Chapter 10 : Halloween
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Beautiful Rose done by Camila @ TDA.
“You know, Nick, I’m surprised you asked me to do this,” Owen said, leaning against his elbows on the floor of the Astronomy Tower. I had asked him to bum around with me because almost everyone else was preparing for Halloween, and Rhys, Alyssa, and Piper had decreed that neither Al nor I was trustworthy enough to help, but they needed a fourth person. Rhys then proceeded to declare he would not be left alone for five hours with three girls.
So . . . I got the boot. Rose and Scorpius were on a date by the lake, so I had no other choice but to call upon the Hufflepuff.
“Oh, shut it,” I replied, but for some odd reason I was fighting a smile. Why did I want to smile? “We’re only here because-”
“Your mates don’t trust you enough to help with whatever shebang you snakes are planning for Halloween,” he said in a monotone, before his face creased in thought. “Why do you take this holiday so seriously, anyways?”
“It’s a tradition. We always do the same thing on Halloween, but each year it’s still different. Don’t you badgers have any traditions?” I asked. I hated to admit it, but it was nice. Just talking with him, not worrying about Professor Creevey or N.E.W.T. Charms.
“We’re a pretty big house, and there’s actually a lot of fights. We’re not nearly as close-knit as you lot are. But I suppose it’s easier when there’s three of you in a year compared to fifteen,” Owen mused, before brushing his light-brown hair out of his eyes. He looked incredibly at ease, something I never was. I was always on edge; I never let my guard down. Owen, however, he never had a guard up. It was infuriating.
“I forgot,” I said simply, before realizing something extremely important. “I don’t know anything about you, besides that you’re name is Owen Dalton, you’re a Hufflepuff, you smile way too much, and you’re bloody good at Charms,” I told him, sitting up. It was only mid-afternoon, but the view was still incredible from the tower.
“I’m actually pretty boring. I live in London, with my parents, who own an apothecary. I announce the Quidditch matches. I have an older brother, Liam, but he graduated two years ago. He’s nineteen. He’s also adopted, but it doesn’t really matter,” he told me, and I probably looked wistful. He was so lucky. “What about you? All I know about you is that you’re a moody Slytherin, who is hopeless at Charms. In fact, I’m not even sure I know your last name,” he asked, smiling. See? He’s always smiling!
“It’s Warrington. And my name actually isn’t Nick, it’s Nicole. My parents are . . .” I hesitated. Even mentioning my parents could ruin whatever it was I had with Owen (friendship? tolerance?). It had with every single home I’d been in. But I couldn’t help but feel Owen was different, so I took a calming breath. “My parents are in Azkaban. I don’t have any siblings, or if I do I’ve never met them.” Owen’s face creased, but he didn’t say anything. He knew I didn’t want his pity. “But I guess Al’s like a brother, Merlin knows we fight enough. And Piper is probably the person who knows me the best.” Owen didn’t say anything for a while, and I could tell he was deep in thought.
“I think Nicole’s a pretty name,” he said finally, before smiling. I let out a sigh of relief and he cracked up.
“You don’t know how worried I was that you would-” I started, but again, the stupid Hufflepuff knew.
“-start a pity fest? You’re like my brother; he never wanted to tell anyone he was adopted,” he finished, smiling. And for some odd reason, I returned it. “Dear Merlin, the apocalypse is coming!” he declared, jumping up. “Nicole Warrington just smiled!”
Normally, if anyone besides Al or Piper had said that, I would have either hexed them or punched them in the face. But I found myself laughing instead. What?
“It’s true, Nicole,” he said seriously. “You need to smile more. It makes you look prettier, which Merlin knows you need,” he teased.
“Quit it with the Nicole,” I growled, but I ignored the taunt. “My name is Nicole, but I prefer Nick.”
“But I prefer Nicole,” he said, still smiling. This smiling was getting on my nerves.
“I’ll make you a deal. If, and only if, you can go the next Charm’s class without smiling, you can call me Nicole,” I said, sticking out my hand. Owen looked apprehensive.
