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November

 

 

“You’re going to scrub away the gold plating if you keep that up,” Scorpius commented. 

 

Rose ignored him and scrubbed the plaque even harder.  It wasn’t her first detention, but it was the first time she had been in trouble since last year’s events.  And she dreaded to think what would happen when they had to meet with Headmistress McGonagall. It hadn’t even been their night to patrol with each other, but the stupid Huffie prefect had asked Malfoy to cover for her so Rose was stuck with the git. 

 

And things predictably got heated.  Rose steeled herself before her monthly patrols with Malfoy, but the last minute switch had caught her off guard and she hadn’t mentally prepared. That’s what she got for congratulating herself too much about being cordial to him. 

 

“You’re doing it wrong,” Malfoy said.  

 

Rose just gritted her teeth and continued scrubbing, wishing she could go back to last night and walk away. 

 

The Head Girl, Kelsey Baker of Ravenclaw, had stumbled upon Rose and Scorpius in a heated verbal fight and had given them detention

for “causing a ruckus” while they were supposed to be patrolling.  Which is why Rose was currently scrubbing the trophy room with Malfoy. Her knees hurt from kneeling on the stone floor and her arms ached from the constant back and forth of removing grime. And I

was about to suggest we start up our study sessions again...

 

“You know—” 

 

“Shut up,” Rose hissed, unable to keep her silence. 

 

Malfoy smirked, pleased that he was finally able to crack her calm demeanor.  He pushed a platinum blonde lock of hair out of his face, running his nimble fingers over his head.  Rose rolled her eyes. 

 

“She speaks,” Malfoy teased. 

 

“We have nothing to speak about.” 

 

“So you want to sit in silence for the next two hours?” 

 

Rose groaned. She had been avoiding looking at the clock, hoping to make the time go fast, but it had only been an hour. 

 

“I thought so,” Malfoy said. 

 

“What do you want to talk about?” Rose asked condescendingly. 

 

Scorpius looked sideways at her, “How about why you picked a fight with me last night?” 

 

The plaque Rose had been holding clattered on the floor and she whipped around the glare at him.  Her nostrils flared and her breath was coming quickly, making her stumble over her words. 

 

“Me?” She huffed, “I did not start that!” 

 

“You were pissy from the off.” 

 

“You weren’t supposed to be patrolling last night,” Rose said pointedly.

Scorpius snorted, “So you verbally abuse me?” 

 

“You’re being dramatic.” 

 

“Why don’t you like me?” 

 

Rose gaped at him. “After five and a half years, you’re asking me why I don’t like you?”

 

“I think I’ve asked you before, but you’ve never given me a straight answer.” 

 

Rose didn’t like him for a million reasons, but they were all on the tip of her tongue and not coming out.  “Why don’t you like me?” 

 

Malfoy seemed to know that she was redirecting, but shrugged it off. “You’ve always been horrid to me.  You’re a know-it-all and act like you’re better than me. I’m not sure why you think that (maybe you’re just prejudiced) but you treat me like rubbish.” Rose sucked in sharply. He had spoken so calmly, but his words hurt. 

 

Rose sat back on her legs and looked at him.  Scorpius just focused on the piece of gold he was cleaning.  It wasn’t that Rose didn’t like him because he was a Malfoy. In truth, she had met and liked Xavier Zabini and even didn’t mind some other Syltherins with notorious names, but for some reason Malfoy was different.  

 

“You acted like you were better than me,” Rose said slowly. “I thought you were trying to edge me out.”  

 

“When did I act better than you?” 

 

“That first day on the train.” 

 

Scorpius rolled his eyes, but just kept scrubbing the gold. “I was eleven and an idiot. And if I recall, it was you who decided to up and leave the carriage.  Which you only did because you thought Al would follow you.” Rose didn’t respond because she could hardly argue with his assessment. “And you couldn’t be mad at Al for staying because he was your only friend, so you took all your anger out on me.” 

 

“You weren’t exactly a peach to me either,” Rose said defensively. 

 

“Are you saying you want to hash out everything we’ve both done wrong and become best friends?” Scorpius finally looked up and gave her a challenging glance. 

 

Rose scoffed, “Hardly.”

