Title: The Flower and the Scorpion – Epilogue
Summary: Scorpius Malfoy is on a mission to bring Rose Weasley home.
Word Count: 2613
Notes/Warning: Big thanks to Kazfeist for betaing this and sticking with me through the long process of getting this entire story ready to post!
Rose's and Scorpius' two–day-old relationship was going splendidly until they realized that they were committed to attend two different family brunches on Sunday. As luck had it, however, the Weasleys ate at 11 a.m. at the Burrow, while the Malfoys supped at 2:30 p.m. at the Manor. The new couple could attend both meals and not have to choose one family over the other.
The Burrow brunch turned out to be much bigger an affair than Scorpius had realized. He knew, of course, that Rose had a large family. Especially since several of her cousins had invaded his flat on Thursday evening. But, he hadn't quite been prepared to be surrounded by them, their parents, their grandparents, and a host of other cousins, aunts, and uncles that he had never even realized existed.
As a 'new' attendee at a Weasley family gathering, Scorpius received a tremendous amount of attention. Many of the women had questions about his job, his hobbies, and his friends. As the boyfriend of Rose and the man who convinced her to return to England, he also received a number of warnings from her male uncles and cousins about what would happen to him should she end up hurt. Although these threats were framed in a joking manner and were accompanied by several hearty slaps on the back, the outward joviality barely masked the seriousness of the warnings.
The meal itself was a very pleasant and laid-back experience. Scorpius sat next to Rose and across the table from Al and Roxanne. Their conversation was lively and he found himself relaxing, despite being surrounded by the large and outgoing family. Truth be told, Scorpius was more at ease at the Burrow than he ever had been at Malfoy Manor. He decided not to examine this observation too closely out of fear about what it revealed about him and his parents.
After the meal, Rose went off with many of her cousins and their parents to play Quidditch. Scorpius remained behind with Al, Hermione, Molly, Arthur, and Fleur. They spoke in general terms about a proposed Ministry revision regarding the use of underage magic while watching as the game being played out on the mini-Pitch behind the Burrow.
Scorpius couldn't prevent a wide grin from crossing his face as he watched Rose dodge a Bludger hit by her Uncle George before scoring against her father.
"She's really something, isn't she?" Al remarked.
Scorpius nodded. "I'm still not exactly sure what she sees in me."
"I'm not," Al replied, with a smile. "Rose has always needed someone to ground her and provide stability. Her Mum did that for her when she was growing up, it was me at Hogwarts, and now it is you. She's happier now than I've seen her since she left school. The question really is, what do you see in her?"
"You're not serious!" Scorpius exclaimed.
"It's just that Rose tends to be a bit disruptive and you always seemed to be someone who preferred order to chaos."
Scorpius reddened. "I admit that things haven't been quite as calm in my life since Rose returned, but it's worth it. In some ways, it doesn't even feel like I was living before. I was just existing."
"And now?" Al prodded.
"Now I'd live in a maelstrom, as long as Rose was there," he admitted.
Al looked like he wanted to say something else, but was distracted by a fight between Rose and James taking place on the pitch.
Scorpius stood and began to make his way quickly over to where his girlfriend was dismounting from her broom.
"You are completely worthless!" Rose yelled at her cousin, as the rest of her team landed nearby.
James shrugged. "How was I to know that saving one more goal would have prevented us from losing the game?"
"Because you are supposed to be paying attention to what's happening on the pitch, rather than trying to catch your reflection in the hoops!"
"Calm down, Rosie. It's just a Sunday afternoon match. It doesn't mean anything," James replied, obviously unaware that all his cousins were glowering at him for having lost them the match.
"That's it!" she exclaimed loudly. "You are off the team."
"What?! You can't kick me off. It's the cousins' team! Just because you were captain today doesn't mean you are in charge of it," James taunted, looking smugly confident in his reasoning.
"Fine. We'll put it up for a vote. Who wants James to play with our parents from now on?" Rose demanded of her cousins.
Everyone's hands shot into the air immediately, except Fred's. "He isn't that bad."
Rose glared at him until Fred grimaced and shrugged in defeat. "Good, it's unanimous."
"Good luck finding a replacement for me," James sneered. "You know Al has refused to fly since he crashed into the Lake outside of Hogwarts during his second year."
"We don't need Al," Rose replied, glancing toward where Albus and Scorpius stood at the edge of the pitch. "Scorpius can play Keeper."
