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Chapter 8 : Back to Hogwarts
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I enjoyed your last letter as always. But despite the fact that you went to France, I think I had the better vacation. Obviously. I myself have been enjoying my time at home immensely. My house is positively fraught with light and laughter, as per usual. Why just last week, my father and I experienced yet another paternal bonding moment. We went to a park, had some ice cream, kicked the football around, and then he lectured me because some horrid know-it-all in my year did better than me yet again at charms. How he even gets this information I will never know, although I suspect that it had something to do with her grandfather’s bragging at the office a few days ago… She should give him a good kick for me. If she was reading this, that is.
Have I told you about this girl before? The one who always beats me at Charms, that is. Well, let me tell you, you will never meet a bigger know-it-all in your entire life. Now there’s a person who needs to remove the stick that found its way up her arse. Miss you!
PS- This may not mean much to you, but I thought I’d tell you anyways. I was made a prefect at my school!
Rose smiled as she read Scorpius’s latest letter. They were both going to be prefects next year! That could be fun; they might even be able to patrol together on occasion. It would be nice to hang out without risking detention for once… Not quite as exciting, one had to admit, but nice.
She would have to get him back for that know-it-all comment though. Stick shoved up her arse her—er—arse. She did not appreciate the irony.
Ok, maybe she did.
It had been two years since they tentatively decided to write each other (with stripper code names of course, Scorpius decided that there were no names more shady than those of the strippers), and a little less than two years since Scorpius had become Rose’s very best friend. Well, no one actually knew this particular fact, but it was true all the same. They made a priority to meet at least once a week (most of the time hours after curfew) to do homework, sometimes play music, and just enjoy each other’s company.
It was strange, but she felt like she could tell him anything: from venting about her day to all of her insecurities and problems. She had never had anyone to tell those things to before.
But Scorpius, Rose suspected, kept a lot more hidden about his life than she did. She looked at the letter in concern. He made light of his relationship with his family, but sometimes he would slip up and give Rose a glimpse into what the situation was really like. He hated his father, Rose was pretty sure, really and truly hated him. Every time either of his parents were brought up he would go on complete lockdown, and not even Rose could get to him. She hoped that his ‘paternal bonding time’ with his father wasn’t too horrible…
She was about to respond when Albus came knocking—well to be honest pounding—on her door. “Oi! Rose! I heard you just got back! Why haven’t you visited yet?!”
“Albus they couldn’t have got back more than half an hour ago!” A calmer voice, which was unmistakably Dan’s, admonished.
“Whatever, I missed her!”
“And you need help with your summer homework before we go back to school,” Colin’s snickered.
“Not true! I can visit my cousin when I want to, why don’t you go—whoa.”
Rose opened the door, about to greet them, when she paused to see identical dumbfounded looks on all three boys’ faces, “What?”
They all looked like fish when their mouths hung open like that. Rose crossed her arms and opened her eyes wide, as if she was asking nonverbally, “Do you have a problem?” Dan continued to stare at her like she had two heads, but Colin seemed to have reclaimed his senses, “Well, well, well. Someone has changed over the summer holidays, haven’t they?”
Rose raised her eyebrows, “Excuse me?”
“Wow.” Dan said, a far off look in his eyes.
Albus looked at Dan in disgust. Rose started to feel really over-warm and uncomfortable: kind of like Dan’s gaze was a spotlight, and she was standing in the middle of an empty stage. Colin decided to break the awkwardness with another pearl of wit.
“Wow Rose, when did you get boobs?” He asked, his eyes popping out of his head while he did so. Rose tightened her arms that were crossed over her chest.
“And… And your hair isn’t all, you know,” He made frantic motions around his head, without even lifting his eyes above her collarbone.
“Frizzy?” Rose sneered, hoping sarcasm would alleviate the awkwardness, “Brilliant imitation. Now could you please stop staring at me?”
“Wow,” Dan said again.
Obviously he wasn’t getting the message.
