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Staying Afloat by nednedned
Chapter 6 : Discoveries, Dancing, and Blackmail
 
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stunning CI by nala at TDA <3

Just as a slight warning, there is substance use in this chapter. Anyway, enjoy the read! The plot gets thicker...

As told by Rose Weasley

I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life.

Mum always told me not to say stuff like that, something about the unfortunate, but at the moment I could not help myself.

See, I was a normally happy girl, with good friends, grades, and family. However, this Rose had one thorn in her side – Scorpius Malfoy.

How was he so horrible? Well, let’s just say that he was the most irritating, smart aleck person in Hogwarts. He always infuriates and picks on me. Also, he is unfortunately a genius who gets away with slacking off. I have to work hard to keep my top grades, while the bugger can ignore papers and homework until ten minutes before the particular class starts. He can accomplish what I do with no effort at all, and it’s frustrating!

I can’t even rant on about him to my mates, because they start thinking that I like Scorpius. Quite repulsive. Lia and Grace think that my inner desire to bring him up is because my subconscious longs for him. Cheesy, but no. He’s just so irritating! I can’t help the feeling of annoyance that comes up every time he does something to bother me.

Well, there is something which I won’t admit to Lia, Grace, and Maya. No, no, I don’t like him. Rather different, actually. I’m haven’t told my friends, but the reason that I don’t like Scorpius is that I’m jealous of him. Shocking, isn’t it?

Perfect little Rose Weasley is actually jealous of Scorpius Malfoy, bumhead extraordinaire. He has something which I can never achieve through excessive studying and pushing myself – natural genius like ability. It doesn’t matter to me that Flitwick already says I’m in the top of the class – I still hate Malfoy.

He’s able to get the second spot without even trying.

Also, his desire to irritate me to no end doesn’t help his case, especially because my mean remarks don’t faze him. It’s frustrating that he can make me angry so quickly, while I have no effect on him.

This inner rant of mine had the purpose of blocking the wonderful voice of Mr. Malfoy from my left ear. Normally, I wouldn’t spend five minutes next to the bloke, but our so-called friends had locked us inside a broom closet a few hours ago. Actually, more than a few. A glance at my watch told me it was two in the morning.

And yet, Scorpius was still trying to bother me. I didn’t exactly know what he was talking about, as I tried to block his voice to a jumbled mess of sounds. However, I now decided to tune in to see what he was saying.

“…C’mon, Weasley, you have to talk to me sometime. We’ll be in here all night! Also, watch your right hook. That punch really hurt.”

After a few hours of not talking, I finally gave him a scathing response. “Normal blokes would never admit that they got hurt by a girl, Malfoy.”

He looked up at me from his perch against the opposite wall in surprise. “Wait a minute. Did I just hear Rose Weasley talk for the first time in ages?” I rolled my eyes. “Besides, Weasley, it’s not like anybody but you is here to listen to our conversation.” He winked.

As Maya would say, ew.

Well, technically, he was right. We were stuck in a broom cupboard not more than a couple feet in area, surrounded by cleaning supplies and the sounds of our growling stomachs. Thanks to our, ahem, friends, we had no dinner.

I didn’t know how I would last the night.

Actually, I could get all of my frustrations towards him out of my system now, since no one else was listening. A perfect chance to rant at the bane of my existence.

“Malfoy?”

“Yes, darling Weasley?”

Do not erupt, do not erupt. “Why do you use so much effort to irritate me?” I looked him straight in the eye with the seemingly harmless question.

His eyebrows raised slightly as he kicked the bucket in front of him. “I do, now? Well, I didn’t even notice that I was doing anything like that.”

Lies. All lies. “Doubtful. You always take opportunities to single me out and make fun of me, and it’s so stupid. What’s the point? You already have everything you want. Why bother me?”

I saw clouds in his eyes for a few seconds, before easily clearing and smirking at me. “Don’t assume what someone has and doesn’t have, Weasley. You never know a person unless you live their life.”

