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Of Heartburning and Other Losses by mcdash
Chapter 1 : Break Your Bones
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its affiliated world and characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Hello there potential reader! This is, essentially, a Quidditch-centric story, but in later chapters will probably develop into a fic filled with stalking, very bad ideas, two POVs to make your head spin, and not a lot of Quidditch. It that sounds promising, please read on!

Chapter One: Break Your Bones



As far as stories go, Rosemary was a crafter, whipping out tales like fire on wood. She could captivate anyone with words, good or bad, and leave them with a feeling much like confusion and admiration. People always said words were powerful, and Rosemary proved this to everyone she met: professors, friends, and enemies.

As far as actions go, James was a prodigy, turning a situation to his advantage with a single idea or movement. He was impulsive, spontaneous, and kept people on their toes. He took things into his hands with an air of democracy but returned to a Neanderthal way with his opponent on the ground and his fist flexing from the impact.

Deep down, they were alike and yet oh so different, for she was a cunning and ambitious and he was brave and daring. They were completely enamored with their own way of settling things that it had never occurred to them that one day there could a simple little switch. One day she would be throwing punches, and he would be spinning words out of thin air.

Because they always say sticks and stone may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

*

It was nothing of unusual to see Rosemary Benson walking her half-brother to the Muggle playground on a muggy morning. It was a daily occurrence, always beginning with the same words of, “Rosemary…” uttered by her mother and the final huff of air that escaped her lips in gratitude. Garrett Benson was a growing boy with a need for trouble and quite a bit of fun, and he found this at the park.

Rosemary had been in the customary reading of her Aunt Alexandra’s column in the Daily Prophet when her mother had approached her. Feeling under with the day’s story, Rosemary agreed quicker than usual. Grabbing Garrett’s small hand, they departed the Benson house, but not without the newspaper.

The walk there was long and tedious, passing old Mrs. Pertram’s house on the corner, taking a right down Chatlam Way and continuing on to the end of the street where the old swings and slide sat on the edge of the woods. Apart from Garrett and Rosemary, nobody ever paid a visit to the playground.

Built in the dying 1980’s, its cold metal swings creaked and groaned when sat upon, and the slide with its rusting supports leaned precariously to the right. The only thing much in use was the bench Rosemary sat on every day. Perhaps if someone had paid a little more attention to it, the hard concrete would not have weeds in the cracks and people would not be scared that a wild dog would come running out of the woods.

However, most people who had used it were Muggles and therefore had no way to magic the dog away. They didn’t have the power to place a special anti-weeds potion in the cracks or have access to Rogan Ripple’s Rust Reducing potion with a systematic guide on applying it.

On days like these, the swings creaked louder, and the slide seemed to keel over any minute. A permanent haze settled over the black asphalt and birdcalls were swiftly silenced by the stiffness in the air.

“Garrett, wait for me!” cried Rosemary. The four-year-old shot a playful look over his shoulder before laughing, a sound uncommon in the neighborhood. He ran faster, his short stubby legs carrying him farther away from Rosemary. She could have just as easily run after Garrett, but seeing the look of happiness on his face stopped her.

By the time Rosemary reached the point where the white sidewalk ended and became black asphalt, Garrett was already in his own world, exploring the edges of the woods and defeating dark wizards with pointy beards.

A few meters away from the edge, a sun-faded bench sat in direct sunlight, the steel it was made out of hot. When it was first placed there, it could have been a lovely dark blue, but it had since turned into a pale, bluish-yellow mess. Rosemary sat in her usual spot, a few centimeters away from the edge, turned slightly to the right.

She opened the Daily Prophet and returned to reading her Aunt’s column, a bi-weekly publication on anything current in the Wizarding World, whether it is a book taking the charts by storm or a particular man known for his infamous contributions to the Wizarding World.

IS SWF BECOMING BUDDIES WITH FARLEY PORTER?

Farley Porter’s age is decreasing- and apparently his sanity as well, reports bi-weekly columnist Alexandra Rivers. The multimillion-fortune holder is currently at the stakes for his arguable contributions to the small and limited Society for Wizarding Freedom (SWF). SWF, known for their radical protest this summer for the removal of the International Statute of Secrecy, has just received a heavy donation of 9,000 Galleons by Porter, a surprisingly smart move in his race for Minister for Magic.

There was substantial gossip flying around the halls of the Daily Prophet earlier this summer when Porter announced his decision to try to secure the spot as Minister for Magic, recently left by Kingsley Shacklebolt. If our offices were busy then, they’re simply mad now.

