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Chapter 6 : Off the High Horse
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"What do you want for dinner tonight, Rose?" I asked her after a few more hours of playing card games.
We had played another round of Egyptian Rat Screw after our minor card fight, and we had played Go Fish and any other card game you could think of.
There's really nothing to do at this bloody place, so we will have to start getting creative if we don't want to lose our minds.
Rose was draped over one of the couches and was having a particularly grand time looking into the kitchen while hanging upside down. She was lying on the couch normally, but her back was bending over the arm of it and she was staring about with her head upside down, her hair touching the floor. She grunted, and my brow quirked up in questioning. "What'cha doing there, Weasley?"
"I'm bored," she said. Her voice sounded stuffy as she said this, and she finally rolled over to look at me properly. "I don't care. I'll eat anything. You know, I had no idea you could cook."
She's probably right about that. I hadn't even wondered if Malfoy actually knew how to cook. When I first cooked, all I wanted to do was pull her out of her shell and get her to open up to me. I had been successful and only continued to do it. But as I thought on it, Rose was right. The real Scorpius Malfoy most likely had no idea how to cook. He probably couldn't even pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave if he tried.
Damn it. Way to stay in character, Teddy.
I hope she didn't suspect anything, but I don't know how she would. She wouldn't even question that the person she was with was anyone other than Scorpius. I'm sure I was still safe. Besides, they hadn't spent much time together in over two years. Perhaps Malfoy had had the chance to learn; Rose wouldn't know of that, right?
I shrugged it off, for I just had to go with the flow now. There was no backtracking this.
"Oh, sure," I rolled my shoulders as I poured myself a glass of water. Thank Merlin, though, that I had some knowledge of Draco's relationship with Scorpius due to the few holiday visits. I guess there was one upside of being some sort of distant family member to Draco. "Well, I didn't used to. I couldn't boil water successfully till two years ago even. Then I moved out. Actually, my father pretty much told me to get out and find a job. So I did that. Learned to cook too."
"Wow," she pursed her lips together and nodded with a smug look on her face. "I'm actually impressed, Malfoy. Well done."
"Okay, Weasley," I teased, turning to her with my arms out in questioning. "Come on now. You really had that little faith in me?"
"Oh, sod off," she dismissed it, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. So that obstacle had been overcome.
Well played, well played.
Rose jumped up from the couch and skipped into kitchen. She heaved herself up onto the counter top island and kicked her feet happily. I knew she was thinking about what she wanted for dinner when she made a humming sound under her breath. Finally she tucked a lock of her red hair behind her ear and chimed a question. "What do you do these days anyway, Malfoy?"
Hmm. I took this with more than just a grain of salt. Such a question could mean a lot in this investigation. If she was asking and it was just the two of us, Rose had no reason to lie or pretend like she didn't know things about Malfoy. Therefore, if she was asking, she truly didn't know. I believed that if Rose didn't know what Malfoy did for work these days, then they mustn't have talked in quite some time. So perhaps they hadn't been associated together...
I made a mental note of that.
But moving on, I was lucky I knew the answer to that.
"Ah," I said in a perky tone and hopped up on the counter opposite of Rose. I kicked her foot as I teased her. "Clearly you don't read my work then, do you?"
"Hmm?" she questioned, her brow pulling up in question.
I downed the rest of my water. "I have my own Magical Games and Sports column in the Prophet. Mostly I write about Quidditch matches. How have you not read any of them?"
I actually was a little surprised. Rose had played Quidditch in her Hogwarts years, and for a time we all wondered if she would go pro one day. But of course, it turned out to not be the thing she wanted to do for the rest of her life. But the rest of her family knew about Scorpius' column; most of them read it. Even Ron did because as time passed, Ron learned that Scorpius hated the Irish Quidditch team just as much as he did, and Ron always loved it when Scorpius practically bashed the Irish in his column.
Where had Rose been living? Under a rock?
"I can't keep up with them. I wish I could, and I used to. But also, I have a second flat in Egypt. I live there part time for my job. We get a different paper over there."
Oh, right. Egypt. I guess that explained most of it.
I was still quite surprised, though. I remembered a year ago when I had gone to the Potters one evening for dinner; Harry had cooked that meal because Ginny was busy writing a letter of recommendation. Dinner had sucked that night because my god-father had cooked it. Honestly, the man was raised by muggles even and he still can't cook a decent meal. He's lucky his wife cooks just as good as her mother.
