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Chapter 6 : Confusing Clues
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“Are you sure?” I asked cautiously.
“Yeah,” he chuckled, “It’s my second one.”
“Thanks Fred. Err, is Al...” I let my sentence trail off and hesitated.
“No, he isn’t mad anymore. He calmed down after we went upstairs, and he even apologized to Will for being an arse,” Fred whispered so only I could hear, chuckling slightly. Al was busy helping Lyra with Charms homework, so thankfully he wasn't paying attention to us.
“What was his issue, anyway?” I asked as I began to eat. I had my own suspicions – or maybe hopes – so I studied Fred’s reaction carefully. “He got so damn upset with Will. Why?”
“I can't tell you, but you should talk to him. He feels bad about it, whether or not he'll actually admit it.” Fred explained quickly. I only nodded as his features stayed loyal to Al, and ate the bit of breakfast he had saved me. I looked over to the Slytherin table after Fred turned to talk to Al and Lyra, and shifted through the students until I found Scorpius. He was without Rose, and was talking to his usual friends. I watched until he finally looked towards me. I felt my shoulders slump as he looked away quickly, clearly annoyed with me that I didn't show up the previous night.
“What's up with you lately?” Fred asked suddenly, pulling my gaze away from the Slytherin table. He took a bit of bacon off my plate and stated, "You seem really strange this week. Do you want to go flying today? The pitch is open to all houses on Sundays. We can hit a Bludger back and forth, work off some steam?"
“Err, sure. Sounds great,” I said with a smile, effectively ignoring his first question. I didn't know how much talking I really wanted to do, considering I was sneaking around behind his cousin's back and snogging her boyfriend. But flying always made me happy, especially with Fred.
“Students!” Professor McGonagall announced from the front of the Great Hall. We all turned from our conversations to listen. “I feel it necessary to remind you that there is an age limit of seventeen when entering the school tournament. Students younger will not be accepted.” She pursed her lips as the snickers of the students had become louder than she cared to talk over. I looked down the table towards some of the fifth years, where Lily and Roxy were patting the back of Hugo. He had just been released from the hospital wing earlier this morning, clean shaven.
“Secondly, the name submission will be closed Friday at seven. We will be drawing immediately following, so see you do attend that dinner if you are interested. If you plan on submitting your name for the tournament, please do so within the week,” she stated as she peered around the Great Hall. “Have a happy Sunday.”
As everyone started to leave and begin their Sunday, I pulled Al aside. I was about to apologize, but he held his hand up to stop me.
“Hannah, I'm sorry for blowing up on you. We shouldn't have been listening in, it's my fault,” he mumbled, looking towards the ground.
“We both yelled irrationally, Al. I'm sorry too. Friends?” I offered my arms out for a hug, chuckling. He too laughed, and accepted.
“Take that, little girls,” I laughed as I let go.
“Oh, don't get them started; I can't deal with it today,” he muttered, rubbing his temples. I simply laughed more, and added “Fred and I are going out to the pitch, do you want to tag along?”
He hesitated for a minute. “No, that’s okay, you two go ahead, I need to finish my Herbology homework.” he waved goodbye to the two of us. After he headed over to bother Sophie into writing more of his essay, I turned back to Fred.
“That was sweet, it’s lovely to see you too make up,” he chuckled sarcastically. After I hit him in the shoulder he only laughed more. “Are you ready to go?”
I nodded. “I just have to stop at the dorms to grab my broom and bat,”
We discussed the first few weeks of classes as we walked back to the dorms, even though we had every class together. I was laughing so much that by the time we got to the portrait hole, the Fat Lady was giving the two of us a look of mixed fear and annoyance. Mostly annoyance.
"Don't worry ma'am, no fireworks... today. Gillyweed," Fred promised through his laughter. She clicked her tongue at us before swinging open. I ran up to get my bat and my Firebolt 3, my two favorite possessions in the world. I got the broom from my dad as a gift after making the Gryffindor Quidditch team. At the time it was relatively new, (my dad plays professional Quidditch, and I'm an only child. I'm spoiled.) But in recent years, the company that produces Firebolts has come out with five new brooms, making mine old but none the less, great. My bat was another one of the greatest things I owned. I got it for Christmas in my fourth year from Fred. It used to belong to his dad, and he used the one that belonged to his late uncle Fred, his namesake. He told me all about how since we were basically twins; we should use twins' bats. I chuckled at the memory of that Christmas; I felt bad that I had gotten him socks.
I quickly changed into one of my old jerseys before running back down and meeting up with Fred. We left the common room and started to make our way to the Quidditch pitch.
