"So that's little Scorpius," said Ron under his breath. "Make sure you beat him in every test, Rosie. Thank God you inherited your mother's brains."
"Ron, for heaven's sake," said Hermione, half-stern, half-amused. "Don't try to turn them against each other before they've even started school!"
"You're right, sorry," said Ron, but unable to help himself, he added, "don't get too friendly with him, though, Rosie. Granddad Weasley would never forgive you if you married a pure-blood."
The little girl stared up at her red-headed father in confusion, her blue sapphires for eyes twinkling. Her mother, who was standing beside her, was pinching the bridge of her nose.
"Ron, please, enough-"
"Hey!" James' voice had overpowered their conversation, and everyone's heads turned in his direction, their argument seemingly forgotten. Rose's eyebrows furrowed together for a moment, then she shrugged it off, eager to listen to what her elder cousin had to say. She looked over her shoulder to peek over at the mysterious Scorpius boy her parents were bickering about earlier. She raised an eyebrow.
He was gone. She figured he must've boarded the train already. Shaking her head, she figured that she would have time to make introductions once she arrived at the school.
"Psst, oi! Rose...Rosie!"
Sighing in defeat, Rose dropped her quill and brushed a few soft curls out of her eyes. She looked up to face her cousin, Albus, who seemed to be panicking over a piece of blank parchment.
"Help?" He asked, his bright green eyes flashing with worry. She bent over his empty roll of parchment. There was a single line of writing at the top, which read 'The Many Uses of Gurdyroot, by Albus Potter'.
"Did you even make any sort of attempt on the essay, Al?" Rose asked exasperatingly. Albus made a face that gave her the impression that he did not.
"Okay, just read pages 154 to 156. That basically summarizes everything you need to-"
A soft 'thud' was heard, stopping Rose from completing her sentence. Albus raised an eyebrow, confused at first, but then he realized what caused the noise in the first place. He reached towards his cousin's hair and plucked out a crumpled up ball of parchment.
"Ooh, looks like you've got a secret admirer, Rose. You best keep this away from James." Albus teased as he unfolded the parchment to read it. As soon as he got the paper to lie flat, Rose snatched it away from him, her cheeks a slight tinge of pink. Albus' emerald orbs scanned the study hall, tracking down any suspects. He was interrupted by Rose's nearly incoherent muttering, a habit she often fell into whenever she was angered.
"What is it? What does it say? Who wrote it?" Albus asked eagerly, leaning over the table. Rose threw the piece of parchment at his face, temporarily blinding him. She then proceeded to shove her books in her bag.
"Boys." She spat, and abruptly left the room. Utterly flabbergasted, Albus clutched the creased parchment in his hands and scanned it carefully. It was a crude drawing of his cousin with very bushy hair and teeth at least three times too big for her face, and the Gryffindor crest on her robes was crossed out. The magical image was moving; the crude drawing of Rose was jumping up and down with her hand in the air, as if she was waiting to be called on. The words 'Gryffindor's Biggest Nerd' were scrawled at the top. Albus frowned; he knew exactly who was behind this. He inclined his head towards the darkest corner of the room. A blonde boy with menacing grey eyes sneered back at him.
"That was a brilliant match, you two! Way to beat Slytherin for the third time this month!"
Rose's first year brother Hugo was just as a big Quidditch enthusiast as the Potter siblings. Unfortunately she was the only one who did not see the excitement in the sport, but she regularly came out to support her cousins.
"Your dad must be very proud of you, Al. Seeker, just like him." Rose said, clapping her cousin, her best friend on the back. Albus' cheeks flushed pink and everyone broke out in laughter. They all met at the foot of the pitch at the end of the match and decided to have supper together at the Great Hall. They were just beginning to walk back when they bumped into three members the Slytherin Quidditch team: Scorpius Malfoy, and the Goyle brothers, Vincent (affectionately named after Crabbe of course) and Princeton. They all had very sore looks on their faces.
"Malfoy." Albus greeted shortly, nodding his head once. Scorpius glared at him, his grey eyes like chips of ice.
"What're you starin' at? Get out of the way will you?" He bellowed, his thin frame quivering under his muddy Quidditch robes. Rose scoffed and stepped in between Albus and Scorpius. Her blue eyes stared straight into his grey ones.
