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A Bed of Roses

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It was silent in the dorm. Four girls lay in their beds, chests rising and falling. They waited, straining their ears to maybe catch footsteps of their returning fifth member, perhaps the creak of the door, anything to stave off sleep until the last Slytherin girl returned to the dorm. Millie and Tracey had already succumbed to slumber.

The door opened.

“Rose!” hissed Pansy.

Rose put a finger to her lips, jerking a thumb at the sleeping form of Millie. She began mouthing something.

“What?”

Rose groaned quietly. “Text me,” she whispered. “We're past curfew.” And she went off to brush her teeth.

Where did rose go???????

TT: I don't appreciate this renaming of the group chat.

TT: By now I'm almost wishing for something normal, like Fruity Rumpus Asshole Factory.

GC: But we had no idea where you were!

TT: Really, Pansy? Snape waltzes into the common room right as I'm about to eat a delicious pumpkin themed pastry, says Dumbledore wants to see me in his office and grabs my wrist, dragging me from the table and out of the room, and you don't know where I was?

GC: Okay. So we knew where you were. But we had no clue what happened!

TT: It was rather mundane, honestly.

TT: Centaur accuses me of a crime, it turns out I didn't do it, centaur gives me some vague prophecy or something, leaves, and then Dumbledore gives me a present from my deceased father.

GC: What???

GC: So they called you up and asked you if you killed anyone, you said no, and then they just let you free?

TT: I mean, it was a lot more tense than that.

TT: The centaur and I almost duelled right there in Dumbledore’s office before Snape stopped us.

TT: Really, it was quite thrilling. It’s almost a shame that all I got from it was this present to prove I was there.

GC: What present?

“This present,” said a voice in the darkness. Pansy shrieked, cutting herself off to not rouse her sleeping classmates. Then she could hear some fabric rustling, before revealing Rose Potter’s head, floating in midair.

“An invisibility cloak,” breathed Pansy. “That's...”

“It makes me feel weird when I use it,” said Rose. “Like sleeping on one arm.”

“That shouldn't happen,” whispered Daphne, from the other side of the room. “Invisibility cloaks--”

“Shh!” whispered Rose. She threw the cloak over her head again, and judging by the sound of her footsteps, made her way into her bed.

After a moment, the soft glow of Rose's phone illuminated two disembodied white hands resting on Rose’s pillow.

TT: My phone's reception goes to crap when it's under the cloak.

AA: I don't understand why that would be the case -- cloaks don’t block magic.

AA: Or cause your weird sleeping arm thing.

TT: It's a metaphor for the way it makes me feel, it’s not meant to be taken literally.

AA: I got that. I'm eleven, not six.

TT: Sure.

AA: Either way, House Greengrass owns several enchanted objects, but none of them have any side effects unless they're cursed or draw directly on your magic. Can I try it?

TT: Be my guest.

Daphne silently made her way out of bed towards the disembodied hands, which revealed themselves to be Rose Potter holding a bundle of fabric, after only a moment. Rose's eyes never seemed to leave the cloak.

“Do it quickly,” whispered Rose. “I'm beginning to have second thoughts about letting such a precious item out of my hands.”

Daphne placed the cloak around her body from the neck down. “Was wearing it like this enough to make you feel weird about using it?” she asked.

“It wasn't weird,” said Rose, perhaps too suddenly. “It was fine. Honestly, it was kind of-- pleasant to wear. A reassuring presence, in some inexplicable way. Are you feeling anything?”

“It feels like a regular cloak,” confirmed Daphne. “No side effects that I can discern. Maybe it's got a link to you because it was your father's?”

“Perhaps. Give it back.”

“In a moment,” whispered Daphne. “I’m curious about who made it. Use your phone’s light?”

Rose held her phone out so that Daphne could look over the cloak by way of a flashlight.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for a manufacturer’s seal,” said Daphne. “Usually it’s located around the back of the neck, but I can’t find it… ah.”

Rose looked. “That symbol looks familiar,” said Rose.

“It should,” replied Daphne. “It’s the iconography associated with the Deathly Hallows. Everyone knows the triangle with the line and circle through it.”

Rose squinted in the darkness. She couldn’t see what the hell Daphne was talking about. If anything, it looked like the icon used to represent the Space aspect, just in the opposite direction.

“Does that mean anything?” whispered Rose.

“Probably not,” replied Daphne. “It’s one of those symbols baked into basic wizard mythology. Every amateur craftsmaker incorporates it into their symbol to look cool. But I admit -- they do it because it works.”

