Chapter 10 : The Forgotten Weasley
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“What the-” My mind cannot even come up with a curse word strong enough for this moment. James, who has just taken a sip of butterbeer, spits it out all over Fred and Clark’s faces, causing them to break apart and stare at the two of us in shock.
Then, strangely, I’m laughing.
I think this is the most shocked I’ve ever been in my entire life.
Maybe it’s a stress reaction?
After he recovers from choking on his drink, James joins me, guffawing his huge, noticeable laugh while I convulse silently with mirth.
“What the fuck are you two laughing at?” Clark protests bitchily, causing us both to literally fall to the floor, unable to stand anymore.
“I think they’re in shock,” Fred adds doubtfully, eyeing the two of us with concern.
James and I look up at his face and redouble our laughter. Clark rolls her eyes and points her wand at the two of us.
Even silent, it still takes a few minutes for James and I to calm down, during which Fred and Clark wait- Fred patiently and somewhat concernedly, Clark completely unsympathetically. She also looks sorta pissed.
I don’t know why. If anyone should be pissed, it should be me. I’m her best goddamn friend. Why the fuck did she not tell me she was making out with Fred in her free time?
With this sobering thought fresh in my mind, I stop laughing and stand up, dragging James along with me. Now eye to eye with my best friend, I open my mouth and start to (silently) curse her out with every name in the goddamn book.
“You mother-fucking no-good ass-wipe of a douchebag bitch! I cannot fucking believe you! What the fuck is your goddamn, mother-fucking problem?!”
“Calm down, Jack!” Clark orders, while Fred and James just frown, looking confused. Oh right. They probably can’t tell what I’m saying. Clark probably can’t either; but I’m sure she’s getting the gist of it.
“How could you not tell me?” I scream silently.
“It literally just happened!” Clark yells back. James and Fred exchange a glance, completely lost. “This is the first time we kissed! I did tell you everything! Jesus, Jack, calm the fuck down!”
So I do.
“Oh,” I mouth. This is the first time it happened? Okay, then. I can accept that.
And now I feel like a bitch.
God, I sure can overreact.
“Thank you,” Clark mutters when I stop verbally assaulting her. She waves her wand at James and me, and our voices are returned to us. Predictably, the first thing James does is congratulate Fred and give him a high five.
“So how did this happen?” I ask. Now that I’ve calmed down, I can be happy about this... situation. After all, wasn’t I just thinking about how I want them to be together?
“It just... did,” Clark answers unhelpfully. “One moment I’m looking at his wrist-”
“And the next moment we’re kissing,” Fred shrugs. I look from my best friend to James’s and back again, hair whipping to and fro.
“So the sexual tension was just too much, eh?” James says with a suggestive wink. I crack a smile. That sounds like something I would say, if I weren’t so shell-shocked.
“I simply couldn’t resist,” Clark says, voice dry as a Ravenclaw party when McGonagall is planning to visit.
“It’s my manly musk,” Fred adds, shaking out his curly auburn hair and releasing a whiff of man-stench. I choke dramatically and bury my face in my robes, which smell like Asteris, Mrs. Carter’s designer perfume.
“Must be,” Clark agrees sarcastically, with an eye roll just for emphasis.
“I’m, uh, happy for you. I guess,” I say, still a bit confused.
“Oh, we’re not together,” Clark says loudly, even as Fred says, “Thanks, Jack!”
They look at each other, their mouths dropping open in twin looks of horrified astonishment.
“Looks like you two have got some things to discuss!” James says brightly, looping his arm through mine. “Sooo, we’re going to go ahead to the party while you guys talk it out- and you might want to go to the hospital wing as well, Freddie’s wrist looks seriously fucked up.”
I happily allow my friend to drag me away, the Honeydukes bags levitating behind us. About five seconds later, a spirited argument breaks out in our wake.
“They’re going to be great together,” I tell James as we walk up to the Gryffindor common room.
“Or terrible,” he points out.
“The world may never know,” I say with my trademark wry sense of humor. James, getting it, snorts. I can’t help but contrast that with Albus, who never seems to get my jokes. Not that I joke around him all too much. You have to be comfortable with someone to do that, and I guess I’m not, yet.
