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Don't Cry Over Spilt Ink by Menier

Format: Novel
Chapters: 12
Word Count: 35,598
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse

Genres: Humor, Romance
Characters: Albus, Rose, Scorpius, OC
Pairings: Rose/Scorpius, Other Pairing

First Published: 08/25/2017
Last Chapter: 04/10/2018
Last Updated: 04/10/2018

He was tall, so she had to look up toward his face, which was easily 7 inches above her own. When her eyes reached his face they were met with grey ones. His lips pulled up into a small smile as he looked down at the pink-tinged-cheeked Weasley.

In which they’re friends, until they’re not.

Chapter 1: Prologue
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"Excuse me," Rose Weasley said politely. The 5th year Ravenclaw prefect, Samantha Corner, moved her legs to allow the ginger to pass by. Rose plopped into the unoccupied seat next to her.

"Hey Rose", said the boy sitting on the other side of her, a sideways smile donned his face.

Rose looked up from the quill, ink, and parchment she had just taken from her bag. Her brown eyes met green ones and she smiled.

"Hey Cody!"

Cody Finnegan had brown hair short on his head and a Gryffindor tie loosely knotted around his neck; he looked the same as always: casual, confident, and good looking. She once had a small crush on the now seventh year when they were little, but the "love" had dwindled in their years at Hogwarts.

"Hey Rosie!" A boy sitting on the other side of Cody said.

"Al," Rose turned her attention to her fellow Gryffindor prefect, smirking in her direction. He looked as though he were about to say something to her, but before he could open his mouth, the meeting started.

"Hello prefects, we are about to start our second to last meeting of the year," said Head Boy Will Jorkins. He was a Hufflepuff, blond, brown eyed, and tall. "There are a few issues we need to discuss regarding 7th year graduation as well as issues with students entering the Forbidden Forest at night. So if you are patrolling the Entrance Hall, please keep a look out for those sneaking out towards the forest."

Will continued on for a while, Roxy Weasley (Head Girl and one of Rose's favorite cousins) interjected every few minutes to add something to what he said. Rose watched them and saw how well the two worked together. She also saw how they would look at each other rather intensely and longer than necessary when the other was speaking. When Will was droning on about the importance of wearing your prefects badge while on duty, Rose caught Roxy's eye and raised an eyebrow, signaling that the two would be talking later about a certain brown eyed boy. Roxy blushed.

"Today, Roxy and I will give you your round assignment for the month. To make this go a little faster, will the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws please go with Roxy for their assignments and Hufflepuffs and Slytherins with me."

"Alright, lets go," Rose said to no one in particular as she stood up to go and see her older cousin for her duties. And Rose, being the klutz that she was, stood up too fast, knocking the ink bottle in her hand onto the floor in front of her.

"Bugger," she cursed under her breath as she reached down to clear up the broken glass that now littered the floor. Looking up briefly, she saw that Cody and Al where already across the room to talk to Roxy.

Cursing again under her breath, she bent her head back down, pulling out her wand, ready to cast a repairing charm. But before the words could leave her lips, the ink bottle was back magically repaired by another's wand.

"Wow, thanks…" Rose said, picking up the bottle.

She stood up, looking to see who had been so kind to help her. A small smile spread across her face when she saw who it was.

He was tall, so she had to look up toward his face, which was easily 7 inches above her own. When her eyes reached his face they were met with grey ones. His lips pulled up into a small smile as he looked down at the pink-tinged-cheeked Weasley.


"Anytime Rose," said the 6th year Slytherin.

With that, he turned on his heel, heading over to Will to get his assignment, leaving Rose standing alone looking at him. She shook her head as if to clear it and walked to the other side of the room to Roxy.

Most of the prefects had already been given their assignments so only three people stood around the Head Girl.

"Sam," Roxy's blue eyes turned to the short, black haired, 5th year Ravenclaw, "You will be patrolling with Mac McManus Saturdays on the 4th and 5th floors," Sam's brown eyes widened at the thought of patrolling at night with the 5th year beater for Hufflepuff, "And Michael Lee Sundays on the 2nd and 3rd floors." Her eyes narrowed slightly when the Slytherins name was said and she walked off in a slight huff toward her tall brunette friend (Madison Finch-Fletchley, 5th year Hufflepuff).

Next to talk to Roxy was Sydney Vane, a Ravenclaw. She was tall, she was blonde, she was smart and wasn't afraid to do what it takes to get ahead. She was nice enough, but, in Roses opinion, she rather looked like an alien with her thin face and high cheekbones. She looked at the dark curly hair of the Weasley girl with disdain; it was no secret she had wanted to hold the Head Girl title in her final year at Hogwarts.

"You are patrolling on the 2nd and 3rd floors on Thursdays with Ben Samford," a tall, skinny, annoying Slytherin, "and Fridays on the 6th and 7th floors with Harrison Cample," The Hufflepuff that always smelled like moldy cheese. Sydney scrunched up her nose in disgust and agreed to the unfortunate partnerships with a huff.

The third and final (save for Rose) person to talk to Roxanne was 7th year heartthrob, Zach Larson. He was a beater for the Ravenclaw quidditch team, and boy did it show. He was not incredibly tall, but he was strong. The veins in his arms showed whenever he flexed them slightly; he was tan from days spent in the sun; his hair was a light brown that was long enough that he had to flip it away from his handsome face every so often; his eyes where light brown, except for about a quarter of his right one, which was a baby blue. And while Rose, and the majority of the girls in the room where staring at him, Roxy looked up at him, showing no more interest in him than if it was any other boy at the school.

"You will be patrolling with Beth Rock Sundays in the dungeons and the 1st floor," the 7th year Slytherin was talking quietly to house mate Veronica Goyle, looking up in the direction of Zach every few minutes, before she would giggle falsely and flip her long, dark hair over her shoulder, "And on Tuesdays on the 2nd and 3rd floors with Jordan Samuels." The pretty Hufflepuff was in a corner of the room with her nose in a book. She, like Roxy, was unfazed by the attractive boy.

"Thanks love," Zach said with a wink, before walking to his seat in the back of the room next his quidditch teammate, Lysander Scamander.

"Hey Rosie!" Roxy addressed her cousin in the way her family always did, with the pet name she had been given by her father 16 years previous, "You're going to be patrolling on Thursdays with Scorpius on the 6th and 7th floors," Rose smiled, she liked Scorpius, he was someone she could actually hold a conversation with, "and Tuesdays in the dungeon and 1st floor with Adam Carmichael." Rose's eyes widened, she looked as though she would murder her cousin. Roxy must have sensed this because she smiled nervously and went back to the front of the room to continue the meeting.

Rose slowly went back to the vacated seat next to Cody, her eyes wide. She could KILL her cousin. Really? Adam Carmichael? Really? Roxy knew how much Rose despised the Ravenclaw, ever since 1st year when he had "accidentally" spilled all of his pumpkin juice down the back of her robes in the middle of breakfast. He was a bully, and though he would never physically hurt her, he would mentally do so, by taunting her and making fun of her. Her friends and family said he only did those things to her because he liked her, and even though that did make sense, the idea that the slimy git liked her made her want to barf.

Rose had been so preoccupied by the thought of spending two hours with him for the next four weeks that she did not even realize that the meeting was over until Al poked her in the side, causing her to jump slightly. She looked around the room to see that it was practically empty. The only people left where Al, herself, Hufflepuff 6th year, Ryan Smith, Gryffindor 5th year, Meghan Finnegan, Scorpius, and the Heads.

Rose's eyes narrowed as she stood up from her seat, completely ignoring Al's looks of confusion. She walked right up to her cousin and said, "Why, in Merlin's pants, did you have to put me with him? You know how much I despise the nitwit!"

Roxy at least had the decency to look slightly ashamed as she said quietly, "I know Rosie and I'm really sorry, but that is just how the system worked out! I know everyone hates him, but you're my cousin and I knew you'd eventually forgive me, 'cause you have to or Gran would kill you."

Whoever said that having an in with the person in charge can give you benefits clearly had never been the cousin of Roxanne Weasley; she was a people pleaser through and through, except when those "people" where family.

Rose sighed and rolled her eyes, but she smiled slightly, unable to stay too mad at one of her closest cousins, "I guess I see your point, but next month, I get a say on who I do and do not patrol with."

Roxy smiled at her cousin, "Deal," she said, shaking her hand. "I got to go; I'll see you later." With that, Roxy picked up her bag, and she and Will walked out of the room through a door leading into the Heads common room, standing much closer together than any two normal friends would. After they passed the threshold and shut the door, a faint click was heard, indicating the locking of a door.

Rose raised her eyebrows slightly before turning to see where Al had gone off to. She rolled her eyes when she saw him flirting with Meghan. She decided to be a nice cousin and let him walk back to the common room with her. She left the room quietly, but not before catching her cousin's eye, letting him know that she was leaving. He gave her an appreciative look, before continuing his conversation.

Outside the room, Rose checked her watch; it was almost eight, which meant she had nearly an hour before curfew. However, the common room did not seem to have much appeal to the homework swamped girl. So, with a flick of her red hair, she turned to head down the stairs that would lead her to the entrance of the library on the third floor.

On the way down a dim hallway, Rose began to think about everything she had to do before finals in a few weeks. She was a swamped with classes, prefect duties, and quidditch, it was a wonder how she had any opportunity at all for a social life. But it wasn't much of a social life, Rose thought. Sure she had friends; she just wasn't "popular". She was friends with the popular kids that where in her classes or on the quidditch team. They said hi to her in the hallways and she sometimes stayed up late gossiping with the two "cool" girls in her dorm room (Mia Silver and Laura McLaggen). But over all, she knew she wasn't part of the "in" crowd and she was quite okay with that.

Rose was so caught up with thought on what she would have to do in the upcoming weeks that she had to backtrack to the door of the library. She quietly opened the door because, despite the fact that Madame Pince was quite old, she still had ears like a bat. Walking swiftly through the aisles, she ignored the open areas for studying that where packed with students cramming in as much work as they could accomplish in the amount of time before the library was closed. Instead, Rose walked down the aisles toward a table she had discovered about halfway into her 2nd year. It wasn't all the way in the back of the library, but somewhere that one would easily get lost to if they did not know the way, which is actually how Rose had found the secluded table in the first place

When she reached her target, she was unsurprised to see a blonde head bent over a book, grey eyes scanning the page quickly, every few seconds his gaze would turn to the parchment his quill was hovering over to jot down a note or two.

"Scorpius," Rose puffed out, before sitting down in chair down opposite him.

He raised his eyes briefly to show that he acknowledged her presence before returning the DADA notes in front of him. This was a normal day in the library to the two students. When Rose had first discovered this table, she sat alone for the total of 20 minutes before Scorpius had arrived. The two 12 year olds where neither friends nor enemies at the time, but had both taken the advice their respective fathers had given them before boarding the train to Hogwarts: don't get too close. This request was surprisingly easy to follow, as neither made any effort to recognize the other. Scorpius had taken the seat on the other end and other side of the table, saying nothing, and Rose said nothing in return. This quiet indifference lasted until the end of October of their third year. Rose was trying desperately to find the answer to a charms question on the worksheet Professor Lipped had given them but to no avail. She looked up from the paper to see that Scorpius (who was in the same class as her) was working on the same thing.

"Did you get the answer to number 8?" She asked tentatively.

Startled slightly by the sound of her voice appearing so suddenly in the quiet of the library, it took Scorpius a minute to answer.

"Yah, its 'swish, flick, jab'" he said, "It's on page 52. Look, right here," With that Scorpius scooted one seat down so he sat across the table and one seat to the left of Rose and pointed to the answer in his book.

"Thanks! I could not find that anywhere and I must have looked at that page at least 10 times," Rose exclaimed with a roll of her eyes.

"No problem," Scorpius said with a smile at the small girl's exaggeratory remark.

With that small exchange, Scorpius got a new seat and the entire atmosphere of the table towards the back of the library changed. It started with only questions about homework or (on very rare occasions) remarks on the weather, but soon conversation turned to more pressing matters, such as the outcome to a quidditch match (Hogwarts or professional) and to what exactly their muggle studies professor thought she was doing with her hair. By the end of the first semester of their fourth year, the two would even to say hi to each other in the hallways.

During Christmas vacation of that same year, Al asked her about it, at the Burrow, in front of the entire family, including Ron. If looks could kill Al would be six feet under. But Rose answered all of the questions calmly, stating that, "yes, yes we are friends," and "no dad, I am not imperiused," along with "I like him quite a lot, actually James," plus "Uncle George, it's not that funny," and also "will someone please make sure my father does not choke on his ham" and "you CANNOT tell me who I am allowed to be friends with," and finally "yes, I'm still beating him at every test."

After that rather awkward encounter over dinner, Ron finally came around with the idea off his precious Rosie befriending the boy.

The years passed without incident, Rose had congratulated Scorpius when he had made keeper for Slytherin their 5th year, but assured him that she would still score on him when their houses played against each other. He had replied to her brash remark with a smirk and a raised eyebrow, as if to challenge her boldness. And when Gryffindor beat Slytherin by one goal later that year, Scorpius had only sat in stony silence for a few days before realizing that he had absolutely no idea what they had been learning in astronomy and had to ask Rose for help.

At the beginning of 6th year, Scorpius had applauded Rose for all of the OWLs she had received, and Rose returned the compliment, saying that his turtle was much cuter than hers had been during the transfiguration part of the exam. Soon, Rose began to sit directly across from Scorpius at the table, a fact that did not go unnoticed, but did go unremarked upon, by both parties.

This day was no different as Rose pulled out a blank piece of parchment. As she reached into her bag to grab her Herbology book, the scratching of Scorpius' quill stopped and the page turning halted as well. Rose looked up at the sudden silence to see Scorpius' eyes staring into hers.

"What where you talking to your cousin about at the end of the meeting?" He asked, attempting to be casual.

"Roxy?" Rose asked and Scorpius nodded his head in affirmation.

She sighed as the memory came back to her.

"Well," This word was accompanied by an eye roll, "I'm to patrol with Adam Carmichael on Tuesdays."

Scorpius snorted in a very unattractive way before visibly relaxing. Rose felt a small smile coming onto her face.

"What? It's not funny!"

"I never said it was,"

Rose rolled her eyes again.

"Your eyes are going to get stuck like," he remarked.

She stuck her tongue out at him.

"It's just funny 'cause I know how much you hate him," Scorpius replied after a short pause in conversation, "Hell, it's funny 'because everyone hates him."

"No truer words have every been spoken. Who are you patrolling with, aside from moi?"

"Catherine Summers, Mondays, 2nd and 3rd floors,"

"Lucky you, she is actually nice," Rose said.

"Yah, but she can't have a conversation for more than 5 minutes without spontaneously giggling,"

"Accurate," Rose replied with finality in her words. Both returned to their respective work. The two prefects sat in comfortable silence for around half an hour before they had to pack up for the night. At the staircase that would lead them their separate ways they said a quiet goodbye. Rose headed up to the towers and Scorpius went down into the dungeons. Both of their heads where filled with thoughts on their upcoming duties and responsibilities.

Chapter 2: Chapter 1
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"Rose, hurry up or we are going to be late!" Alice Longbottom called into the nearly empty seventh year dormitory.

"I'm coming LB, one second," Rose yelled back, pulling on her maroon wedge in her rush to the door.

Alice rolled her eyes as she pushed her blonde bangs off her forehead. When Rose finally made it through the threshold, Alice took one last look into the room that had been her home for seven years. This is it, she thought. The end of an era. Alice sighed wistfully. Rose was two steps down the staircase before she realized her best friend remained frozen in the doorway.

"Come on," Rose said kindly, putting her hand on Alice's arm, "Stop being all poetic and heartfelt in your head, now you're the one making us late."

Alice stuck her tongue out, "I'm just practicing for next year." She walked down a step so she

stood behind Rose, giving her a playful shove, silently telling her to move forward.

"I'm gonna miss you so much when you leave!" Rose cried as the two girls rushed through the tower.

"I'll only be gone for a year!" Alice, who would be apprenticing under a famous wizard poet in New York, said. "And America is not that far away."

Alice and Rose had reached the end of the staircase and could hear the noise emitting from the other side of the door. Rose pushed it open, facing the other seventh year Gryffindors. Albus saw them almost as soon as the door opened, making his way over to his cousin.

"Where have you been?" He asked, eyeing Rose critically, "We are scheduled to leave in, like, two minutes!"

"Oh calm down Head Boy." Rose rolled her eyes and smiled.

"I can only be called that for a little while longer," Albus sighed and Rose put her arm around him.

"Rose was taking forever to find her shoes," Alice said, Albus nodded his head as if he were only half listening.

"The whole family is here," He said instead to Rose.

Alice crossed her arms over her chest. She was used to Albus nearly ignoring her, ever since he had found out she had had a crush on him in their second year. Alice had insisted to Rose that he hated her and found her annoying, but Rose wouldn't listen always saying "He just doesn't know you like I do, LB." Which Alice would reply by saying that they had known each other since they were babies. To which Rose would reply that "maybe he just feels uncomfortable because you like him." Alice would say that she "used to like him." Rose would roll her eyes and the conversation would drop.

It had been years since they had had a full conversation beyond him asking her to pass the pumpkin juice. Not that Alice minded. She didn't like him anymore. And even though he was cute and sweet (to other people) and not a complete idiot, she wasn't interested in being anything more than friends. However he did not even want to be that with her! It frustrated her to no end to believe that someone could not want to be friends with her. She was pretty darn cool if she said so herself. But she was getting ahead of herself. They would probably barely ever see each other in the future do to her moving to America for a year and his eventual time working for the Ministry of Magic alongside a great majority of his family. There would be very little reason for them to ever need to cross paths again and she was actually kind of relieved about that. After all, it was just downright awkward every time she talked to him.

The lights of the Hogs Head flickered slightly as Albus raised his glass in toast.

"To the class of 2025!" He called as his fellow former seventh years raised their glasses into the air.

Tilting his head back so as to not to feel the burning taste of fire whisky run down throat, Albus took his fourth shot of the night.

"Slow down there kid!" said an only slightly tipsy Scorpius.

Scorpius was still nursing his first drink of the night, but he had been keeping a watchful eye on his friend's cousin to ensure that he did not do anything too crazy. He had promised Rose that he would keep an eye on him when she couldn't. She was currently dancing on the makeshift floor with her roommate and best friend Alice Longbottom. Scorpius sat with his back against the bar watching them for a minute. The music was loud and the room had a strong smell of B.O. and moldy pears for some reason. It was musty and the chair he sat on had a stain on it that's origins were most definitely questionable. Yet he would not have wanted to spend his last night before the real world began anywhere else than surrounded by his drunk, randy ex-classmates. He turned back around to make sure Al had't fallen off his chair only to find that very same drunk and randy ex-Head Boy staring back at him. Albus had a look in his eye that Scorpius had never seen before. It was an attempt to look menacing and ruthless but was failing do to the current inebriated state of Albus.

"If you hurt her," Al said raising a shaky finger at Scorpius, "I'll do… something to you. I don't know what right now," He said, scratching his head, "But I'll think of something that will-"

"Think of something that'll do what?" Rose said, standing in front of Albus and Scorpius, her hands on her hips. Yet a smile shone on her face as she motioned for the bar keep to bring her two shots of fire whisky.

"I have to get LB here super wasted before she leaves tomorrow for her big stay over seas!" Rose exclaimed, putting her hands on Alice's shoulders.

Alice colored slightly, "Yeah I just can't wait for that portkey ride with my parents, super hung over. That's ever recent graduates dream!" She said throwing her hands slightly up into the air.

"Where are you going?" Slurred a drunk Albus.

