Chapter 4 : More of February
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It was the evening of Friday the 3rd when it happened. Rose sat in the Great Hall playing one wicked game of wizards chess with the marble chess pieces that her father had given her for Christmas.
“Check,” proudly said Cathleen, over to Rose.
Rose quizzically stared at the board, scrunching up her face in concentration. “Bishop to G2,” she commanded after several moments. She got a satisfied smirk at the remains of the rook. Picking up the pieces she laid them to the side.
Hearing Cathleen’s grumble, she watched as the blond girl propped her elbow on the table and balanced her head on her fist. Cathleen stared to the board in frustration. She had yet to beat Rose in chess, but then again, not many had. Although if Rose was being honest, it was Hugo who could really give their father a run for their money.
The bench that Rose sat on shifted slightly as someone took a seat beside her. Turning her head, Rose looked amused at Albus’ blank and tired expression. He was still in his quidditch practice gear, and his hair was stuck together from frozen sweat. “Remember when we were little, all the times that James said he was going to kill me, and I answered I’ll tell dad.” Rose nodded her head. “Well I never considered that dad wouldn’t be at Hogwarts,” still seeming to stare off into space. “The bloody maniac is trying to kill me.”
Rose chuckled lightly, which resulted in a dirty look from her cousin. “I seriously doubt that James is trying to kill you. He is only attempting to prepare you.”
“Do you hear the words that are coming out of your mouth?” he asked, before banging his head onto the table and covering his face with his arms.
“Albus,” Rose pleaded sympathetically, rubbing his back with her hand.
“No, just let me be,” he mumbled dramatically. Lifting up his eyeball, he glanced at the chess board. “I call next game.”
Rose snickered. She loved her cousin, but he did have a flare for the dramatics sometimes. Checking to see if Cathleen had made her move yet, something caught her attention from behind her friend.
Marcus hovered a few steps away from Cathleen’s back with an almost nervous look on his face. Rose hadn’t really seen much of Marcus since she had asked him to leave her alone. Sure he would be in class and at meals, but he wouldn’t attack her with awkward stares or corner her in hallways. In fact, he kept mostly to himself.
Rose let her eyes linger on him. He had his head bent down and his hands were shoved into his pockets. Slowly he started to walk towards Cathleen. Not glancing his eyes up to Rose, he cleared his throat, shocking Cathleen.
Turning to face him, her face paled at the recognition of who it was. Awkwardly wrapping her fingers over the edges of the sleeves on her robe, she nervously looked up to him to see what he wanted.
They both remained in the uncomfortable confrontation for a moment. Albus had even lifted his head up to see what was going on.
“It has been let known to me that I can sometimes be an insensitive prat and not take into account other people’s feelings when I say something.” Marcus said the words carefully, as if he was concentrating on them.
“For that-” His voice was soft, as he struggled with the next words. “I am sorry, for anything that I may have ever said or done, to make you feel any less about yourself.”
Cathleen was stunned, not entirely sure what to say. “Thank you,” she whispered, still looking at him.
Marcus gave a tight nod of the head before raising his eyes to meet Rose’s. She had an unreadable expression on her face. A part of her was so shocked by the comment that it unnerved her. “Good evening,” he said politely before he turned and walked away. Feeling her heart pound in her chest, she smiled a genuine smile at his apology. It may not have been much, but he tried and in the end that was all that mattered.
Albus was the only who seemed absolutely confused. “Well that was different,” he commented, breaking the silence.
“Yes it was,” Cathleen stammered.
Only Rose stayed quiet, stuck in her own thoughts.
Not long after, Rose had excused herself from Cathleen and Albus. She went to her dormitory and pulled back the curtains on her bed to find a single white rose lying perfectly on her pillow. Attached to the stem was a note.
Please don’t lose faith in me yet,
Rose felt her cheeks blush a light shade of pink as she picked up the flower and smelled it. Smiling to herself, she delicately touched the soft petals, making a mental note to track down the first year girl that he had bribed into leaving this.
