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Starving Artists by peppersweet
Chapter 16 : In Case of Emergency, Break Things
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Chapter Sixteen - In Case of Emergency, Break Things
(mugs, hearts, Albus...)

The little metaphorical ship in my chest was nothing compared to what I felt next. It was a tugboat – no, it was a tiny dinghy compared to my next deluge of woe. It felt like an entire navy of ships covered in spikes had turned up and started attacking my heart from all angles, taking care to fire missiles at the softer, squishier bits.

Ship analogies are appropriate in all walks of life.

There was a big, fat, frankly depressing fact in front of me, and that was that Operation Hippogriff had truly gone to plan after all, and the two people who had just disapparated from the end of the garden were Rose and Scorpius. And apparating together involves holding hands.

I was not happy. That being the understatement of the millennium.

In a bizarre twist of luck, Albus and Molly were the first on the scene. Not before I’d scared away the couple with my sudden downpour of tears, but thankfully before Uncle Ron led the rest of the party into the garden for fireworks. In another bizarre twist of luck, this meant that Molly and Al could lead me up the stairs and into Al’s bedroom in peace.

When I say lead, I mean that literally. I’d become the human personification of a wet tissue – soggy and falling apart into mushy bits. Soon enough, they had me sat on the end of Al’s bed, Molly awkwardly patting me on the shoulder. Al stood by the door, a safe distance away from his wet tissue of a cousin.

‘Take deep breaths,’ Molly said. ‘Think carefully.’

‘I can’t!’ I blubbered. Molly and Al exchanged a look, and then Al leaned out of the door and summoned something alcoholic.

‘I think there’s a question we both want answered,’ Al said. ‘And that question is…what?’

I didn’t respond. I was too busy trying to get drunk enough to forget my woes. Which, knowing me, would take more than one bottle of cheap Firewhisky.

‘I think what Albus means is-’

‘What the bloody hell?’ Al exploded. ‘Are you mad?’

‘I can’t help it!’ I exploded back at him, brandishing the empty bottle at him.

‘Will someone tell me what’s going on?’ Molly demanded.

‘Well-’ I began, but Al interrupted instantly, shoving the bottle back at me.

‘Lucy’s a daft idiot who’s convinced she’s in love with-’

‘I’m not daft!’

‘Shut it!’ Molly said, sticking out an arm between us. It was only then that I realised how, in a moment of blind, heartbroken rage, I was on my feet with my fist dangerously close to Al’s face.

‘Sit down,’ she ordered. ‘Stop crying. Drink up.’

‘I can’t,’ I sniffed. ‘Finished it all.’

She gave me a look of such abject disgust and disappointment that I sat down meekly, lip quivering.

‘We had this thing called Operation Hippogriff,’ Al explained tentatively. ‘See, we were trying to get Rose and Scorpius – oh, Lucy, don’t wail like that, you’ll frighten the neighbours – anyway, we were trying to get them back together again.’

‘What?’ Molly exclaimed. ‘She’s a psycho!’

‘Yeah, we know,’ Al sighed. ‘But she was always nicer when she was with him, wasn’t she? Oh, grow up, Lucy.’

I bundled my sleeve up into a fist and jammed it over my mouth to try and stop the blubbering. It didn’t exactly work; I just got a very soggy sleeve.

‘But your plan worked, didn’t it?’ Molly said. ‘They just disapparated-’

‘Yeah, I know, but the fly in the ointment is kind of that Lucy, well, Lucy is kind of…well, I think you can guess.’ Al dithered.

Molly looked blank. ‘Lucy’s kind of what?’

‘In love with Scorpius.’

As another fresh wave of miserable tears broke loose, I expected Molly to turn and give me a comforting, sympathetic pat on the back, or maybe even impart a few words of sisterly wisdom. But instead she wheeled around dramatically, mouth agape, and said, ‘Lucy, really? That loser?’

‘Really,’ Al told her.

Molly shook her head in disbelief. ‘Honestly, first Rose and now you – dunno what you see in him-’

‘What Molly’s trying to say,’ Al interrupted, ‘is that everything will be okay, let it be, and there are plenty more fish in the sea.’

Good old reliable Al with his dispensation of generic relationship advice. I meant to tell him this, but instead I threw back my head and bawled ‘but he is the only fish in my sea!’

Molly and Al exchanged another look.

