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Daddy Dearest by doratonks14

Format: Novel
Chapters: 45
Word Count: 219,139
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Ron, Hermione, Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Hugo, Rose, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Rose/Scorpius, Ron/Hermione, Other Pairing

First Published: 05/29/2008
Last Chapter: 09/05/2009
Last Updated: 03/29/2010

Summary:

Gorgeous banner by plopsterxx!  
2nd Place for "Best Next Gen" at the 2009 Dobbys 

Hi, I'm Rose Weasley, and I have problems. No, not like I'm mental (well maybe) but problems problems. My relationship with my father is horrible, almost downright abusive. I can't do anything without my snot of a brother tattling on me. And now I've enlisted the help of Scorpius Malfoy to sort it all out, which in itself is the biggest problem of all.


Chapter 1: Welcome Home Rosie
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I stepped through the seemingly solid brick wall onto the very familiar Platform 9 ¾. The smell of burning coal and hundreds of bodies packed together met my nostrils and I could not help but inhale deeply. Some might think the scent was disgusting, but it always reminded me of home. It was the most comforting smell in the world. 

I felt someone collide painfully with me as they too stepped through the portal and the same person cursed loudly a moment later as they were followed by the rest of their family. 

“Get out of the way, Rose,” my father’s gruff voice snarled as he dusted himself off impatiently. “We don’t have time for your dawdling today.” 

“Sorry,” I mumbled, grabbing the handle on the side of my trunk and dragging it behind me as I walked away from my family.  

It was always like this. Even when I was leaving for school and I wouldn’t see him for nearly four months he was acting like a jerk. Sighing, I turned to look for Albus and James. They were some of my best friends, despite the fact that we were cousins. At school, Al and I were nearly inseparable and were joined by James during meals and Quidditch games and practices. Sure, I had other friends, and got along pretty well with most of the girls in my dormitory, but there wasn’t anyone specific who I would call my best friend.  

Finally I spotted Al’s messy raven hair through the mist and headed towards the end of the train, elbowing people out of the way as I went. “Al! James!” I cried, waving my hands above my head. 

“Rose!” Al yelled, jerking me by the arm through the last throng of people and into his arms. “It's good to see you!” 

“It’s good to see you too!” I smiled, giving my cousin a hug. He always smelled so wonderful – like the lavender soap Aunt Ginny used and some sort of musky cologne. 

“How was your summer?” James asked, coming over and clapping me roughly on the shoulder. 

“Same as always,” I answered somewhere between a grimace and a sigh. 

“I’m sorry, Rosie,” Albus soothed, stroking my long auburn hair affectionately. 

“Rose!” My father’s voice barked suddenly. “You can’t just run off like that!” 

“Dad, I’m sixteen. I think I can handle myself in a group of people.” 

“What do you think I am, stupid?” he hissed venomously, pulling me from Al’s arms to stand in front of him. 

“No, I think you have issues,” I replied just as venomously. 

“Rose Nymphadora Weasley, I will not be talked to like that,” he yelled, making several people turn to stare at us. My dad grinned sheepishly at them and then turned back to where I was standing in front of him. His grip tightened around my wrist and I could feel my fingers starting to lose feeling. 

“Let go of my wrist,” I snarled, trying to sound as confident as I could while on the inside I was shaking like a leaf. 

“Ron,” my mother’s voice called from behind him and he released his grip instantly. “Here you guys are. I was helping Hugo get his trunk onto the train. What’s going on?” 

She eyed us suspiciously, her eyes landing on my hand which was slowly returning to its normal ivory color. Her chocolate colored eyes narrowed and she glared at Dad. 

“Ronald,” she began her tone of voice dangerous. “What did you do?” 

“Leave it be, Hermione,” he replied, his voice just as dangerous. “It’s none of your business.” 

“None of my business?” she cried indignantly. “The welfare of my daughter is none of my business?” 

I groaned inwardly, and moved to step in between my parents before my mother had time to draw her wand. It was like this most of the time. But right now we were in public and were supposed to be a “model” family – whatever the hell that meant. Dysfunctional was more the word I would use.  

“Please think about where we are right now,” I whispered as I moved in between the two. My mother automatically removed her hand from her pocket and smoothed out her hair while my father straightened his tie and cleared his throat anxiously. 

“Thank you, Rose,” my mother said stiffly, turning to look sympathetically at me. 

“It’s not a problem,” I answered robotically, while the little voice at the back of my head screamed that it really was a problem, and that they should act like adults for once in their lives.  

The two minute warning whistle sounded from the engine of the train and everyone around us scrambled to get their children, pets, and belongings onto the train. Sobbing mothers hugged their babies goodbye with promises to write often and soon and kids of every age were literally hanging out the window to get one last glance of their family before being whisked away to Hogwarts.

“I guess I should be going now. The trains going to leave soon,” I said voice empty of any emotion.

“I guess you should,” my mother responded sadly. “I’m going to miss you Rosebud.”

“I’ll miss you too, Mom,” I said affectionately, enveloping her in a big hug. I felt her press a few teary kisses on my temple before she released me.

“You have a good year. Study hard. And try to behave yourself, you hear,” she chuckled, wiping a tear from her eye.

“I will, Mom,” I said, wiping a tear from my eye.

“I love you, Rose.”

“I love you too, Mom.”

We hugged one last time and I planted a soft kiss on her slightly wrinkled cheek before she released me. Slowly, I turned to my dad who was waiting to say his own goodbyes.

“Have a good year Rose. We’ll see you at Christmas,” he said coldly, pulling me into his chest roughly and patting me on the back awkwardly. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said more by habit than by meaning. “See you guys at Christmas.”

The whistle blew again and I grabbed my trunk. Putting on a fake smile I glanced again at both of my parents and ran towards the train. I reached the last door just as the steamer started pulling off. Parents and children screamed goodbyes as I shoved my trunk aboard with all my strength and jumped aboard with a hand from a Seventh year who happened to be holding the door open.

When I was safely on board the train and the door was closed, I turned to take one last look at the platform before it disappeared completely from sight. A plethora of people were standing on the concrete, including Aunt Ginny, Uncle Harry, Uncle George, Uncle Percy and his wife Penelope, and even my grandparents on my dad’s side. Out of curiosity I scanned the end of the platform for my own parents but they were already gone.

I felt my anger bubble up in my stomach again, but I forced the lump in my throat back down and told myself not to cry. They had been disappointing me my entire life. Why should I expect anything different now? Sighing, I dragged my trunk to the fifth carriage from the last. It was one of those unsaid rules of Hogwarts – the Gryffindor Quidditch team always got the fifth compartment from the end of the train.

“Hey guys,” I chirped as happily as I could, pulling open the sliding glass door to reveal the tangle of limbs that was my friends.

“Rosie!” was the collective cry before I was smothered by six pairs of arms all trying to hug me at the same time.

“Can’t – breath” I choked out and they all fell back into the seats laughing. I heaved my trunk up into the storage bin and then squashed myself in between Al and Jason, a blonde haired, blue eyed fellow Sixth Year from Australia, who had moved here with his mother a few years ago.

“Rose, your hair has gotten even longer over the summer! How are you going to play with it so long?” Kat Finnegan asked, twirling a piece of her brown feathered bangs around her finger and subtly batting her eyelashes at Jason.

“I was just about to ask you the same thing,” James chuckled, looking up from the newest edition of The Quibbler. “Rosie, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to cut it soon. I’m afraid that it’s going to get caught in your broom or that the Slytherins will pull it or something.”

“James,” I sighed, snatching the magazine from his hands, “can we talk about this later? I’d rather catch up with you all before we start talking strategy.”

“Fine, little-miss-rude. But don’t think I won’t kick you off the team just because I’m your cousin. I’d do it you know.”

“No you won’t,” a stern, clearly American accented voice said from near the window. I turned to see the long black hair of my best female friend sway unhappily as she turned to look at James. “She’s one of the best chasers we’ve got. And you hate tryouts.”

“That I do, babe,” James said, waggling his eyebrows at her in such a way that his namesakes would have been proud.  

“Don’t call me babe,” she snarled, her blue eyes turning an icy gray.

“Relax, Reagan. I can call you whatever I want,” James chuckled, his own brown eyes glinting mischeviously. “I am the captain now.”

“There’s no need to keep flaunting that,” a quieter voice said from in the corner. Everyone turned from their own conversations or various articles of reading material to look at Ben, who had been playing a very violent, by the looks of it, game of Wizard’s Chess with Reagan until she and James had gotten into it again.

Ben was Uncle Charlie’s only child, and son, and was the same age as James now. I could tell he was disappointed by not getting the spot as captain – everyone had thought it would have been him. McGonnagal positively adored him; he got excellent grades, had only gotten a few dozen detentions in his entire school career, and was probably the most responsible and most mild mannered of the entire team.

“What, do you want me to just give up the title?” James snarled, and I sat back in my seat in shock. I had never heard James use that tone of voice with anyone.

“No,” Ben replied, his voice filled with just as much venom, “I just asked that you stop rubbing it in our faces is all.”

“I am not rubbing it in, I’m only stating a fact-“

“You are, James! You’re an inconsiderate prat who deserves to be –“

“SHUT THE BLOODY HELL UP!”

In an instant the entire compartment went so silent I was sure I could hear the people in the next carraige talking about the first meeting of the Gobstones Club. Everyone turned to look at Albus who was on his feet, panting hard from yelling, and looking murderous.

“The two of you are bloody insane. You’ve been going at it all summer since you found out who got captain, and it’s driving me mad. James, stop reminding us all that you’re captain. WE KNOW! And Ben, stop taking it so personally. James is a bloody wanker who needs to be knocked from his pedastal, but right now is not the proper time.”

The compartment got quiet again as Al sat down again and I could not help but let out a small giggle. Next to me Jason was biting his fist in a futile attempt to curb his oncoming laughter and Kat rocked silently from side to side.

“What is so bloody funny?” Al asked sharply.

“It’s just nice to be home,” I chuckled, laying my head on my cousin’s shoulder.  










 A/N: So this is the first chapter in a my new series. I know things seem a little vague, but it's just what I would call a prologue. We'll get to know the characters better in the first chapter. Tell me what you think of the chapter in a review (please :-P). Thanks for reading! 

Chapter 2: Thank you, Clumsiness
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I stepped off the train and onto the rainy platform at Hogsmeade Station, the buzz of excited students blanketing the cool night air. The familiar smell of the smoky charcoal of the engine and the cool pine trees met my nostrils and I felt myself relax despite the tight feeling in my chest. I slowly pulled my trunk through the sea of black robe clad students, trying not to hit as many people as I feared I was and searching for Al’s familiar head of raven hair. As usual, I had been the last person out of our compartment, as this year I had stepped on my own robes and fallen, tearing a large hole in the bottom of my robe and bruising my knee beneath my skirt. 

Cursing my own clumsiness, I nearly plowed over two shivering first years while running towards where I had finally spotted the raven mane I had been looking for. He was standing by the furthermost pillar as usual as well, waiting for me to catch up before we caught a separate carriage to the castle.

“Al!” I cried, jumping up and waving my arms around like a mad woman, and earning some confused stares from my peers.

I stumbled as I came crashing back down onto the pavement, falling backwards into what felt like a brick wall. Suddenly I was jerked around forward by my wrist and pulled against that same wall before I could even regain my balance and before my mind could even register what was happening.

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going,” a gruff voice said.

I groaned inwardly at the sound of that voice. I knew that voice. It was one that tormented, teased, and generally embarrassed me on a weekly basis. Not that I cared anymore. After the first few weeks of first year, his barbs had grown less and less hurtful until now I just felt numb when he called me Beaver or Metal Mouth. It wasn’t my fault that my mother had insisted I wear braces for my first five years of schooling.  

“Why don’t you move that huge head of yours to look before you go barging through the crowd, Malfoy,” I snarled, yanking my wrist from his grasp and glaring daggers at him.

“Ah, Weaselette, a pleasure as always,” he mocked, smirking the smirk that my mother had told me came directly from his father and even his father’s father.  

I hated that smirk. It taunted me, mocked me, and occasionally made me want to rip it off his smug, stupid face and shove it up his ass. 

“Shove off, Scorpius,” I snarled, looking up into his stormy gray eyes. He had grown taller over the summer, and his platinum hair had grown longer, so that it hung in his eyes. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was an obnoxious, egomaniacal prat, he might have been attractive. 

Who was I kidding? He was extremely attractive. He was the kind of boy who made a girl’s insides go all mushy just from looking at him and who entertained our wildest fancies. He could have the entire female population (and maybe a few others) eating out of the palm of his hand if he wanted to. And he bloody knew it.

“Now, now, Rose, there’s no need to be mean,” he said as if he was reprimanding a small child. 

If there was ever a time I had wished I could kill someone with my mind, it was that moment. 

“Because you’re just the nicest person all the time,” I said sarcastically, and spun on my heel. I did not have the patience to talk to the insolent little prat today. 

“Weasley!” he called after me, and I spun around to face him again. I don’t know why I put myself through this torture, but I had been taught well never to ignore someone who was talking to me. “I will not be talked to like that!”

“I just did,” I yelled back, grinning innocently and overdramatically shrugging my shoulders. He looked furious with me, and inside I was doing a little victory dance. It wasn’t everyday that I actually won a fight with Malfoy.  I walked backwards with a little skip in my step and watched his gray eyes smolder. Victory was sweet.

And then, I felt it happen. The back of my heel collided with something hard, and I felt my other foot come out from beneath me. Oh dear Merlin, I was going to fall. Again. If there really is god out there somewhere, please don’t let me fall. Let me have this one moment of triumph. But of course, the world is a cruel, cruel place and instead of landing gracefully as I had hoped, I landed bum first on the wet, cold concrete. Hard.

I felt tears of pain, and humiliation spring into my eyes as shooting pain ran up my spine. I had always thought there were various levels of pain – from the slight sting of a paper cut, to the uncomfortable pressure of braces, and the horrible shooting spasm of going over a bump to fast on your bike – but this was the worst pain I had ever experienced. I knew some was natural pain from falling, but the sting I felt was more that of anger and humiliation mixed. 

I jumped to my feet as fast as I possibly could, and brushed off my skirt and robes as best I could. “I meant to do that!!” I cried, sensing that Scorpius Malfoy wasn’t the only person who had seen me fall.  

There was a collective chuckle from the crowd, and even I had to laugh at myself a little bit. I glanced back at Scorpius, whose evil little smirk was still plastered on his face. Mustering up all the Gryffindor courage I possessed, I marched proudly up to him until I was a mere inch from his chest. 

He grinned down at me smugly and I felt my fingers twitch in anticipation. I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I felt my temper stamp on the little voice who usually told me not to do something and give me thumbs up. As fast as lightning I raised my hand and cracked him clean across the jaw. I felt the bristle of his newly unshaven cheek graze my palm, but I did not care.  A resounding clapping sound thrummed through the crowd, followed by a stunned silence.

“You win this round, Malfoy,” I hissed, poking him in the chest and then stepping away, but not before I had seen the redness of his already swelling cheek.

I hope it bruises.  






 
A/N: And thus, the first chapter (although it's called the second) lives. I'm sorry its so short, I had written more, but it makes more sense to divide them up, the way things worked out. Send me a review if you want to - tell me what you like, what you didn't, what you want to see - let me know. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it!

Chapter 3: Take That Malfoy - My Daughter Beat Up Your Wimpy Son!
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The first week of school had flown by, much to my surprise. Each day was packed with classes – I seem to have gotten my mother’s talent for memorizing anything and everything she reads. Every night I had stayed up until unbelievable hours of the morning writing essays and filling out stupid star charts for Astronomy. But besides all of the academic work I had to deal with, I was constantly being swarmed by people asking if it was really true that I was the person who had given Scorpius Malfoy the nice black and blue handprint that now adorned his chiseled cheek.

And I was exhausted. I had not gotten a moment to myself for an entire week, whether it be from my friends or the crowds of nosy students. It was finally Saturday night, and I had been looking forward the entire week to doing absolutely nothing – or sneaking into the prefects bathroom and taking a long bubble bath.  But of course, karma was being a bitch as usual, and I was stuck doing anything but.

I dragged my feet slowly across the ancient rug that carpeted the corridor, trying to waste as much time as I could before opening the door that stood stoically across from me. I did not want to go in. For the love of sugar quills, I did not want to enter that office.

“Times ticking girl,” a rather grumpy portrait stated boredly, and I spun on the spot to glare at the ugly old codger with the I-understand-your-point-but-leave-me-the-bloody-hell-alone eye squint I had perfected over the last week.

“Why don’t you shut it?” I snarled, turning away from the portrait to stare again at the door. It was now, or never.

Taking a deep breath I strode confidently over to the door and grabbed the door handle before dropping it like it was scalding hot.

“For the love of Merlin, just do it!” I yelled at myself, spinning on my heel and pacing across the corridor, mumbling obscenities under my breath.

“It's not a big deal,” I coached myself, running my hands through my long auburn hair and biting my lip, “you’ve been in detention a million times before. So, yes, this one is with McGonagall, and yes, you’re probably in deep shit, but hey, who the hell cares? It’s not as if your dad is going to find out. I mean, come on, you didn’t do anything that horrible. So, you slapped Malfoy, and broke his jaw. It’s not the end of the world, right? In fact, he’ll probably be proud that you beat up a Malfoy. Yeah, yeah he would! He’d be all ‘Yes, Malfoy, this is my badass daughter, the girl who beat up your wimp of a son.’”

With that thought, I strutted towards the door without fear and jerked open the handle. Even the prospect of scrubbing toilets all night without magic wasn’t daunting any longer.

But then I saw it. It was something between the sadistic frown of annoyance Crookshanks gave me whenever I accidentally stepped on his tail and the Evil-Death-Glare-of-Doom that my mother gave me whenever I seriously pissed her off and was about to be grounded into the next century.  The woman before me had perfected the two, and made it into her very own I’m-Disappointed-and-Pissed-So-You-Better-Do-As-I-Say-or-I’ll-Curse-You-Into-Next-Year glare.

“Miss Weasley, you are late,” Professor McGonagall said, arching one of her severe eyebrows and making me involuntarily shudder.

“I’m sorry, Professor,” I said somberly, feeling all the fight go out of me, like the air deflating out of the balloon Hagrid had once sat on. I decided that staring at the floor seemed much more productive, and less likely to cause me to have an aneurism.

“I do not ordinarily tolerate tardiness, Miss Weasley, but I will make an exception this time.” I felt a bit more confidence re-inflate in my chest and I dared a quick glance upwards. It was still there. I jerked my head back down to stare at the floor again, this time counting all the little knots and holes that there were in the nearest board.

“Thank you, Professor,” I mumbled towards the nice, safe floor.

“You are welcome. But now Miss Weasley, I assume you understand why you are standing in my office at seven on a Saturday night in the first place.”

“Yes,” I said again to the floorboards. 

“Well then I think I do not need to remind you that fighting of any kind is not tolerated at Hogwarts, or at any extension of Hogwarts.” 

I nodded solemnly “I understand, Professor.” 

“Very well then,” she responded tiredly. “You may go.”

My head shot up, and I felt my jaw drop in surprise.  “Go, Professor? What about my punishment?”

“Do you want a punishment, Miss Weasley?” The Transfiguration professor asked, staring astonished at me over the glasses resting near the end of her long, pointy nose.

“No, ma’am,” I answered earnestly.

“Well then I don’t understand why you are still standing here.” 

“Thank you Professor!” I cried, doing the little baby clap that it seemed all teenage girls did when excited and jumping up and down. Even she understood that Malfoy had it coming.The older woman just grinned at me bemusedly and waved me out of her office as she would wave a fly away from her face. I nearly skipped as I made for the door and then out into the hallway. Maybe there was still time for me to take that bubble bath.

 

 




 

The next morning I flounced down to breakfast feeling refreshed and happy. I had managed not to trip even once on the way down – which was a large accomplishment for me – and had even put on my yellow t-shirt right-side-forward on the first try this morning. So far, it was turning out to be a better day for me.

I entered the Great Hall and headed straight for the Gryffindor table without so much as a glance at where I felt most of the Slytherin population glaring at me for defacing their leader. Their perfected glowers felt like a hundred tiny little daggers going straight into my back and I was almost positive that if looks could kill, I would be stone cold dead. I spotted most of the team sitting towards the back of the table and I made my way as quickly as possible, while still being indiscreet about my haste, towards them. While I wasn’t going to show the Slytherins that I was afraid of them, right about now I was feeling slightly empathetic towards whoever had made up the idea of “safety in numbers”.

“Morning guys,” I smiled, sidling in between James and Albus. “Can someone pass the sausages? I’m starving.” 

“Twere oo o,” Jason said, handing me the plate of sausages, and spraying most of the table with bits of cereal he had forgotten to swallow before talking.

“Thank you,” Reagan and I grimaced at the same time.

“Sorry ‘bout that mate,” he said after much difficulty and much chewing. 

Reagan shook her head in disgust and pushed her plate away from herself. I couldn’t help but notice that she kept glancing disdainfully at Jason’s shirt. I tried not to stare at it while also trying to figure out what had made her so disgusted. It didn’t take much to upset the only American at our school; hell, usually just mentioning Slytherins, rain, anything to do with Potions, eggs, or James made her go into super hate/rampage mode. But this was just too much. 

His shirt was a muddy brown color with a white ring collar and white rings around the sleeves and the words Wollongong Warriors emblazoned across the chest. At a first glance, I had not thought anything was wrong with the picture, seeing as Jason was the most diehard Warriors fan probably on the face of the planet. His entire casual wardrobe consisted of Warriors shirts and some form of baggy shorts or jeans and the walls around his bed were plastered with Warriors posters. Rumor had it that at his house his entire room was covered in their souvenirs. But at a second glance I saw the words change to display the phrase “We will crush the Thundelarra Thunderers!” followed by a short, poorly drawn animation of a two figures clad in Quidditch kits, one brown and one blue, flying towards each other before the brown figure took out a beaters bat and clubbed the figure in blue over the head. 

I snorted in laughter and nearly sent the gulp of pumpkin juice I had previously taken out my nose. That was classic. It was a hideous and ostentatious shirt in and of itself, but this really had to take the cake.

“Nice shirt you’ve got there Jason,” I said, trying to keep my voice normal, and failing miserably.

“Thanks!” he said, beaming and casting a quick look down at this shirt. “I just got it a few days before school started. Can you believe they don’t make many of these things anymore? I don’t understand why, they’re so cool.”

“Yeah, I’ve got to wonder why,” Reagan said sarcastically, cocking her head to the side and rolling her eyes. 

I could feel James and Al rocking with suppressed laughter on either side of me and I elbowed them sharply. Before either of them could move to elbow me back, the distinct whooshing of hundreds of wings descending on the Hall and we all turned to look for our owls. Al and I had decided a long time ago that despite how old we got, it was always nice to hear news from home during the first week, almost as if to make sure that yes, life still did go on without us there, and that no, things were not going to be changing anytime soon.

As I searched the sky, I saw both my mother’s and my father’s owls, but returned to my breakfast without waiting for either to deliver a letter to me. If my parents wanted to communicate with me, they usually did it through Hugo, my annoying, self-serving, tattle-tale, and mama’s boy of a little brother.

“Rosie,” James said, poking me hard in the shoulder a few moments later. 

I looked up from my toast to see my dad’s old owl Pig hopping resolutely towards me, a piece of parchment tied to his scrawny little leg.

Gulping down the anxiety I could already feel building, I reached out and untied the letter from his leg with shaking hands. Al leaned across me and threw the waiting bird a left over piece of sausage and he took off. I shot my cousin a grin of thanks and gently tapped the roll of paper with my wand to release the seal.  I took a few deep breaths in a futile attempt to calm myself while all my insides turned to jell-o and read:

Rose,

It has come to my attention that before you even entered the school grounds you have gotten yourself into trouble. Been fighting with the Malfoy boy have you? What are you, stupid? The entire family could get in trouble for your rash actions, you selfish little brat. The Malfoys again have a large amount of power in the Ministry and if Scorpius was injured badly enough; his father could sue us, Rose. Do you understand what that means? We could lose a lot of money that we don’t have. Your mother and I work long hours to pay for your schooling and so that you and your brother have every material comfort that you want. Is this how you repay us? By getting the family sued? Hugo would have never done such a thing. In fact, your brother was the one to have alerted me to the fact that you were fighting again.  I will not tolerate this type of behavior Rose. You must apologize to Malfoy and if I ever so much as hear of you fighting again, you will wish you could stay at Hogwarts over Christmas. Do you hear me?

Your mother sends her love.

-Dad’

I felt tears sting at the corners of my eyes, and two large pairs of arms envelope me from either side. Without even having to ask, I knew it was James and Al, and that they had read the letter as well over my shoulder.  I don’t know how long I sobbed into their arms, my father’s voice ringing in my head as if I had heard him speak what was written instead of just reading it.

What had I ever done to make him hate me so much?  I wasn’t exactly graceful, or extremely smart, or beautiful, but I wasn’t the worst child out there. And yes, maybe I did get into more trouble than either of my parents expected, and maybe I wasn’t the perfect daughter he had always wanted, but I was his daughter. His only daughter. Didn’t that count for something? 

When I had finally cried until I could cry no more, I gently shook off my cousins’ arms and stared down at the letter again. Where in the hell did he get off talking to me like that? My initial sorrow turned to anger and I felt the nasty churn of hate rock my stomach.

Hugo had told him. My nasty, stupid prick of a brother had opened his big mouth again. The little inner voice in my head told me not to blame it all on Hugo – that my father had acted of his own accord, and that maybe my brother wasn’t trying to get me in trouble for the first time in his life. Again, the nasty, raging temper that I had inherited from both my parents reared its head and I imagined it locking that stupid tiny voice into a nice dark closet somewhere, where it could stay and bang on the door for all eternity as far as I cared.

Jumping up from the table, I scanned along the line of students until I saw my brother seated towards the very front, reading his letter from my mother.

“HUGO!” I cried manically.

The entire room turned to stare at me, and for the first time I really did not care what they thought. I held up the now crumpled letter from our father in my fist. Understanding washed over my brother’s face, followed by a panic stricken expression. He jumped up from his seat too and ran around the opposite side of the table towards the doors, shoving people out of his way as he went.

“YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! YOU BETTER RUN BOY!” I screamed as I charged up the other side, “BECAUSE YOU ARE SO DEAD WHEN I CATCH YOU!” 








 
A/N: Wow, that was a fast chapter! It helped that I already had most of it written, but still, that was fast! Thanks to everyone whose stuck with Rosie and me this far. I hope you all liked this chapter! Please, feel free to rate and review!

Chapter 4: Don't Say that Word
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I collapsed on the cool, soft grass by the lake, tears streaming down my cheeks.It was so unfair sometimes. Hugo had gotten everything,favoritism with my parents, my father’s approval, and even the fast-running genes. All I had was this grass.

“Rose,” I heard a very quiet voice say. “I’m sorry.”

I propped myself up on my elbows to see my little brother standing in front of me, looking guilty, and tired. I felt my eyes narrow themselves into a half-hearted glare, but my vision was blurred from all my tears and I opened them to normal size again.

“It’s ok,” I responded just as quietly, and feeling more tears build up in my eyes.I didn’t want to cry around Hugo, and choked back most of my emotions.  A strangled sob escaped my throat and I decided to give up trying to stop the tears from flowing. I had learned long ago, that once the floodgates were opened, there was no stopping them.  

“No it’s not okay, Rose,” he sniffled, and I looked up to see that he too was crying. All the anger that I felt towards him rushed out of me and I opened my arms to him. With a quick glance around to make sure that no one was watching us, he threw himself into my arms and sobbed uncontrollably into my shoulder.

“Shhh…” I whispered, running my hand up and down his spine in the way I had seen my mother do when he was younger. “It’s alright Hugo. I promise. Everything is going to be just fine.”  He cried for a few more minutes while I sat there with him in my arms, patting him somewhat awkwardly on the back.

“Rosie,” he said, pulling away suddenly, “I swear, I won’t ever tell Dad what you’re up to again!” He looked very solemn and serious, despite the fact that he had just wiped his running nose on the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

“Ok Hugo,” I deadpanned, “I trust you.”

After checking to make sure that no one was watching he gave me a quick peck on the cheek and scurried off again. Sighing as he ran off towards the castle to finish up his interrupted breakfast, I laid back in the cool grass. He wouldn’t keep his promise, that much I was certain of. I knew he wouldn’t do it intentionally either. But if my father wanted to know something, Hugo was the one to go to.

“I just hope he doesn’t hurt him too,” I mumbled to myself, letting more tears stream down my already raw and red cheeks. 

 






 

I felt myself being rudely shaken awake and I did my best to swat at whoever must have been hovering over me. It had to be Reagan. None of the other girls in my dorm would come within five yards of my bed, especially after the lamp incident.  

“Rose, if you don’t get up, I’m going to kick you!” I heard her say, and I opened my eyes a crack before snapping them back shut. It sure was blindingly bright in our dormitory today. 

“ROSE!”

“Go away,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side. I felt the tickle of something cool and moist on my cheek. That certainly was not my pillow. Sitting bolt upright, I felt my head spin. Reagan stood infront of me, looking incensed and somehow sympathetic at the same time. In the background I could see the glistening water of the Black Lake, and not far beyond that the towering fortress of Hogwarts castle. 

“What am I doing outside? What time is it? No, what day is it? If this is another one of James’s idiotic pranks, I’ll kill him,” I said all in one breath.

“You ran outside while chasing Hugo from the Great Hall, it’s three o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday, and no, this is not one of James moronic pranks, but feel free to kill him anyway,” Reagan answered just as quickly, but much more nonchalantly. 

“Thank Merlin,” I breathed, clutching my breast where my heart was trying to breakout.

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly, squatting down so that she could look me in the eye, as if I was a patient in a hospital that was about to be delivered the news that my illness was terminal.

“Yes, I’m fine,” I replied cautiously. I averted my eyes from hers. I could not stand to look into their icy blue depths; it always made me feel as if they could read my mind. Maybe she was a Legilimens.

“Are you sure,” she asked, her voice shaking this time, with what I could only presume was suppressed anger. “Because I would most definitely not be fine if I received this over my morning toast.”

She held up the crumpled letter from my father. I felt my jaw fall open and the burning of bile rising in my throat. My stomach churned sickeningly with nausea and my mind buzzed with the mass of thoughs flitting through my consciousness.

“Where did you get that,” I whispered in horror.

“It wasn’t too hard to find actually,” she sneered, “it was just sitting there balled up in your had while you slept. You didn’t even notice me take it out.”

“That was none of your business,” I growled angrily. “Give it back.”

“None of my business?” she asked incredulously. “Rose, do you know what this is?”

“A letter from my father,” I stated simply, trying to control the animal need to strangle her.

“Rose, this is abuse! This is disgusting! Why didn’t you tell me before that this was happening? How can you put up with this? How can you just sit there and tell me that it’s just ‘a letter from your father’?”

“SHUT UP!” I screamed, covering my face with my hands to disguise the tears that were flowing freely from my eyes again. “You don’t understand anything! How dare you judge me! You don’t know what my home life is like! He’s in a bad place at work is all. He’s got problems. I’m his daughter. I’m supposed to be there for him!”

With that I threw myself bodily to the ground and threw myself a sobbing temper tantrum. I could feel my entire body shaking – from suppressed rage, from sadness, from hurt, from everything. I knew Reagan was still sitting there, but I took my time sitting back up again.

“Rose,” she said after I had a few minutes to collect myself, “that has to be the sickest things I have ever heard another person say. Just because you are someone’s daughter does not give them the right to abuse you. And yes, you’re right maybe I don’t understand, but both you and I agree – you said it yourself – your father has problems. He shouldn’t take them out on you. Nothing every gives anyone the right to abuse someone else.”

“Stop saying that word,” I responded weakly, feeling all the fight that I had been experiencing a minute before go out.

“What word?”

“Abuse.”

“That’s what it is, Rose. Whether it be verbal ,emotional, psychological, or Merlin forbid physical or sexual , what your father is doing to you is abuse.”

I nodded in somewhat understanding, my fingers playing absently with the grass beneath me.

“Has your father ever hit you, Rose?” she asked quietly.

I didn’t respond, instead pretending to be interested in a particularly long blade of grass. I choked back the memories that seemed to be overflowing at her simple question.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she responded quietly.  “How many times?”

“Only twice,” I responded, and was surprised by my own tone of indifference.

“Only,” she chuckled sadistically and sarcastically.

“Does anyone know about this? Your mom? What about Al and James? I saw them read the letter.”

“My mother travels for work a lot. And yes, Al and James know a bit of what is going on, but I don’t really like to talk about it,” I replied, almost embarrassed.

“I can imagine,” she said. “But I think you need to.”

“I don’t want to. I’m not really for the idea of putting my brain and innermost turmoils out into the open for others to criticize.”

Reagan sighed in frustration. “A counselor wouldn’t criticize you. They do the exact opposite actually. The good ones always tell you you’re right mostly.”

“I still don’t want to,” I said stubbornly, beginning to pull up the grass that I had been fondling in large clumps. 

“Then you have to atleast tell someone. You could tell McGonagall. I’ll come with you if you want.”

“No,” I answered automatically. “I’m not telling anyone.” I glared at her, as if daring her to try to convince me otherwise.

“Fine,” she sighed angrily. “Don’t tell anyone. But at least let me help you figure out what to do with this situation.”

“Okay,” I responded quietly, before mumbling, “thank you.” 

I looked up from the endless green to see her blue eyes gazing at me sympathetically. Her arms were spread wide, as if saying that she would let me hug her if I so chose. I felt my heart swell at the gesture. Reagan didn’t give hugs everday. In fact, I was pretty sure I had never seen her hug anyone. Ever. Even after we won the Quidditch Cup last year she hadn’t really hugged the team. She just stood in the middle and screamed like mad. 

This was big. Without thinking I flung myself into her arms. I felt her arms encircle me awkwardly, but it just felt more endearing.  Reagan, in her own, odd, sticking-her-nose-in-where-it-doesn’t-belong way had shown that yes, she had a heart.  It was more that I could have asked for – out of her or out of anyone. 

Someone out there cared about me.

 









A/N: Wow, another pretty fast update, but again a shorter chapter. As with the last time we had such a short chapter, it just fit better to separate a longer chapter into two bits. Some of you may be wondering when we will get to the Scorpius part of the story - that will come in the next chapter. I'm 99% sure. Or at least our favorite Slytherin will be making an appearance in the next chapter. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this installment. If you want to, leave me a review to tell me what you thought. I enjoy reading them.


Chapter 5: Keeping and Breaking Tradition
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“Rose, Rosie, get up. Come on now, quickly!” I heard someone hiss softly in an attempt to wake me up for the second time in a little over a week.

“What? I mumbled incoherently. “Go away.”

“Rose! Come on! If you don’t get up and put on your black suit James is going to have both our asses,” Reagan hissed furiously. My eyes flew open instantly and I sat up. The room spun from my wacked out senses. You’d have thought I would have learned a long time ago that sitting up fast was never the way to go. Especially at nearly three in the morning.  

“I’m coming,” I said, trying not to grumble as much as the little voice at the back of my head was. “I don’t see why Slytherin has to have their bloody tryouts and bloody three in the bloody morning anyway.”

“Someone’s unhappy,” Reagan smirked, already outfitted in her black pants, long sleeved shirt, stocking hat, shoes and gloves.  

“Why the Sorting Hat didn’t put you in Slytherin is beyond me,” I replied, smirking to myself.  

“That’s beside the point right now,” she sighed, although smiling somewhat to herself. “What is the point is that if you don’t hurry James will skin us alive, and Ben will have drunken all the coffee.”

Sighing I rummaged noisily through my drawers before pulling out a somewhat crumpled pair of black pants and a black shirt almost identical to Reagan’s, but a size larger.  

“Ok,” I whispered a moment later as I yanked the hat Reagan tossed to me over my head of unruly hair. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

With the greatest caution possible we made our way through the sea of beds and scattered articles of clothing that made up the Sixth Year Gryffindor Girls’ Dorm.  These had to be the longest three minutes of my life. Not only was I supposed to try to be quiet so that I didn’t wake our nosy roommates, I had to try not to trip and fall on my face. I was almost home free – Reagan had already reached the door and was gently easing it open when I heard it. The sort of soft shifting and incoherent grunts that always signaled I was about to get busted. 

“Where are you going Rose?” my cousin Lucy’s snobby yet sleepy voice asked. 

“Me, uh,” I whispered unsurely. It was probably against all my better instincts to reply, but Lucy was a prefect and a diehard one at that. She’s have a conniption if she ever found out where we were actually going, and probably go tattle to McGonagall. “I’ve got to finish up an astronomy project. You know what Professor Sinistra said, that three in the morning is the best time to observe Saturn’s rings.”

“Oh,” Lucy mumbled, settling herself back down into her sheets. “Good luck with that then.” 

Sighing with relief, I carefully wound my way through the rest of the room. Reagan stood at the door, tapping her toe impatiently against the cold stone landing.

“Astronomy homework, huh?” Is all she said as I tiptoed past her.

When we reached the bottom of the stairs we could see that the rest of the team had already gathered, adorned in identical outfits to ours. 

“What took you two so long?” James hissed, rounding on Reagan and I the second our feet touched the thin carpet.

“It’s called sleep James,” Reagan replied sarcastically. “Normal people are sleeping at this time of night and don’t like to be woken. We’re no exception.”  

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong my dear,” James said suavely, draping one of his arms carelessly around her shoulders, “you two are not ordinary people. You’re members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. The same team, who for as long as you have been on it, has been upholding this tradition. We all swore when we joined that by Merlin’s long, gray ear hair we would uphold this tradition lest we be struck by a flying wildebeest!”

“Bite me,” she said coldly, shrugging his arm off from around her shoulders.

“Kinky,” James answered, raising an eyebrow playfully.

“You disgust me,” she said, venom oozing from her tone. 

“People, let’s focus. We’re burning darkness here. I don’t want to wear this stupid outfit for nothing,” Ben said quickly, cutting into the conversation before James could open his mouth to retort.  

“Yes, thank you Benjamin.” James said, glaring at Ben and Reagan. “As I was saying before these two walked in, the Slytherins are notoriously secretive about who they’re going to pick. This year they need to replace their Keeper, seeing as their last graduated, and it seems that Goyle was kicked off as his grades are too bad, so they’ll need a new beater as well. Those are the only two positions I’m aware that they need, but they might be searching from some fresh talent as well. One never knows with Pucey, the slimy little git, I wish he’d –“

“James, hurry up with the game plan! If we don’t get a move on, they will have beaten us down there and it will be impossible to find a good place to hide,” Al interjected.

“Right. The hardest part of tonight is going to be sneaking out of the castle unnoticed. Portraits are notoriously sensitive to light, so we’ll have to go without and are incredibly gossipy, so no one is to say anything about our plan on the way down. In fact, talking at all is prohibited, except by me, who will be giving orders,” James said, a smug smile on his face, and he glanced intentionally in Ben’s direction, who scowled. “Once we get to the courtyard we should be safe. We’ll make our way quickly over to the Quidditch Pitch, but be careful to stay in the shadows. It’s a full moon tonight and we don’t want to go through all of this for nothing. Once at the pitch we’ll go through the stands on the east side and follow the stairs down instead of up. We’ll hide under the bleachers there.”

“So we’re basically sticking to the same plan we’ve used for the past six years?” Jason asked.

“Yes, exactly!” James grinned.

“Brilliant idea, captain,” Ben grimaced. “It’s quite original.”

“Alright, so I’m not great at coming up with plans that don’t involve turning dear Scorpius’s hair blue, but I did have an idea that Caroline never thought of. Look!” James cried, pulling out a sack that had been hidden behind a sofa cushion.

“What is it?” I asked warily.

“Sunglasses,” he said brightly, pulling a pair out from the sack.

“What the bloody hell do we need sunglasses for?” 

“We wear them so that the whites of our eyes aren’t visible. It’s brilliant, right?” He asked, looking around to the others for support.

“James,” Al said gently, “it’s three in the bloody morning. If we wear those things we won’t be able to see a damn thing.”

 



We ended up having to wear the glasses anyway. Despite all of our protesting, death threats, and promises of removing certain vital parts of his anatomy, James refused to give way. He gave us some boloney about him being the captain and that we could go make our own Quidditch team and do things our own way, but as long as we were under his ‘rule’ we would do as he liked. 

“This is ridiculous,” Ben hissed angrily to me as he helped me up for the seventh time after I took a tumble down a particularly dark staircase.  The rest of the team had already made it down without incident and had moved along ahead of us.

“Don’t let him hear you say that,” I said seriously, steadying myself against a wall, and edging forward carefully. “You two aren’t on the greatest terms these days. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was just waiting for a chance to kick you off.”

“I’m thinking of quitting anyway,” Ben said. I turned to where I heard his voice coming from, gaping in surprise. “It’s not fun anymore for me.”

“But you love Quidditch!” I whisper yelled. “You’re the best Beater we have, and one of the best the school’s ever seen. You can’t quit. We need you.”

“Rosie, don’t you think I know that? Why do you think I haven’t quit already? You guys are like a family to me, and I don’t want to leave you to James mercy. As an added bonus though, if I keep playing, there’s a better chance I can earn the scholarship to Salem.”

“You’re going to Salem?” I asked in astonishment. Salem Academy for Magic was the best Wizarding University in the world. Tuition prices were off the charts. To get a scholarship there was almost unheard of.

“Yes,” he responded. I could hear a bit of pride in his voice, and I felt pride building in my own chest. Ben was hard worker. If there was anyone I knew who deserved to go to Salem it was him. “If I can get the scholarship Dad said I could go.”

“That’s great Ben!” I whisper cried. I reached out to embrace him, but grabbed nothing but thin air. I turned back to find the wall but it too seemed to have disappeared. In frustration I pulled the sunglasses from my eyes but it did little to help. Shuffling carefully, I groped through the darkness to find the wall, or Ben.

“Ben,” I whispered.

“Yeah?” he answered from right behind me. I jumped in surprise, losing my footing and falling to a heap on the ground.

“Merlin, you gave me a fright!” I said, putting my head into my hands. “Don’t do that again.”

I heard him crouch down next to me, a light rumbling chuckle sounding from the back of his throat. “You fall too much.”

“I know,” I conceded. “I am a clod. What do you want from me?”

“Would you like me to carry you the rest of the way?” he asked.

“Yes, please,” I replied tiredly.

Laughing, he offered me a hand up, which I took and helped myself to my feet.  I carefully walked around to his back and gently jumped up, wrapping my legs around my cousin’s waist and my arms around his shoulders. His big hands wrapped around my calves, holding me in place. Piggyback style, he carried me the rest of the way to the Quidditch pitch.  




“Who is that at the goals now?” I asked quietly from my position crouched under the rotting Quidditch stands. A pair of binoculars, stolen from my mum’s old things, was pressed against my eyes as I watched the little figures in green zip around the pitch from between slats in the wood.

“Samantha Nott,” James replied, yawning. In his hands he held the Marauder’s Map, which his father had surprisingly given him and Albus when he was in second year.

I glanced over my shoulder for a moment, knowing that her test wouldn’t begin for a few minutes. James sat behind me, his back resting against a support beam, the map in his lap. Sitting Indian style diagonal from me was Reagan, her black hair pulled back into a messy knot, her hand flying furiously over the paper as she took notes on who tried out for what positions. In the next row over from us was Al and Kat. Al had his ear pressed against a trumpet that our Granddad used to use. Ben had helped him to magically magnify so that we could hear what they were saying from far away. Kat sat behind him, her hand flying even faster than Reagan’s if possible as she recorded exactly as Albus dictated. Jason and Ben sat at the back, playing a game of Wizard’s Chess and nursing thermoses of coffee as they awaited their turn at espionage.

“How’s she doing?” James asked, and I quickly pressed my eyes back to the hard plastic.

“She’s doing fairly well from what I can tell. She’s just blocked one…two…three!... of Pucey’s shots in a row. Wow, she’s incredible! Where has she been hiding?”

“That’s not possible,” Reagan snapped, abandoning her position behind me and crawling forward. She grabbed the binoculars and shoved me to the side. I glared angrily at her while she watched, her mouth slowly dropping open in astonishment as she watched. “I can’t even block Pucey’s shots like that. It has to be a set up. It has to be. It’s not possible.”

“Reagan,” I said gently, taking the binoculars from her hands, which had gone limp, “you’re the best Keeper out there. So she’s good now. It’s just a shot of luck. It doesn’t mean she’s better than you.”

Reagan didn’t even seem to notice me. She sat there, blue eyes wide and mouth opening and closing as if she wanted to say something, but decided against it time and time again.

“You look like a dying goldfish,” James chuckled. The sound of his voice snapped her out of her state, and she rounded on him, looking furious.

“And you look like a baboon’s backside,” she retorted venomously, crawling back to her original spot.

Shaking my head at the two I turned back to the binoculars and the tryouts. This time Scorpius Malfoy was zooming towards Sam, quaffle in hand.

“James, why is Malfoy attempting to score against her?”

“I’d guess because Malfoy was originally supposed to be a Chaser for their team, but when their Seeker got injured midway through the season a few years ago, they put him in instead and discovered he was better suited as a Seeker. He’s still a pretty good Chaser though from what I’ve heard,” James replied, yawning again.

“Okay, thanks,” I answered.

I went back to watching Malfoy. His white blond hair was whipping across his forehead as he sped for the three golden rings, the quaffle secured under his arm. It was like watching one of the muggle movies I had seen at my mum’s parent’s house in slow motion. He swooped in front of the goals, aiming towards the right ring so that Samantha swerved that way, but at the last second he threw it through the middle where she had been a moment before. I watched the younger girl dive as she realized what had happened but the scarlet ball flew through her fingertips. Malfoy turned around, a smug look of triumph plastered across his face.

I don’t know if I’d ever hated Malfoy more than in that moment. He hadn’t even done anything to me, yet I could feel rage boiling in my chest. Stupid Malfoy was always causing more problems than he was worth. If it hadn’t been for his smug, arrogant attitude I wouldn’t have hit him. If I hadn’t hit him, than Hugo wouldn’t have told my father, who wouldn’t have written me that horrible letter. If Malfoy hadn’t been such a selfish, wormless toerag Samantha Nott, a girl very deserving of being Keeper, would still have a shot of being on the team.

I sat back, throwing the binoculars aggressively to the ground. It was so unfair. The little voice at the back of my head, the one that I willingly locked in closets most of the time, told me that I should stop feeling sorry for myself. Life is unfair Rosie. Everyone has a burden to bear. Yours is just somewhat bigger than your friends right now. It will do you no good to sit around and whine about how hard life is. What type of girl do you want to be: the damsel-in-distress who gets carried through life and always needs to be saved, or a girl in charge of her own future? Take charge of your life. You’re the only one who can change it. No one is given more to bear in life than they can handle.

Was I having some sort of epiphany?

Whatever it was, I decided that I should start listening to that little voice a lot more. It made a lot of sense, and would probably get me into a lot less trouble than its counterpart. 

What type of girl did I want to be? The answer was obvious – I most definitely did not want to be the type of girl who constantly needed saving. Take charge of your life. But how? I was sixteen years old. It wasn’t like I could just move out of my house and pretend my parents didn’t exist. I wasn’t well equipped to take care of myself. I had no money, no job, nowhere to run to, and nearly two years of school left to complete.

Maybe that wasn’t the right solution though. I thought back to my problems with my father. Why was he so angry all the time? He had lost his job as an Auror after he was injured in the field four years ago and ended up taking a job he called ‘a pity job’ from Uncle George at the joke shop, while my mother rose in the ranks in her job at the Ministry. He probably felt emasculated, outdone by his wife. That would make me angry if I was a man, I guess.

Was he projecting his anger towards Mum onto me? Probably. But that didn’t make it right. In fact, it made it even more wrong. He abused me because I was young and I didn’t understand yet, so I couldn’t judge him. He knew I would love him unconditionally, while my mother could leave him. He had a power over me, a power that I couldn’t control, or at least though I couldn’t control. 

And suddenly the idea struck me. Malfoy…Hugo…Dad…Malfoy. It all made sense, clicking into place like pieces of a puzzle fitting together to form a complete picture. Take charge of your life. 

I stood up suddenly, knowing exactly what I had to do. My head cracked against the seat above but I barely noticed, except for the dull ache at the top of my skull. The rest of the team stared at me in surprise.

“Rose, what are you doing mate?” Jason asked, looking up from the board where his queen was slowly demolishing Ben’s knight.

I didn’t answer him. I knew that if I thought too much about what I was going to do I would lose my nerve. Instead I made my way towards the staircase we had entered from as if in a trance.

“Rosie, where are you going? You’re going to get us caught,” Al hissed.

“Rose, get back here! Are you mad?”

“Rose!” 

Ignoring them I climbed up the steps. Each step felt more liberating than the next, the same phrase repeating over and over again in my head. Take charge of your life. 

I was on the cool green grass before I knew it. The moon shone overhead, and yet I was still concealed by the bleachers somewhat. Hurrying around so that I was more visible, I glanced at the sky where the Slytherins were still working on passing drills. 

This had to be the right thing. Take charge of your life.

I pressed a hand to my stomach to quell the flitting of the butterflies that had suddenly taken up residence there. I took a deep steadying breath.

“Oi Malfoy!” I called into the night air.  









 
A/N: And so we end Chapter Four. With a cliffhanger. (laughs evilly) I've always wanted to write one and I hope this one was good. So last chapter I promised that it would be longer, and we'd see Scorpius, and I kept my promise! I know it's not as much Scorpius as we'd all like, but from now on he'll play a bigger role. 

I'd like to thank everyone who's been reading and reviewing this story. So far I have over 1200 reads! You guys rock! Want to rock even more? Leave me a review! Tell me what you thought, predictions, whatever. I love reading them.


 

 

Chapter 6: Never As Planned : Part 1
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My words rang sharply through the night air, reverberating off of the goals and bouncing towards the Slytherins’ ears. If they couldn’t hear what I had said, I was sure that they would hear the hammering of my heart or the churning of my stomach. This really had been a stupid idea. Damn me for not thinking about what I would say when he asked what I was doing out here donned in all black at three in the morning. Damn me for not listening to my friends. Damn me for not brushing my hair – even I wouldn’t agree to what I was going to ask of him with hair like this. 

I pulled my hat lower over my head and glanced towards the skies, where the Slytherin team was just starting to figure out that they were being summoned.

The next thing I knew I was laying face first on the ground, the heavy weight of numerous people piled on my back and the slight dewy taste of grass in my mouth.

“What the hell,” I yelled, before having something warm and wooly shoved in my mouth and the pressure removed from my back, only to be replaced with having my arms yanked painfully back in a way they weren’t supposed to bend and my wrists tied together.  

The first though to cross my mind was that I was being kidnapped. The second was why I hadn’t bothered to listen to what my mother had told me about what to do when kidnapped. The third was that I was almost peeing in my pants I was so scared.

I felt my body being jerked around and stared up into six sun-glassed faces. Part of me was relieved to see them, but another part of me was terrified, because none seemed to be smiling. I was hoisted up by my armpits and felt myself being dragged by said body parts across the pitch. In the distance I could see a green clad figure descending towards the ground, but I knew my chance had passed. Thanks to our black outfits we had disappeared into the night. 

It wasn’t long until we reached the cover of the bleachers, but even in the short time that had elapsed I was feeling progressively more and more enraged. Every part of my upper body hurt. My back ached with the tell-tale signs of emerging bruises and my arms screamed in anguish from being continually stretched in a manner that I was beginning to believe was not humanly possible.  Even the backs of my legs and heels stung from being bounced and dragged across the bumpy and occasionally gravel strewn pitch. And these people were supposed to be my friends.

What made me the angriest though, was that I had been thwarted. It all made sense, not that I’d explained my twisted sense of logic to them, but in the end when they finally did find out they would understand. And then they would feel bad for trussing me up like a Christmas turkey.

My feet and calves bounced over the wooden steps as I was dragged back into our layer. Agonizing pain shot through my legs and up my spine with each bounce. My teammates did not seem to notice my discomfort, or if they did they didn’t acknowledge it. I wanted to scream out, but settled for a muffled whimper when I realized that even if I did manage the amount of air it took to scream no one would be able to hear it.

We finally came to a stop back at what James had called ‘headquarters’. Whoever was holding my shoulders let them drop to the ground where they landed with a sickening crunch and this time I did scream despite the wooly thing in my mouth.

“Quiet down Rose,” James barked, casting the usual charms around the place so that we couldn’t be heard or seen.  “You are in no position to talk right now.”

Well he had that bit true. I really wasn’t. My entire upper body was on fire from having my arms bent at such odd angles and the gag in my mouth was cutting off my air supply. I glared up at what I could see of the rafters as curses of various degrees ran through my head.

I was stupid. What had I expected, that they’d just let me run out there and make a fool out of myself? Not even that, but I was putting the entire team in danger of being discovered. I was selfish. All I had thought about when walking out of the bleachers was putting my life back together. I hadn’t even considered them, or all the hard work we went through to get here. There was no ‘I’ in team.  

I turned my head the little bit I could and even from my skewed position I could see them towering over me, their sunglasses removed. A part of me wished they’d put them back on. At least then I wouldn’t have to see the disappointment in their eyes. Or the anger. The disappointment was worse. I could tolerate anger, annoyance, indifference, even over the top giddiness, but disappointment I could not handle. Disappointment made me feel awful and guilty for letting someone I cared about down and I usually mentally berated myself until I felt that I had done myself and them justice.

“Tie her to the beam,” I heard James say through my internal monologue and I snapped back to consciousness only in time to feel myself being lifted up yet again and propped up none-too-gently against the support beam James had been lounging against previously.  

I hadn’t been planning on trying to escape – not again – but now that the option was going to be completely eliminated it sounded ten times better. With a muffled yelp I attempted to scoot closer to the stairwell. Maybe if I was lucky I could get up enough stamina and lift myself to my feet and then I could make a run for it. Yeah, because that worked so well last time, a snide little voice at the back of my head said.

The mental version of me gagged that stupid, smart little voice just like the physical me was and I decided that it was my best bet. With all the strength in my body I tried to push up with my legs, which my friends hadn’t bothered tying up. And that was why. I couldn’t lift myself. Damn James and his bloody making us run at practice. He always said it would help build up muscle, but apparently that muscle wasn’t building in my legs. 

With a pathetic squeak I slid back down the beam. Nothing was going right today. And it was only about four hours into the fricking day. I glowered at the floor as I felt the tight ropes wrap around my upper body, binding me to the beam. A tear pricked at the corner of my eye.

I was angry. I was in pain. I was exhausted. I was humiliated. And most of all I was hurt. Experiencing all of these emotions at the same time was overwhelming. It wasn’t good for the mind or the soul, or even the body, but especially the mind. Especially a mind like mine that was confused on a good day. My brain felt as if it was on the verge of spontaneous combustion, with the little bursts of smoke pooling out of my ears like someone mad or someone who had eaten a spicy pepper on one of the curious muggle inventions called a cartoon.

“So what got into you Rosie?” a voice said as another tear trickled down my cheek. It wasn’t the harsh, angry bark of James, but Jason’s distinctly Australian drawl.

I kept my eyes trained on the floorboards. Even if I could have answered, I wouldn’t know what to say. That I was Imperiused? That the impulse to bash Malfoy’s head in was too unbearable to control? Or should I say that I had a moment of insanity due to lack of sleep? The latter would be the most believable.

Alright Rosie, you’ve chosen your story. Now stick with it. I took as deep a breath I could with the wooly thing in my mouth and raised my eyes to face them. I should just tell them some sob story. Maybe I could change it around so that it was all James’ fault for making us come out here. They’d believe that. Heck, Reagan and Ben would jump at a chance to verbally abuse James.

“Why don’t you respond?” James asked sharply.

I shot him my most withering glare and he seemed to recoil a bit. How oblivious could he get?

“What?” He asked, somewhat affronted by my obvious attack.

“James, I think she can’t talk because of the fact that she has your right sock stuffed in her mouth,” Al pointed out, shrugging slightly.

I gagged behind the wooly thing, which Al had just revealed was James’ sock. And it was in my mouth! My mouth! He had stuffed his bloody, sweaty sock in my mouth. That bloody wasn’t a swear word. James had a long standing cut on his foot from Quidditch training last year that kept breaking open in his boots. Oh that was gross. And it was touching my tongue! Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!

“Get the sock out of her mouth,” I heard Ben say, “she’s gagging and if she pukes, she could choke and die.”

I felt like I was going to choke and die. My stomach was churning, bile was forcing its way up my throat, and my skin was probably a dangerous shade of green. I felt someone’s fingers graze the roof of my mouth, and then the itchy fabric was gone and I could breathe. I took a few deep breaths to replenish my lungs and to calm my stomach.

“James,” I croaked, spitting in an attempt to get the feel of it out of my mouth, “your socks taste disgusting.”

“That’s beside the point,” he snapped, stopping my other teammate’s laughter. “I still want to know what possessed you to go out there. Are you mental?”

“Probably,” I answered honestly, trying not to hang my head like an admonished child. “But it’s an injustice-“

“We were all disgusted by what happened to Nott, Rose,” Al said, cutting me off.

That wasn’t the injustice I was talking about, but it was better than my bit about being overtired.

“I know,” I sighed, jumping on the chance, “I realized that about the time you tackled me.”

I watched as they all scratched their head or bit their nails uncomfortably. Apparently that hadn’t been planned.

“We didn’t mean to do that,” Kat piped up. “Al sorta tripped, and it was like dominoes after that.”

I nodded sagely. That was to be expected. In the air we were majestic and the epitome of coordinated, but on land we were more like the epitome of tripping-over-your-own-feet-and-concussing-yourself.

“That still doesn’t make up for the fact that you nearly got us caught,” James pouted.

“I’m sorry,” I said honestly, and somewhat hotly. “I didn’t mean too. I wasn’t thinking. I’m really, really sorry.”

“You will have to be punished,” he added crossly. Everyone turned to gape at him in surprise.

“Punish me?” I asked incredulously. “Who do you think you are, my mum?”

“No, I’m your Quidditch Captain. And you’ve put the team at risk. Therefore, you must accept the consequences of your actions.”

“Isn’t the fact that you’ve bound me like a chicken, dragged me down the stairs, tied me to a beam, and stuffed your used sock in my mouth punishment enough?” I cried angrily, writhing against my bindings.

There was a chorus of agreement amongst our other teammates and I was happy to think that I might win this fight.

“Over here guys!” a voice called from above.

We all froze. The voice was right above us. And we were all here. With mild expressions of horror on their faces, my teammates set off collecting our spy gear as quietly as possible. Al and Kat wrapped up their trumpet while James wiped the map blank and Reagan gathered up her notes and my binoculars. Ben and Jason put away the chess set. I sat still tied to the beam and watched as it all went on.

“Hurry up!” the voice above called again. We all seemed to panic now. James stood up and cast a hasty muffliato. Al looked over at him and the two exchanged a Look. Looks were never good. They usually involved the cursing of someone or some other deed precarious to our safety and sanity. Al straightened up and pulled his wand from his pocket. Suddenly I knew what he was going to do.

Pointing the tip of his wand through the slats in the bleachers he mumbled ‘confundus’ and then put his wand back in his pocket.

“Did you hear it?” a second voice said from overhead.

I held my breath, and judging from the sharp intakes of breath I could hear from the others, it seemed like everyone else had too. This was the moment of truth. Either we were going to get caught, or we weren’t.

“No, I think it was just something in the forest,” the first voice said.

Even from down here I could tell that the voice was dreamy and odd – not the tone of voice one usually associated with Slytherins.

“Right. Get back on the pitch if you want to have any sleep tonight,” the second voice barked. It was followed by the thuds of their retreating footsteps.

Slowly we all expelled the air in our lungs.

“Do you think they’re gone?” Kat whispered.

“I think so,” James whispered back. “The stupid Slytherins.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Al said. “I’m exhausted and I don’t think we can learn much more from this.”

There was a murmur of agreement, and even James looked relieved by his suggestion. They finished packing up and I sat and watched somewhat contentedly.

There was still a dull ache in my arms and shoulders and my jaw twinged painfully whenever I talked, but sitting was nice after the night I’d had. I watched as they finished packing and moved silently towards the stairwell. I assumed that they would stop and untie me. They had to. They wouldn’t just leave me out here all night. Then James walked down the stairs. Al followed, and then Reagan, and then Ben, and Kat and Jason until I was left all alone.

“Guys!” I whisper called. “Did you forget something? Hello! Come back! Don’t leave me.”

“Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in,” a voice said, as a figure emerged from the shadows.

 




 

A/N: Ah, I couldn't resist. I promise there won't be a cliffie next chapter. Anyway, I hope you liked this chapter. I'd love it if you left me a review! Favorite moments, quotes, predictions, constructive criticism, whatever. Thanks to everyone who's stuck with this story! You all rock! The next chapter should be out within about 2 weeks. 

-dora


Chapter 7: Never As Planned : Part 2
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The universe, I was slowly discovering was incredibly unfair. It wasn’t just the little things that it did either – like making it so that there was never a toilet around when one desperately needed it, or how my friends never wanted to go swimming until it was ‘that’ time of the month. No. The universe had to go and be unfair on a colossal level. Someone up there was laughing at me right now. Or maybe they were trying to kill me. Whatever it was, it was working, because right now I would have rather gnawed my own arm than be here.

“Why are you here, Malfoy?” I growled, struggling against my bindings.

“The better question, Weasley, is why you are here,” he replied, a surprising nonchalance seeping through his voice.

“I lost a bet,” I answered venomously.

“Oh, I don’t think that that is the case at all Weasley,” he said with an eerie cheer, as if he was the proverbial cat who was about to catch the canary.

I struggled harder against my bindings. Every part of me, even the good little voice, was telling me to go over there and knock his lights out. Growing up with James and Albus, I was pretty sure I could too. If only my teammates hadn’t chosen this particular method of punishment.

“I think,” he continued, his grin widening as he came to crouch down right in front of me, “that you and your little friends were spying on our tryouts.”

I opened my mouth to shout some angry retort about how we were not spying on his team and just having our annual Dress-In-Black-and-Hide-Under-the-Bleachers-Tea-Party, when he held up one of his long fingered hands to shush whatever I was going to say.

“Save whatever excuse you have ready, Weasley,” he said, still holding up that stupid hand. I wanted to bite it, seeing as it was only about an inch from my face, but then I would have Malfoy in my mouth, and I had a hunch that that tasted worse than James’ socks. “Because I’m not as thick as you think I am.”

Don’t think of the innuendo. Don’t think of the innuendo. Damn it, I’m thinking of the innuendo…

“So what do you want from me, Malfoy?” I croaked after a moment of collecting my thoughts and pushing any thoughts of Malfoy’s thickness from my mind.

He stood up and slouched against the opposite beam smugly. “I won’t tell,” he said, drumming his fingers against the wood, “if you tell me why exactly you were calling my name out on the pitch.”

If I could have banged my head against the wall, I would have. Honestly, self-concussion sounded better than having to answer that question. Now I knew why my teammates thought I was crazy. I was crazy. No one in their right mind would ask Scorpius Malfoy to do what I had planned on asking him.

“It was nothing,” I answered quietly.

“Nothing,’ he scoffed, peering at me from under his white-blond hair. “How can it be nothing if you risked getting yourself, and your team caught?”

“It was a moment of temporary insanity,” I replied angrily.

“Temporary?” He asked cheekily, his eyes sparkling mischievously.

Temporary.”  

I glared up at him, daring him to try to contradict me again. He smirked back in response. I was going to KILL James and the rest of them for binding me like this!

“Fine then,” he said after a moment. “If you won’t tell me, I’ll just go.” He stood up properly and stalked off into the shadows again.

“Wait!” I called somewhat desperately.

And then I mentally slapped myself in the face. He had known that I wouldn’t let him walk away. He knew that I needed his help – not necessarily why or how – but he knew. Hell, I knew too. And he had been right. It had to be important if I was willing to risk my relationship with my friends and my spot on the team to ask something of him. Didn’t it?

He turned on his heel, his eyebrows raised in mock surprise and his blue-grey eyes widened in the sort of innocence one usually associated with serial killers. He was infuriating, the bloody git.

“I’ll tell you,” I mumbled, feeling a blush creep up my neck.

“This should be good,” he said, just loud enough for me to hear him.

“If you’re going to be like that, just go away!” I hissed shrilly.

“No, I’m good,” he replied, eyes twinkling as he sat down comfortably on the floor across from me.

I waited for him to make some other snide comment, but when none came, I decided I really had to tell him. “Well, er, see, the thing is, I’ve been having some problems at home,” I began unsteadily, “and I am kind of tired of it.”

“What kind of problems are we talking about here?” he asked. I couldn’t tell from his tone of voice if he was asking because he was really interested, or if he was just asking to be a jerk, so I ignored his question and plowed on,

“So I have a favor to ask of you –“

“A favor you say,” he simpered.

“Yes! A favor!” I cried. “Now if you’d stop fricking interrupting, I would be able to tell you what exactly that was.”

“Carry on then,” he said somewhat grudgingly, folding his hands in his lap.

“As I was saying, I have something to ask of you, because well, to be blunt, I want to make my father squirm as much as possible, and to show him that I can make my own decisions –“

“Trouble in paradise,” he commented more to himself than to me, but that did not stop me from shooting him a withering glance worthy of a fancy hyphenated name. He swallowed the rest of his rebuke.

“So basically, what I’m really trying to say, is, er, will you pretend to go out with me?”

My last words hung thickly in the air. He was silent, his mouth opened in a small ‘o’ in the perfect imitation of a goldfish. I could hear my heart beating in my ears. This was a bad idea. A very, very bad idea.  

All of my survival instincts were screaming ‘RUN’ but all of the nerves in my body had gone on vacation and my muscles turned to lead. I was stuck. I was a bloody fool!

“Are you serious, Weasley?” he asked, interrupting my thoughts. “This isn’t just some ploy of you and your Quidditch mates to get me distracted, or to hurt my team?”

“No,” I answered, shaking my head as if this would prove that I really wasn’t up to anything more devious than tricking my parents into thinking that I was dating their arch-enemy’s son.

“Okay then,” he answered after a minute’s more thought. “I don’t see why not.”

My eyes widened in shock and I was sure that my heart had stopped. I could not have heard him correctly. Had he just? – No that was impossible. He couldn’t have.

“What?”

“Yes,” he said calmly, as if he was asked out like this every day. “I will pretend to go out with you Weasley.”

The little enclosure we were sitting in was spinning. Had Scorpius Malfoy just agreed to go out with me? Or pretend to go out with me? I think he did.

“Are you alright?” he asked, his voice faraway, as if he was speaking underwater or though a pane of thick glass. “You look like you’re having a fit or something.”

“No, I’m fine,” I replied, my own voice taking on a dreamy and trance-like quality.

He had agreed to go out with me! He had agreed! Now, now Rosie, there’s no need to go getting all giddy about that. It’s not as if you fancy him. You’re just one step closer to getting your father to realize that he can’t control you. This yes, is quite a cause for celebration.  

‘And you might get to kiss him,’ a snide little demonic voice at the back of my head added. I kicked that little voice down and decided that that would not be happening. Just because I had asked him to do this did not mean I wanted any physical contact with the slimy git. I bet he didn’t want any with me either.

“Why?” I asked, coming to my senses finally. I was dealing with Malfoy here. I couldn’t just expect him to do something so magnanimous for me without him asking for something in return.

“Well your eyes kind of glazed over and you were nearly foaming at the mouth,” he said, gesticulating confusedly with his hands.

“No,” I snapped, interrupting him this time. “Why are you agreeing to do this for me?”

“Oh,” he replied, his eyes gleaming dangerously. “Because this little arrangement will be of great help to my life as well.”

Yeah right. I snorted indignantly.

“Do you know Anna Rosier?”

“Yeah,” I said, a vague image of a tall, skinny, dark haired girl coming to mind. “She’s in our year right? In Slytherin?”

“Yes,” he responded bitterly. “She won’t leave me the bloody hell alone. She’s always trailing after me, going on and on about how great we would be together.”

“Isn’t that every teenage boy’s dream?” I asked, confused. In my entire lifetime of having two blokes as best friends, I had learned that girls following you and wanting to get into your pants was good for the ego and the male spirit. One just had to look at James and his big head to see proof of that.

“Look,” he said, dragging a hand over his face in exasperation. “I don’t have the time or patience to sit here all night and explain my reasoning to you. All you need to know is that I want her off my back, and you’re going to help me do it.”

“Alright then,” I responded tetchily.  

Silence hung in the air again. For once, my mind was blank of all thoughts. It was nice to sit in a blissful oblivion for a few moments.

“I should be going then,” he said, breaking the silence.

“Yeah, your team will be missing you,” I countered.

“No doubt,” he replied absently, standing and stretching.

“This stays between the two of us, you know,” I said as he cracked his back.

“Of course,” he simpered, the tone of his voice implying the “well duh”. “We can get together tomorrow to work out the final details. I can talk to the Head Girl if you would like and see if she can mix up our patrol partners. That way we have an excuse as to why we’re talking to each other.”

That plan, was in essence, brilliant. Not that I’d ever tell him. Anyone could have thought of using our Prefect patrols as a way to communicate.

“What are you going to tell her as to why you suddenly want me as your partner?” I asked, hoping to regain some control over the situation.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said smugly. “Morganna owes me a favor.”

“You disgust me,” I spat, trying to block out all the mental images that his inflection had sprung in my head.  

“That, Weasley, I already knew,” he smirked. With that, he slunk back into the shadows before I could register what had happened.

“Oi, Malfoy!” I called as my brain caught up to the rest of my senses. “Aren’t you going to let me out?”

His head of white blonde hair popped out into the dim grey of early dawn. “Where would the fun be in that?” he asked, barely concealing a chuckle before he disappeared once again.

“Malfoy!” I cried again in futility. It was useless. He was already gone. 

Brilliant. Now I was stuck here until Al or someone else from the team came to get me. Hopefully they wouldn’t forget me again like they did last time.

 

 

 

 


 
A/N: Wow, I actually had this chapter finished earlier than expected. :) I hope you liked it. The pace of this story should pick up alot now that we've gotten to here. Certain things had to happen in order for dear Rosie to be able to ask. But from now on, Scorpius will be in nearly every chapter! 

While we're on the topic of other chapters, I have to say that they're not going to be coming as fast as they have this summer, because I go back to school, and am taking some tough classes. I'll update as fast as I can though. :) Thanks for your patience.

 Anyway, I don't want to bore you. Thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed this story! If you want, leave me a review and tell me what you thought! They really help me want to keep writing.


Chapter 8: Laying the Ground Rules
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Al did eventually remember me, but only at lunchtime when he asked me to pass the chicken, and I wasn’t there to give it to him. So much for best friends. It really seemed like I didn’t have anyone who cared about me anymore. My friends apparently thought I was forgettable, my brother would do anything to see my ultimate demise, and my parents were, well, my parents. It just wasn’t fair.

I was being overdramatic. It’s an easy thing to do when you’re as tired as I was. I barely got any sleep last night, and then I had to explain to Professor Flitwick and Professor Sprout why I missed their classes this morning. And I’m not that great of a liar. In fact, I royally suck. I remember saying something along the lines of “too much homework”, “overslept”, “owls and toast”, and then screamed “TEA PARTY”. They stared up at me strangely, told me not to do it again, and then ever-so-politely pointed me towards the door. 

I stumbled through the rest of my day, literally. I nodded off in Transfiguration and fell out of my seat and in Defense Against the Dark Arts I hit myself in the head with my own bag while trying to adjust the shoulder strap. The only thing I was grateful for was the lack of Malfoy’s blonde head of hair in any of my classes. We Gryffindors had classes mostly with the Ravenclaws this year, so the only time I’d see him was at meals, which thanks to my friends apparent lack of observation, I did not eat today.

But I’d see Malfoy soon.

‘No, don’t think that,’ I scolded myself as I flopped down on the couch in the common room, too tired to walk up the spiral staircase to my dorm.

A huge part of me wanted to think that what had occurred between the two of us last night was just a dream – a horrible, awful, wake-up-screaming nightmare. I couldn’t possibly have asked him to pretend to date me. I wasn’t that stupid. How in the world did I expect my plan to work? I was just asking for trouble. Besides, it wasn’t really giving my father a taste of his own medicine. I was just going to piss him off. It would just make him dislike me more – give him another reason to hate me.

Merlin, I was so dumb sometimes!

I groaned loudly, draping my hand across my eyes and shutting them tightly. Trying to block out the world was easier than trying to live in it.  I felt the soft pressure of someone sitting on the end of the couch near my feet, but I did not move to make more room for them. If they were coming over to bother me, they could be uncomfortable.

“Rose,” a familiar voice said, its owner’s voice laying their hand on my bare calf.

“Go away,” I growled, not removing my hand from over my eyes. If it was one of my so called friends, I didn’t want to talk to them anyway.

“Do you have a migraine?” the person asked, their hand gently stroking my leg. “I have some pain potion upstairs you can take if you want.”

I opened my eyes a fraction of a centimeter to get a look at the person sitting at the end of the sofa, knowing that it definitely wasn’t one of my Quidditch mates. They would have never have touched me like that, nor would they have ever offered me pain potion. We were a sadistic bunch who enjoyed laughing at the others’ misery.

All I saw was a shock of dirty blonde hair, but that was enough to have me shooting straight up, nearly falling off the couch in my haste to be somewhat presentable looking. Because Ian McLaggen was sitting at the foot of the couch, staring at me bemusedly, a sexy crooked smile playing at the edge of his lips.

“Ian,” I said nervously, my voice coming out high and squeaky as if I had just sucked helium out of a balloon. I instantly flushed red from my neck to the roots of my hair. Curse my Weasley genes.

“Hey Rose,” he chuckled, his grey brown eyes sparkling with mirth. Had I caused that? My stomach did a little flip flop.

I did not like McLaggen. I did not! Yeah, just keep telling yourself that Rosie. Just pretend that your stomach hasn’t does cartwheels every time he ever so much as looked at you over the past six years.

Okay, so it was true. I fancied the pants off of Ian McLaggen. Not that I’d ever told anyone. He was way out of my league. He dated girls like my cousin Lucy – the prissy, so-beautiful-that-it-can’t-be-humanly-possible-oh-dear-merlin-I-broke-a-nail girls. What would he have ever wanted with me? Last year when he and my cousin Lucy did start dating, I pretty much gave up fancying him. It wasn’t worth my time. He would never fancy me back.

“So, um, what exactly is it that you want?” I squeaked when I realized that we had been sitting in complete silence for the better part of five minutes.

“I just wanted to ask how you were,” he said nonchalantly. It was unnerving how his eyes never left mine.

“I’m good, thanks,” I said, my voice returning to somewhat normal. “You?”

“I’m great,” he said.

Our conversation plunged into awkward silence again. He was still staring at me, his eyes boring into mine. His face was expressionless really, except for his slight grin. It made me nervous, like we had started a staring contest without me knowing – the consequences of which, if lost, I was still unsure of. Finally, I couldn’t take staring into those bottomless orbs anymore and I wrenched my gaze away from his, locking onto the carpet. I felt another flush rise up my cheeks unwillingly.

“You’re funny, Weasley,” Ian chuckled.

Umm…thanks?

“Hey,” he said suddenly, “I was wondering. Would you like to come to Hogsmeade with me next Saturday?”

I wrenched my gaze up from the threadbare carpet and onto Ian’s face again, my eyes bulging with shock. Was this really happening?

“Of course!” I cried much too quickly, probably sounding as desperate as I actually was. He didn’t seem to notice for that matter. His face broke out into a broad beam that showed all of his perfectly straight white teeth that contrasted nicely with his slightly tanned skin.

“Really?” he asked, pleasantly surprised. “Wow! That’s great. So I’ll meet you here, around ten then?”

“Sounds like a plan,” I smiled, grateful to have a coherent thought escape my lips.

“Great!” he said again, bouncing up from his position at the end of the couch. “I’ll see you then.”

“See ya,” I replied, hoping beyond belief that he could not hear the triumphant ringing of bells that was playing in my head at the moment.

 





 

“So Weasley,” Malfoy smirked an hour later as we walked down a deserted third floor corridor, “why exactly is it that you want me to do this for you again?”

I glowered into the dark, all the euphoria I had experienced a mere hour ago completely forgotten. “You already know why, Malfoy,” I snarled.

“Humor me,” he said.

“Humor yourself,” I snapped. Could I have come up with a more awful comeback?

“Really, Rose, if you want to get into a battle of wits with me, the least you could do is come up with a better response than ‘humor yourself’,” he simpered.

“Shove it,” I growled.

He considered my comment for a moment before responding, “Too easy.”

I huffed a sigh of frustration, my hands balling into fists at my sides. This was never going to work. “Look Malfoy,” I said wearily, “I don’t want to argue with you. I’m too damn tired, and with the way it seems right now, if we don’t stop, I’m going to have killed you by the end of the night.”

“I’d like to see you try.”

“ARGH! Just shut up!” I cried, pulling at my hair. He was infuriating.

“Easy there princess,” he smirked. “I was just taking the piss. Relax.”

I took a deep breath, trying to ignore the part of me that was screaming for revenge.

“Are you really sure you want to do this?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t have agreed if I wasn’t sure,” he replied smoothly, turning to flash me a disconcerting grin.

“Okay, well then I think we need to lay some ground rules. You know, so that each of us knows exactly what the other is comfortable, or not comfortable with.” I smiled sheepishly up at him, hoping he wasn’t guessing that I had added the last part because of my obvious lack of experience.

“Sounds good to me,” he replied, but without his usual sarcasm or condescending smirk. He stopped walking suddenly and leaned against the opposite wall, waiting for me to start naming my terms.

“Er,” I began unsurely, “well for a start I think that we should eliminate all sexual contact.”

Even through the dimly lit hallway I could see his eyes narrow and the shake of his head. “I’m afraid that that is not going to work,” he growled. “See, I’m already going to weaken my reputation just by dating you. I refuse to tarnish it any more than it already will be because you are afraid of a little snogging, Weasley. I don’t see what your problem is with that anyway. I don’t know if you’ve heard the rumors or not, but they’re all true – I’m good.”

I was glad of the darkness in the corridor because then he couldn’t see the color rise in my cheeks, deeper than it had been all day. He sure as hell had seen right through that. But there was no way I was going to admit that I had never snogged, let alone let my lips touch another human being who wasn’t in my family.

“I think you need to get off your high hippogriff, Malfoy, and realize that not every girl is going to want you. But since you are so worried about your play-boy reputation, how about we say that there will be no unnecessary sexual contact?”

“Better,” he growled, slouching lower and crossing his arms.

“Second,” I continued, feeling stronger and more in control of the situation now that he was slightly less cocky, “we have to actually act as real couples would – which means no flirting with other people, no eyeing up other people, and generally looking like we enjoy each other’s company.”

“Hard, but done,” he replied, his tone one of utter sincerity. “I think that we should add something onto that rule before we go on though. Neither of us should pursue any sort of relationship with another person during however long this arrangement lasts. If we really want to make this work, we can’t be seen out snogging someone else while we’re supposedly shagging each other.”

“Right,” I agreed. “That reminds me though, no shagging. Ever. Period.”

“Don’t give me nightmares, Weasley,” he moaned, rubbing his hand over his eyes as if to rid himself of the horrible thought. 

I felt slightly stung by that last comment. How would he know how good I was at …you know…? I could be pretty bloody awesome for all he knew. And I was sort of good looking. Better looking than some of the cows he usually dated.

“Third,” I snarled, forcing myself to drop the topic, “no one but you and I are to know what is really going on. No one else. Not our friends, not our family, not teachers, no one.”

“What? Are you stupid, Weasley? Of course I’d never tell anyone,” he smirked.

I felt like had been slapped across the face. What are you, stupid? My father’s words rang through my head and I felt tears begin to brim behind my eyes.

“Don’t ever call me stupid,” I hissed, my voice cracking a bit from trying to hold back tears. I marched up to him, pointing at his chiseled face. “Don’t you dare ever call me that.”

His eyes grew wide with surprise at my violent response to his words, staring down at me as if he was truly seeing me for the first time. His long blond hair was swept over to the side of his face, and as I looked up at him I could see something like pity in his silvery eyes. 

Suddenly there came a loud laugh from around the corner, followed by a girlish giggle and loud talking. Scorpius and I exchanged a horror-filled glance and I knew instinctively as we both looked down the corridor that we were trapped. The hall ended in a dead end, the only way out around the corner through which people were fast approaching. I glanced up at Scorpius to see what he was thinking, but his eyes were locked onto mine, a strange look on his face.

It all happened so suddenly I didn’t even realize what was going on until he had spun me around so that it was I who had my back against the wall. The few inches that had separated our bodies before became nonexistent as his lips crashed down onto mine, cold and hard. I was so in shock that my mouth fell open a little bit, inept at how to move against his own. I wasn’t sure if he noticed, but if he did he didn’t care, instead letting his tongue trace my bottom lip, his brilliantly white teeth grazing my lips. I responded back as well as I could, entwining my fingers in his hair, pulling him as tightly to me as possible. It seemed to go on forever, until I was sure I was going to die from not breathing.

“Rose?” a voice cried in the distance. “What the-“

And just as suddenly as it happened, it was over. I felt Scorpius’s mouth pull gently away from mine, and his hands that I had not know were entwined in my hair slowly loosen themselves. The next thing I knew he was standing on the opposite side of the hall, looking ashamed. I took a much needed gulp of air and then looked up into the astonished face of my cousin Lucy.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she muttered, aghast at walking in on the scene Malfoy and I had just created. “C’mon Charlotte, we should go.” I hadn’t even noticed the blonde Hufflepuff girl next to her, but she too wore the same expression as Lucy as my cousin carted her violently out of the corridor.

Still breathing hard, I glanced up at Scorpius, who was leaning casually up against the opposite wall, an infuriating smirk of triumph plastered across his features.

“I think,” I said breathlessly, “that that classifies as unnecessary sexual contact.” But even as the words left my mouth, I felt my heart do a little flip in my chest.

 






A/N: I'm so sorry about the long wait for this chapter! I meant to have it out earlier, but school is, well, school. It's no excuse though, and I'm going to try to update much more quickly. Anyway, what did you guys think of the chapter? Like, dislike? I really hoped you liked it. :) Please, leave me a review telling me what you thought, favorite quotes, likes, dislikes, whatever. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 9: A Little Birdie Told Me
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I walked slowly into transfiguration, my stomach grumbling loudly. I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast. Honestly, public humiliation would have seemed a whole hell of a lot easier on a full stomach. Maybe I should have just popped down to the kitchens for a quick bite of cereal. Mum would kill me if she knew I was thinking such things. She has her whole stupid S.P.E.W. thing. It’s completely ridiculous. House elves like working for no pay. And they’re pretty damn good cooks. Mum isn’t though. I don’t know how dad can eat so much of her food. He must have an iron stomach or something. All I know is that I long to go back to Hogwarts and each good food again during the summers.

I paused outside the door to the classroom. Ahh, it shouldn’t have been this hard to open one door. I shook my hand in preparation. This was it. I strode confidently to the door and yanked it open. The buzz of talking students that I had heard a moment earlier completely dissipated and I felt my face flush bright red. Every eye in the room had turned to stare at me. I let the door close behind me and moved a few paces to the left. The room instantly resumed its usual clamor, as if they all had not been just talking about me. 

I sighed and leaned back against the wall, letting my bag fall to the ground at my feet. This was only my first class. Would it be like this all day? I’d never eat lunch, let alone make it to lunch if everyone kept this up. I might have to declare myself dead and take up residence with Myrtle.

The door creaked open again and this time the clack of heels on the stone floor accompanied the person into the room.

“Take your seats,” McGonagall barked, brushing past us scrambling students.

I quickly picked up my bag and glanced around the room. Lucy was sitting in the corner, doing her makeup. She looked up when she felt my eyes on her. A broad smile broke across her face and she patted the empty seat next to her as if I was some sort of dog.

I resisted the very strong urge to flip her the bird and strode confidently to the front of the room and took a seat next to Al. I knew that he usually sat with Ian, while I sat at the back with Reagan, but I figured that if everyone really was talking about me and Scorpius, he would be less violent.

“Hey Rosie,” he said, not surprised by the fact that I was sitting with him today.

“Hey Al,” I replied. 

“Sitting up here with me today?” he asked. I could tell by the strain in his voice that he was trying to keep his tone as conversational as possible.

“Yeah,” I replied nonchalantly. “I figured I’d see what it felt like to be a teacher’s pet for a day, you know…”

He chuckled and punched me playfully on the arm. “I see,” he grinned. “Well then, I think I’ll just be going. Reagan is looking mighty lonely back there…”

“No!” I said quickly, grabbing onto the sleeve of his robe.

“What’s wrong?” he asked innocently, cocking one eyebrow.

“Nothing,” I said, trying as hard as I could to stay normal, “I just don’t want to be up here all alone. What would people think of me?”

He winced at my last comment and I wished that my giant textbook wasn’t in my bag, so that I could have smacked myself in the face with it. So he had heard…

I felt a large hand clap me on the shoulder and I spun around expecting to see McGonagall, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw Ian standing behind me, looking bemused.

“Hey Rosie, I think you’re sitting in my seat,” he chuckled.

“Oh, hey Ian, I’m sorry – didn’t realize – yeah, I’m sorry. I’ll just go back and sit with Reagan,” I said quickly and stood up.

“No,” Al said, pushing me back down into my chair. “It’s fine. Ian, you can have my seat. I have to ask Reagan something anyway.”

“Okay…” Ian replied, looking bewildered.

He slid into the seat recently vacated by Al. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – the universe is really out to get me.

“So whatcha been up to?” Ian asked, turning to smile at me.

I felt guilt twist in my stomach and panic slice through me. Merlin, had I really agreed to go to Hogsmeade with him last night? Yeah, I think I had. And then I went and snogged Scorpius Malfoy. It’s official. My life was turning into a muggle soap opera.

“Not much,” I replied, my voice squeaking. Oh nothing. I was just out snogging a Slytherin after agreeing to go out with you.

“Silence!” McGonagall roared from the front, interrupting our conversation, much to my relief. The classroom went instantly quiet. “Thank you.”

She began her lecture and I felt my interest beginning to wane immediately. I felt my stomach grumble again and I sighed, putting my head in my hands and trying to think of anything but food, Malfoy, or Ian. This was proving increasingly impossible as I my stomach continued its grumbles for food and I could smell Ian’s musky cologne from where I sat.

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to look at Ian, who was staring steadily forward, seemingly listening to McGonagall’s lecture. I dared a glance behind me to see that the two Ravenclaw’s whose names I could never remember were also studiously taking notes. Puzzled I turned back around and saw for the first time a piece of parchment sitting innocently on the desk between Ian and me. I cautiously looked up at the blackboard where McGonagall had her back to us and then picked up the paper.

I glanced at Ian and for the first time I noticed how he kept running his fingers through his hair and how he was chewing his bottom lip. I saw his eyes dart to the side to look at me, and when he saw I was looking at him he pretended to go back to listening again.

My curiosity piqued I picked up the parchment and read the sentence that was scribbled in small neat writing at the top. ‘Is it true that you shagged Malfoy last night?’

My mouth dropped open in shock and I stared down at the words on the page. Is that what everyone was saying – that I’d shagged Malfoy? I picked up my quill and hastily scribbled ‘NO! Who told you that?’ I slid the paper back into the middle of the desk and watched out of the corner of my eye as he slid it the rest of the way over to his side of the table.

My hands were shaking I was so nervous. I gripped the edge of the table to stop them, but they continued anyway. For the first time I was glad I had not eaten breakfast this morning. It would have been all over the floor by now.

Before I knew it the parchment was back in the middle again and I was reaching out for it.

‘Well, everyone’s been talking about it. Apparently the two of you were going at it in the third floor corridor during prefect rounds and McGonagall caught you and is calling a meeting between your parents tonight.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry.

“That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

I pushed it back into the middle again and this time he didn’t bother to pretend like he was paying attention as he snatched up the paper and read my answer.  His face was inscrutable while he wrote and I could hear the blood pounding in my ears when he pushed it back to me.

“So you didn’t sleep with Malfoy then?”

“Nope. I’m completely virginal.”

I pushed it back to him without even thinking about what I had just said. It only occurred to me how naïve and lame that sounded when he slid it over to himself, and by that time I knew it was too late to get it back. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I slid down in my seat and let my long hair fall forward so that he could not see how red my face was getting.

I heard the whisper of the parchment slide along the desk and I tucked my hair behind my ears again and reached for it.

“That’s cute.”

I glared over at him and was unsurprised to see a smirk plastered across his face.

“Shove off.”

I crumpled the parchment up into a ball in my hand and with one last cautionary glance towards the still oblivious McGonagall chucked the ball at Ian’s head. I watched with satisfaction as it hit him in the ear and as he jumped slightly from the unexpected attack.  

It was his turn to glare at me, although I could see mirth dancing in his eyes and I stuck my tongue out at him. He smiled again and turned back towards our lesson. I couldn’t help the slight grin that played at the corner of my lips either.

I went back to daydreaming, but was promptly interrupted when I felt something warm brush against my knee. I brushed it off the first time, assuming that it was just my skirt, but then I felt it again, this time harder and more flesh-like than my skirt.

Oh my god.

Ian’s hand was on my knee! Ian was touching my knee!

I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do – I thought it might be a little awkward for me to hold his knee too – so I just let sat there, beaming like an idiot.  





I wasn’t quite sure how I made it until lunchtime. Hell, how I had lived through Herbology second hour was a complete mystery. It was obvious that when Ian had said that everyone was talking about me, he meant EVERYONE. A first year Hufflepuff that I had passed in the hallway had called me a slut. And that was not the worst of it. Oh no. I had discovered when I had walked into the bathroom between classes that someone had charmed the back of my robes to read “Property of SM”. Kids these days were so cruel.

This was exactly why I found myself sneaking down to the kitchens at lunch instead of joining my peers in the Great Hall. Public humiliation in small doses I could handle. But walking into the Great Hall alone right now was a suicide mission. And quite honestly, I liked living.

I came to the painting of the fruit basket and reached out a finger to tickle the giant green pear that sat in the middle. It giggled loudly and swung forward to show the bustling kitchen. I stepped inside and inhaled deeply, drinking in the smell of steak and kidney pie and pumpkin juice.

“Miss Rose!” a small, high pitched voice cried and I looked down to see Winky bustling towards me, her tiny arms laden with food and a big smile plastered across her face.

“Hey Winky,” I called. “How’re you?”

She came to a stop right at my feet. “I am good Miss Rose. Thank you for asking. Is there something I can help you with?”

“Oh, I am just looking for a little peace and quiet and some food,” I replied, looking down at her. “Do you need help with those dishes?”

“No, I am fine,” she answered quickly and with a snap of her fingers the plates disappeared. “You want food, yes. Here, Winky will get you food.”

She grabbed my hand and with surprising force for such an old, tiny elf towed me through the sea of bustling elves to a tiny table in the corner.

“Sit here, Miss Rose. Winky will be right back with food.”

I took my appointed seat while Winky ran off again. She was back moments later with a giant plate loaded with mashed potatoes, a slice of steak and kidney pie, cabbage, and two rolls.

