Secret No. 30: Dad gave me a teddy bear clad in the bright orange robes of the Chudley Cannons when I was seven. Do I still have the bear? Yes. Yes, I do.
It seems just being around Amy strikes the fear of God into people. Those who whispered and sniggered about me now hastily avoid my eyes and duck their heads. It is easier than I thought it would be to revert back to my usual routine of being a part of Amy’s crowd and everyone seemed to take this in stride, treating me with the usual respect they once had.
But Amy isn’t ready to forgive and forget so easily. Instead she has me doing menial tasks that make me want to yank out my hair in frustration. She’d send me to fetch her a glass of lemonade while the likes of Nina and Marissa lord over the place, constantly assuring Amy of how pretty she looks or flashing me quick, snide looks when they know I can catch them.
And it isn’t the way I’m ordered to fetch things as I am no more than a house elf that pisses me off – it’s the fact that whenever Amy and I are left in each other’s company for mere, few seconds she refuses to break the silence as she once did. It is left up to me to summon up something to say but no matter how funny, nor charming, the reply every time is the same – a quick flick of her eyes over my body, a quirk of the eyebrow and a small purse of her lips, the corners turned up.
It’s going to be hard, I admit, but I know the only way to get back in Amy’s good graces is to screw over Scorpius. Not that he doesn’t deserve it anyway.
The bell rings, signalling the end of break, and I snap out of my reverie, briefly glancing around the library as chairs are scraped back and other students exit, chatting amongst their friends. I pick up the book in front of me, sighing as I remember Amy’s smirking face as she tells me to return it to the library. I tuck it under my arm as I stand, barely registering the intricate detail of the diagram of a potion on the cover, and move to place it back on the shelf. I feel my face drop into a frown as I notice the dog-eared pages that Amy so carelessly marked earlier and step away from the shelf.
I arrive a few minutes late into Transfiguration, the door banging loudly as I open it and every head turns to eyeball me. Miss Winters slams down a hefty transfiguration book onto the table and at once, heads are whipped around to the front. I swallow, preparing myself for the wrath of my teacher. It’s the one thing that bothers our teacher – being late. If I had arrived ten minutes late to the lesson, crawling along the floor with a bruised face she’d ask me if I’d like a late detention along with that black eye.
She cuts me off. “Seeing as you are late, Miss Weasley, I assume you already know the correct wand work of how to conjure bluebell flames?” She asks me in a clipped tone.
I feel my face flush and know that with my red hair I’m going to resemble very much a tomato. “N-no, miss.” Wait, did I just stammer?
There are a few titters around the classroom but Winters silences them with a glare. She doesn’t look towards me again, instead addressing the class. “We’re going to be doing a paired assignment this term and I expect you all to be getting O’s, am I clear?”
“Yes, miss,” the class chorus and I take this time to dart a quick glance at Amy, who sits there, bored, inspecting her nails for dirt.
I see a hand go up from a girl with curly hair. “Can we choose our partners?”
There’s a silence as if we can’t believe somebody had the guts to ask this. All eyes swivel towards Miss Winters who purses her lips.
She sighs. “Very well.”
I half expect a cheer to go up. Instead, cheerful grins are flashed at one another – I don’t think anybody is cocky enough to cheer. I notice Nina and Gabby, the latest follower of Amy, both stare hopefully at her, waiting for her to choose one of them so they can rub it in the others face later. But I follow the direction of her gaze and make note of the smirk playing on her lips, like the cat that caught the canary. Amy stands, her chair sliding out beneath her, and checks her skirt to see that its short enough (it is) and if there is anything wrong with her hair (there isn’t.)
I get there first though. I don’t know whether it’s my tall, gangly figure or my sheer determination to beat her that I ended up cutting Amy off and swinging my bag onto the table, turning my face away from her to beam up at Scorpius.
He doesn’t seem fazed by my euphoric smile, choosing to instead raise an eyebrow at me. “What are you doing?” Scorpius asks, his voice silky but not annoyed. His tone is as if he genuinely wants to know.
I glance quickly over my shoulder to see Amy leaning back on the chair she was originally sitting in. She catches my eye over the bobbing of Nina’s head and gives me a flirty wink. I face Scorpius again and feel my mouth pulling into a smirk, my confidence escalated with that one wink. “Is it a crime to sit here, or something?”