‘You know,’ Molly said. ‘I wondered how he’d managed to get one girl, let alone two, but I really think Lucy is crazy enough for him.’

‘We’re in for the long run,’ Al said. ‘Accio Firewhisky.’

After another bottle had floated through the door and into my hands, Al came to sit beside me, the mattress sagging alarmingly. Balancing precariously on the edge, I concentrated all of my effort on draining approximately three-quarters of the new bottle in one go.

‘Cheer up,’ Al said brightly. ‘Scorpius would have been a terrible boyfriend anyway.’

I begged to differ.

‘How do you know?’ Molly asked.

‘Er,’ Al looked rather sheepish. ‘Just guessing. But, you know, if he’s Rose’s type, then that can’t exactly bode well. Plus, Lucy, think of the poetry he would have written!’

‘I would have loved a poem!’ I blubbered. ‘Poetry’s ace!’

Only half-true - I didn’t give a fig about the poetry.

‘Yeah, but, he’s got no sense of coordination, you’d be picking him up off the floor half the time. Remember that Quidditch match where he nearly died because he couldn’t keep his balance on the broom?’

‘I was in detention that day,’ I sniffed.

‘Lucky you,’ Al grumbled. ‘It wasn’t a pretty sight.’

‘And think of the dress sense,’ Molly piped up. ‘What’s up with the cardigan thing?’

‘He’s also quite insensitive,’ Al pitched in. ‘Given that he’s supposed to be an arty poet and all.’

‘Insensitive?’ I demanded. ‘How?’

‘Well, oblivious,’ Al corrected. ‘He’s off in Scorpiusland half the time. Always dithering off into corners, burying his head in the sand, running away from stuff-’

‘I don’t care!

‘Well…at least I tried,’ Al shrugged. ‘Can I have some of that Firewhisky?’

I grudgingly passed him the bottle.

‘It’ll pass, Lucy, you’ll get over it,’ Molly said. ‘You’re just drunk.’

‘I’m not drunk!’ I sobbed, overly conscious of the fact that my hair was all at funny angles and I was, in fact, slurring my words. ‘I’m just upset! I can’t believe he’d be so horrible!’

‘He probably didn’t realise,’ Molly said. ‘He didn’t know how you felt-’

‘Of course he knew!’ I cried, snatching the bottle back off of Al as if to emphasise my point. ‘I told him!’

‘You told him?’ Al said.

‘Yeah, and if the snogging wasn’t enough of a hint-’

‘Snogging? Since when?’ Molly demanded, turning a vicious glare on Al.

‘Hey, calm down,’ Al held up his hands. ‘I know nothing.’

The two of them turned to gaze at me in shock.

‘There was kind of a…a sort of…party last night,’ I explained in a tiny voice. Then, with a quivering lip and eyes brimming with tears, I told them the story of the drunken dancing and the ensuing kiss of life fandango.

‘Boy, you really do pick them,’ Molly said once I’d finished. ‘But, seriously, that was once and you were both drunk. You know what you’re like when you’re drunk. You do silly things. He probably thought it was nothing.’

‘Twice,’ I corrected her. ‘And he told me I was cute and charming and interesting and put a dandelion into my hair…then walked into a lamppost.’

‘Twice?’ Molly looked incredulous. ‘What, did you trip and accidentally smack your faces together or something?’

‘No…it was before we got here tonight,’ I admitted, ignoring Al, who was starting to look nothing short of horrified. ‘Right before Al turned up. We…y’know. Kissed. Al, as if the lipstick wasn’t enough of a giveaway-’

‘Kissed or snogged?’ Molly cut in. ‘There’s a clear difference.’

Thinking about it, there was a difference. During my sole awkward snog with Obscure Henry, my mind had been fixated on what I was having for tea that night and whether I needed to go out and buy some new toothpaste or not. Snogging Scorpius had left me with a rather blank mind and very wibbly legs.

Which, really, just shows that I only really cared about the latter.

‘Kissed, then,’ I said. ‘I felt sick.’

‘That’s generally not a good thing.’

‘No, I mean…you know, nervous. Wibbly. Wibbly’s really the only word.’

‘Wibbly?’ Al echoed.

