Chapter Ten: Seventh Year, Part Two
"I hate you…so much I think it must be true love."
-"True Love," P!nk feat. Lily Allen
:in which there is a new turn of phrase:
Scorpius thanked his lucky stars when he found out that he and Rose were Head Boy and Girl.
He had thought he was lucky when he had secured an internship at St. Mungo's and was thus able to take the first steps towards becoming a Healer, something he had wanted to be since he was very young.
He had thought he was lucky when his internship allowed him to spend much of the summer in London not too far from where Rose was serving her own internship, thus allowing them to meet for lunch often.
That summer had only cemented his feelings for her as their friendship had grown. He really enjoyed spending time with her; she was a true and loyal friend and could always be counted upon for a good laugh.
So the prospect of working together with Rose and sharing living quarters with her for an entire year seemed to be Merlin-sent. He would get to see her more often than before, which was saying something, considering how much time they'd spent in each other's vicinity and then company over the years.
(The idea that he would get to see her at her most relaxed—pajamas and even messier hair than usual—didn't hurt either. He found her appearance at those times endearing.)
was sad, in a way, that this would be his, Rose's, and Al's last year
at Hogwarts. He knew they would remain friends even after
graduation—friends like them were hard to find—but their future jobs
were sure to take up much of their time. Even so, Scorpius, ever the
schemer, had a plan.
Al was planning on becoming an Auror. Scorpius had joked that if Al was going to prevent and assess crime, then he could heal Al's inevitable injuries and Rose could write about their escapades.
"Your escapades?" Rose had asked, incredulous, gesturing between Scorpius and Al. "As in both of you?"
"Well, of course," Scorpius answered, like she should already know what he was talking about. "There has to be a mention of the brilliant Healer Scorpius Malfoy in your article, Rosie. And since I'm around the Weasleys and Potters all the time, I'm bound to get into a few scrapes here and there."
"If only there was a cure for egocentricity," grumbled Rose. "Scorp, just stick to what you're good at."
"Oh, you mean annoying you?" he asked with a self-righteous grin.
"I meant working as a Healer, although you are definitely the best at annoying me. I—we—don't want you getting hurt, and knowing you, you are bound to do something reckless and cause more trouble than absolutely necessary. Let more levelheaded people like Al handle such things."
"Rose, I'm touched at your concern for me," said Scorpius. "And I suppose you wouldn't make it as an Auror either, if one of the requirements is being levelheaded."
"I don't know how much longer I can remain levelheaded with you two going at it all the time. Seriously, you two, you've been friends for almost two years. I would think that you would argue less," said Al.
"Nah," dismissed Scorpius. "Arguing with Rose is just too much fun. I imagine I'll be arguing with her when I'm ninety."
"Scorp, at ninety, your hearing will probably be gone, so we'll just argue about what you think I said versus what I did say."
"At least I'll still most likely have my looks at ninety," said Scorpius, flashing a grin.
"I swear, I'm about two seconds away from hexing both of you—but whether I should fling you across the room from each other or bind you two together, I haven't decided yet," snapped Al, who looked like he was about to tear his hair out.
"I'm up for binding us together, if Rosie's game," said Scorpius.
Rose just glared at Scorpius—although Scorpius could tell she was blushing a little—while Al waved his wand, shooting the two teens across the room.
"I can still mess with Rose from over here, Al," yelled Scorpius.
Al just grumbled something about having to babysit his two best friends even though he was the youngest.
fact that Hogwarts was holding a Yule Ball held no real significance to
Scorpius outside of planning the whole thing until he was presented
with the opportunity to teach Rose to dance. Then, he started to warm to
the idea very quickly.
He had been wrangled into dancing lessons at twelve and thirteen. He had always thought they were a waste of time, although he reluctantly admitted that they helped him play Quidditch a little more gracefully. He was a Malfoy, though, and gifted with considerable natural grace, so dancing came naturally to him.
The opportunity to teach Rose to dance was just too good to pass up. It wasn't often that he was noticeably better than her at something—Potions, Herbology and Quidditch were the only major areas where his expertise far surpassed hers.
Plus, it gave him a chance to hold her close for longer than a hug yet still be considered socially acceptable.
He loved dancing with Rose. Years of knowing each other so well and constantly dancing around each other in verbal combat made it easy for them to fall into a natural rhythm. She was a good dancer, he found, after she had gotten past her initial clumsiness.
He had known, of course, that he and Rose would open the Yule Ball with a dance. After dancing with Rose for only a couple of sessions, however, he found that he wanted to dance with her all night, not just for one required dance.
He started working up the nerve to ask her to the dance. He didn't want to make it seem like he was only joking with her or, perish the thought, only asking her out of pity. He wanted her to know that he truly wanted to go with her, wanted to spend time with her and their friends, wanted to hold her close and dance with her until they couldn't feel their feet.
