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Chapter 21 : In a Perfect World
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“Two weeks’ worth!” I cried, massaging my temples gingerly. Professor McGonagall could really yell when she was upset. Personally, I don’t think she minded the fact that I’d turned Anna into a slug that much. I think the detentions were her way of making sure that I didn’t have too much time to spend with Scorpius.
She’d spent most of the past hour that I was in her office telling me that no good would come from losing my innocence too early. I’d wanted to ask her how she’d know that – seeing as the idea of Minerva McGonagall ever having sex was just plain frightening – but I figured I’d gotten off easy, and that I shouldn’t push my luck.
“Ah, that’s not so bad,” he said, putting his arm around my shoulders. “You still get to go to Hogsmeade this weekend, right?”
“Yes, unfortunately,” I sighed. I was not looking forward to this weekend. Sure, I wanted to see my mum, and it would be nice to get some Christmas shopping done, but I knew from Scorpius’s tone of voice that what he really meant was ‘am I still going to meet your mum this weekend?’
“Cheer up,” he said. “It will be fun.”
“Why are you in such a good mood?” I asked him in frustration. He was a bloody Slytherin. They were supposed to be surly and mean, not chipper and cute.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It might have something to do with the fact that I just saw Anna Rosier get turned into a giant slug. That was classic, love, classic.”
“Yes, but you didn’t just get a lecture from the Headmistress on why you should keep your panties on.”
Scorpius glanced down at me, the expression on his face one of horror. “She didn’t.”
His mouth hung open as he thought of the unspeakable horrors, and then he started cracking up.
“Why do you think that everything that happens to me is funny?” I asked exasperatedly. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t think any of this was funny. He, on the other hand, thought that all the catastrophes in my life were bloody hilarious.
“I don’t think everything that happens to you is funny,” he sobered quickly. “I just think that you don’t realize how funny some of the situations you get yourself into are.”
I glared up at him, trying to think of a retort but drawing a blank. I cite post-traumatic stress as the cause. Because seriously, having ‘the talk’ with McGonagall was pretty traumatic and stressful.
“Have they figured out a way to transfigure Anna back?” I asked after a moment, switching the subject.
“I don’t think so,” he replied. “Last I heard she was still lying in the Hospital Wing as a gelatinous worm.”
“Nice,” I chuckled, wrapping my arm around his waist. My arm barely fit and he chuckled, tugging me closer to him so that I was more comfortable. “Let’s hope that she stays that way forever.”
“Do you think you could get jail time for that?” he asked, his brow furrowed as if he was seriously considering it.
“My mum is Minister of Magic,” I reminded him. “I could probably do whatever the bloody hell I want now and not get in trouble for it.”
“Even shag me, right here in this hallway?” he asked huskily, suddenly stopping and pinning me to the wall I was walking right next to. My breath caught in my throat and I stared up at him, trying not to think of how inviting and yet terrifying that idea was at the same time.
“I’m not so sure about that,” I squeaked, placing one of my hands on the base of my stomach to stop myself from hyperventilating and the other on his shoulder to gently prod him away.
“Just kidding, Shorty,” he chuckled, pushing away from the wall and me. My heartbeat slowly returned to normal. “But you do owe me three questions today.”
I grumbled various obscenities under my breath. I really did not understand the point of all of these questions. So far he’d succeeded in learning that my favorite color was purple, my favorite movie was Beauty and the Beast, that my favorite Quidditch team was the Cannons, and that I was getting E’s or O’s in all of my classes. It just did not seem very relevant.
“Quit your grumbling. It hasn’t been that bad, has it?” he asked. I glared up at him and he kissed my temple good naturedly.
“Shoot,” I demanded, scowling.
“Okay, first question. Uh, where is one place you want to visit before you die?” he asked.
“Paris,” I replied wistfully, thinking of my dream of looking out over the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Yeah, it’s cheesy and romantic, but that’s why it’s called a dream.
“Really?” he sounded surprised. I nodded and hugged my arms to my chest, shivering a bit from the cold of the hall and from embarrassment. Scorpius didn’t pause in his contemplation of my answer as he handed me over his long school robe. “That’s interesting.”
