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Living in a bathroom was not as bad as I would have thought. Sure, Myrtle was slightly terrifying and could be a right bloody pain, but once she realized that I was just as miserable as she, she left me alone mostly. No one ever bothered me, something I was grateful for, but I did know that James and everyone else knew exactly where I was. It stung a little bit that they hadn’t bothered to come and try to coax me out of the lavatory.  

I had already decided that I was going to name one of my children Filius after dear Professor Flitwick, who was kind enough to have taught us the Refreshing Charm last year. It made it so much easier to avoid Gryffindor Tower, because I could keep wearing the same clothes every day without smelling. 

Even though I had vowed to never come out, I did go to my classes. Maybe I’m a nerd or a teacher’s pet, but I couldn’t bear the idea of cutting class for longer than one period. So I moved silently from class to class, leaving the safe confines of my bathroom at the exact last possible second so that I had just enough time to make it to class without being late, but so that I didn’t have to sit there forever and listen to my peers gossip. Since I no longer had any more friends I sat by myself at the very front desk and kept my head down, taking notes diligently and probably for the first time in my life learning something in lessons.

After classes I would race back to my bathroom and hide in there until dinnertime, when Winky, God bless her, would bring me food.  I continued on with this lifestyle for a little over a week. No one had asked me where I was yet, or why I never ate in the Great Hall anymore. It was as if no one had noticed I was gone – or if they had they didn’t care.

I have to cut out the melodramatics. People were seeing me at class. And no one would know I wasn’t sleeping in Gryffindor Tower in my dorm except for my fellow sixth year girls – and to be honest, besides Reagan and Lucy I didn’t remember the rest of my dorm mates names. How sad was that? I’d lived with three other girls for six years – shared the same bathroom and the same bedroom – and I didn’t know their names. Maybe one was named Alexis? No, that sounded all wrong.

I lay down on my makeshift bed and closed my eyes. There was no point in trying to remember now anyway. I was never going back there. I kicked my shoes off and brought my knees up to my chest, letting the exhaustion I had been fighting all day overtake me. 

Some amount of time later I felt a drop of water fall on my face. I rolled over and buried my face in my arms. The water didn’t stop. I felt it drip against the back of my head and run along my arms. I rolled right side up this time.

“Myrtle,” I groaned, “I thought we had a deal.”

“I didn’t know Moaning Myrtle made deals with students,” someone who was definitely not Myrtle said.

My eyes snapped open to see Scorpius Malfoy standing over me, looking smug and bemused.

“What are you doing here Malfoy?” I snapped, sitting up and wincing as my back cracked loudly.

“I could ask you the same question Weasley,” he said casually, leaning against a dusty sink. 

I sighed. “What I meant to ask was how you found me.”

“Oh,” his eyes lit up brightly. “Well then. It doesn’t take a genius to find you Weasley. I just thought, where does a girl go when they want to hear all the juicy gossip’ and then I realized a bathroom.  And then I had to ask where does a girl go when they want to hide from gossip? The answer was obvious then. A deserted bathroom.”

He grinned down at me smugly, obviously very pleased with his deductive genius. “You sure do not a lot about girl’s bathrooms, Malfoy,” I said, cocking an eyebrow suggestively. Scorpius flushed red.

“You never answered my question,” he growled.

“You answered your own question,” I said.

“So you are hiding from the rumors. You know that hiding from them only fuels the fire more.”

“I don’t care,” I said haughtily. “I can’t go out there and face them. I can’t.”

“Well you can’t stay in this bathroom forever,” he replied. “You will have to come out sometime. What about Quidditch?”

“I quit.”

“Eating?”

“I have a friend who’s a House Elf?”

“Clothing?”

“Refreshing Charm.”

“Ugh, that is gross.”

“I’ll thank you not to insult me – I know for a fact that you boys go much longer in your clothes without even a Refreshing Charm.”

“Right, well what about seeing your friends? Don’t you miss them?”

“I have no friends.”

