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October had come swiftly to Hogwarts, the leaves had changed and the weather had turned brisk and cold.  Rose loved autumn and felt as though Hogsmeade was most beautiful in the fall, with the orange and red trees lining the paths.  Rose and Penny made a beeline for Honeydukes, hoping that they had arrived early enough to beat the Hogwarts rush. It was only 9:30 in the morning and they had managed to get in before most students had trod down to the village. There were a few younger students, probably overly excited third years who simply couldn’t wait, in Honeydukes, but it was relatively empty. 


Rose was incredibly proud of herself.  It was the first Hogsmeade of the year, her first opportunity for fun and letting loose, and she had agreed to meet up with Al.  When Penny and Rose had agreed to this, she knew that Malfoy would be with her cousin and while it annoyed her that she never spent alone time with Al, she was determined to be the bigger person. 


Last year they had both done a great job of ignoring each and Rose thought maybe they could go on an upward trajectory and step up to being “friendly.” Not friends.  But just friendly. Perhaps they could continue studying together on the odd occasion. Now that most of her cousins were gone from Hogwarts, there seemed to be a lot less attention on their family.  Not as much pressure.


As they were walking to the Great Hall, Penny and Rose saw James and Freddie about to leave Hogwarts.  James waved enthusiastically at them until Freddie smacked his arm down. 


“HEY ROSIE!” James shouted.  A few other students walking down the hall jumped at the sudden ruckus that James was causing.  Rose and Penny walked over to her cousins before they decided to accost the girls. 


“James, please try to be a little quieter!” Rose muttered with emphasis. 


“Wotcher, Rose, Loppy.” James grinned. 


Penny’s eyes screwed up at the mention of her unfortunate childhood nickname. “James Sirius Potter.  Frederick Weasley.” 


“How’s Eliza?” James asked eagerly. 


Rose had to physically hold herself back from sighing.  


“She’s great,” Penny said. 


“We’ve not spoken in so long…” 


“That’s why she’s great,” Penny smiled evilly as James shot her a disapproving look. 


Freddie laughed at James’s expense, “Sorry mate, but she does seem to be a lot happier without your brand of unusual attention.”

Freddie and Penny gave each other appreciative looks.  Out of all Rose’s cousins, Penny seemed to get along the best with Freddie.

Penny always hung out with Al so naturally they were close, but somehow Fred and Penny had bonded over their use of scathing mockery. 


“Well, I’ve completely moved on,” James announced. 


“Yeah? Is that why Freddie is your date to Hogsmeade?” Penny quipped and even Rose couldn’t stifle her laugh.  


“Isn’t it a bit early for you two to be heading down?” Rose asked before James could snap back at Penny. “It’s not even ten o’clock yet,

I’d have thought that you two would still be in bed.”  


“We have to pick up something before Quidditch practice this afternoon.” Fred shrugged. “Not to mention last year, all of the chocolate sweeties were sold out at Honeydukes before we even managed to get in.” James nodded solemnly. 


“If we get up early for the first Hogsmeade, we can stock up and not have to wake up before noon for the rest of the year.” James said, like it was the smartest idea to ever grace the world. 


“We have to stop in Honeydukes,” Penny told Rose insistently. “We can leave Al and Scor in the Three Broomsticks, but I need Pumpkin Pasties.” 


Rose shrugged, “We can try to sneak away.” 


Fred raised his eyebrows, “I’d imagine Albus and Malfoy would want to go to Honeydukes?” 


Rose rolled her eyes, “They have some crazy idea that sweets are only going to slow them down on the Quidditch pitch.  So they’re ditching Honeydukes and trying to get fit—” 


“As if they’re not already,” Penny grinned devilishly. 


“Malfoy does have a smokin’ bod,” Freddie agreed. 


James let out a frustrated noise, “That’s beside the point! The point is the Slytherins are clearly beefing up their Quidditch strategies and trying to get the edge on us!  Freddie, we should give up sweets as well.” He stated triumphantly. 


“Isn’t that the whole point? Trying to get an edge on the other team?” Rose asked hesitantly.  James was acting like this was a plot to overthrow Gryffindor, but Rose thought it was completely normal for athletes to get in shape.  Penny, who was also on the Gryffindor team, seemed to be on the same page as Rose and rolled her eyes at James’s outburst. 


