Chapter 4 : Up All Night
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Meet me in the astronomy tower ASAP. I figured that you couldn’t go a few hours without snogging me.
I shook my head in amazement and could just see him smirking haughtily as he wrote and sent the parchment. He really expected me to go to the astronomy tower to snog him at this time. It was the middle of the night! I crumpled up the letter into a ball and incinerated it with my wand, destroying the evidence. I couldn’t have my dorm-mates find out about my and Potter’s… arrangement; I guess it would be called. I rummaged through my trunk and pulled out parchment and a quill.
I gave the note to his owl and then I crawled back into the comfort of my warm and cozy bed and closed my eyes.
Just as sleep was starting to overcome me, I felt someone grab my shoulder and shake me awake. I was about to scream when a hand covered my mouth. I looked up from the hand to find the face that went with it, only to see Potter looking at me with an amused expression.
“Calm down, Longbottom. It’s just me. Nice pajamas, by the way,” My smirk senses were tingling and I could almost feel his gaze on my body. It made my face go red.
My P.J.’s barely covered me, seeing as it was summer. I had red shorts that go about mid-thigh and had yellow draw-strings. My shirt was a form-fitting tank.
“Can we go to the astronomy tower now?” asked Potter, sounding exasperated when I didn’t race like the wind to the tower, as I’m sure he expected me to do. I glared up at him, but couldn’t say anything as his hand was still over my mouth.
“Bloody hell, Potter, how did you even get up here? You should have slid down the slide,” I whispered sharply when his hand left my mouth. Potter just smirked and looked down at his feet where, instead of human feet, there were cat paws.
“Uncle George gave me these shoes that transfigure my feet for a short time. They’re only prototypes and they’ll be unusable soon, but they work for the time being. The stairs just thought I was a cat, not a boy. Impressed?” He asked arrogantly.
“Not really, Potter, I always figured that you had a big ego because of your small feet,” I said matching his smirk. He just scowled.
“I do not have small feet,” he mumbled childishly, obviously catching my innuendo. “Now, can we go to the astronomy tower?”
“I don’t know if you know this, Potter, but it is way after curfew and my father is a professor here. If I get caught, I’m beyond screwed. You must be mental,” I hissed, thinking about what would happen if my dad caught me after curfew, snogging Potter no less.
Instead of replying to me, Potter hovered over me and then snogged me, leaving me breathless and unable to argue as he grabbed a cloak that was lying on the floor at his cat feet. He pulled me up from my bed and held close to him; my back squeezed against his muscular chest, and threw it over us.
“Now we’re invisible, but it’s not sound proof so shut it, Longbottom,” he instructed and directed me down the stairs and out the portrait hole.
I was surprised when we managed to make it to the tower without being caught, especially with me tripping over my feet every few seconds. I convinced myself that it was because there was no space to walk, not because I was pressed against Potter’s fit, quidditch abs. He whipped the cloak over our heads and his hands cupped my face, pulling it closer to his. We were millimeters from another snogging session that invaded my every unconscious dream (and even some conscious day dreams) since the first one occurred. Then we were interrupted.
Mrs. Norris waltzed in on our secret rendezvous, meowing and hissing horribly, alerting her owner to our presence. Potter scrambled for the cloak as we heard Mr. Filch’s footsteps coming up the stairs and his obnoxious wheezing as he exerted himself too much in pursuit of we “troublemakers”. I clung on to Potter closely as he threw the invisibility cloak on over us just in time.
Seconds after we disappeared, the red-faced and sweaty Mr. Filch arrived in the astronomy tower looking at the exact spot where we were under the cloak. His eyes scanned the area before he wheezed his way back down the stairs of the tower, grumbling to his cat while she followed him.
“That was too close, Potter,” I said angrily. “That cannot happen again.” I looked up at his face to see him nod in agreement.
It was at that moment that I noticed what an intimate position we were in. My arms were the only thing separating us, palms flat against his chest. His were wrapped around me gently, one hand stroking my hair. I felt myself blush. He must have noticed it, as well, because his hands went immediately down to his sides and I tucked mine behind my back. We avoided each other’s gazes. We had snogged before, but this was different; almost gentle.
