The Trials and Tribulations of Hogwarts

The daughter of two-thirds of the Golden Trio and the son of a Death Eater. Even though her father warned her off him, Rose can't help but feel sorry for Scorpius Malfoy. So this is the progression of their school career.

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1. Part 1

I know it's long, but don't be scared. It's very easy to read.

The Trials and Tribulations of Hogwarts

Rose wasn’t sure what to think of Scorpius when she got onto the train. She remembered what her father had said, of course, but from what she could see, Scorpius didn’t seem too bad.

The others did, though. One of the slightly older boys, flanked by a couple of smaller replicates, sneered at him and said, “Malfoy,” in a tone that betrayed hatred. The boy shrank back slightly before squaring his shoulders and meeting their eyes steadily.

Rose wanted to keep watching, but Albus tugged on her arm. “James has gone,” he said before ducking into a carriage, pulling Rose after him.

“Where did he go?”

“I don’t know. He went with some friends. Who were you staring at there?”

Rose frowned. She loved Albus, more than even Hugo, but she hated that he was so observant. “No one,” she lied breezily. Albus rolled his eyes as the door slid open behind them.

“Do you mind if I sit with you? Everywhere else is full.”

Rose shot a look over her shoulder as Albus said, “Yeah, sure.” She pursed her lips when she saw Scorpius, his previously meticulously groomed hair messy almost beyond recognition. “Scorpius, right?” Albus asked as the other boy sat down.

Rose sat as far away from him as she could in the carriage as he nodded in answer, tugging at his blue hoody which had a newly-made hole in it.

“I’m Albus. This is Rose.”

Scorpius seemed wary as he looked at Rose. She gave him a curt nod and turned away to look outside the window at the quickly-passing countryside.

“So… what house do you think you’ll be sorted into?” Albus asked. Rose closed her eyes and shook her head. Another thing; Albus could be way too insensitive.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Scorpius said, seemingly a bit bewildered.

“Really?” Rose said dryly. “Albus hasn’t stopped talking about it. Since we were about five.”

Scorpius gave a small smile, which transformed his entire face. Instead of a mixture of haughty and nervous, he looked… joyful. Someone anyone would want to just be near. She looked away, frowning out the window again. Dimly, she realised that Albus was talking to Scorpius again, and Scorpius was relaxing. By the time the train stopped, they were laughing like old friends.

“Oh, we’re stopping,” Scorpius said, something a bit like fear in his voice. Rose narrowed her eyes at him. She could imagine that Scorpius would get on her nerves; everything seemed to scare him. He met her eyes uncertainly. His were so pale blue they were almost grey, and there seemed to be unfathomable depths of emotion. It was as if she could see exactly what he was thinking, and for a moment, she could empathise. It was hard enough being the child of two-thirds of the golden trio, but she could see it was more difficult for him, being the child of an ex-Death Eater.

The phrase slipped through into her mind and she flinched. Scorpius lowered his eyes.

~[*]~

Scorpius tried not to meet anybody’s eyes as he followed the crowd out the door and onto the platform. Albus stuck with him, chattering on endlessly about what his parents had told him about the school. Scorpius didn’t say anything; his father never talked much about Hogwarts.

“Hagrid!” he suddenly exclaimed when they emerged. Scorpius started – it seemed an odd thing for even Albus to say – and looked up at the largest man he’d ever seen.

“Hello there, Albus, Rose.”

“This is Scorpius,” Rose said, coming up next to Scorpius. He shifted back a few centimetres.

“And I’d say yer a Malfoy, Scorpius. Nice to meetya.”

He turned away, whistling cheerfully between hollers of, “First years this way!”

“I’d say he doesn’t like Malfoys,” Scorpius muttered.

Rose frowned at him, though Scorpius refused to meet her eyes. They were too clear and almost all-seeing. He could tell she didn’t trust him – or like him – one bit. “He won’t mind who you are by name. Hagrid’s against prejudice,” she said haughtily, before sauntering off in the direction Hagrid was going.

“Don’t mind her,” Albus said. “She’ll warm up to you in a few years or so.” He laughed at Scorpius’s expression. “It’s a joke, Scorp. Lighten up. She takes a bit of getting used to. Just take everything she says with a pinch of salt. If you talk back at her she’ll respect you.”

“I’ve never talked back to anyone in my life.”

Albus smirked. “You’ll learn.”

~[*]~

“Malfoy, Scorpius!”

Whispers started echoing around the room, and Rose rolled her eyes. It was pathetic, really. She could only imagine the whispers that would occur when Albus was told to go up.

Although these whispers were almost… malevolent.

Scorpius’s ears were tinged red when he went up to the stool, and there were cruel, half stifled laughs when he tripped up and almost fell onto the stage. Rose felt suddenly protective of him, as she had when the older boys had crowded around him. No matter what his father had done, taking it out on the boy was wrong.

The hat fell over his eyes and Rose could see his knuckles going paler as his hands clenched onto the side of the seat. It was almost silent for a long time (‘almost’ because some people were still whispering and muttering amongst themselves), before the sorting hat cried out, “Ravenclaw!”

The Great Hall was almost silent for a moment as Professor Faber removed the Sorting Hat from Scorpius’s head. There was some half-hearted clapping at the Ravenclaw table, which died out quickly. Scorpius was blushing deep red by now, and he went to his seat at the table with his head ducked down.

Professor Faber looked mildly sorry for him, but didn’t remark on it.

The contrast from when Albus was chosen to be in Slytherin was immense. Albus looked slightly shell-shocked, but walked calmly to his place. The expressions on some of the other students ranged from disbelief to relief. After all the bad press they got (being the house that Voldemort was in and everything), getting a child of one of the Golden Trio would help make them seem better. Rose shot a look around to see James sitting at the Gryffindor table with a slightly discouraged look.

“Weasley, Rose!”

Rose made her way to the stool and sat on it. She saw a glimpse of Scorpius’s face before the hat descended on her.

“Oh, another Weasley, huh? Let’s see, let’s see…” the hat whispered softly in her ear. “I did want to put your mother in Ravenclaw to begin with, but you have your father’s bravery as well. You have a desire to prove yourself, though… determined. A bit lazy, I see.” The hat was silent for a minute. “Alright, I’ve made my decision. GRYFFINDOR!”

Rose relaxed. And as she walked to the table amongst the cheers and clapping, she could feel her mouth tilt up into a smile (which was rare enough in itself). James made room for her next to him and put an arm around her shoulder. “Good going, good going,” he said, ruffling her hair like he always did. “You’ll do great, Rose.”

But Rose couldn’t help shooting a glance a Scorpius, who was hunched over and sitting alone.

~[*]~

The next week seemed to get worse and worse for Scorpius.

Albus was still talking to him, which was nice, and he had Rose in most of his lessons, but apart from that he was completely alone. He could tell by the way people looked at him that they thought he was substandard, not worth talking to. They weren’t outright mean to him (at least, most of the time), but the sheer amount of times that people would glare at him when he walked into the room made him wonder how long it would take before they started hurting him.

