Chapter 2 : Rose Weasley's Quiet Time
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Which was why Rose Weasley had decided to simply bask in the quiet solitude of perhaps the most populated room in the entire castle.
The Great Hall was teeming with people, hundreds of students having gotten up early so that they could walk to Hogsmeade for the day. As far as she was concerned though, this was as peaceful as peaceful could get. None of her cousins, or her brother, could be bothered to grace the halls with their presence at nine in the morning. James claimed to be recuperating from what he called the hardest week of his life.
The week everyone else referred to as the first week back from the holidays.
Rose had lost count of the times she’d seen him sagged over his school books and groaning loudly, as if reading or writing actually brought him to physical pain. She’d seen the mere mention of homework turn James green.
She would have loved nothing more, absolutely nothing, than to stay in on a cold January day and read a book by the fire. She would have stopped eating chocolate for the rest of the year if she could just cry out of the mini family reunion her cousins had planned in Hogsmeade.
Victoire and Teddy had been the first to propose it. Molly and Lucy, workaholic busy bodies, had delighted in it. Fred, only recently graduated from Hogwarts, had decided to join in since he’d be leaving for his dragon expedition with Uncle Charlie soon. Dominique, despite her current stint in France, had promised to Floo in for the day. All that had been left was to gather the rest of the clan, James, Louis, Roxanne, Albus, Hugo and Lily and ensure that they’d actually make it to the Hog’s Head.
In all likelihood, one of them would definitely go missing and Rose wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be James.
“Good morning, Rose!”
Manx White appeared across the table from her with a carefree smile and snow dusting her shoulders. Saturdays usually found her in a good mood as Rose had found out early in her Hogwarts career.
“Good morning,” she greeted as she set down her copy of the Prophet and looked up and down the length of Manx’s body. “Have you been out already?”
“I had to check on a Herbology project and then I sent out a letter home. I’m looking for Medusa now. Have you seen her?”
“Medusa the second year or Medusa the hedgehog?”
“The hedgehog, unfortunately.”
Medusa the hedgehog had been an innocent animal until some third years had attempted to charm her into a giant version of herself. It had worked for a while, until it had become quite apparent that the spell had been a tad too strong and the hedgehog could now adopt all sorts of sizes. The students had been told to return her to the forest, but she’d kept returning to the castle in the most inopportune moments and Flitwick had finally decided to keep her as a pet. He’d stated that it wasn’t fair to the other hedgehogs, and to poor Medusa, that she could grow from the size of a dog to the smallness of a snitch. The first few weeks had been painful for an unlucky number of students, but Medusa had since learned to keep her quills to herself.
“Can’t say I have. Did she escape again?”
“Flitwick swears he locked her up. I think it was just a student attempting to recreate the great battle of Norris versus Medusa,” Manx said as she smiled politely at a group of Hufflepuff first years. “Anyways, she usually turns up, but Flitwick is worried because she handles the cold so badly.”
Rose chuckled. “Why do you always get stuck looking for her?”
“I was just fortunate enough to be walking down the same hallway as he is whenever she decides to go missing,” Manx sighed. “She turns up, anyways. Or the elves return her. They bait her with worms and I just refuse to go around digging when it’s snowing out.”
“Would you like to sit for a while? Winky the house-elf sent this lovely pot of orange and ginger tea up. I think it’s her favorite,” Rose said motioning towards the steaming pot in front of her. “I’ll bribe you with the crosswords?”
Manx actually laughed out loud. “That was your idea of a bribe?”
“The Quidditch section, then?” She reached for discarded pages, but Manx shook her head.
“The crosswords,” she said as she pulled off her gloves and sunk down to the bench. She filled a cup for herself and sighed as she held it between her hands. “Do you have plans for today?”
They competed in everything and anything and they should have been mortal enemies as far as anyone was concerned, but Rose Weasley had been drawn to Manx White nearly on sight.
It didn’t matter that she wasn’t a family member, or that she was a Ravenclaw, what mattered was that they were somewhat opposites yet they attracted each other. Where Manx was self-reserved, Rose tended to carry her feelings in her sleeves and while Manx could be friendly yet distant, Rose embraced everything and everyone with a fiery passion that was entirely Weasley of her.
They weren’t best friends and Rose knew very little about her, but they could carry on a conversation with humor and laughter and they often saw problems in the same way. In their fifth year, when both had been chosen to become prefects for their respective houses, Rose had even admitted to Manx, for the first time ever, that the Sorting Hat had thought about putting her in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. Manx had said that the Hat had seen her as a prospect for any of the houses, except for Hufflepuff. She’d said it had something to do with her lack of patience.
“I’m waiting for the rest of the brood so we can go to see our cousins in Hogsmeade,” she sipped as she watched Manx transfigure a fork into a quill with the same ease as taking a breath. No wonder she was McGonagall’s favorite. “What will you be doing?”
“I ordered A History of Owls and Household Potions from Tomes and Scrolls and I promised I would go pick them up today,” she stated as she frowned down at the crossword. “I figured I should read something not school related every once in a while.”
“So you bought Household Potions?” Rose laughed.
“It’s the only thing guaranteed to put me to sleep fast.”
Rose glanced back down at the article on Central American voodoo priests with a feeling of relief. Manx was more than comfortable sitting in silence, which meant Rose was comfortable, too. She’d been one of the few people in Hogwarts neither intimidated nor impressed with the name Weasley. Either she simply didn’t care or…
Rose chuckled to herself.
No, Manx White simply didn’t care and that was all.
“Did you figure out the six letter word for ghost?”
Rose frowned. “Can’t quite believe I missed that. A first year would have remembered that one.”
“White! I found your pincushion. Take her before I give her to one of her house-elves to use as a pot scrubber,” an angry voice said from behind Rose.
She knew that voice well enough. It belonged to Scorpius Malfoy.
Or simply someone she had never gotten along with.
“I knew she’d go looking for you,” Manx said as she stood up and reached across the table. She didn’t look very bothered by his obvious tone. Rose say Malfoy extend his arm over her head to drop a snitch-size Medusa into Manx’s hand. “Where did she find you?”
“In the dungeons. She was about fifty pounds heavier then,” Malfoy growled. “You’re sure Flitwick can’t fix her? One of these days someone’s gonna die a gruesome death by hedgehog if this walking shoe cleaner doesn’t stay locked up.”
“You know, it doesn’t matter what you call her. You are obviously her favorite.”
Rose glanced up at Manx’s grinning face. Was she actually making fun of Scorpius Malfoy?
“Keep that thing away from me.” He stormed off and Rose let out her breath.
“Now that’s he’s been properly annoyed and I’ve had my morning tea, I should probably go return her to her cage.” Manx stepped over the bench and grabbed her gloves. She could cradle Medusa on the palm of one hand for now.
“Flitwick really can’t fix her?”
“I’m sure he can, but he chooses not to. She’s like a testament of how well he’s taught his students. Besides, look at this face,” Manx said as she held Medusa to Rose’s inspection. The hedgehog looked like she was perfectly happy being a hedgehog.
“There’s a certain cuteness to her,” Rose agreed wearily. “Did you really just try to make fun of Malfoy?”
“Of course. Besides, he has a soft spot for Medusa. He’s the only one who can get her to stop crying. It’s an awful racket. Could wake up the dead.” Manx shook out her hair and slipped Medusa into the pocket of her coat. “Thank you for the tea, Rose. Have a nice day at Hogsmeade.”
“Maybe I’ll see you at Tomes?” Rose called out after her.
“Sure. Where else would I be?”
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