Ok, so Rose might have bought some Sleek-Easy and makeup over the summer holidays. A girl got tired of being called an ugly nerd all the time. But if she thought that it would have caused this embarrassing reaction she would have left well enough alone!
“Er, yeah well, um… Where’s Jack?”
“Ung…” Dan seemed to be making a great effort for speech, but was sadly coming up short. Yet again, Colin decided to be the spokesperson for the group, “He had a bit of a run in with one of Al’s plants a few hours back. He needed to go on a quick run to St. Mungos. But forget about him, let’s talk about you.”
“Er… No, let’s not.”
“Oh, come on! Jack once told me that muggles have something called surgery to change their appearances. Was it something like that?”
Rose merely rolled her eyes. Dan, however, had apparently taken on a new protective streak, and looked outraged.
“Hey!” he exclaimed, glaring at his friend, “Why do you always have to be ragging on her Colin? It’s annoying.”
They all looked at him in surprise. Rose spoke first, “Er, well thanks Dan, but it’s really ok—”
“No, it’s not ok,” He looked stern and pointed at Colin, “Apologize.”
“Uhh, I’m sorry?” Colin looked just as confused as Rose felt.
“Excellent!” Dan suddenly smiled at Rose. Her eyes widened a little bit. He had never smiled at her like that! Why, he was positively dazzling.
Al seemed to be oblivious of her realization. “Rose, how could you?” he said accusingly, “You were supposed to be the one I didn’t have to worry about. How am I ever going to get any spare time when you look like that? I’ll have to spend all my time beating off every pervert in the school!”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Lovely. So basically what you’re telling me is that I can only attract guys who look at nudie mags in their spare time. How about you tell me to give up on respectability and become a streetwalker while you’re at it? That would save a lot of backhanded comments, I assure you.”
Al dismissed her comment with a wave of his hand, “That’s not what I’m saying and you know it. Why’d you have to go and change everything about yourself anyways, you looked fine to begin with!”
Rose just gave him a look that said, “You have got to be kidding me!” and then said verbally, “Fuck off!”
And slammed the door in his face.
It had all started last year. Melinda Jones, who had been mildly obsessed with Al since first year, finally achieved her life goal: Al had gone insane and decided to go out with her. Up until then Rose didn’t have that much of a problem with her. Jones practically worshiped the ground that Dom and Al walked on, and, even though she might not have liked Rose very much, she was always polite. However, that all changed when Al got sick of her and dumped her a month later.
To put it mildly, Melinda hadn’t taken it well. Not well at all. But did she handle it rationally, or at least take it out on the person who deserved it (Al, the stupid wanker, it was all his fault)? Nooo, of course not! Melinda decided that the new outlet for her anger was Al’s poor defenseless cousin, Rose.
Rose didn’t like to play the victim, but that girl was just plain mean. It started a few days after the break up. They were sitting in Transfiguration when Jones leaned over and said, “Jeez Rose, what made a nest in your hair? It looks horrible today!”
And it only got worse. It seemed like everywhere Rose went there was a constant torrent of little remarks about Rose’s hair, freckles, lack of figure, and freakish tallness. To Rose, who wasn’t exactly full of confidence in the looks area, it hurt.
She didn’t let it show of course. Dom was livid enough, if Rose had expressed her true feelings on the matter, Jones wouldn’t have lived to see the next day. And while she disliked Jones (immensely) she didn’t want her dead. There were many times when Rose downplayed her hurt, but they all basically went like this:
“Please can I set her bed on fire? No one will even know it was me!” Dom muttered to Rose one day, after Jones acted out, badly, a fall Rose had taken earlier in the day to her flock of brainless friends.
Rose would have liked nothing better, but even Jones deserved to live so she said, “No, its fine. Why should I care about what she says to me? She’s not even that creative with her insults. They’re all starting to sound the same now. Why would that bother me?”
Dom was appeased, but that didn’t stop Rose from fighting the urge to cry as she walked up to bed.
Dom wasn’t the only one who was angry. A few weeks after the teasing began Scorpius came to her in the Room of Requirement positively seething.