He didn’t tell me why it was interesting and I didn’t bother to ask him why. I didn’t really want to prolong this process if I didn’t have to. I don’t know why, but I hated having other people prying into my business. It made me feel nervous when someone knew me almost as well as I knew myself. Scorpius was slowly becoming that way.
“You?” I asked him.
“I would go to Antarctica,” he replied.
I stared at him incredulously. “Why?”
“I’ve always wanted to see a penguin,” he chuckled. I laughed too and shook my head at his antics. Sometimes it was hard to remember that he was just another teenage boy – just like Jason, or James, or Al. No, don’t think about them. He’s not like them.
“You can see penguins at your local zoo, you know,” I pointed out to him. He stared at me, as if I had just enlightened him to something very intriguing.
“What is a zoo?” he asked very seriously. I looked up at him incredulously.
“You don’t know what a zoo is?” I asked, stifling a giggle.
“Hello? Pureblood parents?” he mocked.
“Right,” I sighed. I had a feeling that we wouldn’t be getting back to my questions for a while.
I awoke on Saturday morning to the shouting of two of my roommates. From the shrillness of their voices I was guessing it was Lucy and Ashley. My best bet that Ashley had probably accidentally knocked over one of Lucy’s many beauty products that were cluttered around the bathroom sink, and that Lucy had gone off on her again.
I slammed the pillow over my face and tried to go back to sleep, but I knew it was no use. I was one of those people that once I was awake, I was awake for good. I groaned tiredly and pushed the covers off of myself, instantly regretting it when the cold air of the castle attacked my bare feet. You’d think that in a magical castle they’d be able to produce sufficient heating. But no – we’re subjected to barely above freezing temperatures during the winter.
I groaned again and pushed myself out of my bed, desiring nothing more than a nice hot shower. I felt disgusting. And today was a Hogsmeade trip, so I would at least try to look nice.
Wait a moment. Today was the Hogsmeade trip. I was supposed to meet my mother for lunch. And I was supposed to take Scorpius. Holy fucking Merlin! I was taking Scorpius to meet my mother today!
I threw aside the velvet curtain to my bed and hurried towards the bathroom, trying my best to ignore my roommates’ yells of “WHORE!” and “CLOD!”
Lovely bunch, aren’t we?
I glanced at my alarm clock on the way to the bathroom. I had less than an hour until I had to meet Scorpius. Luckily Noel and I had spent over an hour two nights ago picking out an outfit for me to wear. We finally decided on my beige corduroys and her red long sleeved shirt. I felt slightly odd about wearing it, considering that it ‘accentuated’ as she said, what little cleavage I had. My mum was sure to notice that.
I raced through my shower and ran a quick drying spell over my hair, groaning when I discovered that it had suddenly decided to resemble a demonic poodle. Damn my mother’s genes.
I emerged from the bathroom nearly in tears, tugging at the comb I had gotten stuck in there when I’d tried to fix my hair and sniffled loudly. Nothing was going right today. It was going to be a horrible day. I was so afraid of having Scorpius meet my mum. Even though she was the nice one of my parental units. Scorpius and my family were just two separate entities who should have been kept just that, separate entities.
It was like that thing that my mum’s cousin’s daughter had shown me once. The mint and cola thing. Scorpius was the mint that I was dropping into the giant carbonated and ready to explode beverage that was my family. And I was the unsuspecting idiot who dropped the mint in in the first place who was going to get a face full of the explosion.
I wanted to cry.
“What’s wrong?” Noel asked suddenly, the fighting of my roommates stopping as everyone turned to stare at me.
“My hair,” I said shrilly, gesturing to the mess atop my head. Noel’s eyes widened as she saw the stuck comb.
“Oh, sweetie!” she cried, hurrying through Ashley and Lucy’s war zone and coming to my side. She put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and steered me back into the bathroom, muttering encouraging and soothing things to me.
She shut the door gently behind us and sat me down on the edge of our lone bathtub. “What’s wrong?” she asked, leaning against the edge of the sink and knocking over two or three more of Lucy’s moisturizers.
