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Staying Afloat by nednedned
Chapter 5 : Scarring Shopping Trips, Matchmaking, and Evil Plans
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 2

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“PARTY ON SATURDAY, PARTY ON SATURDAY – BACK TO SCHOOL PARTY! WOOOO! Oh, not this Saturday – Room of Requirement reserved for the Chess Society. NEXT SATURDAY! YEAH!”


What fresh hell?


I looked up from the Potions essay I was writing beside Maya, Rose, and Grace. The professors were absolute stars in giving us papers to do in the first few weeks back. Whoopee. Fred, Ryan, James, and Cole were marching throughout the common room, announcing their latest bash. Gryffindors were famous for their crazy parties, and it was only natural that the 6th years who were hailed as the “new Marauders” would throw one so early into the school year. 


Many of the older Gryffindors cheered at this announcement – especially Maya, who got up and started dancing on the couch in excitement. She was one of the crazier party animals. Rose looked slightly conflicted, probably because her prefect tendencies and her party-loving side were clashing. Grace was the funniest though, as she looked absolutely horrified. When parties took place at Hogwarts, she usually could be found curling up with a good book in the dorm.


As for me? I could be a party animal if I wanted to. Mostly, I didn’t want to. Who knows? It just depends on how spiked the punch is.


Needless to say, I cannot hold my liquor.


My Hospital-Wing-fandango last week was quite an excitement, though I had been perfectly fine after spending the night in prison (i.e, the infirmary). I was back to the old routine now: school work, OWL studying (already, thanks to Rose), food, and shenanigans.


Cole waltzed past the armchair I was occupying. Since our moment in the Hospital Wing, he had been acting relatively like the old Cole – impromptu-snogging situations. However, sometimes I could catch a weird glint in his eye – probably just lighting, but I had a feeling that he was changing. It was like he started caring past the physical relationship – was he starting to fancy me? Even after last year?


Oh dear.


Still, he acted like himself ninety-nine percent of the time. So, for the time being, I wasn’t worried.


He shifted my essay from the coffee table and sat down on it, so that he was at my level. “So Lia, coming to the party with me?”


Wasn’t it understood that I was? I guess not, as we hadn’t announced fully that we were dating. It was assumed by us and our friends that we were going out.


“Who else?” I smirked at him. I leaned over and gave him a small peck on the lips, and then proceeded to push him off the table. The essay was due pretty soon, after all.


Cole groaned as everyone started laughing at his curled-up-on-the-floor position. He was in the middle of getting up when someone tripped over him, and they fell to the ground in a heap once more.


Through my giggles, I saw that it was Al who fell on Cole. They got up and clapped each other on the back good-naturedly.


These days, it was as if Al was treating me like a pal. It was both good and bad in a way. I mean, I wasn’t as awkward around him anymore – a very great thing. However, I could feel that my crush was unrequited. I shouldn’t even have been doing what I was doing – stringing along someone for the purpose of making someone else jealous. I could feel that it was wrong, yet I still held out hope.


It was interesting how the ace gang reacted to the new couple news about Cole and I. Caleb and Luke were their usual hyper selves, hollering and exchanging money. Scorpius clapped me on the shoulder and once again progressed to ask Rose out. She rejected him once more. Rosie had a thoughtful look on her face along with Grace and Maya. Obviously debating in their heads how long it would last.


Pssh. Me dating Cole wasn’t that ill-fated.


Alright, so it was inevitably going to end in someone getting hurt, but I would find a way to avoid that – I hope.


Al had looked surprised, but said congratulations nevertheless. He just continued to treat me like a buddy.


We even had a buddy handshake. I’m pathetic.


Sometimes, I felt bad that I was using Cole. Until I remembered that he was a teenaged boy, and that he was totally cool with random PDA anyway. Hence, the overly snogging-filled relationship. I just hoped that the spark in his eyes didn’t blossom into something more.


As Al started heading up to the dormitories like he planned before tripping, I turned to the girls, right as Rose started tugging on my arm. She pointed to the notice board by the portrait hole.


“Look, look, they just stuck up a new paper announcing the first Hogsmeade visit! It’s this Friday! Perfect for getting clothes for the party!”

Alright. She was too excited about this. The party was just announced!


Maya squeed along with Rose, but Grace followed my sentiment the wrinkling eyebrows. More party clothes? What was the point if we already had some from last year and such?


I asked Rose and Maya this question; Grace nodding vehemently along with me. Rose looked at me in disbelief while Maya rolled her eyes.


