Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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DISCLAIMER: All you recognize belongs to JKR.
A sickening thud resounded through the pitch.
I stood up sharply, certain that the fall couldn't have been good. My eyes searched frantically for a flash of impeccably curly red hair, but this proved to be difficult as she was surrounded in a swarm of gingers—the Weasley/Potters. Sighing, I hurtled myself out of the stands, where I had been calmly observing the Gryffindor team's Quidditch practice and writing my Charms essay, and got myself onto the green of the pitch.
My best friend's pained groans began shortly after I rushed over to the mob of scarlet robes, panting slightly. I could hear my heart in my ears, but I knew it was more out of fear for my friend than it was from the run.
“Rose? What happened, James?”
A stricken seventeen-year-old boy with barely-there stubble and warm brown eyes glanced over at me briefly before answering. He was quite pale, but he was cupping his cousin's head securely, as though hoping that would cure her pain. “I...erm—Rose was doing a drill while waiting to see if Louis’d seen the snitch, and I guess she lost control of the broom or someth--”
“Bollocks,” Rose spat out. Everyone stopped murmuring and stared at her intently as she drew in a few long, deep breaths, slowing herself down until her breathing speed was back to normal. She glared daggers at James. “I did not lose control. Rose Weasley never loses control, you prat.”
James visibly relaxed, his shoulders becoming less tense, and he let out a small chuckle before telling Rose off. Pointless banter was the preferred mode of communication between these two. “Well, you definitely did, Rose Weasley. Rose Weasley needs to find out and accept the fact that some drills won't work for her. Rose Weasley needs to get over herself if she doesn't want to get hurt like this. Rose Weasley is mad.”
“And by the way,” an affronted Louis said, “I got the ruddy snitch, Rosie. Too easy.” I eyed and internally laughed at the fifth year’s Quidditch-wild blonde hair. He waved the golden snitch at her, smirking.
The team and I laughed good-heartedly, and even Rose's mouth twitched into a smile. “Just get me to the Hospital Wing, you idiots.” Her cerulean eyes flickered around, coming to rest on my face. “Why hello there, Rebecca. Reckon this was better than your usual Prophet crossword?”
I rolled my eyes. “Charms paper, actually. And surprisingly, yes it was, you idiotic, pain-seeking ginger. Come on, I'll take you to Madam Pomfrey.”
Rose nodded weakly, seeming to strain the motion of her neck. She waved a hand to her right. “Only if Jimmy comes along, Bex. I want him to see what torture Pomfrey puts me through because of these insane practices he plans.”
“Yeah mate, you're, like, the worst Quidditch captain of all time,” Fred piped up. Several others joined the Anti-Captain fest—my favorite!
“Yeah! You're being a right tool, Jim!” came the stern voice of Roxy. She was a tough girl—only a fourth-year, but tough as nails. Roxy knew when and how to pick fights—and how to win them. She definitely stood up for herself.
“Oh, please,” James said dismissively, waving the complaints away as he bent down to pick up Rose with me. “You'll thank me on Saturday, when we win against Al's poopy face.”
“Jim, that was just so eloquent,” I said, feigning admiration. He made a face at me, and the pitch was overcome with a new wave of Anti-Captainisms.
“I’m totally telling Dad that you’re overworking the team!” Lily shrieked. “And you know what, James? The rest of the fourth years are taking bets on when one of us will get injured, you prat!” Her Beater partner, seventh-year badarse Molly, added a few choice expletives to get her point across.
I took a step back from the scene in my mind. Clear sky, a pitch so green you wondered if it were charmed that way, sharp, clean air, and a highly competitive Quidditch house team made up exclusively of the Wotter clan arguing like hell had frozen over.
I love these idiots. I knew I would from the day I met them all at the yearly Wotter New Years’ party the December of my first year. From the start, Rose and I had become fast friends after being sorted into Gryffindor; we’re practically sisters at this point. Hugo’s a little brother to me too, and the rest of the Wotters are like a massive army of supporters—and comedy—I can look to whenever necessary. It was the greatest gift I never knew I needed when I was eleven years old.
“Okay—just—just—LET’S JUST GET ROSE TO THE HOSPITAL WING, YOU PRATS!” James shouted over the din, and he and I both bent forward to pick Rose up off the ground. As she came skyward, she sniggered at the vein visibly pulsing on James’s forehead as more complaints were tossed his way.
“Jim, you are the bane of this team’s existence,” Molly’s voice rang strongly and clearly over the rest.
We were about to turn around toward the castle, but just in time James replied, “You’ll thank me later.”
“Prat,” Rose muttered.
