It took two days for Madame Pomfrey to finally realise the only damage my back had really acquired was a little bruising. When she finally let me out of the miserable hospital wing, I made my way directly to the Gryffindor common room and was heading towards my dorm when someone tapped my shoulder lightly. Turning with a frown already in place, I am somewhat surprised to find my little brother standing behind me. Well, maybe I can’t exactly call him ‘little’ anymore.
“Hugo?” I ask hesitantly. Hugo rarely acknowledges me whilst we are in school. In fact, Hugo rarely acknowledges me at all.
“Rose,” he nods, his voice low as if he is trying not to attract any more attention to us than we are already receiving. “I need a word,” he mutters before walking off towards the portrait hole I had just come through. I have half a mind to just let him walk off on his own but curiosity gets the better of me and I follow him out, if somewhat reluctantly.
“Spill,” I demand once Hugo finals stops and turns to face me. We are in a dark and narrow corridor that, had I not been intimately acquainted with the Marauder’s Map, I would probably not have known existed.
“What’s going on with you and Malfoy?” he asks bluntly. He never was one for tact.
“Nothing,” I reply honestly.
“Don’t lie to me Rose.”
“Yes you are.”
“What makes you think that?”
“… I know you Rose.”
“Hardly,” I snort. Hugo may be my brother but that does not mean he knows me. No one really knows me.
“Come on Rosie,” he changes his tone so it almost sounds like he is whining.
“Don’t call me Rosie,” I snarl.
“Just tell me… It’s not like I’m going to tell anyone.”
“Nothing is going on between me and Malfoy. Now if that was all you had to say, then I have better things to be doing,” I snap. Hugo shifts awkwardly and averts his gaze. “There is something else, isn’t there?”
“Well either there is or there isn’t and I am losing my patience Hugo.”
“Look, you’re going to think I’m mental,” he huffs, looking somewhat embarrassed. And believe me, with Hugo, that is exceedingly uncommon.
“Just spit it out.”
“You know Hatty James?”
“I know everyone.”
“You know her boyfriend?”
“Where is this going Hugo?”
“I fancy her.”
“Yes, Hatty James.”
“Right yeah, just when you said James, it made me think of James and well… yeah.”
“That’s very sweet Hugo but why exactly are you telling me this?”
“Well I know you don’t particularly give a shit about your reputation…” Hugo shifts his eyes uncomfortably. I remember when I kissed Malfoy in the Great Hall after catching Dave with that girl… Hugo had given him a black eye for three consecutive weeks. He never was a fan of my reputation as a heinous bitch and boyfriend snatcher. But I never really cared about his opinion.
“I was wondering if maybe you could, I don’t know… Find a way to break them up?” he mutters so quietly I can barely hear him.
“You want me to kiss Aiden Brookes?” I snort with a raised eyebrow. An embarrassed and uncomfortable Hugo was a rather amusing sight.
“Well… yeah? I mean, it’s a possibility…”
“No,” I repeat.
“Hugo… I may not be an expert on the workings of the female mind but if you get me to do this, you will hurt James and just end up being some form of rebound figure.”
“So unless you are cool with that, I won’t do it,” I shrug. Normally, I would have accepted the offer but at the end of the day, this was Hugo. He is my brother. I may not particularly like him, or even get on with him, but that does not mean I am willing to allow him to get hurt.
“What if I am cool with being a rebound figure?”
“Then I have greatly underestimated your intelligence.”
“Look, I just fancy her. It’s not like I want to marry her, I just want to shag her. And she won’t shag me if she’s still with him so I need them to break up.” Oh Merlin. Hugo, my own brother wants me to break up a potentially happy couple, breaking the girl’s heart so that he can shag her? This world is slowly becoming more ludicrous.
“You’ll have to pay me.”
“Twenty galleons. In advance.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“Rosie…” he whines.
“Make that twenty-five and every time you call me ‘Rosie’, I will add another five.”
“Twenty-five galleons and you have a deal.”
“But what if you can’t do it?”
“Trust me Hugo, I will be able to do it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Fine,” he huffs again, looking thoroughly disgruntled. I hold my hand out, palm up. “What?”
“Twenty-five galleons please.”
“This is ridiculous,” he grumbles, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a handful of money. If I did not know Hugo, I would be rather surprised to see he carries around so much money in his pocket, especially at school. “Here’s fifteen, you can have the rest afterwards.” My hand stays where it is. He looks at me in disgust before handing over the other ten.
“Goodnight Hugo,” I nod before disappearing back down the corridor, leaving Hugo looking perplexed and a little annoyed.
The girls’ dormitory has not changed in the slightest in the seven years I have been here. The walls are still covered in the same faded wallpaper, the four-poster beds are still draped with the same crimson cloth and the carpet has somehow managed to retain its softness no matter the amount of feet that have trodden over it recklessly. The window on the right looks over the lake and the distant mountains while the window on the left looks over the grounds and the Quidditch Stadium. I prefer the window on the right while most of my dorm mates prefer the window on the left. Lucy included.
For this precise reason, I am currently sitting on the window ledge on the right while the rest of the girls in my dorm are pressed up against the cold windowpanes on the left.
