Chapter 8 : Wicked Witches
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Chapter Eight: Wicked Witches
Rose Weasley wasn’t hiding in the library.
Rose Weasley didn’t hide. Certainly not from boys…
Except when Hogwarts was less than a week away from a giant event, which required dates and therefore granted Fabian Lopez the opportunity to possibly corner Rose Weasley and ask her.
Except when Rose Weasley was too scared to visit the Potions classroom because there might’ve been the slightest possibility she’d run into the only person who was down there during the weekends, Scorpius Malfoy, and she could not face him after their latest incident on the quidditch pitch. Although she would never admit it, every passing minute she had been feeling both guiltier and angrier about what had happened.
No, Rose Weasley wasn’t hiding in the library from Fabian Lopez, nor from Scorpius Malfoy.
She was studying.
This was Rose’s O.W.L.-year; there should be something to study, right? She looked down at her Herbology essay, already a foot longer than Neville had asked; but he always went too easy on his students. He was more like the ‘do well in class and learn’-teacher, instead of the ‘look it up and write an essay’-type.
Unfortunately, in the spirit of Hogwarts’ anniversary, all the other teachers had decided to take it easy on their students this week, too.
Listen to that: Rose Weasley complaining about too little homework. Her father would be ashamed.
She wished she had gone to quidditch practice after all, but she was absolutely positive that Fabian would’ve come looking for her there. He believed she couldn’t attend today’s prefects meeting because she had practice while James, on the other hand, thought the prefect’s meeting was mandatory and Rose couldn’t possibly have gotten out from under it.
Rose wondered whether James would put two and two together when he saw Fabian show up halfway into practice and ask about her.
She pushed aside her essay and decided to study her notes, any notes on any subjects, only to realize that she had lend almost all her notes to her classmates for them to copy. With a frustrated sigh, Rose got up, about to read a random book from the library, when Lily suddenly came rushing in, panting and dripping wet. She headed straight for Rose’s table and dumped her broomstick on it before sitting down noisily. Rose didn’t have to look at the librarian to feel her discontent, Rose herself was scowling down at her cousin.
“Why weren’t you at practice?” Lily asked, ignoring Rose’s attempt to salvage her Herbology homework. “After the last game, there’s no excuse in the world good enough to miss practice! James is on a warpath; off course the idiot headed straight for the common room. I knew you’d be hiding here.”
“I’m not hiding!” Rose snapped, attempting to free her soaked essay from underneath Lily’s broomstick without ripping it. “I’m studying.”
“Is that why you weren’t at practice?” Lily asked with a sceptical look that made Rose look away.
“Oh, I can just hear uncle Ron’s heart breaking from here.”
“I had a prefect’s…” Rose started to say but Lily cut her off.
“When did it end?” She asked in such a stern voice that Rose sat down quickly, feeling like a schoolgirl caught in the boy’s lavatory. “You’re obviously not in the middle of a meeting now. When did it end?”
“I – I don’t know… like 10 minu–”
“Approximately 30 minutes ago,” Lily snapped. She reminded Rose of one of those muggle detectives interrogating a suspect; something she had seen on a muggle television show that her mum liked.
“How do I know that? That is when the 5th year prefect from Ravenclaw showed up, asking the same question that I’m asking you now. Why weren’t you at practice?”
Even if Rose had a decent answer to give Lily –she didn’t, because all she could think was: I knew he’d there. I knew it!– she wouldn’t have had the chance to because Lily went on immediately.
“You were hiding from that same Ravenclaw bloke, that’s why!”
“Why are you asking me questions when you obviously seem to know all the answers?” Rose half whispered, half snapped. Now, she definitely felt like the misbehaving schoolgirl, or the prime suspect in Lily’s murder investigation; or both, at the same time.
“How could you do this to me?” Lily cried out dramatically, and for a moment Rose was struck by Lily’s resemblance to her oldest brother, who didn’t shy away from the occasional theatrical exclamation either. Rose waited for the moment to pass.
“Well?” Rose looked up as Lily waited for an answer.
“Oh, now you want an answer?” Rose asked, genuinely surprised. “What exactly did I do to you? It’s not like you’ll die because I missed one practice. You’re worse than your brother…”
“No, I won’t die. I’ll just be going to the ball on what’s-his-name-Ravenclaw’s arm,” Lily sighed, putting a defeated hand over her eyes.
“What? Who– Fabian? Seriously Lily, you’re talking nonsense. What exactly happened?” Rose said calmly.