His eyes find mine as he stares at me. With that one stare it’s as if he can see right through me, through all the bitchy things I’ve done in the past and to that little girl with the blue ribbon in her hair on the first day we were partnered together in Potions. My hand shakes and I place it on my lap to steady it, my heart thumping loudly in my ears, as I stare right back at him, focusing on his silver eyes. Then as soon as it began, Scorpius gives me a small smile and ducks his head in what I can only describe as mild embarrassment. His hand rubs the back of his head and I have to force my hands to stay on my lap and not take his from his head in an attempt to reduce his nervousness. He only rubs his neck when he’s nervous. Or uncomfortable.
Scorpius’s mouth opens as if to say something but the words don’t form. Something behind me holds his attention, his eyes drifting from my face to someone over my left shoulder. I clear my throat, trying to remove the lump that has appeared, and turn back to the front, making an attempt to copy down what Miss Winters has written on the board. Out of the corner of my eye I see a crease appear between Scorpius’s eyebrows and notice the glare he flashes behind me before swivelling his neck to the front and crossing his arms in annoyance.
I think it’s all those years I’ve watched Scorpius that I can decipher his every emotion by the unconscious, little things he does.
I feel a flush crawling up my neck as I guess what has put Scorpius into such a stony silence and fight the urge to have a quick peak over my shoulder to see if my guess is correct. I know I don’t really want to find out the answer.
But a few minutes later, the temptation to discover who it was is too much and I fake a stretch, my head turned in the general direction. Sure enough, sitting moodily on a table a few rows across from us is Al. He senses someone staring at him and snaps his eyes up, only for them to make contact with mine. Al’s expression is surprised at first before he regains his composure and narrows his eyes in a viscous glare. I’m the first one to break the gaze and I return to my position with my focus now on the board.
Miss Winters finishes up on the board and the sound of chatter fills the room as each person discusses with their partner what they would like as their assignment. Scorpius drops a book down on our desk and I tilt my head towards him, placing a curious expression on my face.
“You know what you want to do?” I ask and my voice sounds sleepy and bored even to my ears.
The eyebrow rises again but he ignores my sudden sleep-deprived state. “We,” he corrects and, pathetic as it is, my heart does a little flip at this. I sit up straighter, more alert now. Scorpius lets out a short laugh. “We’re partners now, right?”
I stay quiet for a moment, letting the words sink in. It’s what I’ve hoped would miraculously happen of its own accord whenever we’re in the same class together so I wouldn’t have to invent an unbelievable tale for Amy about how we ended up partners. But, all of a sudden, I have a flash of the expression on his face last night, the calm, almost bored way he stared right through me. And I think I see, if I dig around enough in the back of my mind, his face as I fled from the Great Hall to a series of claps. I think I see the smirk on his full lips as he watches me go.
“Why didn’t you say anything, Scorpius?” I say in a quiet voice. I think I may have had to repeat it but I notice the way his hand slowed as he flicked through pages in the book.
“You didn’t ask me anything,” he tries an innocent, bewildered tone but the nervous laugh that escapes his mouth breaks this illusion.
I wrap a strand of hair around my finger and let it go, watching it spring back into its curl. “That’s not what I meant and you know it.” My voice is harder now and I applaud myself for the effort it took.
“I know,” Scorpius murmurs and I look up at him, feeling a little better as I see his eyes lower in shame. He takes a deep breath and fixes his gaze on me again. My neck burns as he stares at me. “And I’m sorry.”
Hearing those little words, I’m sure I could have thrown myself at him right there and then. Instead, I opted for a much more mature, calm option. I have much more to apologise to him for – over three years of apologies – but here he is, sitting on my desk as my partner, asking if I would forgive him.
I nod slowly. “Me, too.”
He doesn’t say anything back like Amy would, no annoying questions, or incessant jabs. Just plain, simple silence.
“Rose,” Amy says, her tone bossy and sure as she marches up to my bed. I stretch, pretending that I’m not trying to hold back a triumphant grin. Finally, finally, Amy is addressing me.
“You’ve got to tell me everything that happened.”
Nina, Marissa and Gabby flank her sides like devoted puppies. They share a look with each other and I see Nina visibly swallow. I fight back the smirk – it’s hard to be replaced so easily as Amy’s best friend. It’s a long way to fall.
I giggle and pat the space next to me. Amy immediately jumps to my side. I flash her my most charming smile. “I’m going to need snacks,” I say, as if I’m warning her.
She laughs, apparently amused at my wit, clapping her hands together. “Gabby,” she says and her voice is light and friendly. Amy keeps her eyes trained on my smirking face. “Go get some food.”
