"Potter, Albus!" Professor Longbottom called, giving a small smile and a wave to the nervous boy approaching the sorting hat.
Rose gave him a thumbs up before his eyes disappeared under the enormous old hat. She looks from side to side at the whispers and pointing fingers, at before focusing back on her cousin under the still silent Sorting Hat. She squeezes her eyes shut and crosses her fingers and a split second later the hat roars out "GRYFINNDOR!" and Albus is stumbling over to the house table in relief. James rumpled his hair in congratulations, while Victoire and Dominique placed kisses on both his cheeks, earning him glares from many older boys around the table.
She waits with a twisted stomach as the first-years trickle away to their new respective houses, and she's left standing alone in the middle of the great hall.
"Weasley, Rose!" Professor Longbottom called her forward amidst cheers and whoops from her cousins at the Gryffindor table.
The Sorting Hat hummed quietly in her ear, and said "You are quite a clever girl, Rose Weasley. You would do very well in RAVENCLAW!"
There was some polite clapping from the Ravenclaw table, but it was overshadowed by cries of surprise and outrage from the Gryffindors, which are quickly silenced under Professor McGonagall's glare. She swallowed down the lump in her throat and handed the Sorting Hat (stupid bloody thing) back to Neville, who pet her on the back sympathetically. She took her seat with the other Ravenclaws, who grabbed her hand and shook it, but more out of commiseration than delight.
The feast appeared on the table before them, and while the students around her launched into the food, Rose stared at her empty plate in disbelief. The blonde boy next to her offered a bowl of chicken drumsticks and asked if she was alright.
"Yes, yes, I suppose so," she shook her head and took the chicken. "I'm just shocked, is all. My whole family has been in Gryffindor for generations."
"Yeah, well, my family has been in Slytherin for ever," he replied, stuffing a whole drumstick in his mouth at once. "Yuh jus' godda lif wit it, I guesh."
She giggled at his puffy cheeks and a sudden weight was lifted off her chest, and she had two helpings of dessert. All too quickly the meal was over and everyone was marched to their respective common rooms. Rose made sure to stay by the side of her new friend, and wrinkled her nose in bewilderment at the James's frantic waving in her direction before he was whisked off to the portrait-hole with Albus and the rest of her family. She was led up to Ravenclaw tower by a snooty prefect who looked down her nose at Lysander Scamander as he approached the new students.
"Hey Rosie," he smiled dreamily at her. "Why aren't you in Gryffindor?"
The tight feeling in her throat overtook her senses again and she inhaled sharply, ready to cry. But a blonde head stepped into her line of vision defensively, grey eyes flashing.
"Because the Sorting Hat knows she belongs in Ravenclaw," he snapped. "It doesn't make mistakes."
"I know," Lysander replied nonchalantly. "I was just wondering why she belongs in Ravenclaw."
With a wistful gaze out of the window, he wandered away into his dormitory, leaving behind two completely baffled children.
"That's none of his business," the blonde boy scowled, turning to face her.
"No," Rose agreed. "But it's a valid question. I really do wonder why I'm here. The hat didn't really tell me, he just said I was clever."
"If you want, I can go with you to Professor McGonagall's office tomorrow and we can ask it!" he stepped forward eagerly, eyes shining.
"Can we do that?" she placed her hand over her mouth in apprehension. "I mean, are we allowed to ask it questions? What did it say to you?"
His face darkened and he took a step back, the upper half of his body disappearing into the shadows. "Nothing."
She tapped her chin thoughtfully, suppressing the urge to pry deeper. "I don't need to know. Like you said, the Hat doesn't make mistakes."
She couldn't see it, but a grin spread along his face. "Okay then. Good night, Rose."
"Wait!" she called after his retreating form. "You know my name, but I don't know yours!"
He laughs and points out the large window at the starry sky. "It's Scorpius. Like that constellation."
She goes to bed with an imprint of the stars on the back of her eyelids.
"And then the dragon would be all like RRAAARRRAAARGH and burn that snotty little goblin to a crisp!" Scorpius exclaimed, finishing his doodle with a flourish.
"You're weird," Rose chuckled, leaning over and watching the crudely drawn dragon chase it's nemesis around the page.
He gave her a funny look out of the corner of his eye and replied "Nah. I'm just not like most people."
She opened her mouth to say something else and divert the conversation, when a fourth-year Hufflepuff girl the next table over shushes them nastily.
"Geez, worse than the bleedin' librarian, that one," Scorpius sneered, offering out his hand and pulling Rose to her feet. "Come on, we're going to be late for Herbology anyway."
They sprinted down the stairs towards the greenhouses for second-year Herbology they had with the Gryffindors. Along the way they passed Sinead Finnigan, and together the three of them burst into greenhouse seven with a disapproving look from Professor Longbottom.
"Being this late is quite unacceptable, guys," Neville frowned at them. "Malfoy, Weasley, five points from Ravenclaw each. That goes for Gryffindor too, Miss Finnigan."
They each mumbled an apology, and Sinead took one of two spare seats at Albus's table. Albus waved Rose towards the empty chair next to him, and she gave an apologetic look to Scorpius as he went to sit with his dorm-mates.
"You could have saved a seat for him, too," she hissed at her cousin as she sat down.
"Big deal," Albus shrugged. "It's not as if you're not going to see him in every single other class you have today."
"That's not the point," Rose grumbles, slamming her textbook open to the page on Abyssinian Shrivelfigs. "You exclude him all the time, it's not nice."
"Well, maybe I don't think he's nice," he scowled at her. "If you remember, his dad once tried to kill our whole family."
"And if you remember, your dad saved his life even after all that!" she retorted. "He must have had some redeeming qualities that he passed down to his son. We're not our fathers, Al."
Albus cringed and Rose immediately felt guilty. She knew what the pressure to live up to her parents' name felt like. It must have been even harder for Albus, not only having to meet his famous father's standards, but his exceptionally talented older brother's. She started to apologize, but he cut her off.
