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Chapter 4: William
“Spare blanket and a pillow. If you need anything else, don’t bother waking me up.”
Rose thrust the blanket into Scorpius’ chest rather more harshly than the situation demanded and turned to leave.
“Well, aren’t you a considerate host,” came the snarky rejoinder.
Rose stopped in her tracks, pinning him with a beady look, as if defying him to say another word.
“You’re a big boy, you can take care of yourself, I’m sure.”
Rose looked up, confused. “Huh?”
“I am a big boy. Are you allowed to be alone in a big boy’s room, Rosie?” He asked her mockingly. Rose flushed. She wished she didn’t blush quite so easily. But when he was talking to her in that patronizing tone, it was impossible not to get agitated.
“First of all,” Rose said, flipping her hair, “This is my house and therefore, my room. And secondly, I’ve been in plenty of ‘big boys’’ rooms. Much bigger than you I’m sure.” Her eyes flickered meaningfully downwards and then up again to his smirking face.
“Touché. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Care to find out, Rosie?”
“No.” She snapped, irritated that he wasn’t in the least bit perturbed. “Stop calling me Rosie. And what’s all that?” She pointed to the pile of stuff in the furthest corner of the room.
He turned to look at it, raising an eyebrow at her in a sexy-er, infuriating manner. “That is my stuff. Or did you think I’d be sharing your clothes as well?”
Rose gritted her teeth, trying extremely hard to not curse him. “I know that’s your stuff, you twit. I meant, when did it get here and how?”
“Well, why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” Scorpius said in mock-reproach. “It just came via portkey. One of the blokes at the auror office sent it over, probably Zabini.”
Rose glanced up sharply. “Did you say Zabini?”
“Yes, why?” Scorpius asked suspiciously.
“Er-nothing. I can’t believe they’re setting up port key links in my house without even informing me! Isn’t that like, a breach of my fundamental citizen rights?” The mention of Zabini had brought a fleeting image of the dark haired Slytherin to mind. She didn’t know whether she hated him or wanted to thank him profusely for unwittingly breaking her and Scorpius up. And Zabini in the auror office? That was news to her.
Scorpius rolled his eyes at her. “You don’t need to worry about stuff like that anymore. That’s my job. Weren’t you leaving?” He asked, looking pointedly towards the door.
“Oh. Yes. Well, Good night.” Rose said in clipped tones, shutting the door as she left.
“Sweet dreams, Rosie!” He called out cheerily.
Shaking her head exasperatedly, she returned to her own room, carefully locking the door behind her.
Rose yawned and stretched her arms over her head, bringing them back down in a lazy arc. It was a beautiful morning, the sunlight filtering through her window, bright and dazzling. Peeking out, she saw a cloudless, blue sky. It wouldn’t be raining today, then. Thank Merlin for that.
She shuffled out of her room cheerfully, banging into her door the first time as she hadn’t expected it to be locked. Why had she locked it again? Rose couldn’t bring herself to focus, her brain still asleep, so she shrugged it off as a one-off.
There was something niggling at the back of her head as she padded towards the kitchen, looking forward to a wholesome breakfast of cold cereal and juice from a packet- Yum, she thought sarcastically.
Noticing the fridge door was wide open, her good mood evaporated almost instantly, as she strode forward to close it. Great, now everything would have gone bad and she’d have to replace that too. Just as she grabbed the handle, a messy blonde head popped up over the edge and smiled at her cheerily.
Rose shrieked with frustration as the empty bowl slipped from her hand and the events of the day before came flooding back to her. “Malfoy!”
“Yes, this is he. Do you have nothing in your fridge aside from half-empty cartons of milk?” Scorpius asked genially as he shut the fridge door. “Well I suppose it doesn’t matter. I found a couple of eggs and some sausages left over from the stone-age, so I suppose we can manage for today. No wonder you’ve been looking so peaky, Rose. You really need to kick off the day with a nutritious meal.”
Rose muttered a few choice words about what she’d really like to kick, which Scorpius overlooked graciously.
He set a plate laden with food and a glass of orange juice- was that fresh?- in front of her and sat down opposite her, digging into his own food.
Giving him a nasty glare, Rose picked up her fork and prodded her food suspiciously.
“It’s been cooked so it probably won’t bite.” Scorpius said, spearing a sausage with his fork.
“No shit, Sherlock. And don’t ask me who Sherlock is, I’ll smack you.”
Scorpius chuckled and patted her hand as if to say there-there. “Eat up or we’ll be late for work, honey.”
Rose viciously stabbed a sausage, imagining it to be the bloody annoying wanker in front of her.
He was up to something and she didn’t want to find out what.
“Okay, so this is how we’re going to do be doing this. I’ll go first, understand? And you follow right after. I’m going to count till thirty and if you’re not there by then, I’m coming back to get you. Understood?”