Someone was being decidedly philosophical. “Sorry, just a question. Which pertains a lot to me, incidentally. I’m not exactly a big part of your life.” I raised my eyebrows at him, as he was acting a lot more subdued now.

He looked away and muttered something while running a hand through his hair. A habit picked up from Al, no doubt. “Whatever, Weasley. You ignore most of it anyway. Would you believe it if I told you that I do it to everyone else as well?”

“Not a chance.”

He sighed. It was slightly amusing, actually, to see him slightly put out. I guess he wasn’t used to upfront confrontation, especially coming from someone he wasn’t used to getting a direct reaction from.

“Well, Weasley, let me tell you something…”

___

As told by Lia Finnegan

“C’mon, Rosie, tell us! You can’t deny anything, we saw you two this morning.”

I was sitting on the edge of Rose’s bed with Grace, both of us surrounding Rosie. Maya was dancing around the room trying to get Rose to spill.

We had rescued her and Scorpius from the broom closet only half an hour ago. Well, “rescued” is not the correct term. In fact, both looked quite content. In true clichéd broom closet fashion, they were both fast asleep slumped against the wall, Rose leaning on Scorpius. And to add to the cheesiness, both of them blushed furiously and shot up quickly after waking up to the flash of Maya’s camera.

Rose had a slightly less irritated look than we thought she would, which was a definite good sign. Clearly, something had happened. Something which lovely Rose would not tell us.

Grace, Maya, and I had speculated in the bathroom, but we were at a loss. It couldn’t be a full on romance between them, as Rosie wasn’t fully in dreamland and her and Scorpius shared an understanding look – of friendship, not lust. Also, they couldn’t have had a falling out – they were cuddling, for Merlin’s sake!

Currently, our soft interrogation methods weren’t working out so well. Rosie just gave us a vague smile, not appearing irritated at all, despite the fact that she had to spend so many hours in close proximity to her ‘arch nemesis’ – her words, not mine.

Oh, well. It was a step up from her previous (obsessive) rants about him. Now, it may be possible that they could get through prefect patrol without combusting on the spot.

Rose sat on her bed still, fiddling with her rather girly heart shaped pillow. While tracing the embroidery, she let a small smile play on her face.

Despite her mysterious answers, I had a feeling that Rose-vention would work out well.

____

A few days had passed since our interesting plans had taken place. It was funny, Scorpius would still prod Rose, but it seemed as if she didn’t mind it as much. In fact, sometimes she would even play along!
Good grief. They were getting mushy without actually doing anything. It was sort of gross.

Us girls were in our room once more, getting ready for the party. The time had finally come, and we were preparing for it in the way we do best – in full out panic.

Rather, Maya and Rose panicked, while Grace and I sat bemusedly.
“LIA! Stop sitting like a fool and help me find my hairbrush, woman!”
See what I mean?

I attempted to ignore Maya, but a pillow was hurled at me. Aggressive behaviour was quite prominent in her.

Grace and I were already prepared for the party. We only had to put on our slag dresses reluctantly, and try to appear unnoticed so that Rose and Maya would not attack us with makeup.

The latter two were a whirlwind of fabric, cosmetics, and hair products, applying everything under the sun in order to look ‘perfect’. It was quite a normal occurrence before every party.

Maya triumphantly raised her previously lost brush into the air, exclaiming “I found it!” as Rose let out a groan. Her hair was not cooperating, apparently.

I say apparently because to the makeup deficient like Grace and I, they both looked fine. Maya had her hair in some sort of updo, while Rose was attempting to finish straightening her hair with her wand.

Honestly? I didn’t see the big deal of dressing up. The people who were going to be at party were those we had gone to school with since the geeky age of eleven. What was the point of going all out if we would just look made up?

Also, I was too frightened of eyeliner, but that was beside the point.

So, alas, I was sitting on my bed, sketching Rose with her hair in all directions (not that I’d ever show her!) Grace was beside me, absorbed in a book as usual. As long as Maya and Rose were wrapped up in their preparations, they would be too busy to notice our unmade faces.

