Chapter 6 : I Finally Go Off The Deep End
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Hospital Wing (haha)
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so horrible in my life.
Wait, this feels familiar. Have I woken up like this before?
I paused, thinking groggily.
Right, just this morning.
This feels eons worse, though. What in the name of Voldemort’s saggy, old bollocks happened to me? I’m getting a first-rate case of déjà vu here. And this state of pain and unbearable torture isn’t really what I want to go through again. The thick fog in my mind cleared and I began to hear indistinct mumbling from somewhere above me.
‘… nearly forty feet…’
‘…must’ve broken every bone in her body…’
‘… bloody crazy… if she was that bad why’d she promise us she’d fly…?’
‘… forced into it, remember?’
I shut my eyes and tell them shut up shut up shut up. My hangover headache, having no chance to properly recover, has quadrupled itself in size. I feel like all four of my limbs have been chopped off.
Have they been chopped off?
Bollocks. I’m a cripple now, aren’t I? I knew it. I’ll have to sit in a wheelchair all day, having Elisha copy down all my notes for me. I won’t be able to sit for exams now. I suppose I’ll have to learn how to write with my mouth—
Then my eyes snapped open and I saw all ten toes wiggling at me cheerfully from under white bedcovers. Actually, these bedcovers are a little too tight. I feel like I’ve been strapped down to a bed, as opposed to being gently tucked in.
‘Wait – she’s awake!’
‘Thank Merlin you’re alright—’
There was a throng of people all crowded around my bed all sardine-like, most of which with expressions of concern on their faces.
‘Eh?’ is all I say. My voice is akin to the sound of rocks being grated. My voicebox must be shattered into a million pieces. ‘Where am I?’
‘—fell off a broom—’
‘—had to drink gallons of Skele-Gro—’
‘—broke a few ribs—’
I broke ribs?
‘Hold on.’ I attempted to pull myself up. About five people screamed in outrage and pushed me back down. I felt vaguely violated.
‘You’re not supposed to move to make sure your bones grow back properly.’ Elisha, standing to my immediate right, said reprovingly. ‘Rose, d’you remember anything?’
‘Er – no, not really.’ I screwed up my eyes and reached deep into the cavernous depths of my highly intelligent mind that was currently devoid of any recent memories.
‘Oh Merlin, she’s an amnesiac!’ Dom, on the direct opposite of me, flapped her arms and wailed.
‘Madam Pomfrey said this’d happen!’ Fred fretted, visibly upset.
‘Shouldn’t have pushed her into it.’ Hugo had a really, really pale face. ‘Rose, I’m so sorry.’
‘That’s quite alright.’ I replied. ‘What’re you apologizing for, exactly?’
‘She can’t remember anything.’ Dom was near hysterical now. ‘Rose, Rose, do you remember my name? Any of us?’
‘Course I do.’ I pointed at Dominique. ‘She’s Deepak Rai and she’s well versed in the arts of Buddhist meditation. Just kidding.’ I reassured them hastily, when most of them started hyperventilating. ‘I remember exactly who you lot are. Now, will someone please tell me what’s going on? And why am I in the Hospital Wing?’ I only just noticed the whitewashed, clinical walls and foul-smelling pillows.
‘You remember… riding a broomstick?’ James began tentatively.
‘And… swerving about in mid-air right after you took off?’
‘Said broom going barmy and shooting up forty feet into the air?’
‘And – er – you slipping off the broom and tumbling down?’
‘Well? What do you think?’ Elisha prompted.
‘I was thinking something along the lines of: THESE PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR FUCKING MARBLES but whatever.’ I admitted. ‘I don’t ride broomsticks, remember?’
‘See, there’s a rather interesting story behind that…’ Fred Weasley laughed nervously.
‘Okay, let’s see if this’ll jog your memory.’ Hugo rubbed his scrawny chin. ‘Firewhiskey. Drunken promises. Hangover. Quidditch pitch—’
Everything came barreling back like a Bludger being slammed into my head. ‘Oh. I – oh.’
‘Yeah.’ Albus looked properly ashamed of himself. His black hair was in an absolute mess. ‘You were out for a day.’
A day. Twenty-four hours. I could feel my blood pressure spiraling. I sense another heart attack coming on. It’ll be a miracle if I manage to catch up, now.
