Thank you everyone who has given this story a shot! I've been writing it like crazy so I hope you enjoy!
This chapter is dedicated to this hottie's collar bones.
Sneaking out was less thrilling than I thought it would be, considering I just opened the window, climbed out, and was back on the deck. Scorpius was where I left him. It was darker now, but I could still see his bare torso and purple boxers.
“You’re lucky I’m a kind person,” I muttered, throwing his clothes to him.
“I really thought you’d make me traipse through the forest in this.” He quickly pulled on the pants and the shirt. It stretched a little over his chest. I stared. I was a girl. So what. I was seventeen. Comes with the territory.
“I should have.” I motioned to his feet. “Sorry about that though.”
“I’ll just numb them.” Scorpius shrugged and whipped out his wand. “Rubber boots wouldn’t have gone over well anyway.”
“Just use transfiguration.” I sat on the edge of the deck and hopped off, landing on my feet, but only just.
“Not my best class. This is fine.” He flicked his wand and then kicked his feet a little. “Brilliant. Are you ready?”
“Considering I have no idea what’s happening, I don’t know if I’m ready.” I avoided his eyes. “I still don’t know why I’m not inside reading.”
“I do.” Scorpius smirked and made his way down the small slope of dirt and into the trees.
“Care you enlighten me?”
“Put on a brave face, Gryffindor. I’ll let you figure it out for yourself.”
I groaned and followed him into the forest, hoping I wasn’t about to get killed, mauled, or seriously injured. Mum would not be proud. The further I stepped, the darker it got until it became difficult to identify trees from boulders from Scorpius Malfoy. Thankfully, I took out my wand and illuminated the space around us.
The woods were spooky at night. It wasn’t like the magical Forbidden Forest. No, it was much more alive. I heard various animal noises. Snapping twigs. Leaves rustling. Scorpius swearing as he stubbed his toe.
“The further we go the more I’m convinced you took me out here to kill me,” I said, gasping for breath since he was going so fast. Stupid mountains.
“I could have just killed you up there,” Scorpius said. “Not that I know anything about killing. Would you care to be my test subject?”
“I’d rather not.”
“What is your biggest fear, Rose?” he asked loudly.
I pointed my wand at his back, illuminating the red and beige of his clothes. He didn’t so much as flinch. “Storms.”
“Biggest? I don’t believe you.”
“I haven’t spoken to you in six years!” I cried. “How would you know?”
“Just because we haven’t talked doesn’t mean I don’t know you.” Scorpius shrugged a little. “I just think you have to fear something more than storms. Are they really that scary? Booms of thunder?”
“Shut up.” Ever since I was a kid storms had bothered me. I would cuddle up on the sofa, away from windows, and pull a blanket over my head. Dad would sit and pull me onto his lap. Then we would watch some Muggle television show and I’d fall asleep to the sound of the rain against the windowpanes.
“Scarier than a cliff?”
I was glad he said something, as I wasn’t paying attention and I almost ran into him. Scorpius had stopped even with a line of tall trees. Just ahead of him was about two meters of grass, followed by the land vanishing.
“I wasn’t aware there were cliffs in the Smoky Mountains,” I said shortly, heart beating a little. I didn’t hate heights. It was like everyone hated heights. Everyone’s biggest fear was heights, which I found perplexing since I figured it would be the falling. It wasn’t mine, but this cliff was testing that.
The only way I could see the water below was by moonlight, which didn’t help. I tried pointing my wand, but it barely caught the calm waves.
“Found this place three days ago,” Scorpius explained. He leaned against a nearby tree, eyes away. “Almost fell in.”
“I bet there are rocks.” I stared over the edge. That was a long drop. Fifty meters? Not that long. I wasn’t sure. I needed better measuring skills.
“How do you know?”
“Because after I almost fell in, I jumped.”
I turned. “What’s your story?” I asked. “You’re being mysterious. No one likes a mysterious boy. You’re blond, so there goes the tall, dark, and handsome.”
“But I am handsome, am I?” Scorpius said, his lips curving into a grin.
“I bet you’re still afraid of squid,” I shot back.
