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Author Note: Hello! So we’re nearing the posting of what I call the “landmark chapter” Chapter Twenty! I can’t wait. Things are definitely starting to hot up in this chapter and I literally can’t wait until I post the next two – there’s plenty going on which I’m hoping you’ll all enjoy! Plenty of action, some good romantic Rose/Scorpius moments and some arguments and confrontations are to come. However, I must still apologise for the shortness of this chapter – I wanted to keep a nice average of around 4000 words but it’s just not always possible. Also apologies for rogue comma’s and occasional typo’s that might crop up (same with shoddy spacing), I’ve been ill the past few days and had a bit of a fall and hit my head resulting in a visit A&E and some stitches :P so I’m still not feeling great, meaning the re-reading and editing of this may well not be top notch. The support of you guys is fantastic and I honestly couldn’t have continued writing this story without it. Your feedback, comments, suggestions and praise all really do brighten up my day so please do continue to leave your wonderful reviews, I appreciate every one of them. Enjoy the chapter!  



18 – Sudden Memories:



Rose was breathing harshly as she made her way reluctantly up the steep incline ahead of her. Scatterings of snow dusted crudely carved rocks and boulders which marked the way and formed a rudimentary path through the imposing mountain range. Two days had passed since Rose had joined her friends in exploring an empty, dank cave which rested in a rocky wall; those forty-eight hours since had been largely uneventful.



 Due to James and Albus’ clever manipulation the three separate teams headed by Professors’ Arcenau, Quila and Volkov had met and had since stayed resolutely together. The Heads had only reluctantly agreed but knew if the students were separated from their friends once more some kind of revolt would be in order, not to mention the suspicious circumstances of them all meeting in the first place likely to be repeated.



Professor Quila had been furious with the gathering of students, warning she would find out how the routes had changed and the groups had clashed with thin-lipped determination and piercing narrowed eyes. Consequently the three-person teams remained the same but the main groups were disregarded, much to Rose’s relief, who was glad to finally have her friends competing in some of the same challenges as her.



 On this day, only two days before Albus’ birthday, Rose and her team were led with several others towards an area of flat terrain ahead. It was after lunch and Rose was still full from a good meal as she travelled forward, her eyes on Ivan’s deep navy backpack as her feet moved with organised monotony.



Jerard walked continually at her side and seemed to mimic her every move, prompting Rose to increase her pace exponentially every few minutes just to move away from the persistent French student who dogged her every step.



Scorpius was climbing a little way ahead, unhappily alongside his team members; his face was serious and grim as he cast angry looks at the blonde-haired girl beside him. The majority of wounds from his fall had healed quickly; his anger and suspicion however had not and remained at the forefront of his mind.



Rose heard excited gasps as her team joined those which had already reached the expanse of gently sloping land ahead, upon which stood a giant square platform covered in smaller tessellating tiles in a dull grey colour. The land around it was what drew the most attention, as it was covered, unusually, with creeping vines and leafy plants which seemed to thrive in the uncomfortable conditions at the mountains steep side.



Some proudly presented huge petals of soft velvety purple flowers, their middles speckled with flecks of bright orange as they danced in the afternoon light next to pure white neighbours with small trumpet-like flowers and dainty fringed leaves like fragile lace collars. Professor Quila, the group’s leader for the day, drew to a stop just in front of the giant board and cleared her throat, immediately receiving the attention of the eager gaggle of students around her.



“Students! We’ve now arrived at our afternoon activity. As you can see, behind me is a platform of small squares which forms the game you will all be competing in. Three teams shall participate at any one time although each team-member must fend for themselves; this game is about protecting yourself and using quick thinking, observation and determination to defend your team members. “Each individual will choose an initial square to stand on, immediately each of these squares will rotate and reveal, on their underside, a symbol. Once all of the symbols are revealed and facing upwards the challenge shall begin. At this moment, the student in question must search for the symbol on the board identical to that they are standing on and cast a “repulso” spell with their wand.



“This will cause both the tile chosen and that they are standing on to turn back over and remain blank once more. They must then choose another tile and the process repeats. However, if the sister square to that they are on is occupied by another player they must still cast the spell at it, quicker than their opponent on the opposite tile does the same.



“The person on the tile who has the slowest reaction will be eliminated from the game instantly. You must find your partner tile or else you will not be able to move to another; if the other tile is inhabited by a member of your team, you must eliminate them.



“The aim of this game is to keep alert and make sure you try to avoid stepping on the same square as your team members as well as eliminating as many of your adversaries as possible. The last two people in the game will win points for their team or teams.”



