Chapter 1 : Dares
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^ Olivia Grey ^
I have problems.
Not in the totally-incapable-of-anything-useless way, but in the way that anyone does. Apart from Lily. Lily has no problems at all, because she is perfection incarnate. But less of her.
My problems are as follows:
1. I’m currently sitting in a bath, removing all the hair from the lower half of my body, and I really do mean all of the hair, with a Muggle cream.
2. Said Muggle cream stinks.
3. It’s all Livi’s fault, because she dared me.
4. I can’t seem to refuse a dare.
5. Even if it makes me blush.
6. I hate my blushes.
7. I also hate my hair.
8. It’s so bushy! Thank God I looked up a straightening spell, as soon as I get into Hogwarts I won’t have to look like a bog-brush.
9. Everybody seems to want to embarrass me. Especially Scorp. This brings us nicely onto my biggest problem...
10. Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.
It’s two o’clock on a Sunday, exactly eight days until I’m safely in Gryffindor tower, in my nice canopy bed, near Scorpius.
And that’s a problem, as well.
I love Scorpius Malfoy. Did you hear me? I love him. And this is a problem, because he doesn’t love me back. Unrequited love, it’s called. If he even notices me, he generally humiliates me in some way. Then I blush, feel stupid, and then stupider when I remember how unattractive my blush is. Which makes me blush just that stupid little bit more.
The radio is burbling away happily, playing a muggle song that is ‘clearly a witch in hiding’. It’s a magical radio, unlike downstairs. Mum says we should be half muggle, like Nana and Granddad Granger.
Why? I wanna be able to take the hair off of my legs and—
“Rose, are you still in there? I think it’s only supposed to be on for five minutes.”
Ooh, it’s Livi. Short for Olivia Hampton-Grey. What was it she just said?
“Rose, seriously. Get that stuff off or you’ll regret it tomorrow!”
Ooh, it’s all smoothly smooth smooth down there! I wonder what Livi meant? ‘Regret it tomorrow’? Like she said about that skirt? I never regretted that, it was ugly.
Should I introduce myself?
My name is Rose, Rose Nymphadora Weasley. Daughter of Ronald and Hermione Weasley, although I’m sure I’m adopted. I can sing, they can’t. So how can I sing? Where does it come from?!
I go to Hogwarts, possibly the best school in the world, but of course it is, Scorpius is in it! Mmmn, Scorpius. He’s just so damn pretty, with his blonde waves and grey-blue eyes...
Ah, crap. There I go again.
Standing up swiftly, I turn the shower on, blasting the last of the foul-smelling gunk down the drain.
So long, sucker! “For Christ’s sake Rose, I’ll break this door down! I mean it! Get your arse out here!”
“Coming, coming!” I call back to Livi. She’s so impatient.
“Guys, I don’t think these dares were a good idea,” Albus yells from his bedroom, “I don’t know when it’ll grow back, and it says here it can be painful!”
“Painful, smainful,” announces Livi, “It’s a dare, and we all know about Rose and dares.”
“Well if she wasn’t trying to prove herself to everyone constantly—“
“I can hear you guys, you know!” I call.
Yes, I thought that would shut you up.
I dress quickly, pulling my clothes over my smooth legs. My pants feel strange sitting over bare skin.
“Livi, this feels weird!” I step out of the bathroom, scowling.
Livi rolls her eyes. “So? My turn for a dare!”
“I know!” I jump in, before Albus can think of something boring, as ever. He has a problem with not being ‘dangerous’, or fun. “Climb the big pine tree and hang your pants from the top branch!”
So, Livi and I have a thing about message pants. Y’know, like pants with words written on them. Our favourites are currently Paws Off! And Wish you were here...
So pants it is. Livi smirks, and begins to descend the stairs.
“Which ones, Flower?” she calls, using her pet name for me.
“The I like danger ones!” I reply, and Albus lets out a shaky laugh.
“Can I get them down afterwards?”
“So,” Al cuts in, “Where’s Hugo?”
I smirk evilly. Albus blanches and takes a step back.
“Christ, what have you done this time?” he breaths. I burst out laughing.
“Nothing! He’s with Charlie the freak.”
Charlie the Freak is a freak. Original naming, I know. She – yes, she – has neon-pink hair, snake-bite lip piercings and thinks Voldemort was a heavy-metal rocker. No, seriously, that is her theory. Mum hates Charlie, because of this theory. Charlie is willing to let old Volly off killing thousands of people – because she thinks he liked heavy metal.
Albus curls his lip up, sneering. No-one thinks Al can be scary, but when he sneers his face changes so much. It goes from kindly, nice guy to EVIL.
“How can he?” he sneers, “She’s such a deluded idiot.”
I sigh, “I don’t know, Al. He says she needs friends to bring her through a rough patch.”
“She needs psychiatric help.”
“Guys, are you going to stop bitching and watch me or what?” Livi is twirling her pants around her finger, watching us.
“Right. Yeah, coming,” I say, dragging Albus behind me into our garden. It’s a huge stretch of land, a few acres, and at the bottom of the garden a thick ring of trees blocks the Quidditch rings from view.
The largest of these trees is a magically modified pine, which smells like Christmas and clean. I love it. It’s easy to climb, and once mum found out I had a head for heights she put a protection on it. She found this out because I might have fallen. It was just my luck – the one time I fell was showing off to mum.
Livi is bouncing around the trunk, sniffing it delicately. It’s common knowledge she and I would sniff this tree until the cows came home – and then we’d yell at the cows until they went away again. That’s a Muggle phrase, by the way. Did I mention we’re half muggle?
“Five, four, three, two, one!” I count down, watching as Livi begins to bounce up the branches, pants clutched between her teeth.