“Sheesh that boy has got one fine looking arse,” one of the brainless sluts comments.
“Past the omnioculars Beth,” another mindless moron whines. “I want a go!”
“Bianca, you had them a second ago, it’s my turn,” the third soul sucking dumbass wails.
“I think it’s my turn anyway, after all, it is my boyfriend on the pitch,” comes the unquestionably stupid voice of my cousin.
“What?” chorus the three other girls.
“You have a boyfriend Luc?” one of them asks in awe.
“Shit,” Lucy curses. “We were going to keep is a secret, you mustn’t tell anyone! He’ll be pissed if he knew I told you.”
“We won’t tell, promise,” another of the harpies whines.
“Who is it Luc?” the third one squeals. Oh dear Merlin.
“Shh Martha,” Lucy hisses. “People might hear you!”
“You are aware that the dorms have sound proof charms on them to stop people eavesdropping on private conversations, aren’t you Lucy?” I ask without looking up from my sketch pad where a half formed drawing of the Black Lake at dusk was waiting to be completed and added to my collection. Lucy looks over at me in surprise, clearly not aware that I am even here.
“Really?” Bianca looks dumbfound, something not entirely uncommon.
“No, I’m lying,” I roll my eyes. She looks confused. “Yes, Bianca, really.”
“Don’t worry Bee,” the sanest of the lot rolls her eyes in a similar fashion to me. “She’s just being her usual sarcastic self.”
“I shall take that as a complement Bethan,” I sneer back.
“For the last time, it’s Beth.”
“Hold on, do they actually have sound proof charms?” Bianca asks, still looking thoroughly confused.
“Yes Bee,” Bethan sighs. “They were installed in our Second Year when some people,” she shoots a glare in my direction, “thought it would be funny to eavesdrop on peoples’ conversations and then write the things they said on the common room notice board.”
“Anyway,” Martha perks up. “Back to the point: who is he Lucy?”
“It’s not Tom Harding is it? I mean he has a fine body but he’s dumb as shit,” Bethan remarks. I cannot help but feel that she shares the same trait with the aforementioned ‘shit’.
“No, no,” Lucy flaps like fish stranded on dry land.
“So who is it?” Bianca squeals again. “Is it Al Potter? He’s pretty hot,” she muses. I stare at her in horror. How is it possible to be that stupid?
“Ew! Bianca, Al is my cousin!” Lucy shouts, chucking a pillow at the worthless human being.
“Really? That’s so cool!” Bianca looks at Lucy with awe in her huge blue eyes.
“Bee, you knew that already,” Bethan sighs.
“Is it Mark?” Martha asks, eyes gleaming. “He’s definitely a catch!”
“Mark Campbell is a Ravenclaw,” I state. “He would never be dumb enough to try and keep a relationship a secret.”
“Do you know who it is then?” Bethan asks with a sneer while Lucy glares at me.
“Yes,” I reply, causing the three girls to look somewhat shocked.
“You told her before you told me?” Martha looks genuinely upset and Lucy glares at me again.
“It Dave isn’t it,” Bethan smirks. It was more of a statement than a question, like she already knew the answer. She looks almost triumphant as she smirks at me. It is almost as if she thinks that her words will hurt me. She is wrong of course.
“Oh Merlin,” Martha breathes. “It is, isn’t it?” she laughs as Lucy burrows her face into a spare pillow. “Fucking hell Luc! Why didn’t you tell me? You’ve fancied him for years!” Oh. Had she now? Bethan’s smirk grows wider. I sometimes think she should have been in Slytherin. Then again, she probably just hates me because her boyfriend paid me to kiss him so he could get rid of her. Except she does not know about the paying part.
“Where are you going Rosie,” she sneers as I get up and head to the door. I cannot help my reply.
“Meeting Leo for a quickie,” I reply casually before striding out the door, leaving Bethan looking thoroughly pissed off. In case you were wondering… Leo is her ex-boyfriend.
Needless to say, I am not actually going to meet Leo Bell. My destination is far more interesting than one of Al’s old friends. Wandering down the corridors, I let my mind drift to the things that I needed to sort out. To begin with, I still needed to deal with Dave as Lucy has taken to pestering me about it whenever we are alone. Then I have to deal with Hugo’s somewhat bizarre request and I need to talk to Zabini about using his classroom after lessons are over.
“Thorn?” someone asks in surprise as I turn a corner to come face to face with someone’s chest. “What are you doing down here? Come to prey on a Hufflepuff have you?” he sneers, regaining his composure.
“No,” is my blunt reply.
“Then what? Take a wrong turn?” his sneer widens and covers his face, distorting his usually placid features.
“Just piss off,” he snaps, clearly angry, although I suspect the anger is not actually intended for me. Which is unusual.
“What the fuck do you want then?” Malfoy practically shouts, glowering at me.
“To get past you…” I reply as if it were obvious. Which it kind of is as he is standing in the middle of the corridor.
“Oh,” he mutters, taken aback.
“So you weren’t looking for me?” he frowns.
“Why would I be looking for you?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs, lowering his gaze from mine.
“Then why did you ask?”
“I don’t know,” he repeats.
