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Chapter 22 : Twenty.two – Firewhiskey
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I turned and saw Rose running toward me, simply beaming. When she reached me she threw her arms around my neck in the middle of the corridor, which earned us too many strange looks to count. I was too surprised to hug her back or push her off. Before I could do either, she released me, still grinning.
“Erm, what was that for?” I asked, confused and also a bit embarrassed.
She didn’t seem to care that about twenty or so people might overhear her as she said, “Scorpius told me what you told him. Thank you!”
Then she hastily hugged me again before running off, leaving me in the middle of a crowded corridor. I guessed that I should have expected her to do something like that, but I didn’t think she would be bold enough to do it in the middle of a crowded corridor. In fact, I was kind of irritated that she didn’t at least pull me into a deserted part of the castle considering that people still thought Rose and I were some kind of item. Although it occurred to me that I didn’t really care much about what other people thought, anyway.
As I started to walk again, I heard a voice that made me jump, “So what did you tell Scorpius?”
Turning, I found myself face-to-face with Lauren.
Oh shit. Bloody. Fucking. Shit.
She looked amused at my speechlessness, “Please, take your time. I have all day.”
I stuttered for a moment, which made Lauren raise a brow at me, before loudly exhaling. Slowly, I told her, “I told him that Rose and I aren’t interested in each other.”
Bracing myself for an explosion much worse than what Al’s had been, I was surprised when she just laughed, “Oh, is that it? The way you were acting made it seem like it was a big deal.”
“So...” I started after a long pause, “You’re not angry?”
“No,” she laughed again, “I’ve been making bets with Louis over whether or not they’d get together since last year. But how did you get Scorpy to believe you?”
Scorpy? What the fuck?
Lauren seemed to look shocked at first, then amused, “You broke into the Potions’ stores, didn’t you?”
“Erm – no. Malfoy did that.”
“Oh... Well I’m still impressed that you actually used the damned stuff. Did he ask you anything embarrassing?”
I laughed, “He asked what Al’s middle name is.”
“Really?” She raised a brow, “What is his middle name?”
“Oh,” she snorted, “Well I guess that I don’t have to fashion a new nickname for him now. Speaking of Severus, though... How do you think he’ll take Rose and Scorpius being together?”
“He actually already knows.”
Lauren stopped at that, “What – how?”
“Well, I-“ I paused for a moment, “I told him.”
“So you told Al that Rose and Scorpius were an item, but you didn’t tell me?”
Noting the tone of her voice, I answered carefully, “Erm... Yeah.”
I thought she might hit me for a moment, but then she continued, “So how did he take it, then?”
“He was in shock, but calm for all of about two seconds before shouting that he was going to kill Malfoy and then running off toward the dungeons.”
Lauren seemed to be smirking at this, “Bless him. Anyway, you should have told me first you prick.”
For some reason, her insult hit me harder than any of her insults had ever hit me. I knew that she didn’t mean it, that it was truly just a habit by now, but it still stung. “I was under the impression that you would be a lot more pissed than Al for one thing. For another, I needed his help in order to not be caught sneaking around that night with the veritaserum. Also, don’t call me a prick.”
I expected her to have some kind of come-back or to become angry. Instead, she looked somewhat apologetic, “Okay, sorry. I didn’t realize. I was just mad that you told Al before you told me because I thought that...”
“I don’t know, exactly. I guess I just thought that you were keeping secrets from me or something.”
I frowned at this, knowing that I had been keeping secrets from her. Although now that I had told her about Rose and Scorpius there was only one left. But I couldn’t tell her. Just because she had held my hand the other day didn’t mean I could just tell her.
“Well, anyway,” she continued after I didn’t reply, “I actually have another favor to ask you.”
“What?” I asked in a distracted voice, my gaze going from the floor to her face.
“I was thinking that – since you helped me with shielding myself – that maybe you could help me again.”
“What spell is it this time?” I asked, amused. Thinking that we would have to start after the match against Hufflepuff, which was that weekend.
“Erm... The Patronus Charm.”
