Chapter 47 : Quidditch Practice, Secrets in the Dark, and Freddie
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I could hear my favorite heals clicking against the marble as I ran through the halls, my fingers working furiously against my shirt buttons, my half-on cloak billowing behind me. Shit shit shit, I was so late.McGonagall was going to kill me. Our deal was that I’d attend my classes and I was late.
I passed an alcove and almost kept going, but something caught the corner of my eye, and I backed up quickly to stare. There, scrunched up in a ball and looking incredibly worse for wear, was James.
I mean, uh, Potter.
Nah, I can’t call him that, it’s weird.
I studied my disowned-cousin closely, marveling at the fact that he’d yet to notice my presence. His hair was in complete disarray and looked like he’d spent months in some sort of dusty cellar. His face was a shade and a half paler and had a slightly waxy look to it if I shifted my view just like this—
I blinked and realized that my move had alerted him to my being here.
“You look like hell,” I said bluntly, watching as he scrambled to his feet. I didn’t know if I should call him James or Potter out loud. Shit fuck, disowning a cousin is so inconvenient.
“I—how’s Via?” He said, his voice slightly scratchy, and I recoiled slightly. Not only did he look crazed in his eyes, but he didn’t deserve to talk to me about her.
“Fine—no thanks to you.” I granted him, turning on my heel and continuing down the hall. He wasn’t dead, and that was all that I’d been checking.
“Wait—Rose!” He cried, and I could hear him rushing to follow me.
“Piss off, James,” I snapped, speeding up. “I’m severely late and don’t really feel like talking.”
“Since when do you go to your classes?”
“Since when do you care?” I hissed right before I threw open the door to Arithmancy and darted inside, slamming the door fast enough that I didn’t have to see James’ face again. It bothered me how worried I was—he looked seriously ill—but that didn’t mean I was going to do anything about it.
“Miss Weasley,” Vector chastised and I wrinkled my nose, slipping into the classroom and sitting myself next to some random Hufflepuff who was nearest to the door.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, keeping my eyes low as I removed some parchment and a pen from my bag. I absentmindedly noted that I hadn’t spoken to Scorpius in a couple of days and when I was sure that Professor Vector was back to lecturing, I scanned the classroom for the familiar back of his head. There he was, sitting on the other side of the room, third row from the front. Al was seated dutifully next to him and the pair of them were scrawling notes. I missed him—the both of them, really. Via had woken up two days ago, and she’d been in crippling pain. It had stopped after breakfast, and she’d written it off as just being hungry.
The pain had yet to return, but I’d been reluctant to let her go through her classes alone. She’d insisted however, that if it hadn’t come back by the end of the weekend, we would go to class. And since she hadn’t been in pain again, we’d broken after breakfast this morning to go to class.
“Miss Weasley, do you know the answer?” Vector asked and I blinked, shaking my head away from the scared look on her face that had been there Saturday morning. I was being stupid. Via was fine.
“I don’t,” I murmured, not looking Vector in the eyes. “I don’t know the answer.”
There was a silence and I knew Vector was surprised. Even when I didn’t do anything at all in class, I always knew the answers to questions.
Class ended after what felt like hours but was only fifty minutes. I sent an apologetic glance to Al and Scorp who were on their way over to me.
“I know we haven’t seen each other in forever,” I began quickly, pressing a quick kiss to Scorp’s lips in between words. “But I have to check on Via and then Quidditch practice all free period. Ravenclaw is gonna beat your arses.”
They rolled their eyes at me before the first part of my statement registered.
“Just Via?” Al questioned, the pair of them following me out of the classroom as I wracked my brains for aforementioned girl’s current class. Aha! Charms.
“Not Dom?” Al clarified.
“What’s wrong?” Scorpius’ voice was worried and I stopped walking, spinning around to face them.
“Nothing as far as I know.” I assured them. “She was having weird pains on Saturday, but they went away. Still, I’m worried. We should have gotten it checked on the weekend, but she insisted it was nothing.”
