It was not definitely not a dream. Malfoy and Yves stood at opposite ends of Professor Grints office, looking extremely uncomfortable. I was sat, equally uncomfortably between them both in one of the high backed wooden chairs in front of the headmasters desk.
“Miss Weasley, I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why you felt compelled to pull that lever. It’s a purely muggle addition to the Hogwarts express. The train driver had no idea what was going on, he was quite terrified!” the young man in his 30’s stuffed his hands in his short brown hair. He seemed very stressed. I didn’t reply, just looked down at my brown hands, tanned from the summer sun.
“Well? Miss Weasley!”
“I -” I began but from my right, Yves piped up.
“SIR! If I may, I think Rose would like to plead temporary insanity!”
“Yves!” I sighed, rubbing my forehead with my hand, “You’re not my lawyer, and I was not insane”, I was too tired for this, but if I thought I’d finished the discussion on my sanity I was mistaken. Malfoy snorted from the other side of the room,
“You could have fooled me! You’re mad Weasley. Completely mad!”
“She is not you idiot! Have some sympathy!”, Yves yelled and at this Malfoy lurched forward.
“Oh what? Because her stupid boyfriend had -”
“SHUT UP!!!” I yelled rising to my feet with amazing speed, “Shut up, both of you. This is my fault, so why don’t you both just… go and kiss in a corner or something!?” I turned back to Professor Grint, but not before I caught the look of embarrassment and surprise on both of their faces. Yves flushed a deep red. For a few seconds I felt bad, but the headmasters stifled grin made me feel a little better. He coughed, as though this would stop the laughter which was threatening to escape and turned back to me with a serious face.
“Miss Weasley, although I don’t quite understand why you did it, you seem to have even less of an idea, so I am going to state you as…how did you put it? Temporarily insane and let you off easy”, I glanced up at him in surprise. Half of me wanted to hug him and the other half wanted to throw a chair across the room. In horror I realised how pathetic I was to half wish he would expel me. All this over a boy? I would have laughed at a girl like me last year.
“So, I think a month or two worth of detentions should do? What do you think?”, I visibly balked at this idea, but I was getting a headache and in no mood to be indignant.
“Fine yeah…” he looked at me expectantly for a few seconds and I added reluctantly, “Thank you”
“B-b-but Rose has prefect duties. And quidditch training and - Sir it’s a little harsh!”
“You’ll be joining her then Miss Denver?” and before she could protest he said, “good”. There was a sniggering from across the room and we all turned to look at the pain in the ass blonde who straightened up as soon as the headmaster gave him a death glare,
“And you too Mr Malfoy. Starting tomorrow. Meet me here after dinner. Now all of you get out of here before I re think my decision” he waved his hand and looked distractedly down at some papers in front of him. I got up at the speed of light and practically ran out of the room.
“I cannot believe this! Why have I got detention, I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“You’re an annoying prick that’s why!”, my two comrades in punishment continued to squabble whilst we made our way to the Great hall. We had missed the feast, but Malfoy and I had to meet all of the prefects there afterwards.
“You didn’t do anything wrong either! Don’t get angry with me, I’m in the same position as you. I think the person you want to talk to is your best friend!”, there was silence for a few seconds and I waited, drifting as though in a dream slightly in front of the pair.
“Yeah! Rose, what the bloody hell did you think you were doing? We could have died! And now we’re all in trouble!”
“Oh please. Emergency stops don’t kill anyone they’re put in for safety!” I said and at this I heard a snigger and Yves sent Malfoy her most evil eyes.
“Ok. Tell me how you ended up with concussion and we ended up with 2 months of detentions then?”
“UGH!” I threw my hands up in the air and quickened my pace. We were seriously late to meet the prefects.
The hall was dimly lit now, like it was recovering from the feast. I grabbed a doughnut from the leftover desserts that sat on the tables and speed walked to where a small group of people sat, clustered around and talking in quiet voices.
“Sorry we’re late!”, shouted Scorpius from behind me and I rolled my eyes, “we had to talk to Grint”.
“About time Malfoy!”, Albus shouted from within the circle. I went and squished my way in next to him and gave him a half-hearted hug. At least I always had Albus as well. He smelled like my second home. The place I stayed for practically half the summer due to the fact that our parents were constantly in each others company. I was as familiar with his house and family as I was with my own and he probably felt the same way.
“Hi” he said quietly to me whilst looking ahead because Malfoy had started talking. I suddenly realised how tired I was and shut my eyes, listening to Malfoy’s silky voice address everyone.
“This years going to be a little different. Apparently in a few months time some foreign students are coming to Hogwarts to stay and a few of us are going over there - yes Potter?”. Albus had raised his hand and he gave Malfoy a glare before asking his question,
“And where is exactly is there?”
