Rose finished unpacking and looked out her window to the holly tree that grew there. From her seat at the sill, she could see the main house, and the large expanse of lawn that led down to the pond, which was frozen over. The sun was almost completely gone, but Lily was already carving circles in the smooth surface of the ice with her skates. Rose smiled and grabbed a sweater to go join her.
“Mum! Where are my skates?” She called a few minutes later, as she rifled through the bins in the garage trying to find her worn out white pair.
No answer. She sighed. Hermione was probably making dinner in the main house. Rose gave up and began to walk through the dark thicket of trees on the path to help with dinner.
“Rose!” A voice called from the trees when she was about halfway there. A hand pulled hers into the bushes, and she felt a spark under her band-aid as she realized the hand was Scorpius’. He pulled her a few feet away from the trail and onto a wooden bench.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Shhh! Do you want Mark to catch you like this?” Scorpius asked.
“I’ll just tell him a crazy boy pulled me out here!”
“We need to talk.”
Rose looked at the blonde young man next to her and sighed. This was the first time she had been with him alone since their coffee date a few months earlier. He brushed some of his light colored hair out of his silvery eyes and Rose felt her heartbeat raise.
No. She liked Mark. Mark was nice to her. Scorpius was with Kenley. Or some other whore, she was sure of it. He hadn’t seemed to care about seeing her and Mark together. They had just gone back to not talking at all, actually, except for their potions time. Her and Mark, on the other hand, had some good times, and they had a lot in common. They were both very serious about their NEWTS and studying, and… she was out of reasons. But she was with Mark.
Rose scooted a few inches further from Scorpius and tilted her head up. “What do we need to talk about?”
Scorpius opened his mouth, and paused, hesitating for a moment before continuing. “Does he know you’re sigged?”
“W-what?” Rose asked.
“Does. He. Know. That. You. Are. Sigged?” Scorpius asked again, slowly as possible. “Has he seen what’s under that band-aid there?” He added, pointing to the electric blue on Rose wore over the green ink that day.
“O-of course.” Rose lied. Her and Mark didn’t really talk that much at all, she realized again. Pretty much just made out and complained out NEWTS.
“You didn’t tell him.”
“It hasn’t come up yet.”
“He has a right to know, Rose.”
“Why does he need to know?”
“Because—“ Scorpius didn’t have a straight answer. What did the Siggs mean, after all, if him and Rose weren’t together? “I don’t know. He just should.”
“It’s my decision. I don’t see why you would care.”
Scorpius studied her face. Did she care about him at all? Her piercing eyes stared back, seemingly calm. “I guess I don’t.” Scorpius said. “But he’s sharing a room with me, Al, and Finn. I can’t guarantee it won’t come up.”
With that, Scorpius squeezed her hand gently and disappeared into the dark.
“Is that a threat?” Rose called after him.
“Of course not.” He called back from the darkness. “Just not a guarantee that this is going to be a peaceful few weeks. Al’s out for blood.” He added, as his voice and footsteps faded away.
Rose rested her head in her hands and took a deep breath. She was a Weasley; Christmas was never peaceful.
Finn found a door to the outside in the huge house and walked out onto the back patio. A few hundred feet away, he could see the pond in the fading light. He strode towards it, and sat down on the bench near the water’s frozen edge.
As he watched Lily twirl circles and skate loops on the glassy ice, he smiled. She wore a dark brown sweater, dark jeans, and brown legs warmers over her skates, but she’d never looked more like a ballerina.
Her eyes closed, she lifted a leg in the air to form an arabesque, and then brought herself down into a sit spin. She gradually slowed down, and without opening her eyes, cracked a smile and threw herself into a toe pick jump. In midair, she opened her eyes to land the jump and looked up as she slowed down, to the sound of clapping.
“So Al hasn’t killed Mark yet?” she called across the frozen water with a laugh.
“Not before I left.” Finn said, standing up and sticking his freezing hands in his pockets as Lily skated up to the edge near him.
“You ever skated before?” she asked, looking him up and down in a playful manner. Finn shook his head. “Want to?”
“I don’t have any skates.”
Lily nodded towards a box of them she’d brought out. I was going to show Hugo, but he didn’t show up.”
“Lily! Finn! Dinner!” Rose called from the main house.
