(Though he isn't even in the story yet)
(Don't worry, he's coming soon.)
I cannot believe I just did that.
Run out of class, I mean.
I am quite, quite sure that no matter what I do, I’ll never be able to live that down.
Seriously, I’m so embarrassed, my cheeks have been flaming for the past thirty minutes. I’m replaying that moment over and over and over again in my tortured head, analyzing the situation to death. Why, why, did it have to be a bloody broomstick, of all things? WHY? I must have done something really terrible to deserve this. Maybe I was Grindelwald in my past life, or something. I’m generally a rather decent person, actually. I don’t abuse animals, I eat veggies, I pass up my homework on time. Could be a sadistic star I was born under.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m perfectly fine hiding here in this cupboard. I could live on Stucco’s Magic Shoe Polish and some dirty old rags that ancient caretaker Flich uses, no problem. I grimaced, pushing away a stick that looked entirely too similar to a broomstick. This particular Boggart episode has simply served to further convince me that I am entirely incapable of going near a broomstick. I’ll probably have nightmares of me careening off a broomstick for the rest of my life.
It’s Professor Valencia’s fault anyway, what with her and her stupid inflatable chest. Any competent teacher would’ve moved on to another magical creature instead of sticking with Boggarts.
Argh. I know I’m being immature.
I shifted on my arse - which was slowly turning numb, by the way - and tried not to knock into a couple of really foul corduroy jumpers embroidered with gray cats hanging from the top of the cupboard. I suspected these belonged to Flich. They certainly smelt like him. Like half-decomposed turkey and soggy parchment. Ugh. Not pleasant.
More about Filch - I hear he went more than a little crazy after his cat, Mrs. Norris died a few years before I entered Hogwarts. Crazy as in he talks to brooms and pretends they’re alive. Most people make fun of him for it but I think it’s a little sad, to be honest.
Alright, More comfortable now. Thank Merlin no one’s tried to find me.
Well, it’s a bit depressing actually, now that I think of it. No one even cares enough to try and come and find me. I bet they’re all still in stitches, laughing their arses off at me, Rose Weasley. I imagine even the Boggart is tickled.
My eyes widened in the dark, horrified. If Hugo ever gets wind of this, I’m dead. That’s it. I bet you ten galleons that he’ll be repeating it to everyone every chance he gets.
I tapped my feet against the opposite cupboard walls.
Something was poking my back.
I blinked, pursing my lips.
Okay, this is fecking boring. Who knew?
I wasn’t wearing a watch of any sorts, but I could tell it was nearing lunch. Mmm, lunch. And I’m itching to get to my next class. I have Ancient Runes after DADA, and Professor Cupnest was going to move on to the Romanian ones today. And I have that essay I spent ages on in my book bag.
Shit. My book bag’s still in the DADA classroom.
I felt hair-raising pricklies all over me. I don’t feel very comfortable without my faithful book bag by my side. It’s like I’ve lost a limb, or something.
Ever so carefully, I pushed open the doors of the cupboard on the third-floor I’d plunged into after I scampered from the DADA classroom. The corridors were depressingly deserted. I figured everyone was probably at lunch. Right on cue, my stomach rumbled. I’d skipped breakfast this morning and my stomach was empty. Perilously so.
I don’t suppose I could just act like nothing happened. Maybe, by some amazing turn of events - like someone casting a Memory Charm over everyone in that particular DADA class, for instance - they could have all forgotten about my completely losing my head at the Boggart.
Yeah, Rose, and Voldemort was a normal, balanced human being.
Ah well. Here goes nothing. I am a Gryffindor, after all. You know, what with Gryffindors being brave at heart and all that toss.
I carefully lugged myself out of the cupboard, feeling all tingly inside.
Look left, look right.
Hmm, definitely deserted.
I climbed out as carefully as I could. Unfortunately, klutzes like me fail at this. Climbing out of cupboards gracefully, I mean. Thus, I ended up flat on the cold - and somewhat slimy stone floor - doesn’t Filch ever do his caretaking duties properly? - cheek squashed and deeply humiliated, even though there wasn’t anyone there to witness my latest fall.
I walked as confidently as I could down the corridor, heading to the Great Hall for lunch. Cheek’s still stinging, by the way.
Anyway, this I’ve decided: screw everyone else - they want to laugh, they can laugh. This’ll probably pass in a few more days and everyone’s going to forget about it. I mean, me being afraid of broomsticks isn’t exactly new (I think). People just didn’t know how much I detested them.
