epic image by afterglow @ TDA!
The Potter Strikes Back
The next morning, I awoke sometime a little after dawn. The dorm was silent, so I assumed no one had gotten up yet. I performed the normal morning routine: brushed hair, brushed teeth, got robes on….blah, blah, blah. When I was halfway down the stairs, my ears noticed something odd. There were voices coming from the Common Room.
Being the insanely curious person I was, I had to walk into the Common Room to figure out what was going on.
“What in the sweet name of fuck is going on?!”
Well, you’d scream that out too if you found two of your friends snogging each other passionately on the floor… with a half-naked, male blond belly-dancer on the sofa.
“Oh, hey Rose,” Kai cheerily yelled, waving me over. The only thing he had on was a Hawaiian hula skirt.
“W-what is going on?” I stuttered. Zelda and Jag were the ones who were on the floor. I’m scared. Wait…. from a close-up angle, it doesn’t look like they’re snogging. It looks more like…”Are you tickling him?” I asked incredulously.
“Yep,” Zelda said grimly.
“Dude,” I said, making a face. “Get UP! It looks SO wrong!”
Zelda jumped off him.
“T-thanks, Rose,” Jag said, breathing rather heavily. He sat up in a dizzy sort of way, saw Kai, and then immediately fell down again.
“What happened?” Kai asked confusedly.
I exhaled heavily through my nose. “Can you two answer some questions? Why were you tickling Jag? And, why the HELL ARE YOU WEARING A HULA SKIRT?”
Kai shrugged. “They woke me up with their racket, so I was bored and wanted to provide some background entertainment.”
“Background entertainment,” I repeated.
Zelda pointed to a large mound of Hershey’s bars on the couch, next to where Kai was standing. “Kai caught Jag trying steal my chocolate and he yelled up the stairs to wake me up. I caught Jag red-handed in the Common Room, and then he and I decided that the person who could out-tickle the other would get the chocolate. I’d hidden my chocolate in Kai’s couch,” she added, to make more sense.
“In?” I asked, feeling sort of faint. “Kai’s couch?”
Zelda rolled her eyes. “Get you mind out of the gutter, Rose! I meant underneath the sofa cushions!”
“Cushions,” repeated Kai absentmindedly, staring off into the distance. “My sofa cushions. Really?”
“ARGH!” Zelda retreated a few feet.
“Why’s he lying like that?” Kai lowered his gaze to focus on Jag. “Does he want to get raped or something?”
“I think he blacked out,” I said, prodding Jag’s back with my toe. He was lying on his stomach, arms and legs spread out.
“Because of me?” asked Kai.
I cringed. “Kai, your hula outfit’s kind of…traumatizing.”
Suddenly, Jag groaned and half-dragged himself off the floor. “I think I hit my hea—AHHHH!”
“What’s your problem?” asked Kai, looking annoyed.
“That—thing!” Jag made mild motions toward Kai’s bare legs. “UGH! I need to manlify myself!”
“ROSE, ZELDA! THE VOICES SPOKE TO ME!” Xander ran into the Common Room. Her hair was tousled and she was still wearing her penguin pajamas. She stopped, stared wildly at Kai, screamed shrilly, and then fainted.
“Did I do that?” Kai asked pensively.
I slapped myself on the head.
The seconds ticked by…
I heard steps coming down the boys’ dorm stairs. To my intense relief, it was Al (and not some unsuspecting first-year). He looked from Kai, to Zelda (who was now wrestling with Jag and trying to keep him off her chocolate), to Xander, lying prone on the floor, and then finally to me.
“Do I want to know?” he asked calmly.
I groaned. “Al, round up this nuthouse!”
He seemed to grasp the situation immediately. I love that about my cousin. “Kai,” he closed his eyes and seemed to steel himself. “Come upstairs with me.”
“WHAT?” Zelda, Jag, and I said at the same time. Kai yelped in delight, jumped off the sofa, and then sped up the boys’ dorm stairs.
Al turned to follow the blond. “You guys pick yourselves up, and get Xander off the floor. Meanwhile, I’ll get some decent clothes on this idiot.”
“Al’s a life-saver,” Zelda muttered, as she knelt to check up on Xander.
“How’s Xander?” I asked.
“She’s…” Zelda slapped the carrot-top across the cheek.
“OW!” Xander yelped, sitting up. “That hurt, Zelda!”
“You passed out,” I explained. “And only Muggles use smelling salts.”
“Why am I in my pajamas?” she asked.
Zelda sighed. “Go get dressed.”
Twenty solid minutes later…
“We are going to have a sane breakfast,” I firmly told my friends once we were in the Great Hall for breakfast. “Key word being sane. You fucking understand me? Sa--"
“PIE!” yelled Al and Jag together in perfect synchronization. They shot off to claim the apple and raspberry pie sitting proudly untouched at the Gryffindor table.
“Forget it,” I muttered.
“Hey, Rose,” Liam’s voice said from behind us. “I heard noise this morning in the Common Room. Did something happen?”