“Farley is just an old man with a head full of money,” says old friend of his, Aston Archer. “I used to be friends with him, you know, but a few years back he started to get all ‘bout the money. Makin’ donations to some little charity and gettin’ twice back in revenue. Not sure what he’s up to with this scheme of his right now, but it seems like he’s workin’ on getting a little bit of money back out.”

Our chief political correspondent, Laurence Stokes, commented on the issue: “What Porter’s doing here is taking this controversial group and turning them into something else. You’ll probably see them get close to him soon; no surprise there, Porter’s a charismatic man. He’ll get some money back, use that coerce some more supporters, still maintain the ones he has, and BAM! Farley Porter, next Minister for Magic.”

Whether Stokes’ prediction is accurate or not can be questioned but—


At the sound of crying, Rosemary was pulled from the newspaper and back to reality. Across the park, Garrett was crouched on the ground near a tree, wails and cries coming from his mouth. Dropping the newspaper and leaping up from the bench, Rosemary ran across the pavement to the edge of the woods. Garrett was clutching his left arm and from the distance, Rosemary could see it was bent at an unnatural angle.

“Garrett, calm down!” said Rosemary as she dropped down beside him. Garrett’s yells were especially loud in the summer haze, yet Rosemary couldn’t see any tears on his face. She placed a finger on his mouth and gently took his arm in her other available hand. He stopped screaming to let out a small whimper.

“Shhh,” Rosemary said, taking his arm in both hands. The arm was badly broken.

Now, a simple potion or spell could fix up the arm but alas, Rosemary was not of age and did not carry a cauldron and potion ingredients around with her. Therefore, she would have to be reduced to carrying Garrett home as fast as she could. She knew her mum would have a potion Garrett could swallow and the arm would be magically healed.

Crawling over to his other side, Rosemary picked up Garrett bridal style. “Hold your arm in your lap.”

The muscles in Rosemary’s arm tensed up as she picked up her half-brother. Garrett whimpered and looked up pleadingly at her. “Hurry, Rosie.”

The affectionate name Garrett had given her made Rosemary smile, a rare occurrence in the summer, and walk that much faster. The intersection of Chatlam and Prince was foreboding, and afterwards it would take her down a long walk on Prince Road, a feat of itself.

Chatlam wasn’t as bad as Prince. Manicured lawns lined the way, and there was a fresh new sidewalk in front. Chatlam Way was one of the newer sections of the neighborhood and consisted of young families with infants and the Hunters, an old couple that gave out homemade cookies on Boxing Day. But past Chatlam Way, directly facing the playground, was Mrs. Flannery Belle Pertram.

Mrs. Pertram was an aged lady with numerous wrinkles on her face and a total of six teeth missing. She walked with a cane, and it seemed that her right leg was shorter than the other. She wore the same pink cotton dress every day, only changing the shawl she wrapped around her shoulders. Day after day, she sat on her porch and hollered at passerby, telling them to tuck their shirts in and to comb their hair. She scowled at young girls, muttering to herself about them having no dignity. She scared little children and they made up tales, saying she was really a witch and boiled bad children in a pot she kept in her basement.

Mrs. Pertram never denied or confirmed these rumors but still kept up the presence she had. Certain days she was worse than others.

Today was one of those days.

Rosemary arrived at the intersection and crossed onto the other side, arriving on Prince Road and in front of Mrs. Pertram’s house. Taking a left and passing the yellow house Mrs. Pertram resided in, Rosemary could see the mold growing on the bottom steps and the sagging roof. Merlin knows how long Mrs. Pertram had lived in the house.

“Is that you Rosemary Benson?” Mrs. Pertram yelled. Rosemary’s mouth dipped into a thin scowl. Mrs. Pertram had a particular dislike for Rosemary and made a point of yelling it to the neighbors day and night.

“What’d you do to that poor boy, Rosemary Benson? Probably up to your cunning ways, aren’t you?” If she had a mirror, Rosemary would have seen she had a twitch going on in her eye.

Taking the safe route, Rosemary said hello. “Hello, Mrs. Pertram.”

“Don’t you hello me, girl!” Mrs. Pertram said. “You say good afternoon!” Resisting the temptation to roll her eyes, Rosemary walked past and heard the old rocking chair Mrs. Pertram sat in creak with satisfaction. She knew she had won today and would do it again tomorrow.

