Chapter 4 : Five hundred and sixty eight days before
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I didn’t normally miss Hogwarts over the Easter break. Usually, two weeks was plenty to get me fed up of spending time within the company of my parents but not quite ready to get back to spending my days bent double over essays or being summoned by Stacey or grossed out by Liam. And even with the Staple parents taking both Stacey and Stan to somewhere hot that I was quite jealous of (although, saying that, I got badly sunburnt even if it was no more than twenty five degrees outside) meaning Stacey was braving the cold with her tan and her short things, I wouldn’t have been ready to return to Hogwarts.
If anything, Stacey’s reverting to her Summer wardrobe was especially irritating when I'd already decided I wasn't giving in to her will any more. As much as the arrangement was really quite well suited to a guy who didn't really feel like dating but wasn't so mad keen on celibacy either, it just didn't seem entirely right to be sporadically sleeping with one of my dorm mate's twin sister when I had zero intentions of dating her. She wasn't interested in me, either, and she'd made that damn clear several times over... but at some point she was going to find someone barmy enough to take her on, or I might develop a mad desire to start dating again and it was better to draw a line under the whole thing whilst there weren't any complications of third of forth parties.
One thing I definitely hadn't expected to miss was Rose Weasley.
(And my internal attempts to present a convincing argument that cutting off Stacey and Rose Weasley weren’t connected things were failing quite badly.)
I usually tracked our friendship back to the beginning of January, after Stacey had thrown herself out of a Christmas tree to impress Albus Potter, and since then our conversations had crossed over from the regular mundane to relatively personal (which, for me, meant the most personal conversation I'd had with anyone for several years) and instead of having the urge to run several miles in the opposite direction, I found I quite liked this nice tentative friendship between Rose and I. We sat near each other in a few classes now, and she’d stop to say hi to me in the corridors and ask how things were going - nothing major, really, nothing truly extreme, but I found that I valued those little snippets of conversations much more than I'd realised before the Easter holidays.
So now I was determined I was going to make sure our friendship crossed over from tentative to cemented, and dealing with whatever the consequences of that might be.
“Scorpius!” Rose called, and I paused from where I was walking down the corridor and turned towards her with a smile. Rose was half running to catch up with me, nearly tripped up and blushed when she fell into step with me. “Hi,” Rose said eventually, pushing her hair back from her face and chewing on her bottom lip.
“Did you have good Easter?” I asked, trying not to enjoy the fact that her cheeks were still slightly flushed and clashing remarkably with her read hair.
“Yeah,” Rose breathed, “it was all right. You?”
“Not bad,” I said, shrugging my shoulders and thinking back to the two weeks of almost near solitude when I’d had to deal with the fact that someone like Rose had been continually filling up my head for no reason that I considered truly justified. But she must like me to some extent, to have nearly fallen over in an attempt to get over here and talk to me… so maybe I wasn’t as much of an idiot as I was beginning to think. “How’s your family?”
“As loud as ever,” Rose said, pursing her lips slightly before smiling outright, “there was a lot of tension of the annual Easter Egg hunt.”
“The annual Easter Egg hunt?” I asked, raising my eyebrows slightly.
“Erm,” Rose said, glancing at the floor before blinking up at me with her eyes extra wide and a little self-conscious, “it’s like a tradition. It was started way back when. I mean, it was just Teddy and Victoire for ages, but… I guess we’re all probably a little too old now, but its fun. Uncle George organises it,” Rose continued, “and you have to decipher the clues to work out which eggs are chocolate and which ones are explosive or actually dung bombs or going to stick your legs together and whatever… but you have to find the eggs first, and Lily is just so good at it that no one else really stands a chance but…”
“An Easter Egg hunt,” I repeated, rolling the words over my tongue and trying to imagine a bunch of red haired teenagers scrambling around a field (which is where my imagination had immediately placed it, although it was probably more likely to have taken place in a house), pulling at each other’s hair and hopping around with their legs stuck together in the name of chocolate. No, not even chocolate, but the pursuit of chocolate.
