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Chapter 14: XIV - The Great Snowball Fight
It was the last day of term before the students were loaded onto the Hogwarts Express and returned to their families. Some were more excited about this than others. For example, Isabelle was simply shrieking for Scorpius to come and visit her for a day or two in her airy Scottish house in the Shetland Islands, begging him to spend some of his hours alone in her company and hear her gossip about every girl she could think of. Marie on the other hand looked positively miserable. This holiday she would not be going to her mother’s but instead she would be going to stay with her father Blaise Zabini, and her “evil stepmother” as she called her. She had tried to get permission to spend her holiday in the Slytherin Common Room, sleeping by the fire, but her father would allow her no such privilege.
Mercutio looked thoroughly relieved to be going home and had cheered up considerably; so on the last day the four of them wandered lazily down to the school grounds during the afternoon before they took the journey home to take part in the most eagerly anticipated event on the school calendar, the Great Snowball Fight. The tradition had apparently been started by James Potter and Robert McLaggen a year before Scorpius and his friends had arrived at the school, and there had never been a last day before Christmas without one. The four houses stood in a large square formation, Slytherin opposite Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff opposite Ravenclaw, old enemy facing against old enemy.
They would then start the snowball fight and it would be a meaningless completion. People would trail off as the hours ticked by, some getting tired, some wanting to do other things other than be pelted with wet snowballs. Every year the fighting would subside slowly, finally leaving only James Potter and Arnaud Avery in the fray. Last year, it had turned into a duel and James spent the first week of the Christmas Holidays in St. Mungo’s being grown back to normal size. Because of that Slytherin had won last year, and the three other houses were eager to get their titles back. The teachers tried to break it up every year as it always led to violence, but it didn’t stop the students who kept the exact time of the fight top secret until all the students materialised in the grounds.
“Avery looks like he’s gonna kill Potter if he has the chance this year,” said Isabelle absentmindedly, walking as closely to Scorpius as she possibly dared, her slender frame casually bumping into him. Scorpius nodded in agreement, he just saw the snowball fight as a game and never got involved in the violence, but this year he wanted to win. Maybe it was just because he wanted to get some satisfaction with beating Rose in some small way. He gazed down the slope of the grounds and saw eager looking people already getting into lines for the kick off at one o’clock which was barely five minutes away. Avery and Potter stood opposite each other, and if looks could kill they would both be lying stone dead in the cold snow.
Rose never really enjoyed the Great Snowball Fight. To her it had always been a frivolous waste of time. Last year she had been whacked on the cheek by a snowball filled with ice by the Ravenclaw Amanda. Though it hadn’t been as bad as James’ little accident she still had to wear a massive bruise all Christmas, earning her some very annoying nicknames from her cousins. This year however Rose viewed it as a good distraction from her problems with Scorpius. Her anger at him had waned and now she just wanted to get back to being how they were. But she knew that wasn’t possible, Scorpius was still livid and hadn’t spoken to her since the time in the broom cupboard.
“Rosie, cheer up!” said Julia, catching up with her friend on the way down the slope, “I mean we’ve got so much to look forward to with Christmas at your grandparents, presents, and the Minister’s New Year’s Ball.” Nothing could make Rose anymore depressed than the talks about the damned Ball. The thought of the milling crowds trying to climb the social ladder sickened her and it was yet another excuse for her parents to parade her around like a trophy and get her picture in the “Daily Prophet” and “Witch Weekly”.
“Don’t talk about that damned ball,” groaned Cecelia, appearing on Rose’s other side, “Everyone’s going, you two, Uther, James, Robert, Rosaline and even your brother Hugo!” Julia beamed happily at this; she had always got on well with Hugo as he seemed to be so optimistic and sunny like Julia, and therefore the total opposite of Rose.
“Yeh, Hugo just got out the hospital wing today!” cried Julia happily. Hugo had spent the whole term cooped up in the hospital wing after blowing up his attempt at creating an invisibility potion in his potion’s club. The result was that after three months he was now only slightly translucent and it had been determined he could go home, much to everyone’s relief and happiness.