Alice was slightly shocked by his question and his willingness to acknowledge her presence but only let it show by a slight raise of her eyebrows.

"America," She said loudly in order to be heard over the music, "New York." She nodded awkwardly but Al already had turned his attention forward, trying to get the barkeeps attention. However, after he set down the shots for Rose, the man had quickly walked down the bar to help Prema Thomas and Ashley Benson at the other end.

Rose handed her the shot glass and Alice downed what she counted as her second of the night. However it was far from over.

A few hours later, Rose, Alice, Veronica Goyle (who, after some slight miscommunication involving a cotton ball, truffle, and a rat their first year became slightly-better-than-acquaintances with the two Gryffindors), Catherine Summers and Prema Thomas all sat crushed into a booth. A waiter had just brought them over a round of drinks curtesy of the four sixth (now seventh) year boys that had somehow made it into the bar. They all took one readily stacking Alice's count to five and Rose at only two.

Suddenly- or maybe not too suddenly, time was doing weird things to Alice- the boys appeared at the front of their booth.

"Do you guys wanna dance?" The bravest of them asked. Veronica, Catherine and Prema all looked at each other briefly before nodding their heads. The boy looked at Rose and Alice expectantly. However Alice took that exact moment to groan lightly and Rose claimed "I'm going to sit with her to make sure she's all right." He shrugged his shoulders but offered his hand to Prema as she got up out of the booth.

"How are you feeling?" Rose asked once they were gone.

Alice responded by plopping her head down on the table. However she didn't think that through as her brain suddenly started to throb and she groaned in a very unattractive manner.

"That bad, huh?"

Alice grunted in affirmation.

"I'll go get you some water." Rose said.

Alice lifted her head briefly off the table, "Thanks," She said before wrapping her arms around Rose's middle and declaring "You're the best friend a girl could ask for."

Rose awkwardly patted her head before detaching herself to move swiftly across the room to the bar.

Alice replaced her head on the cool wood of the old table. She sighed lightly to herself and smiled, "feels good." She mumbled quietly.

"The table feels good?"

Alice nearly jumped out of her skin. Another bad idea as she only actually jumped in her seat causing a massive headache, again.

Sitting next to her was one of the last people she expected to see: Albus.

"What do you want?" She said miserably, not in the mood to deal with his passive attitude in her current state. Or really any state. Was it really that hard for him to be somewhat friendly to his closest cousin's closest friend?

"Wow, you're feisty when you're drunk."

"I'm not feisty," She replied, before hiccuping, "You just are annoying me and I happen to be drunk." Another hiccup.

He laughed loud and quick, sending a ring through her ears. He put his arm around the back of the booth behind her and scooted in closer.

"I have a secret to tell you." His breath smelled of fire whisky masked by butter beer.

"What?" She replied harshly, not in any type of mood for the teasing bull shit she has heard that he can possess. Obviously she had never been subject to it as this was one of the longest one on one conversations they had ever had.

"I know you used to like me," He said leaning back, half expecting her to turn bright red and become flustered like she usually did, especially around him.

She laughed for a second, "I know you knew, but I haven't liked you since we were 12."

He sat shocked for a moment before recovering.

"Well," He said, leaning back in, "I was flattered by you liking me."

This time Alice did become red, "Then why did you avoid me and act like you barely knew I existed all these years?" She half expected him to claim his undying love for her.

"Well, I always kinda saw you as family, you know?"

Alice's brain reeled with the new information. Their families had know each other since, well, what seemed like forever. But she never really considered Albus a part of the family as he never acknowledged her as more than just a part of his class. It was a lot to take in while drunk. She already had a slow reaction time, much less a slow processing time.

"Oh" Was all she could manage.

"Yeah," Albus replied.

Before she could say anything else, not that she could even think of anything else too say, Rose appeared out of the crowd with a glass of water. Her hand shook as she set it down on the table.

"Here… Here you go," She said.

If Alice had not had so much to drink, she may have noticed her friends shakiness. And if Albus had not noticed his on again/ off again (not) girlfriend Meghan Finnegan standing at the bar he may have noticed too.

Alice took the drink into her hands. Taking a big chug before realizing her night should probably be over. Looking around, there were only a few people left. Veronica and one of the boys were dancing provocatively to some song Alice vaguely recalled knowing. Scorpius' eyes were searching the room frantically as if looking for someone. Not too far away, Adam Carmichael sat clutching his shoulder. Weird. She thought. Other than that, a few other graduates littered around talking about future plans or lack-there-of and some Hogwarts students stood trying to get a drink. Alice was much to drunk for this anymore. She stood up and turned to say goodbye to Albus, only to see him making his way across the semi-crowded room to where Meghan stood at the bar, her short skirt riding up as she tried to get the barkeeps attention. She faced Rose, whose eyes seemed elsewhere. Alice knew that her friend was slightly shaky but couldn't bring herself to understand why. Her commonsense was gone, probably somewhere along with her rational. Alice gave Rose a hug and a promise to write as soon as she was settled in New York. Rose smiled back and watched her as she made her way outside to the apparition point where a designated apparitionist would take her to her home.

Chapter 3: Chapter 2
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"I'll get you some water," Rose offered a very drunk Alice.

"Thanks," Alice said before throwing her arms around Rose's waist, "You'rethebestfriendagirlcouldaskfor," She slurred.

Rose removed herself and made her way toward the bar. She saw Scorpius leaning up against it, sipping his second drink of the night. However as she got closer she realized that it was only a soda. She was a few feet behind him when a cold, clammy hand grazed her bare shoulder. She shivered slightly before turning to face whomever it was that had just rudely invaded her personal space. She was only slightly surprised to see the smug face of Adam Carmichael.

"Rose!" He claimed all too enthusiastically, his hand still touching her. She shrugged it off, but he just moved it to her waist. She sidestepped his arm and made to maneuver around him. But he was sufficiently blocking her path to the bar. Luckily (for him as she probably would have broken his fingers) he did not try to touch her again. Unluckily though, he moved in closer. He was taller than her and had to lean down when he stage whispered into her ear, "I have something to tell you."

She internally convulsed at his weird mix of cologne and cheese, a combination she did not want to spend too much time thinking about. Instead she focused on what he was wearing, which ended up being a hideous mix of kakis and a button down floral shirt in Ravenclaw colors. At least he's repping that house pride! Rose thought sarcastically.

She realized he was waiting for her to acknowledge his creepy admission. She looked up toward his face, another bad idea. His yellow teeth smiled down at her behind chapped lips and his watery blue eyes stared intently into her brown ones. She shuffled on her feet trying to move backwards, but he followed after her.

"What is it?" She finally demanded. Hoping that if he just spit it out she could escape to the bar to get a glass of water for Alice.

"I think that me" Adam pointed sloppily to his own chest, "And you," He said, drawing the same finger up her arm before she had the chance to pull it away, "Should find a quiet room somewhere and-" He was cut off by a strong hand on his shoulder, effectively yanking him away.

"Rose," cried Scorpius, "I've been looking for you everywhere! We have that thing we need to discuss."

"Oh!" Rose said, confused for only a moment before catching Scorpius' drift, "That thing! That super important thing we've been needing to discuss. Totally!" She smiled politely at Adam before quickly following Scorpius to the bar.

"Just a water please," She said to the man behind the counter.

"Are you alright," The blond boy asked her, grey eyes trying to search hers.

For some reason though, Rose was slightly mad. "I had that situation under control." She hissed at him.

"Oh did you now?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. "Because you were more than happy to take my excuse when I came over."

"Well what was I supposed to do? Just ignore you?"

"What was your plan than? To let him feel you up?"

"Of course not!" Rose whisper/yelled, not wanting to attract the attention of those around her. "I just feel like anytime you see me in even a little bit of trouble you just have to come and rescue me. I'm capable of handling myself."

"Clearly not," He said with a huff.

"Just leave me alone," Rose said.

"Gladly," Was his reply.

Rose grabbed the water angrily off the counter and walked back to where Alice and Albus were sitting. She placed the water down absentmindedly. She knows she shouldn't have blown up at Scorpius it was just annoying that he always felt like he needed to come save her. It had only been a few weeks ago that he had punched a guy Rose had been casually seeing in the face when he thought that Ryan had been taking advantage of her. He hadn't been but Rose had not had enough time to explain what was happening before Scorpius had socked him in the jaw. Needless to say that had been an end to their relationship. And early that very year he had followed her around like her own personal body guard when someone had slipped her an anonymous note asking her to the Halloween Ball. Scorpius had claimed that he had found the note creepy and did not think that whoever had written this note would be a suitable date. Rose had pointed out that was not for him to decide but he had ignored her. She, in turn, had ignored him because this was 2024 and she could go to a dance with whomever she saw fit. However she did think that note had been slightly creepy too so she let that slide. But the truth of the matter was she knew Scorpius was only doing this because he liked her. She wasn't an idiot, she had figured it out nearly a year before when she had asked him to go see a muggle movie with her over their summer holiday. That was a risky thing for him to do as he was staying with his grandparents at the time and they would not have been happy knowing he was spending time with a Weasley, much less at a movie theater. But he had risked it just to spend more time with her. Also, he had not had a girlfriend in over two years and hadn't been on so much as date with anyone else in nearly the same amount of time. Rose was a bright girl and understood that if a boy hung around you as much as Scorpius did with her, then he most likely had more than just friendship in mind. Unless he was gay. Which Rose didn't think Scorpius was, not that it would matter. It was just kind of suck for Rose as she liked him and if he was gay there would be no chance in any sort of reciprocation.

Her mind was still going on with these thoughts when she felt Alice put her hands around her shoulders.

"I'll write soon," She promised, smiling sloppily.

Rose returned the smile and watched Alice wobble her way to the door.

The room was emptying out. Only a few small groups remained. Adam still stood by the bar nursing the shoulder Scorpius had grabbed. I hope that leaves a mark. Rose thought privately. While she was annoyed by his constant need to feel like he was doing something, she knew Scorpius was a good friend who cared about her. She hoped in more than just a platonic way.

As if called over by her incessant thinking of him, she felt rather than saw Scorpius slide into the seat next to her.

"Hey," he said, their knees were close under the sticky wooden table. She could feel the heat of his leg against her bare one. She nodded in response.

"I hope you're not mad at me," He said.

"I'm not mad at you," She sighed.

"I know that you can take care of yourself. It's just sometimes I can't help but stepping in."

"I know," Was all she said, looking around still at the people in the Hogs Head.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, lost in their own thoughts. Rose's thoughts moved on from her own lack of a love life (and the want of Scorpius in it) to the fact that in 6 days she would be moving out of her parents home and into a flat in London. She was to start an internship working for the secretary of the secretary of the Leader of the British and Irish Quidditch League. While he may have been an old friend of the family and while most of the Wotter clan worked at the Ministry (as her mother was Minister of Magic), she had gotten this job all on her own, a fact she was very proud of, even applying under a false name with only her credentials to back her up. And while it wasn't much of a position, she was still glad to be starting somewhere. She was sad to be leaving home and becoming a full adult, yet right now she was dreading going home. She craved independence from her parents, especially when she knew that once she walked into the house she would be interrogated by her Auror father and law enforcing mother about what her night had entailed. And even though she wasn't that drunk she knew that too be an unpleasant experience.

Scorpius' mind drifted to similar topics. He would start his training as an Auror. He, alongside Albus, were the only two recruits from their year as they were the only ones to both receive the grades needed and have the desire to become Aurors. His training would begin in a month and he would be returning to live at home until the Ministry provided government housing granted to all Auror students. He was excited to be living in a space completely paid for and run by the government meaning he did not have to pay rent or live at home, at least not until his three years of training were complete and he could afford to live in his own space. He would be living with Albus once the program began. They would live not far from a M.O.M entrance in an apartment complex sublet to only other wizards and witches, many of whom worked at the Ministry or at other magical offices in the area.

The two recent graduates had been sitting in silence for longer than either of them had realized. The man behind the bar counter shouted a warning of last call and they were awoken from their brief interlude from full consciousness.

"We should probably head out," Scorpius finally said.

Rose nodded her head slightly. She stood up and headed for the door, forcing Scorpius to walk faster in order to catch up to her. Opening the door, a chilly summer air hit Scorpius causing him to shiver. Rose walked past him silently and stood outside as he let a few other people out the door as well. A very drunk Veronica stumbled past Rose and into the arms of a waiting apparitionist.

"I'll be right back," the designated apparater said to Rose and Scorpius.

"I'm actually staying in Hogsmeade," Scorpius said, more to Rose than the girl. "Teddy's letting me borrow his place for the night, you know, trying to be a good cousin, mend some fences."

Rose smiled, it was nice that Teddy, a boy who was practically family, and soon would be once he and Victoire married, was attempting to have a better relationship with one of his only remaining blood relatives. Especially one who did nothing wrong but be born into a family with such a dark past.

"I'll walk you there," Rose said not yet wanting to say goodbye. Both parties were not sure when exactly they would see each other again. Rose started work in less than a week where she was sure to be busy and Scorpius would start Auror training, which Rose knew from her fathers (endless) stories was time consuming.

"She'll still be here when I get back," Rose said motioning to where Veronica had just been apparated away. A small line was already forming outside the Hogs Head of people waiting to get home.

Scorpius led the way to Teddy's flat. They walked past some small shops before turning right down the main street. It was empty at this time of night. No Hogwarts students that had snuck out of the castle or people coming home late from work or elsewhere. It was just the two of them as they walked quietly down the cobbled street.

And maybe it was the few shots of fire whisky or maybe it was the fact that she never knew when she would get the chance to say it, but something compelled Rose to speak.

"Thank you for helping with Adam tonight. I know that you know that I could handle it but it was still nice having an extra hand," Rose said not looking at him. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her skirt, hoping he wouldn't say anything bull headed or know-it-all-ish.

"I understand that your'e a strong independent woman who can fight for herself but at the same time I don't know what I would have done if Merlin forbid something had happened."

She sighed in response. "Is that the only reason you stepped in? Because you were worried that something could have happened to me?" Gosh she really MUST of had more to drink than she thought. What was she saying?

"How do you mean?"

She just shrugged her shoulders and said nothing. What could she say? Maybe you did it because you like me? Maybe you were jealous? Rose wished she could take it back.

They were in front of Teddy's building now. Scorpius pulled out a key from his pocket that Teddy had lent him as he would be spending the night at Victoire's. The buildings front door opened and the two walked inside. Rose felt awkward but Scorpius was still oblivious to what her question had implied. They climbed up the two flights of steps to the correct floor. Silently walking down the hallway Scorpius grew sad at the thought of an indefinite amount of time until he saw Rose again. He began to think back on the question she had just asked.

No, he thought. She couldn't mean to ask if I stopped Adam because like her. Could she? I mean, how could she know. Ha! How could she know? I've practically stopped any and all blokes from getting within a 10 foot radius for 2 years. She's not dumb.

Rose stopped in front of Teddy's door, which Scorpius had walked past in his slight daze. When he looked up, Rose refused to make eye contact with him. Instead focusing intently on the brass plate that deemed this apartment 3D.

"About your question earlier-"

"Don't worry about it. It was silly. I don't know why I even bothered to ask-"

"No, I wanted to answer it."

"Oh." Rose said startled. "OK."

"Well, you see," Scorpius said, suddenly brave. "I like you Rose."

Her eyes moved so fast to his that he was shocked they weren't blurry.

"You what?" She said, face turning red. "You like me? You like me?"

"Yes." He said, stepping closer.

"You like me?" She repeated, trying out the phrase for size. "You like me?"

"Yes, now will you stop talking for a moment so I can kiss you?"

"I mean if you insist." She mumbled smiling up at him.

Before his mouth could reach hers, Rose's arm were around his neck, pulling him in closer. The kiss was soft and sweet just like a first aught to be. They both pulled away smiling. Scorpius' eyes were still closed when Rose said, "I really should be going."

They opened and he looked at her deeply. They still had not untangled themselves.

"Yeah you probably should." Neither moved.

And suddenly his lips were on hers again but this time it was more intense. There was a hunger, an animalistic desire, and a realization that both of them didn't know when this could happen again. Their real lives were starting and neither was looking for a relationship while they worked on becoming their own selves. But right then they didn't care. Right then there was only blond hair between cold fingers and warm hands wrapped around waists. There was fumbled fingers looking for the key misplaced and a rush of action once the door opened. There was shortness of breath up against plastered walls and there was a mad rush to get into the extra bed room down the hall. And there was a slam of the door once they were finally inside.

The next morning dawned bright and early. Rose rolled over in bed so her back faced the window, away from the harsh light. She snuggled up into the warm body next to her, as she was unreasonably cold. She wondered why that could be until she realized she was starkers. Hmm, that's interesting, her early morning brain thought. Her eyes cracked open slightly to see that she was curled up against a broad chest that appeared just as naked as she was. Weird, was all she thought before drifting off slightly again. Around 10 minutes later, she opened her eyes again, this time however they were wide in slight fear. She very carefully tilted her head up from where it rested on the blond haired stomach to the face she knew to expect. Scorpius. Bugger.

Scorpius was barely conscious when he heard a rustling in the room. He opened his eyes slowly, feeling the sunlight on them and giving himself time to adjust. Once they did, he saw a half clothed Rose pull on one of her heals from the night before.

"Leaving without saying goodbye?" He said, laughing slightly when she jumped.

"No!" Rose said, reddening because he knew her so well, "I was gonna say something once I was done getting dressed. Now turn around so I can finish."

"What if I don't want you to?" She turned a shade resembling an almost ripe tomato. "Get dressed, I mean." He said with a wink. She now most definitely looked like a tomato ready to be picked. "Besides it's not like I didn't see it all last night." He didn't see her reaction as he was rooting around on the floor for his boxers.

"Here," She said, tossing his Slytherin colored draws to him. "I just didn't want to make a whole big deal about leaving." Rose whispered.

"We're both adults, I think we can handle the conversation we're about to have."

"It's just, neither one of us has time for a relationship right now."

"I know."

"And it's not that I don't want one with you necessarily, I'm just not in a place right now where I should be dependent on someone else."

"I know."

"It's just that I need to learn how to be my own person first. How to live on my own and be on my own."

"Rose, I know," Scorpius put his hand on her scantily clad shoulder. "I one hundred percent, completely agree with you."

"You do?"

"Of course! Maybe at some other time in the future we can have a discussion about us but I think right now, at this time in our lives, it just makes more sense for us to stay friends."

"I am so glad we are on the same page." Rose smiled before hugging Scorpius across the bed. Which ended up being a bad idea as he only wore boxers and she her skirt and bra. "I should go before Teddy comes home." She said. "I'll write though. We should meet up sometime this week!"

"Definitely!" He said.

She smiled one last time before getting up and walking out the door. A minute later he heard the front door open and close.

Scorpius lay back in bed, letting out a frustrated sigh. 

Chapter 4: Chapter 3
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 Alice stepped off the subway into the crowded terminal at Rockefeller Center. The platform was crowded with families and the homeless, New Yorkers and tourists. She walked quickly toward the exit sign, pulling her scarf from the large purse that hung from her shoulder. Walking up the steep concrete steps, she bumped into a middle-aged man too busy on his cell phone to notice her. That was probably the strangest thing Alice had noticed since her unceremonious drop into muggle (or NoMaj) culture. Everyone was obsessed with these little pieces of medal that held their entire lives on them. Plus they did not seem to realize walking and "texting"-as she learned it was called- were not a good combination.

Alice walked on, up off the stairs and into a long hallway that smelled of urine. She side stepped two teenagers strolling much to slowly for her quick pace. She was almost late for her meeting as one of the trains on her route was under repair causing a 20 minute delay. Finally she could see the light up ahead and nearly sprinted up the stairs. She had to shield her eyes as the fresh snow on the ground reflected the bright morning sun. Checking her watch quickly Alice saw that it was already 8:50 in the morning. Shite she thought I have 10 minutes. Right as she looked up she slammed into a body.