“If she’s happy, I’m happy,” I say with a shrug. I mean it. Our deal to not hurt each other extends to every aspect of life- meaning I’ll always support Clark in whatever makes her happy, regardless of my own personal feelings about it. Even if I hate it, I’ll pretend for her sake.
Not that I hate the idea of Fred and Clark (Frark? Cled? I’ll come up with something later). In fact, I’m all for it.
Fredark all the way.
“I guess so,” James says doubtfully. “I know he’s liked her forever, and it’s great that he’s getting some action from such a-” I glare at him and he swallows whatever he was about to call Clark (I’m betting on ‘hot piece of ass’) before continuing. “But still, they’re just so different.”
“Maybe that’s what will make them great,” I suggest, walking up to the Fat Lady. She gives me a dark look before turning to James.
The fat woman in the pink dress gives me one last glare before opening the door to the portrait hole. I stick my tongue out at her.
Immature, I know. But I just had to.
“James! Fred! You’re back!” a very drunk Gryffindor seventh-year greets us. He then heads straight for the Hogsmeade bags, failing to notice that I’m not a dark-skinned, red-headed, brown-eyed male.
“So apparently I’m Fred now,” I mutter with a shrug, helping to dump the contents of the bags out onto the common room tables. The Gryffindor common room is completely decked out in red and gold, with bright streamers and lion banners and fireworks shooting around in a corner. Not to mention the noise level. Someone in Gryffindor must be a Muggle-born who’s also figured out how to make electronics work on magic, because unless I’m mistaken, Britney Spears is blasting from an unknown location.
“The prefects don’t have a problem with this?” I ask James, yelling over the sound of Toxic.
“Everyone knows Rose is basically Head Girl, and she’s cool with it!” he yells back, gesturing over to where the red-head is sitting on a couch in the corner. I glance over. She doesn’t look cool with it at all; in fact, Rose looks close to tears. Frowning, I open my mouth to excuse myself, only to realize that James is already gone, talking to the drunk guy who welcomed us at the door.
James is great in a pinch, but not so reliable in everyday life.
“Rose!” I yell, even as someone manages to work a strobe-light spell. Now with the entire room flashing red and gold, I shove someone forcefully out of my way, ignoring their disgruntled hey. All I care about right now is getting to Rose.
“Move it!” I shout, pulling out my wand. No one seems to notice.
“Fuck it,” I mutter under my breath. “Impedimenta!”
With this screamed word, everyone in my immediate vicinity slows down to a snail’s pace.
Here you go, folks: the effects of having a triple-core wand. Every spell I cast is triply strong, especially if I actually cast it verbally; I have to physically hold myself back from most magic, or the recoil would literally kill me.
It’s useful for big magic though.
Quickly as I can, I shoulder through the masses of slow-motion Gryffindors, all the way to where Rose is sitting in the corner, tears dripping down her face. She doesn’t even seem to notice when the world starts moving normally again.
I sit down beside her and take a deep breath, watching as she squeezes her big blue eyes shut.
God, she looks sad.
“Are you okay?” I ask hesitantly, putting an arm around her like Grant does to me in those rare moments I get sad over Jacob.
“No,” she sobs, resting her head on my shoulder. Good. So the arm thing does help.
“Nothing in particular,” she cries. “It’s just everything adding up all at once, you know? Ana’s got Marshall now, so she’s never around to talk anymore, and Serra and Rob have always been closer to each other than to anyone else... and I can’t talk to anyone in my family either! Lily’s too young, and all the boys just get super-protective on me.” She pauses to wipe the tears from her cheeks, frustrated. “And I’m so tired of this!”
Now she seems angry.
I have to keep myself from smiling- I’m so much better with angry than I am with sad.
“Tired of what?”
“Of being so weak!” Now she’s full-on yelling; good thing no one can hear her over the music.
“I am sick of it! The guy I like doesn’t even notice me! No one does! My entire family, all my friends, everyone, they all think of me as the good girl. I’m the Prefect, future Head Girl, straight-O student, all that crap!”
My eyes widen. I’ve never heard Rose say anything remotely like a curse before, even one as mild as crap.
