Rose and Malfoy were currently sitting outside of the Headmistress's office while their parents were inside speaking to Professor McGonagall. For the most part, the pair refused to look at each other, but when their eyes would meet they sent each other scathing looks. Each of them looked like they had been through a hurricane.
Rose couldn't help but think about what Albus would say. They had been doing so well in keeping their promise to him last year, but somehow being prefects this year made things far less manageable. For one thing, they could no longer ignore each other. And their study sessions had turned a little too competitive.
She was terrified that they would lose their prefect duties. It would be the first time someone in her family got sacked from being a prefect and it would tarnish her record permanently. Not to mention her mum would have a fit. It didn't look good for the Minister of
Magic's daughter to be fighting with an ex-Death Eater's son. No doubt, Mr. Malfoy would be equally unhappy with Scorpius.
"What do you think is taking so long?" Scorpius asked lazily. Rose fumed. How could none of this bother him? They were at risk of losing the prefect positions and being put in detention for the remainder of fifth year.
"They're deciding how we should be punished, you dolt!" Rose hissed.
Malfoy rolled his eyes.
"Oh, what is Albus going to say? And Penny? And our parents?" Rose wrung her hands nervously. She may have her father's temper, but she definitely inherited her mum's anxiety.
Malfoy's calm facade dropped briefly. Rose knew that he took his promise to Albus seriously. And they had made it the remainder of fourth year and two months into fifth year keeping their promise. He positioned his face into it's usual cool and collected manner.
"I'm more curious about what McGonagall is telling our parents," he said carefully. Rose noticed he said 'curious' and not 'worried.' Merlin forbid he show any human emotions. She truly didn't understand what all the Hogwarts' girls saw in him. Sure, he had filled out a little, but his face was still thin and had almost greyish undertones. He didn't look human, he looked like some sort of vampire from a muggle novel. "And what your mum is telling McGonagall," he added.
"What do you mean?"
Malfoy gave her a dull look, "haven't you been paying attention to the Prophet?"
Rose straightened proudly, "of course I have!"
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "So then you know about the Death Eaters roaming around Eastern Europe. I wonder what your mum knows."
His tone gleamed with a sick sort of curiosity that made Rose uncomfortable. Mostly because it reflected her own curiosity. Penny had suggested writing to her parents to find out if they knew anything or if they were coordinating with the other European Ministries.
"My mum probably doesn't know much." Rose just didn't want to include him, "besides, there's no proof that this… radical sect is related to the Death Eaters." The Daily Prophet was ramping up fear, but from what Rose read, the attacks weren't happening anywhere in Great Britain. And no one even knew if they were perpetrated by the same people.
"Your mum is the Minister of Magic," Scorpius said slowly, as if Rose didn't know that. "And your uncle is Harry Potter."
"So why don't you ask Albus?" Rose spat back.
"Why don't you just ask your mum?"
"Why don't you ask your dad?" She countered. "Isn't he Head of International something or other at Gringotts. Surely he must have some ideas."
"I'll ask my dad if you ask your mum." Malfoy challenged her.
At an opportune moment, the large eagle statue creaked loudly and started to rotate. After a long moment, Draco and Hermione emerged from the staircase looking worn down and disappointed. They saw Scorpius and Rose sitting opposite from one another.
Both parents stood for a moment, side by side, looking at their children.
Hermione folded her arms and Draco pressed his lips together thinly. Rose saw Scorpius swallow nervously and that gave her some reprieve to know that he was slightly afraid of his father's reaction. She wished that Professor McGonagall could've called her father, who probably wouldn't have been upset since he disliked all Malfoys on principle.
"Well," Hermione started, "what do you have to say for yourself?" She was just talking to Rose, but Mr. Malfoy gave Scorpius a look like that question was addressed to him as well.
Rose bit her lip, "It was just—" and that's as far as Rose got before her mum exploded.
"Do you have any idea how much damage you've cause?" Her mum asked loudly, one step away from yelling.
