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Chapter 4 : You Have Seventeen Arms
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I've given up trying to get them centred >:(
I’d like to say things got better after that, but of course it didn’t.
I try to walk in the corridors as little as possible now. Mostly because every time I do I am mercilessly bombarded with inane broomstick jokes. If I ever heard another oh-so-funny gag by James/Fred/Hugo/any other arrogant, insufferable git in Hogwarts, I was going to Avada Kedavra myself. Better yet, I’ll Avada Kedavra the next person who tells me my incompetence on a broom might very like affect my future ability to “ ride” other male-type “broomsticks”.
Like that’s even funny. Well, it might’ve been funny to them but it was about as funny as a family member’s funeral to me. All the houses – Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor – have already caught wind of this. Gossip here travels at the speed of light. Not that I think it’s good. Don’t Hogwartians have anything to talk about other than me? I mean, really.
Professor Valencia is trying to make everyone forget about it by telling everyone not to laugh at me about it, but of course, that makes it worse. It’s been three days now but my broomstick situation shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon.
Elisha’s been fantastic, of course. She Levicorpus-ed Raffles Pot, a spotty fourth-year Slytherin, so hard that no one’s been able to get him down from the enchanted ceiling in the Great Hall since yesterday. His fellow Slytherins feed him by tossing bits of pudding and bottles of water up to him as hard as they can whenever it’s time to eat. And all because poor Raffles Pot drew a distinctly broomstick-like figure on a piece of parchment, scrunched it up and threw it across the classroom during Divination.
Iris and Poppy have advised me to “ lay-low” for a bit. Since I don’t see anything else I can do, I took their advice grudgingly.
And so, I’ve resorted to frankly very coward-like methods of laying low. Like right now, for instance. I stayed as close to the walls as possible, my shoulder almost scraping against the vaguely slimy stone walls as I tried to make it to the Great Hall for lunch without anyone accosting me.
So far so good…
‘Hey! Hey, Rose! Rose Weasley!’ someone shouted. I automatically cringed. Maybe if I don’t turn around, they won’t think it’s me.
Sighing exasperatedly, I turned around, figuring I’d get rid of whoever it was faster if I let them have their stupid laugh.
‘Hey! Hey, look! Whoooo! I’m a broomstick, Rose! Fear me!’ a kind-of-familiar fellow Gryffindor pretended to straddle a broom in a rather disturbing way and started whooshing down the hallway, laughing hysterically and his oafish guffaws echoing around the corridor. Haha. Funny.
Of course, people turned to stare and giggle. Who wouldn’t?
‘I cannot wait until people stop talking about this.’ I grumbled and slid in effortlessly opposite of Elisha. Or at least I’d like to say I slid in effortlessly. In truth, I tried to slide, the long bench was thrown sideways by my sudden weight and the long bench crashed down noisily on the floor. I followed suit, my behind colliding painfully with the ground.
Of course, being the Klutzinator, I brought down several other people with me. Food flew. Drinks spilled. You know, the usual shit that happens when I enter a room.
‘Shit.’ I sighed. Elisha had looked up from her worn Arithmancy textbook to gape in mild interest. 'Sorry!' I waved apologetically to the three Gryffindors I'd unintentionally harmed.
‘At least you didn’t maim anyone this time.’ Elisha shrugged, going back to her lunch and her book.
‘Lucky me.’ I said sourly, picking myself up and lugging the bench up. I sat myself down carefully this time. Someone remind me to never attempt sliding in my seat again. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid…’
‘What’s gotten you in this delightfully pleasant mood?’ Elisha spoke through her half-chewed asparagus tips, flipping a page of her book.
‘Another one, that’s what.’
‘Who was it this time? What did they do?’
‘Some Gryffindor. He rode an imaginary broom and zoomed past me, saying “Fear me! Rose Weasley, fear me!”’
Elisha started giggling.
‘It’s not even remotely funny.’ I glared.
‘Sorry. You want me to hex him for you?’ Elisha perked up, pushing her brown hair behind her ears.