Rosemary hurried along the sidewalk and saw her own home, if she could call it that, coming into view. The brick stucco stuck out against the tired old houses that also remained there. While most houses were painted and had a smooth finish, the Benson household was one of the few made of bricks, something surprising in a neighborhood like Rosemary’s. Of course, the differences the Benson house had could also be used to describe the family inside.

Rosemary ran up the driveway and to the front door, Garrett whimpering in the shelter of her arms. She kicked the door as hard as she could and waited for someone to open it. A few moments passed and just as Rosemary felt like kicking again, the door swung open.

Pearl Benson was a Gryffindor and very different from Rosemary. She had long blonde hair that caught the attention of quite a few boys, her age and older. She was considerably shorter than Rosemary and had a slimmer frame with a dainty face. She couldn’t be bothered with Quidditch or any of the other things Rosemary was interested in, much rather wanting to talk about boys and makeup and other things girls were expected to like. Compared to anyone else, Pearl was exactly how a girl is supposed to be.

The look of confusion she originally wore passed and was replaced by worry as Rosemary pushed past her. “Rosemary, what’s wrong with Garrett?” Following her step sister down the main hall to the kitchen, Pearl tried to get a peek over her shoulder, but to no avail.

Rosemary stepped inside the empty kitchen and turned around to face Pearl. “Where’s Mum, Pearl?”

Exactly on cue, Mrs. Benson appeared behind her. “What’s wrong?”

Kit Benson looked like she could have been a lively person when she was younger, with crinkles around her eyes from smiling and the ability to make anyone feel better than they were before. She was a lovely person, as many people described her as. Her blonde hair was always in a short, close-cropped style, and her freckles stood out against her pale skin.

Rosemary was perfectly content with her mother but that’s what it only was: contentment. She didn’t hold her mum in high standards, but didn’t put her down. She would always love her but would never list her as her idol or something of the like. Kit Benson was an ordinary person not worth glorifying.

“Garrett’s broken his arm,” Rosemary said. Pearl gasped and clapped her hands to her mouth. Mrs. Benson’s mouth sagged a little. She stepped forward and took Garrett’s arm in her hands. Unbeknownst to most, Kit had previously been studying to be a Healer when she had met Rosemary’s father.

“It’s definitely broken,” said Mrs. Benson. “But I don’t have any Bone Bonding potion. We’ll have to go to Mungo’s.”

If Rosemary had been in a foul mood before, she was positively steaming with annoyance now. Rosemary hated hospitals, especially St. Mungo’s. She never had a soft spot for the sick or injured and viewed it as a weakness. She kept her body in tip-top shape as to avoid any complications. And although she would never admit it, she was terrified of hospitals.

Pearl ran out of the kitchen, presumably off to get shoes. Mrs. Benson gently took Garrett, who was still whimpering, from Rosemary’s arms and placed him on the kitchen counter. She took out her wand and conjured a bandage and splint from seemingly nowhere, although Rosemary knew it must have come from the medicine cabinet in the upstairs bathroom.

Watching her mother work had always been something boring and tedious to Rosemary, so she made herself at home. Leaning against the wall, Rosemary took out her wand and began to twirl it around in her fingers, her Quidditch Chaser skills showing. On accident, her wand shot out a few sparks.

“Watch it, young lady,” Mrs. Benson said. “I know you don’t like hospitals, but you’ll have to deal with it.” Mrs. Benson finished wrapping Garrett’s arm up and turned around to face Rosemary. This time she had an envelope in her hand.

“This came while you were gone,” Mrs. Benson said, stretching her arm out to pass it onto Rosemary. The girl grabbed it from her mum and recognized the green ink from Hogwarts. “Pearl’s already opened hers.”

Rosemary stuck her wand in the waistband of her jeans and slid her finger underneath the seal of the envelope. It flipped open, and Rosemary pulled out the letter telling her about being welcomed back to Hogwarts. She skimmed through it and was surprised to read that O.W.L. scores would be delayed until the 17th of August. There had been malfunctions in the grading of a small Wales school, and everybody’s exams were being re-graded as a result. Besides the news about O.W.L.s, there was also something else inside the envelope. Rosemary threw the letter on the counter beside her and reached inside once more. This time, her fingers felt something cool with sharp edges. She carefully pulled it out.

Glinting in the artificial light of the kitchen, Rosemary stared down at the shiny badge in her hand. The careful words of “Quidditch Captain” were printed across it neatly, slightly sunken into the badge. The serpent, Slytherin’s animal, was present and the house colors of silver and green adorned it. The envelope dropped from Rosemary’s hand and a slow smile crept up on her face. At that moment, Pearl came into the kitchen.

