One of the Guys

Chapter Twelve: Memories and Future Plans

I'm sitting by myself in an empty classroom. The professor and the other students have long since left. I simply cannot move. I cannot believe it's over. Rather naively, I'd honestly thought that this would last forever. Now it's done too soon and I want it back.

I feel moisture on my cheek. Strange. I hadn't planned on crying about this, but as soon as I'm aware of the single tear, I can no longer hold back. I pull a tissue out of my pocket and dab at my eyes.

The door to the classroom opens. I stand up and walk over to the window. I don't care who it is. I don't want anybody to see me crying.

"Rose?"

I recognize the quiet voice.

"Hey Victor," I don't turn around. I hear him moving around behind me.

"I forgot something in here. I'm always forgetting things," I can tell he's smiling as he says this. "Are you okay, Rose?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. I'm just," I stop. I can't even explain how I am right now.

Victor walks up to stand next to me. "If I had to guess, I'd say you're feeling nostalgic," he declares.

I smile. "You're probably right. Can you believe it?" I turn my body so that I face him. "Seven years. We spent seven years here, and, after tonight, we'll probably never come back. Not unless we become professors."

"Yeah. Part of me is happy to go, but the other part of me is going to miss it here. Tell you what, though, I'm so glad that we're done with the N.E.W.T.s. Merlin that was the toughest thing ever. How do you think you did?" The words barely leave his lips when he shakes his head. "Wait. Don't answer that. I don't want to hear about how it was the easiest thing in your life."

We share a laugh. He's totally right, though. Thanks to my rigorous study sessions with Austin, he and I both got done with our exams feeling very confident about them. In fact, we treated ourselves to ice cream as soon as we finished. We'll get our results during the summer, but I'm not at all worried.

"By the way, I'm glad that I found you before you left. I wanted to thank you for always being so nice to me all these years," his face reddens. "I know I'm a bit of a screw-up. I'm always forgetting things, and I've never been very good with the spells, but ever since Day 1 you were always so patient and helpful. Thank you."

I lay my hand on his shoulder. "You don't need to thank me. We're friends, Victor. I was happy to help you all those times."

Victor smiles. "I'm so glad that I got to meet you. You're a beautiful person, inside and out," he puts his hand upon mine. "Don't ever lose that. Keep in touch, okay? I'm going to be really interested to see where your life takes you."

I nod. Admittedly, I've never been good at staying in contact with people before, but there's no reason I can't start now. He leaves and I'm alone again. I lean against the wall and look around.

This classroom. This classroom is the place where it all started. I close my eyes and imagine myself in my first year. I haven't quite grown into my bushy hair yet, and I have big front teeth, but I'm too young to care about how I look. (Sometimes, I miss not caring.) Sitting in a desk close to the front, I'm ready for the professor to begin teaching. A boy with blond hair and an angular face sits next to me. We both had just gotten over the flu, and now we're making up the classes we missed. Before now, the boy and I only ever talked to compare marks and maybe ask about assignments.

We study diligently for an hour and then it's time to practice one of the spells. Petrificus totalus. One spell gone wrong, one paralyzed professor, two children doubled over with laughter and five detentions later, I find that I have the most wonderful friend I could ever hope for.

Nostalgic. That's a good way to put it.

I'm not at all surprised when Scorpius comes strolling through the door. He doesn't say a word, just comes to stand next to me. We've never spoken about it, but ever since our first year it was always a sort of agreement that on the last day of school we would meet in this room. We've done it for six years, but this time, it's different. This is the last time.

"So," Scorpius starts.

But he doesn't continue.

I flick his ear.

"Hey!" He snaps his head toward me.

"Finish what you started, loser face. What were you going to say?"

He smirks. "Oh, I was going to say something along the lines of how sweet you are and I'm really glad I know you. You'd never do or say anything mean to me, and that's what I love about you. But, obviously, I was mistaken."

I smack his arm lightly. "You're too sensitive, Malfoy. Get over it," I tease. "And you do so love me. You love me, Scorpius, you love me!" My voice gets louder as I say this and I do my best impression of a smiling lunatic.

"Okay, psycho," he inches away from me.

Oh, I'm so good.

I giggle. "Really, though. What were you going to say?"

He pats me on the head. "Same thing I say every year, sweetheart," luckily for him, he loses the sarcasm in his voice before he continues speaking. "Back then, I never thought that we would ever be friends."

