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Cheating the Bet by Ryebread
Chapter 8 : Dangerous
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4

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Thanks, bathtub. @ TDA for the chapter image :)

“Don’t joke around, Potter. That’s not funny. I don’t like your sick jokes. Now leave me alone,” I said, unable to stop the tears. Why was he doing this to me? Did he really hate me that much? Potter’s face was complete disbelief.

“Are you serious?” he asked incredulously. “You are dense, Alice.” He started laughing. The tears kept rolling onto my face. I just wanted him to leave me alone, to stop hurting me.

“Why are you laughing at me? Haven’t you done enough?” I asked, though it was slightly unintelligible with the sniffling. Potter ran his hands through his hair and walked over to me. He wrapped his arms around me, rubbing my back in a soothing motion.

“Don’t touch me,” I said, though I didn’t push him away. I felt too defeated to do anything, but just pretend that he hadn’t just shattered me. My words were empty threats. He must have known it, too, because he didn’t move away. I was a little relieved that he didn’t because I felt so safe in his arms, even though my brain told me I shouldn’t. I couldn’t think rationally when he was near.

After I settled down and stopped crying, he took his arms off my back and placed them on my cheeks. He wiped away the residual tears on my face and then gazed right into my eyes.

“I’m sorry about laughing at you, but you really don’t get it. I was serious when I said I love you. I just couldn’t fathom why you didn’t believe me.” I smiled tentatively, but all I could manage feeling was guilt. Guilt at yelling at him over the whole misunderstanding, guilt at hurting him so much, and guilt that I couldn’t say it back.

“I’m sorry, too,” I said, feeling ashamed. “I should have listened to your side of the story. I was just so mad at you. I thought you were just playing with me and it hurt. I didn’t mean to ignore you and yell at you—“

“No need to apologize, Allie. All I need is you to agree to go to Hogsmeade with me,” he said, wearing a huge grin and definitely putting on the charm.

“I don’t know, Al...” I said after a roll of my eyes and a soft laugh. I was conflicted. I wanted to go so bad, but how could I when he said he loved me, but I couldn’t say it back. Al’s grin got a little smaller.

“I thought you said that you liked me,” he said confusedly, looking years younger with his childlike puzzlement.

“I do, Al, but that’s the problem. I don’t love you. I can’t say it back. I don’t want to lead you on.” His signature cocky smirk appeared.

“Oh, Allie,” he said, putting an arm around my shoulders. “You will,” he said confidently. I just giggled and shook my head good-naturedly. “So come on, go with me to Hogsmeade next week. Please?” he asked with a puppy-dog-face. I bit my lip and stroked my chin, pretending to think about it.

“I guess. I mean, I don’t have anything else to do,” I teased with a huge smile on my face. Al thrust his fist into the air and then kissed me full on the mouth.

“It’s a date,” he said and then ran off down the walkway. In mid-run he turned around and started to run backwards. “I’ll meet you at the Great Hall at ten o’clock on Saturday. I’ve got to go to quidditch practice,” he yelled while waving good-bye. I waved back laughing at him.

I couldn’t wait 12 days until Saturday. It was way too long.

The next week couldn’t be any slower for me and now that it was Friday, it would go even slower. Friday was going to take forever.  My dorm-mates were extremely excited about our date in Hogsmeade tomorrow. I even think Aileen already started picking out my outfit. (Let’s face it. I have no idea what to wear.) So today I sat on the bench in the middle of the Gryffindor table, waiting for Saturday.

Ever since Al and I made up and planned our date, our table arrangements had changed drastically. Instead of me and the girls sitting together and Al and his friends sitting on the other end of the table, we all sat together in a Wotter and co. group. It consisted of Al’s and my dorm-mates, James, Fred, Dom, and the occasional other family member who popped in for a spell. (Pun intended. Get it? Because we’re magic?) The whole group was loud and rambunctious and I loved it.

James and Freddy and Roxanne talked about quidditch non-stop; what new plays should they try, stats on professional players, anything and everything quidditch. They just ate that shit up. 

Sophie and Cole were getting cozy and were going to Hogsmeade together as well, though we mutually agreed to go separately and not double date. Neither of us couples felt like sharing.

Rose, of course, only stopped studying to eat and to see Scorpius, though they were still a secret, so she had to be careful about it. They agreed to meet by the Shrieking Shack and I made it my goal to try to keep her family away from them.

Aileen, on the other hand, had gotten a new boyfriend, Jackson Ravensdale, just last week, but said that she wasn’t going to Hogsmeade with him and that he was getting boring. It was probably a good thing because Eric didn’t seem to like him very much. It was probably because he was on the Hufflepuff quidditch team and Eric didn’t want to sit with a rival… I think.

Lily had taken to sit with Hugo more, as they were planning a huge prank. I didn’t get a lot of details from her, but it was set to go off after holidays. Unlike the rest of her family, Lily didn’t play quidditch. She loved to watch it and knew all about it, but wasn’t interested in being a player. The only thing she played were pranks along with Hugo.

Dom and Lysander seemed to be getting rather talkative while we sat together. Though they were a year apart, they bonded and looked cute together. Plus, I hoped that Lysander, with all his quirks, would be able to have Dom keep an open mind.

Everything was going well in the world of Wotters and friends.

So it was on that morning that I sat, observing my friends and reading the newspaper simultaneously. For the first time this year, I was feeling really happy. Of course, not that I was depressed before, but everything was just going my way today.

