Chapter 6 : Problem Number Six
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“Miss Carter, may I have a word please?” I look up from my transfiguration book and mouth a ‘me?’ to McGonagall.
“Yes, you. I don’t see any other Miss Carter’s here.” She said, crisply.
“Oh, right, yeah, sorry.” I scraped back my chair, snapping my transfiguration book shut and headed over to the front of the classroom where McGonagall was seated on the teacher’s desk marking some third year’s homework. Poor bloke got a T.
“Miss Carter,” She said, her voice soft, “How are the sessions with Mr. Potter going?”
I tensed slightly. “Fine. He has shown some improvement.” Well, I wasn’t lying. He did transition from yelling teenager to surly teenager. I’d think that that’s quite an accomplishment.
“Improvement how?” She asked.
“He’s learning how to manage his anger,” I answered.
“Good, good.” She said, thoughtfully, “Because if your sessions weren’t helping him, he would have had to seek some professional help.”
“Why?” I asked, my eyebrows shooting up, “I don’t think that’s necessary professor.”
“He hasn't written to his parents this term and they’re getting extremely worried. I believe James is informing them of his well-being. So naturally, if you can’t help him, they’d want Albus to see a professional.” She replied.
I personally felt that Mr. and Mrs. Potter were overreacting a tad bit, but I didn’t think anybody would be able to change their minds.
From my peripheral view, I saw Albus’s head snap up, which made it very clear that his ears were listening and interpreting each and every word we were saying.
“No, no,” I said, my voice slightly high, “No need for that, he’s doing just fine.”
Some part of me wondered why was I sticking up for him. I could simply say that my sessions aren’t helping at all. Why was covering up for him? Was it because of the promise I made to James? Or was it because of Mrs. Potter’s desperate cry for help that melted my heart? Or was it because I somehow actually cared about what happened to him?
Which one of these reasons was it, I didn’t know.
She gave me a piercing look. You know the one where you feel like they can read your mind and figure out that you’re lying. I tried to keep my expression as innocent as possible.
“Very well,” She said, finally, after she was done scrutinizing me, “You may go,”
I nodded and walked back towards my seat and opened my transfiguration book once more.
* * *
“Roseeeeee,” I sang happily, walking towards the great elm tree which stood majestically by the black lake, where Rose sitting propped up against the bark of the tree, going through her Arithmacy notes with Kenny while Nell was lounging on the grass beside them, with her eyes closed.
Rose looked up and scowled, “Don’t call me Rose.”
“When you going to ask him out?” I trilled, giving her a big grin and flopping down beside her on the grass.
Nell’s eyes flew open and she sat up grinning, “You’re going to ask Scorpius out?”
“I might,” Rose mumbled, turning red.
“When?” I pestered, “When are you going to ask him?”
“Soon,” Rose snapped.
“How exactly are you going to ask him?” Kenny asked, drily.
“Uh, ‘will you go out with me?’” Rose said, scrunching up her nose, “Isn’t that usually how you ask people out?”
“But this is Scorpius” Kenny said, “He’s not normal. I mean, what if he says no?”
Rose’s face fell, “I don’t know then.”
I decided to intervene here, “Stop being Negative Nancy,” I scolded Kenny, “He might say yes!”
“Aw, you guys will be so cute together!” Nell clapped her hands together and gave Rose a sloppy smile, “And when you start dating then we’ll be able to go on double dates!”
Rose didn’t look particularly thrilled, “We already eat dinner together. Just count that as a double date.”
Nell made a face, “That’s not what I meant.”
There was a moment of awkward silence, until Rose sighed; ”I guess I’ll ask him today. Better get it over with than to torture myself.”
“Awesome,” I grinned, “I’m sure it will work out.” Kenny gave me a slightly skeptical look, which I chose ignore while Nell nodded her head eagerly.
“And then we can go on a double date!”
* * *
“Thank you class. You may now go,” Professor Flitwick squeaked, jumping off his wooden stool, wrapping up his charm books in his little hands and hobbled off into his office.
“Ready to go?” Jake asked.
“Yeah. Just a second,” I was scribbling down the last answer for some Charms questions that were given. “Yeah, lets go.”