“Durmstrang and probably Beauxbatton. Its like an exchange. Anyone wanting to take part can put their name down on the list which is going to be pinned up in the entrance hall - yes Hannah?” the Ravenclaw prefect’s hand shot up.
“Can we put our names down? I mean as prefects?”, Malfoy sighed. Poor girl.
“Yes. Why do you think I’m telling you about how to put your name down - Weasley are you paying attention?”
“YES I AM PAYING ATTENTION!” I snapped, my eyes still closed.
“All right then” he said clearing his throat in an annoyed manner. We had never really gotten along, me and Malfoy. But even though our rivalry seemed trivial and ridiculous now, I was not going to let him push me around “this whole thing will be happening around November - December time. The dates will be set when the students are chosen. Obviously we have been put in charge of making sure things run smoothly. So I’ve been told to give each of you a job”
“Ugh”, Albus groaned next to me as I drifted off into dream world.
“Hannah. You will make sure that the list of possible candidates is done in an orderly and organised manner. Potter. You will make sure that the chosen students are prepared and happy. Immie. I want you to liaison with Beauxbatton as you’re half French and all - Weaslette, you’re going to be making sure everything is arranged here for the students arriving”, my eyes flew open and I sat bolt upright.
“Yes Weasley” it wasn’t a question more a taunting way of confirming what I’d heard.
“B-but, I don’t have time for that!” I hoped he wouldn’t bring up the two months worth of detention and the train incident. No one seemed to know that it was me who had caused the train to stop and delay the whole evening by an hour.
“Weasley, we’re all very busy. Myself and India are going to be overseeing everything so its not like you’ll be left alone. That’s the job you’ve got and that’s the job you’re going to do!”
That was perhaps the worst day of my life, I considered as I walked to the girls dormitory. But, at least I would be kept busy this year, with newts, quidditch, detention and playing home welcomer to scary foreigners. However, things were not as bad as they could have been. I hadn’t actually come face to face with either Tilly or Jack, and I felt relieved that I was returning to the dorm so late. I could put off that looming meeting until tomorrow at least.
I wondered, as I uttered the password and stepped through the portrait hole, how I was going to sleep, or study or just be in the same place as her. I felt physically sick at just the thought of seeing her , and if I had to face them together -
I threw myself down on the sofa and stared into the fading fire. It was easy to let my emotions build on top of me when I was alone, and they all seemed to come at once. I didn’t even bother to stop the tear that rolled slowly down my cheek. What was the point? I knew that if one had managed to creep though, a whole army of them would follow no matter how hard I tried to fight them back.
I was preparing herself for the worst when I heard a door slam somewhere upstairs and quick, heavy footsteps charging down the steps. I didn’t even have time to hide.
And suddenly there he was. His hair was shorter, but other than that he looked exactly the same as the last time I had seen him. He stopped dead in front of me and seemed lost for words. I quickly wiped at the lone tear and got to my feet. I needed to get out of there as fast as I could, that much was for certain. I had to walk past him though to get to the stairs to my dorm though.
“Rose wait” he said. I didn’t reply, but kept my eyes directly on the route of escape. He stepped in front of me, blocking my way, “Rose. Please. I need to talk to you. Explain”.
And suddenly, I exploded.
“EXPLAIN? What you could possibly say that would explain everything? I found out from your best friend that you had slept with my best friend Jack! And then you didn’t even bother to try and speak to me. You couldn’t contact me and explain all summer? ”, I wiped furiously at the tears spilling down my cheeks and moved to push past him but he blocked me with his arm.
“I’m - I’m sorry, I was scared. And then I just thought that if I gave you the summer then-”
“Then what? I’d forget?” I laughed once, a hard, bitter laugh and finally managed to get past him to the stairs, “Just leave me alone Jack. Its obviously easy for you” I said and ran up the stairs as quickly as I could.
Like I had suspected, everyone in the dorm was asleep and I changed into my pyjamas quickly, wanting to feel and smell the comfort of home. Crookshanks crept out from underneath my bed and jumped up next to me as I tried to get to sleep. Usually when I was alone and there was nothing to do but think about everything that had happened was when the tears fell hard and fast. But I was too confused to cry, as I stared blankly up at the curtains of my bed. I ran over the whole story in my mind.
Albus, my cousin and Jacks best friend had come up to me at dinner a few weeks before the summer holidays and told me everything. I had confronted my boyfriend there and then, and quite simply, we broke up.
For weeks I had to try and ignore the stares and whisperings of people about me as the whole ugly truth had become known to everyone. That was the thing with Hogwarts, everybody knew everybody else’s business.
Then, when finally, the salvation of the summer holidays arrived and I didn’t hear from anyone but Albus and Yves for the whole 2 months. Which was what I thought I had wanted.
I hadn’t realised quite how much it had hurt when Jack hadn’t come to see me and try and talk. But eventually I grew used to the idea that he had gotten over me as quickly as the wind blows and that was that. I could still long to see him every day and night.