"And actually," I said, voicing my thoughts. "Your aunt, Ginny Potter, wrote my letter of recommendation when she retired."
"So you took over my aunt's column when she quit?" Rose seemed quite appalled. As if Scorpius couldn't fill her aunt's shoes.
These past five minutes had really tested my memory, and surprisingly, I recalled more about Scorpius than I thought I knew at all.
I shrugged. "I didn't really take it over. Gi - Mrs. Potter was a top-notch Quidditch reporter. Me? Well, I cover more than just Quidditch, but I don't get the big stuff."
"Oh," Rose said. She again made an odd face as she appraised the information I gave her. She nodded along. "That's...That's pretty impressive, Malfoy. Good for you."
"Thanks," I said, and I figured I should ask her the same question. If Rose didn't know about Scorpius, then Scorpius had no obligation to know of Rose's job. "So, Egypt, huh? What do you do over there?"
"I'm a Curse Breaker," she said with a pause, and I took it as an opportunity to show her that I was interested and listening even though I already knew all there was to know.
"Wow. That's pretty high end, isn't it?"
"Yeah. My uncle Bill was also a Curse Breaker, and he put in a good word for me. Just over the past year I've been to some pretty cool places. India, Greece, Mexico, and the majority of the time is over in Egypt with all the tombs and pyramids. So much in Egypt that I have the second flat."
"Wow," I said again. "If you've got a second flat, it must pay pretty well."
"Yeah," she agreed, rolling her shoulders. "It definitely pays well."
I then asked about something that had been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Rose did spend a fair bit of time gone from her family, and occasionally she missed holidays. She had only missed Christmas once, but without having heard it, I knew it was a potential worry for her parents that Rose would permanently live in another country and rarely visit. "So, uh," I began. "You ever think about living over there permanently?"
"Oh, you want me out of the country, don't you?" Rose snickered. I don't know where such a question came from, but I was glad it wasn't in all hostility. She had an odd look on her face, a smirk twisted with a funny smile, and there was a laugh to her voice.
I was surprised by her, and so I was somewhat blindsided. I had no idea how to go about such a question, so I had to think fast. And I just hoped that there was a part of her that wasn't being serious.
I looked at her from the corner of my eye, and a smile hit my lips. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, we've had our fair share of fights over the things that are worth nothing. You are an asshole," chimed Rose. She still had that smile on her face, making it all the more difficult for me to predict her point.
I rolled my shoulders. More of playing the part as it comes. "That doesn't mean I'd want you out of the country. And was an asshole."
"Ah. Not an asshole anymore now, are we?" she laughed and hopped down from the counter. She came to the one I sat one and opened the bread drawer, pulling out a piece and beginning to nibble on it.
"Less of an asshole," I laughed.
What was I to say, really? There was clearly some joking and teasing going on about their Hogwarts years together, years I was completely clueless about.
But apparently it worked. Rose continued to buy it, and I could only assume that I pulled off a good Scorpius Malfoy. On top of that even, I was enjoying my time with her. We were laughing and chatting, and I eventually even acted myself. The majority of the things I said were truly my own words, and it pleased me that I could feel a friendship with Rose growing that I had lacked my entire life, unlike the situation with all of her other cousins.
She was finally laughing in delight and kicking happily as I cooked our dinner. I let her taste the seasoning of the grilled vegetables. Rose, who did not have the greatest experience in cooking thus far, had said it needed more of something and had proceeded to dump a crap ton of garlic into my diner. Luckily I stopped her and added only a small amount. We genuinely had a good time preparing our dinner.
Rose was being herself. I had finally gotten her to break free of her shell, and thank Merlin she was finally off that high horse of hers.
Tired of being inside all day - of she from being inside all day; I actually just get antsy in one place for too long - we decided to have our dinner outside. The sun was across the ocean that was a fair ways down the hill.
I don't know why we had stayed in such indoor confinement when it was so beautiful just outside our door. The wind was blowing, and it brought the thick, salty air up to us as we ate. It was the perfect temperature to enjoy a lovely dinner outside. We decided to sit in two hammocks that were strung up between the trees and next to the wind chimes and all sorts of flowers and philodendrons. Our hammocks were parallel, and we sat facing each other as we ate, but I could look to my right and I had a beautiful garden laid before me, or I could look to my left and there was the vast sea.