Jake, Rose and I made our way out of the classroom through hordes of people chattering and laughing when Jake asked, “What do you guys have next?”
“I have Quidditch practice.” I made a face. James is on warpath this year since it’s his last chance to win the Quidditch cup. Plus, since he can’t figure out what’s wrong with his brother – it’s made him even crankier.
“Poor you,” Jake noted. “What about you Rose?”
“Free,” Rose answered, “Although I’m heading towards the library for homework. Any one coming?”
“Nah,” Jake responded, “I’m meeting up with Marissa.” He sighed dreamily.
Rose and I shared a long-suffering look. Marissa was along with being a slag, just a down right bitch. We really didn’t understand what Jake saw in her.
“Why do you see in her?” Rose inquired, scrunching up her nose as though the smell in the air was particularly nasty.
“She’s really nice!” Jake defended her, “She’s sweet, kind and caring…”Jake trailed off, his eyes glazing over.
“And a bitch,” I added, under breath. Rose grinned.
“She’s my true love,” Jake proclaimed.
Rose widened her eyes, “Easy there, Jake. This is only your third date.”
“You can’t exactly say you love someone after only two dates. It takes time.” I told him.
“Say what you want,” He said, looking slightly disgruntled that we weren’t exactly very happy with his love proclamation.
I sighed, there was no convincing him. Rose apparently thought the same.
“Well, I’m off.” Rose said, waving goodbye, scurrying off the corridor.
“See ya, Rocky.” Jake grinned at me, pulling me into a hug and running off towards Marissa whom he had spotted down the corridor chatting with her followers – ahem- sorry friends.
I began walking towards the Gryffindor common room to fetch my Quidditch stuff when I bumped into someone, dropping my books.
Two times in two days. Really, this has become a habit. I bent down to pick up my books when a pair of piercing blue eyes met my own.
“Sorry,” Nathan Root gave me a crooked grin, “I should have been more careful.”
I had only known Nathan to be Albus’s best friend, or ex-best friend should I say. But besides that, I had heard him to be quite popular with the girls of our school with his floppy dirty blonde hair and his eyes so blue that you could practically swim in them.
“I should have been more careful as well,” I smiled at him.
He gave a grin and I nearly melted. “Guess it’s both our faults, eh?” He chuckled.
“Yeah,” I breathed out.
We stood there awkwardly for a moment just smiling at each other until I said, “I think I should be going. I don’t want to be late for Quidditch practice.”
“Ah,” he said, giving me a complacent look, “I’m guessing you’re going to try your luck at beating us this year?”
I smiled at him sweetly, “We know we’re going to win this year.”
“Good luck,” Nathan snickered, “Slytherin have won for the past two years.”
“Albus Potter’s been lucky. We’ll beat him this time.” I said, confidently.
I noticed Nathan stiffen slightly when I said Albus’s name but didn’t say anything. Instead, his expression just turned grim for a moment and then turned back to the same joking expression he had before.
“Anyway,” I said, “If you don’t have any more comebacks then I’m going to get going.” I gave him a small smile, “See you around.”
“See ya.” His smile was the last thing that my mind was able to capture, before I left.
* * *
“So,” I said awkwardly, “How was your day?”
Albus raised his eyebrow, “Really?”
I shrugged, trying to look as unconcerned as possible, although I don’t think I managed to pull it off since I could feel my cheeks flaming, “Just trying to make conversation.”
“Well, don’t.” He said, shortly.
“Why not?” I blurted out. Shit, no. Abort mission. You don’t want to get him angry! Although, my brain wasn’t ready to comply, “I mean, really, it’s not as if I’m snooping.”
Merlin! Shut up Rocky!
Albus looked at me for a moment, his expression surprisingly not angry, he actually sort of looked happy.
“What?” I asked, self-consciously. “Why are you smiling?”
“You really are a Gryffindor,” Was his only un-explanatory reply. He didn’t bother to explain any further but instead decided that the floor was much more fascinating than my curiosity.
Which, to be honest, it probably was.
We sat in silence after that for a few moments, when I decided to pull out my transfiguration homework. Might as well use time wisely.
