Chapter 28 : An Explanation
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They jumped apart, both turning to look at her in horror.
Hugo immediately flushed bright Weasley red, cringing in embarrassment before crying out, “Rose, what are you doing here?”
Rose huffed in disbelief, “What am I doing here? IT’S THE KITCHENS HUGO! Anyone can just walk in. The real question is what are you doing here?”
“Well I think it was pretty obvious what we were doing here…”
“Ugh, don’t try to be funny Hugo. This is not in any way, funny.”
“Look, I don’t have to explain myself to you Rose-”
“But I do.”
The voice came from exactly where neither of them had been looking.
Out of sight out of mind, right?
But there Corey sat, his green and silver tie loosened, his hair ruffled and his face slightly flushed.
Hugo started to protest, “It’s fine, she doesn’t have to know anyth-”
But one look silenced him, “Rose is one of my best friends, and I really do feel like I need to explain myself to her.”
Hugo sighed, “Fine.”
“I’ll owl you later tonight or something.”
“Okay…” Hugo awkwardly sat between them for a few more seconds, before standing up and leaving, shooting a look of uncertainty over his shoulder before opening the door and walking out.
Once the door had shut behind him, Corey gestured to the stool that Hugo had just vacated, before calling one of the house-elves over.
“Hi, could you bring me two hot cocoas and a plate of biscuits?”
“Of course Master,” the elf squeaked.
“How did you know what I was going to eat?” Rose asked, confused.
Corey just smiled, “Humans are creatures of habit, and you are no exception Rose Weasley.”
Once the drinks and biscuits were brought over Corey took a deep breath and... stared at his hands.
Rose just sipped, and raised an eyebrow at him.
It was time to play the role of intimidating older sister.
She had caught him snogging her little brother, so she sure as shit wasn’t going to start the conversation.
Finally, his voice rumbled to life.
“So a couple of weeks ago, at the start of term party we threw in the Gryffindor Common Room, I may have implied to Hugo that I thought he was cute.”
Corey looked up at her to check her reaction.
She seemed to have taken that well, so he continued.
“I was just mucking around, but I did mean it and he looked a little out of his depth at the party. I was just trying to help him out, I mean it was his first proper senior party, and he was looking lonely and awkward. No one that funny and smart should be lonely and awkward at a party.”
Rose giggled and Corey rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, but Rose waited patiently, even as Corey’s eyes studied the floor as if it were the most fascinating artwork he’d ever seen.
Thinking he might need a little prompting Rose offered, “And tonight…”
Nodding excitedly Corey caught on, “Yes tonight. Right. So Hugo, he came up to me during dinner and asked if we could talk. He said he needed some help to sort something out. So we came here to the kitchens. I swear I didn’t think, even for a second, that he was going to make a move! What kind of fifteen-year-old has that kind of guts anyway? I assumed it was going to be an innocent chat – I would never have intentionally let him think otherwise.”
Corey looked earnestly at Rose, “He’s your brother, and he’s two years younger than us, and I would never do anything like that without talking to you and Al about it first – but he freaking jumped me Rose! Like, out of the blue, grabs me and snogs the life out of me! I swear that’s how it went down.”
He waited, praying that Rose would believe him – he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if Rose thought of him as some awful, disrespectful cradle snatcher.
“I believe you Corey. That sounds like Hugo. He’s a Gryffindor through and through.”
Corey breathed a sigh of relief, but continued on a little guiltily.
“I should have stopped him sooner, but… well you know how it can be, right?”
Rose nodded her head in understanding.
Oh she knew exactly how it could be, a brief memory of her and Sam by the lake flashing through her mind.
“And then you walked in, and he yelled and you yelled, and I really want this to sit right with you Rose. I don’t want anything to ever get between us. I mean, I won’t even talk to him again if you’re not absolutely okay with it.”
Rose pushed his arm playfully, “Don’t be ridiculous Corey, of course you can talk to him. It sounds like Hugo just decided to give you a chance, and I happened to walk in because I have nothing better to do on a Friday night than study it the library and come to the kitchens alone, for a snack.”
“Well Hugo and I definitely won’t be coming to the kitchens any time soon. Maybe, I mean if you want, I could come along with you though? I feel like we haven’t hung out very much at all lately.”
Rose smiled, “Yeah, I feel the same. I’d really like that.”
Corey raised his cup of cocoa as if to make a toast, “To more shared Friday nights together, hopefully less awkward than this one?”
Rose snorted, but lifted her mug too, “To more shared Friday nights together.”
They both took a sip, then grabbed another biscuit each.
“Out of interest,” Rose asked, “Would you consider dating Hugo? Because although it would be slightly weird for me, you are a fantastic guy so I would wholeheartedly give my blessing.”
Corey raised his eyebrows, “Your blessing? What are we in, the sixteenth century? Actually no, Hugo and I would be getting persecuted for this was the sixteenth century…”
“Ah queerphobia… just watch me knock someone's lights out for that if anyone says anything. But, you know what I mean Corey – if you want to date him, it’s totally fine by me.”
He giggled, “That’s actually really sweet of you to say Rose. And yeah, I actually get along with him really well, even though he’s only a fifth year. You know how hard it is for me to find anyone to date, so, if he decides he’s into me, I would definitely go for him.”
Rose grinned and cooed in a high pitched voice, “Aww, Coreyyyyy!!!”
They both laughed and continued to talk in the kitchen until hours past curfew.
Don’t worry, the ‘I’m Head Girl’ line always works with the new caretaker Nick – and Rose finally got some of that friendship-time she’d been longing for.
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