Chapter 1 : The Boy is an Idiot.
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“Aunt Rosie! Cissy spilt her orange juice on Bernard!!” The little five year old wailed. She held up a rather desolate looking teddy bear to make her point. I winced as juice slowly dripped from his soaking body onto the clean tiles of the kitchen floor – the tiles I had been scrubbing spotless only minutes before.
“Cissy, how many times have I told you to be careful with your food? You’re a big nine year old girl, aren’t you? You should be eating like a lady.” I took my gaze off the slowly expanding orange puddle to the guilty face of my other protégé for tonight.
“I was being careful! It was Lia, she bumped it with her elbow. You should be telling her off!” Cissy told me solemnly, opening her big grey eyes wide.
“No! You did it, Cissy, I saw you! She did it Aunt Rosie! On purpose.” Lia promptly burst into tears.
It was a rather sad picture, I must admit: Rose Nymphadora Weasley, straight O student and daughter of two of the most famous wizards of Britain, spending her Saturday night babysitting two screaming children. But I had to make money somehow.
Narcissa and Ophelia Malfoy where sweet girls, but they had the screaming capability of a middle aged banshee. It was rather comic to watch them, if you’re wearing a good pair of earmuffs. They both looked completely identical, pale blonde hair falling out of their plaits and their bright pink faces scrunched up with the effort. For Ophelia this kind of behaviour was verging on acceptable – she was only five, after all – but when it came to nine year old Narcissa, it was just sad.
“Don’t cry, Lia, it’s ok, I’ll clean Bernard right up!” I gushed, rushing over to the little girl. She was sitting in her too big chair, tears rushing down her face, kicking her feet on the underside of the table with nerve grinding accuracy. Cissy watched all this, a smug smile on her pale face.
“Scourgify!” I muttered, pointing my wand at the teddy clutched in Lia’s little hand. Its dripping fur fluffed up instantly, and Lia’s sobs died down as she looked at it in satisfaction.
“See!” She bragged, poking her tongue out at her sister. I rolled my eyes, failing to see the point in her teasing. Little kids minds worked in ways unknown to my own.
As the two sisters bickered quietly, I dropped down into a chair by the table, resting my tired head in my tired hands. I wasn’t exactly what you would call a kid person. I didn’t actually dislike the little buggers, but spending more than two hours around them and I was ready to jump out the window. You would think that scoring seven Os in your NEWT exam would get you more than a job as a waitress, but apparently it didn’t, so I needed this extra gig to pay my rent. I had put an ad up in the Daily Prophet, hoping some rich, wizarding family with not too many offspring would want my assistance, and hadn’t even been waiting three days before I got a call from Mrs Astoria Malfoy, telling me she was interested. “It would be wonderful to have someone young to watch the girls,” She had told me, “and I bet they will love you. You went to school with Scorpius, didn’t you? He’s never home much, but I’m sure he’ll visit more often if he knows a friend of his is around,”
While she was saying this, I had been trying my hardest not to burst out laughing. Me and Scorpius? Friends? Oh sure, when gerbils fly. I was pretty sure that my being at his house would make him stay away even more. Malfoy and I had upheld a pretty strong enemyship during our years of school, and now that that was over, feelings had hardly changed. Luckily I hadn’t actually bumped into the boy yet, though I’ve been working as a babysitter every Thursday, Friday and Sunday for the past five weeks. Mrs Malfoy had told me that he lived more in his office than at home, and that when he wasn’t working he was out partying. “Such a handsome boy.” She told me sadly. “But so bloody conceited, I’d be surprised if he ever found a girl.”
I took a strong liking to Mrs Malfoy after that.
Working at the Malfoy’s wasn’t actually that bad. My dad had objected, at first, but I was eighteen, and therefore legally allowed to tell him to shove off. The Malfoys owned a beautiful big house, nice and open and light. All the rooms were grand and gorgeous, and even the toilet-roll holder screamed elegance. And the kitchen. Oh, I’ve never cooked in such a pretty environment. When Mrs Malfoy had first shown me around the place, I had barely been able to walk away from the room. All those benches, and clean pots, and pretty spice racks, and cute white furniture and – it was love at first sight.