“Here, Miss Rose. Enjoy.”

“Thank you, Winky!” I cried, picking up my fork and tucking into my food. It had never tasted as good. Winky disappeared back into the sea of House Elves and I sat and ate contentedly.

Suddenly the portrait creaked open again and I heard the sound of numerous familiar voices before my teammates stepped into the kitchen. I tried to sink lower into my seat while still shoveling food into my mouth. Maybe they wouldn’t see me.

“There you are, Rose!” Kat cried, pointing at me.

Shit.

The team turned as one to look at where she was pointing, and I straightened up, blushing.

“Hey Rosie,” James said, making his way towards my table while the rest of the team followed in his wake.

“Hey guys,” I said weakly. “What’s up?”

“Oh nothing,” James answered when they reached me. He pulled out the other chair that sat opposite me and flopped down into it. “We were just wondering why you missed two meals.”

“Oh,” I replied, shifting uncomfortably in my seat. I grabbed my goblet of pumpkin juice and took a large gulp.

“Would that reason have anything to do with the fact that the entire school is talking about how you shagged Scorpius Malfoy last night?”

I tried to spit and swallow at the same time and managed to choke on my pumpkin juice. I spluttered and coughed and then turned to look up at James again. His hazel eyes were livid.

“I didn’t sleep with Malfoy,” I squeaked.

“Because that’s so convincing,” Reagan drawled sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

“I swear!” I cried angrily, slamming my goblet back down on the table with so much force that some sloshed out over the sides. 

“Rose, you know that dating during Quidditch season isn’t allowed. And dating a Slytherin? That’s disgusting Rose,” James said, as if he hadn’t heard what I’d just said.

“I’m not dating –“

“And if you continue this way, I might just have to kick you off of the team,” James continued over me, shaking his head as if he was disappointed or as if I had let him down in some way. “Rules are rules. No one else has had a problem following that –“

“Hold on a moment!” I yelled.

I could feel anger boiling up inside of me. This was all beginning to become too much. I could handle stupid first years calling me mean names. I handle having things charmed to my back. I could even handle the fact that my reputation had gone down the toilet faster than the way Mum’s plum pudding went through dad. But I could not handle my own teammates turning on me like this.

“Have you not been listening to me at all?” I screeched, glaring at the lot of them. “I didn’t shag Malfoy, alright? I’m not sleeping a Slytherin! I’m not! So don’t you dare come in here and talk to me like this! You can’t control who I shag or when I shag them. And even if I was shagging Malfoy, it is none of your business. You can’t just bully me about.”

By the time I finished my tirade I was panting. Every eye in the kitchen was locked on me. I took a deep swig of pumpkin juice and watched my teammates stunned faces. They all looked stunned.

“Rose,” Al said at last, “I’m sorry for what was said, but you have to understand, everyone’s been talking about it, and Lucy... well…”

“Save it,” I snarled, standing up from my seat. “Some friends you lot are if you believe that bollocks over me, one of your own.”

“Rose,” Ben said, placing his hand on my arm. I twisted away from him as a tear fell down my cheek.

“You know what?” I croaked as angry tears started falling fast, “I quit. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

I brushed past Ben and Al, who were closest to me and sprinted to the painting. I could hear their shouts to come back from behind me, but I didn’t stop. I pushed through the door and ran down the corridor. I wasn’t sure of where I was going yet, but I knew I just had to get away from there. Tears streamed down my cheeks and my side ached from my combined running and sobbing.

I catapulted around the corner and ran smack into someone.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I cried as I staggered slightly to the right and caught myself against the wall. I looked up to see Lucy’s friend Charlotte sitting on the ground, surrounded by her books from where she had fallen when I’d hit her.

She glared up at me and began assembling her things, I bent down to help, but the withering glare she shot me had me instantly recoiling. Charlotte straightened up and turned to look at me.

“Whore,” she hissed and brushed past me, purposely bumping into my shoulder.

I gaped after her, my mind blank of all thoughts or emotions except bewilderment. How had everything in my life gone so wrong so fast?

Fresh tears streamed down my cheeks and I slid down the wall. I buried my face in my knees and cried until my eyes were all dried up.

It just wasn’t fair. Why was it that everything I did turned around to bite me in the arse? Why could I never catch a break? 

Anger swept across me. Really, this time it wasn’t my fault. It was Scorpius’s fault for kissing me. I guess then it would also be Lucy’s and Charlotte’s fault for spreading it around the entire school.

Malfoy, Lucy, and Charlotte were so dead. It would be so satisfying to exact some well deserved revenge. They wouldn’t even see it coming. The idiots thrived off of the gossip and rumors that were ruining my life. Malfoy would just be seen as a hero that had gotten another girls “V-Card”. Lucy loved being the center of attention, and with such a juicy story to tell she was sure to have been popular today. And then there were my so-called friends who had believed such lies. They would have to suffer too.

I added it up. I would be committing nine murders today. Could I get away with it? Probably not. At least everyone would know that you don’t mess with Rose Weasley unless you wanted to end up like my nine victims.

They’d probably have to send Aurors to get me. The normal Magical Law Enforcement Squad would be too afraid of me. Poor Uncle Harry. He’d have to head the inquisition. It would be so humiliating for him – having to arrest his niece for the murder of his two sons, his niece, and their friends. And my mum, she would be devastated. She’s probably have to prosecute me in front of the Wizengamot. My dad would probably go mad and start abusing Hugo then, because I’ve been taken to Azkaban for the next million years and then Hugo would go and do something stupid.

I stopped there. The downward spiral was just too much. Maybe murdering everyone was a bit drastic. Besides, I probably wouldn’t have the nerve anyway. I could barely feed a flobberworm to Hagrid’s favorite Blast-Ended Skrewt without feeling guilty.

I sighed and stood up, all the joints in my body creaking. I ran my hand through my hair in a futile attempt to make something out of it and dried my eyes on the hem of my sweater. I started along the corridor slowly, my eyes never leaving the ground until I got to the staircase in the middle of the entrance hall. I trudged up two flights of stairs and then got off on the deserted second floor. I kept on walking, not making eye contact with anyone until I got to the deserted girls bathroom. I walked inside despite all the stories I’d heard about Myrtle and checked out my reflection in the mirror.

I looked horrible. My eyes were swollen and red and my hair stood out at odd angles. I turned on the faucet and splashed some cold water on my face. It stung my raw cheeks at first, but after a while it felt good against my hot skin. I smiled as I straightened my gold and scarlet striped tie. My smile turned into a chuckle, and before I knew it I was laughing hysterically.

What was wrong with me? None of this was funny. Maybe it was just the irony of it all. Maybe it was the fact that I’d finally hit rock bottom.

I glanced around the unused lavatory. It wasn’t that bad. It was rather large and was slightly dusty, but it had a rather homey feel to it. I took off my robe and spread it out on the tiles. Then I dropped my bag at the head of it and lay down, using my bag as a pillow. All in all, it wasn’t bad, almost comfortable even. Which was good, because if I had my say in it, I was never leaving this bathroom again.  





 

 A/N: Hi everyone! I'd just like to start this AN by saying thanks to all the awesome staff who has worked so hard to get this site up an running again! They've done such a great job and deserve a great big round of applause. 

On the topic of the crash, this story has lost about 50 reviews, which isn't alot compared to what some people lost, but all of them were really very special to me, and I miss them now. I contemplated deleting this story and starting over again, and I still might. I'm not going to beg for reviews, but it would be really nice if you guys went back and reviewed some of the chapters that lost everything. 

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope you liked it! This officially concludes the longest author's note ever. Please review!


Chapter 10: Coming to Blows
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Living in a bathroom was not as bad as I would have thought. Sure, Myrtle was slightly terrifying and could be a right bloody pain, but once she realized that I was just as miserable as she, she left me alone mostly. No one ever bothered me, something I was grateful for, but I did know that James and everyone else knew exactly where I was. It stung a little bit that they hadn’t bothered to come and try to coax me out of the lavatory.  

I had already decided that I was going to name one of my children Filius after dear Professor Flitwick, who was kind enough to have taught us the Refreshing Charm last year. It made it so much easier to avoid Gryffindor Tower, because I could keep wearing the same clothes every day without smelling. 

Even though I had vowed to never come out, I did go to my classes. Maybe I’m a nerd or a teacher’s pet, but I couldn’t bear the idea of cutting class for longer than one period. So I moved silently from class to class, leaving the safe confines of my bathroom at the exact last possible second so that I had just enough time to make it to class without being late, but so that I didn’t have to sit there forever and listen to my peers gossip. Since I no longer had any more friends I sat by myself at the very front desk and kept my head down, taking notes diligently and probably for the first time in my life learning something in lessons.

After classes I would race back to my bathroom and hide in there until dinnertime, when Winky, God bless her, would bring me food.  I continued on with this lifestyle for a little over a week. No one had asked me where I was yet, or why I never ate in the Great Hall anymore. It was as if no one had noticed I was gone – or if they had they didn’t care.

I have to cut out the melodramatics. People were seeing me at class. And no one would know I wasn’t sleeping in Gryffindor Tower in my dorm except for my fellow sixth year girls – and to be honest, besides Reagan and Lucy I didn’t remember the rest of my dorm mates names. How sad was that? I’d lived with three other girls for six years – shared the same bathroom and the same bedroom – and I didn’t know their names. Maybe one was named Alexis? No, that sounded all wrong.

I lay down on my makeshift bed and closed my eyes. There was no point in trying to remember now anyway. I was never going back there. I kicked my shoes off and brought my knees up to my chest, letting the exhaustion I had been fighting all day overtake me. 

Some amount of time later I felt a drop of water fall on my face. I rolled over and buried my face in my arms. The water didn’t stop. I felt it drip against the back of my head and run along my arms. I rolled right side up this time.

“Myrtle,” I groaned, “I thought we had a deal.”

“I didn’t know Moaning Myrtle made deals with students,” someone who was definitely not Myrtle said.

My eyes snapped open to see Scorpius Malfoy standing over me, looking smug and bemused.

“What are you doing here Malfoy?” I snapped, sitting up and wincing as my back cracked loudly.

“I could ask you the same question Weasley,” he said casually, leaning against a dusty sink. 

I sighed. “What I meant to ask was how you found me.”

“Oh,” his eyes lit up brightly. “Well then. It doesn’t take a genius to find you Weasley. I just thought, where does a girl go when they want to hear all the juicy gossip’ and then I realized a bathroom.  And then I had to ask where does a girl go when they want to hide from gossip? The answer was obvious then. A deserted bathroom.”

He grinned down at me smugly, obviously very pleased with his deductive genius. “You sure do not a lot about girl’s bathrooms, Malfoy,” I said, cocking an eyebrow suggestively. Scorpius flushed red.

“You never answered my question,” he growled.

“You answered your own question,” I said.

“So you are hiding from the rumors. You know that hiding from them only fuels the fire more.”

“I don’t care,” I said haughtily. “I can’t go out there and face them. I can’t.”

“Well you can’t stay in this bathroom forever,” he replied. “You will have to come out sometime. What about Quidditch?”

“I quit.”

“Eating?”

“I have a friend who’s a House Elf?”

“Clothing?”

“Refreshing Charm.”

“Ugh, that is gross.”

“I’ll thank you not to insult me – I know for a fact that you boys go much longer in your clothes without even a Refreshing Charm.”

“Right, well what about seeing your friends? Don’t you miss them?”

“I have no friends.”

“You’re going to have to come out sometime Weasley.”

“No, actually, I seem to be living well here. I think I could manage.”

We glared at each other and he sighed loudly, blowing a strand of his long blond hair out of his eyes. 

“You are impossible, Weasley.” 

“I know,” I grinned.

He pushed himself off of the sink and flicked his hair out of his eyes again. He glared down at me. “I don’t have time to argue with you Weasley. I really just came here to tell you that you are going to have to vacate this bathroom by Saturday because I’m taking you to Hogsmeade.”

I felt my heart do a little flip in my chest. Scorpius wanted to take me to Hogsmeade. Oh fuck.

“I can’t,” I replied, hoping I didn’t sound as horrified as I felt.

“Why not?” he asked, sounding exasperated.

“I – uh – have detention,” I lied.

He stared down at me, his grey eyes boring into mine as if he was hoping to get the truth out of my own brown eyes. I really, really wanted to look away, but then he would know I was lying.

“Dammit Weasley,” he sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. For the first time I noticed dark purple circles under his eyes and the normal layer of scruff that he had on his chin seemed longer today. He normally looked carelessly thrown together, as if he had always just waltzed out of bed, but now he just looked unkempt.  “This is really setting back our plan.”

“What plan?” I asked. I wasn’t aware of the fact that we had a specific time limit or that we had agreed to a plan other than just pretending to date each other.

“Typical Gryffindor,” he said under his breath, sinking down the wall until he was sitting next to me. 

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, affronted.

“What I mean is,” he said, the pitch of his voice rising angrily, “is that it is very typical of Gryffindors to act rashly – to throw themselves into a plan without thinking of what will happen next.” 

I opened my mouth to retort to that broad generalization, but had to close it again. He was right. Uncle Harry could have been the poster boy for those accusations.  

“Yeah…so.”

Brilliant response Rosie.

Malfoy snorted. “So… you’re lucky you have me here to work out all the kinks.” 

“Then tell me, oh great one, what is your master plan?” I asked sarcastically, rolling my eyes and pretending to stare adoringly at him.

He rolled his eyes as well. “Don’t patronize me, Rose.”

I stifled a giggle. “Fine. What do you have in mind?” 

“Well you said you wanted to get back at your dad, yeah?” he paused and I nodded. “And I’m assuming that you had not planned on telling him that we’re dating yourself?”

“No, I was kind of counting on Hugo to do that.”  

“So you were just going to tell him then?” Scorpius smirked.

“I was hoping he would figure it out on his own,” I mumbled staring at the tiled floor. I hadn’t realized how rough around the edges my idea really was. Trust Malfoy to make me feel worse that I already did. 

Malfoy shook his head sadly. I felt like taking his head and banging it against the floor. But that would be breaking my no murder pact.

“We have to get going on this Rose if we want to make it believable. Plus,” he said nonchalantly and innocently, “if you’re going to bring me home to meet your family at Christmas they’re going to need to know about this soon.”

My mouth dropped open and I stared at Scorpius as if he had suddenly sprouted antlers. Take him home for Christmas? Was he suicidal?

“I never invited you for Christmas,” I said finally.

“No, you did not,” he replied smugly. “I invited myself.”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “That is not going to happen. It is nonnegotiable. You are not coming to my house for Christmas.”

“We’ll see Weasley. Let’s leave it as an open idea for now, hm?” By the tone of his voice I knew that he thought that he would be going anyway. Oh how sad he was going to be. 

“Okay,” I huffed, not wanting to get into another fight with him.

“Good,” he smiled triumphantly. “Now about our little problem this Saturday –are you sure you can’t get out of the detention?”

“Yes, I’m sure I can’t get out of it,” I growled. “What would you have me do; ask professor Vector if it’s okay that I skip detention with her so that I can go out with my pretend boyfriend to Hogsmeade so that my little brother can see us and tell my father? I’m sure she’d be really willing to let me go.”

“I’ll take that as a no,” he said simply.

 How could he remain so perfectly calm all the time? It was infuriating. I wanted to hex him into oblivion. Merlin, I was really murderous lately. Maybe I was turning into a sociopath. Note to self: get homicidal tendencies checked out by Madame Pomfrey as soon as possible.

Malfoy yawned and stretched. I watched as he stood up. I had never noticed how impossibly tall he really was. He had to be at least a head taller than me, if not close to two.

“I think we’re done here, Weasley, if you have nothing more to say,” he said.

“Nope, I think I’m good,” I replied.

“Good. Then I’ll see you on Sunday. We should meet here again. It’s pretty remote – a good place for talking things over. We’ll decide what to do then.”

“Okay,” I said, lying back down on my makeshift bed. I watched from under my eyelids as he sauntered towards the door. He had a nice bum. No, do not think that Rose!

“Oh,” he said, pausing with his hand on the door handle and turning towards me with an evil gleam in his grey eyes, “and if I come here tomorrow morning and see that you have spent another night here, I’m going to tell everyone where you’re hiding.”

He smiled once more at me and then left. I glared at the door for a minute and then grunted and sat up. With a careless wave of my wand my few belongings packed themselves up neatly into my school bag. I heaved the bag onto my shoulder and lumbered towards the door, cursing fluently under my breath. With one last longing glance at my sanctuary I pushed open the door and began my long walk back up to Gryffindor Tower.  

The second I stepped into the common room, I wished I’d stayed behind in my bathroom and let Malfoy find me in the morning. The flyers were everywhere – on the bulletin board, hung on the mantle, stuck to the backs of the couches, folded into neat little pamphlets on the tables, even hung over portraits and tapestries.

And they all bore the same stupid scarlet swirly writing that I knew was Al’s. Al is the only boy I know who writes more like a girl than any girl I’ve ever met. I turned my eyes down to the floor so that I wouldn’t have to look at them anymore, but it seemed as if my former teammates had decided to paper the floor as well. Or maybe the rest of my housemates had gotten made and started tearing them down. Whatever it was, it made me want to scream. Because those stupid letters were mocking me.

CHASER TRYOUTS NEXT SUNDAY! (Please contact James Potter for more details. Scratch that, contact Al.)

They were replacing me! Me! Their cousin/friend/teammate! How could they do that? Oh right, I quit.

With a quick glance around the common room to make sure no one was looking I jumped up and down on the flyers, stomping them into the carpet.

“I thought only toddlers and girls in Hufflepuff threw temper tantrums.”

I spun on the spot ready to proverbially bite off whoever stood behind me’s head but reigned in my temper when I saw Ian’s teasing smile. 

“Yeah, well everyone always tells me that I act like a toddler, so I figured why not try it out,” I replied. Ian chuckled lightly and I felt a grin play at the sides of my lips. That’s what I loved about Ian – he could always make me smile, no matter how awful of a mood I was in.

“So who are you guys replacing? Jason? I heard that he was failing Divination.”

I felt a hot blush rise in my cheeks. “No, not Jason.”

“Is it the Finnegan girl then? She always struck me as the type that flaked out on her team,” he growled angrily.

“Ah, no,” I replied nervously. “It’s not Kat either.”  

I watched and if it was even possible turned redder as his eyes grew wide. “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sorry Rosie,” he said quietly, clapping me on the shoulder. I leaned into him and he moved his hand to sit on my hip, pulling me to his side.

“It’s not your fault,” I said quietly, putting my head on his shoulder. “It’s mine really. I quit.”

“You quit?” he exclaimed.

“Yeah, I quit about a week ago.”

“Why?”

“Because my teammates were bloody wankers,” I muttered darkly.  

“All right then,” he said. I could almost hear the smile in his voice. I gazed up at him and was startled at first by how close we actually were. He had his arm tucked comfortably around my waist and I was leaning against his side, but for some reason we seemed a lot closer together than when Al or James would hug me like this.

I had never realized how broad Ian’s shoulders were or how his blonde hair was a mixture of white blonde, golden, and brown. He had a soft sprinkling of freckles across his nose and a strong jaw. Was it really true that such a good looking bloke asked me out? I sighed contentedly and then instantly regretted it. Ian didn’t seem to mind and pulled me tighter for a moment before releasing me completely.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, afraid that I had upset him with my obvious adoration.

“Nothing is wrong,” he said, “except for the fact that people are staring.”

I glanced around the common room and sure enough a few first and second years and some nosy fourth years that were scattered near the fireplace were all staring at me with a sense of awe and disgust. I growled angrily and told the little voice in my head that was telling me to hex them to shut its gob.

“Right,” I replied, feeling a hot blush creep up my neck. “That seems to be happening a lot lately.”

“You’re popular,” he said brightly. “There is nothing wrong with that. Anyway, I’ve got to go finish up some homework. I’ll see you tomorrow at around ten?”

“Tomorrow?” I asked, bewildered.

“You are still planning on coming to Hogsmeade with me tomorrow, aren’t you?” he asked, his normally cheerful face suddenly serious.

Tomorrow was Saturday. Really? Already? I made a mental calculation of the days in my head. Fuck. “Of course!” I replied. My heart pounded faster as I watched the smile return to his face.

“Good.” He leaned forward and kissed the top of my head lightly before sauntering up the stairs to the boys’ dorms.

I caught myself against the back of the squishy couch before my knees buckled. Was I really swooning? That sounds so pathetic. I heard a chuckle from behind me and glared at the first year girl who had just walked through the portrait hole. She cringed and ran over to the rest of her first year friends who were all glaring at me. I glared right back and flipped them the finger before marching up to my dormitory.

“Rose!” I heard someone cry when I closed the door behind me. I froze at the sound and took a deep breath, counting to ten in a futile attempt to calm myself.

“Hi Lucy,” I grimaced, turning around to see my cousin standing behind me, looking obliviously happy.

“How’ve you been?” she asked, coming over to me and giving me a hug. “I’ve been so worried about you! You haven’t been up here in over a week!”

Huh. I wonder why.  

I wiggled out of her grasp and threw my sack across the room and onto my still unmade bed. I looked at Lucy. She looked perfect as always. Even in her pajamas with her hair piled on top of her head and her ‘bedroom glasses’ perched on her nose she was still far prettier than I could ever hope to be. I glowered at her and she took a step back.

“Are you mad at me, Rose?” she asked, a hint of fake innocence mixed into her voice.

“No shit Sherlock,” I growled, walking over to my bed and pulling off my long school robes as I went.  

I could almost hear her mouth drop open in surprise.

“What did I do?” she asked, her voice still sickly sweet.

“Don’t play stupid with me Lucy!” I shouted, turning on the spot to glare at her. I saw her take a step back. “You know what you fricking did! I am so tired of you pretending like none of what happens around here is your fault! You want to know why I didn’t sleep in the dorm for over a week? Because I knew that if I came within three feet of you I would be too tempted to strangle you and to be honest I don’t really want to go to prison! So back the fuck off.”

When I got done yelling Lucy was almost in tears. I honestly didn’t care. I felt better than I had in days.

“Fine, Rose,” she snarled, her voice choking a little bit. “If that’s how you feel I will never talk to you again.”

“Praise Merlin! You just made my year!” I cried sarcastically, turning back around and grabbing a towel off the nightstand. I marched past my cousin who was standing rooted to her spot, probably too in shock to move. It might come as a surprise, but I don’t really shout all that much. I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door after me. The last thing I heard before I turned on the hot water in the shower was Lucy’s angry cry.

 

 


 

I woke up the next morning bright and early. It had not been an easy night by any means. Reagan came into the dorm at about eight, and the tension in the air between us was palpable. Neither one of us spoke, and I knew that she was still mad at me for quitting the team. Lucy also made a point of not-so-subtly staring over her book at me and sniffing with disdain at anything I did. I did nothing in retaliation though, and I relished in the fact that it seemed to drive her insane.

I stumbled into the bathroom and cringed at mess sitting atop my head. I spent a good hour brushing my hair out of its knots until it hung semi-straight down my back. Then it was time to attack my closet. I open the doors to my armoire and jumped out of the way as a mountain of clothing tumbled down.  

I stepped over them and ran a hand along the few pieces of clothes that were still hanging on their appropriate hangers. Why did not have any clothes suitable for dates? Oh yeah, because I never went on any. I pushed a few pairs of sweat pants out of the way and pulled a pair of tan corduroy pants down. They seemed alright. I gave them a quick sniff – definitely clean.

I laid the pants on my bed and turned back to my wardrobe. I shoved all of my sweatshirts and ratty t-shirts out of the way and examined the few presentable pieces I had left – the red sweater Grandma Weasley had made me for Christmas last year, my black shirt for spying, and a long sleeved green t-shirt. I grabbed the green shirt off its hanger and layered over my pants. It would have to do. Nothing else was presentable. 

I put on my new outfit and went over into the bathroom that was still free because of the early hour. I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t look so bad. My hair hung in long waves down my back and my shirt hugged my upper body tightly without making my chest look like the box that it really was. 

I was actually halfway pretty. I dabbed some powder over my face and applied some light brown eye shadow my eyelids, carefully steering clear of eyeliner or mascara. I had an incredible knack for almost blinding myself with those dastardly contraptions every time I used them.  

I stood back from the mirror and examined my face again. It would do. I quickly brushed my teeth and wiped the excess toothpaste from the corners of my mouth. I walked back into the dorm and checked the clock. It was only eight o’clock. I sighed. It was going to be a long morning. 

 

 


 

At nine forty-five I left the dormitory and walked down to the courtyard. There were a lot of single people milling about, obviously waiting for a date or for their friends like I was. I sat down on a bench by one of the walls to wait. My foot danced anxiously against the cobblestones and I clicked my tongue absently. I could feel my heart beating erratically in my chest.

I cast an anxious glance at the giant clock tower. Five to ten. What if he didn’t show up? What would happen if I was stuck waiting here all day? Dear Merlin, what happened if he did show up? Would he expect me to hold hands with him? What if my palms sweated? That would be so disgusting. He would be so grossed out by my moist hands that he’d tell me he was going to get more drinks or something and leave. Oh, this was a bad idea. This was a very bad idea. Would he expect me to kiss him now that I had a reputation? Damn, dang, damn. I had forgotten about that. And I had forgotten about Scorpius. Would he be going to Hogsmeade? He thought I had detention today. If he saw me with Ian – well, I didn’t want to think about the possibility.

“Hey Rosie,” Ian said, sitting down next to me on the bench. I jumped slightly at the sound of his voice but calmed down instantly.

“Hi Ian,” I said shyly. He looked amazing. His hair was somewhat manageable today and he wore a dark blue checkered shirt over a pair of jeans and trainers. He had the sleeves rolled up over his forearms and the top button unbuttoned, revealing a plain white undershirt.

“You look really nice,” he said. I blushed and smiled.  

“Thanks,” I replied. “You look nice too.”

He grinned and stood up, offering me a hand. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yup.” I took his hand and was pleasantly surprised when he instantly laced his fingers through mine. His hand was a lot bigger than mine and slightly calloused, but it felt very natural.

“So where do you want to go?” he asked brightly, our arms swinging slightly between us as we walked.

“Well, uh, I could do with some more Acid Pops,” I answered, my face turning red for some unknown reason. Maybe it was fact that I was out on my first date. He didn’t seem bothered by it, and I was glad, for I was fairly sure that I would be a delicate shade of magenta all day.

“I’m an Acid Pop addict!” he exclaimed, his grip on my hand tightening.

“Really?” I asked, looking up at him sheepishly.

“Yeah, every year for my birthday my Gran gets me a whole bucket of ‘em.”

“Wow! Lucky.”

Our conversation continued fluidly from then on as we went to Honeydukes and then over to Zonko’s to check out some new Fanged Frisbee’s.  Ian and I got along great. It was so easy being myself around him and we never ran out of things to talk about – whether it be Acid Pops, our favorite experiences with invisible ink, or even arguing about whether or not Professor Slughorn could balance a glass of water on his stomach while walking.

At about one we went into the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Ian, being the wonderful gentleman that he is, went to order us drinks and fish and chips. I stayed behind at the table, trying without success to wipe the smile from my face.

That was when I saw him. There, sitting at the small table by the window, holding hands with Anna Rosier was Scorpius Malfoy. My mouth dropped open in shock and I stared at him. He was here. And I was here. And neither of us was with the person we were supposed to be with. I guess he felt me staring at him because he turned in my direction and I instantly slid from in my seat to under the table. I heard thudded footsteps and whimpered slightly. I was so dead.

“Rose,” Ian asked, setting something down on the table and then crouching down next to the table to see me. “What are you doing?”

“Shh…” I hissed, grabbing his collar and pulling him under the table with me.

“What the hell is going on, Rose?” he asked, louder this time.

“Please,” I pleaded, trying not to cry as everything went to hell, “just be quiet. I’ll explain everything; please just keep your voice down.”

“Rose?” Another voice said. Shit.

“Rose?” A shrill voice shrieked.

I peeked my head out from under the table to see a livid looking Scorpius glaring down at me and Anna standing behind him, looking perplexed.

“Hi Scorpius,” I said brightly, standing up and dragging Ian up from under the table with me. “Lovely day for a trip to Hogsmeade, huh?”

He didn’t say anything. I could feel Ian’s and Anna’s eyes on me too but I tried to ignore it, hoping that if things got smoothed out quickly we wouldn’t cause a scene.

“Rose, what is going on? Why are you talking to Malfoy?”  Ian asked, grabbing my hand protectively. I almost cringed. I didn’t have to look, I could feel Scorpius’s eyes zero in on that gesture.

“She is talking to me, McLaggen,” Scorpius hissed, “because she is my girlfriend.”

I heard Anna let out a little shriek of surprise and I felt Ian go stiff next to me. I decided that it really was safer for me to look at the floor – that way I wouldn’t have to see either of their disappointed or hurt faces.

“Well, I don’t believe that Malfoy, because Rose is out on a date with me this weekend,” Ian spat, his hand gripping mine tighter instead of letting go like I had hoped he would. “And she told me she’s never had anything to do with you.”

“Have you not heard the rumors, then?” Scorpius asked, eyeing Ian up. “Because I’ll have you know that they’re all true.” 

“Rose is my girlfriend, Malfoy!” Ian yelled. I felt every eye in the room train on us and I glanced over nervously at the bar. Madame Rosemerta was eyeing us warily. I knew that at the first sign of trouble she would kick us out.

“Sorry to disappoint you, McLaggen, but Rose and I have been dating for nearly a month,” Scorpius said. He didn’t say this very loudly but I heard a murmur of surprised whisper sweep throughout the room. 

I felt Ian’s hand leave mine and I glanced up just in time to see Ian punch Malfoy clean across the face.  







 
A/N: Dun dun dun! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Sorry about the cliffie, but this chapter was getting really long, and I wanted to post something tonight. So how did you like it? I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. 

Right now I want to give a big shout out and thanks to Gryffy Girl917, who went back and reviewed all of the old chapters that had their reviews deleted. It meant so much to me! I don't know if I can thank you enough. Also, thank you to everyone else who reviewed the last chapter - and guess what? This story is staying. I'm not deleting it.  

Thanks so much for reading guys. Please keep up the great reviews! The next chapter should be up in about two weeks hopefully.  

P.S. I just got T.A. status. So chapters will be coming faster!


Chapter 11: Breaking My Own Heart
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“STOP!” I shouted, grabbing Ian and trying to pull him off of Scorpius. I heard something crack and then Scorpius launched himself at Ian and the two boys tumbled backwards. I barely had enough time to jump out of the way as they fell onto the table I had previously been hiding under. The table crumpled under their combined weight and the force of their fall, but neither seemed to notice.

I wanted desperately to do something, but I was afraid of sticking my hand into the fray for fear that it would get bit off. I heard Ian grunt as Scorpius kneed him in the stomach and then heard Scorpius cry out as Ian pulled his long blond hair.

It was like one of my worst nightmares. My fellow classmates and patrons of the bar were crowding around in a circle to watch the fight, and someone had taken up the chant of “fight, fight, fight”. I saw Anna step forward to try to coax Scorpius out of the fray, but she apparently decided that it was not worth getting one of her limbs ripped off either and stepped back. She shot me a death glare and I glowered right back. I knew that at the back of her mind she was blaming me for this whole ordeal, and she was probably right, because the good little voice at the back of my head was screaming the same thing.

I wished they’d both just shut the fuck up.

Because really, in the entirety of Hogwarts, no the entirety of England, no wait, the entirety of the world, there is no one feeling more guilty than me at the present. My skin felt like it was crawling and I could feel angry tears welling up behind my eyes, but nothing fell down my cheeks. I really wished they would fall.

“OUT! GET OUT!” Madame Rosemerta screamed, thwacking Scorpius and Ian over the head with a giant broom. Both boys turned to look up at her and suddenly saw the crowd standing around watching them. And then, with the stupidity that only enraged teenage boys have they launched themselves back at each other, the punches being flung harder.

“STOP!” Rosemerta screamed, hitting them again. “GET OUT OF MY BAR!”

Again they stopped fighting and this time Scorpius looked up at me. His right eye was an unsightly shade of purple and swelling fast and his bottom lip was split right down the middle. Ian had a swelling eye as well and his nose looked like it might have been broken. Both were covered in blood. Everyone paused as they looked at each other, obvious hate smoldering between their eyes.

Then Scorpius pushed himself up from the ground and came to stand in front of me. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as he approached. I stared determinedly at the floor; not wanting to meet what I was sure was a furious glare.

“Rose,” he said quietly. I dug my toes into the dirty wood floor and tried to will my face back to its normal shade of white.

“Rose, tell him that you’re here with me,” Ian said, coming to stand next to Scorpius.

I felt a tear prick behind my eyes and fall down my cheek. I heard the crowd’s intake of breath as they all waited for me to answer to one of them. I looked up and glanced between the two of them. There was Scorpius, tall, lean, his long white blond hair half obscuring his face and a knowing smirk plastered across his lips. Then there was Ian, a bit stockier, with curly golden hair and the cutest spattering of freckles across his nose and an ever-present grin plastered on his face.

The tears started to flow faster as my eyes moved onto Scorpius and settled on Ian. I pursed my lips to stop myself from sobbing outright. My chest hurt and it felt like my organs were caving in. I saw Anna smirk from the corner of my eye and yet I did not care. All I cared about was the fact that I was going to have to hurt one of them probably very badly, and in turn break my own heart.

I turned from Ian to Scorpius and made myself smile. I could tell from his expression that it didn’t look very convincing, but he seemed satisfied, and held out his hand for mine. This was it. If I took Scorpius’s hand, then it was all over. I could feel Ian’s eyes on my back, but I couldn’t bring myself to turn around and look at him. If I did I was sure that I would lose any shred of resolve I had left and run out of there screaming.

My arm felt dead as I lifted it and twined my fingers through Scorpius’s. He pulled me to him until it seemed we were glued at the hip. I heard a new round of surprised whispered sweep throughout the room, but I did not care what they were saying anymore. Whatever it was, it was true.

“Scorpius, what are you doing?” Anna shrieked, marching up to us and gesturing to our twined hands. I saw him just smirk at her and then felt him pull me along as he walked out of the bar.

“McLaggen,” he said as he passed Ian. I glanced over my shoulder as we reached the door. Ian was standing in the midst of the broken circle, still in the same position as he was when I had taken Scorpius’s hand. He seemed to feel my eyes on his and when he turned to me I could visibly see the hurt and betrayal written on his handsome features. There was no trace of a smile anywhere.

I heard the door close behind me but I do not remember walking out onto the main street. I do remember how cold it was though – I remember thinking for a brief second that it was much colder now than when I had entered the bar.

Before I knew what had happened I was seated on a large stone a few hundred yards away from the Shrieking Shack and Scorpius was pacing back and forth in front of me, his expression enraged.

“I thought we weren’t supposed to be seeing other people, Rose,” he said quietly. I really wished he would yell. Then I would have an excuse to yell right back.

“You’re one to talk, Scorpius,” I replied, scuffing my shoe against the ground.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, dragging his hand through his hair.

“Don’t pretend you weren’t sitting in the bar, holding hands with Anna. I saw you!” I said loudly.

“That is none of your business,” he replied coolly.

“None of my business,” I scoffed, “you are the biggest hypocrite I’ve ever met.”

“I think you’re just jealous,” he said.

I flushed a deep shade of crimson and kicked a rock that was near my foot. “You know what I think, Scorpius,” I asked, standing up and striding over to where he was pacing, blocking his way. He came to a stop less than an inch away from me. I looked up into his grey eyes, which were still tinged with a hint of anger. He seemed so much more impossibly tall up close. “I think that you’re the jealous one.” 

He took a step forward so that our bodies were centimeters away from each other. I watched as he lifted his hands away from his sides and then I felt them cup my face. My breath caught in my throat and I could feel my pulse pick up considerably. I felt him raise my chin until I was looking right up into his stormy eyes. “Maybe I am,” he whispered.  

I don’t know why, but I felt more tears starting to trickle down my cheeks. They soon turned into sobs and my chest started to ache again, as if some invisible hole was eating its way through my bones to my heart. I hated this. I hated feeling like this. I hated not knowing what I was feeling. My heart ached, but not only for hurting Ian and leaving him behind, but for all the new things I was feeling towards Scorpius, and more than anything, the way I felt about me. I felt sorry for me. I felt lost and I wanted the old me back again. I wanted to feel whole again, complete. I wanted things to be simpler again. I wanted every single one of my problems to go away so that I could live again. I wanted to feel like I was living again.

I don’t know what compelled me to do it. But the next thing I knew I was standing up on my toes. My mouth hovered in front of Scorpius’s for a moment and by the look in his eyes I could tell he was surprised. And then I pressed my lips to his and I felt his hands drop from my face to around my waist. He pulled me tightly to his body, almost picking me up off the ground in his haste. My hands wrapped around his neck and one tangled in his hair. His lips were cool and soft and sort of tasted like blood from his recent fight, but in that moment I did not care.

After a few moments, I pulled away, panting for breath. I could feel his chest falling and rising against mine and I looked up into his face to see what his reaction was. He was looking down at me too, a real smile playing on his lips instead of his usual smirk. His hands rose up and I felt his thumbs brush away the remaining tears that trickled down my cheeks.

“I hate seeing you cry,” he said quietly.

“I hate crying in front of you,” I replied, laying my head against his chest. 

He rubbed his hand over my back soothingly and I felt him place a light kiss on top of my head.  I don’t know how long we stayed that way, rocking back and forth. Light years of knowledge and emotions had just passed between us and I felt that everything that I had ever known or thought about Scorpius Malfoy had changed in those moments. 

It began to rain a little while later and he finally released me.

“You weren’t pretending back there, were you?” he asked, his light hair falling into his eyes as it got drenched.

“Not at all,” I said, reaching up and pushing it back out of his eyes.

“Good,” he smiled. “Neither was I.”

He reached out and took my hand. I laced my fingers through his and for some reason, my hand felt very right in his. We walked slowly back up to the castle, oblivious to all of the stares and gossip of our classmates.

“Scorpius,” I said, pulling him off to the side when we reached the gates. I’d decided on the long walk back here that this was necessary. “I don’t want to pretend anymore.”

He looked down at me, his eyes a bit wary. “What do you mean?”

I took a deep breath, suddenly feeling embarrassed. “What I mean is, uh, do you want to, you know, date me, for real?”

He looked surprised at my request, but then he smiled. “Are you asking me to be your boyfriend?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“I guess,” I replied, going a deeper shade of crimson.

“I would love to,” he said.

I felt my face break into a beam so broad that I was pretty sure my face would break.  

“Great!” I cried. My heart was doing the conga in my chest.

He bent down and this time actually picked me up off the ground as he kissed me again. My head was spinning and I was sure that I was going to have a heart attack from how fast my heart was beating. Everything had changed so fast. Or maybe nothing had really changed at all. I wasn’t sure. What I was sure of though, was that this was the happiest I had felt in a long time.  






 
A/N: So this really was not what I'd had planned at all for this chapter. It just sort of wrote itself this morning. But I gotta say, I think I'm liking this idea better than what I had previously planned. 

What do you guys think? I really hope you liked it! Please, please, please review and tell me what you thought. Also, I want to give a big thank you to missdagane for going back and reviewing all the chapters that lost all their reviews in the crash, and everyone else who has reviewed thus far. It really means a lot to me. :) 

Alright, one more announcement. I've just joined NaNoWriMo in a burst of insanity. I'm going to try my hardest to keep up with updating this story during November, but I'm not going to make any promises. Thank you all for your patience! 

Thanks for reading! Please review!


Chapter 12: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
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I woke up to the smell of rubbing alcohol and Skele-Grow. What was I doing in the Hospital Wing? I slowly opened my eyes and then instantly shut them from the bright light filtering in from the window across from me.

“Good morning, Weasley,” Scorpius drawled. My eyes snapped open. Scorpius was here?

“Scorpius,” I said, my voice coming out in a croak from lack of use. “What am I doing here?”

“You don’t remember?” he asked, coming to stand at the foot of my bed.

“No,” I replied, wanting to ask why his normal smirk was back on his face.

“You don’t remember getting kicked out of the Three Broomsticks, or the fight?” he asked, mocking amusement evident in his voice.

“I remember being in the Three Broomsticks, and you and Ian fighting,” I replied. I tried to sit up, but my abdomen flared in pain. “Oh!” I cried. “What happened to me?” I lifted my arm to feel my head, which I had just noticed was feeling much heavier than usual. My head was wrapped in bandages.

“You don’t remember your street-side brawl with Anna?” he asked, a wrinkle of concern furrowing his brow.

“She wouldn’t remember, Mr. Malfoy,” the matron said, bustling up to stand at the end of my bed. “I gave her a potion that would stop her from remembering the events so that she could sleep peacefully.” 

Wait, if I had been asleep, did that mean that I had just dreamed up the last part about Scorpius and me? Did that mean that I hadn’t really chosen Scorpius over Ian, and that we hadn’t kissed by the Shrieking Shack, and that I didn’t admit that I fancied him?

Damn, that really sucked. Now I was back to square one. Could nothing ever go my way?

“I got into a fight with Anna?” I asked, trying not to think about how disappointed I was.

“Oh yeah,” Scorpius said, grinning like mad. “The two of you were really going at it. I’m pretty sure you pulled out a good sized chunk of her hair before she hit your head against the ground.”

I felt my eyes threaten to bug right out of my head. Had I really done that? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I wasn’t the type of girl who would rip another girl’s hair out over a bloke, was I?

No, I wasn’t. But I was the type of girl to beat another girl into a pulp if she attacked me first.

“Who started the fight?” I asked Scorpius.

“She did,” he said, and I could tell from his tone of voice that he distinctly remembered every detail of that moment. I would have to pester him for them later. “She thought you were going to pick me, and she was not pleased with that idea at all.”

“What did she do?” I asked, already feeling horrified and guilty.

“Well, she sort of came at you, and she yelled at you, and when you didn’t respond she hit you pretty hard across the face. You stumbled back into me but pulled away before I could stop you. Then you punched her quite hard in the stomach. From there, I don’t remember much but the tangle of limbs, and then blood.”

“That is quite enough, Mr. Malfoy,” the matron said, bustling around him to stand on the right of my bed. I watched as she poured me another vile of potion. “Miss Weasley has had a very traumatic experience and is still not fully healed. She needs to rest, and does not need all of the gory details right now. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“No!” I said quickly. “Don’t make him leave. I won’t ask any more questions.”

Scorpius smirked at the matron and then sat himself down in a chair that I had not noticed was pulled up alongside my bed.

“Miss Weasley,” the matron sighed, handing me the vile, “you are a glutton for punishment, you know that?”

“You have no idea,” I murmured, tipping back the cup into my mouth and forcing myself to swallow.

She walked off again after shooting Scorpius a very dirty glare.  

“So how are you feeling?” Scorpius asked me when the matron was safely out of earshot.

“Horrible,” I grumbled, shifting myself back down so that I was laying flat again. I hadn’t realized how badly my ribs hurt or how my head throbbed earlier, but now that I wasn’t nearly as distracted it was becoming apparent that I was worse for the wear.

“So then I guess you’re not feeling up to reading these,” he said. I turned my head a little bit so that I could see the two pieces of parchment he was holding.

“What are they?” I asked.

“Letters,” he said a note of triumph in his voice. “From your parents.”

I sat up much too quickly and my abdomen screamed in protest, but I chose to ignore it. “My parents?” I asked, my mouth going dry.

“Yeah, one from each of them,” he said, twirling the bits of parchment between his fingers.

“Did you read them?” My mouth felt like it was made of cotton.

“No, I thought I would wait until you woke up to read them,” he said, propping his feet up on my bed.  

I felt a little wave of relief wash over me. “How did you get them?” I asked, suddenly curious as to why he had my mail in the first place.

“Your brother brought them up here this morning,” he said. “He’s not a bad kid. He’s quite terrified of me though.”

“You talked to Hugo!” I shrieked. Suddenly I felt Scorpius’s cool hand wrap itself over my mouth to silence the rest of my squeal.

“Relax Weasley,” Scorpius growled, glaring at me. “I didn’t scare him too badly. Your secret’s safe with me.”

I groaned and dropped my head into my hands. I really wished I’d been awake for that exchange. Maybe then I would have at least gotten an insight into the letters I was going to be reading. And then I could have possibly stopped Malfoy from saying something stupid. Even if he didn’t think he had said anything, Hugo was not a daft kid. In fact, he was more like a radar detector. He would have definitely picked up on any of Scorpius’s odd behavior.

“What’s wrong now?” Scorpius grumbled.

“Nothing,” I snarled, picking my head up and holding out my hand for the letters. “It’s just the idea of you and my family interacting that has me worried.”

“Well, you better get used to it, cause if I’m going to go to your house for Christmas I’m going to have to interact with your family.”

“I thought we agreed that you weren’t going to come to my house,” I snarled.

“Not the case at all, Little Flower,” he smirked. “You agreed to consider it.”

“Well, I’ve considered it, and my answer is the same – NO. And do not call me Little Flower,” I growled.

“Why not?” He asked, sitting up as if suddenly interested in what I was saying.

“It makes me feel as if I’m a child,” I replied.

“Damn,” he sighed, settling himself back down. “You’re right. I’m going to have to think of a new nick name for you now.” 

“I don’t want a nick name,” I sighed. “I just want my letters.”

He seemed to remember that he was holding my mail and handed them over to me, sitting up again and gazing at me intently. I tried to stop my hands from shaking as I reached out to grab the first one. I took the one off the top and was relieved to see my mother’s neat print. I unrolled it quickly and read.

 

My dear Rose,

I am sorry that I have not had a chance to write to you until now. Things have been crazy at work: the minister is talking of taking S.P.E.W. internationally! Isn’t that wonderful? Anyway, how have you been? Your father has told me you have been in a few fights since the beginning of the school year. Please, at least try to stay out of trouble. How is Quidditch going? When is your first game? I’ll try to make it to at least one game this year. I hope you’re enjoying school. Write me back and tell me about everything that is happening. I miss you very much! I cannot wait to see you at Christmas. I love you.

Love,

Mum

 

I smiled when I finished reading my mum’s letter. I always felt better after hearing from her. She didn’t write very often anymore – like she had said, work for her was very hectic. I was proud of her for being so successful, but sometimes it hurt that she put work above us.

Scorpius held out his hand for the letter and I gave it to him – there was nothing in there that he couldn’t read. While he was preoccupied reading that letter I reached out and took the one from my father, not bothering to conceal the shaking of my hands.

I unrolled the parchment and stared down at the few hastily scrawled lines on the paper.

Rose,

Is what I have heard true? Are you having some sort of romantic affair with the Malfoy boy? I demand that you stop whatever it is you are doing right now. What kind of Weasley would date the spawn of a Death Eater and ferret? I’m thoroughly disappointed in you. I find it very hard to call you my daughter right now. Please write me back when you start acting like a proper Weasley again.

Dad 

 

I felt the angry tears start falling. My heart felt like someone had wrapped their fist around it and was squeezing it very tightly. I was gasping for breath and somewhere at the back of my head the bad little voice was telling me that surely death had to be less painful than this. I wrapped my arms around my abdomen, ignoring the way my ribs ached and tried to hold myself together from falling apart at the seams.

“Rose, what’s wrong?” Scorpius asked, trying to pry the letter from my fingers. I crumpled it up into a ball in my fist and held onto it with all of the strength left in my body. He could not read this one. It was too shameful, and too painful.

“Go away,” I said, my voice thick.

“Rose,” he said again, his voice full of concern.

“Please,” I begged him, lying back flat on my hospital bed and pulling the thin white sheet over my head.

I felt his long hand take my hand that was holding the sheet up into his and I felt his thumb trace light, comforting patterns against my palm.

“Shh,” he soothed. “Everything is going to be all right.”

I wanted to believe him. I wanted so much to believe him. But how could everything be all right now? How could I ever go back and face my family? Maybe he was right. Maybe I was a disappointment to my family. My cousins at least thought I was. No one was speaking to me anymore. How had I fucked things up so badly?

I fresh wave of sobs overtook me and I gasped for breath again, the ache in my ribs making it hard to breath.

“Madame Pomfrey!” I heard Scorpius yell. I heard the door to the matron’s office open and I heard the rubber soles on her shoes squeak as she hurried over to my bed.

“What is wrong with her?” I heard her gasp.

“Can you give her a Calming Draught?” Scorpius asked.

“Yes, of course. That would probably be best,” Madame Pomfrey said. I heard her walk away and then I heard the chink of glass against glass.

“Here, Miss Weasley,” the matron said, pulling back the corner of the sheet and handing me a flask of bubbling white liquid. I drank it gratefully, reveling in the wash of comfort that overtook me. She took it back from me when I was finished and I sank into my pillows, my eyelids feeling ten times heavier.

The last thing I remembered before I drifted off to sleep was the fact that Scorpius’s hand was still intertwined with mine.   

 

 

 

 


 
A/N: So what do you think? Love me, hate me? Please just don't kill me. I just couldn't have the two of them get together so early on. But at least she recognizes that she fancies him now. Lets not focus on that though! 

She got another letter from Ron. Dun dun dun! 

Well, I really hope you liked this chapter! This was a really fast update! I want to update as much as I can before November comes because in case you haven't heard, I signed up for NaNoWriMo, so I'm not going to have as much time to write. That being said, I also wrote half of chapter 13 with this one, so it should be out within a week hopefully. 

Thank you all for reading! Please, please, review and tell me what you thought!


Chapter 13: Sitting With Slytherins
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When I woke up the next morning, Scorpius was sound asleep in the chair next to me, his feet propped up on the very edge of my bed and his head hanging at an impossibly uncomfortable angle. His long hair had flopped down over his eyes and I could just barely make out the dark circles under his eyes. I felt the corners of my mouth tug up into a grin. He was so cute when he slept. Why couldn’t he be this innocent when he was awake?

I settled myself in my pillows comfortably, not wanting to alert Madame Pomfrey to the fact that I was awake. She would probably be loud and annoying and ruin my perfect moment. Or really, as close to perfect as I could ever get. Because now that I realized that everything that I thought had transpired between us was just a dream, it was hard for me to ignore the blossoming feelings I had for him.

He obviously did not return them – but that was okay. I was used to being rejected. So I would enjoy what time I had with him while I could. I also had to make sure I didn’t make it too obvious that I fancied him. Well, I was supposed to be dating him. It wouldn’t be that hard.

I stared at him for a while longer, and when he began to stir I shut my eyes and feigned sleep again. I felt his eyes on me and I tried not to grin or giggle and blow my cover. I heard him stand up and then stumble down the aisle towards where Madame Pomfrey’s office was.

I opened my eyes again and there he was, standing at the foot of my bed.

“Good morning, sunshine,” he said, smirking knowingly.

“Good morning, wanker,” I said darkly. “How did you know?”

“You’re a bad actress, Weasley,” he grinned.

I sighed and kicked the stiff blankets off of myself. I had to admit that despite the fact that my heart hurt, every other part of me was feeling great.

“Ah, Miss Weasley,” the matron said, coming round from another bed. “Feeling better are we?”

“Yes,” I responded. “I feel great.”

“You look it,” she said. “I asked a few house elves to bring down some clothes for you last night. You can wash up in the bathroom and get dressed. Then you just have to take one more potion and you’ll be on your way.”

“Thank you,” I said gratefully, taking the stack of black robes she handed me and running a hand through my hair. Yuck. It was greasy.

“Are you going to be going then Mr. Malfoy?” Madame Pomfrey asked Scorpius, who I just realized was still standing there.

“I think I’ll wait for Rose and walk her down to breakfast,” he said, eyeing me up and down. I felt a hot blush rise up in my cheeks.

“Suit yourself,” she replied, moving off again to help a little girl who had just walked through the doors looking green.

I hurried off to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I quickly discarded my cardboard-esque pajamas and turned on the hot water. As I waited for it to heat up I dared a quick glance in the mirror. I looked disgusting. Uh, and Scorpius had seen me like this.

I showered quickly and combed my long hair back off of my face. I dressed fast and waved my wand in the general direction of my head. I felt my scalp turn hot for a moment and then my dripping locks became dry. I dared another glance in the mirror. I didn’t look half bad.

I took a deep breath and walked back out into the Hospital Wing. Scorpius was sitting on the edge of my bed, my book bag draped lazily over his shoulder. He looked up at the sound of my footsteps and smiled when he saw me looking much better.

When I reached his side he stood up fully. “Are you ready to go?” he asked, his grey eyes peering down curiously at me. I looked up, sensing the double meaning to his words.

“Yes,” I said confidently. He reached out and twined his fingers through mine. I held out my other hand for my books, but he shook his head and readjusted the strap on his shoulder.

“She is free to go, Madame Pomfrey?” Scorpius called out to the matron.

I saw her poke her head out from behind a curtain a few rows down. She gave me a glance over and I could just make out her eyes settling on our hands for a moment before she looked at me again. “Yes, Rose seems to be better.”

“Thank you,” I called and her head disappeared again. Scorpius tightened his grip on my hand and began to tow me out of the Hospital Room. I stumbled after him.

“So how are you feeling?” he asked when we were out of the room. He slowed down our pace to a slow walk.

“Better,” I replied. “A little sore, but good.”

“That is good,” he said.

We walked on in silence for a little while. It wasn’t really awkward between the two of us, and yet it was not comfortable. I could tell that there was something else he wanted to ask me, and I had a hunch of what it was, but that was a topic I wanted to stay very, very far away from.

“Rose,” he said, coming to a halt at the top of the grand staircase. “What did the letter from your father say?”

Of course.

“I don’t really want to talk about it,” I said, fighting the onslaught of tears that I could feel brewing.

“Will you ever let me read it?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I said my voice thick. He squeezed my hand for a moment and then slackened his grip back to normal. “Where is the letter anyway?”

“Madame Pomfrey put it in your bag last night.”

“Did she read it?” I asked a hysterical edge to my voice. Those letters were my burden to bear, my shame. I didn’t need any nosy adults getting involved.

“I don’t think so,” he said, shrugging.

I let out a breath of relief.

“Are you ready to go in there?” he asked, shrugging his shoulder in the direction of the barely visible Great Hall.

“No,” I said chuckling. “But I don’t think I have much of a choice.”

He grinned lightly. “That you don’t.”

We walked down the rest of the stairs and I felt my hand gripping his tighter with every step. This was more nerve wracking than anything I’d ever done before. Even opening letters from my father or pre-Quidditch jitters paled in comparison to this anxiety.

“It will be fine,” I heard Scorpius murmur, although I wasn’t sure if the said that for my benefit or his. Either way he didn’t hesitate as he stepped over the threshold of the door and I followed obediently. The response wasn’t like anything I thought it would be.  

There was no slow motion scene were everyone grew quiet and stared at us. There was no big outburst of whispers and catcalls. There wasn’t really anything, except glares, a few whispers, and the occasional sniff of disdain. I stood still next to Scorpius and just looked at all my peers, probably for the first time since I was a first year. I hadn’t realized it lately, but there were a lot of students.

“Where do you want to sit?” Scorpius asked me and I jumped slightly.

“Er,” I said unsurely, glancing over at the Gryffindor table. I saw James glaring at me, his eyes livid and I didn’t want to look anymore.

“Anywhere you want to,” I said, looking up at him and hoping that he couldn’t tell why I didn’t want to sit at my own table.

“Okay then,” he said, grinning wickedly. I gulped down the fear and hatred I could feel bubbling in my stomach and walked slowly with him over to the Slytherin table. It was worse than the Gryffindor table by far. They were all glowering at me and holding sharp pointy objects. Past experiences, that I’d worked too hard to suppress to really think about again, told me that this combination was not a good one.

“Hey, mate,” Scorpius said, sitting down next to Anthony Zambini, a lanky chocolate colored skin boy in his year.

“’ello,” Anthony said, not looking up from his plate.

I slid in next to Scorpius and tried to keep as much of my face covered by my hair as possible.

“I think you know my girlfriend, Rose,” Scorpius said very loudly, much to my chagrin.

“Yes, we’ve met once or twice,” Anthony said, still not looking up. I could tell Scorpius was getting frustrated by his friend’s obvious disdain because his grip on my hand tightened so much that I lost feeling in my fingers.

“Uh, Scorpius,” I squeaked. He glared down at me but instantly softened his expression when he saw that my hand had turned purple.

“I’m sorry,” he said. He paused for a moment to see if anyone had noticed, but to be honest, no one was really paying us much attention. Maybe Scorpius had warned them to be nice, he was after all very popular and influential, or maybe they were trying to piss him off, but whatever the case I certainly didn’t mind.

“Here,” he said somewhat irritably. “You should eat.”

I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until my eyes followed his hand to the sausages. My stomach let out a loud grumble and I instantly clapped my arms over my abdomen, as if I was putting my hand over someone’s mouth.

There came a loud laugh to my left and I looked up with bright red cheeks to glare at Scorpius, but he wasn’t looking at me. I leaned back and saw that he and Anthony were both roaring with laughter.

“A little hungry, Weasley?” Anthony gasped, wiping his streaming eyes.

“Shut up, Zambini,” I growled, hiding behind my hair again. I felt Scorpius’s cool hand brush it back.

“Don’t hide,” he said to me, his grey eyes still dancing with mirth. “And you,” he turned to Anthony, “don’t laugh at my girlfriend.” As he said this his voice broke and he started laughing again.

“You’re so funny,” I growled, helping myself to a pancake and two sausages. Scorpius grabbed my hand when I reached for an apple.

“I’m sorry,” he said, trying very hard, but not succeeding at keeping a straight face.

“I haven’t eaten in nearly two days,” I said angrily. His expression instantly became serious and he began loading my plate with probably enough food to feed a small army.

“Scorpius,” Anthony said when he tried to lift a whole half a ham onto my plate, “she said she hasn’t eaten in two days, not a year.”

Scorpius paused with the ham in midair and I stared at the now two foot stack of food on my plate.

“Right,” Scorpius said. He took half the food onto his own plate.

“Thank you,” I squeaked, looking at Anthony. He winked in reply and I felt myself blush. He didn’t seem so bad after all.

We ate in silence, and for the first time, I really meant that. Usually at the Gryffindor table my friends and I would be quiet for a minute or two and then start talking again because one of our acquaintances would come over and bug us. But here, there really was hardly any talking at all. No one accidentally spit their food on their plate because their cousin stabbed them with a fork; no one singing the new Celestina Warbeck song at the top of their lungs; no one having a competition to see who can fit the most raisins up their nose. I kind of missed our morning wackiness. 

I was starting to nod off from the lack of conversation when I heard someone slide into the seat across from me. I looked up to see the very enraged face of Anna Rosier.

“Hello, Scorpius,” she hissed, her voice dripping with malice.

“Rosier,” he said, not looking up from his plate. I watched the exchange intently, feeling a little elated at the idea that he didn’t like her. Her pretty features turned into an ugly scowl as she turned to look at me.

“Look at what the cat dragged in,” she spat. “A Weasley.”

I glared right back at her. A huge part of me wanted to stab her smooth, dainty hand that was sitting on top of the table with my fork. But another part of me, probably the sanest part, reminded me that I was sitting at a table filled with her friends. A blatant attack like that would have been considered a death wish.  

I chose to glare at her instead of saying anything. My eyes roamed her face. She had nearly black, piercing eyes, and a spattering of freckles across her nose. Her skin was an olive color and her hair was a very dark brown, nearly black. I noted with great satisfaction that a good chunk of her hair seemed to be missing and that the rest was carefully styled to hide most of the damage.

“Nice hair,” I said, cocking an eyebrow at her. She scowled even deeper and I could feel Scorpius rocking with suppressed laughter next to me. Sure, now he has self-restraint.  

She opened her mouth to say something, but apparently decided it was better not to because she closed her mouth again. I watched curiously as she grabbed an orange from the bowl of fruit and put it on her plate, not bothering to touch it again. Did she not eat?

I figured that trying to understand Anna Rosier was a task too much for a psychotherapist, let alone me (who probably should be seeing a psychotherapist), and I let my interest in the subject wane.

I went back to eating in silence. It was really boring over at this table. Maybe it was because all the pureblood families demanded better table manners. We Weasleys didn’t have table manners. When most of your meals were served in a ‘you-catch-it-you-can-eat-it-but-do-it-quickly-before-someone-steals-it’ manner, you tend to lack proper etiquette.  

I was just starting to think that I might go insane from the extreme boredom when I felt something slimy and wet drop onto my head.

“What the hell?” I asked myself quietly, reaching a hand up to feel the wetness. I pulled my hand back and saw orange juice on my fingers. Scorpius turned to me and looked at the top of my head, which he could unfairly see without having to stand up, and pulled a smashed up orange wedge out.

“Did you shower in oranges today?” he asked, grinning down at me.

“No,” I growled, glaring over at Anna, who was looking determinedly in the other direction. Scorpius followed my line of sight and made the connection.

“Rosier,” he hissed. “Stop it.”

“I’m not doing anything,” she said stiffly, turning her neck at an impossible angle to look at him.

I felt it drop on my head again. “Stop it!” I said a bit louder now. I didn’t want to cause a scene, but I could tell that Scorpius was beginning to become frustrated.

“Maybe you should leave, Weasel,” she growled.

“She’s not going anywhere,” Scorpius said, putting his arm around my waist and pulling me uncomfortably to his side. I tried not to show my discomfort or embarrassment and tried to stick my nose up in the air at her. Then I wondered if that meant she could see up my nose, and if I had any bogies up there, and I lowered it again.  

“She’s not a Slytherin Malfoy,” Anna said tetchily. “She should go sit back at her own table with the rest of her redneck family.”

I don’t know what compelled me to do it. Maybe it was all the stress I was feeling. Maybe it was the fact that she and I were in essence competing for the same bloke. Or maybe it was the fact that I was a Gryffindor and she a Slytherin, and some prides just can’t be won over. Whatever the case, I found my fork flying out of my hand and then watched with mixed horror and satisfaction as it struck her smack in the forehead. It clattered to the floor, and it was as if time stopped. Everyone at the table was staring. Then I heard someone from behind me laughing.

I turned around to see Al standing there, looking from me, to Anna, to Scorpius and back again.

“Interesting love triangle you’ve got going on here, Rosie,” he said, chuckling lightly.

“You don’t even know the half of it,” I muttered, and Scorpius elbowed me sharply in the ribs. I winced visibly and his eyes immediately widened.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Your ribs were just broken. Wow, I’m a prick. I’m so sorry,” he said in a rush, running his hand up and down my side as if this would make it feel better.

“Please just don’t touch it,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Nice going, mate,” Anthony interjected. Scorpius whipped his head around and glared at his friend.

“What are you doing here?” I asked Al, trying, but failing at keeping a hint of animosity out of my voice.

“I just wanted to see how you were feeling,” he said, looking down at his shoes.

“Much better,” I replied icily. “Not that you’d care.”

“Rose,” he began.

“No,” I said sharply, cutting him off. “I don’t want to hear it. C’mon Scorpius,” I stood up. I was still shorter than Al, but Scorpius was not, and I must say we must have made an impressive scene standing squared off against one another.

I practically dragged him out of the Great Hall.

“What was that about?” he asked, cocking one eyebrow at me.

“It was nothing,” I said, trying to keep my tone nonchalant.

“It did not look like nothing,” he said suggestively.

“Why are you being so nosy lately?” I snapped.

He seemed taken aback. “Well, it’s not like you tell me anything. I’m starting to wonder what kind of mess I’ve got myself into.”

Heh, welcome to my life buddy.

“You don’t tell me everything either,” I retorted angrily.

“My reasons for all of this are on a need to know basis, Weasley,” he said angrily. “And I don’t think you need to know.”

“Well then quit pestering me,” I cried loudly. A few faces that we passed turned to look at us, but we kept on walking. I was definitely getting better at this ignoring what people thought of me thing.

“That’s impossible,” he said.

“Why?”

“Because it’s too much fun,” he smirked. I hit him on the arm.

“Go to class,” he commanded, stopping us suddenly.

“Aren’t you going to walk me there?” I asked, turning to face him.

“We’re already here,” he said, chuckling.

I turned around. Sure enough, there was the door to the Transfiguration classroom. Funny, I didn’t remember walking there.

“Right,” I said. He laughed again.

“You’re funny, Weasley.”

“I try,” I sighed. I felt his hand slip from my hand to around my waist. He pulled me close to him and then pressed his lips lightly to mine.  He pulled away quickly.

“I’ll see you after class,” he said and released my waist.

“Sounds good,’ I replied and took my bag from him. He smiled once again and then sauntered off down the hallway. I walked into the classroom and was surprised to find that everyone there seemed to be whispering conspiratorially. It all died down when I stepped through the doors and I let out an audible sigh.

I walked past them all without shrinking away, but having all of their eyes on me was incredibly unnerving. I took my seat at the front of the room and pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment and a quill so that I was ready when McGonagall came in and so that I looked busy.

The whispering picked up again and I put my head into my hands. Trying to ignore all of this by myself was going to be a lot harder than I imagined.

 

 


 A/N: Whew! Another one done! I'm getting better at this fast updating thing. I know that this chapter seems pretty boring, but pay very close attention to this chapter. I tried my skills at foreshadowing, but it all came out pretty pathetic, I think. Maybe you'll get it. Maybe you won't. I'll give you a hint. It has to do with Al. Dun dun dun! 

Heh, anyway, Happy Halloween everyone. It isn't Halloween here yet, but it will be in about four hours, so I figure we can celebrate early. 

I don't know when the next update is going to be. I'll do my best to update as soon as I possibly can, but please don't expect these quick updates during November. I'm gonna try to go for once every two weeks. Thanks for your patience guys! 

Please, please, tell me what you thought of this chapter. Review! :) Thanks for reading!


Chapter 14: Family, Friends and Other Idiots
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I was the first person out of the Transfiguration classroom when the bell rung. I had been itching to get out of there, to say the least. When I was with Scorpius, he provided a sort of meat shield for the taunts of my peers. But when I was alone, well, I was a lot more vulnerable. And when you have as low a self esteem as I do every little last whisper matters. It’s a wonder I’m not suicidal.

I had barely made it through the doors when my bag was lifted from my shoulder and I spun on the spot, wand at the ready to curse whoever was picking at me now. I looked up into the bemused face of Scorpius.

“Hard class,” he asked, smirking slightly as I lowered my wand again.

“You have no idea,” I sighed. 

“I imagine I do,” he said.

“Oh really?” I asked, getting more and more frustrated with this situation. “Tell me, how many people have you had call you a slag today?”

“By the last count,” he said, trailing off as he pretended to count on the hand that was intertwined with mine.

“Shove off,” I growled, purposefully digging my nails into his palm. I don’t really know why, but it felt loads better to take out all my aggression on Scorpius. It probably wasn’t fair, but then again nothing in my life was fair.

“Ouch, stop it Weasley,” he winced, slackening his grip on my hand so that my nails didn’t have access to his palm anymore. “I’m sorry I buggered you.”

“Thank you,” I said, not really meaning it, or forgiving him. What was with me today?

We rounded the corner, deep scowls on both of our faces. Mine deepened exponentially when I saw the gaggle of girls gathered on the side of the hall closest to Scorpius. They were probably fourth or fifth years, and were the type of girls that wore thongs under their uniform and more makeup than a drag queen.

“Hey, Scorpius,” the nearest one, a big girl with fat calves and chubby cheeks said, blowing a pink bubble with her gum and letting it pop in a feeble attempt at seduction.

To my delight he did not even acknowledge her presence.

“Why not ditch little Red over there and come play with us,” another girl said. This one was thinner and had blue eye shadow on all the way up to her eyebrows. Her blonde hair was cropped into a bob at her chin and she leaned casually against the wall.

“Why don’t you die,” the little voice at the back of my head snarled. Wow. Someone was definitely mad today.

Again, Scorpius didn’t say anything and we continued walking. I was starting to feel very uncomfortable around all these girls. It was obvious what type of attention they wanted from him – and it was a type of attention I wasn’t fully comfortable with. You’d think that with as many Weasley’s as there are today, sex would be an open topic in our family. But let me tell you now, it is definitely not. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if someone even mentioned sex to my father or Uncle Harry, they would turn a delicate shade of green and quickly change the subject to Quidditch. 

The boldest of any of the girls stepped out in front of us, blocking our path. “Scorpius,” she said, her voice low and husky, “why don’t you leave the appetizer, and come have some of the main course?” She flipped her long red hair over her shoulder and grabbed Scorpius’s green and silver striped tie, pulling him close to her.

“That is it!” I cried, letting go of Scorpius’s hand and wrenching his tie out of her grip. “Get your mangy paws off of my boyfriend!” She stepped back in fright, and I firmly planted myself between Scorpius and the little red headed whore.

“Your boyfriend?” she scoffed.

“Yes, my boyfriend!” I growled, my voice growing in pitch with every syllable. “Haven’t you heard? The whole school’s been talking about it.”

“Of course,” she said, her voice becoming weaker. “Everyone’s talking. I just didn’t think it was true. I didn’t know Scorpius would date such a little slag.”

Scorpius grabbed my arms and pinned them behind my back before I could hit her. I struggled against his grip, but it was impossible.

“Where the hell do you get off calling me a slut?” I asked my voice dangerously low. “Huh? What gives you the right to call me that? How old are you – twelve? Here’s some advice, go wipe that tar you have plastered on your face off with the tissue in your bra and cut the stitches in your skirt so that it at least could pass for clothing. Maybe then a bloke will be interested in you.”  

I felt great. All the anger I had been feeling, that had been all bottled up inside me and twisting, had found a very convenient outlet. It felt as if I had had a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. And then she had to start fucking crying. All that joy I had been feeling a minute ago was replaced by guilt as her giant blue eyes welled up with tears and she ran off down the corridor sobbing, the excess amount of mascara she had been wearing running down her face like war paint.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” I sighed.

“Are you kidding me?” Scorpius roared with laughter. “That was bloody brilliant Rose!”

“I hurt her feelings though. I took out my aggression on an innocent girl.”

“I don’t know about innocent,” he said under his breath. “That chick was bloody frightening.” 

“Do not call girls chicks,” I said sternly. “It is derogatory.”

“Why are you in such a bad mood?” he asked, letting go of my arms and turning me around.

“No reason,” I sighed.

He mumbled something that sounded like ‘the only girl on the bloody planet who doesn’t want to talk about her feelings’.

“You want to talk about your feelings?” I asked bitterly.

“Not really, thanks,” he said quickly.

“Bloody hypocrite,” I muttered.

“I heard that,” he smirked.

“Good,” I replied mutinously.  

The rest of the day passed relatively quickly. It was definitely becoming easier to ignore the other students. Plus, I’m pretty sure that the girls I harassed had spread the word not to mess with me. Scorpius was always waiting for me the moment I walked out of my class room. It was quite disconcerting really. I don’t know how he got around the castle so fast. Maybe he just skipped part of class.

I had just walked out of my last class of the day, Arithmancy, when I felt Scorpius lift my bag off of my shoulder as if by rote.

“So you made it without killing anybody.”

“You don’t know that,” I smirked. Smirked? He was really wearing off on me.

“I’m sure I would have heard about it by now,” he replied easily. “You’re all anyone talks about these days.”  

“I’m so lucky,” I said sarcastically.

“That you are. So are we going to sit with my friends again?” he asked, smoothly changing the subject.

“No. You cannot make me,” I planted my feet firmly and he faltered in his step.

“Are you afraid?” he asked, his tone mocking.

“No, I’m not afraid of anyone. I just don’t enjoy getting fruit thrown in my hair.”

“Like your friends never throw fruit,” he said.

“I never said they didn’t,” I growled. “They just tend to throw it at your face or chest. Hair is out of bounds.”  

“Because that is so much more civilized,” he muttered under his breath. I elbowed him in the ribs in response. 

“So you want to sit with them, I’m guessing?” he asked, his eyebrows rising.

To be honest, no I did not really want to sit with my Gryffindor ‘friends’ either. If it wasn’t for Scorpius, I would probably have retreated back to my bathroom and had Winky bring me a meal. But unfortunately, he was here, and at the first sign of me heading anywhere near the second floor he would have been pulling me back kicking and screaming. 

“Yeah, I want to sit with them,” I sighed. I felt like I had just resigned myself to sitting with Voldemort. Actually, sitting with Voldemort sounded better right now. 

“Oh joy,” he said sarcastically, grabbing my hand and pulling me forward.  

We walked into the Great Hall and I lead him cautiously over to the Gryffindor table, my eyes scanning the rows of black and scarlet for a place to sit. I saw my old Quidditch mates sitting in the middle of the table, having a mashed potato fight and Ian was sitting towards the back, looking a little bit worse for the wear.  

I made a quick decision and steered Scorpius towards the mashed potato fight. My heart was pounding ten times faster and louder than should have been physically possible. I stopped behind James’s head and in front of Albus, who looked like he had taken the brunt of the attack. 

“Hey Rosie,” he said brightly, looking up at me after a moment. I felt myself flush red as everyone else turned to look at me, most of them not very kindly.

“Hey Al,” I said meekly, “Hey guys. Do you mind if we sit with you?”

“Sure!” Al said right as James cried, “NO!” I saw Ben stab James in the shoulder with his fork and heard James’s cry of pain and decided that it was ok.

I sat down on the bench next to Kat and pulled Scorpius, who was looking thoroughly perplexed and out of place, down next to me.  Kat instantly scooted a few inches closer to James and away from me and I sighed audibly. Al turned and looked at us, a glob of potatoes dripping down from the end of his nose.

“Hiya, Scorpius,” he said in a vain attempt to ease some of the tension between everyone.  The team turned as one to look at Scorpius. I felt a blush rise in my own cheeks and I put down the chicken leg I was about to take a large bite out of.  

“Hi Al,” Scorpius said nonchalantly, as if they talked to each other every day. I saw Reagan glare at me over the top of her book. Damn Gryffindors and their bloody pride.

Al did not make a move to say anything more and neither did Scorpius, but I really had to appreciate their efforts. At least the two of them were trying. That was more than I could say for the others. Soon the others resumed whatever conversation they had been having before the great mashed potato brawl and Scorpius and I were left out of the loop again.

“So these are your friends,” he muttered under his breath, but I was certain he had intended me to hear him.

“We all can’t be so lucky,” I growled as I reached across the table for the green beans.

“They make Anna look like a puppy dog,” he whispered, pretending to pick at his food.

“The day Anna looks like a puppy dog is the day I do a jig on top of the teacher’s table in nothing but my knickers,” I replied.

I saw Scorpius’s face go red and then he was laughing loudly, his arms clutching at the stitches in his sides. The entire Gryffindor table went very quiet as they all watched Scorpius laugh. I felt myself growing redder and redder, and I tried stamping on Scorpius’s foot to get him to shut up, but he just laughed harder. 

“What’s so funny, Malfoy?” James asked, his voice dripping with venom.

“Rose,” Scorpius gasped, “knickers, jigs.”

The way that came out made it sound a lot dirtier than it actually was.

“You fucking little pervert Malfoy,” James roared, “this is my cousin we’re talking about!”

Scorpius’s eyes grew wide as he realized what he had said.

“No, it’s not like that-“

“You’re just like your father – an insolent little womanizer! I won’t let you corrupt my cousin!”

“Now wait a damn minute,” Scorpius growled, his eyes going from wide and innocent to narrowed and menacing in less than a second.

“Stupid Slytherin, you don’t belong at this table!”

“Bloody Gryffindor, you always think you’re better than everyone else!”

It happened before I could stop it. One second the gravy boat was sitting on the table innocently, and the next it was hovering in midair above Scorpius’s hair. I glanced quickly down the table to see Reagan glaring at me and Scorpius, her wand raised, and then I heard Scorpius’s startled cry and turned around to see him drenched in brown gravy.

“Reagan!”  I cried, picking up my half eaten chicken leg and chucking it at her. She dodged it easily and picked up her spoon, readily loaded with mashed potatoes. With a swift flick of her wrist she sent the potatoes flying through the air at me. I ducked just barely in time and was mildly amused when I heard a first year Hufflepuff crying that she had potato in her hair.

“WILL ALL OF YOU JUST STOP IT?” Al cried, standing up on the bench. He pushed his food covered hair out of his eyes and glared down at us. “What is your problem? So what if he’s a Slytherin? So what if you’re a Gryffindor? So what if a Gryffindor is dating a Slytherin? Put aside your prejudices and pride and for the sake of our friendship and relationships, can we at least try to get along?”

James stared up at his brother with his mouth wide open in a pretty good imitation of a dying goldfish. “Who are you and what have you done with my brother?” he croaked in horror.

“I’m still the same Albus,” Al said, jumping down from his soapbox and sitting back down. “And no, before anyone can ask, I don’t have brain damage. I just think that its time this school started showing some inter-house unity.”

“That is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever heard,” Reagan sniped. 

“This has to be because of a girl,” Ben said sagely, glancing around the Great Hall as if he was going to figure out who it was.

“Is that true? Is it a girl?” Kat asked, twirling her hair and winking at him.

Al turned a deep shade of crimson.

“IT IS!” James cried his former feelings of anger and animosity towards his only brother gone at the first sign of breasts. “WHO IS SHE?”

If it was possible Al grew redder. He muttered something quietly into his lap so that I could not hear.

“What?” Jason asked.

“I said Anna Rosier,” Al squeaked.

I felt my mouth drop open in horror. “What did you say?” I gasped, my voice coming out all strangled.

“It’s Anna Rosier,” Al said with more confidence and a note of defiance in his voice. “I’m dating Anna Rosier.”

 

 



 
A/N: Tada! Another chapter finished! I got a little bit stuck with my NaNo and this was begging to be written, so I figured I'd update now! 

So what do you think? Were you expecting that? Are you surprised? Frightened? Questioning my sanity? (I would be too. :P) 

Please, please, review! Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!


Chapter 15: You've Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party
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I watched with mild bemusement as James shoved Al’s head back into the toilet bowl. I had to admit, that it was kind of what I had wanted to do to Al ever since I heard him say that he was dating Anna. But James got the honor, and it was all right with me – this way I wouldn’t be included in the fight that was bound to break out in the Common Room later.  

I grew tired of leaning against the wall and watching so I let my feet slide out from underneath me, plopping down on the floor rather hard. Even after everything that had happened to me I was still the same old klutzy Rose. I felt Scorpius slide down to sit next to me.

“Some family you’ve got here,” he said, kicking my foot playfully.

“It’s the red hair,” I sighed, leaning my head against his shoulder. I was suddenly very tired. Well, not really physically tired. Just emotionally worn down. 

“Feisty,” he said, smirking wolfishly.

“You wish,” I replied easily, shifting my head so that my chin was resting on his shoulder and I was looking up at him.

“Maybe I do,” he replied, looking down at me with the same challenging expression I was shooting him.

“Really?” I asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“In your dreams, Weasley,” he said, his eyes dancing.

He didn’t know how right he was. I had had the same dream over and over ever since the infamous Hogsmeade fight. I was about to retort when I heard Al’s massive gasp for air and spluttering as he spat out toilet water.

“All right!” He cried. ‘I’ll tell you! Just don’t stick my head back in the toilet!” James reluctantly let go of his brother’s hair and I watched as Al shoved his wild black hair back out of his eyes.

“Spill,” James said, leaning against the stall wall nonchalantly.

“So I was walking back from Herbology a couple days ago,” Al began, sitting back on his haunches, “when Anna just came up to me and started talking. I thought it was a bit odd, but didn’t make anything of it, because she seemed genuinely nice.”

There was a collective snort from around the room. Al glared at us all.

“Anyway, so she was talking about how Gryffindor was looking for a new chaser, and then all of a sudden she’s talking about Rosie and Scorpius, and the next thing I know she’s asking me if I think she’s pretty. Of course I said yes – the girl’s bloody beautiful – and then before I can ever register what’s happened she’s pushed me up against a tree and we’re snogging.”

I heard James whistle softly.

“Little brother,” he said, his voice mildly impressed, “very nicely done.”

I heard Ben let out a whistle of appreciation as well. “Agreed,” Ben said, as if in awe. “Very well done, mate.”

“So when exactly did the two of you start going out then?” I asked. I was shocked at my tone. It sounded dark, and menacing, much like Reagan’s when she was talking to James.

“Oh,” Al said, as if he suddenly just remembered that vital fact. “Well, do you remember when I came over to the Slytherin table?”

I nodded in response and I felt Scorpius stiffen besides me.

“Well, I wasn’t really going over there to talk to you. I actually was going over there to ask Anna out, and you just sort of happened to be there. It was a good distraction to say the least. And I figured that I’d need an ally, since we’re both dating Slytherins, and I’d be a bit of a hypocrite if I didn’t talk to you for doing what I was going to.”

“Oh,” I said lamely. “Well then.”

“You don’t think Anna really likes you, do you?” Scorpius asked rather condescendingly.

“Why wouldn’t she?” Al growled.

“Well for one thing she was harassing me for dating Scorpius just before you came over,” I said venomously. Had that tone really just come out of my mouth?

“That’s not true,” Al said, sounding less confident than he probably wanted to.

“It is true, Potter,” Scorpius replied, sounding bemused. “I was there too, remember?”

“You’re her boyfriend,” Al snarled. “Of course you’d stand up for her.”  

“No, I know Anna,” Scorpius sighed. “She’s just using you in a very bad attempt at making me jealous.” 

“Wow, that doesn’t sound conceited,” James interjected, rolling his eyes.

“I’m just trying to tell it like it is,” Scorpius said, rounding on James. “Are you the only one who has any say around here?”

“Yeah, I am,” James said, puffing up his broad chest like a peacock. “Al is my brother. If anyone’s going to tell him what’s what, it is going to be me.”

“So someone being in your family gives you the right to boss them around?” Scorpius snarled, standing up. The effect was daunting from this angle. He was long and lithe. From here I could see every muscle in his body ripple as his arms flexed slightly and his body stiffened.  

“You wouldn’t know anything about the dichotomy of a family, Malfoy. You’re all just a bloody bunch of Death Eaters!”

I don’t know how I got to my feet that fast or how I got the strength to do it but once second I was sitting on the floor, warily watching the exchange between my boyfriend and my cousin, and the next I was planted firmly in front of Scorpius, trying to keep him from beating my cousin to a pulp. I really don’t know why I was trying to stop him either. I wanted to beat James to a pulp as well. But really, we didn’t need any more animosity between us than there already was.

“Get out of the way, Rose,” Scorpius growled, grabbing my shoulders and trying to push me off of him, but I keep my arms firmly against his chest, pushing with all of my might.

“I will not,” I replied angrily. “I know you want to kill him. You have every right to kill him.”

“Then let me through,” he roared, trying to throw me off unsuccessfully.

“Scorp, think about it,” I said, trying to make him think logically. “Do you really want to go to prison for the rest of eternity for murdering Harry Potter’s son?”

“He’d just be fulfilling his family’s wishes,” James snarled, standing behind me, probably looking smug.

Scorpius took a swing at James around my head. James ducked it with a chuckle. “Is that the best you’ve got, Snake?” 

“Please, Rose,” Scorpius pleaded, never taking his eyes off of James.

“That’s right,” James mocked, “ask your girlfriend. You’re so whipped. I can’t believe that the little slut got you of all people wrapped around her little finger.”

That did it. I could handle people I didn’t know calling me names. I could handle my father wanting to disown me. I could handle the fact that my life had become irreparably fucked. But I could not handle having my own cousin and one of my supposed best friends calling me a whore. I could not handle the cruelty James was suddenly subjecting me to.

So without thinking I did the only thing a girl in a situation like this could do – I let go of Scorpius’s shoulders and kneed James hard in the crotch. I watched with mild satisfaction as he lay writhing on the floor, tears coming into his eyes and then I marched out of the bathroom.  

“Rose!” Scorpius called, catching up with me in a few strides. “That was bloody brilliant!”

I turned to him with tears in my eyes.

“What’s wrong?” he asked genuine concern in his voice.

“My family,” I said, my voice cracking.

I swayed forward a bit and he caught me against his chest. I sobbed into his sweater for a moment and I felt his hand rub up and down my back in a rather comforting way. Soon my sobs turned into mild sniffles and I looked up at him.

“Thank you,” I said, blushing a deep red.

“It’s not a problem,” he replied nonchalantly. He let one arm rest around my shoulders and I wrapped one arm around his waist as we walked aimlessly about, not really going anywhere but walking just for the sake of doing something.

“So I was thinking,” he said after a few moments of silence, “that it should be time for our first official pretend date.”

“Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I asked, grinning cheekily.

“Probably,” he chuckled after considering it for a moment. “But that is beside the point. What is the point is that it is getting closer and closer to Christmas and we haven’t had a real date yet.”

“Why do you have your heart set on coming to my house for Christmas?” I asked in exasperation.

“I think it would be interesting,” he replied. “But don’t change the subject. You. Me. Date.”

“What exactly do you have in mind, Mr. Malfoy?” I asked.

“Well, Anthony’s birthday is coming up in a few days and I’m throwing him a party out on the Quidditch pitch,” he said. “I was thinking that maybe this would be a good time for it.”

“Me, you, and a whole bunch of angry, drunk Slytherins?” I asked, rolling my eyes. “Sounds lovely.”

“It will be fun,” he assured me. “You’ve never been to a party until you’ve been to one of mine.”

I’d definitely heard about Scorpius’s parties. Miranda Otten, a nice Hufflepuff girl, had gotten pregnant at one last year. Pregnancy was not on my plans for the immediate future. Or any future really. I wasn’t really a child person.

“Thanks, but I have homework to do,” I replied.

“At least think about it?” he pleaded, pulling me fully around so that our bodies were pressed together and both of his hands were resting on the small of my back.

“Fine,” I conceded, trying not to think about how good he smelled or how good it felt to have his hands on my back like that.

“Thank you,” he said, grinning brightly. “I should be going now. I’ve got a lot of planning to do, and you need to finish that homework before Saturday.”

“Okay,” I sighed, not wanting to let go of him just yet. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow,” he agreed, bending down to press a light kiss to my lips. Then he released my waist and I watched him saunter off in the direction of the dungeons.  

I turned and walked slowly off to Gryffindor tower, trying unsuccessfully to wipe the happy smirk from my face. By the time I got back to the Common Room the halls were completely dark and the Fat Lady was already asleep.

“Frog eyes,” I told her loudly. She continued to snore. “FROG EYES!” I poked the portrait of the Fat Lady irritably.

“Excuse me!” the Fat Lady cried. “Oh, Rosie, it’s just you.”

“Hey,” I said, shrugging.

“You’re in a lot of trouble with them, you know,” she told me, staring down at me sadly.

“Yeah, I know.”

“Well, have a good evening, honey,” she said, swinging forward and letting me into the Common Room.

I scampered up the stairs to the girls’ dorms without even bothering to look and see if my ‘friends’ were in the room. When I was safely in my dorm I shut the door behind me and leaned against it with a long sigh.

“What do you wear to a Slytherin party?” I heard a voice ask.

“I don’t know, Noel. It’s not every day that I go to one of these parties.”

I crept forward; slightly interested at the sound of voices I didn’t recognize talking about the party I had just been invited to.

I saw my two roommates whose names I could never remember standing before an open wardrobe, discarded items of clothing laying on the floor around them. One was tall and blonde, with large green eyes and long full eyelashes. The other was shorter and a bit plump with a brown bob and glasses. They seemed nice enough. It really was a shame I had never gotten to know them better. Or remember their names for that matter.  

I accidentally kicked a text book that was laying on the floor next to Lucy’s bed and the girls turned around.

“Hello,” I said, smiling brightly and blushing red. “Sorry to bother you.”

“Don’t be sorry,” the tall blonde said, smiling sincerely back at me. “This is your dorm too.”

“Right…” I said, scratching at the back of my head awkwardly.  I wasn’t used to people acting so nice to me. It was disconcerting.

“Noel, maybe she would know!” the shorter girl said, bouncing up and down excitedly.

“Ashley!” the blonde, who was apparently names Noel hissed, elbowing Ashley in the ribs.

“No, its okay,” I said, holding out my hands to stop any more violence. I was really getting sick of it lately. “What do you need help with?”

“Well,” Noel said, “we just got invites today to Anthony Zambini’s birthday blowout. I know its a few days away, but we were trying to decide what to wear in advance. We can’t decide. Would you wear miniskirts with a tight shirt, or do you think jeans and a t-shirt is okay? Is there theme?”

I stared blankly back at the two girls. I had grown up most of my life in sweats and Quidditch kits. Actually, for a good three years in my youth I was convinced I was a boy. I did not do well at this girly stuff.

“Umm…” I said, turning red again. “I’m not really sure.”

“But you’re dating Scorpius Malfoy,” Ashley said as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. “Surely you know what to wear?”

“Not exactly,” I said. “Scorpius and I don’t talk much.”

“Ooh!” both girls exclaimed excitedly, and then giggled.

“Not like that,” I sighed, hitting myself on the forehead. Maybe there was a reason I had chose not to be friends with these two. “It’s just that I only got invited to the party today. I’m not sure what I’m going to wear yet. I probably don’t even have the right type of clothes. I could ask for you, if you want though.”

“Really?” Noel asked, looking hopeful.  

“Sure, why not?” I shrugged.

“Thank you!” Ashley exclaimed, rushing over and giving me a hug. I winced away from her at first, but then patted her back awkwardly once I understood that she was not trying to tackle me. Noel stood behind her, looking amused and apologetic and I actually smiled a real smile. These guys weren’t so bad. I could see myself becoming friends with them.

Ashley eventually released me and then she stepped back in line with Noel.

“We could lend you some clothes if you want,” Noel said, gesturing to the half empty wardrobe behind them. “You and I look about the same size.”

I glanced back at the mess that was my section of the room, littered with raggedy sweatpants and old t-shirts.

“That would be nice,” I said slowly, still trying to wrap my head around this whole ‘nice friends’ thing.

“Great!” Ashley said happily, clapping her hands in her excitement. “This will be so fun! Like a sleepover. I could sneak down to the kitchens and get us food! And we could stay up all night and do facials and manicures!”

“That sounds great!” Noel agreed, striding over to the door. “Ash, Rose, you can stay here and get the nail stuff ready. I’ll go down to the kitchens.”

“No need,” I said suddenly, an idea coming to me. “I’ve got a friend down in the kitchens. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind bringing up some snacks.”

They both gazed at me in admiration and then grabbed my arms and pulled me over to the wardrobe and began holding up different articles of clothing that would possibly fit me. My head spun as I tried to take in all that they were saying. I’d never heard two people talk so fast in my life.

“I think we could be great friends,” Ashley bubbled suddenly.

“Yeah, me too,” I replied, grinning. “Me too.”  




 

A/N: Whew! So another one finished. I'm doing pretty good with this updating thing, huh? So what did you think of this one? I'm sorry if theres a lot of typos. I typed this while holding my three year old brother on my lap. It's not an easy task. Heh, anyway, if you see anything major please let me know. 

But what did you think of this chapter? They sure do fight a lot huh? Did you think Scorpius's analysis of the situation seemed realistic? Please, leave a review and tell me what you thought! I'm not sure what to think about this chapter at the moment. 

