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Author Note: Well the good news is that Red Champion, after posting Chapter Six, exceeded 1000 reads! Wahey! The bad news of course is that this is to be my last update before the queue closure I reckon but I will be posting as soon as is humanly possible when the queue reopens! I hope you all enjoy this chapter, I’m afraid its slightly shorter than its predecessors but I hope that what it lacks in length, it makes up for in impact. There is now nothing more for me to say than so many, many thanks to the fantastic people who have been reviewing, reading and favourite-ing my story, it really does make my day to know people enjoy this story. So please, enjoy reading the newest chapter and if you have a moment, leave me a review – it means the world.



 



7 - Danger:



 



“Never was anything great achieved without danger”


Niccolo Machiavelli



 



Rose was awoken from her deep sleep by a quiet but insistent tapping at the door. She rubbed her eyes tiredly and pulled on her dressing gown which lay abandoned on the floor at the foot of her bed. On swinging open her bedroom door she was met with Scorpius’ equally tired looking face, his hair tufted and ruffled from where he had slept on it.



“I’m sorry to wake you up,” Scorpius began apologetically. “But we both seem to have overslept after all the excitements of last night.” He smiled wryly and pointed at Rose’s clock hung on the wall beside her. She gasped as she saw it was eleven, she’d never been one to sleep in as she preferred mornings to evening.



“Lucky we both have the day off,” Rose said with a small laugh. She gestured into the room and let Scorpius take a seat on the untidy bedcovers; she followed him, seating herself on one particularly comfortable pillow and faced her fellow student.



“So...” Rose began uncertainly. “How did you know I was gone yesterday? Professor Quila said you had been to see her.” Scorpius shuffled uncomfortably and looked embarrassed by his actions.



“Well I came out of my room to go to dinner, before our session to practice and saw that your door wasn’t quite closed. So, thinking you were in, I knocked but there was just silence. I opened the door slightly but I could see you definitely weren’t in there and I knew you weren’t one to just wander off without closing your door, it was just...weird.



“So I went to look for Albus, I figured he would probably know where you were. He was then leaving your Common Room to go to dinner and he said he’d seen you an hour ago, looking massively angry and dragging your brother into the hallway to speak to you.



“Nobody had seen Hugo since so I couldn’t ask him, so I went to Professor Quila, I know it was a bit...over the top...but you just seemed to be acting out of character and I wanted to make sure you were ok.” A pale blush crept into his cheek as he stared down at the bedspread, picking at its threads absentmindedly whilst he spoke.



“When I eventually found her office she said you’d gone to see your parents and she couldn’t tell me anything else about it, although she did assure me that you were ok. So I hung around for a while, but it became obvious you weren’t coming back anytime soon so I went back to our shared room and sat down, planning to wait, obviously I was more tired than I thought.”



Rose was surprised by the concern Scorpius obviously showed about her the day before and felt glad that somebody was always looking out for her, especially given how much she argued in his favour to her parents.



Without further ado she launched into her story; telling everything from the letter, to seeing her brother, to yelling at the headmistress, to visiting her parents and their eventual resolution. Scorpius watched her in shock as she retold the whole saga and when she had finished sat in silence for a few minutes attempting to process all of the information he had been given.



“So I am still your partner then? Your parents withdrew their complaint?” he asked, confused.



“Yes, they sent a Patronus message to Professor Quila and explained everything, you are definitely still my partner.” Rose recognised that Scorpius was obviously going over things in his mind from his distracted expression.



“I’m sorry about their behaviour,” she said. “I can’t apologise enough because they were completely out of order, they had no right to judge you like that. I hope you can forgive them.” Scorpius looked up at this and his lips gave a small smile.



“It’s ok,” he said finally. “I know people still hold prejudices and it’s understandable after what resulted from all the negative relationships back in the war. I know what my father is and how people feel about him. That’s something which I doubt will ever change, however I won’t ever stop trying to convince people that I’m not my father.”



He paused for a moment, before looking deeply into Rose’s eyes.       



“Thank you. Thank you for defending me and trusting me enough to say all those things to your parents. I’m not used to people defending me, but I’m glad you did. Who would have thought when we were put together for this Tournament that we would be sitting here now talking about this? I think the Goblet knew what it was doing. We make a pretty unbeatable team.”



 



*             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *



 



Rose had never felt more bored in her life as she swung her legs backwards and forwards causing the dark wooden chair she was sitting on to rock slightly.