“Hufflepuff scores!” Fred Weasley’s voice boomed around the Quidditch pitch as I ducked to avoid being hit by the bludger, “Hufflepuff is in the lead, 60-40!”
Then we all heard Fred start to shout in his magnified voice. Apparently Lucy and Rick had already spotted the snitch – only twenty minutes into the match. I didn’t bother to try and see where they were as I flew across the pitch, keeping my eye on the bludger. The damned thing was not going to sneak up on me again. But, as I had just finished knocking the bludger toward Jessica Corner – who dropped the Quaffle as she got out of the way – Fred’s voice echoed around the pitch.
Lucy caught the snitch again. The match was over.
Which meant that Ravenclaw was now ahead of Slytherin in House points.
Going back to the changing room went by in a fast blur, the entire team insisting on carrying Lucy the whole way there, so that by the time I was walking back up to the castle it felt like Lucy had caught the snitch only a few minutes prior. However, it was obvious from the fact that I was one of the only people left walking to the castle that it had been at least a half hour.
Suddenly, someone came up behind me and put a blindfold over my eyes, somebody else restraining my hands as they did. I was so surprised that I didn’t even fight back before I heard Al’s voice.
“Don’t worry Luke, we just have a surprise for you,” He laughed, leading me along.
“Al? What the fuck is going on?”
“Oh nothing, Rose just let it slip that it’s your birthday today. So, naturally, we have a little surprise for you.”
I continued to question, and even threaten, Al as he led me into the castle and up several staircases – I lost count somewhere after three or four – until we finally reached the destination and he let me have my hands back so I could rip off the blindfold.
The first thing I saw was the decorations. Ravenclaw colors were everywhere, they were on banners and streamers and other hangings. They were even on the single table that contained the food, the butterbeer, and the – oh bloody hell – they got firewhiskey. Then I noticed that several other Ravenclaws, including Lysander and Lorcan, were in the room, as well as several Gryffindors, including Al, Rose and Delta.
And there was Lauren, who had covered herself in blue and bronze glitter and streamers that were wrapped around her arms and torso. She saw me looking at her and grinned at me in response before going back to talking to Delta and a blonde girl from my own house.
“So,” Rose had made her way up to me, a glass of butterbeer in her hand, “What do you think?”
“Whose idea was this?” I asked, still looking around the room in awe.
“Lauren and Al’s,” she shrugged.
“But Al said that you told him it was my birthday...”
She laughed, “I did, but Lauren was there too and then she started making plans with Al...”
“Oh,” I was surprised at the effort Lauren and Al had put into this party, so I didn’t know what else to say as I continued to look around the room. When I said that the Ravenclaw colors were everywhere, I meant it. The glasses that contained butterbeer were also blue and bronze, as were the couches, chairs, and other pieces of furniture in the room – it was excessive.
Then Rose stood on her tiptoes and whispered in my ear, “You know, I’m beginning to wonder why she’s being so nice to you all of a sudden. I mean, look at her, you guys just defeated her house in a Quidditch match and here she is, throwing you a party, and she’s covered in Ravenclaw colors no less.”
I shrugged, “I dunno, I think she’s just grateful that I’ve been helping her with nonverbal spells.”
Rose raised a brow, “Spells? I thought you just finished working on that one.”
I nodded, “We did, but now she wants help with the Patronus Charm.”
“Oh,” Rose grinned at me with one of her brows raised, “Okay.”
“What?” I asked as she started to turn to walk away.
“Nothing,” she said before disappearing into the small crowd.
Instead of walking into the crowd, I made my way to the food table and got myself a glass of butterbeer. Lysander and Al were standing around the table, too. Al had a firewhiskey in one hand while Lysander kept picking at the snacks on the table. As I approached, Lysander greeted me, “Happy birthday, Luke.”
“Erm, thanks,” I said, before taking a long drink. When I finished, Al spoke up.
“It isn’t too much, is it? Lauren seemed to think you’d complain if we overdid it.”
At the mention of Lauren, Lysander turned to Al and asked, “Wait, you planned this with Lauren?”
“Er, yeah,” Al answered, looking slightly confused, “Why?”
Lysander shrugged, “Just curious. Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and go up to the common room for the night. You guys have fun,” he said, just before turning to leave the room.
