You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
Don't Cry Over Spilt Ink by Menier
Chapter 1: Prologue
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
"Excuse me," Rose Weasley said politely. The 5th year Ravenclaw prefect, Samantha Corner, moved her legs to allow the ginger to pass by. Rose plopped into the unoccupied seat next to her.
"Hey Rose", said the boy sitting on the other side of her, a sideways smile donned his face.
Rose looked up from the quill, ink, and parchment she had just taken from her bag. Her brown eyes met green ones and she smiled.
Cody Finnegan had brown hair short on his head and a Gryffindor tie loosely knotted around his neck; he looked the same as always: casual, confident, and good looking. She once had a small crush on the now seventh year when they were little, but the "love" had dwindled in their years at Hogwarts.
"Hey Rosie!" A boy sitting on the other side of Cody said.
"Al," Rose turned her attention to her fellow Gryffindor prefect, smirking in her direction. He looked as though he were about to say something to her, but before he could open his mouth, the meeting started.
"Hello prefects, we are about to start our second to last meeting of the year," said Head Boy Will Jorkins. He was a Hufflepuff, blond, brown eyed, and tall. "There are a few issues we need to discuss regarding 7th year graduation as well as issues with students entering the Forbidden Forest at night. So if you are patrolling the Entrance Hall, please keep a look out for those sneaking out towards the forest."
Will continued on for a while, Roxy Weasley (Head Girl and one of Rose's favorite cousins) interjected every few minutes to add something to what he said. Rose watched them and saw how well the two worked together. She also saw how they would look at each other rather intensely and longer than necessary when the other was speaking. When Will was droning on about the importance of wearing your prefects badge while on duty, Rose caught Roxy's eye and raised an eyebrow, signaling that the two would be talking later about a certain brown eyed boy. Roxy blushed.
"Today, Roxy and I will give you your round assignment for the month. To make this go a little faster, will the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws please go with Roxy for their assignments and Hufflepuffs and Slytherins with me."
"Alright, lets go," Rose said to no one in particular as she stood up to go and see her older cousin for her duties. And Rose, being the klutz that she was, stood up too fast, knocking the ink bottle in her hand onto the floor in front of her.
"Bugger," she cursed under her breath as she reached down to clear up the broken glass that now littered the floor. Looking up briefly, she saw that Cody and Al where already across the room to talk to Roxy.
Cursing again under her breath, she bent her head back down, pulling out her wand, ready to cast a repairing charm. But before the words could leave her lips, the ink bottle was back magically repaired by another's wand.
"Wow, thanks…" Rose said, picking up the bottle.
She stood up, looking to see who had been so kind to help her. A small smile spread across her face when she saw who it was.
He was tall, so she had to look up toward his face, which was easily 7 inches above her own. When her eyes reached his face they were met with grey ones. His lips pulled up into a small smile as he looked down at the pink-tinged-cheeked Weasley.
"Anytime Rose," said the 6th year Slytherin.
With that, he turned on his heel, heading over to Will to get his assignment, leaving Rose standing alone looking at him. She shook her head as if to clear it and walked to the other side of the room to Roxy.
Most of the prefects had already been given their assignments so only three people stood around the Head Girl.
"Sam," Roxy's blue eyes turned to the short, black haired, 5th year Ravenclaw, "You will be patrolling with Mac McManus Saturdays on the 4th and 5th floors," Sam's brown eyes widened at the thought of patrolling at night with the 5th year beater for Hufflepuff, "And Michael Lee Sundays on the 2nd and 3rd floors." Her eyes narrowed slightly when the Slytherins name was said and she walked off in a slight huff toward her tall brunette friend (Madison Finch-Fletchley, 5th year Hufflepuff).
Next to talk to Roxy was Sydney Vane, a Ravenclaw. She was tall, she was blonde, she was smart and wasn't afraid to do what it takes to get ahead. She was nice enough, but, in Roses opinion, she rather looked like an alien with her thin face and high cheekbones. She looked at the dark curly hair of the Weasley girl with disdain; it was no secret she had wanted to hold the Head Girl title in her final year at Hogwarts.
"You are patrolling on the 2nd and 3rd floors on Thursdays with Ben Samford," a tall, skinny, annoying Slytherin, "and Fridays on the 6th and 7th floors with Harrison Cample," The Hufflepuff that always smelled like moldy cheese. Sydney scrunched up her nose in disgust and agreed to the unfortunate partnerships with a huff.
The third and final (save for Rose) person to talk to Roxanne was 7th year heartthrob, Zach Larson. He was a beater for the Ravenclaw quidditch team, and boy did it show. He was not incredibly tall, but he was strong. The veins in his arms showed whenever he flexed them slightly; he was tan from days spent in the sun; his hair was a light brown that was long enough that he had to flip it away from his handsome face every so often; his eyes where light brown, except for about a quarter of his right one, which was a baby blue. And while Rose, and the majority of the girls in the room where staring at him, Roxy looked up at him, showing no more interest in him than if it was any other boy at the school.
"You will be patrolling with Beth Rock Sundays in the dungeons and the 1st floor," the 7th year Slytherin was talking quietly to house mate Veronica Goyle, looking up in the direction of Zach every few minutes, before she would giggle falsely and flip her long, dark hair over her shoulder, "And on Tuesdays on the 2nd and 3rd floors with Jordan Samuels." The pretty Hufflepuff was in a corner of the room with her nose in a book. She, like Roxy, was unfazed by the attractive boy.
"Thanks love," Zach said with a wink, before walking to his seat in the back of the room next his quidditch teammate, Lysander Scamander.
"Hey Rosie!" Roxy addressed her cousin in the way her family always did, with the pet name she had been given by her father 16 years previous, "You're going to be patrolling on Thursdays with Scorpius on the 6th and 7th floors," Rose smiled, she liked Scorpius, he was someone she could actually hold a conversation with, "and Tuesdays in the dungeon and 1st floor with Adam Carmichael." Rose's eyes widened, she looked as though she would murder her cousin. Roxy must have sensed this because she smiled nervously and went back to the front of the room to continue the meeting.
Rose slowly went back to the vacated seat next to Cody, her eyes wide. She could KILL her cousin. Really? Adam Carmichael? Really? Roxy knew how much Rose despised the Ravenclaw, ever since 1st year when he had "accidentally" spilled all of his pumpkin juice down the back of her robes in the middle of breakfast. He was a bully, and though he would never physically hurt her, he would mentally do so, by taunting her and making fun of her. Her friends and family said he only did those things to her because he liked her, and even though that did make sense, the idea that the slimy git liked her made her want to barf.
Rose had been so preoccupied by the thought of spending two hours with him for the next four weeks that she did not even realize that the meeting was over until Al poked her in the side, causing her to jump slightly. She looked around the room to see that it was practically empty. The only people left where Al, herself, Hufflepuff 6th year, Ryan Smith, Gryffindor 5th year, Meghan Finnegan, Scorpius, and the Heads.
Rose's eyes narrowed as she stood up from her seat, completely ignoring Al's looks of confusion. She walked right up to her cousin and said, "Why, in Merlin's pants, did you have to put me with him? You know how much I despise the nitwit!"
Roxy at least had the decency to look slightly ashamed as she said quietly, "I know Rosie and I'm really sorry, but that is just how the system worked out! I know everyone hates him, but you're my cousin and I knew you'd eventually forgive me, 'cause you have to or Gran would kill you."
Whoever said that having an in with the person in charge can give you benefits clearly had never been the cousin of Roxanne Weasley; she was a people pleaser through and through, except when those "people" where family.
Rose sighed and rolled her eyes, but she smiled slightly, unable to stay too mad at one of her closest cousins, "I guess I see your point, but next month, I get a say on who I do and do not patrol with."
Roxy smiled at her cousin, "Deal," she said, shaking her hand. "I got to go; I'll see you later." With that, Roxy picked up her bag, and she and Will walked out of the room through a door leading into the Heads common room, standing much closer together than any two normal friends would. After they passed the threshold and shut the door, a faint click was heard, indicating the locking of a door.
Rose raised her eyebrows slightly before turning to see where Al had gone off to. She rolled her eyes when she saw him flirting with Meghan. She decided to be a nice cousin and let him walk back to the common room with her. She left the room quietly, but not before catching her cousin's eye, letting him know that she was leaving. He gave her an appreciative look, before continuing his conversation.
Outside the room, Rose checked her watch; it was almost eight, which meant she had nearly an hour before curfew. However, the common room did not seem to have much appeal to the homework swamped girl. So, with a flick of her red hair, she turned to head down the stairs that would lead her to the entrance of the library on the third floor.
On the way down a dim hallway, Rose began to think about everything she had to do before finals in a few weeks. She was a swamped with classes, prefect duties, and quidditch, it was a wonder how she had any opportunity at all for a social life. But it wasn't much of a social life, Rose thought. Sure she had friends; she just wasn't "popular". She was friends with the popular kids that where in her classes or on the quidditch team. They said hi to her in the hallways and she sometimes stayed up late gossiping with the two "cool" girls in her dorm room (Mia Silver and Laura McLaggen). But over all, she knew she wasn't part of the "in" crowd and she was quite okay with that.
Rose was so caught up with thought on what she would have to do in the upcoming weeks that she had to backtrack to the door of the library. She quietly opened the door because, despite the fact that Madame Pince was quite old, she still had ears like a bat. Walking swiftly through the aisles, she ignored the open areas for studying that where packed with students cramming in as much work as they could accomplish in the amount of time before the library was closed. Instead, Rose walked down the aisles toward a table she had discovered about halfway into her 2nd year. It wasn't all the way in the back of the library, but somewhere that one would easily get lost to if they did not know the way, which is actually how Rose had found the secluded table in the first place
When she reached her target, she was unsurprised to see a blonde head bent over a book, grey eyes scanning the page quickly, every few seconds his gaze would turn to the parchment his quill was hovering over to jot down a note or two.
"Scorpius," Rose puffed out, before sitting down in chair down opposite him.
He raised his eyes briefly to show that he acknowledged her presence before returning the DADA notes in front of him. This was a normal day in the library to the two students. When Rose had first discovered this table, she sat alone for the total of 20 minutes before Scorpius had arrived. The two 12 year olds where neither friends nor enemies at the time, but had both taken the advice their respective fathers had given them before boarding the train to Hogwarts: don't get too close. This request was surprisingly easy to follow, as neither made any effort to recognize the other. Scorpius had taken the seat on the other end and other side of the table, saying nothing, and Rose said nothing in return. This quiet indifference lasted until the end of October of their third year. Rose was trying desperately to find the answer to a charms question on the worksheet Professor Lipped had given them but to no avail. She looked up from the paper to see that Scorpius (who was in the same class as her) was working on the same thing.
