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Chapter 4 : Shopping with Scorpius Malfoy
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Shopping with Scorpius Malfoy is, and I’m saying this as politely as I can, bloody challenging. He takes a good half an hour to choose a pair of jeans and much, much longer if he thinks he needs new shoes. And it’s not just that it takes him a long time to choose. Everything he picks up comes with a long commentary about whether or not it brings out his eyes and whether it looks classy enough without making him look like, and I quote, “a posh Malfoy brat”.
I’m not really sure why I put up with him. Especially when I just need to top up my school supplies, which we end up doing together every holiday the day before term starts. For some reason I never learn, which is why I was sitting on the floor outside ‘Flickerus Fowler’s Robes for Fashionable Young Wizards’ by myself while Scor tried on his eighth shade of navy blue dress robes.
I’d waited outside the changing rooms with him for the first few pairs, nodding sagely when he commented on the quality of the fabric, and trying (and failing) not to laugh when he accidentally tried on a pair of women’s padded-chest maternity dress robes that had been left on the wrong rack.
After pair number five I’d had enough. All the robes looked exactly the same anyway and Scor didn’t even need new clothes. We’d been through exactly the same routine in the summer and, despite his insistence that he’d grown half an inch, the four sets of robes Cass and I helped him buy for the start of sixth year still definitely fitted him.
I sloped out of the shop while he was still in the changing rooms and spent twenty minutes buying paint brushes in Creevey and Thomas. When I got back Scor still hadn’t left the shop so I sat down on the floor outside, leaning against the wall and entertaining myself by imagining him monologuing about different robes without anyone listening.
In future I might charge him for my company on these outings, with a bonus rate once he exceeds a time limit. It would also be a pretty good way to sort out both our money problems. Scor has much more gold than he knows what to do with anyway.
I yawned in what I told myself was a very attractive way, then lay down on the pavement, ignoring the damp paving stones from last night’s rain.
I groaned, recognising the voises. I kept my eyes closed, imagining that it made me invisible, and braced myself for the arrival of Slytherin’s resident delinquents.
“Ollie! What are you doing on the floor?”
“Don’t ignore us, Ollie dearest. We will lift you up.”
“Let’s do it. We can kidnap her.”
“Looks like Malfoy’s trying on dresses so that’ll buy us some time. He won’t even notice she’s gone.”
They both sounded unreasonably pleased with themselves, finding themselves hilarious as usual.
“Quick, before he comes out and sees us.”
One of them grabbed both of my wrists, bony fingers digging into my flesh, while the other one caught my ankles with large hands. I found myself lifted off the ground before I had time to properly kick them.
I opened my eyes to glare at my captors.
Kai Montague, one of my fellow Slytherin Chasers, beamed down at me. He was tanned and cheerful after spending the break so far in Hawaii, and he was wearing very tight dark jeans, a cream blazer, and a gold ivy-shaped earring that curled around the top of his ear before snaking its way down through the pierced lobe. Kai and his sister have the unfair good fortune of having their Polynesian mother’s stunning looks and their French father’s bank account and fashion sense. Kai at least used to have gappy teeth, but ever since he figured out a charm to straighten them he’s lost his shyness and has smiled at every opportunity. A nicer human than me might describe it as sweet: it’s rare to find such a smiley Slytherin.
“And she awakens!” Kai crowed, swinging my wrists from side to side.
“She lives!” Ozan Suvari, our other Chaser, shouted from my feet.
“This is a day for celebration indeed,” Kai said, grin widening. “We should high five.”
“Definitely high five,” Oz said with a thoughtful expression. Don’t be deceived. I’m pretty sure Oz isn’t really capable of actual thought. His father owns a magic carpet company back in Turkey, and Oz is a sneaky billionaire who doesn’t need to take anything seriously or put any real effort into anything except Quidditch.
“Maybe we should even go in for a manly cuddle…” Kai said
Oz nodded seriously. “Yes. This does seem to be the appropriate time for a manly cuddle. Let’s do it.”
They were still holding me in the air. I opened my mouth to tell them not to drop me in their rush to cuddle but didn’t quite get the words out in time. Kai let go of my wrists and I landed uncomfortably hard on the ground.
“Ouch.” I ended up sitting in an icy puddle, the grimy, freezing water seeping through my jeans.
