Rose groaned, stretching her arms above her head. Every muscle in her body ached, her mouth felt like she had swallowed the desert and her eyes were filled with sand. As the room swam into sharp focus, so did her stomach and she bolted from the bed, flinging open the door to the bathroom. After emptying her gut into the toilet bowl, she rinsed her mouth, moaning, eyes watering. It wasn’t until she was looking at her chalky face in the mirror above the sink did she realise she was naked.
“What the...” she mumbled, her eyes widening slowly. A terrible thought occurred to her and she swallowed, resisting the urge to vomit again. She grabbed her sarong from the hook on the wall and walked back towards the bed on feet made of glass.
Scorpius was sleeping face down, one arm dangling over the side of the bed, his head buried under a pillow. The sheet was bunched around his waist, and his torso was bare. Slowly, Rose lifted the edge of the sheet, raising it high enough to see what she had already worked out was inevitable.
She dropped the sheet, scampering away from it as if it were a deadly snake that would bite.
Or a Scorpion.
“Oh shit,” she said loudly.
Scorpius stirred, rolling over, the pillow falling away from his head. “Why is the sun so loud?” he groaned, groping for something to cover his face. Sunlight sliced through the window, cutting through the room like a knife. Rose was momentarily pleased to discover he was hung-over as well. “Weasley,” he mumbled, opening one eye and glancing at her as he rolled over. “Turn off the sun.”
“How about I punch your lights out instead?” Rose hissed without thought.
“What? Why? What have I done now?”
She pulled her sarong tighter around her body. “Why are we naked?”
Scorpius stared at her, his face blank. Slowly, he lifted the sheet and looked down at himself, before groaning. “Great. Do you mean to tell me I had sex and I don’t remember it?”
“We had sex!” Rose screeched, making him jump. “I can’t remember a bloody thing after the third bottle of wine!”
Scorpius narrowed his eyes. “I didn’t get you drunk, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Of course not,” she snapped. “I’m a big girl, Malfoy. I can get myself drunk.”
“Yes, I noticed,” he remarked, casually linking his arms behind his head. When she didn’t respond, didn’t even take the bait, he sighed. “Listen, Rose, I’m sorry.”
She nodded brusquely. “Me too, for whatever we did last night.”
“Well,” he smiled sleepily, “We are on our honeymoon.”
“Scorpius, doesn’t it bother you?” Rose asked wearily. “We don’t even like one another and we just slept together.”
“We obviously must have wanted too,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Rose ground her teeth. “I would never have done it under normal circumstances.”
He stared at her, incredulous and she watched his face darken. His voice when he spoke was low and slithered over her like ice. “You could have fooled me, if your actions the other night are anything to go by.”
“You took advantage,” she blurted desperately, knowing it was not true. “You know I don’t like you.”
He sprung from the bed, doing nothing to hide his nakedness from her and Rose had a quick moment to see absolutely everything she could not remember sampling before she lifted her eyes. His face was slowly turning red. “Perhaps you took advantage of me.”
“Oh please,” Rose mumbled, keeping her gaze firmly on his face.
“What? You’re saying only men are capable of that sort of behaviour?”
“This is not a debate about sexual politics,” she hissed at him, stepping closer to the bed. “I had sex with you and I don’t bloody remember it! That is scary! I have never been that drunk before!”
“So are you upset about the alcohol or the sex?”
“Both!” she yelled.
“How do you know we had sex?” Scorpius yelled back. “Can you tell, because I sure as hell can’t.”
“Yes,” Rose whispered. She didn’t explain how she knew, how she could just feel it. Something flashed into her brain, painfully fast and she blinked, seeing his face, sweat-soaked and glistening, rising at her from the blurry darkness in her head. Scorpius sank to the edge of the bed, his back to her. She took a deep breath, looked at his pale, smooth skin and sighed, turning back to the bathroom. She needed a shower and time to think.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked suddenly, gently, and Rose looked at him in surprise. He still had his back to her but she could see his shoulders were tight.