 

“You just want to be in Al’s inner circle.” 

 

“I am!” 

 

Scorpius smirked, “Then what’s the problem?” 

 

“There is no problem. I was just curious as to why you dislike me so much.” Rose said stiffly. 

 

“I don’t dislike you.” 

 

“But you just said—”

 

“Look, you’re annoying and you keep trying to ruin my relationship with Al, not to mention you treat me like crap…” Scorpius paused, “you know, maybe I do dislike you. But I think I understand you.” 

 

Rose shot him a questioning look, “This is the longest conversation we’ve had without dueling.  How could you possibly understand me? Whatever Albus has told you…” 

 

Malfoy shook his head, “This hasn’t got anything to do with Al.  But I think you and I are a lot more similar than you care to admit.  I understand the family pressure you’re under and the pressure of having to always have perfect grades and such.” 

 

Rose sucked in sharply.  She couldn’t believe his nerve! “You don’t have any clue what you’re talking about!” 

 

Scorpius shook his head in disbelief. “Would you pull your head out of your arse for two minutes? I do understand! Because I have to deal with family pressure as well. I’m constantly having to prove that I’m not into pureblood mania and I have to be perfect because if I put one toe out of line then everyone will just think that my family is just as prejudiced as we used to be.” 

 

Rose bit her lip.  She understood what he was saying, but it didn’t all add up. “But you have put toes out of line.  We have had so many fights and we’ve both gotten in loads of trouble.” 

 

“For some reason, our peculiar relationship doesn’t count.  We can both do as much damage to each other as we want and it doesn’t appear to really affect our reputations.  But can you imagine if I got in a duel with any other student? Would you ever attempt any of the hexes you’ve used on me on another student?” Rose immediately felt as though she could never fight with anyone other than Scorpius. 

 

It had never really occurred to her to try and hex anyone else that she disliked.  Because she knew that if she ever did that, her reputation would be ruined. And if Scorpius ever argued with someone, the way he argued with Rose, it would absolutely damage his image. 

 

“You’re right.” Rose said. “I wonder if it’s because everyone just expected us to hate each other.  I know my father certainly pushed me in that direction. On the other hand, my mum thinks we should try and put the past behind us and make merry.” 

 

Scorpius barked out a laugh. “Sounds about right.  My mum and dad gave me a whole speech about getting on with everyone.  They told me to keep my head down… you can imagine their surprise when I wrote home telling them about my best mate Al Potter.  And then they get a letter from McGonagall about that incident with the mandrakes from first year.” Rose smiled to herself as she thought of how she had purposefully given Scorpius defective earmuffs, effectively knocking him out cold with mandrake screams.  She had done it because Al had said she couldn’t study with Rose due to the fact that he had to spend time with Malfoy. 

 

Rose adjusted her legs into criss-crossed position. “Can I ask you something?” 

 

Scorpius smirked and stretched his legs out in front of him. “Sure. Seeing as how we’re sharing deep truths.  Just don’t ask me to braid your hair, I’m rubbish at hair braiding.” He said teasingly and Rose had to wonder whose hair he had attempted to braid.  Perhaps Al’s?

Her cousin’s hair had grown ridiculously long over the years, as he hated getting hair cuts, and it was now falling below his chin. 

 

“What’s your dad like?” Rose asked carefully. 

 

Scorpius shrugged, looking unbothered by her question. “Like a normal dad, I suppose.  He’s strict sometimes and cool other times. He forgets to do things my mum asks him to do and then tries to flirt his way out of trouble.  He’s just… dad.” Rose didn’t push it as Scorpius didn’t seem to have more answers. 

 

“What’s your house like?” 

 

“Big.  Really big.  But we don’t use most of the manor.  Mostly we just use the West Wing and only keep the rest for large functions.” 

 

“And you feel lots of pressure?  To succeed?” 

 

“Well yes, but also just to prove to people that I’m not like who my dad used to be. He spent a lot of time rebuilding our family reputation and I have to uphold that.  We’re representatives of pureblood society and we need to prove that things have changed.” 

 

“Is your mum a pureblood?” Rose asked. 

