Some of my boy problems are self-inflicted and some of my boy problems are because boys are stupid.


Part I: Boys are Stupid.

Sometimes Rose thought she did this to herself. There she was, dressed to the nines, with the dress, the heels, the jewelry and the makeup, and her date was absent. She showed up to Le Petit Maison at precisely half-seven, silently giving thanks to Sleekeazy's for temporarily taming her unruly hair, only to find that not only had her date blown her off, but that she had done all of this for nothing. Even the waiters were looking at her with pity.

She scowled and headed to the Leaky Cauldron. She was acutely aware that she was overdressed for the locale, but she needed a drink and to nurse her wounded pride in solitude. She sat at the corner of the bar, shielding her eyes from curious passersby, ordering herself a Firewhiskey

"I told you that Decker bloke was a wanker," a voice said from behind her. Scorpius Malfoy was grinning at her with a smile that she found both wildly inappropriate and oddly reassuring. She wanted to break his nose and cry at the same time. He placed the Firewhiskey down in front of her.

She scowled as she took a sip. It burned its way down her throat. "How did you -?"

"Al."

"Al talks too much," she said bad-temperedly.

Scorpius sat down on the bar stool next to her. "Maybe. But you don't talk at all so it evens out. So, what happened?"

"Let it go, Malfoy," she said wearily, ordering another round. She was already tired of talking about this and oh look it was only half eight. It was going to be a long night, she could already tell. She resisted the urge to rub her eyes; the silver eyeliner she'd bought from Madam Malkins was a designer brand that made her cerulean eyes pop and cost her a month's pay.

"Let me guess, he forgot his wallet and made you pay," he said cheerfully, putting her second round in front of her.

Rose scowled again. "That would require him to show up," she muttered resentfully.

"He blew you off?" Scorpius asked incredulously. He eyed her appraisingly, and knew a man had to be blind or gay not to like what he saw. "He's stupid as well as a wanker. I underestimated him."

"You don't have to rub it in, Malfoy," she said, in that same resentful tone. "I should have known it was too good to be true."

"I'm not rubbing it in," he said sincerely. "I genuinely think he's stupid. You want some food to go with that Firewhiskey?"

"I'm not hungry," she mumbled miserably.

"Never thought I'd see the day when Rose Weasley would turn down free food."

"Just go away, Malfoy, I'm not in the mood," she snapped.

He held his hands up in a sort of peace offering and waved a plate of chips over with his wand. "It's on the house, Weasley."

"It's not your house," she pointed out.

"Hannah can take it out of my pay."

Rose gave him a grateful smile and he winked before he went back to work. She watched him out of the corner of her eye thoughtfully. Scorpius Malfoy had always been at the edge of her orbit.

Both he and Albus had pleasantly surprised all of them when he was Sorted into Hufflepuff, and she could only imagine Draco Malfoy's disbelief. Rose's father, on the other hand, had been less than thrilled when his only daughter and the apple of his eye had been Sorted into Slytherin. He knew she was ambitious, even at a young age, but old prejudices died hard and Ronald Weasley had to come to terms with the fact that his offspring was a textbook Slytherin. As of the present moment, she was the only person from the Weasley-Potter clan that was in Slytherin, and she had to hide how alone it made her feel. She made her own friends though. They were unconventional, but loyal.

But Albus, the frustrating optimist that he was, constantly tried to foist Scorpius on her. It took a long time for Rose to get over the feeling that Scorpius had replaced her in Albus's affections, and the feeling was only exacerbated by his constant attempts to make them get along. Rose wished he would just give it up. They got on like oil and water, and the fact that her entire family adored him only drove the wedge deeper. She didn't care that he was a Malfoy, but she was annoyed by the fact that he was so goddamn cheerful all the time and no matter what wrong he did, girls loved him. She knew what he wanted from them, i.e., mental stimulation, sexual gratification. And she knew what made him run from them: commitment.