"Ohmygosh!" Alice cried, realizing for once it was her fault that she ran into someone. "I am so so sorry!"


"That's quite alright," said a man in a posh British accent.


Alice looked up slightly shocked to hear someone else speak in a tone that reminded her so much of home. He was a young man, probably in his mid-twenties. The long black coat he dawned covered a three piece suit and his shiny brown loafers glistened off the dirty snow covered sidewalk.


"I'm sorry again!"


The mystery Brit smiled before walking away. Alice lost sight of him as he was engulfed by a wave of Chinese tourists.


Alice walked quickly on. Trying to make her way around the crowded 30 Rockefeller Center. Hundreds of people flooded the space, as the square had been decorated for Christmas. A gigantic tree and ice rink had been set up. People from all around the world gathered just to get a glimpse of the holiday cheer. Alice, however, was just trying to get to work. Finally after trailing behind a large Scandinavian family she found a break in the crowd and made a mad rush around to the side of the large building at the end of the plaza. She got to the secret side door that very few people knew of and swiped her key card. The door opened and she entered into one of the many hidden magical office buildings located throughout the city.


Despite looking like a maintenance entrance from the outside, the inside opened up into a large foyer. She moved quickly across the polished floor, her stilettos making a clicking noise as she walked. The elevator at the end of the room beeped as she stepped up to it. Once inside she took a deep breath and pressed 40 before feeling the familiar jolt of being shot up in a tube. Within a matter of seconds the doors chimed open again and the busy hustle of the publication office came into view.


Stepping out of the elevator, Alice turned right. She waved to the receptionist Dany and walked quickly to the glass conference room. She checked a clock on the wall. 8:57.


Almost there.


Around the curved hall, Alice heard the distinct sound of a door closing. She couldn't see but knew that her boss and esteemed poet Nancy Bowbenof would round the corner in approximately 30 seconds.


The conference room was in sight and Alice rushed toward the door, opening it. She went to stand in the back with the other first year editors. Not a second after her breathing went to a slightly less erratic pace did the door open again and Nancy walk in.


All of the senior staff who were sitting in the comfortable spinning office chairs stood up when she entered. She waved them to sit back down and said "I have some big news."


Alice liked working for Nancy, she truly did. While the woman scared her shitless sometimes, she had given her helpful advice on what Alice wanted to do with her life. Nancy had started her career as a low paid poet. She had graduated from Ilvermorny and immediately moved to New York where she knew of other struggling artists. After a few years of living off the money she made by selling the poetry and short stories she wrote on the streets, her writings had gotten some traction. After a few more years, she had enough money to start a small publishing firm, which eventually grew into a large company. She was responsible for many of the modern wizardry books, fiction and nonfiction alike. Everything from Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them, Vol. 6 to The Trials and Tribulations of the Witches of Salem (a modern retelling of the Salem Witch trials, except with a love story between a supposed witch and the Pastors son, the series was wildly popular with the first and second years).


When Alice had applied for an internship over two years ago, she never had expected to get it. It had always been her dream to write a novel and she figured this was as good a chance as any to get some experience learning from the other side of it. She had completed her first year as an intern and they had offered her a job as a low level editor which she had excepted. And while she was sad to live so far away from home, it had been a wonderful experience living in America surrounded by muggles. One of the reasons she had taken the subway was because she wanted to learn more about NoMaj culture, a topic she might one day want to write about.


Alice zoned back into what Nancy was saying.


"We have some exciting news coming from our London offices!" She claimed clapping her hands together.


No one else seemed as excited as it was widely known that the London office and the New York office had the biggest competition when it came to getting the most popular books. Alice had once even been accused of committing espionage for the British by a rather drunk junior editor at the office Halloween party.


Nancy continued on, "They have just signed a huge contract with none other than William Desmond!"


Alice knew that name. She had seen his books at Flourish and Blotts. They were historical fiction about the secret underground that had been used during the Second Wizarding War to help muggle-borns escape persecution. She also realized that he was a few years ahead of her at Hogwarts, being a fifth year when she first started.


Nancy began giving his back cover biography, stating how he had graduated Hogwarts from Ravenclaw house (which she explained was considered the "smart house"). Alice inwardly rolled her eyes. He had then moved to London to begin research and writing on his topics. His contract with his old publishing firm had been up and he wanted to sign with a "newer, fresher" company like Nancy's.


"I have a bigger surprise! William is here today to speak to all of you! He is looking for some special individuals to take back to the London offices with him because he's looking for that American flavor. Here he is now."


The door opened again and in walked a handsome young man. He no longer wore the down coat but Alice could see the shine on his shoes from there.



William, or Will as he insisted on being called, had been in the office for two days before approaching Alice.


"You look oddly familiar," He said to her, sitting on the edge of her desk.


Her small desk was covered in manuscripts that higher ranking office members didn't bother to read. She was lucky and got a desk near a window that overlooked the center far below. On the wall next to her seat were moving pictures of her friends and family. There was one of her and Rose at their graduation and another with Veronica, Catherine, Prema, and (surprise) Rose again from a sleepover they had had the summer before 4th year. Another was of her and her parents and little brother Frank who was halfway done with his 5th year, where he was Hufflepuff prefect.


"I think you were a few years ahead of me at Hogwarts," She said, not wanting to admit that she remembered him from their very brief encounter on the street.


"Maybe…" He looked up at the wall and saw a picture of his Professor smiling with his arms around a girl that looked like a younger version of the one in front of him.


"You're Longbottom's daughter!" He exclaimed a little too loud. The girl at the desk next to Alice raised her eyebrow slightly before returning to the paper before her.


Alice laughed shakily.


"He used to tell the funniest stories about you. Something involving an apple, broomstick, and Hellebore plant?"


Alice turned red at the memory. At Hogwarts, her father never tired of telling classmates the stupid things she'd done as a child. She just had thought that those moments of embarrassment had ended once she graduated.


"Yeah," she sighed, wanting the conversation to go anywhere but onto embarrassing stories from when she was younger.


"No," he said, snapping his fingers. "I know you because you body checked me on the street the other day!"


Great, Alice thought. Let's talk about embarrassing stories from the present.


"I didn't body check you," she mumbled.


"Fine, we'll call it a slam, sounds a bit better now doesn't it."


Alice didn't think so but was in no mood to argue anymore, especially because she figured this man was higher ranking than her and didn't want to ruffle any feathers.


"Now as I'm sure you've heard, I'm looking for some fresh faces to bring with me to the London office. I have been learning, however, that it is quite hard to convince these upper level employees to uproot their lives and move it across the pond. So I've begun looking to the younger people. And since I don't know anyone here, and because I heard that you were a recent Hogwarts graduate, I figured you must have some semblance of an education and may know who here is worth anything."


Alice smiled slightly at the short-of compliment.


"Well what are you specifically looking for?" She asked.


"I'm not exactly sure. They have all the same people who do all the same jobs over in London, but you New York office people just seemed more whipped into shape. Probably because your boss is here most of the time. I"m looking for someone I can trust to get the job done. What that job maybe, I have no earthly idea."


Alice liked this man. He seemed a little weird and spastic, but his clothes were neatly pressed and looked like something for a man more put together than Will acted. He was goofy and spoke whatever seemed on his mind while the tight fitting suit made it seem like he was a rigid businessman, not that he couldn't be both she supposed.


"Well there's Madison in HR. She does a lot of the grunt work jobs around here. But she just got engaged so I'm not sure if she's willing to move. You could talk to Freddy. He's from Ireland and I heard he's itching to get back over there but he's one of the most annoying people I have ever met so…" Alice trailed off and noticed Will looking at her with his head tilted slightly to the side.


"And what about you?"


"What about me?"


"Aren't you itching to get back over?"


"Well I suppose. But I like living here. I eventually intend to move back to England, hopefully once I move up I can request a change to London."


"Well why don't you move back now?"


"And work for you?"


"Yes and work for me," he said, not at all annoyed with her taking a minute to compute what he said.


"Are you serious?" she asked.


"As serious as spattergroit," he replied.



A few short weeks later, Alice's feet touched down in a snowy field a few miles north of London. Will had talked to her supervisor who had talked to her London equivalent and found that there was someone over there who was looking to move to the New York office. That meant that Alice got this blokes office space (and apartment as he lived with 2 other roommates in a flat in London in a wizard building and she took his open spot) and he took hers. She was more than happy to go as was he as he had been from Connecticut and was looking for an opportunity to move back home.


Everything after that had happened rather quickly. Some of her files had been sent over to the London office and she had told her parents that she was moving back. They were ecstatic and insisted on throwing her a coming home party which she vehemently declined. Then she packed up her small apartment on the upper west side, said goodbye to the friends she had made there with a promise to keep in touch. Before she knew it, she was standing in a field in upstate New York with an old Dodgers hat between her and Will and then all of a sudden she wasn't.


It was nearly the afternoon once they arrived into London. An intern at the London office had come to pick them up at the portkey point and driven them into town. He had dropped Will off first at his townhouse in the West End. It was beautiful with it's own private park outside. Flowers grew out of the windows and the sounds of laughter and people walking about could be heard when Will opened his door.


"Ill see you bright and early Monday morning," He said with a wink.


Alice and the intern drove through the city's busy traffic finally pulling down an old cobblestone alley and stopping in front of a nondescript door.


"Here we are," He said.


The two got out of the car and the boy helped Alice grab her many bags out of the trunk. He then got back in the car and drove away leaving Alice standing in the dirty snow covered alley with her bags.


She dug around in her purse looking for a key. Finally finding it, she opened the door and grabbed her bags, two in each hand and another slung around her shoulder. She walked up the stairs before her. All the way up up up to the top floor. She breathed deeply before turning the knob on the door to the hallway. Looking down the corridor, she saw her apartment, 505, a few doors away. She grabbed the bags more securely in her hands and walked toward it. After unlocking the door she walked into a kitchen. No one was home.


That's expected, she thought It is Friday afternoon.


Stepping in and shutting the door behind her, Alice saw a note scribbled in clear writing.


Hi Alice!


We're your flatmates, Devon and Isabel. Your room is the last one down the hall to the left. It's empty and may smell a bit of moldy socks. Sorry about that! We should be home around 6 tonight! Can't wait to meet you.


Alice looked up and saw the hall they were referring to. Following the instruction she made her way down toward her new home. Pushing open the door an almost overpowering smell of b.o. hit her. She took a step back before bracing herself and stepping inside. The room was small but well lit do to a window facing the street. She could here the usual sounds of a busy street even though she was five stories up. The bed was empty except for a mysterious stain she chose to ignore. Setting her stuff down on it she surveyed the rest of the room. The bed stuck out into the middle of the room with the window behind it. A nightstand was on its left side. Next to the door on the left to where she had walked in was a small closet without any curtain blocking you to its contents. A small bookshelf stood on the other side of her and a door leading to a bathroom was on the last remaining wall. She walked to it and saw she had a private shower with sink and toilet. Alice was tired and decided to only set up her bed for the night before getting all of her things settled. She could do that tomorrow.


After her bed was made, Alice laid back down on it and promptly fell asleep.



She awoke to a crashing sound in the kitchen followed by an expletive her mother would be ashamed to hear her use.


She sat up quickly in bed, heart racing. It took her a moment to remember where she was and that she wasn't in any immediate danger. At least she hopped not.


She heard someone make a shushing sound down the hallway.


"She's trying to sleep!" Someone whisper yelled in a strong American southern accent.


Alice climbed out of her bed, unsure if she should leave the quiet sanctuary of her room to meet (who she assumed) were her flatmates. She looked quickly into the mirror that hung above the dresser in the corner to find a startlingly pale face staring back. Her hair was wild from both the wind from her journey and sleeping. Walking silently into the bathroom, she rinsed her face in the sink and pulled her blonde locks up into a high ponytail. Then she re-entered her room and found some clean clothes at the top of her bag. She opened the old wood door and walked into the hall.


It was bright in the kitchen, brighter than it had been in her room and in the hallway. She squinted for a second before her eyes focused in on the two figures standing in the tiled kitchen.


"Well you must be our new roommate!" The smaller of the two figures drawled. She was a thin girl that stood a few inches above Alice's head.


"I'm Isabel. Isabel Lauter." The brunette extended her hand in greeting. Alice took it and gave a firm grip.


"I'm Devon," said the man behind her. He had a deep voice and towered over the both of them.


He was rather portly and had white blond hair on his head. He wore square glasses on his face and his right ear was pierced.


"Hi," Alice said, still a little sleepy. "Alice," she replied pointing to herself.


"How'd you sleep?" ask Isabel.


"Fine, thanks. The room smelt a little dank though."


"Oh that was probably just Byron, the guy who you switched places with. He was very into physical fitness, not so much into physical hygiene."


Alice laughed lightly as Isabel's joke before her stomach growled quietly. She tried to hide it but Isabel clearly heard it.


"We're gonna go downstairs to get some food if you want to join us!" Isabel offered.


Alice looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. It was already nearly 7.


"I still need to shower and change, I don't want to hold you up."


"It's fine, we'll wait!" Isabel said with a smile. Devon just nodded in agreement, clearly the less talkative of the two.


Alice went quickly back to her room to shower and change. She put on a quick layer of makeup and mascara so she would not resemble a ghost and pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. She had begun plating half of her head as she walked out the bedroom door. Isabel and Devon were in the living room that went off the kitchen playing some sort of card game when Alice walked in.


"Ready?" Isabel said. Alice nodded as she tied the end of her braid before starting on the other.


Isabel grabbed her purse off the floor and walked toward the door, holding it open for Alice and Devon who began walking down the end of the hall toward the opposite stair well that Alice had first used when they arrived.


The downstairs that Isabel had been referring to ended up being a pub on the first floor that opened out onto the busy street below the building. They sat down at a table and ordered their food and drinks. It was a quiet amicable meal. Alice learned that Isabel had graduated from Ilvermorny a year ahead of her graduation at Hogwarts and Devon had finished the year ahead of Isabel at Durmstrang. Isabel had moved to London about a year after she completed school to work in the American ambassadors office. Devon was actually from England but his father had attended Durmstrang and his mother was a muggle so had little say as to where he attended school. He currently worked at Sugarplum's Sweets Shop as the manager. His great aunt owned the shop but he ran the day to day of the business as she was getting old. It was a little hard for Alice to believe that a man as reserved as Devon could work in a candy shop. However, at one point during the night at the bar (albeit after a few drinks), Devon had made a miraculously large bubble using only a butterbeer, a cork top, and a straw. When it had popped he still had looked so accomplished that she had to laugh, which caused Isabel to laugh, which caused Devon to laugh.



The next morning, Alice woke up with a huge headache. She had forgotten how much fun it was to be in England where she was above the legal drinking age.


She heard a tapping at her window. Looking up an owl was pecking incessantly. She turned around and sat up, clamoring to open it up. The owl flew in and settled on her bed. He held out his foot where a letter was attached. Once she unfurled it, it flew away without waiting for a response. On the front was her name written in her mothers neat handwriting. Opening the top carefully, a letter fell hastily into her lap, as if the letter itself was in a rush.


Hi darling!


We are so excited to have you back home! I've planned a whole special meal for you tonight for dinner so you must come home. You're father even spoke to Headmistress McGonagall about giving him the weekend off so he could spend some time with you, as you've been abroad for nearly two years! We are so anxious to see you. 7 o'clock. Don't be late!


Love mum and dad


The letter was so her mother that Alice actually read it in her voice. It was just like her to be abrupt and to the point. With just a little bit of guilt-tripping. Alice knew that if he just mentioned it casually, McGonagall would have let her father come home for the weekend. There were enough teachers at Hogwarts to patrol the halls during the night that he was home on weekends more often than not. Besides, the Longbottom's lived above the Three Broomsticks and her father could return easily if there was an emergency. Alice knew her mother was just sad that she hadn't been so close to home since moving away after graduation, so she let it slide. She didn't bother forming a response as she knew her mother didn't need one, Hannah Longbottom just knew that her only daughter would show up.


And she did. Alice arrived promptly at 7, wearing black pants and a loose grey shirt covered up by the large overcoat she wore to keep out the early February winds. She knocked on the back door to the pub which opened so quickly it was almost as if her mother had been waiting on the other side. Hannah pulled Alice inside into a warm embrace.


"Oh, I've missed you so much!" Hannah cried, crushing Alice even through all her many layers.


"I've missed you too mum," she managed to mumble into her mothers shoulder.


"Come upstairs!" Hannah cried, pulling Alice up the steep stairs to the residence above the bar.


As soon as she opened the door, a sound almost as loud as a train whistle blowing hit Alice in the face.



Chapter 5: Chapter 4
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Rose had barely gotten into work when she was ambushed by a white fluffy owl. She had just set her bag down onto her desk when the barn owl flew down on the clutter free slab of wood. It shook it's feather out, causing water droplets to fall all over the polished surface. She recognized the owl to be the Longbottom's. Now rather old, Fluffy (as Alice had named it when she was 6) sat atop a neat stack of papers waiting to be filed with a scroll attached to her leg.


Rose reached for the letter, untying it quickly from the owl, who promptly flew away but not before scattering the pile so half of it's contents fell on the floor.


"Bugger," Rose mumbled. The perfect start to the perfect day.


Sitting down in the old office chair, Rose sighed. She was already stressed enough as it was before Fluffy had come in and ruined the neat pile she had been made the night before. She had a meeting after lunch with her boss's boss today regarding merlin knows what and Rose was incredibly nervous that she was about to be fired. Not that she had done anything to be fired for. She had been working as the secretary to the secretary of the Head of the British and Irish Quidditch League for about a year and a half. The head, Amberley Toffet, was a stern woman who had been keeper for the Holyhead Harpies until an injury sustained by a bludger had taken her both out of the sky and out of the game. She walked with a slight limp but that did not slow her down. She was a fast talker who didn't like to beat around the bush. That was one of the reasons Rose was nervous for her meeting. This would not be just a simple "How ya doing?" type of thing. When you had a meeting with Amberley it was serious business.


But she would have to face it one way or another and there was no use stressing over the inevitable.


Rose bent down to pick up the fallen papers, stacking them neatly again. She went through them to make sure they were in alphabetical order before standing up and walking to the filing cabinet that stood behind her desk like a massive, imposing wall. One of her jobs as the assistant's assistant was filing all of the paperwork that came through Amberley's office, of which there was a lot. These files contained everything from bills paid and received to medial forms concerning the injuries of players. None of it was very interesting and after an hour of standing and filing, Rose's back and shoulders began to ache.


Once it was all filed neatly away, Rose sat back at her desk ready to open the mail that had been delivered. She would pass some of it on to her boss Geoffrey, but most would be thrown out as junk. The first thing on the pile, however, was the forgotten letter from Fluffy and- presumably- the Longbottom's.


Unsure of why she would be getting something from their home mail and not LB's own owl, Rose looked at the letter carefully. Over the past year and a half, Alice and Rose had kept in relatively good contact. While it had dwindled at times, for example when Rose began dating that tosser who worked in the Minister's office, it had been harder to keep in contact. Yet when Rose found out he only dated her to get a higher position in the Ministry, she had dumped his sorry arse and made sure that Alice knew she was always going to be a priority in her life.


Opening the letter, Rose saw what was slightly confusing to her. It read:


Alice Samantha Longbottom is returning!


Her job has called her to come back home. She will continue to work as a first year editor at Bowbenof Publications. A surprise party will be held at 6:30 pm at the Longbottom residence on February the sixth.