"You're like your father, though," he gazed at her hopefully, "and I... I think I can be like mine."
"Actually, Hugo is more like Dad than me. Grandma says I'm most like Bill or the twins, but with better sense that to go getting myself in trouble," she giggled.
Albus tried forcing a smile, but she could tell he still felt hurt. She reached out and patted his hand. "Al, Harry Potter faced the most horrible things imaginable at our age, and all of it without a family. You'll never have to go through that. Your dad loves you the way he never was. You don't have to be like him. You're already better."
"Truer words were never said, Rose Weasley," Professor Longbottom's voice piped up behind them, and they both jumped. "But if you could just... have you even started pruning your Shrivelfig tree, or have you just been talking this whole time?"
Neither of them met his eye and he sighed. "Five points from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, respectively."
"Are you trying out for the Quidditch team again?" Rose sat down next to Scorpius in the common room as he was scribbling down his Divination homework.
"Oh yeah, because we all know how great that worked out last year," he rolled his eyes before squinting back at his horoscope chart.
She grimaced as she unwrapped a Chocolate Frog and shoved it in her mouth, remembering their disastrous try-outs the previous year. Despite their best efforts, the rainy conditions proved to be too much and Rose fell off her broom while Scorpius was knocked unconscious by a bludger.
"But it's going to be sunny tomorrow!" she exclaimed, a speck of melted chocolate flying from her mouth and hitting his parchment. "I know I can make it this time! Millie Corner just got captain, and I played loads over the summer, my Aunt Ginny gave me some great tips... what?"
He was glaring pointedly at the chocolate on his page, simultaneously giving her a disapproving frown before flicking it at her. "Don't you have some Ancient Runes to decipher?"
"Finished," she announced gleefully, taking another Chocolate Frog out of her pocket and lobbing it at his head. "Loosen up, Scorpius. At least try and come."
He rubbed the spot where the chocolate had smacked him in the side of the face, but couldn't hide the smile on his lips as he took a bite and turned over the packaging to see whose card he got, asking "Who's on your card?"
"Oh, what rubbish, it's Armando Dippet again, I swear I only ever get him. Wanna swap?" she flicked the card towards him with a wrinkled nose.
"I think you've probably got this one," Scorpius's voice went unnaturally quiet as he angled the card towards her to get a better look. "It's your dad."
The teenage face of Ronald Bilius Weasley grinned up at them, accompanied by his list of achievements and extensive details of his role in overthrowing Voldemort.
"Yeah, only a million of them! Dad collects them all himself, calls it his crowning moment of glory, the old duffer," she giggled and plucked it out of his grip, folding it up with the full intention of sending it to her father to add to the vast collection of his own Chocolate Frog cards.
"Do they ever talk about it?" his expression soured. "You know? The war?"
Rose went to tell him about how her mother would always scold Ron when he was telling hugely exaggerated parts of the legendary tale, but the look in her friend's eyes warned her against it.
"Not really," she lied. "You know, only where the history books went wrong."
"My dad said he would be dead if it wasn't for your parents and Harry Potter," Scorpius whispered. "He doesn't say much else about it. I think he feels guilty."
"Oh," she states blankly, unsure of what to say next.
"He never talks about anything, really," his face is drawn as he folds up his homework. "I tried asking him once, about why he was fighting for Tom Riddle, you know when Professor Binns set that essay over winter break last year?"
Rose silently nodded, unaware she was holding her breath.
"He just said that he was doing what he thought was right."
Her face reddened and she opened her mouth to protest, but he silenced her with a single piecing gaze from his pale grey eyes. "I know it wasn't right, and he knows it wasn't. But back then, for some reason, he thought it was. I don't know why, he wouldn't say, he probably never will. The only thing of importance he ever says to me is about reinforcing the fact that I need to make my own choices and decisions, and don't vilify other people for making different ones. That's it."
Maybe that's the most important lesson he learned, Rose thought to herself, but she didn't say it. Instead she brushed her hair off her face and leaned forward. "So are you choosing to come to Quidditch, then?"
Scorpius sighed and shook his head in bemusement. "Fine."
"That was not funny," Scorpius glowered at Rose as they darted behind a tapestry, him breathing heavily, her trying to stifle her laughter.
"Oh, come on," she chuckled. "Did you see their stupid faces?"
"You know this is all going to come back and bite me and not you?" he shoved her shoulder angrily. "You don't know what it's like!"
All traces of glee from her face were gone, and were replaced with confusion. "Everyone's been called names before, Scorpius. Those guys were just trying to psych you out before the game tomorrow."
"I know they were, Rose, but you didn't have to scare the living daylights out them! And they're going to think I was the one that did it!" he hissed.
"If they even dob us in at all," Rose crossed her arms in front of her chest. "They provoked you, and got what they deserved."
"If they don't tell the headmistress, Madam Pince will!" Scorpius cried. "It was absolute chaos in there! What were you thinking?"
Resentment rose in her throat, finding it unbelievable that he would chastise her for defending him from a couple of Slytherin seventh-year boys who had teased him in the library. They had called him a traitor and a weakling, amongst some other choice names, in lieu of the Ravenclaw versus Slytherin Quidditch match the following day. Incensed, Rose had taken some books from the restricted section and levitated them into their pile of N.E.W.T. textbooks without being noticed. As they opened them and began to study, the books started howling, screaming and physically attacking the Slytherin boys, and satisfied that sufficient retribution had been served, Rose grabbed Scorpius and they fled.
"I was trying to stick up for you, seeing as you were incapable of doing it yourself!" she retorted.
"You don't get it, do you?" Scorpius sighed, running a hand through his platinum hair. "I don't need you to cause trouble for me. My name already does enough of that."
"Would you stop banging on about your twisted heritage? I keep on telling you it doesn't matter!" she shrieked.