We both simultaneously looked up to gawp at the aforementioned Raffles Pot who’d been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Elisha’s Levicorpus. Two Slytherins lobbed a bottle of pumpkin juice as hard as they could towards Raffles, and he caught it, fumbling with the plastic bottle. Even from way over here I could see the expression of hunger on his face. Twisting open the bottle slowly, he poured it into his mouth as carefully as he could. That is to say, not very carefully at all. The pumpkin juice splattered all over his face, dripped down his hair and down to the Great Hall below.
‘I really don’t want to know how he’s been relieving himself.’ I said to Elisha, shuddering delicately.
‘When do you think I should let him down?’ Elisha asked me with a gleam of sadistic pleasure in her eyes. She can be bloody scary at times. Like now, for instance.
‘As soon as possible. Isn’t he supposed to be dead by now? I mean, I dimly remember reading somewhere that a normal human being cannot dangle upside down for more than one hour before passing out cold.’
‘Who really cares, anyway?’ Elisha snorted with laughter.
I paused, peering up at Raffles Pot, who at that moment got smacked in the face by a juicy piece of chicken thrown by one of his classmates.
I turned automatically. It turned out to be the entire Slytherin Quidditch team, all dressed in their barf green robes and grasping their broomsticks (ugh, I detest broomstick innuendos) and ready to head off to the Quidditch pitch for practice. It was the captain who'd spoke, a burly seventh-year named Rictus Pucey with horrible teeth that closely resembled picket fences. 'You scared now, Weasley?' he hooted, waving his broomstick at me. Okay, I'll admit maybe I felt the slightly jolt of fear at his shiny broomstick, but I certainly wasn't going to tell that bastard that.
'Fuck off, you!' I screamed, shaking my fist. They lumbered off, still guffawing and laughing like Pucey had said something funny.
'See what I have to put up with?' I moaned, turning back to Elisha. She shot me a look of sympathy.
‘Hey, you going to the Quidditch game this Saturday?’ Elisha picked up another spoonful of mashed potatoes and slopped them wetly onto her dirty plate. ‘It’s Gryffindor against Slytherin.’ She gave me a sly look, knowing full well I steer clear of anything having anything to do with Quidditch nowadays.
I thought for a moment, chewing through some fluffy pancakes. Logically, if I act like my Broomstick Incident didn't faze me in the slightest, I suppose they'll stop talking. Hopefully.
‘Yeah, I’m going.’ I said, almost defiantly.
Saturday, the Quidditch Match
‘Merlin, look at those muscles ripple…’ Iris sighed dreamily, pointing at a Quidditch player zip by on his broomstick, robes flapping in the cold wind.
Elisha and Poppy groaned in disgust, pushing Iris away. ‘That’s revolting! You know that was, don’t you? Hoyt! Hoyt from Slytherin!’
‘But he’s so fit!’ Iris protested, giggling wildly. There’s only one reason why Iris goes to Quidditch games, and that’s the male Quidditch players. According to Iris, there’s “something sexy about a man riding a broomstick and handling balls”. Ugh.
‘There! Another one!’ Iris clapped a hand to her mouth and practically hyperventilated on the spot. ‘Damn, any boy can look bloody sexy on a broomstick.’
I huddled closer to Elisha, trying to hide my face under my red-and-yellow striped scarf. ‘Is everyone done staring?’ I muttered to Elisha, blushing wildly.
‘Yeah, everyone’s stopped staring! The game’s started, hasn’t it?’ Elisha rolled her eyes and hoisted me upright so that I wouldn’t lean on her anymore. ‘Stop being so sodding paranoid!’
‘Can’t help it. I hate it when people stare.’ I grumbled, pulling my scarf tighter around myself. I don’t even know why I bothered to come. Gah. I don’t know bollocks about Quidditch. I can’t tell what’s happening. If ‘What’re you staring at? Bugger off.’ I snapped at a tightly knit bunch of first-year boys looking a little too gormlessly at me. They scattered. I sipped on my bottle of pumpkin juice angrily. And – um – I sipped a little too hard. The bottle tipped over and drenched a pair of lovebirds who were sitting directly in front of me.
