I hate the oblivious girls.
You know the ones who are like "Oh my goodness! He likes me? Are you sure? He could just be being friendly!"
They know. You know. I know. Boys aren't just friendly. And if, for some reason they the two of you are "just friends" it's because one of two things: you are related to them and therefore they HAVE to be friendly to you, or they were once interested in you, but you buggered it up in one way or another (you weren't paying attention to him, you were madly in love with the unattainable 7th year, or you just plain didn't like him like that).
You just know, okay? It's not some big mystery. They're just a little too nice, a little too friendly, a little too touchy feely, these are called Symptoms. Symptoms of love, lust, affection, whichever word you prefer, but they are Symptoms.
I'll give it to them if they don't catch it in the early stages, as sometimes the shift is hard to see. But once they've made that switch from the Hey Maybe She's Kind of Pretty to the Holy Merlin I Will Only Survive If I Make Her Mine phase, it's obvious. So glaringly obvious. Let's get one thing straight: if he will do anything for you (including, but not limited to: being a shoulder to cry on, a late-night cram session partner, or be more than willing to bash your exes) he's fallen. Fallen hard, by the sound it.
That's why it surprised me so much when Scorpius Malfoy started showing Symptoms.
Now, see, I just want to make one thing clear. Scorpius and I have had a little friendly competition going on since first year. It all started with our first Charms exam.
Wait, scratch that.
It all started when my dad told me to (and I quote) "Make sure you beat him in every test, Rosie. Thank God you inherited your mother's brains." And then told me not to get too friendly with him.
So, in typical eleven year old fashion, I did as my dad told me. I beat him in every test…in first year. Second year he made quite a comeback, and we split the exam results pretty much in half. And so ever since we have had a friendly competition of intelligence though we now have rules: if we are not taking the same class, those exams are exempt from the final tally because you cannot grade two different elective tests against each other—it's just not fair, one person could have an easy test and the other could have the most difficult test known to mankind because their teacher is hormonal that day (not that this has ever happened).
So I guess in the end, I only partially listened to my father. But who listens to their parents any way before it's too late? It's practically tween and teenager law after all, listen to what your parents say…and then do exactly the opposite, just on principle.
So he started showing Symptoms, and thus began my problems with Scorpius Malfoy.
It started with light forearm touches.
He would be talking to me, just like usual and then he would just reach over and touch me. Of course, it was completely innocent, but it startled me the first time. I didn't have a clue so I just left my arm there and he raised a blonde eyebrow at me, but didn't say a word.
Then it was the shoulder bumping.
Apparently my unresponsiveness to the whole arm touching thing made him a little braver and he stepped up to shoulder bumping. We'd be walking alongside each other in the hall and he bumped my shoulder lightly with his. The first time he did it, I thought it was an accident. There were so many people in the halls it was entirely possible that one person jostled him into me. But then became a repeat offender of the "shoulder bump". He'd do it to me to convince me to get to his point of view ("C'mon Rose!" shoulder bump), he'd do it to dismiss my opinion ("You don't really believe that do you?" he'd roll his eyes and then shoulder bump!), he'd do it to get my attention ("Rose!" shoulder bump "you can't ignore me!").
I quickly got annoyed with the shoulder bump so one day I shoulder bumped him back. His smirked at me, his eyes twinkling with mirth, and then walked away.
After the despised shoulder bump came the hair tug.
He had taken to tugging a lock of my hair as hello and then continuing to twirl it around his finger whilst he talked to me, which proved to be very distracting. I had to consistently remind myself to wash my hair just in case he decided to touch it with his oily hands that day. Also noted is that this made him close. Too close. Not an uncomfortable kind of close, but the kind of closeness that can't be ignored. This kind of closeness isn't an accident and anyone with two eyes can see that.
This was when I noticed the Symptoms. And yet, for some reason, I tried to delude myself into thinking that perhaps I was making this whole thing up. Perhaps I was too eager for someone to like me; perhaps he was just being friendly, and the self-doubt. Was I sure?
So I decided to compile my data.
