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Chapter 10 : Scorpius's Revenge
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Rose fought the impulse to complain: she saw Scorpius in Care of Magical Creatures and History of Magic that day, and the red that still stained his hair hadn’t begun to fade yet.
“How long is the hair going to last?” she asked her cousin as they pulled on their Quidditch gear.
He grinned. “At least another week. It’ll probably start fading to orange soon, though that might actually look worse.”
When Rose got to History of Magic the next morning, she was pleased to see that James was right: Scorpius’s hair was indeed starting look more orange than red. Her cousin was also right that it looked worse. The Slytherin boy clearly shared their opinion; he responded to Rose’s cheerful hello with an irritated grunt, although a glare from Albus persuaded him to attempt a smile.
Rose had two and a half hours free between lunch and her final class of the day, Defense Against the Dark Arts. She suspected she’d wish her free time was spread out a little more evenly across the rest of the week by the end of the year, but for now, she was enjoying her quiet and restful Tuesday afternoons.
After parting ways with Albus and Damien, who had Muggle Studies right after lunch, she headed straight for the Room of Requirement. If she went to her dormitory, she’d have a hard time motivating herself to leave it for Defense Against the Dark Arts, and she wanted peace and quiet - even at midday, the comfortable seats in the library would probably have already been claimed by sixth and seventh years.
When she pulled open the newly-appeared door, Rose found herself in a familiar and cozy little room. There were several chairs remarkably similar to those in the Gryffindor common room, and on the table next to one of the chairs was a cup of black tea. The steam was rising out of the cup, and she fell back into the chair, enjoying the solitude.
She’d been sitting there for about ten minutes, enjoying her tea and her book, when the door opened. Thankfully, she’d had enough to drink that the liquid didn’t slosh over the rim when she jumped.
“I thought you’d be here,” Albus said. Scorpius appeared behind him.
Rose set her tea down. “Don’t you have Muggle Studies and Divination?”
Her cousin shrugged. “We thought we’d make good use of those snackboxes Fred sent.”
“Maybe I wanted to be alone.”
Albus sat down across from her. “Oh, come on, if you really didn’t want company, you wouldn’t have conjured up all these chairs.
Scorpius, who clearly had very few memories of his first time in the room the week before, was pacing the room. “Is this really what it looked like before? I remember it being bigger.”
“Well, no, not now, because it turns into what you want. Rose wanted her cozy little room and some black tea.”
Scorpius looked at her. “This is a frequent thing for you?” She shrugged. “Guess being an overachiever isn’t easy. So, it could turn into other things?” Albus nodded. “Huh. Hey, is this wall singed over here, or is that just me?”
“No.” Albus was watching his friend explore the room with some amusement. “It’s always been singed, no matter what the room looks like, but we have no idea where it came from.”
“Ah.” He continued prowling around the room, clearly very interested despite the fact that in this particular state, the room itself was not very interesting.
Albus snapped his fingers. “Oh, hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you - did Alex end up asking you to go to Hogsmeade with him for our first weekend? I heard him talking to Damien about it last week, but I keep forgetting to ask you.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Scorpius’s head snap over to stare in their direction, and her faith in James’s analysis of the situation increased. When he noticed her glancing at him, he resumed prowling the room, but she could tell he was listening very closely.
“Yeah,” she said. “So?”
“Well, what did you say? I’m just curious.”
“I said I was busy with you guys, but I’d hang out with them next time. What?”
Albus was staring at her as though she had just said something very ludicrous, and she heard a snort of laughter from Scorpius. “You do realize what he was asking you, right?” her cousin asked with exaggerated patience. She shrugged. “Rosie, did he actually say ‘us,’ or did he say ‘me’?”
“‘Me,’ I think. So?” Both boys were staring at her, and suddenly the pieces fell into place. “Oh! He was asking me out?”
Albus looked beseechingly up at the ceiling.
For his part, Scorpius circled back around and sunk into a chair next to Albus. “You know something, Red? I owe you an apology.” She and Albus must have both looked startled, because he added, “Maybe you’re too thick to be guilty of half of the stuff I’ve accused you of.”