‘Sorry!’ I apologized hastily amidst cries of ‘I’ve got pumpkin juice down my neck!’
‘Watch the game!’ Elisha insisted.
I watched as James Potter zoomed by on his shiny broomstick, Quaffle clutched tightly under his arms. ‘That takes skill.’ Poppy observed as he dodged a speeding Bludger and passed it to Prudence Bell – sixth-year, Chaser – who tossed it inside the far left hoop. I tilted my head a little, trying to figure out what this meant. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Bloody hell, I don’t know the difference between hopscotch and Quidditch.
‘That means they score, right?’ I said as our side of the pitch – the Gryffindors, of course – all cheered in elation. Elisha roared with laughter, and clapped me on my back.
‘And that’s seventy-thirty to Gryffindor! Spectacular goal by Chaser Prudence Bell, Gryffindor team is now doing their signature Mexican wave…’
A little more explanation here: James Potter is bonkers. He celebrates each goal by doing the Mexican wave with his fellow teammates after each goal they score. I could hear some laughter and snorts across the stadium as the Gryffindor team linked hands and started making their shoulders all wavy-like. Even from here I could see crazy grins on their faces. I’m not exactly familiar with Quidditch but I could tell Gryffindor was a bloody good team.
‘And they’re off again!’ Greta Jones, the commentator, screamed, pumping her fist in the air. ‘Slytherin has the Quaffle, Fred Weasley, Beater, sends a Bludger his way – and it makes contact! Slytherin drops the Quaffle, Lucy Thomas intercepts and she’s got it! She speeds to the end of the Quidditch pitch – she shoots! She – argh….’
One of Slytherin's Chasers, Warrington Nott, had caught Lucy’s goal. He tossed it back to his teammates, grinning widely. ‘Now, there’s one Quidditch player that’s not fit.’ Iris announced, pointing excitedly at Warrington Nott. With a serious overbite and some chest hair poking nastily out of his robes every time I see him, Warrington Nott couldn’t be fit even if he tried.
‘All Slytherins are disgusting.’ Elisha corrected, repulsed.
‘That’s completely untrue. I do not, for example, think that Scorpius Malfoy is disgusting.’ Iris pointed reverentially towards the direction of the hoops of Slytherin’s side of the Quidditch pitch. All four of us looked.
I don’t really know much about Scorpius Malfoy, except maybe for the fact that he’s a Slytherin, he’s a Keeper for the Slytherin team and my dad absolutely hates him. I’m not really sure why. Whenever I ask, Dad just tells me to stay away from Scorpius. My Dad would have a double heart attack if he ever saw me even standing next to him. No, wait, Dad would kill me first with his bare hands, and then have a double heart attack.
I've never really understood why Dad hated him so much, though. I mean, I get that Dad and Scorpius's dad used to absolutely loathe each other. Scratch that, they still hate each other. It's just - well - Dad hasn't actually met Scorpius before, and he's making out like because he's a Malfoy he's got to be all horrible and lecherous. I actually think Scorpius is one of the more decent Slytherins. At least he doesn't go around cursing people left, right and centre. And I don't recall him poking fun at me after me Broomstick Incident, which is always a plus.
‘True.’ Poppy sighed. ‘Slytherins might all be vile, hideous pricks but Scorpius Malfoy is an exception.’
‘I don’t see it.’ Elisha frowned, squinting in the bright sunlight.
‘How can you not?’ Iris was outraged. The wind fluffed her elfin blonde hair cheerily, and she started pointing more vigorously. ‘That one! That one by the hoops!’
‘I know which one he is, thank you!’ Elisha snapped. ‘He just looks like every other Slytherin boy. Nothing special.’
‘Nothing special?’ Poppy looked outraged. ‘Rose, take a good look at him and tell me he’s not special. Do it.’