Scorpius looked startled, James started to laugh, and rest of the team looked uneasy at the idea. "Don't worry. I'll train him," Rose tried to reassure her cousins.
"I'm not sure this is a good idea…" Scorpius began.
She glared at him in response. "We'll talk to your dad about this. He probably has some ideas about how to improve your skills."
"Great," Scorpius muttered.
"Still enjoying life in the maelstrom?" Al asked.
Scorpius just grimaced in response.
Scorpius and Rose arrived at the front door of Malfoy Manor two minutes before brunch was to be served. "What happens if we are late?" Rose asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Do we get strung up in the dungeon?"
"Worse," Scorpius replied with a deep sigh. "We get a forty-minute lecture from my father on etiquette and consideration for others' schedules."
"Oh," Rose grinned leaning toward him enticingly. "Let's stay out here a few more minutes; parental lectures are my favourite appetizer."
Scorpius laughed, gave her a quick kiss, and then opened the door. "Let's not wait. Parental lectures give me indigestion."
Rose grabbed his hand and followed him into the foyer.
"Scorpius, darling, is that you?" Astoria called from a nearby room. "Come explain to your grandparents why you lied to your father and me about the Weasley girl."
"Damn," Scorpius muttered under his breath.
Rose winked at him, grabbed his hand, and pulled him into the drawing room, where she was greeted by four pairs of incredulous eyes. "Actually, all falsehoods were told by me," she admitted to the assembled Malfoys. "I got into a little bind and Scorpius was just being a good friend by backing me up."
"Fascinating," Lucius drawled in a tone that indicated he was clearly not impressed with her explanation.
"Grandfather…" Scorpius stated softly, his hand tightening instinctively around Rose's.
Narcissa did not miss the gesture. "So are you two a couple or not?" she demanded.
Scorpius and Rose glanced at each other and smiled. "We are."
"I knew it," Draco bragged to the room. "Didn't I tell you she went all Gryffindor on me in the interview? I recognized from the beginning that she was lying to insure she didn't get hired due to favouritism."
"Yes, son, your powers of observation and perception are truly outstanding," Lucius intoned in a slightly mocking manner.
"My head hurts from trying to keep up with Scorpius' love life," Astoria sighed.
"That's because with Scorpius so mature and stable you've grown lazy. If you'd been dealing with a parade of girlfriends, like I had to when Draco was younger, this all wouldn't be such a shock," Narcissa responded condescendingly.
"Mother!" Draco chided her with a scowl.
Narcissa elegantly shrugged one of her thin shoulders. "Come sit next to me, Scorpius," she ordered, patting the settee. "I want to hear all about your new relationship."
The next hour was one of the most painful in Scorpius' life and that was saying something, considering who his father was. When everyone finally moved into the dining room, Scorpius sat at one end of the table where he was grilled by his mother and grandmother about his new relationship. Rose was placed at the other end of the table next to Draco and Lucius.
Despite Scorpius' best efforts, he could not monitor how his father and grandfather were treating Rose. He overheard some references to Quidditch, Germany, and Malfoy Industries, but he wasn't sure whether or not the conversation was pleasant. Merlin knew he'd had plenty of unpleasant conversations with them.
When the meal ended, Scorpius leapt to his feet and announced that he and Rose needed to leave. "One moment, son," Draco drawled, a slight smirk on his face. "Join me and your grandfather in library before you run off."
"I'm not sure…"
"Now," Draco stated forcefully, as he rose from his seat.
"It's fine, Scorpius," Rose said. "I'll just wait for you in the drawing room."
"Alright," he sighed. "I won't be long."
Scorpius followed his father and grandfather into the library. He had no idea what they wanted, but he dreaded the confrontation just the same. Sitting in a wing-back chair next to the fireplace, he watched Lucius pour three snifters of brandy. As soon as everyone had a glass in hand, Draco began to speak.
"I was thrilled that you brought Rose to the Manor today. It will be much easier to ease her transition from being a 'Weasley' to being a 'Malfoy' if she becomes familiar with the estate and your family."
"Father, I don't think—"
"Moreover, it was a stroke of genius to arrange for her to take a job at Malfoy Industries," Draco smirked broadly.
"That's not what happened," Scorpius told him. Before he could launch into an explanation of how he hadn't steered Rose towards the family business, however, his grandfather was speaking.
"I've never been more proud of you," Lucius smiled, toasting Scorpius with his brandy.
"But that is not the reason we've called you in here," Draco informed Scorpius. "Instead, we want to make sure you are taking care of Rose physically."
