Scorpius had to be among the few that was not excited to return to Hogwarts. With a prefect’s badge pinned to his chest he could no longer find comfort in anonymity. Even after a particularly good Quidditch match after a few days the hype would die down. Now, though, he was thrust into a leadership position, one that would require him to be sociable.
When he helped corral the first years they looked at him with wide-eyes and he did the best not to scowl at him. Lily was one thing, so was Albus and his teammates, but the last thing he needed was one of the eleven year olds attaching himself to him.
“Go sit down, Malfoy,” the senior prefect instructed him. “I’ve got it from here.” He never bothered learning his name as he was two years older and didn’t play Quidditch.
When he got to the table Lily was smack dab in the middle of the third year boys, but there was an empty seat on her right. Silently he sat down beside her, and she reached out to rest a hand on his shoulder to acknowledge his presence.
“Having fun?” she whispered as the first years nervously entered the great hall.
He didn’t answer, but looked at her like he was rolling his eyes, without actually rolling them. It was a trick that annoyed her greatly. Still she unconsciously moved closer, but he noticed. Across the table from them a fifth year girl looked disgusted and Scorpius fixed her with his steely gaze. One thing that saved Lily from any major issues her first year was that she befriended Scorpius. No one wanted to mess with a Malfoy; they didn’t want to know what would happen if they harmed her--mentally or physically.
“Are there any legendaries this crop?” she whispered.
“Why are you asking me?”
Lily rolled her eyes and shoved his shoulder. Legendaries were students that had families that were historically in the same houses, like the Malfoys and Slytherin...Or the Potter’s and Gryffindor. It was always interesting when the pattern broke. Lily sat idally, her fingers drumming a pattern on the table to see if Scorpius would notice.
He, though, pretended to be interested with a neutral look schooled on his face and perfect posture. He found himself surprised when they was a murmur of discontent among the Ravenclaw table as girl slowly made her way to Slytherin. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t you pay attention?” Lily inquired.
He raised his eyebrows silently saying that he would not play games with her.
“Helena Corner just got sorted in Slytherin.” She pointed to the girl walking over to the table. She appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary with dark wavy hair and medium height. A boy at Ravenclaw was standing up, but with a look from their Head of House and mate’s grip on his robe sleeve, he sat right back down.
“So, it happens all the time. House doesn’t matter, it’s just like blood,” Scorpius murmured to Lily as he leaned in close. The words could only reach her ears and he imagined what it must have looked like to other house members. “You of all people should know that.”
“Me?” She twisted around to look him in the face, they were a fraction of centimeter away from one another. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t play coy, Potter.” He meant it in the teasing manner, but she rolled her eyes and leaned forward on an elbow shifting her upper body away from Scorpius, knees still touching. Scorpius put his hand on her elbow and tapped it lightly with one finger, a gentle touch that many did not think him capable of. Still it was a signal for her to keep her elbows off the table. Lily turned to look at him, warm brown eyes taking him in. She was dangerous, that’s what his parents said. His parents thought of her as a hurricane force wind and Scorpius was a tree whose branches bent with each gust. Lily was wind, blustery and chaotic, but that’s what he liked about her.
“Score, we can eat,” she said. “Pass the chicken.”
“Of course,” he replied and he knew their minor disagreement was over. There was an unspoken agreement that neither of them would apologize, that grudges would not be held and forgiveness would be doled out generously. It had always worked for them and while Scorpius was fine with limited spoken interaction, he wondered if Lily ever truly resolved anything.
“I want to try out for the Quidditch team.”
“You hate Quidditch,” he replied, spooning roasted vegetables on his plate.
“Al made me practice with him and Hugo this summer, do you need a Chaser? You know I’m a decent flyer.”
“I’m not Captain,” he said. “You know it’s Flint.”
“Wait, wait, are you thinking of joining the team?” Jordi asked, leaning across the table, his elbow narrowly missing a gravy boat. “Nott!” He hit the boy beside him. “We got our secret weapon this year.”
“Do you know how angry we’ll make Golden boy over there?” Simultaneously both boys turned around to look at the Gryffindor table where James had his arm around some girl while he relayed a story to Fred.
“Oy, Flint!” Jordi called out, rising off the bench.
“Malfoy!” One of the fifth year girls hissed. “Control them, you’re a prefect.”
Scorpius eyed her, looked at them, and then shrugged.
“We’re Slytherin, we’re supposed to act like a bunch of stuffed shirts,” Lily said. “We can’t actual be people and you know--”
Scorpius put a hand on her arm that silenced her. “Sit down,” he told the boy that sat across from him. “Happy?” he questioned and pushed the plate away. Before the conversation could continue any further the Headmistress stood at the front of the hall with her hands held up. She tapped her wand to her throat and called for silence.
“Before we dismiss you all I would just like to discuss the staff members. Once again we retain many of the same professor’s, but you should notice one new face. At the end of last year Professor Slughorn decided he wanted to enter retirement, so we welcome Professor Wolfe.” She turned to gesture to a man that stood up. He was tall and thin, with non rimmed glasses and short, dark hair. He couldn’t have been any older than Lily or Scorpius’ father.
