This chapter image was a pain in the ass to blend. I mean, I did not expect her hair to be so damn difficult! But, I figured I’d show off Rose’s blonde hair...
As soon as I finished drying my hair, Rose and I ran from Gryffindor Tower. We passed Al and Lily on the way, but we didn’t stop. I was entirely out of breath by the time we turned the corner to see the doors of the Hospital Wing. Rose, however, laughed at me as we slowed down.
“You don’t get much cardio, do you?”
“Oh shut up,” I said as we slowed to a walk.
“Maybe we can fit some running into practice – I’ll have to talk to Al about that.”
As I was about to tell her that running and flying are completely unrelated, Professor McGonagall came striding out of the Hospital Wing doors. Her face fell at the sight of us, and I assumed that was because she knew why we were there. We stopped walking as she approached us, and Rose spoke first, “Professor?”
“What are the two of you doing here?” She looked quite stern as she spoke, “Don’t you have classes you need to get to?”
“We came to see Luke,” Rose said simply, as if she expected McGonagall to let us skip class.
“I can assure you that Mr. Albine will be fine, Miss Weasley. In fact, Madam Pomfrey will probably release him around noon. Until then, she doesn’t think it would be wise for anyone to bother him.”
“But we’re his friends,” Rose insisted, “we wouldn’t bother him, and we heard about Lauren. We just want to know what happened.”
Professor McGonagall was sympathetic, and I could see it in her eyes, but she still insisted it was better for us to go to class. “I cannot speak for Miss Whitby, but Mr. Albine will be fine. As for what happened, you may know in a few hours when he wakes up. In the meantime, you should go to class or I will dock house points.”
I looked to Rose then, and she looked back at me. She was clearly very frustrated by all of this, as was I, but we turned around and headed down to Defense Against the Dark Arts anyway. As we entered the classroom, Professor Cauldwell was annoyed that we were late and stopped his lecture momentarily to wait for us to sit down. Rose started to take things out of her bag, but I stopped her because Cauldwell was eyeing us with dark eyes as he approached.
He stopped short of our table and said, “I assume you two have a good explanation for being late.”
Rose started to say that we tried to go to the Hospital Wing, but I quickly jabbed her in the arm with my elbow and loudly said, “We overslept.”
While I could feel Rose’s annoyance toward me for possibly bruising her, I watched Professor Cauldwell as he started to head back to the front of the classroom. Once he was there, he said, “I will give you two a freebie this time, Miss Branch. Just don’t let it happen again.”
I didn’t say anything else, and he continued on with the lecture. In a moment when he had his back turned, Rose wrote on my notes, ‘mind telling me why you elbowed me?’
and I wrote back a few minutes later, ‘I don’t think it would be wise to announce that Luke is in the Hospital Wing.
’ When her eyes first took in what I wrote, she was confused, but then she took a look around and I could swear her eyes rested on the back of Al’s head momentarily.
“Oh,” she breathed quietly when it occurred to her that Al would have more than likely jumped up and left the room if he knew where Luke was. He would have already been wondering if we had Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Ravenclaws, but considering we had it with the Slytherins that wasn’t the case.
At least, not yet.
When class was over, and Rose and I were slowly walking to Charms together, she whispered to me, “Do you think Dippet will explain what happened to them tonight?”
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.
Rose raised a brow at me, “Certainly they have an idea of what happened, if they don’t already know.”
I stopped walking for a moment and Rose did the same to hear what I had to say. “I don’t know about that, Rose. McGonagall was either telling the truth earlier or she has absolutely no emotional response when she lies.”
“Great,” Rose said sarcastically.
Confused, I asked, “What’s great?”
“Well, if they know but haven’t told McGonagall then that’s certainly not a good thing.”
“And what if they really don’t know what happened?”
Frowning, Rose looked past me as she said, “That’s probably worse.” I looked over my shoulder to see Lorcan and Lysander approaching us, and Rose said just before they joined us, “Don’t say anything to them. They might not know.”
“Have either of you seen Luke?” Lorcan asked.
“Or Josh, for that matter,” Lysander added, “When we woke up this morning they were both gone already.”
“And they weren’t at breakfast.”