I smile and fall into step with this familiar conversation. "Our parents basically set us up to be rivals. My dad told me to beat you in every subject."

"And my dad told me the same thing."

We've said these same words ever since our first year.

"Nobody saw this coming. We probably shocked the hell out of our parents when we first told them that we became friends."

"And not just friends."

"Best friends."

It's been like this every year since we first met, but this is the part where this year is different.

"I love you, Rose. I always have."

"Yeah, I kind of like you, too."

He wipes a hand across his forehead. "Phew, I was worried that maybe you didn't like me at all. What a relief."

I smile. I'm so lucky. Scorpius has known me for so long that he doesn't ever get angry when I tease him like that. He knows it's just my little signs of affection.

Suddenly, a thought that I've been keeping out of my head for months pops up front and center. I turn so that we're facing each other and I lean in to give him a kiss. "I love you," I whisper.

Then I say it, the thing we've both been avoiding. "What's going to happen to us after we leave here?"

I know he's thought about it, and I sure as hell have, too. Well, I tried to anyway. Every time, though, it makes me sad. What if things aren't the same after we leave? What if we grow apart? I would always push the thoughts away. But now there's no time left. We need to talk about this.

He doesn't answer right away. Instead, he busies himself by examining my face and tucking a few rebellious strands of hair behind my ear.

"Well, obviously we're going to stay together," he says it with such certainty that my heart leaps in my chest. "We can both start working. We shouldn't have any problems getting jobs. There are a lot of options as to what we can do. Don't worry, we'll have a nice sit down talk with somebody about all of that as soon as we get the results for our N.E.W.T.s back."

I love that he keeps saying 'we.'

"Or," he begins. "Or we could do what you actually want to do."

I cock an eyebrow.

"Oh, come on Rose. I know that you don't actually want to go to work right away. You want travel for a few months, or live and study in a foreign country for a few years, don't you?"

You know what? Sometimes it's spooky how well he knows me.

"Absolutely I do," I reply. The ideal situation would be if I could travel and study abroad for a while before returning to find work in London.

"That's what I thought. And, what do you think, could I tag along as well? I think it'd be a pretty cool experience to do something like that. Plus, I sort of like spending time with you. I might be sad if I have to stay away from you for too long."

"You really would want to go with me?" I'm so excited just imagining it. I can picture us, two young lovers touring the world. How romantic. "We could do this, Scorpius. I think you and I could be in this for the 'long haul'. I actually don't like the way that sounds. It sounds like it's a burden or something, and that's not at all how I see our relationship. I just mean that I see our relationship lasting a long time," I ramble on and on until Scorpius presses his finger to my lips to silence me.

"I agree. And, the way I see it, after we do our traveling we get married."

What? Married?

My stomach doesn't just flip; it does an entire gymnastics routine in the span of two seconds. Wasn't expecting that! We've never even so much as joked about marriage. How is he just going to throw this out there now? Perhaps it is just a joke.

"Well, you know," I say, trying to remain calm. "If you really want to marry me, you're going to have to talk to my parents about it first."

"What makes you think I haven't already done that?"

True to Scorpius Malfoy's most irritating trait, he's doing an excellent job of concealing his emotions and it's impossible for me to tell whether or not he's serious.

"Well, even if you did, there's still the matter of the ring. As you're well aware, I'm a princess. And what do princesses get? That's right, princess cut diamonds."

The ring doesn't honestly mean that much to me, but I'm saying anything to try and shake him up.

"Perfect. And don't worry, I had a few opinions on the ring, so it's not hideous," he winks at me.

For a full minute, I don't say a word. I only look at him and try to read his face. "I don't believe you," I finally declare. "You're teasing me."

"If you insist," he smirks and won't look me in the eyes.

"Scorpius."

"Rose."

We stand in silence for a long while and he still won't look at me. "You know what?" He starts walking toward the door. "It's about time to get something to eat."

My stomach growls as if on cue. "Fine. But don't think that we're done with this conversation."

"Of course not," he shakes his head as if he really wants to add 'you silly girl' to the end of that statement. "We're going to continue this. Later."

My eyes light up. "I have a great idea! We could make a pros and cons list," I suggest.

He glares at me but has some trouble concealing his grin.

