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I don’t know how people do it. I really, really don’t. I mean, how is it physically possible for people to undergo a ton of stress, but still put on a brave and happy face and go out to face the world? I know I can’t do it. Because I’d just spent the better part of what was left of Herbology in the 7th floor girl’s loo massaging my bright red face with cold water and practicing my smile, but it was not working. My eyes still looked like I’d been crying and I was beginning to think that my lips were not genetically programmed to smile.

I sighed and shut off the water, looking up through watery lashes at my appearance in the mirror. The hair around the edge of my face was wet and frizzing from splashing my face and my eyes were still mildly puffy. And that damn smile was still not there.

I forced my mouth to pull up at the sides experimentally, and then let it drop back down, because I looked more like a serial killer clown than happy. I sighed loudly and ran my fingers through my hair, hoping to smooth out the frizz at least a little bit. It seemed to work and I tried the smile thing again. Nope. Nothing.

I pushed away from the sink and glanced up at the portrait of a mermaid hanging on the wall. It seemed like every bathroom had a portrait of some mermaid or another. The one in the Prefect’s was actually quite entertaining. Needless to say, she knew a lot of bathroom jokes.

I walked out of the bathroom and glanced down at my watch. Herbology was long over. I should have been at lunch by now. I hadn’t really noticed it before, but I was rather hungry. Maybe food would make me feel better. I hurried down into the Great Hall, scanning the Slytherin table for Scorpius. I didn’t care that Anna and Al would probably be sitting there. All I wanted was to see Scorpius. My eyes wandered along until they got to the end of the table and I checked again. He wasn’t there.

He usually ate lunch at this time, didn’t he? I was fairly sure that he didn’t have any classes right now. I scanned the Ravenclaw table and even the Hufflepuff table, but he wasn’t there either. If it was possible I felt even more let down and trudged towards the Gryffindor table to where I knew Noel and Ashley always sat.

I was almost at my seat when I heard his voice. My head snapped up in surprise, and I felt my mouth drop open. There was Scorpius, sitting on the opposite side of Noel and Ashley, eating a bowl of soup and laughing at something.

“Hey Rosie!” Ashley called, seeing me standing there. “Don’t just stand there! Pop a squat.”

I slid down onto the bench next to Scorpius and shook my head slightly, trying to get over my initial shock.

“Hey you,” Scorpius said, leaning over and kissing me full on the lips. “Where’ve you been?”

“How’d your meeting with McGonagall go?” Noel asked.

“Wait, McGonagall called you out of Herbology?” he asked, letting one of his hands linger on the small of my back.

“Yes, she called me out of class, and it went fine,” I sighed, helping myself to some soup and a goblet of pumpkin juice.

“What’d she want?” Ashley asked through a mouthful of food, so it really came out as “wa sh’ent”.

“My parents were here,” I said simply, scooping up a spoonful of soup and blowing on it carefully.

“Your parents?”

I turned to Scorpius who was staring at me as if finally putting the puzzle pieces together and also as if he was somewhat angry.

“Yes, my parents, you know, the people who raised me.”

“Is that why you’ve been crying?”

I paused with the spoon halfway to my mouth. “I haven’t been crying,” I said stiffly.

“You’re eyes are all red,” Scorpius said, turning my chin so that I was facing him. “And your bottom lip is still quivering.”

“I’m fine,” I replied, jerking my chin out of his hand and putting my spoon down.  

“Rose,” said Noel nervously.

“If you don’t mind, I’m going to go see Professor Longbottom and ask him what I missed,” I said quickly, cutting her off.

“Okay,” Ashley said, still pretty oblivious to what was going on.

I jumped up from the bench and was halfway out of the hall when I felt a large hand enclose itself around my wrist and I spun around.

“Scorpius,” I sighed, looking up at my pretend boyfriend. “Please.”

He looked down at me, and I couldn’t really read the emotion behind his grey eyes. “We need to talk Rose. There is no avoiding it anymore. Tonight?”

