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The first week of school had flown by, much to my surprise. Each day was packed with classes – I seem to have gotten my mother’s talent for memorizing anything and everything she reads. Every night I had stayed up until unbelievable hours of the morning writing essays and filling out stupid star charts for Astronomy. But besides all of the academic work I had to deal with, I was constantly being swarmed by people asking if it was really true that I was the person who had given Scorpius Malfoy the nice black and blue handprint that now adorned his chiseled cheek.

And I was exhausted. I had not gotten a moment to myself for an entire week, whether it be from my friends or the crowds of nosy students. It was finally Saturday night, and I had been looking forward the entire week to doing absolutely nothing – or sneaking into the prefects bathroom and taking a long bubble bath.  But of course, karma was being a bitch as usual, and I was stuck doing anything but.

I dragged my feet slowly across the ancient rug that carpeted the corridor, trying to waste as much time as I could before opening the door that stood stoically across from me. I did not want to go in. For the love of sugar quills, I did not want to enter that office.

“Times ticking girl,” a rather grumpy portrait stated boredly, and I spun on the spot to glare at the ugly old codger with the I-understand-your-point-but-leave-me-the-bloody-hell-alone eye squint I had perfected over the last week.

“Why don’t you shut it?” I snarled, turning away from the portrait to stare again at the door. It was now, or never.

Taking a deep breath I strode confidently over to the door and grabbed the door handle before dropping it like it was scalding hot.

“For the love of Merlin, just do it!” I yelled at myself, spinning on my heel and pacing across the corridor, mumbling obscenities under my breath.

“It's not a big deal,” I coached myself, running my hands through my long auburn hair and biting my lip, “you’ve been in detention a million times before. So, yes, this one is with McGonagall, and yes, you’re probably in deep shit, but hey, who the hell cares? It’s not as if your dad is going to find out. I mean, come on, you didn’t do anything that horrible. So, you slapped Malfoy, and broke his jaw. It’s not the end of the world, right? In fact, he’ll probably be proud that you beat up a Malfoy. Yeah, yeah he would! He’d be all ‘Yes, Malfoy, this is my badass daughter, the girl who beat up your wimp of a son.’”

With that thought, I strutted towards the door without fear and jerked open the handle. Even the prospect of scrubbing toilets all night without magic wasn’t daunting any longer.

But then I saw it. It was something between the sadistic frown of annoyance Crookshanks gave me whenever I accidentally stepped on his tail and the Evil-Death-Glare-of-Doom that my mother gave me whenever I seriously pissed her off and was about to be grounded into the next century.  The woman before me had perfected the two, and made it into her very own I’m-Disappointed-and-Pissed-So-You-Better-Do-As-I-Say-or-I’ll-Curse-You-Into-Next-Year glare.

“Miss Weasley, you are late,” Professor McGonagall said, arching one of her severe eyebrows and making me involuntarily shudder.

“I’m sorry, Professor,” I said somberly, feeling all the fight go out of me, like the air deflating out of the balloon Hagrid had once sat on. I decided that staring at the floor seemed much more productive, and less likely to cause me to have an aneurism.

“I do not ordinarily tolerate tardiness, Miss Weasley, but I will make an exception this time.” I felt a bit more confidence re-inflate in my chest and I dared a quick glance upwards. It was still there. I jerked my head back down to stare at the floor again, this time counting all the little knots and holes that there were in the nearest board.

“Thank you, Professor,” I mumbled towards the nice, safe floor.

“You are welcome. But now Miss Weasley, I assume you understand why you are standing in my office at seven on a Saturday night in the first place.”

“Yes,” I said again to the floorboards. 

“Well then I think I do not need to remind you that fighting of any kind is not tolerated at Hogwarts, or at any extension of Hogwarts.” 

I nodded solemnly “I understand, Professor.” 

“Very well then,” she responded tiredly. “You may go.”