I did so half-heartedly, using my hand as a visor to keep sunlight out of my eyes. ‘Er…’ all I saw was a fair-haired boy hovering in front of Slytherin’s middle hoop. I dunno, he was sort of far away. Right on cue, he dived forward, tumbling in the air, to save a goal. I couldn’t really see much from afar, to be honest.
‘Argh – and Slytherin saves Chaser Thomas’s goal. It’s ninety-sixty to Gryffindor…’
‘He’s alright, I s’pose.’ I shrugged, lowering my hand.
‘You people have zero taste in men.’ Iris said huffily.
‘Look! Albus is diving!’ Elisha pointed, screaming wildly. ‘He’s seen the Snitch!’
The Gryffindor side of the pitch rose in anticipation and excitement. ‘Go! Get it, Albie!’
‘Get the Snitch!’
‘Just a little bit more…’
‘And – what’s this? Albus Potter has seen the Snitch! He’s diving… Slytherin’s Seeker Opus dives too – the Snitch! The Snitch!’
With some embarrassment, I realized that I was the only one in the entire Gryffindor stand not jumping up and down and cheering my lungs out. I quickly picked myself up, and raised a fist uncertainly. ‘Er – go Gryffindor.’ I said to no one in particular. Of course, no one took notice of me.
I really am pathetic.
‘What’s happening?’ I asked absently, wondering if the elves would make us some treacle pudding later for dinner.
‘The Snitch!’ Elisha shrieked.
I stood on my tiptoes and looked over a sea of heads.
‘He’s got the Snitch! Gryffindor win two hundred and forty to seventy!’ Greta Jones, the commentator, screeched in exultation.
‘What a game!’ Iris said breathlessly, flopping down on the seats again.
‘Er – so the game’s properly over?’ I asked tentatively, not really sure what was going on.
‘Rose, you are hopeless.’ Poppy laughed.
‘Party in the common room!’ James Potter hollered, loud enough for half the pitch to hear and the Gryffindors answered with an uproarious cheer of approval.
Common Room, Gryffindor Victory Party
‘Gryffindor is victorious!’ James started the party by jumping onto a couch promptly joining lips with a pleasantly surprised Veronica Imp, who returned the kiss quite enthusiastically.
Almost everyone was there, I guess. From puny little first-years huddling in the corner absolutely terrified to huge seventh-years lumbering around and sloshing Firewhisky everywhere. It's as crowded as two tits in a Wonderbra in here. I have to use my skinny elbows and jab to get somewhere. Elisha, Iris and Poppy have already called it a night and gone to their dorms, but for some unearthly reason I decided to stay a little bit longer.
'S'cuse me, coming through...' I pushed by a couple gyrating crotch to crotch in a very disturbing way.
‘Congratulations, by the way.’ I passed by Albus. He turned around, looking drunk on happiness. What is it about Quidditch that makes everyone so weird? I don’t get it, I really don’t.
‘You came to the game?’ Albus said, readjusting his wire frames and grinning crazily. ‘Did you see me catch the Snitch? One of my best dives ever – I just barely pulled out of it.’
‘Er – yeah.’ I said, a little helplessly. ‘I didn’t really get the game, actually.’
Albus roared with laughter. I noticed he had a half-full paper cup of curious amber liquid.
‘Albus. Is that… liquor?’ I said, horrified. I snatched the cup away from him and threw it behind me. Someone’s horrified cry of ‘Hey! Who the bloody hell threw that?’ told me I’d probably nailed someone in the eye with it, but that wasn’t important. Well, it probably was to him, but that wasn't important, either.
Albus looked faintly uncomfortable. ‘I’m just… letting loose, Rosie. Come on! Have a small drink! It tastes really good! You’ll have a blast!’
When did Albus turn into such a wanker? He randomly snatched another cup of Firewhiskey from someone’s hands (‘Hey! Give that back!’) and pushed it at me. ‘Have a drink!’ he repeated, glasses wonky again.
‘Rose! Are you drinking?’ Freddie stumbled over, already bladdered. A few people turned this way, fascinated.