“Sorry, Ollie,” Ozan laughed. “We thought you liked lying on the ground. You looked so peaceful before we picked you up. We felt guilty for spoiling it.”
“We figured you’d want to go back to the ground as soon as possible,” Kai added.
“This was the quickest way to put you down.”
Both of them looked down at me with wide eyes and large smiles. For a six-foot-two slightly overweight bald black guy and a five-foot-ten skinny fashionista they manage to be strangely adorable.
I glared back at them. My bum hurt and I was freezing.
“Is that an affectionate glare I spy?” Kai tipped his head to one side.
I glared some more.
“Looks pretty affectionate to me. A loving glare, I’d say,” Ozan said with a serious nod. “I think she must have missed us.”
Kai offered me a hand to help me up, still smiling like an imbecile.
I bit his finger.
“Hmm, she seems just as bad tempered as she was when we saw her last,” Kai said, examining the bite marks.
“We should train her better,” Oz said. “Imagine what it would be like to have a friendly Chaser to work with.”
He lifted Kai’s hand to his lips and kissed the bite mark better. Kai flicked his nose.
I pushed my palms into the frozen ground to lift myself to my feet.
“Shut up. What are you two losers doing here?” I ran a hand through my hair as I spoke, trying to look like I hadn’t just been lying down in a puddle on the floor.
“Alani needed quills and I felt like getting out of the house,” Kai said, draping an arm around me and tightening his grip when I tried to shuffle away.
“Is she here then?” I gave up trying to escape and leaned my head against his shoulder. He was warm and I decided the January chill was a good enough excuse to go against my usual no-excessive-human-contact-while-sober principle.
Alani, Kai’s twin sister, is one of the girls in my dorm at Hogwarts. When she’s actually around and isn’t rushing between the Library and all her societies we get on okay, but Cass thinks she’s boring so we don’t have a lot to do with each other. It’s always nice to run into her though.
“Yeah,” Kai said. “She’s just in Quibble’s Quills. We were going to go with her but then we saw your lovely self lying on the street.”
“We worried that you might have died,” Oz said bluntly.
“And we knew Scorpy would be too busy admiring his reflection to notice,” Kai added.
I snorted with laughter. Scor wouldn’t find it funny but it was true. I’m not sure he’d notice a full blown death eater attack if it happened while he was trying on clothes. He definitely wouldn’t notice me freezing to death outside.
“So we saw it as our duty to come and investigate,” Oz said, looking proud of himself.
“Would be a shame to have to replace you for Quidditch, afterall,” Kai said with a yawn.
“And we might miss you a bit,” Oz said, reaching out to ruffle my hair.
I scowled at him.
“You’re so friendly and lovable. It reminds me why I like being your favourite human being in all of the world,” Kai said. “And here comes my lovely sister. Hello, sister mine. Did you get everything you need to satisfy your inner Ravenclaw?”
I turned to smile at Alani. She’s not as ridiculously friendly as her brother and her fierce ambition is a bit hard to get along with - she wants to get an internship with the Department of Mysteries after graduation, which is about as competitive and difficult as it gets - but there was no reason not to be nice. Her heart’s in the right place.
Alani nodded, lifting a large bag emblazoned with the peacock feather logo of ‘Quibble’s Quills’.
“Obviously,” she said, rolling her eyes at her brother. “Hello, Olivia. Nice Christmas?”
“Don’t ask,” Scorpius said, coming out of Fowler’s robe shop empty handed. Apparently none of the robes he had tried on were worth actually purchasing. “She’ll start whining and we won’t be able to make her stop. Hi, you lot. Ready for Quidditch this term?”
“Captain! May I just say, it’s such an honour to be here in your presence,” Kai said, reaching out to shake Scor’s hand.
“An honour indeed. Will you sign my chest?” Oz undid the top few buttons of his shirt.
Scor let them both throw their arms around him, remaining rigid while they planted sloppy kisses on each of his cheeks.
“Are you quite done?” He raised his eyebrows when neither Kai nor Oz let go of him.
I don’t know how either one of them ended up in Slytherin. They’re much too cuddly.
“Aw, I guess we can be,” Oz said, stepping away from Scor. “Wouldn’t want to upset you, Captain.”
Kai stuck out his bottom lip but then also let go.