“Mum?” Although Pearl was technically Mrs. Benson’s stepdaughter, she treated Mrs. Benson like her own biological mother, something not even Rosemary could accomplish on certain days. “I was just looking through the latest Witch Weekly, and well, Chrissie’s is having this great sale on their accessories and I was wondering if you’d let me go check it out? I have my own money so you wouldn’t have to pay.” All of this came out of Pearl’s mouth very hurried and was finished off with a winning grin.

Sighing, Mrs. Benson nodded, and Pearl let out a small squeal of excitement and, if possible, her grin grew wider. “Rosemary, you can come with me as well!”

Rosemary’s eyes grew wide and the badge was forgotten. “No, I think I’ll just pass—“

“Rosemary, go with your sister. It’ll be better than Mungo’s. You can go off somewhere else. Just keep in touch,” Mrs. Benson said. Squeezing her eyes shut, Rosemary breathed deeply.

“Alright, I’ll go.” Opening her eyes, she saw Pearl race out of the kitchen and presumably to the den. Rosemary shot a look at her mother before following Pearl and tucking her badge into her back pocket. Inside the den, Pearl had the jar of Floo Powder ready and a fire blazing in the large fireplace. Upon Rosemary’s entrance, Pearl threw a handful of powder into the fire. She stepped inside.

“The Leaky Cauldron!” she shouted. With a whoosh, she was gone. Rosemary stepped up next.

She threw in her own handful and stepped inside. The warm flames licked at her arms and smoke and ash blew up around her head. “The Leaky Cauldron!”

The familiar turn began, and soon Rosemary was speeding past different Wizarding houses until finally catching sight of the popular inn. She stopped herself from moving by stepping out, stumbling a little bit at first. To her right, Pearl was shaking dust and ash off her clothes with a pretty boy standing next to her. It didn’t come as much surprise to Rosemary; boys were always ogling at Pearl.

Rosemary brushed off the soot from her own clothes and looked up in time to see Pearl flash a charming smile at the boy, the mystery boy blush, open his mouth, but get cut off by Rosemary. She grabbed Pearl’s elbow and led her past the guy, his face falling.

She’s a bloody fourth year, Rosemary thought to herself.

Rosemary and Pearl navigated their ways through tables towards the back. Rosemary caught sight of Regina Prescott, a Slytherin in the year above her, cleaning off a table. The both gave each other little nods but returned to their own tasks.

“Hello Hannah!” Pearl piped up from behind Rosemary. The girls were passing by Hannah Longbottom, the landlady, and she gave a friendly wave and a polite hello to them as well. Rosemary smiled but continued towards the back. She disappeared through the back door and into the alley with Pearl at her heels.

“Merlin, you’d think you were running from someone with how fast you were going, Rosemary,” Pearl commented. The older girl, finally away from the eyes of adults, rolled her eyes at Pearl.

“It’s not as if I want to go,” Rosemary said. “You dragged me here.”

Childishly, Pearl stuck her tongue out at Rosemary. “Real mature there, Pearl.” Rosemary pulled her wand out of her waistband and tapped it on the brick wall. The bricks began to shuffle and move into an entrance big enough for any man. On the other side, wizards and witches bustled around the shops of Diagon Alley.

The pair stepped through, and the bricks returned to their original spot behind them. Pearl was quickly lost in the crowd, but Rosemary didn’t care. She ambled along, pulling out her new Captain badge and admiring it in the sunlight.

Once she was at Hogwarts and wearing it, Rosemary thought it would look beautiful with her Quidditch robes. Of course, Quidditch players weren’t allowed to wear badges for fear that they would accidentally get stabbed by it (this actually happened in 1734 and was made an official rule in 1736), but it could always be for show.

Not thinking of any particular place to visit, Rosemary stopped when she reached Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. The joke shop, brightly lit and colorful, was a popular hangout spot for Hogwarts students. Although not one of her favorite places, Rosemary decided to have a look inside. She pushed the door open, and a bell sounded over her head. It was quickly drowned out by the noise inside the store.

Shouts, screams, and yells came from children of every size, running around the store without a care in the world. There was a demonstration with juggling going on near the front, and various products were being pulled from the shelves by little kids. Workers were doing product placement and reorganizing the shelves. Older students converged near the front, gossiping about their summers and occasionally picking up a toy to play with or look at. The smaller ones ran around, lost without parents in the huge store. From the back, a small explosion echoed throughout but nobody seemed to mind; it was customary in here.