I began scribbling down facts about turning water to wine, while humming the latest song of the Wayward Witches. Practically the entire wizarding hated this band because they believed that they copied the Weird Sisters, which, is absolutely and completely untrue.
Although, the population of Hogwarts would beg to differ. That’s why we’re all, what you would say, closet fans.
“You’re a fan of the Wayward Withes?” Albus asked, looking flummoxed.
My head snapped, nearly breaking my neck. Fuck, no. You were ridiculed a whole lot if anyone found out that you were a WW fan. “Erm no,” I said slowly, racking my brain for an excuse, “I was just, um, you know, no.”
For the first time since the school year began, I saw him grin, “Don’t worry. I’m a closet fan too.”
I was too busy staring at his face with my mouth, oh so attractively hanging open, to answer. Albus Potter was smiling. Like, actually and properly smiling. Grinning. Looking cheerful. He looked actually quite handsome when he smiled. His eyes twinkled, making the green colour sparkle even further than it normally did. He even had a dimple on his left cheek.
“You are?” I asked, shocked, when I managed to recover my voice.
“Yeah,” He said, “Ever since first album Silver Snitch came out five years ago.”
“I love that album!” I exclaimed enthusiastically, “I think that was the best one yet!”
“I don’t particularly like the new one though,” Albus said, making a slight face, his smile sliding off.
I wanted to tell him to keep the smile on that face, because he really did look quite wonderful.
“It’s not that bad,” I reasoned, “Although some of the songs sound pretty much the same.”
“I think the worst song of Dancing Trolls was Feel my Love.” He wrinkled his nose slightly.
I goggled at him, “No. That was the best song ever.”
He gave me a look, “You’re kidding me,” He said flatly, “What sort of a fan are you? Everyone single fan hated that song. Except you that is.”
“It’s a good song okay?” I said defensively, “And I’m an awesome fan!”
I was still having a hard time that we were having a legit conversation that didn’t involve him yelling, making a face or telling me to stay out of his life.
I guess he was just tired of being alone.
“Did you go to their concert?” Albus asked, eagerly.
I tensed up slightly. Truth is, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the concert tickets. In fact, Seth and I had very little money for anything. Our mother had left us with barely anything. We’d mostly survived on the orphanage fund, which we eventually had to pay back and on the money Seth and I earned from working in Diagon Alley during the summer and a couple of days during winter. Everything we had was second hand, our books, cauldrons, clothes, everything.
“No,” I said awkwardly, “I didn’t have enough money to pay for it.” I wasn’t ashamed that I wasn’t rich, but sometimes I wish life didn’t have to be this way.
“Oh,” He said, looking uncomfortable, “I’m sorry.” And I really, really hated when people looked at me as if I was a pity case.
“Why?” I said, trying to keep the bitterness out of my voice, although I believed I failed, “It’s not as if you prayed to Merlin to make me poor.” I refrained from mentioning that the reason we were extremely poor was because of my estranged mother.
Albus snorted. “No, I didn’t.”
“Good. Because if you did, I would kick your arse back to hell.” I said, grinning slightly, taking a bold chance to try and joke around him.
He didn’t reply but instead an odd expression took over his face. I looked at him, feeling concerned when he didn’t reply for a few minutes. Was it something I said?
“Are you okay?” I asked him, tilting my head slightly to see his face, which was now looking at the floor.
“Yeah.” He scraped his chair back so fast, knocking it down to the floor making a loud ‘thud!’ “I should go though.” And without another word he walked off.
I stared after him, I believe, looking thoroughly confused. I mean, one minute we were getting along just fine and the next second poof! Let’s begin the ‘ignore everyone’ mode again? Does he have a timer or something or is it just me that manages to screw things up?
* * *
I trudged back towards the common room, my mind dazed in confusion and my head throbbing. I enter the common room, my eyes scanning the room quickly to see if I could spot any of my friends. Surprisingly, I couldn’t see any of them. The common room was strangely empty, only a couple first and second years were sitting by the fireplace, enjoying the comfortable velvet chairs which were normally occupied by the older kids.
I headed up to the dormitory to find Kenny and Nell tied up to a chair with their wands thrown in the corner of the room. Kenny, with a determined expression across her face, was struggling against the rope while Nell was sitting looking oddly content.