I passed a couple of second-years, who were giggling stridently, giving me little looks as they passed by.
‘What?’ I shot at them, glaring. Alright, so a few second-years from my house know. So what? I can handle them. I can.
I strode over to the Gryffindor table, swung my leg purposefully over the seat and settled down beside Elisha.
‘So.’ I said, all business-like. ‘Did I miss anything?’
‘Oh. No, not really.’ Elisha said, sounding a little odd. I glanced at her, trying not to look at everyone else at the table. Dobby Longbottom, who was sitting opposite of me, was concentrating so hard at looking at his Yorkshire pudding I feared he’d burn a hole in them. A few giggles here and there, but nothing I couldn‘t take.
‘Great. Just great,’ I nodded.
Elisha had this weird look on her face. She was all flushed, and it looked like she’d taken an ominously large dose of U-No-Poo, if you know what I mean.
‘Rose-’ she began in a strangled voice, clutching the sides of the table. I scowled.
‘Don’t you dare laugh.’
Elisha turned a marvelous shade of magenta.
I grumpily grabbed a steak and tossed it on my plate so violently some of it’s peppery sauce catapulted spectacularly into Dobby Longbottom’s left eye.
‘My eye!’ he shrieked, and clamped a hand to said eye in horror. I ignored him.
‘It really isn’t all that funny. Don’t know why you’re laughing.’ I went with the high-and-mighty approach. Perhaps if I showed people I wasn’t much bothered by it they’d forget. As unlikely as it seems. Especially with utter tossers like James and Freddie around.
‘Mppghgm.’ Elisha was trying very hard to contain her laughter.
‘I heard.’ Poppy, another one of my closer acquaintances - blonde, short, gray-eyed - slid into the seat next to me, effectively jostling Freddie’s elbow and knocking a spoonful of mashed potato into his lap. ‘It must’ve been bad.’
‘Real bad.’ I replied miserably, furiously cutting my steak. ‘I just want to forget about it, alright?’
‘Okay.’ Poppy shrugged, unfazed. She’s pretty much unfazed by everything. Like not a bloody thing in the world shakes her. She shook out her wildly curly hair and dived into her desserts first. The amount she eats in one meal is probably enough to feed an entire starving nation, and yet she doesn’t put on a single ounce. Crazy, I tell you. ‘Are you worried people will laugh?’
Poppy is also unfailingly blunt. ‘Kind of.’ I mumbled.
‘Don’t worry. It’ll pass. Eventually.’ Poppy spoke through a mouthful of spaghetti bolognaise.
Right. That’ll happen.
I just hope that James Potter doesn’t hear about this --
‘Rosie!’ someone said in a familiar sing-song voice.
I didn’t even want to look up.
‘Is this true, what I hear?’
Really, all I want is to eat my dinner in peace. Instead, I’m accosted mercilessly by unfailingly infuriating cousins. Like James Sirius Potter II, for instance.
I remained mute, shoveling steak into my mouth but barely even tasting it.
‘Your Boggart turned out to be a broomstick?’
Several people laughed.
My head whipped up, and I met the mischievous eyes of James. Maybe it’s because James and I are related (shudder), but I cannot for the life of me figure out what is it that attracts girls to James Potter. I mean, maybe his physical attributes might be mildly pleasing to the eye - you know, purposefully mussed up raven hair, bright green eyes, and I suppose a rather quintessential physique - but sometimes he is utterly abhorrent on the inside.
This is when I realize a rather large crowd of nosy people have gathered around where I sit.
‘I,’ I announced grandly, waving my fork around and promptly upsetting Elisha’s glass of pumpkin juice. ‘am not afraid of broomsticks.’
‘That’s rich!’ Frost Meadow, a fifth-year I don’t notice that much, snorted derisively.
‘Then why’d you flip out at the Boggart?’
‘You aren’t honestly fibbing even after we all saw that, aren’t you?’ a rather air headed bottle blonde who went by the name Brianna Vrisk piped.
‘I can’t believe you’re afraid of broomsticks!’
‘Hahahahahah!’ someone broke into incessant giggles.
At this, Elisha lost her control and started laughing so hard she couldn’t even catch her breath. ‘Your - face!’ she spluttered, and dissolved into laughter again.
‘That Boggart malfunctioned.’ I explained as calmly as I could, heart thudding like it was about to explode.
‘I heard you ran right out of the room!’ James let out a roar of laughter that soon got the rest of the other gits laughing,, too.
