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A/N: Yikes! I wish I had an exciting excuse for taking this long to post a new chapter, but I'm afraid school and life just caught up with me. This isn't my favorite chapter, so feel free to tell me how I can improve it. Hope you enjoy it!


Chapter 6: People Running Round in Circles

Rose Weasley had a problem. Well, she had several problems; one named “Hugo,” and one named “Scorpius,” (she blushed every time she thought of the latter one; it was quite embarrassing) and one named “I have to leave in less than two hours to go to a party where I will see the boy I fancy and I have ABSOLUTELY BLOODY NOTHING to wear!” The last being the more serious and immediate of the three. It was also the one she was trying to tackle at the moment (mmm… she wouldn’t mind tackling Scorpius--- no, stop that immediately!) to no avail.

She sighed as she looked at the closet and the mess of clothes she had thrown on the floor (and every other available surface, really). It was hopeless. She caught sight of her pale, distraught reflection and tangled hair and found it necessary to sigh again. It was a bad habit she had picked up from Albus, although he did it much more effectively. It was something to aspire to, to affect change with a sigh. Rose was so frustrated that she was about ready to go starkers to the bloody party. That would certainly get his attention. Oh, she was just no good at these sorts of things.

“I certainly hope that is not all you will be wearing tonight, Rose. It’ll certainly make a splash, although I don’t know how your mum would take it.”

Rose spun around, blushing to find Lily carrying a mountainous pile of clothing and trying to shake the soot from her long hair.

“Lily!” Rose squealed unabashedly, relieved that the reinforcements had arrived.

“Sorry I couldn’t get here earlier, Rose. Mum wanted help getting things ready because, of course, Dad couldn’t be found and Al and James couldn’t be made to help with their own bloody party.” Lily commented darkly, dropping the clothes on Rose’s bed and then plopping down daintily herself. “And I knew you would need some help” Lily laughed, surveying Rose’s room and frazzled appearance.

Half an hour and much fussing later, Rose had found (with much help from a very amused Lily) an outfit which met her expectations. The dusty grey top hadn’t been her first choice, but it set off her dark hair and blue eyes well and looked nice with the tight black jeans Lily had picked out for her (and swore to Merlin and back that they did not make her butt look big). Curiously, both items were from her cousin’s wardrobe, though they fit perfectly, which led Rose to believe that Lily (who was much slimmer and athletic) had bought them for her in the first place.

Once satisfied, Rose cleaned up the mess with a wave of her wand. She couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty when she saw Lily avert her eyes, although her cousin had made her swear twenty times over not to. It was always a little awkward to do magic around Lily, so Rose avoided it when she could (or remembered). It wasn’t that Lily made a big fuss about it, it was just that Rose felt like she was flaunting something she had and Lily didn’t. Half of Rose’s life centered around Hogwarts, and she was always afraid to bring it up around her cousin. Al laughed at her about it, and Lily had once pitched a fit when Rose had refused to do magic with her in the room, but it still felt awfully awkward. Rose stood with her wand raised and an expression like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar on her face until Lily caught sight of her and scowled.

“You know, I’m not going to break into tears if you do magic around me Rose. Believe it or not, I’m bloody happy being a Squib and learning all sorts of useless muggle subjects like chemistry and maths.” Lily hadn’t meant to sound quite as sarcastic as she did. “Sorry, it’s been a long day and we’ve been over this before. You are allowed to do magic around me, Rose. You don’t need to mollycoddle me, you don’t need to pity me, and you don’t need to be careful around me. Now finish getting ready before I have to drag you into the shower myself.” She felt a little bad for snapping at Rose, but she really didn’t feel like dealing with this.

Rose bit her lip and nodded, just barely restraining an apology she knew Lily didn’t want to hear. Instead, she ducked into the bathroom and out of Lily’s line of fire.

Lily perched on Rose’s neatly organized desk and idly twirled a strand of her hair. She waited until she heard the water running and knew Rose couldn’t escape. “May I ask for whom you are dressing up, Rosie dear?”

There was no answer from the bathroom. It came, instead, from the hall outside Rose’s bedroom door where a gangly 15 year old Hugo wore an impish grin.

“It’s Scorpius Malfoy.”

“HUGO!” Rose roared in protest from the shower.

“Only Scorpius hasn’t got the faintest idea she’s alive, and Dad’d do his nut if he knew who she fancied.” Hugo continued with the air of one who knew all. “It’s in her diary. She’s absolute rubbish at hiding it, really it’s no fun anymore, it’s gotten so easy to find.”

“OUT!” Rose screamed, sopping wet and clutching her towel around herself, her wand leveled at his head. Hugo just raised his hands and ducked out of range. Lily could hear him laughing down the hall.

“I swear, one of these days I’m going to kill him…”

“So, Scorpius Malfoy, eh?” Lily interrupted Rose’s furious mutterings. She was rewarded by Rose flushing a brilliant shade of red, which was really all the answer she needed.

“What about him?” Rose was trying for nonchalant… and failing miserably.

“Oh, come on Rose. You’re no fun. Don’t I get to tease you about who you fancy? I thought it was a tradition. You’d fall in love with someone, Hugo would find out who it was, I’d tease you about him, and then you’d maybe hook up with him.” Lily grinned at her, upside down, from Rose’s bed.

Rose shook her head. “That was different, Lily. This is different. He’s just so… I don’t know—“ Rose trailed off, shrugging to express that this wasn’t something to put into words.

