A/N: Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition round 8. I'm Beater 2 on the Caerphilly Catapults.
Prompt: Next-Gen - Rose Weasley
Optional Prompts: 3. (word) diary, 5. (word) stubborn, 13. (dialogue) "Where did that come from?"
(Word Count: 2,997, since I know FF has a habit of messing up word-counts when you add horizontal lines.)
Rose Weasley walked faster, catching up to Albus and linking her arm through his.
Albus started to turn at the sound of his name, before his cousin jabbed him in the side with a sharp elbow.
"Why are we ignoring Scorpius?" Albus whispered out of the corner of his mouth, keeping his gaze forward.
"Because I—we—are not speaking to him," she replied, as they turned the corner into the Charms classroom.
"Hang on. I thought you fancied him!" Albus said, forgetting to be quite so quiet.
"I will have nothing to do with Scorpius Malfoy!" she hissed, slamming her books on the desk with a heavy thump.
"Miss Weasley!" Professor Flitwick turned from writing on the board to face her. She looked up at him sheepishly. "If I may make a suggestion—the better you treat your books, the better they will treat you."
Rose's cheeks coloured. She heard someone laugh in the back of the classroom, though she couldn't tell who it was. Albus looked at her as if she ought to have an explanation. She did.
It was all Malfoy's fault.
But Rose did not say that. Instead, she sat down and pretended not to notice when Scorpius himself sat on her other side.
She did not even turn to make sure he had seen that she mastered the Summoning Charm before he did. Since their first days at Hogwarts, Rose and Scorpius had engaged in a friendly rivalry for the best marks, and the quickest comprehension, but the amiable competition could not continue, for Rose had vowed to herself that she would never speak to Scorpius again.
Rose had often been told she was stubborn. Each of her parents blamed the other for the inherited attitude, which had led Rose to conclude at a very young age that both of her parents were stubborn as well. She was quite proud of her stubbornness. She was quite certain that she was the most stubborn person she knew.
Still, when she had returned to her dormitory and was settling into her bed that night, she had to admit that not talking to Scorpius was going to be difficult. She would have to watch Albus go with Scorpius to Hogsmeade as they'd planned, while she stayed at the castle, or tried to avoid them on High Street. She would have to avoid smiling at things Scorpius said. She would have to stop liking him altogether. She might even have to avoid the Hallowe'en ball in order to maintain her distance from him. That was the most disappointing consequence of all.
Rose's mother had sent her a dress for the occasion, which had come that morning over breakfast, but she had tucked it away under her bed without even trying it on. She couldn't tell her mother that she wouldn't get to wear it. Mum would be too disappointed. The dress had been hers, and she had worn it at her first ball, in her fourth year at Hogwarts, when balls were rare occasions, and not held every year.
And she certainly couldn't tell her mother why she wasn't going to the ball. That would mean saying that she had stolen her mother's Hogwarts diaries from a box in the attic that summer and had been reading in her spare time since she'd been back at school. The first volume—the chronicle of Hermione Granger's first year at Hogwarts—had roused Rose's suspicions of the Malfoy family, as it was riddled with references to how awful Scorpius' father had been to her mother, father, and Uncle Harry. However, it was the contents of the second volume which had led to her decision to stop speaking to Scorpius.
His father had called her mother a "Mudblood," and if that was the kind of family Scorpius had, she wanted nothing to do with any of them.
The second-year diary was full of things like that. Her mother had written down all the reasons why Draco Malfoy was logically the heir of Slytherin. It didn't help that Rose knew, vaguely, what had really happened that year at Hogwarts. It was enough that there was so much evidence that pointed to Malfoy—enough that her mother, who seemed always to follow the rules, had brewed a Polyjuice Potion to try and catch him.
The second day, ignoring Scorpius was much easier. Gryffindor and Slytherin did not share any classes that day, and she barely saw him, except across the Great Hall at meals.
Unfortunately, Albus caught her staring at the Slytherin table during lunch, and asked again why she wasn't speaking to their friend. She toyed with the idea of telling him, thinking that it might be nice to have an ally against such an evil force as the Malfoys, but she knew Albus well enough to know that anything she told him he would tell to his mother. Then his mother would tell her mother and then her mother would know that she'd stolen the diaries and it would be a complete disaster. So she told him that she had her reasons and stormed out of the Great Hall, biting savagely into an apple as she went.
She spent that afternoon in the library, half-heartedly researching flobberworm mucus for a Potions essay. Despite the subject matter, she enjoyed the reprieve of studying. She sat at her favorite table in the very back of the library, where other students rarely went.
Rose wished that she didn't have to be angry at Scorpius, but she couldn't betray her family. She knew that it would be what her parents wanted, if they only knew. It was probably why she was rarely allowed to see Scorpius outside of Hogwarts—why she'd heard her parents arguing about it one night after she was supposed to have gone to bed.
