Scorpius hurried down the hall to catch Lily up after her Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Professor Longbottom had kept him after Herbology to tell him off for dropping puffapods all over the greenhouse floor. Bright red hair in a group of girls ahead caught his attention. He came up behind them just as one of the girls said, “Urinarae,” in a low voice, her wand pointed at Lily’s back. The black-haired girl’s taunt, the laughter, this was the sort of thing he had endured for two years. He waited to see what hex Lily would use on the silly girl, but when she turned and fled the scene, tears streaming down her cheeks, he looked over at her antagonist with loathing.
“Stupid, evil...Diffindo,” he whispered. The girl’s bag split open, sending books, quills, and parchment scattering across the floor. A bottle of ink broke, and what looked like a small scroll wrapped in white plastic came to rest at James Potter’s feet. James glared at the now red-faced girl trying to pick up her belongings and kicked the scroll in white plastic toward her.
“Don’t forget your tampon, Rowle.”
Her blush deepened at James’s words. He nodded as he passed Scorpius and mouthed the word, “Thanks.” Scorpius watched him turn the corner not sure if that nod of appreciation had been meant for him. Scorpius set off to find Lily.
He caught up to her just as she snuck out of the bathroom door, trying to take advantage of the empty halls. Her clothes were dry as were her eyes, but her posture still drooped as though weighed down with a heavy deluge.
“Hey.” She jumped at the sound of his voice.
“Oh no, not you too!” Her shoulders slumped in defeat. “Go ahead, have your fun-Water Lily, Potty Potter. What’s it going to be this time?”
“Why didn’t you stand up to her? Hex her back or punch her in the face?” She seemed unable to look him in the eye. Her eyes swept the doors they passed, a prisoner looking for escape.
Rubbing her knuckles, her response came quick as lightning--“My knuckles were sore!” He laughed out loud, the sound echoing down the deserted corridor. A light that had been absent came to her eyes. She tried to conceal a grin and covered his mouth with her hand.
“Do you want to get us in detention?” The twinkling brown eyes laughed with him. Like the sun, laughter evaporated the misery around them. “We’re supposed to be in class.”
Scorpius regained control and looked down at her now happy expression. She jabbed him in the ribs and took off running down the hall, throwing a smile over her shoulder at him. Chuckling under his breath, he headed to his next class.
Later that evening when he came to the Great Hall for dinner, Scorpius saw Lily and Sharpe talking to each other at the end of the table. Heat rose up in Scorpius when he saw her laugh at something his so-called friend had said. Thinking that there had always been something wrong with Zabini, he sat down next to Lily rather than across the table next to Zabini as he usually did. Sharpe raised his eyebrow looking back and forth between the two of them, but Lily’s Shepherd’s Pie had her undivided attention; she didn’t notice the silent conversation. Scorpius speared one of the mushrooms Lily was pushing to the side with his fork and shoved it into his mouth. He took a few more as he listened to Lily ask Zabini about some kind of opera. She nudged him with her elbow pointing her fork at a mushroom he had missed, still listening to Zabini. When she reached for a dinner roll a little further down the table, Zabini looked pointedly at Lily’s plate, “What’s going on?” written all over his face. Scorpius just shrugged noncommittally.
He dug into his own pie taking the carrots out and putting them on her plate. He saw her slip her wand out, surreptitiously point it at Rebecca Rowle who had just walked into the Great Hall, and mutter, “Sono operetta Pirates of Penzance.” The hall broke into laughter as Rebecca Rowle stood on the Hufflepuff table and launched into an earsplitting rendition of "I am the very model of a modern Major-General." The girl was completely tone-deaf which only made the scene more hilarious.
Lily turned to Scorpius with a perfect imitation of his smirk plastered on her face.
“How does that suit you?” He laughed harder still and took her hand shaking it vigorously, trying to catch his breath.
“Brilliant!” he said as soon as he could speak, and he burst out laughing again as Rebecca started on the second verse. The snarky, sneaky Lily was back, and he was glad to see the smile on the face of the red-head who had stolen his heart.
That night Zabini came over and sat on the end of Scorpius’s four-poster with a solemn look on his face.
“I’m beginning to think you more than fancy her, mate.”
“You’re imagining things,” he evaded not willing to admit that his respect and admiration of Lily Potter had grown over the months. “She’s fun to be around. She’s excellent for a laugh.”
“Yes, but you don’t laugh at her. I heard what happened in the DADA hall, mate. Aren’t you worried that what you said before is true that nothing could ever come of it?”
Scorpius stared at his green sheets. He thought again of what his father would say if he told the man he was dating a Potter, but this time as the scenario played out in his mind, he found he didn’t care that his father’s reaction was so bad. He imagined himself telling his father to stuff it; the idea elated him. Then he imagined being able to spend time with Lily as her boyfriend and heat rose to his cheeks.
“I don’t give a care what my father thinks of her,” He watched Sharpe’s expression change from one of concern to one of shock. “She’s an amazing girl. If I want to be friends with her, I will, and if one day I want to date her or even marry her, my father will have no say in the matter. It’s my choice.”
Zabini stared at him opened mouthed, forever. Finally regaining the ability to speak, he whispered, “Merlin!…man all I can say is…Merlin!”