Chapter 5 : Aaliyah: The Slytherins
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Being the new ‘it couple.’ No matter how much you want to be it, you don’t because when the two of you break up, people will always whisper about it. They will never let you forget about ‘the good ol’ times’ or him.
The Ronan Daily (more specifically Charlotte). Her cronies will be around snapping pictures. And in those pictures I’ll have to look loving which I am not particularly good at. Charlotte will also be sniffing around trying to find something fishy to embarrass me in some sort of way. To be honest, I’m quite scared if she ends up finding anything ‘cause she most likely will.
The Weasley’s and Potters. There is no way convincing them is going to easy. Albus and I have never clicked in the past. Conversations between us were rare. We are going to now regret that but what can you do about it? That’s right, nothing.
However, what I didn’t expect when I agreed to this arrangement was the snappy comments, snarky retorts, and half-attempted arguments. When you think about it, to have a real full-fledged argument you need to know the person. Not only that, you are going to need to know how to pick out their flaws and find out their biggest insecurities. Taking that into consideration, our arguments weren’t really arguments. They were just small disagreements or pointless bickering. Basically, a string of semi-harsh words thrown at each other. (Well, whispered at each other. We couldn’t really yell at each other without people noticing. I mean we are supposed to be the picture of a happy couple.)
The worst part is that I don’t think we even know why it is happening. Our behavior is bothersome and quite annoying. We may be doing it because we don’t know what else to do. I mean we could be civil, but it would feel forced and fake and none of us what anything even more fake than it already is. Albus and I are lacking something.
And surprisingly, I know what it is: Respect. Acting like you respect someone doesn’t cut it. You have to let that person earn the respect, which we haven’t done by a long shot. The next element is trust. He doesn’t trust me and I definitely don’t have an ounce of trust to give him. Last but not least, an understanding. There is a deal in place. There are a couple ground rules in place (not all of the ones I want, only most of them). Still, that doesn’t mean we have an understanding. No, that means we have boundaries. See the difference?
Basically, Albus and I are the epitome of awkward. That or uncomfortable. Either one is fine.
“How much do you weigh?”
“Excuse me?” I ask surprised. I discard my book and whip around to look at him. He looks back at me without flinching. After a couple of seconds, he shrugs.
“You heard me didn’t you?” His mouth is a straight line and his tone is even, too even as if he is bored and I’m supposed to be his source of entertainment.
“Has no one ever told you not to question a girl’s weight or do I have to teach you?” I hiss.
“Actually my dad told me but that doesn’t mean I won’t ask. Seriously, my leg is beginning to feel sore,” He quips back, rubbing the side of his thigh to prove a point.
“Well… if you hadn’t insisted on making a grand display of affection, I wouldn’t have to sit on your lap.” My voice rises as I talk and yet he sits there still looking monotonous. Is it truly that hard for him to stop being so..so reserved.
He is about to reply when Scorpius interrupts, “Guys, you’re in the Slytherin Common Room. Can you not raise your voices? People may start noticing.” He gives us both an irritated, disappointed look.
Over the past week or so I’ve grown to like Scorpius. That may be a short time frame; however, he doesn’t give the sort of bad vibe other people sometimes do. And he’s been nice to me even when he doesn’t have to be. The best part is that... he knows. We don’t have to act around him. Yes, I was kind of mad when Albus first told me that one of his friends knew and none of mine did but I’m over it. Well, mostly over it.
“In my defense, she’s heavy,” Albus says holding his hands up in the air in innocence. Yeah… right.
Scorpius shakes his head in amusement and goes back to reading his Dark Arts book.
“So… Scorpius, why don’t you have a girlfriend?” I ask picking up the novel I dropped earlier. Albus snorts and I watch both of them, confused and curious.
“Just… haven’t met the right girl yet,” he says to me, smiling sheepishly. Hmm… why is Scorpius acting all shy?
“You haven’t met the right girl?” I question.
“Not yet,” he confirms, nodding.
“Really?” I ask, disbelief laced into my voice.
“Aaliyah, stop drilling him. Why are you so interested anyway?” Albus raises his eyebrow at me yet he doesn’t seem suspicious. No… he just seems to be… throwing me off topic!
“You’re curious about why Scorpius doesn’t have a girlfriend?” he asks, slightly amused.
