Chapter 1 : Skating Lessons
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She lifted her arms above her head as she slowly began to move into a spin, turning faster and faster still until finally she released her chest in a glorious homage to the sky. No matter what games the frozen lake decided to play on her, she would not be swept off her feet. Years of practice and bleeding blisters had trained her well so that only the most forceful of obstacles could throw her concentration.
The lake itself was far too easy for an expert like Rose to have any fear, and so she skated along its icy depths with great happiness. Wind blew across her face, painting her pale cheeks with a crimson blush that horrendously clashed with her hair. It was a clear day still, she mused happily, pulling her cranberry colored mittens tighter around her wrists. She couldn't see a single cloud that might drop an unexpected pile of snow onto her happy dance.
Rose prepared herself for a sprint across the ice, already feeling her pulse begin to race with excitement, when developed a nasty feeling that she was being watched. She swiveled her head quickly, nearly knocking her earmuffs to the cold ground. Sure enough, she spotted a tall figure in the distance, leaning against a tree and staring at her.
Acting as though she hadn't seen a thing, she tentatively began to glide towards the intruder. He wore a dark emerald green cape and was sporting a nearly white shock of blond hair. Rose felt her heart bounce into her throat as her already pink cheeks tinged even darker. Scorpius, she thought, trying to force venom into her very inner voice.
Sure enough, her arch-nemises, Scorpius Malfoy was watching her with a rather bored expression. How long has he been standing there creeping? she thought to herself, skidding to an elegant stop in front of him.
"Afternoon, Weasley," he drawled before she could get a word in. "Nice earmuffs."
Rose glared at him, well-aware that he was making fun of her hand-knitted clothing. "Nice cape, Malfoy," she retorted. "Vampirism is back in this season, huh?"
He let out a snort that was only a ghost of a laugh and crossed his arms over his chest. "How long have you been doing this?"
"What's it to you?" said Rose, turning sharply in a circle- not to show off, of course. "Ballet class cancelled this week and missing your tutu?"
"I actually am interested in learning," he responded, taking no notice of her comment. "There's a girl I want to impress, and I've already told her I would take her out on the ice."
"If you've already told her you could do it, what do you need me for?" asked Rose, starting to skate away.
A hand reached out and grabbed her wrist, causing her to land with an unhappy 'plop' on the ice. "Hey, what gives?" she asked, shaking him away.
"If you don't help me, that's what's going to happen," said Scorpius haughtily, but Rose could sense his extreme embarrassment. "I'll pay you," he added.
"I don't need your money," sniffed Rose, sizing him up. "But there is something that you can do for me."
"Your buddy Brennan has been picking on my little brother, Hugo," said Rose, holding out her hand in a sign of promise. "If you promise to make him stop, I'll help you out."
Conflict crossed Scorpius's face as he said, "But it's so funny to watch him dangle by his pants-"
"No skating for you!" cried Rose, pulling away again.
"Alright, alright!" moaned Scorpius, holding out his hand for her to shake. "It's a deal."
For the first time in her life, Rose offered the sleazy Slytherin a grin. "Got skates?"
They had been working for nearly two hours, starting off slowly with Rose holding both of Scorpius's hands out in front of him and gently pulling along. Several times they had ended up on their bottoms, him pulling her down with his clumsy feet. So often had he caught himself with his hands that Rose had to lend him one of her mittens since he, stupidly, had forgotten any.
He seemed to have gotten the hang of it since now Rose was able to skate in front without helping him balance. After their first run around the lake with no accident, she helped him stop and said, with more than a little pride, "Well done, Malfoy. You might actually be able to impress this girl."
"You think so?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
"What can I say?" she said, tossing her hair a bit. "I'm a good teacher."
"You still haven't taught me how to skate with somebody," responded Scorpius, gently touching her ungloved hand.
Rose was caught off guard by this somewhat intimate gesture and started so hard that she nearly lost her balance, her arms flailing out to the sides. Just as she prepared herself to land on the hard ground, a pair of arms grabbed her roughly and pulled her to her feet. It was an awkward position, with his two arms wrapped in steadying position while her hair had flown all over her face, but she couldn't help but feel her heart give out for a brief moment.
