Chapter 4 : Wonky Compartment Doors
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A REAL, NEW CHAPTER UPDATE!!! I must say, I'm proud:)
“I’ve been condemned.”
Shiloh was hitting her head dully on the damp and misty window when Rose and I entered the compartment. Her eyes focused somewhere in the crowds of parents waving goodbye through the rain. Normally her hair was down and perfectly styled, but today it was pulled up in a disheveled ponytail, wet from outside. Under all of that was her grotesque, yellow raincoat with a cheetah collar.
Shiloh never wore that coat unless something was seriously, seriously wrong. I can’t say I blamed her. It was common knowledge that waterproof material and animal fur should not be mixed on the same piece of clothing. Rose and I shared a terrified look before sitting down across.
“Condemned?” Rose asked tentatively. “Condemned to what?”
I wanted to tell Rose that she should sit back, but she was ignoring my warning signs. I tried to silently choke myself to get her to notice, but that only made her sigh and give me a patronizing glare like I was being the immature one. I wasn’t the one wearing the world’s ugliest raincoat and slamming my skull into solid glass here.
I was only trying to help Rose out. I knew Shiloh’s breakdown signs better than anyone else, and I could tell that we were on the verge of a big one. Over my years of being the prime target of her mental instability, I had grown used to dealing with it. The raincoat was a definite sign that something was up. For some reason, she liked to come to me when she was going through some breakdown. I don’t know if my face seemed welcoming, she tended to come to me and pour out her problems like I’m a pensive. I deserved a medal or something. No one did crazy people like Scarlett Delancey.
“MY LIFE IS OVER,” Shiloh suddenly wailed, as if right on que. Rose sat back quickly, suddenly terrified. “I’LL NEVER BE ALLOWED OUT AGAIN!”
She tended to become prone to loud outbursts and melodramatic notions when she was angry.
“I JUST WANT TO DIE!” Shiloh hysterically exclaimed while she simultaneously slammed her forehead against the glass like she was trying to break it. She probably was. “JUST KILL ME NOW ROSIE!”
Kill her now, had she no pity for the rest of us?
“Oh Shiloh, I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Rose trailed off trying to pat her knee reassuringly. “You wouldn’t want to do that!”
“DON’T TELL ME HOW I FEEL!” Shiloh rudely shoved Rose’s hand off her knee and glared through watery eyes. Oh god, here came the waterworks. She was getting nasty now. That was phase two of Breakdown Mode. “I’M CONFUSED ENOUGH AS IT IS!”
“Well maybe if you talked—”
“I DON’T WANT TO TALK! I WANT TO SCREAM, GODDAMNIT!”
“Well,” I popped in the conversation. Rose’s plan to comfort had good intentions, but it was going downhill fast. I figured it was time to intervene. “You’re certainly doing a wonderful job at that. Just carry along screaming, please. Don’t let us stop you.”
She, however, didn’t seem to catch my sarcasm. “THANK YOU!” She screamed at the level of a heartbroken banshee. “At least you understand where I’m coming from!”
Rose threw her hands in the air, offended, and gave up. She should have known by now that soothing was not the way to go when it came to Shiloh Du Boise. She became irritatingly abusive when pitied. She also got kind of gross. I wasn’t sure if she had forgotten normal etiquette, but at that moment she wiped a large amount of slimy snot onto her raincoat sleeve.
And all I could think was thank god it wasn’t the fur part.
“My parents are being completely irrational!” She flung her arms around crazily. I watched, terrified, as the snot threatened to splatter across the room. “They’ve decided to ground me until I’m eighteen, which is the legal age in the muggle world. Not my world, mind you, their world! That is like taking away my freedom, you know. That’s illegal in England! I am entitled to my fucking freedom! I could report those outrageous freedom suckers—”
“Ah, I thought I was right.” Albus was smiling proudly, interrupting Shiloh’s rant as he walked into our open compartment. “You all need to learn to shut the door.” He shot Rose and me a stern look. Like it was our fault our friend was completely unpredictable. “And you really need to learn to keep the noise down, Shi, I’d be surprised if they didn’t hear you all the way in Daigon Alley.”