“Exactly! We need to be doing the same thing!” James hissed. 


Freddie’s face dropped, “Whoa, I am not giving up Honeydukes! Absolutely out of the question.” 


“I am the captain—” 


“Not by population election,” Penny muttered. “I really don’t think we all have to give up sweets.  This obviously shows that the Slytherins are scared and don’t have confidence in their abilities.” James paused and thought about what she was saying.  Rose hoped that her friend’s subtle manipulation worked because they really did have to get on. While she wasn’t eager to meet Malfoy, she didn’t fancy spending an hour trying to talk James off the ledge. 


“You’re absolutely right!” Freddie said quickly. 


“Fine, fine.” James waved them off. 


“We really have to go,” Rose insisted. “We were supposed to meet them 3 minutes ago!” 


“I’ll pick up your Pumpkin Pasties,” James told Penny and then asked Rose if she wanted anything. 


“I’ll take a Licorice Wand.” Rose said hurriedly. “We’ll see you later!” She called, pulling Penny down the hallway. Just as they were

approaching the Great Hall, Penny attempted to get arm arm back from Rose’s grip. 


“Rose! You’re going to tear my arm out,” Penny said. 


“What took you lot so long?” Albus asked. 


“We ran into James and Freddie.” Rose rolled her eyes. “And then James got all huffy when I said that you two wouldn’t be going to Honeydukes because you’re trying to stay fit—” 


Albus gasped, “You told James what?” 


Penny put a hand to her temple, obviously knowing what was coming. 


Scorpius looked just as shocked, “That was a secret strategy!” 


Rose threw her hands in the air, “How was I to know that being in shape was ‘strategy?’ You told us and never said that it was top secret information!  Besides, Penny is on the Quidditch team and you didn’t mind telling her. If this whole strategy was meant to be a secret, you did a shoddy job, which is not our fault.” Penny looked supremely thrilled that Rose had put Al in his place.  


“Maybe we should all just head down to the Three Broomsticks.” Scorpius suggested. Rose was surprised that Scorpius didn’t jump on her like Albus was.  Penny and Albus walked ahead of Rose and Scorpius on the path down to the village. 


There were several other people walking down, most of them looked like younger students who were eager to experience their first Hogsmeade visit.  The village looked beautiful from a distance. It was too early for snow, but the changing of the leaves from green to red was a sight to behold. 


Penny and Albus were talking about Quidditch matters.  Scorpius decided to hang back, because frankly he couldn’t bear to hear Albus talk about Quidditch anymore.  So while Penny and Al spoke heatedly, Rose and Scorpius silently walked three feet apart from each other. Scorpius seemed content as a Gillyweed to walk in silence, but Rose was beginning to fidget. 


“Have you finished the Ancient Runes essay?” Rose asked.  Malfoy was the only person in Ancient Runes whom she spoke with on a regular basis.  


“Just have a few more inches to write and then revision.” He responded. “But it isn’t due until Wednesday so I’ll probably work on it Monday evening.” 


Rose nodded, “Right, cause we have the Defense practical on Tuesday, or whatever day you have Defense. I haven’t quite grasped incarcerous yet, but I feel confident on all the others.” She noticed Albus look back on them subtly, probably to make sure they weren’t about to kill each other.  He looked pleased when he saw them making small talk. 


Malfoy pressed his lips together and opened his mouth slightly like he wanted to say something.  Rose braced herself for a snarky response about how she was supposed to be good at everything and thought herself so talented.  Instead he said, “Well, if you ever want to study…” he trailed off. Rose’s eyes widened. 


“Thanks, I’m sure once a test pops up, that would be helpful.” She said hesitantly. He just nodded in response and they both seemed to accept the gesture of good will.  And they could both tell Albus that they were making progress. 


As they walked through the village, there were many groups of students cluttered near buildings.  “The Three Broomsticks doesn’t seem to be that crowded.” Albus noted with pleasure. “Why is everyone just standing around?” Albus made a confused face.  They walked into the Three Broomsticks and found a comfortable booth in the back corner of the pub. 