“Wait,” Fred said suddenly, and stopped.
"I have to use the loo before we go," he stated. I had a few flashbacks of him leaving the middle of a game to use the restrooms, so I gestured for him to hurry up. I rolled my eyes as he rushed ahead into the boy’s lavatory.
I was leaning against the wall still laughing at Fred, and I'll bet you can guess who came around the corner. It’s like, I make fun of Trelawney in divination, and suddenly she’s sent the fates against me.
“Scorpius, I need to talk to you,” I said persistently. After a small pause, he only sped up and headed for the Slytherin common room. "Scorpius!"
“Hannah, I'm busy,” he said blankly as he turned around, although I could see he was upset. “I'm going to meet Rose,” he added at the last second before he turned around and headed towards the dungeons.
I felt my heart drop. He just had to twist the knife with the Rose comment. I didn't realize not showing up would have such a negative effect on him. I turned around and headed back to waiting outside the bathroom.
“There, all better – what’s wrong?” Fred asked as he walked out of the bathroom, wiping his hands on his old Gryffindor uniform.
“Nothing. Are you ready?” I asked as I gave him the best smile I could muster. He nodded, and we walked out to the pitch in silence. After cutting through the Gryffindor locker rooms, we headed to the Quidditch shed and found a rather old looking Bludger that wouldn't run away from us. I put a charm on it to stay between the two of us, and we flew up to a corner of the pitch near the goal posts.
“So, are you going to tell me what's up with you, or are you just going to say 'nothing' if I ask what's wrong again?” he questioned, taking a first swing at the still bludger. I smacked it back, hitting it through the left goal post, and towards him.
“It's complicated,” I said with a different emphasis on each syllable. He chuckled, but quickly put his focus back on hitting the Bludger towards me.
I dodged its attack and sent it back before looking towards him. After he sighed he continued; “That's under the 'nothing' category I just talked about, Hannah. Come on, you can tell me. When have I ever given you a reason not to trust to me?” he asked with a genuine curious tone.
I abandoned my hunt for the Bludger and glared at him. “How about the time in third year when you told James Potter I fancied him!?” I retorted while I attempted to keep a stern complexion. (It happened; I'm not ashamed. Half the girls in school did, so I wasn't alone.)
“I already said sorry for that! Besides, it slipped out,” he retorted right back. I glared at him until I couldn’t keep a straight face, giving him the okay to continue talking. “So that's it then, you're going to keep it all bottled up?”
“It's just, complicated Fred. If I knew how to explain it to myself, you'd be the first one I'd tell,” I promised, giving him an apologetic shrug. Truth to be told, I'd probably tell Sophie if anyone. But, anything to get him to stop asking.
“It's alright Hannah. Let's fly around a bit, and then we'll go in. Let's race!” he said happily before flying off to the other end of the pitch. I chased after him, laughing freely for the first time since I got to school. Fred was such a great friend.
The following week of classes was emotionally brutal for me. Every day I sent notes to Scorpius, begging him to please listen to me, and if we could go back to even friends. But he threw them all away without looking. It was affecting my mood so much, that Wednesday night, Fred and Al tried to sneak me a Cheering Potion into my pumpkin juice.
He seemed to be even more lovey with Rose, although I could tell it wasn't sincere by the upset scowl he wore through classes that week when Rose wasn't present. Scorpius refused to look at me until Friday in Care of Magical Creatures. Professor Hagrid decided class would run with fewer accidents if we were paired off, (I don't get the logic either.) and I was put with Theodore Whitley, the Slytherin Quidditch captain and Keeper. He gave me an aggravated nod as I set my bag down on the ground and dropped into the chair next to him.
“Keep that scowl up, Teddy. It's actually improving your appearance, and us Gryffindors really are that bad,” I muttered so only he could hear me. His face slipped from his hardened frown to one of surprise. “I'll go get our Nogtail.”
As I peered down into the cage of Nogtails I tried to find one of the less evil-looking ones for our project. They resembled pigs, but angrier, and a lot uglier. As I picked him... her... it up, I turned around to make it back to the table before it let any 'unknown fluids' out, and I nearly barreled into Scorpius.
I immediately shot my gaze at the ground to avoid him, but when he said, “Sorry Hannah,” followed by a whispered “Look in your bag.” I looked back up, and he was smiling. I couldn't help but smile back; it felt like the first time in weeks.
As I sat back down, I realized Ted was still staring at me.
