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Chapter 11 : Chapter 11
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There was glitter…everywhere.
It stuck to everything. It was on my fingers, on my clothes, in my hair, on the floor, on the tables, on the children…
I had a newfound enemy, and it was glitter.
It was now October, and the leaves were starting to turn. Today’s activity in class was to make a ‘spooky’ poster, in honour of the approaching festivities.
Halloween wasn’t particularly big in the Muggle world, as I’d found out, and feasts like we’d had at Hogwarts weren’t really the go. Letting the children create pretty things that sparkle, however, was apparently an acceptable Halloween activity.
I didn’t really care about that part. I only cared about the sheer amount of glitter, and sparkles, and paper cuttings that now littered the previously clean classroom.
Sure, we had cleaning staff. But I was the one in charge of organising the cabinets, and all of those paper scraps and sparkles and the tubs of glitter, they all belonged in the cabinets.
So at the end of the day, I’d be getting covered in some more glitter, just because I could. It was times like this that I really wished I could use magic.
Sophia was creating a picture of a witch, which didn’t surprise me at all. I’d slipped her a book on basic magic history a few weeks previously, which she’d then returned, swearing she hadn’t let her parents see it. She was fascinated with the whole world, but thankfully, she hardly saw me except for when I was working, so she hadn’t bugged me about it too much.
“Is this right, Miss Weasley?” one of the other children by the name of David asked, holding up an image of something.
I couldn’t really figure out what it was, some kind of monster.
That’s the problem with letting the older year levels create things. The younger years had fun with it and were occupied by it. These children here were almost Hogwarts age, and it didn’t really entertain them anymore.
I knew Penelope had a plan to make them write their own fairy-tale tomorrow, so I suppose that was the intelligent task. We’d spent an hour on times tables this morning, they probably did deserve a break.
I couldn’t help but wish we were doing more maths or writing stories, however. It was a lot easier on both me and Penelope, though it was boring for the kids.
“That’s nice, David,” I said in reply, before moving on to observe the other tables.
I was quite well adjusted with my job now. I still hated certain aspects of it, but I understood how to do most things. The children had warmed up to me a little bit, and Penelope seemed to feel more comfortable with leaving me alone with them in the classroom. She was also getting tired easily now because of her pregnancy, so I think it was good for her to have someone else to rely on.
Most of the teachers hadn’t really changed their attitudes towards me at all. Jack Pinton and Amelia Turpin were the most outspoken against me, and they never spoke to me at all if they could help it.
The Larcos’s were alright, and spoke to me most days when we were in the staffroom. They all still seemed hesitant and unsure, though, and I couldn’t blame them. I wasn’t giving them the whole story, and I was sure they’d picked up on that.
I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought I was hiding from them. They certainly wouldn’t have guessed I was actually a witch who attended a magical school.
Whatever they thought, it was probably nothing positive.
The bell rang soon after, and there was a flurry of activity as the children rushed to pack up and get home. Penelope just barely kept control of them at this hour, and today was no exception.
I stood to the side of the door as they left, and then turned to the mountain of craft supplies awaiting my attention.
“Just put them back in the cupboard,” Penelope said as she moved out of the room and down the hall to the staff room.
Groaning inwardly, I bent down on my hands and knees to begin picking up scraps of things that could be used again.
This would be a long afternoon.
That evening, Scorpius and I met up outside the Leaky Cauldron. I still hadn’t done anything about my resurfaced emotions, but they were still very much present. We had, however, made some progress on getting Miranda to tell Albus how she felt.
I knew I was being hypocritical, trying to get her to confess her emotions to him when I couldn’t do the same thing with Scorpius. I knew, but I ignored it.
They’d go away, surely. I’d broken up with him for a reason, a very good reason. That reason, however, wasn’t really applicable anymore.
He never knew why I’d broken up with him. I’d never told him, or anyone else, though Miranda had guessed.
“Hey,” I said, walking up to him.
He was leaning against the wall of the pub, and smiled as he saw me, moving to stand up straight.
“Hi,” he replied, and we walked inside together.
He’d been spending a lot of time lately on the story. I had been trying to help, and had found a few things from snooping around down and interrogating Dad, but most of it Scorpius did himself. It was his career, after all, and I had my own job to deal with.
“There’s not a lot we can do, you know,” he said, and I nodded, instantly knowing what he was talking about.
“Miranda has to tell him herself. I’ve tried to instill confidence in her about it, but I don’t know if it worked,” I said, agreeing with him.
“It’s their business,” he stated, and I nodded.
That was true. As much as it might annoy us that she wouldn’t tell him, ultimately, it wasn’t our place to interfere. We could support her, yes, but we couldn’t do it for her.