Lily was going to try anyway. “Different?”

Rose only spared her a quick glance. “No, Lily. Well, yes, but.” She sat down next to her cousin, deftly avoiding the long limbs spread across her duvet. “Scorpius doesn’t care that I’m a Weasley. That’s difference number one. He isn’t really all that popular. That’s difference number two. He-“

“He doesn’t know you exist: difference number three.” Lily was now right side up, taking in Rose’s face carefully.

Rose sighed. “Right. Difference number three. I guess the biggest difference is me, Lily. This isn’t some silly crush. I legitimately fancy him, want to be near him, wish he would look at me just once.”

“I’m sure he’s looked, Rosie.” Lily turned to face her pretty cousin. “Have you even ever talked to him? He’s a bit of a prat.”

“Have you?” Rose’s chin was out, a sure sign that Lily was treading on thin ice here.

“Yes, I have, Rose. This isn’t just another Potter talking about a Malfoy thing. He used to come to those dinners Shaklebott hosted every year, the ones commemorating the war. The ones your father refused to go to because Malfoy’s father was recognized as one of the heroes.”

Rose had the good grace to look ashamed. “Alright, so I haven’t talked to him. Much. We did have arithmancy together last year. He sat behind me. And you have to admit, Lils, you have a tendency to make enemies.”

“Moi?” Lily scoffed, tossing her long red hair over her shoulder. “Never.”

Rose threw her hands up in defeat. “All I’m saying is that you might not be the best judge. Besides; there hasn’t been one of those dinners in nearly three years. Are you seriously basing your opinion of Scorpius Malfoy on an encounter you had when you were thirteen?”

Lily hated it when Rose was right. So she often did what James did; she ignored her. “Yes I am. He was a prick, and I maintain that he still is. However, if you are determined to like him, I’ll do my best to get him to fancy you.” She got up and stretched.

Rose ran a brush through her hair, thinking quietly to herself. Lily was equally silent, not even humming for once. Rose stopped mid-stroke, her intuition sending out an alarm. “Lily?”

Lily immediately plastered on a bright smile. “Yeah?”

Rose shook her head. She was probably just nervous. It was throwing her senses off.

Lily bit her lip, watching her cousin get ready. Rose effortlessly flicked her wand to dry her hair, do her make up, find her bag. Lily didn’t even flinch once. Her mind was with another wizard who was most likely pacing in his room at home.

“Rose?” Lily asked, “Has Al talked to you lately?”

If Rose had been capable of thinking of anyone but Scorpius Malfoy, she would have heard the alarms going off again. But as it were, she was completely distracted, so she said, “Not really, why? Should he have?”

Lily bit her lip again. “No, just checking.”

Rose didn’t even blink at that. “Ready to go?”

“Of course.” Lily grabbed the proffered hand and the two apparated to the front yard of Dinsmore.


At some point amongst the din and confusion, Lily lost her cousin. Some time later she was feeling pretty lost herself. These were all James and Al’s friends, all Hogwarts students or recent graduates. Lily could flirt and tease and talk quidditch with the best of them, but even she had her limits when it came to conversations about Hogwarts. Even worse were the awkward silences that inevitably followed the instant someone remembered Lily and nudged his friend in the ribs with an elbow to shut him up.

Hogwarts had become more of a dull ache than anything else, over the years, really. Lily felt guilty even comparing her own school to that magical place, because Eastmon was lovely. It had challenging classes, beautiful dormitories, a fair mix of people, sports, good looking boys, and a humongous library. The problem was, Lily felt like a bloody brochure each time she tried to describe it. Or maybe it was that she had to hide her transfiguration and defensive theory books at the bottom of her trunk; or that she had to leave her owl, Artemis at home. Or it could have been that there was no magical Restricted section, or cranky caretakers with crazy cats, or ceilings enchanted to look like the sky. It was even possible that the only problem Lily had with her school was that it was, quite simply, not Hogwarts. And there was really nothing that could be done about that at all.

“Lily? Lily? Oi, Lily!”

Lily’s pulled herself shakily out of her thoughts. It wasn’t good to dwell on things like that. The boy speaking to her had been a team-mate of James’, she was pretty sure.

“You all right there? You looked pretty lost for a second.” He was good looking; tall, blonde, and blue-eyed. Not really her type, but he was fit in that way only quidditch players can be.

“No, I’m fine.” Lily answered, although she couldn’t remember for the life of her what they had been talking about. She placed a hand on his arm and giggled airily. She needed a distraction, badly. She was pleased to see his eyes travel up her arm and then back down her body, finally dragging his eyes up to meet hers. “What were you saying?”

“I was just wondering if you wanted to take a walk with me. It’s a little crowded in here.” He shyly rubbed at the scruff of his neck, a habit she would have normally found endearing. Tonight, it annoyed her. Still, he was a better prospect than almost anyone else here. She could help Rose later…

“Sounds like a plan.” Lily smiled coyly at the smug expression on his face, taking him by the hand and leading him away. The beauty of a place like Dinsmore was that there were plenty of rooms unoccupied and largely undiscovered, perfect for nights like this. And no one knew them better than Lily. For a little while, at least, she could forget.

So, what did you think? I know Rose didn't get a lot of stage time, but I promise that she will become much more important in later chapters; I just got tired of reading fics that focused on her. Well, please review, and feel free to ask any questions you may have!

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