Elisha, noting the apparent expression of alarm on my face, quickly reassured me, ‘Oh, don’t worry about your homework – all the teachers have excused you. You don’t have to do it.’
‘But I want to!’ I wailed, punching at my sheets. ‘Do you have any idea how much this’ll set me back?’
Everyone stared at me as though I’d just stripped naked and started gyrating on my hospital bed. ‘You want to do your homework?’ James repeated faintly.
‘Well, this is the daughter of Aunt Hermione here.’ Dominique reasoned, looking a little freaked out herself.
‘Hey!’ Hugo protested indignantly, remembering that he, too, was a spawn of Hermione Granger.
‘So… it’s Saturday now?’ I blubbered, trying to keep everything together.
‘Sunday morning.’ Dobby corrected. ‘Madam Pomfrey told us all to come down here when you started showing signs of consciousness.’
‘Perfect.’ I sighed, looking up at the ceiling. ‘This is embarrassing. Everyone saw me fall?’
‘Yeah… just about.’
‘We’re really sorry.’ Hugo bowed his head. ‘I mean, it was all my fault, wasn’t it?’
‘Don’t be silly.’ I said, resting my head against my pillow.
We were silent for a bit. I was busy contemplating. Then, I got an idea. And it was going to be a good one, considering I wasn’t inebriated.
‘James.’ I started. James looked up quizzically. ‘James, I want you to teach me Quidditch.’
This resulted in several fits of laughter and a few shouts of horror.
‘Rose, have you lost it?’ James gasped. ‘You aren’t seriously asking me to teach you Quidditch after – well – this happened, are you?’
‘What’s wrong with it?’ I snapped, irritated. ‘I want to learn Quidditch, I’m sick and tired of having to invent excuses and whatnot when faced with a broomstick.’
‘Rose, you spent this last week trying to avoid broomsticks and now you’re willingly going to approach them?’ Dominique said dubiously. ‘Sorry, but this isn’t one of your better ideas.’
‘Rose, that is just pure craziness.’ Elisha was shocked. ‘I think that crash must’ve addled your brain.’
‘I want you to teach me how to play Quidditch.’ I was adamant.
James shook his raven-haired head sadly. ‘I’m going to have to say no to this one, Rosie.’
‘Fine.’ I turned to Albus. He was just as good, wasn’t he? ‘You play Seeker, right?’
Albus’s eyes widened. ‘Erm – uh – I don’t—’
‘Freddie?’ I persisted. He backed away a little. ‘I don’t think so.’ He said quietly.
‘Well, who else here knows how to play Quidditch?’ I was beginning to get frustrated. ‘Dobby?’
Dobby snorted. He’s only a little bit better than me when it comes to balance. ‘You’re asking the wrong bloke, Rosie.’
‘Argh. I hate you lot.’ I groaned, put out. ‘When am I going to be able to get out?’
Right on cue, the extremely old and withery Madam Pomfrey bustled over, shooing everyone out of the way. ‘Didn’t I just say five visitors only?’ she snapped, pushing everyone out of the way with her generous backside.
‘Well, several of us are conjoined so…’ Fred said.
‘Cheek!’ Madam Pomfrey directed them all away. ‘Rosette over here—’
‘Rose.’ I corrected.
‘—Rose over here won’t be able to recover properly if you’re all invading her personal space.’ Pomfrey said boisterously.
‘I feel fine, honest.’ I insisted.
Madam Pomfrey eventually let me out of the Hospital Wing, but not without reminding me thirty one times not to over-exert myself over the next few weeks. Everyone’s been treating me like some poor invalid; I can’t walk down the stairs without one of my many cousins rushing over to help me down. ‘Your bones aren’t strong enough yet.’ Iris insisted as she made sure I didn’t stumble or fall. The teachers are infinitesimally worse; whenever I try to pick up a quill they, quite literally, snatch it out of my sure grip and firmly tell me I need some rest. I mean – seriously – all I did was break a few bones, it’s not like I’m popping my clogs next month, or something.
I haven’t given up quite yet on my Learning Quidditch thing. I know it might seem a little batty, but it just made sense. Since I’m so frightful at Quidditch, it seemed to logical to learn how to play. I might not turn out to be very good at it but I’d be happy just to be able to stay on a broomstick without getting thrown off.
