The sky was a horrible grey that just threatened rain on this particular Sunday afternoon. I’d been working at the school for about a week now, and I was sick of trying to come up with an excuse for my long commute to London every day. Coming up with responses to questions about school and other things was hard enough, I didn’t need to complicate things any more than was absolutely necessary.
So it was with this in mind that I’d brought both Mum and Dad to look at the tiny cottage that was available. Mum was sceptical, to say the least. She didn’t like the idea of me moving out so soon, and especially not to a small town. I could tell she didn’t understand why I was doing this.
I completely understood that. It wasn’t really the type of thing you’d expect me to do.
“Rose, are you absolutely sure about this?” Mum said as we paced through the cottage, which was painfully small, as the real estate agent stood outside, waiting for us.
Apparently we were the only people to express an interest in this place, so there wasn’t any competition at all.
“Yes,” I said for what must have been the thousandth time, though I really wasn’t sure at all.
Sure, it was convenient, but did I really want to move up here just because the school I was working at (which I truthfully didn’t really want to be working at) was close? I had said that I’d wanted to move out, and soon, so I decided to seize the moment and go with it.
It was better than nothing.
The cottage was one bedroom, with a fireplace, and small kitchen that thankfully came with most of the Muggle appliances, I’d been half worried it wouldn’t have electricity. I was a bad enough cook as it was, I’d be horrible without the electrical devices. Using magic to cook wasn’t a skill I’d ever mastered, unfortunately. Though to be honest, I’d never been taught how to cook.
It was fully furnished, which was a nice bonus. It was about a five minute walk to the school, and it had just enough closet space for all of my clothes. It wasn’t big enough to hold family dinners, especially not when you consider the size of my family, and that suited me just fine. Mum assured me that I could get the fireplace hooked up to the Floo Network easily, especially with the connections her and Dad held in the Ministry.
We headed back outside to meet the agent.
“We’ll take it,” Dad said, and Mum moved in to make the necessary arrangements, as she was the best at dealing with Muggle things.
“You’re growing up, Rosie,” Dad said, pulling me into a hug that startled me.
“Not really, Dad,” I mumbled, pulling away as soon as I could.
“We’re just an owl away if you need anything, Rose, you know that,” he said, and I swear he was tearing up just a little.
I suppose it was a rather big moment. It still felt a little surreal to me, that I was graduated, working, moving out. Adulthood had settled in far too fast.
I suppose I was lucky Mum and Dad had handled the initial payment for the cottage. I was paying them back, but we’d decided it was easier for them to take the money out of my account as it arrived. I wasn’t sure how that worked, but I wasn’t arguing, it seemed to be a better deal than me forking out all my money straight out and having to wait to be paid to afford food and stuff like that.
We headed back to Mum and Dad’s house after that, and I knew I had to start packing my things. I’d move into the cottage in a week.
The four of us stood outside my new cottage, that I’d just finished moving into that afternoon. The boxes were all unpacked, with the aid of magic, the fridge was stocked (a Muggle supermarket was only three minutes’ walk away, how handy) and the fireplace was now hooked up to the Floo Network.
“It’s a bit small,” Albus said, tilting his head to the side.
I glared at him.
“It will do,” I said firmly, and I lead them inside.
I’d invited Miranda, Scorpius and Albus over in a lame attempt at a house warming party, which was turning out to be more of a normal catch up session.
“So, Rose, when one of us gets smashed and doesn’t want to return to our parents’ place, we can crash with you, right?” Miranda said, winking at me as she inspected my bedroom.
I didn’t really have the room, but they could always crash on the floor.
Scorpius hadn’t said anything yet, so I turned to him to see he wasn’t inspecting the house, but was watching me.
“What?” I said self-consciously, crossing my arms over my chest. Both Albus and Miranda were in other rooms, leaving the two of us alone.
“You’re changing. Maturing. I think this job might actually be good for you,” he said, tilting his head to the side as he scrutinized me.
