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The Dark of Night by HarrietHopkirk
Chapter 8 : VIII
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7


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Rose Weasley was lurking around the entrance to the dungeons, hidden from view by a large statue of some prominent potioneer, and watched as her classmates piled in the classroom. Her heart was beating ferociously, but it subsided as the last few people trickled in and the door shut with a heavy slam.

It had been a rather sudden change of heart, in comparison with her usual need to analyse everything from different angles. Rose usually predicted every single possible outcome, every advantage and disadvantage, what her choice would mean in the long run. Her whole life had been a strict regime of rules and regulations, and it had worked for her.

But her decision to befriend Scorpius Malfoy had been rushed. It had been almost instantaneous, and when the idea had planted itself in her subconscious, it had grown and grown like an infection or a particularly resilient weed and she had almost surprised herself with her determination to see her mission completed. Rose supposed the concept of helping the weak and defenceless had been lodged her mind unconsciously - she sometimes found herself concocting plans about turning her cousin Albus on to the right path - but she never thought that the ideas would come to fruition, and with someone so remarkably far from her comfortable inner circle.

Helping people was in her nature: that was why she was Head Girl, not that her mother was on the board of governors or that her uncle saved the Wizarding World. She would often be seen strolling the corridors with first-years, instructing them on the correct way to brew a boil cure potion, or comforting some love struck fourth-year when her crush ignored her. Rose Weasley was the very definition of caring and giving.

She supposed Scorpius Malfoy was just another one of those lost souls, in desperate need of guidance. His father, his own house and most of all the seductive and frivolous behaviour of her own cousin had led him astray. Rose had grimaced at the cigarettes he smoked almost hourly, and she disapproved of the silly Muggle novels he pored over and his positively unhealthy relationship with Elodie Desmarais. To her, most definitely, most assuredly, he was another project, nothing more. This was a new challenge for her. She'd never done a Slytherin before.

But it was not without hard work: plenty of planning had gone into the idea, nights spent lying awake in her bed, cogs whirring in her brain. The Malfoy heir was a famous recluse - no one knew much about him, apart from what was splashed about in newspaper: only son born into family that once had money and power but had made all wrong choices. School gossip had failed her; she had found out only minute details of his relationship with Desmarais, and a lot of other rumours that either contradicted themselves or were just plain ridiculous. Her own research had got her nowhere, aside from extra facts surrounding his family’s history and their involvement with the Dark Lord.

She imagined, briefly, what his childhood would have been like, cooped up in the hallowed halls of Malfoy Manor with only a house elf for company. His presence would have been required at various engagements and his mother would have fawned and cooed over him in front of others, but when the night came and they returned home, she would abandon him. He would have been thrust into the arms of a waiting nanny and the rest of evening would be spent lying in a cold bed waiting for sleep to take him.

In comparison, her own childhood had been a world of colour and happiness and when she looked back on it, it seemed only to made up of sunny days and summer nights. Her parents loved and adored her, and her massive extended family made sure that she was never lonely, that there was always someone there for her... not that she ever needed anyone, of course, but it was nice to know they were there.

And when Rose felt that maybe her decision wasn't born out of a desire to help the suffering, but of a familiar, far baser instinct - her jealously of her cousin - she was visited by a memory so intense and real that it felt as if she were living it again for the first time.

She had been sixteen and it was, like it always seemed to be when she recalled her childhood memories, summer. The sun had just set, and the air had been filled with the smell of freshly cut grass and the grunts of the gnomes that still waddled around the Burrow. She wandered lazily through the garden as her footsteps took her up towards the orchard and then she looked back, towards the rest of her family, and watched as they moved back into the house. Lights were lit in various windows and darkness fell.

She looked back on the day they had spent at the lake, wrapping her wet hair into a bun. Victoire and Dominique had started an argument; one of them had borrowed the other’s swimming costume without asking and apparently that rewarded a fully blown shouting match complete with comparisons with hippogriffs and wishing that the other was in Slytherin. It was petty, even by Rose’s standards, and her and her cousins had merely stood and watched. Victoire had begun to cry: fat, ugly tears had trickled down her porcelain face and Teddy, the ever-loving boyfriend, had rushed to her aid.

Rose had found them when she finally reached the orchard. They were locked in some naked embrace, legs and arms wrapped so tightly around each other that she thought they could be one being. A warm breeze brushed the leaves and trees around them, and suddenly the air was filled with the sweaty scent of betrayal and the sighs of the two teenagers. Rose felt bile rise up in her throat, but her disgust was accompanied with a strange jealously and an even more morbid curiosity. She touched her fingers to her own lips, which had never once graced anyone else’s.

“Rose!”