My head shot up, and I felt my jaw drop in surprise.  “Go, Professor? What about my punishment?”

“Do you want a punishment, Miss Weasley?” The Transfiguration professor asked, staring astonished at me over the glasses resting near the end of her long, pointy nose.

“No, ma’am,” I answered earnestly.

“Well then I don’t understand why you are still standing here.” 

“Thank you Professor!” I cried, doing the little baby clap that it seemed all teenage girls did when excited and jumping up and down. Even she understood that Malfoy had it coming.The older woman just grinned at me bemusedly and waved me out of her office as she would wave a fly away from her face. I nearly skipped as I made for the door and then out into the hallway. Maybe there was still time for me to take that bubble bath.

 

 




 

The next morning I flounced down to breakfast feeling refreshed and happy. I had managed not to trip even once on the way down – which was a large accomplishment for me – and had even put on my yellow t-shirt right-side-forward on the first try this morning. So far, it was turning out to be a better day for me.

I entered the Great Hall and headed straight for the Gryffindor table without so much as a glance at where I felt most of the Slytherin population glaring at me for defacing their leader. Their perfected glowers felt like a hundred tiny little daggers going straight into my back and I was almost positive that if looks could kill, I would be stone cold dead. I spotted most of the team sitting towards the back of the table and I made my way as quickly as possible, while still being indiscreet about my haste, towards them. While I wasn’t going to show the Slytherins that I was afraid of them, right about now I was feeling slightly empathetic towards whoever had made up the idea of “safety in numbers”.

“Morning guys,” I smiled, sidling in between James and Albus. “Can someone pass the sausages? I’m starving.” 

“Twere oo o,” Jason said, handing me the plate of sausages, and spraying most of the table with bits of cereal he had forgotten to swallow before talking.

“Thank you,” Reagan and I grimaced at the same time.

“Sorry ‘bout that mate,” he said after much difficulty and much chewing. 

Reagan shook her head in disgust and pushed her plate away from herself. I couldn’t help but notice that she kept glancing disdainfully at Jason’s shirt. I tried not to stare at it while also trying to figure out what had made her so disgusted. It didn’t take much to upset the only American at our school; hell, usually just mentioning Slytherins, rain, anything to do with Potions, eggs, or James made her go into super hate/rampage mode. But this was just too much. 

His shirt was a muddy brown color with a white ring collar and white rings around the sleeves and the words Wollongong Warriors emblazoned across the chest. At a first glance, I had not thought anything was wrong with the picture, seeing as Jason was the most diehard Warriors fan probably on the face of the planet. His entire casual wardrobe consisted of Warriors shirts and some form of baggy shorts or jeans and the walls around his bed were plastered with Warriors posters. Rumor had it that at his house his entire room was covered in their souvenirs. But at a second glance I saw the words change to display the phrase “We will crush the Thundelarra Thunderers!” followed by a short, poorly drawn animation of a two figures clad in Quidditch kits, one brown and one blue, flying towards each other before the brown figure took out a beaters bat and clubbed the figure in blue over the head. 

I snorted in laughter and nearly sent the gulp of pumpkin juice I had previously taken out my nose. That was classic. It was a hideous and ostentatious shirt in and of itself, but this really had to take the cake.

“Nice shirt you’ve got there Jason,” I said, trying to keep my voice normal, and failing miserably.

“Thanks!” he said, beaming and casting a quick look down at this shirt. “I just got it a few days before school started. Can you believe they don’t make many of these things anymore? I don’t understand why, they’re so cool.”

“Yeah, I’ve got to wonder why,” Reagan said sarcastically, cocking her head to the side and rolling her eyes. 

I could feel James and Al rocking with suppressed laughter on either side of me and I elbowed them sharply. Before either of them could move to elbow me back, the distinct whooshing of hundreds of wings descending on the Hall and we all turned to look for our owls. Al and I had decided a long time ago that despite how old we got, it was always nice to hear news from home during the first week, almost as if to make sure that yes, life still did go on without us there, and that no, things were not going to be changing anytime soon.