My heart stopped. Where did he come from? “N-no,” I said, inwardly cursing. “You know, we just did our normal morning routine, you know—”
“Nothing happened,” Zelda said smoothly, dragging me toward the table by my elbow. “Come along, Rose.”
“Zelda!” I hissed, once we were out of earshot.
“What? Try to keep down that blush, will you?”
“Oh, shut up!”
“Eggs?” She put an omelet on my plate.
“Take some bacon too,” said a silky voice. “Pig’s good for the soul.”
I sighed. “Lysander, what are you doing here?”
“I am, too,” said Lorcan reproachfully from beside his twin brother. “We want to see if we have any classes with you guys.”
I peered at the head of the table. It seemed Professor Longbottom was passing out our schedules right at that moment. “Wait a second. The schedules are coming down."
“I’ll have some pie,” Lysander announced. “Al, pass the pie.”
At those words, Al took the pie and smashed it into Lysander’s face.
“AL POTTER!” Uncle Nevvie yelled. “No starting food fights, young man!”
Xander passed over the schedules with a happy face. “We’ve got Defense first—two periods!”
I grinned. “Hell yeah! We’ll see Teddy!”
Lysander wiped off the cream from his eyes and stuck it in his mouth. “Good,” he commented, looking over my shoulder.
“What? The whipped cream or our schedules?”
“Mmmm,” Lorcan said, licking some cream off of Lysander’s face. “Delicious.”
I stood up and pointed at the Ravenclaw table. “GO OVER THERE AND DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!”
The twins gave us identical, girly waves and floated off to the Ravencalw table. “See you, ladies!”
“Lord,” I muttered.
“TEDDYYYY!” I sang, running into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and making a direct beeline for the turquoise hair.
“Mornin’ to you too,” Teddy Lupin said back, grinning from behind the teacher’s desk. He stood up and took off his rectangular, orange-tinted reading glasses. Teddy still looked drop-dead gorgeous with them on. “How’s your day going so far?”
“Weird. Something’s been bothering me, Teddy… Is Malfoy in this class? He didn’t get a T in his OWLS?”
“No, he did not, Rose,” Teddy snorted. “I could fail him for an early Christmas present if you want.”
“Really?” I asked hopefully, hands clasped together.
“No,” said Teddy. He slewed his pale blue eyes toward the door. “Malfoy spotted,” he muttered. “Go sit down.”
I turned around and took my assigned seat next to Al. Malfoy, unfortunately, had his seat right behind mine. I could feel his pale eyes boring holes into my head. This isn’t good. With nothing else to do, I glared at Teddy. Teddy caught my eye and gave me a smile and a thumbs-up.
I hate you, I mouthed. He fixed our assigned seats
I’ll fail both of you, he mouthed back.
I grumbled and laid my head on the desk.
Professor Lupin clapped his hands together and grinned at the students assembled. “S’up, mates?”
And so, class began.
DADA went pretty well, considering the facts that we had a gangster professor with color-changing hair and that Malfoy had to sit seat behind me. We got to go back to the Gryffindor Common Room for a break period, but we had nothing to do since Teddy’s awesome as usual and he didn’t give us any homework. We just sat around lazily and watched Jag show Al some new fencing tips. Jag had his own sword, too. A real one, which would be fatal if he, you know, happened to impale my cousin with it.
Getting bored with staying indoors, the girls and I decided to lounge on the lawn. It was a nice autumn afternoon, the sun was shining outside, and… “Great, I see Malfoy,” I said, feeling my good mood shrivel up. He was lying on the grass by the beech tree with his goonies sitting on either side. As I watched, he rolled over on his stomach, propped himself up on an elbow, and then proceeded lazily to open a book.
“He reads in his free time?” I asked in amazement. I thought I did that.
“Nerd,” said Zelda. “Wanna toss him into the Lake?”
There really wasn’t anything else to do, so drowning Malfoy seemed like a pretty good idea. “Let’s do it,” I said, standing up. The wind suddenly picked up and blew my long, red hair all over my face. I brushed it out of my eyes. “What’s the plan?”
“We got no plan,” Zelda said, shrugging. Her short, black hair had gotten tangled too. “I’ll distract his goonies, and you push him into the Lake.”
“What about me?” Xander whined.
I shrugged. “You be the nun and say his last rites.”
Well, needless to say, our method of passing the time didn’t go too well. Zelda gave Gamp a concussion on the head and then Stupefied Avery in less than a minute. Meanwhile, I knelt in front of Malfoy’s head and pulled the book out from under his nose. I half-glanced at the cover—
“Give it back!” Malfoy growled, snatching the novel back. He hastily flattened his bangs over his eyes and stuffed the book into his school bag.
“Gone With the Wind?” I said incredulously. “GONE WITH THE WIND? What in fucking hell?”
I half- grabbed the schoolbag and tried to open it, but Malfoy wouldn’t let go. We played tug-of-war for a few seconds, and then I surprised him by abruptly twisting around and elbowing him in the chest. With a very manly “OOF!” he fell on his back, and I pulled out the book and stared at in…horror? Surprise? Astonishment? Incredulity? What the fuck?
“Rose Weasley,” Malfoy growled, setting himself up in a stance that a sprinter would right before a race.
