End of May
Rose was very aware of Scorpius walking beside her. She wondered if he was angry with her for giving those Slytherins detention. They had been fighting with a group of Hufflepuffs and Rose had reported it to McGonagall. From her point of view, it seemed like the Slytherins were the antagonizers and the instigators.
“You’re being awfully quiet,” Rose said playfully, hoping to lighten the mood. It was a beautiful night, rare for a Scotland spring, and she had actually been looking forward to their last patrol together. They could chat about exams and enjoy the starry sky.
But Scorpius was being annoyingly stoic.
Scorpius shrugged, his face emotionless. “Don’t have anything to say.”
She could feel the coldness radiating off of him. “Is this about what happened earlier? With the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs?”
Indifference was not something she was accustomed to from Scorpius. If he was mad, he usually just yelled at her or threw some hexes. Passive aggressive was not their style.
Scorpius’s shoulders stiffened. “Did you even consider that the Hufflepuffs were the ones who started the fight? Or did you immediately assume that it was they Slytherins making trouble? I thought you had gotten past your childish bias, but I guess you’re just as immature as your fourteen year old self.”
Rose’s eyes narrowed, but Scorpius continued before she could open her mouth.
As his rant picked up, he began to walk faster. “Do you even consider us friends? Or were you angling to get the Head position the whole time? You’re one hell of an actress, I’ll give you that.” Rose jogged to catch up with him as he neared the perimeter of the lake by the forest. She clenched her fists as he berated her, not letting her speak. “I can’t believe I trusted you—”
“Oh please,” Rose scoffed as she grabbed Scorpius’s arm, forcing him to face her. If he was going to dress her down like this then he could look her in the eyes. “You trust me? How long did it take for you to convince yourself that I’m the bad buy?”
“Micah told me—”
“Oh! Micah told you!” Rose clutched her chest dramatically. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize that Micah is a god and knows everything.”
Scorpius took a threatening step towards her. She had to tilt her head back to meet his eyes. “You are so condescending.”
“And you’re a hypocrite.” Rose snapped, “You accuse me of bias, but you automatically assume that I just blamed everything on the Slytherins?”
His chest puffed up indignantly, “You did!”
“I told everyone to lower their wands, but then Micah and his friends were still trying to hex the Huffies. So I gave them detentions on the spot and then reported the Hufflepuffs to Professor Sprout.” She folded her arms triumphantly. Scorpius opened his mouth to argue and then paused.
Rose waited for him to apologize.
“You didn’t just give the Slytherins detentions?”
She rolled her eyes, “I gave them detentions because they didn’t listen when I told them to lower their wands. But I still reported the whole fight to Sprout since I didn’t see how it started.”
“Oh.” Scorpius looked away, the moon glinting off of his platinum hair. “I assumed—”
“Ass. You. Me.” Rose smacked his arm.
He looked at the ground and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed.”
Rose turned to look at the lake. The reflection of the moon was one of her favorite sights at Hogwarts. She looked back towards the castle, thinking that they should probably begin walking back now that they had patrolled the grounds. “You know, even at our worst, I always knew that you would be up front with me.”
Scorpius took a step closer and reached out. He stopped just before touching her arm and let his hand hover for a moment.
“You’ve never been passive aggressive.” Rose muttered as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m really sorry.” Scorpius repeated.
She waved off his apology, “Let’s just remember that neither of us should jump to conclusions. I think we’ve come far enough to have a little bit of trust.” There was a tinge of bitterness in her voice, but she meant what she said. If things between them were going to progress, they couldn’t jump down each others’ throats at the first sight of conflict.
They stood together, looking out over the water for a while.
After a while Scorpius sighed and looked down to Rose. They were standing so close that when he shifted, their shoulders brushed. Her heart began to pound and she wasn’t sure why. Maybe it had something to do with the tingles on her skin where they had touched. She looked at him to see if he felt the electricity she was feeling.
“Should we head back?” He turned to her, his hands shoved in his pockets. When they both turned fully to the other, their chests were almost pressed together.
Rose forced herself to speak, trying desperately not to look in his silver eyes. “Yes, it’s getting late.” Did her voice sound oddly formal?
Neither of them moved and as soon as Rose looked up, she knew she wouldn’t be able to move. There was something in his eyes that was holding her in place. She recalled a time when she thought his eyes looked so cold and distant and now all she could think was that they looked like little moons.
There was an extraordinary amount of depth and intelligence in his eyes that Rose felt she could stare at forever. The spark in his eyes reminded him of when they dueled. She was not sure what was happening, but that same heat was present between them.