As I searched the sky, I saw both my mother’s and my father’s owls, but returned to my breakfast without waiting for either to deliver a letter to me. If my parents wanted to communicate with me, they usually did it through Hugo, my annoying, self-serving, tattle-tale, and mama’s boy of a little brother.

“Rosie,” James said, poking me hard in the shoulder a few moments later. 

I looked up from my toast to see my dad’s old owl Pig hopping resolutely towards me, a piece of parchment tied to his scrawny little leg.

Gulping down the anxiety I could already feel building, I reached out and untied the letter from his leg with shaking hands. Al leaned across me and threw the waiting bird a left over piece of sausage and he took off. I shot my cousin a grin of thanks and gently tapped the roll of paper with my wand to release the seal.  I took a few deep breaths in a futile attempt to calm myself while all my insides turned to jell-o and read:

Rose,

It has come to my attention that before you even entered the school grounds you have gotten yourself into trouble. Been fighting with the Malfoy boy have you? What are you, stupid? The entire family could get in trouble for your rash actions, you selfish little brat. The Malfoys again have a large amount of power in the Ministry and if Scorpius was injured badly enough; his father could sue us, Rose. Do you understand what that means? We could lose a lot of money that we don’t have. Your mother and I work long hours to pay for your schooling and so that you and your brother have every material comfort that you want. Is this how you repay us? By getting the family sued? Hugo would have never done such a thing. In fact, your brother was the one to have alerted me to the fact that you were fighting again.  I will not tolerate this type of behavior Rose. You must apologize to Malfoy and if I ever so much as hear of you fighting again, you will wish you could stay at Hogwarts over Christmas. Do you hear me?

Your mother sends her love.

-Dad’

I felt tears sting at the corners of my eyes, and two large pairs of arms envelope me from either side. Without even having to ask, I knew it was James and Al, and that they had read the letter as well over my shoulder.  I don’t know how long I sobbed into their arms, my father’s voice ringing in my head as if I had heard him speak what was written instead of just reading it.

What had I ever done to make him hate me so much?  I wasn’t exactly graceful, or extremely smart, or beautiful, but I wasn’t the worst child out there. And yes, maybe I did get into more trouble than either of my parents expected, and maybe I wasn’t the perfect daughter he had always wanted, but I was his daughter. His only daughter. Didn’t that count for something? 

When I had finally cried until I could cry no more, I gently shook off my cousins’ arms and stared down at the letter again. Where in the hell did he get off talking to me like that? My initial sorrow turned to anger and I felt the nasty churn of hate rock my stomach.

Hugo had told him. My nasty, stupid prick of a brother had opened his big mouth again. The little inner voice in my head told me not to blame it all on Hugo – that my father had acted of his own accord, and that maybe my brother wasn’t trying to get me in trouble for the first time in his life. Again, the nasty, raging temper that I had inherited from both my parents reared its head and I imagined it locking that stupid tiny voice into a nice dark closet somewhere, where it could stay and bang on the door for all eternity as far as I cared.

Jumping up from the table, I scanned along the line of students until I saw my brother seated towards the very front, reading his letter from my mother.

“HUGO!” I cried manically.

The entire room turned to stare at me, and for the first time I really did not care what they thought. I held up the now crumpled letter from our father in my fist. Understanding washed over my brother’s face, followed by a panic stricken expression. He jumped up from his seat too and ran around the opposite side of the table towards the doors, shoving people out of his way as he went.

“YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! YOU BETTER RUN BOY!” I screamed as I charged up the other side, “BECAUSE YOU ARE SO DEAD WHEN I CATCH YOU!” 








 
A/N: Wow, that was a fast chapter! It helped that I already had most of it written, but still, that was fast! Thanks to everyone whose stuck with Rosie and me this far. I hope you all liked this chapter! Please, feel free to rate and review!

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