Crap. I better run.
I zoomed off on winged feet, leading Malfoy on a merry chase across the Hogwarts lawn. But pretty soon I got seriously knackered. I was made for Quidditch, not long-distance! And it seemed like Malfoy had tireless energy, especially now since his secret girly pride’s going to be revealed to the whole of Hogwarts.
“Rose!” Xander screamed, motioning toward her. “THIS WAY!”
With the last amount of my strength, I ran toward her and collapsed a foot away from the water’s edge. Malfoy pounced on me, and tried to wrestle the book out of my hands. Thinking quickly, I ducked underneath his arm, tossed the novel to Xander, and then tackled Malfoy into the water.
I had taken a breath before submerging myself, but Malfoy was completely unprepared. He spluttered and choked and coughed up the water in his lungs. Treading water, I grabbed his arm and punched a spot right below his ribs. “There, don’t die on me, Malfoy. That’ll mean a lot of paperwork and I might get sent to Azkaban.”
“You’re so—” Malfoy started, but he never got to finish his sentence since something came out of the, caught us both between the legs, and lifted us clear out of the water. The thing was purple, and slimy.
"FUUUUUUU--” I screamed. Ooohs and Ahhs went up from the crowd watching on the grounds. The tentacle rose twenty feet up into the air and rocked forward, so was I thrown against Malfoy’s back. The tentacle reared back, and so did we. I closed my eyes to prevent from looking down.
“Here we go!” Malfoy said in a tone that clearly implied that he was enjoying himself.
The Squid snapped its tentacle forward, and we went flying through the air. I had my eyes squeezed tight, but that didn’t stop me from screaming.
Tch. How embarrassing.
We landed heavily on the ground, but Malfoy broke my fall since he was under me. I was soaking wet, and my mind was spinning so much that even trying to focus my eyes hurt like hell. “Ugh, get up, Rose, get up!” I muttered to myself, swaying this way and that like a drunk. Holding my head, I made myself sit up. Oh, oops, I was sitting on Malfoy. Oh well. He looked unconscious anyway.
“Rosie!” Zelda ran over to me, abandoning the duel she was having with Caprice. She shook my shoulders. “Are you okay? Speak to me!”
“I’m okay.” I shook my addled head to get all the water out. “Where’d Xander go?”
“Ran inside,” Zelda said, shrugging. “I don’t know why.”
“Smart girl,” I said. She’d taken the blackmailing evidence to safety. “Zelda, go check on her.”
“Got it.” She ran off toward the castle.
“Get your butt off me, Weasley,” Malfoy growled.
I remembered I was sitting on his back. “Eurgh!” I jumped onto the grass, but then Malfoy grabbed my arm and yanked me toward him. His gray eyes were flashing. “Don’t tell anybody, Weasley! DO YOU HEAR ME?”
I smirked. "What? That you read Gone With the Wind? A book full of hot, steamy roma--"
Uncle Nevvie was striding across the Hogwarts grounds toward us, shooing off onlookers with a wave of his hand. “What was that?” he demanded, walking up to us with his arms crossed. “One moment I look outside my window, everything’s swell, then the next moment, the Giant Squid’s going berserk and you two are flying through the air!”
“She stole something of mine, Professor,” Malfoy said grumpily. “I tried to get it back and she pushed me into the water.”
“Rose? Is this true?”
“He was reading Gone With the Wind!” I protested. “Can you believe it, Professor Nevvie?”
Malfoy flushed a curious shade of light pink and stared at the ground, his hands balled into fists.
Uncle Nevvie’s eyebrows rose high into his hair. “I can’t see why he can’t read it, Rose. Actually I think it’s quite a fine choice of novel, Scorpius.”
“It’s a girl book!” I said.
“Who says?” Malfoy snapped irritably.
I stared at him incredulously. “It’s a 1800s romance novel about a girl who dates five blokes at once—or something of that sort! Even I haven’t read it!”
Malfoy mumbled something.
“Rose,” Neville sighed, “please…”
“Can I go change?” I asked, wringing out my wet robes. “We’ve got Herbology next, and you know you don’t want your fave student to be late.”
Neville rolled his eyes. “Go ahead, and make sure you don’t do anything that I’ll have to report to the Headmistress.”
“Okay!” I called, already halfway to the castle entrance. Malfoy ran after me.
“Weasley, seriously, I mean it!” he yelled to me.
“Mean what?” I said, stalling for the moment I could make a dash to the Gryffindor Tower.
He followed me up the Marble Staircase. “Give me the book back! It belongs to my mum,” he added in a quieter voice.
I sneered. This was it! Payback! “Well, then, I’m really feeling sorry for your mummy!” Ignoring his angry look, I made a beeline toward the Fat Lady, said the password, and rocketed through the portrait hole to safety.
“Rose!” It was Zelda’s voice. “Over here!”
I ran over to where she, Xander, Al, and Jag were huddled around a table. On the table was the book.
“I don’t get it,” Jag was saying. “It’s just a book.”
“It’s a book about Muggle romance!” said Al. “Can you imagine Malfoy reading something like this?”
