Chapter Five: Fifth Year, Part One
:in which Rose and Scorpius become Prefects, there is much wordplay, and Patronuses are discovered:
Scorpius spent much of the summer before fifth year with the Potters, as his parents had decided they needed an extended getaway for just the two of them. Rose thought it was hilarious that Scorpius' parents apparently needed an extended break from him, and said so the first time she saw him at Al's. Scorpius, for his part, was glad to be at the Potters' house—it beat being cooped up in the dreary, large manor. There was always bound to be somebody coming round to the Potter house, with as many cousins and friends of the family as they had. Since Rose and Al were close, she and Hugo came over the most.
Rose and Scorpius did get along a little better than they had in previous years. They still teased and bickered, but it was all in good fun—neither of them wanted a repeat of what had happened a few months earlier. Rose found to her surprise that a couple of times over the summer, she found herself thinking that Scorpius wasn't quite that bad—but she would never say so, and usually he would say something that would snap her out of such ludicrous thoughts.
Rose did notice that Scorpius started looking at her more frequently, usually when quite a few of the Weasley-Potters had come over to Al's to hang out. His attention made her a little uncomfortable; he wasn't glaring at her, just watching her at odd moments. She finally asked him if she had something on her face, and when he told her "just your freckles," she decided he had just lost his mind and frequently stared off into space in her direction.
(Al noticed how his best mate's attention kept straying to his cousin more than usual—and so did Lily, if her secretive smiles whenever Rose and Scorpius interacted were anything to go by. The siblings privately decided that Scorpius was head over heels for Rose, with Lily saying she'd figured it out soon after the events of the previous year, but both were at a loss as to how Rose felt about their friend. If Rose's parents' record was anything to go by, it would be a while before Rose decided one way or the other.)
The last two weeks of the summer were spent, as always, at the Burrow. Scorpius had come as well, arriving a day after the rest of the Weasley-Potters. A few days before they were due to head back to Hogwarts, Al and Scorpius had come down the stairs to find Rose in the kitchen eating breakfast.
"Morning, Rosie," a still half-asleep Al said, going to the cupboards to find some cereal. Rose greeted him and heard Scorpius snorting from the doorway. "What?" she demanded.
"Your hair," he managed to choke out. "It's wilder than usual. What did you do, sleep with one of your grandmother's egg beaters wrapped in your hair?"
"No," Rose spat. But Scorpius wasn't finished.
"Your grandfather was fiddling with electricity again yesterday and was showing Al and me all the components. I must say, Weasley, if the world ever runs out of copper wire, they could just use your hair instead. I bet no one would be able to tell the difference," he joked, walking over to her as he was talking and pulling a strand of Rose's hair as he did so.
"I hate you," she groaned, smacking his hand away. She got up to put her bowl in the sink and turned to look at him while washing out her glass. "I'd say that your hair could be used for a lightbulb filament, but there's no way that stuff could turn anything on," she said, not even realizing how her words could be construed.
"Oh, I think you'll find that my—what was it you called them? My Scorpettes?—my Scorpettes find my hair very irresistible, Weasley. I light them right up."
"I don't see how," Rose countered, blushing a little as she realized the implication of her earlier words. "They're not very bright to begin with—they fawn all over you, don't they?"
Al decided to speak before things escalated anymore—and at eight o'clock in the morning, at that. "Why are you up so early, Rosie?" he asked. "Usually you like to sleep in as much as possible the week before school starts."
"Maybe she realized that her attempts at beauty sleep weren't working?" Scorpius asked, but thankfully, Rose ignored him.
"I got my Hogwarts letter early this morning," Rose said, a smug grin creeping over her face. "And look what they sent me!" She pulled a Prefect badge out of the envelope and waved it around, taunting Scorpius with it.
"Congratulations, Rosie!" Al said, beaming at her.
"You didn't get one, Al?" she asked.
"No, he didn't," Scorpius answered.
"But I did," he continued, taking his own envelope out of his pants pocket and pulling out his own Prefect badge.
Rose's face drooped. "I'm sorry, Al," she said. Then she looked at Scorpius.
"Merlin's beard, why did they have to give you a prefect badge, Malfoy?"
"Why wouldn't they? I get excellent marks, am good at Quidditch, I'm charming…I actually have a good rapport with the younger ones. Remember when I helped your brother and cousin on their first day at Hogwarts, Weasley? I'm a prime example of a Prefect."