“Okay,” said Rose. “Can I have it back?”

Daphne returned the cloak. Rose pulled it over herself and lay in her bed.

“Goodnight, Rose,” said Daphne.

Rose didn’t reply.

She was already asleep.

---

Christmas came fast for the first years. As the semester came to an end, every teacher began to ramp up their instruction -- even Binns, for all that was worth. Though perhaps it came fastest for no other student than Rose Potter.

It wasn’t really something she was conscious of. One day it was Halloween, and she was talking with Dirk on the lake. Then she had a dream about Dave, then a centaur implicated her in (and subsequently absolved her of) murder, and then...

Nothing had really happened of note.

It was now Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]

TT: Merry Christmas, Mom.

TG: hi babey

TG: merry chrisis :0

TG: now i dont wanna go and do a spoilz

TG: but i HEARD from a fellow mom

TG: that u may be gettin a hand-woven sweater in the pipeline???

TT: You’re in a mom group?

TT: You’re fifteen, no?

TG: well we are doin the correspondenc in the old fashioned way!

TG: owls n stationarey

TT: Ah, yes. Like my ancestors must have used.

TT: Birds.

TG: its a sacred art

TG: anyway i gots u a hot lil somethin meself ;)

TG: some kinda rare import

TG: first run

TG: PRIMO

TG: Original squiddles manga from japan :OOOOOOO

TT: ...You didn’t.

TG: I DID :D

TT: Dirk’s never going to let me live this down. Calling him a weeb was my primary form of self defence.

TG: it was his idea actually!

TT: Sounds like him. Offer something super sweet and heartwarming that also forces me to come up with more elaborate insults.

TT: Well, I’m extremely grateful. Thank you, Roxy.

TT: I’m... I didn’t get you anything yet.

TG: gurl dont worry abt it

TG: literally being in my life is all i want from u

TG: won way or another ;D

TT: Yeah.

TT: I’ll do my best.

Rose really hadn’t been doing her best.

The past few months felt to her, upon some reflection, to have gone by in the length of time it’d take her to read about a paragraph. God, how much had she even spoken to Roxy?

She actually couldn't remember. Rose might have sent a message last week, or possibly the week before. It couldn't have been more than a month, because... well it just couldn't have been. Her mind spun its wheels as Rose tried to figure out when she'd messaged last.

The spinning of wheels, as always, caused friction, and Rose's thoughts heated up into a smolder of petty anger. The passive-aggression mixed with the guilt in Rose's gut to make something that felt like coins rattling around in her stomach. Coins that, when added up, equaled exactly twelve cents -- the approximate value of a singular magnetic letter M.

And then, as fast as it came, the petty anger dissipated. Was she just conflating the current Roxy with her former mother? The idea was cloying and tarlike, and Rose didn't know how to answer it, so she let the wheels of her mind spin back out into idleness. She pulled the Cloak up closer to herself for warmth.

---

It was night. Ducking into an unused classroom was only natural, where she’d been going. The door closed solidly behind her and she was finally able to take a deep breath.

Now that she was safe from that damned cat, Rose took stock of the room she was in. Empty desks, chairs, and a trash can -- though, placed in the center of the room was a mirror, with all sorts of fancy iconography. Swirls and suns and other shapes she could barely make out in the dark.

Rose cautiously walked closer to the mirror, catching her own reflection. She almost instinctively avoided staring at her own face (a shame that living with the Dursleys had instilled into her, she thought), instead taking a closer look at the mirror’s frame.

Erised. Oh, thought Rose, translating the text in her head. It’s a mirror that shows my desire.

She looked in the mirror again.

She was not alone.

The girl on the other side beckoned her forward. Her pale grey skin (paler than it’s supposed to be, Rose knew), her black hair and lipstick, her two horns...

“Kanaya,” breathed Rose.

Kanaya put out a hand.

Rose took it.

The sensation was like sticking a hand in a bath through layers of bubbles -- tingly, but not unpleasant.

After only hesitating a moment, the rest of Rose followed through.

KANAYA: My Apologies

KANAYA: I Was Not Able To Vocalize Words When We Were On Opposite Sides Of The Lookslab

KANAYA: But As We Are Now Located On The Same Side Of The Plane

KANAYA: I Can Tell You

KANAYA: Hi

KANAYA: Its Been A Long Time

ROSE: ...Hi, Kanaya.

