Chapter 4 : Walking
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Louis and Autumn.
Amazing CI by visenya. @TDA
"Are you really going to wear that?" Sophie stopped midway across our dorm, her comb staying stuck in her hair as she interrupted the movement.
"Why?" I responded defensively. "My jeans are fine!"
"Not if you're going on a date with Louis Weasley they're not," she tugged the comb out and bundled her hair into an artistically flopping knot on top of her head before eyeing me critically.
"He's like my brother," I rolled my eyes, beginning to wrap a scarf around my neck. Sophie strode across the room and took it away, shaking her head.
"He asked you to pretend to be his date. You're not going if it's to dress like a potato sack."
"My sweater doesn't look like a potato sack!"
"It does," she rifled through the cupboard and threw a bundle at my face. "Wear this."
I unfolded the dress. "No way. I'll drop the sweater and wear whatever shirt you want, but no dress. I didn't even wear one for my grandmother's eightieth birthday, and I'm not wearing one for a date."
"Fine," Sophie grumbled with mock irritation, the hint of a smile lingering on her face. "Then, you have to wear… this."
I caught the denim shirt just before it whacked me in the eye, and left to the bathroom to change, complaining under my breath for good measure.
"So, where do you want to go?" Louis shoved his hands deeper into his pockets, protecting them from the biting, frosty air.
"The Three Broomsticks is fine by me…"
"How original," he commented with amusement.
"Fine, Puddifoot's then!" I replied cheerfully, linking arms with him. He pulled a face at the thought, and I laughed. "Where would you want to go?"
"Have you ever been to the Hogsmeade branch of Weasley Wizard's Wheezes?"
"Of course," I rolled my eyes at his question. "I'm friends with Roxanne, remember?"
"Have you ever been inside the research workshop?"
"No," I replied hesitantly.
"Well, welcome to the dark side of the Hogsmeade branch then. Anything you see must be kept quiet, and if you die, we are in no way responsible."
"Oh, it takes more than that to kill me. I've known Dom for six years."
"Touché, my friend, touché."
"Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Fred Weasley and I'm here today, exceptionally and temoprarily out of Hogwarts, to help you find your heart's desire in our shop. What can I do for – Louis?" Fred's eyes were as wide as Hagrid's dinner plate. "What is perfect boy doing in prankster paradise? And with a date? DAD! COME AND SEE THIS!"
George Weasley came running over at the sound of his son's alarmed cry, his green robes flapping around him like he was a kind of cross-breed between a bat and a piece of broccoli.
"Well," he whistled appreciatively, "I thought you had higher standards than that, Autumn!"
I laughed. "I do, but the Giant Squid wasn't free today."
Louis chuckled and poked me in the stomach, to which I leapt aside with a high-pitched squeak. George watched us with amusement, an eyebrow raised, before clearing his throat loudly.
"Anyway, I'll let you roam around, you know the shop," he clapped us on the shoulders.
"Actually, I was wondering if I could take Autumn into the Sanctuary." Louis asked. George's eyes popped out at this request.
"How long have you been going out?"
"We're just friends," I replied immediately. Louis nodded fiercely next to me.
"Right," George replied hesitantly, before briskly shaking his head. "Yes, of course you can take her, Louis. Just make sure we don't have to take her to Mungo's at the end of the day."
"Will do," Louis gently grabbed me by the shoulders and steered me towards a door behind the counter. "Come on, Ton. We have a shop to explode."
Two hours later, Louis' hair was blue and matched the very fluffy moustache I was sporting. Breathless with laughter, I tossed him another sweet.
"What does this one do?"
"No idea," he tore off the bright wrapper and looked at the toffee uncertainly before popping it in his mouth.
"Well?" I pried.
Instead of his answer, an almighty trumpeting worthy of an elephant herd poured out his mouth, to which I let out another peal of laughter. Moving forwards, I snatched the package of the sweet from him, and skimmed over the few printed words.
Effects can last up to four hours.
His face fell as he leaned over my shoulder to read, and, amused, I stuck my head out the door to call for George, who was ushering the last students out of his shop. He grinned as he spotted us both.
"Do you have an antidote? We're supposed to get back to the castle."
He rummaged through a chest of drawers, handed Louis a tiny vial of clear potion, and then proceeded to wave his wand over our faces, returning us to our normal state.