"But it does matter!" he yelled at her. "It's who I am! But I don't expect you to understand. You're pretty and popular and your parents are legends! You don't know what it feels like to be hated before you've even set foot inside the castle!"
He pushed past her and back out into the corridor, where a small crowd of young Hufflepuffs had stopped to eavesdrop on the commotion. "Piss off!" he roared, scattering them.
"I'm not apologizing for trying to help you!" Rose shouted after him as he stormed away.
She didn't hear his mumbled reply as she rounded the corner; and a good thing too, otherwise she might have hexed him into oblivion.
Time that Rose usually spent with Scorpius, apart from Quidditch practice, was instead filled with furiously helping the girls in her dorm with as much of their homework as she could manage, and when she became bored with textbooks and parchment, she took to accompanying James and Louis to Hogsmeade, Hugo and Lily to every meal, and Albus to tea down at Hagrid's hut. While her almost constant presence delighted her brother and cousins, they soon discovered that her foul temperament would often overshadow their own moods.
This came to a head at Hagrid's one spring afternoon, after Albus delightedly announced that he was being considered for Prefect next year, and all Rose offered was a ambiguous grunt. Hagrid looked to Albus for an explanation for her behaviour, but he just rolled his eyes and slumped back in his armchair next to Chomper, Hagrid's boarhound he got after Fang passed away, who proceeded to drool all over his knee.
"Wassamatter, Rosie?" Hagrid asked kindly, pushing a cup of tea towards her.
"Nothing," she scowled.
"She had a fight with her boyfriend," Albus interjected, taking a bite of his rock cake.
"He's NOT my boyfriend," Rose's filthy glare moved from the fraying carpet to her cousin.
"Tha' Malfoy kid?" Hagrid stated blankly, torn between the love he felt for Harry's niece and the hatred he felt for the pure-blood family that once sought to destroy him.
"Yes, but he's not my boyfriend, he's just my friend, and some Slytherin's were bullying him last week, but when I tried to stand up for him he got angry with me!" she exclaimed, completely scandalized. "And he didn't even say thank you!"
Hagrid glanced to a bored-looking Albus again, trying to gauge the depth of the situation. "Y'know, yer mum once went for a month withou' talking to Harry or yer dad, around yer age."
"What? Why?" she gasped, leaning forward to hear the story.
"Blimey, Rosie, it was so long ago, I don' remember, somthin' t'do with a broomstick. But she was so angry 'cause she loved 'em so much, see?"
"I don't love Scorpius," she protested loudly to deaf ears.
"Yer more stubborn than both yer parents together," Hagrid shook his head. "The poin' is, you oughta explain to 'im tha' yer jus' tryin' t'be 'is friend."
"There must have been a reason he got so mad, Rose," Albus piped up, figuring that the sooner Rose made up with Scorpius, the sooner her crabby companionship would simmer down. "I mean, I've played against him in Quidditch, and he's a scarily calm guy. You must have really ticked him off."
"They were making fun of his name," she whispered, picking at a hangnail on her thumb. "Of his family. He said I didn't understand what that felt like."
Hagrid felt a rush of sympathy for the boy, understanding what it was like to face such prejudice because of who you are and where you come from. "Well, y'don', really, yer pretty, 'n popular.."
"He said that too," she huffed, standing suddenly. "And he's right. I don't know what it's like. Thanks for tea, Hagrid. See you later."
"Girls," Albus scoffed as Rose flounced out of the cabin. "They hate being proven wrong."
"This is it," Rose shifted nervously from foot to foot.
Scorpius reached out and took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles soothingly. She was distracted by the intimacy for a split second before reality set back in, and she swallowed nervously as he adjusted his Quidditch captain badge on his robes.
"It's just another game, Rose," he squeezed her fingers in encouragement before letting go to pick up his broomstick.
"Except that it's the final," she forced a smile. "It's the first time we've made it since being on the team."
"The only reason we didn't make it last year is because you were in such a strop with me," Scorpius smirked.
"I was not in a strop," Rose scowled, punching him in the shoulder. "Maybe if you weren't such a tosser, you would have caught the snitch before Albus."
"You hit a bludger at me! What kind of bloody useless Keeper are you?" he laughed at her reddening face and deepening frown. "Come on, let's go win a Quidditch cup that you can rub in James's face all summer, instead of the other way around."
Her face lightened immediately at the thought. "That would be brilliant! Everyone would love to watch him squirm, even Albus got sick of him harping on about it last year, and he's on the team."
She suddenly giggled at an obscure thought. "Dad would tell everyone at the wedding just so they knew who to congratulate."
"But... wasn't your dad in Gryffindor?" Scorpius's face puckered in confusion. "Wouldn't he want them to win?"
"Maybe, if Hugo wasn't such a great lump and made the Gryffindor team," Rose shrugged, picking at some chipped varnish in her broom handle. "But seeing as I'm his only child who plays Quidditch, he supports me and my team. He didn't even stop going for the Chudley Cannons after his own sister joined the Holyhead Harpies, so I guess he must be really proud of me."
"Anyone would be proud of you, Rose," he took a step forward, his grey eyes locking on to her brown ones. "You're wonderful."
There is a beat of silence, and Rose's stomach took it as an opportunity to unceremoniously growl. Scorpius laughed as she blushed, and as she looked up defiantly to say that it wasn't funny, he cupped her cheek in his hand.
"I promise that I will win this game for you, so that your Dad can tell everyone at the wedding about how his wonderful Ravenclaw daughter can slaughter her Gryffindor family on the Quidditch pitch, and you can watch James Potter have a taste his own medicine," he whispered in a thick voice, and her angry words were lost.
She could feel his warm breath that smelt of spearmint toothpaste against her face, and her eyes fluttered closed as if it could freeze the moment in time.
