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Red Champion by Dellacqua
Chapter 19 : 19 - Pride
 
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Author Note: Chapter 19! Wow! Well I’m really proud of this chapter, you really wouldn’t believe how hard it was to write; it’s been rewritten 15 times (no joke). So as you can probably imagine a fair amount of work has gone into it. I’m only disappointed to now be having a break! I assume you’ve all seen that submissions are closed to everyone from the 24th August so the staff can keep the site all cleaned up and jazzy; hopefully it should only be happening for a week at which point I will be ready and waiting with a chapter to knock your (metaphorical) socks off! Thank you for the support you’ve all given me, I value your fantastic reviews above all else and would love to get your feedback on this chapter.



On a different note: Rose, Eve and Scorpius’ confrontation scene in Chapter 13 has been rewritten because it just didn’t seem realistic enough and didn’t sit well with me. So if you have the time, please check it out, see what you think (it’s just that first section which has been edited). I have to give a massive thank you to madelgranger for her fantastic help with that editing; I couldn’t have done it without her, she is truly amazing.



I hope you all enjoy the chapter. Thank you for reading!



 



19 – Pride:



 



Rose was stood in stunned disbelief as her deep hazel eyes fixed on the two boys who nervously awaited her reply, their hands identically shoved in deep pockets.



“What do you mean?” she asked quickly. “I have a feeling there’s more to Jerard than meets the eye isn’t there?” Her head twitched insistently from side to side with jerky motions as she glanced repeatedly between their matching faces.



“We’ve heard people talking,” Fabien began to explain, “people from Beauxbatons. Jerard’s always been a close friend of Alexandre’s, they go back a long way; their fathers are in business together and their mothers regularly exchange recipes, that kind of thing.



“But recently Jerard’s stepped it up a gear. All this year he’s been following Alexandre about like some lost puppy, he’s practically stalking the guy.”



“We think he wants some publicity for being good friends with the Champion,” Felix interjected, Fabien nodded his agreement.



“So you knew Jerard had a girlfriend?” Fabien asked, his head cocked to the side. Rose shook her head, her brows creasing in confusion at the sudden change in subject.



“A girlfriend? I wonder how she’d react if she knew how touchy-feely her boyfriend was with me. Seriously, he takes overprotective and clingy to a whole new level.”



“She does know,” Fabien replied, his face dark with subdued anger. “Her name is Clarette Laroche, you might know her.” Rose gasped audibly and Fabien nodded his head in acknowledgment of shocked reaction.



“Thought you might. Well we heard that...”



“...distasteful...” Felix added.



“...girl boasting to her friends about some plans she and Jerard had thought up to remove Beauxbatons’ opposition,” Fabien finished, but before he could continue his brother interrupted. “You have to understand that everybody thought that Jerard would be the Beauxbatons Champion, it was such a shock to everyone – especially him – when he wasn’t. So ever since he’s thrown himself into being as involved as he can and even if he can’t win, he’s determined that the School will.” Fabien gave a grim smile in reaction to his brother’s worried, rushed interjection. Their eyes met for a moment as if they were silently communicating with each other.



“So you see,” Fabien continued, “this “team-building” trip gave the perfect opportunity for him to mix things up a bit.” Between him and his brother barely a moment of silence had passed, so now he paused, letting the onslaught of information be absorbed by a shocked Rose.



“Jerard planned to get close to you, charm his way into your heart; he obviously thought treating you like some fragile piece of glass was the right way to do that. He and Clarette had even discussed staging a fake break-up in case the news they were together ever reached your ears.



“Once he’d gained your confidence he intended to not only extract any information on the Tournament that he could, but also find out your weaknesses and play on them; try to break the Hogwarts Champion. You are, after all, Alexandre’s strongest opponent.”



“What about Clarette?” Rose asked in stunned amazement, breaking her silent vigil even as she barely dared to speak above the whisper which had issued from her lips. “What part did she play in all this?” the redhead questioned.



“Well she was going to work on Scorpius, after all the whole reason for Partners in the Tournament was so that they could act as some kind of support system for the Champions. She wanted to take that away from you but she couldn’t approach Scorpius in the same way Jerard was you; the two of them treating you that way would have seemed far too coincidental. So she wanted to scare Scorpius, try and make sure he couldn’t help you with the Second Task to the best of his ability.” Rose slumped back against a boulder as her mind struggled to cope with everything she’d been told; to further avoid truly confronting the naked truth, she asked questions which has plagued her mind since the boys has started to speak.



“So how were Jerard and I put together in a team for this trip? And the same with Clarette and Scorpius...that can’t have just been coincidence,” she enquired.