A few adults were sitting at the bar, talking with Rosmerta and a pair of students who appeared to be on a date were the only people there.  It was a tad early to be at the pub, but Rose was ready for a butterbeer all the same. And she had a strange craving for peach strudel and Madam Rosmerta’s rivaled the house elves’ pastries. 


“I’ll go get the butterbeers,” Rose said as the other sat in the booth. “Does anyone want anything else?”  They shook their heads and handed Rose a few coins each. Rose waited at the bar for a moment as Rosmerta was engrossed in a conversation with a man where a tall hat and two older women who looked deeply troubled.  


Rose inched closer, trying to get Rosmerta’s attention without cutting in. It worked and Rosmerta turned to her with a worried look. 


“Rose, I was surprised the students were still coming down to Hogsmeade,” said Rosmerta.  Rose gave her a startled look. 




Rosmerta didn’t say anything. She just motioned for the witch in ivory robes to pass something to Rose and waved her wand to clear the bar.  The woman slid a newspaper across the bar and Rose looked down at the moving pictures. 







Rose grabbed the newspaper and quickly skimmed the snippet on the front page.  There wasn’t much information other than the fact that 2 muggle born wizards and their families had been attacked in France.  “Do they know why?” 


Rosmerta let out a long sigh, “Anti-muggleborn sects are hiding all throughout the world.  It seems as if one of the groups is gettin’ bolder. It doesn’t say much about how they died, but Aurors are looking into a link between this attack and the ones across Eastern Europe.”  She vaguely remembered asking her parents and Uncle Harry about this when there had been a mass murder in Austria last year. There hadn’t been much in the Daily Prophet since then, and there was not much linking those killings together.  If Rose remembered correctly, someone had been arrested for a few of those attacks.


“I thought that person had been caught, the Austrian man—” 


“The Daily Prophet is saying it’s more than one.  In addition to this attack in Lyon, there have been small incidents migrating from Austria to Spain. None of which were enough of a spectacle to catch the eyes of the Prophet, but now that there’s been an attack in France, so close...” the man with the tall hat sounded exasperated.  Rose thought of what Scorpius had said to her mum and his dad, about these attacks possibly coming to their family.  


“Rose, sweetie, breathe.” Rosmerta said and Rose had indeed been unconsciously holding her breath. “There’s no evidence that they are connected. You should have some tea—” 


“Actually, I’ll have four butterbeers and some peach strudel.” Rose said quickly.  It seemed like getting her friends their drinks was of the utmost importance. Rosmerta paused with a concerned look and then poured the butterbeers and conjured a strudel from the back. 


“Thanks,” Rose managed to carry everything back to the booth with only splashing a little butterbeer.  Al, Malfoy, and Penny were all laughing. She quickly set everything down, almost slamming the mugs on the table. 


“Did you hear about the killing in France?” She asked immediately, wondering if maybe she had just been so caught up in her own world that she had missed it. 


Albus snorted a swallow of butterbeer out of his nose, looking extremely shocked. Penny and Malfoy’s faces mirrored Albus’ and Rose was relieved that she hadn’t had her head buried in the sand, but was very confused as to how it wasn’t going around Hogwarts. 


“What happened?” Penny gasped. 


“It was splashed all over today’s Prophet.  Two muggle borns and their families were murdered in France, seven people in total. 

There’s practically no information in the Prophet, but it sounds like they’re suggesting that the attacks from last year are related and being carried out by one group.”  Rose spoke quickly and had to inhale deeply when she was finished speaking. 


Malfoy sighed, “And students aren’t talking about it because it’s Saturday and no one’s reading the mail at breakfast.”  He shook his head in resignation. “And they’re spreading across Europe.” 


“So they just pop up after nearly a year and no one had any idea this was coming?” Penny looked doubtful. 


Rose shook her head, “There was something in the Prophet about smaller crimes, but there’s no proof linking any of them together.”

Albus took a long swig from his mug and shook his head like he was trying to shake out the bad ideas. 


“This is crazy,” Malfoy said. “I mean, this must be related to some blood purity scheme.” 