“You must have done one when you were a kid.” Rose shrugged.
“Nope,” I said, shaking my head.
“Well, who would I have raced against?” I asked, realising that neither of us had moved since Rose had caught up with me. That was a good sign.
“I guess,” Rose said, frowning for a second, “but like… you must have some family traditions. Like, Grandad Arthur always dresses up as father Christmas and Charlie –“
“- father Christmas? Really?”
“Well, it’s a bit redundant now… but it wouldn’t be Christmas without roasted marshmallows and pranks and grandad Arthur dressed up as Santa, you know?”
“I really don’t think I do.”
“Well, it’s like snowball fights.”
“Drawing up a blank there.”
“What?” Rose asked eyes wider than I’d ever seen them, “you’ve never… never had a snowball fight?”
“It’s a bit cold,” I shrugged, finally moving my foot slightly. I’d been avoiding moving it unless it somehow reminded Rose of how stationary we both were and for her to cut the conversation short, but I really wanted to keep talking to Rose. “Snow, I mean.”
There was no use denying it any longer, because I was a complete idiot who fancied one Rose Weasley. And that was one of the most idiotic things I’d ever not really decided to do, but done anyway, because… because Rose was a Weasley. And whilst that didn’t mean she was prejudiced against me enough to not wish to be my friend or associate with me, there were plenty of other people with less offensive surnames that she could date…
And that was if you ignored the fact that Rose was apparently more fun loving than she let on, if this conversation was anything to go by, and that she was well liked and popular and nice and attractive… and I was an antisocial goon who really really liked playing Gobstones.
This was the sort of problem I could really write home to my parents about, if the ascertain that my surname stood in the way of happiness wouldn’t cause my mum to start crying about being a failed parent or something.
“Sorry,” Rose said, blinking at me, “I’m going to need a minute.”
“My parents aren’t exactly the games type.”
“But they must have like… they must have played like hide and seek and stuff.”
“Well,” I said, “Hide and Seek usually ended with me being… erm, largely left in my hiding spot. And after the fourth time you wake up under the bed and realise that your Dad really isn’t making much attempt to look for you it loses its appeal.”
“No,” I said carefully, “it was okay. My Mum’s pretty traditional, see, and my Dad is well… troubled. The war messed him up pretty bad. Every time he looks at me he’s terrified that I’m about to murder someone – it’s half a relief to him that I’m so average, and half a bitter disappointment.”
“For the record,” Rose said evenly, looking straight at me this time, “I don’t think you’re average.”
“Or a murderer, I’m hoping.”
“Or that,” Rose grinned, “although you have just killed me inside a little bit. Scorpius, your childhood has been deprived.”
“Bit of an exaggeration, you think?”
“Have you ever pulled a prank?” Rose asked, “Sledging, snow angels, food fight, pumpkins, apple bobbing, treasure hunts, mini Quidditch tournaments?”
“Can’t say I have,” I admitted.
“That’s deprivation. Did you parents even tell you about Santa?”
“Now,” I said, grinning, “come on Rose. My parents may have had bigger problems, but I wasn’t abused. They did skip out the existence of the Easter Bunny though.”
“The tooth fairy?”
“Not a chance. I was cohered into brushing my teeth by the threat of tooth decay.”
“I can’t believe you’re not… not like… I don’t know, severely depressed or something,” Rose said, shaking her head, “those are life rights, Scorp. You need to do this stuff. Right, I’m going to organise an Easter Egg hunt,” Rose said, biting her lip, “Scorp, we’re going on a quest.”
“Yes,” Rose said, defiantly, “as you’ve probably never gone on one of those before either.”
“Don’t apologise,” Rose said, smiling, “it’s not your fault. Anyway, this is going to be fun. We’re going to reclaim your childhood – if you’re game, of course.”
“I’m already seventeen,” I countered, “I’m an adult.”