Finally, his cheeks turned pink in the darkness. “We haven’t warmed to each other.” He kicked his foot against the dirt, swirling it with his toes. “My story is that I am hours and hours away from home and I will either take advantage of spending it with someone my own age, or I’ll go back to the cottage and spend thirty days in fear my father is going to light the place on fire testing charcoal.”
I thought about being in the house with Hugo and my parents, who were probably being awkward. I then compared it with being on a cliff with Scorpius Malfoy, who was not dark, but had the tall and handsome thing going for him.
“Similar to my story, down to the days, though my dad won’t mess with the grill.” I paused. “Did you really jump?”
“I really jumped.”
“Let me guess. Leap of faith?”
“Why are you skeptical of everything?”
I turned. His eyes were on mine, though it wasn’t easy to tell. My wand was at my hip. “I don’t see the point, I guess.” Was there one? Jumping off a cliff blind? Spending five hours in a stream with a net? I’d much rather read or paint.
“Maybe this will help.” Scorpius pushed himself off the tree trunk and started toward me. He was quiet, but each step rustled the twigs and fallen leaves below. I heard a few owls in the distance, but didn’t look away.
There was something about his eyes that both put me at ease and scared me.
“Maybe what will?” I found myself a little out of breath as he approached, heart starting to beat faster.
Scorpius took my hand and squeezed it, but then let go. “Do you trust me?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Trust sounds a bit forward, doesn’t it?”
“Do you trust me, Rose?” Scorpius repeated, his expression not faltering. He was serious.
I hesitated, lips parting. He was less than a meter from me, eyes on mine. I could see the his brows crease, the locks of hair falling over his ears.
“Your biggest fear is taking risks,” Scorpius said into the silence.
Before I could disagree, he pressed on both of my shoulders and pushed me over the side of the cliff.
The fall was something I’d never experienced before. Weightlessness as air crashed over my sides. Then I hit the cold sheet of water and everything went dark. Darker than it already was anyway. When I surfaced, my body stung and I looked around. I saw the outline of the shore from the moonlight, but that was blurred with my choking on water.
A moment later and there was a large splash beside me. Scorpius flipped his hair away from his face. I could tell he was grinning.
“It’s cold!” he announced, laughing.
“You are aware I’m going to kill you, right?” I asked, treading water before swimming for shore. Ignoring him was the best option now.
“You can’t kill me yet,” he called.
“And why bloody not?”
“You’ll be stuck with your family for a month.” There was a smirk in his voice I hated.
“Maybe that would be better.” Eventually my feet found the muddy lake floor and I hoisted myself out of the water. I felt frozen. Everything was cold and instantly my body began to shake. “I cannot believe you just pushed me in the water. I definitely don’t trust you now.”
Scorpius patted my shoulder. “Loosen up a little, Rose. You act like you live behind bars or play by the rules.”
“What’s the point of breaking the rules?” I shot back. “Well, they’re there for a reason. It’s not like I can’t break rules. I just snuck out, didn’t I?”
“When was the last time you snuck out?” he asked. I faltered. “Exactly.”
I reached into my back pocket and tugged out my wand, performing a drying spell. It tingled all the way into my fingertips. After pulling my hair back up, I turned, eyes widening.
Why was this boy always half-naked?
Scorpius had his shirt off and was wringing it out over the edge of the lake. His pants were dry, wand sticking out of his pocket. It really wasn’t appropriate that the light was reflecting off his back muscles.
Not appropriate at all.
“You having a staring problem, Rose Weasley,” he commented without turning around. My intake of breath may have tipped him off.
“You have a naked problem,” I said just as easily. “In case you haven’t noticed, we’re at the bottom of a cliff. It’s late.”
“So you’re scared.”
“I’m not.” My eyes narrowed.
“Then just relax for a minute.” Scorpius draped his shirt around his neck and moved toward the trees. He picked up a few logs and twigs and starting piling them beside the shoreline. “Is it always go, go, go for you? Always have to complete a task and move onto something else?”
I paused, watching him. He moved slow, draping each log in a pyramid before standing back to survey the structure. “It’s not always like that,” I said.
Scorpius used his wand to light the logs, flames erupting so high he had to calm them before sitting beside it. He patted the spot next to him. “Tell me what it is like then.”