Thanks for reading! I hope you liked it! :)


Chapter 16: Life Isn't Always a Party
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I walked out of the Great Hall in the middle of Noel and Ashley, still laughing from the way Ashley had accidentally knocked over a vat of pumpkin juice into lap. The two of them were actually very easy to get along with. They never put me down, never criticized me, and they had great taste in beauty products. My nails had never looked better and my skin had never felt so soft. Sure, I had only known them for a little over a day and a half. But I’d known my other friends for six years, some of them longer, and never once during that time had they shown me the kindness of these two. So yeah, I thought I had made an educated decision.

“So Rose,” Noel said suddenly. “Would it be okay with you if I tried out for the open Chaser position this weekend?” Ashley’s last bit of laughter suddenly died out.

“Why wouldn’t it be okay with me?” I asked, trying to swallow the lump that had just appeared in my throat.

“Well, you know, since it used to be your position,” she replied, scuffing her toe anxiously against the stone floor.

“I quit. Remember? So it’s fine with me if you want to try out. Just be warned though – the captain is meaner than a PMSing Nazi.”

I saw Noel visibly shudder. “James doesn’t seem that horrible. A little bit off his rocker and a bit of a nutter, but he seems quite nice.”

“James is good at hiding his true colors,” I replied darkly.

“You know, I heard he kicked his own brother off the team,” Ashley piped up.  

“My point exactly,” I growled. I really didn’t want to talk about James, or Al, or Quidditch for that matter.

“I’m sorry to have brought it up, Rosie,” Noel said apologetically. “How about we label this as a ‘do-not-discuss topic’ and move on?”

“That sounds wonderful,” I replied. She laughed and slung an arm around my shoulders in a friendly way.  

“Well, well, well,” a voice said from behind us. “I’ve been wondering where you’ve been.”

I turned around to see Scorpius standing behind us, a smirk playing at the corner of his lips. He was flanked on either side by Anthony and a boy I did not recognize.

“Did you miss me?” I asked him playfully, stepping forward towards him.

“The better question is did you miss me?” he asked cheekily. I hadn’t really realized it before but we had both walked forward far enough so that we were within arm’s reach of each other.

“You should be so lucky,” I replied imitating his famous smirk. I grinned devilishly when I saw his eyebrows rise in response.

“You’re sure cheeky this morning,” he said, closing the gap between us and wrapping his arms around my waist.

“Yeah, well, I’m in a good mood,” I replied, gazing up at him.

“Excited about the party tonight?” 

There came an excited giggle from behind us. Scorpius looked over my head as if just noticing Noel and Ashley for the first time.

“Who are you?” Scorpius asked a dangerous tone to his voice that I didn’t like.

“Scorp,” I sighed. “These are my new friends Noel and Ashley. Noel, Ash, this is Scorpius Malfoy.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Noel said, her voice confident as she stepped towards us, her hand outstretched.

“Pleasure,” Scorpius said, not releasing me, but still shaking her hand.

“So it is these two that have been keeping you from me?” he asked me, one eyebrow cocked.

“We’re very sorry,” Ashley, always eager to please, said.

Scorpius looked over my head at Ashley, who I could just picture trembling from head to foot.

“I should really be thanking you,” he grinned at her. “Now that I don’t have to spend every moment with this little walking disaster I have much more time to plan for the party tonight.”

I smacked him hard on the arm as Noel, Ashley, Anthony, and the boy whose name I didn’t know roared with laughter. “You love the fact that I’m a walking disaster,” I told him.

“You know it, babe.”

I felt butterflies erupt in my stomach. That was the closest he had ever come to revealing that he had real feelings for me. Even if we were just joking around and that it all was just pretend, it felt really good to hear him say it.

“All right,” Anthony said, shaking his head. “Enough with all of this mushy lovey-dovey crap. Scorpius and I have a party to plan.”

“You’re right,” Scorpius said, with an almost regretful hint to his voice. “You’re still coming?”

“Only if I have to.”

“You have to,” he grinned slyly. “You can bring your new friends if you want.”

“We already have invitations,” Noel said. “My sister gave them to us.”

“Who is your sister?” the other boy that Scorpius was with asked. 

“Ellen Flint,” Noel replied.

The boy nodded approvingly.

“All right, I should be going,” Scorpius said, giving me a quick peck on the forehead and letting go of my waist. I felt oddly cold without him there. 

“I’ll see you later,” I told him.  I watched as he walked off, flanked on either side by his friends. I was about to let out a sad little sigh when I was attacked on both sides by Noel and Ashley.

“Merlin! That was amazing!” Ashley gushed. “He is so cute! You’re so cute! Together you’re so cute!”

“The chemistry between the two of you is unbelievable!” Noel added, linking my arm through hers and dragging me up the stairs. 

“You think?” I asked, blushing bright red.

“We know!” they both exclaimed together. We all burst out laughing as the first warning bell rang.

 




 

By the time the day was over I was seriously freaking out, to say the least. Because I was the lamest person on the face of the planet. I was lamer that Moaning Myrtle – and when you’re lamer than a girl who spends all of her time in a U-bend, you know that there is seriously something wrong with your life.  

“This is ridiculous!” I cried, flopping back down onto my bed in disgust.

“You can borrow something of mine,” Ashley added hopefully, twirling about in front of the mirror to get a better look at herself. I glanced over at her to see that she wore a pair of tight black pants and a sparkly silver top.

“You’re too short,” Noel said sensibly, pushing the shorter girl out of the way to get a better look in the mirror. I looked over at her – she wore a short jean skirt and a long black sleeved t-shirt. “She should borrow something of mine.”

“I wish I didn’t have to borrow anything at all!” I cried, banging my face into the mattress.

“It’s not a big deal,” Noel said, coming over and bouncing down onto the end of my bed. “Friends let friends borrow clothes.”

“You guys will never want to borrow anything of mine,” I reminded her, gesturing to the mountain of sweats that sat unused on the floor.

“If I ever want to work out I’ll definitely come to you,” Ashley giggled, running over and bouncing down too on the other side. 

“You need to work out,” Noel said, laughing and poking Ashley in her stomach.

“I quite like being squishy,” Ashley said proudly, sticking her little button nose up in the air.

“At least you’re not built like a box,” I reminded her, gesturing to my own virtually nonexistent chest and Quidditch toned stomach.

“Enough about bodies,” Noel reprimanded, standing up and walking over to my closet. “We’ll never get anything done. The party starts in an hour and I’m guessing that you don’t want to go naked.”

“Scorpius would like that,” Ashley said under her breath. I felt myself blush a very, very deep shade of scarlet.

“Shove off,” I growled, standing up and joining Noel at my closet. She was bent almost fully double, searching deep within my wardrobe. Finally she came up, holding a pair of jeans that looked about three sizes too big for me, an old vest that I used in my Halloween costume three years ago, and a white t-shirt.

“I don’t think those fit me anymore,” I pointed out, shrugging my shoulders a bit.

“Rose,” Noel sighed, “are you sure you’re a witch? Because you seem to forget that you can use magic quite a bit.”   

 






My stomach is doing the conga in my abdomen and I’m pretty sure I’m going to puke. Because I’m dressed up now, my hair is done, my teeth brushed, and my makeup complete, and I still don’t feel ready. Maybe going to a Slytherin party is something you never are ready for. Maybe I’m just a big wimp. Or maybe I’m afraid that something will happen tonight. I don’t know. All I know is that I want to run back up to my dorm screaming.

“Ready?” Ashley asked, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet next to me. Noel on my other side is gazing out at the giant bonfire that has been set up in the middle of the Quidditch pitch. Even from where we stand at the doors of the castle, I can hear the loud music blaring and the shouts of excited students.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I mumbled back.

We strode off together down the lawn and I felt like I was going to puke. I really wished that Scorpius would have come and picked me up so that I did not have to walk in with a group of Gryffindors. While I was proud of my house, I also had a very distinct survival instinct and it was screaming that this was bad.

Before I’d even had time to turn green we were nearing the edge of the pitch and the music was so loud that I could feel the bass in my chest. We unlinked our arms at this point and Noel and Ashley dropped back behind me, as if they were some sort of posse and I was their leader.

I took a deep breath and plunged into the sea of moving, surprisingly sweaty for the middle of November, people. It was horrible. Everywhere I turned it smelled like alcohol, and cigarettes, and some other substance that I wasn’t even sure what it was. I couldn’t find Scorpius anywhere.

I heard Noel and Ashley behind me squealing and giggling at everything, and I wished I could have their bravery and that I was at least enjoying this. All of the smells were making me even more nauseous. Finally I broke free of the dancing crowd and emerged at the bonfire. It was sweltering hot and the music was pounding even louder over here, seeing as the live band they’d somehow managed to get was playing on a stage constructed right behind it.

“There you are!” a very familiar voice screamed, pulling me off to the side.

“Scorpius!” I yelled, very thankful to have found him and for the comforting arm that he had shrugged across my shoulders. “I couldn’t find you!”

“I’m not surprised! The whole school seems to be out here tonight!”

“What are the teachers going to think?”

“Hell, Rosie, I saw Professor Slughorn in the middle of the crowd dancing a few moments ago!”

Scorpius laughed and threw back the rest of his drink into his mouth. “Are you thirsty?” he asked, pulling me away from Noel and Ashley, who were chatting up some seventh year Ravenclaws, and over to a very long table, laden with junk food and what looked to be twenty punch bowls.

“Is that alcohol?” I asked, lifting a ladle on the nearest bowl gingerly.

“Probably,” Scorpius laughed, pouring himself another glass.

“You don’t know?”

“Rose,” he sighed, gesticulating wildly with his drink and spilling a little bit over the side, “have you never drunk before?”

“I’ve drunken plenty of times,” I told him matter-of-factly. It was sort of true. Every Christmas Grandma Weasley gave all of us children a tiny shot glass half filled with Firewhiskey. Oh, and one time I had had a glass of beer at my muggle grandparents.

“Then here,” he said, handing me his glass. “Don’t be afraid. It’s more punch than alcohol.” 

“I’d rather not,” I said quietly. He looked down at me for a moment and the expression in his face changed. 

“Okay then,” he said, putting the glass back down on the table and leading me into the sea of people. “Let’s dance.”

He grabbed me around the waist and placed his hands right below my belly button. “You can dance, right?” 

“Not like these people,” I told him, trying not to shudder at the way some of my peers looked like they were only seconds away from having sex with their clothes on.

“I’ll teach you,” he told me, grinning wolfishly. I felt a blush that had nothing to do from all of the body heat radiating around us creep up my cheeks. His hands slid from my abdomen to rest on my hips and then he swiveled my hips so that they were spinning back and forth in a way that seemed entirely unnatural.

“I don’t know if I like this,” I told him honestly, feeling more and more incompetent as I watched other girls, who were obviously much younger than I was do the same thing without guidance from their dance partner.

“Just let loose,” he said, leaning down so that I felt his hot breath tickle right against my ear. I moved my hips to the left, and then to the right, and then back again.

I heard Scorpius chuckle. “Relax, Rose.”

Before I really knew what I was doing we were swaying back and forth to the music, his hand still low on my hips, but it became easier and easier as I got over my initial embarrassment. Soon I was laughing right along with him and dancing freely to the music, occasionally reaching up to rumple his hair. It was hard not to feel confident about myself when I was around Scorpius. He had chosen me over all these girls after all. Or not really, but I liked to pretend that.

A faster song came on and Scorpius released my waist and pulled me around the other way. He locked his hands with mine and started jumping up and down with the rest of the crowd. I my heart beat felt about ten times harder and louder than it should have been and my ears were ringing so badly from all of the noise and from the heat that I couldn’t even really hear the music anymore. All I did was feel – I felt the beat of the music in my chest, the gross dripping of sweat down my back, the way Scorpius moved with me to the music.

“Are you having fun?” he shouted to me when there was a lull in the music and a slow song came on.

“Surprisingly, yes!” I smiled, letting him pull me off of the dance floor. I know that every girl is supposed to want that one romantic slow dance with her bloke of choice, but in all honesty, I was hot, and sweaty, and probably smelly, so the thought of being in that close proximity to Scorpius was not welcoming.

He just smiled back at me with that look in his eyes that said ‘I told you so’.   

He led me over to the refreshments table and poured himself a glass of punch. I eyed it enviously, my mouth feeling like cotton. He watched me look at his drink out of the corner of his eyes and I wasn’t surprised when he handed it to me silently.

I eyed the red contents of the cup warily but decided that dying of thirst would be much worse than a little bit of alcohol and took a sip of the liquid. Then I took another big gulp, and before I had realized it I had drunken the rest of the cup.

“Feel better?” Scorpius asked, slightly amused.

“Much, thanks,” I said, wiping at the corners of my mouth with the back of my wrist.

“Did I ever tell you that you look very nice tonight? Very appealing,” he drawled, eyeing me up and down.  

“Well thank you Mr. Malfoy,” I replied. “You don’t look so bad yourself.”

He really didn’t look that bad either. In fact, to use the proper muggle terminology, he looked hot. His long hair hung down into his eyes as usual and he wore an unbuttoned long sleeved dress shirt with a plain white shirt underneath, and a skinny black tie hung loosely around his neck, all over a pair of jeans and trainers. I probably looked like a mess next to him with my mismatched clothing.

“Thank you,” he said, tugging at his tie almost anxiously.

I acted on an impulse next. I walked up to him and loosened his tie from around his neck and then pulled it over his head. All the time I was watching his expression, which turned from shock, to bemusement and back to shock again when I pulled it over my own head and then tightened it again.

“This looks better on me,” I said cheekily. 

It was then that he kissed me. Not the usual little pecks that he gave me before and after class or even like the one that started this whole catastrophe. It was more; I don’t even know what the word is. Desperate maybe. That sounds so fluffy. It just seemed that there was more emotion behind it. His lips were soft and he tasted sort of like fruit punch and Firewhiskey and mint. His lips were soft against mine and his hands found their way to the small of my back. I intertwined one of my hands in his hair and let the other rest softly against his chest. It all seemed like a perfect state of bliss, until he tried to deepen the kiss. I guess he sensed how uncomfortable I was getting because he pulled away quickly.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice somewhat strangled. “That was out of line.”

“No,” I replied, my chest heaving. “It’s all right.” 

We both just stood there awkwardly for a moment. I suddenly felt the urge to cry. Just to give myself something to do I grabbed an empty cup off the table and ladled myself another glass, drinking it down in one swift motion.  

“Do you want to go dance again?” he asked me, his normal demeanor returned.

“That would be nice,” I said, taking his hand and letting myself be led back out onto the dance floor.

We started up the same pattern we had last time and soon I was enjoying myself just as much, if not more than the last time. Everything was so intoxicating and I could not deny the fact that being in this close of proximity with Scorpius was making me dizzy. Or maybe it was the two cups of punch I’d had. 

Whatever it was, it hadn’t prepared me for seeing Anna and Al here. I should have expected it. She was a Slytherin, and as far as I knew was a good friend with Anthony. And now that she was ‘dating’ Al, it only made sense for her to bring him as her date.

“Hi Scorpius, Rose,” Anna drawled, coming to stand less than a foot away from us. “Do you mind if we cut in.”

“Yes.” 

“No.”

I glared at Scorpius. “It will be fine,” he assured me, kissing me lightly on top of the head and releasing my waist.

I reluctantly stepped away from him and stood glowering next to Al as Anna fitted herself into his grasp. I noticed that Al did not look to happy about this arrangement either and he stomped off out of the group of students, obviously not able to stand the sight of Anna and Scorpius together. With one last glance at the two of them, I followed Al out, not wanting to be the only person standing there by herself, looking stupid.

I found Al leaning against a nearly empty refreshment table, looking mutinous and nursing a cup of punch. 

“So, you still don’t believe that she’s just using you to get to Scorpius?” I asked him, leaning next to him and nodding in the direction of the barely visible Anna.

“Nope,” he growled taking a big gulp of his drink. 

“Well everyone with a brain can see that it’s so obvious that she’s in love with him,” I said, not at all feeling sorry for being mean.

“Well anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that he feels the same way about her,” he replied viciously.

“I’ll have you know that Scorpius and I are very happy together,” I snarled, crossing my arms over my chest.

“Oh yeah,” he said sarcastically. “Just like that little bit of PDA between the two of you back there. He really looked so happy when he practically shoved you off of him.”

“That’s not what happened!” I cried. “And besides, how did you see that?”

“The whole bloody party saw it, Rose!” he cried. “The two of you aren’t exactly discreet. Maybe he’s just using you to make Anna jealous!”

“We started going out way before Anna asked you out,” I reminded him.

“Yes, but maybe Anna only asked me out in retaliation to him asking you out because she wanted to make him jealous for making her jealous!”

“Al you’re making no sense!” I yelled.

“Or maybe I’m making perfect sense and you just don’t want to admit it!”

“Shove off!” I cried, stalking away from my cousin and back into the fray of people. I came up to Anna and Scorpius, who seemed to be having some sort of argument, and I felt a small smirk play at the corners of my lips. Al couldn’t be right if they were fighting like this.

“If you don’t mind,” I snarled, “I’d like you to take your hands off of my boyfriend.”

Anna looked round at me and glowered. She reluctantly released her grip on Scorpius and then shoved rather hard into me on her way out of the cluster of kids.

“What was that all about?” I asked Scorpius, not budging when he tried to pull me to him.

“Don’t tell me you’re mad,” he said, his eyes going wide in their most innocent expression.

“I’m not mad, I’m just, ugh,” I sighed.

“You’re jealous?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow and stepping towards me. I didn’t try to stop him.

“Don’t say the word ‘jealous’,” I said. “Al is in a huge state of denial and –“

“Shh,” he said, placing one finger against my lips. “Don’t think about Al tonight. Let’s just have fun.”

“You’re right,” I sighed.

“ATTENTION! IT’S TIME TO SING ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOW!” Anthony yelled into the band’s microphone. Everyone turned back to look at the stage, where Anthony stood, gripping the mike stand for dear life with one hand and holding onto a cup of alcohol in the other. 

“SING!” he commanded when no one started up. The band eventually figured out what was going on and started playing the traditional chords to the song and everyone started joining in, laughing in between the lines at the way Anthony swayed around the stage to the music.

“Some best friend you’ve got there,” I smirked to Scorpius.

“Yeah, he’s odd,” Scorpius nodded. “But he’s a hell of a guy when you want a laugh.”

I laughed harder at this and then it was over and Anthony was crowd surfing and the band was playing again, and I swayed on the spot.

“Rose!” I heard a voice yell. I turned around to see Noel and Ashley making their way towards me, obviously trashed.

“Hey guys,” I said when they got close enough to me. “What’s going on?”

“It’s Professor McGonagall,” Noel said, giggling loudly. “She’s down here. Right now. Making everyone go back into the castle.”

Sure enough I saw people starting to trickle back up to the castle, although they were all slouched as though admonished.

“Shit,” Scorpius said. “The old bag always ruins everything.”

“She’s handing out week’s worth of detentions to anyone she catches,” Ashley added.

“Let’s get out of here,” Noel said.

I looked to Scorpius, who was looking around at the shrinking crowd sadly.

“Scorpius-“

“You go back up to the castle, Rosie,” Scorpius said, not looking at me but searching the crowd for someone. “I’m bound to get in trouble when she asks the band who hired them.”

“Are you sure?”

“Go!” he ordered, letting go of my side and giving me a gentle shove in the direction of the castle. “I’ll tell you what happens tomorrow, love.”

Noel grabbed my arm and Ashley linked her arm through mine and together we stumbled up to the castle, careful to avoid any of the teachers who were prowling around the area. I hadn’t noticed it when I was down at the party, but my ears were ringing so badly I could barely hear and my head was pounding, and my vision wasn’t really all that straight. Was I drunk?

I didn’t have time to worry about it because soon we were inside the castle and were sneaking our way back up to Gryffindor Tower. Although sneaking might not have been the right word because I was fairly sure we ran into a couple of suits of armor on accident. 

Finally we got to the portrait of the Fat Lady.

“Hugo?” I asked when I saw a slumped figure sitting just to the side of the common room entrance.

“Rose!” my brother cried, standing up and walking over to us. “Where have you been? Oh Merlin, you smell bad.”

“It doesn’t matter,” I told him. “Why are you out here? Did you forget the password again, because it hasn’t changed –“

“No!” he cried, shaking his head frantically. “Did you get a letter from Dad this morning?”

“No,” I said, my eyes narrowing in confusion and general anger. “Why would I have gotten a letter from Dad?”

“This is bad, this is very bad,” Hugo mumbled to himself, massaging his temples in frustration.

“Hugh, what is it?” I asked, grabbing his arm and making him look at me. “What is going on?”

“Dad says he sent you a letter, telling you that you were supposed to meet him at the fire at midnight tonight,” Hugo said, his eyes wide.

“What time is it?” I cried, glancing around frantically as if a magical clock would suddenly appear and tell me that I hadn’t missed it.

“It’s going on four in the morning,” Hugo said sadly. “Dad’s been popping in and out of the fire every thirty minutes looking for you. Rose, he’s livid.”

It took all the willpower in my body not to grab my brother by the shoulders and shake him. It’s not that I was angry with Hugo, I wasn’t really, but I was just so angry at the situation.

“What did you tell him?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.

“I told him that I didn’t know where you were,” Hugh said, his eyes wide and frightful. “He asked if you were out with Malfoy, and I said I didn’t know, but probably.”

I’d heard enough.

“Its okay, Hugo,” I told him as I saw him start to tear up a bit. “You did a good job. Is he still there?”

“Probably,” Hugo said, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. “I came out here at about two to wait for you to come back.”

“Okay,” I said, ruffling my brother’s hair affectionately. “You’ve done a very good job. Go on upstairs and get some sleep. I’m sorry I kept you waiting.”

Hugo gave the Fat Lady the password and walked in, and the three of us followed. I was pretty sure that Noel and Ashley hadn’t really been paying much to the exchange, or if they had understood it, but when we got to the Common Room they stumbled up to our dorm without a fuss.

I walked across the deserted Common Room to the fireplace. I knelt down very cautiously and peered into the dying embers, when my father’s face popped up.

“ROSE NYMPHADORA WEASLEY!” He yelled, his features twisting into a horrible snarl. “Where have you been?”

“Out,” I responded tiredly, rubbing my eyes.

“Were you out with that Malfoy boy?” he asked.

“Yup.”

“I thought I told you that you weren’t allowed to see him.”

The warmth of the fire was getting to me. I finally was starting to feel the effects of the punch and of a night of dancing. I didn’t need to hear this right now. I needed my bed, and probably a nice waste basket to puke in.

“You know what, Dad?” I said, rocking back on my heels and standing up. “I’m too drunk for this right now.”

And with that I walked away from the fireplace and my screaming father and up to my dormitory, where I collapsed on my bed, and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.  







 
A/N: So what did you think? Another chapter done! I really hope you guys liked this one. 

I just have to say this - I don't in any way shape or form condone or promote underage drinking. I know that it happens, and thats why it was in this story. Oh, and I've added a Substance Use or Abuse Warning to this story as of today, although I don't think any chapter other than this one contains drinking. 

Okay, now that that's over, I guess I just have to say thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, and please, please review! Thanks again! :)


Chapter 17: Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner
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I felt like hippogriff shit. Actually, feeling like hippogriff shit would feel good right now compared to how I’m feeling. Every part of my body hurt – my head, my arms, my legs, my back, even my fingers and toes. All I wanted to do was stay in bed, but I couldn’t even do that because every half an hour I had to get up and puke again. And to add insult to injury I had puked in my hair because I couldn’t see well enough to pull it out of the way.

I was never drinking ever, ever again.

I heard someone fussing with the curtains around my bed and I moaned loudly, grabbing my pillow and pulling it over my face protectively. 

“Good morning sunshine!” Lucy yelled next to my ear, pulling back the curtains and letting in the bright mid-November sunlight that I so hated.

“I’m not your sunshine,” I growled into the pillow, rolling over in the direction that was not blinding me.

“Time to go to school!” she sang.

“I hate you,” I snarled, dropping the pillow in lieu of glaring at her.

“The feelings mutual, dear cousin,” she said brightly.

“Then why the bloody hell are you bothering me? Any self-respecting hater would have left me to be late.”

“I just wanted to gloat that I had a new boyfriend,” she said, her voice still that sickly sweet voice that I wanted to wring from her neck. Wow, I was a very grumpy drunk.

“I have a boyfriend too you know,” I pointed out sourly.

“Yes, but I think you will be very interested in who my new boyfriend is,” Lucy said, her voice turning from that stupid sweet to a smug gloat.

“Oh please, spare me.”

“Ian McLaggen.”

A dizzying sensation that had nothing to do with my previous alcohol consumption buzzed through my body.

“Ian?” I asked weakly, sitting up to really look at my cousin.

“Yes, the very same,” she said, her voice victorious.

“What?...How?...When?” I asked, my very muddled brain trying valiantly, but failing at comprehending what Lucy was saying. 

“Well, Ian was sitting on the couch last night, looking very blue,” Lucy began, the inflection in her voice telling me that she had a very long story ahead of her. “I went over and asked him what was wrong, you know, I’m a compassionate person. He confided to me that he was still upset over the bar fight and the fact that you chose the scumbag Malfoy over him.”

A wave of nausea that had nothing to do with my hangover churned my stomach.

“I told him that I thought you were a heartless little bitch for ever dumping such a great guy as him, and then the next thing you know, we’re snogging. I guess you could say we have a real connection, over our hate for you,” she finished smugly, smirking down at me. 

I felt my hands clench into fists at my sides and it took all the willpower in my body not to punch her across the face. I really didn’t give a rat’s ass that she was dating Ian. Well, I did. Ian was too good for her. What really bothered me was the fact that the little brat was rubbing it in my face. Oh, she was picking the wrong girl to mess with.

I stood up from my bed and Lucy took a step back from me, apparently aware of the fact that I was a hair away from hitting her.

“You know what Lucy?” I said, trying to make my face as sweet as hers had been. “I’m happy for you and Ian. I hope you have fun with my leftovers.”  

With that I swept past her and into the bathroom to wash the puke out of my hair.

 

 







When I finally managed to stumble down to the Great Hall I had less than a half an hour to eat and get to my classes. To be honest, just the mention of food had my stomach churning nauseously, so I was pretty sure actually eating food, let alone smelling it would set me off again. But I had to at least try. Maybe Winky will have heard of my plight and will have sent up some soda crackers, especially for me.

Luck, the flighty little mistress who was never on my side, had proved once again to let me down. Because as luck would have it, the first thing I smelled when I stepped down the stairs was eggs. And while eggs are generally fine and dandy on any given morning, today they were going to be my downfall. I covered my mouth with my hand and breathed through my nose in a feeble attempt to stop myself from spilling my guts all over the stone floor.

“So is it morning sickness, or did you have too much to drink at the party last night?” someone asked from behind me.

I turned slowly on the spot, preparing an earful for whoever it was, and was surprised to see Ian standing behind me, hand in hand with Lucy and looking quite angry.

“I don’t see how it is any of your damn business,” I growled. 

“It’s Uncle Ron’s business though,” Lucy replied smarmily.

“Too bad my father already knows,” I said, smirking.

“What does your father know?” I felt a strong arm wrap itself protectively around my waist and then I realized that Scorpius, probably just as hung over as I was, was standing right behind me.   

“That she’s pregnant. She’s been puking all morning,” Lucy said, grinning.

“Ah, I see,” Scorpius said. Even though he was behind me, I could tell he was rolling his eyes. “And when we’re you planning on telling me this?”

“I wasn’t,” I said cheekily, playing along. “I was going to convince you to marry me, then poison your food so that I would inherit all your money, and then run off to Switzerland to be with my lover Sven.”

I watched bemusedly as Lucy and Ian both glared at us, obviously picking up on the sarcastic nature of our banter.  

“Well aren’t you two just so cute,” Lucy snarled.

“It’s disgusting.”

“Oh, please, McLaggen,” Scorpius sighed. “This is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life – pining after another bloke’s girlfriend. Just give it up, mate.”

“I am not your mate, I’m not pining after the little slag, and I should think you’d care to remember that the last time we fought I nearly broke your jaw,” Ian growled dragging Lucy forward as he stepped towards Scorpius.

“I think you’ll care to remember that even though you punched me, McLaggen, I broke your nose, and your wrist.”

“I think you’ll both care to remember that even though you two pricks were fighting, it was me who ended up getting hurt!” I cried.

Both of them instantly went quiet.  

“You’re right, love, I’m sorry,” Scorpius said. I could feel the anger pulsing from his body. “Let’s go get you fed.”

With that he pulled me around and into the Great Hall, probably leaving Lucy and Ian just standing at the entrance.

“So you’ve been puking, have you?” he asked me, steering me towards the Gryffindor table to where Noel and Ashley were sitting slumped over barely touched bowls of oatmeal.

“That’s probably an understatement,” I replied, leaning more heavily on his arm. I felt his grip tighten on my waist and was relieved when he pushed me down onto the bench in front of my friends. What really surprised me though was at the ease with which he sat down next to me. 

“You’re not telling me that this is your first hangover then?” he asked, grabbing a piece of toast from the plate in front of him and spreading a great amount of butter over it.

“Sorry to disappoint,” I replied tiredly, letting my head fall into my hands.

“I’m never disappointed in you,” he said sincerely. I brought my head up out of my hands and stared at him openmouthed, surprised at the honesty to his tone.

Of course, he had to go and shatter my moment of perfection by taking advantage of my open mouth and shoving his piece of toast into my mouth. I shrieked slightly and took a bite just to appease him.

“I hate you,” I said when I had swallowed.

“I do try,” he said loftily, flipping his hair mockingly.

Just then the sounds of hundreds of wings overtook our conversation, and I gazed up at the ceiling, prepared for the worst. The strange thing was that I did not see Pig, or my mother’s customary ministry owl. I was sure that I was going to get an angry letter from one of them, or both, considering that my father typically had no backbone and went sniveling to my mother whenever it was time to discipline one of us. It really wouldn’t seem like that with the way he had been acting, but when it came to big stuff, he let my mother dole out the punishments.

“Expecting an angry letter?” Scorpius asked, following my train of sight over the owls.

“Yeah, or twelve,” I said nonchalantly. I still couldn’t believe that they had not bothered to send anything. Was it possible that I had just imagined my father’s face in the fire last night? Was it possible that I had drunkenly imagined Hugo waiting outside of the common room for me? What really happened last night?

Then I thought back to the sound of my father’s angry shout of my full name, the nice warmth of the fire, the sheer panic that had flooded through me when I heard Hugo tell me that Dad was waiting for me – and I decided that I couldn’t have imagined it. While my dreams did sometimes feel real, there were some things that were just too odd to not be reality.

“Would this have anything to do with the incident that Lucy had mentioned when I came over?” Scorpius asked leadingly, shooting me his most seductive look, as if that would get it out of me. It probably would have too, if I had not remembered that we were sitting in the middle of the Great Hall, with probably a dozen people listening in to our conversation.

“Yes,” I answered honestly, figuring that he would find out sooner or later. “But I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Bloody hell, Rose!” he cried, and I winced from the decibel level. “Are you determined to keep me in the dark?”

“Quite actually, yes,” I told him, turning to look at him seriously. “It’s not like you’ve really told me anything either.”

“This isn’t about me,” he sighed, rubbing his hand over his face in frustration.

“When you tell me, I’ll tell you,” I told him, crossing my arms over my chest just to prove how serious I was about this.

“Fine,” he consented, scowling. I chuckled lightly and reached over onto his plate, grabbing his piece of toast and taking another bite out of it. Scorpius watched me, his scowl turning into a grin of amusement.

“I thought you didn’t want to eat,” he said, arching one eyebrow sardonically.

“I’m a Weasley,” I reminded him. “Not even an incredibly bad hangover is going to keep me from food for very long.”

Scorpius chuckled lightly and then kissed me on the forehead.

“You’re something,” he laughed, standing up and taking his piece of half eaten toast with him. “I have to run to class. If I’m late again to Herbology, Longbottom will make me write lines again.”

“Oh, the agony,” I said dramatically. Scorpius laughed again and kissed the top of my head before striding out of the Great Hall. I sighed, for the first time today alone, as Noel and Ashley had fallen asleep at the table. Today wasn’t turning out to be that horrible. So yeah, Lucy and Ian were dating – but if the way he had acted around Scorpius was any indication it was just for show. And my parents hadn’t sent any letters. Maybe lady luck had decided to deal me a winning hand today.

 

 







I should have realized that whenever something in my life was going remotely good, I should expect it all to go to hell in a hand basket. Because really, it always did. Take today for instance. I was having a good morning. But then I get to Herbology third hour and Professor Longbottom, aka Neville (but I’m not allowed to call him that at school), is waiting outside of the greenhouses. I wouldn’t have normally thought anything of this occurrence – teachers were allowed to stand outside if they wanted – but really, no one in their right mind would have wanted to stand out in the freezing cold sleet that was coming down today. Not even Professor Longbottom, who I’m pretty sure is off his rocker.  

“Hello, Rose,” Professor Longbottom said, smiling at me in that awkward way that only Professor Longbottom can. It’s as if he’s intimidated by me, even though I’m young enough to be his daughter. Maybe it’s more about who my parents are.

“Hello, Professor,” I replied, smiling back despite the massive migraine I have.

“How’ve you been?” he asked me, his tone somehow implying a deeper meaning that I didn’t understand.

“I’m fine. A little tired and a headache, but okay for the most part,” I told him, shifting my back awkwardly from my right shoulder to my left shoulder. I haven’t been carrying my bag much because Scorpius usually carried it. It sometimes surprised me by how much it weighed now that I had to carry it for myself.

“Ah, yes, a big party last night,” he said, sounding somewhat impressed.

I wanted to ask how he knew, but decided that was a stupid question, for even teachers as out of the loop as Professor Longbottom knew about Anthony’s party. “Yeah.” 

“Well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson,” he told me sternly, more of the Neville that I knew coming back into his voice.

“Most definitely,” I said, grinning and turning to go into the greenhouse.

“Oh Rose,” he called, and I spun on my heel to look at him.

“Yes?”

“Have you talked to your parents lately? How are they doing?” he asked, his voice returning back to that deeper meaning tone that I still did not get.

“You probably talk to them more than I do,” I reminded him. “And last I checked, they were fine.”

“Hmm…” he said, nodding his head slightly, but pursing his lips. “Interesting. Thanks for telling me. I should owl them soon. I haven’t talked to them in quite a while.”

“Yeah,” I said, digging my toe into the ground. “Well, it was nice talking to you Professor.”

“Yes, very nice,” Neville said, his voice returning to normal. “Very nice. Go on inside and warm up, get ready for class. I’ll see you inside.” 

I slipped through the door, shivering and shaking the slush out of my hair before heading to my appointed stool at the middle of the long center table. What had Neville been on about? If he wanted to know how my parents were, he could just ask them. Right now he was probably on better terms with them than I was. He never asked me about them.  

I tried to put our awkward exchange out of my mind as the Professor himself came in from outside, but when he started talking about the ‘fascinating’ properties of the mimbulus mimbletonia, I zoned out. For the first time ever I was glad it was cold in the greenhouse, for I was sure that if it was warm I would have fallen asleep, and I’m a notorious snorer.

“Rose!” I heard someone cry and I snapped to attention, looking up at Professor Longbottom and then realizing that he had probably been saying my name for quite some time and that everyone was looking at me.

“Yes professor?” I squeaked.

Then I saw Professor McGonagall standing behind him, looking over at me with an expression somewhere between anger, exasperation, and maybe pity. 

“You’re needed outside of class,” he explained, gesturing to the elderly woman behind him.

“Oh, all right,” I said, still too bewildered to fully understand what was going on. I gathered my things quickly and noisily in the silent classroom and then hopped down off my stool. Every eye in the room followed me as I walked my long walk of shame up towards where the two teachers were waiting for me.

“Come with me,” McGonagall demanded when I reached her. I nodded silently and then followed her out of the greenhouse.

We walked in silence back up to the castle and I felt my heart pounding erratically. What had I done? Maybe she’d found out I’d been at the party – it wasn’t like people hadn’t seen me there. I seemed to have enough enemies these days. Someone could have squealed. Or maybe something had happened to someone in my family. Dear Merlin, what if it had been Mum? Or Hugo? Or Granny Weasley? Dad?

The endless number of possibilities swam through my mind and I wrapped my arms around my stomach tightly, trying to keep myself from puking from my nerves. Suddenly I wished that Scorpius was here. He’d say something stupid or do something cute and make me forget about all my nerves. I always felt more protected when he was with me. And even if he couldn’t make it all better, he had a hug or kiss for me.

Before I knew it we were standing outside the set of stone gargoyles that led up to the Headmistress’s office. I barely listened as McGonagall said the password that led up to her official office and then I was standing on the spiral staircase, letting myself be taken up without a fight. 

I stopped at the small landing that was at the top of the stairs before the door and Professor McGonagall looked pointedly at me.

“Well go on,” she said gruffly, gesturing to the door handle.

“You’re not coming with me?” I asked, my voice coming out very softly as my tongue had suddenly turned into lead and my throat cotton.

“It has been requested that I not,” she said stiffly, obviously in disproval.

“Well then,”  I said, trying to swallow the lump in my throat. I took a step forward and placed my hand on the doorknob, slightly turning it when I felt McGonagall’s bony hand grasp my shoulder briefly. By the time I had turned around in surprise she was already gone.

I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. I really wished I hadn’t. On the other side stood both of my parents, looking absolutely pissed.

“Hello,” I said anxiously, closing the door quietly behind me.

“Sit,” my mother commanded, not an ounce of compassion in her voice.

I jumped nervously and quickly scurried over to the appointed chair. When Mum used her no nonsense voice, you obeyed, or else.

“Rose,” my mother sighed, pushing her bangs out of her forehead and running her hands through her thick, tangled mane of hair. “Where were you last night?”

“I was out with some friends,” I said, licking my lips in a futile attempt at regaining some sort of moisture in my mouth.

“Which friends?” my father growled. My mother shot him a warning glare and turned back to me.

“Well,” she demanded after a moment when I didn’t answer, “which friends were you with?”

I swallowed nervously. “Just some new friends I’ve made this year.”

“Names!” my father roared.

“Ron!” my mum cried, turning to him. “Settle down!”

“Don’t you dare tell me to settle down,” he hissed. “I have every right to be angry.”

“Of course,” she sighed. “But tone it down.”

“Of course you want me to tone it down,” he said mockingly. “That way you can take control of the situation, just as you do with everything else in our pathetic lives.”

“Ronald,” my mother said, shooting him her death glare. “This is neither the time nor place for this. I have limited time before I have to get back to the Ministry and before you have to go back to the shop.”

I watched the exchange with interest, surprised that the conversation had taken such a sudden turn of events. I hated the fact that their voices kept getting louder and louder – it made my aching head hurt even more. But at least I wasn’t on the spot anymore. 

“You never want to get the facts for anything,” my mother insisted, her chest rising and falling as it always did when she was getting worked up into a frenzy. “You just want to dive in head first and to hell with the consequences. That will not work with our daughter!”

“I know all the facts, in case you are forgetting, Hermione,” he hissed. From the look on my mother’s face, I was sure that his words, like so many others I’d heard today, had a double meaning. Still, I could not figure out what he meant as my mother turned away from him in disgust and back to me.

“Okay, so you went out with friends to a party, I’m assuming.”

“Yep,” I replied.

“And you had something to drink?”

“Just a few glasses of some spiked punch,” I explained, as if this would somehow make up for the fact that I’d had alcohol at all.

“Just spiked punch,” my father mocked. It was my turn to glare at him.

“You knew it was spiked?” my mother asked. I nodded.

“Why, Rose? Why did you drink it then?” she cried in exasperation. “You know better than that! We’ve raised you better than that!”

“Everyone was doing it,” I told her. I knew it was a very, very bad excuse and I also knew exactly what she would say to that, but it was the only one I had. To be honest, I wasn’t sure why I had drunken it.

“If everyone decided it would be a good idea to practice the ‘Avada Kedavra’ on each other, would you do it?” she demanded, beginning to pace back and forth, which was never a good sign. “If everyone decided to feed first years to the giant squid would you do it?”

I was about to tell her that the last part sounded kind of fun, but decided against it, as it didn’t look like I’d make it out of here alive if I was sarcastic.

“No,” I said quietly.  

“Well then what is the difference with drinking?” Mum insisted.

“I don’t know, okay!” I cried, tugging at the ends of my hair in frustration. “I just don’t know! You don’t understand what it’s like! When you’re surrounded by all of those people, you just – I don’t know! You want to join in. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. You both are acting like I just killed Harry Potter or something.”

“Rose,” my mother said, her voice shaking with suppressed anger. “Maybe you don’t understand where we’re coming from. Your father is in the fireplace all night, waiting to talk to you, only to find out that no one knows where you are. Then when we do find out, it is only to find out that you are at some Slytherin party, with Malfoy no less. And when we finally do hear from you, you’re drunk off your ass! Excuse us for being concerned about you!”

“For one thing, I didn’t know that Dad was going to be in the fireplace. I never got that stupid letter you’re talking about. For another thing, you asked Hugo if he knew where I was. I make a point to keep as far away and as much away from Hugo while at school as possible. So it’s not that odd that he didn’t know where I was. For another, you both have to get over this Malfoy rivalry and hatred that you have. I understand that you don’t get along with his father, and that’s fine, but Scorpius is not his father. You can’t judge him before you know him.” 

“You stupid, insolent, little girl,” my father snapped, stepping forward. “You think you understand everything – you think that you’re an adult and deserve to be treated as such. But you’re not. You’re just a child, rebelling against her parents, who have done nothing but be kind to her and look out for her-“

“You call this being kind?” I cried, jumping up out of my chair to face my father. “You call calling me stupid and sending me all of these hurtful letters, and telling me how worthless and shameful to my family I am is being kind? IT’S NOT! Don’t you dare call me stupid! Don’t you dare tell me I’m worthless or a disappointment!”

My breath caught in my throat as my father came forward and took my chin in his palm, glaring down at me with such anger in his eyes that I thought he was going to hit me.

“Ronald!” my mother cried, pointing her wand at my father’s back. I could see that she too was crying. I watched my father’s face intently and the anger in his eyes did not subside, but it appeared his resolve did, as he released my chin and stormed away to the fireplace, throwing a pinch of Floo powder in and going home without a word except for the cried address of our house.

My mum and I stood there in silence for a moment, and then we were running to each other. She enveloped me in her arms and I sobbed into her shoulder, my fingers clinging to her silk blouse with all of the strength in my body. I could hear her crying too and we slowly rocked back and forth.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” she said into my hair.

“It’s not your fault, Mum,” I whimpered.

“I’m afraid it is. I should have just come myself. I should have –“

“Please don’t blame yourself. I should be the one apologizing. I’ll never drink again, I promise. It was stupid. I was being stupid. I’ve learned my lesson.”

“Every teenager tries it at least once. I just wanted you to know that we don’t condone it,” she whispered. “Unfortunately that backfired in my face.”

We both chuckled, although there was nothing funny whatsoever about the situation.

“Rose,” Mum asked after a moment more. “Do you hate me?”

“Not at all!” I cried.

“Do you hate your father?” she whispered.

I pulled away from her to look at her face. I had never noticed it before, but her forehead was creased with worry wrinkles and she had little crow’s feet around the corners of her eyes. There were dark bags under her eyes and fading laugh lines around her mouth. She was older now – she had seen a lot and lived through a lot. Maybe she would finally understand.

“The sad thing, Mum,” I said shakily, breaking into fresh tears, “is that I don’t hate him at all. I love him so much that it hurts.”

I heard her start to sniffle again.

“He doesn’t hate you either, Rose,” she assured me, stroking my hair. “He loves you too.”

“He sure has an odd way of showing it,” I replied.  








 
A/N: Another chapter finished! I know it isn't as quick as it has been in the past, but school is really beginning to kick my butt. This is still pretty quick though. 
What did you think? There are a TON of crucial parts in this chapter. It's probably the most important one yet. And I tried that foreshadowing stuff again. Hopefully it's more obvious this time. I think I'm getting better at it, but you never know. 
Anyway, thank you for reading. Please, please review and tell me what you thought! Thanks again!

Chapter 18: Broom Cupboard Revelations
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I don’t know how people do it. I really, really don’t. I mean, how is it physically possible for people to undergo a ton of stress, but still put on a brave and happy face and go out to face the world? I know I can’t do it. Because I’d just spent the better part of what was left of Herbology in the 7th floor girl’s loo massaging my bright red face with cold water and practicing my smile, but it was not working. My eyes still looked like I’d been crying and I was beginning to think that my lips were not genetically programmed to smile.

I sighed and shut off the water, looking up through watery lashes at my appearance in the mirror. The hair around the edge of my face was wet and frizzing from splashing my face and my eyes were still mildly puffy. And that damn smile was still not there.

I forced my mouth to pull up at the sides experimentally, and then let it drop back down, because I looked more like a serial killer clown than happy. I sighed loudly and ran my fingers through my hair, hoping to smooth out the frizz at least a little bit. It seemed to work and I tried the smile thing again. Nope. Nothing.

I pushed away from the sink and glanced up at the portrait of a mermaid hanging on the wall. It seemed like every bathroom had a portrait of some mermaid or another. The one in the Prefect’s was actually quite entertaining. Needless to say, she knew a lot of bathroom jokes.

I walked out of the bathroom and glanced down at my watch. Herbology was long over. I should have been at lunch by now. I hadn’t really noticed it before, but I was rather hungry. Maybe food would make me feel better. I hurried down into the Great Hall, scanning the Slytherin table for Scorpius. I didn’t care that Anna and Al would probably be sitting there. All I wanted was to see Scorpius. My eyes wandered along until they got to the end of the table and I checked again. He wasn’t there.

He usually ate lunch at this time, didn’t he? I was fairly sure that he didn’t have any classes right now. I scanned the Ravenclaw table and even the Hufflepuff table, but he wasn’t there either. If it was possible I felt even more let down and trudged towards the Gryffindor table to where I knew Noel and Ashley always sat.

I was almost at my seat when I heard his voice. My head snapped up in surprise, and I felt my mouth drop open. There was Scorpius, sitting on the opposite side of Noel and Ashley, eating a bowl of soup and laughing at something.

“Hey Rosie!” Ashley called, seeing me standing there. “Don’t just stand there! Pop a squat.”

I slid down onto the bench next to Scorpius and shook my head slightly, trying to get over my initial shock.

“Hey you,” Scorpius said, leaning over and kissing me full on the lips. “Where’ve you been?”

“How’d your meeting with McGonagall go?” Noel asked.

“Wait, McGonagall called you out of Herbology?” he asked, letting one of his hands linger on the small of my back.

“Yes, she called me out of class, and it went fine,” I sighed, helping myself to some soup and a goblet of pumpkin juice.

“What’d she want?” Ashley asked through a mouthful of food, so it really came out as “wa sh’ent”.

“My parents were here,” I said simply, scooping up a spoonful of soup and blowing on it carefully.

“Your parents?”

I turned to Scorpius who was staring at me as if finally putting the puzzle pieces together and also as if he was somewhat angry.

“Yes, my parents, you know, the people who raised me.”

“Is that why you’ve been crying?”

I paused with the spoon halfway to my mouth. “I haven’t been crying,” I said stiffly.

“You’re eyes are all red,” Scorpius said, turning my chin so that I was facing him. “And your bottom lip is still quivering.”

“I’m fine,” I replied, jerking my chin out of his hand and putting my spoon down.  

“Rose,” said Noel nervously.

“If you don’t mind, I’m going to go see Professor Longbottom and ask him what I missed,” I said quickly, cutting her off.

“Okay,” Ashley said, still pretty oblivious to what was going on.

I jumped up from the bench and was halfway out of the hall when I felt a large hand enclose itself around my wrist and I spun around.

“Scorpius,” I sighed, looking up at my pretend boyfriend. “Please.”

He looked down at me, and I couldn’t really read the emotion behind his grey eyes. “We need to talk Rose. There is no avoiding it anymore. Tonight?”

I nodded solemnly. He was right of course. It was obvious that he was not going to stop pestering me about it. Besides, I wanted to tell somebody. And really, if I was honest with myself, there was no one I would rather tell than him.

“Thank you,” he said, bending down to plant a kiss on my forehead. “Meet me tonight at nine outside the Charms room.”

“Okay,” I sighed. He tucked a stray piece of my hair behind me ear.

I kissed him on the cheek and turned around, walking quickly out of there. I had no intention whatsoever of going back to see Neville. He was just acting too fishy and would probably just give me homework that I wouldn’t do anyway. So instead I turned up the stairs and hurried along up to Gryffindor tower. I didn’t bother to look around the common room to see who was ditching class today. With my luck, I’d probably just see James.

I ran up the stairs to my dorm and through myself onto my bed, burying my face in the pillow. It felt amazing just to relax. I rolled over and stared up at the canopy for a while, my mind absolutely blank for the first time in my life. It was quite odd actually. Soon I felt my eyelids growing heavier and heavier and I tried to fight the oncoming sleepiness, not wanting to fall asleep and accidentally miss my meeting with Scorpius.

I wouldn’t sleep that long, would I? I never got to answer my own question, because I succumbed to the dreariness, slipping into a peaceful doze.

 

 

 




 

I awoke later with a start, glancing around at the dark dormitory and trying to remember how I’d gotten there. I remembered going to Herbology, and then seeing my parents, and then the whole Scorpius thing in the Great Hall.

“SHIT!” I shouted, jumping off my bed and looking at my alarm clock on the night stand. 8:40. I was supposed to meet Scorpius in twenty minutes. Thank Merlin I’d woken up.

I walked over to the bathroom and examined my sagging uniform and mussed hair and decided it’d be much more practical to just wear sweats. I wasn’t trying to impress him. Technically, we were ‘dating’. So he was supposed to love me no matter what I looked like.

I hurried to my wardrobe as I pulled my hair up into a high ponytail and threw open the doors. I was surprised when I wasn’t immediately flattened by a mountain of clothes. Instead I peered cautiously inside and saw that all of my clothes were either folded or hung up, all according to color and type of clothing. Note to self: Thank Noel later for her awesome organizational skills.

I pulled out my favorite pair of black sweat pants and the orange Cannons sweatshirt I had gotten last year as a Christmas gift from Dad and quickly put them on, still keeping an eye on the time. 8:48. I finished getting dressed and then brushed my teeth. When I got back into the dorm Lucy had come in and was fussing about her bed. I resisted the urge to throw something at her and slipped my feet into a pair of trainers.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Lucy asked as I headed for the door.

“Out,” I replied, turning to glare at her.

“It’s almost after curfew,” she said, glaring back.

“I like breaking the rules,” I responded coldly. “And I don’t have the time to waste on our stupid conversation.”

I turned on my heel and marched away. I made it out of the common room and then made a run for it, because it would probably take me a good five minutes to get to the Charms classroom, as it was on the complete opposite side of the castle three floors down.

I skidded around corners and accidentally ran through Nearly Headless Nick in my haste, but eventually I made it to the third floor. I slowed down to a walk and tried to get my breathing under control. These past few weeks without Quidditch had made me quite out of shape. My heart was beating erratically, although this time from my intense workout, not my emotional instability.

I rounded the corner to the Charms classroom and saw Scorpius leaning against the wall, looking bored. I was relieved to see that he too had changed out of his drab school uniform and into a black t-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants and trainers. He looked up at the sound of my footsteps and I waved halfheartedly.

“You’re late,” he called out jokingly.

“I fell asleep,” I admitted, coming to a stop a few inches from him.

“Is that why I looked like a fool waiting outside of your classrooms, just to find out that you never showed up?” he asked, smirking.

“Sorry about that,” I answered, biting my bottom lip. Our banter right now did not feel as easy as it usually did. It was almost as if we were forcing it, trying to keep some sense of normalcy into what we were doing.

“It’s not a problem,” he replied, taking my hand and pulling me not into the empty Charms room but down the hallway. “I was worried about you though.”

“Why?”

“What?”

“Why were you worried about me?” I asked, looking up at him curiously.

“You just seemed a bit put out this morning,” he replied, looking down at me, that odd expression coming back over his face. “I hate just was worried.”

“Ah, okay,” I said, not really understanding, but knowing that was probably all of the response I was going to get.

We walked along in silence for a while longer and I fiddle at a stray strand of thread on my sweatshirt with my free hand. This was very awkward.

“I hate seeing you cry,” Scorpius said quietly after a moment.

“What?” I asked. I was sure I had heard him wrong.

“I hate seeing you cry,” he said a bit louder, going pink. I guess I had heard right.

“That’s really sweet, Scorpius,” I replied. I felt his hand squeeze mine tighter, so I tightened my grip too. He grinned down at me and kissed the top of my head.  

We walked along again and I felt like there were a million butterflies dancing in my stomach. How had I gotten so lucky?

“Okay, we’re here,” Scorpius said happily, stopping in front of a small, rounded door.

“A broom cupboard?” I asked, arching a brow questioningly.

“It’s the perfect place,” he said, pulling open the door and gesturing for me to go inside. “There’s not a very likely chance that we will be discovered, and if we are, we can just say we were snogging.”

“That’s not cliché at all,” I said sarcastically, walking under his arm and into the dingy little closet.

“That’s why it’s perfect,” he replied, gently tugging at my hair.

I stood in the damp, dusty place and waited for Scorpius to close the door. I don’t really know why people thought that snogging in a broom cupboard was romantic. They were dusty, smelly, and generally infested with various small dog sized pests.  

“Take a seat,” Scorpius said, settling himself on the floor across from me. I followed suit, trying not to think about how dirty my butt was going to be when I stood back up. 

“So you wanted to talk…” I said leadingly.

“Yes,” he said absentmindedly, digging through his pockets. “But I brought something to ease the tension. Hold on a moment.”

I watched bemusedly as he struggled to find whatever it was and chuckled lightly when I saw him produce a pack of Exploding Snap cards.

“Exploding Snap?”

“Yep,” he said, opening the package and setting the deck between us. “I confiscated them from a first year earlier.”

“Exploding Snap isn’t against the rules,” I reminded him, picking up the deck and beginning to deal.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t know that,” Scorpius said and I laughed. He was right. This was already making it easier.

“Touché.”

“Let’s start this off easy,” Scorpius said once I’d dealt all the cards and we had a steady game going. “What’s your middle name?”

I snorted. I couldn’t help it. I definitely wasn’t expecting that question. “Nymphadora,” I told him. He started laughing and I glared at him. “Nymphadora, the real one, was a great woman,” I said haughtily. “Why, what is your middle name?”

“I’m asking the questions,” he said, obviously trying to avoid the subject.

“That’s not fair,” I insisted. “You said you would tell me stuff when I told you, so you’ve got to play along.”

He glared at me, knowing I was right. I smirked at him.

“My middle name is Hyperion,” he mumbled and it was my turn to burst out laughing. “Stop it,” he growled.

“I’m sorry,” I said, clutching at my side. “But your parents must be really cruel people if they cursed you with two horrible names.”

“They’re not cruel,” Scorpius said, jumping when one of his cards accidentally exploded. “They just have a unique taste in names is all.”

“Right, well it is my turn to ask you a question,” I said, trying to steer the conversation out of potentially dangerous waters. “So, uh, when is your birthday?”

“February 16th,” he said. “You?”

“December 23rd,” I replied.

“Ah, so not only am I going to have to get a Christmas present, but a birthday present as well,” he smirked.

“Most people get me just one giant gift,” I told him. “But you don’t have to get me anything at all.”

“What sort of boyfriend would I be then?” he asked, looking up at me from his cards.

“What do you want for Christmas by the way?” he added.

“I don’t know – socks?”

He burst out laughing.

“You seriously want me to get you socks?”

“Not really,” I sighed. “I just don’t know what I want. I mean, well, I do. But you can’t exactly give it to me.”

To be honest, he definitely could give me what I wanted for Christmas. But I couldn’t exactly tell him that what I wanted most was for him to declare his undying love to me, preferably in front of my father just to piss him off. I’m not insane enough to tell him – at least, I hope not.

“You don’t know that,” he smirked. “I have resources.”

“I’m sure you do,” I said, trying not to think about what exactly that might mean. “But seriously, socks are fine. What do you want?”

“You’ll laugh,” he mumbled.

“I promise I won’t,” I said sincerely.

“Okay,” he sighed, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples. “Well, I decided a few years ago that I would get myself a tattoo for Christmas.”

“A tattoo?” I asked, trying to stifle a giggle. The idea of Scorpius getting a tattoo – it was just too funny. Now I realized why he asked me not to laugh.

“Yeah,” he replied, blushing profusely. “I know it sounds stupid.”

“No, it sounds cool,” I told him. Now that I tried picturing him with a tattoo, I had to admit that it would be pretty hot actually. 

“So you don’t think I’m a total wanker?” he asked, looking hopeful.

“I think that you should definitely get a tattoo,” I smiled. “You should go this Christmas. I’ll go with you, if you want.”

“You want one too?” he smirked, looking like he was going to laugh this time.

“I never said that,” I answered quickly. “I said I would go with you to get one, for moral support, you know.”

“Right,” he said smugly. “Well I’m still undecided on the whole matter, so you have time to change your mind.”

“Not going to happen,” I insisted.

“We’ll see,” he smirked. “But we have time to talk about Christmas later. Tell me about your friends – what are their names, Noel and Ashley? They seem nice.” 

“They are nice,” I replied. “I was actually getting ready to go to that party when I became friends with them. They asked me what I thought they should wear.”

Scorpius snorted. “They asked you what to wear?”

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, my eyes narrowed.

“Well, it’s just that if I was a girl, I would probably not ask the girl who wore Cannons sweatshirts what to wear to a Slytherin party.”

“For your information,” I growled, “the Cannons are the best team in the league. Don’t you dare insult them.”

Scorpius coughed something that sounded suspiciously close to ‘that’s why they haven’t won a game in thirty seasons’ but I chose to ignore him.

“But I like Noel and Ashley. Noel is more grounded, and helps me stay organized. And Ashley, well, she makes me laugh.”

“She’s kind of a ditz,” Scorpius added. I laughed, but nodded in agreement. Ashley was super nice, but she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

“Whatever happened to your old friends?” he asked.

“You mean my psychotic Quidditch mates?” I replied. “They chewed me out for dating you and I told them that I didn’t want to put up with them anymore.”

“You stopped talking to them because of me?” he asked, his grey eyes wide in surprise.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” I chuckled. “I didn’t stop talking to them just because of that. They’re not exactly the nicest people in the first place. Reagan and James bicker constantly, James is always fighting with Ben, Kat flirts with anything that is not an inanimate object, and Jason has the brain capacity of a two year old. I figured I could do better than that.”

“Like me,” he said happily. “But you didn’t have to quit the team.”

“Quidditch is important to me,” I agreed. “But I knew that I’d never be able to get away from them unless I quit.”

“You’re pretty tough, Shorty,” he said.

“Shorty?” I asked. “And I’m not tough at all. I’m pretty weak, to be honest.”

“I’ve been trying to think of a nickname for you,” he said. “I’ve decided that you shall be called Shorty. And I don’t think you’re weak. Stubborn maybe, but definitely not weak.”

“Well thank you, but I have to disagree,” I said. “I don’t want to argue about this though. Tell me about your family.”

He glanced up at me, another odd expression on his face. “My family?”

“You know the people you live with when you’re not at school?”

“Right,” he said, dragging his fingers through his hair. “Well, my father is Draco Malfoy, and my mother is Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy. We live in a flat in London, with my grandmother. I don’t have any siblings and every Christmas we go and visit my grandfather in prison.”

“Nice,” I said nodding. I could tell that it was uncomfortable for him to talk about his family – having Death Eater relatives was never anything to be proud of and I felt sorry for him to have to grow up knowing that everyone would be prejudiced towards him just because of his last name.

“What about you?” he asked. “What is the famous Weasley clan like?”

“The word dysfunctional comes to mind,” I said in all seriousness.  

“That’s not the picture the media paints.”

“The media only see’s one side of my family,” I sighed. “People only see the heroic side – the well put together, loving, supportive side. No one see’s what a Christmas or family reunion is really like.”

“Well, what is it like?” he asked.  

“When the whole family gets together it’s not so bad,” I said slowly, choosing my words carefully. I’d never really ever talked to anyone about my family like this before. I wanted to make sure that he knew I didn’t completely hate them – because I didn’t. I loved my big, wacky family. I only didn’t like specific members of it. “But when I’m just at home, well, it really sucks.”

“Because of your dad?” From the way he said it, I could tell that it wasn’t really a question, more of a statement.

“Yeah, because of my dad. Well, my mom contributes too. She’s never home. She’s always working. I think my father resents that.”

“What do you mean?”

I groaned and tugged at a piece of hair that had fallen loose from my ponytail. “See, my dad was an Auror for twenty-something years,” I began, still trying to wrap my head around how to say what I needed to say in a politically correct way. “He got injured in the field a few years ago, and Uncle Harry had to tell him that he couldn’t be an Auror anymore. Since then he’s worked at the joke shop with my Uncle George, but I can tell he resents the fact that he’s stuck doing a job he hates and can’t really succeed at while my mother climbs the business ladder and is constantly being promoted.”

“I can see how he would be upset,” Scorpius said. “But what does that have to do with you hating him?”

“I never said I hated him,” I cried in exasperation. Scorpius looked taken aback and I clapped my hands over my mouth. “Sorry about the yelling. I didn’t mean to.” I felt tears well up behind my eyes again and I swiped angrily at my eyes, trying not to act like a baby.

“Rose! I’m sorry. What’s wrong?” Scorpius asked concernedly, scooting closer to me and pulling me to his side. At this gesture I lost the fight with my tear ducts and started sobbing. I felt Scorpius wrap his other arm around my waist and he pulled me almost into his lap. I sobbed into his shoulder and he made ‘shh-ing’ noises, stroking my back.

“That’s the problem, Scorpius,” I said through my tears into his shoulder. “The problem is that I don’t hate him. I want to. But I don’t. No matter how many times he tells me I’m a disappointment, or that I’m worthless, or that he calls me names, or even the time he hit me, I love him. He’s my father, goddamnit. How can I not love him?”

I felt Scorpius stiffen and then his grip tightened on me and he was muttering a stream of threats and profanities under his breath at such a fast pace that I couldn’t understand what he was saying.

“You deserve better, Rose,” he said suddenly. “You deserve a father who appreciates you, and who loves you and respects you. I swear to Merlin, I’ve never wanted to hit someone more than I do right now.”

I pulled away from him enough so that I could see his face. He looked horrified, angry, and sad all at once. When he saw my face his expression softened and he kissed my forehead.

“Thank you,” I whispered softly. “Thank you for making me tell you.”

“We won’t let him hurt you, Rose,” Scorpius said fiercely. “I won’t let him.”

I looked at the sincerity in his eyes and another tear rolled down my cheek. I felt one of his hands leave my waist and he reached up and wiped away my tear with his thumb. I smiled sadly and laid my head on his shoulder again.

I wasn’t really sure what was happening between us. Maybe it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Or maybe it was the beginning of something much more than that. I wasn’t really sure. All I did know was that I was completely and totally in love with Scorpius – a Slytherin, a Malfoy, and the son of my father’s worst enemy.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  







 
A/N: Yay! Another chapter. Just to let you all know, this chapter has been planned since I first came up with the idea for this story. So I really really hope you all liked it. :) To be honest, I think it's my favorite yet.  

So what did you all think? Please, please review tell me what you thought! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who live in America and happy November 27th to everyone else. :P 

Thanks for reading!


Chapter 19: Confessions and Catfights
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I awoke slowly, relishing in the warmth of the thick blanket that was draped across my middle and the soft feel of the pillow under my cheek. I stretched and rolled over, burying my face deeper into the pillow. Wait a tick, that didn’t smell like my pillow. My pillows generally smelled like honey and vanilla, my favorite shampoo, and Febreeze*, this neat Muggle air freshener that my mum’s parents gave me for Christmas last year. I sniffed at the air. Nope, this most definitely was not my pillow. Whatever I was lying on smelled like pine, orange, and some form of musky cologne. 

It was then that I realized that the thing I thought was a pillow was most definitely not a pillow. Or if it was a pillow, I was in serious trouble. Because my pillow smelled like boy. 

My eyes flew open and I looked straight into the face of Scorpius Malfoy, who was still curled up next to me, snoring softly. The first thing that I took note of was that we were both still dressed, which was a very good sign. Not that I’m the type of girl that would lose her virginity in a broom closet to the bloke she’s pretending to date. But you know, I’ve heard about weirder things happening in this school, so it’s always good to check. 

The second thing I noticed was that he had his arm tucked around my waist, almost protectively, and that my head was resting in the small crook between his neck and shoulder. Suddenly it all came back to me – me crying to Scorpius about all of the problems in my family, him comforting me, the way we spent virtually the rest of the night playing Exploding Snap to get my mind off of it, and also the way we had fallen asleep on the floor of the broom cupboard. 

I wanted desperately to check my watch and see the time, because we did have classes today, but doing so would disrupt his sleeping, and I really, really did not want to do that.  

I stared over the mountain that was Scorpius’s shoulder and tried to see what was in this broom closet besides the two of us, just because I was bored. When I discovered that I really couldn’t see more than a bucket, a broken mop, and about fifty gallons of unused floor polish I took to looking at Scorpius. 

When I was tucked this close to him it was really hard not to notice how absolutely gorgeous he was. He had pale skin, but not pale like mine that it was translucent, but just creamy white. His hair, which looked platinum blonde from far away was actually almost as white as his skin. It hung down to around his chin in a messy sort of way and right now it was hanging in his eyes. I had the urge to reach out and brush it away. 

Could I reach his hair without disrupting him? My right arm was pretty free. If I didn’t wiggle too much I could probably do it. I glanced around to make sure that it was safe, not that there was anyone else in this blasted broom cupboard, but more so that I knew that I was the only one who would ever know about the little thing I was going to do. 

Once I was sure the coast was clear I wiggled my hand free of his grip. Scorpius grunted slightly at the movement and I froze, but he did not stir. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Was I really going to do this? It seemed quite silly. It didn’t seem to be bothering him at all. In fact, if my memory holds true, he usually wore his hair in his face. 

No. I was going to do it. The urge to do it was too strong. I reached out with my free hand and paused with my fingers above his cheek. The farther I got into this, the more ridiculous it seemed.

 When he did not stir I bit my lip in concentration and carefully brushed the few strands of hair that littered his face behind his ear. 

As soon as that was done I whipped my hand back and stared down at my fingers. Dear Merlin, I had never felt anything so soft. 

I felt Scorpius shift next to me, and his grip on my waist grew tighter. He pulled me even closer to his side and buried his face in my hair and I tried to stifle a giggle. No matter how uncomfortable I was right now, I had to admit that I loved every second of it. 

I shifted carefully to make myself more comfortable and I heard him moan and then yawn. I instantly went rigid and didn’t even dare breathe. I didn’t want to wake him up. 

I felt his body go stiff next to mine and then his hand ran up my back, as if trying to assess what the hell was lying next to him.  

“Rose!” he cried suddenly and we both jumped. He scrambled away from me, as if prolonged contact with me would give him the plague or something. “Merlin’s beard!” 

We both sat on opposite sides of cupboard, staring at each other, him in horror, and me in mild shock, still trying to assess what the hell was happening. 

“Umm, hello?” I said, waving a little bit and smiling confusedly. 

“Rose?” he asked again. 

“Yes, that is my name,” I told him, edging farther away from him. He was seriously scaring me. Had he hit his head on something last night? 

I watched as he glanced down at himself, and then his eyes raked over me, and he sighed in what I presumed was relief. I stifled a giggle. I apparently wasn’t the only one who checked to make sure I was still dressed when I wake up in the morning next to the bloke I’m in love with. But Scorpius isn’t in love with me… whatever. The more I think about it the worse it will get.  

“Right,” he said, raking his hand through his hair and then dropping his head into his hands. “Sorry about that. I just got a fright is all.” 

“Er, it’s not a problem,” I told him, blushing. “It’s not every day you wake up in a broom cupboard next to your girlfriend.” 

“Well maybe not for you,” he said, returning more to his normal, cocky self. 

“Right,” I said, cutting him off there. I don’t really know why, but I have a problem with listening to Scorpius’s past relationships or whatever they would be called. Maybe it’s an inferiority complex of mine. Or is it superiority complex? I don’t know. I’ve never really understood that Muggle psychology stuff. All I do know is that the idea of Scorpius being with another girl makes me want to throw something. “Well, we do have class today and someone might notice if neither of us show up for class.” 

“Damn,” he said. “I forgot about that.” He stood up and extended his hand to me and I took it gratefully, all of my joints creaking as I stood up. 

He glanced at me when I stood erect. “That is gross.” 

I glared at him and cracked my back once more just to bother him. “I can’t help it. It wasn’t my idea to sleep on the stone floor all night.”

“If I may remind you,” he smirked, “you’re the one who fell asleep on my shoulder.” 

“You could have woken me,” I replied. 

“Did you want me to wake you?” he asked, looking down at me with that unreadable expression again. 

I glanced up at him, a witty retort on the tip of my tongue, but I instantly froze and blushed the color of a tomato. Damn. Could you be more obvious Rosie? 

“I thought not,” he said smugly. 

I glared up at him and he chuckled at my expression. When he turned back around to open the door I stuck my tongue out at him and silently pouted. It wasn’t fair that he was always one step ahead of me. One of these days I would get him back. 

Scorpius opened the door and we stepped out into the corridor hand in hand. I had not realized how bright the castle was compared to the dingy broom cupboard and I was instantly blinded. I blinked a few times and fully opened my eyes, but instantly wished I could shut them again. Because there, standing in front of us, was Professor McGonagall. 


She was staring at us wide eyed, her normally strict, tight facial features twisted into a mask of surprise. Her mouth formed a perfect little ‘o’ and I saw the books that she carried in her hands slip a few inched in her grip. 

“Good morning, Professor,” Scorpius said brightly. I felt like kicking him. 

Professor McGonagall did not say anything but just looked from us, dressed in our pajamas, to the broom cupboard and back again.  

I could feel Scorpius shaking with suppressed laughter next to me, but I was far from laughing. He may think it was all right and funny that we were caught coming out of a broom cupboard after obviously having spent the night together by a teacher, but I on the other hand would have liked to have preserved my last shred of dignity. I was still a virgin, damnit! 

“Professor?” I asked tentatively, starting to fear for the Headmistress’s sanity. 

She shook her head like a dog shaking water off of its fur and looked right at me, her features going back to their normal frown. 

“Good morning, Miss Weasley, Mr. Malfoy,” she said primly. “It’s quite early for the two of you to be out of bed, isn’t it?” 

Was it? I glanced down at my watch. It was only five in the bloody fricking morning.  

“Yes, Professor,” Scorpius said innocently. “I was just going to walk Rose here back to her Common Room and then head back down to the dungeons.” 

“I think Miss Weasley knows the way back to her Common Room just fine,” McGonagall said, returning to her normal color and tone of voice. “I suggest you get back to your own beds.” 

“Yes, you are right, Professor,” I squeaked, tugging at Scorpius’s hand. “We’ll just be going then.” 

I took off down the hallway, towing Scorpius behind me. The second we rounded the corner he was roaring with laughter.

“That is not funny!” I cried, coming to a halt at the landing by the staircase where we would go our separate ways. 

“You’re right,” he laughed, holding a stitch in his side. “That was bloody hilarious! Did you see the look on her face?” 

“Yes, I did!” I said indignantly. “I will never live this down.” 

I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him and Scorpius instantly quieted down. 

“You need to lighten up, love,” he said, pulling me to him and kissing the top of my head. “I’ll see you at breakfast.” 

He let go of me and sauntered down the stairwell. When he got to the bottom he shot me a cheeky grin and I couldn’t help but chuckle. When he was completely gone around another corner I set off towards my own Common Room. Maybe I would catch up on a few hours sleep before classes. Or maybe I would just lie on my bed and think about Scorpius. Both options sounded equally pleasing.  

I got back to the Common Room and trudged up the stairs to my dorm, my bed calling to me. I eased open the door, not really wanting to wake anyone up, but was surprised to see that I need not have worried, for everyone was already awake. 

“Er, good morning?” I said, stepping into the middle of the room. “What are you all doing awake?” 

“Reagan here has been storming about the place, searching aimlessly for something all night,” Noel said, yawning. 

“It is not aimless,” Reagan snarled, glaring over at the fair haired girl. “It is very important that I find my broomstick.” 

“Oh, give it a rest already!” Lucy growled. “I need my beauty sleep.” 

“Lot of good it’s going to do you,” Reagan growled sarcastically, turning to her wardrobe again and beginning to throw random articles of clothing out. “Maybe if you’d get up off your fat arse and help me this would go faster.” 

“You’ve already torn the dormitory apart,” Ashley reminded her. “It’s not here.” 

“Unless Rose took it,” Reagan said accusatorily, glowering over at me. 

“What?” I asked indignantly. Where had that come from? “I didn’t take your broom.” 

“You must have. No one else in this dormitory flies, and I’m sure that I haven’t taken it out of here since I brought it up from the lockers to polish it.” 

“I’m off the team, remember?” I said coldly. “And besides, if I was going to steal a broom, I wouldn’t steal an awful Cleansweep like yours.” 

“My Cleansweep,” she said, advancing forward with a dangerous gleam in her eyes, “is a top of the line broomstick. Any respectable Quidditch player would know that.” 

“I guess you don’t fall into that category then,” I said. 

The room grew very quiet. Reagan looked at me as if she had been slapped.  

“Right,” she said after a moment. “I guess you don’t have it then.” 

She didn’t wait for my answer but stormed to her bed and pulled the curtains tightly around it. Noel and I exchanged a confused glance, both of us trying not to laugh. Lucy just glared at me and then pulled the covers over her face. Ashley, despite the hour, was bouncing at the foot of her bed, looking like she was dying to ask me a question. I figured I knew what it was too. 

“So where were you? She asked, grinning. 

“I was out,” I replied, not really wanting to talk about it in front of Lucy and Reagan. They both hated me enough. They didn’t need any more gossip to fuel them. 

“With Scorpius?” Noel asked, leaning in conspiratorially. I dared a cautious glance around the dorm to confirm the fact that the two evil girls were not looking and then nodded. 

Ashley squealed loudly and pulled me down into a bone crushing hug. “You have to tell me all about it!” 

“I will,” I promised, gasping for air. “Later. At breakfast.” 

She seemed satisfied with that answer and released me and I gulped in a much needed breath of air. For such a little girl, she had a very strong grip.  

After that Noel and Ashley went back to sleep and I wandered over to the bathroom, deciding that I was not about to spoil the clean sheets of my bed by laying in it with dirt and grime from the cupboard. I took a quick shower and then dressed in my school uniform and laid down on my bed to catch up on a few hours sleep before breakfast.

 

 







When I got down to the Great Hall Scorpius was sitting at the Slytherin table with his friends. He looked up when his friend nudged him to tell him I was here and he cocked his head towards the empty seat beside him, as if asking if I would sit there today. I shook my head no, feeling sort of guilty, as I could see Ashley practically standing on the table in an attempt to wave me over to wear they were sitting. 

I walked over to the Gryffindor table and slid down into a seat next to Noel, too afraid that Ashley might attack me with another hug when I started telling my ‘story’. 

“So,” Ashley said the second I sat down. “Tell me everything.” 

“Mind if I butter my toast first?” I asked, gesticulating with said food item.  

“Can you butter and talk at the same time? OUCH!” she asked hopefully, only to be kicked by Noel. 

“Let the girl eat,” Noel chastised. 

“I love you,” I told her, smearing a glob of butter onto my toast. 

“Who do you love?” Scorpius asked, sliding down into the seat next to me. 

“I thought I had gotten rid of you for the morning,” I joked, kissing his cheek while Ashley and Noel blushed furiously. 

“Nope,” he said, grabbing my freshly buttered toast and taking a large bite out of it. “You’ll never be able to get rid of me.” 

“I’m starting to learn that,” I said, elbowing him playfully in the stomach. 

“Is that a bad thing?” he asked. I wasn’t sure if it was just me, but I thought I detected a hint of seriousness in his voice. 

“Not at all.” 

He smiled down at me and then took another bite of my toast. 

“I was going to eat that you know.” 

He held out the whole bite that was left of my toast to me, but I shook my head and reached for another.  

“Oh my gosh, the two of you are just too perfect!” Ashley squealed, and then clapped her hands over her mouth. 

I paused with my toast almost in biting range and exchanged a glance with Scorpius. He looked like he was trying not to laugh, and I had a feeling I didn’t look much different. 

“Ashley,” Noel hissed angrily to her friend. “I’m sorry,” she said to us. “Ashley has a bit of a problem controlling her mouth.” 

“It’s not a problem,” Scorpius smirked, shooting Noel what I was beginning to believe was his ‘cool’ look and then turning the charm on to Ashley. “I’d like to hear more about what you think of us actually.” 

She looked taken aback for a moment and I wanted to tell her that Scorpius was just being mean and to ignore him. It wasn’t like it was Ashley’s fault that she couldn’t control her mouth. Or maybe it was. But that was beside the point. The point was that she was my friend and that it was unfair for Scorpius to dazzle her like that. 

“Ash,” I said, shooting Scorpius a glare, “you don’t have to say anything. He’s just being a jerk because he can be.” 

“I’m not being a jerk,” he said, turning to me with a look of surprise. “I’m genuinely interested to hear what someone who actually thinks our relationship will work, or is for anything more than sex, thinks.” 

“It’s fine,” Ashley said, smiling at me and blushing when she looked at Scorpius. “Well, I just think that the two of you together have an incredible…chemistry.” 

Scorpius looked down at me and grinned, tightening his grip on my waist. I stuck out my tongue at him and he chuckled. 

“And stuff like that,” she said, hurrying to find something else to say now that she thought we were taking her seriously. “When the two of you look at each other, you can just tell that you love each other. It’s crazy. I don’t know how to explain it.” 

At this I blushed furiously. That could not be possible. Well, maybe for me it was, because I was most definitely experiencing some sort of love for the blonde boy sitting next to me. 

“That’s an interesting assessment,” Scorpius said, smirking over at Ashley. I saw her look at him, giggle nervously and then look down at her plate of untouched food.  

The rest of breakfast passed quite regularly, with Noel and Ashley discussing the upcoming Quidditch tryouts and Scorpius giving Noel tips on being a Chaser, with me interjecting little bits and pieces here and there, but generally just stuffing my face. It’s my Weasley genes. I can’t help it. It’s like I see food, and some incredible beast awakens within me. 

“All right, well good luck at your tryouts,” Scorpius said to Noel, drinking the last of his pumpkin juice and setting his goblet back down. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to borrow Rose for a little while.”  

“Rose, you never told me,” Ashley said, and then stopped, realizing that now was not the best time for that question. 

“She spent the night with me, in a broom cupboard,” Scorpius explained and I blushed redder than ever in my life. If McGonagall had been bad, this was ten times worse. He was practically telling them that we’d done something that we hadn’t. Bloody Slytherin. 

I watched their eyes widen and for once Ashley looked too shocked to say anything. Scorpius took advantage of their silence and dragged me out of the Great Hall. 

“You know, by the end of the day everyone is going to know that we were in that broom cupboard,” I reminded him. 

“Yes, but they don’t know what we did,” he said, taking my bag from my shoulder and leading me up towards Transfiguration, my first class of the day. 

“Exactly!” I said, earning more than one odd stare but not paying it any attention. “So they’ll guess at what we did.” 

“And what exactly is that guess then?” he asked, stopped and standing in front of me, a smug look on his face. 

“Well, you know,” I said, feeling my ears start to heat up. “That we slept together or something.” 

“How is that different from anything else we’ve gone through?” 

“It isn’t,” I huffed, knowing that he was right. I’d endured it before, I could endure it again. 

“Besides, I personally would rather have people think that than have them know that we were talking about our families of all things,” he said. 

“I did most of the talking,” I reminded him.

“You needed to talk,” he said, “and I was happy to listen.” 

“Thank you for that,” I said again. He pulled me into a hug and then gave me a peck on the lips. 

“You are very welcome,” he grinned. 

“You know what this means now though,” I said, feeling proud of my sudden burst of memory, “is that you have to tell me why you entered into this thing in the first place.” 

I looked up into his face and saw him go visibly whiter. 

“I will tell you,” he said, licking his lips nervously. “On two conditions.” 

“That’s not fair!” I cried. “You promised you would tell me if I told you, so tell!” 

He grinned down at me, feeling stronger in his convictions it seemed. “Two conditions. The first – that I can ask you three questions a day about your life and you have to answer them, and the second – that you will take me home at Christmas with you.” 

I glared at him. “No deal.” 

“Then I’m not telling,” he said simply. 


“But you promised!” 

“I never said that I would tell you without any more conditions,” he replied and I cursed myself for not thinking of it sooner. Of course he would pull something like this. He was a conniving Slytherin after all. 

I thought about it for a moment. Those two conditions of his seemed like a hell of a lot for one little story. Besides, it might not even be that good. It might just be that he was bored and it sounded like fun. Although that wasn’t likely, but one never knew with Scorpius. He always found a way to surprise me. But agreeing to take him to Christmas – that was like suicide. We would both be killed. Why was he so damn adamant on going? 

I thought back to what Ashley had said about how when we look at each other it looked like we were in love. Would this confession maybe lead me to seeing if Scorpius really had feelings for me? Would risking our lives over the holidays be worth it? And those questions – I had a bad feeling about those. 

“All right, deal,” I said, extending my hand to him, “but on one condition – that you have to answer whatever questions you ask me without any other conditions.” 

He looked at me for a long moment and then shook my hand. I’m a glutton for punishment, I swear. 

“Okay,” said, pulling me over to the wall. “You know how I said that I wanted to get Anna off of my back?” I nodded. 

“Well, that is partially true. The other part is that I want to get my grandmother off of my back as well. See, my mother isn’t really all that interested in pureblood lineage and all of that, but we Malfoys were in a lot of trouble after the war. I’m sure you already know that the old Manor was used as Voldemort’s headquarters. My grandfather was on trial and it was likely that he would get the Dementor’s Kiss, but Anna’s grandfather testified during his trial that my grandfather was not a part of the group that killed people, but rather a prisoner in his own home during the most critical years. 

My grandmother believes that it is because of Rosier’s testimony that my grandfather escaped with his soul and is now only serving twenty-five years in prison. My grandmother first introduced me to Anna when we were toddlers and I’ve grown up knowing her. My grandmother absolutely adores  Anna and I’m sure that she would love nothing more than for us to date all through Hogwarts, and then get married when we are twenty like my father and mother. Anna seems to think that I think highly of my grandmother’s favor in women, and I do. But Anna has proved herself over time to not be a person that I would never want to date, let alone marry. 

If you and I date, it shows my grandmother and Anna that I make my own decisions.” 

I gaped at him in silence for a moment. He watched me kind of bemusedly, smiling at the odd faces I was probably making. My heart was beating a thousand miles a minute. 

“So basically you’re doing this to stop your grandmother from forcing you to pretend to like Anna Rosier, who you believe she wants you to someday marry?” I asked my mouth suddenly very dry. 

“In essence, yes,” he said, grinning down at me. 

I shook my head still trying to comprehend everything he had said to me.  I suddenly realized that whatever competition I had going on with Anna Rosier for Scorpius’s attention was much more serious that I had ever thought.  

I looked up at Scorpius and grinned back. 

Bring it on, bitch.  







 
A/N: Yay! Another chapter! I know it may not seem like a lot happened, but this leads up to a ton in the next one. I promise. This chapter was necessary for what comes next! Plus, we finally find out what Scorpius is in this whole mess for. What do you think? Expect it? Didn't expect it? 

Please, tell me your thoughts on the whole chapter and leave me a review! :) 

Thanks so much for reading guys!


Chapter 20: Minister and Mayhem
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The feeling of Christmas was definitely in the air. The grounds were covered in a blanket of white snow and giant icicles hung from the battlements of the castle. Everything smelled like cinnamon, peppermint, and evergreen and you could see your breath in the hallways first thing in the morning. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

I hurried inside from my Herbology lesson, stamping my booted feet on the ground when I got to the Entrance Hall. It was snowing again outside and I felt the snowflakes that had landed in my hair starting to melt and run down the back of my neck. I shivered and ran my fingers through my hair, sighing in frustration when it didn’t help much.

I jumped when I felt a pair of arms lace themselves around my waist, two large hands settling at the base of my stomach right above my skirt.

“Your hair looks fine,” Scorpius whispered, his hot breath tickling my neck as he leaned down to kiss my cheek from behind. My stomach quivered involuntarily and I took a shaky breath.

“Well thank you,” I said, laying on of my hands over his and then reaching up with the other to ruffle his hair. “Where have you been all morning? Skiving off class?”

“Did you miss me love?” he asked seductively.

“Possibly,” I said, turning to my head so that I could better look at him. His hair was all mussed up and he smelled freshly of aftershave. He must have just woken up.

“Good,” he said, leaning over a bit more so that he could rest his chin on my shoulder.

My heart was beating so erratically it was a wonder he couldn’t hear it or hear it. It had been like this for the past week. Ever since the broom cupboard incident every time he was near me or Merlin forbid touched me all of my insides quivered in a very pleasant way. It was making me crazy. He was making me crazy. I just wanted to push him up against a wall somewhere and snog him senseless. Of course that would require actually having the guts to do it, so I figured that the chances of it actually happening were something like one in a billion.

“So did you ever send that letter to your mum?” he asked, and I twisted my neck away from his mouth, because I hated being tickled like that. Well not really. I kind of liked it. It made my skin crawl, in a good way. I didn’t really want him to know that.

“Yes I did,” I replied.

I had sent it yesterday to be exact. The damn letter, asking for permission to lead Scorpius to his death. Or to be more exact, home for Christmas – which was the same thing in essence. He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

“Thank you,” he said, chuckling when I twisted away from him again.

“What’s wrong, Rose? Are you ticklish?” he asked, chuckling and tightening his grip around my waist when I tried to pull away all together.

“Yes, in fact, I am,” I retorted, still struggling. Damn, he was strong.

“That’s cute,” he smirked. “I wonder what you would do if I did this.”

I didn’t have time to ask what ‘this’ was, for the next thing I knew his lips gently grazed the base of my neck and top of my collarbone and I visibly shuddered, enjoying the sensation too much for it to be physically possible. All too soon it was over, and Scorpius was chuckling, and I sighed contentedly.

“You enjoyed that,” he said triumphantly.

Oh yes I did.

“No, I did not,” I replied, not wanting to let on. “Your lips are warm is all. My skin is cold.” 

“Whatever you say,” he chuckled and kissed me right underneath my jaw. Dear Merlin!

“Oi! Get a room!” I heard someone shout at us and then Scorpius stopped and straightened up, twisting slightly to see who was yelling at us.

“Shove off, Tony,” Scorpius shouted back.

Ah, just Anthony. He wasn’t a bad bloke really. I’d come to know him better over the past week, seeing as Scorpius had demanded I sit with them for a couple of breakfasts and lunches. He was pretty funny and delighted in embarrassing the heck out of me, which really wasn’t that hard, but still…

“Hi Tony,” I said, waving slightly and turning the color of a tomato. Stupid Weasley genes.

He sauntered over to us, hands resting casually in his pockets, his handsome fast twisted into a mischievous smirk. 

“Well just look at the two of you,” he said. “So lovey-dovey. It’s disgusting.”

“You’re just jealous mate,” Scorpius chuckled.

“That I am,” Tony said, his eyes raking over me and Scorpius pulled me tighter to his chest.

“Cut it out, Tony,” I giggled. “You’re going to make Scorp have an aneurism.”

“ROSE! ROSE!” 

Everyone paused as my brother came hurtling down the staircase at full speed, shouting at me with a wild look in his eyes. He skidded to a halt about a foot away from us and paused to catch his breath, seeing as he was a bit pudgy. I waited patiently for him while Tony shot me a curious look and Scorpius chuckled from behind me still.

“What’s up, Hugh?” I asked when he seemed to have recovered.

“Did you see the Daily Prophet this morning?” he asked, grabbing said newspaper from under his arm.

“No, I don’t take the paper anymore,” I said nervously, not quite sure of what I was going to see. Surely if it was bad I would have heard about it?

Hugo looked up at me and for the first time noticed the two handsome Slytherins that I was with. He blushed profusely and looked down at the stone floor, mumbling something I could not hear.  

“What was that?” Scorpius asked and Hugo blushed brighter red. He mumbled it again but it was still unintelligible.

“Hugh, you’ve got to look up when you talk mate,” Tony said, looking slightly afraid for my brother. I seriously wished Scorpius would let me go so that I could give my brother a hug, but then again that would mean being away from Scorpius and that didn’t seem very pleasant either. He was warm.

“Sorry,” he said, his voice cracking and he cleared his throat anxiously. “But look! Mum’s won Minister of Magic!”

“WHAT?!” I snatched the paper from his hand and stared at the headline in disbelief.

Hermione Weasley Named New Minister for Magic

Yesterday in a surprising turn of events, famed and beloved Minster of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt resigned from his position. Mister Shacklebolt would not comment currently on why he has stepped down from office, but sources close to him cite that Shacklebolt is in poor health and would like to spend the last years of his life relaxing with his family and friends.

The Wizengamot was called into action later that evening to help elect the newest Minister for Magic. Among the possible candidates were Hermione Weasley, Justin Finch-Fletchly, Mrs. Weasley’s law partner and  successor, Augustus Monk, head of the Auror department, and Percival Weasley, the Junior Undersecretary to the Ministry. A spokes wizard for the Wizengamot has said that “although we cannot reveal the total number of voters per candidate, Mrs. Weasley was the most popular choice.”

While Mrs. Weasley may have been the most popular choice, she may have also been the most obvious choice. It is a well known fact that she fought alongside friend Harry Potter in the Second War and is, as some would say, the brightest witch of her age. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14.

 

I stared down at the page of newsprint in front of me. Could this really be possible? It didn’t feel like it. My mother was the new Minister of Magic. Merlin’s saggy balls!

I stared down at the picture that accompanied the article. My mother was smiling and waving, her arm wrapped around Justin Finch-Fletchly’s shoulder as he congratulated her on her win. My father stood on the other side of her, putting on what I recognized as a forced smile, but one that would look completely natural to anyone who didn’t know him like I did.

Scorpius let out an appreciative whistle. “Wow, Rose! Your mum’s the new Minister of Magic!” 

“I know, I can’t believe it!” I gasped, still in shock. I had not been expecting that. Everyone thought that the laws and ideas my mother had, especially on magical creatures, were too radical. Maybe more people had liked her ideas than I thought. Or maybe my mother really was the perfect choice for the job. She was definitely the most logical person I knew, the most level headed, and the most organized.

“How do you think this is going to affect our lives?” Hugo asked anxiously, abandoning his previous anxiety around the two Slytherins in lieu of asking his question.

“I’m not sure,” I said, still staring down at that picture. She looked so happy, almost ecstatic. This was definitely the happiest I’d seen her in a long time. “Maybe things will be better now. I’m guessing she’ll get a pay raise. Maybe you’ll get that new radio you’ve been begging for for Christmas. Maybe I’ll get the new Firebolt-“

“Self-centered much?” Anthony asked playfully, elbowing me in the ribs. I glared at him.

“No, I’m just guessing. That’s probably the least amount of things that will change. Mum will be working all the time and she’ll probably be grouchier on the days that she’s been with the Wizengamot. Dad, well, he’ll just be dad. “ Scorpius tightened his grip around my waist protectively. “And well, it will be a lot harder to go out places with Mum now.”

