Scorpius watched in amusement as James tried and failed to speak with Eliza. Hogsmeade was even better the second time around and it was a magical experience to go without parental supervision. It was mid-December and that meant snow and holiday decorations littered across the store fronts.
James tripped over a bulky sixth year whom Scorpius recognized to be a Hufflepuff beater. James had been chasing after Eliza, of course, and hadn't been watching where he was stepped and nearly knocked over and tray of licorice wands and the bulky beater.
Eliza used to the opportunity to escape with her amused friends and Scorpius watched her blonde head disappear from Honeydukes. Albus plucked a chocolate frog from Scorpius's bag and bit its head off before it could jump. "I wonder," Albus said around the chocolate, "if James has any idea how much she hates him."
Scorpius shrugged, thinking probably not. He vowed a long time ago that he would never act the fool like James did. "You owe me a chocolate frog." Scorpius told Al drily and the dark-haired boy devoured the remainder of the candy amphibian.
"Nuh uh," Al shook his head, "I showed you where the kitchens are."
"But you waited nearly two and a half years!" Scorpius exclaimed. He had nearly punched Albus when he discovered the treasure trove his best friend had been hiding. "And I know you have more secrets," Scorpius gave Al a discerning look. Albus didn't seem to notice Scorpius's annoyance because he was too busy filling his arms with treats.
"Sorry mate, family secrets." He shrugged as if that explained it all and Scorpius adjusted his collar. A group of third year Ravenclaws was hovering near the two and Scorpius raised his hand hesitantly when he recognized his second year potions partner. Tanzy was cute and every third year thought so. Scorpius had been excited when they had been paired together last year but embarrassed because she seemed a bit nervous around him.
"Hullo," Scorpius smiled as she walked over to them.
Tanzy's dirty blonde curls bounced as she strode forward and she lifted a delicate hand to wave. She was objectively the cutest third year girl with her perfect hair, soft features, and warm smile. "Scorpius! I feel like we haven't spoken in months." She flashed Albus a quick smile which he returned briefly before focusing on what else he could afford to buy. Tanzy was simply all-around a kind person and she made Scorpius feel comfortable which wasn't normal.
Scorpius rubbed the back of his neck, "Well, we haven't really talked since last year."
Tanzy shook her head, "And isn't it a crying shame? I've been meaning to pair up with you in DADA one of these classes, but my friend always grabs me first. Anyways, I'm glad I bumped into you." She pushed and silky curl out of her face. Her chocolate brown eyes danced when she smiled.
"Me too," Scorpius said and then they looked at each other for a few moments.
Tanzy let out a bubbly laugh, "I nearly forgot how quiet you are."
Scorpius shrugged, "Don't have a lot to say, that's all."
Albus choked out a laugh and Scorpius realized that his friend had actually been listening. "Unless you're talking about Rosie." Scorpius's face heated up at the mention of She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Names. Was it a tad extreme comparing a third year Gryffindor, the daughter of Ron and Hermione Weasley, to Voldemort? Possibly, but the redheaded spitfire was as close to evil as Scorpius could imagine. Albus carried on, not noticing Scorpius's darkening face, "You have plenty to say about Rose." Tanzy raised an eyebrow and gave Scorpius an amused, but questioning look.
"Oh? And what does Scorpius Malfoy have to say about Gryffindor's golden girl?" Tanzy teased lightly. Scorpius could feel the heat crawling up his neck. He wanted to rant about what a bint Rose Weasley was and how she was a witch (the bad kind) and how it was her life's mission to make Scorpius miserable. Sure, they had brief moments where they got along, usually after Albus threw a fit and they both felt like making amends with him, but that never lasted long.
Scorpius wanted to explain what a wrecker Rose was, but he also didn't want to lose his temper in front of Tanzy. She was so sweet and he was afraid seeming him in the mood Rose often put him in would send her running. It took him great pains to hold his tongue.