Mr Malfoy loved it when I came over, because I always left a tray of cookies or a plate of cake behind after I was gone. The girls could hardly eat everything I cooked, even though their stomachs seemed to be the size of Wales, so the leftovers were kept for the rest of the family.
“Aunt Rosie! Can I go now?” Lia asked, bouncing up and down on her seat and reaching out her arms so I could lift her out. She was tiny for her age, easily mistaken for a toddler if you didn’t know better. But when she talked it was with the words and tone of a worldly old lady. She kind of scared me sometimes.
“Sure Bub, just make sure you wash your hands on your way out.” Lia flashed me a smile, putting her missing front tooth on wide display.
“Can I go too?” Asked Cissy. Where Lia was all cuteness and curls, her face still holding the roundness of a new-born baby, Lia was taller than most her age, her fine features blatantly displaying the aristocracy of her family background. She was going to be gorgeous when she was older, I could tell.
“Go ahead.” I sighed, too tired to argue against her half-finished plate of cannelloni. “Hey!” I added, as she turned to walk out. “Try not to aggravate your sister too much, yeah?”
Cissy just sent me a calculated smile over her shoulder. “Sure, Aunt Rosie.” She answered, tipping her blonde head to the side, her voice a touch too mocking for my taste.
Oh well. That was her parent’s problem.
You would think that having a child like Scorpius would turn you off children forever, but no, Mr and Mrs Malfoy just went on… and on… and on. They bred faster than a Weasley on steroids. Other than Cissy, Lia and Scorpius, they had the twelve year old twins Julia and Silvia, and the pretty Delphina who had just started her fifth year at Hogwarts.
I know, Delphina, Julia, Silvia, Ophelia and Narcissa. It was enough to make anyone’s head spin. If I didn’t despise Scorpius so much, I would have pitied him for being the only boy amongst five rowdy girls. But I did, so I didn’t.
Personally, I was used to having numerous siblings, being a Weasley and all. I don’t think us gingers even knew the meaning of the term ‘only child’. And the pattern didn’t end with my parents’ generation, either. My cousin Victoire was faithfully upholding the tradition with her partner Teddy. They had two kids already, and one on the way. Little Lorelai was only four, and Remus two.
(Just in case you wondering, my babysitting responsibilities do not stop with the Malfoy’s. I looked after the Lupin-Weasley kids too when called upon. They loved me).
I was pulling a raspberry tart out of the oven when I heard a noise coming from the hall leading to the Kitchen. I could see Cissy and Lia making a snowman in the garden through the window, so I figured it wasn’t them coming to ask if they could lick the bowl. And if it wasn’t them, then that meant the cat had gotten into the pot plants again. Sighing at yet another thing I was going to have to fix, I pushed the oven door closed with my hip and placed the steaming tray down on the bench, wiping my hands on my apron before pulling my wand out from where it was holding my hair in place.
With a sharp flick of my wrist I got the dirty dishes cleaning, at any moment expecting Tiger to walk into the kitchen meowing for some dinner.
But it wasn’t Tiger who stumbled in.
“What the fuck is that smell?”
It was Scorpius.
I spun around at the sound of his voice, jumping slightly from the unexpected noise. He was standing against the door frame, his blonde hair messy and dirty, hanging in his downcast eyes . He seemed to still be dressed in his working robes, though he had the cloak slung over his arm and his shirt sleeves rolled up, with the first couple of buttons undone. It hung un-tucked, too, and even from the other side of the room I could smell the alcohol in his breathe.
I don’t think he had been expecting to find me in his kitchen, because he walked on in, muttering to himself, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that I was standing by the bench, oven mitts in one hand and a wooden spoon in the other.
“Stupid cab driver…make me apparate…batty old lady…used that handbag like it was a chainsaw…” Was just some of the things I made out from his mumblings. I watched in silence as he dragged his legs over to the kitchen table and threw himself into a chair, groaning all the while. He passed a tired hand through his already messy hair, rumpling it up even more.