I nodded solemnly. He was right of course. It was obvious that he was not going to stop pestering me about it. Besides, I wanted to tell somebody. And really, if I was honest with myself, there was no one I would rather tell than him.

“Thank you,” he said, bending down to plant a kiss on my forehead. “Meet me tonight at nine outside the Charms room.”

“Okay,” I sighed. He tucked a stray piece of my hair behind me ear.

I kissed him on the cheek and turned around, walking quickly out of there. I had no intention whatsoever of going back to see Neville. He was just acting too fishy and would probably just give me homework that I wouldn’t do anyway. So instead I turned up the stairs and hurried along up to Gryffindor tower. I didn’t bother to look around the common room to see who was ditching class today. With my luck, I’d probably just see James.

I ran up the stairs to my dorm and through myself onto my bed, burying my face in the pillow. It felt amazing just to relax. I rolled over and stared up at the canopy for a while, my mind absolutely blank for the first time in my life. It was quite odd actually. Soon I felt my eyelids growing heavier and heavier and I tried to fight the oncoming sleepiness, not wanting to fall asleep and accidentally miss my meeting with Scorpius.

I wouldn’t sleep that long, would I? I never got to answer my own question, because I succumbed to the dreariness, slipping into a peaceful doze.





I awoke later with a start, glancing around at the dark dormitory and trying to remember how I’d gotten there. I remembered going to Herbology, and then seeing my parents, and then the whole Scorpius thing in the Great Hall.

“SHIT!” I shouted, jumping off my bed and looking at my alarm clock on the night stand. 8:40. I was supposed to meet Scorpius in twenty minutes. Thank Merlin I’d woken up.

I walked over to the bathroom and examined my sagging uniform and mussed hair and decided it’d be much more practical to just wear sweats. I wasn’t trying to impress him. Technically, we were ‘dating’. So he was supposed to love me no matter what I looked like.

I hurried to my wardrobe as I pulled my hair up into a high ponytail and threw open the doors. I was surprised when I wasn’t immediately flattened by a mountain of clothes. Instead I peered cautiously inside and saw that all of my clothes were either folded or hung up, all according to color and type of clothing. Note to self: Thank Noel later for her awesome organizational skills.

I pulled out my favorite pair of black sweat pants and the orange Cannons sweatshirt I had gotten last year as a Christmas gift from Dad and quickly put them on, still keeping an eye on the time. 8:48. I finished getting dressed and then brushed my teeth. When I got back into the dorm Lucy had come in and was fussing about her bed. I resisted the urge to throw something at her and slipped my feet into a pair of trainers.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Lucy asked as I headed for the door.

“Out,” I replied, turning to glare at her.

“It’s almost after curfew,” she said, glaring back.

“I like breaking the rules,” I responded coldly. “And I don’t have the time to waste on our stupid conversation.”

I turned on my heel and marched away. I made it out of the common room and then made a run for it, because it would probably take me a good five minutes to get to the Charms classroom, as it was on the complete opposite side of the castle three floors down.

I skidded around corners and accidentally ran through Nearly Headless Nick in my haste, but eventually I made it to the third floor. I slowed down to a walk and tried to get my breathing under control. These past few weeks without Quidditch had made me quite out of shape. My heart was beating erratically, although this time from my intense workout, not my emotional instability.

I rounded the corner to the Charms classroom and saw Scorpius leaning against the wall, looking bored. I was relieved to see that he too had changed out of his drab school uniform and into a black t-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants and trainers. He looked up at the sound of my footsteps and I waved halfheartedly.

“You’re late,” he called out jokingly.

“I fell asleep,” I admitted, coming to a stop a few inches from him.

“Is that why I looked like a fool waiting outside of your classrooms, just to find out that you never showed up?” he asked, smirking.

“Sorry about that,” I answered, biting my bottom lip. Our banter right now did not feel as easy as it usually did. It was almost as if we were forcing it, trying to keep some sense of normalcy into what we were doing.

“It’s not a problem,” he replied, taking my hand and pulling me not into the empty Charms room but down the hallway. “I was worried about you though.”



