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Chapter 3 : Orange Unicorns
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“Ugh, for Merlin’s sake,” grumbled Rose as she hastily stuffed her quill and parchment into her bag and stood up.
“Where’re you going?” asked Dom, looking up from her game of Exploding Snap with Lizzie.
“Library,” Rose replied. “It’s so noisy in here, I can hardly hear my own thoughts.”
“Don’t forget about my party tonight!” called Lizzie. Rose nodded in acknowledgement.
As she was leaving the common room through the portrait hole, Rose bumped straight into her fifteen year old cousin Lily.
“There you are, Rose,” she said. “Al sent me to tell you he wants to speak to you. Honestly, I think he’s mistaken me for a house elf or something.”
“Oh? What does he want to talk about?” asked Rose hurriedly. She really needed to get this Muggle Studies essay in for tomorrow completed.
“No idea, although he looked kind of nervous, so he’s either done something really, really stupid, or- wait, it’s Al we’re talking about here. Of course he’s done something stupid,” sighed Lily.
“Uh, okay. Do you know where he is?”
“Lily!” called one of her friends by the fireplace, beckoning her over.
Lily glanced apologetically at Rose before bounding over to her friends.
Nice to know it’s friends over family, thought Rose sullenly as she headed to the library.
Lily and Rose were the closest of friends during the holidays, but once they got back to school their friendship seemed to be forgotten by the youngest Potter. Anyway, Rose simply didn’t have the time to go looking for Al. If he wanted to speak to her, he’d have to find her himself.
Tuesday really hadn’t been a good day for Rose. She had overslept and had to go to class with bedraggled bushy hair, her lessons were duller than usual and she only saw Fabian once, and even that didn’t go particularly well. They passed each other in the corridor on the way to lunch, and as she raised her arm to wave she tripped over her own feet and landed in front of him, a heap on the floor. Her wild hair stuck out in every direction. She knew she shouldn’t have let Dom talk her into wearing heels, even if they weren’t very big. Okay, they were tiny. Rose was just a very clumsy girl. Nonetheless, Fabian was the only person in the corridor who didn’t laugh at her (Dom and Lizzie laughed loudest of all) and that had to be a good thing.
“Good evening, Madam Pryce,” she said as she entered the library, forgetting her problems for the moment.
After spending a great deal of the past seven years in the same room as each other, Rose had gotten to know the librarian quite well and looked up to her. She was a skinny young woman who had her mousy brown hair scraped back in a bun and wore the same robes every day. However, Rose thought her uplifting personality made up for it.
“Hello, Rose,” Madam Pryce replied cheerily from behind her desk. “I got a new shipment of Muggle fiction in for you today.”
“Ooh, I’ll have a look at them later. Got a load of homework to do. Thanks, though.”
Madam Pryce smiled in response and turned back to the book she was reading.
Rose noticed the library was full today. Some third year Hufflepuffs were in her usual spot by the window and everywhere else was taken. However, Rose’s problems seemed to be following her around today. Once she finally spotted a free seat and sat down, she realised Scorpius was sitting opposite her colouring in some parchment. She groaned audibly after stifling a snigger.
“Oh! – uh, hi,” stammered Scorpius, looking up at Rose in surprise and quickly shoving his parchment and crayons into his bag.
She wanted to move away but there were simply no other seats available. She settled with sitting there but not saying a word to him. He had yet to apologize.
“So, uh, how’re you?” he asked awkwardly as she resumed writing her essay.
“What’s that you’re doing?”
Rose opened her textbook and began skimming it.
He sighed and leaned back in his chair, looking at the ceiling. He knew he wouldn’t get a response from her.
Rose frowned as she remembered all the days they used to spend together studying - at least for a bit until they distracted each other. In fact, only two weeks ago Scorpius had taken Rose for a walk around the lake knowing the work was getting too much for her. She had arrived back at the dormitory that night absolutely soaked. She suddenly had the urge to go have another water fight with him.
Rose glanced up at Scorpius, thinking he was still looking at the ceiling, but she was surprised to see he was looking intently at her. After a few seconds of staring she wondered if she had something on her face, an eyelash perhaps, and tried to casually wipe her cheeks.
“You have nothing on your face, don’t worry,” he chuckled. She blushed. Was she really that easy to read?
“Am I really that easy to read?” she said, and then started banging her head on her desk for talking to him.
“Bad Rosie, bad Rosie,” she muttered.