"Why aren't your elephant toffees commercialised?" Louis questioned.
George laughed. "Last time we tried they gave Fred an elephant's trunk."
"So? That could be part of the effect, right?" I asked.
"It didn't exactly come out at the level of his nose."
I blushed deeply, but laughed all the same, while Louis gave his uncle a hearty handshake.
"Thanks, George, it was great to see you."
"You too, Louis. Autumn, tell Roxanne her presence around here is dearly missed, alright?"
"I will," I promised, accepting the coat Louis handed me. "Thank you for letting me in on one of the Weasley secrets."
They both laughed, and Louis and I were off. The sun had begun to decrease and a light wind was blowing, pressing all the Hogwarts' couples back to the castle towering in the distance.
I smiled as I caught Louis watching me, and took his gloved hand in mine.
"I had fun today," I told him quietly, my breath creating a white mist in front of my nose as I spoke.
He squeezed my hand and grinned widely. "I'm glad. It wasn't very traditional, but…"
"I dislike tradition, most of the time," I told him. "It makes things too complicated."
"In what cases is tradition acceptable?"
"There are some things that shouldn't change. The fact that it's better to be in love when you out with someone, for instance."
"That makes you pretty traditional."
"Maybe," I laughed. "I just don't think dating for the sake of dating is a good idea. It takes away the very concept of feelings, and I don't believe in a relationship without those."
"Yep, you're traditional," Louis nodded.
"What about you then, Mister Sceptical?"
"I believe in feelings too, but I think that you can base something purely off physical attraction then see things evolve."
"Not base it off," I argued back. "Use that as a beginning yes, but not as the base for a relationship."
"This is getting too subtle for my taste," Louis shook his head. "Race you to the castle?"
I was gone already.
Out of breath, I crashed the palm of my hand against the wood of the door just after Louis did, and tumbled to the floor in a heap, clutching my sides. He held out his hand to help me up, which I gladly accepted, and pushed the doors open, holding them for me as I walked into the warmth of the hall.
"I think I'll go dump my coat on my bed before dinner," I informed him. "You coming with me to the Tower?"
"No, I need to find Lucy in the library to sort out some prefect stuff."
I smiled, and closed the distance between us to press my lips to his cheek. "Thank you for today."
"My pleasure. I still have this for you though." With a flourish of his wand, he conjured up a rose with crimson petals. "Tradition."
I nudged him playfully in the side. "You're an idiot."
"An idiot who can conjure beautiful roses."
"True," I agreed, taking the rose between two fingers, careful to avoid the thorns that ran along its stem. "Thank you, Louis. I'll see you around soon?"
He nodded, and I turned away, internally sighing at the hike that awaited me before I reached the Ravenclaw Tower and my bedroom, where the modern, female, English equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition was probably waiting for me.
I was walking to the Great Hall with Summer a few days later when a red blur flew into my arms, knocking me backwards into the wall.
"Scorpius asked me to be his girlfriend!" she shouted, a huge smile spreading on her face. "And I said yes!"
Summer let out a whoop and flung her arms around us both, and I soon felt a heavy weight jump onto my back.
"Why are we having a family hug?" Ivy's voice came out muffled by the back of my head.
"Fern is dating Scorpius," I told her, attempting to shake her off.
"You are? Did he finally ask you then?" Ivy directed her question at Fern's squashed up figure in the middle of the pile.
"You knew?" Summer's head snapped up.
"Course I did. Fern has been blabbing about Scorp for months now."
Summer and I exchanged a guilty glance – we hadn't been paying attention to our sisters as much as we thought we were, apparently.
"Seeing as we have a lot to catch up on, would you two want to have breakfast with your oblivious older sisters?"
"Erm… I already ate," Fern looked sheepish. "An evening next week?"
"Sure," I ruffled her hair, "if you can free yourself from Scorpius."
She stuck her tongue out at me, and left us standing there, almost skipping down the corridor, dragging Ivy along with her. Summer looked at me, a wide grin spreading on her face, and I laughed.
"I haven't seen her this happy for quite some time now."
I nodded, linked arms with Summer, and left to get some breakfast.
"… and for next week, I want you all to write an essay on the multiple uses of each ingredient found in the Draught of Living Death, considering that none of you managed to make the potion properly today."
