Chapter 16 : XVI
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Hugo and I walk up to the castle in relative silence, he seems completely immersed in his own thoughts and I leave him to it. Eventually he starts chatting about random, unrelated things, as if he is trying to distract himself. We chat about the upcoming Easter Holiday; he asks if I am actually coming home this year as I’ve stayed at Hogwarts the past couple of years to which I tell him that, yes, I will be going home. He seems happy about that fact although he tries to hide it. We chat about exams – he’s taking his OWLs in the summer. He asks about the Quidditch team, about the new Keeper and Chaser. I grill him about the three detentions he had to serve last week for setting fire to his friend’s robes in Charms. Sibling stuff. Stuff we used to talk about.
I don’t mention anything about Moon and he doesn’t bring up Malfoy. However, when we reach the top step he glances sideways at me, a thoughtful look on his face.
“You know,” he says, “they wouldn’t really care if it was a Malfoy either.” And then he’s gone, taking off up the stairs towards the common room two at a time. Frowning after him, I don’t notice Brookes coming up the stairs until it’s too late.
“Uh… Weasley?” he asks when I make no move to get out of his way and let him into the castle.
“Brookes,” I greet him. “Look, I wanted to talk to you,” I rush out before he can walk off.
“Look Weasley, I’m not doing this again,” he frowns, glancing down at his feet and trying to back away. I instantly take a step backwards to make it clear I have no intention of trying to kiss him again.
“No, that’s not it,” I mutter embarrassedly. “I wanted to apologize.” Brookes looks up hesitantly. “What I did was wrong and I’m sorry. I tried to talk to Hatty James about it, I told her the truth. I’m sorry for what happened and I wish I could do something to fix it,” I rush before I can back out.
“I uh… Wow. I don’t really know what to say,” Brookes mutters awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck absentmindedly. “Why do you even care? It’s not like we’re the first couple you’ve broken up.”
“Yeah well all the others actually cheated. You didn’t,” I shrug just as a group of Hufflepuff girls climb up the stairs. Brookes spots James before I do. She’s shielded in the middle of the group, her eyes flickering questioningly between Brookes and I. Clearly she notices the space between us (it’s hard to miss as we’re standing at least two meters away from each other which is a little odd for two people having a conversation).
When she stops at the top of the stairs between us, her friend whispers to her but she just shakes her head, telling them to go on without her. Her eyes are mainly fixed on Brookes now.
“What’s going on?” she asks when the girls have headed inside and out of earshot.
“Weasley was apologizing,” Brookes frowns.
“Right…” she glances at me again.
“I wanted to fix things,” I explain, desperately wishing I could just sink into the floor and away from the discomfort of this situation. Hatty James nods once before looking back to Brookes.
“Well?” she prompts.
“Come on Hatty,” he sighs. “You know I still love you, I just… Please can you forgive me. Nothing happened I swear. I just really want you back,” he chokes out. Hatty stares at him for several painful seconds.
“You never asked,” she finally says.
“You never asked me for forgiveness – there’s nothing to forgive anyway,” she shrugs, glancing back at me. I nod. “You never asked me to come back,” she looks at Brookes again. “I was just waiting for you to ask.”
Brookes looks shell-shocked. His grey eyes blinking in confusion. Then he moves, gathering her up in his arms and kissing her like she is the best thing in the entire world. He lifts her clear of the ground, laughing despite the glistening in his eyes. “I’m such an idiot,” he snorts. She just nods before kissing him again and I take that as my cue to get the hell out of here.
There’s no one in the Owlery as I whistle for Nox to come down. The majority of students are gathered in the Great Hall or hurriedly packing last minute for the Easter Holidays. My case is already packed and waiting in my dorm.
“Hey,” an all too familiar voice greets me from the entrance of the Owlery. Turning around I eye Malfoy carefully. We haven’t really been alone together since that kiss and his very presence is setting me on edge.
