Chapter 17 : Toby and Trouble
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Toby Green pulled at his collar, the drone of Professor Binns like a dripping tap that he was subjected to listen to until insanity took him. The class around him were engaged in varying degrees of boredom, apart from Peter at the front. His quill was flying across his parchment like a Firebolt, only ceasing when his glasses fell off the end of his nose and onto the foot long roll he was writing on.
Toby yawned, looking at the clock on the wall and despairing silently that he still had half an hour of this hell to look forward to. And after that?
Before he had whiled away the hour just thinking about when he would next see Rose again. But something had changed between them recently, and he had no idea why. At first he thought she was going through a phase, that they had been together too long and she was testing his affections. But he soon realised that Rose didn’t have to test him- she knew how he felt about her.
It hadn’t been exactly love at first sight- in fact, he doubted Rose even noticed him at first. It had been him that had pestered her for months to go out with him, and she only really accepted because she pitied the way his eyes screwed up after she continually rejected him.
Toby had considered the reasons for Rose’s erratic behaviour for weeks, but had failed to come up with anything conclusive. He had barely seen her at all since the Quidditch match last week, and she had ran off after that Malfoy boy after the game finished. He wasn’t sure why, she hated him and he her. He supposed it was to gloat about the victory, but that didn’t seem much like Rose at all.
He decided in that stuffy classroom that he was going to take matters into his own hands. He loved Rose, and she felt the same the last time he checked. Nothing could get in the way of that.
Toby was at a loss as to what to do to make her see that. But it was February.
The bell rang, and Professor Binns dismissed them in a bored voice. Toby joined the stampede to exit the room, and made his way to the Great Hall. He searched for Rose, who had Advanced Arithmancy not far from his classroom, but she was nowhere to be seen.
His friend was beside him, talking rapidly as he usually did, but Toby was completely unconcerned. He drifted along the corridor, wondering where she was, why she wasn’t there.
Toby reached the Great Hall, realising he could ignore the Ravenclaw at his elbow no longer.
‘Xavier, have you seen Rose?’ Xavier looked shocked at this sudden interruption, but shook his head. ‘Oh, forget it. Let’s get some lunch.’ Toby’s expression morphed into one of dejection, dragging his feet as he walked into the Great Hall. His girlfriend was not in there, so he took his seat and miserably spooned mashed potato onto his plate.
The ink spread over the parchment, mixing with the formed words already on the page. The quill laid on top of the desk met with the pool of black liquid, the feathers blackening unpleasantly.
Rose dabbed the table with a tissue, swearing profusely under her breath. Hours of work ruined because of her clumsiness. She had stupidly fallen asleep, dreaming something she couldn’t remember, but distressed enough to spasm and knock over the inkbottle. She bent down to draw her wand from her bag- but before the smudge-removing spell was out of her lips someone else uttered it.
She turned around in her chair, Scorpius grinning as he leant against a bookcase obscuring them from the rest of the library. His hair was slightly messy, his grey eyes twinkling in the dim lights. He had a bandage on his wrist, which she could only just see under his jumper. He was relaxed and more handsome than she had ever seen him, which may have explained why she jumped up and threw her arms around him.
He laughed, causing her to remember where they were and who he was. She pulled away slowly, forcing herself to return to her seat. Scorpius sat down across from her, pulling her Charms homework towards him.
‘Bloody hell- glad I missed this. Flitwick’s getting mean in his old age.’
‘Well… It wasn’t technically… I mean… The rest of the class-’ Rose was turning red and she could feel her cheeks warming unattractively. She cursed her father’s genes, silently thanking her hair for covering the ears that were most expressive of her embarrassment.
‘Is this extra work?’ His expression of amusement soothed Rose slightly; his reaction was better than pelting her with tomatoes and laughing until he cried. Until they both cried.
‘Maybe.’ Rose was completely scarlet now, although Scorpius thought she was as beautiful as ever. The brilliant thing was that he wasn’t surprised at all; he liked her even more because of it. He knew how intelligent she was- of course, she was the best in their year at pretty much everything. Yet, it hit him just then how out of his league she really was. And after being brought up told how superior he was, that was rather refreshing.
