Chapter 22 : The Valentine's Day Masacre
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I was seriously on the verge of buying a chicken suit.
And to make things entirely worse, it was almost Valentine’s Day and the entire castle had been hosed down in pinks and reds. It was enough to make me vomit. I was probably alone in this but, I had always loathed Valentine’s Day. I couldn't put my finger on why that was. I suppose it could have something to do with the fact that it's also James’ birthday and I was constantly forced to celebrate him instead of "love". Or maybe it was the idea that one day dedicated to showing a person you care is ridiculous. If a person felt that strongly they should be doing it year round. Eh, I don’t know but, whatever it was, I never looked forward to Valentine's Day... and this year was no exception.
Naturally, James was planning on a small gathering at the Hogs Head in town. Professor Hotness had given us all permission to go to Hogsmeade after classes as long as we were back in the castle by ten, not because it was James’ birthday of course, but because it was Valentine’s Day. James wasn’t that special.
Seven asked me to go into town with him as ‘friends’ but I respectfully declined. I might consider making an appearance at the celebrations but, honestly I was thinking of boycotting the whole day. A nice book by the fire, a warm bath and bed didn’t sound half bad. James would forgive me for not showing. In fact, I doubt he would even notice given his focus on trying to get Ade to go. Al mentioned that his brother had somehow managed to get Jasper to agree to show and where there was Jasper there was Ade. After that I'm sure my cousin didn't think much further. It was actually kind of intriguing- enough for me to reconsider my quiet nigt in... maybe.
The weekend leading up to the dreaded day went by faster than I would have liked. I tried to find Scorpius in one of his normal haunts- one more attempt to get him alone and talk- but no such luck. Stupid prat.
Monday morning I woke up crabby. Ugh. It was going to be an awful day. This was confirmed by the sickening displays of affection observed on my way to breakfast. This included Dom’s new kill, the poor sod. I needed to think up some better nicknames for these guys as it was starting to get confusing. Maybe I'd call this one Larry. Larry was a good name, easy to remember. Sidestepping that absurd display, I headed towards the Slytherin table. I was certain to avoid too much disgustingness there. I mean, we were all single except for Six, and she was more than likely with the Gryffindors. Gordie didn’t care much for the evil looks Tabby directed his way whenever he tried to sit with us.
I truly thought I'd be safe in our little corner of the world but, boy was I wrong. Hollace was being gross with Jason and poor Jocelyn was clearly holding back tears. Even worse, I spotted Miles with his arm around Cassie. That’s right, Cassie. I wasn’t jealous, I swear, but seriously…Cassie? What the hell is wrong with him? Maybe our break up fried his brain.
Even worse was when I approached our part of the table and saw Tabby holding hands with Bertram. Not this again. Damn those two. Why does this shite have to happen on today of all days?
“What’s this then?” I asked as I approached.
Bertram blushed and Tabby ignored me. I sat across from Scorpius while Gates was trying to divert Jocelyn's attention from the horror going on at the other end of the table. He was such a nice guy, that Gates.
“So…” I tried to start a conversation, but Scorpius seemed preoccupied by his eggs. Apparently scrambled eggs are very interesting.
“Can we...” I began again.
“Well I better get some studying done,” he said as he rose from the table, leaving me mid-sentence.
Tabby and Jocelyn gave me piteous looks. Bertram was as usual oblivious but Gates, ever the intuitive one, spoke up.
“Still not talking to you, eh?”
“He’ll get over it,” Gates said in his wise, all knowing voice.
I really hoped he was right.
I went to potions early, hoping I could beat Scorpius there and get him to talk to me. The bastard was completely MIA during free period. To my dismay the room was open, which left me alone with Seven. The idiot took this as a sign and decided to come over to my table and start a conversation. It was innocent enough. He wanted to know if I was going to James’ birthday celebration. I gave a non-committal ‘maybe’.
When the rest of the class started filing in, Seven got up to head back to his own table. As he left he rubbed his hand along my back and said, “I look forward to seeing you tonight.” Then he winked.
