Chapter 22 : Fighting with Scorpius
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It took Rose a moment to remember what he was talking about. “I forgot,” she said as she retreated back down the stairs.
Her cousin rolled his eyes. "Of course you did."
“Well, it’s been a long day.”
He didn’t look sympathetic, probably because a significant part of her long day had involved sneaking into the village to see Fred and playing exploding snap with Marion once James had gone to Transfiguration.
Scorpius was already there when they arrived. He looked up from his Potions book as they sat down across from them. "Get caught?" he asked. Albus had clearly enlightened him on why Rose had rushed off in such a hurry.
Rose smirked as she pulled her Arithmancy essay out of her bag. "Of course not. We never do." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Albus and Scorpius exchange a look, but neither bothered to respond.
Other than a few whispered questions, they worked in silence. Rose glanced up at the clock frequently, and when it hit six o’clock, she began to stuff her books into it.
“You’re done already?” Scorpius asked in surprise.
"No, but I'm hungry - I skipped lunch, remember? If you both want to keep working for a bit, go ahead, but I need to eat something."
She was not surprised when Scorpius immediately began to pack up his bag. Albus waved them off. "I'll be down in a little while, I want to finish this essay first," he said. He was clearly amused by how eager his friend was to follow Rose out of the library.
As they left the library, she glanced at Scorpius. “You know I’m not sitting with you at the Slytherin table, right?”
“I know,” he said cheerfully, shoving his hands inside his pockets. “But I figured I’d walk you down and leave you to enjoy dinner with your narcissistic cousin.” She stopped dead in her tracks, and he looked at her, clearly realizing a moment too late that he’d stepped over the line. “I mean—”
With difficulty, she managed to restrain herself from taking out her wand. "Don't insult James," she snapped. He opened his mouth, but she cut him off before he could say anything. “You don’t have to like him, but if you can’t keep your mouth shut, you can sod off right now.”
At this point, she had him backed up against a wall, and he swallowed audibly. However, when he replied, his voice was just as irritated as hers was.
“Oh, so that’s it, then?” he asked. “Your brilliant cousin can treat me like scum for four years, but if I want to get with you I just have to shut up and take it?”
Rose was caught between wanting to take out her wand to jinx the hell out of him and feeling vaguely pleased that at least liking her hadn’t completely taken away his backbone.
She crossed her arms and backed off a little. “I don’t care what you think of him or why, he’s my cousin and I love him and I’m not going to just stand here while some stupid snake has a go at him.”
His eyes had narrowed considerably, and the sneer she’d always disliked so much was back for the first time in weeks. “Don’t call me names.”
"Then don't insult my cousin.”
Scorpius closed his eyes for a minute and took several deep breaths. When he opened them, he looked a little calmer. "Fine. I'm sorry I insulted your cousin." When she didn’t respond, he said patiently, “See, this is the part where you also apologize for calling me names."
"Fine," she said shortly. "I'm sorry I called you names. Even though you deserved it."
He shook his head - she wasn’t sure whether it was in disbelief or disgust. “You know, James decided he didn’t like me within about three minutes of meeting me. I’m pretty sure he’s the one who turned my hair that awful shade of red. It’s a little rich for you to tell me to be nice to him.”
This had been exactly what Rose had been afraid of at the outset. Once the novelty wore off, they were going to discover that they really did dislike each other after all.
Scorpius said he liked her. She was pretty sure she believed him, especially since everyone else did, too. However, if he couldn’t restrain himself from insulting James at every opportunity, there wasn’t any potential for a relationship with him.
“Well, I’ve liked you for about three weeks. I’ve loved James for fifteen years. He’s always there for me. He’s the one who kept me from failing Astronomy first and second year.” Scorpius tried to say something, but she talked over him. “When I was worried about not being good enough for the team, James spent hours helping me practice. When I’ve fallen asleep writing essays, he’s finished them for me.”
She stopped for breath, and Scorpius tried to take advantage of the pause. “Rose—”
“Oh, and that map you were so impressed by? It belongs to James, really, and he always gives it to me if I ask for it. He’s one of the most selfless, caring people I’ve ever met in my life. So shut your mouth about James. You don't understand at all.”
He regarded her warily. “Are you done?” he asked after a moment. She nodded. "Look.” He was clearly choosing his words very carefully. "I'm not saying that he hasn’t been good to you. I'm just saying he's always been awful to me."
Part of Rose knew that he was trying to be reasonable, but it wasn’t enough to overpower her indignation. “Well, he hasn’t done anything to you since we became a thing, so why don’t you wait for that before you insult him?”