Once the door shut behind him Al and I exchanged looks, but instead of talking about it, Al said, “You know, you really should go over there.”
I glanced over to where everyone was talking, and sometimes dancing depending on the music, and shook my head when my eyes found Lauren again, “Erm, no way.”
Al laughed, “You’re going to have to talk to her sooner or later. I mean she decorated the whole room during the match.”
I looked back at him and raised a brow, “By herself?”
“Well, no. Rose and Delta helped her.”
“Oh, and who got all of that?” I asked, gesturing to the table. In particular to where the firewhiskey was.
“Ah,” Al laughed, “Well, Lorcan and I got the food and the butterbeer...”
“Where’d the firewhiskey come from?”
“Erm, well... It was Rose’s idea. She and Malfoy got it.”
Al sighed, “Well, they borrowed my map... There’s a secret passage to Honeydukes.”
Just then, the music increased in volume, and I had to shout to ask, “Why can’t any of the professors hear this?”
Al grinned, “Remember that room we used the other night when we were with Malfoy?”
I was really surprised when he said that, considering there was no way that room could suddenly be as big as the one that I was standing in then, “Yeah!”
“Well, it’s called the Room of Requirement,” Al said loudly, “It adapts to whatever a person needs.”
“So it’s soundproof, then?”
He nodded, looking particularly cheerful, “That and the professors couldn’t enter it even if they could see the door.”
Before I could say anything else, someone came up behind me, grabbed my hand, and started pulling me over to where the crowd of people was. I would’ve fought back, but considering that it was Lauren who was pulling me I didn’t. For three reasons.
One: She would’ve recruited help from Al or Rose, or both.
Two: I was too surprised that she was holding my hand again to think of much else.
And three: I didn’t want to let go of her hand, even if that meant I was about to be forced into the center of a crowd of people that were dancing so close together that they were probably bruising one another.
Except, she didn’t pull me into the crowd, she stopped short of them and made them stop the music so they could sing, albeit poorly, the birthday song to me. Which was entirely embarrassing, but Lauren didn’t release my hand until they were done so I didn’t make to run off. Once it was over, I turned to her and noticed that she was wearing a lot of blue and bronze eyeshadow and that there was even an eagle painted on the side of her face.
She noticed me staring at the side of her face, though, “Like it?”
I looked at her in confusion, and nodded, “Shouldn’t you be painting a badger on your face instead?”
Lauren laughed and didn’t answer, changing the subject, “This isn’t too much, is it?”
Shaking my head, I answered, “No, it’s just slightly too much. Thank you, though.”
It may have been my imagination, but I thought I saw the side of her face that wasn’t painted turn a slight pink after I spoke, “You’re welcome.”
Slowly, the party started to die down as people started leaving. It didn’t occur to me how large the room was until the occupancy dwindled down to me, Lauren, Lorcan, Rose, Delta, Al, and Lucy Weasley – who joined the party halfway through – and two of her friends. Beginning to feel a bit off from having had one too many butterbeers, I had switched to water as I sat on one of the couches in the room, my legs propped up on a small coffee table.
“Mind if I join you?”
I turned and saw Delta, who had shaped her hair into curls again, “Nope, go ahead.”
“So,” she said after she sat down, “Did you enjoy your party?”
I nodded, thinking of the irony of her – the only person in the room that knew how I was feeling other than myself – asking me how I was feeling.
She grinned, “I thought so.”
Turning the question on her, I asked, “Did you enjoy the party?”
At this, she nodded, “Yeah,” and glanced over to where Al and Lauren were standing on the other side of the room. Al had apparently spilled firewhiskey on her jacket and she was calling him Severus very loudly as she yelled at him, “Why is she calling him Severus?”
“Oh,” I snorted, “That’s his middle name.”
“Oh,” she said, laughing, “No wonder she’s pissing him off.”
“Hmm,” I paused for a moment, and then asked – though I didn’t think she would tell me, “I know this is probably strange to ask, but how is Lauren feeling?”