“Professor Arcenau is a great man, but a terrible headmaster. He likes to believe in the good in everyone too much. A few well placed flattering words and his naive mind is instantly swayed. It would have taken very little coercion from Jerard to get what he wanted.”



Rose was, quite literally, lost for words. She shook her head repeatedly as unspoken questions rose to her lips before retreating back to the depths of her mind once more. The situation was almost beyond comprehension.



“All of this so Beauxbatons could win the Triwizard Tournament?” she asked, the shadow of a mocking laugh haunting her mouth.



“Some people will let pride overcome all else. I think it was just Jerard’s desperation to be remembered somewhere in Beauxbatons history. It’s pathetic I know.” Fabien hung his head in displeased dejection, anger clear on his usually soft features. The shock was subsiding, sliding its seeping way from Rose’s system as raw anger cannoned through her taut veins; she stood bolt upright in a split second, causing the twins in front of her to jerk to attention.



“Well he picked on the wrong person,” she declared in shocking defiance.



“Rose,” Fabien said strictly, “don’t go after him or Clarette; they’re not worth it. I know they’re only pathetic attention seekers but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, their manipulation and lies could have left you and Scorpius seriously hurt!”



“They did leave Scorpius seriously hurt! Clarette could have killed him, I won’t let them get away with that.” She instantly broke into a lengthy stride, her legs leading her back to the crowded camp of people, their cheerful voices stark in the frigid air.



The world seemed to go silent for a moment, all noises fading out of Rose’s ears like she’d been submerged suddenly in water; Felix and Fabien’s protestations from behind her distorted almost comically as only the pounding shudder of her heart thundered through her body when she approached Jerard where he sat laughing at a long dinner table.



He noticed her as she walked closer, instantly setting a fake smile on his face as he climbed to his feet. Rose continued her furious pace as she stretched out her hand and pressed the tip of an angry finger into his chest.



“Who the hell do you think you are?” she snarled as she stood close to him, her voice powered by livid determination.



“I...I..what are you talking about?” Jerard stuttered his eyes flickering to behind Rose where she was sure people were staring, her voice was loud enough to echo through the night air.



“You and your scheming,” Rose replied, eyes flashing dangerously.



“Ahh...Maybe we should talk about zis in private?” Jerard replied hesitantly as she took her arm in a few strong fingers and led her further away from the rest of the Schools’ students. She shook his hand off her arm and strode defiantly ahead, stopping so they were partly obscured from the eyes of their watching audience behind a skeletal tree, its trunk thick enough to provide some form of cover. “Now what is ze matter?” Jerard asked gently, leaning closely with a soft voice as if speaking to a frightened child.



“You! You are what is the matter! You’ve been planning all this time, trying to get closer to me and hurt Scorpius so you could try and harm Hogwarts’ chances in the Tournament!”



“What are you talking about?” he said. “I would never do such a thing to you! I zink very ‘ighly of you. You can trust me.” Rose snorted in incredulity.



“You are a liar!” she said furiously, attempting to keep her voice low so not to alert the other students just beyond their natural screen but failing miserably. “I know what you and your girlfriend have been plotting and I think it’s pathetic. This is just a competition between schools; it’s not worth sabotaging just to help you injured pride.”



“Really you must ‘ave got your information wrong,” the struggling boy replied. “I...I ‘ave no girlfriend, there eez no plotting! We are a good team, I would not try and ‘arm that.” Rose shook her head, red curls freeing themselves from her hair band as they waved around her face making a fiery halo which shone wickedly in moonlight creeping over the mountain.



“Stop lying!” she yelled. “Why are you still lying? You’ve been found out!” A stray hand was tugging insistently at her hair as she tried to control her anger; Jerard’s eyes dropped to the ground slightly, showing he was starting to relent.



“I would never ‘ave hurt you!” he replied anxiously, reaching out a hand to grasp her wrist as she attempted to turn away from him. “I zink a lot of you, really I do. My so called girlfriend, she is nothing compared to you. You are just misunderstanding everything! Just give me a chance!”



In chaotic desperation he used another hand to tug her closer to him, his fingers digging painfully into her arms as he attempted to hold onto the last shreds he had of earning the confidence of a Triwizard Champion.



His grip was too strong as she tried to shake him off, crying out at the biting feel of his sharp fingernails pressing sharp crescents into the soft skin of her exposed arms. Her voice choked, her eyes watering with insistent tears as he shook her hastily back and forth. “Believe me, believe me!” he chanted unresistingly.



