Chapter 26 : Not A Happy Camper
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After breaking up with Isobel Gudgeon, Sam had a whole new store of negative energy pent up, which he only seemed to release on Rose.
If Rose hadn’t been completely focused on catching up for her 6th year exams, she might have let herself feel bothered, but nothing was coming between her and those Outstandings in every subject.
Although she had her usual huge desire to procrastinate, Rose fought her instincts, and followed a strict and lonely routine of working in the library, from the end of class until she left to go to bed, with only a short break for dinner.
On the plus side, this meant she only had to deal with Sam’s malevolent behaviour at mealtimes and occasionally in shared classes.
Her professors were both happy and astounded at Rose’s rapid recovery from uninterested and lazy, to focused and diligent – although Neville simply rolled his eyes and got on with his job, clearly projecting an, ‘only you would be able to pull something like this off, Rose,’ attitude.
It was therefore to no one’s surprise that Rose received ten Os at the end of term, just as she had for her OWLs, despite paying no attention in class and doing no homework until the last term of the year.
Damn Granger genes.
However after exams were over and Rose no longer had an outlet to block Sam, she was forced to spend more time around him, which became increasingly frustrating.
Being a Slytherin, Sam was careful to make his hurtful comments so subtle that they were almost imperceptible to anyone but Rose.
Somehow he knew Rose wouldn’t say anything to the others straight out, and as Sam was never caught in the act he had no incentive to stop.
Rose had never had a problem standing up for herself, she was a Gryffindor through and through, but somehow her sense of guilt, avoidance, denial and compassion had mixed together to form an incredible timidity around Sam.
If any of her friends had known, they would have seen it as a sick cocktail of manipulation from Sam’s side, and remorse from Rose – she felt she deserved to be hurt.
Anybody could have told her that refusing to date someone doesn’t mean they’re entitled to be a complete fuckwit, but sometimes you just have to discover your self-respect on your own.
“Whose idea was this? Seriously! Who was it!?” Ron Weasley was not a happy camper.
For some reason, the entire Weasley family, the Longbottoms, Scamanders and other invited guests, thought it would be a great idea to take a summer camping trip all together in the Forest of Dean.
‘The wildlife will be fascinating,’ said the Scamanders.
‘It will bring back memories,’ said Hermione.
‘It will be totally awesome to see where Uncle Ron destroyed a Horcrux with the sword of Gryffindor,’ said James.
But let’s all remember that waking up almost forty people at the crack of dawn every day is never going to elicit a good response.
It was three days into the trip, and yet again, Granddad Arthur had woken everyone up that morning with a huge old alarm clock that was ringing shrilly, while Nana Molly walked around the campsite dispensing bacon from a sizzling pan.
Eventually, the bleary-eyed stragglers joined the annoyingly perky, and they all hiked together for hours to a secluded lake.
Rose had brought along her best friend Bee, but Al had brought Sam, so she definitely needed Bee to keep her sane from Sam’s sly antagonism.
She had literally been enduring it non-stop for the past 65 hours.
When they finally got to the lake after so long on their feet, it was luxurious to laze about in the water, then eat lunch, then laze about again.
Rose was surprised at how relaxing getting in touch with nature could be, which was of course before the mosquitos came out again.
In the late afternoon when the heat had lessened, both the adults and kids got into pairs and played a good few rounds of shoulder wars.
The best teams were those who had adults as anchors (the bases who carried someone on their shoulders) and children as pushers.
“Hey Alice, do you want to pair up? I’ll be anchor.” Al asked her.
Looking a little surprised Alice replied, “But anchors have to be adults if you want to win.”
Al shrugged, “Well maybe I care less about winning and more about pairing up with you.”
Blushing, she nodded, “Okay.”
Surprisingly, Alice managed to knock over quite a few people (Hermione and Hugo didn’t have very good stability and fell into the water very easily).
However, Al’s slight seeker build was no match against Ron (who, let’s be honest, had a few extra pounds to help keep him up) and the fiery Rose (who noticed Al’s pairing decision with intrigue while knocking them over repeatedly into the lake).
Bee looked so relaxed and happy and beautiful, her brown skin glistening in the water as she and Angelina (who was a stocky former-Quidditch player) battled Ron with Rose on his shoulders.
Rose laughed at her friend gleefully as they attempted to push each other over, and when Bee finally toppled into the lake she was laughing so hard Rose could feel nothing but love for her friend.
Once Ron and Rose became the undisputed champions (after being accused of cheating multiple times), everyone got out of the water and started drying off.
Rose and Ron simply kept gloating, using ‘there’s no rule saying that anchors can’t help push people over too’ as their defence.
By the time everyone had walked back to the campsite it was dark, the most vicious mosquitos on the planet were out, and Rose was starving.
As she sat down on chair near the fire that Hermione had whipped up, Rose closed her eyes in exhaustion and cursed at the fact that she wasn’t yet seventeen – otherwise she would have just Apparated back to the campsite like Al and Sam, and even Ron (the lazy bastard!).
