Even with the buzz through the school about the possibilities of the final match now that Slytherin had been knocked off their throne from the underdog Hufflepuffs, our professors didn’t fail on keeping us at full attention for the N.E.W.T.s. The new standard of every weekend through the end of April even into May was to see the library full of seventh and fifth years pouring over textbooks and forming study groups.
“I can’t believe you convinced me here, Madam Pince looks like she’s going to burn the place down with her stare,” I whispered across the table to Sophie.
“Well, at least you were allowed in here,” Al added, “I think since, well you know—”
“Fred still won’t listen or speak to me and insists on being mad at me for the rest of his life?” I suggested sarcastically. I knew I was exaggerating my pessimism but for the sake of the discussion at hand.
“Well, yeah,” he shrugged, getting an elbow in the ribs from Sophie. “I’m just saying, she probably wouldn’t even let the two of you in here if you were still together.”
“Well, thank you!” I seethed so only they could hear, “Thank you Fred, for dumping me so I wouldn’t fail my N.E.W.T.s, because my future boss – who just happens to be your dad – really gives a damn about them in the first place.”
“Shh!” I rolled my eyes as Madam Pince hushed out table.
“You’re going to get us kicked out too with your hostile attitude,” Al chuckled. By now they were used to my attitude and ignored it.
I leaned over the table and began my very poorly thought out comeback. “Just because I’m hostile…”
I let my sentence trail off as I watched a new group of very familiar seventh years occupy one of the library’s few empty tables, directly in my line of vision. Will and Lydia were setting up a divination study group with Lola, Lyra, Delilah, and Fred.
“You know for how sarcastic you are you really suck at comebacks—”
“Shh!” It was my turn to shush him. I lowered my head down and watched in between Al and Sophie’s shoulders. “That… bloody—”
“Hannah,” Sophie warned me as she heard my voice start to rise.
“Who the hell does she think she is!?” I whispered as loudly as I could to them. I re-adjusted so I could look just at my Defense book and nothing else. I seemed to render Al and Sophie speechless, so they continued to work in silence and left me to my brooding.
I winced every time I heard Delilah laugh, and couldn’t help but be thankful for my friends sitting in the way so I couldn’t see. I was sure they were holding hands and I would probably burst into tears if I saw them.
“Umm,” Sophie looked up from her book to Al, and then to me.
This will be great; “Yeah?”
“Well, I—err, Al and I need to—it’s just for a little while, you’ll be okay by yourself studying, right?”
“Really? You guys have to go now!?” I snuck a glance around Al, back to where Delilah had just scooted her chair closer to Fred. I couldn’t help but feel pathetic as the only thing I could think was, ‘at least they aren’t holding hands’. After I got another shush from Madam Pince, I turned back to Sophie and lowered my voice. “Why now?”
“I’m sorry, I promised dad. We’ll be back as quick as possible.” She and Al both stood to pack their things. As they left they each apologized again and waved goodbye.
I was alone. Ditched by my friends to sit and watch my ex-boyfriend let another girl fawn all over him while I sat alone and brooded. I bit my lip as I buried my face in my textbook. Seeing Fred sitting with Delilah just made me want to scream, cry and throw things all at the same time. He doesn’t even look happy! I looked back up for conformation. While she brushed her fingers on his arm and giggled over their predictions, he looked bored out of his bleeding mind. He’s sitting with a group of Ravenclaws; They’re all Delilah’s friends, so he doesn’t know anyone besides Will. And he’s so caught up in ‘unfogging the future’ with Lydia that he’s ignoring Fred completely. Plus, Ravenclaws actually study; they don’t just re-word and copy from the book to get credit like the rest of the school.
“Do you mind?”
I realized I was staring as a familiar voice broke my thoughts away from the Ravenclaw table. I looked up to see Teddy tapping a finger on the chair next to me.
“Kind of,” I admitted. Though Al and Sophie just left, I had found a new entertainment in scowling at Delilah until she looked towards me, then quickly turning back to my homework. (I’m pathetic, whatever.) I couldn’t shoot death glares at her if I had to keep up a conversation with Ted as well.
“Come on Wood. Misery loves company; please?” He was practically begging, so I let out a long sigh that made him laugh, before nodding. He took the seat quickly, and started to pull out what looked like very complicated Transfiguration homework.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, not looking up from my paper; Fred had just looked over to my table and I didn’t want him to realize I was staring at him.
“You said misery loves company; what’s wrong?” I repeated.