When he looked up and caught sight of me, he froze mid ruffle. His eyes widened as he took in the state I was in – sauce stained apron, messy hair, flour on my nose – and then he shook his head as if trying to free it of Wrackspurt.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
Well. Nice to see you too, Malfoy.
I decided to play dumb, just to confuse the blithering idiot even more. “I’m cooking a raspberry tart.” I said brightly, flashing him a smile. “Want some?”
Malfoy frowned and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ve gone mad.” He muttered, squeezing his eyes shut. “Completely barmy.”
“So I’ll take that as a no?” I widened my smile, trying not to laugh at the lost look on the boy’s face. He didn’t answer, and instead continued to look at me like I was some sort of apparition. I was amazed he could even register these complex feelings, seeing the state he was in. “Big night?” I queried, slipping into the seat across from him. I smiled and rested my chin on my hand. “You look like you could do with a shower.”
Malfoy lifted an arm and gave his armpit a quick sniff. “Not too bad.” He said with a shrug. He rested his arm back on the table and gave me a long look. “You know, Weasley, after spending the better half of my life finding you in places you shouldn’t be, I’m just going to go with it.” He passed a hand over his face. His gestures looked shaky – he was still drunk.
“Is that supposed to be an insult?” I asked, an edge of irony in my tone. I had been trying to decide whether I should take advantage of his state to torture him – my Hufflepuff wrestling with my inner evil – and had finally come to the conclusion that yes, I would take advantage. “Because you know, Malfoy, after spending the better half of my life trying to decide if you were dropped on the head as a baby or just have a limited number of brain cells, I’ve begun to think you never really know what you’re talking about.”
“What are you doing in my house?” He repeated, ignoring my quip. It seemed like he was too intoxicated to be bothered with a battle of wits – I would have won anyway. “This is the most unpleasant surprise I’ve had since Tiger hid her dead mouse in my boot.”
I had to admire the boy – even though he was obviously sloshed, he managed to keep his cool quiet well. I knew that if the roles were reversed, I would be prancing around the table in my underwear singing Odo the Hero and making very embarrassing displays of my knowledge of 1980’s dance moves.
“I resent my comparison to a dead mouse. Honestly, Malfoy, didn’t your mother ever teach you to be polite to guests?”
Malfoy didn’t deign my comment worthy of an answer. Instead he rested his chin in his hands and stared at me, his eyes slightly unfocused.
“You look like a pumpkin.” He stated finally. My mouth fell open in shock. That bastard. I mean, I knew I did look very round and orange right now, with my red hair piled up into some sort of lumpy blob on top of my head but still. And sure, if anyone else had said this I would have just laughed and brushed if off, but the nerve of him! That. Sodding. Idiotic. Piece. Of. Poopy. Shit. Faced. Git.
“And you look like a koala. So glad we’ve sorted this out.” I replied calmly, shooting him an icy smile. My cold tone just bounced straight off his intoxicated shield, though. He seemed to be profoundly interested in the ant crawling across the table top.
After a couple more seconds of silence, I couldn’t take it anymore. “Can I help you?” I asked, crossing my arms across my chest. Malfoy glanced up from his study of the ant to frown.
“This is my house.” He stated. “I should be asking you that.”
Before I could retaliate with a very witty, very original comeback, Lia’s solemn voice rang out from the doorway. “Aunt Rosie? I’m hungry.” She told me sadly, looking up at me, her big grey eyes open wide and pleading. She completely ignored her older brother.
“Aunt Rosie?” Malfoy repeated, trying to mask his surprise behind a snigger. “We’re related now?”
I shook my head as I got up to fetch something for Lia to eat. “You’re just jealous that she likes me more than you,” I said calmly, grabbing an apple from the fruit basket and wiping it clean on my apron. I turned around, one eyebrow raised, daring Malfoy to contradict me.
He just shrugged and turned to his little sister. “Do you really think this red headed freak is funner than me?” He said, smirking slightly “C’mon, doll, you know you love me more.”
“You smell funny.” Was Lia’s answer. She crinkled up her nose for effect. “Rosie, can I have my apple now? My tummy is getting angry.”
I laughed and passed her the apple. “And how can you tell?” I asked, placing a kiss on top of her pale curls. “Does it whisper to you?”
