There are two things you should know about my cousin Rose before you meet her:
She is, ah, a dramatic girl with a flair for the theatrics, tends to hold grudges, and is very colourful with her choice of revenge.
Well that’s three things, but trust me, those three are just a sneak peak of a long, long list. She is a scheming, conniving bint at times (I have been on the receiving end of her disdain on many an occasion, and I really wouldn’t recommend it) but can be lovely as well, if there’s something in it for her.
Let’s just hope she’s in a good mood today.
“...Then there’s my Great Auntie Rita, her husband Geoffrey Jane, and their four kids. So including Uncle Fernando – he’s my dad’s little brother – and the Kent triplets, that makes for one packed household. Last year Mum made me sleep in Beck’s tree house because even the kitchen was full of relatives. I was covered in mosquito bites the next morning, Grandma Josie thought I was getting dragon pox!”
Tim and I were really hitting it off, it was mad.
“Well I’d give you a full list of my extended family as well, Timmy, but we’d be here all night.” I said, stretching my arms above my head and giving a large, hinting yawn, “Just look for an abnormal amount of red heads and that’s us.”
Tim grinned and placed a casual arm around Aphrodite’s shoulder, making her smile and rest her head on his neck. I thought of throwing a flaming log at his face.
“I hope you’re not complaining,” She said, chewing absent mindedly at the corner of her lip. Tim and I stared, entranced, “try being an only child and the shortest of the family; all my relatives are at least a head taller than me, I get cramps, craning my neck back at family reunions.” She grimaced and feigned staring up at an abnormally large human being.
I probably should have laughed. Told her how I felt like a foreigner, dark haired amongst the gingers. Strode over to her chair and started snogging her senseless. Instead, though, I snorted and said;
“Yeah but you’re a head shorter than anybody, Aphrodite. You’d even give Andy a run for her Galleons.”
The thing was, Aphrodite wasn’t actually short. If it really came down to it, she was even a little taller than average (those legs just went on and on). Andy being the curly haired gnome that she was, the comparison really didn’t make much sense.
“Andy!?” Aphrodite opened her eyes wide and took her head off Tim’s shoulder, leaning forward slightly. “Potter, I bump my head on the roof of the portrait hole at least once a day. I don’t own a single pair of heels, I was mistaken for a nine year old at the age of six, and,” She turned to Tim, “sorry if this makes you feel unmanly, baby, but I think there’s a couple of centimetres more of me than there is of you.”
Tim held his hands up in defence and flicked his gaze over at me. “I wasn’t the one calling you a dwarf, love.” He said. I tried not to scowl. That flaming log was starting to look pretty tempting right now.
“Andy’s hot.” Was Louis’ input. Aphrodite turned to him with exasperated eyes.
“Seriously, man, you need to find yourself a lady friend,” She said as she crossed her arms across her chest. “You haven’t mentioned anything other than boobs, girls and sex for the past week. What has gotten into you?”
To my surprise, Louis shrugged and looked away, but not before we all caught a glimpse of the faint pink blush tinting his cheeks. I was a little gobsmacked, to be honest. It wasn’t easy to throw my pretty veela cousin off guard.
I had noticed his increased interest in girls these past few days, now that Aphrodite mentioned it. I just hadn’t felt the need to put a particular importance to it. It was Louis. He did these things.
“True, that,” I felt to obliged to point out now, considering Aphrodite had brought it up and I wholesomely agreed with her pretty pink lips. “I knew it wasn’t normale for you to be checking out Professor Franklin’s behind last Monday. I mean, I know you like a nice rear end dressed in pinstripe, but come on...”
Louis spluttered an ineligible response and turned the colour of Lily’s hair. “I didn’t – I was not...” He shook his head and shot me a murderous look. “Lies, Jem. All lies.”
“Oh, Louis.” Aphrodite was trying – and also failing – to suppress her laughter. “As flattering as a passing gaze should be, I doubt Professor Franklin would have taken it very well.”
“No.” I stated dramatically. “He did not.”
“I don’t know you blokes every well, so I have to ask;” Tim spoke up for the first time since the topic and changed from his girlfriend to my best mate. “You are joking, aren’t you?”
I quirked a challenging eyebrow at him. “That depends, Timmy. How mad do you think we are?” I answered in a neutral tone meant to be interpreted whichever way he pleased. He chose to take it as a no, and I chose not to contradict him.