“You can’t be an adult unless you’ve entered an obscene snowman competition,” Rose said, “you can’t.” I raised my eyebrows are her. “Okay, I didn’t actually enter that… I was forced to judge between Al’s… well, it doesn’t matter, much.”
“It sounds good.”
“Fun,” Rose said, “it’s going to be fun, if you even know what that is. What did you used to do then?”
I remembered one year for Christmas when my Mum brought me a brand new chess set and then, after one game of chess, my Dad went to bed with a migraine and I was left to either play with my Grandma Cissy or on my own (I elected to play on my own) for the next four hours until Christmas lunch was ready… it was actually one of my favourite Christmas memories, because it didn’t involve Aunt Daphne telling me that I was an odd looking child or my parents pretending not to argue in the corner of the room and by the end of the day my chess pieces were very familiar with my company.
“Gobstones,” I said, “chess, snap – usually not the exploding sort, it aggravated my Mum’s PTSD.”
“Wow,” Rose breathed, nodding slowly, “okay.”
“I don’t mind.”
“No,” Rose said, “it just explains…”
“Explains what?” I prompted.
“Well,” Rose said, “no offence, but you… you’re pretty serious. I guess it’s just because I’m used to my family who are raving loons, but I mean… I’ve never seen you laugh, or anything.” That was strange but probably not altogether that surprising. “And you isolate yourself quite a lot, which I’ve always thought is a shame because… well, you’re a really nice guy Scorpius.”
“Considering my Dad is a death eater?”
“No,” Rose said, “you’re a nice guy, full stop.”
“Well, quests aren’t very isolating, right?” I said after a beat of silence which made me feel very good about myself and my chances with Rose Weasley and which were certainly not helping to support the ‘don’t fall harder’ campaign, which was getting more and more obsolete the longer we were talking. “So… we’ll be spending time together?”
“Definitely,” Rose said, smiling, “and… well, there’s an eating competition in the Gryffindor tower tonight if you want to come?”
“Do I have to compete?”
“I’d say yes,” Rose said, “but it’s a cockroach cluster eating competition. It’s bloody stupid. Al and James get way over competitive and my brother always wins… you know you can actually die from eating too many cockroaches? I know it’s unlikely, but no one seems to especially care… but, yeah, if you’re free tonight?”
“Definitely,” I said, smiling.
I liked that Rose smiled so much. The thing about Stacey was the complete lack of smiles… every so often one would grace her lips, but most likely it would be sarcastic or mocking and never just a nice, normally happy smile which is one of the things Rose did best. But then, Rose had plenty more reasons to be happy than Stacey did, and I really shouldn’t be thinking about either of them like this… particularly not comparing them when Stacey was just a friend whom occasionally slept with where neither of us were interested in each other… and Rose was a friend with whom I was probably never going to sleep with, but who I liked much more than was healthy given the situation.
Still, a quest. And she’d suggested it. And she wanted to spend time with me. And she must know that I liked her a bit, because I didn’t think I was exactly being subtle…. But I hadn’t liked anyone for ages and Rose was just so lovely that I couldn’t seem to help but like her despite the fact that it was stupid and illogical and pain in the damn neck.
“I didn’t realise you were so pro-fun,” I said.
“No one tends to,” Rose said, shrugging her shoulders slightly, “It’s just that I don’t have nearly as much fun as Freddie and James that people tend not to notice me laughing along on the sidelines… but, then again, that always gives me the option to opt out when I want to. Better go post my letter,” Rose finished with another smile, “see you later, Scorpius.”
“Look,” Stacey said, hand on hip as she stared at me, “I’m offering to play Gobstones with you. What’s up with you?”
“Just because,” I said, hunching my shoulders in slightly, “I’m in gobstones club, doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with gobstones.” And besides, I was entirely sure that when Stacey said Gobstones she didn’t necessarily mean Gobstones, because she repeatedly reminded me that I was the only person on the planet who actually really enjoyed Gobstones. A stupid line of argument considering I was a member of the Gobstone club and certainly didn’t sit there playing gobstones solo.
