated their gesture.
An awkward silence then invaded them. Timur gave one of the cloaks he had to Maxim.
"You are not going to put names in Goblet?" Timur asked. His accent didn't let him speak fast, but his words were intelligible.
Mark gazed at James again. He was sure that his friend had already thought of a escaping plan from this situation. They would look ridiculous if something bad happened.
"Yes, in the morning. My friend here forgot the paper with his name. " James didn't disappoint, even if the excuse felt pathetic.
Mark automatically rubbed the back of his neck with his left hand, simulating awkwardness.
"Oh. Vell, good luck." Timur regarded at Mark with a raised eyebrow, then realized Maxim was already leaving.
"Good luck to you too." James nodded at him.
Timur returned the nod and ran after his partner.
The two Ravenclaws followed their trail with their sight until the Durmstrangs headed out from the Great Hall.
Mark couldn't hold it anymore and aimed a couple of kicks at James. He couldn't dodge the first one, forcing himself to back off until Mark stopped.
"Ah! How salty you are, Mark. It's not that bad, they didn't even notice."
Mark didn't want to stay there anymore. When he needed to catch his breath, he pointed to the Goblet, to put an end to the night at once.
"I thought they'd leave right away after putting their names. How was I supposed to know?"
However, when James crossed the age line and put his name on, the expected happened. The magic of the Goblet of Fire pushed him back with his burned paper, causing him to fly off for a meter.
When his butt touched the ground, all of his hair turned white, and the short beard he had grown was also losing its color.
Mark smirked, and went to check if James was in fact unconscious. The latter stood up on his own, and glanced at the silent boy.
"Do not say anything, Mute. At least I tried."
Mark raised his hands in defeat, not covering his rising smile. He started to laugh, a lot.
"Hey! I remind you Filch could be around here!"
Mark's laughter didn't stop, but luckily, he wasn't used to do it, so any noise hardly came from his vocal chords.
After several minutes, they both left the Great Hall.
Mark, who had returned to his normal expression, at the top of the Marble Staircase on the first floor, glanced at him and ran his hand over his own face, circling it, then pointing to the right, in the direction of Hospital Wing.
James shook his head, making a little applause and pointing up. The noisy boy was extremely discomforted with his new look, but managed to get to the fifth floor.
He hit the Eagle knocker as quietly as he could, but the voice seemed to be set to always have the same voice tone.
"What is so fragile that breaks by saying its name?"
After pondering for a few seconds, Mark had the answer. Before saying it, he chuckled. It seemed the riddle was playing a joke on him. He turned to James, who looked unable to think with all that hair on top of his face.
The door opened, without creaking, and the boys hopped inside. They didn't have much to say to each other as they climbed the spiral staircase. Mark's breathing became more calm, now in safety.
The Common Room was silent and dark. Both boys sprawled in different couches, which rounded the extinguished fireplace.
Mark whistled lightly, drawing James' attention.
"What? At least let me rest, Mute. " He moved his head enough to glance at Mark.
The silent boy scratched both of his hairless cheeks with each hand and placed his left index finger on his right wrist, simulating a clock.
"I suppose it will disappear when the effects of the potion wear off. To tell the truth, this is bloody horrible, mate. I don't know how Professor Dumbledore can handle this every day."
In their fourth year they had learned about the Aging Potion, and its effect was approximately six hours. If that was correct, James would be better in the morning.
"I kinda liked that fella from Durmstrang. I thought they were going to ignore us like the French did."
Mark ran his hand close to his eyelid, repeating three times quickly, and then did the angriest scowl he could make.
"Haha. Timur, the first. The other was scary, like he'd hit us if we got close."
Mark nodded, letting out a slight chuckle. He felt he had laughed enough for a day.
After a couple of minutes, he shook James, who seemed to have fallen asleep, and they both returned to their dormitories.
The following morning, Mark woke up first, pretty agitated. His mind couldn't think of anything else than her.
He hadn't ever had a dream he considered... sweet. His pillow was fully covered by drool, his cheeks were deep red, and something below his waist was 'different' than usual.
He rushed to the bathroom to wash his face. As soon as the water touched his skin, he felt like putting out a fire, finally balancing the temperature. He spent some time in there, waiting for everything to return to normal.
When he came out, he noticed his roommates were still asleep, so probably it was early in the morning. However, as he narrowly opened the curtains, he watched the sunlight go through the window, aiming straight to his eyes.