“You’re going to have to come out sometime Weasley.”

“No, actually, I seem to be living well here. I think I could manage.”

We glared at each other and he sighed loudly, blowing a strand of his long blond hair out of his eyes. 

“You are impossible, Weasley.” 

“I know,” I grinned.

He pushed himself off of the sink and flicked his hair out of his eyes again. He glared down at me. “I don’t have time to argue with you Weasley. I really just came here to tell you that you are going to have to vacate this bathroom by Saturday because I’m taking you to Hogsmeade.”

I felt my heart do a little flip in my chest. Scorpius wanted to take me to Hogsmeade. Oh fuck.

“I can’t,” I replied, hoping I didn’t sound as horrified as I felt.

“Why not?” he asked, sounding exasperated.

“I – uh – have detention,” I lied.

He stared down at me, his grey eyes boring into mine as if he was hoping to get the truth out of my own brown eyes. I really, really wanted to look away, but then he would know I was lying.

“Dammit Weasley,” he sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. For the first time I noticed dark purple circles under his eyes and the normal layer of scruff that he had on his chin seemed longer today. He normally looked carelessly thrown together, as if he had always just waltzed out of bed, but now he just looked unkempt.  “This is really setting back our plan.”

“What plan?” I asked. I wasn’t aware of the fact that we had a specific time limit or that we had agreed to a plan other than just pretending to date each other.

“Typical Gryffindor,” he said under his breath, sinking down the wall until he was sitting next to me. 

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, affronted.

“What I mean is,” he said, the pitch of his voice rising angrily, “is that it is very typical of Gryffindors to act rashly – to throw themselves into a plan without thinking of what will happen next.” 

I opened my mouth to retort to that broad generalization, but had to close it again. He was right. Uncle Harry could have been the poster boy for those accusations.  

“Yeah…so.”

Brilliant response Rosie.

Malfoy snorted. “So… you’re lucky you have me here to work out all the kinks.” 

“Then tell me, oh great one, what is your master plan?” I asked sarcastically, rolling my eyes and pretending to stare adoringly at him.

He rolled his eyes as well. “Don’t patronize me, Rose.”

I stifled a giggle. “Fine. What do you have in mind?” 

“Well you said you wanted to get back at your dad, yeah?” he paused and I nodded. “And I’m assuming that you had not planned on telling him that we’re dating yourself?”

“No, I was kind of counting on Hugo to do that.”  

“So you were just going to tell him then?” Scorpius smirked.

“I was hoping he would figure it out on his own,” I mumbled staring at the tiled floor. I hadn’t realized how rough around the edges my idea really was. Trust Malfoy to make me feel worse that I already did. 

Malfoy shook his head sadly. I felt like taking his head and banging it against the floor. But that would be breaking my no murder pact.

“We have to get going on this Rose if we want to make it believable. Plus,” he said nonchalantly and innocently, “if you’re going to bring me home to meet your family at Christmas they’re going to need to know about this soon.”

My mouth dropped open and I stared at Scorpius as if he had suddenly sprouted antlers. Take him home for Christmas? Was he suicidal?

“I never invited you for Christmas,” I said finally.

“No, you did not,” he replied smugly. “I invited myself.”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “That is not going to happen. It is nonnegotiable. You are not coming to my house for Christmas.”

“We’ll see Weasley. Let’s leave it as an open idea for now, hm?” By the tone of his voice I knew that he thought that he would be going anyway. Oh how sad he was going to be. 

“Okay,” I huffed, not wanting to get into another fight with him.

“Good,” he smiled triumphantly. “Now about our little problem this Saturday –are you sure you can’t get out of the detention?”

“Yes, I’m sure I can’t get out of it,” I growled. “What would you have me do; ask professor Vector if it’s okay that I skip detention with her so that I can go out with my pretend boyfriend to Hogsmeade so that my little brother can see us and tell my father? I’m sure she’d be really willing to let me go.”