KANAYA: Hello Rose

They walked, Kanaya slightly ahead of Rose. The reflected classroom slowly gave way to a blank nothing, but the glow of Kanaya’s skin gave Rose a guide through the darkness. Eventually the black became bright sand, and they found themselves on Alternia.

ROSE: Taking me home?

ROSE: My, how scandalous.

ROSE: What would your mother think?

As if she’d heard, the virgin grub flew past Rose and Kanaya.

ROSE: Did she just wink at me?

KANAYA: Um

KANAYA: Maybe We Can Talk In A Different Location

KANAYA: I Think I See Your Hive Over There

ROSE: I see it too.

ROSE: Gods, I haven’t seen it in-- a decade. Maybe longer.

ROSE: It’s... The location has a lot of painful memories attached to it.

ROSE: It also appears to be engulfed in flames.

ROSE: And if memory serves, it’ll be pulverized by a meteor sooner or later.

ROSE: Maybe we shouldn’t go there.

KANAYA: Point Taken

KANAYA: Perhaps Somewhere Else

ROSE: I know of a great place on John’s planet.

ROSE: Cute village with cute salamanders.

ROSE: Great dark cultist material. I still miss Viceroy Von Salamancer.

KANAYA: We Can Pay Your Cultist Reptile A Visit Then

KANAYA: This Is Your Dream Bubble After All

ROSE: So I’m dreaming right now?

KANAYA: Yes

They walked. The sand gave way to blueish dirt. Rose grabbed Kanaya’s hand to help her over a stream of oil.

She didn’t let go.

ROSE: None of this is real, then.

KANAYA: Well

KANAYA: Reality Is Subjective

KANAYA: Not To Annoy You With Metatextual Bullshit

KANAYA: But This Is Technically Real

KANAYA: And Also Technically Not

KANAYA: We Are Technically In A Dream Bubble Blown By The Dark Gods On Feferis Request

KANAYA: But Also You Are Technically Just Sleeping Wherever You Are

KANAYA: And This Is All In Your Head

The world shook beneath their feet. Up above, another crack appeared in the sky.

ROSE: And that?

KANAYA: Lrd English

KANAYA: Doing His Usual Thing

KANAYA: Trying To Pop All The Dream Bubbles

KANAYA: And Destroy All Life In The Universe

KANAYA: One Way Or Another

ROSE: But this is still just in my head, correct?

KANAYA: Like I Said

KANAYA: Its All Bullshit

KANAYA: And Id Rather Focus On The Moment

KANAYA: How Long Has It Been Since We Last Met From Your Perspective

ROSE: I’ve never met you in person.

ROSE: Though I feel like we should have.

ROSE: We were going to meet up, weren’t we?

ROSE: Before...

KANAYA: Youre Starting To Remember

KANAYA: Im Not Sure If I Remember Honestly

KANAYA: If I Have Any Memories Of Us Meeting Are They Just My Wishful Thinking

KANAYA: Manifesting Itself As Retroactive Scenes

KANAYA: Of Me And You

KANAYA: Doing

KANAYA: I Dont Know

KANAYA: Living Together

KANAYA: On A Cramped Meteor

ROSE: I’m one hundred percent sure I never made it to the meteor.

ROSE: That’s where we were heading, and you were going to meet us there, but...

KANAYA: Dont Dwell On It

ROSE: No plans to do so were ever drawn up.

ROSE: On the subject of plans.

ROSE: Did you have a motivation for recreating the sequel to Alice in Wonderland?

KANAYA: No

KANAYA: Well

KANAYA: First Of All I Wanted To Know It Would Work

ROSE: If what would work?

KANAYA: That I Was Your Hearts True Desire

KANAYA: It Would Only Work If Its True

ROSE: ...Coming on a little strong, maybe.

ROSE: Not that I’m saying no, necessarily, but I’m only eleven years old.

KANAYA: Are You

ROSE: Of course I am--

KANAYA: Are You

KANAYA: Look

KANAYA: Really Look

Rose looked down at herself. She was wearing... no.

The fourteen year old girl saw herself wearing an orange dress and a gold necklace. Blue high heels kept her height above Kanaya’s. The faint remembered taste of alcohol touched Rose’s tongue, and she heard an echo of teasing about wearing a “friggin prom dress” -- teasing that had never happened.

No, thought Rose, I’m not fourteen, I’m only thirteen, I never got that far, and the outfit flickered into the purple Derse Dreamer outfit she wore when flying to her death, but then she remembered, no--

I’m only eleven.