And, actually, he didn’t have to wonder long.

Rose, Albus and Scorpius were walking out of their Potions class – the only class they had together – when some of the other first years barged into Scorpius. Rose paused in the story she was telling, but Scorpius didn’t respond; it happened quite a lot.

“What are you going to do, then, Malfoy?” one of the biggest boys, a Gryffindor called Dan said. He pushed Scorpius, but again Scorpius didn’t respond.

“Dan!” Rose said indignantly.

“Look, he’s being the ‘better man’, not responding,” Dan said to the boys next to him. They laughed.

“Better man,” one of them repeated stupidly.

Dan shoved Scorpius again, this time hard enough to push him to the ground, and Scorpius shrank into himself, trying to make himself smaller, less of a target.

The cruel, raucous laughter told him that he didn’t succeed, but the blow Scorpius expected didn’t come. There was a thud like someone punching playdough, and an ‘oof’, before Albus shouted, “Rose!” Scorpius looked up to see Rose looking slightly haughty, as she always did, but this time she was massaging her left hand and Dan was sprawled on the ground in front of her.

“Miss Weasley!”

Professor Hibbert, the Potions professor came out to see the exact same image, but she obviously saw it a different way Scorpius saw it.

“I’m sorry, Professor, but he deserved it.”

Professor Hibbert narrowed her eyes at Rose. “I reserve the right to punish students, not you. Detention.”

“No!” Scorpius shouted before he could help himself. He shivered when she turned her cold eyes on him. “It wasn’t her fault. Don’t punish her.”

“Mr Malfoy, I come out here to see Mr McTay on the floor in front of Miss Weasley with a broken nose. I think I can tell whose fault it was. Mr Potter,” she said, nodding at Albus. “If you could help Mr McTay to the Hospital Wing. It would seem his friends have deserted him.”

Scorpius jumped up. “Professor--!”

“Mr Malfoy, students are not allowed to go around punching other students! Miss Weasley, Wednesday at eight ‘o’clock, if you please.”

Rose ducked her head.

“Why did you do that?” Scorpius hissed as soon as she left. Rose didn’t answer and started walking through the corridor to the staircase. “Rose!” he said, before running after her. “Answer me, Rose.”

“What, it’s so wrong to want to protect my friend? I hate it when people treat you like that.”

“I deal with it.”

“No. No, you don’t, Scorpius,” she turned to him, and Scorpius was left speechless by the intensity in her gaze. She never got this passionate about anything but being the best in class. “You let them walk over you. You’ve never stood up for yourself. Never. And I’m sick of that.”

Scorpius frowned. “So, what, you’re angry at me?”

“Yes!”

“There’s nothing I can do about it.”

She shouted something incomprehensible and turned eyes bright as stars on him. “Then I can’t help you.”

She stalked off, but this time Scorpius didn’t follow her.

Of course, he couldn’t sit anywhere near her or Albus during dinner, but there was always a bit of downtime afterwards. Albus came with him to the library, and sure enough they found Rose there pouring over some books.

She didn’t acknowledge them other than a quick glance in their direction, but Scorpius didn’t let that deter him.

“Just because I think it was a pretty stupid thing to do doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate it,” Scorpius said, sitting next to her.

She watched him with those piercing eyes that always made Scorpius wonder whether she actually liked him at all or not. There did seem to always be that distrust.

“I protect my friends,” she said firmly.

~[*]~

“So where abouts are you going for the Christmas holidays?” Albus asked Scorpius.

Rose opened up her book, already disinterested. Of course, she was looking forward to seeing her family again, but she was looking forward more to what they were learning at school. She skipped forwards a couple of chapters in Beginner Spells and Potions to what they would be learning in a few weeks’ time and pointed her wand at a nearby pebble. “Wingardium Leviosa,” she muttered under her breath, swishing and flicking her wand. The pebble shook a little bit, but didn’t levitate. She narrowed her eyes in concentration as Scorpius answered. “Just home. We don’t tend to do much special. Dad hates the looks he gets when we’re out.”

Some part of Rose which was still focussing on the conversation felt an echo of pity for the Malfoy family before muttering the incantation again.

“Yeah, well I’ve seen what your house looks like. I’m not going to be pitying you that,” Albus answered. He was still quite insensitive, but Scorpius laughed.

“It’s cold in the winter.”

Rose found herself thinking about how much Scorpius had changed in these past few weeks. When he was with them, at least, he was completely comfortable. It was just when there was anyone else around that he regressed back into his shell.

She shook her head and scolded herself mentally. She wouldn’t be top of the class by daydreaming about how much Scorpius had changed. She repeated it again, putting all her attention into levitating the rock.

And it did! It stayed there about five seconds, before Rose shrieked and it dropped to the floor again. “It just levitated!”

“What did? What are you talking about, Rose?” Albus said.

“The rock! I levitated it!”

Scorpius looked round in the direction she was pointing. “Good for you,” he said.

She glared at him. “What, don’t you believe me?”

“I believe you!” Scorpius said, holding up his hands. Albus shook his head before turning to Scorpius.

“Hey, Scorp, I just got a great idea! Why don’t you come round to ours one day in the holiday? I’m sure mum and dad wouldn’t mind.”

Scorpius shifted uncomfortably and Rose resisted the urge to throw something at Albus. He really could be an insensitive jerk sometimes. “Albus, I’m sure Scorpi wants to spend time with his family. He can see us any old time.”

But Albus’s dejected face, with those bright green eyes was enough to melt anyone’s heart. “I would like to,” Scorpius said quietly. “It’s just… I don’t think your family would react well to me coming. I don’t blame them, to be honest. After how our parents hated each other.”

“My dad is absolutely fine, as is my mum. My uncle Ron is a bit iffy…” Albus threw a look at Rose.

“Dad is a bit judgemental as it is. I wouldn’t worry about him. And mum will be able to talk him around.” She leaned forwards. “If you want to, we can arrange it.”

She saw the hope build in his eyes, and he pushed a hand through his white-blonde hair. “I would… but…” he shrugged, before smiling brilliantly before he could stop himself. “Okay.”

~[*]~

Scorpius was half frightened and half excited when he went to his parents on the 29th December and sat with them in the drawing room.

“I was hoping I could go to the Potter’s tomorrow,” he blurted out.

He saw his father’s hand clenching on the newspaper, but his expression was calm when he looked up. “You’re friends with Potter’s kids?”

“Yeah. I’m friends with Albus and Rose.”

Scorpius saw his mother smiling at that, but his father still looked a bit wary. “And they know that you’re a Malfoy?”

Scorpius laughed. “Yes. They do. They’re the only ones that talk to me,” he shrugged, forcing back the feelings of loneliness. They were completely unnecessary, after all. He had Albus and Rose. That should be more than enough.

