Chapter 5 : Problem Number Five
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Can I cry over this lovely chapter image made by bathtub @ tda!
If you couldn't guess, it's Louis and Nell! :D
Crap. Crap, crap, crap. I was late. Late for Ancient Runes. I rushed about the dormitory, trying to find my Ancient Runes essay, which I had just completed last evening. I had already been looking for a good ten minutes.
Why can’t I ever keep my stuff neatly?
I groaned. Professor Smith was extremely annoying about being punctual. A minute late – BAM! Detention.
I looked at my watch; I had only six minutes to get to class.
Suddenly, a crumpled piece of parchment caught my eye. It was lying on the corner of the floor. I swiftly picked it up and hastily opened it. Yes! It was my essay. Immediately I picked up my open bag and rushed out of the room.
Exactly two minutes later I was running through the deserted corridor trying to zip up my bag when –
I toppled onto someone and we both fell to the floor and all my books fell out to the floor.
I groaned. “I’m so sorry!” I looked up to see that I had crashed into Albus Potter. And he looked pissed.
“Sorry.” I apologized once more. I looked around for my books, but I found that Albus had already picked them up. He looked at me, thrust me my books, dusted himself off and started to walk off.
Come on Rocky. This is your time to apologize, for the day in the classroom.
The apology was ready on my lips but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I didn’t know how he would react. What would happen? Another reason was pride.
I mean, why should I apologize? He was wrong too!
Just apologize to him.
He was walking away. He was almost at the end of the corridor.
“I’m sorry!” I blurted out loudly. “For the other day. In the transfiguration classroom.” He stopped in his tracks.
“It wasn’t right for me to yell at you to get out.” I say. “So, I’m sorry about that.”
He tilted his head slightly towards where I was standing, gave me a side-glance for a moment and then he walked away.
I sighed, feeling slightly disappointed. I was hoping he would say something in return.
I sighed and picked up my grey bag from the floor and ran towards the Ancient Runes classroom.
I entered the classroom, panting slightly.
“Sorry-sir.” I said, puffing.
“Ah. Ms. Carter. How nice of you to grace us with your presence.” Professor Smith said disdainfully. “Did you get lost? Perhaps you need a map?”
I hate him. I hate him. I hate him.
“No,” I said shortly. “I was looking for my essay. The one you assigned us.”
“Well hand it over.” He said, giving me a hateful look, holding his hand out.
I took out my slightly crumpled three-parchment essay and handed it over, glaring at him. Smith was a bloody piss off. His black hair and his slight mustache, I’m surprised he wasn’t confused with Hitler. I swear his life’s mission was to pick on his students, and today, I was the victim.
Rumour is that he was in Hufflepuff but I don’t think it’s true. He’s too mean to be a ‘puff.
“Now if you could navigate yourself to your seat. I’d appreciate it.” He sneered at me.
“Yes sir.” I replied frostily.
I’m your best student you bloody arse. Show some respect.
I took my seat next to Scorpius, Jake and Rose, who were giving me quizzical looks.
“Where were you?” Jake whispered.
“Looking for my essay.” I whispered back.
“That took you so much time?” Scorpius asked.
Oh wait. I couldn’t tell them about my encounter with Albus. They didn’t know anything, sans Rose, so I hissed, “Later.” And with that, all of us fell silent while Smith began class.
* * *
“So why were you late today, for Runes?” Jake asked, during lunch so his mouth was full of food, his words coming out rather garbled.
I told you. I was looking for my essay.” I said evenly.
“Then you said ‘later’,” Jake, pointed out, finally swallowing his bolus. “So, what’s up?”
“Well,” I say, sharing a look with the girls, I had some how managed to give them a brief explanation as to why I was late. They nodded their heads, basically telling me that it was okay to tell the guys. “I bumped into Albus Potter on my way to class, and some of time went in apologizing to him.”
“Why would you do that?” Scorpius asked, cocking his head.
“Because,” I took a deep breath, feeling guilty. I shouldn’t be telling people about this. He wouldn’t want everyone to know. And McGonagall had told me not to. I’m such a shit secret keeper. “I’m seeing him as counselor.”
“Why?” Louis asked, an expression of worry flickering across his face.
“Because he has issues,” I said shortly. The guilt was already beginning to eat me.
“What issues?” Louis pressed.
“I don’t know.”
“Why don’t you know?” Okay, now what sort of question is that? And what is this? Twenty questions?
“I just don’t!” I say, slightly flustered.
“When will you know?” Louis questioned. Inquisitive bugger.
