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Chapter 10: It Could've Been Fun, But I Messed it Up
"Finn! Finn!" Cho Chang poked me hard in the arm with her quill, snapping me awake. "What's wrong with you?" She whispered at me. I looked around, remembering that I was in Arithmancy, and therefore, probably should not be sleeping.
"Nothing, nothing. I'm just tired, I guess." Cho eyed me suspiciously but returned her attention to Professor Vector. Arithmancy was the only class where Cho and I sat together. We were friends, not best friends or close friends, but friends. I'd seen her with Harry Potter very recently, but I wasn't sure if we were friends enough to ask her about it. Then I considered how greatly I did not want to be asked about Fred, and I decided to keep my curiosity to myself.
I remained awake for the rest of Arithmancy, if only because of the dread of double Potions next period. When the bell rang to signal the end of class, I dragged myself out of the classroom, trailing slightly behind Cho for most of the walk. She kept glancing back nervously at me, as if she thought I might just drop to the ground at any moment; it was a valid concern. She resisted the urge to ask me for any details about my exhaustion. My entire dormitory had learned long ago that it was purely a waste of time to dig for information from me.
When we arrived outside of the potions dungeon, the door was locked and the whole class stood congregated in the corridor. There were substantially more students from my house than from Gryffindor, whom we shared this period with. Unfortunately for me, one of the Gryffindors enrolled in the class was the next to last person I wanted to see. To make matters slightly worse, she was with the very last person I wanted to see.
I walked past them very maturely, resisting the urge to glance in their direction, let alone scowl. Mel glared at the two of them for me as he said funny little things in her ear and she giggled annoyingly. I knew I was being a bit dramatic about this whole thing but I was legitimately disappointed, mostly in myself that I fucked things up, and I was beyond tired. The exhaustion was aggravating the stress and the stress was exacerbating the exhaustion. I was a walking (or stumbling), talking Catch-22. If I wasn't so tired I wouldn't feel so stressed, and if I wasn't so stressed I wouldn't have become so tired. To top everything off, I was thinking in circles.
"Finn, are you even listening to me?" Mel snapped at me, bringing me back to this planet.
"No," I said honestly.
"I was trying to be nice. What I said was, fuck him and that bint. Seriously."
I gave Mel a small little smile. "I'm fine." This was clearly a lie. "I'm only super tired." This was half a lie.
"But you're tired because you spent the whole night reading instead of sleeping because of that prat." I meant to cut her off, but she didn't allow me the chance. "No, shut up. I'm not dumb. I know that you're shuffling around the castle because you sat in that library all night reading about herbs or vampires or some bullocks because you didn't want to think about this." She gestured to the scene in front of us, and gave me a very parental look. Mel actually knows me much better than I give her credit for.
I shrugged at her, and let out a half-grunt, half-whine. This vindicated her into an ‘I told you so’ “hmpf,” and I sighed. As our conversation had deteriorated into incomprehensible sounds, Professor Snape came sweeping down the corridor in his usual fashion. It always impressed me how he managed to get his robes to billow behind him with no wind.
No one but the Slytherins really liked Snape, and I was no exception, but I didn't hate him either. I did well in Potions, and I kept my mouth shut, so he never had a reason to bother with me. The Gryffindors, however, just waited for the opportunity to urke him, and he relished every chance he got to give them detention or take away their House points. Honestly, I think they all secretly enjoyed it.
"Puzzling, Weasley," he said pausing at the door, "I don't remember you scoring anything remotely close to passing on your O.W.L.s, so if you would kindly unlatch yourself from Miss Bell, I would like to start my class with those students who are competent." He was staring at Fred, strong disgust evident in his expression. As annoyed as I was with everything to do with Fred, it still annoyed the shit out of me to see Snape look at Fred like he was beneath him.
When Fred looked over toward Snape, he almost made eye contact with me, and I pointedly turned my head in the other direction. He wasn't going to give me a stupid smirk or wink and then have me just snap out of being pissed with him. I don't know if he even cared or would have tried, but I was not even allowing the possibility to exist. I also began to hum very loudly inside my own head as to block out any response he gave to Snape, which worked very well because I didn't stop my mental humming until Snape said my own name.
"Miss Callaghan?" His voice held much less contempt and much more curiosity.
"Yes, Professor?" I replied, slightly bewildered.
"I must ask you to stop humming so loudly and follow the rest of your classmates into the room." This time he sounded slightly annoyed.
When I looked around, no one (but Snape and I) was standing in the hallway any longer. I also realized that I must have been humming out loud the entire time, and Mel didn't nudge me or pull me into the dungeon with her. She just left me out there, looking like an idiot.
"Are you going to come in or not, Miss Callaghan?" Now Snape was starting to look truly irritated.
"Oh, yes. Sorry," I mumbled and I shuffled quickly into the classroom before I got myself into any trouble. I only had these last two periods before I could sleep.
After potions, I went straight from the dungeons to Ravenclaw tower. My precious, comfortable bed was the only thing I could think about. I didn't want dinner; I just wanted to sleep. I had no assignments that had to be finished by tomorrow, so if I slept until the very morning then that was just fine with me.
