Chapter 8 : But what goes up must come down
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Everyone was ecstatic for Rose and Scorpius and the cloud that had hung over the families due to the recent loss was lessened amidst all of the excitement. After going to see Rose, Scorpius went with her to the Potter's to tell Al, who wasn't surprised in the least. The newly appointed Head Boy informed them, along with Ginny and Lily, that his parent's had offered to have an informal get together in celebration the following day, which happened to be a Friday night.
"Mum knows that you've had a lot going on with being there for Neville and his family, and it's rare that you ever come over, so she wanted me to extend the invitation. And she said she'd especially want to do one if we both got it. She actually already floo called your mum at work, Rose, and she seemed fine with it. I know it's last minute and all and it's probably inconvenient, not to mention likely to be embarrassing. My mum is an expert at making an unnecessary fuss over me, but I think she'd really appreciate it if you came, so yeah..."
He seemed nervous as he spoke, though Rose wasn't sure why. She'd actually never been to Malfoy Manor, but Albus had spent a decent amount of time there. Rose had been invited, but her mother had always given her a reason that she couldn't go whenever she'd asked if she could. She was slightly suspicious about this behaviour, but she also knew that her mother genuinely liked Scorpius. Her father even seemed to have a soft spot for him. Seeing as her mother had given her consent this time, it seemed as if she hadn't had any reason to be suspicious at all.
Ginny assured him that they would love to come, while he communicated that anyone they wanted to invite was welcome. This lead to the majority of the Potter/Weasley collective showing up at Malfoy Manor that Friday night. Rose was giddy with excitement and Hugo was grumbling about how hungry he was as they walked up to the front entrance. She couldn't help but notice, however, that both of her parents seemed slightly on edge as they followed their children. All of this fled her mind the moment she saw Scorpius open the door.
He was dressed in muggle attire: dark wash jeans, a soft, gray jumper, and a pair of black socks on his feet. Rose had never remembered seeing him look quite as comfortable as he did when he welcomed them into his home. He looked slightly nervous as he greeted her parents though, and Hermione gave him a reassuring smile as she began to relax in his presence. Ron still seemed rather stoic, but shook his hand in a firm, yet friendly grip, along with a pat on the back. Scorpius breathed a sigh of relief as Hugo and Rose's parents moved forward into the house and were greeted by Draco and Astoria.
"Relax, will you. Our mothers love each other and our fathers can put up with their differences for one evening. They've done it before," Rose reassured Scorpius. He fidgeted slightly with his sleeves in an agitated manner before letting out a puff of air as if he had been holding his breath the whole time.
"You're right," he said, as he ran his hands through his hair in an attempt to calm his nerves. "That's not exactly what I'm worried about though."
She was about to ask what he meant when the doorbell rang and he was forced to return to his duties as host. The Potters made their entrance as Rose turned to join her family in what looked like a parlor or family room. She had to pass the closed door of another room before she reached it, and she only gave a momentary thought as to where it led. She was sure this house was filled with an abundance of rooms as well as a secret or two. As she moved towards her family, she noticed her father, Hugo, and Draco examining an exquisite marble chess set in a corner of the room, while her mother looked to be in a serious conversation with Astoria. Rose could swear she saw tears threaten to form in her mother's eyes before she smiled and embraced Astoria firmly. The women broke apart and noticed Rose walking towards them, looking concerned.
Astoria waved her hand as if to tell her to disregard the emotional state that both women seemed to be in.
"You'll have to excuse us dear," Mrs. Malfoy began, "our babies are growing up so fast."
Rose let out a sigh of relief that it wasn't something serious. Apparently their mothers were just having a maternal moment.
"Well, you've still got Hugo to worry about, Mum. Don't go thinking you'll get rid of him so easily. He won't go anywhere as long as you continue to feed him."
The women shared a laugh at this as the Potters entered the room, followed by a host of more Weasleys. The girls were all quick to rush Rose in congratulations.
"Please, please tell me you'll let me visit you in the heads common room," Lily begged. "I've always wanted to see it. I've heard it has a direct line to the kitchens and you always have an assortment of food available."
Rose laughed at her cousin's enthusiasm. Lily may be tiny, but she could challenge Hugo when it came to who could put away more food.
"You'll have such a nice, quiet place to study for your N.E.W.T.s. You're so lucky." Molly looked like she had never been more jealous of anything in the world.
Lucy started asking questions as well and it got to the point where they were all talking over each other. The most common theme among their questions seemed to be the privileges that would be extended to them with Rose's new position, especially the use of the common room.