“He said it was his mum’s,” I said, taking the book into my hands. “Boys, you go off to Herbology; Xander, Zelda, come with me.” I ran up the stairs to our dorm and after throwing the book onto my bed, I dug around in my trunk for a fresh set of robes.
“What’re you going to do with it?” asked Xander.
I tugged my soaked robes off my head. “I don’t know.” I slipped on the new ones. “I guess I’ll have to keep it since I’m definitely not giving it back. He’s going to try to move heaven and hell to get it back, so be ready.”
“Hey, Rose, check this out,” Zelda said. She was sitting on my bed with the book open on her lap. I leaned forward to see what she was pointing to. It was someone’s handwriting on the cover page, right underneath the fancy title of the book: PROPERTY OF ASTORIA GREENGRASS (If found, please return to 4121 Westminster, the Malfoy Residence! Thank you!)
“So, it is his mum’s,” I slammed the book shut, now starting to feel guilty. “Maybe I should return it.”
“To his mum!” I said loudly. “I don’t want to steal off of her!”
“Whatever, guys, come on,” Zelda said, “We’ll be late for Herbology.”
After a few seconds of thought, I locked the book in my trunk (and grabbed a brush to straighten my hair) before leaving the dorm with my mates.
After Herbology , we headed for the last two periods of the day: Transfiguration. Last year, our old professor, Professor Dickey, retired. I think he finally had it with us kids making fun of his name. Anyway, the new professor was a woman, and she looked like a ghoul wearing makeup. Seriously, she wore titanium white powder on her face and her anthill-shaped hair was dyed bright CARMINE red! We spent the period debating what sort of half-breed she was and so consequently didn’t listen to anything she was saying about human transfiguration. Xander, Al and I were the only ones with homework.
It was after dinner and we were in the Common Room. I was curled up on a sofa, Gone With the Wind in my hands. Don’t misunderstand me, I wasn’t the slightest bloody interested in the cruddy book. I flipped to a random page. “Hey, listen to this,” I announced in disgust. “The paragraph goes: She recalled the hot night in Atlanta, close to the end of the siege, when he sat on Aunt Pitty's porch half hidden in the summer darkness, and she felt again the heat of his hand upon her arm as he said: "I want you more than I have ever wanted any woman -- and I've waited longer for you than I've ever waited for any woman." Who reads that?”
“You just did,” Zelda pointed out.
“Sounds like you’re rather interested,” added Xander, flashing me a sly grin.
“GUUUYS!” I moaned. “This is HUGE news! Malfoy’s a closet romantic! We gotta spread this all over the school!”
“You do that,” Zelda yawned. “I’m sleepy. Why are we staying up so late?”
“We’re waiting for the boys,” Xander reminded her. “They’re serving detention with McGog.”
I stared at them. Why weren’t they showing any interest in this stunning piece of news? “Mates,” I tried again. “If he’s reading this rubbish, then he’s probably GAY!”
Zelda perked up immediately. “With Jag?”
Xander glared at her. “Seriously, girl, what is it with you and making Jag—”
“I don’t care who Malfoy’s gay with!” I interrupted. “All I care is that we have ONE HELLUVA PIECE OF BLACKMAILING EQUIPMENT!!”
“Shut up!” yelled Kai from across the Common Room. He was sleeping on the couch again.
“You go to sleep!” I barked back.
The portrait hole opened with a squeak, and the two boys stumbled into the Common Room. To tell the truth, the looked like zombies. Al’s hair was plastered to his head with some sort of gross-looking yellow fluid and he had red welts across this hands. Jag looked the same, if not worse. They limped toward us. Murder glinted clearly in their eyes.
I backed away.
“Urgh! You lot stink!” Kai’s voice called from far away.
“Shut up!” Jag snapped.
“Er…what happened?” I asked cautiously.
“YOU,” Al yelled, pointing a finger in my face, “ARE—”
“Dead?” I offered.
“—ARE GOING TO PAY!”
“By what means?” I asked. “I’m positive Jag’s thinking ‘Body, body, body—’”
“SHUT UP!” Jag roared. Lord, he was furious, which was rather uncharacteristic of happy-go-luck Mr. Jagneaux. “You know what we had to do? The hag handed us over to Filch! And HE MADE US CLEAN EVERY CHAMBER POT IN THIS SCHOOL!”
“Ouch,” Zelda winced. “No wonder you smell like dung.”
“Al!” Xander’s eyes grew wide. “That yellow gunk in you hair! Is that—EWWWWWW!!!” She ran up the girls’ stairs, screaming.
Zelda and I backed away some more.
“And we gotta clean the chamber pots from now till Christmas,” growled Al. “Can you imagine how lovely I’m feeling right now, dear cousin?”
“I’ll lend you my strawberry-scented shampoo,” I said in reply.
Al’s nerve cracked. “You know what? I SWEAR ON THE SIX HOURS I CLEANED CRAP WITH MY BARE HANDS, I SWEAR ON MY TURD-COVERED ROBES, ANDI SWEAR ON THE PISS IN MY HAIR THAT I WILL GET REVENGE ON YOU, ROSE WEASLEY!”
