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Chapter 12 : The Sheriff
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I rolled my fingers over the parchment in front of me and attempted to catch the moving doodle. Jack had managed to charm my stick man to run over my History notes; unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to stop.
In front of me, the blonde chewed on a forkful of mash potatoes and sausage. I looked at the full hall and wondered why it was louder than usual.
“Just charm it to stop!” Tom begged, jabbing my page with his wand.
Dom ran a hand through his tick black hair and punched his friend in the arm. “Leave it alone, it’s not your problem.”
“She’s bugging me!” he exclaimed; “she won’t talk to us, she just keeps prodding her parchment.”
I poked the small man again as he speared his stick through the word ‘Goblin’, spinning the ‘o’ around on the wooden end. “That’s clever and kind of awesome.” Dom concluded. “You’re teaching me that Little Gates.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “No I’m not, I made it myself and it took ages, I’m not giving it out.”
“He also won’t give out the counter charm,” I added airily. I jabbed it again.
Leaning forward, Jack drew his wand and tapped my page; he speared himself and fell three paragraphs to a bloody death.
I looked at my friend in a horrified state. “They’re charmed to die,” he said pointedly. “That is one of the more gruesome ones though; usually they just run in to a ‘T’ or a ‘K’ or something.”
I rolled up my parchment quickly and shoved it back in to my bag. “Lovely Jack, simply wonderful.”
“No.” I replied.
Tom snorted. “Just a bit traumatised.”
I shook my head. “No. Just surprised. It didn’t seem like a charm that Jack would create.”
“What can I say?” he said. “I was annoyed when I created it.”
“I would hate to be the person at the end of your fury.” Tom said regretfully, gesturing to the parchment in my bag.
Jack laughed bitterly. “You usually cause it.”
I took this moment to stir my usual tea with a desert spoon. Dom had used all of the tea spoons to stick to his face, to see how many he could. Upon reaching five, they all fell off and landed in the gravy. I was left with the large spoons to stir.
Taking a sip of the hot liquid, I held the white mug to my cheek. It warmed up almost instantly. It was then that I noticed the approaching Hufflepuff. He took the free seat next to me and rolled up the sleeves on his black sweater vest for his uniform.
Jack leaned forward and put his fork down. “Perry, mate, are you alright?”
Perry nodded and pointed towards the Gryffindor table lazily, bitterness pouring from his expression.
Jack nodded knowingly. “Gregory Jacobs got an early admission offer to join the Tornadoes.” He explained. “It was an offer that would have gone to Perry here, but he missed the audition due to being – well, out of it. We tried to reschedule, but they wouldn’t hear of i-”
“We get it,” Tom interrupted Jack, pushing the palm of his large hand to his brother’s face. “Perry, I am so sorry.”
“Shit,” Dom breathed. “Hard luck mate.”
I put my china mug down and sent a small smile. Apologising wouldn’t make the situation any better; it wasn’t my fault. Perry knew that our friends meant well, but their words meant nothing to him.
He nodded and glared back over towards the Gryffindors.
“-nowhere near as good as you,” Jack continued. “He wouldn’t have got it if you had gone. Stupid accident. It’s fate, Perry, I tell you, its fate. Something better will come along. I promise!”
“Don’t promise what you can’t control, Jack.” Tom said quietly, and only to his brother. “You don’t know that.”
Jack’s voice raised a little. “But I do! Something better will come along, won’t it Ranny?”
I looked back to the table. “Please don’t include me in this.”
“She’s just shy,” he brushed off. “Don’t be a prick, Tom. You know that-“
Taking another sip, I tuned out their arguing. It seemed to become a regular occurrence. Tom didn’t like the things that Jack said, and he seemed to understand every word of his babble. Others – with the politest of intentions – tended to tune out for a moment or two, and catch the main point of the conversation towards the end.
I couldn’t believe how quickly Dom seemed to have grown up. Until today he continuously made a jest about Perry’s blackened eye. A quip or a quirk about he and Tom’s beatering quality. Tom felt guilty; I had lost count of the amount of time he had apologised. Perry took it all in good nature.