Transformed from the small corner shop at Number 93 Diagon Alley, Weasley Wizard Wheezes was a store that still held the attention of the Wizarding community. When Ron Weasley joined George Weasley, the two bought the shop next to them to expand the size, thus increasing the number of products they could produce. New ways of advertising (a weekly page in the Daily Prophet), a smaller shop in Hogsmeade (located at the spot of the old Zonko’s), and a way of purchasing products internationally by mail order helped bring the joke shop to fame and fortune.

A small Aviatomobile whizzed past Rosemary’s head, barely missing her ear. She was unable to locate the source and gave up, choosing to browse the store instead. Rows upon rows greeted her, small testing stations at the end of each. Kids milled around, occasionally stopping a little longer to properly examine a toy but moved along with their friends.

Rosemary was displaced in the store. She wasn’t there with any friends or escorting a little sibling around. She wasn’t here for a summer job and wasn’t part of the Weasley clan. She was just Rosemary Benson, a bored girl on a hot summer day.

Nothing interested Rosemary and with the addition of not having any money to spend, she moved through the aisles quickly. By the time she reached the middle of the store, she almost felt claustrophobic with a strong sense of annoyance.

Rosemary turned around the corner of an aisle and bumped into someone’s back. The person in front of her let out a small, “Oomph.” Rosemary stumbled backwards and glanced up at the person just half a head taller than her. She placed a hand on the shelf behind her to steady herself and generally thought about how bad her day was going while the mystery person turned around.

The first thing Rosemary noticed was his hair; it was the annoying, rumpled kind that you just want to smooth down with a whole jar of hair gel and water. His happened to stick up in the back and do a little flip in the front, something girls fawned over at school. As Rosemary’s eyes travelled down his face, she become more aware of those little things she hated. Brown eyes that always seemed a bit too mischievous and freckles that somehow let him maintain a boyish appearance. His mouth, usually smirking or frowning at her, was still halfway through a smile, as if he was interrupted from a joke he was hearing.

“Rosemary Benson, what a lovely surprise,” James Sirius Potter said. He was still smiling, and further notice revealed that Fred Weasley, the second, was standing behind him, poking his head around his cousin’s taller figure.

Rosemary pushed off the shelf and crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, I didn’t plan on running into you if that’s the impression you’re getting.”

James threw a quick glance over his shoulder at Fred but turned back to her. “So, what have you been up to so far this summer, Rosemary? Any news about Quidditch?”

“Not that I’ve heard of, James,” Rosemary lied. She slowly made her way around him, and he followed like two opponents facing off in a battle of wits. “What’ve you been doing? Educating yourself about how to actually read and write?”

“Don’t lie to me, Benson.”

“Don’t act coy, Potter. I’ve seen your spelling; it’s atrocious.”

“Well, it’s not like you attended primary school either,” James said. By now, they were parallel to the double doors of the front store with Fred flanking James. Rosemary turned her attention away from James and to Fred.

Fred Weasley was a bulky guy. Hours of Quidditch practice didn’t help the problem, but he just naturally took up a lot of space. He was a clumsy person anywhere but the Quidditch pitch and maintained the magical ability of being the funniest guy in the room while turning completely serious at the drop of a hat. Girls obsessed over how much respect he gave them and how he was such a gentleman. There were far too many times Rosemary had heard her roommates obsess over his good looks and not even a pillow pressed to her ears could block out their squeals. To say the least, Fred was popular among the girls of Hogwarts, even if he had a girlfriend, Cassie Fletcher.

“How are you, Fred?” Rosemary asked, turning slightly so she could face him better. She heard a slight chuckle come from James as she ignored him.

Fred smiled politely. “Hol’s been great. Cassie and I hung out a few days ago in Muggle London. How’s yours been?”

Rosemary closed her eyes for the briefest bit and shrugged. “It’s been summer. Not one of the most pleasurable times for me, but oh well. Received your Hogwarts letter yet?”

Attempting to block out James proved to be harder than originally thought, because at every word Rosemary said, he either scoffed or laughed. It was becoming irritable and the desire to turn around and face him was nagging away at her.

“I received mine this morning,” James cut in.

Rosemary shot him a look and said, “Thanks for your input, but I was talking to Fred.”

“I also got mine,” Fred answered. “Still have the prefect badge, thankfully. I’m still surprised Longbottom didn’t give it to Henry last year, but I suppose it’s against the rules to give it to your own kid.”