“No,” she said softly. He nodded but said nothing more so Rose ducked into the bathroom, where she stayed for twenty minutes, contemplating never coming out. She had no idea what happened now. Did they just forget it (again) and move on, concentrate on the job and nothing more? She dried her hair vigorously and when she emerged, Scorpius was dressed and standing on the balcony.
She waited a moment, gathering her thoughts, before going to join him. The sun was blinding, the wind hot and dry and Rose closed her eyes briefly, listening to the sound of the world. “What’s on the agenda for today?” she asked, putting her back to the city and leaning against the railing, ignoring the ache in her stomach. Scorpius rubbed at his face. He needed to shave – in the bright sunlight Rose could see the stubble on his chin. There were circles under his eyes and he smelt like the night before. “You should have a shower – you stink.”
“What are you, my mother?” he snapped irritably and then sighed before she could say anything. “I remember drinking, Joe, the cafe, and kissing you, but I don’t remember anything clearly beyond that. It’s all a blur.”
She said nothing.
“Anyway,” he said after a moment. “We can’t undo it so let’s just move on.”
Rose nodded. “Right.”
He gave her a strange look. “Should we do it again? I mean, considering we don’t remember it at all.”
“I’m already hung-over – don’t make it worse.”
“Just a thought,” he answered with a roll of his eyes, “And a simple ‘no’ would have been sufficient. You like insulting me, don’t you?”
“Sorry,” she said, giving him a quick look. “It’s just my way. Everyone gets it – you’re not that special.”
Scorpius shook his head. “You are so terribly complimentary; I don’t know how your family put up with you.”
She shrugged and went inside, flopping onto the bed and looking up at the kaleidoscopic ceiling. When Scorpius didn’t come in, she wondered if he was sulking. “Do you want breakfast?” she called.
“Why? Are you going to poison it?”
She smiled, sitting up. “Not today.” He walked back into the room, and she took a moment to look at him: his shirt was open at the front; his hair was everywhere, a change from the slicked down style he was sporting before they left England; and he looked casual and relaxed in loose shorts and bare feet. She laughed.
“Maybe you’re not such a stick in the mud after all,” she said.
Scorpius slowly looked down at himself, and shrugged. “Maybe it’s this place, this situation,” he said softly. “Maybe it’s you.”
Rose swallowed, a heat that had nothing to do with the weather spreading through her. “Me?”
“You were right; I can’t believe my brain hadn’t split in half,” he said with a wry smile. “You can be so carefree about life at times, and I envy that, Rose.”
“I’m not carefree about life,” she admonished quietly. “Far from it. It’s just that, if I take the time to get all serious, to brood and bemoan everything, it’s too much. It’s far easier to try and stay positive, light hearted some times, than let the truth weigh me down. It makes it possible for me to fight for this, for our freedoms. I could never do that otherwise.”
“I didn’t mean to offend,” he said gently after a pause, and she glanced at him with interest.
“It’s a good philosophy to have,” he said simply, looking back at her. He held her gaze for a long moment, before he shifted his weight, his expression nervous. “This doesn’t change anything, you know.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Why would it?”
“I just wanted to make sure-”
She snorted. “Malfoy, I can assure you I am not about to turn into some love-sick idiot simply because we slept together. We can’t remember it – it mightn’t have even been good. The last thing I want is to be lusting after a man who isn’t good in bed.”
He blinked. “Well,” he muttered, collecting his towel and vanishing into the bathroom. Rose let herself fall back onto the mattress once more and closed her eyes, listening to the shower running. She felt strangely like crying. Everything Joe had told them about Cass still sat in her head, at the front of her brain. They were due to return to the base after lunch. Cass had planning to do, and Rose wanted to be there, to listen and take in as much as she could. She also wanted to talk to Isobelle, if such a thing would be possible.
She remembered the piece of blank paper left behind yesterday, and climbed off the bed, fishing it out of the pocket of her shorts. Lying on her stomach, she spread the paper before her and took out her wand. Seconds later, she was reading a note from Albus.