I was joking.
“Oi, Potter!” Someone called out from behind me. I craned my neck back at caught sight of Thomas York, a tall gangly sixth year with squinty eyes and a large smirk. I surveyed him out of level, unemotional eyes. “When’s your party start, man? I just know it’s going to be legendary!”
I allowed myself an internal groan and roll of the eye. I did not like this Thomas York. I longed to stab him with a fork. York used to play Keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, back when Emma Kursk was Captain. He was an arrogant, pompous fool, who was surprisingly good on a broom and scored us many a goal. But his attitude had been too much for Kursk (I miss Kursk. She looked damn sexy on a broom. And she used to wink at me) who kicked him off the team after only three months. York did not take it well, but only seemed to blame his Captain for the dismissal, even though the rest of us had been begging Kursk to do the deed for weeks before it happened. Anyway, now York thought we were friends. I heartily disagreed.
“You’re not invited, York,” I said in my previous neutral mannerisms. I was beginning to like this tone of voice. It let people take things anyway they chose, and people tended to choose what best suited themselves; Therefore, the nicest, most polite way.
Mr. York here decided I was joking, and let out a short, arrogant laugh. I smiled thinly back at him.
Laugh away, Thomas. Laugh away.
(Insert low, echoing cackle of the MWAHAHA sort)
“See you tonight, then, bro,” York sniffed, shooting me a backwards cap, XXXL shirt wearing gangster nod. I did not return the nod. As soon as he had turned his back, I was twisting around to face my friends again.
“Wanker.” Louis muttered, death staring York’s progression towards the portrait hole.
“Arrogant Prick.” Supplied Aphrodite with a murderous scowl that was disconcertingly sexy.
“I kind of like him.” Said Tim brightly.
I greeted his words with shocked silence.
“When does your party start?” Louis asked suddenly, glancing over at me with curious eyes. I sent him a baffled look.
“You organized it all, you prat, I have nothing to do with it.” I told him in a ruder manner than intended. At his taken aback look, I sighed and pulled a hand through my hair. “Sorry. Thanks for throwing me a birthday party, I’m sure it will be more than just legendary.” Louis bent his head in silent acknowledgment. “But right now I need to talk to Rose. Do you have any idea where she might be?”
Both Louis and Aphrodite sent me alarmed looks as I stood up. I stared back at them in confusion.
“You want to talk to Rose!?” Louis asked me, his eyes wide and devoid of any form of understanding.
“Deliberately!?” Aphrodite added, her expression clearly showing me just how much she doubted my sanity.
“You plan to walk directly into the arms of the beast – ”
“Without any kind of protection – ”
“Just to talk to her? Jem, that’s not just going to be a friendly conversation that you’ll have. Those will be your fateful last words.”
“Do you have a death wish? Because seriously, there are less painful ways to go. I hear that the top of the Astronomy tower is-”
“No! No, I do not have a death wish, and yes, it will be a friendly conversation, which I am hoping to survive. I’m charming, guys. Rose will be charmed. I’ll charm her, you’ll see.”
I didn’t really believe any of that myself, actually. It was all just empty words to try and pull my quivering, collapsed courage back up again. But hey, they had the desired effect on my friends.
“Nice, Jem. You charm your little cousin in a totally non incest way. Come back and tell me how that works out for you.”
“Bullshit, Potter, you’re terrified of Rose! Remember that DADA class back in fourth year?”
Maybe not desired. Maybe actually no effect at all. I was offended that they were so in doubt of my manly courage.
“That boggart is never to be mentioned again.” I said, gulping down my remaining embarrassment. “To be fair, I was only fourteen, and Rose was growing her nails out.”
Louis smirked. “You’re a man, James.” He said, his voice dripping sarcasm. I pulled a face at him.
“You guys be sceptical all you like, but I’m not staying here any longer. I’m off to have a civil, heart-felt D&M with my charming young cousin. I’ll see you guys later.”
“Nice knowing you, Jem!” Louis called after me as I walked away.
“I’ll make sure your remains are scattered somewhere nice, yeah?” Added Aphrodite.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, James,” Tim said in a civil manner. His politeness meant nothing to me. It was still the flaming log for him.
I’m under the impression that I have built up Rose’s ruthlessness to a rather alarming level. There is a reason for this (Rose is a rather alarming person) but she isn’t all bad. She is still my family, still has a good heart and a blatantly intelligent mind. I love Rose.