That night, tucked in her bed at Hogwarts, Rose read her mother's account of the results of using cat hair instead of human hair in a Polyjuice Potion. Rose had nightmares about growing furry ears and a tail, and losing the ability to speak English, reduced to communicating in meows. She woke with such a start the next morning that a girl named Kendra asked her if she was all right. Rose was relieved that she answered in English.
The third day, Rose took refuge in the library as much as she could, but avoiding Scorpius wasn't her only goal. Everyone seemed to be talking about the Hallowe'en ball only two days away, and Rose couldn't bear it, knowing that she couldn't go.
She spent the afternoon bent over her parchment, writing out the flobberworm mucus essay. She completed the assigned length, surprised when she looked up to find that the sun had yet to set behind the mountains. Rose sighed, resting her chin on her hands and smiling a little as a scared-looking student flew by the window on one of Hagrid's hippogriffs. The hippogriffs weren't supposed to fly so far from the paddock, but it was the end of the day, when they usually got restless, and Hagrid often humoured them.
Albus slid smoothly into a nearby chair, and Rose allowed herself to smile at him, too. He grinned back at her.
"I came to see if you were still alive, or if you'd perished in the cobwebs back here," he said.
She rolled her eyes. "It's not that bad."
"No," he agreed, "but there's a reason most of the other students find tables that aren't quite so far back. The library's pretty empty, if you'd care to brave the possibility of seeing someone who knows someone who's seen Scorpius recently."
Rose scowled at him. "I'm quite happy here, thank you," she declared.
Albus shrugged. "Hm. Finished your flobberworm essay," he said, pointing to the stack of parchment and the ink-stains on Rose's hands. She nodded, grateful that Albus was not going to keep asking her about Scorpius. "Then you can help me," he said, a grin as rakish as a fourteen-year-old boy could manage crossing his face.
"With what?" she asked, smirking back at him.
"I've run out of synonyms for mucus," he said, "I've used 'gooey,' 'disgusting,' 'bogey-like,' and 'ectoplasmic,' and I'm only on page two."
She laughed, which had obviously been Albus' intention, judging by the grin on his face.
In the end, he did coax her out of her corner for dinner and even talked her into a game of wizard chess, on the condition that they played in the Gryffindor common room. Rose won against Albus that night, but barely, and by the time the game was finished, there was no time to read any more of her mother's diary before going to sleep.
By the fourth day, Rose had gotten fairly good at avoiding Scorpius, and she managed to ignore him when he sat down next to her in class and inevitably tried to start a conversation. Rose would never have admitted it to Albus, but she was actually slightly disappointed that Scorpius was not trying harder to get her attention. Her stubbornness was so much more impressive when pitted against someone else's stubbornness, but when she snubbed his "hello" or "good morning" Scorpius would simply go quiet.
That day Albus accompanied her to the back of the library, bemoaning the assignment of a Defense Against the Dark Arts essay as they made their way through the bookcases. "It's almost Hallowe'en," he groaned. "Besides, if I want to learn how to defeat the Dark Arts, I'll just ask my father. Hey, Rose, do you think Professor Baghater would accept a signed note from my father in lieu of an essay?"
She giggled. "You ask that every time, and I still think the answer's 'no.'"
"Can't blame a bloke for trying," he said, but Rose didn't hear this part.
She was staring at a piece of magically-folded paper in the shape of a rose, sitting on her favorite table, exactly where she usually put her books. "Where did that come from?" she wondered aloud, approaching it and gently lifting it from the table.
The charm was fairly complicated. When she picked it up the rose opened and hovered above her hands, exposing a written note at the center.
Rose Weasley, it said, To begin, walk to the eastern corner of the Great Hall after dinner.
"What's that?" Albus asked, looking over her shoulder.
"I don't know," she said, allowing him time to read the note. "Should I go?" she asked.
Albus shrugged. "I could come with you, if you like," he offered.
Rose considered this. "No," she decided, "If someone has gone to all this trouble to charm this paper, they probably want to see me alone. But thanks."
After dinner, she followed the rose's instructions, carrying the paper with her as she approached the corner of the Great Hall. Several people looked curiously at her, but Rose was intently focused on the paper she held.
She had nearly walked into the wall when the paper refolded itself and unfolded again to show a different note. This one said:
Out in the Entrance Hall there are four candelabras. Go up to the furthest one and turn toward the door.
Rose obediently followed the rose's instructions, curiosity growing with each new note.
Now come to the courtyard and wait until the stroke of eight.
Rose wrinkled her nose at it. If she waited until eight o'clock, she would be out after hours, and even though the older students would still be out and about, she feared she'd stick out like a sore thumb.
Even so, Rose's curiosity got the better of her and she made her way to the courtyard. She looked at her watch: 7:57. She settled in a corner and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible, telling herself not to worry. It wasn't as though anybody would be counting to make sure that the fourth years were all in their common rooms. Would they? Rose didn't know, but she nearly jumped out of her skin when the eight o'clock curfew bell rang in the castle.
