Chapter 14 : XIV
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My face is burning. Something tells me it is not just from the lack of oxygen. Malfoy is barely inches away from me and looking at me with that look in his eyes, the look he usually has after I’ve been paid to kiss him by one of his pathetic girlfriends. He grins at me and I can feel my face get hotter but he doesn’t come any closer.
“Rose?” Albus’ voice startles me out of my thoughts and forces my gaze away from Malfoy’s face. Albus and Keegan are standing behind me both looking a little puzzled. “Zabini let us out early, he wants you to go and put away your potion,” Albus added, holding out a hand to help me up.
“Are you alright?” Keegan frowns, glancing between Malfoy and me.
“Just a little winded,” Malfoy smirks, standing up and brushing off his robes. “Come on, we’d better not keep Zabini waiting any longer.” He holds out his hand and I take it without thinking, forgetting Albus’ is also outstretched, as he pulls me back to my feet. Keegan takes that as his cue to leave and starts following the Ravenclaws up to the Entrance Hall. Albus hurriedly glances between him and me and Malfoy, confusion evident on his face.
“Wait- Keegan!” he decides, yelling after his best friend. Keegan spins around and smiles awkwardly as Albus runs to catch up with him. It is about time.
“Hey,” someone waves a hand in front of my face. “You in there? We have to go clean up,” Malfoy repeats. Shaking my head, I let go of his hand and follow him back into the classroom. Zabini is talking to the still grinning Hufflepuff and Slytherin at the back so we just head over to our table in silence.
Checking the potion is the right colour before placing the lid on, Scorpius takes it back to its pace at the back of the classroom before helping me clean up the ingredients and packing his books away. There is a faint smile lingering on his lips that I find exceedingly unsettling.
When Zabini is done with the couple, he turns to Malfoy and I and informs us that we too have a detention for disrupting his class. Malfoy nods, unfazed and slings an arm over the Slytherin’s shoulders, teasing him about Hawthorn as they leave the classroom. The Hufflepuffs blushes before approaching me.
“I’m going to assume I have you to thank for dropping Sammy that hint?” she smiles shyly.
“It was a joint effort,” I smile in response.
“Well thanks,” she grins. “I was beginning to despair.”
“Sometimes people just need an extra shove in the right direction,” I shrug, looking down at her. She really was tiny, barely coming above my elbow.
“Yeah,” another smile. Who knew getting a date could make someone smile this much. “How is Albus coping after Sunday’s match?” she asks as we follow the boys out of the classroom.
“Oh he’ll live,” I snort.
“Do you think he’ll hold try-outs for new players?”
“I’m not sure he has much choice,” I grimace.
“I guess… Well it was nice to chat with you and thanks again,” she smiles again before turning down the corridor to her common room. I wish people would stop talking to me. I swear there is some invisible sign over my head at the moments saying ‘Come and talk to Rose Weasley’. What happened to the days I could go by without talking to anyone? Now I’m being ambushed from every direction.
Wandering back up to the common room, I glance around to make sure no one else is going to try and start a conversation with me before taking up my favourite window seat and pulling out a Herbology essay that is due next period.
The rest of the week passes without any mishap. Albus and Keegan have resumed talking to each other and other than the occasional awkward pause when Lily walks in, it is like nothing happened. Lily herself is keeping busy with school work, Quidditch practice and friends (her and Faye seem to have become quite close). Having kicked both Lucy and Dave off the team, Albus has decided to hold try-outs this Sunday, leaving everyone free to go to Hogsmeade on Saturday.
Slipping out of the castle before the crowds, I amble down towards the village. Snow is still piled up several feet but the sky is clear and the weak February sun makes everything shimmer. Passing by the usual student haunts, I make my way up to the Hogs Head.
“Rose,” a female voice sings out as soon as I push open the heavy door and step into the vaguely gloomy atmosphere. According to my parents, this place used to be much worse than it currently is which always makes me wonder how on earth it is still in business.