“Or in class.”
I looked nervously at Rose, who smiled at them calmly, “Nope, we haven’t seen either of them. You know, you should probably ask Al – he might know what’s going on.”
“Oh, well thanks anyway,” Lysander said before they started to walk off.
“See, I told you they wouldn’t know,” Lorcan said to Lysander obnoxiously.
I didn’t hear what else they said as they walked off, considering there were far too many students crowding the corridor. Seemingly out of nowhere, Scorpius appeared, took hold of Rose’s arm, and started to drag her off in the direction that Lorcan and Lysander had just run off in. I practically had to jog to catch up to them.
“You know,” he was saying to Rose, “You’re not a very convincing liar.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know where Albine is, Rosie. The Scamander twins might not know how you act when you’re lying, but I do.”
Rose laughed and pushed his hand off her arm, then added in a quiet undertone, “I’ll tell you later, Scorpius. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to Charms with Delta.”
He grinned at her momentarily and said, “It’s a date,” before walking off.
“You know, your boyfriend is kind of odd,” I said once he was gone.
Of course, Rose just laughed for a moment before leering at me, “You really don’t want to go there with me right now. I mean, seriously, Delta. I’m already freaking out enough as it is.”
I frowned at her sympathetically, “I know.”
“At noon, we’re going on a manhunt, okay?” Rose said as we approached the Charms’ classroom.
I nodded, “Agreed.”
When noon came around, Rose surprised me by strutting over to the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall where Al was having lunch. I thought that she meant we would be looking for Luke at noon, not Al. Truthfully, I didn’t want to see him after what had happened the night before, but she seemed to know what she was doing so I didn’t object. She prodded the back of his head when we reached him, and he turned around with his mouth full.
Swallowing, he said, “What the hell, Rose?”
“I need to borrow your map,” Rose said quickly.
He seemed to groan, “Not now, I’m eating.”
When he turned back around, she prodded his head again. “Seriously, Al; I need
“Why don’t you just break into the dormitory and take the damned thing? I’m kind of preoccupied right now,” he said impatiently, turning back to his lunch yet again.
This time, however, Rose leaned over and whispered something in his ear that started with, “Now, don’t freak out or anything, but…”
It took her maybe fifteen seconds to make him understand and he turned to look directly at me. My face flushed as he asked, “Is she joking?”
I shook my head, which was good enough for Al. He jumped to his feet and practically ran from the Great Hall with us on his heels. Once we were up a few flights of stairs, he slowed down and said to Rose, “You know, I was wondering if something was up when Lorcan and Lysander asked me if I knew where he was. I should’ve known something was wrong, but of course I just shrugged it off as being nothing. You know, I just realized, I haven’t seen Lauren either.”
“Yeah, neither have I,” Rose lied. I could sense she felt guilty for lying to Al, but I just assumed she didn’t want him to worry, too. “Actually, I haven’t seen Luke or Lauren since they left the party. You don’t happen to know where they went, do you?”
Al looked at me and I shrugged, then he looked back to Rose, “No idea. I didn’t even see Luke last night.”
Rose glanced at me, and I could see that she was starting to really stress about this again. I frowned at her sympathetically to let her know I felt the same way.
“Well, maybe we’ll find him on the map,” Al said hopefully, “You know, somewhere other than the Hospital Wing. Maybe he can tell us what happened.”
Rose nodded in agreement, “McGonagall did say earlier that we might know what happened when he woke up.”
“You know, I’m going to kill him if he was attacked by the Whomping Willow again,” Al said suddenly as we landed on the seventh floor and jogged toward the painting of the Fat Lady.
I exchanged looks with Rose, and then said, “I doubt that’s what happened.”
We didn’t say anything else as we continued down the corridor. Rose practically shouted the password at the Fat Lady, and the three of us entered the empty common room together. As Al left us to go get this map they kept talking about, I turned to Rose, “So what is this map of his, exactly?”
“It’s called the Marauder’s Map,” Rose said quietly, although I didn’t really think it was necessary to whisper. “It’s an enchanted map of Hogwarts that will allow us to see where everyone in the castle is.”
So that’s how we were going to find Luke.