“It’s always been hard though,” Hugo pointed out. It was kind of true. Everyone knew that our parents were best friends of Harry Potter and had helped him to defeat the darkest wizard ever known. Our whole family was kind of famous that way.

“Yes, but this time it won’t just be adoring fans or whatever. It will be actual diplomats and people on the street. We’ll get to ride in those Ministry cars everywhere and maybe we’ll get to travel to a different country.”

We all just stood there and tried to imagine ourselves in a different country. For me, I pictured myself lounging on a beach in my new swimsuit and unrealistic rocking body. This whole Minister thing might work out fine.

“How did you not know about this?” Tony asked suddenly.

I glanced over at him, but it was Hugo who answered.

“She doesn’t read the paper anymore. She says she doesn’t like the way our family and other people’s families are portrayed. Rose also won’t admit it, but she was once featured in the Prophet’s ‘What Not to Wear’ section.”

“Hugo!” I cried, lunging at my brother. I struggled against the vice grip that Scorpius had on me as the three of them roared with laughter. 

“You are so lucky that Scorpius is holding me back,” I growled. “Otherwise you would be six feet under right now.”

Hugo instantly stopped laughing, which only made Scorp and Tony laugh more.

“And the two of you, there is nothing funny about that! I was not on the list. It was just someone who looks like me!” 

 
I could tell from the way they kept laughing that they didn’t believe me. I felt myself turning redder and redder. This was probably one of my deepest, darkest secrets. I’d gone through a bad phase a few years ago, where I thought it was cool to tuck my sweats into my socks and wear it with sandals on the way back from Quidditch training. Some lucky photographer had gotten a shot of it. And now, I’d never live it down.

Scorpius removed one of his hands from my stomach to swipe at the tears of laughter that were streaming down his face.

“I’m sorry, Rose,” he said, still not able to contain a few chuckles. I struggled against his grip and this time he let me go. I instantly took off running, too mortified to even pause to strangle Hugo. Maybe his guilt would kill him. It wouldn’t be as sweet, but at least he would be gone.

I felt a hand enclose itself around my wrist and I tried to wriggle free, but whoever it was was too strong. The person gripping my arm whipped me around and I looked up into the much-sobered face of Scorpius.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, tucking a strand of my hair that had fallen loose from my ponytail behind my ear. “I’m sorry I laughed at you. I shouldn’t have.”

“You’re right,” I sniffed. He pulled me to his chest and I hugged him and he kissed my temple. I dug my fingers into his back, not wanting to let go, and he kissed down the edge of my jaw from my temple to my chin. Those quivers were coming back again.  

“Mr. Malfoy! Miss Weasley!”

I glanced around Scorpius’s shoulder to see Professor McGonagall standing there, trying to remain composed but not really achieving it. “I shall have to ask you to refrain from such public displays of affection in the Entrance Hall.”

I glanced around to see that more than a few people were staring at us – some girls in envy, some in disgust, and some in just plain astonishment. Most of the guys were trying very hard to ignore us, but others, for example a few first year Ravenclaws, were standing with their mouths wide open. Oops.

“Sorry Professor,” Scorpius called. “I promise I won’t give Rose anymore hickeys in public.”

I turned bright red and stomped on his foot as I watched Professor McGonagall turn a bright shade of red, then purple, then green, and then finally white. If we made it out of this alive I would be amazed.

McGonagall pursed her lips tightly and looked like she was trying to refrain from screaming, or retching, or both. “Right,” she said after a moment, not looking at either of us. “Thank you Mr. Malfoy.”

As soon as she walked away everyone started laughing. I grabbed Scorpius by the hand and dragged him into the Great Hall, wanting to put this all around us. Hugo and Tony soon followed and we all sat together at the Gryffindor table.

“Oh, Rose,” Hugo said after he had taken a big mouthful of mashed potatoes. “Mum sent you a letter this morning. I think there’s one in there from Dad too. I couldn’t open them – you know, that whole secrecy charm thing. They’re here in my bag.”

“You tried to read my mail?” I blurted out, unable to stop the first thing that came to mind from spilling off my tongue.

 I could almost feel the smirk Scorpius was giving him now, and I could see Tony’s.

“Well, maybe,” Hugo admitted. “But I’d only wanted to see because I knew you’d written home to ask Mum if Malfoy could come home with us for Christmas, and I’d wanted to know what she said. It’s useless anyway – I didn’t see anything. Mum’s good at charms. I’d even tried to burn the seal off, but it didn’t work. Lost an eyebrow in the process-“

By the time he got to the end of his little speech I was staring at him open mouthed. Oh my god. My little brother was a total creeper. I’d always known he was off. But now…

 

“That’s messed up, mate,” Tony said incredulously. “That is seriously messed up.”

I nodded and held out my hand. I wanted my letters. No, I needed my letters. Right now. I wasn’t going to let my little demon sibling have his mangy paws on him any longer. Hugo sighed and reached down into his bag, pulling out a long, still wound and sealed scroll. 

I snatched it from him and pulled my own wand out of my pocket, barely noticing when Scorpius gave my knee a reassuring grasp. I tapped my wand against the seal and it instantly opened. I smirked over at Hugo and then slowly unwound the letter.

The first was from my mother.

Dearest Rose,

I was so glad to hear from you yesterday. I know I only saw you last week, but I think it is safe to say that things did not end on the greatest of terms and I was relieved to know that you were not angry with me.

I know you probably haven’t seen the paper since you don’t read it since the fashion incident, but in case you haven’t been told yet; I’ve just been elected Minister of Magic! Can you believe it? I think I’m still in shock. It hasn’t sunk in yet that the giant office that I’m sitting in right now, the office that I’m writing you this letter from, is mine. I think I’ll always think of it as Kingsley’s. Hopefully once I bring all of my pictures from my old office in here, of you and the rest of our family, things will start to feel like home again.

I miss you and your brother so much right now. It’s hard to think that I’ve just gotten the promotion of my life and that I cannot celebrate it with you. I know that you will be coming home in a couple of weeks, but maybe we could get together before hand and just spend some time together. Things will be so hectic once you come home – I’d like some time with you all to myself. What do you think? Hugo told me that you have a Hogsmeade trip this weekend. We could meet at the Three Broomsticks for lunch at around noon. It would be fun, just like old times. 


Please, let me know when you decide. And feel free to bring a friend. I should like to meet Scorpius before you bring him home. And yes, I think it is a wonderful idea to bring him home. 

I love you, honey. I hope to see you soon.

Love and kisses,

Mum (a.k.a. the new Minister of Magic)

I grinned when I finished reading her letter and passed it willingly over to Scorpius. He would be excited to see that he could come home. I’d never met someone so intent on bringing on his own death.

Speaking of death – I glanced down at the other sheet of parchment that was still sealed in my hand. It was much smaller than my mother’s letter and it did not look official looking at all. It had to be a letter from my father.

With shaking hands I tapped my wand to the side and winced when it opened without any fuss. I almost wished that I had the guts just to throw it aside and not give it another glance. But I couldn’t do that. He was my father, no matter how he acted. And maybe the one time I threw it away was the one time he apologized. It wasn’t very likely, but I knew that if I did do that, it would happen.

I took a deep breath and unwound the parchment, staring down at the few lines scribbled on the brown paper.

No Malfoy will be in my house for Christmas, do you hear me? You were supposed to have broken up with that bastard months ago. I won’t stand for it, Rose. I will not stand for it. If you insist on this behavior, don’t bother coming home for the holidays. You are not welcome.

 

-Ronald Weasley

I stared down at the paper in shock. No matter how many times he had degraded me, and told me I was a disgrace, he had never told me that I wasn’t welcome in my own home. He had never told me that I was that much of a disappointment. I felt tears prick into my eyes and my chest felt as if someone was pushing a tree trunk against my breastbone. My breaths came in ragged, painful stabs and I just stared at the page.

He hadn’t even signed it ‘father’ or ‘dad’. He had signed it just as he would sign it to a business partner or someone he didn’t know very well. My chest was on fire. The first tears began to fall down my cheeks and I heard Scorpius mumble something to Tony and Hugo and heard them stand up and walk off. I assumed that Tony was dragging Hugo off by the way he seemed to be arguing, and then I was enveloped in a pair of strong arms.

I sank into Scorpius’s chest and sobbed until my eyes burned so badly that I couldn’t cry anymore. He just held me and massaged my back. He didn’t say anything, something that I was grateful for. He also didn’t try to take the letter from my hands and read it. If there was one thing I loved him most for, it was that. Most people would have tried to poke their nose into my business, but he was content on just being there for me.

I sniffled and removed myself from his grip carefully. He was looking down at me concernedly. “I’m fine,” I said, answering his unasked question. 

“I don’t believe you,” he replied, running his cool thumb over my raw cheeks.   

“I don’t believe me either,” I replied and he chuckled a little bit, wiping the last of my tears away. 

“Well, isn’t that just sweet,” someone said from behind us. 

Scorpius and I twisted around on the bench to see Anna and Al standing behind us – Al looking smug and Anna looking just pure evil. 

“What’s wrong, Rose? Results of your pregnancy test come back badly? Cause I must say, you do seem to be showing lately.”

I don’t even know what snapped inside of me. Maybe it was the fragile thread that my sanity was hanging on by. Or maybe I just had a shorter fuse than I’d thought. Because one second I was sitting on the bench next to Scorpius and the next I was on my feet, shouting as many jinxes as I could think of. I heard Anna scream, and Al yell, and then the entire Great Hall went quiet.

I looked down at the giant slug like thing that was writhing on the ground at my feet. Had I really just turned Anna into a giant worm?

I think I had. Whoops.

 

 








 
A/N: Yay! Another chapter done. This chapter was originally much longer than this, but considering the fact that I caught the flu, my computer is acting up, and that I really wanted to update this weekend, I've split it up into two chapters. I hope you guys don't mind. 

Anyway, what did you think? Please, leave me a review and tell me what you thought! 

Thanks for reading everyone! Oh, and guess what? This story is officially past Novel length, and has over 14,000 reads. I can't even begin to thank you all enough. :)


Chapter 21: In a Perfect World
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“So just exactly how many detentions did you get?” Scorpius asked, ushering me down the hallway.

“Two weeks’ worth!” I cried, massaging my temples gingerly. Professor McGonagall could really yell when she was upset. Personally, I don’t think she minded the fact that I’d turned Anna into a slug that much. I think the detentions were her way of making sure that I didn’t have too much time to spend with Scorpius.

She’d spent most of the past hour that I was in her office telling me that no good would come from losing my innocence too early. I’d wanted to ask her how she’d know that – seeing as the idea of Minerva McGonagall ever having sex was just plain frightening – but I figured I’d gotten off easy, and that I shouldn’t push my luck.

“Ah, that’s not so bad,” he said, putting his arm around my shoulders. “You still get to go to Hogsmeade this weekend, right?”

“Yes, unfortunately,” I sighed. I was not looking forward to this weekend. Sure, I wanted to see my mum, and it would be nice to get some Christmas shopping done, but I knew from Scorpius’s tone of voice that what he really meant was ‘am I still going to meet your mum this weekend?’ 

“Cheer up,” he said. “It will be fun.”

“Why are you in such a good mood?” I asked him in frustration. He was a bloody Slytherin. They were supposed to be surly and mean, not chipper and cute.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It might have something to do with the fact that I just saw Anna Rosier get turned into a giant slug. That was classic, love, classic.”

“Yes, but you didn’t just get a lecture from the Headmistress on why you should keep your panties on.”

Scorpius glanced down at me, the expression on his face one of horror. “She didn’t.”

“She did.”

His mouth hung open as he thought of the unspeakable horrors, and then he started cracking up.

“Why do you think that everything that happens to me is funny?” I asked exasperatedly. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t think any of this was funny. He, on the other hand, thought that all the catastrophes in my life were bloody hilarious. 

“I don’t think everything that happens to you is funny,” he sobered quickly. “I just think that you don’t realize how funny some of the situations you get yourself into are.”

I glared up at him, trying to think of a retort but drawing a blank. I cite post-traumatic stress as the cause. Because seriously, having ‘the talk’ with McGonagall was pretty traumatic and stressful. 

“Have they figured out a way to transfigure Anna back?” I asked after a moment, switching the subject.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “Last I heard she was still lying in the Hospital Wing as a gelatinous worm.”

“Nice,” I chuckled, wrapping my arm around his waist. My arm barely fit and he chuckled, tugging me closer to him so that I was more comfortable. “Let’s hope that she stays that way forever.”

“Do you think you could get jail time for that?” he asked, his brow furrowed as if he was seriously considering it.

“My mum is Minister of Magic,” I reminded him. “I could probably do whatever the bloody hell I want now and not get in trouble for it.”

“Even shag me, right here in this hallway?” he asked huskily, suddenly stopping and pinning me to the wall I was walking right next to. My breath caught in my throat and I stared up at him, trying not to think of how inviting and yet terrifying that idea was at the same time.

“I’m not so sure about that,” I squeaked, placing one of my hands on the base of my stomach to stop myself from hyperventilating and the other on his shoulder to gently prod him away.

“Just kidding, Shorty,” he chuckled, pushing away from the wall and me. My heartbeat slowly returned to normal. “But you do owe me three questions today.”

I grumbled various obscenities under my breath. I really did not understand the point of all of these questions. So far he’d succeeded in learning that my favorite color was purple, my favorite movie was Beauty and the Beast, that my favorite Quidditch team was the Cannons, and that I was getting E’s or O’s in all of my classes. It just did not seem very relevant.

“Quit your grumbling. It hasn’t been that bad, has it?” he asked. I glared up at him and he kissed my temple good naturedly.

“Shoot,” I demanded, scowling.

“Okay, first question. Uh, where is one place you want to visit before you die?” he asked.

“Paris,” I replied wistfully, thinking of my dream of looking out over the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Yeah, it’s cheesy and romantic, but that’s why it’s called a dream.

“Really?” he sounded surprised. I nodded and hugged my arms to my chest, shivering a bit from the cold of the hall and from embarrassment. Scorpius didn’t pause in his contemplation of my answer as he handed me over his long school robe. “That’s interesting.”

He didn’t tell me why it was interesting and I didn’t bother to ask him why. I didn’t really want to prolong this process if I didn’t have to. I don’t know why, but I hated having other people prying into my business. It made me feel nervous when someone knew me almost as well as I knew myself. Scorpius was slowly becoming that way.

“You?” I asked him.

“I would go to Antarctica,” he replied.

I stared at him incredulously. “Why?”

“I’ve always wanted to see a penguin,” he chuckled. I laughed too and shook my head at his antics. Sometimes it was hard to remember that he was just another teenage boy – just like Jason, or James, or Al. No, don’t think about them. He’s not like them.

“You can see penguins at your local zoo, you know,” I pointed out to him. He stared at me, as if I had just enlightened him to something very intriguing. 

“What is a zoo?” he asked very seriously. I looked up at him incredulously.

“You don’t know what a zoo is?” I asked, stifling a giggle.

“Hello? Pureblood parents?” he mocked.

“Right,” I sighed. I had a feeling that we wouldn’t be getting back to my questions for a while.

 

 




I awoke on Saturday morning to the shouting of two of my roommates. From the shrillness of their voices I was guessing it was Lucy and Ashley. My best bet that Ashley had probably accidentally knocked over one of Lucy’s many beauty products that were cluttered around the bathroom sink, and that Lucy had gone off on her again.

I slammed the pillow over my face and tried to go back to sleep, but I knew it was no use. I was one of those people that once I was awake, I was awake for good. I groaned tiredly and pushed the covers off of myself, instantly regretting it when the cold air of the castle attacked my bare feet. You’d think that in a magical castle they’d be able to produce sufficient heating. But no – we’re subjected to barely above freezing temperatures during the winter. 

I groaned again and pushed myself out of my bed, desiring nothing more than a nice hot shower. I felt disgusting. And today was a Hogsmeade trip, so I would at least try to look nice.

Wait a moment. Today was the Hogsmeade trip. I was supposed to meet my mother for lunch. And I was supposed to take Scorpius. Holy fucking Merlin! I was taking Scorpius to meet my mother today!

I threw aside the velvet curtain to my bed and hurried towards the bathroom, trying my best to ignore my roommates’ yells of “WHORE!” and “CLOD!”

Lovely bunch, aren’t we?

I glanced at my alarm clock on the way to the bathroom. I had less than an hour until I had to meet Scorpius. Luckily Noel and I had spent over an hour two nights ago picking out an outfit for me to wear. We finally decided on my beige corduroys and her red long sleeved shirt. I felt slightly odd about wearing it, considering that it ‘accentuated’ as she said, what little cleavage I had. My mum was sure to notice that.

I raced through my shower and ran a quick drying spell over my hair, groaning when I discovered that it had suddenly decided to resemble a demonic poodle. Damn my mother’s genes.

I emerged from the bathroom nearly in tears, tugging at the comb I had gotten stuck in there when I’d tried to fix my hair and sniffled loudly. Nothing was going right today. It was going to be a horrible day. I was so afraid of having Scorpius meet my mum. Even though she was the nice one of my parental units. Scorpius and my family were just two separate entities who should have been kept just that, separate entities.  

It was like that thing that my mum’s cousin’s daughter had shown me once. The mint and cola thing. Scorpius was the mint that I was dropping into the giant carbonated and ready to explode beverage that was my family. And I was the unsuspecting idiot who dropped the mint in in the first place who was going to get a face full of the explosion.

I wanted to cry.

“What’s wrong?” Noel asked suddenly, the fighting of my roommates stopping as everyone turned to stare at me.

“My hair,” I said shrilly, gesturing to the mess atop my head. Noel’s eyes widened as she saw the stuck comb.

“Oh, sweetie!” she cried, hurrying through Ashley and Lucy’s war zone and coming to my side. She put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and steered me back into the bathroom, muttering encouraging and soothing things to me.  

She shut the door gently behind us and sat me down on the edge of our lone bathtub. “What’s wrong?” she asked, leaning against the edge of the sink and knocking over two or three more of Lucy’s moisturizers.

“Everything,” I choked, tugging again at the comb, then looking at my still robe clad body and beginning to wail. I felt like a huge baby, but I was terrified. I knew this day was really going to be a make or break deal with my mum, and my family at large. No matter how many times I had tried to deny it, I really did want Scorpius to come with me for break. I hadn’t wanted to admit it to myself, but I had started counting on having him there to keep me happy, and to just get comfort from. Having to spend two whole interrupted weeks with my family without him was incredibly daunting and just sounded miserable.

“Rosie today is going to go fine,” Noel said, crossing the room in one of her long strides and giving me a hug. “I know you’re nervous, but you said that your mum is the more understanding one. If you’re like this now, how are you going to handle having him meet your dad?”

“You’re right,” I sniffed, wiping my streaming eyes on the sleeve of my robe. I had never told Noel exactly what was going on with my father, but I thought that she could guess enough for herself. I trusted her not to tell anyone if she did know something regardless. “I’m just being a baby.”

“No, you’re just being normal,” she chuckled. “I’m surprised you’re not retching yet.”

“Don’t push it,” I threatened, feeling a small smile tugging at the corner of my lips.  

She giggled and punched my shoulder playfully and I hit her back. We stayed silent for a moment, just sort of enjoying the peace that came with knowing that you were not in fact alone. Then she stood up and grabbed one of Lucy’s spray in conditioners off of the sink and twirled it around in her fingers experimentally.

“Let’s fix that hair of yours.”

 

 




Half an hour later I was standing in the Entrance Hall, my hair nice and straight, my outfit looking fine, and my makeup done. I wrapped my arms even tighter around myself and tried to not think about anything at all. It was better if I tried to clear my mind all together. 

I gazed around, looking for some sign of my favorite Slytherin and trying to keep from hyperventilating. Many students had walked past me in the whole two minutes I’d been standing there, and they’d all shot me odd glances, some of them taking extra care to hiss an odd insult here and there. I was practically immune to it all now. There were only so many times you could be called a slut before you got used to it.

My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. He was three minutes late. Not that that was abnormal or wrong, but I really wished he’d just hurry up and get here. My stomach was churning anxiously and I thought back to what Noel had said about retching. It really did seem possible. Oh dear Merlin. If I was this nervous about him meeting my mother, how was I ever going to get over the fact that he was going to have to meet my father?

I felt my breath catch in my throat at the thought and I tucked that particular idea at the back of my brain. It would do no good to dwell on things that haven’t even happened yet.  

I was just about to go into full out panic attack mode when Scorpius’s blonde head emerged from around the corner. He was dressed in dark jeans with dress shoes, an emerald green sweater with a white collared shirt under it, and a dark coat over it. His hair was styled as it was everyday – that same ‘just rolled out of bed look’. He was absolutely gorgeous. I seriously had to be the luckiest girl on the planet.

“Hey Shorty,” he said, strolling over to me and planting a big kiss right on my lips. I jumped a bit, taken aback, but quickly kissed him back. He pulled away after a moment, grinning, his usually light pink lips a shade darker from the lip gloss I had borrowed from Ashley.

“Hey you,” I said easily, already feeling relieved. “You’re late.”

He glanced down at me, and then at his watch, and chuckled. “I’m only four minutes late.”

“It felt like a lot longer,” I blurted out before I could stop myself.

He stopped laughing and gazed down at me, that same expression that I could never figure out masking his face for a second. Then he returned to his normal suave self. “It takes a long time to look this good.”

He struck a ‘dashing’ pose and I poked him playfully in the side. “I’m sure it does,” I chuckled.

“You look stunning today, if I do say so myself,” he replied. I felt myself blush the same color as my sweater. I would probably never get used to the idea of taking a compliment from him.

“Thank you,” I said quietly. He grinned lightly and took my gloved hand in his and led me out of the castle and down the road towards Hogsmeade. It was a pretty day – it was snowing lightly and the sky was a light gray, with the odd beam of sunlight breaking through every once in a while. The wind wasn’t very strong and the snow on the trail to the village was already packed and beaten down from the students who had left early. 

“So do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?” he asked, breaking the silence.

“Most of it,” I replied. “All I have left is Hugo, my mum, and you.”

“Me?” he asked, arching one of his perfect brows inquisitively.

“No, the other you,” I said sarcastically. He pretended to get offended and I giggled. “But yes, I don’t have a gift for you yet.” 

“Am I really that hard to shop for?”

“You have no idea,” I replied darkly, thinking of the hours I’d spent poring over different magazines, searching for something that I could give him. Noel had suggested a sweater and Ashley a new broomstick, but a broomstick cost too much, and a sweater just seemed like a grandma gift.   

“I already got your gift,” he said smugly. I stared up at him openmouthed. He had gotten me a gift? Well, I mean he obviously had, but still.

“Really?” I asked excitedly, gripping his arm with my free hand. He glanced down at my eager expression and grinned.

“Yep, I just put the finishing touches on it last night,” he replied.  

“Can you give me a hint?”

“No.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Pretty please with sugar on top?”

“No.”

“Pretty, pretty, pretty please?”

“No! And the puppy dog face doesn’t work.”

I glared up at him. I was sure the puppy dog face would have worked. It had always used to work on my dad when I was little. 

“Look, we’re almost there,” he said, switching the subject. I glanced up to see that we were less than a hundred yards from the sleepy little village. My stomach started churning again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to just wait until break to meet my mum?” I asked, crossing my fingers behind my back.

“Oh no,” he said wickedly. “There’s no way you’re getting out of this. I’m going to have to meet her sometime. The sooner, the better.”

“I hate you,” I grumbled angrily.

“Hate you too, Shorty,” he chuckled, bending over and kissing the base of my jaw. My skin did that crawling thing again and I shivered with pleasure.

“I thought you promised that you wouldn’t give me hickeys in public anymore.”

“Ah, that’s only in the Entrance Hall,” he joked, but pulled away. I wished he wouldn’t have, but we were now a few feet from the village and I didn’t really want the first time my mum to see Scorpius be when he was kissing me. Talk about embarrassing.

“Oh, right,” I said, just to say something.

We strolled into the village and my heart rate, which had just finally returned to normal, picked up twofold. I felt Scorpius squeeze my hand reassuringly. I glanced down at my watch. We had about a half an hour until we were supposed to meet my mum.

“We have time,” I told him quietly, ducking as a snowball aimed at a fourth year Ravenclaw sailed over my head.

“Let’s go finish Christmas shopping then,” he said, dragging me towards Honeydukes. “You need to get me a gift.”

“Selfish much?” I asked sarcastically.

He chose to ignore my last comment and we entered the warmth of the shop. As usual it was crowded with students, trying to purchase as much sugar as physically possible with what little money they had. A few people stopped and stared as Scorpius and I pushed past them hand in hand but I chose to ignore their stares. You would have thought that people would be used to it by now. 

“How about this for Hugo?” Scorpius shouted over the din of the students, holding up a giant gift pack of all the most popular candies.

I smiled and nodded, grabbing for it, but he tucked it under his free arm and pulled me through a sudden gap towards the counter. I allowed myself to be tugged all over the place and when we did get to the counter I squeezed myself up there, not going to allow him to pay for my gift. He glared at me for a moment, but put away his money resignedly. The man behind the counter smirked at the two of us knowingly and I smirked right back at him.

I finished paying and turned around, taking Scorpius’s hand and dragging him out of the shop. I was feeling claustrophobic all of a sudden. We were about to leave when I saw them. A display of gummy Dark Mark. Tattoos!  

“That’s it!” I cried as we stepped out into the cold street.

“What’s it?”

I shook my head, not realizing that I had said that out loud. Oops. “Nothing.”

“Right,” he said skeptically, glancing down at his watch. “Well, we still have about fifteen minutes until we’re supposed to be at the Three Broomsticks.”

“Shall we try to find my mum a gift?” I asked nervously. These were going to be the longest fifteen minutes of my life.

“I thought we were trying to find me a gift,” he whined jokingly.

“I’m not going to buy your gift if you’re right there,” I replied. Scorpius scoffed slightly and took my bag from me, shrinking it with one wave of his wand and stuffing it into his coat pocket.

“Right, well, let’s go waste some time.”

We wandered about in the local bookstore for a few minutes, but I was having a very hard time concentrating on the suggestions the sales witch was making and eventually I think Scorpius apologized for my lack of interest and dragged me out of there.  

“Are you okay?” he asked, pausing outside of the Three Broomsticks and turning to face me, putting his large hands on my shoulders.

“No, I’m really not,” I replied. “I’m scared out of my mind.”

“There is nothing to be afraid of,” he assured me, pulling me to his chest to comfort me. “I’ll be on my best behavior today.”

“Dear Merlin, we’re doomed,” I joked. I felt him kiss the top of my head and I took a deep breath. If he wasn’t chickening out, I couldn’t either.   I slowly released my grip on his back and intertwined my fingers in his tightly. He gave me one more reassuring smile and then stepped forward and pushed open the door to the Three Broomsticks.

Everything seemed as normal as ever. Giant groups of students were everywhere and it was unbearably hot and noisy and reeked of spilled alcohol. I stepped gingerly inside and scanned the room for my mother. Scorpius stood stoically next to me, probably not sure what to look for. I could feel his eyes on me as I searched and then suddenly a tall Hufflepuff boy moved to his right and I saw my mother and brother seated at a booth towards the very back.

“I found them,” I told Scorpius, tugging him this time towards the back. I saw Hugo look up when we were a few feet away but my mother was talking to a man in a black suit, obviously arguing with him from the expression on his face.

I stopped walking when we reached their table and my mother didn’t look up. Hugo was smiling at the two of us nervously, and for the first time I felt Scorpius stiffen a little bit next to me. I cleared my throat uncomfortably and my mother glanced up at me, her face going from frustrated to excited in a fraction of a second.

“Rose!” she cried, jumping down from her seat and rushing over to me. I released Scorpius’s hand and embraced her, noticing that she seemed to have lost a little bit of weight. I didn’t mind though. It just felt so good to hug her again without it being because I was crying.

“Mum! I mean, Minister Weasley!” She chuckled and released me, kissing my forehead. “You look so nice today,” she said, her eyes raking over me. Then she looked over my shoulder and saw Scorpius and her expression looked surprised and then happy. “And you must me Mr. Malfoy. I’m very happy to meet you. Hugo’s told me so much about you.”

We all glanced over at Hugh and he blushed bright red and slid a little further down in his seat.

“The pleasure’s all mine,” Scorpius replied in his seductive voice, stepping forward and shaking my mother’s hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet a member of Rose’s family.”

My mother smiled over at me and I grinned back, suddenly feeling a lot less nervous. My mother was not my father. Sure, she still retained some of her old war apprehensions and prejudices, but she was more understanding. And if the way she was smiling right now was any indication, she and Scorpius would get along fine.

“Why don’t we all sit down and have some lunch. I know I’m starved,” my mum said, gesturing towards the table.

“That sounds good,” I replied, unbuttoning my coat and moving to take it off when I felt Scorpius’s hand grip the back and he helped me out of my jacket before taking his own off and hanging them up on the hooks next to the booth. I grinned up at him and he smirked back at me, as if to say ‘see, I can be good’.

I scooted into the seat across from Hugo and Scorpius sat next to me on the outside, across from my mum. My mum was watching the two of us carefully, her expression unreadable.

I sensed a movement above my mother’s head and then I saw a man in sunglasses and a black suit duck back around the edge of the booth.

“Umm, mum,” I said nervously, glancing back and forth between her and where the man had been, “who is the man in the black jacket with the shades?”

“Oh,” she sighed, running her hands through her hair, which looked bushier as of late and definitely more grey, “those are my Auror bodyguard. The Wizengamot has insisted I have one. I’ve been trying to convince them that it’s not really necessary, but they aren’t budging.”

“I think you’ve proved yourself fully capable of taking care of yourself,” Scorpius interjected. I stared at him in shock, and my mother studied him carefully before grinning.

“That’s what I’ve been saying all along,” she said kindly. “But here, why don’t we decide what we’re going to eat.”

She handed out a few menus and I took one for myself, glancing over it uninterestedly. I knew that I was going to have the fish and chips. Scorpius seemed to know what he wanted as well because he didn’t even open his menu, but held it in his long fingers gingerly. I glanced up at him and grinned and he smiled back at me. 

I felt one of his hands grip my knee reassuringly and I leaned my head against his shoulder for a moment.

“Am I doing all right?” he whispered quietly to me.

“Perfect,” I whispered back.

“Get a room,” Hugo said suddenly, throwing a bit of his wadded up napkin at me. I lifted my head off of Scorpius’s shoulder and shot him my best death glare while my mum examined the two of critically, obviously wondering what we had been doing.

“We weren’t snogging,” I snapped at both of them. “Merlin’s beard.”

My mum chuckled and Scorpius squeezed my knee again.  

“Does everyone know what they want?” my mum asked, effectively changing the subject.  

“I’m going to have the fish and chips,” my mum, Hugh, and I all said at the same time. I laughed heartily. It was nice to have a good family moment for a change.

“I’ll go order us some,” my mother said, beginning to stand.

“No, no, please,” Scorpius said, beating her to the punch. “I’ll go order us the food. You can stay here. Hugo will help me, won’t you Hugo?”

Hugh looked up at Scorpius like he had sprouted antlers. I kicked him in the shin and he jumped but nodded quickly and ducked under the table and out next to Scorpius before my mother could move.

“Oh, okay,” she said, somewhat flustered.  

“It’s not any trouble, really,” Scorpius said, putting on his sincere face. I glared up at him. I knew what he was doing, the sly little berk. He was just trying to make it so that my mum and I had time alone to talk about him. Evil, evil Slytherin!

“If you’re sure,” my mother said, still sounding uncertain.

“It’s not a problem. Have fun talking about me.”

I stared after my ‘boyfriend’ with my mouth wide open. Oh no he didn’t! I was about to run after him and yell at him, but then I remembered that my mother was still sitting across from me. I turned slowly to her and shot her my innocent grin.

“Lovely boy,” she said, taking a sip of her drink.

“Oh yes, just lovely,” I growled. He was so dead when he came back. So beyond dead.

“But really, Rose,” she said, putting down her drink and folding her hands in her ‘I’m serious and I’m not sure whether this is good or bad’ pose. “There’s something about him. The way he looks at you. It’s, well, disconcerting.”

“Disconcerting?” I asked, suddenly nervous. Maybe my mother was a better actress than I thought.

“Maybe that was the wrong choice of words,” she sighed.

“You don’t like him, do you?” I asked, choking a bit on the words. If my mother didn’t like him, then he stood no chance with my father. Christmas would be awful. I would have to tell him that there was no way he could go.

“No, honey, I do,” she said, gripping my hand that lay on the table. “He seems very nice. A bit like his father in some ways, but he seems very suave.”

“But then what’s wrong?” I asked.

“Well, he looks at you like he’s in love with you,” she said.

I smiled, feeling a bit better. “We get that a lot.” 

“Do you now?” she asked, arching one of her eyebrows suggestively.

“Mum, not like that,” I said, blushing bright red. “I’m a lucky girl is all. He’s a great guy.”

“You are a lucky girl indeed,” she said, squeezing my hand. “Dear Merlin, Rose, he’s quite good looking for his age.”

I blushed harder. “That he is indeed. But he understands me too. He’s probably one of my best friends.”

“I’m glad he’s good to you, honey,” she said. I grinned at her and squeezed her hand.

We just stayed quiet for a few moments, just enjoying each other’s company. I glanced over to where Scorpius and Hugo were leaning against the bar, talking animatedly as they waited for our lunch. Hugo said something and Scorpius laughed heartily and punched Hugo in the shoulder and Hugh nearly tipped back over off his stool.

In a perfect world, things would be like this forever. Unfortunately, I lived in the real world. Things would probably go back to normal tomorrow. Right now, I would just focus on making it last. 






 
A/N: Yay! Another quick update. Unfortunately, I don't know how quick the next chapter will be. I'm going to be super busy for the next two weeks, because I have finals coming up next week and I really need to study. If I do manage an update before then it will probably be this weekend. 

Anyway, what did you guys think? Please review and tell me what you thought! Next chapter is the beginning of Christmas! Yay! 

Thanks for reading guys! Again, please review!


Chapter 22: Meet the Parents
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My hands were shaking like leaves. I clenched them more tightly in my lap, but it did not help any and I sighed, resting my forehead against the cool window of our train compartment. I could hear Noel and Anthony playing Exploding Snap in the background and Ashley babbling on incessantly to Scorpius’s other friend, whose name I learned was Jack Nott. If I closed my eyes I could see them all so vividly. It was when I opened my eyes that everything became blurred. Maybe it was because I had been fighting off tears all day.

I felt Scorpius dig his fingers into the little flesh of my hips, his thumb tracing tiny circles on a small patch of bare skin that showed beneath my sweater. Normally I would have been shaking just from such sexual contact. Today I knew that was not the case.

Today was the day that I would take Scorpius home with me. Today was the day my father and Scorpius would first meet face to face. Today was probably the day I died.

I sniffed lightly at the thought and traced a tiny heart in the condensation on the glass. This train ride was the absolute longest of my life. I had been watching my watch for the entire hour, twenty-six minutes, and forty-two seconds we’d been on here and I felt like it had taken more like a week than an hour and a half.

“Hey,” Scorpius said, brushing my hair back off my neck and pulling me towards him and away from the window. I curled up against his side and brought my feet up onto the bench, curling my knees into my stomach. I gazed up at him expectantly.

“What?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, letting his forehead drop until it was resting lightly against mine. “Everything is going to be fine. I promise.”

“Don’t promise me that,” I said quietly, staring into his grey eyes, which were dark and worried. “Promise me that even if everything isn’t okay you’ll be there for me.”

“I promise,” he whispered. I felt incredibly small under his gaze in that moment. But not in a bad way. It was almost as if I knew that no matter what happened he would stick by me. 

I inhaled sharply when I felt his arm slip around the small of my back, pulling me almost on top of him. His face dropped a bit so that our noses were touching. I was nearly going cross-eyed trying to follow his line of sight. He looked down at me, his eyes smoldering with some unknown emotion. His lips pressed lightly against mine, and I found myself suddenly spurred by this small gesture. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled his head down, deepening it. In that moment nothing besides Scorpius and his soft lips existed. 

“Oi!” I heard someone shout, and then Scorpius was slowly pulling away, his hands remaining firmly around my waist with me still snuggled to his chest.

I glared over at Tony, who along with the rest of our friends was all staring at us.

“We don’t need to see that, you two,” he said.

“No one said you had to look,” I retorted, and I heard Scorpius snort in laughter and Ashley giggle.

“It’s kind of hard not to when you two practically take up a whole forth of the compartment.”

I sighed and wriggled out of Scorpius’s grasp and back into the corner where I had been sitting before we had started snogging. I felt suddenly much colder and all of the anxiety that had been threatening to crush me came back instantly. No one really seemed to notice and the noise level returned to normal. I heard Jack growl something about the ‘avada kedavra’ and then Ashley let out a nervous giggle and stopped talking.   

“Hey Rosie, you want to get in on this next game?” Noel asked me. I tore my eyes away from the blurred landscape and shook my head slightly to try to remember where I was and why someone would be asking me to play a game at a time like this.  

My eyes landed on my blonde friend, who was all smiles and holding up a new deck of cards. “Umm-“

“She’d love to,” Scorpius answered for me, dragging me away from the window and taking the deck from Noel, beginning to deal hands for the four of us. I could tell that Tony was staring at us oddly, and Noel had her thin pink lips pursed.

“Who wants to go first?”

Scorpius was really trying too hard. No stupid card game was going to make me forget about the fact that we were speeding towards our imminent doom. Nothing was going to make me forget my father’s words that had been ringing through my head for days now. Don’t bother coming home. 

Well, he would just be so pleased to see me and Scorpius there with our trunks when he came to pick up Hugo. Luckily we would be in a public place, surrounded by people who knew all about him, so he wouldn’t do anything there. At least, I didn’t think he would. 

My stomach clenched tightly and I fought the urge to retch again. To be honest, I wasn’t all that worried about my father physically harming either of us. He really wasn’t the type. I was most afraid of having Scorpius see what my life was really like. I was afraid of having anyone who wasn’t in my immediate family know that my home life was this bad. And after today, Scorpius would most definitely know.  

The retching feeling came back again. I threw my cards down on the little table that Tony had conjured and stepped on the seat around Noel to get to the door.

“Rose?” Tony asked his voice unsure.

“I need the loo,” I replied quickly. I could hear how hoarse my voice sounded and swiped at the tears that just wouldn’t go away. I pushed open the sliding glass door before anyone could see them and sprinted down the hallway towards where I knew the restrooms were. I felt myself collide with something hard and then I tumbled to the ground, losing my balance.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the person I presume I hit said, crouching down and offering me their hand. I can barely see through my tear-clouded vision but I extended my hand anyway and let myself be hoisted back up.

“Rose?” they cried. “What’s wrong?”

I swiped at my tears and blinked back the rest that were threatening to fall and look up into the concerned face of Ben. It had been so incredibly long since I’d talked to Ben. I guess I had assumed that he too hated me, along with the rest of the team. Apparently he still had some sort of affection for me.

“I’m so scared,” I croaked, throwing myself into my cousin’s arms. He stumbled a bit at the force I hit him with, but caught himself and me, and hugged me tightly to his chest. It was so odd to have him here again. I had almost forgotten about how nice it was to be comforted by him. He was so familiar.

“What are you afraid of?” he asked softly, stroking my hair back out of my eyes.

I sniffed and pulled back a bit from him so that I could see his reaction to what I was about to say next. If he really did not hate me, he would be okay with it. “I’m bringing Scorpius home for Christmas.”

He stared down at me in shock, his kind brown eyes wide with surprise. I chuckled, even though nothing was funny and made to pull back out of his arms. He hated me. He probably thought I was ruining our family’s Christmas. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I had now managed to make sure that all of my cousins hated me.

“Wait, don’t leave,” he said, pulling me back to his chest. “I’m sorry I seemed surprised. I just didn’t think that the two of you were that serious.”

“It’s serious, Ben,” I replied coldly. “We’re serious.”

“That’s good,” he said sincerely. “I’m happy you’ve found someone who makes you happy.”

 I felt a grin tug at the corners of my lips for the first time all day. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

I smiled up at my cousin and pried myself from his grip.

“I really should be getting back,” I said sadly. “I guess we’ll be approaching King’s Cross soon.”

“Last I heard we were about a half hour away,” he replied.  

“Oh, all right,” I said, my heart rate picking up again. A half an hour? Dear Merlin, I wished I could turn the train around and go back to Hogwarts. Damn Scorpius. Damn me for making this deal with him. Damn my mum for liking him. “I’ll see you around I guess.”

“You bet, Rosie,” he answered, kissing my cheek and waving as he turned around to rejoin his friends.

I turned back too. Going to the loos now would be pointless. I’d just have to wait for whatever couple was in there to finish up, and by that time I would have had too much time to think on my own. I wandered back down to our compartment, feeling a little bit better despite the fact that my nerves were completely shot.  

I gently slid open the door, not surprised when all of my friends eyed me with similarly worried expressions.

“Are you okay?” Ashley asked, voicing the question I knew everyone was thinking.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I sighed, stepping back up onto the seat and around Tony so that I was sitting next to Scorpius. “There was a long line at the loo.”

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Scorpius whispered to me as the others went back to their game of Exploding Snap.

“I’m fine,” I snapped. He looked taken aback, but just hugged me to him. I hated the fact that I had probably hurt his feelings, but if there was anyone that would understand, it would be him.

“So Tony’s just invited us all to his house for a New Years Eve party,” Scorpius informed me, picking up his hand of cards and rejoining the game while I grabbed my old hand again.

“That’s nice,” I said, smiling at the boy on the opposite side of me.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Tony grinned. “My parents are going to Jamaica for the holidays, so I’ll have this giant house to myself. I figured it would be a waste of my resources if I didn’t throw one. That and I want to spite my parents for going without me.”

I laughed at the pouting expression on Tony’s face and played another card.  The rest of the trip passed fairly quickly as we played our game and talked about the party, which would be held from seven in the evening until three in the morning the next day. I was just really starting to enjoy myself when I heard the wheels on the train start to scream as the train slowed down and we pulled into King’s Cross station. 

 

 


 


I tugged my trunk down off the train, trying to ignore Scorpius’s laughing from still on board the train. It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t that strong. Okay, it probably was, but that didn’t matter.

“Stop laughing,” I demanded, dropping the end of it and going round to push it from the back. My heart was beating so fast it was a miracle I didn’t drop dead from a heart attack. I could feel two sets of eyes on my back as I struggled, which probably wasn’t helping me any.

“I’m sorry,” Scorpius replied, putting down his own trunk and helping me to push mine out onto the concrete. Then he picked his up again and carried it down.

“Show off,” I muttered and he chuckled again.

I waved my wand and our trunks levitated in the air behind us.

“Are you ready to do this?” he asked, turning to me with an apprehensive look in his eyes. Finally he was realizing just how bad this situation could be.

“No.”

“Don’t worry,” he murmured, tugging at a strand of my hair and planting a light kiss on my lips. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“It’s not your behavior I’m worried about,” I muttered, rolling my eyes a bit.

“Give your dad a chance,” he said, letting his hand fall down so that it was resting against my hip. “He might just surprise you.”

“Fat chance,” I growled. “They’re staring at us.”

“Shall we, then?” he asked cheerfully, steering me around so that we were facing my parents. They were standing side by side next to each other, and I had never seen them looking more different than today. My mother was dressed in a long black dress, her normally bushy hair done up in a nice half-ponytail bun thing and she wore a long purple robe over it. She looked slender and young and very pretty actually. My father on the other hand was dressed in a pair of jeans and a maroon Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes sweatshirt. What surprised me the most though, was that he had gained a lot of weight, probably close to thirty-five pounds. His stomach, which had been growing outward during the past few years, was so large that he looked like he may have been pregnant and his face was round and unshaven. 

“Do we have any other choice?” I asked. He didn’t answer, but just twined his fingers through mine. I saw my father’s eyes narrow as he looked at our hands and then he looked up at my face and scowled. I gulped down the bile that was rising in my throat and Scorpius gave my hand a comforting squeeze. Then he started forward and I felt my feet start to move of their own accord. I could feel my hands shaking again and he just squeezed my hand harder. My heart was going into overdrive. 

I couldn’t believe how long the walk from the train to my parents seemed. The few seconds seemed like hours as I watched my father’s face – so angry and so devoid of emotion at the same time. Finally Scorpius came to a stop in front of them.

“Hi, Mum, Dad,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic, but failing miserably.

“Hi honey,” Mum said, enveloping me in her arms and planting a kiss on my forehead. She smelled just as good as she looked. She was probably wearing new perfume. “It’s so nice to see you again. And Scorpius! It’s great to see you again as well.”

I watched as she smiled at Scorpius and gave him a friendly hug. Scorpius smiled down at her and returned the gesture. 

“Again?” my father asked angrily, turning his glare on my mother. “What do you mean again?”

“I met Scorpius last week when I met the kids for lunch,” my mother informed him, returning his glare.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t think it was any of your business,” my mother replied coldly. The tone of her voice startled me. I had never heard her talk that way to anyone except for the one time I accompanied her to court and she was interrogating a witness. “Aren’t you going to say hello to your daughter?”

“Hello,” my father grumbled, turning back to me.

“Hi Dad,” I said weakly. “Uh, there’s someone I would like you to meet.”

He didn’t say anything but just stared down at me the expression on his face saying something like ‘Why are you talking?’

“Uh, this is my boyfriend, Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius, this is my father.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Weasley,” Scorpius drawled politely, extending his hand to shake my father’s.

My father just stared down at Scorpius’s hand.

“Where is Hugo?” my father asked, completely ignoring Scorpius and turning to my mother.

“He’ll be here,” my mother said angrily. I saw her staring apologetically at me, but I just shook my head sadly. That was probably the best I could have asked for. At least he hadn’t shouted at us to go away.  I turned to Scorpius, who was looking down at me, somewhat confused, a bit angry, and the rest was that unreadable emotion again.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered to him. He shook his head of shaggy head as if to say it was nothing and tightened his grip on my hand. 

“Hey, Mum! Dad!” I heard Hugo cry and I turned to see my little brother fighting his way through the crowds of people to get to us.

“Hugo!” my father said happily, pulling my brother to him and clapping him on the shoulder. “How are you doing, son?”

“Fine, just fine,” my brother said, smiling at both of my parents. My mum reached out and ruffled his hair affectionately. “Did you guys have a good trip?”He asked Scorpius and me.

“Yes, it was just fine,” I replied, trying not to scowl at the way he was obviously the favored of the two of us, in my father’s eyes at least.  “You?”

“It was great! Scorp, you should have seen it. Jack Nott’s brother, Alex, ate three real cockroaches he found under the seat!”

“Ah, funny kid, Alex,” Scorpius laughed. I watched as my father observed the budding friendship that was blooming between my boyfriend and brother. I could tell that he did not like it one bit.

“Well, we should probably go,” my mother said. “I have to get back to work, and I would like to help you lot get set up at home.”

“Sounds good,” I answered. “I’m starving.”

We walked through the crowds of people, generally attracting a lot of attention on the way out. People kept stopping us to congratulate my mum and I could hear people whispering about the fact that “Ron Weasley’s daughter was bringing home Draco Malfoy’s son”. Ooh, scandal! We finally made it to the car and I was grateful to see that that at least had not changed.

“Get in,” my father barked to me and I glared up at him, but did as I was told, not wanting to start a fight.

I let go of Scorpius’s hand and slid into the backseat. I waved at him to follow me, but my father held out his arm, stopping Scorpius.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, glaring at my father, who was glaring at Scorpius.

“Hugo, you sit in the middle,” he demanded. My brother glanced at my father curiously, but being the goody-little-two-shoes he was, he did as he was told.

“Now you go,” he said, dropping his arm and shoving Scorpius roughly forward. I saw Scorpius stumble forward a bit, but he caught himself against the door. I watched him slide in, bumping his head on the door frame because he was so tall. My father snorted in disdain and slammed the door when he was barely all the way in.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered hoarsely, absolutely horrified and disgusted by my father’s behavior. I had expected him to be cold and whatnot, but Nana Weasley had taught him better manners than that.

“Don’t worry about it,” Scorpius replied, rubbing his head tenderly and reaching across Hugo to give my fingers a reassuring squeeze. “It’ll take more than a bit of rudeness to make me go away.”

“That’s good,” Hugo muttered under his breath.

I elbowed my brother hard in the side and he yelped and jumped away from me, knocking Scorpius’s head again against the doorframe.

“Ouch!” Scorpius hissed between his teeth. “Cut it out, you two.”

“Sorry,” my brother and I said in unison.

“All right,” my mother said from the front of the car where she sat next to my father. “Let’s get going then.”

My father turned the car on and it rumbled to life. He pulled quickly out of our parking spot and sped down the aisle of parked cars, coming to a violent stop at the end.

“Ronald,” my mother warned, glaring over at him and placing a hand over his. He shook her head off and took off more gently this time.

Soon we were out on the open road, heading back towards our house. The silence in the car was oppressive and extremely awkward. I saw my mother and Hugo open their mouths several times in an attempt at conversation, but they instantly closed it again. I spent the entire trip shaking and stealing glances at Scorpius, who would shoot me a little grin every now and then. I really didn’t understand why he was grinning so much. There really was nothing to smile about.

It took a lifetime for us to drive the forty miles to our house. Well, it really only took about an hour, but it was the longest hour of my life. I felt myself start a little when we pulled down the familiar wooded street that we called home. A moment later our big, white country house loomed into view and I started feeling a bit better. I was home. Despite the fact that I generally hated it there, I was looking forward to the time I would be spending on my own territory.

I watched Scorpius’s eyes widen as my father pulled into the driveway and then grow even wider when he activated the automatic garage switch and pulled into the garage.

The second he was parked all four doors of the car flew open and my mother, father, Scorpius and I clambered out. Hugo slid out behind me and I walked around the back of the car to the trunk. Scorpius came round as well and helped me lift my trunk out, and then got out his own. By the time we had dragged them to the door my father was already inside, had his shoes off, and was turning on the television.

“Wow,” Scorpius breathed as we walked from the small mud room and into the kitchen. I smiled at him and took his hand. I could understand why he seemed so surprised. Mum had demanded that we add some muggle items to the place, so among all of the old wooden cabinets we had a refrigerator, a microwave, and an electric tea kettle and toaster.

“My mum wants us to have a blended lifestyle,” I told him, pulling him through the kitchen and into the hallway that led to the staircase or the living room and dining room.

“I don’t even know the names of some of those things,” he said incredulously.

I chuckled. It was nice to be the one with the upper hand for once.

“Hey, move it or lose it,” Hugo growled, pushing past us and running up the stairs to his room. I aimed a kick at him but he was too fast and Scorpius chuckled this time.

“Well, go on you two,” my mother tutted from behind us. “Rose, why don’t you show Scorpius to his room?”

“Where is he staying?” I asked, turning round to see that my mother hadn’t even bothered to take off her heels or her robe. I guess she wasn’t going to stay then.

“In the basement,” my father growled, pushing past us all into the kitchen. He grabbed a can of beer from the refrigerator and popped it open, taking a large gulp and spilling some of it down his shirt. Wasn’t it a bit early for him to be drinking?

“Ronald,” my mother growled, her eyes narrowing at him. “You did make up the office for Scorpius, didn’t you?”

He just stared at her and took another gulp of his drink. Everything was silent, except for the drone of the telly in the background. My mother then turned on her heel and strode off down the hallway towards the stairs, her heels clacking like tiny daggers against the hard wooden floors.

“C’mon,” I said to Scorpius, not wanting to stay in the kitchen with my dad, alone.

“Wait a moment,” my father called. I stopped on the spot, my shoulder stiffening in apprehension.

“Yes?” I asked, staring down at the tiled floor of the kitchen.

“I just want to get a few things straight,” my father growled. I heard the sound of his can being placed on the wooden table that lay in the middle of the floor and then the thud of his steps as he approached us. I turned slowly around, dreading what I knew would come next.

“I didn’t expect the two of you to be here,” he said angrily. “You’re lucky your mother is on your side. Otherwise I imagine you would have spent the holidays back at school. But since you’re here, I guess I’m going to have to make some rules. The first – I don’t want the two of you to come within a foot of each other the entire time you’re here, got it? Second – I want you both in bed by ten o’clock. No excuses. Third – this is my house, make no mistake. What I say goes. Got it?”

I nodded solemnly and I saw Scorpius do the same out of the corner of my eye. I instantly let his hand go, and I suddenly felt very odd without it. It was like if I didn’t grab his hand and hold onto it he would be gone forever.

“Good,” my father growled, chuckling at what I presumed was the look of fear on my face. “Then go, get out of here.”

I didn’t waste any time in turning on my heel and marching down the hallway to the white carpeted staircase. I heard Scorpius following me. I waited for him and watched as he stopped in front of me. His long hair was hanging over one of his eyes and his shoulders were thrown back in proud defiance. Even still, I was kind of disappointed to see that there was no playful smile on his lips. Not that I thought there was something to smile about. It would have been comforting is all.

I saw my father lumber across the hall and into the living room. The sound of the television went up and I knew we were safe.

I threw myself into his arms and buried my face in his shoulder. His hands went to the small of my back and we stayed that way for a moment, neither of us saying anything. Then Scorpius kissed my temple and I eased myself away from him.

“I don’t know how you don’t punch him in the face,” Scorpius said seriously.

“Fear,” I replied easily, as if we were discussing the weather. “You get used to it after a while.”

He didn’t say anything but just kissed me lightly on the lips. “Let’s get out of here before he comes back and discovers we’ve already broken two of his rules.”

I giggled and took his hand, leading him up the stairs.

“This is Hugo’s room,” I said, pointing to the first door on the right. “The loo’s the door right next to that. My room this one on the left and my parents is the door at the very end. Your room is right here.”

I stopped at a white door that was about five feet from mine. It was open and from within I could see my mum quickly shoving papers into her desk and throwing empty coffee cups into the rubbish bin.

“Hi Mum,” I said, ushering Scorpius into the room.

“Hi Rosie,” she sighed, straightening up. “I’m sorry about the mess, Scorpius. I told Ron to clean this up a week ago. I guess he just doesn’t listen.”

“Its fine, Mrs. Weasley, really,” Scorpius replied, smiling at her.  

“Oh, please, call me Hermione,” my mother said easily, smoothing out her dress. “Mrs. Weasley makes me feel old.”

“Thank you, Hermione,” Scorpius corrected. I smiled at the both of them.

“Well, I really should be getting off to work again. Merlin knows that someone’s going to have a crisis,” she said tiredly, wiping a hand over her made up face. “Rose, Scorpius will be sleeping on the pull out couch in here. There are fresh sheets in the linen closet. You wouldn’t mind making it up for him, would you?”

“Sure, not a problem,” I answered.

“Thank you, honey. I would do it myself, but ever since I became minister things are crazy. I love you. Have a good day. Don’t let your father or brother get to you.”

She gave me a swift peck on the cheek and patted Scorpius’s arm as she bustled out of the room. “I’ll be back late tonight. Maybe you could make chicken for dinner? There’s one in the refrigerator.”

“Sounds good, Mum,” I told her, ushering her towards the door. She really tried to do too much. “I’ll make dinner. I love you. See you tonight.”

I watched as she walked back down the hallway and then I heard her heels on the floor below. I sighed and shut the door to the office behind me. I sighed and turned to Scorpius, who was grinning down at me bemusedly.

“What?” I asked.

“You and your mum are a lot alike,” he replied, pulling me towards the couch. He sat down and pulled me into his lap. I snuggled up next to him and let my head rest against his shoulder.

“This isn’t so bad,” he said, letting his thumb trace tiny circles on a bit of my exposed collarbone. “Your dad is pretty messed up, and your mum is slightly neurotic, but I guess it could have gone a lot worse.”

“Welcome home, honey,” I said sarcastically, and he chuckled.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into.  





 
A/N: Whew! The first chapter of Christmas. And yay, I'm super excited that I found the time to update. I stayed up practically all night last night trying to finish this, and just finished the last scene about an hour ago. I really hope you guys like this one. 

As I said last time, I have finals all next week, so the next update probably won't be until next weekend at the earliest. But hey, that's only about a week, which is still pretty fast. 

Anyway, I really really hope you all liked this chapter! Please review and tell me what you thought! Thanks for reading! :)


Chapter 23: Birthday Surprises
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I woke up the next morning and looked around my room. Everything seemed normal – there were piles of clothes all over the floor, my closet door was threatening to burst open from all of the junk I had shoved in there, and my desk was cluttered with rubbish and old water bottles and soda cans. Why was it then that I felt as if there was something special about this day?

I yawned and stretched, listening to the sound of all the joints in my body crack uncomfortably. I winced when my back cracked, but sighed and stood up. I still could not shake the feeling that there was something I was forgetting as I stumbled out of my room and down the stairs.

The house was completely quiet. My mum and dad must have left for work already. It was only two days before Christmas. Things were bound to be hectic at the joke shop as parents tried to get last minute gifts for their kids. And mum was always busy these days. 

I rounded the corner into the kitchen still half asleep. It took me a moment to realize that there was something significantly different about our kitchen. It smelled like pancakes and bacon and scrambled eggs. No one ever cooked breakfast in our house unless it was a special occasion – like anniversaries or birthdays.

Birthdays! That was it! Today was my seventeenth birthday!

My eyes flew open as I examined the spread on the table. There was a giant plate in the middle, stacked high with my mother’s famous pancakes, a plate of sizzling bacon, and a giant platter of scrambled eggs. I was in Weasley breakfast heaven.  

As my eyes traveled down the table, I saw that not only was there food on the table, but a large pile of presents in front of my chair. Dear Merlin, it would be amazing if I could turn seventeen every day.

I shuffled over to the table and picked up the piece of parchment that lay over my plate. 

Dear Rosie,

I’m sorry your father and I could not be here to eat with you and watch you open your gifts, but you know how things are at this time of year for us at work. To make up for the fact that we will not be here, I’ve made you your favorite breakfast, and we decided to give you your gifts early. If you want, maybe we could go out to a restaurant tonight – your choice.

Anyway, happy birthday my darling. It’s so hard to believe that you’re seventeen now. You’re a woman Rose. You’ve grown up so fast.

I love you, honey. See you tonight.

Love,

Mum

I smiled as I read over my mother’s letter again. It was my birthday, my parents were gone, my boyfriend was here, and I had a huge stack of gifts in front of me. Things were pretty good right now.

I pulled out my seat and sat down, examining the pile of gifts in front of me. There were so many – I had no idea where to even begin. I closed my eyes and reached out, grabbing the first present my hand touched and pulling it towards me. I opened my eyes and saw that I had pulled out a large square box, wrapped in bright orange paper and tied with a purple bow. I didn’t even have to look at the tag to know that it was from Uncle George and his family.

I undid the bow carefully and pulled my fingers under the tape gingerly, not wanting to rip the paper. I don’t know why, but I was always one of those people that hated just tearing into their gifts. I liked to savor each gift, and open it slowly.

It was a giant basket of Weasley’s Wizard Wheeze’s products. I should have known. I’d gotten something like that from them for every one of my birthdays. Seriously, when I turned one, I got a color changing dummy.

I set aside that gift on the cold, tiled floor and closed my eyes, reaching in for another gift. I felt my hand close around something smaller this time. I opened them to see a tiny box, wrapped in red sparkly paper. I glanced down at the tag. It was from my mum.

I undid the wrapping again, and my breath caught in my throat when I saw the small, black velvet jewelry box. With shaking hands I opened the lid. There, lying on a small piece of red velvet was a tiny pink rose pendent on a golden chain. It was gorgeous. I gently lifted the necklace from the inside of the box and held it up to my neck. It seemed so delicate. I couldn’t imagine myself wearing something like this without somehow breaking it. I felt my fingers fumble for a moment on the clasp, and then I finally got it open and secured to the tiny ring on the other side.

I glanced down at where it lay against the bare skin of my neck. It looked almost natural next to my pale skin. I grinned happily and put the tiny, empty box next to my other gift.

I spent the next half an hour opening all my other gifts. I had gotten a new Cannons sweat-shirt from my father, a planner from Uncle Percy and Auntie Audrey, a new witch’s hat from Nana and Papa Weasley, a broom cleaning kit from Uncle Harry and Auntie Ginny, a gift box of sweets from Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, and a new pair of trainers from Hugo. 

I was just about to go put all of my gifts up in my room when I noticed a small, brown envelope sitting on the table where all the rest of my gifts had been. I grabbed the envelope off the table and stared down at the scrawled handwriting on the front. It didn’t say who it was from, just my name. My curiosity piqued, I ripped open the envelope and pulled out the card inside. On the front was just a simple picture of a girl blowing out birthday candles. I pulled open the card, and there inside was scribbled:

Rose,

Happy Birthday, love. I know you said I shouldn’t get you a gift, but I’ve learned over time that whatever a girl says about gifts on her birthday, do the opposite. So here you go.

-Scorpius

I grinned as I finished reading the note. It was just like him to go against everything I’d ever told him. I glanced over at the other side of the card. There, taped to the card were two pieces of orange paper. I cocked my head to the side to read the writing on them better.

Chudley Cannons Season Tickets!

Scorpius had gotten me season tickets to the Cannons! Dear Merlin! He really did know me well. I dropped the envelope to the floor and stood up. I ran out of the kitchen and sprinted up the stairs, not worrying about how much noise I was making. When I got to Scorpius’s room I flung open the door. He sat bolt upright in bed, obviously having been jolted awake by the sound of the crashing door.

“Merlin, Rose,” he mumbled before I tackled him.

“Thank you!” I cried, kissing his forehead from where I sat, perched atop his stomach.

“For what?” he asked, blinking and shaking his head confusedly.

“For these!” I held up the card, which I had brought with me, and showed him the tickets.

“Oh,” he said, smirking. “You’re very welcome. If I knew I was going to get thanked like this I probably would have bought them for you a long time ago.”

I flushed bright red, only now realizing how this would have looked to anyone that happened to pass by his room. I was pretty much straddling his hips and he was laying flat on his back in his bed. I made to get off of him, but he snaked his arms out from under the comforter and around my waist.

“You don’t have to move,” he said, his grey eyes dancing mischievously.

“Okay,” I sighed, bending my head down and kissing his cheek again. I felt his hands tighten around my waist, and then he turned his head and let his nose brush over mine. I looked down at him and let my forehead rest against his.  

We stayed like that for a moment. I could feel the rise and fall of his chest against my abdomen and the way his hand rested comfortably and warmly on my hips. He looked up at me and I grinned down at him. Then, taking a leap of faith and hoping he wouldn’t mind, I leaned down at let my lips brush against his gently. He responded quickly, pulling me down so that I was practically lying on top of him and pressing his lips harder against mine. 

I felt myself drop my card as one of my hands found its way into Scorpius’s hair and the other rested against his chest. One of his hands stayed on my hip, and the other ran up my back, coming to rest on the back of my neck. 

I closed my eyes and just let my body react. Everywhere that he touched seemed to be a flame in that moment. My stomach was quivering and my heart was pounding erratically, and I was glad that I had not eaten any of my breakfast yet. I felt his tongue trace my bottom lip, and I opened my mouth a bit.

“Oi!”

I pulled away from Scorpius quickly – too quickly apparently – because I toppled off of him and the bed and onto the floor. I heard him chuckle and I lay on the floor cursing. I could see Hugo’s feet at the door and I followed his feet up until I could see his face. He was standing in the doorway, looking aghast and smug at the same time.

“Hugo,” I growled, sitting up. “What do you want?”

“Well, I was going to come and wish you a happy birthday,” he said, looking down at the ground. “But you seem busy already.”

It was my turn to flush bright red. “Right, well, thank you,” I mumbled, trying not to look at either Scorpius or Hugo. It was embarrassing enough that I was this smitten with Scorpius. But to have my little brother find us practically snogging in his bed – that was just mortifying.

“You’re welcome,” he replied quietly. I stood up from the ground and walked over to my mother’s desk, settling myself in the comfy black leather chair.

“Well, now that that’s over,” Scorpius said, letting his fragmented sentence hang in the air. Neither Hugo nor I tried to pick it up either. I made a point of staring out the window at the drifting snow and I could hear Hugo drumming his fingers against the door frame anxiously. The silence hung heavily in the air for several minutes. 

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and stood up from the chair abruptly. I saw Scorpius smirk over at me and I shot him a glare. I saw him try to repress a chuckle and then I strode towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Hugo asked, stepping to the side so that he stood in the middle of the doorway.

“I’m going to go eat breakfast and then take a shower,” I told him coldly. He seemed satisfied with my answer and stepped out of the way and I felt my hands twitch towards his neck angrily. Stupid, meddling younger brothers. 

“Okay,” he said. I stormed past him and into the bathroom. As I was leaving, I distinctly heard him say “Scorpius, can we talk for a minute?”

I chuckled to myself and pulled down a towel from the linen closet. At least it wasn’t me who was going to have to get the talk from Hugo. Or give it to him. I shivered at the idea and turned on the water. Poor Scorpius.

 

 


 

The rest of the day passed fairly quickly. By the time I had gotten out of the shower Hugo and Scorpius had gone their separate ways, and I found Scorpius down in the kitchen, trying to figure out how to use the microwave.

“What are you doing?” I asked as I wandered into the room, toweling off my hair. He glanced over at me, and for probably the first time in my life I saw him blush bright red.

“I uh, was just trying to – well Hugo said to warm up food you just put it in this thing – but I don’t know… help,” he said exasperatedly, holding out a plate of cold breakfast food.

I bit on my bottom lip to refrain from laughing and threw my towel over my shoulder, shuffling over to him.

“Okay,” I said stopping beside him. “Do you know how to open the microwave?”

“Uh,” he said, letting his hand run over the different buttons before he found the giant one at the bottom. He looked over at me for confirmation and I nodded, trying not to laugh. He pressed it and the door shot open, almost hitting him in the face. 

“Damnit! The micro-thingy is trying to kill me!” he cried.

“Don’t stand so close,” I chuckled, squeezing his wrist supportively.

“I hate this Muggle rubbish,” he growled. “Hey, you’re seventeen now! You could just warm it up for me!”

I was seventeen now! I could do magic outside of school and not get in trouble for it! Oh, Hugo was so going to get it once I got my wand from my room.

“I don’t have my wand on me,” I said sadly. “Besides, it’ll do you some good to learn about Muggle appliances.”

“Fine,” he grumbled. “So what do I do now?”

“Okay, put the plate of food on the giant glass plate,” I commanded. He looked at me as if I was mentally insane, but did as he was told. “Good, now shut the door.”

I watched as he shut the door carefully, as if he was afraid the microwave would bite him or something. 

“Good!”

“I’m not a puppy, you know,” he pointed out sourly. “There’s no need to coddle me.”

“I’m not coddling you, I’m helping you,” I replied. “And maybe I wouldn’t coddle you if you didn’t act like the microwave was a dragon, waiting to bit off your arm or something.”

“I am not,” he insisted, glaring down at me. I glared right back up at him, my glare faltering into a grin when I saw that looked genuinely frustrated.

“I’m sorry,” I said quietly giving him a quick hug. “I shouldn’t poke fun at you when you’re trying to learn something new.”

“Damn straight,” he replied and I punched him lightly in the shoulder. “So now, oh wise one, how do I work this contraption?”

“Right, well first you have to enter the time that you want it to heat for.”

“How long do I want it to heat for?”

“How hot do you want it?”

“I don’t know! Just bloody warm!”

“Okay then, well set it to forty-five seconds then.”

“How do I set it to forty five seconds?”

“Press the four button, and then the five button.”

I watched as he did as he was told. He looked at the microwave expectantly, as if was just going to start like that.

“Why isn’t it working?” he demanded, glaring at the white appliance.

“You need to press the start button, Scorpius,” I sighed. I saw him flush a light pink again, and then he pressed the start button. The soft whirring sound the microwave made as it started startled him and he took a giant step back from it, his eyes wide with horror.

“I think I’ve broken it,” he said, aghast.

I could not help but roar with laughter at his last comment. I slumped against the counter, holding my sides, which were in stitches, while he glared at me.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I gasped, wiping at a tear that streamed down my cheek.

“Whatever,” Scorpius growled. Just then the buzzer on the microwave went off, signaling that his food was done. I saw his shoulders stiffen for a moment, and then he regained his composure. He opened the door without almost hitting himself and removed his plate before slamming the door shut and striding over to the table. 

“Scorp,” I said, feeling bad now. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings. But this was finally one of those times where I wasn’t the one acting completely mental or awkward. “I’m sorry.”

He looked up when he sensed the sincerity in my voice and motioned for me to come over by him. I pushed away from the counter and walked over to him. Instead of pulling out the chair next to him for me to sit in he pulled back from the table and I sat on his lap comfortably.

“It’s okay,” he replied. “I guess it was rather ridiculous.”

I grinned up at him and pushed a strand of blonde hair out of his eyes. “You think?”

He smiled down at me and then pulled us back into the table. He took a big spoonful of eggs and shoved them all into his mouth. I felt my stomach rumble at the sight, considering I still hadn’t eaten anything. 

“What did I just get finished telling you?” Hugo yelled, storming into the kitchen.

I started in fright, turning to see my brother glaring not at me, but at Scorpius. 

“What is he talking about?” I asked Scorpius, thoroughly perturbed.

“Well, while you were in the shower, Hugo and I had a little talk,” Scorpius told me, completely ignoring my brother, who was seething next to us. “He wanted to make sure that I – what was the phrase – protected your virtue.”

I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to hug Hugo, laugh, or strangle someone. Protect my virtue? Did Hugo, my dorky, inexperienced little brother, give Scorpius Malfoy the sex talk? I think he did. 

“That’s nice of you, Hugh,” I replied, not wanting to mortify my little brother, who was looking the color of a plum now, any more. “Thanks for looking out for me. But I can handle myself. Really.”

“You don’t have any experience with boys!” he yelled, looking over at me. I flushed the color of a tomato and squirmed out of Scorpius’s grasp. That was it – my brother was going to die.

“Like you have any experience either!”

“More than you!”

“Yeah? With who?”

“That’s none of your business!”

“See? You’re lying! I knew it!” 

“Settle down!” Scorpius cried, striding forward and planting himself firmly between my brother and I. I glared up at him and he grinned bemusedly down at me. That’s it – two people would be killed today. Damn and I had just turned seventeen. I was legally able to be tried as an adult. Maybe I could plead that I was not mentally seventeen – that I was mentally more like ten, or eleven, or two even. They might believe that if they saw my day to day life.

“Rose, don’t hurt Hugo,” Scorpius said. I snorted at that. The Avada Kedavra wasn’t supposed to hurt. “And Hugo, stop snitching on Rose. You’re a nice kid, but you’re getting annoying. Lay off.”

I looking around Scorpius and smirked at Hugo, who was blushing and looking down at the ground sadly. 

“Can we act like civilized human beings now?” Scorpius asked. I nodded solemnly and I saw Hugo do the same. “Good. Because I am starving, and that food looks really good.”

With that he abandoned his place between us and went back to the table and to his food. I followed suit and made myself a plate, before heating it up in the microwave. Hugo disappeared upstairs to his room. When my food was ready I sat back down at the table.

“So,” Scorpius said when I had barely taken a few bites of my food.

“So,” I replied, rolling my eyes.

“This afternoon, will you teach me how to use the rest of the Muggle appliances?” he asked, arching one eyebrow.

I chuckled and threw a piece of egg at him, which promptly hit him in the forehead.

“Of course.”

 

 


 


By the time my parents came home from work I had taught Scorpius how to work the television, how to use the water button on the refrigerator, how to make toast in the toaster, and how to make tea in the electric kettle. Surprisingly enough he was a fast learner. Apparently the microwave incident had taught him not to be afraid of the appliances, although he did swear a bit when the water accidentally squirted him in the crotch.

“Rose!” I heard my mother’s voice call around five o’clock. I sat up from the couch, where I was reading one of my mum’s old Muggle novels while Scorpius enjoyed his first television program.

“In here!” I called. I heard her heels clatter against the hard wood floor of the hall, and then she peeked her head into the living room, which was virtually pitch black, save the one reading lamp on above my head. 

“Hey you two,” she smiled, coming fully into the room. I saw that she looked tired and worn, her hair slowly falling from the sleek knot she wore it in everyday.

“Hey Mum,” I replied as Scorpius replied “hello, Hermione.”

“Are you two hungry?” she asked, smiling as she saw Scorpius look back at the television. I guess she understood his fascination with it.

“Yeah, I’m starving,” I nodded, marking the page in my book and setting it down. 

“Why don’t we go out tonight for dinner, huh?” my mother asked. “You got my note this morning right? Rose, you pick any restaurant you want. It’s your treat for your birthday.”

“Okay,” I replied, standing up. “Why don’t we just go to Hillside then? I haven’t eaten there in forever.”

My mother smiled and nodded her approval at my choice of restaurant. Hillside was just our local family restaurant, located about three miles away. We used to eat there ever Saturday morning during the summers. Well, before Mum got all her promotions and Dad started being so…different. 

“That sounds good, honey,” my mother said, coming over to me and giving me a hug and a kiss on my cheek. “Your father should be home any minute. I’m going to go change out of my work clothes, and then we can go.”

“Sounds good,” I answered, letting go of my mother. There was something about the way she felt so frail suddenly that had me nervous. Maybe it was just her job. It was bound to be stressful. She probably didn’t have much time for lunch anymore. Everything was just fine. Yeah…

“Will you go tell your brother that we’re going to go out?” she asked as she flitted out of the room. “And maybe put on a new shirt. It wouldn’t do to wear a Quidditch shirt to a Muggle restaurant.”

“Right,” I replied quietly, looking down at the new Cannon’s sweatshirt I was wearing, courtesy of my father. “Sure thing, Mum.”

She smiled in thanks and I heard her clack down the hallway towards her room to get changed. I sighed, wiping my hand over my face tiredly and turning to Scorpius, who had missed the better part of the exchange. He had discovered football this morning, and was now becoming addicted to it. He insisted that when the snow melted he be taught how to play. Until then, he was content at staring at the professional blokes on television.

“Okay, time to turn this off,” I said loudly. He did not even seem to notice. I grabbed the remote off the arm of the couch and pressed the green power button. The television promptly turned off and Scorpius turned around, glaring at me.

“Why’d you turn it off?” he cried.

“We’re going out to dinner,” I replied coolly. “You have to go get ready.”

“Right,” he replied, standing up from off the floor. “I’m sorry, love.”

“It’s okay,” I answered, squeezing his hand for a moment. “I know how addicting the telly can be.” 

It was then that I heard the garage door open and then slam shut. My father’s footsteps echoed throughout the kitchen and then he was standing across from us at the entrance to the kitchen.

“Hey Dad,” I said quietly.

He nodded once in my direction, his eyes lingering on my sweatshirt for a moment, and then falling on Scorpius, who stood behind me protectively.

“We’re going out to dinner tonight,” I said, trying to say anything to ease the tension. “At Hillside. Mum’s upstairs getting changed.”

He grunted something that sounded like ‘okay’ and then walked down the hallway and up the stairs to his room. I spared a glance back at Scorpius and took after my father. The sooner we got this over with, the better.

“Hugo!” I shouted, pounding on my brother’s door. “Get up and get ready! We’re going out to dinner.”

I heard him grumble from within and moved on to my own room. I felt Scorpius’s hand brush against my hip for a moment as he walked past me to his room to change and I took a deep, steadying breath. I could do this.

I pulled my sweatshirt off and discarded it on a pile of my other clothes. Instead of daring a battle with my closet I opened my trunk and pulled out my long sleeved green shirt that I had worn a long time ago on my date with Ian and a pair of jeans.

I quickly threw them on and glanced in the mirror that hung on the back of my closet door. My hair was an absolute disaster. Well, that’s what I get for getting my mother’s genes and for not drying it properly. I was tempted to straighten it with my wand, but I had accidentally set my hair on fire doing that once, and I really did not want to have to go through the humiliation again. I grabbed a rubber band off my desk and brushed my hair back until it was in a suitable ponytail and then tied it. There. This would have to do.

I hurried out of my room and into the hall. Scorpius was leaning on the wall across from my room, dressed in a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, and a green zip up hoodie.

“You look nice,” he commented, his eyes running up and down my body.

“Thanks,” I replied softly, blushing furiously. If my father came out and saw him looking at me like that – well, Scorpius would not be going out to dinner with us, to say the least. “You look rather dashing as well.”

He smirked down at me and I looked back up at him, trying to breathe deeply to get my heart rate to return to normal. It wasn’t working.

“Okay,” my mother called out, stepping out of her room while still putting on one of her earrings. “Let’s go!”

I stared at my mother in awe. She wore a caramel colored turtleneck with a string of pearls over a pair of dark jeans and a pair of brown suede boots. She was still classy, as always, but this was the most let down that I had seen her in a while. She was wearing jeans for Merlin’s sake.

“Mum!” I cried my eyes wide in shock. “You look hot!”

She blushed and looked down at the floor. “You think? It’s nothing really, just casual.”

“I’m sure,” I said, grinning at her. She smiled back at me and smoothed her hands over her shirt.

“Ronald, let’s go!” she called.

My father stepped out from the bathroom, dressed in a tight white button up shirt and a red tie over a pair of jeans. I saw him look over my mother sadly and then he shut the light off and started down the hallway without another word.

“Hugo!”

Hugo’s door flew open, and Hugo was standing there, dressed very much like the rest of us, in jeans and a sweater over a collared shirt.

“Let’s go, son, hurry now,” my mother said, shooing him out of his room and down the stairs. She followed him down, with Scorpius and me bringing up the rear. By the time we had all gotten our coats and shoes on and were out of the house, my father had already backed the car into the driveway and was waiting for us behind the wheel.

We all slid into the car in the same order as yesterday and my father pulled off without another word. Again, the ride was silent. I felt like I was seriously going to be sick. Nothing good could really come of us going out to dinner together. Then again, nothing good could have come of having dinner at home together either. Maybe Dad would be less inclined to yell since we were in public.

All too soon we were pulling into the parking lot at the restaurant. 

“Oh Mr. Weasley! Mrs. Weasley!” Zelda, the overzealous waitress that had been working there for as long as I could remember cried as we walked through the door. She stood before us, her wild, died red hair teased into a giant halo around her head and her giant eyes accentuated with bright green eye shadow. “It has been so long! This must be little Hugo! And Rose, my you’ve grown so big. And who is this handsome young gentleman, aye?”

She winked at me and let her eyes run over Scorpius, and then back to me and then to my mother.

“This is Rose’s friend, Scorpius Malfoy,” my mother replied, grinning at me in a teasing way.

“A friend, aye?” Zelda asked, glancing at me, one of her eyebrows rising suggestively. “Well, a very handsome friend indeed. It’s nice to meet you Mr. Malfoy. Come, come, and sit. Stay a while.”

I flushed bright red and shuffled over to the table appointed to us, a large round table in the middle of the restaurant. There weren’t many people out on this cold, wintry night, but it was still warm and cozy and I was beginning to feel a little bit more relaxed in this familiar environment. 

Zelda handed out the menus and took our drink orders and then we were left in relative peace.

“Look Rose,” my mum said after a minute. “They have egg lemon soup. That’s your favorite.”

“Yeah,” I replied, my eyes scanning over the menu hungrily. “That sounds delicious.”

“I’m going to have the turkey,” Hugo announced to no one in particular, setting his menu down in front of him.

“I think I’ll have the Greek Salad,” my mother added, closing her menu and setting it down like my mother.

“I’m having the roast beef,” my father grumbled, setting his menu down too and grabbing a roll from the basket in front of us.

“What are you having, Scorpius?” I asked. Scorpius looked up from where he sat next to me.

“I think I’m going to have the shepherd’s pie,” he said after a moment. “You?”

“Roast beef,” I answered, looking anywhere but at my father. It was almost an unwritten law in this family that my father and I always got roast beef when we came here.  

“That sounds good,” Scorpius said, giving my knee a light squeeze beneath the table.

“It is,” my father growled. I saw my mother shoot him a glare, and he returned it with just as much, if not more malice.  

“Zelda!” my mother called after a moment, sounding flustered. “We’d like to order now.”

Forty-five minutes later we were on our way back to the house. I was sufficiently stuffed, as I could tell everyone else was. Hugo was already half asleep, his chin tucked down to his chest. Scorpius had his head leaning on the window and I was resting my head back on my seat. To say that that had been one of the most uncomfortable dinners of my life would have been an understatement. My mother and father did not say a word to each other the rest of the night, and Hugo attempted to make conversation once or twice, but failed miserably. 

I think it had come as a relief to everyone when Zelda brought us our check and told us to come again soon.  I had a feeling that we probably weren’t going to be coming back anytime soon though, if ever. I couldn’t say exactly what it was, but there was just something completely wrong with my parents, and with everything.

My father finally pulled into the garage and we all wasted no time in getting out of the car and ambling inside. My father was the first inside again and was already in the living room by the time I had come inside. Scorpius helped me out of my jacket and I grinned up at him gratefully. 

“Come on, come on!” Hugo cried, kicking off his shoes and storming past us. Scorpius and I finished getting unbundled and then made our way over into the kitchen. My mum was standing at the counter, talking to a man with dark black hair and a slim build. I instantly recognized him as Justin Finch-Fletchly, my mother’s old business partner.

“Mum?” I asked unsurely. My mother and Justin turned to us. Justin looked surprised to see the blonde haired boy behind me, but my mother just looked exasperated.

“Honey, I have to go into work again. It seems that the Wizengamot has come to a standstill on the Werewolf Equality Bill, and the press is having a field day.”

“Oh,” I said sadly. “Well, that’s fine.”

“Could you do me a favor honey and run up to my office and grab the file marked WEB out of the drawer in my desk? And Scorpius, could you go get my briefcase from my bedroom?” she asked tiredly.

“Sure thing,” we both said at the same time, setting off for the staircase. I could hear my mum and Justin whispering in the kitchen and the sound of the television in the living room. Why wasn’t my dad more concerned that she had to go into work again? If I was him, I would be pretty perturbed.

I didn’t have time to think on this though and I slipped into my mother’s office. I made my way quickly over to her desk and pulled out the top drawer. WEB…WEB… I searched through the files quickly, but none of them had anything to do with Werewolves. I got to the bottom of the drawer and I was about to abandon it for the second when a white document caught my eye.

Certification of the Wizengamot

Plaintiff: Hermione Jean Granger-Weasley

Defendant: Ronald Billius Weasley

 

What the hell was this? My mother was suing my father? Why would she do that? My eyes skimmed down the paper further. 

“….hereby do cite irreconcilable differences as the cause for our divorce.” 

“Rose!” Scorpius called, pausing on his way down to the kitchen with my mother’s briefcase. “Did you find the file? Let’s go?”

“No,” I said softly, still staring in horror at the document in my hands. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was not possible. This was not supposed to happen to my parents. This could not be happening. No. It was just a bad dream.

“Rose?” Scorpius said more quietly, coming to stand behind me. “What’s wrong? What’s that you’ve got?”

“It’s divorce documents,” I croaked, unable to believe the words coming out of my mouth. “Scorpius, I think my parents are getting a divorce.” 






 
A/N: So we had a snow day at my school today, and I finally had a chance to finish this chapter! I'm super excited. 

Anyway, what did you all think? Like it? Dislike it? Please, please review and tell me your thoughts! 

Oh, and I have a question for you all - would you like to see a one-shot featuring the little chat that Hugo has with Scorpius? Cause I got a plot bunny for it today, but I wasn't sure if I really wanted to go there. What do you think? 

Anyway, thank you all for reading! Please review! :)


Chapter 24: Tearing Apart at the Seams
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“A divorce?” Scorpius asked quietly, leaning over the back of the chair and gently extracting the document from my cold, immovable fingers.  I hardly noticed that he had taken it. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what was going on at that moment.

My parents were getting a divorce. My parents didn’t get divorced. Divorces were for celebrities and those whiny soap opera stars on the television – you know, for people who had nothing better to do. Real parents weren’t supposed to get divorced! Especially not mine!

“Rose, I’m so sorry,” Scorpius said. I hadn’t noticed that he had come around from the back of the chair and was crouching down in front of me, holding one of my ice cold hands and running his thumb in small circles over it.  

I opened my mouth to say something, but no words came out. I wasn’t even sure my brain was properly functioning at that point. All it seemed to be doing was repeating the word divorce over and over and over again in my conscious mind. 

“Rose, you’re shaking,” Scorpius said. I could hear that he was worried, and I shook my head to try to clear my thoughts, but it really wasn’t working well. I realized that this was around the time that I would have usually started crying, but I couldn’t bring myself to cry.

This had to be a joke, right? 

This all had to just be some form of cruel, sick joke. My mother had never really liked jokes though. And my father, well, he knew where to draw the line – most of the time. This did not seem like something he would do for perverse pleasure.

Damnit.

My parents were getting a divorce.

I felt my entire body shudder as the realization finally dawned on me. I heard a strangled sob escape my lips, and before I could even crumple into a ball on the floor, Scorpius caught me and held me tightly in his arms.

“Shh,” he soothed, stroking my hair and rubbing a small circle on my back at the same time. “Everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to be just fine.”

“How can you say that?” I croaked, gazing up at him through tear-clouded eyes. “Nothing is ever going to be ‘just fine’ or ‘okay’ again.”

I felt a soft wail escape my lips and I buried my head in his shoulder, letting my emotions get the best of me for a moment. I could feel that my entire body was trembling from the shock and my head was spinning. My lungs ached from the disrupted little bursts of oxygen that would come down my windpipe to sustain them.

“Rose,” Scorpius said after a moment, “I know this seems tactless at a time like this, but your mum sent us up here to find a file. If we don’t bring these things down to her soon, she’ll come up here and see what’s taking us so long. And from the way that she seems to have hid those documents, I don’t think she meant for you to see them. Maybe its best if you just put them away for now, we find the WEB document, and take it down to her.”

“You’re right,” I sniffed, swiping at the tears that were falling down my cheeks. “You’re right.”

I felt as if a hole had been carved out of my chest. It was incredibly hard to breathe. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stand up, let alone find a file, walk downstairs, and act as if everything was perfectly all right in front of my mother. How was I not going to let it show that I knew her secret? I was the worst liar on the face of the planet. I couldn’t help it. My face always gave me away.

I pushed myself away from Scorpius and scooted back over to the desk, surprised at how sluggishly my limbs were moving and at how much will power I had to exert to get my body to move. Scorpius obviously noticed, for he was at my side a moment later, yanking open the drawer and shifting through the beige manila folders until he found the WEB one.  

He held it up to me, as if silently asking that he had the right one and I nodded. My mouth felt as dry as cotton. He seemed to notice that I was in no condition whatsoever to stand up on my own, so he wrapped his arm securely around my waist and lifted me to my feet. I leaned against his side and I suddenly felt guilty. He was always picking up the pieces of my broken life. It wasn’t really fair for him. It’s not like he had asked for this. In fact, there really wasn’t any reason for him to have to do it at all. Because technically, we were just pretend dating, no matter what I would have liked to believe.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled as he practically dragged me down the stairs. I felt my feet flailing against the floor.

“For what?” he asked, stopping and turning to look at me, surprised.

“For bringing you to my messed up house. For you having to always take care of me. I’m a big girl; I should be able to do this myself. It’s not fair of me to constantly lean on you for support.”

“Rose,” Scorpius hissed, considering we were almost in hearing range of the living room or kitchen. “I asked to come here, remember? You tried to warn me. And please, stop apologizing for being human. You’re handling this better than most adults I know would.”

I gazed up at him, and I could see the truth and sincerity in his grey eyes.

“Well, thank you,” I mumbled, feeling a blush rise up in my cheeks from his compliment.

I felt his hand move up from my waist and then his thumb brushed away one of the tears that I could not stop from falling.

“I know I’ve said this before,” he said quietly, his breath warm against my face, “but I really hate seeing you cry.”

“I hate crying in front of you,” I admitted, and I had a horrible sense of déjà vu. I shuddered slightly and Scorpius looked down at me concernedly.

“You all right?” he asked.

“Fine,” I lied. Where had I said something like that before? I wracked my brain, but it was still moving sluggishly from the shock of finding those documents. Oh well. Maybe it had all been in a dream or something.

“Rose!” I heard my mother call.

I felt my heart rate pick up in my chest. Obviously I had known that I would have to face my mother some time. I just did not feel ready now. Again I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but my reply got stuck in my throat.

“Say something,” Scorpius hissed.

I closed my mouth and licked my lips, taking a deep breath. I could do this. Two little words - that was it.

“I’m coming,” I called, wincing when my voice cracked at the end. She must not have noticed, because she didn’t say anything more.

“Shit, Scorpius, I can’t do this,” I said, looking up at him. I could feel my heart beating faster and my hands started to shake again.

“Yes, you can. It will only take a moment,” he whispered, pulling me closer to him until I was pressed up right against his body. “Just lie if she asks why you’ve been crying.”

“I’m a horrible liar,” I whispered back furiously. He of all people should have known this by now. Well actually, come to think of it, I couldn’t really remember a time where I’d flat out lied to him.

“Rose,” he said sternly, “I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner you can come back up here and relax again.”

I nodded once solemnly and he nodded back, giving my hip an extra reassuring squeeze. Then he carefully towed me the rest of the way down the stairs. Before I had time to even take another breath we were in the kitchen and Scorpius was laying my mother’s briefcase and the WEB file on the counter in front of her.

“Thank you so much,” my mother sighed, dragging her hand through her hair tiredly. She looked over Scorpius and me, her eyes quickly taking in the way that he had his arm wrapped protectively around me and also at the way he seemed to be supporting most of my weight. Then her eyes traveled up to my face, and they widened in alarm.

“Rose, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I choked out, totally messing up the way I was supposed to stay calm and collected. “I slammed my thumb in the desk drawer is all.”

 Her eyes narrowed in frustration and I knew she did not believe a word that had just come out of my mouth. I could tell she was about to say something else, but then I heard Justin clear his throat a little too obviously from behind her back. I noticed that her shoulders stiffened for a moment, but then she relaxed and sighed again.

“Right, well go put some ice on it,” she said wearily, looking at me sadly and at the same time lovingly. “I have to go see what the Wizengamot is doing now. You kids behave, all right? I won’t be home until late. Happy Birthday, honey. I love you so much.”

She grabbed her briefcase off of the counter and clattered forward in her heels to give me a swift kiss on the cheek and pat Scorpius briefly on the shoulder. 

“I love you too, Mum,” I said almost silently as I watched her and then Justin Floo away. 

“See, that wasn’t so bad,” Scorpius said at the same time I groaned, “That was horrible.”

We both glanced at each other, and then sniggered. 

“How can you say that?” I asked quietly, leaning against the kitchen table to support my weight.

“She didn’t find out that we saw the document, did she?” he asked smugly.

“She almost did, but –“

“That’s the key word, my dear,” he said, cutting me off right there. “She almost did find out. But she didn’t. So don’t worry your pretty little head.” 

“Would you be offended if I told you that you sounded just like my Nana Molly?” I grumbled.

I heard him chuckle. “Well then it shouldn’t surprise you that my next statement was going to be that you look exhausted, and should get some rest.”

I looked over at him from under heavy lids to see that he was grinning foolishly at me. I couldn’t help but laugh at his expression. He too chuckled a bit and closed the small gap between the two of us, twining his arm around my waist and pulling me into a standing position.