Faced with a comment like that, I doubt anybody could think of a comeback.
I hardly got any sleep that night, and as a result, I went around like a walking zombie the next day. The boys were determinedly not talking to us or looking at us or giving any indication that we existed. Instead, they hung out with Liam and his odd pals (including a perpetually drunk Irish and a nerdy bloke named Chatty who I didn’t know too well). The girls weren’t happy with the turn all this had taken, and now Xander was urging me to go and beg Al’s forgiveness. Wednesday morning, I swallowed my unfortunately enormous pride and I went and did.
It was Defense that morning, like usual. At the end of class, Teddy, being the awesome bloke that he was, gave the Gryffindors free chat time. I walked up to Al’s table, feeling rather nervous.
He gave a loud, fake laugh and continued talking with Jag, completely ignoring me.
“Hey, mate, Rose wants you,” Liam pointed out helpfully.
“Does she?” Al said. He still didn't look at me.
“ALBUS SEVERUS POTTER! If you don’t turn your chair around this instant, I’ll distribute those pictures of you and Jag smoking cigars in Jacuzzi full of blueberry jam!”
Al hesitated and then he spun around in his chair. “What is it?”
I gulped. Funny how all my renowned Gryffie courage goes down the drain when faced by my angry cousin. “Al, Jag, mates…you won’t believe how sorry I am. I didn’t mean you guys to get such a horrible punishment. I thought that the hag was going to give us girls detentions, too!”
“I cleaned chamber pots last night, again.” Judging by his dark expression, Jag wasn’t going to forgive me any time soon.
I didn’t meet his eyes. “Er…I'm sorry.”
“We’ll forgive you,” Al said, his eyes glinting in a sinister way. “If you play a really big prank and you get caught for it.”
I stared at him. “Purposely get caught?”
My dear cousin nodded. Jag, however, yelped, “Wait a sec! I thought we were going to make her give us cold, hard gold!”
“Too bad,” Al said, clapping him on the shoulder. “This’ll be much more amusing.”
“But I’m bloody BANKRUPT!”
“Too bad,” I repeated, feeling relieved that I wouldn’t have to pay with my allowance. “So, Al, what kind of horrid thing do I have to do?”
Liam coughed. “I think I’m not supposed to be hearing this.” At that split second, the bell rang.
Al grinned. “That’s right. Now, Rosie, let’s run along to Potions, shall we?”
I went back to my table, gathered up my Defense books and stuff, and hastily filled the girls in on Al’s proposal.
“You’ll get kicked out of Hogwarts for sure,” Zelda murmured.
I looked ahead grimly. “I’m praying that the hag’ll in a good mood.”
Someone coughed behind us. “Rose,” said Teddy’s voice sternly. “What am I hearing?”
“Nothing,” I said quickly. “Al’s just got some bees in his trousers.”
Teddy sighed. His hair went a resolute shade of dark blue. “Be careful. If I put in any more good words about you, McGonagall will get suspicious. Do you understand?”
“Plus,” Teddy went on as he waved us out of his classroom. “I heard Albus muttering something about a paintball gun. Ta!”
I swore vividly and made a hand gesture.
“What’s a paintball gun?” Zelda asked blankly.
Potions class was brutal, as always.
“Today!” Hollingberry announced. With one hand he twirled his black, curly gaucho mustache, and with the other he held a piece of paper. He looked at a paper like he was trying to remind himself what to say. “Er…today, we are going to brew a…er...very... difficult potion!”
The class groaned loudly. Anytime ole’ Holly B says that, you can might as well go chop your head off with a butter knife. It’ll be less painful than what we’re going to do in class.
Holly B surveyed us brightly. And evilly, if I might add. “Does anybody know what this difficult potion is?”
Malfoy shot his hand high up. “A potion to kill small animals, sir?”
Holly B chuckled and twirled that god-awful, black mouche of his. “No, Scorpius, my lad. This potion can do much worse.”
Oh, and need I mention that Holly B’s favorite pupil is Scorpius Malfoy? I’m sure you guessed already. I’m waiting for them to announce their marriage engagement.
“This potion…It can destroy everything in its path! It is called”—he double-checked the paper—“AMORTENTIA!”
“Hell no!” I yelled and banged my head on the table.
Holly B turned his disgusting mug toward me. His mustache twitched. I’m not kidding. It twitched on its own!
“Do you have something to say, Weasley?”
“Is your mustache alive?” I asked. The whole class exploded in laughter.
Holly B’s face went an unappetizing shade of puce, and he bellowed, “20 points from Gryffindor!”
“Oh, golly gee, like I wasn’t expecting that,” I said under my breath and looked away. “Just make an appointment with the barber already, or I’ll do the liberty for you.”
“Well, what are you sloppy, little brain-dead students laughing at?” Holly B roared at the class. “Get your equipment out!”
I had vowed a long time ago, back in First Year, that I would shave Hollingberry’s mustache off. I haven’t done it yet, I’m such a coward. I mean, I wasn’t an amateur went it came to sneaking around the teachers’ quarters after dark. I was just goddamn terrified of the magical protection he put on his mustache. “What kind of spells do you think he has on those whiskers?”