Delta looked back at me with her big, brown eyes, “Oh, she’s had one too many firewhiskey’s herself so it’s hard to tell. Mostly she’s just trying to be angry with Al, but she’s in too much of a good mood already. That’s why she keeps smiling at him.”
I glanced back over and noticed that Delta was right; Lauren was smiling even as she threatened to turn Al into a lamppost. Looking back, I noticed that Delta was still looking at me.
“You know, we all saw her hold your hand earlier,” she said after a moment, “Rose wouldn’t quit badgering me about it.”
I took this as Delta’s way of informing me that Rose was going to be badgering me soon, “Erm, well I told her that I fancy Lauren, so...” I trailed off, unsure of what I was trying to say.
“I know,” Delta said, playing with one of her curls, “She told me a little bit ago. So did she grab your hand, or did you grab hers?”
“Erm, she grabbed mine,” I said, thinking back to when she held my hand as everyone sang “Happy birthday” to me. I was sure that she did that just to keep me from running away at first, but after Delta brought it up I was beginning to rethink why she held my hand.
“Oh,” Delta looked a little surprised, “Well that explains that, then.”
“Uhh...” Delta trailed off, smiling at me sheepishly, “Well, when I saw you holding hands I was more... I guess you could say more interested or focused or tuned in or something like that – to the two of you.”
I raised a brow, “Really?”
Delta was starting to look awkward, and it occurred to me that she must not be accustomed to talking about these things, “Really.”
“Well,” I tried to think of how to ask her what Lauren was feeling without just outright asking her, “I already know how I felt...”
She frowned guiltily, “Yeah... I know.”
“So... What was she feeling?”
Then Delta seemed to sigh and said, “Look, I know it’s important to you. But I just don’t think I have the right to disclose how another person is feeling. It’s an invasion of privacy.”
I gave her a look, “You told me how Al and Lauren were feeling a minute ago... And it’s not like I, or anybody else for that matter, can hide how they feel from you.”
She shook her head in exasperation, before giving me a small smile and rising to her feet again, “All right. I’ll just tell you this: she felt increasingly awkward the longer she held your hand.”
I frowned at this, but managed to say good-bye to her without sounding disappointed, and then she and Rose left, being closely followed by Lucy and her friends, leaving me, Al, Lorcan, and Lauren behind. However, Al and Lauren had quit talking after they finally quit arguing. So, shortly after the others left, Al and Lorcan left the room as well.
This left me alone with Lauren in a very blue and bronze room. She didn’t seem to notice me for a few moments though, because she was sitting in a chair on the other side of the room staring at the stain that Al’s firewhiskey had left on her jacket. Feeling better, I rose to my feet and walked over to her.
“Oh, hey,” she said, glancing up at me before looking back down at her jacket, “Look what Al did to my jacket.”
“Here,” I said, extending a hand to take it from her. She handed it to me and watched as I pulled my wand from my pocket, removing the stain with a simple spell.
Taking it back from me, she closed her eyes as she said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now come on, we should get to our dorms before it’s too late.”
She shook her head, her eyes still shut, before putting her head between her knees. I tilted my head at her in confusion, “Lauren...?”
Then she got up and ran to the bathroom, which I didn’t even realize was there until the door shut behind her. Sensing something was wrong; I practically ran to the door and slowly pushed it open. I was halfway through saying her name again when I heard her hurling into a toilet. Between fits she told me to go away, but I didn’t want to leave her. So I walked up behind her and held her hair, which she had thankfully been holding back with one hand, while I waited for her to finish.
After a couple of minutes, she finally quit and I released her hair before she leaned back against the tile wall, groaning, “Okay, no more firewhiskey for me.”
I had already grabbed a towel so that she could wipe her face, and when she finished I asked if she could walk. She shook her head, her eyes still closed. “No, I can’t.”
“Well, can you stand?” I asked, thinking that she should at least wash off the make-up and face paint that had been smudged. Thankfully, she nodded, and I slowly helped her to her feet and led her to the sink, watching her as she washed all of the blue and bronze from her face and began pulling it out of her hair.
“Here,” I said, coming up behind her and starting to pull all of the decorative ribbons out of her hair, “Let me help you.”
