Alice opened her eyes as the powder and dust cleared. She looked around and, finding the scene outside a store window to be Diagon Alley (or, more obviously, finding her surroundings to be a store as opposed to Grecian ruins), she stepped out of the fireplace and looked around. "Cara?" she called out.
"Alice? Is that you?" Caradoc burst out of the back room, covered in dust and smelling strongly of cleaning potions. "Uh, sorry it's such a mess in here! Since I'm new I'm the one who gets to clean... um, everything, hahaha. I'd hug you but I'm kinda gross right now."
When she heard Cara's voice, she and his explanation she was about to run and say 'how gross you look doesn't matter to me!' but when he walked out of the backroom, he really did look quite gross and so, perhaps it was the best course of action to not hug him. Now. But it was okay to be amused. "Cara..." she began, laughing a bit and covering her mouth. "It's okay, I'll get you later, unless you're planning on going to the wedding like that."
He sniffed a splotch on his sleeve experimentally before wrinkling his nose. "Gross, no, I'm probably going to floo to my parents' house an hour or so before to get ready. I'm having some problems with my suit, though."
"What's wrong with your suit?"
"It's... uh, it's too small! Also, too pink. My mum said she'd try to fix it for me, but you know how she is, she'd just make it purple."
"Maybe I can try? Though, err, I'm not too good at that either. My mum? Haha, Merlin, we're so inadequate."
"It's okay, I can live with pink, I guess. Bones is going to be so annoyed, but that's all right! Err, do you feel like hanging around here or do you want to maybe go for a walk or something? I just have to lock up, it'll only take a second."
"A walk would be nice," she answered, but then added, "A walk that doesn't involve being constantly vigilant and looking over every bush, in the pupils of every dog and under every piece of trash for evil would be very nice."
Caradoc laughed. "So it's just as bad as everyone says, huh?"
"Worse, maybe," and she couldn't help but laugh. "It's just... insane, really, the things he does, sometimes. Like..." she stopped to think about what was the latest mad thing this crazy Auror had done, "Like he taught us glamour charms to disguise our appearance and then the same night for about three hours we had practical application, which meant everyone putting on glamours and then trying to kill each other. It's a nice way to wrap up the night."
He snorted and started walking to the door, rummaging in his pockets for the keys. "It sounds... um, not fun! But interesting, anyway. You're definitely going to ace Defence next year."
"Or kill that Auror before the summer's through, go to Azkaban, and not have to worry about Hogwarts ever again." She stepped outside of the shop, and it was a bit sunny out, so she squinted to keep it out of her eyes. "I suppose it's kind of fun. I get to hex annoying people and call it schoolwork which I can't do at home."
"Hahaha, sounds brillant. Don't kill anybody, though, 'cause if you were in Azkaban how would I ever see you?"
"That's true! All right, for you, I won't kill anyone." She nodded firmly to cement her promise. "Except if they really have it coming and the world would be better off without them, but no one like that's come along yet. Yet."
Caradoc grinned. "If anybody like that comes along, you just tell me and I'll get them straightened out for you, okay? Longbottom would kill me if I let you go to prison."
Alice laughed and rolled her eyes as she replied, "Looks like Longbottom's going to kill you for existing, prison or no."
"Uh, yeah, I'd kinda noticed! I don't know why he hates me so much, though."
"I don't know why either." It really made her sad that someone couldn't love Cara. He was, well, so lovable! "The jealousy was cute before but now it's just, well, annoying."
Caradoc shrugged. "I guess you should just tell him, I mean, it's not like he has anything he needs to worry about."
"I have. At least, when it comes to you." Another eyeroll. Really, one day they were just going to fall out of her head or something. "Thing is. Well. How do you... how do you know when someone's outstayed their welcome?" She looked up at him with a slightly anxious expression, then looked back down. "I really feel. Trapped. I think."
"Isn't that what relationships are about, though? Uh, I mean, not like being trapped, but being with someone through good times and not-so-good ones, I guess? I mean, you and I have been friends a long time and we've fought before, right? But if we stopped being friends over a little thing like that then our friendship wouldn't have meant that much." Uh. He really wasn't so great at this relationship advice thing, now that he thought about it. "I guess what I mean is, think about waking up tomorrow or next week or something and having him not be there, and then see if you think it's worth it to try to fix things."
"Yes," she began, a bit uncertainly, "But the not-so-good times, well... he's the one making them not so good!"
"So pull him aside and tell him why you think he's being a prat."
"I don't want to hurt him." Confrontation with a wand, that was possible. Maybe she could hex him, make her point, and run away.
"Okay, look. If it were me and I were doing something really mean to you, like, uh, I don't know, like hogging all the sweets at Easter, you'd probably get really hacked off at me, right? And so let's say we stopped being best friends over that, because I was a jerk and stole all your sweets. After that, I'd feel really awful because you wouldn't be my friend anymore and I'd realize that it was all my fault, for being a horrible sweets... uh, sweets-hoarder! But if you'd just said something in the beginning, like, 'Cara, stop being such a pig and give me back my Fizzing Whizzbees,' then we'd still be friends and I think I'd feel less awful being a horrible ex-sweets-stealing jerk with you as my friend than I would if I were just a sweets-stealing jerk and not friends with you at all."
"I suppose," she said, not sulking AT ALL.
"Stop making that face. You know I'm right!"
"I'm not making a face!" Well, not intentionally. "He seemed like a nice guy, you know, normal, not a jerk like all the others but that's changing."
"Wait, you think I'm a jerk?"
"All the ones I've dated."
Oh. Okay then. "Well, he's only being a jerk because he likes you so much, if that makes it any better."
"Ronald, when we were in our fourth year, used that excuse."
"And did you smack him like you were supposed to and tell him that wasn't any way to treat a girl?"
"Might have hexed him. Smacking is too overdone." She looked up for a minute, grinning excessively. "Can I smack this one?"
Caradoc shrugged. "Whatever it takes to set him straight! I think talking first might be better, though."
And back she went to sulking. Slightly. Honestly, all most people needed was a good smack.
"Am not a pigeon." She sulked more to emphasise her point.
"You are so, you silly pigeon, you. Come on, let me take you to Fortescue's, you look like you need some cheering up."
"Cara..." she would have hugged him but he was still a tad bit gross looking, so she pat him on the arm instead. "Thank you."
"You know it's no problem, I really miss talking to you. Not that I want you to have more problems or anything, but it's nice seeing you every once in a while. If you want, I can talk to Longbottom? Let him know we're just friends and he's got nothing to worry about?"
"No, don't bother. I miss talking to you, too. That sounds so, you know. Insincere. But there's no other way to say it. And I don't know how I'll get through the next two years without you just a few steps away."
"I'm only going to be an owl or a Floo away, it won't be so terrible." Except for the part where it would, obviously, but he couldn't exactly say that in front of her.
"Not the same and you know it. But sod it. Let's not talk about that. It's a happy day. For... some bloke I've talked to three times in five years."
Caradoc laughed. "Don't worry, there'll be loads of people from our house there, so you won't feel out of place or anything."
"Sounds like fun, even though we just saw them last week," she replied.
"But you'll get to see them get pissed! And do karaoke!"
"Just as long as we don't get pissed and do karaoke so we can laugh at them, that's all right with me!"
"Sounds like a plan!"