Oh my Microsoft Word, I finished it! Sorry for such a long hiatus, I kind of forgot about it...
Well, this is the finishing chapter. Technically it doesn't take place in the actual school year, but it's close enough. It's utter fluff, but what can you do? I just wanted to get something out so it would be finished. Hope it's been worth the wait and that someone enjoys it :)
Scorpius Malfoy said goodbye to his parents at Platform 9 ¾ for the last time. His father clapped him on the shoulder and muttered a few choice words of wisdom; he kissed his mother and she smiled and tried to straighten his already impeccably neat collar. He lugged his trunk into a compartment, then came back to the window so he could wave.
Rose Weasley said goodbye to her parents at Platform 9 ¾ for the last time. She reached up to kiss her father on the cheek, him spouting various warnings about boys all the while; although he was happier than he had been last year, when she had been going away for a year with a steady boyfriend and no parental supervision. She was pulled into a three way hug with her mother and her younger brother, and then for one of her own with just her mum.
Then it was time for all the cousins that weren't going with them, but had come to see them off: Dominique, James, Molly and Fred had turned up, having left Hogwarts themselves. Rose got a hug from each.
There was lots more hugging and kissing and shoving and joking among her family, as the members of the brood that were still at school got all of their things safely on the train, bit by bit. She'd miss all this, Rose thought. Being one of the ones included. She looked at her older cousins, and realised she'd be with them next year to see off Hugo. She'd have to make time for her brother this year; their last year together at Hogwarts. She chided herself for getting sad when she hadn't even got to the castle yet, and decided she could worry about it later on.
She waved at them all, stood smiling behind her, as she waited for Lily and Hugo to shove their way through the train door at the same time. They eventually made it with much hitting and swearing, and Rose climbed on board the Hogwarts Express, memorising every detail but at the same time trying not to think about the fact that this was her last journey to Hogwarts as a student.
Scorpius sat in his compartment, watching the houses whip past the window as the train made its way out of the capital. He'd watched Rose as she'd parted with her family, and had felt the usual ache that seemed to settle somewhere in his chest whenever he saw members of that clan interacting. He knew it was an ache to belong, and he had just learnt to ignore it over the years. This time was even harder though, because it had been joined by something else.
He let his thoughts spread backwards over the summer holidays, slipping through random moments and memories. They carried on over the last few months of school last year, and then stopped where he knew they would. The Friday of the last week of March, that's when it had happened: the cause of the ache he got all over him whenever he saw Rose Weasley. He would never be able to see or taste a sugar quill again without thinking of her.
The door to his compartment slid open suddenly, jolting him out of his lonely wallowing. He looked up, but there was no one there. He checked the corridor: empty too, except for the odd escaped chocolate frog. Or real frog.
He decided it must have been a sharp corner that had caused the door to come open, even though he hadn't noticed one. Maybe he just hadn't shut it properly. He sat back down to return to his mournful staring out of the window.
Rose wasn't entirely sure what she was doing. She'd done it on a whim when Albus' trunk had burst open, spilling the contents into their compartment to the sound of many groans and "Typical!"s. He had tried to lift it above his head with nothing but his own brute strength. The cloak had flowed out over her feet, as if it was nudging her, and while everyone else was distracted, she'd shoved it quickly up her robes. Now she was sat shamelessly ogling Scorpius Malfoy. But it was okay, because he didn't know she was there.
She watched him let out a large sigh as she tried to figure out why she had come. All she knew was that she had wanted to see him without things being awkward, for once. The second half of sixth year, after it had happened, had been more or less Scorpius-less. She knew that it meant he didn't want to face her after she'd kissed him like she had.
She'd spent most of the weekend afterwards in Ravenclaw tower, lots of people coming up to express their sorrow at hearing of her and Malcolm splitting up - not trying to get gossip at all, she thought snidely. The first Monday afterwards, she and Scorpius had had potions together. She had entered the dungeon to find their usual seats empty, and him sitting with another Slytherin at the back of the class. Since then they had both given up on their study sessions and had only spoken to each other if they had no other choice. He had always turned in the other direction whenever he spotted her in his path; no doubt he thought he was being subtle, but she noticed every time, her Scorpius radar always on alert.
