Chapter 1 : Again
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A lone boy stood in the pouring rain, dragging on a cigarette which lit up his face with the glow at the end. Girls stopped to stare at the boy’s dark grey eyes when they blazed a faint red from the cigarette butt. All were too intimidated to stop and talk to him, although secretly every girl wanted to.
One girl in particular, a girl he thought was named Hilary, stopped to stare at him, rather annoyingly, “Aren’t you a little young to be wandering these streets?” He asked, “Get back to your common room!” He rolled his eyes as she jumped at the sharp tone in his voice. Hilary stayed one more moment, and then followed his orders and left.
The raindrops poured down and were deflected off of his black leather jacket, which loosely hung unzipped over jeans and a black sweater. His white-blond hair was matted down onto his forehead in a messy state, his bangs concealing most of his face.
Scorpius Malfoy was leaning against the mouth of an alley, blowing cigarette smoke high above him into the sky. He leaned his head back against the dirty, wet brick wall and sighed, wishing someone even gave a damn about a boy alone in the less than civilized streets of Hogsmeade late at night.
Turns out, someone did.
As Scorpius sucked in another deep breath of smoke and closed his eyes, he heard the all-too-familiar voice approaching, louder with every word.
“I thought we agreed,” Rose Weasley said while plucking the cigarette from between his lips, “that you were going to stop this.”
Scorpius opened his eyes to look at her, then shrugged off the wall and blew the inhaled smoke off to his side, careful not to force her to breathe it in. If Rose was one thing, she was good – simple as that. And he didn’t want to drag her down even further than he already had by making her breathe in cigarette smoke – how oddly cliché.
“Scorpius.” She said his name in a soft and concerned voice that sent shivers down his spine…in a good way, “Scorpius, everyone’s looking for you. Why did you run off?”
He sighed again, and twisted his face to the dim light of the sky. At first, Rose only took note of the well-structured jaw line she so admired, but her eyes grazed over the rest of his face and landed on his left cheekbone.
“Oh my god…” She whispered as Rose looked at the wide bruise spread over his face, swelling slightly and reaching to the tip of his eye. There was a cut along the cheek as well, as if he’d been punched by someone wearing a sharp ring. Her fingers gently reached out to touch the wound, but he flinched away before they made any contact.
Rose turned to look onto the streets, obviously searching for somewhere they could sit down, out of the rain. She was able to take two steps into the street before Scorpius took her wrist and stopped her from going any further. And then she saw why.
“Hey baby!” An older man called drunkenly, “Come over here and show papa some love!”
Scorpius began to tug on the wrist, not wanting Rose out in public, and she agreed with him, backing up and now pulling Scorpius further into the alley. He turned his back to the drunk, standing directly in front of Rose – shielding her.
Shouldn’t have brought her here! Scorpius silently reprimanded himself, although in truth, she’d come on her own. But it was his presence that sent her travelling.
Rose laid her hands on his chest, looking him over with a small frown of concentration on her face. He loved it when the small crinkle formed between her eyebrows.
Rose brought one hand to brush the wet hair out of his eyes – Scorpius’ eyes always gave away what he was feeling – and rested her palm on his cheek, “What happened?” She asked.
Instead of answering, Scorpius put a hand on her waist and pulled her closer. Bending his head lower, Scorpius pressed his lips to hers. She kissed him back for a moment, wrapping her fingers through his mussed blond hair, but pulled away.
“I really need to know what’s wrong,” She said softly, looking at the bruise.
Scorpius’ jaw clenched and unclenched before he answered, “Eridanus,” he growled.
“What an ass," Rose let out a breath in an angry huff, "I really hate your brother.”
“Yeah, that makes two of us,” muttered Malfoy, in complete agreement with her. His older brother had treated him like dirt ever since they were children. It was cruelty, plain and simple, and Scorpius resented him for it.
