Chapter 4 : That Higgins… or was it Hippins?
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Saturday morning rolled around again, and for some strange and unearthly reason, I was up early. My usual policy on Saturday mornings was to sleep in until around 10, get up, put on sweats, and spend the rest of the day lounging around. However, today, my internal clock was feeling peppy and woke me up with a “ROSE! ROSE! IMPORTANT THINGS!” and refused to let me sleep. Thus disturbed, I woke, feeling surprisingly chipper and full of purpose. I brushed my teeth with vigor and hummed melodiously as I showered, basking in the scent of vanilla shampoo. I hopped out of the shower and dried my hair with a cheerful flick of my wand. I then contemplated my wardrobe, deciding on an ensemble for the day. In the end, I decided on a light sweater in a spring-like shade of green (to match March) and some light blue jeans (who wears robes on the weekends?) coupled with a peppy flowered headband, just for a touch of sunniness. Maybe I could go to the Quidditch field for an energizing walk. Scorpius might even be there. I mean, he might be – it’s not like that would tempt me to the Quidditch field or anything. Anyways, attired and sufficiently decent-looking (even my hair cooperated!), I skipped down the stairs (let me tell you, it’s a miracle I didn’t trip) and landed in the empty common room. At least, I thought it was empty until I spotted Molly sobbing on a little-used armchair in a corner. My buoyant mood deflated and flew out the door.
“Molly?” I called hesitantly, stepping closer. “What happened?”
“R-Rose?” she stuttered tearfully, turning her tear-stained face towards me. “What are you doing up so early?” Trust broken-hearted Molly to worry about my sleeping habits.
“I was feeling chipper,” I answered. “Don’t try to evade the question. Is this about that Higgins or Hippins or whatever the hell his name is?”
“You were feeling chipper? In the morning?” she asked, a rather obvious note of disbelief in her voice. This girl was fighting a losing battle.
“Come on, Molly. Spill.”
With a resigned sigh and a few more tears (I’m not sure if those were theatrics or not, Molly can be quite the actress), she replied in a quivering voice, “Thomas broke up with me.” The “me” came out as a long drawn-out sob, and I put my arms around her and tried to comfort her as best as I could. “And Rose?” she said, once she had enough breath to speak. I nodded, expecting the tearful gratitude of a cousin in need. It was not to be. “His last name is Hague, not Higgins.”
We spent the rest of Saturday burning all Molly’s pictures of Hague per my advice and engaged in a rather entertaining session of Hague-bashing. We may have also bashed the male sex as a whole, but as we were a bit hysterical, I can’t be sure. I also got to learn about Molly’s life since January, seeing as she and Higgins – sorry, Hague – had been practically glued together at the hip since then. Apparently, he’d been an “absolute darling” (her words) and been “ever so kind,” bringing her “the prettiest flowers you could ever imagine” and even “being a sweetie and walking me to classes even if it meant he’d be late for his, the darling.” Hearing her words, I knew Molly had been in deep. She never – repeat, never – used words like “darling,” even to deliver a particularly biting comeback (that was my specialty). And she had just used “darling” twice in one sentence, even after the bloke had broken up with her. That would be my cue to start screaming “That disgusting, damnable, foul little insect!” not “darling.” Apparently boys turn Molly sentimental.
You’re probably wondering why the darling broke up with Molly. Well, Molly, sweet as she is, can be a bit… overbearing. And by “overbearing,” I mean “cannot go 13 seconds without seeing the love of her life and telling him that he is a darling.” I thought he enjoyed it – he put up with it for three months after all, you’d think he’d get sick of it sooner. According to her, though, and I suppose she’d be the authority in this case, he said that she was “getting too clingy” and that he needed to “get out a bit more” without her “hanging on him all the time.” Needless to say, poor Molly was crestfallen. I was surprised – she’s never been clingy, always been irritatingly independent, really. Well, I supposed that’s boys.
Speaking of boys, Charms that day was rather… interesting. It started off rather horribly, due to Melody, of course. Melody made me so mad sometimes. There was that time in second year, soon after we’d had our explosive fight, when I’d walked into Transfiguration and there was a little green box on my desk. I thought it was someone else’s, so I put it on Professor Bell’s desk. She opened it, and inside was a really beautiful little figurine – I’d given it to Melody for her birthday once, and she must have put it on my desk. I’d felt like crying; were we a broken up couple, to start returning gifts? Could she twist the knife any more? And this day – I always did my homework, I was ridiculously conscientious about it. I never faked doing homework. And dear darling Melody, apple of every blind professor’s eye, faked her Charms notes in the three minutes after Professor Robins said she would check it and before she actually did. Thankfully, Professor Robins saw through it and made a bit of a snappy comment – I couldn’t help but grin a bit at that. Still, she gave her credit for the day’s homework, which was, of course, ridiculously unfair.