Shocked as she was by his sudden violent change of heart she was frozen, unable to say anything. “Let go,” she would have shouted, but the clattering, chattering of her teeth as they rattled against each other stopped her barely begun speech. But the words were spoken anyway, carried on a chilly breeze, quietly commanding with a quivering underlying fury as Scorpius’ grey eyes blackened in reaction to what he saw.



“I swear if you don’t take your hands off her, I can’t be held responsible for my actions,” he said, his teeth gritted as he spat every word at Jerard.



“Zis is nothing to do with you!” Jerard commented, his hands still firmly gripped the now tender flesh of Rose’s arms which were rigidly at her sides, her bottom lips shaking as she bit down on it, attempting to stem the flow of tears already clouding her eyes previously bright with anger but now dull with worry.



“I’m sorry,” Scorpius said, his voice level. “I don’t think you heard me. Take your hands off her,” he growled, his hands visibly forming tight fists as he stepped towards the slight, tall French student. “Or what?” Jerard snarled back, his face close to Scorpius’ over Rose shoulder, held as she was between the two of them.



“Or we’ll break your pretty face,” said a loud voice from behind Scorpius, Rose glanced back over her shoulder, still struggling to be released from Jerard’s tight grip as she saw James’ angry face appear as he positioned himself shoulder to shoulder with Scorpius.



“Several times,” continued a further voice as Albus’ equally black head joined Scorpius’ other side in perfect symmetry to his brother.



Slowly, Jerard’s hands loosened and dropped to his sides; he knew when he was beaten. But still he stood unresistingly before the united front of boys; two Potters and a Malfoy in strong solidarity never before seen. Rose turned quickly back to face the boy who had been hurting her only a few moments before, wanting to remedy her previously frozen actions, determined not to seem weak. Scorpius pulled her gently back against his body, both arms wrapping tightly around her waist, his chin grazing the top of her head.



“So,” James began, stepping defiantly towards the still present Beauxbatons student. “I’m pretty sure my brother and I owe you a bit of a beating for manhandling our cousin like that.”



“You’re not the only ones,” Scorpius added as he gently moved away from Rose, keeping her behind him as he joined the two near identical boys.



“What’re you waiting for?” Jerard whispered, leaning slightly forward with a twisted smirk on his lips as he glanced quickly over Albus’ shoulder before returning his gaze to his adversaries. In a split second Scorpius and James punched him, two fists acting as one as they met at his face in near synchronised motions and forced their victims body to be sent sprawling back onto the hard ground, crimson blood pouring from his nose even as he smiled smugly.



A piercing sound cut through the air as swiftly and cleanly as a newly sharpened knife, causing the group of fighting students to look back towards the camp behind them.



“What on earth is going on!” Professor Quila screeched in a passionate rage as she moved at an incredible speed towards the gathering. “Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy, explain yourselves this minute.” She eyed the two with hawk-like fierceness as long nailed hands rested on her robe covered hips. Meeting only a wall of shocked silence from her own students she reached out for Jerard, pulling him to his feet just as the Beauxbatons Headmaster approached, his usually calm features showing confusion at the sight of his pupil with blood making thick rivers down his face and the front of his pale robes.



“That idiot was hurting Rose,” James finally admitted, angrily running a hand through his messy black hair, strands of which stuck to his forehead in sweaty worry. “He was hurting her,” he repeated, his voice straining over the syllables with barely contained fury.



Rose was shaking slightly as she pulled up the sleeves of her robes to reveal the red raised patches of skin where the sharp edges of Jerard’s nails had pressed painfully through the fabric and into the soft flesh beneath. Professor Quila’s face contorted with a mixture of emotions before she dropped her hand from Jerard’s shoulder where it had rested since she’d helped him up; she turned swiftly to him, like a predator eyeing its prey.



“Well?” she said with a quiet, level voice; the calm before the storm.



“Did you inflict those hideous marks on Miss Weasley?” she continued, her head high as she gazed down on the now worried looking student. He had obviously assumed his adversaries wouldn’t share the goings-on and having now realised he was wrong, couldn’t see an easy way out.



Since the arrival of the Hogwarts Headmistress a small crowd had gathered nearby Rose and her fellow students, all attempting to listen in to what was happening; Felix and Fabien stood at the front with looks of worry etched deeply on their faces. Jerard’s face formed a mask of frozen innocence, a smile settling unnervingly.



“It was all just a misunderstanding, Professor,” he replied charmingly, his bright white teeth glinting in the evening light.



“There is nothing to misunderstand about physical violence Mr Chevalier,” the older woman stated evenly. “I suggest you make up a better excuse than that. Follow me.” Jerard’s smile fell comically quickly from his face as she began walking away with a stunned Professor Arcenau in tow. She turned back speaking directly to Rose.