“Of course it doesn’t,” Stacey said sardonically, “but if you’re blowing me off again to go see Rose Sodding Weasley then I will throw each individual piece of your gobstone set off a different individual part of the Hogwarts castle and we can have a fun game of hide and seek.”
“Stacey,” I said impatiently, “no.”
“What’s up?” Liam Vaisey asked and I inwardly groaned. Where Liam turned up usually crude innuendo and a vaguely unpleasant smell usually followed, and when conversation was bordering on talking about the termination of our arrangement – which my dorm mates were quite obviously in the dark about, unless Stacey had felt like sharing that information with her twin brother – an extra member of conversation wasn’t particularly welcome.
“Scorp’s being dull,” Stacey said, glancing at her nails pointedly, her other hand stretched out across the back of my chair. No. Not going to happen.
“Says the girl who wants to play gobstones,” I returned, “Rose has invited me to the Gryffindor Common room to watch the monthly cockroach cluster eating competition.” I supplied to Liam, who didn’t appear to be very interested. Most of the other Slytherin’s had been slightly more interested in my new friendship with Rose; in part, it was because I was a self-diagnosed loner and in part because I was still one up on Seb and that was something new and exciting for all of us. As far as I was aware, there’d been several bets and a ScoRose (only marginally better than Stacius) support group formed. Stacey, it seemed, was not a member.
“I know you’d rather be playing gobstones,” Stacey said, “hell, I’d rather play gobstones than watch James Potter eat cockroaches until he threw up.”
“Hugo is the reigning champion.”
“Excellent,” Stacey said, rolling her eyes, “so you’ll be watching a kid stuff himself with insects until he voms.”
“Maybe James will need some moral support after he loses for the third year in a row?”
“Stop appealing to my hormones, Malfoy!” Stacey said, throwing her hands up in there air. She glanced at Liam for a few seconds before looking away with a slight shake of her head. “This, Scorpius, is the line. If you’re on the wrong side of the line then you can’t just hop scotch back over when you feel like it. This is a permanent marking charm line.”
“I know,” I said, shrugging my shoulders and breathing, “and I’m more than capable of colouring within the lines. Besides, we should have stopped line dancing a long time ago.”
“As a sane woman, it’s my line of duty to inform you that the line is not a bridge.”
“You’ll have someone else lined up in a week.”
“Too many metaphors,” Stacey said, “hell, Scorp. You drew the line. You can walk it. I’m not going to make this a big deal.”
“Well, there’s a silver and green lining.”
Stacey’s face broke out into a smile, just for a second. Stacey didn’t really smile that often which was one of the reasons why I was glad that we weren’t dating and hadn’t been for a really long time. I wasn’t exactly the the most cheerful person myself, but it was always something to have someone smile at you and that just wasn’t Stacey’s style. Although, saying that, the whole conversation did strangely feel like we were breaking up all over again which was stupid considering we’d both made it absolutely clear that we were not dating.
Well, Stacey had made it absolutely clear that we were not dating. She kissed me and then said ‘we’re not dating’ and I said ‘okay’ and after that it just became a bit of a habit. But we weren’t dating.
“So you’re going to go watch Hugo Weasley eat cockroaches?”
“Apparently,” I said, “watching a food competition is a rite of passage.”
“Well,” Stacey said, “I guess that’s that. See you around, Scorp.” She said finally, pulling her bag onto her shoulder and disappearing in the direction of her dormitory.
“Did I just miss something?” Liam asked, glancing at Stacey’s disappearing arse with an eyebrow raise.
“Are you and Stacey like…?”
“No,” I said, debating whether or not there was time for a quick round of Gobstones before going to meet Rose and deciding it wasn’t the possibility of being late given I really wanted to impress Rose. God, that was embarrassing. I wanted to impress her. Obviously I was further gone than I wanted to admit to myself.
Rose looked pleased enough to see me turn up outside the Gryffindor dorms to give me enough confidence boost to not immediately run away in the name of preserving my Slytherin dignity and playing Gobstones, or whatever, with Stacey.