Rose sighed exasperatedly. “Yes, sir.” She muttered. “Anything else, sir?”
“No, that’ll be all,” he replied, pretending not to realize her question was rhetorical. “I’m leaving now.”
He stepped into the fireplace and released a handful of green powder. “Gringott’s Head Branch, Diagon Alley.”
As soon as he was gone, Rose threw in her own handful of floo powder and stepped into the fire, already exhausted and not at all looking forward to spinning in and out of strange fireplaces.
Rose tried to focus on the runic code in front of her, but her mind kept wandering. Okay, so this symbol here meant fertility and that other one was clearly death. Or was it birth? Birth made more sense. Rose shook her head and looked at the squiggle again. Okay, it was birth. And she was clearly not going to be getting any work done today. The events of yesterday were still chasing each other around in her head.
She was living with Scorpius Malfoy. How had this happened? Not three days ago, her life had been completely normal. She went to work every day, went out with her friends, got drunk occasionally, and sometimes hooked up with guys. That was life. Being threatened by psychopaths and followed around by hunky ex-boyfriends was not.
She glanced to her right, trying to be discreet. Scorpius was chatting with one of the goblins about the value of goblin-cut rubies in the current wizarding economy. Boring. Who cared about the bloody economy? How could he possibly look so entertained while talking about something so dull? And Rose knew he found this topic boring because he had a habit of playing with the coins in his pocket when he wasn’t paying attention. And his hand was currently burrowed deep into his pocket, clearly turning a coin over and over.
“Ahem.” Someone cleared their throat in front of her and Rose hurriedly turned her eyes back to the front, thinking it was Nigbit, her supervising goblin.
It wasn’t, though. It was a handsome bloke, his bright smile directed at her.
Not, a traitorous voice in her head whispered, as handsome as Scorpius, though.
She shushed her inner weirdo and smiled back at the man in front of her.
“Hi…If you need help getting into your vault, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask one of the goblins. We’d just get stuck down there for the next twenty years if I tried anything.”
He laughed mirthfully. “Well now, that doesn’t sound too bad.” He said cheekily. “But Rose, don’t you recognize me?” he spread his arms hopefully.
Rose looked at him more closely. He had sandy hair and a stocky build, brown eyes and he was clearly packing some muscle under his shirt.
“Nope, try again.”
The mystery bloke laughed again, sounding a bit rueful this time. “Well, can’t blame you for not recognizing me. It’s been a long time, after all. And I do look pretty different.” He extended a hand to her. “William Nussbaum, at your service, madam.”
Rose clapped a hand to her mouth. “Oh! Will! Oh my God, you look so different!” He shook her hand, holding it a little longer than was appropriate. Her eyes strayed to the right for a second, where Scorpius was watching the proceedings with rapt attention.
She turned back to Will as he spoke again. “Yeah well, the last time you saw me I was but a wee nineteen year old boy, fresh out of Durmstrang.”
Rose laughed at that. “Please, nobody graduating from Durmstrang can afford to be a ‘wee’ little boy. You’d have your pants hexed off every second.”
Will grimaced. “And so I did.” They both laughed again and Rose realized that she was maybe laughing more than the occasion demanded. She’d met Will at a common friend’s party two years ago. They’d hit it off, gone on a few dates but it hadn’t worked out as he’d only been in England for a couple of weeks, on his way to the states. She remembered him as less sure of himself, skinnier and with an endearing lack of confidence in his courting abilities; probably not much like the Will in front of her now.
“So, Rose. Listen, it was really great to see you again…” Oh, was he leaving? “And I’m thinking I want to do it again. See you, I mean. What do you say to dinner and catching up, eh?”
“Oh,” Rose said surprised. “Oh.” She couldn’t help but glance at Scorpius again. He seemed to be deeply engrossed in an accounting spreadsheet in front of him, but his jaw was clenched and the hand in his pocket had curled into a fist.
William seemed to deflate at her lack of enthusiasm at his offer. “Well, it’s alright of course, if you don’t want to. I mean, you know, if you’re seeing someone already, I could just..I’ll be going then-“
“Oh, Will no! I’d love to get dinner with you sometime.” Rose said hastily. “And no, I’m not seeing anyone right now.”
William perked right up at this. “Well, great! I’ll pick you up Saturday night then?”
“Sure. Saturday night.”
They grinned at each other for a moment.
“Well, see you then, beautiful.” Will gave her a mischievous wink and kissed the back of her hand, sauntering off towards the double doors. Rose felt as if her entire face was on fire. He turned back at the exit and gave her another smile and she returned it hastily, hoping it didn’t look forced.
She turned to her right and met Scorpius’ slightly hostile gaze.
“What?” She demanded irritably.
“Nothing.” He turned back to his spreadsheet.
Rose picked up her code again. So, fertility, birth and this one was love- passion?-and this one was the symbol for a curse. She grabbed her feather quill and began translating.