Chapter 9 : Unexpected
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“What? What happened?” grumbled Rose as she rubbed her eyes. It took a few seconds for her to realise a fluffy black cat was standing on her stomach, staring intently at her groggy face.
The cat purred in response.
“Aren’t you a pretty boy?” she cooed, tickling him behind his ear.
“Looks like your gonna have a good day today, Rose,” chirped Lizzie from her four poster bed where she was packing her bag for the day ahead.
Rose had had Felix since first year as a kitten, but only saw him about once a term. He much preferred to sleep in Hugo’s dormitory, mostly because Rose tended to sneeze all over him which mustn’t have been very pleasant for a cat. But when he did decide to show up Rose’s day always went well. He was her good luck charm.
“I love you, baby,” she said, rubbing her nose against his. She realised this was a bad idea when her eyes began to water and her nose was itching.
Just as she began her sneezing session, Felix lightly jumped off the bed and gracefully padded out of the room.
“Be a good little boy for Hugo, won’t you, Felix,” Rose called after him. “See you in the summer!”
“I’m telling you, she is far too happy-go-lucky for Scorpius. He needs someone more grounded and down-to-earth. Scarlett’s overly… nice. She’s totally not right for him.”
“He needs someone more grounded and down-to-earth. Someone who isn’t afraid to tell him when he’s wrong, but knows how to have fun.”
“I’ve known him for years. I know what he needs.”
Fabian fiddled with his sleeve. “Are you sure I’m the right person to be telling all this to?”
Rose looked closely at Fabian and saw how uncomfortable he was. His brown hair was flopping into his eyes and he was looking down at his hands. “Sorry. It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately.”
“It’s alright. Do you want to go get some food? You said you’d show me the kitchens where the house-elves work.”
Her mouth watered at the thought of warm apple pie. “Okay!” She grabbed his hand and led him across the courtyard. In her haste she bumped into someone and toppled backwards onto the cobblestone.
“Jeez, watch where you’re – Rose?” Scorpius looked down at her in surprise.
“Er, hi,” she said meekly.
But he wasn’t looking at her anymore. He was glaring at Fabian who still had his hand locked with Rose’s but was eyeing Scorpius back as if to say ‘come at me bro’.
“Guys? A little help here?” Rose asked, still lying on the floor. They didn’t even turn to look at her, let alone help her up.
“Fine, be like that,” she grumbled, scrambling herself up. “My elbow’s all cut!”
The boys were daring the other to look away first, fists clenched. It was as if they were having a silent conversation that Rose was excluded from.
They were standing so close to each other their chests were almost touching. Rose tried to pry them apart but they wouldn’t budge. Damn boys and their stupid muscles.
“Please don’t tell me you’re going to kiss each other now.”
They sprung away from each other so fast that Scorpius crashed into a pillar and Fabian tripped over his own feet and fell to the floor. Rose, being the gentle lady she was, tried helping him up but he casually brushed her off and got up himself to prove his manliness.
“Don’t be silly, Rose. Um, can I speak with you for a sec?” asked Scorpius.
“Shoot.” She looked at him expectantly.
“I meant in private,” he said, rolling his eyes in Fabian’s direction.
“Go ahead,” Fabian tried to smile reassuringly at Rose, but it came across as more of a grimace. “I’ll wait here.”
Scorpius pulled Rose out of the courtyard into a classroom. When he closed the door behind them she tried to stop her heart from fluttering so much. “Could you help me with my Charms homework? I’m doing really badly in that class, and if I fail my N.E.W.T. the Ministry’d be less likely to take me on.”
“Hmm… Say the magic word.”
He looked puzzled. “You mean avada ke –”
“Nope. The one beginning with ‘p’.”
“Oh! Please, Rosie?” he said, pouting a little.
She grinned. “Okay. When do you want to meet?”
“I was thinking after dinner tonight in the library.”
“Yeah… I’ll see you later then.”
“Sure.” He gave her a quick wink before leaving her alone in the classroom.
She quickly found Fabian sitting on the edge of the fountain in the courtyard. He stood up and smiled when he saw her. “Thank Merlin you’re okay.”