He wanted to go with her because she was Rose and he couldn't see himself with anyone else.
In the end, though, the biggest prat in school asked her first.
He only found out that Christopher Wickham had asked Rose to the ball—and had been accepted—because Wickham started boasting about it one day after Quidditch practice.
Scorpius' hands immediately balled into fists at Wickham's tone of voice when talking about Rose, as though she was nothing but another prospective conquest. Since Wickham was also a Slytherin, Scorpius—and Al—had heard Wickham boast many times of the girls he had seduced and then summarily dropped.
Rose didn't deserve that.
Fuming, yet not wanting to throw punches at the git—at least not yet—Scorpius stormed out of the locker room in search of Al, who had left earlier.
He found Al in the Slytherin common room. Al looked like he was about to doze off for some much-needed rest, but Scorpius barely acknowledged that as he stomped over to the couch, flopping down by his best friend.
Al cracked an eye open. "Mate?" he said halfheartedly before catching full sight of Scorpius' face. "Scorp, you look like you just met the wrong end of a Blast-Ended Skrewt."
Scorpius grunted and crossed his arms, looking for all the world like a five-year old who had been told he couldn't play with his favorite toy and had to go to bed instead.
"Someone asked Rose to the ball," he finally huffed.
"I'm sorry, mate," Al said. "I know you wanted to ask her."
Al knew all about Scorpius' feelings for Rose—had actually confronted him about them a couple of years earlier, in fact. After much badgering from Al, Scorpius had finally confessed to loving Rose.
"I planned on asking her tonight," said Scorpius, sounding defeated. "But that's not the worst part."
"It's not?" wondered Al.
"No." Scorpius' hands balled into fists. "The worst part is that a bloody wanker is going to be taking her because she actually said yes."
Al, knowing Wickham's reputation, had quickly angered after that, and the two of them set off to find Hugo in hopes of confronting Rose.
"You know we can't forbid her to go to the ball with him, no matter how much we want to," Al said.
"I know. I would never try and force Rose into doing something she didn't want to do—I know it wouldn't work, and it would be disrespectful as well. But hopefully, if we tell her what we know about him—at least some of it—she'll make the decision on her own to reject his offer," Scorpius reasoned.
They found Hugo in the Gryffindor common room—as Head Boy, Scorpius had the authority to enter the room if necessary—and set off to find Rose, who was apparently studying in the library.
The three boys found Rose just outside the library, but none of them knew what to say, especially Scorpius. He couldn't very well walk up to her and say "Your date just wants to screw you," no matter how true that statement might be. He wanted to throw up just thinking about it—and being so crass about the whole situation would make Rose less likely to listen to their arguments.
He finally came up with an approach, and while he couldn't convince Rose to dump the git, he did manage to get her to promise to stay alert when it came to her date. He supposed that would have to be enough. Rose really could take care of herself, although he would prefer it if she wasn't in situations where she had to. He admired her bravery and tenacity, but there were some situations that no one should ever have to encounter, he reasoned.
No one was surprised as him, though, when she put him on the spot for not asking her to the ball when he had the chance. Al, of course, just had to rub it in—and then tell Scorpius he was an idiot for thinking he didn't have a chance with Rose.
stubbornly remained without a date to the Yule Ball. It wasn't like he
didn't have any willing prospects—while the number of girls in his fan
club had dwindled somewhat over the years due to some of the girls
finding boyfriends, there were still enough stragglers in the group that
he wouldn't have had a problem finding a date.
He honestly had no idea why some of those girls kept hanging around when he had made it clear he wasn't interested. He hadn't even so much as went on a date since realizing he loved Rose during their fifth year. None of the Hogwarts girls had ever been able to hold his attention for long—they were nice enough, but they were shallow and downplayed any intelligence they might have had. He had never liked that, which was one reason he was so drawn to Rose. So when other girls showed up, he adapted his father's carefully cultivated air and tone of clipped politeness. He didn't want to lead any of the girls on; that wouldn't be right, and besides, he didn't want to stir up trouble with any of the girls, because then they would be mad at him—and possibly Rose—and he wanted to avoid such a situation. He didn't relish confrontation unless it was with Rose.
He was stubborn; he knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be with Rose. He wanted to show her how much he cared and hoped that she might care for him in return, which had happily turned out to be the case—although he was still unsure how much she really did care for him. He would pursue her relentlessly if that's what it took to win her, because she was worth it.
She was absolutely gorgeous.
He had thought she was beautiful for quite some time, but the way she looked the night of the Yule Ball was something else.
The dress flattered her in shape as well as color, and he was surprised but pleased to see that she was wearing the rose pendant he had given her for her eighteenth birthday.