“Okay, am I the only one who finds this strange?” I said, a little stubbornly. “We’re on vacation in the same place. We haven’t really spoken in six years other than borrowing a potion’s ingredient or two, and now you’re asking for my life story next to a fire in the Smoky Mountains?”
He glanced up, smiling a little. “Can you think of a better place?”
I caved and fell beside him, pulling my legs up to my chest. I couldn’t figure him out. He was shrouded in a strange mystery. Like he answered every question with another question.
“You go first,” I said.
“With what? My life story?”
I shrugged. “Just go first, okay?”
Scorpius was quiet for a moment and the wood was beginning to crackle. “I don’t know what to say.” He laughed a little and I noticed his cheeks begin to darken. “I’m pretty regular, really.”
I shot him a look.
“Okay!” Scorpius said, laughing. “I’m not that regular. When my grandparents died, my parents sold the big manor because Dad said it reminded him too much of his childhood. And before you ask, yes, I do know all about it. My dad isn’t a bad person. He was just put in a bad situation.” He shrugged, his laughter gone. His gaze was focused on the lake. “He doesn’t talk about it, so I don’t talk about it.”
“So why are you talking about?” I asked quietly.
“Can you think of a better place?” Scorpius repeated, letting out a breath.
“My family talks about it,” I commented. He looked over. “About what happened when they were at school. The battle. All of that. Dad says it helps you move on when you talk about something.” I felt a little uncomfortable with him watching me. “Do you get along with your parents?”
“I think everyone expects me to say no when they ask that,” Scorpius replied. “But yes, I do. We don’t go on fishing trips with matching tackle boxes, but we do get on okay.”
“My family says I favor my mum, but I get along better with my dad.”
“You could say that.” I smiled. It was true. Since I was little I’d always gone on adventures with Dad, sitting atop his shoulders. We went everywhere together. Even at the Burrow we sat together after I punched James in the face for being a twat.
Scorpius hadn’t looked away. “I’m sorry we never got to talk before now, you know.”
“We’ve barely talked now.” I shrugged, feeling heat on my cheeks again. “We don’t exactly have the same friends or do the same things. You’re a Prefect and I’m not.”
He shrugged again. “Still. We should make up for lost time.” He nudged me in the ribs and I flinched. “Tell me about all of the brave things you’ve done since the sorting hat told you that you were a Gryffindor.” Scorpius was grinning again, that charismatic grin that ensnared so much of Hogwarts.
“I have stopped a puppy from digging up the garden at Grandmum’s,” I noted with a cheeky smile.
“Did you have a cape? You should have had a cape.”
“Will you make me a cape?” I asked.
Scorpius bit down on his bottom lip. “Scarlet and gold?”
“How about a nice rosy red?” I asked, nudging him back with my foot. I had to admit, this wasn’t horrible. Not that I thought it would be (though my mind was momentarily swayed by being pushed off a cliff), but I was still comparing it to being at the house with Hugo’s button-mashing.
“Done.” He shifted in the sand and turned his attention back to the fire. “Do you still like squid?”
“Are you still afraid of them?” I was impressed he remembered the conversation. I wondered if it had been on his mind for the better part of six years like it had mine. I was still trying to figure out exactly what he meant. I was plenty brave. Or maybe I wasn’t. What did he mean by girls should be brave and not boys?
He smiled almost sheepishly. “I told you we haven’t warmed to each other yet.”
“Meaning you haven’t even been in the lake,” I countered, smirking.
I couldn’t disguise the laughter. “You’re kidding!”
“It’s huge, okay?” Scorpius said, his calm demeanor vanishing. “It’s a huge squid that could kill me!”
“You’re a wimp.” I shot him a grin. “Tell me more about you. I like having something to use against you.”
“I case of what?” he asked.
“In case I need it.”
Scorpius leaned forward and tossed a stray twig into the fire. “I like people. I like working with people, talking to people, and making people happy.”
“What about you?” The fire was crackling louder, sending barely visible plumes of smoke into the darkness. “Do you like to make yourself happy?”
“That’s why I spend five hours in a creek fishing.”
I moved to lie back in the sand. “Do you fish at home?” I asked. I tried to picture him in a nice house, standing out front in a ditch with a net, pants rolled to his knees. It made me smile.