“Yeah,” I say nodding my head.
“I’m pretty sure half the guys at Hogwarts don’t have girlfriends,” Albus states knowingly.
“Well… yeah but isn’t Scorpius one of the most talked about guys in the school?” They both turn to look at me, confused and a little stunned.
“Really?” Scorpius questions, a thoughtful look in his eyes.
“How did you guys not know that?” They would have to be deaf and possibly blind to not know that. The girls at this school make sure to show when they think a guy is cute, hot or sexy. Come to think of it, they aren’t afraid to make sure the guy knows that they want to jump his bones.
“I knew some girls talked about me. Though, I didn’t know that I’m one of the most talked about guys in the school,” Scorpius answers, shrugging it off politely.
“Wait, who is the most talked about guy in the school?” Albus asks.
A couple of seconds later, he answers his own question as do I. “James,” we both say looking at each other knowingly. His eyes sparkle and I can’t help but notice that this is probably the first time we completely agreed on something without having to argue or compromise.
“Well I’ll be going. See you two lovebirds later.” Scorpius stands up and makes his way out of the common room, leaving the rest of the couch empty.
I slip off of Albus’s lap and onto the seat Scorpius vacanted. I want to leave at least six inches of space between Albus and I, but I know that I can’t. That would look like I am desperate to get away from him, so I leave only three.
We both sit there, not talking, only dwelling in our own thoughts before Albus speaks, “I didn’t mean what I said earlier.”
“About what?” My voice is quieter and candid. It matches his.
“About your weight. You actually aren’t-”
I interrupt him, “I know.” I sink into the couch more and tilt my head back. The leather is smooth and cold. I guess the chilliness is to be expected since the common room is in the dungeons.
We don’t talk for a while. This time time I break the silence.
“We really are awkward, aren’t we?” The common room has less students now. It’s starting to become empty. The green lamps glow brighter and shadows dance across the ancient walls. The place is starting to give off this creepy vibe. One that I don’t like.
“Yeah,” he sighs, “we are.”
“Why is that?” I face him, but he doesn’t do the same until after he answers my question.
“It’s just the way we are.”
“I don’t believe that.” I truly don’t.
“And why is that?” He doesn’t argue or disagree with me this time. This time he wants to know my opinions, my thoughts, my reasonings.
I breathe in. “Because… that can’t be it.” I breathe out. “I mean... people feel awkward when they don’t know something or someone. It can’t just be the way we are, you know? That can’t be the only reason we are acting like this. If it was, then we would feel this barrier every time we meet someone new or whatever. This is… this is just because we aren’t trying. And we’re not trying because we don’t want to. Honestly... I don’t like you. However, I don’t hate you either. And I’m willing to try to make this run more smoothly if you are willing to too.”
He stares at me. He scrunches his eyebrows in thought before he clears his throat. “I think… you’re right.” In that instant, I feel relieved, like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. “And I’ll try, like honestly try.”
“So… what now?”
I ponder for a moment. “Small talk.”
“You want to make small talk?” he asks again, bewildered.
“Okay… what do you want to talk about?” He relaxes a little, sliding a little down in his seat.
“Hmm… past girlfriends.”
His eyebrows shoot up and he rubs the back of his neck. Oh, am I making him nervous? Well, this is going to be fun.
“That isn’t exactly small talk,” he points out.
“Is Albus Potter scared? Or even better, is Albus Potter hiding something?” I tease.
“No, I’m not hiding anything.” I raise an eyebrow at him and he doesn’t react. “Why do you want to know anyway?”
“I don’t know. I can’t even imagine someone willingly dating you. Have you ever even dated anyone?”
He rolls his eyes. “Yes, I have.”
“Ambrosia Higgins and Katie Stewart.” I’m shocked at first. I didn’t expect him to give me an answer. I didn’t expect him to actually tell me. He’s always been too reserved to tell anyone much. Why is he telling me or is he just telling me because it doesn’t mean much to him?
“You’ve only had two girlfriends?”
“Yeah.” He doesn’t even look embarrassed about it.
“Seriously?” I can’t bring myself to believe him. He’s apart of the Weasley family. How is it possible that he has only had two girlfriends? I mean, he is sixteen, right? Or he might be seventeen already?
“Technically three,” he answers after some deliberating.
