“Malfoy, can you pass me the Billywig sting,” I asked exasperatedly. He was not making eye contact with me and was only talking to me to tell me what I was doing wrong when we were working on our Pepper-Up Potion.
He handed me the small, blue sting and I proceeded to crush it by cutting it into smaller and smaller pieces with my knife. The juice oozed out of the sting, sizzling against my knife.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
I sighed and rolled my eyes. Keep your temper under under control, Rose.
“Pray tell, good sir. How might a loyal subject meet your excellent standards?” I was mocking him. I could tell he was annoyed. Fantastic.
“Don’t make fun of me. I’m just trying to get us both better marks.” He scowled.
“Correction: You are trying to get yourself a better mark.” I smirked at him victoriously.
He turned and looked me right in the eye and I could see the hurt behind his silvery eyes.
“Contrary to popular belief, I’m not selfish. You are my partner so I care about my own interests as much as I do about yours.” He looked at me with a look so genuine that I knew he couldn’t be lying. I looked away and tucked a lock of my hair that had fallen into my face behind my ear.
“Alright. How should I do it?”
“Well, I find that the best technique is to crush it with the flat side of the knife because it crushes more evenly. Then there is more surface area for it to dissolve properly and quicker in the salt water so the mixture is homogenous before it begins to boil.” I looked at him in shock.
“I never knew that you were so good at potions,” I said thoughtfully, avoiding eye contact.
“It’s my favourite subject so I practice a lot and I read a lot about it.”
I nodded and proceeded to crush the sting in the way that Scorpius described and after doing so, I looked at him and he nodded his approval. I lifted it into the cauldron carefully and the potion bubbled happily.
“Alright, have we added everything now?” I asked him looking over the recipe again.
“I added the essence of belladonna and the rat liver, you put in the ventricle of the crocodile heart, right?”
I nodded. “And I just put in the sting, so we just have the flobberworm mucus and the pepper once it boils.”
“So, now we wait.”
“Now, we wait,” I agreed.
The Billywig sting dissolved quicker than normal, thanks to Scorpius’ ingenious suggestion and our potion quickly boiled. We added the flobberworm mucus to thicken it and then the tip of the Nonut Jolokia pepper, a wizard cultivated pepper based off of a hot muggle pepper, which gives the potion its signature kick.
I stirred three times clockwise like the recipe indicated and Scorpius encouraged me to do one counter-clockwise. I did so, and the potion turned slightly darker, closer to the colour the potion is supposed to be. I gasped in astonishment and Scorpius laughed.
Of course he was amazing at potions and completely upstaged me.
“So, the potion’s done then?” I hadn’t exactly meant for that to come out as a question but knowing him, there was some special trick for getting it in the vial without any bubbles or something ridiculous like that.
“Nope.” He smirked.
“Nope?” I threw my hands of in the air. “What else could you possibly have up your sleeve?”
“Just this!” He pulled out a peppermint leaf and dropped it in the potion. “This way you don’t get steam coming out of your ears.”
“Alright, master. Whatever you say.” I shook my head and stirred the potion again to mix in the peppermint leaf before filling our flask and labelling it with our names.
I brought it up to Professor Fittleworth and she beamed at me. I handed her the flask apprehensively.
“Mr. Malfoy was right! You do work well together when you are forced to!”
It took a moment for what she had said to sink in.
“Sorry, Mr. Malfoy? Scorpius asked to be my partner?”
“Of course, Rosie,” not the nickname again, “and he was right! you are a perfect team! No wonder McGonagall made you Heads! Perfect complements of each other.” I stifled a giggle.
“Right, Professor. Adios.” I walked away. I could not stand listening to that cheery voice for another moment. Especially telling me that Malfoy and I were a bloody good team. Don’t make me laugh.
I returned to our table with a huff.
“Whoa. What’s up with you?” Scorpius was obviously terrified by the crazed look in my eyes.
“Professor Perfect believes that we make a perfect team.” The bell rang and I stormed out of the classroom, only to find that my favourite person had followed me out at lightning speed.
“Is that necessarily a bad thing?” Scorpius teased, smiling with that adorable dimple in his cheek. He bonked his hip against mine, pushing me away a bit. Git-face.
“Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t want you to get any ideas,” I answered honestly.
“What ideas?” I sighed.
“Never mind,” I mumbled, almost inaudibly.
“Hey, for the record, I think that we could be a good team. We work well together. Maybe we could give the friendship thing a go again?” He looked hopeful.
“Why are you so set on being my friend?” I couldn’t look him in the eye.
“Because I think you need someone that you can talk to without being judged and honestly I need the same thing.”