“Everything,” I choked, tugging again at the comb, then looking at my still robe clad body and beginning to wail. I felt like a huge baby, but I was terrified. I knew this day was really going to be a make or break deal with my mum, and my family at large. No matter how many times I had tried to deny it, I really did want Scorpius to come with me for break. I hadn’t wanted to admit it to myself, but I had started counting on having him there to keep me happy, and to just get comfort from. Having to spend two whole interrupted weeks with my family without him was incredibly daunting and just sounded miserable.
“Rosie today is going to go fine,” Noel said, crossing the room in one of her long strides and giving me a hug. “I know you’re nervous, but you said that your mum is the more understanding one. If you’re like this now, how are you going to handle having him meet your dad?”
“You’re right,” I sniffed, wiping my streaming eyes on the sleeve of my robe. I had never told Noel exactly what was going on with my father, but I thought that she could guess enough for herself. I trusted her not to tell anyone if she did know something regardless. “I’m just being a baby.”
“No, you’re just being normal,” she chuckled. “I’m surprised you’re not retching yet.”
“Don’t push it,” I threatened, feeling a small smile tugging at the corner of my lips.
She giggled and punched my shoulder playfully and I hit her back. We stayed silent for a moment, just sort of enjoying the peace that came with knowing that you were not in fact alone. Then she stood up and grabbed one of Lucy’s spray in conditioners off of the sink and twirled it around in her fingers experimentally.
“Let’s fix that hair of yours.”
Half an hour later I was standing in the Entrance Hall, my hair nice and straight, my outfit looking fine, and my makeup done. I wrapped my arms even tighter around myself and tried to not think about anything at all. It was better if I tried to clear my mind all together.
I gazed around, looking for some sign of my favorite Slytherin and trying to keep from hyperventilating. Many students had walked past me in the whole two minutes I’d been standing there, and they’d all shot me odd glances, some of them taking extra care to hiss an odd insult here and there. I was practically immune to it all now. There were only so many times you could be called a slut before you got used to it.
My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. He was three minutes late. Not that that was abnormal or wrong, but I really wished he’d just hurry up and get here. My stomach was churning anxiously and I thought back to what Noel had said about retching. It really did seem possible. Oh dear Merlin. If I was this nervous about him meeting my mother, how was I ever going to get over the fact that he was going to have to meet my father?
I felt my breath catch in my throat at the thought and I tucked that particular idea at the back of my brain. It would do no good to dwell on things that haven’t even happened yet.
I was just about to go into full out panic attack mode when Scorpius’s blonde head emerged from around the corner. He was dressed in dark jeans with dress shoes, an emerald green sweater with a white collared shirt under it, and a dark coat over it. His hair was styled as it was everyday – that same ‘just rolled out of bed look’. He was absolutely gorgeous. I seriously had to be the luckiest girl on the planet.
“Hey Shorty,” he said, strolling over to me and planting a big kiss right on my lips. I jumped a bit, taken aback, but quickly kissed him back. He pulled away after a moment, grinning, his usually light pink lips a shade darker from the lip gloss I had borrowed from Ashley.
“Hey you,” I said easily, already feeling relieved. “You’re late.”
He glanced down at me, and then at his watch, and chuckled. “I’m only four minutes late.”
“It felt like a lot longer,” I blurted out before I could stop myself.
He stopped laughing and gazed down at me, that same expression that I could never figure out masking his face for a second. Then he returned to his normal suave self. “It takes a long time to look this good.”
He struck a ‘dashing’ pose and I poked him playfully in the side. “I’m sure it does,” I chuckled.
“You look stunning today, if I do say so myself,” he replied. I felt myself blush the same color as my sweater. I would probably never get used to the idea of taking a compliment from him.
“Thank you,” I said quietly. He grinned lightly and took my gloved hand in his and led me out of the castle and down the road towards Hogsmeade. It was a pretty day – it was snowing lightly and the sky was a light gray, with the odd beam of sunlight breaking through every once in a while. The wind wasn’t very strong and the snow on the trail to the village was already packed and beaten down from the students who had left early.
“So do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?” he asked, breaking the silence.
“Most of it,” I replied. “All I have left is Hugo, my mum, and you.”