Once I finished helping her clean up, I asked again, “Can you walk?” and she tried, but nearly fell over. So, without a second thought, I carefully scooped her up into my arms and carried her from the bathroom. When I laid her down on one of the couches I noticed that she was shivering and removed my own jacket, making her put it on even though she tried to refuse it at first. Then I walked over to the table and retrieved a large glass of water and some of the crackers from the snack tray, but I realized that she was slipping in and out of consciousness when I reached her again.
“Lauren?” I said, putting my hand on her shoulder, “Lauren, come on. You’ve got to get rehydrated.”
She groaned, but sat up and slowly drained the glass of water in small sips. I sat behind her as she did, letting her lean against me. When she finished drinking I set the water down on the coffee table for her, and she finally relaxed against me, “Thank you,” she said quietly.
“You’re welcome,” I said, waiting a few moments before starting to move so that she could lie down again, but she grabbed my arm when she noticed me moving.
“No,” she said, “Don’t leave me.”
“Okay,” I replied, my heart seeming to sink from hearing how weak she sounded, “I won’t, but you need to let me adjust first.”
Then she sat up as I pulled both of my legs onto the couch on either side of her before pulling her on top of me, her head resting on my chest. I put my arms around her protectively, figuring that I wouldn’t have the chance to ever hold her this close to me again anyway. She surprised me though, by holding one of my arms with her hand when I did, and then saying in a very sleepy voice, “Happy birthday, Luke.”
Then I thanked her, squeezed her lightly, told her to go to sleep, and even allowed myself to drift off.
A/N: So, in response to a lot of opposition to Luke/Lauren, I have a few things to say. First of all, I’m actually flattered that so many of you care enough about my story and the characters that you’re still trying to persuade me to put Luke/Rose together, and Lauren/Al, and some other couples, too. So I’m just going to explain why I ultimately put Luke & Lauren together. Basically, I only have two reasons why I like them together, whereas I have lots of reasons why I didn’t put them with anyone else. Most of them are selfish and merely my opinion, I admit. Firstly, I like Luke & Lauren together because I feel like their personalities complement each other; Luke’s more of the I-need-to-study-all-the-time kind of guy and doesn’t have a real understanding of girls (or people in general), whereas Lauren is more of a free-spirit, who is a little reckless at times, and who understands people quite better than he does. Basically, Luke needs someone that will pull him out of his shell, whereas Lauren needs someone to keep her on the ground. Secondly, they’ve been best friends for a very long time and there’s that tension between them (in previous and later chapters) when the romantic feelings come to play, and I really want to explore that tension – it’s really this whole thing that Luke keeps saying “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.” Their friendship is VERY important to the both of them. Third, Luke and Rose together is strange to me. I think I’m biased (Okay, I AM biased) because I’ve wanted Rose/Scorp from the very beginning. I know Rose is also kind of crazy like Lauren, but she’s a different kind of crazy and is actually too much like Luke for me to really see them together. I just feel like they would become bored :/ Fourth, I love Rose and Scorpius together. I am currently up to chapter 24 and there’s not much of them as a couple, really. But I’m thinking I may give them an entire chapter that goes back to when they started dating, the moment when Rose told him that she just wanted to forget about it (which there is a bit of in chapter 12, I believe), and a few other moments. Fifth, I didn’t put Lauren and Al together – although it would’ve been cute if I did, and I can really understand wanting them together – because of Delta. It’s really that simple. I’ve been developing a story for Al and Delta that would take place in their seventh year (Order and Chaos is set in their sixth year). It would kind of/sort of be a sequel to Order and Chaos, but it would very much revolve around Delta and her character, which I really like and I have enjoyed my ‘test’ writing for her immensely. Not to mention I REALLY want to have Al be even more in the story if/when I write this next fic, because I adore him and his belief in zombies and whatnot.
Anyway, I’m not trying to force you guys to like any couple together or anything like that. It’s just that you have all told me how you feel and I think it’s only right for me to explain how I feel and why I am doing things the way I am doing them.
With all of that being said, I just want to thank you all very much for your feedback. I’ve really enjoyed writing this story and reading your reviews!
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