-~-

CLOSE TO YOU

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you…
-
Close To You by The Carpenters

Oh, this was definitely going to kill her.

I peer into the mirror one last time, adjusting the bowtie till it was perfectly crooked in a way that I knew Rose would adore (she's got a thing for bowties, which no one else has noticed but me, thank God), before waving a hand to the other ignorant Slytherins—why do I hang out with them? Oh, right, because the rest of the houses despise us—and walking out the common room door. Joining the crowd that had begun to make a move to Hogsmeade, I deftly hide among the other students, successfully avoiding Rosie, who had already begun to look confused. Phase One of Plan Win-Rosie-Over—complete.

Entering the Three Broomsticks, I grab two Butterbeers, a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and two Pumpkin Pastries before snagging the corner booth just before anyone else—including Rosie—could spot me.

The corner booth was perfect. Lurking in the shadows, barely visible unless you squinted. Dark, inconspicuous, and romantic. I'm an evil genius who's about to nail my date with Rosie Weasley.

After a few minutes of waiting (and struggling hard not to grab another Jelly Bean) Rosie comes into view. And oh God, she wore the red robes. I wasn't kidding when I said they drove me crazy. I press my legs together, suddenly nervous, and rubbed my palm against the back of my neck before standing up and bowing, making her flush and cross her arms. I love it when she does that.

"Welcome, my dear Rosie," I winked, putting emphasis on the Rosie. I was coming in as a friend, going out as a boyfriend today, and nothing's going to stop me. "Glad that you allowed yourself to grace me with your fine presence."

She rolls her eyes and scoots into the seat; I sit down, too, making sure to press my thighs nonchalantly against hers. Her nostrils flare and her cheeks turn pink, but other than that, she doesn't move. "Oh, shut up, Malfoy," She grumbles, removing her hat and shaking out the snow from her flaming hair. "You've used that line at least three times by now. You're like a broken record."

I grin. Smoothly and suavely, I purr, "But you're so damn gorgeous that you leave me speechless, therefore, I cannot think of any more material to use on you. Don't you realize you've got the greatest effect on me, Rosie?"

Her eyes freeze, innocence reflecting from the pure chocolate. She opens her mouth, ready to retort, but her voice stumbles for a second, unsure of what to say. Nice to know I've got the same effect. "Stop calling me Rosie." She protests weakly after minutes of silence, and casts her eyes down, fully taking in the sight of our thighs pressed together (her robes have ridden up, and now it's her bare leg against my clothed one. This girl is going to be the death of me.) and she promptly glides away, leaving practically a foot of space between us, and now we're pretty much sitting on opposite sides of the table.

"Why, Rosie?" I ask, smirking. She glares, bottom lip jutting out. "Aren't we…," I slide closer, closing in the space and leaning into her, "friends?"

Rapid breathing increases and I watch her chest rise before realizing I'm staring at her cleavage. My eyes drift up and she's mirroring my own smirk, which is strange, because only Scheming!Rosie smirks. Real!Rosie smiles, Nervous!Rosie blushes, Happy!Rosie grins, Turned-On!Rosie glares, and Angry!Rosie snarls. No one but Scheming!Rosie gets to smirk. Which worries me.

I turn around, following her affectionate gaze, and immediately feel my throat go dry. I want to swallow the enormous lump that's formed in my throat, but I can't. I can feel my lips part and my voice ready to jump out, but nothing escapes. Only pure fear.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Scorpius Malfoy and my dearest cousin. Roz, you don't mind if we join you and your…," James Potter sneers, putting his wand in the back pocket of his jeans and linking arms with his current whore of the week, "date, would you?"

Rosie flashes a plastic smile, pearly whites and all, and says, "Oh, not at all, James, dear. I never like missing a moment with family." James, Lily, and Albus Potter, Hugo, Fred, Dominique, Roxanne, and Louis Weasley, plus a Random-Whore slide into the booth, congesting it. Suddenly, it feels more like a Weasley-Potter family reunion rather than a Malfoy-Weasley romantic I-finally-get-the-girl date. By the smirk that's almost permanently etched onto Rosie's face, I can tell that she's planned all this, just in case I somehow manage to piss her off. She probably planted her family around the Three Broomsticks, giving them some kind of signal. She's underhanded, innocent-looking, sneaky, and clever.