“Sure, call the bloke half-carrying your arrogant arse to the fucking Hospital Wing a prat!” James shot back, and the two exchanged stinging looks.
“Bex isn’t complaining, and she’s doing the exact same amount of work as you,” Rose said, leaning heavily and noticeably on James and then smirking at the way he grunted with effort. “See?”
“Guess I’m just more ripped than you are,” I replied, trying to suppress a bout of laughter at the sheer absurdity of it all. Spot the lie: I, Bex Faxton, the weakling who struggled to lift bags of soil in Herbology, was fitter than James Sirius Potter, the boy who had more abs than most Hogwarts students had O.W.L.’s.
That earned me a patronizing scowl from Jim and an appreciative smile of pride from Rose. “Merlin’s balls, I’ve taught you well.”
“I think you mean Merlin’s sweaty balls.”
We were already almost at the doors to the castle. As we dragged Rose over the threshold, four figures made their way towards us. It was the Ravenclaw Quidditch team trifecta—center Chaser/captain, the two Beaters—plus Scorpius, the unathletic one. Essentially, Scorpius is the Ravenclaw version of me.
James growled, seething with sudden anger. “Why, Merlin, why?” he questioned, raising his eyes toward the dusty stone ceiling. “Was the balls joke a bit too much?”
“Jim.” Al greeted his brother, then stared at the three of us in turn, lingering with a look of incredulity at Rose sandwiched between us. He started guffawing. “You expect to beat us with your center Chaser injured?!”
“Thanks for the concern for your cousin’s health, Albus,” Rose spat, throwing him a withering look.
“For real though, Rose. He has a point,” Dominique, one of the Beaters, conceded thoughtfully.
“You’re pretty much fucked,” Patricia Thomas, the other Beater, added matter-of-factly. Rose, James, and I all stared at her as she and Albus exchanged high-fives.
“I hate you.”
“Love you too, Jim,” Albus chirped, clapping James on the shoulder and making his way toward the door. He suddenly stopped and circled back, but Cia and Dom continued out toward the grounds; Scorpius also lingered. “Actually—erm…Bex, can I talk to you for a second?”
I rolled my eyes at his green ones. “Yeah, let me just completely ignore my best friend who is about to keel over from exhaustion due to”—I gritted my teeth and glanced at James— “overtraining.”
"We both wanted to speak with you, actually,” Scorpius piped up, and I turned around to look at him. He was fidgeting. “About—erm—Potions.”
How absolutely unsuspicious. Not.
“Bex is an important woman and hasn’t got time for your schoolgirl gossip. Let’s move,” she instructed, flipping her red hair and ignoring Albus and Scorpius’ annoyed glares.
“No—genuinely!” Albus pressed. “It’s about the essay.” He took the time to run around and place himself right in front of us, blocking any hope for progress toward the Hospital Wing. Albus studied my face carefully, his messy black hair blocking out the light from the lanterns ahead, before saying, “Are you doing one roll of parchment or one and a half? Sluggy wasn’t very clear.”
I felt James bristle at once, even with Rose between us. “Oh dear Merlin, this is too much! Take me now! Take me from these two Prefect prissy pricks before they start arguing about the length of their quill feathers next! Take me NOW. Better yet, take us to the fucking Hospital Wing first.”
I fought a smile but ended up with a twisted smirk. I nodded my head toward the side. “Come on, Albus. Let us through, I’ll let you know as soon as this is done,” I added.
“Bex. Babe. Just tell us,” Scorpius implored, desperation surfacing on his face. “You know we’re the ones who set the standard for grading, anyway.”
Rose snapped her neck toward Scorpius. “I refuse to believe that this is what you want to talk to her for.” She stared him down, but he glared back resolutely. “You are the worst. And I can’t believe that you just called James and me stupid by association.”
“Technically, he only called you stupid by association since James is—“
“—in seventh year. Not your year,” James finished for Albus, his face torn between enjoyment at tormenting Rose and sports-hatred toward his brother. “Technicalities, Rose.”
“Bloody hell, how considerate of you, Scorpius!” Rose suddenly ripped herself from my and James’s hold. James and I both cried out in fear, but she was standing strong as ever—not even quivering.
“Are you FUCKING kidding me? You little liar. We could’ve practiced for two more hours!” James half-shouted. His hands tore at his hair. Even I felt compelled to say, “Rose, you’re kind of an arsehole.” So I did, my anti-James agenda be damned.
Rose’s eyes continued to bore into Scorpius’s as she took a step closer to him, completely ignoring us. Just when she was about to say something, Scorpius took a larger step towards her, his nose less than a foot away. James stopped whining and looked blankly towards them, then around at Albus—who was, admittedly, equally clueless—and back again.