"Did you get the answer to number 8?" She asked tentatively.
Startled slightly by the sound of her voice appearing so suddenly in the quiet of the library, it took Scorpius a minute to answer.
"Yah, its 'swish, flick, jab'" he said, "It's on page 52. Look, right here," With that Scorpius scooted one seat down so he sat across the table and one seat to the left of Rose and pointed to the answer in his book.
"Thanks! I could not find that anywhere and I must have looked at that page at least 10 times," Rose exclaimed with a roll of her eyes.
"No problem," Scorpius said with a smile at the small girl's exaggeratory remark.
With that small exchange, Scorpius got a new seat and the entire atmosphere of the table towards the back of the library changed. It started with only questions about homework or (on very rare occasions) remarks on the weather, but soon conversation turned to more pressing matters, such as the outcome to a quidditch match (Hogwarts or professional) and to what exactly their muggle studies professor thought she was doing with her hair. By the end of the first semester of their fourth year, the two would even to say hi to each other in the hallways.
During Christmas vacation of that same year, Al asked her about it, at the Burrow, in front of the entire family, including Ron. If looks could kill Al would be six feet under. But Rose answered all of the questions calmly, stating that, "yes, yes we are friends," and "no dad, I am not imperiused," along with "I like him quite a lot, actually James," plus "Uncle George, it's not that funny," and also "will someone please make sure my father does not choke on his ham" and "you CANNOT tell me who I am allowed to be friends with," and finally "yes, I'm still beating him at every test."
After that rather awkward encounter over dinner, Ron finally came around with the idea off his precious Rosie befriending the boy.
The years passed without incident, Rose had congratulated Scorpius when he had made keeper for Slytherin their 5th year, but assured him that she would still score on him when their houses played against each other. He had replied to her brash remark with a smirk and a raised eyebrow, as if to challenge her boldness. And when Gryffindor beat Slytherin by one goal later that year, Scorpius had only sat in stony silence for a few days before realizing that he had absolutely no idea what they had been learning in astronomy and had to ask Rose for help.
At the beginning of 6th year, Scorpius had applauded Rose for all of the OWLs she had received, and Rose returned the compliment, saying that his turtle was much cuter than hers had been during the transfiguration part of the exam. Soon, Rose began to sit directly across from Scorpius at the table, a fact that did not go unnoticed, but did go unremarked upon, by both parties.
This day was no different as Rose pulled out a blank piece of parchment. As she reached into her bag to grab her Herbology book, the scratching of Scorpius' quill stopped and the page turning halted as well. Rose looked up at the sudden silence to see Scorpius' eyes staring into hers.
"What where you talking to your cousin about at the end of the meeting?" He asked, attempting to be casual.
"Roxy?" Rose asked and Scorpius nodded his head in affirmation.
She sighed as the memory came back to her.
"Well," This word was accompanied by an eye roll, "I'm to patrol with Adam Carmichael on Tuesdays."
Scorpius snorted in a very unattractive way before visibly relaxing. Rose felt a small smile coming onto her face.
"What? It's not funny!"
"I never said it was,"
Rose rolled her eyes again.
"Your eyes are going to get stuck like," he remarked.
She stuck her tongue out at him.
"It's just funny 'cause I know how much you hate him," Scorpius replied after a short pause in conversation, "Hell, it's funny 'because everyone hates him."
"No truer words have every been spoken. Who are you patrolling with, aside from moi?"
"Catherine Summers, Mondays, 2nd and 3rd floors,"
"Lucky you, she is actually nice," Rose said.
"Yah, but she can't have a conversation for more than 5 minutes without spontaneously giggling,"
"Accurate," Rose replied with finality in her words. Both returned to their respective work. The two prefects sat in comfortable silence for around half an hour before they had to pack up for the night. At the staircase that would lead them their separate ways they said a quiet goodbye. Rose headed up to the towers and Scorpius went down into the dungeons. Both of their heads where filled with thoughts on their upcoming duties and responsibilities.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
"Rose, hurry up or we are going to be late!" Alice Longbottom called into the nearly empty seventh year dormitory.
"I'm coming LB, one second," Rose yelled back, pulling on her maroon wedge in her rush to the door.
Alice rolled her eyes as she pushed her blonde bangs off her forehead. When Rose finally made it through the threshold, Alice took one last look into the room that had been her home for seven years. This is it, she thought. The end of an era. Alice sighed wistfully. Rose was two steps down the staircase before she realized her best friend remained frozen in the doorway.
"Come on," Rose said kindly, putting her hand on Alice's arm, "Stop being all poetic and heartfelt in your head, now you're the one making us late."
Alice stuck her tongue out, "I'm just practicing for next year." She walked down a step so she
stood behind Rose, giving her a playful shove, silently telling her to move forward.
"I'm gonna miss you so much when you leave!" Rose cried as the two girls rushed through the tower.
"I'll only be gone for a year!" Alice, who would be apprenticing under a famous wizard poet in New York, said. "And America is not that far away."
Alice and Rose had reached the end of the staircase and could hear the noise emitting from the other side of the door. Rose pushed it open, facing the other seventh year Gryffindors. Albus saw them almost as soon as the door opened, making his way over to his cousin.
"Where have you been?" He asked, eyeing Rose critically, "We are scheduled to leave in, like, two minutes!"
"Oh calm down Head Boy." Rose rolled her eyes and smiled.
"I can only be called that for a little while longer," Albus sighed and Rose put her arm around him.
"Rose was taking forever to find her shoes," Alice said, Albus nodded his head as if he were only half listening.
"The whole family is here," He said instead to Rose.
Alice crossed her arms over her chest. She was used to Albus nearly ignoring her, ever since he had found out she had had a crush on him in their second year. Alice had insisted to Rose that he hated her and found her annoying, but Rose wouldn't listen always saying "He just doesn't know you like I do, LB." Which Alice would reply by saying that they had known each other since they were babies. To which Rose would reply that "maybe he just feels uncomfortable because you like him." Alice would say that she "used to like him." Rose would roll her eyes and the conversation would drop.
It had been years since they had had a full conversation beyond him asking her to pass the pumpkin juice. Not that Alice minded. She didn't like him anymore. And even though he was cute and sweet (to other people) and not a complete idiot, she wasn't interested in being anything more than friends. However he did not even want to be that with her! It frustrated her to no end to believe that someone could not want to be friends with her. She was pretty darn cool if she said so herself. But she was getting ahead of herself. They would probably barely ever see each other in the future do to her moving to America for a year and his eventual time working for the Ministry of Magic alongside a great majority of his family. There would be very little reason for them to ever need to cross paths again and she was actually kind of relieved about that. After all, it was just downright awkward every time she talked to him.
The lights of the Hogs Head flickered slightly as Albus raised his glass in toast.
"To the class of 2025!" He called as his fellow former seventh years raised their glasses into the air.
Tilting his head back so as to not to feel the burning taste of fire whisky run down throat, Albus took his fourth shot of the night.
"Slow down there kid!" said an only slightly tipsy Scorpius.
Scorpius was still nursing his first drink of the night, but he had been keeping a watchful eye on his friend's cousin to ensure that he did not do anything too crazy. He had promised Rose that he would keep an eye on him when she couldn't. She was currently dancing on the makeshift floor with her roommate and best friend Alice Longbottom. Scorpius sat with his back against the bar watching them for a minute. The music was loud and the room had a strong smell of B.O. and moldy pears for some reason. It was musty and the chair he sat on had a stain on it that's origins were most definitely questionable. Yet he would not have wanted to spend his last night before the real world began anywhere else than surrounded by his drunk, randy ex-classmates. He turned back around to make sure Al had't fallen off his chair only to find that very same drunk and randy ex-Head Boy staring back at him. Albus had a look in his eye that Scorpius had never seen before. It was an attempt to look menacing and ruthless but was failing do to the current inebriated state of Albus.
"If you hurt her," Al said raising a shaky finger at Scorpius, "I'll do… something to you. I don't know what right now," He said, scratching his head, "But I'll think of something that will-"
"Think of something that'll do what?" Rose said, standing in front of Albus and Scorpius, her hands on her hips. Yet a smile shone on her face as she motioned for the bar keep to bring her two shots of fire whisky.
"I have to get LB here super wasted before she leaves tomorrow for her big stay over seas!" Rose exclaimed, putting her hands on Alice's shoulders.
Alice colored slightly, "Yeah I just can't wait for that portkey ride with my parents, super hung over. That's ever recent graduates dream!" She said throwing her hands slightly up into the air.
"Where are you going?" Slurred a drunk Albus.
Alice was slightly shocked by his question and his willingness to acknowledge her presence but only let it show by a slight raise of her eyebrows.
"America," She said loudly in order to be heard over the music, "New York." She nodded awkwardly but Al already had turned his attention forward, trying to get the barkeeps attention. However, after he set down the shots for Rose, the man had quickly walked down the bar to help Prema Thomas and Ashley Benson at the other end.
Rose handed her the shot glass and Alice downed what she counted as her second of the night. However it was far from over.
A few hours later, Rose, Alice, Veronica Goyle (who, after some slight miscommunication involving a cotton ball, truffle, and a rat their first year became slightly-better-than-acquaintances with the two Gryffindors), Catherine Summers and Prema Thomas all sat crushed into a booth. A waiter had just brought them over a round of drinks curtesy of the four sixth (now seventh) year boys that had somehow made it into the bar. They all took one readily stacking Alice's count to five and Rose at only two.
Suddenly- or maybe not too suddenly, time was doing weird things to Alice- the boys appeared at the front of their booth.
"Do you guys wanna dance?" The bravest of them asked. Veronica, Catherine and Prema all looked at each other briefly before nodding their heads. The boy looked at Rose and Alice expectantly. However Alice took that exact moment to groan lightly and Rose claimed "I'm going to sit with her to make sure she's all right." He shrugged his shoulders but offered his hand to Prema as she got up out of the booth.
"How are you feeling?" Rose asked once they were gone.
Alice responded by plopping her head down on the table. However she didn't think that through as her brain suddenly started to throb and she groaned in a very unattractive manner.
"That bad, huh?"
Alice grunted in affirmation.
"I'll go get you some water." Rose said.
Alice lifted her head briefly off the table, "Thanks," She said before wrapping her arms around Rose's middle and declaring "You're the best friend a girl could ask for."
Rose awkwardly patted her head before detaching herself to move swiftly across the room to the bar.
Alice replaced her head on the cool wood of the old table. She sighed lightly to herself and smiled, "feels good." She mumbled quietly.
"The table feels good?"
Alice nearly jumped out of her skin. Another bad idea as she only actually jumped in her seat causing a massive headache, again.