“Of course I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t trust Malfoy,” he grumbled.
“He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me, don’t worry.” Rose thought it was sweet that he cared about her. “Now, I think it’s time to get me some apple pie before Muggle Studies starts. My stomach’s howling.”
During dinner Rose spotted Poppy chatting to some Slytherin boys and was determined to hand back her letter. She should never have looked at it in the first place; it was none of her business. She straightened out her shirt and braced herself for what she knew would not be a particularly enjoyable conversation.
“I’ll be right back guys. I need to give something back to Parkinson that she dropped the other day,” she said to Lizzie and Dom as she stood up from the bench. “If I don’t make it back alive, everything I own goes to you, Lizzie. Tell my mum and dad I love them.”
“Oi! Why does it all go to her?” cried Dom. “We’re bloody family!”
“Because you already own everything anyone could ever want, Dom.”
She considered this for a moment. “Touché.”
“Good luck!” said Lizzie.
Rose approached the group tentatively and tapped Poppy gently on the shoulder. “Er, Parkinson, I think this belongs to you.”
Poppy spun around, dark hair flying out in all directions, and narrowed her eyes before snatching the letter of out Rose’s hands. After a quick skim of it, she grabbed her roughly by the upper arm and dragged her out of the hall and into an empty corridor where no one could eavesdrop. “How dare you, Weasley!” she snarled. “This is private property.”
“I- I know. I’m really sorry,” She cleared her throat. “You dropped it and I was gonna return it to you sooner, but I never saw you –”
“A likely story.” Poppy was white with rage. “You read it, didn’t you? You read it, and now you’re going to tell the whole school about my father.”
“No! Of course I –”
“You can get stuffed, Weasley. You’re so insufferable. If you dare tell a single soul, I – I’ll…” Poppy’s lips trembled and she looked like she was desperately trying to hold back tears.
“Look, Poppy, I promise I –”
“You have no idea what my father went through.” A single tear escaped her eye and she bit her lip. She took a deep quivering breath before continuing, “You think he asked to work for Voldemort? Always aspired to kill hundreds of innocent people? He was barely out of school when he was forced to join. It’s not fair.”
Poppy slid down against the floor and stared fixedly at a spot on the opposite wall. “It’s not fair,” she repeated, her voice barely a whisper.
Rose looked down at the numb girl and was torn between the decision to quietly walk away or stay and listen to Poppy’s account. She decided to sit down beside her and let her get it all out. She looked like she needed someone to talk to, and Rose felt she had an obligation to the school to listen to everyone’s problems since she was the newly appointed agony aunt. Even Poppy Parkinson.
“No one believes him. They think he did it out of love for the dark arts. Only cruel, heartless people would do that though! Daddy isn’t like that. And now I’ll never see him again because of some old crackpot death eater that’s desperate to get out of jail. My father is a great man. I just wish everyone else would see that.
“I haven’t even told Elie or Abby. But they don’t need to know. They can carry on believing I live a perfect life with a perfect family.” She finally turned to look at Rose with watery eyes. “Like you. I wish I was you. You have it all.”
Rose was so surprised it took a few moments for her to form coherent thoughts.
“You shouldn’t,” she replied in a quiet voice, “Being me isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Granted, my father isn’t in Azkaban, but he is out hunting down dark wizards and there’s always the worry that he’ll get hurt one day. I have my own problems just like everyone else; my little brother is embarrassed of me and won’t even acknowledge me at school, I get crushes on people that don’t like me back and even though I adore cats I can’t hold one without sneezing like hell.”
Poppy still looked unconvinced.
“I know they’re nothing compared to your problems, but they prove that I don’t have it all. I wish I had your long dark hair, but I guess I’m stuck with being ginger. You just have to accept what you were given in life and live with it.”
“That’s deep, Weasley. Cheesy, but deep. I didn’t know you had it in you,” Poppy said. Rose swore she even saw a small smile grace her features.
She grinned in response. “I have my moments.”
“There’s also the Scorpius issue,” Poppy added.