Lots of talk about Egypt and the settlement.
Cass will no doubt want to attack.
I will try and do what I can from here to get word to the Egyptian Ministry.
Keep an eye on Isobelle for me.
I’m worried about her.
Sighing, Rose folded the note; she would show Scorpius later. As she was dressing, her mobile rang and she answered it with her heart thudding, not recognising the number. It was Isobelle, and without giving Rose a chance to talk or wonder how she had gotten the phone number, she invited her for lunch at one of the cafes bordering the Djemaa El-Fna. Rose stood with her phone in her hand, thinking furiously, before deciding to go, remembering Albus’ request.
She pulled her hair into a ponytail, hearing the shower switch off. “I’m going out,” she called to Scorpius. She waited, and a moment later the bathroom door was flung open and he emerged with nothing but a towel wrapped around casually his slim hips. She tried not to look at him.
“Shopping,” she said, the beginning of guilt crawling over her. She had just broken protocol, and was about to break it some more by attending an unsolicited meeting. She swallowed, reaching for her bag.
“Since when do you shop?”
“I’m a tourist, remember? I’m meant to shop.”
He raised his eyebrows, folding his arms and leaning in the bathroom doorway. She turned and slipped out the door, hearing his soft voice warning her to be careful. It was a short walk to the cafe, and Rose dodged her way through the midday crowds, avoiding the stalls and hawk-eyed sales people. She found Isobelle waiting for her at the roof-top cafe, and she sat down gingerly.
“Thank you for coming,” Isobelle said softly. “I wasn’t sure if you would.”
“I wasn’t sure if I should,” Rose answered. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea to be meeting like this.”
Isobelle smiled. “Relax. I don’t think anyone would believe we were up to no good. If anyone asks, we were simply getting to know one another. After all, you should know the people you work with.”
A waiter appeared and placed a pot of tea and two cups on their table, slipping away once Isobelle had paid him. “Why did you get involved with all of this? In Tangier, you said you didn’t think it was right, but why put yourself at risk?” Rose sipped at her peppermint tea, watching the other woman carefully.
Isobelle sighed. “My Uncle, he has magic. I could not understand how wizards could be called evil, when he is the kindest, gentlest man I have ever known. So I fight for him, and for people like him: for you, and Albus and even your charming husband,” she said with a wry grin. “It is not right.”
“Is your uncle...”
“He is alive, and in hiding. He does not like what I am doing, but I have been very careful. I changed my name, everything about myself before I joined the Humanists. There is nothing of my old life left anymore,” Isobelle answered quietly, and Rose felt a rush of sadness. Their meals arrived and they both fell silent until the waiter had left. A cool breeze blew across the rooftop cafe, kissing the skin on the back of Rose’s neck and she sighed blissfully, reaching for her fork.
“Tell me about Jillian,” she said in a low voice after they had both eaten half their meals.
“She thrives on fear,” Isobelle answered, picking at her food. “She has a family, in America, but she chooses to be here where she can cause the most pain and death. She is very good at what she does, never forget that. And never forget that she is deeply motivated – she is racist and arrogant and thinks that Cass’s way is the only way. She has, like Joe, been with Cass since the beginning.”
Rose frowned. “And Areli?”
“Do not trust that man. He will sell your soul to the highest bidder, Rebecca. He is a snake, a demon. You do not want him to ever know you are his enemy,” Isobelle whispered. “He is always watching, waiting, stalking like a beast. He terrifies me.”
Rose let out the breath she didn’t realise she had been holding, sitting back in her seat. “What will you do now?” she asked Isobelle. “Will you go back to Casablanca?”
Isobelle nodded. “When Cass has finished her planning, I will take that information and pass it along.”
“Be careful, Isobelle,” Rose warned, a shiver passing through her.
“I am always careful,” the other woman answered with a small smile.