Clearly he was in a philosophical mood.
I snorted at that.
“We’re all changing, Scorpius. We’re not kids anymore. If I still strutted around wearing too much make up and sneering at everyone, there’d be a reason to worry.”
I paused before continuing on, thinking my words through.
“You’ve changed too. You’re tired and busy, yes, but you’re focused on something. You have a goal, and you’re trying to achieve it. That’s always good,” I said quietly, smiling at him.
He smiled back, and the two of us stood like that for a second, staring at each other, before Miranda came back in.
“Alright, I’ve decided I approve. It’s small, but not that bad,” she said loudly, and Scorpius and I broke the gaze, both turning to look at her.
I could tell his cheeks were slightly pink, and I had a feeling mine were too. I hoped Miranda didn’t comment on it, the last thing I needed was rumours that Scorpius and I were dating again.
Which would never, ever happen.
“Gee, thanks Miranda,” I said, after a moment’s pause to clear my ahead.
I wasn’t entirely sure why Scorpius still had a hold over me. He still remained the person who could anger me the quickest, and we had a fierce rivalry between us.
“Got any gillywaters?” Miranda said, passing the two of us and opening my fridge.
“Nope, only butterbeer and boring only pumpkin juice. Oh, and water,” I said, leaning back against the wall and watching her pout.
Scorpius, on the other hand was watching me, but I didn’t look at him.
“Ugh. You’re so…basic,” Miranda concluded, helping herself to a glass of pumpkin juice.
“No one drinks gillywater apart from you,” I reasoned. “It’s expensive, and I’m not wasting my money on it. You’re free to buy it yourself and leave some here however,” I said with a mischievous grin, which only earned me a glare from her.
“Gee, thanks,” she said before sipping her juice.
Albus came back at that point, and we resumed talking as usual.
Albus and Scorpius both departed after an hour or two, as they had work in the morning. Miranda had the morning off, and stayed to talk. We hadn’t had a good catch up, just the two of us, in quite a while.
“I still can’t believe you’ve survived working in that school this long,” she said, staring into her empty glass.
I turned to look at her.
“It’s not so bad. I’m sure there are worse jobs,” I said, and even though I couldn’t think of any examples at that moment, that was truly how I felt.
“How’s things for work at you? Anything exciting?” I said, throwing the spotlight back on her.
She groaned, moving to rest her head against the top of my couch, staring morosely at the ceiling.
“We have a new employee. He’s a year older than us, I think he was a Ravenclaw, not sure. Name’s Darren. He’s a bloody arse. He acts like he’s better than the rest of us, because he’s older, but we’ve been there longer.”
She moved to staring at me again, and I could see the frustration in her eyes.
“That sucks,” I said, trying to be as sympathetic as possible.
“Yeah. He makes jibes at me too, anytime Albus stops by to say hi when he’s on his lunch break. He just….irritates me,” she said, and I narrowed my eyes.
Albus visited her at work? He never visited me at work. That was just unfair. Clearly, there was something going on between the two of them.
“He visits you? A lot?” I questioned, curious now.
I saw her glance at me, she’d picked up on my curiosity. She smiled wryly, moving to put her glass in my sink.
“There’s nothing between us, Rose, you know that,” she said, and I could tell a part of her wished that statement wasn’t true.
“But you wish there was.” I didn’t see the point in skirting around the issue. I had known about her feelings for a while, it was time she faced them, even if she wasn’t willing to do so in front of Albus.
She placed the glass down, turning back to face me.
“Of course I do! God Rose, I’ve had feelings for him forever, he’s just to blind to notice,” she said, and I could see she was shaking slightly.
I approached with caution, sighing.
“I can’t tell you what to do, Miranda. I’m an idiot when it comes to blokes,” I said softly, well aware that it was the truth.
The whole debacle with Scorpius was my only romantic experience, and it hardly counted.