“Who’s the third?”
“You.” Oh… right.
“Does that even count?” If he doesn’t really think of me like that and I don’t think of him in that way either, does that mean I’m still counted as one of his actual girlfriends? No, right?
“I think it does.”
“Oh,” I pause before saying, “tell me about them.”
“You want to know?” His tone is surprisingly cordial.
“Yeah, I actually do.”
“Okay then,” he pauses. “Ambrosia was a cute brunette,” he stops.
“And?” I urge. He gives me a sort of annoyed expression before continuing.
“I dated her in third year. Our relationship was a short three weeks.” I wait for him to keep going. He doesn’t.
“What else did you expect?”
“Did you like her?”
He looks down at his hand and looks back up to meet my eyes. “I think I did.”
“Okay. Did you ever kiss her?” I keep interrogating.
“Why are you asking so much?” His tone is a bit defensive.
“I don’t know a lot about you. I’ve never really kept tabs on your life or asked James about you so this is me doing my research,” I reason with him, widening my eyes and fluttering my lashes at him.
“Research?” His eyes crinkle in hilarity and disbelief.
“Yes, it is for the knowledge,” I repeat. He chuckles. Hmm… I’ve never seen him laugh that much. It looks better on him than his usual poise and shrewdness.
“Fine, but if I tell you, you have to tell me about yours.” He strikes up a deal, one that I’ll agree to.
“No, I never kissed her.” I nod and then realise what he just said. Wait… what?!
“You never kissed her!!”
“Why don’t you say that a little louder? I don’t think the whole house has heard you yet,” he states sarcastically.
“You are kidding, right?” I whisper frantically.
“No, I’m not. All we did was hold hands.”
“Oh. How about Katie?”
“Katie… she was different.”
“She wasn’t quiet and shy like Ambrosia. She was loud and energetic. She was adventurous. That’s what I liked about her.” His voice is sincere and it astounds and mesmerizes me. “She made me different. And I liked spending time with her. A lot. She wouldn’t giggle much but when she laughed, she laughed whole-heartedly. And she made this funny face every time she saw raisins. She couldn’t stand them at all.”
“Life, I guess. She ended up breaking up with me after two months. She didn’t want it to get too serious.”
And here enters the third silence and like the last one, I end up breaking it.
“So you did kiss Katie right?” I joke and in return he chuckles.
“Yes, Aaliyah. I did snog her.”
“Oh..you snogged her too?” I tease.
“There is a difference?” he inquires, his expression incredulous.
“Yes, there is. Maybe one day you’ll learn it,” I say, getting up for my seat and trying to make a quick getaway.
“Not so fast.” He grabs my arm and pulls me back and I end up falling into his lap. Damn it.“You’re turn.” He smirks at me, a mischievous glint in his eyes. I’m totally screwed.
“I haven’t really had any girlfriends over the years. You see I like to stick with boys.” He laughs and while he does I quickly get up and start to flee.
“Aaliyah.” I stop mid step and turn around. His faces gives it away. He knew I wasn’t going to tell him and for some reason he looks okay with it.
He shakes his head. “Nevermind.”
And with that I exit.
A couple of days later, I am in the Slytherin Common Room. Again. But I’m not here for hanging out in the common room. Nope, not this time. This time I’m here to visit the Sixth Years’ Boy’s Dormitory.
Well, isn’t this going to be fun.
Sighing to myself, I raise my hand and knock on the wooden door labeled with a six. It doesn’t take long before it swings open, but it isn’t who I had hoped it would be.
“Aaliyah?” Scorpius asks surprised.
“Hey, Scorpius. Is Albus here?” I smile at him innocently and he shakes his head in a ‘no.’
“Can I give a message?” Scorpius looks down at me knowingly, an amused, suggestive grin playing on his lips.
I glare at him, recognizing the expression on his face. “It’s not like that.”
“Then what is it like?” He tilts his head back in inquiry and leans against the frame of the door. He’s provoking me in a childish, friendly manner.
I roll my eyes at him and push a thick textbook into his hands. “Just give this to Albus. He forgot it.” I turn to leave but Scorpius grabs my hand.
“Aaliyah, I was just joking,” he exclaims, still smiling.
“I know. I really need to go, though. What would people think if I was up here?”