“Maybe tomorrow.” Finn said, holding a hand out to Lily. She took it and leaned on him for balance as she peeled her skates off and slipped into some boots. “Let’s hope dinner’s good.”
Rose sat down next to Mark and offered him some bread from the basket she’d brought from the kitchen. “Do you like chicken? Aunt Ginny made chicken alfredo and garlic bread.”
“Sounds good.” He said with a shrug. “How was unpacking?”
“Cool.” He said.
They sat there picking at their bread until Al came bouncing in, Scorpius, Finn, and Lily behind him. “Rose, mum wants you in the kitchen.” He said, pushing her out of her seat and sitting down in it.
Rose smiled apologetically and strode out of the room.
“So, Mark, how are you and Rose? Pity about her… condition, you know.”
“Condition?” Mark asked.
“Yeah, you know, she’s really shy about it, but she actually has a disorder that makes her collect every toenail clipping she’s ever got. Thought you knew.”
Lily snorted into her milk.
“Um, no, that hadn’t come up yet.”
“Freaked out?” Al asked, getting a little closer to Mark’s face.
“Only by your proximity.” Mark said, trying to laugh it off, but he couldn’t decide if Al was joking or not.
“What did mum need in the kitchen? She told me everything was ready.” Rose said, coming back in the room.
Al shrugged. “She must be getting old. Can’t remember asking me to send you in…”
Lily rolled her eyes and caught Finn smiling.
“Whatever. They’ll be in soon.” She sat down on the chair on the other side of Mark, which happened to place her in between him and Scorpius.
“So, when is Dom getting here, Scorpius?” Mark asked, trying to keep the conversation going.
“Why would he care?” Rose asked.
“Him and Dom are dating, but it’s supposed to stay quiet since her dad’s a little crazy.”
“W-what?” Rose asked. “Y-you and Dom?” she asked, turning to Scorpius.
“Uhuh.” He said dazedly, looking at Al.
“But you can’t tell anyone about it.” Al said to Rose. “Or you, Mark. She doesn’t want her parents to know.”
“There’s a lot of things she doesn’t want them to know.” Rose said with a sigh, eyeing her band-aid.
“It’s ready!” Ginny said, levitating a huge pot of noddles and chicken into the room and dropping it on the table. “Harry! Ron! C’mon!” she yelled. “Oh dear, where’s Hugo now?” she asked in a normal voice. “Harry! Find Hugo and bring him too!”
“I’m here, I’m here.” Hugo said, coming in behind his mom.
Harry and Ron appeared at the other door and sat down at opposite ends of the table. Ginny and Hermione sat next to their husbands and began to serve the food.
“Alfredo, again, Gin?” Ron asked from his end of the table.
“You two are cooking tomorrow.” Hermione said.
Lily played with the sapphire cocktail ring around her finger and smiled to herself.
“All right, team, we’ve had a few setbacks, but it’s all going to work out.” Al said, pacing back in forth. Lily, and Finn sat on the second floor balcony of the house’s library watching Al panic. “So Rose thinks that Scorpius is with Dom. We can work with this. Maybe she will get jealous?” He looked up, looking to Lily for encouragement.
“I don’t know.” Lily said, biting her lip. Most girls would, but Rose is kind of a special case. I don’t know what is making her tick anymore.”
“Lily, you’re the girl. You’re supposed to be getting us intel on the target!”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Rose is not ‘the target’. She’s a human. And, like I said, she’s been super distant-- ever since she sigged, really. She doesn’t talk to me anymore.”
“Well then start the conversation. We need all the information we can get.” Al said. He turned and faced Finn. “Finn.”
“Yes sir?” Finn asked with a smile. “Your job is to get information out of Mark. You are going to be friends with him now. Find out when he is going to his parents and when he’s coming back.”
“He’s not staying here the whole break?” Finn asked.
“No, cadet.” Al said, completely seriously. “I gained some intel—“
“He heard my Rose’s mum talking to mine—“ Lily cut in.
“And it seems that Target Number Two’s parents want him to spend a few days at home next week, over Christmas Day. So your job is to get the departure and return times.”
“Sir yes sir.” Finn said, trying not to laugh. “What are you going to be doing?”
Al sighed. “I have the hardest task of all. Corrupting the perfection that is Scorpius Malfoy.”
“Corrupting him? You’re going to take his virginity, then?” Lily asked.