And when they finally realised that she had been standing there, she had ran down the hill at full pelt, leaving Teddy and Dominique to struggle with their clothes and their secrets. Rose had hidden in her room for the rest of the evening, on the pretence of being tired, and when she heard Dominique creep in at way passed midnight, she had nothing to say to her. In the morning, Rose had put on her best and shortest dress, borrowed a tube of lipstick from her cousin, and walked into the nearest town.

Still squashed behind the statue, Rose once again touched her fingers to her lips. Her first kiss had always been something she thought she would treasure, but instead the memory plagued her. The boy had been tall and stocky (not at all the elegant and well defined man she had envisioned in her school girl dreams) and she hadn’t enjoyed it.

Dominique had never talked to her about that night in the orchard. She had assumed, in that wonderful childhood fashion that secrets were secrets and should not be spread, that Rose would keep the memory hidden. And Rose did, until Dominique decided to get drunk and tell the entire Ravenclaw Quidditch team that Rose was a stuck-up virgin, and then she had accidentally spilt the secret into the school rumour mill.

Although she would never admit it - not to her family, not to Oscar, not to anyone - her desire and her need to keep up with her cousin had started when they were small. Dominique was the first to read, to walk, to perfect the beauteous hair flip that would have so many on their knees.

And so Scorpius Malfoy was just another thing she needed, and Rose was determined that she would hold onto him longer than Dominique had.

Rose knew, from her observations of him in the past few days, that Scorpius would sit alone in class. In potions (the only class they shared) he inhabited a small table at the back of the class. She assumed that if she was late, if the other chairs and tables where she usually sat had been filled with other students, she would have no choice but to sit next to Malfoy, at the only spare seat in the room. No one else would dare sit there, not even his housemates, and so she would be free to introduce herself, make conversation, and then win.

She crept out from behind the statue, making sure absolutely no one was looking. She rearranged her hair and her skirt, patted her cheeks twice and started to breathe heavily before opening the door to the classroom.

“Ah, Miss Weasley...”

“I’m sorry sir, I had to talk to Professor Childray. Something about an extra NEWT.”

“Very well. Please take a seat.”





Several months ago - long before the Christmas that had ruined everything - Elodie Desmarais had returned from a family dinner, only to find Scorpius’ bedroom empty. He had tucked himself away in his father's study, sitting on the sofa and reading a book with such an intense focus that Elodie positively ached with her sense of his beauty. A part of her almost resented him for hiding the beautiful curve of his cheek and the slant of his eye away in a back room, but as her eyes travelled down the curve of his shoulders and the sprinkling of dark hairs on his exposed arms, she had felt a wave of possessive panic. If only they could have been alone like that forever.

Elodie felt the same feeling, looking at Scorpius now, his face half in shadow from the vaulted ceiling and grimy windows of the dungeon classroom. It made her sad, almost, to think of a time when they were happy, and they were together.

At the beginning, she had suspected there was something profoundly wrong with her: something inherently cold. Her own mother had been unsympathetic and almost annoyingly elegant - the cry of a baby or squeal of a child had repelled her - and so Elodie’s childhood had been spent in uncomfortable dresses or in her room.

Of all the men she had been with, only Scorpius truly understood that she was, at her core, cool. Scorpius had said he hadn't minded; that he had preferred it that way. Emotions are messy, he had had said, as he pressed his lips against her skin, it’s easier this way. In moments when he was too far away from her, she would simply remind herself that she and Scorpius liked standing alone, belonging to themselves first and to their relationship second. And so the early days of their relationship had been defined by a chilly aloof quality that had suited both of them. Elodie had at first called it maturity, but when she found herself feeling lonely, the hard lines of it had terrified her.

She remembered tentatively asking whether they could be anything more. It had been winter and she had rushed into the dormitory, tears streaming down her face, and collapsed into his arms. (She had cringed later at her melodramatic entrance, at his bewildered stare). Scorpius had seemed hesitant at first, before he wrapped his arms tight around her, and they stayed silent for what seemed like an age.

Looking back on it, the reason for her meltdown had seemed ridiculous - some argument with her mother about some dreary occasion where she was meant to escort some dreary boy around a ballroom. She had refused, and they had argued. A hatefully spiteful letter had been received and Elodie had found herself alone; Madeleine and Genevieve had always enjoyed those events and the social etiquette that came with them and so could not sympathise. Elodie had needed someone to speak to, and he had been there. The moment had changed the dynamic of their relationship drastically.

It was strange, at first, to be so heavily dependent on someone as Elodie was on Scorpius. She had begun to find her friends boring and vapid, their talk of boys and betrothals becoming simply white noise in her ears, and longed for the days and nights spent in his company.

Elodie opened her book to the correct page, trying to avoid looking at the far corner where Scorpius was seated. She wouldn’t tell anyone, but losing that dependency was the worst night of her life. She had no one now.