“I’ll take that as a no,” he said simply.

 How could he remain so perfectly calm all the time? It was infuriating. I wanted to hex him into oblivion. Merlin, I was really murderous lately. Maybe I was turning into a sociopath. Note to self: get homicidal tendencies checked out by Madame Pomfrey as soon as possible.

Malfoy yawned and stretched. I watched as he stood up. I had never noticed how impossibly tall he really was. He had to be at least a head taller than me, if not close to two.

“I think we’re done here, Weasley, if you have nothing more to say,” he said.

“Nope, I think I’m good,” I replied.

“Good. Then I’ll see you on Sunday. We should meet here again. It’s pretty remote – a good place for talking things over. We’ll decide what to do then.”

“Okay,” I said, lying back down on my makeshift bed. I watched from under my eyelids as he sauntered towards the door. He had a nice bum. No, do not think that Rose!

“Oh,” he said, pausing with his hand on the door handle and turning towards me with an evil gleam in his grey eyes, “and if I come here tomorrow morning and see that you have spent another night here, I’m going to tell everyone where you’re hiding.”

He smiled once more at me and then left. I glared at the door for a minute and then grunted and sat up. With a careless wave of my wand my few belongings packed themselves up neatly into my school bag. I heaved the bag onto my shoulder and lumbered towards the door, cursing fluently under my breath. With one last longing glance at my sanctuary I pushed open the door and began my long walk back up to Gryffindor Tower.  

The second I stepped into the common room, I wished I’d stayed behind in my bathroom and let Malfoy find me in the morning. The flyers were everywhere – on the bulletin board, hung on the mantle, stuck to the backs of the couches, folded into neat little pamphlets on the tables, even hung over portraits and tapestries.

And they all bore the same stupid scarlet swirly writing that I knew was Al’s. Al is the only boy I know who writes more like a girl than any girl I’ve ever met. I turned my eyes down to the floor so that I wouldn’t have to look at them anymore, but it seemed as if my former teammates had decided to paper the floor as well. Or maybe the rest of my housemates had gotten made and started tearing them down. Whatever it was, it made me want to scream. Because those stupid letters were mocking me.

CHASER TRYOUTS NEXT SUNDAY! (Please contact James Potter for more details. Scratch that, contact Al.)

They were replacing me! Me! Their cousin/friend/teammate! How could they do that? Oh right, I quit.

With a quick glance around the common room to make sure no one was looking I jumped up and down on the flyers, stomping them into the carpet.

“I thought only toddlers and girls in Hufflepuff threw temper tantrums.”

I spun on the spot ready to proverbially bite off whoever stood behind me’s head but reigned in my temper when I saw Ian’s teasing smile. 

“Yeah, well everyone always tells me that I act like a toddler, so I figured why not try it out,” I replied. Ian chuckled lightly and I felt a grin play at the sides of my lips. That’s what I loved about Ian – he could always make me smile, no matter how awful of a mood I was in.

“So who are you guys replacing? Jason? I heard that he was failing Divination.”

I felt a hot blush rise in my cheeks. “No, not Jason.”

“Is it the Finnegan girl then? She always struck me as the type that flaked out on her team,” he growled angrily.

“Ah, no,” I replied nervously. “It’s not Kat either.”  

I watched and if it was even possible turned redder as his eyes grew wide. “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sorry Rosie,” he said quietly, clapping me on the shoulder. I leaned into him and he moved his hand to sit on my hip, pulling me to his side.

“It’s not your fault,” I said quietly, putting my head on his shoulder. “It’s mine really. I quit.”

“You quit?” he exclaimed.

“Yeah, I quit about a week ago.”

“Why?”

“Because my teammates were bloody wankers,” I muttered darkly.  

“All right then,” he said. I could almost hear the smile in his voice. I gazed up at him and was startled at first by how close we actually were. He had his arm tucked comfortably around my waist and I was leaning against his side, but for some reason we seemed a lot closer together than when Al or James would hug me like this.

