Chapter 3 – Of Strolls with Scorpius and Helping with Herbology



 As you can probably tell, I was completely disgusted at my lack of composure when Scorpius suggested this. I had had barely an hour to come to terms with the fact that I was actually attracted to an arrogant, patronising Slytherin with whom I had the chance of about half a millimetre, and it was not going well so far. As we walked, I cursed Emily over and over in my head for putting me in this situation in the first place. I was never like this around boys! What was wrong with me? Even when I used to have a crush on him, it wasn’t this hard to be around him.


“So, claustrophobic, huh?” Scorpius said, almost mockingly. I felt a familiar surge of anger at his sardonic words, but, to my intense displeasure, it was smothered somewhat with an unwelcome fluttering in the stomach area. I had to get a grip.


I forced a laugh. “I know, stupid, isn’t it?”


“Well, we’re going back home soon. You won’t have to deal with all these crowds, then.”


“Well, there you’re wrong,” I smiled, “do you even know how big my family is? I’m surrounded by red-headed cousins every minute of every day.”


Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “Are you dreading it?”


“In some ways,” I replied. “It’s going to be strange leaving Hogwarts for the last time. I can’t believe this is our last week here.”


Scorpius smirked. “Miss it, will you?”


“Yes…” I said, looking at him warily. I tried to ignore how a lock of white-blonde hair had fallen dramatically over one of his eyes, and the incredibly attractive way he blew out of the side of his mouth to get it out of the way.


He smirked again, and I grew hot, hoping he hadn’t seen me eyeing his mouth. “Miss me, will you?”


I was taken aback. “What?”


“Nothing,” he smiled, taking his eyes off me and staring ahead knowingly. I bowed my head, furiously trying to hide my red face with my hair.


I didn’t understand this boy. He was charming, yes, but he could also humiliate ­­­me with a single comment. I was regretting agreeing to come on this walk. We were slowly making our way around the lake, and I could see groups of students lazily dangling their feet in its waters, or else soaking up the sunshine round its edge.


“You know,” Scorpius said, his tone completely different, “I never really got to know you, Rose Weasley.”


I looked up, relieved to acknowledge that my face was no longer beetroot red. “What do you mean?”


“Well,” he continued patiently, “we’ve been in the same year for seven years. I’m friends with your cousin. We’ve had several million classes together. But I hardly know anything about you.”


“So,” I said carefully, trying my hardest not to embarrass myself again, “what do you want to know?”


He took a few strides ahead of me, stopped and turned around, and spread his arms out wide. “Anything! What’s your middle name?”


I stopped too, surprised. “Margaret. What’s yours?” I cringed slightly as I responded instinctively and then realised I already knew, from those days when I would do anything to be around him.


“Hyperion,” Scorpius replied confidently, and I smiled interestedly, as if this was news to me. Now that we had come to a stop, I realised just how hot I was becoming. I sat on the bank and pulled off my shoes and socks and let my feet sink gratefully into the cool waters of the lake. Scorpius was eyeing me with amusement.


“What?” I smiled self-consciously.


“Nothing,” he grinned, sitting down beside me and trailing his hand in the water. Our eyes locked, and my heart began to beat faster. It was only when I saw a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth that I realised what was about to happen. Withdrawing his hand from the water with surprising speed, Scorpius directed his closed fist at me, and then opened it with force, flicking water right into my face.


Screwing my eyes shut, I let out a squeal. I opened one eye cautiously, and saw Scorpius shaking with laughter. For the Merlin-knows-how-many-th time that day, I felt my face heating up.


Did I really just squeal in the presence of Scorpius Malfoy?


It made me feel sick.


“Oh, you should have seen your face,” he spluttered. “Absolutely classic, my friend!”


I didn’t say anything. I was still partly in shock at my stupidity to think he may have done anything but embarrass me completely, and a small part of me was also whinging at the fact that he’d just called me his friend. What was that, if not an I-don’t-fancy-you-so-don’t-get-the-wrong-idea? Although yet another part of me was, in fact, rejoicing at the fact that he had acknowledged me as his friend at all. And I tell you now, fluttering stomach plus humiliated anger plus delighted relief is NOT a pleasant experience.


“You feeling any better?” Scorpius asked, with genuine concern in his voice.


I tried to smile, and nodded. If he didn’t know already, what were the chances I could keep my feelings a secret for long? Especially if Emily Lawson was involved …



 



“So he was flirting outrageously, right?”


“No!” I said, exasperated, for the millionth time. “Have I not made it clear how utterly humiliated I was?”


“Rose Weasley,” Emily said sternly, ”He asked you to go on a walk with him. He demanded to know your middle name. He flicked water in your face. A big fat flirt if I ever saw one.”