“You know, if you keep your face like that too long, it's going to stay like that.” I chuckled, remembering what my mum used to tell me when I'd make faces at her. I set the Nogtail down on the table where it curled up and began to sleep.
“No one's ever called me 'Teddy' before,” he said, raising an eyebrow up towards his dark hairline.
I laughed. “Well to tell you the truth, it could be because you don't remind too many people of a teddy bear.” He considered that for a minute before laughing himself.
He chuckled, “Okay, Wood, we’ll see,” before pulling on his dragon hide gloves and prodding at the Nogtail in an attempt to feed it. He muttered, “I don't know if Scorpius told you, but check your bag, he had me play messenger. I'll cover if you want to read it now.”
I nodded, and dug through my mess of a bag to find a neatly folded piece of parchment.
I forgive you for not showing up last Saturday. I was talking to Rose and she mentioned you got caught and she bailed you out. If you can be a little more careful, how about meeting me in on the seventh floor in the east corridor, tonight at eleven.
He wants me to meet him in the middle of a corridor? He got his Head Boy status how? Surely if it wasn't for his brain, it must have been the looks. That I could understand.
“Oh, bullocks! Sorry Teddy.” I snapped back into the class at hand, grabbing on to the hind legs of the Nogtail that was now going for his face. I pulled the thing away and set a piece of meat in front of it to occupy it as I began to wash it.
Ted was looking at me. When I raised an eyebrow to ask what was wrong, he said, “There you go again, Teddy. Even my parents just call me Ted,” he said, eying me curiously. I could tell he was trying not to laugh, and keep a serious face. He was failing miserably.
“Just because you're an evil Slytherin doesn't mean you can't laugh.” I chuckled, finally causing him to break into a grin.
“We're not all evil, you know,” he said, prodding the Nogtail with a bit of apple. “I mean, the whole Voldemort thing gave us a bad rap for a while, but I think we're doing better.”
I let out a loud laugh, causing a few of the nearby tables to turn and look. Fred had his mouth hanging open in confusion, lost at how I could actually be laughing paired with Theodore Whitley. He was currently sitting on the edge of the table away from a Slytherin girl who I did not know.
“She's not going to eat that,” I said as I turned back to Teddy and our Nogtail, grabbing another piece of raw meat and offering it. The Nogtail took it from my hand gratefully, rushing off to the edge of the table to keep the food to herself.
“How do you know it's a she?” Ted asked, throwing the apple behind his back.
“I just do,” I smirked. He let out a small chuckle, nodding his head at me.
Professor Hagrid closed the lesson by telling us we'd be raising the Nogtail for a term assignment and that we'd be keeping with the same partners once a week on Fridays. I grinned at this; working with Ted was better than I thought it would be.
Dinner that evening was the drawing for the tournament, so everyone who had entered was on edge. Al was pushing around the potatoes on his plate, staring off into space. As I stole a peek over at the Slytherin table, Rose was trying to cheer Scorpius up but he was doing the same as Al. I'd have to see how he was feeling when I met up with him later tonight.
We did have a few last-minute students who decided to enter in the tournament. We didn't have any more beards sprout, so thankfully the students entering were all of age. The only significant entry was Ted, my partner from Care of Magical Creatures earlier that day. There was another girl I recognized as a beater on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, Elaine, as well as two guys wearing Ravenclaw robes.
The entire hall fell silent as Professor McGonagall stood up, and we watched anxiously as she walked towards the glowing goblet.
“Even if you don't get picked, Al, we'll still be your friends,” Fred joked. Al gave him a half-chuckle and went back to tapping his fingers anxiously on the table.
As the clock struck seven, the goblet burst into red flames and out flew a piece of parchment.
“The champion from Hufflepuff is Joseph Smith,” Professor McGonagall said, but was shortly silenced by the loud cheer coming from the Hufflepuff table. Joey walked to the front of the Great Hall grinning, and exited to wait in another room.
After a few moments the goblet sent out another name, and Professor McGonagall, after quickly reading said, “The champion from Gryffindor is Albus Potter.”
I stood up cheering immediately, and Fred clapped Al on the back. The Gryffindor table burst into shouts, whistles, and cheers for Al, who stood up and grinned. He headed for the front of the hall where McGonagall directed him to the same room she had Joey.
The third parchment flew out and Professor McGonagall announced, “The champion from Ravenclaw is Lydia Sharp.”
I leaned over to Fred at this and asked; “Is she the one who's on the Quidditch team?”
“That's her sister, I think. She's the Prefect. Remember that time in the library she took points away from us?” he shouted over the cheers coming from the Ravenclaw table.
