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Chapter 20 : Patrolling with Scorpius
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Considering how busy her Mondays were, she thought the day went rather well. Class passed quickly, and she even found a little time to flirt with Scorpius during Care of Magical Creatures and History of Magic.
She was in such a good mood that when she headed to the library once classes had ended, she managed to finish her Potions work and make a dent in Transfiguration before it was time for dinner.
Feeling very pleased with herself, she made her way down to the Great Hall. When she entered, she made a beeline for the Hufflepuff table; she kept trying to make plans to see her brother, but they kept falling through, and she was starting to think it might be easier to just eat with him a couple times a week. On the way, however, a very harassed looking Evelyn Greengrass cornered her.
“Rose, I’m so glad you’re here,” she said breathlessly. “Can you do me a favor?”
“Pritchard ended up in the hospital wing after they had Herbology today and Wood somehow managed to land himself in detention,” Evelyn said very quickly. “Would you switch with them and patrol tonight? Noah’s already said he will. It’s only that if you can’t, Ethan and I have to do it, because the other fifth years have clubs or practice this evening and you obviously can’t switch with the sixth years, and I have a big Herbology assignment due tomorrow, and Tuesday is always one of my worst days even without that—”
“Evelyn,” Rose interrupted, “it’s fine. I don’t mind.”
Evelyn blew out a sigh of relief and seemed to relax considerably. “I could hug you right now. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”
“It’s really not a problem,” she said, shifting her bag from one shoulder to the other. Gratitude tended to make her feel rather uncomfortable. “Though I’m still not sure why I got made a prefect in the first place.”
“Oh, well, a few of the older prefects recommended you,” Evelyn said distractedly, her mind clearly already on her homework. “Thanks, Rose.”
“No problem,” Rose said, wondering who those ‘older prefects’ were. She suspected Lucy was one of them, but she had no idea who the others could be.
She put it out of her mind and continued on to the Hufflepuff table, where she had a very enjoyable dinner. Natalia and Daniel regaled her with the story of just how Lindsay Pritchard had ended up passing out after receiving a very nasty bite, and Hugo spent a solid twenty minutes talking about how much he liked Ancient Runes. That, at least, was a subject Rose could converse enthusiastically on; it was one of her favorite classes, too.
When she noticed that it was just before seven, she got up. “Sorry, guys. Patrol. I’ll see you in later.”
Hugo made a face. “Why’d they make you a prefect anyway? I never see you anymore.”
She shrugged. “Search me. We’ll do something soon, I promise.” She hurried toward the double doors, where she could see Noah waiting.
“Lucky us,” he said when she reached him.
“I don’t mind so much,” she said. “By the time Evelyn got to me, I thought she was going to cry.”
“I wanted to practice my Patronus, but Andrew cornered me, and… well, he’s my brother. What was I supposed to say? Sod off?” He sighed. “Same as last time?”
“That’s fine,” Rose said, and they set off.
She wasn’t even halfway down her first corridor when she heard a voice behind her. “Fancy meeting you here.”
She turned around. “I have to patrol right now, Scorpius.”
“Is there any reason I can’t keep you company?”
Rose thought about it for a minute. “Provided you don’t start snogging me, I guess not.”
He blew out a breath and gave her a very exaggerated look of disappointment. “Too bad.”
She crossed her arms. “You know, no matter how fun it is, more kissing is not going to convince me that we should - well, you know.”
He considered that. “Good point. But regardless, no, your company is not only worth something if I might get a kiss out of it.”
Something occurred to her. She wasn’t sure if this was the right time to bring it up, but it had been bothering her, so she decided to risk it. “You know that time I was eavesdropping on you?” She winced. “Okay, that was not the best way to start that sentence.”
“When I was with Albus, or with Noah?” She glanced at him, and saw a glint in his eye she wasn’t sure she liked.
“With Albus, but now that you mention Noah - of course I don’t own an invisibility cloak, that’s crazy. It was just a disillusionment charm.”
“You can cast a disillusionment charm?” he asked skeptically.
