Chapter 5 : A Visit to the Village
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Rose was not particularly worried about Malfoy. She felt vaguely as though she should be, as Malfoy clearly wasn’t stupid. However, she just couldn’t see how he was going to get around the shield charm. Sure, unforgivable curses and powerful dark magic could get through it, but it wasn’t as though he would use the Cruciatus Curse just because she’d turned his hair red. He was a git, but from what she knew of him—which was rather more than she wanted to, because he spent so much time with Albus—he wasn’t interested in dark magic. In fact, according to Albus (who was usually right about these things), he downright hated it.
So what was there to worry about?
“Hey, Rosie,” came a familiar voice from behind her. A smile spread across her face as she turned around.
“I just saw Lily and Hugo a little while ago.” He leaned against the wall. “They said that they were planning to infiltrate the kitchens.”
“I saw,” she told him, patting her bag. He smirked. James had never quite gotten over how clever he felt for stealing the map. “I’m planning to run into Hogsmeade now, actually. I don’t want to turn into a pelican.”
“So you saw us all over the castle?” he asked.
Rose nodded. “But it’s not as though he sent us that much. How—”
“When the opportunity presented itself, we thought we’d supplement it with our stash.” He looked very pleased with himself.
She stared at him. “You’re going to end up with detentions and a howler again, you know.”
He shrugged. “Maybe, depending how much they can pin on me. It’d be worth it either way.” He ran a hand through his hair. With difficulty, Rose resisted the urge to tease him about it. “So are you skiving off classes already, or do you just have this afternoon off?”
“I just have Potions last, and I have a theory that it will be canceled today.”
“Why’s that?” he asked innocently.
“Because I know that Roxanne’s favorite thing to do is to set off fireworks.” Rose was convinced that Roxanne considered it a wasted week if she did not manage to set off some fireworks (or at the very least, set something on fire) at least once. It was the only explanation for the regularity with which she managed to do so. She seemed to enjoy setting them off in Potions in particular, despite the fact that it was one of her favorite subjects.
“Are you telling me that you think she lacks subtlety?” James straightened up. “Let’s go ask Dorny if you have Potions. I wouldn’t want to enable one of our brand new prefects skipping class.”
She rolled her eyes. “You just want to see the mayhem.”
“Yes, I do,” he agreed cheerfully. She let him lead her down toward the dungeons. “Hey, was Roxanne alone, or was Marion with her?” he asked off-handedly.
“Alone. Why?” Rose glanced at him.
James shrugged. “Just curious.”
They caught Professor Dorny just as she was exiting the classroom. “Ms. Weasley? What are you doing down here?” Then she saw James, who has a step behind her, and broke into a smile. “Shouldn’t have asked.” Rose was not sure whether to be offended or pleased that she was considered fairly trustworthy unless she was in the company of her notoriously untrustworthy cousins. “Well, if you’re looking to dismantle the dungeon, Ms. Roxanne Weasley has already beat you to it.” They heard a loud bang inside.
“What did she do?” asked Rose eagerly.
“Set off some firecrackers, naturally,” Dorny said. This was not the first time Roxanne had dismantled the Potions classroom with fireworks. “Yes, most disruptive, but as my old Potions professor would have said, you just have admire the cheek.” Dorny smiled at James. “And what have you done today, Mr. Potter?”
James gave his very best impression of innocence. Over the years, he’d gotten fairly good at it. “I’ve been on my very best behavior, Professor.”
Professor Dorny clearly didn’t believe him, but she didn’t challenge him. “I’m sure,” she said dryly, before turning to Rose. “I don’t think we’ll be having class today, Ms. Weasley. Enjoy your afternoon.”
“She’s mad,” she murmured to James, but felt a grin spreading across her face. Mad or not, Rose rather liked Dorny most of the time, and not just because she let Roxanne get away with murder. That was saying a lot, considering that Dorny was the Head of Slytherin.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s lucky she likes us. Can you imagine McGonagall laughing about firecrackers in the dungeon?”