“I DO NOT HAVE—ehem—I do not have to learn anything, Albus Potter! I am a woman of my own being, and I am allowed to scream whenever I want!” Shiloh snapped smartly.
“Hear her?” Scorpius and Richie followed Albus into the compartment now, shutting the door behind them. “We spotted her outside slamming her head into the window from outside.”
This was, apparently, not what she wanted to hear.
“WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE ME?” Shiloh moaned, burying her face in her snot.
“Is that…” Albus trailed off with a horrified look when I nodded. Instead he shook his head and plopped down on the other side of me. “That is disgusting.”
I sighed, sitting back as well and rubbing my temples. Today had barely begun and it already felt long. It was times like this when I wished I had a normal, kind, and caring group of friends instead of the baboons I’d been graced with. I could only imagine where they’d all be without me. Rose would have murdered Scorp by now, or at least attempted it. She’d ruin the whole Weasley-Hero image her parents had going when she got locked up in Azkaban on a hundred year stretch. Scorpius would take all the attention he was getting from his almost death experience and write a book about it. Actually, he’d probably pay someone else to write a book about it. He wouldn’t have the patience to do it himself. Shiloh would have been placed in the mental ward at St. Mungos ages ago without my totally awesome mediating skills. And she’d probably have no friends, with Rose in a jail cell and whatnot. She would only have the blokes that she dates, and subsequently dumps, to keep her company. Richie and Al would still be besties, but they’d probably have been expelled a long time ago. They both had the ridiculous knack of setting things on fire, bringing illegal animals from the Forbidden Forest into their dormitories, and ‘playing’ Quidditch outside of Headmistress McGonagall’s study around four in the morning.
There were some serious close calls with the Quaffle and her head over the past five years. I had tried to get them to play on the Quidditch field, but apparently the moonlight gleam was perfect right outside her window. If I hadn’t thought quick and charmed the Quaffle in the opposite direction last May, things could have gotten very bad.
“I’m not going to be allowed to see you all next summer, guys! They said my party was an embarrassment to the entire neighborhood. They think I’m a disgrace! I told them to just go write some poetry about it—but that only made them madder!” Shiloh sobbed. “I’m going to be alone with Mr. Cuddles for the rest of my life!”
I momentarily glanced over to Shiloh’s scared looking obese cat. She had placed a pink bow on his neck, but it looked like it was going to suffocate him. Maybe that was why he looked so miserable. Or maybe he could understand what she was saying and didn’t like the thought of living alone with Shiloh either. I couldn’t say I blamed him—it was a problematic, scary, and painful experience just as a roommate.
“I’m sure that they don’t really think you’re a disgrace, they’re your parents!” Rose reprimanded.
“Rose, their exact words were ‘We know we’re your parents but we think you are a disgrace’.” She snapped dryly. I snorted along with the rest of my friends but stopped when she shot us all a deathly expression.
“Look Shiloh,” Scorp said in what I think was supposed to be a kind voice. “Don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but why do you think we care?”
She gasped dramatically. Slowly she began to turn beet red, the color contrasting her pee yellow rain coat horribly. We had just entered phase three—physical attack. This was possibly the most entertaining of all the phases if it wasn’t directed at you. Thankfully, Scorp was the target this time.
“No, wait!” Scorp’s voice reached the level of a little girl as she lunged at him. “I’m not saying that we don’t care about you—just that we don’t care about the things that you care about!”
Rose smacked her hand to her face and snorted, obviously enjoying the view of Shiloh aiming to destroy him. He managed to say the worst possible things all of the time. I wasn’t sure if it was a Malfoy thing, but Scorp tended to be a complete arse without even realizing. Even the way he dressed screamed arsehole. Today he was wearing a freshly cropped button down shirt with perfectly tailored kakis. This one outfit probably cost more money than my entire life’s savings.