His father was looking at him strangely, but finally nodded. “If it’s sorted out with the Potters, you can go.”

Scorpius smiled. “It is. Thank you.”

He heard his mother saying, “I knew he would help us clear our name,” as he ran upstairs to get ready. He was a lot more excited than most twelve-year-olds would be, to be sure, but this was the first time he was going to a friend’s house.

After a brief travel by Floo powder the next morning he was at the Potter household. He stumbled forwards, catching himself before he could fall to see Rose on the sofa still in her pyjamas. Not that it was new for him. Rose tended to come down to breakfast in her pyjamas as often as she could.

She yawned when she saw him and rubbed her eyes, smiling sleepily. “Albus! He’s here!”

Albus shot into the room after a few seconds of banging down the stairs, as unnaturally happy as he usually was in the mornings.

“Scorp! You’ll never guess what!” Albus almost shouted, bouncing up and down in excitement.

Rose rolled her eyes and smiled, a long-suffering expression on her face. “What?”

“Dad got me a broom for Christmas! Sure, I can’t bring it to school, but I’ve got a broom!”

Scorpius laughed. “That’s brilliant! Have you tried it yet?”

“Yes! Come on out, you can have a go too!”

“Rose, shouldn’t you be dressed?”

“Oh, mum, I can’t be bothered…”

“Go get dressed! Honestly, greeting guests in your pyjamas.”

Albus grinned at Scorpius. “It’s better that we go outside. We’ve got the whole clan in today.”

Mrs Weasley smiled. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Scorpius,” she said kindly.

Scorpius shifted uncomfortably. He knew who this was. Hermione Weasley, nee Granger, who was one of the Golden Trio. He also knew that his father had been cruel to her on more than one occasion. “Y-you too, Mrs Weasley,” he stammered.

She turned to leave the room, pointing a finger at Rose and saying, “You, get dressed.”

Rose rolled her eyes at Albus and Scorpius. “Go on; I’ll be out as soon as I can.”

Albus was quite talented with the broomstick; obviously he’d tried out the family ones when he was younger. Scorpius… well, he didn’t fall off, but he was very obviously no natural. When Rose finally came out, dressed in a massive coat and her Gryffindor scarf, though, it was evident she was a fantastic flyer. Better than Albus by far. Scorpius found himself awestruck as he watched her ducking and diving, catching the balls they threw in her direction.

“You’re amazing!” he said as she touched down gracefully and walked towards them. He’d never seen her look so exhilarated and excited. “I thought that Al was good--”

“Hey!”

“--but you’re way better.”

“Urgh.”

“Thanks, Scorpi,” she said.

They made their way back in, cheeks stained red from the cold.

“So what did you get, Scorp?”

“An owl. But she’s pretty wild at the moment. Cassiopeia.”

Rose did an ‘oof’ sound as a cat launched its petite body at her, yowling loudly. It put one white paw onto her shoulder. “And this was my present. He’s called Pyethone.”

“Call it Pie-face for short,” Albus hissed to Scorpius. Rose didn’t hear as she was crooning at the cat as it continued yowling. “It’s a horrible animal.”

The dinner was one of the nicest Scorpius had ever had. The only person who seemed a bit off with him was James, but his younger sister adored Scorpius from the moment she saw him. She sat in Rose’s seat - which was next to Scorpius’s - and looked up at him with big brown eyes. “I’m coming to Hogwarts next year,” she announced proudly.

“No you’re not, Lily. You’re coming the year after,” Albus said, but Lily paid no attention to him.

“I’m coming next year,” she insisted, still looking at Scorpius.

“Yeah, she kind of wanted to meet you since the last holidays,” Albus muttered in Scorpius’s ear. Rose came in, smirked when she saw Lily holding Scorpius’s arm possessively and sat on the other side of the table.

“Lily, I’m sure Scorpi would love to see what you got for Christmas.”

Lily smiled widely, “Oh, yes! I’ll show you what I got for Christmas.”

Scorpius felt a bit uncomfortable, but nodded and smiled. “Sure.”

“What did you get for Christmas, Scorpius?” she asked, still holding onto his arm.

“An owl.”

“We have an owl.”

“Really? What’s it called?”

“Sophie.”

“No it’s not. It’s called Zeus. King of the skies and all that. It was James’s idea.”

“Sophie,” Lily repeated, a stubborn look in her eye.

Albus sighed, but Rose was grinning at the exchange. “You two are just too darn adorable.”

Lily’s eyes creased as she smiled at Rose. It was obvious that she was smitten with her as well as Scorpius.

The rest of the day passed like a dream for Scorpius, and it wasn’t long before the holidays drew to a close, and he was meeting his friends again at King’s Cross Station. They sat in the same carriage again and Scorpius introduced Albus and Rose to his new owl, a small grey one which shyly hid its head under its wing, refusing to move further than half a metre from Scorpius. Although that may have been because Pyethone was watching him with wide, unblinking eyes.

The train stopped at Hogsmeade station and Scorpius ignored the glares he got as the three of them made their way to Hogwarts. He was actually the happiest he’d been in a long time as he went through the massive doors, and a feeling of homecoming filled him. He could tell from Rose’s expression that she felt the same way.

Cass screeched for him a few times as he walked away, but quieted down quickly enough.

The meal was fantastic, and Professor McGonagall’s greeting made him happier than it should have. Although people still stayed mostly away from him, he was content as he went to his dorm.

~[*]~

Rose got up thinking that day would be no different to the others. She could see that Scorpius had no one with him, like usual. James was pulling a prank a few people down from her, like usual, and she was talking to the girl sitting beside her, Violet, about a Potions assignment due. When she’d finished her breakfast she made her way slowly to the dungeons for her Potions class.

Scorpius was particularly late today, which worried her. The worry built up until she could hardly function when he still hadn’t shown up at the end of the lesson. She almost ran out of the classroom and up the stairs, knocking into James, who was coming down for his lesson. He caught her shoulder so she didn’t fall down the stairs. “You alright, Rose?” he asked.

“Where’s Scorpius?” she said, ignoring his question. If anyone knew, James did.

Sure enough, his expression darkened. “He’s at the hospital wing, but I wouldn’t…” his voice died off as she pushed him to the side to carry on running up the stairs. The Hospital Wing was almost the other side of the castle, but she made it there in five minutes.

Scorpius was in the bed closest to the door. He didn’t look too bad, but his skin was definitely redder than usual. He was reading a school book, a small frown creasing his forehead.

“Scorpi!”

He looked up. “Oh. How did you…?”

“James.”

He nodded and turned his attention back to the book.

“What happened?”

He shrugged.

“Scorpius!”

He looked up at her warily. “It was just a spell. Madame Pomfrey fixed it in no time.”

“It was nasty,” Madame Pomfrey said. “I’ll have to keep him overnight to make sure all the burns are gone.”