I'm satisfied. I really don't think that Scorpius would go and actually buy a ring without first talking to me about the prospect of marriage. I'm not saying that it would be terrible if he did, but I'm positive that he's more considerate. He'll want to talk about it before we decide anything. That was just his cruel and unusual way of breaking the proverbial ice.

Slipping my hand into his, we walk down to the Great Hall together. This will be our last meal at Hogwarts.

XXXX

I take a seat at the end of the Gryffindor table. Has it really been seven years already? I think about all the people I've met. I wonder if I'll be able to keep in touch with them in the years to come. I surely hope so.

My eyes wander around the room. I spot Austin at the same time he happens to look my way. He flashes a smile and waves to me. I'm sad that it took so long for us to become friends, but I'm happy that I did finally meet him. Regardless of whether or not he'll ever realize it, he helped me through a very difficult time in my life. By respecting what I said to him, he helped me stay focused so that I didn't drive myself crazy. For that, I will always be grateful.

Next, my gaze falls upon Lily. She's telling an extremely animated tale to Hugo, Bell, Zack, Nicholas, and a few other Gryffindors. It isn't until I hear Nicholas shout "And then we won!" that I realized she was reliving the Gryffindor Quiddich team's victory. It was a fantastic match, and I'm a little sorry that we had to beat Slytherin like that. Okay, so I'm not sorry at all and I definitely rubbed it in my boyfriend's face for about five minutes afterward. That was enough to get my point across.

Lily and Zack are still together. For being so young, they're an extremely functional couple. It's as if they know the secret of how not to get sick of one another. It's amazing.

Bell and Hugo started dating around the beginning February. They seem to be doing pretty well, and I'm glad. Bell truly is a sweetheart, and much too wonderful to ever hold a grudge against Scorpius or me.

As for Nicholas, well… Nicholas and I were awkward around each other for only a couple Quiddich practices. After we won a match, however, we realized something. We are meant to be friends. We always were Quiddich buddies, and we will always be Quiddich buddies. Not to mention we also like to swap books now. He got me interested in some things I otherwise would never even have noticed in a bookstore and I opened his eyes to the wonderful world of Books That Make Rose Weasley Happy. He isn't dating anybody at school, but I'm not worried about him. He's a quality guy. One day some lucky girl is going to be very happy with him.

As I continue scanning the faces of my fellow student, I realize something. I have made some truly amazing friends over they years. I'm sad that we'll all be going our separate ways.

XXXX

Scorpius and I use our seniority to get a compartment all to ourselves on the Hogwarts Express. Hey, don't judge me. It's the last chance I'll get to flex my 'I'm a Seventh Year and you're only in your First Year' muscle. Besides, he and I have a few private matters to discuss.

I hand my book bag to Scorpius so that he can place it in the overhead compartment. My amazingly coordinated boyfriend, however, drops it. My things spill everywhere.

"Sorry," he bends down and immediately begins putting things back into my bag.

That's when I notice that my puzzle box is on the floor. Strange. I thought I packed that in my other bag. I pick it up.

"Hey, is that the box that Austin made for you?" Scorpius inquires.

"Sure is," I look at it suspiciously. How odd.

"May I try?"

I nod.

He picks it up and shakes it slightly. There's something inside. Weird. I've been using it as a jewelry box, but I thought it was empty. I put my hand to my neck and feel the only necklace that I own. I look down at my hand and see all of my rings. I'm also wearing a bracelet and a watch. That's all of my jewelry. Nothing else should be in that box. Unless…

Ohmigosh.

Scorpius opens it, looks inside, and smiles. He looks at me.

Ohmigosh.

"Rose," he gets down on his knee.

Ohmigosh.

"Will you," he says slowly.

OHMIGOSH!

"Will you take this ring?"

I take a look inside the box and I am absolutely stunned.

Scorpius snickers and I roll my eyes.

Inside of the box is an orange spider ring. Don't worry. That wasn't completely a jerk thing to do. If you ignore the fact that he almost gave me a heart attack, it's actually pretty funny. You see I actually gave him that ring on Halloween, once upon a time ago, as one of my amazing gifts. I haven't seen it in years.

"Well, will you?"

I kiss him on the forehead. "Sure, why not?"

He sits back down. "You have no idea what I had to go through to give that ring to you," he says with as much smugness as he can muster. "It was hard to give up. It has a lot of sentimental value."

"I bet," I say, a huge smile on my face.

"Your expression was priceless, by the way. A look of utter shock."