Potter proceeded to take off the cloak and pull out a blank piece of old and worn out parchment and point his wand at it.
“I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,” he announced, leaving me a little confused and not just about his statement, but about his tender behavior. I pondered this until I saw a map of Hogwarts appear on the parchment.
“We’ll have to stay up here for a little while,” he sighed. “Filch is down at the bottom of the stairs, probably trying to catch his breath. Did you hear his panting? I thought a dog was coming up here.” I giggled slightly. Potter looked at me with a genuine smile. Why would he do that? I thought. Though, his smile is quite attractive.
“You have a nice laugh,” he breathed. It was so quiet that I almost thought that I imagined it. Almost. I couldn’t help it; my cheeks reddened again.
“Erm… Thanks,” I said unintelligently, still looking anywhere but up at his face. The tower wall was quite lovely. The way that the stones were crumbling was quite enchanting; almost as enchanting as Potter’s… No! I’m still watching the wall, not Potter.
“You’re… erm… welcome,” he replied, sounding as uncomfortable as I felt. “He’s still there. We might be here for a while. Want to sit down?” He gestured to a space on the floor.
I nodded and with our backs against the wall we slid down and sat by each other, our shoulders brushing briefly, electricity zapping us.
“Can I…?” I trailed off awkwardly, pointing to the map in his hands. He silently passed it over. Upon getting it from him, I searched the sixth year Gryffindor girl’s dorm and everybody was still asleep, thank Merlin. I looked over the boy’s dorm, where all of Al’s friends were dozing, too. Then, my eyes wandered down the various halls, where I could see teachers roaming, Filch still standing at the bottom of the stairs, and a Hufflepuff couple kissing in an abandoned classroom.
“How did you get this? This is amazing,” I wondered aloud in awe, setting the map on his lap which was covered in snitch-patterned pajama bottoms. Potter smiled with obvious pride.
“It was my granddad’s. James Potter I and the rest of the marauders, as they called themselves, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew, made it. It shows everyone. Where they are, what they’re doing, every minute of every day. I’ve done thousands of pranks with this since I got it in my fifth year after James decided he was ‘too mature to pull pranks anymore’, but between you and me, he was trying to impress a girl. I’ve never even been caught,” he said smugly, using finger quotations when talking about his brother.
“Except for earlier today? You were in detention with me. Did you get caught then?” I questioned. Potter’s face turned pink and he looked away from me, embarrassed.
“It was nothing. Just drop it,” he said quickly, not meeting my eyes. After a few minutes he added with another genuine smile, “You know? This is the longest we’ve talked without arguing since first year. Why do we argue with each other all the time anyways? I forgot.” It took me a minute to think about it.
Why was his smile so bloody distracting?
“Well, you’re a prat, so why wouldn’t I hate you?” I said smirking, but in a joking tone. I switched back to serious mode. “I don’t know, Potter,” I sighed. “I think it started on the boat ride when you threw my toad in the Black Lake.” Potter chuckled throwing his head back.
“Oh, yeah. Then, you pushed me in and said that if one toad was in the lake, then the other toad should go in there, too,” said Potter, still laughing. I couldn’t help it; his laughter was infectious. My stomach muscles hurt and I found myself laying my head on Potter’s shoulder. Once the hilarity died down, I looked up at him to see him looking at me intensely. I blushed and took a sneak peek at the map, where I found that Filch was gone from the bottom of the stairs and walking down the hall opposite of the one that we needed to get back to our dorms.
“It looks like we can leave now. Filch left,” I said, pointing to it. He snatched the map from my hands and looked at it intently.
“Give me a minute to find out how best to get back to the common room without running into teachers. Even if we’re invisible, we can’t be too careful.” He viewed it for about a minute before his eyes stopped on an area in the library and his face darkened.
“Potter?” I asked cautiously. “What’s going…?” I trailed off.
