Long time, no see.
JK owns & pwns!
Problem 37: it took me an hour and a half to locate two people, and get them into a classroom in my free lesson. I am now missing lunch.
“Sign it,” Scarlett growls menacingly, jabbing the treaty with her forefinger. My two petulant, irritating friends both glower at her from the seats I forced them into. Caspar has her arms crossed, and Olivia looks like she’s fighting herself not to do the same.
“I don’t see why I have to sign an accord with her,” Caspar sniffs.
“Bite me, bitch,” Olivia shoots back, “I can’t believe I’m sitting next to you. I’ll be infected with—“
“Shut up!” Scarlett yells, “Why can’t you both just sign the fucking pact and go your separate ways?! I have politely asked you both to sign it, and you’ve both turned your noses up at it. You are not leaving until you have both signed and shaken hands in a civil fashion, and I swear to God if you do not do it in time for me to eat lunch and spend some time with my boyfriend I will kill you with my bare hands!”
She stands back and watches my idiot buddies struggle to say something that won’t make Scarlett shout louder. I’m sitting in the corner, watching Scarlett try and coerce them into basic civility. Caspar and Livi are sat in front of a desk, upon which is my carefully drafted and redrafted statement of polite behaviour, a quill, and a pot of ink.
After a moment, Caspar picks up the quill. Before she writes anything, she looks up and asks:
“Why exactly am I doing this?”
Before Scarlett goes absolutely mad, I stand up.
“You are going to do this,” I say in a measured voice, “Because I am watching my life as I know it breaking into weird little pieces. It’s our last year! Can’t you at least pretend to like each other, for my sake?”
“No,” Olivia replies, “Because that would be lying, and that is wrong.”
I’ve had enough of this.
“Fine then,” I say quickly, “Fine.”
I pick up my bag and run from the room, determined to get to a bathroom and stop gasping.
I burst into a bathroom, startling a couple of girls who were applying eyeliner by the sinks. Dropping my bag, I run into a cubicle and shut the door behind me.
I crouch by the toilet, not really feeling like vomiting, but feeling my stomach lurching anyway. I should have eaten earlier, instead of chasing those two around.
Fuck fuck fuckity fuck!
I’m done with them! Stupid fighting and duelling and crying at inappropriate moments. Speaking of, I’m all teary now.
Get a grip, Rose.
My attempts at breathing and not crying aren’t going so well. I’m still making weird gasping noises, and I’m shedding tears.
“Are you okay?” Someone – presumably one of the eyeliner chicks I disturbed – asks.
“Yeah,” I croak back, “Don’t mind me.”
“Do you want me to get someone?” They ask, “Or get you something?”
“Can I have my bag?” I reply shakily. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Said item is hastily shoved under my cubicle door. I mumble a thanks and delve into my bag, pushing aside books and quills to find a mirror. Taking a deep breath, I survey myself.
I look like shit.
There’s no nice way of saying it.
My hair is all over the place – all that running around in autumn wind will do that to you – my eyes are red, my face is blotchy. I’m in school uniform. Need I go on?
I still have to go to Charms.
Charms, which I share with Caspar and Evie.
And Scorpius! Scorpius can’t see me like this! He’ll realise I’m a weirdo and run away with some blonde thin person called Kelsey who dots her ‘i’s with a heart!
They’ll have children who wear nothing but pink.
Now I’m just getting hysterical. Honestly, I try to calm myself and get overtaken with other people’s lives.
I need food.
And a hug. A Scorpius-type hug.
Deep breaths, Rose. They are two people you can happily avoid for the rest of the year, and then never see again.
Despite the fact they are both in your house, your lessons, you sleep in the same room...
I stand up, brush off my clothes, and tentatively open the door. Thankfully, the girls who were here have cleared off. That leaves me alone to charm my face back to normality.
Taking deep breaths, I try and think of happy things, like kittens and food. Unfortunately my mind is still firmly focused on the fact I have lost my best friends because they are too busy fighting with each other. So I just pull my hair back into a pony-tail and walk off.
If I can’t have friends, I’ll have food instead.
Almost immediately after I leave the bathroom, Louis latches onto me.