“Dominique,” I smile in greeting as my semi-Veela cousin graciously beckons me over to the back of the dingy bar. “How are you?”
“Fantastic,” she beams. “You look tired?” I shrug. “How are things?”
“I would really rather not talk about Hogwarts,” sighing, I pull out a chair and take a seat across from her and shrug off my coat and scarf. “How are you enjoying being back in dreary old Britain?”
“It’s cold,” she wrinkles her nose in distaste. “But I’m glad to see you again. When is this mysterious Mr Malfoy joining us?”
“I think he said he would be here at eleven so your curiosity will have to wait another half hour,” I tease. Ordering a butterbeer (for myself) and a chocolat chaud (Dominique’s words), we chat about her book and the fickleness of French men until the door is pushed open again and a figure in black robes steps into the pub.
“Holy shit,” Dominique hissed under her breath. “He’s like a dark, broody version of Castor!”
“Well they are identical twins,” I deadpan.
“He’s gorgeous,” she grins. “No wonder Louis keeps him hidden away!” She winks at me just as Pollux weaves his way between the tables towards us. “Hello, you must be the infamous Pollux Malfoy,” she stands to greet him, holding out her hand and smiling coyly.
“Good morning, and you must be the beautiful Dominique Weasley,” he replies, kissing her knuckles before turning to me. “Rose,” he smiles simply in greeting.
“Hey,” I smile back. “Take a seat,” I pull out the chair beside me, earning a reproachful look from Dominique. “How are you?”
“I’m well thank you, yourself?” he queries, removing his cloak and taking the seat.
“Not too bad,” I reply honestly. “Dominique’s been dying to meet you ever since she read your poems.” Pollux blushes slightly as he glances at my cousin.
“You write beautifully,” she praises.
“Thank you, Rose tells me you are a writer yourself? I hear you’ve just had a book published?”
“Rose, you weren’t supposed to tell anyone about that,” Dominique hisses.
“Uh… Louis may have mentioned it,” Pollux mutters awkwardly.
“Oh,” Dominique frowns, staring rather intently at Pollux, who flinches under her scrutiny. “Well yes, I have a signing at Flourish and Blotts tomorrow,” she looks down at her drink, a small and barely discernable smirk on her lips. “He wasn’t supposed to tell you that either,” she mutters under her breath.
“Are you with a French publisher?” Pollux queries, ignoring her muttered comment. This sets Dominique off on a torrent of information about the best publishers in Frances and their dedication to their work and yada yada yada. I sit back and watch in amusement as Pollux absorbs every word my cousin utters, his face forming the perfect reactions, widening eyes and slight nods at all the right moments. Dominique feeds off his attentions, rambling on from publishers to the French in general.
Reaching the bottom of my butterbeer, I get up and weave my way back to the bar and order another. The Hogs Head is quiet, even though students are littering Hogsmeade. The regulars at the bar barely acknowledge my existence as the barman pulls me another pint. Smiling at him as he hands me my change, I notice a faintly startled look on his face. Being so quiet, it was my pub of choice and therefore the bartender was familiar with me. My smile, however, not so much.
Glancing over at where Dominique and Pollux are still in deep conversation, I frown to myself. This is getting out of hand. I am socializing… willingly. I shift my gaze back to the bartender, who smiles hesitantly at me and I can’t help but wonder if the fact that my walls are not as effective as they used to be is really such a bad thing after all.
“So,” I drawl at Dominique as we wander down to the main section of the village. Pollux had left a few minutes before but not without questioning Dominique on the length of her stay in Britain and the assurance that they must do this again some time. “Do you like him?”
“Like who?” she queries, a tiny frown etched on her flawless skin.
“The dark, broody version of Castor, obviously.”
“Of course,” her smile this time is a little distant, as if her thoughts are somewhere else. “He is a fabulous writer and seemed genuinely interested in my work,” she shrugs.