The Slytherin table resided next to the Hufflepuffs. I caught the colour of Albus’ hair, in amongst the shade of brown and blonde. He sat next to a girl with golden hair. Nina sent a small wave from her seat, one that I returned. Albus didn’t look from his plate. It had appeared they had made up.
I brushed my hands through my tangled hair. Today it was down, twisting to my chest with chopped cuts throughout. Dominic had taken to pulling down on the loose hairs that fell if I pinned it up. I didn’t like it. But now I would take it, anything to take the pain crushing my chest as it made its return.
I felt a strong hand place itself on to the small of my beck. My breath hitched as I felt Perry’s breath on my skin. “How was your day?”
His voice was quiet, barely a whisper. ‘A smile isn’t an answer’, he had said. But I knew that he took mine as one.
“It doesn’t matter,” Scorpius brushed off shortly when I asked him about his whereabouts at dinner.
I shrugged and stole another from his box of Bertie Botts, Ever Flavour Beans. When I realised it was earwax, I considered spitting it back in to the box but instead settled on swallowing it whole. I coughed back a choke.
Scorpius laughed loudly. “Earwax or bogey?”
“The first,” I coughed hoarsely.
The blonde looked at me through tired eyes. His grey irises looked worn, and his pale skin looked ghostly white against his bottle green jumper. He caught my gaze and linked his arm through mine, pulling me down the corridor.
I knew that he didn’t like the situation he was in, having to split his time between me and Al. I had told him time and time again that I didn’t want him to make that decision, but he as adamant that he wanted to.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going yet?” I asked, looping my thumb through the unused belt loop I my jeans.
He shook his head dramatically. “Nope. You’ll guess soon enough.”
I pondered for a moment. “To the kitchens? You’re going to make me dinner?”
“You’ve already had dinner, you greedy pig.” Scorpius tormented, flicking me in the back of my head. He held the camera up from the strap around his neck, “Clue number one.”
My eyes widened. “We’re going to take pictures?” I enquired, ignoring the pig comment. He nodded. “I’m going to take pictures of you as you make me dinner in the kitchens?”
His laugh boomed again and echoed throughout the quiet halls. I wondered why we hadn’t been caught yet, being out after curfew and as loud as we were.
“Will you drop the dinner idea?” he pleaded. “You’ve already had dinner, I’m not hungry. We have even passed the portrait that leads you to the kitchens.”
“Okay, okay,” I rounded. “A girl can only hope…”
“One day, I will take you dinner and let you take pictures of me doing it. I will wear an embarrassing apron and all.”
I agreed and he promised. He pointed towards the Potter’s invisibility cloak and called it ‘clue number two’.
He guided me around a corner on the seventh floor and stopped at the bottom of a moving stair case that lead to a tall tower – a place I had never been.
My eyes widened. “We’re exploring.”
This time his laugh was a little quiet. “No, love. Up there is the Gryffindor Tower. Do you know what happened with a certain person in their house today?”
“Yeah, their Quidditch Captain got offered early admission to the Tornadoes.”
“Nail on the head,” he replied, gesturing for me to take a seat on the floor. He did it first, leaning his head back on to the wall. We could see straight to the tower’s top. “But he turned it down. He wanted to take Gryffindor to victory in the house cup or something – which they’re never going to do because Slytherin is going to kick their pathetic, lion-like arses.”
He held up a finger, asking me for patience. He covered the two of us in the cloak and tucked in our feet. “They’re celebrating.”
As if to back up his point, a rowdy teen stumbled down the stairs, one or two of the concrete labs to each step. They threw out the ‘one foot at a time’ theory out of the window. He lifted his camera and slyly snapped a shot; the flash was dim, not enough to be noticed by the incapacitated blonde.
“You’re taking pictures of the fleeing party members?” I asked quietly, a little put down.