Molly crossed her arms and sat back against the headboard. ‘Lucy, you’ve really got yourself a problem here. ‘Haven’t you been trying to drop Rose back into his life for the past few months? What’s he going to think? One minute you’re harping on about how great Rose is and how fantastic a couple they’ll make, the next you’re throwing yourself at him-’

‘I did not throw myself at him-’

Run into him, I don’t know! Lucy, I’m not daft. I was at school with you, you’ve done a lot of throwing yourself around in your time.’

‘I have not! And you’re one to talk-’

‘Hey,’ Al lurched forwards. ‘This isn’t about insulting each other.’

Molly and I fell silent; the conversation continued through the medium of meaningful glares.

‘Look, Lucy,’ Al sighed. ‘I’m sure Scorpius just misunderstood.’

‘Misunderstood?’ I said. ‘He’s supposed to be an arty poet, Al, he’s supposed to get matters of love. You know, my love is like a red red Rose - ’ I broke down wailing again. ‘Rose...’

‘I’m not going to lie,’ Al said patiently. ‘His history isn’t great.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, if you think about it, his parents split up when he was thirteen - have you met his parents? Anyone growing up with them isn’t exactly going to have a positive outlook on any sort of relationship. And his only girlfriend was a know-it-all psychotic neat freak who basically banned him from seeing his friends by the end. And I’m pretty sure he’s never been with anyone else, not like you and your…boys. Not to make excuses for him, Lucy, but…well, nobody’s perfect.’

‘Yeah, but, Al, really-’

‘I was his best mate for about seven years,’ Al said. ‘I think I know him well enough.’

‘I live with him!’ I blurted out. ‘I hang out with him all the time! We’re supposed to be best friends – sorry, Al, it’s true! Why would he risk messing up our friendship like that? It’s not like he’s a serial womaniser if he’s only ever snogged Rose-’

‘Well, snogging’s different,’ Al shrugged. ‘It doesn’t mean anything.’

‘This is the attitude I hate!’ I exploded, lifting the empty bottle so I could brandish it at him again. I thought that, if the whole art school thing went totally pear-shaped, then I’d still have the career option of neighbourhood drunk. But, you know. Funnier and less tragic. ‘It does mean something! You don’t just go around handing out snogs all over the place whenever you feel like it!’

‘Some people do,’ Al said, with a pointed glance at Molly, who turned a pale shade of pink.

‘You’ll be fine, Lucy,’ Molly said, ignoring Al’s last comment. ‘Just have a chat with him. Besides – you only saw them disapparate, right? Maybe they just went to talk somewhere quieter?’

I hadn’t thought of that. The idea gave me a certain degree of fresh hope until I remembered that side-along apparition involves hand-holding.

‘It’s useless,’ I said. ‘Rose doesn’t do…quiet talking. And she would have beat him up on the spot if she was angry.’

‘True,’ Al mused.

‘It’s useless,’ I repeated. ‘Absolutely useless. And, oh no,’ I dropped the bottle and put my head in my hands. ‘They’re coming on holiday with us.’

Molly and Al didn’t respond.

‘Useless,’ I continued to mutter into my hands. ‘Useless.’

‘Yep,’ Molly sighed, giving me a sympathetic pat on the back. ‘We all know what happened to Al. I wouldn’t recommend you try and chase Rose.’

‘Oh, Merlin, no,’ I moaned. ‘I like having…limbs, and fingers, and stuff. But what about Scorpius?’ I shot up. ‘What if- what if she-’

‘Beats him up? He’s had worse,’ Al said casually.

Worse? Worse than Rose?’

‘You should have seen some of our Quidditch accidents,’ he grinned. ‘They’d cheer anyone up.’

‘Come on,’ Molly gripped my arm. ‘Chin up, we’ll go back downstairs and enjoy the party – you never know, they might come back and it might be fine and dandy after all!’

How wrong could Molly be?

The two of them lead me out of Al’s room, politely ignoring my hiccupping, sniffy misery. At the top of the stairs Al turned and grinned at me.

‘It’ll all be fine, Lucy,’ he said. ‘We’ll have a fantastic time in Devon, I’m sure.’

He then turned and stuck his leg out, intending, I’m sure, to descend the stairs in an orderly, sensible manner. But instead his foot landed on thin air. Too late, he tried to pull his balance back – but then there was a strangled cry, a lot of thumping, a loud crash, and then Al wasn’t at the top of the stairs with us anymore.

Gingerly, Molly and I peered over the edge of the staircase.

‘Are legs…supposed to do that?’ Molly winced.