“It’s a really beautiful night,” Rose commented because she was no good at being silent. She looked around at the lake, the forest, the moon… as if to make the point that she really was just making a casual observation.
The quiet felt like too much.
“Really beautiful,” he complied without looking away from her face.
She felt something brush across her hand, making her shiver.
It took her several moments to realize that Scorpius seemed to be leaning closer and that invisible string that kept her from looking away was also making her move closer. Rose wanted to reach out and touched his face, just to make sure that he was real. The way the moonlight danced across his pale skin, she thought he might’ve been an apparition.
Would she wake up tomorrow and realize this had all been a dream?
Touching his face was too risky, Rose thought. Instead, she found herself reaching up to place her hands on his chest. Barely touching his shirt, but just enough pressure to know that he was real and this was, in fact, all happening. Should she push him away or pull him closer?
Scorpius’s head tilted lower and their noses grazed.
Rose had some vague idea in the back of her head that he was going to kiss her. That’s where this was all headed. She was focused on the subtle touches and slow movements, but the image of him pressing their lips together was somewhere in the haze.
If she wanted to push him away or stop what was about to happen, there was only a moment to do so. But she didn’t.
His fingers moved deftly up her arms to cup her neck. Scorpius had seemingly made a decision. He closed his eyes and Rose felt compelled to follow suit. She could hear his hitched breath and feel his nose slide against her, signalling that he was about to kiss her.
The sudden sound of a tree branch snapping shocked Rose. She jerked back and before she had time to process what had happened, she shoved Scorpius away from her. He stumbled back and nearly fell over, but caught himself just in time. Scorpius’s eyes widened and his mouth popped open.
He looked like he had been in a daze just like Rose and had had a similarly rude awakening.
Rose looked around hastily, wondering if that had been a person or just animal who had made the noise. A lump formed in her throat at the thought of anyone seeing her in such a vulnerable state. She immediately began to lambast herself for being so thoughtless and getting wrapped up in the moonlight and the romance of it all.
It was romantic, Rose thought grudgingly.
After Scorpius recovered from being thrust away, he made a motion like he was going to step towards her. She took a step back and held her arm out to ward him off. “Don’t,” she said sharply.
“I said don’t!” She snapped and faltered backwards. She took a breath and reminded herself that he hadn’t done anything that she didn’t want. Obviously, she had wanted to do what they were about to do. Rose could not bring herself to think of the K-word. “You should go ahead.” Rose said more calmly.
“I didn’t mean—”
She shook her head, “It’s not you. Please, just go.”
Scorpius hesitated, extending his hand and then pulling back, “I can’t just leave you.”
“Scorpius,” Rose growled, “I need a minute alone! One freaking minute! We’re done with patrol, so just go. I don’t want you here anymore!” She yelled, not as angry as all that, but it was the only way she could think to get a second of peace. “Just because we’re friends doesn’t mean we’re snog buddies!”
Hurt flashed in his eyes and it made her want to reach out, but she really did need some space. “That’s not what I was after,” he said insistently.
“Go back to the castle, I want to be alone.” She turned away from him and waited until she heard him turn and begin walking back to the castle. She turned to watch him leave, wondering if he would look back. She watched him walk with his head hung low and his shoulder slouched in defeat.
“Crap,” she muttered when he was out of her sight. She thrust her hands into her hair and resisted the urge to pull it all out.
Rose had almost just kissed Scorpius Malfoy. And then she had done the most cruel thing she had ever done… which was saying something when it came to Scorpius. She would have kissed him back, too, if it wasn’t for that rude awakening.
She couldn’t decide if she was angry or grateful for the interruption.
Rose paced back and forth along the lake. A part of her wanted to run into the forest and hide for days. It was totally impractical because exams were so soon, but after that she would definitely be hiding. What was Scorpius thinking at that moment?
She had been so harsh with him.
Did he regret almost kissing her? Rose rubbed her temple thinking about having to face him tomorrow made her itchy and jittery. “I’ll find him tomorrow and explain,” she mumbled to herself. She would explain that she hadn’t meant to push him away, but she just needed a moment to clear her head.
Rose was so stuck in her own head that she didn’t notice the figure coming from the woods. She didn’t notice the large branch the person had.
The person struck her from behind and Rose felt a sharp pain in the back of her head. She gasped as she fell to the ground and the edges of her vision turned black. She had only a moment to take in what had happened, before shock and fear dragged her unconscious.
Rose wasn’t sure if the scream actually came out before darkness took over.
Rose woke up feeling nauseous and like a blade had pushed through the back of her skull. It took several minutes for the images and memories to come flooding back. She could picture Scorpius’s embarrassed face perfectly. Rose shut her eyes, hoping that would help with the throbbing headache.