I love her in the way a poor, quivering peasant will love his evil, punishment friendly king - it was a submissive, frightened kind of love. I loved her so much she was the last person in the world I would want to see, ever.
But she was a master puppeteer, the queen of lies, deceit, and subterfuge. She could make anything happen.
What I wouldn’t do for Aphrodite. If approaching my temperamental young cousin to concoct up a foolproof plan intended to break her up with her boyfriend of two days wasn’t a sign of true love, I didn’t know what was.
See what I’m doing there? I’m trying to get rid of my guilt by giving my actions gallant, non-self-profitable reasons.
So far, it’s not working.
I knew that this was dishonest and selfish of me, but seeing Aphrodite with that wimpy, arrogant fool of a man made my blood boil to dangerous levels. If Tim was an honest, kind, down-to-earth, selfless, faithful, forgiving, less-attractive-than-me kind of guy, than I would have gritted my teeth and swallowed my pride, leaving well enough alone. But when the bloke was clearly not worthy of Aphrodite’s affections... well then, something had to be done.
Hence why I now found myself walking down a torch lit hallway, deep down in the regions of dungeons and slimy walls, searching for that damp space of blank stone that would lead me – shiver – into the Slytherin Common room.
My memory of the way there was a little hazy, as was my knowledge of Slytherin friendly passwords to trial-and-error with, so it was with great relief that I caught sight of a small fourth year with pale, curling hair ahead of me. She was just turning around a bend to the left.
“Hey!” I said, jogging up to her and grinning when she turned around, a quizzical look on her face. She had these dark irises that were so black, they faded into her pupils, leaving a great, shady nothingness in their wake. She seemed possessed. I thought of satanic creatures that ate lost souls and shuddered.
But I quickly dismissed the thought before it sent me screaming like a girl in the opposite direction.
“James Potter,” I said easily, holding out my hand as I matched my step to hers. She surveyed me coolly for a moment before taking my outstretched palm and giving it a small shake. Her skin was smooth, but not the cold, hard ice my overactive imagination had been expecting.
“Millie Blake,” She answered in a light voice. I grinned and gestured down the corridor we were now walking along.
“Are you on your way to the Slytherin Common Room?” I asked her. She turned her head to the side a bit as she considered her answering words. I waited patiently, thinking that a simple yes/no question should hardly require so much thought.
“Well I’m not simply taking a stroll down a dark corridor, if that’s what you’re asking,” She said finally, taking another turn, to the right this time. I had a brief, panicked moment in which I wondered whether she was leading me astray so that she could suck out my life-force in peace, but I pushed this unreasonable fear away. It was those eyes. Bloody terrifying. I was glad Louis wasn’t around to see me gulp, he hardly needed another excuse to pick at the last remaining threads of my manhood.
“I’m looking for Rose Weasley,” I went on, feeling that I wasn’t going to get a straight answer from the Demon Child without stating my intentions. “She’s my cousin. I love her. She’s great. But I was wondering-”
“Oh, Rose!” The girl smiled crookedly. “I know her. Yeah, she’s in my house. I’m presuming you want to get into the common room then?”
So the Daughter of Lucifer was blunt and elusive. I opened my mouth to give her my ready excuses, but then decided against the trouble. People migrated between houses all of the time, my presence shouldn’t be out of place in the slightest.
“Yeah.” I said rather lamely, stuffing my hands into my pockets, “That’s about the size of it.” I didn’t want to go offending her and have her curse me to the fiery pits of hell, so I added a rather hasty, “It doesn’t bother you, does it?”
“Why should it?” She answered simply, coming to a halt in front of a stretch of stone wall devoid of torches. “People come and go all the time. You’re hardly doing anything wrong.”
I nodded, trying to focus on her small, button-like nose rather than the dark pits of doom that were her peepers.
“Felix anguis” Millie told the wall, and with a heavy grinding noise, an opening materialized in front of us. The Devil’s Spawn ducked in, motioning with her hand for me to follow.
The Slytherin common was a sad, unattractive place and it had my pity. The walls were stone, the hangings the colour of a particularly unhealthy mould, and the seats hard and black and leathery. I call them seats because they have nothing on us Red’s comfy, well worn couches.