He had wondered if the gift would be too cliché, but the necklace had just screamed her—understated yet lovely all the same. She had loved it, hugging him tightly in thanks, and he knew she wore it often.
He had managed to compliment her before whisking her away to the middle of the Great Hall. He had caught a glimpse of the back of her dress while walking, and his fingers immediately itched to touch her soft skin. She was captivating and enticing; he didn't want to take his eyes off her.
When he drew her into his arms to begin the first dance, he couldn't stop himself from rubbing his thumb in slow circles on the lowest uncovered patch of her skin. That bit of contact wasn't enough for Scorpius, though.
He wanted to rain kisses on her neck and shoulders and down her spine to where her dress met in that alluring V just below the middle of her back.
They fell into their comfortable habit of teasing each other while twirling around on the dance floor. He loved how their friendship hadn't diminished their need to banter or counter each other.
He beamed at her—he knew he was wearing his heart on his sleeve, but he found he didn't care. If it meant that she finally realized how much she meant to him—or made her realize how much he meant to her—it was worth it.
She lifted her hand to stroke his cheek suddenly, and he was suddenly hopeful that she felt for him what he felt for her. He was very much aware that she had turned him into a sap, but she was the only one who could elicit such emotions from him. To everyone else, he was the same Malfoy he had always been, but when Rose was involved, he allowed his guard to slip.
All too soon, their second dance ended. He could tell that Rose didn't want to leave—and he of course didn't want her to leave—but her sense of fairness wouldn't allow her to neglect her date.
Acquiescing, and making her promise to dance with him later, he wound up talking with Al and Alice for a few minutes until a scorned Lily had shown up. He thought of Lily as the sister he had never had, and so he offered to take her for a spin on the dance floor to cheer her up, because poor Al had two left feet and hadn't even attempted to dance yet. Since James had graduated the year before, that left Scorpius to fill the role of surrogate brother, which he didn't mind filling. Over the years he had grown close to many of the assorted Weasley-Potters, so much so that he considered the majority of them family.
(If he had his way, in a few years, they really would be his family. But that all depended on Rose.)
wanted to throttle Wickham when Rose had told him that her date had not
acted like a gentleman. He didn't press her for details; Wickham's
reputation alone was enough for Scorpius to know that whatever the git
had tried, it wasn't respectful or wanted. Rose was a mix of angry,
upset, and hurt, but he was glad to see that she wasn't going to let it
ruin her night. She was much too strong to let Wickham's actions affect
her, at least in such a public place.
At least, that's what he thought, until Rose had gone to get drinks and Wickham's devious plan came to light.
Scorpius had just wondered what was taking Rose so long when he heard her start yelling. He, Al, Hugo, Alice, and Lily all went to see what in the bloody blazes was going on, only to hear Wickham calmly, heartlessly tell Rose his ulterior motive for making a move on her.
Scorpius felt like he'd been punched in the gut at Wickham's callous words. Even worse was his nonchalant tone. Al and Hugo immediately lurched forward, intent on defending Rose, but were pulled back by Alice and Lily, respectively. Scorpius, however, couldn't move. He couldn't believe that someone could treat Rose so cruelly, could use her in such a fashion. Even he, at his worst, had never treated Rose with such disrespect. Even when the only thing he could say about her was that she was a worthy opponent, he had held at least a modicum of respect for her wit and intelligence. Wickham, it seemed, had never seen her as more than a pawn in his plans—he really didn't know Rose at all, Scorpius mused, if he expected Rose to be a willing participant—even unknowingly—in his scheme for power. Wickham's later admission that he had not only just wanted her for her connections, but also for sex, made his stomach churn. Rose deserved so much more than to be just another conquest. She deserved to be loved and cherished—and he wanted to be the one to do so.
He might have wanted to hex the prat from here to kingdom come, but he was more intrigued by how Rose would respond. He wasn't disappointed.
He was proud of Rose for standing up for herself and putting that prat in his place—not that he would have expected anything less from the fiery Gryffindor.
(Plus, he would be lying if he said that the sight of Rose in an elegant dress laying into her date for his crass behavior wasn't the hottest thing he'd ever seen.)
He was especially impressed with the end of her rant. Not for the first time, he found himself thinking what a formidable and successful lawyer she could be if she had chosen that profession. She would have criminals shaking in their boots, that was for sure. "I am Rose, and that should be enough," she had said.
And she was.
form of punishment wasn't nearly violent enough for Scorpius' taste,
but it was amusing nonetheless. He could tell she was trying to hold
herself together, so when Al and Hugo had stepped in to give Wickham the
third degree after Rose had left, he had quickly told Lily and Alice he
was going to see about Rose. They had shared a knowing look before
nodding, and he went in search of his Rose.
