Chapter 10 : Tell me your troubles and doubts
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Before Rose knew it, James' first Quidditch match had come and gone and they were on the train back to Hogwarts. James flew fantastically and Puddlemere won the match, much to everyone's delight. Violet had been ecstatic and Rose had never seen her quite so jubilant. The ease with which James' girlfriend now seemed to carry herself made Rose envious. Their situations had been very similar a few weeks previously, and now Violet seemed freer than she was before. James' number had been painted on her cheek and she wore one of his old Gryffindor jerseys with his last name across the back. She didn't have to hide her enthusiasm whenever James made a spectacular shot. Rose could picture herself doing the same for a certain blond haired Chaser during a Slytherin match.
Ever since Rose and Scorpius had made up, she'd been getting carried away with her emotions once again. She was noticing everything about him much more keenly; the way he moved and the infectious sound of his laugh. It was easy to get butterflies whenever his arm accidentally brushed against hers, and to share in his excitement whenever they talked about being Heads together. He was his old, confident self again. Her feelings were growing deeper now and she wasn't sure she would be able to stop herself from falling completely, even if she wanted to. And she was the type of girl who said she'd never let herself fall for a guy without knowing that he felt the same in return. She laughed and girls who fell for boys that didn't give them the time of day. It was making herself sick how hypocritical she was being.
She'd spent most of the week leading up to their departure for school with Scorpius, Al, and occasionally Erin, who'd been busy with her family and hadn't been around as much the last few weeks of summer. Her sister Alice had suddenly quit her job at the ministry a week after their grandmother's passing when Madame Rosmerta had offered her the opportunity to run The Three Broomsticks. The elderly landlady had wanted to retire but wasn't prepared to sell her beloved pub either, and she knew that Alice had experience from living above The Leaky Cauldron for most of her life. The eldest Longbottom had eagerly accepted the offer. Her parents were skeptical of the sudden change but had decided to do their best to support her decision. Alice had never been content working a desk job in the Department of Transportation and they didn't want to force her into doing something that made her unhappy. Erin had spent the last few days before term helping her sister move into her new flat in Hogsmeade.
"This means we'll get to see each other fairly often. Dad said she's more than welcome to come up to the castle for dinner on occasion. I think he wants us to have family dinners now and then which won't be the worst thing in the world. I've missed her over my years at Hogwarts so it'll be nice to reconnect."
They were loading their trunks into their compartment and Erin had hardly stopped talking since she and Rose had found each other on the platform.
"You should see her flat. We'll have to visit her during Hogsmeade weekends. She said we're always welcome."
"That'll be brilliant," chimed in Al, who had followed them into the compartment and caught the last part of their conversation.
"It'll be nice to have something different to do. Hogsmeade weekends started to get a little boring last year."
"Who says you were included in this invitation?" Erin shot at him. He raised his eyebrows at her in mild surprise.
"Well, someone's in a snappy mood."
"Maybe I'd be in a better one if you hadn't insisted on asking "how I'm holding up" half a dozen times since you laid eyes on me. I can take care of myself, you know."
Scorpius had come in just behind Al, and he and Rose shared a concerned look. Erin and Al both had a tendency to fly off the handle when it came to each other, and the way Erin had been on edge lately didn't promise a peaceful journey. Al was about to retort when Scorpius, ever the peace keeper, stepped in.
"We have to be going. Head duties and all that. You sure we can leave you two alone and still find you both living when we come back?"
Al rolled his eyes and Erin chuckled.
"As long as Al here can promise to remember that I'm fine, I think we'll be alright."
She locked eyes with Al, challenging him to contradict her. He let out a huff of breath before waving away their friends.
"Go on, we'll be fine, apparently. I can take a hint."
With that less than reassuring statement, Rose and Scorpius made their way to the prefects compartment, hoping that their friends would be able to survive without them. As they walked, the amount of responsibility they now held started to sink in for Rose. Soon they'd have to start putting out fires among other students and not just their best friends.
"Nervous?" Scorpius asked her quietly as they made their way down the train.
"Terrified," he chuckled at her.
They had reached the compartment and she gave him a reassuring smile.
"We've got this though. Nothing to be worried about, right?"
"Don't jinx us before term has even started, Weasley. You're practically asking for trouble with that statement," he joked.