“STOP!” Richie bellowed unexpectedly. I jumped, giving him an odd look as he stood up in his seat and broke Shiloh and Scorp apart. I didn’t know if it was because Richie never yelled, but the two of them listened with the same look on their faces as my own. “Look, Malfoy’s just being the insensitive prick he always is, you can’t take it seriously.” He paused to acknowledge Rose’s eager applause and Scorp’s affronted face. “No offence mate—” He told him hastily, “—But you really need to learn to shut up most of the time. I’m not saying that we all weren’t thinking it, because of course we were! Scarlett, you don’t give a shit if Shiloh’s ‘life is over’, do you?”
He cut me off enthusiastically, continuing “Exactly my point! Just imagine if there were no rules and no punishment, Shi. We’d all be uneducated people living in shacks trading poo for money!”
“That’s disgusting.” Al scrunched up his nose. “Couldn’t you have come up with a better analogy?”
“I was thinking on the spot, okay?!”
I shook my head, the headache growing stronger with Richie’s scarily effective speech. For some unpredictable reason, Shiloh was nodding along with him. Hell, if I’d have known through all these years that just comparing civilization to shit would solve all of her problems, I’d have started talking about that a long time ago. She hadn’t even gotten to phase four—convulsing on the floor with no response to human life—and she was already looking better.
“But my problem’s still big.” Shiloh pouted, but it was halfhearted. “Everyone’s so goddamned focused on ridding the world of AIDS when there’s terrible things going on right here on this train!”
Richie nodded along with her seriously as if he were taking her words into deep consideration. I looked from Rose who was turning purple in attempt to stop herself from laughing, Al who was torn between amusement and repulsion, and Scorp who still seemed affronted about being attacked. We all seemed to be thinking the same thing; Richie and Shiloh had some serious issues.
“I know, people just don’t care about other people anymore.” Richie somberly patted her shoulder. “But I do, and Al does too. Don’t you Al?”
“I think you’re both—”
But Al was cut off when Richie held up his hand and began to sing Mary had a Little Lamb at the top of his lungs. I guess the thought of disagreement drove him to nursery rhymes, because after that he went on to Bah-Bah Black Sheep. It was cute the first few seconds, but around two minutes in I had a serious migrane.
“I’m going to the bathroom!” I screamed over the renditions of every kiddie song known to mankind. I hightailed it out of there before anyone could offer to come with me. As much as I loved them, they could drive me a little crazy sometimes.
Now was without a doubt one of those times.
People of all ages were running down the hall of the train. Whoever said it was just the annoying first years who screamed out in the hallway was wrong, because as I roamed I saw plenty of older students doing it too. Guys and girls were making up, breaking up, and hooking up right in front of me. Some of them didn’t even realize I was there. These sorts of people were generally the reason I tried to spend time alone. The overdramatic school-age love story was way too mushy gushy to me. And having my own? Pah—impossible. The only bloke I’d been with since last year was Potter, and I planned on having someone erase that from my memory as soon as I could.
Unfortunately the only person I knew who could perform a memory charm decently was Rose, and there was no way I would be telling her about that. Just thinking about that confrontation sent chills down my spine. It would probably (when I said probably, it meant definitely) go something like this:
I would start with something drastic.
“Hi Rose, I have three months to live.”
She would tilt her head to the side like she always did when she didn’t process something on the first go. Then she’d pucker her lips for a moment with a look of disbelief, followed by a breakdown of tears and tissues. It would be like her breakdown on my bedroom floor yesterday—only ten times more intense. She might even cover her hands over her ears and refuse to hear more painful news. When I would finally be able to pry them open to listening again, I’d crack a smile and say…
“Just kidding. Actually it’s not that bad. I only snogged James Potter, your first and favorite cousin, two days ago.”
She’d sniffle for another few moments and wipe her eyes. We would just stare at each other, her with the look of disbelief and me with a look of fake joking. I say fake because I’d actually be fighting off a look of death. That would show up when she’d slap me with all her might. She’d shriek like her mum did when she found Mr. Weasley was smoking cigarettes three summers ago. She would rant and rave, her long red hair would look like a flame because of all the rage. Then she’d probably slap me once more for emphasis, look me in the eye, and tell me to never talk to her again.