Sitting next to her was one of the last people she expected to see: Albus.
"What do you want?" She said miserably, not in the mood to deal with his passive attitude in her current state. Or really any state. Was it really that hard for him to be somewhat friendly to his closest cousin's closest friend?
"Wow, you're feisty when you're drunk."
"I'm not feisty," She replied, before hiccuping, "You just are annoying me and I happen to be drunk." Another hiccup.
He laughed loud and quick, sending a ring through her ears. He put his arm around the back of the booth behind her and scooted in closer.
"I have a secret to tell you." His breath smelled of fire whisky masked by butter beer.
"What?" She replied harshly, not in any type of mood for the teasing bull shit she has heard that he can possess. Obviously she had never been subject to it as this was one of the longest one on one conversations they had ever had.
"I know you used to like me," He said leaning back, half expecting her to turn bright red and become flustered like she usually did, especially around him.
She laughed for a second, "I know you knew, but I haven't liked you since we were 12."
He sat shocked for a moment before recovering.
"Well," He said, leaning back in, "I was flattered by you liking me."
This time Alice did become red, "Then why did you avoid me and act like you barely knew I existed all these years?" She half expected him to claim his undying love for her.
"Well, I always kinda saw you as family, you know?"
Alice's brain reeled with the new information. Their families had know each other since, well, what seemed like forever. But she never really considered Albus a part of the family as he never acknowledged her as more than just a part of his class. It was a lot to take in while drunk. She already had a slow reaction time, much less a slow processing time.
"Oh" Was all she could manage.
"Yeah," Albus replied.
Before she could say anything else, not that she could even think of anything else too say, Rose appeared out of the crowd with a glass of water. Her hand shook as she set it down on the table.
"Here… Here you go," She said.
If Alice had not had so much to drink, she may have noticed her friends shakiness. And if Albus had not noticed his on again/ off again (not) girlfriend Meghan Finnegan standing at the bar he may have noticed too.
Alice took the drink into her hands. Taking a big chug before realizing her night should probably be over. Looking around, there were only a few people left. Veronica and one of the boys were dancing provocatively to some song Alice vaguely recalled knowing. Scorpius' eyes were searching the room frantically as if looking for someone. Not too far away, Adam Carmichael sat clutching his shoulder. Weird. She thought. Other than that, a few other graduates littered around talking about future plans or lack-there-of and some Hogwarts students stood trying to get a drink. Alice was much to drunk for this anymore. She stood up and turned to say goodbye to Albus, only to see him making his way across the semi-crowded room to where Meghan stood at the bar, her short skirt riding up as she tried to get the barkeeps attention. She faced Rose, whose eyes seemed elsewhere. Alice knew that her friend was slightly shaky but couldn't bring herself to understand why. Her commonsense was gone, probably somewhere along with her rational. Alice gave Rose a hug and a promise to write as soon as she was settled in New York. Rose smiled back and watched her as she made her way outside to the apparition point where a designated apparitionist would take her to her home.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
"I'll get you some water," Rose offered a very drunk Alice.
"Thanks," Alice said before throwing her arms around Rose's waist, "You'rethebestfriendagirlcouldaskfor," She slurred.
Rose removed herself and made her way toward the bar. She saw Scorpius leaning up against it, sipping his second drink of the night. However as she got closer she realized that it was only a soda. She was a few feet behind him when a cold, clammy hand grazed her bare shoulder. She shivered slightly before turning to face whomever it was that had just rudely invaded her personal space. She was only slightly surprised to see the smug face of Adam Carmichael.
"Rose!" He claimed all too enthusiastically, his hand still touching her. She shrugged it off, but he just moved it to her waist. She sidestepped his arm and made to maneuver around him. But he was sufficiently blocking her path to the bar. Luckily (for him as she probably would have broken his fingers) he did not try to touch her again. Unluckily though, he moved in closer. He was taller than her and had to lean down when he stage whispered into her ear, "I have something to tell you."
She internally convulsed at his weird mix of cologne and cheese, a combination she did not want to spend too much time thinking about. Instead she focused on what he was wearing, which ended up being a hideous mix of kakis and a button down floral shirt in Ravenclaw colors. At least he's repping that house pride! Rose thought sarcastically.
She realized he was waiting for her to acknowledge his creepy admission. She looked up toward his face, another bad idea. His yellow teeth smiled down at her behind chapped lips and his watery blue eyes stared intently into her brown ones. She shuffled on her feet trying to move backwards, but he followed after her.
"What is it?" She finally demanded. Hoping that if he just spit it out she could escape to the bar to get a glass of water for Alice.
"I think that me" Adam pointed sloppily to his own chest, "And you," He said, drawing the same finger up her arm before she had the chance to pull it away, "Should find a quiet room somewhere and-" He was cut off by a strong hand on his shoulder, effectively yanking him away.
"Rose," cried Scorpius, "I've been looking for you everywhere! We have that thing we need to discuss."
"Oh!" Rose said, confused for only a moment before catching Scorpius' drift, "That thing! That super important thing we've been needing to discuss. Totally!" She smiled politely at Adam before quickly following Scorpius to the bar.
"Just a water please," She said to the man behind the counter.
"Are you alright," The blond boy asked her, grey eyes trying to search hers.
For some reason though, Rose was slightly mad. "I had that situation under control." She hissed at him.
"Oh did you now?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. "Because you were more than happy to take my excuse when I came over."
"Well what was I supposed to do? Just ignore you?"
"What was your plan than? To let him feel you up?"
"Of course not!" Rose whisper/yelled, not wanting to attract the attention of those around her. "I just feel like anytime you see me in even a little bit of trouble you just have to come and rescue me. I'm capable of handling myself."
"Clearly not," He said with a huff.
"Just leave me alone," Rose said.
"Gladly," Was his reply.
Rose grabbed the water angrily off the counter and walked back to where Alice and Albus were sitting. She placed the water down absentmindedly. She knows she shouldn't have blown up at Scorpius it was just annoying that he always felt like he needed to come save her. It had only been a few weeks ago that he had punched a guy Rose had been casually seeing in the face when he thought that Ryan had been taking advantage of her. He hadn't been but Rose had not had enough time to explain what was happening before Scorpius had socked him in the jaw. Needless to say that had been an end to their relationship. And early that very year he had followed her around like her own personal body guard when someone had slipped her an anonymous note asking her to the Halloween Ball. Scorpius had claimed that he had found the note creepy and did not think that whoever had written this note would be a suitable date. Rose had pointed out that was not for him to decide but he had ignored her. She, in turn, had ignored him because this was 2024 and she could go to a dance with whomever she saw fit. However she did think that note had been slightly creepy too so she let that slide. But the truth of the matter was she knew Scorpius was only doing this because he liked her. She wasn't an idiot, she had figured it out nearly a year before when she had asked him to go see a muggle movie with her over their summer holiday. That was a risky thing for him to do as he was staying with his grandparents at the time and they would not have been happy knowing he was spending time with a Weasley, much less at a movie theater. But he had risked it just to spend more time with her. Also, he had not had a girlfriend in over two years and hadn't been on so much as date with anyone else in nearly the same amount of time. Rose was a bright girl and understood that if a boy hung around you as much as Scorpius did with her, then he most likely had more than just friendship in mind. Unless he was gay. Which Rose didn't think Scorpius was, not that it would matter. It was just kind of suck for Rose as she liked him and if he was gay there would be no chance in any sort of reciprocation.
Her mind was still going on with these thoughts when she felt Alice put her hands around her shoulders.
"I'll write soon," She promised, smiling sloppily.
Rose returned the smile and watched Alice wobble her way to the door.
The room was emptying out. Only a few small groups remained. Adam still stood by the bar nursing the shoulder Scorpius had grabbed. I hope that leaves a mark. Rose thought privately. While she was annoyed by his constant need to feel like he was doing something, she knew Scorpius was a good friend who cared about her. She hoped in more than just a platonic way.
As if called over by her incessant thinking of him, she felt rather than saw Scorpius slide into the seat next to her.
"Hey," he said, their knees were close under the sticky wooden table. She could feel the heat of his leg against her bare one. She nodded in response.
"I hope you're not mad at me," He said.
"I'm not mad at you," She sighed.
"I know that you can take care of yourself. It's just sometimes I can't help but stepping in."
"I know," Was all she said, looking around still at the people in the Hogs Head.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, lost in their own thoughts. Rose's thoughts moved on from her own lack of a love life (and the want of Scorpius in it) to the fact that in 6 days she would be moving out of her parents home and into a flat in London. She was to start an internship working for the secretary of the secretary of the Leader of the British and Irish Quidditch League. While he may have been an old friend of the family and while most of the Wotter clan worked at the Ministry (as her mother was Minister of Magic), she had gotten this job all on her own, a fact she was very proud of, even applying under a false name with only her credentials to back her up. And while it wasn't much of a position, she was still glad to be starting somewhere. She was sad to be leaving home and becoming a full adult, yet right now she was dreading going home. She craved independence from her parents, especially when she knew that once she walked into the house she would be interrogated by her Auror father and law enforcing mother about what her night had entailed. And even though she wasn't that drunk she knew that too be an unpleasant experience.
Scorpius' mind drifted to similar topics. He would start his training as an Auror. He, alongside Albus, were the only two recruits from their year as they were the only ones to both receive the grades needed and have the desire to become Aurors. His training would begin in a month and he would be returning to live at home until the Ministry provided government housing granted to all Auror students. He was excited to be living in a space completely paid for and run by the government meaning he did not have to pay rent or live at home, at least not until his three years of training were complete and he could afford to live in his own space. He would be living with Albus once the program began. They would live not far from a M.O.M entrance in an apartment complex sublet to only other wizards and witches, many of whom worked at the Ministry or at other magical offices in the area.
The two recent graduates had been sitting in silence for longer than either of them had realized. The man behind the bar counter shouted a warning of last call and they were awoken from their brief interlude from full consciousness.
"We should probably head out," Scorpius finally said.
Rose nodded her head slightly. She stood up and headed for the door, forcing Scorpius to walk faster in order to catch up to her. Opening the door, a chilly summer air hit Scorpius causing him to shiver. Rose walked past him silently and stood outside as he let a few other people out the door as well. A very drunk Veronica stumbled past Rose and into the arms of a waiting apparitionist.
"I'll be right back," the designated apparater said to Rose and Scorpius.
"I'm actually staying in Hogsmeade," Scorpius said, more to Rose than the girl. "Teddy's letting me borrow his place for the night, you know, trying to be a good cousin, mend some fences."
Rose smiled, it was nice that Teddy, a boy who was practically family, and soon would be once he and Victoire married, was attempting to have a better relationship with one of his only remaining blood relatives. Especially one who did nothing wrong but be born into a family with such a dark past.