Scorpius had just come up to the table. What the hell was Seven playing at? Was it just me or did he appear to try harder whenever Scorpius was nearby? I mean, first there was New Year’s Eve when I was alone with Scorpius, and then there was the incident in the hall where he felt it necessary to kiss me, and now this. Maybe I was being paranoid but the boy seemed to really lay on the charm when Malfoy was around.
I could barely concentrate on potions. I didn’t even look up from my cauldron to see Scorpius’ reaction, I was so consumed with Seven trying to piss him off on purpose. Okay, so maybe Scorpius liked me, but would he really get this upset over me and Seven? Maybe he was mad that I had caved and gone back to the stupid git. Not that I had but, Scorpius thought I did and…oh well, you know where I'm going with it, right?
When class was over I didn’t think, I just rushed over to Seven and pulled him aside. “I need to talk to you,” I demanded.
“No argument from me!” He smirked in what I assumed was supposed to be an endearing way.
I felt my stomach churn.
We walked out of the classroom and I directed him to sit on the floor. I had Herbology but I could afford to skiv off just this once. Especially since it was Valentine’s Day and all the professors were making it easy since none of the students liked to focus when teenage love and angst were in the air.
Situating myself across for him, I leveled my gaze in an effort to gauge his reactions. “Can I ask you something, Seven?”
“You can ask me anything Rosie.” His simpering smile was getting worse.
“Why did you decide you wanted me back?” I stared at him intently, looking for any indication of falsehood.
“Rosie, I thought we went over this. I told you, I missed you.” He rolled his eyes ever so slightly.
“But why did you decide to tell me then? On that night?”
“Well, I wanted to say something earlier but, I never seemed to find the guts," he replied. "Then I saw you there and you looked so damn good. I thought I had better make a move before someone else did.”
“Someone like Scorpius Malfoy?” I narrowed my eyes.
He shrugged in a non-committal way. “Perhaps. You were dancing awfully close. I couldn’t risk losing you to him.”
Aha! I knew it.
“Seven, I’m going to ask you something and I need you to give me an honest answer.” My voice was deadly calm.
Pausing, he nodded his agreement. “O-kay.”
“Is the only reason you're chasing after me because you don’t want me with Scorpius?”
His pupils retracted, if only for a second. “Of course I don’t want you to be with Scorpius!" he exclaimed. "I don’t want you with anyone but me.” His voice was falsely playful but I distinctly heard an underlying edge.
“No Seven, that's not what I mean," I hissed in irritation. "I am asking if the only reason you're after me now is because you think that Scorpius is as well. Do you have some sick rivalry with him where you try to take away anything that might make him happy? Is that what's going on here?!”
He paused and then said, “No, of course not. How could you think that?”
His hesitation was all I needed. It confirmed everything. The son of a bitch really was the biggest tosser ever. How I had ever fancied myself in love with such an egocentric, sociopathic arsehole was beyond me!
“Thanks Seven,” I said and stood to leave.
He rose as well. “Does that mean we’re on for tonight?” he asked hopefully.
I barked a cold laugh. “Not on your life," I drawled, "and I would very much appreciate if you never talked to me again.”
With a swish of my hair (hopefully he got a face full of curls) I left him and went late to my Herbology class.
My face was aflame. I was so angry that I could literally feel the blood boiling just under the surface.
“Miss Weasley, you’re late.” Professor Longbottom pointed out as I walked into Greenhouse Three five minutes later.
“Sorry sir,” I mumbled and headed towards my table, taking a seat next to Six.
“Now, as I was saying…”
I barely listened as Professor Longbottom explained the proper way to collect the scales of the Squamaclavis Pomo. In retrospect, it would have been a lot smarter to have paid attention given what happened to me next. We were working in teams of three. Six, Jocelyn and I were supposed to work together in order to remove the scales. Six was set to stun the plant, I was in charge of severing the grey scales that covered the plant's body, while Jocelyn would skin off the top layer of each scale in order to better crush it into the fine powder that was used in most sleeping draughts. If I had paid attention I would have known that the stunning would only hold for a few seconds at best. Instead, I was overeager to get as many scales as possible and kept severing well after the plant had regained its ability to use the pointy spikes that activated whenever it felt threatened. I was in the process of removing one of the larger scales when said spike came out and punctured my pinky finger. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital wing.