"Well that's because I almost expected to see a diamond ring in there. But I didn't think you would go and do something like that without talking to me first."

"You're right. I wouldn't. Tell me honestly, though. Were you relieved or disappointed?" He asks.

"Hmm?"

"Were you relieved or disappointed that it wasn't the real thing?"

I ponder this for a while. "A little bit of both, I guess," I'm surprised by my answer. That's good to know. On the one hand, I'm not ready to get married yet. I need to do a little bit of living first, you know?"

"Oh, definitely," he agrees. "Honestly, I think that we're both a bit too young yet."

"Then again, if we did get married, it wouldn't be the most awful thing in the world."

"Gee, I'm glad that you look at it like that. You sure know how to make a guy feel special."

"What can I say? It's a gift."

He pinches my sides in what I'm going to call an affectionate manner.

In the next instant, however, his face becomes completely serious. "I promised your dad that if I do ask you to marry me, it would be once I have a steady job and am able to provide for a family."

I nod. "That sounds reasonable. That would definitely be smarter, and that way we'll have plenty of time to make sure that we- Wait a minute. You promised my dad? Did you actually talk to my parents about this?"

His smile answers me.

"When?"

"Oh, you know. Christmas time. The day we came back to school."

"You didn't!"

"I did. I walked straight up to your dad, said 'Mr. Weasley, I'm in love with your daughter. I know we're both young, but I truly think that she's the one for me. I won't ask for your blessing now because I don't have any intention of getting married anytime soon, but I just want you to know that I fully intend to stay with Rose for a long time. I plan to ask her to marry me in a few years. I'll talk to you about this again when marriage seems more realistic.' Well, that's the general idea behind what I said to him."

"And how did he react?" I'm on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

"Well, let me put it this way. I'm really glad that your mum was with us too. Otherwise, I'm almost positive that your dad would have dragged me to a dark corner and made it to look like a mugger got a hold of me," he looks at me and sees my eyes widen. "I'm just kidding, Rose. I won't tell you exactly what he said, it's sort of a man to man thing, but he did insist that the both of us have jobs before we get married."

"That sounds like my dad. Actually, so did the first thing you said," I giggle. "How did mum react?"

"She was really excited, of course. Your mum loves me."

I roll my eyes. Still, I can't deny that it's the truth.

"Did you say anything to your parents?" I ask.

"Oh, of course. Mum approves. Dad didn't say much, but he's definitely not opposed to the idea. He really likes you. If anything, he's looking forward to sitting down with you again and talking for hours on end about books you've both read while I bake cookies with mum."

I give my most innocent smile. "Sorry," I say slowly. "But that only happened once," I defend myself.

During the winter holiday, I went over to the Malfoy's. Astoria had mentioned something about baking cookies with her but, as I was giving the books I'd borrowed back to Draco, we just started talking about them. The next thing I knew, the sweet scent of delicious goodness was wafting into the room as Scorpius carried a plate of cookies and a couple glasses of milk. Oh, did I mention he was wearing an apron? Yeah. He put that on for dramatic effect.

We share a laugh about the memory. It's very comforting to know that his parents do like me.

"So, about this marriage business. We don't have to talk about it too seriously right now, but it is something to think about. I just want you to know that I am serious about us."

I smile. "Let's just enjoy the time we have together. Once we get jobs and figure out what we want to do with our lives, then we can go back and talk to my dad."

He kisses the tip of my nose. "I'm looking forward to enjoying our time together. No matter where we might go."

He settles back into his seat.

My heart is racing. I love this boy so much. And do you know something? For as frustrated as I got when things didn't go my way this year, for as much as I just wanted to scream every time the thought crossed my mind that we would never be more than friends, for as sad as I was when I was just one of the guys, I will always be thankful that that's how our relationship happened. It wasn't easy. It took a lot of work. There were many rough patches along the way, but I learned to take the good in with the bad. And it all turned out perfectly. All of these things, they make me appreciate and value our friendship and our love so much more.

"Scorpius?"

"Hmm?"

"You know, if you would have asked me for real, I would have said yes."

He doesn't respond. He doesn't have to. We both just… We just know.

XXXX

THAT'S IT FOR THIS STORY! I'm actually sad to see it end. I had so much fun writing it!