‘Are you alright?’ I called down to Al, who was moaning vaguely at the foot of the stairs. I took that to be a no.

‘Mum!’ Molly yelled, dashing down the stairs and hopping over Al’s barely stirring form. ‘Mum!

Molly disappeared off into the kitchen, yelling for help. Aware that my legs were shaking like a pair of vertical load-bearing jellies, I clambered down the stairs, taking care not to follow Al’s example in my slightly drunken state.

‘Al,’ I murmured, suppressing a fresh wave of mopey tears. ‘Al, are you okay?’

‘Argh,’ he arghed.

‘No? You’re not okay?’

‘My leg,’ he moaned. ‘My leg…

I got the feeling both he and Molly were about to eat their words.


It was horrific. It was like falling down a dark pit of angst with limbs windmilling, knowing that it was all my fault for sticking my stupid head over the edge in the first place. The blind optimism I’d basked in in the days leading up to the party vanished, and I suddenly felt very small and very stupid.

Karma was coming around to bite me in the backside in a big way.

Molly returned about five minutes later – by which point I was hopping around Al like a headless chicken, flapping my arms (I’d taken a leaf out of Scorpius’ book) and completely mystified about what to do. Following Molly were Uncle Harry, Aunt Ginny and James. The three of them stared at the scene before them with a mixture of shock and horror; I took a step backwards and pressed myself to the wall, trying not to look as drunk as I felt in front of my relatives.

In a matter of minutes, they’d figured out that Al had broken his leg. In another matter of minutes, they’d figured out that they had to somehow get him to St Mungo’s, but had also figured out that he wasn’t perhaps well enough for the Floo network, side-along apparition, nor a portkey. Even in my blibbering, drunk state, I took a moment to marvel at the fact that out of all the specifically magical methods of travel invented, not one of them could provide a comfortable or smooth journey.

Heads were scratched. Confused faces were pulled. Aunt Hermione was called in. The suggestion was made that, if Al couldn’t go to a Healer, a Healer could be brought to Al. Al moaned in pain on the floor and then reminded everyone that I’m a bloody Healer, remember?

Eventually, someone remembered the Knight Bus – and within ten minutes, we were hurtling down the M25, traffic jumping out of our way on either side. I sat and stared at my shoes, trying not to make eye contact with my Aunt and Uncle. I was only there on Al’s insistence that I come along because it was my fault I’d got him into the mess he was in.

Thankfully, the journey on the Knight Bus was as short as it was jolty and uncomfortable. Al was whisked away the moment we got to St Mungo’s, Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny following at a brisk trot, leaving James and I to sit in the waiting room like fools.

‘Yikes, you look like an Inferius,’ James said, once we were seated and clutching old copies of Witch Weekly. ‘Do you need a tissue?’

‘I’m fine,’ I said, blatantly contradicting the fat tears that were rolling down my face. ‘Completely fine.’

This was the biggest fib I’d told all year. I was not fine. I was the polar opposite of fine. I was light years away from fine. If fine was the sun, I was Pluto. Cold, small, miserable, and made of rock.

James evidently didn’t like to probe further. He put his feet up on the table and began to lazily flick through the copy of Witch Weekly, occasionally sniggering at an article or two. I followed suit, opening it at a random page and staring blankly at the words through bleary eyes.

No matter what Al and Molly had said, I knew that everything had gone wrong. I knew that Rose had apparated off with Scorpius because she wanted to attach herself to him, not because she wanted to beat him up. I knew that Scorpius wouldn’t say no to her, because he just doesn’t stick up for himself. I knew that, therefore, the two of them were probably back at her flat. I didn’t want to think about what they might be doing, although I sincerely hoped it involved nothing more than tea and biscuits.

I also had a nagging suspicion that Al breaking his leg the night before our holiday probably wasn’t a good thing. And that it was all probably my fault, because if I hadn’t broken down crying, Al never would have come upstairs…

This nagging suspicion was confirmed when my Uncle appeared in the waiting room and said-

‘He’s doing fine. It’s a bad break, though, they want to keep him in for a week.’

‘A week?’ I repeated, feeling numb. ‘A week?

We were supposed to be back from Devon in a week.

‘Yes, unfortunately,’ he said. ‘He’s quite upset he’ll miss your holiday. James, shall we nip back to the house? We can pick up some of Albus’ things and bring Lily back with us…oh, and, Lucy, I think Albus wants to speak to you.’