“Me?” he asked, arching one of his perfect brows inquisitively.
“No, the other you,” I said sarcastically. He pretended to get offended and I giggled. “But yes, I don’t have a gift for you yet.”
“Am I really that hard to shop for?”
“You have no idea,” I replied darkly, thinking of the hours I’d spent poring over different magazines, searching for something that I could give him. Noel had suggested a sweater and Ashley a new broomstick, but a broomstick cost too much, and a sweater just seemed like a grandma gift.
“I already got your gift,” he said smugly. I stared up at him openmouthed. He had gotten me a gift? Well, I mean he obviously had, but still.
“Really?” I asked excitedly, gripping his arm with my free hand. He glanced down at my eager expression and grinned.
“Yep, I just put the finishing touches on it last night,” he replied.
“Can you give me a hint?”
“Pretty please with sugar on top?”
“Pretty, pretty, pretty please?”
“No! And the puppy dog face doesn’t work.”
I glared up at him. I was sure the puppy dog face would have worked. It had always used to work on my dad when I was little.
“Look, we’re almost there,” he said, switching the subject. I glanced up to see that we were less than a hundred yards from the sleepy little village. My stomach started churning again.
“Are you sure you don’t want to just wait until break to meet my mum?” I asked, crossing my fingers behind my back.
“Oh no,” he said wickedly. “There’s no way you’re getting out of this. I’m going to have to meet her sometime. The sooner, the better.”
“I hate you,” I grumbled angrily.
“Hate you too, Shorty,” he chuckled, bending over and kissing the base of my jaw. My skin did that crawling thing again and I shivered with pleasure.
“I thought you promised that you wouldn’t give me hickeys in public anymore.”
“Ah, that’s only in the Entrance Hall,” he joked, but pulled away. I wished he wouldn’t have, but we were now a few feet from the village and I didn’t really want the first time my mum to see Scorpius be when he was kissing me. Talk about embarrassing.
“Oh, right,” I said, just to say something.
We strolled into the village and my heart rate, which had just finally returned to normal, picked up twofold. I felt Scorpius squeeze my hand reassuringly. I glanced down at my watch. We had about a half an hour until we were supposed to meet my mum.
“We have time,” I told him quietly, ducking as a snowball aimed at a fourth year Ravenclaw sailed over my head.
“Let’s go finish Christmas shopping then,” he said, dragging me towards Honeydukes. “You need to get me a gift.”
“Selfish much?” I asked sarcastically.
He chose to ignore my last comment and we entered the warmth of the shop. As usual it was crowded with students, trying to purchase as much sugar as physically possible with what little money they had. A few people stopped and stared as Scorpius and I pushed past them hand in hand but I chose to ignore their stares. You would have thought that people would be used to it by now.
“How about this for Hugo?” Scorpius shouted over the din of the students, holding up a giant gift pack of all the most popular candies.
I smiled and nodded, grabbing for it, but he tucked it under his free arm and pulled me through a sudden gap towards the counter. I allowed myself to be tugged all over the place and when we did get to the counter I squeezed myself up there, not going to allow him to pay for my gift. He glared at me for a moment, but put away his money resignedly. The man behind the counter smirked at the two of us knowingly and I smirked right back at him.
I finished paying and turned around, taking Scorpius’s hand and dragging him out of the shop. I was feeling claustrophobic all of a sudden. We were about to leave when I saw them. A display of gummy Dark Mark. Tattoos!
“That’s it!” I cried as we stepped out into the cold street.
I shook my head, not realizing that I had said that out loud. Oops. “Nothing.”
“Right,” he said skeptically, glancing down at his watch. “Well, we still have about fifteen minutes until we’re supposed to be at the Three Broomsticks.”
“Shall we try to find my mum a gift?” I asked nervously. These were going to be the longest fifteen minutes of my life.
“I thought we were trying to find me a gift,” he whined jokingly.
“I’m not going to buy your gift if you’re right there,” I replied. Scorpius scoffed slightly and took my bag from me, shrinking it with one wave of his wand and stuffing it into his coat pocket.
“Right, well, let’s go waste some time.”