“This will be dealt with, Miss Weasley. I assure you no crime goes unpunished around here. Speaking of which...” she continued, eyeing Scorpius and James’ broad grins as they watched Jerard’s dejected figure, “I will be speaking to the two of you later and regardless of how chivalrous your motives may have been you nonetheless did assault a student.” Scorpius and James groaned but their attempted arguments were silenced when Professor Quila continued on with her walk, leading Jerard away.



After the drama faded away, milling students began to move away with Albus and James hastily checking Rose was ok and warning her they’d never let her be near anyone male again, yet strangely then leaving her alone with Scorpius.



Rose could still see flickering remnants of anger piercing Scorpius’ eyes as he led them away from their suddenly public position to a more secluded spot just around a curve of the mountain’s rocky exterior.



“What were you playing at, Rose?” Scorpius questioned tiredly; he ran his hand through his hair as a sigh was expelled from deep within his throat. Rose turned to look at him in confusion.



“Felix and Fabien, those two Beauxbatons guys? They gave us a rundown of why you were going off to speak to Jerard just as you and him started walking away together,” he explained in reply to her questioning look, his eyes were becoming brighter with restrained anger. “Why do you think you’re invincible? You just followed him! He could have taken you anywhere; he could have really hurt you!”



Scorpius’ voice was steadily rising in volume as swarming rivers of anger pumped tightly through his veins.



“But I was fine, I can look after myself you know!” Rose replied defiantly as her eyes narrowed in response to the blonde-haired Slytherin’s harsh words.



“But you can’t!” Scorpius shouted as his self-restraint began to falter and fade. “His girlfriend pushed me down a mountain, what was to stop him doing the same to you? Could you really have fought him off; because from where I was standing you looked scared,” he reported scathingly.



“I could have handled him fine if you hadn’t of interfered!” Rose yelled passionately back, her previously tiring eyes now shining with fury.



“Oh grow-up Rose. Can’t you see where your stupid decisions are getting you? You could have been badly hurt if things got out of hand today; you still could because people are out to get you in this Tournament. For goodness sake stop acting like an indestructible idiot.” Rose immediately bristled at his accusing words.



“What the hell’s gotten into you?” Rose shot back in response to Scorpius’ shouted criticism. “And here was me thinking you were a nice, genuine guy. Well I had you wrong didn’t I? You’re acting just like your father, thinking you’re better than everyone else.” Even as the words spilled over her lips Rose clapped her hand to her mouth; she knew she’d let anger cloud her mind as she saw the shocked hurt in Scorpius’ eyes, obscured as they suddenly hardened.



“I didn’t mean that,” she quickly defended as something knotted tightly in her stomach at the realisation she had gone too far.



“Is that what you think of me, Rose?” Scorpius asked quietly, his eyes determinedly settled on the floor as his whole figure physically showed his dejection, “that I’m just my father’s face and my father’s temper and my father’s attitudes? I stupidly thought you were better than that; I though you knew me better than that. But you don’t really know me at all do you?”



Scorpius turned his back on Rose as he started to leave her, trapped as she was in her own poisoned words before she was startled back into reality. She grabbed his arm like it was her only lifeline and pulled him back; he turned to her abruptly.



“Let go of me, Rose.”



“No, just let me explain...just let me...” she babbled loudly even as his eyes still burnt with anger.



“Is there really any explaining to be done? There’s nothing you can say, Rose. You’ve made yourself perfectly clear. Now leave me alone.” Still she wouldn’t let go of him, her small fingers strongly gripping the fabric of his clothed arm.



“I didn’t...” she pleaded as he interrupted her.



“Didn’t you hear me? Get off me. I don’t want you.” Scorpius yelled, the words echoed chillingly through the air, ringing in their ears as Rose dropped her hands from him and stumbled back. “Right...I...right,” she stuttered, even as the tables turned again.



“I didn’t mean that,” Scorpius replied quietly, “I didn’t.” Rose’s eyes met his and she saw his raw honesty consumed in the grey orbs; she sighed deeply and shook her head.



“This is stupid, and getting us absolutely nowhere. Tonight just seems to be bringing out the worst in both of us,” she commented slowly, “I don’t think you’re like your father, Scorpius. I don’t know what I was saying. I’m sorry,” Rose apologised.



“And I do want you,” Scorpius whispered into the silence just as it was harshly broken by the starkly happy conversation of two students rounding the corner.



“Oh er...sorry,” the dark-haired boy of the two said, seeing he was interrupting a private conversation as he swiftly led the girl he was with away from them. Silent once more, Rose and Scorpius stood in contemplative shock, mulling over the events of the night.



