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Chapter 3 : Confirmed Fact #1
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Rose didn't leave her room for the next few hours, but I knew I would have to do something to get her out of it. She would hide in there for the rest of the day and the days to come if I didn't do something to lure her out, I believed. When she wanted something, she had her mind set on it, and she remained firm in her beliefs.
So when I got hungry, I knew I would have to cook or conjure something. I knew Rose's favorite meal, fettuccine alfredo with chicken and so much parmesan you could taste it in every bite. So I decided it would make a good dinner.
I know how to cook. Surprised? Don't be; I cook quite well actually. Living on my own in my flat, I have to be able to cook unless I want to waste my money by eating out every meal. I didn't know how to cook very well really until I was on my own. I had helped my grandmother bake cookies in the afternoons of my childhood and help Harry cook whatever steak, chicken, fish, etc. that needed to be cooked, but that was the extent of it. Then I was on my own and going out to get dinner and bring it home every night, take-out or whatever the muggles called it. Half the time I went to muggle food places because muggles sure know how to cook. I ate up to my eyes in Chinese take-out; the only food I had at my flat was packages of cookies, a few fruits, and containers of ice cream. When I realized I couldn't live like that, I had many trial-and-error experiences to teach myself how to cook a decent meal.
Now I can cook just about anything and it's quite tasty, if I may say so myself.
I go into the kitchen and shuffle through all their cooking appliances, finding what I need. I wave my wand to conjure all that I will need for a good dinner and begin to cook.
I don't feel like cooking is too much of a feminine quality. There's nothing wrong with a man who can cook. I actually hear that girls like it apparently. Do they? Please inform me and I will cook every night for all of my future girlfriends so that I can come off more 'cute.' Or 'sexy.' Or whatever.
Before long, I have a steaming bowl of fettuccine alfredo with spiced chicken on top. I garnish it with parsley and load it with parmesan. Pulling garlic bread out of the oven, everything is ready.
I don't know whether or not to take Rose a plate or just leave it out for her to come get her own. I actually think Malfoy wouldn't be that kind to take her her own personal plate like she was a queen, so I decided against that. I made my own plate and put it where I would sit at the table with my dinner. I stalked off down the hallway and knocked weakly against her door.
She didn't reply, but of course, I knew she was in there. "Weasley," I muttered quietly, knowing the name Rose would probably be out of Malfoy's character, "I made dinner. If you're hungry."
She grunted in acknowledgement, and I left it at that. I returned to the table to eat my meal, and when I was maybe halfway done, I heard a small creak come from the hallway. I tried to be nonchalant as she emerged from her room like she was in spy-mode, head out first, then the top half of her body, and then finally stepping out discreetly. I pursed my lips to hide my smile, turning my face down to my food.
She stuck her nose up at me as she passed and went to look at what I had cooked. I tried to catch her face as she spotted her favorite. She looked quite surprised and almost pleased. She said nothing though, clearly trying to hide her gratitude. She didn't need to say thank you; I knew she was grateful, even if it was to Malfoy. Or me. Whoever the hell it is.
She made a plate and didn't sit at the table like I expected her to. She took it to her room and disappeared again.
Frustrated with her lack of cooperation, I fell back against my chair and shook my head.
It was Rosie. Little Rosie.
And it was me.
It was odd to be receiving such treatment from her when we had always been on such good terms. But then again, I was someone else to her. It was difficult to sit back and let it all go. I wanted so badly to tell her who I was and to be there for her when she needed someone.
I spent my evening cleaning up after myself, lying on the grass outside the cottage just looking at the stars, and trying to figure out just how I would lure Rose out of her room. It was only 9 PM when I had nothing else to do and decided to go to bed.
Tomorrow would be a new day, I thought.
But it wasn't really.
It began with the same routine. Rose kept herself locked in her room. I didn't see her at all; I only had proof that she was still alive when I heard the showers run in the morning while I was lying in bed. I heard her mess around in the kitchen, probably grabbing some breakfast, and I debated going to see her or not, but I decided against it. So I just laid there and hoped that she was doing all right on her own. I passed my day flipping through the books that sat in the house. I would have watched television if there was one. I did know how to use the few muggle items, thanks to my god-father. But there was nothing of muggle entertainment in the house.
Why is it that wizards are so against using muggle technology? It most certainly passes the time faster when you have no other means of entertainment.
When evening came around again, I did what I had done last night: I cooked a meal and knocked at Rose's door when it was ready. I didn't think I had to tell her why I was knocking, so I didn't. I sat at my place at the table and began to eat. Rose emerged shortly and made herself a plate. When she was about to disappear again, I said quickly and quietly to her. "You don't have to hide in your room, you know?"
She paused, and I could tell she was debating whether or not to go back to her room. After a moment, she turned on her heels to face me. Pursing her lips, she put her plate down at the table and sat with me. I gave her a weak smile. Weak, for I wasn't sure if Malfoy was even capable of smiling.