“When he saw that you weren’t there and hadn’t been to the meeting, he sort of figured that you were avoiding him – clever, those Ravenclaws – and he asked me!”
“Well Lily, I think you’re forgetting the fundamental thing about asking someone out… it’s the asking. You see, it leaves you the choice of saying yes or n–”
“I didn’t have a choice! I had to accept,” Lily whined, putting her other hand over her eyes as well and sinking deeper into her chair.
Rose thought that the silence that followed was as good a rhetorical ‘why?’ as the one she was forced to say out loud when Lily remained quiet.
“I actually assumed you’d already be going with one of the Scamander twins,” Rose added, causing Lily to sigh even more.
“They are exactly the reason why I had to say yes to the first person who’d ask me. I couldn’t exactly go to the ball without a date, after both of them had asked me and I had told them I was already going with someone!”
Rose frowned at her younger cousin, considering whether it was Lily’s brain that was so overly filled with melodrama that others weren’t able to follow her reasoning or whether the library had finally sucked all the social skills out of Rose’s brain so that she couldn’t understand normal teenage drama anymore.
“So, why didn’t you say yes to one of them?” Rose asked very slowly, still doubting the sanity of both of them.
“How can I pick one of them? They’re twins, and they’re both my friends. Who asks a friend, anyway? Ask a stranger! Then if it goes horribly wrong, you can just forget about it and never talk to each other again. Dad says that your father’s ears still turn red every time he runs into either one of those Patil twins. But no, my two best friends both ask me. And they’re twins! It’s like choosing between ham and eggs, or the Morning Prophet and the Evening Prophet, or…”
“I personally prefer the Evening Prophet. It’s much more concerned with…” Rose’s voice died down. Lily wasn’t throwing her a happy look. “Okay, I’m sorry. I get it, you didn’t want to hurt one of them or lose either of them as a friend…”
“Exactly! And before I know it, I’m saying yes to a guy I can’t even remember the name of. And here’s the worst part! On my way here, Jack from Hufflepuff, who is sweet and cute – and a bit shy, but probably funny! – also asked me!” Lily exclaimed, throwing her hands up above her head. Rose could hear the librarian hiss at them. “I hate my life.”
Rose was quiet for a moment, slightly jealous as she reminded herself that no one had asked her yet –she was hiding in the library, though. No, studying. But mostly, she was baffled by Lily’s success with the opposite sex –she must really be Ginny’s daughter, if Rose could believe the things her father told her about his sister. Uncle Harry and aunt Ginny, on the other hand, always changed the subject when he mentioned one of Ginny’s ex-boyfriends so Rose never really found out if it was true that Ginny dated all of Harry’s roommates just to make him jealous... Her dad was known for his hyperboles, though.
“He’s also a prefect, and thus also two years older than you. Lily, don’t you think your brothers will go mental if they see you with someone Al’s age?” Rose asked, already amused by their potential reactions. Not to mention Uncle Harry’s reaction…
“Oh, those idiots can just piss off,” Lily muttered, still very miserable. “I had actually been waiting for someone in James’ year to ask me, so they can be happy with a fifth year student.”
Rose was about to ask who she was talking about when she saw two students walk into the library, one of them with a head of very recognizable blond hair. Hiding behind Lily was rather impossible – because she was so tiny – so Rose watched nervously as they started to head her way.
What, he was heading her way? He was heading her way! Oh, god. Why?
When the two boys stopped at Rose’s table, she noticed that Scorpius wasn’t exactly looking too happy about being there, and Rose’s heart sank a little. Nope, still same old Malfoy, bitter and hateful, and never in the world would he spare Rose one nice look – or Merlin forbid, an apology.
However, she noticed that he was looking at her now and wasn’t turning his – yet still hostile – eyes away from her as if she wasn’t worth it. How pathetic was it that this almost made her forgive him? She quickly looked away and at the other person with him, whom she hadn’t recognized until now.
“Oh, hey Sebastian, how was practice?” Rose asked politely, ignoring Scorpius.
“Fun. We missed you, though,” he said in such a neutral way that Rose wasn’t scared of him going all murder investigation on her like Lily had done.
“Yeah, I don’t need practice. I’m already that good,” Rose joked, only to regret it immediately.
Yes, just confirm the image of arrogant Gryffindor, too good for anything or anyone, every Slytherin already has of you when one of them is standing right in front of you. Malfoy doesn’t hate you enough already, Rose!