Just another reason why I hated Valentine's Day.
My eyes felt heavy as they slowly began to focus on my surroundings. I tried to move my head to the side, but found I was unable to do so. I used all my energy to scream out but it only created a small mumbling noise, to which there was thankfully a response. Unfortunately that response was in the form of a ‘hold still now’ from Healer Wharton. My eyes darted around until he came into view, hovering over me as if I were an interesting potions experiment as opposed to a patient in need.
“You’re lucky that boy brought you up when he did. Another ten minutes and you would have been unconscious for days and paralyzed for a week. As it is, you'll be fine in a few more hours.”
His smile, if you could even call it that, was not very reassuring.
“Mhgumhum,” was my response. What I really wanted to say was ‘get me out of this bleeding bed right now!’ It was probably best that I couldn’t talk.
I started to wonder which boy brought me up. I really hoped it wasn’t the nose picker- when I could I would look around for any signs of bogey’s. I cringed inwardly- only because I was unable to outwardly do so – at the idea of one of them tangled in my hair.
The next hour passed slowly. Healer Wharton went back into his office once he had given me a semi thorough exam. I had nothing to do but stare at the ceiling. Every couple of minutes I would try to move another part of my body. At one point I got really excited when I thought I had wiggled my nose but, I realized that I was just looking at it cross eyed for too long. Finally after several attempts I was able to bend my pinky. A few minutes later I could bend all of the fingers on my right hand. And it wasn’t much longer before I could use my left. I tried a good scream at that point, you know, just to see if I could (it also might annoy Healer Wharton, which was always good fun). I couldn’t scream, but it did make for a nice loud ‘HUMMM’.
“Ah, good. You are moving along quite rapidly.” Healer Wharton was back at my side and invading my line of sight. I wasn’t yet able to move my head away.
He did a couple more tests with his wand and tapped at my elbow. To my delight he got a nice little jab to his ribs. HA. I found I was able to smile at this, which was even better. I desperately wanted to get out of this room. After another hour and two more examinations I was released on my own recognizance. Which was good because it seemed that no one was there to help me anyway. Where were all my friends? Class most likely, but a little visit wouldn’t have been uncalled for. Bastards!
As I was leaving, I ran my fingers through my hair which reminded me. “Hey, Healer Wharton.”
He looked up from a parchment that he was reading over.
“Who brought me up here?” Please don’t be nose picker. Please don’t be nose picker.
“One of your relatives, I believe.”
Thank Merlin! Albus apparently had grown to be chivalrous.
“That blond one.” Healer Wharton finished as I was exiting the room.
The doors to the hospital wing shut behind me and I stood there thinking about Healer Wharton’s last words. ‘The blond one’ – That could only mean…but Scorpius wasn’t talking to me, or looking at me, or being within a ten meter radius from me. I wondered why Healer Wharton thought we were related, which was gross in itself, and then I remembered the Quidditch match where Roxy wound up in the hospital wing.
Healer Wharton really was quite the moron wasn’t he?!
So…Scorpius had come to my rescue. I could only hope that it meant that all things were not completely lost on that front. Maybe I could play up the sympathy card tonight and even get him to talk to me. That’s all I needed after all. Just a one on one conversation in which I made it very clear that I was not in the least involved with Seven, nor had I ever been. Then maybe… Well I guess we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
The last class of the day was ending right when I got to the Slytherin Common room. I waited there in the hopes that Scorpius would come in and we could finally get this thing behind us.
He didn’t come. Maybe he was at a little after class study session.