Tracing her fingers across the letter, she reread the words that meant something to her, lost in her own little moment.
“Who is that from?” Dominique’s voice said from across the room, as she stared at the flower in Rose’s hand.
Facing Dominique, she observed her. Her hair was wet from the shower that she had just taken, and her face free of makeup. Looking at her now, she looked like the cousin that she had grown up with, even though she wasn’t.
“Someone who is proving me wrong,” Rose said softly, before focusing her eyes back on the rose.
Scorpius was well aware of the date and its representation; he just chose to not acknowledge it, at least not until breakfast.
He took his time getting ready that morning, untying and knotting his tie several times until it was perfect, scrubbing off any scuff marks on his shoes, and brushing his hair back so many times that his scalp was sensitive. He normally didn’t care about putting that much effort into his appearance, but Sasha had a thing for well-groomed men, not to mention he was stalling for time. Finally, when there was absolutely nothing more that he could possibly do, he made his way to the great hall.
Pausing at the large entrance, he swiftly looked around the room and landed on Rose. Making his way over to her, she took a sip of her pumpkin juice while her eyes remained glued to the table reading the Daily Prophet. She must have sensed that he was near because slyly she slid the paper under one of her textbooks.
“Good morning,” she said weakly. Her smile was generous, along with sympathetic.
Sighing, he reached his hand to the corner of the paper and tugged it out. He stared at a picture of Marcus standing stiffly beside his grandfather, and began to read aloud. “Monday February 13th, Marcus Truitt turns seventeen. He is the sole heir to Greengrass Clockworks and is now legally of age to take over as the head of the company upon Hubert Greengrass’ retirement on January 1st of next year.” He didn’t need to read the rest of the article. It was on the history of the company and the board members, information that he knew too well.
Flipping the paper over so that he didn’t have to see it, he slapped it down on the table and took a seat. “The Daily Prophet’s getting a bit desperate if they are reporting on birthdays now,” he sourly said while snatching a piece of toast from the center of the table.
Rose didn’t respond. She slipped the paper away from Scorpius and glanced at the picture of Marcus for a second longer, before folding it and placing it in her bag.
Noticing the vacant spot across from Rose, Scorpius asked, “Where’s Cathleen?”
“With Albus, trying to figure out how they’re going to explain to professor Krave that their transfiguration paper was burnt to a crisp.”
“And why was it burnt?” he asked in attempt to keep his mind off of Marcus.
Rose shook her head in shame for her cousin. “Because he let one of Hagrid’s pets sniff it.”
“Oh,” he said, accepting the answer.
“Yeah,” her voice was undertoned.
Silence fell between them. Shifting her body towards him, she finally asked, “How are you?” She didn’t have to ask what was bothering him.
Even though it was Marcus’ birthday, it represented a new milestone in Greengrass Clockworks. The fact that the heir was now of age was big deal. As of today, Marcus’ name would be going into Hubert’s will and testament, and official contracts for signing of the company were to be drawn. Even though he didn’t actually take his position as the head of the company until Hubert retired, it meant that legally the company was there for Marcus’ taking, and Rose knew how badly that had to hurt Scorpius.
Scorpius thought about it for a long moment. “I’m fine… honestly,” he said softly. “I knew this day was coming, just like I know that signing day is coming and that there’s not a damn thing I’ll be able to do afterwards.”
“Scorpius,” Rose chided, for his use of a swear word.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, jabbing his eggs with his fork. “It’s just…” he paused, trying to form his feelings into words. “I want it, Rose. I want it so bad and knowing that he is one more step closer to it…” He laid his fork down and stared blankly at the table.
Rose kept her eyes on her friend, waiting for him to speak. “I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to do after graduation if I don’t get the company,” Scorpius said solemnly.