“I think it’s safe to say that he’s a very charming person,” I resist the urge to roll my eyes. “But I’m more wondering if you like him?” The pointed look I give her at the word ‘like’ seems to clear up the implied question she missed the first time. She has the audacity to laugh.
“I know I have a habit for falling for unattainable men, Rose, but I try not to fall for men that unattainable,” her smile is wicked.
“What do you mean? He seemed to like you and let’s face it, it’s not like you have to worry about him finding you attractive,” I snort.
“Oh I’m not too sure about that – objectively maybe – but I don’t think he’s actually attracted to me like that at all.”
“Dominique Weasley, what are you talking about?” I ask in astonishment.
“Think about it Rose, I know you’re not a Ravenclaw but you’re smart for a Gryffindor. I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” she teases before ducking into a shop and leaving me standing, a somewhat perplexed look on my face, alone in the street. My cousin is off the rails.
Try-outs on Sunday result in the appointment of Leo Bell as Keeper and Thelma James as Chaser. Albus is still looking a little grey about the whole losing against Hufflepuff fiasco but the new team members look promising so hopefully we won’t lose horrifically again. Lucy is becoming intolerable, even Martha Henderson seems to have been pushed to her limit. Monday rolls around with my evening detention with Zabini.
The four of us – Malfoy, Goyle, Hawthorn and I – end up having to clear out the ancient supply cupboard. It’s a mundane task to say the least. The cupboard – its really more of a small room – is covered in dust and remnants of ingredients on the floor and occasionally the walls. Zabini has entrusted us with it’s ‘spring clean’ as he called it. And, of course, we must do it without magic as he has confiscated our wands.
Hawthorn and her Slytherin seem fairly content to just be in each other’s company and don’t seem to mind the brain-numbing task they’ve been assigned. Malfoy and I, however, are becoming more and more agitated. We end up in a heated discussion about the outcome of the Gryffindor-Slytherin game, becoming so involved that it takes Hawthorn shooting a temporary silencing charm at us before she can inform us our time is up and we are free to leave.
With the new couple scurrying off to somewhere more private, Malfoy and I head out together. It takes me a while to notice Malfoy is heading in the opposite direction of the Slytherin common room.
“Where are you going?” I ask, stopping so abruptly he almost walks into me.
“Huh?” is his intelligent reply.
“Where are you going?” I repeat.
“What do you mean?”
“The Slytherin dorms are back that way…?”
“Uh…” Malfoy glances back down the passageway with a slight frown creasing his forehead. “So they are,” he mutters, genuinely surprised by the revelation. A faint blush creeps up his neck and colours his cheeks. “Well that’s embarrassing.”
Never, in my life, have I seen Scorpius Malfoy so utterly disconcerted. He looks like a lost puppy; unsure how he ended up where he is and not sure if he can find his way back. The red tint to his cheeks, barely visible in the dim light of the dungeon corridors, completes the picture. He looks adorable.
A laugh escapes my lips and I am not entirely sure if it’s because of his lost puppy face or the fact that my mind connected the word ‘adorable’ to Scorpius Sodding Malfoy. At the sound, he glances back at me, his blush deepening and an uncertain smile gracing his features. I reach forward and ruffle his hair. He automatically ducks away but I’m too fast for him. He catches my wrist in his warm hand to try and prevent me doing it again.
The temperature in the corridor seems to have risen somewhat in the moments we’ve been standing here. Scorpius swipes a thumb over the vein in my wrist and I shudder.
“You called me Rose,” I suddenly blurt out, surprising myself as well as him. He frowns. “After that potions lesson. When you said I should laugh more. You called me Rose… You never call me Rose,” I whisper, all of a sudden short of breath.
“I call you Rose all the time,” he whispers back but our whispers are pointless because there is no one there to here them. “You just never hear me,” he breathes, unexpectedly close to me. The hand not on my wrist reaches up to tilt my chin so that I am looking him in eye. My breath catches. For some unfathomable reason, I cannot figure out a single thing to say. “Rose,” he whispers once more before the breath is being forcefully yanked from my lungs as his lips press to mine.