I looked at the spot that had blackened his gaze and found that Rose had snuck off to the library to be with Scorpius and they were unmistakably kissing.
“Is that Rose? My cousin with Malfoy? I’ll kill him,” he growled. He crumpled the map in his hands slightly before trying to go down to the library to break them up. I had to stop him. I stepped in front of him, blocking the exit.
“Potter, don’t,” I said warningly. “She really likes him. Don’t you want her to be happy?” He only looked angrier.
“You knew? You knew about Rose and that… that… prick? That filth? Why didn’t you tell me? His father was a death eater! She is not allowed to date him!” he exclaimed. I cast muffliato on the door.
“Don’t get mad at me, Potter, for being a good friend! I just want Rose to be happy. It’s what you should want. You don’t have to be such an arse! Anyways, you don’t even know him, so how could you know that he’s anything like his father?” I yelled with my hands clenched into fists.
“Because he is! Families like his don’t change, Longbottom. I would know, since you’re still a bumbling idiot like your father,” he said coldly. I could feel tears in my eyes and I lashed out, slapping him across the face.
“Well, you’re wrong because you’re nothing like your father. He was a good man and the savior of the wizarding world. What have you done? That’s right; nothing! You just live off of his fame and use it as an excuse to be an arsehole, but really you’re just sad and can’t stand anyone to be happy, not even your favorite cousin!” I screamed in his face. Then, I calmed down and looked at him with no expressions and said emotionlessly, “You’re nothing, Potter. You’re dead to me.” I thought I saw hurt in his eyes before I spun around and rushed down the stairs. I ran aimlessly down corridors until I finally made it to the Gryffindor common room, only escaping getting caught by pure luck, tears freely running down my face.
When I finally calmed down enough to be able to make it quietly into bed, I lied there staring at the scarlet canopy.
I pretended to be asleep when Rose made her way back into the room a few minutes after I did. I silently cast muffliato and curled up in my bed to cry. I was hurt. Potter had gone too far when he insulted my dad.
That night, I didn’t dream. I hardly even slept and woke the next morning a total wreck. My eyes were puffy, my nose was stuffed up, and Merlin knows what happened to my hair. All the girls in my dorm noticed, but let me have my space, though I knew Rose would ask about it later when I wasn’t so messed up. I got dressed quickly as to avoid seeing Potter when I went to breakfast and then I rushed to the Great Hall.
About ten minutes into my breakfast, Rose sat across from me. The other girls, along with Dom Weasley (Never call her Dominique. It’s painful.), who was a year older, and Molly, who was a year younger, trailed in a few minutes later. I ate silently and the other girls talked quietly, but awkwardly because they all wondered what was wrong and it was a huge elephant in the room.
Rose looked at me every few seconds with a question look, but I ignored it. She obviously didn’t know about Potter finding out about her and Scorpius, so I didn’t want her to get upset by saying anything.
Throughout the meal I wanted to take a glance at Potter to see if he was still angry or to see if he was going to try to kill Malfoy. Finally, the temptation was too great and I gave in. He was sitting at the other end of the Gryffindor table with his dorm-mates, Lysander Scamandar, Sophie’s twin brother, Eric Wood, and Cole Thomas, and a few of his family, Hugo who was talking intently with Lucy, who was in third year, James, and Fred. Everybody around Potter seemed to be laughing or talking or socializing in some way, but Potter looked horrible. He just stared at his plate with dark circles under his eyes and his hair messier than usual.
It was as if he felt me staring because he looked up and met my eyes. I looked away fast, but not before seeing pain on his face.
He must be hurting because he acted like a jerk when his cousin was happy. Why would he care about me? I thought to myself, but the nagging feeling that I had something to do with his agony wouldn’t go away. My appetite was gone. I got up from the table without saying where I was going, mostly because I didn’t know. I just had to leave.
I speed-walked out of the hall and as I left, I heard footsteps behind me.
“Alice,” Potter called out. I spun around fists clenched and tears in my eyes, ready to yell, but his next words stopped me. All of my fight was gone in seconds.
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