Putting a gentle hand on his shoulder, she tugged it lightly. “Look at me,” she demanded. She felt sorry for Scorpius, but she wasn’t about to let him brood himself into tizzy.
Meeting her eyes, he was immediately comforted. “Two things. First, stop slicking your hair back you look ridiculous.” And she ran her fingers through his hair so that it looked like its usual ruffled self, making him laugh fondly “And two…” Her hand lingered. “This has a purpose, I promise. It’s just up to you to find it.”
Scorpius agreed. After all, that was why he was going along with Marcus’ schemes. So that he would have some hope.
Rose’s fingers were still swiping through his hair, stroking against his scalp, relaxing and calming him in the way that only she could. Scorpius’ eyes remained on her tender expression. She believed only in the good in life and in doing so, she gave good to others.
Suddenly her thumb brushed along the nape of his neck, jolting his nerves. His breath hitched and he momentarily closed his eyes, just feeling as it skimmed across his skin. She touched him so delicately that it tingled.
“There you are,” she said sweetly. “Back to normal.”
Scorpius smirked and opened his eyes. He was about to ask when had they ever been normal, but was interrupted by a voice which reminded him of nails against a chalk board.
“Good morning, Sasha,” Rose said, letting her hand fall.
It took all the strength Scorpius had to plaster on a smile and turn to see the girl that he was currently pursuing. Sasha had her chocolate brown hair down, her eyebrows raised, and her lips pressed in a scowl. To most it would seem that she was jealous, but no, that was not the case. Her face was just permanently like that.
“Good morning, Rose,” said Sasha with a smile that was far too wide to be authentic. Rolling her eyes, they landed on Scorpius. “Are you still going to walk me to class?” One of her perfectly plucked eyebrows raised.
“Of course,” Scorpius said, forcing a cheerful tone. Standing up, he grabbed his bag, while Sasha had an impatient look.
Looking to Rose, Sasha eyed the girl. “That’s a lovely pin,” Rose said, indicating to the golden broach with a green speckled stone in the center that was pinned on her Slytherin robes.
Sasha’s hand flung to it. “This,” she said, as if she was wearing another pin for Rose to comment on. “It was my great-great-grandmother’s.”
Rose nodded, believing that that was all that Sasha had to say. Sadly, Scorpius stared at his seat, debating if he should sit down. He had already heard the story about the fake family heirloom, making the mistake of asking about when he first talked to Sasha.
“It’s made out of dragon eggshells,” she proceeded to say. “The rarest form of eggshells possible.”
Wrong, Scorpius thought.
“Oh,” Rose’s mouth was open in confusion. “I had always heard that mermaid eggs were the rarest.”
“Yeah, you and everyone else,” Scorpius mumbled so incoherently that the girls couldn’t pick up on what he said.
“No,” Sasha said. “That is quite not true. You see, mermaids’ eggs are the rarest, but dragon eggshells, are even rarer,” she said in clarification.
Still seeming confused by all this information that she had never heard or read in a textbook, Rose politely said, “I did not know that.”
“Most wouldn’t,” Sasha said arrogantly. “See, mermaid eggs dissolve in the water while hatching.” Wrong, Scorpius thought again. “Dragon eggs, on the other hand, leave pieces behind.” Sometimes, he continued. “Like this one, the Italian Fire Snout. The rarest bread of dragon.” Scorpius breathed a low breath at the, once again, wrong and extremely inaccurate information. Although when he had been told the story, she had said that the Egyptian Blacktip was the rarest bread of dragon.
“I’m not surprised that most people don’t know this. I am, after all, a decedent to Wallace Langford, the first dragon hunter,” she bragged.
Scorpius wasn’t sure what he thought was more absurd, how inaccurate the story about the dragon eggs were or the lie about being related to the first dragon hunter. The first dragon hunter was Shang Dragoon, hence the term dragon. It was sad to say that Scorpius had grown used to this behavior. Supposedly she was also decedent to the first potion master, first wand maker, and, his personal favorite, the first minister of magic.