On the way back to the motel, Rose made certain she purchased an armful of bangles from the market, not wanting to return empty handed; she would give them to her cousins when they returned to England. Scorpius gave her a firm look when she stepped into their suite but he only told her Joe had called and wanted them at the base. He made her wait while he packed away the small vial Rose knew contained his most recent memories, and she blushed, hoping he’d had the sense to remove the previous night and that morning from his thoughts. She did not want anybody at the Ministry delving into that.
“They are starting planning for the Egypt campaign,” he explained, ushering her back out the door.
“What are we going to do?” Rose asked, and he gave her a quick look. “I mean, are we going to sit there and help them plan another massacre of our people?”
“What choice do we have?” Scorpius answered grimly, and she nodded sadly, letting him steer her down the hallway.
At the base, they found Cass in the board room, staring at the maps pinned to the wall. Rose cleared her throat, and Cass turned to greet them, a smile on her face.
“This is Maria,” she announced, indicating an older woman sitting behind the computer. Maria stood up to shake their hands; she was as tall as Scorpius and heavily built, her face stern and her dark hair streaked liberally with grey. “She has been working with some of our prisoners, but you know that already, right Rebecca?”
“Yes,” Rose answered, not taking her eyes off Maria. “I read the data.”
“And what do you think?” Maria asked, looking back at Rose with critical grey eyes. Rose shrugged.
“I know nothing about science.”
Maria nodded, as if this was expected and turned back to Cass. “I have some new notes for you, if you wouldn’t mind adding them to the database. I don’t have the time to do so myself.”
“Of course,” Cass answered, scooping up a black binder balancing on the edge of the desk. “Rebecca, when you get a chance, would you mind...”
Rose shook her head. “Not at all.”
Maria laughed. “She’s made you her secretary.”
“I don’t mind, really,” Rose swallowed, hesitating, and took a deep breath. “What happens to the children of the wizards you catch? Do you keep them in the camps with their parents?”
“If they are infants, we leave the children with their mothers,” Maria explained, linking her hands behind her back, her voice assuming a lecturing tone. “Any child over three years of age is taken to the Nurseries.”
“Nurseries?” Scorpius echoed, his face a mask of interest.
“Schools, if you will,” Maria elaborated, “where they are taught that they are normal, in an attempt to suppress their magic. We don’t know if it will work – we aren’t sure how much of this magic business is biological or environmental.”
“So you indoctrinate them?” Rose supplied, unable to keep her voice from rising. Scorpius gave her a warning look but she ignored him, thinking of her cousins’ children and imagining them torn away from their families and locked up in some ‘school.’
“Oh Cass, not another bleeding heart,” Maria smiled, turning back to Rose. “You and Sophie must get along brilliantly.”
Rose said nothing but she noticed Cass was frowning slightly.
“I will contact you when I get back,” Maria said to Cass, bending to pick up a briefcase she had resting at her feet. Cass’s frown deepened.
“You’re not staying the night?”
“My dear, I have a comfortable bed in a comfortable motel. I mean no disrespect, but I would like to spend at least one night somewhere dry before I return to the camp.” She went out with a nod at Rose and Scorpius. Cass sighed.
“Scott, Joe needs to see you. Rebecca, would you be able to make a start on this?” she tapped the binder in her arms, handing it to Rose. Scorpius leant over and kissed her cheek, and followed Cass out. Grumbling, Rose took her place behind the computer, pulling a water bottle from her bag, cursing herself for her ‘bleeding heart’, as Maria called it. She would have to be tougher from now on.
As she opened the folder, Isobelle popped her head in the door. She saw Rose and smiled, coming quietly into the room and leaning casually against the desk. “You met Maria then?”
“She is a nasty woman,” Isobelle concluded, her voice low, and Rose nodded in agreement, unclipping a pile of sheets from the binder and sifting through them. A title caught her eye: The Magic Disease. She picked up the paper with trembling hands, skimming the page. Her vision swam and her throat went dry. Maria considered magic a cancer, and she was, Rose discovered, searching for a ‘cure.’ Swallowing, Rose sat back in her chair, reading quickly.