Well, you two,” Rosie said as if she was talking to four-year-olds, “You can’t just wear the same outfit twice to a party if someone’s already seen it! Complete blasphemy!”


Grace and I blinked at her. Grace was at a loss of what to say, as she usually skipped parties. Not this year, though. We (we being Rose, Maya, and me) planned to drag her to every single bash to bring out her party animal.


See, I didn’t mind partying at all. It was the fashion stuff that got me.


Ask me about the newest broom models or beater gear; however; and I will tell you everything there is to know.


Rose and Maya had already gotten up. “Well, it’s settled then. Two days from today, on Friday, we are PARTY-SHOPPING after classes in Hogsmeade!” Maya proclaimed this as her and Rose did a mini happy-dance.


Crikey. And I didn’t even like shopping.


Grace looked more shaken, though. And she didn’t even know about the peer pressure Maya and Rose could bestow on you to buy a particularly daring outfit.




The next few days passed too quickly, and I found myself following my crazy pals on the path to the village of Hogsmeade. The autumn air was cooling, and leaves in hues of red and orange fluttered on the trees. They would make a great sketch.


Better to draw nature rather than more stalker drawings.


We all had light coats on. Caleb, Luke, and Maya were trying to throw chocolates into the air in front of them, and then run forward and catch it in their mouths. Needless to say, they had only succeeded a few times. Grace was walking with her head in a long book. Al was watching Scorpius and Rose bicker, as was I. This time their argument was about the goodness of pancakes versus waffles.


Honestly. Those two.


“Rose, it’s clear that pancakes are the clear winner. I mean, you can make pancake sandwiches! With syrup and fruit and chocolate chips and stuff in the middle!” Scorpius was looking at her like a loon. He was probably just happy to be bickering with her, like always.


“Malfoy. For one, shut up about this already. Two, waffles are so much better. Have you never heard of waffle ice-cream sandwiches?”


They had been continuing on this tangent for a long time.


Albus drew himself up beside me. “Quite a pair those two make, huh?”


I looked at him in surprise – we hadn’t talked in ages! (And in ages I mean more like twenty minutes).


“Yeah, they do, I guess. Too bad Rosie keeps turning the poor bloke down!” I still blushed like mad around him – it was better than rambling though. And blushing Al (thankfully) didn’t seem to notice.


Ugh. I was turning into one of those bimbos who were obsessed with even being in a Potter boy’s presence. And to think, I used to make fun of them.


What has my life become?


Al laughed at my response, then continued. “Yeah, I mean Rosie’s not allowed to date just anybody – my cousins and I have to protect her. But –“


I scrutinized him. Rosie’s lack of a dating life started to clear up. “So that’s why Rosie hasn’t had a decent date in ages! You, James, and Fred keep scaring them away!”


Poor girl. Last year, she used to cry for ages in the dorms about how ugly she was and how no one would want to go out with her. No matter how hard Grace, Maya, and I tried, we couldn’t persuade her to see the beauty that she really was – both inside and out. I mean, guys would always stare at her, regardless if she even glanced at them! But not in the presence of a Weasley/Potter, of course.


Al tried to protest. “No, well, we only shooed away the guys who weren’t good enough for Rose. We do it to all of the female population of the Weasleys and Potters.”


I gaped. “Have you ever considered that maybe they are capable of protecting themselves?” It wasn’t a lie. The women in that family apparently had a talent for hexes.


I should know. I’ve been on the receiving end from Rose hex-wise dozens of times. Her jelly legs jinx (regardless of its first-year ranking) got me every time.


Albus merely smiled. “Yeah, that’s what we want them to think. Anyway, they can go out with someone if we deem that they are appropriate.”


What blatant hypocrisy! It was well known that many Weasleys/Potters – including James and Fred – were crazy womanizers.


I had a brainwave (shocker). “Well, who qualified for a place on this list then? Cause I have an idea for Rose…”


Al raised an eyebrow. “Go on, then.”

“SCORPIUS MALFOY! The one up right there, fighting with Rose about lame breakfast foods!” I waved my arms with a flourish.


Scorpius turned around to see who called his name. I waved back enthusiastically, as he had no idea what I was talking about. He waved back happily, then turned back to arguing with Rosie.


Anyway,” I continued to Albus, “they would be so cute! Quarrelling, mixed in with bickering, and not to mention fighting…”


Al snorted. “What an interesting time that would be. Not going to lie though, Scorpius did make the list of esteemed men.”


I gaped at him. “Really? Now, how has this miracle occurred?”


