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Chapter 26: Si Non Alors, Quand?
A/N: EDITED, MY FRIENDS. I LIKE THIS CHAPTER A LOT MORE NOW. I THINK IT'S FUNNY AND I THINK IT HAS A LOT MORE THAN THE PURPOSE IT WAS FILLING BEFORE. All French that is in this chapter IS translated throughout the chapter :) I hope you all enjoy, this is much better than the original in my opinion!
Ambrose Katalina wore her heart on her sleeve.
This, so far, had worked in Ambrose's favor, for she had never been rejected by a boy and likely never would be. According to her suitors, it was one of her more attractive personality traits, as it normally always lead to 'heat of the moment' encounters in broom closets
The girls of Hogwarts, however, did not appreciate this trait, for it was easily associated with a loose tongue and a penchant for revenge--both of which Ambrose easily admitted to being faults. She, however, also admitted to them being strengths, because her unusual knack of knowing things that she shouldn't and stating them without reluctance merely for the school's pleasure made her a bad person to be an enemy with.
However, most of the time Ambrose did not consider herself too malicious. Most gossip, after all, was just for entertainment, whether it was received or given, and Ambrose was a professional in the ways of it. When she was vengeful, it generally was not integral to her, and primarily she did it to set her place in stone at Hogwarts.
She would always be the attractive one, and she would always be the most intimidating, and nothing could ever change that.
So it was some of her insecurities that fueled her endless stream of gossip. However, Ambrose also felt like it was her duty for people to know the information that they wouldn't have known otherwise. Ambrose did not usually care about "the people"; if anything, the only aspect she really appreciated was how people cared about her.
But Ambrose had always been a fan of "secrets, secrets, are no fun-- unless you tell everyone." It was a fitting philosophy for Ambrose, though it did not ease anyone else; if anything, it made them anxious. Under Ambrose's watchful and cold eyes many people cowered.
And at that moment Ambrose's eyes were like a cat's, focused and slightly narrowed, her legs crossed and her elbows resting on them. She scrutinized the scene in front of her deeply, observing it, taking careful note of it, just in case detailed evidence would be needed in her retelling.
Ambrose, normally, did not spread gossip about her friends. She was rather loyal, actually; to that day, she had not spread an ounce of gossip about Georgiana Nott, her closest, and barely anything about any of the Slytherins.
She wasn't terrible, not really. Yes, she was flirtatious to a fault, and she teased boys far too easily, but she did it all with a light heart. It was kind of selfish, to take pleasure out of toying with other's emotions, but Ambrose was addicted to it. It was her biggest vice, and it was the most defining thing about her.
But she would never maliciously gossip. Anyway, if the gossip was unwanted she had always sworn that gossip given was gossip deserved. If someone knew what was coming to them, it wasn't her fault. It was theirs.
With that train of thought, Ambrose looked over the couple without an ounce of guilt. She saw Theodore's lack of expression, his detachment from reality, even as he winced slightly from his injuries and pulled Scarlett closer to him. She noticed how comfortable Scarlett looked, even if her face grimaced when her injured shoulder hit the mattress.
And, of all things, Ambrose acutely noticed how close the couple was and how outrageously they fit together. She noticed how Scarlett's head leaned against Theodore's chest in ease, and she noticed how they breathed simultaneously.
But despite these observations, the simplest fact entered Ambrose's system, and she smiled. It was not malicious, though it was hardly light-hearted. If it had to be defined, it was Ambrose's little way of shaking up the school, her special contribution. She was like a saint, really; no one else was confident enough to rattle Hogwarts's cage.
And Ambrose's smile did not waver as she thought about the clear, unwavering fact that Scarlett and Theodore had slept together. Sure, it brought on a much different image than the one she saw now, but was that Ambrose's fault?
No--it was everybody else's. Society, after all, composed gossip...
Ambrose was just a professional at it.
Georgiana Nott burst into the Hospital Wing with a pink face and her hair unkempt. From the opposite side of the Wing, an extremely pale and injured Remus Lupin stared at her intensely, though she did not seem to notice, instead rushing to Theodore's bedside.
Scarlett had left the Hospital Wing earlier that afternoon, and her bed was neatly made, though the events that transpired as a cause to her being there were still hanging in the air. Georgiana, out of everyone, noticed this the most, and she nearly knocked over the wooden and worn chair resting next to where Theodore was, his eyes open and wary.
"You!... I!... Why didn't you tell me?!" Georgiana sputtered, taking deep breaths to calm herself and failing miserably. On the other side of the conversation, Theodore Nott looked up at her bleakly, still taking shallow and uneven breaths.