We hope you can make it. But whether or not you can, do not tell our lovely daughter as we want her to be surprised.


Hannah and Neville Longbottom


While the letter was very straight forward Rose was a little shocked that she was just now finding out that Alice would be returning. She had just spoken to her via floo only a week ago. But despite the fact that LB had not divulged some very interesting and important information, Rose was excited to have her friend back home and working in the same city as her.



A few hours later Rose walked quietly to Amberley's office. The walls were painted an off white and pictures of her and other famous quidditch stars hung around. There was one in the right corner where Rose could make out bright red hair that looked remarkable like her own.


Amberley sat behind her desk, hunched over some files Rose had never seen before. A pair of horn-rimmed glasses sat at the end of her nose. When Rose walked in, Amberley did not even bother to look up.


"Close the door," she said authoritatively.


Rose did just that before standing quietly at the back of the room, scared to move forward without the explicit consent of the woman before her.


"Oh sit down. I don't bite."


Rose wasn't willing to test her luck with that one but did as she was told.


"As you may have noticed," Amberley began, "Geoffrey is not here today."


In fact, Rose had not noticed. She had been too busy filing and running around the office to get people coffee or extra quills to notice his absence yet she nodded anyway.


"It has come to my attention," Amberley coughed to clear her throat, "That Geoffrey had been stealing, among other things, classified information regarding pre-season secret training facilities and the private information on many of our most valued quidditch stars. He has been selling it to the likes of Rita Skeeter and other gossip magazines. He has since been fired."


Rose eyebrows lifted up into her hairline. She was never fond of Geoffrey, mostly because he had treated her like she was less than him. He believed that she had only gotten the job based on her last names instead of on merit. This was obviously not true and she worked twice as hard as anyone else in the office just to prove that she was there because she deserved to be, yet he still regarded her with disdain.


Amberley was still talking, "I have therefore decided to promote you to his title as Senior Secretary to the Head of the British and Irish Quidditch League. You can move your things into Geoffrey's old office first thing tomorrow then come see me so I can tell you what I need done."


Rose smiled wide, "Thank you so much Ms. Toffet," Rose stood up to shake her hand. "I won't let you down."


"That would be most advisable."


With that Amberley went back to reading whatever it was that was in front of her and Rose took that as her cue to leave.



The next day, Rose arrived earlier than her usual early time. Once she began working at the office after Hogwarts, she understood she would have to work twice as hard to prove her worth. It had taken a few months for people to realize that she was there on her own merit (except a few like her old boss). So, she had come in early as a way to show she was hardworking and had continued to do so merely out of habit.


Knowing that Amberley was also one to arrive before the majority of others, Rose wanted to be set up in her new office by the time her new boss arrived. She had just finished putting up her things, placing a final picture of her and her cousin Roxy down when Amberley walked through the door. Rose stood as she walked past her desk, waiting patiently for instructions. However Amberley just walked past, motioning for Rose to follow. Rose grabbed a quill, parchment, and some other papers from her desk and followed Amberley inside her office.


Amberley sat down behind her desk and looked up at Rose.


"First things first, we will need to find a replacement for your old job, we can't have you busy with filing and getting coffee now that you have actual work to do."


Rose smiled slightly as she wrote down new me on her piece of paper.


"You can find some personnel files in one of the cabinets in the back room containing old intern applications. I would start about a year back. If none of those seem fit the bill, run an add in the Daily Profit's classified section about a job. We should find someone by the end of next week as you'll be doing two jobs until then. However, I want this new one to take top priority. So if that means leaving a few things laying about, let it. There is much for you to do here."


Rose was still scribbling when Amberley finished talking. Once she was done, she looked up.


"The first thing I usually do in the morning is go over my schedule," Amberley waited until Rose realized that meant that she had to go over the schedule with Ms. Toffet.


"Oh!" Rose said, moving the scheduling book to the top of the neat pile of papers in her hands. She scrolled through until she found the page marked January the twelfth.


"You have a meeting at 9 with the Head of the Muggle Liaison Office in regards to some children in Surrey playing a pickup game of quidditch that a teenage boy caught on his cell phone. At 11 you are to see Headmistress McGonagall in regards to the Hogwarts Quidditch cup and the presence of professional team scouts. At 2 the coach for the Falmouth Falcons is coming in to discuss the suspension of his two beaters with regards to them threatening a booing crowd with their bats."


Amberley nodded her head.


"I'll need you in on the 10 o'clock meeting. Bring the notes of other incidents regarding muggle cellular devices recording quidditch. This is not the first incident and the meeting will be about more than just this one particular case."


Rose nodded scribbling down more notes.


"Also I need you to go up to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and get me a meeting scheduled with Harry Potter in regards to Auror security at all major quidditch games."


"Is there anything else?"


"Just one thing, remember to breath. I don't have time to replace you too."


Rose smiled before walking out of the office, excited to have some real responsibilities, even if it was frightening.



The elevator was quiet at this time of the day. Rose had just finished searching through some of the old intern files looking for someone to take over her old position, however very few people seemed to fit the mold. Many of them already had jobs elsewhere or had things in their files like "lazy" or "not a very good employee." Rose had finally decided to take a break at 3. Wanting to stretch her legs and also get stuff done, she headed to the Auror department to make that appointment.


Finally the elevator stopped at the second floor, the doors opened to reveal a brightly lit hall way. Rose exited the elevator and headed down to the door she knew contained the Auror department. She knew this hallway very well as her father used to work in the department before retiring to help George at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.


She opened the door only to be met by a crush of arms.


"Oh my darling! How much you've grown!" Mrs. Fields had pulled Rose into the office as soon as the door had opened all the way.


"Hi Mrs. Fields."


The little old woman was as strong as an ox, crushing the air out of her lungs.


"I heard you outside the door. We have a special detector that tells us who's outside so we know if it's an intruder or not. And of course you're not an intruder," Mrs. Fields said, squishing Rose's cheeks. "What can I help you with today dear? Here to see your cousin Albus? I hear he's out on a training exercise today. But what do I know, everything is so top secret when it comes to training," Mrs. Fields rolled her eyes.


"I'm actually here on business. I work for Amberley Toffet as senior assistant. She needs to schedule a meeting with Harry in regards to game protection."


"Oh ho, look at you! Moving up the ladder."


Rose blushed.


"Well you know where his office is. It was so great to see you hun."


"You too Mrs. Fields."


The old woman patted Rose on the shoulder before returning to her desk that faced the door. Rose walked down the hallway towards her uncle's office. This corridor was much darker than the one outside. On either wall there were tons of doors. Some were marked with brass plates with the names and positions of each person who sat at a desk behind it. Others were dark and heavy looking, unmarked and ominous. Behind one such door, Rose thought she heard the sounds of grunting, as if whoever was behind it was exerting a serious amount of force. She walked on until reaching the last door at the very end the hall. A brass plate on the outside read "Head Auror." Rose opened the door and walked inside. There was a small waiting area with a receptionist at the front. The room was much brighter than the hallway, giving it a less foreboding vibe. However the walls and furniture were all dark woods and metal with sharp corners and edges, showing that this was not a place to mess around.


"Can I help you?" asked the young woman who sat at the desk.


"Yeah," Rose said. "I work at the office of the British and Irish Quidditch League. Ms. Toffet needs an appointment with-"


"Is that Rose I hear?" Asked a booming voice. Her uncle Harry was standing in the open doorway to a room behind the receptionist desk.


"Hi Uncle Harry!" Rose smiled.


"What brings you all the way down here?"


"Well as I was just saying to your receptionist, Ms. Toffet needs an appointment."


"Ah yes, regarding security at games," Harry nodded his head. "Make it for Thursday at 2," he said to the girl at the desk. She nodded and jotted it down. Then she made a slip of paper with the same information and gave it to Rose.


"I heard you got promoted," Harry said, walking around to lean on the edge of the desk. "Congratulations!"


"Thank you! I'm very excited, it's a big opportunity."


Just then, an owl flew into the room and landed on the desk. The girl picked the letter up and opened it quickly. Her eyes skimmed the first sentence before handing it over to her boss. Harry's face darkened ever so slightly however he smiled brightly when he said, "Well, duty calls. But I'll see you I'm sure at the Burrow on Sunday."


"Wouldn't miss it!" Rose smiled and waved as her uncle walked back into his office.


The door closed behind him.


"Thanks," she said to the girl behind the desk. She smiled slightly and nodded as Rose turned around and walked out.


The hallway was drafty compared to her uncle's office and Rose pulled her sweater tighter around her. Her shoes clacked against the linoleum floor.


This office has such a different feeling compared to mine, Rose thought as she walked quicker down the hall. She knew it was ridiculous to think, but she almost felt unwelcome here. Like there were secrets behind these unmarked doors she was not supposed to know, let alone be so close to.


She was just about to walk past the door where she had heard the grunts earlier when it swung open. She had to stop in her tracks so it wouldn't hit her. Out walked two figures. Rose could only see their silhouettes in the dim hallway light. As she slowly walked closer, however, she recognized one of them to be Scorpius.


Despite working in the same building and sharing a best friend -Albus, who became closer to Scorpius once they had moved in and worked together- Rose had hardly seen him more than once every few weeks since that fateful night after graduation.


He was laughing quietly with a smaller figure next to him. When she turned around Rose saw that it was a girl. She walked up to them, not seeing an alternative as they were blocking the only exit.


"Hey Scorpius," Rose said. He nearly jumped, but didn't as he had been in Auror training for far too long to get off his game so easily. He just hadn't expected the footsteps he heard behind him in the hall to belong to Rose Granger-Weasely.


"Hey Rose," he said, trying to act nonchalant. There was a slightly awkward silence before the girl next to him extended her hand.


"Claire Jakobs"


Rose took it, it was slightly sweaty, no doubt from the workout they had just been having. Rose had noticed that they both were wearing Auror issued sweats.


"What are you doing here?" Scorpius asked. He hadn't seen Rose in almost a month as she rarely came over to his shared flat with Albus anymore.


After graduation the two had met up the next week for coffee. It had been incredibly awkward, much like their meeting now. None of the ease they had had when studying together in the library or patrolling the halls was there. Making them both wonder if it was because they had nothing to discuss besides topics of Hogwarts or because sleeping together and admitting they liked each other but couldn't date had caused an impenetrable wall of awkwardness.


After that their real lives began and, as both had assumed, became unbearable busy. They talked less and less on a regular basis until they only ever said hi to each other if they saw the other at the flat or at the ministry.


"I had to schedule a meeting with my uncle for Amberley Toffet," She said.


"You work for Amberley Toffet? Of the Holyhead Harpies?" Claire asked in disbelief.


Rose smiled slightly and nodded.


"She's, like, a totally bad ass! Is she fun to work for?" Claire's eyes bugged a little as she asked.


"She's harsh and knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. I have a huge amount of respect for her."


"Wow, that's so cool."


"Haha thanks." Rose said trying not to be awkward around a girl who was just seen laughing with Scorpius.


Not that Rose still liked him. He was allowed to laugh with whomever he thought funny. It was just that a small part of her would always like him and she missed that time when they were friends, when they would laugh together. At a time before they had to go and fuck it up, literally.


"Well, I got to go, I'm meeting Taylor in an hour," Claire punched Scorpius playfully in the arm and waved to Rose before walking down the hall a little farther and opening another unmarked door and walking in.


"So, how's life?" Rose asked.


"Good. Busy."


"I'm sure."


Awkward silence. Rose began walking toward the end of the hall, not trying to get out the conversation necessarily but just wanting to do something other than stand there, uncomfortable.


They walked slowly down.


"So Albus told me you got promoted, congratulations."


"Thanks, gosh I forget sometimes how much of a gossip my family can be."


"Are you going to Alice's welcome back party in a few weeks?"


They had walked almost to the end of the hall, Rose could see Mrs. Fields' desk.


"Yeah I think so. I can't believe she's been gone for a year and a half." Rose said.


Both were also thinking that they couldn't believe they slept together a year and a half ago.


"Time sure does fly."


"Yep," Rose said. "Well, I'd better be going. Don't want to anger the boss."


"Yeah, I'll see you around."


"Sure," and with that, Rose swiftly walked past Mrs. Fields (thankfully) empty desk and into the hallway beyond.


Scorpius watched her go. Annoyed with himself for being so awkward and annoyed with her that she hadn't stopped him. He missed the old Rose that would tell him to suck it up. They had slept together and it hadn't worked out. The timing had been off. So couldn't they just be friends? Evidently not as that encounter had proved.

Chapter 6: Chapter 5
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A crash rang out through the apartment followed shortly by a high pitched shriek and another crash.

Scorpius sat up in bed quickly. Within 5 seconds he was out of bed, wand in hand, walking silently through his bedroom. He avoided the creaky floorboard in front of his closet and opened his bedroom door.

Stepping out into the hallway Scorpius waited a beat to see if any criminal would appear. When none did, he continued silently down towards the sitting room where the crash had originated. His back was to the wall and he had just passed the dark and empty bathroom when another crash was heard. This time he heard voices as well. He kept on making his way silently, wand at the ready until he reached the end of the corridor. He couldn't see what was going on in the room at it's end but the sound of Albus' voice filled his ears.

"Oh Merlin please no. God anything but that. I'll do anything I swear it."

Scorpius had never heard that kind of desperation in Albus' voice. Deciding it was time to act and protect his partner at all costs, Scorpius moved swiftly from the hall to the well lit room, wand at the ready. Just as he did so, a loud crack of wood sounded followed by the wail of a dying animal. In front of Scorpius was the weirdest scene he had ever seen.

Glass lay shattered throughout the room. A picture that had once contained a photo of Albus and Head Girl Daisy Macmillan from the Christmas Dance their 7th year was scattered on the floor. Meghan Finnegan stood holding two halves of what appeared to be Albus' new Nimbus 5000. She wore an old Flying Sirens concert t-shirt of Albus' and a pair of sweatpants. Both socks where on her feet but only her left boot, which had a slight heal, causing her right hip to jut out. She looked nearly deranged with the broken wood in each hand and hair messed up from a night sleeping in Albus' bed. Albus had fallen to his knees on the floor after Meghan had taken his broom off its place on the wall and broke it like a toothpick. He was wearing only boxers with fluttering snitches on them and he had a single tear streaming down his face. His hands were out in front of him, palms up. As if they could fix the broomstick somehow.

"What the bleeding hell is going on in here?" Scorpius boomed.

Meghan jumped, the pieces of broom falling out of her now limp hands. Albus sniffled a little, wiping his cheek before standing up again.

He cleared his throat, "Meg and I just had a little bit of a row, that's all."

"A little bit of a row? Bloody Dumbledore. I thought you were being murdered in here!"

"I haven't completely thrown that idea out yet," Meghan mumbled, regaining some composure. However she lost it once she saw Scorpius' smoldering look.

"I had one day," he said, holding up a single digit for both parties to see. "One bloody day in the last month to sleep in! And you two had to go ruin that with your little row!"

Scorpius looked up at the clock to see it was half past 7 in the morning.

"You two can finish up whatever it is that is happening here," he referenced the entire room with his hands, "as long as you do so quietly."

And with that, Scorpius slumped back to his room in order to get some much needed sleep.

A few hours later, Scorpius stumbled into the bright kitchen. He had slept a few more hours without so much as a peep from the fighting "couple."

Albus sat at the counter reading an old copy of Witch Weekly.

"Sorry about that earlier mate, it won't happen again," Albus said, not looking up from his magazine.

"It's alright," Scorpius said, grabbing a mug from the top shelf. "I understand a lovers quarrel."

"Do you? You haven't had so much as a liker in months!"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. It was true, he hadn't had that many women in his life recently. He could say that it was because anytime he wasn't spending training to become an Auror was spent sleeping, but Albus would have the same excuse and Merlin knows he has been anything but lonely when it comes to female companionship.

"Well, you won't have to be worrying about Meghan anymore," Albus said, putting down his reading material. "We decided to call it quits."
"Really? And how long do you recon that'll last? Last time it was, what? Three weeks?"

"No, I'm serious this time. No more on again off again horse shit. I'm done with her, she has taken it too far."

"By breaking your broom?" Scorpius asked while buttering a piece of toast.

"Yes by breaking my broom. And of accusing me of cheating. With Daisy of all people!"

Scorpius took a bite of his toast. "How did that come up?"

"Well, last night Daisy was in town so we got a drink at the pub together, for old times sake. We were Heads together after all. Meghan's friend Samantha was in the bar and saw us together. She thought that I was cheating on Meg with Daisy which is insane as Daisy has pretty much been engaged to Jordan Sullivan since third year!"

Scorpius chewed his toast slowly and Albus let out a big sigh.

"I'm just done with all the drama, you know?" Albus picked up Witch Weekly again. He turned it over so Scorpius could read.

"Sabrina Yont says drama is not a good factor in any relationship," Albus pointed to a particular section. "You should get out as soon as you realize you S.O. is prone to it. It's unhealthy, she says."

"I see that," Scorpius said, trying to stifle a laugh. The quote Albus had just given was under a picture of a shirtless Oliver Wood.

"We weren't even in a true relationship. Just friends with benefits."

"Yes but I feel like in order for that to be true, you actually had to be friends with Meghan. You know, like her as a person."

"I s'pose you're right," Albus said, scratching his neck. "Well, she won't be hanging around here anymore. I just want a drama free life. We have a year and a half left of training and I'm going to focus on that instead of on drama and women."

Scorpius nodded his head slowly. "That was you who shrieked earlier, wasn't it?" he asked.

"An auror never tells," replied Albus.

The next Saturday dawned bright and early. Scorpius had taken to bringing all of the paperwork that needed completing by Saturday afternoon to the roof of his apartment building. He liked to watch the sunrise and this view was as good as any. The very first sounds of people could be heard in the street below. It was only 7:30 on and not many people were around, but soon a lot more noise would overtake the street below as a farmers market was held weekly one street over. He could see the tops of the tents being set up and despite being early February, he knew hundreds of people would still stop by in order to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, this Saturday was much too busy for Scorpius to stop by as he sometimes did. He had to finish filling out and sorting the paperwork in his hand and hand deliver it to Mrs. Fields by 3 o'clock. Then he had to come back and get ready for Alice's surprise party, which was all the way in Hogsmeade. He and Albus would apparate around 6:30 to the Three Broomsticks.

Albus didn't seem very excited. He wouldn't admit it, but Scorpius knew he was still upset about Meghan and his ending. She and Albus had been "not dating" for a few years and it saddened Albus that it had come to such a troubling close. Scorpius, on the other hand, was rather glad to be rid of her. Albus had been right in saying she brought drama with her. She also brought out a side of Albus Scorpius did not like. He became moody and suspicious around her. Not at all the relaxed man Scorpius had grown to know and respect the past year and a half.

About two hours later, Albus climbed up onto the roof from their fire escape exit. He had two cups of coffee grasped precariously in his hands. Scorpius took one when offered, seeing as his own cup had been drained hours previous. It was warm in his hand and Scorpius was grateful, the February wind chill getting to him.

"I don't think I'm going to go tonight," Albus claimed.

"Why's that?"

"I'm just not in the mood for a party with all of my parents friends."
"It won't just be you're parents friends. Frank'll be there, and so will I. Rose and Alice too, obviously. But maybe you view Alice as a sister more than as a friend," Scorpius joked.

Albus laughed, remembering how he had drunkly told Alice he viewed her as family. He had told Scorpius that story about a year previous when they too had been drunk after both passing their written exam. Scorpius had felt bad for Alice as it had been obvious that she like Albus as most definitely not a friend.

"I can be such a wanker when I'm drunk," Albus said.

"You can be such a wanker all of the time," Scorpius said.