“Emmy dumped me after the match,” he mumbled with a shrug. I could tell he was upset, he just wasn’t showing it.
“I’m sorry, Teddy.” I looked up and reached over to pat him on the back. I know my tone probably wasn’t very convincing but he didn’t seem to notice.
“S’alright. She said it was because of her parents and my family; the whole blood is thicker than water. I guess in this case blood is thicker than blood,” he explained, giving a sad chuckle. I gave him a curious glance, so he continued. “My mum’s only a half-blood; I guess that’s not pure enough for her family. It’s going to make practice tonight bloody awful.”
He continued to vent his frustrations about how things like this were supposed to be resolved years ago, but I had lost interest. Not that I wasn’t sad for my friend, but the death shrill of a laugh that had just came from the table of Delilah because of something Fred said pierced my ears in a way that made me want to curse her stupid blue and silver robes right up her—
“Hannah!” Teddy shook my arm suddenly, pulling me back to the conversation with him.
“Stupid little tramp thinks she—”
“Hannah I know your upset but look at him,” Teddy replied. “I’m a guy; I can tell you exactly what he’s doing right now—but you’re not going to like it.”
I perked up in curiosity as I finally tore my glare away from there table and looked at Teddy. “What do you mean?”
“Okay, don’t look now but a few tables behind you—Hannah, I said don’t look!” he whispered, shaking my arm and leaning in further, “Emmy is sitting with a few of her friends. But she keeps looking over here because I’m sitting with you.”
“So,” I gestured for him to go on.
“So, Fred’s doing the same thing to you that I’m doing to Emmy—making her jealous,” he ended with a satisfied smirk.
I couldn’t help but let out a snort. “You’re using me to make your ex jealous?”
“It’s working,” he chuckled, sneaking a glance over to Emmy’s table. “She looks like she’s going to curse you, it’s brilliant!”
“You give the most awful advice,” I commented as I continued my brooding. However when I glanced back over to the Ravenclaw’s table, Fred quickly turned from looking at Teddy and I back to fix his eyes on his textbook.
I couldn’t help but start to giggle, and just loud enough so the other tables could hear, but Madam Pince hopefully couldn’t, I exclaimed, “Oh my god Teddy, that is so funny!” He shot me a look as if I was mad, but I only winked at him and rested my hand on his shoulder. Leaning in a little bit closer than I normally would have, I added, “You’re so funny, Teddy!”
A small light dawned in him as I stood up as I stood up a moment later. With a small smile, I gathered up my books and left the library. “I’ll see you later, Teddy!”
“Oh relax you miserable woman, I’m leaving!” I shouted over to Madam Pince.
“I—well I never!” she exclaimed back, leaving her perch and rushing over.
“I’m probably going to be banned from the library for that so it was fun,” I smirked to Teddy.
“Thanks for the help, Wood,” he winked back.
As I turned back around I watched as a quill snapped in Emmy’s fingers, Fred knocked over an inkwell, not caring that it dumped all over Delilah’s papers, and Teddy bit his lip trying not to laugh at either one of them.
I did receive a lifelong ban from the Hogwarts Library, which didn’t really matter because I only had two months left of school and – truth be told – didn’t give a damn about my N.E.W.T.s. If I wanted to study I had my textbooks. And at the moment, I didn’t give a damn.
My feet took me down to the basement towards the kitchens, all the while I was thinking about the way Fred didn’t push Delilah off when she touched his arm and leaned closer to him. I tried to let Teddy’s advice of ‘making me jealous’ sink in, but I had done so much worse to Fred than Teddy did to Emmy. Teddy was born into a mixed family, and there was nothing he could do about it. It was my own fault that I helped Scorpius cheat on Rose for so long, and now I was paying for those consequences.
I tickled the pear and waited eagerly for it to turn into a doorknob. I wanted to start making things right, and I needed to apologize to Minky for the way I had acted earlier about her not being able to deliver Fred’s birthday present.
When I pulled open the door I was rushed by a few elves, but I only asked for Minky. I looked around the kitchens at their lunch cleanup and dinner setup, busying my brain until my elf friend arrived.
“Miss Wood, what a nice surprise!” she greeted me happily. “Minky just needs to apologize—”
“No, Minky, you don’t,” I quickly interrupted her as I sat on the floor at her eye level. “I need to apologize. I was so rude to you on Fred’s birthday and all you were doing was trying to help. I’m so sorry I turned away from you and ignored you.”
“Hannah,” I corrected her.