From over Amy’s shoulder I see Gabby’s face fall. “Oh, but I want to hear the story!” She protests and I see her cheerful face brighten in hope. It’s easy to see why this girl’s a Hufflepuff.
Amy finally turns her head, her eyes flashing. “It wasn’t a request.” This statement is like a whip and Gabby recoils. She’s out the door in five seconds. Amy refocuses her attention at me, putting the full force of her charm on. “Rose, your hair looks so silky today.”
“Oh, really?” I reply, smiling happily at my friend. Amy nods enthusiastically and Nina and Marissa chime in with ‘yeah’s’ and ‘of course’s’.
“Now, back to Malfoy...”
Amy trails off meaningfully but I don’t rush to fill the gap as I usually would. I let Amy’s unfinished sentence hover in the air for a few moments, going over in my head what I should tell her. Marissa flashes Nina a triumphant smirk behind Amy’s back and I feel my eyes narrow in annoyance. Amy’s expression slowly changes from one of intrigue to complete impatience.
“I think,” I say, pausing between my words as I throw Marissa a glare, “that this is more of a private conversation, no?”
The question at the end of the sentence adds the final touch – nobody will want to disagree with me, to challenge whether or not this is true. Not now, not while I hold information that Amy, let’s face it, is desperate to know.
Amy’s eyebrows rise in surprise and I know she’s wondering when she taught me that trick. You haven’t been best friends with someone for three years if you can’t adopt their haughty tone, their innocent suggestion that has somebody fretting for days and the ability to make people respect you with just a few words.
“Rose,” Amy replies in a low voice, trying to admonish me. The shock that was clear on Marissa and Nina’s face just moments ago has been replaced by the smug look I am so used to. I ignore their identical expressions and slide slowly off the bed, reaching for my wand as I rise. Amy’s green eyes flash to my face in annoyance, but not before something I can’t name at the moment flits across her face. “What are you doing? You’re in your pyjamas.”
I resist the temptation to look down as if to confirm this as I know for a fact it is true. I do not answer Amy until I reach the door, my finger closing around the doorknob, revelling in the stunned silence I have left behind. “I am going to find Scorpius.”
I descend the stairs, feeling like the smug bitch that I am, and turn for the common room exit, not caring in the slightest that I am in my pyjamas. Truth be told, I’m not going to find Scorpius. In fact, that is one of the many lies I’ve told to escape Amy’s company for just a few moments. Do I care that it leaves me wandering around Hogwarts in my pyjamas like a total idiot? No, not really. The smugness I am left with completely outweighs this minor inconvenience.
As I plan my whereabouts for the next hour or so I’m too wrapped up in my head to notice the approaching figure until a hand is clamped around my wrist and I am dragged off into a corner. Startled, I clear my head to focus on the petite figure in front of me, giving her a confused look. “Um, Naomi?”
She spins on her heel and runs a hand through her hair, clearing it off her face. Naomi fidgets, hopping from foot to foot as she stares fixedly at the floor. She’s clearly uncomfortable. “Listen, I’m really sorry.”
Ooh, would it be terrible for me to admit that I am enjoying all these apologies?
I open my mouth, ready to dish out the same ‘me, too’ to Naomi that worked so brilliantly, in my opinion, on Scorpius.
But Naomi is babbling and it’s incredibly hard to stop her when she gets going. “I honestly didn’t think Al would flip like that.”
Just like that my good mood from besting Amy, from taking down Marissa and Nina a few notches evaporates. My hand falls to my side and I take a deep breath to fight the despair of my cousin possibly hating me off. “I don’t think any of us did.”
Naomi bites her lip and I think she may be the one bursting into tears. “I thought it would be Scorpius.”
My brow furrows in confusion. Naomi guessed that I would get thoroughly reprimanded at dinner, in front of all the students and teachers as I tried not to break down there and then?
“Scorpius and I had a little chat before dinner,” I inform her dryly. “Hugs and everything.”
“Oh, oh, that’s great! I knew you’d win over Scorpius though,” Naomi rushes out and I refocus my gaze on her, lifting an eyebrow as I waited for her to continue. “You have a weird effect on him sometimes-”
“-and I really didn’t expect Al to be so mad.”
I don’t really register the last bit – my eyebrows seem to have frozen three inches about their normal height and my eyes have widened considerably. My brain seems to be in a state between dreaming and a numb fuzziness. I, Rose Weasley, have an effect on Scorpius?
I reach out a hand to pat Naomi’s arm. “Hey, have you seen Scorpius?”