“I don’t want to be weak!” she continues to rant. “I don’t want to cry anymore! So what if Scorpius won’t even look at me no matter how many times you try to set us up? So what if my best friend doesn’t have time for me anymore? So what if I’m utterly forgettable? So what if my family forgot to ask me how my year was over the summer, even though they asked everyone else? So what if no one ever notices me? I don’t care!”
I am stunned.
I have absolutely no idea what to do.
There are many negatives to having Clark as my best friend, let me tell you. She’s a total bitch, pretty much insensitive, so beautiful that I look hideous in comparison, so athletic that I look like a fat slug, and a genius as well. At least I can compete in that category.
But for me, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Because she is completely and utterly secure. She never needs comforting, and she’s never really down about anything, because her life is virtually perfect. Which is good, because I am absolutely terrible at comforting people.
So right now, with Rose, I have absolutely no idea what to say.
But I have to say something.
I mean, she’s crying, for god’s sake. Right onto my- sorry, Clark’s- black leather jacket. And tears really cannot be good for the leather.
So I have no choice but to attempt to cheer her up with my own twisted, not-at-all-healthy philosophies.
“Rose?” I say tentatively. She wipes her eyes and looks up at me curiously. I don’t think she expected me to say anything.
“I think I know how to make you feel better.”
She crinkles her brow, blue eyes doubtful.
“Repeat after me: I don’t fucking care.”
“What?” Rose gasps.
“You’re never going to feel better until you decide not to care what other people think about you. And I’ve found that the best way to do that is to get angry. So say it.”
“But I don’t, um, curse.”
“Because my parents- oh.”
“See what I mean? Now say it.” I nod encouragingly.
Rose takes a deep breath and sets her jaw with determination.
“I don’t fucking care.”
Yeah, that sounds very weird in her voice.
“Second lesson: don’t censor yourself.”
“What do you mean?” Rose asks.
“Whatever you think, say it. No matter what it is.”
“Do you do that?”
“More or less, yes,” I say, shrugging. No, I don’t say every single thing I think, but if I did I’d be constantly talking.
My internal dialogue just does not stop.
“Well I can’t say everything, or I’d never shut up,” Rose points out wisely, voicing the thought I’d just had.
“I guess that was the wrong way to put it. Whatever you want to say, say it. Not every little thing you think.” I smirk. “Although that would be interesting. Around Scorp would be preferable.”
“Shut up,” Rose orders, but she cracks a smile. “Okay, Jack. What’s lesson number three?”
“Lesson number three is this.” I grin. “Do whatever the hell you want to do. Fuck everyone else, everyone who tells you that you can’t, or you shouldn’t. Fuck them all. This is your life, not theirs. So what the hell do they know?”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” the red-head says honestly. She seems to be taking lesson number two to heart.
“I can help with that,” I say, smiling even wider now. “Meet me in front of the Potions classroom on Monday, five minutes before Slughorn lets us in. I’ll tell you the plan then.”
“I can’t believe I agreed to help out a weasel,” Clark grumbles as she accompanies me to Potions on Monday.
“You’re dating one, Clark. Better get used to it,” I respond, smiling wickedly. It seems that Fred had made a good case, because the night they kissed, Clark had walked into our dorm at midnight and spent an entire hour ranting about all the problems a real relationship would cause.
Yet she had agreed to one anyway.
She must really like him.
Aww, how sweet.
Kidding. It’s disgusting.
“Fred’s fucking great, though.” That’s an endorsement if I ever heard one. “Rose is just some whiny, Scorpius-obsessed, goody-two-shoes daddy’s girl.”
“That’s why I’m here. I don’t want to be that anymore.” Rose steps out of the shadows and fixes her surprisingly piercing blue eyes on Clark. “Also, you’re kind of a bitch.”
Clark laughs out loud.
“Since when did she get funny?” she asks me, grinning at the insult.
Yep, Clark’s so secure (ahem, arrogant) that she thinks it’s hilarious when people insult her.
“I told her to speak her mind, and she seems to have taken it to heart.”
“Hello? I’m right here, you know. You don’t have to talk about me in third person.”
I grin at Clark.
“See what I mean?”
The darker girl narrows her eyes.
“Maybe I misjudged you.”
“Are you going to apologize?” Rose seems genuinely surprised that ‘sorry’ hasn’t made its way into Clark’s statement.