Rose looked at him for a minute, chewing on her lip. She brought his chin up so that he was looking at her, “Sad boy,” She pouted softly. Rose stood on the tips of her toes, put both of her hands on the back of his neck, and kissed him softly. He responded by wrapping his arms around her waist tightly and becoming more forceful with his lips.
“Scorpius…” She murmured against his kissing.
“We have to get back…And I really don’t want to be here,” She added skeptically at the shadows looming out on the dark streets.
He pulled away, and while looking around, seemed to agree. Scorpius glanced in the direction of the drunk, “Not that way…” he muttered, “I know another way out.” He saw relief flood her face as he pulled Rose along the narrow alleyways. Again, he chastised himself for making her come out here, Why did she even come in the first place? But he knew the answer. Scorpius was aware of how Rose felt about him, and he also knew that he felt the exact same way.
Scorpius looked down at the girl under his arm – Rose Weasley was a well-built young woman, only a couple of months younger than himself, with a fiery spirit that could not be snuffed out. Although she wasn’t slender, she was slim and fairly normal.
She had gotten the red of her father’s hair, but the soft waves of her mother’s. The red wasn’t so vibrant, but darker, and the curls weren’t as frizzy. He found himself just staring at Rose sometimes, in awe of how perfectly balanced she was. Unlike her family’s brown and hazel eye colors, Rose stood out with her grey-blue eyes, which always seemed older than the body they belonged to.
Scorpius knew how he was regarded by other girls. He was a Malfoy. And although the Death Eater blood had finished with his father, the knowledge of being born into something important certainly did not.
However, Rose had been the only girl brave enough to walk up and talk to him, and when she did, she was yelling. Scorpius had a mean streak inside him, always underneath the surface…always egged on by his older brother. When Rose caught Scorpius teasing a first year about their weight in their second year, she ripped him a new one – shouting so loud, two seventh year prefects had come rushing down the hall to break up the fight.
He chuckled to himself at the memory now, deserving a questioning look from Rose. Scorpius shook his head and she grinned, looking back ahead and pulling his arm tighter.
That was a very long time ago, however, and many things had changed since that first encounter. In many ways, Rose and Scorpius had grown apart: Rose was extremely book smart, and had worked very hard to get that way. On the other hand, Scorpius had travelled in the opposite direction, taking up smoking, drinking, and stupid, stupid parties. Rose had actually found him passed out in the hallway once in their fourth year, and took him to the one unused girls’ bathroom to clean him up.
It had not been a proud moment, but Scorpius had remembered it even through his hung-over state…which meant something, right? The pair were entering the grounds of the school now, and Rose noticeably shifted to a more comfortable stance, accentuating how obviously uncomfortable she had been in Hogsmeade.
“Hey there!” Jasmine – another sixth year – called, waiting at the entrance gate, “I was getting worried about you two! Didn’t do anything I wouldn’t do, yeah?”
“You will do anything, Jazz, so I guess the point is moot!” Rose called back, laughing. Scorpius chuckled along with her, tightening his hold when he saw someone else accompanying Jasmine.
“Why did he come?” He muttered, “To greet us?” His voice turned into a sneer worthy of the Malfoy title.
“I didn’t know he would…” Rose whispered back, nearing the opening gate.
“When Rose told me she was going searching, I got nervous about the rain and decided to wait here. Just to make sure you got back…at all,” Jasmine explained.
“You’re such a maternal figure in our lives,” Scorpius teased.
“Oh, buzz off…” Jasmine teased back. Scorpius and Jasmine had become friends by being introduced by Rose, and always had a love/hate, brother/sister banter they carried on. Rose and Jasmine, however, had been friends since before Hogwarts, “Rosie, you gonna take Albus’ car out over fall break?”
“Hell yeah. As long as I don’t crash it again. God, he was so mad!” Rose giggled at the memory.
“Well, I’m coming with. Your cousin is fiiiine,” She drawled out the last word while the three headed back towards the castle and closer to Scorpius’ unwanted guest. Rose shook her head at her friend. Jasmine was a Jamaican Princess – or at least, that’s what she called herself. Her coffee skin tone was something many girls envied, and many boys noticed.