Rose shrugged, “I don’t think anyone is confirming or denying anything.  I wonder if we should write to our parents and ask if they know anything. Although I doubt they’re allowed to tell us anything.”  Nevertheless, she knew they would all be reaching out to their parents to grill them for information. But if McGonagall was still allowing them to venture into Hogsmeade, the Ministry obviously didn’t think there was a threat to Britain. 


There was a pregnant pause and Rose took a sip from her butterbeer.  Dinner tonight was going to be a gossip storm and no doubt the teacher’s would be on high alert.  Rose could just picture McGonagall’s stern face as she gave them a lecture about standing together and focusing on studying.  The excitement surrounding the first Hogsmeade weekend had deflated and she could tell her friends were thinking the same thing. 


“So what do we do now?” Albus asked. 


Malfoy rolled his eyes, “there’s nothing we can do.  Except get on with our lives.”


Rose was annoyed with how blasé Malfoy was.  But she wasn’t going to say anything with Al and Penny sitting right there.  

So they walked through the village like everything was normal and they ignored the nagging sensation that was floating around the back of their brains.  Penny and Rose broke away from the boys when they ran into some Slytherins. Rose noticed Xavier Zabini among the group, which was no surprise but she was surprised to see Malfoy gravitate towards a pretty blonde. Rose knew this was Tanzy Mikhail, but she didn’t realize that this girl was a part of Al’s Slytherin group. 


And as the groups parted, Rose noted that Tanzy didn’t really seem to be friends with Al or Zabini, but was sticking very close to Malfoy. 



It was Halloween night and Rose was excited for the party that James, Freddie and a few other seventh years were throwing.  It was one of the few nights a year that all the houses hung out together outside of classes. Per usual, the school was decorated hauntingly, with floating candles and animated skeletons lining the corridors.  


“I was planning on wearing my hair up, but I think I’m getting a spot on my shoulder.” Penny complained, studying herself in the mirror.  She was dressed as a Little Red Riding Hood, which was sure to confuse a lot of students who didn’t grow up with muggle tales. 


“Cover it with makeup,” Persephone suggested.  


Penny sighed, “that’ll just wear off during the night.  No big deal, I’ll just curl my hair and just pin the front parts back.”


“Won’t your cape cover it?” Sybil pointed out. 


Penny shook her head, “What if I get hot and need to take it off?” She pulled out her wand and started making circular motions aimed at her head.  One by one, locks of her auburn hair started to curl into beautiful beach waves until her hair fell over her shoulders and just above her chest. 


Haley came out of the bathroom and gave Penny an appreciative look. “Ten out of ten!  I would totally try to get into your pants.” All the girls let out a laugh. 


Penny grinned at herself in the mirror and rolled her eyes, “Daniel might not be too happy with that.” Daniel was a sixth year Hufflepuff that Haley had gone to Hogsmeade with a  couple weeks ago. Rose thought he seemed nice enough from what little they spoke in classes. 


Haley waved away the concern, “Oh, he’s in the past. But I think Emma Laurence has a thing for me (you know the Ravenclaw beater) and she’s A plus hot.”  Rose glanced at the other girls to look for any indication that they had heard about this development with Daniel. Everyone else looked just as surprised, even Sybil, Haley’s best friend. 


“What happened with Daniel?” Sybil asked demandingly. “I thought your date went well!” Haley shrugged and adjusted the shell bra of her mermaid costume.  Of course, it was a “muggle” version of a mermaid and not an accurate representation of the creatures who lived in the Black Lake. 


“It was nice enough. But he’s boring.  And Emma is a Quidditch star and so funny,” she replied and began to line her eyes with a blue eye pencil.  Rose leaned against her bed, curious to hear the rest of the story. 


“But how do you know Emma likes you?” Persephone asked slowly. 


Haley laughed coyly, “caught her staring at my arse.” 




“But, of course I’m going to test the waters tonight.” 


Rose sighed, “Just don’t rub it in Daniel’s face. I hope you let him down easy.” Haley wasn’t exactly known for being sensitive. 


“I was very nice; I just told him that we would be better off as friends.” 


Sybil let out a relieved noise, “That’s good.” Sybil had never seemed very comfortable with how easily her best friend bounced from date to date. Rose suspected that it was because Sybil had never had a proper relationship and had only gone on a couple one-off dates throughout their Hogwarts careers. Perhaps she still carried a torch for Malfoy, although it had been a while since she had mentioned it. 