It was more or less what she'd expected after realising it was all The Spell's fault, but it still hurt. And she missed him; she'd got used to sitting with him in classes and doing all their homework together, amongst other things. She had her other friends, and of course she enjoyed their company too, but she always felt like there was someone missing. She'd find something in a book or think of something funny, already planning how to phrase it in her head before she realised the only person that would appreciate it wasn't talking to her.
Over the summer holidays, she'd really noticed just how hard she was taking his absence from her day-to-day life. She noticed how she was thinking about him more and more, until it got to the point where she'd drift off in the middle of doing something, distracted by a memory. She didn't like to dwell too much on what this probably meant. She had at first, slightly panicked about the whole situation, but had given up trying when it started to ache. Hugo had teased her, thinking she was going through some kind of dippy teenage girl phase, and her dad had started frowning at her more, as if he was trying to figure something out. Her mum had tried to have chats, but she'd managed to gloss over the main issue every time, feeding her lines about stress over exams and sadness about her last year at Hogwarts (worries which were just as real, but probably not as prominent as they should be in comparison).
And she wanted to make up with him as soon as possible this year with their N.E.W.T.s coming up, because she knew they would be working extra hard, and she needed her study buddy. That's what she told herself anyway. However, the only way she could think of getting him to forgive her was to perform a memory charm on him. She doubted he could ever look her in the eye again otherwise, knowing she'd basically snogged his face off while he was drugged. That sounds very bad in that context.
She watched as the boy in question leaned over towards the window.
Scorpius breathed on the glass, leaving an area frosted with condensation. He drew two dots and an upside-down curve before the edges melted away to leave a few smudges, and sat back to admire his masterpiece.
He was suddenly aware of a strange choking sound coming from the seat opposite him, and he looked round in confusion. Nothing looked any different. He wondered whether it was something in his trunk in the luggage rack opposite. He got up and stood on his tiptoes to press his ear to the side of it, but it wasn't coming from there, it was coming from the seat he was leaning over.
Rose couldn't help but start snickering when she had seen what Scorpius had drawn on the window. She could tell that he could hear her when he started looking around the compartment, but her nerves meant she couldn't stop. She stuffed her fist in her mouth, but that just seemed to make it worse. He stood up and started straight in her direction, and she only just had time to throw her knees to the side before he would have walked right into them.
As he reached over her to press his right ear to the trunk above her head, his grey jumper rode up to uncover a section of very smooth-looking skin with a light trail of hair disappearing into his waist band - which just happened to be right at her eye level. She nearly choked on her own fist.
He stepped back at the rather violent snarfing sound this created, and ran his eyes over the seat again, alarmed. Alright, this wasn't going to last much longer anyway, she thought, and threw the cloak off her head.
"Arghh!" he yelled, before toppling over back into his seat, his arms curled into his chest like a frightened animal. She couldn't help but laugh completely as he gaped at her, petrified.
"S-sorry! The look on your f-f-face!" She could barely get her words out.
"Rose?" He had relaxed a bit when she had spoken, but his face was still a mask of shock. "What the hell?"
He just stared at her, not quite believing she was there. Where in Merlin's name had she come from? She couldn't have apparated; she seemed to have been covered by what he assumed to be an invisibility cloak; he realised it was still pooled around her waist, leaving her a floating torso.
"What are you doing here?" He was still more or less frozen in the position he had landed in, his heart pounding, "What?-How?-Stop laughing!" He had just been given the shock of his life, so he thought he should at least have a bit of sympathy. Her eyes shot to his when she noted his embarrassment and she calmed down enough to speak properly. There was still an enormous grin on her face though.
"Sorry, Scorpius…but it was pretty funny," he didn't say anything, "Oh, alright! I just thought I'd come and see you. Like I usually do on train journeys." She looked a bit sheepish and pulled the cloak from round her middle. She was already wearing her school robes, of course. Scorpius sat up straight, suddenly remembering the reason he was so glad to see her.
"Okay. Why the heart-attack though? And I assume that is the legendary Potter invisibility cloak…"
"Um, yes. I don't know why really…," She shrugged, then smiled again. "You looked like you needed a bit of company though." She indicated the window, "Drawing sad faces and staring off into the distance all morosely." She stuck her bottom lip out. Scorpius shuffled uncomfortably when she laughed.