“C’mon, let’s get you to bed.”

I wasn’t really aware of the fact that I was practically carried up to my room, or the fact that Scorpius was the one carrying me. I hadn’t realized it before, but I was so incredibly exhausted. I remembered having been tired when I came home from the restaurant. That really hadn’t been that long ago, now that I thought about it. Actually, it had probably been only twenty minutes or so. It felt like an entire lifetime had passed since then.

Maybe it was because the lifetime of innocence I’d had – the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to had passed. Maybe it was because twenty minutes ago I was a normal girl, with two parents, an annoying brother, and an impossibly wonderful boyfriend. Now I was just a girl, with split up parents, a naïve little wanker for a brother, and an impossibly wonderful boyfriend who might not really like me and just be pretending.

Yeah, that sucked.

Scorpius stopped outside the door to my room, gently turning me so that I was facing towards him.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asked quietly, brushing a strand of my hair out of my eyes.

“Define okay,” I mumbled, feeling the urge to cry again. I really had to stop that. Especially around him. He would begin to think I was a cry baby soon.  

“Wrong choice of words,” he mumbled under his breath. I gazed up at him sadly, still fighting a losing battle with my tear ducts. He looked up from the carpet at me and smiled weakly, trying to comfort me in some way. I felt one of his hands gently press itself to the side of my face and then he planted a soft kiss on my forehead.

“You should go get some rest, love,” he said, pulling away from me.

I stood there for a moment, feeling extremely alone and close to ripping apart at the seams. I folded my arms across my chest, as if that would stop my body from cleaving in two and tried to form the right words in my head.

“Don’t, don’t leave,” I stuttered, voice cracking.

“What?” 

“Please, don’t leave me alone. Not right now,” I pleaded my voice thick with tears.

He stared at me for a moment. I could see that there was pity in his eyes. “Okay,” he replied, coming back and wrapping his arms around my waist. “I’m not going anywhere. Can I go get my pajamas on first?”

I nodded and he grinned down at me before extracting himself from my arms again and sauntering down the hall to the office. I turned into my room and quickly shut the door behind me, pulling off my green top and slipping out of my jeans.  I turned robotically to my dresser and pulled out a pair of flannel red pajama bottoms and a matching red t-shirt. I dressed in silence, my mind blank for once tonight. I was thankful for the fact that I was blissfully oblivious; otherwise I would have probably have been curled up in a ball on the floor, sobbing hysterically again.

I dared a glance at myself in the mirror. My face was red and blotchy from crying and there were dark purple circles under my eyes. My hair was mussed in an unflattering way. Yuck. Oh well. He had already seen me a mess.

I dragged my hair back into a knot at the nape of my neck and secured it with a rubber band.  That had been too simple. I needed something to really distract me. And Scorpius was taking too long. I padded over to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my face. By the time that was finished I was feeling the hole in my chest starting to ache and I decided that I would just go to him.

I paused with my hand on the door knob. I should probably knock first. I raised my fist and was about to knock when the door was pulled open, and there stood Scorpius, struggling to pull a dark blue t-shirt over his head and trying to walk at the same time. I resisted a giggle and reached out in a burst of courage, letting one of my fingers drag down from his sternum to the top of his navel. Wow, he had a really nice stomach.

Scorpius started for a moment and then pulled his shirt on completely. He stared at me curiously for a moment, his shaggy hair hanging in his eyes. Then he flicked his hair out of his eyes and grinned at me.

“Well hello,” he smirked.

“You were taking too long,” I replied. He chuckled and pulled me to him, letting his forehead rest against mine. I heard the sharp intake of my breath as I stood so close to him. The ache didn’t feel so bad now. It was manageable. Or rather it was easily forgotten over the quivering of my stomach.

Scorpius pulled away after a moment and traded my waist for my hand. We walked silently over to the pull out bed, and I crawled under the covers. He slid in next to me and we just lay there in silence for a moment. 

The silence was beginning to kill me. It just reminded me of all of the dinners we’d ever spent together, where my parents didn’t say one word to each other. It reminded me of the restaurant tonight. It even reminded me of the way they seemed to be living two separate lives in one house.

I let out a strangled sob at the thought. How had I not noticed sooner? It was rather obvious now.

Scorpius wrapped his arm around my stomach and I tucked my head into the crook of his neck. Neither one of us said anything. I decided it was not because either of us didn’t know what to say. It was because there truly was nothing to say.

I listened to the sound of his breathing and felt the rise and fall of his chest against mine. Soon the rhythmic pattern had my eyelids fluttering as my brain slowly turned on autopilot and I gave into the exhaustion that had been threatening to consume me. The last thing I remembered before I fell asleep was the way Scorpius’s hand was tracing small circles on the small of my back.

 

 




 

 

When I awoke the next morning I was not as taken aback as I probably should have been at the idea that I had spent the night in Scorpius Malfoy’s bed. In fact, said boy was currently have draped across me – his long, strong arms wrapped tightly around my abdomen and his head resting on my shoulder. He was snoring lightly, his chest rising and falling rhythmically against my back.

I yawned and stretched, careful not to shift too much so that I did not wake up Scorpius. He mumbled something into my hair and I froze, afraid that I had woken him. When he did not make any other noise I relaxed. He was just talking in his sleep. A lock of his white blonde hair fell into my face as he shifted his head a little bit. I brushed the hair back, letting my hand linger on his head for a minute.

He was too good to me. He put up with so much. I honestly did not know how he did that. For someone who really hated seeing me cry, he sure saw it a lot. But he never seemed to mind helping me. 

I had no idea how I would ever repay him for that. I guess there was always money, but his family had never seemed hard pressed. From what I had heard the Malfoy’s were well off. More well off than we were probably. Food for thought, really.

I glanced at the clock on my mother’s desk. It was still very early, only about 6:30. It was odd for me to be up so early. I was usually the last one awake in my house, generally stumbling out of bed at midday. I was also the only person who once they were awake, I didn’t go back to sleep.

Well that sucked. I was going to be awake for a while now. And Scorpius, from the looks of it, was not. Maybe I could gently wiggle out of his arms and go finish wrapping gifts before we went to Nana Molly’s and Grandpa Arthur’s house this afternoon. That idea didn’t sound very appealing.

Fuck. Neither did going to Nana and Grandpa’s. In fact, it sounded downright horrible. I loved my family obviously. But going there meant I would have to see James, and Al, and Lucy, all people who hated me. And my mother and father would have to act civil again. It was all just a charade. One that they had gotten quite good at perfecting over time.

I couldn’t stand to see it any more. It was going to eat me alive to see them sitting at the long table in the kitchen, trying so hard to make everyone believe that their marriage was a healthy and happy one – when in fact the divorce papers were ready to go and just waiting to be signed. Or maybe they already were signed.

I dared a glance at the top drawer of my mother’s desk. My heart started to beat faster and my stomach twinged painfully. No, that had not been a good idea.  Out of sight, out of mind. I closed my eyes, but I could still imagine seeing the desk drawer, containing the incriminating evidence. I sighed and twisted around so that my face was in Scorpius’s chest. I froze again when I heard him groan and then mumble. I felt the lean muscles in his chest tense as he stretched.

“Hey you,” he mumbled. Damn. I had woken him. Oh well, at least it was a distraction.

“Good morning,” I replied, grinning up at him. He smiled back down at me and flicked his hair out of his eyes. 

“You sure are up early,” he pointed out, nodding at the clock.

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“Did you have nightmares?” he asked concernedly.

“No,” I answered, feeling suddenly odd. “I don’t think I dreamed at all last night.”

That really was odd. Usually I could remember all of my dreams vividly, whether they were good, bad, or odd. If I couldn’t remember dreaming, did that mean that I hadn’t dreamed at all?

“Well that’s good,” he said.

We both just lay there for a while, neither of us saying anything. It was comforting to lie in his arms. I didn’t have to worry about the day ahead – like the fact that he would be meeting the rest of my family or how my parents would act. All that really mattered was him, and that was nice. 

I wasn’t sure how long we stayed that way, but soon I began to hear signs of life from my parents’ room.

“I think I should go,” I whispered, although I didn’t make any move to go anywhere.

“I guess you should,” he replied. I thought I detected a hint of sadness in his voice, but I wasn’t really sure. It could have just been tiredness. “Wouldn’t want Daddy Dearest to catch us.”

“Yeah, that would not go over well,” I agreed, chuckling. “You would probably be killed, and castrated.”

He grimaced at the last part and kissed me swiftly on the mouth. I worried briefly about my morning breath, but it seems it was just a good bye peck and I was relieved.

“See you soon, Shorty,” he said as I got up and shuffled over to the door.

“Later Scorpius,” I sighed. “Don’t forget to dress nice. We’ll be going over to my grandparent’s at about three.”

I heard him scoff loudly and then he chuckled and I waltzed over to the bathroom to take a shower. I had a feeling that the brief period of unfeeling bliss I had endured this morning was not going to last long.

 

 





 

“Do you have everything ready to go, Ron?” my mother asked as she folded a long strip of tin foil over her famous Cheesy Potato Casserole.  

“Yes, Hermione, the car is all packed,” my father replied gruffly. “We’re just waiting for you now.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m going as fast as I can,” she said hurriedly, looking not at my father, but at Hugo, Scorpius and me. We were standing along the wall in the kitchen, dressed in our Sunday finest, already in our shoes and coats.  

“It’s fine, Mum,” Hugo mumbled. He looked nice today for a change. And he smelled different too. Maybe he was wearing cologne. He had been acting strangely since his conversation with Scorpius. 

“Okay,” my mother sighed after another minute of futzing with her casserole. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

I heard my father grumble something like “finally” from the mud room. My mother just ran her fingers through her curly hair and picked up her purse and contribution to the dinner. She clacked across the floor on her heels and I sighed and pushed away from the wall to follow her.

I really was not looking forward to going this year. It wasn’t even just that I didn’t want to bring Scorpius. Or maybe to put it better, I didn’t want to expose Scorpius to them. It would probably scare him away. No, it was the fact that every moment we spent pretending to be the perfect family was a lie. Every time we got in that car as one family, as one whole safe unit, it was a lie. It felt like a blow to the stomach just even thinking about it. 

I climbed into the backseat and Hugo sat next to me, still determined to follow my father’s rules. I had a hunch that he was also still mad at me and Scorpius for what he had caught us doing yesterday. He could be so immature sometimes. Then again, who was I to judge? I had the maturity level of an eleven year old.

All too soon the car was pulling out of the driveway. The silence was oppressive. I tried staring out the window for a while, but the endless white and trees soon became boring. Just when I thought I was going to explode from exasperation my mother turned on the radio.

I breathed a long sigh of relief and I stole a glance over at Scorpius. He was nodding his head in time to the music, even though I knew that he didn’t know the name of the band. I didn’t even know what the name of the band is.

“Turn that rap crap off,” my father growled, pressing the button on the radio to change the station. I instantly covered my ears and I saw Hugo do the same thing, while Scorpius stared at the radio in horror. It sounded like someone was yodeling in Spanish while running over a cat.

I removed my hands when I saw my mother change the station yet again. A new song came on, this one upbeat and poppy. I heard my father growl and then he flipped the station again, this time to some sort of heavy metal song where the lead singer sounded like he was literally screaming. 

My mother tutted in disapproval and switched the station, this time to a classical station. My father switched it again. I had barely heard the first few notes of music when my mother changed it again. My father followed suit, and soon it became a battle of the radio.  

“Stop it! Just stop it!” Hugo cried with his hands over his ears.

My parents both froze and turned around to look at my little brother. My father was red in the face and breathing hard, and my mother was pale, her normally curly hair looking incredibly bushy.

“Sorry,” my mother said finally, reaching over and turning off the radio. My father just glared at us for a moment and then turned back around, concentrating on the road. 

 

 





 

I was extremely relieved to get out of the car an hour later when we reached Nana Molly’s house. I noticed that we seemed to be the last one’s there, as Uncle Harry’s car was already parked along the street, as was Uncle Percy’s. The rest of our family had children that were old enough to Apparate alone, or small enough to be brought along by Side-along. 

We trudged up the small path to the side door and I could feel my heart hammering against my ribs. I could tell that my mother was uncomfortable by the way her fingers were unconsciously fiddling with the clasp on her purse and the way the corner of her bottom lip was pulled into her mouth. My father on the other hand just seemed despondent – as if he’d rather be at home watching the television than doing anything remotely family oriented. Hugo didn’t seem to notice any of this, something I was grateful for, and just marched happily to the door, pulling it open without any qualms.  

 I could hear the commotion from within; the laughs and shouts of the children and the thuds of little feet scurrying across the floor. There was also the loud din of the adults discoursing loudly on various topics. I could imagine Uncle Harry and Uncle Charlie talking about Quidditch with mugs of butter beer in their hands and Uncle Percy rambling about Ministry and political issues to anyone that would listen. Nana Molly was probably in the kitchen cooking away, her tattered “Kiss the Cook” apron tied around her waist. Aunt Ginny would be in the kitchen helping, along with Auntie Angelina and the dreadful Auntie Audrey.  All of my cousins were probably gathered in the back living room, playing Wizard’s Chess or Exploding Snap. Maybe even Truth or Dare.

It was all so normal and yet absolutely terrifying.  

My father grunted something unintelligible and followed Hugo inside. My mother lingered at the doorstep. I could tell that she was breathing hard and fast and I noticed that her knuckles had gone white around the casserole dish.

“Aren’t you going to go in, Mum?” I asked, feeling guilty for playing the Devil’s advocate.

“Yes, right,” she said, sounding terribly flustered. She glanced over at me and I saw her try to compose her features. How had I not noticed this before? Surely she’d been like this for a while. I watched as her posture straightened and she strode into the Burrow, her walk confident and normal.

“Are you ready?”

I turned to Scorpius, who was standing behind me a bit; his shoulders slouched in his tan jacket. I took a deep breath and shook my head no. He laughed and took my hand.

“No, I’m not ready to feed you to the sharks,” I said playfully. “But I guess I don’t have much of a choice.”

“That you don’t,” he conceded, his grey eyes sparkling. “But I don’t think it will be as bad as you assume.”

“You don’t know my family very well. They are going to eat you alive and then spit you back out.”

“You worry too much,” he said quietly, gazing down at me intently. I felt my breath hitch in my throat as I stared back at him. He seemed so calm and sure of himself. And he looked and smelled so nicely today. The combination was intoxicating.

“I probably do,” I agreed quietly. “And we should probably go in now. It wouldn’t do for someone to discover the two of us lingering out here.”

He smiled a crooked smile and squeezed my fingers reassuringly. I took a deep breath and stepped over the threshold.

The house was exactly the way as I remembered it. There was a huddle of adults around the table and I could see Nana Molly swiping at her brow as she stirred something on the stove. Then she looked up and saw that my family was still standing by the door and she dropped her spoon and hurried over.

“Oh, Ron, Hermione, kids! It’s so good to see you again!” she cried, throwing an oven mitt on the table and enveloping my father in a hug. She was a good foot and a half shorter than he was, and she looked immensely fragile next to him.  “You’ve gotten bigger,” she noted and I heard him snort in reply.  

“And Hermione,” she added, turning to my mother and giving her a warm hug. I saw my mother wrap her arms around Nana and hug her tightly; as if this was the last time she would ever be able to hug her. “You look thin, dear. Well, not to worry about that. We’ll add some meat on those bones straight away.”

She turned to my brother and commented on how big he had gotten as well, giving him a hug and sloppy kiss on his cheek before pinching his dimple. I saw him go bright red, and then he bolted for the living room.

“And Rose!” she cried, finally turning to me. Then she stopped, her eyes going to the blonde next to me.

“Hi Nana,” I said abashedly, going bright red. My words seemed to wake her from her thoughts and she smiled up at me again.

“You look wonderful, darling,” she gushed, pulling me down into a crushing hug and kissing my cheeks. “So grown up. And who is this young gentleman?”

“This is my boyfriend Scorpius Malfoy,” I told her, smiling down at her and then up at Scorpius, who had put on his most charming smile. “Scorpius, this is my Nana Molly.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am,” he said warmly, extending a hand to her.

She seemed taken aback for a moment, her blue eyes trained on his hand. I knew that she was surprised by his name and I silently prayed that she would not reject him. If Nana Molly liked him, then so would Grandpa Arthur. And well, from then on no one would say anything.

“We don’t shake hands in this house, Mr. Malfoy,” Nana said. My eyes grew wide. That wasn’t supposed to happen. And then Nana enveloped Scorpius into one of her hugs. 

I watched bemusedly as Scorpius stood in Nana’s arms, his grey eyes wide. He looked over at me, as if asking what he should do and I shrugged, trying not to laugh. He patted her awkwardly on the back and she released him a moment later.

“The rest of your cousins are in the back room,” she told me, smiling. “Go make yourselves at home. Dinner should be ready in about a half hour.”

I nodded and she returned to the kitchen, where my mum was talking with my aunts as she put her casserole in the oven. My father had joined Uncle Harry and Uncle Charlie and was laughing loudly at something one of them had said.

I turned to Scorpius and grabbed his hand, dragging him through the throng of my relatives and trying my best to ignore the shocked whispers that followed in our wake. Finally we reached the living room and I breathed a sigh of relief.

“See, that was good,” Scorpius smirked to me as I took of my coat and threw it in the closet that was attached to the small room. Scorpius did the same.

“Yes, well Nana Molly is the easiest,” I replied, smirking back at him.  

I turned around and surveyed the room. Louis and Roxanne were playing with what looked like a train set and a doll over by the fireplace, while Molly was curled up in her namesake’s rocking chair, reading a book. The rest of my cousins were all sitting casually on different pieces of furniture. James and Al were seated on the couch, while Teddy sat with Victoire on his lap next to them and Ben sat on the arm next to Al. Dominique and Lucy sat on what looked like extra kitchen chairs while Lily sat in Grandpa Arthur’s armchair over by the Christmas tree. Hugo was perched on with windowsill, not looking at anyone. The chatter that had filled the room previously died down as everyone turned to look at us.

“Uh, hi,” I said to no one in particular, feeling the heat rise in my face. 

No one replied. I glanced over at Scorpius helplessly, as if to say ‘see, I told you that it would be this way’. He just shrugged and led me over to the lone empty armchair in the room. He gestured for me to sit down and I did, still feeling everyone’s eyes on us. Then he sat down on the floor and rested his head against my knees.

“Bloody Slytherin,” I heard James say not exactly quietly. “At least he knows where he belongs – on the floor, with all the rest of the filth.”

Al and Freddy laughed loudly at this. I heard Lucy giggle as well.

“James,” I barked, glaring over at him.

“Rose, leave it alone,” Scorpius said, cutting me off. “It’s not worth getting into again.” 

“Oh yeah, sure, just boss her around,” James said sarcastically, glaring at us. “Rose, are you going to take that?”

“Shove off,” Scorpius snarled. “I wasn’t talking to you, was I?”

James stood up from his seat, red in the face from anger. “Who the hell do you think you are, Malfoy? What makes you think that you can come in here with my cousin and expect us all to just accept you? Newsflash, scum like you isn’t welcome here!” 

By this point Scorpius was on his feet too, his grey eyes flashing dangerously. He and James stood less than a foot apart. If I hadn’t been so angry or so worried I would have had to admire the sight. Where James was more stocky and muscled, Scorpius was tall and lean, with a sort of wiry strength. Scorpius stood a few inches taller than James, which made up for the fact that in brute force, James was probably stronger.

“It’s no use to fight a fight that does not belong to you, Potter,” Scorpius snarled in a low voice. “We’re not our fathers.”  

“Like hell we’re not,” James yelled, shoving Scorpius hard in the shoulders. Scorpius staggered back a step, but recovered quickly, shoving James back. James staggered, but caught himself.

“Please!” I cried, jumping out of my chair and rushing forward, putting myself between Scorpius and James. “Stop! Stop!”

I shrieked as James took a shot at Scorpius around my head, but he couldn’t reach. Scorpius didn’t respond, but was breathing heavily, the muscle in his jaw twitching angrily and his hands balled into fists. 

“Whipped,” James mumbled loudly. Scorpius’s jaw jumped again and I saw his fists shaking.

Just then Aunt Ginny poked her head into the living room. “Dinner’s ready,” she called, her careful eyes focusing on the three of us in the center of the room concernedly. 

There was a roar of noise as we all stood up and ambled over to the kitchen. I could hear that most people were talking about the exchange that they had just witnessed. I could still feel my hands shaking and my heart pounding. That muscle in Scorpius’s jaw was still jumping anxiously.

“I’m so sorry about that,” I whispered. “James is an arse.”

“You can say that again,” he said absently, his hand brushing my side unconsciously. We filed into the kitchen behind Hugo, and took our seats across from my parents. Hugo sat next to Scorpius, while Lily sat next to me. 

Grandpa Arthur began the meal with his usual speech about joy, the love of families, and how my deceased Uncle Fred was enjoying this meal with us. Then Nana Molly said a few words and the entire table broke out in chatter as we began to load our plates.

“This looks good,” Scorpius said, putting a few pieces of ham and some potatoes on his plate.

“It is,” I replied. “Nana Molly is the best cook in the world.”

“My mum makes a mean blueberry pie,” he told me, digging into his plate. “You’ll have to try it some time.”

Meet Scorpius’s parents? The idea of that was more intimidating than confronting my father, or even facing Lord Voldemort. 

“Yeah, sure,” I replied, my voice higher than usual.  

“What are the two of you talking about?” my mother asked from across the table. She seemed to be picking at her food. I could see that she was uncomfortable, and even a little bit sad.

“I was just telling Rose that she should come meet my family some time,” Scorpius said before I could respond. “It’s been great meeting her family; I think she would really like my parents.”

“No,” my father barked, staring right at Scorpius, his eyes angry and narrowed. I just realized that that was the first direct thing my father had said to Scorpius during the entire break. “No.”

“Ronald,” my mother sighed, looking over at him, “you can’t possibly still hold a grudge against Draco Malfoy for things that happened when we were children. And you can’t take it out on his son.”

“Who the hell are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?” he hissed, throwing his fork down on his plate. I watched in horror from across the table. “I’m a grown man, damnit!”

“Stop,” my mother hissed back venomously. “Remember where we are.”

“At my parents’ house!” he replied, banging his fist on the table. 

“Stop it! Just stop it!” I yelled. The entire family stopped their chattering and looked at me. I hadn’t noticed it before, but I was shaking uncontrollably, my knuckles white from where they clenched the edge of the table.

“Rose,” my mother began uncertainly.

“I know about the divorce papers, okay?” I said, beginning to feel the tears build behind my eyes. There was a little voice at the back of my head shouting that I should just stop there, that I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth, but something was possessing me to continue. I just could not sit there and take this anymore. I could not sit there and pretend everything was okay and all right, when nothing would ever be all right again.

Seeing my parents argue, it was just too much after all that had happened today. When we were alone in the car, and they were battling with the radio – it had been different. But seeing them sitting here, surrounded by my giant, loving family, and knowing that this was the last time that this would ever happen, it was just too much to handle. 

I watched as my mother’s eyes widened it horror.

“How did you – why did you?” she choked, glancing around at the rest of the family. Her face was an odd mixture of red and white. My father looked livid.

“I saw them in your desk when I was looking for your file last night,” I choked out, the tears beginning to fall down my cheeks. 

There was a murmur around the table as everyone began to realize just what was going on. Why was this such a surprise to them? Then it dawned on me.

“You haven’t told anyone, have you?” I asked, shaking my head sadly.

“We were going to wait until after the holidays to tell you all,” my mother explained, but I could tell that she was grasping at straws.  She looked around pleadingly to my father, but he just sat there stoically, glaring up at me. “Maybe we should talk about this privately.”

“That’s a good idea,” Nana Molly said waspishly from the head of the table. I nodded and stood up from the table and I saw Hugo do the same thing. My mother scooted her chair away from the table. She wasn’t looking anyone in the eye, and neither did my father. Scorpius stayed seated and I assumed that he knew that this was something that I needed to do alone with my family.

We shuffled into the living room and my father closed the door loudly behind us, locking it and casting a quick Muffliato at it so that we could discuss what we needed to without being overheard. I sat down in the armchair I had sat in earlier and pulled my knees up to my chest protectively. My head was spinning with all that had happened in the last few minutes.

“So,” my mother said, settling herself on the couch next to Hugo, “this is not how we wanted you kids to find out.”

“What were you going to announce it with a card and balloons?” Hugo asked sarcastically. I glanced up in shock – it wasn’t like Hugo at all to say things like that to our parents.

“No,” my mother said, obviously as shocked as I was. “We were just hoping that we could tell you calmly and respectfully. We just want to make it easier for you kids.”

“How is getting a divorce making anything easier for us?” I asked darkly, glaring over at her.

“Your father and I are not happy together anymore,” she explained, looking at me pleadingly, as if begging me to understand. “Things have been difficult in our house for a while now because we are not happy. But if we’re not together, it will make us both happier.”

“And so our happiness doesn’t matter to you?” Hugo asked. His voice was dark and I could see that he wasn’t looking at anyone, but staring at the carpet.

“Of course it does!” My mother cried. “We’re doing this for you both! We’ve tried to make our marriage work for the both of you for a long time now. But things are just getting worse. Things will be better soon.”

“Yeah right,” Hugo growled. I watched with wide eyes as he stood from the couch and stormed to the door. “You don’t care about us at all! You’re just being selfish! You could make it work if you wanted to!” He unlocked the door and yanked it open, sprinting out into the hallway. The door closed with a bang and we could all hear the loud thuds of his feet on the stairs.

“I should go after him,” my mother said sadly, tears streaming down her cheeks. She walked quickly across the room and pulled open the door, letting it close more gently behind her.  

I sighed and lowered my head onto my knees, letting the sobs that had been threatening to overcome me for the past twenty-four hours out. 

“Thanks a lot, Rose,” my father growled. My head snapped up, and I looked at the man across from me. I had almost forgotten that he was still in the room with me.

“This is not my fault,” I said matter-of-factly.

“Why couldn’t you have kept your mouth shut for one more day?” he asked in exasperation. “Why?”

“They would have found out soon anyway!” I cried. “What, did you just think you could pretend that things were fine and dandy forever? Did you think that no one would notice the way you hate each other? Because it’s pretty obvious!”

“Shut up!” he cried, storming over to stand before me. “You will not talk to your father that way!”

“Some father,” I muttered darkly.

“Listen, you,” he yelled, putting his hands on either side of my head on the back of the chair. “You don’t deserve to have a father like me!”

“You’re right,” I replied, shaking my head in disbelief as the tears poured down my face. “You’re right. I don’t deserve a father like you. I deserve a way better father than you.”

He stepped back from me as if he had been slapped and I took advantage of the moment, jumping up from the chair and sprinting to the door.  








 
A/N: Yay! Another chapter finished. I'm sorry the wait on this has been awhile. I've been crazy busy with the holidays, my birthday, and I also had a moderate case of frostbite on my hands for three days. But anyway, that doesn't matter, because the chapter is finally here! 

What did you guys think? This one was a doozy. Did you like it? Please, leave me a review and let me know. I've worked really hard on this chapter, since it's one that's been planned from the beginning. 

Anyway, in case you haven't seen or heard yet, I did decide to write the one-shot conversation between Scorpius and Hugo. It's up now, so if you're interested, check it out! 

Thanks for reading you guys! Happy Holidays (a little late for some). Please, please review! :)


 

Chapter 25: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
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I wasn’t sure where I was running to or if I was ever going to stop, but all I knew was that I felt more alive and more in control of my own life and fate than I had in a long time. I ran out into the kitchen, and I felt all of my families’ eyes on me. I knew that they were waiting for the explosion – for me to stop there and have my father come out and yell at me there. But I had no intention of that at all. None whatsoever.

I scanned along the rows of eyes for one in particular. My breath caught in my throat when my eyes locked with a pair of concerned grey ones. I wasn’t even sure what to say. I knew that if I opened my mouth, I was going to retch. Luckily, Scorpius seemed to understand what I was trying to say, and I heard him scoot his seat back from the table. By that time I was already out the back door.  

I ran down the snow covered path, catching my toe on a loose brick and tripping, but catching my balance at the last second. I continued to plow on, out of the garden and down the driveway. I was breathing hard and my eyes were streaming, from the cold or from my emotions. I wasn’t sure which.

The icy air that was filling my lungs had a crippling effect, and I had to pause at the side of the road to catch my breath. 

“Rose! Wait!” 

I spun on my heel and saw a figure emerging through the dark. The urge to run ran through me again, but my lungs still were not working as they should and I was freezing. In my haste to get out of there I had completely forgotten my coat.   

I watched as Scorpius loomed from the dark and in an instant all the urges to run and to cry and fight were gone. All I felt was sad and empty. 

“Hey,” he said quietly, his husky voice carrying across the cold December breeze to me.

“Hey,” I replied, my voice clouded with tears.  

“Where are you going?” He stopped a few feet away from me. I could see that he was holding my jacket in his hands and that his brow was crinkled in worry. 

“I have no idea,” I replied pathetically. “Away from here, I guess. Where are you going?”

“Wherever you go,” he said simply, my favorite grin playing at the corner of his lips.  

Just then there was a roar of rage from inside the house and what sounded like glass or china breaking. My heart rate, which had just started slowing down, picked up again and I knew that I had to get away from here now. I couldn’t stay and go back in there to face my father. From the sounds of it, he was not going to be in a very good or forgiving mood. And I was not masochistic enough to want to go back in there regardless. 

“We have to leave now,” I told Scorpius, glancing around in futility. The Burrow was a long ways run from anywhere that we could catch a cab. Neither of us could Apparate. There was always Flooing, but that would require going back inside. We were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“The car?” Scorpius asked, obviously having thought the same things as I had.

“I can’t drive!” I cried hysterically, cursing the fact that I had turned down all those driving lessons my mother had offered over the summer.

“It’s okay,” Scorpius soothed, grabbing my wrist to stop me from taking off running again. I stopped and glared at him. He just looked down at me and threw my coat over my shoulders. I hadn’t really realized it in a while, but I was freezing. I thrust my arms through the holes in my coat and wrapped my arms snugly around myself.

There was another crash from inside, and now I could hear two people yelling. That would probably be my mother and father. She would be livid when she came down and heard what had happened.

 Think. Think about how to get away from here. 

Suddenly it dawned on me. I had never ridden on the Knight Bus before, but Uncle Harry had told me a couple of times about his trips on the bus. It would be able to get here fast, wouldn’t it? It was worth a shot.

I thrust my arm out into the street while thinking over and over again “I need help”. I wasn’t sure if the Knight Bus could read my thoughts, but it was all I had. 

The yelling from back in the house was getting louder. Suddenly there was the loud bang of the door, and I heard the crunch of shoes on the snow covered ground growing closer to us. My heart, which was already hammering against my ribcage, began to pick up its pace even more, and I was finding it hard to breathe. I recognized those footsteps. I should have known that he would come after me. Any father would have come after their children had they been talked to that way.

Or maybe not.

Whatever it was, I had to get away from here, and fast. I wiggled my fingers out into the street, praying that this would help, even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t.

“ROSE!”

“C’mon!” I mumbled, bouncing up and down hysterically. “Please!”

“I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE!”

“Bloody hell, hurry up!”  

I felt a pair of hands grasp my shoulders tightly and I shrieked loudly.

“Relax, love, it’s me,” Scorpius soothed. I breathed a sigh of relief, but it still did not stop the building feelings of anxiety that ran through me. I really just wished that the stupid bus would hurry up and get here. It was Christmas Eve for Merlin’s sake. Not every teenage witch in the UK could be having a parental crisis right now!

“ROSE!”

His voice sounded closer now. I wasn’t really afraid that he would do anything to me – there was a whole houseful of people less than a hundred yards away who would personally see to it that he was sent to Azkaban for the rest of his life if he laid a hand on me – no, I was afraid that once he found me, I would be unable to leave again. And it wouldn’t even be his doing. It would be mine. If I saw how pathetic, how miserable he had become, I wasn’t sure I would have the heart to leave. I wasn’t sure I would be able to leave him too. 

But I had to do this. I had to do it for me. I had to get away, fix myself up and become stronger in myself. That way, when I did return to help him, it would take a hell of a lot more to tear me down than it did now. I was sure that he would be able to tear me down too. But maybe if I took some time away, it wouldn’t hurt as badly.  

“THERE YOU ARE!”

Scorpius and I turned as one on the spot to face my father. He was standing a few yards away, his hands balled into fists at his sides.  Just then there was the squeal of tires and the roar of a loud engine. I knew without having to look that the Knight Bus had arrived. If only they had been a few seconds earlier.

I watched as my father’s eyes widened as he took in the appearance of the bus.

“So that’s it?” he asked bitterly, glaring at me with such fury that it was a miracle I didn’t set on fire from the heat of his gaze. “You’re leaving then.”

I nodded solemnly. “I am.”

“You’d rather be with the Malfoy scum than with your own family?” he roared.

“If you mean that I’d rather be with people who were kind and appreciated me, and not yelled at me every ten seconds, then yes!” I shouted back, my voice shaking with anger. 

“Then leave! Anyone who would choose a Malfoy over a Weasley is no family of mine!” 

I felt hot tears of anger running down my cheeks. I wanted so badly to run over there and punch him until my arms got tired and I collapsed. Yet he was my father, and I could not bring myself to do such a thing to him. Damn my morals.

“Let’s go,” Scorpius said quietly to me, his hands still on my shoulders. I had almost forgotten he was there.  I nodded and turned at his prodding walking quickly over to the giant purple bus. The conductor was standing on the first step with the doors open. I guessed that they had seen the tail end of that little exchange, because his mouth was hanging open slightly.

Scorpius helped me up onto the bus and then climbed on after me. I could still feel the heat from my father’s angry gaze on my back.

“Hullo, sir, miss,” the conductor said as we boarded. “Merry Christmas and welcome to the Knight Bus. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor for this evening.”

“Merry Christmas, Stan,” I mumbled sadly, unable to stop more tears from flowing down my face.  I turned to look at the inside of the bus. I was surprised to see that there were not rows of seats like a Muggle bus, but a row of beds. All of them were unoccupied. I sat down tiredly on the nearest one and Scorpius sat next to me, instantly wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I leaned into him and smothered my face in his shoulder. He didn’t seem to mind the fact that I was probably ruining his sweater with my tears, and I was glad.

“No luggage?” Stan asked, glancing at the two of us curiously.

“No, no luggage,” Scorpius replied. There was a bitter tone to his voice that I hadn’t heard in a long time.

“All right then, let’s go Ern,” Stan said, turning to the driver of the bus, who was wearing a small pair of black sunglasses despite the fact that it was pitch black outside.

“Wait!”

Stan paused with his hand on the lever that opened and closed the door. Scorpius gently pried himself out of my arms and stood up. I glanced up at him nervously, and I saw that muscle in his jaw jump angrily.

“Scorp,” I called nervously, but he did not pause in his swift strides to the door. I stood up and hurried after him.

The sight I saw before me had me gasping in horror. My father was standing on the bottom step of the bus glaring up at Scorpius, who was standing on the top stair. Stan had plastered himself to the side and was mumbling something that sounded like “No fightin’ on the bus, please, no fightin’ on the bus.”

It seemed like my father had said something to Scorpius, because he was grinning smugly, while Scorpius stood there, his fists shaking at his sides.

“I’m sorry Mr. Weasley,” Scorpius said, his voice dark and filled with anger, “but they don’t allow bastards on the bus.” And with that, he punched my father clean across the jaw.

I screamed. I wasn’t really sure why I was screaming, but I could only imagine the fight that would ensue now. And Scorpius was sure to lose.

My father staggered back a step out onto the road and Scorpius yanked the lever for the door, shutting them tightly. I glanced out the window and saw that my father had fallen on his bum in the snow and was holding his nose. I imagined that his nose was broken.

“Drive,” Scorpius ordered the driver with the sunglasses. The man nodded and threw the bus into drive and we sped off. I nearly lost my balance from the force of the start, but caught myself on a lamp that was nailed to the wall. 

I glanced out the window one last time before we pulled out of sight from the Burrow and I saw a dark figure standing at the edge of the road.

“Oh my god,” I mumbled breathlessly, sitting down unsurely on the floor, seeing as the bed I had sat on previously had slid back about thirty feet. “Oh my god.”

I could feel myself beginning to hyperventilate. What had just happened? It had all happened so fast. My father had yelled at me. I had yelled back. We had got on board the bus. My father had come after us. Scorpius punched him. Scorpius…

“Rose,” a voice asked from in front of me.

I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts, but that wasn’t really helping. 

“She’s going into shock,” a new voice said from farther away. “You might want to slap her.”

“I’m not slapping her!” the first voice growled. “Mind your own business anyway.”

“My bus, my business,” the second voice responded nastily. 

I shook my head again. Everything sounded so far away. Maybe someone should slap me. That might help my brain feel less fuzzy. If only I could have opened my mouth to ask someone to hit me. It seemed that along with my conscious thought, I had lost control of my body.

“Rose, c’mon, speak to me love,” the first voice said again. Love. Wow, that sounded familiar. Scorpius. Yes, the first voice was Scorpius. That meant that the second had to be the conductor. 

I tried again. “Scorpius.” My voice sounded so small and so soft.

“Yes?” He had heard me! 

I tried shaking my head again. My mind seemed to clear enough that my vision focused. I could see that Scorpius was crouched down in front of me, his brow wrinkled with concern. Stan stood behind him, peering down at me curiously. 

My eyes met Scorpius’s and he smiled. I guessed that he was relieved that I was at least semi-conscious again. 

“Scorpius,” I said again, my voice stronger this time.

“Yes, that is my name,” he chuckled.

I smiled up at him, and without another word threw myself into his arms. He tottered back and fell on his bum as he tried to balance both of our weights. Neither of us minded though. Or at least I didn’t. It just felt so good to be held together by him.

“I’m sorry to interrupt this little love fest,” Stan smirked from above. “But Ern would like to know where we’re taking you lot.”

I pulled away from Scorpius just enough so that I could see his face.

“I have no idea,” I answered honestly, glancing from Scorpius up to Stan. “My plans didn’t extend further than getting on the bus. Do you have any ideas?”

“Could you take us to 132 Boehm Road, please?” Scorpius asked without looking at us.

“Sure thing kid,” Stan replied. “Hear that, Ern? 132 Boehm Road! That in London?”

He looked at Scorpius. “Yes.”

“In London!” Stan called to the driver. Then he sat himself down in a chair that had been nailed down to the floor next to what looked like a set of stairs and pulled out the day’s paper and hid behind it.

“What’s in London?” I asked Scorpius.

He looked down at me, his grey eyes twinkling. “My house.”

“WHAT?!” 

Stan glanced out from around his newspaper at me, and I grinned up at him apologetically. He sniffed disdainfully and went back to the paper. 

“Where do you expect us to go? A hotel? On Christmas Eve?” Scorpius asked, one of his eyebrows cocked. I could tell that he was a little bit offended by my reaction, and I felt guilty. If there should have been on thing I’d learned throughout this whole experience, it was that people aren’t always what they seem.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I just – I’m just – ugh.”

“What?”

“What if they don’t like me?” I asked in a small voice. I blushed a deep shade of crimson and stared down at the floor.

“They’ll love you,” Scorpius promised, pulling me to him again. I buried my face in his shoulder and tried to remember anything I’d ever been told about the Malfoy family.

That was a bad idea. Most of the things I’d been told were bad. His grandfather was in prison because of his activities as a Deatheater. His grandmother was known as a heartless shrew. His father was the Anti-Christ in most of my family’s eyes. His mother was a hard woman who made the Stepford Wives look like trailer trash. 

Yeah, bad idea. 

“Or they’ll hate me,” I reminded him. 

“Not all families are prejudiced,” Scorpius pointed out.

“Are you saying my family is prejudiced?”

“If the shoe fits.”

I glared at him. My family was not prejudiced. His family had helped an evil dictator who had tried to exterminate an entire race for Merlin’s sake! Then again, he had almost gotten into a huge fight this afternoon with James just because he was a Malfoy and was in Slytherin.

“Okay, so my family is a bit prejudiced,” I conceded. “But that’s not the point. I don’t want what happened today to happen again.”

“It won’t,” he said, kissing my temple. “I won’t let it ever happen again.”

 

 




 

The rest of the ride to Scorpius’s house passed fairly quickly. The Knight Bus really moved fast. Before I even had time to really think about what we were doing we were slowing down to a stop in front of a posh looking apartment building.

“This is it,” Scorpius told me, standing up from the bed we had moved to. I stood up slowly, not really wanting to get off of the bus. I had to wonder how Scorpius could ever have wanted to meet my family. Just the idea of seeing his family at the train station would have been nerve wracking. The idea of going to spend Christmas with them, unannounced, well it was mind blowing to say the least. 

“C’mon,” Scorpius said teasingly. “They don’t bite.”

“Good to know,” I mumbled, taking his outstretched hand and allowing myself to be led off the bus. Scorpius dropped a few coins into Stan’s hand. I wasn’t sure what that whole exchange was about, but my guess was that it was to keep his mouth shut about what he saw back at the Burrow.

We walked out into the cold London air and I shivered. Scorpius squeezed my hand reassuringly and I tried to get my heart rate back to normal and to stop my palms from sweating so horribly. Scorpius hadn’t seemed to notice yet, or if he had he hadn’t said anything, but I felt gross. 

There was the loud squeal of tires and the roar of an engine from behind us, and I knew that the Knight Bus was gone. The Muggle doorman, who stood a few meters from us, hadn’t seen or heard anything. As if he had known I was thinking about him, he turned towards us.

“Oh, Mister Malfoy, it is a pleasure to see you this evening. I was not aware that you were coming home from your friend’s this holiday. What brings you here tonight?”

“Just thought it would be nice to spend Christmas with my parents,” Scorpius said casually, stepping forward and bringing me with him. “I get to see them so rarely. I also wanted to introduce them to my girlfriend.”

“Yes, yes” the doorman said, looking to me for the first time. He seemed surprised to see me standing there, hand in hand with Scorpius. Who had he been expecting, Anna?  “Well it is good to see you. Shall I tell them that you are here?”

“No, that’s fine, thank you Nigel. I think I should like to surprise them,” Scorpius replied. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from laughing. He sounded so posh, and so – well, so much like how I would have expected him to act last year. It was odd, now that I knew what he really was like.

“Right,” he said, winking. “Good night Mr. Malfoy. And Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Nigel,” we chorused, walking through the opened doors and into a very bright, white lobby. Golden lifts ran along one side of the room, while a set of golden mailboxes was on the other. A white, leather sofa and a glass table sat along the right wall, with the newest magazines and newspapers arranged strategically along the edge of the table.  

Wow, and I thought I lived in a nice house.

“Wow,” I gasped, looking around at the lobby. “It’s beautiful.”

“Its home,” Scorpius grinned. “What were you expecting – a castle, turrets, and dungeons?”

“Something like that,” I mumbled, still unable to take my eyes off of the room. The place my parents had described to me a long time ago looked nothing like this.

 He led me over to the lifts and pushed the up button.  A second later the closest lift doors opened up and we stepped inside. Much like the lobby, the lift was white, with a mirrored back wall and golden handle bars.

The doors closed shut, and Scorpius pressed the 23 button.

“So tell me,” I asked as we began to rise, “how is it that you know how to work a lift, but not a microwave?”

He looked down at me and grinned. “I know how to use a microwave, Rose. I just pretended not to know.”

I hit him hard in the shoulder. “Why would you do that?”

“So that you could feel like you knew more than me for once.”

“I just pretend to know next to nothing so that you feel good,” I joked back.  

 “Well then, you are a very convincing actress,” he smirked.

I stuck my tongue out at him and he kissed the top of my head.  

When the doors slid open a few moments later I felt my stomach drop into my bum. I was really here. I was really going to meet the Malfoys. Dear Merlin help me.

“Are you ready for this?”

I looked up at Scorpius, knowing full well that I was giving him a look that said “are-you-mental?”

“I feel like I’m being fed to the sharks,” I admitted.

“Where’s that Gryffindor courage?” he joked.

“I’m not a Weasley anymore, remember?” I asked bitterly, looking down at the carpet. It too was white.  

“Hey!” Scorpius barked angrily, pulling my chin up to look at him. “I don’t ever want to hear you talk like that, okay? You’re more a Weasley than your father, or your mother, or anyone else is. You hear me?”

“I hear you,” I mumbled.  

“Good,” he replied, his hand still holding my chin. He bent his head down a little bit and gave me a light peck on the lips. “We should go in now. Otherwise they’ll start to wonder who is standing and talking outside the door. It would ruin the surprise.”

“Oh joy,” I muttered. From the way Scorpius chuckled, I was sure he had heard that comment.

I watched as Scorpius raised his hand and grabbed the door handle. I knew it was stupid, but I closed my eyes. I couldn’t watch. It was too nerve wracking. My palms were sweating again. I moved my palm away from Scorpius’s, so that just our fingers were twined. There. That would do.

But what if his father wanted to shake my hand. Then he would feel my sweaty palms and would be completely put off from me. Then his mum would hate me because his dad hated me. And if his mum hated me, then his grandmother would definitely hate me. Oh, it was a vicious cycle. My relationship with Scorpius would be ruined because I had sweaty palms.  

I heard the door knob click and then the sound of the door swinging open. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. Well that wasn’t so bad. It was just a normal foyer.

We stepped inside, and Scorpius took off his shoes.  I followed suit, not wanting to break any rules already. 

We walked down the hallway, which was as white as the lobby had been, but was accented every few feet with family pictures. There were a lot of Scorpius and pretty ones of Mr. Malfoy and Mrs. Malfoy together on vacations or on a blank white background.  

The hallway was not as long as it seemed from the foyer, and soon we were walking into the giant common room like thing. On the right was the open living room. On the left was a small kitchen table in an open area that lead to a walled kitchen. The nearest kitchen wall had a small bar cut out into it, and there were very modern looking black stools pushed up under the bar. The hallway kind of ran between the two sides and really reformed on the other side, where I’m assuming it led to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Scorpius stopped when we reached the bar. I could hear someone cooking in the kitchen, despite the fact that it was going on eight thirty. I stood there awkwardly and tried not to make any noise. It seemed that Scorpius really was going for the surprise technique since he still hadn’t shouted or anything to announce our presence. 

I glanced through the bar into the kitchen, and I saw a dark haired woman, probably in her late thirties or early forties, taking a pan of cookies out of the oven. She had her back turned to us, which is probably why she hadn’t turned around yet. She wore a pair of black jeans and a long sleeved emerald shirt. I had to admit, I was surprised. I wasn’t sure what I had expected – corsets and dark black cloaks maybe – but the woman standing before me definitely wasn’t it. 

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.  

I guess his mum must have sensed that there were two sets of eyes staring at her, because she turned around, taking off her oven mitts. I watched rather sheepishly as her eyes found Scorpius first and grew very wide.

“Scorpius!” she cried, throwing her oven mitts down on the counter and hurrying around to meet us. “I didn’t expect you home this year! This is wonderful! Draco! Look who’s home!”

Scorpius let go of my hand and walked forward to envelope his mum in a hug. She was rather tall, almost as tall as he was, and was even prettier from the front. She has large green eyes, and her dark hair was fashioned in a stylish bob. She and Scorpius had the same twinkle to their eyes.

“Yeah Mum, we weren’t expecting to come home either, but circumstances…” he told her. She pulled away from him until he was an arm’s length away, and studied his face carefully. I knew what she was doing – my mum did it every year when we came home. It was the check to see if anything had changed in you since they last saw you, and the check to make sure that you were really there, in their arms again. It was a mum thing.

Suddenly, something he said seemed to dawn on her. “We?”

“Uh, yeah, Mum,” Scorpius said awkwardly. Hadn’t I been standing next to him when she turned around? “We.”

He gestured behind himself to me. I felt my cheeks turn bright red, and I smiled sheepishly at Mrs. Malfoy.  Her eyes grew very wide and then she turned to Scorpius. Some unspoken understanding ran between the two of them, and he nodded. Then she turned back to me and beamed.

“Oh, you must be Rose!” she cooed, extracting herself from Scorpius and coming to stand in front of me. She was even prettier up close. “I’ve heard so much about you! It’s a pleasure to meet you!”  She pulled me into a hug, and I stood in her arms in shocked silence. That definitely hadn’t been the welcome I was expecting. Where was the loathing, the awkwardness?

I looked over at Scorpius, who was staring wide-eyed at the sight of his mother hugging me, the expression on his face one of horror. His face was turning bright red.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Malfoy,” I replied, hoping that this would stop her from hugging me.

“Oh please,” she said as she released me, “call me Astoria. Mrs. Malfoy is my mother-in-law.”

“Okay, Astoria,” I said, smiling. I couldn’t help but smile around her. She was just so nice! It was odd.

“All right, Mum,” Scorpius said, stepping around his mum to stand next to me. I could tell that he was mortified by the entire situation. “That’s enough. Where is everyone?”

Astoria grinned at her son (they had the same grin!) and then spoke. “Your father’s in the bedroom. I don’t know what is taking him so long. Draco! Come out here please! Look who’s home! Draco!”

There was the loud sound of a door opening and closing, and the sound of two sets of feet on the floor, followed by what sounded like a man saying “I’m going to get you” in a pretend scary voice. What in the name of Merlin…?

Suddenly there was a high-pitched tiny scream, followed by a burst of giggles, and the sound of a man laughing, and then Draco Malfoy stepped around the corner. In his arms was a little oriental girl.

“What is it Astoria? I was just getting Mira ready for bed-“ his words were cut off when he saw Scorpius and me standing there.

“Look whose home,” Astoria echoed, smiling at her husband.

“Scorpius,” Mr. Malfoy said, stepping forward more into the room. “Look at you. We weren’t expecting you home this year.”

“Yes, well, things got complicated,” Scorpius replied. 

Mr. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed at his son’s words, but he did not say anything. The little girl in his arms was squirming, so he put her down on the ground at his feet. She was very small, barely reaching Draco’s knees, but she looked to be about four years old.

I watched as she turned around and looked over at us, her eyes going very wide when she saw Scorpius.

“Scorpy!” she cried, running forward and throwing herself at Scorpius, hugging his legs.

“Miri!” he replied, picking her up and swinging her around. “Oh, I’ve missed you! How’ve you been, sissy girl?”

“Good,” she told him, grinning. She was missing her two front teeth. “I’s is four now.”

“Wow!” he said, as if this was the most amazing thing in the world. “Four! You’re getting so big.”

“I’m a big girl,” she nodded, pointing at herself.

I had to admit, she was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. 

“Who is dat?” she asked suddenly, pointing over at me.

Scorpius grinned as I blushed. She was only a four year old, for Merlin’s sake, but somehow I knew that this was the real test. 

“This is my friend Rose,” Scorpius said, turning so that I had a better view of the girl. “Rose, this is my sister Mira.”

“It’s very nice to meet you,” I said, smiling at the girl. 

“She’s pretty,” Mira said, turning back to Scorpius. I flushed crimson and looked down at the carpet. “Do you kiss her?”

“That’s enough, Miri,” Mr. Malfoy interjected before I could die of embarrassment. I looked up to see that he was smirking down at his son, who too was red from embarrassment.  

“It’s a pleasure to have you in our house for Christmas, Miss Weasley,” Mr. Malfoy said, taking Mira from Scorpius. “Make yourself at home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy,” I replied. “It’s a pleasure to be here.” 

He nodded at me and then at his wife and son, and carried his daughter back the way he had come. I thought I distinctly heard Mira whining that she didn’t want to go to bed yet, and I suppressed a chuckle.

“Well, that was awkward,” Scorpius announced after they were gone.

“She’s cute,” I replied. “I didn’t know you had a sister.”

“We adopted her four years ago,” Astoria told me. “She was brought to St. Mungo’s, where Draco works, and just left there. Draco brought her home as a surprise for me, instead of taking her to an orphanage. I’d always wanted a little girl, but after Scorpius was born I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children.”

I wasn’t really sure what to say to that. “I’m sorry.” I decided that that was probably the proper thing to say.

“Oh, no need to worry,” Astoria said. I could tell that this topic was somewhat painful to her still, for her pretty eyes were clouded. “Mira has been a blessing to us. Anyway, you two look exhausted. We should all get to bed. It’s a big day tomorrow.”

“That’s a good idea,” Scorpius said. “But where should Rose sleep?”

“Oh dear,” Astoria replied. “We can’t have her sleeping on the couch, and your father and I turned the guest room into an office for him. He’s been working at home more lately, now that he got that promotion. Oh! There’s a pull out couch in Miri’s room. I’ll make that up for her.”

“Really, I don’t mind sleeping on the couch,” I told her, not wanting to cause any trouble. “It wasn’t really fair of us to just drop in like this. I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Oh no, Rose! It’s fine, really,” Astoria assured me. “You’re part of the family now. We’ll make room. You’re not a bother.”

“Well, thank you,” I replied, pleasantly surprised. I felt Scorpius take my hand back into his and give it a light squeeze.

“Rose,” Scorpius said, “you don’t have any clothes.”

“What?”

“We left your trunk back at your house,” he clarified. “You don’t have any pajamas, or clothes for tomorrow, or anything.”

“Damn, you’re right,” I sighed. “Well, I don’t mind sleeping in this. And I guess I could Floo home tomorrow and get my clothes.”

“No!” both Scorpius and Astoria insisted at the same time. I knew Astoria was saying that to be a good hostess, but Scorpius seemed infuriated at the idea of me going back there.

“Rose, you can borrow some things of mine,” Astoria assured me. “We seem to be about the same size.”

“Are you sure?” I asked meekly. They really were being over-accommodating. I was just a huge problem.

“Yes, yes,” Astoria said, placing her hand on my shoulder and pulling me towards her bedroom. “I insist.”

“Thanks Mum,” I heard Scorpius call after us. I glanced back to see that he was still standing there, staring after us bemusedly.  

Astoria led me down the hallway to the back end of the flat, which had four white doors. 

“The room closest on your right is Scorpius’,” Astoria told me, “and the one next to that is the bathroom. Mira’s is straight ahead. Ours’ is the room on the left.” 

We walked into her bedroom, and I felt my mouth drop open. The room was large, larger than the kitchen and dining room put together, and very open. In the middle there was an enormous bed. It was made of dark wood and had emerald sheets and pillows, and emerald hangings around it. There was an armoire of the same color on the right, and dressers of the same color on the left. There were two French doors on the left, which I assumed led to the closet. A few paintings hung on the walls, and there were pictures of their family on the dresser, along with many expensive looking perfume bottles.

“Your house is very beautiful,” I commented, afraid that she would think I was an idiot if I kept my mouth open any longer.

“Thank you very much,” she smiled. 

She walked over to the set of French doors and pulled them open. I had never seen so much clothing in my life. She had enough to form a store in there!  She walked inside and I waited politely outside, not wanting to hover or crowd her. A moment later she returned, something silky and red draped over her arm.

“Here you go,” she handed me the clothing. “I think that these should fit you.”

In my hands I held a red silk robe, that didn’t look like would come down past my mid-thigh, and a very short red silk nightdress.

“Umm, thank you,” I replied. Did that woman remember that I was her son’s girlfriend? Why was she giving me lingerie?

“You’re welcome!” she smiled. “I’m sorry I don’t have anything more appropriate, but I always sleep in nightdresses.”

“Oh, it’s really fine,” I answered, smiling despite the fact that I was dying of mortification on the inside. “Thank you for loaning me something.”

“It’s not a problem at all dear,” she said. “I’m just glad you’re here. I haven’t seen my son look at a girl this way in a long time. If you make him happy, I’m happy.”

“Scorpius is a great bloke,” I told her, feeling warm and fuzzy at what she had said. 

“Well, good night, Rose,” Astoria said after a moment. “You can use the bathroom to change.” 

“Good night, Astoria,” I said on my way out. I walked out into the hallway, and was not surprised to see Scorpius leaning against the wall by his room.

“You got some pajamas?” he asked when I had shut the door behind me. I held up the silky red things, blushing furiously.

“Yes. Your mother was very generous.”

Scorpius eyed the lingerie curiously. “My mother is a divine woman,” he said wolfishly, letting his eyes run over my body, as if he was imagining them on me.

“And you, sir, are a devil,” I joked back. 

He strode over to me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “So seriously,” he said, gazing down at me with his forehead against mine. “Is this so bad?”

“Compared to my place,” I conceded, “this is pretty nice.”

He smirked, as if to say, “I told you so.”

“Scorpius,” I asked after a moment, “do you think I’ll ever be able to go back there again?”

He was quiet for a moment, and his eyes took on that curious look again. “Time heals everything.”

I nodded, feeling like I was going to cry again. His hands pressed more firmly into my back, pulling me closer to him. I felt my breath catch in my throat as I looked up at him. There was something furious in his expression, something wild. 

“Rose,” he said very solemnly, his voice thick with some unknown emotion, “I’m sorry I punched your father.”

“I’m not,” I replied honestly. He seemed startled by the conviction in my voice, but happy at the same time. “He deserved it.”

“I just-“ he began, but stopped, trying to find the right words. “I couldn’t stand hearing him say those things to you. You don’t deserve that.”

“Well thank you,” I said, starting to cry. I felt like all I was doing was crying these days, but I really couldn’t help it.  

“I won’t let him hurt you again,” he promised. Then he leaned down and kissed me very lightly on the lips. One of his hands cupped my cheek, and I felt my own hands snake around his neck. I pressed my lips harder to his and I felt my mouth open a little bit. He pulled me tighter to him and responded with just as much vigor as I had. I felt his tongue trace my bottom lip.

“Eww!”

Scorpius and I pulled apart quickly and I felt myself turn bright red.

“Mira!” Scorpius said angrily, looking down at his sister, who was standing outside the door to her room, grinning at the two of us mischievously. “You’re supposed to be asleep.”

“I can’t sweep,” she said, gazing up at him innocently.

“Do you want me to read you a story?” he asked tiredly, running his hand through his hair uncomfortably.

“Yeah, yeah! Read me Babbity Rabbity!” she cried, running over to Scorpius and grabbing his hand.

Scorpius looked back at me apologetically and let himself be pulled into her room. “Good night, Rose,” he called softly before he disappeared behind the door.

“Good night, Scorpius,” I called back. ‘I love you’ I thought softly to myself.  

 

 

 





A/N: Yay! I finally finished it! What did you think? I really hope you liked it. I'm sorry this chapter has taken so long (although really it was only six days) I was pretty busy with New Years and I had some issues with the beginning of this chapter. It was re-written about five times. 

Anyway, what did you think? Did you like it? Dislike it? Favorite quotes? Characters? Please, please review!  

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed it. :)


Chapter 26: One of Us Now
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“Wake up! Wake up! WAKE UP!”

I rolled over and pulled the covers up over my head protectively.

“Rosie!” a small voice whined. “C’mon! Wake up!”

I heard the scurrying of little footsteps on the floor and then something small and wiggling crawled into bed next to me. 

“Hello,” that same chirpy voice said. I opened my eyes slowly, knowing exactly what I’d see. There was Mira, dressed in a pretty pink nightgown and pigtails, staring up at me through pretty almond shaped eyes.

“Hello,” I sighed.

“You’re awake!”

“I am now,” I grumbled, pulling back my sheets and sitting up. I glanced around the room. It was a pale shade of pink with dark pink accents, and contained in one corner was an overflowing pink toy box containing more dolls and teddy bears than I could count. Finally, I spotted a pink clock in the shape of a crown on the dresser. 5:30. Dear Merlin, I had never been awake this early in my life.

“Mira,” I said, trying to be kind despite the fact that I was feeling horribly grouchy, “isn’t it a bit early to be awake?”

“It’s Christmas,” she replied, smiling such a cute smile that I couldn’t be mad at her.

“I know,” I replied, feeling suddenly happier. “Are you excited?”

“Yeah!” she squealed, bouncing up and down. “I wanna open presents!”

“Soon,” I chuckled, pulling at one of her pigtails playfully. “We’ve got to wait for your mum, dad, and Scorpius to wake up.”

“Let’s wake them up!” she cried excitedly. In an instant she was bounding off of the bed towards the door.

“Hold it!” I cried, shooting an arm out and blocking her from going any further. “I’m sure your Mummy and Daddy don’t want to be woken up right now.”

She stopped trying to get out of my arm and looked up at me. I could tell that she was trying to think of a way to convince me, but then her little shoulders shrugged.

“Okay,” she conceded. “What about Scorpy?”

I thought for a moment. Why should I have to suffer at the mercy of a four year old at an ungodly hour of the night on Christmas alone?

“I don’t think Scorpius would mind if you woke him up.”

I released her waist and watched her scurry out the door. Then I yawned and stretched and stood up. I couldn’t stay in Mira’s room all day. And for once I was craving a cup of coffee.

As I walked towards the kitchen I wrapped my arms around myself, still self conscious despite the fact that no one else was awake. As I had assumed when Astoria first handed the pajamas to me, the robe and nightdress hung only to my mid-thigh. To make matters worse, the top was low cut in a V style and trimmed with a rose-colored ribbon.

I stumbled into the kitchen and instantly spotted a black coffee pot sitting on the counter next to the sink. I could already smell a pot brewing. They must have had it on an automatic timer. I found the clean mugs in the cupboard above the pot and poured myself a glass, then walked to the table and slouched down in a chair. Today was Christmas. I was sitting in the Malfoy’s kitchen in silk lingerie, drinking a cup of coffee. A lot had changed in such a small amount of time. Had it really only been two days ago that I turned seventeen? Had it only been last night that I’d run away from my family? For the first time in my life I felt older than my age. I was so exhausted, so stressed, and so emotionally vulnerable. It was like I was thirty-five.

I sighed and took a sip of my drink, relishing in the feeling of the hot liquid sliding down my throat. Yes, defiantly thirty-five.

Before I had time to finish my cup of coffee I heard a door open down the hall and Mira’s quick little footsteps across the floor, followed by louder, heavier one’s that I assumed to be Scorpius’s. Ha ha, sucker.

“Look at who I’ve got!” Mira said excitedly to me, walking into the kitchen. She was leading Scorpius by the hand. He looked about as bad as I felt.

“Good morning,” he grumbled, his eyes still have closed with sleep. 

I smiled like the sadist that I am. “Good morning, sunshine. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” he yawned, letting go of Mira’s hand and fixing himself a cup of coffee and then slouching down in the chair next to mine. I watched as he took a large gulp of his drink and then dropped his face into his hands with a groan.

“Are you tired?” I asked, just kind of wanting to be a pain. The look he shot me plainly said, ‘you think?’

“Why aren’t you dead as well?” he asked. I wiggled the almost empty cup in my hand.

“Speaking of which,” I said, standing up, “I think I need some more.” I walked over to the counter to pour myself another. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Scorpius sit straight up, suddenly awake.

“What?” I demanded, cradling my freshly refilled cup in my hands and leaning back against the counter.

“You’re wearing my mum’s pajamas,” he replied, smirking wickedly. 

I felt myself blush the same color of the skimpy silk that I was currently wearing. Of course, the one time of the entire night that I forget that I’m wearing them is the time that I should be most alert. I could feel his eyes on me and I had the urge to somehow alter it to make it seem more appropriate, but I wasn’t sure if I should pull the hem down or the neckline up. Both seemed to have negative consequences.

I settled for doing both, although I’m not sure I succeeded in making my outfit any more decent. If anything, I probably ended up making an awkward situation worse by drawing more attention to it. 

“Yeah,” I replied, hugging my arms tight to me protectively. “You saw them last night, remember?”

“They look much better now,” he replied, still not dropping his gaze from me. 

“Well, uh, thank you,” I answered awkwardly, staring down into the depths of my cup so that I did not have to look at him. An odd heat was crawling up my neck, but it did not feel like my normal hot blush. Whatever it was, I kind of liked it. Damn, it was unfair how he could do that. 

“Yeah, you’re pretty,” Mira piped up, hopping into the seat I had recently vacated and looking between the two of us innocently.

“Well thank you,” I smiled, thankful that Mira was interfering. 

The room grew quiet after that and I sipped my coffee uncomfortably, not daring to move from my spot against the counter. I wanted so desperately to be able to take a shower and get dressed into something more suitable – especially since Scorpius’s father would we awake soon, but I did not have any clothes of my own except for the clothes I had arrived in yesterday. Astoria had taken those clothes though and insisted on washing them. I was stuck in these silk red monstrosities until she woke up.  

“When are we going to open presents?” Mira sighed, twiddling her thumbs impatiently.

“Soon,” Scorpius and I replied at the same moment. I snorted in laughter, which made Scorpius laugh as well. Soon Mira started giggling as well, and then we were all laughing hysterically, for no apparent reason.

“Well good morning,” Astoria said, gliding into the kitchen. “You lot are awake early.”

I heard Scorpius mumble something about Mira waking us up, and Mira squeaking something else, but my attention was elsewhere. I couldn’t believe it. Astoria was wearing practically the same things as I was, but in black, and she looked gorgeous. For a forty-ish woman, she was really fit and lean. My mum would never have dared wear something like that. Hell, even at seventeen I felt self-conscious in this, but she seemed comfortable.  

“Rose, are you coming?”

I snapped out of my thoughts to see Scorpius standing a foot from me, smirking down at me.

“What?”

“I asked if you were coming. We’re going to open gifts now,” Scorpius repeated.

“Oh, yeah,” I said, blushing profusely. “Sorry, I’m exhausted.”

“Aren’t we all,” Scorpius replied, taking my hand and leading me over to the living room.

Astoria was sitting on the floor next to the giant Christmas tree, which was probably nine feet tall, and decorated with hundreds of real fairy lights and icicles that were bewitched to stay up without ever melting. Draco had taken a seat in a comfortable looking white leather arm chair next to the fireplace. I noticed that although they had a modern flat and kitchen, they did not own a television. 

Scorpius led me over to the white leather sofa and pulled me down next to him, wrapping his arm firmly around my waist.  

“Okay, now that we’re all here,” Astoria said, picking up the first gift, which was wrapped in plain red with a gold bow, “shall we open gifts?”

“Yeah!” Mira cried, grabbing the gift from her mother’s hands.  

Mira opened a few gifts since she had much more than anyone else, and squealed and bounced over each one.  Astoria got a set of engraved wine glasses from Draco, and Draco got a new watch from Astoria. 

“Here you go, son,” Draco said, handing Scorpius a gift that was wrapped in green paper and a silver bow. “From your mother.”

“And your father,” Astoria added, grinning at her husband, who ran his hand through his thinning hair uncomfortably.

“Wow, a new broom speedometer and Seeker’s gloves! Thank you,” Scorpius replied, holding up the said gifts for everyone to see, even though his parents had got it for him.

“You’re welcome,” Astoria replied. Then she looked at me and her smile wavered a little bit. “Oh Rose, dear, you’ll have to forgive me, but we don’t have any presents for you. I didn’t know you were going to be with us –“

“Oh, no, no, it’s fine. Please, don’t apologize,” I said, cutting her off. “You’ve let me stay here unannounced and uninvited. Besides, you’ll have to forgive me for not getting you anything –“

“No need to apologize,” Astoria cut me off. “Like you said, this was all very sudden.”

Astoria and I smiled at each other, while Draco and Scorpius looked back and forth between the two of us like we were crazy.

“Can I open this one?” Mira asked suddenly, holding up a gold present.

“Yes, I think it’s your turn,” Astoria answered.

Present opening went on for about another hour. Scorpius got a few new sweaters and three new sets of pajamas. I made a mental note to ask him if I could borrow one of those to sleep in tonight instead of having to reuse these. 

I helped Astoria to clean up the wrapping paper while Draco and Scorpius helped Mira to stack all of her new gifts under the tree again so that she could play with them later. 

“Are you having a nice time here?” Astoria asked me as we walked back to the kitchen to deposit our trash in the rubbish bin.

“Oh, yes,” I replied, smiling gratefully. “Thank you for having me.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Astoria smiled. “I know it does not compare to having Christmas with your own family, but just so you know, you always have a place here with us.”

“Thank you very much,” I said, feeling a pang of sadness at the mention of Christmas with my family. I wasn’t even sure that we were a family anymore. We were broken. I wondered what Hugo was doing right now. Normally we would have woken up, eating a huge breakfast that Mum and Dad prepared together, and then opened presents before going over to Granny Jane’s and Grandpa Joe’s. Would they still do that? Or would Hugo open his presents alone this morning? Were Mum and Dad still living in the same house together? Or had one of them moved out?

There were so many questions, and I had none of the answers. I don’t know if anyone had the answers. Everything I had ever known was changing right before my eyes, and I wasn’t even there to see it. For the first time since I had come to the Malfoys’ I wanted to go home. 

“You’re very welcome,” Astoria said, coming over and pulling me into a hug. I hugged her back, but felt my insides twist. I wanted to hug my own mum. I wanted to smell in her normal, tea with sugar and cream scent and feel her short arms around my shoulders. Hugging Astoria was nice, but she was not my mum. She was foreign. She was practically a stranger. And I was just an intruder into her home.  

As much as the urge to go back home was strong now, I knew that I couldn’t go back. I wasn’t sure what I would find there. I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to go back. Or if they would even want me back. I had abandoned them. 

Astoria and I pulled away after a moment. “Well, why don’t you go get showered and dressed. Draco’s parents always come over for a Christmas lunch and dinner around noon.”

“Okay,” I nodded, feeling my insides squirm nervously. “But I don’t have anything to wear…”

“Right,” she said, ushering me towards her closet again. “Not a problem dear. I can lend you some clothes for the day. Maybe tomorrow Scorpius and you can go and get your things. I don’t mind lending you the clothes, but you seem a little bit uncomfortable.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I hate being such a burden to you all. I wasn’t invited here, and I don’t want to spoil your Christmas.”

“Rose,” Astoria said sternly, pausing inside of her room and turning to look at me. “You are not a burden. You’re with Scorpius, which makes you part of the family now. We’re happy to have you here. Draco and I know what it’s like to come from an abusive home, and we’re glad to help you whatever way we can.”

I was stunned into silence. Only one thing had resonated with me during her last speech. She and Draco knew. She and Draco knew about how bad my home life was. How did they know? Scorpius must have told them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to strangle him or thank him. Or cry. But I was so sick of crying. 

“He told you.” I croaked. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

“Yes,” she admitted. “But please don’t be mad at him. He told us last night after you went to bed. We were curious as to why you were here, and why you seemed so distraught. He’s worried about you.”

“I’m fine,” I said robotically, still too much in shock. 

“I know it’s hard. And I know that you don’t want to talk about it. If you want to talk to somebody though, know that I’m here for you. And even if my husband won’t say it, he understands as well. Know that we are here for you if you need it. I know that when I was your age, I would have wanted to know that there were adults out there that I could go to when I needed help.”

“Thank you,” I said quietly, feeling tears prick behind my eyes again. “For everything.”

She squeezed my shoulder supportively and understandingly. “Well, let’s not ruin Christmas with this serious talk. Come on, we’ll get you some more clothes.”

I nodded and followed her into the bedroom, where she handed me a pair of dark jeans and a pretty, short-sleeved green blouse. 

I thanked her again and walked over to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready. I had a long day ahead of me.

 

 




 

“Rose!” a voice hissed as I stepped out from the bathroom fully dressed and made-up a half-hour later.

I turned to the right, where I sensed the voice coming from and saw Scorpius’ head peeking out from behind his door. He waved for me to come there when my eyes connected with his and I grinned, walking over to him. 

“What?” I asked but he just shook his head and motioned for me to follow him into his room. I sighed, but grinned and followed him.

The second I was through the door he shut it and locked it behind me. I glanced around the room, noticing that he wasn’t much more organized than I was. His desk lay in the right back corner and was mostly obscured by his open closet door. Clothes, magazines, and different balls for sports or gloves littered the floor and his bed, which lay on the left and was set with dark blue sheets, was unmade.

“What’s going on?” I asked again.

He turned to me and grinned. “I just wanted to give you your Christmas gift,” he replied, pulling a small present, wrapped in green and red and trimmed with a gold bow out from his pocket.

“Scorpius,” I breathed, staring down at the box and blushing. 

“I brought it with last night,” he said, answering my unasked question. “Just in case.”

“Oh,” I said lamely. I wasn’t even sure what to say to that. I was still so in shock.

He grinned and took my hand, pulling me over to his bed and sitting me down next to him. He put the small box in my hands and stared down expectantly at me.

I took a deep breath and carefully undid the bow and then ran my finger under the tape to open the paper. I could tell that Scorpius was getting impatient with me for taking so long, so I clumsily unwrapped the rest of the paper.

My breath hitched in my throat when I saw what lay underneath.

It was a small, square black box, with tiny white words on the top that read Harmony Jewelers. Scorpius had gotten me jewelry. I glanced up at Scorpius, hoping my expression read “are-you serious?” and not “I’m-going-to-faint”. He just smiled and squeezed my knee reassuringly.  

I slowly lifted the black lid, trying to remind myself to breathe through my nose so that I really did not faint. This was too much. I didn’t even know what it was yet, but it was too much. 

Finally the lid came off and I exhaled a breath of surprise and delight when I saw what lay underneath. Sitting on a bed of white fluff was a beautiful silver charm bracelet with six or seven different charms around it.

I glanced over at Scorpius, who was grinning at me like a fool and then back down at the bracelet. Then I carefully lifted it out of the box and took a closer look at the charms. The first was a tiny Eiffel Tower. The second was a dancing couple, who at closer examination I realized to be Belle and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. There was a small silver broomstick, a charm with the Cannon’s logo on it, and a purple flower. I gasped when I realized that all of the charms were answers to the questions he had asked me so long ago.  I slowly turned the bracelet around, looking at them all again. I noticed that there was one small, round one at the back. It was a plain, flat circle, but engraved on it were the letters SM + RW.  

Oh dear Merlin. Those were our initials. My heart felt like it was doing the conga in my chest.

I looked up at him and smiled despite the fact that I now had tears streaming down my cheeks. It was so beautiful. It was perfect.

“Just to remind you of the things in life to be happy about,” he said. “Do you like it?”

“No,” I replied, “I love it.”

He smiled broadly and took the bracelet from me, undoing the clasp with surprising ease for having such big hands. I held out my wrist to him and he redid the clasp. The metal was cold against my wrist, but a surge of warmth shot up from my wrist to the rest of my body. It was a perfect fit.

I glanced from the bracelet back to Scorpius, who was staring down at my wrist and the bracelet. I acted impulsively, grabbing the front of his white t-shirt with one hand and sliding my other hand around his neck. He looked down into my face this time and smirked, then covered my lips with his. It remained soft for a few minutes, and then I felt his tongue trace my bottom lip again. I reacted instinctively opening my mouth and letting him in and then doing the same. This was easier than I had ever thought it would be. I pressed myself closer to him, almost sitting in his lap until his grip around my waist tightened and he pushed me down against the mattress, so that he was on top of me. I gasped at the sudden change and I felt him chuckle.

Suddenly there came a knock at the door.

“Scorpius? Are you in there? Why is the door locked?” a shrill voice I didn’t recognize asked.

“Yeah, Grandma, I’m here!” Scorpius cried, pulling away from me and hopping down off the bed. I sat up, still too bewildered and embarrassed to fully sense what was going on. 

“What’s taking you so long?” the voice, dually noted as Scorpius’s grandmother’s asked.

“I’m getting dressed,” he called. He really was too. He had grabbed a pair of jeans and a navy sweater down from his closet and was pulling a pair of boxers and socks out from his dresser.

“Okay! Well hurry up dear! Your grandfather is getting impatient.”  

Scorpius sighed loudly and slammed his drawer shut. I chuckled lightly and he turned to me and grinned.

“Do you mind?” he asked, twirling his finger in a circle as if to indicate turning around.

“Oh, right, sure,” I replied, blushing and turning to face his wall. I heard the hurried movements of him dressing behind me, followed by the soft thud of clothes hitting the floor. Oh dear Merlin. I could just imagine what Noel or Ashley, or worse my parents and family would think if they knew that I was sitting on Scorpius’s bed as he got dressed.

“Okay, you’re good,” he said a few moments later. I turned around, biting my lip to stop myself from saying something inappropriate and saw him spray on a squirt of cologne.  

I stood up from the bed and walked over to him, taking his hand. “What is your grandmother going to think when she sees you coming out of your room with me in tow?”

He chuckled. “I thought you were over the whole ‘people-think-we’re-shagging-thing’.”

“I am,” I insisted. “But this is your grandmother, for Merlin’s sake! I don’t want to start out on her bad side already. She’s going to hate me.”

“No she won’t,” he replied, squeezing my hand and making the charms on my bracelet jingle. 

I wanted to remind him that she was rooting for Anna, and that I was most definitely not Anna, but at the same time I didn’t even want to think about her today, so I kept my mouth shut. I’d let him think what he would, but I knew that I stood no chance with Mrs. Malfoy.

I guess he took my silence as acceptance because he undid the lock on his door and pulled it open, pulling me with him as he stepped out into the hallway. It was empty, but I could hear music coming from the living room/kitchen area so Scorpius pulled us that way.

My heart was beating loudly again, almost droning out the music. Scorpius’ parents might have been nice, but Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy had been Death Eaters. Bad guys. And my family had put their leader and most of their friends in jail. Hell, my mum had personally seen to it that Lucius got a nice long, twenty-five year sentence in jail.

The odds were not looking good.

“There you two are!” Astoria cried from in the kitchen as we passed the bar. “I was wondering where you’d gotten to.”

“Sorry, Mum,” Scorpius replied. “I just wanted to give Rose her gift.” Astoria turned around from where she was stirring a pot on the stove and beamed at her son, her eyes instantly dropping to my wrist. She obviously knew what I was getting ahead of time.

“Rose?” the same voice from behind the door asked. Scorpius and I turned to the small kitchen table where a woman with gray-white hair and cold blue eyes sat, her wrinkled hands folded into a peak in front of her nose.

“Yeah, Grandma,” Scorpius said, tugging me with him as we approached her. “Rose Weasley.”

Narcissa’s head jerked up at the mention of my last name and she glared at me, and then at our adjoined hands.  

“Rose Weasley,” she sniffed, giving me a once over and then looking back at Scorpius. “You’re with the Weasley brat now?”

“Mother,” Draco warned, coming out from the dining room with Mira in his arms.

“Excuse me,” she apologized. “You’re with the Weasley girl now?”

“Yes,” Scorpius said from between clenched teeth.

“What about Anna?”

I felt myself unconsciously grip Scorpius’s hand tighter.

“What about her?” Scorpius growled.

“Why aren’t you with her anymore?” Narcissa asked, arching one of her think blonde brows.

“Mum, would you mind helping me in the kitchen?” Astoria asked, effectively breaking up their argument.

“Yes, sure Astoria dear,” Narcissa replied, standing up and brushing past us into the kitchen.

“I told you so,” I said when she was out of earshot.

“She’ll come around,” Scorpius sighed. “She’s just got to get used to the idea that I don’t love Anna anymore.”

My mind suddenly connected something that Astoria had said the previous night. “I haven’t seen him look at a girl like that in a long time.”

Did that mean that he had loved Anna? Did that mean that he loved me? I was confused, and yet felt enlightened at the same time. I would have to ask Tony more about that when I saw him at New Years.

“C’mon,” Scorpius said, leading me towards the living room. “Let’s go listen to the radio.”

We walked into the living room and I noticed an elderly man with long, wispy white hair and many wrinkles around his sunken, yet still sharp grey-blue eyes sitting in the armchair that Draco had sat in this morning. His eyes were trained on Mira, who was playing with her new baby doll next to the Christmas tree.  

“Merry Christmas, Grandfather,” Scorpius called, sitting down on the couch. I took the seat next to him and tried to make myself look comfortable, but I imagined I looked more like I was in pain.  

“Merry Christmas, boy,” Lucius said, turning from Mira to look at Scorpius. His eyes were filled with warmth as they looked over Scorpius, but then his eyes landed on me and he looked at me inquisitively.

“Well, who is this lovely young woman?”

“This is my girlfriend,” Scorpius said, sounding pleased, “Rose Weasley. Rose, this is my Grandfather.”

“Pleasure,” I said, smiling nicely. His face, which had been pleased a moment before instantly turned to a look of horror and almost disgust.

“As well,” he spat, turning back to Mira. I glanced up at Scorpius sadly, to see that the muscle in his jaw was twitching again. He looked down at me and tried to smile, but it came out as more of a grimace. 

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, tilting his head down so that only I could hear him. “Some people never really change.”

“I understand,” I replied, not wanting for him to get upset. I’d known how they would react to me. Really, it could not be helped. Besides, Scorpius had had to go through much more – what with the majority of my family besides my mum, Hugo, and Nana Molly hating him. I could endure having his grandparents dislike me.

He kissed my temple lightly and pulled me into his chest. I laid my head in the nook between his shoulder and neck and leaned against him, just listening to Celestina Warbeck warble on about Christmas and Hot Love.  

We probably sat that way for about a half hour or so when Astoria called out that it was time to eat. Lucius was the first out of the living room and Draco came in to get Mira, who protested that she wanted to bring Samantha, her new dolly, with her. Scorpius helped me up from the couch and then took my hand and we walked to the dining room together silently. I could tell that he was still angry with his family for the way that they had acted. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t care, but I knew he would never believe me.

“Scorpius, you and Rose will sit over there,” Astoria called, pointing to two seats on the left in between Draco, who sat at the head, and Lucius. Scorpius nodded and dragged me over to the seat, pulling out the seat next to Draco for me. I sat down and stared at the white china plate that sat in front of me meekly. Scorpius pushed my chair in and then sat in his own seat. I squeezed his knee under the table and he glanced over at me and grinned the same wolfish smile I had seen him use last night. Dirty boy.

Draco tapped his knife gently against his crystal wine glass and then stood up, clearing his throat. “I’d like to say a few words before we eat. Father, it is nice to see you here for Christmas again, and not behind bars as usual. I’d like to thank my incredible wife Astoria for making us this delicious meal and to my son, for surprising us by coming home this year. It is great to see everyone here, healthy and happy, with a few additions to our family. Enjoy the meal!”

I smiled up at Draco, who sent me a small smile in return and then sat down. Scorpius ladled a serving of mashed potatoes onto my plate, followed by a few pieces of roast beef and some carrots. 

“I can feed myself you know,” I chuckled.

“Can I not do something nice for you once in a while?” he asked.

“You do too much for me,” I replied. He grinned at me and then picked up my full plate, switching it with his empty one.

“There, happy?” he asked playfully.

“Very.”

I ladled my own food onto my plate this time and was just beginning to eat when I heard the sound of a doorbell ringing throughout the house.

“I’ll get it,” Astoria said, putting her white linen napkin on the table and striding out of the dining room. We all heard the sound of the door open and then Astoria talking to someone quickly and quietly.

“Rose!” she called a moment later. I felt every eye in the room fall on me and I blushed bright red. Who could be here? How had they known I was here in the first place? Was the door really for me? I stood up from the table and discarded my napkin like Astoria had and hurried out of there. I turned down the hallway to see that Astoria was blocking my view of whoever was at the door.

“Yes?” I said weakly, coming to stop behind her.

“You have a visitor,” she said, turning and smiling at me. She stepped away from the door and there before me was my mother.

“Mum?” I asked, unable to believe the sight before me. My mother stood in the hallway, dressed in a long brown coat, her bushy hair tied back in a loose ponytail. Her eyes were rimmed with dark circles, and I could tell that she had been crying from her lack of make-up. “What are you doing here?”

“I-“ she said her voice cracking. “I wanted to make sure you were all right. You ran off last night while I was upstairs with Hugo. No one knew where you’d gone…I was worried.”

“I’m fine Mum,” I replied, leaning against the doorframe. I wanted to go over there and give her a hug, but she seemed on the brink of cracking and I was afraid she would crumble if I touched her.   

“I can see that,” she said, a tear rolling down her cheek.  “I brought you your trunk, just in case.”

“Rose,” Scorpius said from behind me. “What’s going on?” I turned to him to see that his eyes were wide as he noticed my mother standing in the hallway.

“Oh, hello Hermione,” he said, scratching his head uncomfortably.

“Hello, Scorpius,” she said, trying to smile but failing. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” he replied. 

“I brought Scorpius’s trunk as well,” she told me, gesturing to the two trunks that lay next to her. “I’m guessing that you don’t want to go back home, and I don’t blame you. Things are not what they used to be.”

“Yeah,” I said, feeling tears spring up in my own eyes. I felt so horrible. I had acted rashly last night, and she was right, I hadn’t told anyone where I was going or if I was okay. I felt terrible for making her worry. But she was right; I wouldn’t be going back there. “Thank you.”

She nodded and sniffed, folding her hands together like she always did when she was uncomfortable or trying to be strong.

“What happened last night?” I asked, unable to stop myself. “After we left?”

“Your father came inside. He was enraged. He smashed a vase and put a hole in the wall. Uncle Harry and your Uncle Charlie stopped him, and Apparated him away somewhere,” she said, her tone very slow and horrified. “I came downstairs with your brother during that awful scene and Hugo, oh.”

She started sobbing now, and I couldn’t hold back any longer. I ran forward and enveloped her in a hug, rocking her back and forth. She seemed so frail in my arms – almost thinner than she had the last time I’d hugged her, and she didn’t smell right. She smelled like cigarette smoke and booze, which made me think that she had spent the night at the Leaky Cauldron.

“Anyway,” she said when she had calmed down enough to go on. “Hugo told me that he hated me. He said that it was my fault that you’d left and my fault that your father was acting this way. He ran back upstairs and I broke down. Your Aunty Ginny helped me to get a room at the Leaky Cauldron and then went back to the Burrow to fix things up there. The last I’d heard, Hugo spent the night at the Burrow with Nana Molly and your father was at home alone.”

“Mum,” I said, unsure of what even to say. What did you say when your family was irreparably broken?

“Please, don’t feel bad,” she said, stroking my hair. “None of this is your fault. Your father and I have to work out our problems like adults. In the mean time, it’s probably best if you stay here. I’m assuming the Malfoys don’t mind?”

She looked over my shoulder to Astoria, who had been hovering in the background. Astoria nodded, and I could see that there were tears in her eyes as well.

“Yes, she can stay,” Astoria said.

“Thank you,” my mother replied. There seemed to be an unspoken mother thing passing between the two of them. 

“What about you, Mum?” I asked. “Where are you staying?”

“I’m staying at the Leaky Cauldron right now, but tomorrow I’m going to start flat shopping. Once I find a place I’ll go back home and get all of my things.” 

I hugged her tightly again, never wanting to let go. I wanted to tell her that she could stay with me, that everything would be okay, but I couldn’t. For one, it wasn’t my place. For another, I knew that everything most definitely was not going to be okay.  

“What’s going on?” Draco demanded, emerging around the corner and striding down the hallway. “It’s bloody Christmas, and the food is getting cold – Weasley?”

My mother smiled a small smile at him. “It’s Granger now, but yes.”

“Oh,” he said, taking in the trunks and the way that she seemed to be crying. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I’m not,” she said seriously. “It’s a relief.”

Draco nodded, obviously uncomfortable with what was going on. It was not a secret that the two of them had not gotten along during school.

“Well, I should be going,” my mother said, gazing at me sadly. “I don’t want to intrude on your meal. I’m sorry to come at such a bad time.”

“It’s not a problem,” Scorpius assured her.

“Mum,” I said, my voice giving out. I tried to find the words to convey to her what I needed to, but I couldn’t. 

“Hermione,” Astoria said, striding forward, her expression set and determined, “why don’t you join us for lunch?”

“Oh, I don’t want to impose,” my mother said, blushing.

“It’s Christmas,” Astoria said warmly. “It would be an honor to have you. Besides, what else are you going to do? Go back to the Leaky Cauldron?”

My mother considered her offer for a minute. “I guess you’re right,” she agreed. “I don’t want to be a bother though.”

“It’s not a bother,” Astoria assured her. “Right Draco?”

Everyone turned to look at the blonde haired man, who was leaning against the wall. He looked from his wife, to my mother, and back again and sighed. I guess he knew it was a lost battle. “No. It’s not.”

“Thank you,” my mother said, releasing me and stepping over the threshold. “This is really too kind of you. I don’t want you to take any pity on me.”

“Certainly not,” Astoria agreed, taking her coat and leading her down the hallway. “You can do the dishes.”

I heard my mother chuckle and then she disappeared around the corner. Draco sighed again and then pushed off the wall, following his wife and my mother back to the dining room.

“Wow.”

“Are you all right?” Scorpius asked me when we were alone.

“Not really,” I replied, picking up the handle to my trunk and dragging it inside. “I’m still in shock.”

“A lot is changing,” he said, pulling his own trunk in and shutting the door.

I leaned against the wall and he placed his hands on either side of my head, leaning his forehead against mine.

“It was nice of your parents to let her stay,” I said after a moment. “It means a lot to me.”

“Rose,” he replied, his voice husky and low, “you’re going to learn that we Malfoys take care of our families. And you’re one of us now.”

I smiled up at him and kissed him gently. I liked the sound of that.  






 
A/N: I've finally finished it! :) This has had to have been the worst week of my life. I've been super busy, and I started school again, so I've been bogged down with homework on top of it. But a new chapter's out! 

What did you think? Did you like it? Were there any surprises? Please let me know in a review! :) 

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Again, please please review! :)


Chapter 27: Doubts and Debacles
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Adults, I decided, acted their shoes sizes more often than their actual ages. They whined. They complained. They threw the occasional temper tantrum. And then they yelled at us for doing the same thing.

At least we had an excuse.

They on the other hand did not.  

“What the hell is she doing here?” I heard Lucius demand as Scorpius and I reentered the dining room.

“Ms. Granger is our guest today,” Astoria replied, her tone warning. “We are all going to welcome her with open arms.”

“Bloody likely,” I heard Scorpius mumble from behind me and I pretended not to hear. We were all thinking it. It was obvious that having Lucius and my mother in the same room was a recipe for disaster.  But it was Christmas, so we were supposed to have faith, right?

“Here you are, Hermione,” Astoria said, conjuring up an extra set of dishes and a chair for my mother at the table.

“Thank you,” my mother replied, smiling slightly. From the look on her face I could tell that she was questioning her decision of coming inside.

Scorpius and I hurried back to our seats and I was relieved to see that my mother was seated between the two of us. No one said a word as we went back to our meals and my mother helped herself to a plate. The only sound besides the normal clang of our silver ware on the plates was the furious and unintelligible mumblings of Lucius, who every now and then would glance up at my mother.

I didn’t understand what he was saying, but I knew from the few chuckles he elicited from Narcissa and the way he kept glancing at my mother that it was about her. I could tell that she knew that he was talking about her from the way her shoulders were thrown back and stiffened proudly. 

“May I have the rolls please,” my mother asked suddenly. I looked down the table, hoping that Astoria or Draco had the rolls in front of them. Fate, it seemed, had one hell of a sense of humor. The rolls were sitting directly in front of Lucius.

Lucius did not look up from his plate but went on muttering, as if he had not heard her.

“Excuse me,” my mother tried again, looking straight at the eldest Malfoy.

There was still no reply.

“Grandpa,” Scorpius yelled his tone angry.

“Yes, son?” Lucius asked, looking up at Scorpius innocently.

“Can you pass Hermione the rolls please?”