“Weird pai—” Al’s voice lowered as he dragged me into a corner, Scorpius trailing close behind. “Is it the baby?”
“Nothing happened.” I said loudly, trying to push past them. I didn’t even know why I wasn’t agreeing with their worries—I’d been thinking the same thing. But Via said it was nothing, and I wanted to trust her. I wanted her to be right. I wanted it to be nothing. “She’s still as pregnant as ever and I’m just following up. I’ll be out of her hair for a while and I wanted to make sure that she knows that that way when I’m not around, she knows better than to look for me. The match is Thursday and unluckily for you lot, Sam booked the pitch for every possible second up until then. Which means I’m at practice and not with our pregnant friends.”
And with that, I darted underneath Al’s arm, pressed a quick kiss on the side of Scorp’s face and continued in my rapid walking down the stairs to the first floor where Professor Flitwick taught his classes now. Some first year had blown up his old classroom last week and no one could figure out how to get the smell out, so he relocated for the time being.
“Via!” I called, catching sight of her pixie-cut black hair as her class let out. I caught her around the shoulders, bringing my face close so we could talk privately without being eavesdropped upon. “Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine, Ro,” She breathed back, giving me a half-smile. “I told you, it was just a one-time thing. Now go to practice! Ravenclaw has to get the cup this year. I won’t allow anything but.”
“Please,” Dom said, sauntering out of the class, her hand latched to Lysander’s. “We all know us Lions are going to get the cup.”
“Hardly,” Lysander said, releasing his girlfriend’s hand and swinging his arm around my shoulders. “Ravenclaw is the best. No doubt about it.”
“Have the two of you ever been a thing?” I heard Sam’s voice as he met us in the Entrance Hall, our three brooms clutched in his hands. “Rose and Ly.” He clarified.
“They act really close with each other,” Sam explained when he figured we thought he was being dumb. “And yes, Rose is touchy-feely with everyone, but I was just curious.”
“They’ve had sex twice.” Dom revealed and I coughed loudly, trying and failing to hide her voice.
“One and a half times.” Lysander spoke over Sam’s hoots of laughter. “One and a half times.”
“Twice.” Dom repeated, rolling her eyes at her boyfriend.
“And you’re okay with that?” Sam asked Dom curiously as she followed us down the grassy hills in the direction of the Quidditch pitch.
“Please,” Dom said, rolling her eyes. “It was just sex for them. No feelings, no oh my gosh I’m in love with you now that I slept with you, just sex. And it was a long time ago.”
“He was upset about Dom and I am just a sexual creature.” I told Sam, laughing when Dom shrieked with laughter at my excuse.
“Rose was upset about Scorpius,” Via revealed over everyone and I scowled at her. “But she didn’t even admit it afterwards. We all knew though.”
“Anyway,” Lysander shouted to get our attention. “Enough of Rose and I’s sex life. That sounds so bad.”
“It does,” I agreed offhandedly, flicking him on the side of the face and poking my tongue out at him when he frowned at me. “You’re dating my cousin who’s pregnant with your child and I’m dating Scorp and the two of us, you and I, have a sex life. And it’s not even awkward.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Dom sighed dramatically and Via started laughing again.
“Alright,” Sam said, calling everyone back to attention. “Anyone not on the team is done walking as of now.” He jabbed fingers in Via and Dom’s direction. “You two, go inside.”
“See you later guys,” Via said, linking her arm with Dom’s and leaving the Quidditch team to suffer under Sam’s wrath alone.
I made a face at Sam’s back as he started barking orders to the rest of our team.
“Watch it,” Lysander muttered in my ear, “He could make you run laps for that.”
“I’m going, I’m going,” I said, holding up my hands in mock surrender before mounting my broom. I drifted slowly up to the goal posts. Sam had put me as Keeper this year for whatever reason and I was more than a little irritated with him. I loved being Seeker, but the one kid who showed potential for Seeker was whisked away to France because their mum fell in love with some French dude and the two of them got married.