“Nope.” She shrugged. “Well, that’s my afternoon free. Let me just drop off my books and we can go.” As they made their way back up the stairs, she asked, “Do you have the afternoon free, then? I thought you had Transfiguration today.”
“We do.” He put his hands behind his head and stretched. “But I figure I’ll probably be getting detention, anyway, if we even have it.”
After stopping by Gryffindor Tower to drop off her books, they made their way to the passage concealed behind the statue of the witch with the hump. When they reached it, Rose pulled out her wand and tapped it. “Dissendium.”
When they reached the end of the passage, they snuck up the stairs and out of Honeydukes under the cloak before ducking in the shadows of the building to pull it off.
When the bell over Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes tinkled as they opened the door a few minutes later, Fred looked up from the table in the back and let out a loud guffaw. “School in mayhem?” he called.
“You know it,” James told him, looking quite pleased with himself.
As she and James made their way to the back of the store, Rose noticed a new display on the left wall. The sign above it said “All-New Shield Charms!” in large capital letters and underneath, in slightly smaller size, “Never get jinxed again.” The display was empty so far, but judging from the size of it, there was going to be an extensive selection. She and James settled themselves in the two remaining chairs at the table, and Fred waved his wand to banish the plants he’d clearly been experimenting with to the back room.
“No customers?” asked James, looking around.
“Nah, it’s a slow day, especially with all of the students up at the school.” Fred looked at them. “Theoretically.”
“Well, it wasn’t hard to sneak away.” James leaned his chair back. “Could we have something to drink?”
Fred raised his wand, and several bottles of butterbeer floated over. Rose took one and opened it, but James just looked at Fred, who laughed and raised his wand again. As Rose took a swig, another bottle and two glasses floated over, and when they’d landed, Fred opened the firewhiskey. “You are not having all of it,” he said, pouring about filling one glass about a quarter of the way and putting twice that much in the other.
He pushed the first glass to James, who scoffed. “That’s hardly any!”
Fred made to take the glass away. “I could just give you none.”
James snatched up the glass. “No, I’m good.” He took a drink, and shuddered. “I love this stuff.”
Fred downed a significant portion of his own glass and put the bottle in the centre of the table. “So, Rosie,” he said, taking a drink of the whiskey himself. “What did you do so early in the school year to make someone want to jinx you?”
In some ways, Rose was glad to share the story with Fred. She loved all of her cousins, but there was a special place in her heart for Fred. He’d been the one who had first put her on the Quidditch team, back in her second year, and even though he’d only been her captain for a year, she’d learned a lot from him – in some ways, even more than from James in twice the time, since Fred was also a Chaser.
“Well…” She launched into a lengthy and detailed rendition of the events of the last few days. By the time she finished, Fred was beaming.
“That’s perfect,” he said, giving James a look of approval.
“We thought so, too,” James said proudly.
Fred turned back to Rose. “I’m proud to see that being made a prefect hasn’t stopped you from going out-of-bounds in your first few weeks back.”
She grinned. “Did you really think it would?”
“Nope,” Fred said. “I knew you wouldn’t go the Molly or Lucy route, start putting them all in detention for little missteps.”
Rose shrugged and took a swig of her butterbeer. “It’s unsporting to put family in detention.”
Fred clinked his glass to her butterbeer. “Hear, hear.”
“Though Lucy really does try to avoid putting us in detention,” James said fairly. “She’s only done it to me and Roxanne a couple of times, and we really deserved it.”
“What did you do?” Fred asked interestedly.
“One time she caught us making pumpkins filled with stinksap explode over Deborah Baddock and Victoria Summerby, and the other we slipped Julian a love potion and made sure he saw her first. He followed her around for an entire day before coming out of it.” James was clearly enjoying the memories; apparently, the detentions had had no effect. Rose somehow wasn’t surprised.
“Huh.” Fred took another swig of his whiskey. “I clearly haven’t been giving her enough credit.” After a moment, he looked at James. “Rose says you’re putting them through the ropes at practice. I’m proud of you.”
