I could not help myself and within moments, the Disillusionment Charm had taken effect. Controlling my breathing so as not to be heard, I followed the three of them upstairs again to the room my grandparents had converted into a lounge of sorts. Molly was the last in and shut the door behind her after glancing into the corridor to check they had not been followed. Pressing myself against the door, I could just hear their voices and I could not help but feel a Silencing Charm would have been a good idea on their part.
Allow me to explain myself. You see, I am perhaps more acquainted with the Malfoy family than I previously let on. The reason I had almost panicked that day in the forest when I met Pollux Malfoy was because I thought he was someone else: Castor Malfoy, his identical twin. Castor and Pollux Malfoy were a year ahead of me at Hogwarts and, to the surprise of the entire wizarding world, Castor was sorted into Gryffindor while his twins remained in Slytherin like the rest of the Malfoy family. In the same year, although perhaps not as surprising to those who knew him, my cousin Louis had been sorted into Slytherin along with Pollux Malfoy.
In Castor’s first year, nothing had been easy. People had distanced themselves from him; the Slytherins because he was a Gryffindor and the Gryffindors because he was a Malfoy. He found friendship in a slightly peculiar Hufflepuff girl with fiery red hair and an abstract personality: Molly Lyra Weasley. It was not until they were in Second Year that Castor and James became friends but ever since then they have been almost inseparable. It used to always be the four of them: Molly Weasley, Castor Malfoy, James Potter… and me.
“James, you really just need to talk to her. This is getting out of hand,” Molly’s voice yanks me from my thoughts. She sounds sad, something not all that common for her. There is a mumble of voices in response but I can’t quite make them out. “I know you know something that we don’t but it’s been two and a half years, surely it’s blown over by now?” she protests.
“It’s not,” is James’ sullen reply. He is clearly uncomfortable with being grilled by Molly and I cannot blame him. Molly is as unlike her father as it is possible to be: she is the emblem of a Hufflepuff, caring, trustworthy and unswervingly loyal. However, when she sets her mind on something, it is near impossible to distract her from her goal.
“So tell us,” she challenges. James snorts but does not reply and I let out a breath I had not realised I had been holding in. “James… I think you’re forgetting that she was our friend too. She was more of a sister to me than Lucy ever was,” Molly sighs and I can sense she is trying to hold back tears as a stab of guilt pierces my stomach. It was common knowledge that if there was one person Molly couldn’t stand, it was her sister Lucy. “Because of whatever stupid argument you had at the end of Fifth Year, these family gatherings have become hell! I have to see her looking completely shut off and I don’t even know why!” she almost shouts and I can just imagine the way James’ must be flinching.
“James,” Castor sighs, interrupting Molly and saving James from her wrath. “Molly has a point. We just stopped being friends with her without any real reason. I know you don’t want to talk about it but this is the third Christmas that we’ve had to sit there, feeling guilty and with no explanation. I miss her, James,” Castor mutters.
“You guys never had to stop being friends with her,” James spits out, becoming defensive. “I never asked you to do that.”
“Don’t be an idiot James,” Castor snaps. “She couldn’t be in the same room as you for a good six months. Quidditch was hell. We almost lost the Cup that year because of you two. We tried to talk to her but she was just as stubborn as you… She wouldn’t tell us what the argument was about and eventually she started going out of her way to avoid us.”
“Dammit James, I stopped talking to you for a month to see if that would allow me to get through to her,” Molly growls. “But she had completely shut herself off. She wouldn’t even look me in the eye. It was hopeless,” Molly’s voice breaks at the end of her sentences and I hear the sound of feet as someone (most likely Castor) goes over to comfort her.
“I don’t see why you’re springing this on me now,” James retorts.
“Didn’t you see her face?” Molly sobs. “She looked like she wanted to melt into the floor rather than speak to us!”
“James, I think Molly is just trying to make you see things from our point of view,” Castor tries to mediate between the two Weasley tempers which I could tell were about to flare… even if one was technically a Potter.
“Why is this suddenly all my fault?” James shouts. “It was her fault as much, if not more so, than it is mine!”
“We don’t know that James,” Castor snaps again. “You won’t tell us why you fell out in the first place so we can’t have any possible idea of whose fault it is. All we know is that you are the only one of us that can fix it. Molly and I have both tried but she won’t talk to us. You are her best friend – or you were at least – and it was you that she fell out with so it is down to you to fix it!” Castor’s patience seems to be running out.
“I’ll fix it when she stops doing what she’s doing,” James murmurs ever so quietly that I can barely hear him. Seconds later, I hear footsteps and the door is yanked open. I thank Merlin for my Quidditch reflexes that allow me to step aside just in time as James storms out of the room, leaving a miserable looking Molly wrapped in Castor’s protective arms.
