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Chapter 4: Attempting to Remain Optimistic
Quietly Rose and Scorpius sat at the Slytherin table eating in mutual displeasure. It had been four days, and today was the day they were going to have to shower. They'd done everything they could to get around it, but there was nothing more they could do. Any civility they had was gone at the mere possibility of having to shower near each other. Scorpius was a little testy, but he wasn't as bad as Rose. He had learned to adapt to situations, Rose wasn't as used to change.
"Rose?" Hugo, Rose's fifteen year old brother, asked as he scooted in the seat across from them.
Despite the fact that it was the Slytherin table Hugo made himself perfectly comfortable, which to the discontent of Slytherin house. "Would you kindly tell me how you've gotten yourself in this situation?"
"We had a row, things got out of hand." Rose shrugged as she tried to make it seem like it wasn't beginning to truly drive her insane. "The usual."
Hugo gave Scorpius, who was reading the Daily Prophet a look. "Huh."
"Just two more weeks." She whispered, as she held onto that date with every fiber of her being.
Scorpius corrected her. "Actually two and a half."
"I was rounding down." She scowled at him hatefully wanting nothing more than to snap his scrawny neck. "Some of us," She seethed, "Like to remain optimistic."
"Well some of us like to face reality." He snapped back coolly.
"Oh I'm sorry I ruined your chances of getting off this week." Rose mock apologized, before adding, in a less then quiet tone, "…Maybe it will fall off from lack of use."
Hugo let out a low laugh and stood before they could hex each other. "Well I see you two are getting along swimmingly and don't need me around getting in the way of things. I trust I'll see you Sunday Rose."
"As always," Rose waved him away darkly as she went back to her french toast.
"What's Sunday?" Scorpius questioned.
"Family brunch," Rose said absentmindedly, before swearing. "I forgot about you…I'll have to reschedule it."
"They won't mind?"
"No," She shook her head with a weary smile. "They will most certainly mind, but they'll survive."
Standing up, they tossed their bags over their shoulders and went to class. Today they had to go to Arithmancy, Muggle Studies and then Defense Against the Dark Arts. Rose didn't know how much longer she could take this. Her shoulders and entire back were coated with knots from the nights she slept stiffly on the floor.
In class Rose fought to write down what her teacher was saying, but it was hard. She was going so fast and barely taking time to explain anything. All the numbers were beginning to blur into one giant number that meant absolutely nothing.
"This class is so boring!" Scorpius complained as he rubbed his face. "How do you do this twice a week?"
"I'm a saint! Now shut up!" She groaned rubbing her temples, her voice ragged.
Raising his hands defensively he said, "Merlin, take a pill Weasley."
"I have a headache." She began in a weak voice. "I'm sore all over, just stop okay?"
Rose's face pinched in pain as her face paled. Scorpius paused and felt a wave of guilt consume him as he saw a brief sign of tears breach the rim of her eyes. His grey eyes scanned her face; he saw the deep dark circles under her eyes and frowned. Sure they always played verbal tag, but this was different. He could see it was really actually beginning to get to her, and he knew he was really making it harder on her than he should have. This was his fault in the first place and he really wanted to get through this without making her cry.
"I'm sorry." He scooted closer to her. "I'll stop."
Rose frowned, as she fought to seem like she wasn't as affected as she was. "If you're-"
"I'm not," Scorpius reassured her softly.
Rose didn't know what he was up to, but if this was another one of his tricks she was going to beat him to death with her bare hands. She was exhausted. Arithmancy was stressing her out, classes were stressing her out, this was stressing her out…. everything was stressing her out. She did her best to copy down the notes, but after seeing twenty out of the twenty-three students in the class pass out from boredom she almost followed suit.
As soon as class was over, she bolted from class and practically ran to the room of requirement.
As soon as they came through the room's floor turned to carpet, and everything inside was breakable. There were countless pillows, vases and bowls. Rose went to the first vase on the floor and chucked it against the opposite wall.
"I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!" She screamed. "Why did this have to happen?! I can't be alone long enough to piss let alone sleep in a normal bed!"
"I'm sorry." He said in a small voice.
"You're sorry?!" She scoffed. "Now you're sorry?! After years of tormenting me and trying to drive me mad, NOW you have the decency to be sorry?!" Rose raged, before walking up to him. "What do you want from me? What did I ever do to you?" She pushed him in the chest. "Huh?! Huh?!"
He gently, he caught her hands. "I'm sorry."
"Sure you are!" She snarled sarcastically.
"No, look Rose," He held her to stop her from fighting and then stooped to be eye level with her. "I…am…sorry."
Rose didn't believe him just because she needed to; frankly she wasn't that trusting, she believed him for three reasons.
1) The sincerity in his voice, an emotion she thought he was robbed of at birth.
