It was still dark when I woke up. I rolled over blinking rapidly. I looked over the side of my bed and jumped back a foot, now I was wide awake. Why was James' lying on the floor?
"James?" The voice didn't sound like mine. If I heard it I would assume it's owner had been smoking since the age of five.
"Yes?" He replied in the manner of someone who had been lying awake for ages. Ah.
"Why am I in your bed?" I really need to stop sleeping in my cousins' beds.
"You tell me. I went for a piss, I came back you were in there fast asleep."
"Awwww so you slept on the floor?" This is the nicest thing he's ever done for me, wait no, anyone.
"I did try to kick you off but you're vicious in your sleep" he pointed to a bruise on his leg. My bad. This is like when I was 10, I had a nightmare I was being attacked, dad came to comfort me apparently I sort of attacked him. I smiled to myself. Then I remembered last night.
"Here," I got out of bed, "have your bed back, get a bit of sleep before breakfast."
I left as he scrambled onto the bed which I had obviously stolen having returned his cloak. I needed some chocolate. I avoided mirrors because I could feel my eyes were puffy and my hair probably looked like I'd narrowly escaped an attack by Edward Scissor Hands. Good thing I bumped into my favourite blonde Slytherin whilst I was looking this mighty fine.
Did he plan to be in the rooms I'm going to, or is this just a coincidence .Maybe he was in the Slytherin common room to apologise, he better be because he was completely unreasonable. So I stood with my arms by my side staring at him like a plastic fish. He was leaning far forward in his chair staring at some point in the distance, acting like I hadn’t even entered the room.
I cleared my throat.
“I do know you’re there” I wasn't sure what to reply to that, so I did what only I could think was a good idea and hurried up to my room without replying at all. Smooth.
I woke up for the second time that day with a daunting feeling which was absent before. They were announcing the champions this evening. Thank fuck I wasn't athletic enough to even worry about getting in. Well not logically anyway.
I ate breakfast with the Durmstrang lot and spent pretty much the rest of the day with them, well them and a distinct sensation of rising nausea. Although whenever I considered that I might get in my brain dismissed the thought (because of my lack of stamina, energy, fitness, magical capability, knowledge and trust me, I could go on)I couldn't help but wonder, what if the only other people who put their names in were severely obese and I was the best candidate, I can't think of anymore scenarios but the nausea was still there. I had put my name in, the world revolves around me, add two and two together and you'll find I'm the champion.
I know I'm completely contradicting myself, but I'm sure you'll understand my battle of rational brain vs. that little part near the back of my brain that likes to cause panic by yelling out stuff like 'there's a murderer in the corner!' whenever I wake up in the night. I'm not saying there has never ever been someone who woke up and found a murderer in the corner, but it's just not as likely as there not being a murderer in the corner. I diverse.
Like time does when there's something that you're not looking forward to, the day past exceptionally fast. Mrs McGonagall stood beside the goblet of fire, two men in sitting at the staff table who weren't normally, they must have been from the ministry to make such everything went according to plan.
I tried to tune my attention into the speech being made but I simply couldn't. I only lifted my head when she was cut short by the flames in the goblet of fire turning red, she was startled but still managed to catch the parchment spat from it with one hand. It was singed around the edges and undeniably crumpled, Professor McGonagall turned it over carefully then her head twitched up, bird like in movement.
"The champion for Durmstrang," she smiled curtly, "Matthew Stark!"
The boy sitting next to me jerked up and my ears were assaulted by the sounds of his friends applause and encouragement. Why the hell did I put my name in?
Matthew strode up to the front, along the staff table and entered the side chamber, his mop of brown hair covering half of his face. Then a second object fluttered from the goblet, but in a far more graceful manner. An origami swan flew up and spiralled down into McGonagall's outstretched hand. She examined it for a moment before finding the makers name on its wing.
"The champion for Beauxbatons," the Beauxbaton pupils looked devastated except for my vague relative cousin thingy who looked overjoyed, she must have known instantly it was her handy-work, "Kristine Delacour!"