“Are you going to let me past?”
“Right… yeah,” Malfoy steps aside to let me through, his expression has changed from surprise to disgust to anger to distant, as if his thoughts are far away. I’m not really sure why I stop, or why I turn back to see his still standing there, staring at the opposite wall, but I do.
“Are you okay?” I ask. He stands frozen for a while before slowly turning his head towards me with a look of complete shock on his face. Apparently I do not ask people how they are feeling enough.
“Are you?” he retorts.
“What has that got to do with anything?”
“Well there must be something wrong if you are willingly trying to engage in a conversation with me,” he snorts. I turn back around and continue down the corridor without replying. It does not take long before I hear footsteps behind me and Malfoy appears by my side, frowning. “I’m sorry, I’m just in a foul mood,” he sighs. “I should not have snapped at you.”
I simply nod and we walk in silence for a little while.
“Where are you actually going then?” he asks at last.
“To the kitchens.”
“Yes, the place where they make food.”
“I know what a kitchen is!”
“How do you know where the kitchens are?” he suddenly asks.
“Really Malfoy, I would have thought you had learnt by now: I know everything,” I smirk. “Now turn around and close your eyes,” I command. He looks at me warily. “You are not allowed to know how to enter the kitchens,” I explain.
“And you are?” he asks doubtfully. I just stare at him until he does as I asked before turning to the painting of the bowl of fruit are scratching at the pear. I mean really, this has to be the most ridiculous entrance in the entire castle. I pull on the handle as soon as it forms and am greeted with a rush of warm air. Malfoy lets out a low whistle behind me.
“Are you coming in or are you just going to stand there until someone catches you out of your dorm after hours?” I snap.
“I… Do you mind?”
“If I come in?”
“Why would I mind?”
“You just… Well, you’re not really a people person,” he shrugs but steps into the warm kitchen anyway. One of the many house elves rushes over to welcome us and guide us one of the four long tables that are placed directly below their corresponding ones in the Great Hall. We sit at the Hufflepuff one.
“So this is where you disappear off to then?” Malfoy breathes, looking around the now subdued kitchen. “People are going to be very disappointed, they think you are part of some soul sucking cult,” he comments as if it were a perfectly normal thing to say.
“And why would they have to be disappointed? It’s not like anyone is going to tell them, is it?” I narrow my eyes at him threateningly and he has the audacity to chuckle.
“Of course not,” he smirks.
“Besides, this is not the only place I disappear to,” I shrug, not entirely sure why I am continuing this conversation.
“Where else do you go?”
“The Forbidden Forest, the far side of the Black Lake, the Owlery, the alcove on the Seventh Floor that is hidden by the statue of the a dying woman…” I shrug. Only after the words are out of my mouth do I realise I have just given Malfoy the ability to find me when previously no one else would have been able to. The thought is somehow not as daunting as I would have expected.
“You know that is a statue of Seraphina Slytherin?” Malfoy ponders. “She was Salazar Slytherin’s only daughter and, legend has it, she fell in love with a muggle. When her father found out, he forbade her to see him…”
“Did she obey him?” I ask, curious about the woman whose statue I had spent hours gazing at.
“No,” Malfoy snorts. “She met him in secret that same night and they made plans to elope. Of course, they were unaware that Seraphina’s twin brother, Salvadore, had witness their plans and, when Seraphina had returned to their castle to pack her things, he revealed his presence to the muggle and killed him. Without a word. Just a flick of his wand and a flash of green light…” Malfoy trails off. I realise I have leant towards him, enraptured in his words.
“What happened?” I breathe.
“Seraphina returned to find her lover’s body, stone cold but uninjured. She knew it was magic that had done this and, destroyed by grief, she took her lover’s hunting knife and plunged it into her own heart so that she fell beside her lover’s body.
“Rumour says that Slytherin never recovered from her death… That he blamed himself… It was said that with her death, died his last slithers of humanity. That as he buried his daughter in the clearing where she fell, with her muggle lover at her side, he also buried the last fragments of his past. The last fragments of the man he had once been…” Malfoy’s eyes are fixed on the fire in much the same way that mine are fixed on his face.
Stories had always been my weakness. And Malfoy could tell a story beautifully. We sit in distant silence, his mind in places I will never know about and mine lost in the past with Seraphina Slytherin. While romances were never my preferred genre, there was something about such a tragedy that pulled me under and left me wanting more.
“Tell me another story,” I whisper into the near silence. The fire crackles before Malfoy replies.
“Another day perhaps,” he smiles slightly into the flames and I wonder where his thoughts are, because they are not here. “Thank you,” he murmurs.
“For letting me come in here… and for distracting me.”
“Oh,” is my intelligent response.
Hello again, sorry about the wait (I had some validation issues and then the queue closed) but I hope you enjoy it. I probably have to go back and do some editing but here it is for now. I would love to hear your thoughts and always feel welcome to check out my blog (link on my author's page) to see pictures or updates and ask questions to either myself or one of my characters (any of them, I really do not mind). Anyway, thank you so much for reading and hopefully the next update will be soon. Hope you had a good Christmas and good luck in the New Year, IrishMyth.