Still numb, I drifted into the ward where Al was tucked up in one of the beds, his leg swaddled in bandages and a large frown swaddling his face.

‘Hello, Al,’ I said, tentatively, wiping at my brimming eyes (even I admit that, at this point, the amount of crying I’d done was a bit extreme). ‘How are you feeling?’

‘Sublime,’ he spat. ‘Absolutely effing sublime.’

‘I’m sorry!’ I gabbled. ‘I really didn’t mean to get upset and ruin your evening and then make you fall down the stairs-’

‘Make me fall down the stairs? Oh, Lucy,’ Al groaned. ‘Unless you pushed me and then Obliviated me and Molly to remove the evidence, then it really wasn’t your fault.’

‘But – but – but-’ I sniffed. ‘You – you can’t come on our – hic – holiday!’

‘I know,’ he glowered.

‘We were g-going to play p – pinball!’

‘Pinball,’ he repeated, looking rather resigned. ‘That’s only the tip of the iceberg.’

‘Pear-shaped iceberg,’ I said, wiping my eyes again.

‘Pear-shaped iceberg?’ Al echoed. I ignored him, taking the empty seat beside his bed.

‘Mum went to see the Healers,’ he said. ‘I wanted to see if you were alright.’

‘If I was alright?’ I said. ‘It’s you we should be worried about!’

‘Lucy, it’s a broken leg,’ he rolled his eyes. ‘I can deal with it. I’m worried about you. The holiday.’

‘Well, obviously I’m not going now,’ I said, letting him in on the rash decision I’d made in the Waiting Room some ten minutes previously. ‘I don’t want to spend a week watching Miss Mardy Guts rubbing it in my face that she’s got Scorpius-’

‘That is if they’ve decided to make up,’ Al reminded me. ‘They might just have gone for a chat. A natter. A good old chinwag.’

‘No, no, no!’ I said. ‘Rose would-’

‘I know,’ Al said, patiently. ‘But you’ve got to have some hope.’

‘I don’t want to go anymore,’ I blubbered. ‘I don’t want to see either of them.’

‘You have to go,’ Al insisted. ‘I’m not even kidding.’

I looked up, thumbing fat tears out of my eyes. ‘Why?’

‘Call me mad,’ he said, slowly. ‘But I want you to go so you can steal him back.’

‘But – but-’ I stammered. ‘I thought you wanted Rose and Scorpius back together!’

‘Well, I’ve done some more thinking,’ he said. ‘And I’ve been thinking about what you’re like, and about what Rose is like, and, well…’


‘I think you’re better than Rose,’ he said. ‘Better for him, anyway.’


‘Thinking back to my seventh year,’ he said, looking quite misty-eyed. ‘The drama. Some things I should have noticed. She’s a nice girl, Lucy, don’t get me wrong, but only when she wants to be. And Scorpius…like I said, he’s off in Scorpiusland half the time. And while she’s kind of rotten, he’s so nice it should be illegal. He’s a doormat, and she likes that. She just likes stamping on him with her big self-righteous feet and then tromping in the mud and stomping some more. I’m not sure I want any more of that.’

It was the most honest, heartfelt thing I’d heard Al say in ages. Actually, more like the most honest, heartfelt thing I'd ever heard Al say ever and I wouldn’t have believed it was him if he hadn’t put down everyone else at the same time. He's not really the type for honest, heartfelt things.

‘You’re nothing like Rose,’ Al continued. ‘If Scorpius has to be with anybody, I’d want him to be with you. Don’t sit with your mouth open like that, you’ll catch flies.’

I quickly shut my mouth and simply stared at him.

‘I give you my blessing,’ Al said imperiously. ‘Go forth. Go forth and get him back.’

‘Erm, thanks,’ I said. ‘Uh, never…never seen this side of you before.’

‘I’ve had quite a lot of painkilling potion,’ Al said in that same imperious tone. ‘And my leg hurts like hell. If there’s anything that’s going to cheer me up, it’s going to be seeing my oldest friend and my favourite cousin happy.’

‘Favourite cousin?’ I repeated, slightly dumbstruck. ‘Thanks, Al. It’s…it’s mutual.’

At that moment, the rest of Al’s family re-entered the ward. I took that as my cue to leave, but, at the door, took Lily aside.