“Elodie?”

The sound of her name broke her reverie. “Yes?”

“Surely people will realise you aren’t together if you sit apart all the time.”

“We’re having an argument,” Elodie replied, and she had trouble keeping a sardonic tone from creeping through her words.

“It seems like you’re arguing all the time,” Madeleine replied. Elodie stared at the girls’ faces; they were both beautiful, painfully so, and their pale skin and dark hair shone more brightly in the dark light of the dungeons. They were classical, elegant - a remnant of a lost era when your social status depended on the purity of your blood rather than which side you chose - and they looked more at home here, in the damp and the cold, surrounded by the eyes of dead animals suspended in liquid. But Elodie could point out the faults in them: the dark circles under Genevieve’s eyes, the rough and bitten nail beds of Madeleine’s fingers, and suddenly they seemed less than the perfect people they pretended to be, and more like mere mortals. The images made Elodie feel more superior, more in control.

“We are.”

Madeleine sighed, and Genevieve rolled her eyes. Elodie turned to listen to the teacher as he explained the potion they were making today, ignoring the scandalised whispers of her friends. She was bored of them, and of their ridiculous conversations. Even for Elodie, who had perfected the fake smile eons ago, it was hard to be consistent. She still found herself longing for Scorpius, even just for some civilised conversation, and it made it even harder that she was pretending to be with him.

“Ah, Miss Weasley...”

“I’m sorry sir, I had to talk to Professor Childray. Something about an extra NEWT.”

“Very well. Please take a seat.”

Ageing potion, the blackboard said, and Elodie began to scribble down some notes. Causes the drinker to age substantially. The more potion the drinker consumes, the more...

“I can’t believe it,” Madeleine said, and Genevieve murmured her agreement.. Elodie ignored her. They were probably talking about some rumour about somebody vaguely interesting. Ultimately, it wasn’t worth her time. She continued to write. The effects of the potion are considered to be temporary. Other magical charms can detect theses effects, for example an...

Someone poked her elbow and the quill slipped.

“I’m sure it’s frightfully interesting, but I really should...”

Elodie had never though of herself as a jealous person. There had never been any reason for her to envy someone else, although several times she had found herself staring the shininess of Dominique Weasley’s hair or the affectionate way mothers would hug their children at the train station. So when she felt an unusual twinge in her stomach at the sight of Rose Weasley, standing next to Scorpius, she supposed it was something she ate. Being jealous was undignified.

Scorpius didn’t even look at Rose, and Elodie felt a triumphant smile grace her features. She watched as the other girl attempted to get his attention, going so far as to cock her hip and sigh loudly, and Elodie frowned at her petty and petulant nature.

The Head Girl’s voice was muffled by the noise of the classroom. “Excuse me.”

Scorpius turned his head, and he looked more beautiful than before.

“May I sit there?”

Elodie knew at that instant that Rose was not as oblivious as she appeared; she could see that Rose felt the flush of embarrassment that comes with ideas above one's station. It was humiliating for her to have to ask Scorpius for permission to sit next to him. With any other person, they would remove their bag and sweep the seat down before offering it to her on their knees. She was the Head Girl. She was Rose Weasley. If you didn’t, a rumour about your sexual attitudes or your father’s exploits would be sweeping the school by the next day.

Worse was the knowledge that Scorpius was achingly aware of his power. For a moment, Elodie wondered whether he would lash out. But, strangely, he held his tongue. He would never bother with someone as trivial as Rose Weasley.

And with that thought, that very optimistic thought, Elodie returned her focus to the blackboard.





Ageing potion causes the drinker to age substantially. The more potion the drinker consumes, the more he or she ages. The effects of the potion are considered to be temporary. Other magical charms can detect theses effects, for example an age line.

Albus Potter closed his book and, with a surprising level of care, made sure that his quill and his parchment were aligned at perfect right angles. His cauldron sat in front of him, clean and polished, and his ingredients were arranged in height order next to it. He reached up to smooth his hair down and straighten his tie, and then turned to stare at the empty chair beside him.

He imagined, for a moment, before the teacher began speaking and his mind would try and comprehend the complicity of the lesson’s potion, what it would be like if someone had chosen to sit next to him. Albus knew, obviously, that he would be shy and incoherent, his voice a mere mutter, and the person would widen their eyes at his odd disposition. He would dread to think what would happen if Genevieve or Madeleine - or, Merlin forbid, Elodie - had decided to sit next to him.

He found himself miming lines to himself; he smirked and cocked his eyebrows, opening and closing his lips so the flirtatious words and coquettish sentences flowed mutely from his mouth. He gestured lazily to the seat next to him, and even ran his fingers through his hair like he had seen Malfoy do. Only when he saw two Hufflepuffs staring at him did he stop. His hands returned to his hair and flattened it again, reminding himself that it was safer to tease the possibility in his mind. It was easier to stay on the outskirts.

