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Chapter 1: Dirty Little Secret
Author’s Note: I wasn’t sure whether I’d write this or not (See my mammoth blog post on it). This may be predictable but it’s hopefully enjoyable too! I really owe LadyMalfoy23 for reading this when I was in a panic – thanks again, you’re a star!
Also, my characterisation here might be a little weird to you, especially since Rose can be kind of mean. Like the rest of my Next-Gen characters, she is reacting strongly against her parents, though obviously she’ll grow up in a few years. Anyway I hope you enjoy – it’s for the Room of Requirement challenge, I was given Rose. The song title is from the All-American Rejects song “Dirty Little Secret”. Should definitely listen to this when reading, I had it playing constantly when writing! As a result it complements the story, in particular the stuff that isn’t the flashback, which is less fun.
Oh and my use of the nickname “Watermelon”, credit to Hpgrl. I can no longer think of Hugo without thinking of the word “watermelon”. Ingenious. Read her stuff.
Rose squinted. What was he trying to say?
Ok, he definitely was telling her something, he was making weird gestures with his head towards the front of the hall. His blue eyes were wide and he looked about to scream. He continued in this matter until Al turned around and caught his eye.
“Scorpius!” he bellowed across the hall. “C’mere!”
Rose’s heart leapt into her chest. Oh god. She watched his eyes widen further with terror, before relaxing it into an expression of forced cool. He got up from the table and made his way over. Al grinned at her, completely oblivious. For now.
Rose Weasley was not good at keeping calm in uncomfortable situations. She could feel her ears heating up, as they did when she was embarrassed. She shook her hair down hoping Albus wouldn’t notice the trait she had inherited from her father.
He paused by the Ravenclaw table; Eva Florick was giving him back a book he had presumably leant her. Rose was grateful for the chance to compose herself, until she saw an exchange of smiles between them.
She caught Albus looking at her strangely. Had she said that out loud? Probably. Yet, like all of her family, he probably had his own thing going on, thinking it was more important than anyone else’s. Rose wasn’t like that. She assured herself of this as she ignored his question.
Of course there was nothing going on between Eva and Scorpius. She was being ridiculous. This is why she couldn’t be around Scorpius; he obviously brought out the worst in her.
She had told him as much, in different words, very recently.
They had been in the room of requirement. Albus had shown it to her a while back – it was the only place she knew of that they would be safe from discovery, even from James. Especially James, she had thought scornfully. He was busy with Charlotte Perkins, the girl who Rose famously described as being barely able to spell her own last name.
Things had gotten too much – he said they had to sort it out, and they did. In a way.
She had pulled him into the room, barely in the door when he tried to kiss her. She had pushed him away, knowing that that wouldn’t help anything.
He had looked around and laughed. It was a bare room with two stools. Nothing romantic there.
“Look”, she said. “I’ve given this a lot of thought”.
That was an understatement. For the past few months she hadn’t been able to sleep or eat properly, and not in the good Rose-in-love way. More in the Rose-will-be-thrown-out-of-the-family-and-even-when-they-calmed-down (if they ever did) -she-would-always-be-kind-of-weird-like-Uncle-Percy – and-even-if things-ever-worked-out-between-them-without-their-families-behind-them-they-would-be-outcasts-of-the-muggle-world-would-they-even-be-able-to-get-jobs? Way.
“It just wouldn’t work out. Even if things between us were ok, there is no way people would react well. The students, teachers… Both of our families are really stupid about those things”.
“Rose”, Scorpius said, sneering as he always did when he thought she was being anxious for no reason. At these moments he was always in danger of being cursed. “I don’t care what my dad thinks, I don't want to be him. And mum’s just going to have to choose between me and him.”
Rose felt like punching him.
“And what about me? Have you once thought of me? How my family will react?” She was really heating up now. And not the good “things-are-getting-hot-in-here” way. The “Scorpius-Malfoy-has-been-admitted-to-St.-Mungo’s-with-third-degree-burns way.
He was rolling his eyes. Of course. He thought her family life was perfect. He didn’t think it was a big deal, the pressure she was under from her parents to do well in school or the way she was being watched by the wizarding world. She fought constantly with her mother, and ignored her father when possible. The last words her mother said to her before she boarded the Hogwarts express were scolding her for wearing make up to her first prefect meeting. Something about professionalism. She had also handed her a study plan for the entire year, which barely gave her eating breaks. Her father had been busy talking to his nephews and Hugo to notice. Meanwhile, other parents gaped at the children of their “saviours”.