“I don’t know. Smiling is good for you, and that just sounds bloody depressing,” he said, but I could sense a smile creeping up his cheeks. I smiled, and then he broke.
“See! You can’t even make it twenty seconds!” I exclaimed, and Owen’s face hardened.
“You’re on,” he said, and we shook on it. He would never call me Nicole again. “Nicole,” he added, and I groaned.
“Are all Hufflepuffs this annoying?” I asked, and he looked offended. I raised an eyebrow.
“Do Slytherins never smile?” he asked, and I nodded. He threw up his arms. “Is there no way to win with you?” he asked, and I nodded. I still didn’t smile, no matter how bloody goofy his grin was. “I know how to make you smile,” he said mischievously, and I rolled my eyes. Before I knew it though, he was spinning me around in a hug.
And I laughed.
“I win!” he proclaimed, still spinning me around, and I let him have this one.
In truth, I had forgotten how to relax and be happy for thirty seconds. And Owen Dalton just showed me how. What?
“You’re blushing,” he remarked, and I looked down. I really needed new trainers. “You need new trainers, love, but we’ll have to debate that later, my mates and I have some serious Halloween pranking to do. See you in Charms, Nicole?” he asked, still smiling, and I just nodded. He left, and I still couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
What was wrong with me?
I couldn’t deny that it felt good, though. I can’t remember the last time I had smiled for more than two seconds, and even then it wasn’t nearly as wide or goofy. Owen Dalton seemed to have a weird effect on me. I sat there mulling it over, still smiling, and right when I came to the conclusion that Hufflepuffs were of more use as live targets than students, I was rudely interrupted.
“Do you have a fever? Do I need to take you to the hospital wing?” my wonderful cousin Scorpius mock-gushed. I smacked him, effectively wiping away my smile.
“Why aren’t you on your date with Rose?” I asked, hoping he hadn’t seen anything.
“She has to get ready for the big costume party James is throwing in the common room soon. He’s only doing it so all the girls put on-” he started, but I gave him a look to cut him off. “Anyways, I thought you’d be moping up here, all by your lonesome, and I come up here to find a certain Hufflepuff swinging around while you laugh. Are you under the influence, Nicki?”
“I bloody well am not,” I scoffed, but Scorpius just laughed. Was it just me who was always so uptight, or were Scorpius and Owen just loony?
“It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile like that,” he confessed, now starting to look concerned.
“I think Nick might fancy someone. I’ve never seen you blush so much,” Rose said, smiling knowingly after materializing next to us, placing a light kiss on Scorpius’s cheek. “Scorpius really did come up here because he thought you’d be moping, Nick,” she told me, still smiling. I knew someone had a good time on their date. Rose Weasley could be as serious as me sometimes, but Scorpius seemed to be able to turn her into a blushing schoolgirl. “I really have to go now, Scorp. See you at the party.” She planted another kiss, this time on the mouth, before disappearing.
“Good time on your date, eh?” I asked, bumping Scorpius with my shoulder a little. He just smiled.
“She’s amazing. She’s beautiful, smart, beautiful, amazing, and beautiful,” he replied, and I laughed a little.
“Way out of your league then?” I asked lightly. Scorpius smiled, but it was more strained.
“But she is. She’s way too good for me. I’m a Malfoy for Merlin’s sake. I think I love her,” he admitted, and I put my arm around him. Despite my strong view that love didn’t exist, I felt happy for Scorpius, and needed to fix this before Scorpius messed it up.
“Rose is the lucky one,” I whispered in his ear, giving him a squeeze.
“Thanks, Nick,” he said sincerely. “I don’t understand why people think you’re an ice box. You’re one of the sweetest people I know,” he told me, kissing the top of my head. “You’re like my sister, you know that, right?” he asked. I never told Al and Piper this, but Scorpius knew what was going on.
I hadn’t told him like I had them, because believe me, I would never burden innocent Scorpius with that if I could avoid it. No, he had been visiting his grandmother with his family and had found me unconscious on a park bench in the middle of the night (yeah, I didn’t know what he was doing out either). That was the sixth time I’d run, the summer after second year. He’d freaked out and gotten his dad to apparate me to St. Mungo’s, and there the healers (who I’m on a first name basis with) had told them my history, and my worst visit . . . after him. So Scorpius didn’t know the full story, but he knew quite a bit.