2) The earnestness in his eyes, a ploy he no doubt used to get out of trouble when he was young.
3) But the last and worst reason was that he called her by her first name. He had called her Rose.
Rose stopped fight and glared up at him suspiciously. What was he playing at? Why was he acting like a human being? What was his angle in all of this?
The longer she stood there, staring at him through the few inches that separated them, she felt her resolve start to break. It was a small crackling, but soon she found she didn't hate him at all. She just didn't want to fight with him anymore. This took enough out of her without them going at it all the time. The fake truce was over, she wanted a real truce.
"Look," She started frankly, "I don't have the energy to do this for two and a half weeks. I know we can't help fighting sometimes, but honestly can we stop nitpicking at each other? We've worked together all year, and so far the castle hasn't caught on fire. So I know we have it in us to cooperate. So can you please join me on the side of compromise?"
Scorpius nodded soberly. "Yes."
"You can let go of me now. I'm done breaking things." Rose laughed under her breath.
He nodded and let go of her instantly. "Sorry."
"It's fine," She said, almost laughing at his sheepishness at touching her. Then she checked her watch and let out a low groan. "You have to get to Muggle Studies."
"Weasley," He began returning, to his usual self, mostly. "I can skip Muggle Studies under one condition."
Rose frowned. "What's that?"
A bed appeared out of nowhere behind them. "Can we take a nap?...Not together obviously. But I know we both haven't gotten good sleep in a while, so if we just stay to our own side of the bed we should be fine."
Looking at the bed Rose asked. "Is it 3 feet?"
"It's the room of requirement," Scorpius nodded.
"Then I have absolutely," Rose took off her bag and shoes, dropping them carelessly on the floor. "No problem with this."
"I thought you'd fight me."
Rose shook her head and she slid onto the soft, comforting bedding. "We just agreed to stop fighting, and frankly, I could use the sleep."
In a move that was completely foreign to each other, they both got into the bed and gave each other a good foot of distance. Rose was about to fall asleep, her head was pounding and her body was aching from the hell they were running through. They needed this but they were both taken aback by the fact that it had come to this. Scorpius, always the gentlemen, stayed above the sheets, as Rose slipped down underneath them. For a minute, she wasn't going to say anything, but she felt this tug in her gut, this tug telling her to say something. Finally she did.
"Malfoy, you know, you don't have to sleep above the covers you know."
He looked at her as if he had never seen her before. His grey eyes were wide with confusion. "What?"
She gestured to the bed. "You don't have to sleep above the covers."
"I'm fine," He began awkwardly. "But thanks."
Rose turned over so she wouldn't have to face him. Then after a few minutes of charged tension, they both fell asleep.
At first Scorpius was on the Quidditch pitch, in his full Slytherin robes. There was nothing whatsoever odd about this scene. Scorpius had been on the team for six years, and captain for four years. Quidditch was the one thing he could fully throw himself into without being concerned about the consequences. His blond hair ruffled in the wind as he raised his jaw to the skyline.
There was no one else on the field, all he saw was the freshly groomed grass breeze in the wind, and he smiled. His smile brightened up his entire face until he saw a silhouette of a person grow next to him. Scorpius turned and saw Rose standing next to him. She grinned at him, and his smile grew until it couldn't stretch any farther.
Then in a split second a bludger came out of nowhere and knocked Rose clear over. Scorpius frowned, and as he looked at her he saw her crying in pain. The sight itself made his pulse quicken and then as something else came hurling towards her, he threw his body over hers to protect her.
Feeling a pressure on her arm, Rose stirred in her sleep and was shocked to find Scorpius Malfoy's arms wrapped around her protectively. When they had gone to sleep, they were on two complete different sides of the bed. But clearly in the process of sleep, Rose had flipped over, and Scorpius had scooted closer and put his arms around her.
The gesture was completely unorthodox, and since Scorpius was still sound asleep, completely unintentional. In the haze of first waking up, Rose looked at him in wonder. His pale arms were flexed underneath his school uniform and his eyebrows were furrowed in worry. Though she was in no danger, she thought it was remarkable how resiliently his body had structured itself around her. He was strong. A fact she had known, but never saw in action.
The longer she laid there the more she wondered who he was shielding so vigorously. Her first instinct had been to throw him off, and wake him. But she didn't. Instead she just watched him mutter under his breath and felt him hold her tighter. Eventually, in his arms, she fell back asleep.
Scorpius woke up second; his body jarred him awake giving him no option, but to leave his dreams. When he woke up though, he found that a part of his dreams came with him. The smell of lavender filled him as he looked down at a fast asleep Rose. Her hair was messy, but it framed her face perfectly.
His chest tightened when he realized for three hours he had been unknowingly cuddling with Rose Weasley. The thought alarmed him, and he slowly pulled himself away from her. He was almost completely off of her, when she began to wake up. Her eyelashes fluttered, and then Scorpius felt almost paralyzed by her brown eyes.