“You weren’t there,” I sighed, “he has it in for me, I swear.”


“Don’t swear, it makes your mouth dirty!” Chloe sang as she bounded over and threw herself down on the sofa beside me, catching the end of our conversation. “What’s up?”


“Nothing but the sky, my friend,” Emily grinned back. I rolled my eyes. Exactly how many times has that joke been made?


Her wording did, however, remind me of something else Scorpius had said that morning.


“He said ‘my friend’ to me, Emily,” I whined. She stared at me. “After he flicked water in my face he said ‘classic, my friend! I mean, ‘my friend’! That’s so depressing!’” I explained.


Emily sighed, and Chloe patted me on the arm. “Relax,” the latter said soothingly, “you’re reading into it far too much.” She stopped. “I’m guessing you’re on Scorpius, right?”


Emily assured her we were, and described the situation.


“…and on that note,” she finished, looking at me, “I have news from a certain cousin of yours.”


I closed my eyes and let my head fall back. Of course, due to my recent bad luck, the back of the sofa would be made of wood. There was a resounding clunk and I squeezed my eyes even tighter shut as the pain exploded in my skull. I heard, as if from a long distance away, Emily excitedly informing me that Scorpius had told Albus there was a girl he liked but didn’t know if she liked him and they were in different Houses and their families …


I’d heard enough. “Emily!” I cut in, opening my eyes fully in time to see her stop mid-flow, surprised. “If this is ever going to work, it needs to be by us, okay? I don’t want to feel like I’m spying on him.”


Emily stuck her tongue out at me. “Suit yourself. We still going out on Friday?”


Glad of the change of topic, I, too, turned to Chloe, who promptly started reeling off details, completely in her element.


I grinned, as Scorpius Malfoy and my current predicament were temporarily driven out of my mind.
 

 


 




“So your cousin invited me out with you guys on Friday.” Scorpius looked at me sideways, and I almost dropped the puffapod I was examining.


“He did? How so?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but I think I failed.


Scorpius shrugged. “I dunno. We were just talking, and he said ‘why don’t you come out with us on Friday?’ and I agreed, because I have nothing better to do,” he grinned, “and I get to spend an evening with you: what could be better?”


I refused to meet his eye and bent back over my puffapod, unsure as to whether this was another ploy to mortify me or if he was actually being serious.


“I asked if I could bring Joey and the guys, but he said Chloe’d murder me if I made it into a Slytherin party.”


I decided it was safe to look up, and smiled at him. “Sounds great.”


His eyes dropped to his own puffapod, which was squirming happily, and I tried to imitate his movements. Herbology had always been my best subject, and yet my own stayed obstinately stationary.


Out of sheer boredom, Emily and I had decided to sign up to help with Herbology lessons during this last week, and Professor Longbottom was so impressed with our enthusiasm that he went round the seventh-years and dug around for some more ex-fabulous-pupils. It was my own persistent bad luck that I had to help with the lower ability students at the front of the class, with (who else?) Scorpius Malfoy, while Emily and Albus got to chat away the lesson at the back, with the geniuses. I begged Al to swap, but of course he refused – when else was he going to get time alone with Emily?


“Why isn’t it working, Miss Weasley?” a little voice whined at my elbow. “Is it dead?”


“No, it’s not dead, Alison,” I replied through gritted teeth, a little annoyed at the fact that my Herbology skills were playing me up on the first day.


“You have a go,” I heard Scorpius say to his own pupil, and next thing I knew my left hand was covered by another’s’, and Scorpius was pointing out that I was holding my pod upside down, and so of course it was becoming drowsy.


“What’ll happen then?” Alison said excitedly, her eyes on Scorpius.


“Well,” Scorpius replied, grinning at me (and still not taking his hand off my own), “the seeds inside’ll shrivel up, and it’ll die within the hour.”


I cringed, as Alison looked shocked. “Thanks,” I muttered angrily to him.


“Sorry,” he whispered back, “but you were killing it.” He gave my hand a squeeze and turned back to his own student and their pod.


“Want to have a go?” I asked Alison, who nodded enthusiastically. I handed the pod over (the right way up, I’ll have you know) and sunk down onto the bench. I was suddenly extremely tired. I could not, however, shake off a new, wildly happy feeling which was the acknowledgement that Scorpius had – intentionally or not – held my hand and squeezed it.


 


 



Okay, so it’s a little short. Don’t kill me :D


I want to get the rest of this short story up by the end of next week, so look forward to another update soon =))


Yeeeah, I didn’t get the Emily/Albus in there, but they WERE at the back of Herbology together, so use your imagination :)


Thanks so much for reviewing so far, and keep it up! I hope you’re enjoying it up to now.

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