"Well, we just—"
"And to think, a prefect!" Her mum interrupted again. "Do you want to lose your badge?"
Mr. Malfoy cleared his throat. "Granger, I think they understand what they're at risk of losing." It took Rose a second to remember that
Mr. Malfoy would call Hermione by her maiden name.
"At risk of losing?" Scorpius said softly. "So we haven't already lost our prefect badges?"
Mr. Malfoy ran a hand over his slicked back hair. "No, but McGonagall will talk to you more about your punishments."
No one said anything for a moment.
Finally Hermione sighed loudly, "Honestly, this has to stop. One of you could've seriously hurt the other. If this keeps up you will lose your badges and you will be expelled."
Rose gasped, "it's not like we're bad students—"
"Rose," her mum said sharply, "it doesn't matter how nice you are to every other student and professor in the castle. If you hurt, or kill, another student you will be expelled. Even if you two only fight with each other."
"This is our first… altercation in months." Scorpius protested. "We've been good—"
"Until you started a fire fight in the Defense classroom." Draco said stoically. Rose studied the older version of Scorpius. His hair was still white blonde, receding slightly on the sides, and his eyes were just as gun-metal grey as Scorpius's. Rose was hesitant to think that he was an attractive older man because to some extent that would mean admitting that Scorpius was attractive. And although half the girls in their year had lost their mind over Malfoy, Rose wasn't going to be one of them.
Scorpius was slightly more muscular in the torso than Mr. Malfoy, but their faces were nearly identical. All sharp angles and glass-cutting features.
"We didn't mean for things to get so out of hand." Rose said apologetically. "We weren't actually trying to hurt each other," she lied.
At the time, she had absolutely been trying to land Malfoy in the hospital wing. And when she glanced at Malfoy she knew he was thinking the same thing.
"Nevertheless, you could've hurt another student." Her mum said sternly.
Rose pressed her lips together.
"Mum, what's up with the attacks in Eastern Europe?" Rose blurted to take some of the attention away from their huge blunder.
Hermione and Draco's eyebrows shot up and they both shot each other glances. Rose couldn't make out what the look was supposed to mean.
"You've been reading the Daily Prophet," Mr. Malfoy said, almost accusingly, to Scorpius.
"Everyone has," Scorpius shot back.
"Is it a group of people? What's the Ministry doing about it?" Rose asked.
Hermione took a long inhale, "Look, both of you, there's no reason to worry. As of right now, we're coordinating with other countries' Aurors and we are keeping a strict lookout for any signs that these attacks are connected."
Scorpius wasn't satisfied, "It could hardly just be random. A bunch of muggles and muggle borns—"
"This is all speculation. Rest assured, we are all on high alert and are doing everything we can to prevent escalation." Hermione pointed out.
"If they are anti-muggleborn… wouldn't they want to come after your family? I mean, if they're related to Death Eaters..." Scorpius said.
Draco looked sharply at his son, "Scorpius."
"We're well aware of the risks," Hermione said softly, looking at Rose. Rose hadn't thought about the risks to her family. It was silly to think anyone could hurt them, after all her parents had an protection detail and the children were at Hogwarts, the safest place in the world.
"So what about Albus and Rose and everyone else?" Scorpius demanded. "Are they just supposed to go about their lives?"
"As of right now, we have no reason to believe that they have any interest in coming here or anything having to do with our family." Hermione insisted. "Harry is working closely with the Austrian and Czech Aurors, but there's no indication that they have any connection to Voldemort or Death Eaters. There's no reason to believe they would come here. There's no proof that isn't even multiple people"
"This isn't anything for you to worry about." Mr. Malfoy said calmly. There was something deeply reassuring about his sturdy tone. Rose supposed it was the tone of someone who got what they wanted when they wanted. "And this isn't something that we can discuss with children."