“Why were you worried about me?” I asked, looking up at him curiously.

“You just seemed a bit put out this morning,” he replied, looking down at me, that odd expression coming back over his face. “I hate just was worried.”

“Ah, okay,” I said, not really understanding, but knowing that was probably all of the response I was going to get.

We walked along in silence for a while longer and I fiddle at a stray strand of thread on my sweatshirt with my free hand. This was very awkward.

“I hate seeing you cry,” Scorpius said quietly after a moment.

“What?” I asked. I was sure I had heard him wrong.

“I hate seeing you cry,” he said a bit louder, going pink. I guess I had heard right.

“That’s really sweet, Scorpius,” I replied. I felt his hand squeeze mine tighter, so I tightened my grip too. He grinned down at me and kissed the top of my head.  

We walked along again and I felt like there were a million butterflies dancing in my stomach. How had I gotten so lucky?

“Okay, we’re here,” Scorpius said happily, stopping in front of a small, rounded door.

“A broom cupboard?” I asked, arching a brow questioningly.

“It’s the perfect place,” he said, pulling open the door and gesturing for me to go inside. “There’s not a very likely chance that we will be discovered, and if we are, we can just say we were snogging.”

“That’s not cliché at all,” I said sarcastically, walking under his arm and into the dingy little closet.

“That’s why it’s perfect,” he replied, gently tugging at my hair.

I stood in the damp, dusty place and waited for Scorpius to close the door. I don’t really know why people thought that snogging in a broom cupboard was romantic. They were dusty, smelly, and generally infested with various small dog sized pests.  

“Take a seat,” Scorpius said, settling himself on the floor across from me. I followed suit, trying not to think about how dirty my butt was going to be when I stood back up. 

“So you wanted to talk…” I said leadingly.

“Yes,” he said absentmindedly, digging through his pockets. “But I brought something to ease the tension. Hold on a moment.”

I watched bemusedly as he struggled to find whatever it was and chuckled lightly when I saw him produce a pack of Exploding Snap cards.

“Exploding Snap?”

“Yep,” he said, opening the package and setting the deck between us. “I confiscated them from a first year earlier.”

“Exploding Snap isn’t against the rules,” I reminded him, picking up the deck and beginning to deal.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t know that,” Scorpius said and I laughed. He was right. This was already making it easier.


“Let’s start this off easy,” Scorpius said once I’d dealt all the cards and we had a steady game going. “What’s your middle name?”

I snorted. I couldn’t help it. I definitely wasn’t expecting that question. “Nymphadora,” I told him. He started laughing and I glared at him. “Nymphadora, the real one, was a great woman,” I said haughtily. “Why, what is your middle name?”

“I’m asking the questions,” he said, obviously trying to avoid the subject.

“That’s not fair,” I insisted. “You said you would tell me stuff when I told you, so you’ve got to play along.”

He glared at me, knowing I was right. I smirked at him.

“My middle name is Hyperion,” he mumbled and it was my turn to burst out laughing. “Stop it,” he growled.

“I’m sorry,” I said, clutching at my side. “But your parents must be really cruel people if they cursed you with two horrible names.”

“They’re not cruel,” Scorpius said, jumping when one of his cards accidentally exploded. “They just have a unique taste in names is all.”

“Right, well it is my turn to ask you a question,” I said, trying to steer the conversation out of potentially dangerous waters. “So, uh, when is your birthday?”

“February 16th,” he said. “You?”

“December 23rd,” I replied.

“Ah, so not only am I going to have to get a Christmas present, but a birthday present as well,” he smirked.

“Most people get me just one giant gift,” I told him. “But you don’t have to get me anything at all.”

“What sort of boyfriend would I be then?” he asked, looking up at me from his cards.

“What do you want for Christmas by the way?” he added.

“I don’t know – socks?”

He burst out laughing.

“You seriously want me to get you socks?”

“Not really,” I sighed. “I just don’t know what I want. I mean, well, I do. But you can’t exactly give it to me.”