“They’re both coming after work as usual?” I said as we sat down, ordering the customary butterbeer.
It had been awhile since the four of us had sat down, and I knew Albus in particular wanted to hear how both Scorpius and I were progressing. To be honest, I didn’t half care about the challenge any more. It was rather stupid anyway, we were essentially betting on the fact that one of us would fail.
How depressing is that?
I stopped myself before I blurted out something stupid. I’d nearly said something to him so many times over the past few weeks, but I’d chickened out each time. I didn’t want him to know.
It was just a momentary lapse in judgement every time I opened my mouth to say something. I’d stopped myself each time.
“Yes?” he said, casting me a quizzical look.
“Nothing,” I said sheepishly, hurriedly taking a sip from my butterbeer to distract myself.
Things used to be so easy between the two of us. We’d hated each other, and that was simple. Then we’d been dating, and things got complicated. I’d broken up with him, and things only got worse. It had taken us months to get back to an easy relationship, and here I was, stuffing it all up by bringing my emotions into the equation.
I looked up, sincerely hoping that my face wasn’t blushing red, and smiled at Miranda.
“Hey,” I said back as she slid into the seat opposite me and beside Scorpius.
“How are you?” she said, and I groaned.
“I hate glitter,” I said bluntly.
The two of them burst out laughing at that, and I just glared. They didn’t’ understand. Until you were thrust into a glitter explosion like I was today, you wouldn’t understand.
“It sticks to everything. I had two showers when I got home from work, but it’s still in my clothes. I hate that stuff.” I said, shuddering at the thought of the sparkly substance.
“Why were you covered in glitter?” Miranda asked, understandably confused.
“The kids had a craft project, and me, being the lucky person I am, had to clean up the supplies at the end of the day.”
Miranda just laughed, and I kept my scowl in place.
“I bet you looked pretty with sparkly hair,” Scorpius said suddenly, and I froze.
That was quite possibly the oddest compliment I’d ever received, but nevertheless, it affected me. I saw Miranda’s eyes dart to my face as I blinked repeatedly at Scorpius.
“Sorry?” I eventually choked out, and he shrugged.
“It would sparkle in the sun, like a disco ball.”
There was a moment silence as Miranda and I contemplated this, and then we burst out laughing.
Apparently in Scorpius’ mind, I was a disco ball. Well, that’s comforting.
“Thanks, Scorpius, really,” I said with a smirk, and he grinned back.
There was something more in his gaze than simple humour and mischief that time, and I found myself staring into his eyes for longer than I should have been.
Miranda, who’d been laughing, was now staring at me out of the corner of her eye. Scorpius broke the gaze, turning his head to the door to see Albus had arrived. My eyes moved from him, and I looked down at the table.
That had been a very loaded ‘anytime’. Yes, it was humorous, but I could see the serious note in his eyes. He’d meant more than just he’d joke any time.
There was more to that statement, but I couldn’t figure out what.
“What was that?” Miranda hissed in my ear, and I shrugged.
“I don’t know!” I cried softly, and the corner of her mouth twitched up slightly in a sympathetic smile.
Albus came and sat down with us, ordering a butterbeer as well.
“Evening,” he said, and we all replied accordingly.
We started idly chatting, and I found myself staring about the room, observing the other patrons of the Leaky Cauldron. There was a witch shrouded in black in the corner, eating what looked like raw meat. There was a man by the door with a long black beard that looked, at a distance, like it had it’s own mouth.
Looking closer, I was stunned to realise it did. He had a talking beard.
Well, that was something new. I watched as he walked over to Hannah and ordered a meal, saying half of the sentence with his normal mouth, and the other half with the mouth in his beard.
That was one weird ailment. I suppose if I worked in St Mungo’s, I’d see a lot of different things like that.
Frankly, I couldn’t handle it. I was sniggering slightly at just the mere sight of this man, working around people in similar situations would be almost impossible for me.
I moved my eyes back to our table, and saw that Albus, as well as ordering his drink, and conned Hannah into giving us an order of nachos, complete with cheese, sour cream, avocado dip (guacamole, or whatever it’s called) and salsa.
I wasn’t a huge fan of nachos. I found the chips tended to go soggy, either that or they were way, way too crunchy.
What can I say, I’m picky when it comes to corn chips.
“So, Scorpius and Rose, who’s winning on the work front?” Albus said, and both Scorpius and I scowled at him.
“Neither of us has failed yet,” I said resolutely, and Scorpius jumped in, backing me up.
“We’re both struggling on with it,” he said, and Albus looked from one of us to the other.
“Well, you’re no fun,” he said, and then entered into a discussion about his work with Miranda, who animatedly replied.