I didn’t have anything to say to this, so I kept silent. I really wish my family wasn’t so bollocking huge. I wouldn’t have minded much if I didn’t have James Potter as a cousin, to be honest. Or even if he didn’t exist at all. Don’t get me wrong, we get along just fine (mostly). It’s just that sometimes I wish I could just Reducto him into a great big pile of steaming Jamesie ashes.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Hugo showed up.
‘Rosie! Your Boggart was a sodding broomstick?’ Hugo started waving his hands about. ‘Please tell me that’s not true!’
I don’t know what this has to do with him.
‘The Boggart malfunctioned.’ I repeated again, lying so hard I almost believed it myself. Almost.
‘Bollocks! Boggarts can’t malfunction.’ a third-year named Gina something said scornfully, head poking over Iris Hartsack’s - a girl from my dorm, also a rather nice girl - left shoulder. ‘They just don’t.
‘Even if the Boggart “malfunctioned”,’ Fred Weasley, the ever helpful one, did quotation marks in the air with his fingers. ‘why’d you run right out like you were properly terrified? And don’t lie, you were terrified, you were.’
‘Malfunctioning Boggarts are dangerous.’ I told them, a matter-of-fact.
Please don’t ask me why I was making up such giant porky pies. Something must have addled my brain when that fecking Boggart turned into a broomstick.
‘Yeah, right!’ James Potter challenged, delighted. Why, I don’t know. Presumably because he’d have something to torture me with for the next few weeks or so. ‘That’s so bogus!’
‘This is priceless!’ Hugo started giggling. ‘Rose is afraid of broomsticks! Can’t wait until I tell my mates.’
Before I could wring his neck, he bounced off.
‘I AM NOT AFRAID OF BROOMSTICKS.’ I said loudly, standing up, wanting them to go away. This had exactly the opposite effect. In fact, more interested onlookers flocked over, listening intently. I am digging my own grave, I really am.
‘Don’t deny it.’ Elisha placed a hand on my shoulder. ‘Come on, Rose, just ‘fess up.’
‘Why should I?’ I said defensively, finishing up my steak.
‘Because we want to hear it.’ James said, grinning wickedly. ‘Imagine, Rose Weasley, the ever prissy and prudish one, afraid of a pile of bewitched twigs!’
Dominique Weasley’s - cousin, part-Vela, and utterly stunning in the looks department - magnificent head poked over James’s shoulder, having successfully weaved her way through the ever-growing crowd. ‘What’s going on?’ she asked cheerfully in that silvery, throaty voice of hers. I noticed quite a bit of male heads turned towards her to gape in a gormless fashion.
‘Rose’s afraid of broomsticks!’ an overly eager Dobby Longbottom filled her in.
Dominique’s jaw slacked. Nevertheless, she still managed to look like she’d walked straight off the pages of Witch Weekly. I swear, she could get tossed around in a tornado, get trampled by a herd of centaurs, get thrown into the Black Lake and still be able to look trés magnifique. Her older sister Victoire (she just recently left Hogwarts) is a looker, too.
My cheeks burned and flushed. I swallowed and pushed my plate away. ‘I will not because that’s not true in the slightest.’
‘Do it, Rose!’ Fred clapped my back, guffawing. ‘Repeat after me: I, Rose Weasley, daughter of ex-Keeper and/or savior of the Quidditch team Chudley Cannons, sister to Gryffindor’s best damned Keeper ever since said ex-Keeper and/or savior of the Quidditch team Chudley Cannons left school, am terrified shitless of broomsticks.’
‘I,’ I was beginning to laugh. Anyone who knew me well enough - like Elisha and Poppy- could probably tell that my laughter was way too shrill and squeaky. ‘am not afraid of broomsticks. How many times do you want me to say that? Now, please leave me the bloody hell alone.’
They took no notice of my request.
‘Prove it, then!’ James said grandly. ‘Prove it to us that you’re not afraid of broomsticks.’
In books, they always use to phrase “froze in terror”. I’d always thought this was a rather overused hyperbole, and that it didn’t really happen in real life.
Yeah, well, I was now discovering how very true that phrase was.
‘Yeah! Prove it!’ Dobby echoed sadistically, banging his cutlery on the Gryffindor table.
I was pretty sure my expression resembled to that of cataclysmic horror, which probably didn’t do much to help me.
‘How?’ Elisha asked, interested.