“Burns?”

Scorpius sighed. “It’s nothing, Rose.”

She pressed her lips together as he ducked his head down. “At least tell me who did it!”

He shook his head, earning another sigh from Rose. “Why not?”

“You’ve already been put in detention for protecting me--”

“Because you need it!”

“I don’t!”

“Then why are you here?”

His eyes were burning flames from intensity. Rose was speechless for a moment; she’d never seen him so impassioned. “Rose, you don’t need to fight my battles. I do appreciate it, but you have to let me sort it out myself.”

“Miss Weasley, you really should leave.”

Rose stuck her chin out impetuously. “Rose go,” Scorpius said. “You’re already late for class.”

That was the only thing that could have tempted her to leave. So she did, promising to herself that she would find out who had hurt Scorpius.

He was out of the Hospital Wing the next day, his normal pale colour, but even more nervous than usual. Rose found herself arguing with him more over the weeks, even when he came to her house for a couple of days over the Easter holidays.

It particularly annoyed her when she was flying and the boys would be discussing something deeply - way deeper than boys ever talked - and they would stop immediately when she came close enough to hear. After a couple of hours, she threw the broomstick into Albus’s arms and said, “I’m going to help mum,” before stalking into the house. But she couldn’t bear staying with her mother when she kept on throwing Rose pitying looks. Rose hated being pitied.

She was sulking in the room she was sharing with Lily when it was almost time for Scorpius to go. He knocked on the door quietly before she let him in and sat on Lily’s bed, which was next to hers.

“I feel like we’ve hardly talked these past few weeks.”

Rose shrugged and crossed her legs as Scorpius pulled nervously on his hoodie.

“Rose?” he asked, his voice uncertain. “Is it about not telling you who hexed me?”

“Amongst other things,” Rose said haughtily. She flicked her hair back and squared her shoulders, meeting his eyes defiantly.

“What other things?”

“Scorpius… I would love to not feel like I have to protect you, but when you let yourself be walked over and pushed around and hurt, then I can’t help it.”

“It’s the least I can let them do after what my family did,” Scorpius said seriously.

Rose felt her mouth drop open. That was it? He felt like it was partly his fault? “Scorpius… my family don’t judge you for that. And after what they went through, they’re the only ones who have a reason to be against your family. It wasn’t your fault! And actually, it wasn’t even really your family’s fault. One small mistake, and you were tied for life, wasn’t it? But your family turned away--” her voice cut off as he put a hand over her mouth.

“They need a scapegoat. Just let them take it out on me.”

Rose was quiet when he removed his hand from her mouth and, though she wouldn’t particularly want to admit it, slightly awestruck. She understood; he was letting people take it out on him so that they would leave the rest of his family out of it. It wasn’t because he was weak that he let them hurt him, it was because he was strong.

She watched him as he left the room.

The year drifted to an end, and it felt like only a couple of weeks later that they were meeting their families at King’s Cross station. Albus made Scorpius promise that he would visit every now and then, and Rose hugged him goodbye, knowing that she would miss him. He was smiling as she pulled away and walked to his parents, who had slightly shocked expressions.

Scorpius stayed true to his word and visited at least every week. He even invited Albus and Rose to his house, which was fantastic. Rose was allowed to borrow a couple of the Malfoy family’s brooms and they played makeshift Quidditch. Scorpius tended to try to sit out of these games. Well, as much as they let him - which wasn’t too often. When their second year started, it seemed that things were better for Scorpius. When she looked at the Ravenclaw table (just to check on him; she’d gotten into the habit the year before) he was sometimes talking to a small group of people. Any free time he had, though, was still spent with Rose and Albus.

He came over during the Christmas holidays again, and this time Rose’s Grandma Weasley made him a jumper with the Ravenclaw colours and a silver ‘S’ on the front. The genuinely happy expression on his face made Rose laugh, and when she asked him afterwards, he said it was because he felt like he belonged. They even invited Mr Malfoy and his wife for dinner, but they declined. Rose didn’t admit it, but she felt relieved. She was sure a part of Scorpius’s father didn’t agree with their friendship.

Scorpius, Rose and Albus boarded the train back to Hogwarts, quite happy to be going back, their animals in tow (including Albus’s new barn owl, which he had named Rudolphus), and when they got back, Rose heard that they were looking for new Keepers for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

“Try out,” Scorpius said, nudging her with his elbow.

“Oh, look, Scorpius, they want a Seeker for Ravenclaw--oof,” Albus started, before Scorpius elbowed him. “Man your elbows are sharp,” he whined. “But anyway. Rose, you should try out. Do they have any positions open for Slytherin?” Scorpius, being the tallest of the three of them craned his neck to see.

“I don’t think so… but accidents are bound to happen.” A couple of people near Scorpius edged away from him as Rose laughed. Albus gave them a look, but Rose could tell he was amused. “So will you try out?”

Rose bit her lip and grinned. “I think I might.”

And so, that Friday night Rose was standing at the Quidditch pitch, having left Scorpius and Albus at the seats, holding nervously onto her Christmas broomstick. She was one of about twenty who had shown up, most a lot older than she was and looking down at her as if she was one of their younger sisters tagging along. She gave them the death glare she usually reserved for Albus and Scorpius and they looked away.

The tryouts went much better than she could have imagined. Almost all of the others made some stupid mistakes and by the end of the evening she’d tied saving all five throws with two boys, one in James’s year and the other in fifth year. They were told to go to the pitch at seven in the morning the next day to decide who would be Keeper.

Scorpius put an arm around her shoulders when she caught up to him and Albus. “You did great. They’d be crazy not to choose you.”

“Thanks Scorpi. I have a good feeling about this.”

Sure enough, the good feeling proved to be an accurate representation when she saved all five balls at the tryouts the next day, and the other two missed a couple. All the practicing she’d been doing had finally paid off. Although, coming from a lineage like hers (most of her aunts and uncles played Quidditch, and her father had been a Keeper in his sixth year) it wasn’t all too surprising. The training, unfortunately, meant that she couldn’t go down to the Great Hall in her pyjamas. The Gryffindor team had not won in several years, so training was intense.

And took up the majority of her free time, so she felt like she hardly ever saw Scorpius and Albus. She was spending more time with James, though (he was a beater for the Gryffindor team, but was hackling to be Seeker like his father), which was always nice. She got on better with James than a lot of people did.

The first competition was against Slytherin, and Albus made a point about supporting Slytherin instead of Gryffindor, and carrying a Slytherin flag to prove it. Scorpius whispered in her ear that he was rooting for her, but didn’t mention it to Albus.

Rose was shaking with adrenaline when she started making her way down to the Quidditch pitch. The noise was practically deafening when the teams walked out and the Captains shook hands. Madame Hooch wished them luck as they mounted onto their brooms and Rose levitated a few feet off the ground, ready to shoot off to the goalposts as soon as she was allowed. She shot glances round at her other team mates. The only one who seemed at all relaxed was James. He was sitting on his broom with no hands, swinging his beaters’ bat experimentally. He winked at Rose when he saw her watching him.