It’s soft. Gentle. Unhurried. He takes his time moulding our lips together, caressing my jaw before his fingers tangle in the hair at the nape of my neck. Pulling me closer. Running along by lower lip, his tongue requests entrance, which I give with a gasp, entwining my fingers in his robes. The hand on my wrist brushes over my pulse once more before slipping to my waist and dragging me impossibly closer.
Do you know the feeling, just before a song hits its crescendo, before the whistle blows to start the game? That feeling of something building in your chest? A calm sort of panic. The stillness before a storm. It wraps itself inside your ribs, curling itself around you core and you feel like you can barely breath. Like something is living in your chest, waiting to be let lose… That’s the feeling that plants itself solidly in my chest as Scorpius kisses me to within an inch of sanity.
Everything seeps from me. The worry, the stress. The things I keep buried deep within me. It all just slips away, becoming irrelevant. A blur in the background as the heat of Scorpius’ body takes centre stage. The silence of the corridor is filled with the rush of my blood, the pounding of my pulse. Echoing through me.
Scorpius’ hand slips from my hair to join the other at my waist and they curl around me, pulling me into him. Crushing us together as if that can stop out chests from breaking open. Our hearts breaking free.
Because there was no way I could deny it. Not anymore.
Somehow Scorpius Malfoy has wormed himself through the barriers I had set up against the world. And I know I should be afraid. Should be terrified. But I just can’t remember what those emotions feel like. Or why I should feel them. With Scorpius wrapped so tightly around me I can barely breath, those feelings seem like distant strangers.
I am not in love with him. I’m not even sure if I like him. But there is something about him and the way he seems to be so persistently in my life that makes this kiss different to any of the others I have had before now. And there have been many. Something makes this special. Unique. And I can’t bring myself to care as he digs his fingertips into my lower back and whimpers against my lips.
When he breaks away, I gasp in a breath I didn’t know I needed. My eyelids flutter open – I don’t even recall closing them – to meet Scorpius’ burning blues glaze.
“Dammit, Rose,” he manages to rasp before crashing our lips together again, his hand coming back up to cup the back of my head and holding me fast as he steps up the kiss to a bruising intensity. A whine forms in the back of my throat as I grab his neck with both hands, trying to mould our bodies together.
The second time he pulls away, he doesn’t say anything for a while. He presses his forehead against mine as I lower myself down from where I had been stood on my tiptoes. We just stand there, breathing heavily. Our breaths mixing in the small space between us. His hand returns to my waist, rubbing gentle circles with his thumbs. Mine fist the fabric at his shoulders, trying to ground me.
He chuckles slightly, although nothing is particularly funny. “You’ll be the death of me,” he whispers, his voice rough. I just nod, barely registering his words, my grip on his robes tightening before I pull away and look him dead in the eye.
Colour lights up his face, his usually immaculate hair is ruffled, his robes in disarray. But his gaze is solid. And I wish I could read everything in those eyes. But I can’t. And I’m not sure he wants me to anyway. So I step back and his hands finally fall from my waist. He watches me carefully, as if observing a flighty animal.
When I just stand there and stare at him, he smiles slightly. I try to regain control of my breathing. Of my hammering heartbeat. He steps forward, into my space again. But doesn’t reach out. Just looks at me. His head slightly tilted. Then his fingers extend and tilt my chin up once more. He lowers his kiss-swollen lips and presses a chaste to kiss to mine before pulling away completely. Somehow this kiss burns far hotter than those preceding it.
“Goodnight, Rose,” he murmurs. I blink as he turns around and disappears back down the way we had come. Leaving me breathless and disorientated. And terrified.
I am a horrific human being. I am so sorry. I will make this short and go and work on the next chapter immediately. Enjoy.
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