“His slight invisibility is going to be really useful today!” said Cecelia thinking tactically as the three of them got into line, slotting themselves next to Barry and Aaron who were arguing over the best snowball throwing technique. Barry was all for using your wand to carefully aim and release, whereas Aaron preferred lobbing and then running away. After several minutes the four sides seemed to have formed into perfect straight lines, ominously facing each other. Squinting across at the Slytherin line, Rose could just about see Scorpius’ snow blonde head next to Isabelle and Marie, with Mercutio just behind him. Then came James’ rallying call, loud amongst all the whispered discussions between friends, and the war began.
There had never been a snowball fight like this before. It was more like a brawl than a game. Isabelle had fled the grounds in tears; her nose had been broken by Lisa Finnegan’s “stray” elbow. Esmeralda Bulstrode had left crying with a nasty gash up her arm caused by an over enthusiastic Louis and Robert McLaggen had been trampled after being put in the full body bind curse by Arnaud Avery. Scorpius however was fairly quick and nimble and managed to dodge most of the curses that speeded towards him. One burnt the hem of his robe, but he ignored it and continued fighting. It seemed as if the other houses were ganging up on the Slytherin’s, determined to wipe them out, as if they were a real threat and then return to playing a cordial game with childhood friends.
Scorpius and Mercutio had run far down the grounds, almost one the edge of the Forbidden Forest. They were both panting angrily as a fairly large number of people had followed them including James, Rose, Duncan, Margot, Amanda and the semi visible Hugo. None of the other Slytherin’s were anywhere near them; many scattered around be picked off one by one. Their leader Arnaud Avery had in fact been knocked out and was now lying out in the snow, with many teachers trying to get him to the hospital wing, and trying to end the violence that cropped up all over the place.
Scorpius knew they couldn’t run any further; they were physically exhausted. The only way to face the problem was to stand proudly and fight. James was advancing menacingly on a haggard looking Scorpius, a look of utter satisfaction on his handsome face. His wand was held tightly in his right hand, the tension and strain in his fingers clearly drawn across the back of his hand. Flanking him were the rather burly Duncan and skilful Hugo who had their wands out, only really ready to cast a spell that would never do any real damage to him, maybe just disarm him. Scorpius was sure that James wanted nothing more than to stun him where he stood, curse him into oblivion even. Without warning James made a move as quick as a flash and aimed a fiery spell at Scorpius, which he quickly rebounded with a neat shield charm. The fire ricocheted off the magical shield and veered violently off at an angle, hitting Mercutio on the forearm, and his robes sleeve erupted with hot red fire. He dropped to the floor like a pebble in a lake, rolling around in the snow to put out the damaging fire, leaving Mercutio defenceless to attack but Scorpius defended his friend with as much zeal as if he was defending himself.
“Aguamenti!” yelled Scorpius, as a jet of water doused the triumphant looking James. There was no way he could stay outside now; he would freeze in the wintry Scottish weather. James gave Scorpius one angry, resentful look and then turned his back on him, marching up towards the castle evidently admitting defeat. The rest of the Gryffindor’s slowly followed James their leader, shooting Scorpius disgusted looks. Scorpius’ silvery eyes hungrily searched for Rose’s slender figure, eventually finding her walking beside her cousin, showing allegiance to him, but still looking back for Scorpius to see if he was okay. Turning his head, Scorpius also noticed that Mercutio was ahead of the Gryffindor’s, running into the safety and the warmth of the castle.
Scorpius sighed melodramatically, turning his blonde head away and strolling into the peaceful forest. He had rapidly come to the conclusion that it was better there in the safety of the thick trees than in the war ground. He wanted to clear his head, think about more immediate problems at hand. But then something totally unexpected happened. Once all of James’ friends apart from anxious looking Rose had descended back into the group of warring students, James suddenly whipped round and with one aimed stunning spell hit Scorpius in the centre of his back, leaving Scorpius to drop like a dead weight to the forest floor.