“Um, Rose? Stop harming yourself, you strange girl.”
She snorted. “Me, strange? At least I don’t spend my evenings colouring in pretty pictures of hippogriffs.” She looked at him pointedly.
It was Scorpius’s turn to flush.
“It was very scruffy colouring, by the way. Even Al could do better than that,” she added.
“For your information, it was a unicorn, not a hippogriff. And my colouring is amazing, thank you very much!” he cried indignantly.
Rose couldn’t help giggling at the expression on his face. “Unicorns aren’t orange though! Neither are hippogriffs!”
“Are too!” he retaliated.
“Mr Malfoy, Miss Weasley, please keep the noise levels down. People are trying to study in here,” said Madam Pryce crossly, but Rose was sure she saw her wink briefly.
“Sorry, Madam Pryce,” said Scorpius solemnly. “Rose is much more boisterous than she lets on, I’m afraid. I told her to be quiet, but she wouldn’t listen.”
“He’s lying! He was the one making all the noise!”
“Just pipe down, the both of you,” Madame Pryce chortled, shaking her head disapprovingly.
Scorpius grinned at Rose complacently. She rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to her homework.
After she had written half a sentence she heard an annoying tapping noise on her table. She looked up to see Scorpius drumming on his desk.
“Could you stop that?” she asked. “It’s irritating. And I need to get this essay done.”
“Want any help?” Scorpius asked.
Rose raised her eyebrows at his offer. “No… thanks. You don’t take Muggle Studies.”
“I know plenty about Muggles!”
Rose looked at him sceptically.
“Okay then, why don’t you ask your beloved boyfriend Fabian to help you,” Scorpius scoffed, saying the word ‘boyfriend’ as if it was a deadly disease.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she mumbled.
Scorpius shrugged coolly and started fiddling with her quill. His hand accidentally knocked her ink pot over her work.
“Look what you’ve done! It’s smudged!” Rose held up her ruined piece of parchment in outrage.
Scorpius mock gasped. “Oh, Merlin, no! Someone call the Minister of Magic over immediately, it’s an emergency!”
Rose narrowed her eyes. “Look, I know you think you’re funny and all, but I have to finish this essay for first lesson tomorrow, and it’s already -”
Rose looked at her watch in alarm.
“Quarter to eight,” she continued. “Which means I have to go. Now.”
She packed her bag and hurdled out of the library, narrowly dodging a first year’s head.
“Rose? Where are you going?” Scorpius called after her, but she didn’t turn back.
A few minutes later Rose finally reached her dorm with an unfinished essay and was greeted by Dom yelling at her for being late.
“I specifically told you to be here for half seven!” she yelled, throwing Rose a pair of pyjamas decorated with pink cauldrons to change into.
“Sorry, sorry, I got side-tracked,” she muttered ruefully, walking into the bathroom to get changed.
When she came out, she saw Dom, Lizzie and Lizzie’s cousin, Hayley, crowded round a chocolate cake on a small table in the middle of the room. Today was Lizzie’s birthday and they were having a little party to celebrate. Lizzie didn’t want a big fuss. Their other two dorm mates, Caitlyn and Leila, were talking quietly amongst themselves in a corner. They were invited to join in but refused, probably because they still felt guilty for when they used to pick on Lizzie in second year.
The night was spent playing games, gossiping and eating triple their body weight in Chocolate Frogs and Pumpkin Pasties, and they all crashed shortly after midnight.
Rose was perched on the edge of a beautiful marble fountain enjoying the picturesque views surrounding her. Huge palm trees were dotted everywhere and vibrant butterflies fluttered around her crimson hair. She looked down and saw she was wearing an elegant white gown that flowed to the floor like a waterfall. In the distance she could see fields of roses in all colours. She took a deep breath, taking in the sweet smell and closed her eyes.
Suddenly she heard footsteps approaching. She whipped round and saw enormous statues of merpeople made of ornate crystal glistening in the sunlight. But something else caught her attention. A giant yellow rubber duck holding a bag of popcorn was waddling towards her through a flower patch. It took her a second to get over the shock and realise it was throwing the popcorn at her. She gasped and started running as fast as she could, as far as she could, away from the menacing duck behind her, but her dress was preventing her from running very fast.
She hid behind a rose bush to catch her breath and jumped when something tapped her shoulder. She spun around and came face to face with the duck, who poured the popcorn over her head. Each separate piece felt like a snooker ball crushing her skull. She screamed and fell to the ground. The last thing she remembered was seeing an evil glint in the duck’s eye and hearing a malevolent laugh that sent chills down her spine before she saw only darkness…
Rose woke up with a start. She clutched her pounding heart and breathed in deeply, looking around the room for her attacker.