I had never realized how broad Ian’s shoulders were or how his blonde hair was a mixture of white blonde, golden, and brown. He had a soft sprinkling of freckles across his nose and a strong jaw. Was it really true that such a good looking bloke asked me out? I sighed contentedly and then instantly regretted it. Ian didn’t seem to mind and pulled me tighter for a moment before releasing me completely.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, afraid that I had upset him with my obvious adoration.

“Nothing is wrong,” he said, “except for the fact that people are staring.”

I glanced around the common room and sure enough a few first and second years and some nosy fourth years that were scattered near the fireplace were all staring at me with a sense of awe and disgust. I growled angrily and told the little voice in my head that was telling me to hex them to shut its gob.

“Right,” I replied, feeling a hot blush creep up my neck. “That seems to be happening a lot lately.”

“You’re popular,” he said brightly. “There is nothing wrong with that. Anyway, I’ve got to go finish up some homework. I’ll see you tomorrow at around ten?”

“Tomorrow?” I asked, bewildered.

“You are still planning on coming to Hogsmeade with me tomorrow, aren’t you?” he asked, his normally cheerful face suddenly serious.

Tomorrow was Saturday. Really? Already? I made a mental calculation of the days in my head. Fuck. “Of course!” I replied. My heart pounded faster as I watched the smile return to his face.

“Good.” He leaned forward and kissed the top of my head lightly before sauntering up the stairs to the boys’ dorms.

I caught myself against the back of the squishy couch before my knees buckled. Was I really swooning? That sounds so pathetic. I heard a chuckle from behind me and glared at the first year girl who had just walked through the portrait hole. She cringed and ran over to the rest of her first year friends who were all glaring at me. I glared right back and flipped them the finger before marching up to my dormitory.

“Rose!” I heard someone cry when I closed the door behind me. I froze at the sound and took a deep breath, counting to ten in a futile attempt to calm myself.

“Hi Lucy,” I grimaced, turning around to see my cousin standing behind me, looking obliviously happy.

“How’ve you been?” she asked, coming over to me and giving me a hug. “I’ve been so worried about you! You haven’t been up here in over a week!”

Huh. I wonder why.  

I wiggled out of her grasp and threw my sack across the room and onto my still unmade bed. I looked at Lucy. She looked perfect as always. Even in her pajamas with her hair piled on top of her head and her ‘bedroom glasses’ perched on her nose she was still far prettier than I could ever hope to be. I glowered at her and she took a step back.

“Are you mad at me, Rose?” she asked, a hint of fake innocence mixed into her voice.

“No shit Sherlock,” I growled, walking over to my bed and pulling off my long school robes as I went.  

I could almost hear her mouth drop open in surprise.

“What did I do?” she asked, her voice still sickly sweet.

“Don’t play stupid with me Lucy!” I shouted, turning on the spot to glare at her. I saw her take a step back. “You know what you fricking did! I am so tired of you pretending like none of what happens around here is your fault! You want to know why I didn’t sleep in the dorm for over a week? Because I knew that if I came within three feet of you I would be too tempted to strangle you and to be honest I don’t really want to go to prison! So back the fuck off.”

When I got done yelling Lucy was almost in tears. I honestly didn’t care. I felt better than I had in days.

“Fine, Rose,” she snarled, her voice choking a little bit. “If that’s how you feel I will never talk to you again.”

“Praise Merlin! You just made my year!” I cried sarcastically, turning back around and grabbing a towel off the nightstand. I marched past my cousin who was standing rooted to her spot, probably too in shock to move. It might come as a surprise, but I don’t really shout all that much. I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door after me. The last thing I heard before I turned on the hot water in the shower was Lucy’s angry cry.

 

 


 

I woke up the next morning bright and early. It had not been an easy night by any means. Reagan came into the dorm at about eight, and the tension in the air between us was palpable. Neither one of us spoke, and I knew that she was still mad at me for quitting the team. Lucy also made a point of not-so-subtly staring over her book at me and sniffing with disdain at anything I did. I did nothing in retaliation though, and I relished in the fact that it seemed to drive her insane.