...Tests so far are inconclusive. The DNA of the test subjects appears to be normal – no abnormalities have been discovered in the nucleotides, nucleosides or overall chromosomal structure. The so-called magic gene has thus far eluded all forms of testing and extraction...
Rose took a deep shaky breath, forcing herself to read on.
...Subject A: female, forty-six years old, normal mother, wizard father...mutagens are not present in the DNA sequence...
The paper shifted perspective then, moving into Maria’s more personal reflections. Is the magic gene a result of a recombination of chromosomes? A genetic abnormality perhaps? ...Junk DNA tested for mutation showed nothing. Next steps: gene splicing and regulation, and DNA sequencing. The population at large needs to be given a fighting chance...solution for the eradication of the magic gene:
...mass sterilisation of those who carry it.
Rose dropped the paper back on to the desk; her hands were trembling, her brow sweaty and her skin cold. She licked her lips, reaching for her water with fingers that refused to be steady, and took a desperate gulp. This was worse than they ever imagined. She forced herself to pick up Maria’s notes once more. Maria’s ultimate aim was to develop a testing procedure that would identify the magic gene and enable scientists and doctors to sterilse it in the body, rendering it impotent and therefore genetically useless, unable to be passed down to children.
She was aiming for medical genocide.
Rose stood up, pushed her hair back from her face and forced calm on herself. Isobelle snatched up the papers, reading quickly, her brow furrowed as Rose stalked around the small room, breathing as steadily as she could, one eye on the door.
“This is terrible,” Isobelle whispered; the pages rustled purposefully as she turned them over.
“It’s barbaric,” Rose answered quietly.
“What should we do?”
“We shouldn’t do anything,” Rose replied, sitting down behind the computer again. “This is too dangerous, Isobelle.”
She shook her head. “I want to help you.”
“I know and I am grateful, but you have to leave this part up to us.”
They ate dinner at the riad, all crammed into the small kitchenette. There were fresh faces at the table but Rose was not surprised. She often encountered people she had not seen before; the revolving door that was For Humanity swung constantly, people trickling in and out of the base like soldier ants, carrying supplies or information.
Scorpius was all smiles, but Rose could sense that he was worried. She assumed he knew what had been decided about Egypt and she itched to ask him but in the end, she didn’t have too. Cass wanted to go over the plans once more, to make certain there were no holes. Dinner was cleared away and the table covered with maps and paper.
“We go in here,” she said, tapping her finger on a satellite image of the area surrounding the settlement. The wizard town itself was not clearly visible on the image; Rose knew the whole place would be covered in Muggle Repelling Charms. Scorpius sat beside her, his arm casually around her shoulders and she could feel the tension rolling off him and she hoped if it was noticed by anyone else, his mood would be put down to nerves.
“There are no guards that we know of,” Cass continued, “as they would be relying on whatever magic they are using to alert them. I wish I knew how it worked!”
A hush fell over the table; all eyes swung to their leader.
“It would be beneficial,” she said firmly, casting a challenging look around the table, “to know just how they do what they do. Then we might improve our success rate. I don’t want any more disasters.”
Joe took over. “Richard’s men will attack here; we can’t see a darn thing on this image but he assures us one of the most prominent members of their community lives there. If we can take this wizard out...”
“Cut off the head of the snake and the body will slowly die?” Areli mused. “I hope you are not underestimating them. This will be a hard fight.”
“Whose side are you on?” Jillian growled. Areli merely smiled.
“I am on my own side, my sweet, and I do not wish to die in some stinking heathen hole.”
Joe grinned. “Nor do I. Alright, Richard takes left flank, we take right. Jill, I’ll station someone with you, to watch your back. You need to have your babies ready to fly just in case. We make our way to this point here,” he turned to the topographic map, “and fight from there.”
“The aim is not total annihilation,” Cass said softly. “We want prisoners; we want information. Kill if you must, but watch yourselves.”