“Oh no! It growls like a bear!”
I chuckled at the look of complete honesty in her eyes. Merlin, why did little kids always seem so innocent? They were monsters.
“Babysitting…” Malfoy muttered, once Lia had left the room. “Is this really what the famous Rose Weasley wants to do with her life?”
“No.” I sniffed. “This just pays for the rent.”
As soon as I said this, I expected him to laugh, or smirk, or do something equally as mocking. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for him to diss me.
But instead he tipped the head to side and said; “I’m getting a flat.”
“Then I’m very happy for you.” Was my sarcastic response. “Finally, you seem to be growing up.”
Malfoy ignored this. “It’s quite nice, actually.” He went on, staring down at his hands. He was talking so softly now, I wasn’t even sure if it was directed at me anymore. “Mother doesn’t know yet of course, but all the papers are signed. She’s going to chuck a right fit when she finds out…”
I sighed, and sat down across from him again. “Where is it?” I asked.
Hey! I’m capable of civility!
Malfoy frowned. “I forget…” He murmured, massaging his temples, “If only this blasted headache would go away…Ah!” He looked up suddenly, making me jump. “I got it! It’s in Islington…on Rosebery Avenue. I think.”
My head snapped up at this. “Rosebery Ave?” I repeated, feeling my blood go cold. “Old fashioned building, red brick, facing the gym…”
Malfoy nodded happily. “You know it?” He asked.
Slowly, I acquiesced. “Yeah.” I answered. “I know it.”
One look at the expression on my face and Malfoy’s grin slipped right off. “How?” He asked me, watching in confusion as I bit my lip. I sighed before answering; I strongly wished the next few words weren’t true.
“I live there.”
“Rosie! You look completely knackered, what did those little brats do to you!?”
Lucy Weasley wasn’t a children person. Where I was a can-support-them-in-small-quantities gal, Luc was more of a they’re-all-snotty-little-poo-faced-whiners-who-shouldn’t-inflict-their-screaming-bitch-sessions-on-other-people lady.
“I’m fine, I’m fine.” I assured my cousin, throwing myself down into my favourite couch. “The little brats were fine. It’s the big one that’s the problem.”
At my words, Lucy’s eyes widened to the size of Quaffles. “There’s a big one?” She gasped, dropping into the couch across from mine. “Bullfuck!”
My cousin has a rather…original swearing vocabulary.
I laughed and kicked off my shoes, propping my feet up on the coffee table Lucy had given me as a housewarming present. It was made of dark, smooth wood, and she had stuck pictures and photos and dried flowers on the top, in a sort of colourful collage. It was like a table-top of memories.
“I was talking about Malfoy.” I explained, passing a tired hand over my face. I could really do with a nice, long sleep right now. I dropped my hand down at the sound of Lucy laughing.
“Why do you hate him so much?” She asked me. “He actually isn’t half bad.”
I snorted. “He started it.” I muttered darkly.
“You’re turning into one of them!” Lucy cried out dramatically. She feigned falling back into the armchair in despair. “It won’t be long before I lose you, too.”
I threw a pillow at her head, rolling my eyes at her theatrics. “I can’t just quit.” I reasoned. “I need the money,”
At this, Lucy sighed. “When are you going to start living, Rosie?” She asked, picking up the cushion I had thrown at her and hugging it to her chest. “You’re working four jobs, and for what? To pay the rent?”
“I don’t really have a choice, Luc.” I protested, heaving a great sigh. This was one thing Lucy and I could never quiet agree on: My achievements. Or lack thereof. “With you at the Academy and Ivy studying full time to be a Healer, the only people paying for this place is Al and I. I can’t afford to do what I want.”
“You can’t afford to, or you’re too scared?” Lucy whispered. I glanced up at her, and I think she saw my eyes flash because she quickly steered the conversation out of dangerous waters. “I’m just worried about you, Rosie.” She sighed. “You’re working your arse off, while the rest of us are off doing what we love. It isn’t fair.”