Oh, I’ve tried asking people to coach me, but my ill-advised cousins are surprisingly obstinate in their unwillingness to allow me to partake in the wonderful sport they call Quidditch. James has ordered all his teammates to say NO if I ever approach them. And I’ve endeavored plenty of times, trust me. Lucy Thomas almost broke down and cried when I cornered her and pleaded on my knees. Stupid bint - she went all hysterical and told me she absolutely couldn’t – James had threatened immediate team expulsion if anyone in Gryffindor’s Quidditch team caved in. I stood up, scraped the slimy grime off my knees and stalked off, pretending I didn’t think James was a sort of genius.
I’ve tried the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw team, too, but after they heard of my accident on Friday, no one wanted to. I dare say it was because they’d have to face James colossal wrath if they did.
Stupid James. Little did he know I was going to find a way around him, somehow.
I just didn’t know how, yet.
Gryffindor Common Room
‘…and that… is… why… asphodel and fluxweed… should… not… be… applied… too… liberally… on decapitation wounds…’ I muttered fanatically, scrawling frantically on my parchment. ‘Phew.’ I leaned back on my chair, feeling a shaky sort of relief.
‘You finally done with that Potions essay?’ Elisha called from her comfy seat in front of the fireplace. It’s the most popular seat in the common room, and Elisha had to terrify a poor second-year to get it.
‘Affirmative.’ I said jauntily, slapping shut One Thousand and One Magical Herbs and Fungi. ‘What time is it?’ I hurried smoothened down my crazy hair.
‘Heh heh heh.’ Elisha shot me another one of her trademark sly looks, the sort she gives you when she knows exactly what you’re thinking. ‘Prefect duties, eh?’
I blushed. ‘Yeah. What about it?’ I raised my chin.
‘Nothing.’ Elisha slipped further down in her sofa. ‘Just thinking about a certain Aaron Eckenhart.’
I turned a violent shade of red. I find it ironic that redheads are the ones who blush the most, since red and red clash horribly.
Right, I should probably explain the Aaron Eckenhart thing – he’s a seventh year, he’s the Head Boy, and I’ve had a gigantic, school girly, pathetic crush on him since – oh, I dunno – third year. He’s absolutely dreamy, with his luscious brown hair that looks really crisp, green-flecked-with-hazel eyes and semi-muscular physique (he used to play Quidditch for his house, Ravenclaw, too, but he’s stopped because he wants to concentrate on his NEWTS this year – he’s taking about fifteen of them). Aaron Eckenhart is also the top in his form. Is it any mystery why I like him? I mean, he’s perfect. Completely and utterly flawless. He also has a girlfriend I – needless to say – abhor. She’s a sixth year Gryffindor. Enid Gowshawk.
I gave Elisha a caustic glare before walking off. It’s my turn to patrol the corridors tonight and if I’m lucky enough (doubtful – things rarely ever go the way I want them to, as you may have figured out by now) I might run into Aaron Eckenhart, doing his rounds.
I waited by the third-floor staircase for my patrolling partner, Algie McKinnon. He came running up to me five minutes later, huffing his apologies. I despise Algie McKinnon. He’s very… clingy. Plus, he was this annoying habit of trying to finish my sentences before I finish them, thinking he knows exactly what I’m going to say. He also gets them wrong most of the time. I’d like to finish my own sentences, thank you very much.
‘Sorry I’m late.’ He breathed heavily. ‘Let’s go now, shall we?’
I gave him a curt nod, and we silently went off. Patrolling duties are normally as boring as fuck, but if I get to see even a tiny glimpse of Aaron Eckenhart tonight I’ll be happy for the rest of the week. And if he talks to me… well, you know where to find me. Cloud nine, of course.
‘You seem quiet tonight.’ Algie observed in his nasally voice as we strolled down another flight of staircases, looking in shadowy corners for any snogging couples (you won’t believe how many I’ve found. And to think I’ve only been Prefect for about two weeks).
‘Yeah, well, I’ve got a lot on my mind. Namely—’
‘Homework that seems to be piling up lately.’ Algie added in helpfully. Not.
‘—that broomstick incident I’m sure you’ve heard about.’ I shot him an exasperated glare, but he didn’t seem to notice.
‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard about it.’ Algie muttered as we turned a corner. ‘Sorry about the broken bones.’
‘Yeah, well, they’ve healed nicely enough.’ I gave my leg an experimental tweak. ‘Though—’
‘Your arms are still sore.’ Algie finished triumphantly, as though he’s won the lottery.
‘Er, I meant to say that I still have gigantic bruises all over my body.’ I sighed. ‘Close, though.’ I humored him. ‘Hey, do you play Quidditch?’
Algie shrank away. I deduced he’s been told that James will annihilate anyone who approaches me with a broom. ‘Er – well – not really good at it—’ he muttered evasively. ‘Come on, let’s check in the empty classrooms.’
We do so in silence. There’s no one hiding in the empty classrooms this time. ‘Creepy, isn’t it?’ Algie murmured as we passed by the fifth-floor toilets and unused dormitories. ‘The castle seems so empty at night.’
Algie tells me this every time we have patrol duties together so I nodded dutifully, not really listening. Just when I thought this was going to be just about the most boring patrol I’d ever been on, we heard a few scuffles down the end of a very long, dark corridor. Algie and I paused in our tracks, ears wiggling.
‘What was that?’ Algie asked nervously, trying to step behind me shiftily.
‘Let’s go check.’ I rolled my eyes discreetly and set foot down the dark corridor, actually feeling a little excited. Probably just a few rats, though. Nothing to fear.
‘Why?’ Algie squeaked.
‘Because it’s our responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Hogwart’s students.’ I told him, tugging on his somewhat sweaty hand as I hurried along the dark corridor. Merlin, it’s creepy. Our footsteps echoed noisily, and the scuffling noise increased in volume. I increased my pace.
‘Argh!’ Algie screamed, as we neared the end of the corridor.
But it was only Scorpius Malfoy and Jemima Hopkirk (both fellow Prefects) doing their rounds, too.
‘Eh?’ Malfoy took in Algie’s flushed, nervous state and twigged. ‘Ah.’
‘Weasley. McKinnon.’ Jemima nodded her acknowledgment.
I sighed, disappointed. Nothing exciting here. ‘Hello. You finished with your rounds?’ I directed my question at Jemima Hopkirk. She nodded again; ‘Nearly done. Nothing relevant to report.’ She sighed. ‘I hate patrolling, don’t you?’
We struck up a mildly friendly conversation as we walked back to our respective houses. Algie, still jumpy, sped in front, eager to get back to the safe confines of his dormitory. Jemima and I were somewhere in the middle, while Malfoy lurked behind. I couldn’t really concentrate on the conversation we were having, though – I kept trying to think of other ways to get someone to teach me how to play Quidditch. I don’t think Jemima would be very good, and I’d sooner ask a rabid Dementor to teach me Quidditch than enlist the help of little Algie.
‘Alright, ta.’ Jemima waved cheerily as she climbed up a tower to her common room (Ravenclaw). Which, of course, leaves Malfoy and I. We’re not exactly the best of friends, us both, so I tried to walk as quickly as I could without seeming as though I was trying to run away. Apparently I wasn’t so subtle because Malfoy said, ‘Are you running away from me?’ just as I was about to disappear behind a corner.
I slowed down. ‘Er – no.’
‘Really.’ He said dryly. ‘How convincing.’
‘I really wasn’t.’ I insisted, looking back. ‘I’m just - in a hurry. Unfinished homework, and all that.’
His flaxen hair gleamed in the dim light (I don’t know how that’s possible, either) and even from all the way over here I could see his grayish eyes. Grayish? Huh. Never noticed that, before. ‘Of course.’ He quipped, deadpanned.
Before I could come up with what would’ve inevitably been a witty and cutting reply, Aaron Eckenhart in all his manly glory showed up, striding casually down a corridor. ‘Rose! Malfoy!’ he said, surprised. I, of course, was struck dumb. I am hopeless when it comes too anything that involves Aaron Eckenhart.
‘Hello.’ Malfoy dipped his head.
‘H-Hello.’ I squeaked. Malfoy shot me a puzzled look.
‘Still patrolling? You lot should be back in your dorms by now.’ Aaron said in that deliciously gruff voice of his. A lock of shiny hair seemed to have fallen in front of his mesmerizing eyes, and I fantasized dreamily of what it would be like to be the one to brush said lock of hair away.