I pushed a few loose strands of hair back, wiping the sweat of my brow and glaring at Slughorn.
"I'm sorry, shouldn't you be dead?" Dom whispered loudly next to me, her blond hair puffed out around her face. Sophie sniggered, snorting into her frothing cauldron, which caused the liquid to bubble even more wildly, spitting droplets over the edge.
And then the whole thing exploded.
There was a collective scream, as everyone ducked under their table to avoid the projections.
"Who did this?" Slughorn questioned, eyebrows furrowing. "Who?"
I chuckled from my position under the desk, and pointed my wand over my head, Vanishing the contents of all the cauldrons before Slughorn got a chance to see that Sophie's cauldron was the only empty one.
"That'll be an extra four inches on your essay, then. Off with you now!"
Dom burst out laughing as we exited the dungeon, followed suit by the rest of the class, which was composed only of Sixth Year Ravenclaws. We had all chosen to continue potions at N.E.W.T. level, and, knowing each other since the very first day, never considered that the teacher needed to know who screwed up in class.
"We'll do the essay over the weekend," Isabel shrugged, her laughter fading. "Party in the common room tonight, remember?"
"Not that bloody let's all get to know each other again, is it?" I asked, worried by the evil smirk that had appeared on my friends' faces.
They all nodded simultaneously, and I inched away from them slowly, horrified.
"Why did people come up with that? It's a stupid tradition!"
"No, it's fun!" Dom caught me by the arm. "And you will be dancing tonight."
"You will. I'll drag you down if I have to."
I didn't doubt her for a moment – she'd done it before.
"I AM NOT WEARING A DRESS!"
"You've got to, it's a tradition."
"Tradition can go fuck itself, I'm not wearing one!"
"Yes, you are! Even Charlotte has one on."
"Oi, what's that supposed to mean?" Charlotte asked from her seat in front of the mirror, where she was curling her brown hair with her wand.
"That means that if even you, the tomboy by excellence, are wearing a dress, Autumn is wearing one. With heels too."
I gaped at the shoes Dom was dangling by the straps. "I'm going to be giant-like next to everyone else."
"Come on, it's one of your few occasions to wear some!"
"I can't even walk in those!"
Dom looked down at her watch. "You've got an hour to practice."
Grudgingly, I accepted the clothes she was holding out for me. Thankfully, she'd stuck to a fairly sober dress: black, with a round neckline, and that came down a little higher than my knees. It was only once I'd put it on that I realised that the back was a trap, seeing as my entire back, down to my hips, was bare.
"Dom," I whined, "why do you torture me like this?"
"It looks good on you," Charlotte offered. "You should wear more things like that."
"I do," I retorted. "I wear skinny jeans and shirts that reveal enough cleavage, I don't see why you all think that I dress like Dumbledore's great-grandpa."
"Oh, shut up and try these on, Cinderella," Dom strapped the shoes on me with a smile. "Now, come on, baby Ton, walk over to Auntie Dominique."
I laughed, stumbled, tripped over a crack in the stone floor, and landed oh so elegantly on my ass. Dom pursed her lips, holding back a giggle. "Well, this might take more time than expected."
Less than an hour later, I managed to walk more or less normally, and finally had the approval of everyone else. We were all wearing dresses, as the tradition wanted (huh), Charlotte, Isabel and I in black, Sophie in blue, and Dom, for some reason I could not possibly fathom, bronze.
Ravenclaw all the way, apparently.
"Let me just do your hair and we're good to go," Isabel sat me down before Dom got there. Last time, Dom forgot what she was supposed to be paying attention to – scalding hair curlers – and burnt off a lock of her hair. It was not a pretty sight, and thank God Sophie had the reflex to drench the flames out. Anyway.
Isabel was much more gentle and careful, her nimble fingers coiling my hair into a braid that ran along the back of my head and down my shoulder faster than you could say Quidditch.
"Thank you," I smiled at her.
"Let's go then," Sophie was already halfway down the stairs.
Dom caught my panicked eye as I paused at the top of the winding steps, and grinned. "Take them off and put them back on once you get to the bottom, where I'm sure some handsome prince will be willing to save you from toppling over."
I flashed her the finger, and slipped into a pair of flat shoes instead as soon as Dom was out of sight.