The quaffle was thrown up into the air and caught by one of the Slytherin chasers, and Rose was grateful for her faster broom. She made it to the goalposts before the chaser was near enough to throw the ball, and caught it pretty easily. She chucked it over to Jamie, one of the Gryffindor chasers, and watched as he flew down to the other side of the field, agilely ducking bludgers and other players, to send a shot which just about grazed the fingers of the Slytherin keeper, but still soared through the hoop. Rose punched the air and whooped.

The entire game was fantastic. Rose let a few balls past her guard, but everyone agreed that she was a massive improvement from the last Gryffindor keeper, who tended to fall off his broom once or twice a match.

Once Isla, the Gryffindor seeker, caught the snitch and won the game for Gryffindor, the team descended and a few people clapped Rose on the back as she made her way with the rest of the team to the common room.

Of course, there was a party. Rose didn’t stay for long, and instead found Scorpius and Albus in the library. Albus glared at her as she came up. “I technically can’t be seen with you. Seeing as you’re in the team that just beat my team.”

Rose sighed and gave him a sarcastic look. “Well, it’s obviously because the Gryffindor team is superior.” She turned to Scorpius with a grin. “Isn’t it?”

His eyes widened. “I’m neutral.”

“You’re going to have to pick a side soon.”

“Give me a few years, huh?”

Rose and Albus exchanged a glance. “Yeah. We’ll remember,” she said.

~[*]~

Scorpius knew it was going to be a difficult day when he came out onto the grounds and saw Rose sitting on the grass, gaping at an essay she’d written.

But she had already spotted him, so it wasn’t as if he could turn and walk away. So, reluctantly, he came to sit next to her as she put the essay face-down hastily. “What did you get for the Defence Against the Dark Arts essay?” she said in a small voice.

Scorpius frowned and took some rolls of parchment out of his bag to look through them. “Umm… an A.”

Rose did a very odd squeaking sound and buried her face in her hands. “Rose?” Scorpius asked uncertainly. He started moving his hand towards the essay, but she put her hand down on it before he could turn it over.

“Don’t,” she said in a low voice. Her brown eyes were wide and ashamed.

“I’m sure it’s not that bad, Rose. It’s not like you’re stupid.”

“It’s worse than yours!”

Scorpius put his head to one side. “Huh?” he asked, bewildered.

“I’ve always beat you, in test, essays, exams… that’s been my aim! But I haven’t this time! Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for me to get one of the lowest in the class? Me? My parents fought Death Eaters, dammit!”

“One of the lowest in the class?”

Her eyes were blazing with anger and embarrassment before she reluctantly removed her hand from the parchment and drew her knees up. Scorpius turned it over slowly, expecting the worst, then laughed.

“This isn’t funny, Scorpius.”

“B is not even close to being lowest in the class. Trust me.”

“It’s still lower than you,” she muttered.

“What is this obsession with beating me?”

She blushed almost the same colour as her bright red hair before ducking her head down to hide it.

“Mmph.”

“Rose…”

“My dad said I had to beat you in every test on the first day.” She met his eyes for a second before ducking her head down again.

Scorpius laughed. “Seriously? Well, just beat me every other time, then.”

She glared at him. “I spent hours on that essay.”

Having this new little insight to Rose was quite interesting for Scorpius. He saw everything she did in the classes they had together differently. It wasn’t just that she was haughty and just a little bit vain that she felt she had to beat him at everything. Scorpius found himself starting to try to beat her as well, just to see if he could do it more than that one time, and sure enough he got higher grades several more times over the last few months of their second year. The look of absolute betrayal he got from Rose whenever this happened was obviously very amusing, but it got a bit tedious when she refused to talk to him.

“Good morning, Albus,” she said very civilly to Albus when he’d beaten her in a Charms test the day before. She gave a sarcastic look at Scorpius’s expectant expression. “Would you be so kind as to tell Scorpius that he is an insensitive jackass?”

Albus grinned and turned to Scorpius. “Rose wanted me to tell you that she’s very sorry and misses you,” he said. They both laughed as Rose shrieked angrily at him, hitting his arm repeatedly.

“Well tell her that I accept her apology, as she obviously knows she’s done something wrong.”

“Stop it!”

Scorpius grinned at her. “So are you talking to me again?”

She responded by raising her eyebrows and turning away from the two of them, instead picking up a textbook and her wand.

They let her read for a few minutes, but Rose should have known it would never last.

They started off pretty slowly, just flicking bits of grass into her hair; she didn’t even realise. But it escalated quite quickly, and just a couple of minutes later Scorpius took the book from her hands and tossed it to Albus.

“Scorpius!” she shouted.

“Aha, she’s talking again!” he exclaimed.

He probably shouldn’t have said that. She gave him a furious look, which should have tipped him off, but he was too busy grinning at Albus. He almost didn’t have time to see the body throwing itself towards him. He hit the ground, and the air escaped out of him explosively. Albus was no help at all; he was almost crying with laughter. Rose didn’t hit him, but instead sat on him so he couldn’t get up. “Are you going to give me my book back?” she said calmly.

Albus, still crying with laughter, handed it over. “Thank you,” she said, sliding off a slightly red-faced Scorpius.

She sat across from them calmly, not a hair out of place, looking as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Their second year drifted to a close and Scorpius decided to spend a couple of weeks at the Potter household instead of just staying with his family. Going to Diagon Alley was an interesting experience; one of Rose’s friends, Margaret came up to her and dragged her to one side and they stood there for several minutes, talking and giggling. Rose’s cheeks were tinged pink when she re-joined Scorpius and Albus.

“What was that about?” Albus asked.

Rose smirked, but didn’t answer.

“Rose, seriously.”

“I’m not saying.”

“Aw, Rose!”

“Don’t worry about it.”

But the sheer tenacity and persistence of Albus’s questions finally drove her to breaking point. Scorpius wondered why exactly she had refused to say anything; Albus would always get what he wanted.

“Fine!” she shouted, glaring at him. “Apparently Rylan asked Margaret if she could ask if I would go out with him.” She turned to Scorpius. “Thank you for not being such a mule.”

Scorpius wasn’t exactly sure why this made him feel just a bit angry. Not anything serious - he didn’t think he would go around punching walls - but still there was the slight anger making his heart beat slightly faster. “What did you say?” he said, looking around at the shops as if it didn’t really interest him.

“I told her to tell him to ask me out himself.”

“And what if he does?” Albus asked.

Rose shrugged. “He’s cute.”

Scorpius grinned at Albus’s disgusted expression.