Most of the girls were upstairs getting ready for whatever date they would be going on tonight. Six and Tabby walked by me so quickly that they barely got a ‘hello’ out before they had disappeared up the staircase to the girls dorms. Jocelyn was a little less eager, only in that she stopped to talk for a moment before going that way as well. Apparently Gates had asked her out for Valentines. She swore that it was just as friends, which it probably was given that Gates didn’t seem like the Valentine’s Day kind of guy, but perhaps not. Gates wasn't exactly a horribly disfigured nose picker or anything. And Jocelyn, once you got her away from Hollace, was actually pretty cool. At least she had been since we made it clear that no simpering copy-cat shite would be acceptable. So maybe something could develop there. I would have to keep an eye out.
I waited a while longer, well after the common room had cleared and most everyone had either gone to dinner in the great hall or to Hogsmeade on their Valentine’s dates, then headed toward the dorms. I decided a nice hot bath was what I needed. Some time alone wouldn’t be so bad and my body was still a little stiff from the morning’s events.
I was right. Alone bath time was just what I needed after a day like today. I even considered going to James’ birthday thing. It was only seven and I would have plenty of time to get ready and head over there for an hour or so. Browsing through my wardrobe, I flicked through various jumpers but none of them really stood out. Standing there I felt my heart just wasn’t really in it. I eyed the book on my nightstand. I had been trying to find time to really get into it. Maybe tonight would be the night for that. I couldn’t bear the idea of seeing all of t those happy couples. The common room was bound to be deserted. Mainly first and second years and only because they weren’t allowed in town. They would keep their distance, though.
I grabbed my copy of ‘The Life and Times of Edna Slootinfoot’, she was apparently an integral part of defeat of the great giant Slount, who had ravaged the East coast of Britain for two decades before Edna came along. Very interesting stuff, but perhaps only to me. I headed straight for the large couch in front of the fire place. My fuzzy slippers made no noise against the rough stone floor. I curled up in front of the crackling fire and delved into the world of Edna.
“Not out with your boyfriend then?” A voice I hadn’t heard directed towards me in over a month spoke up just behind me.
I turned to see Scorpius standing behind the couch looking down on me with…well, I don’t even know how to describe the expression. It was like concern mixed with confusion and (maybe I was being a bit wishful) hope. He continued to look down on me and I realized that he was expecting some sort of response.
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” I said in an offhand kind of way, as if I did not have a clue what he was talking about.
He nodded and then gestured his head toward the empty space on the end of the couch. “Mind if I…”
“Sure.” I moved my feet a little closer to my body in order to give him more room. I was desperately trying to appear calm but my heart was racing and my mind was whirling. Scorpius was talking to me. This was what I had wanted all along and now that he was here I had no idea what to say. I couldn’t very well open up with ‘So I hear you think I was with Seven, well I'm not, you wanna snog?’
Well, I could, but then I might risk the chance of being rejected. I mean I thought he might like me but, what if I was completely off base? I was pretty sure I wouldn't recover from the humiliation.
I tried to go back to reading but I could feel him sitting there, just a foot between us. The heat from his body was rolling off of him and it made me prickle all over. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up as if I were being zapped with a wand. I couldn’t help it, I looked up. Scorpius was staring at me. My heart fluttered.
“So…you’re talking to me now?” I asked when I was finally able to collect my thoughts and put a sentence together. Not exactly how I wanted to start the conversation, with a snappy quip, but anything was better than the awkward silence/tension thing we'd been dealing with.
He nodded slowly, “Yeah, um…sorry about that.”
A/N: Yay... they are finally talking again... what's to come next? Anyone care to guess?
So what did you think? ANy predictions on any of the other couples that are together in this chapter?
Thanks as always to my beta dracosgem, she rocks. And of course thanks to anyone who reads this and especially those who take the time to review.
Lastly I just wanted to make a small anouncement that Sproggy is going to be a big brother! YAY, so I hope to have this entire story posted before the Nugget comes along... and there are I think ten more chapters or so... so at least that will bring me to less than a month per update (if not faster).
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