Now, before anything else, you've got to know something about Ravenclaw parties: we are, most of the time, fairly shy people (in public), and we enjoy sticking together, which is why instead of alcohol-driven brawls, we prefer House-only evenings. Basically, you shouldn't expect breathless snogging to ensue and girls to end up pregnant.
We leave that to the Gryffindors.
This type of event is essentially an occasion for students from each year to mingle. Yes, we could hold it earlier in the year. We don't because someone came up, years ago, with the excuse that First Years needed to socialise with others their age in different houses (inter-house companionship valued by the teachers since the last war, apparently) before getting dragged into the House Cult (capitals are essential here). And this is how we ended up hosting a Ravenclaw only party once a year.
Sadly, all of the above do not mean that we don't like our music. Our decibel level is the normal one you'd expect at a party, and – apart from the occasional party pooper like me (Dom's words) – everyone dances.
You can just feel joy oozing from every pore of my body, I'm sure.
The music was loud, basses thumping through my head. I squirmed, not particularly willing to throw myself into the crowd of swaying people, desperately trying to spot a familiar face under the throbbing blue, green, and red lights. A hand snaked out of the crowd and pulled me in, and I found myself amidst people jumping around, throwing their fists into the air. Reluctantly, I followed the group's movements for a few minutes for argument's sake, before pushing my way out, wondering where the civilised human beings I knew had disappeared.
Sighing with relied, I yanked a glass of Coke off the make-shift bar against the end wall and practically ran away to a quieter corner of the room, where I crumpled into a window-seat, sipping on my drink with relief.
I was rapidly joined by Louis, who sat on the seat across from mine and stretched his legs, resting his feet next to my legs. I copied him and stretched my legs, draping them over his.
"Your sister is a sadist," I informed him. "Forced me into a dress, dragged me here, and disappeared God knows where."
"That's Dom for you. She did a good job with the dress though, you look beautiful."
"Thank you," I took another sip of Coke to give myself a countenance. "You don't look too bad yourself."
He ran a hand through his hair. "Thanks." Some hysterical moron ran past us at that precise moment, yelling his head off, and Louis arched an eyebrow. "Am I allowed to kidnap you to somewhere more peaceful?"
"Of course, I was wondering if you'd ever ask."
He caught hold of my hand, and we left the room unnoticed.
"It's past curfew," I realised as we walked through the deserted corridors.
"Do you want to go back?"
"No way. It was just an observation."
"I'm Head Boy, anyway, and Flitwick loves me. We'll be fine."
"Everybody loves you," I teased, "you always seem to get what you want."
"Not all the time, no, and not everybody loves me, but I do have the teachers in my pocket."
My reply was on the tip of my tongue when a loud crash was heard to our right. In a flash, Louis had his wand out, pointed in the direction of the sound.
"Lumos," he muttered.
A beam of light shot out of his wand, and, more worryingly, out of mine as well, tucked in a leather band I had wrapped around my arm. The light shone through the material of my dress, giving my skin a ghostly halo, and Louis stopped in his tracks.
"What the hell is going on? That's not normal."
"Thank you," I commented drily. "I wasn't aware."
All investigation forgotten, Louis moved closer to me, slid his fingers under my sleeve, and pulled my wand out, handing it to me.
"Nox," he said this time. Both wands went out. "Try a spell, whichever," he nodded at me.
"Auguamenti," I attempted. Two identical streams of water trickled to our feet.
"Maybe this just works with basic spells, I'll try something more complex. Expecto Patronum!"
This time, only my wand, limply held in my hand, produced a result: a silvery wolf steamed out of it, ran down the corridor, and vanished from sight.
"That's definitely my Patronus," Louis faltered slightly. "This isn't normal at all."
I do not own Cinderella, it is entirely Perrault's, or the Grimm brothers', whichever you prefer, but in any case - it's not mine!
A/N: I know, I said I'd update something else before this, but the queue was so short it was just too tempting.
So. Did the date rise up to your expectations? Did Scern (Scorpius/Fern if ever) come up too much out of the blue? Was the dress description too long and boring? Is there anything you'd like to see in the coming chapters? What the heck is going on with the wands?
I've got a week of exams coming up, so reviews would be a wonderful thing to come home to! ♥
edit 13/03/2013: changed a few things that didn't make sense.
edit 18/03/2013: added CI.
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