She stood up and close to ran to the front, her delight preventing her from noticing how less enthusiastic her applause was compared to Matthew's. Once she disappeared to side chamber my stomach made a painful lurch. Hogwarts had to be next.
Then next parchment to shoot from the goblet was completely nondescript. Plain. Bare.
McGonagall read it, then adjusted her glasses. With an astonished glance to the goblet she continued in the same fashion she had with all the others.
"The champion for Hogwarts," I don't know how I knew, but I just did, I turned in my seat and puked onto the floor as she read my name, "Rose Weasley!"
It was silent. No applause. I heard Al curse in a sympathetic sort of way. I am so dead. I puked again. I blanked out everyone around me, all I could hear was the repulsive sound of my vomit splattering on the ground.
I stood up clutching my tummy. As I stumbled along I heard people start clapping uncertainly. I relaxed somewhat once I reached the safety of the side chamber. I looked at my two cheerful, strong competitors (assuming nobody pulls a Harry Potter) and felt ashamed. Matthew attempted a smile, Kristine gave me a look of unmasked disgust as if to say this is the best Hogwarts has to offer? Can't say I disagree.
So that's where I am now. Wiping my mouth with my sleeve, gross, but not as gross as having puke on my face.
"Vell done!" Beamed Matthew
"I 'ope you 'ave thought this through" was all Kristine said.
I smiled meekly; she was as oblivious to our being related as I had been.
Why did I put my name in the goblet again? To prove Al wrong I guess, and I had, but next time I see him I swear to god the boy better run fast. I felt stupider than the witch who tried to teach a muggle to fly. Then all of the staff rushed in, the two ministry men behind. McGonagall trotted to my side.
"I know it's a bit of a shock, but you're feeling better now aren't you?"
"You have each been selected to participate in the Triwizard tournament. This may seem daunting but the goblet has decided that you are capable and you should trust its decision" I could tell this was aimed at me, "this in no way means it will be easy.
"This however is not the main thing I wish to speak to you about. The ministry has decided that to clear up any negative thoughts towards the tournament we will pick up where we left off, not last tournament, but many years before then. In the first task you will be facing a cockatrice. We are telling you this as one of our new safety precautions is to give you a hint for each task, though we would also like to inform you that no summoning charms can be used as for safety we are casting spells to unsure things in the arena remain within it, so this means things out of it, must remain so..."
Her mouth was open and words were still coming out so I sort of tuned out. A cockatrice? I think I've heard of one before but I'd always thought they sounded comical. A giant winged lizard with a chickens head, really? But none the less how wise was it for the first task to be what had ended the tournament originally. Not at all is the answer. I added the person who comes up with the tasks to my hit list. By the end of this year I'm gunna have a long list.
When did my handwriting get so bad?
So I may have got into the Triwizard tournament and I'm freaking out. I really didn't expect to get picked. God knows why I put my name in. We have a Hogsmeade trip on the 19th, please could we meet up I really want to talk to someone who's been in the tournament before. Don't tell mum and dad, I'll tell them myself. Write back soon?
I strapped the note to one of the school owl's legs who flew away abruptly leaving me to dart across to the door, trying not to step in any bird mess unsuccessfully. In my defence there was a lot of it.
I made my way to the library, trying my best to avoid human interaction, which was easy as most other students are out enjoying their Saturday as it’s by far the warmest day this year. Meanwhile I sat buried in mounds of books all titled things like exotic creatures and where to find them or magical beasts and their weaknesses. I flicked through one or two of them unsuccessfully before deciding on a more efficient method. I picked up another and opened it at the back page, I traced my finger down the ‘C’ part of the index until I found what I was looking for:
Cockatrice - Page 168
I mentally did a Mr. Burns impression (“excellent”) - which is why granddad Author really should stop showing me muggle television, though we all know he never will – and I was about to start searching for page 168 when it just fell open. Page 167 (“excellent”) and page 170...wait, what? I sat for a while looking at the book, as if, if I did it for long enough, page 168/9 would just jump right out and be all “here I am you crazy witch, gotcha good didn’ I?”