I stared at them, “Why are you guys tied up?”
Kenny looked up, her face brightening, “Rocky!” she cried out happily, and “You’re here. Come untie me.”
Nell cleared her throat.
“Us,” Kenny corrected.
“Still doesn’t explain why you’re tied up to the chair,” I said.
“Will you bleeding untie me first?”
“Not until you tell me why.”
Kenny huffed, “Well, if you must know. Nell and I tried to follow Rose when she said she was going to ask Scorpius out and she said no and so to ensure we don’t follow her she tied us up.”
“That doesn’t sound like Rose.” I frowned. Rose was probably the nicest person you’d have ever meet. She was the epitome of nice. Unless, of course, you get on her bad side, then she’ll make you wish you were never born.
“Well,” Nell said, smiling slightly, “You did lunge at her when she said no.” Kenny shot her a filthy look.
“Details,” She waved it away.
“So why did she tie you up Nell?” I asked her, my voice laced with confusion. Dear Merlin, everyone and everything was a big bomb of incertitude today. First Albus and now these two.
“Because I helped Kenny.”
“So why don’t you sound angry?”
“Because I can blame the fact that I didn’t do my astronomy homework because Rose tied me up to a chair. And plus, it gave me time to plan out my outfit for my date.” Nell said brightly. I smiled fondly. Ah Nell, always looking at the bright side of things.
I grinned, “Nice.”
“Will you untie us already?” Kenny barked, her patience finally running out.
“Nah.” I said, flopping down on her bed, smirking. “I think I’ll just leave you like this.” Kenny was breathing heavily, glaring at me and I smirked once more. I absolutely loved winding Kenny up - her reactions were absolutely priceless.
“UNTIE ME YOU BINT.” Kenny roared.
Nell cringed. “Can you please stop shouting into my ear?”
“Not till you say the magic word.” I taunted her, thoroughly enjoying myself.
“Please.” Kenny spat.
“Fine.” I said, “On one condition.”
“Wha-aa-t?” Kenny groaned.
I knew exactly what she was planning to do when I untied her. “You will not follow Rose.” I said sternly.
Kenny’s face fell. “Why not?” She demanded.
“Because it’s an invasion of privacy.”
“Privacy,” Kenny scoffed.
“Kenny,” I said, warningly.
“Fine.” Kenny made a face. “I won’t stalk Rose.”
“You’re really going to believe her?” Nell asked, looking mildly shocked.
Truth is, I didn’t, but I think she’d been tied up to that chair for too long.
“Hey!” Kenny protested, “I take offense to that!”
“Right,” I trudged towards her slowly, taking as much time as I could.
“Will you bleeding hurry up, god dammit?” Kenny said, throwing her head back, groaning.
“At least I’m going to untie you.” I shot back at her.
“Patience is virtue, Kenny.” Nell commented.
Kenny shot her a dirty look. Real charmer, this one.
I finally reached her, taking my own sweet time when Rose barged into the room.
“Oh, hey guys!” She said cheerfully. I grinned. Looks like her mission to get her love life on track had been successful. “Oh, thanks for not untying them Rocky!” She added, looking at me happily.
“No problem,” I grinned. “So, how’d it go?”
“Great!” She said, “I’m going with Matt Campbell to Hogsmeade.”
What? Kenny, Nell and I looked at each other, shocked.
“Since when does Matt Campbell rhyme with Scorpius Malfoy?” Nell asked, looking perplexed.
“Why would I ask Scorpius?” Rose said, airily, although you could hear the nervousness in her voice.
“Because that’s what you were going to do?” Kenny pointed out. “Don’t tell me you tied me up to a chair for nothing!”
“Rose,” I said, “What the hell is going on?”
“I’m going on a date. Is that so bad?” She snapped.
“But what happened to Scorpius?” Nell asked.
“Nothing! He’s fine!” Rose said impatiently. “I’m going to go have a bath now, if you’re done interrogating me.”
“But-“ Kenny began.
“Oh, you’re done! Bye!” And with that, Rose stomped off towards the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
“Do you guys know what happened?” I asked, turning towards Kenny and Nell.
Kenny shrugged, “Don’t ask me. I’ve been tied to the chair the hold time.”
