Chapter 1 : Put On Notice
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The only thing missing was a girl.
Scorpius snorted into his drink, causing the old crone in the corner to eye him suspiciously. She only had one eye. He thought about giving her a rude hand gesture, just to see how high her singular eyebrow went, but his day had been so good that he decided to give his normal antics a rest.
Why did it always have to be a girl?
The thing was, he didn't have to work. He had his father's money and all of the Malfoy's estate at his fingertips. But days like this, days when his plans all came together and he succeeded... it made him feel important.
Rose had always made him feel like a useless twat.
Rose Weasley. He was so glad he hadn't fallen for her back at Hogwarts. Yeah, she was smart and pretty (gorgeous hair), but the rest of her was so not worth it.
She was always big on rules. Following rules, creating rules, altering rules to be fair and equitable for all... if it was in the name of justice and righteousness, Rose Weasley jumped on the Troll Trolley. Rules, Scorpius had learned, were for other people, not him.
Unimaginative, boring people.
The first time he'd seen Rose Weasley, it was in Potions class during the mad dash to the supply cabinet to get ingredients for the Forgetfulness Potion. Her red hair was all over the place, from the static in the air. He'd had to disentangle his hands from...
It was Charms. He'd never forget how she lit her hair on fire after mispronouncing the Fire-Making spell on the first try. The flames lit up all around her, like a halo. A hot, white mess of...
Okay, that wasn't the first time either.
Scorpius scratched his head. Opening Feast? First Quidditch Game? That illegal party down in the Hufflepuff Common Room?
That was definitely sixth year, when she'd done him in for good.
Face it, he grumbled to himself. Even when he'd tried not to notice her, she'd come up to him and introduced herself. Twice. At least. And then in third year, she was always looking at him all strange-like. Like he'd done something wrong.
He had, actually. Pranking had become a way of life, early on. Call it loneliness. Desperation for attention. Whatever. He'd met some boys, they'd pulled some stunts and never looked back. All the while, Rose Weasley was everywhere.
Well, not since they'd graduated from Hogwarts. He'd only seen her a handful of times in the last two years. Ten, or fifteen times at the most, he decided. And all those instances had been purely unintentional (on her part) and random (also on her part). The back of her head had never looked so good.
He chased the memories away with a chug of whatever he'd ordered, and then coughed a bit. Enough about her. He was here to celebrate his latest achievement, not waste his time thinking about someone like her.
Someone so bossy. Arrogant. Judgmental.
And a big tease.
He didn't need any of it. He was doing well on his own, without her "sterling reputation" to worry about.
Scorpius had a sterling reputation. If one didn't count the gnomish silver he'd Transfigured, or the Ministry official he'd bribed to get his illegal shipment of unicorn's blood into the country.
It was all necessary procedure. All those children would still be lying in their hospital beds, suffering needlessly if he'd used "normal", "legal" means.
"Anonymous vigilante saves scores of infants from recent break-out of blood-boiling disease": that would be the headline in tomorrows Daily Prophet.
Even Rose Weasley would be proud of that. Of him. He sipped his drink thoughtfully. No, she'd never seen him for the man that he was. She only saw the misdeeds that he had done. Scorpius downed his drink and waved the waitress down for another. It was better that it hadn't worked out between them. All those children were better off for it.
It was no fun celebrating alone. He thought for a second of looking her up (she was still in the Ministry building at this hour), for old times' sake (because he'd seen her leave for an early lunch, which probably meant she'd be working late tonight), so he could rub his successful, useful self in her face.
Take that, Rose Weasley.
He didn't need to hear about how he was doing it all wrong. How he was breaking rules, ignoring curfew... any of it.
She'd played him hard, and he couldn't forgive her. He thought at first, that she'd liked him for him: charming, chivalrous, a little bit on the dangerous side. But the stolen moments weren't for him, they were to set him up for a fall. She'd learned everything she could about him, and then at that critical moment before his biggest payoff yet, she'd taken him down.
Bloody Rose Weasley and her bloody morals!
He was so much better than her now. In fact, he was more successful than Rose Weasley could ever be.
He wished he could sit down with her, face to face, and tell her all about what he'd recently been up to. It would be so much fun to watch her quiver with fury. He grinned. Just the way he liked her (maybe not the rage part, though).
