Chapter 3 : Unsinkable
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“Keep up Flint, I’d rather get this over and done with quickly, I’ve got homework to do.” Said Roxanne cheerfully as she picked her way easily through the tree roots. “Bingo.” She said bending over to look at a clump of mushrooms on the ground.
She somehow heard Flint’s heavy footsteps stop behind her. The rustle of his cloak as he drew his wand, she responded by drawing hers discretely, waiting for him to begin his incantation before performing a shield charm, wordlessly of course, something she knew Flint could not do.
“Stu…” was all he managed before she thought
‘Protego’ and his shield charm bounced harmlessly off hitting a tree branch above their heads bringing it crashing to the floor causing Holly to scream. Claw started growling at Flint.
Rolling her eyes Roxanne decided that Claw’s growling should be deterrent enough and the confrontation was over. She pulled out the cloth mushroom bag she had brought with her and began picking the mushrooms.
Next thing she heard was an odd whistling and a sharp crack followed by a searing pain across the back of her head that brought tears to her eyes. Claw started barking uncontrollably and Holly flew into a hysterical panic screaming at Flint.
Fighting unconsciousness and an extreme headache, Roxanne sat next to the patch of mushrooms and looked at the scene in front of her, not quite comprehending it.
By the time Hagrid, Zabini and I got there, Claw had his paws on Flint’s chest pinning him to the muddy ground, while Holly held a wad of clean moss to the back of Roxanne’s head. A stone the size of a golf ball lay on the ground by a patch of the mushrooms we had been looking for.
“When the stunner didn’t hit, he threw a stone at the back of my head.” She explained as she rested against a tree.
“Gerrof ‘im Claw” Hagrid shouted. “Anyone know how ter fix Roxanne’s head?”
“I do.” I walked over to Roxanne and Holly. “Mind out Holly, I need to see what I’m doing.” She stepped out of the way, removing the moss as she did so and held her lit wand so that I could see. It wasn’t bad, but I was only planning a basic healing spell and she would still need to go to the Hospital Wing at the end of the detention.
I muttered the charm and surveyed my handy work.
“It’ll do for now.” I said not particularly pleased.
“Thanks, help me up would you?”
“Yer jus’ gonna sit fer a minute.” Ordered Hagrid, so Roxanne and I stayed where we were. “Flint, Zabini and Smith are gonna come with me. Lewisham, you can stay with Roxanne and when she feels up ter it, ye can take her up ter the hospital wing and send Claw back ter me.” I nodded in response and Hagrid grunted as he turned to face the others. “Come on then, let’s get this job done.”
“But Professor McGonagall said…”
“Res’ assured Professor McGonagall will hear abou’ this.” Said Hagrid Darkly, cutting Flint off mid-sentence, he began to walk away and they followed. The range of expressions on their faces limited to two, worry on Holly’s and hatred on Flint and Zabini’s.
“I knew I should have said something to Hagrid when I heard those two talking.” I muttered to myself as I picked the remaining mushrooms and put them in Roxanne’s bag.
“It’s O.k.” she replied clearly having heard me. “Slytherins usually lack the gumption to do anything without backup.” She touched the back of her head gingerly. “Ouch.”
“You’ve probably got concussion.” I said.
“You brain got rattled around in there so you’ll feel a bit weird.” I explained, surprised she didn’t know what it meant
“This is almost funny.” She said with a grin.
“How is this funny?” I enquired sitting down on the floor next to her. She shrugged and let out a little snort of laughter. “Yes you have concussion. Can you stand?”
“Think so.” She said and I stood before holding out a hand to help her up. “Go away Mr chivalrous.” She said trying to stand up on her own. “Don’t need you.” She giggled and nearly fell over.
I grabbed her before she hit the ground and pulled her upright.
“You sure about that?” I grinned at her as she giggled some more.
“Trust you to use big words when you’re concussed.” I laughed.
“Trust you to notice.” Continuing to giggle she now took my proffered hand and leant into me for support. Her hand was warm in mine, something she commented on.
We made our way through the forest in the direction I assumed the castle was.
“We’re going the wrong way.” She giggled into my shoulder.
“No, we’re not.” I said.
“Are too.” More giggling.
“And how do you know?” I asked, slightly irritated that someone concussed had a better sense of direction than me.
“Claw, show me home.” The dog stopped and looked at her. Sniffed the air and gave a short bark. He then turned and began to walk in the opposite direction. I sighed and she laughed.
“You’re funny.” She said, her eyes glistening in the soft moonlight filtering through the trees.
“Am I?” I replied with a smile “How so?”
“You keep looking at me.” She said. It was true, everything about her had started to catch my eye and now we were standing facing each other I couldn’t stop looking.
“So what if I do?” I replied with a trademark grin, the one that usually makes girls swoon. She didn’t, a curious expression crossed her face. It was teasing I was sure but a sadness lingered in her eyes that I couldn’t explain.
“You don’t look at me like that.” She stated staring deep into to my eyes. “You look at everyone else like that.” She swallowed, nervousness breaking through the delirium of her concussion and it occurred to me that maybe we should start moving again. “No one…” She looked away and in my head I finished the sentence for her
…looks at me like that.
I had to admit that from her perspective she wasn’t wrong. Roxanne Weasley was not the kind of girl you looked at ‘like that’ where she could see it. At least that’s what the general consensus seemed to be, she’d always had a ‘don’t mess with me attitude’ and people rarely did. The number of people who had seen her cry could be counted on one hand, but that was only people I assume she would let see her cry and included her parents.
She’d never shown an interest in anyone I knew, least of all me, and probably because I had become known for being a bit of a Casanova, not on purpose. I just tend to flirt with everything in sight, except, apparently, Roxanne Weasley. She was one of the few who opted to wear trousers rather than a skirt, girls having been given the option just after our second year.