Contrary to its bleak surroundings, however, the common room was thriving with activity. There were students clad in green all over the place, chatting in small groups, playing games of exploding snap, reading, practicing spells, and - judging by what I could see of the trailing parchment Alice Perks was hastily scribbling on – attempting to finish our foot long Transfiguration essay before its due date tomorrow morning.
“Have you been in here before?” The Soul Eater asked me, as she waved merrily at her passing friend.
“Yes,” I assured her. “Only twice. But, er, it’s a nice place!” I grinned unconvincingly and hoped she didn’t notice.
Millie smiled at my – albeit untrue – compliment, and gestured at an archway like opening on the opposite wall. From what I could see by the torches lining its walls, it led to a winding stone staircase. “That’s the way to Rose’s room. You’ll find her in number 6. Knock before you enter, though, or she’ll-”
“Rip my head off, I know.” I finished for her, smiling grimly. “Thanks for letting me in. It was nice meeting you, Millie Blake.”
El Diablo nodded and waved, before joining a group of twittering girls clustered by the fire. As for me, I took a deep breath, shoved my hands deep into my pockets, and set off up the staircase to the girl’s dormitory.
“Come in,” said a cool voice, when I knocked on the door labelled number six. I closed my eyes and sent a quick prayer to Merlin before twisting the brass knob and pushing open the door.
“Hello James,” Rose greeted, as I walked tentatively into the room. She was sitting in the middle of her well-made bed, legs crossed, pulling a wooden brush through the billowing curtain of her shiny red hair. Her back was straight and her eyes piercing. I gulped.
“Hello Rose,” I answered, my voice breaking on the end. I coughed. Rose smirked. Once it became clear that she was not going to speak before I did, I decided to clear my throat and launch into an explanation; “So I was just sitting in the Gryffindor common room, thinking of my family…” I began stupidly, “When suddenly, it struck me that, hey! I haven’t seen my cousin Rose in a long long time! So I thought I’d come on over here and-”
“Get to the point, wanker,” Rose snapped, placing her brush down on the bed beside her. “What do you want?”
I sighed, and pulled a hand through my messy hair. “Well…” I began, stuffing my hands in my pocket and walking over to Rose’s bed. Judging by the three four-posters in the room, Rose must share her dorm with two other girls. I pitied them. They probably pitied themselves. “I need your help to fix a dire situation of mine,” I explained, slowly sitting down the edge of my cousin’s mattress. She hissed at me.
“Get off my bed.”
“Ok,” I agreed, jumping to my feet. “So as I was saying, I need your help. Aphrodite has got another boyfriend. I would like her to not. Any ideas?”
As I spoke, Rose’s brow was becoming increasingly furrowed. When I said Aphrodite’s name, she let out an exasperated cry.
“Are you shitting me?” She exclaimed, staring at me wide-eyed. “Have you not gathered by now that the world must just not want you to be with her? What, you think her being single is going to change anything? You think you’ll have a chance? Fuckwit!” Rose smacked her hand down on her green bedcover, scowling up at me, “James, I am very tempted to slap you across the face right now.”
I nearly whimpered. “Please don’t.”
“Shut up. I’ll help you out,” Rose sighed grandly, like the inconvenience of it all was eating her up inside. “Sit down.” She ordered, as she separated her long hair into the three equal sized strands with her fingers. I inched nervously towards the bed. “On the floor,” my cousin clarified, beginning to braid her hair. I nodded and dropped to the dusty ground, crossing my legs uncomfortably. Rose continued to survey me as she plaited.
“I only have one favour to ask of you in return,” She said finally, her blue eyes boring into mine with unflinching detachment. “I want you to stop treating Lily like a baby. I want you to let her date. And I want you to let her wear a dress out in public without sending her up to her room. Understood?”
I froze. “Lily?” I repeated, my heart sinking. My Lily? My dearest baby Lily? Dating boys? “Lily doesn’t date,” I said quickly, shaking my head. Rose glared at me with considerable disdain.
“Your denial astounds me,” She sighed, shaking her head. “James, agree to this, or I will not help you out. You can continue to live your sad life, perving on Dash from a friendly distance. What will it be?”
I had no choice. I needed Rose’s help. I agreed reluctantly to her conditions.
“Brilliant!” She exclaimed, flicking her now finished braid over her shoulder. She folded in her hands in her lap, and smiled a wolfish smile. “Let’s get started.”