"Oi! Are you two quite finished? In case you haven't realised, the Quidditch grand final is about to start and we're missing our Keeper and Seeker!" Rebecca Davies's voice cut across the changing room, and they both whirled around to see her roll her eyes and nod towards the stadium entrance, the echoes of loud cheers wafting through the door.
"Sorry," Scorpius coughed, tightening his grip in his broom and starting towards her, before she stormed off muttering about how her father was Ravenclaw captain for years, years, and of course McGonagall gives the captaincy to a useless, unfocused git just so Gryffindor would be guaranteed another win.
"Hey," Rose called softly as he was about to leave. "Come with me."
"Um," he frowned at her, bewildered. "Aren't you coming with me? We're both going towards the pitch anyway..."
"No, no, not that," she shook her head and swallowed as she joined him and they began to walk towards the rest of the team, waiting to enter the biggest game of the year. "I mean, you should come to the wedding. Teddy and Victoire said that if I wanted to, you know, I could bring, uh, a, um... date."
His eyes widened and he stopped dead in his tracks, earning another sneer from Rebecca Davies.
"You want me to go as your date?" he hissed, so that the rest of the team wouldn't hear the panic in his voice. "To a family event, where your whole family will be there? Your whole family who hates me?"
"Scorpius, they don't hate you!" Rose exclaimed as the drapes were pulled back, revealing the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, but her indignation was drowned out by the whoops of the crowd. "They don't know you like I do. Please come so they can see you're nothing like they think you are."
She reached out to take his hand, but he jerked it away as James Potter, the Gryffindor Quidditch captain, made a rude gesture in his direction. "And what, exactly, do they think I am?"
She didn't have time to answer, as Madam Hooch blew the whistle, and in that moment, the snitch was released. Scorpius shot off the ground before Rose could splutter out a response, and it was only with an outraged scream and a kick from Rebecca Davies did she race to her position between the hoops just in time to save a nicely aimed goal from Olivia Wood.
The game raged on, with a few close calls where both Scorpius and Albus nearly caught the snitch, only to have it disappear from under their noses. A bludger grazed against Rose's knee as she dived for a save, and she winced in pain as she lost her focus and the quaffle soared through the hoop. James zoomed past her, cackling, Beater's bat in hand and not looking the least bit sorry.
"Are you okay?" Scorpius called out from where he was circling above her.
She looked up and gave him a thankful smile, just as she heard a slight buzzing next to her left ear. His face went from concerned, to relieved, to excited in a single second, and he roared 'MOVE!" at her as he dove towards the snitch, which was darting around her ponytail. She veered upwards sharply, to Sinead Finnigan's surprise, who promptly let go of her Beater's bat mid-swing, sending it crashing into Albus as he attempted to chase after Scorpius.
Albus cried out in pain and nearly tumbled off his broom, but Scorpius grabbed the back of his robes and hoisted him back up, before continuing after the snitch.
"Foul!" screamed James. "Madam Hooch, did you see that? He tried to pull my brother off his broom!"
The snitch took a hairpin turn and headed back in the previous direction. Scorpius looped after it, and started racing towards Albus at an alarming speed. Albus's eyes widened in fear before the snitch flitted past him, and he sluggishly turned his broom with one hand, the other most likely broken from Sinead's rogue Beater's bat. He leant down to pursue the snitch, but swerved right into Scorpius, accidently locking their broom handles together.
"What are you doing? Get off!" Scorpius snarled, trying to shake free.
"I didn't mean to!" Albus shouted back, trying desperately not to fall off the shuddering broom.
All eyes were now on the two Seekers, who appeared to be trying to catch the snitch while stuck together. They whizzed around the pitch, keeping one eye on the tiny golden ball, while trying to separate their brooms from each other. There was a lot of elbowing and shoving, all of which was Scorpius's fault, according to James's outraged shrieking as he demanded penalties for Gryffindor.
Scorpius reached towards the snitch with one hand, but Albus smacked it away just as it plummeted towards the ground. Both boys angled their brooms downwards, and together they plunged after it. Albus inched up his broom, and tried to grab the snitch with his broken hand as the wind whipped at his eyes, and Scorpius batted it away as he competed for the catch. Albus groaned in agony, and in the moment Scorpius swung his broom up to avoid crashing into the ground, the handles broke apart, and a disoriented Albus slammed into the earth as Scorpius's fingers closed around the golden snitch.
The crowd went crazy, but he didn't hear any of it. He dismounted his broom and ran towards Rose as the commentator announced that Ravenclaw had won, 190 points to Gryffindor's 80 points. She was cheering along with the rest of the team, and threw her arms around him as the rest of them landed their brooms. She pushed the sweaty strands of blonde hair off of his forehead as he pressed the snitch into her palm.
"This is for you," he whispered. "It's all for you."
He pressed his lips against hers for a fraction of a second, before he was being wrenched away from her by the hood of his robe and being thrown to the ground.
"Get away from her, you filthy cheat!" James spat, as Scorpius scrambled to his feet and shoved his attacker in the chest.
"Stop!" Rose cried, throwing herself between her friend and her furious cousin, who was being restrained by all three Gryffindor seekers. "James, stop being such a sore loser!"
"Typical Malfoy," James struggled against his teammates, mustering up the most amount of venom he could inject into his voice. "You really don't have any honor, do you?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Scorpius took a threatening step forward, only to be stopped by Rose's hand on his chest.
"Don't," she hissed, but it was unclear which boy she was talking to. "Just leave it."
"No!" Scorpius growled. "I want to know what the prodigal son of Harry Potter thinks about what it means to be a Malfoy."
"I'm just saying, it's no coincidence that you're the one who was using dirty tactics that sent my brother to the hospital wing. Being a sneaky bastard must run in the family," James jeered.
"You don't know anything about my family!" Scorpius roared, and both Ravenclaw Beaters took hold of his arms. "I would have thought that your father would have taught you not to believe everything you read!"