We wandered about in the local bookstore for a few minutes, but I was having a very hard time concentrating on the suggestions the sales witch was making and eventually I think Scorpius apologized for my lack of interest and dragged me out of there.
“Are you okay?” he asked, pausing outside of the Three Broomsticks and turning to face me, putting his large hands on my shoulders.
“No, I’m really not,” I replied. “I’m scared out of my mind.”
“There is nothing to be afraid of,” he assured me, pulling me to his chest to comfort me. “I’ll be on my best behavior today.”
“Dear Merlin, we’re doomed,” I joked. I felt him kiss the top of my head and I took a deep breath. If he wasn’t chickening out, I couldn’t either. I slowly released my grip on his back and intertwined my fingers in his tightly. He gave me one more reassuring smile and then stepped forward and pushed open the door to the Three Broomsticks.
Everything seemed as normal as ever. Giant groups of students were everywhere and it was unbearably hot and noisy and reeked of spilled alcohol. I stepped gingerly inside and scanned the room for my mother. Scorpius stood stoically next to me, probably not sure what to look for. I could feel his eyes on me as I searched and then suddenly a tall Hufflepuff boy moved to his right and I saw my mother and brother seated at a booth towards the very back.
“I found them,” I told Scorpius, tugging him this time towards the back. I saw Hugo look up when we were a few feet away but my mother was talking to a man in a black suit, obviously arguing with him from the expression on his face.
I stopped walking when we reached their table and my mother didn’t look up. Hugo was smiling at the two of us nervously, and for the first time I felt Scorpius stiffen a little bit next to me. I cleared my throat uncomfortably and my mother glanced up at me, her face going from frustrated to excited in a fraction of a second.
“Rose!” she cried, jumping down from her seat and rushing over to me. I released Scorpius’s hand and embraced her, noticing that she seemed to have lost a little bit of weight. I didn’t mind though. It just felt so good to hug her again without it being because I was crying.
“Mum! I mean, Minister Weasley!” She chuckled and released me, kissing my forehead. “You look so nice today,” she said, her eyes raking over me. Then she looked over my shoulder and saw Scorpius and her expression looked surprised and then happy. “And you must me Mr. Malfoy. I’m very happy to meet you. Hugo’s told me so much about you.”
We all glanced over at Hugh and he blushed bright red and slid a little further down in his seat.
“The pleasure’s all mine,” Scorpius replied in his seductive voice, stepping forward and shaking my mother’s hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet a member of Rose’s family.”
My mother smiled over at me and I grinned back, suddenly feeling a lot less nervous. My mother was not my father. Sure, she still retained some of her old war apprehensions and prejudices, but she was more understanding. And if the way she was smiling right now was any indication, she and Scorpius would get along fine.
“Why don’t we all sit down and have some lunch. I know I’m starved,” my mum said, gesturing towards the table.
“That sounds good,” I replied, unbuttoning my coat and moving to take it off when I felt Scorpius’s hand grip the back and he helped me out of my jacket before taking his own off and hanging them up on the hooks next to the booth. I grinned up at him and he smirked back at me, as if to say ‘see, I can be good’.
I scooted into the seat across from Hugo and Scorpius sat next to me on the outside, across from my mum. My mum was watching the two of us carefully, her expression unreadable.
I sensed a movement above my mother’s head and then I saw a man in sunglasses and a black suit duck back around the edge of the booth.
“Umm, mum,” I said nervously, glancing back and forth between her and where the man had been, “who is the man in the black jacket with the shades?”
“Oh,” she sighed, running her hands through her hair, which looked bushier as of late and definitely more grey, “those are my Auror bodyguard. The Wizengamot has insisted I have one. I’ve been trying to convince them that it’s not really necessary, but they aren’t budging.”
“I think you’ve proved yourself fully capable of taking care of yourself,” Scorpius interjected. I stared at him in shock, and my mother studied him carefully before grinning.
“That’s what I’ve been saying all along,” she said kindly. “But here, why don’t we decide what we’re going to eat.”
She handed out a few menus and I took one for myself, glancing over it uninterestedly. I knew that I was going to have the fish and chips. Scorpius seemed to know what he wanted as well because he didn’t even open his menu, but held it in his long fingers gingerly. I glanced up at him and grinned and he smiled back at me.