“Malfoy,” I mutter tersely, turning to attach my letter to Nox’s waiting foot.
“Who’s the letter for? Aren’t you going home to see your family in a few hours?” Malfoy asks, slowly making his way over to me, carefully lifting his robes to avoid the debris on the floor.
“It’s to your brother,” I mumble without really thinking.
“Andrius is just in the Hall, you could just talk to him,” Scorpius smirks then something registers on his face. “Or do you mean Castor? Are you talking to him again?” he asks more hesitantly, like he doesn’t want me to snap at him.
I just shake my head, not making eye contact. “Just Pollux,” I sigh. There’s a moment of tense silences and I glance up to see Malfoy staring at me in shock, his mouth hanging open.
“What?” he snaps. His face darkens.
“Pollux,” I repeat. “He sent me some of his poetry to go over,” I elaborate.
“Pollux?” Malfoy echoes. “Polllux?”
“Yes, Pollux,” I frown.
“You don’t even know Pollux,” Malfoy looks completely thrown.
“Well evidently I do,” I gesture to the letter on Nox’s foot as I feed him a treat and wave him away. “We met over the Christmas Holidays.”
“You mean you’ve been writing to my brother since Christmas?” Scorpius’ faces morphs into an expression of fury.
“Yes…?” I hedge, unsure why exactly he is so angry. “We’ve met up a couple of times on Hogsmeade days too… Is there a problem?” I ask when Malfoy continues to stare at me like he about to go on a homicide mission.
“A problem?” he hisses. “Yes there’s a fucking problem!” he yells before spinning on his heels, practically punching a few owls out of the way and storming out of the Owlery leaving me completely gobsmacked.
The journey back to King’s Cross finds me sitting in a compartment with Faye and wondering what the hell is wrong with Malfoy. Faye is fretting about meeting Andrius’ parents in a few days whilst trying to compose a revision timetable for the Holidays.
“Relax,” I mutter when she looks like she is about to work herself into a state. “He’ll have already informed them about the fact you’re pregnant-”
“No he won’t, he wants me to be there,” Faye rushes.
“What? Okay well just wear loose fitting robes and they won’t guess right away. Not that you’re really showing, I’ve no idea how you’re six months pregnant and still so small.”
“I already wear loose robes, that’s why no one at Hogwarts has guessed yet. Sometimes it’s a good thing that people tend to overlook you,” she mutters.
“Yeah well maybe you’ll expand over the holidays and be huge when you get back. People are going to have to notice sooner or later.”
“People don’t notice me Rose, I’m not interesting. It’s surprisingly easy to hide a pregnant belly when people don’t notice you. The girls in my dorm just assume I’m getting fat,” she shrugs.
“But anyway, why does Andrius want you to be there when he tells them?”
“Because my mother is less likely to hex me into next century with company present,” comes the reply as Andrius pushes open the door of our compartment and steps inside. “May I?” he asks Faye, who nods and he takes a seat beside her. “That and she has a fondness for babies so hopefully she’ll be more distracted making sure Faye is healthy than disciplining me.”
“Typical Slytherin,” I mutter. “Using a poor, helpless girl to protect themselves from their own mother.”
“Yeah well, you’ve met my mother,” he snorts as if that makes it all okay. Faye looks a little paler than before.
“What about your father?” Faye hedges.
“Oh he’ll leave the punishment to my mother, I’m just a little concerned he might have a heart attack at the thought of being a grandfather but he’s really not the one to worry about,” Andrius shrugs.
“You’re not helping,” I point out.
“I still remember when you and Castor set fire to the tree house okay,” Andrius says pointedly. “She almost set fire to you! And I think getting someone pregnant is worse than burning down several meters of woodland.”
“You remember that?” I ask astonished. It had been in the summer between my first and second year and admittedly, not one of my finest moments. “But that’s still not the point.”