James erupted in slightly hysterical laughter. "Who said anything about reading? My whole family can tell you about the war from back to front," he nodded towards Rose, ignoring the frantic shaking of her head. "We've only heard the stories from our parents about a million times. We know what your family was. They were evil, they were cowards, ad they were murderers! Why should you be any different?"
Scorpius's face darkened and he took a step backwards, glancing at Rose reproachfully. "I guess you're right. You clearly know everything about me. Why should I be different, indeed."
He pushed the Beaters off him and stomped back towards the castle, throwing off congratulatory praise as he struggled through the crowd.
"Oh James, how could you?" Rose's turned on him angrily, tears spilling down her cheeks. "I've spent every year since we arrived trying to convince him he's not like them! Why were you so horrible? You don't even know him!"
"Know him?" James exclaimed, animatedly pointing towards where Neville and Madam Pomfrey were loading Albus onto a floating stretcher as Hugo and Lily worriedly looked on. "Look at what he did to Al! Tell me how I was wrong!"
"It was Al's fault, you twit!" Rose smacked him in the face, and suddenly everything went dead quiet, as everyone froze to watch the two fighting cousins. "Scorpius never did anything to you! Just because you carry a family name doesn't mean you have to follow in their footsteps. Look at me! I'm a Weasley who isn't in Gryffindor! But it's who I am, and I'm proud of it!"
"But that wasn't your choice!" James argued feebly. "The Sorting Hat..."
"Could have changed its mind," she finished his sentence defiantly. "But I didn't ask it to. Choices make us who we are, James. I learnt that from your dad. And I don't think he would have been proud of the choices that you made today."
With a last glowering look, she turned on her heel and stalked away.
She stepped inside Ravenclaw Tower and was immediately met with cheers and a cold bottle of Butterbeer, but her attention was immediately drawn to a sour-faced Scorpius who was curled up on a sofa, ignoring the celebrations around him. Rose sidled over to him as Rebecca Davies entered the common room with the Quidditch Cup, he reluctantly allowed her to lead him back out onto the stairs amidst the distraction.
"What are you doing?" Scorpius frowned, crossing his arms over his chest as she led him into an empty classroom. "Are you sure you want to fraternize with an evil, cowardly murderer?"
"Shut up," Rose scolded. "You know that's not true."
"How would you know?" he snapped. "Every time I try to talk to you about my family, you clam up and change the subject. You only know just as much as your stupid cousin."
"I don't..." she protested, but he cut her off with a withering glare.
"Yes, you do, Rose! What don't you want to talk about? Is it the fact that my family were awful? Or that yours are perfect? You don't want me to feel inadequate next to a great Weasley?"
"My family is not perfect!" she retorted. "Look at James, he just proved that. And this isn't about our families! I just..."
Scorpius shook his hard pityingly, like she was a little girl who still believed in Santa Claus. "This was always going to be about our families. Ever since I... ever since we became friends, it was always going to be about our families. Why do you think we never visit each other over the holidays?"
"Well, we live very far away from each other, a-and we write letters and everything. I suppose, uh, you could have come if we had managed to sort out the right t-time..." she stuttered.
"You're much too clever to play dumb, Rose," he shrugged. "It's because your parents would alienate me because they knew what kind of a man my father was. And my parents would have been ashamed to be around you because they knew what kind of a man my father was. Having a Weasley in his house would remind him of that every second."
She looked at the ground, unsure of what to say, just like every time he tried to talk about his home life. She tried to find the words but they never came. But today, she was determined to say something.
"Maybe if you talked to him," she began, but was distracted by his wry smile.
"Yeah right," he scoffed. "He never talks about it. Ever. He never will. Just like your family, right?"
A years old lie had popped back into the conversation, threatening to deteriorate it. "They don't talk about it much," she mutters weakly.
"Not according to James," Scorpius pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. "Back to front, huh? Must be great to hear about the great things your parents have done all the time."
"Please don't do this," Rose pleads desperately, taking a step forward and taking his hand lightly, wishing they could go back to that moment on the Quidditch pitch before James ruined everything. "Scorpius, you can't believe what he said, he doesn't know you at all."
"He doesn't know me like you do?" Scorpius jerked on her hand and pulled her closer, her chest pressed against his ribcage.
She shook her head, closed her eyes and leaned in, but where she thought his lips would be was only empty air. She knotted her eyebrows quizzically, and opened her eyes to meet his.
"And who am I, Rose?" he whispered, half challenging, half desperate.
"Scorpius Malfoy," she replied simply, releasing his hand and lacing her fingers behind his neck.
"And do you know what a Malfoy is?" He reached up and removed her hands from him, letting them drop to her side.
"No, I don't, but I know who you are, Scorpius. You're my best friend. You're wonderful," she reached towards him again, but he shook his head and took a step backwards.
"No. I'm Scorpius Malfoy, and you don't know as much about me as I thought you did," he kept walking backwards until he was in the corridor. "And it's because you didn't want to know. So you also don't care as much about me as I thought you did."
"Don't go," Rose swallowed the lump in her throat and raised an empty hand towards him. "Please stay. I do care. I want to know."
"Then know this," he whispered. "I don't hate my family. And for all his faults, my father stood up for what he believed in. I'm not like him, but I'm not like you either. I'm a Malfoy. You're a Weasley. And that's never going to change."
"Maybe she's Imperised," Ron Weasley murmured to Harry Potter as they watched Rose sit with her arms across her chest at the children's table at the Lupin-Weasley wedding.
"Don't be daft," Ginny cut in, rolling her eyes. "Who would want to put the Imperius curse on your daughter?"
Ever since James had gotten off the Hogwarts Express with a very nasty Jelly-Legs jinx and refused to tell anyone who did it, and Rose had joined him in stony silence, their parents had wondered what had gotten into the two cousins who were usually so close. They had heard about an argument at the end of the Quidditch final, but the Weasley and Potter children remained tight-lipped about the source. And until today, Rose had refused to be in the same room as James, who looked mortified every time they made eye contact.