‘Did Rose come back? I asked her, hurriedly.

‘No,’ she said, looking puzzled. ‘I haven’t seen her at all.’

‘Thanks,’ I said, not feeling especially thankful.

It was close to one in the morning by the time I finally left St Mungo’s. I apparated into the cool darkness of the flat, feeling suddenly very weary, still not quite ready to believe that Al really wasn’t coming to Devon with us.

Still not quite ready to believe that Scorpius had gone off with Rose.

I wasn’t sure whether to be angry, upset, or worried – being all three at the same time just made me feel sick. Tired, and with my empty stomach churning, I curled up straight into my sleeping bag on the sofa. About ten minutes later, the front door clicked open; I nearly sat up, suddenly full of hope that it might be Scorpius. But I could tell instantly from the silhouette that it was Tarquin, returning from wherever he’d been. So I pretended to be asleep.

Tarquin inched towards the sofa and then paused, peering at me over the edge of the cushions. He seemed to be thinking. Then, he turned and walked towards his own bedroom, but not before he paused again. I knew he was looking at Scorpius’ bedroom door, trying to figure out whether he was in or not. Perhaps he thought we’d had a row. He didn’t try to wake me and ask, though, instead letting himself into his bedroom and shutting the door behind him with a soft click. Alone in the darkness, I stared out at the window and the orange-soaked sky beyond.

Angst was very much on the agenda.

I didn’t sleep much well at all. At seven I was already up with the kettle on, having decided that tea was the only thing that could truly get me through my angst. At eight o’clock, I was halfway through my second cuppa of the morning when there was a small popping sound from behind me and the sound of someone clutching onto a piano stool to stay upright – I instantly abandoned my tea and shot upwards, face-to-face with Scorpius at last.

‘Hi,’ he muttered.

‘Hi,’ I mumbled in return.

The rest of the conversation passed in little more than facial expressions. Scorpius obviously took in my swollen, tear-streaked face and crumpled clothes and decided not to ask, because a moment later he ran a hand through his hair and rocked back and forth on his feet, as if to pinpoint the awkwardness of the not-really-a-conversation.

But, then again, his grimace that seemed to say bloody hell, you look awful was a strange, non-verbal case of pot and kettle, because he looked about as weary and bedraggled as I did. I imagined that he hadn’t had much sleep either, if he’d had any.

He also evidently thought I’d been crying over him. Which was really only three-quarters true.

‘I’ve just come back from St Mungo’s,’ I said, adding a dramatic pause for effect. He gave me an incredulous look, as if to say what are you on about, they don’t treat hormonal screwed-up fools like you there. If only they did.

‘Al can’t come on holiday with us,’ I said. ‘He fell down the stairs and broke his leg pretty badly. Right after you left.’

Scorpius continued to give me that incredulous look, but eventually figured out that I wasn’t joking and started looking alarmed.

‘But he – won’t he-’

‘It was a bad break,’ I explained. ‘Mega bad.’

‘Mega bad?’

‘They’re keeping him in for a week.’

‘Oh. Ouch,’ Scorpius grimaced.

We’d only been pseudo-talking/shuffling awkwardly for a few minutes, but I was more than a little disappointed that, well…it was as if the previous week hadn’t even happened. For a split second, I wondered if Rose had Obliviated him.

‘Well,’ he said. ‘I was just on my way out-’

‘What? But you only just-’

‘I have some errands to run,’ he cut across, talking to my shoes so he didn’t have to look me in the eye. ‘You know, it’s funny you didn’t mention that Rose was coming on holiday with us too.’

He actually looked slightly angry. I didn’t know what to say, which is why I said ‘erk’ next.

He didn’t look amused.

‘I mean…shouldn’t we…talk?’ I said, feeling about this big.

‘Talk about what?’

Awkward/angry/not-amused Scorpius wasn’t something I thought I liked. My lip quivered. A single, fat tear broke free of my eye and then got stuck by the bridge of my nose, hanging there all obvious and tear-like. It was annoying me like hell and I really wanted to get rid of it, but I also wanted him to see how bloody upset I was.

Thing is, it was so irritating that my eye started to screw up a bit. So, after a minute or so of awkward silence, I was essentially staring up at him with one good eye and one crazy, flickering, watery eye.

He probably thought I’d gone mad. I couldn’t blame him.