It used to be the four of us. James, Molly, Castor and Rose. We used to terrorise the school, it was us who eavesdropped on people’s conversations in the Gryffindor Tower and wrote down anything of interest (although nothing too personal) on the Gryffindor notice board as Bethan March said. We used to pull at least a prank a week, largely on Slytherin students but also a couple of stuffy Ravenclaws or even a few obnoxious Gryffindors that we weren’t particularly fond off. Molly always made us stay away from the Hufflepuffs though.
I had been best friends with James since we were children. I know that Albus was under a month younger than me but despite the closeness of our age, it was always James who I would seek out as a child and he was unwaveringly protective over me. We were practically inseparable and the year that he was at Hogwarts and I wasn’t was one of the worse in my life. He wrote to me every week but it wasn’t the same as having him a floo connection away from me.
When I finally went to Hogwarts and was sorted into Gryffindor, James actually ran up to the rickety old stool and picked me up, carrying me to the Gryffindor table to the amusement of the rest of the Hall. It was me who forced him to be nice to Castor only two weeks into the term. It was me who helped him pass his Potions exams at the end of every year. It was me that knew him better than he knew himself.
And then Dave happened. And the repercussions of my relationship with him.
Neither James nor Castor had ever been a particular fan of Dave so when I started dating him, James advised me against it. That was the first time I ever went against James’ advice. In the forest, when Pollux asked me what my biggest regret was, the truthful answer would have been that: ignoring James. If I had just listened to him then, my life would have been so very different. But I hadn’t listened to him. I had gone with Dave and I had let him take over my life.
Even so, it was James, Molly and Castor who I went to when I found Dave with that girl. James held me as I cried while Molly and Castor raided the kitchen for comfort food. James did not blame me for dating Dave. He never said ‘I told you so’. He just let me cry.
Then, that January, he found out I had kissed Sam Perks, one of his roommates. He wasn’t impressed seeing as he knew that I knew Perk’s had a girlfriend but he did not push it when I said I didn’t want to talk about it. From then on though, I became more reserved, keeping things to myself. James became more suspicious after that too.
It was not until the end of the year though, after he had finished his OWLs, that our friendship actually ended. He caught me kissing Stephen Bulstrode, who was a Slytherin in the year above him. Bulstrode’s girlfriend had a completely hissy fit and broke down into tears. James just watched and it wasn’t until Bulstrode had run off after his girlfriend that I realised he was even there.
The following conversation still haunts me. Of course, James and I had bickered before but this was a hundred times worse. He asked me what I was doing and when I would not tell him, he started to piece it together on his own, anger seeping into his every word. I just stood there as he figured out my secret. I stood there and watched our friendship crumble.
He told me to stop. He told me to stop before I did irreparable damage. He told me to stop before things got out of hand. He genuinely thought I would listen to him. When I told him to mind his own business he looked as if I had proclaimed myself a Death Eater. He shook his head repeatedly, unable to believe that I would ‘bring myself so low’. He told me to sort myself out and not bother talking to him until the ‘real Rose’ was back.
We have not spoken since. Like Castor said, we could not even be in the same room for the next six months; I took to eating in the kitchens after meals were over and it was then that I started to return to the common room when everyone else had already gone to bed. The castle corridors at night became my new friends.
That summer was the worse of my life. Our parents repeatedly tried to make us talk through our ‘issues’. By the time summer was over, I had been grounded six times and had never been more eager to return to Hogwarts. The two years that followed, while James was still at school, were tedious. It became second nature to avoid not only him but Molly and Castor as well.
Sometimes I would find myself in the Owlery in the early hours of the morning wondering how my life had transformed so utterly. I would imagine what it would be like if I was still friends with James, Molly and Castor. Sometimes I would see something or overhear something and my first reaction would be to tell one of them. But I couldn’t. Something inside me wouldn’t let me. Something was stopping me from mending the wounds I had so mercilessly caused.
To this day, I am still not sure what that something is. All I know is that it hasn’t gone away. And until it does, I can still not look any of them in the eye.
“Rosa, Rosa,” Dominique sighs, taking a seat beside me, making sure to brush the snow off the bench and dry it with her wand first. Tomorrow I return to Hogwarts and Dominique goes back to France. “You’ve been looking miserable since Christmas. I thought this was supposed to be a cheerful holiday?” she chides, taking out a cigarette and rummaging through the pockets of her dove grey robes in search of a lighter.
“Would you believe me if I said I was just tired?” I queries, causing her to snort.
“Rose, I am a writer, studying people is what I do. I know when something is bothering a stranger, let alone when something is bothering my favourite cousin,” she laughs. “It’s not Lucy is it? That cow needs to stop being such a prude.”
“No, it’s not Lucy,” I cannot help but smile at Dominique’s graceful obnoxiousness. It must be something she picked up in France. “Speaking of writing though, would you mind reading through these?” I hand her a selection of Pollux’s poems which she takes in her perfectly manicured hands. I had written to Pollux three days ago, completely blown away by the beauty of his writing and begged him to allow me to show them to Dominique. He had reluctantly agreed on the condition that Dominique be the only one.