“I didn’t call you stupid,” he said smoothly. Rose emitted a very un-Rose-like squeak, though her face still glistened with rage. “Because you’re not. You’re the complete opposite, actually.”
James, Albus, and I watched the rage on Rose’s face dissolve into pure perplexion. “What—I’m—you—”
“I think I should go,” he said, observing her with his lips pressed inward as if to prevent a smirk. He shifted his eyes towards me as he backed away from Rose. “Bex?”
“One and a half,” I said without thinking, still in a state of shock. What the ruddy hell had just happened?
Scorpius grinned. “Cheers, babe,” he said blithely, and sauntered off, casting a half-glance back at Rose before he left.
There was a pause in which Albus and I stared at each other in expressions of equal incomprehension. Then—
Rose whirled around, spat “Where the fuck does he get off?!”, grabbed my wrist, and strode me off toward Gryffindor tower…before James got a hold of us.
“I dunno, but you’re getting off at the Hospital Wing,” Albus told her, helping James drag us the other way.
“What happened to me being a little liar?”
James shrugged. “Just want to make sure you’re a healthy liar, is all.” I caught his eye, smiling. It was these moments where you see more than the arsehole-prone tendencies Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He made a face at me before looking away, embarrassed to be seen as more than two-dimensional. Classic Jim.
Meanwhile, Rose scowled at the stone floor. Tonight was going to be a fun night of forcing Rose to deal with her feelings—but it came with the best friend code. Especially if your best friend was an emotionally-closed-off Wotter.
“No injuries, Rose. Be happy.” I offered her a pint of marshmallow-mint ice cream, which she tore savagely from my hands.
She paused before plunging into the pristinely smooth surface of the ice cream with her spoon, finally meeting my gaze. “I like Scorpius,” she stated sullenly, as though declaring the grade she got on the latest Transfiguration exam.
I stared back. “Well, no shit.” Rose lowered her eyes to the floor of our dormitory as she broke the marshmallow-mint surface and stuck the spoon into her mouth. “Could you be more obvious with the spluttering?”
“I can’t help it—it’s a trademark Ron Weasley trait,” she said thickly, brandishing her now-empty spoon and narrowing her eyes at me. I rolled my eyes back. “What happened to Miss No Excuses?” I quipped fondly. “You know—not letting anyone get to you. That whole spiel you had when we both got our periods.” Seeing Rose acknowledge her feelings—even if it was by a single sentence—was the equivalent of watching a baby bird fly for the first time.
“I suppose,” she began, dragging her spoon through the layers of ice cream, “that he’s an exception to the rule, Bex.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Did you just—“
“—But, like, honestly,” I pushed on, “when did you—“
Rose looked up again from her fifth spoon of ice cream, seemingly intrigued by my lack of response. “I’ve liked him since third year.”
“You’ve liked him for three years and never told me?!”
Rose sighed impatiently, her blue eyes painting ovals with their paths to and from the ceiling. “Bex, you’re my best friend, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to preserve my reputation of being an emotionally-aloof, efficient badarse.”
“You arse.” We exchanged a glance of truce. “I mean, I guessed that you liked him after you saw him on the platform in London. You haven’t blushed that hard since you saw the bassist from that band that’s always in the Prophet.”
“Ugh, Robert Tillings. Bless him.” She gave me a semi-annoyed, semi-lovesick look. “I hate that I like him. Scorpius, I mean. He makes me stupid, as evidenced by today.”
I crossed my arms before asking, “So, what are we going to do?”
“What do you mean?” Rose replied warily.
I sighed. “What are we going to do to get you two together?”
Rose and Scorpius. Yeah, the two sounded words sounded weird with an entwining ‘and’ between them, but to be completely honest…The two of them balanced each other out. Shockingly. Scorpius is the more reserved, respectful (to a degree), academically-driven one, while Rose is hot-tempered, angry, and driven to be academically acceptable but sportily exemplary.
Rose slowly looked up and gave me the most murderous look possible. “Rebecca, no.”
“What’s the point of you getting all worked up about it if you don’t even try it out?” I asked, joining her on the floor. “Come on, Rose. What’s the harm?”
“Rebecca. No. Just leave it,” she said firmly. “Let me just…field things out before you drag me into doing something drastic, alright?”
“What is there to field out?!” I exclaimed, and she gave me an exasperated look. “No, seriously—we’ve all known each other for six-odd years, so—”
“That may be true, Bex, but that doesn’t mean that he has ever even seen me that way!” she told me earnestly. Then, she turned back to her ice cream before continuing, “Besides, I’m not even going to think about it until after this Saturday. The match, you know.”