To be honest, he definitely could give me what I wanted for Christmas. But I couldn’t exactly tell him that what I wanted most was for him to declare his undying love to me, preferably in front of my father just to piss him off. I’m not insane enough to tell him – at least, I hope not.

“You don’t know that,” he smirked. “I have resources.”

“I’m sure you do,” I said, trying not to think about what exactly that might mean. “But seriously, socks are fine. What do you want?”

“You’ll laugh,” he mumbled.

“I promise I won’t,” I said sincerely.

“Okay,” he sighed, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples. “Well, I decided a few years ago that I would get myself a tattoo for Christmas.”

“A tattoo?” I asked, trying to stifle a giggle. The idea of Scorpius getting a tattoo – it was just too funny. Now I realized why he asked me not to laugh.

“Yeah,” he replied, blushing profusely. “I know it sounds stupid.”

“No, it sounds cool,” I told him. Now that I tried picturing him with a tattoo, I had to admit that it would be pretty hot actually. 

“So you don’t think I’m a total wanker?” he asked, looking hopeful.

“I think that you should definitely get a tattoo,” I smiled. “You should go this Christmas. I’ll go with you, if you want.”

“You want one too?” he smirked, looking like he was going to laugh this time.

“I never said that,” I answered quickly. “I said I would go with you to get one, for moral support, you know.”

“Right,” he said smugly. “Well I’m still undecided on the whole matter, so you have time to change your mind.”

“Not going to happen,” I insisted.

“We’ll see,” he smirked. “But we have time to talk about Christmas later. Tell me about your friends – what are their names, Noel and Ashley? They seem nice.” 

“They are nice,” I replied. “I was actually getting ready to go to that party when I became friends with them. They asked me what I thought they should wear.”

Scorpius snorted. “They asked you what to wear?”

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, my eyes narrowed.

“Well, it’s just that if I was a girl, I would probably not ask the girl who wore Cannons sweatshirts what to wear to a Slytherin party.”

“For your information,” I growled, “the Cannons are the best team in the league. Don’t you dare insult them.”

Scorpius coughed something that sounded suspiciously close to ‘that’s why they haven’t won a game in thirty seasons’ but I chose to ignore him.

“But I like Noel and Ashley. Noel is more grounded, and helps me stay organized. And Ashley, well, she makes me laugh.”

“She’s kind of a ditz,” Scorpius added. I laughed, but nodded in agreement. Ashley was super nice, but she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

“Whatever happened to your old friends?” he asked.

“You mean my psychotic Quidditch mates?” I replied. “They chewed me out for dating you and I told them that I didn’t want to put up with them anymore.”

“You stopped talking to them because of me?” he asked, his grey eyes wide in surprise.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” I chuckled. “I didn’t stop talking to them just because of that. They’re not exactly the nicest people in the first place. Reagan and James bicker constantly, James is always fighting with Ben, Kat flirts with anything that is not an inanimate object, and Jason has the brain capacity of a two year old. I figured I could do better than that.”

“Like me,” he said happily. “But you didn’t have to quit the team.”

“Quidditch is important to me,” I agreed. “But I knew that I’d never be able to get away from them unless I quit.”

“You’re pretty tough, Shorty,” he said.

“Shorty?” I asked. “And I’m not tough at all. I’m pretty weak, to be honest.”

“I’ve been trying to think of a nickname for you,” he said. “I’ve decided that you shall be called Shorty. And I don’t think you’re weak. Stubborn maybe, but definitely not weak.”

“Well thank you, but I have to disagree,” I said. “I don’t want to argue about this though. Tell me about your family.”

He glanced up at me, another odd expression on his face. “My family?”

“You know the people you live with when you’re not at school?”

“Right,” he said, dragging his fingers through his hair. “Well, my father is Draco Malfoy, and my mother is Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy. We live in a flat in London, with my grandmother. I don’t have any siblings and every Christmas we go and visit my grandfather in prison.”