“I’m fine, Scorpius. Better than I have been in a while,” I admitted, leaning my head on his shoulder.
“I know, Nick. Believe me, I know,” he murmured, and I just relaxed. What could I say? Today was a weird day. It was probably because it was bloody Halloween.
We just sat there a while, making fun of all our professors until it turned to the house war.
“I can’t believe you lot are actually winning this thing! It’s weird . . .” he remarked, before his eyes lit up. “It’s like it’s a conspiracy or something.” I didn’t reply. “You didn’t, Nick, tell me you didn’t,” he almost pleaded with me.
“It wasn’t me,” I said, half-truthfully. It was Lottie and Thomas who planned it. I just helped a little, that’s all.
“The third years?” Scorpius asked. I really needed to monitor my thoughts better. “That’s impressive. They planned all of it?” I nodded, and he grinned.
“Ruddy snakes,” he swore, but his smile cancelled out the insult.
“Don’t you have a costume party to go to? The one I helped Rose pick out a certain sassy Robin Hood for?” I asked him, and Scorpius looked positively gleeful.
“She really bought . . . wow. Her dad . . .” Scorpius said breathlessly.
“Yeah. It goes with her hair, as well as ‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t pass the next essay’ side of her,” I remarked, having known that side all too well. “Go get ‘em, tiger,” I encouraged, and Scorpius stumbled out of the tower.
“Thanks, Nick! Oh yeah, and Al said you can go back to the dungeons!” he called. “And I’m telling him about the whole smiling thing, Nicole!” Then he left, and I meandered down to the dungeons, where Al was waiting. He looked ready to tear his hair out, but his face lit up when he saw me.
“You look . . . dare I say it? Happy. It’s like you’re glowing with something besides moodiness . . . did you talk to Fred? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure he’s selling fairy dust,” he asked, and I smiled at him. Genuinely. “And there, witches and wizards, was the rare Nick smile. Thought to be extinct, it has made a rare appearance.”
“You sound like the Hufflepuff,” I muttered, but Al just grinned broader.
“So that’s why you’re smiling,” he replied knowingly, but I shot him a look.
“Yeah, me and Owen talked for a while. But I was actually just talking to Scorpius,” I told him, but Al looked sceptical.
“Just go to your dorm. Piper’s freaking out; she doesn’t think she’ll have you ready in time,” Al ordered, but the smile slid off my face like stinksap.
“What? I’m not wearing a costume like those stupid Gryffindors,” I told him, and Al sighed.
“It’s for the you-know-what. We’re all doing it. Come on, Nicki, or Piper’ll have my head,” he whined, and I sighed.
“Fine, but I’m not looking like a tart,” I conceded, and Al smiled.
“You’re the best, Nick, and I like seeing you smile,” he replied, running his hand through his hair.
What was with these people? It wasn’t like I walked around with a thunderstorm following me around . . . right?
“No, you just never smile, love,” Rhys called from across the common room. “And you didn’t say it; I just knew what you were thinking. You’re eyes are like a billboard.” Al laughed, and so did I.
“Do we need to use a breathalyzer spell on you, Nick?” Kenzie asked worriedly from his chess game with Flynn.
“No!” I exclaimed, before storming to Piper and my room. I knew they were all laughing in the common room, and it actually felt good to make someone laugh.
Merlin, I’m going soft. Someone help me. PLEASE!
Okay, maybe that was a tad melodramatic.
“Were you talking to Fred Weasley?” she asked suspiciously, turning away from the mirror in our room. She was wearing an airy dress, (no, it wasn’t skimpy, it floated down well past her knees) and she had this ethereal look about her.
“No,” I said sharply, before lightening up. It was Halloween, after all. “I’m just happy. Is that weird? Everyone else seems to think it is . . .” I said, plopping myself down on my bed. Piper sat next to where I was laying.
“No, it’s just that it’s extremely rare for you,” she explained, pulling her hair up into a graceful updo.
