One of my favorite things in the entire world is the castle at midnight. There's a certain sort of stillness to everything. No students in the hallways. Not a whisper of conversation. The only real movement coming from the gentle snores of the portraits and the puffs of dust that plume in the air when you step down a deserted hallway.
Needless to say, I love doing midnight rounds. It gives me a sense of solitude and inner peace that nothing has ever been able to replicate, save for perhaps this journal. Talking to people was tiresome. These days, all Phineas wanted to talk about was Cecilia. All mother wanted to talk about was summering in Vienna next June, and whenever I tried to talk to father, he brushed me off to go handle some crisis with the magazine's investors somewhere in Eastern Europe. I'd been relegated to solitude, and the best place I'd found to spend it was circling the fourth floor, as I took on double the amount of midnight rounds this past week, because Weasley had been MIA.
When I say Weasley's been MIA, I don't mean she's been shifty or sparse. I literally mean that she's gone. Her mother took her home for the week after coming to talk to her on Saturday. She left me brief note, devoid of any details. Every morning, her owl comes in with a neat parcel of her completed homework for the day, and every afternoon I return it with a copy of all my notes and her assignments for the evening.
By Wednesday, I was completely unable to bear not knowing what was going on, so sandwiched between theory notes on Animagus magic and a brief summary of the 1404 Goblin Massacre in Dublin, I left her a note: Are you okay?
On Thursday, pinned to the top of an essay on Rita Skeeter, one of the best-known unregistered Animagi in recent history, she left a response: I'm fine.
I was left antsy with questions. Had she told her mother about Lysander? Was she filing charges against him? Had they found her father? Was she going to back any time soon? Could I bloody stop doing her rounds yet?
Knee-deep in these thoughts, I couldn't help but jolt when I heard a creak behind me. It was well past midnight. No one was supposed to be out this late, let alone out traipsing down the fourth floor. I turned, and found myself face-to-face with a tiny yellow canary. It fluttered by my nose before perching on the shoulder of Uric the Ugly's armor and letting out a curious chirp. I stared at the bird for two long moments before looking up.
There was a ruffling sound farther down the hall behind where I was standing. Three seconds later, a girl with a mess of curly red hair and a pale complexion that seemed to phosphoresce in the moonlight filtering through the windows emerged from the shadows. Despite the dark circles under her eyes and the blue veins clearly visible at her neck, she laughed somewhat warmly.
"How did you know it was me?"
"You've had these bloody birds circling our common room for the last two months, Weasley. Who else could it be?"
"That's fair enough," she responded. "You don't have to finish rounds for the night. I think I owe you a solid week."
I hesitated for a moment. "I think… I think I'd rather listen to you tell me where the hell you've been all week." Thus far tonight, Weasley had been pleasant to me, but I couldn't keep the accusatory note from creeping into my voice. Weasley heard it and looked down nervously.
"I really needed a break," she said. "I'm really sorry for not telling you earlier what was going on."
"You make it sound like you're going to tell me everything now," I said, my tone implying that she had very little choice in the matter.
"Well," Weasley sighed, sinking onto the nearest window ledge. The view overlooked the Forbidden Forest. In the distance, the windows of the gamekeeper's hut glowed orange, and a cloud of white smoke billowed from its chimney. Closer to us, the Giant Squid lifted a lazy tentacle from the lake, as if he were signaling Weasley to continue. "My father's been away on business in Romania—a dark wizard's raid or something, and he's missing. I'm sure they'll find him. Uncle Harry's just gone away and I was mostly home because mum needed me there. Hugo—my brother—he's trying to pretend this all doesn't affect him, but he's full of shit. He's way more upset than he's letting on."
I let out a breath and slid onto the ledge next to her. "I'm sorry, Weasley. That really… That sucks. I hope it works out."
Weasley shot me a sarcastic look. "You really are terrible with sympathies. You just sounded like you were telling me to get better after a botched breast augmentation."
I glanced down at Weasley's chest. "Well I really didn't want to say anything, but now that you mention it, you really might want to talk to St. Mun—" I was cut off with Weasley swatting my arm, laughing.
"It's actually nice," she said after regaining her composure. "Everyone else is treating me like I'm some fragile little doll. I kind of just want to get going with life. I know it'll work out. I just wish everyone else had that same faith."
"What about." I cleared my throat. "What about Lysander? And Lorcan?"
Weasley's eyes darkened a little at my question and she looked away, out at the lake. "I spoke to Lorcan the other day."
"He dumped me."
There was a very long pause.
"Lorcan broke up with me."
"Let me just… let me understand this. Your boyfriend broke up with you because his twin tried to rape you."
"That is correct."
There was another pause.
"And can I ask… why?"
Weasley sighed. "Lysander got to him before I could. He had already told him that I threw myself at him in some back alleyway in Hogsmeade. When I told Lorcan, he made it sound like I was just trying to cover up cheating on him." Under my sleeves, I felt my fists curling by themselves. A bolt of pain shot through my right wrist, which still had a little recovery left to go after the incident last weekend.
"And you're okay with that."
"I think they're both bloody jackasses," Weasley said, rubbing her face and laughing tiredly. She slipped off the ledge we were sitting on and moved to the opposite side of the hallway. "I sort of expected it, though. I think Lorcan knew, deep down, what his brother did—or at least, that his brother was capable of doing that. But he didn't want to believe it. Girlfriends are for weeks, but brothers are forever, you know?"