“What about Al? And I do have friends! Willow and I-” he cut me off.
“Al is always with his girlfriend these days and I know that you have Willow, but she seems a little too cheery for you.”
“Maybe so, but she is my best friend and she balances me out and keeps me sane.” I couldn’t believe that I had to defend my friendship with my best friend in front of this prat.
“Still, it won’t kill you to have another friend!” He yelled that to me as he turned to run down the hallway to Transfiguration.
A few people heard and looked at me disgustedly. I had friends! Even if I was related to 80% of them! They still counted as friends!
“He’s still trying to get you to be his friend?” Willow came up and walked beside me.
“Merlin, yes! And it’s bloody annoying!” I moaned.
“It can’t hurt! He’s so persistent that you know it will happen eventually! Besides, it would be a good thing for you and the Head Boy to not be at each other’s throats all the time.” She argued well!
“I guess, but I just don’t trust him.”
“That will come with time. For now, just work on getting to know him and the rest will come naturally.” I gave Willow an awkward one-armed hug as we walked down the corridor together.
“Thanks, Will. You’re the best friend I could ever ask for!” She beamed at me, but it was a smile that I could handle. Genuine happiness, not sickly sweetness. “We need to catch up! You should come and stay in my dorm tonight!”
“The Head dorm?” She looked startled.
“Well, yes. That’s where I sleep.”
She debated it. “I guess, yeah. It’ll be a nice change from the superficial girls in our year and we do need to talk.”
“Good! Come at 8 with your pajamas and gossip!” She giggled and we entered the classroom together.
All day, classes were pretty much the same. They gave us a lecture on how important this year was, how as NEWT students, more was expected of us than ever and we had to stay on top of things to even hope to be successful after Hogwarts. Basically, we had to pay attention and do well, or we would end up cleaning the floors at some muggle place for the rest of our lives. Excellent.
I had all Os in all my subjects so it wasn’t really a concern for me, although Ancient Runes was getting harder and harder every year. I guess the only subject that I wasn’t looking forward to this year was Transfiguration because it didn’t come as easily as the others did. I had to really work for my grades and practice for hours. I could explain any concept and discuss any theory, but the practical part killed me I still managed to come out on top, but I knew that if Head Girl duties became really strenuous, my grades in that class would start slipping, which was not something I could handle.
After dinner, I came into the dorm to find Scorpius sitting on the couch with a book. Intrigued, I plonked myself down on the couch facing him.
“What are you reading?” I played with a curl on the side on my face.
“To Kill A Mockingbird.”
“Is that some kind of hunting book? It doesn’t sound very interesting.”
“Muggle book. It’s considered to be a classic and it’s probably my favourite book.” He shrugged and returned to it.
“What’s it about?” He looked annoyed and closed the purple book on his finger to keep his place.
“It deals with a lot of issues that were controversial when it was written. It deals with innocence, love, compassion, but also hatred, prejudice, discrimination. The book is extremely well written and it’s one of those books that take a lot of thinking. It was really gutsy for the author to publish this book with all these ideas that went against everything people stood for in those days, especially with her being a girl and everything.”
“I thought that Green Eggs and Ham was your favourite book, big guy,” I challenged him, raising my eyebrows.
He rolled his eyes. “I do love Green Eggs and Ham, but To Kill A Mockingbird is pure genius. It is a masterpiece and cannot be compared to any other book!”
“Right. I’m still just so surprised that you read so many muggle books.”
“Hey,” he looked me directly in the eyes with his icy ones, “my dad is not the same person I’m sure you have heard about. He honestly has changed and doesn’t care about any of that anymore!”
“I believe you,” I stared back at him and when it started to become awkward, I spoke. “Do you mind if Willow comes for a sleepover tonight?”
He furrowed his brows. “Why would I mind?”
I shrugged. “Just making sure. Do you mind if she knows the password then?”
“Oh Merlin, it’s so awful! What is it, like, Bride of Titans or something? It’s so bad!” He laughed and I chuckled along with him.
“It is pretty bad. Maybe we can change it?”
“Jean Louise?” He suggested.
“Jean Louise, the main character in To Kill A Mockingbird! She’s brilliant!”
“Jean Louise.” I thought about it. “It does have a nice ring to it. Why not? At the next prefect’s meeting I’ll ask McGonagall.”
“Great! Thanks!” He smiled and re-opened his book.
I started to walk to the Gryffindor common room to make sure Willow knew the plan when I yelled back.
“Speaking of prefects, we have patrols tomorrow night from nine to half twelve! Be late and I will kill you!”
He laughed and smiling, I exited the common room.