Do I feel bad that I don’t even remember the kid? Yes. Yes I do.
Anyway, that had apparently caused most of us to switch positions so we could better fit with talent. For instance, Sam, having previously been Keeper was now a chaser because Lysander, who’d been a Chaser was now a beater because a fifth year girl named Erica who was a Beater before was now the Seeker.
I don’t even know. I’d missed more than my fair share of practices, however, so who was I to attempt a mutiny against Sam on my first day back?
I was Rose fucking Weasley, that’s who.
When Sam was done yelling at me, I drifted slowly away from my posts, trying to attract as little attention as possible as I flew towards Erica-the-Seeker.
“Yo—Eric,” I hissed at her and she blinked, turning her blue-eyed gaze on me.
“My names’ Erica.” She hissed back.
“Right.” I agreed. “Eric.”
“I won’t respond to that, so don’t even bother. Your little boyfriend over there—” here she pointed at Lysander “tried for a few weeks before I hit him with a Bludger on accident.”
I raised my eyebrows, appraising this girl. I sense a kindred spirit, I do.
“Anyway, Erica,” I appeased, finally managing to stop my broom in a sitting position next to her. “First, Lysander is not my boyfriend.”
“But you two have done it.” She told me.
I gave her a questioning look and she shrugged. “I’m good at reading people,” she offered. “I’d just assumed that because the two of you have had sex, you were a couple.”
“Never have been, never will be. It was just sex.” I explained hastily, wondering why the fuck my sex life with Lysander (still sounds so wrong) was being brought up so often lately. Even kids in the hall were discussing it. Gosh, you’d think they’d get over something that happened at the end of last year.
Wow, I am such a slut sometimes.
I digress. “Anyway,” I rushed on before she could question me some more. “Explain everything in briefity that I’ve missed.”
“‘Briefity’ is not a word,” She informed me and I rolled my eyes, gesturing for her to move past that fact. “Okay. As you know, you’re the Keeper now because Johnson moved to France. Sam, Victoria, and Jason are Chasers. Lysander and Lorcan are Beaters. I’m the Seeker.”
“That is nothing like the team I remember from the beginning of the year. I don’t even remember Jason. Or Victoria. Or you or Johnson, for that matter.”
“A lot of people quit,” She told me. “Your friend Megan was on the team for about a month. She kept saying it was temporary and I guess she was being seriously. I was offered the spot back in January. I accepted—figured I could help fix the rubbish team Sam was left with after Holiday. People just sort of filtered away from the team. Things came up.”
“Are you any good?” I asked her.
“I’m adequate.” She told me, scanning the field. “I probably won’t beat your boyfriend though, because he’s excellent. So save as many goals as you can.”
“I could help you out,” I offered, wondering where the fuck I was supposed to find the time to do that. We had four days, and I had plenty of things on my plate as it was. But her hopeful eyes definitely convinced me to not back out of my hasty offer.
“Would you really?” She asked me. “Don’t get me wrong—I’m far from a fangirl—but you’re good.”
“How adverse are you to flying in the dark?” I asked instead, and before she could respond, Sam was screeching at me again.
“Oh shut up,” I called back to him, floating daintily over to the posts, taking my sweet time to position myself. “I’ll quit—you know I will—and what’ll you do then? Get Lysander used to beating. The chasers can peg Quaffles at me as much as they please.” I withdrew my wand from underneath my uniform and flicked it at the crate of Quaffles.
“Oi, you lot!” I exclaimed, jabbing my finger in the direction of the other two chasers who looked bewildered to be spoken to by someone who wasn’t Sam. “Turn around so I can see what name to address you by!”
They exchanged a look but slowly rotated on the spot. Hmm… Jason Artvarny and Victoria Gullinson.