Everyone seemed to hold their breath at that moment. It wasn’t my mother who had asked, but Scorpius, his grandson, whom he had chosen to acknowledge. Either Lucius would blatantly ignore Scorpius’s request, or he would honor it.

I had a feeling that whatever Lucius decided in this moment was going to be a sort of defining moment for the rest of the dinner.  

“Why of course,” Lucius hissed, picking up the basket of rolls. “Here you go.”

I watched in horror as Lucius did not hand the basket of rolls to my mother but picked up the brown biscuit on the top and threw it at her, hitting her square in the face.

If the table had been silent before, you could have heard a pin drop now.  

“Thank you,” my mother said, her voice shaking with suppressed rage, picking up the dinner roll from where it had landed in her lap and placing it on the table next to her plate. She pushed a strand of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail out of her eyes and wiped the buttery crumbs that had stuck to her forehead off. In the corner of her eye I could see tears welling up. 

“Father,” Draco said, scooting his chair back from the table and standing up. The glare he was shooting at his father made me shirk back in my chair. This was the Draco Malfoy that I had heard about. “In the kitchen. Now.”

There was a loud clatter of silver against china as Lucius dropped his fork onto his plate and then scooted back like his son. He shot my mother and me a triumphant smirk as he sauntered out of the room in front of Draco.  

Draco closed the door behind the two of them and instantly there was a roar of chatter in the room.

“I’m so sorry about that,” Astoria cried, squeezing my mother’s hand across the table apologetically.

“He’s a bloody bastard,” Scorpius added, earning a glare from his mother.

“You’ll have to forgive my husband,” Narcissa said, putting on her most regal and yet fake airs. “He’s not been right in the head since he was released from Azkaban.” 

“He’s never been right in the head,” Scorpius snapped, and Narcissa looked taken aback.

I squeezed my mother’s knee reassuringly under the table.

“Are you okay?” I asked her quietly when the other three had gotten into an argument about whether or not Lucius was right in the head.

“No,” she replied just as quietly, gazing down at me sadly. “My life is falling apart.”

I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and hugged her to my chest, still not able to get over how frail she felt. It was odd how the roles seemed to have switched. A few weeks ago my mother had been hugging me tight while I fell apart in McGonagall’s office. Now it was my turn to hold her together while she fell apart.

Maybe that was what family really was – give and take. You take care of the ones who are in need, and trust that when your tie comes around that they would be there for you too.  

“Things will get better soon, baby,” my mother said, looking up at me backwards from where her head rested on my shoulder. “I promise. This will all be over soon. We can start again.”

I nodded, feeling the familiar tightening of my chest and burning behind my eyes. As much as that sounded nice, I couldn’t deny the fact that I didn’t want my family to change. I didn’t want to start over. As much as my home life had been horrible and as much as I despised how my father acted, it was the only life I knew. I was afraid of the change. I didn’t want things to change. I wanted to be a normal child, with two parents who loved each other and lived together.

If I was honest with myself though, I would have to admit that my life had never been normal. My parents were constantly followed by the press and everyone knew my name and knew me before I’d even set foot in Hogwarts. Things had always been different for me. 

I was just going to have to accept that. I didn’t like it, but I would.

Just then the door to the dining room opened again and Lucius was ushered inside by Draco. He did not look at anyone in the room, but stared down at the white carpet as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. Draco’s expression was set and determined, but I could see fury burning behind his blue-grey eyes. 

“Do you have something you would like to say?” Draco asked when Lucius did not make a move to do anything.

“I’m sorry I threw the bread at you,” Lucius mumbled, looking up at my mother with an odd glint in his eyes, “mudblood.”

There was a collective intake of breath around the table and I heard my mother scoot her chair back and stand up, her hands resting on the table in fists.

“For starters,” my mother said in her no nonsense court voice, “I would like to remind you that you are currently speaking to, and insulting, the Minister of Magic. I could have you arrested right now not only for harassment, but for attacking the Minister. And I guarantee you; the Wizengamot will not be as kind this time around.”

“Kind?” Lucius roared. “You and your precious Wizengamot stripped me of my wand. You locked me away in a dark dingy cell for twenty-five years of my life! What more could you take away from me?” 

“I don’t think you realize this Malfoy,” my mother said, her voice dripping with venom, “but it is thanks to me that you only got a twenty-five year sentence. The rest of the court was pushing for the Dementor’s Kiss, like the rest of Voldemort’s inner circle was administered. But I reminded them that you had renounced your ways during the Final Battle and that you had been a prisoner in your own home for the better part of two years. They didn’t need to take pity on you! I convinced them to – for the sake of your family. And now you dare tell me that I ruined your life? I saved your life, you ungrateful little bastard.”

Dead silence hung in the air.

My mother was breathing hard, her gaze hard and withering. Her hair looked bushier than it had before and I could see that she was visibly trembling, whether from anger or nerves I wasn’t sure. 

This was my real mother.   

My gaze darted back and forth quickly between her and Lucius, but neither one of them seemed to want to say anything more. Lucius was staring determinedly down at the carpet again, this time trying to hide the bright red flush that had overcome his cheeks.

Several more minutes passed in the same way. It seemed that for the first time in his life, Lucius Malfoy had been rendered speechless.

“I think the food’s getting cold,” Astoria said after a few more minutes of silence. 

“You’re right,” Draco said, moving around his father and back to his seat. “Let’s eat.”

Lucius and my mother both nodded and sat down in their seats again. My mother glanced at me out of the corner of her eye and I gave her a small thumb up behind the safety of the table. She grinned at me and then resumed eating.

 

 


 

The rest of the meal passed fairly quickly as my mother talked with Astoria and Draco about Ministry business while Narcissa fussed over Mira and Lucius sulked. Every once in a while Scorpius and I would sneak a glance at each other around my mother, but neither of us said anything. 

All too soon Astoria and my mother were clearing the dishes off of the table.

“Thank you for the wonderful meal,” my mother said to Draco and Astoria as she scraped scraps of leftover food off of my plate and onto hers and then placed hers on top of mine. “It was delicious.”

“Well thank you for joining us,” Astoria replied pleasantly, doing the same on the other side of the table. 

I fidgeted uncomfortably in my seat, not sure whether I should stand and help them clear the table and wash dishes as I usually did at Weasley family dinners or if I should just stay seated. Narcissa was still fussing over Mira, but then again she had grown up being waited on by house elves, so she wasn’t accustomed to having to clear her place.

I decided to be polite so I stood up and grabbed the bowl of leftover mashed potatoes and the bowl of carrots.

“Oh, Rose honey, don’t worry. Your mother and I can handle the clean up. Go enjoy yourself,” Astoria commanded and I gently set the bowls back down, feeling somewhat chastised. I guess she was just being a good hostess.

“Okay then, if you’re sure,” I replied unsurely.

“Yes, it’s fine. Why don’t you and Scorpius go listen to music in the living room?”

“Oh, in your trunk are the presents that were on your bed this morning,” my mother called after me as I turned to leave. I put the ones of Scorpius’s that showed up in there as well.”

“Okay, thanks Mum,” I replied, turning on my heel and smiling at her. She smiled back and continued clearing the table.

I felt Scorpius’s hand on the small of my back as he ushered me out of the dining room and I happily obliged. Presents! I was such a child sometimes. But really, I was excited.

“Do you want to open your gifts?” Scorpius asked, leading me back down the hallway to where our trunks lay.

“You have some to open too you know,” I reminded him.

“How could I forget?” he asked, chuckling lightly. “But admit it, you’re excited.”

“Maybe just a little bit,” I admitted, blushing. “But it’s Christmas. I’m allowed to act like a four year old at the mention of presents.”

“Do you like your gift?” he asked, suddenly grabbing my wrist and holding the bracelet he bought me up to the light.

“I love it,” I answered, smiling.

I really did love it. None of my other presents could measure up to it. Hopefully my gift to him would measure up as well. It wasn’t as sentimental, but it was something he had mentioned wanting, so hopefully he would like it.

“I’m glad,” he said, kissing the top of my hand lightly and then letting my arm fall back down to my side. “Did you get me a gift?”

“Maybe,” I teased, pretending to look guilty. “I thought you said you didn’t want anything.”

He glanced down at me, and I saw the look of uncertainty in his eyes. Either he was very gullible, or I was a good actress.

“Yes, but you said you wanted socks and I got you a bracelet,” he replied.

“Scorp, relax,” I laughed, wrapping my arm around him and hugging his waist. “I got you something.”

He broke out into a huge grin. “I knew it.”

I scoffed and punched him in the arm, grinning when I saw him wince a little bit. I still had it.

We stopped in front of our trunks and I bent over and opened mine, feeling the familiar flutter of excitement overcome me as I saw the brightly wrapped packages sitting on the top. I gathered the bundle into my arms and followed Scorpius back to the living room. We sat on the couch again next to each other and I placed my gifts in a pile on the coffee table in front of me.

“You go first,” Scorpius insisted, gesturing to my larger pile.

“Okay,” I replied, picking up the first one I saw. It was wrapped in sparkling purple paper and was a fairly heavy rectangular box. The tag on the top told me it was from Ashley. I unwrapped it slowly, chuckling when Scorpius clucked his tongue impatiently.  

It was a shoebox. Oh dear Merlin. What had she done?

I pried the lid off slowly, and there, wrapped in bright pink crepe paper was a pair of shiny black pumps.

“Heels?” Scorpius asked, cocking an eyebrow curiously.

“Ashley is a bit overzealous,” I replied, grinning when Scorpius nodded sagely.

“Seems like it,” he said, grabbing a silver wrapped gift and throwing it on my lap. “Open another one.”  

I picked up the new package and noted that it was from Noel. This time it was asymmetrically shaped and rather squishy. Oh bollocks. It had better not be what I thought it was.

I slid my finger under the Spell-O-Tape that held the paper together and unwrapped it, letting out a frustrated sigh when I saw what lay underneath. Now the pumps made sense. Because there, sitting on the undone silver paper was a little black dress.

“Bloody hell,” I mumbled, staring down at the garment on my lap.

“What is it?” Scorpius chuckled, picking it up and letting it unfold to its full length. I gazed up at it, and decided that it wasn’t as horrible as I had first thought. It was short, probably too short for my liking, but it was only black up until right under my chest. From there it was a white scoop neck with two thick tank-top like sleeves. It was rather cute.

“It’s a dress,” I said, still not able to take my eyes off of it. Where did they expect me to wear that?

“Oh,” Scorpius replied, nodding. “Well now you have something to wear to Tony’s party.”

Of course.

“Right, that’s on New Years, isn’t it?”

“Yep, at his house. It should be fun,” Scorpius answered, a mischievous glean to his eyes.

“I’m guessing there won’t be any adult supervision there then,” I asked, raising an eyebrow playfully.

“You’re of age now,” he smirked, “you can be our adult supervision.”

“Just call me Mummy,” I laughed and he chuckled, slinging his arm around my shoulders and pressing his lips lightly right under my jaw. The feeling of his soft lips against my throat sent shivers down my spine. He seemed to notice because I heard and felt him chuckle against my neck and then he brought his lips up to mine.

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” a voice said. I pulled away from Scorpius and felt myself brush profusely.

“No, its fine,” Scorpius said, his voice wavering as he tried not to laugh.

“Rose, I’m going to go now I think,” my mother said, coming into the living room from where she was standing at the entrance.

“Why?” I asked, feeling a panic rise in me for some unknown reason. “You don’t have to leave. It’s Christmas.”

“I know, honey,” my mum said, running her hand over her face tiredly. “But Tom is probably wondering where I’ve run off to. You know, it’s not every day that he gets the Minister of Magic sleeping at his inn. If I don’t get back there soon he’ll probably tell the Auror contingent I’ve been assigned that I’ve gone off.”

“You gave your special Auror squad the slip?” I asked, feeling quite in awe and shock of my mum. She had never been the rule breaking sort. But I guess that when you make the laws you can break them.

“Yeah,” she said, smiling sheepishly. “As far as they know I’m locked up in my room taking an extremely long bubble bath and nap.”

“Nice,” Scorpius chuckled.

“Well, thank you,” my mother said, her cheeks tinged a faint pink. “I really must be going though. I’ve already thanked your parents, but I’d like to thank you Scorpius for taking such good care of my daughter. You have no idea how much it means to me to know that she is being looked after by someone who cares about her.”

I felt my mouth fall open a little bit as I stared at my mother in shock, tears welling up behind my eyes. 

“It’s not a problem, Hermione,” Scorpius said, glancing down at me and shooting me a grin before looking back up at my mother. “I wouldn’t ever dream of hurting Rose.”

He smiled down at me again and I smiled back up at him, feeling butterflies dancing about in my stomach and my heart doing acrobatics in my chest. Maybe it was possible for Grangers/Weasleys and Malfoys to get along. Maybe Scorpius, like so many seemed to see and believe, really did love me back. Or maybe this was all just a very nice dream.

Whatever it was, I liked it.

 

 




 

The rest of the break passed fairly quickly. Well, too quickly if I was to really think about it. Scorpius and I spent most of the break sleeping, helping Astoria clean, playing board games or Exploding Snap, and occasionally taking walks around his block.

It was nice for once in my life to not have to worry about what I said or did and to just be able to enjoy myself. It was as if a giant weight had been suddenly lifted off of my shoulders. I felt as if I was standing straighter, laughing better, even breathing more evenly.

It was amazing what being happy could do for you physically.

Of course, I knew that the moment I left the sanctity of the Malfoy’s apartment and boarded the Hogwarts Express the giant weight that had been momentarily relieved would crash back down onto my shoulders as real life sunk in again. People would be beginning to hear about my parents impending divorce. Chances were that it would get around that I had spent the majority of my holidays at the Malfoys. Rumors would plague me wherever I went.  

But for now, I was determined to enjoy every second of my newfound happiness.

“Are you almost ready to go?” Scorpius asked, his voice muffled from shouting through the door to the bathroom.

“I’m coming,” I called back, holding onto the white porcelain sink as I slipped on the other one of my new heels.   

“I’m sorry,” I said breathlessly, pulling open the door and tottering slightly in my shoes. There was a good reason why I didn’t wear heels very often. 

I paused in the doorway when I noticed that Scorpius wasn’t really paying attention to me anymore. Or maybe it was better to say that he wasn’t listening to what I was saying anymore. He was definitely paying me attention though. 

“You look wonderful,” he said, smirking down at me, his eyes raking over my dress.

“Oh, well thank you,” I replied, blushing profusely. “It’s nothing much.”

“It’s not the dress,” he said, still not taking his eyes off of me.

I felt a grin break across my face and I blushed harder.

“Are you two almost ready to go?” Astoria asked, coming around the corner in a velvet sweat suit. I couldn’t help but feel relieved that she had interrupted that conversation.

“Yes, I was just waiting on Rose here,” Scorpius said, shooting me a cheeky wink. “You women. You lot take a long time getting ready.”

“But we look damn good,” I reminded him, and Astoria chuckled.

“That you do,” Scorpius said, his eyes sliding back over me again.  

“Well, let’s get a picture of the two of you,” Astoria said, pulling a gigantic camera from behind her back. How had I not noticed that before?

“Mum,” Scorpius sighed, “we really have to go.”

“It will be quick, I promise,” Astoria replied, holding readying the camera as if to prove her point. “Please?”

“Its fine, Scorp,” I said, laying a hand on his arm. He looked over at me and something changed in his eyes.

“Fine,” he nodded. “But only a few.”

Astoria smiled and motioned for us to stand closer together. Scorpius wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me to his side and I wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Say Dumbledore!”

“Dumbledore!”

By the time Astoria had gotten through taking pictures of us all I could see were two purple dots. I blinked a few times to try to clear my eyes of the image of the light, but it wasn’t really working.

“Okay, thanks you two,” Astoria said, smiling at us. “You’re free to go.”

“Thanks Mum,” Scorpius called as he led me down the hallway towards the fireplace, which we would be Flooing to Tony’s from.

“Happy New Year!” I called as I stumbled along in my heels.

“Happy New Year!” I heard Astoria call back. “Be safe. Make good decisions.”

“Yeah yeah,” Scorpius mumbled under his breath, grabbing my coat off of the back of the white armchair and holding it out for me. I slipped it on and hurriedly did up the buttons, feeling silly.

“You know we’re not actually going outside,” I reminded him.

“You never know,” Scorpius replied. “What if there’s a fire? Or what if you pull another runner?”

“Who would I be running away from?” I asked, smirking.

“You never know,” he smirked back.

“I thought you were leaving,” Draco said, coming around the corner, a pair of trendy wire glasses perched on his nose and a newspaper in his hands.

“We’re trying,” Scorpius sighed, smacking my hand out of the way gently and doing the button on my jacket that I was struggling with. “Rose is having trouble.”

“We’re Flooing,” I reminded his grumpily, “it’s not like I need a jacket anyway.”

Draco chuckled, settling himself on the chair that I noticed he always sat in. “Fighting like an old married couple.”

“Are not!” we both insisted at the same time. Draco just chuckled and shook his head.

“Let’s go,” Scorpius said after a minute, ushering me towards the fireplace. He grabbed a pinch of Floo powder out of a jar by the fireplace and then I did the same. “Just shout Zambini Manor,” he instructed.

I nodded and marched into the fireplace, crouching so that I did not mess up my freshly styled hair (it took me over an hour to do, considering I wasn’t allowed to use my wand on my hair anymore after I accidentally set it on fire back in fifth year). “Zambini Manor!”

I felt the green flames lick at my feet and then I was swirling past many different fireplaces, each one disappearing out of sight before I could get a good look inside. Sooner than I had expected I came to an abrupt stop and I stumbled out of the fireplace, tripping over the black rug that lay just to the front and landing sprawled on the floor.

“You always knew how to make an entrance,” a voice laughed. I pushed myself up to see that Noel and Tony were standing in the doorway, doing their best not to laugh at me.

“These death contraptions Ashley bought me for Christmas are not exactly ideal for Flooing in,” I mumbled, standing up and brushing myself off just as I heard another whooshing sound followed by Scorpius’s heavy footsteps.

“Get here all right?” he asked me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.

“Oh yeah, she landed here just fine,” Tony answered cheekily before I could respond.

Scorpius raised his eyebrows at me questioningly.

“Tony’s just being a berk,” I replied, smirking at the dark skinned boy across the room.

“Hey!” 

Scorpius laughed, kissing my temple lightly and pulling us towards the door. I hadn’t really had time to notice before, but we were standing in a sort of informal foyer, without any furniture and just a few pictures of old family members on the walls. A Flooing parlor, I had to assume. 

“Has the party started already?” Scorpius asked as we walked out of the parlor and down a long, rather dark hallway. I couldn’t see any of the pictures that lined the walls but I could see vaguely that there were several doors that led to different rooms I assumed.

“Yeah, it started about a half an hour ago,” Tony said, continuing to walk forward. “There are a ton of people here. I don’t even know some of them. It’s awesome.”

Scorpius laughed and nodded and I tried to feel excited as well, but to be honest I was more nervous than anything. I hadn’t really been around other people since the debacle at Christmas Eve, and I was suddenly terrified. The hallway felt tight and cramped and although I had never thought I suffered from claustrophobia, I was finding it rather hard to breathe. Scorpius seemed to notice my strangled breathing and pulled me tighter to him comfortingly. 

As we walked the dull thudding of loud music grew louder and louder until we emerged into a huge, dimly lit room. Everywhere you looked there were teenagers – lounging on a couch in the corner of the room, sitting at what looked like card tables with black tablecloths thrown over them, or over by a long table at the back, snacking on junk food and refilling their red plastic glasses. I couldn’t tell where the music was coming from – it was almost as if it was coming from the walls itself. Like the music, multicolored lights were swirling around the dance floor, but there was no sign of where they were coming from.

“Wow,” I said my eyes going wide as I took in the scene.

“Nice touch with the lights,” Scorpius commented.

“Thanks,” Tony replied, his chest puffing up proudly. “The charm took me three hours to get right. “It was worth it in the end.”

“I’d say,” Scorpius said appreciatively.

“Why are we just standing here?” Noel asked, brushing past Tony and into the room. “This is my song! Rose, let’s dance!”

“Umm,” I replied unsure.

“Go,” Scorpius commanded, smiling down at me. “I’ll go put your coat away.”

“Okay,” I answered, quickly undoing the buttons and shrugging my coat off. I gave it to Scorpius and he gave me a swift peck on the lips. Then Noel took my hand and pulled me out onto the dance floor.

“Merlin!” she cried when we had fought our way to the middle and were able to comfortably move around with being elbowed. “You look great!”

“Thanks for the dress,” I replied, glancing down at my dress just to see it again. It really was pretty. The hem fell just to my knee and the heels made my legs look long and pretty, not thin and rather chicken-like as usual. Plus, the white top made my breasts look a little bit bigger, which was always a plus. “It’s gorgeous!”

“Not a problem,” Noel grinned, throwing her hands above her head and wiggling from side to side happily. “I’m just glad it fits.”

“Oh, it does. The shoes fit great as well.”

“Ashley will be happy to hear it. We had to steal one of your shoes when you weren’t looking to find out what size you wore. “

“Where is Ashley anyway?” I asked, for the first time noticing my other friend’s absence.

“She and Jack Nott disappeared a little while ago,” Noel said, her eyebrow’s rising suggestively.

I felt my mouth drop open in surprise.

“Really?” I asked, unable to believe it. Ashley was so bubbly and vivacious while Jack was cold and uptight. Maybe it was really true that opposites attract.

“Yep,” she said grabbing my hands and making me jump up and down with her as the music got faster. My feet were already killing me. “It’s odd at first, but they’re actually pretty cute together after you get past how different they are.”

I nodded. I could picture it.

“There you two are,” a voice said from behind us and I turned around to see Tony and Scorpius fighting their way through the crowd, two glasses in each of their hands.

“Hey,” Noel said, blushing as Tony handed her one of the cups. “Thanks.”

“Having fun?” Scorpius asked me, handing me a cup of my own and taking a long gulp of his.

“Yeah,” I replied, my grin faltering as I stared into the depths of my cup. “This isn’t alcohol is it?”

“Does it matter?” Scorpius asked an unknown expression in his eyes.

“Alcohol and I don’t mix very well,” I replied, feeling sick just thinking about the last time I had had a cup of that stuff.

“Just one glass won’t hurt,” he said.

“Scorpius,” I sighed, looking up at him. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I wasn’t going to drink this. “Please.”

He looked down at me and the hard expression in his eyes melted. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

“Thank you,” I replied, smiling again and standing on my toes to plant a soft kiss on his lips.

“I’ll go see if the bartender has any apple juice for you,” he said cheekily.

“I’ll come with you,” I replied when I saw that Noel and Tony were now dancing together, their glasses held high above their heads as they swayed to the music. Scorpius grabbed my hand and together we danced/fought our way through the crowd again. Being around so many people in such tight quarters was making me hot and rather lightheaded. Finally we broke through the throng of people.

I took a deep breath, relishing in the feeling of the cooler air against my flushed skin. 

“This is fun,” I shouted to him over the sound of the music. I thought I heard him shout something back, but I couldn’t understand. He seemed to sense that as well and he squeezed my hand tighter.

“One glass of whatever non-alcoholic beverage you have,” Scorpius told the bartender when we reached the table at the back. The man, who wore a white button up shirt that was rolled up to his elbows and a black vest shot him a look that said ‘you-must-be-kidding-me’ but obliged anyway, pulling out a can of lemon soda and pouring it into a red cup for me.  

“Thank you,” I said, accepting the glass gratefully and taking a long sip.

The man nodded and then moved to fill what looked like a seventh year Hufflepuff’s order.

“Non-alcoholic, huh?”

I felt my shoulders stiffen at the sound of that voice.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay sober, Anna,” I replied waspishly, turning on my heel to face the dark hair girl. She was dressed in a shimmery silver dress that tied around the back of her neck and that hugged her figure nicely. Oh, how I hated her.

“Except if you want to be known as a baby,” she replied just as nastily, shooting Scorpius a flirtatious smile.

“She may be a baby,” Scorpius interjected, his voice hard and cold. “But she’s my baby.”

Anna visibly flinched at his comment.

“What’s going on here?” Al asked, striding up behind Anna and wrapping his arms around her waist. She grinned at me nastily and then leaned back into him.

“I was just talking to your cousin and Scorpius,” Anna said, her voice innocent and lofty now. “But they’re being mean to me.”

“Oh shove off,” I cried, my grip on my cup tightening so much that it made a foreboding cracking sound.

“Hey, don’t talk to her that way,” Al snapped, glaring at me.

“Don’t tell my girlfriend what to do,” Scorpius growled.

“She was my cousin before she was ever your girlfriend,” Al shot back.

“Stop,” I said, placing my hand on Scorpius’s arm warningly.

“What, are you going to let her stop you again, like at Christmas?” Al asked, chuckling darkly.

“Rose, let me hit him,” Scorpius asked, never taking his eyes off of Al.

“Ooh, you need to ask permission,” Anna asked, her tone mocking.

“Yeah, but I don’t need permission to knock your lights out,” I snarled, lunging forward at her, but was stopped halfway through by Scorpius’s hand grabbing me around the waist.

“It’s not worth it,” he said, although his eyes were ablaze with anger. “She’s not worth it.”

I looked up and watched with a sadistic sort of satisfaction as Anna winced again.

“What’s going on here?” Tony asked, coming out from a gap in the dancing mob with Noel not far behind him.

“I’m sorry Tony,” Scorpius said, his voice still dangerously low, “but I’m afraid I might spoil your party by committing a few murders.”

“Scorpius, mate,” Tony said, clapping his friend on the shoulder reassuringly. “Relax. And you two,” he said to Al and Anna, “bugger off or you’re out of here.”

Anna sniffed loudly and led Al away, into the depths of the mob.

“You should have let me hit him,” Scorpius said, looking at me.

“You should have let me hit her,” I replied. We both chuckled.

“Scorp,” Tony said, looking at his friend worriedly, “why don’t you go take a walk? You need to cool off a bit.”

Scorpius nodded wordlessly and stalked away, brushing my side reassuringly as he walked past me. 

“Oh, I hate her,” I growled when he was out of earshot.

“I don’t blame you,” Tony replied, glaring at where Al and Anna had disappeared to. “Anna’s a right bitch.”

I sighed, shifting uncomfortably in my heels. I needed to sit down. I gestured with my head towards an empty table over in the corner of the room and hobbled over there. I settled myself into the first chair that I saw and Tony and Noel filled in the others.

“Oh, that feels good,” I sighed, wincing slightly as I slipped off my shoes.

“These things are death traps,” Noel agreed. “I’m going to go get some more to drink. Does anyone want anything?”

I shook my head no while Tony ordered another glass of ‘punch’.

“So what actually happened back there?” he asked me when she was gone.

“Anna was just trying to pick a fight,” I sighed. “And it worked.”

“I don’t understand her,” Tony replied, taking a gulp of his drink. “First she dates Scorpius, and then she cheats on him and tells him that she doesn’t love him, and then now she wants him back.”

I nearly spat out the gulp of soda I had just taken.

“What are you talking about?” I demanded between coughs.

Tony scratched the back of his head anxiously. “Scorpius hasn’t told you?”

I shook my head no.

“I don’t know if I should tell you then,” he said nervously, glancing around in case anyone had heard.

“Please?” I asked, feeling a desperate sort of panic building within me. Anna had cheated on him? When? With who? And most importantly, why hadn’t I heard about this before?

“Rose,” he sighed dragging his hand over his face.

“Please Tony?” I begged again, putting on my best puppy dog face. 

He glanced around again and then leaned in conspiratorially. “Fine. I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell Scorpius it was me who told you.”

“I promise,” I nodded, leaning in as well.

“Well,” he began, clearing his throat nervously. “Scorpius and Anna had dated since our fourth year. Their families were both really pleased – you know, keeping it in the pureblood community and all – and Scorpius fell in love with her. It wasn’t that hard then. She was pretty, witty, clever -“

I shot him a glare.

“Right sorry,” he said, clearing his throat again. “Well the summer before this year Scorpius went over to the Rosiers' to pick Anna up for one of their dates and when he got there Anna wasn’t waiting for him in the parlor like she usually was. He went looking for her apparently, and this is where things get fuzzy because he has never told me all of the details really, but to make a long story short, he caught her in bed with Flint.”

I felt my mouth drop open as I thought of how horrible Scorpius must have felt. The flame of wrath I carried for Anna grew ten times bigger.

“Merlin,” I breathed.

“Yeah,” Tony said, his own voice barely masking the anger he felt as well. “Apparently she saw him and knew that she was caught. Scorpius told me that she just laughed. She told him she had never loved him and that she had just dated him because her parents wanted her to. To say the least, Scorp was crushed. I’ve never seen him so upset. He just laid on his bed for a week straight, his mum told me. After that he got up and didn’t mention Anna for the rest of the summer.”

“Coming back to school,” I said, my voice giving out.

“When he came back to school, Anna tried to apologize,” he continued. “She told him that she hadn’t meant the things that she said, and that she wanted him back. Scorpius told her to go fuck herself.”

I couldn’t even chuckle.

“And then he met you,” Tony said, his voice becoming lighter and a smile breaking across his face. “I never thought he’d get over Anna. But you, you’ve turned him around. I don’t know how you did it, but I think you’ve made him fall in love again – something that he himself swore never to do.”

I sat back in my chair unsure of what even to say. This explained a lot.

Suddenly I wished I had never asked.

“Hey you,” Scorpius said, settling down in the chair next to me. “I’m sorry I lost it back there.”

“It’s fine,” I said, putting on a fake smile. “If anyone deserves to be beaten to a pulp it is them.”

“Too right,” Tony added.

“What are you guys doing?” Noel asked, running over with two cups in her hands. “It’s a minute to midnight!”

Scorpius and Tony jumped up but I slowly rose up out of my chair.

“C’mon Rose,” Scorpius called, holding out his hand for mine. I gingerly laced my fingers through his and he pulled me back into the large group of people, who had all gone silent as they listened to the voice in the walls count down the seconds until the new year.

30! 29!

Scorpius and I stopped right in the middle, and he pulled me to his chest, resting his chin on top of my head. Through the crowd I saw Anna glowering at us.

Scorpius had chosen me, hadn’t he? That’s why I was here in his arms and she was standing over there, in Al’s arms. I had won. The thought brought a smile to my face and I bounced up and down excitedly, all my previous apprehension gone.

Scorpius grip on my waist tightened.

10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5!

“Count!” Scorpius shouted.

“3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEARS!” I shouted, jumping up and down as what sounded like fireworks and bells sounded throughout the room and cheers went up on all sides of us. Scorpius picked me up off of my feet and spun me around, planting me down in front of him and smiling at me.

“Happy New Year,” he breathed as he leaned down towards me.

“Happy New Year,” I replied as his lips pressed down against mine. 






 

A/N: I'm so sorry that this chapter took so long. There's really no excuse for it, although I have some. Hehe. Life's just been really crazy as of late, but hopefully things will start slowing down soon. I promise it won't take this long again. 

Anyway, what did you guys think? Like it? Dislike it? Please, please leave me a review and tell me! I really hope you guys liked it. 

Thanks for reading everyone! Look out for the next chapter soon! Please review!


Chapter 28: Bliss in the Breakdown
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

That’s what my mother had always told me.

In reality though, I was finding that when life gave me lemons, I wanted nothing more than to squeeze them in someone’s eye. Well, in Anna Rosier’s eye to be exact. Because really, that girl was becoming the bane of my existence. One of these days I was going to snap. And if that happened, well, then I wasn’t going to be responsible for anything I might do to her. 

But like my mum had so once wisely said, I would try to make lemonade out of the situation for now. 

“Rose, do you need help with your trunk?” Scorpius asked as he loaded his trunk onto the Hogwarts Express, grabbing the handle of my trunk before I could answer.

“I guess it doesn’t matter now,” I replied as he hoisted it aboard. Scorpius turned around and grinned at me.

The five minute warning whistle sounded.                  

“Well, I guess this is it,” Astoria said from behind us, her tone sad and longing. Scorpius and I both turned to his parents.

“I guess it is,” Scorpius replied, stepping forward and giving his mother a hug and a swift kiss on the cheek.

“I’ll miss you,” Astoria sniffed, brushing a piece of hair back out of his eyes.

“I’ll be back for Easter,” Scorpius assured her.

“You better,” she said sternly, but there was a sparkle in her eye. Scorpius chuckled and moved on to his father and Mira.

“Rose,” Astoria called to me from where I was standing staring at the pavement, not wanting to intrude on their moment. “Come here.”

I loped forward awkwardly, feeling as if everyone was watching me.

“Thank you ever so much for spending the holidays with us,” she smiled, enveloping me in a hug. I hugged her back, suddenly feeling sad that I was leaving her.

“Thank you for having me,” I answered, my heart swelling in my chest. “It means so much to me.”

“I’m going to miss you honey,” she said, ruffling my hair. It felt nice to have a mother figure here to wish me off and it felt good to have someone to hug before I left, but I could not help but miss the comfort of being in my own mother’s arms. Astoria was a wonderful woman, but no one could fill in for my mum.

“I’ll miss you too,” I replied sincerely, feeling a few tears spring to my eyes. It was true – I would miss her.

“You better go,” she sniffed as the two minute whistle sounded. She kissed me swiftly on the cheek and gave me one last tight squeeze before letting me go.

“Goodbye Rose,” Draco said from next to his wife. “It was nice to meet you.”

“Likewise, Mr. Malfoy,” I answered, smiling up at the man I still didn’t know very well.

“Bye bye Rosie,” Mira chirped, running forward and hugging me around the legs. “Come see me soon!”

“I will,” I chuckled, ruffling her pigtails and listening to her squeal.

“C’mon Rose, we’re going to be late,” Scorpius said, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the train.

“Okay, I’m coming,” I called, jogging to keep up with him.

The cries of parents shouting last minute reminders to their children and children shouting goodbye’s to their parents filled the air as we ran, drowning out all other sounds besides the high pitched screams of the train whistle.

Scorpius jumped aboard the train and reached his hand down, helping me up after him. I had barely made it through the door when it was snapped shut quickly and the train began to move with a deep chugging sound.

“So is that your new family?” a bitter voice asked.

I straightened up quickly to see Hugo standing in the door way that led from the outside of the train to the hallway that ran between the compartments. Or at least I thought it was Hugo. I could barely see his face due to the dimness of the hall.

“Hugh,” I said, unsure of what to say. Were the Malfoy’s my new family? No. I had my own family. But were they like a family to me? Yes. They most definitely were. “You don’t understand.” 

“I understand plenty,” Hugo growled, stepping forward so that I could see his face clearly now. What I saw made me gasp.

“What happened to your face?” I whispered in horror, staring at the mass of purple, black and blue that surrounded his right eye. “Did he-“

My voice trailed off as my throat felt like it was clogged with cotton. If my father hurt Hugo I would never forgive myself. Ever.

“No,” Hugo replied coldly. “Dad didn’t do this.”

I felt the knot that had formed in my chest loosen a little bit. “Who did then?”

Hugo murmured something I couldn’t hear nor understand.

“What was that?” Scorpius asked.

“It was Lily,” he mumbled, scratching the back of his hair uncomfortably.

“Lily,” I said incredulously. “As in Lily Potter, our cousin?”

“What other Lily’s do we know?” he asked bitterly.

“So what did you do mate?” Scorpius asked, leading the conversation away from the point where I would have to give Hugo a matching bruise on the other eye. “You must have really pissed her off for her to give you such a shiner.”

“Well,” he said, his voice sounding much more like his old self and much less like the bitter, angsty teenage boy I had thought he was becoming, “she might have caught me peeping at her and her friends on New Year’s.”

“You were perving on our cousin?” I screeched.

“Shh,” Hugo hissed, looking around worriedly in case anyone had overheard me.  “And no, I was not.”

I arched an eyebrow challengingly.

“I was perving on her friends,” he insisted.

I felt Scorpius shaking with suppressed laughter next to me.

“Well I don’t blame her for punching you then,” I sniffed disdainfully, feeling ashamed and embarrassed just thinking about it. 

“Of course you don’t,” he scoffed. “You never feel sorry for me. You never think about me. All you ever think about is yourself.”

“Hugo,” I growled. “Stop it. You know that’s not true.”

“Not true?” he asked, his voice rising with anger. “How about when you ran away at Christmas? Did you even think to take me with you? Did you even think about how I would fair? No, you didn’t. All you were thinking about was yourself.”

“You ran off,” I cried back, feeling myself shaking and my hear constricting in my chest. How could he say that? “You didn’t hear the horrible things he said to me. All you cared about was yourself! Bloody hypocrite!”

“Dad isn’t a bad man!” he shouted, stepping forward until he was right in my face. “It’s your fault he’s like this Rose! If you hadn’t brought home your stupid boyfriend and been such a rotten kid, none of this would have happened.”

I took a step back from him, feeling as if I had been slapped in the face. I couldn’t feel my body. My mind was swirling around, unable to comprehend what he was saying to me.  Was he really blaming me for everything that was wrong with our family? He was.

Suddenly all feeling rushed back into my body and I realized that I was visibly shaking.

“You bastard,” I hissed, unable to stop myself. “How dare you say that to me? How dare you blame me for all of the problems that are going on? I’m the only person you have Hugo. Are you going to burn this bridge too? Are you going to cut me off from your life too?”

“Shut up,” he hissed, pulling at his hair. “Shut up Rose. You’re the one that is cutting everyone off from your life. You’re the one that’s gone out and found yourself a new family and started a new life with this scum –“

Scorpius caught me around the waist as I lunged at him.

“That’s enough,” he said sternly, his voice laced with anger. “Both of you. That is enough.”

He pulled me to his chest and I stood in his arms breathing heavily. I had never wanted to hit Hugo more than now. 

I knew Hugo did not mean the things he was saying. I knew that he was hurting and that he was just trying to let some steam off on someone that he thought was safe. But that didn’t mean that his words didn’t cut into me like knifes, piercing my very soul.

I had never wanted to hurt Hugo. I had never thought that I was hurting Hugo. But now that I saw I had I felt incredibly guilty.

I was the worst sister in the world.  

“I’m sorry I hurt you, Hugo,” I said, feeling hot, angry tears spill down my cheeks. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t look out for you well enough. I’m sorry that you’re feeling so lost and alone right now. I never meant to hurt you. I love you.”

I reached out to touch his shoulder comfortingly but he cringed away from me. I stared at him sadly for a moment and sighed. I couldn’t do anything for him when he was like this. He had things he had to work through on his own first.

“Let’s go,” I murmured to Scorpius.

I pulled my wand out of my pocket and pointed it at our trunks, watching as they levitated in the air. Then I grasped Scorpius’s hand pulled him down the small passage into the heart of the train. Hugo stood rooted to his spot, not bothering to turn around to watch us go.  

I glanced back one last time before we walked out of sight and felt my heart break to see Hugo still standing there, his shoulders hunched and shaking with uncontrollable sobs. 

 






I didn’t get a chance to talk to Hugo again that night. Scorpius and I sat with Noel, Tony, Jack, and Ashley, the latter two of which kept shooting each other goofy grins. And when we got back into the castle and sat in the Great Hall, Hugo sat at the complete opposite end of the table, right by where the first years usually sat. I wanted to go and tell him that I didn’t hate him and that I loved him, but I had a feeling that if he said something mean again that I would snap.

So I left him alone for the time being. Time is probably what he needed anyway.

But that thought didn’t stop me from going to bed feeling guilty.

I walked happily arm in arm to the Great Hall with Noel and Ashley, who were talking excitedly about their breaks. Noel had spent most of her break in Paris, where her family owned another home, and Ashley had spent it working at her parents’ office. I hadn’t known this before, but apparently Ashley was Muggleborn. 

“What did you do, Rose?” Ashley asked, nudging me in the side knowingly.

“Uh, you know,” I said, blushing scarlet. Damn my red hair. “Spent time with the family, ate too much, got presents.”

“Oh please,” Noel scoffed. “You brought Scorpius home for Christmas. Surely something happened.”

“If the tone of your voice implies what I think you’re implying, then no, that did not happen,” I replied quickly. “Besides, we spent more time at his house than mine.”

I could almost hear both of their mouths drop open. 

“YOU WHAT?”

I winced from the pitch of their shrieks.

“Shh,” I hissed, looking around at the people who were staring at us. “Could you two be any louder?”

“Sorry,” Noel whispered. “You what?”

“We spent most of the break at his house. Things got bad at my house, so we went to his.”

I looked up to gauge their reactions and wished that I had continued staring at the floor. Ashley looked astonished and as if she was taking that statement extremely out of context, and Noel just looked sad and distraught.

“Oh my gosh, you two really are meant for each other,” Ashley gushed. “If he took you to meet his parents! Did they like you? Did you like them? What are they like? I’ve heard his mum his gorgeous. Is she?”

“Slow down there,” Noel reprimanded, cutting Ashley off. “Let her breathe.”

“Well, we didn’t really have a choice,” I tried to explain, shrugging lamely. “It was either go to his house or the Leaky Cauldron-“

“What happened?”

“It’s a long story,” I sighed, looking between them hopelessly. “And I don’t really want to talk about it.” 

They both just looked at me with an odd expression in their eyes and nodded confusedly. I felt bad for not telling them; considering they were probably my closest friends these days, but I didn’t want to have to see the look of pity on their faces as well.

We finally reached the Great Hall and slipped inside. There was something different about the atmosphere in the room today. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was though. 

“Rose, why is everyone staring at you?” Ashley whispered as we approached the Gryffindor table.

“Are they?” I asked in surprise, turning around to look at my peers. About fifty pairs of eyes stared back at me. I grimaced and turned back around. “I have no idea.” 

“I do,” a voice said from behind me. I turned around to see Scorpius coming towards me with Tony and Jack following close behind him.

“What are you talking about?” I asked when he stopped in front of me. I noticed that under his arm he held the day’s newspaper.

“I’m sorry Rosie,” he said, putting the paper into my hands. I glanced up at him in shock and then down at the paper. 

Immediately the headline jumped out at me and I knew why everyone was staring at me.

It had finally gotten out.

I unfolded the newspaper to take a look at the whole front page, the majority of which was covered with huge letters that read “Minister and War Hero Husband Seek Divorce”. Underneath the giant headline was a picture of my mother and father, walking out of the Ministry amidst a storm of photographers and reporters, Justin Finch-Fletchly walking next to my mother, and a woman I knew to be Cho Chang walking next to my father. The caption underneath told me that Justin and Cho were their respective lawyers. 

“Rose,” I heard Noel say, but her voice sounded far away, as if she was speaking to me through a pane of glass. All that mattered to me was the article that was written in small print underneath.

The Wizarding Community was thrown through a loop yesterday when it was announced that newly instated Minister of Magic Hermione Granger and her husband of twenty-one years, Ronald Weasley, a famed war hero and co-owner of the popular chain Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes were seeking a divorce. According to an inside source, divorce documents were given to Ms. Granger three weeks before Christmas, but were not filed until after the New Year. 

When asked to comment on the separation of his best friends and family, Harry Potter, head of the Auror Department said that “this was best for their whole family.” Mr. Potter hopes that his friends will be able to settle things between them peacefully, and that the media “will give them a bloody break while they try to sort their lives and their broken family out.”

The couple have two children together, Rose, 17, and Hugo, 15. ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 3.

I stared down at the page of newsprint in front of me, feeling new tears spring up behind my eyes. So that was it then. This was really happening. The whole Wizarding community knew now. There was no avoiding it.  

I looked up from the article and at Scorpius who was looking down at me worriedly.

“Are you okay?” he asked quietly.

I stepped forward and hugged him, needing to feel close to him in that moment. I couldn’t help myself. This was the last thing I needed right now. I mean, I obviously knew that their divorce would have to be announced soon. Especially considering whom my parents were, the fact that they were separating wouldn’t have been able to have been kept a secret for long.

I just wished it could have been longer. 

“Yeah, I’m okay,” I said into Scorpius’s shirt. He hugged me tighter to him. After a few minutes we separated and I looked around at my friends sadly.

“Is this why you left your house?” Ashley asked her voice sad and subdued in understanding. I nodded.

“I’m so sorry, Rosie,” Noel said, squeezing my hand supportively.

“Guys,” I said, hating to see them pitying me. “Please. I appreciate your sympathy, but I’m fine. Really. Divorce is a commonplace thing these days. It was bound to happen sometime.”

They all nodded and Noel let go of my hand. “Okay,” she said, grinning. “No sadness then. We’ll pretend that nothing’s wrong.”

I smiled. “Thank you.”

I really was grateful for that too. If someone didn’t try to act positive today, I was sure that I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

“Well, let’s eat,” Tony said, settling himself down on the nearest bench. A second year girl who was sitting on the same bench looked at him with disgust and scooted closer to her friend.

Noel Scorpius settled both of us next to him while Jack, Ashley and Noel walked around the table and made themselves comfortable on the other side. We talked mostly of break again and what Tony and Jack did. Then we talked about Tony’s party and took the piss out of Ashley and Jack for a while who were both bright red, but looked happy. After a while, I had to admit, I was truly enjoying myself.  

“Shoot, we’re going to be late for Arithmancy,” Noel cried when she looked at her watch a half hour later.

“Damn,” Tony replied, standing up quickly while downing the last of his pumpkin juice in one large gulp. “I can’t be late for Potions again. Old Sluggy will have my head.”

“Yeah,” Jack sighed, standing up as well. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Ashley looked sad when he stood up, but then giggled when he bent back over and planted a swift, chaste kiss on her temple. “I’ll see you at lunch, Ash.”

“Bye Jack,” she replied happily.

“You have Herbology?” Scorpius asked, even though he knew my schedule by now, considering he still picked me up from nearly every one.

“Ugh, yes,” I groaned. I really was not looking to going. I was the only one of my friends to have taken the dumb class after OWLS, which meant that I was all alone. My protective bubble of happiness would be gone. And it would be replaced with Neville, who would be sure to want to try to talk to me about it. Damn.

“It’ll be fine,” he assured me, pushing a stray strand of hair back out of my eyes and kissing my forehead. “Besides, how many people do you actually know that read the paper anymore?”  

I glanced around at my peers, who were all pretty much still staring at me.

“You’d be surprised,” I muttered darkly. Scorpius laughed and kissed my forehead again.

“You’ll be fine,” he promised. “And if not, well, I’ll just have to kick the shit out of anyone who bothers you.”

I glanced around exaggeratedly at the Great Hall.

“You’re going to take on the entire school?” I asked, raising my eyebrows questioningly.

“I just might,” he chuckled. I laughed and stood on my toes to kiss him on the lips.

“Well thank you,” I murmured against his lips.

“You’re welcome.”

“Get a room!” someone called from what sounded like the Ravenclaw table. We broke apart and he scowled.

“I should go,” I said sadly.

“Yeah, you don’t want to be late,” he replied. “Maybe we can get together later tonight, say around eight at our broom cupboard? I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?” I asked, my tone leading.

“A surprise,” he nodded. “And, if you are feeling nice, you could finally give me my Christmas gift.”

I stared up at him, trying to understand what he meant, and then I felt like slapping myself in the face. After my mother had left we had just brought our presents back to our rooms and went to eat dessert. I had never given him his gift, even though Christmas had passed almost three weeks ago.

“Merlin, I’m sorry,” I cried in horror. “I forgot!”

“Don’t worry,” he chuckled. “It’s understandable.”

I grinned up at him.

“Okay, I really need to go now,” I told him, noticing how fast the Great Hall was clearing out around us.

“Yeah, me too,” he sighed. “I’ll see you at eight.”

“Eight it is,” I grinned. I hugged him swiftly and then we broke apart, walking hand in hand until we got to the doors, and then we split up in different directions, he heading upstairs to Charms and me out onto the grounds to Herbology.

I ended up having to run to class, and still ended up being late. I both hated and liked this fact at the same time, because while all of my classmates would stare at me when I came in, it didn’t give Neville any opportunities to try to talk to me.

“Nice of you to join us, Rose,” Neville said from the front of the room as I slipped inside, trying not to make a lot of noise so that my lateness might not be noticed. Neville of course, was a crusher of dreams and ruined my efforts.

“Sorry, Professor,” I apologized, taking my appointed seat between Ian and a Ravenclaw named Margaret. 

I could feel every eye in the room upon me and I blushed scarlet. Neville returned to his lecture and soon their attention was back at the front of the room. I sighed quietly and took out a piece of parchment and a quill. I was about to start taking notes on the valuable properties of mandrakes when I felt something drop into my lap.

I looked down to see a folded piece of parchment in my lap and I looked around to see who had thrown it. Ian was staring determinedly straight ahead while Margaret was taking notes furiously. It was probably Ian then.

I unfolded the paper to see a line scribbled right in the middle.

I’m sorry to hear about your parents.

I looked at him and then back down at the paper. 

Uh, thanks, I guess.

I folded the paper back up and then tossed it gently onto his lap. He didn’t look over at me but unfolded it with one hand. He smoothed it out on the paper on the long table and then looked down at it. He picked up his quill and scribbled something back, then pushed the paper towards me.

No problem. So did you stay with Malfoy over break?

I glared down at the paper.

Yes, I did stay with Scorpius.

I watched him to gauge his reaction when he slid it back towards himself. His eyes widened, and he crumpled the paper in his hand and then shoved it in his pocket. He didn’t look at me again. I stared at him in shock, not sure what to think about what had just happened.

“Miss Weasley, have you paid attention to a word I’ve said yet?” Neville asked sternly. I looked over at him instantly and blushed guiltily.

“Sorry Professor,” I apologized. “I guess I’m just having a hard time focusing today.”

He seemed to understand the hidden meaning behind my words and nodded, not administering me the detention he usually would have. Everyone else seemed to notice this as well, because there was a quick murmur around the room.

“That’s enough,” Neville reprimanded. “Now back to mandrakes.”

I picked up my quill, determined to actually use it to take notes this time.

 

 




 

The day seemed to pass excruciatingly slowly. Herbology was an eternity. Transfiguration was worse. And I fell asleep during Arithmancy. Luckily, professor Vector doesn’t turn around when he’s lecturing, so he didn’t notice. Finally, five o’clock rolled around and I rushed back to my dormitory.  

“What’s your rush?” Noel asked as I rushed into the dorm.

“I’ve had the worst day of my life,” I sighed, flopping down on my bed. “And I really need a nap.”

“So you ran up here, because you’re tired?” Ashley asked from her bed where she was reading the newest Witch Weekly. 

“Uh, yes,” I replied, realizing how stupid that sounded.

“You’re lying,” Noel said, noticing my hesitation.  “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” I squeaked, burying my face in my comforter.

“You’re a horrible liar,” Ashley informed me.

I groaned and sat up again. “Fine.”

They both squeaked with delight and came and sat on either side of me. “So I’m meeting Scorpius at 8, because he says he has a surprise for me. I’m going to give him his Christmas gift, but I don’t know what he’s going to give me.”

“Okay,” Noel said, her forehead wrinkled with confusion. “But I still don’t see what the problem is.”

“Well,” I said, shifting uncomfortably, “see, he got me this great gift, but I don’t really like what I got him.”

“What did you get him?” Ashley asked. I sighed and reached down into my trunk, pulling out an unsealed beige envelope. I handed it to her and she pulled out the certificate within.

“A gift certificate to Toad’s Tattoo Parlor?” she asked.

Noel burst into laughter.

“Why the hell did you get him that?”

“Well,” I said, scratching my head uncomfortably and staring at her, “he told me a while back that he wanted to get a tattoo this summer. So I thought I’d make it possible for him.”

Noel stopped laughing. “Well, that’s a great gift then,” she assured me.

“Yeah,” Ashley piped up. “That’s really thoughtful.”

I smiled happily. “I’m glad you think so. Well, now that that’s sorted out, I really am going to take a nap. I’ve had a dreadful day.”

Noel and Ashley nodded understandingly. “I’ll wake you up at seven-thirty,” Noel assured me.

I nodded in thanks and lay back on my bed. Before my head even hit the pillow, I was asleep.  

In what felt like five minutes later I was shaken awake.

“Rose,” Noel said, shaking my shoulder. “Get up. It’s 7:35.”

I groaned and sat up, tasting stale saliva in my mouth.

“Thanks Noel,” I mumbled, stretching and yawning. That nap had been a mistake. I was more tired and felt worse than before.

“Uh huh,” she said, stepping back to let me out of bed. I stood up and heard my back crack, but I didn’t wince, but stumbled over to the bathroom to brush the horrible taste out of my mouth. I fixed my mussed hair while I was in there as well and splashed some cold water on my face. By the time I came out of there five minutes later I was feeling wide awake.

I could feel my heart pounding excitedly in my chest. I still had twenty minutes. I was going to go insane waiting.

“Why don’t you sit down?” Noel suggested as I paced back and forth around the room.

“I’m too jittery,” I replied, shaking my hands in an attempt to release some of my nervous energy. I had no idea why I was so nervous. I saw Scorpius all the time. Hell, I had spent the holidays at his house. But for some reason, I had a feeling tonight something big was going to happen. 

“Well then jump up and down or something,” Ashley giggled. “It works for me.”

“You know what?” I said, making up my mind. “I think I’m going to go early.”

“Okay,” Noel called from her bed. “Have fun.”

“Thanks,” I replied, picking up the envelope containing his gift from off of my bed and heading towards the door.

I walked down the stairs and out of the Common Room without any trouble and hummed happily to myself as I walked up towards the broom cupboard.

What in the world could my surprise be?

Maybe it was going to be another charm for my bracelet. Or maybe he had set up a private little dinner for us.

Or maybe – no. I wouldn’t let myself think that.

It wasn’t good for me to get my hopes up, if I was just going to be let down again.

But well, maybe he was going to admit that he had real feelings for me. What would I say if he told me that he really liked me? Well, I’d have to tell him that I felt the same way. What would happen to our relationship?

No, it was bad to think these things. It was probably just a dinner or something.

I took a deep breath as I stepped up onto the floor where the cupboard was, trying to calm the butterflies that were dancing in my stomach. I repeated the process as I walked down the darkened hallway towards the corner that would lead me to where Scorpius was. I counted each footstep as I went, trying to keep myself distracted. The dull monotony of counting worked like no other and I felt my stomach settle down.

I reached the corner where I had to turn to meet up with him when I heard voices. The first was deep and hard and the other was high and lilting.

I plastered myself against the wall, listening closely. I knew it was wrong to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help myself. The voices had stopped. I hadn’t listened closely enough or had enough time to figure out who it was.

Suddenly there was a loud thump against the wall across from the one I was leaning against. I couldn’t resist.

I peeked my head around the corner and the sight before my eyes made every single nerve in my body go numb and I was sure my heart stopped beating.

Scorpius and Anna were snogging.

 








A/N: So before you get out the torches and pitchforks, remember, you won't be able to find out what happens if I die. :P 

And yay, another chapter finished. Did you like it? Dislike it? Questioning my sanity? Haha. Please please review and tell me. 

Oh, and I was thinking - would you lot be interested in another Hugo one-shot, featuring how he got his lovely black eye? Cause I have inspiration for one, if you guys are up for it. :) 

Thanks for reading everyone! Please, please, review!


Chapter 29: In This Twisted Game Called Love...
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I couldn’t feel my body.

Every part of me had gone numb – my hands, my feet, my legs, my stomach – it all seemingly disappeared as I tried to comprehend what I had just seen.

Scorpius and Anna were snogging.

I tried to take a deep breath to calm my nerves but my lungs were on fire. I settled for a soft whimper and slid down the wall, my legs giving out from underneath me.

How could he have done this to me? I thought he loved me. Or well, at least that that he had cared for me. He had brought me home with him for Christmas and integrated me with his family. He had given me that beautiful bracelet.

I stared down at the said piece of jewelry that was wrapped around my wrist. I watched the little charms move from side to side, suspended in midair. There was the little purple flower and the Cannons charm. There were the little metallic versions of Beauty and the Beast, dancing and the small round circle at the back with our initials engraved into it. RW +SM. My chest ached.

I had gotten played.

The realization was so simple and yet so profound that when it hit me it didn’t even hurt. In a sick way, it was almost a relief. At least I knew where I stood. Scorpius had never loved me. Scorpius had never had any real feelings for me. At least, not the way I felt about him. He was just using me to make Anna jealous.

This time it hurt. It hurt a lot. My chest was throbbing, as if someone had taken a knife and pierced me right through my heart. Right through my broken, trusting heart.

I moaned softly and pulled my knees to my chest before resting my chin on top of them. I knew it was foolish to think that I could protect my heart now. As if this simple act could stop my heart, which had already been broken before, from shattering even further.

I had let down all of my defenses with Scorpius. I had shown him how feeble, how vulnerable I really was, despite how I pretended to be on the outside. I had trusted him.

And he had used it all against me. Everything he knew about me was just another way to hurt me in the end. Every time he smiled at me he knew the affect it had on me. Every time he had kissed me he knew he was making me fall harder. 

And I for some stupid, Merlin forsaken reason had fallen for it all. Now that I thought about it, I knew all along that Scorpius had had ulterior motives for entering into this “relationship” with me. It felt like eons ago now, but I could still vividly recall the conversation we’d had under the bleachers that night. I could still remember him telling me that this would help him in the long run as well.

Well, I guess it really had helped him. If what he was going for was to make Anna jealous, he had most definitely succeeded. She had been nothing but a stark, raving, envious bitch for the past few months.

In the end they’d both gotten their wish.                    

I felt tears spring into my eyes as the reality of it all washed over me. I swiped fiercely at them, not wanting to give Scorpius the satisfaction of knowing that he had made me cry, despite the fact that he could not see them. It was useless. I felt the hot trickle of tears sting my cheeks and I bit my lip hard to keep from sobbing outright.

All of the feeling I had lost before was coming back to me, and I suddenly wished it would go away again. To be unfeeling and lifeless was ten times better than to feel the bitter agony of heartbreak.  

I don’t quite know how long I sat like that, letting all of the misery I was feeling wash over me. It could have been a few moments or even a few hours and I would not have known the difference. But after a while I found myself not being able to just stand sitting there, wallowing in my own self pity.

I pushed myself up from the ground and stumbled, grabbing the wall for support. The hallway looked darker, but that could have just been because of my tear-clouded vision. I was tempted to look back around the corner to see if what was happening, but just the thought of seeing them together again made me sick to my stomach. 

I wrapped my arms protectively around myself and started off back towards Gryffindor tower. I really did not want to go back to my dorm. I didn’t want to have to face Noel and Ashley and tell them what had happened. But I didn’t know where else to go. There was nowhere else for me to go. I didn’t fit in anywhere else. All of my other friend’s had been Scorpius’s friends and well, I guessed now that they hadn’t really been my friends either.  

I wasn’t watching where I was going as I walked, trusting my feet to guide me back to the Common Room without any trouble when I felt myself collide with something that felt distinctly human.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the person cried, their voice sounding extremely familiar.  “Rose?”

I looked up from the ground into a familiar dark face. It took me a few moments to register who I had bumped into.

“Tony?” I asked my voice sounding like I had just swallowed shards of glass.

“What’s wrong?” he asked me, his voice thick with concern. He extended his hand to me and I took it gratefully.  

“Oh Tony,” I cried finally feeling like I was coming up from underwater. Everything was clearer now.  “What are you doing out so late?”

“I was just returning a book at the library before it closed,” he answered, eyeing me oddly. 

“Oh,” I deadpanned.

“Rose,” he said unsurely, his hand still holding mine. “What happened?”

“You don’t know already?” I asked my voice bitter.

“Know what?”

I could tell that he was honestly confused.

“About Scorpius and Anna,” I answered.

Tony’s brown wrinkled with even more confusion.

“What about them?” he asked nervously.

“Tony,” I whispered, knowing that once I said it out loud that what had happened was really real. “I saw them snogging.”

“That’s not possible,” Tony laughed, shaking his head in disbelief. “Nice try Rosie, but I’m not going to fall for it.”

“I’m not joking Tony,” I insisted noticing the hysterical edge to my voice. “I saw it with my own eyes.”

Tony chuckles soon died off into nervous laughs and then stopped all together.  

“You’re really serious,” he deadpanned.

I nodded, biting on my lip again. Suddenly I felt Tony’s arms around me and he pulled me to his chest. I couldn’t help it, I started crying again.

“How could he do this?” I heard Tony growl under his breath. “Fucking stupid arsehole.”

I chuckled despite myself. 

“Rose, I swear, I don’t know what’s going on,” Tony said, patting me on the back softly. “I thought he was over her.”

“It’s not your fault,” I sniffled. “It’s not like you knew that this was going to happen.”

“I just can’t believe it,” he said again. “You don’t deserve this.”

“Well, thanks, I suppose,” I said, pulling away from him, feeling awkward suddenly.

“No, really,” Tony replied, “you don’t deserve this. You’re a great girl Rosie. Scorpius is an idiot for cheating on you.”

I felt myself blush. What in the world was going on?

“Yeah,” I nodded. “Well, I should really be going back up to my dorm. I’m exhausted.”

Tony nodded in agreement. “Yeah, you should get some rest. I’ll deal with Scorpius.”

“Thanks Tony,” I smiled shuffling a ways away from him down the hall.

“Not a problem,” I heard him call. “I’m on your side Rosie. Remember that.”

I smiled at him and turned on my heel, heading back towards the Common Room. That had been extremely odd. Tony was actually siding with me? But he was Scorpius’s best friend. Either he was lying to me too, or something else was going on. And I really didn’t think he was lying.

Before I knew it I was standing in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady. She was dozing in her frame and I cleared my throat loudly to get her attention. Nothing. 

“Excuse me,” I tried. Still nothing.

I poked her canvas in annoyance. She instantly started and glared down at me, looking ruffled and grumpy.

“Password?”

“Mandrake root,” I answered and she swung forward instantly, muttering about whiny teenagers who had nothing better to do than stay out after hours and have the indignity to poke her awake. 

I stumbled through the portrait hole and into the Common Room. From the looks of it, it couldn’t have been that late because there was still a fair amount of people milling about. I kept my head down and hurried through the room, not wanting to attract much attention to myself. It seemed to work because I made it up the stairs to my dorm without being harassed and I sighed tiredly, pushing open the door.

“Rose?” Ashley asked as I shut the door and stumbled over to my bed. “You’re back early.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, flopping back onto the mattress.

“What happened?” Noel asked, peeking her head out from the bathroom, where she had been brushing her teeth. Her eyes got wider as she took in my appearance. “Rose, have you been crying?”

“It’s nothing,” I insisted, burying my face into my pillow.

I heard the sounds of running water from the sink and someone spitting and then I felt the mattress dip on the side as someone sat down. 

“Rosie,” Noel said, her voice laced with concern. “Tell us.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I mumbled. It was true. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I just wanted to forget that Scorpius and I had ever existed. I wanted to go back to the girl I was before I had started this thing with Scorpius.

“Talking will make you feel better,” she insisted.

“How do you know that?” I cried, flipping over onto my back so that I could look at her. “How do you know that it won’t make it ten times worse?”

“Because if you bottle up your feelings forever, you’ll just explode,” Noel replied sadly. “Emotions are a lot like laundry baskets. You can push the clothes down inside and keeping pushing and pushing them in to make room for more, but eventually your basket will start to overflow. And that overflow, well, it’s not good for you.”

“Did something happen with Scorpius?” Ashley asked, earning a glare from both Noel and I.

“With me? No,” I replied bitterly. “With Anna? Yes.”

Both Noel and Ashley gasped in horror. “What do you mean?”

I glanced up at Noel sadly. “I saw Anna and Scorpius snogging tonight.”

“WHAT?” Ashley cried right as Noel let out a string of curses.

“I went to meet him, and I was probably about ten minutes early. When I got there I heard two people talking, although I couldn’t make out anything that was being said, and then I heard a thump against the wall. I peeked around the corner to see what was going on, and saw them.”

“Oh, honey,” Noel said, patting my thigh supportively. “That’s terrible.”  

“What did you do?” Ashley asked.

“I didn’t do anything,” I croaked. “I could barely move I was so shocked. I sat on the floor and cried for a while. Then I came back here.”

Noel let out a string of profanities again and I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Rose,” she said after a moment, “would I get more jail time for premeditated murder or in the heat of passion?”

“Premeditated,” I answered.

“Good,” she growled, glaring off into the distance. “Then I won’t think about it when I kill Anna.”

I let out a real laugh this time. “I’m with you,” I agreed.

“Do you know what we need?” Ashley asked after a moment. Noel and I shook our heads no.

“Chocolate,” she answered and I felt myself start to salivate at the thought. Yes, chocolate was exactly what I needed.

“And some crisps, soda, and licorice wands,” Noel added.

“And maybe some cake,” I added.

“That sounds great,” Ashley said, bouncing up off of her bed. “We’ll have a proper slumber party and cheer you up. It’ll be fun, just us girls!”

“We can do makeovers,” Noel gushed, hopping up off of my bed and going to the bathroom to get her makeup. “What do you think, Rose?”

“I think that you guys are the best,” I grinned. 

 

 




 

That night passed fairly quickly. Noel and Ashley really made it easy to forget about my problems for the time being. But when they fell asleep it was a whole different story. I lay awake for hours, trying not to think of Scorpius, but ultimately failing. I couldn’t help but think about all of the fun we’d had over break and about when he had given me the bracelet. I thought about kissing him on New Year’s Eve and about the story that Tony had told me.

It made all of my insides ache. I spent a long time just staring at the piece of jewelry on my wrist and eventually at about three in the morning I took it off, throwing it in a drawer in my nightstand. I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore.

That part of my life was over.

 

 




 

The next morning I woke up after only having about two hours of fitful sleep. A glance in the mirror told me that my eyes were red and puffy and that my hair was in complete disarray. I took a cold shower to fix it and it mostly worked.

My eyelids felt like bricks. When I looked up while brushing my teeth I noticed that they lacked their usual color. I was so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I felt almost lifeless. Sapped. It was as if someone had come and blown out the candle in my soul.

I had had enough.

“Rose, are you coming?” Ashley asked from the doorway to the bathroom. I spit and nodded, wiping at the toothpaste that always collected in the corners of my mouth and following her out of the dorm and down into the Common Room.  I felt as if everyone was watching me, even though I knew that the news of Scorpius’s and my breakup couldn’t have been out yet.

 Hell, Scorpius didn’t even know it had happened yet. Or maybe he did. Maybe he realized the second that he cheated on me that we were over.

Or maybe even still what he had done with Anna wouldn’t be considered cheating. After all, we technically were not dating. But we had agreed not to go around snogging other people during this. So yes, he had cheated on me.

I allowed myself to be lead down to the Great Hall by Noel and Ashley, both of whom were giving me worried glances. I couldn’t blame them. They had probably heard me sniffling all night and it was pretty obvious that something was wrong with me today.

When we got to the doors of the Great Hall I felt my breath hitch in my throat. This was it. I felt Noel link her arm through mine, which was quite a feat considering that my arms were crossed tightly in front of my chest. She pulled me towards the Gryffindor table without a word and I didn’t even have time to glance at the Slytherin table to see if he was there or not. 

We settled ourselves down at our usual spot on the bench and Ashley ladled some eggs and sausage onto my plate.

“I’m not hungry,” I said quietly, pushing the plate away from me.

“You need to eat,” Noel reprimanded.

I glared at her just as Tony took a seat next to her across from me and Jack slid in next to Ashley. 

“Good morning,” Tony said, smiling at Noel and then turning to look at me. I saw him study my face carefully, his brow furrowed. 

“Morning,” Noel chirped, seemingly perkier now that he was here.

“How are you, Rose?” he asked leadingly.

I glanced up from my untouched plate. “I’ve been better,” I told him, my voice monotone and lifeless, much like my eyes.

He smiled at me sadly and I felt his foot brush mine under the table. I winced slightly at the touch and picked up my fork to give me something to do. I could tell that he was still watching me, but I didn’t look up again.

“There you guys are. I was wondering where you’d gone off to.”

I felt my heart rate pick up as it always did when I heard Scorpius’s voice. But this time, the fast beating of my heart was painful and not joyous as it usually was.

“Morning, Scorp,” I heard Jack say. No one else said anything to him.

I stared determinedly down at my eggs, focusing on not crying with every ounce of willpower I had left in my body. Hearing his voice made things so much worse.

“Morning Rosie,” Scorpius said cheerfully, sliding into his usual place next to me, as if nothing was wrong or as if nothing had changed. “I waited for you last night, but you never showed up.”

I felt his arm wrap around my waist and before he could place a small kiss on my temple as usual I jerked away from him. Where his arm was around my waist felt scalded.

“Rose, what’s wrong?” he asked confusion evident in his voice.

I bit my lip hard, staring down at my eggs, trying to ignore the hard knot in my stomach and the urge to run away that flooded through me. I tried to keep willing myself not to cry, but it was useless and I felt the first few hot tears spill down my cheeks.

“Rose,” he said again, his voice laced with concern. “Why are you crying?”

“You tell me,” I said shrilly, my voice thick with tears, looking up at him for the first time.

He sat only about a foot from me, his shaggy platinum hair in his face as usual. He had that same look of having just rolled out of bed around him, but his eyes, usually narrowed with sleep were wide with confusion and concern, his brow furrowed.

“What are you talking about?” he asked, reaching for my hand which I quickly pulled out of his reach. He stared at the spot where it had been and then looked up into my face.

“How can you pretend that everything is all right? That nothing’s changed?” I asked, hearing my voice tremble with anger.

“Rose-“ he said, still unaware of what I was talking about.

“I saw you Scorpius,” I hissed, glaring at him with all of the hatred that had built up in me since last night.  

“Saw what?” he asked.

I had never wanted to hit him more than in that moment. If I hadn’t been shaking like a leaf I probably would have too. How could he not know?

“I came early last night,” I choked out. “I heard voices. I saw you.”

Suddenly his grey-blue eyes grew very wide and his mouth dropped open in shock. I could tell that everyone in our immediate area was staring at us, but I did not care. I only cared about one person, and he was sitting in front of me, doing a very good impression of a dying goldfish.

“Don’t you have anything to say?” I asked coldly. 

“Rose, I – you have to understand – I’m so sorry,” he spluttered. I felt as if my insides were caving in. This was ten times worse than seeing him snogging her. 

“Save it,” I said sadly, looking anywhere but at him. I couldn’t look at him. I didn’t want to see what I knew I would see in his eyes.  

“Rose, I-“ he tried again, but his voice gave out.

I felt more tears running down my cheeks.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I said after a moment, looking at him one more time. “I don’t have the strength to do this anymore. You were the one person I thought I could trust. But obviously, you’re just like everyone else.”

I stood up from the table, tripping slightly over the bench as I went. I could feel many pairs of eyes on me, but I did not care. They could talk all they liked. Because really, what more could these people take away from me? What more could these people do to me?

I took a deep breath and stared walking away, my back shaking with suppressed sobs as I went. If running away from my father had been hard, this was ten times harder. Then, it had been about surviving, about not getting hurt. Now I was walking away from the one person who had helped me to survive all of that time, who had never hurt me. Until now that is.

“Rose!” I heard him call, and then I heard his hurried footsteps behind me. My body’s first reaction was to stop and wait for him, but I forced my feet to keep moving. “Wait!”  

“Rose,” he panted, grabbing my wrist and spinning me around towards him. I tripped a bit from my lack of balance and caught myself against his chest, wincing again at our close contact. “Wait. Let me explain.”

“Scorpius,” I sighed, looking up into his gorgeous grey-blue eyes last time. “I don’t want to hear it.”

He gazed down at me, pain and remorse evident in his eyes and I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself from saying what I really wanted to say. Because truth be told, I could probably have forgiven him for it, if I knew that he was truly sorry. I loved him that much.

“Okay,” he sighed, releasing my wrist.  

I nodded and stepped away from him, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear uncomfortably. I turned on my heel, closing my eyes and sniffing softly to prevent myself from having a complete breakdown in front of the entire school.

The hall was silent, save for the sound of my shoes on the stone floor as I walked away from Scorpius. I knew that I would be hearing those footsteps in my dreams for many nights to come. I got to the giant doors and I felt the temptation to turn around and look back, just to see if he was still watching me, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it.

As soon as I stepped over the threshold I broke into a run. I had to get away from there. I could hear a roar of chatter start up behind me. I sprinted up the nearest staircase, taking a corner much too quickly and probably bruising my hip on a railing as I hopped on the next staircase before it could change.

When the staircase stopped I ran down the nearest hallway, my lungs on fire. The adrenaline that I had built up was dwindling fast. I wouldn’t be able to make it all the way up to Gryffindor Tower this way. I made a quick decision and rounded another corner instead of taking the next staircase up.

There it was. My sanctuary. It had served its purpose before, and it would work again.

I slowed down as I reached Myrtle’s bathroom, coming to a jog halfway down the hall and then finally walking as I reached the door. It was dark inside so I quickly lighted my wand and slipped inside.

It was the same as I remembered it, only a bit dustier and with a few more cobwebs. I sat down on the floor, resting my head against one of the sinks tiredly. I gripped my knees to my chest and let my emotions overtake me.

Noel had been right last night. I felt an overwhelming urge to tell someone everything that I was feeling and to have a shoulder to cry on. The only problem was that the person I really wanted to talk to was the same person who was causing me all of the trouble in the first place.  








A/N: So what did you guys think? It's pretty angsty, I have to admit. But I like it alot. The update took longer than I expected, but I think that you guys would rather have a good update rather than a fast, crappy one. 
 
And I have decided to write the Hugo one-shot, but I wanted to get this up first. Look out for it soon! 

Thanks for reading you all. :) I hope you enjoyed it. Please, please review!!


Chapter 30: What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger, Right?
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I’ve noticed that as time starts to go on that all wounds heal. Eventually the pain goes away. Or at least becomes dull enough that I can ignore it every once in a while.

Somehow, I found the strength to go on.

Maybe it was because I didn’t want to give Anna the satisfaction of knowing that she had won. Maybe it was because I wanted to spite everyone who was determined to knock me down – prove it to them that I was a survivor. Or maybe it was because deep down inside of me I still somehow believed that things would get better.

My mother had always told me that things had to get worse before they could get better. She also had told me that people didn’t know how strong they actually were until put into a situation where they had no other choice but to be strong. I figured I had hit both of those points. I had hit rock bottom. Now the only question in my mind was how I was supposed to pull myself up again. 

“Bye Myrtle,” I called as I heaved my heavy bag onto my shoulder. “I’m going to class.”

“Are you coming back after?” the ghost-girl asked, sticking her translucent, pearly head through the stall door to look at me.

“I’m not sure,” I replied, tucking a piece of my hair behind my ear awkwardly. “It depends upon what happens.”

Myrtle nodded. “Well, good luck.”

I smiled weakly in thanks and watched as her head disappeared again.

I really, really did not want to go to classes today. Heck, I didn’t want to leave the bathroom at all. But I’d missed way too many classes this year. Sooner or later one of my professors was bound to write home to my parents to tell them that I had been skipping. And no one needed that right now.  

So I would go. I would go begrudgingly, but I would go.

I took a deep breath, not bothering to glance in the mirror to see how I looked. I had no one to impress anymore. And honestly, I had no desire to make myself look good. I would look how I felt. And right now, I felt horrible. Maybe it would make Scorpius feel guilty. The thought make me grin a little bit and with that notion and I strode out of the bathroom and down the hallway.

By the time I got to the end of the corridor I wanted nothing more than to turn back around the way I had come and go back and hide with Myrtle. Because there, leaning on a railing while waiting for the stairs to switch again was Al. 

He looked about as bad as I felt. His normally messy black hair was standing straight up, as if he had stuck his finger in an electrical plug and he had deep, dark circles under his eyes. His eyes were closed though, and he wasn’t looking my way.  

I slowed in my steps until it was almost impossible to hear my footsteps on the floor and I tried to creep around him. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to Al. And I really wasn’t in the mood to talk to an exhausted, grumpy Al. 

I stepped forward slowly, trying to get around him so that I could take the longer way to Charms. 

“Hey Rosie,” Al said softly and I felt my back stiffen. Damn.

I turned on my heel and looked at him, noticing that his usually bright green eyes were dull and sad. “Hey Al.”

“I’ve been looking for you,” he said, running his hand through his hair uncomfortably.

“Oh,” I replied, feeling awkward. “Why? Is something wrong?”

“No, not really,” he answered, his green eyes darting everywhere but at me. “It’s just that this came in the mail for you yesterday, and no one was there to take it for you, so I did.” He reached out and handed me a light purple piece of parchment with a sparkly gold ribbon tied around it. He still wasn’t looking at me.

“Oh,” I said, taking the parchment from him and undoing the ribbon. “Thanks.”

Al nodded in return and I unrolled the parchment, staring down at the fancy handwriting.

We are pleased to announce that you are invited to the wedding of: Victoire Weasley and Teddy Lupin.

When: April 4th, 2023

Where: The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, Scotland

Time: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am

We hope to see you there!

Much love,

Teddy and Victoire

I stared down at the parchment for a moment, rereading the text a few times. Teddy and Victoire were getting married. Well, it was about bloody time.

“This is over Easter break, isn’t it?” I asked Al after a few moments.

“Yeah, it is,” he replied. “It’s about time the two of them got married. I was beginning to think that Vicky would go crazy waiting for him to ask her.”

“Yeah,” I nodded, still not able to get over how awkward it was talking to him. It made my stomach squirm just thinking about how close we used to be. Before, I could tell Al anything and I had known that he would be there for me. But now we were reduced to this. Bloody Anna.

“Rose, the real reason I came here wasn’t to give you this,” Al said very suddenly, looking fully at me for the first time.

“I figured as much,” I nodded, leaning against the rail.

Silence hung in the air for a minute as neither one of us wanted to say what we both needed to be said. I was tempted to glance at my watch, sure that I was going to be late, but I resisted the urge, figuring that it would be rude.

“Look,” Al sighed, dragging his hand through his hair again. “I just wanted to apologize for my behavior over the last few months. I’ve been a complete berk. It’s just – I just-“

He sighed and looked at me pleadingly, as if asking me to understand what he couldn’t say.

“You just didn’t want to believe it,” I replied understandingly, nodding sadly. I knew exactly how he felt.

“Yeah,” he bit his lip and he looked as if he was in pain. “I was so excited that someone like Anna would like me, for me, you know? So when you tried to tell me that she was just using me, I was devastated and I deluded myself into thinking that you were just angry that I had ‘copied’ you by dating a Slytherin. But as time went on, it became obvious that you were right. And then when I found out what happened a few nights ago-“

I winced. I had tried very hard over the past few days not to think about that night, because it always made the place where my heart used to be burn and twinge. It hurt too much to think about him. I’d been doing pretty well in the ‘not thinking about him’ department up until now.

“I know how you feel,” Al said, stepping forward and wrapping his arm around my shoulders. I leaned against him, enjoying the feel of being in his arms again. It had been much too long since I had hugged Al. “It hurts so bad, doesn’t it?”

I nodded, feeling tears spring into my eyes again. It hurt more that so bad. The pain was excruciating. “Yeah, it really does.”

“Did you love him?” Al asked quietly, almost as if he was afraid to ask.

“Yes,” I answered. “I do love him.”

I looked up into Al’s face to see that he had noticed that I said ‘love’ and not ‘loved’. His face was almost contorted with what looked like pain, anger, and understanding.

“Do you love her?” I asked after a minute when neither of us said anything.

“Yes,” he said, his voice laced with bitter regret. “I love her.”  

I wrapped my other arm around my cousin and hugged him tight. His arms wrapped around me and crushed me to him so that I could hear his heartbeat against my ear. I hadn’t noticed it before, but Al had really grown in the time that we had grown apart. It was like hugging a stranger, who at the same time was familiar to me. 

He released me a few moments later. “Well, if we don’t get going we’ll be late to class.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, stepping away from him and shooting him a weak grin. “I’ve missed so much already. I can’t afford to miss much more. Otherwise McGonagall will call my parents.”

Al’s frown grew wider. “I forgot about that.”

I smiled bitterly. “I wish I could.”

He clapped me on the shoulder supportively. “Don’t worry about it, hon. It’ll work itself out.”

I nodded. I knew it was all true. My parents would work out their divorce just fine. And maybe, in the end, it would be better for everyone. Maybe.

“Well, I really have got to go,” I said. “I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, kissing me lightly on the cheek. “Hey, do you want to play some Quidditch with me tonight? I haven’t played in forever, and I feel like flying.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “That would be nice.” 

“Okay, six o’clock then,” he grinned.

“Six o’clock.”

He squeezed my shoulder again and sauntered off down the hallway, shoving his hands into his pockets as he went. I watched him go for a minute and then sighed and turned to grab the staircase before it moved again.

It was nice to have Al back again.

 

 




 

“It’s pathetic really,” I heard a fourth year Ravenclaw whisper as I walked past her in the hall. “Do you really think she thought that Malfoy wanted her for anything more than a quick shag and to mess around with her feelings?”

“I don’t think she’s that stupid,” the girl’s friend whispered back. “Although if what I heard about her getting an abortion over break, then maybe she is.”

The two girls giggled loudly and I clenched my teeth together angrily. Did people really have nothing better to talk about than Scorpius and I? And honestly, what was it with their obsession with me being pregnant and having sex? Honestly! I was still a virgin damnit!

“What a slut,” the first girl chortled. 

That was it.

I spun on my heel and glared at the two girls who were walking a few paces behind me. “I’m right here!” I cried. “I can hear everything you’re saying! And gossip hurts and is untrue. So shut the fuck up!”

The two of them stared at me, their eyes wide with feign innocence and surprise. This just made me glower more. I was so tired of people talking about me. I would have thought that I would have grown used to it by now, but it still hurt to hear people say those things. And I was tired of being hurt.  

“Sorry,” the second girl said, her bottom lip quivering. “We won’t do it again.”

“Yeah right,” I snorted indignantly. I turned around again and continued walking away, mumbling furiously under my breath. I could hear the girls giggle loudly from behind me and I was tempted to turn around and punch them but I resisted. I was just too exhausted. Plus, I was going to be late for Quidditch with Al then.

I hurried away down the corridor, trying to keep my eyelids open. It wasn’t working very well. They seemed to have a mind of their own. All of my joints hurt and I wanted nothing more than to go and take a long hot shower and then go to bed. Today had been horrible. I had had an extremely hard time paying attention in my classes, and of course all of my professors had made a point of asking in front of the entire class where I had been for the past two days. I had told them that I was sick. 

Then there was the fact that everyone in the entire castle was talking about me again. Some idiots had actually had the audacity to ask me what had happened between the two of us. I had started crying in Arithmancy. Professor Vector had been nice enough to let me go to the bathroom to cry in peace.

All in all it had been a bad day. The only thing that kept me going was the prospect of seeing Al at six. That and the idea of flying again. It had been so long since I’d taken out my broomstick. The feel of the cold air whipping against my face and the sting in my lungs would feel so incredibly good.

I approached Gryffindor tower and told the password to the Fat Lady, who swung forward and admitted me to the Common Room. I stepped inside, reveling in the warm feeling that caressed my face.  I never really thought about it, but the castle was freezing at this time of year.  I hurried through the Common Room and up the stairs to my door, doing my best to attract as little attention to myself as possible. As soon as I was in my dorm I shut the door, leaning against it tiredly. 

“Rose!” Ashley cried, jumping off of her bed and running over to me, throwing her arms around me. “There you are! We were so worried! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I lied, wrapping my arms limply around her. “I’m fine.”

She pulled back a bit and looked up at me, her eyes narrowed with worry. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yes,” I snapped, “I’m sure. I’m going to go play some Quidditch with Al.”

“So you and Al are talking again?” she asked, following me as I stepped away from her and over to my wardrobe.

“I guess,” I shrugged. I didn’t know why, but I suddenly had no patience for Ashley. But it wasn’t just Ashley really. It was people in general. I just didn’t want to see any of them, or talk to any of them, or interact with them in any way. I just wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to shut myself up in that bathroom again and never come out.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t hide from my problems forever. I couldn’t pretend that these things weren’t happening. I had to move on. 

“Well that’s good,” Ashley chirped, bouncing down on my bed. “You two used to be really close, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” I sighed, tugging off my robes and staring into my wardrobe. Normally I would have felt self-conscious standing there in nothing but my underwear and bra, but I found that I just didn’t care now. Besides, it was just Ashley.

“Rose, when was the last time you ate?” Ashley asked, staring at my ribs, which did look rather like they were sticking out.

“Uh, this morning, I guess,” I answered, pulling a black pair of sweat pants and my ratty old Cannon’s sweatshirt out of there.

“I didn’t see you at breakfast,” she said, her tone suspicious.

“I ate in the kitchen.”

She tutted disbelievingly and I turned to her when I had finished dressing, pulling my hair into a high ponytail as I went.

“I don’t have much of an appetite anymore,” I said quietly, looking down at the floor as I felt the familiar burning behind my eyes. “But I’m trying. This isn’t easy.”

I saw her nod understandingly and she stood and hugged me again, and this time I hugged her back properly. 

“I really should be going,” I told her guiltily after a moment and she let me go. I smiled at her and then turned and shoved my feet into my rattiest pair of trainers.

“Have fun,” she called as I picked up my broom and started towards the door.

“Thanks!”

“Hey Rose?”

I turned around with my hand on the doorknob, trying not to let my agitation show on my face. “Hmm?”

“Are you going to be coming back tonight?” Ashley asked nervously.

I stared at her in shock and confusion for a moment. “Yeah. Yeah I am.”

She smiled and I felt a grin tug at the corner of my own lips. Then I turned and started down the stairs.

 

 




 

When I got down to the Quidditch pitch is was pitch black outside, the only lights coming from the pitch itself, which had been charmed to light up at night, and the distant lights of the castle windows. I was freezing, considering I hadn’t worn a coat so that it would be easier to fly, but I avoided the warmth of the changing rooms all together, not wanting to bring back those memories either.

I loped onto the pitch, holding my broom carefully at my side so that the tip did not drag in the thick layer of snow that coated the ground. I could see a figure standing a few yards away from me under the giant hoops and I started over that way.  

“Hey Rosie,” Al called as I approached him and I felt a grin pull at my lips.

“Hey Al,” I called back, coming to stop a few feet away from him. He was dressed in a crimson Gryffindor sweat shirt and black sweat pants like I was, but his hair was wet and matted to his forehead from standing out in the gently falling snow and he looked freezing. “Sorry I kept you waiting.”

“It’s not a problem,” he replied. “I don’t really mind the cold.”

“That’s probably a good thing,” I chuckled. “Because it’s going to get ten times colder once we’re up in the air.”

“True,” he grinned back. “Speaking of which, I brought just a Quaffle. I figured we could play one a side.”

“Sounds good,” I said. “You’re going down, Potter.”

“You better watch it, Weasley,” he shot back, shoving me playfully and mounting his broom. 

I followed suit and rocketed into the air, gasping as the cold air stung my cheeks. The freezing air filled my lungs and I coughed slightly, but relished in the feeling. I had missed this. I looked down and felt my head spin slightly. I was so high up. I could see for miles. It was breathtaking.

“It’s gorgeous, huh?” Al asked, pulling up next to me.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It really is. I’ve missed this.”

“Yeah, me too,” he sighed contentedly.

I looked over at him in surprise. “I thought you were still playing though.”

“No,” he ran his hand through his hair. “I quit shortly after you did.” 

I nodded sadly. I should have figured. 

“I don’t really regret quitting,” he said when I didn’t say anything. “That team was a joke.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, suddenly realizing how right he was. “I don’t miss it either.”

We sat in silence for a few minutes, just taking in the breathtaking views. In the distance I could see the mountains and to my right was what seemed like the never-ending expanse of the Black Forest. The lake was to the right, and I could see the sliver of the moon reflected in its black, glasslike surface. Then I felt Al shift next to me and a mischievous grin broke out across my face. It was time to play some Quidditch.

Before he had time to realize what was going on, I reached out and grabbed the Quaffle from his hands, shooting past him down the pitch towards his goals.

“Hey!” I heard him call and I laughed, winding up and chucking the crimson ball with all of my strength. It soared out of my hands and through the middle hoop with a triumphant ring.

“That’s not fair,” Al whined, coming up behind me. “I wasn’t ready.”

“You should pay better attention, dear cousin,” I chortled.

“Oh, it’s on,” Al growled, grabbing the Quaffle before it could fall to the ground and speeding off towards my goal. I shot off after him, feeling my heart beat excitedly in my chest. I hadn’t felt so alive in a long while.

 

 




 

I don’t know how long we played, but eventually I felt my muscles beginning to burn from so much exertion and I couldn’t feel my face from the cold. 

“Al,” I called, “let’s just call it a draw and go inside. I’m dying.”

“But we’re tied,” he whined. “We have to finish this.”

“Fine,” I huffed playfully. “First person to score wins.”

“Deal,” he agreed. He threw the ball high up into the air and we both watched it, shooting up to grab it before the other. I felt myself become slightly higher than him and I reached out desperately, letting out a triumphant chuckle as my fingertips found the leather of the Quaffle and then I grabbed it outright, shooting off towards his goal. I heard him roar behind me and I urged my broom faster forward. I was so close.

His goals loomed about thirty feet from me and I knew that if I was going to make it, it would be here. Without stopping I wound up and aimed for the left ring, letting the ball fly with all of the power left in me. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see if it had made it in when I heard the ring of it going through.

“YES!” I cried, throwing both of my hands up in triumph. “I WIN!”

“Congratulations,” Al clapped me on the shoulder. I turned to him, my hand extended.

“Good game,” I agreed.

We shook hands and then lowered ourselves to the ground, panting and laughing at nothing really. I felt the first really genuine smile grace my lips as I stepped off of my broom and onto the snowy ground. 

“Well, wasn’t that impressive,” a voice loomed out of the darkness.

I grabbed Al’s shoulder in fright and glanced around quickly, trying to see where the voice had come from. In the distance I saw a group of figures approaching us.

“Who’s there?” Al called angrily and a bit nervously.

“Don’t you recognize your old teammates?” the same voice called. Then James and the rest of our old teammates stepped into the light.

“What do you want?” Al growled, his eyes narrowed in anger.

“You two haven’t gotten rusty in your time off the team,” James observed, not bothering to answer Al’s question.

“What the hell is your point, James?” I spat, feeling anger and almost hatred bubble up in my stomach.

“I heard that you broke up with your scum boyfriend, Rose,” he said, turning to me, a malevolent gleam in his eye. “Such a shame.”

“Go to hell,” I hissed venomously. 

“You know, we never did fill your two positions,” he said leadingly. “We tried out a lot of people, but no one matched your caliber. And from what I’ve seen tonight, you both still have what it takes to be on this team. So I’ll be nice, and give you your positions back.”

“I’m not coming back,” I insisted fiercely.

“Me either,” Al agreed. “Quitting the team was one of the best things I ever did.”

James stepped back from the two of us as if he had been slapped. What had he expected? That the two of us just come back with our tails between our legs? That was never going to happen.

“Fine,” Reagan said, stepping up next to James. “We don’t need two traitors like you on our team anyway.”

“What the hell is going on here?” A new voice asked.

All seven of us turned to see green clad figures coming out of the changing rooms on the opposite end of the pitch.

“Slytherins,” James hissed angrily.

