Chapter 8 : Upsets and U-Turns
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After Rose had recovered from her fit of insensible laughter, Scorpius led the way back up to school. It was five to nine; the doors to the school were about to close and the cold night air managed to cling to every part of exposed skin, and this dress certainly did expose a lot of skin.
The castle doors remained open and Scorpius all but skipped through them and into the warmth. He felt slightly…giddy. He had somehow managed to avoid all confrontation with Orla, Sophia and Tracy, eaten all of his lozenges (on his person, he had plenty left in his trunk), and possibly made a friend.
Rose scampered up beside him, a massive grin still on her face and her cheeks flushed. "Come on Scorp," she said, swinging her arm around his shoulder, "let's go and get you changed."
"But I thought we were going to go back to our common rooms...?"
She cocked one eyebrow, looked him up and down again, and said, "You're going to walk back into the Slytherin common room in a fuchsia pink dress and matching hat and expect to walk up to bed unscathed?"
He gulped, realising her words were true. "Okay," he said, blocking out the mental image of the Goyle twins ripping him limb from limb, "I need to get changed."
Rose rolled her eyes and led him along the corridor, careful to avoid Filch and his cat.
"I swear, they'll never die." Rose whispered, having leapt behind a tapestry and pulled Scorpius in by his collar after hearing the wheezing breath of the caretaker. "And even if they do, his ghost will still haunt the bloody corridors, moaning about his dead cat."
He let out a nervous giggle and lit up his glow-in-the-dark watch. "Rose," he whispered, yanking on her arm, "it's five past nine. If we're found wandering around the castle after midnight, we're toast. We're very burnt toast. We're very burnt toast that's landed jam-side down."
"Oh, shut up. You're making me hungry." Rose winked, dragging Scorpius out and tip-toeing along the deserted corridor.
It was completely empty. Not a single sign of a ghost, the poltergeist, or the mangy, hairy creature and his cat. Filch had probably found one of his six hundred and seventy five banned items and was filling out one of his nineteen-pages long complaint forms to hand into the Headmistress.
But that still didn't stop Scorpius from walking at about half a kilometre an hour, his hands held limply up in the air so that they didn't rub against his dress and make an ear-deafening noise.
Rose turned around as she reached the Transfiguration classroom and shook her head at the sight she saw. "Come on!" She called down to him, waving her arms. He jumped, clutched his heart from the sheer shock, then ran down the corridor to her.
"We could...have...been seen." He wheezed, trying very hard to glare at Rose, but his fringe was currently poking him in the eye after being disturbed from the sudden burst of exercise, so instead he looked up at her with one twitching eye and one running eye.
"Well we weren't," she laughed and ruffled up his hair, "You need to lighten up, Scorpius. You know, one day you'll give yourself a heart attack."
"I'll only have a heart attack if you make me run down another corridor," he mumbled grumpily, smoothing down his hair and combing out the tangles with his little pocket comb.
Rose smiled, pulled Scorpius into the room, glanced up and down the corridor, and then slammed the door behind her. She picked up her kit bag and put it on one of the desks, rummaging through and pulling out Scorpius' clothes. He stood there, grabbing every item she pulled out the bag and hugging them against his chest.
"Let's get you out of those clothes then." Rose said, grabbing the hat and stuffing it into her bag. Scorpius took one step away from her.
"I'll take the rest of my clothes off, thank you." He mumbled, his cheeks flushing.
Rose laughed and sat down on the table. "You know, those three girls are going to kill me when I tell them that I got you out of your clothes twice in one night."
Scorpius looked up at her in utter shock, lost his balance, and fell over again.
After knocking on Hagrid's door for half an hour only to see him walking out of the Forbidden Forest, the girls had lost nearly all hope of finding Scorpius. And it was only when Orla ran up to him, hugged him around the legs, and proclaimed him to be ‘the most wonderful person they had ever seen in their whole lifetimes’ that they knew the situation was serious.
"So," Tracy said, stepping forward as Sophia tried to prise Orla away from Hagrid's legs, "we're here on a lead. And as you can probably tell, we're quite desperate for any information. I can see he's not here with you at the moment," Tracy said, glancing around to check if there was any sign of that bright blonde mop of gorgeous hair, "but that doesn't matter. Your information will be of use to us no matter what."