Unfortunately, Albus decided to answer for him. "Scorpius absolutely hates Rose and she hates him. I've tried to get them to quit fighting, but they refuse." Albus sighed dramatically. "They'll have an argument and then all Scor can talk about his what a—"
"Albus!" Scorpius snapped and then recomposed his features and gave Tanzy an apologetic smile. He wasn't sure if he was apologizing for Al or for losing his temper or for both. "It's not as bad as all that." Those words tasted like vinegar. "We just don't see eye to eye." He said diplomatically.
Al snorted and nearly dropped half of his load of candy. "I wish you could be that level when speaking with Rosie." Scorpius's teeth clenched and he had to work extremely hard not to punch Albus.
Tanzy didn't seem to care that Scorpius was killing Albus with eyes. She laughed off their comments in a carefree way that Scorpius had to admire. "You two are so funny," she shook her head with a giggle. "Anyways, I should get back to my friends. Are you two heading up to the castle after this?"
Scorpius shook his head. "Al and I are going to the Shrieking Shack… you could come…" Scorpius offered hopefully. Tanzy looked back at her friends and then back to Scorpius.
"I'm not sure if my friends who want to go… it's a bit frightening, isn't it? But I hope you have fun and maybe I'll see you around." Tanzy said brightly and Scorpius wished Tanzy could've come, but he wouldn't want her to be too terrified to go in. Then they would all have to turn back because he couldn't very well leave her.
Scorpius nodded slowly, not wanting to seem very enthusiastic about the promise of seeing her again. "Yeah, sure… I'll see you around." He smiled as she walked back over to her friends. Her dirty blonde haired swished pleasantly and his eyes floated down to her hips which also swayed as she walked.
When he looked up, he found Albus giving him a dry look with one eyebrow raised.
"What?" Scorpius asked stupidly. It was completely obvious why Albus was looking at his friend like an idiot.
"You could've been a little more discreet," Albus muttered.
Scorpius's cheeks turned red. "I dunno what you mean…" his voice drifted off as he saw a flurry of red hair sweep into Honeydukes. It was strange that there was one person with reddish hair outside of the Weasley/Potter family and she managed to become best friends with a Weasley. Although Penny's hair was a tamer and subtler auburn than most of the Weasleys', it still looked exotic compared to the usual blondes and brunettes.
Rose on the other hand… exotic seemed like too tame a word for her hair color. Scorpius strongly disliked Rose, but he had to admire her hair even when it horribly clashes with her red cheeks. It was amused when her entire face turned red like a tomato and it usually happened because of Scorpius, which he liked to tease her for. Scorpius and Rose were similarly unlucky with their pale skin, especially being teenagers with spots, but at least Scorpius didn't have red hair to match his skin when it became blotchy.
Scorpius was so caught up in staring at—or analyzing—Rose's hair, he didn't notice that Albus was waving Rose and Penny over. He saw Rose hesitate when her eyes landed on him, but she plastered a smile on her face and walked confidently around a couple other visiting students. Scorpius hated her confidence, the confidence that came from a lifetime of people telling you how amazing you were and how many possibilities were laid in front of you.
He resented that he never had any of that. It was almost crippling how small Scorpius felt sometimes, how small the weight of his family name made him feel.
"Albus!" Rose came to a sudden halt, pulling Penny after her.
"Scorpius," Penny greeted him, knowing that Rose wouldn't. "How's your visit going?"
Al shrugged, "Nothing too interesting. We did see Louis get the bad end of an experimental prank… thank you, Freddie." Scorpius's mouth tilted up at the visual memory. "What've you two been up to?" Penny lifted a shoulder and let it fall.
"We stopped and got a butterbeer—"
"—and we've spent the last two hours stocking up on sweets." Scorpius drawled, giving Albus and his armful of treats a pointed look.
