Chapter 1: First Year
:in which they meet:
“I hate you.”
Scorpius Malfoy had heard that phrase many times during his years at Hogwarts.
It was not so much to do with his family’s past—although there were still people who equated the Malfoys with their history during the Second Wizarding War, their numbers were dwindling as the years went by. While Lucius had remained as prejudiced as ever, Draco had actually striven since the end of the war to redeem the Malfoy name. He still maintained some of his arrogance and most of his aloofness, but thanks to the influence of his wife, he was determined to raise his son better.
No, Scorpius most often heard the words “I hate you” coming from the snappish mouth of Rose Weasley, the witty, intelligent, short-tempered daughter of two-thirds of the Golden Trio and cousin to Albus Potter, son of Harry Potter and best friend to Scorpius.
Albus and Scorpius had become friends on the first train ride to Hogwarts after Scorpius had ended up sitting in a compartment with Albus and Rose. Albus had wanted to distance himself from his brother James, who was apparently planning to set off Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products on the train.
“But you don’t have a problem getting into trouble, Al, so why don’t you want to sit with the rest of our family?” Rose had asked while the two were searching for a compartment.
“Because I don’t want people realizing that James is my brother right away. I get enough of him at home. I don’t want to be used as a guinea pig for new products for hours on end. Besides, do you really want to be crammed into a small compartment with all of our cousins for most of the day?” Albus had answered, entering a compartment.
Soon after, Scorpius had entered, asking if he could sit with them because everywhere else was full. Rose had immediately snurled her nose at him. “You’re that Malfoy boy. My father warned me about you.”
“My father mentioned you two as well. However, there is nowhere else to sit, else I wouldn’t be here.”
Albus, remembering his manners, introduced himself, and Rose quickly chimed in with her name and a huff before turning to a large copy of Hogwarts: A Revised History. Scorpius told them his first name and settled down in the seat across from the cousins.
After getting over their initial trepidation, the two boys had struck up a conversation about Quidditch. Rose was too engrossed in her book to pay much attention until Scorpius had inadvertently insulted her (and her dad’s) favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons. Even at eleven, Rose was fiercely loyal to her family, and regarded any perceived insult or slight against them as grounds for a fight.
Thus, she had started bickering with Scorpius over the merits of Quidditch teams. While normally cool and collected, Scorpius had quickly sized Rose up as a real challenge—not many people had the nerve to call out the Malfoys, at least to their faces. Their banter escalated until Scorpius started making comments about the enormous tome in Rose’s hands, now almost forgotten.
“You know,” he said, the beginnings of a smirk rising on his face, “that book’s so huge you could use it as a bludger—if you could even hit it hard enough to be used as one.”
As insults went, it was pretty tame, but Rose’s temper had been escalating throughout their exchange. Scorpius’ last comment—perceived as both an attack on her size and an affront to one of her beloved books—snapped the last of her control.
She glared at him, looking much like her mother, and muttered, “I hate you.” Then she bonked him on the head with the book/bludger and returned to reading.
It was the first time that Rose told Scorpius that she hated him, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Throughout their first year, Scorpius continued to tease and bicker with Rose, and she gave as good as she got. Since both first years were best friends with Al, they were often thrown together. Scorpius and Al had both been sorted into Slytherin and Rose, despite her intelligence and love of knowledge, had, like her mother, been sorted into Gryffindor. Since house relationships were much better than when their parents had attended Hogwarts—though by no means were they perfect—Scorpius and Al usually joined the rest of the Weasley-Potter clan at the Gryffindor table.
Mealtimes were a frequent breeding ground for arguments between Rose and Scorpius. They debated over books, music, Quidditch, the merits of certain class. In some areas, they had similar tastes, but any difference of opinion was sure to spark a heated discussion.
Of course, Rose and Scorpius challenged each other academically as well. Rose had certainly inherited her mother’s brains, as her father had proclaimed on the platform, but Scorpius was no slouch. Both first years had their strong suits—Rose in History of Magic and Charms and Scorpius in Potions and, surprisingly, Herbology—but were evenly matched in the others. They both made it their goal to beat the other as often as possible.