Rose saw the danger and quickly avoided it. “No, of course not. I had a friend cast it on me.” He opened his mouth, and she added quickly, “I’m not telling you who.”
He sighed. “Well, what about the time I was with Albus?” he asked warily.
“You said something about me getting top marks in our year.”
Rose wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting, but judging from the surprise on his face, this wasn’t it. “Yeah, I did.”
“Well, I don’t know if you were just exaggerating or not, but if you weren’t, you’re wrong.” She wasn’t sure why it had been bothering her so much, but she’d been dwelling on it more than she liked.
He stopped. “How was I wrong?”
“I really need to be patrolling. You can walk and talk at the same time,” she told him, and peeked inside the classroom they were passing. No one was there.
“Why was I wrong?” he repeated, starting to walk again.
Rose opened the door to another classroom and scanned it. For the first time, it occurred to her that prefects were probably very annoying for couples that wanted some alone time - probably because she was starting to want more privacy with Scorpius than she’d ever wanted with Damien or Julian.
“For one thing, you get better marks than I do sometimes.”
She looked at him, and saw that he was rolling his eyes. “It doesn’t count. Come on, Red—” Her eyebrows rose, and he hurried to amend the statement. “Come on, Rose. I’m marginally better than you in a few subjects. It’s not enough to matter. You’re much better than me in plenty of them.”
“You’re a lot better than me in Astronomy,” she pointed out, looking into another classroom.
“Am I?” he asked in a tone of surprise.
“Of course you are. I’m terrible in Astronomy. I’ll be lucky if I get an A on my O.W.L.”
Rose groaned. “Yes, really. The only reason I even pass is because James helps me with it.”
“Oh.” They walked for a moment without saying anything, and as she was opening another door, he said, “Well, it’s still only one class.”
“You’re also better than me at Charms - and I’ve been paying attention, you play it down but you’re as good as me and Albus at Defense Against the Dark Arts.” He smirked a little at that - it was true, he did play it down, but Rose would have bet galleons that he’d get the same grade on his O.W.L. as she and Albus did, and they were usually considered the best in the year. “I also do work hard to get good marks, shocking as it might sound.” She closed the door and continued on.
Scorpius sighed. “I’m starting to realize that,” he said as they turned the corner. “Where do you find the time?”
“I’m a quick reader, I work well under pressure, and sometimes I don’t sleep,” she said, shrugging. “And, by the way, my cousins do the same thing, though I think that Roxanne’s the only one who does as well you think she does.”
“James does pretty damn well, too. He’s my best friend’s brother, I’ve got a pretty good idea of the marks he gets.”
“James, who got a T on one of his O.W.L.s?”
“He got a T?” His surprise was justified - most people couldn’t manage Ts even in their worst subjects. She might have felt bad talking about James’ marks to Scorpius, except that she knew James didn’t care. He found his T very amusing. “In what?” he asked.
“History of Magic,” Rose answered.
He let out a loud laugh. “Of course it was. Who could blame him? But how did he end up with a T?”
She shrugged. “He skipped class, didn’t pay attention when he was there, and never studied.”
“Are you really saying you all aren’t a little arrogant?” His voice was laden with skepticism.
“No,” Rose said. “I’m not, but you still weren’t being fair.” She paused for a moment, deciding whether or not she wanted to broach what was sure to be a very awkward subject. Well, she usually wasn’t one to back down from a fight. “Especially to James.”
He stared at her. “I wasn’t being fair?”
“That is what I said,” she told him, starting down the stairs toward the dungeons.
“Your brilliant cousin has been nothing so much as incredibly unpleasant every time he’s had to interact with me for the last four years,” he said as he followed her. “I’m sure that any day now, he’s going to jinx my hair red again. Or worse. I saw the way he looked at me when they found us.”
“No, he won’t. Roxanne wanted to, but he talked her out of it.” Rose couldn’t keep the smugness out of her voice.
Scorpius looked like he’d been hit over the head with a sledgehammer. “Why? I know he doesn’t like me.”
