Paradise in Winter

Friends

"How come we never met at Hogwarts?" He asked, sitting down at the chair opposite to her.

Scorpius Malfoy was walking down the streets of Diagon Alley on a Sunday afternoon as he bumped into his new friend, Rose Weasley.

They decided to have a cup of coffee before they split up, on their own ways and went to an open 'coffee and tea' shop, where they could see people pass by.

He knew that she was a front seat student with O's in every subject, who stayed up late in libraries, between books. While he was a backbencher, who would stay up late for secret parties, with Albus Potter. So, it wouldn't be surprise if their paths never crossed. But they had met before, if she was the short tempered prefect who once saw him sneaking into a party and gave him detention. But that's all he could remember, as he was not really in a state to notice things as he was pretty drunk. If it wasn't her, then yes, they hadn't met in Hogwarts, officially. Of course he knew her, as Al talked a lot about her and she was a shining light in Hogwarts that none could ignore, but they never talked.

"Umm... Hogwarts is a big school, you can't know everyone, can you?" said the red-head, looking at a small girl begging and screaming at her father, so he would take her to the book store that was all the way down the street. But her father seemed to have other plans. He looked highly exhausted and tired, and was holding a small baby in his arms, while the girl tried to drag him to the store.

Rose smiled at the pair, as they reminded her of her father. She did something pretty much same when she was eight. But she was twenty three now. She could no longer drag her father, or cry stubbornly for something she wanted.

Scorpius traced her gaze and turned to see the father and daughter, and looked back at Rose, who was looking deeply at them. Scorpius could see a strange face on her face and a smile, so unique that it was as if it showed pure love.

She brought her focus back to Scorpius, just to find that he was looking at her, oddly. His head was little tilted, eyes piercing though her, a small smile on his lips.

"What?" she exclaimed and looked away, embarrassed by the look he had on his face.

She called a waiter, and asked for two coffees, and gave a little description of the amounts she would like of everything. The waiter noted it and went, saying it would be up in five minutes. Scorpius made a mental note to himself, 'She is foody. Cool.'

"Yeah, so what do you do for a living?" asked the curious, know-it-all.

"I work in the Ministry. The Crime and Investigating Department, to be precise," he said, now picking up a little official tone.

"Ooh. You are somewhat like Sherlock Holmes. Walking around knowing things about people, what even they don't know, huh?" she asked in a childish way.

"Well, kind of. Look, now I know you read muggle novels," he said, smirking at her. "Actually, my boss made me go through all the Investigation files of past three years, to keep me 'updated'. So, yeah, I know a lot about people who I haven't seen yet," he said with a laugh, quoting the word 'updated' with his fingers.

"Ouch. Three years? Either you love your job or your boss is highly cruel," she said, smiling.

"Ummm, it's kind of both," he said, looking at something over her shoulder.

A waitress came from behind Scorpius, holding a tray with two mugs on it. She placed the mugs in front of them and asked if they wanted anything else, which they denied with a thank you. She went over to another table, who just called her for a napkin.

The strong smell of coffee filled the air. They each took a deep breath and melted at the sharp chocolate smell of coffee, and both grabbed their mugs.

"So, where do you work?" he asked, taking a sip from his coffee. Rose imitated him, and answered, "I work at St. Mungo's, as a Junior Healer. But I would soon get a promotion, next year, in which I would get my own cabin, with name plate on the door, and everything! So, yeah, I am really excited." She circled the edge of the coffee mug with her middle finger. "Plus, I would get to have my own patients and not the cases I am forced by Head Healers," she continued, while taking another sip from her coffee.

"So, you don't get to choose cases?" Scorpius asked, getting curious about the new facts he just learned.

"Scorpius, these are people. You can't refuse your boss to save a life, because you don't wanna get your hands bloody, can you?" she said, looking straight in his eyes, holding the eye contact.

"Of course not!" he exclaimed, scared at the very thought.

"Plus, then I won't get to choose cases but patients will come directly to me!" she exclaimed.