They set about getting things in order as they waited for the other students to arrive. It was roughly fifteen minutes into the train ride when the first of the prefects started to show up. Rose didn't know some of the younger students so she took some time to introduce herself as everyone settled in. She knew the ones she was related to, obviously. Hugo, Lucy, and Molly were all there. Anastasia Bennett was the other Gryffindor prefect in Hugo's year and Rose was familiar with her, but mostly with the fact that Lily wasn't her biggest fan. Lucy's counterpart was Andrew Mitchell, a rather timid looking Hufflepuff that Rose knew to be exceptionally bright. She made her way around and greeted everyone, even the other Gryffindor prefect from her year, Devon Shepard, whom she had never been overly fond of. After what her aunt told her over the summer regarding his cold attitude towards Scorpius, Rose's opinion of him had sunk even lower.
Across the compartment, Rose could see Scorpius talking to a Ravenclaw prefect that she believed to be Molly's fellow sixth year. The Ravenclaw seemed to be doing most of the talking while Scorpius looked less than pleased with the conversation as he responded occasionally. She continued to steal surreptitious glances at her partner while trying to focus on talking to the other students.
"Alright everyone," Scorpius eventually called to the compartment at large, "if we can all take our seats, we'll get started."
Once they were finally all settled, Rose opened up the meeting. She and Scorpius had discussed how they were planning to run things beforehand. Rose would handle the welcome and description of duties as well as expectations, and Scorpius would hand out patrol schedules and discuss the do's and don'ts of rounds. They had moved onto that portion of the meeting and Rose was trying hard not to beam with pride at how well Scorpius was carrying himself.
"You're allowed to take points, but do this with discretion," he was saying as he handed out schedules. "You'll have to write up a report at the end of the night explaining the situation, and it will need to be signed by your patrol partner for accountability purposes. You can recommend a student receive a detention, but you can't give one out on the spot. This will be reported the same way as any point docking. You'll stick with the same patrol partner for the entire term. Please, no requesting to change based on preference. We consulted all of your schedules as far as extracurricular activities go, so you better have a good reason if you ask us to swap any of you permanently. If something important comes up and you need someone to take your shift, that's your responsibility to figure out, but don't make a habit of doing so. If you sub for someone, make sure to tell either myself or Rose who's shift you're taking. We don't want people abusing the system so we will be keeping tabs."
As he spoke, most of the students seemed to be respectful of Scorpius as they listened intently, but his housemates almost seemed bored, and Devon Shepard couldn't hide the derision on his face. Rose held her breath as her fellow Gryffindor raised his hand towards the end as Scorpius asked if there were any questions after the explanation of their guidelines.
"Yes, Shepard?" Scorpius acknowledged him.
"What did you bribe the Headmistress with?"
Scorpius stiffened but didn't allow his professional expression to shift.
"Pardon me?" he said curtly.
"All I'm saying is, the Headmistress has to be off her rocker by now if she wants a Death Eater spawn like you in charge of her students."
There was a general intake of breath around the compartment. Many of the students shot Devon dirty looks as he continued to sit there with his arms crossed and a smug look on his face. Even the Slytherins didn't looked too pleased. A few students were staring at the floor as if trying to mind their own business. Rose had stood up to stand by Scorpius's side but he stuck his arm out as if to keep her back.
"If you have a problem with me, Shepard, I'd appreciate it if you took it up with me in private next time. Any other questions?" he addressed the rest of the room. Everyone looked too scared to say anything as some shook their heads while others began to gather their things. The atmosphere was tense and Rose was having a hard time biting her tongue. Her pulse was racing and she was sure her face was flushed with anger.
Devon had a slightly pleased look on his face. He could tell he had gotten to the Head Boy. Rose could too. Scorpius had schooled his expressions to seem impassive, but the temper that he rarely let loose was bubbling just below the surface. When there were no further questions, Scorpius was quick to dismiss the majority of the prefects as the few who had to patrol the train stayed to receive further instruction before heading out as well. Hugo was one of the few who had stayed behind and he turned back to address the Head Boy before leaving with his patrol partner for the front end of the train.
"Don't pay him any mind, Scor. Devon's a prat and everyone knows it."
Scorpius nodded in appreciation at Hugo before the young prefect left the compartment. Once they were alone, Rose wasn't sure what to say to her friend. She was always so quick to tell him not to think so little of himself when he was the one doing the talking, but when someone else was saying it? It was hard to deny that no one saw him that way.
"You don't need to say anything, Rose. He's always been an arse to me, it's nothing knew."
She watched him pack up his notes and the leftover copies of the schedule, refusing to look at her.
"I didn't expect that," she said softly.
"You never do."