I chucked the book down on the floor as punishment for its uselessness and picked up another. Same drill. Index, flick through, confusion, lack of page. I leant forward and inspected the crime scene, I could just about see where the page had been carefully torn out. I cursed loudly, which earned a disgusted glance from the librarian.
I spent the rest of the day going through the same routine which all the other books, I literally only looked up when I heard the soft thud of someone sitting in the chair next to mine. It was Scorpius McTraitor (mature, I know). I turned back to what must have been the 50th result less book.
He cleared his throat.
“I do know you’re there” I said my voice calm but I was sure as hell laughing triumphantly in my mind.
“How’re things going?” He asked, but not before sighing dramatically.
“Wonderfully, I am living the dream. Spiffing. Magnificent. Everything is absolutely-“
“Cut the crap.” I apologise for his appalling language. “I was just wondering if you’re feeling OK? Don’t bother with the sarcasm, I know you’re still annoyed with me, and I’m not completely happy with how you’ve been acting lately either, I just mean are you managing? I don’t want you slitting your wrists on me or anything.”
“How thoughtful of you.” I slammed my book shut to punctuate my full stop.
“Just shut up” he said, but he smiled softly like he was remembering a fond memory. Maybe he was. Who knows.
Then sort of like he was bracing himself for the worst, he leant towards me and pressed his lips into mine.
There's a sort of weirdness about kissing someone who you've been friends with for so long, but I'm not sure whether it was a good or bad weirdness. Honestly I didn't care. I linked my arms around his neck and I let myself completely forget about the whole I-am-very-likely-to-die-and-someone-has-taken-the-cockatrice-section-out-of-every-book fiasco.
One of his hands was on my back, I could feel its warmth through my shirt, whilst his other was wrapped around my neck, gently supporting me and pushing me towards him, not in a forceful way, but a way that said he wanted me, all of me. I tilted my head to the side and my nose brushed his cheek, he moved the hand which was on my back down, following the curve of my spine then tightening around my waist, pulling me towards him, closer still. The hand around my neck moved also, travelling to my shoulder, enveloping me in a secure embrace, it was like we were making up for all the time we had been just friends.
Scorpius jolted, pushing me away to stare at the newcomer and I too swivelled round to see who’d spoken. I looked at Hugo, who shuffled uncomfortably. Jesus, I’d forgotten my brother even existed, it’s because he’s so quiet, but I felt guilty none the less for spending time with my cousins, but not him.
“Hugo!” I did my bestest casual voice.
“I was just… how are you feeling?”
“Better, I guess,” I stood up and walked over to him, I must remember my manners, “how’s school with you?”
“Really?” He rolled his eyes at me, and not subtly, “you’ve entered yourself in a-a death tournament, and you want to know how school is with me?”
“Right then, well it’s…”
Wow now. He just did darty eyes. He’s done something.
“Hugo, what the hell have you done.”
“What?! Nothing, I don’t get you sometimes. I haven’t done anything, so just get off my back!”
With that he stormed away so I slumped back into my chair, thinking through what he could have done, perhaps a little more than I should.
"You should get some sleep and do this research tomorrow instead"
“Well I should, but someone’s pulled the useful pages of all the books”
“What? Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”
“Oh, at what point ‘earlier’ do you think I should have told you?”
Any previous romance was gone, cheers bro (I know, I can't believe I just said bro either, but brother doesn't really fit in so yeah. How do you like them apples? You know what? I'm just going to stop now).
We walked back to the common room together, only he seemed to be very distant the whole time. Did he not like me anymore? Or was he regretting kissing me? Shit! Why was he being so confusing? I don't like to have to work things out, I want people to be blunt with me. If he doesn't like me, I'd rather he just said it. Actually scrap that, I'd cry myself to sleep each night. Maybe I'm just over-reacting? I have the right to over-react! I have a high chance of death in the next couple of... wow... I just realised I don't actually know when the first task is. I really should.
With all this thinking I bet I look distant as well. Maybe he's noticed, maybe he's thinking exactly what I am which is just going to make him look more distant. Maybe that's why he looked distant in the first place, because I did. Why did I look distant earlier? My gosh, this is like a distant fest.
Oh, we're in the common room now. When did this happen? I can't even keep track of where I'm walking, I'm screwed at life.