“I don’t get it,” Willow asked me later that night while we were sitting on the floor of my room, wrapped in blankets and eating Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. “You two seem so comfortable together!”
We had gossiped for two hours and successfully avoided the unnamed subject, but then, of course, it was somehow brought up in conversation.
“It seems like that but we’re mortal enemies one minute arguing and then having a perfectly civil conversation like we’re friends the next!” I popped a green bean in my mouth. Lime!
Willow nodded as if trying to understand the situation. “Do you think he likes you? He did try to kiss you and complimented you on your shirt when you were only wearing a sports bra. That seems to be the only way guys can show affection; by disregarding your feelings and focussing on his own lust. But honestly, do you want him to like you?”
“No!” Great, that sounded way too defensive. Willow raised her eyebrows. “Okay, I don’t like him. Yes, we do get on well when we are getting on well and yes, I enjoy conversing with him and yes, he is extremely hot. I mean, have you seen him without a shirt? Like the body of a god! He’s not one of those muscular boneheads, he’s just extremely fit and lean and his skin is perfect and his hair looks so silky and his eyes burn into me every time he looks at me and his dimples! You know, I’ve always said...”
Willow was laughing at me. Like rolling on the floor laughing at me! When she finally was able to contain herself slightly, she spoke.
“Do you hear yourself? You are obviously attracted to him! It sounds like you do fancy him sweetheart!“
I frowned. “I don’t fancy him!”
“The way you were going off about him! The body of a god! Rose, please be honest!” She laughed and smiled at me.
I sighed. “Maybe I do, but I will never admit it and besides, my life is too crazy as it is to have a boyfriend. For now, I might try to be his friend, but I really don’t want anything else from him.”
Willow nodded, her big blue eyes full of understanding. “I get it. You like him, but you’re not sure if he feels the same or if you’re ready for that. I must say though, this is a real turn of events.”
I rolled my eyes while she giggled. “What about you, love? Who’ve you got your eye on?”
She blushed. “No one.”
“You are not getting out of this so easily! Who do you like? Is he in Gryffindor?" she nodded. "Do I know him?”
“You could say that,” she shrugged.
I racked my brain to see if I had noticed anything about her recently. The only guys I ever talked to were Scorpius, Jack, the other beater on the Gryffindor team, Louis, Al...
“Oh my gosh, you like Al!” She gave me a look of pure terror.
“Yes! That’s why you got so upset on the train! He has a girlfriend though! an awful one, I’ll give you that, but still! Oh my gosh! You fancy my cousin! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” Willow started hitting me lightly on the arm.
“Oh, shush. And no, I don’t fancy Al, I used to, but then I discovered what a jerk he is and I will never go near the likes of him again. He’s conniving, sly, deceptive, arrogant-”
“You sound like me describing Scorpius!” I laughed.
“Maybe, but you like Scorpius, I don’t like Al.” She shook her head and her light, brown curls shook around her face.
“Whatever you say, Will. But, personally, I think that you’re PERFECT for him! I agree that he’s a real jerk, but you could totally sort him out! Felicity is a ...not nice person,” I avoided cursing, “and Al needs someone more grounded and natural, not superficial and dependent.”
“Maybe,” she started, “but I’m not that girl for him. He can find someone else.” She slumped down under her blankets and rested her head on her pillow.
“Okay.” I flipped onto my side to look at her. “Here’s the deal, you don’t bug me about Scorpius; I won’t bug you about Al. Deal?”
She smiled. “Deal!” We spat on our hands and shook them, which has been our tradition since third year to make a binding commitment, but not have death as the consequence, like the Unbreakable Vow.
I snuggled under the covers and flipped my wand to turn out the lights before putting it on the bedside table.
“‘Night Will. You’re the best friend I could’ve ever asked for,” I whispered. But she was already out like a light.
A/N: There you have it! I finished my homework early today so I had some time to finish this and get it up! Huzzah! I apologize for my absence: I had a Bio research Paper, an essay (on TKAM), band festival and concert, piano exam preparation, bassoon octet practice, and work! The next chapter won't be up for a while with exams looming so bear with me please!
What do you think of Rose's realizations? What about Willow and Al? There will be more to come on both of these subjects in future chapters. Also, Quidditch tryouts will be in the next chapter!
No, none of this belongs to me, save for my plot and Willow and Jack. The rest belongs to the lovely J.K. Rowling!
To Kill A Mockingbird and Jean Louise belong to the magnificent Harper Lee, not me, a humble fan!
Review! Please! And owls will flock around your house!
Edit: 06/27/2012 - Some minor typos, replacing Canadian language with more British sounding language, spacing