“Come on, Rose, we’ll be late.”
I watched him walk ahead of me, still not really sure when we hit the stage of using first names and hanging out in the library together.
Sure, we’d only happened to be sitting together by chance, as he’d seen me in there and had realised I was working on the same essay he was, and thought it would be more productive if we worked together.
He’d been right, it was more productive. We’d both finished the essay, which was remarkable since I was expecting it to take me at least another day’s work in the library.
Now, we headed off to Potions, and he turned back, wondering why I wasn’t following him.
“You ok?” He asked, and I smiled, startled out of my musings.
“Yes, I’m fine,” I said, gathering my books and making my way to class.
Miranda left, leaving me to spend the night in my new, empty house.
It felt weird knowing I was the only one there. I’d set up all the security systems I could think of, both magical and Muggle, so I knew it was safe. It was more the fact that I was alone, that I was fending for myself. I couldn’t just walked downstairs and find that dinner was already made anymore.
Everything depended on me.
Wednesday’s were quite possibly my favourite days at the school. We taught music on a Wednesday, and it was fun to watch them clap along to the rhythms Penelope came up with, or try and sing. It was a bit of a learning experience for me as well, since it had been years since I’d done anything remotely musical.
The days I really hated were Tuesdays. Sport was on Tuesdays, and I hated having to head outside to supervise. Of course, I didn’t have to do the actual running or play the games, which was good, I wouldn’t be able to cope if I did.
Today was, thankfully, a Wednesday. I sat in the staffroom, a little after eight, drinking my tea as I had started to do every morning.
“Good morning, Rose.”
I turned, startled, to see Damon Larcos smiling at me.
“How are you?” He asked as he helped himself to a cup of tea.
“I’m alright. How are you?” I said, returning the polite greeting and trying not to sound shocked that someone other than Penelope, or occasionally Phillip, was talking to me.
Melanie, Damon’s wife, came to sit at the table next to me, and Damon joined her shortly after with his cup of tea.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” he said, smiling at me.
There was a short silence after that, and I couldn’t help but feel awkward. I couldn’t figure out why they were talking to me, we’d never really spoken before.
“So, Rose, what made you decide to work here?” Melanie said, her face bright and curiosity clear in her eyes.
Ah, that was it. They wanted to understand me, just like everyone did. They had all tried at some point to figure out why I was here, but I don’t think any of them really believed my answers.
“I’ve always wanted to work with children, and I happened to come across this school that had a vacancy,” I said, rather proud of the fact that half of that sentence was actually true.
“It’s very admirable,” Melanie said after an awkward pause.
I could tell the two of them were slightly doubtful about my story, but I smiled away like I hadn’t noticed.
I’d gotten good at doing that. I smiled my way through morning meetings, recess and lunch. Anytime I was asked a question I couldn’t answer honestly, I smiled and lied through my teeth. I’d never really had a problem with lying before, but now, my whole existence in this school was a lie. I wasn’t truly Rose Weasley when I was at Edgeston Primary School, and it did bother me.
I excused myself and made my way into the hall, and I watched as the children entered the classroom with Penelope, and sighed. I couldn’t do anything about it. Albus, Miranda and Scorpius had chosen this job as my challenge for this very reason.
I looked down to see that Sophia was still in the classroom, though all the other kids had long departed. Penelope had also left, and I had only stayed behind to clean up the art supplies from the morning’s lesson.
“Sophia! What are you still doing here? You should be outside!”
It was lunchtime, and all the kids were outside playing, as Sophia should have been. I’d realised recently that she tended to hang out by herself a lot, and I wanted to encourage her to at least try and make friends.
Talking to me was all she seemed to do, and I wasn’t really an appropriate friend. I hardly knew what to say to her.
“What’s this?” she said, ignoring what I’d said completely and holding up a very familiar object in my face.
My eyes widened and I grabbed it quickly, stashing it in my pocket.