He found her crying, which both disturbed and upset him. He had not seen her cry since his spider prank in fourth year. He had immediately gathered her to him, trying to comfort her. He didn't think Wickham was worth even one tear, but didn't say so. Rose, however, didn't seem as upset about the fact that it was Wickham who had been so cruel than that someone had had the audacity to use her in such a way at all.
Scorpius dropped one of his innumerable hints that he loved her, but of course Rose didn't pick up on it. When she had told him he could "say it," he had immediately clammed up from fear. He thought she was telling him that he could tell her that he loved her, and although he wanted nothing more than to tell her so, he wasn't able to get the words out. It wasn't the right time to drop that bombshell on her, especially when she was feeling vulnerable. Plus, he lacked the Gryffindor bravery that she and her family seemed to have in abundance.
He inwardly sighed in relief when she had told him he could say "I told you so," but was a little hurt that she would think that he would say something so insensitive. He might be known for bluntness and rudeness much of the time, but not when it mattered.
Not when it came to Rose's feelings.
He might not have been able to tell her he loved her, but he couldn't help but brush his lips across her forehead. She had to know just how loved and important she was, not just to him, but to her family and friends. They were the ones whose opinion mattered.
had finally gotten her to go back inside and resume dancing with him.
Wickham spun around in the air for much of the night; apparently even
the professors decided he deserved such a punishment.
(Later, Wickham would be kicked off the Quidditch team, was given detentions with Filch for the rest of the year, and was ostracized by most of Hogwarts for his treatment of Rose. There would be no Ministry path for him now—Rose had been sure to inform her mother and Uncle Harry that if Wickham came applying for jobs, they were to immediately turn him away and not even give him a second's thought.)
Scorpius and Rose, meanwhile, spun around on the dance floor in each other's arms for most of the rest of the night. Scorpius had cheekily steered them close to the punch table once, acting like he was going to twirl Rose right into the refreshments, but she caught on quickly and gave him one of her famous glares. He had just chuckled and twirled them away before the refreshments ended up on him instead.
He held her closer than before during their last dance, giving in again to the temptation to press his lips to her head, this time to her hair. She felt right in his arms.
He could tell she was deep in thought, but didn't disturb her. He was thinking, too, although his thoughts revolved around what it might be like to finally throw caution to the wind and snog her senseless, to get lost in her touch and taste.
Suddenly, he was jolted out of his reverie by her asking him a question that stopped him in his tracks.
"Scorp, will you come with me?"
followed her out of the Great Hall into the hallway, to the spot where
he had comforted her earlier—near the same spot, he realized with a
jolt, where he had begged for her forgiveness after the marshmallow
spider prank in fourth year.
She turned to him, and she looked nervous—why, he didn't know. She looked at the floor, hands nervously twisting in front of her. He had never seen her so anxious—not even when they were waiting for O.W.L. scores. He kept silent, allowing her to process her thoughts.
Finally, she looked up at him and three words suddenly tumbled out of her mouth. The phrase began with "I" and ended with "you," but there was no hate between them, not anymore.
In fact, it was on the opposite side of that fine line from hate, and Scorpius, who was somewhere between shocked and hopeful, could only manage one word:
She looked at him, blushed, and nodded. He reached for her, but she caught his hand—apparently she had something more to say.
"Wait," she said, and his heart sank until she continued. "I don't want you to think that this is some kind of spur-of-the-moment thing stemming just from tonight. I've felt this way about you for a while, Scorp, but I didn't allow myself to admit it. I knew that if I admitted it, there would be no going back, although I think I was—am—too far gone for going back to even be an option.
"This has been coming on so gradually that I think I was in the middle before I knew I had begun.
"I just wanted to make sure that you knew that this isn't just some one-time thing that will get pushed aside. It's you, Scorp. It's you and no one else."
He didn't know what to say—couldn't say anything, really.
So he reached for her again, tugging her to him, his mouth coming down over hers.
He kissed her deeply, thoroughly, and she responded with equal fervor. His fingers tangled in her hair while his other hand caressed her silk-encased hip. She locked her fingers in his hair, pulling his face down even more, and her other hand traveled up and down his chest.
This was the best feeling ever. He was drowning in sensation, in the feeling of Rose against him, the pressure of her mouth on his, the feeling of her hands in his hair, the pleased sounds she made as he poured everything he had into that kiss.
It was better than two dozen chocolate frogs, better than playing in his first Quidditch game, better than his internship, better than earning the Head Boy badge. It was everything.
She was everything.
They continued kissing passionately (because when had they ever done anything by halves when it came to each other?), but their need for oxygen took over. He reluctantly pulled back and rested his forehead on hers. She was grinning, her eyes sparkling. She had never looked more beautiful to Scorpius than she did right then, cheeks blooming with her namesake, lips swollen from his kisses.
He grinned back and said (as if that kiss—and everything he had done or said for the past couple of years—wasn't proof enough):
"I love you, too."