"I'll walk you there," Rose said not yet wanting to say goodbye. Both parties were not sure when exactly they would see each other again. Rose started work in less than a week where she was sure to be busy and Scorpius would start Auror training, which Rose knew from her fathers (endless) stories was time consuming.
"She'll still be here when I get back," Rose said motioning to where Veronica had just been apparated away. A small line was already forming outside the Hogs Head of people waiting to get home.
Scorpius led the way to Teddy's flat. They walked past some small shops before turning right down the main street. It was empty at this time of night. No Hogwarts students that had snuck out of the castle or people coming home late from work or elsewhere. It was just the two of them as they walked quietly down the cobbled street.
And maybe it was the few shots of fire whisky or maybe it was the fact that she never knew when she would get the chance to say it, but something compelled Rose to speak.
"Thank you for helping with Adam tonight. I know that you know that I could handle it but it was still nice having an extra hand," Rose said not looking at him. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her skirt, hoping he wouldn't say anything bull headed or know-it-all-ish.
"I understand that your'e a strong independent woman who can fight for herself but at the same time I don't know what I would have done if Merlin forbid something had happened."
She sighed in response. "Is that the only reason you stepped in? Because you were worried that something could have happened to me?" Gosh she really MUST of had more to drink than she thought. What was she saying?
"How do you mean?"
She just shrugged her shoulders and said nothing. What could she say? Maybe you did it because you like me? Maybe you were jealous? Rose wished she could take it back.
They were in front of Teddy's building now. Scorpius pulled out a key from his pocket that Teddy had lent him as he would be spending the night at Victoire's. The buildings front door opened and the two walked inside. Rose felt awkward but Scorpius was still oblivious to what her question had implied. They climbed up the two flights of steps to the correct floor. Silently walking down the hallway Scorpius grew sad at the thought of an indefinite amount of time until he saw Rose again. He began to think back on the question she had just asked.
No, he thought. She couldn't mean to ask if I stopped Adam because I like her. Could she? I mean, how could she know. Ha! How could she know? I've practically stopped any and all blokes from getting within a 10 foot radius for 2 years. She's not dumb.
Rose stopped in front of Teddy's door, which Scorpius had walked past in his slight daze. When he looked up, Rose refused to make eye contact with him. Instead focusing intently on the brass plate that deemed this apartment 3D.
"About your question earlier-"
"Don't worry about it. It was silly. I don't know why I even bothered to ask-"
"No, I wanted to answer it."
"Oh." Rose said startled. "OK."
"Well, you see," Scorpius said, suddenly brave. "I like you Rose."
Her eyes moved so fast to his that he was shocked they weren't blurry.
"You what?" She said, face turning red. "You like me? You like me?"
"Yes." He said, stepping closer.
"You like me?" She repeated, trying out the phrase for size. "You like me?"
"Yes, now will you stop talking for a moment so I can kiss you?"
"I mean if you insist." She mumbled smiling up at him.
Before his mouth could reach hers, Rose's arm were around his neck, pulling him in closer. The kiss was soft and sweet just like a first aught to be. They both pulled away smiling. Scorpius' eyes were still closed when Rose said, "I really should be going."
They opened and he looked at her deeply. They still had not untangled themselves.
"Yeah you probably should." Neither moved.
And suddenly his lips were on hers again but this time it was more intense. There was a hunger, an animalistic desire, and a realization that both of them didn't know when this could happen again. Their real lives were starting and neither was looking for a relationship while they worked on becoming their own selves. But right then they didn't care. Right then there was only blond hair between cold fingers and warm hands wrapped around waists. There was fumbled fingers looking for the key misplaced and a rush of action once the door opened. There was shortness of breath up against plastered walls and there was a mad rush to get into the extra bed room down the hall. And there was a slam of the door once they were finally inside.
The next morning dawned bright and early. Rose rolled over in bed so her back faced the window, away from the harsh light. She snuggled up into the warm body next to her, as she was unreasonably cold. She wondered why that could be until she realized she was starkers. Hmm, that's interesting, her early morning brain thought. Her eyes cracked open slightly to see that she was curled up against a broad chest that appeared just as naked as she was. Weird, was all she thought before drifting off slightly again. Around 10 minutes later, she opened her eyes again, this time however they were wide in slight fear. She very carefully tilted her head up from where it rested on the blond haired stomach to the face she knew to expect. Scorpius. Bugger.
Scorpius was barely conscious when he heard a rustling in the room. He opened his eyes slowly, feeling the sunlight on them and giving himself time to adjust. Once they did, he saw a half clothed Rose pull on one of her heals from the night before.
"Leaving without saying goodbye?" He said, laughing slightly when she jumped.
"No!" Rose said, reddening because he knew her so well, "I was gonna say something once I was done getting dressed. Now turn around so I can finish."
"What if I don't want you to?" She turned a shade resembling an almost ripe tomato. "Get dressed, I mean." He said with a wink. She now most definitely looked like a tomato ready to be picked. "Besides it's not like I didn't see it all last night." He didn't see her reaction as he was rooting around on the floor for his boxers.
"Here," She said, tossing his Slytherin colored draws to him. "I just didn't want to make a whole big deal about leaving." Rose whispered.
"We're both adults, I think we can handle the conversation we're about to have."
"It's just, neither one of us has time for a relationship right now."
"And it's not that I don't want one with you necessarily, I'm just not in a place right now where I should be dependent on someone else."
"It's just that I need to learn how to be my own person first. How to live on my own and be on my own."
"Rose, I know," Scorpius put his hand on her scantily clad shoulder. "I one hundred percent, completely agree with you."
"Of course! Maybe at some other time in the future we can have a discussion about us but I think right now, at this time in our lives, it just makes more sense for us to stay friends."
"I am so glad we are on the same page." Rose smiled before hugging Scorpius across the bed. Which ended up being a bad idea as he only wore boxers and she her skirt and bra. "I should go before Teddy comes home." She said. "I'll write though. We should meet up sometime this week!"
"Definitely!" He said.
She smiled one last time before getting up and walking out the door. A minute later he heard the front door open and close.
Scorpius lay back in bed, letting out a frustrated sigh.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Alice stepped off the subway into the crowded terminal at Rockefeller Center. The platform was crowded with families and the homeless, New Yorkers and tourists. She walked quickly toward the exit sign, pulling her scarf from the large purse that hung from her shoulder. Walking up the steep concrete steps, she bumped into a middle-aged man too busy on his cell phone to notice her. That was probably the strangest thing Alice had noticed since her unceremonious drop into muggle (or NoMaj) culture. Everyone was obsessed with these little pieces of medal that held their entire lives on them. Plus they did not seem to realize walking and "texting"-as she learned it was called- were not a good combination.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Chapter 7: Chapter 6
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
She did not know how she had lived here for months and never run into either of the boys she had known as long as anyone. Men she regarded as acquaintances if not actual friends. She had told them, in her non-sober way, that they must get together like this again. They had agreed as well and an ambiguous date was set for sometime in the not-so-distant future. The entire morning was one that she regarded fondly and she had a smile on her face as she fell back to sleep.
Chapter 8: Chapter 7
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
A few months passed since the occupants of apartments 405 and 505 had discovered their neighbors.
The air had changed in London. The once sweltering days were now cold and rainy. Fall began and with it came the birthday of the youngest son of the Boy Who Lived.
Rose had walked up the stairs to find herself at the old wooden door she hadn’t had to face since July. That night had been so strange. She and Scorpius had barely spoken despite the fact that there were at most 5 other people in attendance. And, somehow, they always seemed to find themselves sitting directly across from each other. I.e. the perfect spot for making awkward eye contact while reaching for the dip or taking a swig of beer. They did not exchange more than a few polite words.
Rose and Alice had debriefed later that same week about what had happened, and -more specifically- what had not, at the gathering.
“He is just so weird around me!” Rose exclaimed, tearing apart the scone she had bought. Better she take her anger out on a pastry than on the man it was directed towards.
“Well, can you blame him? It is a rather awkward situation.” Alice readjusted her sunglasses. They sat outside today, in a little café that was situated on a busy corner.
Rose sighed. LB was right. The whole situation was awkward. Usually Rose was quick to get past that sort of thing yet couldn’t figure out how in this situation. She had rarely, if ever, been awkward around Scorpius. Maybe when they first had begun to sit together in the library, but nothing more than her making sure not to let her chair squeak too much when she sat down or have her pen scratch unpleasantly. This was a much higher level of awkwardness than the amount two 11 year olds could muster up. And normally being drunk would help defuse the tension, but between Scorpius and Rose, it almost made it worse. Rose voiced this to her friend.
“Maybe it’s because this whole thing started when you were drunk,” explained Alice. “It’s like your body knows that this was the state in which it fucked you both over and makes sure you don’t talk to him and make it again.”
And as Rose now stood in front of apartment 405, she thought of her friends musings. Rose turned it over in her head and agreed with it, if only a little. Maybe her drunk self was doing her a favor by helping her avoid the awkwardness that was Scorpius Malfoy. She clutched the little maroon and gold box in her left hand and knocked on the door with her right. She prayed that her cousin would open the door. Luckily for Rose, someone must have been listening because the door swung open and Albus stood smiling in the threshold.
“Early as usual, are we Rosie?” Albus asked with a smirk that only lifted half his mouth.
“I’m exactly on time,” Rose said, looking down at her watch. It was half past, just as was put on the invite. “And happy birthday, you old man! 22 already? Practically a grandfather.”
Albus allowed Rose to hug him and moved aside so she could enter the flat.
“It looks great!” Rose was genuinely shocked. The room, usually pretty barren, with only the bare necessities of furniture, was decorated with streamers and balloons. Every few moments a streamer would explode into a fizzle shaped in the words of “Happy Birthday!”
“Yes, well,” Albus ran his hand through his hair, “Scorpius insisted we decorate seeing as how it would be a larger gathering. Isn’t that right, mate.”
Rose’s back had been facing the kitchen entryway and she hadn’t seen Scorpius standing under the arch. She turned around to face him. His arms were crossed as he leaned against the wall. He wore dark jeans and a black t-shirt. His white-blond hair had been combed and gelled, giving him an aristocratic air. He gave her a close lipped smile before turning around to do something in the small kitchen.
There was another knock on the door and Albus ran to go get it. Rose walked further into the room. She did a small turn to see all of the decorations the boys had set up. She felt a pair of eyes on her; grey ones that she had longed to look at her for years. He was still standing in the kitchen but at the counter that opened up into the living room. Neither said a word, just looked at each other for a moment.
She tore her eyes and forced a smile on her face as she addressed her cousin Lucy.
“Hey! What’s up?” Rose asked, pulling her cousin into a hug.