I reminded myself to go for a swim at some point.
Dinner was enjoyable, and we continued to talk about anything that came to mind. Rose elaborated about her business in Egypt as Curse Breaker.
From what she told me, it sounded like she had done some pretty cool things. And no one was there to take advantage of her in her work placement, like me. Blasted metamorphmagus abilities. Making me turn into a woman. No, she got to do cool things like break into tombs and shit. That's cool stuff.
We finished our meal, and she actually helped me wash all the dishes this time. Of course, she splashed water on my crotch to make it look as if I wet myself, and I got her back by splashing her right in the face, but it was all in good fun. When the sun had set, we began to stroll about the garden, the chimes melodically composing their own song, and we somehow wandered from the safety of the garden, down the grassy hill as the sand began to mix with the grass, and we came to the beach.
We kicked off our shoes and rolled up our jeans, and we just walked along the edge of the ocean. It was a relaxing feeling. It reminded me of the days spent near the beach at Shell Cottage, and I only then realized how long it had been since I had been in the ocean. I had missed the salty water, the smell of the air, and the sound of the rolling waves.
I took an abrupt turn towards the water and I walked until the sand stopped being gritty and instead became thick and darker with the water. I let the ground wiggle beneath my feet, and I moved around till the sand seeped between my toes, and eventually my feet followed.
Rose appeared next to me and began wiggling into the ground at a fast pace. She made an oddly excited noise as she began. "Oooh, I always loved doing that. It's the strangest feeling. When I was young, I once was in so deep that the sand reached my knees. Merlin, James and Albus couldn't get me out and had to go fetch help."
She ended with a laugh, and I was thankful for the dark night as I faced the ocen. If she were to see my face, she would believe me to be all too smiley over that matter.
I was there when Rose got stuck in the sand. Now that she mentioned it, I remembered it quite well. She had, in fact, sunken so far into the sand that it reached her knees. I had been inside the house at Shell Cottage that day, having lunch with my god-father, the rest of the Potters, Rose, and the Bill and Fleur Weasleys, letís say. I had watched them play in the sand, and I had watched Rose sink in to her knees with this broad grin on her face, a look of pure innocence and no thinking ahead as to how she would get out of the ground. I had watched James and Albus try to pull her free, and I had wondered when they would finally come ask for help.
I had been the one to pull her from the sand.
"I love the feeling," I decided on voicing eventually after I realized I had been silent for quite some time. But Rose hadn't taken notice of the length of my silence; she had had quite the adventure wiggling herself deep into the sand again.
I blanched and then laughed. "Rose! You'll do it again, and I promise I won't help."
"Of course you'll help me," she smiled, immediately calling my bluff. "Come on! It's too much fun. See how deep you can go."
"Fine," I grinned, all too ready for another one of our made up games. We had become pros at making up games. I immediately began to sink deeper into the sand, closing the gap Rose had created in those few minutes before hand.
We fidgeted around until the sand went solid around our thighs and we couldn't go any deeper. In the end, Rose remained only an inch or two lower than me, and she declared herself the winner. But I immediately fought that. "Not true! I'm the winner! You're forgetting about all the mechanics! I'm taller than you! And by more than two inches. So, really, I'm in the ground deeper."
"Oh," she laughed sarcastically. "Technicality!"
I chuckled and pressed my hands against the damp ground, pulling my legs and dirtied jeans from the ground. Once I was free, I dusted off my pants as best as I could and then I watched Rose unsuccessfully struggle to break free. I had to stifle my laughter; I didn't want to receive the Stink Eye. Trust me; Rose gives the best Stink Eyes. You don't want to be on the receiving end of one.
When I knew she had made little to no progress, I plopped down onto the ground before her and folded my arms, my lips tightly pursed to hide my smirk.
She looked at me and immediately knew what I was so tempted to say. "Oh, shut it!"
Rose squirmed a few more times and finally gave in. "Okay. Malfoy, help me."
"Nuh-uh," I grinned. "It's quite fun watching you try. And fail."
"Oh, good. So you'll just leave me out here all night?"
"Maybe," I snickered, but gave in. I rose to my feet and offered her my hands. "All right, Weasley. Grab on."