"You're so full of hot air, Malfoy, it's a wonder you haven't floated away yet. I just hope the professors aren't vindictive enough to stick me with you as a patrol partner."
Al shuddered. "They'd be off their rockers to pair you two up. You would be too busy arguing to even pay attention to patrol."
"I think we'd work well together, as long as Rosie here refrains from hexing me," Scorpius said, grinning.
"It's not my fault you have a knack for irritating me. If you would just act like a decent human being more often I wouldn't have to hex you."
"But where's the fun in that?" Scorpius asked. "I can be a decent human being, but it's just too much fun to rile you up sometimes."
Scorpius looked at his badge again. "Well, would you look at that? They've spelled prefect wrong on my badge."
Rose glanced at her own. "Mine is just fine. Maybe you need to go back to primary school if you can't even spell prefect."
"No, I'm serious. They've made a mistake."
"Other than giving you the badge? Let me see that." Rose walked over to Scorpius and turned the medallion in his hand over to look at it. "Malfoy, this is spelled correctly. Do you need to get your vision checked?"
"No. See? They mixed up the placement of the "r" and the first "e"."
"But then it would spell "perfect.""
"Exactly," Scorpius said, smirking.
Rose groaned. "On second thought, they did spell it wrong." Scorpius grinned at Rose, who ignored him in favor of continuing. "They put too many letters on here, and they need to change a vowel. The letters "efec" need to be removed and an "a" put there instead."
"But that would spell prat," Scorpius responded.
"Exactly," Rose rejoined with a smirk of her own.
It was Al's turn to groan. Sometimes he felt like a third wheel when Rose and Scorpius started in on each other like this. "Scorp," he sighed, "just admit that you've been outmaneuvered and move on."
"Never," Scorp replied, still looking at Rose.
"He can't, Al," said Rose, who by this time was engaging Scorpius in a staring contest. "He's incorrigible."
"Pulling out the big words today, are we, Weasley?"
"It's not my fault that there are so many "in" words to describe you, Malfoy," Rose retorted. "Incorrigible, insufferable, infuriating, incomprehensible, insolent, infernal, indefatigable…"
"Incomparable, inimitable, ingratiating, intelligent, ingenious…I'd even go as far as to say endearing but that starts with "en"," Scorpius said, supplying a few of his own adjectives—but they were far more positive than Rose's.
Al banged his head on the kitchen table. "It's too early for this," he complained, nearly whining. "We get it—you two know a lot of big words. You don't have to show it off, especially when some of us don't even know what you're talking about."
"Sorry, Al," Rose said sheepishly. Then she grinned. "Guess we'll just have to buy you a dictionary."
"Indubitably," Scorpius interjected.
Rose raised an eyebrow at his deadpan delivery and then started cackling, much to Scorpius' surprise.
Al groaned even louder and threw up his hands in defeat, heading to get some breakfast. Scorpius just looked immensely pleased that he'd gotten Rose to laugh.
As it happened, Rose and Scorpius were paired on one patrol session per week, causing Rose to seriously doubt the intelligence level of the heads, who had made out the schedules. Surprisingly, Scorpius was right—he and Rose did work well together. They couldn't help but continue their debates, but were quick to join forces whenever they needed to enforce the rules. Except for one time when Scorpius jokingly shut Rose in a broom closet, their patrols went off without a hitch.
This was also O.W.L. year, and Rose and Scorpius had agreed to a studying/library truce—much like the ones they agreed to for finals, except that this one would last for most of the year. While they agreed to not dive into one of their heated arguments while studying, that didn't mean that they couldn't debate the merits of different spells or which authority to cite in a paper. They took to reading over each other's papers and giving advice—Rose when it came to semantics, grammar, and punctuation, and Scorpius on the big picture. They also teamed up to help their friends, especially Al and Alice. Al was smart, but he didn't have the patience to sit and study for the amount of time that O.W.L.s required, and Alice simply needed to have her papers looked over and some of her points refined.
Fifth year was also the year that Defense Against the Dark Arts students learned how to conjure Patronuses. Those lessons were taught by Harry Potter himself—which Al was not looking forward to.
"Uncle Harry isn't trying to embarrass you, Al," Rose told him one day while she, Al and Scorpius were heading towards the DADA class. It was the day that Harry was due to teach the class about Patronuses, and Al had been grumbling all morning and all through lunch. "Can you honestly think of anyone else who is as qualified to teach us about Patronuses as your dad?"