Rose glared at him, feeling a flush spread across her face. “It’s not a big deal. I wouldn’t have said yes anyway.”
“Why not?” asked Scorpius.
Albus was looking as though his friend’s participation was not somewhere he had really intended the conversation to go.
“I’m just not interested,” she said.
“What, so you’re too good for anyone in this school?” Scorpius asked.
Albus shifted in his chair, looking even more uncomfortable, but as he opened his mouth to say something, Rose said, “No, I’m just not interested in Alex Finnigan.”
“Well, then, who are you interested in?”
Albus reached out to smack his friend’s arm. From the sound, the contact had been a little harder than Rose thought was probably necessary. “We are not having this discussion.”
“Why not?” Scorpius asked.
“Because we aren’t,” Albus said. “And you lied to me.”
Scorpius had suddenly became very interested in the red throw rug in from of his chair. “It wasn’t a lie, exactly.”
Albus sighed. “I hate you both sometimes, you know that?”
Rose picked up her mug again. She was definitely going to have to find an opportunity to eavesdrop on Scorpius again - her curiosity about what exactly the Slytherin thought of her was growing.
By the time Rose had finished her tea, Albus and Scorpius had exhausted their stock of complaints about Binns and started in again on Noah, who had apparently convinced them to take Divination two years before.
She got up, feeling significantly more energetic than she had when she’d entered the room. “We should get to Defense Against the Dark Arts,” she told Albus.
Scorpius had his head cocked to the side and was scrutinizing her. When she tried to stare him down, he smiled and looked away.
Rose frowned. He had a good profile. She had the strangest feeling of déjà vu, but she couldn’t recall a time that she’d had reason to notice Scorpius’s profile before.
When they reached the staircase, Rose felt the caffeine from the tea hit her. She’d tried to avoid drinking enough quickly enough to give her the jitters, but she obviously hadn’t been very successful – she was positively giddy.
Scorpius continued on down the stairs after she and Albus turned off at the first floor. The sight of the bright lights glinting off his orange hair made her giggle. Albus didn’t seem to find it anywhere near as amusing as she did, but Albus could be a bit of a spoilsport sometimes.
Defense Against the Dark Arts was one of Rose’s favorite classes, and not much phased her at this point. Today, though, she caught her breath as she and Albus slid into their seats.
Professor Goldstein, who was standing at the front of the classroom, had his wand trained on a silvery hawk that was soaring around the classroom. After a few moments of everyone watching the hawk’s path, he lowered his wand. The hawk faded away.
He looked down at the class, who were all staring at him, completely transfixed. Professor Goldstein had rarely needed to call any class Rose had ever had with him to order; his lessons tended to be so exciting that no one wanted to miss a moment of them.
“The Patronus Charm,” he said, and several people let out excited “ooo”s. “Now, that’s typically N.E.W.T. standard, but some of you will be done with Defense Against the Dark Arts at the end of this year, and I don’t want to send any student out there who can’t defend against a dementor attack.”
The class was listening raptly. Dementors were bad news, and everyone knew it. The class had covered dementors at the end of the previous school year, and Goldstein had mentioned the Patronus Charm then. Everyone had been very disappointed when they realised that they wouldn’t be learning it.
Rose remembered overhearing Victoire talking to her uncle Harry over the summer about increases in dementor attacks. Rose wondered if that spike had inspired this, or if it was just something Goldstein had always done.
She felt excitement building. She’d always wanted to learn to create a Patronus.
“Now,” Professor Goldstein asked, “who can tell me what a Patronus is?”
Rose shot her hand in the air.
“It’s a protector. It shields you from the dementors, and if it’s powerful enough, it can force them away.”
“Excellent. Five points to Gryffindor. What form does a Patronus take?”
Rose raised her hand again, but this time, Daniel was quicker.
“The form of a corporeal Patronus is unique and based on the wizard who conjured it,” he said.