They caught up with their families after that, and Scorpius drifted away to see his after almost having to pry Lily away from him (she was finally coming to Hogwarts, and Scorpius knew exactly how excited she was). The marked difference he felt when he was with his family saddened him. He knew his father hated to go out to places where there were other wizards, but still he made a point of coming with his son to help pick out his school things. But the sheer difference between laughing with his friends, being able to walk slowly to take in the surroundings and having to almost run from shop to shop with his head ducked down almost forced him to realise that the two families were from completely different spheres, and he felt stuck in the middle. He loved his family, of course he did, but how the Weasleys and the Potters had completely accepted him, and that made him love them too.

It was a tight line to walk, and he was sure that at one point he would overbalance and be sucked into either the sunshine or the darkness.

~[*]~

“I hope I’m in Ravenclaw too, Scorpius.”

Rose grinned when Scorpius sent her a ‘help me’ look and put her head to one side before flicking through her textbook again. It was Lily’s first time to Hogwarts, but her excitement because of that was overshadowed by the fact that she was in an enclosed in a space with Scorpius. Rose was tempted to leave him alone with her… but that would be cruel.

Hugo was a lot quieter and more nervous, staying near to Rose with his knees drawn up. Albus was looking out the window.

“Has Rylan talked to you yet?” Scorpius asked.

Rose sighed. “No. I’m hoping he say something at the feast. Otherwise it’ll get awkward really quickly and he’s in almost all my classes.”

“He chose the same subjects as you?”

Rose nodded. “He discussed it with me. I thought it was just a coincidence.”

“What’s it like being in Ravenclaw, Scorpius?”

Scorpius shot a glance at Rose before saying, “It’s good.”

“Do you think I could be in Ravenclaw?”

“I don’t see why not.”

Rose tried not to laugh, and caught Scorpius’s eye again, which almost made her lose it.

“What do you think Hogsmeade will be like?” Scorpius said desperately, trying to change the conversation.

“Haven’t you been before?” Albus asked.

Scorpius shook his head.

“Well, we’ll show you the best places.”

They found out, once they had made it to Hogwarts, that the first Hogsmeade trip was the first Saturday of October; so close, Rose was excited. She kept an eye out for Hugo and Lily (of course everyone whispered when they went up) and much to Lily’s chagrin, they were both sorted into Gryffindor. Rose looked over to the Ravenclaw table, ready to exchange a glance with Scorpius when she saw with a shock that he was laughing with a few people, who were sitting close to him.

“Rose?”

She started and turned to see Rylan. Oh, yeah. She’d forgotten about that.

“Hi, Rose,” he said nervously.

“Hi, Rylan,” she answered.

“I was just thinking… and you know… we’ve known each other a while and stuff, and I… really like you and… yeah.” He shrugged. “I was wondering whether you’d maybe like to go out with me?”

Rose smiled and said, “Yeah. Sure.”

Needless to say, it didn’t last the fortnight.

~[*]~

Hogsmeade was nothing like Scorpius had imagined.

Granted, whenever he imagined it, there was a layer of snow and lights in the windows of little thatched cottages and a Christmas tree in the middle of a small plaza. As the first trip was during October and during the middle of the day, there was very obviously no snow or lights or Christmas trees. There were some thatched cottages, but only if you went away from the shops. Which was no one’s intention.

The shops were perfect. They spent about an hour in Honeydukes, just looking through the Chocolate Frogs (in the three they bought, two had Ron Weasley cards which made Rose roll her eyes) and Cockroach Clusters and Liquorice Wands. Rose dragged them to a couple of bookshops, which Scorpius pretended not to like for Albus’s sake, but enjoyed. They walked back slowly, during which Rose told them all the things that Rylan had told her when they’d been ‘going out’ (he was really rather ridiculous).

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Albus and Rose found out that their families were taking advantage of there not being any kids left at home and were going on holiday over Christmas by themselves. “It’s kind of cruel, don’t you think? Leaving Hugo and Lily their first year,” Albus said to Rose and Scorpius.

Rose shot a glance in Hugo and Lily’s direction. “They’ll be fine. They have their entire family here, practically.”

The thought of spending even a fortnight alone with his parents lead Scorpius to asking whether he could stay at Hogwarts. His mother replied that she thought it would be a good idea and hoped he would enjoy himself.

It was certainly different. Professor McGonagall was a lot more relaxed than usual and due to the small amount of people, there was only a large table down the middle of the hall. Scorpius, Albus and Rose took the advantage to sit with each other, which they never could do usually. Lily and Hugo stuck with them also, looking a bit homesick and misty eyed. Lily cheered up exponentially when Albus gave up his seat so she could sit next to Scorpius.

It was a pity when the holidays drew to a close and they once again had to sit away from each other. It wasn’t as if Scorpius was being bullied anymore; that had stopped a long time ago, but he still felt like he missed the two of them. There was just something special about his relationship with Rose and Albus; they were his first true friends.

They all went home during Easter and Scorpius found himself spending more and more time at the Potter and Weasley household. His parents just seemed a bit… fake after seeing how much this other extended family cared about each other. Scorpius knew his parents loved him, but being with them served only to remind him that his blood was tainted.

And so, for this reason, he spent most of the summer holidays with them as they prepared for their fourth year, which was pretty uneventful. Scorpius gained more friends, but was still closest to Rose and Albus. He forced himself to spend all of Christmas with his parents, but missed them bitterly. There was a blow towards the end of the year; Rose would be spending all of summer in Egypt with her uncle Charlie, who worked with dragons, and wouldn’t be back until the day before they went back to Hogwarts. Scorpius still went to the Potter household for a couple of weeks at a time. He was happy, but there was something missing when Rose wasn’t there.

If only he could figure out what it was.

~[*]~

There was something different about him.

She noticed as soon as she got onto the train and found Albus and Scorpius’s compartment. She wasn’t sure what it was, but was terrified by her heart beating faster and her palms getting sweaty when she saw him, writing something down. His forehead was creased, the way it did when he was concentrating and when he looked up, one side of his mouth tilted up in a wickedly beautiful smile.

She was frozen for a minute (seriously? What could have changed in less than six weeks?) as he came up and hugged her, which he’d done a million times before. “I missed you, Rose.”

“I missed you too, Scorpi,” she answered automatically.

She spent the entire train ride trying to understand what exactly had changed. It was almost as if he’d grown into his body or something. He was a lot more relaxed, it seemed. Something about the way he was no longer trying to force his hair back, but let it drop unhindered over his forehead.  He was definitely a few inches taller than Rose, now just the right height for her to lean her forehead onto his shoulder, her mind thought, betraying her.

And she could feel herself almost blushing every time his grey-blue eyes met hers. She was pretty sure Albus could tell; he kept on frowning at her as if she was doing something incredibly inappropriate. Which she kind of was.

Well, there was no reason to get completely hung up on it. So what if he was suddenly very attractive to her? It was completely physical. There were no real feelings other than friendship.

She kept on telling herself that the entire way to the castle. And when they were there, she almost believed it.