Forearm touches, shoulder bumping, hair tugging—was it enough to form a hypothesis? Did I have enough data? Were these really Symptoms, these things that were so slight, yet so important?
So I decided to wait. That was my great plan: wait it out and see what happens.
But it quickly progressed.
The next thing was the late-night cram session partnership.
We had a comprehensive Charms exam that both of us had yet to study for due to our intense studying for our Defense Against the Dark Arts practical (which we both scored a 97% on, which has us tied at 10 exams each for this year).
Naturally, the thing for him to suggest was that we study together. It made sense: we both took NEWTs Charms, we both needed to study, we both hated studying with complete dunces and people that would distract us from our studying completely (we had a competition to keep up with, of course) and so I agreed.
The evening consisted of us down in the joint common room, hyped up on caffeine from our tea as we quizzed each other on questions like "The counter spell for the engorgement charm is…" and the less studious "if you were to put a Permanent Sticking Charm on one object what would it be and where would you put it?" By the time the early rays of sunlight sprinkled through the window, we were both so slaphappy that anything made us laugh uproariously with tears streaming down my face and his hands shaking with hyper energy.
I failed that exam.
Totally and completely failed. I got a 56% on it.
I never told Scorpius, but then again, he never asked. I don't know how he did on it, but I know that I was too exhausted to function that day and every time I tried to read the question it seemed like it was in Ancient Runes or something just as foreign. It didn't help that every time I tried to refocus, I thought of Scorpius. I thought of his laugh, his smile, the stupid thing he does where he sings everything he's trying to learn to help him memorize his notes.
That was when I started showing Symptoms.
Girl Symptoms are different than boy Symptoms. Girls try to be discreet. We beat around the bush, we blush and stutter and pray that he won't see the zit on our forehead even though it's all we see when we look in the mirror. Well, at least, those were my Symptoms. Lily's Symptoms are different. Hell, Lily just tells the guy that she like him and everything works out for her.
But still, I wanted to wait. I wasn't sure. Did he definitely like me? And if he did, did he actually want to do something about it? And if we actually did get together, would it end badly? What would happen if it ended badly? Would we still be friends, or would we be awkward exes? Would we still have the Competition?
And then the next Symptom came.
I'm not much of a crier. Really, I know that some girls do and that's fine. It's not like I have some kind of band against crying, it's not that I think that crying is a weakness only to be showed by little girls. I just don't like it all that much. I don't find crying therapeutic, I just find it annoying. But anyway, for some reason that day was really tough for me.
It was one of those days that feels like it's never going to end when all you want to do is go back to your dorm, crawl in bed and sleep the day away. It's one of those days that makes you want to turn back time, and sleep in late, to sleep away the day completely.
I had three exams that day, one two foot essay due in Potions, I was fighting with both Lily and Al, and I was beyond stressed and confused Hugo hadn't spoken to me all day after I had snapped at him earlier in the morning and I could just feel a mental breakdown coming on.
Unfortunately for Scorpius, he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For some reason that day he had chosen to walk in the direction of the Gryffindor common room. All it took was him asking how my day went for me to completely break down in tears. Poor guy probably felt totally awkward, being an only child and all. But the thing is I don't know why guys always freak out when a girl cries, like they don't know what to do. So often, the girl only wants to be held. Words don't matter, there doesn't have to be a hesitant back-pat, just being held does the trick.
And thus the final Symptom came to be: the shoulder to cry on.
And now here I am, waiting outside his Astronomy classroom, trying to figure out what to say to him. Technically I have a free period right now that I should be using to translate some Ancient Runes, but my brain just wasn't cooperating today.
"Rose?" He asked, looking a bit confused.
I don't normally make a habit of waiting for him outside his classes.
And that's when I launched myself at him.
To his credit, he did a great job of catching me, even though he dropped his books to the floor. And then I kissed him, in front of everyone, in front of our peers and the younger years, ignoring all the wolf whistles and cheers, ignoring the fact that I'm pretty sure I saw Professor Eyre, the Charms professor, quickly duck back into her room.
"Rose," he mumbled before deepening the kiss, sending shivers down my spine.