“Exactly. Take five points for Hufflepuff. A corporeal Patronus has the ability to force dementors away. An incorporeal Patronus, which is where every wizard starts, may hold dementors at bay for a time, but only for a time.” He surveyed the class, and asked, “What conditions may make it more difficult to produce a Patronus?” Natalia thrust her hand in the air. “Ms. Jordan?”
“The more dementors there are, the more difficult it is to conjure a Patronus.”
“Precisely. Five more points to Hufflepuff. You’ll be learning to cast this charm without any dementors, and you should keep that in mind. What else? Mr. Finnigan?”
“Well, it’s sort of like Natalia said, but your emotions. If you’re unhappy in the first place, it’s harder to produce one.”
“Another five to Gryffindor. Why is that?” Albus put his hand up. “Mr. Potter?”
“Well, to conjure a Patronus, you need to have a happy memory,” Albus said. “If you’re already feeling sad about something, you’re going to have a harder time finding one.”
“Five more points to Gryffindor.” Goldstein paused and surveyed the class. His face was serious. “I want you all to think for a few moments. Find a happy memory, a strong one. You need a powerful memory to produce a Patronus in the first place, let alone fight off dementors.”
Rose looked around at her classmates, who were clearly deep in thought.
The elation was building in her. She wanted to get to the spell. She knew that if Goldstein would just let them try to cast it already, she would be able to. She had happy memories. She had a million happy memories. Her exhaustion had faded away. She was ready.
After a few minutes - all of which she spent fidgeting - Goldstein clapped his hands. “I hope you all have a happy memory. If you don’t manage anything today, don’t get discouraged; this is highly advanced magic, and it can be very difficult to master.”
He made them repeat the incantation after him several times, and then told them they could start practicing. As he headed toward Colleen and Daniel, who were muttering the incantation and getting nothing, Rose raised her wand.
She thought of her fifteenth birthday party, and being surrounded by the people she loved. She thought of their smiles and the homemade cake, and of the little gifts that had all clearly been chosen so carefully, and she felt her eyes tear up. Her body was tingling; it was all she could do to keep from laughing.
“Expecto Patronum!” she cried, and an enormous shape blossomed from the tip of her wand.
“Excellent, Ms. Weasley!” Goldstein called from across the room. “Twenty points for Gryffindor.”
Rose waved her wand, and the silvery threads of the animal flew through the air. As she watched its progress, she could feel the laugh building inside her again. She was unable to quell it, and it quickly became hysterical. As she sank onto the seat, the Patronus vanished.
“Rose?” Albus put his hand on her shoulder. “Rose, are you okay?”
She wanted to get up, to hug him, to tell him he was one of the best people ever. She wanted to find Hugo and Lily and James and Roxanne and tell them that. She wanted to learn how to apparate and tell her parents and Fred and Dominique and all of her aunts and uncles and grandparents how much she loved them. She even wanted to track down Scorpius and tell him that without the red hair, he was actually quite attractive, especially when he wasn’t sneering. She was feeling uncharacteristically and indiscriminately magnanimous.
The only trouble with all of those plans was that she couldn’t stop laughing.
She was vaguely aware of Goldstein saying something, and then of Albus leading her toward the hospital wing. Once there, she collapsed into a bed, and Madam Byrd bustled out.
“Madam Byrd,” she heard Albus say quickly, “we were in class, and she was fine, and then suddenly she was… well, like this.”
Madam Byrd bent over her. “Do you know what she’s had to eat today?”
Albus sounded a little taken aback. “Um… I don’t know. Full breakfast. Full lunch. A few cups of tea before class.”
Madam Byrd dismissed that out of hand. “No, tea wouldn’t do this.” She pointed toward the door. “Out. I’ll sort her out, don’t worry. She’ll be fine.”
Albus hesitated. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she said, striding away from Rose. She heard a muffled conversation, and then Madam Byrd bent over her again, a goblet in her hand. “Can you drink this?” she asked.
Though Rose was still giggling uncontrollably, she managed to force some of the potion down. She could feel her eyes start to get heavy almost immediately, and she quickly drifted into unconsciousness.
A/N: As always, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you so much for reading, and if you have the moment, I would appreciate a review! :)
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