“The Scorpius issue?” Rose repeated hesitantly.
“Yeah. Now he’s going out with that hyper freak.”
“She’s so annoying, honestly. I don’t know what he’s doing going out with her. He could do so much better.”
“I know, right!” Rose exclaimed, happy to have finally found someone who agreed with her on this issue.
They sat there in a kind of comfortable silence for a few minutes until Poppy said, “This doesn’t change anything, you know. We’ll go back to normal and you’ll forget everything you’ve seen or heard in the past half hour.”
“Of course! I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Rose! Over here!” Scorpius called as soon as she stepped into the library, earning a glare from Madam Pryce.
He had come equipped with two quills, a pot of ink and spare parchment. Rose took this to meaning he meant business. She started her tutoring and clearly explained everything they had studied in class. He seemed to understand it all perfectly and an hour later they had covered the whole topic.
“Thanks Rose. You should be a teacher when you’re older, you know. You’re really good at explaining things,” he said solemnly.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” she laughed as she packed her books away. “I don’t think I could stand all the annoying little children if I’m honest. I can hardly stand my little brother most of the time.”
“You don’t realise how lucky you are to have a little sibling. I’ve always wanted to have a little sister to look after. But apparently it’s too important to uphold the Malfoy family traditions,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I think you’re a great sister anyway. Like that time in second year when Hugo fell on his face after his Sorting, you made everyone stop laughing at him.”
She was surprised he remembered that far back. “Anyone would do that for family, it’s really not that impressive."
“No, really,” he insisted, holding the door open for her to pass first. “You’re amazing at practically everything. You must take after your mother, being such a talented witch.”
“Um, thanks,” she muttered awkwardly. It wasn’t like Scorpius to shower her with compliments.
“Have you done something with your hair? It looks really pretty today,” he added as they walked down the corridor together.
She raised her hands to her hair, bushy and messy as ever. “No… wait.” She stopped walking and turned to face him. “Why are you acting like this?”
“All… complimentary. It’s weird. Really weird. Are you kidding around or something?”
“Of course not, I mean it all.”
“Okay. Please stop.”
He looked a little upset. “I thought girls like getting complimented,” he mumbled. “Scarlett does.”
“Oh, I’m sure precious Scarlett does,” she replied, rolling her eyes.
“Excuse me?” he said, raising his tone.
“You heard me,” she replied defiantly.
He glared at her; she glared at him. They seemed to be having a staring contest, grey eyes on blue. She didn’t realise how close they were standing. Her eyes began to water and she couldn’t stop herself from blinking. As soon as her lashes made contact with her skin, she suddenly felt a pair of hands cupping either side of her face. Her breath hitched in her throat as a pair of lips pressed against her own and she froze in shock for a few seconds before she got a hold of herself.
A tingle shot down her spine at the contact, all the way down her legs and into her toes. She was pushed against the wall beside a statue of Boris the Bewildered. His lips were warm and soft, and as she ran her fingers through his hair she found out that it was just as soft as she had imagined. She was surrounded by her favourite scent of sandalwood and her heart skipped a beat when he gently stroked her cheek with his thumb. He pulled away all too soon and took a step away.
Her first coherent thought was ‘wow’ but she didn’t want to tell him that. Her cheeks flushed pink.
“W- what the hell was that?” she asked, breathless. She had meant to shout the words but she was still gasping in much-needed oxygen.
He looked a little dazed as well. “I kissed you.”
Rose was appalled. “HOW DARE YOU! We are both going out with other people, you – you – two-timing little jerk!”
“Don’t snort at me!” Rose went red in the face as she carried on yelling at him. “I can’t believe you just did that! You can’t just kiss a girl like that! Who do you think you are? Who do think I am? You should know by now that I’m not the kind of girl that would –”
He smirked. “Stop talking.”
He kissed her again, just to shut her up and because he felt like it, before turning around and sauntering down the hallway like he owned the place and out of sight. Rose was left staring after him with her mouth wide open and her eyes wide, feeling giddy and shaky.
Did that really just happen?
Who wants to make my day and review? :D
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