“Oh my god, this is fantastic – oh, where’s Draco? We’ve got to make an announcement! Merlin – Scorpius, engaged!” Mrs. Malfoy rambled in a high, happy voice as she scurried away.
I turned to Malfoy, my eyes wide and my mouth partially agape. He managed a sheepish smile.
“What…was that?” I asked blankly.
“Er…” He ruffled the back of his hair with his hand. “Um…an impulsive idea?”
“You’re kidding,” I said faintly.
“Well, in hindsight, I sort of wish I was, but I was a bit desperate to keep myself away from Evanna Eckert, to be honest, and you were the only person –”
“You’re bloody kidding me,” I continued, my voice slowly getting angrier. “You couldn’t have – oh, I don’t know – consulted me before declaring our engagement, which, by the way, I wasn’t even aware of, to your mom?! Do you ever think?!”
“Er – Weasley, we’re sort of attracting a scene, mind lowering your voice a little?” He asked quietly, leaning towards me and letting his eyes dart around.
“Lower my voice?! LOWER MY – MMPH!” I screamed against his hand as he sent an innocent smile to the various passers-by giving us odd looks and quickly strode out of the main hall and into a small room near it.
“Okay, now you can talk,” He said, closing the door behind him.
“Wow, thanks, Malfoy! I sure do appreciate this! Thanks for being such a gracious person!” My voice rose with each word, and he quickly performed a silencing charm on the door. “WHAT WERE YOU BLOODY THINKING?!”
“I wasn’t!” He yelled back, throwing up his hands. “It’s just…you saw how my mom is! She’s so pushy! And I’m honestly not interested – at all – in that overgrown troll! I had to come up with something, and you were the first solution I could think of! She’s been bugging me about this for years, and I bloody want her off my back – and tonight was just the last straw! I don’t want an arranged marriage –”
“WELL, THANKS FOR ASKING ME!” I shouted. “Did you ever think, for once, that in your lifelong quest to keep yourself happy, you’re ruining other people’s lives?! Did you, for once, even think about how something like this was going to affect me?! NO! It’s always 101 ways to make Scorpius Malfoy happy, all the time! I have a life, you know! And a family, and people who care about me and who I’m going to have to answer to! What am I supposed to tell them?!”
There was a short silence as my chest rose up and down with my ragged breaths and Malfoy lowered his eyes to the floor.
“I – well,” He stuttered.
“Save it,” I spat, turning around to let myself out. “I quit. You can deal with telling your mother that you lied to her. I’m out of here.”
I put my hand on the handle, but Malfoy’s arm shot out of nowhere and held it closed. I gritted my teeth and balled up my fists as I turned around.
“Please,” He said plaintively. “I really need you to do this.”
“Well, you should have thought to ask me before –”
“I’ll pay for Healing School.”
“Yes. I’ll pay for it.”
I bit my lip as I pondered this. “Malfoy…Healing School is expensive. Really expensive.”
“I don’t care – if it makes my mom happy, then I’ll pay for it,” His voice was edging on desperation. “I just really, really need you to do this for me. Please, Rose.”
Damn you, Malfoy. Damn you to hell and back.
I sighed, not believing what I was about to get myself into. “Fine.”
His shoulders slumped in relief, and, without thinking, he pulled me into a crushing hug. “Thank you,” He breathed into my hair.
“Okay,” I wriggled out of his hold. “First of all – there will be boundaries. No arse-touching. Whatsoever. No snogging. No shagging.”
He rolled his eyes. “Got it,” He said in a voice that clearly stated that he wouldn’t have wanted to either way.
“I’m divorcing you in five months after the wedding,” I continued.
“Let’s make it four, if possible.”
“And you will pay for my full tuition.”
I let out a sharp breath. “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.”
“You’d better do it properly, Weasley, otherwise deal’s off,” Malfoy warned me.
“Please. I know how to act.”
With that, Malfoy straightened out his suit, let himself out of the closet, and started walking down the hall. “Well, come on, then!” He called back to me. I gritted my teeth and followed him.
And here I was, hoping that the man had at least some shred of chivalry.
Then again, he wasn’t a Slytherin for nothing.
This is disgusting. Malfoy’s hand is so ridiculously sweaty, I literally have to hold on tight to keep my fingers from slipping off of his.
“Make your hand stop sweating on me!” I hissed to Malfoy whilst pretending to smile brightly at the people around me. They were all staring rather curiously at us while Mrs. Malfoy went on a long, happy rant about marriage and some shit like that.
“Oh, sure,” He snapped back. “Let me just have a chat my sweat glands, hold on.”
Well. No need to get all snarky with me!
“And now, without further ado, I would like to present our future addition to this family, Rose Weasley!” Mrs. Malfoy announced happily, and Scorpius stepped forward, towing me with him. I stumbled slightly, my face immediately blossoming pink as I continued to receive blank glares.