“Artvarny! Gullinson!” I called, my voice rising over Sam’s easily, “Go get Quaffles and come here.” I watched as they shot down to the crate, examining their forms as they flew. Artvarny’s was near perfect, but Gullinson’s grip was a little too close to the edge of the broom and as a result she was slowing down herself subconsciously. I’d have to fix that. “SAM GO HELP LYSANDER OR SO HELP ME MERLIN I WILL HURT YOU.” I shrieked at Sam who’d paused to watch me give orders. I think we all knew who was really in charge here.
“Erica!” I yelled and she nodded at me. I reached behind my neck and unfastened my chain, pulling the tiny golden snitch from underneath my shirt. “I’m releasing my lucky snitch. I want you to count to three hundred and then catch it as fast as you can. Throw your shoe at me when you do.”
Erica nodded, looking a little nervous at the prospect of losing my lucky snitch, but determined all the same. She reclasped her hands around the broom and I opened my palm to release the tiny golden ball. With a blow at its wings from me, it took off, darting all around and out of sight.
Jason and Victoria drew up in front of me and I quickly went to shift Victoria’s hands on her broom before speaking. “I want Gullinson positioned at a forty-five-degree diagonal three hundred metres from the left post and to start flying at me. Artvarny will start at the opposite end of the field. He’ll do a Harrison-Valetin sloth-grip-roll fifty feet from the left post on the other end and pass to Gullinson who will continue to fly at me and try to score. Pick whatever hoop you feel ready to score. Disperse.”
And they went to go into position and I flicked my wand at all of the Quaffles but one so they’d just float about aimlessly to save them time from having to collect some more later.
It took a bit, but Sam finally left me to help with the two chasers and went off to try and save Lysander from killing someone with the bat. I don’t even understand what runs through Sam’s mind. If Ly was really that bad as a Beater, then why not put someone completely new on the spot? Or me? I was decent enough.
Quidditch practice ran late, and even after the younger kids left when free hour was up to go to class, Lysander and Lorcan continued to hit bludgers at some moving targets Sam had transfigured from my sweatshirt that I’d removed after lots of work with Vicki and Jason.
“Oi, Longbottom,” I called after the two of us spent a few watching Lysander’s aim get steadily better. “Come take a few shots at me. The new chasers are good enough, but I need to be challenged a little.”
Sam grinned wolfishly and tossed a Quaffle up and down in his hands, the red ball smacking loudly against his bare palms. I regretted not bringing my keeper’s gloves to practice. Even though Victoria’s aim was a little off, she threw hard enough to hurt, and Jason’s aim was near-perfect. I glanced down at my red, smarting palms and wrinkled my nose. I wasn’t Rose Weasley for nothing. I could do this.
“Hit me,” I confirmed to Sam and he assessed the situation, thinking far quicker than he does in classes and hurling the ball straight above my head to the center hoop. I just barely saved it, the damn thing bouncing off of my finger tips and veering away. I swooped to catch it, ignoring the stinging that came with it, and lobbed it back at him.
And then it was war.
“Rose!” Dom squealed as I followed Sam and the Scamander twins into the common room.
“I’m her boyfriend, and I get no recognition whatsoever.” Lysander muttered to his brother and I snorted.
“Lysander.” Dom droned in a monotone before another excited cry of “Rose!” sounded.
Sam, Lorcan and I laughed, before I cried out when Dom grabbed my hands to tug me somewhere.
“What?” She asked and I pressed my lips together, shaking my head and refusing to say more on the subject. Dom raised an eyebrow and went to pull me again when another cry of pain left my reluctant lips. “Rose…” Dom began warningly and I, in a very uncharacteristically stupid move of me, held up my hands in surrender. “Rose!”
“We realize that is my name, Dom,” I informed her, snatching my hands away and hiding them under my arms as I folded said arms. “Stop saying it in different tones of voice.”
“What happened to your hands?!” She shrieked, whatever that had excited her before completely forgotten. I was momentarily flattered that I was that high up on her priority list.
"I don’t have keeper’s gloves anymore since I haven’t played that position since third year,” I muttered, and she gasped, moving to remove my hands from under my arms. Sam nudged her aside and stood in front of me instead, looking horrified and I ignored him, sinking down on a blue couch, resolutely deciding to hide my hands.