“Nice,” I said nodding. I could tell that it was uncomfortable for him to talk about his family – having Death Eater relatives was never anything to be proud of and I felt sorry for him to have to grow up knowing that everyone would be prejudiced towards him just because of his last name.

“What about you?” he asked. “What is the famous Weasley clan like?”

“The word dysfunctional comes to mind,” I said in all seriousness.  

“That’s not the picture the media paints.”

“The media only see’s one side of my family,” I sighed. “People only see the heroic side – the well put together, loving, supportive side. No one see’s what a Christmas or family reunion is really like.”

“Well, what is it like?” he asked.  

“When the whole family gets together it’s not so bad,” I said slowly, choosing my words carefully. I’d never really ever talked to anyone about my family like this before. I wanted to make sure that he knew I didn’t completely hate them – because I didn’t. I loved my big, wacky family. I only didn’t like specific members of it. “But when I’m just at home, well, it really sucks.”

“Because of your dad?” From the way he said it, I could tell that it wasn’t really a question, more of a statement.

“Yeah, because of my dad. Well, my mom contributes too. She’s never home. She’s always working. I think my father resents that.”

“What do you mean?”

I groaned and tugged at a piece of hair that had fallen loose from my ponytail. “See, my dad was an Auror for twenty-something years,” I began, still trying to wrap my head around how to say what I needed to say in a politically correct way. “He got injured in the field a few years ago, and Uncle Harry had to tell him that he couldn’t be an Auror anymore. Since then he’s worked at the joke shop with my Uncle George, but I can tell he resents the fact that he’s stuck doing a job he hates and can’t really succeed at while my mother climbs the business ladder and is constantly being promoted.”

“I can see how he would be upset,” Scorpius said. “But what does that have to do with you hating him?”

“I never said I hated him,” I cried in exasperation. Scorpius looked taken aback and I clapped my hands over my mouth. “Sorry about the yelling. I didn’t mean to.” I felt tears well up behind my eyes again and I swiped angrily at my eyes, trying not to act like a baby.

“Rose! I’m sorry. What’s wrong?” Scorpius asked concernedly, scooting closer to me and pulling me to his side. At this gesture I lost the fight with my tear ducts and started sobbing. I felt Scorpius wrap his other arm around my waist and he pulled me almost into his lap. I sobbed into his shoulder and he made ‘shh-ing’ noises, stroking my back.

“That’s the problem, Scorpius,” I said through my tears into his shoulder. “The problem is that I don’t hate him. I want to. But I don’t. No matter how many times he tells me I’m a disappointment, or that I’m worthless, or that he calls me names, or even the time he hit me, I love him. He’s my father, goddamnit. How can I not love him?”

I felt Scorpius stiffen and then his grip tightened on me and he was muttering a stream of threats and profanities under his breath at such a fast pace that I couldn’t understand what he was saying.

“You deserve better, Rose,” he said suddenly. “You deserve a father who appreciates you, and who loves you and respects you. I swear to Merlin, I’ve never wanted to hit someone more than I do right now.”

I pulled away from him enough so that I could see his face. He looked horrified, angry, and sad all at once. When he saw my face his expression softened and he kissed my forehead.

“Thank you,” I whispered softly. “Thank you for making me tell you.”

“We won’t let him hurt you, Rose,” Scorpius said fiercely. “I won’t let him.”

I looked at the sincerity in his eyes and another tear rolled down my cheek. I felt one of his hands leave my waist and he reached up and wiped away my tear with his thumb. I smiled sadly and laid my head on his shoulder again.

I wasn’t really sure what was happening between us. Maybe it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Or maybe it was the beginning of something much more than that. I wasn’t really sure. All I did know was that I was completely and totally in love with Scorpius – a Slytherin, a Malfoy, and the son of my father’s worst enemy.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

A/N: Yay! Another chapter. Just to let you all know, this chapter has been planned since I first came up with the idea for this story. So I really really hope you all liked it. :) To be honest, I think it's my favorite yet.  

So what did you all think? Please, please review tell me what you thought! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who live in America and happy November 27th to everyone else. :P 

Thanks for reading!

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