Albus chose to ignore the comment, choosing instead to look over the edge of the rooftop. There had been snowfall a few nights previous and most of what lay on the ground was still relatively white. London was beautiful in the winter and one of Albus' favorite times of the year.

Albus, realizing that he too had a lot of paperwork to complete, nodded to Scorpius in farewell before descending the fire escape. Once inside he grabbed his files and sat at the island in the kitchen, scribbling away.

The wind whistled around the two young men when they landed in Hogsmeade. Behind them, the castle glistened in the early evening. The sun had set already and the lights had come on, illuminating it in the ever growing darkness. Scorpius and Albus looked at it for only a second before heading to the back door of the Three Broomsticks.

They knocked quietly waiting for the door to open up. It didn't.

Scorpius looked down at the watch he had been given on his 17th birthday. 6:35. They waited another minute before Albus knocked again, this time a little louder. 30 more seconds passed before the door swung open and the smiling face of Hannah Longbottom greeted them.

"Albus! Scorpius! So glad the two of you could make it. Come in come in," she said, ushering them inside to the warm hallway. "Everyone's upstairs, Alice is supposed to arrive at 7."

She led them up the stairs, still talking.

"Everyone will hide at 6:55, in case she's early, which knowing my Alice, probably won't happen." Hannah opened the door to the upstairs room above the bar. "In the mean time grab something to eat. Relax. Enjoy."

She smiled at them again before another knock sounded from down the stairs and she ran down to go get it.

Scorpius and Albus moved farther into the room. It was no wonder no one had heard the first knock, the room was loud and full of people. Albus left Scorpius to go and say hello to his parents, who were standing at a table filled with drinks. Ginny and Harry Potter were talking to Hermione and a woman who Scorpius assumed to be Luna Scamander (as she looked just like her two sons and had a remarkable whimsy about her).

Scorpius surveyed the room. It looked as though the Longbottom's had invited nearly all of their friends (including some of Scorpius' old professors) and many of his own Hogwarts classmates that Alice had, at one point or another, been even slightly friends with. Seeing Cody Finnegan by a table of food, Scorpius decided to go over and say hello.

He had been discussing the pros and cons of England hosting the 2030 Quidditch World Cup to Cody and fellow classmate Ryan Smith, when Cody's face broke into a large smile and he said, "Rose."

Scorpius' back had been facing the door and he had not been aware of her entrance. Not that he had any reason to know when she arrived, but he was just usually in tune to his surroundings. He never liked to stand with his back away from a main entrance because it was much easier to survey who was coming and going when you could see the door. But anyways.

He turned to face her. She smiled sweetly at Cody before giving him a hug. She then turned to Ryan, who had been a prefect with her and hugged him as well. Scorpius was the third in the circle and she gave him a hug too. He sincerely hoped that Ryan and Cody couldn't sense their awkwardness. But when she hugged him, he realized that she smelt the exact same way she had when they had slept together all those months ago.

However before anyone could say anything else of substance to each other, a glass was being clanged in order to get the rooms attention.

Neville stood at the front of the room.

"It is now 6:55, we are expecting Alice to arrive any minute so if you all could quietly find a place to hide."

Ryan and Cody both scurried away, looking for a good place to surprise Alice leaving Rose and Scorpius alone.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey," her reply came out as more of a sigh than she wanted it to.

"We should probably hide."

Rose laughed even though there was nothing funny to laugh at.

"Alice is gonna hate this," she said.

Scorpius nodded awkwardly before ducking behind the snack table. Rose followed shortly after, once she realized she didn't have a better option.

"So, what's up?" Rose asked as the crouched down.

"Not much, I have a year and a half left of Auror training," Scorpius whispered.

Rose smiled and nodded her head. She swayed slightly, precarious to her current position. Trying to catch her balance, she placed her hand delicately on Scorpius' knee. She had not been conscious of what she was doing. It was almost an instinctual thing to want to be closer to Scorpius. But she quickly pulled away, avoiding his eyes. Scorpius coughed.

"I-" he began but was cut off by a loud scream of "SURPRISE" as Alice walked in.

Albus had been hiding behind a fern toward the front of the room when Alice walked in. He had been talking to Alice's little brother Frank about what life was like outside of Hogwarts. Frank was still at school and had gotten to come home for the welcoming party. It helped that a multitude of professors were in attendance too. Frank was tall like his father and still had some baby fat he was desperate to loose. His hair hung in front of his blue eyes and he'd have to flick it off his forehead every few minutes in order to still see the person he was talking to.

When Neville told everyone it was time to hide, Frank had ran behind the door so as to be the first one to scare his big sister. Albus' hiding spot behind the plant was as good as any. When Alice walked into the room behind her smiling mother, she nearly jumped out of her skin and he nearly forget to yell surprise.

Alice looked different since the last time Albus had seen her. That was not at all surprising as it had been since graduation. She looked older, more mature. Her blond hair, once long and wavy, had been cut to her shoulders. Her clothes were different too, though Albus couldn't quite decide what about them. She just looked older, more confident and sure of herself. Her brown eyes gleamed with amusement as her mother gave her a hug. Alice laughed slightly when her dad came over to hug her and whisper something in her ear.

Alice gazed at the people in the room, most of them having returned to their conversations. A few people went up to say hello, including Rose. She was trailed by a slightly dazed looking Scorpius. Deciding he should go and say hello too, Albus walked over to where his flatmate and cousin stood talking.

"I had no idea," Alice was saying. "I even told them not to have anything, but you know how they can be." She rolled her eyes as Albus walked up.

"Hey Alice," Albus said, not quite sure of what to do with his hands for some reason.

"Albus! How are you? How's Auror training I haven't seen you since graduation." Alice said, giving him a hug.

Albus had not been expecting that and by the time he put his arm around her she was already pulling back.

Realizing she had asked him a question he said, "It's good. Keeps us busy you know."

Alice smiled up at him before being pulled away by her mother to go and say hello to some old friends.

Rose, Scorpius, and Albus stood quietly for a moment before Rose announced that she thought she saw someone from work she ought the say hello to.

"Alice looks different," Albus said to no one in particular.

"Hm?" Scorpius asked, he had been too busy looking at Rose walk away to pay attention to his friend.

"What's going on with you two?" Albus asked, seeing his friends gaze. Suddenly it dawned on Albus that there was something going on between his best mate and favorite cousin. He had subconsciously noticed that they barely spoke when around each other anymore but it hadn't occurred to him until that moment that there may be an underlying cause. When it came to Auror training and solving a case, Albus was as good as anyone. But when something involved someone personally, Albus was oblivious. "You two used to practically hang out every night at Hogwarts and now you don't so much as talk when together."

"Sometimes people just grow apart," Scorpius shrugged.



Chapter 7: Chapter 6
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She shouldn't have been as surprised as she was. After 20 years of knowing them, Alice should have realized that her parents would not have let her homecoming be a quiet one. She was honestly a little shocked at how small the gathering was. Hannah and Neville had skipped out on inviting all of the extended family and acquaintances. The surprise party was only 75 of their closest friends.


The night wore on. Alice had given so many hugs and smiled so brightly her arms were sore and her cheeks burned. Eventually she found herself sitting at one of the tables her parents had brought up from the bar below. The wooden bench she sat on was hard beneath her and the table was still sticky despite no doubt being helplessly scrubbed at by every member of the Longbottom clan. You could never really get butterbeer out of wood. Alice sat between her (not so) little brother Frank and best friend Rose. Across from them was Lily and Albus Potter. They were all talking about the last Quidditch match between the Chudley Cannons and the Wimbourne Wasps. As Alice had just arrived back in the country, she was not up to date in all things Quidditch. And even if she had been, Alice would most likely not have been following the sport. She didn't dislike it, just never really bothered to follow along with it like her best friend and many other Hogwarts students.


Alice stifled a yawn behind her hand. She was still not acclimated to the time change, her body still back in New York. She glanced at her watch, it was getting late, another 20 minutes and she could make an appropriate excuse to leave. 20 more minutes of saying pleasant good byes and she would be on her way to floo back to her apartment.


"Where are you living, Alice?" a voice asked, calling Alice out of her thoughts and back to the sticky wooden table and the people that surrounded it. She looked up to see Lily had been the one to address her.


"In a little apartment in West London. I can't quite remember the streets but it's over a cute little pub."


"You've just described about half of the buildings," snorted Albus. "They've all got a pub below, or a Boots." Albus smiled slightly at his response as the other members at the table, namely Alice, rolled their eyes as his sassy remark.


"So what will you be doing at your new job?" Frank asked, ignoring Albus.


"Much of the same as the last one. Mostly reading manuscripts that the higher-ups can't be bothered with. My title hasn't changed merely my office. But I've come over specifically with a writer so I have no idea if I will just be working with him or not."


"Who is it? Anyone we might know?" Lily's perfectly plucked red eyebrow rose.


"William Desmond," Alice replied, almost unsure as she did not know if they were aware of who that was.


"That name is so familiar," said Rose, scratching her head.


"He was a few years ahead of us at Hogwarts I think," said Albus.


"And he wrote Underground, that book about muggle-borns escaping England during the war." Scorpius added, sitting down on the bench next to Lily. She smiled up at him and gave him a hug.


"Scorpy I haven't seen you in ages, how is everything going?" Lily cried as she squeezed the blonde boy in her arms.


He smiled slightly and Rose flinched so hard that Alice felt it next to her. Sensing her friends discomfort Alice decided now was as good a time as any to start saying goodnight. Alice yawned louder than was probably necessary, stopping Scorpy from responding.


"Well, I think it's time I called it a night. I'm still a bit tired from the journey and my body still thinks it's in America."


"It was so nice seeing you," Lily smiled sincerely.


Alice stood up, followed by Rose and soon everyone else as they began to say their goodbyes.



Life moved on and Alice found her groove back in the UK. Every Sunday she would floo to Hogsmeade for dinner with her parents and her brother (if he could get away from school). Her office was only a few blocks away from the Ministry so she would make a concerted effort to see Rose at least once a week for lunch at one of the pubs or cafés that lined the streets. They were always loud and full of people, muggle and wizards alike. Every once in a while they would see someone from work or a fellow former Hogwarts student picking up a sandwich or grabbing a quick cup before jetting back to their lives. It was on one such summer day that Alice and Rose ran into a young man Alice had not seen since her welcome back party.


Alice had gotten up to go get another cup of tea at the counter and when she came back her seat was occupied by a messy haired young man. His back was to her but when Rose looked up to acknowledge her return, he swiveled around in the plastic seat to look at her.


"Hi Alice," Albus said with a smile that only lifted the lifted the right side of his mouth.


"Hey Albus," Alice was careful not to spill her tea as she smiled at the green eyed boy. Albus didn't quite realize he had commandeered her seat forcing Alice to sit in the empty one between the two cousins.


"Albus finishes his second year of Auror training this Friday," Rose filled in before there could be a lull in the conversation.


"Oh wow!" Alice gushed, "That is truly amazing. Congratulations." She patted him on the arm in celebration.


"Thanks, I'm just excited that I only have a year left. Training can be brutal," Albus said. He rolled his eyes. That seemed almost like an understatement. Alice could see the edges of a large purple bruise peaking out from under his grey t-shirt and he had a cut above his left eyebrow. However, training didn't seem all bad as the arm she had just patted had been strong underneath her hand. Not that she had much to compare it too as she had never really touched his arm before. She'd only ever imagined doing that, late at night, unconsciously as she drifted off to sleep… but that was besides the point.


"Well," Albus huffed, "I must be off, seeing my mum about some pesky family business that just must be taken care of." He smiled at his cousin before standing up from the sunshine yellow chair. "Alice, see you around I'm sure. Rosie, see you Saturday." And with one last wave, Albus turned on his heals and walked out of the room with all of the confidence of a man who was more than aware that he would be the first one to put his life at risk for the people in this room, and would do so happily. Which, for the record, was a lot of confidence.


Alice sat flustered for a moment. She sometimes felt that Albus would come in like a hurricane, with a flurry of action and Alice's usual calm life had to adjust to it. It wasn't that her life was never busy, in fact it usually was, it was just that Albus had a way of making everything seem… bigger, almost. He just had an air that everything he said was not just important but hilarious and insightful and miraculously cliché yet understood by all at the same time. It made her heart speed up and her senses go to overdrive in a futile attempt to keep up. It was both frightening and exhilarating when his attention was turned on you because it meant that you got to play along in his game of wit and word, something she had become more adept at over the years. And especially now that she was working with text. The increased heart rate and rapt attention used to scare her but now those (few and far between) moments when she would see him and those even fewer and farther between ones where he would address her were things she desperately looked forward too. And it didn't hurt that when he fixed his interest on someone his green eyes shown and he ran his hand through his already unruly hair, making it somehow even messier yet even better all at the same time.


Once she had regained her composure, which hadn't been lost so much as misplaced for a minute in her mind, like when you forget for a second where you put your wand, she looked up at her friend. Rose was stirring another sugar packet into her milky tea, absentmindedly staring out the window at the people walking past outside. Yet the café window faced a small alley, and there wasn't much to look at. Rose was really just staring at the brick wall across the way.


"What's Saturday?" Alice asked, figuring it was some type of family event as the Weasley clan seemed to have at least one a week.


"Hmm?" Rose said, her eyes torn from the red brick.


"Saturday. Albus mentioned something about seeing you this weekend." Alice's eyebrows rose up under the fringe on her forehead.


"Oh, that! Just a small gathering in celebration of him and Scorpius finishing their second year." Rose said, continuing to stir her tea. Her eyes stared down at it, so intently that Alice wondered if Rose had learned some secret visual magic that could allow her to heat lukewarm beverages.


"Rose, are you ok?" Alice reached across the table and stopped her best friend of nearly a decade from stirring until the spoon broke.


"It's just," Rose sighed, finally looking up Alice, "the whole Scorpius thing."


Alice smiled sympathetically but inwardly rolled her eyes.


"Hun, it's been 2 years since then-"


"I know!" Rose exclaimed, receiving a withering look from the old lady at the table one over from them. "It's just" she sighed again and continued, quieter, "Every time I see him it hurts. I just think of what we used to have. Not in a romantic sort of way, I just miss him. And not just because we really clicked that night after graduation, but all the years of being friends, both secretly and not so secretly. We went from barely acknowledging each other to him being one of the closest people in my life to us being nothing at all. It just sucks that we got the timing so fucked up. That that night couldn't have happened sooner or maybe never happened at all. But I also don't wish those things because it was amazing and knowing that he felt the same way, at least at one point, at least a little, gave me the chance to maybe move on from the whole thing. From feeling the way I did about him. Because, to be honest, I think I loved him. I don't know what that even means though. I didn't know what love was at 18 and I don't know what it is now either. Sometimes I just wish we could have had a real go at it. Had an actual honest-to-God shot at making whatever it was between us work. Because sleeping together that one time was not the way to do it. We shouldn't have let each other leave and blow it off like it was nothing. To me it wasn't nothing, it was a whole lot of something that I'm scared I'll never find again. Not just with Scorpius, but with anyone. And so when I see him it hurts because there are so many things going on and I just don't know how to deal with them."


During this whole speech, Rose's hand never left Alice's. Alice squeezed it hard, wanting one of the people who knew her better than anyone to know that she was there, no matter what. "Have you felt this way all this time."


"All this time," Rose replied. "And I know I'll never say anything about it to him because I don't want to mess up the timing again."


"Have you talked to anyone about it?"


"The only other people I could would be Albus who is out as he is now so close to Scorpius and, ironically, before this whole thing happened, Scorpius himself."


"I only wish you had told me sooner, but this isn't really something one can convey over floo or in a letter."


"I know, me as well. But I'm glad you're here now. Hopefully for good."


Alice smiled softly at her friend, "For good."



It was late Saturday evening when Alice suddenly awoke from her nap. She hadn't meant to fall asleep but after she got into bed for a quiet night in, her eyes had started to droop. Alice had planned a whole evening by herself as her flat was empty. Devon was out on a date with his boyfriend and wouldn't be back until the morning while Isabel had gone home to Texas to visit her family for the Fourth of July. "Even wizards can be patriotic!" She had exclaimed as she showed Alice her American flag bikini.


Before getting in bed, Alice had made herself a nice dinner and sat listening to some old wizard songs her parents liked and reading a book that her company's adversary had just published. She had cleaned up the kitchen and gone to her bed, planning on continuing to read the sappy romance. However once her head hit the pillow, unwarranted fatigue kicked in and before she knew it she was being startled awake by what sounded like loud banging coming from the living room. Her room was darker than it had been when she fell asleep at 8 and moonlight poured in through the unblocked window. Slightly scared of what might be beyond the door, she sat up and grabbed her wand. The banging stopped for a moment, and she relaxed but flinched again when it sounded louder when it restarted. Deciding that she wasn't one to sit by and let her place get ransacked, she silently stepped on the floor. The banging stopped and Rose tip toed to the door. She opened it, hoping it wouldn't squeak and walked into the darkened hallway. There was another window at the end of the hallway, letting in a little more of the summer moons brightness. The kitchen was dimly lit as Alice had not extinguished all of the light in case she wanted tea later and did not want the flat to be creepily dark. She made it down to the end of the hall where it opened up to the sitting room and kitchen. She sighed and moved out into the open, wand at the ready, prepared to battle whoever dare enter her home and sanctuary. She was met… with nothing.


The banging started again and Alice looked around room. Nothing seemed out of place and there was not anywhere one could conceivably hide. Listening more intently for the source of the noise, Alice realized it wasn't coming from inside the apartment, but from below it. Alice stopped for a moment and decided to try and go back to bed now that she realized that there was no threat to her home.


Once she walked back to her bed, the banging had stopped. She began to drift off again, but then it started up again. As she listened to it, it started to seem that the bangs had a pattern to them, almost like the people below were banging on the ceiling to a song- with a sledge hammer. She tried to fall back asleep but the noise was too loud. She looked at her watch and saw that it was already almost a half an hour into Sunday morning. Alice didn't want to be that neighbor but she did have work to do in the morning. Her life working for Nancy Bowbenof and, more specifically, Will was very hectic. She had notes due on his new book first thing Monday morning and had been planning on spending all of Sunday working.


Alice swung her legs back over the side of her bed. She shuffled around looking for a loose sweatshirt, finding an old Gryffindor one at the end of her bed. She pulled on her furry boots and shuffled out of her apartment, making sure she locked it behind her. Ask she walked, she haphazardly pulled her blonde hair up into a ponytail. She silently prayed to whoever might be listening that her downstairs neighbors would be kind (and sober) enough to stop whatever banging they were doing. She walked to the stairway at the end of the hall, walking slowly down the winding passage to the fourth floor. She walked down the hall identical to the one above until she came to the offending flat: 405.


After knocking rather loudly on the door, Alice patiently waited for a few moments, hoping someone would come to the door. She knew this was the right door as she could still hear the occupants banging loudly inside. Alice suddenly got the horrible idea that maybe there was a couple inside and they were having sex and that she would be intruding and now it would be awkward whenever she saw them around the building. And even though the noise had been coming from their ceiling, this building was wizards only and she had heard some… interesting… stories of wizard sex that involved things far to complicated and excessive for Alice's taste. However before she could run away from any potential embarrassment, the door opened wide.


The first thing she noticed about the man in the doorway was his hair. It was so blonde it almost looked white. His head was turned away from her, laughing at a joke someone inside had made. He was quite tall and she didn't recognize him until he turned to face her, the continuation of his laugh still adorned his mouth. Once he saw who stood in the door way, he looked slightly confused and Alice was sure she did as well. For the man in the door was someone she had not expected to see.