Naomi seems surprised and I don’t really blame her, my expression is shocked and my gaze is somewhere in the distance, over her head. “He’s, uh, coming back from dinner,” she answers and, as I make a move to go, she steps in front of me, blocking my exit. Finally, I tilt my head down to look at her, glad I have these few inches over her. Naomi’s chin juts out stubbornly as her brow creases. “You’re not going to do something you’ll regret later will you?”
I stop trying to dodge her, my feet feeling like they’ve been rooted to the spot my some sort of hex. “What do you mean?” I ask, but my voice sounds wrong, too high.
“Amy seemed ready to take you back with open arms,” Naomi answers somewhat sadly.
I feel as if all my blood has frozen in my veins. “She’s my best friend,” I choke out.
“Why did you want to be Scorpius’s partner?”
All of a sudden I can’t take any of it anymore. The pure pity that adorns Naomi’s face, the feeling as if somebody extremely large and heavy is bouncing up and down on my chest and the dryness of my throat. I step away from Naomi, glaring down at her. “Not that it’s any of your business,” I hiss, “but I happen to want to be friends with him again.”
I sidestep Naomi’s figure and march in the opposite direction, hoping with all my might that I haven’t just given myself away and that she won’t go running to Scorpius. This mills about in my head for a while until I realise I’m trying to find Scorpius and concentrate on the passages in Hogwarts that continue to confuse me, even after six years here.
Eventually, I end up a corridor off from the Dungeons, figuring this is where Scorpius would have gotten to by now. A chill creeps up my spine and I hug my jacket around me, trying to stay warm. I’ve never liked this part of the castle which is one of the reasons I was so relieved to be sorted into Gryffindor. A voice murmurs in the distance and, although it is clearly intended to be quiet and discreet, the walls here echo every word and I recognise the speaker as Scorpius.
I heart does a faint little splutter as I step around the corner, trying to find the origin of the voice. It doesn’t strike me to think about who Scorpius is talking to – I’m just desperate to see his face again, to study it to see what this ‘weird effect’ is.
I turn the final corner, my heart banging loudly against my ribcage, as I place a euphoric smile on my face. But then I notice two figures at the end of the corridor and my foot freezes mid-step. I back- track, moving quickly behind the shelter of the wall. My heart is louder now, and I’m sure the sound will echo down these walls till it reaches Scorpius.
I take a deep breath, willing it to be silent, before risking a quick peak past the wall. I don’t know what happened then but one minute I was hiding behind a wall and the next I am standing in plain sight of where Scorpius and Zoe were huddled, their foreheads touching in an intimate way. My eyes follow his arm to where his hand lies, resting on the small of her back.
My breath comes out in an audible whoosh and Scorpius’s head snaps up. His eyes lock with mine and, even from this distance, I notice the silver in his eyes. Zoe is half-way to spotting me but Scorpius lets out a sudden laugh which distracts her. He talks to her in a low voice as I back away, desperately seeking out somewhere I can hide but unable to take my eyes off of the happy couple. Scorpius eyes find mine again, as if a magnet is pulling them there, and he places a quick kiss on Zoe’s forehead. My insides squirm uncomfortably as I see her skip off and Scorpius’s gaze bore into me, not looking at his girlfriend as she leaves. Like he should.
His strides are long and I don’t even bother trying to outrun him. I stop when my back reaches the wall, feeling as if my heart is in my throat and I’ve been dropped from a great height and not about to stop anytime soon. It’s painful to swallow.
He’s only a couple of feet apart now yet we continue to stare at each other. My heartbeat quickens with each growing second. Finally, I can’t take the silence any longer and I utter a single word, “hi.”
His face suddenly cracks into a grin. This smile – one of his true, happy smiles – is bright, wide and verging on goofy. His eyes take in my appearance – the pyjamas, no make-up, hair in tangles around my shoulders – and I feel myself flush. “You playing a night time game of Hide and Seek, or something?”
I open my mouth to retort something witty. I come up blank – his words have left me a little bewildered. “What?”
Scorpius gestures to my pyjamas. “You know,” he says and when he is met with the same blank stare he elaborates. “You always wanted to play a game of Hide and Seek in the dark a couple years back.”
I smile to myself, remembering the numerous times I pestered Scorpius, Al and Naomi on playing a giant Hide and Seek game in the dark, with the whole school taking part.
“You remembered,” I say.
He grins at me again. “You spent months drilling it into my head,” Scorpius teases. “Believe me, if I could have forgotten it by now, I would have.”