“Ollie, you’re a mess,” Scor said, looking me up and down. “You look like a niffler got hold of you. What happened while I was in there?”
Kai raised his eyebrows, trying to look innocent.
“We rescued her, Scorpy,” Oz said. “The kidnapping could have been extraordinarily dangerous had it been successful.”
Kai nodded enthusiastically. “We were quite heroic, really.”
“I see. Sounds plausible,” Scor said. “You okay, Alani? Having a nice day out with these idiots?”
Scor and Alani are usually on pretty good terms when Cass isn’t around. They both get a bit nerdy and excited about books.
“Ah, you know,” Alani said, looking fondly at her brother and his friend. “It’s good to get them out of the house every so often. Give them some air.”
“I don’t know how you deal with it,” Scor said. “It’s hard enough having them on my Quidditch team and keeping my sanity. Luckily we’ve only got two more terms with Oz before he graduates.”
“Aw, Scorpy,” Oz said. “It’s sweet of you to be keeping track. I know you’ll miss me desperately.”
Kai nodded solemnly.
“I’ve got the date marked in my calendar with a big yellow smiley face,” Scor said.
“To remind you to organise my leaving party? How kind. This is so unlike you, Scorpy,” Oz said.
Scor didn’t reply.
“It’s alright, Ozzy,” Kai said. “I’ll make sure you get your leaving do. I’ll bake a big cake with good riddance iced on the top.”
“Thanks, mate. Knew I could count on you.”
“I’d forgotten how annoying these two are together,” I said to Alani. “Well done you for turning out so sensible after sixteen years living with Kai. How have you done it?”
“Sedatives,” Alani said with a mischievous grin. “Scorpius, Titania’s meeting us here in a minute if you want to make yourself scarce. I mean, you’re very welcome to stay, but…”
Titania Urquhart is one of the other girls in our dorm. She’s great fun, completely mad, and has dance moves to rival Cassie’s, but she’s also had an unhealthy obsession with Scorpius since Day One at Hogwarts. None of his attempts to discourage her affections have been successful and her persistence in, well, stalking him, has been pretty damaging to any potential friendship we might have had. She and Cassie despise each other, and Scor won’t go near her.
Alani’s best friends with Titania, but she understands that Titania’s insane behaviour annoys Scorpius so she does her best to keep them apart as much as possible.
“Oh, Salazar, I can see her. Come on, Ollie. By guys.” Scor grabbed my arm.
I glanced over my shoulder and caught sight of Titania’s afro curls bouncing towards us before Scor dragged me backwards into the closest shop.
“Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes?” I raised an eyebrow. “Thought we didn’t come in here?”
“I can’t go back into Fowler’s when I just refused to buy anything,” Scor said. “And there wasn’t time to go anywhere else. I can’t deal with Urquhart right now. Here, get behind this shelf. Don’t let her see us.”
Scor pulled me between a shelf of false cigarettes - look super stylish and cool without damaging your lungs. Recommended for athletes who want to look rebellious without sacrificing their health - and a row of squeaking orange and turquoise pygmy puffs.
“You want to get me a pygmy puff, Scor?” I picked up one of the puffs and poked its tummy.
“Not even slightly,” Scor said, peering worriedly between the boxes of false cigarettes to see if he could spot Titania.
“But why? They’re so cute and fluffy.”
“Cute and fluffy makes me feel a bit sick,” Scor said. “And you know you’re not to e trusted with live animals.”
“Don’t be mean. My owl’s still alive.”
“Only because he eats my breakfast every morning.”
I contemplated this. My owl, Harvey, enjoys a piece of Scor’s toast every morning when we’re at school. I’m not sure what he eats in the holidays. But he’s stayed alive for five years so he’s doing okay.
“I can look after animals,” I insisted.
“Remember when your mum gave you a hamster?” Scor looked at me seriously.
“Shush, we don’t talk about that.”
“I’m not getting you a pygmy puff, Ollie. If you ask very nicely I might get you a box of false cigarettes.”
“I mean, it’s a nice offer, but a few pretend cigarettes just aren’t up there with a pygmy puff as potential gifts.”
I kissed the pygmy puff’s tummy and put it back down on the shelf where it was immediately surrounded by its colourful siblings. I felt a bit sad to let it go.
“It’s not a bad idea, though,” Scor continued. “We all need to work on our fitness for the Ravenclaw match this term. We might be able to run faster if we stop smoking.”
