A/N: This story was beta-d by my super awesome grammar/punctuation checker and best friend, Grim Lupine. May soda-roles and cookies and cream ice cream live forever.
A/N number 2: Where I am pro-Rose/Scorpius, I am anti-Hermione/Draco. Don't ask me why. That's just the way it is.
She ate an apple every day at breakfast.
Usually, the process in which she devoured the apple was slow and deliberate. On those occasions where she was in a horrible mood, the process of apple-eating took a good five bites accompanied by a seed spit with a three-foot arc. These specific mornings were his fault more often than not. He knew it, too. But it wasn't like he minded. The seed spitting had become rather entertaining.
This morning, he couldn't see any tired bags under her eyes or frown lines (although those could be easily covered up with the magic of makeup and weren't always viewable from his place about forty feet away) and he assumed she'd gotten a good sleep. This would be one of those days where the apple would be thoughtfully consumed as she skimmed the massive pages of the Prophet- first the Quidditch column, then World Affairs, then the Auror Report, and then Gossip. Most people might have considered this stalking. He just considered it to be 'detailed observation'.
Today she wasn't really eating the apple so much as resting her lips on the outside of it, which drove him crazy. It was too soft for her. She needed to chomp into it, needed to sink her teeth into it. The fact that she didn't worried him. This was the one constant thing in her life (as far as he could tell) and she must have had a lot weighing on her mind to not be eating the apple. Eat the apple, damn it!
"Oi. Mate. You're just sitting there again. I'm going to take your sausage if you don't take a bite within the next five seconds. Five. Four. Three. Bloody hell, Scor, are you even awake?" He shifted uncomfortably as whoever was sitting on his right this morning stabbed a fork into his upper arm. "I'm taking the sausage. You haven't said an entire word all morning! It's that bloody Weasley girl, isn't it? What are you planning to get her about next? The fact that you scored a half per cent higher than her on yesterday's Transfiguration exam? I doubt she even cares anymore. It's seventh year, Scor; I bet she's over that ruddy competition thing you've had going since you were, what, eleven?" Sausage Boy snorted and took another helping of scrambled egg.
"Yeah, yeah," he agreed to whatever Sausage Boy had just said (he hadn't really been listening, she still hadn't touched the apple yet) and took a sip of water.
"Sure looks better than she did six years ago, though, must say," Sausage Boy commented, glancing sidelong at him.
He hacked his water back into the goblet and turned to face Sausage Boy (who turned out to be Michael Parsons, famous for his laundry list of girlfriends and knack for getting away with murder). "She- what?"
"Thought so, Malfoy."
"You fancy her," Parsons explained through another mouthful of meat. "Have for a while now, I reckon."
"That's -that's- that's bloody ridiculous," Malfoy answered, attempting to hide behind his own copy of The Prophet. "Why would I fancy her? I mean...she's not bad looking, I suppose, but she's a...you know! Weasley, or what have you...and we hate each other anyway." His last comment had turned into more of an embarrassed grumble. He couldn't believe he was saying these things, especially to Parsons, who was generally nothing more than a pain in his ass. Even though he and Rose had had a long history of various quarrels, that didn't stop him from being disgusted at sounding like his father.
"You put your elbow in the syrup dish a few minutes ago while you were watching her. And yeah, I know you were watching her." Parsons snorted again. "You're absolutely buggered for this girl, aren't you?"
Scorpius didn't answer. His elbow really was drenched in syrup.
So maybe she just liked apples.
They were crisp, they were crunchy, they were sweet, and they had just enough natural sugars in them to keep her going through her first class. They weren't her favorite food, or anything like that (those were her Grandmum's pasties- they were so much better than anything she could buy on the train), but they satisfied, and that was completely enough. At least at breakfast.