“It was just a dream… just a stupid, horrible dream…” she muttered to herself, rocking back and forth on her bed. “That’s the last time I eat so many Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans before bed.”
She wiped the sweat off her forehead and checked her watch. 5:07 am. She sighed and tried to get back to sleep, but couldn’t. She took a long hot shower, got changed into her uniform and decided to head down to the Great Hall for an early breakfast.
In the Entrance Hall she saw Poppy Parkinson, Abigail Millington and Elie Martin who looked like they had just been out clubbing all night. Rose wouldn’t put it past them.
“Well, if it isn’t little miss Rosie Posie Dosie,” giggled Poppy, coming to a stop a few metres to the left of Rose. Elie and Abigail fell over as they walked up to her. Rose raised her eyebrows.
“Mosie Fosie,” slurred Abigail, swaying up to Rose and giving her a big hug.
“Ugh, get off me!” Rose could smell the firewhiskey on her and prised her off. Abigail fell to the floor and didn’t bother getting back up. After a few seconds she passed out.
“You’re just jealous, Rose,” giggled Elie, her eyes half open. “I just had a party, and it was cool, ‘cause you weren’t invited.”
Poppy started laughing hysterically. “I- I bet they just stayed in their d- dormitory and had a st- stupid slumber p- party or something.”
“We did not!” lied Rose. “We threw a party of our own in the Gryffindor common room, actually.”
Elie snorted. “You’re lying. Lizzie has always been sooo boring.”
“Lizzie’s ten times the person you’ll ever be, Parkinson,” said Rose, crossing her arms.
“Shut up! Just shut up!” yelled Elie, running forward and punching thin air, and then collapsing into a fit of giggles.
Poppy abruptly turned around and puked onto the stone floor. Rose was beyond disgusted. She wasn’t sure if she could stomach breakfast any more.
Elie slung her arm around Poppy’s shoulders and they stumbled together to the dungeons, leaving Abigail lying on the floor. Rose sighed and dragged the blonde Slytherin to the hospital wing. Sometimes, she wished she wasn’t such a compassionate person. She doubted Abigail would do the same for her.
By the time she sat down at the Gryffindor table it was nearly seven. As Rose filled her plate with bacon and eggs she noticed a huge bowl of popcorn a little way down the table by Bertie McGee. She peeked up at the Professors’ table at the front and saw Professor Wright stuffing his face with popcorn. He caught Rose’s gaze and gave her a quick wink.
“Hey, Rose,” said a familiar voice from the other side of the table. “Mind if I sit here?”
“Sure,” she smiled at Lysander and he beamed at her before sitting down. She hadn’t spoken to him in ages and it’d be good to catch up.
“So…” he began, piling his plate with eggs.
“So,” she said. Yeah, now she remembered why they hadn’t talked in a while.
“The quidditch match is on Saturday,” he commented after a short pause.
“Oh, is it that soon? Who’s playing who again?”
“Slytherin vs. Ravenclaw,” replied Lysander. “I’m supporting Ravenclaw without a doubt, along with the rest of our house, I would think!”
Rose forced a laugh. Since second year she had always supported Slytherin, apart from when they were playing Gryffindor, since Scorpius played Seeker on the team. But now… she wasn’t sure what to think. She was definitely on speaking terms with him, yet she couldn’t get how he acted at the ball out of her mind. Maybe, for the first time in five years, she would be supporting the Ravenclaws rather than the Slytherins.
“What’s this?” Lysander asked, holding up a piece of popcorn.
“Oh, that’s popcorn. It’s a muggle snack,” replied Rose taking a few pieces for herself.
Lysander cautiously placed it in his mouth and his eyes widened. “This… this is good!”
Rose laughed quietly, a real laugh this time. Lysander grabbed a handful of popcorn and started sniffing it, causing Rose to snort noisily like the perfect lady she was. Bertie, who was sitting nearby, shuffled further down the bench.
Rose and Lysander found common ground discussing food and she found herself enjoying his company. After they finished their breakfast he walked her to Muggle Studies and then headed to Care of Magical Creatures.
Once she entered the classroom she realised she was the only one in there apart from Professor Wright. Oh dear.
A/N: Reviews inspire me to write more! <8-)
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