“Not to mention, Daniel was all pissy after last weekend’s Quidditch game. And he doesn’t even play! Just cause Gryffindor smashed Hufflepuff, doesn’t mean that we cheated!” Haley’s voice got higher and higher. 


Rose smirked because Haley didn’t play for Gryffindor but she was also extremely sensitive when it came to House pride. 


“Rose! You had better finish your makeup and hair,” Penny chastised and effectively changed the subject before Haley went off the deep end. Rose stood up and gathered her makeup bag before joining Penny at the mirror.  


“I love your wings,” Persephone complimented as she eyes the translucent fairy wings that were lying on Rose’s bed.  


“Thanks, I went back and forth on whether or not to keep them a translucent blue or an outright baby blue.” 


“I like the clear blue, they look very real.” Sybil reassured.  Rose was satisfied with the way her fairy costume had turned out. The blue-tinted wigs suited the seafoam green dress and her silvery heals. Her dress was chiffon with two layers that made her look very wispy and ethereal. Or at least that’s how Penny described her. 


Once Rose was finished adding blue eyeshadow and a pink-tinted lip balm, Sybil helped her add some sparkles to her hair and arms and Rose painted red drops dripping from Sybil’s lips to complete her vampire look. 


“I think we’re all ready,” Haley said excitedly. 


“I wish I had thought of a more creative costume,” Sybil gave herself a once over with a dissatisfied smirk. Haley quickly through an arm around her vampire friend. 


“You look fabulous,” Haley insisted and Sybil pushed a dreadlock out of her face, looking slightly embarrassed. “Everyone will be tripping over themselves when they see you. 


“Alright, alright.”  Sybil waved her off. 


Persephone checked the time and grinned. “Well, the party started twenty minutes ago. If we head down now, we’ll be fashionably late.”  


They made their way down to the common room.  It was quite difficult since Haley was dressed as a mermaid and couldn’t walk properly, they all had to help her so she wouldn’t trip over the tight skirt that bound her legs together to give the vision of a tail. By the time they were down the stairs and stepping through the portrait hole, Penny was ready to toss Haley over her shoulder and carry her down to the Room of Requirement. 


As they made their way to the secret entrance that James had arranged, they passed Professor Flitwick who reminded them of the midnight curfew. 


“Of course, Professor!” Penny said quickly and then kept the girls moving. 


By the time they arrived at the grand party entrance, Haley had only fallen once and Rose was ready to have a lie down after scaling the moving staircases in high heels. 


“James and Fred have outdone themselves,” Persephone shouted over the loud music.  


The ceiling was transformed into a haunted skyscape, with stars shooting down and then bursting apart before sprinkling down on students. It glowed with orange and red highlights as if the sun was setting.  There were floating candles scattered around the room, matching the decor of Hogwarts, and the ghosts were all present and trying to scare students. Particularly Peeves. 


“SMOOCHY SMOOCHY!” Peeves was shouting at two embarrassed students.  


The Bloody Baron began chasing Peeves around the room. 


“I can’t believe McGonagall okayed this,” Haley yelled over the Screaming Snitches’ song. “Oh, I see Emma! How do I look?” She turned to Sybil and fluffed her hair up.  


Sybil smiled, “You look amazing.” Haley grinned and waddled through the crowd as best she could in her costume.  


“Let’s go get drinks.” Penny began dragging Rose towards a floating table that had all sorts of drinks on it.  There were muggle and wizard drinks, the muggle drinks garnering much curiosity from the students. Rose saw one student gag on whiskey. “Bullocks, where did Sybil and Persephone go?” 


“I don’t know,” Rose responded loudly.  The Room of Requirement kept expanding as more and more students arrived so everyone wasn’t smushed, but the room had gotten fairly large and Rose couldn’t see Persephone and Sybil anywhere.  Rose felt badly because Sybil could get overwhelmed at events like these, but Rose hoped that she knew enough people here to feel more comfortable. 


Rose looked over the drinks and decided to just put a splash of firewhiskey into the blue punch.  She tried it and it didn’t taste too bad, but she was glad she had gone in with a light hand with the firewhiskey. 