Scorpius Malfoy's eyebrows nit together as his drunken mind tried to figure out how Alice Longbottom came to be standing at his door way during the wee hours of the morning. Especially dressed as she was in boots, shorts, and an old Gryffindor Herbology sweatshirt. She was just as shocked to see him.


"Hey Scorpius. I didn't realize you were my downstairs neighbor but I just came down to see if anything was the matter as there has been a loud banging noise in my flat and I just wanted to see if maybe you could keep it down a little?" She rambled this much more than she meant to, it was just weird seeing that she knew the person she had come to complain to.


"Oy!" Scorpius called behind him, not being quiet at all, "Keep it down, will you Al, you woke up poor LB here!"


Alice turned red as she knew the other occupant of the apartment must now be curious as to why Alice Longbottom had been woken up by the noise. But the music she had heard upstairs suddenly stopped. And along with it the loud base that she inferred must have been the cause of the banging.


"What on earth are you talking about?" Albus called back, his voice getting louder as he walked towards the door. He stopped short when he rounded the corner and saw Alice standing in the door. A big lopsided smile came on his face as the drunken 20-year-old came to the doorway and grabbed Alice in a most unexpected hug. Her breath caught and he set her down.


"What are you doing here?" The smile never leaving Albus' face.


"Well, I heard banging and came to see if I could ask you to keep it down. I know that sounds awfully lame of me but I really have a lot to do…" She trailed off, not wanting to sound even worse than she already probably did.


Suddenly there was a squeal and Alice was almost toppled over into the hallway. She had been attacked by her best friend.


"Ah! What are you doing here Alice?!" Cried Rose.


Alice, not wanting to explain herself a third time, merely shrugged her shoulders and said "I live a floor above." She figured that was enough explanation for her drunk friend.


"Well you have to come in! We're celebrating Albus and Scorpius completing more of their Auror training."


"Yes I know. You told me that yesterday." Alice smiled at her friend and allowed herself to be pulled into the apartment. It looked very much like her flat upstairs, only a little smaller as it was for two people instead of three. She looked around to see only three more people in the room. James Potter, Albus' older brother and Rose's cousin. Alice had not known him well at Hogwarts but his reputation of being as big a troublemaker as his uncles and grandfather preceded him. Sitting on the warn leather couch next to him was another member of their large family, Roxy Weasley. She had been a year above them at Hogwarts and one of Rose's favorite cousins, meaning Alice had become friends with her too. Yet they had lost contact over the years since school. A third guest sat on the ottoman next to the coffee table, Blake Zabini. A close friend of Scorpius Alice had rarely spoken to. All she knew of him was that, like Scorpius, he was desperate to get away from his family's past and move on with his life. Alice was more than happy to let him do so.



Alice finally climbed back into her own bed around three hours later. She had spent the early morning hours in the flat below hers getting to a point of drunkenness where she matched her companions. She reconnected with Roxy and talked to Blake for what might have been the first time despite being in many of the same classes at Hogwarts. She even managed to her a pleasant conversation with Albus, who wasn't nearly as intimidating when both parties were drunk.

She did not know how she had lived here for months and never run into either of the boys she had known as long as anyone. Men she regarded as acquaintances if not actual friends. She had told them, in her non-sober way, that they must get together like this again. They had agreed as well and an ambiguous date was set for sometime in the not-so-distant future. The entire morning was one that she regarded fondly and she had a smile on her face as she fell back to sleep. 

Chapter 8: Chapter 7
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A few months passed since the occupants of apartments 405 and 505 had discovered their neighbors.

The air had changed in London. The once sweltering days were now cold and rainy. Fall began and with it came the birthday of the youngest son of the Boy Who Lived.

Rose had walked up the stairs to find herself at the old wooden door she hadn’t had to face since July. That night had been so strange. She and Scorpius had barely spoken despite the fact that there were at most 5 other people in attendance. And, somehow, they always seemed to find themselves sitting directly across from each other. I.e. the perfect spot for making awkward eye contact while reaching for the dip or taking a swig of beer. They did not exchange more than a few polite words.

Rose and Alice had debriefed later that same week about what had happened, and -more specifically- what had not, at the gathering.

“He is just so weird around me!” Rose exclaimed, tearing apart the scone she had bought. Better she take her anger out on a pastry than on the man it was directed towards.

“Well, can you blame him? It is a rather awkward situation.” Alice readjusted her sunglasses. They sat outside today, in a little café that was situated on a busy corner.

Rose sighed. LB was right. The whole situation was awkward. Usually Rose was quick to get past that sort of thing yet couldn’t figure out how in this situation. She had rarely, if ever, been awkward around Scorpius. Maybe when they first had begun to sit together in the library, but nothing more than her making sure not to let her chair squeak too much when she sat down or have her pen scratch unpleasantly. This was a much higher level of awkwardness than the amount two 11 year olds could muster up. And normally being drunk would help defuse the tension, but between Scorpius and Rose, it almost made it worse. Rose voiced this to her friend.

“Maybe it’s because this whole thing started when you were drunk,” explained Alice. “It’s like your body knows that this was the state in which it fucked you both over and makes sure you don’t talk to him and make it again.”

And as Rose now stood in front of apartment 405, she thought of her friends musings. Rose turned it over in her head and agreed with it, if only a little. Maybe her drunk self was doing her a favor by helping her avoid the awkwardness that was Scorpius Malfoy. She clutched the little maroon and gold box in her left hand and knocked on the door with her right. She prayed that her cousin would open the door. Luckily for Rose, someone must have been listening because the door swung open and Albus stood smiling in the threshold.

“Early as usual, are we Rosie?” Albus asked with a smirk that only lifted half his mouth.

“I’m exactly on time,” Rose said, looking down at her watch. It was half past, just as was put on the invite. “And happy birthday, you old man! 22 already? Practically a grandfather.”

Albus allowed Rose to hug him and moved aside so she could enter the flat.

“It looks great!” Rose was genuinely shocked. The room, usually pretty barren, with only the bare necessities of furniture, was decorated with streamers and balloons. Every few moments a streamer would explode into a fizzle shaped in the words of “Happy Birthday!”

“Yes, well,” Albus ran his hand through his hair, “Scorpius insisted we decorate seeing as how it would be a larger gathering. Isn’t that right, mate.”

Rose’s back had been facing the kitchen entryway and she hadn’t seen Scorpius standing under the arch. She turned around to face him. His arms were crossed as he leaned against the wall. He wore dark jeans and a black t-shirt. His white-blond hair had been combed and gelled, giving him an aristocratic air. He gave her a close lipped smile before turning around to do something in the small kitchen.

There was another knock on the door and Albus ran to go get it. Rose walked further into the room. She did a small turn to see all of the decorations the boys had set up. She felt a pair of eyes on her; grey ones that she had longed to look at her for years. He was still standing in the kitchen but at the counter that opened up into the living room. Neither said a word, just looked at each other for a moment.


She tore her eyes and forced a smile on her face as she addressed her cousin Lucy.

“Hey! What’s up?” Rose asked, pulling her cousin into a hug.

“Not much, I just got back from Paris this morning. Who knew Wizarding Fashion Week could be so hard? Not me! But Paris is absolutely beautiful this time of year, you really must go.” Lucy continued to talk about France and all of the amazing food and men and clothes she had seen. Restating that Rose simply had to go when she could.

Rose was only half listening as she glanced back at the counter to see if Scorpius was still there. He wasn’t, having disappeared back into the kitchen.   


An hour later, sitting on an old ottoman, Rose was listening intently as Cody Finnegan talked to her and Alice about his time with MACUSA on an exchange program through the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creature. He was saying something about the intricate relations between Wizard and Goblin when Rose was distracted.

Scorpius had been busy all night cleaning up spills and dirty napkins left behind by the increasing number of drunk people. One such person, a women Rose vaguely recognized from seeing in the Ministry’s cafeteria, stumbled into him.

Rose could hear her peal of laughter from across the room.

The tipsy girl grabbed Scorpius’ arm in what appeared to be an effort to stable herself. Once she was planted firmly on the ground in her sky-high stilettos, she casually flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and laughed again at god knows what; Presumably a dry comment from Scorpius.

Rose felt the need to role her eyes at the pairing, even if they did look rather nice together. This unnamed twig was tall, so next to him she was not dwarfed like Rose often felt when in Scorpius’ presence. Her matte black dress looked good with his shirt, as if they had planned on matching. Aristocratic. Not a sight for sore eyes at all.

Looking at this girl, so put together and elegant, made Rose feel out of place in her jean skirt and combat boots. Short too. But she always felt short around Scorpius.

Scorpius. Rose really had not meant to stare and did not realize she was until her eyes met his. Rose blushed slightly and turned away. The blonde girl had noticed Scorpius’ millisecond distraction and turned to see what he was looking at. Rose could feel the girl’s icy blue eyes on her still pink cheeks as she desperately tried to rejoin the conversation between Alice and Cody.

There is no reason to be awkward, Rose told herself as she continued to blush. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. I mean, so what that we admitted we liked each other? That was years ago and he probably forgot all about it. Plus, we decided we wouldn’t work, not with us both having so many goals in life. There was just too much to do and accomplish, being tied down to someone, having to put in effort for a relationship, neither one of us could have swung it. Neither one of us could have made the time.


Rose looked up at Alice, who had clearly just asked her a question.

“What?” Rose asked, suddenly realizing that she had fallen short in her attempt to rejoin the party.

“I asked if you wanted anything to eat?” Alice said, a look of concern flashing in her eyes.

“Oh no, no. I’m quite alright. Thanks though.” Rose sighed too heavily and LB’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly. A look Rose knew well. It meant they would be talking later as Rose did not appear to be as alright as she claimed.


The rest of the night was an anxiety filled blur. Rose desperately tried to avoid all things Scorpius. Whether that meant actually avoiding the man by not looking at him or being in the same conversation as him or by changing the subject when his name came up. When either of these things did happen she would blush heavily and turn away.

Rose could not help but berate herself throughout the party. She was a grown women, there was no reason to be acting like a silly schoolgirl who had a crush. Even though that was exactly what she felt like. Whenever anything Scorpius related came about she felt almost as if she was transported back to Hogwarts. It was as if he brought out a side of her she had believed to have grown out of. But with a simple sighting of his white blonde hair, she was reduced to a hormonal mess of a ginger who really should know better.

Rose leaned against the kitchen counter, surveying the party. The blonde girl she had seen flirting with Scorpius earlier was now draped over Mac McManus on the old leather sofa. Alice was talking to Roxy Weasley and her fiancé Will Jorkins. Albus was gesturing wildly in a conversation with her little brother Hugo and Lily and her new boy friend (some man named Hank Rose had briefly met) snuggled on the love seat. Lorcan Scamander was watching near by with a look of disdain and disappointment on his face.

Rose suddenly realized it was time for her to go.

She had no business sulking in the corner when it was no one’s fault but her own for not having a good time. She stood away from the counter and straightened her skirt. She made her way over to her friends and family and began to make her goodbyes.

Rose gave Alice a hug and her friend whispered in her ear, “We’ll meet up this week. To talk about… everything.”

Rose pulled away but didn’t let go of her friends shoulders.

“Sounds like a plan,” She responded, smiling slightly at LB.

The last person she said goodbye to was her cousin and birthday boy, Albus. He had become steadily drunker throughout the evening. His face was flushed as Rose thanked him for the invite and promised to grab lunch with him soon. He pulled her into a hug and Rose laughed at the strong smell of alcohol wafting off of him. Over his shoulder, Rose made eye contact with Scorpius again. The smile fell from her face at the look in his eyes and she felt her cheeks burn again. She really needed to get out of there.

“Happy birthday, Al,” Rose said, pulling away.

He smiled at her again, not noticing her discomfort or blush. Rose quickly turned around, away from Scorpius. Before anyone could try to start up a conversation with her, Rose sprinted toward the door. She hurriedly pulled it open and stepped out into the dimly lit hallway. She shut it quietly behind her and headed down the hall, the sounds of the party faded behind her. She made it halfway down the small hallway when the music blasted again for a few seconds and then was dulled.

Rose turned around to see who else had decided to leave the party before it was over and was surprised to find Scorpius standing at the other end.

She had stopped short when she saw him and now stood awkwardly in front of apartment 402.

“Hi,” he said, not moving.

“Hey,” Rose’s voiced cracked and she coughed.

“You forgot your, um, jacket,” Scorpius said holding up a leather coat Rose had indeed forgotten in her mad dash out of the flat.

“Thanks,” She said. Rose walked forward a few steps and reached out to take back her jacket. The soft leather was smooth under her hand and she slipped it on as Scorpius continued to stand there.

“Well, I’ll see you around I guess,” Rose began walking backwards down the hall, away from the blonde man.

“Yeah,” He said. His back was straight and his hair was still perfect despite a night of partying. He looked regal. Too regal. Almost unfriendly and judgmental. But Rose knew him too well at this point to read it as that. She was once close friends with him. She could read him like a book. From the way he would roll his shoulders back before getting in an argument with her, mentally and physically preparing himself to the tilt of his eyebrow that let her know she was rambling when she didn’t realize (a look she would often ignore). And this look he was wearing now, one of superiority, was one he would show when he was protecting himself. So instead of getting defensive, Rose got sad. She had not seen Scorpius act that way toward her in a decade, when they met in DADA their first year. He had acted that way towards her when they were unceremoniously declared partners by their professor. Scorpius had been cold in a way Rose was unaccustomed to and she mostly ignored it, trying her best to work hard until one day he wasn’t. They were not friends at that point (and wouldn’t be for a few good years) but recognized that class was much more important than any stupid rivalry. But now, with him looking like that she almost felt like crying at the realizing that their relationship had reverted back to what it had been at age 11: nonexistent.

Rose smiled sadly at Scorpius before turning around, walking down the hallway without looking back.

But she never heard the loud sounds of the party, not until she opened the door to the staircase and walked down toward the street below.

Chapter 9: Chapter 8
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The training room was colder than usual.



It was usually kept at a brisk temperature but today it seemed to be particularly frigid, Al remarked as he aimed another hit at the decrepit punching bag. He could have sworn it had been there since his father was in training.


Al and Scorpius had only 8 more months until they became full-fledged Aurors. As they were the only two in their class, they had spent hours together. And because they shared the same flat, that was both inside and out of the Ministry. At first Albus had been weary about spending so much time with the son of his father's Hogwarts rival. But as he learned more about his now best mate, Albus realized that Scorpius was trying to break away from the stereotypes his father seemed to have been forced into at the young age of 16. They did not talk about the past much, both seeing the future as a far more important part of their lives. However, when it would come up- as it inevitably did- Scorpius was obviously ashamed of his grandfather's atrocities. One of the reasons Scorpius wanted to become an Auror, he once confessed to Al, was to repent for the sins of his ancestors and become the man his father always wished he was.



Harry Potter had never said much about the Malfoy's growing up. They just were another family in the wizarding world. Though their acts in the war were not forgotten. Harry just did not see the point of putting someone down for the things they themselves did not do. Some others did not feel the same. When it came out (in [large] part due to Albus) that Rose and Scorpius were friends, there was a mixed reaction amongst the family. While many, including Uncle Ron, were not happy at the friendship there was nothing anyone could do to stop Rose from befriending who she wanted. Even if the older members were not particularly thrilled she was studying with a pure blood, they eventually accepted that the world was much different than it had been. And now that Al and Scorpius were so close, the topic of the blonde man's heritage rarely came up at Potter or Weasley family dinners. At least not in front of Albus, who was sure to give anyone a mouthful if they were to judge someone based on the name they had no choice in carrying.

Al could not speak for his friend, but he could imagine it was not easy for Scorpius to go around with the name that he did. Al knew a little something about the weight of a name and sometimes he didn't know what would be worse: having expectations be unattainably high because of your surname or bottom of the barrel because of it.


And besides, they had bigger things to worry about then quarrels of their ancestors. The way Albus saw it was that if his family couldn't see what a great guy Scorpius was based off of the things he had done, then he could not care less about their opinion because it was clearly not based on any sort of fact. Like his cousin Molly who simply regurgitated the things she read that had hate for those whose families followed Voldemort. She did not have any thoughts for herself on the matter but would vomit up hateful speech that was almost as bad as calling someone a mudblood. Any kind of hate was bad, no matter what "side" you claimed to be on. That was one of the reasons Al had decided to become an Auror. He did not want to see innocent people hurt because of someone's bigoted and biased views.


But back to the training room. It was just him and Scorpius in there now. They were third years and therefore the oldest in the academy. Most of the Aurors would be on assignment at this time of day and the newbies were still in orientation. The second years were on special opps somewhere in Ireland. The room was quiet except for the grunts of the two young men. Scorpius was busy stretching in a corner and every few minutes practicing pulling out his wand and aiming a silent spell at the wall for practice. The wall would absorb whatever he would throw at it, turning different colors to match the strength of whatever he was casting.


Albus continued to throw punches at the bag, his mind wandering like it would in the shower. They did not have much to do as their trainer had taken a day off to visit her father in Wales.


Albus thought of his own father down the hall. Harry had not gone out on any seriously dangerous missions since around the time James was born, opting instead for a desk job and letting the younger women and men take on the more taxing operations. Albus wondered if that too would be his fate. If he would also one day be sitting at a desk in a cold room filling out paper work watching others go out into battle. His father never complained though, claiming he had seen enough battle in his day. And while Albus understood that he could still help people even if he wasn't physically out there on the streets, he decided he didn't want that to be his fate. He would never want to be stuck doing paperwork forever.


Albus continued to think about his future. Where he would be in a the next few years. He was young, only 22. But at the same time at this age his father had already saved the wizarding world and was engaged to Ginny. There was no one Al could conceivably see himself getting engaged to. The majority of women he knew and saw on a regular basis either were Aurors or his cousins, both of which were OBVIOUSLY off limits for oh so many reasons. The only person he could think of that could be a possible romantic partner was Meghan, who drove him up a wall or Alice.




Al paused for a second in his punching. She was not someone he had ever really thought of romantically. He had even said she was like a sister. But that wasn't true because he thought of her and Lily in very different lights. Alice was just Alice. Not anything more or less than who she was. But that didn't make any sense because she was so much more than just a name given to her. She was her own person with a life Albus realized he didn't know much about. He was not even 100% sure of what she did for a living.


Wow, he thought. I've known her my entire life but I don't actually know her at all.


Before Albus could strain his mind thinking up facts about Alice Longbottom, Scorpius interrupted.


"Wanna spar?"


Albus stopped punching the beaten up bag.





The two stood a few feet apart, slowly circling each other on the mat set up in the middle of the room. Their wands were placed on the shelves against the wall. This wasn't a wizard fight but a muggle one. As a trainee, they were taught many types of fighting skills and ways. Often times as an Auror, a wand would be useless and hand to hand combat was the only way to subdue a criminal. They had learned the art of Krav Maga, Karate, Tai Chi, and many other ancient forms of defense and combat alike.


Neither wanted to make the first move.


Black against white (hair). Scorpius wore regulation clothes, a dark grey t-shirt and shorts every member of the academy was given multiple pairs of. Albus wore a white tank top he found in the bottom of his drawer and a pair of sweatpants that were slightly too short. Scorpius was wearing socks, Albus was barefoot. Both had a determined look in their eyes.


Albus moved first.


The next thing he remembered was looking up at the opaque ceiling of the training room. Somehow Scorpius had flipped him onto his back before Al could fight back. The next thing he remembered was the shooting pain in the back of his skull and in his left leg. After that it was Scorpius' pale face hovering over him, yelling at him to "Stay still. Do not move!"


Albus didn't think he could move even if he wanted. There was a pain worse than anything he had felt in a very long time.