"I can't promise anything," Rose spoke over them, gaining their full attention. "I share the room, you know. I'll have to ask Scorpius what he thinks. By the way Luce, I heard you made prefect as well. Congratulations!"
Lucy blushed and expressed her thanks.
"You know," Lily said with an eager look on her face, changing back to the previous topic. "Roxanne told me once that Lorcan and his co-head each gave the password to one other person. He gave it to her and the Head Girl gave it to her boyfriend. But I'm sure you could give it to a friend or, say, a cousin instead."
Rose gave her a crooked grin.
"Well then, seeing as neither of us have significant others we will have to make other arrangements."
They all looked at her in anticipation and she rolled her eyes.
"You honestly think I'd just pick one of you with you all staring at me like that? Doesn't it make more sense that we'd give it to Erin and Al anyway?"
They all deflated at this and Lily looked like she was about to argue before Molly changed the subject.
"Ethan told me that the common room was a mix of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw colors last year to represent the two heads' houses. I guess yours will be Gryffindor and Slytherin! I wonder when that happened last."
They continued to discuss all the different prospects of Rose's duties and the next year in general when Erin and Ethan showed up. Rose was pleased to see her best friend looking so well, even though she had yet to show any visible signs of grieving. Ethan looked a little haggard, but he had recently begun Auror training as well so that came as no surprise. Erin greeted Al and Scorpius as Harry and Hugo approached Ethan. Rose's younger brother had always looked up to Ethan. They were vastly different, but they both had an eye for strategy and could spend hours sitting across from each other with a chessboard between them. It was one of the places that Hugo was most likely to open up, so Ethan had gotten to know him relatively well. She turned and noticed that her father and Draco were having what looked to be a very serious conversation in a secluded corner of the room as they both kept glancing at their wives. The women both appeared to have regained their composer, though her mother seemed to not quite be her usual, poised self. She was distracted from her observations by two arms engulfing her from behind.
"Cheers, Rosie!" Erin greeted her friend as she gripped her in an exuberant hug. Rose laughed at Erin's enthusiasm before stepping away to turn and grin at her.
"Thanks, Erin. Part of me still can't quite wrap my head around it."
Erin scoffed. "Come off it, Rosie. You knew you were going to get it. You were probably more worried that Scorpius wouldn't. Lord knows you would have cried if it had gone to someone else."
Rose willed herself not to blush. "I was also referring to the fact that we're actually seventh years now. And quite the opposite, actually. I was almost positive it would be him. But I guess you're right, I would have hated not to be able to do it with him if only one of us got it. I also think we'll work very well together. We'll be efficient, a well oiled machine by the end of the first term. I know it."
Erin chuckled at how seriously her friend took anything to do with her education, even if it were extracurricular. But it was one of the things she loved about Rose, so she wasn't about to mock her for it.
"Well, I'm happy for you both. It seems like everyone else is as well. Quite a show they've put on for the two of you."
Rose took in their surroundings and noticed the decor for the first time. A gold and silver banner hung above the food table at the back of the room that read Congratulations to the New Head Boy & Girl. There were streamers lining the walls and balloons tied to various pieces of furniture.
The other girls had wandered off to talk to various people. Lily was with Al and Scorpius, while Louis, Lucy and Hugo started in on the food and Molly talked to Ethan and Teddy. Apparently he had arrived with Victoire when Rose wasn't paying attention. Her eldest cousin was now talking with all of the mothers in the room, most likely about wedding details. Rose took the opportunity of having a moment alone with her friend to see if she could get her to share how she was managing the recent hand she'd been dealt. Brushing off questions had been her go to move all week.
"So," Rose began tentatively, "how're you holding up?"
"Oh," Erin quickly waved her off, "I'm fantastic. Shall we say hello to your Aunt Audrey? She always gives me a laugh." She walked off towards the tall, slender brunette and Rose sighed in defeat.
While she hadn't looked well the first few days after Augusta Longbottom's passing, Erin now seemed very well put together. Her shoulder length, wavy blonde hair was half pulled back and well groomed, and she was dressed in a floral skirt and navy tank top. The only real difference Rose noticed was in her eyes. They weren't quite as lively as they used to be. She had yet to get Erin to open up at all since her great-grandmother's passing. She had asked how she was on a few occasions in an effort to get her to talk, but she had so far been unsuccessful in her attempts. The only real positive that she noticed was a renewed closeness between all of the Longbottom siblings, Erin and Alice in particular. Rose knew Alice would have been at Malfoy Manor as well if she wasn't helping her mother out at the inn.