“If you like Albus, just ask him out yourself,” The boy in the shadow called out.
“Oh yeah Shane, like you would know anything about being assertive!” Jazz yelled back, and then laughed. She turned to Scorpius and Rose, just out of earshot from the fourth party, “Sorry, he just sort of came out here. And then I slipped about Rose going to look for you and…he stayed.”
“It’s alright, Jasmine,” Rose allowed, looking up to Scorpius. He gave a tight smile, which faded as they got closer.
“Another fist fight, Malfoy?” Shane chuckled as they arrived.
“Yeah, with your mother,” Scorpius shot back.
“Well apparently she had the upper hand,” retaliated Shane.
Scorpius started to walk purposefully towards him, but was stopped by Rose, “Don’t. Please.”
Scorpius sighed, but conceded she was right, “Come on, let’s go inside.” They all walked back, Rose and Scorpius leading the way. When the four were safely inside the doors, Rose sighed, rolling her shoulders back as if relieving stress. The Main Entrance had an enormous grand stairway in the center, where Rose and Scorpius usually parted ways.
“Get some sleep,” Rose said softly, “And no running away again, or else I’m coming after you.”
“I promise to run somewhere nicer next time, okay?”
She chuckled, but got abruptly serious, “I don’t want there to be a next time. I don’t want you feeling like you have to get out of here.”
“Hey, don’t be sad,” Scorpius brought her chin up so she was looking at him, “I promise to come and talk to you next time…but I can’t promise anything else, Rose.”
“I know…” She whispered with a small smile. He hated disappointing her – Rose’s opinion of him was the only one that really mattered. Scorpius ran his fingers through her hair and lowered his head to kiss her.
At that same moment, they were interrupted, “Come on, Rose! We have to get upstairs,” Shane said while walking up to them. He put his hand on the small of her back.
“Thank you, Shane,” She said icily, pushing his hand away. Rose gritted her teeth as Shane strode past them, a little too close. She then touched Scorpius’ clenched jaw, silently telling him to relax, “You were about to kiss me?”
He smiled crookedly and kissed her, putting extra gentleness into his lips. It was their game. Scorpius would change his tactics – and if it happened to be hesitant kissing, Rose would get impatient and kiss back more intensely. Which was what happened this time as well.
Rose took one of her hands and put his arm around her waist, while using the other to intertwine her fingers into his hair. She could feel him chuckle at her eagerness, and Scorpius held her closer. Shane cleared his throat at the top of the staircase, causing the two to break apart quickly. Jasmine took care of what Rose wanted to do and smacked Shane in the back of the head – hard.
“Ow, damn,” He muttered.
“You’re such an idiot,” Jasmine said, rolling her eyes.
Scorpius sighed – frustrated, and leaned his forehead against Rose’s, “I really hate that guy.”
“I know, I’m sorry…” she muttered back, “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, first period Transfiguration, right?”
“Mm-hm,” Rose repeated his earlier phrase, standing on her tip toes. Scorpius kissed her goodnight, and headed down to the dungeons. Rose watched him go, and when Scorpius was out of sight, she whirled on the boy slouching at the top of the staircase.
“You listen to me,” Rose walked angrily up the stairs until she was standing face-to-face with Shane. He was substantially taller than her, but that didn’t faze Rose one bit, “You are arrogant, and rude, and just plain annoying, Shane Kinsley, and if you ever want to speak to me again, you’ll apologize to me!”
Shane pursed his lips; thinking it over while looking Rose over. She huffed, irritated, and started tapping her foot, which made Shane roll his eyes, “Fine. I’m sorry,” He didn’t look happy about the apology, “I was rude, and I apologize.”
“Thank you,” She said coldly, and then joined Jasmine to walk up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower. The three were on the fifth floor landing when Jasmine and Shane started their usually bickering
“I mean, my god! Do you have to be a prat to everyone you talk to?” Jasmine asked incredulously.
“Only to people who annoy me!” He defended, laughing.