“Some sort of self-exploding curse,” Zelda said dispassionately. “Mustache dies, he dies.”
“I've heard it shoots laser beams," Xander shuddered.
With those words floating around in my mind, I set to work trying to create the infamous Amortentia. We had the potion ingredients, instructions and everything in our textbooks, but typically, after thirty minutes of hard labor, the stuff in my cauldron comes out looking like liquefied dragon dung.
Xander coughed over the black fumes coming from my caulron. “What is that?”
“I don’t want to find out.” Xander’s cauldron didn’t look too good either. “It’s okay, mate, we were bound to fail this one.”
We looked around to Zelda, who wasn’t participating in our conversation.
“And of course, Zelda’s potion comes out perfectly,” sighed Xander. Irritably, she sprinkled yellow sulfuric powder over the bubbly, purple fluid in her cauldron, and a mushroom-cloud of poisonous green smoke blew up in her face.
“Voss, that’s a zero!” thundered Holly B. Then, he took one look at my toxic sludge, and pulled his head back in disgust. “You, Weasley, what did you do?”
“It’s radioactive,” I said sweetly. “Would you like to taste it, sir?”
“ZERO!” With an approving sniff toward the white solution in Zelda’s cauldron, he stalked off toward the Slytherin table.
“Only you can make a love potion toxic, Rose,” said Zelda, grinning.
“Teach us, Zelda,” Xander pleaded. “Please! Or we’re gonna fail!”
“Forget it. Your potions are damn hopeless. Rose, clean out that gunk. It’s making me want to throw.”
Grumbling, I did what she said. The toxic fumes were making me lightheaded, anyway. Once the potion was gone, the air started to smell weird…I took a deep breath. “Mates, do you smell that?”
Zelda smiled slightly. “For me it smells like my Beater's gloves, chocolate…and something spicy.”
“Spicy?” My mind wandered. Probably Jag’s aftershave or something…
"What about you, Rosie?"
"Hmm?" I hadn't really thought about it. The air smelled like a lot of things. "Oh, let me see. I can make out...Um, the Quidditch pitch, roses, my dad's old shirt..." And there was a scent I could describe. "Something really, really nice..."
"Yeah," I said, grinning. "Nice. Something minty nice. And it doesn’t seem like anybody’s aftershave, so stop SMIRKING!! "
"Suuure. Xander, and you?"
“I smell my mum’s store, fresh, newly-bought clothes, Kai’s facial lotion…”
“Kai’s lotion?!” Zelda and I said at the same time in surprise.
Xander looked away. “Don't look at me like that!"
Zelda and I exchanged an alarmed look. The same thing was going through our minds: Doesn’t Xander know…?
“Did I hear my name?” Kai’s voice came from the table beside us. Today his hair was brushed to the left. He looked us over with one blue eye. “What about me?”
“Xander was just wondering what type of lotion you use,” Zelda said in a rather stony voice.
“Er….? Oh, you know the brand Astriel? I use the Multifaceted Resurfacing Dynamic type with cucumber and aloe-vera. You can get it in any body shop in Hogsmeade.”
Xander was hastily scribbling the name down piece of parchment. She smiled at him. “Thanks!”
Kai winked. “No prob! By the way, I’m sorry about that argument we had over designer sunglasses. Chanel does beat all.”
Xander beamed. After he moved away, I said to her, “You have got to be kidding me! Kai Evergreen, out of all people?!”
“He’s so sweet, isn’t he?”
I exchanged a look with Zelda.
“Yes, I admit, Kai is nice,” Zelda said carefully. “But he’s nice to the point that he’s obviously gay—”
“I thought you liked Al!” I said, talking over Zelda.
“No, I don't like Al. How could I? He's like a—well, hot—brother….with abs…” Xander mumbled, and then she crossed her arms defiantly. “What do you guys have against Kai?”
“Nothing,” I said exasperatedly. Why was Xander so dim?
“I guess it can’t be helped.” Zelda said to me after class. “Kai’s probably the only other person in the world who obsesses over those designer brands like Xander. And he’s such an idiot that he won’t even notice that Xander likes him! By the way, why didn’t you let me tell her?”
“It would be… disrespectful?” I shrugged. “Kai’s so sweet and so nice, I feel like I’m betraying him.”
“Hmph. Well, it’s the truth. Word will get out, sooner or later.”
At lunch, the moment I sat down at the table, Jag and Al appeared on either side of me.
“Lunch going well?” they said together.
“I see you’re talking to me now,” I said stiffly.
“What kind of prank does she have to play?” Zelda said, menacingly pointing a sharp cake knife in their faces.
Jag coughed. “Al and I decided that Rose has to do two pranks. Not just one.”
“And I have to get caught for both?” I was horrified. “Are you MENTAL?”
“You have to get caught for the second one. That’s the bigger one. You can get caught for the first one too, if you really want to be in our good books.”
“No thanks,” I shuddered. Then I remembered Teddy’s words. “By any chance, does one of the two pranks involve a paintball gun?”