Once that happened her tom boy attitude and personality emerged fully fledged and she could beat a fair few guys at arm wrestling. Something she was, of course, extremely proud of.
Her female friends seemed to take this in their stride, this meant of course that there would be one less girl vying for the attentions of boys because it seemed that she simply didn’t care.
I knew now that this was not the case. Roxanne Weasley would not be so cruel as to destroy a boys hopes if she caught him looking at her. The way she dressed was not, as many thought, to hide her figure, but to highlight it in a different way to how other girls chose to. Her trousers showed off her slender muscular legs and pert bottom better than any skirt could.
Without me realising we had started walking again, and were soon out of the forest and on our way across the lawns. At the door to the castle Roxanne sent Claw back to Hagrid; giving him another treat for good behaviour.
Making our way up to hospital wing while avoiding peeves was highly amusing to Roxanne and she giggled her was through the castle, her moment of melancholy in the forest, seemingly forgotten. Once there I gave all the information I could to Madam Pomfrey and then again to Professor McGonagall when she arrived. Roxanne’s head was soon mended, putting my wand skills to shame, but she was told she would be staying the night in the hospital wing.
Eventually I was allowed to leave the giggling Roxanne and was escorted back to my dormitory as it was past curfew. Professor McGonagall said she would deal with Flint in the morning. She probably wanted to find out how much he was boasting about it, and get Holly and a less delirious Roxanne’s accounts of what happened before she decided on his punishment.
Roxanne was back in classes after lunch the next day, having missed double potions with the Slytherins, which was probably a good thing.
True to what I assumed were her intentions, McGonagall banned Flint from Hogesmede for the remainder of the school year and had to assist the caretaker with cleaning the entire trophy room without magic for as long as it took. Clearly she wanted to get the message across that this was not acceptable behaviour.
My first lesson after lunch was Arithmancy, which I for some reason I found myself hurrying to get to. This discovery was soon followed by a realisation that Roxanne was going to be in that class, shortly followed by the realisation that this meant I wanted to see her.
This was getting weird. Had her unexplained confession in a moment of vulnerability affected me that much?
Was I sorry it had?
I couldn’t decide.
By this time I had reached the classroom and leant against the wall outside it. In this class were most of the Ravenclaws in my year, fours Hufflepuffs, two Slytherins and three Gryffindors. For Arithmancy, this class was considered to be large.
The class sat in the same places every time, almost without fail, not that it really caused much stir if they didn’t. The Slytherins sat in the right hand corner at the back, and the Gryffindors at the front on the left with the Hufflepuffs behind them. The Ravenclaws filled in the gaps without complaint.
Today I was going to sit next to Roxanne who sat closest to the wall, leaving the space next to it. She always seemed to do that, I’d realised over the last twenty-four hours.
The corridor filled up as much as it ever did and all the while I allowed myself to look at her as she stood with her fellow Gryffindors. Everything she did had a new look about it, but nothing had changed.
I was seeing her differently.
We sat down and I felt slightly nervous, I could feel my toes tapping inside my shoes.
What was happening to me?
She looked around and me.
“Hi,” she said quietly, which was strange, I’d never heard her be quiet before. “Thanks for getting me back to the castle last night.”
“No problem,” I replied smoothly, thank Merlin I wasn’t nervous enough to sound weird too. “How are you feeling?”
“Killer headache, should go away by Monday though, apart from that I’m fine.”
“Have you heard about Flint?” I asked curiously.
She nodded gently, with a satisfied smile on her face. Which for some reason made me want to return it.
“I’m glad I wasn’t in potions this morning.” She said grimly. “I don’t think I’d have got out alive.”
“Surely you Gryffindors can take on the Slytherins?”
“In front of their head of house? We’re brave, but we’re not stupid.”
“Attention please everybody.” Came the croak of Professor Carmon from his desk. “Please turn to page 57.”
So we did and that was the end of conversations for that lesson.
However, the style of desks did mean that I could lean back in my chair and place my leg alongside Roxanne’s and be able to look at her out of the corner of my eye while still paying attention to the lesson.
Well as much as any male can multitask.
It continued in that vain for about 2 weeks. I would do my best to sit next to her, and do exactly what she said no one ever did. I looked at her that way. I put my leg as close to hers as possible. I brushed her hand ‘accidentally’ as I moved past her in the corridors.
Today I decided to take it one step further. As she stood at the end of the Gryffindor table on lunchtime talking to someone I let my finger brush across her bottom as I walked by. I didn’t look back, I kept on walking despite hearing her stop mid sentence and struggle to remember what she had been saying.
I was headed up to the library to make sure of some facts before my next lesson, when I was grabbed from behind and shoved into an alcove behind a suit of armour that I didn’t even know existed until now.
“What the hell do you think you’re playing at?” she hissed from behind me. I couldn’t see her, but I knew who it was.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I answered innocently.
She turned me round to face her, glaring at me ferociously.
“Despite what you may think I remember exactly what I said to you in the forest that night. Stop messing with my head.”
“I’m not messing with your head.” I replied sincerely
“Then what..?” I interrupted her before she could finish.
“What you said in your concussed state in the forest that night made me realise a few things. The main one being that I enjoy looking at you ‘like that’.” Her eyes widened in surprise. “Another being that I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
One arm slid round her waist, the other hand hooked a finger under her chin and tilted her head up.
It was a brief kiss, as it didn’t take her long to realise what was happening, pull herself away and slap me round the face before marching off in what I presumed was the direction of her next lesson.
Despite the slap, I had a huge grin on my face.
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