Aaron walked over, his masculine physique towering over me. I was surprised to see Malfoy could just about hold his own beside Aaron, though I think Aaron might’ve been just a smidgen bit more fit. Maybe it’s just me.
‘We’re almost finishing up.’ Malfoy replied, flicking his too long, downy fringe out of the way.
I remained silent, trying not to gape too much. Merlin, he’s truly perfection. Malfoy shot me another one of those puzzled looks, apparently wondering why I’d suddenly lost my ability to speak.
‘Well, you two had better get going.’ Aaron said. ‘Prefect’s Meeting first thing tomorrow, yeah?’
‘Alright.’ Malfoy glanced at me again. I tore my adoring eyes away from Aaron Eckenhart’s broad jaw and the slight stubble scattered over it and found myself almost cowering behind Malfoy’s back.
‘Er.’ Aaron looked politely bewildered at my behavior. ‘Well, good night.’
I let out a dizzy breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding when the Aaron’s robes disappeared out of view. ‘Graghrh.’ I said incoherently.
‘What’s the matter with you?’
‘Eh?’ I said, dazed.
‘You’re acting very weirdly.’ Malfoy stated, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
‘Your cheeks are completely red, you stuttered when Aaron…’ Malfoy trailed off. ‘You fancy him, don’t you?’
‘I don’t! That’s utter codswallop.’ I said as pompously as I could, in true Uncle Percy fashion.
Instead of laughing and taunting me like I’d expected him to, he fixed me with an inscrutable look. ‘Aaron Eckenhart?’ he sounded a little weird.
‘Look, it’s just a little, tiny crush, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t go running about telling everyone I kind of fancy him…’ I sighed, giving up all pretense.
‘I won’t, but… Aaron Eckenhart? Really?’
‘I know he’s completely out of my league.’ I flushed again, feeling completely mortified.
‘It’s not that. Eckenhart’s always seemed a bit of a… snob to me.’ Malfoy shrugged and started down the corridor, leaving me behind. I caught up, puffing in indignation.
‘Snobby? In what way?'
‘Er.’ Malfoy said vaguely, not looking at me in the eyes. ‘You know.’
We turned a corner, and he didn’t even bother to help me up when my stupid foot caught on the hem of my robes and I went sprawling. ‘Would you tell me?’ I said irritably.
‘What does it matter to you what I think, anyway?’ Malfoy said snidely. ‘Aaron’s the one you want, anyway.’
If it wasn’t Malfoy I’d think he’d have an enormous case of JEALOUS right now, but it’s Malfoy. I won’t lie – he’s got nearly all of the Slytherin girls chasing after him. And we don’t even know each other. And I’m a Weasley. I must be about as aesthetically pleasing to him as a month-old slab of haggis right now.
‘Urgh.’ I sniped instead. I stared venomously at his back, all tensed up. Then, I had another brilliant flash of inspiration (I seem to be having quite a lot of those lately) . ‘Hey… you’re good at Quidditch, aren’t you?’
He looked delicately confused. ‘Er – yeah. Keeper. What’s this got to do with anything?’
‘I have a favor to ask.’ I sucked in a breath.
His face remained carefully blank. ‘Right.’ He prompted. ‘And…?’
‘I need you to teach me how to play Quidditch.’
Yes, I might be going completely bonkers asking someone I don’t know very well to coach me but I was desperate. And a Slytherin, too. For all I know, he might curse my broomstick to fling me to the ground once I tried straddling it.
‘Quidditch.’ He repeated slowly, hands tucked gracefully in his robe pockets.
‘Yes.’ I said, a little impatiently. ‘I hear you’re quite good.’
‘Quite?’ he said disbelievingly. ‘Weasley, I’m the best Keeper Slytherin’s had in years.’
‘So, you’re perfect.’ I couldn’t see how I hadn’t thought of this earlier.
‘Yes, I am.’ Malfoy said, smirking a little now.
‘Argh. You know what I mean. So… will you?’
He thought for a while, shadows flickering over his perfectly symmetrical face. ‘Yes. Why not?’
Author’s Note: Yay! So, from here on out, Scorp’s going to be quite heavily involved in the story so this story will not be sorely lacking in Malfoy sexiness anymore! Yay! Please do review.
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