“Hannah doesn’t need to apologize, Miss Wood,” Minky said with a smile. “But Miss Wood looks sad, and Minky wants to ask why.”
“Same reason,” I sighed, and thanked another elf for the tray of sweets she had just brought over.
“Mr. Weasley has visited too, many times.” Minky instantly snapped her hands to her mouth as she realized what she had given away.
“Has he said anything about me?” I asked eagerly. She shook her head and kept her hands over her mouth. “Minky, please?”
“Hannah can’t give up!” she tried to fight to keep her hands over her mouth and protect Fred’s secret against telling me.
“Minky, please tell me what he said so I know what to do,” I begged.
She finally gave up. “Mr. Weasley has confided in Billy who told Dotty who told Minky that Mr. Weasley wishes Hannah would give up on Mr. Malfoy and just be with him, and until she does that Mr. Weasley doesn’t want Miss Wood as his girlfriend.”
I had been laughing at the rumor mill of the house elves until Minky blurted the end out. I grabbed a pan out of her hand to prevent her from hurting herself on spilling Fred’s secret, and asked, “He said that?”
“Minky thought Miss Wood had given up on the Malfoy boy?” Minky asked out of curiosity.
“I have,” I stressed to her, slumping back on one of the cupboards.
“Does Mr. Malfoy know that?” Minky raised an eyebrow. “Or Mr. Weasley?”
A bit of realization dawned on me as I fidgeted with the pumpkin pasty in my hand. In a hushed voice I whispered, “That’s it, isn’t it?”
“Maybe, it’s like Minky said,” Minky nudged me, “Miss Wood needs to give Mr. Weasley a chance to make her happy. If Miss Wood didn’t end things with Mr. Malfoy then maybe Mr. Weasley thinks—”
“Minky, you’re brilliant,” I reached over and, before she could wince or object, hugged her.
I needed to start dealing with my problems instead of shoving them aside because I didn’t like confrontation. I was never going to fix anything with Fred if I still had Scorpius waiting for me behind every corner. I had to face things head on and tell Scorpius Malfoy I was done with him and his charades.
Teddy did mention Slytherin had practice tonight. If I wanted to get Fred back I had to make right with everything.
“Minky, just,” I started, “thank you for being a great friend.”
“You too, Miss Wood.” She waved goodbye as I raced out of the kitchens. I tried to formulate a plan on what I was going to say to Scorpius; all I knew was that I wanted to be with Fred and Scorpius Malfoy didn’t have a damn say in that anymore.
It was almost nightfall later that evening when I got out of the castle. I broke out into a run towards the Quidditch pitch, planning to enter through the Gryffindor locker rooms. I knew I could get directly onto the pitch from that way instead of going into the stands. I hoped this way I could get Scorpius’ attention as quickly as possible. I ran in haste past my teammates lockers, and with a short pause for a final deep breath, shoved open the doors we normally fly out of and stepped out onto the pitch.
The realization if my running caught up with me when I felt my shoes crunch in the pitch grass. I caught my breath and watched for a few moments as Teddy directed his Chasers into drills. I felt a pang of sadness for him as Emmy refused to look at him, instead choosing to fly quickly past him and practice on her own.
“Stop, stop!” Teddy called, and I looked back over to him. “Hannah?”
Emmy and Scorpius both nearly fell off of their brooms as they realized I was now standing in the middle of the pitch. Instead of flying down to me on his first instinct, Scorpius flew higher in the air to avoid showing any familiarity towards me.
The only interaction Scorpius and I had since the incident that broke Fred and me up was one time when he tried to get me to fall in the same routine. He claimed that Fred would never believe anything I tried to say to him and I should give up right then and there and be with him. It – I will fully admit – made me start to bawl, so I ran off and hadn’t spoken to him since.
“Hannah;” Teddy landed on the pitch in front of me, breaking my glare towards Scorpius and gaining my attention again. “What are you going here?”
“I—” My voice wavered so I cleared my throat, and in a more poised tone said, “I need to talk to Malfoy.”
“Hannah, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he countered in a hushed tone, “I thought you wanted to get back together with Weasley.”
“I do,” I said with more confidence, “I want to end things with him.”
“Can it wait ‘till practice is over?” he asked in an almost pleading tone. “Emmy’s furious with me and I can’t deal with another moody Chaser at the moment.” He pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose in anxiety.
“Yeah.” My emotions were racing right now and I knew I would probably make a mess of things if I went in full adrenaline shouting. This way I could take a moment and plan out everything I wanted to say.