“James!” yelled Rose as he began to jog up to the castle, not caring about what he had just done, “what did you do that for?” She gave him one of the expressions she inherited from Molly Weasley. He shivered slightly, disturbed at his cousin’s similarity to their shared grandmother, but then he said icily, without a grain of human compassion in his voice,
“What? He’s only a Slytherin!”
All he could feel was the intense warmth that radiated from her. She was like a beacon to him and he would always return to her, whatever happened. He knew he was exactly where he wanted to be, and he would stay there, in the comfort of her arms for all time. He wanted to stay like this forever, looking up into her sparkling blue eyes, and letting her stroke the pale skin of his cheek. She gingerly brushed the white blonde hair out of his eyes, and cradled him in her arms like a baby. He’d been so stupid. Why did they squabble about trivial things when Scorpius could clearly see they were meant for each other, and meant to be together eternally?
“Scorpius,” she said breathlessly kissing his forehead, “oh thank god you’re awake! I did the reversal spell myself you see and I was just...” Her voice trailed off into nothing and she gazed at him, a curious expression on her angelic face, “I’m meant to be angry with you aren’t I?” she sighed, almost scolding herself. Despite this she was still giving him her gentle smile and stroking his cheek with the tips of her fingers.
“You don’t have to be angry with me if you don’t want to. You do know you’re meant to be with me.” She laughed gently, all their past arguments forgotten in one moment. He lifted his hand, it was heavy, but he could use it. With the tips of his fingers he gently stroked one of her freckled cheeks, his heart beating nervously against his ribcage. Now was the moment to do the right thing and make amends.
“I’m sorry Rose,” he began but Rose did not let him finish. “No Scorpius, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have argued over something so trivial and stupid. I love you so much and I was so angry I forgot that.” He smiled up at her, she was blushing furiously and it made Scorpius smile at her vulnerability. He knew she did not like to be honest about her feelings; she was one of those people who lived their lives concealed by a veil, never connecting with others outside their little sphere.
“You love me?” Scorpius asked tentatively, “you really love me?” She looked at him for a moment, her pale face alight with the red colour of embarrassment. Then she leant towards him as if telling him one of the world’s greatest secrets, something to never be repeated and never to become free of this conversation. When her lips were hovering inches from the rim of his ear she whispered as quietly as she could,
“Yes, I love you more than anything,” she paused, gulping gently and then continued, “and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Scorpius sat up at this point, so they sat as close as they could together, their chests touching. In one movement Scorpius had his hands round his girlfriend’s waist and as he gazed into her cerulean eyes they set him on course for an epiphany. His sudden realisation hit him like a brick in the face. He felt as if he had wanted to ask this question forever but had been too scared and too afraid to do so. But now it seemed the perfect moment.
“Marry me Rose,” he whispered, his spontaneity surprising himself slightly . Rose watched him, her pale face a mixture of shock and interest. It was clear from the sparkle in her eyes that she was thinking deeply, her mind half terrified, half excited about the unexpected proposition he had given her. Her body then crumpled into his chest; she was Rose Weasley after all and it was obvious she was going to argue the point.
“Scorpius, you can’t be serious,” she tittered, giggling slightly as if the conversation was nothing more than a light piece of fluff you might find littering the pages of ‘Witch Weekly’. This was the reaction that he had been expecting but nevertheless Scorpius grasped her delicate hands firmly in his and his silvery eyes gazed into her blue ones with such longing, passion and intensity that she couldn’t turn away from him.
“I’ve never been more serious about anything in my whole life,” he said, his voice growing in strength. Silence as quiet as the snow descended again. Rose was seriously considering Scorpius’ proposal otherwise she would have run away, retreating into the safety of the castle, just like Mercutio had. Rose’s head shifted to gaze down into her lap, she couldn’t bear to look at him and reject him at the same time.
“But what about school?” she mumbled feebly, peering back into his eyes and then breaking eye contact for a brief moment. “What about school?” asked Scorpius defiantly. “Hogwarts will not be affected by whether we are married or not!” Rose seemed to consider this point clearly in her mind. Biting her lip for a moment, she turned and gazed at some falling flakes of snow. Scorpius knew what she was thinking about. She was choosing between her family, friends, her house, loyalty and him. Her answer would send him into oblivion or heaven and he watched her as she finally gazed into his eyes, giving him a small smile.