“Rosie! Loppy!” Freddie bounded up to them, nearly knocking over several people in the process.  “Wanna go watch the fireworks?” He shouted, making Rose slosh her punch.  




“What fireworks?” Penny ignored Rose. Rose shook her hand, trying to avoid the urge to wipe her hand on her dress. 


“Your sis brought a date tonight and I think Jamie is going to lose his mind.” Freddie said eagerly. 


“I thought he was over that,” Penny rolled her eyes.  “Rose wait here, I have to go save my sister.” 


“Wha―wait, don’t just leave me here!” But Rose was yelling at deft ears.  Both Penny and Freddie ran off into the crowd, clearly very interested in seeing James’s most recent fiasco. Rose decided to down the remainder of her punch, which left a warm sensation in her stomach. 


Rose chatted with a few of her classmates from other houses while she waited for any of her roommates to pop up.  She didn’t hear Eliza’s shrill screams, which must’ve meant that Penny succeeded in rescuing her sister from Rose’s idiot cousin. She could only imagine what that had looked like 



Penny intercepted James just as he was about to do something stupid.  He looked surprised when she stepped into his line of sight, blocking Eliza from view.  He looked a little tipsy, but not quite drunk yet. 


“Hey, I was just going to―” 


“Come on,” Penny didn’t bother waiting for him to explain, she just grabbed his arm and dragged him away from where Ellie was chatting with some boy. 


“Hey!” He cried indignantly.  


She forcefully dragged him from the Room of Requirement, earning a few curious looks from the other students. 


“What is in your head?” She hissed once they were safely in the corridor. 


James looked mildly stunned and brilliantly said, “Huh?” 


“I thought you were over this stupid little crush? I mean, what is it about Ellie that you actually like?  Or are you just too obstinate to let go of your childhood fancy?” Penny shook her head furiously. “You don’t even know anything about her―” 


“Yes, I do!” James protested. 


Penny rolled her eyes, “Oh, yeah? What’s her favorite color?” 


James had no response. 


“Her favorite class?” 


No response. 


“What she wants to do after Hogwarts?” 


After a long pause, Penny felt satisfied that she had made her point. James looked dejected and she felt a little guilty, but didn’t understand why he was so dense.  Penny knew that Rose had shut him down hard last year and thought that he had moved on. 


“Why are you so obsessed with her?” Penny sighed, genuinely curious.  James Potter could have any girl in Hogwarts, but he chose to go after her sister. “You can’t be so cliche that you’re just after her because she’s not interested.” 


“That’s not it! I just… I think I might’ve put her on a pedestal.” 


“You think?” Penny snorted and adjusted her red hood. “I love my sister, but I do not understand the obsession! And I’m rather curious.” 


James sighed and fell back against the stone wall, as if all of the obstinance had left his body in one fell swoop. He ran his hands through his black hair and for the first time, Penny looked at his costume.  His hair was brushed back and he was wearing a puffy white shirt with leather pants and tall boots. He looked like a pirate from a romance novel. 


“We got along during first year and I thought she was really pretty and funny…” 


“You were eleven.” Penny raised an eyebrow. “People change and grow.  Or they’re supposed to.” 


“Hey, I’ve grown up!”


Penny ignored James. “So for the past six years you’ve been in love with my sister, but on the side you’ve been seeing other girls? How does that work?” 


James pinched the bridge of his nose and she watched his little brain nearly explode trying to reason why he behaved the way he did.  Penny didn’t have anything against James, but it was a little bit frustrating to watch a boy who claimed to like her sister sneak around with other girls.  


“I haven’t really ‘been seeing’ anyone,” he muttered. 


“The point is if you want my sister to stop hating you, just be nice and stop being such a hypocrite.  Or just admit that it was a stupid crush and let her go. She’s dating someone and I think she would be a lot happier if you just moved on!” 


“I have moved on!” 


Penny huffed, “Then why were you about to pick a fight with her date?” 


James scoffed, inhaled swiftly, and then recovered by saying, “Habit!” 