Penny grinned at Al, "We were headed to the Shrieking Shack, but Rose wanted to check in and make sure all the good stuff wasn't gone." She motioned to the treats disappearing from the shelves. Scorpius's eyebrows shot up. He didn't think Rose would want to go to the Shrieking Shack. Weren't girls supposed to be afraid of places like the Shrieking Shack?
Rose sniffed and bit her lip, "Well, are you two planning on going up to the castle after this?"
Albus shook his head and a chunk of his black hair fell in his eyes. "Nah, we were gonna go up to the Shack as well."
Rose immediate reaction was to shake her head, but before she could verbally protest Penny smiled brightly at Al and Scorpius and said, "We should go together!"
Scorpius and Rose glared at each other. Scorpius didn't want to spend any more time with Rose than necessary, but as he glanced at Albus, he saw the disappointment on his friend's face. Albus didn't look like he was going to argue, he just looked down like a kicked puppy which was almost worst.
Scorpius had grown accustomed to Albus admonished him and Rose, but recently he simply looked dejected when Rose and Scorpius started bickering and it was actually more of a deterrent than trying to force them to get along.
Rose sniffed and looked at Al's armful of candy. "You were going to carry all that to the Shack and then back up to the castle?" Scorpius's eyebrows sank low as he recognized that tone in her voice. It was the you're so stupid and I'm superior tone to which Scorpius had grown quite accustomed and he also knew that wasn't the end of her lecture. "Don't you think it would've been better to go to the Shack and then stop at Honeydukes on the way back to the castle?"
Scorpius pressed his lips together to stop from growling. After a deep breath he said, "It's not really that big of a deal." He hoped she would just leave it—
"But you're making extra work for yourselves!" Rose protested and Scorpius saw Penny's shoulders drop.
Albus shrugged, "I'll get a bag at checkout."
"But you still have to carry everything!" Rose said indignantly. "Also, do you really need that much candy?" Scorpius couldn't help but let out a groan. He knew that tone in her voice and the impending lecture wasn't something he was eager for and it wasn't something she could help. Rose just always had to be right and she couldn't hold it in.
"We're going to share with our roommates," Albus retorted and Scorpius nearly rolled his eyes. There was no way Albus was sharing any of that with anyone. Rose either didn't notice that Albus was lying or didn't care. But she did make an annoyed face at the mention of their roommates. She did every time she was reminded that Albus was in Slytherin… like the mention of their roommates who also happen to be in Slytherin.
"Wipe that look off your face, would you?" Scorpius snapped.
Rose cut Penny off, "What look?" She demanded, her cheeks heating up in a way that horribly clashed with her hair.
"You look at us like we're trash just because we're Slytherin!" Scorpius growled just as Albus tried to place himself between Rose and Scorpius. Rose started to protest, but Scorpius simply scoffed. "Don't try to deny it! Every time you're reminded that we're not precious Gryffindors, that we're Slytherins, you get a dirty look on your face."
"Just stop!" Penny shouted, making the entire store come to a halt. Several students gave them, Scorpius and Rose, weary looks. It wasn't exactly a surprise that the pair were fighting—they were always fighting—and when they fought, people knew to duck and cover because it could get rough.
Rose took a threatening step forward, not taking her ever off of Scorpius even when Penny tried to grab her. "Do you want to know why I look at you like you're dirty?" She said slowly, her voice going lower than it ever had. Her mood went from crazy-upset to quietly angry which was far more frightening. "It's not because you're a Slytherin." She shook her head, laughing quietly. And then she pinned him with a threatening look. "It's because you're a rat-faced slimy person. And that doesn't have anything to do with your house… it's you." Her words were spoken so poignantly, with such venom, Scorpius was momentarily caught off guard.
Honeydukes had gone silent so everyone had heard what Rose said. The back of Scorpius's throat burned and he knew Rose was probably on the brink of tears.
"Rose…" Penny whispered.
Albus snapped out of whatever haze he had been in and yelled, "You know what Rose? You're just as horrid to him as he is to you. You're judging him because you don't like his personality? Well, when you get like this, I don't like your personality but I don't chew you out because sometimes you have a bad attitude!"