Melody aside, Scorpius had taken to asking me if he can borrow quills in every class we have together, and unfortunately, we had quite a lot. We were both taking Potions, Transfiguration, Arithmancy, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, and, of course, Physical Education. He was taking Divination, which is, in my opinion, pure, unadulterated fluff. Now, I have nothing against helping a hapless person devoid of stationery, but that’s a lot of quills. Especially since he never returned them until several days later. Curiously enough, though, if I didn’t give him a quill, he’d manage to produce one from somewhere else. Usually a different one of mine. This struck me as distinctly odd, but I wasn’t sure what exactly to ask, or if to ask him about his strange habit of collecting my quills at all.
Mum finally wrote back, and what do you know, I got her letter just as I was sitting down to write her about Melody, the pictures, and life in general. I perused the letter slowly, wishing I could have my mum be there and hug me and tell me that Melody would go to hell.
Dearest Rosie, (she was the only one who could call me that, not even Dad did)
I’m glad to hear you’re well. I’m rather suspicious about Melody’s laying low, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something’s happened by the time you get this letter (Errol Jr. is getting a bit old, I think we should put him in retirement). I’m glad you and Adara are close again, I know how much you missed her. Sandra sounds nice too – bring them around in the summer holidays so we can meet them. In regards to Molly, you know how long boyfriends last at this age – don’t worry too much. She’ll be back before you know it, and I know you’ll help her through it if they break up.
The family sounds a bit like your Dad used to be with Ginny. We’d always keep it secret if she was dating someone just because he’d go crazy if he found out and have a lifelong vendetta against the poor fellow. He still doesn’t like Adara’s father, even though he’s married to Luna now. A formal intervention seems to be taking it too far, though, but that’s James, I suppose. I’m interested now – Scorpius seems like a nice boy, a little nerdy. Your type, isn’t he? I thought Jonathan was a deviation from the normal. Besides, you never know what moonstones can lead to. Tell me about him! We’re having the Malfoys over to celebrate the beginning of summer, as usual, so I’ll be able to meet him again (in case you’re wondering, I’m cackling evilly at the moment). Remember what we talked about before in regards to relationships, though, darling. Be careful.
On another note, Scorpius’ father’s hair was always greasy, so I don’t wonder that his is too. Like I said, he’s a nice boy, and I’m sure you’ll have fun with the dancing. Dad says not to have too much fun. The world of Law Enforcement is as exciting as ever, I’m working on a very interesting case right now. I think you’ll want to hear about it when you come home, unless the media gets to it first. You’re dying of curiosity now, aren’t you?
Dad sends his love and misses you as always. He also wanted to tell you that the Cannons lost this last game against the Wasps by only 12 points.
Lots of Love,
Folding the letter and sliding it into my pocket, I picked up my book bag and headed to the library. I needed to finish the Potions essay about the uses of dragonweed in memory loss potions, and I might as well get out of the dorm for a bit. I trudged down the insane number of stairs leading down from Gryffindor tower and finally reached the second floor, turning right to get to the library. I tossed my stuff down onto my customary table and collapsed into a chair. Merlin, I was tired. However, the potions essay was not about to write itself, so I grudgingly pulled out the book and began to make notes.
A few minutes later, I heard the chair scrape against the floor next to me. “Hey, Scorpius,” I greeted him tiredly. “Hey,” he returned. “Potions?”
“Is the stuff about dragonweed in the textbook?”
“The essay has to be two feet, right?”
As you’ve probably divined by now, I wasn’t feeling extremely conversational. This had nothing to do with the fact that my hands were sweating slightly and that I was sure I could feel his eyes on me, but it had everything to do with my exhaustion. After an hour or so, I put my completed potions essay back into my bag and stretched. “I’m gonna go,” I told Scorpius.
“Yup,” he replied. Merlin, this boy was so difficult to understand.
I went back up to my dorm and settled myself on the bed with a piece of parchment. I pondered how to write the letter to my mother. She had a slight tendency to want to owl Professor Bell, the headmaster (Professor Thomas), and Melody’s mother every time Melody’s particularly evil side showed itself, and it took some pretty quick action by both Hugo and I to prevent any disastrous type of showdown. If Mum had a fault, it was that her temper tended to fly out of control without warning, but only if she was really, really mad. Let’s just say that Melody had made her that mad.