As the conversation turned to badges, Rosemary knew it would be the perfect time to bring up hers. “Speaking of badges, look what I got.” She pulled the Quidditch Captain badge from her pocket and held it out for Fred and James to admire. She smirked as Fred shook his head.

“You were bound to get it. But we’ll have some more competition on the pitch now, especially between you and Jimmy boy here.”

Rosemary’s hand dropped. “Why?”

There was this fleeting suspicion that nagged at the back of her mind. It wasn’t possible but at the same time it entirely was. Adam Johnson had left the spot of Gryffindor Quidditch Captain open when he graduated last year. There was a high, likely chance- but it couldn’t possibly be.

“James was made captain of Gryffindor.”

The grin James wore grew wider as Rosemary turned to face him. The realization that he had actually been made Captain hit Rosemary in waves until it fully crashed into her, and her jaw dropped halfway. At this action, James pulled out his own badge from his jacket pocket, the gold lion contrasting against the bright red. The identical words of “Quidditch Captain” mirrored Rosemary’s, and she felt her stomach sink.

“Y-you’re really Captain?” Rosemary asked. She stumbled over her words, something of a rare occurrence.

James looked down at his badge with a sly smile. “I suppose I actually am. Of course, so are you. Whether it has anything to do with a little blackmail scheme could be questioned but all’s fair in Quidditch, right? Maybe they gave it to you out of pity.” James looked back up at Rosemary, and she felt confusion withdraw from her face.

It went completely against everything she stood for and what she acted like, but Rosemary couldn’t control the anger at James’ reference to last spring.

The last captain of Slytherin, Vincent Nott, had been a sensational flyer. A seventh year, he had been trained his whole life to become a Captain of Quidditch. However, he was also a liar and cheat. He forced his team to sabotage other teams during games, paying closer attention to Rosemary than the others, considering she was the only girl on the team. Two years of tumultuous threats and blackmail ensued until the final game of last season, when an argument between Nott and Rosemary revealed the set up to the whole school. There was a full investigation by Madam Wood, Oliver Wood’s wife and Quidditch referee, and Nott was suspended from Quidditch for the rest of the year, resulting in Slytherin losing their bid for the Quidditch Cup.

Rosemary had tried to forget about the blackmailing. She hated losing, and she hated being taken advantage of. Therefore, she didn’t appreciate James bringing up the incident involving both of those things and for her, it clouded the rational part of her mind. Irrationality became first, and several things happened at once.

As Rosemary clenched her fist, Fred noticed and began to move forward. Rosemary was too quick though and drew back her right fist to her ear. In a flash of movement, she sprung forward, her hand meeting with James’ nose. From the back, a shout echoed around the store: “CONTACT!”

A loud clatter ensued; a scream, and the flinging open of a door. There was a loud explosion and James fell to the floor, his hand clutching the bridge of his nose. Fred followed James, kneeling next to him. Right after he did so, a rocket zoomed past Rosemary in the exact spot James and Fred had been standing. It skimmed the shelves, and various children started screaming. Rosemary saw someone open the doors at the front, a flash of blonde hair as they ducked, and the rocket zoom past the person.

Kids were running everywhere as they screamed for their parents. Some stacks of boxes fell down, and a clerk was pushed to the ground. James was still on the floor in the middle of the commotion with Rosemary standing there stupidly.

A tall head of bright red hair pushed through the crowd, arriving at where Rosemary, Fred, and James were located. His apron had suffered the abuse of a large black spot on the abdomen, and goggles kept his hair pushed back off his face. Rosemary recognized him as George Weasley, owner of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.

Fred, from his spot on the ground, looked up at Mr. Weasley. “What the hell is going on, Dad?”

“Just a minor malfunction, nothing to worry about,” George said while he looked around the store, distracted by the flurry of activity. “Hullo, James.” He frowned, his eyebrows creasing in the middle, and looked back down at his son and nephew. “What are you two doing on the ground?”

“Rosemary punched James,” Fred responded. George looked over at Rosemary, finally acknowledging her.

“Oh, didn’t see you there Rosemary,” he said. “Good shot by the way.” George ran off with Rosemary gaping behind him.

*

“Oh, you just wait, Rosemary!” Pearl said. “Mum is going to go mental when she learns you punched James!” Rosemary rolled her eyes as she walked along beside Pearl.

“For your information, Mum’s not going to know because we’re not going to tell her,” Rosemary said. They skirted around a stack of cauldrons and headed towards the brick wall. Pearl furtively tried to fix her hair.