“You sound disappointed.”
I bit down on to my lip and replied in a hushed whisper. “Not really, just surprised. What will you do with them anyway?”
Scorpius thought for a moment. “I was thinking of adding them to my portfolio, if I get any good ones, then I can hand them in to the Daily Prophet and they will hire me as a photographer for taking such brilliant shots of real life – that or blackmail.”
“Ahh, I knew there was a dark reason.”
With a grin he nodded. “Are you annoyed?”
“Nope, not at all actually.” He knew me too well to know that I wouldn’t stop him, simply sit by him as he performed morally wrong deeds. “Do you think we’ll see Nina come down these stairs?” I asked nonchalantly, pushing back my cuticles.
“Can I ask you something?” He questioned, as a boy chased after a girl down the stairs, hanging on the banister to stop him from tripping. I nodded. “When did you and Clark become so chummy?”
I felt my fingers begin to shake as I pushed on my nails. But he held them still. Scorpius didn’t like her one bit. He found her repulsive and arrogant. He hated every little thing, every movement, every blink and every breath. He commented with negative views.
I had always listened to what he had, had to say. Scorpius was always right. His opinions on Nina I used to share, yet she seemingly wasn’t any of the things he had accused her to be. But I held my tongue. If Scorpius wanted to bitch, I would let him, and I would listen.
Treading carefully, I simply stated. “We’re not.”
“Don’t play the fool, Ranny. I know you are.” He said. “Don’t worry, love. I’m not angry; I don’t think two tosses about it. I thought the two of you may get along; you’re rather similar when it comes to naïve views of others.”
My eyes widened, my pupils growing. “But you hate her.”
“No, I don’t,” he admitted quietly. He dropped the camera in to his lap and let go of my fingers. “I was wrong, to speak badly of her. I was angry and upset.”
His face seemed to find some sort of colour, the pink hitting his cheeks as he spoke. His eyes narrowed as he thought of her. Scorpius wasn’t good at hiding his emotions when there was bad blood involved.
I turned sideways, accidentally pulling the cloak off of my legs before fixing it again. “What happened?”
“Ranny, maybe now isn’t the time to-“
“Why not?” I asked. “Scorpius, it’s only us in a corridor, no one can see us.”
I didn’t allow my eyes to linger on him for more than a moment, and instead chose the dismal staircase and brick.
He crossed his arms over his chest. “You can’t tell Albus.”
“Yes, because I’m likely to get up and wander off to tell him this second,” I said matter-of-factly. “Scorpius I won’t breathe a word. I promise.”
“I know that you won’t,” he agreed. “I just had to make sure.”
He held on to the camera tightly, not letting the lens move and twist between the grips of his fingers a he flicked the zoom back and forth. I wanted to tell him to stop stalling, to simply tell me, but I knew that it wouldn’t do any good.
He ran his strong hands down his face, his fingers catching in the corners of his mouth as he did. He growled a low sound before blinking.
“Nina and I had a thing,” he admitted quickly. “It was long before she had ever thought of Albus in the way she does now. It was before you ever liked Al.”
I sucked in a deep breath, taking the cloak in with the shape of my mouth as it hugged my face. It wasn’t the response he was expecting, nor was it mine. Yet, I couldn’t seem to master anything else. So I continued to hold the cloak to my face with the power of suction.
He pulled it away with a slight temper and I flinched. “Alright.”
For a moment I sat and processed the large amount of information he had given me, despite its compact size. I blinked for the seventh time in a minute, I counted every time. I bit my lip four times and scratched my hand five.
I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to think of this information. It explained a lot. Trust Scorpius to get himself in a situation that involved a romance scandal. Why didn’t he tell me? It wasn’t because he couldn’t trust me, because he was telling me this now. It wasn’t because he thought I would be nasty to her. He didn’t tell me because he knew that I wouldn’t approve. She was the best friend of Rose Weasley –the bane of my existence.