I thought that the boys on this, ahem, ‘list’ would be super-nerds who were obsessed with Gobstones, such as Miles O’Neill. Honestly – I like Gobstones as much as the next person, but that boy really didn’t do much else. He had customized and engraved Gobstones, after all.


“Well, I’ve known him since first year, and as he’s my best mate I know he’d never do that to a girl…” Albus ran a hand through his hair.




“… And also, their bickering was that belonging to an old married couple.” He finished, and winked at me.


I flushed. How was winking so attractive?


I was sucha goner. To continue from this minor lapse in judgement, I decided to continue pitching my winning idea at him. “Well, since you think Scorpius is fine-” (insert mental laugh here) “- you should join my Rose-vention plan!” I gave him a huge smile.


The Rose-vention plan had popped back into my hardly-attentive mind. The bickering and blatant asking out (on Scorpius’ part) had to be dealt with.


Al looked frightened at my enthusiasm. Ah, well.




“Yeah! Now, since it is SUPER clear that Scorpius is into Rose, and Rose keeps turning him down, I say we hitch a plan to get them together!” I looked at him with an expectant smile.


You never know, he may agree. And if the two got together, they could be blissfully happy forever and ever and have little redheaded babies and a pet hippogriff…


Tangent. Ahem, sorry.


Al grinned at me. “Not bad, Lia! So how do you propose we do this?”




“Lock them in a broom cupboard?” I suggested hopefully. It was the easiest thing to do.


He shook his head. “Already been done too many times. We need something big – something good that’s bound to work!”


“Trap them in a room with a dragon?”


He looked momentarily sidetracked. “Er, what?”


Slight bit too mental.


“Uh, never mind!” I gave a sheepish smile. “Carry on.”


“I think that to get them together, we need more heads to plan it and execute it. We’ll fill the others in later about this.” He was looking thoughtful.


He was right, though. With everyone planning together, we were bound to come up with something awesome. Mind you, Caleb and Luke would probably suggest ideas on the same form as mine.


Our planning was put to the side as we finally reached The Three Broomsticks, with Maya cheering all the way to the door.


Time for some butterbeer consumption – also known as brilliance-in-a-glass.




After eating, we headed out into the brisk fall air once more. Rose and Maya were suddenly looking extremely excited.




Oh dear.


The guys looked frightened, and slowly started backing away towards Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, muttering about low supplies.


Grace and I gave a look to each other, and simultaneously tried to hide behind the guys and join them.


Anything to shield ourselves from Rose and Maya in shopping mode.


Rose grabbed us by our shirt collars. “Not so fast! Sure, Maya and I may need outfits, but this trip is specifically for you two – the fashion uneducated.”


I gulped. Grace was trying to shrink into the ground.


Maya gave an evil laugh, and with Rose proceeded to drag us to Mildred’s, a new fancy dress shop.


I whimpered slightly when the bell rang as we entered the doors to the shop.


Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a scaredy-cat. I could handle bludgers, and I was quite a good hexer as well. But just the sheer amount of girliness in the shop was making me dizzy.


There were two floors in the store – both filled with crazy amounts of tulle, satin, lace, and silk, along with other ridiculous fabrics. The upper floor had two slightly-curving staircases leading down to a three-mirrored display on the lower floor, along with a raised platform for the dress-wearer to stand on.


The walls were pale pink.


A middle-aged woman came up enthusiastically to meet us. “Well, hello there girls! What do we have here?” She looked eagerly at all of our faces.


Maya took charge. “We just want some party clothes, dresses easy to dance in, not too much poofiness or length.”


In other words: a Slutty McSlut dress code for the party.


Well, there goes my reputation.


It wasn’t a loss, really. Everyone just knew me as the weird-tomboy-beater-reclusive-artist-type-and-quite-strange-Gryffindor chick.


The woman nodded excitedly, and pulled us over to a display on the right side. Racks were filled with, yup, you guessed it – slag outfits.


Rose and Maya immediately went to grab dresses and skirts to try them on, all the while instructing Grace and me not to go anywhere. After all, the bints would be coordinating our fashion choices.


Grace looked resigned to our fate. I gave one last desperate look at my plain, non uniformed outfit. What was wrong with t-shirts?


At parties before this one, I just ended up in a tank top and jeans – the farthest I would go to dress up. The whole dress thing was new territory for both Grace and I.


I turned to Grace. “So, do you think we can make a break for it while they’re fitting themselves into whorey dresses?”


A muffled voice yelled from the change rooms. “I heard that!”