* * *
Rose’s mysterious behavior wasn’t forgotten after her little bathroom drama to distract us. We pestered her to no end but she kept up the pretense. Rose claimed that she was simply sitting in the library when seventh year Hufflepuff Matt Campbell asked her out and she accepted because ‘he’s a pretty fit bloke’.
Obviously none of us believed her.
Nell and I decided to drop it, but Kenny pestered her until Rose decided to sleep in the common room.
Needless to say, we didn’t know shit about what really happened between Rose and Scorpius.
The next day I decided upon an early breakfast at around seven in the morning. The great hall always looked lovely and peaceful early morning with the golden light of the sun shining through glass windows giving the great hall a stunning golden glow.
Hogwarts really is beautiful.
I sat down on the wooden benches at the Gryffindor table, picking up a chocolate chip muffin from one of the china plates when a disheveled looking Scorpius sat down in front of me.
“Hi, Rocky.” Scorpius greeted.
“Hey Scorpius,” I said, my voice measured.
Scorpius was looking at me expectantly, his expression guarded, “What’s up?”
“Nothing.” I replied, taking a bite of my muffin.
Scorpius looked around the hall awkwardly before saying feebly, “Looks beautiful doesn’t it?”
Okay, this has gone on long enough. Scorpius never acted awkward. He was quiet, sure but never awkward.
“Cut the crap Scorpion.” I said, curiosity burning my voice, “Tell me what happened.”
“I’d wish you’d stop calling me that.” Scorpius grumbled.
“Did Rose tell you anything?” Scorpius asked me, looking at me carefully.
“Really!” I dissented, “She just said she’s going on a date with Matt Campbell.”
“Oh,” An odd expression crossed his face. “Right.”
“So what happened?” I asked.
“Well,” Scorpius said slowly, “Rose asked me out.”
“I thought she didn’t tell you anything!” Scorpius said, his tone accusatory.
“I knew from before!” I said, agitated. I needed to know what happened!
“Right.” Looking slightly ashamed, Scorpius carried on, “And I said no.”
“WHY?!” I exclaimed loudly, looking at him indignantly, my eyes wide.
“Because she’s Rose!” Scorpius retaliated, looking frustrated.
“Who did you think she was?” I asked, making a face. “Celestina Warbeck?”
“Ha ha.” Scorpius said, his voice mundane. Then he raised his tone slightly, “I meant, that this the Rose that stood up for me on the first day when a bunch of guys were bullying me. It’s the same Rose who then punched me in the stomach, for being a ‘scary cat’. It’s the same Rose who then extended her hand out and said that she wanted to be friends with me even though her father said no.” Scorpius took a breath, “It’s Rose. My best freaking friend. I can’t go out with her!”
I smiled slightly, “She’s still the same Rose, Scorpius. It’ll still be the same.”
“No, it won’t.” Scorpius closed his eyes briefly. “It’ll be different.”
“It’s one date.” I reasoned, “What harm can it do?”
“Can I continue as to what happened?” Scorpius said, ignoring my question.
“Well, then she looked hurt –“
“That’s a shocker.” I muttered.
“Right, and then…” Scorpius trailed off, looking awkward once again.
I knew that expression. It only came up when he did something wrong.
“What did you do?” I said, dread creeping into my voice.
“Nothing.” He squeaked. Squeaked. Cherish the moment folks. It’s not everyday you hear a sixteen year old boy squeak.
“Well, she looked really hurt and I felt really bad and then I might have made an excuse to make her feel better.”
“What sort of an excuse?” I asked suspiciously.
“I told her I was gay.”
I stared at him, not knowing what to think. Gay? Is that why Rose didn’t seem so upset when she walked in? Is that why she’d accepted Matt’s offer to Hogsmeade?
“Gay? What? What the hell?” I spluttered. “What the fuck Scorpius?”
“It’s gets worse.”
“How could it get possibly get worse?” I said, throwing my hands up in the air, unnerved.
“I told her that I a boyfriend named Sergei who was my next door neighbor.” Scorpius said, looking down at his plate.
I stared at him disbelievingly. “Sergei.” I said flatly.
“Yes.” Scorpius said, sounding ashamed.