After escaping from the spot where she’d punched James, Rosemary had learned the person that had opened the door was Pearl looking for her. The rocket had barely missed her head, and she had seen it explode into a thousand shades of red in the sky and form dancing fire crabs. There was a high chance Muggles had seen it, so a quick call to the Ministry was all it took to send Obliviators out into Muggle London.

“Well, don’t act as if she’s never going to find out. Someone will mention it,” Pearl said. The girls reached the brick wall, and Pearl pulled out her wand, tapping the brick that would open up the archway.

“If that ‘someone’ happens to be you Pearl, I’ll take every single bottle of Sleekeazy’s you own and pour it down the drain,” Rosemary said. She looked over to see Pearl’s jaw slung open in disbelief and smirked.

They walked through the formed archway, and Rosemary opened up the door to get back in the Leaky Cauldron. She had to blink a few times to adjust herself to the dim lighting inside and navigated her way through the tables.

“Rosemary! Pearl!” Rosemary turned around at the sound of her mum’s voice and almost crashed into Pearl. In the middle of the pub, Mrs. Benson was sitting with a newly healed Garrett. Mrs. Benson held a bottle of Butterbeer in her right hand, and Garrett sat next to her. He had taken a few napkins and folded them into the shapes of Muggle airplanes and was forcing them to dive bomb each other.

Pearl led the way to Mrs. Benson and Garrett and pulled out the chair beside her mother. Rosemary sat down in the chair across from her mum and next to Garrett. She reached over to ruffle his blond hair, and he swatted her hand away.

“Feeling better, love?” Rosemary asked.

“The healer fixed me!” Garrett replied. “But he gave me icky potion to drink.” Rosemary laughed, and Mrs. Benson took a drink from her Butterbeer.

“Did you girls have fun?” she asked. A quick glance passed between Rosemary and Pearl. Rosemary could see in Pearl’s eyes that she was going to tell and the quick intake of air confirmed it.

“Rosemary—"

“Yes, we had fun!” Rosemary interjected. Underneath the table, she kicked Pearl’s leg and discreetly knocked her napkin off, making Pearl bend down to get it.

Mrs. Benson smiled. “Well, that’s good. Do you need anything besides new books for the school year? I know Pearl needs some new scales, but is there anything else?”

“My cauldron is burnt through.”

“Bloody hell, how did you do that?” A flash of blonde hair came up from underneath the table as Pearl sat up.

Mrs. Benson shot her a disapproving glance and said, “Watch your language.”

“James Potter; Slughorn put us together as partners one day. James put too much ash root in our potion and ended up making the thing overheat and melt the bottom of my cauldron,” Rosemary explained, contempt rising in her voice as she remembered the incident. “Some got on my robes, and I had to go to the Hospital Wing for burns.”

Pearl’s eyes widened, and Mrs. Benson ran a hand through her hair. “Honestly Rosemary, why didn’t you tell me earlier? I suppose you need another pair of robes?”

“Well, the ones I currently have are getting a tad too small…”

“Then we’ll be going by Madam Malkin’s today as well.” Kit sighed and picked up her Butterbeer again. Behind Rosemary and Pearl, the Leaky Cauldron’s back door opened, and a large group stepped through.

In a second, Rosemary knew who the party was. The loud voices, the insistent shushing from the mothers, and the familiar laugh all pointed to one family.

It was the Weasleys.

Rosemary quickly turned around and almost fell out of her chair in the process. Coming through the door was the redheaded family, along with a few recognizable black-haired lads, most likely the Potters. Thankfully, it wasn’t the whole family, mostly the multiple kids.

Leading the pack was Lily Potter, one of the youngest of the group, yet the loudest. She was speaking rapidly to her oldest brother behind her, and her hands moved with her as she spoke. James was ignoring her and still seemed to be struggling to stem the blood flow from his nose. Instead of Fred by his side though, his younger brother Albus was there.

Al was talking to James, and the older boy actually seemed to be paying attention. He put a hand on Albus’ chest, stopping the pair in the middle of the floor. He started to speak when he caught Rosemary’s eye. Slowly, he closed his mouth.

“Rosemary, why are you turned around?” Mrs. Benson asked.

Before Rosemary could respond though, Kit spotted James approaching their table. Rosemary glanced at her mum before quickly turning back to James. She mouthed, “What are you doing?” to him, but he only smirked.

“Lovely to see you, Mrs. Benson,” James said once he reached their table. Desperate to keep her cool, Rosemary cleared her face of any emotion (except annoyance, which she could never get rid of) and turned back around to face her mum.