Needless to say, Sasha was the type of person who elaborated… a lot. She had no clue when to stop. If someone had a piece of interesting information, then so did she, and her information was better, along with extremely false. Also, she rarely let others have a say. If someone tried to speak against her claims, she would always come back with an even more preposterous story or lesson. To sum it up, she was one of those people who was always wrong, but could never be told she was wrong.
Rose was about to ask a question, but Scorpius only shook his head, willing her to not say a word.
Catching on, Rose smiled genuinely. “Well it must be precious to your family, a rare keepsake like that.”
“It is,” Sasha answered, her smile no longer false but smug. Looking back to Scorpius, she frowned at his messy hair. “Look at you,” she tisked, pushing back his hair with her own hand, practically banging every spare strand into place.
“It’s fine,” he grumbled, shifting out from under her hand. Obviously displeased by the movement, Sasha shoved her books into Scorpius’ hand and stalked off in the direction of the exit.
Rose gave an inquisitive eye to Scorpius. “Don’t say a word.”
A humored look set on her face. “Wasn’t going to.” She reached for her cup and took long sip of her grapefruit juice while she continued to stare up at him with the same eyes.
“Thanks,” he said and turned to walk away.
Rose was curious as to how Scorpius and Sasha started talking. It didn’t bother her, but at the same time, it did baffle her. Sasha just wasn’t the type of girl that Scorpius would date. Not that she really knew his type because the only other girls he had been with were Raven and Miranda, and those two were complete opposites. Regardless, Rose didn’t know Sasha very well and she supposed that he saw something that she didn’t.
Although she was slightly confused by some of what Sasha said. Rose had been told by her uncle Charlie that the Italian Fire Snout’s eggs burned while hatching, so she didn’t understand how the broach could have been made from it. Placing her cup on the table, Rose grabbed her bag and began to head to her first class, putting the thought to rest; sure that Sasha must have been accidentally mistaken.
Marcus stood in the entrance hall to the staircases. He was propped against the banister with his arms crossed, seeming to mind his own business. Eventually she would have to pass, he thought.
“Marcus,” a sickeningly sweet voice said, distracting him from his task.
“Hello, Dominique,” he curtly said, giving her a brief nod before focusing his eyes back on the many stairways beneath him.
Giving a charming smile that showed all her bright teeth “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks,” he mumbled, still not showing much interest in her.
Dominique gave him a peculiar look. It was odd behavior for him to avoid her the way he had been the past few weeks. Determined, she leaned forward in front of him, obscuring his view of the stairs.
He strained to look past her shoulder. Crossing her arms, she tilted her head and pursed her lips together. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” he shot back too quickly. It seemed to get his attention, though, because his eyes were now firmly planted on her as she straightened her posture. “I’m just waiting for someone.” He didn’t add the fact that he hoped that said person would talk to him.
If Dominique was bothered by his words, she didn’t let it show. Tossing her silky hair back, she carefully inched closer to him, making him the slightest bit uncomfortable.
Marcus didn’t really want to be having this conversation. Dominique was just like every other girl that he had been with, too beautiful for her own good and seductive, but unlike those other girls she was smart too. She knew how to play the game to get what she wanted, refusing to give all the way into him easily. He normally didn’t care if girls wanted more of a relationship from him, but Dominique was different. She had invaded his thoughts quite a bit over the holidays, and he had thought about giving in to her wishes. Not because he liked her, or that it pleased her, but because he wanted her in every way possible. Someone who was as skilled in the art of seduction as he was… well, he couldn’t help but be physically attracted to it. However, all of those thoughts had disappeared after the incident on the train with Rose.
“It’s been a while since you’ve called upon me,” she stated sternly. “Tell me, do you not desire me as you used to?” The way she said it wasn’t a question full of worry or concern, but more of a reminder.
“I’ve been busy.” He answered her question sternly.