She had been invited on this day, a mere five days before the Tournament, to attend the traditional Wand Weighing ceremony and since she was the last to have her wand examined she had been sitting for what felt like hours waiting whilst her fellow competitors chatted amiably with the grey bearded man who was the chief wand-maker.



Alexandre was currently being assessed, Katalena having gone first, and the process seemed unbearably long. As was also tradition, the press for the host country was there, snapping photographs of Rose when she least expected and asking inane questions about how she felt about being in the Tournament, and what she thought the First Task would be.



Usually she would have politely sat and answered the questions with suitable but not personal answers. However today it was raining and it was cold and the inside of Durmstrang seemed even darker than usual, none of which did anything to improve her mood. She hated feeling like a doll, being passed between people; she felt she’d just like to be left alone.



 As another reporter approached her she sighed but decided to put on a brave face, after all she knew her parents would deliberately get hold of this newspaper just to read the article. A brown-haired young woman sat beside her, with her photographer sitting a little distance away and snapping pictures of the two of them together.



“So Rose,” she began with a broad, toothy smile, “are you and your partner working well together so far?” Rose nodded and put on her best “good student” face.



“We are, I can’t imagine doing the Tournament without him, he is a great help.”



“But of course!” the reporter said suddenly. “I had forgotten you have a male partner, how is that going?” Rose frowned at what was being implied.



“Is there any romance on the cards yet?” The young woman laughed shrilly and Rose suppressed the urge to give her a slap and instead stayed silent.



“We are good friends,” Rose finally said with little emotion in her voice. “Nothing more, nothing less.”



“But of course, working together so closely for such a long period of time things are going to change...” The reporter asked leadingly. Before Rose could retort, her name was called and she was summoned to present her wand.



Without a word to the woman next to her she walked off to the front of the room where Mr Daletsky stood. He had dark, almost black eyes like nuggets of coal which were set deep into his face and which twinkled with kindness as he observed the nervous looking girl approaching him.



“Miss Weasley!” he said in greeting. “Finally we meet. Could I have your wand please?” Rose smiled at the cheery man before her and instantly found him likeable. She handed over her wand and he took it carefully, turning it over rapidly in his fingers.



 



“Eleven inches and made from rosewood I believe?” he said with a smile. Rose nodded, “Notoriously not very flexible, with a unicorn hair through its core. Not a common combination. With the right owner however...” He smiled at Rose at this point and she blushed, remembering how she had stood for hours trying wand after wand only eventually finding this one.



It had been made years ago but had never suited anybody, until she came along and it obeyed her every wish. Mr Daletsky flicked the wand slightly and from the tip grew a green stem which sprouted jagged leaves and eventually a large rose bud which blossomed into flower.



He took the flower and handed it to Rose, proclaiming her wand was in full health. Before returning it he laid it on one side of a pair of shining silver scales and noted down the information he was given. After a few more minutes of questioning her wand’s general abilities and whether its magic was working as well as usual Rose received her wand back and slipped it into her robes pocket.



Within the following half an hour and after numerous pictures being taken with the other Champions Rose was allowed to leave. She grabbed her things and exited as quickly as was possible, before anybody else had even gathered together their belongings.



She made her way quickly through the castle which, after the few weeks of being there, she now knew her way around. She walked down a particularly dark corridor which was bereft of windows and therefore had no natural light; this was easily her least favourite part of the castle.



As she arrived about halfway down the corridor she heard a creak behind her, she turned her head quickly and brandished her wand but could see nothing through the darkness and shadows.



 Deciding to cast a Lumos spell to give some much needed light she was just about to utter the word when a whisper could be heard, but the words not distinguished, and a flash of light lit up the corridor as a spell hurtled towards Rose. It hit her full in the stomach with a piercing red glow and its force threw her through the air, disarming her, and causing her to hit the wooden panelling at the end of the corridor.



A crash echoed throughout the castle as she made contact with the wall and a portrait hanging above her, shaken by the impact, fell from its hook on the wall to strike her shoulder. She cried out from the pain and heard the sound of quickly moving footsteps.



She could see a shadow at the end of the corridor shifting and disappearing into the surrounding gloom just as an out of breath Alexandre rounded the corridor.



“Miss Rose!” he cried out when he saw her. “What ‘as ‘appened? I ‘eard a loud crash from across ze castle and so ran and ‘ere you are, lying against ze wall and bleeding!” He pulled her gently to her feet and wrapped an arm around her waist to support her unsteady body as she placed her outstretched hand across his shoulders.



“My wand,” she said suddenly, “I was disarmed; where is my wand?” Alexandre cast a simple summoning charm and the wand flew to him, which he quickly handed to Rose. She relaxed and clasped the wand firmly, not wanting to be parted with it again.