“Scor, I’m not going to smoke pretend cigarettes,” I said, shaking my head. “If you want me to stop smoking for Quidditch then I’ll just stop.”
“Shake on it?”
I reached out and halfheartedly shook his hand. He’s got what he calls ‘the Malfoy handshake’, which essentially means he’s very good at crushing your fingers. It works well for intimidating fellow Quidditch captains, but is less enjoyable when he’s shaking my hand.
“We should maybe make an unbreakable vow,” Scor said.
“Yeah, I’m not going to do that.”
“But it will motivate you.”
“And then tomorrow night when we get back to Hogwarts Cass will offer me a smoke, I’ll forget all about the vow and have a puff, and then I’m dead.”
Scor nodded thoughtfully. “You could try saying no to Cass?”
He looked at me. I looked back. And then we both started laughing. Nobody says no to Cass. She is masterful at getting what she wants.
“Okay,” he said through his smile. “Maybe no unbreakable vow. But I like this smoking ban. Might impose it on the whole team.”
“Cass won’t like it if both of us quit properly.”
“She’ll be fine. She can smoke to her heart’s content. I’m not stopping her.”
“She’ll corrupt you!”
“She can try," Scor said, wiggling his eyebrows in a way that completely contradicted his aristocratic features. "Have you heard from her in the last few days?”
“I haven’t, actually. I think she’s a bit annoyed with me,” I said, thinking back to Cass telling me not to question her about Scor. “She’s not answered any of my owls.”
“Join the club.” His smile vanished.
“Did your declaration of love not go well?” I shuffled a bit closer to him.
“I don’t know,” Scor said. “She basically just ignored what I said and went to sleep.”
“Sorry, Scor. Don’t take it to heart. You know what she’s like. It just takes her a while to figure out her feelings.”
“Yeah, I know. Thought I’d give her some space to think about it.”
“It’ll be fine. We’ll see her tomorrow for school.”
“Exactly. I’ll just wait till then. I figured she’s probably having a great last few days of holiday with Andreas.”
“I’ll bring her chocolate tomorrow for the train in case she’s still in a bad mood with me,” I decided. “Is Titania still out there?”
I nodded to the window. Scor stood on tiptoes to look over a box of daydream charms at the gaggle of Slytherins outside.
“Yep,” he said sadly. “She looks worryingly like she might be searching for someone which, based on past experience, doesn’t usually work out well for me. We may be trapped here for some time.”
He sat down on a crate of skiving snackboxes. I sat on the floor next to him, leaning my head back onto the crate. He brushed a hair out of my eyes and I yawned.
“It was a compliment.”
“No seriously, be quiet. Someone’s coming.”
We both went silent as footsteps approached, coming to a halt on the other side of the pygmy puffs. I leaned forwards and could see a pair of scuffed white trainers and a pair of girls’ doc martens from under the shelf.
“Please. Talk to me,” a girl was saying. It too breathy to be Titania's voice. Scor breathed an obvious sigh of relief.
“What is there to say?” Albus Potter’s voice.
“I don’t know, Al, but you can’t just ignore me forever. You’re important to me. I’m not going to let you just walk out of my life.”
“I can’t do this right now.”
“But I need you to talk to me. I can’t deal with you being this cross and just not saying anything. After everything we’ve been through! It’s not fair.”
“Seriously, Vinnie? You want to talk to me about fair?”
“Don’t be angry.”
“Don’t be…of course I’m angry, Vinnie.”
“Are you really going to argue with this? Come on, you’re not an idiot. You really thought giving a load of newspapers an exclusive about my many, many flaws as a boyfriend was going to get us back together?”
“I didn’t…what…you’re being mean, Al.”
“No, I’m really not.”
“Stop being upset with me.”
“Are you really surprised that I’m upset? Look at this stuff, Vinnie.”
We could hear the rustling of paper before Potter’s voice spoke again, in a slow, clear accent that suggested he was reading from something.
“Al’s always uncomfortably aware that his Father has left him pretty big shoes to fill, and unfortunately the combination of his constant desperation to please and his struggle to meet the expectations of the people who respect and admire his Father leaves him utterly incompetent when it comes to relationships.”