I paused, my quill hovering above the paper. You were right about Melody. She did do something.
I scratched it out. It was no good – she’d freak if that were the first line that she read. I’d love to bring Sandra and Adara around for summer hols, although Sandra might start screaming excitedly if she’s going to meet the great “Golden Trio” as you’ve been dubbed by good old Rita Skeeter. There, that looked better. Molly’s boyfriend (turns out his name is Hague, not Higgins, apparently) broke up with her today and she’s been in a right state. She’s also been calling him a “darling,” which is extremely strange, considering he just “severed ties” with her, as Uncle Percy would say. It’s like you have ESP or something, predicting the future and all. You were right about Melody, too – she’s gone and taken some pictures of Scorpius and me in the library and seems to have edited them, so, according to her, it looks like we’re “more than friendly.” Apparently, she wants to mail these to you anonymously (although that wouldn’t do anything) and post them up in all the common rooms. Do me a favor, breathe deeply. That’s what I’m doing. Don’t owl anyone except for me about this; I don’t want it to escalate more than is absolutely unavoidable. What on earth can I do? She doesn’t even want anything in return for the pictures, just wants to humiliate me. Can she even have edited the pictures that much if we were just talking in the pictures? I wouldn’t put it past her, but I can’t tell if she’s lying to get a rise out of me. Help!
Love, Rose, I signed with a flourish on the R.
I read it again critically, blew on it to dry the ink, and rolled it into a scroll. I’d take it to the owlery in the morning, but right now I was frankly too exhausted to walk over. Couldn’t Puffle turn into an owl for the night? Oh, well.
Sunday passed, and Monday dawned as gray as any English spring morning (any English morning, really), and I dragged myself out of bed, mentally pep-talking myself into going to classes. It was a particularly awful morning, as I had PE first and I’d woken up too late to go to breakfast. I pulled on my shorts (sweatpants were against the school dress code and it was too bloody freezing to wear shorts) and a t-shirt (honestly, would it have been that hard for Hogwarts to have allowed non-cloak outerwear on school days?) I trudged down to the Quidditch pitch, arriving a few minutes late. I groaned once I saw the scene before me – apparently, we were going further than dance today. We were dancing in costume.
“Welcome, Miss Weasley,” said Madame Hooch, fixing me with a disapproving glare. “I see you’ve decided to join us at last.”
“Sorry, Madame Hooch, didn’t hear the alarm,” I muttered by way of explanation.
“I’m sure. Well, put on a skirt and join Scorpius, please.”
“Yes, Madame Hooch.” With a rather weighty sigh, I donned the capacious skirt that could have fit three Roses inside. I turned, the obnoxious skirt nearly tripping me, and made my way gingerly to Scorpius.
“Take your positions, boys and girls. Music starting in 3, 2, 1.” Madame Hooch waved her wand at an ancient record player floating next to her and cheesy music grated out. Poor Molly was still paired with “darling” Thomas Hague, who was looking at her as one looks at a rather ugly kitten, with pity and distaste in equal measure. For her part, she was keeping her head down and watching her feet carefully, holding her head so still that no curls escaped from the haphazard ponytail she had tied. She looked so fragile that I wanted to run to her right there and give her a hug and tell her that none of the Thomas Hagues of the world deserved her and remind her of the smart, hilarious, personable girl she was. It might not hurt to let her know that Thomas Finnegan (did he have to be called Thomas too? Stupid name, really) was eyeing her rather hopefully despite the fact that all the girls looked like absolute hags (I mean that literally) in these skirts at 8 o’clock in the morning.