Albus, I knew was usually sensible. Yes, he didn’t always make the right decisions but he knew when to call it quits. Scorpius was the opposite. He was a daredevil, he lived in the moment. He went along with any idea and had no limits when it came to breaking the rules or living life in the fast lane. Scorpius’ white horse was a black bull that he ran alongside with horns of his own. He didn’t need armour, because in our fantasies he was always invincible. Nothing could hurt Scorpius Malfoy.
Yet, here I sat, next to the boy with the same grey eyes and the same blonde hair, but the solid expression had been replaced with one of sorrow. I placed my hand lightly upon his and rubbed my tired eyes with my sleeve.
“Do you still fancy her?”
He scoffed. “No, not at all.”
Internally, I tried to count up the amount of times he must have thought about this moment, how he would tell one of the two of us, me or Al, how he would break the news to us about his relationship with Nina.
“But you don’t like her with Albus.” It wasn’t a question.
Scorpius groaned and made an exasperated sound to follow. “No, I don’t. We didn’t tell anyone about us being together because we couldn’t think of one person that would approve. But she ended it before we even had a chance and ran off with the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.”
I waited until his obvious rage had soothed. He grasped the camera a little tighter and looked around the silent hallway. No other student had stumbled from the tower top and into the cool hallway.
“She came back to me at the beginning of this year,” he said sourly. “I thought that she might want to try again. I told her no. I had –and still have- no feelings towards her. Yet she still stuck by my side. She liked Albus; I saw it in her from the moment that she began talking to him.”
My mind fused the two together. “She used you to get to Al.”
Laughing bitterly he ran a hand through his hair. “I couldn’t’ quite believe it at first, no one uses me, I’m not the type of person to get used. But I let her do it; I was too shocked to stop her. I don’t want her anywhere near Al, he won’t see what she’s doing.”
“Which is?” he echoed. “Ranny, come on, please make the connection – he’s a Potter, she’s fame hungry. She wants the attention of the big boys. When she realised that I wasn’t going to let anyone find out about the two of us, she ended it, she moved on to the Captain of that time, who failed out and now works in a book store, she’s moved on to Al – how can he fail?”
I blinked again and spluttered out incoherent words.
“Don’t sound so shocked,” he practically spat. “She should get an Oscar.”
He pulled his hand out from under mine and placed it on top, balling it in to a fist with mine inside. He kept his eyes on me, I saw them close for a moment, and his forehead furrowed.
“Should we tell Albus?”
Scorpius’ eyes were still fixated on the stone wall. “He already knows.”
I looked to him. “Did you tell him?”
“Yes.” He sighed, unclenching his fist and placing my hand on to my leg. “I told him when he first mentioned about liking her. He doesn’t believe me. He’s fed up of people trying to befriend him for his name. You know Al; he always wants to see the good in people – even when it’s not there. Just like you.”
“That’s why I need you around, Scop.” I admitted. “You remind me that I can’t trust everyone.”
“But I never thought that I would be telling you that you can’t trust Al, I never thought…”
But he stopped. His voice trailed off at a crack. Scorpius Malfoy wasn’t going to cry. He never cried. He had never once come close. He didn’t shed a single tear when his Grandfather passed away, not when he lost his first Quidditch Match, not even when he broken both of his arms in third year. Scorpius Malfoy didn’t cry.
He let out a despairing sound, not short of a quiet grunt. “Pathetic, isn’t it? I can’t even bring myself to tell him what I really think of his girlfriend.”
“You’re not alone there.”
“What are you chatting about, love?” he teased, a fake lightness to his tone. “You like her.”
I shook my head. “Not if you don’t.”
“You have to decide for yourself, Ran. I can’t decide for you.”
I looked at him, really looked at him. The dim lantern only a few feet away lit up the dark side of his face, no shadow of our bodies showed on the wall behind us – we were invisible. The dark gleam in his eyes was only enhanced by the light. He gave me a look.