"Right well, have you got a better idea?" Ron mimicked his sister's condescending tone. "No. She can't be worrying about her O.W.L. results like you said, because she got 12 Outstandings when the results came last week. And no daughter of Hermione's would ever be worried about being a Prefect, she'll be brilliant."
"We know, we know," Ginny and Harry groaned at the same time.
Between boasting about his daughter's Prefect badge, 12 O.W.L.s and her Quidditch cup win, Ron barely had any time to breathe. But he couldn't understand her apathy to all her achievements. Every smile seemed forced, every sigh was accompanied with an eye roll, and every owl she sent away came back with the letter unopened. Her mother insisted it was an adolescent phase, but it seemed to be affecting not only Rose and James, but their siblings too, as if they were unsure of which side to join. Needless to say, it had been a long summer.
"She won't even look at him!" Hermione chewed her fingernails worriedly as James went to sit next to Rose, and she promptly got up and moved to the next table.
Molly Weasley also noticed this unpleasant exchange, and sat down in the empty chair next to her granddaughter. "Why are you so upset with James, sweetheart? I've seen too many families torn apart through fear and mistrust. Please don't let it happen to this one. We're at your cousin's wedding, for goodness sake."
"I don't fear or mistrust James," Rose huffed. "I just don't want to be around him because he's a right bloody prick."
Ron sat down on her other side, and took up where his mother left off, patting her arm. "Cheer up, Rosie. I know he shouldn't take out his Quidditch failings on you, but nothing he could have done would be worth all this. We're family, after all. Weasleys stick together."
Rose stood up furiously, wrenching her arm away from her father. "Well then, maybe I don't want to be a Weasley!" she hissed.
She blew her hair off her hot face and blustered out of the tent in front of Shell Cottage, setting off towards the beach. Kicking off her shoes, she dug her toes into the sand, and gathering her dress up into her arms, she began to run.
She kept running from questions from her family for two more weeks, until she boarded the Hogwarts Express on the first of September. She leaned in to give her father a kiss goodbye, and whispered an apology in his ear. She sensed he was quite put out since her outburst at the wedding, and as he embraced her in a forgiving hug and kissed her on top of the head, she suddenly tensed at the sound of Albus's voice.
"Hello, Scorpius!" he said brightly, overwhelmed with the excitement of going back to school accompanied with a sugar rush from eating a whole block of chocolate.
Rose pulled away from Ron, and her pained expression did not escape him. They both turned to see the blonde boy staring at Albus with wide eyes and his mouth slightly agape. "Hi."
"Have a good summer?" Albus continued to force conversation, despite the uncomfortable atmosphere. Rose couldn't take her eyes off of Scorpius, and this fact did not escape Ron's attention.
Scorpius's gaze travelled to where she was standing, looking about ready to cry, and up to Ron's eyes that had narrowed in suspicion. "Not really," he deadpanned, stalking off.
Albus turned to Rose apologetically. "Sorry, Rosie. I tried."
"I don't know what you're talking about," she flicked her bangs out of her eyes, and fidgeted with the straps of her backpack, avoiding his eyes.
Albus looked up to Ron, whose red ears suggested than he needed some sort of explanation. "Rose, it's okay if you want to be friends with Scorpius. We don't mind. James and I."
"Oh, thank you so much for your permission," she quipped sarcastically.
"Alright, what on Earth is going on?" Ron demanded, looking between Rose and Albus. Hermione was fussing over Hugo down the platform, and with Lily and James already on the train, Harry and Ginny had taken a seat further away. "What did that Malfoy kid do to you, Rose?"
"He didn't do anything to me!" Rose exclaimed furiously, her cheeks turning the famous shade of Weasley pink. "Why don't you ask James what he did to Scorpius if you're all so determined to be worried about someone? And for your information," she turned on Albus "I don't care if you're 'okay' with me being friends with him. I never cared. And he never cared about what you thought either, until James made him think being my friend was some sort of awful crime."
She tossed her hair over her shoulder and went to say goodbye to her mother, leaving behind a subdued Albus and an extremely confused Ron in her wake.
"Please enlighten me," Ron looked at Albus in bafflement. "This isn't just about the Quidditch Cup, is it?
Albus gulped, and looked at the ground. "No. Olivia Wood told me that she had to physically restrain James from hitting Scorpius because he kissed Rose right when they won the Cup but then James pushed him over and basically called him a Death Eater and then Scorpius got mad at Rose for not telling him what her family thought of him and then totally rejected her and broke her heart. So the story goes."
"And no one bothered to mention this to us?" Ron replied weakly, running his hand through his hair.
"No one knew which side to take. James was wrong, but he's family. Scorpius is just some guy Rose likes," Albus shrugged, sprinting towards the train as it whistled before departing.
Rose couldn't find Scorpius in the Prefects carriage, or anywhere else on the train. Irritated he had shirked his duties in an effort to evade her, she immediately gave four boys in Hugo's year detention for illegally possessed Weasley Wizard Wheezes products in the first five minutes of patrolling the train, much to their amazement and protests of her name even being on the contraband items.
She only laid eyes on him as he was ushering the new first years into the Entrance Hall, ready to meet Neville and be sorted. He noticed her gaze and instantly disappeared into the crowd flowing into Hogwarts. She chased after him into the Great Hall, spotting him sloping along behind a group of Hufflepuff third years.
"You can't avoid me forever," she whispered to Scorpius as they both finally took their seats at the Ravenclaw table a short while later.
He turned and met her eyes in a cold stare. "Just like you're father couldn't avoid glaring at me?"
"He glares at any boy who looks at me for longer than three seconds," she covered her twitching lips with her hand, and a flicker of amusement crossed Scorpius's face. She uses the opportunity to pounce on the question that had been bothering her all summer. "Why didn't you reply to my letters?"
His mouth turned downwards. "I didn't have anything to say."