Hagrid stared blankly down at them all, looked at Orla's shining face, and then turned back to Tracy.
"Well, the question that really brought us here is this: have you seen him?"
The girls all held their breath. This was the moment they had been waiting nearly three hours to get the answer to. They were about to find out where the love of all of their lives had got to, and they were going to be reunited in a moment of utter bliss.
Hagrid still looked down at them completely dumbfounded. "I'm sorry," he said after a moment, "but who are you talkin' about?"
"Scorpius Malfoy, of course," Sophia said, the little ball of hope inside her chest starting to lose its glow.
"Scorpius?" Hagrid asked, leaning back and thinking, "well, I haven' seen 'im since tha’ Moly acciden' las' week. An' before tha', well, he wasn' allowed to take Care o' Magical Creatures 'cause it would probably do more 'arm to ‘'m than good." He chuckled, swinging open the door to his hut and turning back to the girls.
"I expec' you've missed dinner. Wan' to come in for a bite to eat?"
But suddenly the girls had lost their appetites and enthusiasm, shook their heads and turned back towards the castle.
"Well," Hagrid grinned and took a step into his hut, "You be'er get up to school then, Filch'll be closing the gates soon."
The girls nodded and walked away in unison.
Hagrid closed his door, thinking only of how strange it was that these were the fifth lot of girls to ask where Scorpius was since this year had started, before thinking of nothing else other than a good hearty supper.
The girls, meanwhile, were not so nonchalant.
"Then Rose lied to us!" Tracy said, absolutely fuming as they made their way back up to the castle.
"Or Hagrid did," Sophia said fairly, although it weighed heavy on her heart to criticise a professor.
"Either way, this has been utterly fruitless." Orla huffed, and the girls both turned to look at her. This was the first sentence she had said the whole night without either bursting into tears, or proclaiming her's and Scorpius' undying love for one another.
"What?" She said, turning to the other two, "I may be a Hufflepuff, but I'm not a complete sap."
Orla's earnest look, Tracy's incredulous look, and the memories of everything they had gone through tonight finally got to Sophia.
The thought that they had run through the school for nearly four hours straight, had made fools of themselves in front of pupils and professors alike, and had revealed their respective infatuations with one lad to a variety of different people wormed its way into her mind's eye and stayed there.
And that was when she burst out laughing.
"Scorpius, we don't have time for your games. Just come out and I promise I won't tell anyone.” Rose said soothingly, trying to coax Scorpius out from underneath one of the desks.
"But I'm too embarrassed." He mumbled to his knees; they were the only place he really could talk to as they were squished up against his forehead.
"Yes, well being embarrassed under a desk isn't very different from being embarrassed standing up. Except that your face hurts." She sighed, folding her arms across her chest.
Honestly, looking after Scorpius was like looking after a four year old child on a unicycle: unbalanced and infuriating. And potentially dangerous if left alone for too long.
"But you'll laugh at me." He mumbled, but Rose could see the pain of being wedged under a desk finally getting to him.
"I won't laugh at you," she chuckled and he turned and glared at her. She straightened her face and drew a cross on her chest, "Cross my heart."
Obviously the fact that he had now moved his head into an even worse position than it was to start with, and the fact that Rose actually sounded sincere for one, swayed Scorpius to slide his way out from under the desk very slowly and very painfully.
He stood up; dust stuck on his trousers and vest, and looked down at the ground.
"Thanks," he mumbled.
"It's okay. I told you I wouldn't laugh at you," Rose smiled, handing him his big jumper, "you need to trust me more."
Scorpius nodded forlornly and shoved the jumper over his head. "I know," he said, rearranging his fringe and trying not to look Rose in the face.
"So," Rose grinned, leaning forward on the desk and swinging her legs, "why exactly did your mum write your name on the front of your vest?"
Scorpius' head whipped upwards, his father's trademark glare already in place and his jumper hanging limply over one arm.
"You said you wouldn't tell anyone."