"Hi," She inhaled softly.
Chuckling at her reaction, he showed her his watch. "It's time to go."
"Okay," She mumbled, not mentioning or caring that he had his leg over hers when she woke.
They adjusted their uniforms, fixed their disheveled hair, slung their bags over their shoulder and without a word to each other went to class.
"Today," Professor Collins began as they sunk into their seats. "We will go over how to fake the Imperius curse, which isn't common anymore, but was a popular unforgivable curse awhile back."
Rose raised her hand and Professor Collins paused to take her question. "Yes, Ms. Weasley?"
"You know Malfoy and I can't go farther than three feet away from each other right?" She stated as a question, but was more acknowledging a fact.
He frowned and looked at the pair. "I did find it odd that you two have been sitting next to one another, no matter. I will simply ask more of you two."
Scorpius sat up a little straighter. "What do you mean sir?"
"As Headboy and girl, I trust you can handle more responsibility, so I am authorizing you use the spell on each other."
A hush fell over the class, and Rose's stomach tightened as her and Scorpius gave each other a measured look.
"But that spell is illegal professor," Albus interject from a few rows ahead of them with a nervous look.
"Yes," Professor Collins shrugged, "I'm quite aware of that fact Mr. Potter. But I think for today's exercise we will make an exception." He stopped to give them a look. "Unless of course Ms. Weasley and Mr. Malfoy feel uncomfortable."
It wasn't a question of whether they could handle fighting the curse. They both were fully capable of doing so; the real question was whether they trusted each other enough. They both trusted the teacher wouldn't misuse the power the spell, but that made perfect sense. Teachers were chosen to help them; they were raised to trust teachers. But they also had been raised to not trust each other.
They were at a fork in the road. They could either choose to believe that this civility and truce was genuine or they could go for an all out war. It was true that neither one of them wanted to fight anymore, but that was still a far cry from truly believing that they both had honest intentions.
Scorpius was a big believer in taking risks; he was a gambler by nature. He didn't believe you got anywhere in life by playing it safe. If Rose was willing than he'd would go through with it. So he looked at her and whispered so no one else could hear.
"It's up to you Weasley."
Rose looked at him as if he was mad. How could he put himself in such a vulnerable position? Didn't he know she could make him do anything with just a flick of her wand? But she felt a competitive edge rush up into her veins, daring her to take this challenge.
She scrunched up her face, and on a rash impulse said, "We're in."
Though the whole class would be subjected to the spell with their aging teacher on the other end none of them seemed to think of that. Instead, they all chatted animatedly at the prospect of seeing the two leaders of the school for a few moments completely control one another. Even they had to admit that it was an interesting prospect, but as they made their way to the front of the room, both of their hands began to sweat.
"Malfoy," Rose said clearly, and steadily. "You go first."
If he was surprised by this he didn't look it. Instead, he smirked and said, "Ready, Weasley?"
She didn't have the voice, and so she nodded.
Rose was tall. She was five foot nine, with long red hair, fair skin, a handful of freckles and a slender body. But in that moment, when all of the goosebumps came alive on her arm, she felt like the shortest woman in the world. Her brown eyes were wide with fear, but she said nothing. She closed her eyes and then suddenly felt a tingling expression. And she heard a familiar voice fill her head.
Scorpius wondered what he should make Rose do. For years he toyed with her, but after the day they had, he didn't want to make her do anything. But as his classmates took bets on just how cruel he would be to her, he frowned. Had he really been the man they expected him to be all these years? This hateful, thing that would make her, by one man thought, 'Dance naked around the room singing the top three greatest hits.'
As he looked at her delicate face, he wanted to hurt McLaggen for even suggesting he would do such a thing. Instead, Scorpius set his face, raised his wand and said, "Imperio."
Softly, he told her to dance. It was simple, but actually harder, because it was something she wouldn't question as much as doing a back flip or singing naked. Rose stopped and thought about it for a second, her hips swayed for a moment, just a brief second before she forced her body to be perfectly still. Then after a few minutes of her not moving Scorpius took the spell off of her.
"You're turn Malfoy," Rose told him raising her own wand.
"Just don't make me strip," Scorpius teased in a voice only she could hear.
Snorting, she smiled and said, "Imperio."
Scorpius stood and waited for her voice to invade his thoughts. He didn't have to wait long. Soon enough her voice whispered for him to do push ups. Once again the task was harder than say asking him to run around screaming, because this activity wasn't hard for him. But Scorpius fought it, he didn't even twitch. He was raised to be able to with stand this curse, so it was nothing for him.
A few seconds later he felt the tingling expression fade and everything became clearer as if he was temporarily in a slight fog. In front of him Rose offered him a grin, which for the first time in their relationship, he returned.
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