I gaped at him for a few moments before bursting into hysterical laughter. Don’t look at me like that! I couldn’t help it.
“Rocky!” Scorpius exclaimed indignantly, “Don’t laugh!”
“S-so-o-r-y” I said, laughing my stomach hurting from spazzing like an idiot. “But, how could you do something like that?”
“I don’t know!” Scorpius wailed, “I didn’t think!”
“Clearly.” I said, sniggering.
“And now she thinks I’m gay!” Scorpius shook his head, groaning.
“I can’t believe you actually did that.” I laughed once more, banging my fist on the table, my wavy black hair falling over my face, attracting the attention of the few people sitting in the great hall, all of who shot me dirty looks.
Scorpius didn’t look a least bit amused, “Can you please tell me how to fix this?”
“You’ve screwed yourself Scorpius.” I said, my expression turning grim, “You know how Rose feels about lying.” Rose could lie, but she absolutely hated people lying to her.
Personally, I think it’s a bit hypocritical of her, but to be honest, who liked people when they lied?
“Seriously, Rocky. Please,” Scorpius begged.
“I’m sorry, Scorpius!” I said, “but what exactly can I do here? I can’t help you. You have to fix this yourself.”
“Well, at least tell me how!” Scorpius said.
“I don’t know.” I took a bite of my muffin. Truth is, I found the situation too funny to think properly. If I gave Scorpius a solution, it would definitely be a crappy one. But looking at his desperate and miserable face, I felt bad.
“Look,” I sighed, getting up from the bench, “I’ll think of something okay?”
His face lit up, “Thank you, Rocky.”
I turned around to leave when Scorpius asked, “Where you going?”
“Dormitory. Have to collect my books.” I replied.
“Don’t leave me alone.” Scorpius complained.
I grinned, “Sorry Scorpion.”
I grinned once again and left heading towards the large wooden doors of the great hall when I banged into Nathan.
“Oh!” I exclaimed, smiling, “You again.”
“You don’t sound too happy.” Nathan said, his blue eyes twinkling.
“I’m not, believe me.” I retaliated, giving him a cheeky smile.
“So,” Nathan said, his expression turning serious, “Still trying to beat Slytherin?”
“Like I said before,” I said, “I know we will beat you guys.”
“We’ll see.” He said, winking at me.
“Anyways, I should be going,” I said, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear, awkwardly. “See you around.”
I started walking off when I heard him shout, “Wait!”
I turned around, “Yeah?”
“Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me?” Nathan asked, looking hopeful.
My mind went blank. Was he asking me out on a date?
Of course he’s asking you out on a date a dolt!
What should I say?
Stop being stupid and just answer him!
I had been asked out by guys before and gone on dates but somehow I felt this was different. And plus, I was under the assumption that he was dating Aimee Hendricks. At least that’s what I assumed since Albus wasn’t talking to his best friends.
“Aren’t you dating Aimee?” I asked.
“She’s my cousin.” Nathan looked disgusted. Frankly, I couldn’t blame him. I mean, I’d feel pretty disgusted as well if someone asked me a question like that. “Why did you think she was my girlfriend?”
“Oh, um, well, sorry about that but I don’t think going on a date is a good idea.” I said, avoiding his question and smiling apologetically.
“That’s okay,” He shrugged nonchalantly, “Just thought I’d try my luck.”
“I’m really sorry,” I apologized. I felt bad. I mean I just turned down a guy for no reason whatsoever.
“Nah,” He waved it away, flashing me a grin, “Relax. I’ll see you around.” With that, he smiled at me broadly and walked away.
I stared after him my mind running at hundred kilometers per hour. If Nathan wasn’t dating Aimee, then why was Albus pissed at both of his best friends?
A/N: DUN. DUN. DUNNNNN. So I know what all of you were thinking – that Aimee cheated on Albus with Nathan but that was never the plan. So let the guessing commence ;) And I would love to thank all my readers and reviewers – i've gotten over 100 favourites on this story and I am so flattered because I never thought I’d get so many – so thank you! <3
Do leave a review on your way out – I’d love to hear your thoughts :)
PS – I’d like to thank AlexFan for giving me the idea of just asking Albus about how his day went!
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