It was just after nine and Rose Weasley was exhausted. It had been a long day at the Joke shop where she had been working with her Uncle George for the summer. Saturday's were always particularly busy at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes but today had just been one of those days that never seemed to end and she had volunteered to close tonight so that her Uncle George could spend the evening with his family, which right now she was regretting. Being only sixteen she couldn't just wave her wand and magically clean up the disastrous state that the shop had been in. A group of soon to be first and second years had decided to terrorize the pygmy puffs for half the afternoon, leaving that whole section of the store in utter disarray. Rose sighed, it would be a miracle if she was out of here by ten. She had just finished reorganizing the love potions which had been knocked all over the floor by terrified pygmy puffs who had escaped their cages when she heard a knock at the door.
"We're closed," she called to whoever it was outside but the knocking persisted. Rose let out an aggravated sigh and headed towards the door to tell whoever it was outside to shove off. She stormed toward the door and whipped it open. "We're cl-" her words died on her tongue as the smirking face of Scorpius Malfoy greeted her. She ran her hands through her hair. "What do you want Malfoy?" Rose and Scorpius had always had a complicated relationship, ever since first year. The pair had never really been the best of friends and they didn't absolutely hate each other, the only real interactions that they had with each other involved pranks and bickering she was still puzzled as to why he was standing outside her Uncle's joke shop at nine fifteen on a Saturday Night. "What do you want Malfoy," She repeated in frustration.
"I thought that you could maybe use a hand," He responded. She stared at him blankly.
"And what may I ask gave you that idea?"
"My cousin was in here a couple hours ago, she said that there was a group of kids giving you a hard time, thought you may want a hand dealing with the fallout," he shrugged his shoulders as he casually pushed by her into the store heading over to a messy shelf of Skiving Snack Boxes and started to straighten them. Rose was absolutely dumbfounded it was so out of character for Malfoy to do anything for her unless it was part of a grand scheme to make her night even longer. She slammed the door, locking it behind her as she stormed over the the blonde haired Slytherin.
"I'm going to ask you this one more time. What. Are. You. Doing. Here." She poked him hard in the chest punctuating each word.
"I told you I'm here to help you. Unless you'd prefer to be here all night. If that's the case I'll leave." Rose just sighed.
"Fine. But I swear Malfoy, but if you do anything, and I mean anything to prolong this process I swear you will wish that we'd never met."
"Don't worry Weasley, I already wish that."
"And yet you're here on a Saturday night helping me clean up a joke shop instead of being out with some girl getting all cozy over some butterbeers," she said pointedly. "That doesn't sound like someone who wishes that he never met me." Scorpius didn't say anything in response, he just returned to cleaning.
Scorpius didn't really know what had come over him that night that caused him to show up on the door step of Weasley's joke shop after nine of a Saturday night. Maybe it had been the shear amusement in his cousin Raquelle's voice as she described Rose Weasley chasing uncaged pygmy puffs around the joke shop for over an hour, he couldn't be sure what it was exactly but there he was spending his Saturday night helping Rose Weasley of all people clean up a messy store. It wasn't that he'd ever hated the girl, but they'd never been friends. They came from different worlds, Rose was a Gryffindor to the core born to two of the greatest war hero's of the Wizarding World. He on the other hand was a Slytherin like the rest of his family had been born a child of death eaters and pureblood purists. Frankly most of his family's ideals disgusted him, he never understood why blood purity should matter, especially in this day and age. In a way he kind of admired Rose's family, not that he'd ever willingly admit it to anyone. In spite of all the fame and fortune that had come to her family, they all went out of their way, not only to help others, but to teach their children how to be better people then they had been.
"Hey Weasley, can I ask you something?"
"I believe you just did Malfoy," she told him playfully.
"Ha ha, very funny Weasley." She shot him a smirk that rivaled his own. "Why do you work here anyways?" She looked at him, a look of confusion spreading across her freckled face as she studied him a minute before answering.
"I like it here. Yeah it may be chaotic and stressful at times and it's not like I really need the money or anything but it gives me something to do in the summertime and my Uncle gets to spend more time with his family when I'm here." She shrugged her shoulders as she turned back to a display of extendable ears.
"I've always admired that about you Rose." She spun around at the sound of her name escaping his lips.
"What did you just say," she asked crossing the store to where he stood, "because it almost sounded like a compliment."
"It was a compliment Rose." He tapped her on the tip of the nose as he said her name. "You have the heart of a lion, anyone with half a brain can see that."
"So you're saying that you have half a brain then?" She smirked at him as he just shook his head.
"Rose I'm being serious," he told her, lifting her chin with his hand and meeting her bright hazel eyes with his own icy blue ones. "You are the smartest, kindest, bravest person that I know and I admire that about you."
Rose was suddenly very aware of their close proximity and the fact that his hand was on her chin. "Why are you being so nice to me? You're never nice to me." Scorpius sighed at turned away from her. Her words hurt, but it wasn't untrue, the only interactions that they'd ever had involved either pranks or rows.
"I'm sorry," he whispered so softly that Rose barely heard him.
"I said I'm sorry Rose," he said as he turned back to face her, still not making eye contact with her. "I only ever argued with you to get your attention, I figured that you'd never speak to me otherwise, not after what happened in first year." First year. To this day he still remembered the look on her face when that prank had gone horribly wrong. He had been so desperate to make friends in first year that he'd taken part in a terrible plan that some of the boys in his year had come up with, and poor Rose had been the target. It had started out as seemingly harmless teasing about her bright red hair and freckles, and she had held her own, meeting each of their comments with a comeback of her own, which is when everything went horribly wrong. Jacob Nott had come around the corner with Markus Zabini and had began pelting her with dung bombs, needless to say he'd essentially shot any chance of becoming friends with her to hell that day for even associating with those idiots.
"I've never hated you, you know." His head snapped up at her words. "Yeah I was pretty pissed off after that, but I've never hated you. Everyone is entitled to making stupid decisions when they were eleven." Scorpius shook his head, all this time if maybe he'd tried just talking to her, maybe they could have been friends.
"Is it too late?" She studied him chewing on her lower lip as she did when she was concentrating hard on something.
"Too late for what? I forgave you a long time ago Scorpius." He smiled softly when she said his first name.
"Does this mean that we can be friends?" His voice was soft, again almost in audible to the redhead in front of him.
"I'd say that you're chances are pretty good. Now come on, if we get this done fast enough I'll buy you a butterbeer at the Leaky Caldron." Scorpius smiled.
"You've got yourself a deal Weasley."