He smiled but I could see it was fake. Well, I think I could see it was fake.
When did I get this confused, I never get confused this easily. I blame Scorpius. Walking up stairs to his bedroom like nothing's happened. Two can play at that game.
"Rose! Where the hell have you been!" Called Al as soon as I entered the main hall. It wasn't just him though, everyone had gathered round for the Rose Weasley appreciation society. Beside Al, Scorpius was eating determinedly, Trina next to him giggling and flicking her hair ignoring the fact, literally all of my relatives who go to Hogwarts were opposite them grinning nervously at me. Worryingly the only one there I wanted to see was Aslan who Lucy was cradling.
"Hey guys," make your way over to Lucy, take Aslan.
"You're going to do fine in the tournament Rose." Fred ruffled my hair because he knows I hate it.
"Oh, well you've said it so it must be true" I sat between him and Lucy whilst he pulled a very-funny-but-not-really face.
"Goblet wouldn't have picked you if you couldn't do it" I could retort but I was distracted by trying to manoeuvre Aslan from Lucy's vice like grip. She's so like her dad, Percy. I'm just thankful last year was Molly's last, Molly and Lucy are the only two cousins I don't get along with. I wouldn't be surprised if Professor Carson was their real mum their so boring.
Once I'd prised my cat free, I turned to the expectant faces of the overly-large Weasley family. Well about a tenth of it. Lily looked ready to puke.
"Lily, you feeling alright?" I am so caring.
She fixated me with a slightly intimidating stare, her eyes brimming with tears. I think she's about to cry. Please don't. Please.
Lucy who was next to her looked alarmed as she began bawling, leaning away from her like she was contagious. How sensitive of her. James lead his little sister away whose loud crying was attracting a lot of attention from around the room as she hiccupped something along the lines of "I-I, well -I'm so w-w-worried about her!". Then I notice Hugo. Sitting across from me eating his breakfast with the same intensity Scorpius was.
They were both trying to blank me. Well then. Maybe they should move from my appreciation society. Gosh. Youths these days. Unbelievable. Un-bloody-believable.
Just look at Hugo. Obviously annoyed that I almost found something out yesterday. As for Scorpius, his mood swings were practically evidence of the fact man-periods exist. Maybe yesterday was just a pity kiss. It didn’t feel like a pity kiss, but what do I know? I’ve only kissed two people, one after one (or five) too many firewhiskeys and the other in a fourth year relationship I would rather not talk about. Still deep in thoughts of pity kisses and firewhiskey I headed over to first class which I was almost immediately taken out of, along with Matthew, by a short, plump woman with a glossy brown bob which seemed to exenterate her round face to the highest degree (what a berk).
Although I was glad for an excuse to get away from lesson the 'weighing of wands' was a lot less interesting than it sounded. The man who was in charge of the inspecting was young and showed no evidence of having been apprenticed to the great Olivander, he literally just asked us what our wand core was, then nodded in agreement explaining how he had known all along. Then dismissed us, telling us that he would check everything was all in order before we entered the arena.
There was an arena.
Well excuse me whilst I shit a brick. Or curl up into a fetal position and refuse to move. Or on this weekends Hogsmeade trip I could sneak into Honeydukes cellar, crawl into a bucket and live there, eating dropped sweets and pop out for the odd butterbeer. As much as I was joking, that sounds so tempting. I mentally slapped myself and focused my energy on placing one foot in front of the other. Wait where was I going? Because my legs certainly weren't taking me back to lesson.
Before I could consider why I was rebelling against myself, I was knocking on the large wooden door of Hagrid's hut. It reminded me of when I first met him, he came round a lot, him and mum and dad where very close. He'd always been very nice to me because I was the child of two of his favourite people in the world (alongside Harry and Madame Maxime). The door swung open and he beamed down at me, stepping back for me to enter.
His hut was cluttered as ever, pots, pans and bunches of herbs hung from the walls, while pretty much everything that it is physically possible to fit on a table, is on the table. Since Fang died it has seemed more cluttered, like if he stacked up enough things he wouldn't notice the empty basket.