‘No, I’m not.’ I insisted, pushing the paper cup away. ‘Where’d you get the Firewhiskey, anyway?’
‘Smuggled it in. Don’t think you want to know.’ Fred grinned from ear to ear.
'Woo hoo!' my brother Hugo staggered over. 'I'm sho happeh we won!' he slurred. The soggy paper cup clutched tightly in his hands told me all I needed to know.
'Hugo.' I said as calmly as I could. 'You're fourteen.'
'I know.' Hugo rolled his eyes. 'Whatsh your fecking point?'
'You're drinking.' I added, trying not to burst in outrage.
'Everyone'sh drinking.' Hugo explained. 'What're you going to do about it? Go on, give me a week's worth of detention, then. Or maybe dock some points. What's it going to be?' he shot at me defensively.
'Oh, come on, Rosie.' Fred butted in again, sounding a little put out. 'Loosen up! Have a drink, for Merlin's sake. I reckon you've never had any proper fun.'
‘Excuse me?’ I was getting bloody mad. I did have fun! Fred here was implying that I never ever had any fun, but that’s not true in the least. Just because, ever since we were young, I was the one telling them not to whenever they decided to climb a tree or jump off a roof or set Uncle Percy's arse on fire or something. I was a voice of reason, not some fun-sucking leech everyone hated.
‘Just because I’m a Prefect doesn’t mean I can’t have any fun.’ I said loudly, attracted a few more people over.
‘Then have a drink!’ Fred held out the evil paper cup and shook it gently, goading me.
I hestitated. Mum would probably kill me if she ever found out...
‘No way.’ I pushed it away forcefully. ‘I’m going up to bed.’ I hated the way I sounded. But really, what else could I do?
‘Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!’ Albus started chanting. Everyone else joined, thumping their hands against pieces of furniture. Even James had unstuck himself from Veronica’s face to watch amusedly. The back of my neck prickled hotly.
'No bloody way!'
'Please?' Fred pleaded, eyes beseeching.
'I'm fifteen.' I reminded Fred. 'And so are you, now that I think of it.'
'That doesn't matter.' Fred insisted, jiggling the cup at me.
‘Oh, Merlin.’ I sighed, and held out my hand. It was just a drink, after all. ‘One cup and I’m going up to bed.’ I told Albus.
They cheered, knocking their own Firewhiskey glasses against each other’s.
I’ll just get this over with...
I downed the paper cup in one gulp. My eyes widened. I let go of the cup, letting it tumble down to the floor.
‘Good stuff, isn’t it?’ Fred said proudly, like he’d brewed it himself.
‘Yeah.’ I managed. ‘That’s... pretty fantastic.’
Fuck it, it was bloody wonderful. The best thing I’d ever tasted. My throat was still burning, and I felt energized. Suddenly, everyone was really nice. Albus was nice. Fred was nice. Feck, even James was nice. Even that guy standing in the corner there looked nice...
I stumbled over, hardly aware of what I was going to do. My senses were buzzing. Everything seemed fuzzy. My fingers didn’t feel quite there.
‘Hi.’ I said, looking up at this gigantic sixth-year. I couldn’t really see his face properly, but that didn’t matter in the least.
‘Um – hello.’ He greeted me uncertainly.
‘Let’s snog.’ I decided, and pulled his face down to meet mine.
I don’t know how many other Firewhiskeys I had, but I felt better than I had in a long time. In a long... long time... whoa. Is that... is that Mum I see?
‘Hey, mum.’ I waved happily. Anyone else would’ve seen me wave at an empty patch of wall in the Common Room but I was far too drunk to care. I reckon I had... six or seven drinks. Eight. Maybe nine. Firewhiskey was really good. Really, really good.
‘I feel good!’ I yelled, jumping up on a red, puffy couch. I stumbled slightly, tipping over my cup of Firewhiskey.
Several hoots of approval and a ‘You go, Rosie!’
‘Someone get me another cup of Firewhiskey!’ I screamed loud enough to startle Albus, who was sleeping curled up in front of the fireplace. Too close. His left sleeve was on fire.