"So what's so depressing?" He noticed her voice took on a different quality, as if she was trying too hard to keep it teasing. He looked up at her face slowly and met her eyes, wondering how to answer. Her cheeks turned pink.
The compartment door clattered open, admitting a skinny teenager with a mess of black hair on top. "Rose!" It exclaimed, spotting the cloak on the seat next to her, "I knew it was you!" He snatched it up, clutching it to his chest. "What're you doing nicking my stuff, eh?"
"Er, sorry, Albus."
Her cousin seemed to realise he had walked into a tense atmosphere, and his eyebrows twitched upwards when he noticed Scorpius. He looked between the two of them slowly, and smirked when this elicited a dark blush from Rose. "Well… don't do it again. At least not without asking first…" He stalked out of the room, slowly pulling the door closed behind him. He watched them through the glass for a couple of seconds, winked once, and then sped off.
Scorpius turned back to Rose to see she was scowling at the door. She pulled out her wand with a wave and after a couple of muttered incantations, he heard the lock click. He also heard a clatter and a surprised squeal from down the corridor. He gulped.
She put her wand away with a sniff. That would teach her meddling cousin to be such a smart arse. She took a deep breath and tucked her unruly hair behind her ears. Right, she decided, she was just going to get it over with.
"Look, Scorpius, I'm really sorry for kissing you. It was foolish and I realise it's made you uncomfortable, but I'm really hoping that we can just forget about it and still study together. Because I've missed you, and N.E.W.T.s are coming up, and- wait-" Oops, she wasn't going to say that she missed him; especially not in that order… She clamped her mouth shut and stared at her knees, but she couldn't take it back now. There was suddenly silence everywhere.
Scorpius just gaped at her. She was apologising to him? Had the world been confunded?
"Er, what?" Was his intelligent reply. No, wait, he could do better than that. He shook his head to clear it. "I mean: why are you apologising? I kissed you first. And I thought you hated me for breaking you and your boyfriend up?" That was slightly more coherent, well done Scorpius.
She looked up at him then, "What? I don't hate you! What gave you that idea?" There seemed to be a lot of confusion flying around the compartment. Scorpius could almost see it buffeting around their heads like bats.
"Well, you haven't spoken to me since that night, and you spent the whole weekend locked in your dormitory when Malcolm dumped you. Apparently." He quickly added.
"Malcolm didn't dump me!" She was frowning. "For your information it was of mutual consent that we split up." This news made Scorpius' stomach flip. "And I have spoken to you! I asked if you could pass me that Niffler in Care of Magical Creatures and you said 'okay' and did."
"Well that was hardly a conversation. And I thought you did that on purpose so it would nick my watch." Scorpius wasn't quite sure what direction this conversation was taking them in, but it made his stomach happy for some reason.
Her frown relaxed, "Well it is pretty ugly."
"It's a family heirloom! And I don't have another one…" He folded his arms over the offending item to hide it from sight.
"And you licked me."
His reply to that was perfectly reasonable: "Uh?" he said.
"You didn't kiss me first: you licked me. I kissed you."
Scorpius stared into her wide eyes. He seemed to be unable to move.
Oh Lord, had she really just said that? That sent her mind to the gutter rather more easily than she would have liked. Thoughts of tongues and bare skin… Okay, Rose, stop right there. She stared right back at Scorpius, whose expression was slowly changing from shock to… something else. Her breathing came shallower.
"I…mean…I meant…" She lowered her gaze to his lips and started remembering certain occurrences very vividly; namely how it had felt to be kissed by said lips. "Oh, just come here, would you," her voice wobbled and she hoped she didn't sound too desperate. Apparently, Scorpius didn't care, because he shot across the compartment to sit next to her.
"You're not wearing a tie," Scorpius heard vaguely, as he found himself licking his lips. And then there it was: her signature blush; that wonderful spread of pink across her freckled skin.
Rose saw his tongue dart out of his mouth and felt her face grow hot. This was the nearest she'd been to him in months, apart from in her memories, and the effect of having the real thing right in front of her after so long made her head spin. She would have expected this to make her feel pathetic, like a swooning schoolgirl, but her thoughts were a bit misty and she couldn't bring herself to be bothered.