"I know," she grinned and stifled her laugh, "but you'fe not anyone. You're Scorpius Malfoy," she said, waving her hands around exaggeratedly and putting on a pretty good impression of him, "the son of the one and only Sir Draco Malfoy Esquire, Master of the Earth and Sky. Supreme blond bombshell with a glare that can kill."
Rose couldn't help herself any longer and burst out laughing. Scorpius glared at her, trying very hard to keep up this glare as it was definitely his best yet. But all the feeling in his jumper-ed arm had gone, and he was sure that he was going to catch hypothermia is he left his other, unjumper-ed arm out in the cold for much longer.
Rose caught the look on his face and waved. "Sorry," she said in between her laughter, "I just couldn't help it."
She glanced down at his vest with 'Scorpius' favourite vest' written across it in very swirly writing before his jumper covered it up. Rose was finally able to catch her breath and gave him a very weak smile.
"I don't forgive you," Scorpius mumbled, not looking at her because he knew he would crumble as soon as he did, "my mum's just very protective and I don't like you laughing at her."
"Oh Scorpius," Rose sighed, pushing herself off the desk and giving him a hug, "I wasn't laughing at her. I just think what she did is...lovely. Just lovely."
Scorpius stood with his arms hung limply down by his side but a small smile on his face. Rose was, if he wasn't very much mistaken, definitely one of his friends now.
"Now," she said, holding him back and looking at him, "let's get going. It's half nine and I don't know about you, but I could do with a stiff drink."
He looked up at her and furrowed his eyebrows. "Where are you going to get that from?"
Rose threw her arms up in the air and swung one over his shoulder, leading him out of the room. "It's just an expression, Scorp! Honestly, you've got to learn to take things less seriously."
"I'm not that bad, you know," he said defensively as she opened the door, "I knew what-"
But what Scorpius knew Rose never got to find out. Because as soon as she opened the door and they had taken one step into the corridor, they both froze in their footsteps.
And after an awkward moment's silence, it was broken with an anguished cry:
"What on earth were you doing in there with her?!"
Orla took a step forwards, trailing even more mud across the floor and her shaking finger pointing at Scorpius.
Rose glanced over at him and realised that everything she had taught him tonight had accounted to nothing. His cheeks blushed and his mouth moved but no sound came out. Sophia and Tracy were standing behind Orla, both fuming but silent.
"Scorpy! What were you doing?"
And then Rose did the one thing that came naturally to her in a situation like this, and one that possibly made the situation even worse.
She turned to Scorpius, flung her arms around his skinny neck and kissed that pathetic lad halfway to the grave.
His lack of response and completely shocked expression evidently didn't give the game away as Orla cried out in pain and fell to the floor (again). Rose took a step back, looking him evenly in the eye and then turned to the girls.
"Does that answer your question?"
Tracy walked around Orla and glared at Rose. "You don't know what you've gotten yourself into," she growled, trying not to allow the small tears forming in her eyes from falling.
Rose stood her ground and looked calmly at Tracy, "I know full well what I've gotten myself into, thanks. I don't need you to remind me."
"You'll be sorry," Sophia hissed. This hurt Rose more than anything. Her eyes flickered over to Sophia who stood with her arms folded over her chest and tears falling freely from her eyes.
"Oh, believe me, I am," Rose thought to herself but didn't let on. She turned to Tracy and felt behind her for Scorpius' hand.
"Well this has been a lovely little catch-up, but we really ought to be going..." she grabbed hold of Scorpius’ wrist and wrenched him forward to stand next to her. He tripped slightly over Orla and kept his eyes firmly on his shoes.
But as Rose took a step away, Tracy came right up into her face and whispered, "I wouldn't have expected this from you, Rose, especially after bumping into you on the Quidditch pitch."
"Yeah, well," Rose said, fishing around for a retort, "you can bump off my Scorpius right now."
And before what she had done and said finally settled in, Rose pulled on Scorpius' wrist and near jogged down the corridor and away from the girls.
A/N: OH PLOT TWIST! So much twisting and so much plotting. Sorry about the lateness, I suck at updates etc etc. Reviews, however, do not suck...
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