“Busy with someone else?” She clarified.
Marcus didn’t respond. He didn’t owe her an explanation. Instead, he moved his eyes from her face back to stairs under the banister.
Her face set into look that was unreadable. Pressing the palm of her hand to his chest, she leaned in close to his ear. Her cheek grazed against his, so that he could feel her talk. “If it is a challenge that you seek, I will give you one,” she whispered, her warm breath tickling his ear.
Her scent filled his nose, making him sick to his stomach. Glancing below the railing again, he spotted Rose’s head as it bobbled up one of the staircases and turned into the hall just beneath him.
Quickly he pulled away and shoved past Dominique. “I don’t seek a challenge.” His words were precise. “I just see a better opportunity.” And he walked down the stairs.
Dominique watched as he turned into the hallway with a hard look on her face.
“Rose,” She heard a voice, whisper yell from behind her.
Blushing to herself, Rose slowed her pace, so that Marcus could catch up to her.
“I never did get a chance to say thank you for the rose,” she said after he walked beside her for a moment.
Marcus grinned with a smug look on his face. “The white rose, symbolizing purity and innocence. I thought it suited you.”
Rose blushed again. “Well thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he answered, adjusting his bag.
Rose looked to him and smiled. Those were words that she never thought that she would hear come from his mouth, at least not in a genuine manner.
“What?” he asked, catching the look that she was giving him.
Rose turned her head to watch where she was going. “It’s nice hearing you say that.”
Stopping, Marcus wasn’t used to the fact that such common words had an immense effect on her. Rose stopped walking with him, turning so that she could see him properly. “I’ve been trying.” His words stumbled slightly as he looked to the ground.
And he had, with the exception of the rose that he had given her ten days prior, Marcus had kept away from her. He had also made an actual attempt to act decent towards other people. Now she knew that he hadn’t completely changed, because no one can change that quickly, but the fact that he tried at all meant something to her.
“I know,” she said softly. His eyes shot up to hers with pride. “I mean, I’ve noticed.”
Marcus’ lips widened at the thought. Eyeing the spare piece of hair that had fallen into her face, he slowly raised his hand, making his intentions clear, before stroking the side of her face and tucking it behind her ear. His hand remained as it brushed her cheek tenderly.
His eyes held hers as every thought that she ever had became irrelevant. The palm of his thumb traced along her lips, feeling the shaky breaths from her mouth beat against it. Turning awkwardly, she started to walk again.
Over the past month, everything had been so confusing. She would have been a fool to deny that there was some sort of attraction to Marcus. That when she thought about him and his kiss, it nearly made her insides melt, and when he touched her it sent chills down her spine. At the same time, something felt wrong about it. The only reason he started liking her was because she insulted him, which didn’t sit right with her. Then, not to mention, there was Scorpius’ obvious objection to anything Marcus related.
Chuckling to himself, Marcus followed. “So I was wondering if you wanted to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend,” he said much more confidently than he felt. Rose didn’t respond as she slowed her steps at the door of her classroom, which was propped open. “As friends,” he added.
“That sounds a lot like a date,” she mumbled.
“It’s not a date,” he quickly announced. “It’s two people meeting up to spend some time together in order to get to know one another better.” Marcus paused replaying the words in his head. “Okay, it’s a date.”
“Umm,” she tried to think of her words. “I don’t know,” she said after several minutes.
Still holding on to the slightest bit of hope, Marcus said, “Well, what if I just so happen to run into you while you’re there.”
“If you just so happened to run into me, I would not not talk to you, but…” she trailed off, nervously running her fingers through her hair. Unable to look him in the eye, her eyes soared around the classroom behind them, landing on Scorpius.
He was extremely still at his desk, glaring at the pair of them, his face stony and hard. Sighing, Rose couldn’t do that to her best friend. “I’ve sort of made plans to do my transfiguration essay in the library.” She didn’t lie, that was what she originally planned to do.