“We booked he pitch tonight,” the captain, who I recognized as Flint, growled, leading the way across the pitch. They stopped a yards away from us, and I felt my breath hitch in my throat. Because there, standing to the right of Flint was Scorpius. I looked quickly away from him, crossing my arms uncomfortably across my chest.

“You don’t own the pitch, Flint,” James spat, his voice laced with venom.

“Tonight, we do,” the Slytherin captain insisted. “So get off of here before I report you to McGonagall.”

“Make us,” James growled, stepping forward, his hands balled into fists.

“Stop it,” I said, glaring at my cousin. “Don’t be stupid James.”

“Don’t you tell me what to do, “ James rounded on me.

“I’d listen to your cousin, Potter,” Flint jeered. “You wouldn’t want to do something you’d regret.”

I saw James wind up, and before anyone could do anything to stop him, he punched Flint straight across the face. I watched Marcus stagger back a few steps and then he growled and launched himself at James.

There were a few shrieks from what sounded like Kat and Samantha, and then the two boys were rolling around on the grass, punching and kicking and generally hurting any part of the other that they could reach.

Al, Reagan, and I rushed forward, pulling at the flailing limbs that was James and dragged him up and away from Flint, while a few members of the Slytherin team, including Scorpius did the same for their captain. 

“That’s enough,” I growled, holding James by his hair. “Both of you.”

I glared over at Marcus, who was panting heavily and glaring at James, and at me. I could feel Scorpius’s eyes on me, but I tried to ignore it, but my heart sped up despite my efforts. I bit my lip to keep from gasping as my chest ached.

“Fine,” James acquiesced. We let him go and he shrugged slightly, trying to regain his pompous posture. “Gryffindor, let’s go.”

The team followed James off of the pitch while Al, the Slytherin team, and I stood and watched.

“Why didn’t you leave with them?” I heard Scorpius ask.

Hearing his voice made my insides ache even more, as if a hole was eating me alive from the inside out. I whimpered slightly and crossed my arms over my chest to protect my heart from breaking further.

“We’re not part of the team,” Al replied for both of us, wrapping arm around my shoulders protectively. I could hear the malice and suppressed anger in his voice. “We were just playing a quick game of one-a-side after dinner. We’ll leave now.”

I nodded in agreement, grabbing my broom quickly from where I had discarded it in the snow when I’d rushed to stop James. I didn’t look at anyone as I did this, doing my best to focus on the white snow in front of me, even though I could tell Scorpius was watching me as I did all this. I straightened up, and almost unwillingly my eyes found his. His normally bright blue eyes looked dull, sad, and concerned.

I felt a jolt of electricity run through me and I winced, looking away instantly. I couldn’t keep doing this to myself. He didn’t love me like I loved him.

I felt Al tug at my sleeve, urging me to hurry up and I turned around quickly, not looking at him either as he wrapped his arm around my waist. I let him lead me off the pitch, not really conscious of where I was going either, but extremely conscious of the pair of eyes that I could feel still lingering on my back.

I was relieved when we stepped off of the pitch and into the darkness for two reasons – one, because then Scorpius couldn’t see me anymore; and two, because then Al couldn’t see the tears that were silently rolling down my cheeks.  






 A/N: Yay! I finally finished this chapter. I don't know why, but I struggled with this one a bit. But it's finally out! 

What did you think? Like it? Dislike it? Please leave me a review and tell me what you thought. :) 

As for the one-shot, a lot of you told me that you would rather have this one first, so it's not quite done yet. It should be done sometime over the week though so look out for it soon.  

Oh, and I thought I'd tell you lot in case anyone was wondering - I'm thinking that there are only 10-15 chapters left in this story. I know, sad! But don't worry, theres still plenty of plot tricks and twists left. 

Okay, I'm gonna end this extremely long author's note now. Thanks for reading everyone! Please, please review!


Chapter 31: Picking and Choosing
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It’s amazing how sometimes the things I think I’ll never be able to make it past are the things that I find it easiest to forget about. That’s not to say that I’ve forgotten about all of my problems. It’s just that I seem to have so many these days that I can only focus on one at a time. Hell, if I had to think about everything that was wrong with my life at the same time, I’d probably kill myself. Or go crazy at least. 

Sometimes I found myself asking “why me?” or “what did I ever do to deserve any of this?” And the only answer I kept coming up with to those questions is “why anyone else?” It was true. I was no better than anyone else out there. Everyone had their problems – their burdens to bear. These were mine. I would deal with the cards I had been dealt. It could have been worse, I supposed. I could have cancer or dragon pox. 

Besides, things were already starting to look up, a little bit at least. I had Al back. I had two great best friends. I had relatively good grades. I was a pretty good Quidditch player. Most people would have considered me lucky. I just had to content myself knowing all of those things.

But it was so hard sometimes.

“Hey Rosie,” Tony said, sliding into a seat next to me at breakfast a few days later. “How’ve you been?”

“Hey Tony,” Noel piped up from across the table, smiling at the dark skinned boy next to me.

“I’ve been okay,” I replied, noticing that Tony didn’t even acknowledge Noel. “Struggling a little bit, but I’m getting better.”

“I know it’s hard,” Tony sympathized, wrapping his arm around my shoulder comfortingly. “He’s not too pleased with me right now either.”

I sat under Tony’s arm uncomfortably. Lately he had been rather touchy-feely, and while it was nice to get a hug once in a while from my friends, I was beginning to feel awkward around Tony. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was pretty sure that Noel liked him. Or maybe it was the fact that he was Scorpius’s best friend and yet he was sitting over at the Gryffindor table with me instead of with Jack and Scorpius at the Slytherin table.

“Really?” Noel asked gruffly, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “I wonder why?”

“Well, you have been spending a lot of time with me,” I reminded him. “You’re supposed to be his best friend, not mine.”

“But Scorpius acted like a dick and hurt one of my friends. And I’m not going to support that,” Tony replied, squeezing my shoulder lightly.

I bit my lip to stop myself from crying again. I really did not like this topic. The best way for me to move on was not to even think about Scorpius. It still hurt too badly. It seemed like the pain was never dwindling – it would just become numb for a little while until someone triggered my memory. Then I would have to start the whole damn process over again.

“Can we not talk about this?” I asked quietly once I had my emotions under control.

I saw Tony’s face soften with understanding. “Of course.”

“Hey guys,” Al said, grinning a bit and taking a seat across the table next to Ashley. “How is everyone this morning?”

“All right,” I replied, feeling a grin tug at the corners of my own lips. Seeing Al seemed to be one of the only things that made me smile lately. He seemed to understand what I was going through unlike anyone else, and he never brought it up. Like the other night, he would just sit quietly next to me on the couch in the Common Room as I stared into the fire, crying a little bit and just generally trying to cope. It was just nice knowing that there was someone there with me.

“You know, you still owe me a rematch for the other night,” he chuckled, grabbing a piece of toast and taking a large bite out of it.

“You’re ready for another slaughtering?” I challenged, smirking.

“I was not slaughtered!” he insisted, throwing his half eaten piece of toast at me. I ducked it easily and flicked a spoonful of my oatmeal at him. It landed in his hair.

“Oh, gross,” he moaned, reaching his hand up and gingerly touching his hair. He turned and glared at me. “Oh, you are so going to get it now.”

He grabbed a sausage off the plate in front of him and chucked it at me and I shrieked slightly, not ducking in time and taking a sausage to the eye. I wiped the grease off my face and chuckled, hearing Tony, Ashley, Noel, and Al all roaring with laughter around me.  

I was just about to throw a piece of bacon back at Al when the sound of hundreds of beating wings filled the air and the owls carrying our daily mail swooped down upon us. I scanned the skies by rote, but I didn’t see my mother’s usual owl or my father’s. I went back to my oatmeal quietly, but started when I felt the sharp prod of a beak on the top of my hand.

I looked up to see a beautiful, rather large barn owl perched on the table in front of me, a purple letter tied to its leg. 

“Is that a Ministry letter?” Tony asked, eyeing the bird’s leg. “What’s it for?”

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, feeling slightly nervous and confused. I reached out and untied the letter from its leg with shaking hands. It hooted feebly and I gave it a sausage absentmindedly, hardly noticing when it took off into the air again.

I stared at the rolled up parchment for a moment, looking at the few words scribbled on the outside of the roll. To Miss Rose Weasley – URGENT

I didn’t recognize the handwriting.

“Well, open it,” Ashley said from across the table. I glanced up at her for a second and then down again at the parchment. I took a deep breath and opened it, seeing a few more lines scribbled in the same messy penmanship.

Hello Rose,

I hope that you have had a good return to school. I’m pleased to inform you that your parent’s divorce is moving along swimmingly and smoothly. However, your presence is required at the Ministry of Magic on January 21st, 2023 to discuss custody arrangements. Seeing as you are of age now, it would usually not be an issue, but considering that you are not graduating from Hogwarts for another year, we feel it would be prudent to get both yours and your brother’s input on which of your parents you would like to live with. Do not worry, this trip has already been cleared with Headmistress McGonagall, and you are able to Floo to the Ministry via her fireplace. Thank you for your cooperation and time.

Sincerely,

Justin Finch-Fletchely

Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department

I reread the letter and stared down at the piece of parchment in shock. Was he serious? He really expected me to do this?

“What does it say?” Tony asked, peering over my shoulder to see what was written.

I crumpled the ball up in my fist angrily and turned to look at all of my friends. “That letter was from Justin Finch-Fletchely,” I told them, my voice sounding astonished. “He wants me to go into the Ministry on the 21st.”

“What for?” Noel asked, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“I think he wants me to choose which one of my parents I want to live with,” I replied, horrified at the thought.

“Merlin,” Noel breathed. “I can’t imagine having to choose between my parents. I’m so sorry, Rosie.”

“Yeah,” Ashley piped up. “That’s so horrible and unfair.”

“I’m sorry, hon,” Tony added, his knee brushing mine under the table.

“It’s okay,” I replied, my thoughts so jumbled that I really wasn’t aware of what they were saying or what was coming out of my mouth.

“Well, at least you have some time to think about it,” Ashley tried to reassure me.

“Isn’t the 21st tomorrow?” Al asked.

The whole group went silent. I did a mental tally of the days in my head. Yes, tomorrow was definitely the 21st.

“Yeah, it is,” Tony said somberly. I felt everyone’s eyes on me, but I didn’t look at any of them, instead choosing to draw little stick figures in my oatmeal with my spoon.  

This was too much. First I lost Scorpius, now I was going to have to lose one of my parents. But unlike what my friends thought, I wasn’t worried about having to make my decision. Ever since I had read the letter I’d known who I’d pick to live with. The choice was obvious.   

I was just worried about my father would say when I admitted that I didn’t want to live with him.

 

 




 

I’ve noticed that time, a cruel and flighty mistress in the first place, always seems to speed up when you want it to slow down. And whenever you want it to speed up, it drags. 

Of course, because I was dreading the morrow, it came upon me all the faster.  

I sighed and slipped on the pair of new white trainers that Hugo had gotten me for my birthday, bending down and tying the laces swiftly. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to wear to the Ministry to discuss custody arrangements, but Noel, Ashley, and I had decided last night that a sweater and jeans were probably fine. 

I ran my fingers through my hair tiredly and glanced in the mirror. Eh, it could be worse. I smoothed out the grey wool sweater that Noel had loaned me and picked a stray strand of hair off of my shoulder. I was as ready as I ever was going to be.

I walked away from the mirror and accidentally tripped over one of Lucy’s pairs of shoes. I swore loudly, not worrying about waking anyone up, considering the dormitory was empty, as classes had started over two hours ago. 

I walked down the stairs and into the Common Room, which was mostly empty, save for a few seventh years that had a free period. I slouched out of the portrait hole without attracting too much attention to myself and set off towards McGonagall’s office without really registering where my feet were going.  

Before I knew it I was standing in front of the two gargoyles that guarded the Headmaster’s office.

“Password?” the right one asked, glowering at me.

“Uhh,” I said. I had no idea what the password was. No one ever told me.

“I have no idea,” I admitted, shaking my head uncertainly.

“No password, no entrance,” the left gargoyle insisted.

“Look,” I snapped, feeling extremely agitated, “I have to get up to that office, okay? McGonagall is expecting me.  I have an important meeting at the Ministry this morning.”

“Tough luck, sweetheart,” the first one said, smiling a grotesque smile.  

I huffed and felt my fingers twitch towards my pocket. I was going to blast that stupid, smug smile right off that annoying gargoyle’s face.

“Don’t know the password?” someone asked from behind me and I started a bit, not having expected seeing anyone wandering around the castle at this time of day. I turned on the spot to see Hugo sauntering down the hallway, his hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans and his shoulders slouched beneath his navy sweater.

“Not exactly,” I growled. “Why, do you know what it is?” 

“Yeah, move aside,” he mumbled, bumping me with his shoulder unnecessarily and squaring up to one of the gargoyles. 

I bit my lip to keep from saying something I would regret and glared at the back of Hugo’s head angrily. I hadn’t talked to Hugo since the last incident on the train. And honestly, I still really had no desire to, especially when he was being so mean.

“Tabby cat,” he told the sentries, and they instantly sprang aside, revealing a long, winding staircase leading up to McGonagall’s office.  

“That was obvious,” I mumbled darkly to myself, following Hugo up the stairs. When we got to the top, Hugo didn’t even bother to stop and knock, rather just pushing the door open and slouching into the office.

“Good morning, Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley,” McGonagall said from behind her desk, the look on her face not at all surprised by the fact that we had just barged into her office.

“Good morning Professor,” we replied. I stared down at the carpet that we were standing on, not wanting to have to look at McGonagall. Because even in the few seconds that she had said hello to us, I could see the pity in her eyes – the look that said “look at these two innocent children, obviously falling apart more every day with no one there to catch them.”

I didn’t want to be pitied. I didn’t want everyone to feel sorry for me. I was really sick and tired of always having to be the damsel in distress. I was really sick and tired of having to wait for someone to come along and save me, for someone to come along and put back the pieces of my shattered life. Especially now that my knight in shining armor was gone.  

“Are you ready to go?” she asked, her eyes scrutinizing us over the rim of her glasses.

“Ready as ever, I suppose,” I replied, glancing up at her briefly. That stupid look was still there.

“All right then, the fire is ready over there,” she told us, gesturing behind her to the fireplace.

“Thank you,” Hugo mumbled, stepping round towards the fireplace and I followed him. We both stood before the giant stone structure for a moment, neither of us wanting to be the first one to go.

“Well, I guess I’ll go first,” I muttered, reaching up and grabbing the jar of Floo powder off of the mantle and taking a pinch in my fist. I held it out to Hugo and he did the same. 

I placed the jar carefully back on the mantle and squared up to the fireplace, staring into the crackling flames as if they were the flames of hell. I really, really did not want to go. I would rather have had to see Scorpius and Anna together again. Well, maybe not that much, considering that my insides burned painfully just thinking about it. But I would have rather cursed off my own nose than go. Yeah, that was better.

“Are you going to go, or do you want me to go first?” Hugo growled.

I glanced behind me at him, and for the first time noticed the fear in his eyes. If it was possible, a little bit of my heart broke further. I hated seeing Hugo like this. He may have said some horrible things to me, but he was still my baby brother.  

“I can go,” I told him quietly, taking a deep breath and tossing the powder onto the flames. They instantly became green and I closed my eyes and stepped inside, doing my best not to think about anything as I shouted “Ministry of Magic!”

I felt the green flames lick at my ankles and then I was spinning away, too fast to actually get a good look inside any of the fireplaces I swirled past. The ride was faster than the one to Zambini Manor had been and before I knew it I felt myself slowing down. I braced myself for the landing this time and only slightly stumbled as I stopped.

I straightened up slightly and brushed the extra soot off of my clothes and then looked up to find my mother or father, or whoever was supposed to be waiting for me. The first thought that crossed my mind was that I wished I hadn’t. Because I was instantly blinded by a million flashbulbs going off.

“ROSE! Would you like to comment on-“

“Rose! Can I ask you a few questions?”

“Is it true that you spent the holidays on the streets?”

“Where were you over Christmas?”

“What-“

“Why?”

“Rose.”

“Rose!”

“ROSE!!!”

It felt as if the world was spinning. I looked around frantically, trying to find a familiar face in the crowd or a way out, but I could barely see anything due to the incessant flashes of the cameras. A tremor of terror rolled through me as I realized that even if my mother or father was calling out for me I wouldn’t know it, because I couldn’t hear anything other than the loud roar of the paparazzi.

I felt lightheaded and dazed. Had I really landed in the Ministry of Magic? I must have. How else would they have known where I was? 

Suddenly I heard their chanting of my name stop, as they had taken up a new prey.

“Hugo, can you comment on-“

“Hugo!”

“Hugo, over here!”

I spun around wildly, reaching for my younger brother and grasped something that felt distinctly Hugo like behind me.

“Rose?” I heard him cry.

“Yeah, it’s me,” I shouted back, pulling him closer to me.  

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t know!”  

“EVERYONE GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW OR I WILL HAVE YOU PERSONALLY SENT TO AZKABAN FOR THE HARASISMENT OF CHILDREN!”

The flashbulbs stopped as did the roar of the reporters and I blinked a few times in confusion to try to clear my vision. I swore fluently under my breath as I saw for the first time exactly how large the crowd of reporters actually was. They spanned almost the entire shiny entrance hall, the only thing holding them back from trampling Hugo and me a long, purple velvet rope that hung about 7 feet in front of us, blocking their path. 

The hall had grown instantly silent at the sound of that loud, familiar voice, the only sound now was that of clacking heels and shuffled dress shoes against the floor. The crowd of reporters parted down the middle as the steps grew louder and then through the chaos I saw my mother and father, flanked by Justin Finch-Fletchely and Cho Chang emerge.

“There you are,” my mother said, her voice clouded by a mixture of anger and anxiousness. “I don’t know how these sharks learned that the two of you were coming here today.”

“Don’t worry,” Justin said, placing his hand on my mother’s shoulder comfortingly. “We’ll find out.”

“Of course you will,” I heard my father hiss.

“Ron,” Cho reprimanded.

“Maybe we should take this elsewhere,” Hugo pointed out, throwing a discreet glance at the pack of rabid reporters leaning in to catch their every word.

“You’re right,” my mother sighed, pulling her long, royal purple robes tighter around her thinner frame and tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “You kids don’t need to be in the spotlight.”

I nodded and bit my lip anxiously. This was worse than I’d thought it would be.  Reporters, anxious parents, Hugo being all angsty. Why couldn’t I have a normal family?

“Shall we go up to my office?” my mother asked to no one in particular.

“Of course,” my father spat bitterly, turning on his heel and striding past us. Cho shot Justin and Hugo and I an apologetic look and strode past us and I heard my mother sigh wearily. I could imagine that after having done nothing but deal with the divorce settlement with my father for the past few weeks that she was growing tired of his constant sighs and biting sarcasm. 

I followed my father and Cho out of the main entrance through the small aisle that still remained in the reporters. Hugo walked silently by my side, scuffing his shoes against the floor with loud squeaks. I glared over at him as a silent warning to stop but he did not notice because he was staring determinedly down at the shiny hardwood as if his life depended upon it.

I sighed quietly and followed suit, suddenly feeling the hundreds of eyes upon me. Why was it that everywhere I went, that people were preying on my business and my feelings like a pack of vultures? What made it okay for people to stick their nose into my business and my life? Why was it okay for hundreds of women everywhere who were following this sudden juicy piece of gossip to have an inside view into my pain and my life as if they knew me, and as if they really cared?  

We paused before the giant golden grilled lifts and my father tapped his foot anxiously against the ground. I could tell that he was looking at Hugo and I, but I kept my eyes trained steadily forward, not wanting to look up at him. It would be too painful. For one thing, because I knew I would see anger and disappointment in his eyes. The last time I had seen my father face to face he was standing at the side of the road, watching me pull away from him after having been punched in the face by Scorpius. For another, I was afraid that if I looked at him, I wouldn’t have the courage or the strength to tell him that I didn’t want to live with him.

 Some Gryffindor I was.  

 

 




 

The walk to my mother’s office had to be one of the longest of my life. No one spoke. No one cleared their throat uncomfortably. The only sound was their footsteps against the hardwood floors and the soft sounds of breathing.  

I wanted to scream.

Finally we reached a set of enormous wooden doors with gold inlay and my mother walked inside first, followed by Justin and then my dad. I let out a soft sigh of relief. The sooner we got this over with, the sooner I could go back to school. Wow, that was an odd feeling. Just another sign that my life was going to hell – I would rather be in class.

I was the last into my mother’s office, and I instantly stopped once I was through the door. I had known all along that the Minster of Magic’s office would have been spectacular, but this was really incredible. The ceiling was painted a dark blue, light blue and grey clouds and thousands of what seemed like real twinkling stars scattered throughout it. The office was lined with dark wooden bookshelves which were all completely filled; some of the titles of the tomes written in languages that I was not sure could have been human. There was only one painting in the room, but it didn’t really seem to have any significance, as there was only a muddy brown backdrop. A humongous desk sat at the very back of the room and was flanked on either side by long, dark wood, gold gilded staircases that lead up to a small study. Behind the desk was an ornate golden chair.

“Wow,” I breathed, looking around me at the splendor of my mother’s office. “This is beautiful.”

“Do you like it?” My mother asked, smiling a bit smugly. “Every minister gets to put their own personal spin on this room.”

“It’s great, Mum,” I replied, shaking my head slightly to return myself back to reality.

“It’s not that great,” I heard my father mutter mutinously.

“Maybe we should get things started,” Cho said with a warning glance at my father. “The children have to get back to school soon.”

“Good idea,” Justin replied, putting a hand on both Hugo’s and my shoulders and ushering us up the stairs towards the study. “Shall we?”

I wanted to ask him why he thought it was okay that he was pushing me up the stairs, let alone how he knew it was okay to just take us up to my mother’s private study, but I thought it would probably get me in less trouble to keep my comments to myself. A quick glance at Hugo confirmed that he was thinking the same thing, because he had an angry grimace on his face and I could tell that he was trying to dig his heels into the floor to stop himself from moving forward.

I elbowed him sharply in the side to tell him to knock it off and he glowered at me, mumbling something that I couldn’t understand under his breath. I glowered right back at him.

“This should be cozy,” Justin said, pulling back the purple curtain that provided privacy for the study and giving us both a forceful push inside. I stumbled a bit and caught myself against a high backed chair. It appeared that what I had once thought was a study was more of an actual conference room, with a long, dark wood table running across the length of the room.

“What the hell?” I heard Hugo mutter darkly and I didn’t bother to elbow him this time. I was thinking it too.

“Watch your language, Hugo,” my mother chastised, coming in and taking her seat next to Justin on one side of the table while my dad and Cho shuffled in behind her and took their places on the opposite side of the table.   

I stood awkwardly off to the side, not sure about where to sit. Part of me wanted to sit next to my mother, just because it would be easier to tell my dad that I wanted to live with her while sitting right next to her. As an added bonus, then I would be out of his reach. On the other hand though, I didn’t want to make it seem like I was picking sides already. 

“Why don’t you each sit at one end of the table?” Cho asked kindly, gesturing to the two throne-like chairs that sat at either end.

I nodded and started off towards the far end, making sure to keep my eyes on the ground as I went. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as I went, but I tried to not let it phase me. If I could endure everyone talking about me at school, I could endure this.

I pulled out my assigned chair and sat down quickly, folding my hands into a tight knot in my lap to keep from drumming on them on the table like I suddenly wanted to. 

“Okay then,” Justin said, placing a thin, manila folder on the table in front of him without opening it, “I think you both know why you’re here.”

“Yes,” Hugo and I answered from opposite ends of the table at the same time.

“Now, I just want to reiterate a few points before we start, just to clear up any confusion,” he continued, looking back and forth between us.  “First of all, I’d just like to remind you both that custody battles are usually fought between parents in the courts. But considering that Rose, you are of age, and Hugo, you are a young adult, both of your parents have agreed that it would be better that you both got a say in where you live. I’d also like to tell you that just because you are both getting to choose which parent you want to live with, this does not mean that you will never see the other parent again.”

“Yes,” Cho interjected, looking first at Justin, then Hugo, then me. “Your parents have opted for shared custody of the two of you. The parent you choose today will be your primary guardian – which means that you will live with this parent most of the time, and see the other parent on assigned weekends or nights. Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” we both echoed again.

“Good,” Cho smiled. “Now, I don’t want to put any pressure on either of you, but I just want you to know, that the court systems usually do not like to split up siblings. But both of you are older now, so I do not know how much of a problem it would pose if you chose separate parents.”

“So we have to choose the same parent?” Hugo asked, looking over at the pretty Asian woman, a pained expression in his eyes.

“No, not at all,” my mother answered. “Your father and I want you to choose whoever you want to live with. Any problems it may pose we were already aware of when we decided to let you both pick. We are fine with whatever you both choose.”

“Really?” Hugo asked his voice hard and dark. “So you won’t hate us if we don’t choose you?”

My mother opened her mouth and then closed it again, pain and confusion evident on her weary face. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, Hugo. Not at all. Your father and I love you and your sister more than anyone else on this earth. We just want what you want and what is best for you. We won’t be at all upset if you do not choose us. As long as you are doing what you really want to do; that is what matters to us – right Ronald?”

My father looked over at my mother from where he had been staring at the wall opposite him and I could see his body stiffen and his eyes become filled with anger and hurt as he looked at her. “That’s right,” he said gruffly, looking at Hugo for a long minute and then glancing at me.  

“Okay, then,” I nodded, looking up but at no one in particular. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and my stomach felt like it was doing cartwheels in my abdomen. I licked my lips nervously, as if this would make the words I knew I was soon going to have to say come easier.

“Do you both already know who you want to live with?” Cho asked curiously.

“Yeah,” I said at the same time Hugo said, “Sure thing.”

“Go ahead,” Justin encouraged. “Tell us.”

“Mum,” I said, not daring to meet eyes with my father and looking over at my mother, who was smiling at me, her eyes glassy with unshed tears. She mouthed a quick “I love you to me” and I shot her a weak grin back. 

I could feel my father’s enraged glare on my back and I felt my shoulders stiffen apprehensively. I turned slowly to him and unwillingly my eyes locked with his. I could see that he was hurt and disappointed, but more than anything he looked angry. I gasped slightly, feeling almost like I had déjà vu. I had not seen him glare at me with such hate since that day in McGonagall’s office. 

After a moment he tore his eyes away from mine and looked down at Hugo, as if he could not stand looking at me anymore, as if I was just another huge disappointment to him. I felt immense guilt twist in my gut and I opened my mouth to say something, but I couldn’t find my voice. Even if I could have, I had no idea what I would have said.

That I was sorry? No, I was not sorry for choosing my mother. My father had been so cruel to me for the past few years. Why would I have wanted to live in an environment where I would be constantly hurt? I would be crazy to want something like that. So, no, I could not tell him I was sorry for choosing my own health and happiness for once in my life.

“Dad, I-“ I said, struggling to find something, anything at all to say.

“Rose,” he growled, turning to glare down at me. “There is no need to justify your decision. It has been made.”

“Dad, really, I love you too,” I tried again.

“Just stop,” he hissed, dragging his hand over his face wearily. “It’s fine, Rose. It’s over.”

I stared down at the table, feeling the bitter sting of tears behind my eyes again. It was most definitely not fine. If my father had hated me before, he hated me ten times more now. Now it was like we had lost the only connection keeping us together – that he was my father and I was his daughter. I had just willingly given up that last bond. And no matter how much he hurt me or hated me, the idea that things were really gone between us was unbearable. It was almost agony to think that I had just laid the final straw that broke the camel’s back.  

I heard a strangled sob escape my lips and soon felt the hot tears spilling down my cheeks. I bit my lip hard to stop myself from crying – I had promised myself I would not cry during this whole ordeal – but soon I tasted the metallic zing of blood on my tongue. I released my lip and a slight hiccough escaped me.

“Here sweetie, have some tissues,” my mother soothed, conjuring up a box of tissues and passing them down the table towards me. I took one gladly and swiped angrily at my streaming eyes, trying to stem the flow of my tears before they became out of control. Soon my sobs died down and the hiccoughing stopped.

“Feel better?” my mother asked. I looked up at her and nodded meekly, even though in reality I felt so shattered inside that I never thought I would be able to become whole again. It was as if the last spark of hope had died in me.  It was as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to the already fragmented pieces of my heart and smashed them into a fine powder.

I had walked away from Scorpius. I had now just proverbially walked away from my father. I had lost the two most important men in my life of my own accord.  

And now I was reduced to practically nothing.    

“Well, now that that’s over,” my father barked, looking down the table expectantly at my younger brother. “Hugo, it’s your turn. Who would you like to live with?”

The whole table turned as one to look at him. Hugo stared back at us all with a look of defiance that seemed macabre and extremely out of place on his face.

“I’m living with Dad.” 





 
A/N: Whew, it's finally done. I know I promised that I'd have this done over the weekend, but time just gets away from me. But it's here right. And I hope you all liked it. 

So, what did you think? Surprised? Not surprised? Did you like it? Hey, if you want to, leave me a review and tell me what you thought. I hope you all liked it though. I'm pretty pleased with this chapter. 

Anyway, I know you're all probably wondering what happened to Scorpius. Don't worry - we'll hear more from him soon. I promise. But I figured we hadn't heard from her parents for a while.

All right, I'm going to go before I write another novel. Thank you all for reading. Please, please review! :)


Chapter 32: From Bad to Worse
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“Ha-ha!” my father cried, jumping up and banging his fist down on the table. “That’s my boy! That’s my son!”

I glanced from my father to Hugo, who had turned bright red but was smiling proudly up at my father. He turned to look at me when he felt my eyes on him and I noticed something like defiance mixed with resignation in his eyes. My heart fluttered nervously as realization ran through me and I couldn’t help the slight gasp that escaped my lips.

I felt all the heads at the table turn towards me, but I did not look at any of the adults at the table, still staring at my brother in disbelief.

“You little prick,” I growled, glaring at Hugo. Instantly I saw the proud pink flush drain from him cheeks.

“Rose,” my mother cautioned, laying her hand over my in an attempt to comfort me, but I snatched my hand away and stood up, not able to stand sitting any longer.

“He is Mum!” I cried, looking down at her and gesturing wildly at Hugo. “He doesn’t really want to live with Dad!”

“Rose, calm down,” my mother said, her voice still comforting, but I could hear the order that laced it. “Hugo has the right to choose where he wants to live.”

“But he’s not choosing!” I insisted, knowing that I was right. “He’s settling because he’s afraid to admit that he would rather live with you.”

“That’s not true!” Hugo cried, jumping up from his seat as well and kicking aside his chair. “I want to live with Dad!”

I snorted disbelievingly and there was a loud chatter for voices around the table as both of the lawyers and my parents tried to talk at the same time.

“See Hermione,” my father growled when the chatter had died down. “I knew I was right.”

“Ronald,” my mother sighed, dragging her hand through her hair wearily. “Don’t start this.”

“Of course you don’t want me to start this,” he yelled. “Because then you’ll have to admit that I’m right.”

 My mother didn’t say anything.

“Just admit it,” he said, pushing back from the table and walking slowly towards Hugo. “Admit that you can’t stand seeing and hearing that someone out there loves me. Admit that you can’t stand the idea that our son might love me more than you. Admit it. I can see it in your eyes Hermione. I can see that you are frustrated that you didn’t win this too. That you aren’t better than me at everything.”

“SHUT UP!” my mother cried, her chair crashing backwards with a loud bang as she stood up quickly, panting hard, her hair wild and her eyes livid. “We promised we wouldn’t do this!”

“No, you promised we wouldn’t do this,” he shot back, his hands balling into fists at his sides. “I never promised anything.”

“Ron,” Cho said sternly, her words lost on my father.

“I think that the kids should know! They should know that their mother is a horrible woman who wants to take everything from me and shove it back in my face!”

“That is enough!” Justin roared, standing up and resting both of his hands on the table, glaring at my father who was standing rather close to him now that he was next to Hugo. “Let’s remember that we are the adults here.”

“Of course you come to her defense,” my father roared.

“I am her lawyer,” Justin pointed out. 

My father let out a roar of rage and the next thing I knew, Justin was soaring backwards across the room. He landed with a loud thud against a bookcase and my mother shrieked loudly. She glanced from my father to Justin and then back to my father so fast that all I could see was a blur of her frizzy brown hair. She apparently decided that making sure Justin wasn’t dead was more important than hexing the shit out of my father and she rushed over to him. 

I stood there in shock, not even sure what had happened it had all happened so fast. My father had just thrown Justin across the room. 

“Are you crazy?” I cried before I could stop myself.  

My father glared down the table at me and I resisted the urge to crawl under the table. 

“What did you say to me?” he growled.

“Are you crazy?” I repeated, my tongue almost acting of its own accord. “What the hell is your problem?”

I watched as my father’s eyes grew very wide and it seemed that he was too shocked to even glare at me. I wanted to look over and see what my mother thought, but I was afraid if I looked away for even a second it would be over.

I had actually said something to my father that made him stop and think. I had actually, in a way, stood up to him for once.

It felt good

It felt like there was a little person inside of me coming to life for the first time, spreading her wings and breaking free. It was amazing. I felt like I should be breathing heavily, because I felt like I had just run a marathon, but at the same time I felt so completely airless that the idea of breathing in itself seemed superfluous.  

“And you wonder why I don’t want to live with you,” I added darkly, my voice rising with every word. “This is why, Dad. Because I don’t even recognize who you are. Because you terrify me. And most of all because you are terrible to me. You’re horrible to everyone these days – me, Mum, Hugo, our family, everyone! And for no reason! And I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired of being treated like crap. I’m tired of sitting back while you treat the people I love like crap. I’m done with all of it. And if that means being done with you – well then so be it.”

By the time I got done talking, I was shaking like a leaf. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the relief of having gotten at least that off of my chest or because of the sheer terror I was feeling watching his facial expressions contort. He seemed to be hurt, angry, confused, in pain, and angrier all in the same instant.

Everyone was quiet as we waited for my father’s reaction. I took a deep breath to try to steady myself for the onslaught, but it never came. Instead there was just silence.

I didn’t know what I would have preferred more – to have him yell at me and scream at me or to have him be quiet. The quiet almost seemed worse than the yelling. It was as if by him being quiet, he was internalizing it all, letting it fester inside of him until it turned ugly and mutilated and reared its head later.

My stomach churned at the thought guiltily. I probably should not have said the things I did. Even though I meant them, even though I really wasn’t in control of the word vomit that had come out of my mouth in that moment, I should not have said it.

I knew that those words that had spilled out would cost me dearly later.

The few moments that passed as we all waited for my father to react felt like hours. Where time had seemed to move so fast before now it felt excruciatingly slow. I wished it would speed up again. All I wanted was to know what was going to happen now. I had set the ball rolling, and it was in his court now. But it was as if he had called a time-out and stopped the clock with two seconds left. We were all left hanging.

And I was going insane waiting.

Finally my father seemed to snap out of it. He shook his head of ginger hair like a dog shaking the water out of its fur and blinked a few times. His eyes met mine for an instant, and I automatically knew what was going to come next. I gripped the edge of the table tightly and waited for it.

“Fuck off,” my father spat, his voice filled with more contempt than I think I’ve ever heard.

There was a loud scraping noise as he pushed away from the table and then I watched him turn on his heel and storm towards the door, jerking aside the purple curtain with much more force than necessary and storming through it. I listened to the sound of his loud angry footsteps go down the stairs and across the wooden floor and then the sound of the heavy gold gilded doors opened. I winced as the slammed shut with a resounding crash.

I could feel every eye in the room on me but I couldn’t do anything but stare forward in shock, gripping the edge of the table for support. In all of my life, my father had never walked away from me of his own choice. My mother had forced him to walk away from me back in McGonagall’s office all those months ago and I had run away from him at Christmas. Now, he was choosing to walk away from me. 

That was what I wanted, right? That was what I had told him.

But what did I really want? Did I want him forever out of my life? No. I most certainly did not want that. He was my father for Merlin’s sake. In a sadistic, sick way, I loved him unconditionally. I would always love him. That was the way things were supposed to be. Did I want him in my life? Yes. But did I want him in my life like this? No. There was no way I could live like this anymore. Like I had told him earlier, I was done being a victim. It was time for me to stand up for myself.

But boy did that ever bite me in the butt.

In leaving he had told me exactly what I need to know – that the two of us could not have a relationship of any kind. He was not willing to change. Or maybe he didn’t know how to. Whatever it was, I realized that this was the way my father was, and I could not change it. I either had to learn to deal with it or end it forever. My father had made that choice for me.

I suddenly couldn’t feel my legs anymore and I collapsed back down into my chair, feeling the room start to spin. I felt the first hot pricks of tears well up behind my eyes, but I didn’t have the strength or the resolve to reach up and wipe them away. I laid my forehead against my knees and let myself sob.

 

 




 

My mum let me use her personal fireplace to Floo back to school instead of having to go back down to where the paparazzi were probably waiting. Our goodbye had been a quick, chaste one and I had shaken hands with Justin, who looked a little bit shell-shocked still.

The whole affair was rather awkward, although that wasn’t surprising. What do you say to someone after something like that?

Needless to say, I was more than relieved when I stepped back into McGonagall’s office.

“Hello, Miss Weasley,” McGonagall said, examining me over the brim of her glasses again.

“Hello, Professor,” I replied wearily.

“Did you have a good meeting?”

I restrained a dark laugh and nodded quickly. “As well as could be expected I suppose.”

“Where is your brother?” she asked, looking behind me into the fireplace as if she expected him to just pop out of it any moment.

“He’ll be along shortly. I think he was still talking to my father’s lawyer,” I replied, knowing full well that Hugo had gone to look for my father shortly before I left.

“Okay then,” the older woman replied. “Afternoon classes have already begun. If you would like, you may have some lunch in the kitchens and then go back to your dormitory, or perhaps go the library. You have already been excused from all of your classes for the day.”

“Thank you, Professor,” I replied. “I’ve already eaten. I think I’ll go to the library.”

She nodded me goodbye and then returned back to the letter that she had been writing and I let myself out without another word. I really had not eaten lunch, but just the idea of food at the moment seemed repulsive and I really did not want to go back to my dormitory, no matter how good sleep might have sounded.

I trudged along the deserted hallways without really registering where I was going, letting my feet tread the path to the library mindlessly. I had made the trip so often last year during O.W.L.S. that it was not a spectacular feat.  

I shuffled through the doors without attracting much attention to myself and scanned the walls for an available table. Most of them were occupied by fifth years and Ravenclaws and I scanned the back of the room to find a more friendly face.

No one.

I sighed and blew a strand of hair out of my face, tucking it behind my ear angrily. The only available table was the one directly in front of me, although I was pretty sure that someone was using it, considering there was a bag thrown down into one of the chairs and books stacked all over the table.

I looked around quickly to see if someone was using it, but no one else who was here looked like they were occupying the table. Maybe they had wandered off and forgotten their bag here. Or maybe they were out looking for another book and would be understanding when they came back and saw me sitting there. Whoever it was, I was sharing with them.

I strode quickly forward and plopped myself down across the table from where their bag was. I pulled the smallest book that was sitting on the table towards me, hoping to find something to do to make it seem like I was not just sitting there, staring into space aimlessly. 

I realized that I had read the cover about five times without actually having read it. I shook my head slightly to wake myself up and looked down at the cover properly.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

I stared down at the title for a moment in shock, rereading the title a few more times to make sure I had it right. Someone in this school read Shakespeare? I opened the cover to see if it had a name, but there was none. It seemed from the card inside that it was a library book.

Well, that was a new discovery. I hadn’t known that Hogwarts carried Muggle books, let alone that there was anyone in this school besides me, my mum, and Hugo who enjoyed them. I looked at the numbers that were printed on the card to find out what section the Muggle books were located at and then stood up, stretching slightly as my joints creaked.

A good book would get my mind off of things for a while. And I hadn’t done much reading since I had started school. It would be nice to get lost in a world of fiction for a while.  

I found the Muggle fiction section off in a darkened corner without much difficulty and soon was enjoying myself perusing the titles. A lot of them I had read over the summer at my mother’s insistence. There were some titles that were completely new to me, but I skimmed vaguely over those, not really interested in something that would take a lot of concentration to get into. Finally, I found the one that I had been subconsciously looking for.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I grabbed the well-worn book off the shelf and walked slowly back to the table, really feeling relaxed for once. It was nice to not have to worry about anything for a few hours. I could understand why my mother liked the library so much. There really was something peaceful about the busy silence, the smell of old books, and the slight feeling of excitement lurking around every corner.

I was almost ready to declare myself blissfully happy when I came to a complete halt at the end of a row that lead to my table. Because there, sitting in the chair next to the mysterious bag, was Scorpius.

I felt as if I had had the wind knocked out of me. It was almost hard to breathe. I wanted to scream, cry, and curl up in a ball and pretend that this nightmare of a day hadn’t happened all at the same time.

Because really, the irony of it all was almost comical. How much possibly worse could things have gotten for me? It couldn’t have. It absolutely couldn’t have.  

I bit my lip anxiously as I tried to figure out a way to get out of the library without having him see me. The only way I could possibly see was to walk straight past him. I couldn’t go backwards; there was only the Restricted Section behind me. I had to do it. But no one ever said I had to walk.

I put down my book on the shelf next to me, feeling slightly bad that someone would get blamed by Madame Pince for not putting her precious books away properly and then quickly ducked down onto all fours. I crawled forward quickly but quietly, looking back and forth rapidly to make sure that no one had seen me.

Scorpius was not looking at me – he had his nose buried in Macbeth. Everyone else was not aware of my sneaky tactics either. With one last furtive glance to the left I crawled forward quickly, glad that my hands and knees did not make much noise against the dust padded carpet. 

“Oh, hey Rosie!” a familiar voice called right as I was passing Scorpius’s table.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to try to reign in the anger that bubbled up in my stomach and stood up quickly to see Tony peering down at me curiously from a few rows over. I sighed loudly and waved back, hoping that he could tell how frustrated I was with him. I could feel Scorpius’s eyes on my back.

“What are you doing?” Tony asked, coming over to me and slinging an arm around my shoulder.

I did my best to try to shrug his arm off of me without being rude, but he didn’t seem to get the message because his hand gripped my shoulder tighter.

“Oh, you know, just, uh, reading,” I replied, feeling a hot blush creep up my cheeks. I could definitely tell without looking that Scorpius was glaring at us now. From the way Tony had slightly turned me, all I had to do was look up to see Scorpius’s face, but I tried to stay focused on what Tony was saying to distract me. Despite everything, it still felt like an enormous chunk of my heart had been taken out of my chest just thinking about Scorpius.

“That makes sense,” Tony replied, although I wasn’t really listening. Being in this close of a proximity to Scorpius again was distracting. My heart was doing weird things. It felt like it was speeding up and slowing down at the same time. Whatever it was doing, it was incredibly painful. I had never wanted to run away more in my life. “What were you reading?”

Pride and Prejudice,” I told him, shifting from side to side uncomfortably. Could he not tell that I was dying over here? 

“I don’t think I’ve ever read that,” he said, his brow furrowed thoughtfully.

“You wouldn’t have,” I answered wearily. “It’s a Muggle book.”

“Oh, right,” he nodded. “Well listen Rosie, sorry I can’t stay and talk longer, but I’ve got an essay for old Sluggy that I’ve got to finish for tomorrow or I’ll have another Saturday detention. I’ll see you at dinner, okay?”

“Okay,” I nodded in reply, glad that this was over and I would finally be able to leave. “See you then.”

Tony smiled and then did probably the oddest and most surprising thing I’ve ever experienced: he leaned down and kissed me gently on the cheek.

I felt my eyes go wide with shock as he grinned again and walked away from me, a slight swagger to his step. My hand went instantly to the place where he had kissed me, but it wasn’t hot nor was there any sort of butterflies. It was just there.

I turned almost mechanically towards Scorpius, not because I wanted to see his reaction, but almost as if to make sure that someone had just seen what had happened, and it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. What I saw confirmed that I was not just dreaming. Scorpius was staring at me with his mouth open in shock, his hands clenched into tight fists around his book.

When his eyes connected with mine he slammed his book down on the table and stood up quickly, shoving things pell-mell into his bag without looking at me. I watched as he straightened up and glared not at me, but at where Tony had disappeared. He looked at me for a moment with something like sadness and regret in his eyes and then he kicked his chair aside and strode out of the library with his hands shoved in his pockets.

I watched him walk away with a feeling of déjà vu running down my spine and when he was out of sight I collapsed into the chair I had previously occupied, my hand still covering my cheek. I removed my hand and stared at my palm, as if I had expected there to be some sort of stain or mark upon the white skin.

I sighed loudly and laid my head down on the table, my mind too cluttered with excess thoughts to even have the strength to sit up. I did not feel the cool smoothness of the wood against my cheek though, and I lifted my head up to see the much worn copy of Macbeth under my cheek.

I stared at the cover for a moment and then pushed it aside, letting my face rest back against the table again.

Why did life have to suck so much sometimes?  







 
A/N: Whew! It's done. And hey, look, there's a Scorpius appearance in this one! Probably not as much as we all would have liked, but don't worry, he'll be in there more often from here on out. 

So what did you think? Rosie stood up to Ron for once! And Tony mucked everything up.... I hope you all liked it. Oh, just as a disclaimer, I don't own Macbeth or Pride and Prejudice. Those belong to William Shakespeare and Jane Austen respectively. I just had to pay homage to two of my favorite books ever. :) 

What did you guys think of think of it? Like it? Dislike it? Expect it? Not expect it? There wasn't much of a cliffie this time. :) Drop me a line and tell me, if you want..

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling, so I'm going to cut myself off. Thanks for reading everyone, and please, please review!


Chapter 33: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
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Sometimes I find myself wishing that my life was all just a very bad dream. A very long, very thorough, very realistic, very bad dream. Sometimes I wish that I could just pinch myself and suddenly wake up in my bed, snuggled underneath my warm covers, completely and totally safe from the nightmare that I called my life.

But I’d pinched myself a lot over the past couple of days, and never once did that happen. All that had resulted from that was quite a few painful bruises on my upper arms. Really, I just couldn’t seem to catch a break. Again, I found myself questioning the fairness of it all but all I ever got was the same answer – be happy with your lot in life; it could have been a lot worse.

So I tried to content myself with the fact that things, although still positively rubbish, were beginning to look up.

I’d finally come to a head with my father. It may have not been a good one, but at least things were out in the open. I’d made my decision to live with my mother, and I didn’t regret it one bit. I had two great best friends who made a point every night to try to distract me from all that was going on. I had Al back, and we played Quidditch every once in a while. And I was slowly beginning to get a little bit of my appetite back.

Overall, I was learning to survive. That’s all it really was. Surviving. I lived from day to day doing my best just to make it through with as few bumps along the road as possible. I had to admit, it wasn’t the way I wanted to be living, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Soon enough, I had to keep reassuring myself, things would get better. Until then, I would survive.   

I stumbled down to breakfast the next morning, running my fingers through my unruly hair in an attempt to tame it. I hated waking up late. I always looked like rubbish when I woke up late.

My hair felt slightly greasy between my fingers and I sighed, knowing that today was going to be a bad day. I tugged the rubber band off of my wrist and threw my hair up into a messy ponytail, deciding that that was the only way I was going to look relatively decent today. 

I yawned slightly as I stepped through the doors to the Great Hall, not really noticing the fact that my fellow classmates seemed to go a bit quieter when they saw me. I staggered over to the Gryffindor table and was less than delighted to see Tony sitting with Noel and Ashley.

Ever since yesterday in the library my trust and friend in Tony has seriously declined. There was something strange about him, and I couldn’t really figure out what it was. A part of me wanted to believe that he liked me, but another part of me told me to deflate my head and figure out what the real answer was. 

All I really knew was that if I had my choice, I would tell him to bugger off.

But Noel and Ashley seemed to enjoy his company, so I would keep my mouth shut for now. Who knows, maybe he would apologize for what he did yesterday. Or maybe we could just pretend that it never happened and go back to normal. I wasn’t going to be picky as long as it stopped. Because another thing I knew for sure was that I did not like him in that way, nor did I like this new attention he was giving me.

“Hey Rosie,” Ashley smiled as I slid into the seat across from her. “How’re you?”

I stifled a yawn behind my hand and tried to smile. “Tired,” I admitted, helping myself to some oatmeal and a goblet of pumpkin juice. “I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

“Why not?” Tony asked, turning from where he sat about a foot away from me. I tried not to roll my eyes as I turned towards him slowly, not really wanting to see him at all, let alone talk to him. But if I didn’t, Noel and Ashley would grow suspicious, and I didn’t want that.

“I just had a bad day yesterday,” I told him, looking up from the table to his face.

My breath instantly hitched in my throat as I took in his face, which was completely covered with a massive purple, black, and blue around his right eye and right cheek.

“Merlin!” I cried before I could stop myself. “What happened?”

He smiled grimly and raised a hand gingerly to the side of his face as if to say, ‘oh, what? This?’

“He got clobbered by a suit of armor,” Ashley piped up before Tony could tell his own story.

I looked from Tony to Ashley back to Tony, taking in her innocent, believing expression and his brow, which was furrowed slightly. Yeah, the bloody hell right.

“Oh my gosh,” I simpered, trying to pretend to go along with it for the time being. “That’s horrible. I’m so sorry.”

He grimaced slightly and sighed, looking away from me and fiddling with this food. Oh, he was definitely hiding something.

“It’s okay,” he said after a moment. “It’s not your fault.” 

“Why didn’t you go to the matron?” Noel asked, and then Tony and I visibly shuddered.

I had learned a long time ago from Quidditch injuries and from pranks with James that if you weren’t bleeding out of your ears or eyes and if you weren’t in pieces, it was better not to go to the matron. Chances were that she wouldn’t cure you anyway, just ask you what you did to mess yourself up and then send you on your way with a week’s worth of detention. 

“Madame Burch isn’t exactly the type of woman you’d want taking care of you when you’re injured,” I tried to explain, cringing at the memory of the time I’d broken my leg during practice. She had told me it was my fault for falling off of my broom, even though it was Jason who had accidentally broke off part of my broom with his beater’s bat.

“But she’s the matron,” Ashley said, her nose wrinkled with confusion. “Isn’t it her job to take care of you when you’re injured?”

“Oh yeah, it is,” Tony nodded, chuckling slightly at the irony of it all. “Apparently Madame Burch hasn’t read the job description.”

Noel and Ashley chuckled, but I heard the forced laugh behind Noel’s. I could see her eyes flicker back and forth between Tony and me nervously, her eyes focusing on his bruise every time she looked at his face and I could tell that she didn’t believe his story either.

Guilt twisted in my gut as I saw the slight hurt behind her big blue eyes and I made a silent promise to myself that I would find out the real story behind Tony’s injury if not just to provide Noel with some peace of mind. She had been too good of a friend to me for me to let her suffer like this. 

“Ooh, look!” Ashley suddenly squealed, her short brown hair bouncing as she leaped up out of her seat. “Jack is here. Noel, come with me, I want to go talk to him.”

Noel rolled her eyes at her best friend’s antics and sighed. “Can’t you talk to your boyfriend by yourself?”

“Please?” Ashley pleaded, sticking out her bottom lip. “I don’t want to go over to the Slytherin table alone. They’ll eat me alive. And besides, you’re related to most of them, so it will be easy for you.” 

Tony pretended to look hurt by her accusations and Noel rolled her eyes again, this time her shoulders shaking with slight laughter.

“Okay, fine,” she agreed finally and Ashley let out a little squeal, grabbing Noel’s arm and practically dragging her over to the Slytherin table, despite the fact that Noel was almost a good foot taller than her.  

I heard Tony chuckle and suddenly I realized that I was sitting all alone with him. Damn.

“Ah, they’re a laugh,” he said, and I could feel his eyes on me.

All the indignation I had been feeling the previous day came flooding back through me as I heard his voice, so cool and casual. It took all of the willpower that I had to keep my hands on the table and not around his neck, throttling him.

“So a suit of armor, huh?” I asked, not bothering to beat around the bush and cocking and eyebrow at him challengingly.  

“Uh, yeah,” he said, looking away from me quickly and grabbing a piece of toast.

“You really expect me to believe that?”

He turned back and looked at me, the non-bruised side of his face arched upwards in surprise. “Why don’t you believe that?”

“Do you really think I’m that dumb?” I asked, feeling slightly hurt. I would have to be, well Ashley, to believe that. “Really? When was the last time a fricking suit of armor attacked a student? The most I’ve ever seen those things do is sing off-key Christmas carols.”

“You’ve never provoked a suit of armor,” he said sagely, taking a large bite of toast and spilling crumbs all down the front of himself.

I huffed in frustration, blowing a stray strand of hair that had escaped from my ponytail out of my eyes. “Look, are you going to tell me what really happened, or am I going to have to give you another bruise to match that one?” I growled, glaring at him and balling my hands into fists for effect.

“Okay, okay, fine,” he ceded, holding his hands up in the air as if declaring defeat. “I’ll tell you.”

I smirked triumphantly and he muttered something that sounded like “why the bloody hell she wasn’t sorted into Slytherin”.  

I clicked my tongue impatiently, relishing in the feeling of being in control of a situation for once. Everything had been so up in the air and my future had been so unpredictable lately that it was incredibly satisfying to have some control over something for once, even if it did come about because of threats of physical violence and even if the person I had superiority over was Tony.

“So yesterday,” he said, scratching at the back of his head uncomfortably, “after I saw you in the library, I went back to my dorm to take a nap. I saw Scorpius lying on his bed, just staring up at the ceiling so I said hi, you know, just to be friendly. And then, well, he sort of threw his alarm clock at my head.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. Laugh, because I could totally see what Tony had just described happening. Cry, because what he had just described brought up possibilities that I didn’t want to think about – no, that I couldn’t think about. My insides twinged and burned painfully just at the mention of his name. Opening up even a small vein of hope was setting myself up for more hurt. And I was so sick and tired of being hurt.  

“Oh,” was all I managed to say.

“Yeah,” Tony nodded, letting the syllable hang in the air for a long time. 

The silence grew incredibly awkward but neither of us moved to fill it. My mind was moving a million miles a minute, mulling over this new piece of information I had just been provided with, although none of the thoughts lingered long enough or were coherent enough for me to make sense of them. All I knew was that my heart was doing jack knives in my chest. 

Suddenly I felt a slight pressure on my knee and I looked down to see Tony’s hand resting against the bare skin there, his dark skin creating a large contrast against my extremely pale skin. Anger and annoyance flooded through me and I stood up abruptly, not even bothering to worry about being rude.

“I’m going to be late to Herbology if I don’t get a move on,” I announced, grabbing my bag off of the floor next to me and swinging it over my shoulder. 

“Class doesn’t start for another twenty minutes,” he said, puzzled, glancing at his watch.

“I need to talk to Professor Longbottom,” I lied, stepping over the bench and away from him. 

“Rose,” he said, catching me around the wrist before I could get a way and pulling me around quickly. I sighed audibly and turned around, feeling anger bubble in my stomach. Giving him a matching black eye sounded more and more appealing every moment.  

“Don’t touch me, okay?” I spat angrily, yanking my arm out of his grip and glaring at him. 

His eyes went wide and he looked instantly mollified, letting his arm drop limply to his side.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, looking down at the stone floor. “I didn’t mean – I’m sorry.”

I felt a wave of guilt wash over me and I frowned and sighed.

“It’s okay,” I replied, forcing a grin. “Please, let’s just be friends.”

I saw him smile and he looked up at me again. “Okay,” he nodded. “I can live with that.”

I felt a real smile tug at the corner of my lips and I clapped him on the shoulder lightly. “See you later then.”

“See you,” he agreed, and went back to his breakfast.

I turned on my heel, already feeling a scowl coming back over my face as I stalked out of the Great Hall. I glanced at the Slytherin table out of the corner of my eye as I went, and vaguely thought I saw a head of white blonde hair turned in my direction.

 

 




 

I decided that it was probably best that I just go to Herbology anyway, even if I would be about fifteen minutes early. There was no point in doing anything else. By the time I got back to the Common Room I would have to leave again, and it was too cold to sit out by the lake. 

I walked across the frozen ground, kicking at pieces of ice as I went and generally letting my mind calm down. I still felt incredibly angry. Stupid teenage boys. Stupid horny teenage boys. What did I ever do to them? Why were they determined to make my life miserable? Or at least worse than it already was. 

I kicked a large piece of ice and it skittered across the ground, towards the gate that kept all of us students in and everyone else out. I glanced at my watch and saw that I still had ten minutes before class, so I decided to follow it, dragging the toes of my shoes through the thin layer of snow. I watched the lines that my toes made in the dusting, not really paying attention to where I was going, when all of a sudden I was blinded by a bright flash of light.

I looked up instantly, only to hear a cry of “THERE SHE IS!”

Suddenly what seemed like a million more bright flashes of light went off through the gate and then a thousand voices were shouting at me.

“Rose! Why did you choose to live with your mother?”

“Rose! How do you feel about your brother’s choice?”

“Rose! Why not your father?”

“Rose!”

“Rose, over here!”

“ROSE!”

I staggered backwards, covering my eyes with my hands and trying not to fall over. My head was spinning, and I felt like I was going to retch. I kept my mouth shut tight to prevent that though, because I didn’t want that image plastered all over the local papers or the Daily Prophet.

I caught myself against what felt like a tree trunk and leaned heavily against it for support, tearing my hands away from my eyes in order to get a better look at what was going on and maybe find a way out.

It was useless though, because the second I opened my eyes I was blinded again.

“THAT IS ENOUGH!” I heard a familiar voice cry over the loud din of the paparazzi. “THIS IS AN INSTITUTION OF LEARNING, NOT A CIRCUS! GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT!”

Suddenly I felt someone grab my wrist and begin pulling me back towards the castle and I let myself be pulled along, unable to see and barely able to hear.

“Rose, are you alright?” the same voice asked a little while later as whoever it was pushed me down into what felt like a chair. I blinked a few times and my vision came back slowly, blurry and full of spots at first, and then more clear.

I registered that I was sitting in an office of some kind and then my vision focused in on the man who was crouching in front of me.

“Rose,” Neville asked again, waving his hand in front of my face. “Can you see me?”

“Yes,” I replied, my voice sounding rather hoarse. “I’m sorry.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” he said, standing up when he apparently deemed that I wasn’t going to faint. “Stupid paparazzi. Harassing students! At Hogwarts! When your mother finds out she’ll have a fit. Probably a good thing to, put a stop to all of this.”

I nodded; not really listening to what he was saying and resting my face in my palms. It had been one hell of a morning.

“I’ll be sure to tell Professor McGonagall about this after class,” he finished and I looked up.

“Thank you,” I said, smiling feebly. “But shouldn’t we both be getting to class?”

“I left them taking notes,” he smiled, sitting down on the edge of his desk. “And Hagrid ran over when he heard the commotion and I had him watch the class for a few minutes. Just rest.”

I nodded again and rested my head against the back of the chair that I was sitting in. My heart was still pounding a mile a minute, mostly from fear. It had all been so unexpected. It was amazing that I hadn’t crumpled to the ground.

“Well, as long as I have you in here,” Neville said a few minutes later after I had lifted my head back up again, “there are a few things I’ve been meaning to talk to you about.”

“Okay,” I said unsurely, wondering what sort of trouble I could have gotten in now. I didn’t recall doing anything bad, unless he meant all of the classes I’d missed. But that didn’t seem likely to me.

“It’s about your prefect patrols,” he said, sitting down in the chair behind his desk and folding his hands in front of your face.

I let out an audible groan. Prefect patrols were something I had been avoiding for the past month and a half. But considering I only ever had to patrol once a week - due to the fact that I was only given the status because last year the Head Girl had been a Gryffindor and they wanted to even it out – I didn’t think it was a huge deal that I had missed it. In fact, I was seriously hoping that no one would even notice. The thought had only occurred to me once to go, and that was during the two days I spent in the bathroom with Myrtle. But I had decided it was a bad, bad idea and filed it away in the dark dregs of my brain.

“You’ve missed six patrols, Rose,” Neville said, looking at me over the tips of his fingers.

“Have I?” I tried to ask innocently, but not really achieving it.

“Yes, you have,” he said more sternly. “And if you don’t show up to your patrol this Saturday, I’m going to have to take your privilege away. I don’t want to do that.”

I sighed loudly, dropping my face back down into my hands. The urge to tell him just to take it away was very strong, but so was the good part of me that said that I had wanted to be a prefect for a long time and that I shouldn’t just throw it away over a boy.  That same little voice also reminded me about how disappointed my mother would be to hear that I gave up my position. I bit my lip anxiously and looked up again.

“Is there any way I could get a change in partner?” I asked, almost begging.  

“That’s not up to me,” he replied. “You’d have to talk to the Head Girl about that.”

I closed my eyes for a moment in frustration and then opened them again, my resolve setting in.

“Okay,” I agreed. “I’ll talk to her then.”

“So I can expect you to show up on Saturday at seven?” he asked, his eyebrows raised inquiringly.

“Yes, sir, you can,” I sighed.

“Well good,” Neville smiled. “I didn’t want to take your badge away from you Rose. You’re a good student.”

“Thank you, Professor,” I agreed, trying to sound grateful while on the inside I was really trying to think of the most painful, non-illegal curse that I knew.

“Well, let’s get back to class,” he said, standing and walking towards the door. I followed him resignedly, crossing my fingers behind my back that Morgana would be understanding. 

I didn’t want to think about what would happen if she wasn’t.

 

 




 

The day passed excruciatingly slowly. It made me want to bang my head against the wall for hours on end. That, at least, would have seemed more enjoyable than my classes.

It didn’t help that all day long I kept going over and over what I was going to say to Morgana. I had never really “met” the Head Girl, only seen her at the occasional prefects meetings that were rarely held and the occasional times that I saw her in the halls.

I wasn’t sure if going for sympathy was the best option, or bribery, or maybe even just plain out begging on my hands and knees. She was a Slytherin. She would probably like the feeling of superiority it gave her.

Finally the bell rang on my last class of the day – Charms – and I hurried out of the classroom first, not even pausing to listen to Flitwick holler what the homework was. I figured if I was really curious I could get it from Al later. I hurried around the corner and over towards a picture of an artist, who was painting a picture of a rather ugly woman.

“Password?” he asked when he saw the silver badge on my chest.

“Antipodean Opaleye,” I replied, smiling when he swung forward to emit me to the Prefect’s lounge.

I stepped through into the comfortable room which was furnished with furniture of all four house colors and was rather small and cozy, crammed with overstuffed chairs and long tables. I glanced around at the few people who were lounging about, recognizing a few fifth year Hufflepuffs and a seventh year Ravenclaw.

“Have you lot seen Morgana?” I asked, not seeing the dominating figure of the head girl anywhere.

“In her office,” the Ravenclaw said, not looking up from his book as he pointed at a door towards the back of the room with a golden placard on it.

“Thanks,” I replied, weaving my way through the room towards it.  

I took a deep breath as I raised my hand up to knock. My stomach was doing flip flops in my abdomen and my heart was beating rather fast. I swallowed nervously and then knocked on the door.

“Come in,” I heard Morgana call and I opened the door gingerly, peeking my head in first and then letting my body follow.

“Rose,” the dark haired girl who sat at the desk in front of me said in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting to see you.”

“Uh, yeah,” I replied, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear nervously. “Well, I wasn’t exactly expecting to be here.”

“Sit,” she commanded, pointing to a hard wooden chair in front of her desk. “Stay a while.”

I nodded and sat down carefully, smoothing my skirt out over my knees.  

“What can I do for you?” she asked, although from her tone I could tell she meant “what am I going to refuse you?”

“Uh, I was just wondering if I might be able to switch patrol partners,” I mumbled, looking down at the carpet and blushing profusely. This was harder than I thought.

“Excuse me?”

“Patrol partners,” I said again, looking up at her. “I want to change my patrol partner.”

Morgana threw her head back and let out a bark like laugh. “Oh, that’s a good one,” she chuckled, leveling her gaze with mine again.

Her face and chuckles instantly sobered as she looked at my face, which I’m pretty sure was crumpled with mortification, sadness, and anger.

“You weren’t joking?” she asked, but it sounded more like a statement.

“No, I wasn’t,” I admitted, fiddling with a loose thread on my skirt uncomfortably.

“Rose, I can’t do it,” she said, no remorse in her voice.

“Please,” I replied, looking up at her and hoping I looked as pathetic as I felt. “I can’t patrol with Scorpius.”

“That’s not my problem,” she answered. “You and Scorpius chose to be partners, knowing full well what might happen if you broke up. That’s not my fault.”

“Just imagine being in my shoes,” I tried, hoping that this girl had some warmth in her heart. “Imagine having to spend hours on end with someone who has broken your heart. It would hurt so much. You can’t make me do it. Please.”

“I can, and I will,” was her hard answer. “I don’t think you understand. If I let you and Scorpius switch just because you broke up, I’d have to let every other couple who were partners and who broke up switch. And then when they get back together I’d have to switch them back. No. I’m not doing that. I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”

I stared at her in disbelief, trying not to let the fact that I was about to cry show. She was staring straight at me, her face devoid of any emotion at all. I thought about begging, but I decided that she wasn’t budging and that I should try to maintain any scraps of dignity that I had left.

“Fine,” I huffed, standing up and striding to the door.

“See you Saturday at seven,” she called as I stalked out the door.

I bit back the retort I had ready on the tip of my tongue.

Bloody Slytherins.  







A/N: Haha, its done! I can't believe its done either. I didn't think I would get it finished tonight. But I did! And it's not all that late, which is good. 

So, what did you guys think? A bit more stuff explained, and a new twist on things. Did you like it? Dislike it? Expect some of it? Please leave a review and tell me what you thought! :) 

I don't really know what else to say. Thanks for reading everyone. Please please review! :)


Chapter 34: Me and My Big Stupid Mouth
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I’ve noticed that whenever I want time to slow down, it inevitably seems to speed up. So of course the time between when I talked to Morgana and the time before Saturday at seven felt more like a few hours rather than a few days. 

And I was beginning to panic like no other.

I did my best not to think about my upcoming rendezvous with Scorpius, but sadly the more I tried not to think about it, the more it was all that I could think about. The fear that kept me up at night thinking about it was only matched by my anger. The strange thing was though, that after long minutes of self-reflection – something I don’t recommend doing if one wants to keep their sanity - I realized I was angry at myself more than anything.

Angry at myself for getting me into this position in the first place. Angry at myself for not just telling Neville that I had no interest in being a prefect anymore and that he could take my bloody badge back for all that I cared. And most of all angry that my heart still seemed to race from just thinking about Scorpius.

Why was it that I was cursed to love the people who seemed to hurt me the most?  

I sighed and flopped back onto my bed wearily, the back of my neck erupting in pain as the clip I had fastened my hair up in poked into my skull.

“Relax, Rosie,” Noel soothed, crouching down at my feet and trying to force my feet into a pair of shoes. “Everything is going to be fine.”

“Fine?” I asked a hint of hysteria to my voice. “Everything is not going to bloody be fine.”

“Yes, it will,” Ashley piped up, poking her head out from the bathroom. “From what I’ve heard from Jack, Scorpius seems to be in pretty bad shape lately too.”

“Good,” I grumbled, massaging my temples and shooting a glance at the clock out of the corner of my eye. 6:30. “The wanker deserves to be guilty.”

As the words left my mouth my stomach instantly twinged with shame. In all honestly, I wasn’t sure how to feel about what Scorpius was going through. I had been careful to put that out of my mind. While I couldn’t get Scorpius out of there, that was the one topic that I had forbid myself from thinking about. I didn’t have the time, energy, or emotional stability to ponder those things now.

“Yes, he does,” Noel agreed, lacing up what I assumed to be a pair of trainers. I lifted my head up so that I could see what she was doing and noted that it was indeed the new pair I had gotten from Hugo.

“I can do that you know,” I pointed out, sitting fully up and bending at the waist to try to tie my own shoes but Noel slapped my hands out of the way.  

“Just relax,” she scolded, shoving my other shoe on. “You’re as pale as a ghost.”

“I don’t want to relax,” I sighed, flopping back down anyway. “The more I relax, the more my mind wanders. The more my mind wanders, the more I feel like I’m going to retch.”

I folded my hands over my abdomen tightly, my stomach giving an odd lurch just at the word retch. It had been giving odd lurches all day. It felt like there were a million butterflies all crammed in there, flapping their wings at the same time. 

“Well, give me a few seconds warning if that does happen,” Noel chuckled. “Seeing as I’m in the spray zone.”

I let out a strained chuckle, staring up at my bed hangings absentmindedly, letting my fingers thrum absentmindedly against my hip bone.

“Rose, you need to eat something,” Ashley said, coming out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel, her short brown bob plastered to her skull. “You’re looking so thin lately.”

“I eat,” I insisted, arching my back a little bit so that I could look at Ashley upside down as she walked over to her bed.

“Not like you used to,” she replied, carefully bending down and rummaging in her trunk for something.

“I must not be growing or something,” I shrugged, not wanting to reveal the real reason for my lack of appetite over the past month and a half, despite the fact that I was pretty sure they already knew.

“Here, eat this,” Ashley said suddenly, ignoring my last comment and chucking something brown and square at me. I didn’t move out of the way fast enough and the package thudded against the side of my head.

“Chocolate?” I asked, rubbing the side of my head gently and picking up the bar.

“Eat,” she commanded. “It will make you feel better.”

I sighed and glared at her but unwrapped the wrapper, revealing the dark, smooth bar. Still watching her out of the corner of my eye I took a large bite, sighing almost unwillingly with content at the taste. I don’t know what I hadn’t thought of chocolate sooner. It really worked wonders.

“See,” she grinned. “I told you it would work.”

“Thank you,” I replied gratefully through a mouthful.

She chuckled and nodded, mussing up my hair lightly and then walked back over to her bed and pulled the curtains so that she could get dressed.

I finished munching on my chocolate bar while Noel finished doing up my shoes, and I noticed that the butterflies in my stomach seemed contented for a moment. I really would have to try this chocolate thing more often.

“Are you ready to go?” Noel asked, standing up.

I sat up slowly, not wanting to look at the clock. I looked up at Noel, who was looking down at me nervously, and tried not to grimace or let the fact that my heart had just started doing the conga in my chest show.

“Is it really time to go already?” I asked quietly, daring a quick glance over at the clock. 6:45.

“I’m afraid it is,” Noel nodded sadly. “Don’t worry. It’s just patrols. Everything will be fine.”

I nodded quickly, keeping my eyes on the floor as I stood up, not wanting to let her see the fear in them that I knew would be mirrored there. I stretched and let my back crack loudly, not noticing the winces that that action had earned from Noel. I shivered slightly and then started towards the door.

“Good luck, Rosie!” Ashley called, peeking her head out from behind her curtains. “We love you! See you later.”

“Thanks,” I called back weakly, not turning around because I knew that if I did I would run back over to my bed, throw myself face first down, and refuse to come out for the rest of the night. 

I stumbled down the stairs and walked sluggishly through the Common Room, dragging my toes through the thick shag carpet. I could hardly hear the dull roar of typical Saturday night chatter over the sound of my fiercely beating heart and I was oddly reminded of the time a little over a month ago when I had left the Common Room under similar circumstances, albeit I was happier then.

That had really turned out great.

My heart skipped a few beats as the vivid image of Scorpius and Anna kissing popped into my mind and I shook my head like a dog trying to get water out of its ears, trying to get the picture out of my brain. It didn’t really seem to work and I bit my lip angrily, shoving past a few first years and probably knocking one over in the process, but I didn’t really noticed.

I let my feet guide me down to the Great Hall, trying my absolute hardest not to think of anything, but failing miserably. My mind was running through the possibilities at a mile a minute – what would happen when I first saw him? Would we talk? Would he try to explain? Would I let him explain? How badly would this hurt? What would I do if I found out that he liked Anna still? What if I found out that he didn’t like Anna anymore? What would I do if I didn’t find out anything? If we didn’t talk at all?

“Stop it,” I commanded myself quietly, stumbling as I missed a step but catching myself on the railing. “Don’t get ahead of yourself this time.”

Of course, my mind betrayed me.

What if he did admit that he still liked me? Would I take him back? He had hurt me so badly. Could my heart afford to break again? Would it ever be whole again anyway?

I crossed my arms firmly over my chest and tucked a stray strand of my hair behind my ear. I had to stop thinking about things like this. I was getting so far ahead of myself that it wasn’t even funny. It wouldn’t do to get my hopes up only to have them crushed if nothing happened. And chances were, nothing was going to happen.

I already knew his choice, right?

He had chosen her. Not me. Not that I really should have expected him to choose me. Really, we had had no relationship. I really had to stop being such a baby about this. It’s not like he knew that I was in love with him, right? And if he had, he obviously didn’t feel the same way. Otherwise he wouldn’t have kissed Anna. 

I huffed loudly in frustration with myself and began saying the alphabet backwards to give myself something to focus on instead of thinking about Scorpius. It seemed to work for a while too, considering the fact that I could never remember which letter came after w. It made me concentrate.

D, C, B,A,” I said to myself quietly, quite pleased with the fact that I had made it all the way through when I stumbled, having tried to take another step down when there wasn’t a step there. I caught myself on the railing and shook my head slightly, trying to get my bearings about me.

I realized that I was already down in the Entrance Hall and my heart started thrumming rapidly again. I took a deep breath to steady myself and then strode confidently over to the Great Hall. I wouldn’t let Scorpius know that he could still affect me like this. I would act like nothing was wrong and ignore him all night. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that he had broken my heart.

There was the low buzz of talking prefects in the Great Hall when I entered, but I winced when I noticed that the sound of my shoes on the stone floor was louder than their talking. I blushed bright red, feeling more than just a few pairs of eyes land on me as I walked over towards the Gryffindor table and sat down, not looking at anyone. 

I really just wanted Morgana to hand out assignments on where we would be patrolling so that this night would come to an end that much sooner, but a quick glance at my watch told me I was still about five minutes early. 

I glanced up at the enchanted ceiling, hoping to find a distraction there, but the sky was dark and clouded, without even one star in the sky. I sighed softly and let my head drop back into my hands, massaging my temples wearily.

“So you decided to show up.”

I separated my fingers slightly, glaring at whoever had decided to pick at me angrily. Lucy stood before me, her strawberry curls pulled back in a neat clip like always, a malicious gleam in her blue eyes.

“Why wouldn’t I?” I shot back, dropping my hands to the sides so that she could experience the full effects of my glare.

“You haven’t been here for weeks,” she answered, arching one of her perfectly shaped brows challengingly. “Why would anyone think you’d come back? I know that I’m among the many that wish you had just stayed away.”

I stood up abruptly from my seat, leaning across the table towards my cousin, my hands balled into fists. “You know what Lucy?” I began angrily, doing my best to control my temper and not hit her across the face, “Why don’t you take the fucking stick that you’ve got shoved up your ass out and shove it in your eye?”

She stepped back from me in shock, her eyes wide and face scandalized. I smirked back at her triumphantly and sauntered away before she could say anything else.  

“All right you lot, over here!” I heard Morgana call and I looked to the doorway to see the Head Girl standing here, a clipboard in hand. She didn’t look up as she began calling names. I didn’t really pay attention as she worked her way down the list, instead still kind of gloating over my victory over Lucy when I heard my name.

“Weasley and Malfoy – Dungeons to Third floor!”

There was a quiet murmur around the crowd of prefects and I knew that everyone looked to see if I would have shown up this time. I felt a hot blush rise to my cheeks and I didn’t meet eyes with anyone, careful to look at the ground. 

“Okay, that’s it. Off you go!” Morgana announced after a few more minutes and the crowd that had come to hover around her quickly dispersed as Prefects paired off and set off to do their patrols.

I took a deep breath in a feeble attempt to quell the butterflies that had again started up their dancing in my stomach and scanned the crowd for a familiar head of white blond hair. Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder and I nearly jumped a mile into the air, quickly turning around to see Scorpius standing behind me.

My breath hitched in my throat as I glanced up into his grey-blue eyes, my heart stopping for a second and then beginning to beat so rapidly I was sure that he could hear it. His hair hung in his eyes like usual and the urge to push it away like I would have done came over me before I could warn myself that that would be a painful memory. I felt my nose wrinkle slightly as I tried to suppress the twinge of hurt that overcame me and his eyes narrowed in confusion.

“Hey,” he said softly, his eyes darting from my face to the ground and back again.

“Hello,” I replied just as quietly, although there was a definite chill to my voice that wasn’t in his. I saw his shoulders tense slightly at the coldness of my greeting, but then he relaxed again.

“So, we’ve got the dungeons tonight,” he said, saying it, I thought, because there was nothing else to say.

“Mhm,” I agreed, trying not to let myself think about how nice it was to hear his deep, calm voice again. 

Neither of us made any move to go anywhere. I vaguely noticed that we were the only ones left in the Great Hall.

“Right,” Scorpius said after a few more minutes of silence. “Well, let’s go.”

Without waiting for me he set off for the doors and I followed behind him – just close enough so that it would seem like we were patrolling together, but far enough away so that I didn’t have to talk to him. 

As we started heading towards the dungeons though, he slowed down, so that his strides were matching mine. I suppressed as sigh and crossed my arms tightly over my chest, as if protecting myself from whatever I knew would be coming. A heavy silence hung between us and the tension was practically tangible. As my mum liked to say, you could have cut it with a knife. 

I dragged my feet as we walked down the stairs and the sound of the toes of my shoes squeaking across the stone floor was the only sound between us until we lit our wands at the bottom of the stairs. Then we continued patrolling without another word.

Every few minutes I could see Scorpius sneak a glance at me out of the corner of my eye, but I did my best to ignore him. It was hard though and I could feel my resolve crumbling as time passed. Being around him was intoxicating, even if it was painful. I couldn’t resist sneaking a glance at him every now and then, just to see the way his hair swished as he walked or to watch the muscles in his arm flex as he adjusted the grip on his wand.

Finally, it was on the second floor as we were coming around a corner that we both glanced at each other in the same moment. My eyes locked with his for a second and then instantly dropped to the floor, and embarrassed blush creeping up my neck. I heard him clear his throat uncomfortably and then he stopped walking.

“Rose, we need to talk,” he said quietly, looking straight at me.

I came up short next to him and looked up at him again. “Scorpius,” I said, my mouth feeling like it was filled with cotton all of a sudden, “I don’t want to talk.”

His brow furrowed with frustration and something else I couldn’t read and I bit my lip to keep myself from saying something I would regret. I turned on my heel, ready to start walking again when I felt his hand close itself around my wrist and pull me back around.

It felt like an electric shock had gone through my body.

I gasped and pulled my wrist from his grasp, staring up at him in surprise. He was staring down as his palm with much the same expression that I assumed I was wearing. He looked down at me when he felt my eyes on him and his expression instantly became one of pleading.

“Please?” he asked. “Just a few minutes. Hear me out.”

I crossed my arms over my erratic heart and bit my lip uncertainly, not sure if I wanted to endure the pain I knew would be associated with this conversation.

“And look,” he added desperately at my expression, “if after I’ve said my peace you still don’t want to have anything to do with me again, that’s fine. I’ll leave you alone and never talk to you again.”

I took a deep breath and nodded. It seemed like a fair deal. 

“Thank you,” he grinned, and my heart did a little off beat in my chest. “Well first, let me say that I was stupid. I was so incredibly stupid that it’s not even funny.”

He glanced over at me to see how I would take it and I nodded. “Yup,” I agreed, making a popping sound with my lips on the p.

“I’m not going to try to make up some excuse for why I kissed Anna. I’d be lying if I told you she just came up and started snogging me. I didn’t exactly encourage her, but it just, well, happened. One second she was there and we were talking and the next, I don’t know, we were, you know, kissing.”

I closed my eyes and tried to remind myself to breathe. This was worse than I thought it was going to be. My arms wound themselves tighter around my chest.  

“But the thing is Rose, I felt horrible afterwards. I couldn’t believe that I’d done it. I guess Tony told you about what happened between her and I over the summer, and well, I couldn’t believe I’d broken that promise to myself –“

“What about our deal?” I cut him off, feeling a bit of anger bubble up inside of me. “We promised we wouldn’t go around snogging other people during this.”

“Yeah,” he replied, remorse apparent in his voice as he dragged his hands through his hair nervously. “But we weren’t really dating, right?”

I took a step back, like I had been slapped in the face. That hurt so much more than anything else he’d said. My breath came in stuttering little gasps and I tried to calm myself before the waterworks came.

“We still promised,” I said so quietly I wasn’t sure if I really said it out loud or if I had just mouthed it. Whatever the case, he seemed to get the message.

“You’re right,” he agreed. “We promised. But here’s the thing – how do I explain it?”

He moved from his spot for the first time and began pacing back and forth in front of me, continuing to run his hand through his hair in frustration.

“Okay, it’s like this. You know in all of those Muggle fairytales, how the damsel in distress is supposed to find her Prince Charming?”

I nodded, completely bewildered at where he was going with this.

“Well, it’s sort of like this – you’re the damsel in distress. I saw you that night under the bleachers, looking like a trussed up turkey and so helpless, and I decided that I would try to help you, because in turn, you could help me. I only looked at it from one perspective then. I figured that by helping you, the damsel, I could in turn get the wicked witch off of my back, Anna.”

I nodded again, my stomach quivering anxiously as I listened. I moved my hands from across my chest to press flat against my abdomen, as if I could stop it from shaking that way. Scorpius glanced down at my sudden change in posture, but did not comment on it.

“After a while, I began to see that you were beginning to think of me as a sort of Prince Charming, coming to save you from all of the horrible things that were going on in your life – like with your dad and stuff. And the scary part is, for me at least, that I didn’t mind it one bit. I liked the idea of helping you. I forgot why I had saved you in the first place. I believed that I was Prince Charming material, and that I could be good and selfless, and help you. But then the wicked witch came back.”

 I couldn’t help it; a few tears escaped my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I could feel not only my stomach quivering now, but my whole body too. I didn’t try to stop it.

“And when the wicked witch came back, I realized that in the fairy tales, Prince Charming doesn’t cheat on his damsel. He doesn’t hurt her more. He saves her. I realized that I am not Prince Charming material. And you believe I’m Prince Charming material. You count on me to be there for you, to help you up when you’re down. To protect you from those evil dragons and wicked witches that try to bring you down. And that’s a lot of pressure to put on one guy.”

I stared at him in shock, realization washing over me as I listened to this deluded little fairy tale of his.

“You’re blaming this on me,” I said incredulously.

“No, wait,” he said, a horrified expression coming across his face. “That’s not what I meant.”

“Then what did you mean?” I asked coldly, my voice rising an octave. It was almost a shriek.

“I just meant that I’m no Prince Charming,” he said solemnly. “And you deserve a Prince Charming, Rose.”

I was stunned into silence for a few seconds, not even sure what to say. I couldn’t feel any part of my body, although I was sure I was crying, that my breathing was probably ragged, and that my heart was probably threatening to pound out of my chest.

“I don’t care,” I said fiercely, letting my gaze meet his for the first time in a long while. He seemed taken aback by my sudden outburst and he shook his head no.

“You should,” he replied.

“But I don’t.”

It was his turn to stare in shock at me for a minute and then his expression grew angry.

“And why the hell not?” he demanded.

“Are you really asking me that question?” I asked in reply, too incredulous and also angry to say anything else. How could he not know? Why was he angry with me? 

“Yes! Yes I am!” he almost shouted, although I wasn’t quite sure why he was suddenly so adamant and mad. It made me feel even angrier, knowing that he was mad at me for something that I wasn’t even sure of and I felt my hands ball up into fists in frustration.

“You’re really that stupid?” I shot back. “You can’t see it? You don’t know?”

“Enlighten me,” he replied fiercely, the tension in his body making his shoulders stiff.

“Because I love you, you big, stupid jerk!”  






 
A/N: I know, it's finally finished! And what a cliffie! I'm sorry this update took so long- incase you didn't see my note on my author's page, I was on vacation, and didn't get a chance to write. But it's here. And I hope it was worth the wait. 
So, what did you think? Are you ready to kill me? Haha, please don't. I hope you all liked it. I don't really know what else to say. I have a feeling that I wanted to say something more, but I'm pretty sleep deprived right now, so I'm forgetting. Oh well. 
Thanks for reading everyone. Please, please, please review! :)

Chapter 35: Fall for You
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As soon as the words were out of my mouth I wanted to take them back.

Sure, I meant them. I meant them more than anything I’d probably ever said. I was panting, I was angry, my insides were shaking harder than maracas on Mardi Gras, and my heart was flying at a million miles an hour – but I felt freer.

I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I felt like a knot that I didn’t know was tied had been undone from within my chest. I felt lighter. 

It was incredible.

But at the same time, it was terrifying. I had opened myself up in a way that I had never done before. I had laid my heart out on the line. And now it was his choice what to do with it. The way I saw it, he only had two options. Option 1: He rejects me and what was left of my heart breaks into irreparable little pieces. Option 2: He tells me he loves me back and we live happily ever after.

I stared down at the floor in mortification, not wanting to have to look at him if he was going to reject me and also not wanting to show him how red my cheeks had suddenly gone. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

What happened next was something that I had neither expected nor wanted: he started laughing. Not only laughing, but roaring with laughter.

This didn’t fit in with my two options at all.  

I felt my cheeks flame with embarrassment and it took all of the will power I had left not to curl up in a ball on the floor and hide in shame. I should not have said it. I should have kept it to myself. No matter how freeing and good it felt, I should not have said it. Only girls in sappy romance novels declared their undying love for their ex-boyfriends. In the real world we kept our feeling to ourselves.  

But in sappy romance novels, boys never laughed when the girls declared their undying love for them. They usually said something romantic back and then they’d kiss passionately. But unfortunately, I lived in the real world. Even in the real world though, the boy wasn’t supposed to laugh. He was supposed to stick with my options damnit! This was only more proof of how screwed up my life was at times.

“Why are you laughing?” I demanded, trying to sound more confident than I actually was.

He mumbled something incoherently between hiccups and I glared up at him, feeling my temper flaring. At the same time I felt horrible, embarrassed, and broken. I stood there for a moment, still listening to the hoots that rang through the otherwise silent hall and I felt something inside of my abdomen cringe. The rest was a reflex reaction. My body cringed away from his, away from the pain that I knew this would cause me that hadn’t hit yet, and my arms wrapped themselves protectively around me.  

I took a step away from him, not looking at him as I turned on my heel and started walking away. I knew that Morgana would be livid when she heard that I’d bailed on my patrols again. And Lucy would just be delighted. Neville would probably take my badge. But I really didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything anymore, except making it back up to my dorm so that I could lay on my bed like the miserable lump that I was and cry myself out until I fell asleep.

I knew I shouldn’t have come tonight.

I heard the laughter cut off behind me and felt a shiver run down my spine, and then I felt myself being pulled around by the wrist.

“Hey,” Scorpius said, looking very serious for someone who had been practically pissing himself less than 30 seconds ago. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have laughed. I didn’t mean to-“

“Yeah, well you did,” I muttered darkly, glaring up at him again.

“Did I hurt your feelings?” he asked, his blue-grey eyes boring into mine.

I rolled my eyes, breaking his gaze, implying the ‘duh, you idiot’.  

“Okay, I did,” he sighed, letting go of my wrist and sinking down against the wall, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. “Merlin, I always fuck everything up.”

“No you don’t,” I replied, sighing sympathetically and sinking down on the wall next to him. He looked over at me with a look that clearly read ‘don’t patronize me’ and I suppressed a grin. “Okay, so maybe you do.”

He laughed darkly and put his head in his hands, his blond hair flopping around his face rather pathetically. And suddenly, for some sick, paradoxical reason, I felt sorry for him. I really had no reason to feel sorry for him – he had cheated on me, he had blamed me for it, and then he had laughed at me for telling him that I loved him. 

What was wrong with me?

“So why were you laughing at me?” I asked, hoping to make myself angry again because honestly that was one emotion I could understand. Anger was simple. Someone did something stupid that offended me or hurt me and I got angry at them. Pure, plain, and simple. Love was so much more complicated. It was anger, passion, sympathizing, laughing, happiness, giddiness, embarrassment, freedom, and anxiety all rolled into one. It was too much for me to handle.

“I swear, I didn’t mean to,” he quickly apologized, picking his head up so that he could look at me again. “I was just so relieved.”

Again he let out a soft chuckle.

“Relieved?” I asked, completely bewildered.

“Uh, yeah,” he said, a muscle in his jaw jumping uncomfortably. “I know you’ll think it’s crazy, but I was kind of worried that you liked Tony.”

“Tony?!” I cried, this time laughing myself. “Tony? You thought I liked Tony?”

“Well, yeah,” he said, scratching at the back of his head sheepishly. “In the library-“

I couldn’t help it. I laughed harder. It was all so ridiculous. We were both so ridiculous.

“You were jealous?”I asked between laughs, and it was his time to blush. I was taken aback at first, considering it was the first time I had ever really seen him literally flush, but the light pink looked nice beneath his pale cheeks.

It was his turn to roll his eyes this time and for once it didn’t surprise me. I guessed I had known it all along. I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. Or I hadn’t let myself acknowledge it. That really explained what had happened to Tony’s head then.

“I told you it was ridiculous,” he reminded me.

“I don’t think it’s ridiculous,” I replied, tempted to lay my hand over his arm but resisting for the time being. “I think it’s sweet.”

He shot a feeble smile over at me and then we lapsed into silence for a few minutes. It wasn’t exactly an awkward silence, but it was one in which neither of us knew what to say. Surprisingly, my brain wasn’t working either. I was not even thinking really, just listening to the sounds of my our breathing.

It was nice sitting here with him. I wasn’t sure what the hell we were or where the hell we were going, but I was content for the time being. 

“Rose,” he said after another few minutes of silence, his voice low and hoarse. “I really am sorry.”

He looked up down at me with those grey-blue eyes and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him. He may have hurt me so badly, but he had hurt himself as well. It was obvious he still hadn’t forgiven himself for it. But had I forgiven him for it?  

“I forgive you,” I whispered, looking up at him as I said it, and feeling a small smile break out across my face.  

A smile broke across his face as well, but then suddenly turned dark again. “I don’t deserve you.”

“I used to say that to myself all the time,” I replied, putting a finger under his chin and lifting his face up again to look at me. “So maybe we’re even.”

He laughed a dark laugh, but did not object as I moved my hand from under his chin to rest against the side of his face. He leaned his cheek into my palm and his eyes closed for a moment.  

My heart was pounding erratically in my chest and I was having a hard time breathing. My stomach was quivering in my abdomen and I was vaguely surprised that the rest of my body wasn’t shaking as well. 

“Why didn’t you try to stop me?” I asked and his eyes opened in surprise. I could tell that he knew exactly what I meant.

“I didn’t think you wanted me to,” he replied, looking forlorn. “And I figured that that was the least I could do for you after what I had done. Did you want me to come after you?”

“No,” I replied honestly and laughed slightly. “Because I was angry at you. You had hurt me so badly. I wanted to stay angry with you. I think I realized even then that if I listened to you that I would forgive you instantly.”

“I promise, Rose,” he said, taking my hand from the side of his face and threading his fingers through mine, “I’ll never hurt you again.”

I felt a few tears that I had been struggling to hold back all night slip down my cheeks, but I let them, not feeling embarrassed about crying for once. He didn’t reach up to wipe them away, and for that I was grateful, but he just smiled somberly at me.