Al practically ran back down the stairs and sat down in the middle of one of the couches, pulling a coffee table close and setting the map down on top of it. As Rose and I sat down on either side of him, he lightly touched the map with his wand and said, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Suddenly, words, lines, and moving footprints began to appear on what was previously a blank map. I read, ‘Messors Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are proud to present the Marauder’s Map,’
before Al began to open the many layers and folds of the old piece of parchment. He started with the Hospital Wing, but when we saw that Luke’s name wasn’t there he began to search the map with the seventh floor. It took the three of us a few minutes to reach the second floor, which is when we finally saw the name ‘Lucas Albine
,’ strolling along a corridor.
“There he is!” Rose said excitedly, jumping to her feet.
“Wait, Rose,” Al said, pulling her back down beside him, “We’ve got to wait for him to stop moving.”
“Why?” Rose asked, suddenly confused.
“Because,” Al said impatiently, “If he leaves and goes somewhere else it would be pointless.”
“But can’t we just find him again on the map?” I asked.
Al looked at me and said with a tone that was much less impatient than the one he used with Rose, “I’m not going to walk around the school with this map out, Delta. If Filch or one of the professors saw it then they would confiscate it.”
“Oh,” I said breathlessly, realizing that I had been holding my breath as his green eyes bored into mine. After a long moment I looked away, biting my lip.
Looking back to the map, we watched Luke walk from the second floor down to the dungeons. After a short while, he seemed to reach his destination – the room the party had been held in the night before. I saw Al and Rose look at one another after a moment and seem to come to a silent agreement. Then Al spoke, “All right, let’s go,” before folding the map up again and stuffing it into an inside pocket in his robes.
Several minutes later, the three of us entered the dungeons together. Even Rose was panting this time as we continued along the corridor. When I smirked at her she told me to shut up, but added, “If he’s not down here I’m going to kill him.”
Not a moment after she said that, the doors to the room Luke was in opened. The three of us halted as the door shut behind him. For a long moment we stared at him and he stared at us in surprise. Then, finally, Luke spoke.
“Looking for me?”
When none of us knew what to say, he spoke again.
“Well don’t all talk at once,” he laughed. Then, opening the door that had just shut behind him, he beckoned us inside. Quickly, we followed and I made certain the door shut behind us. Luke took a seat in one of two chairs and Rose stood beside the other one while Al and I stood in front of them.
Once we were inside, Rose spoke first, “Are you okay?”
Shrugging, Luke said, “I woke up with a mild concussion this morning, but otherwise I’m fine.”
“A concussion?” Al repeated, “A concussion from what?”
“I was told that I was struck in the back of the head, but I don’t remember how it happened,” was the answer.
“You don’t remember?” Al said.
“Memory loss is a symptom of a concussion,” Luke explained, “And, considering this wasn’t my first concussion, it was worse this time around.”
I could tell that, past his relatively calm demeanor, something was troubling him. Of course, I assumed this had to do with Lauren. But it wasn’t going to be me that asked him about it.
It was Rose’s turn to ask a question, “So you don’t remember anything that happened last night?”
Frowning, Luke said, “No, I really don’t.”
Then Rose sat down in the chair beside him, “So you don’t know what happened to Lauren?”
“I do have a vague idea,” he said slowly. “I was told when I woke up that they sent her to St. Mungo’s this morning, but that she should be back in a few days.”
Rose looked at me in relief while Al asked in surprise, “St. Mungo’s?”
“That’s what he said, wasn’t it?” Rose said, though she didn’t say it unkindly.
Rose, who was growing irritated with Al for not shutting up, said, “Does it really matter, Al? Apparently she’s going to be okay.”
“They didn’t tell me what happened to her anyway,” Luke said suddenly, “They just told me she would be back by Tuesday.” Then he stood and said, “Now if the three of you don’t mind, I’m going to my dormitory.”
When he left, Rose and Al looked at one another. She was still irritated with him, and I could just sense a lecture forming in her mind. Instead of a lecture, though, she just stood and said, “You really need to learn to keep your mouth shut.”
Then, before Al could say anything, she left the room too. To my surprise, he laughed once she was gone.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” Al said after a moment, “It’s nothing. Anyway, we should probably get going before class starts.”