Grace sighed. “I can’t go to this thing, Lia!” she started off slightly hysterically. “I never go to parties, there's too many people and I won’t know what to do and-”


I put my hands on her shoulders. “Gracey, you’ll be fine! Just don’t drink the punch. Besides, Freddie will be there.” I winked at her.


She scowled. “He’ll probably be with some bimbo and acting all stupid – wait, I don’t even like him!” She looked horrified.


“That’s not what I think, Gracey!” I sang. I patted her shoulder reassuringly as she gave me a death glare. “Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone else heard that but me.”


“AW, GRACE!” came from one change room.


“MY COUSIN IS A WOMANIZER!” came from the other.


“Is he a dashing young boy?” came from the saleslady. Wait, what?


Grace put her head in her hands. “I just don’t know what to do! It’s Fred, we’ve known him since eleven, this isn’t normal.” I reckoned that this was the first time Grace liked someone, as her first love was always a good novel.


Poor girl. I needed to help her out – operation Grace-vention! “Alright, here’s what’s going to happen,” I instructed to her, “Next practice, I’ll talk to Fred – not about you specifically, but I’ll casually and randomly insert your name in places. Oh and party-wise, just go to enjoy yourself! You’ll have us girls – well, if we all don’t end up hooking up or piss drunk – and just have fun.”


She didn’t look too reassured. Meh. At that moment, Rose and Maya popped out from change rooms, dressed in short, but stylish dresses. I had to admit, they pulled it off classy. Huh.


Rose twirled. “So, what do you think?”


I snorted. “Rose, your cousins will send you back up to change!” The dress was still short.


The Weasley/Potter boys also didn’t want their “baby cousins” to dress like “bimbo slags”. They were clearly very eloquent with their wordings.


Rose tossed her hair behind her shoulder. “Not this year, they won’t,” she said with a haughty tone. “In one year, I’ll be of age! They can’t tell me what to do.”


Maya clapped her on the shoulder. “Don’t worry Rosie, I’ll seduce James away from you. That’s one of them busy, at least –” We all groaned. Of course Maya and James would hook up again. “Now, let’s get these two dunderheads looking like some party animals!” Maya started doing the running man (really now?) and Rose joined in, feeling even more confident.


After letting out their crazy tendencies, they ran to get some skimpy dresses, dumped them in our laps, and shoved us into side-by-side fitting rooms.


Only a few more hours to endure. I didn’t know if I would be able to survive this one.













I grumbled, rubbing my eyes as I turned from my teacup to the row behind me. Al was looking at me with a sheepish look on his face. His arm was poised to throw yet another rolled up paper ball at my head, after which the ball was bound to land at my feet with the other million or so.


Not a nice way to wake up from a nap, I can tell you that. I was only just recovering from the horrifying Hogsmeade shopping trip yesterday.


My dress? I don’t want to talk about it. Painful memories of fabric attacking me come to mind.


It was Divination, and the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw fifth years were attempting in vain not to fall asleep. I was sitting with Maya and Grace, while behind us sat Al, Caleb and Luke. The ever-famed nerds, Rose and Scorpius, were in Ancient Runes. Honestly, why even bother to learn to decipher the symbols? I mean, it was called Ancient Runes for a reason.


Al cleared his throat. “Well, I’ve been only trying to get your attention for the last fifteen minutes or so. After you didn’t respond to me calling your name or tapping your shoulder, I figured that it was time to bring out the big guns.”


“Rolled up paper balls were the big guns. Right, got it.” I looked at him sceptically. Blimey, those green eyes were so fab…


No distractions! I mentally shook myself out of my weird state. “Er, so what did you want?”


He leaned forward, and looked around furtively before whispering. “I think we should tell the others about our Rose and Scorpius plan.”


I glanced at him in surprise. “Really? Right now?” Our friends were busy trying to decipher their teacup leaves, except for Maya, who was asleep.


“Yeah, I mean, this is the perfect time – Divination is the only period where the all of us are together as a group without Rose and Scorpius. We can tell the rest without the fear of the two of them finding out right away.” He said, looking around at our pals.


I looked into Al’s eager face. “Oh, why not? You’re right, and these nutters will have some creative ideas as well.” I turned towards the gang. “You lot!”


They didn’t even look up; they were all into tea-leaf deciphering. How odd.


Time to bring out the real big guns. “We have chocolate!”


Four heads snapped up as quickly as they could, their eyes gleaming. Trust me; never underestimate the power of chocolate persuasion.


Of course, I had to summon chocolate from our stash in the dormitory, but that’s beside the point.