“He said it wasn’t fair to go after you just because you had the bad luck to like his cousin. And anyway, I like you.”
He shook his head. “But why would he start being decent now that I’m snogging one of his favorite cousins when he hasn’t managed it in the four years I’ve been friends with his brother?”
“Probably because it’s easier to ignore your brother’s friend than your cousin’s boyfriend,” she pointed out. “And anyway, James doesn’t really hate you. He just doesn’t like you very much.”
Scorpius was clearly struggling with the entire concept. “You’re saying that he hasn’t tried to convince you that I’m a terrible person and you shouldn’t waste your time on me?”
“Hardly.” Scorpius clearly didn’t know James at all. “He’s just said that he feels bad for you and that I should really tell Albus if I’m going to be kissing you. He doesn’t think you’re a bad person, you know.”
Scorpius looked thoughtful. “But you didn’t tell Roxanne, did you? She looked genuinely surprised.” Rose shook her head. “Why not?”
“Roxanne has the subtlety of a bludger, and she dislikes Slytherins on principle a lot more than James. She wouldn’t have been very sympathetic.”
He looked like he wanted to press her further for a moment, but seemed to decide to let it go. “So then,” he said casually, “which of them turned my hair this awful color?” Rose didn’t answer. “Oh, come on. It had to be one of them.”
“You don’t think it could have been my brother?” she asked.
The possibility clearly hadn’t occurred to him. “He’s a third year. He wouldn’t be able to cast a spell like this, I can’t even find the counterjinx.” His voice, however, lacked conviction, and she could see the wheels turning in his head.
“Oh, it’s mostly faded away, now,” Rose pointed out. She stopped under a torch and reached out to touch it. “It’s blond now, at least.”
He gave a slight shiver, and she was suddenly aware of how close they were standing to each other. She would barely have to lean forward to brush her lips against his. “It’s not my blond,” he said. She could hear a slight quiver in his voice; he was clearly think the same thing she was.
She stepped back. “I’m on patrol,” she reminded him. Her heart was pounding - she could even feel it in her ears. She took another step backward to further remove herself from what was turning out to be significant temptation.
Scorpius nodded reluctantly. “Right.” He didn’t close the distance - he seemed to be trying to collect himself, too.
Rose opened the door to the Potions classroom. It was empty. “What do you want to do after Hogwarts?” she asked as she closed the door.
He didn’t answer for a moment, and she looked over at him. “Sorry,” he said. “I’m just a little thrown by the question. It’s still a bit odd to actually have a normal conversation with you.”
As she let out a laugh, a couple Slytherins walked around the corner. They both stopped in their tracks at the sight of her with Scorpius.
“Can I help you?” she asked coldly. When Flint opened his mouth, she added, “You might want to be careful what you say. I am a prefect, you know.”
He glared at her, but the reminder seemed to silence them - at least for now.
Scorpius sighed, and she realized belatedly that escalating the situation might not be helpful for him.
“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t think.”
He wrinkled his nose. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. They’ll give me hell about this one way or another, especially if it works out the way I want - there’s no stopping that. I don’t really care.”
“And how do you want it to work out?”
Scorpius reached out, put an arm around her waist, and pulled her closer to him. “Don’t play dumb.” He pressed his lips to hers.
When they parted, she felt a smile spreading across her face. He really was very good at kissing. “I’m still not clear, sorry. Maybe you should kiss me again.”
He rolled his eyes and let her go. “I’d clear it up for you, but apparently, you have to patrol,” he said. “What were you asking before? What I want to do after Hogwarts?”
“Yes.” Rose could still feel the butterflies in her stomach.
He frowned. “I’m not sure. I think I want to be a Healer.”
“Huh.” She wasn’t sure what answer she’d been expecting, but she knew it wasn’t that. “You do know you have to keep taking Herbology for that, right?”
“I know,” he said unhappily. “I’m not looking forward to it.” He glanced at her. “What, are you surprised?”