Rose pressed her lips together to keep from smiling. She had never seem Scorpius shut down so easily, with the utterance of only his name. She caught her mother's eye and Hermione gave Rose a look as though she knew exactly what her daughter was thinking. Rose glanced away from her mum's disapproving look.
"Professor McGonagall would like to see both of you," Draco said.
Rose nearly yelped, "Why? If we're not being expelled—"
"That doesn't mean you escape punishment," Hermione exclaimed. "You nearly blew each other up, of course there's going to be consequences!"
Rose and Scorpius glanced at each other hatefully.
After a brief goodbye with their parents, they headed up the eagle staircase to the Headmaster's office. Neither spoke to each other and Rose made sure to stay one step ahead of him. When they reached the top of the staircase, which stopped spinning, they knocked on the large wooden door that awaited them.
"Enter," a crisp voice said and the door swung up open.
Professor McGonagall sat at her desk, her hands primly folded and her glasses rested on the tip of her nose. She was an old bat, but as intimidating as anyone Rose knew. Rose and Scorpius approached the desk hesitantly. McGonagall wasn't saying anything, just looking at them over the top of her glasses.
They both sat in the large uncomfortable chairs across from the professor.
"Why shouldn't you lose your prefect badges?" McGonagall asked swiftly, not mincing any words. Rose's eyes widened.
"I thought that you already decided—"
"That we could keep our prefect badges," Scorpius interrupted Rose.
McGonagall sniffed, "Prefects are supposed to set examples for the other students in this school. Do you think that you two are good examples?" Rose was pretty sure there wasn't a correct answer. So she settled with a well-thought out one.
"I think we were poor examples today." Rose said slowly. Scorpius glanced at her like he was worried she was going to ruin everything for them. "But I think we have been good examples overall. We're top of our year and excellent prefects… not counting today."
McGonagall looked at them dully over the rim of her glasses. "Today may count for more than the rest of your years put together."
Rose swallowed quickly, her heart was about to beat out of her chest with dread.
"However, you will not lose your badges, nor will you be expelled. You will be on probation. Mr. Malfoy, you are suspended from the upcoming Quidditch game. Ms. Weasley, you have lost your pass to the restricted section of the library."
Scorpius and Rose gasped in outrage.
"Not one word," McGonagall said crisply before either could protest. "In addition to losing those privileges, your prefect honors will be on probation for the next month. No access to the prefect bathrooms and you will have to report to your Heads before taking any points or giving detentions." Rose deflated in her seat, feeling totally stripped of her dignity and power. "Not to mention the detentions you both will be serving every Saturday night for the month. And finally, when you patrol, you will patrol together. And if I hear one hint of incivility, you will lose your prefect duties."
Scorpius looked horrified and Rose was sure it was the idea of having to patrol with each other for the remainder of the year. How exactly were they meant to spend so much time together without killing each other?
"I'll speak with the Head Boy and Girl about organizing the patrol schedule. And you'll report to my office at 7pm each Saturday to receive your instructions for detention."
"Professor, am I still allowed to practice Quidditch?" Scorpius asked timidly, like he didn't want to push his luck.
McGonagall gave him a measured look. Rose wished he had been totally kicked off the team, but at least he would have to sit out the Ravenclaw game. That was good news for Gryffindor, if Slytherin didn't have their star keeper then Ravenclaw might beat them, all but ensuring the Cup for Gryffindor. That was some small consolation.
"I will allow you to practice if you're not serving detention or on rounds."
Scorpius had forgotten that he would no longer have a schedule that took into account Quidditch practices. He felt as though he was being punished more than Rose. It wasn't simply Scorpius taking the punishment, benching him before their game punished all of Slytherin. He felt resentful, but knew better than to point this out. It always seemed like things were weighed in Weasley's favor, but he knew it wasn't because of her last name. Maybe it was that she seemed more like a "good girl" than he seemed like a "good boy."