He had made passes at her over the years, but she had chalked it up mostly to too much alcohol and a very misguided Hufflepuff attempt at cheering her up when she was at her lowest points. Scorpius spent Christmas Day and New Years' Day with his family but every other day of the holidays at the Burrow with the Weasleys. He'd been there for every holiday argument, both major and minor, every breakup announcement, and every prank. He had been witness to her most humiliating breakups and her less-than-attractive temper. It automatically disqualified him from her ever taking him seriously, because she could not be that vulnerable in front of someone so carefree. She wouldn't allow it.

She thought once she left Hogwarts, that dating would be easier. That guys would see more than just her name, more than just her family, more than just the fact that she was the black sheep. But no…it only seemed to have gotten worse.

She honestly didn't think what she asked for from men was too much. For them to have their own ambition, for them to be interesting, for them to have chemistry was minimalist in her mind. Her expectations of her dates were just as simple: pay attention, ask questions, be as interested as they were interesting, and have a sense of humor. Compared to the laundry list Victoire and Lily carried around for men to adhere to every time they went on a date, Rose thought the men were getting off rather easy. But no. All her ex-boyfriends thought her standards were too high or unreachable and she was honestly starting to believe it was better to be alone.

Tonight was a perfect example. Bradley Decker was a perfectly respectable Ministry bloke, who she enough chemistry with to consider giving him a fair shot. He asked her out to dinner, picked the restaurant, and they made plans to meet today at half-seven. She was waxed, dressed, made up, and strapped into shoes that really should have qualified for medieval torture. She looked good. And, for some unexplained reason, he was the fifth bloke in as many weeks to disappoint her. And unlike the previous four, he didn't even bother to show up. No owl, no Floo, nothing.

Sexual frustration was what kept her saying yes to these guys who were very plainly beneath her. Rose knew she was trying to justify it to herself, but the honest truth was, she was tired of sleeping alone. She wanted to be touched and manhandled and satisfied. Right now, she was frustrated and bored. She twirled a lock of her hair around her finger absentmindedly as she eyed Scorpius in his uniform of a white oxford, charcoal grey trousers and a slate grey waistcoat that brought out his grey eyes. While in Hogwarts, he sported long luxurious locks of platinum blonde hair, but now in adulthood, he looked equally as alluring with his hair cut short and clean.

"That's a sign of sexual frustration," Scorpius said, from seemingly far away.

"What?" Rose asked distractedly. She was on her third Firewhiskey and she wasn't quite sure she had heard him right.

He reached over and freed her curl from her finger. "Twisting your hair round like that. Sexual frustration."

"What the bloody hell would you know about it?" she growled. He had inadvertently reached a touchy subject with her and she was already metaphorically climbing the walls.

Scorpius's eyebrows rose to his hairline at her vitriolic tone. "Enough to know that your date tonight wouldn't have satisfied you in any way."

Rose scoffed. "So far none of them have," she said dismissively.

"You've been going with the wrong men, Rose."

"Alert the Daily Prophet."

"You're cute when you're sarcastic," Scorpius said, amused.

"If this is you trying for sympathetic, try a different tone."

"Poor, misunderstood Rosie…the boys don't know what you want," Scorpius said softly.

Rose raised an eyebrow at the taunt. "And you do?"

"Of course," he said smoothly. "But you'll have to wait until I'm off shift for me to tell you."

"I'm not a patient person, Malfoy."

Scorpius smiled. "Don't worry. I am. I'll send you over some real food so you'll have something to soak up all that alcohol."

"You gave me chips already."

"Chips isn't a meal, Rose," he chided. "I'll send you a burger."

"No onions." Rose was not a girl who would ever turn down free food. She was Ronald Weasley's daughter after all. She tucked in with all the gusto of a woman scorned out of her dinner.

"I see you also inherited your father's table manners," Scorpius teased gently, setting serviettes down next to her.

"Fuck off," she mumbled around her burger. It was perfect, medium rare meat with mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and a dash of her favorite hot sauce.