‘Whoa.’ I started laughing. ‘Albie... you’re on fai-yer. Bloody fire. Wait... fire can’t be bloody. Or can it?’ I started wondering out loud, giggling incessantly.
‘I think maybe you had a couple too many drinks, Rosie.’ James said.
‘You have seventeen arms.’ I told him a matter-of-factly.
The Common Room was still crowded with people. About a hundred and fifty, maybe. Most of them were completely blacked out, lying sprawled on the floor with footprint marks on their backs.
So this was what it felt like to be drunk.
‘I’m drunk.’ I announced, sounding surprised.
‘You’ve just realized that?’ someone walked over, tugging me down. I peered closely at the person, squinting my eyes. ‘Who are you?’ I slurred.
‘Jack.’ The person rolled his eyes expressively.
‘I don’t know any Jacks.’ I tugged myself away. ‘Go away, please.’ I started dancing on the couch. Yes, dancing. I don't dance. I really don't. My arms flailed, my hips jerked awkwardly from side to side and for some reason I kicked my leg up high, letting out a 'Hi--yah!'
I suddenly had an idea. A really good idea.
‘Hey! Hey, everyone! Wankers and pricks, look over here!’ everyone looked over. Those that weren’t too inebriated to turn their own heads, that is. I started giggling again. ‘Haha... you guys turned around when I said Wankers and Pricks... so that means... haha... you’re all wankers and pricks...’
I got the feeling most of them weren’t too amused.
‘I have something to say!’ I said, ecstatic. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? This was a brilliant idea!
‘I’m going to ride a broomstick to prove to ya’ll—’ when exactly did I start talking with a Texan accent? ‘—that I’m not afraid of broomsticks! I’ll ride! I’ll ride...’ my voice faded.
‘Are you serious?’ James bounded over, eyes bright and gleaming. Why didn’t all this Firewhiskey have any effect on him? ‘You’re swearing, right? Swear! We’ve got about—’ James did a quick headcount. ‘—a hundred eye witnesses here. You really swear to it, Rose Weasley?’
‘Duh.’ I attempted to roll my eyes, but I think my eyeballs got stuck. ‘I swear!’ I held my arms aloft and started singing in an extremely off-key tone. 'I'm a Gryffindor! I'm not afraid of anything!'
Several people cheered their assent, nodding their approval.
'I'm not going to let anyone crack any inane broomstick jokes at me, anymore!' I screeched, feeling better than I ever had in a long time.
‘You promise, yeah?’ James asked, clutching my arms rather painfully.
‘Ouch.’ I managed. 'Of course I do, you sexy leprechaun. Why on earth would I say something I didn't mean?'
‘Yay.’ James grinned, and keeled over without a warning. Not even a change in his expression. Guess he was more drunk than he let on.
‘I’m going to ride a broomstick tomorrow!’ I declared again.
'Good for you.' someone shouted.
'You'd better keep your word.' a tipsy Verity Burbage mumbled, passing by.
‘Hey, someone put Albus out.’ I pointed. His hair was now on fire.
My vision swam. 'Right, I'm off like a bride's nightie...' I mumbled, already thinking of my nice, soft bed waiting for me in my dorm.
‘Ooh...’ all of a sudden, I felt pretty terrible. Bleargh. ‘Argh....’
I passed out cold.
Author's Note: Okay, I really, really, really hope Rose wasn't too OOC here. I dunno. Liquor makes people do funny things, though :D I do realize it's a little overboard, but yeah :D I'd love to hear (read?) your thoughts!!
Oh, and the new skin looks AMAZING. The first time I saw it I kept refreshing the page to see the header change characters :D My fave (so far) is the Fred/George/Ginny/Ron and the one where Harry is turned around and you can see the word POTTER in red across his Quidditch robes. Really cool stuff. Hats off to bittersweetflames!
Oh, and Scorpius is COMING VERY SOON. VERY VERY VERY SOON.
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