As always, this is for all who have suffered in some way because of cancer.
It had been a Sunday, and the Burrow had been packed to the brim with in-laws and grandchildren. Thirteen year old Lucy - Percy and Audrey’s younger daughter - had been showing her new screech owl, Artemis, off to everyone, whether they liked it or not. Grandad Arthur had been in his chair with a copy of the Evening Prophet, his wrinkled brow furrowed as he read about the latest political scandal in the Wizengamot. Twenty-three year old Teddy Lupin, Harry’s godson, had been flirting with Bill and Fleur’s oldest daughter, Victoire.
Ginny, Hermione, Angelina and Fleur were all in the kitchen, chatting about the upcoming election for Minister for Magic. As they had talked, the door had opened, and in slipped Rose, looking extremely annoyed.
“Oh, er, sorry,” she had said awkwardly upon noticing her mother and aunts.
“It’s alright, Rosie,” Ginny had said kindly, grinning widely at her niece and goddaughter.
“We were just talking about ze election,” Fleur had informed Rose in her thick accent.
“…Oh,” Rose had replied awkwardly, for lack of anything else to say.
“Are you okay, Rose?” her mother had asked with maternal concern. “You look, ah…irritated.”
“Oh,” Rose had said for the third time. “Lucy was chasing me around with that damn owl of hers.”
Ginny and Angelina had laughed as Hermione scolded, “Watch your language, young lady!”
Rose had sat down at the kitchen table, blushing bright red. “Sorry. It just slipped out.”
Hermione had rolled her eyes, muttering something along the lines of, “Just like her father…”
As the women had resumed their conversation (this time with input from Rose), the door opened again, and Hugo, Rose’s little brother, had entered, looking much the same as Rose had just a second ago. “Oh, I didn’t mean to interrupt -” he had started to apologize.
Angelina had waved her hand, dismissing the apology. “Don’t worry about it,” she had told him.
“Er, alright…” he had replied uncomfortably, hovering in the doorway. “Um, should I leave? I mean, are you talking about…” He had gulped. “Lady stuff?”
Rose and Hermione both had hid their faces in their hands with embarrassment as Ginny, giggling, replied, “No. We’re actually talking about politics.”
Hugo had looked mortified and quickly sat next to his sister at the kitchen table. “Hey, sis,” he had greeted her after a moment. Rose had smiled.
“Hey, Hugh,” she had replied. “Was Lucy driving you mad, too?”
“Why does she think anyone cares about that stupid owl of hers?!” he had snapped. Rose had laughed, putting her arm around her brother’s shoulders.
Out of nowhere, Rose had become overwhelmed by a sudden coughing fit; Hugo had made a disgusted face and scooted his chair as far away from his sister as possible. Hermione had looked at her daughter with concern.
“Rosie!” she had cried, running to her and placing her palm on Rose’s cheek. “Are you alright? Are you sick? Do you need to lie down?”
“M-mum, I’m fi -” Rose’s voice had come out as a rasp, and before she could finish her sentence, she had become overwhelmed by coughs again.
“You don’t have a fever…” Hermione had said in a pensive tone. “I’ll go see if your Gran has any Pepper-Up Potion.” She had rushed out of the kitchen so fast, it was easy to believe that Rose was on her deathbed - that is, if she didn’t get any Pepper-Up Potion.
Rose walked down to the dungeons with Alice and Ben, feeling very annoyed. All day, her teachers had been looking at her with pity and sorrow. In Care of Magical Creatures, Hagrid had burst into tears and had to pour himself a large brandy to calm down; in Defence Against the Dark Arts, Professor Kent had spent the entire lesson giving a morbid speech on how everyone will die terrible deaths and how there’s no point trying to make anything of your life, because you’ll never be remembered.
Professor Kent wasn’t exactly anyone’s favourite professor after that lesson.
All the other students shot Rose curious looks; Alice and Ben had asked her several times why all the professors were treating her like an invalid; Hugo, her little brother, had come up to her at lunch to ask why all the members of the faculty (save the grouchy caretaker, Mr. Larson) were giving him condolences.
“I don’t know,” was her reply to each of them. Rose had never been a coward - she was a Gryffindor through and through - but just as there are different kinds of bravery, there are also different kinds of adversaries. This adversary was the most terrible, as it wasn’t something she could see or fight, and that infuriated Rose to no end. She had always been one to take the offence, to charge forward with no fear and no hesitation. Now, she was expected to wait for the enemy to come to her, to finish her off before she could even fight.