Her announcement was met by quiet chatter as the teams started to voice their worries and excitement. Ivan turned to Jerard and Rose, his dark eyes unusually bright.



“This sounds brilliant!” he said enthusiastically, also eyeing the large square platform of rock behind him. “This I think ve can easily vin!” he continued.



Rose’s grin was quick in response to the comments from the dark haired Durmstrang boy as she dumped her heavy bag on the floor mimicking the actions of everyone around her. Professor Quila began walking around the gathering of students to determine which teams would be competing against one another; Rose soon found herself joined with Scorpius’ team and that containing her younger brother, Hugo, who was looking worried and anxious as he observed the game in front of them.



She gave the latter a quick smile which he returned instantly as three other teams were led to the game’s edge and made their way reluctantly to separate squares. Rose watched as Professor Quila flicked her wand and caused all of the tiles to flip over under the participants’ feet, causing them all to scramble onto the correct side lest they should fall off.



As soon as the brightly glowing symbols were revealed the tall Headmistress shot blue sparks into the air; the game began.



It started slowly as very few competitors encountered each other at first due to the plentiful supply of tiles to select, however as time went by open pairs became harder and harder to find and players were soon being hurriedly removed from the game as they were flipped from the blasted square beneath them to the activity’s outskirts.



The students jumped nimbly from symbol to symbol and gathered momentum quickly as their anxious eyes searched for their tile’s mirror image, several seeing it already occupied leaving them with no option but to eliminate their not-quite-as-quick opponents. Soon an entire team had been removed from the fast-paced game as well as a player from each of the two remaining groups.



Those four remaining students were fighting hard as many symbols were still upturned and brightly showing their images; their footsteps becoming far less stable as they staggered from side to side trying to instantly find a means of escape.



A pale faced Beauxbatons girl was obviously panicking as sticky sweat shone on her forehead and her long mousy brown hair hung limp around her face, most of his bundled in a heap on top of her head where frantic hands had pushed it from her eyes. She sprinted across the sea of blank tiles to find that with a resolutely shimmering image, a silver owl, and scanned her eyes with eager precision over those squares across the board.



Rose could see her suddenly recognise the partner to her tile and she raised her wand to send a quick spell at it. Another Beauxbatons student suddenly leapt onto the tile not seeing that its matching image was already occupied, throwing the girl slightly and startling her enough to give her opponent a split second advantage which they used with reluctant efficiency.



The long haired girl was hurled through the air from the board; disappointment and relief etched eclectically onto her features.



Finally one last player, a brooding dark-haired boy, was thrown precariously from the attacking board and the end of the game was announced. The two remaining students, one from Beauxbatons and one from Durmstrang, were from the same team and left the board ecstatic, celebrating with their previously eliminated team-mate who stood looking slightly dishevelled nearby.



Rose frowned having seen three Hogwarts students lose quickly and easily and knew she needed to fight hard when her turn came. She was summoned along with her team-mates several games later, only one Hogwarts student having won for their team so far; she found herself torn between loyalty to her team and that to her brother and Tournament partner on the opposite sides.



At Professor Quila’s indication she walked onto the board and chose a square across on the far side, far from her opponents. Suddenly the ground beneath her feet flipped over, forcing her to jump and allow it to settle, revealing a bright blue design depicting a traditional pointed Wizard’s hat.



She sprang into action, her eyes hurriedly stumbling over every small decorative tile she could, only now realising quite how difficult it was as she noted the squares her team-mates inhabited.



Finally she spotted her sister tile, to Jerard’s right, and just as she heard Hugo blasting a tile nearby with a loud “repulso” spell she did the same; in reaction to her tile becoming resolutely grey once more, she moved onto a golden dragon, beginning to repeat the procedure.



The game began much like those previous had, with slow precision as the different competitors skirted around each other, having not had to encounter each other yet. Suddenly the blood pumped ferociously through Rose’s veins; adrenaline swarmed through her system as she saw the other, allusively shimmering, golden dragon square.



 It was under the feet of Scorpius’ team-mate Savina Ortoff.



The two girls’ eyes met across the sea of colour as they flung their wands out in identical synchronicity and haste, but Rose had the split second advantage. Before she knew it the deep crimson robes of one of her opponents were just a bloody smear through the air as she was expelled to the rocky plant-ridden earth surrounding their competitive task, her face a mask of anger and disappointment.