Deciding to give up her attempts to get Erin to talk as a bad job, she went to join the rest of the party, meeting Teddy's eyes across the room. He broke away from his conversation and approach her, giving her a brotherly hug and an affectionate noogie.
They weren't related by blood, but Teddy had been a part of the family for her whole life. She didn't know what her family was like without him. He had developed a relationship with the Malfoy's over the years as well. His grandmother had reached out to her sister after the war, and the two had made strides to mend their broken relationship. It was never the same as it had been when they were young, but Andromeda wanted Teddy to know his family, especially after losing his parents.
Teddy had become something of an older brother to Scorpius over the years. It helped to solidify the bond between the two of them when Albus and Scorpius met once they started Hogwarts. He was over at the Potter's all the time, and when Teddy, James, Al, and Scorpius got together, it tended to spell trouble. While Teddy tried to show some responsibility, the younger boys always managed to bring out the child in him. Rose vividly remembered one day during the summer after her first year when a rather rambunctious game of indoor keep away got slightly out of hand. James had suggested that they add an extra quaffle and bludgers to the equation, and Rose and Lily retreated upstairs at that point, scared for their safety. The harsh scolding given by Ginny Potter, the sound of which had carried up the stairs, had scared Rose into never doing anything that would cause her aunt to yell at her in that way.
"Congrats, Rosie. I always knew you had it in you."
Rose laughed as she threw her cousin off.
"Thanks, Ted. I suppose it runs in the family."
Teddy had been Head Boy during his final year at Hogwarts, and he was now positively beaming at Rose. She wasn't sure if it was with pride, or if he was just deliriously happy with life in general. It had taken him awhile to get his spunk back after the passing of his grandmother, but now that wedding planning was in full swing and they had a date set, he seemed like his old self. His hair had remained black for months, but it was now his trademark turquoise.
"And who'd have thought that both of my cousins would be heads together. Knowing you both, I think you'll make a spectacular team."
Rose thanked him again before asked how things were going in the Auror department.
"Not bad. The hours aren't the greatest at the moment, but my squad partners are a laugh, so that makes things better when we're working long hours into the night."
"Do you interact with the trainees at all?"
"Oh yes," he chuckled. "We get to go up against them during some training exercises roughly once a week. Ethan's been doing a bang up job, actually. You wouldn't think it if you knew him based on his demeanor so I was pleasantly surprised. He does look cut out for it though."
Rose noticed that Ethan did look like he had filled out a little since starting his training. He had always had a lean build, but his arms and chest seemed to be more solid. He caught them watching him and excused himself from his conversation with Percy before making his way over.
"Hope you're not spreading lies about me, Lupin. I'll have you know, Rose, that I'm top of my class at the moment."
Rose looked at Ethan in delighted surprise. His closely cropped brown hair still had a slight coife to it that was becoming, and his green eyes sparkled with life. He wasn't normally this confident, or cheeky for that matter. Teddy looked slightly surprised as well, but chuckled at the young man.
"No worries, Longbottom. I would never do such a thing."
Ethan seems satisfied with his answer and turned to Rose.
"I don't think I got to congratulate you yet, Rose. Speaking as a former head, I'm sure you're more than up to the task."
"I hope so. How've you been doing? I know you've had a lot to deal with all at once."
His smile faltered and the light in his eyes deadened, but only slightly.
"I'm holding it together. Erin's not taking it well, though you probably know that. She hasn't even talked about it really. But I'm glad I have work to distract me. Keeps my mind off it."
Rose gave him an understanding smile as Teddy gripped his shoulder. Ethan looked grateful for their support.
"So you're enjoying training?" Rose asked.
He shrugged his shoulders, his troubles already forgotten and genuinely excited about the work he was doing.
"Can't complain really. Not only am I actually enjoying it, but I can't exactly speak ill of the man in charge can I?"
Rose and Teddy laughed.
"Don't worry, I think he's out of earshot."
"Who is, Ted?" asked the man himself, coming up behind Ethan. Teddy and Rose laughed harder at the terrified expression on Ethan's face. He turned nervously towards Harry.
"Nothing sir, they're just taking the mickey. Sir."
Harry clapped a hand on the young auror's shoulder.
"What have I told you about calling me that outside of work?"
Ethan looked abashed but gave Harry a slight grin. The Head Auror shot a look at his godson who wore a mask of innocence.
"Try not to be too hard on him Teddy. The bloke deserves at least one day off."