I smiled to myself as I drank from my mug of hot cocoa and turned my full attention to the Daily Prophet. Normally, there wasn’t much news. After Voldemort died, the majority of big crimes disappeared. It wasn’t as if we were some new peaceful society, but there were significantly less murders, crimes dealing with muggles, and because of this; less to report in the news.

Today was a bit different.

Yesterday, a group of known ex-death eaters were found to be still active. After a vicious attack on a wizarding family with a muggleborn mother and wizard father, the aurors went to investigate and found the old symbol of the ouroboros (a snake eating its tail) over their house. Little is known about the location of the attackers, but the auror department is using their every resource to find them.

The article went on to describe more about the family, saying there were two casualties, the mother and the father, as they presumably defended themselves, and one boy, their twelve year old son, is in serious condition after being cut open in various place. The aurors think it was sectumsempra, but can’t be sure until they question the boy. The other two children, two daughters, ages four and five, were unharmed and found hiding in their parents closet. The last thing that I noticed was a mark over the house. It wasn’t the dark mark, strangely enough, but it consisted of a snake eating its own tail.

I was in utter shock. Since before I’ve been born, we haven’t had to deal with anything like this and I admit that I was a little scared. Al, who was sitting right next to me, saw my expression of disgust and fear and grabbed the paper from my hands. His face darkened as he read through it and he passed it around the table to the hands of our confused friends. Each one, when they got the Daily Prophet, looked horrified.

The rest of the school day was a blur. I didn’t know what was happening in classes. All I could see was the little boy and his bloody figure and the pictures of the suspected criminals. The bodies of the dead parents floated through my mind. Even though I didn’t know the people, I grieved for their family. My mum and dad told me countless tales about their Hogwarts days, including their seventh year and I knew what it would be like if the Death Eaters returned, even if Voldemort was dead.

During dinner our table was silent, but the background noise of students whispering voiced our fears and thoughts one hundred percent. Almost everyone was worried about the attack and wondered if there were more to come, for muggles and wizards alike. The only exception to this was a few Slytherins whose git parents taught them about blood purity. Thankfully there were only very few.

Al kept looking at me questioningly, his eyes silently asking how I was doing. I would give him a small smile, but I knew that wasn’t enough. He could see that I was worried. Worried about my family, who fought against the death eaters in the war, worried about my friends and their families. I was scared for everyone because everyone in the Great Hall at the moment was either considered a traitor to the death eaters or filth and both of those categories were prime targets.

My appetite was barely existent after hearing the news about the muggle family and word in the school was that another family was attacked this afternoon, but this time it was a wizarding family.

I got up from the benches and told everyone that I was going to the dorm. As I was walking, Rose got up and followed me. She had a hard time with this, too. Her family’s prominent role in the war made them high on the target list. I hugged her hard before walking back with her to the dorms, where we both curled up in our beds and tried to sleep.

Right as I was about to drift off, Rose said in a small voice, “I’m scared, Allie.”

I put out my hand, trying to comfort her and she held on to it. I wanted to tell her it was going to be okay, but I would never lie to her, so I just confessed, “I know, Rose. I know.”

The next morning, the sun was shining and, though it was a little chilly, it was amazingly bright outside, which was the total opposite of the demeanor of Hogwarts right now. I pushed the two attacks to the back of my mind and focused on my date with Al. I wouldn’t spoil it by worrying.

Everyone else seemed to have the same attitude as I did and they put all their energy into the appearance of me, Sophie, and Rose, who was going to secretly meet Scorpius at the Shrieking Shack.

Aileen was in charge of wardrobe. She picked out clothes that were cute and practical for the nippy air of fall.

Sophie wore a pair of simple jeans and a red, v-neck tee shirt. Over that she put on a black trench coat and some black boots to match. She wrapped a thin grey scarf around her neck to complete the outfit.

Rose had on dark wash skinny jeans, a long-sleeved grey shirt and a short sleeved black coat to go over that. She slipped on some silver flats and ran out of the dorm before the rest of us so that she could meet Scorpius without getting caught by her overly protective family members.

Aileen gleefully gave me some black skinny jeans and an ivory spaghetti strap shirt paired with a light blue cardigan and a pair of white tennis shoes to go with. I was not in the mood to traipse around in the heels that Aileen wanted me to wear.

After I was done playing dress up, I practically sprinted down to the Great Hall in anticipation of the afternoon. The only thing stopping me was Aileen, who insisted that I would get sweaty and she didn’t want her cardigan that I borrowed smelling like B.O., so I had to settle for speed-walking.

I arrived at the Great Hall to find Al already there. His bright green eyes brightened when he saw me making my heart hammer in my chest. He had the same tousled hair, which he didn’t even try to fix anymore, a pair of blue jeans and an open flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tee underneath it. He looked effortlessly good, like he didn’t even think about what he was wearing, but I knew that wasn’t true when he straightened out the wrinkles in his shirt and ran a hand nervously through his locks.

I laughed as I reached him and stopped his fidgeting by pushing his hand out of the way of his hair.

“Your hair is fine, Al. We both know it won’t sit flat, so don’t try. Plus, I like it that way,” I told him frankly. He grinned back at me.

“You look… you look great, Allie,” he said as we walked out to Hogsmeade. I blushed pink and muttered, “Thanks.” Now that we were going on our date, I was kind of nervous, but excited. The butterflies were doing acrobatics in my stomach and my heart was beating quicker than normal. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for this afternoon.

If only I knew how eventful it would be.

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