After one second too many of an uncomfortable pause, Theodore said, "What?"
"You and Scarlett!" Georgiana gasped, putting a hand to her heart dramatically and closing her eyes at Theodore's obliviousness. "Ambrose told me today in Potions that you two slept together! I mean, bloody hell, I expected it, but--ugh, ugh, ugh! I can't believe you didn't tell me!"
Theodore looked up at her again, slightly confused, before something seemed to click in his head. Though Theodore was not normally prone to blushing, his face was rather similar to an embarrassed person's, though sarcasm laced this mortification smoothly, as well as a lack of surprise for Ambrose's sake. "Was that how Ambrose phrased it?" he said slowly, partially a way for him to process his thoughts and partially a way for him to retain his energy. "Exactly?"
Georgiana raised an eyebrow. "I don't know--yes? The point is, you didn't tell me--"
"Did she say it like that?" Theodore interrupted with calmness, though at second glance he looked irritated and slightly uncomfortable. "Did she say, 'slept together'?"
It took a while for Georgiana's quick mind to process this question, and when it did, she finally realized what he was aiming at. "You know what I mean," she said in a flurry, finally taking a seat on a chair she had nearly knocked down with her extravagant body language. "Did you sleep with her?"
"In the context of 'we were unconscious in the same bed', yes," Theodore muttered, looking worn out by the conversation altogether and closing his eyes to express it. "In any other context, no." Theodore's eyes remained shut at this, as if he was silently beckoning Georgiana to please leave him be, but Georgiana, with a Slytherin heart and a Ravenclaw mind, chose not to.
She smirked wildly, restraining a chuckle, and blatantly asked, "Did you have sex with her?"
Theodore's eyes flew open, and for once he was speechless; Georgiana smiled innocently. "Did you?" she asked again. "Are you deliberately avoiding the question because you're afraid to tell your sister?
"And, speaking of," Georgiana continued, clearly on a roll, "why didn't you tell me?"
"Please, Georgiana," Theodore finally said. "I'm pretty sure you haven't told me about any of your previous exploits. How is Matthew Cornfoot doing, by the way?"
Georgiana blushed sheepishly. "He is doing very well," she said shortly. "He wondered why I wasn't at Hogsmeade on Halloween, thank you very much. I told him that I was too busy having my life threatened by Death Eaters." At this, Theodore glared at her, but Georgiana casually waved it off; clearly, she was still full of unspoken sentences and did not have the time to obsess over things that had already happened.
"And," Georgiana said smugly, "are you saying that Scarlett is an exploit? Have you exploited with her?"
"Ha," Theodore said dully. "I wish."
"OH!" Georgiana yelped suddenly, her eyes bugged and her index finger pointing at Theodore in accusation. "OH! I am so telling her you said that!"
"Bloody hell," Theodore muttered to himself, closing his eyes once more. "Bloody hell," he repeated, but it was fainter than the last time. "Georgie, so long as you leave me be. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make a difference, anyway."
"Ha," Georgiana said sarcastically. "You wouldn't know, though, seeing as you are a boy." She paused. "Aren't you?"
"Very funny," Theodore said. "Go. I think I'll get out of the Hospital Wing this week or next."
Georgiana turned around to leave, her hair skimming her waist, but she did not take steps to leave. Her face slowly contorted into one that was mischievously happy, her smile excited. She turned back around again, easing back into the wooden chair, as Ambrose Katalina entered the Hospital Wing and the conversation, looking gleeful as she sat at the foot of the bed.
"Afternoon, Theodore," Ambrose said, idly eating some chips off of the tray next to his bed. "I am assuming that Georgiana has told you already about the rumor that is spreading around school? Pretty intense stuff, huh?"
"Very funny, Ambrose," Theodore said, direly wishing for the pair to leave. "Must have had fun spreading that gossip around, didn't you? Probably more fun than I had hearing about it, right?"
"Pfft," Ambrose said lightheartedly, flipping her hair in a flirtatious way; Georgiana gave her a stern look in return. Turning back to Theodore, she smiled and said, "Theodore, you know you love those rumors. They make you seem like you're pretty boastful."
"How is that a good thing?"
"Well, you know how it is," said Ambrose dismissively. "Boys hear about you going on escapades with your lady and they get intimidated. I'm pretty sure it's a man instinct, anyway, but the point is, this makes you look badass. It makes you look like you and Scarlett are farther along the line than you actually are, and when it gets around that a boy's had sex, well, it gets competitive."
"I can't believe you didn't say anything."