But this morning, she just wasn't hungry. Not hungry at all. She had a lot on her mind. Last night, some other girls in her dormitory played a sickening game where everybody told their deepest, darkest secret. Or rather, tell your deepest, darkest secret or run naked through the dungeons, and she wasn't too keen on that either. Hiding didn't work. It was Play-or-Die. Homework was not an excuse. Homework was never an excuse. And what did she say what her deepest, darkest secret was? She said, "I am truly, deeply, and madly in love with Scorpius Malfoy." And it was meant as a joke. Everyone laughed, including herself. But now she wasn't laughing. Or even cracking the smallest grin. Okay, maybe a little grin. But not a huge one, like normal.
What if she was truly, deeply, and madly in love with Scorpius Malfoy? Totally hypothetically, of course, like this question to herself always was. What if? But that was how she usually posed uncomfortable truths. She couldn't eat. She'd slept well enough, but that was through dreams that she didn't wish to relive, at least now- they involved him, of course. And she felt a little sick thinking about it. Even reading her aunt's Quidditch report (the Harpies had beat the Kestrels three-hundred-and-twenty to ten and any other day that would have been worthy of firecrackers at the breakfast table) couldn't take her mind off of the subject at hand. She couldn't be in love with him at all, no! She didn't even like him. Plus, she was dating Will Thomas, and being truly, deeply, and madly in love with anyone (especially a Slytherin) now would be utterly ridiculous. Plus, they were rivals. You can't love your rival!
"Um, Rose? Captain? Er...Miss Weasley? I'm sorry, you have to be really busy, um..." A rather timid third-year Quidditch player (despite her shyness, the girl was a brilliant chaser- just had to overcome her fear of the crowd, that was all) stood behind her, shaking a little. She'd known she'd been thinking hard, but was she really that intimidating?
"Yeah, sorry. I was just- er, thinking about something. What did you need?"
"Well- I was just wondering about our game on Saturday. If you had a plan, I mean. Maybe you could go talk to the Slytherin captain? You know, keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer?" Go talk to Scorpius about Quidditch. Oh yeah, that would be a total treat, considering she might just possibly be truly, deeply, and madly in love with him. And keep him closer? Ew. The kid really needed to think more about what she was going to say before she said it.
"You know we don't get on well. It'd be bloody difficult to talk to him about the game." It was common knowledge- often, their little classroom spats turned into corridor brawls. Once, she'd tackled and pinned him after punching his eye black. She'd served two weeks in detention with Filch (who was like a hundred, why he hadn't dropped dead already was beyond her), scrubbing Myrtle's bathroom. Right now, Rose didn't really remember what the fight was about. She just remembered being really mad.
"Yeah, I know, just...er...I'm sorry I wasted your time. I'll just go then, shall I?" Ariane, the shy girl, had turned to leave, her cheeks a deep red color. It acted as a reminder to Rose that she still had an apple to eat, and also that she was probably coming off much meaner than she ever intended. To try and fix her apparent image, Rose reached up and grabbed Ariane's arm for a fleeting second. "Don't worry. I'll talk to him." Though about Quidditch, she wasn't quite sure.
And with that, Rose finished her apple at a nervous pace, spitting the seeds across the table. She didn't have the time to see what unlucky Gryffindor now had one stuck in his eye. She had a job to do.
After shaking off her boyfriend ("It's Head Girl business. Trust me, you're not going to want to see this. Something about vomit and acromantula legs."), Rose went to go find the bane of her existence: Scorpius Malfoy, Head Boy, Slytherin Quidditch Captain, and all around jackass. It wasn't a difficult job- he stuck out like a sore thumb. His hair was so blonde it was nearly white, and his skin was practically the same color. In the years she'd known him, he'd also grown to a broad-shouldered 6' 4" (and a good eight inches taller than her). He would have been good-looking if she didn't hate him so much. For once, he wasn't surrounded by an immense Slytherin entourage- just that Parsons kid. She wondered why. Maybe he was ill. That would make this easier.
"Hi?" He quirked an incredibly cocky, well-groomed eyebrow. She hated him for it.
"Yeah. Whatever. Look, I need to talk to you." This was the most uncomfortable thing she'd done since breaking up a particularly sloppy make-out session in the fourth floor corridor. Between first years.