“And we fight all the time”, she continued, letting her worry reflect in her voice. His eyes softened.
“We’re so confused all the time; I never know what’s happening between us.”
He put his arms around her, not denying what she said. She accepted the hug gratefully, though there was nothing romantic in it. Yet she felt comforted, being so close to him.
After a moment, she came to her senses. Like her mother, she was too realistic to enjoy this for too long – unfortunately.
She pulled apart from him, telling him they would just have to leave it be. She wanted to ask if they could be friends, but that would be stupid. They had known each other for years, and from the moment they had started to be brought together this year by their shared friendship with Albus, something started growing. Burning.
“Do you think...” he asked hesitantly. “Maybe we’re only in this because it’s so stupid?”
She nodded, not daring to laugh. This was entirely possible, save for the weird connection they had.
She was jolted back to the present. Albus had said her name, asking her opinion on a conversation he was now having with Scorpius. She gave a vague, non-committal answer without making eye contact with either. She had not spoken to Scorpius since that day, two weeks ago. They normally patrolled together, chatting excitedly through the hour a week they could be alone together. Since their talk, both had been making excuses, swapping shifts.
She spotted Hugo wandering over, and forced a smile. He sat down beside her and, as usual, wasted no time in annoying her.
“Rose, mum wrote again asking if you’re following her plan. Are you? She said it was the same one she used in fifth year for her O.W.L’s and she did really really well.”
Rose closed her eyes, willing herself to keep calm. “No Hugo, I have not. I am perfectly able to make my own study plans without her help. Ones that give me time to sleep and eat”.
“But Rose, Mum says that the O.W.L.’s are really important! She said –“
“Thanks Hugo”, she said with gritted teeth.
“Also I wondered what to tell her, she asked how you were doing in the last letter.”
’I’m fine Hugo, tell her that”.
“But you’re not fine! Lily said you looked sad last week, and since then every time I see you I see that too!”
Al and Scorpius were looking now. Oh Merlin no.
“What’s up Ro?” Albus asked through a mouthful of toast. “Are you still on about that Acceptable you got? Aunt Hermione won’t care, I told you”.
Rose could see Hugo’s mouth drop. The little squeal – she’d have a howler by the morning.
Scorpius was openly staring at her now, half making that same face. Oh, he had wanted to talk to her somewhere. Obviously.
“Rose what’s going on?” Hugo was gathering momentum, genuinely worried. “Are you ok? You got an A, are you sick? Is there something wrong?”
He paused for a moment, before going on, anxiously though in no way quietly, “Is it a boy?”
Alarm bells went off in her head. Her heart stopped for a moment. The whole table were listening in, not to mention the boy in question.
“Shut up Watermelon!” She roared, alarm bells going off in her head. “Leave me alone!”
Scorpius, distracted for a moment, looked at Hugo and raised an eyebrow. “Watermelon?”
Hugo looked like he was going to be sick as the laughter started. His self-given childhood name had been just shouted for all of the Gryffindor’s to hear.
Rose couldn’t care less, Al would diffuse the situation. Seizing Scorpius’ moment of distraction, she leapt out of her seat and sprinted towards the door.
She was not an athlete. By the time she reached the Room of Requirement she was almost doubled over in pain.
Panting, she dragged herself past it three times, asking for a place to think. Opening the door, she was brought into a room identical to that of an attic room at home, where the family kept all of their unused belongings. A haven amongst old photographs, letters and other things too precious to discard, where she could be alone.
Just as she was slipping in the door, someone rushed in behind her.
“Rose”, he said breathlessly. His eyes were gleaming, he was grinning wider than she had ever seen.
She looked back at him, completely baffled.
“I’ve been thinking and thinking and it finally dawned on me”.
Still clueless, she wondered if he had been slipped some fire whiskey at dinner.
“Rose – who has to know?”
She grinned back, the utter glee she felt causing her to almost burst with excitement. She was young, had no responsibilities to anyone –why shouldn’t she have some fun? What people didn’t know couldn’t hurt them
Shutting out the voice her conscience took, that of her mother’s, she felt freer than she had ever been before. Not taking time to think, she grabbed his blonde hair, pulled his face down to hers. She smashed her lips against his, her head spinning as he returned her kiss hungrily.
Who has to know?