"You alrigh' 'bout this tournament? Yeh seemed awful shaken up the other nigh'"
Hell no, I feel constantly sick and I'm fairly sure I'm going to die.
"Yeah, I'm doing fine"
I think my best friend may have pity kissed me.
"Well, all the best but what brings yeh here today, shouldn't you be in lesson?"
I'm sharing a dorm with the biggest tosser ever.
"It's to do with the tournament actually"
And my brother is hiding something from me.
"How can I help yeh?"
"It's just they've told us that we're fighting a Cockatrice," heehee, cock, "but when I went to look in the library, someone's ripped all of the pages out of the books which talk about Cockatrices so I really have no idea about anything to do with them, so I thought hey, know someone who knows lots of stuff about animals and things like this so why don't I just pop on ove-"
"A Cockatrice!" He stood up, pushing his chair a good couple of metres away from the table.
"It's ok, I was just wondering-"
"Oh no no no," he busied himself with boiling the kettle, but he was clearly flustered, knocking over a jar of sugar and a bucket sized mug which shattered on the floor, "that can't be righ', they know wha' happened last time, tha' jus' ain't fair on you!" He throw the pieces of mug he had collected back to the ground to empathises his point. This was not helping my nerves.
"Is it really that bad?"
"Well, yeah... But no! No! I'm, sure it's nothing you couldn't handle!" He clapped me on the back, I gripped my chair tightly for support and tried not to fall off it, "all you need to remember is not teh look in his eyes!"
"The thing is, well, jus' that it would kill yeh stone dead, but so would it if it breathed on yeh... Jus' be real careful"
Do not hyperventilate. Do not hyperventilate.
"Ummm, and is there any ways to kill them?"
"Not many no... But its own reflection would do!"
I sat contemplating all the ways in which I could get a mirror into the arena, why was it this year that we weren't allowed to use summoning spells? I jerked up when Hagrid placed a cup of tea in front of me, it sloped from side to side, splashing onto the table. He pulled his chair back and watched me uneasily, looking away whenever I looked up, distracting himself sipping his drink or tapping his fingers.
I glugged mine down as fast as I could because as much as I love him, he was making me feel like my breakfast was going to revisit us bless him. In one of my swift, super subtle movements I got up and put my empty cup down on the side, then left. But obviously not without a spine-crushing hug.
The next morning was one of the worst in my life, although I received a reply from Harry which basically explain how shocked he was, how stupid I was, how he had told my parents despite me telling him not too and how of course he would meet me on Saturday, Professor McGonagall decided to drop a bit of a bummer on me. Actually scrap that last bit, it sounds weird and slightly disturbing.
The basic gist of it was that although it was 'terribly regrettable' and she knew it was pushing us to the very limit, the Cockatrice keeper (because apparently there is such thing) has had a family emergency, which means the Cockatrice need to go. Whether that means killing them or sending them back isn't really his concern, but the school has decided that this means that the first task has been moved to today. Today. I have to kill it today.
Like I said.
They led me to the tent for me to prepare. Prepare what? I haven't got a clue what I'm doing, if I was shitting a brick before, I was now shitting a tractor complete with farm house and three residents.
I tugged on the outfit they'd given me, thankful for the gloves because my hands were sweating so much there was no chance of me holding my wand otherwise. Lush, I know. I was pale and physically shivering, so when I walked from the bathroom into the main compartment trying to swallow the taste of puke, you can imagine how delighted I was to see Scorpius. Man up, I told myself, you have to face a flying monster and the whole of Hogwarts next.
"Look, about everything that happened the other day I'd just like to..." He ran his hand through his hair again, but this time it was like he was trying to pull it out.
"I know, it was a pity kiss, don't flatter yourself in thinking I enjoyed it that much" Bullshit, I loved it.
"I wasn't going to say that, but if that's how you feel, it doesn't really matter"
"Don't you dare leave without explaining yourself" God I hate it when people bring something up, then claim it 'doesn't matter'.
"If you don't really care about me it doesn't matter"
"I'm going out with Trina"
All I can say is that I fear for the Cockatrice that has to face me.