Chapter 2: Second Year
:in which Rose is attacked by a Scorpius-summoned swarm of birds and Al is no help at all:
Second year went by in much the same manner as the first. Scorpius continued to mess with Rose every chance he got and Rose retaliated with a growing arsenal of hexes and jinxes. Rose and Al’s cousin Louis started Hogwarts and became the third Weasley-Potter to be sorted outside of Gryffindor, joining Molly in Ravenclaw. That left Lily, Hugo, and Lucy as the only members of the family who had not yet come to Hogwarts.
Rose and Scorpius continued their battle of wits inside the classroom as well. Poor Al was frequently stuck sitting between the two in classes, where they competed to be the first to answer any questions. Rose had not made Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, but was determined to secure a spot the following year, as both Al and Scorpius had been selected for Slytherin’s team—and she wouldn’t be denied the opportunity to best Scorpius in yet another area.
They continued to debate throughout mealtimes. Sometimes Rose would sit at the other end of the table with Alice Longbottom, her closest friend besides Al, but whenever Scorpius was sitting nearby, an argument was bound to ensue:
"Do you really think this is music?" Scorpius asked Rose, who had come to dinner singing along to Top 40 music on her WizardPod. With all the technology that had been developed in the past twenty years since their parents’ school days, a spell had been created to allow small devices such as cell phones and music players to work on Hogwarts grounds, although larger technological advances such as laptops and computers still could not function correctly.
"Well, it has a beat, and words, and a melody...so yes," replied Rose, shutting off her music player and putting it back in her bag.
"But this is pop music! No substance!"
"Says the boy who thinks that the Weird Sisters are the greatest thing since Quidditch."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Don't get me wrong, I like the Weird Sisters too. They're timeless. But did it ever occur to you that they were immensely popular back in their day? Popular...pop music."
Scorpius snorted. "Well at least the Weird Sisters have more talent in one of their fingernails than those artists you're always listening to on your little machine."
"Plenty of current singers have talent. Many don't, it's true, but you have to know how to weed out the bad from the good instead of painting them all with the same brush." Rose huffed. "And it's called a WizardPod. Just like the Muggle iPod, but adapted for wizarding use. You’d know about these types of things if you would take a Muggle Studies class, Malfoy."
"I like plenty of Muggle bands, Weasley."
"Yeah, bands that were around in your father's day."
"Don't diss the classics, Weasley."
"Some of the classics are fine. Others should have stayed back in the last century."
"At least they had better music back then."
"At least I can admit to liking some of the older bands like The Beatles, Muse, artists like that. You won't even admit that some pop songs are cool. At least I enjoy different kinds of music."
"Oh, so if someone looked at your little machine, would Celestina Warbeck be on there? Are you going to start singing her songs in the Great Hall all of a sudden?"
Rose frowned, knowing that Scorpius' devious mind was busy plotting a way to hex her into belting out a Warbeck song at dinner. "You wouldn't dare," she sneered.
"Watch me," Scorpius said.
True to his word, Scorpius did hex Rose into singing a Warbeck song at dinner a couple of days later. Rose, however, had to get the last note--after storming up to Scorpius, who was about to fall off the bench from laughing so hard, and declaring that she hated him, Rose promptly struck him with a hex of her own into singing an equally embarrassing song: “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. Scorpius’ facial expressions as he belted out the song were hysterical, and Rose watched with a smug grin plastered on her face. James and Fred were immensely proud of their younger cousin’s initiative, but Molly Weasley, who was undoubtedly becoming her father’s daughter, wrote home about the incident, causing Rose to receive a plea from her mother to not react so violently to Scorpius’ pranks. Ron, however, had sent a note of his own, congratulating Rose on getting the best of the “son of the ferret.”