“How exactly did you see that playing out?  Did you think she would fall into your arms and you would dip her and start snogging?”  Penny found it absolutely hilarious how thick James was. He had a line of girls that thought he was fit and would be happy to go on a date with him, but he was fixated on Eliza, who wanted nothing to do with him. 


“I didn’t think—”




“—that far ahead.  I know if I could just get her to kiss me once…” 


“JAMES, m’boy!” 


Professor Slughorn was waddling down the hallway, tucking a few vials into his robes.  James and Penny immediately plastered smiles on their faces and went into “teacher-pleasing mode.” Sluggie was a sucker for flattery. 


“Oh hello, professor.  How lovely to see you,” James said in his most sickly sweet voice. 


“Mr. Potter, I daresay your little shindig is going swimmingly,” Sluggie looked around at the students coming and going from the Room of Requirement. Every time the door revealed itself to incoming students, music blasted into the hallway. 


“Why yes, Professor,  I think everyone is having an excellent time.” James smiled, standing up a little straighter. 


“Not as much fun as we all have at your dinner parties, however.” Penny interjected. 


“Oh well, thank you my dear.” He said with fake bashfulness. “What exciting outfits you both are wearing. You know, I remember a costume party with Celestina Warbeck where she was dressed as a Hornback Dragon, such a magnificent party. But I don’t recognize either of your outfits.” Sluggie gave them a curious look. 


“I’m dressed as Little Red Riding Hood from a muggle fairytale.” Penny pulled her hood off of her head. 


James puffed his chest up, “I’m dressed as Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.” Penny was surprised that he knew about muggle children’s movies, but his costume made more sense now. 


“And these characters aren’t related… no?” 


“No, two completely different stories.” James said. 


“Well, I’d best let you get on. I’ve got to prepare for our classes for the upcoming week.” He touched the place where he had tucked the vials.  Penny was sure that he had been snooping around the greenhouse, clipping plant leaves again. 


“Of course, we’ll stop holding you up!” Penny gave Sluggie a firm handshake and then he waddled away.  James leaned back against the wall and let out a long sigh.  


“How old is he?” James whispered, as Slughorn turned the corner, almost falling over in the process. 


“Like 100?” Penny shrugged. 


Freddie poked his head through the doors, music blasting through. “Are you two coming back or are you planning on standing out here all night?” 



Rose was absolutely furious with Penny. She was having to speak with random classmates with whom she had hardly ever conversed and downing spiked punches was becoming a necessity.  She wasn’t sure where Penny had gotten off to, but she had left nearly an hour ago. No doubt Freddie or James had dragged her into some mischief. But she didn’t hear Eliza yelling at James so that was good. 


So for the time being, she stashed herself away in a corner.  Her head was fuzzy and her stomach felt very warm. How many drinks have I had? Rose didn’t think that she had drank so much alcohol.  Of course, she probably just had a low tolerance, so she tried to take deep breaths and get her heartrate to slow.  


“Rose,” Malfoy appeared in front of her and she looked up, but then got a little dizzy at the sudden movement. “Rose.” 


“I can hear you,” Rose said through gritted teeth. 


“You’re drunk.” Scorpius stated flatly. 


“No, I’m not,” she protested. He gave her a discerning look. “I’m not! Just a little… buzzed.” 


“You’ve only been here for a little while,” Malfoy shook his head with a mocking smile. 


“Have you been stalking me?” Rose said accusingly. 


He rolled his eyes and Rose noticed his costume for the first time.  His hair was sticking up and it looked like there was some type of ink in it.  The lighting wasn’t spectacular, but Rose could definitely tell his hair was much darker than normal.  He was also wearing round spectacles. Most noticeably, Malfoy had a zig-zag shaped scar on his forehead. 


Rose had to smile, “You came as Uncle Harry?” 


“I wasn’t stalking you, I ran into Sybil.” He said stoically. 


“Fine, fine.  Can you leave now?” She responded bitingly. 


“You’re in no shape to be alone at a party.” Malfoy said. 


Rose sighed, “Are you worried someone is going to take advantage of me?  I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” To drive her point home, she attempted to take a swig of her drink, but ended up snorting it up her nose.  She choked and started coughing aggressively and Scorpius had to conjure her a glass of water. 