Roughly an hour later, as Rose was enjoying the company of Scorpius and Louis along with some of the delicious food the Malfoy's had provided, her father approached her with an exhausted look on his face.
"Your mother and I are going to head home. She's a little tired."
He turned to Scorpius and shook his hand.
"I'm sure we'll see you in a few weeks, but best of luck with this one. She's a lot to handle at times." Her father had a slight smirk on his face as Louis and Scorpius chuckled appreciatively at his comment and Rose's red face. Ron lent in to give her a kiss on the cheek in farewell.
"We'll expect you and your brother to be home by midnight. We're so proud of you Rosie."
His eyes showed the truth of his statement as he gave his final goodbye and walked towards his wife who was saying farewell to Astoria and looking very eager to leave. Scorpius seemed to have noticed their parents odd behaviour throughout the night as well, and followed Ron with a simple "I'll be right back," to Rose and Louis.
They watched as he approached Ron and offered his hand again. Rose could just make out that he was thanking them for coming, before he turned towards her mother and dropped his voice. Rose watched in surprise as tears welled up in her mother's eyes before she embraced Scorpius in an affectionate and motherly hug. Astoria and Draco were looking at the scene in pride as Ron looked close to tears as well. They said their final goodbyes and it didn't appear that anyone other than she and Louis had noticed the exchange.
"What was that all about?" she asked Scorpius as he approached them again.
He merely shrugged and said he was just thanking them for coming. Louis was able to shrug it off and accept the excuse, but Rose knew there was something they weren't telling her and she was determined to get to the bottom of it.
"How about we break out the ice cream?" Scorpius suggested to the room at large, and the atmosphere returned to normal.
The merriment continued and they carried on into the evening until the rest of the parents began to say their goodbyes around ten o'clock. The children were allowed to stay with the promise that they would floo home no later than midnight. James had to be at training early the next day so he had left with the adults. Fred and Roxanne weren't able to come and Ethan and Erin had also left early at his insistence that they were needed at home. Teddy and VIctoire had opted to stay and spend some time with their younger cousins, much to their delight. They all lounged around the room, their desire to stay upright nonexistent. Rose was sitting on the floor in front of Victoire as the older girl braided her hair with Teddy sat next to her on the couch. Louis was taking up the other half of the couch and Hugo was as good as passed out in one of the armchairs. Molly, Lucy, and Dom were stretched out on the floor in front of the fire while Scorpius, Lily, and Al shared the other couch. Scorpius was flipping through a quidditch magazine and batting away Al's feet as he tried to stick them in his face. The younger Potter boy was lying on his back with his head against Lily's thigh. One of his arms was pulled behind his head and draped over her lap as she used a pen to doodle all over his limb. She always kept one of the muggle tools on her, and her current activity was a small way that Al indulged his little sister, especially when there was no parchment to be found. She got incredibly creative during late night hours and was a brilliant artist. No one knew where her talent had come from as no one else in the family shared it.
As they sat around the fire, enjoying one of the more peaceful moments of the day, the conversation, inevitably, had gotten around to the wedding.
"Are we still carrying on with all our usual holiday traditions though?" Al asked.
"I don't see why not," Teddy said. "We're getting married a week after Christmas for a reason, you know. We don't want to disrupt things too much. Granted, we won't have the same New Year's bash this time, but it'll still be one hell of a party." He grinned at his fiance who always wore a permanent smile on her face whenever she was in his presence. She was shooting glances at him, grinning broadly as she finished off Rose's braid.
"Do you two have to be so sickeningly sweet?" Louis asked. "It's rather disgusting."
Teddy grabbed his future brother-in-law by the leg and successfully flung him off the couch, much to the entertainment of everyone else in the room.
"I sometimes wonder why I ever wanted a brother," Louis grumbled as he pulled himself off the floor but refused to resume his place on the couch, taking a vacant armchair instead.
"Speaking of brothers," Teddy changed the subject, "I hear a friend of mine will be one of your new professors this year."
Everyone looked somewhat interested at this news, but Lily quirked her eyebrow at her godbrother as she finished off the landscape that was now covering Al's arm.
"What does that have to do with brothers?"
"Oh, right. You're friends with Charlotte Bray, aren't you?"
"It's her older brother, Malcolm."
Everyone who wasn't paying as much attention before certainly was now. Hugo looked more awake and the girls on the floor had sat up.
"You mean the one with the dark, wavy hair? Rather tall?" Dom asked.
"That's the one."
"Oh you lot are so lucky. He's so fit," Dom gushed, and all the other girls giggled as they nodded in agreement with Dominique's assessment.
