Chapter 1 : Rubber Duck
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“What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?” Rose blurted. She couldn’t bear the silence any longer. She was sitting in the library sitting next to her best friend Scorpius Malfoy attempting to complete her Charms homework but she couldn’t get the upcoming ball off her mind. It was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Dark Lord’s downfall. “My granddad always asks that and, well, I was wondering whether you’d know.”
Rose blushed and inwardly scolded herself for being so lame.
“I… what’s a rubber duck?” asked Scorpius, utterly befuddled.
“Doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, turning back to her parchment.
After a few minutes of reading the same sentence and not taking anything in, Rose said, “The ball’s coming up soon.”
“Indeed it is. On May 2nd, which is three days away,” agreed Scorpius, not looking up from his book.
Rose was bursting to ask whether he was going with anyone but refrained from doing so. She was far too stubborn to ask. She needn’t have worried, though, because he said-
“Are you going with anyone?” He finally looked up at her.
Her eyes widened in surprise. “No. Are you?”
“Nope, not yet,” he answered, giving her a lopsided grin.
The butterflies flew ecstatically around her stomach.
Rose flashed him her most (hopefully) charming smile and waited for him to ask her to go together, but it never happened. He muttered something about promising Al he’d play Quidditch and left the library. Rose knew he was lying. Al hated flying. She let out a long breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding and folded her arms across her chest.
Stupid boys, she thought, packing her books in her bag and storming out of the library in search of her cousin Dominique. Completely oblivious.
3 Days Later
“Rose, get up,” said Dom, poking her sleeping cousin.
“No,” groaned Rose, covering her face with her pillow. “It’s too early.
"It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, for Merlin’s sake!” Dom cried. “The ball is in three hours. I need to get you all dolled up. You must get out of bed. NOW!”
Rose didn’t move an inch.
Dom jumped on top of Rose and tickled her until she unwillingly rolled out of bed.
“Don’t remind me,” grumbled Lizzie, Rose’s roommate. “Eugene Clarke asked me to go with him yesterday.”
Eugene was a clumsy Hufflepuff whose spectacles always fell halfway down his abnormally large nose. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t a very popular boy.
Dom snorted. “Poor fella. He’s never gonna get a date.”
“I agreed to go with him.”
“You WHAT?!” shrieked Dom, staring at Lizzie in disbelief. “But, Lizzie, that’s like social suicide!”
Lizzie rolled her eyes. “I felt bad for him, okay? I wasn’t about to reject him in front of the entire potions class. That’s just mean.”
“At least you’ve got a date, Lizzie,” Rose said. “I don’t want to go to the stupid ball! I really believed Scorp would ask me. I’ll be the only girl without a date. A loner. A loser. An outcast.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure, Rosie,” grinned Dom. “You may just find yourself with a handsome prince after all.”
Rose had no idea what her crazy cousin was going on about, but asked no questions. She found her life was easier that way.
A few hours and several beauty charms later Rose found herself staring at the mirror in her dormitory in awe. The stranger staring back at her was beautiful. She was wearing a simple silver dress and her unusually silky crimson hair fell in soft curls down her back.
“What do you think?” Dom asked with twinkling topaz eyes.
"You've achieved the impossible and made me pretty! You’ve done a great job, Dom, thank you!”
Dom smiled smugly. She looked amazing as ever in a fancy red dress and her long blonde hair was tied back in an elegant bun with a few ringlets falling around her face. Linking arms, they set off together towards the Great Hall.
They found the Scamander twins dressed in smart black dress robes waiting for them in the entrance hall.
“You look amazing, Dom,” grinned Lorcan, taking Dom’s hand.
“You too, Rose,” smiled Lysander offering his own hand. Rose had spoken to him a couple of times in the past, but she wouldn’t class him as a good friend.
She looked at Dom questioningly who said, “This, Rosie, is the prince I promised you.” Rose made a mental note to thank her later.
Lysander blushed and ran a hand through his sandy blonde hair. Rose took his hand and they entered the Great Hall.
The room was full of people wearing bright colours instead of their dreary black school robes. The beat of the music instantly pulsed through her. She recognised her all-time favourite song, even if it was decades old, ‘Do the Hippogriff’ by the Weird Sisters.
“Care to dance?” asked Lysander.
Rose agreed and let him lead her to the dance floor. She couldn’t help but notice Scorpius dancing nearby with Poppy Parkinson. She tried not to the notice how good he looked in his green robes, but failed miserably. She caught his eye but he quickly looked away.
Poppy, however, smirked at her and said loudly,” Look, Scorpy, Weasley’s here with loony Lysander. I can’t think of a more perfect couple!” Rose tried to ignore Poppy’s cackles but felt her face heat up. How did she end up going to the Ball with someone like Scorpius?
"Shut up, Parkinson,” said Rose, upset at how Scorpius was pretending she wasn’t there.
“Ignore her, Rose,” Lysander whispered into her ear. He led her to the other side of the dance floor away from malicious Slytherins.
“So, how come you and Malfoy didn’t come together?” asked Lysander. “Everyone thought you would.”
“Oh,” replied Rose, surprised, “well, he never asked me.”
Lysander smiled. “His loss.” Rose smiled back sadly.
“I don’t like him in that way, anyhow,” she lied.