Sighing at Molly’s predicament, I went through the motions of the dance, bored with their complete lack of sophistication. Right foot back, forward, now left, twirl out with right hand up, right foot back, forward… And then I noticed something. Something strange. Scorpius and I, like all the other “couples,” for want of a better word, normally kept our hands barely touching, the absolute minimum to satisfy Madame Hooch. Sometimes we even did the “hover hands” and didn’t touch each other at all. Today, though, he was holding my hands. Delicately, hesitantly, yes, but holding them all the same. My eyes widened in confusion and I raised them to meet his. He looked nervous but didn’t loosen his grip on my hands. I didn’t really do anything, because I wasn’t sure what it meant. Could it be that my family was right and he… liked me? I shook my head immediately to clear the thought, because I just wasn’t the kind of girl that boys liked. I wore pants, not skirts, kept my hair in a ponytail, and didn’t bother with make up. I went to the library and I was shy in a way that almost constituted a social disability (slight exaggeration, but honestly, I’m that shy). Therefore, Scorpius didn’t like me. Even Jonathan Wood had only held my hand one day because he felt sorry for me (long story short, I’d been a bit of an idiot and low-scale stalking and some crying came into it. All in all, not one of my proudest moments). So, in conclusion, Scorpius was probably just cold and we had a Transfiguration test next period, which explained the nervousness. Nonetheless, I discarded the skirt and bolted on the bell’s first toll. Hip-swishing is not one of my strengths.
“Oh, hi, Rose!” I heard a perky voice behind me. I didn’t recognize it, so I turned around. To my surprise (read: shock) and chagrin (read: pissed-off), behind me was Annalise Peakes, my roommate who I avoided as much as possible, and with good reason. She was smart, although she went more for music and dancing and things like that. She was in Flitwick’s Choir (named in honor of old Filius), now run by Professor Bell, and had even started a dance troupe at Hogwarts. She was also Melody’s best friend, and had absolutely detested me when Melody and I were still friends and been the foremost participant of Melody’s “Take Down Rose” campaign. So, you’ll understand my surprise at seeing her waving to me.
“Hi, Annalise,” I answered uncertainly. “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing. You’re heading to Transfiguration, right?”
“Yeah,” I replied, still a bit shocked for words.
“Oh, great, that’s where I’m heading.” On that note, we headed to Transfiguration together.
“Partner up, everybody,” Professor Bell called, “we’ll be practicing color changing charms on each other. These will be on your OWLs, so I would advise that you spend this period well.”
“Oh, Rose, let’s partner!” Annalise cried brightly. Well, that was a surprise. Last I checked, she and Melody were joined at the hip and partnered together all the time. To be honest, I was a bit suspicious. I had never liked Annalise, she had reminded me a bit too much of Melody. They both had the same type of selfish, sneaky, suck-up, arrogant kind of personalities. “Sure,” I answered, seeing as everyone else had already partnered. Adara and Sandra looked at me oddly, gesturing not-so-subtly at Annalise. I shrugged in response, just as clueless as they were.
“So, um, do you want to go first?” I asked.
“Hmm?” she replied, looking up from some notes, “Oh, yeah, sure. What color would you like your eyebrows?”
On the way to Potions, our next class, Adara and Sandra bombarded me with questions about Annalise. “Why was she talking to you? What did she say? Was it about Melody’s threat? I can’t believe you worked with her!”
“Calm down, you lot! Give me a chance to answer!” I huffed. They answered with a synchronized eye-roll.
“Basically, in the hallway, she came up to me and asked if I was going to Transfiguration and started walking with me, and then she just randomly wanted to work with me,” I summarized.
Adara looked skeptical. “And she didn’t say anything about Melody’s so-called threat? Are you sure that this isn’t some plan of Melody’s to find out your deepest secrets?”
“Why do I feel you’re being sarcastic?” I deadpanned.
“Because I am,” she said snobbishly.
“It is strange, though, isn’t it? Annalise suddenly being friendly to Rose.” Sandra put in.
“Oh, come on, Sandra, don’t go all paranoid-Rose,” Adara huffed. She also squealed with pain as I stepped on her toe. Paranoid Rose indeed. “We’re at potions, anyway. Where Rose gets to partner with Scorpius,” Adara winked at me. I glared and stepped on her foot.
Throughout Potions, which was our next class, I snuck glances at Scorpius, trying to figure out if I was absolutely crazy to suspect some kind of romantic intent.Thankfully, my family seemed to have given up “Rose and Scorpius watch,” since they hadn’t been following me. Of course, no one from my family was in this class (a blessing in itself) but Transfiguration, with the Ravenclaws, had Molly and she didn’t tail me. Scorpius isn’t in that class, though – bollocks. I suppose I’d have to wait to figure out if I was being tailed. We were partnered together and were working on a Calming Draught, which apparently appeared on the OWL fairly frequently. At least, I was working. Scorpius, instead of the kind of attention he paid to me in PE and our extremely tiny Arithmancy class, in which he was extremely chatty, walked off to other tables, talking to Alex, Bethany, Annalise, and basically everybody in the room. He’d come back occasionally and ask how the potion was going, to which I answered with gritted teeth that it would be going better if he’d help. “Oh, sorry,” he replied carelessly, “I’ll get some newt tails from the storage cupboard.” His journey to and from the cupboard took the rest of the period, given the number of stops he made on the way.