"Don't talk to him like that. Show some manners." She said in an even tone. She straightened her spine in an attempt to look more intimidating. Instead, a corner of Scorpius' mouth twisted upwards into his trademark smirk, and he took a step closer. Rose did not back down.
"Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do about it, Weasley? You gonna get your Muggle-loving family to come after me? Are you going to get your Muggle-obsessed Granddad, your loser father who could never live up to Harry Potter and your Mudblood Mum and-"
"SHUT UP! SHUT YOUR BLOODY MOUTH!" Hugo leapt forward with his wand, but James was quicker. He grabbed his younger cousin before he could do any harm. Scorpius laughed and his cronies joined in.
"Always a blast to watch you squirm. I'll see you later." Scorpius smirked again, and he stalked off, Vincent and Princeton in tow. Rose stood stock still, but streams of tears were running down her cheeks. Lily strode up to her, trying to shake her out of her thoughts, but nothing seemed to be working. Rose only had one thought in mind, after all.
She hated Scorpius Malfoy with a passion.
It was a wonderfully sunny Sunday. Rose and Albus were lounging around under the shade of a very familiar beech tree by the lake. Rose was sitting cross-legged, staring so hard into a textbook she could probably burn holes into the pages, and Albus was sitting casually with his back against the trunk, his head turned towards his cousin.
"Okay here's a question that'll definitely be on the exam. Name the ten known species of dragon." Rose looked up from her textbook, only to see a weary Albus.
"Umm…Chinese Fireball, the Common Welsh, Romanian Longhorn-"
An eruption of laughter interrupted their study session. Rose's head snapped over to the direction of the sound, her left eye twitching. She knew exactly who it was. Albus, on the other hand, was rolling his eyes. He placed his hands at the back of his head and blew his bangs away from his line of vision.
"Drop it, will you? He's not doing anything to harm anyone." Albus muttered, closing his eyes. Rose shook her head.
"You don't understand, Al. It's just that...everything he does...it just irritates me. His very existence makes me writhe in disgust." She grumbled contemptuously. Albus chuckled. His laughter shocked Rose and it made her glare in his direction.
"What are you snickering about?" She asked acidly. Albus shook his head and waved her off with one hand.
"Nothing, nothing. Just thinking, that's all." He said absently, his eyes still closed. Now a little more confused than frustrated, Rose sighed in defeat and turned her head towards the group of Slytherins crossing the field. Scorpius and his minions were leaning over the edge of the lake, possibly looking for the giant squid or something. Vincent was leaning in a little too far in, and he subsequently fell into the lake. Right before he fell in, he grabbed onto his brother's robes, pulling him in with him, and Princeton grabbed onto Scorpius', pulling him in as well. In a matter of minutes the three Slytherin boys were bobbing in and out of the water, spewing insults at each other, with a good amount of the school population pointing and laughing at them. Rose giggled to herself and continued to watch quietly.
"Hey, you two. Duty calls." James hollered from upstairs. Albus' and Rose's prefect badges glimmered proudly in the common room that chilly November evening. The fireplace roared on, and Rose turned her back to it to face her older cousin.
"Yes, yes, we know. We're going now. See you in a couple hours." She said as she followed Albus out of the portrait hole. She hated going on patrol, especially during the winter. The stony interior of Hogwarts never really served as a good insulator.
'"Let's start off here first. Stay close to the lanterns so you won't get cold so quickly." Albus advised, gently pushing her towards the wall. Rose uttered a quiet thanks and they continued their patrol in silence for a few more minutes. Suddenly, a quiet shuffling interrupted their peaceful walk. The back of Rose's neck felt uncomfortably prickly, and she could feel Albus tensing up by her side.
"Wand at the ready?" She heard his voice quiver slightly. She nodded wordlessly as she reached into her robes with a shaky hand to retrieve her wand. The two Gryffindor prefects exhaled deeply at the same time before taking slow steps into the unknown.
"W-who's there? Show yourself!" Albus shouted. His voice bounced off the stone walls, making it sound louder than it should. There was no reply. Rose gulped.