But she found herself watching Scorpius from the corner of her eye throughout the feast, and feeling dejected when she saw how much the Ravenclaw girls were suddenly interested in him. He was taking the attention in his stride, which she was surprised about; normally he shied away from any attention. She found herself wishing that he’d been put in Gryffindor, or that she’d argued her case with the Sorting Hat to be put in Ravenclaw. It should be her next to him.

She had a chance when Albus felt ill when there was a Hogsmeade trip, and she got to go with Scorpius alone. They ended up in a secluded area near the Shrieking Shack.

“You’ve been quiet today, Rose.”

His voice dragged her away from her musings, but she refused to look him in the eye. “Just worried about Al,” she said mildly.

He raised his eyebrows. “Madame Pomfrey has sorted out more than the flu.”

Yes, she had. She had sorted Scorpius out when he’d been hexed and had refused to tell her who had done it.

“Come on, what’s wrong?” his voice was softer than usual.

“Nothing. Honestly.”

His eyes narrowed. “I’ll drag it out of you, don’t worry.”

“I’d really rather you didn’t.” Rose hated the way she sounded, pathetic as the girls on the Ravenclaw table who were quickly becoming obsessed by him.

And of course, he didn’t help. He took her hand and simply said, “You’ll be okay. And don’t you have Quidditch practice tonight? We should be going back.”

Rose nodded, and hoped against hope that she would forget about these feelings and things would go back to how they were before.

She’d supposed that Albus had guessed about her change towards Scorpius, and sure enough he started discussing that very point when they were alone in the library.

“Forgive me if I’m wrong, Rose…”

“You probably aren’t,” she muttered.

He ignored her. “It’s quite a simple question, but don’t think that I’m reading anything into it… But… what exactly do you feel for Scorpius?”

Rose bit her lip and finished a question before turning to him. “I don’t know,” she admitted.

Albus watched her with wide green eyes.

“I don’t even know how it started. I saw him on the train, and it was like I’d never seen him before. I just couldn’t stop looking.” She curved her shoulders forwards and ducked her head down.

“Rose…”

“I know. It won’t amount to anything, I promise. I just need to get used to him again.”

“So all this is because you went to Egypt and didn’t see him for a few weeks?”

Rose blushed. “What happened when I was in Egypt, then?”

Albus looked slightly evasive. “Nothing.”

~[*]~

Rose was acting strange. Now, this in itself wasn’t particularly odd, but when it was constant and restricted to Scorpius, it worried him. She was acting almost the same way she had when they first met, minus the sarcastic streak. Which Scorpius kind of missed.

He cornered her a few times to try to get why she was acting this way out of her, but the look she had in her eye made him feel guilty. She looked terrified. He tried to get Albus to tell him what was going on, but he flat-out refused to tell him.

And that scared Scorpius. Had she decided she didn’t want to be friends with him? Because he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle that.

So a couple of weeks before Christmas, he resolved to do something about it. He knew that Rose went to the library after Quidditch practice, usually hoping to study alone. But these were extenuating circumstances.

Sure enough, there she was, biting her lip as she frowned at a book, twisting a strand of red hair round her finger. He was oddly comforted by the scene; it was so normal for her that he could almost fool himself that nothing had changed.

It became obvious how much it had changed, though, when he sat next to her, and instead of glaring at him (or hitting him) until he left her alone, she merely turned back to her book, though her eyes weren’t moving.

“Will you please just tell me what’s wrong, Rose?”

She looked somewhere over his left shoulder. “What do you mean?” she asked, almost in a monotone.

He sighed and leaned back on the chair. “You’re a crap actress, and you know that as well as I do.”

“Why would I be acting?” she said, finally meeting his eyes.

Shrugging, he narrowed his eyes at her. “That’s what I’m asking you. What’s going on?”

“Nothing!”

“Fine. What’s going on in your life, then?” he said casually.

“Not much.”

“Rosie…” She waited for him to continue, but he didn’t.

Rose sighed. “I just don’t particularly want to discuss it with you.”

He remained silent. She was acting as though nothing peculiar was happening, reading through a few large books and making notes. “Scorpius,” she finally said. “If you aren’t going to talk or anything, then you should go. You realise we have our OWLs this year? I want to put in double the amount of time in schoolwork.”

Scorpius snorted. “Yeah, the only way to do that is to not sleep. You worked for at least four hours a day last year. Six on weekends.”

“I won’t stop sleeping; that’s stupid. I’m going to quit Quidditch.”

She said this with such assurance, and as normally as if she was saying, ‘I’m going to give up travelling to Cambodia.’ As if it wouldn’t change her life whatsoever.

“Are you crazy?”

She regarded him calmly with her dark brown eyes, always shielding her thoughts and emotions from him. He hated that. She was so closed off to him. Only last year she’d been comfortable, happy. What was it that had changed her so drastically?

“You can’t give up on Quidditch, Rose. You love it. You’re the best Keeper Gryffindor has had in years! And you know how much Albus was looking forward to playing against you.”

“This isn’t just some flash decision, Scorpi. I’ve really thought about this.”

“You know you’ll be driven crazy every time anyone mentions Quidditch.”

“I’m not that childish.”

“I never said you were. You’re passionate. That’s all.”

She ducked her head and turned the page, ready to make some notes.

Rose.” He took the quill from her hand.

“Scorpius--!”

“Come with me.”

She stuck her chin out petulantly. “No.”

“Stop acting like such a child. Come with me.”

“I thought you said I wasn’t a child.”

He grinned. “I take it back. Come with me.”

When she crossed her arms and glared at him stubbornly - bringing a smile to Scorpius - he shrugged and instead crossed to the other side of the table to pick her up. She was quite a few inches smaller than him now, and to him it seemed she weighed no more than a feather.

“Scorpius!” she hissed, automatically clutching at his neck.

“I won’t drop you.”

“I am perfectly capable of walking!” she said furiously, struggling frantically.

“I think not.”

“Scorpius, you jerk! Let me down!”

“You’ll just run off.”

“I promise I won’t.”

He grinned down at her and hoisted her up closer to his face. Her cheeks tinged red a bit and she bit down on her lip the way she did when she was tempted to shout at him. Or slap him. “I don’t believe you,” he said in a singsong voice, which made her roll her eyes.

“At least tell me where you’re taking me.”

“Outside.”

“Oh, for goodness--”

“Don’t worry. I won’t take you to the Forbidden Forest. We’re just going to go for a fly around. Al won’t mind if I borrow his broom.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Probably not. Until you crash and die. I’ll feel guilty.”

“Isn’t that sweet of you?”

“I’ll show you sweet,” she muttered in a threatening voice.

Scorpius finally got outside, where he let Rose drop to the floor and took her arm instead. She said nothing as they went made their way to the Quidditch pitch, and to the rundown old broom shed that had Gryffindor’s team’s brooms in. Rose had to open the shed (only a member of the team was able to) and took out her own and Albus’s. “Don’t fall,” she warned as they climbed onto the brooms and kicked off. Scorpius tried to relax. A wizard with a fear of heights was practically unheard of. It was stupid, anyway; there was no reason for it.