“You played that whole practice without gloves on?” Sam demanded and I sighed dramatically, showing him my battered hands as proof. My fingers were swollen and my palms were blistered and as red as Lily’s hair and they hurt when I tried to fist them.
“Maybe,” I mumbled, and Sam groaned, slapping a hand to his face as he spun a three-sixty and sank down on the coffee table in front of me.
“I’m telling Scorpius on you,” He muttered and I scoffed, pretending that I wasn’t at all concerned about the fact that my boyfriend was about to come storming in here and scold at me for being careless. Scorpius thinks he’s my mother, you see. Of course, my actual mother would probably lock me up and burn my broom, so I was willing to take Scorp’s scolding over anything that my mother could throw at me any day.
“Go ahead,” I retorted, folding my arms across my chest and leaning back into the couch. “I have to talk to Via though, so if you could hurry, that would be great.”
I didn’t honestly expect Sam to tell on me to my boyfriend, but ten minutes later, there Scorpius was, raving about how I needed to learn to take care of myself more often. I wanted to laugh, but that would definitely tick him off more. I think part of it was my whole brush-off with him and Al earlier, and to be honest, I rarely went more than a few hours without hanging out with one or the pair of them, even when Scorp and I were in our hate-each-other stage. Plus Scorpius was really sexy when he was angry.
“Oh, shush, Scorp,” I said, leaning forward to press a kiss on his lips. I pulled away and continued talking, pressing my hands on his cheeks. “I’m a Quidditch player. I’ve got to be a bit reckless—it comes with the territory.”
“You’re going to kill yourself one day,” He mumbled against my lips, “And then what would I do?”
“I dunno,” I replied, “It’s going to take more than a lack of keepers’ gloves to kill me. Maybe something like a lack of broom.”
He scoffed and I smirked, swinging my arms around his neck and pulling him into me on the couch, ignoring the boys’ horrified protests.
“Scorpius,” I mumbled against his lips, “Let’s go up to the dorm. We’re attracting too much attention.”
Scorpius removed his lips from my own and winked when I smiled at him from under my lashes. He backed away, rising to his feet and scooping me up in a bridal hold, smirking broadly when I laughed.
Up the stairs we went, Dom’s shouts telling me to not get pregnant trailing behind us.
“It’s not honesty hour, Rose,” Dom said, rolling her eyes and I scoffed at her, turning away so I could look Via in the face.
“Then it’s Via’s turn. I’ve been meaning to talk to you anyway, but I’ve been busy.”
“Shacking up with your boyfriend does not constitute as busy,” Dom informed me and I raised my eyebrows at her.
“So the next time I need to bother you about something insignificant while you’re with Sandy, I can just go ahead and bother you, yeah?” At her scowl, I laughed. “Anyway, we weren’t having sex.”
“You still haven’t sealed the deal?” Dom demanded incredulously and I rolled my eyes.
“I’ve got a cousin and a best friend who are pregnant. Forgive me if I’m a little hesitant to go and make it possible for that to happen to me. I have a little class, Dom, unlike you.”
I ducked just in time for a vase to go flying over my head and shattering against the opposite wall of the dorm.
“Anyway, back to Olivia,” I said loudly, calling attention back to my green-eyed friend who’d looked excited at the prospect of us forgetting about interrogating her.
“Poop.” She muttered and I smirked amusedly.
“Why did you sleep with our not-cousin?” I asked bluntly and she flushed, Dom snorting with poorly concealed amusement. I watched my blonde cousin lay back on the bed and sank down into a bean bag, leaving Via to stand in between of us, looking around awkwardly.
“I’ve gone to every single one of your appointments, I hold your hair back when you puke, and you complain about sore boobs to me,” I said flatly. “You don’t get much more personal than that.”
Dom snorted, flicking through a baby names book absently, another pregnancy book on her left, open at Week Twenty.
“Do you want to do it privately?” I asked her finally and she bit her lip, nodding slightly.