“Where did you get that?” I gasped, my eyes flicking to my handbag and back. If she was really sneaky, she could have taken it, but I wasn’t sure.
“I saw you put it in there the other day, and I was curious,” she said with a shrug, and I gaped at her.
“So what is it?”
God, she never stopped, this child. She was the most naturally curious girl I’d ever met.
I stared at the wand for a moment, and looked around desperately for some sort of solution to this dilemma. Fortunately, my eyes alighted on a tin of pencils, and I grinned.
“It’s a very big pencil,” I said, lying through my teeth as I smiled at Sophia.
She narrowed her eyes at me and stared very intensely at my face, but I didn’t break my gaze, and eventually, she looked away, sighing.
Her curiosity satisfied for the day, she headed outside, and I allowed myself to let out the breath I’d been holding. I really had to be more careful.
Thankfully the rest of the day was uneventful, as was the rest of the week. Thursday and Friday were sure to be dull as well, as I had no evening plans, as the others were busy. Now that we all worked it was a lot harder to find time to catch up.
I stood in my empty house, feeling rather lonely and rather depressed that I felt that way on a Friday night. Miranda was busy tonight, she’d had to take on a late shift because they had an order arriving. Albus had a date, much to Aunt Ginny’s delight.
I hadn’t told Miranda about that. As much as she refused to admit she had feelings for Albus, I knew she’s be hurt by that information.
I didn’t know the girl he was dating. From what he had told me, she was a Hufflepuff from our year whose name sounded vaguely familiar at the time, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember it now.
It, thankfully, wasn’t a set-up from his mother this time. Apparently she worked in his department, though not as an obliviator. I wasn’t entirely sure what her job was, but I didn’t really care. He could do what he liked in the dating area.
Somehow, that thought led me to Scorpius.
I suppose any mention of dating would naturally lead me to Scorpius, he was, after all, my first and only boyfriend. I often wondered if he’d dated since then. We were sort of friends, so I thought I would have noticed. I certainly hadn’t seen him with anyone.
I had no idea where he was tonight. He’d been struggling with work, that much I knew. The last I’d heard, he’d been told to find a story, and story that was big enough, and write it. They wanted to see what he could do, and so far he hadn’t exactly been performing to his full potential.
I moved to my kitchen, about to start the nightly battle that was making dinner. I had only just begun to understand how difficult cooking actually was, and my respect for my mother had risen exponentially.
However, my tracks stopped when I entered the kitchen, and for a very good reason. A big, black, multi-legged reason.
“SHIT!” I screamed, hastily backing up, almost tripping over a chair in the process.
There was a spider in my kitchen. On the floor.
A big arse spider.
I did not like spiders. That was one thing my father and I shared.
I quickly leapt on top of the chair as the spider crawled my way.
What the hell was I going to do now? I couldn’t go near that…thing. I stared at the wand in my hand, but no sensible spells were coming to mind.
Without really thinking, I jumped off the chair to the other side of the room, in front of the fireplace, and flooed to Scorpius’ place (more specifically, Malfoy Manor).
I wasn’t really sure why I’d chosen that place when I could easily have gone to my parents, or why I hadn’t just apparated. Or for that matter why I hadn’t just stunned the spider.
Let’s blame it on a moment of stupidity brought on my paralysing fear.
I tumbled out of the fireplace, relieved to find that it was Scorpius in the room, not his parents.
“Rose?” he said, staring and gaping at me.
I grinned sheepishly, preparing to apparate back to my house and just stun the stupid spider like I should have done in the first place
“Sorry, I panicked for a moment. I’ll just be going now,” I said, blushing red as I started to turn to apparate.
Scorpius, however, grabbed my arm, stopping my progress.
“What’s up?” he said, his eyes scrutinizing my face.
He knew me well enough to know there was clearly something up, and showing up in his living room, unannounced was a bit of a give-away.
