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Chapter 18: Cheerios.
Lily looked for Finn the next day, determined to tell him the whole truth, no matter the consequence, but it seemed he had left early. At breakfast, Rose found Lily sulking over a bowl of cheerios.
“Didn’t go like you planned?” She asked.
“Don’t sound so smug.”
“I’m not.” Rose said, “Really. I just worry about you and your… excitability sometimes.”
“As compared to being a cold, heartless nerd?”
Rose flinched back. “It’s kept me out of trouble for eighteen years, I guess.” She got up and began to walk away.
“No, Rose, come back. I’m sorry.”
Rose turned around. “Well, what happened?”
“No.” Rose said, with a grin.
“Yeah. And it was nice. It was everything kisses are supposed to be, Rose. All those silly clichés about fireworks and sparks are totally true.”
“So what went wrong?”
“He saw my sigg again and freaked out. Says he’s not going to compete with my soul mate. My imaginary, made up bloody soul mate.”
“Oh darling.” Rose said. “I’m so sorry. Did you tell him then?”
Lily shook her head. “He took off. I haven’t seen him since. He’s doing some stuff with his family, I think.”
“I’m sure everything will be okay when he gets back.”
“But Rose, this thing he’s doing, it’s… risky. What if he doesn’t come back? What if I never get to tell him the truth. Oh, Rose, I’ve ruined everything!” Lily began to break down into sobs.
Rose reached out and put an arm around her hysterical cousin. “Shh, Lils, it’s gonna be fine. Whatever he’s doing, he’ll be fine, and then he’ll come back and you can set the story straight and even if he gets mad, he can’t stay mad forever. You’re his best friend.”
Lily muttered incoherently through her sobs, and Rose searched the room for Dom or some other girl for help. Her eyes met Scorpius’, who looked at her from the Slytherin table. He gave her a small smile and set his juice down. A few moments later, he slid in on Lily’s other side.
“Lily, whatever’s wrong, it’s going to be fine. Why don’t you just go back to bed? Rose and I will tell your professors you’re not feeling well.”
Lily nodded, still sobbing, and let Scorpius and Rose lead her out of the Great Hall. The haphazard trio made their way all the way up to the Fat Lady’s painting, but Lily was no calmer.
“I’ll tell your professors that you’re not feeling well either.” Scorpius said to Rose. “At least for your first class?”
Rose nodded. “I’ll stay until Lily goes back to sleep and maybe be back in time for potions.”
Scorpius nodded back and turned away.
“Scorpius?” Rose asked.
Rose got Lily up to her dormitory and into bed.
“I’ve ruined everything.” Lily said. “Everything. I had a guy who cared about me and I managed to completely mess that up.”
“It’s not as bad as you think.” Rose said. “Just take a nap and drink some water and everything will seem better.”
Lily nodded. “Okay, but promise me something.”
“Tell Scorpius you love him.”
“I-I don’t love him. I barely know him.”
“You love him. You guys just… work together.”
“But I don’t love him.”
“Okay, fine, you don’t love him, but admit that you really, really like him. That’s definitely true.”
Rose nodded. “Maybe. But what’s the rush? If these things are right and we are soul mates, then we have our whole lives to be together.”
Rose left as soon as Lily was asleep and hurried down to the Potions classroom. She shot an apologetic look to Professor Slughorn and slid into her seat next to Scorpius.
“There you are, Miss Weasley. We’re almost done working on our trickiest potion yet— aging potion. We will be testing them out in a bit, so be careful!”
Rose looked over to Scorpius, who had already begun to slice up the rose stems. “Roses go in an aging potion. Mildly appropriate.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Rose asked with a laugh.
“Just that you’re too grown up sometimes.” He passed her some mandrake roots. “Get cutting.”
“’I’m too grown up’ says the boy who color coordinates his notes and wears button-down shirts in his free time.” Rose parried back.
“Never said I wasn’t grown up too.”