I nodded in agreement and followed him from the room. We walked slowly through the dungeons, heading to the staircase that would lead to the ground floor. There was plenty of time left before we had our next class, so we weren’t in any hurry. So, naturally, the silence between us became increasingly awkward as the minutes passed. Just as I was about to find an excuse to go somewhere else, Al spoke.
“I hate to ask this, but it’s been bothering me,” he said, seemingly from out of nowhere. “Did you think it was odd that Luke was so calm?”
It took me a moment to gather my thoughts. “No, I didn’t think it was odd at all.”
“Really? Why not?”
“Well…” I trailed off for a moment. Then I replied, “I think he was just putting up a front.”
Al became silent again when I said that. Just when I thought he was going to disagree, he said, “I think you might be right. He’s not very open about his feelings.”
I smiled vaguely as I looked up at him, “You mean he’s not open about them with you
Shrugging, he said, “Obviously.”
We fell silent once again while I thought of what to say. After a few moments I remembered something Luke had said to me the day before. Awkwardly, I told Al what he had said.
“You know, I can’t say I’m surprised. He told me yesterday that he doesn’t have serious conversations with you.”
“Well, that’s not my fault,” Al said defensively.
I raised a brow. “I didn’t say it was your fault.”
There was another pause before he spoke again. “So why were you talking to him about me?”
Lying, I said, “I don’t really remember.”
I don’t know if he believed me, but he didn’t ask me anymore about it.
I looked up to see Josh Whitby standing in front of my table. I had walked down to the library alone the next day, which was Saturday, because I assumed that our ‘date’ to Hogsmeade had been cancelled. Honestly, I was shocked to see him. I figured that he had left after what happened to his sister, considering I hadn’t seen him at all the day before. So, when I saw him standing there I just stared at him in surprise, not knowing what to say.
“Er, Delta? Why are you staring at me like that?”
It took me a moment to figure out how to frame my question. When I figured it out, I said quietly, “I thought you would have left for St. Mungo’s yesterday.”
He frowned, “So you heard.”
“Everyone did, Dippet made an announcement last night.”
“What did she say?”
I sighed quietly, “Just that two students were found in the Forbidden Forest early in the morning, and she reminded us that entering the forest is strictly forbidden.”
I nodded. “She didn’t say who was attacked. She just said that one of them was sent to St. Mungo’s, but that she would be back soon.” I paused for a moment before asking, “Where were you yesterday?”
Josh took a moment to pull out the chair across from mine and sit down before answering, “Headmaster’s office, of course. Dippet was considering sending me to St. Mungo’s for most of the morning, but once we heard she had stabilized she decided against it.”
I released the air that I had sharply inhaled while he was speaking. For a moment, I considered asking him more about it, but decided against it when it occurred to me that talking about it wasn’t going to change anything. And, really, talking about it was only making him feel worse. So, I changed the subject. “Do you still want to go to Hogsmeade? I’m still up to it if you are.”
To my relief, he actually managed a smile, albeit a small one. “Sure.”
Smiling back, I said, “All right,” and began to put my things away.
Sorry for the delay on this chapter but my life is kind of going non-stop. Anyway, I won’t go into my bs, but I will say that in the last month I have re-written this chapter a total of four times. Normally, I can write a chapter one or two times (with some little editing here and there). But I had to re-write huge chunks of this chapter before I was satisfied.
And, even then, I’m not super excited about this chapter either. So, if it does seem like a dud, don’t worry because it’s just an ass-chapter and the next chapter will be much less of a dud.
I mean, I’m introducing my affect-flowers in the next chapter… and they’re adorable!
I got the idea for them from my cat because she’s super affectionate and all I have to do is make kissy noises at her to get her to nuzzle me.
Now I’m going to stop talking before I go on about how my cats are adorable.
Next chapter is Hogsmeade, shortly afterwards Lauren comes back, then the first Quidditch match, also lots of Al thrown in there along the way, then we will eventually come to the Holiday break. I’m hoping I can finish the holiday break chapters by January, but we’ll see. There will be several updates in mid to late December, by the way.
Review, maybe? :)