Scorpius took a cautious step forward. "Will you please just calm down?" he asked, putting his hands on her shoulders. She tried to half-heartedly to shrug them off, but he didn’t cede the position. “Fine. I’ll keep my mouth shut about your family if you'll keep your mouth shut about mine, okay?"
"I haven't said almost anything about your family," she snapped.
"I know. Let's keep it that way - I love them just as much as you love your cousin.”
Rose was still breathing a little heavily. “I really want to jinx you right now.”
He slumped back against the wall. “Yeah, well, I really want to jinx you right now, too.”
She put her hand on her wand. “Try it,” she dared him. “Go on.”
Scorpius let out a bark of laughter. “No,” he said flatly. “Even if I could jinx you right now - and I don’t think I can, because you’re wearing that necklace - doing it is not going to get me what I want.” Her bewilderment must have shown on her face, because he added, “Look, I’m all about results. I’m annoyed at you right now, but I’m often annoyed at you. Jinxing you isn’t going to solve anything. I know how to choose my battles.”
She threw up her hands in disgust. “You are such a Slytherin,” she snapped, though her anger was starting to ebb away.
“It wasn’t meant as a compliment,” she muttered, turning away from him.
Before she could start to walk away, he pushed himself off the wall and grabbed her hand. She looked back at him warily, and he brushed his lips against her cheek. "Look, I'm sorry, but do you understand why I feel the way I do?"
"No,” she said defiantly, though in reality, she sort of did.
"Close enough,” he said. He seemed to have regained his good cheer and even managed a smile. “It’s kind of a process with you, I’m finding. Come on. Now I’m getting hungry."
As they started walking again, she said, “You could’ve just let me storm away, you know.”
He laughed. “No, I couldn’t have. You’d have refused to speak to me ever again.”
That was definitely an exaggeration, but Rose decided not to press it.
They walked in silence for a minute or two, and then he asked, "Do you want to do this again tomorrow?"
He laughed, and Rose took a moment to marvel at the fact that he’d moved on so quickly. She was still thinking of jinxes she’d like to use on him. "No, work in the library. Maybe after dinner, rather than before.”
"I can’t. I have Quidditch practice, and I’ll probably be wiped out after it. I can meet you Thursday, though, unless James schedules a practice last minute.”
Scorpius frowned. “Practice again?”
“The game is coming up - we always have more practices before a game. Don’t the Slytherins?”
"I don’t really pay attention, since I’m not on the team.” He stopped her as they approached the stairs. "Since I'm apparently barely going to see you outside of class for the next two weeks…”
"Oh, don't exaggerate—" she was starting to say when he leaned in and kissed her.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss with considerable enthusiasm. After a moment, he broke away. When she felt his lips on her neck, the protest she was about to voice turned into a whimper.
"Admit it," he murmured into her ear. “Deep down, you really do want to be with me.”
“Well, you do have a nice profile,” she managed to gasp.
"If you say so," he said, and pressed his lips to hers again. She could feel the hand he had on the small of her back begin to drift down. Then he pulled back suddenly. “Wait, what?”
Rose felt her face go red. Of all the stupid things to say, that had to be one of the worst she could have come up with.
“I—” she started, without having any idea of what she was going to say.
She was saved from having to respond by a very familiar voice. Unfortunately, that voice meant that the situation had further plummeted, and was now promising to be one of her most embarrassing moments ever.
"Rosie, Rosie, Rosie," James called from the end of the corridor. “We have to stop meeting like this. And at least last time you had the sense to duck into a passage. Now you’re doing it in an open hallway? Really?”
Scorpius' hand slid back up very quickly, and she could see the tension on his face as she turned around to face her cousin.
Roxanne, who was right behind him, was clearly in her element. "Seriously, Rose. I mean, a corridor? Haven't you learned anything from our little encounter last week?”
“Roxanne, we’re not being fair,” James said. “It’s clear that they were just so overwhelmed by passion that they couldn’t take the time to find a passage. After all, I think the nearest one is all the way down the hall and around the corner.”
Their cousin’s teeth flashed. “You guys, that’s really not a good sign. I mean, I’m happy you’re enjoying each other’s company so much - I guess, I’m still a little disappointed in your taste, Rosie - but at this rate, we’ll be coming across you shagging right in front of the Common Room before long. That’s really no good - you’ve got to find someplace a little more private once you start getting undressed.”
Rose could feel her face starting to burn. "Thanks for the tip," she said, trying not to let Roxanne’s words put the image of a shirtless Scorpius Malfoy in her mind.
James grinned. "Live and learn." He looked past her to Scorpius. "Hello, Malfoy. Are you enjoying groping my cousin? I hear you’re doing an awful lot of it these days.”