“Shut up and cut your rose stems.” Rose said with a smile.
Scorpius put his hand over Rose’s knife. “I would but someone needs to tell you to stop mincing the mandrake. You’re going to leave all the juice on the cutting board.” He parried back.
Rose rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, oh great potions master.”
“Miss Weasley, Mr. Malfoy, do I need to ask you both to focus on your work?” Slughorn asked from the front of the room. We’re making incredibly complex again potions, not giggle serum!”
“I guess we’re not grown up enough right now.” Scorpius whispered. “Is Lily going to be okay?”
“Yeah, I think so. But I think Finn has some serious family issues going on. I think Lily is freaking out about him getting hurt or something more than she is about lying to him.”
“Is that your psychological conclusion?”
Rose nodded. “Lily’s smart, but she’s pretty much an open book.”
Rose bit her lip, thinking about what Lily had asked. “But she did make me promise something.”
“Oh?” Scorpius asked, smiling slightly. “And what was that?”
“Is everyone finished?” Slughorn asked.
Scorpius grabbed Rose’s cutting board and slipped the contents into the cauldron. With a few quick stirs, the potion turned a soft shade of blue. “Perfect coloring.” Slughorn said, looking down into their cauldron. “Go ahead and try it.”
Rose looked at the potion skeptically. Slughorn sighed and ladled out a glassful. “Here. Just drink this and you’ll look thirty-five or so for a few hours.” Rose’s eyes widened. “I wouldn’t let you drink it if I didn’t think it was safe. You two did fine. I’d drink it myself if I thought I had another year ahead of me.” He said with a chuckle. “And you too, Mr. Malfoy.” He said, ladling another cupful.
Scorpius took the cup and held it up to Rose. “What did she make you promise?” Scorpius asked as they clinked glasses.
“To—oh,” Rose stopped and downed her drink while Scorpius drank his. It tasted like dust, but slid down her throat rather easily.
She felt her skin crawl for just a moment, and then saw Scorpius’s eyes widen. His skin rippled too, and then Rose gasped as his hair shortened just a bit. A few moments later, she was looking at a thirty-five year old Scorpius. He had even sharper cheek bones, and his hair was a slightly darker shade and seemed to sit down a little more than usual. He had a few laugh lines around his mouth and on his forehead, but they made him look even better. His lips, which looked exactly the same, opened and he spoke.
“Rose, you look…” he trailed off.
“Let’s have a mirror do the talking, shall we?” Slughorn said, conjuring up two hand mirrors and then moving on to inspect the next pair’s potion.
Rose held the mirror out in front of her and almost dropped it. Her long, reddish-brown hair curled softer than usual, and her lips looked bigger and redder. Her brown eyes had small crow’s feet wrinkles next to them, but other than that, her skin looked perfect. None of the small blemishes or dark freckles that she usually covered up; just creamy, pretty skin.
She looked up from the mirror and saw that Scoprius had been watching her. Looking down, she saw that her sigg still glowed bright green on her ever so slightly thinner fingers. She looked back up and looked at Scorpius again. He looked older, but more importantly, he looked like home. She saw her future standing right in front of her, and for the first time, knew that her sigg had never been wrong.
“I promised Lily that I would tell you how I feel.”
Scorpius’ older eyebrows still shot up in their usual way. “And you feel…”
“I feel like I really like you and there’s a chance that these siggs might actually know what they are doing.” Rose said softly. “And it’s okay if you don’t feel the same way, I’m fine with being friends. I just wanted to be honest with you and get the truth out there. So we can do whatever you—“
Scorpius ended Rose’s rambling speech by swiftly leaning up and pressing his lips to hers. He put his hands around her back as she leaned her head back and returned the kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck.
The next thing Rose was aware of was a slow, drawn-out clap. She pulled her lips away, leaving her arms around Scorpius’ neck and looked to see Slughorn smiling and clapping. The rest of the students quickly joined in, Dom clapping louder than the rest.