“Rose,” he says softly, “I have no idea what you did, but thank you. He’s talking to me again!”
“I—er—you’re welcome, Louis,” I reply hesitantly, “What exactly do you think I did?”
“Well, extolled my virtues or something, I don’t know!” he grins, “What did you do?”
Tell the truth, or take the praise.
Tell the truth, or take the praise.
Tell the truth, or – SOD IT.
“That’s for me to know,” I say, wiggling my eyebrows. See, I knew family were good for something! Why do I need friends when I have a family the size of an army?
Louis laughs, and runs off to sit at the Ravenclaw table. Right next to Lysander. The temptation to conjure love hearts above their heads is so big right now...
Scorpius waves from the Gryffindor table.
I squint a bit, but it’s still definitely Scorpius... sitting next to Lily and opposite Albus... on the Gryffindor table.
The world has gone mad.
Even as I sit down I know the world has gone mad, because Albus is looking at Scorpius with respect. As if he’s not about to hex him into next Tuesday.
“Weird, isn’t it?” Lily comments, “Al actually invited Scorpius to sit over here, too. It’s like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole.”
I chuckle in agreement, but in my head I’m doing a happy victory dance. Only a couple of weeks ago I was in the hospital wing because they were fighting, now they’re eating sandwiches together!
I’m so proud.
“So Louis looks happy,” I say pointedly, hoping someone knows what happened.
“Yeah,” Al smirks, “I might have threatened Lysander back into talking to him.”
“With my help,” Scorpius adds, “And we didn’t threaten him, we politely informed him that he was going down the wrong path.”
I sigh. Just when I thought people were being nice. “So let’s get this straight, you threatened him into being Louis’ friend again, because that is what normal people do when two idiots have an argument.”
Al shrugs. “Pretty much, yeah,” he concedes, “But it worked, didn’t it?”
I have to say it did. But I’d never admit that.
I grab a ham sandwich from a basket and take a bite. Thank heavens for bread; it’s so tasty!
“So how are Olivia and Caspar?” Scorpius asks, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.
I lower the sandwich. Is there a nice way to say what I’m thinking? “They’re both fucking idiots.”
As it turns out, nope.
“Oooh, that sounds great,” Lily says sarcastically, “Have they signed the treaty, or not?”
“Nope,” I sigh, “They have not.”
Scorpius reaches to hold my hand across the table. Albus groans.
“Please don’t start snogging in front of my innocent eyes,” he moans dramatically, “All I want is to keep my lunch down.”
“Shut up Potter,” Scorpius replies.
The Gryffindor common room is full of people. It’s raining outside, meaning Quidditch practise has been cancelled, therefore the team is bundled into one corner. It’s awkward to say the least. I’m sat next to Luke, which means that I’m being shot glares from Olivia, and beside Lily. Caspar is glaring at Olivia in turn. Venus is awkwardly squashed between Albus and Luke.
I’m sure that Luke has been talking, but I’ve just been watching the awkwardness of the situation take hold.
I’m interrupted from my observations as Luke bangs a book on the table. “ENOUGH!” he roars, “Anyone who doesn’t concentrate on what I’m saying is off the team!”
I mutter an apology, and resolve to at least pretend to pay attention. Luke looks around at us, and sets his jaw.
“Team practise. Tomorrow at six,” he announces firmly, “In the morning.”
I hang my head. There’s a general moaning sound coming from everyone, but not too loud, because Luke’s already irritated.
“Okay, cool, are we going to try out those rolls?” Albus asks. Oh, for crying out loud, he was paying attention!
“Yes,” Luke replies, looking momentarily shocked that someone has been listening to him, “And we’ll do some drills too.”
I’m so excited.
No, really, up early with a bunch of people who can barely stop glaring at each other for five minutes. What’s worse, the only kind of roll I’m interested in at that time in the morning comes with butter.
As I stand to leave – I’m going to sit with Lucy and Lily, because I’m not angry at them... yet – Caspar catches my wrist softly.
“Rose,” she murmurs, “Can we walk?”
I nod, and we wander out of the common room. I’m still pissed at her. Therefore, she can do all the talking, because I’m sure as hell not going to make this a friendly chat.