“Nope!” I say in tandem with my best friend. We don’t really apologize. That would be tantamount to admitting we’re wrong, which is another thing we just don’t do.
Rose is silent for a second, looking a bit thrown, before she remembers what we’re all here for.
“So what’s your plan, Jack?”
“It’s not really a plan so much as an offer. Clark has agreed to give you an all-access pass into our exclusive little clique, for as long as it takes for you to feel secure with who you are- and find who you are, as well.”
“No longer, though,” my best friend says. “You’re better than I thought, but I still don’t want to hang out with a weasel.”
“Aren’t you dating Fred, though?” Rose asks, confused.
“Why won’t everyone shut up about that?!” Clark yells, and then she storms away. Rose looks at me, thoroughly confused.
“You’ll get used to it,” I assure her. “I did.”
“How? She seems utterly horrible. I mean, she’s perfect, which is bad enough, but then she’s a total bitch as well? How can you even stand her?”
I can’t help but bristle a little bit. That bitch is my best friend, and I love her no matter how horrible she is.
“She’s really not so bad,” I protest. “She was only the second person, ever, to stand up for me. And she’s never judged me, not once, which is more than I can say for anyone in your family, including you.”
Rose is taken aback. I don’t think she expected me to jump to Clark’s defense quite so quickly.
“I’m sorry, Jack. I didn’t realize. She just seems so...”
“I know how she seems,” I snap. “You seem like an uptight princess, James seems like an arrogant prick, and Albus seems like an air-headed pushover. No one is what they seem like.”
“Alright...” Rose is a little put off by my speech. To be honest, so am I. When have I ever not thought of Al as an air-headed pushover?
What’s wrong with me?
Am I beginning to not hate him?
Oh, the horror.
“Anyway,” I shake my head, doing away with these blasphemous thoughts. “What do you say to the offer?”
“I’ll um, I’ll have to think about it.”
I raise an eyebrow, waiting for an explanation. Has Rose lost her resolve in the light of day?
“If I say yes, nothing will ever be the same! Are you going to deny that?”
I stay silent. She’s right. Clark and I have a habit of corrupting people. Just look at Grant ‘n them. I’m not saying we’ve changed them, but they have all the flaws that they have because we’ve encouraged them. Because we don’t care about flaws, even the ones that really need to be corrected.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I have no idea.
Take Lars, for an example. I’m sure that if he had befriended Albus, Adam, and Michael during first year, he wouldn’t be such a man-whore today. But if a man-whore is who he is, is it really bad that I’ve never bothered to correct that behavior?
The world may never know.
“Just think about it, Rose,” I tell her, even as more students walk up to join us. Class starts in a few minutes.
“Jack! Looking stunning, as always.” Lars sidles up and winks at me.
Speak of the devil.
Also, I really don’t look stunning. I woke up late today, and I barely had time to shower, let alone look nice. My uniform is on crooked, I’m pretty sure I’m not wearing one of my socks, and my hair is still wet- last time I attempted a drying spell on it, it burst into flames. So I’m not doing that again.
“Lars.” I crook an eyebrow at him. Scorpius, right behind, smiles at me.
He doesn’t so much as look at Rose.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see her clench her teeth. I guess it must be frustrating, if the person you’re in love with won’t even look at you. Of course, that’s just because Scorp doesn’t want to encourage my meddling... he doesn’t have any idea of Rose’s feelings.
Maybe I should tell him...
No, because then it would suck for Rose if he didn’t feel the same way.
God, love is complicated.
I’m so lucky I don’t have to worry about it.
“I didn’t see you at breakfast, Jack,” a new voice says, and Albus swoops in to kiss me on the cheek, bumping Lars out of the way as he does so.
“Woke up late,” I say, smiling up into his bottle-green eyes.
“You’re missing a sock,” he chuckles. Lately, Al has seemed to find my constantly messy appearance hilarious; I wish I’d know that when the bet first started, or I wouldn’t have wasted so much time trying to look first like a slut, then like a perfect-Prefect-girl.
“I’ll see you,” Scorp tells me quietly, glaring at Al before dragging Lars to the other side of the crowd. I groan loudly.
“Can’t you two just get along?” I implore the world, looking up at the ceiling. The Grey Lady, floating above, gives me a withering glance. She’s never taken to me all that much.