Kit smiled politely and replied, “As with you James. What happened to your nose?”

And then, Rosemary tuned everything out. She saw her mother’s smile turn into shock and then anger. She turned around to see James smirk at her before his mum called him back over to his family. From behind her, Mrs. Benson’s voice penetrated her bubble of ignorance.

Rosemary.

*

By the time they reached home, Rosemary was agitated, Pearl was smug, their mother was furious, and Garrett was delightfully confused with the situation.

Pearl was the first to come through the fireplace and promptly sat down on a chair to watch her step-sister get chewed out. Rosemary stepped out next and rushed to the hallway, but her mother, and Garrett on her hip, came out too fast.

“Rosemary Amelia Benson, where do you think you are going?” Mrs. Benson said. Rosemary froze in her spot. She turned around, slow as molasses, as if it would prolong the blow-up. Garrett ran past her and into the hallway, presumably up to his room.

Mrs. Benson was standing in front of the fireplace, her arms crossed over her chest. She didn’t look particularly intimidating until you looked into her blue eyes, which were now cold as ice. She directed her gaze upon Pearl and said, “Pearl, leave.”

Pearl let out a guffaw, but Mrs. Benson held her stare. Rosemary could hear the armchair creak as Pearl stood up and then pad out of the room.

When Mrs. Benson finally looked back at Rosemary, she could feel two holes being drilled into her skull from the ferocity of her mother’s eyes. Rosemary swallowed.

“Rosemary, I actually can’t believe you,” Kit said. “You just punched a boy in the face and didn’t seem remotely sorry about it. It was incredibly rude, and I’m sure Mrs. Potter didn’t appreciate it. I am so disappointed in you.”

Rosemary sighed and attempted to control her tone of voice when she spoke. “Can I please explain what happened? You haven’t given me a chance yet.”

Mrs. Benson narrowed her eyes. “Go on.”

“The whole story is really long and a little bit innocent on my part if you think about it but anyways, it started when Pearl and I landed at The Leaky Cauldron. She was being flirty with some guy so I dragged her away, and we eventually split up, and I ended up wandering over to Weasley’s, but it was loud and crowded today, more so than usual, and I ended up bumping into James, and you know how we are with each other, but today he seemed exceptionally arrogant, and it got worse when he told me he was captain of Gryffindor’s team but it was the worst when he brought up Nott’s blackmail and said I only got captain because of sympathy, which is entirely not true, but that’s beside the point; the point is that I got angry at James and ended up punching him in the nose, which I realize wasn’t entirely rational,” Rosemary said. Throughout her speech, she had gone from wringing her hands to using them for emphasis as she flung them around and back to nervously clasping them together.

Mrs. Benson only glared.

“However, it’s not entirely bad though because when I punched James, one of Mr. Weasley’s rockets went off in the back room and somehow got through the door and headed straight towards where we, as in me, James, and Fred, were standing, but I happened to punch James right before it hit us, and Fred knelt down to see if James was hurt or something, so it luckily missed them and by coincident, Pearl opened up the front door right as the rocket reached it, so it flew out of the shop and into Muggle London, which thankfully isn’t our problem.”

Rosemary took a deep breath.

“And that’s basically what happened.”

“I’m not sure whether to believe that story or not,” Mrs. Benson said. Rosemary’s stomach twisted in knots. Her hands did the same thing.

“Y-you can ask Pearl about it! She’ll tell you about the rocket and everything; it went right by her!” said Rosemary.

“That’s not the part I don’t believe, Rosemary. I don’t believe that James would bring up Nott’s blackmail or say that you received the position of captain for sympathy. Even from the few times I’ve met him, he has been courteous and polite. I don’t strike him as the type to taunt somebody.”

“Mum that is the most ignorant statement ever! I told you just this morning that he knocked our potion onto my robes. You don’t think he wouldn’t say something rude to me?”

“No-“ Mrs. Benson began.

“That was a redundant question,” Rosemary said. After she said it though, she realized her mistake, as her mother’s features grew harder with anger.

“I don’t like your attitude right now,” Mrs. Benson said. “At this point, I don’t care what else happened today. The fact is that you punched James Potter in the face and need to be punished. You will not be allowed to use Heron for a week and you won’t be allowed out of the house for two. Now go compile a list of things you need for school.”

Rosemary could almost feel the trail of fire behind her as she left the room.


A/N: Much love for reading and enduring, and should you be feeling generous, please review! Kind of makes my day. ;)


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