Rose tried to concentrate on Sebastian’s chuckle instead of Malfoy’s disdainful snort.
“Sebastian?” Scorpius said, half turning away from the girls and clearly wanting to get away from them.
“Yeah! Ehm– sorry guys, promised to help him.” Sebastian excused himself and walked away.
Rose found herself staring a bit too long at the boys’ backs, and quickly looked back at Lily guiltily, only to find her cousin staring at the boys even longer than she had. She was stretching her neck, trying to follow them with her eyes while they disappeared between the bookcases.
“Oh Lily, don’t tell me you’re actually still after Sebastian?” Rose said, trying not to laugh.
“If only he’d asked me…” Lily sighed.
“He still could,” Rose suggested, wiggling her eyebrows. “And then you’d have to say no.”
Just then did Rose realise how much she actually liked that Lily was going with Fabian. It meant that he couldn’t ask her anymore!
“Oh, I would say yes!” Lily reassured Rose.
“But you’re already going with Fabian,” Rose pointed out.
“Pff, I’d tell him something like… I was suffering from temporary amnesia and forgot I was going with Sebastian already,” Lily said dismissively. Rose scowled at her. Nobody deserved that treatment, even Fabian. Plus, then he’d be available again…
But before Rose could reprimand her cousin, two more familiar faces entered the library, heading straight for Rose’s table. Lily looked over her shoulder and made a disapproving noise as she recognised Olivia and Nina.
“I gotta run,” was all she said and, with a rather petulant look on her face, she walked away.
“Hiya Rosie!” Olivia said cheerily, taking the seat Lily had just vacated. Nina sat down as well, looking freshly showered.
“You weren’t at practice,” Nina commented with a slight frown, but fortunately not as snappy as Lily had. “James is pretty angry, but I guess his hunger was more raging ‘cause he went down to the kitchens first.”
“Yes, I know I wasn’t at practice,” Rose sighed. “And Olivia, only family members over the age of forty are allowed to greet me that way, not my peers.”
“Since when does the library get your panties in such a twist?”
“Since when does the entire quidditch team decide to visit the library just to get my panties twisted…?!” Rose snapped. There was a silence in which Rose and Nina both considered how weird that had sounded; Olivia seemed rather oblivious.
“Right. Whatever, she dragged me here.” Nina pointed at Olivia next to her with her thumb.
“Yes! I need help from my girls,” Olivia said suddenly, snapping out of her reverie and leaning forward conspiringly. “Sebastian still hasn’t asked me to the dance.”
Oh, the drama! Rose thought. Maybe he just doesn’t want to go with you…
“I can’t keep avoiding every single boy in this school!” Olivia whined, and Rose and Nina rolled their eyes at each other. “Oh, you know what I mean! I don’t want to end up without a date.”
Olivia was sounding an awful lot like the redhead that had occupied her seat before her. Rose had been willing to forgive Lily’s rather childish dramatic antics because, frankly, she’s just fourteen, but Rose had expected her friend Olivia to be above all this insecure anxiety.
“Oh, come on. You could have five different dates right now if you wanted to,” Rose said, in her mind adding: Don’t be heartless and consider the girls that don’t even get asked by anyone.
“But I want Sebastian to ask me,” Olivia whispered. “You don’t think he’s already asked someone else, do you?”
Rose shrugged and Olivia looked horrified for a moment but Nina shook her head, saying that she had heard James and Sebastian talking about it.
“It seemed like he’d rather go alone,” Nina said indifferently.
“Truthfully, so would I. If everyone just went solo, I wouldn’t constantly be bothered by everyone’s personal issues when I’m studying,” Rose muttered, suddenly liking Sebastian a lot more.
Olivia and Nina looked down at Rose’s crumpled Herbology essay with sceptical looks and Rose blushed. Okay, she wasn’t really studying, but still.
“You can always do what any normal girl would do,” Nina suggested, staring at her manicured nails. The fact that both Rose and Olivia didn’t understand what Nina was on about, seemed to indicate that they weren’t ‘any normal girl’, or so it seemed in the silence that followed Nina’s words. “Make him jealous.”
Olivia clapped in delight while Rose frowned at Nina, about to disapprove of her plan, when a still very wet and muddy, and probably angry, yet not hungry anymore –although you never know with him– James Sirius Potter entered the library. The librarian appeared out of seemingly nowhere to scold at James and the muddy footprints he was leaving behind.