“Hey,” I said, when I fell into the seat next to Rose and turned towards her. Rose’s face flushed slightly, her face all too close to mine just due to the nature of sofa, “Impressive set up.”
The set up for the bimonthly eating competition was more impressive than I’d previously expected: there was a large poster hanging up above the main fire place saying ‘catatonic Cockroach Cluster comp’ that flashed with various slogans and quotes from the competitors.
“Is catatonic the word?” I asked, glancing round the enlarged photographs of the idiots who’d actually agreed to stuff themselves silly with cockroach clusters until their either threw up or died or actually won.
“Well,” Rose said, grimacing slightly, “their early advertising campaigns started with catastrophic.”
“That’s not really an advertisement, is it?”
“You say that,” Rose said, smiling slightly, “these people still all signed up.”
“Who’s the girl signed up?”
“Imogen,” Rose sighed, shaking her head, “she’s such an idiot. She wanted to make a point so started going on about how she has a really impressive gag reflex.” I raised my eyebrows. “Yeah,” Rose continued, shaking my head, “she’s my best friend –god knows why – but she won’t actually go through with it. It’s just… she’s just making a point.”
“I lost a bet,” Imogen said, arriving with a bottle of something that was most likely alcoholic and sipping on it delicately, “I had a bet with James and I lost, I’m not proving a point.”
“Imogen,” Rose said, “he’s not going to force you to go through with it.”
“I’m not agreeing to a something worse, Rose,” Imogen said, “I can drop out after the first round and I do have an aces gag reflect. Scorpius, right?” Imogen said, nodding in my face.
“Yeah,” I agreed, trying my best to smile at her but failing slightly because I was beginning to feel oddly nervous again. I had vague memories of Imogen James throughout Hogwarts, but I thought I’d probably had fewer conversations with her than I’d had with Rose Weasley before Christmas and the problem with best friends is they pretty much defined whether or not you would be considered as future dating material. She had to like me, really, or there was no chance of further invitations to eating competitions and the likes.
“What was the bet about?”
“Whether Albus would end up with his best friend Jan,” Imogen said, rolling her eyes to the ceiling, “I said it would take longer than the end of the year, but as it turns out…”
“James had inside knowledge,” Rose said, “so you’re not obliged to do anything at all.”
“Well yeah,” Imogen said, “but I had inside information from you too, but it just turns out you’re just a rubbish source of former mentioned information.”
“Oh, come on.”
“So what is it with Albus and James then?” I asked, glancing over at where James Potter was busy tying a humungous bib around his neck and chatting with some Gryffindor girl that I’d never met before. “I’ve heard their bickering is legendary.”
“It’s worse than her parents,” Imogen agreed, nodding to Rose, “it does always add a bit of healthy competition to events like this.”
“Bimonthly eating wars?”
“Well,” Rose said, glancing over at Albus and James Potter with a grim smile, “its James really, he’s utterly ridiculous. Always pulling him into schemes and events and issues. You heard about that thing with Albus getting caught up in that thing with all the bras?”
“I think I did actually.”
“James caused that,” Rose said, with an eyebrow, “Al can’t say no to his brother, he just can’t. One day he’s going to man up and leave James out on a limb, but I think it might be a few years yet. As it stands James pushes and pushes and occasionally there’s a mini snap in which Al bites back. Things like this… well, Al is probably never going to win – ”
“- neither will James,” Imogen interjected, “your brother is the queen of cockroach cluster competitions.”
“On one day, bimonthly, I refuse to admit that there is any genetic similarity between me and Hugo.”
“If I were you,” Imogen said, grinning as she sat on the arm of the sofa – Rose’s side, thank god, because otherwise that would have been really awkward – “I’d pretend he wasn’t related to me most of the time.”