As soon as he closed them again and recovering from the temporary blindness, he saw one of his companions waking up.
"Mornin', Mark." Erik lift the blanket off him and sat on his bed, stretching. "Gonna grab some breakfast?"
Mark nodded, as he walked to his own bed. At the mention of food, his stomach growled, because he hadn't eaten nothing after the ratatouille from yesterday.
He quickly changed into casual clothing, gazing at his robe. He hated to use it, but with five years he had adapted.
As he did so, he looked up at the upper bed where James was, still unconscious, Mark couldn't see if the hair was still on his face or not, because he had covered his head entirely with the blanket.
James seemed inert, so Mark thought he might have died of suffocation.
Mark tiptoed and when he was about to remove his blanket to check for vital signs, James moved slightly away, letting out a small sigh. Assuming everything was under control, he went down and finished putting on the robe.
Erik walked past him, heading for the bathroom, as he put on the prefect badge by his chest.
With no other incident, after Erik finished getting ready, they both left the dormitories.
Despite most of the students tended to wake up late in the weekends, the Common Room had more people than usual, many ready to leave.
However, there was a girl standing close to the Rowena Ravenclaw statue. She was blonde, with messy hair that fell down to her waist, and big round eyes. She was barefoot, and apparently still in her sleepwear.
Erik sighed in boredom, and approached her.
"What did they steal from you this time, Luna?"
She turned, and Mark noticed she had her wand behind her left ear.
"I still don't find my shoes, and now I can't find my cloak. The nargles continue to challenge me, how fun!"
From the happy smile she made, neither Mark nor Erik could tell if it was a genuine or a sarcastic one.
"For the umpteenth time, Luna, you shouldn't let them do those things! Your roommates are the worst."
"No, Erik Thorn, it wasn't them. I'm sure." she replied, tilting her head slightly to her left.
"Ah, I must tell Monika about this. Wait for me, Mark."
The silent boy nodded at him, while Erik returned to the bedrooms. He stayed next to Luna, feeling awkwardness in its prime.
He knew the eccentric third-year girl, but he didn't usually have contact with her. Although he felt sorry for the bullying the other third years did to her, there was little to nothing he could do from his position, with his vocal problem.
"Hello, Mark Chandar. I noticed your mind is quite far away from here. It could be the wrackspurts trying to get inside your head. " The girl pointed to his forehead.
Mark unwittingly tilted backwards. He didn't know what those 'wrackspurts' were, and didn't care either. But in the end, guilt filled his thoughts.
He moved his hands around his head, then pointed at Luna and shrugged, with his palms facing up. He hadn't used body language with her until now, so he didn't expect her to understand it the first time, even if he made it easy to.
"You ask me what wrackspurts are?"
Mark blinked in surprise and nodded.
"They are invisible creatures, that float through your ears and confuse your brain. Or it also could be that you are in love."
He stepped back and opened his eyes wide. How could she noticed it so quickly? He immediately recovered his stoic expression and regretted breaking it in the first place.
"Hmm." Luna tapped her chin, "if you don't know how to break the ice, you can always give her a bouquet of flowers. I don't know anyone who doesn't like flowers."
She grabbed her wand with her left hand. Mark stood there, watching with interest, even if his façade didn't let him show any.
"Orchideous!" Plenty of lilies came out of the tip of her wand, as she held it close to him. "The flowers that come out depends on the person."
Mark never thought of any use in such spell, but of course he was writing it down on his mind, with indelible ink.
"Finite." The lillies disappeared. "Or maybe you can have positive thoughts to drive away the wrackspurts! Take care."
Luna walked away, prowling all over the Common Room, probably searching for her lost stuff.
As she got close to other students, they moved or glanced away from her, like if she had a repulsion aura. Even so, she continued examining everything she could in the bookcases.
Mark squinted at her and also glanced everywhere, hoping to find something. However, he got interrupted by Erik, who had just returned.
"Those girls are impossible. I won't take points from our house anymore, so if this keeps going, I'll have to apply detention to them. Wonder how the other prefects did before us."
Mark brought each index finger close to his eyes, and then pointed his open right hand at the entire Common Room, finally ending up with Luna, who was near the entrance.
"I've helped her before, Mark. Twice, and now they've done it again. Guess Luna needs to deal with it on her own. Let's go at once, I'm hungry."
Mark sighed and shook his head.
Before leaving, he gazed at Luna one last time. She waved him off as he crossed the door, to which he replied with a single and sad nod.