“There’s…there’s…” I hesitated, not really wanting to reveal the embarrassing truth.
He quirked his eyebrow at me, waiting for my answer.
I sighed, closing my eyes briefly.
“There’s a spider in my kitchen,” I said, looking at the floor.
There was a moment’s silence, and then he burst out laughing. He threw his head back, laughing like I hadn’t heard him laugh in months.
“Seriously?” he said, clutching at his chest as he tried to stop laughing.
I glared, and hit him in the chest with my hand.
“Shut up, you prat!” I said, turning on my heel once again, but, just like before, he grabbed my wrist.
“Wait,” he said, running a hand through his hair.
“I’ll come. I’ve got nothing better to do than read over some articles.” He shrugged, and I paused, trying to figure out what his motives were.
From what I could tell, he was tired, and sick of work. Much like me.
“Okay,” I finally replied, and we Side-Along apparated back to my house, and I was careful to choose a room far away from the spider zone.
Scorpius, being a man who was thankfully not afraid of arachnids, took care of the spider situation quickly, and then joined me on the worn out couch.
“Thanks," I said, smiling gratefully at him.
He sunk into the seat beside me, sighing heavily.
“How are you?” he said, turning his head slightly to face me.
I just looked at him, and he nodded. We understood each other like that.
With that, he stood up, moving to my cupboard and pulling out a bottle of firewhisky.
“I think this situation calls for this,” he said, holding the bottle out to me and I grinned wryly.
Scorpius and I hadn’t really been alone together since we’d broken up. I’d forgotten how easily we got along, and how much fun we could have together. We could, quite possibly, be friends if we tried.
Within half an hour, the firewhisky had gone to our heads slightly, and we’d moved from complaining about work (which was miserable for both of us), to reminiscing on our school days.
“D’you remember that time,” he said, relaxing into his chair with the glass held loosely in his hand, “that Albus accidentally threw a dungbomb, and it hit James? And James fell over from the force of it?”
I laughed, fully laughed, like I hadn’t in a long time.
“James has no balance when he’s not in the air. All you have to do is tap him unexpectedly and splat.” I slammed my hand down on the table for emphasis.
Scorpius cocked his head to the side, agreeing with me.
“What about…” he paused, his eyes darkening and his face becoming more serious.
“The Owlery,” he said softly, and my head flicked instantly so that my eyes met him.
The Owlery. How could I ever forget about that.
“Crap, I forgot to send this letter to Mum and Dad, it’s been a week. Run to the Owlery with me before class?” I said as Scorpius and I packed our bags after one of our many study sessions.
We complemented each other well, he thought about things that I always missed and skipped over, and together we got through the work much faster.
I looked hopefully at him, hoping that he’d agree and accompany me. I really did have to send this letter to my parents, they’d get anxious if I didn’t reply soon, and I didn’t want Al to tattle on me.
He’d done that enough. If I sent my own version of events, they wouldn’t hear about my nose ring. At least not until I came home for the holidays.
I could already tell that was going to be one big argument between my mother and I.
“Sure,” Scorpius said, and together we walked out of the library and up several floors and stairs to the Owlery.
“What do you want to do after seventh year, Scorpius?” I said, just to break the silence that was currently filling the air between us.
He didn’t answer immediately, and I could tell he was thinking about it hard.
“I don’t know. I want to do something that will make my father proud…but I can’t see myself in the Ministry. Politics isn’t for me.”
I nodded, that made sense and I could definitely see it.
“What about healing?” I suggested, it was, after all a well-respected career.
“Doubt I’ll get the N.E.W.Ts,” he said with a smile, and I conceded that that was probably a logical conclusion.
Healing was one of the hardest professions to get into; getting the necessary marks to even be able to apply was well beyond my reach, especially as I had no motivation.
“I’m thinking something to do with the Prophet, but I’m not sure yet. Nothing’s certain till we graduate anyway,” he said as we entered the seventh floor, and I had to agree.