“Yes,” she admitted, “although I don’t know why. I wasn’t expecting any particular answer.”
“Well, that’s what it is. What about you?”
Their footsteps echoed in the otherwise empty hallway while she thought. “I don’t know,” she said after a moment. “For awhile, I was thinking of becoming an Auror, but over the summer, I overheard Victoire talking to my uncle about magical creatures. Apparently they’re becoming a serious problem - and she works for the D.C.B., she would know.” She hoped he wouldn’t ask how she’d overheard it - she and James had been doing what she thought was some well-justified eavesdropping, though Victoire had told them plenty on her own to get them sufficiently intrigued in the first place.
“Are all of your cousins into danger and recklessness, then?”
“Not all,” she said. “But most of us… yes. Like I said, V’s in the D.C.B., Dominique went in for Dragon Research, and Molly’s doing some work for the Aurors that’s so secret she can’t tell us a thing about it. I know Louis wants to be a Hit Wizard, and Lucy’s planning to join the Department of Mysteries.”
“So it isn’t just the Gryffindors who are into danger, then.”
“No, but we are, too - Roxanne just wants to be a Beater, which isn’t tame, really, James also wants to join the D.C.B., and Albus has been talking a lot about wanting to be an Auror lately.”
“Yeah, he’s said that,” Scorpius commented. “I didn’t know whether he was really serious about it, though.”
“I think he is,” she said. “I’m not sure what Hugo and Lily are planning to do yet, they’re too young, but recently Hugo’s latched onto the idea of being a Cursebreaker. He’s loving Ancient Runes. I’m not sure about Lily, though - she’s a bit more a gentle soul than the rest of us hellions.”
“Yeah, she is,” Scorpius said with obvious affection. The animosity he and James had always fostered had never extended to Albus’s sister, who’d always liked her brother’s best friend. “So, the D.C.B. for you, too, then? I’ve heard my cousin Johanna talk about them - she’s got some good friends in it.”
“Maybe. It sounds like the most exciting.” Victoire probably hadn’t been intending to sell her department as a good career choice, but the stories she told had definitely succeeded in capturing both Rose’s and James’s attention.
“By exciting, don’t you mean dangerous?” Scorpius was clearly perturbed.
“Sure,” she said, and looked over at him. “Why? Does that bother you?”
He thought for a minute and then shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ll figure it out if it becomes relevant.” She started ascending the stairs. “I’m not a coward, you know.”
Rose looked back, startled. “Did I say that you were?”
“No,” he said, “but if that’s what your family is like, most people look like cowards, and I want you to know that I’m not, even though the idea of being attacked by a, a manticore or something doesn’t exactly appeal to me.”
“Scorpius, I don’t think you’re a coward. A jerk, sometimes, but not a coward.”
At the top of the third floor, they saw Noah coming down toward the fourth floor.
“You’d think we planned it this way,” she called out.
Noah grinned. “You’d think.” He looked at his cousin. “Scorpius, I didn’t realize that Rose needed help patrolling.”
Scorpius did not look remotely abashed. “I’m just keeping her company. I’m hoping she realizes how attracted she is to my winning personality and witty comebacks.”
“If that’s what you’re relying on, good luck.”
“It seems to be working okay. I’m hoping for a goodnight kiss.” Rose rolled her eyes at Noah, who grinned back.
“Yeah, right. All you want are a few kisses, right?”
Scorpius shrugged. “Well, to start with. Can you blame me?”
That drew a laugh from Noah. “I’m not touching that question.” He turned around and headed back up the stairs. “Good luck.”
Rose and Scorpius walked together for another half hour, during which time she started to feel a little discomforted by just how much she liked this boy who she’d spent four years absolutely despising. When her patrol was done and they were standing at the foot of the stairs that would lead her up toward Gryffindor tower, she asked, “Did you want that goodnight kiss, then?”
He didn’t wait for her to kiss him.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and as always, I would love to hear your thoughts if you could take the time to leave a short (or long!) review. :) Either way, thanks so you for reading!
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