“Which one? The one you and Jim’ve been harping on about since the start of term?” I asked mockingly.
“Yeah, that one,” Rose replied dryly.
I leaned back against our roommate Cecily’s bedpost. “You know, this isn’t going to stop me from gathering information from Scorpius.”
Rose shook her head at me, her face steely with annoyance. “Merlin, I knew you were going to go there.”
“Well, we are pretty good mates, so—”
“Exactly, Bex. That is exactly my point,” she said suddenly, her eyes ablaze with the energy that comes from knowing you were right. “You are good friends with Scorpius. I am not.”
“Because you never associate with anyone outside of the Quidditch circle, Rose!” I cut in. “Except for me. And like two other people. For example, whose bed is this?” I quizzed, motioning my head behind me.
Rose did her best to try to look like she wasn’t thinking hard. “It’s—erm—Louisa’s, obviously,” she said lamely.
I stared at her, my eyes widening. Dear Merlin. “Cecily’s! We’ve shared this dorm with these girls for over five years, Rose!”
She grimaced. “Damn. I hate it when you’re right.” She offered me a spoon of ice cream for consolation; I took it, shaking my head at her.
“Who the fuck is Louisa, anyway?”
“Some character from a Muggle show on the telly my Granddad babbles about.”
We choked on laughter and ice cream.
So it turned out that Rose hadn’t even started the Potions essay.
At eleven P.M., I took pity on her and trudged down to the common room to see how (badly) she was doing after an hour’s worth of work. There was a trail of discarded parchment radiating at least four feet from her spot at the maroon sofa, where she was scribbling furiously with pure hatred in her eyes.
“You look like you’re having fun.”
“I fucking hate this. So much.” Not even pausing from her essay, she sighed noisily before continuing, “Who in the fuck even comes up with this—this shit? Who cares if unicorn hair and arrowroot powder are the most potent ingredients in whatever this essay is about?”
“Probably the people who benefit from taking it as an antidote,” I said dryly. “Because it, you know. Saves their lives and all.”
“Oh, cry me a river,” Rose spat.
"That's exactly what Al and them’ll be doing on Saturday!” James’s jubilant voice greeted us before he plopped himself on the gold-and-red striped couch opposite Rose and next to me. He glanced over at me. “After the match, of course. Gryffindors aren’t pre-match bullies.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Jim,” I said sweetly. He smiled sarcastically at me before turning to Rose. “Oi. What are you working on?”
“Potions,” Rose said flatly.
James glanced at me confusedly. “But Albus was done with that hours ago.”
“Well, bully for Albus,” Rose snarled. To be fair, she was covering her ground well; it looked like she only had half of a parchment roll left to complete.
“Isn’t that supposed to be really long, though?”
“That’s what she said!” Speak of the devil. Al joined us on the striped couch, sandwiching me between him and his brother.
"Truly inspired, Al,” I sniped, and turned towards him. His green eyes, crinkling at the corners from his grin, met mine, and I suddenly realized how close in proximity we were. His eyes flickered down my face for a moment before I scooted involuntarily towards James.
"But—oh, Bex, you smell nice, kind of like that flowery shit Victoire puts on—I thought you said you were finished with coursework before practice!” James continued indignantly.
Resolute as the stone walls themselves, Rose continued scribbling and didn’t look up. “Well, guess what, James? I fucking lied.”
“Because I wanted to train and not write this stupid thing.”
“Why couldn’t you do it before training?”
“Why couldn’t you go get shat on by the Giant Squid before training?”
James seethed in silence next to me.
“Albus, how did you get in here? They just changed the password.” He raised his eyebrows at me. “I’m part-curious, part-trying-to-get-them-to-stop-talking-about-Quidditch,” I fake-whispered. I watched the fireplace flames dance in the lenses of his eyeglasses.
He sniggered, then leaned forward off the couch to nod his head towards his brother. “Old Jim let me in.” He paused, exchanging a mysterious look with James. “Old favor.”
“Stop pretending like you’re part of the Marauders,” Rose said in her flat voice that she reserved for Potions.
“Well, he’s not. That title is reserved for Molly, Fred, and I.” James’s chest probably had higher pressure than a balloon at the rate it was being puffed out in pride.
“Nah, come on, mate—Ted and his friends were the real second-Marauders,” I said. “Be reasonable.”
“Right,” Albus chimed in. “Besides, he and his mates did way cooler stuff than you lot are doing. No offense.”