It was the look that I was used to receiving. It was the caring Scorpuis that I used to know. I had never seen this glare on him before. The look wasn’t tender, it wasn’t sweet. It was desperate and daring. It stopped me thought my train of thoughts and allowed me to think of nothing else. It made me forget how to think. It made me feel guilty.
I shook my head and tore my gaze away, knowing that his eyes were still on me. “I think that she deserves and Oscar. How could I believe that someone as nice as that could be friends with people like Rose and Marilyn.”
“Eh, Marilyn’s not that bad.” Scorpius said with a shrug. “She’s annoying and obsessive yes, but she makes a good cup of tea.”
I watched him crack a smile before I smacked his arm. “You’re so English sometimes it hurts.”
“I do what I can.” He said soundly. But his eyes still said something else. A light flickered in the distance, from the top of the tower. “What do you think then, of everything that I’ve told you? Can you handle all that information going in to your noggin at once?”
“Yes, I’m not a numpty,” I replied, brushing my right thumb over the left. “It took me a moment at first; I thought you may have been joking. I mean, you told me this TARDIS amount of information-“
I made a small exasperated sound, mimicking his earlier one. “Muggle TV reference, you’re coming over at Christmas. I’ve got the boxset. I can’t believe I’ve never explained Doctor Who to you. I’m getting off track – long story short, I’m okay with it.”
“I knew you would be,” he said gratefully. “Thank you Ranny Baker.”
He shook his head in a dismissive way and shrugged. “For being there, for listening … for offering me your Doctor Whatsits face boxset. You’r-“
“-Dumping me, he can’t end it with ME!”
The pair of us instantly turned our attention to the figure stumbling aimlessly down the stairs. Rose Weasley pulled her long red hair over her shoulder and hiccupped as she slipped down on to her bottom. She went down the first two steps like that, before muttering something incoherent to herself about her boyfriend - or ex, as it now appears.
“Oh Circe,” I swore. “Scorpius, this is just what you wanted, take a picture!”
But he didn’t move. Instead his gaze travelled over her tearing eyes. “No.”
My eyes narrowed. “What do you mean no? Look at her Scorpius, you wanted blackmail. This is exactly what you wanted. Rose is evil – she’s The Sherrif, she makes people feel awful about themselves.”
“This isn’t you Ranny,” he said in an astounded tone. “You always tell me to stop, you don’t encourage me.”
“Scorpius. I walked in to my dorm the day of the Quidditch Match and Marilyn made my bed disappear to Norway; Rose sat on her bed and laughed.” I recalled. “She has spent years calling me names. This is Rose Weasley at her downfall. Even if we didn’t show her the picture, we would always have it to remind ourselves that the Wicked Witch of the West is breakable.”
“Exactly,” Scorpius sneered, pulling the cloak off us both, I tried to pull it back but he stood up and folded it in to four. “She’s broken Ranny, look at her. She doesn’t’ deserve what we were going to do to her.”
“What you were going to do to her.” I rectified.
He shook his head and laughed sourly. “I didn’t exactly see you throwing yourself in front of the camera trying to save her.”
“What makes her so different from the first girl, the one that walked by when we first got here?”
I wanted him to side with me, to stand by me. But I knew that I was in the wrong. She was no different than the first girl. And had I tried to encourage that? No. I hadn’t. I was just prejudiced.
Scorpius ignored my question and slowly wandered over to the stairs. I stood my ground at the other end of the corridor. His walked away had ran every alarm bell in my head, every church bell rang by Friar Tuck in my head rang as he pulled down on that rope. Had Scorpius momentarily made a decision?
Not wanting the hurt to show on my face, I simply pouted a little and stepped forward, walking to stand next to him. “Is she alright?”
“I don’t think so,” he replied darkly. “She’s crying, she looks so broken.”
I pulled on the end of his shirt lightly and tried to drag him back. “Why do you care? Isn’t this what you’ve been trying to achieve for all these years? To see Rose Weasley in tears?”
He didn’t look me directly in the eye when he turned to me. “Even you have to admit that you never wanted it to go this far.”