Question: Were you worried at the beginning of this chapter when Rose was sad and talking about it being over? Did you think maybe Scorpius and Rose had broken up? I'm cruel, I tried to make it seem that way.

P.S. Yeah, I totally stole that fake proposal move from The Office. I heart that show like you wouldn't believe. Teehee, my friends actually called me Pam for the longest time and then called my friend Jim (the friend I based this story's relationship off of, as a matter of fact). If you don't watch The Office, I'm afraid the reference is lost. Watch The Office! It's amazing! I love it! (Teehee, 'Absolutely I do.')

By the by, if you enjoyed this, and might want to read more of my Rose/Scorpius stories, add me to your Author Alert. I've got a few new ideas rolling around in my head. I just have to pick one and actually commit to it. Anyway, keep an eye out for me.

Thanks to everybody who reviewed! You are all so amazing! Special thanks to happilycharmed without whom this story probably would have stopped at chapter one.

Thanks! RavenclawAmber, (Fortunately, Bell gets her happy ending as well. Um, a definite end in sight? You just read it. Thanks for all the wonderful reviews.) Hagger10, (I knew someone would!) PadfootPatronus, (Yeah, totally don't miss that aspect of the snow. You know… cold. Brr. I'm glad you were pleased with the little bit of drama between the girls. Haha, I didn't expect to see anymore 'Poor Rose' reviews after I got done with my abuse of the girl, but your sarcastic one definitely made me smile. Take care!) Ninelli, (Teehee.) Shiva's Girl, (Thank you so much! Hope you liked this last part as well.) princecharmprincesswit, (Cheers! Teehee, I figured I'd get some people to mouth that part. Take care!) iluvheoc3000, (Absolutely. Thank you so much for telling me about the wondrous boy who is Mitch Hewer. I think that he will be who I think of from now on while writing Scorpius. Gorgeous boy. Anyway, yeah… I'm all about the happy endings.) JessFantasy16, (That was an awesome metaphor, and it made me giggle. Yeah, I can't decide about an epilogue. On the one hand, it would be totally awesome to see how they turn out. Or… yeah, it would be overdoing it. Hmm. Maybe I'll make a pros and cons list, lol.) trobairiz, (That does take a lot of stress off things, doesn't it? I'm glad they're public with it too.) LupinTonksLove, (Yeah… That was my master plan from the beginning… Um, okay, that's not true. That was all last minute, 'Oh yeah, Hugo exists and Bell used to have a crush on him' and that's how that happened. I am glad that I reread that, though, otherwise I'd have been stumped on how to deal with Bell.) xKristinax, (Lol, yeah, it was rather random.) gggirliegirl, (Wow, thanks for the awesome compliment! Glad you like how I tied it all together.) FollowingTheInkTrail, (I'm a fan of the fluffy, sappy stuff as well. Yeah, I started the replying to reviews thing a long time ago. Then I discovered the actual 'reply' button on the review. But… uh… I fear change. Sometimes I'll send private messages. Anyway, olive juice too, lol.) RedWingNut, (Very uncomfortable, indeed. Glad to hear that the braces kiss turned out okay. Did you tell the orthodontist what exactly happened? Actually, he/she had probably seen that many times before, lol. Take care!) I-Heart-Werewolves, (Teehee, thank you.) itsmeadriana, (Teehee, I guess it would look a bit more aggressive. I considered giving Nicholas a love interest, but then I'd have to fabricate another character. I hope that he way I chose to go with that didn't disappoint you. Oh yeah… I definitely intended to add the Malfoys to that chapter, but I forgot. Hopefully I made up for it with this chapter.) oiiy, (Simply. Thank you.) bookluvr4life, (Wonderful. I hope you enjoyed the Ron part of this chapter as well. Take care!) TheCluelessAzn, (Haha, it's okay. As for how I came up with the I love you/olive juice thing, well… Someone mouthed 'olive juice' to me when I was a kid. Then they kindly explained that they weren't saying 'I love you.' Sad story.) Raf, (I love replying to my reviewers! Haha, with my luck, I would have started saying 'I love you' and 'olive juice' to myself in the mirror and my roommate would walk in on me. Awkward. Your review made me giggle with the 'love pentagon/cube/sphere thingy' reference. Yeah. That love polygon was quite exciting to write. Take care!) and britardobot, (Yeah, I figured people might actually admit to mouthing that part if I asked about it. Thank you so much for the review!)

Much love! Take care!