Al thought for a minute and then grumbled, "No. No one alive, anyway."
"Seriously, Al, your dad isn't going to make a scene about you being his son. He'll just treat you like you're a regular student. And you're not James—you're not going to make a big scene about things, either," said Scorpius.
"Malfoy's right," conceded Rose, who sounded like she hated the fact that those words were coming out of her mouth, but did it for Al's sake. "Your dad has put up with people making a scene over him for pretty much his whole life. He's not going to make you go through that."
"But what about the Patronus itself? What if I can't conjure one by the end of the class? What if I end up with something silly as a Patronus? Like a unicorn?"
Scorpius and Rose both snorted. "Al," Rose said. "You'll be able to conjure one with no problem. You're a fine wizard. You have a knack for DADA—maybe it's because Uncle Harry started training you early, or maybe it's inherited—but whatever the reason, you'll do just fine.
"And don't worry about what Patronus you'll get," Rose continued, trying to soothe her cousin's fears. "I'm sure you'll end up with a stag, just like your dad and grandfather. James has one too, doesn't he?"
Al nodded and thanked Rose and Scorpius, feeling kind of silly for being so concerned about something so trivial as a Patronus' form when his father had been worrying about surviving the impending war at his age.
His attention was quickly diverted elsewhere, however, as Rose began to tease Scorpius. "The real question is," she said pointedly, "what Malfoy here will end up with. The way I see it, things could go one of two ways—he could end up with a ferret or a peacock."
Al started laughing at Rose's insinuation that Scorpius would end up with a ferret for a Patronus. Once Scorpius had let slip that his father had been turned into a ferret during his fourth year, Al and Rose had taken to ribbing him about it whenever they could—and Rose threatened to turn him into a ferret on a semi-regular basis.
Scorpius just glared at Rose. "Think you're funny, don't you?" he growled at her.
"Yes," answered Rose, grinning at him cheekily.
Scorpius just shook his head. "That was a rhetorical question. I should have never let that slip," he muttered to himself.
He eyed Rose again. "The ferret reference is obvious—"
"—I'm glad you can finally see the resemblance," interjected Rose.
"—but why a peacock? We may have raised them at Malfoy Manor in the past but I don't think I ever told you all that."
"You did? Hmm," mused Rose. "Anyway, the peacock is a reference to your haughtiness, your pride, your tendency to preen when it comes to your appearance, your tendency to show off—"
"Me? Show off?" asked Scorpius, incredulous.
"Well, what else would you call doing all kinds of rolls on your broom during the last Quidditch match?"
"Displaying my enviable skills," answered Scorpius, like this should be obvious.
"Seems like two sides of the same coin to me," said Rose. "And I think the only thing you're displaying is more of that infernal pride."
"I have pride because I have something to be proud about," retorted Scorpius. "And my skills must have made some sort of impression or you wouldn't have noticed."
"It was kind of hard not to notice when everyone around me was screaming "Look at Scorpius! He's so talented! And so dreamy!" and other crazy things like that." Rose said, rolling her eyes.
"Well, if I'm supposed to be a peacock—and I'm not saying that I am—then what are you, Rosie?"
Scorpius didn't wait for Rose to answer and turned to Al. "Al, what's that dragon called that your dad faced in the Triwizard Tournament? The extremely bad-tempered one?"
"Hungarian Horntail," Al answered, already knowing where Scorpius was going with this.
"That's right. Hungarian Horntail. That's you, Weasley. It's a wonder you haven't started breathing fire yet. Although, you might burn Hogwarts down…"
"It's a good thing I don't breathe fire or you would have already been burnt to a crisp. And is your intellect failing, Malfoy? You only came up with one possible Patronus for me."
"Are you sure you want to be insulted some more, Weasley?"
"Seems only fair."
"You have a twisted concept of fairness, Weasley. However, I'll bite. It may be stereotypical, but you could always be a lion. Ferocious, daring, brave—and with that mess of hair, you already have a mane."
"Malfoy, only male lions have manes. I'm a female."
"Is that what you are? I hadn't noticed." Scorpius eyed Rose up and down, making her a little uncomfortable under his intense gaze. The gleam in his eyes told her that he definitely knew that she was a girl and was just trying to get under her skin as always.
"You're impossible," Rose huffed.
