a/n-This is a sequel, of sorts, to my story A Divine Gift for the Winner, but only kind of. Because I said so. It was originally going to a one-shot, but morphed into something really insanely long all on it's own. Therefore, I apologize in advance if the chapter cut-off (at least in this one, anyway) seems a bit sudden; I just kept typing and it was getting too long, so the break had to happen somewhere. On the plus side, however, this means I'm well on my way to completing Chapter 2.
Rose Weasley enjoyed spending time in the solitude of the library. It was the one place, in all of Hogwarts, that she found most peaceful, above all the rest. The common room was nice, but it was usually a bit too rowdy for the sixteen-year-old's liking. The thrill of a Quidditch game was too distracting to focus on anything else. And the Astronomy Tower was actually pretty peaceful, but out-of-bounds outside of class.
Therefore it was to the serenity of the library that Rose usually took her mounds of schoolwork. It also helped that a majority of her (overly loud and therefore annoying and distracting) cousins seemed to avoid the library like the plague. Not that Rose didn't enjoy spending time with her multitude of cousins; they all just had their own, varied interests. And, more often than not, those interests disrupted Rose's homework time.
First there was Teddy Lupin, who wasn't technically Rose's cousin, but just as good as in her mind. Rose didn't really find fault with how Teddy spent his time, but that was most likely because they had never actually attended Hogwarts at the same time. In fact, other than snog her cousin Victoire, Rose wasn't really sure what Teddy did outside of his life as an Auror.
And speaking of Victoire, she was probably the only member of the extended Weasley clan (of cousins, at least) who Rose would never object to spending time with. As a Ravenclaw (the first Weasley to ever not be in Gryffindor, and not the last either) Victoire knew the value in doing her work promptly and efficiently. But Victoire was long-gone from Hogwarts as well. In fact, she was in the midst of planning her upcoming wedding to Teddy, which would take place this summer. Needless to say, Rose was more than a little happy to be cut off from one of her favorite cousins for the time being, no matter how much she regularly enjoyed her company.
Dominique and Molly, on the other hand, were nothing short of totally and completely obsessed with Quidditch. Rose loved them dearly, she really did, but she preferred a good book over a time-consuming and sweaty game of Quidditch. It was just as well, then, that they too had left Hogwarts, with the pair of them currently playing for the Holyhead Harpies and Puddlemere United respectively. (Rose was her father's daughter anyway, and a Chudley Cannons fan for life.)
Louis came next, as he was as close as close could be to Fred and James, albeit that he was a year their senior. Rose wasn't quite sure how they had managed to survive the past year without him, but she had an inkling that it had something to do with Lucy not being there anymore. As Head Girl, and even before, Lucy had watched their moves like a hawk, breathing down their necks every step of the way. Rose loved all of her cousins equally, but if asked point blank she would probably admit that Lucy was a bit too…intense for Rose's liking. She was just a bit too much like Uncle Percy in that regard. Not that she necessarily meant it in a negative way, but Rose was just a tad bit less than upset to see both Lucy and Louis leave Hogwarts. Even if it did, in a way, leave her with the task of keeping her older cousins in line.
Although they were at the end of their seventh year and drawing ever-closer towards N.E.W.T.'s, Fred and James would rather pull a prank than crack open a book in the library, no matter how upsetting the departure of a third of their trio the previous year had been. Roxanne, their fellow seventh year, helped Rose a bit with keeping the pair in line, though. Merlin help Fred and James if their Quidditch captain caught wind of the pair getting in any kind of trouble that could keep them away from training, never mind the fact that she was several months their junior. Rose enjoyed spending time with Roxanne, as they were the closest in age to the other and had quite a bit in common, but the older girl was more than a tad over-obsessed with Quidditch, as many Weasley's seemed to be.
Albus was the next closest in age to Rose and, as a result, the pair had been best friends practically since birth. Albus, however, was not a Gryffindor, and had of course made friends within his own house, just like Rose had. The pair spent a great deal of time together, but Albus always preferred Quidditch over homework (not that Rose was surprised in the least).
Lily and Hugo were the youngest members of the Weasley family and, as such, had been thrust together (much the same as Rose and Albus had been) at family gatherings, growing up. It was no great shock to Rose, then, that the duo was even closer than Louis, Fred, and James had even been. Not that Rose was complaining, mind you. She quite liked not spending all of her waking hours in her younger brother's presence, and could barely comprehend how Lily could stand it. And so willingly, too.
And that was where Scorpius Malfoy fit into everything. Scorpius Malfoy who wasn't her cousin at all, and whom she easily related best to. After a fashion.