“Not much, I just got back from Paris this morning. Who knew Wizarding Fashion Week could be so hard? Not me! But Paris is absolutely beautiful this time of year, you really must go.” Lucy continued to talk about France and all of the amazing food and men and clothes she had seen. Restating that Rose simply had to go when she could.
Rose was only half listening as she glanced back at the counter to see if Scorpius was still there. He wasn’t, having disappeared back into the kitchen.
An hour later, sitting on an old ottoman, Rose was listening intently as Cody Finnegan talked to her and Alice about his time with MACUSA on an exchange program through the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creature. He was saying something about the intricate relations between Wizard and Goblin when Rose was distracted.
Scorpius had been busy all night cleaning up spills and dirty napkins left behind by the increasing number of drunk people. One such person, a women Rose vaguely recognized from seeing in the Ministry’s cafeteria, stumbled into him.
Rose could hear her peal of laughter from across the room.
The tipsy girl grabbed Scorpius’ arm in what appeared to be an effort to stable herself. Once she was planted firmly on the ground in her sky-high stilettos, she casually flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and laughed again at god knows what; Presumably a dry comment from Scorpius.
Rose felt the need to role her eyes at the pairing, even if they did look rather nice together. This unnamed twig was tall, so next to him she was not dwarfed like Rose often felt when in Scorpius’ presence. Her matte black dress looked good with his shirt, as if they had planned on matching. Aristocratic. Not a sight for sore eyes at all.
Looking at this girl, so put together and elegant, made Rose feel out of place in her jean skirt and combat boots. Short too. But she always felt short around Scorpius.
Scorpius. Rose really had not meant to stare and did not realize she was until her eyes met his. Rose blushed slightly and turned away. The blonde girl had noticed Scorpius’ millisecond distraction and turned to see what he was looking at. Rose could feel the girl’s icy blue eyes on her still pink cheeks as she desperately tried to rejoin the conversation between Alice and Cody.
There is no reason to be awkward, Rose told herself as she continued to blush. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. I mean, so what that we admitted we liked each other? That was years ago and he probably forgot all about it. Plus, we decided we wouldn’t work, not with us both having so many goals in life. There was just too much to do and accomplish, being tied down to someone, having to put in effort for a relationship, neither one of us could have swung it. Neither one of us could have made the time.
Rose looked up at Alice, who had clearly just asked her a question.
“What?” Rose asked, suddenly realizing that she had fallen short in her attempt to rejoin the party.
“I asked if you wanted anything to eat?” Alice said, a look of concern flashing in her eyes.
“Oh no, no. I’m quite alright. Thanks though.” Rose sighed too heavily and LB’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly. A look Rose knew well. It meant they would be talking later as Rose did not appear to be as alright as she claimed.
The rest of the night was an anxiety filled blur. Rose desperately tried to avoid all things Scorpius. Whether that meant actually avoiding the man by not looking at him or being in the same conversation as him or by changing the subject when his name came up. When either of these things did happen she would blush heavily and turn away.
Rose could not help but berate herself throughout the party. She was a grown women, there was no reason to be acting like a silly schoolgirl who had a crush. Even though that was exactly what she felt like. Whenever anything Scorpius related came about she felt almost as if she was transported back to Hogwarts. It was as if he brought out a side of her she had believed to have grown out of. But with a simple sighting of his white blonde hair, she was reduced to a hormonal mess of a ginger who really should know better.
Rose leaned against the kitchen counter, surveying the party. The blonde girl she had seen flirting with Scorpius earlier was now draped over Mac McManus on the old leather sofa. Alice was talking to Roxy Weasley and her fiancé Will Jorkins. Albus was gesturing wildly in a conversation with her little brother Hugo and Lily and her new boy friend (some man named Hank Rose had briefly met) snuggled on the love seat. Lorcan Scamander was watching near by with a look of disdain and disappointment on his face.
Rose suddenly realized it was time for her to go.
She had no business sulking in the corner when it was no one’s fault but her own for not having a good time. She stood away from the counter and straightened her skirt. She made her way over to her friends and family and began to make her goodbyes.
Rose gave Alice a hug and her friend whispered in her ear, “We’ll meet up this week. To talk about… everything.”
Rose pulled away but didn’t let go of her friends shoulders.
“Sounds like a plan,” She responded, smiling slightly at LB.
The last person she said goodbye to was her cousin and birthday boy, Albus. He had become steadily drunker throughout the evening. His face was flushed as Rose thanked him for the invite and promised to grab lunch with him soon. He pulled her into a hug and Rose laughed at the strong smell of alcohol wafting off of him. Over his shoulder, Rose made eye contact with Scorpius again. The smile fell from her face at the look in his eyes and she felt her cheeks burn again. She really needed to get out of there.
“Happy birthday, Al,” Rose said, pulling away.
He smiled at her again, not noticing her discomfort or blush. Rose quickly turned around, away from Scorpius. Before anyone could try to start up a conversation with her, Rose sprinted toward the door. She hurriedly pulled it open and stepped out into the dimly lit hallway. She shut it quietly behind her and headed down the hall, the sounds of the party faded behind her. She made it halfway down the small hallway when the music blasted again for a few seconds and then was dulled.
Rose turned around to see who else had decided to leave the party before it was over and was surprised to find Scorpius standing at the other end.
She had stopped short when she saw him and now stood awkwardly in front of apartment 402.
“Hi,” he said, not moving.
“Hey,” Rose’s voiced cracked and she coughed.
“You forgot your, um, jacket,” Scorpius said holding up a leather coat Rose had indeed forgotten in her mad dash out of the flat.
“Thanks,” She said. Rose walked forward a few steps and reached out to take back her jacket. The soft leather was smooth under her hand and she slipped it on as Scorpius continued to stand there.
“Well, I’ll see you around I guess,” Rose began walking backwards down the hall, away from the blonde man.
“Yeah,” He said. His back was straight and his hair was still perfect despite a night of partying. He looked regal. Too regal. Almost unfriendly and judgmental. But Rose knew him too well at this point to read it as that. She was once close friends with him. She could read him like a book. From the way he would roll his shoulders back before getting in an argument with her, mentally and physically preparing himself to the tilt of his eyebrow that let her know she was rambling when she didn’t realize (a look she would often ignore). And this look he was wearing now, one of superiority, was one he would show when he was protecting himself. So instead of getting defensive, Rose got sad. She had not seen Scorpius act that way toward her in a decade, when they met in DADA their first year. He had acted that way towards her when they were unceremoniously declared partners by their professor. Scorpius had been cold in a way Rose was unaccustomed to and she mostly ignored it, trying her best to work hard until one day he wasn’t. They were not friends at that point (and wouldn’t be for a few good years) but recognized that class was much more important than any stupid rivalry. But now, with him looking like that she almost felt like crying at the realizing that their relationship had reverted back to what it had been at age 11: nonexistent.
Rose smiled sadly at Scorpius before turning around, walking down the hallway without looking back.
But she never heard the loud sounds of the party, not until she opened the door to the staircase and walked down toward the street below.
Chapter 9: Chapter 8
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Al could not speak for his friend, but he could imagine it was not easy for Scorpius to go around with the name that he did. Al knew a little something about the weight of a name and sometimes he didn't know what would be worse: having expectations be unattainably high because of your surname or bottom of the barrel because of it.
Chapter 10: Chapter 9
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Scorpius shuffled awkwardly on the white linoleum floor. He had absolutely no idea how to act around Rose. Not since that fateful night after graduation. Every time he saw her after that- after their admission of feelings, after seeing her the way he had- Scorpius could no longer think straight around her. His mind would become fuzzy, a feeling he was not used to at all. Scorpius usually had all his shit together, personal and professional. He was neat and clean and had a handle on everything in his life. Well almost everything.
Rose Granger-Weasley had a way of coming into his life and messing up the balance. That had been true for years, ever since he had walked up to the secluded table in the library he had been studying at all semester to find her there. She could topple his carefully stacked world with one look. It was insane and yet Scorpius was drawn to her chaos because it was an organized mess. Her life was a disaster that she could easy navigate and he was envious. He saw it when they first partnered in DADA and she was unfazed by his demeanor. Most would shrink when faced with his cold exterior but it did not affect her in the slightest. She simply ignored the unfriendliness, her attitude and aptitude unchanged despite the circumstance.
Scorpius was not like that. His life had molded into the life of Rose when they became friends. His order melding into her disaster easily, like most things in her life. Scorpius soon understood her ways and while he did not incorporate the disorder into his own lifestyle he had an appreciation for hers. So, when they had been ripped apart due to their own actions, Scorpius’ world collapsed, suddenly unable to stand on its own. It was probably a good thing he had learned that he was so reliant on another person at such a young age. It was unhealthy to be so dependent. You must be your own person before you can be with someone else. And that was what Scorpius had worked on internally for the last 2 and a half years.
Scorpius was slowly building back his own life, completely independent from everyone else’s. He rarely went on dates or had flings with girls. About two seconds after Rose left Teddy’s apartment, Scorpius had decided he needed to focus on himself. As cheesy as that was, it was the truth he was finally mature enough to understand.
But that was why it was so hard to see Rose again every so often. Scorpius had finally become his own world again, not revolving around anyone else. He could proudly say that he was not dependent and would never be again. Yet there was a small unconscious part of him that would come to the surface when Rose walked in. Not a need to be a part of something with her but a fact that something was missing. He no longer needed her to complete him, yet he felt as though her presence in his life would add to an already sufficient one. He had to admit he was lonely and wanted a love he had once known with Rose. A love that had barely begun to sprout before it was stomped on by the cruel boot of reality. And while he did not necessarily need to find that love with Rose, he was looking (finally) to get it with someone.
Scorpius had not seen Rose in about a month, since Al’s birthday. They had not spoken except a few polite words and when he had followed her as she was leaving to return her coat. It was strange to at one point be so close to someone and then to suddenly flip a switch and hardly perform modest small talk. It saddened Scorpius.
“Hey Rosie!” Albus said, clearing ignorant to the tension in the hospital room. “How are you?”
“Better than you I s’pose.”
Albus laughed slightly before wincing in pain.
“I brought you some flowers,” Rose said, holding up a bouquet everyone knew Al would have no appreciation for. “And some chocolate for when you feel better.” She held up a bag of Chocolate Frogs before placing them on the white table next to the bed.
“Thank you,” Albus yawned, unable to hold it back. “I’ll be sure to eat those once I can move my body.”
Suddenly, the healer who had let Scorpius into the room was back.
“I’m so sorry, but visiting hours are almost over. You can feel free to come back tomorrow to visit.”
Scorpius nodded his head.
“Ok mate, I’ll see you soon. Hopefully Maggie won’t kick my arse too hard for crushing yours.”