“Who the bloody hell does that bitch think she is?!” Scorpius roared as he paced the room, “How long has this been going on? This is the third time this week that I’ve heard her insult you like that.”
Rose sighed, “Not that long Scorpius. Besides, it’s not like it bothers me that much anyways.”
Scorpius raised an eyebrow at that, “Oh really? Not at all? Well, your head must be thicker than I thought it was.”
She just glared sullenly at him. She thought it was slightly more mature than her other option, which would be to roll her eyes and say, “Whatever.”
“It just doesn’t bother me, alright? Merlin, why do you always have to figure everything out? Why can’t you just leave well enough ALONE?!” Rose hadn’t intended it, but her voice had started to rise with each word.
“Ha! I told you that you weren’t ok with it!” He looked jubilant for a second, and then very serious, “You shouldn’t listen to her, you know.”
Stupid Scorpius, Rose thought as she felt tears welling up in her eyes, he always has to be right about everything. The first tear hadn’t so much as fallen by the time Scorpius was at her side, “Hey, don’t cry about it,” he said softly as he thumbed away the single tear, “If there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that she doesn’t deserve your tears.”
Rose sniffled a little, but no more tears fell. Rose Weasley didn’t cry and she wasn’t about to start now. Instead she sighed sadly and said, “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it,” Scorpius said in the same soft voice, “Hey Rose?”
“Don’t freak out, but I’m going to hug you now.”
Rose’s head shot up, “Why?”
“Because you look like you need one.”
“Oh, just shut up for once and let me hug you.”
And she was silent as he slowly encircled his arms around her. It was a little awkward at first, but after a few moments Rose just closed her eyes and let him hold her. She put her arms around his torso and in return his arms tightened their hold around her. For the first time in a long time she felt safe, like nothing mattered. And he smelled really good too, which was always a plus.
“Rose,” Scorpius whispered into her hair.
“For what it’s worth, I think you’re really pretty.”
Rose smiled against his chest. Melinda didn’t really bother her so much after that.
Rose woke up slowly. She was having a good dream, only she couldn’t remember what it was. She had a feeling Scorpius was in it… but she couldn’t be sure.
Eventually, Rose climbed out of bed. She had to be on the Hogwarts Express in a few hours and she needed to get ready. What was left to do? Everything seemed to be in order. Maybe this morning wouldn’t be too bad for once. Her trunk was all packed and Babbity, the owl her parents got her for her thirteenth birthday, was in her cage and looking quite disgruntled, thank you very much. Rose decided that she could afford herself a nice long shower to unwind before the stress began.
While she was in the shower she thought back over the last two weeks of summer. In a word: it was weird.
Everyone was acting so strange. Strangest of all was definitely Dan who, after defending her to Colin, had definitely taken on the knight in shining armor persona. He was always there to open a door, help push her chair in, carry whatever Rose happened to be holding, and a whole lot of other things that made Rose flush with embarrassment. No one had ever treated her like a damsel in distress before, and it was kind of… sweet. But weird none the less.
He wasn’t the only one. Rose swore she saw Jack’s jaw hit the floor when he finally came to her house (although this might have been because half his face had swollen to twice its normal size). Colin didn’t even tease her half as much as he used to (but Dan could have contributed to this sudden burst of politeness).
Al, James, Fred, and most of her other male cousins kept eyeing her wearily, as if she was some imposter in their household. Screw weird, they were bloody annoying! Every time she came within ten feet of them one would make a comment like “We’ll have to deal with a whole new flock of boys,” or “If Dom wasn’t bad enough, now we have ANOTHER one!” It was the worst when Dan was in the room. Not that Rose would go so far as the say that Dan liked her or anything, but it was just so bloody awkward. She wished Scorpius was there, so she could talk to someone normal, for God’s sake.
And therein lay the rub. As much as she wanted to ignore it, she was a little curious to see how Scorpius would react to her new appearance. She suddenly had an image of Scorpius dropping everything the moment he saw her, running, in slow motion, and falling on his knees, professing his undying love to her. Then she quickly shook her head. Hard. It wasn’t like she wanted that to happen anyways, just her silly imagination running away with her. Ahem.