‘I’ve got to go,’ he said. ‘I’m late.’

‘For what?’

‘I – er – have stuff to do.’


‘I’m meeting Rose,’ he said, a little grudgingly.

Abruptly, we turned from each other; he went to the door, and I…well, I just marched over to the other side of the sofa and then stood there looking like an idiot with nowhere to go. I felt so crushed and furious simultaneously that, for a moment, I was tempted to stalk Scorpius, and then jump out from behind a bush and challenge Rose to a duel. Which I would never win.

Which is why I let Scorpius go without another word. He might have said sorry before the door slammed shut, or it might just have been the hinges creaking – who knows? But, in typical woe-is-me fashion, the tears started to leak from my eyes the moment he’d gone.

It seemed like the tables had turned. Somehow, in between arriving at the Potters’ house and leaving it, Scorpius had inherited whatever confidence I’d had, and I had inherited his woe and angst. All the same, I remembered what Al had said, about how Scorpius ran away from things, buried his head in the sand…

I imagined writing to the Prophet’s Aunt Agony page.

Hi, Aunt Agony. My name is Lucy Weasley, middle name ‘fool’. You can call me idiot for short, or daft, if you’d prefer. My psycho cousin with anger management issues just stole my boy, and I’m not man enough to go and fight her for him. Oh, yeah, the boy in question is a mopey photographer type who embroiders stuff, and I might only love him because his clothes smell lovely and he’s criminally nice. He makes my knees go wibbly, and we kind of snogged so we’re basically going out anyway. He’s just two-timing me with Bitch Weasley – that’s my cousin, by the way. Except I don’t know if they’re going out or not. I’m making assumptions. But I’m too scared to ask. She’s terrifying. She hit my other cousin who’s all strong and tall and fast, so everyone know just how scary she really is. I mean, she doesn’t even have milk or sugar in her tea or anything and doesn’t like chocolate biscuits. She’s bonkers.

Etcetra, etcetera.

I picked up my mug of cold tea, intending to go and make myself a fresh cuppa, but then I thought of a hasty postscript.

p.s he’s got a secret foxy smile and I don’t think anybody knows about it except me.

Suddenly, there was no mug in my hand and a small pile of bits of mug lying in a puddle of cold tea on the floor.

I am Lucy Weasley, and heartbreak makes me smash mugs.

Hear me roar.

Caught up in a deluge of miserable, self-pitying rage, I sunk into the sofa. I was so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t even notice Tarquin and Gwendolyn/Raven taking the armchairs either side of me until Tarquin reached over and gave me a comforting pat on the back, at which point I was so surprised that I jumped about six feet in the air and stopped crying out of shock.

‘Are you alright?’ Tarquin asked.

‘Idiot,’ Gwendolyn/Raven tutted. ‘What do you think?’

‘We were lurking,’ Tarquin said. ‘We heard everything…we’re sorry.’

Once again, words escaped me; I ended up making an odd sort of moaning noise like a creaky door.

‘Sorry,’ Tarquin repeated, patting me on the shoulder again.

I had that same horrible feeling of being incredibly small and stupid. ‘He went to see Rose,’ I finally managed to say. ‘Why would he do that?

‘Dunno,’ Tarquin shrugged. ‘He’s a bit silly sometimes.’

‘When are you leaving, by the way?’ Gwendolyn/Raven asked. ‘We’ll help you pack…’

‘Pack?’ I said. ‘I’m not going.’

‘Yes you are,’ Tarquin said, waggling a finger at me. ‘You’re going to Devon.’

‘And you’re going to shout at Rose.’

‘Show her who’s boss.’

‘Then you can elope.’

‘I don’t know,’ I mumbled. ‘I’m not so sure…’

‘Look, we even have a plan,’ Tarquin said. ‘You start shouting at Rose-’

‘She’ll beat me up!’

‘Yeah, well, it’s not the best plan.’

‘Would you ever take advice from us? No,’ Gwendolyn/Raven chipped in. ‘Which is, er, why we think you should take our advice and go to Devon.’

‘Right,’ I said. ‘So I’m just expected to-’

‘Walk in and show Rose who’s boss. The boss being you. You are the boss,’ Tarquin said. ‘That just about sums it up.’

Which is why at twelve that day, when the doorbell finally rang, I was standing at action stations with suitcase in hand and sunglasses on face.