After a few minutes of silence, Lysander said, “There’re many nargles here tonight, aren’t there?”
“What’s a nargle?” asked Rose.
“You don’t know what a nargle is?” said Lysander, outraged. He launched into a long and complicated explanation.
After dancing to five songs, Rose began to get thirsty. She sat at an empty table while Lysander went to get drinks and after a few seconds she was joined by Lizzie.
“Why did I agree to go with Eugene, again?” she sighed. “He has stood on my feet so many times; I swear all my toes are broken.”
Rose patted Lizzie’s arm consolingly and held back a giggle.
“Where is he, anyway?” she asked.
“Staring at Dom. no doubt,” Lizzie replied. “He won’t take his eyes off her, bloody part Veela. I managed to sneak away while he was too busy drooling to notice. So, you and Lysander Scamander, eh?” Lizzie wiggled her eyebrows.
“He’s really nice,” Rose said quietly.
“There are no buts,” Rose insisted. “I came here with Lysander and I’m having a good time. The end.”
Scorpius walked past their table with Poppy clinging on to his arm like a lost puppy and completely ignored them. Rose gritted her teeth.
“You should’ve just asked him, Rose,” said Lizzie, staring after Scorpius.
“No way!” Rose hissed. “He should’ve asked me.” She slouched in her chair and crossed her arms.
Eugene and Lysander appeared at the table within seconds of each other. Rose downed her Butterbeer in one. A short while later Professor McGonagall quietened everyone down and made a speech about the importance of house unity and how everyone worked together during the Battle of Hogwarts to defeat the dark forces. Rose wasn’t really listening; she had heard a similar speech multiple times before from her parents. She was far too busy glaring at Scorpius’ and Poppy’s interlocked hands to pay much attention. At the end of the speech she resumed dancing with Lysander.
An hour later, Rose was red in the face from dancing and drifted to the nearest table for a rest. Lysander went to get drinks again. Only once she sat down next to her cousin Albus did she realise Scorpius was sitting there beside him.
“Hi, Rosie,” said Al. Scorpius didn’t say anything.
“Wow, Al, your hair is… neat! Tidy! Not wild at all!” said an astonished Rose, pinching herself to check she wasn’t dreaming. Al had inherited his father’s hair so it was generally rather scruffy.
He patted his hair self-consciously. “It looks okay, doesn’t it?”
Rose nodded enthusiastically. “You should have it like that more often. I’m sure Scarlett Bell would notice you if you did.”
“W-why would I want her to notice me?” blushed Al. “And I am never doing this to my hair ever again. I used five bottles of Sleekeazy’s hair potion to get it like this, and it feels like my scalp is on fire. I don’t know how you girls cope.”
“Come on, Al, I saw you gaze at her adoringly during dinner yesterday.”
Al flushed crimson. “Did not,” he mumbled.
Rose rolled her eyes and let the subject drop.
“It’s hot, isn’t it?” said Rose, pressing an icy empty bottle of Butterbeer to her burning face. "Ly's just gone to the bathroom, and then he's going to get us some drinks."
Scorpius looked at her critically.
“I didn’t know you were coming with Scamander,” he said coldly.
“I didn’t know you were coming with Parkinson,” she shot back.
Scorpius narrowed his eyes.
“She asked me a few days ago, once I left the library,” he said. “Not that it’s any of your business.”
Poppy walked up to Scorpius and tried to snuggle into his arm, but he pushed her away.
“What’s up with you?” asked Rose.
“Nothing’s up with me, Weasley, you’re just being particularly annoying today,” snarled Scorpius, rising from his seat. Rose was taken aback; he had never called her by her surname before. Rose stood up as well and matched his height. She silently thanked her dad for being so tall and passing on the genes.
“Guys, calm down,” said Al timidly. An angry Rose and an angry Scorpius was not something he wanted to witness.
“Stay out of this, Al!” shouted Scorpius. Al promptly shut his mouth.
“You know what? You and Parkinson deserve each other,” spat Rose. “Why are you acting like such a swine?”
“Me?” yelled Scorpius. “You’re the one who came to the Ball with that tosser!”
Rose stared at him incredulously. “Keep your voice down, people are staring!” she whispered furiously. A large gathering of students had stopped dancing and crowded around them. “And for your information, Malfoy, Lysander is a very nice man. Shame the same can’t be said for you. You’re just a jealous little boy!”
Scorpius went scarlet. His eyes flashed with anger. He looked like he wanted to scream in her face but took several calming breaths before answering, “You are the most infuriating girl I have ever met, Rose Weasley.”
“The feeling’s mutual,” muttered Rose.
They glared at each other for a few moments, both breathing heavily, until Rose cried, “Next time there’s a ball going on, maybe you should ask me to go with you before someone else gets the chance!”
Scorpius stared at her gormlessly. “I – well – I -”
Rose turned on her heel and ran out of the Great Hall in tears. She passed Lysander on the way out of the door who said, “Rose? What’s wrong?”
She hardly heard him and stormed up the stairs to Gryffindor tower. She kicked off her shoes and flopped down onto her bed, still sobbing.
Well, she thought sourly, tonight could have gone better.
A/N: This is my first fan fiction so I’d really appreciate reviews to tell me how I did. Thank you!