"Make sure you beat him in every test, Rosie. Thank God you inherited your mother's brains."
Rose had always known where Scorpius Malfoy stood in her father's eyes, and she had always wanted to please her parents. With all her mother's intelligence and logic from the beginning, she had also always known that she would someday have to choose between her parent's approval and the love of her life.
She glanced slowly into Scorpius' awaiting eyes, not knowing if she had the words to respond to him.
"Scorpius… you know how much I love you and care about you…" she watched the light and positive anticipation scurry away from his face. He didn't know it killed her to see him so distraught. Confidence turned to confusion, confusion morphed into pained understanding and a bitter prep for a cold shouldering.
"I just…" Rose chewed on every word. "I have to have some time to think about this; it's all so sudden—"
"And by 'time to think,' do you mean 'time to talk to your family about this?'" Scorpius asked with defeat in his voice, breaking eye contact as he spoke.
"Excuse me?" Rose scoffed.
"Because this is your decision, Rose, not your parents' choice." he added bitterly. "If you wanted your whole family on board you would have to realize—"
"I know, it would never be able to happen, but—"
"You've got to accept that someone's not going to be happy here. I've come to terms with how my family sees you."
" I know." Rose snapped, seeming antagonized. "But I've spent my entire life making my parents happy and thinking for just one person or even myself over them… it's a new concept for me, Scorpius!"
She took a deep breath and sighed. "I love you, Scorp, but I don't know if I'm ready to give them up for you."
Scorpius looked furious and Rose immediately knew she had not chosen the right words.
"What I mean is… I'm still young. I'm nineteen; I need to find security in myself before I take such a big step with someone else."
"No, Rose. You can't try to word your way out of this one. You claim you want security in yourself, but you're going to go to your family to find it; that makes SO much sense! You're bloody brilliant, Rosie; I know when you're being honest about your feelings because you don't sound so ludicrous! Why don't you say what you really think, huh?"
"This isn't communicating, if that's what you're looking for, Malfoy!" Rose spat at him. She intended to sting him where it mattered most— the Montague-esque name he'd denied— but Scorpius had a counter-curse for it.
"Well, you know there's a Weasley in the room when it gets heated from either their flaming hair or their flaming temper! I gave up everything for you in the confidence that you would do the same thing for me, but I guess I was wrong. I don't care what my family thinks of you; I care about you and only you."
"Scorp, please, if you would just—" Rose pleaded.
"You say you want your parents' approval, but we both know it's not your whole family that's the problem, it's your dad!" he continued in blatant ignorance.
"As if you never tried to follow in the footsteps of your own father!" she countered.
"Fine! Our fathers and grandfathers suck because they can't stand the thought of us. But if we love each other then are we supposed to let them get in our way?"
"I never said no to you, Scorpius! If you would just listen to me for once!" Rose shouted, standing up to assert her turn to speak. "I hate it so much when you interrupt me like this. All I said was I needed time to think it over. So what if I talk to my parents? They're still my parents whether or not they like you. I'm just so done with lying to them all the time; I'm tired of lying to my dad. The only things I've ever done behind his back have been for you." She lowered herself back down to an awestruck and confused Scorpius. "I've been lying to him about you since my first year at Hogwarts," she said calmly, "and I'm not going to marry you without telling him."
She had been staring into his forest green eyes through her whole speech, but she was waiting for him to return the gesture before she continued.
"I don't care about his approval anymore. I'm moving past that, slowly but surely. I'm a big girl now." she said with a gentle smile. "But big as I've grown, I am still Ron Weasley's daughter, and he deserves to know when I'm engaged and who I get engaged to."
Scorpius chuckled lightly. "So… is that a yes or what?" he asked dumbly with the soft and casual cooling-off smile Rose had fallen in love with before anything else. She reached for Scorpius' hand and he reluctantly extended it to her.
"That's a yes, if you can ask me again in front of my family."
Ron and Hermione Weasley bantered back and forth about the pale-faced, pale-haired boy just across the way. He stood stiffly in front of an older version of himself and a tall, slender, sleek-haired brunette woman whom the couple only recognized the face of, but neither could recall her name, and Rose could tell the boy was faking his confidence in front of them. Rose was very good at reading body language and social cues; she considered it her superpower that she as an individual had and not many (or at least not all) wizards or witches shared.
"Hey! Teddy's back there, just seen him! And guess what he's doing? Snogging Victoire!" her cousin James announced so the entire platform could hear. A majority of the Weasley clan was present to see children of varying ages in the same generation off to another year at Hogwarts, and the news sent a few of them into an uproar while others dismissed it as one of James' attention-seeking shams.
"Our Teddy! Teddy Lupin! Snogging our Victoire! Our cousin!" varying Weasley-Potters warbled.
Her cousin Albus looked as though he was getting a very stern talking-to from his father, and her Aunt Ginny's covert expression as she distracted her daughter from the situation agreed with her. She heard her Uncle Harry utter "… Severus Potter…" and knew middle names were not typically used in her family unless someone was in trouble. Albus shared her age, so they had grown up together and gotten along so well that they were best friends in addition to being cousins.
"All aboard!" called a conductor of the train.
The intimidating scarlet engine before her made her nervous and hopeful for the year ahead of her. She glanced back at the boy her parents couldn't agree upon and caught his eye for a flashing moment. He quickly turned his attention back to his doting mother and pompously proud father before collecting his carry-on bags and making his way to the closest entrance.
"I put your trolley up there for you already, Rose." James said, catching her by surprise. "Here's your owl." He handed her a small, brown, tawny owl in its cage and Rose crinkled her nose playfully at her pet.
"Aww, Nibby." she giggled as her owl tucked her face down away from the intimidating crowds. "Thank you, James." she said with a kind nod as she caught her mother's prompting gaze. She pulled the familiar fabric of her old jumper around her collarbone for a sense of security and carried Nibby's cage with a bag full of books and journals and pens to entertain her while she journeyed to her new school. She wrapped her full arms around her mother, then her father who remarked:
"Rosie! It's ten fifty-four. You're going to miss the train and you do NOT want to find out what happens if you miss the train. Go!"
Rose allowed herself one last look at the pale-haired boy who had captured her interest all morning long then converted her focus back to the task at hand: not making a fool of herself before the school year began. Neither she nor the boy were close enough to notice that their steps were in sync as they boarded The Hogwarts Express.