Al grinned in the manner of the Cheshire Cat. “Oh… yes.”
Then he proceeded to explain, in a very cheerful way, what exactly I had to do to get back their favor.
My mind was spinning. Zelda helped me get up to the Gryffindor Tower for the break period we had after lunch. We found Xander lying on one of the couches.
“Why weren’t you at lunch?” Zelda asked in an annoyed tone. “You missed everything!”
I plopped down sideways on a sofa, highly reminiscent of a dead fish.
“When’s our next Hogsmeade weekend?” Xander asked enthusiastically. “Rose? You’re a Prefect, you should know!”
“We haven’t decided yet,” I moaned. “It’s only the third day of school.” Really? Was it only the third day?
“Don’t tell me,” Zelda groaned. “You want to buy that lotion rubbish?”
“It’s not rubbish! Kai gave me a list of other stuff he uses! It’s not rubbish at all, right Rosie?”
“Leave me alone, dammit!” I moaned. “I feel sick!”
“What happened to her?” Xander asked Zelda curiously. “Turning into a vegetable’s starting to become a fad, isn’t it?”
“Since you missed lunch, you missed Al and Jag’s brilliant idea of Rose’s redemption,” Zelda said in a scathing voice. “You won’t believe what they’re making her do tonight!”
“What? Whoa, seriously, tell me!”
I groaned and went upstairs. Maybe trying to start Holly B’s impossibly hard essay on love potions would take my mind off things.
The essay was impossible. All I had on the parchment was my name, and the words Love Potions are tricky to make because…
“I REALLY DON’T CARE!”
I threw the parchment down in anger.
“BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS!”
I threw myself flat on my bed. I smashed my face into my zebra-striped pillow. I swear, if Holly B fails me, I’ll cut his moustache off the very next day!
Seriously, my life was at an all-time low. Seriously.
I could get expelled TONIGHT! ARGH!
Not doing Al’s prank wasn’t an option. I owed him one. Plus I was a Gryffindor. This meant I had to play any prank that was set upon me. It was in my blood. But was all this worth getting expelled?
I didn’t know.
Almost in a dreamlike way, I reached inside my trunk to find my scrapbook. When I didn’t like living in the present, why not go revisit the past? Instead, my hand found Gone With the Wind. With a scowl, I tossed the bleedin' book onto the bed, and dug around some more. Aha! Scrapbook!
Contently, I flipped through it. I didn’t have a chance to put in the newest pictures of course. McGonagall had my camera and…SHE HADN’T GIVEN IT BACK YET! I sat up straight in alarm, this thought immediately coming to me. The hag still had my camera! And that camera was one of my prized possessions!
I tossed the scrapbook away and beat my fists on the bedcover. My stupid, stupid, stupid life had the guts to get stupider. I caught the sight of Gone With the Wind from the corner of my eye, and automatically reached toward it. After a bit of hesitation, I opened to the first page.
No book can make me feel worse than I already am. And so, I began to read.
Zelda ran into the dorm.
I hastily stuffed the book under my pillow. But hardly anything escaped Zelda's eyes.
"What's that?" she asked sharply.
"Nothing," I muttered. "What d'you want?"
"We're going to be late for Transfiguration!"
"You guys were waiting for me?" Anything could make me feel happy right now.
Zelda gave me a wry grin. "Xander and I can't just face Ravendale's wrath alone, can we?"
"She's a horror, she is," I agreed, joining her down the stairs.
"Hmm." Zelda looked suspiciously at my pillow for a moment before leaving the dorm.
Damn. I have to distract her. "Have you noticed how all our professors are biased in some way?" I asked her loudly. We walked into the Common Room.
Xander joined us. "Biasness in teachers? Ha! Teddy's the most biased of them all! Thank Merlin’s he's a Gryffie."
"Exactly." I said. "But the Slytherins have Holly B, the meanest, ugliest wart around. He's head over heels for Malfoy, I swear."
"And me," said Zelda sourly.
I looked at her. "Oh, yeah! Holly B. loves you too, doesn't he? His little Potions Queen! I happen to remember him languishing on and on about how you weren't in Slytherin."
Zelda grimaced. "When you shave his moustache off, Rose, owl me. I will laugh in his hideous, beastly, little face!"
"Ravendale's worse, you know," Xander said thoughtfully. We were nearing the Transfiguration classroom.
"Keep your voice down," I warned. "And yeah, the Crow seems pretty bad; I’m actually starting appreciate old Dickey. At least he didn’t start to puke when I told him I was another Weasley."
"Well, I puked when I saw her hair." Zelda declared. "Seriously, it looks like someone painted an anthill with blood."
"We go for NATURAL redheads!" Xander grinned and nudged my side. "Right, Rosie, right?"
"Miss Weasley?" an elderly voice said.
I looked behind me. Oh, the hag. "Hello, Headmistress."
McGog looked apologetic, a rare expression that didn't suit her at all. "I'm sorry, Miss Weasley, but I'm afraid I have lost custody of your camera."
My eyes widened. I could have screamed something like WHAT THE HELL D'YOU MEAN YOU LOST MY CAMERA, YOU HAG!!! But my mouth said, "Eh?"