 Not wasting a second Rose moved on, glancing across to see her brother and Scorpius still fighting on valiantly. The emerald unicorn beneath her feet seemed to glitter with mocking brilliance as Rose fought desperately to thread through the bright weave of colours ahead of her, her eyes barely pausing in the progression to their goal.



Jerard was gasping for breath a few squares to her right, he’d been persistently following her tracks and suddenly Rose found herself watching in frozen protest as Jerard unknowingly jumped to the overtly identical twin of her tile, their green inhabitants matching perfectly. Rose and Jerard’s eyes met, Jerard already had his wand drawn and so Rose stood still, waiting for the spell which didn’t come.



“We are on ze same team,” he said quietly from his short distance away. A gentle smile, thoroughly out of place in the competitive game they were absorbed in, shone on his face. “I don’t want to eliminate you.” Rose growled under her breath at his stupidity.



“It’s a competition!” she hissed back. “You don’t need to protect me!” Still he did nothing, so with her movement fuelled by annoyance which had built up for days she swung her wand with hasty reluctance at her French team-mate and removed him from the game.



 



She stopped in a moment of guilt which was only interrupted by a shout behind her as she turned in time to see Hugo being propelled through the air by the force of his tile, Clarette Laroche with her wand drawn and aimed at him; wispy strands of her spell dusting the air around her as she stood watching in triumph, her hair shining brightly like freshly spun gold in the broken strands of midday sunlight.



Rose jumped to the next available square and ran her eyes over its silver symbol, a bright star motif. As she moved, a body flew through the air to her right, followed quickly by another as Ivan and another Durmstrang student from Hugo’s team made a hasty exit from the game.



 Rose looked at her two opponents as their gaze moved to her; Scorpius, Clarette and Rose; Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Hogwarts were finally all that remained. Scorpius nodded slightly at her and glanced at her symbol before he moved to his own which shone in a vivid blue; she smiled, realising he didn’t want either of them to be eliminated.



As quick as a flash Rose twisted her body to view Clarette who had jumped onto the identical twin to her own tile. Time seemed to slow immeasurably as they two girls faced each other; even Scorpius had seemingly stopped his movement to watch the outcome of this fight.



Neither drew their wands for a minute until suddenly, in identical motions they brandished their magical weapons and fired bright scarlet strobes of light at each others’ tiles. Rose watched open mouthed as the spells seemed to take forever to reach their mark, glancing through the air as if only carried by a wintry breeze and not raw determination.



With an explosion of small glittering stars Rose’s spell hit her mark as she punched a fist into the air and let out a burst of laughing celebration as she beat her female opponent when it mattered most.



The French student was thrown reluctantly from the board leaving Professor Quila to announce the triumphant success of her two Hogwarts students; the Champion and her Partner. Scorpius grinned at her as they crossed the patterned board towards each other meeting in the middle in an awkwardly ecstatic moment where neither knew how to celebrate together. Scorpius smiled wryly at her.



“Well done, Red,” he said quickly, his eyes on hers, “is it possible to beat you at anything?” he continued with a laugh.



She ran a hand through her hair as she began to reply, fingers threading through the vivid ruby strands and catching a rogue hair pin which fell abruptly to the ground and made the smallest clinking sound. It seemed to reverberate through the air as both students watched it where it lay on the ground, their minds suddenly filled with the last time it had happened, removed not by Rose’s hand but Scorpius’ as they kissed in a dark entrance hall.



Rose’s original words died on her lips even as new ones arose and her mouth opened as she started to say something, anything, to fill the sudden silent contemplation between them. Scorpius shook his head, his eyes clouding over as memories plagued his mind and he walked off the board.



 Even as Rose’s heart shuddered a little at the sight of his retreating back she breathed a sigh of relief having not known what to say to him anyway; nothing, as yet, could truly heal the night of the Yule Ball.



She followed in his wake and forced a fake smile onto her face as she rejoined Jerard and Ivan. They sat together on a large rock which had broken through the dusty hard earth beneath it, a coarse lime green lichen clinging possessively over its dull underside.



They both congratulated her immediately as she seated herself next to them. As another team took to the game the three fell silent until Ivan leaned across and whispered in Rose’s exposed ear.



“Is everything ok? You and the blonde boy, you looked unhappy as you spoke to him?” His eyebrows creased in confusion as he watched her when she shook her head slightly and sighed deeply in her throat.



 “It isn’t ok. But there’s nothing I can do,” she whispered quietly to him, painfully aware that Jerard was attempting to listen in on Ivan’s other side.