“Well, at least you have some idea. I’m completely in the dark,” I admitted, feeling half ashamed of that fact.
Until Scorpius and I had started studying and spending time together, I hadn’t cared about getting good grades or staying out of detention. He had not really either, from his past records with Albus.
“You’ll figure it out,” Scorpius said with a reassuring smile as we entered the Owlery, the familiar smell and the sounds of the birds greeting us.
I quickly coaxed one of the school owls down, attaching the rolled up parchment to its foot, and moved to the wide-open space that was technically a window, but was also just a missing wall.
I released the owl into the sky, feeling the drops of rain sprinkle on my skin. There was a storm coming, and the rain was just coming in, the wind blowing it in such a direction that it was going to fill the Owlery.
Scorpius moved to stand beside me, the breeze blowing through his short hair and a smile on his face as the rain hit it.
“We should probably get to class,” I said, slightly breathless as I turned my gaze from the sky to look at him.
We’d been growing closer for weeks now, but it still felt strange to be alone on practically the rooftop of the school with him. I trusted him, and I wasn’t sure exactly when that had developed.
“We probably should,” he conceded, turning to stare at me.
Our gazes locked, and the moment seemed to lengthen, to continue on forever. This wasn’t Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley standing in the Owlery in the rain anymore.
This was chemistry, both something more, and something less.
I had hated him for years, but he had shown me he could be a compassionate human being over the past month or so. I had certainly opened up around him; he was one of the few who had seen past my prickly exterior.
Without any acknowledgement from my brain, my head moved forward, meeting his, as we came together in a kiss.
My first, and it had been full of promise. Standing there in the rain with Scorpius Malfoy, that had made an afternoon I would never forget.
I stared, torn between the present and the past. I could feel the ghostly memory of his lips on mine, and all that that memory of that day brought with it. We’d been in a relationship for a reason, we’d had an attraction between us. We had connected.
We’d fallen apart, as often happened. But now? Now we seemed to be friends, and I was half hoping all of our history, all the romantic bullshit would fall into a ditch and be forgotten.
Apparently I was wrong. Perhaps it was just the alcohol that caused him to bring it up. Perhaps not. Maybe he thought about it, maybe he wanted to be a couple.
I wasn’t sure how I felt. I’d gotten over him. I’d missed him for a long time, but I was free now, and happy that way.
Of course, I knew there was a strong possibility I’d never find another boyfriend, certainly not one like him. He tried so hard to live up to his father’s expectations. He’d done some stupid things, sure, but comparing Hogwarts-aged Scorpius and this Scorpius, I could see how he’d matured.
“Scorpius…”I said, tilting my head to the side as I regarded him.
“You said that night that you wanted to work somewhere to please your father, to become someone he’d be proud of.”
Surprisingly he was fairly coherent. I wasn’t sure how much of my thinking was blurred by the firewhisky, but I was almost certain he’d had more.
Nevertheless, I continued on. If he didn’t remember this in the morning, hell, if I didn’t remember, it wouldn’t matter.
“You’ve matured now. You may not think this, but you are someone he should be proud of. I’m proud of you, proud to be your friend.”
He looked at me, his eyes half closed.
“Am I? I’m not sure.”
He poured himself another glass of firewhisky, and I took the opportunity to go to the toilet. I had a feeling that stupid things would start to happen if I stayed in the same room with him for too long. As much as I was over him, the memory was still there, and I didn’t want to bring that up again.
When I came back, having taken as long as I feasibly could, Scorpius was passed out on the table, snoring his head off.
Giggling slightly, I brushed the hair out of his eyes and levitated him to the couch. I didn’t have work the next day, as today was a Friday, so there was no harm in him staying the night.
There was definitely no way in hell I’d be able to get him back into his own house.
With that, I sent all the dishes to the sink and headed to bed myself.