“Oi!” I can hear someone yelling. I turn around, and on closer inspection it’s Fred, trailing Roxanne and James behind him. “Don’t play dares without us!”
“You snooze, you lose,” remarks Albus, his eyes fixed on Livi as she jumps a rotten bough.
“We just arrived! That’s not fair!” Roxy protests, flicking her braided hair behind her. She’s a pretty one, Roxy. She has skin like milk chocolate, hair that is dark brown with streaks of red, and eyes that dance. It’s unfair, what life gives you. I glance down at my milky skin and tug at my frizzy scarlet hair.
Oh, now I look bad. As if having Livi around wasn’t bad enough.
“So?” I retort, and am about to say more but Al interrupts me.
“Look!” He points, and I look up to see Livi attaching her pants to the tree. They blow in the wind. She takes a bow, and begins to swing down the tree.
“Do those say what I think they do?” James says quietly. That’s quite strange for James. He has a crush bigger than a dragon on Livi.
“What do you think they say?” I reply, still watching Livi.
“Uh... I love danger.”
“Yep. Do you like them? They’re her pulling pants.”
“Her what?” Fred laughs, “Not sweet Olivia? Surely you’re mistaken?”
“Nope,” I say, as Livi does a neat front flip out of the tree, landing cat-like on the turf.
“When we went clubbing –“
“You did what without inviting me? Do I get to go anywhere?” James complains.
“You’re embarrassing,” Roxy points out.
“I second that!” announces Livi, jogging over, “How did I do?”
“Great. How am I embarrassing?” James pokes a finger at me. I flick it away.
“There was the time you ran around in your pants, through the Great Hall no less—“
“The time you came down to see me wearing your ‘Label the sexy’ t-shirt and asked me to sign your bum—“
“The time you went commando and mooned somebody because you ‘forgot’—“
“Okay, enough! I get it! But those were all just mistakes!”
I laugh, and Fred joins in, throwing back his head.
“What about the time—“
“No! I don’t want to hear it!”
I freeze, as does everyone else. It’s Charlie the Freak. I glare past her at Hugo, who has at least the goodness to be embarrassed.
“On this day, I’d like to ask Voldemorts forgiveness from you, Olivia, for being against people like you, namely muggle-borns.”
Oh. My. God.
“How stupid are you?” I blurt out, “Voldemort was against people like you as well! Stop trying to forgive him, he killed my uncle, bitch!”
Freak turns to glare at me. “Some people obviously have too much space taken up by pig-headedness to use forgiveness,” she says staunchly. I glare back. After a few seconds of glaring, I’ve made my decision.
“Get out!” I yell, “And don’t come back until you have respect for the dead!” Freak juts her chin into the air, and marches off. Albus huffs behind me.
“I don’t know why you talk to her, Hugo!” he spat, “She’s such a...a...”
“Bitch?” offers Roxy, and Al nods.
“Guys, be nice!” Hugo pleads, “She’s just a bit confused.”
I snort. “She’s ridiculous. And Hugo, for being late, I dare you to go and fetch Livi’s knickers.”
“Alright. Where are they?” he asks, and I point up the tree. He visibly pales. “Fine, I’ll do it.”
Like me, Hugo can’t refuse a dare. I blame it on Dad’s stubbornness and Mum’s determined state of mind.
As he climbs the tree, slower and more timidly than Livi, I lie down and sunbathe. This dare will take bloody ages, and it’s boring to watch him test seven different branches before going with the first one he tried.
One by one, everyone else joins me. Roxy with her hair splayed around her face, Fred with his shock of red hair clashing with the green grass, James with his inky, messy mane that has been described as ‘sex hair’ and was voted Best Hair: Male for five consecutive years in the school paper. I’ve only ever been voted Smartest Pupil: Witch, which is as bad as having a sign that says NERD over my head. Then there is Livi, her raven hair as dark as James’, although down to her waist and silky smooth, Albus and his slightly more tamed hair, and finally me, checking out my nails.
Hearing a strangled yelp, I looked up to see Hugo falling, the pants grasped in his hand. He sets off the protection spell, slowing down his fall and letting him land safely on his feet.
“Hooray!” I jump up onto my feet, grabbing the pants and handing them to Livi.
“My go, my go!” calls James.
“Roxy’s go,” I announce.
This was going to be a good day.
Itchy, itchy pain.
I groan, wondering what could’ve made my skin so enflamed down there... Then I remember.
“Livi!” I throw a pillow her way, stumbling to the bathroom to get some Essence of Murtlap to slather on it. “Ow, ow damn it ouch!”
Seven days until I see Scorpius again.
Hmmn, that makes it better. That and the cream.
“Rose, what’s the time?” calls Livi.
“About twelve,” I reply, as mum calls something. “What was that mum?”
“I said, your booklists have arrived!”
“Livi, we’re going shopping!” I go back into my bedroom, where Livi is crawling out of her pop-up bed.
“Ugh,” she says wisely.
“Food... breakfast? Hungry.”
Livi is not a morning person. It’s quite surprising she managed to get all those words out at once, actually.
“Yeah, breakfast will be downstairs,” I reply, knowing that she meant ‘Is there food on the table, or have we missed breakfast? I’m hungry.’
She grunts in response, stumbling downstairs. I follow her, touting my good-morning vibe. Technically afternoon, but who gives a damn? It’s morning to us.
Mum is reading the paper at the table, and flicks her wand to make bacon and toast come sailing our way. We eat like pigs – ha-ha, eating like pigs eating pigs – and then bounce back upstairs, ready to shop.
Well, I am. Livi’s collapsed on the floor.