“That you are shagging Al,” he jests and throws in a wink for good measure. I chuckle at him. The thought of that is quite funny, to be honest.
“Scorpius, who’re you talking to?” someone shouts from inside the room. Before I can make myself leave, a body appears beside Scorpius.
“Well, well, well. Look who it is. Aaliyah Herseth, Alby’s new girlfriend. Tell me, why has Potter been keeping you a secret for so long?” the newcomer chides, a spark of interest in his eyes. He’s around Scorpius’s height, maybe a little shorter. His hair is an ashish brown and his eyes are a light cognac color.
I look to Scorpius for help and he gives me a ‘I’ll take care of this’ look in return. “Don’t you have anything better to do than pester us, Wilems?”
Wilems doesn’t seem to mind Scorpius’s comment and keeps his eyes focused on me. He looks me up and down and I narrow my eyes at him. Exactly what does he think he’s doing? And who the hell gave him the right to check me out?
He nods as if approving of me and holds out his hand. Ruffling his hair with his other hand in a shy manner, he introduces himself. “I’m Sebastian Wilems. And although Malfoy here likes to call me by my last name, I prefer Sebastian.” He gives me a warm grin and I end up putting my hand in is. Hmm… maybe he isn’t a jerk…
“Oi, you two! Why are you blocking the door?” The question once again comes from inside the dorm. Sebastian and Scorpius flip their heads back to see who the speaker is. He comes closer to the door. I squint at him. He looks familiar. The familiar stranger peers out at me, blockaded by Scorpius and Sebastian’s bodies.
His greenish-blue eyes twinkle at me in recognition and his soft-looking, butterscotch blonde hair stands out next to the other two. He is none other than Kian Walker… my potions partner from fourth year. “Hey Aaliyah,” he greets.
“Oh, hey Kian.” Scorpius and Sebastian whip their heads back and forth between the two of us, confusion written all over their faces.
“How do you two know each other?” Scorpius questions.
“She was my Potions partner,” Kian answers calmly, raising an eyebrow at Scorpius’s suspicion.
“Oh,” Scorpius says plainly.
“So… Aaliyah,” Kian starts, a devilish smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. “Looking for your Al? Or what do you call him… ah, your boyfriend?”
I groan and they all laugh at my behavior. Am I going to be asked the same question multiple times by Albus’s dorm mates? If I had made a quick getaway earlier, I wouldn’t have to face them, give or take that I would have met them sometime or another.
“Come on.” Kian reaches out and grabs me by the elbow, pulling me into their dorm. Okay, maybe this isn’t going to end up well for me. You know, me in the Slytherin Boy’s Dorm. I can already think up a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t be in here. One being that people are going to be thinking that I’m ‘doing it dirty’ and another being the Slytherins interrogating me.
Where is Albus when I need him?
Kian leads me into the room, sits me down on what I’m guessing is his bed, and takes a seat on the bed across from his. I take a glance around the dormitory. It isn’t what I expected. There is the usual five beds and nightstands and trunks; however, the room isn’t messy and cluttered but mostly clean. There is a few pieces of clothing and a book or two laying around here or there, but , other than that, it is organized. Weird.
“So what?” I ask, acting like I haven’t got faintest clue about what he’s talking about.
“Don’t play dumb. Tell me.” He gives me his best impression of puppy dog eyes. It doesn’t work. He gives up and urges, “Come on, Aaliyah. Am I not your friend?”
The thing about Kian is that he’s actually right. He is my friend. Not a best friend but good friend. In the beginning (when we were first assigned together), I thought he was mean since he didn’t talk much and had this sort of brooding demeanor. Once I got to know him, he turned out to be sweet and gentle and kind, not what you expect of a Slytherin. But as time passed I came to realise that he does have his Slytherin qualities: his self-preservation, ambitiousness, and cleverness.
“Yes but..” my words hang in the air and I can’t think of anything to say after.
“Give it a rest, Walker,” Sebastian interrupts, walking over and taking a seat next to me. “If she’ll tell anyone, she’ll tell me. Won’t you, Herseth?” He throws an arm around me for good measure, squeezing my shoulders in the process.
Scorpius comes over and takes a place next to Kian, chortling at Sebastian’s silliness.