I stumbled into the bathroom and cringed at mess sitting atop my head. I spent a good hour brushing my hair out of its knots until it hung semi-straight down my back. Then it was time to attack my closet. I open the doors to my armoire and jumped out of the way as a mountain of clothing tumbled down.  

I stepped over them and ran a hand along the few pieces of clothes that were still hanging on their appropriate hangers. Why did not have any clothes suitable for dates? Oh yeah, because I never went on any. I pushed a few pairs of sweat pants out of the way and pulled a pair of tan corduroy pants down. They seemed alright. I gave them a quick sniff – definitely clean.

I laid the pants on my bed and turned back to my wardrobe. I shoved all of my sweatshirts and ratty t-shirts out of the way and examined the few presentable pieces I had left – the red sweater Grandma Weasley had made me for Christmas last year, my black shirt for spying, and a long sleeved green t-shirt. I grabbed the green shirt off its hanger and layered over my pants. It would have to do. Nothing else was presentable. 

I put on my new outfit and went over into the bathroom that was still free because of the early hour. I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t look so bad. My hair hung in long waves down my back and my shirt hugged my upper body tightly without making my chest look like the box that it really was. 

I was actually halfway pretty. I dabbed some powder over my face and applied some light brown eye shadow my eyelids, carefully steering clear of eyeliner or mascara. I had an incredible knack for almost blinding myself with those dastardly contraptions every time I used them.  

I stood back from the mirror and examined my face again. It would do. I quickly brushed my teeth and wiped the excess toothpaste from the corners of my mouth. I walked back into the dorm and checked the clock. It was only eight o’clock. I sighed. It was going to be a long morning. 

 

 


 

At nine forty-five I left the dormitory and walked down to the courtyard. There were a lot of single people milling about, obviously waiting for a date or for their friends like I was. I sat down on a bench by one of the walls to wait. My foot danced anxiously against the cobblestones and I clicked my tongue absently. I could feel my heart beating erratically in my chest.

I cast an anxious glance at the giant clock tower. Five to ten. What if he didn’t show up? What would happen if I was stuck waiting here all day? Dear Merlin, what happened if he did show up? Would he expect me to hold hands with him? What if my palms sweated? That would be so disgusting. He would be so grossed out by my moist hands that he’d tell me he was going to get more drinks or something and leave. Oh, this was a bad idea. This was a very bad idea. Would he expect me to kiss him now that I had a reputation? Damn, dang, damn. I had forgotten about that. And I had forgotten about Scorpius. Would he be going to Hogsmeade? He thought I had detention today. If he saw me with Ian – well, I didn’t want to think about the possibility.

“Hey Rosie,” Ian said, sitting down next to me on the bench. I jumped slightly at the sound of his voice but calmed down instantly.

“Hi Ian,” I said shyly. He looked amazing. His hair was somewhat manageable today and he wore a dark blue checkered shirt over a pair of jeans and trainers. He had the sleeves rolled up over his forearms and the top button unbuttoned, revealing a plain white undershirt.

“You look really nice,” he said. I blushed and smiled.  

“Thanks,” I replied. “You look nice too.”

He grinned and stood up, offering me a hand. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yup.” I took his hand and was pleasantly surprised when he instantly laced his fingers through mine. His hand was a lot bigger than mine and slightly calloused, but it felt very natural.

“So where do you want to go?” he asked brightly, our arms swinging slightly between us as we walked.

“Well, uh, I could do with some more Acid Pops,” I answered, my face turning red for some unknown reason. Maybe it was fact that I was out on my first date. He didn’t seem bothered by it, and I was glad, for I was fairly sure that I would be a delicate shade of magenta all day.

“I’m an Acid Pop addict!” he exclaimed, his grip on my hand tightening.

“Really?” I asked, looking up at him sheepishly.