“Leave her alone, mate.” Jake intervened. I shot him a smile, conveying my thanks.
“I’m onto you, Carter.” Louis said, pointing his index and middle fingers towards me, them him, then me again, and doing this repeatedly.
“Carter?” I ask, raising my eyebrow slightly.
“Don’t mind him.” Rose said, looking mildly amused. “He tends to get overprotective about family.”
Don’t I know it.
“Aren’t all Wotters like that?” Kenny asked.
“Yep!” Rose said cheerfully. “So, don’t mess with us.”
“We’ll keep that in mind.” Nell muttered.
* * *
“Rocky,” Rose dropped down onto the blazing red armchair in the common room, looking at me intently. “Listen.”
I grunted in response. My attention directed towards the potions essay, which I was hastily attempting to finish. Potions were next period and I had barely written two words.
“Don’t bother,” Kenny said, who was lazily lounging on the couch. “She won’t reply. I’ve already tried.”
“But it’s about Al.” Rose insisted.
“Great.” I answered, not really registering what she said.
“Ooh. What about him?” Kenny asked, her voice interested.
“ROCKY, LISTEN.” Rose said forcefully.
“What?” I snapped at her loudly, irritated. If I didn’t finish this essay, I would be in big trouble with Slughorn!
Rose sighed, “If you listen to me for two minutes, I’ll dictate the essay to you.”
Now, that sounds interesting.
I sighed, setting down my quill, “What happened?”
“I spoke to Al just now,” Rose said.
“And?” Kenny prompted.
“Asked him about what was going on,” Rose continued, tugging at her curly red hair.
“So? What did he say?”
“Nothing of important relevance,” Rose replied.
“How helpful,” I say despondently, twirling the quill around my finger absentmindedly, staring into the orange fire of the Gryffindor common room. If Rose had found out the smallest of the details, it would give me an idea as to how I should help him. “So why are you telling me?”
“Because he got really angry when I pestered him-“
“Wouldn’t blame him,” Kenny snorted.
“And,” Rose said, shooting Kenny her classic Weasley glare, “he got really cross.”
“So, I just wanted you warn you because if he snaps at you during your session today,” Rose paused, biting her lip, “It’s my fault.”
Oh dear. An angry Albus Potter is not something you want to cross.
I groaned, “Great.”
“I really am sorry,” Rose apologized, “I was just trying to find out what was wrong with him.”
I sighed. “It’s okay. I was just hoping that today’s session would go better than last time’s. I don’t fancy another yelling match.” Although I wasn’t the one who was yelling and I wasn’t lying. I certainly wasn’t hoping for a showdown in the transfiguration classroom today. All I wanted to do was to help him get better for his sake and for the people who cared about him.
“Don’t go,” Kenny suggested as an escape route.
That actually sounds like a great idea. I mean, getting murdered by an angry teenage boy at the mere age of sixteen wasn’t really part of my life plan.
Instead of agreeing with Kenny and congratulating her great but uncreative idea, I rolled my eyes, “Sure.”
“It’s a great idea!” Kenny protested.
“No,” Rose said, “It’s a terrible idea! She’s got to help Al!”
“Not if it’s going to get her killed! I mean, have you seen how violent he gets when he’s angry?” Kenny said, voicing my thoughts.
“That was one time! He’s not going to kill her!” Rose stated, “Maybe decapitate her, but definitely not kill.”
Sure. It’s no big deal if my body parts get chopped off as long as I’m alive. That’s best friend love right there.
“That makes me feel so much better, Ro.” I say, caustically.
“No problem.” Rose replied. “But all jokes aside, even though Al does tend to get violent when extremely angry, a state that I managed to achieve today-“ Yeah, thanks for that. “-you have to help him.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” I said.
“I tried,” Kenny shook her head. She clapped me on the shoulder and gave a look filled with mock concern, “I’ll pray for you.”
I clasped her hand on my shoulder and said wryly, “Thanks man. I appreciate it.”
“Always the melodramatic one, you.” Rose spoke to Kenny.
“I take offense to that!”
“But it’s true!
I tuned out their bickering and attempted to concentrate on my potions essay once again. However my attempts were futile. My mind kept drifting towards what would happen today with Albus. I meant what I had said to Rose, I really didn’t want him to lose his temper today. I mean, sure, I wasn’t expecting him to suddenly open up to me and reveal his deepest and darkest secrets but I hoped that at least we would get past the yelling stage.
One could only hope.