“Oh,” Marcus said, disappointed. “Maybe next time.” And he started to leave.
“Marcus,” Rose called, hearing his heels quickly snap around so that he could look at her. “I do like the idea of us being friends.”
Marcus nodded, displeased by the words. “If that’s all you’ll give me,” he said, continuing to walk.
Rose went inside the classroom, taking the chair beside Scorpius. She noticed that his hand was fisted into a ball on top of their table, his eyes focused forward.
“What was that about?” He asked as toneless as possible.
“He was asking me if I wanted to go to Hogsmeade,” Rose answered.
Scorpius’ face was still in a hard line. “I thought that you weren’t going.” He questioned, recalling what she had told him the other day.
“I’m not,” she said slightly defensively.
Scorpius only had to take one look at her to know what she was thinking. “But you want to?”
Avoiding the question, she reached down to grab her quill and ink jar from her bag, confirming his accusation.
“Rose, it’s Marcus,” he said, trying to make her see reason.
Placing the quill and jar on the table, she snapped her head to him. “Scorpius, stop it,” she spat. “You’re not my boyfriend so lay off.” Scorpius, taken off guard by her abruptness, couldn’t speak. “He is asking me for my forgiveness, and I know that means nothing to you or anybody else, but it means something to me,”
Scorpius took a still breath. She wasn’t angry, but this was about the closest he had ever seen Rose to losing her temper. Taking a calming breath, she lowered her voice. “I know you don’t trust him, but at the end of the day what matters is if I do.”
“And you’re telling me after everything that he has done, you trust him?” His voice was low.
She cleared her throat. “I’m telling you that I think there is more than what meets the eye.”
Scorpius was completely silent for a long minute.
Biting her lip “You know, sometimes taking a chance on people has its advantages. A lot of people warned me about you when we became friends.”
“I don’t like this,” shaking his head. “He is up to something. I know it. I mean, why else would he like you?” Scorpius said subconsciously.
Rose felt like Scorpius had just poured a bucket of ice water down her back. Instantly her expression became blank and she looked to him with hurt eyes. Realizing what he had said, Scorpius immediately wished that he could take it back.
“So if a guy likes me, then he must be up to something because no one can just like me for me. Is that what you’re saying?” Her voice was rough, almost as if she was holding back tears.
“Th…That’s not…” he stuttered. “That wasn’t what I meant,” he tried, watching as she bent her head down to shield her face from him.
“That’s how it sounded,” she whispered, barely audible.
“I’m sorry.” Twisting his body, he laid his arm across the back of her chair so that he could lean in closer to her. “Any guy would be lucky to have you.” She gripped the edge of the table with her fingernails. “But I am begging you, please don’t go with him to Hogsmeade.” His voice was strained, guilty for what he was asking of her.
Rose sniffled as she bolted her head up suddenly and faced him. Scorpius was shocked by the movement, only a mere inch between their lips. He breathed slowly. He had never been this close to Rose before and it forced him to see her in a different way. Scorpius stared at her perfectly shaped lips, they breathed in one another’s breaths. Going up to her eyes, he saw the startled look in them as well. “Okay,” she said, the word hitting his lips, soothing him in a way that he never thought possible.
“Thank you,” he whispered back, lowering his eyes to look at the tip of her nose. Rose nodded and turned away to face the front of the classroom.
Straightening his posture, Scorpius mimicked the motion. Rose didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day.
A/N: So what did you think? What about what Scorpius said to Rose, not to mention the little moments here and there? Also what are your opinions of Marcus? He played a big role in the chapter. Not to mention girl number two, Sasha? Please give me your input and review, I really enjoy writing this story and I love reading and responding to your thoughts and comments.
I swear that this is a Rose/Scorpius story, but her relationship with Marcus is really necessary for the plot to move forward. Also I already have most of the next chapter written, so hopefully it shouldn’t take me that long to update.
As always thank you Luvinpadfoot for betaing.
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