Scorpius disappeared from view for a minute. Albus suddenly left the ground. Then his father was there, helping Scorpius lead Albus out of the training room and down the stone hallway. After that everything went black.


He awoke fully in a stale white room. Everything about the room was white. The ceiling he was staring at, the rough sheets that lay on top of him, the cast that covered his ankle to hip on the left side of his body that he could barely make out. He could only turn his neck a little bit. Albus felt something on his head and lifted a tired arm to feel the hard material that covered it. He couldn't see it but assumed it was white as well.


His whole entire body was sore, as if he had fallen off of his broom high above the field again and again and again. He could barely move any part of his body besides his right arm.


Somehow they must have known he was awake because a young healer came rushing into the room.


"How are you feeling, Mr. Potter?" The man asked with a strong Irish accent.


"Like I was hit by a Hypogriff." Albus had a feeling that telling it like it was would be the best choice in his current situation.


The healer smiled, his crooked teeth showing through his lips.


"Well it's good to see you awake."


"What happened to me?" Albus croaked. He felt like he hadn't used his voice in a very long time."


"Well, you were brought in yesterday with a severe injury to you head as well as to your left leg. We were able to stop the bleeding in both and repair the damage in your leg. You should be able to walk on it again no problem by the end of the day."


Albus sighed in relief. If he was permanently physically injured he would not know what to do. He still had no intention at being stuck at a desk forever.


"What about my head?" Albus asked.


"Well," the healer seemed a bit more nervous which made Albus very nervous. "You will make a full recovery. However our technology in brain injuries are not as advanced as one would hope. There is a treatment to help you but it will be extremely painful. Yet if you do not go through with it you will suffer permanent short term memory loss."


"How long will it take?" Also not wanting his mental faculties to be weakened. Especially not something as vital as memory.


"About a week. We already started it as soon as we could yesterday so your memory should be fine for now. But if we were to stop it, there could be unforeseen side effects including the undoing of all the work done thus far."


"So I have to stay here for the next week?" Albus clarified. "But then I'll be all good to go?"


"All good to go." The healer repeated.


Albus smiled crookedly. While it sucked that he would have to spend the next 7 days in St. Mungo's, at least he would make a full recovery. It could have been much worse.



"There is a friend waiting outside for you if you want me to send them in."


"Yes, thank you."


The ginger healer nodded and opened the door. He shut it quietly behind him. Albus could not see who was waiting outside as he could only turn his neck a little.


Suddenly a white blonde head appeared in his vision and his green eyes were met with nervous grey ones.


"Hey," His visitor said.


"I'm sorry, this is probably awfully rude as you came to visit and all, but who are you?"


If it was possible the man paled even more.


"Merlin, they said that you might forget things but I didn't think it would be real."


Albus broke out into a pained laugh as Scorpius looked at him shocked.


"I'm just messing with you mate."


Scorpius physically relaxed.


"So, what exactly happened?" Albus asked, wanting to get an answer as to why he was lying face up in a hospital bead.


"Well," Scorpius ruffled his hair, a bad habit he had picked up from Al himself. "We were sparring and I guess my leg swipe was too aggressive because the next thing I know you were in a heap on the ground. I heard your head hit the floor and you must have fallen weird on your leg because it was twisted in a way it should not have been."


Al sighed. So Scorpius had done this too him. He would get him back. In a friendly way, of course.


"Well I'm just glad that you get to explain to Maggie why I am out of training for the next week. She'll be devastated! Number one in the class taken out by last place."


Scorpius rolled his eyes, "You do know there are only two of us, right?"


Albus ignored him and continued to wail about the injustices that happened to those who just strived to be their best selves. Scorpius was laughing at the ridiculousness until suddenly he wasn't. Albus could see that he was staring toward the direction of the door but had no idea who he was looking it.


"Hey," Scorpius said in a tone very unlike his usual one.


"Hi," It was a voice Al knew well as he had been hearing this particular women talk for as long as she had been capable.


She walked toward the bed, her bright red hair came into view.


"I just came to visit my favorite cousin," Rose said, a smile that didn't reach her eyes plastered on her face.


Chapter 10: Chapter 9
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Scorpius shuffled awkwardly on the white linoleum floor. He had absolutely no idea how to act around Rose. Not since that fateful night after graduation. Every time he saw her after that- after their admission of feelings, after seeing her the way he had- Scorpius could no longer think straight around her. His mind would become fuzzy, a feeling he was not used to at all. Scorpius usually had all his shit together, personal and professional. He was neat and clean and had a handle on everything in his life. Well almost everything.

Rose Granger-Weasley had a way of coming into his life and messing up the balance. That had been true for years, ever since he had walked up to the secluded table in the library he had been studying at all semester to find her there. She could topple his carefully stacked world with one look. It was insane and yet Scorpius was drawn to her chaos because it was an organized mess. Her life was a disaster that she could easy navigate and he was envious. He saw it when they first partnered in DADA and she was unfazed by his demeanor. Most would shrink when faced with his cold exterior but it did not affect her in the slightest. She simply ignored the unfriendliness, her attitude and aptitude unchanged despite the circumstance.

Scorpius was not like that. His life had molded into the life of Rose when they became friends. His order melding into her disaster easily, like most things in her life. Scorpius soon understood her ways and while he did not incorporate the disorder into his own lifestyle he had an appreciation for hers. So, when they had been ripped apart due to their own actions, Scorpius’ world collapsed, suddenly unable to stand on its own. It was probably a good thing he had learned that he was so reliant on another person at such a young age. It was unhealthy to be so dependent. You must be your own person before you can be with someone else. And that was what Scorpius had worked on internally for the last 2 and a half years.

Scorpius was slowly building back his own life, completely independent from everyone else’s. He rarely went on dates or had flings with girls. About two seconds after Rose left Teddy’s apartment, Scorpius had decided he needed to focus on himself. As cheesy as that was, it was the truth he was finally mature enough to understand.

But that was why it was so hard to see Rose again every so often. Scorpius had finally become his own world again, not revolving around anyone else. He could proudly say that he was not dependent and would never be again. Yet there was a small unconscious part of him that would come to the surface when Rose walked in. Not a need to be a part of something with her but a fact that something was missing. He no longer needed her to complete him, yet he felt as though her presence in his life would add to an already sufficient one. He had to admit he was lonely and wanted a love he had once known with Rose. A love that had barely begun to sprout before it was stomped on by the cruel boot of reality. And while he did not necessarily need to find that love with Rose, he was looking (finally) to get it with someone.

Scorpius had not seen Rose in about a month, since Al’s birthday. They had not spoken except a few polite words and when he had followed her as she was leaving to return her coat. It was strange to at one point be so close to someone and then to suddenly flip a switch and hardly perform modest small talk. It saddened Scorpius.

“Hey Rosie!” Albus said, clearing ignorant to the tension in the hospital room. “How are you?”

“Better than you I s’pose.”

Albus laughed slightly before wincing in pain.

“I brought you some flowers,” Rose said, holding up a bouquet everyone knew Al would have no appreciation for. “And some chocolate for when you feel better.” She held up a bag of Chocolate Frogs before placing them on the white table next to the bed.

“Thank you,” Albus yawned, unable to hold it back. “I’ll be sure to eat those once I can move my body.”

Suddenly, the healer who had let Scorpius into the room was back.

“I’m so sorry, but visiting hours are almost over. You can feel free to come back tomorrow to visit.”

Scorpius nodded his head.

“Ok mate, I’ll see you soon. Hopefully Maggie won’t kick my arse too hard for crushing yours.”

Scorpius made his way toward the door as he heard Rose say her goodbyes and promise to come with the rest of the family once he was feeling better.

He had walked halfway down the hall when he felt Rose catch up to him. He looked down at her as she cleared her throat.

“I’m sorry,” She said.

Scorpius stopped in the middle of the hallway. A young healer grunted and said a few choice words before speedily walking around Scorpius. Rose did not stop right when he did but continued a foot or two farther before she stopped and faced him.

“What are you sorry about?” He asked, white blonde eyebrow raised.

“For acting so weird around you after what happened,” She shuffled her feet and looked down. “You know, between us.” Rose motioned to the air between them.



“Well I’m not quite sure that you should take all the blame for that. I mean, I have certainly been…” Scorpius paused, trying to find the right word. “…Uncomfortable around you.”

“We are both to blame I guess.”

“I guess.” He did not know what else to say.

Scorpius had not been expecting to have this conversation when he came to Mungo’s to make sure he had not killed his best mate.

“Um. So. Yeah,” Was all Rose said, playing with the silver heart necklace she had begun wearing after it was given to her for her 16th birthday. “I’ll see you around.”

Rose turned quickly on her heal and headed down to the floo network down the hall. Scorpius watched her go, unsure of what to do. Suddenly he was bumped from behind by a healer in a rush.

Probably not the best place to stand, Scorpius thought. He walked down the path Rose had just taken, as the chaos of the hospital flowed around him.


Two days later, Scorpius again found himself in the small white room in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. He and Al had just been discussing the upcoming World Cup and the work they would undoubtable have in protecting the spectators.

Albus’ condition had improved considerably since he had first been sent to the hospital. He could sit up straight in bed and feed himself. And while a cast remained firmly secured around his head, his left leg was no longer held in one. He could also laugh without too much pain.

Scorpius looked down at the watch he had had for years. “A family heirloom,” Draco had said. It was one of the only things either man had kept to remind them of their own family history.

After the war, Draco had moved far away from Malfoy Manner, looking desperately to start fresh. He traveled to Ireland, hoping to find some anonymity and only finding it for a very short while. He moved back home to England where he met Scorpius’ mother, Astoria, at her sister’s birthday party. They had lived a quiet life, away from the public eye. Astoria had run a small shop in the muggle town they lived in and Draco had begun to write, though he never let Scorpius read what he had published.

Astoria had made a point of showing Scorpius that muggles should be treated as equals, not others. Draco usually said very little on the matter but would never stop Scorpius from playing outside with their muggle neighbors, as long as he did not accidentally use magic.

They very rarely saw Lucius and Narcissa, save for Christmas dinner and an occasional birthday or two. His grandparents were none too fond of Scorpius’ muggle friends, whom he had made at the primary public school they sent him to. And Scorpius had learned early on not to mention the fact that the family often went to the movie theater or would watch the local football team play.

The life he had led as a child was so different than the one his father had led. Yet Draco had kept the watch, something his own father had given him at 17. A gift from a man who never thought Draco was good enough passed down generation to generation. And now Scorpius wore it in a hospital room laughing with the son of his father’s Hogwarts rival. A descendant of a family the Malfoy’s considered blood traders.

And Scorpius smiled a little brighter at the thought.


The young men continued to chat for a little while longer when they were interrupted by a loud screech.

“MY BABY!” came the cry of the protective matriarch, Molly Weasley.

In hobbled an older ginger women. She carried a tray of what smelled like brownies and had a worried look on her face as she observed her grandson.

“Hello Gran,” Al said, smiling nervously at her.

She sighed slightly before setting the desert down on the white side table.

“The rest of the family is on their way up. What a bunch of slow pokes. They all seemed perfectly fine with strolling down the hallway. But no, not me, dear,” She patted Al’s shoulder and brushed some imaginary dirt off it. “How are you doing, dear?”

“Well I’ve been better, but the healers have gotten me mostly fixed up. And Scorpius here has kept me company.”

It was obvious Molly had not noticed the blonde boy in the corner, as her eyes widened at the sight of him.

Until her face broke out into another smile.

“Scorpius! My darling, how are you feeling? Albus hasn’t been too depressing now has he?” She asked.

Scorpius chuckled lightly and shook his head. “He’s been a good sport. Especially seeing as I was partially responsible for putting him here.”

“Only partially? I heard you kicked his arse,” came a voice from the doorway.

“Lily Luna, watch your language,” Molly gasped.

“Sorry, Gran,” Lily shrugged her shoulders slightly.

“Well, I should go,” Scorpius said, not wanting to get caught up with the entire Weasley clan that was sure to arrive any minute. “I’ll see you at home, yeah mate?”

Albus nodded.

Scorpius stood from his chair. He went to Molly, a woman who had always treated him with respect and love, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. She smiled at him kindly. He headed for the door, patting Lily’s shoulder on the way out.

“See you,” She said, with a lumos level smile.

Once he was through the threshold, he could clearly hear the dull roar of the rest of Albus’ family coming down the hallway. And more specifically the hallway Scorpius needed to use to leave the building.

Well, I guess I have no choice but to face them. Scorpius thought. He wasn’t afraid of them, not really, at least. The Weasley’s were just… a lot. As in there were a lot of them and they were a lot to deal with, especially when there was no one to deflect the attention to.

Scorpius had hung around them since he had first become friends with Rose at 14. At first, it was just the other cousins who attended Hogwarts. He would sit with Rose and Roxy outside under the oak trees or support James and Dom playing quidditch. And eventually, he would come visit her when she spent her summer afternoons at the Burrow, meeting all the adults. Most of them did not show any outward disdain for him and for that he was grateful. But it was an awful lot to have 24 people pay so much attention to just you. A feeling Scorpius knew he was about to feel again.

And as soon as he rounded the corner, he did.

“Scorpius!” Hugo cried, upon seeing the blonde man. “It’s been forever. How are you, mate?”

Before Scorpius could even answer, he was being clapped on the back- a little too hard- by George Weasley.

“Scorpius, you’ve gotten so tall!” Came the French drawl of Fleur.

“Scorpius,” Harry Potter walked up to him. Scorpius shook his hand with the high level of respect you show your boss.

“Sir,” Scorpius said with a nod.

As all of these people addressed him, they continued to walk past him toward Al’s room. Scorpius had stopped in the middle of the hall, contained on both sides by the ginger storm.

Lucy approached him next.

“Hi Scorpius,” She smiled at him coyly. He gave her a close lipped one in response.

Lucy had been a few years younger than him at Hogwarts and he knew Rose had a distaste for her as she was rather pompous and self-righteous.

She continued down the hallway, but made eye contact with him until she could no longer see his face.

“Scorpius, it is so good to see you,” Angelina said as she and Fred walked past him. Roxy gave him a light punch to the shoulder as she trailed behind.

Ron merely grunted at Scorpius as he passed. Ron never liked the idea of his little Rosie hanging around any boy, especially one with such a torrid family past.

The last family member to pass him had a hard time looking him in the eye.

“Hey,” He said.

She looked up, brown eyes meeting grey for the first time in too long.

“So, fancy meeting you here I guess,” Scorpius said.

“Yeah, what are the chances,” Rose rolled her eyes slightly at the lame attempt at a joke. Yet she appreciated his effort to make this normal.

“So, how are you?”

“Super busy. Work has been crazy these last few weeks, but it should be better in the next few days, once the scouts are done looking for the year. Hogwarts was all in a frenzy because it was rumored that Puddlemere United would be stopping by at the Slytherin/Gryffindor match.”

“Wow, that feels like that was just us a few years ago. Excited at the prospect of the pros watching us play.”

Rose nodded her head, surprised at how far away that felt.

Before either could say something else, someone coughed louder than was normal. They both looked behind Scorpius to Ron standing at the end of the hall. His arms were crossed and he was obviously annoyed his daughter was talking to a man he was quite happy she had not mentioned in a while.

“Well, I should-“ Rose gestured to her father and the direction of her bed ridden cousin.

“Yeah, I’ll see you around, Rose,” Scorpius smiled.

Rose returned it with a bright one of her own.


Scorpius ate almost daily in the cafeteria on the top floor of the Ministry. He liked the atmosphere of the brightly lit dining hall. It was full of wizards of all ages, shuffling about, eager to prolong their short break from the mundane tasks they completed. It was a great place to people watch as so many filled the room.

At the table next to Scorpius an old woman sat alone reading some document as she carefully brought a full cup of tea to her lips.

A young man dodged tables and chairs, haphazardly dashing through the room to get to an empty table on the other side. The brown paper bag clutched in his hand swung forward sharply when he reached the table. The wizard sighed in relief as he pulled out an apple and sandwich.

A middle-aged couple strolled hand in hand toward the double doors. He was smiling down at her as she talked animatedly about something Scorpius would never know. As they exited, the man held the door open for a young ginger woman.

Rose Granger-Weasley.

Scorpius stared at her as she surveyed the room for an open seat. It was usually packed during lunch hour and there were rarely many unoccupied tables. Despite the crowd, Rose’s brown eyes found Scorpius and she smiled slightly. He returned it in full force and she made her way over.

It had only been yesterday since he ran in the entire Weasley family at Mungo’s and Scorpius tried desperately to control his breathing and act natural. He tried not to watch her weave through the other tables and took a much too large bight of his bagel in the process. He nearly began to choke before swallowing it painful. Trying to act cool, he did not outwardly react but the inside of his throat was on fire due to the large invasion.

“Can I sit here?” Rose asked, glancing at Scorpius.

Scorpius nodded his head vigorously and she sat down with a soft smile.

“So, um, how are you?” He asked, taking a swig of water.

“Good. Good,” She didn’t seem too good, just uncomfortable. “And yourself?”

“Fine. Fine.”

Rose smiled a little and Scorpius felt a little less tense.

“I haven’t seen you much around here for lunch before,” observed Scorpius.

“Well, I usually eat in my office or come after the large rush. And I usually meet LB for lunch once or twice a week in London,” Rose said. “But it was quiet in the office today so I made my break sooner and didn’t feel like eating by myself. Or at least not around anyone else.”

Scorpius nodded. Even if he didn’t sit with someone during lunch, he liked to be in the presence of others.

“Plus, Alice is in New York for a few weeks promoting a new book. So, I figured I would brave it out in the dining hall during the rush.”

“Well, it’s good to see you again,” Scorpius confessed, not wanting to show too many cards but needing her to know the truth.

“I’ve missed hanging out with you,” Rose admitted, clearly not afraid to lay a lot out on the table. “We used to see each other all of the time. But ever since graduation we’ve drifted apart.”

Scorpius sighed quietly, “I know. And I can’t speak for you, but for me it was hard to see you after all that we’d been through,” He paused and Rose nodded. “But I’ve missed you too.”

She smiled.

“I’d like to think that enough time has passed and that we have grown up enough to maybe, I don’t know…” Rose didn’t finish her sentence.

“Become friends again?” Scorpius supplied, hoping he hadn’t overstepped and assumed she wanted to spend any time with him outside of the cafeteria.

“Yeah! Slowly though because I just don’t think we can go back to what we had before everything. Even if we want to.”

“Even if we want to,” Scorpius agreed.

“So, friends?” Rose stuck out her hand.

“Friends,” Scorpius agreed.


Chapter 11: Chapter 10
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It was strange to suddenly be in Scorpius’ life again. Rose was not sure what she should do now that she was on speaking terms with him.

For months, they ignored each other’s existence. They very rarely interacted as they both took to avoiding the other. And on the off chance that they would speak, it was riddled with awkwardness.

But now, Rose didn’t know exactly what to feel. She was happy to have Scorpius in her life again. She had missed his dry humor and constant, sturdy friendship. Their (at one time) platonic relationship had been the most persistent thing in an often hectic life. He had been her rock at Hogwarts, always there to help and not judge. He would always be there, whether it was about her family or school or boys. The last thing now seemed a little ironic in retrospect.

So, Rose had to almost pinch herself when Scorpius sat down in the unoccupied seat across from her in the cafeteria.

“Fancy meeting you here,” Rose smiled at Scorpius as he adjusted his robes.

“How was your day?”

“Busy, as per usual. The boy who I got to replace me might need to be replaced. He keeps forgetting to breath whenever a quidditch player comes into the office to talk to Amberley,” Rose rolled her eyes. “It’s getting a little obscene.”

“Give him a little time, he’s probably just nervous.”