“Somebody hexed me,” she said to Alexandre as he helped her hobble down the corridors, a pain in her stomach making it hard to walk. “I heard a sound and turned around, then just as I was going to cast Lumos a spell hit me.”



“Zese are dangerous times to be walking alone in the Durmstrang castle, or so it seems,” Alexandre replied, frowning deeply. “People play by dirty tactics sometimes.”



The corridors were getting gradually slightly lighter and Rose recognised that they were not far from the entrance doors and felt massively relieved; she couldn’t wait to get out of there. As they reached the bottom of the main staircase and approached the exit to the castle Rose heard a rustle beside her and cried out as a figure appeared through the gloom.



She was about to hit the person with a spell when she recognised Scorpius’ dark blonde hair.



“Scorpius? What are you doing here?” she asked. Scorpius frowned at the boy around which Rose her arm and glared at the hand Alexandre had firmly at her waist.



 



“What the hell’s going on?” he asked, his eyes narrowing with anger before his eyebrows suddenly rose and his eyes widened. “Your shoulder,” he said. “You’re bleeding, what’s happened?” He walked quickly over to her hastily pulling her robe to the side to see the wound at the base of her neck. She winced.



Scorpius continued to scowl at Alexandre before Rose found her voice.



“I was walking back from the Wand Weighing by myself and heard something behind me; I turned and got hit with a spell. Luckily Alexandre was nearby and heard the disturbance so came running to help me.” Scorpius obviously still felt some animosity against Alexandre but softened his expression.



“I’d better get you back to the ship,” he said as the young Frenchman relinquished his hold on Rose and let Scorpius support her.



As the three of them left the darkness of the castle Rose stopped and turned to Alexandre.



“Thank you very much for all your help. I hate to think what would have happened if you hadn’t of been there.” She smiled at him as he bowed and kissed her hand, answering simply with, “you’re welcome.”



He departed and headed towards another lake, the twin of the one the Hogwarts ship was settled on, in the opposite direction where a similar ship was bobbing. Scorpius’ hand rested on her hip as he half carried her down the rocky terrain towards their current home as she winced in pain.



“You never answered my question,” she said suddenly. “What were you doing in Durmstrang?”



“Well, ironically enough, I was coming to meet you after the Wand Weighing so you wouldn’t have to walk back alone. Obviously I was too late.” As they boarded the ship Scorpius steered them towards doors to the left, causing Rose to stop in her tracks.



“Where are we going?” she asked. “Our rooms are through to the right.”



“I’m taking you to the Hospital Ward, it’s right near Quila’s office, you need to be checked over.” As he started to move again Rose remained resolutely still.



“I’m not going to the Hospital Ward here,” she said, determined, “imagine the fuss when they find out I was hexed in Durmstrang? Professor Quila will have to be told and then will have to speak to Volkov, I can’t imagine he’ll be too pleased about having one of his students accused of attacking me. It’ll cause so many problems.”



Scorpius could obviously understand her argument and sighed deeply, knowing he wouldn’t win this.



“Fine,” he said suddenly. “I have some healing things back at my room.”



He supported her all the way back to their chambers and eventually laid her on his bed whilst he moved to the bedside table, pulling open the drawers. He removed from it a large box on the front of which was written, “St Mungo’s Magical Maladies Supplies”, Rose frowned at this until Scorpius explained.



“When my mum heard we were in the Tournament she sent me this, in case you ever got hurt. She’s a healer at St Mungo’s” He ducked his head as he examined the case’s contents.



Rose felt embarrassed over how her parents had treated Scorpius when obviously his mother only showed kindness towards her. Scorpius began with simple cotton wool and water to wash the dried blood from her shoulder and then used a green paste which he applied thoroughly to the wound before covering with a tight bandage.



He frowned uncertainly.



“That should do for now. Although we will have to change it every morning and night. Where else other than that are you hurt?” Rose hesitated for a moment, not sure whether to mention her stomach where the spell had hit, and where the pain had increased exponentially over the journey back to Scorpius’ room. Reluctantly she laid a hand over the throbbing pain.



“The spell hit me full on in the stomach,” she said and rolled up the bottom of her t-shirt slightly. The entirety of her stomach was consumed by a black bruise the edges of which were raised, red and blistered; it had obviously been spreading since it had formed.



The sight of this and the sudden realisation that whoever hexed her really meant to hurt her made Rose take shallow shuddering breaths and, relaxing back onto the soft quilt on Scorpius’ bed, she fainted.



 



 

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