"He's an idiot," I said, sliding off the ledge and walking towards where Weasley had sank on the floor. I kneeled in front of her. "What are you going to do about it?"
"What do you mean?"
"Who are you going to tell? I'm sure McGonagall will expel him when she hears. And did you hear Puddlemere's been looking at him to play for them after graduation? His Quidditch future will absolutely be demolished after word about this gets out. No one wants publicity like that."
Weasley looked down into her lap, where she was playing with something. "I'm not sure," she whispered. She looked up, and her cheeks were flushed red. "I'm really scared. His mom is one of my mom's best friends and I really, really don't know if I can do this. You're the only one who knows—I'm fucking—I'm fucking sharing this secret with a Malfoy, of all people—and it has the potential to ruin his life and… what about my life? What if no one believes me?"
I sank down next to Weasley and let her rest her head on my shoulder. "I'll back you up, Weasley. I mean, Madame Pomfrey has medical records that'll align with me punching Lysander to defend you. The barkeeper at the Boar's Head can confirm that you missed our appointment that morning. And it is your word against his. They can't possibly believe that sleazeball over the Head Girl, can they?"
"You're right," she whispered, resting her head on my shoulder again. Her eyes returned to the thing she was playing with in her lap. I squinted at it for a few seconds, but it wasn't until the shiny brushed silver caught the moonlight that I realized what it was.
"Is that Scamander's purity ring? Did you steal that from him?"
Weasley snorted. "Yeah, I did. But really, I think it's more of just… a ring."
I gaped at her for a moment. "Are you trying to tell me that Scamander is… not...?"
Weasley smirked. "Oh, he is definitely not."
"So you mean to say… you and him… you two…"
She nodded slowly, chuckling to herself. "Why the sudden interest in my sex life, Scorp?"
"Just amazed to find out that it exists is all," I said, matching her dry tone. "Next you'll be telling me that Nargles are real, too."
"I don't know what else you'd expect from two seventeen-year-olds at boarding school." She glanced to the side with an almost incredulous snort and rolled her eyes.
"Why did he pretend, then?"
"Well, he never actually said it was a purity ring. People just assumed, and he never corrected them. He said it was because it wasn't anyone else's business. In retrospect, I think he used it as a way to get girls."
"What girl on earth looks at a virgin and thinks 'hey, he looks like he'd be really great to sleep with?'"
"Me, apparently." Weasley stood up with a dramatically forlorn look and leaned against the wall. "Not everyone goes for the perpetually horny sex machine, you know," she gestured vaguely to me.
"Hey." I stood up. "Everyone is perpetually horny. I just choose to own it." I realized though, that Weasley was grinning rather wickedly.
"Hey Malfoy." Weasley looked down and straightened her skirt, before taking a large step towards me. "Why is it that you're sometimes so nice to me, and the second I start to relax around you, you turn around and become the Wizarding World's greatest asshole?"
"Maybe because I am the Wizarding World's greatest asshole."
"I don't believe that." Weasley took another step to me, this one much smaller. She reached over and brushed lint off of my shoulder.
"You… excuse me?"
"I think you pretend." Suddenly, Weasley was very close to me. Her hands were on my tie, fingering the silk knot by my collar.
"Why would I pretend to be horrible?" I countered, but I was abruptly very nervous. As one of Weasley's hands continued to loosen the knot, the other traveled up my throat.
"Why are you so nervous?" she asked, still grinning. She dipped her fingers into the notch next to my jugular. I could feel my pulse, hot and fast, pressing against her skin. I swallowed, without realizing what I was doing, and Weasley's grin widened as she felt my Adam's apple travel up and down. I was dating her best friend, and I literally had no clue what she could be trying, here, with one hand undressing me and the other doing Merlin know what.
"Oh my god." It took no more that one-half of one millisecond for Weasley and I to spring apart as if we had each been hit with a stinging hex. But as I looked around, there seemed to be no one around us. I looked at Weasley, and she pointed down the hallway we were in.
"I think someone's in a classroom," she hissed, drawing her wand. There was a clatter of wood against stone, a giggle, and a hushing sound.
I glanced at her again, and together we slunk down the hallway, towards the noise. The movement seemed to be coming from the farthest room on the right.
"Okay," I said. Once we had stopped outside. From the tiny window, all I could see was the silhouette of two figures, obviously the middle of a shag. "Well. This is going to be pleasant."
Weasley was squinting into the window, a perplexed look on her face. "Open the door."
I don't recall the exact order of the next few events but I know they included: the door opening; the light flooding in; two surprised yelps; the clattering of four wands as they fell to the floor; a very long stream of curses; "Albus?" Weasley saying in a choked voice; and finally, one pair of round, celery-green eyes widening as they registered their owner's boyfriend and best friend walking in on her in the middle of a midnight romp with the wrong guy.
"Rose. Scorpius. I can explain," she said, as Albus hastily pulled some clothing on.
"Forget it, Miri," I said. I turned around, walked out of the room, down the hallway, and (for all dramatic purposes) out of her life.
Since when do I get cheated on?
Eek so I apologize for the delay. I wrote this all last night (which might explain why I'm not too happy with this chapter) as I was procrastinating about 500 pages of reading and a paper, which just goes to show you that there is no motivator more powerful than avoidance of something else. Anyway, reviews are appreciated!