"Liar," Rose raised one eyebrow. "You're a terrible liar, don't think I haven't noticed."
"Just leave it, okay?" he groaned, as the room hushed while the Sorting began.
The didn't speak the entire feast, and as they lead the rest of the house up to Ravenclaw tower, they each kept catching the other trying to sneak furtive glances they out of the corner of their eyes without being noticed. Needless to say, they both failed miserably. As Scorpius turned towards his dormitory, Rose grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him to an isolated corner.
"I can't do this," she choked out, willing herself not to cry. "I can't pretend like nothing happened between us. And I need to know if you feel the same way about me as I do about you."
"What does it matter?" he frowned, shaking her off.
"It matters for everything!" Rose exploded, lowering her voice as she drew the attention of some Ravenclaws still scattered about the common room. "All this summer I have been completely miserable without you! I know our families have their differences, but we don't. You're perfect to me Scorpius, you always have been. And if my family loves me like I think they do, they just want me to be happy. And you make me so, so happy."
She covered her face in her hands, unable to say anymore, and with that, she turned on her heel and sprinted up to her dorm, sprawling herself out on her bed. She didn't even bother changing into her pyjamas before she fell asleep, with sticky trails of old tears glistening on her cheeks.
She awoke in the dark a short while later, from a strange dream in which she through someone was repeatedly whispering her name. But now she was awake, the dream still hadn't ended and there was a soft voice calling her from the wide window of her dormitory. She scrambled out of bed and shucked her robes, before pulling out her wand and approaching the window cautiously. She unlatched the glass panes, and climbed out onto the balcony below.
"Lumos," she whispered once she was outside. The end of her wand illuminated the dark night, but all she could see was stone and vines. "Who's there."
Suddenly, a levitating head popped up over the balustrade, and she squeaked and stumbled backwards.
"Shh!" he cautioned, disappearing out of sight again.
"Scorpius!" she hissed, running to the balustrade and looking down. "What in the name of Merlin do you think you're doing? Are you insane? You get yourself killed! Or expelled!"
"Priorities in order, I see," he smirked teasingly, rising up on his broomstick until he reached her eye level. "I had to see you."
"Why?" her heart started to beat faster in a mixture of suspicion and excitement. "It couldn't wait until morning?"
Scorpius shook his head. "I couldn't stop thinking about what you said. And if I had ever made you feel sad, or lonely, I'm so sorry. I never meant for you to get hurt. All I want is for you to have everything. But I can't give you that. I don't think I can ever be enough."
"You are enough," her stomach soared. "There's never been anyone else but you, Scorpius. How could you not know that?"
"I think I did, or at least I hoped," he inched his broomstick closer to the balcony. "But I wouldn't allow myself to dream, because I knew it would be impossible for us to ever be together. But you just take over my heart and my mind every time I'm with you, I can't fight it. I don't want to fight it anymore. I've thought about it a lot, Rose, and I can't help that I'm in love with you, so I've decided that..."
He never got to finish that sentence, because Rose had launched herself over the carved stone barricade and thrown her arms around his neck, kissing him forcefully. It took all his effort to keep the broom steady while responding with just as much enthusiasm.
"I'm going to fail," Rose hyperventilated over her Potions notes. "I'll never make a passable Veritaserum."
"Don't be silly," Scorpius reached across the library table, picked up her hand and brushed his lips across her knuckles. "You're Head Girl. You're the cleverest witch in our year. Will you please stop fussing over your N.E.W.T.S. and at least enjoy the Christmas holidays?"
Rose had elected to stay at Hogwarts over Christmas, stating that she had far too much work to do to be constantly sidetracked by the insanely large, incorrigible Weasley/Potter clan, despite Albus's insistence that she still had the Easter holidays before her final exams, but she wouldn't budge. Scorpius had stayed behind with her, despite her protests, saying that his family holiday get-togethers were never all that much fun anyway.
"But how am I meant to study while you're always distracting me with your damn googly eyes and silly little smile?" she pouted.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, as the couple walked into the Great Hall hand in hand, only to find Scorpius's barn owl Soren waiting for them, clucking at some cereal.
"Stupid owl," Scorpius rolled his eyes as his delighted pet hopped onto his shoulder to be fed some bacon. "You're meant to bring me my presents tomorrow."
"He's got a letter," Rose pointed to the parchment tied around Soren's leg, sealed with the recognisable Malfoy family crest.
Scorpius opened it, and a number of unreadable expressions crossed his face at once, and Soren nibbled his ear affectionately before taking to the sky.
"It's from my mother," he murmurs.
"Does she know she's a day early? I know you said she smothers you, but this is ridiculous," Rose chuckles at her own joke before helping herself to some waffles.
"Actually, she's right on time," he looks up and meets her eyes, and her smile falters. "She wants me to have dinner with my family tonight."
Rose's face falls. "But you told her you wanted to spend Christmas with me. Right?"
"Right," he chews on the inside of his cheek with apprehension. "That's why you're invited too. We can apparate out of Hogsmeade at six, if you like."
She knew she was being put on the spot. She had declined to spend Christmas with her own family, so how could she say yes to people she had never even met? Scorpius had come to stay with her over the past summer, much to Ron's chagrin, but to her delight she found that they got along quite well with her parents once they found out Scorpius was the top of his Muggle Studies and Care of Magical Creatures classes, and Ron especially enjoyed his accurate imitations of Professors Binns and Trelawney.
But the Malfoy family was different. Scorpius hardly talked about them, so she had no idea what they might make of her showing up and intruding on their festive meal. But they were his family, his blood, and if she cared about him at all, then she was determined to care about them.
"Okay," she nodded, and he visibly relaxed. "What should I wear?"
It was snowing at Hogsmeade, but not at the Malfoy mansion, and Scorpius had his fingers tangled in Rose's hair as he brushed some frozen flakes out when Astoria Malfoy opened the front door.