Even the teachers could get fed up with Rose and Scorpius' rivalry:
"Miss Weasley, would you let someone else answer for a change?"
Scorpius smirked, raising his hand higher.
"Same goes for you, Mr. Malfoy. You and Miss Weasley are not the only ones in this class. Let the others have a turn."
Rose just stuck her tongue out at a disgruntled Scorpius.
Scorpius, for his part, got along well with the rest of the Weasley-Potter clan, save Rose. While Scorpius was closest to Al, James and Fred—after subjecting Scorpius to various Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products and being surprised when the eleven-year-old schemed to get them back—had deemed him a good bloke, and the rest of the various Weasley-Potters followed suit, seeming to enjoy his company, if not simply tolerating it.
Rose remained the only one hostile to Scorpius, despite Al’s attempts to make them get along. It didn’t help that Scorpius baited Rose every chance he got, usually about her bushy hair or lack of height. Scorpius once made the mistake of asking Rose, upon seeing her with a huge stack of books almost as big as she was, if she was collecting enough books to make a tower high enough for her to see over the tables in class. Rose had shot a few well-placed jinxes in his direction, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to needle her.
Towards the end of their first year, Rose, who apparently needed a break from her large family and also wanted to study, tended to hole up in the library for hours on end. Scorpius found her there one day, scribbling furiously while writing a final paper.
“Weasley, you might as well just buy a tent and pitch it down here, since you seem to think that books are good company.”
“They’re better than the present company,” Rose replied, not looking up from her paper.
“But books don’t talk back—I do.”
“Exactly,” Rose said shortly.
“Don’t tell me that you’re desperate enough to start talking to books. I knew you were crazy, Weasley, but I didn’t think you were that crazy.”
“I’m not. I simply need to get some studying done—and I needed to get away from my family. I can’t get any thinking done when all of them are hanging out in the common room, much less studying.”
“Thinking? Don’t hurt yourself, there, Weasley.”
“Malfoy, I have better grades than you and you know it.”
“What about in Potions?”
“You may have me there—but my overall grade average is higher than yours.”
He slapped his hands down on the desk next to her parchment, knocking her bottle of ink over, causing it to spill all over her parchment. She snapped.
“Look at what you’ve done! You’ve ruined my essay! I’m going to have to copy it out all over again because you just can’t leave well enough alone! Do you know how long it’s taken me to write this? Much too long for you to just ruin it in a matter of seconds! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to sabotage my work!”
“Now why would I do such a thing, Weasley? You’re the only real competition I have. Making top grades isn’t as fun if I just beat everyone outright.”
“Because you’re you,” she sneered. “You make it a point to make me miserable.”
“Not my fault you rise to the occasion,” he answered, only half paying attention because he’d caught sight of something on the desk that was sure to make Rose even angrier—and because he couldn’t resist the opportunity to push her buttons some more, he pointed it out to her.
“Say, Weasley, what’s the librarian going to say when she discovers that you’ve gotten ink all over the table?”
Rose quickly glanced at the table, seeing the growing puddle of ink slowly spreading across the parchment and dribbling onto the table. She turned back to look at him, blue eyes flashing. “It wasn’t my fault,” she snapped. “It was yours—if you weren’t so keen to pick a fight with me all the time, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Ah, but you fought back.”
At that, Rose grabbed the bottle of ink and threw the remaining contents in Scorpius’ face. “I hate you,” she said, gathering her ruined parchment and bag and storming out of the library.
Al, along with Rose’s other best friend Alice Longbottom, had managed to smooth Rose’s ruffled feathers enough that when Scorpius came offering a truce for the duration of finals, Rose accepted—provided Scorpius sat at the other end of the table, far away from her parchment and ink. They managed to get through finals without any incidents, proving that the two could work together when they put their minds to it.
By the end of their first year, most of Hogwarts was aware that the quarrels between Rose and Scorpius would become a constant in their lives. Rose could never back down from a challenge, and Scorpius certainly challenged her more than anyone else ever had—or would in the years to come.