The boys gave a collective eye roll as Teddy tried to regain control of the conversation.
"Anyway, he was the same year as me at Hogwarts and we were prefects together. He told me the other day that he's the new Muggle Studies teacher."
"Oh that's brilliant!" Rose said. "I can't wait to see what changes he'll make. Not that Professor Bancroft wasn't good, mind, but she was getting on in years. I felt like we went through the same material over and over again."
"Does Charlotte know?" Lily asked, ignoring Rose's attempt to discuss school. "She hasn't mentioned it to me."
Teddy shrugged in his ignorance.
"That's all I know, honestly."
The topic changed to the plans for the upcoming weekend at the Potter's and jumped around to various other subjects until Victoire announced that it was time she and Teddy left.
"I have an exam on Monday and loads of revising to do in the meantime," she informed them. Victoire had spent her first few years out of Hogwarts working a desk job in the ministry for the Muggle Liaison Office before deciding to enroll in a muggle university. She wanted to pursue her work further and thought the best way to gain practical knowledge about working with muggles was to interact with them on a daily basis. She had always loved learning as well and was very excited to try something new. Not to mention that she was taking night classes, which fit well with Teddy's schedule. Her supervisors had approved and were even helping fund her classes and allowing her to work fewer hours. She seemed to be loving every minute of it.
They all bade them goodbye and noticed that it had reached quarter to midnight. They collectively began to rouse themselves, cleaning up the last of the cups and plates that had gathered over the course of the evening. It had been a wonderful night, but Rose couldn't stop thinking about the interaction that she had seen between her parents and Scorpius, along with the overall behavior of both sets of parents throughout the night, so she followed him into the kitchen with a stack of dishes as the others continued to take down the decorations and gather up trash.
"Hey," she began tentatively, placing the plates she was carring on the island in the middle of the room as he placed some beside the sink. He glanced back at her and smiled in greeting.
"Can I ask you something?" she asked
He turned and leaned back against the sink, his hands resting on the countertop and an open expression on his face.
"Sure, what's up?"
The island stood between them and she braced herself against it.
"What was going on with my parents tonight? I know you know, so don't even bother trying to deny it," she cut him off. He looked like he was about to protest the fact that anything was going on.
He sighed and hung his head before looking up at her.
"Rosie, If you don't know, then I certainly can't be the one to tell you."
His response did nothing but frustrate her.
"Scorpius, come on. Something's going on and we tell each other everything, don't we?"
She knew this wasn't entirely true. He didn't know what her feelings were for him, for example. But everything else? They had never had a problem being open with each other over the past few years. He seemed to struggle internally with himself before speaking again.
"Rose I wish I could tell you. Better yet I wish you just knew. But it's not my place. You have to trust me on this. This has to come from your parents."
He was looking pleadingly at her, willing her not to argue.
"How come you know and I don't?"
Apparently, she wasn't quite ready to let this go.
"You'll have to take that up with your parents."
She stewed for a moment before he spoke again.
"Can I make a request though?"
She was slightly surprised by his words but nodded her head. He let out a deep breath before continuing.
"Don't ask unless you really want to know the truth. It's not an easy one to hear, nor is it easy to tell. And please, try not to see me differently afterwards, even though you probably will."
Rose took in his words and was simultaneously afraid to hear the truth her parents had to tell, and angry at Scorpius. Why couldn't he just have some faith in her? In their friendship? He had shown confidence in what they had over the past year and he hadn't really talked like this since they were sixteen.
"What makes you think my opinion of you would ever change?" she said rather heatedly, "You're my best friend Scorpius Malfoy, so get your head out of your arse and accept it."
He looked dumbstruck at her words as she turned to leave the kitchen. She was just about to fling the door open when he called her name. Her hand stilled on the doorknob but she didn't turn around as he spoke quietly.
"Just remember that we come from vastly different backgrounds, and some things are hard to forgive and even harder to forget."
She looked over her shoulder to see that he almost looked resigned. Resigned to the fact that there was something that could cause her to turn her back on him. It only made her angrier.
"That may be, but it's high time you accept who we both are and say to hell with the rest of it. I'm tired of reminding you that, despite your doubts and whatever it is the world tells you, I actually do care about you."
And with that, she walked out of the room.
A/N: Dun dun duuuunnn.. Trouble in paradise? People keeping secrets?
Thoughts? Feelings? Let me know in the form of a review! And we finally get some Teddy Lupin :)
One more chapter before we head back to Hogwarts! Excited for the upcoming school year? Thanks for reading!
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