“Thanks,” he returned, “take a spot in the stands and you can meet up with him outside the Slytherin locker rooms afterwards. I won’t tell him you’ll be waiting so he won’t try to sneak out a different way – oh,” he chuckled, “and don’t tell Potter any of my flying patterns.”
I laughed, and after promising him I wouldn’t give anything away, added, “thanks, Teddy.” I waved to him and turned for the stands.
I turned back around to see him shift his weight on his opposite foot. “I know he’s my ‘best friend’ and all, but he’s kind of a git. He always says things aren’t that great with his parents and he blames it on his dad, but he’s really… just a git. Weasley made you happy and I hope things work out for you.”
“You too, Teddy,” I smiled, “I hope Emmy can see how great of a guy you are – even if you are an evil Slytherin.”
He only laughed, and re-mounted his broom to fly back towards his team. Al would murder me if he found out I was allowed to sit in on a Slytherin practice and didn’t get jinxed or kicked out. He would probably die himself if he found out I didn’t watch their flying patterns either.
I watched Scorpius, and I thought about or whole time together. From the first kiss when he good as guessed my feelings, to the sneaking around, to realizing how hard it was to watch him and Rose; I thought about his irritation on Fred’s feelings, and how he finally made me realize Fred’s feelings. I remembered how he manipulated me into thinking he was single, only to take back his lie a moment later when I wouldn’t cheat on Fred. How he tricked Fred into thinking I was cheating on him, and – I winced as I admitted it to myself – he pulled my attention away from my own relationship to his own self. I hated him for it; there was nothing more I could feel for this boy after I summed up all of the things he put me though, it was a wonder I hadn’t come to my senses and cursed him earlier.
I thought about Rose, too. I knew I had to do something about it, and as much as I hated Scorpius, I wanted him to be the bigger person and come clean. I made a mental note, through everything I was about to tell him, that I’d make sure to tell him to try to go back to normal with Rose and try to see how amazing of a girl she really can be. I thought about it; her and I, once I pushed my jealousy aside, we could be good friends like we used to be. Sure, she’d have to tone down her Head Girl goodie side, and I’d probably have to tone down my sarcasm towards her perkiness, but we could be.
I noticed Teddy start to call in his players, so I made my leave for the entrance to the Slytherin locker rooms. It didn’t take long for Emmy to exit them, and I couldn’t help but feel bad at the glare she gave me. It – after all – had only been a few hours prior that I had pretended to flirt with her ex to help make her jealous. That’d be another day’s cleanup.
Teddy and Scorpius were the last to leave the locker rooms, as I expected.
“Scorpius,” I stated emotionlessly, giving a small nod to Teddy as he passed us silently.
He was surprised; “Hannah? What are you still doing here?”
I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding, and began. “I’m breaking up with you.”
He furrowed his eyebrows, and much to my displeasure started to smirk. “You’re what? Hannah, we aren’t dating.”
“But we ‘basically’ were,” I said, putting up air quotes, “And now, you’re getting ‘basically’ dumped.”
“What?” His eyebrows furrowed as the smirk fell off his lips.
“You and I, we never did this. In whatever way, our ‘relationship’ never ended. As much as I want to blame you for everything, it was my fault too. For one thing, you had a girlfriend, Scorpius—if you were willing to hurt her why didn’t I see what you were going to do to me? I should have been braver; I should have faced my problems and stopped things with you before they started. So, now we’re going to do this. Scorpius Malfoy, I do not want to be with you anymore. I don’t want you to follow me in the hallway, look at me during class or write or try to contact me after we graduate. I want to – one day – work things out with Fred because I love him so damn much; so much more than I could ever fathom with you. I thought I loved you, and hell, maybe I even did for a little while. But we – you and I – we don’t work together. There’s just too much damage and I could never forgive you for everything you’ve put me through this year.
“But Scorpius, you and Rose, you can still fix things with her, but you need to be honest with her. You two, you could work together in the same way that Fred and I… that Fred and I do. And I know, at least a little bit, that you loved her too. I was stupid enough to fancy someone that wasn’t right for me and I’m not going to do that anymore. I don’t like you Scorpius; you ruined what pathetic friendship we had and I don’t ever want to see you or speak to you again. If you try to talk to me, even look at me like you want something more, I will tell Rose everything. So, try to fix things with her, the right way. Goodbye Scorpius.”
And with that, I turned on my heel and left Scorpius Malfoy out of my life forever.