“What the hell are we doing?” Rose whispered, even as tears trickled from her eyes, “what are we doing, Scorpius? Why are we fighting like this?” With worry in his eyes Scorpius stepped forward, placing two thumbs on her fact he smoothed away her tears.



“Don’t cry,” he replied gently. She closed the gap between them and in the same moment they wrapped their arms around each other and she rested her head against his chest, releasing the tied up, tense breath she’d been caging inside herself.



“I can’t do this Tournament without you,” she said quietly even as her hot tears soaked through the thin fabric of his clothing.



“You won’t have to,” he replied, his lips pressed against her hair as his chin rested on the top of her head and he surveyed the landscape around them, shrouded in darkness.



“I promise you won’t.”



               



*             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *             *



Rose stood in full sunshine, a rarity as it was still early in the year, after a difficult day. A slight breeze tickled her skin with its cold embrace as it twirled around her in a swirling pirouette, pulling her hair over her face.



 Professor Quila had willingly reorganised the groups so that although Ivan and Rose were separated, they had teams which didn’t involve Jerard whom Rose hadn’t seen since the incident with him the previous day.



The day’s activities had been far more fun when Rose hadn’t had to worry about seeing Jerard and she threw herself into every challenge with open, excited enthusiasm. The shy blonde-haired Hogwarts girl Rose was teamed with she had barely spoken to before and although quiet, was witty and quick with her comments which made the time pass quickly.



Excitement had been mounting throughout the day amongst the body of students, many of whom were aware that Albus’ party was happening that night. The majority of the Hogwarts student population had been invited, with a few exceptions, and selected Beauxbatons and Durmstrang pupils – mainly team mates of Albus’ close circle of friends.



The preparations had been made and James and Albus had, apparently, found the perfect spot to hide a celebration from the teachers. It was to run from that evening, luckily the students generally disappeared off to different points on the mountain at that time anyway so the absence of many wouldn’t seem strange to the eternally watchful Professors.



Rose was brimming with enthusiasm as she continued walking along a rocky path to meet Scorpius, whom Albus had sent to bring her to the party. The last dregs of sunlight were flickering from a pink and orange sunset which illuminated the sky beautifully above the natural browns and greens of the landscape.



Rose had been kept back once more to speak to Professor Quila who had assured her all measures were being taken to avoid any school rivalries which edged on the dangerous. Rose had constantly nodded in agreement, eager to escape and follow the path created by her friends who had left before her, Albus pushing a note into her pocket which told her how Scorpius was to bring her to his birthday celebrations.



Rose was smiling in the fading light as she continued, feeling like some kind of weight had been lifted as she suddenly saw Scorpius standing ahead and leaning nonchalantly against a rocky boulder. He rolled his eyes as she approached.



“You took your time!” he commented laughingly as Rose stuck her tongue out and fell into stride beside him as he led her further down a barely visible path. They continued on for several minutes as the ground became gradually more and more unstable.



“We need to climb over these rocks,” Scorpius commented, gesturing to the rubble covered ground ahead. “Take my hand?” he said. Rose smiled at the fact he’d asked and not just assumed he could. “Yes,” she whispered back and closed her fingers around those which were presented in front of her, hurrying after Scorpius as they steadily climbed a pile of rocky ground.



His hand was surprisingly warm in the coldness of the season and wrapped around hers like a comforting blanket, strong and firm. Soon they were on much smoother, flatter ground; their hands were still clasped together. With uncertainty Rose spoke aloud after a few minutes.



“We’re over the rocks,” she said softly, “so... you don’t need to hold my hand anymore.”



“I know,” he replied, but he didn’t let go.     



They eventually reached, bizarrely in Rose’s opinion, apparently a dead end; the path stopped abruptly as it formed a ledge on the cliff edge, hanging over an immense drop of jagged rocks beneath it.



Rose stood at the edge, turning away from it to face Scorpius as she raised a questioning eyebrow. He placed two firm hands on her shoulders as he met her eyes and quickly leaned towards her, his breath making whispering trails over her ear as he spoke, his cheek softly grazing hers.



“Do you trust me?” he asked. Rose sighed contentedly at the feeling of his closeness.



“I...yes, I trust you,” she whispered back as he moved to face her, his lips millimetres from hers.



“I just wanted to...check,” he said softly, his breath ghosting over her mouth. As he leaned close to her he increased his pressure on her shoulders and her eyes melted closed. He took a deep shuddering breath and pushed her over the edge of the cliff.                



 



 



      


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