It was amazing to watch Rose scheme. She was ruthless, nothing was beyond her. And I had never before seen one of her plans fail in all my years of knowing her. I listened as she mapped out her ideas.
“Obviously, simply breaking Dash and her man up is not enough,” She started, chewing on her lip, “It’s child’s work, and it won’t get you anywhere. We need to somehow find a way to make her see that there is a real man somewhere inside this scrawny, freckly frame of yours. We need to find a way to make you a sane human being around her. And we need to find a way to do all this in a manner that won’t alert her or those around her of your intentions.”
I nodded, only understanding half of what she was saying. Rose frowned, and went on.
“Your party tonight is a brilliant place to start,” She stated. I kept nodding.
“Start what?” I asked her. She scowled.
“I haven’t decided that part yet, you twat, be patient.” She snarled, “Now let me think. Is Dash aware that you are, in fact, a straight man?”
“I – what!?” I spluttered, staring at Rose in disbelief. She just stared evenly back. I shook my head, “Yes!” I assured her, “Yes, of course she is! Why would she – why would anyone… Rose do I appear to be gay to you!?”
My cousin just shrugged, “Just checking,” She said lightly, “So we just need to get Dash interested. I suggest a pretty girl to make her… not jealous, exactly, but simply aware that you, you know, exist. I’ll find someone willing to play the part for a while. For some reason girls seem to like you, so it shouldn’t be too hard.” She smiled widely, “Dash will see you giving this young lass your love, and it will make her wonder if you have potential after all. She’ll know you’re taken, so she’ll become even more attracted to the unattainable. Unless, of course, she really just doesn’t like you, in which case, I’d be considering love potions.”
I smiled peevishly up at my cousin, “Are you sure that will work?” I asked her uncertainly, “It seems kind of… weak,” As soon as the words, left my mouth, I regretted them. But the damage was done. Rose’s eyes flared up.
“Weak!?” She repeated, her voice dripping venom, “No, James, weak is what you call your attempts to woo Dash since first year. My plan is foolproof. And it is also unfinished. So pay close fucking attention.”
I nodded, wincing internally and making a mental note to never open my mouth again.
“I know the fake girlfriend tactic seems half-hearted and clichéd, but trust me James, I know what I’m doing,” Rose seemed to have calmed down a little, which was good news for my life, “I’ll find the right person, I’ll give you the right orders, and it will all turn out fine. Now there are two other matters we need to attend to: Dash’s current boyfriend, and your inability to produce cohesive sounds in her presence. For the first one, the task is easy. Breakups are a piece of cake for me. In this particular situation, we need to turn Dash off Tim, because a guy like Tim would never let go of a girl like Dash no matter how much we fool/drug/pay him. This won’t be hard, Tim’s a git. We’ll work on it tonight. Now as for the second, you’re going to need lessons.”
I stared, “Lessons?” I repeated, “In what?”
“In seducing,” Rose stated, “You have the sex appeal of a Potions book. Louis is going to help you change that.”
“Louis?” I was confused.
“How often does he get some?”
I sighed, “Good point,”
“I want you to talk to him about it, ask him if he’ll help you. If he says no, ask him again.” My cousin clapped her hands together, letting out a long breath of air. “That seems to be it for now. Any questions?”
I frowned. I was still uncertain what exactly it was Rose was planning or hoping to achieve with all of this. But I didn’t want to insult her with any particularly idiotic enquiries. “I’m still a bit iffy on the details,” I said, pulling a face as Rose’s gaze snapped over to mine, “But I’m sure I’ll follow just fine!” I finished quickly, ruffling the back of my hair and sending my cousin a tentative smile. She relaxed slightly.
“Good. I guess I’ll have to come to your party tonight. Meet me outside your portrait hole at seven thirty.” She shook her head, and let out another heavy sigh. “I can’t believe I’m doing this for you, James,” She said sadly.
I smiled at her, “Thanks Rose,” I gushed, “You’re the best.”
My cousin just nodded. “I know,” She replied, grinning slightly, “But we’re done here. You can leave now.” She motioned towards the door with a wave of her hand. I stood up, and started to thank her again. “Seriously, fuck off.”
It was all I could do not to whimper as I scampered out of the room.
Chapter 2! And chapter 3 is done and dusted, so that will be up shortly. Anywho, if you liked this chapter, leave me a review, and I will love you long time