She opens the door to an Ancient Runes classroom and gestures for me to go in. I hate these classrooms. Far too many symbols on the walls. There is a definite reason I decided to study Ancient Runes on my own instead of taking it as a lesson.
Closing the door behind me softly, she turns to look at me. I am a picture of disapproval. I have my arms crossed, an eyebrow raised – shit. I look like my mum!
“I’m really sorry,” she chokes out, and her voice cracks on the last word. Oh my days, she’s crying. “I-I didn’t want to hurt you, or Harry, or anyone.”
If I keep fighting the urge to be a good friend here, I think I might burst a vessel. I step forwards and embrace Caspar, who is now the human equivalent of a tap. She wraps her arms around me tightly and keeps sobbing.
“Ssh, it’s okay,” I say in a comforting way, because that always works. Not.
“W-what can I tell H-harry?” she wails, “It’s m-my fault!”
Well, yes. I guess so. It was kind of her fault for doing it.
“The truth?” I volunteer, “You have to tell him the truth before someone tells him something else.”
Letting go of me, she swipes at her face. She looks a mess, all smudged mascara and misery.
“I don’t know how,” she whispers, “I don’t know how to tell him that I messed everything up.” Her face crumples again and I steer her towards a chair. If she’s going to be hysterical, she might as well be hysterical without collapsing.
“You have to tell him soon, Caspar,” I say firmly, “James is going to say something awful and insensitive otherwise.”
She nods her head up and down a few times. “You’re right,” she sighs, taking deep breaths, “I should do it now, before I lose my nerve.”
So... this has been keeping your nerve?
“Do you want me to fix your make-up?” I ask politely. Caspar nods. I wave my wand in a tight loop and flick it at her face. Ach, it’ll do, I’m not too good at it. She still looks a bit messy, but... more normal. And that’s good.
Taking a deep breath, she leaves the room. I follow her, because I’m rather worried she’s going to start crying again. And friends don’t let friends cry hysterically in the common room.
She’s still taking deep breaths as she walks over to where Harry is sitting. I stay by the door, watching. She says something and he looks around, smiling. His friend rolls his eyes then moves away. Caspar doesn’t take a seat but keeps talking as Harry’s face falls. She’s shaking slightly, like she might start crying again. Harry stands up and says something, his face hard. Caspar covers her mouth with her hand and takes a step back, before lowering it again to reply.
I really want to know what’s happening, but I know if I go over I will probably interfere and that would be very Not Good.
They’ve attracted some attention from other people near them now, people who are pretending not to stare at the couple who are obviously fighting. Harry says something, but before Caspar can reply he’s walking away, shaking his head.
“Harry!” Caspar calls, “Wait!”
She’s on the verge of tears, hurrying after him. He brushes past me and leaves the room. I catch Caspar as she tries to follow him, dragging her backwards towards out room.
“Come on,” I hiss, “Now is not the time to keep talking to him, let him cool down.”
She submits and walks swiftly away up the stairs. I follow her, conscious that people are staring.
Don’t you all have things to do?
Read a book or something.
Caspar is lying on her bed, staring up at her canopy.
“Life could be so simple,” she says, “He said he didn’t care what I’d done, that he loved me, but he wasn’t listening. He only heard ‘I did something’ and he started ignoring me, saying he didn’t mind. Then I said I slept with Evie and he asked me who else I’d been fucking, and I just... I said no one else, and suddenly he did care, and he was disgusted and he left. I should have just... said it was over. Done. Start again.”
“You did the right thing,” I reply soothingly, as if the right thing ever meant anything to anyone. Even I scoff at the Right Thing!
Caspar pats her cheeks and sits up. “I guess I have to see what happens now. He’s angry, Livi’s angry, you’re angry.” She pauses. “Sorry for not signing your treaty. It was very well thought out.”
I snort. “Well, thank Merlin it worked out so well. I’m going to have a shower. Don’t do anything dumb while I’m not watching.”
I’m sure I can work this friendship business out. It would be sad to lose two brilliant friends over something stupid, like them trying to kill each other.
Or my wanting to kill them for being so annoying.
All I have to do is keep myself calm and think of Scorpius. Simple!