Malfoy was reading a new book today. Albus could see the pages of it on his lap, hidden from the professor’s view by the wooden table. He also watched as the boy’s fingers twitched towards the cigarette packet in his trouser pocket. Maybe the reading quelled his addiction, even for just a second.

“Ah, Miss Weasley...”

“I’m sorry sir, I had to talk to Professor Childray. Something about an extra NEWT.”

“Very well. Please take a seat.”

Albus had expected to hear the thump of books upon the table, the exasperated sigh of his cousin as she flounced across the room and threw herself dramatically in to the seat next to him. There were no free places, aside from the one next to him and the one next to Malfoy, and Albus suspected that the Head Girl would rather sit next to her anti-social cousin rather than the boy that represented all she despised.

He was wrong.

Rose had chosen to sit next to Scorpius Malfoy, of all people. His fellow classmates would notice, obviously, and the action would not go unobserved by the school population. Fred and Roxanne would tease her, and Lily would shudder and whisper insults in her annoyingly high-pitched voice. Dominique would simply glance moodily at her over-ambitious cousin, her chin tilted at a too-high angle to be natural. Albus remembered all the times they had laughed and joked about the boy, about what his family had believed in, when their words had stopped being jovial and became darker, more menacing.

The complexity of the situation frustrated him, and when the professor began talking, Albus struggled to understand what he was saying. He felt he should have looked closer; frozen time and stepped into the scene, observing the way Rose’s eyes fell on the blonde man, the movement of her lips or her hands. He should have been able to decipher Malfoy’s reaction. He felt silly for imagining the scene between himself and some beautiful girl, where he was handsome and charming, instead of watching, observing. He would have been able to find answers in their eyes.

Malfoy must be the object of some desire, some quality, that she wanted or needed to possess.

Rose had chosen to sit next to Scorpius Malfoy. Dominique had chosen to fall in love with him. When had Malfoy suddenly become an object of fascination? Why had his cousins decided that he was worth their time and effort? Why did he, who had spent so many years and wasted so much energy on understanding the boy, feel as if he was simply a follower of this new fad, and not the initiator? He almost felt pity for them; that it had taken them so long to discover Scorpius, but his own strange swoop of possessiveness had repulsed him. If belonged to anyone, it was Elodie.

There was something perfect about Scorpius and Elodie as a couple. When they were near each other, there was a sense of electricity in the air. And Albus was quietly convinced that they would combust, and the resulting blaze would either destroy them entirely, or make them stronger. One thing that Albus was certain of, was that neither of them would find an adequate replacement for the other. And so they walked around as two halves, and the effect was that of an amputee – the sickening sense of something missing that should be there.

And she looked beautiful today.





“Ah, Miss Weasley...”

“I’m sorry sir, I had to talk to Professor Childray. Something about an extra NEWT.”

“Very well. Please take a seat.”

The words seemed muffled through Scorpius Malfoy’s ears as he finished the last few pages of his chapter. Only when he heard the soft cough of a seasoned attention seeker and the hurried whispers of his classmates did he close the book and place it carefully on the table. Almost immediately he felt a sheen of sweat on his forehead, and the need for a cigarette smothered his senses; the words and sentences presented a better remedy than the spells Elodie had made him use.

“Excuse me?”

Scorpius turned to acknowledge her. The girl’s polished perfection seemed too pronounced in the underground room, full of dark corners and deathly poisons. It seemed too fake, too manufactured, from the neatness of her straightened collar to the precise positioning of her auburn curls. She was similar to her cousin in some ways: their face shape was alike, they had the same smattering of freckles, her meticulous appearance. He could also highlight the differences: the cool exterior of someone who thought themselves superior to you, the soft, pink hands of the over-pampered. His lip curled.

“May I sit here?”

He fought the temptation to smirk at the blush that covered her cheeks. She felt embarrassed, and her apathetic facade suddenly seemed pointless. He could just picture her dropping all her books to the floor, tucking her hair behind her ear as she struggled to control herself, her words coming out in a strained mumble.

He fought the urge to lash out at her and so, instead, he nodded slowly.

She moved around the table and placed her books on the table. He picked up the book again, found his current page. He tried to read, but instead he looked over the top of the novel to gaze, first questioningly at Rose Weasley, then longingly at Elodie, who was defiantly staring at the blackboard.

“Right, let’s begin.”

 





Look at all those words. Originally, I had only written six lines of dialogue in the whole chapter... but it was pretty hefty to read. Thanks to Annie who read this over for me. Thanks for reading! I would really appreciate your feedback!


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