James leaned forward enthusiastically, and he and Rose were off, describing the team’s improvement, their competition, and their new training regimen. They’d both started on the team under Fred, and he’d helped them turn develop into very good players. As such, they were always exceedingly eager to impress him, and he was always very interested in hearing about how the team was doing without him.
The sky outside had started to darken, and Fred glanced over at the clock on the wall. “Well, it’s been great seeing you both, but you should get going if you want to buy food and get back to school in time for dinner.”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Rose and James said together.
Fred walked them to the front of the shop, and handed them a large bag. “I thought I might be seeing one of you today,” he said.
“Fred,” Rose said, laughing, “you just sent us a huge box this morning!”
He shrugged. “Yeah, well. If you’re causing real mayhem, I want to encourage it. Good advertising. They’ll be streaming in here first Hogsmeade weekend.” He gave both of them a hug.
“They will anyway,” Rose said, “But thanks.” She touched the necklace. “Especially for this.”
“No problem,” he said, reaching out to rufflle her hair. “What’s family for, anyway?” He gave them each a hug. “Get going. I’ll see you soon.”
As they made their way down the road, Rose had a sudden craving for butterbeer. “Hey, let’s go into the Three Broomsticks.”
James tried very briefly to dissuade her before giving up, clearly too uncomfortable with being the voice of reason to press the issue. After a quick conversation with Madam Abbott – who, as Rose had reminded James, had never turned them in yet – and a quick stop in the Magic Neep, they came to a stop near Honeydukes.
James shifted the bag of butterbeers he was carrying from one arm to the other. “It’s going to be fun sneaking back into the cellar with this,” he commented. “Got any more decoy detonators?” She pulled one out of her pocket and held it up. “Oh, good.”
They went into Honeydukes, and got a similar reception from the owners that they’d gotten from Madam Abbott in the Three Broomsticks. When they left the shop, however, they were each carrying a bag stuffed with sweets, including cauldron cakes, chocolate wands, exploding bonbons, toffees, and treacle fudge.
They made a show of walking away, and then James slipped the invisibility cloak over them both. In the process, the bag of butterbeers slammed into Rose’s side, and she let out a whimper.
“Sorry!” whispered James. “But the butterbeers were your idea.”
Rose dropped a decoy detonator right outside the door. When it exploded, the owners ran outside, and she and James slipped in through the open door.
“Must have escaped from Weasleys',” she heard the man say as they hurried down the stairs.
“It’s amazing how often that works,” she said softly to James.
He chuckled quietly as they pulled open the trapdoor. “It is.”
They had to duck into several unused classrooms on their way back to the common room. Between prefects, teachers, and the caretaker, there were plenty of people about who would have been happy to put them in detention for going out-of-bounds, as their packages clearly indicated that they had. Even students, who wouldn’t have necessarily wanted to get them in trouble, would have raised quite a commotion.
The common room wasn’t full, but it wasn’t empty, either, and when they clambered through the portrait hole, they got several curious looks, and Alex called out, “Why did they make you a prefect again?”
“I don’t know,” she called back. “Maybe they’re hoping it’ll encourage me to behave myself!” He grinned. “I’ll be back down in a few,” she said, picking up the bags she’d set on the floor.
She walked past Roxanne, who was now having an animated conversation with Charlotte about N.E.W.T.s, and elbowed James, who was clearly enjoying the attention he was getting from an assorted group of sixth and seventh years. “Let’s get this upstairs.”
He made a face at her. “Killjoy,” he muttered, but he picked up the bags and followed her up the stairs that led to the boy’s dormitories. When they reached the sixth year’s door, James kicked it open and they dropped the packages on his bed. “You know,” he said, “just once, I’d like to toss stuff all over your room and leave it for you to clean up.”
Rose shrugged. “Not my fault you can’t come up into our dormitory.”
“James? Rose?” called a voice from the stairs.
Rose bounded to the door. “Al! Come up here!”
He took the stairs two at a time. “What, did James go with you to Hogsmeade—good lord, what did you get?”
They regaled him with an abbreviated account of their time in Hogsmeade as they unpacked the enormous bag. After they had finished exclaiming over its contents (which had included more fireworks and a portable swamp), Albus seemed to steel himself. James, who was too busy examining the fireworks with glee, did not notice.