I opened the door. Rose stood there, beaming. Slowly, I lowered my sunglasses.

‘Hello!’ she chirped. ‘Here to pick you up for the holiday!’

I fiddled with the studded cuff of my leather jacket. I folded the sunglasses and put them into my pocket. I considered my words, pursing my black-lipsticked lips, narrowing my black-eyeliner’d eyes.

‘Cool,’ I said, doing my best to sound as cool as a frozen cucumber on a January morning. In Antarctica.

Rose’s smile faltered. Little did she know that it was all an act, carefully choreographed by Tarquin, who was hiding behind the door, caught up in a fit of silent giggles. The wardrobe had been supplied by Gwendolyn/Raven, who was hiding beside him.

‘I’ll take your suitcase-’ Rose began.

‘No problem,’ I held up my wand. ‘I can deal with it.’

My cool plan of levitating the suitcase out of the window and into her car would have, er, gone a lot more to plan if I’d paid more attention to first year charms. The suitcase did get into her car eventually, but it took a rather long-winded and destructive route there that mostly focused on a detour to Scorpius’ head.

I considered this…


Even if I did feel mega guilty afterwards. He did try to duck, at least. And I got a very, very scandalised look from Rose for it.

I actually quite enjoyed being a bad influence.

‘Are we all ready to leave, then?’ Rose said cheerily. ‘All set?’

We weren’t; just at that moment, Scorpius came loping up the stairs, clutching a hand to his head.

‘Forgot some stuff,’ he said, squeezing past me and into the flat – I noticed how, even when we were jammed into the same doorway, he tried to pretend that I didn’t exist – and then barrelling straight into his room.

Rose probably would have said something at this point, but I slammed the door in her face.

I’d found – or, rather, Tarquin had found – a new side of myself. I like to call it Badass and Completely Not Bothered (but actually very much bothered) Lucy. BACNB(BAVMB)L for short. And I was going to unleash BACNB(BAVMB)L on Rose like nothing else.

Or so I planned.

‘All set?’ Tarquin said.

Gwendolyn/Raven lifted a fist of encouragement.

‘Ready,’ I put my sunglasses back on. Which was a mistake, because it wasn’t really a sunny day, and I was likely to trip blindly down the stairs if I wore them.

I didn’t even care. That was the point of BACNB(BAVMB)L.

Scorpius emerged from his room, holding a few old record in one hand and a pair of argyle socks in the other. I gave him a hard, piercing stare, and then remembered that my eyes were hidden by the sunglasses and he wouldn’t have noticed.

‘Um, are we – are we ready?’ he mumbled, catching sight of me in my terrifying, borrowed goth get-up and shades.

‘We’re cool,’ I said.

‘Have fun,’ Tarquin said, and then, in an undertone to me – ‘good luck.’

‘Write and let us know how you’re getting on,’ Gwendolyn/Raven added. ‘Send pictures if you can.’

‘Chill out and relax.’

‘Don’t come back in a matchbox.’

‘Remember to stop, drop, and roll.’

‘An apple a day keeps the Healer away.’

‘Many a mickle makes a muckle-’

‘Er, alright, bye, thanks,’ I said, throwing open the door to let me and Scorpius out. ‘See you in a week.’

Outside the door of the flat, Scorpius hovered. (Not literally.)

‘Are you…are you really…um, ready to go?’ he dithered.

‘Absolutely,’ I adjusted my shades for emphasis. ‘We’re cool.’

It was hard to keep up the ice-queen act when I felt so wibbly. I could never stay angry at Scorpius for long. Well, I could never really get all that angry with him in the first place.

So I followed him down the stairs and out to Rose and her car, Al, Tarquin and Gwendolyn/Raven’s multiple blessings behind me, ready to steal him back.

Whatever it might take.

(To a certain extent).

a/n: eek, sorry for taking slightly longer on this one! and sorry it’s an angsfest too - gotta have my quota of angst somehow. Undying and endless thanks to Gina and Gubby for reading this through and correcting up my mistakes. Thank you also to everyone who’s reviewed so far - I love hearing what you have to say, and some of the comments have made me burst out laughing (: please just remember to keep the reviews 12+!
also - the line ‘my love is like a red, red, rose’ is a line taken from the poem ‘my love is like a red, red, rose’ by Robert Burns and was definitely not written by me. Or Scorpius.
edited 19/06/2012

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