"Impossible to forget, love," Scorpius drawled, smirking and drawing a bit closer.
"I hate you," Rose barked, backing away. She didn't quite know what to think about the look he was still giving her. Scorpius was inching into uncharted territory and that scared her a little.
Thankfully, they had reached the classroom by this time, and for the first time all week—all year, really—Al couldn't be happier that his dad was teaching the class. Surely Rose and Scorpius wouldn't get into an argument in front of him.
Harry had walked the fifth-years through the basics of the Patronus spell to refresh their memories-their regular DADA teacher had been instructing them on the mechanics of the spell for a few weeks before bringing in Harry to teach the final class. Harry produced his own stag to demonstrate what a well-formed Patronus would look like. Although the threat of evil was long past, Harry was adamant that the next generation (and subsequent ones) would learn Defense Against the Dark Arts, because as he told the class, everyone has the ability for good and evil inside them; people's choices determine where they will go in life. Knowledge of the past and its failings would go a long way to ensuring that such evil would not rise again. Though the chance that evil would return on such a scale again was slim, Harry meant to prepare the students just in case they needed to stand up and fight.
Harry instructed the students to try to conjure a Patronus, telling them that almost no one did it on the first try but to give it their all. Indeed, no one conjured it on the very first try, but Al was the first to succeed, sending his stag galloping across the room, followed by the appearances of Rose and Scorpius' Patronuses.
"A wolf?" remarked Rose, seeing one emerge from the end of Scorpius' wand.
"Disappointed it's not a ferret or a peacock, Weasley?" asked Scorpius. Harry couldn't help chuckling at Scorpius' mention of a ferret.
"No, just surprised," answered Rose. "A wolf would have been one of the last animals I would have guessed for you."
"Wolves are misunderstood creatures, Rose."
"Scorpius is right, Rose," Harry said, coming over. "What do you know about wolves? Or at least their characteristics?"
"Well," said Rose, "A lot of times they are portrayed as solitary animals, but then there was that Muggle movie The Jungle Book where that little boy was raised by wolves. They do travel in packs and they watch over their own…"
"Exactly," said Harry, nodding. "Wolves are extremely loyal, intelligent, cunning creatures."
Rose looked thoughtful. "I guess it does make sense," she conceded. She then flourished her wand and a stream of grayish white mist came forth, coalescing into the shape of…
"What is that?" Rose asked, looking at the small furry animal currently scampering after Scorpius' wolf.
"That's a mongoose, I believe," answered Harry. "They're native to India."
"Wait a minute," said Rose. "Wasn't there some Muggle story about a mongoose who took on a snake?"
"Yes," said Harry. "I remember your mother telling me about that one."
"That's a fitting Patronus, then, Weasley," commented Scorpius. "An animal brave and daring enough to take on a poisonous snake? Makes sense—you are, after all, one of the only people willing to take on a Slytherin—and a Malfoy at that," he continued, smirking at Rose.
Harry smiled at the exchange between his niece and his son's best friend. "Mongooses have a lot of loyalty as well—and they have to be clever to outwit a snake."
He looked at them both. "Well done, both of you."
"Thank you, Uncle Harry. I'm going to go talk to Al now—I told him he didn't need to be worried about today," Rose said, nodding at Scorpius and leaving.
"That was a very powerful Patronus you released, Scorpius," Harry observed. "That must have been a very strong, wonderful memory."
"It was, sir," answered Scorpius.
Harry could tell that the memory Scorpius had called upon was not one that the young Malfoy wanted to discuss, but wanted to mention it anyway. "I suppose you won't care to tell us what memory you used, would you?"
Scorpius looked a little flustered. "If it's all right with you, sir, I'd rather keep that to myself. It's a bit…personal—and I haven't even quite figured out why that particular memory came to mind."
"That's fine, Scorpius. Just know that sometimes the most personal, emotional memories make the strongest Patronuses—especially when they feature people you love."
Harry turned to talk to other students who were finally succeeding at the task, but he had one last point to make to Scorpius.
"You know, most wolves mate for life."
He saw a slight blush creep up on the young Malfoy's face and nodded, suspicions confirmed, at how Scorpius' eyes slid towards Rose for a heartbeat before turning back to Harry.
"Thank you for the lesson, sir," Scorpius said formally, face still a little flushed.
"Of course, Scorpius. Just remember what I told you."
Scorpius nodded and turned to go talk to Al—and Rose.