‘We can go to the Quidditch pitch right now and you can show us that you’re not, in fact, afraid of broomsticks.’ James declared, officially annihilating any chance of me getting out of this predicament. If I’d known that it would come to this, I’d never even think of lying. Where the frick did all my rationality I used to posses go? On a blasted trip to Shanghai?
‘Um.’ I said intelligently.
‘Yeah! Do it!’
Elisha, being the totally supportive friend she was, said, ‘Sounds like fun.’
Sounds like fun?
SOUNDS LIKE FUN?
The only way they could ever get me on a broomstick is if they strapped me on with a Binding Charm and Petrified me. And even then I’d find a way to escape. For them, Quidditch is synonymous with “fun”. For me, Quidditch is synonymous with “a torturous and agonizing death”. They want me to show them I can ride a broomsticks? No bleeding way!
‘That’s so unnecessary.’ I stammered, getting up and furiously trying to think of a way to scarper.
‘So you’re admitting you’re scared, then?’ Fred Weasley sniggered.
‘I never said that.’ I defended myself, not knowing what to do. I can’t very well admit that I’m scared now, I’d look like a right idiot. And I can’t possibly ride a broomstick, either. Even if I did agree to the broomstick thing, my incompetence on a broomstick would be painfully obvious. Something I don’t particularly want the whole of Hogwarts to know, either.
I’m properly fucked, aren’t I?
‘That was… the singularly most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. No exceptions.’ I told Elisha, Poppy and Iris - the three girls that I share a dorm with, remember? - as I climbed into bed gingerly. Today was, without a doubt, a rough first day at school. I was hoping and praying that James wasn’t really serious about me riding a broomstick to prove them wrong but I’d gotten my hopes far too high.
James and Freddie will never let me forget this, not even when I’m festering and decomposing in my grave.
‘The most embarrassing? Now, I wouldn’t say that.’ Elisha said from beneath her covers.
I sighed, flipping over my pillow to find a cold spot. ‘Thanks for the support, but--’
‘I reckon your most embarrassing moment was probably the time you were late to class and you were running and running to Transfiguration…’ Elisha started laughing as softly as she could. That is to say, not very softly at all. ‘…and when you finally came into class you tripped over Beatrice Wheeler’s bag strap and went sprawling.’
‘Okay, that was pretty embarrassing, but--’
‘Or the time you were showering in our bathroom and I had my then-boyfriend - whatshisname… oh yeah, Michael Portmine over.’ Iris recalled happily. ‘You had a crush on him then. We were getting frisky on my bed and then you popped right out of the shower, wrapped in your pink Dumbledore towel and singing a rather off-key rendition of “Tear My Robes Off” by the Weird Sisters. Oh, and you had that bloody disgusting Muggle mud mask on too. That was pretty sodding embarrassing.’
‘Okay, fine--’ I was cut off by Poppy.
‘I’ve got a good one. How about the time you got your first period and you were sitting down for lunch and when you stood up again--’
‘OKAY, I GET THE POINT.’ I gritted my teeth. ‘That broomstick thing was in my top ten most embarrassing moments. Happy?’
‘Merlin, how about when you were a second-year and that house elf--’
‘Enough with the reminiscing.’ I threw my hands up in the air.
Elisha started giggling. ‘You are an endless source of entertainment for us, you know that?’
‘Glad I could be of service.’ I replied sourly.
‘Don’t know why you’re so worked up, anyway.’ I heard the faint rustle of crisp bed sheets as Poppy turned over in her bed. ‘Just prove them wrong. Do that broomstick thing they asked you to. Then people will stop talking.’
‘The problem is, I can’t ride broomsticks, I honestly can’t.’ I despaired.
‘Ignore them. Plain and simple.’ Iris suggested.
‘I’ll explain - because Rose Weasley here is insanely stubborn and competitive and loves to prove people wrong, this is one situation in which she can’t. Prove it to everyone that they’re wrong, I mean. So Rose is agitated. She can’t ride broomsticks, but she wants to prove everyone wrong. So what does she do?’ Elisha declared.
‘Nothing.’ I grumbled, slightly put out that Elisha knew me so well. ‘There’s not a bloody thing I can do except wait for them to stop laughing. Ugh.’
Gradually, everyone just fell silent and drifted off. As if my brain wanted to rub salt into my festering wound, I dreamt that I was trying desperately to hold on to a bucking broomstick a hundred feet in the air while a squillion people below laughed and jeered.
Little did I know that that dream would (more or less) come true.
Heehee. Please stick around to read more if you like it (: Don’t you ever forget to review!