She shut off the water and got out of the shower. Her water was getting cold anyways.
Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!
Scorpius was not in the best of moods.
It was completely illogical since he was having such a wonderful day. Not. First, he woke up at 6 am to an empty house and spent a good hour packing for Hogwarts. Then, he proceeded to wait for the next three hours in silence, stupidly hoping that one of his parents would remember he was leaving. After they didn’t show (go figure) he then took a muggle taxi to King’s Cross instead of their magically enhanced car, just to spite them. And there he was, wrestling his impossibly large truck into an impossibly small compartment. Bloody stupid trunk. He didn’t really need all that stuff. He was seriously considering living as a monk from that time on.
Scorpius had almost gotten it into the train when the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He turned his head to find the source of his unease, and promptly dropped his trunk.
Right in front of him stood the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
It was Rose. But it wasn’t Rose. The Rose he knew shied away from other people, and hid her light so no one could see it. This Rose… glittered. He watched as she threw her head back and laughed at something someone said, her loosely curled hair cascading down her back in one perfect wave. Although, when he looked closely, he saw that a few frizzy hairs had rebelled. That pleased him for some reason.
She was still very tall, even taller than she was last year, if that was possible, and still quite thin and gangly. But she had acquired curves for sure. Scorpius’s mouth went dry. They definitely suited her.
But none of that was what really did him in. It was the look on her face, still the same as always, as she turned to look at him. Her lips curved into a half smile, a secret and sly smile that Scorpius had seen a thousand times before. She was the same, and yet she was different. And Scorpius wanted nothing more than to walk over and be near her. He didn’t have to take her in his arms or anything so cliché, just stand by her side and never leave it.
It was around the time that that ridiculous thought crossed his mind when he noticed the throbbing in his toe, “Bloody fucking HELL!”
Rose hid a giggle as Scorpius hopped up and down on one foot, gripping the other one in pain.
“Oi, what’s wrong with Malfoy?”
“I would say he dropped his trunk on his foot,” Rose said.
Al laughed, “Ha! Well what do you know, he did! He better start training if he ever wants to stand a chance against us at Quidditch. Can’t even lift his own trunk!”
Everyone snickered at the (admittedly) comical sight before them. Rose just smiled blandly. Then she frowned. Why was Scorpius putting his own trunk on the train? She looked around and realized his parents weren’t there. Oh dear.
“Umm… Don’t you think we should go help him?” Rose asked in a timid voice. When she heard no response, she turned to see her entire family with equal looks of incredulousness on their faces.
“Er, Rose?”Dom asked, obviously in concern, “Are you feeling alright?”
Rose rolled her eyes, “Well, I just think it would be nice,” and then she did something very brave: she marched over to where Scorpius was standing (well, hopping) and started to lift his trunk.
Scorpius’s head shot up and his face took on the look of a muggle who had accidentally wandered into the Great Hall, “Rose. What are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” She looked at him like he was incredibly stupid, “I’m helping you with your trunk of course!”
This didn’t seem to appease Scorpius as he helped her lift the trunk into the compartment, “Well I’m not blind. What I meant was why are you doing it?”
Rose didn’t answer until the trunk was safely put away and she was about to return to her gaping family, “Give my regards to dear Mummy and Daddy, Malfoy.”
As she walked back to the sea of red hair Scorpius couldn’t help but stare after her in astonishment. She looked beautiful as the sunlight turned her hair into a kaleidoscope of colors. And she had helped him, a Malfoy, in front of her family because she had noticed that he had been abandoned today.
He really did have the best friend a guy could possibly ask for.
A/N Can I get what, what! Fifth year baby! It's about to get interesting and hormonal! Gah, I'm so excited! So, did you like all the cute Rose/Scorpius moments? I know that I enjoyed writing them :) Please review if you did! If you don't review then I might take that as an indication to amp the "cuteness," and I don't want to make any of you throw up... So for your health, review!
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