And he strode past her and out of the compartment, leaving her uncertain of what she could do to help him this time. Following him out, she jogged to catch up with his quick pace.
"It actually went rather well overall, don't you think? Aside from the statement by the pompous arse towards the end," she prompted, not wanting to walk in awkward silence and hoping to crack his stoic facade. It didn't matter to her if he smiled or scowled at her jab, as long as she got something out of him.
He just shrugged in response. Apparently making light of the situation wasn't helpful.
"Did you have a good time mingling with some of the other students? I saw you talking with the Ravenclaw prefect. What was his name again?" Maybe a different tactic would work and she could distract him from thinking about Devon Shepard. Changing the topic seemed like a safe option.
She was pleased that he had verbally responded, but he still wore a creased brow and a slight frown.
"Yes, he's in sixth year with Molly, right?"
He nodded in answer to her question.
"He seemed eager and friendly. What did you two talk about?" she asked.
"Just about plans for the year, my thoughts on house unity, shit like that."
He didn't seem too pleased by the way his conversation had gone with the prefect, and Rose grew slightly concerned as he continued.
"Even managed to note how surprised he'd been with the Headmistresses choice of Head Boy."
Rose's eyes widened with worry at his words. Had two students in the course of one hour questioned whether or not Scorpius deserved his new position?
"What do you mean? What did he say?"
He shrugged again before responding.
"Just that he'd been surprised when he'd heard and he wondered if I had been too. He did say he thinks I'll do a bang up job, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence, you know?"
He looked more depressed than upset now. Rose linked her arm with his and tugged on it affectionately.
"Hey, he's right you know? You've already done brilliantly. Don't listen to what people say, especially when they don't know what they're talking about."
By the time they reached the compartment, she hadn't been able to get him to say anything else and his somber demeanor hadn't changed. As much as she wanted to just fix things for her friend, Rose was beginning to realize that she might be out of her depth this time.
The feast had gone well enough and the new Muggle Studies teacher was everything that Dominique had described him to be. Malcolm Bray was tall and had the same warm brown hair as his younger sister, who had been beating off girls trying to gather information out of her as they blatantly stared at their dreamy new professor. His eyes were kind and he wasn't too muscular, sporting a rather lean build, and he seemed to be getting along well with Neville at the head table.
Scorpius had dragged Al over to the Slytherin table when they had entered the Great Hall, stating that they should start their final year the same way they'd started their first. The rest of the train ride had been a bit tense. Scorpius hadn't said anything to Al or Erin about what had happened during the prefects meeting, so Rose hadn't either. She could tell Al knew something was off based on her rigid demeanor, but Scorpius had acted as if nothing had happened and Erin did her usual brilliant job of remaining oblivious.
Rose was doing her best to not keep glancing over at the Slytherin table by trying to focus on the conversation that was being had between her dorm mates. Natasha Jones was going on about her summer spent in Paris, while Miranda Robertson was detailing the extensive camping trip she'd taken with her family. Rose and Erin got along well enough with Miranda, but neither could put up with Natasha for very long. They had one of the smaller classes of girls, but the seven boys in their year more than made up for it. In fact, it always made Rose wonder why Devon Shepard, out of all of the seventh year Gryffindor boys, was the one picked to be a prefect.
She was looking forward to having an opportunity to talk to Scorpius once they were in the Head's Common Room. She was sick of Natasha insisting that she had picked up a slight French accent during her time abroad, but it was worth it when Louis overheard from down the table and started asking her questions in rapid French. Her subsequent stammering and blush was priceless and it sent Rose off to her common room in slightly better spirits. It was on the seventh floor, just down the hall from the Room of Requirement. This made it difficult to throw elicit parties there, but her older cousins had always seemed to be able to pull them off over the years.
When she arrived, Scorpius was talking to the portrait that guarded their dorms and common room. It was of a middle aged woman, knitting in a rocking chair. She reminded Rose of her Grandma Weasley and the thought comforted her.
"We're supposed to pick a password," Scorpius said after he noticed her approaching.
"Have anything in mind?" she asked.
"Most students," the portrait chimed in, "pick something that they have in common so it's easier for both of them to remember."
"This is Margaret, by the way," Scorpius said, gesturing to the portrait. "Margaret, this is Rose, the Head Girl."
Rose and Margaret greeted each other.
"Well, how about 'The Burrow?'" Scorpius suggested.
"It doesn't have to be something to do with my family. It can be about yours," Rose offered.
"I'd rather it not," he responded quickly.