“Yeah, every year for my birthday my Gran gets me a whole bucket of ‘em.”

“Wow! Lucky.”

Our conversation continued fluidly from then on as we went to Honeydukes and then over to Zonko’s to check out some new Fanged Frisbee’s.  Ian and I got along great. It was so easy being myself around him and we never ran out of things to talk about – whether it be Acid Pops, our favorite experiences with invisible ink, or even arguing about whether or not Professor Slughorn could balance a glass of water on his stomach while walking.

At about one we went into the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Ian, being the wonderful gentleman that he is, went to order us drinks and fish and chips. I stayed behind at the table, trying without success to wipe the smile from my face.

That was when I saw him. There, sitting at the small table by the window, holding hands with Anna Rosier was Scorpius Malfoy. My mouth dropped open in shock and I stared at him. He was here. And I was here. And neither of us was with the person we were supposed to be with. I guess he felt me staring at him because he turned in my direction and I instantly slid from in my seat to under the table. I heard thudded footsteps and whimpered slightly. I was so dead.

“Rose,” Ian asked, setting something down on the table and then crouching down next to the table to see me. “What are you doing?”

“Shh…” I hissed, grabbing his collar and pulling him under the table with me.

“What the hell is going on, Rose?” he asked, louder this time.

“Please,” I pleaded, trying not to cry as everything went to hell, “just be quiet. I’ll explain everything; please just keep your voice down.”

“Rose?” Another voice said. Shit.

“Rose?” A shrill voice shrieked.

I peeked my head out from under the table to see a livid looking Scorpius glaring down at me and Anna standing behind him, looking perplexed.

“Hi Scorpius,” I said brightly, standing up and dragging Ian up from under the table with me. “Lovely day for a trip to Hogsmeade, huh?”

He didn’t say anything. I could feel Ian’s and Anna’s eyes on me too but I tried to ignore it, hoping that if things got smoothed out quickly we wouldn’t cause a scene.

“Rose, what is going on? Why are you talking to Malfoy?”  Ian asked, grabbing my hand protectively. I almost cringed. I didn’t have to look, I could feel Scorpius’s eyes zero in on that gesture.

“She is talking to me, McLaggen,” Scorpius hissed, “because she is my girlfriend.”

I heard Anna let out a little shriek of surprise and I felt Ian go stiff next to me. I decided that it really was safer for me to look at the floor – that way I wouldn’t have to see either of their disappointed or hurt faces.

“Well, I don’t believe that Malfoy, because Rose is out on a date with me this weekend,” Ian spat, his hand gripping mine tighter instead of letting go like I had hoped he would. “And she told me she’s never had anything to do with you.”

“Have you not heard the rumors, then?” Scorpius asked, eyeing Ian up. “Because I’ll have you know that they’re all true.” 

“Rose is my girlfriend, Malfoy!” Ian yelled. I felt every eye in the room train on us and I glanced over nervously at the bar. Madame Rosemerta was eyeing us warily. I knew that at the first sign of trouble she would kick us out.

“Sorry to disappoint you, McLaggen, but Rose and I have been dating for nearly a month,” Scorpius said. He didn’t say this very loudly but I heard a murmur of surprised whisper sweep throughout the room. 

I felt Ian’s hand leave mine and I glanced up just in time to see Ian punch Malfoy clean across the face.  







 
A/N: Dun dun dun! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Sorry about the cliffie, but this chapter was getting really long, and I wanted to post something tonight. So how did you like it? I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. 

Right now I want to give a big shout out and thanks to Gryffy Girl917, who went back and reviewed all of the old chapters that had their reviews deleted. It meant so much to me! I don't know if I can thank you enough. Also, thank you to everyone else who reviewed the last chapter - and guess what? This story is staying. I'm not deleting it.  

Thanks so much for reading guys. Please keep up the great reviews! The next chapter should be up in about two weeks hopefully.  

P.S. I just got T.A. status. So chapters will be coming faster!

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