Where has she been all my life?

"So," Fred says obnoxiously, he and Louis each grabbing a handful of beans and stuffing their mouths, leaving only three, which I'm sure by personal experience are bogeys, dog droppings, and caterpillars. "are you guys on, like, a date or something?"

I sigh loudly, covering my face with my palm. "Yeah. You guys just… you know, gate-crashed my first date with Rosie Weasley. But, you know, I don't mind, or anything." I smile, sarcasm oozing out my mouth. Goddammit.

"Oh, Scorpius, I'm so glad you don't mind that," Rosie gestures to her family, who all send me a dirty glare that makes me second-guess my love for Rose, "they've joined us." Luckily, when they crowded into the booth, they caused Rosie to be forced to press up against me. She runs a finger along my jaw, and I see the male Weasleys and Potters fume, turning pink. Nevermind, I'm absolutely sure I adore her.

"I – I don't mind at all." I choke as she presses her thighs (they've ridden up even more, and I long to stretch my hand out and touch her ivory skin) against my corduroy-covered ones, placing the hand that's not stroking my hair on my knee, which has begun shaking uncontrollably.

"Good, because I think I'll ask them to join us on our second date. And our third. And our fourth. Maybe every date we'll ever have!" Rosie claps her hands enthusiastically. I glare.

Lily, Dominique, and Albus snicker under their breaths; Louis, Hugo, and Roxanne struggle to hide their grins behind their hands. James and Fred are shameless—they simply laugh out loud, taunting me, mocking me. Random-Whore? She simply flips her light brown hair over her shoulder and smiles stupidly, not exactly getting the joke, but not wanting to be left out of the laughter.

I fume, and I can tell my ears are dangerously red, almost the same color as Rose, Dominique, Roxanne, and Fred's hair. "I'm good with that, as long as you're the kind of girl who believes in sex," I watch the boys' eyes turn black, while the girls look on, shocked, "on the second date." I growl, and promptly slam my lips onto hers.

Rosie doesn't register what happens for the first few seconds, and everyone else has gone into shock. But, to my surprise, Rose doesn't push me away when she realizes I'm making out with her—she returns the kiss with just as much fervor as I put in. Her mouth tastes like Pumpkin Pastries, strawberries, salty ocean air, and mangoes. The exact same things I smell in Amortentia.

And just as suddenly, there is a sharp pain in the back of my head; knuckles pressing through my hair and hitting my skin hard. Almost immediately Rose pulls away, and I can hear her faint yell of, "What's wrong with you! Stop it, stop it!" Someone kicks me, another punches. There are yells and screams and shouts of, "You dolt! STOP!" until everything fades to black and I'm so numb I can't hear anything.

-~-

I blink a couple of times, trying to adjust my vision. Everything is blurry; the world is only just coming into view. I look around a little, examining the white walls and curtains covering me form the rest of the world. I moan a little, just to hear the sound of my own voice, and quickly find Rose, sitting on the hospital bed, gripping my hand with the most worried eyes.

"Thank God you're awake, you idiot. I thought you'd be in a coma." She gushed, squeezing my fingers tighter. "Are you alright? Does your head hurt?"

Only when she mentions it do I realize that my head is pounding with aches. "Yes," I grumble, reaching up to rub it a little. "How bad did they beat me up?" I asked curiously, picking my poison.

"Pretty badly," she tells me, and I wince a little, tapping the bruise that was sure to form on my cheek. "But they feel pretty bad; trust me, I made sure of that." Her fingers brush against mine as she reaches out with both hands to touch my face. One of them strokes my jaw, the other lingers on my bruises, her heat making them painless almost immediately. "Oh, it's going to take a long before these heal properly." She says, mostly to herself, brow furrowed.

"Will you be there? Every step of the way?" I grin eagerly, playfully, tauntingly—eyebrow raised. Her cheeks color, dimples showing, and her eyes shine a little. "Please," I add softly, a little bit under my breath, but I know she heard it by the way her eyes twinkle a little more. My voice becomes raspy as my throat dries, and I don't know whether I'm holding my breath or I just really can't breathe.

"Yes."

"Seriously?"

"I have to admit—you're a pretty good kisser, Scorpius. I can't just leave you after that."

Even though I look like shit, I feel pretty damn proud.