Their second year flew by fast and soon enough it was nearing finals time. Al and Scorpius had settled under a tree one day about a month before the end of term, taking advantage of the warm weather. The boys were firming up summer plans—Scorpius had convinced his parents to let him stay at the Burrow for a couple of weeks. Al had insisted on waiting for Rose, who was trying to get in as much last-minute studying as possible, before talking about all the things they could do around the Burrow during Scorpius’ stay. Scorpius wasn’t so sure that Rose would want to spend any amount of time with him—she’d made it clear before Christmas that she thought that the holidays were supposed to be a reprieve from him—but he was determined to annoy her as often as he could.
Al was describing the lake close to the Burrow where the Weasley-Potters spent most of their waking hours during the summer when Scorpius spotted Rose. He had been thinking of various ways to irritate her while staying with the Potters, while Al had been talking, and he figured, why not start now?
Catching sight of a group of birds scattered around the lake, he got an idea. Smirking, Scorpius waited until Rose was in better view—he didn’t want to miss the look on her face—and swept his wand while muttering a spell. Instantly, the birds Scorpius had noticed launched into the air, flying straight for Rose. She was unaware that anything was amiss until the birds started landing on her, pecking at her arms and settling into her wild hair.
Rose started and began slapping and tugging at the birds, but even if she did dislodge one, it came flying right back. Rose looked as if she was doing a crazy rain dance, her legs stomping in frustration, arms waving spastically, face getting redder by the minute.
Scorpius, amused and pleased that his spell had worked so well, was in stitches. Al, noticing that his friend was doubled over in laughter, raised an eyebrow and then turned to see what Scorpius was pointing at. Al felt sorry for his favorite cousin—she had attracted the attention of most of the students who were outside, and probably a few who were inside as well—but he couldn’t hold back a chuckle. Rose was certainly a sight.
Rose, meanwhile, had finally given up trying to get rid of the birds and looked around for the culprit, although she already knew who it was. Spotting Scorpius—who was on the verge of tears, he was laughing so hard—and Al, Rose gathered up what dignity she had left and marched over to them.
“Malfoy.” she spat, not even sparing a glance at Al. “This has your name written all over it.”
Scorpius stopped laughing and grinned at her cheekily. “Found some new friends, have you, Weasley?”
Rose growled. “Still haven’t found anyone else to antagonize?”
“Of course not,” he answered smoothly. “Where would be the fun in that?”
She was clenching her fists, looking hard-pressed not to punch him. He pressed on. “You know, Weasley,” he began, “I would think that you would be glad to do your part around here when it comes to helping fellow creatures. You see, I saw this group of birds—” he gestured to the creatures still perched in her mass of hair—“and I thought they might need somewhere to roost. And what better place to make a nest than in that bush you call hair? It already looks the part. Ready to rent.”
By now, Rose was fuming. Standing toe-to-toe in front of Scorpius, she glared down at him, hands on her hips. “Why don’t you do a favor to all creatures here at Hogwarts—human or otherwise—and let me feed you to the giant squid, Malfoy?”
He laughed, which only seemed to make her angrier. “You wouldn’t do that, Weasley. Not only would it spoil your chances of making prefect in a few years, but you’d miss me too much.”
“Like I’d ever miss you,” she sneered, eyes flashing. She waved her arms, trying to dislodge the birds again—they were weighing her down—and Scorpius was about to make a comment about her flying away when Rose caught sight of her watch. “Time for dinner,” she huffed. “Malfoy, get rid of these infernal birds or Merlin help me I’ll punch you so hard you won’t be able to see for the next Quidditch match.”
Scorpius sighed. He wanted dinner, and he wanted to whip Hufflepuff at the upcoming game. Resigned, he waved his wand and muttered again, and the birds flew away. Rose immediately pulled Al up and started heading towards the castle, griping about his choice of friends the whole way. Scorpius couldn’t resist making one more crack at her.
“Oi, Weasley! Can we start calling you birdbrain now?”
Rose’s head whipped around, hair flying. She looked like she was about to hex him, but Al restrained her—just barely. Rose settled for a glare that would rival a basilisk’s and grumbled a phrase that was becoming as familiar to Scorpius as his own name—“I hate you.”