“Don’t promise me that,” I answered, squeezing his fingers tightly. “Promise me that no matter what happens we’ll be there for each other.”

He grinned and squeezed my fingers too. “Okay. I promise.”

I felt the corners of my lips tug upwards in a small smile and I sighed rather happily. 

“Can I ask you one more thing?” I asked.

“Go for it,” he answered, his voice sounding more normal now and slightly happier.

“Why were you so angry with me when I told you I didn’t care?”

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair again. “I wasn’t really angry with you, per say. I was more frustrated with you.”

“Why?”

“Because, don’t you see it? When you love someone, you’re supposed to be selfless and do what you know is best for them. Being with me is not good for you. It makes your family resent you – look at James and your dad – it makes people talk about you behind your back. If you knew what people said about the two of us, I don’t think you’d want to stay at school. And then you also have to deal with all of the things I do. And I’m just human Rose. I make mistakes. Hell, I make more mistakes than anyone I know. I don’t want you to have to deal with the consequences.”

I sat there in shock for a minute unsure of what to say or what to do. My voice felt stuck in my throat and my mouth went dry. I swallowed nervously and licked my lips.

“Let’s get something straight here,” I commanded. “First of all, my father was horrible to me long before you came around. And James, well James has always had a temper. I’m not worried about him. And I know what people say about me. Trust me, I know. And I don’t really care. It’s just talk right? I’ve never had much of a reputation to begin with, so there is nothing to miss. And so what if you’re not perfect, Scorpius? I never expected you to be perfect. Hell, I’m glad you’re not. It makes me feel a little bit better about myself to know I’m not the only one whose flawed. I went into this with no expectations – except maybe to loathe you a little bit more because I had to see so much of you. But as time went on, I felt myself growing closer to you instead. And you put up with all of the crap with my family, and took me to meet your family, and bought me that beautiful bracelet and for once I felt like I belonged somewhere. For once, I felt like I could finally be myself. And I also realized, when I lost you, that you were the only person I wanted to talk to about it. So I clearly know the consequences of what happens when you’re dumb. And the consequences of me not being with you are worse.”

“Wow,” was all he managed to say. “You’re a lot different from the girl I saw under the bleachers that day.”

“And you’re a lot different from the boy I saw under the bleachers that day,” I replied. “But is different a bad thing?”

“Not at all,” he answered, taking my other hand in his.

I felt giddy. There was no other way to describe it. My mind was whirring through thoughts so quickly that I couldn’t even comprehend what I was thinking. My body had practically gone numb, but in a good way. There was still a trickle of fear that crept up my spine, but I couldn’t help but feel that that was the pessimistic part of myself that was just trying to tell me not to get ahead of myself.

But I wanted to get ahead of myself. I wanted to be happy for once. And besides, this didn’t seem like a bad conversation. It was a necessary one. Was it slightly painful – sure. Was it slightly odd – of course. But you could say that about our entire relationship.

“So can we just forget this ever happened and move on?” he asked, a little beacon of hope showing on his face.

“No, I don’t think we can,” I replied honestly, and his face instantly fell, crestfallen. “I think that despite how horrible this whole thing was, it was a good learning experience for the both of us. And I don’t think we should forget it. But can we move on? Yeah, I think so.”

He looked up at me and smirked. “I thought you were going to just say no.”

“Are you crazy? I asked, laughing. “After all of this?”

“True,” he replied and I laid my head on his shoulder. He stiffened slightly at first but then relaxed and let go of one of my hands to wrap his arm around my waist. It felt so good to be able to do that again. It felt so normal and comforting. It felt like home.

“Hey Rose?”

“Yeah?”

“There’s one more thing I want to ask you.”

“Okay, go ahead.”

“Will you be my girlfriend?” he asked quietly.

I removed my head from his shoulder to look up at him and he was staring down at me intently, that still unknown emotion present in his eyes.

“Yes,” I replied and he instantly beamed.

His arm pulled me closer to him and I knew what was going to happen before it actually did. My arms found their way around the back of his neck and his other hand pressed against the side of my face. I felt a slight shiver run down my spine from being so close to him again and then his lips were on mine and I really shivered. He chuckled against my lips and I felt a hot blush color my cheeks for a minute. I had missed this. I had missed him. I pressed harder against him and he pulled me closer to him until I was practically in his lap. For the sake of being more comfortable I hooked my leg over his so that I was practically straddling his waist. This would look really bad to anyone who happened to walk by. But I didn’t care at all.

Finally we broke apart after a few minutes, both of us breathing hard. My lungs were on fire and I was slightly dizzy but I was blissfully happy.  

“I definitely missed that,” he muttered between breathes.

I chuckled slightly and kissed him again swiftly. “Me too.” 

He pulled me to him again and kissed me slower this time, less desperately. “You know,” he murmured against my lips, “in case it isn’t obvious – I love you too.”  

“For two people who were so vehemently against having each other as patrol partners, you do seem to be enjoying yourselves,” a voice said suddenly and both Scorpius and I jumped, pulling apart and I tumbled off his lap back onto my spot on the floor next to him.

Morgana stood at the entrance to the hall we were currently sitting in, a smug look on her face.

“Oh, hi,” I squeaked, feeling slightly mortified. Why was it that every time I snogged Scorpius while out on patrols, someone managed to catch us at exactly the worst moment?

“Go away,” I heard Scorpius mumble under his breath and I suppressed a laugh.

“While I’m happy to see you two little lovebirds back together, you do have patrols that you’re supposed to be doing. If you don’t want me to take your badges, I suggest you get on it,” she commanded.

“Sure, right away,” Scorpius replied, standing up and then offering his hand down to me. I took it gratefully and pulled myself to my feet. He didn’t let go of my hand but pulled me along the hall towards Morgana and towards the way we had been going when we stopped.

Morgana nodded in approval as we passed and shot us both a wink that had my face going bright red again. 

“That’s just our luck,” Scorpius laughed darkly as we walked along the next hall hand in hand.

“It could be worse,” I reminded him, thinking of Lucy and Charlotte again.

“True,” he chuckled, wrapping his arm around my waist and pulling me to his side. I snuggled in closer to him, breathing in his familiar musky scent.

Scorpius and I were together. He was mine again. Although, maybe he had never stopped being mine. Whatever the case, I was happier than I had been in a long time.

 



  
A/N: Yeah! It's finally finished! And no cliffie this time. I know it wasn't as long as some of you may like, but I figured that was the natural stopping place. 

So what did you think? Did you like it? Dislike it? Think it was realistic? I hope you all liked it. :) 

Oh, and just so you know, the title of this chapter and the mood was sort of set by the song I listened to the entire time I was writing this - "Fall for You" by Seconhand Serenade. If you haven't heard it, check it out. :) 

Thanks for reading everyone! Please, please, please review!


Chapter 36: Sometimes It's Better Not Knowing
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I knew it was going to be a good day when I woke up with a smile on my face. I hadn’t even been sure that that was physically possible before, considering that the idea of mornings themselves were so awful. But apparently it was possible, because the first thing I saw when I looked in the mirror this morning was a big ol’ grin plastered on my face.

I couldn’t help myself really – I know knew why all of those princesses in all of those old cartoon movies my mum had made me watch would sing all of the time – being in love made you ecstatic.

“Oh stop it,” I chastised myself as I walked down to the Great Hall alone. Earlier this year my own sappiness would have made me gag. What was wrong with me?  

I shook my head, trying to get the foolish grin that I could still feel playing at the corner of my lips to go away, but it wouldn’t. I tried thinking about my father, and Hugo, and James, but nothing was working.

I was insanely happy. I wasn’t used to being happy. My body and psyche weren’t sure how to deal with this. But it was nice. It was extremely nice. Maybe after I got used to it for a while, I would learn how to handle it. 

I made it down the final flight of stairs that led to the Great Hall and quickly scanned the room for a familiar head of platinum hair. Scorpius and I had agreed before we’d parted last night that he’d meet me here. 

“You sure seem happy this morning,” a deep voice said from behind me and then I felt a pair of arms grab me around the waist.  

“Oh you know, I’m just so excited for double potions,” I replied and I heard Scorpius chuckle.  

“Damn that Slughorn. And here I was, thinking you were happy to see me.”

I laughed and turned around, hitting him softly on the arm. “Let’s go eat. I’m starving.”   

“You’re wearing your bracelet,” he noted, not acknowledging my previous demand. I looked down at the delicate piece of jewelry on my wrist and smiled wider.

“Well, I figured it was too beautiful not to wear,” I replied. He smiled and kissed me gently on the forehead.

He then released my waist in trade of my hand and we walked slowly towards the giant wooden doors together. I was well aware of the whispers that followed in our wake and I tried not to let them bother me, rolling my shoulders experimentally to see if that would help release the tension that had suddenly seized down my spine.

“Nervous?” he asked, coming to a sudden stop right at the doors.

“Only slightly,” I replied, trying to sound more confident than I actually was. “But I’ll get over it.”

“The only people’s opinions you should really worry about are those that truly matter,” he said, looking down at me with a rather serious look on his face. “And those that truly matter are going to be those who want you to be happy.”

“When did you get so wise?” I asked, surprised.

“I didn’t,” he smirked. “My mum told me that when I first came to Hogwarts. I was afraid I wouldn’t make any friends because of what people thought of my parents.”

“Your mum is a smart woman,” I replied, imagining Astoria crouching down in front of her little blonde son at the train station, trying to make him worry less. I could definitely see the woman I’d met at Christmas saying something like that.

“That she is,” he answered, just as my stomach let out a very audible grumble. Scorpius laughed slightly and I instantly flushed and placed a hand over my stomach as if that would quiet it. “Let’s get you something to eat.”  

I let myself be led into the Great Hall and was surprised when it didn’t go completely quiet like I was expecting it to. The chatter did die down for a few seconds and then instantly started up again. Well that wasn’t so bad. The walk over to where Noel, Ashley, Al, and Tony were sitting didn’t take nearly as long as I had thought it would and before I knew it I was sliding into my normal seat next to Tony.

“Morning guys,” I said, probably interrupting whatever conversation they were having, but they didn’t seem to mind.

“Morning Rosie,” Noel replied at the same time Ashley said, “good morning!”

Then they turned to look at me and Noel’s mouth instantly dropped open and Ashley squealed and bounced up and down in her seat.

“Scorpius!” Ashley cried. “You’re here! That means – that means”

“You’re together again?” Noel asked, a happy and surprised beam breaking across her face.

“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US?” Ashley demanded, trying to pout, but not really achieving looking mad. 

“Slow down guys,” I chuckled, feeling my cheeks grow red again. “Yes, we’re dating again. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. You were both asleep when I got back last night and had already left by the time I got up.” 

“Ah! I’m so happy for you!” Ashley cried again and Scorpius wrapped his arm around my shoulders. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it because he was happy or to stop me from sliding under the table to hide from all the attention I was sure she was drawing to us.

“I’m happy for you two as well,” Noel smiled.

“Me too, mate,” Tony added, looking over at the both of us and grinning. “Merlin knows that my face can’t handle another alarm clock attack.”

I laughed and I heard Scorpius chuckle uncomfortably.

“Alarm clock?” Noel asked, one of her pale eyebrows raised inquiringly.

“Uh, yeah,” Scorpius said before Tony could open his mouth. “I might have thrown my alarm clock at him.”

I saw Noel’s mouth drop open in a little ‘o’ but then Tony laughed uncomfortably. “Yeah, but I deserved it. And it’s all good now. We both explained ourselves last night. Al, you’re very quiet over there. Don’t you have any congratulations to offer to our favorite couple?”

Al cringed at the spotlight was suddenly thrown on him and I saw him scowl and run his hand through his already unruly black hair angrily.

“No, I don’t,” he muttered, glancing up and glaring back and forth between Scorpius and I. “I do have congratulations to offer though. And that’s to you, Rose, for being so stupid.”

I felt my eyes go wide and I felt like I had just been slapped. “What the hell is your problem?” I asked waspishly, feeling my stomach start to churn from how angry I had suddenly become.

“My problem?” he asked, the anger in his voice matching mine. “What the hell is yours? How could you just take back the bastard after all he did to you? After how bad he hurt you?”  

“Stop it,” I commanded, cringing away from him as each of his words hit me like a whiplash. “Things have changed Al. He made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Even you Al. Don’t try to be Mr. High and Mighty after all you’ve done this year.” 

Instantly his face turned from angry to a mask of embarrassment, hurt, and shock. He looked away from me to back at his plate and played with his eggs absentmindedly. Our little group at the table was silent, and Scorpius squeezed my shoulder supportively.  

“You’re right,” Al finally said, his voice low. “I’m sorry Rose.”

He lifted his eyes from his plate and stared straight at Scorpius. “I wish you could have seen the look on her face the day I found her. I swear to Merlin and Circe, if you ever do anything to make that look come back on her face again, I will kill you. No one does that to my cousin twice and gets away with it.”

I bit my lip in an effort to keep from crying, even though I felt my eyes still cloud up. Al looked over at me sympathetically and I smiled at him gratefully.

“I promise I won’t,” Scorpius replied solemnly and I looked up at him to see what looked like horror in his grey eyes.

Al nodded and so did Scorpius, and I felt something that only teenage boys could understand had passed between the two of them. I didn’t have time to worry about what that could have been because at that exact moment Hugo slid into the seat next to Al.

“Hugo?” I asked, my brow furrowing in confusion as my brother dropped his bag to the floor and sighed heavily.

“Morning,” he said coldly, glancing up at me and then over at Scorpius, rolling his eyes. “You’re with him again?”

“Yes,” I replied, not able to keep a bit of annoyance out of my voice. “Now what do you want?”

My little brother humphed affrontedly and shook his dark red hair out of his eyes. “Have you talked to Dad lately?”

“No,” I replied, feeling more than slightly annoyed at all of his beating around the bush. “Why would I have?”

“He hasn’t written you?”

“No Hugo, he hasn’t! Now are you going to tell me what this is all about or am I going to have to beat it out of you?”

He scowled at me and then shook his hair out of his eyes again. “Well, I got a letter from him this morning and he asked me if I knew where Mum was staying. He said that he needs to know so that he can send her things there. He said he’s selling the house.”

“Isn’t she staying at the Leaky Cauldron?” I asked, trying not to think about the fact that my father was going to be selling the only home I’d ever known.

“He said that he talked to the owner and she checked out a week after Christmas. It’s February. Either she’s bought herself a place to live or she’s living at the Ministry.”

“I don’t think that Mum is crazy enough to live at work,” I replied. “She’s not that much of a workaholic. And it doesn’t seem like her not to have gotten her stuff if she’s moved somewhere new. She’d need furniture. Are you sure she’s not staying with Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry?”

“Dad’s already checked,” Hugo sighed. “She’s not living with any of the Weasleys or with her parents. And she’s not been staying at the Ministry, he asked the night guard.”

“I don’t know then, Hugh,” I said, feeling a little flutter of nervousness in my stomach. “She’s probably got her own place.”

“I think I might have some valuable information to shed on this situation,” a voice said from behind me. I shifted in my seat and saw out of the corner of my eye that our whole group shifted too to see who was talking.

Before me stood a boy of about medium height, with short, mousy brown hair and a long nose. He was very thin, probably as thin as I was, and his dark robes seemed to be about three sizes too large for him. His blue Ravenclaw tie was undone and hung over his black, baggy sweater like a necklace rather than a tie. He seemed to be around my age and I vaguely recalled that he was in my year, but for the life of me I could not remember his name.

“And who are you?” Tony asked rather rudely, but no one reprimanded him. We all just stared up at the awkward boy, who seemed to notice the subdued hostility in the air and shifted his enormous bag higher up on his shoulder.  

“My name is Jacob,” the boy said, looking straight at me. “Jacob Finch-Fletchley.”

“Justin’s son?” I asked, although it really wasn’t much of a question.

“The very same,” he grinned, revealing a set of very white teeth. 

“Why do you think you know anything about our Mum?” Hugo asked coldly, but Jacob didn’t seem fazed by it. 

“You want to know where she’s been living, right?” Jacob asked, pretty much ignoring Hugo and sliding onto the bench next to me, elbowing Tony out of the way. 

“Ideally, yes,” I answered, feeling slightly perturbed and a bit wary of Jacob. That nervous feeling came back into my stomach and I scooted closer to Scorpius automatically.  

“Well, as far as I’d last heard, she was living with my father,” he said nonchalantly, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world.

“WHAT?” Hugo and I both cried at the same time. “Why would she do that?” Hugo demanded.

“He is her lawyer,” Al interjected. “They’re probably friends.”

I shook my head, the horrible realization dawning on me. “I think they’re more that just friends.”

I heard Hugo gasp and then all of the dishes on the table rattled as he shoved away from the table angrily. He stormed away without another word and I felt a few hot, angry tears slip down my cheeks.

The table was silent with shock for a few minutes and Scorpius wrapped his other arm around me and I scooted closer to him. How had I not noticed it before? It was so obvious. He had come over to our house on my birthday. She had run over to see if he was hurt instead of jinxing the hell out of my father a few weeks ago. It was so obvious.

I quieted down after a few minutes and detached myself from Scorpius’s arms. He was staring down worriedly at me and I attempted to smile at him to let him know I was all right. He smiled back grimly and planted a swift kiss on my temple.

“I seem to be the bearer of bad news,” Jacob said, trying to make an awkward situation less awkward, but failing miserably.

“It’s not your fault,” Noel assured him, but I could tell that she didn’t really mean it.

“Yeah, it’s not your fault,” I agreed, sniffling slightly and wiping at my streaming eyes.

He shot me a sympathetic smile but I didn’t bother to return it.

“I don’t mean to chat and run, but I’ve got to go do something,” I said, standing up and tucking my hair behind my ears.

“You haven’t eaten anything,” Ashley reminded me.

“I’m not hungry,” I mumbled, already walking away.

I heard footsteps behind me and I wasn’t surprised when I felt Scorpius’s hand in mine. “You don’t think I’d let you go alone, do you?” he asked, and I tried to smile.

“I’m glad you’re here,” I admitted.  

We walked silently from then on and he let me lead him around the Castle. He seemed surprised when we stopped in front of the Owlery.

“I need to find out for myself,” I said, answering his unasked question.

He nodded. “I understand. I just hope you don’t expect to find out anything different.” 

“I don’t really,” I mumbled, looking at the ground. “I just – I just need to know.”

He put a finger under my chin and lifted my head up so that I was looking at him again. I couldn’t help myself, I threw myself into his arms and hugged him tight, feeling safe and secure when his arms wrapped around me and held me closer. His lips grazed the edge of my jaw lightly and I kissed the base of his throat softly. I pulled away from him again and leaned against the door to the tower. 

“I have practice after classes until about nine,” he told me, his eyes never leaving mine. 

“Okay.” 

“Do you want to meet me in the normal spot?” he asked.

I nodded. He smiled and walked over to me, bracing his arms on either side of my head and leaning his forehead against mine. “You’ll be all right?” 

“I’ve learned to be strong without you,” I replied, and his eyes flashed with pain again. I felt instantly guilty, but then I reminded myself that he needed to know. “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need you.”

He grinned and then really kissed me and I let myself forget about my problems with my mother and just focus on how good I felt in that moment. All too soon he was pulling away from me. 

“I’ve got to go, or I’m going to be late to class,” he sighed, running his hand through his hair. “I’m guessing you’re not worried about being late?”

“Not especially,” I replied, thinking guiltily about what McGonagall would say when she found out I was ditching class again.

“Okay,” he nodded, stepping away from me. “Don’t get yourself in too much trouble. I’ll see you later tonight.”

“See you,” I agreed, and he turned away and started walking back the way we had come. In a spurt of either idiocy or boldness, I added, “Love you!”

I saw Scorpius stop and he turned on the spot to face me. “Love you too,” he chuckled and I felt my heart soar. I’d never get used to hearing that. I waved him goodbye and he turned around again. I didn’t stop waving until he was around the corner, and then I let my arm flop back down to my side.

The anger, confusion, and hurt I had been feeling before all came flooding back into me, and I scowled at the dark wooden door behind me, as if it had intentionally hurt me. I grabbed the handle wearily and opened it before I could lose my nerve, trudging up the long flights of stairs that wound their way up to the tower. The smell of the owls preceded the actual room and I pinched my nose in disgust. That was one of the reasons I didn’t own an owl. They smelled pretty bad.

I stepped inside the room and scanned the rafters for Hugo’s owl, Marius. I spotted the large, grey owl sleeping in the corner and quickly hurried over there.

“Marius,” I hissed, swiping at the air around the bird in an effort to wake him up. The owl opened one of his golden eyes and looked down at me, then hooted softly and flew down to land on my shoulder.

I tried not to jump as I felt his talons cling to my shoulder and made my way over to the window. “Stay,” I commanded to the bird when he hopped down and stood on the open sill. “I’ve got to write a letter to my Mum.” He shifted from foot to foot and I took that to mean that he understood.

I pulled a fresh sheet of parchment out of my bag along with a quill and some ink and quickly jotted down a note.

 

Mum,

I have recently learned that you are staying with Justin Finch-Fletchley. His son Jacob told me. While I’m happy you’ve found some place to live, it makes me wonder some things. I hope you don’t think that this is too abrupt, but are you and Justin seeing each other? Please write back to me as soon as you can. I know Hugo is wondering too.

Rose

 

I reread over the letter again and decided that that was probably the best I could come up with. I’d never been all that good at writing letters, especially such awkward ones as this. I sighed and tied the letter to Marius’s leg. “Take this to Mum, okay?”

He hooted again and took off out the window. I watched him go until he was out of sight and then slumped against the wall, not letting my legs give out so that I would fall to the floor. That was just gross in here. Now there was really nothing to do but wait. I glanced at my watch. I was already a half hour late to Potions. There would be no point in going now. And really, if I missed Potions, what was the point in going to any of my other classes?

Not fully contented with that skewed logic, but knowing that I’d follow it anyway, I climbed up onto the windowsill and sat down, pulling my knees into my chest and letting my head rest back against the cool stone wall.

Now all that was left to do was wait.

 

 




 

“Rose. Rose! ROSE!”

I felt a hand shake my shoulder and I grumbled, opening my eyes slowly and becoming instantly blinded by the bright sunlight that was streaming through the window.

“Rose!” whoever it was yelled and shook me again.

“What do you want?” I asked grouchily, shielding my eyes and glaring at whoever it was. “James?” 

“Hey,” my cousin said, squinting against the sunlight.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Well, I could say the same thing about you,” he reminded me, gesturing to the Owlery around us.

“Yeah, right,” I said uncomfortably, tucking the hair that had fallen in my face behind my ears. “So, uh, what’s up?”

“Well, I was just coming up here to send a letter when I saw you sleeping in the window while Hugo’s owl hopped around you, trying to give you a letter.”

“What?” I cried, scrambling up from my position in the window and glancing around wildly. “Where is it?”

“Relax,” he said. “I’ve got your letter right here.”

He reached  into his pocket and pulled out a small piece of lavender parchment that I instantly recognized as my mother’s. He held it out to me and I snatched it from his hands, probably a little bit too eagerly. I didn’t bother to apologize, but quickly unfurled the parchment.

 

Rose,

I am so sorry that you had to find out this way. I had hoped that I would be able to tell you and your brother about Justin and I over Easter, but apparently it’s too late for that. I’d really like to be able to talk more about this with you in person – you have a Hogsmeade weekend this weekend, right? What would you say to getting together at the Three Broomsticks for lunch? I love you honey. I’m so proud of you.

Love, Mum  

 

I felt angry tears prick in my eyes. Even though I had promised Scorpius I wouldn’t get my hopes up, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I had wanted to believe that she was better than that. I wanted to believe that she was just staying with him because they were friends.

If they were living together, that had to mean that they were serious. And if they were serious, that would have to mean that they’d been dating for a while. My mother wasn’t the type to move in with someone on a whim. And that had to mean – no. I wouldn’t think that. I couldn’t think that.  

“Rose,” James asked, sounding worried. “What’s wrong?” 

I didn’t even look at him. I was so angry with her. How could she do this? How could I trust her? Had I been wrong about her? Had my father been right?

A strangled sob escaped my throat and I did the only thing I could do. I let the letter drop to the floor and I turned and slammed my fist into the wall.

Instantly my hand erupted in pain and I screamed, pulling my hand to my chest.

“AHHHH!” I wailed, looking down at the mass of purple, black, and blue that had become my hand.

“What the hell!” James cried, rushing over to me and taking a quick glance at my hand. “Rose, are you all right?”

“No, I am bloody not all right!” I cried, feeling fresh tears of pain fall down my cheeks.

“I think you need to go to the Hospital Wing,” he said, studying my hand carefully without touching it. “You’ve probably crushed all the bones in your hand from doing that.”

“OWWW,” I moaned, cradling my hand carefully. “It hurts so bad.”

“Of course it does, love,” he said, picking up my bag and throwing it over his shoulder. “You punched a brick wall.”

“Right,” I said, trying not to laugh. James swung his arm around my shoulders and guided me down the stairs. 

We walked towards the Hospital Wing in silence for a few minutes while I tried not to cry despite the throbbing pain in my hand.

“James,” I said suddenly, realizing how odd the situation was, “how come you’re being so nice to me?”

I saw my cousin smile and he looked down at me. It awed me a little bit how big and tall he actually was. “You’re my little cousin, Rosie. Despite the fact that I might not agree with all the decisions that you make, I never want to see you in pain. Even stupid, self inflicted pain.”

I chuckled and leaned up and planted a sloppily, silly kiss on my cousin’s cheek. He pulled me closer and I winced slightly from the pressure that was put on my hand and he instantly loosened his grip. 

We walked the rest of the way to the Hospital Wing in comfortable silence. As we got closer and closer to the doors, my heart started to beat erratically, and I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of showing my injury to Madame Burch. She was sure to be unsympathetic when she heard I’d done this to myself.

Before I was ready we were there and James was pushing open the door with a grim smile on his face. The ward was mostly empty, save for one bed with stark white curtains pulled around it, and Madame Burch came bustling out from the curtains with a vial of Skele-Grow in her hands.

“Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley,” the matron called upon seeing us standing there, “what’s happened now?”

“I think Rose crushed her hand,” James said loudly, pulling me forward despite the fact that I was digging my heels into the floor with all my might.

“Really?” the matron said smugly, her unibrow raised inquisitively.

“Yeah,” James replied, ushering me forward still so that I was standing right in front of her. “See.”

I winced as I stood under the Madame Burch’s gaze and I tried not to think about what she was probably going to do to me. Suddenly my hand erupted in pain as the large woman grabbed my wrist to see my hand properly.

“OUCH!” I cried, feeling tears prick my eyes again.

“Yes, it’s definitely broken,” she confirmed, letting go of my wrist and I instantly cradled  my hand to my chest again. “I think that we’ll cast it this time.”

“Cast?” I croaked, shuddering with horror at my last memories of a cast. Madame Burch had had to re-break the bones in my foot. Oh dear Merlin, if she had to re-break the bones in my hand –

“Yes, a cast, I think,” she grinned maliciously. “But the bones have probably broken in the wrong way. So we’ll probably have to re-break them.”

I felt my face instantly pale and my stomach churned nauseously at the thought. James rubbed his hand reassuringly down my arm but it didn’t help.

So much for having a good day.

 

 

 


 
A/N: So I wanna start out this note by giving out a huge apology to all of those who were confused by my last Author's Note. I understand why you were all confused and I'm really, really sorry. :( I hope I cleared that up for all of you in my review responses.

No, this story is not yet over!! :)We've still got 9 chapters left! Oh my gosh, that number sounds so huge and yet so small. It's going to be a bumpy ride, and I hope you're all up to it! :) 

Moving on to this chapter - so what did you guys think? Like it? Dislike it? I really hope you liked it. Were you guys suprised by Hermione/Justin? See it coming? Please, let me know in a review! 

Thanks fo reading everyone! Again, please, please review! :)


Chapter 37: So Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
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The first thing I had to admit about casts was that they were itchy. It seemed to me at times that the incessant painful tickle was almost worse than the throbbing pain of a broken bone. The throbbing pain could be eliminated by a quick potion. The itching on the other hand never went away.

“I hate this,” I grumbled to James as I sat on the end of a cot, waiting for the plaster to dry.

“Maybe that will teach you to control your temper next time,” he chuckled, grinning up at me from where he sat on the floor. I glowered down at him, but that only made him laugh more.

“I’m glad my misfortune amuses you,” I spat, aiming a kick at his head, which he quickly dodged.

“It’s not my fault that Burch is a sadist and that you get yourself into stupid situations,” he reminded me and I let out an angry sigh. “Why did you decide to attack the wall anyway?”

I sighed wearily this time as the contents of my mother’s letter came flooding back to me. “So you know how my parents have split up, right?” I asked and he nodded, pity and sympathy apparent on his face. “Well things are quickly going to hell and I am so sick and tired of my parents acting like selfish children.”

James nodded and patted my foot comfortingly, considering it was the only part of my body he could reach.

Suddenly, the infirmary doors burst open and a flood of green robe clad figures thundered into the room, carrying a limp, dark-haired form. James instantly jumped up off the ground with an audible hiss. Madame Burch came waddling out of her office, a scowl already on her large, square face.

“What in the name of Merlin is going on here?” she yelled, her extra chins wobbling dangerously.

“Sam took a bludger to the head and fell off her broom,” a voice from the group said, and I instantly recognized it as Marcus Flint’s. 

“Lay her down here,” the matron commanded. “I don’t need all of you to stay and be a distraction. Weasley, Potter, get your arses out of here as well. You’re not dying.”

At the sounds of our last names, I heard and saw the entire Slytherin team turn and glower at us. James’ chest puffed up proudly and his hands clenched into fists automatically. I saw Marcus grin at James smugly and step forward out of his pack of teammates, but before anything could happen, Madame Burch yelled, “GET OUT!”

Whatever macho spell the two boys had been under instantly broke and the Slytherin team all exited silently, save for one.

“Rose?” Scorpius asked, stepping forward, confusion and worry making his brow wrinkle. “What happened?”

“I don’t see how that’s any concern of yours, Malfoy,” James snarled, wrapping his arm protectively around me and pulling me towards the door.

“Anything that happens to Rose is my business, Potter,” Scorpius shot back coldly.

I could see Madame Burch glaring at us as she continued her ministrations over Sam and I tugged James’ arm.

“Stop it. Let’s get outside before Burch kills us and I’ll explain everything,” I commanded.

James and Scorpius both glared at each other but nodded and I pulled them both towards the doors. As soon as we were safely in the hallway, James rounded on me.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Look,” I snapped, frustrated with the two of them and their stupid prejudices. “James, Scorpius is part of my life now. I love him, and he’s not going to go away.” Scorpius shot me a broad smile. “And Scorpius, James is my cousin and one of my best friends. Yes, he may have a short fuse and yes he may act like a royal arse sometimes, but he is family. I love you both and would like to keep both of you in my life. But if you are going to keep acting like this, then we’re going to have some serious problems. Do you understand?”

“In love with a Slytherin?” James croaked, apparently not having listened to much else past that point.

“Yes, James,” I sighed wearily, feeling my cheeks go a little bit red. I couldn’t help it. I was talking about my boyfriend to James – the boy who’d teased me for years just for even being a girl.

“In love with Malfoy,” he repeated and I nodded. 

He stared at me in horror for one second and then slumped against the wall, burying his face in his hands. I heard him mumble over and over again something that sounded suspiciously like “where did I go wrong?” 

“Oh, stop being so melodramatic,” I snapped at him and he looked up from between his fingers, a mischievous look in his eyes.

“Says the girl who punched a brick wall and broke her hand,” he shot back, grinning.

“You did this to yourself?” Scorpius asked, and I turned to him, feeling my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

“It’s possible?” 

Scorpius let out something that sounded like a strangled chuckle and grabbed my casted hand gently, turning it over and over as if inspecting the damage.

“You sure do know how to get yourself into trouble, don’t you?” he asked finally, laughing probably at the irony of it all and I couldn’t help but grin.

“She’s always been exceptionally good at that,” James interjected, he too laughing at me.

“It’s not like I mean to,” I pointed out. “It’s all accidental.” This only seemed to make them laugh harder and James pushed himself away from the wall. 

“Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got to go find my team and tell them that practice has been rescheduled,” James said, sauntering slowly over to where Scorpius and I were standing.  

“I’ll see you later?” I asked him, and he nodded, tugging at my hair playfully. Then he turned to Scorpius and I automatically tensed.

Gingerly, James held out his hand. I stared at him in shock, looking between him and Scorpius. While I had hoped that Scorpius and James would be able to get along, I had never imagined that James would be the first to act really civilly towards Scorpius. In fact, I had really expected those few words they had previously exchanged after my lecture to be the only civil talk between the two.

Scorpius stared at James’ outstretched hand warily for a moment, but then extended his own hand and shook it. Almost the same second their hands had touched they instantly dropped back down to their sides again.

“I still don’t like you,” James reminded him, his voice taking on an edge. “And if you hurt my cousin, death will seem merciful compared to what I’d do to you.”

I watched as Scorpius just smirked back. “Don’t worry, Potter. I’ve already gotten the message. You’re younger brother handled that one quite well at breakfast this morning.”

“Damnit!” James grumbled. “Albus always steals my thunder.”

At this both Scorpius and I laughed and James ran his hand through his already unruly dark hair.

“Okay, I’m really leaving now,” James said, clapping me on the shoulder and ruffling my hair. I swatted at him and he chuckled, making a face at me before sauntering off down the hallway. Scorpius and I watched in silence until he made it around the curve that lead to the stairs and then Scorpius let out a loud huff.

“What? That wasn’t so bad, was it?” I asked playfully, bumping his shoulder with mine.

“It could have been worse,” he admitted, bumping me back. I stumbled a little bit and he instantly caught me around the waist, pulling me to him.

“Why must you always be so clumsy?” he asked quietly, and I gazed up at him, surprised a little at how worried he looked. His eyes weren’t on my face, but on my enormous plastered hand. The hand on his free arm inched forward and he laced his fingers gingerly through mine, as if he didn’t want to hurt me.

“I can’t help it,” I replied, trying to place my whole hand in his, but unfortunately the stupid cast made it impossible. I bit my lip in frustration, knowing that this stupid thing on my wrist was going to be the bane of my existence for weeks. “I’m just naturally unstable.”

“You’ve got that right,” he teased and I scoffed, trying to twist away from him but he held me tight. “So what exactly did you do to earn yourself this lovely badge of stupidity?”  

“I punched a stone wall,” I mumbled quietly, but from the silence afterwards, I knew he had heard. I felt my cheeks go beet red and I wanted to run and hide in shame. That had definitely not be one of my finest moments.

After a few more moments of silence I glanced up at Scorpius, dreading his reaction and in instant I saw his face I wished I hadn’t looked. The expression on his face seemed to be slight anger, mixed with the urge to laugh, mixed with disappointment.

“And why did you do that?” he asked, his voice sounding somewhat strangled.

I could tell that he was trying to be nonchalant about asking but from the way his eyes kept darting from my face back to my hand I knew he really wanted to know. I tried to smile to let him know that it really was just a brief moment of stupidity, but as I thought about that moment, all of the anger I had been feeling flooded back into me and I felt like I was going to be sick.

“I heard back from my Mum,” I managed to say, although my tongue felt like it was made of cotton and my voice seemed to trail off at the end. I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I could barely even bring myself to think it.

The thought that my mum may have been cheating on my father for Merlin knows how long was too much to bear. If she had been cheating on him, then he would have a good reason for being how horrible he was for these past few years. Not that I would ever think what he put me through was all right, but it made sense. It made more sense than that he was just dissatisfied with his career and life. 

Plus, if my mum had been cheating on him, then that meant that she was dishonest and untrustworthy. I had always thought that my relationship with my Mum was one thing I could count on to always remain the same. Even now that my parents were getting a divorce, nothing had really changed between us. She was still my mum, and I was still Rose. Nothing could have changed my opinion on her. I trusted her explicitly. I had chosen to live with her.

And now, it was if all of those years had meant nothing. Why couldn’t she have told me herself what was going on? If it really was innocent, what was the big deal in letting me know so that I wasn’t mortified in front of all of my friends when his son had to tell me? Did she not think she could trust me? Did she know what she was doing was wrong?

Whatever the case, I found myself still seething. Seething that I had been so blind. Seething that she could do something like this. And seething because just when one part of my life had finally started to calm down, it became infinitely worse.

Could I never catch a break? 

“Oh,” Scorpius said softly and I felt more of my resolve break. “I don’t want to say I told you so, but did you really expect something different?”

“I guess not,” I muttered, knowing he was right and not liking it at all. He had told me not to get my hopes up. “But I couldn’t help it, Scorpius. I want so badly to believe that she is the person I thought. I want to believe that that stupid Jaden or Jason or whatever his name was, was lying and just trying to make me angry.”

I felt the first of my angry tears slip down my cheeks and I wiped them furiously away. I was so sick and tired of crying all the time. That was really why I had punched the wall. Crying did nothing but make me feel worse. I needed a quick, instant outlet for my emotions. Sure, punching the wall had made me feel a hell of a lot worse in the end. But I would do it again. 

“I’m so sorry, love,” he murmured, pulling me closer to him. I wrapped my arms around my neck and sniffled, forcing myself to stop crying. When I had fully stopped crying I pulled away from him slightly so that I could look up at him. His brow was wrinkled with worry and his cloudy eyes were roaming over my face, as if looking for cracks in the façade we both knew I was putting up.

“I’m okay,” I told him, but even to myself I knew I sounded weak.

He shook his head and moved a piece of my hair that had fallen into my face behind my ear. “No you’re not,” he replied, shaking his head sadly. “What can I do to make it better?” 

I grinned mischievously to myself before pressing both of my hands hard against his chest so he stumbled back into the wall. I stepped forward, still grinning and he smirked down at me, catching on. “Just help me forget for a while,” I whispered, wrapping one of my arms around his neck and letting the other rest against his chest. I leaned up on my toes and pressed my lips lightly to his, gasping slightly when his arm pulled me around the waist closer to him. I felt him chuckle slightly and traced his bottom lip with my tongue. My head was spinning and my heart was beating erratically as he pushed away from the wall but maintained his grip on me, spinning us around so that it was I who had my back pressed against the cold stone. After a few moments we broke apart, both panting for air, and I looked up at him, not able to help the smile that played at the corner of my lips. 

“Well,” he said, his voice still somewhat breathless, “I’ll be happy to oblige you any time you need that.”

I laughed and tucked my hair behind my ears in a little bit of embarrassment. I still felt incredibly new to this whole thing. I tried to think of something witty to counter back with, but my mind still felt like mush. 

“Thank you,” was what I came up with.

He just laughed again and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me down the hall. We walked around in silence for a long while. I didn’t know where we were going or why we were walking even, but I figured it was just for the sake of doing something. Finally, I felt my eyelids begin to droop as the events of the day started to catch up with me despite the long nap I had taken in the Owlery. I tried to stifle my yawn, but of course it just came out sounding extremely loud in the empty corridor.

“It’s late, isn’t it?” Scorpius asked rhetorically, glancing down at his watch. “Ten o’clock.”

“It’s not late yet,” I tried to mumble, but the second I opened my mouth another yawn escaped me. 

“You need to go to bed,” he reasoned and I shook my head frantically. I did not want to go to bed. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to move. And I really wasn’t looking forward to more questions as to how I had hurt myself.  

“We were supposed to do something,” I reminded him, feeling slightly stupid for saying that. We had spent all night together, wandering aimlessly and talking about my accident. It’s not as if we hadn’t had time together.

“We’ll do something this weekend,” he assured me, coming to a stop and pulling me to him, resting his forehead against mine. “Saturday’s Valentine’s Day you know?”

“Is it really?” I asked, cocking an eyebrow. 

“Yes, it is,” he assured me, arching his brow in the same manner. “It’s also a Hogsmeade day. I figured we could go out and spend the day together. If you really wanted, we could even go to that horrible little café Madame Puddifoot’s.”

I felt my nose wrinkle in disgust at the mention of Madame Puddifoot’s. “No thank you,” I replied and I heard Scorpius exhale a sigh of relief. “Just getting to have you all to myself for a day is enough.”

“Then I’m all yours,” he replied, nuzzling his face into my neck. I sighed, trying to calm the quivers that had suddenly started up in my stomach. “No horrible little pink cafes,” he joked. “I hope the Three Broomsticks is okay then, because the only other pub is the Hog’s Head, and you know what they say about that place-“

I never did hear what they say about that place, because I stopped listening as horror overtook me at the mention of the Three Broomsticks.

“Oh no,” I groaned, feeling like slapping myself in the face. How could I have forgotten?

“Oh, don’t worry,” Scorpius said, not realizing that I had not in fact been listening to his story. “They only thought it was dysentery. There’s no real evidence to prove it.”

“While that all sounds very horrible,” I replied, guilt already twisting itself into a hard knot in my stomach, “I wasn’t moaning about medieval diseases. I just remembered that I said I would meet my Mum on Saturday afternoon to talk.” 

“What?” Scorpius asked, looking shocked and hurt.

“Scor, I’m so sorry,” I quickly apologized, feeling horrible. “In her letter she said that she wanted to meet face to face and talk and she mentioned this Saturday and I didn’t think anything of it because I could barely remember Noel and Ashley’s names at the beginning of the year, so obviously how could I be expected to remember what the date is today let alone this Saturday and-“

I was cut off from my insane ramblings as Scorpius clapped his palm over my mouth, muffling out the rest of my quickly spewed run on.

“Stop,” he commanded softly, his eyes not hard and hurt like I expected, but rather excited and playful. “It’s okay.”

“Really?” I tried to ask, but then I realized his hand was still covering my mouth. He seemed to realize that too and quickly removed his hand.

“Really?” I asked again.

“Yes, really,” he sighed, running his hand through his blonde hair. “While I’m slightly disappointed, this is important. I get to see you practically every day. She doesn’t.”

I smiled up at him and once again wondered how I’d gotten so lucky. 

“I’ll make it up to you,” I promised, kissing the side of his jaw, the first thing I could reach.  “But for now, I’m going to bed.”

He seemed disappointed as I pushed away from him but he didn’t say or do anything to stop me.

“Good night, Rose,” he called as I turned on my heel, heading back towards the Gryffindor dormitories.

“Good night, Scorpius,” I called back, stopping and turning to see him starting at me from the opposite end of the hallway.  I could picture his smile, and then he was turning and walking in the opposite direction, towards the dungeons. I waited until he was out of sight and then continued on my way towards my dorm.

I was happy not to see anyone in the halls and even happier when the only people in the Common Room were a few fifth and seventh years who all had their noses buried in books, desperately studying for the O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S.

By the time I got the stairs to the girl’s dorms I was debating just calling it quits and curling up in a ball on the floor and sleeping there. But the thought of my warm bed was too alluring, so I dragged myself up the stone steps, practically crying out in relief when I reached the right door.

When I stumbled into the room, it was dark and all of my roommates’ bed curtains were drawn. I had to admit, I was glad Noel and Ashley were asleep. I did not feel like explaining my entire day to them now. 

I dragged myself over to my bed and pulled my clothes off quickly, letting them drop carelessly to the floor and grabbing the first pair of sweat pants and the first t-shirt I saw out of my trunk and throwing them on.

I threw myself onto my bed, not bothering to crawl under the sheets. My head hit my pillow and I felt my body go completely limp as sleep’s first waves overtook me. That’s when I felt it.

That horrible, horrible itching.

I grabbed my wand off of my nightstand and instantly stuck it down the small hole between my thumb and first knuckle, scratching at the offending skin irritably.

Stupid cast.  

 







The rest of the week passed relatively quickly, much to my surprise. As exams drew ever closer, a palpable air of tension permeated every corner of the castle. Despite the fact that I was only a sixth year and wouldn’t be taking any major exams this year, all of my professors saw fit to treat us like we were taking our N.E.W.T.S. in what they called “practice and preparation”. With all the skiving off class that I’d done since the beginning of the year, my homework load was beginning to catch up with me.

On top of everything else, I’d had a horrible time trying to figure out what in the world I’d do for Scorpius on Valentine’s Day. And not only for Valentine’s day, but as I’d soon realized from various discussions with Tony, Scorpius’ seventeenth birthday was the following Monday. I needed two gifts, and thankfully, I already had one, considering I’d forgotten to give him his Christmas present from all those months ago.  

For his birthday, Tony had convinced me to help him plan a surprise party. I’d been reluctant at first – remembering the enormous blow out that Scorpius had thrown Tony, but after much groveling and promising me that it would be smaller, I’d conceded. Party planning had taken up what little time I had had in between studying, prefect rounds, and worrying about present shopping. 

To say I was exhausted was an understatement. I was zombie-esque. I was dead to the world. Was it really too much to ask for a little bit of sleep?

“Rose! Rose! Wake up! Wake up!”

Apparently, it was.

I grumbled loudly and pulled my pillow over my ears, clamping my eyes shut tighter.  Someone shook my shoulders and I groaned, swatting at them to go away. I knew it was probably Ashley, considering Noel would have more sense than to wake me up when we all knew how dead tired I was.

“Rosie, please! You need to see! It’s important! Wake up!” 

I groaned again but rolled over, squinting against the bright light that attacked my eyes the second I opened them.

“Good morning!” Noel sang from where she sat at the foot of my bed.

“Good morning,” I mumbled, sitting up and wincing as my spine cracked. “What’s all the ruckus about?”

“Look at what I got!” she cried, pointing over to her nightstand. I turned my head slowly, still not fully awake, rubbing at my eyes.

“What was that again?” I asked, looking back at Noel guiltily.

“Look!” she cried, not noticing that I really had not been paying attention. I looked over at where she was pointing, noticing for the first time a large vase of red roses on her nightstand next to her bed.

“Oh,” I said, my eyes widening as I realized what that meant. “They’re beautiful!”

“They’re from Tony,” she said quietly, even though I knew she probably wanted to shout it. 

“Merlin!” I cried, feeling my mouth twist up in a wide smile. “That’s wonderful, Noel! I’m so happy for you!”

“You are?” she asked, her normally large eyes growing even wider.

“Of course I am,” I replied, feeling a little bit perturbed. Why wasn’t she happy? “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Noel looked down at the floor, her pale cheeks turning a bright pink, and she mumbled something that I couldn’t understand.

“What was that?”

She looked back up at me, blowing a strand of her pale blonde hair out of her eyes. “I thought Tony liked you.”

I felt my eyes go wide and I shook my head furiously back and forth. “No. Tony doesn’t like me. We’re just friends. And judging from that beautiful bouquet of roses, he’s crazy about you. Besides, I’m with Scorpius.”

“Yeah,” she smiled, revealing a set of dimples. “You’re right.”

I smiled back at her and she leaned over and pulled me into a hug which I happily returned.

“So what did you get?” she asked as she pulled away from me.

“I don’t know,” I answered, smirking slightly. “I haven’t had a chance to check yet.”

“Oh, right,” Noel said, chuckling and standing up. “Well I’ll let you get on that.”

She waved and then practically skipped over to her own bed. I felt a smile tug at the corners of my lips despite the fact that I was feeling rather grumpy from having been woken up. I pushed the rest of the covers off of me, shivering slightly as the February air attacked my exposed skin and hopping down off my bed. I shivered again and wrapped my arms around my chest in a futile effort to keep warm. You’d think that with all of the magic in this castle they’d learn how to heat it in the winter.

“Merlin’s pants,” I said as I looked over at the stack of gifts I had waiting for me by my nightstand. “I am the worst girlfriend ever.”

“What’s wrong?” Noel asked, coming back around to stand behind me. I could almost hear her jaw hit the floor.

“Worst girlfriend ever,” I croaked again, feeling horrible again at having only given him that one measly envelope with his gift certificate in it that was supposed to have been for Christmas. 

“No, you’re not,” Noel assured me, but she didn’t sound very confident. “He just spoils you.”

I nodded and stepped forward, reaching a hand gingerly towards the large vase of what looked like daisies on my nightstand. I pulled the little card  out from where it was nestled and quickly read over the fancy printed scrawl there.

I figured getting roses for someone named Rose would be cliché. I hope you don’t mind daisies.

-Love, Scorpius

I bit my lip and felt myself blush despite the fact that only Noel was here and she hadn’t read the note. He was too sweet. 

I glanced down at the stack of gifts in front of my nightstand and grabbed the one off of the top, pulling the red bow off of the teddy bear’s head. He was a light brown color and held in his hands a red heart pillow, embroidered with the words “I love you beary much”. I chuckled at the corniness of the line but hugged the bear to my chest anyway. It was so soft.

“That’s so cute!” Ashley squealed as she stepped out from the bathroom, a white fluffy towel wrapped around her and her short hair dripping down onto her shoulders. “Is it from Scorpius?”

“Yeah,” I nodded, still not able to believe how incredible this was.

For years I had sworn that Valentine’s Day was my least favorite holiday and that I would never turn into one of those sappy girls who swooned over their boyfriends and was obnoxiously in love. It was too late for that now though. I had crossed that bridge and burned it behind me in a matter of seconds. Valentine’s Day was wonderful! 

“Open more,” Noel urged and I put my bear down on my bed, reaching for a box wrapped in light pink paper. 

I sat down on the edge of my bed and slid my finger beneath the paper carefully opening it like always. I could tell that my friends were getting impatient waiting for me to open it but I ignored them, folding back the paper neatly and lifting the plain white box out. I pulled the top off the box slowly and I instantly felt my breath hitch in my throat.

Laying in the box, surrounded by soft, light pink crepe paper was a beautiful, black sweater, adorned with light silver and gold stars that really seemed to twinkle like the night sky. 

“Wow,” I breathed as I picked it up out of the box and held it up so that Noel and Ashley could see and I heard them both murmur comments of appreciation. “It’s gorgeous!”

“That’s a Lavender Brown original, you know?” Noel, commented incredulously, looking at the tag in the back. “I read about her line in Witch Weekly. This is not cheap you know. Anything from her line is supposed to cost a fortune.” 

I just nodded, feeling guilt twist in my gut but also breathless, as I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. This was really too much.

“I’ve got to give it back,” I said, shaking my head slowly. “I can’t accept this.”

“Are you crazy?” Ashley asked, her eye practically bugging out of her head. “You can’t give it back!”

“He’d be hurt,” Noel added, and I knew she was trying to guilt me into taking it.  

“Yeah,” Ashley agreed. “He bought it for you because he wants you to have it.”

“You have to keep it-“

“He’ll love you in it-“

“So pretty-“

“Expensive-“

“One of a kind-“

“Okay, okay!” I cried, holding both my hands up to stop them from talking over one another. “I’ll keep it.”

They both grinned and then squealed and I felt very tempted to do the same. 

“Are you going to wear it today?” Ashley asked. I looked up from where I had been admiring my gift and smiled. “I think Scorpius would appreciate it.”

“I think I will,” I grinned, knowing they were right, but wanting to switch the subject before I could change my mind again. “What are your guys’ plans for the day?”

“Jack and I are going to spend some time shopping together and then we’re meeting Noel and Tony for lunch,” Ashley replied, glancing up at Noel as if for confirmation.

“Yeah, pretty much the same,” Noel agreed. “Do you and Scorpius want to join us for lunch?”

“I don’t know about Scorpius,” I said, feeling the small ball of guilt in my stomach twist into a hard knot and my throat tighten, “but I can’t.”

“What?” Noel asked, confusion clearly written on her face. “Why not?”

“I have to meet with my Mum,” I replied, not looking at either of them but down at the floor. With everything that had been going on this week, I’d nearly forgotten about my meeting with my Mum. Well, not exactly forgotten. But it had sure been moved far down onto the bottom of my “Things-to-Worry-and-Stress-About” list.

“Oh,” Ashley said, and then the room went very quiet. 

“Yeah,” I agreed, feeling extremely awkward and if possible even more guilty. I felt my cheeks flush and I knew I had to get out of there. “Well, I’m going to go get ready.”

Neither of them said anything as I walked over towards the bathroom and closed the door behind me, the sound extremely loud in the silence. I leaned against the door and sighed loudly, feeling slightly sick to my stomach. 

How was it possible to be ecstatic and yet disappointed at the same time?

 

 





 

Forty-five minutes later I was leaning on a pillar in the Entrance Hall, waiting for Scorpius, as usual. All around me happy looking couples were meeting up before going to the village and I’d already seen Tony and Noel meet by the doors. They had both smiled awkwardly at each other and then Tony, being the bolder of the two had taken her hand and pulled her out the door. Jack and Ashley had left shortly afterwards, although their greeting had been a little bit more enthusiastic and a lot more awkward for the rest of the people in the Entrance Hall.  

Now I was all alone and waiting and had earned quite a few stares in the process. I checked my watch again impatiently and shook my hair back out of my face. Where was he? 

I glanced over at the flight of the stairs that lead to the dungeons by rote, as I had every few seconds and was delighted to see a head of platinum hair appear at the top. I pushed away from the pillar and started towards Scorpius, feeling my mouth automatically smile when he saw me. We met in the middle, and he instantly picked me up and swung me around.

“Well hello to you too,” I laughed as he set me down and kissed me full on the lips. 

“You are the best,” he replied, grinning mischievously. “I can’t believe you remembered.”

I stared at him in confusion for a second, having no idea what he was talking about but then it dawned on me. “You liked your gift?”

“I loved it,” he replied, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and pulling me towards the open doors.  “I really can’t believe you remembered.”

“How could I forget?” I asked, feeling sort of wistful as I remembered Scorpius telling me that he had always wanted to get a tattoo. That was the first time I had told him about my family. That was also the first time I really remembered having felt that I could trust Scorpius. “That was the day I think I started falling in love with you.”

“Really?” he asked, trading my shoulders for my hand and threading his fingers through mine. I nodded, feeling my cheeks burn bright red. “Well, I think that was the first time I realized that I wanted to be the one to wipe your tears away.”

I smiled up at him and snuggled myself closer, feeling my heart skip a beat and butterflies in my stomach. Who would have ever thought that under his hard exterior, Scorpius Malfoy was a big softie?

“I see you like your gift too,” Scorpius grinned, his eyes raking over my torso and I couldn’t help but flush a little bit and cross my arms over my chest somewhat self-consciously.  I glanced down at the beautiful sweater and nodded.

“It’s wonderful,” I replied, biting my lip. “You really shouldn’t have. Noel told me how expensive it is. I had half a mind to give it back this morning.”

“You deserve it,” he answered, shaking his head. “I haven’t been the greatest to you these past few weeks.”

He looked away from me and down at the packed snow beneath our feet and I stopped walking, feeling a bit exasperated and yet the reminder set off a dull ache in my chest. Would this thing with Anna come between us forever?

“Hey,” I commanded, adjusting his shoulders so that he was facing me. “We all make mistakes. It happens. You’re human. I’m human. We’re bound to mess things up sometimes. Let’s not let this ruin the little time we have together today, okay?”

He nodded and kissed the top of my head, taking my hand again, and together we walked the rest of the way to the village in silence.

“What time are you supposed to meet your Mum?” Scorpius asked as we walked out the door to Honeydukes, our pockets a little heavier but our moneybags a little lighter. Or well, at least Scorpius’s anyway. He had insisted on paying mine despite the fact that I told him he was not to buy me anything more today. 

“Noon,” I replied, glancing down at my watch. It was already ten until noon.

“You should probably get going over to the Three Broomsticks then. You don’t want to be late.” I could detect a hint of bitterness in his voice and I felt my stomach twinge guiltily for what must have been the hundredth time today.

“What are you going to do?” I asked, hoping that he would at least be enjoying himself.

“Tony invited me out to lunch with the rest of them,” he said, scratching the back of his head somewhat uncomfortably. “I guess I’ll join them.”

“You should go,” I told him, looking straight up into his grey eyes. “At least you’ll be having more fun than me then.”

“Are you sure you’re going to be all right?” he asked, ignoring what I’d just said and pulling me into a hug. I rested my head on his chest, savoring in the deep, musky smell of his cologne and nodding.

“I’m a big girl,” I told him, smirking slightly. “I know I don’t act it all the time, but it’s about time I started standing up for myself.”

“I can’t get over how different you are,” Scorpius said suddenly, and I pulled my head away so I could look up at him. “I’m proud of you, Shorty.”

I grinned at his use of my horrible nick name and stood up on my tip toes to kiss him. He pulled away much too quickly for my liking and gave me a gentle shove in the direction of the pub.

“Go,” he commanded. “You don’t want to be late.”

“Okay, Mum,” I grumbled and he laughed.

“Love you,” he called and I beamed, my heart soaring. I swear, I would never ever get used to that.

“Love you too,” I called back.

I turned on my heel and started walking toward the Three Broomsticks. With ever step I took closer I could feel my heart start pounding more and more nervously and I wondered slightly why I was only feeling so worried now. All morning I’d been relatively calm. Maybe it just hadn’t dawned on me that I would probably find out if my mother was cheating on my father today.

Just the idea of it made me cringe.  My mother wasn’t that type of person, was she?

I swallowed nervously and pushed my hair behind my ears by rote. I’d like to think she wasn’t.

Before I really had time to contemplate more than that I was standing in front of the Three Broomsticks, the loud sounds of people enjoying themselves and laughing floating out to me on the cold February breeze. I squared up to the front door, taking a deep breath to calm the butterflies in my stomach. It didn’t really work and I pressed my hand to my stomach, sending a quick prayer up to whatever deity was up there that I wouldn’t lose it in front of everyone.

With that silent hope in mind I pulled open the front door before I could lose my nerve and stepped inside, instantly greeted by the smell of greasy fish and chips and butter beer, along with a pleasantly warm blast of air.  The dull roar of chatter that I could hear from outside grew louder and I heard the loud crash of plates coming from the kitchen. Despite my nerves, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit comforted. Besides Hogwarts and the Burrow, the Three Broomsticks was probably my favorite place in the Wizarding World.

I heard the bell on the door jingle again and  I quickly stepped out of the way as a group of fifth year Ravenclaws hurried inside, bringing with them a gust of frigid air. I shivered and moved farther away from the door, scanning the crowd for my Mum. Finally, I thought I saw what looked like her bushy head of hair situated at large round table near the back.

I fought my way through the crowd of people over there, apologizing profusely under my breath because I was sure that I stepped on a fair amount of feet. Finally I made it over to the table and was surprised to see that it was already full, save for one seat next to Hugo, who was slumped far down in his chair, scowling. I recognized the oh so delightful Jacob sitting on the other side of the empty chair, along with a round faced, dark-haired girl, who looked to be about Hugo’s age. She had small eyes that were lined heavily with dark eyeliner and her hair was cut into a short, layered bob. The most surprising thing to me though, was that next to the girl there was a high chair and in it sat a small, again dark haired girl, her hair long, thin, and curly with bright blue eyes and a cute button nose. She looked maybe about two years old.

“Um, hi,” I said loudly, causing everyone at the table to turn and look at me. “Sorry if I’m late.”

“Rose,” my mother said, smiling happily and pushing away from the table, standing up and enveloping me in a tight hug. I stood rather woodenly in her arms, not really sure if I wanted to hug her back.  “It’s so good to see you. You look thin, honey. Have you been eating? And it’s okay, I’m sure you’ve had a busy morning.”

“Busy is the right word for it,” I heard Jacob mumble and I shot him my meanest glare but he just laughed and shrugged. I didn’t really even know the kid yet, but already I was sure that we weren’t going to get along.  

“Well, you should go sit down,” my mother said as she finally released me and I happily obliged, slouching down into my seat much like Hugo while making sure that I was as far away from Jacob as our accommodations allowed. 

“It’s good to see you, Rose,” Justin said rather pompously from where he sat next to my mother.

“Nice to see you too,” I replied, trying to sound nice, but I could hear the undertones of frostiness in my voice.

“Have you met my children?” he asked but answered his own question before I could answer him. “Well, obviously you already know Jacob…“ I glared at him. “And this is my daughter, Alice – she’s in Ravenclaw a year younger than Hugo…” I tried to smile over at the girl but she was diligently ignoring me, instead choosing to pick at her chipping black nail polish. “And this sweetheart here is my daughter Dementia – she’s three and we call her Demi.” I smiled over at the baby and for the first time she actually smiled back, clapping her hand together. 

“She’s cute,” I commented lamely.

“Yes, three year olds tend to be cute,” Jacob replied sarcastically and I bit my tongue to stop the angry, curse-filled, and highly objectionable retort that was on the tip of my tongue. I would not stoop to his level. Yet.

“Now you too, don’t start fighting yet,” Justin reprimanded.

“Anyway,” my mother said briskly, in her ‘let’s-change-the-topic’ voice, “now that we’re all here, should we order lunch?”

There was a general mumble of agreement around the table and I saw my mum exchange a worried look and Justin patted her hand comfortingly. 

“Fish and chips all around sound good?” Justin asked, raising his hand and beckoning a man in dark robes over to the table. Justin muttered something unintelligible to the man and then handed him a purse of gold and the man hurried over to the counter.

“I thought Aurors were assigned to my Mum for protection,” Hugo spoke up for the first time since I’d been there. “Not to go around and order us lunch.”

“I have a three person Auror detail, Hugo,” my mum replied. “I’m sure we can spare one for a few minutes.”

Hugo just scowled and then the table went silent. The tension in the air was palpable and I could see my mother and Justin practically squirming in their seats. Obviously, this was not how they wanted things to play out. 

“So Rose,” my mother said finally when she couldn’t stand it anymore. “How’s school? Are you and Scorpius still dating?”

“Hmm?” I asked, looking up at her right as the front door opened. Over her shoulder I saw Noel and Tony, Ashley and Jack, Albus and some girl I didn’t recognize, and Scorpius all pile into the pub. A twist of sadness flooded through me as I looked at my friends, all obviously enjoying themselves and I wished that I could be over there with them instead of sitting here. 

“Rose?” my mother asked and I shook my head, snapping back to attention.

“Oh yeah, sorry,” I replied. “Yeah, school is great. Busy. And yes, Scorpius and I are still together.” 

“How about you Jake?” Justin asked. “School good?”

“Yeah, school is good,” Jacob answered. “I don’t think it’s as busy as Rose though – although I guess when you skip class as much as she does school would seem busy.”

I couldn’t help myself this time, I kicked Jacob as hard as I could in the shin. He howled in pain and my mother glared daggers at me.

“Rose-“ my mother started, her voice shaking with anger.

I was saved by the dark-robed Auror coming back with our food.

He handed each of us a plate and a butter beer silently and I was grateful for the excuse not to say anything as I shoved a few chips into my mouth. I was surprised at how starving I was. Everyone else dug into their food, except Hugo, who picked at his and stabbed his fish with his fork rather violently. 

“So,” Justin said, clearing his throat after everyone had had time to tuck into their food. “I guess it’s no good to beat around the bush any longer. You all know why we called you here. Hermione and I were hoping to tell you in person about our living conditions and about our relationship, but unfortunately, some of you beat us to the punch.”

Jacob grinned smugly to himself.

“I guess what we really have to say, now that you all know, is do any of you have any questions about our relationship?” my mother added, looking pointedly over at Hugo and I, knowing that we probably had all the questions.

Everyone was silent for a long minute, before Hugo finally pipe up. “So you were shacking up with this guy while you were married to Dad?”

I felt my mouth drop open in shock and I quickly closed it again to stop my half-chewed food from falling out. My mother turned bright red and glared at Hugo, clearing her throat.

“Hugo, do you really think that that was an appropriate question?”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he muttered angrily, stabbing his fish again.

“When did this start?” I asked, jumping in in hopes that I could divert a huge blow up.

My mother took a deep breath and then turned to me, smiling gratefully. “Well, things really started to happen at the beginning of December, after I’d come to Justin requesting help on getting divorce papers together and such. We started spending more time together after he became my lawyer, and well, things just evolved.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little soon to be living with someone you’ve only been seeing since December?” I asked, not sure if I believed her or not. “I mean, you and Dad are still married, technically.”

“No, they’re actually not,” Justin spoke up before my mother could. “The divorce papers were signed last week and the court hearings were over before the weekend. Your mother is officially a free woman.”

I felt my heart twinge painfully at the words “free woman” and it felt like a little bit of my heart broke in that moment. My parents were officially separated. There was no chance of them getting back together again. Nothing would ever be the same anymore. No family dinners around the kitchen table. No more driving in the car to the train station, singing along to Weird Sisters’ songs at the top of our lungs. No more opening presents together on Christmas mornings. They were selling the house. I was going to have a new bedroom. I was going to have two new houses. I might have two new parents. I was going to have a whole new life.

I bit down on my lip as hard as I could to stop myself from crying, not wanting to give Jacob another reason to make fun of me, and tasted the distinct metallic flavor of blood in my mouth. I swallowed hard, the knot in my throat making it nearly impossible. 

“Oh,” was all I said lamely. My voice sounded weak and scared. I tried to clear my throat, but it didn’t help any.  

“Still though,” Hugo said, coming to my rescue. “Doesn’t it seem a bit early?”

“Hugo, Rose, listen to me,” my mother said, massaging her temples wearily. “Your father and I have been growing apart for a long time. We were both miserable being with each other. For the past year or so, we might as not have been married – we led separate lives, slept in separate rooms, worked at separate jobs. We’ve been trying to make it work a long time for you kids. But neither of us want to go through life being miserable, so we decided splitting up would be the best for all of us. I still love your father. I think a part of me always will. But we’ve both realized that what we had together before isn’t there anymore. The small amount of love we have for each other isn’t what it used to be. It’s not enough anymore. We’re two very different people. You both have seen how your father has changed in recent times since his accident. He’s not the man I married. He’s horrible to me, to all of us. But Justin has been so wonderful to me through all of this. He has helped me both in the decision to leave your father and also in getting through the divorce process. I owe him so much and am in love with him. Can’t you be happy for me?”

“I am Mum,” I said rather tearfully, looking at her from across the table. I couldn’t help myself. She was right. Things had changed. And if she was happy, that was most important, right? Right? “We are.”

Hugo whipped his head around and shot me a glare that said “don’t-include-me-in-this” but I ignored him.    

Suddenly Demi let out a cry and banged her little fist on the table. “What’s wrong, honey?” Justin asked.

“I need to go potty,” she whimpered, squirming in her seat.  

“Will you take her, honey?” Justin asked my mother.

“Of course,” she replied, smiling happily and standing up from her chair, picking up the toddler out of her chair and taking her by the hand to the bathroom.

Justin watched them until they were out of sight, and then he turned back to all of us.

“We’re potty-training her now,” he told us all.

“Oh joy,” a sarcastic, girl’s voice said and I looked over at Alice, startled to see her glaring at her father. Those were the first words I’d heard her say the whole time I’d been here. 

Justin obviously didn’t deem it appropriate to dignify her comment with a response and went back to eating. Jacob had been eating this entire time and hadn’t even looked up while my mother was talking. I had a feeling that both he and Alice had already had this talk with their father and again I could help the wave of bitterness that washed over me at the idea that my mother hadn’t told us.

I pushed my plate away from myself, no longer having any sort of appetite and glanced around the  pub, stopping when my eyes landed on a large table right in the middle of the room. All of my friends were sitting there, and they all looked like they were having a great time. Ashley was feeding Jack what looked like a bit of fish and Al and his date were huddled close together, probably talking in low voices. Noel and Tony looked like they were trying to incorporate Scorpius into the conversation, and the three had their heads thrown back in laughter.  

I wished beyond anything that I could have been over at that table right now.

“So,” Justin said suddenly, breaking me out of my wistful thoughts. “I know it probably seems scandalous to you all that two single parents of five children overall are living together.”

I didn’t say anything and neither did anyone else. I didn’t really think it was all that scandalous – people lived together all the time. But what did I know? Maybe for adults it was scandalous.

“Well, I want you kids to know that you don’t have to worry about awkward questions from the press or trying to explain what our relationship is like any longer.”

What the hell was he talking about? I raised my glass of butter beer to my lips and took a long sip.

“I love Hermione,” he said, staring right at Hugo and I. “And I am going to ask her to marry me.”  

I choked on the drink I had just taken.

“What?!”

 

 





 
A/N: So am I evil? Haha, I figured we haven't had a cliffie in a while and really, I had to stop this chapter there. It's already my longest one ever - 9,000 words is what my Word Processor said before I posted it and wrote this. Next chappie is going to be about the same. 

I hope the length of this chapter makes up for the insane lateness of it. If you've seen my Author's page you'll know I've been crazy busy with exams for the past couple of weeks. But now I'm on summer break so updates will be coming faster. 

Oh, and I've been meaning to ask you guys for a while now - if you were to see missing moments from this story, which ones would you want to see? Cause a lot of you guys have requested seeing things from other characters pov's, and I was toying with the idea of writing some of them once this story is done.  

Okay, I'm going now that this has been the longest author's note ever! PLEASE, PLEASE review!! :) Thanks for reading everyone!


Chapter 38: Unwanted and Unexpected
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“What?!”

I coughed and spluttered, trying to stop myself from choking. Hugo thumped me soundly on the back and I could hear Jacob snickering in the background. If I hadn’t been trying to stop myself from dying I would have kicked him.

“I’m going to ask your mother to marry me,” he repeated nonchalantly, as if he wasn’t about to change all of our lives drastically.

“Don’t you think this is a bit soon?” Hugo asked, his voice hard and angry. “My parents have only been legally divorced for a week.” 

“I love your mother,” Justin drawled and I wanted to hit him. “When a man and a woman love each other, these are the necessary steps to take.” 

“Not to be rude,” Hugo began, his tone clearly indicating that he had every intention of being rude, “but you have a three year old daughter. Doesn’t that mean that you would have had just recently to have gotten out of relationship yourself?”

“My wife died giving birth to Demi,” Justin replied quietly, looking down at the table. 

I felt my mouth drop open a little bit and I actually found myself feeling bad for Justin and his kids for once. That had to be hard, losing a wife and a mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without my mother. But at the same time, that wasn’t all that long ago. Shouldn’t he still be affected by his wife’s death? Shouldn’t he be more cautious now?

“How convenient,” Hugo said snidely and I elbowed him hard in the side. He glared at me and then slouched down in his seat again.

Justin glared at me, as if to say “can’t you control him?” and I just shrugged. However rude and insensitive Hugo had been, I couldn’t deny the fact that I had just thought the same exact thing. I knew it was horrible, but I couldn’t help it. Justin and his entire family had an uncanny ability to make me want to throw something.

Suddenly, one of the dark cloaked Aurors appeared behind Justin, tapping him on the shoulder. Justin turned around and the two spoke in quiet whispers for a few moments before Justin sighed and turned around to face us again, the Auror disappearing back to wherever he had been hiding.

“Stupid paparazzi,” Justin told us, throwing his cloth napkin down on the table and standing up. “They never leave us alone. Apparently, they got wind that we were up here today and a group of them have massed outside the doors. I’m going to go get rid of them. You kids stay here.”

As he disappeared into the crowd I glanced through the large windows at the front of the pub, groaning inwardly at the sight of the mass of people crowded around the door, their camera’s poised and ready.  I hated the paparazzi. Even though I’d been dealing with them since the time I was an infant, they never ceased to frighten me and annoy me. A part of me felt bad for Justin, having to go out there and face them alone, but then I remembered that he wanted to marry my mum and that little part of me instantly shut up. 

I leaned back in my seat and took another sip of my butter beer, enjoying the fact that neither of the adults were here.  I took another look at the table where my friends were sitting and felt another pang of longing. That was where I should have been. Not here. Scorpius must have noticed someone staring at him for he looked up and shot me a supportive smile, which I tentatively returned. From the look on his face, I could tell that my smile had been more of a grimace and I shook my head frantically when he stood up and gestured to the door. As much as I would have liked to have left, I had a feeling I’d never hear the end of it from not only my mum, but from Hugo and probably arse-hole Jacob. 

“What was he doing, inviting you to go shag?” Jacob asked snidely and I took advantage of the fact that neither of our parents were there and kicking him again. 

“Unlike some people around here, he actually has a heart,” I shot back coldly.  

“Malfoy having a heart?” he scoffed, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.”  

“Well, that’s just it, isn’t it?” I growled, feeling my knuckles going white as I gripped the edge of the table. “You will never get to see it because no one that we are friends with would ever even consider being friends with an arrogant, ugly, slimy toe-rag like you.”

The second it was out of my mouth, I wanted to take it back. I’d never said something so horrible to another person in my life. I’d never purposely tried to hurt someone like that and yet, I just had. My gut twinged painfully and guiltily.

“And you say I don’t have a heart,” Jacob muttered quietly, staring down at the table.

“Oh, don’t act like you really are hurt by what she just said,” Hugo spat, and I looked over at him in shock, surprised that he was actually taking my side for once. “We all know you pride yourself on being an absolute arse.”

“No, he prides himself on being an absolute git,” Alice spoke up and I bit back the comment on the tip of my tongue. “My father is the one who prides himself on being an arse.”

“I thought you were so happy about the idea of our parents getting married?” Hugo asked, sitting up straighter and staring at the dark haired girl.  

“Are you kidding me?” she asked, blowing a strand of her short dark hair out of her eyes. “The idea of having your freakishly strict mum as our step-mum is enough to give me nightmares.”

“Then how can you just sit there and pretend like you don’t care?” I asked.

“Don’t you get it?” she shot back, sounding aggravated. “They’re going to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of we say. I’ve learned that it’s easier to just sit down and shut up instead of protesting.”  

“But when they say they want our opinions, we should at least give it to them,” I answered, feeling slightly put off by Alice. While she wasn’t as mean as her brother, she was rather depressing. And she’d only said about three sentences in the time I’d known her.

“Oh, they say they want our opinions, but they don’t really matter to them,” Alice said, picking at her nail polish again. “They think that we’re just children – what could we really know about life and marriage and love? They think we’re stupid.”

“Well, that’s because we are, aren’t we?” Jacob asked. “I mean, we might not all be as experienced as Rose here-“

“You shut up about my sister or I’ll hex you into next week,” Hugo snarled, cutting him off.

“You lay off my brother, you reclusive little bookworm,” Alice growled, her dark lined eyes narrowing. “Both you and your sister have been nothing but absolute whiny arses today and I’m sick of it.”

“Don’t you dare talk to my brother that way, you gothic little-“

“Let’s not get testy, now,” Jacob said, laying his hand on my arm and simpering down at me. I tugged my arm from his grip and glared at him.

“Watch it, Finch-Fletchley, or I’ll punch your lights out.”

“Be careful now, Weasley,” Jacob shot back, smirking. “You don’t want to break your other hand.”

I was just about to retort that I just might break my other hand because his head was as thick as a brick wall when my mother came back to the table, toting baby Demi by the hand.  

“What’s going on here?” she asked sternly, obviously picking up on the angry and intense atmosphere.

“Nothing,” I replied, feeling somewhat bitter.

“This doesn’t look like nothing,” she replied. “Hugo, what’s going on?”

“Just exchanging some words with the lovely Finch-Fletchley kids,” he replied, putting on his most innocent face and voice, but it sounded oddly demented coming out of his mouth. Maybe before Christmas it would have sounded normal. But coming from this new Hugo, well, it was just odd.

My mother just glared at us all for a long while, as if she would intimidate us into telling, but when none of us gave her any more information she just sighed and put Demi back into her high chair. She settled herself back into her chair and shifted around her chips with her fork, not really looking interested in eating them.

“Where’s Justin?” she asked finally in what I thought was an attempt to break the angry silence.

“He went to ward off the reporters,” Jacob answered.

She nodded and glanced over her shoulder at the windows, where the mob of paparazzi still stood albeit a few yards farther away from the door.

“They never do leave us alone. You’d think that there would be other people’s lives more interesting than our own,” she sighed.  

“You’re big news, Mum,” I pointed out. “War hero, Minister of Magic, high profile divorce – of course they’re going to swarm to you like flies to honey.”

“Sometimes I wish things would just settle down, you know,” she sighed again. “But that’s impossible. We just have to learn to accept it.”  

The table was quiet for a long while, the only sounds that of Demi banging her fork on the table and laughing happily to herself. Of all of the Finch-Fletchley children, I had to admit that she was my favorite. Although that was probably because she could hardly talk. Finally, the tinkling of the bell signaling that the door was opening sounded and Justin came striding through the pub back to our table, settling himself down in his chair with a huff.

“I hate Skeeter,” he growled, taking a long swig of his drink. “Asks all of the most idiotic questions.” 

“Is she back out there then?” my mother asked, trying to keep her tone nonchalant although it was common knowledge in our house that my mother and Rita Skeeter were sworn enemies and that Mum had some sort of dirt on her that would put her in retirement in a matter of seconds. 

“Oh yes, and with a vengeance,” Justin answered. “She seemed particularly interested in asking me disturbing questions about you.”

“Well then, I’ll just have to have a nice little chat with her, won’t I?” my mother asked, smirking and Justin laughed.

“That’s why I love you, ‘Mione,” he grinned, threading his fingers through hers.

Mione? Who the hell was Mione? And why the hell did she let him call her that horrible pet name?  

She just smiled at him and I could see her squeeze his hand tightly.  

“There’s a lot of things I love about you, Hermione,” he continued, grabbing her other hand and pulling her towards him so that they were facing each other. “You’re beautiful, you’re the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, and you’re incredibly compassionate. The time we’ve spent together has been some of the best of my life. And I know it may seem sudden, but I don’t want to lose you.”

My mother just stared at him, comprehension of what was going to happen evident on her face even before Justin dropped from his seat onto one knee and pulled a black box out of his pocket.

“Hermione Granger, will you marry me?”

My mother gasped in shock, covering her mouth with a quivering hand. Tears sprung into her eyes and she didn’t bother to wipe them away.

“Justin, this is so sudden,” she said. “What about the kids? What about our careers?”

“We both have well established careers,” he reminded her and she chuckled slightly at the horrendous understatement, “and the kids get along famously. I’m sure that they would love to spend more time together.”

I bit my tongue to stop myself from scoffing. We got along famously like Uncle Harry and Voldemort. 

My mother hesitated for a moment and then beamed, throwing her arms around Justin’s neck and kissing him.

“Yes, yes, I’ll marry you,” she said.

Justin beamed back at her and then slipped what looked like a very large diamond ring on her finger. She admired her ring for a moment and then kissed Justin again. All the while behind their backs Hugo was making gagging motions and scowling.

After a moment Jacob cleared his throat uncomfortably and the two adults broke apart, my mother blushing furiously but looking happier than I’d seen her in a very long while. She looked over at Hugo and I, smiled widely, and I forced myself to smile back at her. Hugo, on the other hand, did no such thing and chose to look away, pretending to be very interested in another loud crash issuing from the kitchen.  

“I’m getting married!” she cried, beaming at us. “Isn’t that exciting?”

“You kids will finally have a new mother,” Justin told his kids, smiling. “And you two,” he continued, turning to Hugo and I, “you’ll have a new father.”

“We already have a father,” Hugo spat, his voice shaking with rage. “We don’t need another one. Especially not a pompous prat like you.”

With that, Hugo shoved his chair away from the table, standing up, grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair, and with one last withering glare at my mother stormed away from the table.  

“Hugo!” I cried, standing up and prepared to rush after him, but my mother grabbed my hand and shook her head.

“Let him go, Rose,” she said sadly, her voice sounding thick with tears. “He just needs some time alone to process it all.”

I wanted to tell her that that was not it, that Hugo had been like this for a long time and that he probably need to talk to someone, but a feeling in my gut told me not to. Hugo wouldn’t want anyone, especially Jacob and Alice, knowing that he was this sensitive and that he was upset. 

I sighed and sat back down in my chair, unsure of what to say. The aura of happiness that had hung in the air earlier was gone, replaced with an uncomfortable tension.

“Well, congratulations,” I offered finally, and my mother smiled again.

“Thank you, honey,” my mother replied. “Isn’t this exciting?”

“So exciting,” Jacob agreed, and I was glad I didn’t have to answer because I wasn’t sure I could lie anymore.

I was not excited at all. The whole idea that they were getting married might have been okay, if Justin hadn’t just opened his big, stupid mouth I might have been able to pretend that I was happy and convince myself that my mother’s happiness was more important than my own. I might have been able to even attempt to be civil with his monsters of kids. But now, there would never, ever be any chance of that.

Because no matter how awful my father was and no matter who my mother married, I had no need of, nor did I want another father.

My father was my own and I loved him. Justin would never be more than my mother’s slightly slimy business partner. Sure, now he’d be my step-father. But that’s all he’d ever be. He would never, EVER be able to take the place of my own father. Even if my own father was a complete arse and I didn’t like him right now. Justin had no right to claim that he was my new father. No right at all.

“What do you think, Rose?”

I snapped back to attention, having the ominous feeling of having missed out on quite a lot.

“Oh, yeah,” I agreed quickly, feeling like kicking myself for not listening. “That sounds lovely.”

“An August wedding it is,” Justin said and I bit down very hard on my bottom lip to stop myself from screaming out in protest. Damnit! I really had to listen better.

“And you’ll be my maid-of-honor, Rose?” my mother asked.

Had I already agreed to that? I hoped not. I really did not want to have a bigger part in this than to have to sit there and watch.

“Why not ask Aunt Ginny?” I asked, my voice sounding oddly high and squeaky. “She was your maid-of-honor at your first wedding.”

“Honey, I can’t ask your Aunt Ginny to be my maid-of-honor this time,” she sighed, sounding sad.

“And why not?”

“Well, she’s your father’s sister…” she pointed out. “It wouldn’t really be appropriate to ask her to be in my wedding to another man.”

I nodded, knowing that that would definitely be a bad idea. “Don’t you think it’s better to choose someone who knows what they’re doing and knows more about this wedding stuff though? Like an adult?”

“I think it would mean a lot to your mother if you did it, Rose,” Justin spoke up. I glared at him.

“I think she can answer for herself, Justin,” I replied with fake sweetness in my voice.

I loathed that man.

“Rose, if I had someone else to ask, I’d consider it. But all of my friends are also friends with your father. I don’t want to put them in the middle like that. And it really would mean a lot to me if you’d do it.”

“What about putting me in the middle?” I asked quietly, staring down at the worn table. “Didn’t you ever think about that?” 

“I’m not asking you to choose between your father and me,” my mother said, grabbing my hand across the table and holding it, despite the fact that it was nearly impossible due to my cast. “I’d never ask that. All I’m asking is that as my daughter who loves me, you help me through an exciting time in my life.”

I stared at her for a long moment, unsure of what to do. How could I tell her no? She was my mother. I loved her. I was living with her. She was the freaking Minister of Magic. And she needed my help. Didn’t she? 

But what about my father? Would helping my mother plan her wedding to another man be like betraying my father? Would I be choosing Justin over my father? No, because I wasn’t doing this for Justin. I was doing this for my mother. And besides, my father hadn’t been supportive of me or nice to me for years. I didn’t owe him anything.

“Yeah, okay,” I agreed, feeling like I had just signed my own death warrant. “I’ll do it. I’ll be your maid-of-honor.”

 

 




 

“So they’re getting married? Like really getting married?” Scorpius asked me later that night as we strolled around the castle as part of my “making up” for abandoning him today.

“He got down on one knee and everything,” I growled, feeling anger bubble in my stomach just at the thought of it.  “But that’s not the worst part of it though.”

“What’s worse than the fact that your mum is already getting remarried?” he asked.

“She asked me to be her maid-of-honor,” I mumbled, feeling ashamed just thinking about it. I felt Scorpius stop in his tracks and I was instantly pulled back to his side due to the fact that his fingers were laced through mine.

“How could she think you would agree to something like that?” he muttered, sounding angry. “I hope you told her where she could go.”

“I said I’d do it,” I whispered, staring down at the floor and trying not to cry. Why was I so stupid? How had I ever convinced myself that it was a good idea? Even Scorpius knew it was a bad idea. Now I’d made myself look like a fool, gotten myself into something that I didn’t even really want to do, and I couldn’t get out of it.

“Oh,” Scorpius said, the single syllable hanging thickly in the air between us. 

“I wish I had a time turner,” I said finally, not able to control the few tears that slipped down my cheeks. “That way I could go back and undo this whole stupid thing. I’d convince Justin that he didn’t really want to marry my mum, I’d kill that stupid Jacob bloke, and if that still failed I’d tell my mum exactly where she could go.”

“Come on, love,” he said, pulling me into his chest. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re making your mum happy. That’s important, right?”

“Yeah, I guess,” I sniffed.

“Let’s not let this ruin our night. We can completely have a ‘bash-your-mum’ party tomorrow, but tonight, let’s just focus on having a good time, okay? Besides, didn’t you say you have a surprise for me?”

I chuckled despite the fact I didn’t want to and swiped at my tears. “Yeah, you’re right. I do.”

“Well let’s go then!” he said, pulling me by the hand.

“You don’t even know where we’re going,” I reminded him. He chuckled, but reluctantly let me lead him down the hallway. I took a zigzagging pattern to confuse him and also to waste time, because Tony had told me I wasn’t supposed to bring Scorpius to his surprise party until ten and it was only 8:30. And the little surprise I had for Scorpius first wouldn’t take an hour and a half.

“Where are we going?” he asked finally as we took a the flight of staircases that lead down towards the Hufflepuff dormitories and also the kitchens.

“You’ll see,” I replied mysteriously, continuing to pull him down the hall until we came to a large portrait of a fruit basket on the wall.

“We’re looking at a portrait?” he asked, sounding slightly disappointed.

“No,” I told him, trying not to laugh. “Watch.”

I reached up and tickled the pear, which gave out a high pitched giggle, and the portrait swung forward, revealing the dimly lit kitchen. 

“How did you know where this was?” he asked in awe, looking around at the high ceiling, from which hung hundreds of brass pots and pans. A large fireplace with a roaring fire stood at the back of the room and it seemed to be the source of most of the heat and light in the room. To me, this was all very normal, save for the noticeable absence of the hundreds of house elves that lived here. 

“It pays off to have house elf friends,” I replied, pulling him inside. 

“Hello, Miss Rose, Mister Malfoy,” a small, squeaky voice said from behind us and I turned around to see a grinning Winky behind us.

“Hi, Winky,” I said, grinning down at my favorite little elf. “Thanks for getting everything set up.”

“My pleasure, Miss Rose,” she replied. “Should I go get it?”

“Please,” I answered and with a grin she Disapparated. 

“What’s going on?” he asked and I just smiled at him, leading him over to the giant table in the middle and pushing him down onto the bench on one side of the table. I sat down lightly on the other side of the table, biting my lip nervously as I waited for Winky to come back.

A few moments later another crack echoed through the empty kitchen and I stood up abruptly, going over to the little elf and taking the two plates off of her.

“Thank you, Winky,” I said gratefully, and she curtsied and then with a crack Disapparated again.

“Can you tell me what’s going on now?” Scorpius asked, sounding excited and slightly impatient.

“Yes, I finally can,” I replied, walking carefully over to the table and settling the two dishes down on the table, one in front of him and one in front of where I would be sitting. They were both covered by silver tops so that you couldn’t see what was underneath them and I was thankful that Winky had thought of that. “See, I promised I’d make it up to you. And seeing as you’re just about the hardest person on the face of the planet to shop for, I figured I needed to do something special for you. So this afternoon, after I left my mother and before we met up, I came down here and made us something to eat. I don’t know if it’s any good, considering I’ve inherited my mother’s cooking skills, but it’s the thought that matters, right?”  

He nodded, smiling broadly and lifted the lid off of his plate to reveal the plate of waffles stacked high there.

“You made us waffles?” he asked, smirking slightly.

“Yes,” I answered, somewhat sheepishly, feeling extremely silly. This was definitely not what he had been expecting. “They’re just about the only decent things I can make.”

“I love waffles,” he replied, grinning and cutting into them. 

“Well that’s good,” I laughed and dug into my own. I took the first bite and smiled. I had done good.

We ate in silence for a while, just listening to the sound of the fire crackling in the background when finally Scorpius looked up from his plate and smiled. “Rose, these are really good?”

“Really?” I asked, feeling my face flush with pride.

“Do you think I would have eaten nearly half of them if they weren’t good?” he asked, chuckling and I laughed a little bit too. He really did seem to like them.

“I guess not,” I admitted. 

From then on things flowed smoothly. We talked about his day with the rest of our friends and about how he and Al were actually starting along. I told him about my horrid lunch with my mum and he offered to beat up Jacob for me, which I told him wasn’t necessary, but that I would let him know if the need ever arose. When I finally finished my plate I glanced down at my watch and nearly jumped out of my skin. It was ten minutes to ten.

“Are you done eating?” I asked him, feeling slightly nervous and harassed. I hated being late. I always prided myself on being at least five minutes early for everything. At this rate, we would barely make it.  

“Yes,” he said, leaning back and rubbing his stomach. “That was amazing. I’m so stuffed.”

“Well, don’t get sleepy on me now,” I told him, smirking slightly to myself. “I still have one more surprise for you.”

“Now you’re just making me look bad,” he said, standing up and striding over to me, pulling me tightly to him and kissing me in one full motion. He tasted sweet, like syrup.

I pulled away after a moment, much to mine and his chagrin. “Come on now, we’re on a tight time schedule.”

“Is it really that important?” he asked, trying to kiss me again but I wriggled away from him and glanced at my watch again. Seven minutes.

“Yes, it really is,” I replied, sighing slightly in frustration. “I’ve been working on this a long time now.”

“Fine,” he agreed, pretending to pout and I grabbed him by the hand while simultaneously pulling a black sleeping mask out of my pocket. “What’s that for?”

“I need to blindfold you,” I told him, noticing how he grinned wolfishly. I smacked him on the arm. “Not like that. I just don’t want you to see where we’re going. Now bend down so I can put this on you properly.”

He bent down like he was told, smirking still. “I didn’t know you slept with one of these things.”

“I don’t,” I answered, waving my hand in front of his face to see if he flinched, but he didn’t, and I grinned at having done a good job making him blind. “I stole it from Lucy.”

Scorpius flinched and visibly shuddered at the mention of my cousin.

“But don’t worry, she has about five hundred of these things and I grabbed this one from the bottom of the pile, so the chances of her noticing one is gone are slim. Plus, I had Winky wash it and I personally sprayed some of my perfume on there to make sure it didn’t smell like her. So don’t worry, no Lucy cooties.”

He laughed and reached out a hand, gripping my shoulder as he stepped forward. “Well that’s a relief. Let’s get going then so that I can see again. I’m not going to lie, the idea of you leading me around blind in a dark castle at night is rather terrifying. We’re bound to fall down a staircase.”

“Oh shut up,” I laughed, hitting him. “I’ll be extra careful.”

With that promise in mind I lead him out of the kitchen and down the hall towards the staircase to the dungeons, taking extra care with each step down the stairs so that we did not fall. Finally we reached the bottom and I pulled him along faster this time. Three minutes.

We came to the Potions classroom and I took a sharp turn right, towards the abandoned old Potions classrooms and dungeons. I shivered slightly at how dark they were – I had never been one to like walking around the castle at night, particularly these creepy dungeons, but I knew a room full of my friends wasn’t far off now so I kept going bravely ahead. I was a Gryffindor for Merlin’s sake. I had to at least try to be brave. 

“Are we almost there?” Scorpius whispered.

“Yes, now be quiet,” I whispered back as I counted doors. Tony had said it was the fourth door from the beginning of the corridor. I stopped in