“You started it with Scorpius –”
“Because of previous annoyance and general dislike. And yes, I did start it – tonight. He started it way before.”
“Ugh, please!” Jasmine threw up her arms, exasperated.
Shane and Jasmine were so busy arguing, they didn’t even notice what Rose noticed when they arrived at the Fat Lady’s portrait, “Oh. My. GOD.” Rose clapped a hand over her mouth as she gaped at the painting. Jasmine and Shane were doing the same – just staring in terror.
“What is that...stuff?” Rose asked numbly.
Shane stumbled slowly to the words and ran his fingers over them, “Blood,” He said, horrified.
Black paint was thrown onto the portrait, and then over the black, in glistening red blood, were those words. Rose walked to the paint and the bloody words in an aghast daze, removing her hand from her mouth and reaching towards the frame to open the canvas door.
“Rose, no,” Shane protested, but she wasn’t listening. Rose curled her fingers around the edge of the door frame and tugged lightly. The portrait swung open easily, which made Rose gulp. Slowly, she walked into the common room she’d spent the last six years in.
The room was dark. All the thick curtains had been drawn closed, and the fire put out. Rose heard Jasmine and Shane behind her, but all she could think was, Don’t turn on the lights. Still, her body would not listen to her mind, and Rose whispered so silently “Lumos.”
Rose screamed so loud, the silence seemed to be literally shattered. Hanging over the empty hearth of the fireplace, strung up like a puppet, was Hilary, a little third year Gryffindor, bloody and limp.
Rose couldn’t stop screaming.
When she ran out of breath, she couldn’t find her lungs to breathe back in. Still, the sound of her piercing scream rang in her ears, blocking out all outside noise. She couldn’t shut her eyes. She couldn’t do anything besides scream and stare at the motionless body hanging before her.
“ROSE!” One voice broke through the white noise and the screams. Somehow, Rose felt strong arms wrap around her and tug her away. A person shielded the terrifying sight, and Rose was vaguely aware of the fact that more people were in the room than before.
And then the screaming started up again.
Except this time, Rose was not the one making the horrible sound. The screams of others grated at her ears, and Rose tried to cover them. Her limbs didn’t seem to be attached to her own body, and she couldn’t find them or use them in any way.
The floor disappeared from beneath her feet, but only because the strong arms were carrying her away. Away from the horrid screeching and wailing. Someone was speaking to her too, but her head was spinning too much to listen.
“Breathe, Rose, breathe,” the familiar voice urged anxiously, and she obeyed, taking in huge gulps of air that stopped the spinning and cleared the black spots from her vision. The voice sighed in relief when she started breathing again.
Rose slowly regained feeling in her body, and groped around for anything – anyone. She found a hand and held onto with all her strength. The strong arms which were carrying her were attached to the hand, and Rose looked wildly around to see who it was.
Tears formed in her eyes when she found Scorpius’ face – his face a mask of grief, fear, and concern. She felt Scorpius slide down a wall and sit roughly, hanging his head in the process. Rose felt his chest take in shallow breaths, and she tried to match to his breathing – so she could breathe at all.
They sat like that for what seemed like hours – Scorpius against the wall, and Rose clutched in his arms, cradled like an infant. for a long time they just looked at each other. After a moment, Rose saw tears well in Scorpius’ eyes as he tried to blink them away. She somehow found the strength to lift her arms and pull his face down to hers so she could feel the wetness in his eyes.
Rose opened her mouth, wanting to say something, wanting to ask questions, wanting to explain. But no sound came out.
“I know,” Scorpius’ mouth formed the words in a mumbled fashion. He took her face in his hands and firmly pressed his lips to her forehead, and then tucked her head under his chin. Not one part of Rose was not being shielded by Scorpius in some way, and that’s exactly what she needed, “I know.”
Soon – too soon – reality crashed into Rose as she lay there, coming out of shock.
Author's Note: Thank you EnnaBella for being SUCH an amazing beta! Please R and R!!