But our little meeting in the dormitory didn’t match up with everything else. Why was he so desperate to suddenly talk, when I knew for a fact, as everyone else did, that he was dating Tilly?
Everything weighing on my mind gave me the worst head ache I had ever had and eventually I got up and rummaged in my trunk for some pain killing pills my Mum gave me to use. They were a muggle remedy and worked quite well. I took 3 and just as my headache began to fade and I could begin to make sense of some things, I fell asleep.
The next morning it took me at least 5 minutes after waking up to actually open my eyes. I climbed out of bed and moved painfully slowly to the bathroom. Those painkillers had certainly done the trick. I grabbed a warm towel from the cupboard and woke myself with a steaming hot 45 minute shower. If Hogwarts had a water limit it would have dried up.
It was only when I emerged from the bathroom that I realised no one else was in the room. I had just assumed that I had woken up early because everyone was so quiet and the light filtering in from the window was a pale milky colour. But as I looked outside, I realised that the sun was just shining weakly from behind mist and cloud. I mentally kicked myself and sped across the room, throwing my robes around in a rush to find the ones I wanted. My second day was looking like it might be as bleak as the first.
I cautiously climbed onto the banister of a staircase and leaped down a few feet to the one below it. I had quickly learned that, if timed properly - meaning there were no teachers around and the two staircases were in the right position - jumping from staircase to staircase was a much quicker way of travel.
I raced up them to the third floor and tried to ignore how hungry I was. I hadn’t eaten anything substantial since breakfast the morning before. I glanced at the clock on the left wall as I sprinted down the hallway towards charms, cursing under my breath. I had been under the impression that if I hurried and skipped breakfast all together I could make it to my first class on time, but according to the clock, I was just under 10 minutes late.
As I neared the door I considered turning around and skipping the class altogether. I really didn’t want to bring attention to myself, and with the depressive state of my mind I was more than happy to retreat back to the common room with a book. But after weighing up the long term effects of skipping class and bursting into a room of people who probably hated me I realised the latter was likely to happen at some point anyway and I would rather not get in trouble any more than I already was.
So I threw open the door. Maybe with a bit more force than I had meant to and it banged loudly against the inside wall. I prepared myself for excruciating stares and whispers which were likely to turn my ears red, but for some reason, as I stepped over the threshold I suddenly developed the ability to ignore everything. The room went extra quiet as I rushed in, but the only thing I registered was Professor Flitwick frowning at me from his pile of books.
“Miss Weasley! Why are you so late?!” I looked around the room and found Albus, sitting at a desk with his bag on the chair next to him. He picked it up and beckoned for me to sit next to him, so I began weaving between the many familiar, but at this moment, blurry faces. As I slipped onto the stool, Albus gave me a withering smile. I wanted to hit him over the head.
“Miss Weasley?” he asked again. I sighed.
“I’m sorry, I overslept sir” I explained, pulling my damp hair into a high ponytail. It was then that I noticed them both looking at me and I really wanted to hit Albus. How could he be so stupid as to sit behind them?
“Weasley, it is not the summer holidays anymore. Get yourself back into gear” Flitwick said, flicking his wand at me. I flinched and nodded, clamping my hand against the headache which was coming like a storm. Flitwick resumed screaming instructions out in his squeaky voice and everyone around me simultaneously opened their books. Albus leaned over and snatched mine, turning it to the correct page for me.
“What’s up?”, he asked quietly, pretending to read. I raised an eyebrow at him which he knew meant ‘I’ll speak to you later’.
“So what are we doing?” I asked moodily and he leant over to explain. His words were lost though as another voice rose high above all of the others in the room. It was the only voice that could make me flinch like that.
“Long time no see Rosie” she said, turning around in her seat to survey me with twinkling, horribly smug eyes. Jack didn’t react, he just stared into his book, pretending he couldn’t hear what was going on around him. I didn’t reply or react to Tilly,
“So do I read this bit and then this bit?” I asked Albus, pointing to sections in the book. He leant over and continued like nothing had happened as well.
“How was your summer?” she asked, and I smiled at my cousin as he instructed me, “No body heard from you, we thought you might have died or something”. Albus leaned back and from the corner of my eye I saw him give her the harshest death glare. But that didn’t faze her.
“Rose? Rose are you there? Maybe she did die!” she shrieked with laughter and many of the girls in the room chuckled with her. Most of them were people I would have called my friends last year. It seemed that she was not going to give up, so I closed my book and looked up at her. With a jolt I remembered how stunning she was, made even the more beautiful with the glow of ruining other people lives.
“No Tilly. I’m not dead. I was just ignoring you”. She looked back at me with a sour face.
“Well that’s rather rude don’t you think?”, she looked around the room and I realised that the whole place had gone horribly quiet. A few heads nodded in agreement. What sheep.