She looked nice for being locked in her room all day. I had been told that Rose had the frizzy hair of her mother, so she always curled it or straightened it, using a diffuser potion. But I guess, with her not having such things here, her hair was natural. And it was beautiful. Her hair was a nice red-auburn, a perfect mix of her mother and father's hair, and in its natural state, it wasn't as frizzy as everyone made it out to be. I had never seen it natural before, but I found it quite nice as a matter of fact. With her natural waves, it didn't seem as frizzy. It definitely had volume, but all the waves came together and rippled down her back and over her shoulders.
When she began to eat and I did as well, I felt an awkward sensation come over the both of us. She didn't want to speak about case, but what else was there to speak about other than the case? As far as I was concerned, it was the only thing we had in common so far with my little knowledge of Rose and Malfoy's history and me trying to be him.
"Look," I said slowly, trying to voice what I wanted to say in the most Malfoy way possible even though I didn't really know the Malfoy way, "Weasley, we're both stuck here. It would help us both keep a little sanity in this mess if we each had someone to talk to."
"Yeah? Well, we don't have anyone to talk to," she huffed as she played with her food. I had cooked fish, rice, some vegetables, and biscuits. She had mashed up her fish in frustration until it was in tiny shreds. I wondered if she hated fish even though I knew better. Of course she liked fish; Rose liked just about everything. Finally, she scooped a big helping of it onto her fork and pushed it into her mouth.
She swallowed at the pleasant taste of it, and I was satisfied.
I gave her a somewhat incredulous look as if she weren't being the brightest witch in the world. I had a feeling she knew what I meant but had chosen to act ignorant to it.
"I know, Weasley," I sighed. "That's why I mean me. You can talk to me."
Rose gave me an odd look from the corner of her eye, and I almost regretted my words. But then her mouth pulled into a smile, and she shook her head with a chuckle. I sighed in relief.
"Come on, Malfoy," she said. "I'm not going to talk to you. What? So now that we're both suspects in a murder, you're going to get over your ridiculous grudge?"
I blanched briefly. Grudge? Malfoy had a grudge against Weasley? Odd. So far I had found it to be the other way around.
I tried to be nonchalant and play along just like I knew exactly what was going on. I swallowed down a big gulp of water and nodded. "Sure. It's in the past."
"Right, and you'll just forget that we snogged in a broom cupboard sixth year?"
I nearly spat out my water.
Actually, I did a little bit. I jumped in my chair, water flew across the table, and some dribbled on my chin. I swiftly turned away from Rosie so I could dab at my chin and get a hold of myself. She dropped her fork with a clatter in exasperation and I stuttered out, "S-Sorry."
Confirmed Fact #1: Rose Weasley snogged Scorpius Malfoy in a broom cupboard.
"Oh, whatever. You'll never let me forget that," she sighed, and I expected her to storm off, but she didn't. She remained in her place and continued to eat.
Wow. So why the bloody hell had Rosie snogged Malfoy? They had snogged but they still hated each other? Why was that? Had they had a relationship together that I hadn't known about and had a bad break-up? Sweet Merlin, why was this case so hard?
"Probably not," I muttered.
"Get over it. We only did it because we were dared to. That's all it was. A dare from Albus and your little Slytherin friend who fits in better with the Hufflepuffs. It was strictly physical for both of us. It's not my fault I'm such a good kisser that you wanted to snog me in a cupboard every day from then on out," snorted Rose.
So they had snogged on a dare, apparently strictly physical, and Malfoy wanted to make it a daily thing. I believed I understood. Well, so maybe it was all strictly physical then. Although I've never heard of a girl who can snog someone more than once without there being some deeper meaning. Or maybe that's why she didn't want to continue snogging Malfoy. Because she would develop unwanted feelings for him. Smart Rosie.
Boys, on the other hand, could snog or shag whoever they wanted and could continue to avoid or deny any deeper meaning to it all. Hence why Malfoy could have wanted to continue snogging little Rosie.
I wanted to slap myself - or Malfoy - for that.
"I am over it," I defended myself. "You brought it up."
"But you were thinking about it."
"Was not." It's true. I wasn't. Didn't even know such a thing had happened.
"It was three years ago."
"I know!" I hissed.
"Calm down and pull your wand out of your butt. Don't get so tense," Rose sighed. When she finished eating, she leaned back in her chair with her arms folded across her chest.
"Look," I began. I did agree with Rosie. I didn't need to be so tense if I wanted to keep her from hiding in her room again. But she didn't need to be so tense either. "All right, I'm over it. Really. It was three years ago. I don't want to snog you anyways, but what I was saying before was this: we have each other to talk to. It's going to get lonely here."
"I don't need to talk to anyone. Least of all you," she said in a smart tone and went to wash her dishes in the sink. I followed her, dropping mine into the sink with hers and went to put the food up. But she turned to look at me rebelliously. "Nu-uh. I'm not washing your dishes. You can do that yourself."
I pressed my lips into a tight line in anger. If she had known it was me, she would have been fine with doing my dishes. It was just because they were Malfoy's dishes. "We can compromise," I suggested. "You do the dishes. I put everything away."
"Fine," she eventually agreed.