“If you would rather I told them before you came, then fine, I will,” he directs towards Faye. She smiles meekly at him and he rolls his eyes. “Fine.”
“When are you going over?” I ask her.
“Tuesday… I wish you could come,” she sighs. “Moral support and all that.”
Andrius snorts. “Somehow I don’t think that would be a good idea,” he chuckles. “No offence,” he shoots at me.
“Why?” Faye frowns.
“Well, Rose is a source of quite a bit of tension in my house. It probably wouldn’t help,” he explains vaguely. Faye glances at me curiously and I just shrug, remembering how Pollux had said his family had been arguing about me the first time we had met. But that line of thought pulls me towards Malfoy Number Three and that isn’t a place I want to go at the moment. So I focus on Andrius.
It should be weird how easily he interacts with Faye and I. How comfortable he is to just call me ‘Rose’ where most people wouldn’t dream of it. How casually his arm is slung on the bench behind Faye. But somehow he makes it seem normal. He’s comfortable. And his presence makes those around him feel comfortable too.
A few minutes passes before Faye pauses, looks at me and says: “Wait, you set fire to a tree house?”
“Rose!” Lily yells over the crowds at King’s Cross Station. “We’re taking Hugo back with us, mum wants to know if you want us to take your trunk?” she huffs out when she reaches me. My parents are both working today so get as many days off during the actual holiday as possible and Lily and Al often share lifts with us anyway.
“That would be great,” I say, lugging the thing through the crowd towards the exit.
“Where are you going anyway?” she asks when we’re on the other side of the barrier.
“Dominique’s picking me up,” I explain.
“Oh right, the car’s over here,” she hauls her own trunk over to a battered Land Rover in the crowded car park where I spot Dominique chatting to Harry while Ginny is already grilling Albus about his grades and simultaneously sprouting facts about Quidditch Teams that might be looking for new Seekers in the near future. Hugo is watching her in amusement.
“Hey Rose,” Ginny greets, helping Lily get her trunk in the back.
“Thank for taking my trunk,” I smile. Ginny quickly covers her surprise.
“Told you you smile more,” Hugo whispers in my ear.
“Shut it,” I snap.
“Come on Rosa,” Dominique sings. “The boys will be waiting for us.”
“Boys? Who said anything about boys?” Harry teases.
“Relax, it’s just Louis and Pollux,” Dominique laughs. “But they really are waiting so we have to get a move on,” she adds, grabbing my arm. I manage an awkward wave over my shoulder as she drags me into the busy streets of London.
We end up in front of The Dragon’s Head after Dominique dragged me down a suspicious looking alleyway and apparated us. The pub is clearly only visible to witches and wizards and not overly crowded as we make our way between the tables to the back where two heads of blonde hair are bowed in conversation. They don’t notice us until Dominique sits down opposite Louis with an exaggerated flourish. I take a seat across from Pollux with an eye roll. He just smirks.
“Have you ordered?” she asks.
“No we were waiting for you,” Louis says pointedly.
“It’s not my fault Rosa here takes forever to get out,” Dominique quips.
“Hey! You know how crowded King’s Cross gets!”
“Oh, so there wasn’t anyone special you had to say goodbye to?” she teases.
“Funny,” I deadpan.
“Wait, what?” Pollux frowns.
“Nothing, there’s no one,” I explain.
“Oh really? So who was that boy with spikey blonde hair that you were hugging?” Dominique’s smile is once again wicked.
“I thought you were waiting by the car?”
“I couldn’t give up the chance to spy on my favourite cousin now, could I?” she teases. “And don’t change the subject.”
“It was just Will, we’re just friends,” I snap.
“Oh so that’s the Will you’ve been on about,” she grins gleefully.
“For Merlin’s sake, why does everyone think there is something going on between us?” I huff. “Can’t a guy and a girl just be friends?”
“Not unless they’re related,” Dominique smiles. “Or one of them is gay,” her smile turns to a smirk.