I felt one of his hands grip my knee reassuringly and I leaned my head against his shoulder for a moment.
“Am I doing all right?” he whispered quietly to me.
“Perfect,” I whispered back.
“Get a room,” Hugo said suddenly, throwing a bit of his wadded up napkin at me. I lifted my head off of Scorpius’s shoulder and shot him my best death glare while my mum examined the two of critically, obviously wondering what we had been doing.
“We weren’t snogging,” I snapped at both of them. “Merlin’s beard.”
My mum chuckled and Scorpius squeezed my knee again.
“Does everyone know what they want?” my mum asked, effectively changing the subject.
“I’m going to have the fish and chips,” my mum, Hugh, and I all said at the same time. I laughed heartily. It was nice to have a good family moment for a change.
“I’ll go order us some,” my mother said, beginning to stand.
“No, no, please,” Scorpius said, beating her to the punch. “I’ll go order us the food. You can stay here. Hugo will help me, won’t you Hugo?”
Hugh looked up at Scorpius like he had sprouted antlers. I kicked him in the shin and he jumped but nodded quickly and ducked under the table and out next to Scorpius before my mother could move.
“Oh, okay,” she said, somewhat flustered.
“It’s not any trouble, really,” Scorpius said, putting on his sincere face. I glared up at him. I knew what he was doing, the sly little berk. He was just trying to make it so that my mum and I had time alone to talk about him. Evil, evil Slytherin!
“If you’re sure,” my mother said, still sounding uncertain.
“It’s not a problem. Have fun talking about me.”
I stared after my ‘boyfriend’ with my mouth wide open. Oh no he didn’t! I was about to run after him and yell at him, but then I remembered that my mother was still sitting across from me. I turned slowly to her and shot her my innocent grin.
“Lovely boy,” she said, taking a sip of her drink.
“Oh yes, just lovely,” I growled. He was so dead when he came back. So beyond dead.
“But really, Rose,” she said, putting down her drink and folding her hands in her ‘I’m serious and I’m not sure whether this is good or bad’ pose. “There’s something about him. The way he looks at you. It’s, well, disconcerting.”
“Disconcerting?” I asked, suddenly nervous. Maybe my mother was a better actress than I thought.
“Maybe that was the wrong choice of words,” she sighed.
“You don’t like him, do you?” I asked, choking a bit on the words. If my mother didn’t like him, then he stood no chance with my father. Christmas would be awful. I would have to tell him that there was no way he could go.
“No, honey, I do,” she said, gripping my hand that lay on the table. “He seems very nice. A bit like his father in some ways, but he seems very suave.”
“But then what’s wrong?” I asked.
“Well, he looks at you like he’s in love with you,” she said.
I smiled, feeling a bit better. “We get that a lot.”
“Do you now?” she asked, arching one of her eyebrows suggestively.
“Mum, not like that,” I said, blushing bright red. “I’m a lucky girl is all. He’s a great guy.”
“You are a lucky girl indeed,” she said, squeezing my hand. “Dear Merlin, Rose, he’s quite good looking for his age.”
I blushed harder. “That he is indeed. But he understands me too. He’s probably one of my best friends.”
“I’m glad he’s good to you, honey,” she said. I grinned at her and squeezed her hand.
We just stayed quiet for a few moments, just enjoying each other’s company. I glanced over to where Scorpius and Hugo were leaning against the bar, talking animatedly as they waited for our lunch. Hugo said something and Scorpius laughed heartily and punched Hugo in the shoulder and Hugh nearly tipped back over off his stool.
In a perfect world, things would be like this forever. Unfortunately, I lived in the real world. Things would probably go back to normal tomorrow. Right now, I would just focus on making it last.
A/N: Yay! Another quick update. Unfortunately, I don't know how quick the next chapter will be. I'm going to be super busy for the next two weeks, because I have finals coming up next week and I really need to study. If I do manage an update before then it will probably be this weekend.
Anyway, what did you guys think? Please review and tell me what you thought! Next chapter is the beginning of Christmas! Yay!
Thanks for reading guys! Again, please review!
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