“It’s the constant competition,” Albus says, narrowing his eyes at Scorp’s retreating form. “We could never like each other, we’re always competing- for top of Slytherin, for quidditch captain, for prefect...”
Rose, hearing this, turns pink and looks away.
We’ll have to work on the blushing.
I know why she’s embarrassed, though. None of her family likes Scorpius, so if she finally gets to date him, it will cause a whole new round of problems. I can help with that, though. If there’s one thing I know like the back of my hand, it’s family troubles.
“Alright class, hurry in,” Slughorn says gruffly, ushering us into the classroom as soon as he opens the door. He greets Rose and Albus by name while completely ignoring me. I frown. Yes, Clark turned down his invitation to the “Slug Club” on my behalf, but it still stings that I wasn’t invited simply because I’m muggle-born and don’t have any connections- I’m still great at magic!
“Today we will be brewing the Pepperup Potion, always a good one to have around, eh?” Slughorn says as we all sit down at our seats. I kiss Al goodbye and head off to the back, where I sit with Rose. He and Adam share a table in the front of the classroom, good kids that they are. As Rose sits down beside me, I can feel her eyes following Scorpius’s platinum blonde head across the room, to where he is seated with Lars. I nudge her, and she snaps out of it.
“Pepperup Potion,” I murmur as Slughorn goes on. She shrugs.
“Should be easy.”
“For you, what isn’t, Potions whiz?”
Rose grins. I don’t really know why she doesn’t want a career in something to do with Potions, because it’s her best subject and the one she loves the most. Maybe it’s going back to what she said before, about always being the person everyone else wants her to be. Maybe that’s why she says she wants to work for the ministry, because that’s what her mother did, and that’s what everyone expects her to do.
“I really do like him, you know,” Rose muses as we begin to make our potion. She takes the lead, while I throw in the ingredients needed and give them a stir with Rose’s wand; we discovered in second year that if I stir the potion with my wand, it will turn out much more potent than intended.
“Obviously,” I say, watching the potion turn a garish orange- don’t worry, it’s supposed to. I mean, c’mon. Everyone with eyes (excluding guys, because they’re all blind when it comes to things like this) can tell that Rose is completely in love with Scorpius.
“No, I mean I actually like him. Not just in a clichéd teen romance sort of way. I like him for all the reasons there are. Including the fact that dating him will piss off my family,” she admits, staring down at the root she’s chopping up.
“Good,” I say dryly. “You’re being honest with yourself. And trust me when I say this: pissing off your family is extremely satisfying.”
“Didn’t yours kick you out, though?”
“Oh, don’t worry. You can always come live with Clark as well, provided you take our offer.”
“Clark’s parents? Now that’s a scary thought.” Rose shudders.
“They’re actually nothing like her,” I say with a grin. “They’re wonderful, by anyone’s definition. You’d love them.”
“Really?” Rose crooks an eyebrow, imitating the expression I made at Lars. I smile at her, acknowledging the mimicking.
“Yes, really. They took me in without a second thought, even with me being... well, everything I am. That’s more than I can say for my own family.”
“Mine doesn’t even know who I really am,” Rose sighs sadly, dumping the chopped-up roots into our potion. It turns electric blue and emits a pale yellow steam.
“They don’t have to. If you figure it out, their acceptance will come later.”
“And if I date Scorpius, my father’s Howler will come right away.”
I snort with laughter.
“True, true. But that’s one way to not be forgotten.”
Rose turns to me and smiles like she’s just seen hope.
“You’re right! It seems like dating Scorpius really will solve all my problems... and you and Clark can help with that, right?”
“Anything you need.”
“Well, then... I suppose I’ll take your offer.”
“Yes!” I yell, attracting a few odd glances. “Nothing to see here, folks!” I wave my wand, and they become spontaneously disinterested in Rose’s and my conversation.
“Neat trick,” she compliments.
“I can show you that and more,” I grin, slinging one arm around her and stretching the other out like I’m showing her the world. “Trust me, love, you won’t regret this.”
Rose eyes me doubtfully for a second, then finally she cracks a smile.
“You know what, Jack? I think I just might believe you.”
A/N: Please read and review :)
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