Of course, all of them had refused to take her with them.
Apparently being of age meant you turned into an enormous prat who laughed at the misfortune of those who are one week away from turning seventeen.
Rose had completely perfected the art of apparition in the Saturday classes offered at the end of sixth year, but just hadn’t had her bloody birthday yet.
So having walked the four hours back to camp, Rose decided that collapsing by the fire and reflecting on how she had never been this consistently sleep-deprived and itchy before, was her first order of business.
Bee was off being helpful, offering to get plates and cutlery for dinner sorted, while Rose slouched down in her chair.
She had no idea how Beena still had the energy to be nice, they had stayed up late talking in their tent every night since getting here (somehow the darkness of their tent and not being able to see each other made it easier to talk about everything and anything).
And of course waking up at six-thirty every morning wasn’t helping.
Everything was starting to hit Rose hard, and she was definitely more than a little on edge when Sam sat down on the other side of the fire.
“Here have some water Rose, you look ridiculously tired.”
Rose’s eyes flew open and she looked up at Ginny, who was standing next to her chair with a bottle of water.
Rose took the bottle, and as Ginny walked away Sam’s usual criticism made its way across the fire.
“You should say thank you to people. It’s rather rude to just take things without any gratitude.”
Rose turned to stare over the fire at Sam, who was sitting across from her with his arms crossed over his chest wearing a look of disdain.
Suddenly, Rose felt like every little thing Sam had said since the end of fifth year had culminated to this moment.
Every snide insult, every criticism, every hurtful word.
All the sleep-deprivation, all the frustration, all the discomfort of this stupid camping trip.
Three days of constant mistreatment.
Three days of small things, that no one else ever seemed to notice!
And now, this little snarky comment.
‘You should say thank you to people. It’s rather rude to just take things without any gratitude.’
All he had said, was that she should say thank you.
But that’s really all it took for this moment to arrive.
“Shut the fuck up, Malfoy.”
Sam was shocked by her reaction, usually she was passive and diffident.
“I am so sick of you picking on me all the time, every single day!”
Rose stood up from her chair, staring straight at Sam with a blinding fury.
“You never fucking stop and I’m sick of your shit, you arsehole. I’m not going to take it anymore. Stop criticising me. In fact, just stop talking to me altogether. Your opinion matters less to my life than the wild pig shit I scraped off my shoe today. I don’t give a fuck what you think. I don’t give a fuck about what you have to say, so just keep your fucking mouth shut, you fucking fuck!”
Rose had raised her voice, but not loud enough to draw any attention.
She was so mad, she didn’t even really know what she had said anyway (other than a lot of ‘fucks, fuckings, and fuckers’).
All she knew was that after she had stood up for herself, she felt a whole lot better so she sat back down and closed her eyes again.
She guessed whatever she had said, worked, because Sam didn’t utter one more word to her the whole night.
When Rose had eaten dinner she immediately told Bee that she was too tired to think, and really needed some sleep.
Bee immediately assured her that she too was exhausted, and they both went back to their tent and got ready for bed.
After saying goodnight, Bee quickly fell into an even breathing pattern with a few snores every now and then; she was definitely asleep.
Rose couldn’t drop off as quickly, despite how fatigued she was and she stayed awake for hours, listening as everyone else made their way to bed, and the campsite fell into silence.
All Rose could think about as she lied there awake, was apologising to Sam… how could she have yelled at him like that?
She was supposed to be the better person, all he had done was tell her that she should say thank you…
But that wasn’t all he had done, it was a build-up of hundreds of things –
Over and over, she imagined trying to say sorry, but this just made her so upset and she didn’t know why!
Before she knew it, her breathing was harsh and tears sprung to her eyes.
What the fuck was wrong with her?
She had finally stood up to the person who had been treating her like shit for a whole year – why was she crying over this?
That was when she heard a rustle at the tent flap.
She quickly got out of her bed and walked quietly over to the entrance of the tent.
Her wand lit up and revealed that there was no one outside the tent.
Whoever had been there was now gone.
But her wand light did illuminate a folded piece of parchment that had been pushed through the flap of the tent.
She picked it up and unfolded it, her eyes devouring the words scribbled on the page.
I’m sorry for being so rude and mean to you. It’s so simple to take things out on someone that can handle it, instead of taking responsibility for how you feel. But that doesn’t mean it is ever okay to do so. You never deserved any of it, and I’m sorry for taking advantage of the fact that you thought you did. You never deserved any of the mistreatment I threw your way. I now realise that no one else is responsible for how shit I feel, except me, and blaming you only served my shallowest needs in the most selfish way. I’m sorry that I was too weak, cowardly and stupid to do what was right, instead of what was easy. I hope you can forgive me – not now, but one day.
She felt an emotion that she honestly couldn’t name, rise up in her throat and she felt like crying all over again.
Slowly she folded up the letter and climbed into bed, eventually drifting into a dreamless sleep.
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