I wanted to laugh. “I’ve been there! I’ve been sat in her position, wondering what was so wrong about me that she felt that I was that vile, that she felt like she had to treat me with such hatred.”
“And does leaving her here make you any better than her?” He grabbed hold of my arm and made me face her. “Look at her, Ranny. That may have been you at a point – and I know that it was. It breaks my heart to remember it, but are you any better than her if you leave her here?”
“Honestly, yes. Because I didn’t cause that,” I said pointedly, shoving my index finger in the direction of The Sherrif. “She’s getting what she deserves.”
He let go and folded his arms across his chest. “Now there are words I never thought that I would hear from you.”
In slow motion, my hand dropped from his arm and fell to my side. I knew that he was right. But if I apologised, would I be saying sorry to her, or to him? I refused to apologise to her. I tried to move backwards, but my feet wouldn’t take me.
“Why now?” I asked quietly, barely louder than a whisper. “Yes, I was in the wrong then, and I know that. But last year you would have kicked her while she was down.”
Scorpius moved up the stairs to help her up. She had fallen asleep, barely conscious and was resting her head against a sewn tapestry. The characters inside complained loudly as she snored.
He tucked his arm under her and lifted her from the floor, bridal style. She was hardly an angel in white. “Times change, Ran.”
I stared at his face, but my mind refused to take it in. “You like Rose.” Once again, it wasn’t a question.
His silence was enough of an answer as he stopped his descent of the staircase.
I laughed bitterly, for the first time in my life and ignored his pleading looks. I couldn’t look him in the eye, because I knew that I would cave, that I would hear reason.
“Ranny please, I didn’t mean for it to happen. I just, we were fighting one day and I-“
The red head stirred in her sleep, coming around with a loud groan. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her head, smudging her worn mascara around her eyelid. Her red cheeks puffed up with her swollen lips and she hiccupped once more.
Her brows knitted together. “Malfoy? What are you doing?”
“Helping you,” he said quietly. “Don’t fight it; you know that you need it. You should be thankful I’m not making you beg for it.”
I felt the crushing come back to my chest and I wrapped my arms around my stomach, hoping to hold up the foundations to my bones, where two large holes had been shot through my chest -one for Al and one for Scorpius. I couldn’t say who was next, I sincerely doubt my father was planning to leave me, and I knew no one else that held that much of my heart.
I didn’t know that I had made a whimper like sound until Rose’s head snapped in my direction. Scorpius had stood her upright, but still had a hand on her shoulder.
“Oh look,” Rose began. “What happened, did Peter Pan get shot? You look a little pale. Oh fuck, don’t be sick, please, in the name of Merlin, do not vomit in front of me. The mere sight of you on a daily basis makes me was to be sick myself, you actually throwing up may start a chain reaction.”
I bit down on to the inside of my cheek and refused to let a tear fall from my burning eyes. “Even while she’s intoxicated, she still lets me know my place.”
“Ranny please,” Scorpius begged. “Ran I can’t help it-“
“You don’t have to explain it to me Scorpius,” I said, a slight gravel to my voice as I held back the tears. “I know exactly what it’s like to like someone that you shouldn’t.”
Somehow, as I left him holding her in the corridor, he became her white knight. He always had it in him. I knew that he did. Just never for her.
AN; Thank you for all of the lovely reviews that this story has received so far, I’m so, utterly grateful! I will update soon with the next chapter, I hope that you all enjoy it! It’s called Damsel; the entire chapter is all Ranny and Albus, finally they speak again!
I hope that you all enjoyed this chapter! I will be very grateful if you’d leave me a little review and tell me about it! I always try my best to reply! So any questions will be welcome too!
What do you think of Rose? Rose and Scorpius? Rose or Scorpius? :)
What about their antics with the camera, taking pictures of poor defenceless people for their own amusement. Also what of Scorpius and Nina’s past? I think that it answers a lot of the questions that some of you had!
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He did, eh?