"Quidditch business," Rose lied easily. She could always use that as an excuse. And also, that was partly her reason for coming to see him. They did have a game Saturday. Gryffindor versus Slytherin. It wasn't for the Cup or anything, but it was important. They had to win, and to win, she had to know what he was up to.
"Quidditch business," he repeated, obviously not believing her lie.
"Right. Um. How about, um...the empty classroom on the third floor? You know, so nobody can, um...right." With her ears a brilliant red, she clutched the strap of her bag and hurried down the hall.
"Empty classroom?!" Parsons exclaimed, snorting his characteristic snort. "You know what that means, right? Quidditch, my arse. She's completely in love with you, I can tell. Put the moves on her, or something!" He laughed heartily and clapped Scorpius on the back.
"It's just Quidditch business," Scorpius answered, his tone short and sounding a little dangerous. "Nothing more. You'll watch what you say, Parsons, or you'll end up with five arms. Do you understand?"
Parsons just swallowed and nodded his head.
"So what Quidditch business did you have in mind?" asked Scorpius, throwing his heavy bag onto a desk. A dust cloud erupted from the spot. This particular classroom had seen some better days.
"You know, just...just the regular kind. There's a game on Saturday," Rose added, having some trouble getting down to business. This was most unlike her; business was generally her number one priority.
"Yeah, I'm aware," Scorpius said offhandedly, shifting to sit on a desk. "Being the fact that I'm Slytherin team captain and that. So. What did you want to talk about?"
Rose felt immensely embarrassed. She just wanted this to be over and done with so she could spend time with her boyfriend. So she could do something, anything, so she wouldn't have to think about this anymore. "Right. Tactics. Well, between me and you, I think that it would be beneficial to discuss what we're going to do. Better game, you know? So you know what we practice and we know what you practice. It'd make us play better. Sure, I may be being a little...traitorous, by being here..." -he took this as an opportune moment to smirk- "but I think it just might help. So? Fess up. What have you been up to?"
"That sounded like a double edged question," he began, standing up. "But if you want to know what I've been up to Quidditch wise...we've been practicing sloth rolls and hitting the bludgers backhanded."
"Of course I wanted to know what you've been up to Quidditch wise; that was how I meant the question, you great prat. And backhanded. Nice. How's that been working out for you?"
"Truthfully?" Scorpius sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. This was his sign that, no, nothing was going his way, and he was unhappy about it. "Not well at all. Moore is hopeless with his club. Have you seen him flailing the thing about?" He did a very silly looking (but very accurate) imitation and he and Rose both laughed. She stopped laughing at about the same time he did. The air in the room just felt funny.
"So..." Rose conjured a chalkboard inbetween the two of them. She drew a few circles and arrows on it to represent the players and their respective plays, and tapped the board smartly with her wand. The circles and lines moved about in what would be an ideal game. "This is what we've been working on. Molly has a tendency to pass toward the center. Larkin is an egomaniac, and loves to perform stunts on his way to the Snitch. Let's see yours, then."
Scorpius added his own team, represented in squares. "That's us. You know our beaters are pathetic. Our best chaser still rides an old Comet make. Care to bet on the game? Odds are in your favor."
"No, I do not care to bet on the game!" Rose looked aghast. She worried for a moment whether he'd done this on a regular basis. He certainly had the money.
"What, you just afraid of a little fun?"
"Now you know you just sounded like an idiot." Scorpius chuckled and ran a long pale finger down her jawline. Rose flinched and took a step back. "Don't you dare touch me."
"Relax, Rosie. I'm not going to do anything horrible to you, I promise." Scorpius smiled to show all of his perfectly straight teeth. Wizarding dentistry did wonders.
"Um, you're breathing, so you've already violated that promise. Get the hell away from me."
Scorpius held his hands up in surrender. "Fine. I won't touch you. Besides, you're a little dirty for me to be touching you, anyhow."
Rose, who had showered earlier that morning, had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. "Dirty how?"
"You're half Muggleborn, aren't you? A little dirty, at least for my father's tastes. He wouldn't want my hands anywhere near you, let alone on you...well, on that note, I can't believe we're even sharing the same space of air, Weasley."