The clearing of a throat broke us apart I smiled sheepishly at Professor Eyre as she made her way around us, dutifully ignoring our previous activity and I mentally made a note to thank her for not giving us a detention.
"So," he said, bending down to pick up his fallen books, "what was that for?"
I took a deep breath and decided to pull a Lily.
"That was about me liking you."
His head swiveled in my direction almost comically fast.
"What? I mean, when did you um…figure out your feelings for me?" He blushed.
"Well you were showing Symptoms and then we had that cram session and I realised that I was having Symptoms." I babbled.
He smirked at me.
"Symptoms? Like an illness?"
"Well what would you call them?"
He laughed and ignored my question. "So what are these Symptoms that I showed?"
"Well you exhibited three of the four important Symptoms. Late-night cram session partner, shoulder to cry on, and willing to do anything. But you also exhibited smaller Symptoms: the light forearm touch, the shoulder bump and the hair tug. "
He looks amused. "What did you do? Create a flow chart? Compare me against other guys?"
"I should have!"
Of course, I knew I had forgotten something! Comparing his Symptoms against other guy's actions! I could have totally interpreted his actions incorrectly. Though, I'm banking on the kiss as a correct assumption.
"I was being sarcastic."
I shrugged my shoulders, taking his hand in mine and swinging our conjoined limbs between us as we began to walk down the corridor.
"Well I mean, I just kind of winged it." And suddenly, I knew what I was going to say. It was kind of one of those instantaneous epiphanies, where you know that you're saying is right. "Different people exhibit different Symptoms one person's sign of affection might be another's sign of get the hell away from me."
"Huh," he looked at me like I was slightly crazy.
"But if you prefer, next time I could create a flow chart."
It was like a light switched on in his brain. Suddenly I was up against the wall, encased in his arms as he looked at me threateningly.
"No next time?"
"Not if I can help it." He decrees.
"That's another Symptom—jealousy."
"You're just making these up as you go along."
"I am not!"
"You know, you could have just asked me."
"Asked you what?"
He studied me carefully, his eyes raking over my face.
"Asked me if I liked you."
"And risked our friendship? No way!" I said, appalled.
"And ambushing me after Astronomy was better how?"
I blushed. "Well are you complaining?"
It only took him a few seconds to think it over. "On second thought, I don't mind this at all. But I might just have to get you back." He smiled devilishly.
"You're going to ambush me after class?"
I'm sure that I paled considerably.
"And you won't even know which class it will be."
Before I could even respond, he leant down and kissed me, as if sealing the deal. We kissed for awhile before he pulled back.
"Now look what you've done, I have another Symptom." He teased.
"What Symptom?" I asked breathless and confused about the change of activity.
"Now I don't want to stop kissing you. What do you recommend, Healer?"
I pulled his face back down to mine one last time.
Unfortunately, right before we were about to start kissing again, Professor Leveen came by and attempted to give us a detention. But now I have yet another Symptom to record: kissing even when a professor tries to break you up.
You know those oblivious girls?
I was one of them, once upon a time. And maybe they're not so oblivious as doubtful. Filled with self-doubt about whether or not they're good enough, or worthy enough to be loved by HIM.
But let me tell you, there's nothing like taking that leap into his arms. There's nothing like taking that chance that maybe, just maybe, he likes you. There's nothing like trying. Symptoms aren't that bad.
A/N: Happy Birthday to YOUUU!
So, I don't know if it's actually anyone's birthday today, but I'm sure it either is or it's close to somebody's birthday out there in the cyberworld, yeah?
Right, anyway. Don't know where the inspiration for this came from but some of it (the part about the light forearm touching, the shoulder bumping and the hair tug) I've had written for quite awhile. I just didn't know how to form it into a story, and now here is this...thing. I'm still not quite sure on how it turned out.
It seems that the writing bug has bitten me. I figured I should publish things while I don't have writers block, but this is pretty usual for me. Usually the first four or five months of the year are my most productive. Huh, I wonder why that is.
Enough of my babbling. Let me know what you think, as always,