“Hold on!” A blonde guy – well, that’s not really a distinction – shouted. “She’s a Weasley?”
“Er – yeah,” I said unsurely, my quiet voice managing to echo around the room.
“Scorpius, what have you lowered yourself to?” Another old man snarled at Scorpius, completely disregarding the fact that I was standing right there and was fully capable of understanding what he said. “A half-blood? And a Weasley, no doubt?! Why don’t you just go out and marry a muggle?”
This is fucking ridiculous – of course this godforsaken family would still care about blood.
“I’m sorry, but being a half-blood does not make me any less worthy than you,” I said, my voice stronger than I felt. Inside, I felt like a little girl again, confronting Scorpius Malfoy for the first time on the Hogwarts Express and ending up in tears in the girl’s bathroom because he had called me a mudblood.
And here I am, helping the guy.
I wish someone would slap some sense into me. I am clearly severely lacking in that department.
“Ha! Allow the spawn of a blood-traitor and a mudblood in our pure, untainted family? We are not interested in disgracing ourselves to that level!” Someone called.
My jaw dropped open in outrage, and uncomfortable lump rising in my throat as most of the people guffawed loudly at me.
Tears burned behind my eyes and my teeth gritted. For once in my life, I had nothing to say back. No sarcastic comments, no brave statements that I could use to stand up for myself. In that moment, despite the dress and the hair and the flawless-Rose makeup, I felt like dirt.
Then I remembered my mom, and Al’s grandmother.
If they could deal with it, why can’t I?
Exactly – there’s no reason why I can’t. This shouldn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect me. A bunch of old, prejudiced bald guys should not decide whether or not I am worthy of living in this world. They’ll be dead in a couple of years, anyway – I shouldn’t give two craps about what they have to think about me.
Instinctively, my eyes hardened and my black straightened as I gazed coolly out over the sea of blondes. Malfoy, next to me, had his head down, and even Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy looked ashamed and uncomfortable.
How. Fucking. Ridiculous.
“You know what?!” I yelled, my voice carrying clearly over the din. Everyone was surprised into silence as they gazed at me, utterly appalled. “Yeah, I may be the daughter of a blood-traitor and a mudblood. Frankly, I’m proud of it. I know that I’m not anything less than any of you because of my blood – in fact, who I am makes me better than you’ll ever be. No one cares about what kind of blood you have running through your veins anymore. All that matters is that I have magic, and I was able to use it – better than anyone else in my class. My mudblood mother is able to use it better than any other magical person in the world. So go ahead! Say what you want to say about my parents and my background. Because, quite honestly, I couldn’t care less.”
With that, I turned on my heels, glared with blistering eyes at Malfoy, who looked deeply impressed, and stalked right out of there.
Yeah, I’m a Gryffindor – bloody proud of it, too. Don’t mess with me.
I ignored the voice, continuing my way down the street. My hands were balled up into tight little fists, fury throbbing through my veins. I wasn’t just mad – I was so fucking pissed. I was ready to punch something, and I wanted to scream and yell and go back and hex every single one of their scrawny blonde arses.
“Rose,” Malfoy panted, catching my arm and spinning me around. My hair swung around my face as I whipped around to look at him, my expression blazing and intense.
“What?” I snapped in a low voice. My heart was pounding in my ears, but, even through it all, I managed to notice that the older Malfoys were standing a little behind Scorpius, their eyes surprisingly regretful.
“What they said back there – that was – I mean…uncalled for,” He finished lamely, stuttering at my expression.
“You think?” I shot back, turning around to leave again. “Let go of me; I’m going home.”
“Rose,” He said softly, grabbing my other arm. I sighed and stared up at the sky over his right shoulder, watching as the patterns of sunset streaked across the inky black canvas. The sunset looked the same for him and me. It looked the same for everyone. It didn’t look prettier and uglier for people based on their blood.
What the fuck.
“I’m really sorry. On their behalf. I don’t believe in any of that shit, and neither do my parents,” He continued, his voice strangely soothing.
“I am not,” My voice wavered as tears brimmed in my eyes, “dirt. And no one has the right to make me feel that way.”
“I know,” He said gently. “I know you’re not. It’s not fair. And I’m sorry.”
I looked at him, surprise evident in my tear-filled eyes. “Why are you being so nice to me?” I asked quietly.
He grinned then, just a small quirk of his mouth. “Because my parents are watching. And, despite everything I say and do…I…I respect you, Weasley. You know how to work hard, and you never give up, and…I admire you for that.”
I was shocked. “Thank…thank you.”
“Don’t let it get to you,” He told me.
I rolled my eyes, managing a weak laugh, “I’ll try my best.”
“Come on,” He took my hand and started pulling me back, but I resisted.
“Can I please just go home?”
“You’re coming home with us tonight,” Malfoy said, pulling on my arm again. “Come on.”
“Healing School, Weasley. March.”
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