“No matter when people say ‘no offense,’ offense is always bloody taken, Albus!” James said, shifting in his seat to glare daggers at his brother. “And you’re lying. You’re just jealous—”
Albus waved his hands in exasperation. “Oh Merlin, please James, not this again—”
“—that I’m more prankster than you.”
“If you really were a prankster, you’d be funnier than that. And wouldn’t have to try as hard.”
“DONE!” Rose exclaimed, brandishing her parchment rolls in the air and sending her ink bottle flying in glee. “Oh, shit—can you guys siphon that away?” She stared regretfully at the ink sluggishly sinking into the carpeted floor.
“Are you a witch, or not?” Albus asked slowly. I bit my lip to keep from laughing.
“I’m bloody tired!”
“You’d be more tired if we practiced the full time today,” James muttered.
“Okay,” I said forcefully, trying to prevent a cousin showdown as she turned toward him. “Shut up, you two. Rose, just do it.”
“Fucking no! Make Jim do it.”
“I’m not doing a spell for you that a two-year-old could probably bloody manage—“
“Why not? You fit in much better with that age group mentally, anyway—“
“Good Lord! Evanesco!” Albus proclaimed loudly, then proceeded to pelt a balled-up piece of Rose’s discarded parchment at her. “That’s for procrastinating for the umpteenth time.”
Rose simply rolled her eyes and began collecting her things from the sofa and table. “I don’t even have the energy to torment you right now.”
“Well, aren’t we all just so very blessed.” James blew out a huge sigh and stood up. “Hey. What was with you and Scorpius earlier?”
I casually looked around at Albus, trying to read his face. He looked calculatedly unphased and locked eyes with me. I pursed my lips, trying to look as non-chalant as possible.
(It wasn’t working, was it?)
“What do you mean?” Rose said in an off-hand voice, now stacking her books on top of a smaller table a few feet away from the sofas.
“You were just…” James looked around at Albus and me, seemingly for inspiration for the words he was lacking. Al shrugged, and I remained impassive, looking innocently back at James. “A bit odd,” he finished lamely.
"Maybe that’s because I almost died at practice today,” Rose replied, looking James straight in the face.
James scoffed. “You didn’t almost die. You might’ve almost broken a good many bones, but what else is magic for?”
“Promise me that you’ll stop abusing us,” Rose said, sinking down onto the maroon sofa again until she was completely lying down on it. “I swear I saw Lily about to cry.”
“She does that whenever she gets passionate about something,” James replied casually. “And good on her, getting passionate about the match.”
“I can’t tell if you’re a worse brother or captain,” Albus said with true wonder in his voice. Rose snapped her fingers approvingly.
"I'd call it a tie, honestly." James glared at me in response. “I guess we’ll all have to wait until Saturday to see which one of you two is the better captain, though.”
Rose smirked maliciously. “The test of the century, with the two biggest idiots at the forefront. Amazing.”
“Not going to lie, Ravenclaw is on form this year,” Albus said proudly, leaning back into the sofa. He shifted his neck to look at me. “What d’you think, Bex? You’ve seen both of our teams practicing, yeah?”
I felt the pressure of six eyeballs burning into my skull. “Erm. Well, it’s hard to be objective, you see—”
“That means we’re better,” Albus stated, grinning widely. “You said that because of Rose.”
“No,” I said firmly. “Because so many of my other mates are on Ravenclaw.”
“Like who?” Albus asked exasperatedly.
“Like you, dimwit,” Rose answered for me, throwing a pillow at him. “You two are the nerdiest of us all. Nerds always nerd it up together.”
“Truly, truly nerdy,” James continued. “The type of nerds who worry about O.W.L.s when they’re third years.”
I gaped at him. “Hey! That’s not fair. We were just—"
“I will never forget the day,” Rose gasped, for she had just begun guffawing, “when Albus and Bex marched up to Professor Sprout and asked—asked—” Apparently the memory was too much for her to handle because she collapsed into giggles, motioning James to continue.
“—asked whether dragon dung was an approved fertilizer for O.W.L. graders,” James wheezed, equally breathless with laughter.
I stared at the pair of them. James struggled to move over to Rose’s couch for a high-five, clutching his stomach while laughing hard.
“And just like that, they’re back to normal,” I muttered.
Albus nudged me. "We were pretty nerdy, weren't we?”
“Still are, Al.” I felt his fingers tap the part of the couch I was leaning against. I turned towards him. “To quote James, we’re Prefect prissy pricks.”
“Sounds about right.”
A/N: Who's your favorite character? Is Rose the most badarse person in this story or what? Leave your thoughts below! Please review, it keeps me going! :)
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