Deciding it best not to argue with him at the moment, Rose agreed. They made their way into the common room and she was thrilled with what she saw. The ceilings were high but the room gave off a cozy feel. A giant hearth housed a fire to the right of the portrait hole, and a couch with two arm chairs on either side of it sat across from the warm glow. On the other side of the fireplace were bookshelves that continued onto the wall perpendicular to it, interspersed with windows that reached the ceiling and had desks in front of them. To the left of the portrait hole was a small kitchenette, and on the back wall were two doors that Rose assumed led to their respective dormitories. The furniture was a rich maroon color and the walls were a deep forest green. The woodwork was a dark walnut and Rose couldn't have felt more comfortable in the intimate yet spacious room. She kicked off her shoes and sunk her toes into the deep, cream colored carpet, watching as her feet left imprints in the soft material.
Looking up, she saw Scorpius making himself at home in one of the armchairs and she moved to join him by the fire, taking the other one.
"Are we going to talk about this?" she asked as she sat down
His head was resting against the back of the chair and his eyes were closed. He opened them slowly and turned his head to look at her.
"What's there to talk about, Rose? No matter what you, or anyone else says, some people will always see me for who my family is and question my place in this world. And there's nothing you can do about it, so why bother?"
She sat there for a moment, contemplating the day's events and what Scorpius had just said.
"I guess I hadn't really ever witnessed it in person. Honestly, it shocked me. I can't believe anyone would say something like what Shepard did."
Scorpius sat forward and rested his head in his hands, covering his eyes and muffling his voice.
"Yeah, well, I've had more than enough experience to last a lifetime and it still manages to shock me whenever I hear it as well."
He sounded so resigned when he said it and it worried Rose.
"Maybe it's about time I just embrace who I am. Give the people what they want, what they're expecting."
Now she was scared. He couldn't actually mean that and she told him as much. He shrugged his shoulders as he sat back and gazed into the fire.
"Maybe I do. Maybe it's about time I start hanging around my own kind."
"Scorpius, we're your own kind. I'm your own kind. Stop talking about this as if people belong to different classes. We're all the same, and only pigheaded idiots still manage to think otherwise. Maybe you're looking at this all wrong. Maybe this is your chance to prove that there is no difference between you and the rest of the wizarding world. That you deserve to be Head Boy just as much as I deserve to be Head Girl. If not more so."
By the end of her speech she was standing between him and the fire and he was looking at her fondly as she spoke with conviction, hoping he would actually hear her. She hadn't anticipated having almost the exact same conversation they'd had a week ago, especially not this soon. While this was slightly different, she didn't expect to have to convince him of his worth twice in one week, and it was becoming exhausting to continue to do so.
"Maybe you're right," he said, standing and stretching with a yawn.
"I'll try not to let it get to me. It's just one prat after all, how much harm can he do?"
Rose smiled at him, relieved that he was letting it go, at least for the moment.
"Good. Now, I think it's time we get some shut eye. Classes might not start til Monday, but we've had a long day, and I for one am very much looking forward to having a dorm all to myself this year."
Scorpius chuckled at her as they headed towards their dorms.
"Poor Erin. I expect we'll be seeing a lot of her around here."
"About that," Rose said, stopping right outside her room and turning to face Scorpius as he paused outside his own.
"I was thinking we give the password to one person each, and I was thinking it could be Al and Erin, if that's alright with you. I don't fancy us getting overrun by my entire family so I'd rather only a couple people know."
Scorpius was quick to agree with her suggestion and they bade each other goodnight as Rose opened the door to her dorm, stopping short in awe as she entered. The room was decked out in Gryffindor colors and the four poster bed on the back wall looked slightly bigger than her old one. A beautiful vanity sat in one corner, and a large wardrobe in another. Her bathroom was to her right and she quickly looked in to find a claw foot tub and a shower stall along with the sink and toilet.
As she made her way towards where her trunk was positioned at the end of her four poster, she hoped that their first day would be the only instance where derision and contempt were shown by their fellow classmates. It might have been naive of her to wish for such a thing, but if Scorpius was going to succeed, he needed not just her support, but the support of the students as a whole. Part of her wanted to go to Professor McGonagall, but Scorpius wouldn't have appreciated that either. Unable to spend more time thinking about all of it, she decided she was too mentally and physically exhausted to unpack just yet and quickly changed into her pajamas before climbing into her new bed, which she assumed was what heaven felt like, and quickly drifting off to sleep.
A/N: I kind of agonized over this one so I hope it works well. Thanks for all the kind reviews! Happy Reading :)
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