‘You’re something special Rose,’ now she was blushing for a completely different reason. ‘I’ve never met anyone like you before.’ She didn’t reply, choosing to smile awkwardly instead. He grinned back, and Rose thought she saw his hand stretch slightly across the table. She put hers onto her lap.
There was more silence, Scorpius drumming his fingers on the desk so near to Rose’s essay. Her brain didn’t seem to be working properly, and she couldn’t quite understand the throbbing in her stomach that began when she looked at him. She was awful at… This. Sadly, the library had no books on how to deal with a very attractive Slytherin who she had once hated. She had looked. Many times.
‘Shall we finish Arithmancy?’ He groaned, banging his head on the table. She laughed, and pulled the booklet out of her bag. He got up and moved to the chair next to Rose, taking the quill and offering it to her.
They worked for the next hour, although they didn’t get much done. Rose hadn’t laughed like this for weeks, impressed that he could make Arithmancy funny. As the minutes went on, she also noticed how close he was. His knee was against hers under the table, his arm resting on the back of her chair. She tried to keep her eyes on the number grids, only allowing herself to look at him when he got stuck in his jumper and she was sure he couldn’t see her.
Scorpius smiled behind the wool, meeting her eyes without her knowing. He had never seen this side of her before: calm, funny, comfortable. He felt like he’d known her longer than he’d ever known anyone, even though only months ago he had thought she was abhorrent. Now, he couldn’t imagine a time when he wouldn’t love her, no matter how difficult she was to figure out. He might never be able to tell what was she was thinking, but if she sometimes thought of him, that was enough. He pulled his head out of the neck hole, her face no longer obscured. He put his hand on the back of her chair and leaned closer.
‘Mm,’ she didn’t look up, but Scorpius could tell that she wasn’t concentrating on the work either. The quill lay forgotten on the table.
‘Look at me.’ She tensed, but her head moved slowly around to his. She looked into his eyes, unsure of what she would find in them. She found what she couldn’t explain, all the thoughts escaping from her head as she rejected the conscious part of her brain.
Which meant she didn’t know why she was kissing him. She didn’t know if he had started it, but she didn’t really care either. She had known that looking up was a bad idea; known that underestimating the effect his gaze had on her would result in something awful. However, another part of her wanted this to happen- she couldn’t categorize something she needed to do as awful.
Because she needed to kiss him. She had fought for long enough.
Why had she fought him? She couldn’t remember… anything.
His hands cupped her face, woven with her hair as if they were holding on and preparing for something to drag them away. She gripped his neck, his pulse beating against her palms- the steady, rapid drumming matching her own heart perfectly.
She pulled her lips away from Scorpius’, resting her forehead against his. Scorpius saw content in her expression, his heart rose with the knowledge that it was because of him. He pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, grazing her cheek in the process. She smiled, and he was close enough to see the light in her eyes when she did. He smiled back, kissing her on the cheek and leaning back in his chair.
‘Rose.’ He took a breath, her eyes questioning. Scorpius leaned in again, putting his mouth near her ear. ‘I love you.’
Tomatoes to the left, apologetic author to the right…
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for my tardiness in updating this chapter, and to beg for your forgiveness. I have no excuse other than that I wanted to post the best chapter possible, and I hope you think that what you just read matches that… I hope so!
What did you think- Scorpius said the ‘l’ word for the first time! How do you think Rose will react? And what about Toby at the beginning: do you feel sympathy or do you want him to go away? And what about the Valentine’s Day extravaganza hinted at? Worrying or cute? Tell me what you thought in the review box below, even if it’s just to admonish me for making you wait!
Unfortunately, we’re nearing the conclusion. But there is still much more to come! I’m really excited about the next few chapters, although Rose having to make a decision may be painful for me considering the fact that I am in love with both men!
I also wanted to thank you all for reading this. I have become aware in the last month how hard it is to be able to do the things you enjoy if you have a workload that would crush even Fluffy. So I hope that for fifteen minutes, HPFF is the thing that distracts you. I love writing this so thanks for giving me a reason to write it, and if you want to leave a review or visit my Meet the Author page then I would love that too!
OK, enough sentimentality, drop the tomatoes in the bucket. Apologetic author may leave the stocks.
Thanks for reading!
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