Rose bit her lip, afraid that someone would come out to tell her off, or to take points from Gryffindor, and feared the worst when a figure did detach from the shadows and approach her.
Her fear turned to anger when a familiar head of blonde hair caught the moonlight, and Scorpius Malfoy's face came into view.
Rose put on her most intimidating scowl and crossed her arms.
"What's this, then? Were you hoping to get me in trouble?" she spat.
"No!" Scorpius insisted. "Please, Rose, I just want to talk."
"About what, exactly?"
"About whatever I've done to make you angry with me," he said. "I want to apologize."
"Ha!" she barked, "It's far too late for that, Malfoy!"
A strange look crossed his features. "You've never called me that before," he said.
"Well…" she faltered, "It seemed appropriate!"
"Appropriate? That's what your parents used to call my dad, isn't it?"
"So? Your parents hated my dad! What did I do, Rose?"
Rose pressed her lips together until they turned white in an effort to keep her silence, but could not resist the temptation to tell Scorpius exactly why she was not speaking to him.
"Your father called my mother a Mudblood, and I cannot forgive you for having a family like that!"
Scorpius' mouth fell open in surprise. "What?"
"I mean, you probably only talk to me because my dad's a pureblood. I'm only barely good enough to associate with a Malfoy, aren't I?"
"That's all you Malfoys care about isn't it—blood? Well, let me tell you something, Scorpius M—"
"Rose, stop! Listen to yourself!"
"No, you listen to me! It's—" Rose's tirade was abruptly cut off as Scorpius kissed her. She pushed him away, and he toppled over to the ground.
"How dare you?" she snapped, gratified that she'd knocked him off his feet.
"How dare I? I…" Scorpius opened and closed his mouth several times like a fish before he found his voice and his feet. "How dare you?" he said, "You're the one who only cares about blood! I am not my father! You can't blame me for what he did all that time ago!"
Rose scoffed. "That's not it at all!" she said, "It's that he's your father!"
"You're not making any sense!" Scorpius bellowed, his voice echoing throughout the courtyard. "If you don't want to kiss me, then fine. I won't ask you to the ball tomorrow night. I won't ever sit next to you in classes or talk to you or anything ever again, if you really don't want me to. But if your only reason for ignoring me the past week is that my father said one nasty word to your mother twenty years ago—"
"It wasn't just one nasty word! Your father was horrible to my parents!"
"I know! I know that my dad wasn't the best person! I know what he did in the War, but I didn't ever think you would hold me responsible for that! You never did before! Why now?"
Rose hesitated. "Because…because I only just found out about it… You knew?"
"Yeah, I knew! Everyone knows the Malfoys were Death Eaters! It's in the bloody history books!"
"Not that. You knew that your dad was mean to my parents?"
"Yes, I knew. My father told me because he thought that your family and Albus' family would never accept me—would treat me badly for the mistakes my father made. Some of the others did, in first year. But you didn't! Not until now!" he yelled, his voice cracking, "You and Albus have been my best friends! I thought you weren't like that!" He paused to take a breath. "So, I'm sorry, Rose. I'm sorry for what my dad did. I'm not proud of it. I'm not proud of him. But I can't do anything about that." Scorpius turned toward one of the pillars and sniffled audibly.
Rose stood frozen for a moment, her world tilting on its axis. The idea that Scorpius had ever been disliked for his father's decisions struck Rose as horrendously unfair, and her stomach churned when she realized that he was right. She had been doing the same thing. She didn't know Scorpius' father, but she didn't have to. She knew Scorpius. "I…" she said, finally, "Scorpius, I didn't know…"
"You didn't ask," he said, his back still turned to her.
"I'm sorry," she said, "I'm so sorry. I didn't realize. I was being stupid."
Scorpius said nothing, but took a deep, shuddering breath.
"Scorpius, I…" Rose tried again, on the verge of tears. "Were you really going to ask me to the ball tomorrow?"
"Yeah," he said, bitterly, "And I kind of had this idea you might want to go with me, too. I spent all week charming that rose."
"But, I did want to go with you—I do want to! Argh! I'm such an idiot! Can you ever forgive me?"
Scorpius sighed, then slowly turned to face her, leaning his back against the pillar. "Why should I?"
Instead of answering directly, Rose pressed her lips gently to Scorpius's mouth. When she pulled back she saw that he was almost smiling. She took this as encouragement, and smiled shyly back. "Scorpius Malfoy," she said, saying the name more gently than she'd ever said it before, "will you go to the Hallowe'en ball with me tomorrow?"
Scorpius' lips twitched further into a grin. "I don't know. I might go with Albus," he said, "He's never yelled at me like that."
Rose playfully swatted his arm. Scorpius laughed. "Yes, Rose Weasley," he said. "I would like very much to go to the Hallowe'en ball with you tomorrow."
Rose kissed him again, briefly. "Thank you," she said, "And I promise not to be so stupid ever again."
"Ever again," she repeated.