She quickly removed herself from Scorpius's saving embrace, trying to play off the moment as much as possible. "You didn't fall," she said awkwardly, trying to smooth it over. "That's impressive, at least."
He was looking at her curiously, like he wasn't quite sure what was going on; to be honest, Rose had little clue herself. At this point, she wanted to turn and put as much distance between herself and the biggest prat in the whole school. Somehow, though, that would make the entire situation even more uncomfortable so instead, she roughly grabbed his gloved hand and continued her lesson, "It's all about keeping up with your partner's rhythm. You have to try to feel the pulse of the other person's skates and match it to your own."
"Kind of like shagging?" asked Scorprius, with an all-knowing smirk.
"What?" chriped Rose, stopping abruptly.
Scorpius easily slide in front of her so that he was looking down his nose at her. "I said," he repeated cooly, with the same irritatingly seductive turn of the lip. "'Kind of like shagging?'"
"Sure," said Rose, not quite meeting his eyes. "Kind of like that. Can we press on?"
"Whatever you say, Professor," he said, shrugging like he couldn't have a care in the world.
She took his hand again but kept her grip as light as possible. This wasn't fair; this entire situation was completely unbelievable. How dare he come out here with his silly charm and dangerous blue eyes? And all for...
"Who's this girl anyway?" she asked, not truly believing that she didn't care. Scorpius shrugged again, but a ghost of a smile began to play on his lips. "If I'm going through all this trouble to help you, don't you think I have a right to know?"
"The truth is, I haven't actually asked her yet," admitted Scorpius. "She's very pretty, though. Kind of a spit-fire. I think she's in a couple of classes with you."
"None that I care to share."
"I see," sniffed Rose, releasing his hand. "Well, I think you've gotten the hang of it now. Your lovely 'spit-fire' will probably be pretty impressed."
"Thanks, Weasley," he said, holding out his hand for her to shake again. "I'll make sure that Bren lays off."
"Appreciated," she replied, shaking his hand stiffly. "Hope things work out for you."
"I think they will," he said smugly. "Just have to ask her first."
"Right," muttered Rose, watching him turn and skate away. Her heart was pounding in her throat, begging to be released into tears, but Rose was not the sort to start crying in public. No, she would wait until she was safely in her dormitory and then she would let her pillow have it.
She shook herself mentally as Scorpius reached the end of the pond and gingerly stepped onto solid ground. What was she thinking? This was pompous, bullying Malfoy that she was allowing herself to feel so badly about. What on earth was he worth?
"No tears, that's for sure," she grumbled to herself, before sprinting quickly and turning in a graceful circle.
She stopped in mid-turn, squinting her eyes to see him waving at her once again. No, not waving- he was shaking something at her. She looked down at her hands and, sure enough, one was snug inside a warm mitten and the other was turning red and raw with cold. She skated to the lake's edge where Scorpius was holding the other out to her with a bemused expression. Rolling her eyes, she took of towards him and skidded to a stop, spraying him with ice flecks.
"Thanks," she mumbled, all ready to take off again.
"Hey, wait," said Scorpius, stepping back out on the ice. "Care to skate with me?"
"I think you've had enough practice," snorted Rose, stabbing her hand furiously into her mitten.
"No, for real," he said, extending his hand.
Rose's head snapped up, startled. He looked sincere enough, but there still had to be something wrong with this whole situation. "Are you saying I'm the girl?" she asked, her voice wavering more than she would have liked.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," he said, grinning at her. "Will you skate with me?"
Her throat clenched up so tightly that she was afraid she wouldn't be able to get any words out. "I don't know," she managed to squeak. "You seem to fall down an awful lot."
"That's all you, sweetheart," he said, closing the distance between them. "I've been skating since I was a kid."
Rose gaped at him open-mouthed and felt her blood begin to boil. Before she could get too overheated about being tricked, she felt a warm mouth close over her own. Suddenly, it didn't really matter that Scorpius pulled her skirt over her head several times a week or that their parents had hated each other since the day they had met. All that really matter was that she could feel his heartbeat through her own chest, and they seemed to be synchronizing.
After a few lovely moments, Scorpius pulled away and smiled at her- possibly the first genuine smile she had ever seen on him- and said, "Kind of skating with a partner, huh?"
With a grin, Rose grabbed his hand and pulled him farther out onto the ice. "Exactly like that."