In no time we had the kitchen clean, and assuming she wouldn't want to spend any more time with me, I disappeared outside and into the yard. I laid down on the lawn and looked up at the stars, nearly wishing I was somewhere else. But it was peaceful here. The yard was lined with flower bushes; there was a small pond, sitting benches, chimes hanging in multiple places, and lights strung from the trees. The wind was rustling, and there was the soft chirp of the crickets. It was lovely and such a nice change from my busy flat in London where street lamps would always be on outside the windows.
Here, there were no lights for miles.
I laid there for many minutes with the cool blades of grass tickling my neck, and then I heard the door of the cottage open. I didn't have to look to know it was Rose. Obviously.
I heard her soft footsteps, and she came to sit beside me. She looked up at the sky with a real smile on her face for the first time this evening. The view of a night sky full of stars was more accessible for Rose than it was for me. Granted, she still lived in a flat in Godric's Hollow down the street from her parents, a place where dim lights always lit up the streets and old houses somewhat obstructed the view of the sky at night, but she could still see it if she wished.
I looked to her, almost in questioning, but I decided to not do anything that could scare her off. I felt as if she were already coming out of her shell more around Malfoy and being herself, and if she was doing so, I didn't want to do anything that would make her retreat. She was so different around Malfoy than she ever was around her family and the people who knew her best.
I knew I would have to start making progress with this case soon. We couldn't just ignore the murder forever; it would surface sooner or later. So to jump start a conversation, I broke one of Rosie's three rules.
"Are you scared?" I asked quietly, not looking at her.
I felt her shift apprehensively next to me, and she knew very well what I was talking about even as she played dumb. She picked at a blade of grass, tucking a strand of her red hair behind her ears. "About what?" she muttered.
"The trial. I know you don't want to talk about it," I began, trying to convince her it was okay to talk about, "but I'm a suspect too, and it's all I can think about. I didn't have any part in this murder. I don't want to go to Azkaban. I'm scared."
"A Malfoy? Scared?" Rose chuckled. It was neither rude nor polite. It was almost a statement.
"Yes," I admitted even though I was not a Malfoy. Only regrettably and distantly related by marriage.
Yes, regrettably related by marriage. Don't judge.
My mother was killed by her cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, whose sister married a Malfoy. But Malfoys weren't as bad as most wizards made them out to be anymore. Yes, they had supported the wrong sort during the war, but they went good. They were and still are good.
"I could spend the rest of my life in Azkaban for something I didn't do. I have a right to be scared. Aren't you?" I asked, rolling onto my side to look at her.
Her gaze finally left the sky and came to rest on me. It was dark, but with the light of the moon and stars, I could make out her form, her face, and I could see the light in her eyes. She ran a hand through her long hair as she nodded. "Yes, I'm scared," Rose admitted.
"What do you think is going on with this murder?" I asked, hoping I could work something out of her.
"I don't know," she shook her head solemnly. She looked down to her lap, twidling her thumbs.
"I don't even understand why someone would want the Minister dead. I thought he did a good job," I mused outloud. Rose sighed and shrugged her shoulders, just as confused on the idea as I was.
"I don't know," she said again.
"You didn't...You weren't..." I faltered. I had no idea how to ask about the murder and what Rose's part in it was. If she actually was behind it. If she had actually done it. How was I supposed to ask little Rosie that? I didn't say much else. "Were you...?"
"I thought we agreed to not talk about the murder," Rose muttered. She pulled her knees up to her chest and let her chin rest on them.
I pursed my lips, and I couldn't read her at all. I honestly couldn't tell if she had played a part in it or not. I suggested quietly, "But we don't have anything to hide, right?"
"Right," she sighed. "It's just touchy. I don't want to be reminded about it."
I nodded, and while I knew Rose much better than that, I knew that she was holding back from Malfoy. She wasn't spilling everything to him for who he was. Perhaps if she had known it was me she would have said something different. She could have blurted out how terrified she was; I know she would have done so with Albus, and maybe even with me. But Rose was strong. She always built up the strongest of thresholds to keep her honest feelings in and keep the outside tough. She didn't want anyone to see past her tough exterior.
Even with me.
I had only known Rose was truly upset by things when I heard from one of the Potters or another Weasley of how Rose had shared with them. I hadn't spent enough time with her to be on that inside circle.
"Fine," I apologized, already feeling like I was making Malfoy much more polite than he actually was. "We don't have to talk about the murder, but I'm here if you ever need to talk."
Rose gave an odd laugh and glanced at me from the corner of her eye. "Sorry, Malfoy, but I'm not exactly going to spill my guts out to you."
I sighed. So I was being too polite.
But I was being me. If someone I cared for was hurt, I wanted to be there for them. And I wanted to be there for Rose. I wanted her to confide in me, and I wanted to make things better for her. She was the little girl I was always supposed to look after.
"I know that," I muttered.
"Do we have to talk about anything at all? Really, I'm not feeling up to talking to anyone." With that she strode off and disappeared into the cottage, and just like that, she had retreated back into her shell just as soon as she had come out.
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