This confused Scorpius, as to what's the difference between patients coming though Head Healers and directly to her. She gets new, unexpected cases, anyway! But he let her have the moment and let it go. He thought it must be something that only other healers could understand.

"Well, I remember Jo at Hogwarts, a bit. Wasn't she the one who fought with Professor Slughorn, that what he did was discrimination? You know, inviting people to special partiesjust because they have contacts?" he asked, smirking at the memory.

"Oh! Yes, it was. My father says it's his old habit. Plus his parties were so boring, I always made some excuse to get myself out," she replied, smiling at her own memories and took last gulp of her coffee. She pushed the mug forward, as a gesture for showing she is done.

He copied her, and cleaned his mouth with a napkin.

"I guess I should go. Jo is waiting for me; I was supposed to bring her these muffins and cookies," she said, standing up from her chair, as Scorpius followed her suit. "Don't ask. It's for a bet," she added before Scorpius could say anything on the topic.

"Ok, bye! Hope to see you soon!" he said and waved his hand, as he disappeared into the crowd. Rose mumbled a small bye and went over to the dessert shop for tasty treat.

She bought them, and apparated back to home to find the house empty.

There was a note on the dining table that had Johanna's writing over it.

It said:

"Hey, Rose! Sorry, but had an urgent call from office. Need to rush. Would return late. Around seven, maybe. Don't wait for me, have lunch. And don't eat my muffins!

-Jo"

Rose scowled at the note.

Johanna and Albus worked for the Daily Prophet. They were usually called, even on weekends these weeks, as there had been some kind of major breakdown in their office since someone tried to sue them.

Rose read it and went over to lie on the sofa, in the lobby. She hit the sofa hardly, smiling to herself as she opened the cookie packet.

"Not gonna eat muffins," she muttered to herself, and grabbed a book from the table in front of the sofa, called 'How To Be Patient With Patients'.

She was slowly drifting off to sleep, as the doorbell rang. She awoke haphazardly and the book slipped from her hands, hitting the floor with a huge thump. She picked the book up and placed it on the table, rubbing her eyes. She went over to the door and peeped though the eye hole, just to find Scorpius Malfoy's impatient face. She opened the door, and gave him a genuine smile.

"Is Al here?" He asked, a rush in his voice.

"No, but he must have gone to office, I got a note from Jo saying it could be late," she told him.

"They got that late night work again, didn't they?" he said, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes. What's wrong?" she asked, pushing a strand of hair behind her ears. She found it adorable, to see him care for his friend.

"He hates working late. I guess it's all for Jo that he is still working there. But you won't tell Jo that, will you?" he added.

"Course not!" She exclaimed.

He smiled and she smiled back, until she realised she was being awkward.

"Why don't you come in? I got a horror movie here with me! Plus I guess as our friends just ditched us, why don't we merge the two lonely parties? I mean, if it's okay with you!" she added, nervously.

Why am I nervous!? she thought to herself.

"I think... It's a great idea!" he said, at first a bit unsure, then finally giving up.

He entered, and Rose closed the door behind him. The place was very messy, considering two girls lived there.

"Sorry, the place is a bit messy. We are always busy on working days, and get very little time for cleaning on weekends," she said, feeling embarrassed by the uncleanliness of her apartment.

They made their way to the couch, and she brought drinks in two wine glasses. She opened the muggle TV and set the movie, which Al watched with Dominique. But for the next three hours, they barely watched the movie, as they didn't find it either too horror or too interesting for their taste. And for the rest of the time, talked. They talked about a lot of things, and discovered new facts about each other.

Soon the credits started rolling, and Rose picked the remote and switched the thing off.

"That was supposed to be horror!? For who, kindergarten kids!? Even they won't frighten!" Rose said, exaggerating a bit.

"Well... Al did, right? It's the movie he watched with his cousin, isn't it? And he said, 'It was a really scary movie'!" Scorpius said, smirking.

Rose burst out laughing.

"He is never gonna hear the end of this!" she exclaimed and Scorpius joined her laughing. To someone who didn't know them, it would seem as though they were old friends, meeting after a long time.

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