“Hugo’s not so bad is he?” I asked, glancing over at the more awkwardly looking ginger kids who seemed to have the support of all the females under a certain age in the room. Frankly, a little disturbing, but I wasn’t going to insult Rose’s brother in front of her. As much as I didn’t have a sibling, I had picked up on the fact that whilst individually you were allowed to rip into genetic relatives it was a lot difference if someone else did so; whilst, with my dorm mates, I was happy to make the odd offhand comment about how my grandparents were prejudice murderers (it sounded like a heavy joke to non-slytherins, but within the Common Room there were plenty of jokes about mudbloods and murders just because it eased the tension somewhat; if we could admit within ourselves that our relatives were horrific people then it wasn’t so bad as carrying the burden of it all completely solo)… but on one occasion a Hufflepuff had made some stupid comment about how I was late to class because I’d been torturing some muggles, or something, then proceeded to tell a lengthy tale of what a bastard my grandad was.
I couldn’t argue with it because it was true, but it didn’t stop me feeling angry on their behalf. Maybe not for my grandad, but my Dad had been bullied into being a murderer when he was just a kid and I was entirely sure if they’d have been placed under the same amount of pressure as he had they might have raised their wand and whispered ‘crucio’ too.
“Hugo,” Rose said, wrapping an arm around her waist, “is insecure.”
“And compensating,” Imogen said, grinning slightly at Rose’s brother and raising her hand in a wave, “not that he has anything to be insecure about – last time he ate twenty four packets of Cockroach Clusters, and that’s near unbeatable.”
“Not going to give him a run for his money?”
“No,” Imogen said, shaking her head, “never. I’m going to eat a single piece of cockroach cluster and then throw up.”
“I’m so proud,” Rose said dryly, “Scorpius, if you haven’t already picked up on this – my family are nutters.”
“Nah,” I said, glancing to where Albus and Jan – his best friend turned girlfriend – were sitting near the fire having a strangely overhearable conversation about backbones and peer pressure and how James was a stupid bastard, or something, “surely every family has rivalry sorted out by eating an excessive amount of cockroaches?”
“Rose says you have a deprived childhood,” Imogen said, glancing over at me and smiling slightly. I was aware that Imogen was a nice girl from the little she’d showed up on my radar, “Although I should think by Rose’s standards most people had.” She was just as bright as Rose but not as pretty, more confident but less popular; probably, in a dating sense, a lot more accessible than Rose Weasley. Probably less high maintenance too, but at this point I was too far gone on the Rose train to really consider other things.
Besides, I didn’t want to date anyone really, so these thoughts were very unhelpful and should really be completely irrelevant and gone.
“He’s never had a snow fight,” Rose said, raising her eyebrows, “or an Easter egg hunt.”
“Oh dear,” Imogen said, smiling slightly as she glanced around the room, “how’s Stacey Staple?”
“Im,” Rose hissed, elbowing Imogen in the side and sending me an apologetic look, “sorry, Scorpius. She’s just… nosy.”
“I prefer interested,” Imogen said, “oh ho, here come the Ravenclaw lot.”
“This is like a huge family adventure,” I said, watching as Roxanne entered with a bloke I assumed was her boyfriend, along with Molly and a guy she appeared to be having a rather heated argument with.
“It’s always like this,” Rose yawned, watching as the ‘Ravenclaw lot’ headed over toward another set of sofas, “you could drown in the number of the extended.”
“How long,” Imogen said, leaning forwards towards Rose, “till Molly and that Dexter get it on?”
“Please,” Rose said, glancing towards the pair of them, “Molly is far too resistant.”
“It is gonna happen,” Imogen said, waving at Roxanne before glancing round the rest of the room and taking everything in. Proper gossip then, Imogen. Not the sort of girl I’d have chalked up to be Rose’s best friend, but Imogen seemed to know everyone and I guessed that was a helpful friendship quality for someone related to anyone.
“Maybe in ten years’ time.”
“You’ve got no sense of romance,” Imogen said.
“You read too many romance novels.”
“This is what you’re going to have to put up with, Scorpius,” Imogen said, “not a romantic bone in her body. Barely even behind the Jan-Albus situation.”