“It’s a really dumb reason,” She muttered, looking away as she sank down on what she’d claimed as her bed.
“It’s easier to tell secrets in the dark,” I informed her and she looked thoughtful. “So I’ll be back from my sesh with Fred, Lil, and my brother in two hours. You—mentally prepare or something. I know that I’m going to have to do just that.”
I spent ages talking to Hugo and Lily before I was subjected to locating Fred and bringing him back to the tower for bed time. He was in a Hufflepuff uniform and balancing along the rail of the Astronomy tower, walking back and forth. When I spotted him, I immediately turned away and darted back down the last fourteen stairs silently before quickly ascending them once more, as loud as I could. If I just walked in there and spoke, he’d fall over the edge no doubt, but if I made noise on my way up, he’d hear my noisy warning.
“Hey Ro,” He said when I made it into the balcony area for the second time. He was off the railings now, thank Merlin, and leaning against them, facing me and looking thoughtful. “I saw James today.”
There was a beat of silence and I looked away, unwilling to watch as Fred worked to compose himself.
“I’m sorry I disowned him,” I muttered and I heard a slightly shaky laugh, but when I looked back up at my cousin, he looked generally normal.
“He did a bad thing,” Fred said offhandedly and I wondered how long he’d spent trying to convince himself to stay on my side through this all. James was more than his cousin—the two of them were partners in crime. They finished each other’s sentences off, for Merlin’s sake. “But I was wondering…if he did all the proper apologies and stuff and made it up to Via in every way he could, would we bring him back into the family? He’s still related to us.”
I sighed and wandered over to lean on the railings next to him. Fred wasn’t much of a talker in general, but he was definitely one of the more logical cousins when he was on the spot. Of course, it was only heightened without impulsive James to counteract that, and I knew that if I said no, I’d hurt my cousin a lot.
“Via has to forgive him,” I said finally, “And then he’ll be family again. He hurt her, and he left her alone through all of this. It might take a while.”
“It’s James,” Fred said, scratching the side of his nose with a wry smile and I smiled faintly. “He’s going to snap out of it soon and then he’ll do everything in his power to get her to forgive him.”
“Our James,” I agreed, and it went without saying that our conversation wouldn’t reach other ears. I missed James nearly as much as Fred did, but I was inclined to side with my best friend. Especially because she was in the right.
But it got difficult.
“He looks pretty bad though, yeah?” Fred asked, looking up at the sky, his shaggy red-brown hair falling back. It looked like it needed a trim soon. We usually made it a family thing, the whole lot of us younger Wotters trailing through Muggle London and finding some random haircut place where we would each get a haircut every few months. It’s been put off, for obvious reasons. “Like…he wasn’t really there anymore.”
“I’m really suspicious,” I muttered back, “There’s something about the whole situation that doesn’t sit right with me. But I’m too busy to investigate. Keeping James Potter in cheek has taken a back burner for once.”
Fred laughed at that. “But you’re busy keeping everyone else in cheek, so we can forgive you for this.” He paused before turning to look at me, his hair bothering me when it fell into his eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I loved shaggy hair on some boys, like Al and Scorpius and James, but Fred’s was getting a little ridiculous, and since it tended to be wavy behind his ears and at the base of his neck, it just looked off.
“Godric, Rose, when did you become the responsible one?” He asked me quietly as we slipped down so we were seated on the cold marble floors, our backs against the railings. Talking to Freddie was like talking to Uncle Fred at times. I told him a lot more than I told most people. “Not in a bad way, of course,” Fred amended when I raised an eyebrow at him, “You’re still fun-Rose. Just different. You weren’t really up there at the top of my list of people who would take all of this without stumbling down. I guess behind your psychopathic attitude, you’ve always been a little motherly, but it’s just surprising.”