“I take it you’re . . .?” I asked, trailing off, taking in her beautiful yet creepy appearance. She nodded. “Albus is going to be speechless. You’re beautiful, Piper,” I told her, and if there wasn’t a spell to make her appear almost transparent, she would be blushing. “You didn’t deny it,” I said, and Piper looked down. “You fancy Albus!” I all but screamed, and Piper laughed.
“I think I’m not the only one who fancies someone,” she said quietly. “What were you doing all afternoon?” And so I told her, as she started piecing together my new identity.
“How come I have to be the bloody-” I started as she thrust the costume in my hand.
“-because you have the best creepy smile,” she said hurriedly, before digging through her (actually quite extensive) morning kit. Her mother always bought her make-up for her birthday, knowing damn well that Piper almost never used it.
Ah, motherly love.
Anyways, after I was forced into that hideous costume, which was actually around the same length as my school skirt, just much more transparent, Piper came at me with the make-up. Needless to say I tried to bolt.
“Al!” Piper called as I opened the door, and Al was standing there, looking smug.
“Trying to run, sweetheart?” he asked, already in his costume. Piper still had to do his face, though. “Oh yeah, and, Piper, Rhys said he’d be over here in a minute. He’s still trying to figure out how to tie a tie,” he called, but Piper just nodded. I looked for an escape around him, but Al had the whole bloody frame covered. So naturally I barrelled into him. He caught me though, and pinned my arms behind my back.
“How did you bloody know?” I asked, because he had obviously been expecting it.
“It’s you, Nick,” was Piper’s reply. Al turned around, and looked at Piper. I swear to Merlin it looked like his eyes were going to pop out of his head.
“Wow, Piper, you look . . .” Al started breathlessly, before finding the word. “Perfect.” Piper looked away shyly. I was really starting to hate The Mating Ritual. Thankfully, though, he let me up, and I was starting to sneak towards the door.
“Colloportus,” Piper said, and the door squealed shut. I shot her a dirty look. “Now, are you going to play nice or does Al have to restrain you?” she asked, as if talking to a two-year-old. I growled. “All right, then. Al?” She wasn’t bluffing.
“Fine, I’ll be your pretty little doll!” I cry out, because I honestly don’t want Al to sit on me for that long. I might die. Al smirked, and took his post by the doorframe.
“Good girl,” Piper said, ruffling my hair. “Now sit still.” As soon as I saw the bright red lip colour on her table, my eyes flitted to the door. Al just shook his head, but mimed cutting his head off. At least he knew how I felt.
Yet again . . . he’s a bloke. I really need some better arguments.
So I sat there, as Piper smeared what felt like a thicker version of jam on my face, then proceeded to attack me with various other instruments of torture, but I didn’t say a word. When Piper finally decreed I was done, she lead me over to the mirror. I was unrecognizable, but I have to say I looked pretty scary. Especially my blood-red lips, which looked like I got them by actually drinking blood.
“Piper, you’re amazing,” Al remarked, looking at me.
“I know. Now sit down at let me get you ready,” she ordered, and Al’s eyes traveled to the door.
“Trying to run, sweetheart?” I mocked him, blocking the door. He groaned, and made a rude hand gesture. “That’s not ladylike. What would your mother say?” I scolded, and Al stuck his tongue out at me. Then Piper smacked him lightly on the cheek, and I snickered, but my victory was ruined when Piper shot me a look of annoyance. “I’ll go find Rhys,” I volunteered, because Alyssa didn’t have to dress up for her role. Lucky.
“No need, sugar bee,” he greeted smoothly, moving to ruffle my hair until he saw my appearance. “Brilliant job, Piper. You’ve managed to catch Nick’s exact mood and style.” I growled, but of course it didn’t faze him. It never did.
“Where’s Alyssa?” I asked, because normally she’d help out Piper a bit if there was enough time.
“Rounding up the little urchins,” he replied, and we launched into a discussion about Quidditch. Eventually it was Rhys’s turn, and then we were ready to go. We were going to make the ickle firsties wet themselves.