Success!

I had never managed to go to a party with Rose and Maya without them giving me a forceful makeover, but it definitely possible today.

Unfortunately, while I was inwardly congratulating myself for the achievement, I failed to notice Rose and Maya come up behind us. I turned around slowly and saw identical mischievous grins, both pairs of hands holding scary tools.

Grace gulped as Rose started laughing evilly. “Don’t think we forgot about you two!”

“But guys, I thought you were busy getting ready, we don’t need more makeup…” My feeble protests were drowned as Grace and I were dragged in front of the mirror.

Maya sat down in front of me and cackled. “You should know by now, Lia, Rose and I work well under pressure. We finished ages ago! And by ages, I mean minutes.” With that, she started applying goop to my face.

Out of my peripheral vision, I saw Grace give me a pleading look as Rose tried curling her hair.

Why do I have these imbeciles for friends?

____

My pals and I entered the party at full swing, ducking past swerving bodies moving to the wizard rock. We sidled up to the bar, where Fred was bartender. He wiggled his eyebrows at us and passed us each a shot of Firewhiskey.

Well, helloo there, ladies. Looking great! Except you, Rose. Cousin grossness. However, you three…” He winked at Grace as he swirled another drink.

Grace turned purple and started giggling. I quickly stepped in front of her to block her dithering actions from Fred . Blimey, she was like me in front of Al during the early days.

Speaking of Al, where was that beautiful creature? We hadn’t talked much since Operation Rose-vention, as homework, Quidditch, and daily escapades added up over time. I scanned the dance floor for his mass of black hair… nope, mostly blonde bimbos… and finally spotted him on the far side. I supposed it wouldn’t be weird to just sidle up to him now, would it?

I started heading that way to say hi (today ‘cool Lia’ was in effect) but stopped short in the middle of the dancing mass.

Yep, the boy was there, alright. With a blonde bimbo on his lap. And he wasn’t looking uncomfortable, either.

The only reason I cooperated with Rose and Maya as much as I did was so that I wouldn’t look completely hideous… in front of him. Never mind about Cole, I wanted Al to notice me.

I was pathetic.

Well, it wasn’t like I didn’t already have a boyfriend. I banished treacherous thoughts about Al and searched for Cole. I didn’t have to look long before I felt someone come up behind me.

Cole looked quite fit under the pulsing lights, and judging by his expression, he appreciated the slag dress and makeup.

I flicked him under the chin. “Oi, eyes up here. Dance with me.”

Cole smiled. He was holding two Firewhiskeys, and passed me one.
“Well, someone looks gorgeous. I can’t help myself.” With that, he took his shot.

I rolled my eyes and drank mine as well. While I wasn’t into getting smashed, I didn’t mind two drinks. Any more than a couple and I would be a public embarrassment – alcohol didn’t always agree with me.

Cole put his arms around my waist and we started moving with the music. Not exactly the waltz, if you know what I mean.

Dancing with him was great fun. Heck, he was a fit boy and I was really enjoying myself. I couldn’t help but getting lost in the moment, recognizing the smell of his cologne and the music.

Who needed Al at the moment? This perfectly fine boy specimen was great for me!

I peeked over at him – the blonde bimbo was gone. In fact, he was staring at me.

Meh. I was currently taken. Let him see what he was missing.

Not that he would do anything, since my current dance partner was my boyfriend.

My logic while intoxicated was not quite flawless.

Cole and I danced for ages, and I could tell he was enjoying himself as well. I searched his face. His eyes held an intense look, searching my own. If it was even possible, he moved closer to me.

After a few more songs, Cole suddenly froze. I looked up and saw he was staring at a spot over my shoulder, towards the far end of the room. He stepped away from me slightly and looked torn.

“Lia... I’ll be right back. There’s, erm, something I have to do. I won’t take too long.” He gave me a conflicted look as he started walking away. A dark figure on the other side of the room started heading to the door and he followed it.