The youngest Malfoy choked on his drink. "What?!"
"Your father wants to know if you need any guidance concerning your intimate relationship with Miss Weasley," Lucius explained.
Scorpius opened his mouth and then closed it, when not a sound came out.
"This is an area where your grandfather and I have a modest amount of expertise," Draco drawled, gazing down at his son with his typical attitude of superiority.
"I think everything is fine," Scorpius replied, wanting desperately to the end the discussion as quickly as possible.
"If you only think it is fine, you can use a few pointers," Lucius told him. "You wouldn't want to lose Miss Weasley due to her dissatisfaction in the bedroom."
Despite Scorpius' best efforts, it took him twenty minutes to escape the library. It would take him much longer, however, to block his father's and grandfather's advice from his mind.
"Are you okay?" Rose asked him, as they stood on the doorstep outside the Manor.
He nodded a bit shakily. "I will be once you Obliviate me."
Rose giggled and kissed him on the cheek. "Let's go home."
When Scorpius and Rose returned to the flat, they both collapsed on the couch exhausted. "Who knew spending times with our families would be so painful?" she asked.
Scorpius raised his hand slowly causing Rose to giggle. She leaned over and kissed him softly, before curling against his side.
"I'm sorry about volunteering you to play Quidditch. James just makes me so upset!"
Scorpius smiled at how Rose's shoulders tensed up momentarily at the mention of her older cousin. "I don't really have to play, do I?"
"Merlin, no! I'd like us to have a chance to win next week," she teased.
"Hey!" he exclaimed, trying to sound offended. He was positive, however, that Rose wasn't fooled. "I'm sorry about my family."
"Are you kidding? I found them fascinating. It was like having dinner with foreign diplomats, but with more secret agendas."
"That's probably the nicest way I've ever heard them described," Scorpius admitted. "I tended to be a lot tougher on them than that."
Rose looked up into his eyes. She looked thoughtful and sweeter than he'd seen her since back at Hogwarts. "We both probably tend to be a bit too harsh on our families."
Scorpius nodded distractedly before leaning down to capture Rose's lips. He didn't want to talk about their families anymore. He had a hard time concentrating on anything much lately besides Rose's mouth and body. He was enjoying the early stages of their relationship, but it was difficult to not rush things – especially when she was still sleeping on his couch. He'd offered to give up his bed, but she'd refused to trade. She hadn't mentioned moving out, which he took as a good sign, but surely she wasn't comfortable with their current situation.
Pulling back slightly, Scorpius broke their kiss. "Why'd you stop?" Rose asked looking confused.
"You know I'm way out of my depth, right?"
"What do you mean?" she asked, tilting her head as if looking at Scorpius from a different angle would make him more understandable.
"I mean you're going to have to take the lead with us. Let me know what to do when. If you want to move forward, if you want to slow down, if you want to go backwards, you're going to have to let me know – preferably in writing."
"You aren't serious?" she asked, frowning slightly.
"Of course I am! If you leave things up to me, I'll be second-guessing myself all the time. It will be six months before I do more than just kiss you. Hell, if you leave everything up to me, I might never get the nerve to touch you under your shirt, let alone attempt anything more intimate."
Rose smiled a bit at his discomfort. "If I agree to take the lead on us, you are going to have to agree to help keep me focused. Don't let me use my insecurities to sabotage my job, my relationship with my family, or us."
Scorpius nodded slowly. He understood what Rose wanted from him. She didn't need someone to rein her in or to order her about, but at the same time she didn't want someone who would encourage her self-destructive tendencies, either. "I promise to always give you an honest assessment of your actions. I won't bury my thoughts about your decisions simply to protect our relationship."
"That sounds like a fair compromise," she responded, her smile growing wider. "I think we are going to complement each other very well."
Scorpius smiled in return. "I think we already do."
Rose beamed. "Now where were we?" she inquired, pretending to have forgotten what they had been discussing. "Oh, yes. You wanted me to take the lead in our relationship."
Scorpius waited for Rose to resume kissing him, but was shocked into inhaling deeply when she removed her blouse and tossed it over the back of the couch.
"Rose?" he spoke softly, unable to keep his voice from cracking.
"I decided I didn't want to wait another minute for you to touch me under my shirt," she told him with a mischievous smile on her face.
"I'm so glad I turned over control of our relationship to you," he informed her, before pulling her into his arms and kissing her soundly. In spite of his lack of confidence about most non-academic subjects, Scorpius was certain that Rose Weasley was a woman he would care about forever.