“Welcome, welcome, to the spookiest night in all of Slytherin . . . Halloween!” Alyssa started in a creepy voice. She was a brilliant actor, which was why she was the narrator. (Al, Rhys, Piper, and I were all disillusioned in our designated spots around the common room) “Instead of having a party, or simply pranking, in Slytherin we have a different theme . . . fear! So listen close, as I tell you a story. If it’s even a tale at all . . .” Oh, we were going to have fun with this. I think we’ll even manage to scare the infallible Mackenzie Farley.
“Our story starts right here in Hogwarts. Before it was a school, Hogwarts Castle housed the richest man in all of England.” Rhys suddenly became visible, his ghostly appearance haunting as he glared at everyone. “He was a cruel, cruel spirit, with love only for his beautiful daughter.” Piper appeared, taking the arm Rhys outstretched. “But the daughter fell in love with a peasant boy, and planned to run away with him.” I resisted the urge to yawn from my spot, but I had to be silent. Besides, it was going to get good. Now Al appeared, wearing shabby clothes, but he spun Piper around. Also, Alyssa was secretly levitating all of them. “One day, the man found them, but he didn’t tell his daughter.” Now, Piper left, disappearing into thin air. “Instead, the man killed the peasant, having planned an engagement with another rich family.” Rhys stabbed Al, who bled and flickered until he disappeared. “But what the man didn’t know was that the boy was a wizard, one who could control the darkest of demons. The boy came back to life-” now Al reappeared, this time looking extremely creepy, and a few people gasped. “-and made it his mission to haunt the man for taking away his one true love. So he called upon his worst demon, a ghastly creature with razor sharp claws for nails and fangs for teeth. This demon also had wings.” I cackled, rising high above the ground, my creepy costume and white face receiving scared glances. “The man had no idea what the boy had been planning,” she said in a sorrowful tone. Then, the lights flickered out and died. Only Rhys glowed now.
“He thought he had saved his daughter; that the boy would bother them no more. Oh, how wrong he was.” I was sneaking up behind Rhys, while Piper did some hefty charm work. The room shook, and Rhys looked around frantically. “The demon was always watching.” I appeared in one corner of the room, before disappearing. Then there was some creaking sounds. Now I stood right behind Kenzie Farley, and reappeared. Someone screamed. But I was already gone, and now right behind Rhys, who was playing his part well. He looked absolutely terrified. “Finally, she made her move. I suddenly appeared right over Rhys, took his knife, and ‘stabbed’ him with it, just like he’d done to my master. Then I let out the creepiest cackle I could, and disappeared once more. Piper was now hurriedly making Rhys one of me. “The demon boy, who had sought revenge, was not planning on his demon going rogue.” I cackled eerily behind Flynn, but when he whipped around I was gone. “He watched helplessly as she, too, was consumed by the monster.” Piper appeared demented, blood staining her now bridal robes. She walked arm and arm with Al, both smiling crookedly. “
It is rumored that, to this day, they all still haunt these very halls. So if you ever hear-” I cackled again, this time from way up on the ceiling,”-beware the demon.” Then the low lights flickered and died, but we all appeared in various places around the room, causing a few screams. Then the lights came all the way up. The actual story was horrible, (Al and I had made it up) but with the creepy effects it terrified the first years, and the older ones held some grudging respect. Kenzie shot me a look of annoyance for appearing behind him, but I just smiled.
“Now, let’s thank our wonderful willing actors: Rhys, Al, Piper, and Nick!” Alyssa said cheerfully, and everyone clapped loudly. We weren’t done yet, though. The lights flickered out once more, and I lay in the center of the common room, apparently dead. Al stood over me, holding the knife. Then the lights came back up. Now we had our screams.
“Now we’re done,” Alyssa said cheerfully. “Oi! You lot!” she called to us. Alyssa, as well as the rest of the house, was in their pajamas. “Go change! I’ll explain to them what we’re doing next!”
And so we did. Halloween always started with a horror story, and then a game. Then we sent the first and second years to bed. That was when we did what Halloween was known for in Slytherin. Secrets.