Beside Scorpius, Lily gripped his forearm so tightly it left indentations. “Slughorn is gone?” Her eyes were wide with panic as she looked at him. “He can’t be.”
“Relax,” he whispered.
“Easy for you to say,” she muttered. Lily was rubbish at Potions. The work was too exact, too time-consuming. She got distracted easily and could never keep still long enough to focus on the task at hand.
“Slytherin’s don’t fail, I’ll tutor you.” He gave her a polite smile, but this one wasn’t fake, and placed a hand on her shoulder. Lily rolled her eyes and pulled away from him to reach for a piece of treacle tart. Now their legs were separated and she didn’t even seem to pay attention that Scorpius had touched her willingly.
“Oy, Malfoy,” a girl said. When Lily looked up she saw the tall blonde girl standing in behind him. Regina Greengrass, one of Scorpius’ cousins and a fellow prefect. “We’re taking up the fresh meat now.” She tilted her head towards the seventh year prefect that stood behind her. “The rest of the house can come whenever dinner is finished, but we have to meet with Professor Wolfe at 9:45.”
He just nodded and watched as she lead the small group of eleven year olds out the dining. The remaining three houses quickly followed suit, Lily watched as Gryffindor was lead out by Albus. He had a fake grin plastered on his face, she could see that from far away. Albus was used to being the center of attention, he had to be, his name was enough to make him stand out. He, however, was not like James. James seemed to enjoy it, bask in the glow of the spotlight. Lily tolerated it, she hated being noticed for her name and made every attempt to differentiate herself. She wanted to be known as Lily, not Lily Potter, Harry and Ginny Potter’s daughter.
“Lil, do you want to head up?” one of the third year girls called.
“Please refrain from shouting,” Scorpius reprimanded as they approached. Both girls fluttered their eyelashes in annoyance.
“Of, course Mr. Prefect Malfoy, sir,” one of them responded with a teasing tone. It was Simone Rosier and as she said this she got oddly close to Scorpius letting her dark hair brush against his shoulder.
“Just go,” he said in an exasperated tone.
“I will see you tomorrow, Score.” Lily got up, and hugged, draping one arm across her chest.
“Lily,” he said and pulled her arm off and turned around to give her a disapproving look. Across the table, a few of the older students were doing the same. Lily, though, paid no mind. She rolled her eyes and, out of pure defiance, looped her arm with Simone and her other roommate before sauntering out of the dining hall.
Scorpius was surprised that he wasn’t able to sleep. It was excitement, he’d never been the sort of kid to stay up all night on Christmas day, but it wasn’t apprehension either. He had to be out for patrols until after eleven, because some stupid Gryffindors were caught in the astronomy tower. Not all of them were found and he was almost certain that James was the ringleader, but he he had no proof.
He took his time getting ready, making sure his shirt starched collar would stay stiff and his pressed pants would stay unwrinkled. Lily would give him flack, she always did. When he got downstairs it was no surprise to see her sitting on one of the couches, sketching in the dim green light.
“Good morning,” he said. She looked alright, her uniform was tidy, her hair contained in a tight braid, but he could tell she too hadn’t slept by her slow reaction time and half-lidded eyes. Lily never slept though.
“Morning,” she yawned and stretched. “What time is it?”
“A little after seven,” he answered, looking down at his watch. It was a gift from Lily at Christmas last year. He told her it was tradition to get a watch at seventeen, but she was insistent on getting him a ‘proper one’ which turned out to be a muggle device.
“I’ve been up for ages, read through my Potions book though.”
“You’ll be fine, Professor Wolfe doesn’t seem that bad.” Scorpius recalled the meeting from last night. Most of it was that Slytherin pride rubbish that seventh and sixth years fed the younger student. However, he said that he would be strictly enforcing house rules as he was told they became much too lax as of late. Grades would be strictly monitored, dress codes were to be followed, behavior was to be controlled...It was nothing different from how he had grown up, but he knew Lily would have trouble with it.
“Are you lying?” She looked up at him.
“Maybe, grab your bag and let’s head down to the dining hall early.”
Lily reached behind her and to reveal her book bag before getting to her feet. They walked out without another word and in the dining hall, Lily pulled out her textbook and Scorpius slowly explained the concepts. While he thought it was insane that she hadn’t even had a class yet, he humored her anyway.
“I miss Slughorn already,” she bemoaned.
“You never know.”
At that food and plates appeared on the table. Lily began to pile her plate up with food as Scorpius placed a small scoop of eggs on his plate along with half a slice of toast. By the time the rest of their house filed in Lily was on her second plate of food and Scorpius hadn’t even finished the eggs.
“Studying already?” It’s Jordi, he grabs the book and looks at it as if it’s some sort of vile creature. “He’s gotten to you, hasn’t he?” He looks up at Malfoy who is passing Jordi that look again. The one that appears he’s rolling his eyes without them even making a movement.
“Nott, we’ve lost Lily,” Jordi said. “Malfoy’s brainwashed her.”