The meeting broke up soon after, and Rose gratefully let Scorpius push her into a taxi. Back in the suite, they sat opposite one another at the table, their wands pointed at their temples. Rose watched him for a moment, watched the thin silvery stream float from his head to the tip of his wand, before she closed her eyes and concentrated. She felt her memories, her thoughts and her emotions float from her mind, leaving her oddly dazed. When she opened her eyes, Scorpius was sitting back watching her, his face smooth and expressionless.
Carefully, Rose capped the vial, handing it to Scorpius, who took out the heavy wooden box used for storing their captured memories. She watched as he added it to the collection, waving his wand so that a small ‘R’ was engraved on the glass. With a sigh, he closed the lid, spelled it shut and slipped the box back into its home in the false bottom of the suitcase.
“Are you alright?” he asked her; she snapped, jumping to her feet.
“Who does Maria think she is?” Rose fumed, striding around their suite. “Josef Mengele?”
“What did you find out?”
With an angry sigh, Rose told him about the report, unable to keep the spite from her voice.
“She’s dangerous,” Scorpius said slowly. “Very dangerous, Rose.”
“I know. She has to be stopped.”
Scorpius sighed, rubbing at the back of his neck, a gesture Rose was coming to understand indicated frustration. “We don’t know where she works from though; if we could get our hands on that information, the Ministry could shut her down.”
“Those poor kids!” Rose fumed.
“She is a bloody idiot,” Scorpius sighed. “One of those kids will more than likely blow the place to bits. They can’t control themselves – Maria is playing with fire. I remember setting mother’s curtains alight when I was five. She was most unimpressed.”
“I broke most of the plates,” Rose smiled at the memory, shrugging. “I didn’t want to wash up.”
Scorpius sat down, rubbing at his forehead. “I have a headache. This is so much more involved than we ever imagined. They are thorough, I will give them that, and smart, Rose. Indoctrinating children...that’s sick, but very clever.”
“I think I am beginning to see why some Pure Blood’s still hate muggles,” Rose muttered.
“You can’t judge the entire race on the actions of a few,” Scorpius admonished softly. She looked at him, startled, and he laughed darkly. “Surprised to hear me speak like that?”
“Well, yes,” she answered honestly. “I’m not being prejudiced, Scorpius, but considering...”
He sighed. “The first woman I ever fell in love with was a muggle.”
“What happened to her?” Rose asked, shock making her sit down across from him.
“I ended it, without consultation or negotiation. I just...walked away before I did something stupid like ask her to marry me. It was too hard, having to hide who and what I really was from her,” Scorpius replied, looking at his hands. “And it seems like I did the right thing, in view of how totally messed up the world is at the moment.”
Rose swallowed. “What was her name?”
He gave her a swift look, dropping his eyes again. “Rebecca.”
“Don’t think anything of it,” he said after a moment.
“I’m not,” Rose mumbled. He said nothing more, letting his silence speak for him, until he sighed.
“Do you think you can get access to Maria’s files?”
“Maybe,” Rose said slowly. “I can definitely try. Perhaps I’ll tell Cass I’m interested in what Maria is doing, and want to know more.” She swallowed her stomach. “I’ll offer to help her, Maria, if she needs it.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Scorpius said softly.
“Yes, I do,” she answered firmly. “We need as much information as possible, and what Maria is doing is more dangerous than anything else.”
Scorpius nodded in agreement and stretched his arms above his head luxuriously. Rose watched the muscles in his arms and shoulders working and made herself look away. The knowledge that they had slept together and she couldn’t remember it annoyed her, and she found herself wishing she could, every single detail. She cleared her throat and stood up. She wanted to talk about the Egypt campaign, but she was too wound up.
“I’m...um...going to have a swim.”
“Now? It’s dark.”
“At least let me come with you,” he said, standing up also.
“I’m fine,” she argued, finding her bikini and towel.
“I said I’m fine, Scorpius,” she snapped. “Leave it.”
He looked taken aback by her tone and she immediately regretted being so harsh, but she simply couldn’t be near him at the moment. Need to be close to him dwelled inside her, like a living beast, and she had to ignore it, push it aside and concentrate on the job. Rose ducked into the bathroom to change and when she came out, he was on the balcony, looking over the courtyard. Without another word she left the room, making her way down to the pool.
