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Chapter 6 : A Package From Fred
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Albus was clearly amused by her nervousness. “Maybe it would be good for you to get a taste of your own medicine.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, reaching for one of the platters loaded with pancakes with strawberries and blueberries on top of them. “Do you know what he’s talking about?” she asked Roxanne, who forced a very unconvincing look of innocence on her face when she shook her head.
“Whatever.” On the bright side, at least Albus seemed to be approaching the whole thing with relatively good humor for the moment. “Maybe I should just sit back and laugh while you two jinx each other into oblivion, as long as it’s not in my presence. It seems like it would be easier than wishing you would get along.”
“I still don’t see what Malfoy’s on about, I was with you all morning Monday.” Rose stuffed the first bite into her mouth and closed her eyes at the taste flooded her mouth; Hogwarts food always managed to be so good.
“Yes, well, unfortunately, he’s under the impression that you have cousins who would be happy to stand in for you while you’re off having an alibi,” Albus said dryly.
Roxanne and James looked at each other.
“Do you think he’s talking about us?” she asked.
“Couldn’t be,” James said. “We never break the rules.”
“Sure you don’t.”
James’s face took on an expression of deepest hurt. “Is my little brother accusing me of being a liar?”
“Yes, he is.” Albus speared a piece of sausage and popped it in his mouth.
“Tsk, tsk. Family should stick together, Albie.”
He swallowed and was opening his mouth to respond to Roxanne when the morning post began to flood in. Rose glanced up and saw Hazel gliding toward them, with two other owls and a large package in tow. After they dropped it in front of Rose, Hazel landed in front of Albus, who gave her a treat and stroked her feathers.
“What the hell is all that?” he asked.
“Fred.” Rose took the envelope attached to the package and opened it.
Hope your first few weeks back have gone well. Good to hear that you’ve already gotten into some sort of trouble. I was afraid your prefect badge would stop you from having any fun. I’ll want to hear more about it your first Hogsmeade weekend. (Or before.)
Dad’s actually developed a new line of shield charms that will be hitting the shelves in October. There have been a lot of requests for something unobtrusive. I included a few - you can never be too safe!
I also tossed in a few things in the package that should make your week a little brighter. Share them around with Rox and James and the rest. Make sure to give Al some of the snackboxes.
All my best,
P.S. Practice is good for you. Tell James I approve.
Roxanne began to tear into the package, and James yelled down the table, “Lily! Go grab Hugo and get down here!” His sister obeyed with alacrity, and some second years scooted down to make room for them. “Someone should go get Louis and Lucy, too,” he said belatedly.
“No need,” said a voice from behind him. Rose looked up and saw the two seventh-years approaching them, Lily and Hugo in tow. “We were curious,” Louis said, sliding into the empty space next to James. Rose moved over to make room for her brother. “What’s the package? Who’s it from?”
Lucy took advantage of the empty space next to Roxanne and slid onto the bench. “Oh, dear. This is going to interfere with my prefect sensibilities horribly, isn’t it?” Despite her words, her voice was quite cheerful, and there was only curiosity in her face as she swept her thick dark hair behind her shoulder when it fell dangerously close to Roxanne’s plate.
“Probably.” Rose pulled a jewelry box out of the package and opened it to find a pendant cradling a bright red stone. Roxanne and Lily found similar necklaces in the boxes labeled with their names, and Lucy had received a bracelet with yellow stones that she immediately fastened around her wrist.
“That’s clever,” she commented. “House colors.” She examined the bracelet. “It’s actually quite pretty. Er - while I appreciate it, why is Fred sending us jewelry?”
“It’s a new product from the shop,” Rose told her. “Shield charms.”
“Why don’t we get shield charms?” Hugo asked, looking extremely put out.
James had taken another box from the package and opened it. “Apparently we do,” he said, slipping a hemp bracelet over his wrist before handing the other boys similar boxes. When he turned back to the box, a broad grin spread across his face, and he reached in and pulled out a box of fireworks.
Lucy eyed the brightly-colored box that Rose had just set down on the table. “Don’t let me catch any of you skipping classes.”
“Would you really put us in detention?” Hugo asked as Rose turned the box upside down and emptied the snackboxes onto the table.
“No, of course not. But I’d feel a little guilty about not doing it.” Lucy picked up a few of the brightly wrapped candies to examine them. “Wow, they’ve branched out since last time I was there. Fred’s been busy, hasn’t he?” She hesitated. “Um, can I take a few?”
Hugo, Albus, and James all stopped picking out their favorites and gaped at her.
“Go ahead,” Rose managed to reply after a few moments. Lucy picked out several Sneezing Strawberries and Raspberry Rashes and slipped them into her pocket. By the time Rose had recovered from the surprise enough to turn back to the pile, the only things left were Vertigo Vanillas, Cocoa Chills, and Tearing Truffles. “Come on, really? I’m the reason he sent all of this in the first place!”
James groaned. “Fine.” He handed over a few Fever Fudges, and after a moment, the others offered up some Bruising Blueberries and Nosebleed Nougats.
There was another box full of trick sweets, which Rose had no interest in. As James, Roxanne, Hugo, and Lily began to divvy them up, she began to examine one of the love potions.