That is exactly what happened. I woke up the next morning around five. I felt refreshed, like someone had pushed my reset button. I took the opportunity to spend as long in the loo as I wanted without any of the other girls pestering me to get in. After my scalding hot shower and a fresh outfit, my mood had improved even farther.
I looked out the window to see that the sun still hadn't completely risen, so I made a trek down to my favorite tree. As usual, barely any students were awake, and absolutely no one was out on the grounds. The mid-November morning was windless and still, but there was a biting chill in the air, a certain sign of early winter.
My tree had lost all of its leaves by now, and when I sat down, the ground surrounding it was hardened and covered in dew. I deliberately blew out a puff of air, and watched my breath appear in front my face to vanish just as quickly.
Out here in the peaceful morning, after a much needed night of uninterrupted slumber, everything seemed to be much less dramatic than it had the day before. Was I still jealous? Well, yes, I was, but it really wasn't that bad. We'd been snogging for a few weeks, and I was completely overreacting, honestly. I actually felt like an idiot. I'd reacted poorly to everything that had happened, like I always do.
I decided that I was going to apologize to Fred for acting like a total wanker. I was going to tell him what I should have said from the very beginning, about Umbridge being the worst person ever and that I was sorry he couldn't play quidditch anymore. And then I would, in a very dignified and mature manner, tell him Katie was, in fact, a lovely person and that I wanted to be his friend. Everything else he decided to do was his business.
After all, there is a reason I don't do the whole attachment thing. If I hadn't gotten attached like some little girl, then I wouldn't have acted like such an idiot yesterday. I had officially separated myself from the whole ordeal and was ready to eat some breakfast before my stomach woke up the entire castle.
That night I was patrolling the third floor corridor. I still felt calm and composed. I hadn't talked to Fred yet, but that was really because I hadn't seen him around. I wasn't avoiding him, for once; it felt like I was always avoiding him for one reason or another. I was quite content to be able to walk around the quiet hallway and just think.
As I passed an unused classroom on my right, I thought I heard footsteps within. I paused outside of the door, debating on whether to investigate or to keep walking and pretend I hadn't heard anything. I did much more of the latter than any prefect probably should, so I bargained with myself that if I checked out this noise, I could ignore the next one I heard.
Paranoid, I gripped my wand in my pocket and slowly opened the door with my free hand. The classroom was dark and appeared to be empty. I took a few steps in to get a better look around and was about to leave when I heard someone's footsteps behind me. I spun around on the spot and bumped right into the person, shrieking a little.
"Hey, Callaghan," Came a bright, cheery face. A moment later, Fred had lit his wand and was holding it between our faces, which were a little closer than they needed to be. I stepped back.
"Fred, what are you doing?" I asked confused, though not surprised to see him out after curfew.
"Looking for you, actually," He said. "You know, you're about the best person at avoiding someone as I've ever met." I had trouble deciding if he was being funny or serious. Regardless, I had my spiel ready to go.
"Yeah, about that, I actually wanted to tell you-"
He cut in. "Hey, Callaghan?"
"Yes?" I said, slightly offended that he cut me off in the middle of my big, mature revelation.
"No, I need to tell you-"
He cut in again, only this time it wasn't with words. He pressed his lips into mine, and had his hands on my hips, and for a fraction of a moment, I almost snogged him back. Honestly, he's a brilliant kisser, but knowing that I wasn't the only person he kissed today, I wasn't interested.
I push him off of me and stepped back. I wasn't angry, only surprised, until he acted like I'd done something odd. "What's wrong?" He faked this really befuddled voice, and it flipped some switch in my head. All of that maturity nonsense I'd fooled myself into believing escaped me in a second.
"What's wrong? Are you taking the piss, Weasley?" I sneered at him. "What's wrong is that you're a complete prat, and you don't care whose feelings you mess with, or who's trying to have a mature transformation thing, or that it's not okay to just scare someone in an empty classroom in the middle of the night. And...and you don't even care that you're out past curfew!" It was true. He didn't care about any of that. It didn't exactly come out the way I would've liked, though, unfortunately. I'm sure that I once again sounded like a complete idiot, but at least I wasn't the arsehole here.
"I know we haven't talked for a few days, but I've just been busy doing-"
"I already saw, Fred. I'm not blind. I don't need or want you to tell me what you've been doing. Actually, I think I would be much better off if you made an effort to just keep on not talking to me." My arms were crossed, and my lips were set in a thin line, not that he could see that considering we were standing in total darkness. He had let his wand light go out once he tried to snog me. He started to say something, but I meant what I said. I didn't want him to talk to me. "No. Just stop. I'm serious. The next time I see you out after curfew, I'm not turning a blind eye, either."
I stood still for a very brief moment before walking very calmly out of the classroom, and resisting the urge to slam the door shut. Maybe, he was going to act like an immature twat, but I was still very determined to be mature (well as close to mature as possible) about this whole thing. Honestly, though, screw him.
I went to bed and slept just fine that night.
A/N: So, this took forever to get out again, but it is a little longer than the rest! Please, please, please review, you lovely, lovely people.