“No.” Scorpius stretched his back and it popped. “No, I don’t. I’m usually pretty busy during the summer at home tending to…things. And at school...”
“Don’t want to catch a mermaid,” I teased. “Or a squid.”
“I can’t believe you remember that,” Scorpius said softly, kicking at the sand.
“Who do you think I am, Scorpius?” I asked, sitting up. My back was covered in sand and of course my eyes were on his bare torso. “Really. What do you think of me as you have so carefully observed me over the course of six years.” It was hard to think about that. What else had he noticed?
I had my first boyfriend third year and he broke up with me in the middle of dinner. I fell off my broom during flying lessons. I had my heart broken last summer by the Muggle boy who lived across the street. How much did Scorpius Malfoy know?
“Who are you?” he echoed. He picked up another twig and began drawing in the damp sand. Squiggles and swirls. “You are very good at Defense Against the Dark Arts. According to a girl who overheard you in the bathroom, you outscored me on every OWL. You bite your lip when you don’t know the answer to a question and you’re afraid of being called on. And you live in fear of being happy.”
My eyes snapped over. “What? I am happy. Are you daft?”
He didn’t reply for a minute. “You asked who I think you are. You got your answer.”
Annoyed, I got to my feet. “Well you can think by yourself then,” I said and marched off into the trees.
He didn’t follow.
I walked into the kitchen in time to see Dad casting a concerned glance at the ceiling. Then the pancake dislodged itself and fell right onto his face.
“That’s a good look for you,” I said calmly, taking a seat at the table. “Need help? It’s too early so the most I’ll do is offer.”
“You’re a peach,” Dad said, peeling it off his face and tossing it back into the pan. “That one’s Hugo’s.” He finished it and tossed it onto a plate. “How many? One?”
“All of the pancakes.” I yawned. “Dad, how many cottages are up in these mountains?”
“Hard to tell. There were dozens through the company we used.” He squeezed batter into the pan. “I know there are a lot of companies too. Probably at least twenty on this mountain, but this is a big one.”
“How far apart are they?”
“Worried about being robbed? Just lock your window at night.” He chuckled. Like he was really funny or something. “I don’t know, Rosey. Few kilometers? Want to borrow a measuring stick? It’ll give you something to do. Better yet, let’s have Hugo do it. He’s already being a pain this morning.”
“What this time?” I stretched my legs out on the chair across from me. Pancakes smelled amazing, especially when Dad made them.
“He’s mad there are bugs here and no girls,” Dad said, smirking. “I don’t know where he got that, you know. Not from your mum and me.”
“Uncle George,” I said, thinking about the pretty girls Uncle George hired for the shop.
“Good point. I’ll tell Hermione to give him a swirly when we get home.” Dad smirked and plated another pancake. “Here you go, Turkey.” He ruffled my hair and poured me a glass of milk, placing it on the table as well.
“Thanks.” I poured way too much syrup on top. “Hey, out of curiosity, are you still in contact with Mr. Malfoy?”
Dad looked over, his ginger brow raising. “I haven’t saved him from a fire recently, but we speak at events.” He paused and shoved my feet off the chair so he could sit down. “Why do you ask?”
“I was just wondering. I thought about him yesterday.” Thought about him in an apron trying to work a grill.
“You want to go say hi when we get home?” He smirked and nudged me with his foot. “Maybe go play in the pool at the Malfoy Manor?”
“They don’t live in the manor anymore,” I noted.
“They don’t? Yeah, I guess that sounds right. Your mother probably told me while I was watching Quidditch or something.” Dad shrugged a little. “So what are your plans for the day, Turkey? Are you going to help me weed outside? Or perhaps devise a plan to get Hugo out of my hair?”
“You’re not that lucky,” I said, smirking. I thought for a minute about going back into the woods and who I might run into. After leaving the lake, it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Besides, I was completely content here. With my family. On vacation.
Dad opened his mouth to reply, but jumped as the kitchen door banged open.
He was still in his pajama shorts, which hung loose off his body, and a large t-shirt. His hair, the same messy brown as mine, was lopsided from whatever product he had been using to set it in place. Dad noticed this too and wrinkled his nose. He always teased Mum about performing a maternity spell so his kids didn’t have red hair.