“Scorpius, he’s been at the job for nearly 5 months. He really should be over it by now.”

Scorpius didn’t reply, just smiled wickedly into his peanut butter sandwich.

She hated when he didn’t say anything, especially because Rose felt the incessant need to talk whenever there was a silence. Not only around Scorpius, but in general. Silence could feel like a waste sometimes, if not used correctly. There obviously were benefits to it, but (in Rose’s humble opinion) those were few and far between. Conversing was almost always the better alternative. There was just so much to be said in this short life they were leading. Why waste it with silence?

“What did you do this weekend?” Rose asked.

It was already Wednesday, but they hadn’t eaten lunch since the Thursday before.

“Not much. Work, mostly.” Scorpius took another bite of his sandwich, chewed and swallowed before continuing. “And Al and I went to a bar now that he is feeling a lot better.”

“That’s good to hear. When will he be fully recovered and allowed to come back to work?”


Rose tapped her foot on the floor. She feared nothing more than an awkward silence. Especially with Scorpius. And he was not helping. He seemed perfectly alright with giving short answers to her questions and not asking any in return. And what was even more infuriating was that he was not being rude at all. No. He was polite and clearly oblivious to her anxiety about keeping a flow in conversation.

This was their third lunch together, after she had sat down across from the day after their second encounter at the hospital. They had all been amicable and nice. Both wizards not wanting to get too personal. They had not talked about the fact that they had slept together or that they had admitted to feelings stronger than mere friendship or lust. They talked about quidditch and Albus and old Hogwarts friends and work and old Hogwarts professors and Albus and quidditch. It was all entirely surface level and had grown entirely dull after their second lunch. But Rose didn’t know what else to say and Scorpius was not helping.

So, now she sat in the old wooden chair across from a man whom she did not know the full expanse of her feelings for.

Were they just friends? Or maybe they were still only acquaintances. Did he even want to be that with her? Scorpius could just want someone to eat with. Is he annoyed, being pushed to continue to talk? He’s never said anything and he did sit down at the table after Rose.

There was so much to mull over. Rose watched him eat his lunch, unfazed by her inner turmoil. Her brain searched for something to talk about.

Family? No, Scorpius does not like to talk about them. Work? No, too boring and over discussed. There were no quidditch games in the last few weeks to speak on and they had already covered the topic of Albus.
But before she could mumble out some half-baked talking point, Alice seemingly materialized next to her.

“Rose!” Alice was out of breath and her face was slightly red from excursion. She was not a very active person.

“Alice!” Rose exclaimed, just as surprised as Alice was disheveled.

“Scorpius!” Scorpius cried to no one at all.

“What are you doing here?” Ignoring Scorpius, Rose wanted to know why her best friend was in the cafeteria of a building she did not work in.

“I was looking for you. Your new guy, Matt?” Alice paused for confirmation and Rose nodded. “He said you’d be in here.”

“Is everything ok?”

“Yes everything is fine, but I’ve just arrived back from America with the most exciting news. I couldn’t wait to tell you.”

Alice sat down in an open seat. Rose was shocked and happy to see her friend practically glowing with excitement.

“Well,” Rose nearly prodded, “Are you going to spit it out or will I be waiting the next century for the gossip?”

“I’ve just been promoted at work! It’s not much of a pay raise but my work will be more than merely reading the books no one else wants to!”
“Oh Alice, that’s amazing,” Rose glowed at her friend.

“Thank you.”

“Congratulations, that’s spectacular,” Scorpius said. “A toast, to Alice Longbottom.”

Scorpius raised his water bottle in commemoration; Alice smiled appreciatively and Rose marveled at how normal this all felt.

The three wizards ate the remainder of their lunch together, Alice munching on the food of the other two. She acted as though they were all old friends and Rose very much appreciated that. There was very little awkwardness, at least no more than could be expected. Which was kind of a lot, considering the situation of the three wizards.

One was a best friend of another and the third had also been the firsts best friend, until they had sex. Two had admitted feelings for each other and two did not really know each other outside of their friendship with the third. It was an interesting group of individuals. And yet somehow, they ate peanut sandwiches in (relative) normalcy.


About a week later Rose found herself in a little café a few blocks from the ministry sitting across from her recently de-hospitalized cousin. Albus looked a lot better than he had the times Rose had gone to visit at St. Mungo’s. His leg was no longer bandaged and there was no cast wrapped securely around his head. The only visible sign that anything had been wrong was a small scar at the top of his forehead, near his hair line. Rose didn’t dare say it, but it looked rather like a lightning bolt.

“It’s so bloody fantastic to be back at work,” Albus exclaimed, nearly taking out his coffee that sat between them. “I’d never thought I would say that, but it’s bloody brill to be back.”

Rose couldn’t help but laugh at her cousins enthusiasm. Albus had never been lazy but he had never been so gleeful about work either. It was great to see him so content with the work he was doing and that he was excited to be back at it after over a week away.

“Well, I’m bloody happy for you,” Rose smiled sincerely at her slightly older cousin.

“And how are you? How’s life?”

“Well, It’s been-“ Rose was cut off by the bell above the café door jingling and Albus saying: “Oy, Scorpius! Over here mate.”

Rose swiveled around in her chair to face the blonde walking toward her table. She smiled politely and he returned it with a broad one of his own. Scorpius sat down in the unoccupied seat between the cousins.

“I hope you don’t mind my intruding,” Scorpius said, his eyes darting between the semi-clean table and Rose.

Albus answered though, “No problem mate, I told you I wanted to get lunch with you as well. Besides the more the merrier.”

Rose only allowed herself to feel slightly weird. She had made a vow to herself to not act like a complete nit around Scorpius. They had agreed on trying to be friends and friends could be normal, functioning adults around each other.

She moved her fork absentmindedly around the half eaten salad she felt pressured to by. In reality, she had wanted one of the buttery croissants that sat warming under heat lamps in the display case. The salad had been an attempt to pretend she was health. The two men were discussing something about work Rose did not fully understand when another jingle from the door had both Aurors-in-training look up on impulse.

Rose swiveled again, but now a different, shorter blonde approached their table.

“Hey LB,” Rose smiled, surprised to see her friend.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” Alice shuffled her feet on the floor and pushed her black purse further up her shoulder.

“Wanna join us?” Scorpius asked, gesturing toward the fourth and final chair surrounding the table.

“No, no, that’s sweet. But I really only came in to grab a quick lunch and head back to the office.”

“Well, you are the big hot shot now, little miss Associate Editor,” Rose smiled and poked her friend in the side.

Alice swatted her hand away jokingly.

“More like Junior Editor,” she said with an embarrassed eye roll. “Anyways, I must be off. But I’m sure I’ll see you all soon.”

Alice walked away, towards the counter at the back of the room to order her lunch.

“What was Alice talking about?” Albus asked, his eyes still following her through the crowded restaurant.

“She was promoted at work,” Scorpius said, through a mouthful of tuna sandwich.

Rose made a face at his lack of manners and Scorpius smiled widely at her. She rolled her eyes and he stuck out his tongue.

Albus made a noise of comprehension and returned to the topic the table had been discussing prior to the interruption of Alice. 

Chapter 12: Chapter 11
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"Have you seen my black pumps?" a strong southern accent shouted through the flat.

"Check under the sink. You put them there last weekend after Vandy, remember?" Devon's deep baritone was just as loud.


"Kitchen, I think."

Alice couldn't help but roll her eyes at her roommates' antics.

The three of them would go out to the bars and restaurants in their London neighborhood, sometimes joined by one of their friends. It was- more often than not- an entertaining evening of over drinking and under dressing, something she never experienced at Hogwarts or in New York, often feeling isolated from others in her office and the Wizards of America.

Tonight's need for the black heels was different than usual. Instead of going out to the parties, 505 was bringing the party to them. The year had less than four hours left before the clock struck midnight. Alice was looking forward to a new year. She desperately needed one. 2027 had been too long. She had moved back home, been promoted, and became a full-fledged adult. She finally had a routine she liked and friends she cared for, who in turn cared for her. New York had been a lot harder than she had ever admitted to another living being. It had taken its toll. She loved London. She loved that the buildings surrounding hers were not overwhelmingly tall. She loved walking to the park and flooing home to her parents or to the Burrow in the country with Rose. England was home, the US had just been a (long, difficult) vacation.

The New Years party was due to begin in a little over an hour. The house was not ready and neither were the occupants of it. Alice's hair was half curly, half straight, her wand burning on the table she was using as a makeup counter. The streamers they had bought a few days prior were still sitting innocently in their plastic casing. And the dip and chips were not ready to be dipped or chipped.

And, of course, there had to be a good old moment of panic to round out the perfect start to a party.

"We don't have any napkins!" Isabel scrambled into Alice's room, looking disheveled. One pump in her hand the other on her foot. She teetered precariously. Both physically and mentally. The planning of this party had taken it's toll on the American.

Alice had completed her hair and was nearly finished applying makeup, save for her left eye which remained mascara-less. But she got up and put comforting hands on her flat mates shoulders.

"Breathe, sweetie. Breathe."

Isabel chose to make a noise that sounded very much like a panic attack. Alice saw that her original advice was not helping and continued.

"Why don't you run downstairs to the bar and see if you can steel some, okay?"

This suggestion only caused more shallow breathing. Isabel began rocking slightly.

"I can't," she gasped, eyes wide in disbelief. "You know I hooked up with Brendan the bartender last week and totally ghosted him. I'm trying to avoid him for at least another month."

Alice nodded, mentally taking a note to remind Isabel to stop hooking up with men who worked at places they frequented. It had been months since she'd been to the bakery around the corner because Isabel had slept with the cashier. Not to mention the fact that they hadn't been back to the café next door since Isabel had been with the barista. And that Chinese delivery place was out of the question once Isabel invited the delivery boy in after he had dropped off their mu shu chicken and stir fry.

It wasn't the fact that Isabel had been with these men, but that the men she'd been with were valuable in what they provided to the rest of the flat. Like food, or alcohol, or caffeine.

Seeing no other option, Alice offered to head down in her friends place.

Once out in the hallway, Alice realized how ridiculous she must look. Her hair, which she had done in loose curls juxtaposed the sweatshirt she had thrown over the sequence dress she would be wearing during the party. The closest shoes available had been an old pair of fur boots and only one eye had mascara. She felt rather like a mess. But with so little time before the guest arrived, the adventure to steal napkins from downstairs had seemed more important than the even-ness of her eye makeup.

The guests, Alice thought, mentally going over who would be in attendance. Due to the minute nature of their shared apartment, Isabel, Devon, and Alice had decided that their flat had a certain occupancy level, and only their most intimate friends would be extended an invitation. And, naturally, the list had imploded in on itself shortly following the fact that a "certain occupancy level" had been thrown out the fifth floor window.

They each had a list which kept expanding. There was always someone who couldn't come without the invitation of someone else. The tier of friendship expanded from those in confidence to those of acquaintance.

Isabel's friends from Ilvermorny were visiting for the break between Christmas and New Years. If they were anything like Isabel, they were sure to fill up a room easily enough. She had also insisted on inviting her coworker at the US Embassy. Alice was convinced it was because he was a cute 21-year-old and he was bound to have other cute friends. The fiery brunette had also invited some of the women in her wizards spin class to join. Alice was not quite sure what that was but thought it might be a cross between broomsticks and jazzercise.

Devon was bringing his boyfriend, whom he had met the night the flat went to Savage on a whim. Alice knew him to have a group of friends he had met through said boyfriend that were sure to come. He had also extended an invite to his younger brother, whom he had not spoken too since graduating Durmstang. His brother had accepted the olive branch invitation within the day.

Alice had a hard time deciding on who she wanted to come. Obviously, Rose would be coming. She had debated inviting Will but felt weird. He was her sorta-kinda boss. Frank could not come, he was still at Hogwarts and much too young for such an evening. There were a few other people in her office and that she had kept in touch with since Hogwarts that she had decided to extend an invite to.

In reality, this party had grown to be so large because people kept asking if they could bring a friend along. All three flat mates were too friendly to say no and figured what's one more person until one turned into two turned into six turned into- well yeah. Therefore, the number of suspected attendees seemed to grow.

Arriving downstairs in the pub, Alice did a quick look around to see who was in willing away their evening. And those just beginning it.

Sure enough, Brendan the bartender was wiping away at the sticky tables. He looked up when she walked in, raising an eyebrow at her strange appearance. He glanced behind her, but seeing as she was alone, he quickly turned his attention back to the task in his hands.

Alice made to look as if she was searching for something, so as not to raise anymore suspicion than her outfit had already warranted. The flat had been reprimanded more than once for stealing things from the pub, like sugar or silverware.

She walked casually around the circular tables, peeping under them or on chairs as if searching while she stealthily shoved square black napkins into the front pocket of her sweatshirt. She finished her loop before hurrying up the stairs before she could be caught, napkin-handed.

She had made it up two flights before nearly colliding with a blonde man who was significantly taller than she was. She recognized Scorpius immediately.

"I'm so sorry!" Alice said, steadying herself with the railing. This stairwell was much too cramped.

"No you're fine, I wasn't paying attention." He smiled kindly at her. The two had become better friends ever since he had been hanging around Rose more frequently. They had known each other at Hogwarts in a similar way; Rose always as the intermediary. Which was why it was a little awkward to talk to him without her.

"So, where are you off in such a rush to?" She asked.

"Well, as there is only six months left of our Auror training, the Department has decided to make our lives hell. Albus and I are doing an early New Years this year, and we're going down to the bar so we don't have to deal with the mess. And they have better beer than we do."

Now looking at Scorpius' clothing, Alice realized he was in no attire to leave the building in London winter. He wore a t-shirt and jeans as well as some moccasin like slippers.

"Oy Scorpius! Wait up," called a voice from the staircase above.

Alice recognized it as Albus immediately and her hand went to her hair on instinct, as if making sure it was still all there and hadn't run off.

"I'm waiting," Scorpius called, trying not to roll his eyes.

"There's no reason to rush, I'm sure no one else will be-" Albus was speaking as he bounded down the stairs but stopped mid-sentence as he rounded the stairs and saw the Alice was standing there. He stopped a few steps above his flat mate, and ruffled his hair unnecessarily.

"Nice outfit," Albus noticed, without missing a beat.

"Thanks," Alice said, not able to find one; Caught off guard by his entire presence for a moment.

"Why are you so partially dressed up?" Scorpius said.

"Well I'm supposed to be fully dressed up, but I had to run downstairs for napkins," Alice explained, pulling out the paper squares as proof. "505 is having a New Years party."

"Rose mentioned something about that. Should be fun," said Albus.

"Yeah, it should be."

There was an awkward paused. Alice mentally kicked herself as she word vomited, "You guys should come. It's gonna be really great. It kind of got bigger than we anticipated but there should be some Hogwarts people there. And Scorpius said you didn't have any plans. Plus, you invited me to your birthday. Yeah, you guys should definitely come."

"We don't want to intrude-" Scorpius began, before Albus interrupted.

"Yeah, sure," Albus had not been deterred by Alice's ramblings. And even though he was exhausted from training, he hadn't had a truly fun night in weeks if not months.

"Right, good then," Alice truly was excited for them to come. Especially since Rose would be there, and she was a true Scorose shipper. "My flat, in," she checked her watch, "45 minutes."

Alice had made it back upstairs with no other incident. Her trip had been all positives, in both napkins and guest list. She finished getting ready and helped set up the decorations. When the guests finally began to arrive, the shared flat (and its occupants) looked like effortless perfection. Streamers had been hung up, music blasted from the radio, and -most importantly- drinks, and napkins, lined the kitchen counter.

People were trickling in slowly. Alice leaned against the counter as she watched Devon and his brother share and awkward but intense hug. She smiled.

There was a knock at the door and Alice answered as she was the closest person. Rose had arrived and with her a tray of cookies.

"Ah yes! My favorite," Alice said, in reference to the gooey goodness Rose held in her hands.

"Happy to see you too LB," Rose rolled her eyes at her friend. "Where should I put these?"

Alice nodded her head in the direction of the coffee table. As she was about to shut the door, a reflexive hand shot out and stopped it. Jumping slightly at the shock, Alice opened the door wider to reveal Albus.

"Hey," she said. "Long time no see."

"Likewise. You cleaned up nice. Like the outfit. Really looks quite different now without the hoodie." He said, motioning towards her sparkly dress.

Rolling her eyes, she couldn't help but smile a little. It never hurt being at the opposite end of his banter.

"So is Scorpius with you, or," she trailed off, sticking her head out into the hallway. She saw him pacing back and forth near the stairs.

"He's having a little, shall we say, performance anxiety."

Alice rolled her eyes, "what is it with those two." This was supposed to be for her ears only, but Albus nodded enthusiastically.

"They're just so strange around each other now. Do you know what happened?"

"Oh," Alice did not feel like it was her right or place to fill Albus in on the secrets of their respective best friends. "Oh! I forgot to let Rose know he was coming. Shite she'll be mad."

With that she ran away before he could get more out of her.

"Please don't be mad at me," Alice said to Rose as she leaned over the cookies, making sure they were placed correctly.

"Mad at you for what?" Rose said, straightening up. Her eyes glanced over to the front door which had just opened all the way to reveal the blond downstairs neighbor. "Oh."

"I know I should have asked your permission. Or at least warned you. But I didn't invite them until an hour ago when we ran into each other. I'm sorry."

"There's no reason to apologize," Rose assured her friend. "Besides, Scorpius and I have been trying to have a normal friendship again, so seeing him at parties shouldn't be weird, right?" The last part was directed as a want for reassurance from her friend.

"Right," Alice said, understanding that this was what her friend needed in order for her and Scorpius to have a healthy relationship. "Why don't you go over there and say hi?"

"Yeah, I should, shouldn't I? Come with me though."

Before Alice could protest, she was being pulled over to Albus and Scorpius.

Rose made the familial hug to her cousin and the obligatory one to Scorpius, though neither looked too sad about it.

Alice waved at Albus, saying "Hi, again."

He smirkled, half smirk half smile.

He should trademark that, Alice thought.

"Long time, no see."

It was five to midnight and Alice had no prospects of anyone to kiss. Not that she was expecting to find someone during the party, but it would have been nice to share the new year with someone.

She looked around the room, glad to see that other people were having fun. Roxy was speaking to Jordan Samuels, former Hufflepuff geek Queen, who was holding hands with Zach Larson, former heartthrob of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Cody Finnegan was talking animatedly to Rose, as Scorpius glanced at her every few seconds. But he pretended to be invested in a conversation with Devon, his boyfriend Patrick, and one of Isabel's school friends, who was looking at Scorpius a little to intently.

Alice's eyes scanned over the crowd. She found no one she would have been interested in kissing, really no matter how lonely or desperate she became. Most she either knew too well or not nearly enough. She glanced at the clock. There was thirty seconds left in the old year. People began to count down.

Her eyes landed on Albus.

He too was surveying the crowd. Leaning against a wall with a red cup in his hand, it almost looked as if this was his own party and not one he had been invited to minutes before its start.

Twenty seconds left.

Alice looked at him and wondered if he still saw her as family. They hadn't had much one-on-one interaction over the years, so maybe he viewed her as more distantly related now. She gazed at him, looking him up and down. He had filled out since her schoolgirl crush on him, Auror training and age had a hand in that. Scars littered his exposed skin, including a fresh one on his forehead. His once shagging black hair had been cut short after his injury a few weeks before. All of this added up to him looking more severe than his childhood self. But not in a bad way by any means. If anything, his new gruff exterior intrigued her even more.

She heard her guests begin to count down from ten as she continued to try to figure Albus out.

They were at three seconds when his eyes met hers.

They didn't break eye contact until they were already in the new year.