Scorpius made his way toward the door as he heard Rose say her goodbyes and promise to come with the rest of the family once he was feeling better.
He had walked halfway down the hall when he felt Rose catch up to him. He looked down at her as she cleared her throat.
“I’m sorry,” She said.
Scorpius stopped in the middle of the hallway. A young healer grunted and said a few choice words before speedily walking around Scorpius. Rose did not stop right when he did but continued a foot or two farther before she stopped and faced him.
“What are you sorry about?” He asked, white blonde eyebrow raised.
“For acting so weird around you after what happened,” She shuffled her feet and looked down. “You know, between us.” Rose motioned to the air between them.
“Well I’m not quite sure that you should take all the blame for that. I mean, I have certainly been…” Scorpius paused, trying to find the right word. “…Uncomfortable around you.”
“We are both to blame I guess.”
“I guess.” He did not know what else to say.
Scorpius had not been expecting to have this conversation when he came to Mungo’s to make sure he had not killed his best mate.
“Um. So. Yeah,” Was all Rose said, playing with the silver heart necklace she had begun wearing after it was given to her for her 16th birthday. “I’ll see you around.”
Rose turned quickly on her heal and headed down to the floo network down the hall. Scorpius watched her go, unsure of what to do. Suddenly he was bumped from behind by a healer in a rush.
Probably not the best place to stand, Scorpius thought. He walked down the path Rose had just taken, as the chaos of the hospital flowed around him.
Two days later, Scorpius again found himself in the small white room in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. He and Al had just been discussing the upcoming World Cup and the work they would undoubtable have in protecting the spectators.
Albus’ condition had improved considerably since he had first been sent to the hospital. He could sit up straight in bed and feed himself. And while a cast remained firmly secured around his head, his left leg was no longer held in one. He could also laugh without too much pain.
Scorpius looked down at the watch he had had for years. “A family heirloom,” Draco had said. It was one of the only things either man had kept to remind them of their own family history.
After the war, Draco had moved far away from Malfoy Manner, looking desperately to start fresh. He traveled to Ireland, hoping to find some anonymity and only finding it for a very short while. He moved back home to England where he met Scorpius’ mother, Astoria, at her sister’s birthday party. They had lived a quiet life, away from the public eye. Astoria had run a small shop in the muggle town they lived in and Draco had begun to write, though he never let Scorpius read what he had published.
Astoria had made a point of showing Scorpius that muggles should be treated as equals, not others. Draco usually said very little on the matter but would never stop Scorpius from playing outside with their muggle neighbors, as long as he did not accidentally use magic.
They very rarely saw Lucius and Narcissa, save for Christmas dinner and an occasional birthday or two. His grandparents were none too fond of Scorpius’ muggle friends, whom he had made at the primary public school they sent him to. And Scorpius had learned early on not to mention the fact that the family often went to the movie theater or would watch the local football team play.
The life he had led as a child was so different than the one his father had led. Yet Draco had kept the watch, something his own father had given him at 17. A gift from a man who never thought Draco was good enough passed down generation to generation. And now Scorpius wore it in a hospital room laughing with the son of his father’s Hogwarts rival. A descendant of a family the Malfoy’s considered blood traders.
And Scorpius smiled a little brighter at the thought.
The young men continued to chat for a little while longer when they were interrupted by a loud screech.
“MY BABY!” came the cry of the protective matriarch, Molly Weasley.
In hobbled an older ginger women. She carried a tray of what smelled like brownies and had a worried look on her face as she observed her grandson.
“Hello Gran,” Al said, smiling nervously at her.
She sighed slightly before setting the desert down on the white side table.
“The rest of the family is on their way up. What a bunch of slow pokes. They all seemed perfectly fine with strolling down the hallway. But no, not me, dear,” She patted Al’s shoulder and brushed some imaginary dirt off it. “How are you doing, dear?”
“Well I’ve been better, but the healers have gotten me mostly fixed up. And Scorpius here has kept me company.”
It was obvious Molly had not noticed the blonde boy in the corner, as her eyes widened at the sight of him.
Until her face broke out into another smile.
“Scorpius! My darling, how are you feeling? Albus hasn’t been too depressing now has he?” She asked.
Scorpius chuckled lightly and shook his head. “He’s been a good sport. Especially seeing as I was partially responsible for putting him here.”
“Only partially? I heard you kicked his arse,” came a voice from the doorway.
“Lily Luna, watch your language,” Molly gasped.
“Sorry, Gran,” Lily shrugged her shoulders slightly.
“Well, I should go,” Scorpius said, not wanting to get caught up with the entire Weasley clan that was sure to arrive any minute. “I’ll see you at home, yeah mate?”
Scorpius stood from his chair. He went to Molly, a woman who had always treated him with respect and love, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. She smiled at him kindly. He headed for the door, patting Lily’s shoulder on the way out.
“See you,” She said, with a lumos level smile.
Once he was through the threshold, he could clearly hear the dull roar of the rest of Albus’ family coming down the hallway. And more specifically the hallway Scorpius needed to use to leave the building.
Well, I guess I have no choice but to face them. Scorpius thought. He wasn’t afraid of them, not really, at least. The Weasley’s were just… a lot. As in there were a lot of them and they were a lot to deal with, especially when there was no one to deflect the attention to.
Scorpius had hung around them since he had first become friends with Rose at 14. At first, it was just the other cousins who attended Hogwarts. He would sit with Rose and Roxy outside under the oak trees or support James and Dom playing quidditch. And eventually, he would come visit her when she spent her summer afternoons at the Burrow, meeting all the adults. Most of them did not show any outward disdain for him and for that he was grateful. But it was an awful lot to have 24 people pay so much attention to just you. A feeling Scorpius knew he was about to feel again.
And as soon as he rounded the corner, he did.
“Scorpius!” Hugo cried, upon seeing the blonde man. “It’s been forever. How are you, mate?”
Before Scorpius could even answer, he was being clapped on the back- a little too hard- by George Weasley.
“Scorpius, you’ve gotten so tall!” Came the French drawl of Fleur.
“Scorpius,” Harry Potter walked up to him. Scorpius shook his hand with the high level of respect you show your boss.
“Sir,” Scorpius said with a nod.
As all of these people addressed him, they continued to walk past him toward Al’s room. Scorpius had stopped in the middle of the hall, contained on both sides by the ginger storm.
Lucy approached him next.
“Hi Scorpius,” She smiled at him coyly. He gave her a close lipped one in response.
Lucy had been a few years younger than him at Hogwarts and he knew Rose had a distaste for her as she was rather pompous and self-righteous.
She continued down the hallway, but made eye contact with him until she could no longer see his face.
“Scorpius, it is so good to see you,” Angelina said as she and Fred walked past him. Roxy gave him a light punch to the shoulder as she trailed behind.
Ron merely grunted at Scorpius as he passed. Ron never liked the idea of his little Rosie hanging around any boy, especially one with such a torrid family past.
The last family member to pass him had a hard time looking him in the eye.
“Hey,” He said.
She looked up, brown eyes meeting grey for the first time in too long.
“So, fancy meeting you here I guess,” Scorpius said.
“Yeah, what are the chances,” Rose rolled her eyes slightly at the lame attempt at a joke. Yet she appreciated his effort to make this normal.
“So, how are you?”
“Super busy. Work has been crazy these last few weeks, but it should be better in the next few days, once the scouts are done looking for the year. Hogwarts was all in a frenzy because it was rumored that Puddlemere United would be stopping by at the Slytherin/Gryffindor match.”
“Wow, that feels like that was just us a few years ago. Excited at the prospect of the pros watching us play.”
Rose nodded her head, surprised at how far away that felt.
Before either could say something else, someone coughed louder than was normal. They both looked behind Scorpius to Ron standing at the end of the hall. His arms were crossed and he was obviously annoyed his daughter was talking to a man he was quite happy she had not mentioned in a while.
“Well, I should-“ Rose gestured to her father and the direction of her bed ridden cousin.
“Yeah, I’ll see you around, Rose,” Scorpius smiled.
Rose returned it with a bright one of her own.
Scorpius ate almost daily in the cafeteria on the top floor of the Ministry. He liked the atmosphere of the brightly lit dining hall. It was full of wizards of all ages, shuffling about, eager to prolong their short break from the mundane tasks they completed. It was a great place to people watch as so many filled the room.
At the table next to Scorpius an old woman sat alone reading some document as she carefully brought a full cup of tea to her lips.
A young man dodged tables and chairs, haphazardly dashing through the room to get to an empty table on the other side. The brown paper bag clutched in his hand swung forward sharply when he reached the table. The wizard sighed in relief as he pulled out an apple and sandwich.
A middle-aged couple strolled hand in hand toward the double doors. He was smiling down at her as she talked animatedly about something Scorpius would never know. As they exited, the man held the door open for a young ginger woman.
Scorpius stared at her as she surveyed the room for an open seat. It was usually packed during lunch hour and there were rarely many unoccupied tables. Despite the crowd, Rose’s brown eyes found Scorpius and she smiled slightly. He returned it in full force and she made her way over.
It had only been yesterday since he ran in the entire Weasley family at Mungo’s and Scorpius tried desperately to control his breathing and act natural. He tried not to watch her weave through the other tables and took a much too large bight of his bagel in the process. He nearly began to choke before swallowing it painful. Trying to act cool, he did not outwardly react but the inside of his throat was on fire due to the large invasion.
“Can I sit here?” Rose asked, glancing at Scorpius.
Scorpius nodded his head vigorously and she sat down with a soft smile.
“So, um, how are you?” He asked, taking a swig of water.
“Good. Good,” She didn’t seem too good, just uncomfortable. “And yourself?”
Rose smiled a little and Scorpius felt a little less tense.
“I haven’t seen you much around here for lunch before,” observed Scorpius.
“Well, I usually eat in my office or come after the large rush. And I usually meet LB for lunch once or twice a week in London,” Rose said. “But it was quiet in the office today so I made my break sooner and didn’t feel like eating by myself. Or at least not around anyone else.”
Scorpius nodded. Even if he didn’t sit with someone during lunch, he liked to be in the presence of others.
“Plus, Alice is in New York for a few weeks promoting a new book. So, I figured I would brave it out in the dining hall during the rush.”
“Well, it’s good to see you again,” Scorpius confessed, not wanting to show too many cards but needing her to know the truth.
“I’ve missed hanging out with you,” Rose admitted, clearly not afraid to lay a lot out on the table. “We used to see each other all of the time. But ever since graduation we’ve drifted apart.”
Scorpius sighed quietly, “I know. And I can’t speak for you, but for me it was hard to see you after all that we’d been through,” He paused and Rose nodded. “But I’ve missed you too.”