This is how it is with me and Scorpius. He tries to annoy me – which fails as I am often distracted by the fact that he is talking to me – and I reply with something completely crap as a comeback. “Yeah, well, if I could have forgotten your face by now I would have.”
A lot of the time these insults aren’t true. To be honest, it’s hard finding something insult-worthy about Scorpius.
I notice now that we’re walking, and maybe have been for some time now, and we settle into a comfortable silence. I don’t feel the need to blurt out something idiotic like I do often with Amy and feel the need to do with Naomi. Instead, Scorpius and I stroll along the corridor, not sure of where we are going but walking nevertheless, like it’s something we do every day.
I risk a half glance at Scorpius to see he has his hands shoved deep into his pockets, a curious expression on his face. His eyes swivel in my direction and I hastily look away, focusing on the direction we are going.
I feel him studying me while I try to keep my gaze on the floor and then Scorpius’s low voice breaks the silence. “You look prettier without all that stuff on your face.”
Once again my breath comes out in a whoosh. I don’t realise I have come to a halt until I notice Scorpius ahead of me by several steps. He looks back to me, surprised, both his eyebrows raised in an adorable way on his face.
“What?” Scorpius says, his body half turned towards me.
I open my mouth to answer him, ask if he really thinks I am in some way ‘pretty’ and that the foundation I’ve been wearing for years now to disguise my freckles hinders rather than helps, but my throat is not working properly.
Scorpius lets out a bark of a laugh that sounds harsh in the quiet of the hall. “Oh, come off it, Rose,” he says. “You know you’re pretty.”
“I-” I try to say, but my voice croaks as I speak. I want to spit out a furious protest for him suggesting I am conceited but my throat is dry and it is difficult forming words.
Scorpius waits for my answer, for me to regain my composure. He doesn’t try to answer for me or to speak over what I’m trying to say.
“I’m in my pyjamas,” I finally come up with, as poor as an answer as it is.
Scorpius waves a hand at me in dismissal. “That doesn’t matter to girls like you,” he says, and I feel my heart stutter in my chest.
Girls like me? “What’s that supposed to mean?” I frown, my mouth turning down at the corners.
“It means that girls like you think they can get whatever they want,” Scorpius answers. I know he’s aiming for light and teasing like he was earlier but a hint of bitterness seeps through and I realise that it’s the three years I ignored him that created it.
There should be another furious protest here and, if it was anyone else, I know the words ‘you patronising bastard’ would be frothing from my mouth at this very moment. But it’s not just anyone – its Scorpius – and as much as I may hate to admit it, there may be some truth in his words.
“You think that you’re Queen bitchdom is so hard,” he continues and he doesn’t even try to hide the harsh tone of his voice now. I feel myself flinch. “But you’ve got it easy. Merlin, you’ve got it so easy.”
“Scorpius,” I say, somewhat shakily. I’ve realised that the topic has moved on from ‘girls like me’ to something more, something deeper, something closer to home. “What’s going on?”
Scorpius breath comes out in a little huff and he rakes a hand through his blonde hair, making it even messier. “Nothing,” he mumbles, his eyes glued to the floor. “Listen, just forget it, yeah?”
That’s easier said than done, I think as he walks away from me, his face never once turning to say goodnight. But I need this goodnight, even if he doesn’t – it was one of the main reasons I came down here to look for him.
“Goodnight, Scorpius,” I say softly, so softly I’m not sure whether or not he heard it.
But then as he rounds the corner I hear the low, half mumbled reply. “’Night, Rosie.”
It’s as I round the final corner for the Gryffindor common room in a state of utter bliss that I realise what the expression on Amy’s face was as I left her with Nina and Marissa. It was a little ounce of fear.
And I put together what Scorpius said moments earlier with the numerous expressions on Amy’s face during the little time we spent together and come up with something that is probably the most accurate, the one thing that Amy is worried about;
She thinks I’m going to be more popular than her.
Secret No. 17: I do enjoy the monthly letters Mum sends to me in the morning despite the fact that I pretend how lame they are. In fact, I try very hard to reply to them quickly and the number of Nan’s cookies Mum sends with the letter does not affect how quickly I sent the letter with the owl. Much.
A/N: Ah, yes, I'm back! Finally, finally, I have a new chapter out. I'm honestly really sorry about the massive, frankly ridiculous wait. I've just been a little tied up with revising and forgot how much I enjoy writing.
But it's better late than never, right? And thankyou to all you wonderful readers and reviewers! It's you guys that made me start writing again :)
I hope this chapter was worth the wait! I'll try not to spend an eternity writing the next chapter, I promise.
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