Rose looked up at Scorpius, whose face was about the same shade she imagined hers was. When he spoke, though, she was impressed to hear that his voice was steady. "Yes, actually.”
James’s wand was sticking out of his pocket. He made to go for it, and Rose felt Scorpius recoil a little despite himself. Her cousin grinned and held his empty hands up. "So, Rosie," he said, looking back at her. “Be honest. How much do you want to take Mr. Malfoy’s shirt off right now?”
"James, I'm not discussing this with you."
"Oh, we’ll get you to discuss it with us later, let him hear what you think of him. Full disclosure and all."
Scorpius shifted slightly. "You know, I'm kind of interested to hear this, too. You have to admit, it's only fair, seeing as you can't seem to stop eavesdropping on me. It’s sort of similar."
Roxanne snorted. "Good girl, Rosie. Well,” she amended, “except for getting caught."
Rose knew that she needed to say something. She opened her mouth, and Scorpius leaned around to watch her. “A lot,” she said, feeling that she might as well admit it.
“What about his trousers?”
Rose heard Scorpius let out a muffled snort, and James turned his attention to the other boy. "Oh, by the way, Malfoy," he said, "I just want to commend you."
When it was clear that James was not going to say anything more, Scorpius reluctantly asked, "About what?"
“Well, you went for her arse, not her chest," James said. "I've heard about how much you like her chest, so the restraint is admirable."
"Probably wise, too," Roxanne added. "Groping a girl's chest is strictly fourth date material."
“And following her around on patrol doesn't really count as a proper date.”
To Rose's surprise and relief, Scorpius laughed. "You know, it would seem like you both were unnaturally well-informed if I didn't know about that map. I supposed you used it to find us."
The corner of James' mouth twitched. “Oh, what possible reason could we have to wander down a deserted corridor and interrupt our cousin like this?" he asked.
"That depends,” Scorpius said dryly. "Were you interrupting her or me?"
James grinned. "Well… I'd have to say both, wouldn't you, Roxanne?"
"Definitely both," Roxanne agreed. “There’s no shame in multitasking, after all.” She tucked her hair behind her ears and gave them a very wide smile. "Well, now that we've corrected your conduct, we'll be going downstairs, I think."
James nodded, and made for his wand again. This time, Scorpius' hand twitched toward his own, but before he could grab it, James had actually pulled his out and pointed it at Scorpius. Rose cleared her throat, and he winked as he pocketed it.
"Just joking," he said. He and Roxanne started to walk down the hall, and after a few paces, he turned around and began walking backwards as he pointed a finger at her and called, "Don't make us come find you again, young lady!"
Roxanne turned to face them, too. "Especially not in a corridor, I mean, really.”
They hurried off, laughing.
After a moment, Scorpius relaxed. "That was… interesting. I thought they were going to hex me."
"Oh, they were just having a bit of fun.”
"Yes, I realize that now, as I'm not hexed.” He sighed. "I suppose we'd better get downstairs."
Rose turned back to face him and put her arms around his neck again. "Oh, I think we can wait a few minutes."
"You do?" he murmured, putting his hands on her waist again. She leaned in and kissed him. It was really becoming one of her favorite pastimes.
After a moment, he pulled away and whispered in her ear, “So what was it you were saying about my profile?”
When Rose slid into the seat next to Roxanne at dinner fifteen minutes later, Albus had already arrived and started dinner.
"Didn't you leave the library before me?"
Rose darted a glance at James, who stretched his arms over his head. “We thought it would be better to wait for you.”
“We got distracted,” she said vaguely. Roxanne cleared her throat, and Rose sighed. “Fine, we got distracted because we were snogging in a corridor. Where James and Roxanne found us.”
"Pretty shameful, really." Roxanne poured herself some orange juice and shook her head. "A corridor. But I suppose you were just enjoying yourself too much to think about it.”
"Certainly looked that way to me,” James agreed as he served himself potatoes.
Rose hid her face in her hands. She knew her cheeks were burning - that was happening a lot lately.
"Well, Al, on the bright side, I guess your best friends can stand each other now.” James gulped down the contents of his goblet.
"True." Albus glanced at Rose. "Just please don't get too embarrassing for me to be around you.”
“Talk to him. He's the one who can't keep his hands to himself."
Her cousin winced. “Oh, god, I did not need to hear that.”
"You know," James commented as he began to load up his plate with chicken, "he's actually starting to grow on me."
"I hate you all," Albus muttered.
James ruffled his brother’s hair. "Oh, no you don't, Al. Admit it. We're good for you. Otherwise, you might start to take yourself too seriously. We couldn't have that."
A/N: I really hope that you enjoyed this chapter. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts if you'd like to leave a review. :) Either way, thank you so much for reading!
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