“Funny, Lils.” Al said. “No. I have to talk him into lying.”
“About what?” Finn asked.
“Well, Rose think him and Dom are dating. So Scorp is going to have to make it believable, right?”
“Scorpius will never go for that.” Lily said.
“What won’t I go for?” Scorpius asked, coming up behind them.
“You’re late, soilder.” Al said, ignoring the question.
“You planned a secret meeting in a house I’ve never been in and wrote the directions in invisible ink on a piece of parchment that you then crumpled up and threw at me, but missed and hit Mark. You’re lucky he was sleeping. And what’s the point of meeting at three in the morning?”
“Had to meet while Target Number Two is still sleeping as long as command continues to require him to stay in our barracks.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes. “Right then. What won’t I go for?”
Our master plan.” Al said. “We need you to pretend that you are dating Dom.”
“Forget it.” Scorpius said. “What would be the gain in that?”
“Rose will get jealous, dump Mark, and come running straight to you.”
“I doubt it.” Scorpius said. “And I am not going to trick Rose into dating me by lying about dating her cousin.”
“Well, Dom’s going to be here tomorrow, and Rose is going to expect something.”
“We can just tell Rose the truth. We lied about me being with Dom so that she can tell Mark about her sigg instead of us telling him.”
“That’s silly.” Al said.
“You’re the one who started it!” Scorpius said. “ ‘At least you all have girls here for you’. What the hell were you thinking saying that in front of Mark?”
“I wasn’t thinking. Sorry.” Al said. “But I really think this could work.”
“I told you, I’m not going to manipulate Rose’s feelings by making up a girlfriend. The answer is no.”
“Okay. Whatever.” Al said in a playful tone. “I guess you really don’t care about our darling Rosie anyway. Her and Mark can just get married, have a few kids—good luck finding someone for yourself with those numbers on your hand, by the way…”
Scorpius sighed. “You said it was a ‘secret relationship’ anyway. Maybe Rose will just assume that we’re being really secretive.”
“So you aren’t going to encourage it, but you’re not going to tell Rose the truth?”
“I guess not.”
“Alright! Someone is on the right side now.” He said. “So now all we need to do is make sure that Rose doesn’t ask Dom about it.”
Lily groaned. “This is the dumbest plan I’ve ever heard of.”
“Do you have a better one, Cadet?” Al asked.
“I really think you need a girlfriend yourself, Al. You’ve got too much time on your hands.”
“I’ve only got one time on my hands, Lils.” Al said, holding up his sigged hand.
“How have mum and dad not noticed that yet?” she asked.
“I’ve been wearing gloves.” Al explained.
“All the time?” Finn asked.
“Pretty much. Mum gave me a weird look at dinner, but I’m the confusing child anyway, so…” he trailed off.
“Okay then,” Scorpius began. “We are going to let Rose think that me and Dom are dating, and also make sure that Dom and Rose don’t talk.”
Al nodded. “And we spring into action next week when Target Douchebag—“
“You mean Target Number Two?” Lily asked sarcastically.
“—Target Number Two goes home for Christmas. Break on three.” He said, holding his hand out.
After a few long seconds, Lily sighed and tossed her hand in, followed closely by Finn’s. Al looked at Scorpius meaningfully. Scorpius chewed his lip and looked at them.
“I’m still not sure about this. None of it is okay or natural.”
“And neither is Mark and Rose.” Al said. “Do you like my cousin or not?”
“Fine.” Scorpius said, throwing his hand in.
A/N: So last time I asked for more and longer reviews and I loved the response I got. I responded to all of them, so go check it out. And please, please, please continue to review. It makes me so much better of a writer, and your ideas, insights, and input impact the story more than you realize!
On a related note, what do you guys think of Al? He got a lot of facetime this chapter, and he's been bringing a lot of comedy to this story. I freaking love him! He writes himself, I swear. I go back and re-read and have no recollection of writing anything he says!
Now here's the kicker, should he be devloped more, or is his purpose solely that of a great foil for our heroes, Scorpius and Finn? I have this BIG idea for him at the end, that really knits up all of my ideas of sigging, but I'm just not sure he can carry it after how funny I've made him. Your thoughts?
I love you all! Have a great spring break!
“Douchebag on three!” Al said. “1…2….3!”
Love, OriOre. :)