Rose quickly pointed her wand at the trail of dirt and made it disappeared. The librarian’s eyes still looked like they could pop out of their sockets any second, but she only pursed her lips and walked away, disappearing between the bookcases again.
They’re going to get me expelled from the library one day, Rose thought angrily as she looked James squarely in the eye, her temper now matching his.
“You weren’t at practice,” he hissed, narrowing his eyes. Rose could feel the blood flow to her head as she was about to hex her cousin into oblivion for being the third Captain Obvious to point out that fact, but Nina’s soft chuckle interrupted Rose’s cruel thoughts. She sighed and sank back down into her chair.
“I know. I’m sorry, but I was sort of avoiding someone…” Rose explained.
“Hello James,” Olivia said suddenly, rising from her seat and standing next to him. James’ frown disappeared as he smiled back at Olivia. Rose narrowed her eyes at both of them. This is not good. “How was your day?”
James was blinking rapidly, not used to having Olivia’s full attention.
“Wet and cold,” he spluttered eventually. Olivia looked awkward for a moment, before bursting out in laughter. James kept blinking for a minute before hesitantly joining her, finding the situation as fishy as Rose did.
“Don’t be angry with Rose. She’s just touchy because no one has yet tried to ask her for the feast, except my cousin Fabian but apparently he’s going with your sister now,” Olivia said dismissively, as if it was just ‘kind of a funny story’. James still seemed captured just by the fact that Olivia was giving him all her attention but when she mentioned Lily, his head snapped toward Rose, who, in turn, was too busy sending her death glare in Olivia’s direction.
That was just mean, Rose thought. And true.
Olivia, however, seemed oblivious to the fact that she had just hurt her friend’s feelings or that James didn’t seem as happy with the Fabian-Lily coupling as she was.
“But you know, it’s normal. A lot of us girls are worried… whether anyone will ask us, whether we’ll like him, whether he’ll like us, whether he’ll like what we’re wearing. Believe me, it’s nerve-racking. I’m surprised an eligible bachelor like yourself hasn’t put any of us out of our misery.”
Olivia’s words had drawn James back in, and he seemed to have forgotten his worries about Lily’s date again. Rose could see him tense up when Olivia had put her hand strategically on his shoulder as she stressed the word ‘us’.
“James is just looking for the right girl. Someone who really likes him…” Rose interjected, trying to give James a pointed look but he was completely ignoring her.
“Well, what sane girl wouldn’t like him?” Olivia purred, sending James a very pretty, shy smile which would’ve melted even Lord Voldemort’s heart, Rose was sure. Oh, she was far too charming for her own good.
“Olivia, would you like to…” James started to say, not believing the words that were coming out of his own mouth.
“Sebastian! I didn’t know you were here!” Olivia jumped as Sebastian and Malfoy reappeared and were walking toward Rose and the rest.
“I just had a question for Rose,” Sebastian said, frowning at James’ smitten –yet a bit disappointed because he had been interrupted– look.
“I don’t need her help,” Scorpius Malfoy muttered loud enough for Rose to hear. Sebastian threw him an exasperated look, while Rose looked down and bit on the inside of her cheek. “She’s a fifth year. She hasn’t seen this yet either.”
Sebastian ignored him and placed his potions book open in front of Rose, but before she could get her act together and have a look at it, Olivia had interrupted once again.
“Oh Sebastian, schoolwork can wait. I was just saying to James how he should ask someone as a date soon,” Olivia said excitedly, turning her big, innocent eyes back to James, who hadn’t taken his gaze off her.
This seemed to catch Sebastian’s attention, though. His eyes narrowed and his mouth tensed as his eyes flashed James to Olivia and back. He really was jealous! Rose frowned.
“Weren’t you about to ask me something?” Olivia asked sweetly.
James seemed too stunned by Olivia’s forwardness to speak. His eyes scanned the small crowd that was awaiting his response and he had the decency to look slightly embarrassed. Sebastian didn’t meet his eye but kept his gaze fixated on the table, his teeth clenched tightly.
“Oh, for Merlin’s sake! James, will you go to the ball with me?” Olivia asked impatiently. Sebastian’s eyes snapped back up, spitting fire as he looked incredulously at Olivia and then turned to James, who nodded quite stoically.
Olivia clapped cheerfully and turned to Rose and Sebastian. She looked expectantly, as if she was saying ‘told you it would work’. Rose didn’t know whom she was angrier with: Olivia for treating both James and Sebastian this way, James for being stupid enough to fall for it, or Sebastian for actually caring!