I really did not understand boys. Why was he so nice in Arithmancy and an absolute jerk in Potions? Why had he come to the library only intermittently, and spent all his time flirting with other girls instead of the usual studying he did? Where was he putting all my quills? It was really starting to frustrate me, and whom was I supposed to ask? I was a bit shy about asking mum, considering she’d implied I had a thing for Scorpius. Adara was getting sick of my asking her what she thought of Scorpius’ strange behavior, and my cousins would take the mickey out of me if I let on that I had feelings of any kind towards Scorpius, including confusion.
This is how I ended up in the kitchens at midnight, telling Frank Longbottom all about how Scorpius was confusing me so much. The two boys weren’t very close, but for some reason, all boys are good friends and know everything about each other. Girls, on the other hand, are secretive and function in tightly knit groups. I couldn’t tell you about Annalise’s crush or whatnot, and she was my roommate. Frank, though, was very understanding and nodded as I told my story between large spoonfuls of coffee ice cream.
“It’s weird, Frank, like he was being really talkative and all in Arithmancy and kept asking for help on all these problems, and in phys ed he was pretty friendly, didn’t act strange or anything.” At least, he didn’t act strangely in any way that Frank needed to know about.
“And in Transfiguration and Potions, he completely ignores me and starts flirting with anything that moves. It’s not that he shouldn’t flirt, I just wish he would be more consistent in the way he acts! I’m going bloody insane over here!”
“I mean, I don’t think he’s a greasy-haired git and I’m being friendly, so why the hell is he acting so hormonal? Are boys supposed to be that bipolar, Frank?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Do you know why he’s acting weird? Or is he just strange and I was too busy disliking him to notice? I mean, I didn’t even know he existed until the end of second year!”
“Well, he has been acting like he likes this girl.”
“He likes a girl!? Who?” I cried.
“I can’t exactly tell you,” Frank muttered, looking at the ground as though he dearly wished he could disappear into it.
“Of course you can tell me! I can keep secrets! I’m a great secret-keeper!” I exclaimed. He couldn’t leave me hanging like this - it would just be cruel.
“I better get going,” he said with his gaze fixed on the floor as though he hadn’t heard a word I said. “By the way,” he began hesitantly, “Do you know if Adara likes me?” I hadn’t seen that one coming. Honestly, did he really think Adara liked him if she always turned him down. “Rose?” he asked, snapping me out of my puzzled frown. “I mean, she agreed to dance with me over the summer at the big get-together, so I thought she might like me a bit, but she won’t go with me to Hogsmeade.” ADARA had DANCED with FRANK and HADN’T TOLD ME!? What was this? I thought she didn’t like him! She said she’d turned him down and he kept asking. Of course the poor boy thought he had a chance if she’d agreed to dance with him! She was leading him on! This was completely cruel, especially since Frank was so Frank, always nice and pleasant and friendly, if a little inclined to become deeply entrenched emotionally extremely easily. “Um, Frank, I don’t think I’m the best person to ask,” I stammered back. He looked at me with a “Really, now? Really?” expression on his face, and I couldn’t blame him. As her best friend, I should definitely know how she felt about him. I backtracked, trying to figure out a way to satisfy him without saying that Adara had clearly told me she saw him as Frank, the boy she played with when they were in diapers, not Frank, that amazing boy with beautiful eyes who would whisk her off into the moonlight. “I think you should ask her. It always complicates matters to bring friends into it, and if you really care for her, you should ask her yourself.” At least that sounded tactful, and I wasn’t giving him false hopes or anything.
“If you really think that’s best,” he answered, skepticism heavy in his voice. I cringed a bit, but Adara led him on, so Adara could feel guilty for breaking his heart. “I’m sorry about Scorpius’ mixed signals, by the way,” he continued, “I know what it’s like to be confused.” By the time I looked up to assert that our situations were nothing alike, given that he was head-over-heels for Adara and I harbored only friendly goodwill for Scorpius, he had disappeared to the kitchen doors, taking the rest of the chocolate cookies I had been planning to finish with him.
A/N: Here’s chapter 4! I hope you like it, a lot of drama in this chapter. Why is Annalise suddenly being so friendly to Rose? Does Scorpius like Rose or not? Tell me what you think!
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