* * *
The hat must have been half sleeping when he put me in Gryffindor. I really should write a strongly worded letter to the school asking them to reconsider the hat’s position at this school; given my current situation.
I was sitting at one of the wooden desks, tapping my left foot impatiently, making a clacking sound against the stone floor. My current “patient” – a second year boy – was sitting across me, talking nervously, his brown eyes glued to the floor. I stared at him, with what I hoped was an understanding look pretending to listen to what he was saying, when in reality, my mind was somewhere else.
Yeah, so right now I’m a bad therapist. Sue me. You’d be nervous too, if you were about to be killed in a matter of minutes.
“So, what should I do?”
I snapped out my thoughts and stared at the little boy (okay, he wasn’t that little but he was adorable) and stared at him gormlessly, “What?”
“My friends aren’t talking to me.” The boy mumbled, despondently.
I frowned slightly, “Why?”
“I just told you,” err, right, “because I didn’t let them try out my new broom like I promised but instead Cathy McKay got to try it on first.”
“Well, that wasn’t very nice,”
“It wasn’t my fault!” He whined, “I was practicing for Quidditch tryouts when she just came, took it from me and rode on it.”
“Did you tell this to your friends?” I ask.
“I tried,” He said sadly, “But they won’t listen to me.”
I felt bad for the kid. I mean, having your friends not talk to you at any age is tough, no matter over how stupid the situation may be.
“Listen,” I told the kid softly, “When I was in primary school and something like this happened, I made my friends a really nice card and told them what happened. I think you should try that. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the effort that you’ve put into it.”
“I’m a boy. I don’t make cards,” He said, wrinkling up his nose slightly.
Honestly kid, do you want your friends back or not, “Look,” I said as patiently as I could, “you could make a manly card,” what the hell is a manly card? “Like with Quidditch stuff on it you know? Trust me, they’ll appreciate the effort.”
“Are you sure about that?” He asked me, his expression uncertain.
“Yes,” I answered shortly, “I’m sure.”
“Okay then,” He got to his feet, and gave me a slight grin, “Thanks Coral! I’ll let you know if it works.”
“You do that,” I watched him leave, smiling slightly, but the feeling of dread was beginning to fill up at the bottom of my stomach.
Albus Potter was supposed to come in next.
I cursed Rose silently. Was today the only say she found to confront Albus? Couldn’t she have done it tomorrow? At least save her best friend from her destined death by the hands of her own cousin.
I looked down at the palms of my hands, which felt increasingly wet. Merlin, can we please get this over with?
Another ten minutes passed and Albus still hadn’t arrived. Maybe he wasn’t coming today. That thought oddly didn’t comfort me.
I decided to take a good look at my lifeline on my right hand. It was pretty darn long, so I guess I wasn’t going to die today.
I’ve just reached new levels of pathetic. I should have taken divination. Trelawney would have given me an O for that.
Just then Albus Potter entered the room, his expression the same as it had been the last time I saw – in the corridor this morning – he looked absolutely irked. I quickly wiped my hands against my skirt, rubbing off the sweat and quietly gestured him to take a seat across from where I was sitting.
Albus pulled out the wooden chair forcefully from underneath the table, causing it to skid across the floor making a loud screeching sound. He plopped himself down on the seat forcefully and began glaring at the ground.
“Err, hello?” I said, weakly, making a poor attempt to start a conversation.
He whipped his head up and glared at me. I flinched under his hateful look. Okay, never mind. Conversation not necessary.
A few tense moments of silence passed, which included me staring at the lifeline on my right hand, and Albus, well, I wouldn’t know what he was doing, but I’m willing to bet my broom he was glaring at something. Or someone. Hint, hint: me.
I looked up in disbelief to stare at him with a slightly, okay very, stunned expression. He was looking down to the floor, his lips pursed, and a highly uncomfortable expression on his face.
“Excuse me?” I asked my tone filled with surprise.
“I said,” He took a deep breath, and looked me in the eyes, his green orbs piercing my own chocolate brown, “that I’m sorry for the other day when I yelled at you.”
“Oh,” I couldn’t believe my own ears. Was Albus Potter apologizing? “Erm, yeah, that’s okay.”
But does this apology mean that he was willing to talk about whatever was going on with him? Was this his way of crying for help? Or was it just common curtsey? I studied him closely. His expression didn’t look a least bit sorry, as it did look fraught.
“But,” His voice cut through my thoughts, his tone containing enough amount of venom to make one flinch, “my apology doesn’t give you the permission to start asking me questions and start snooping into my life. Got it?”