She latched on tight to my hands, and it was just like the day when she was six and I was fourteen. I pulled her free, and the clumped sand dropped from her legs in heaps. When I set her down, she lost her balance and tumbled backwards. Now, sand not only covered her pants, but her entire backside as well. Not to mention, it was matted in her hair.
She blamed in for this, but stood up and we set off at a walk again.
We were about to turn back to the cottage when I could see the shadow of a person approaching us. I stopped and placed my arm in front of Rose's path, and she looked to see what I had spotted. When she made an odd, inquiring noise, I knew she saw what I did as well.
When they shadow began approaching at a rapid pace, I yanked out my wand, wary.
Clearly the intruder noticed this, for he began to shout to make his identity known. "No, it's all right! Rose, it's me!"
The boy came to a stop as he finally reached us, and Rose froze. She blinked as she stared in confusion, and she finally stuttered out, "Sanny?!"
Lysander Scamander stood in front of us with an odd grin on his face, and knowing he was not in harm's way anymore, he put away his wand. I had met the kid and his twin a few times before, seen them on the platform and maybe once at the Potters, but I didn't know them all that well.
What the bloody hell was Lysander doing here?
"What in the - " Rose questioned. My thoughts exactly. I was at loss for words, so I let her do all the talking. "Sanny, what are you doing here?"
"Merlin, you're one hard girl to find, Rose." He turned to me and inclined his head. "Malfoy."
"Scamander," I acknowledged him equally. He was a fairly tall and lanky kid with his mother's white blonde hair. He had shocking blue eyes and a narrow jaw structure.
"Lysander!" Rose reminded him after the Scamander kid seemed to forget to remind us of what he was doing here. And how on earth he found us anyway.
"I just had to make sure you're all right. Lorcan, Alice, and I are really worried about you. We haven't had the chance to talk to your family at all, but we did know you weren't in confinement."
Okay, great. So they were worried, but that still didn't answer my question as to how he got here...
He continued on. "Alice saw an Auror leading you and Malfoy from confinement and then leave. She dug a little and found out that all the confinement cells were empty except for one. I don't know who was in there; probably someone not important."
Oh, thank Merlin for that. Alice Longbottom could have just potentially blown my entire cover. That someone not important was in fact the real Scorpius Malfoy.
"But we didn't know where you were, and we know your family at the Ministry can't know about the case, so they wouldn't know. Alice found out that the Auror who 'relocated' you was John Ruckman, and so we assumed he smuggled you two out for whatever reason. So we looked into it, and we found out that he has a summer house here. That was our best bet. But Merlin, I don't see a summer house anywhere. I've been walking this stretch of the beach for ages. Where the hell are you two staying?"
"It's just up over that hill. You can't see it because of the repelling charms," Rose said. Rose was partly right. She believed the place was fully loaded with repelling and anti-apparating charms, while in fact the place was only cloaked from any outsider.
"Ah, make sense," Lysander answered.
That gave only one possible explanation then. That Rose and I had walked past the boundaries of the house; that's why Lysander could see us.
"So you're all right?" asked Lysander.
"Yeah," Rose answered with a nod. "We're all right. That auror helped us. He wants us to avoid interrogation; he thinks we're innocent, and he thought it safer to keep us off the map while the case is going on and we aren't needed in Wizengamot."
Oh, there was some serious meddling in the case going on.
"Look, glad I found you, but I have to get back. I'll keep you updated though, okay?" She nodded, and I expected him to leave, but he didn't. Lysander's brow furrowed, and he took a step forward. He touched a strand of Rose's hair and lifted it with an odd look on his face. "You've got sand in your hair, Rose."
"Oh," she made a high-pitched squeak and a little giggle that definitely gave off the wrong impression. My cheeks flushed, and I put one of my hands on my hips, looking in the other direction, and rubbing the back of my neck with the other.
Lysander stopped in his tracks, his arm dropping to his side as Rose swayed on the spot. Lysander blinked and finally blurted out. "Nuh-uh! Rosie! You and Malfoy?!"
"Ohhh," I whistled in a low tone and moved away.
"What?!" she blurted and covered her mouth. She moved away from me as if I were the plague and waved her hands about. "Oh, no, Sanny. It's not like that."
"Ick," Lysander shook his shoulders, wiggled his arms, and twiddled his fingers as if he were shaking off his disgust. He straightened up after a moment and moved past it. "All right then."
Well, that was officially the most awkward moment of my entire life.
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