I felt lost for a few seconds. Where did he go? I wanted to dance!

My simplistic troubled thoughts didn’t last for too long, as Rose and Grace showed up beside me. Rose looked as if she was having the time of her life dancing, while Grace looked terrified of everyone and clung on to Rose for dear life.

I couldn’t help but giggle. “Rosie, has Gracey drank yet?”

Rose smirked. “Nope! I tried to force her, but she backhanded me. Oh well, start dancing Lia!”

The song changed to one of a faster pace, so Rosie and I grabbed Grace and started dancing together. Grace was tense at first, but loosened up after a few minutes. She started getting in to her dancing, and was thoroughly enjoying herself. The book was nowhere in sight.
Finally!

It was great fun. Someone passed me another shot, and I took it without hesitation, before realizing I had to pee.

Rats.

The bathrooms in the party Room of Requirement were quite disgusting according to Rose, who had to drag Grace out of them. So, I would have to make the trek back to our dorm.

In a slag dress. Without being caught by prefects and teachers.

Easy, right?

____

I skipped off sneakily towards the Gryffindor dorms, feeling light but not tipsy. The party was going great, despite the fact that Cole went off so abruptly. It wasn’t too bothersome, though, as distraction was provided in the form of Maya and James seeing who could take the most shots. In some ways, it more fun than dancing.

It was surprising that the two hadn’t started snogging yet.

I was mulling these thoughts over as I turned into another stony hallway, looking out carefully for teachers. I crept along beside the painting of Jenkins the Jumpy. I almost reached the end of the hallway when I heard raised voices not too far away, and scuttled back like a ninja. Jumpy Jenkins gave me a weird look.

I didn’t have to listen for long to realize it wasn’t teachers… but Cole?
With someone whose voice I couldn’t identify…

So that’s where he had gone.

I crouched closer and strained to listen to the conversation. “… How do you expect me to keep listening to your demands? I know you want revenge, but you promised she wouldn’t be directly involved!” Cole’s voice rose slightly.

“Building relations is always dangerous. You were supposed to merely act as a link so we could do what we needed to do. It was not supposed to be your intention to form a bond with her once again.” The voice responded calmly.

Cole sounded frustrated and slightly panicked. “It’s not like I wanted to help you in the first place! Your blackmail can already harm me, just keep her out of this.”

“My, my, it seems as if someone is getting attached. I’d be careful, McLaggen. She’s probably just as ruthless as her father. Not that both will be around long enough for you to find out.” I heard footsteps walk away in the opposite direction, thanking my stars the person didn’t come towards me instead.

I let out the breath I’d been holding. What in the name of Merlin had just happened? Who were they talking about? What had Cole gotten himself into?

I slowly slid down the wall, my lightness receding quickly as I tried to think back to our most recent interactions. I racked my brain for clues.

His distant eyes. His incessant darting glances in abandoned corridors. His apprehensive looks towards the Slytherin table. Tonight, when he wouldn’t leave my side until he saw that person.

And his seemingly random desire to get back together with me after last year’s breakup.

But yet, he was getting sweeter. More compassionate. It looked like he cared for me now more than ever before, almost as if he had to protect me.

But what did it all mean?

And when the figure said that two people wouldn’t be around for that long?

My head started throbbing. Maybe it was the alcohol, or the fact that Cole was hiding something huge from me. And potentially dangerous.
Someone had some explaining to do.

I slowly got up and continued heading to the dorms, not feeling like partying anymore. I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened, and getting smashed would not really be a good option.

Yeah. Alcohol and I aren’t really friends unless in small doses.

I muttered the password to the Fat Lady, who gave me a sleepy grunt and trudged up the stairs past the empty common room. I needed some sleep.

I'm so, so, sorry for not updating sooner! School and work has been taking a toll, lately. I'll be working on getting regular chapters up, though. Thanks for reading! Please, please review?


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