True, he did live more on the edge than Rose, but how come he always got the short end of the stick simply because of his personality. Or maybe he was overthinking this and it really was all about their last names. But that didn't seem right because Albus got in trouble all the time, which is part of the reason he wasn't a prefect.
"You're dismissed," McGonagall said.
Rose and Scorpius stood and left her office, going back down the staircase which led back to the corridor. Their parents were gone, which seemed a little cold to Rose, but her mum was the Minister of Magic and Mr. Malfoy was someone important. All of the numerous punishments weighed heavily on Rose as she went back to Gryffindor Tower. Neither she nor Scorpius said anything, they just went their separate ways.
She was almost to Gryffindor Tower when she heard someone familiar shouting in the corridor. As she got off one of the moving staircases, Rose smirked when she saw Eliza Jacobsen shouting abuse at one James Sirius Potter. She wasn't sure what her cousin had done to his poor crush this time, but Rose was sure he deserved what Eliza was dishing out. She and Eliza didn't know each other very well, but their paths had crossed since Rose was best friends with her sister.
Eliza and Penny really did look similar in the heat of an argument, Rose noted as she continued towards the arguing pair. Sure, Eliza had honey blonde hair and Penny had auburn hair. They're noses were similar but Eliza's lips were very full while Penny's were quite average. But the shape of their faces were very similar and their eyes were the same warm brown.
"James, I see you snogging a different girl every Hogsmeade-"
"They're just practice for you!" James insisted, running a hand through his disastrously beautiful hair, which only seemed to make Eliza more upset.
"YOU CAN'T WARN BOYS OFF OF ME AND THEN SNOG OTHER GIRLS!" Eliza screamed shrilly. Rose approached with caution, wanting to observe without being caught in the line of fire. There was a young student, a first or second year Gryffindor, whose name
Rose couldn't place and as soon as he saw James and Eliza he pointed walked in the opposite direction of their common room.
"Then I won't kiss other girls and you can be with me!" James looked triumphant with his flawed logic.
"I don't like you! I will never like you! We will never be together!" Eliza seethed with rage and Rose momentarily feared for her
"James," Rose called as she walked towards them.
Rose cringed as James dragged her in for a hug. She pulled back and gripped James arms steadily. She looked into his eyes and slowly said, "James, you need to leave Eliza alone." She pronounced every word carefully.
"Thank you!" Eliza said, exasperated. She tucked a blonde curl behind her ear.
James looked between the two girls. "But, but…"
"James." Rose stopped him before he worked himself up. "I want you to listen very closely."
She waited for him to give her a curt nod.
"This is harassment."
"James!" Rose growled, still gripped his arms tightly, forcing him to look at her. "What you are doing is unwanted. It's harassment and if you keep it up there could be serious consequences. I know that everyone laughs and says 'that's just James,' but it's not funny.
It's sexual harassment and if you don't stop, then McGonagall is going to get involved."
James recoilled at the words 'sexual harassment.' Rose wasn't surprised that no one had ever put it in those terms. Sure, he wasn't trying to force himself on Eliza physically (that she knew of), but it was still dead wrong.
He thought for a moment before hanging his head and saying, "Alright. I won't bother you anymore." Eliza let out a sigh of relief. "But I'll wait for you to come around," he added gleefully and then turned to go into the Gryffindor common room. Eliza's mouth popped open. "We're going to kiss one day and it's going to be amazing!"
"You'll be waiting for a long time!" She shouted just as the Fat Lady shut her portrait.
The Fat Lady let out a horrifying shriek, "Honestly! I was napping before you lot came round! But now that I'm up, listen to this!" The Fat Lady began singing, and Rose used the term 'singing' lightly, when it came to the stubborn portrait.
"Bowtruckle," Eliza said loudly, but the Fat Lady wasn't listening and only sung louder.
"Bowtruckle!" Rose yelled insistently.
The Fat Lady continued the note she was on for another seven seconds and finished with a triumphant flourish of her hand.
"Bowtruckle!" Eliza and Rose shouted.