But that wasn’t why he’d come out. He brought himself back to the situation at hand and looked over to Rose (trying not to go the direction he was looking in. That would have been embarrassing) as she said, “I know what you’re doing.”

“Oh?”

“And it won’t work.”

“I just wanted a nice ride on a broomstick with one of my favourite people in the world, Rosie,” he said sweetly. He made sure he smiled nicely when she shot a frown in his direction.

“Scorpi… I just don’t think I need Quidditch on top of everyone else. It doesn’t mean I can’t fly every now and then.”

“What you think about Quidditch is something quite interesting to observe.”

She drew the broom to a halt so she was floating in midair next to him. Scorpius did the same, grateful at being able to relax a bit. “What do you know about how I feel about Quidditch?” she said in a monotone.

“You’re usually quite difficult to read, Rose, but when you play Quidditch, it’s easy.”

She crossed her arms her legs, somehow managing to stay perfectly balanced on the broom (meanwhile, Scorpius was holding on so tightly he felt like his arms would drop off). “Go ahead,” she said, her voice lower than usual.

“To you, it’s proving things to others, and to yourself. You feel like everything people think about you is rooted in your lineage. With Quidditch - and with school - you’re proving your own self-worth.” He shrugged. “Kind of like how I argued with the Sorting Hat to not be put in Slytherin.”

Rose blinked and leaned back, letting her legs drop down. “What?”

“I wanted to be seen as someone completely different from my father. Sure, I love him, but he was never a particularly nice person.”

Rose didn’t answer, just stared at Scorpius with wide eyes.

“But, anyway. You need Quidditch. And Gryffindor needs you.”

Pause. “Okay,” she finally whispered.

~[*]~

Well, that was it.

Scorpius had completely rooted himself inside her. She was about seventy-five per-cent sure that she had fallen in love with her best friend.

And what could she do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t as if she didn’t try. She tried all she could think of, from forcing herself to think of his faults (too bad she found them endearing) to wearing a rubber band around her wrist and snapping it against her skin every time she thought something a bit too friendly about him.

But all that gained was a horrifically bad mood and a red welt on her wrist. The red welt, she could have dealt with - she knew spells that would help - but there were not many spells which would make her happy without some rather unfortunate side-effects, such as producing bright purple bubbles (not even kidding. That had happened to Henrietta Bones only three weeks before).

Scorpius and Albus learned to stay away from her as much as possible, but decided against running away from her every time she came near, as that resulted in being shouted at furiously across the hall, classroom, corridor… wherever they happened to be, really. And finally, there was a Hogsmeade trip (which Scorpius somehow managed to get out of). Rose hoped it would help take her mind off… things.

Albus was shooting uneasy glances in her direction, until she snapped and shouted at him, asking him what exactly he was looking at.

“You,” he said apologetically. “I want to know if you’re okay.”

Rose kicked at the ground. “I’m not sure.”

“Is this about… you know what?”

“My feelings for Scorpius?” she said simply. Might as well spell it out for him. He flinched and nodded. “Pretty much.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why do you treat him the way you do?”

Rose gaped at him. “Are you kidding me? It’s that or I throw myself on him like those Ravenclaw girls who hang off his arm whenever they can.”

“Oh, for…”

“It’s just the way it is now. You’ll have to get used to it.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Neither do I! I have to live with it, though.”

“I’m completely separate from this, why am I being dragged into it so much?”

“Because you ask about it.”

He huffed. “Well, don’t answer me next time.”

Rose shrugged.

James decided to join them then, which effectively ended the conversation. His forever-cheery manners were a sharp contrast to Rose’s, but instead of making her feel better, made her feel worse. Even going to Honeydukes and almost buying out the entire store of Sugar Quills (her favourite) didn’t cheer her up much. So instead of bringing Albus and James down with her, she told them to go on ahead and went to find some secluded place to sit.

Which was quite ridiculous, she had to admit. It just felt so… melodramatic to run away from her family and sit alone in the snow as she contemplated her feelings for her best friend. So she promised to herself that no matter what, she would not allow it to affect her. Hopefully the feelings would fade with time.

Or force her to crash and burn.

Her resolution started out quite well. The first thing she tackled was her incessant bad mood. Instead, she forced herself to smile and laugh at the jokes and every time she felt angry, she looked away and up at the sky, imagining herself flying. For the first time in her life, she contemplated everything before she said it. Everyone noticed how much calmer she was.

And it started to work.

One morning, she came into the Great Hall (in her pyjamas, because that was one thing she didn’t want to change) and when she looked at Scorpius and he grinned at her she didn’t automatically think, ‘Oh my goodness, he’s beautiful’, but merely, ‘Oh look, there’s Scorpius’, which was such a massive relief (as she wouldn’t blush and look away, and then feel obligated to snap her wrist with the rubber band), that she stood there for a few seconds smiling like an idiot at no one in particular.

When it finally caught up what she had done, she ducked her head, blushed (of course. It felt like all she did these days was blush), and scurried to her seat, thoroughly unsettled by the looks people were throwing her. It wasn’t every day you saw a girl standing in her pyjamas in front of a crowd, complete with a stupid smile.

Yeah; it was a nightmare.

She kept her head down throughout breakfast, contemplating ways to maybe move to Paraguay and change her name to Gertrude, and failing that, a sex change. Couldn’t be that difficult, could it?

Once she had (sadly) gotten dressed and met Albus and Scorpius at the lake she forced the incident out of her mind (or maybe it was just because Scorpius was there and… another snap on the wrist). Scorpius caught her hand. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?” she muttered, twisting her arm to attempt to get away from him, but he just adjusted his hand to catch her wrist instead.

“Why do you have that elastic band there?” He snatched it off her wrist, ignoring her complaints. “Seriously? Are you emo now?”

“No! It’s a way of controlling thoughts.” Rose shrugged and tried to look indifferent. “I’m trying to be a better person.”

She had to admit that she felt a little hurt when Scorpius burst out laughing. Albus looked up at the sky when Rose tried to catch his eyes, so she batted Scorpius on the arm before pushing him away and crossing her arms.

“A better person?” he finally managed to say once he’d gotten his breath back.

“Yes! I want to be a better person! Sorry if that’s so difficult for your minuscule brain to process!”

He gave a devilishly handsome smile, and at that moment the wind ruffled his hair. Her mind betrayed her, and she imagined running her hands through the silkiness, pulling him closer…

She shook her head and snapped her wrist again.

“Rosie!” Scorpius said. “Don’t worry about anything. You’re one of the best people I know.”

Rose sighed and looked away. “You don’t know what I’m thinking, though.”

Scorpius shrugged. “I know you.”

~[*]~

 

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