Chapter 3 : Realizing the Truth
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Rose slowly made her way to the compartment she usually shared with Albus, Lily, Hugo and James. Today, however, it was only Al and James in there. She assumed the younger ones with were their significant others.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Rosie,” James mentioned. When Rose didn’t answer him he frowned deeper. “Rose, what’s wrong?”
“Hmm?” she asked distractedly, her eyes focused on the passing scenery. “Did you say something, Al?”
“No,” Albus frowned. “James did though. What’s wrong? Did the Head Git do something?”
Momentarily districted from Rose, James turned to Albus. “What does Schaffer have to do with anything?”
“The git kept smiling at her the whole Prefects meeting and then stayed after to talk with her,” Al returned.
James turned to Rose and put a hand on her shoulder. “He didn’t do anything, did he?”
“No,” Rose sighed. “I went and met someone else after I talked to him. Peter is just a friend so you need to stop worrying about that.”
“Who’s this other bloke then?” Al asked.
“No one,” Rose returned. “Just a friend.”
“Right,” Al snorted. “Just a friend. Do you know what that usually means?”
“I know just as much as you do on the subject, Albus Severus. Which is next to nothing, I assure you. How could a girl get a bloke around here with you two and Hugo following us around? I don’t know how Lily did it but more power to her! She deserves to be happy so you’d better call my idiot brother off or I’ll tell Mum.”
“Rose, calm down,” James said in what he hoped was a soothing manner. “We just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Hurt?” she asked dully. “I can’t get hurt because … well … I just can’t, okay?” She looked up at the sound of the food trolley. She handed the boys some money and sighed. “I think I’m going to do a patrol.”
“Alone?” Al asked skeptically.
“I need some time to think. Something … someone … something was said and I need to figure out what … the person … meant by it,” she told them with some difficulty. “You know how I don’t like to not understand something,” she added as she walked out the door of the compartment and headed down the long aisle.
“We need to find out who she was meeting,” James said with a frown. “Because if Uncle Ron finds out she has a boyfriend it’ll be bad enough … but if he finds out she has a boyfriend that’s making her act like that then we’re buggered.”
“Maybe Bug Boy will know,” Albus said.
“A scorpion isn’t a bug, Al,” James laughed.
“Doesn’t matter,” Al said with a dismissive wave. “I’m going to go find him and have a little chat.”
“Think that’s a good idea? You told me she wasn’t too please with him when you got to the Prefect compartment before.”
“Someone’s got to know what’s wrong with her,” he replied. “And I’m not giving Schaffer the satisfaction.”
“You know, Al,” James said with a smirk, “I’m the one who should be mad at the wanker, not you. He stole my girlfriend, not yours.”
Albus merely shrugged. “You’re my brother and if he’s a git to you, he’s a git to all of us.”
James smiled and gave his little brother a thump on the back. “Go find out if you can figure out what’s wrong with Rose.”
Albus nodded and exited the compartment. He looked both ways down the long aisle but decided to head for the front. He looked into one of the Ravenclaw compartments and saw Scorpius with a bunch of his friends. The blonde looked up and scowled at him but Al raised his eyebrows in askance. He saw Bug Boy sigh and then get up to meet him.
“This had better be good, Potter,” Scorpius said.
“Do you know what’s wrong with Rose?” Al asked without preamble. “She wasn’t the same when we met her after the Prefect meeting.”
Scorpius’ breath caught. Yes, he was fairly certain he knew what was wrong with her. He had confused her, to say the least, and offered no relief from her state of mind. He cleared his throat and fidgeted slightly. “Why would I know?”
“I thought you might know who this bloke is … the one she’s sneaking off to meet. I just figured that since you’re in the same year and the same house as her …”
“I don’t know anything about Weasley’s love life,” the blonde spat. “And I don’t want to.”
“So you don’t know anything?” Al asked, a little deflated.
Looking back, Scorpius Malfoy would never have a clear answer as to why he said it. He would run it over in his mind for years to come but he would never completely figure it out.
“She’s not seeing him – the guy she meets. I think it’s because he’s afraid to ask her to go out with him and she doesn’t realize – she doesn’t know he sort of likes her. I don’t know who he is, mind you, but I know the look she has on her face sometimes when she comes back from meeting with him. She gets sort of confused – like he’s trying to tell her something and she just doesn’t get it.”
“So what you’re really telling me, Malfoy, is that you don’t know who he is but you know he wants to, you know, date her,” Al said.
“Of course he wants to date her,” Scorpius returned, his mouth still getting away from him. “Who wouldn’t?”
Al arched an eyebrow but seemed to be getting more information than he could have ever hoped for. “Whadd’you mean?”
“I mean, think about it. She’s smart, she beautiful, she’s funny, she liked quidditch … she’s a Prefect and a shoe-in for Head Girl next year. What’s not to like?”
“Oh Merlin,” Al said softly. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“What? Is it so bloody unlikely that someone finds her attractive?”
“No,” the black-haired boy responded. “Just sort of unlikely that you do.”
Their rivalry was forgotten for a moment as the boys – both so much like their fathers – stared at each other. Long gone, just for that fleeting moment, was the divide between the Malfoys and Potters. They were both seeing each other in a slightly different way. Al saw a scared boy who had a crush on a girl. Scorpius saw a protective family member who cared greatly for the same girl he did but in a much different way.
The spell was broken when they both looked up and saw Rose, red-cheeked and tear-streaked, exiting a compartment a few doors down. She looked up and caught their eyes before squeaking and rushing off past them, her shoulder knocking into Albus’.
Once the spell was broken, Al turned to Scorpius with an angry fire in his green eyes. “Stay. Away. From. Her,” he said slowly so that Scorpius could not mistake his intentions. “I don’t want to hear you’ve been near her at all. Classes included. And you’d better know that I’m going to Professor Longbottom and making sure you’re not on the same patrol duty as her.” Albus paused and looked severely at the blonde in front of him. “I’m not joking, Malfoy. Keep away from Rose or you’ll have me and James, at least, to answer to.”
With his threat complete, Albus turned and headed off in the same direction Rose had gone. He didn’t bother to look back and see Scorpius slump against the compartment door.
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