"Rose. You know I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been hit with that spell?"
"Oh, yeah, I know…" That wasn't what she'd expected him to say. There was relative silence for a few moments.
Hang on, what did that mean? "Um…you mean…you didn't want to?" Well, that's what you call mixed signals.
He watched her mouth form each word slowly, as if she wasn't sure what they meant; there was an accompanying crease of confusion between her eyebrows. Replaying what she'd said a couple of seconds afterwards, Scorpius tried to concentrate through the warm fuzzy blanket that was currently enveloping his brain.
"Err…wha-…? That's not what I meant! I meant that I'm glad I did. Get hit with the spell, I mean. I mean, I never would have dared…had the courage to do it, or thought you'd have wanted me to, either, which I'm not saying you did, but, I mean I really want- did you?" The fuzzy little bubble he'd been in had popped half way through that befuddled speech and he was now meeting her utterly bewildered expression with his worried and more than slightly flustered one.
"Did you… like it?"
Her eyes widened. "Er, well, I would've thought the answer to that was pretty obvious."
"Oh…good. I wasn't sure whether that had been part of the spell's effects on my perception." He frowned for a split second at the unusual eloquence he'd just managed, but blinked it away. His heart seemed determined to beat right through his chest, and he was trying to ignore it.
There were another few moments of silence while the two of them steadied their breathing. Scorpius was trying to focus on a point somewhere beyond Rose's knee, which made him realise how very close to her he was sitting.
Probably too close… If I leaned forwards right now…
"Why have you been avoiding me then?" She asked him suddenly. He looked back to her face to find her eyes now concentrating on her own clasped hands. "You moved away from me in lessons, and don't think I didn't notice you sneaking off whenever you saw me coming in your direction."
Scorpius was surprised at how dejected she sounded. He realised he must have really hurt her. He watched the shadow of her eyelashes flicker on her cheeks. "I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd want to talk to me. And I was a bit scared of you." She looked up with narrowed eyes, but there was a smile tugging at her pursed lips.
"Oh? Scared I'd give you a live demonstration of a Howler for splitting me and Malcolm up?"
"Well, yes. Something like that. Actually, I'm surprised you haven't yet. What's stopping you?" He relaxed as soon as she did, and a joking smirk curved his lips.
"Nothing. Nothing at all." Her small smile turned devious. He became aware of movement on her lap, and looked down to see her wand twirling between slender fingers. He remembered the events of a few minutes before, and the smile wavered. He started suddenly at her peal of laughter; "Oh, don't be ridiculous, Scorpius! If I'm honest, I'm glad we broke up, our relationship was getting pretty boring. We'd been going out for over a year, for Godric's sake! And he didn't really change. He's the same as he was when he was fifteen. Just kind of…nice." She grimaced lightly, "I mean, don't get me wrong; I liked him, at first, and he was…nice, but…he wasn't you, I suppose." She shrugged and looked back at her knees, flushing red again.
Oh, thought Scorpius. A huge grin spread across his face; he was completely unable to help himself. "Oh." He said.
She looked at him, smirking. "Was that a suggestive tone of voice?" He just kept grinning. She breathed out shakily and jerked her head as if to say "c'mere". He leaned towards her quickly. "You don't have to look so pleased wi-mmph!" She was cut off with a squeak when he didn't stop to let her speak. Surprisingly, she didn't really care; she just let her eyes close and kissed him softly back.
An afternoon later, the couple stepped out onto Hogwarts platform. Rose was feeling rather buoyant, and didn't seem to be able to get rid of the goofy smile on her face. A fellow seventh year shuffled along nearby, looking frustrated about something. Rose watched him pass; thank Godric for Callum Rigby, she thought happily.
As her and Scorpius made their way towards the path to the carriages, they came across a rather large group of people who were all staring at their joined hands. Oh right, thought Rose. They stopped in front of them; "Hello," she didn't even need to fake a cheery tone, it seemed she was incapable of anything else.
Albus looked round at the rest of the assembled clan smugly; "What did I tell you?"
Well, there you go. Hope it wasn't a waste of your reading time ;]
Might be back with more fics at some point in the future, but who knows? BuckleMyShoe signing off for now. Buh-bye!