I held up my hands in defense looking as if they were resting against an invisible wall, “Got it,” I lied.
I wasn’t sure that lying to Albus was the best idea here, but I had too. I couldn’t tell him that I was going to continue to try and meddle – ahem – help him. After all, I’d promised James that I would. And once I make a promise, I don’t break them. Plus, Mr. and Mrs. Potter were relying on me as well, not to mention Rose and Louis.
Feel the pressure, folks. Now really, ask yourself. How do you help a kid who has no interest whatsoever in opening up, snaps at people on a regular basis (recently anyway) and tends to get slightly violent when angry? If you do know, please send me an owl, because I have absolutely no clue.
“Good,” He visibly relaxed and slumped down in his chair, his muscled arms folded across his chest, with a neutral expression on his face.
Well, at least my response got him to stop glaring. I think that’s an achievement in itself.
We sat another ten minutes in silence until it was time for dinner. He didn’t bother with a notice, but simply looked at his rather tattered brown wrist watch, scraped his chair back and left.
I sighed. Well, at least I wasn’t dead.
* * *
“Rocky!” Kenny greeted me with a grin, “Your alive!”
“Are you sure? I could be a ghost.” I replied, sitting down on the wooden bench next to her, raising my eyebrow - an art which I had taken nearly two years to master.
She poked my stomach, “Nah, your stomach’s still squishy.”
I huffed, “Well, excuse me for not having a bikini body.”
“You should really exercise more, Rocky. It’s not good to be a potato couch.” Nell supplied, looking up from her charms book.
“I play Quidditch!” I said indignantly, “that’s enough exercise for one person.”
“But-“ Nell started, looking concerned.
“Leave her alone guys,” Rose said, her mouth stuffed with chicken, “Exercising is too taxing.”
“Thank you!” I exclaimed. “Having a flat stomach is not such a big deal.” I mean really, this is fucking Scotland, you’re not out wearing bikini’s all day and in fact you spend most of your time in covering yourself up. So why bother?
“Yeah it is,” Kenny and Nell said together.
“No it isn’t!” Rose and I said in sync, and then high-fived each other. “Inner beauty is more important you know,” Rose added.
Nell was about make a comment when Jake walked into the great hall giggling to himself.
“Why are you laughing like that?” Kenny asked, suspiciously.
Jake didn’t bother with an answer but instead grabbed some pudding and continued giggling. Yes, you heard me, giggling.
“Jake,” Rose prodded him, “Spit it out.”
This time he just started laughing out loud.
All four of us stared at him wondering what the hell was going on.
Nell sighed, “You know, I’ll be right back.” With that, she got up and walked over to the teacher’s table.
“Louis is going to ask Nell out,” Jake choked out.
“So what’s funny about that?” Kenny asked.
“Because Scorpius and I,” Jake paused for a moment, “Well actually I did most of the work but you know I’ll let Scorpius take some of credit because you know he’s my best mate and everything-“
“Moving on,” Kenny said.
“Right. So basically, it took me three hours to coach the kid as to how to ask a girl out and it was just so funny.”
“Some best mate you are,” Rose commented drily.
“Sorry guys,” Nell said, seating herself back on the table, “Had to ask Flitwick something.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
We ate in silence, Jake occasionally sniggering to himself until Scorpius and Louis walked in.
Scorpius patted Louis on the back and he immediately approached Nell, “Nell. Can I talk to you?”
Nell looked up from her charms book and smiled at him, “Louis, hey. Yeah, sure, go ahead.”
Louis took a deep breath and sent a slightly overwrought look towards the rest of us before looking back at her,” Will-you-go-out-with-me-to-Hogsmeade-next-week?” He enunciated each word carefully and took a breath between each word.
Nell blinked at him for a moment and then her face broke out into a dazzling smile, “I’d love to.” She said her tone slightly stunned.
“Great.” Louis let out a sigh of relief and sat down next to her and gave her a peck on the cheek.
Nell looked over the moon, while Jake and Scorpius grinned at each other, happy that their hard work finally paid off and gave a Louis a thumbs up.
I leaned towards Rose, “It’s your turn next.” I whispered
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it's taken me so long to get this chapter out! I had a bit of a writers block with this one :/ I'm really not happy with the beginning of this chapter - just generally how i wrote it - so that shall be edited soon! I just wanted to get this out to you guys! I'm really excited about the next chapter! Hint: Rose asks Scorpius out ;) Are you excited now? :D
Please do leave a review on your way out - it really keeps me going :)
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