"Peeves," said McGog crossly.
My heart jumped into my throat. "W-what about Peeves, Professor?"
She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew. She knew...How did the hag know? Sheesh!
"Peeves had broken into my office. I'm sorry, but he has taken your camera, among other instruments of high value."
She doesn't know. I'm saved. I forced myself to smile. "Don't worry, Headmistress. I'll get it back somehow."
McGonagall looked surprised. "Alright, then. Good day, girls." She walked away.
My heart was still pounding. I exhale heavily. “Had me going there, McGog did.”
We entered the Tansfiguration classroom, and the first thing I noticed was that the students were all lined up in a straight line at the front of the classroom. Ravendale was standing in front of them, ticking off something on a piece of paper.
Recklessly, I went and said (even though it was totally obvious), "Professor, do we line up, too?"
"What does it seem like?" the Crow snapped irately.
I raised my eyebrows in surprise.
Zelda gave me a sympathetic pat on the back, and steered me toward the end of the line. I was frothing a little at the mouth by this point. Ravendale had looked at me like I was something dead and rotten stuck to her pointy shoe.
As it turned out, the Crow was giving as assigned seats. By last name. Whew. At least it was a relief that I didn't have to sit anywhere near Malfoy (like Teddy had thought was SO funny). When the professors made us sit by alphabetical order, I usually ended up in the same grouping as Xander, Lorcan, and Lysander.
Now, the Crow was gesticulating wildly at the middle row. "There! Scorpius Malfoy, you will sit there! And next to you, on that side, Rose Measley!"
"Huh?" Malfoy and I said in complete unison.
"Measley?! My name's Weasley!"
Ravendale looked down unconvincingly at the piece of paper. "It says Measley on here! Go sit next to Malfoy and shut your mouth!"
I didn't move. Ravendale was doing this on purpose! She KNEW my last name was Weasley! I mean, who hasn't heard of Rose Weasley? I'm sorry, that sounded vain. But it was seriously annoying, you know, having everyone know who you are, but I've lived with it. And, now, this woman's frankly trying to make my last name into 'Measley'?
"Measley! Move it, or I'll give you a detention!"
I would've stood in the line for eternity, but Zelda pushed my back. Grumbling, I walked over to the bench next to Malfoy and threw my bag down in fury.
Malfoy, as usual, was smirking. "C’mon, Measley, you should be happy. Turn that frown upside down!"
"YOU SHUT UP!"
"Measley! Detention tonight!"
I plopped down on the bench and buried my head in arms.
"She's the most malicious, wicked, poisonous, nasty, mean, spiteful, vicious, malevolent, BITCHY PROFESSOR ON EARTH!"
"Agreed," said Zelda, turning the page of a Potions book. "Now, stop yelling in my ear."
"Why does she hate you, Rose?" Al asked. "Did you slip dragon dung into her in-tray or something?"
"No," I said truthfully. "Not to her. She's a new teacher, so I thought I'd give her a chance."
"She hates me too," added Xander mournfully. "And I didn't do nuffin!"
Jag, on the other hand, looked thoughtful. "You know...I have a theory."
"Really?" said Al. Looking unconvinced, my cousin slewed his green eyes over to him. "Does it actually explain anything?"
"Other than why cheese is yellow and chocolate is brown?" added Zelda in a disgusted voice.
Oh, yeah, Jag's theory about why cheese is yellow and chocolate is brown...remind me to tell it to you someday when you're not having tea. (It has to do with excrement and toilets, to give you a small hint...)
"No, seriously," Jag said. "I think...I think that Ravendale automatically hates all redheads."
"Sure, she does," I snorted sarcastically. "She’s got red hair, smarts!"
"No, her hair's not natural. It’s dyed. She has a thing against anyone who has natural red hair."
Al seemed impressed and clapped Jag heavily on the back. "You know what? I think Jag just figured out something!"
"Actually, I guessed the same thing," Zelda confessed. She shrugged. "Why else would she treat the Weasleys and Xander so badly?"
"But I don't have red hair," Xander said quizzically. "My hair's auburn."
"Same difference," Al said dismissively. "It's not black, right?"
"You know what?" Jag said excitedly. "She's proabably jealous of redheads, 'cos maybe she had a boyfriend who dumped her 'cos she didn't have red hair, and now she holds a lifetime grudge against all redheads, 'cos she thinks her boyfriend would rather hook up with Rose."
We stared at him.
"Okay, okay, okay...."
"Well," I said, drawing myself up. "Apart from the Crow's hair problems, I have something else pestering my head right now." I glared at Al. "Anybody have an idea what that might be?"
"You have a detention with Ravendale tonight when you're already supposed to do the prank?" Al asked innocently. "You'll bail out on the detention, right?"
"She'll have to," Jag put in. "Or we'll mug her out of any gold she has."
Everyone was staring at me. I sighed. "I’ll do the prank."
Al smothered me with a bear hug. "I love you! Now, me and Jag'll see you in detentions every night!!"
"Huzzah!" I said weakly. My life has just reached another low. Lovely.
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