I glanced down at the table my feet were resting on. The picture my eyes fell on was one of Ivy and I at a Halloween party a couple of years back. We were both happy and smiling, and more than a little sloshed, with our arms around each other’s shoulders. I sighed.
Lucy was right, though. The amount of time I spent working was ridiculous. All I seemed to do in my life was work. How I even manage to juggle four jobs is beyond me, so I tend to try my best not to think about it too much. Al had tried to make me a time chart once.
I don’t know where that went.
I was about to answer Lucy’s comment when the front door banged open, bringing a gust of chilly wind in with it. We both jumped a little at the sudden noise, and then turned around to see who it was; standing in the doorway were two windswept figures, one of which was struggling to close a dripping wet umbrella before walking in – to avoid bad luck, of course.
It was Al and Ivy, back from their walk. Despite their heavy coats and numerous scarves, their cheeks were still pink and flushed, and Ivy was shivering slightly. She smiled at the sight of us.
“Good greetings, fair people! What doeth thou? A fair game of checkers, perhaps? Or maybe you…” Ivy’s merry voice died down at the sight of our tense positions. She looked from Lucy to me and back again, frowning slightly.
“Who died?” Al commented, wrapping his arm around Ivy’s waist. She frowned up at him and placed a finger on his lips.
“Don’t listen to him, he’s a tactless fool.” She said brightly, shooting her boyfriend a loving look. “But seriously, what’s up? You both look like you’re ready to pounce out a window.” She sent us an encouraging smile as she pulled off her bright red coat. Al rolled his eyes at her back and did the same, removing layer after layer of woolly clothing.
“How cold is it out there?” I asked, quirking a dark brow as Ivy unwound her second scarf. She poked her tongue out at me, while Al sent me a wink. I rolled my eyes.
I waited until they had both taken seats on either side of Lucy, across from me, to make my announcement. “I have some terrible news,” I said solemnly, lifting a dramatic hand up to my chest. All three of them looked up at my words, expressions of alarm in their different coloured eyes. I stared right back into three sets of worried looking blue, hazel, and green.
“You’re pregnant?” Lucy said, clutching her pillow in alarm.
“Aunt Muriel’s dead?” Al guessed, looking hopeful. His face fell when I shook my head. I swear, that lady is going to live longer than Dumbledore.
“You got fired?” Ivy offered, sounding slightly saner and more reasonable than my other two friends.
“No, no.” I sighed, waving their guesses off. “It’s much worse than all of that.”
“What?” They asked as one.
I looked back at them, with their slightly worried expressions now overtaken by curiosity. I gulped. “Scorpius Malfoy is…” I couldn’t say it. I couldn’t! “He’s…” Oh Bullocks “…Moving into this building. He’s going to be our neighbour.” I finished sadly, burying my head in despairing hands.
And you know what they did? My three best friends in the whole wide world, who are supposed to be there to support me through thick and thin, laughed.
They just laughed!
A/N: Et voila! I have more to say about this chapter and this story in general, but right now, it's two thirty in the morning, I have a history paper to finish, and no energy to rave on about my new ideas. So I'll post them with the edit (which will come soon).
Also I apoligize for any mistakes, my brain isn't at it's top function right now. I'll fix them, promise. I just need to sleep first.
Alright, thanks for reading. Don't forget to review (:
Edit: So that took a little longer than expected. But no mind, it's up now. I really hope you like it, because it took a lot of brain versus concious battles and a big chunk out of my self esteem to write a Rose/Scorpius. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't think the pairing is cute. It is. But everybody does it. Like, everybody. I'm sure a couple of Marauder era folks have even managed to squeeze it in somewhere.
And I must admit, I'm a bit of an individualist, so this is a big step for me. But I managed! And (dare I admit) I kinda like it. So there you go! The free spirit has conformed.
It was bound to happen someday.
At least it's not a Dramione. Those stories nearly beat Robert Pattinson on the shudder worthy radar (Sorry to all you Dramione lovers out there - this is just a peronal opinion. You can go on loving it, if you may). Is there a nickname like that for Rose and Scorpius? Rorpius? Rosius? Scose?
Ah, anyway, pay no mind to my meaningless babble. I should let you go forth and review.
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