But before Rose could decide on any of this, Sebastian turned his entire body toward her, placing one hand on the table in front of her and the other on the back of her chair, effectively demanding her attention. For a moment, Rose’s eyes widened just by his proximity. It was rather… sexy.
Lily and Olivia had been seeing this from day one, she guessed.
“Rose Weasley, will you do me the honour of going to the Christmas Ball with me?” He asked confidently and with some kind of ardour in his eyes.
Without granting the others one look, Rose stared right back into Sebastian’s eyes and said yes.
“I’d love to,” she added, just to piss off Olivia.
And it seemed to work, because Rose could hear her stomp out of the library. Sebastian tried to hide a small smile, which made Rose feel like he had asked her for the exact same reason that she had said yes. Off course he has. He doesn’t really want to go with you, Rose.
Rose pushed that annoying thought out of her mind as she finally turned her eyes back toward the rest of her friends. She caught a glimpse of Nina’s angry look, saying ‘Oh, now you’ve done it!’ as she ran after Olivia, but the look on Malfoy’s face intrigued her more.
His mouth was set in a grim line and he wasn’t looking particularly friendly at Sebastian, although Sebastian was probably the only Gryffindor he actually, sort of, rather liked… a bit. Maybe that was the problem, Rose pondered: if Sebastian liked Rose enough to ask her out, then maybe she wasn’t as bad as Malfoy thought…
Now that’s just wishful thinking, Rose.
Ever since the last quidditch match, Rose’d had some mixed feelings; mostly guilt, only to realise there wasn’t anything she’d done to feel guilty about. Still, she felt bad about Malfoy breaking his arm. The fact that he blamed her only made her feel worse.
But Rose didn’t have time to ponder this any longer, because in front of her stood James Potter, grinning as if it was going to be Christmas Day every day from now on.
“It’s going to be… epic!” He exclaimed.
“You’re a fool,” Rose snapped.
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool,” James responded, still grinning like the idiot he was. With a wink at Sebastian, James turned on his heel and walked away.
Rose glared at his back until he had disappeared, and thus didn’t notice Scorpius was also leaving until he had grabbed his bag and marched out of the library.
Sebastian had a frown on his face as he stared down at the potions book, in which he was scribbling something.
“So… you needed my help?” Rose muttered, feeling a bit awkward next to Sebastian now that everybody had left. Sebastian chuckled.
“No, Scorpius did actually. He was just too much of a narrow-minded Slytherin to ask for it,” Sebastian said with a crooked smile.
“Yeah, he hates me,” Rose sighed, slumping back in her chair. Sebastian, on the other hand, sat up and shut the potions book, a piece of paper sticking out of it to indicate the page.
“I don’t think he does,” Sebastian said, turning to look at Rose and he seemed to believe what he was saying. Rose blushed and looked away. Oh Merlin, he must know… “Scorpius is allergic to mosquito bites, and he’s trying to make an alternative to the insect-repelling potion that smells a little better ‘cause, admit it, it stinks.”
Rose laughed and nodded.
“He practically has to use it every day in the summer so…” Sebastian explained and he seemed to really feel for Malfoy. “The problem is, it always keeps clogging when he adds a bit of mint or some other herb he likes… I thought it had something to do with the stirring, but that didn’t seem to help either. Could you maybe have a look at the recipe? His notes are added in the margins.”
Sebastian pushed the potions book in front of Rose, who looked down at it as if it was something alien. Did she want to help Scorpius Malfoy?
“Just don’t tell him,” she whispered to Sebastian, who nodded and got up.
“Thank you,” he whispered back, before planting a kiss on her cheek. It surprised her but when she looked up at Sebastian, who had started to leave and threw her a smile over his shoulder that was so playful and innocent, she knew that it was just a friendly gesture.
Although she didn’t understand Sebastian at all now that she had seen a bit more of him, Rose did like him a lot more than the James-follower she had thought him to be in the beginning of the year.
She put one hand on Scorpius’ potions book in front of her and opened it to the page with the insect-repelling potion recipe. The words Sebastian had scribbled down immediately caught her attention. They weren’t on the page of the book itself, but on the little scrap of paper that stuck out. It said:
‘Expectation is the root of all heartache.’
A/N: Both James' wise words 'A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool' and Sebastian's 'Expectation is the root of all heartache' belong to William Shakespeare. Those two know their Shakespeare. ;)
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