“I haven't been to the Library since,” I said, laughing in remembrance. Fred's eyebrows sunk in confusion, but he nodded and laughed anyway. He turned to talk to Roxy, so I took the chance to look back over to the Slytherin table, where Scorpius was whispering something to Rose. My chest wrenched a little, but I was getting used to the physical ache it caused every time I looked at them.
“Lastly, the champion from Slytherin is Theodore Whitley,” Professor McGonagall announced. Same as the other houses, the Slytherin table exploded into applause. As I clapped for my Care of Magical Creatures partner, I looked back to Scorpius who wasn't cheering for his friend. He was scowling in a way that I thought he only saved for being angry with me. I felt kind of bad for Ted that his friend wouldn't even support him.
Teddy walked in the same direction that all of the other champions did, and at the same time Scorpius left the Great Hall alone. Professor McGonagall called for another round of applause for all of the champions, so the sound of Rose calling after Scorpius was drowned instantly by the shouting of our fellow students. She gave up once the doors shut behind him and turned to one of the Slytherin Prefects I assumed she had grown close to.
"Should we go back or wait for Al?" Fred asked as the Great Hall began to clear and Filch took down the goblet which was no longer flaming.
"I think we can go," I said, motioning towards the other dispersing students. Sophie nodded in agreement, so the three of us exited the Great Hall and made our way to the Gryffindor Common room.
We waited for two hours before Al showed up. The common room was fairly empty, being that it wasn't past curfew, and Al had cancelled Quidditch practice due to the goblet selection interfering.
"What did McGonagall say?" I asked when Al walked into the portrait hole. He was holding a bit of parchment and reading it as he walked towards us.
"This is my first clue. The first challenge is on the fifth of November," he muttered, sitting on the couch in between Fred and Sophie. He still hadn't looked at any of us; he was just scanning his eyes up and down the page.
"Same week as the first Quidditch match against Slytherin," Fred commented. Al nodded, and continued to stare at the parchment.
"Well... can we see the clue?" I asked. He finally looked up, and brought his thoughts back to the conversation at hand.
"Err, sure. I don't think it'll make any more sense to you than it does to me," he mumbled, passing the note to me. It was a list.
"This is it?" I asked after reading it over a few times. I passed back the note. "I don't know what any of those words mean. I don't get it."
"Me either. I'm doomed," he mumbled, leaning back into the squishy couch and rubbing his temples.
"Al, you've only had this clue for five minutes, you have time to figure out what all of this means." I elbowed him in the side a little, trying to give him some hope. He nodded, even though I was aware he wasn't truly listening.
"Some of them do look familiar," Sophie suddenly said, looking over at the parchment in Al's hand.
Al shot back into a sitting position. "Yeah! Sophie you look, you're way better at this sort of stuff than I am," he added hopefully, pushing the paper into her hand. She blushed a little, but less than she normally would have. She was getting better around him. I watched as she quickly looked over the list and her eyebrows furrowed in concentration.
"I think I recognize this one, and possibly this. I'll have to look them up. I… I could bring down some books tomorrow, if you wanted," she said, showing the paper to Al and pointing at various spots on the page.
He grinned. "Sophie you're a life saver. At least I'll know where to begin. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Al," she said as the color flew up her cheeks. I turned towards the fire so they wouldn't see me laughing and I dug through my bag to occupy myself. After Sophie's face had returned to her normal shade, we discussed the possibilities of what the challenge could be while I kept an eye on the clock, waiting to go meet Scorpius.
"It could be a list of potion ingredients," Fred offered, glancing over at the list in Al's hand.
"That's true," Sophie said, doing the same. "I swear I've read about this." she then added, pointing at the list again. I bit my lip to cover another laugh that was going to escape after Sophie quickly pulled away. Her hand had grazed the top of Al's, sending her cheeks into a whole new shade of red. Al gave an awkward chuckle, before turning back to Fred and discussing the potion idea.
I looked up at the clock; the time was inching closer that I would have to leave. My time to make an easy escape was dwindling down to nothing as my friends sat and continued their discussion. More and more students began to pile into the common room as curfew began to draw closer, so I decided to attempt my escape.
"I, err... need to use the loo," I mumbled, standing up and waving goodbye. Smooth, Hannah. I made my way towards the portrait hole and had almost escaped when Sophie caught on.
"Hannah, you know we have bathrooms in our dorms, right?" she called over.
"Err; I fancy a visit with Moaning Myrtle," I shouted back, and without waiting for my friends answer, I escaped the Gryffindor common room.