By the time we were done removing everything, the first and second years were gone from the common room. Everyone else was sitting in a circle on the floor, ready to go. Piper and I grinned, and took our spots next to Al.
“All right. Most of you know the rules, but we need to initiate the third years,” Rhys said, pulling out the sacred piece of parchment. “Tonight is Halloween. We are not Gryffindors, who throw lavish parties filled with alcohol and skimpy outfits. We are not Hufflepuffs, who trade candy. We are not Ravenclaws, who over plan all their pranks. We are Slytherins, and we deal in secrets. The rules are simple. Each person will have a turn, and will sit in the middle of the circle. Everyone else writes down a question, or an order, and you must answer it truthfully, or do the order, or, as Nick can testify, the consequences are . . . interesting.”
Yep. Instead of playing that silly game Truth or Dare, we just force everyone to do what we want. I, however, usually end up lying, and therefore having consequences. It’s actually a lot more fun than it sounds. Especially since there’s a candy stash the size of England in the common room. We’re all giggly and happy, and we are all actually a lot more close-knit after it.
“We go youngest to oldest.” Rhys ordered, and the youngest third year took a seat in the middle. It was starting.
Piper and I were laughing our heads off. We had just told Kenzie to sit in Rhys’s lap until Al’s turn, and now Rhys was blushing like mad. Before that, people had to do some pretty hilarious things. We were all smiling, and I was munching on ice mice.
“Piper! It’s your turn,” Kenzie called some time later, glaring intensely at me. I shrugged, and wrote down my ‘order’ for her. Piper looked at everyone’s, and her face turned beet red. She mumbled something, probably because I had blackmailed everyone to tell her to sit next to Al, cuddling, (like they had been before but . . . still) for the rest of the game. Piper obliged, shooting a glare at me.
“Well, you lot are boring,” Rhys remarked from under Kenzie, giving me a look. “Nick!” I groaned, rolling over, and Al detached himself from Piper and literally threw me into the circle. I knew I was going to get murdered. I saw several people glare evilly, including Lottie and Thomas. I waited as they all wrote down their various things, then grabbed the hat.
“Proclaim your undying love for Lottie in a song,” I read, and Thomas sent me a wink. I begrudgingly did it, causing everyone else to laugh. There were a few questions, which I answered truthfully, until I came to one dare I wouldn’t do. “No!” I shouted. It was too personal.
“Nick, Nick, Nick, what are we going to do with you?” Rhys tsked. “I dare you to spend the night in the Shrieking Shack. You can do that after the sixth years to swimming in the Black Lake, which happened to be my order for the three of you. Don’t worry, Al and Piper will spend the night in the shack with you.” We all groaned, but didn’t complain. Everyone else was laughing.
Ah, well. It was Halloween.
“Let’s go, mates,” I said cheerfully, grabbing as much candy as I could. Piper and Al followed, along with Rhys, to make sure we completed the order.
Tonight was going to be brilliant. It was Halloween, after all, and despite our moans Piper, Al, and I had no reservations about going to the Shrieking Shack.
“Nick, I’m going to bloody kill you!” Al shouted, before chasing after me. We raced our way to the shack, laughing our heads off. We didn’t care how loud we were, and Al even put Piper over his shoulder and carried her most of the way.
I blamed my newfound happiness, as well as Piper and Al’s carefree attitude on one thing.
A/N: Aw, Nick. She can't even smile without everyone thinking she was under the influence . . .
I know this chapter was a little fluffy, but I can explain. I thought that Nick could use a little break from the cloud of darkness that follows her around, and I love Owen, so I had to put him in. Also, what did you all think of the Scorpius action? (you can rant to me about fluff and such in a review if you wish)
As for Halloween, I do apologize for that horrendous horror story. (Also, feel free to comment about his horrible-ness in a review) This chapter was kind of fillery, but my beta and I were talking, and I needed something to lead up to my big plot peaks. So . . . Halloween. And I know Truth/Dare is very cliched, but I put a Slytherin twist on it. And it *was* supposed to be the first 'family bonding' thing and whatnot, and let them get to know each other better.
Overall . . . like or no like? Too happy?
Thanks for reading, and please review!
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