“I’d like to think that enough time has passed and that we have grown up enough to maybe, I don’t know…” Rose didn’t finish her sentence.
“Become friends again?” Scorpius supplied, hoping he hadn’t overstepped and assumed she wanted to spend any time with him outside of the cafeteria.
“Yeah! Slowly though because I just don’t think we can go back to what we had before everything. Even if we want to.”
“Even if we want to,” Scorpius agreed.
“So, friends?” Rose stuck out her hand.
“Friends,” Scorpius agreed.
Chapter 11: Chapter 10
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
It was strange to suddenly be in Scorpius' life again. Rose was not sure what she should do now that she was on speaking terms with him.
For months, they ignored each other's existence. They very rarely interacted as they both took to avoiding the other. And on the off chance that they would speak, it was riddled with awkwardness.
But now, Rose didn't know exactly what to feel. She was happy to have Scorpius in her life again. She had missed his dry humor and constant, sturdy friendship. Their (at one time) platonic relationship had been the most persistent thing in an often hectic life. He had been her rock at Hogwarts, always there to help and not judge. He would always be there, whether it was about her family or school or boys. The last thing now seemed a little ironic in retrospect.
So, Rose had to almost pinch herself when Scorpius sat down in the unoccupied seat across from her in the cafeteria.
"Fancy meeting you here," Rose smiled at Scorpius as he adjusted his robes.
"How was your day?"
"Busy, as per usual. The boy who I got to replace me might need to be replaced. He keeps forgetting to breath whenever a quidditch player comes into the office to talk to Amberley," Rose rolled her eyes. "It's getting a little obscene."
"Give him a little time, he's probably just nervous."
"Scorpius, he's been at the job for nearly 5 months. He really should be over it by now."
Scorpius didn't reply, just smiled wickedly into his peanut butter sandwich.
She hated when he didn't say anything, especially because Rose felt the incessant need to talk whenever there was a silence. Not only around Scorpius, but in general. Silence could feel like a waste sometimes, if not used correctly. There obviously were benefits to it, but (in Rose's humble opinion) those were few and far between. Conversing was almost always the better alternative. There was just so much to be said in this short life they were leading. Why waste it with silence?
"What did you do this weekend?" Rose asked.
It was already Wednesday, but they hadn't eaten lunch since the Thursday before.
"Not much. Work, mostly." Scorpius took another bite of his sandwich, chewed and swallowed before continuing. "And Al and I went to a bar now that he is feeling a lot better."
"That's good to hear. When will he be fully recovered and allowed to come back to work?"
Rose tapped her foot on the floor. She feared nothing more than an awkward silence. Especially with Scorpius. And he was not helping. He seemed perfectly alright with giving short answers to her questions and not asking any in return. And what was even more infuriating was that he was not being rude at all. No. He was polite and clearly oblivious to her anxiety about keeping a flow in conversation.
This was their third lunch together, after she had sat down across from the day after their second encounter at the hospital. They had all been amicable and nice. Both wizards not wanting to get too personal. They had not talked about the fact that they had slept together or that they had admitted to feelings stronger than mere friendship or lust. They talked about quidditch and Albus and old Hogwarts friends and work and old Hogwarts professors and Albus and quidditch. It was all entirely surface level and had grown entirely dull after their second lunch. But Rose didn't know what else to say and Scorpius was not helping.
So, now she sat in the old wooden chair across from a man whom she did not know the full expanse of her feelings for.
Were they just friends? Or maybe they were still only acquaintances. Did he even want to be that with her? Scorpius could just want someone to eat with. Is he annoyed, being pushed to continue to talk? He's never said anything and he did sit down at the table after Rose.
There was so much to mull over. Rose watched him eat his lunch, unfazed by her inner turmoil. Her brain searched for something to talk about.
Family? No, Scorpius does not like to talk about them. Work? No, too boring and over discussed. There were no quidditch games in the last few weeks to speak on and they had already covered the topic of Albus.
But before she could mumble out some half-baked talking point, Alice seemingly materialized next to her.
"Rose!" Alice was out of breath and her face was slightly red from excursion. She was not a very active person.
"Alice!" Rose exclaimed, just as surprised as Alice was disheveled.
"Scorpius!" Scorpius cried to no one at all.
"What are you doing here?" Ignoring Scorpius, Rose wanted to know why her best friend was in the cafeteria of a building she did not work in.
"I was looking for you. Your new guy, Matt?" Alice paused for confirmation and Rose nodded. "He said you'd be in here."
"Is everything ok?"
"Yes everything is fine, but I've just arrived back from America with the most exciting news. I couldn't wait to tell you."
Alice sat down in an open seat. Rose was shocked and happy to see her friend practically glowing with excitement.
"Well," Rose nearly prodded, "Are you going to spit it out or will I be waiting the next century for the gossip?"
"I've just been promoted at work! It's not much of a pay raise but my work will be more than merely reading the books no one else wants to!"
"Oh Alice, that's amazing," Rose glowed at her friend.
"Congratulations, that's spectacular," Scorpius said. "A toast, to Alice Longbottom."
Scorpius raised his water bottle in commemoration; Alice smiled appreciatively and Rose marveled at how normal this all felt.
The three wizards ate the remainder of their lunch together, Alice munching on the food of the other two. She acted as though they were all old friends and Rose very much appreciated that. There was very little awkwardness, at least no more than could be expected. Which was kind of a lot, considering the situation of the three wizards.
One was a best friend of another and the third had also been the firsts best friend, until they had sex. Two had admitted feelings for each other and two did not really know each other outside of their friendship with the third. It was an interesting group of individuals. And yet somehow, they ate peanut sandwiches in (relative) normalcy.
About a week later Rose found herself in a little café a few blocks from the ministry sitting across from her recently de-hospitalized cousin. Albus looked a lot better than he had the times Rose had gone to visit at St. Mungo's. His leg was no longer bandaged and there was no cast wrapped securely around his head. The only visible sign that anything had been wrong was a small scar at the top of his forehead, near his hair line. Rose didn't dare say it, but it looked rather like a lightning bolt.
"It's so bloody fantastic to be back at work," Albus exclaimed, nearly taking out his coffee that sat between them. "I'd never thought I would say that, but it's bloody brill to be back."
Rose couldn't help but laugh at her cousins enthusiasm. Albus had never been lazy but he had never been so gleeful about work either. It was great to see him so content with the work he was doing and that he was excited to be back at it after over a week away.
"Well, I'm bloody happy for you," Rose smiled sincerely at her slightly older cousin.
"And how are you? How's life?"
"Well, It's been-" Rose was cut off by the bell above the café door jingling and Albus saying: "Oy, Scorpius! Over here mate."
Rose swiveled around in her chair to face the blonde walking toward her table. She smiled politely and he returned it with a broad one of his own. Scorpius sat down in the unoccupied seat between the cousins.
"I hope you don't mind my intruding," Scorpius said, his eyes darting between the semi-clean table and Rose.
Albus answered though, "No problem mate, I told you I wanted to get lunch with you as well. Besides the more the merrier."
Rose only allowed herself to feel slightly weird. She had made a vow to herself to not act like a complete nit around Scorpius. They had agreed on trying to be friends and friends could be normal, functioning adults around each other.
She moved her fork absentmindedly around the half eaten salad she felt pressured to by. In reality, she had wanted one of the buttery croissants that sat warming under heat lamps in the display case. The salad had been an attempt to pretend she was health. The two men were discussing something about work Rose did not fully understand when another jingle from the door had both Aurors-in-training look up on impulse.
Rose swiveled again, but now a different, shorter blonde approached their table.
"Hey LB," Rose smiled, surprised to see her friend.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Alice shuffled her feet on the floor and pushed her black purse further up her shoulder.
"Wanna join us?" Scorpius asked, gesturing toward the fourth and final chair surrounding the table.
"No, no, that's sweet. But I really only came in to grab a quick lunch and head back to the office."
"Well, you are the big hot shot now, little miss Associate Editor," Rose smiled and poked her friend in the side.
Alice swatted her hand away jokingly.
"More like Junior Editor," she said with an embarrassed eye roll. "Anyways, I must be off. But I'm sure I'll see you all soon."
Alice walked away, towards the counter at the back of the room to order her lunch.
"What was Alice talking about?" Albus asked, his eyes still following her through the crowded restaurant.
"She was promoted at work," Scorpius said, through a mouthful of tuna sandwich.
Rose made a face at his lack of manners and Scorpius smiled widely at her. She rolled her eyes and he stuck out his tongue.
Albus made a noise of comprehension and returned to the topic the table had been discussing prior to the interruption of Alice.
Chapter 12: Chapter 11
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
"Have you seen my black pumps?" a strong southern accent shouted through the flat.
"Check under the sink. You put them there last weekend after Vandy, remember?" Devon's deep baritone was just as loud.
"Kitchen, I think."
Alice couldn't help but roll her eyes at her roommates' antics.
The three of them would go out to the bars and restaurants in their London neighborhood, sometimes joined by one of their friends. It was- more often than not- an entertaining evening of over drinking and under dressing, something she never experienced at Hogwarts or in New York, often feeling isolated from others in her office and the Wizards of America.
Tonight's need for the black heels was different than usual. Instead of going out to the parties, 505 was bringing the party to them. The year had less than four hours left before the clock struck midnight. Alice was looking forward to a new year. She desperately needed one. 2027 had been too long. She had moved back home, been promoted, and became a full-fledged adult. She finally had a routine she liked and friends she cared for, who in turn cared for her. New York had been a lot harder than she had ever admitted to another living being. It had taken its toll. She loved London. She loved that the buildings surrounding hers were not overwhelmingly tall. She loved walking to the park and flooing home to her parents or to the Burrow in the country with Rose. England was home, the US had just been a (long, difficult) vacation.
The New Years party was due to begin in a little over an hour. The house was not ready and neither were the occupants of it. Alice's hair was half curly, half straight, her wand burning on the table she was using as a makeup counter. The streamers they had bought a few days prior were still sitting innocently in their plastic casing. And the dip and chips were not ready to be dipped or chipped.
And, of course, there had to be a good old moment of panic to round out the perfect start to a party.
"We don't have any napkins!" Isabel scrambled into Alice's room, looking disheveled. One pump in her hand the other on her foot. She teetered precariously. Both physically and mentally. The planning of this party had taken it's toll on the American.
Alice had completed her hair and was nearly finished applying makeup, save for her left eye which remained mascara-less. But she got up and put comforting hands on her flat mates shoulders.
"Breathe, sweetie. Breathe."
Isabel chose to make a noise that sounded very much like a panic attack. Alice saw that her original advice was not helping and continued.
"Why don't you run downstairs to the bar and see if you can steel some, okay?"