She was always like that with Albus. She’d drop anything to do something for him, or talk to him. I thought it was a little scary, personally, but I’d never tell her that.
I turned to Scorpius then, since the other two were too lost in their own private catch up session to care what we said.
“Any new break throughs with the story?” I enquired, and he shook his head, to my disappointment.
“I’ve got a segment on their hide out, and I’ve collected all the articles on past dark object trading, and the initial report on the capture of that man a few months back. Since then, though, there doesn’t seem to be any leads. Have you heard anything from your father?” he said, a trouble look crossing his face.
I shook my head sadly.
“He won’t tell me much, but I know they dug around the house and the town, but nothing came up. Whoever these guys are, they’re big league criminals. They’re planning something from the sounds of it, but the Aurors can’t figure out what. Sophia said it was a break in, but where?”
I sighed in frustration, and Scorpius rested his chin on his hand.
It was hopeless, it really was.
They could want to break in to any number of places. Gringotts would be an obvious choice, as would Azkaban, since they had a colleague in there.
“I’m going to go take a walk, see if that helps me think of something,” I said, excusing myself from the table.
Albus and Miranda looked a little confused at my sudden departure, but I ignored them and marched out the door and onto the windy London streets.
I drew my coat in closer around me, put my head down, and walked along, blending into the crowd. My red Weasley hair wasn’t visible as I’d put my hood up, and I was in a Muggle area anyway. It was nice to have anonymity for once.
I was sure there was a simple explanation for what Sophia had overheard. The Aurors didn’t know her like I did, and I knew she’d told me more than she’d told them.
I had to keep telling myself, however, that I didn’t need to solve this case. Scorpius just needed a good story. Finding out the name of this trading ring, for example, would be incredibly helpful for him. He didn’t need to know how this was going to end, he needed to know how big they were, what sort of things they’d done in the past. Solving it wasn’t what he was concerned with.
As much as I tried to think about the traders, my mind kept turning back to Scorpius. I couldn’t bloody help it.
It had been my decision to break up with him, it was entirely on my head. I’d hurt him with what I’d done to him.
I’d told myself it was for his own good, and it probably was. He didn’t know that, however.
I paced up and down my dormitory, unable to get Scorpius’ words out of my head. He’d said many times now that he needed to focus on his exams and prove to his father that he was capable.
More than that, he wanted to prove to the world that he was capable.
I was holding him back. I knew I was. I needed to get up the courage to break up with him.
The thing was, I couldn’t tell him that. He wouldn’t’ let me break up with him for his own good. I’d have to come up with a better excuse.
Two nights ago, I had come up with one. I just wasn’t sure I could execute it.
Scorpius had spent a lot of time talking to other girls recently, and I knew it was about classes and exams and studying. I knew that.
But a part of me was jealous. They were prettier and more attractive than me, not to mention they dressed in a more feminine style.
My plan, therefore, was to act on my jealousy. I could probably act that well enough, and break up with him, maybe accuse him of cheating. I didn’t know if I could go that far, but it was the only plan I had.
I had to do something. I couldn’t’ stay with him. This relationship was quickly growing to be way too serious for my liking, and I wasn’t ready to deal with that. He had great things planned, and I couldn’t’ drag him down. I just couldn’t.
Mustering up my resolve, I stuck my chin in the air and headed downstairs to meet Scorpius in the Entrance Hall. I’d been planning this for a while, but I still had no real idea what I was going to say.
It was quite a long walk from Gryffindor tower to the steps in the Entrance Hall, but usually I wasn’t aware of it. Tonight, however, it seemed like the longest walk in the world. There were a few students about, as there was about an hour till curfew, but none of them paid me any mind.
I stopped at the top of the stairs, my eyes alighting on the top of his head as he waited for me.
He said he loved me.
Did I love him? I wasn’t sure.
I was scared, that much I knew. I didn’t want to do this yet. I didn’t want to be the person he fell in love with who dragged him down and kept him from his potential. I couldn’t be that person.
“Scorpius, we need to talk.”
I breathed deeply, channelling the Gryffindor qualities I possessed. It was time to stand up, to be the bigger person.
He would be better off without me.
I started talking, talking about my jealousy, playing it up. I pretended to be mad that he was speaking to those other girls, I even managed to screw up my face and look like I was about to cry. I could see the hurt on his face, I could see how much I was hurting him.
I couldn’t stop. It might hurt now, but in the long run, he’d be better for it.
“I think we should break up,” I finally uttered, and a deathly silence fell in the entrance hall.
I turned on me heel and ran, no longer acting like the Gryffindor I was. I ran far away from the man I possibly loved, who loved me back. I ran from the possibility, the future. I ran to give him space, to let him live, to let him be amazing.
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