“Scorpius thought that the map was really interesting,” Albus said casually.
James’s head snapped up so quickly that Rose had to stop herself from laughing. “What?”
Albus groaned. “Okay, look, James, I know you don’t like him, but he is my friend. He promised he wouldn’t tell.” When James kept staring at his brother, Albus added, a little irritably, “Oh, grow up. You’ve told several of your friends. It’s my map, too.”
James ran a hand over his perpetually messy hair. “That’s different. I know they’re trustworthy, and they aren’t trying to hex my cousin.”
Albus rolled his eyes impatiently. “Yes, James, and I know that Scorpius is trustworthy, and it’s not like I’d let him use the map to find Rose. Which is more than I can say for her,” he added, as an afterthought. James opened his mouth furiously, and Albus held up a hand. “Yes, it’s different, yes, she’s family, yes, she’s entitled, and yes, I am aware that you were the one that nicked it. He’ll never see the map unless it’s in my hands. Will you please just calm down?”
James scowled at his brother, but turned away without saying anything.
Albus took advantage of his brother’s momentary silence to turn to Rose. “Hey, what happened, speaking of Scorpius?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said, scrutinizing the portable swamp box. “Hey, James, this isn’t out on the shelves yet!”
“Yes, you do,” Albus snapped. “You seemed to be getting along reasonably well at lunch.” Rose gave him a skeptical look, and he said, “I said reasonably well, not friendly.” She shrugged, and he pressed further. “Then this afternoon, I said something about wishing we’d gone to Hogsmeade instead of class, and he made some comment about not being able to bear your company for an entire afternoon. What happened?”
She cleared her throat. “A few minutes after you left, at lunch, he came back in and tried to disarm me. It didn’t work. Apparently he’d been try to get me between classes, and thought it was a little unlikely that his spells had just happened to miss me. Then we had words and he tried to stun me when I left.” James looked outraged, and she added, “To his credit, I think he was pretty sure it wouldn’t work.”
“That’s all?” Albus asked.
He looked at her for a moment, and then said, “I hate it when you use that word.”
Rose shrugged. “Look, maybe something else I said ticked him off, I don’t know. Or maybe he was just ticked off he wasn’t able to get me. You’d have to ask him,” she told him, knowing that Malfoy was exceedingly unlikely to admit to Albus that he was especially pissed off at her because she’d caught him out at looking down her shirt.
“Okay,” Al said, doubtfully. “Just fair warning, though, Rosie—necklace or no necklace, sooner or later he’s going to get you back. I’m not saying I want him to,” he said to his brother, forestalling his objection, “but I am saying that he’s really smart, and he’ll figure out a way.”
Rose tried to look as though this didn’t concern her, though she was not sure she managed it.
After a few minutes, James seemed to collect himself enough to come up with arguments for why Albus shouldn’t have told Malfoy about the map, and Rose made her way down the stairs alone.
She headed over to join Roxanne in front of the fireplace, but on the way her way past the table Alex was sitting at, he stopped her. “So what’s your secret, Rose? How is it that you manage to never get caught?”
Rose felt a mischievous grin spread across her face. “Family secret. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
He smiled a little nervously. “Hey, I was wondering. Would you maybe be interested in going to Hogsmeade with me? The first Hogsmeade weekend, I mean?”
“Oh, sorry,” Rose said cheerfully. “I’m probably going to be spending all day with my family. Fred’s there, you know, and Dominique might be coming to spend the day with us. I’m sure everybody else is going, though, don’t worry, it’s not as though you’ll be alone!”
“Right,” he responded. He looked a little disappointed, though she could not for the life of her understand why.
James and Albus appeared to have settled their conflict rather more quickly than Rose had expected, because just then they emerged from the stairwell. James called over to her. “Oi! Rose! Let’s go down for dinner!”
She looked over, and he waved his hand, beckoning her over. She turned back to Alex. “Sorry, I should go. I’ll talk to you later!”
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