“There is always something, Miss Veasley,” he replied, “there’s always a vay if you vant there to be.” His eyes turned back to the game as he left Rose with her own thoughts which swirled and fought in her mind, entwined in a limitless battle. The rest of the games passed by almost impatient haste and soon Rose’s stomach was groaning loudly as they descended down the rocky terrain back to where they had slept since they had arrived, the platform of earth now laden with tables already full of talking and laughing students from other groups, their chatter loud in the dark evening air.



 Rose took a seat beside Dawn and a sour-faced Hannah, leaving a brief goodbye for Jerard and Ivan who went off to join students from their own Schools. She looked at Hannah’s expression in confusion before following the line of her narrowed eyes to where Albus sat on the opposite side of the long table, several seats along, talking to two girls on either side of him.



As Rose watched, one of the girls rested a hand on her laughing cousin’s shoulder and giggled with him, her body as close beside his as her friend’s was on his other side. Rose looked across at Dawn who met her eyes and shrugged, not knowing what to do.



Hannah had confronted her feelings for Albus so suddenly that neither girl knew how to treat her now or whether to bring up the subject at all.



“Ah,” Rose commented, having searched desperately for a good enough way to broach the subject. Hannah glanced at her.



“Ah indeed,” she said, sighing. There was an awkward silence for a few minutes before the three girls watched identically the boy in Hogwarts robes opposite them as he laughed and joked, pushing fingers through already scruffy black hair as he brushed rogue strands from his face.



 Hannah sat up suddenly and pulled the hair band out of her messy ponytail, smoothing back her fair hair and retying it swiftly as she circled her shoulders and breathed deeply.



“I walked up to him naked, in a crowd of people and that idiot of a boy still fails to notice me at all,” she commented angrily. “Well, I’ll just have to make sure he knows how I feel,” she finished with a broad smile. Dawn’s eyebrows shot up as she observed her friend with worry.



“You’re not going to do anything stupid, Hannah? Professor Quila will kill you if you do anything like last time!” she said quickly, a note of desperation quivering through her voice.



“I won’t do anything yet and nothing too bad anyway,” Hannah answered, observing Dawn’s wide eyed expression. “But Albus Potter needs a bit of a wake-up call. I just need to...tell him exactly how I feel.” She smiled confidently at her decision, a tooth emerging as she bit gently down on her lower lip.



 Rose knew Hannah was never one to be dissuaded from her opinion so left the anxious Dawn to question her motives and instead smiled at her cousin across the table, wondering if he knew quite how much he’d attracted a girl who really was one in a million.



“Just promise me it won’t involve taking your clothes off!” Dawn said desperately.



“I don’t think it will...” Hannah replied thoughtfully. “I was pretty chilly last time.” Hannah returned to the now cold pudding which had lain undisturbed in front of her for several minutes. Rose reached out for the large quiche next to her and took a modest slice along with a spoonful of buttery potatoes, their thin skins decorated with green flecks of parsley.



 The three girls ate amidst short bursts of conversation for the remainder of their dinner, Hannah occasionally glancing over at Albus who still spoke with the two female members of his team and threw comments to Scorpius who sat rigidly opposite.



 Rose had watched as the fair-haired Slytherin ate half-heartedly, mainly dragging food about his place with an idly held fork between two fingers, his thoughts obviously elsewhere. She too could barely focus and was only shaken out of her frozen reverie when Hannah nudged her.



“Earth to Rose!” she said laughingly, her bright eyes dancing with humour as she pointed across the table.



Rose smiled as she saw Felix and Fabien making their way across the uneven ground but her grin quickly dropped from her face as she saw their serious expressions and they raised a hand identically in greeting as they approached.



“Could we have a word?” Felix asked quietly, leaning close to Rose as he spoke, his eyes darting nervously across the surrounding dinner tables. Rose nodded in confirmation and followed them away from the bustling atmosphere and around a rocky ridge where they were hidden from view. She stood in front of them, her eyebrows creased in confusion.



“What’s going on?” she asked quickly. “Is everything ok?”



“You’re in Jerard Chevalier’s group for the challenges this week aren’t you?” Fabien asked as soon as Rose had spoken. Rose’s eyes widened in worry.



“Yes...” she said hesitantly, trailing off. “Is this going to explain why he’s been so clingy and over-protective since I arrived?” she asked with obvious reluctance, half not wanting to hear their response and determine, at last, the reason for her team-mate’s bizarre behaviour.



“It may well,” Felix answered instantly; “from what we have gathered...” he began.



 “...his motives might not be quite what they seem...” Fabien finished in a rushed burst, his lips in a thin line, his eyes worried.  



 



 

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