Rose gaped. It had been a long time since any of those stupid prejudices had been discussed. Actually, the last time she and Scorpius had seriously talked it had been about how the two of them despised the closemindedness of their fathers. "Bastard. You're lucky I don't hex your ears off."
Scorpius laughed heartily and smacked the desk. Apparently this was funny. "What, so I would have a great, nasty hole in my head like your uncle?"
"All right, that's it." Rose stomped forward to jam her wand into his throat. He barely looked phased. "Do anything else...obnoxious, and I'll-"
"Twist my arm until you make me yell for your holey uncle?"
Glaring, Rose put her wand back in her pocket and stomped on his foot instead. Scorpius, who had not been expecting physical violence at all, winced and wheezed in sudden pain. "That's right, Scorpius, I have no qualms with resorting to physical violence. You may remember that time you needed your bone reset after I pushed you down the stairs. I'll gladly do it again if you say one more thing about my family. I have no problem with being unconventionally bad...even if I am the Head Girl." Whether it was good for her or not, Rose had the work ethic and integrity of her mother, and the more physical side of her Muggle background, and the fighting, loyal, troublemaking side of her father's. She was really one of a kind.
Scorpius scoffed through his still obvious pain. "Unconventionally bad? Other than beating up on me every now and again I haven't really seen you be unconventionally bad. You're still making perfect grades in every class, including Astronomy, which nobody understands, you're Head Girl, and you're Quidditch Captain. You are a model citizen. How on earth do you expect me to believe you, Rose?" It was almost comical to him- Rose thought she was bad? She wasn't anywhere close. He'd had some bad girlfriends. Rose seemed meek as a mouse compared to some of them. But that was partly what he liked about her- although he'd never say it out loud. He also liked that face she made when he tortured her. It was so...indignant, and proud, and confident, and...well...cute. But again- he'd never admit it.
"Oh, I do all sorts of bad things," Rose lied, taking a step back to look him in the eyes. "I do bad things all the time. Not like I need to. Not like I need to impress you, or anything, because I don't. I don't care about that sort of thing. I just don't do bad things that you see."
"Oh, really now?" Scorpius was finally recovering from his most likely flattened foot. She didn't look like she weighed much, but Rose definitely had a lot of leg muscle. "Don't do things that I can see, eh?"
"No, I don't. I don't go around making it known that I like to be a little...well..."
"That is most definitely not the right word for it."
"I could definitely see you being wild."
"I'm not wild."
There was a long silence in which the tension grew exponentially. Rose had somehow managed to take another step closer to her nemesis during the verbal battle, and now she was dead set with her hands on her hips. Scorpius, who was taking her admittance of her rebelliousness into stride, had an easy, almost condescending smile on his face. It was almost funny how the whole thing had decided to play out. He had taken every jab at her that he knew might rile her up a little bit, and she took the bait. Rose was so predictable. So entirely...conventional. And not bad, in any way, shape, or form. At least that he could tell.
"You could be. You could be wild; you could be 'unconventionally bad'. But you'd have to do it so I could see. So it wouldn't just be...begging me...to believe you. Show me. Show me, Rosie. Prove it. Step out of your comfort z-"
And she did. And for all the wrong reasons, too. Annoyance was definitely one reason. And self-image- she was going to be bad if it was the last thing she did (and this probably would be, if anyone found out). And anger. She needed to do something crazy, something wild, something nobody would believe, if only to get it out of her system. And also because she'd told herself this morning she was in love with him. Scorpius Malfoy, all around jackass. Kissing him was really not the smartest thing she could have done. But she did it.
It was with this unstable state of mind that she felt an intense sense of joy when his fingers knotted in her waves of long hair and she pushed him back into the magically locked door. "See?" she gasped after a long, intese moment. "I can be bad." It hadn't even occurred to her yet that she had a boyfriend, and that she and Will were entirely happy together. Well...maybe something less than entirely.