“Al…I didn’t say that. Those aren’t the words I used…”
“It’s an interview with you, Vinnie. You went to them and offered to do an interview about me. Look, it gets worse…He’s always looking for excuses to play the hero, hoping that people will notice him and he might finally get some of the publicity he feels like he deserves. Unfortunately, underneath it all he’s a scared little boy who can’t properly communicate with anyone outside his abnormally large family. He doesn’t know how to get close to people he doesn’t share blood with, and when he tries to he disappoints them immensely.”
“Stop it. I never wanted you to read this. I just needed the money.”
“I’m sure you did. That’s why you’ve gone to the three biggest newspapers in the country and given them a half page photograph of your face to go next to your interview.”
“Here’s my favourite bit. Look, Vinnie, here at the end. Ultimately, Albus is always going to be constrained by the fact that he has no sense of who he is beyond the fact that he’s a let down to his far superior family.”
“I don’t want to talk to you, Vinnie. I don’t know how to talk to you. This is…you’ve taken everything I’ve ever spoken to you about, everything you know I worry about and all the things that scare me, and you’ve given them over for the whole wizarding world to read.”
Silence. I knew I shouldn’t be listening to this but now that we’d sat here for so long we couldn’t really let them see we were there. Next to me, Scor was wide eyed.
Potter continued. “I trusted you, Vinnie. I thought I could talk to you about this stuff.”
“You can, Al. This was…it was a mistake. Of course you can talk to me about this. You can talk to me about everything. I love you.”
“No, you don’t. If you loved me you wouldn’t have done this to me.”
“You’ve kindly pointed out that I can’t get close to people outside my family. You ever wonder why that is?”
“You ever consider that it’s maybe because of two-faced, fame-hungry, manipulative frauds who pretend to care about me so they can make a load of money spilling all my secrets to the world and get their face splashed across the national news?”
“You ended it, Al,” Lavinia burst out. “You broke up with me. I was upset. I made a mistake. Are you going to punish me forever?”
“This isn’t just a mistake. This is more than that,” Potter said slowly. “Look, my Dad warned me about the consequences of being part of my family. I’ve always known to be careful about people who just want to be near me because of my name. I just…I just wish I’d realised you were one of them a bit sooner.”
“But I love you.”
“And I love you.” Potter’s voice cracked. “At least I thought I did.”
“We can still make this work.”
“No. No we can’t. This is it, Lavinia.”
“I think you should go. I don’t have anything else to say to you.”
“Pretty sure he told you to leave,” a girl said. I watched her brown heeled boots cross the room to stand next to Potter.
“I don’t see how it’s any of your business,” Lavinia said.
“He’s my cousin and you’ve been completely awful to him. This is our uncle’s shop. Now get out before we have you escorted from the premises.”
The black stilettos turned away, clacking on the floor as Lavinia Buchanan moved towards the door.
I risked peering around the shelf to see who the brown boots belonged to and so which of Potter’s cousins had come to rescue him.
“You okay, Al?” Rose Weasley put an arm around her cousin.
Potter leaned his head onto Weasley’s shoulder and took a deep, shuddering breath.
Scorpius grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back from the shelf before either of them saw me.
“I just…didn’t think she’d do that, you know?”
“I know,” Rose said soothingly. “I know.”
“It’s okay to be hurt. She’s been important to you for a long time and she’s done something really terrible.”
“Does Louis know?”
“Yeah. I think the whole family knows, to be honest. Lou doesn’t get back from France until this evening but Victoire’s going to apparate him to yours the second they’re in the country. He told me to pass on some pretty colourful descriptions of Lavinia and said to get you a hot chocolate on him.”
“Thanks, Rosie. For being here.”
“Don’t be silly. I’m always here, you know that. And Lou will be too, as soon as he can.”
“I love you too. Now let’s go and get that hot chocolate.”
We waited a few moments for them to leave and then Scorpius helped me stand up. I wasn’t sure whether he’d mention what we’d overheard. Scor’s had his fair share of people passing on gossip about him to newspapers, and I know he struggles with people comparing him to his Father. I wasn’t sure he’d like having this in common with Albus Potter.
Scor looked back through the cigarette shelf to the street outside. “I think she’s gone. Come on. Let’s get out of here. I can feel myself getting less intelligent the longer we spend inside this place.”
Apparently Scor didn’t want to talk about what we’d heard.
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