Her Hogwarts robes billowed inelegantly as she sat down on a stone log. Kanaya joined her.

KANAYA: Judging By That Light Show Im To Assume Youre Not Ready

KANAYA: Which Is Disappointing

ROSE: I’m sorry, Kanaya.

ROSE: I really am.

ROSE: But I’ve been given a new chance at life here. Maybe some monotony would do me some good.

ROSE: Cleanse my soul a little bit. Live like a child. Get to be a witch.

ROSE: I hope I’ll see you again one day.

KANAYA: You Probably Wont

KANAYA: Im Still Not Entirely Sure Where You Are Or How To Get There

KANAYA: But Im Fairly Certain Youre Only There Because You Were There When The Green Sun Was Created

KANAYA: Which Is A Fact Only True About Yourself Dave And A Stuffed Bunny

ROSE: I wonder what happened to her.

KANAYA: I Really Couldnt Give A Shit

KANAYA: Im Sorry

KANAYA: But This Was A Really Disappointing Outing For Me

KANAYA: I Had Hoped To Somehow

KANAYA: I Dont Know

KANAYA: Get The Old TentacleTherapist Back

KANAYA: In Our Darkest Hour You Guided Me

KANAYA: Even Before Your Civilization Existed

KANAYA: You Saved My Life And I Love You For It

ROSE: I don’t know what to say.

KANAYA: I Dont Either

KANAYA: Because Its Clear Youre Not That Person Anymore

KANAYA: And I Still Love You

KANAYA: But

KANAYA: I Dont Know

KANAYA: Youre Rose Potter Now I Guess

ROSE: ...I feel awful.

ROSE: I’m so sorry, Kanaya.

KANAYA: Im Sorry Too

They sat on the stone log. Kanaya breathed, and Rose felt her heart break.

KANAYA: Just

KANAYA: Can You Do One Thing For Me First

ROSE: Anything.

And Kanaya turned toward Rose, her eyes wide, and Rose instinctively leaned in, like they’d done it a thousand times before, and as their lips met it was if they had done it a thousand times before, day after day on a meteor and then on a new planet as they revived Kanaya’s species, as they raised a daughter, as they lived their lives, as they grew old and happy and never died--

And Kanaya slowly pulled away, and Rose felt something old and important inside her crumble and fall away.

KANAYA: Im Glad I Did That

KANAYA: If Only To Remind Myself That It

KANAYA: Well It Did Happen

KANAYA: Somewhere Out There In Paradox Space Were Living That

KANAYA: Even If

KANAYA: Im Not The One To Get To Do It

Rose felt something wet on her cheeks.

ROSE: Hey Kanaya?

KANAYA: Yes

ROSE: Can you do one thing for me first?

ROSE: Before I wake up.

KANAYA: Anything

This time, the kiss was almost desperately passionate. And yet, it didn’t feel hungry. It didn’t feel like someone begging for more. It felt like...

Well, it felt like goodbye.

When Rose came up for air, Kanaya was crying too. Jade tears streamed down her perfect skin.

KANAYA: I Love You Rose

ROSE: I love you too, Kanaya.

ROSE: And I’m sorry.

And as Rose felt herself begin to wake up, as the dream bubble started to evaporate in a burst of rainbow light all around them, Rose couldn’t help but notice --

Kanaya’s eyes weren’t blank.

---

Rose gasped for air. She was covered in sweat, even though the fire in the common room had been put out long ago.

The room was entirely empty.

It was just her, the chair she had slept on, the Squiddles manga she had fallen asleep reading for what must have been the thousandth time, and the invisibility cloak she was using as a blanket.

She shook her head in confusion. Studying for finals must have been taking a lot out of her.

Slowly, Rose extracted herself from the chair, stretching. Gods, she was overheating in this sweater. Really, all the kudos in the world to Mrs. Weasley for making something that kept the heat in, but it was late spring by now. She should be wearing something much lighter.

Before she could do anything, though, her phone vibrated, and she checked the screen.

It was from Hermione.

AH: Quirrel’s moving to steal the stone TONIGHT.

AH: Your suspicions over the past few months were correct.

AH: For some reason Dumbledore’s not in the castle, and none of the teachers are listening to me.

AH: We have to take matters into our own hands!

AH: Meet me outside of the room with the dog. Bring Ron. I’ll bring Dave.

AH: I’ll be there shortly -- you have to hurry!

archimedesHerald [AH] ceased pestering tentacleTherapist [TT]