This suggestion only caused more shallow breathing. Isabel began rocking slightly.
"I can't," she gasped, eyes wide in disbelief. "You know I hooked up with Brendan the bartender last week and totally ghosted him. I'm trying to avoid him for at least another month."
Alice nodded, mentally taking a note to remind Isabel to stop hooking up with men who worked at places they frequented. It had been months since she'd been to the bakery around the corner because Isabel had slept with the cashier. Not to mention the fact that they hadn't been back to the café next door since Isabel had been with the barista. And that Chinese delivery place was out of the question once Isabel invited the delivery boy in after he had dropped off their mu shu chicken and stir fry.
It wasn't the fact that Isabel had been with these men, but that the men she'd been with were valuable in what they provided to the rest of the flat. Like food, or alcohol, or caffeine.
Seeing no other option, Alice offered to head down in her friends place.
Once out in the hallway, Alice realized how ridiculous she must look. Her hair, which she had done in loose curls juxtaposed the sweatshirt she had thrown over the sequence dress she would be wearing during the party. The closest shoes available had been an old pair of fur boots and only one eye had mascara. She felt rather like a mess. But with so little time before the guest arrived, the adventure to steal napkins from downstairs had seemed more important than the even-ness of her eye makeup.
The guests, Alice thought, mentally going over who would be in attendance. Due to the minute nature of their shared apartment, Isabel, Devon, and Alice had decided that their flat had a certain occupancy level, and only their most intimate friends would be extended an invitation. And, naturally, the list had imploded in on itself shortly following the fact that a "certain occupancy level" had been thrown out the fifth floor window.
They each had a list which kept expanding. There was always someone who couldn't come without the invitation of someone else. The tier of friendship expanded from those in confidence to those of acquaintance.
Isabel's friends from Ilvermorny were visiting for the break between Christmas and New Years. If they were anything like Isabel, they were sure to fill up a room easily enough. She had also insisted on inviting her coworker at the US Embassy. Alice was convinced it was because he was a cute 21-year-old and he was bound to have other cute friends. The fiery brunette had also invited some of the women in her wizards spin class to join. Alice was not quite sure what that was but thought it might be a cross between broomsticks and jazzercise.
Devon was bringing his boyfriend, whom he had met the night the flat went to Savage on a whim. Alice knew him to have a group of friends he had met through said boyfriend that were sure to come. He had also extended an invite to his younger brother, whom he had not spoken too since graduating Durmstang. His brother had accepted the olive branch invitation within the day.
Alice had a hard time deciding on who she wanted to come. Obviously, Rose would be coming. She had debated inviting Will but felt weird. He was her sorta-kinda boss. Frank could not come, he was still at Hogwarts and much too young for such an evening. There were a few other people in her office and that she had kept in touch with since Hogwarts that she had decided to extend an invite to.
In reality, this party had grown to be so large because people kept asking if they could bring a friend along. All three flat mates were too friendly to say no and figured what's one more person until one turned into two turned into six turned into- well yeah. Therefore, the number of suspected attendees seemed to grow.
Arriving downstairs in the pub, Alice did a quick look around to see who was in willing away their evening. And those just beginning it.
Sure enough, Brendan the bartender was wiping away at the sticky tables. He looked up when she walked in, raising an eyebrow at her strange appearance. He glanced behind her, but seeing as she was alone, he quickly turned his attention back to the task in his hands.
Alice made to look as if she was searching for something, so as not to raise anymore suspicion than her outfit had already warranted. The flat had been reprimanded more than once for stealing things from the pub, like sugar or silverware.
She walked casually around the circular tables, peeping under them or on chairs as if searching while she stealthily shoved square black napkins into the front pocket of her sweatshirt. She finished her loop before hurrying up the stairs before she could be caught, napkin-handed.
She had made it up two flights before nearly colliding with a blonde man who was significantly taller than she was. She recognized Scorpius immediately.
"I'm so sorry!" Alice said, steadying herself with the railing. This stairwell was much too cramped.
"No you're fine, I wasn't paying attention." He smiled kindly at her. The two had become better friends ever since he had been hanging around Rose more frequently. They had known each other at Hogwarts in a similar way; Rose always as the intermediary. Which was why it was a little awkward to talk to him without her.
"So, where are you off in such a rush to?" She asked.
"Well, as there is only six months left of our Auror training, the Department has decided to make our lives hell. Albus and I are doing an early New Years this year, and we're going down to the bar so we don't have to deal with the mess. And they have better beer than we do."
Now looking at Scorpius' clothing, Alice realized he was in no attire to leave the building in London winter. He wore a t-shirt and jeans as well as some moccasin like slippers.
"Oy Scorpius! Wait up," called a voice from the staircase above.
Alice recognized it as Albus immediately and her hand went to her hair on instinct, as if making sure it was still all there and hadn't run off.
"I'm waiting," Scorpius called, trying not to roll his eyes.
"There's no reason to rush, I'm sure no one else will be-" Albus was speaking as he bounded down the stairs but stopped mid-sentence as he rounded the stairs and saw the Alice was standing there. He stopped a few steps above his flat mate, and ruffled his hair unnecessarily.
"Nice outfit," Albus noticed, without missing a beat.
"Thanks," Alice said, not able to find one; Caught off guard by his entire presence for a moment.
"Why are you so partially dressed up?" Scorpius said.
"Well I'm supposed to be fully dressed up, but I had to run downstairs for napkins," Alice explained, pulling out the paper squares as proof. "505 is having a New Years party."
"Rose mentioned something about that. Should be fun," said Albus.
"Yeah, it should be."
There was an awkward paused. Alice mentally kicked herself as she word vomited, "You guys should come. It's gonna be really great. It kind of got bigger than we anticipated but there should be some Hogwarts people there. And Scorpius said you didn't have any plans. Plus, you invited me to your birthday. Yeah, you guys should definitely come."
"We don't want to intrude-" Scorpius began, before Albus interrupted.
"Yeah, sure," Albus had not been deterred by Alice's ramblings. And even though he was exhausted from training, he hadn't had a truly fun night in weeks if not months.
"Right, good then," Alice truly was excited for them to come. Especially since Rose would be there, and she was a true Scorose shipper. "My flat, in," she checked her watch, "45 minutes."
Alice had made it back upstairs with no other incident. Her trip had been all positives, in both napkins and guest list. She finished getting ready and helped set up the decorations. When the guests finally began to arrive, the shared flat (and its occupants) looked like effortless perfection. Streamers had been hung up, music blasted from the radio, and -most importantly- drinks, and napkins, lined the kitchen counter.
People were trickling in slowly. Alice leaned against the counter as she watched Devon and his brother share and awkward but intense hug. She smiled.
There was a knock at the door and Alice answered as she was the closest person. Rose had arrived and with her a tray of cookies.
"Ah yes! My favorite," Alice said, in reference to the gooey goodness Rose held in her hands.
"Happy to see you too LB," Rose rolled her eyes at her friend. "Where should I put these?"
Alice nodded her head in the direction of the coffee table. As she was about to shut the door, a reflexive hand shot out and stopped it. Jumping slightly at the shock, Alice opened the door wider to reveal Albus.
"Hey," she said. "Long time no see."
"Likewise. You cleaned up nice. Like the outfit. Really looks quite different now without the hoodie." He said, motioning towards her sparkly dress.
Rolling her eyes, she couldn't help but smile a little. It never hurt being at the opposite end of his banter.
"So is Scorpius with you, or," she trailed off, sticking her head out into the hallway. She saw him pacing back and forth near the stairs.
"He's having a little, shall we say, performance anxiety."
Alice rolled her eyes, "what is it with those two." This was supposed to be for her ears only, but Albus nodded enthusiastically.
"They're just so strange around each other now. Do you know what happened?"
"Oh," Alice did not feel like it was her right or place to fill Albus in on the secrets of their respective best friends. "Oh! I forgot to let Alice know he was coming. Shite she'll be mad."
With that she ran away before he could get more out of her.
"Please don't be mad at me," Alice said to Rose as she leaned over the cookies, making sure they were placed correctly.
"Mad at you for what?" Rose said, straightening up. Her eyes glanced over to the front door which had just opened all the way to reveal the blond downstairs neighbor. "Oh."
"I know I should have asked your permission. Or at least warned you. But I didn't invite them until an hour ago when we ran into each other. I'm sorry."
"There's no reason to apologize," Rose assured her friend. "Besides, Scorpius and I have been trying to have a normal friendship again, so seeing him at parties shouldn't be weird, right?" The last part was directed as a want for reassurance from her friend.
"Right," Alice said, understanding that this was what her friend needed in order for her and Scorpius to have a healthy relationship. "Why don't you go over there and say hi?"
"Yeah, I should, shouldn't I? Come with me though."
Before Alice could protest, she was being pulled over to Albus and Scorpius.
Rose made the familial hug to her cousin and the obligatory one to Scorpius, though neither looked too sad about it.
Alice waved at Albus, saying "Hi, again."
He smirkled, half smirk half smile.
He should trademark that, Alice thought.
"Long time, no see."
It was five to midnight and Alice had no prospects of anyone to kiss. Not that she was expecting to find someone during the party, but it would have been nice to share the new year with someone.
She looked around the room, glad to see that other people were having fun. Roxy was speaking to Jordan Samuels, former Hufflepuff geek Queen, who was holding hands with Zach Larson, former heartthrob of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Cody Finnegan was talking animatedly to Rose, as Scorpius glanced at her every few seconds. But he pretended to be invested in a conversation with Devon, his boyfriend Patrick, and one of Isabel's school friends, who was looking at Scorpius a little to intently.
Alice's eyes scanned over the crowd. She found no one she would have been interested in kissing, really no matter how lonely or desperate she became. Most she either knew too well or not nearly enough. She glanced at the clock. There was thirty seconds left in the old year. People began to count down.
Her eyes landed on Albus.
He too was surveying the crowd. Leaning against a wall with a red cup in his hand, it almost looked as if this was his own party and not one he had been invited to minutes before its start.
Twenty seconds left.
Alice looked at him and wondered if he still saw her as family. They hadn't had much one-on-one interaction over the years, so maybe he viewed her as more distantly related now. She gazed at him, looking him up and down. He had filled out since her schoolgirl crush on him, Auror training and age had a hand in that. Scars littered his exposed skin, including a fresh one on his forehead. His once shagging black hair had been cut short after his injury a few weeks before. All of this added up to him looking more severe than his childhood self. But not in a bad way by any means. If anything, his new gruff exterior intrigued her even more.
She heard her guests begin to count down from ten as she continued to try to figure Albus out.
They were at three seconds when his eyes met hers.
They didn't break eye contact until they were already in the new year.