“What’s for breakfast?” Hugo grunted, pulling open the fridge and grabbing a carton or orange juice. He tipped it back and started drinking.
“Clearly we’ll mark that one with your name,” I muttered, rolling my eyes.
“Pancakes. Brilliant.” He replaced the carton and grabbed the plate with the ceiling-pancake. He slathered it with syrup, found a fork, and disappeared back into the living room without another word.
“Being that it was on a ceiling gives me a small victory as a parent,” Dad said, turning his attention back to me.
“Kicking him in the face would give me a large victory as a sister.” I finished off my own pancake and stood, placing the plate in the bubbly sink.
“You just let me know when and I’ll make myself scarce so there’s no evidence.”
Only twenty minutes into trying to relax and read on the back deck, Hugo was blasting music from speakers I didn’t know he brought with him. I stuffed several items in a tote bag, annoyed, and headed into the trees.
I could tell myself all day that I was just walking away from the house to escape Hugo, but that was a lie. I could have gone in any direction. Instead, I took a now-familiar path, expecting someone else to be on the other end of it. When I reached the shallow creek bed, however, I found it empty.
I wasn’t sure what I thought would happen. That Scorpius would magically be out there for another five hour netting trip? He was annoying regardless. He talked to me like he knew something I didn’t. Like he was Merlin’s gift to me or something. I had been alive seventeen years, same as him, and he had very few rights to have an opinion on me.
Besides, I took plenty of risks.
I pulled off my shoes and placed them in the sand. It was a hot, muggy day and my body was already covered in a sheen of sweat. One look over my shoulder told me I was very much alone.
I abandoned my tote bag on the shore and then wiggled out of my shorts. I also tugged off my shirt and tossed it aside, still thankful it was a more recent purchase instead of one from when I was twelve.
This was as good as a bathing suit anyway. Both undergarments were black and structured well. Dom constantly made fun of me for wanting to be comfortable.
“What’s the point in that?” she asked on more than one occasion. “You don’t need to be comfortable to look good.”
“Yeah, but who’s going to see it?” I countered.
I mean, boys had seen my undergarments. Once I did blush because the boy was so excited to see lingerie, only to feast his eyes on a plain, black bra. He wasn’t impressed.
The water was cool when I stepped into it, but not freezing like the day before. It felt good under the sun. I moved in up to my knees in the center of the creek, water brushing against my skin. It was a serene environment, but almost loud as I let my ears adjust. Birds, leaves, water.
I wondered what my friends were doing. Usually Cynthia went on her Caribbean vacation around the same time I did mine. Dominique was being wined and dined by her latest flame with his family in Italy (must be nice) and Bonnie was probably lounging in her garden getting sun. I wasn’t sure they’d believe I was in the Smoky Mountains, now sitting in a creek as the water rushed against my shoulder blades.
“You’re going to scare away the fish, you know.”
Accompanied by Scorpius Malfoy.
My head jerked around, neck almost snapping, and spotted him on the shore. He was in nice, black trousers and a collared shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. It felt a little warm for that, but he looked nice. In one hand he carried his net, in the other a bucket and a paper bag.
Quickly, I sank into the water up to my neck. “What’re you doing here?” I asked, voice strained, considering I was in my bra and underwear in a creek. Oh, hell.
“These your clothes?” Scorpius pointed to my pile, though it was obvious. He grinned. “I could take these, you know. Like you did for me.”
“Except you’re not going to do that.” I spoke slowly, eyes dodging over to my clothes. I couldn’t imagine traipsing to find Scorpius in my undergarments. Talk about nightmare.
“How do you know?” He placed his bucket in the sand, bag beside it, and chucked the net nearby. “I am a Slytherin, after all. You’re just Gryffindor prey.”
“I thought you didn’t think like that,” I said.
“I guess you’ll see how I think, hmm?” Scorpius met my eyes, smirking, and grabbed the clothes, tucking them under one arm. He waved before he started off back into the trees. “Any means to achieve my ends, Rose.”
A/N: Thanks again for everyone who has started to read this! Like I said, I've been writing it like crazy and I'm already pretty far in! It's my first truely fluffy story so it's pretty amusing! Anyway, feel free to leave your thoughts.
NEXT UP: Blushing, straddling?, rubber boots, and Scorpius finds true love.