The last thing she remembered was Scorpius’s back fading into the distance.
Rose attempted to roll from her stomach onto her back. But that didn’t do anything to alleviate the nausea. She took several deep breaths, each more painful than the last.
Footsteps echoed from outside.
For the first time, Rose looked around to take in her surroundings. It was a small room… not even a room. It must’ve been a shed. The ceiling boards had cracks between them and the wind was howling through the broken windows.
The footsteps got closer and Rose groaned as she tried to heave herself off of the floor. She knew that she had to find her wand and stand up to fight. As she frantically palmed the dirty ground, a sinking feeling bloomed in her stomach. A sense of dread for what was about to happen.
There was a crack of wood and then the door banged open.
Rose pushed herself onto her forearms so that she could crawl away.
“Where do you think you’re going?” A man’s voice growled. He had an accent, but Rose could hardly focus on keeping her eyes open, much less details about this bastard.
Suddenly, a heavy boot came down on the back of her ankle and she let out a piercing scream. For a moment, the unbearable pain in
her ankle made her headache disappear and the nausea fade.
She screamed until he hit her in the face and was knocked unconscious again.
Scorpius had tossed and turned all night. At some point Albus had gotten up and hit him over the head with a pillow. It was just impossible to sleep properly when he kept imaging Rose turning him away and tossing him aside.
But he wasn’t going to hide.
So he met Al in the common room and they walked to the Great Hall for breakfast. Albus chattered about mindless things and Scorpius did his best to be attentive. And yet… how would Scorpius tell Al that he had nearly kissed his cousin. But before he could, she kicked him to the curb. All because of some nondescript noise from the woods.
“What was keeping you up all night?” Al asked as they sat down at the Slytherin table.
Scorpius debated telling him the truth. “Anxious about exams,” he said finally. Afterall, it wasn’t just his secret to tell. Rose had some say in whether or not her friends and family knew about what had transpired between them.
All at the same time, Scorpius could both picture every detail of the evening and also felt like it happened in the blink of an eye.
She had leaned into him…
Her eyes had fluttered shut just before their lips were about to touch.
Scorpius’s chest tightened with nostalgic anticipation as he thought of how she had put her hands on his chest. For a moment, he thought she was going to push him away. But then her hands just rested there, lighting touching his shirt. He had barely been able to feel her hands through the material and yet it lit his skin on fire.
He got lost in the memories and didn’t process what Al was saying until he heard, “Oh, there’s Penny.” Scorpius couldn’t help but glance up, his eyes seeking Rose. She was a hard person to miss, with her fiery red hair and loud personality....
But Rose wasn’t with Penny and their other roommates.
Scorpius couldn’t tell if he was disappointed or relieved that he wouldn’t have to face Rose quite yet. He was thoroughly humiliated from last night and did not feel like reliving that moment. When Penny started walking over, Scorpius got nervous that perhaps Rose had told him what happened.
“Hey,” Penny gave them a quick smile, ignoring the curious looks from other Slytherins.
“Good morning,” Al replied cheerfully.
“Has Rose been down for breakfast?” Penny rested her chin on her folded hands.
Scorpius’s heart lurched.
“No,” Albus answered.
“Hm, she was already gone this morning when I woke up.” Penny looked towards Scorpius. “What time did you two get back from patrol last night?” He shrunk down a little. There was no way around telling them partially what happened. He still wouldn’t tell them about the almost-kiss.
Penny and Albus’s heads snapped up. “What did you do?” Albus asked dryly.
“We had a little argument… it was nothing really. But we parted ways and I’m not sure what she did after that.”
Penny rolled her eyes, “Now we know why she’s hiding. You were being an idiot.”
Scorpius couldn’t argue with that. He wanted to talk to her, but understood why she didn’t want to see him yet. He needed to explain that he wasn’t trying to get a friends-with-benefits situation and he wasn’t using her to rebound. He didn’t know exactly how he felt or what he wanted, but he knew that it was entirely about being close with her.
He hadn’t even realized any of this until last night and now he had to convince Rose.
“Can you please sort this out with her?” Al pleaded. “Things have been so good and I want to end the year on a good note.”
Scorpius rubbed his forehead, “Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry, I'll make nice.”
Albus wasn’t the only one who wanted to end on a good note. Scorpius valued his friendship with Rose and he wanted to go into seventh year with positivity and hope.
A/N: Hi guys! Sorry this was so late, if you read through comments on the last chapter, you may have seen that I was having some site trouble. I am using a different computer and that seems to have fixed the issue.
Let me know what you think of this chapter! As always, reviews are so appreciated and I love you guys.
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