The one thing Rose and Albus could agree on when it came to Scorpius was how attentive he was; he knew all her favorites without having to ever ask. It was that sort of attention to detail that made him McGonagall's top choice to take over the post of Potions master after Slughorn's long-awaited retirement, and George's top consultant for Weasley Wizard Wheezes' new potions formulas. Draco wanted to support him but Scorpius's pride would not allow him to take his father's hard-earned money. George gave him a commission whenever he sought advice on his joke potions but working in Hannah's bar just gave him enough to support himself while he worked through his teaching credential.

Scorpius just laughed at her and pulled one of her curls. "That's no way to talk to the guy who bought you dinner."

Rose already felt a small blush rising, but she blamed the alcohol for it. "Somehow I think you can take it."

"I'll be done in half an hour. Have some chocolate gateau while you wait."

"There's no…" Rose started to say, until Scorpius floated a decadent slice of chocolate gateau. The gleam of hunger in her eyes made Scorpius laugh again as she descended on the gateau.

Despite what the male populace at Hogwarts said, Scorpius had always found Rose easy to manage. Her needs were simple. If she was fed, she was happy. Living in the Hufflepuff common room had the express benefit of living next to the kitchen, and Scorpius took every opportunity to bring her treats in the library. It was easy to make her smile.

Sometimes, when she was studying for a test or lost in a good book, she forgot to eat. She needed constant mental stimulation, whether it was from a man, Quidditch, chess, or just simply a book at the library. The girl was ambitious in her own right, being a prefect, captain of the chess club, and now an Unspeakable at the Department of Mysteries. She was a force to be reckoned with. Being a Weasley had nothing to do with it; Rose Weasley was in a league all on her own.

Not that she realized it. It was not that she was not self-aware but more that she looked for stimulation in all the wrong places. It was no surprise to him that all the men she'd ever dated couldn't measure up: if they couldn't mentally stimulate her, she was instantly bored.

Rose noticed Scorpius still eying her. "You're staring," she said dryly.

"You're pretty when you're happy," Scorpius said unabashedly.

"What gave you the impression that I was happy?" she asked, curiously.

"I'm an observant person," Scorpius supplied helpfully.

"Try again."

"You're fed. Fed Rose is equal to a happy Rose," he said cheerfully, clearing her plate and holding a hand out to her. "Let me walk you home."

After three Firewhiskeys and on tottering heels, Rose was tipsy. It didn't seem like such a terrible idea, she thought, as she slid off the barstool. Scorpius lived in the same building as her, a block away from the pub. She took his hand and tried not to flush again at the warmth as he tucked her hand under his elbow. He was strong and steady as they stepped out into the brisk night. "So, you were going to tell me."

"Hm?" Scorpius asked.

"What I want from the boys that misunderstand me," Rose clarified.

She had to crane her neck to look up at him; even in her five-inch heels, she only reached his shoulder. "You want…stimulation."

There was heat in the final word, and she felt it shivering up her spine. "Do tell."

They were stopped in front of his door now. He slid his hand around her waist, his hand pressing into the small of her back to move her into him. "All the men you date bore you," he stated baldly. He felt her back go up under his hands and he had to backtrack, "You need someone to…intrigue you."

Her breath caught in her throat as his hands touched the bare skin of her back. "And where will I find that? If you say all the men I date bore me."

Scorpius smiled as he tangled one hand in her hair. "Well that's the fun, isn't it? You haven't dated me. Passionate sorts like you need…intrigue."

She raised her eyebrows at him. "You think you're intriguing?"

Scorpius leaned in and whispered, "You're here with me and not Brad Decker." He pulled her hair, not hard enough to hurt, but enough to get her to meet his eyes. "You haven't stopped me. You haven't cursed me. You haven't even complained once tonight."

Rose pulled back to look up at him under her eyelashes, increasing the pressure of his hand on her scalp. "And what if you don't measure up? What if you bore me too?"

Scorpius pulled her back in. "Try me," he challenged. And then, without asking, he hoisted her up and his mouth was on hers. And she loved it.