“These are from your friend, am I right?” she murmurs around her cigarette as she glances over the first poem.
“Yes, Pollux, he is actually more of an acquaintance. He is a friend of Louis’ though.”
“Handsome?” she pries.
“Yes,” I reply honestly. There was no denying that the Malfoy boys were an attractive lot.
“Then I should very much like to meet him,” Dominique grins slyly. “He has a talent,” she indicated to the papers in her hand. “It should not go to waste.”
“When will you next be in England?”
“February. It is when my book shall be released in Britain. The man from Flourish and Blotts wants me to do a signing,” she explains. “Perhaps I could meet you and Mr Malfoy in Hogsmeade? Do you have any Hogsmeade weekends near the end of the month?”
“Probably, I’ll write to you and let you know if he would be interested in meeting you,” I suggest and she nods in satisfaction, her eyes returning to the papers in her hand.
“I shall be keeping these if you don’t mind,” she murmurs, her eyes not leaving the elegant swirls of Pollux’s handwriting for even a moment.
Thanks so my charming brother and his perfect hair, we have arrived late at the Platform and have to force our way through the crowd of parents waving frantic goodbyes to their children. I only just manage to jump on the train in time as the doors begin to slam shut behind me. Stowing my trunk, I head up the narrow corridor, searching in vain for an empty compartment. At last I find one with a single occupant and take a seat across from her by the window. It is only as I pull out one of the advanced Potions books Zabini gave me, that I realised who the girl is. And that she is crying.
Hatty James looks a mess. Her muggle clothing is crumpled and her badly applied eyeliner is smudged down one cheek. She catches me looking at her and a flash of hatred appears in her hazel eyes before she turns back to the window. Sighing, I put down the Potions book, knowing what I have to do.
“He didn’t cheat on you,” I state. My words force her eyes to shut as if she is attempting to shut out the hurt she must be feeling. “I know what it looked like but for once, nothing actually happened,” I continue, unsure whether she wants me to or not as she doesn’t say a word. “It was my fault. He was just helping me pick up my books and I made a move on him. He pushed me away but I tried again. He pulled me behind the tapestry to avoid anyone seeing us, not because he was kissing me but because he was being a gentleman of sorts, not wanting to let anyone see him reject me. If that even makes sense. He loves you. Or that’s what he said anyway, personally I don’t think love really exists but there you, that just a personal opinion,” I ramble. “Anyway, he didn’t cheat on you. Trust me. I can even give you my memory if you want,” I suggest.
Hatty James shakes her head slowly, never looking away from the window as the London begins to roll out of view. Oh well, I did what I could. Relaxing back into the compartment bench, I pick up the Potions book and begin leafing through its musty pages. When the lady with the trolley comes by, I get a selection of Chocolate Frogs and I can see Hatty eyeing the Liquorice Wands in my peripheries so I buy a couple of them too and throw them to her. She looks startled but says nothing, just turning the wands over in her hands a couple of times.
“Why should I believe you?” she whispers at last.
“Put it this way, I've kissed my share of boys at Hogwarts – in fact, I've kissed a lot of people's share of boys at Hogwarts* – but never before have I ever told one of their ex-girlfriends that it didn’t happen. Because it did. But Brookes never kissed me and he pulled away from my advances. This has probably already ruined your Christmas, don’t make is ruin the rest of your year as well,” I shrug. “Besides, I’ve already offered you my memory and I know a place we can find a Pensieve,” I add on, thinking of the Room of Requirement.
She says nothing for a moment, just staring at the Liquorice Wands in her hands.
“Thanks for these,” she murmurs at last.
“No problem,” I shrug, picking up my Potions book once again when she makes it clear the conversation has stopped. We do not speak again until the train rolls up into Hogsmeade Station. “Remember what I said,” I nod before exiting the compartment and scaring a group of First Years out of my way.
Deciding to raid the kitchens later, I skip the Welcome Feast and head down to the dungeons with a vial of potion in my pocket. As always, Zabini has left his door unlocked and I slip into the silent Potions classroom and deposit the vial of molten grey liquid on his desk with a note explaining what it is. As I head towards the kitchens, I get the feeling that someone is watching me but I quickly shake it off, dismissing it probably one of the sparse portraits that hang in the dungeon corridors.
Tickling the pear to open the kitchen door, I head a faint chuckle behind me.
“So that’s how you get in,” murmurs the unmistakable voice of Scorpius Malfoy. “I’ll have to remember that,” he smirks as I turn to face him, his silvery-grey eyes boarding into my blue ones with such intensity that they look like molten metal… And that is when I realise what the colour of my potion reminded me off.
So because I was not overly pleased with Chapter Eight (sorry that look so long to update, I had image issues) here is Chapter Nine. I hope you like it and let me know what you think either here or no my blog. Thank you so much for reading and sticking with this story and I hope you like what is too come, Irish Myth.