"Weasley! Potter! Malfoy!"
Scorpius jumped at the sound of Lucy Weasley's voice. The Head Girl was stalking up to them with a furious look on her face and Scorpius could practically hear the lecture forming in the back of her brain. He had heard it plenty of times before, from multiple Heads, and it was always the same.
Lucy gave to a halt in front of Rose and Scorpius and their friends. Rose and Scorpius both seemed to be waiting for the yelling and the reaming, but Lucy pinned them with a hard look and her mouth stayed set in a thin line. Her critical glare made Scorpius want to fidget.
"Detention. Saturday night for three weeks."
Rose gasped and Scorpius's eyes widened.
"Lucy, you can't!" Rose protested, looking more frightened than Scorpius had ever seen her.
Lucy's head snapped towards Rose and she made a noise that sounded like a growl, "Rose Weasley, I have excused a lot from you and Scorpius over the past few months…" she took a deep breath, "but we're nearly through with third year and you two can't seem to grow out of this childish feud! Report to Professor McGonagall to before your detention next Saturday to find out what your punishment is."
"What?" Scorpius blinked. "Shouldn't our punishment be decided by our Heads of House?" He knew Slughorn would be far more lenient than McGonagall.
"Yeah," Rose nodded in agreement. Scorpius figured Rose was afraid of losing the teacher's pet slot and would rather face the music from Longbottom rather than McGonagall.
Lucy shook her head aggressively, "No, you're both in different houses and I think it would be good for you two to suffer through your punishment together." Scorpius glanced at Rose and he was sure her horrified expression matched his. Lucy started away before either of them could gather their wits enough to respond.
Rose, Penny, Scorpius, and Albus stood in a stupefied state for twenty-three seconds.
"You got us detention!" Rose's angry voice broke through Scorpius's haze.
He couldn't help but gape at her, "Are you kidding?" He shook his head aggressively. "We have detention because you can't mind your own business! Why do you always have to control everything? What's wrong with getting a ton of candy every once a while? Why are you so uptight?!" He didn't give her a chance to respond and he didn't look back as he stormed off.
Scorpius couldn't believe how arrogant that Rose Weasley was. She and Scorpius were both at the top of their classes, all of the teachers loved them, and they were both on track to be prefects. She was just… just arrogant. Logically, Scorpius knew it wasn't really about his last name, but sometimes it felt like that.
He let out a huff and ignored Albus.
Scorpius weaved between the crowds of people who were all getting ready to end their day in Hogsmeade. Just as he was about to disappear around a corner, a hand clapped onto his shoulder and spun him around.
"Look!" He cut Scorpius off. "I'm sorry that Rose was being a buzzkill today. It's not your fault." He said slowly and Scorpius blinked at his best friend. Suddenly a weight was lifted off of Scorpius's shoulders. He hated what a horrid person he turned into around Rose, but he knew he was justified in defending himself.
He wasn't worried about getting in trouble or hurting her feelings (he knew she didn't have real feelings). No, his biggest fear was that if he ever pushed Rose too far, Albus would have to choose between them… and he would choose Rose. Scorpius always assumed that Albus would choose family and eventually, he would lose Al.
So it was a huge relief to know that Albus would stick by him.
"Thanks," he muttered and leaned against the brick wall of the Three Broomsticks. He wanted to close his eyes and just sag to the ground, but that might be a little too obvious of a display of defeat. Albus leaned next to Scorpius and folded his arms.
"I guess this means we're going to skip the Shack?"
Scorpius let out a long breath. "How am I supposed to do detention with her? For three bloody weeks starting tomorrow night!"
"Just don't speak to each other."
It should've been that simple. No talking meant no arguing. But for Rose and Scorpius it was never simple and he couldn't imagine being in a room with her for hours and just not talking. They could fight with their eyes if they weren't allowed to talk and there was no way they could be in the same room and not talk.