A small hand snaked out and grabbed one of the bottles sitting in front of Rose. It was not until both Lucy and Rose threatened her with detention and James told her that he would write to their parents that Lily relinquished her prize. Rose personally doubted that he would have done anything of the sort, but Lily seemed to think that it wasn’t worth risking it.
“Why do you want love potions, anyway, Lily?” Lucy asked once Lily had handed them over. “You’re a third-year.”
“I wanted to give them to people and watch them act ridiculous.”
“Just as well they stopped you,” Louis said offhandedly as he poured himself a glass of water. “The last people who did ended up with about ten detentions.”
Roxanne looked wistful. “James, we haven’t done anything that destructive in a long time.”
“And you won’t plan it while I’m sitting right here,” Lucy told her. “What else is in the box, Rose?” When they’d finished unpacking it, there were a variety of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes products on the table between them all. Fred had even thrown in some Honeydukes sweets.
“Here, Hugo,” Rose called to her brother. “Have a chocolate frog!”
He caught it. As her was opening it, Louis suddenly grabbed a napkin off the table and spat something into it. As he was lowering his goblet, Rose noticed the open box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
“What did you get?” she asked.
He made a face. “Chili. I thought it was cranberry.”
Lily took advantage of the distraction to inch her hand toward a daydream charm. Roxanne smacked it away. “No, Lily.”
James saw the charm in Roxanne’s hand and looked at his sister. “No, Lily. They’re for sixteen and up. You’re thirteen.” Rose exchanged an amused look with her brother; it was very rare to see James and Roxanne defend any rule.
Roxanne looked over at James, who had begun to pick up trick wands. “Oi! Let’s get going.”
He stuffed a few more things in his bag and they left. Lucy stared after them, frowning. “How did he manage to fit everything in that one bag? It’s not very big, and he’s got to have books in it for today’s classes already.”
“You should see him packing up the car when we go on trips,” Albus said. “What’s that muggle game? Tetrack?”
Rose and Hugo both snorted. “Tetris,” Hugo said. “James is good at car tetris.”
Lucy smiled. “Well, I’m jealous.” She turned back to the table. Louis, however, stared after James and Roxanne for another minute, looking a little more skeptical. When he noticed Rose watching him, though, he smiled.
While Louis, like Scorpius, was fair, the two boys couldn’t have looked more different. Louis still carried a healthy tan from his summer, and he was rather bulkier than Scorpius; her cousin had aspirations of becoming a Hit Wizard after completing his seventh year, and he’d clearly spent the summer building up his muscles.
His smile was also completely genuine.
Rose opened her bag. “Al, did you want any daydream charms? This one looks like it’s more you than me.”
He took it. Lily opened her mouth, and he looked at her sharply. “Not one more word.” She sighed and helped herself to several fizzing whizzbees and trick wands.
“Let’s divvy up the rest of it. We should be getting to class.” Rose grabbed a few more trick sweets before Lily could take the rest, and with difficulty managed to fit them and a handful of chocolate frogs into her bag, which was already bulging with extendable ears, a couple decoy detonators, and a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Rose checked the box one more time. It was empty, and someone had even claimed the last of the snackboxes. There was nothing left on the table but discarded wrappers.
Before they scattered, Rose made plans to meet up with her brother in the library the next day. She didn’t see him as much as she would have liked; she wished he’d been Sorted into Gryffindor with Lily, but instead, he’d ended up in Hufflepuff. She and Albus left Lily and Hugo talking animatedly about who they could trick into eating the sweets.
“You’ve got the morning free until History of Magic, don’t you?” she asked.
Albus grinned. “Lucky me, huh? If you have the map, give it to me - I want to keep an eye on those two.” He jerked his head back toward the third years. “They’re trouble.”
She handed the book it was hidden in over. “See you in Care of Magical Creatures!” Unlike Albus, Rose did not have the morning free.
Still, the morning was punctuated by loud explosions - James and Roxanne were clearly making good use of all the fireworks - which made for an entertaining, if disruptive, morning. Professor Morden continued on gamely through a double period of Ancient Runes, but Professor Brooks didn’t share her fortitude - he let Arithmancy out after a mere twenty minutes of class, massaging his temples and vowing to find the troublemakers.
When Rose got to Care of Magical Creatures, which was probably one of the only lessons of the day that wouldn’t be interrupted by frequent explosions, she found Albus and Scorpius already there and settled on the grass. She headed over to join them, feeling that nothing, not even Scorpius Malfoy, could ruin her good mood. If she was going to try to be nice to him, it might as well be when she was feeling so cheerful.
“Family reunion at breakfast today?” Scorpius called out to her. “I’ve still got this damn Weasley hair - why didn’t you invite me?”
She rolled her eyes at him and reached into her bag. “Here, Malfoy, have a chocolate frog.”
He caught it and eyed it suspiciously. “Do you think it’s safe?” he asked Albus.
“Yeah, she’s in a good mood. Nothing yet from Lily and Hugo, Rose - I think they’re biding their time until break. Lunchtime?”
“Definitely.” Rose took out another frog for herself and settled down next to him. As the sun hit her face, she let herself fall back onto the grass - just now, she really couldn’t complain about anything.
A/N: If you have a moment to leave a review, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Either way, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
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