After everyone was happily munching away (I was surprised Trelawney still hadn’t noticed our blatant slacking, the old bat), Al and I took turns rattling off the Rose-vention plan.


We looked at them expectantly when we finished. Surely these nutters could come up with crazy, yet workable ideas.


“How about getting a troll to serenade Rose?”


“Ooh, I know! We could paint a giant portrait of her, sign Scorpius’ name on it, and put it in the Great Hall!”


“… Mate, that’s just creepy.”


“I don’t see you having any better ideas!”


“Actually, I do! Magically attaching them together for a few days and thus forcing them to spend time together would definitely work!”


“But how would they sleep and shower and use the loo?”


Guess we were going to stick to the broom closet plan after all. 



“Alright, here’s what we’re going to do. Grace, you’re in charge of luring Rose to this broom closet,” I tapped the door lightly, “and Al, you’ll do the same for Scorpius. Maya, you take the Marauders Map and find our coordinates-“


“our what?”


“- find where they are. Dispatch Al, and go with Grace. Caleb and Luke, you’re in charge of pushing them in and slamming the door shut. Also, cackling evilly after they’re in there.”


Five heads nodded at me mechanically. The scene was set – Operation Rose-vention. Granted, it was a bit more simple and rather more clichéd than what we had originally planned, but it would do. I was the (self appointed) commander in chief of our mission and was currently in the process of barking out orders to my soldiers (heehee).


Maya looked at me inquisitively. “And what will you do?”


Well. “I, erm, will oversee everything and make it… not fail!” I finished triumphantly, sticking my homemade commanders flag in the air. The response seemed to satisfy her.


I dispatched my soldiers and joined Caleb and Luke in hiding behind the statue of Windle the Whimsical, in direct view of the broom closet. Their role wouldn’t come until later on. When Rose and Scorpius would come into view, they would sneak up on them and shove them in, hopefully remembering to lock the door. Then, they would scurry back to the hiding place.


I checked the Marauders Map in my lap. When we asked James for it a few days ago, he grinned and promptly high fived us for our plan. That was saying something, as James rarely gave the map out to anybody.


Well, it also helped that Al had blackmail material on James. Not that he would tell us what it was (boo).


Anyway, Rose and Grace were heading in our direction. I could hear their voices drifting our way.


“Sorry for yanking you from your studying, Rose, but I really needed your help. Maya  here was using my book as a coaster when she was drinking hot chocolate in that broom closet with James – I know, I know, I didn’t ask either. Anyway, this smart one forgot it there and now I think Filch locked it! I don’t know more powerful unlocking spells than Alohomora, and you’re the first person I thought of. Plus, you really need to stop studying, the year’s just begun!”


“Oh, no problem at all! I’ll get it unlocked for you quickly, you didn’t even need to ask.”


I pushed Caleb and Luke out from our hiding place. They stumbled, but snuck up behind Rose. Grace ducked out of the way.


I heard Rose’s voice mutter a spell, and the door unlocked with a click. “Here, Grace, that wasn’t so bad! But I don’t see your book-OOF!”


Caleb slammed the door and locked it while Luke let out the customary evil laugh. “Operation Rose-vention Phase 1 – Complete!”


Inaudible grumbles could be heard from the other side of the door.


Luke, Caleb, Grace and Maya joined me behind the statue and looked down at the Marauders Map. It was perfect timing, as Scorpius and Al were coming closer.


“Thanks Scorpius, for coming and helping me. I left my broom in that closet to hide it from James, but when I came to get it this morning there were two boggarts! I couldn’t get them both at once.”


“No problem, we’ll be able to get it quickly.”


They came up to the closet.


Scorpius put his ear next to the door, puzzled. “Do boggarts swear a lot?”


I had to duck into my sweater to muffle my giggles. Rose could be loud when she wanted to.


Al punched his arm. “All right, on the count of three. One, two, three!”




Al ran away as Caleb and Luke shoved Scorpius in, slammed the door, and locked it once more. The yelling inside was getting louder from Rose, only interrupted by an audible punch sound and Scorpius going, “Ow!”


Operation Rose-vention? A success!


I brought my comrades around me once more. They looked at me expectantly. “Nice job, all of you. Now, to proceed from here, I say we leave them overnight and check up on them half an hour before breakfast starts.”


This was met with audible groans. Mainly from the boys.


“I know I of all people shouldn’t be asking you this as I get up the latest, but this way we can run away to breakfast and give them a chance to get ready for the day. Plus, we can see if they sleep cuddled up next to each other.” I smirked.


This was going to be fun.


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