“Leeds, Brena?” Professor Greengrass called, looking up from her roster to search the cramped dungeon.
“Here!” Brena Leeds called from the back of the room. Greengrass checked her name off and moved down the list.
A blonde boy with a pointed face raised his hand and drawled, “Here.” His lips twitched with a small smirk as a couple girls sighed with longing. Rose rolled her eyes, and Scorpius’s smirk widened as he glanced over at her. He winked, and Rose quickly scooted her chair as far away from him as possible without moving to a different table.
Al raised his hand enthusiastically from the table behind Rose and Scorpius. “Here!” His Potions partner, a thickset Slytherin girl, glared at him, as if annoyed at his chipper demeanour.
Greengrass finished up the roll call and put up the directions and ingredients for the lesson’s potion, the Draught of Peace, on the blackboard. Rose scanned every word intently before jumping up and rushing to the store cupboard before anyone else had finished reading the third line.
As she bustled back over to her and Scorpius’s table with her arms full of jars, she caught Greengrass’s eye; she was looking at her with a look of intense sorrow. With a deep sigh, Greengrass looked away, and Rose sat back down, feeling very annoyed. Luckily, no else had noticed this small exchange.
She began lining up the ingredients in the order they were needed while Scorpius was turned completely around in his chair talking to Al. Annoyed, Rose cleared her throat loudly to get her partner’s attention. Either he couldn’t hear her, or he simply ignored her. Rose highly suspected the latter.
“Scorpius,” she said, snapping her fingers. With a heavy sigh, he turned back around in his seat and glared at her, like she had personally offended him in some manner. Actually, he had such a large ego that this was probably true.
“Weasley,” he replied, a sneer on his lips. Rose scowled, but didn’t rise to the bait.
“Light a fire under the cauldron and then start measuring out the lion root powder,” she said in a neutral tone. “It needs to be an exact measurement, or else it’ll ruin the entire potion.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes. “Look, Weaselbee -” Rose twitched at the nickname. “- I’m feeling a bit sick today, so why don’t you just do the whole thing yourself?” He said this as if he was offering Rose a real treat. Her scowl deepened.
Feeling a bit sick?! she thought furiously. Try making a potion with lung cancer, you arrogant arse! But, to be fair, he didn’t know of her condition, so she really couldn’t be angry with him for that. Still, it felt nice to be angry at someone. All day she had been bottling up the irritation she felt every time she was treated differently, every time a professor acted like she was already on her deathbed.
And if she was going to be angry at someone, it might as well be Scorpius Malfoy.
“Do not try and weasel your way out of making this potion!” she snapped, slamming the jar of lion root powder down on the table so hard that the glass cracked. “It’s hard enough to brew with two people, and I can’t do it myself! I know you don’t like me, and trust me, there’s no love lost there; but at some point in our lives, we all have to do things we don’t particularly want to do - yes, even you, Malfoy! So just climb off your high hippogriff, swallow your pride, light that damn fire, and measure out the lion root powder.”
Scorpius gaped at her. As a matter of fact, quite a few people were gaping at her. Rose’s chest heaved and she felt a slight blush creep across her cheeks; that had been a bit louder than she had intended it to be. Professor Greengrass looked up from her desk, raising an eyebrow, but didn’t give out to her.
Rose cleared her throat awkwardly and began measuring out the porcupine quills. Scorpius was still gaping at her, and she turned to him with a raised eyebrow. “And so help me Merlin, if you measure the powder wrong, I will skin you alive,” she said in a low voice.
Scorpius hurriedly closed his mouth and lit the fire under the cauldron. And even as she stifled several rasping coughs in her arm, she felt giddy with triumph.
Author's Note: It has been an obscenely long time since I last updated, I know. I'm so sorry about that. I just started school this week; I needed to change my school schedule; wash my large, smelly, eighty-five pound dog; suffer ONE WHOLE DAY without power because of Hurricane Irene (I know, terrible); and on top of all that, I've been sleeping bad lately.
Oh, and I had writer's block.
Anyway, if you're still with me, why not leave a review? And hopefully I'll get the next chapter out sooner. Thanks for reading!