I glanced over to where Albus and Jan were still having some conversation about how James was an idiot and began to feel like I was beginning to understand how honestly big Rose’s family was. And Rose knew about all of their business and potential life mates, and about their friends and theyir boyfriends and their grades and who was most likely to win the ice cream ingesting competition as opposed to the gummy bear gorging situation… And it sounded like a headache inducing painful mess of a situation to deal with.
“Oh shut up,” Rose said, blushing and glancing over at me, “I’m not romantically dead.”
“Fine, a comma,” Imogen said, “sleeping beauty indeed.”
“When does the competition begin?” I asked, largely because Rose was blushing quite a bit (very good sign, but I was about to start dwelling on things till I was back in my dorm or I’d start feeling sick) and I felt odd being part of such a very personal and girly conversation. Then, I supposed with Rose all her family knew her business and that left little room for privacy… whereas no one in the country (or indeed, beyond the borders) knew anything about my business.
“It usually starts late,” Rose said, “because Freddie is the judge.”
“He’s always late.” Imogen added, stretching out her legs. “Dexter! Molly!”
“Hey,” Molly Weasley said, folding her arms over her chest, “please explain to Dex that it is a ridiculous idea for him to enter a Gryffindor eating competition, would you?”
“I’m entering,” Imogen grinned, “Join me, Dexter.”
“Oh no,” Dexter grinned, “I wouldn’t dare challenge you, Im.”
“I’ll let you win if you set me up with your big brother.”
“Anyone would let anyone win for a date with Spencer,” Molly said, rolling her eyes and sitting down on the floor, “Actually, Dex, maybe you can talk to Hugo, enter the competition, probably die, and win absolutely nothing? Actually, good shout, maybe then you’d stop –”
“- talking to you? Grow some individuality, would you? And maybe some mammary glands.”
“Just because you’ve got bigger breasts than me, doesn’t mean I’m flat chested… it just means you’ve spent so long in the gym trying to develop a body to make up for your lack of personality, that instead of pecks you’ve got double d’s, so stop talking and shut up before I make you eat some of the crap you’re talking.”
“Molly seems… nice.” I said quietly in Rose’s direction.
“Right,” Imogen said, extracting herself from the sofa and grimacing, “I’m going to go line my stomach with more alcohol, or else I’ll never be able to go through with it.”
“Well just don’t,” Rose said, rolling her eyes and leaning back on the sofa. Our arms were pressed up against each other and the body contact was nice. I moved slightly, so that our legs were touching too.
“Welcome!” Freddie said, descending the stairs looking a little too dramatic. “To the seventh bimonthly cockroach cluster competition. Our reigning champion… Hugo Weasley!”
“Why the hell am I here?” Molly asked, rolling her eyes to the ceiling.
“My company.” Dexter interjected, nudging her with his elbow.
“So very proud.” Rose said, glancing at her brother shaking her head slightly.
“A snog on Hugo to win.” Roxanne Weasley said, batting her eyelids at her boyfriend. Dear Merlin.
“Shush,” Molly said, “Freddie’s commentating.”
“Better shut up,” Rose said, her breath tickling my cheek, “Molly can get a bit verbally violent.”
It was only after Imogen had rather dramatically eaten a whole cube of cockroach cluster and then gone completely silent (which everyone seemed to take as a very bad sign indeed) when what she’d said began to ring round my head: this is what you’re going to have to put up with, Scorpius. She’d said I’d have to deal with it.
Me. As though I had some baring on Rose Weasley’s romantic future, which was very good indeed.
As always, this story is written for Hanzi. It's more obvious in this one I think, given that some of her other favourite characters from my other stories have migrated into this one (I have so many different canons, achieving inter-textuality even a little bit was such a headahce) which is why there were a bunch of characters just thrown in here. That and the fact that this was all written for NaNo. It's all fair game in NaNo.
NEXT CHAPTER: 543 days before and Rose & Scorp's first date.
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