“Get back to normal before Quidditch,” Nott orders and slides in beside her. Lily seems to enjoy the banter going on either side of her, but she pretends to be annoyed. “Are you actually playing? Last night Flint told us he was posting sign-ups tonight to get an early start.”
“Joy,” Scorpius mutters.
Lily shoots him a pointed look that quickly softens. The meaning is clear, she wants to know what is wrong. Scorpius avoids it though, pours himself a cup of tea and pretends that it catches his attention. Finally she leaves with Jordi and Nott to go to Potions.
Lily doesn’t know how it happens, but fifteen minutes later the three of them are stumbling into the Potions classroom. This is not how she wanted to make her first impression with Professor Wolfe. The three Slytherins freeze as soon they get through the door.
“I had to get my potions book,” Jordi says, holding up the textbook. They all know that Slytherin professors do not take kindly to apologies, they view them as a sign of weakness.
“I see. It took the three of you to locate it?” Professor Wolfe was at the front of the classroom, a podium with a book splayed open in front of him. Behind him, chalk that previously hovered, clattered to a tray in front of the blackboard.
“Yes, well…” Lily bit her lip and looked at the boys. “I waited in the common room, but then Jordi couldn’t find his book…”
“I tore my room apart and accidently knocked over an inkwell onto Nott…” Jordi added.
“I found the book though,” Nott informed him. “Jordi called for Lily and she helped to lift the stain away because I didn’t have enough time to change.”
“Interesting indeed, but I did not ask for a full story. I merely wanted to know if it took three third year students to accomplish the simple task of locating a book. Apparently it did. Now, take your seats and we will finish the discussion after class.” He looked down at the book and then up again. “They are in alphabetical order, I trust you should be able to figure it out.”
He puts his glasses back on and peers at them as the scramble. Lily finds a seat next to one of the Hufflepuff girls and scowls as she tries to play catch up with the professor. He talks fast and rather soft, but she’s used to it. Aunt Luna’s husband, Rolf, talks much the same way and if you get Uncle Percy worked up enough he hardly stops to breath.
“Miss Potter,” he says, spinning on his heel. “What are Doxy Eggs and their uses.”
She drops tightens her quill and looks around the room. Jordi has a panicked looked on his face and Nott is shaking his head a bit. Closing her eyes she tries to recall the words, but they don’t come to her.
“They’re eggs…” she begins, they Slytherins give a half annoyed-half amused smirk and the Hufflepuffs fail miserably to stifle laughter.
“Really, Miss Potter.” He imitates Scorpius’ look that makes him appear to roll his eyes, without doing the action. She can almost see him in front of her and his calm, clear voice floats to her.
“The eggs are black in color and similar to fairy eggs as the Doxy is a similar creature. Bowtruckles often eat them.” She takes and deep breath. “The eggs are ingredients in the Girding potion. The potion gives the consumer endurance and has a rather foul odor.”
“Surprisingly correct,” he responds. “However, I would still like to meet with you, Mr. Nott, and Mr. Zabini after class.”
Lily refuses to let her cheeks turn red, something she always used to do whenever she felt a mixture of shame and anger. Right now she wishes that insufferable man would just let her redeem herself a bit. However, she did have a bit more respect for him. Slughorn’s eyes lit up when he met her, said she was not like her mother, but rather her grandmother. Time and time again she failed, but he always helped pick herself back up. But she wasn’t on her own. She had Scorpius at least, he wouldn’t let her fail.
The rest of the period is unbearable and by the time the clock chimes to signal the next period, she slowly puts her things away until everyone else has dissipated. The three third years stand in a line in front of his desk. The professor says, nothing, just keeps on writing on a piece of parchment. He sighs, then begins to speak, “I refuse to take away house points because three students cannot make it to class on time. This year every member of the Slytherin house will be held at high regard. For the following week, I want the three of you to show up early to help me prepare the the room for my following classes. Approximately fifteen minutes every morning. This will require you to arrive promptly to breakfast, eat quickly, come here, and then go to your first class. Do I make myself clear?”
The two boys nod stiffly, but Lily speaks up, “Yes, sir.”
For some reason the words appear to anger him. “I see you have a bit of cheek.”
“No, sir,” she answers, biting her lip. She started this habit ages ago as the ‘Boy Who Lived’ can’t have children that are impolite. Her dad instructed that giving respectful one or two word answers was best when dealing with the press.
“You are dismissed.”
Lily knows that they are done, she hesitates, but Nott motions to move. She grabs Jordi’s wrist before heading into the hallway. They don’t say anything until they are far from the Potion’s class. The trio duck into a corridor while others rush. “Can’t believe that,” Jordi complains, tugging his wrist away from Lily.
“He’s right git.”
Lily kicks at the ground. “I have Divinations,” she mumbles.
“Divinitions? No one takes that,” Nott says, raising an eyebrow. “You’ll be with a bunch of spacy Hufflepuffs and lazy Gryffindors.”
“While I am taking it. I never asked for your opinions.” She pushes past them and rushes towards the tower, struggling to navigate the staircases. The clock has chimed again as she pushed the large oak door open, she is greeted by warmth, a perfumed scent and the welcoming face of Professor Patil. She felt like she came home.