That would leave me alone with Shiloh and the boys, and being alone with Shiloh and the boys wasn’t the way I wanted to spend the rest of my Hogwarts career. Mainly because I wanted to survive.
I was so lost in my daydreams of Rose discovering my latest embarrassment when I walked straight into an open compartment door. Instantly the headache I’d been sporting transformed into a terrible, searing, pain. After rubbing my head furiously for a moment and seeing plenty of stars, I recognized a voice coming from the other side of the door that had just opened.
“…A good girlfriend doesn’t want to change her boyfriend!” Fred Weasley’s voice ranted, slowly coming into view. He ran his hands through his fuzzy hair, not noticing me yet. “She accepts him—Endora’s always trying to change me!” He paused for a moment, setting his face to mimic his girlfriend, Endora Holloway. “Freddy grow up! Freddy act like an adult! Freddy stop looking at the Victoria’s Secret models! Stop trying to get Grandma to join you in a splash fight, Freddy!”
“Well mate, she is in her ninety’s isn’t she?” Came James Potter’s voice. I gulped, looking around me for a safe place to hide. However, during my three second panic attack he was walking out of his compartment and into the hallway that I was frozen in.
“She had drool on her face! I was just trying to clean her up!” Fred threw his head back dramatically before looking up to see me patting my head. I was sill stuck somewhere in between having my face slammed into a door and recognizing Potter’s face. “Oh, hello Scarlett.”
“Hey Freddy. Your door hit me.” I said stupidly and in a voice much higher than my own. I sounded like a three year old who just got caught staying up past bedtime. Instead of looking at Potter I looked only at Fred. If I pretended he wasn’t there, I’d act normal. I’d just have to ignore that big blob of a person who was right next to Freddy. It would be easy—if he talked, I’d just burst into song like Richie did earlier in the compartment. Sure, my singing would probably split their head in two, but at least I still would have my pride!
Never mind, I lost that a long time ago.
“Oh, sorry about that! Good summer?” Fred asked me, his mind still obviously back on Endora and whatever problems they were having nowadays. Freddy and Endora were that couple. They were indescribably beautiful, athletic, and smart without even trying. Ever since I had been in the third year they’d been on a cycle of breaking up and making up, but no matter what phase they were in they’d always be complaining about each other. It was annoying as anything, but I still thought it was kind of cute. Just a little.
“It was okay…” I trailed off, begging my eyes to not wander over to the right side of Freddy. I could feel that he was trying to ignore me as well, but I could prove once and for all right that I had excellent self-control. Much better self-control than him, to say the least. It was hard to think about more than one thing right now anyways because I felt like I had just received a minor concussion. All I had to do was keep focus. Focus Scarlett, focus. “How was yours?”
But, of course, instead of listening to Fred’s response I listened to Potter’s cough. We caught eyes again and I inhaled quickly, proving once again that my self-control was in the toilet. Really, I needed to work on that. On a level of one to ten mine was about a three—three and a half if fate was being generous.
“What are you doing out here, Delancey?” Potter snapped at me. It was as if he thought Freddy’s water fight with a senior citizen was a vital conversation. And I knew it wasn’t, because every Weasley-Potter family get together I’d attended, Freddy had always knocked their Grandparents into the pool at some point. Allowing my fists to clench, suddenly I was furious. How dare he tell me where I could and couldn’t walk!
“How dare you tell me where I can and can’t walk?” I voiced my inner concerns “This is a free train!”
He rolled his eyes at me, looking as agitated as I was. This only aggravated me more. Suddenly the image of him and Monica Levil flitted back through my mind. Any traces of the sorry face he’d had on last night were gone. The hurt I oddly felt at the time seemed far away now as I glared him down. Potter was such a despicable person. How had I ever considered transfiguring myself into a rock? He should have been the one to leave, not me! I had done nothing wrong, I was innocent. I was a victim!