She draped her towel over the end of a sun lounge, resisting the urge to look up, knowing he was still on the balcony and knowing he could see her. She shivered, desire like electricity flowing over her, and slipped into the water, ducking under. Her hair snaked around her body as she held her breath, floating just beneath the surface. In the dark aquaeous world surrounding her, Rose relaxed, feeling strangely peaceful. The water was warm and heavy and when she surfaced, it was to find the full moon looking down on her.
She turned and floated on her back, her eyes unwillingly moving to the balcony of her suite. Scorpius was there, but he was not watching her, as she had feared, or maybe hoped. He was watching the moon. Rose lay back in the water, limbs moving languidly at her sides and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, Scorpius was gone inside and she sighed, feeling oddly rejected. The gold band resting on the ring finger of her left hand felt heavy, and she was suddenly more aware of its presence than before. Absently, she reached across her body, twisting it. It would slip off without effort; another reminder that this was a lie. She wondered why it bothered her.
Back in the suite, Scorpius was sprawled shirtless on the white lounge, feet up on the arm, absently watching the television. Rose padded across the room to stand beside him, looking across at the screen.
“Not really. There’s some crap movie on; hang on.” He flicked through the channels, stopping at Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and they spend a companionable moment watching the main character rush around on screen. “This is so far-fetched,” Scorpius said as Indiana dodged death for the third time in a minute.
Rose laughed. “I think it is supposed to be.”
“Then what is the point?” he argued, looking up at her briefly.
She smiled and tapped him on the forehead with her index finger; he scowled. “The point is so people can escape their boring everyday lives. So that they can feel excited, enlivened by something that would never happen to them.”
“Stupid,” he muttered, making her laugh and rap against his forehead again. He grabbed at her hand, caught it and held it, pulling her closer so that the back of his head rested against her bare stomach. He freed her hand, and his arms went around her, his palms spreading across her lower back. Rose shivered, heat surging almost painfully through her body. Her breathing deepened as his fingers kneaded muscle and danced over flesh.
He released her for a moment, twisting around so he was kneeling on the lounge, his face almost level with hers. Rose shivered as his arms went back around her; with expert fingers, he snapped the clasp of her bikini top open, his eyes never leaving her face.
“Scorpius,” she whispered; her body was on fire. “We...”
He sighed and flopped back onto the lounge. “They’re taking me to Egypt,” he said quietly.
“What?” Rose breathed, hastily doing up her top. Anything she had wanted to say to him had vanished from her brain. “But I thought...”
“So did I,” he sighed, “but apparently, Joe thinks I’m ready.”
“Refuse?” he twisted to look at her again, and his smile was grim. “No. How would that look? This is why we’re here, Rose; to earn their trust.”
She felt faint. “You’re going to have to attack our own people, Scorpius!”
“Don’t you think I realise that?” he said, frustration lacing every syllable. He switched off the TV, throwing the remote across the room in a sudden burst of emotion. “I’m going to have to leave Scorpius Malfoy behind completely for this – I can’t think of him, he doesn’t exist. I can’t think like a wizard.” He got up from the lounge and began pacing the room. “This is going to be hard; the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.”
Rose chewed her lip, watching him orbit around. “Just make sure you don’t die, okay?”
He stopped, giving her a shrewd look. “Do you care?”
He laughed lightly, crossed the room, cupped her face and kissed her. The breath fled her body and before she realised what was happening, she was kissing him back hungrily. Scorpius gently removed her arms from around his neck. “So you do care,” he said, his breath hot on her face.
Rose swallowed. “Maybe just a little bit.”
He gave her a small smile and moved away.
Okay so some of you are probably drawing parallels between parts of this and the X-men. Clearly, they are there, but I just wanted to say that my inspiration came firstly from Nazi Germany and Josef Mengele, and his medical experiments on prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Also, science people - please let me know if what I wrote up there was completely incorrect xD
edited 7.1.11 for typos
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