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Chapter 4 : How the Wanker Saved the Day
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When the Hogwarts Express stopped at Hogsmeade Station, Rose Weasley was the first one off. She saw her cousin Victoire there with her new husband Teddy Lupin but she couldn’t bring herself to stop. She and Victoire were close – very close – and she knew the blonde would immediately recognize that she wasn’t quite herself.
The redhead, usually very social and helpful to the younger students, immediately walked for a thestral-drawn carriage. She couldn’t see the thestrals, of course, but she knew they were there.
Apparently, however, she wasn’t the only one trying to escape the crowds. She inhaled sharply as she looked up, once settled, to see Scorpius Malfoy join her. Her eyes frantically searched for someone else to be headed for their carriage but no one was. Rose admitted defeat and busied herself with her rucksack, trying as hard as she could not to look at him.
“Your cousin came after me before,” Scorpius said softly.
“I asked him not to. I’ll try again later,” she responded in an equally quiet tone as the carriage lurched into motion.
“He told me I shouldn’t go near you at all,” the blonde confessed.
At this, Rose’s head shot up, angry tears forming in her eyes. “He has no right to do that,” she proclaimed fiercely. “It’s so unfair.”
“I see why you want to keep our friendship a secret,” he told her. “If … I mean, look at us now. You’ve been crying.”
“I shouldn’t have been so angry with you before, Scorpius. I know how hard it must be for you. You’re not even sneaking off to see someone you fancy. You have to sneak off to see your friend. It’s not fair to you. I mean, I’m not really worth all that trouble,” she informed him with a sincere face.
If there was one thing, other than her hair, that Rose Weasley inherited from her father, it was her uncanny ability to lower her self-worth in front of others. She didn’t deny that her family was well-off or that she had nothing to be ashamed of, but she was constantly pulling herself back from where she belonged. Her mother and father had both done that in their Hogwarts days and it had kept them from being together until the war was truly upon them.
“Rose,” Scorpius said, “why do you think that?”
“You should be off with a girlfriend, not me. I mean, I could ruin your reputation.”
“My reputation?” he asked in a louder voice. “Rose, being your friend could only increase it,” he laughed.
“What did you mean on the train?” she asked him, her thoughts changing rapidly.
“W-what d’you mean?” he asked.
“You said you were afraid of what was going through your mind when we were alone together. I need to know what you meant by that, Scorpius,” she begged. “I can’t understand. First you say you want to be friends out in the open and then you tell me you can’t be alone with me. I don’t understand,” she said as her cheeks flushed red. “Please explain it to me.”
“I-I …” he stuttered. Could he really admit to her the thoughts that were running through his head, even now? Did he have the guts to tell her that he didn’t want to be just her friend? Would he be able to convince her that being friends in public had some benefits, such as being able to be together in public?
“You’ve never hidden anything like this from me before,” she told him in a bossy tone. “There must be something really wrong then.”
“N-no. There’s nothing wrong. It’s … it’s complicated.”
“Then explain it to me, Scorpius. I’m not daft. I can understand more than you think.” She paused and then asked again, “Why can’t you be alone with me?”
He wasn’t forced to answer, however, because they arrived at the front gates of Hogwarts at that moment. And Neville Longbottom, Herbology Professor and new Deputy Headmaster, was standing there waiting for them, a smile on his face.
“Rose! Scorpius! Welcome back! Nice ride, I’d imagine,” he said.
“Yes, Professor,” Scorpius said before he bolted from the carriage leaving behind a perplexed Neville and a rapidly-angering Rose.
“Is he okay?” Neville asked Rose with concern.
“For now,” she responded.
“What’s going on?”
“He won’t answer my questions,” she told him. “And, yes, they’re about me.”
Neville frowned. He was one of the few who knew about the friendship between Rose and Scorpius. That was one of the reasons why he had agreed to take over Prefect scheduling. He wanted to be able to give the two of them time to chat outside of the classroom. Things, however, looked pretty shaky now, and he didn’t know why.
“Did you want me to put the two of you on the same night for rounds?” Neville asked her.
“It doesn’t matter to me, Professor. But, please, don’t take into account anything that James or Al or Hugo might say. They’ve been plotting and I saw Al with Scorpius on the train and he looked like he was being mean to him,” Rose replied.
“Who was being mean to who?”
“Al to Scorpius,” she informed him. “Please don’t get either of them in trouble. It’ll be hard enough. Scor told me that Al was after him earlier and I just … please don’t put them on the same rounds.”
“Oh, I’m not daft enough to do that,” Neville laughed. He then saw some more carriages approaching. “Best get on inside. The Headmistress will be waiting.”
Rose smiled and patted Neville’s arm. “Congratulations on being new Deputy Headmaster,” she told him. “Oh, and Mum, Dad, Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny send their love.”
“As always,” Neville replied with a smile as he watched the young Weasley enter the castle.
Rose made her way to the Great Hall and sat apart from Scorpius. She was not happy with him and she had no problem expressing her displeasure through seating arrangements. She would usually sit much closer than she was, thought they had never eaten together before. Tonight, however, she was almost as far away as she could get. She smiled satisfactorily when he frowned.
Scorpius knew he had messed up. He shouldn’t have said anything at all. Not to her and certainly not to Albus Potter. He frowned when she sat as far away as she could. That kind of sealed the idea that they weren’t going to be speaking tonight. Unless I can think of a way to make it up to her before we have to take the First Years to the Tower, he thought to himself.
And then the unthinkable happened. Something shifted in the air and he knew he wouldn’t be happy with the result. His eyes flew to Rose, who had stiffened significantly. Rupert Morris, a Seventh Year in their House, had sat beside her and wrapped an arm around her. Scorpius’ eyes searched frantically for another Weasley or a Potter but came up empty.
Scorpius’ eyes narrowed when he saw Rose try to push the older boy away but he didn’t move. And then he saw that arsehole Morris lean in for a kiss. And he made contact! Rose was trying to shove him away but the large Ravenclaw wasn’t giving in.
Malfoy saw red. He stood up quickly and marched down towards where Rose and Morris were sitting. Without even thinking about it, he reached out and dragged Morris up by the back of his robes, effectively disengaging the oaf from Rose. “Keep your hands – and lips – to yourself,” he warned.
“And what are you going to do about it?” The Wanker asked.
“Scorpius,” Rose said softly.
“No, Rose. He doesn’t get to treat you like that. He shouldn’t be treating anyone like that,” Scorpius said angrily.
“Who are you, her boyfriend?” The Wanker taunted.
When Scorpius didn’t answer immediately, all eyes turned to him. He felt Rose’s gaze and took a deep breath. “No. I’m just a guy who stands up for what’s right.”
Rose knew it had taken a lot for him to deny any kind of relationship between them. Deciding that she couldn’t let him feel like this, she turned to Rupert and said, “He’s actually my best friend. Has been for years. D’you have a problem with that?”
Al and James, who had been standing together in the entrance of the Great Hall, shared a look. How could they not have known? Then they both thought the same thing at the same time: Best not tell Uncle Ron about this.
Rose and Scorpius both turned and saw them. She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and Scorpius shifted slightly.
James and Al sighed and both inclined their heads, acknowledging that they wouldn’t be telling her father any time soon.
The Wanker just rolled his eyes and walked towards a Seventh Year Hufflepuff shouting, “Just shag her already!” over his shoulder.
Both Scorpius and Rose blushed slightly and wouldn’t meet the each other’s eyes.
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