“She was just friends with Castor,” Louis argues as Pollux recovers from choking on his drink.
“Nuh uh,” Dominique shakes her head. “She had a crush on him in her second year.”
I gape at her as Pollux chuckles. “How do you even know that?” I ask, horrified.
“I’m observant, remember,” she smirks again as Pollux shuffles uncomfortably in his seat.
“Shall we just order,” Louis sighs, rolling his eyes at his sister. The four of us fall into comfortable conversation after that that does not revolve around my love life at all. The Dragon’s Head serves amazing food and a brief silences falls across the table as we dig in.
“I got your letter this morning,” Pollux gestures at me absently with his fork, making Louis dig his elbow into his side. I had completely forgotten about the letter, to confused by the aftermath of sending it. I nod, swallowing my mouthful. “I sent some samples of my poems to some publishers before coming out,” he adds on with a quiet smile.
“Really?” Louis, Dominique and I exclaim simultaneously, making Pollux laugh.
“Well you two seem to think they’re worth something so I figured I could give it a try,” he points to Dominique and I.
“I still don’t get why they can read them and you won’t let me anywhere near them,” Louis scowls. Dominique bites her lip as Pollux blushes and stares at his plate.
“If you say something sexist like poetry is only for girls, I’m going to stab you in the face with my fork,” I threaten. Louis laughs at the look on my face and Pollux sighs as if in relief, giving me a small smile of his own. Sometimes I really think I am missing something.
The rest of the meal passes fairly uneventfully, Louis and Dominique fall into a familiar argument about whether or not their sister Victoire and Ted Lupin will ever stop pretending they work better as ‘just friends’. I must say, I side with Dominique on this one, there is really no way those two will ever be happy with anyone but each other. Pollux and Dominique discuss the best tactics for dealing with publishers and Louis asks me about my NEWTs and plans for the future.
“Dominique, can you tell maman that I’ll be back later,” Louis asks his sister as we shrug our coats on and head out of the pub.
“Where are you going?” she asks but I spot the dangerous glint in her eyes.
“Back to Pollux’,” he replies.
“Be safe!” she manages to yell just before Pollux grabs Louis’ elbow and apparates them away. But not quite quick enough for me not to see his face flood red. I turn to Dominique. Really, there was nothing too strange about Dominique’s statement… Except for the smirk on her face and the way it sounded like she just couldn’t help herself. And Pollux’ reaction. And the fact that Dominique isn’t one to care much about other peoples’ safety.
I stare at her and then back to the spot where the two boys had apparated. And then back to her.
“Oh so now you get it,” she smirks even wider.
By the time I get home, the house is quiet. I spot the kitchen light still on and go to investigate who is still awake. When I push the door open however, I do a double take to see who is sitting at the kitchen table. My mum is nursing a cup of tea in her hands and immediately gets up to greet me.
“Hey Rosie,” she smiles, pulling me in for a hug which I return absentmindedly. “It’s good to have you back,” she says earnestly, pulling my attention away from the second person in the room with her tone.
“It’s good to be back mum,” I mutter, hugging her a little tighter. “And don’t call me Rosie.”
“I’m just going to…” she gestures awkwardly out the door when she lets go of me. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow honey,” she smiles, kissing me on my temple before slipping out the kitchen and up the stairs.
I turn to the person still sitting awkwardly at the table.
“Hey Rose,” she says. And that’s when I burst into tears. And then she’s standing up and wrapping her arms around me and I’m clinging to her robes and there are tears steaming down her faces too. “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you,” Molly chants into my hair, tightening her grip on me like she’s afraid I might slip away.
“I missed you too,” I choke out. “I missed you too.”