I only heard him sigh as I walked in haste back to the castle. I was grateful that he didn’t try to stop me, because I hated feeling pity for him after everything he had done. Besides, pity was what got me the last time, and I this time, I was done. Once I made it inside the castle I picked up into a power walk towards Gryffindor tower. I didn’t feel like crying, the only thing I really wanted to do was tell Sophie everything.
Okay, so maybe I wanted to tell Fred too, but I doubted he’d believe me or even care if I walked up to him and told him everything that just happened. The only thing I can hope for is that he’ll figure it out and/or forgive me.
I had just started up the stairs when I heard it. Her laugh. Her shrill, ear piercing laugh was coming from in front of the Gryffindor portrait hole—exactly where she didn’t belong.
“Umm, well, I suppose;” and, I winced, his voice.
I probably should have turned around or just continued up the stairs and away from them. But my feet decided a different method and planted themselves to the ground with no intentions of leaving the spot where I could perfectly see Delilah ruffle Fred’s hair and him give her an unreadable smile.
“We have company.” Her tone had deflated entirely a mere second later as she noticed me. Stupidly, the only thing I could do was to look at Fred for a conformation as to what had just happened.
My feet finally started to work. I turned back around and started towards the opposite end of the castle. I heard her laugh again, and it triggered that unforgiving lump in the back of my throat begin to swell. To avoid the glances from other students in the hall I blinked and reached for some parchment in my bag. If Fred was moving on, I had to too; and I’d never be able to if I had to work with him every single day at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
I sat against the wall just before the spiral staircase towards where the school owls were housed and began my letter. I probably apologized about twelve times in it, but it was better than explaining why I suddenly wanted to ‘change career paths’. My best bet would be that Fred talked to his dad about it and George would understand.
I tried to wipe my eyes clean of the few tears that had escaped, but I knew I was still sniffling when I walked up the stairs a few moments later. I was determined to find a fitter owl this time so this letter made it to London quicker than my last. It wasn’t until I heard another familiar – but much less aggravating – giggle coming from the top of the stairs that I quickly tried to clear my eyes. I tucked the letter in my pocket and rubbed frantically at my eyes to get the last of the puffiness away from them.
“Potter, get your hands off of her.” I tried to keep my voice steady to sound more like Professor McGonagall, but I think – as she flew across the Owlery – Sophie realized it waver into a higher pitch at the end. She got caught up in laughing at Al so all she could do was throw me a questioning glance as Al tried to calm down the owls he had backed into.
“What are you doing up here?” Al asked as a lame attempt to keep the attention away from him and Sophie. I couldn’t help but laugh; even after all this time she was still sporting an embarrassed flush of her cheeks as she kept a more formal distance away from Al.
“In the Owlery?” I started with a sarcastic laugh, “Well, I need to send a letter, which is what the Owlery is primarily used for.” I gave them both a look. “Should I even ask what you two are going up here? No,” I answered myself, “I probably don’t want to know. Sophie?” I turned to her and tried to keep a serious demeanor, “The charm? I told you about that charm—”
“Hannah!” She was probably near rushing over to cover my mouth as Al gave her a confused look. “I needed to send a letter to mum; she gets lonesome without dad and I in the flat all school year. We were going to visit this weekend but with the third task we had to cancel.” Her cheeks started to flush as she looked over to Al. “I asked Albus to come with me… well because we don’t get a lot of… alone time now that you and Fred… you know,” she finished gracelessly.
“Yeah,” I stopped her from having to explain any further and looked down to my pocket to fish out the letter. “I forgot the last task was this weekend.” That was honest at least, and I didn’t have to think about my stupid breakup.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” she dropped Al’s hand and rushed over.
I stood stiffly as she tried to cheer me back up, but I just turned to Al, “Can I borrow Tilly? All of the school birds are too slow and this is kind of urgent.” I held up the folded parchment adorned with ‘George Weasley, 93 Diagon Alley, London’.
Al nodded and called his owl down from a high roost. As he held his arm out for her to perch on while I tied the letter to her leg, he asked, “Who’s it for?”
I could tell he wanted to ask why I was writing to his uncle, but he kept his mouth shut and walked Tilly over to an open window.
“Thanks, err, I’ll leave you guys at it then.” I smiled and forced a laugh so Sophie wouldn’t feel bad. I think she did anyway, but I waved off her concern and left them in the Owlery to be a happy couple.
I’d get through this, I thought to myself as I looked out of one of the windows in the narrow staircase. I was going to start being a better person one step at a time.
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