"This better not be some kind of joke…" She quickened her pace a little so that she was ahead of Albus. She just wanted to get this over with. As soon as she rounded the corner, a piercing, high-pitched scream erupted from behind, catching her off guard. She screamed in perfect harmony with the previous scream, and her wand clattered to the floor. Albus rushed to her side, ready to battle whatever it was that was threatening to attack, but when he realized who it was, he instantly lowered his wand.
"Rose, calm down. Scorpius, bugger off, will you? You're getting a little old for things like these. Grow up for Merlin's sake." Albus cried out frustratingly. A smug Scorpius stepped out of the shadows, his hands shoved in his pockets and his white-blond hair gleaming in the light emitting from the lanterns. Rose opened her eyes and turned around to face her 'attacker'. Her blue eyes seemed to burn red with anger.
"Ravishing young gentleman? Handsome devil?" He suggested cockily. Rose's hands balled into fists. Albus muttered a quick 'Accio Rose's wand' before any further trouble occurred.
"Oh, sod off, will you? I've had enough of your boorishness! You strut around the school seven days a week, thinking you own the place, with those two halfwits you call friends, and all you do is make people feel bad about themselves, probably because you can't admit to yourself that you're just as pathetic as your insults are! You know, as the years go by, your words are getting older and older and I'm getting tired of hearing them. Why don't you go back to your damp little common room underground and write up some more petty insults for everyone to ignore? Pretty soon no one's going to care what you have to say, and you're just going to end up whining about how no one's paying attention to you, and you'll only have yourself to blame in the end." Rose was breathing loudly now. The clouds of her breath puffed one after the other out of her mouth like a steam engine. Albus and Scorpius stared at her, dumbstruck.
"S'about time." Scorpius said with one of his smirks, and whirled around to walk away. Rose suddenly had the urge to reach out to him, to call out to him, but she relinquished the thought and turned towards her cousin, trying her hardest to avert her gaze from the Slytherin who she was yelling at just seconds earlier.
"L-let's go back. I'm freezing my arse off." She said, visibly uneasy. She knew that they still had an hour or so left on patrol, and she was sure Albus was aware as well, but it was clear that the both of them were not in the mood for it. Albus threw a comforting arm around his cousin's shoulders and the two walked back to the Gryffindor common room in silence.
Rose hated Potions. It was one of her least favourite subjects. She loathed the classroom. It always smelled damp, like it was just rained on, and it was obvious that the dungeons have not been cleaned in awhile. She stared at her textbook with glassy eyes. She had gotten hardly any sleep the night before, due to some stupid Runes essay she was doing (it was worth ten percent of her final mark, so she had to make it perfect), and she could barely keep her eyes open. She hardly even acknowledged the fact that Albus was nudging her elbow, telling her that class was over.
"Oh-right...okay, lemme get my stuff-"
She packed her cauldron and her textbook and trudged out of the classroom, following her cousin out of the dungeons and into the sunny hallways of the upper floors. Suddenly, her bright blue eyes snapped open.
"Language, Miss Weasley. Five points from Gryffindor." Albus said in a high-pitched, pompous voice. He snickered and turned towards a very apprehensive looking Rose. "What's the matter?"
"Quill, quill...forgot quill-bloody-" She smacked herself a few times in a vain attempt to wake herself up. "I'll be back."
She hurried back down the stairs to the dungeons and turned a quick corner, only to bump into something hard, and something much taller than her. Blushing in embarrassment, Rose apologized and looked up, only to stare straight into the eyes of Scorpius Malfoy.
"Oh, it's you. I take back my apology then." She said in a clipped voice. Scorpius rolled his grey eyes and held up a single, scarlet feathered quill.
"This yours?" He asked wearily. Rose blinked in confusion for a few seconds. That was her quill alright, but was Scorpius returning it to her? Scorpius Malfoy?
"Erm, yeah...it is. T-thank you." She stuttered, plucking the quill out of his thin fingers. Scorpius smirked, but for some reason she didn't feel the same contempt for him like she usually did.
"Don't mention it. See you in Herbology." He shouldered his bag and then walked away. Rose stared at his back as he casually made his way through the crowd of students. She then looked at the quill in her hand, a thousand thoughts racing through her head.