Her hands immediately went into his hair as his tongue searched out hers, and she felt him fumbling with his wand to click the lock on the door open. He walked her through the doorway, one hand in her hair, the other arm around her back, feeling up the expanse of bare skin and fabric for the zipper. Rose's hands got to work unbuttoning his waistcoat and then the shirt underneath, desperate to find skin. He pushed it off impatiently so that he could get back to work finding Rose's zipper.

She started to laugh under his ministrations and he pulled back to look down at her with narrowed eyes. "It's a tie, Scorpius," she said innocently, with that familiar edge of sardonic teasing. She guided his palm to the knot of fabric at the nape of her neck and he mumbled a curse at how tight the knot was.

"You did this on purpose," he accused her, trying to work the knot free as she kissed down his jawline.

It was so Slytherin of her to laugh at his misfortune. "I didn't think I'd go home with you tonight, Scorp." Her breath caught as he finally succeeded undoing the knot and kissed the exposed skin. Then she felt him working a love bite onto her neck and she knew they had to move soon. Her hands dropped to his waistband to feel for his belt buckle and he tore the rest of her dress off, too impatient to undo the rest properly, and groaning when he realized she wasn't wearing any underwear beneath the dress.

It wasn't the first time she'd been naked in front of a guy, but it was definitely the first time she had felt both protected and desired by the man in front of her. Usually it was one or the other, but not both. It made her feel uncomfortably vulnerable. "Take a picture, it'll last longer," she said dryly.

"Not for what I have in mind," he said slyly, reaching out for her again. She stepped back.

"I think you're wearing way too many clothes."

Scorpius opened his arms out wide. "So, take them off me," he said simply.

That hungry gleam came back into Rose's eyes. Without a word she unbuckled his belt, roughly shoving his trousers down his legs and waiting as Scorpius frantically kicked them off his ankles. He reached for her again and soon they were on the floor.

The first time they didn't even make it to the bed. Scorpius took her right there on his living room floor, before they reached the couch, again on the wall of his hallway, and the fourth time at the edge of his bed. She still had her shoes on, and he, his watch. She could feel the cold metal of his watch on her skin, but she didn't care and he was not complaining about the heels of her shoes digging into his back, so she couldn't be bothered to remove them. Each time they moved, Scorpius displayed an impressive amount of strength for a man so lean, carrying her, flipping her over, lifting her up, tossing her down.

Rose wasn't quite sure how long they had been going at it, but she had always been a marathoner when it came to sex and was quite pleased that Scorpius wasn't showing any signs of slowing down. He made sure she came at least three times before his own release. He liked watching her build up and then go over the edge. He liked being the one to do it to her. Her eyes stayed wide, fixed on his, before they went glassy. He was just as attentive in bed as he was out of bed, taking extra care to pleasure every erogenous zone he discovered with his talented fingers and tongue, noting every catch of breath and every sigh.

Scorpius kissed her cheek when she had finished shaking for the final time, pulling the covers over her and curling up around her. He was warm and Rose watched his hand as it ran lovingly over her waist, her hip, her thigh. Soon, it slowed down too, and Scorpius fell asleep still holding her. She didn't realize he was a cuddler. Of course, he would be. She wasn't even surprised. She was definitely not a cuddler but she couldn't pretend it wasn't pleasant. She was more surprised that she didn't hate it.

But now that her brain had caught up to the rest of her body, all that she felt was full-blown panic. She had slept with Scorpius. And it was mind-blowing. And she didn't do attachment. This was Rose after all. With Scorpius. Attachment wasn't even a part of the equation. Merlin, what had she done?

As carefully as she could, Rose wiggled out from under Scorpius's arm, freezing when he grunted in his sleep. When she was positive he wasn't about to wake up, she got all the way out from under him and slid out of the bed. She had left her dress by the front door and she couldn't look at herself in the mirror as she stepped back into it. She was afraid of what she would see. When she finally made it back to her apartment, she caught a glimpse in the mirror of her sex-tousled hair, the hickeys peppering her neck, chest and hips, and the disgustingly over-bright eyes.

Never again.


Author's Note: The prompt at the beginning was from a conversation a friend and I had about online dating. The Scorose plot bunny took over from there and here we are. R&R and make my day :)