Chapter 1 : The Last First Day
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THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Chapter I: The Last First Day
It still smelled like him.
Oak trees and Quidditch. Cold winter nights and wet morning grass.
She paused, her packing suddenly halted, and gingerly dropped the scarf amidst the clutter on her bed, as though it had burned her.
How was that possible? A summer seemed like a lifetime to her. How was it not long enough to chase his scent from a bloody scarf?
She stopped, shook her head, and consciously decided to clear her mind of any thoughts relating to him.
Him, with his grey, sunstained eyes that held the bristle of wind, with his ironic halo of glimmering platinum, with his voice, smooth as glass save for a single, jagged crack meant just for her....
She was done. For good.
She was done with Scorpius Malfoy.
The scarf lay discarded among her pillows, along with outdated spellbooks and robes she had outgrown.
"Aw, sweetheart, look at you! You're all grown up, our little Head Girl."
Ron Weasley, his ruddy face beaming, decided that the bother of abandoning his marmalade-slathered toast was worth the joy of hugging his daughter before she left for her final year of school and stood up heavily before pulling Rose into a bear hug.
"Dad!" she muttered, but grinned and hugged him back. "I'm not in first year anymore…you've done this seven times!"
Her father shook his head, and, in a wistful tone that foreshadowed a dangerously long reminiscence, began, "No, Rosie…it's the last time….this is your seventh year, the year I never got to…."
"Yes, Ronald, our daughter is well aware that you were too exhausted from saving the world to make it back to school for your last year!"
Hermione, a smile hidden in her exasperated voice, set a heaping plate of pancakes in front of Rose and reminded her, "Unlike your hard-working mother who not only went back for her final year but….."
"Graduated at the top of her class!" chorused Rose and her younger brother, Hugo, who'd just made his appearance at the table. "We know!"
Hermione raised her eyebrows and chuckled. "Well, I hope you remember your studies as well as you remember my stories, then. Eat up – you can't be late for the train! And Hugo, have you even bothered to brush your hair?"
Hugo, his mane of red frizz (an unmistakable mix of Granger and Weasley) as unruly as ever, groaned and trudged back upstairs.
Rose smirked and stuffed a bite of pancake into her mouth.
And then promptly spat it out.
Last first day of Hogwarts or not, her mother was still a god-awful cook.
A frantic half-hour later, they were all assembled at Kings Cross, more or less in one piece. Hermione was digging through their suitcases, checking to make sure they didn't forget – "Hugo, please tell me you didn't leave your toothbrush!" - and Ron was chatting with their Uncle Harry, who'd just shown up at the station, late as usual.
Rose's cousin, Albus, had appeared at her side amid the chaos, and the two of them were contemplating the scene in front of them in the knowledge that they'd never be witnessing something as crazily beautiful as the first day of Hogwarts ever again.
"This is it, huh?" Albus commented, his green eyes flashing with uncharacteristic emotion.
Rose sighed, and bit her lip. "I guess so."
This was a strange feeling to her….over the last seven years, Hogwarts had become so important a part of her that the idea of leaving it was unfathomable – unbearable, almost.
Not teasing Albus in the halls over whatever new girl he was mooning after?
Not laughing with her friends in the Ravenclaw common room long after they were supposed to be asleep?
Not feeling her heart skip a beat whenever she ran into him….?
She blinked, and shook her head rapidly. Stop.
Yes, the mere thought was…unbearable.
Rose was shaken from her reverie by an enthusiastic greeting from her best friend, Elizabeth Avery.
And by enthusiastic greeting, a borderline violent tackle combined with ear-splitting screams can be inferred.
Rose couldn't help but beam, despite barely being able to breathe. "Lizzy! I haven't seen you all summer….how was Paris?"
"Trés amazing!" her friend giggled, her bright eyes shining. "I met the greatest bloke…."
Rose rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. "Lizzy, you will never change!"
Giggling, Elizabeth grabbed her hand and pulled Rose into the train, barely allowing her to spare a wave for her frazzled parents, with a reluctant Albus following them.
The train ride to Hogwarts was a comfortably monotonous blur of How are you's and How have you been's punctuated with the occasional How was your summer and Rose was just settling into the familiar routines of school when he stepped into her compartment and nothing else mattered anymore.
He stepped in, and brought with him all the butterflies she thought had flown away last spring, all the heavy silences that were more meaningful than a dozen words, all the discomfort and longing that Rose didn't want in her life any more.
"Weasley," he said, his voice a collected drawl, his cool misty eyes unreadable, "meet me in the Head's compartment in two minutes. McGonagall wants us to talk about back-to-school procedures."
From where he was standing, half in and half out of the door, Rose could just make out the glint of a Head's badge hidden among the folds of his robes.
She cleared her throat.
She cleared her mind.
She forced herself to say, "Thank you, Malfoy; I'll be there," and she forced herself to ignore the tremor in her voice when she said it.
A/N: I know it was short, but there's a lot more to come! I'm new to this site, and to fanfiction in general (I know, I know, but better late than never, right?), so ANY and ALL feedback would be appreciated! I've got the next few chapters of this story already written, and the bulk of it mapped out, so expect early updates!
Please guys, if you enjoyed this so far - or even if you didn't - take the time to review and let me know! Did you like it, did you hate it, do you have any suggestions? If you don't, remember....I've got a wand and I'm not afraid to use it! :D
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