Scorpius sighed into his drink. It really wasn't like him to drink alone. He was celebrating, for Merlin's sake! He needed someone to celebrate with.
He looked around the pub for someone decidedly not red-headed. Someone who didn't wear glasses, and who didn't look smart enough to best him.
There was a cute brunette in the corner. He'd seen her give him the eye a while ago. When she turned away, he discreetly checked her out. Short skirt (not anything Rose would ever wear), dark hair, tied up in a bun (definitely not a Weasley there), and pale skin (not a freckle in sight). He nodded to himself. This was exactly what he needed, yeah? The next time she looked his way, he raised his glass to her and gave her the winning Malfoy grin.
Well, he supposed that some things (like the signature Malfoy grin) were universal.
He was momentarily distracted by the telly. Yes, it was a Muggle pub. Scorpius had made a habit of Muggle pubs since his latest piece of "work", if only to prove to Rose Weasley that he wasn't the bigoted rich kid she thought he was.
Besides, she'd never look for him here.
His last business deal had been a complex string of "cover his arse" maneuvers, just so he'd know that one of his many deeds would at least cross her desk. He'd done it on purpose, for the attention. Besides, his "associates" had dug so many rabbit holes that she'd never associate it with him.
"Is this seat taken?"
The brunette was standing at his table. Scorpius smiled up at her. "It is now. Please." He motioned for her to sit, and she did.
He liked this woman already. (Rose Weasley never did what she was told... when it was him doing the telling.) She was leaning in to him, staring thoughtfully at his crisp, white business shirt. Scorpius arranged his arms so she would miss the bit of red that stained one of his cuffs. (He'd had to sample the shipment. For quality control. It would be bad form to have those poor children poisoned, after all.)
The idle chit chat was dull, but the brunette's eyes sparkled when she spoke about some obscure factoid out of the recent news. Something about cargo ships and the Port Authority. Still, Scorpius found himself drawn in, mesmerized by what lay behind those eyes. Mystery. Intrigue. Too much alcohol, perhaps?
Maybe this was going to be his lucky night after all.
"It's getting late," he said. "Shall I walk you home?"
Chivalrous move, he patted himself on the back.
"Actually, I'm not going home."
Scorpius' interest level piqued. Perhaps he would be luckier than he thought. He placed both hands on the table and leaned closer to her. "Can I take you to wherever you're going, then?"
A pair of hex-proof cuffs were suddenly slapped over his wrists.
She leaned in close to him and he smelled jasmine and coffee. "You've been a very bad boy."
"How'd you guess?"
Scorpius smirked at her expression of surprise - she hadn't thought he would react this way, he figured. He ran through the last activity he'd finished in his head before he'd walked into the pub. The reason he was celebrating in the first place. He looked at her again. She didn't know. Would she be impressed if he told her exactly what he'd done, or how bad he'd been?
She smirked back at him. And then she looked at him with that look. The all-too familiar look that he'd been avoiding (dreaming about) since leaving Hogwarts.
"She said you'd always been a trouble maker." The brunette (he hadn't even asked her name) flicked her wand, and Scorpius' cuffs jerked up, pulling him out of his seat.
"Rose Weasley sent me to bring you in."
Scorpius' face went slack. "Weasley?" His face contorted. "Oh, blimey! You're that assistant that sits behind her with the paperclip chain hanging off your lamp!"
He tossed his arms in the air for emphasis, which didn't look so good, since they were joined at the wrist. The brunette grabbed him at the shoulder and shoved him out of the pub and into an alley. They were going to Apparate straight to the Ministry, and all the money in the world wasn't going to get him out of the tongue lashing he was about to receive.
But then he had another thought. Rose Weasley had noticed.
"How exactly are you going to make the smuggling stick?" Scorpius' smirk was back on point. She didn't have any hard evidence against him this time. She couldn't have. He'd tied everything up, tight as a Christmas bow. Even if this woman brought him in for questioning, they couldn't hold him for longer than an hour or two.
It would be nice to see Rose again, he thought. Even like this. She'd have to look him in the eye this time. He smiled at the thought of seeing her face. Maybe they'd have that conversation after all, where he'd explain to her about the poor tots in hospital. Then she'd see his real value. She'd have to acknowledge his brilliance!
"We don't need any proof of smuggling," the brunette said cheekily. "You're being brought in on stalking charges!"
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