Scarlett rolled her eyes, making her way back up the nearby cherry tree with dark sarcasm. Although the night was very cold and Scarlett was already shivering, Sirius's mention made Scarlett's face heat up, though she disguised it by turning her back to him and focusing on anything other than his face.
"What was I supposed to say?" she responded, taking a deep breath as she made one final lunge onto the top of the tree. "'Uh, yeah, Sirius, Theodore and I got in the Hospital Wing and we decided to have a go at each other'?" Rolling her eyes, she tugged her robes tighter to her body and said, "I don't think you, of all people, would have appreciated that."
"What is that supposed to mean?" asked Sirius, also climbing onto the tree. "And I still cannot believe that you didn't say anything. I mean, honestly, I don't want to have to hear it from Takiyah that you're... escapading. Ugh."
"Is that even a word?" Scarlett replied idly. "It's not my fault that Takiyah Kalash hears things through the grapevine faster than I can get here each night." She paused, taking a deep sigh. "It's not my fault that Ambrose doesn't know how to keep her mouth shut."
"It's not my fault, either," Sirius assured. "But, still, I can't believe how much you Slytherins get around."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Scarlett countered, a fake offense lining her tone. "I don't believe that Theodore and I 'get around' in the slightest. Just because we fell asleep--fell asleep, honestly--in the same bed does not mean that I 'got around' with him. Then again..." she trailed off, and, with a devilish smile, finished by saying, "maybe it's different for you Gryffindors. Maybe that is why we have to hear so much about your 'escapades'."
"Did you have sex?" Sirius asked automatically, bluntly, attempting to suffocate the question and evidently failing. At his question, Scarlett gave him a questionable look, and Sirius shrugged, as though he obviously had a right to know.
"No," Scarlett responded, nearly falling off of the tree from her passionate answer. "I am, uh--" she started, though she stopped abruptly, a blotchy and embarrassed flush flooding the tint of her cheeks. Her mouth clamped shut, and she determinedly looked ahead, wringing her hair in what seemed to be a dire attempt to erase the partial sentence altogether.
"What?" questioned the curious Sirius, taking pleasure in the girl's embarrassment. "You are what?"
Scarlett's next response was so quiet that Sirius could hardly hear it. "Beg pardon?" he asked her, sweetly, and in return she glared, her cheeks on fire.
"Waiting." Scarlett said it so quietly that it could barely be heard over the wind.
"Waiting?" Sirius asked. "If you don't mind me asking, what are you waiting for? The perfect broom closet?"
"You're such an ass," Scarlett said. "And now I seriously doubt why you thought I would say something to you, if something did happen--"
"Ah, relax," Sirius teased. "So you're waiting... on marriage?"
Her cheeks flared up again. "What else would I be waiting for?"
"I don't know," Sirius replied; though his voice sounded nonchalant, there was a tone of sarcasm in his response that bothered Scarlett for a reason she wasn't sure of. "Marriage is noble. Of course it is. Growing up that's all we think there is, marriage. That's the finish line, the big thing to--ah--wait for.
"I guess where I'm confused," Sirius continued, "is how the sanctity of marriage exists for your folk."
"My folk?" Scarlett said with indignation; something within her protested to being generalized with every Pureblood socialite. "It's my personal choice. Trust me, if you needed reassurance on that you could just ask Georgiana what she believes in..."
Sirius laughed. "Fine," he consented. "So for you, then. I just don't understand why you view marriage as something to wait for when it's just another part of the system. Anything those people do is for status, it's hardly something to--" he scoffed. "Wait for."
Scarlett shrugged, but she felt suddenly uncomfortable, like Sirius had put her life under a microscope.
It sounded so easy when he was talking. He talked about her society as if it were black and white, like she was jaded for even thinking that waiting until marriage was reasonable if it meant the marriage was arranged. But it wasn't black and white--and it troubled her to recognize that. It was as if he was challenging her, ever so subtly, to wonder: would the marriage and the love coincide? If she didn't feel comfortable enough with Theodore at that point...well, there was no choice. There was no room for a choice...
"Si non alors, quand?" she asked him, though she knew he wouldn't be able to respond to her question.
She couldn't find an answer to what she only felt she could say in French, because hearing it in English would scare her:
If not then, when? What else was there to wait for?
"Now see," Sirius said evenly, "I wish you hadn't told me about the French. I'm starting to get the feeling that you'll pull it out of your pocket whenever you get nervous. Am I right?"
"Well, if it bothers you so much, you should ask Evans or something," Scarlett responded. "Tu me rends nerveux."
You make me nervous. And, she thought to herself, maybe more than you should.