Before any of them can badger me more for details on my relationship with Albus, the door opens and in walks said boyfriend and one of his friends.
He stops dead in his tracks, a probing expression drawn on his face. “Aaliyah, what are you doing here?”
“Umm…I came to return a textbook?” My statement comes out more like a question rather than a sentence.
Albus analyzes the four of us and then shrugs. “Okay then. Well, I think it is time for you to go.” He struts over and takes my hand, pulling me away from Sebastian’s grip.
Sebastian pulls me back down. “What are you trying to do mate? Hide your girlfriend from us?”
“Why of course. If she met you all, she would run away,” Albus answers smirking yet a light-hearted tone in his voice.
The person who entered with Albus is soon next to him. His golden brown hair falls somewhat into his eyes and his enchanting golden eyes peek through strands of it. His skin is kind of tanned but not too tanned. He has this miraculous glow coming off of him.
“Hi, I’m Blaine,” he introduces himself, offering me a humble half-smile. I stare at him in wonder. Now, where do I remember that name from? Wait… Blaine… isn’t he the guy that has a crush on Annie?
“Now that we are all done with introductions, Aaliyah will be leaving,” Albus announces, taking my hand. Again.
“Albus… let her stay.”
“Yeah, we want to get to know your girlfriend.”
“It’s not like we’ll scare her off or anything.”
“We’ll be on-”
“-our best behaviors...”
“..like our absolute best behaviors.”
Albus stands there, pondering on what to do. All four Slytherins stare at him, nodding at the ‘best behavior’ part.
Albus exhales loudly. “Alright.” Sebastian gives a yelp of joy and Kian smacks Sebastian upside the head. We all head to the center of the room and sit down on the rug in a circular formation.
“So now you have to tell us…”
“Gosh, I’m so sorry that I’m late,” I gasp out bending over, hands on my knees. I had run all the way here from the dungeons in two and a half minutes. Blaine was telling us about the time Annabel locked Scorpius and him in a broom closet, claiming that they loved each other and shouldn’t be afraid of what other people think. Turns out there is a whole group of ‘Blapius’ (Blaine + Scropius) shippers. Anyway, this story has made me fifteen minutes late for prefect rounds with Seth.
“It’s fine,” Seth says, starting to walk away. I quickly catch up with him and match my stride with his.
We don’t talk while we head for the third floor. The sound of our feet bounce of the walls and the torches that lit up the hallways dim somewhat.
My eyes peek up at him. His hair is still the same as it has always been: light brown, in between curly and wavy, and cut short. He has a good five-six inches on me. I remember the days where we used to be the same height. I guess those days are gone now.
I continue to stare at him (not that he’s aware). His face is angular, a well defined shape but is still soft at the edges. His cheekbones are subtle yet noticeable and his nose complements his face. And his upper body is starting to get buff and muscular instead of his usual lankiness. How had I not acknowledged this before?
“Aaliyah.” His voice snaps me out of my thoughts.
“Huh?” I ask dumbly.
“You stopped walking,” he explains, a look of concern washes over him.
“Oh,” I say, glancing down at my feet.
“You okay?” he asks.
“Yeah,” I reassure, starting to walk again, “I’m fine.”
Seth frowns at me but doesn’t say anything else. We return to patrolling quietly. However, it doesn’t feel right. Usually, Seth and I chat and laugh on rounds. That’s why I was so glad I got him as a partner at the beginning of the year. Now, something between us feels wrong, stretched, and weary as if there is an elephant in the room... but I don’t know what that elephant is.
I reach out and touch his hand, stopping him in his tracks.
“Is there an elephant in the room I don’t know about?” I inquire cringing.
He watches me for a while before stating, “Yeah, I think there is.”
I bite my lip and tuck my hair behind my ear in frustration. “Well, can you tell me what it is? Because I have no clue whatsoever!”
“How should I know,” he exclaims, equally frustrated.
“Because you are the one that caused it!” I blame. Where is this coming from? And why am I blaming him?
“I caused it?” He bellows, not believing a word of it.
“Who else could have caused this?” My hands make crazy gestures in the air. I’m not sure who I’m angry at more: him or myself. Damn it, I’m not even sure if I am angry. And if I am, I’m not sure where this anger is coming from.