“Look,” she pulls away, her hands on my shoulders forcing me to meet her gaze. “I don’t give a shit what happened between you and James, I really don’t give a shit. I just need my best girl friend back. I need you Rose. And I’m sorry for not trying harder before and I know it’s been years but I can’t stand it anymore Rose. I really can’t. So I’m sorry and I love you and please can we be friends again?” Molly begs, her fingertips digging into my shoulders so hard it almost hurts.
Still gripping her robes, I nod frantically. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I mutter. “It’s not your fault, I was stupid and I’m sorry. It had nothing to do with you and I should never have shut you out. I love you too, you’re one of my best friends and always will be and I’m sorry,” I sob and she pulls me back into a hug. “I’m so, so sorry.”
We stand there for a few minutes, just holding each other. A part of me feels like there is a crack down the walls of my defences but a greater part of me doesn’t care. I missed Molly more than words could says.
“Do you want a cup of tea?” I ask as I finally pull away.
“I’ve already got one,” she indicates to the cup on the table. “There’s more in the pot.”
We silently sit down and I pour myself a cup, summoning the milk from the fridge.
“So Rose,” Molly smiles. “How’ve you been?”
“Honestly? I don’t have a clue,” I snort.
“Well from what I hear, you’ve been breaking plenty of young boys hearts,” she smirks.
“It’s really not what you think,” I mutter.
“Well you want to tell me what went down with you and Lucy?” she quirks an eyebrow. “Because I’ve heard about a dozen different versions of it.” I roll my eyes.
“She caught the boy she was secretly dating confessing his love to me,” I shrug.
“Seriously?” Molly laughs. “And was it really that douche, McLaggen?”
“Yup,” I clip, reaching for the cookie tin.
“Cas owes me five galleons,” she grins, helping herself to a cookie and dunking it in her tea.
“How is Castor?” I ask.
“He’s good. We were on a break for a while but he’s taking me out on Tuesday. Won’t tell me where though. He’s working at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes at the moment, George has him on ‘trial’ but I’m pretty sure he’s just teasing him,” she chuckles. “He’s also working on some potential new products but he’s a bit shy about suggesting any of them George,” she continues and I notice the way she doesn’t bring up James even though I am almost positive that Castor is doing all these things with him.
“I’m sure George will love them, he’s always had a soft spot for Castor,” I snort. “What about you? Sold any paintings?”
“You know about that?” she asks in surprise. I just give her a pointed look and she has the decency to look sheepish. “Well I’ve sold a couple, I’m trying to get a gallery space at the moment but everywhere is fully booked or not interested in new artists which is complete bullshit,” she grouses.
“You should see if Mrs Longbottom with hang any up in the Leaky Cauldron,” I suggest. “They would get decent viewing there and maybe spike an interest in and investor.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Molly muses. Then her faces suddenly morphs into something else, as is typical Molly Weasley style when a new idea pops into her head. Honestly, the inside of Molly’s skull is a place I would be very wary of visiting. “I forgot to congratulate you on your win against Hufflepuff- Oh wait, you didn’t win,” she grins gleefully.
“Shut up,” I sulk.
“What was the score again?” she muses.
“I said shut up.”
“430 to 30? Is that right?” she continues, ignoring me. “We beat you by four hundred points?”
“Ha. Ha. Very funny. Now if you could not bring that up when Al is around we would all be very grateful,” I mutter monotonously.
“Oh poor Al,” she laughs. “I wish I could’ve seen his face.”
“That is sadistic Molly Weasley and you know it,” I point out.
“Okay, okay,” she huffs, holding back more laughter. “But you have to admit it is pretty funny.”
“If you say so.”
“Oh by the way, are you coming to the Burrow on the last day of the holidays?” she asks, changing the subject again. Like I said: Molly Weasley’s mind is an ever-changing place.
Hello lovely readers! Here it is, I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you think, especially about Molly. If you were wondering, the current plan I have will take us to 25 chapter plus an Epilogue but that's if I don't add in a load of extra stuff which, knowing me, I probably will. Anyway, thanks for reading and come say hi on my blog!
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