Okay, so maybe victim was going a bit too far. After all, I was the one who suggested the snogging when I kissed him first.
“I can see you two are pleasant as ever.” Freddy sarcastically shook his head.
“I’m completely pleasant!” I snapped at him. “I’m as pleasant as a person who’s head is killing them can get! He’s not, because he’s never pleasant, but don’t let that get in the way! Potter is a miserable person.”
“Your head hurts because it’s taking your brain a long time to comprehend its own stupidity.” Potter fired back, his fists clenched as well.
“The sooner you admit to me being a genius the better off we’ll both me!” I yelled.
“Genius? You’re such an idiot you make me look like Merlin!”
“Yeah—well Merlin was ugly!”
“Guys! Shut up, please!”
Freddy had stepped in between Potter and I with a scared look on his face. I was shaking, but I let myself step back and cross my arms over my chest. I would have to settle with a death glare for the time being. Potter seemed to be thinking the same way, because he stepped back as well and looked at me like I was his worst enemy.
I could handle that.
“Christ, if you’re already fighting like this I don’t think I’m going to be able to handle another Quidditch season with the two of you! I’ll have to resign!” Fred continued, exasperated. I huffed and Potter threw his head in the air. We couldn’t agree on much, but we both knew that the most important things in Freddy’s life were Quidditch, Endora, and Quidditch. There was no way he’d be giving it up, no matter how much we argued. He would go mad with all the Endora time left over. But then, consequently, Potter would go mad with all of Fred’s problems and the dismal failure of our Quidditch team. So maybe Fred’s resignation wasn’t such a bad idea. I could handle not seeing James’s face anywhere but the insanity ward in the Hospital Wing. Hell, I’d even bring him flowers and some nice chocolates as a thank you for disappearing out of my life.
“Let’s just go the bathroom.” Potter spat, still glaring at me like I’d just said I was joining Voldemort’s forces.
“You can’t go to the bathroom!” I cried. “I’m going to the bathroom!”
“She’s following us!”
“I am not! It’s not my fault my bladder is on verge of explosion!”
“Horrible mental image!”
“Glad it disgusts you!”
“James and I will go to the bathroom in the front of the train,” Fred paused, speaking through gritted teeth. “And you can go to the back of the train—there. Does that solve everything?”
Instead of responding, I brushed past Potter’s shoulder and walked briskly in the direction of the back bathroom. I had had enough interaction with him for one day. I was so immersed in my hatred for the bloke that by the time I had made it to the bathroom I realized I didn’t even have to go. The whole 'my bladder will explode' comment I gave was just to annoy Potter. Defeated, I turned around and began the long trek back to the compartment I was originally escaping from. Hopefully by now they would have stopped singing nursery rhymes. And if they hadn’t, well, it wouldn’t just be Shiloh who was having a mental breakdown.
“…Nothing around Hogwarts it cheap!” Al was ranting when I plopped back down next to him.
“Except for Weasley.” Scorp added in, a witty smirk on his face.
“I am not cheap!” Rose seethed, sitting up with a violent stare.
I let out a crumpled cry of distress. They all looked at me oddly for a moment before continuing on like I hadn’t reentered at all. Rose and Scorpius continued arguing about how much or how little she was worth, Al was complaining to Richie about the cost of prank supplies in the Hogwarts surrounding area, and Shiloh was sniffling with her eyes closed. I closed my eyes as well, considering banging my head against the window as she had done earlier.
Oh dear, this was going to be a long year.
New chapter, yaay!!! I hope you're all as excited as I am. I know not too much drama and teenage angst happens in this chapter, but there's some more Potter! Perhaps not the Potter you wanted to see, but I promise he'll become a more frequent character as the story continues. They don't really hate each other, they just hate the situation they're in. It'll get better--I promise! As for Shiloh's breakdown, how do you feel about it? Is she completely mental or understandable? I myself am not sure...
Please give me some feedback! How do you like the way the story is going so far? Any responses are appreciated! Thank you so, so much for reading, and please review:)
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