“Oh, I don’t know… your boyfriend perhaps!” he yells, sarcastic and irritated. This makes me gape at him. All of a sudden, all the anger floods out of my body, leaving only confusion.
“What?” I whisper.
“You know what,” he closes him eyes, “ nevermind.” He steps away from me but I grab his arm, the need of an answer gripping me hard.
“What does he have to do with this?” I voice my thoughts, my volume low and my tone mellow.
“Nothing.” He shakes his head, shame crossing his face briefly. He doesn’t fight me, though.
“If it was nothing, you wouldn’t have said it,” I reason.
He stares at me with his light green eyes, fighting with himself to tell me or not. I’m rooting for him to tell me. He leans against the wall, exhausted. His eyes close and he breathes out, “If I told you, you wouldn’t be able to handle it.” His body slides down and into a sitting position on the ground. I let got of his arm and do the same, sitting only a few inches away from him.
“How will you know if you never tell me?” I ask softly.
He keeps his eyes closed and his lips pressed together as if it pains him to not tell me. I reach out and put my hand in his. His eyes flash open immediately. Grass meets concrete and everything comes out.
“I like you.” He holds his breath and it takes me a while for me to understand what he is saying.
“What?” This isn’t real. Seth can’t like me. I mean Ellie has been teasing us for so long but that’s what it has always been… some mere teasing.
“I like you. Not the I like you as a friend thing but the thing when a little boy says to a little girl I like like you,” he explains, sadness written all over his face. We stare at each other, not knowing what to say next.
This is Seth and me. Through the years, he’s been my best guy friend (next to James that is) and only that. Him telling me he likes me more than that is… weird and unexpected and a whole lot other stuff I can’t describe.
He seems to read my mind, “Believe me, I don’t like this anymore that you do.” His eyes are downcast and his skin turns pale. It must hurt: having feelings for someone you shouldn't have.
“Huh?” he asks.
“Since when?” I clarify.
He shakes his head, a small smile gracing his painstriken face. “Honestly… I don’t know.”
“How do you not know?” If you fall for your best friend, shouldn’t you have some kind of clue when you fell for them?
“I just don’t know,” he says, shrugging helplessly.
“Then how do you know that you like me?” I inquire.
“You really want to know?” he questions hesitantly. I nod. “I can feel it,” he points to where his heart is, “in here.” I stare at him in shock and he keeps talking, “I see you and for some reason a smile comes on my face, a goofy one. I see you everyday and yet I still smile that goofy smile whenever you are around. When I’m around you, I feel happy. Even happier than when I’m playing Quidditch or messing around with Isaac. No, I’m happiest when you are somewhere near. And… I notice things. A lot of things,” he turns to me when he says this, “about you.”
Like when you are reading, you bite your lip to keep from laughing. Or how you hate when Ellie makes you support Hufflepuff in a Slytherin-Hufflepuff match because you know they suck. And how you secretly practice on your broom early in the morning on Sundays even though you quit the team in fifth year.”
I blink, taken aback by what he just said. Oh gosh, he does like like me. Guilt starts to bubble up at the pit of my stomach. This isn’t good.
“Don’t feel guilty, Aaliyah,” he orders in a friendly way.
“I’m so sorry-” Seth cuts me off.
“Don’t be sorry,” he says, shaking his head at me. His voice becomes lighter, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m putting you through this, that I’m making you feel guilty but… I’m not sorry that I like you. I’ll never be sorry for that. Ever. You are an amazing girl, Aaliyah and it pains me that I fell for someone I shouldn’t have but I’m not sorry that that girl is you. I know you won’t feel the same. And… I get that. But always know that I wouldn’t take it back, because seeing you makes me happy, knowing you makes me happy, and once you feel the same as I do, maybe even more, for some deserving guy, I’ll still be happy.”
His right hand clasps my right cheek, directing all his focus on me. He then kisses me on the top of my head and stands up.
He extends a hand to help me up and says, “Come on. We have rounds to finish up.” He grins down at me and I let him pull me up.
Disclaimer: I am sadly not J.K. Rowling. I don't own Harry Potter. Just the OCs and plot.
A/N: Quick update this time, yes? How do you like the Slytherins? Which one do you like the most? And Albus having only had two past girlfriends, shocker much or expected? And Seth confesses! Hope you like this chapter and I would love to hear your thoughts. :)
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