And after a half of second of deliberation, I finally told Freddie everything. McGonagall’s plan, and my fears about the future, and the fact that sometimes I had no idea what I was doing but how I kept shoving forward anyway because so many people depended on me now. I still wasn’t quite used to being depended upon—that was something that Al or Freddie or Louis or Roxie were more good with—but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“You haven’t told Scorp?” He asked, a small smile tugging at the edges of his lips. I could tell he wanted to laugh gleefully, but was refraining.
“It’s a surprise of sorts,” I said, smirking a bit. “You’re now the only one who knows besides me and McGonagall of course. Don’t tell anyone.”
“Godric’s Honour,” He agreed, holding a random hand up in the air.
“You numpty,” I said, laughing as I stood up, “You’re supposed to raise your left hand and put your right on your heart—not the other way around.”
Freddie looked adorably confused so I just leaned over and ruffled his awkward-turtle hair before leaving to go find Via before she tried to escape honesty hour.
“Good luck on your date with Megs,” I called over my shoulder and Fred made a noise of confirmation. Deciding to throw him off a bit, I continued. “Don’t forget to tell her you love her.”
There was a distinctive strangled yelp and I laughed, sliding down the banister of the larger set of stairs like I used to when I was sixteen. Shut up, I’m seventeen now. I’m a grown up.
Psh, yeah right.
I crept into the dormitory almost completely silently and I found Via sitting on the window seat, watching the moon come out. Dom was nowhere to be found and I assumed that she was feeling better and so Lysander had taken her out on that Maybe Date.
“Via,” I said softly, easing onto the tiny bench next to her, wrapping my arms around her and letting her rest her head against my chest, her eyes still on the silvery near-full moon.
“I slept with him because I was scared,” She blurted, not looking at me as she talked and I tightened my grip around her, holding my friend close. “James was one of those people where all sorts of rumors about how many girls he’s slept with are always around, except with him, they’re true.” She had a half-thoughtful, half-reluctant acceptance, half-almost regretful look on her face at that. “James Potter is a man whore. And that was fine. I didn’t even realize I liked him until he started paying me special attention. It was a while before the dance, and it was like my little secret that no one knew about. And it was all the more thrilling because of the secrecy. There was this boy, who could have any girl he wanted, and he was giving his attention to little old me. And I don’t have a low self-esteem complex. I know I’m decent in guys’ opinions, but he did what he’s always been good at.”
“He made you feel special,” I murmured and she finally turned to me, her eyes wide.
“How—” she started, but I cut her off, smiling bitterly.
“Same thing happened to me when I was fourteen, remember? For all intents and purposes, I tell people that Scorpius was the first boy I ever had sex with, but he wasn’t. I wish he was. Scorpius actually cared about me. That other vile excuse of a man just wanted to take my virginity.”
And then Via was quiet for a long time, leaving me to think about what I’d said. It was true though. I’d been being honest. He’d made me feel special, and now I hated him for it. Honestly, I did think of Scorpius as my first. I was ready for that. I was emotionally and mentally and physically prepared to have sex by that time. Sometimes I was able to forget that he really wasn’t. But times like these, when I was in the dark and being completely honest, I was reminded and it made me feel disgusting and used all over again.
But I had no doubt in my mind that Via’s and James’ case was completely different. James still loved her—that much was evident in all of his desperate actions.
“I thought that if I didn’t sleep with him that night, I would lose his interest.” Via finally continued, her voice a breath in the silence. “I had enough alcohol to give me enough confidence to go through with it. I still don’t really regret it. James was nice about it. And as much as I’m not ready to have a set of twins,” She paused, laughing a little breathlessly, “I already love them so much. I’m worried about the pains I had over the weekend, but I’m reassured that it was nothing because I haven’t had them again.”
I pulled Via as close as I could to me, the two of us curled up on that window seat watching the moon. There wasn’t much talk between us after her confession was over, and it didn’t matter. She knew she had me, and I knew that she understood about my whole thing when I was fourteen and stupid. Maybe I hadn’t addressed the feelings enough, but as she slowly drifted off to sleep leaning against me, I was almost able to convince myself that I was alright with it.