“I will marry you,” she whispered, her happiness shining in her lilting voice. Scorpius’ face broke into an expression of triumph and joy as he pulled her up and gave her a happy kiss, sending her into fits of giggles again. Dusting her wild red hair out of her eyes he saw the extent of the love between them. Nothing could ever hurt them; not their families or friends or the school. Nobody could stop them when they were together.
“I’ll sort everything out,” began Scorpius speaking very quickly a plan formulating in his mind, “I mean you will be surrounded all the time by family and friends, whereas I’ll be on my own for a large amount of Christmas. I write to you as soon as it’s all arranged. I swear we’ll be married by the time we return to this school.” And they kissed again, Scorpius sure that nothing would ever go wrong for him or Rose ever again.
Their bags were loaded onto the luggage racks above their heads and the Hogwarts Express was winding through the Scottish Countryside making its way back to King’s Cross Station. Rose sat in one of the compartments, secret happiness burning within her heart. Her friends sat around her, oblivious to her joy and the thought of such a well kept secret excited her slightly. She was the only one in the carriage who seemed to be happy; Gryffindor had lost to Ravenclaw in the Great Snowball Fight and that did not make the atmosphere in the carriage a pleasant one.
“If Malfoy hadn’t doused me in water I wouldn’t have gone back to the castle and got caught by Brown,” moaned James, as usual blaming his defeat on someone else. Robert sat agreeing with him by giving a small grunt, the only noise made in the carriage after that statement. Hugo was sad because he was still slightly invisible and Julia, who he was sitting next to, kept elbowing him by accident causing him to get several red marks. To cheer up the bad losers and to make himself more noticeable Hugo began to speak in a loud fake tone,
“Who’s going to the Ministry’s New Year’s Ball?” he asked, gazing around everyone in the carriage hoping someone would get enthused about the topic. He knew who was going really but he just wanted to make conversation. The only people who weren’t going were Cecelia and Margot and that was because they were both Muggleborns and their families had no connection to the Ministry so had no hope of getting a ticket.
“Oh, let’s not talk about that!” said Cecelia, her mind praying for a change of subject. She desired nothing more than to flit about in society. Despite this, she piped up almost cheerily, “You know at the last DA meeting we were all talking about Scorpius Malfoy having a girlfriend,” she began, drawing people into the conversation. The rest of the compartment nodded except for Rose who suddenly stole Uther’s copy of “Ministerial Jobs...are they for you?” and buried her head in it trying to disguise her furious blushing at the mention of her fiancée. “Well,” continued Cecelia, trying to arouse some excitement, “I heard Marie and Isabelle talking , when I went to the toilet earlier and you know Isabelle likes Scorpius, she has her suspicions that he does have a secret girlfriend and that she’s in Gryffindor!”
The whole compartment snapped their head towards Rosaline expectantly who looked shocked for a moment, “It’s not me!” she cried indignantly, trying to defend herself. “Well,” began Aaron slowly, “he has fancied you for ages, we all remember that incident in the corridor!” The whole room sniggered remembering Scorpius declaring undying love for Rosaline. Rose felt a pang of jealousy as she put down her magazine, glaring at Rosaline to show her hostility.
“Have you ever had feelings for him?” asked Rose, trying to make it sound like an innocent question. Rosaline folded her arms angrily and the huffed, “of course not, he’s a Slytherin how could I ever love him?” Rose picked up the magazine. Rosaline she thought you are so wrong. It is the easiest thing in the world to love Scorpius Malfoy. Easier still to marry him.
Well...I really want to know what you thought of that chapter as I want to know whether you thought it was too quick/ too slow delete as applicable or just right. So that means PLEASE REVIEW!!! Next time...It's the beginning of the Christmas Holiday's and Astoria discover something that she is not quite sure what to make of...