"Oh, my precious boy!" she gushed, engulfing him in a hug and kissing his face repeatedly. "And hello to you too, Rose dear."
After two wet kisses had been planted on her cheeks and their snowy jackets had been shrugged off, Rose took Scorpius's hand as they were lead towards the dining room.
"Ah, Scorpius, my dear boy," Draco Malfoy stood up from the head of the table and embraced his son, before glancing at Rose.
"It's lovely to meet you, Mister Malfoy," she stepped forward boldly. "I'm Rose Weasley."
"Yes, I thought so," Draco reached out and shook her hand with a hint of a smile. "You have far too many freckles to belong to any other family."
Rose couldn't tell whether she had just been complimented or insulted, so she merely smiled, nodded, and sat down next to Scorpius, who immediately laid his hand on her thigh and gave it an encouraging squeeze.
The broad emptiness of the mansion's dining room, however brightly lit, made Rose feel isolated. It was so different to the crowded, noisy, rambunctious festivities that she was used to. In comparison, the dinner she was now eating seemed awfully desolate. Astoria was more preoccupied with quizzing Scorpius on his N.E.W.T. preparations than on her cooling turkey, and when he mentioned Rose's extra Arithmancy subject, Draco raised his eyebrows in surprise and turned to her.
"That's a quite difficult task you've set yourself, Miss Weasley," he stated bluntly, stroking his chin. "Not that I'm surprised, your mother was always very smart as well."
Inexplicable annoyance bubbled up in her stomach, but she steeled herself to answer politely. "Thank you, sir, but I like to take credit for my own achievements. Sometimes I wish that people would stop comparing me to my parents."
A stunned silence overcame the table. Astoria suddenly became very interested in her peas, while the Scorpius and Draco reflected mirror images of shock.
"Not that I don't love my parents," Rose quickly clarified. "But they were at Hogwarts over twenty-five years ago. They were kids then. They're adults now. But it seems like all anyone can see when they look at me is my father's looks and my mother's brains. They don't see me. My parents are famous, and nobody bothers to get to know me, because they already think they know me, through Ron and Hermione Weasley. But I'm not them. I'm just me, trying to be the best I can be."
Scorpius sensed that she wasn't just talking about herself anymore, and his hand shot out and knotted with her fingers in thanks. She sent him a soft smile as both Malfoys' turned to stare at their son, who had gone a light shade of pink. Rose turned back to address Draco again.
"Please pass the cranberry sauce."
Dinner finished with well-mannered but inconsequential conversation, and as they were saying goodbyes, Draco leaned in to Rose as Astoria was loading piles of presents into Scorpius's arms.
"You are a remarkable young woman, Rose Weasley," he muttered softly, and this time she knew it was a compliment. "My son told me the Sorting Hat put him in Ravenclaw because he would meet the right people who would make him a right person. I'm assuming it meant you."
Rose blinked in disbelief. "He never told me that."
"Then I just ruined the moment of when he would tell you," Draco grimaced. "But believe me when I say you've had a great impact on his life."
"And so has he on my life, sir," she beamed. "Scorpius is really special, and he loves you dearly, unconditionally. You should really talk to him about yourself more often."
His forehead furrowed in confusion, but by the time her words made sense, she had already disapparated with Scorpius, clutching a large box of Chocolate Cauldrons that Astoria had forced on her as a Christmas present.
As they appeared with a pop in Hogsmeade square, the snow was falling thicker than ever. Rose giggled and brushed some off of Scorpius's eyelashes, and he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers rather energetically. They broke apart as the clock chimed midnight, panting and laughing as they got some disapproving glares from some elderly witches watching carollers.
"Merry Christmas, Rose," he sighed, kissing her forehead. "You were brilliant."
"I was just being myself," she shrugged humbly.
"And you're brilliant," he reiterated, restraining himself from snogging her again. "And now it's Christmas, I think it's time you got your present!"
"Oh, I left yours in the castle, do you want to wait until we get back so we can exchange them together?" she cupped his frigid cheek in her gloved hand.
"No, I want to see the look on those witches faces when you do what I know you're going to when I give it to you," he winked.
"Cheeky," she smirked. "Alright then, cough it up."
He levitated the presents his mother had sent back with him in a bubble charm to stop them from getting snowed on, and then he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a shimmering black box the size of his fist. He snatched one more kiss from Rose before he handed it over.
She opened it and her hand flew to her mouth. Inside was a tiny pocketwatch with a mother-of-pearl face, hanging on intertwined chains of gold and silver.
"Oh my, it's so beautiful... I can't even... thank you!" she grabbed his scarf and pulled him into her, running her hands up and down his back as their tongues and breaths mingled.
"I would have given it to you for your birthday if I'd know you'd react like that," he grinned, reaching forward and pulling the watch out of its casing. "I thought it was a metaphor for us, you know, being in love for so long but taking so much time to figure it out... and even then still getting the timing wrong. What? What's the matter?"
"I'm fine," she chuckled through her tears at the alarm in his voice. "You just make me so happy. I love you."
"I love you," he repeated, tucked a curly strand of hair back into her hat before looping the chain around her neck and fastening it.
He loved her even more once he saw his own present when they got back to the castle. Somehow Rose had managed to capture darkness inside of a translucent glass globe, and conjured up some miniature stars just like the ones she had seen on her very first night at Hogwarts, bewitching them to form the constellation Scorpius.
I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die.
a/n: so I usually don't write Harry Potter because I prefer my characters wholesome and under-developed so I can give them flaws and confront them with morally questionable life choices, (thank YOU, disney channel) but I re-read all seven books like I do every time a new movie comes out (this shit is like crack to me, you don't even know) and I thought it would be cute to try a little re-imagining for these two potentially star-crossed lovers when I was listening to Lisa Mitchell cover Dire Straits.
Yeah and feedback is also like crack to me so support my habit, thanks