 

“For all intents and purposes, she is.  But I think she had a grandmother who was a half-blood or something like that.  The Greengrass side of the family was never really into the pureblood mania.” Scorpius spoke factually, like he was reciting a rehearsed line. She imagined that others had asked him all these same questions. 

 

“I suppose I do understand what you’re going through. Of course, the impressions surrounding your family are more negative, but I know what it’s like to have the pressure to succeed.  My mum is Minister of Magic and my uncle is Head of the Auror Department. My dad was an Auror and now he runs the most popular joke shop in Britain with my other uncle. Everyone expects me to do amazing things.” 

 

Scorpius shrugged, “You probably will do amazing things.  You’re the best witch in our class, probably the whole school—” These were all things Rose had heard before.

 

Rose huffed, “Yes, but that’s just it! What if I just want to… own a bookshop or something mundane like that.  Everyone would think that I failed.” 

 

“Didn’t your uncles drop out mid seventh year to start a joke shop? And everyone thought they were slackers?” 

 

Rose smirked ironically. “Yes, I suppose so. And you know, I don’t think you have to worry about ruining your family’s reputation.  If

I’m the best witch of our year, then you’re the best wizard.” 

 

“That’s true,” Scorpius laughed. 

 

Rose rolled her eyes.  He was predictably arrogant, but she now knew that his massive ego was just a front for insecurities.  He was such a cliche. They didn’t speak again for a little while and went back to cleaning. 

 

“Can I ask you a question?” 

 

Rose turned in surprise from where she was attempting to get some sort of stain off of the wall.  She couldn’t imagine how such a black mark had come to exist on the stone, but she had a funny feeling that it was from a blast or something. 

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Well, you asked me a question, a lot of questions actually, I think it’s only fair that I get to ask you one as well.” 

 

Rose didn’t see this going well, but couldn’t think of a way out of it. 

 

“Alright then.” Rose agreed reluctantly, turning around fully.  Scorpius had removed his cloak and his shirt had come untucked. He was leaning suavely against the wall with his arms folded, looking at her curiously. “What do you want to know?” She could understand why so many people had crushes on Scorpius, he had the whole debonair bad boy thing going.  He always looked so formal, but there was something dangerous in his eyes. He was wearing a white button down shirt and black trousers, although as the evening wore on he looked more and more disheveled.  

 

She loved to mock him for how he dressed and that was one front the Albus actually agreed with her. 

 

“I want to know why you spent so much time preaching to Al about how it didn’t matter which house he was into, but as soon as he was sorted in Slytherin…. you turned against him.” 

 

Rose sighed, “I didn’t turn against him.” 

 

“Then what happened?”

 

She had to think for a moment.  It had been so long since first year and her motivation for pulling away from Albus had varied over the years. 

 

“I didn’t think it would actually happen,” Rose admitted quietly.  “I thought that he was fussing over nothing, but we would be in Gryffindor together.  And he had actually made a comment about you on the train and so I thought that it would be Al and myself against the world. And the next thing I knew, he was sitting at the Slytherin table with you.  For a time, I thought we might all be friends, but then I realized that I hated you.” She laughed at her little quip. 

 

“You know I never intentionally tried to pull you away from Al, right?”

 

“It didn’t matter if it was intentional.  That’s what it felt like.” 

 

Scorpius looked guilty for a moment, “This is why I was determined to get along.” 

 

Rose chuckled, “Same here.” 

 

“We’re failing miserably.”

 

“So what’s going on with you and Tanzy?” 

 

Scorpius’s eyes widened slightly before he could fix his face into a carefree look. “What do you mean?”

 

“You were absolutely fawning over her at the Halloween party.  Are you telling me you haven’t had the guts to do something in the last month? What about Hogsmeade—” 

 

“Since when are you so interested in who I fancy?”

 

“So you do fancy her?” Rose retorted. 

 

Scorpius glared at her, “Despite all the revelations, we’re still not friends.”  Rose deflated, cursing herself for getting caught in the moment. She didn’t know what had possessed her to ask about his love life.  Perhaps it’s that she couldn’t imagine him actually dating anyone. Lots of people at Hogwarts had crushes on him, but she had never heard of him actually entertaining any of them. 

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