“I suppose it is” I said breathing out and picked up my book again. I may have appeared cool on the outside, but I was feeling horribly sick.
“I went to Colorado”, she said and at this Jack turned around.
“I heard” I said testily, turning the page of my book.
“Oh you did? Gosh this castle loves to gossip! Well it was amazing anyway. You should have come out to join us, a whole bunch of us went!”. That I had not known and it stung. It was the worst feeling. Like when you’re you younger and you’re not invited to a gathering. You worry endlessly for days if everyone hates you. Except I knew everyone hated me.
Well almost everyone. I felt a warm hand clutch my shoulder and felt a gratefulness so strong I wanted to hug him there and then. Jack was Albus’ best friend. Or ex best. He had barely spoken to him over the summer, choosing instead to spend time with me and everyone else in our extended family.
I knew that he had been through a lot as well. In a sense he had experienced the same thing as me. Even though Albus, kind and loyal was never the type to place stance on popularity I knew it must be hard on him to have to distance himself from his friends because he wasn’t friends with Jack anymore.
At the beginning of the summer I had told him that I would understand if he wanted to stay friends with Jack. He had looked almost angry for a moment and then I realised how hard it had been for him as well as he explained.
“Rosie, you’re not just family, you’re my best friend. Even if he hadn’t - even if I didn’t hate him, I still wouldn’t be able to be as close to him as I was before”
“Al, you really don’t have to hate him. That’s what I’m trying to say! I don’t want you to have to sacrifice anything because we’re not together any -”
“I don’t hate him because he cheated on you. Obviously I don’t like him for it. But don’t you understand? He made me choose”
“No one is making you choose” I said. He really was not getting it.
“But I caught him didn’t I? I found out! And when I confronted him he just brushed me aside saying, “she offered”. He was a completely different person, and he just assumed that I wouldn’t tell you! You’re my cousin Rose. He didn’t think about that did he? He didn’t think about the fact that it was eating me up inside. The guilt. Every time I saw you with him, and how you looked so happy, and how it was all a lie and - and it all just got to me Rose. After months of living with it, I had to tell you. I’m sorry I waited so long. I’m sorry that I didn’t pick you from the start. I’m sorry that - that I had to be the one to tell you! That why I hate him Rose. I hate him because he’s an arsehole to anyone whose ever really cared about him. Because he doesn’t think of anyone but himself”.
Albus had gotten increasingly quiet and I knew that he still felt terribly guilty about everything. I immediately got up from my sofa and flung myself down on the chair he was sitting in. It was a tight squeeze.
“I do believe Mr Potter, that you are a family man”. He looked down his nose at me, a look of disgust on his face.
“I am not! I’m never having kids. They’re a nightmare! I wouldn’t want to risk ending up with another Lilly” he moaned. Him and his little sister had never gotten along. I ruffled his hair and picked up the book he had been reading and we broke into an ordinary discussion about it.
I forced my mind back to the charms lesson and turned the page of my book.
“You know Rose. I’m not sure I like the person you seem to have become over the summer. In fact. I’m not sure I even want to be friends with you anymore. Why should we put up with such a rude person, right sweetie?” My stomach plummeted as she entwined her fingers in Jacks and reached up to stroke his hair. He looked murderous. His fists were clenched so tightly that the knuckles were a horrible white. He stared straight ahead, his jaw clenched.
As I looked at him I told myself that I didn’t care if his anger was at me. I didn’t care what he was feeling or thinking. If he hated me, that was fine. But even as the possibility jumped into my thoughts a horrible niggling feeling perched itself at the pit of my stomach. As much as I hated to admit it, after everything that had happened, I was upset at the thought.
Tilly turned back around as Flitwick shushed her, a wide smirk on her lips, and she kept her hand clamped firmly on Jacks thigh. I turned to Albus and he rolled his eyes, a smile playing across his lips. I tried to smile back but only managed to conjure a small, dejected shrug. As everyone slowly went back to their reading the class got louder again, but I could still feel their stares and I still knew their whispers were about me.
I looked around the room quickly and spotted Yves at the back. She waved and then made a face, jilting her head to the side. My eyes followed and I realised who she was sat next to. Malfoy sat as far away from her as possible and his face resembled a lemon. Yep, definitely that awkward, I DON’T LIKE THEM faze going on. Reluctantly, despite it being the worst lesson of my life (everything was the worst - in - my - life at the moment in case you were wondering) a grin broke out across my face. She could make faces all she wanted, but I had a feeling that, even though I had just lost my boyfriend, Yves was about to gain one. And I had days and days of detention to help her and Malfoy realise it.
Ok, so quite a long chapter.
I'm kind of worried that Albus came across as a little in love with Jack in this chapter, which he is not, before any of you ask.
Please review if you've made it this far! It would be great to know what you think!