“Yeah,” he drawled and she swallowed a long sip of water. “You’re perfectly fine.” 


“Shut up,” her voice sounded horse. 


“Maybe you should run back to your tower,” he said condescendingly. 


Rose scoffed, “The party just started—” 


“And you’re already sloshed.” 


“I’m not drunk!” She hissed. 


“You nearly hit yourself in the face just now,” he was speaking very slowly, as if he was speaking with a child. 


“I did not!” She cried indignantly. 


“I like your costume.” 


“I’m not—wait, what?” Rose was thrown off by the sudden topic change. 


“You’re a fairy, right,” he reached out and touched the tip of her wings.  “You look nice.” 


“If you’re trying to butter me up…” 


Scorpius laughed, “Can’t I give you a compliment without having ulterior motives?” 




He sighed and ran his hands through his hair, “I’m more than aware that you can take care of yourself. I’ve been on the receiving end of many of your hexes, if you recall. But you’re not in your right mind and Al would kill me if I just let you wander alone.” He said dramatically, as if he were trying to sound like he was doing her some big favor. 


“I’m not wandering. I’m here with friends,” Rose declared. 


“And where are they?” 


“Around,” Rose said without pause.  In truth, she had no idea where any of her roommates were. “And if Al is so concerned about me, why isn’t he here?” 


Scorpius smirked, “Apparently you and your cousin have similar alcohol tolerances.  He started sticking his hands through ghosts about ten minutes ago.” Rose cringed. She had seen Al drunk and it was not pretty. Of course, Al drunk wasn’t nearly as bad as James or

Freddie sober. “And there have been a pair of Huffies eyeing you.” 


Rose snorted, “They can eye me all they like, but they’re not going to touch.” 


“Look, I have better things to do than play ‘protective cousin’ all night, so how about I help you find Penny—” 


“Oh, sod off.  You know very well I’m just a bit tipsy.” 


Scorpius folded his arms, “So you’re fine?” 


“Yes!” Rose yelped, throwing her hands in the air. “That’s what I’ve been telling you.” 


“Hey Scorpius.” 


Rose and Scorpius both jumped a little at the sound of the new voice.  


Scorpius’s entire demeanor changed as he turned to face Tanzy.  Rose rolled her eyes and couldn’t think of how typical this was.  He was a total brat with her and then morphed into a charming young man everyone else.  Even her father was coming around to Malfoy being friends with Al.  


Tanzy was a pretty sixth year Slytherin with dirty blonde curls and soft hazel eyes.  Rose knew many boys in their class fancied her and Rose could see why. Tanzy was a genuinely nice person and Rose was confused as to why she was in Slytherin rather than Hufflepuff.  She seemed far too kind for Malfoy’s taste. 


But there he was, staring at her obviously. 


“Hi, Tanzy,” Rose smiled, “You look great.” She was dressed as an Unspeakable from the Department of Mysteries. 


“Thank you! I love your costume as well, the wings are amazing.” Tanzy gushed.  Scorpius looked a little caught off guard that Rose and Tanzy knew each other. “I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything.” And he looked alarmed that they were friendly. 


“Of course not,” Rose and Scorpius said simultaneously. 


Tanzy giggled, “You two are so funny.” 


“Did you want to get a drink?” Scorpius asked Tanzy, turning his back to Rose. 


Rose snorted, thinking how typical it was that he make a big fuss over nothing and then do a one-eighty and pretend like nothing happened. 


“Sure,” Tanzy said, trying a little too hard to sound casual. “Bye Rose,” Tanzy voice faded, Scorpius was already dragging her away. Rose couldn’t help but be surprised at how interested Malfoy was in Tanzy and she was even more surprised that she hadn’t seen it earlier. 


Of course, she didn’t really pay attention to Malfoy’s personal life and since they had struck a partial truce, they really didn’t interact often.  Al was thrilled with their behavior but Rose found Hogwarts to be quite boring now and she got the sense Malfoy felt the same.

But it seemed that he had found new entertainment in the form of a pretty blonde Slytherin. 


And Rose’s mood was soured even more.



A/N: Hello readers, thanks for tuning in! Please leave a review if you liked (or disliked) this chapter. 

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