Rose had met Scorpius on their very first trip on the Hogwarts Express, back in First Year. She had been rather indifferent towards him, even though her father had given her the challenge of beating him on every single exam they took. But Rose hadn't exactly understood why it was so important to do better in school than a complete stranger (Not that this meant she hadn't silently accepted the challenge immediately, of course).
Scorpius hadn't been a complete stranger for very long, though. Rose and Albus had gotten separated from the rest of their cousins while getting on the train, and had ended up in their own compartment. Scorpius had stumbled in just as the train began moving with a jerk, Rose and Albus' being the last semi-open compartment he could find. Everything was history from that point on.
Albus and Scorpius had become fast friends, partially at Rose's insistence on Albus' part so that she would have an excuse to keep track of Scorpius' grades. After being sorted into different houses, Rose hadn't seen very much of Scorpius outside of class (She had always wondered why Gryffindors and Slytherins seemed to have so many of their classes together). But Rose and Albus would always be the best of friends, no matter how many new people they each met. So, slowly, once they all got used to life at Hogwarts, Rose, Albus, and Scorpius all began spending more and more time together. And it was in this way that the true rivalry between Rose and Scorpius erupted.
The three of them began studying and doing their homework together in the library, as it was a neutral area for the Gryffindor and Slytherins to meet. This was partially how Rose had come to love the immense, book-filled room; it was the battleground upon which she and Scorpius fought, and from which Rose usually emerged victorious.
Now, Albus didn't slack off on his schoolwork like his older brother; he worked for his grades. Just not on the obsessive scale that Rose and Scorpius seemed to. And so, while Albus did work on his homework with the pair, he tended to abandon them after a while in favor of a variety of activities he found more enjoyable.
This particular day, or rather evening, at the end of May in their sixth year was no different.
Albus and Scorpius had met Rose in the library after dinner in their usual back corner of the library. It was their preferred location for studying because, as they had first discovered way back in first year, Madame Pince, the ancient librarian, rarely, if ever, patrolled this particular corner of the library. It was a well-lit location and as far away from the Restricted Section as a person could get while still remaining within the expansive, book-filled room.
The trio had been working in relative silence for near about an hour when Albus threw down his quill with a frustrated sigh.
"If I ever see another rune, ever again," he announced, "I'll scream."
Without looking up from his Transfiguration essay, Scorpius reached across the table, grabbed Albus' Ancient Runes textbook, and shoved it under his friend's face so the black-haired boy was forced to stare at the runes on the cover.
"I hate you, Malfoy." Albus stated, snatching the books from Scorpius' hand and putting back on that table.
"You still aren't screaming," Scorpius felt the need to point out, smirking at his parchment.
"Now Malfoy," Rose put in now, "Let's not make fun of my dear cousin for being unable to stick to his promises."
"Thanks for the support, Rosie." Albus said dryly.
"Rose." Rose corrected automatically. She looked up from the Potions essay she had been working on to smile cheekily at her cousin. "And it's not a problem at all; that's what family is for, after all."
"Well," Albus said slowly after a quick glance down at his watch, "As much as I positively adore spending all of this time with you, my wonderful family member, Rosie, I do believe I'll be going now." He began gathering all of various papers, quills, and books that were spread across the space in front of him. "I think I'll turn in early tonight."
"We all know you're going to spend some time with Longbottom because her father went home for the night, Al." Scorpius said, still speaking to his parchment as his quill scratched furiously against it. "No need to pretend otherwise."
"I feel as if the world is against me today." Albus said rather melodramatically as he stood up. "You two are supposed to be my best mates."
"Tell Alice we say 'hi.'" Rose instructed her cousin, turning back to her Potions book, a frown creasing her forehead as her eyes scanned the text. "Oh, and I have a feeling I'm going to be here for a while, so be sure to get her back to Gryffindor Tower before me, alright?"
"Yes, ma'am." Albus said, mock saluting her and throwing his school bag over his shoulder simultaneously. "See you later, Scorp. 'Night, Rose."
Scorpius waved vaguely at Albus, while Rose flipped through her book. Albus smiled slightly to himself and turned his back on them, making his way through the shelves as if he didn't have a care in the world. He finally exited the maze of towering bookshelves just as the aging Madame Pince was about to lock the door to the library. A severe frown appeared on her face when she caught sight of him.
"Mr. Potter," She began sharply, "The library closed ten minutes ago and I made sure everyone left. Why are you still in here?"
"Sorry, ma'am," Albus said demurely. "I lost track of time; I was finishing translating some runes."
"Don't let it happen again or I'll report you for being out after hours. Now get back to your dormitory." She said, narrowing her eyes at him suspiciously. "And you had better hope you put all of the books you used back in their proper places."
Albus quickened his pace and, once he had passed her, Madame Pince practically slammed the door on his heels.