The corner of Scorpius's mouth turned up as he thought of something to say. He had no idea she'd had that in her. Okay, maybe he did. But directed at him? That was really something. "Rose," he started, still not able to pick the right word.
"Yeah," she finished as she caught her breath. He was right, there wasn't anything to say. But she had to say something! "Scorpius, I- I d-"
"Shh." Scorpius rested a hand on her cheek and leaned forward to kiss her. Rose was more than happy to oblige.
But she didn't get a chance.
"Hullo? Hey, Michael Parsons told me you were in here...how's the spill coming? And why is the door locked?"
Rose's eyes widened and she took in a sharp breath. Her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was here. And she was making out with her arch-nemesis. And a Slytherin. Not the best possible situation. She quickly swept her mussed hair into a ponytail, trying not to catch Scorpius's eye. She knew if she did, she'd be totally sunk. "Just a second, hon. So many questions! The spill's almost entirely cleaned up, and the door's locked because...acromantula venom! On the floor! Highly toxic, mind you, so don't come in." Scorpius raised an eyebrow and mouthed 'What spill?' Rose just glared and smoothed down her shirt.
"I don't want you in there if it's toxic! Babe, get out of there! You're gonna be sick!"
Rose wiped a smudge of her makeup off of Scorpius's face before calling back, "I'll just go to the hospital wing! No big deal! Almost done, I told you!" She swung her bag over her shoulder and tapped the door to unlock and open it. "Hey, Will," she greeted, standing on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. "Busy afternoon?"
"Not as busy as yours, that's for sure. Come on, it's nearly time for supper. And I'm starving."
"Aren't you always?" Rose giggled and slipped her arm around his waist. Will nodded a greeting to Scorpius, before he and Rose headed off toward the Great Hall. She didn't glance back once.
Scorpius leaned in the doorway and watched her leave. Or more accurately, the two of them. He had her. He had had her. Or so he'd thought. In reality, she was so far out of his reach he shouldn't have even bothered. She loved somebody else, and just got a kick out of yanking his chain. He hated her for it. And, all too unfortunately, loved her for it at the same time.
"Eat something, Rose. An apple is not going to hold you over. Plus, you're not even eating it. You're just staring at it. Eat, Rose."
"Stop telling me what to do!"
"Fine. I won't. But I'm taking your eggs."
"Fine." Dinner yesterday hadn't gone well. Hadn't gone well at all. Especially when, halfway through dinner, Will had asked her about the "spill". Rose had answered 'What spill?' It had basically gone downhill from there- at the end, Will was yelling up the stairs to the girls' dormitory, Rose was crying, and they'd gathered a crowd of at least fifteen Gryffindors. Their attempts at reconciliation hadn't gone very well, but at the very least they were sitting next to each other and making an attempt at civility. Rose, remembering this and getting more upset by the second, stuck a fork into her apple.
"You did it, didn't you? You put the moves on her, and now you're a mess."
"You can have all of my sausage if you don't mention her again this morning." Scorpius stared dead ahead. She sat facing him this morning, which she didn't usually do. It was sickeningly distracting.
"Can I say one more thing about her before I take your sausage?"
"Make it quick." She jammed a fork in her apple. He'd never seen her do that before. She must have been mad about something. For once, he hoped it wasn't him.
"She and that Will bloke had this huge argument last night. She hit him, apparently. Now I'm taking your sausage." Michael reached across and took the sausage off his plate.
"Really." That added a whole new level of interesting to his situation. He wondered if Rose told Will. That would just make him hurt worse. Plus, the whole school would know.
"Also, wanted to say something about how hot she was. Good for you, if you actually, you know..."
Scorpius looked back towards her. One last glance.
She was looking too.
Before he could pull his eyes away, she grinned and waved her apple at him.
Did she know? Maybe. It didn't matter.
In one swift movement, she pressed her apple to her lips (was she kissing the apple for his benefit? he didn't want to read too much into it). It didn't last long, because before he knew it she was arguing with her boyfriend and spitting apple seeds across Gryffindor table.
Some things just wouldn't change.