"Yes, alright!" The Fat Lady rolled her eyes as she swung open, acting as if Rose and Eliza were the rude ones. Rose immediately headed up to the sixth year's dormitory where she found Haley and Persephone flipping through magazines.
"Honestly," Rose flopped back onto her bed, "the Fat Lady should be fired."
Persephone giggled, her dirty blonde curls bouncing as she shook her head. "If it hasn't happened yet, it'll never happen. Besides, she has a certain charm-"
"I stood outside the dormitory for fifteen minutes last year!" Haley interrupted. "She was too busy talking with Violet to let me through the portrait hole. It wasn't until Longbottom came along that she finally opened up!" Persephone shrugged and went back to reading her Witch Weekly.
"Has Penny been back here yet?" Rose asked Haley.
"I haven't seen her."
Rose slumped further onto her bed. She had wanted to tell Penny all about her meeting with McGonagall, not to mention the fight between Eliza and James. Persehpone looked at Rose quizzically.
"Didn't you hear?" Haley exclaimed before Rose had a chance to answer. "Rose and Malfoy totally got in a huge fight and they were this close to being expelled!" She held up two fingers a centimeter apart. Rose gave her a dirty look. "What? You obviously didn't get expelled." Haley scoffed.
"What did you do now?" Persephone smirked without looking up from her magazine.
Rose sighed, "It was all Malfoy's fault-"
"It always is. You know, I don't really need to hear about it, the story is always the same. What happened to ignoring each other?" Persephone asked. "Better yet, what happened to your study sessions?"
"Well, we just didn't really need to study together anymore." Rose stated, "we were ignoring each other, but he is just so smug."
"What's your punishment?" Haley asked and then gasped loudly, "did you lose your prefect's badge?"
Rose stared at the ceiling and then threw an arm over her eyes, "No, but I've lost privileges. And Malfoy is suspended from Quidditch." That was the only good thing about all of this. James and his Quidditch friends would be happy to find out that Slytherin's star seeker was going to miss the upcoming game against Ravenclaw. Even though the game wasn't against Slytherin, if they lost or had a low points game against Ravenclaw it would hurt Slytherin's chance of winning the cup.
Maybe Penny wouldn't be so mad at her then. Rose knew her best friend was planning on trying out for Quidditch this year, or at least that had been her plan at the end of last year. There was a chaser spot open and it had Penny's name written all over it.
"That's not so bad," Persephone insisted. "You're still a prefect and you live to fight another day at Hogwarts!"
Rose sat up suddenly, "No! I'm done with fighting. From now on, I will be the picture of civility when it comes to Scorpius." She insisted. Haley and Persephone looked at each other stoically before bursting out laughing. "I'm serious! It's already fifth year and before you know it, it'll be the end of sixth year and McGonagall will be choosing Head Boy and Head Girl and it's my dream to be Head Girl!"
"If you say so," Haley didn't look convinced.
"Just try to be like every other girl in Hogwarts, maybe you'll see what they all see in Malfoy." Persephone suggested. "Ask Sybil what she sees in him."
Rose grunted, "Isn't she over that stupid crush already? I thought she had moved on to Zabini. What is it with Sybil and the Slytherins, does she have a bad boy fetish?" Rose simply couldn't understand it.
"Xavier Zabini isn't a 'bad boy' and you know it." Haley contradicted.
"And it's not hard to see what she sees in them," Persephone pointed out, "they're fit. And you can't deny it." She challenged Rose to argue that.
"I wasn't going to," Rose turned her nose up slightly. "I suppose Malfoy is passably cute."
Haley and Persephone looked shocked. Like she had just turned into a purple Hippogriff.
Rose laid back down on her bed and made a promise that she would be civil to Malfoy this year. Did she say that every year? Yes. Was this year going to be different? Probably not. But she had her sights set on being Head Girl and she needed to prove to McGonagall that she was a good example to the other students.