I pulled the note out of the pocket of my robes and re-read the line meet me in the corridor. I rolled my eyes before planning out the safest route upstairs.
I was lucky enough to make it this time without being caught. As I turned the corner of the seventh floor corridor, I saw Scorpius pacing back and forth; he seemed to be mumbling to himself.
So what do you say to someone who's been mad at you for the last week?
"Scorpius," I mumbled, walking over. He grinned as he looked up to me, before turning back to the wall. Except it wasn't a wall, it was a door. "Where did this come from?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.
"It's called the Room of Requirement. My dad told me about it." He smirked before pulling the door open. I followed him inside to see a small room with deep blue walls with a couch in the center, facing a roaring fire. "I figured it'd be a little more private than the Astronomy tower," he explained, sitting down on the couch and patting his hand for me to join.
"I'm sorry I didn't show up the other day," I muttered, not sitting down. I looked towards the floor.
"Hannah, it's alright, I already forgave you. Please come and sit." Scorpius begged, patting the seat again. I sat and he grabbed my hand. His hands were always so cold, but it felt nice since I was sweating borderline profusely. He leaned over, and we snogged for a while before I backed off, and sighed.
"Scorpius, why Rose?" I blurted out. Go word vomit. " I mean, I know Rome got in the way of us visiting over the summer, but why Rose?"
"It's... hard to explain, Hannah. I missed you, but I told her I'd write. We were both Prefects, and friends. She suggested we see each other, and it sort of happened," he said, turning and looking towards the fire. "She's such a nice person; I do feel bad about this. It's just; I've liked you for such a long time, Hannah."
I blinked a few times in order to register what he was saying. "Well, why did you never say anything until after you were dating Rose?" I asked.
He immediately furrowed his eyebrows and a small twitch started in his cheek. I was about to take it back and retire to snogging when he stood up.
"How could I?" he asked, more loudly than he intended. He took a deep breath, before continuing much quieter. "How could I, Hannah? You’re always with Weasley and Potter. They hate me.” I started to protest but he held his finger up. “I know Potter doesn’t, but don’t tell me Weasley and I could be best buddies. I couldn't get a second of time around you."
"You know that's not true, Scorpius." I said, standing up at eye level with him. He took in a few angry breaths, before sighing.
"You're right. I messed up. Can we go back to snogging instead of fighting?" he asked. He opened his eyes a little wider, and gave me a crooked smile.
"You're lucky I find you attractive, or you'd have nothing," I said, breaking into a smile. He moved closer to me, and after lifting his hand up to my cheek, pushed a kiss right onto my lips. We stood for a while, as he snaked his arms around my waist, and moved closer to me. I could feel his fingers running along the hem of my shirt, grazing my back. I took a half a step back, to which he responded by moving even closer. The back of my legs bumped into the couch, and with one more small push from him, I fell onto the couch, and Scorpius bent down to continue our snog.
"Sit," I whispered onto his lips, to which I felt him grin. He stopped for only a second, to plop down on the couch, before I climbed on top of him. I ran my fingers through his hair, as he wrapped his arms back around my waist, continuing his fingers running up the length of my spine. I felt him bump into my bra, and the warning lights went up in my brain. I took my fingers out of his hair, and stopped snogging him.
"Scorpius, how much longer?" I breathed.
"'Till what?" he asked, moving his hand up to my cheek in an attempt to get me to kiss him again.
"Until you break up with Rose. How much longer until we can be together without it being like this?" I asked, climbing off of him and sitting next to him. I went for his hand subconsciously, but he pulled away.
"I need time, Hannah, I've told you that," he said, furrowing his eyebrows in frustration. "Do you really want to hurt Rose?"
"Of course I don't. Why would you even ask that?" I said, re-adjusting so I was facing him.
"If I dumped Rose, and dated you the next day, what would she think?" he asked.
"She may think we we've been meeting up in the Astronomy Tower behind her back since the first day of school and snogging? Just a guess, though," I suggested, the sarcasm radiate off me. I couldn't help it, hex me. I started to chuckle, but Scorpius must not have caught it was a joke. "I'm kidding. I get it," I mumbled, fidgeting with my thumbs. "D'you want to meet here Monday night?" I asked after a few seconds, seeing as how the night seemed to be drawing to an end.
"Slytherin has practice Mondays, and I have patrol duty with Rose," Scorpius mumbled, looking towards his shoes. "Tuesday?"
"It'll have to be after practice, but sure," I said, giving him a small smile. I gave him one last kiss goodbye, before walking back to the Gryffindor common room alone.
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