Title: Sweetness In Starlight
Gift For: mollywheezy
Summary: Rose is not sure of when or how it happened – she's fairly certain that she doesn't even know why it happened– but she fell in love with Scorpius.
All that she knows is that she blames it on Roxanne.
Rating: A light R.
Warnings: A little bit of swearing, fluff, boys being boys, teenage hormones.

A/N: Had to use the horizontal ruler because is being a being in the ass and won't let me use my pretty section-divider *sadface*

Sweetness In Starlight

Rose is not sure of when or how it happened – she's fairly certain that she doesn't even know why it happened– but she fell in love with Scorpius.

All that she knows is that she blames it on Roxanne.

That kiss wasn't supposed to mean anything, not really.

They were seventeen when this thing erupted between them, taking by her surprise and leaving her completely blindsided.

See, this is how it happened –

August was coming to an end and their last school year was looming just around the corner when Roxanne – out of all people, the elegant and composed Roxanne, decided one night that they all should play truth or dare.

A group of them was out camping in her godparent's garden – each and every one of her cousins, respective friends and significant others. This was a silly tradition they had before the end of summer, where a bonfire was started and they sat around eating candy apples, Perkin cakes and jacket potatoes that always ended up charred beyond recognition.

They had enough Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-Bangs to last through most of the event, and afterwards they would sleep outside and one of them would always end up throwing up in Kreacher's rose bushes.

So on that year, after midnight, Victoire and Teddy had already called it a night and wandered off to their tent, while their tent-mates Molly and Dominique were still running around, trying to control James and Freddie's buoyancy before they woke the adults, or, as had almost happened before, got arrested.

Last year the mischievous duo, aided by a surprisingly sneaky Lily, had caused such a ruckus that a very disgruntled officer of the Muggle police department showed up at the doorstep of the Potter's house, in Godric's Hollows, in the early hours of the morning, with handcuffs in tow.

Naturally, James' dad hadn't been very pleased.

But that was last year; the cousins had all promised to keep things perfectly under control this time. Hence the ever-reliable Molly, aided by Dominique, taking on the unfortunate job of, as James had dubbed it, "killing the buzz".

There were still a dozen or so of them hanging out around the fire. Al was sitting with Louis, Scorpius Malfoy and Cameron Longbottom, talking about Quidditch, while Margo Finnigan was leaning against his legs, completely absorbed in a thick, ominous-looking book.

Bettina Thomas, Rose's best friend from school, was also there. She was sitting by Rose's side, listening to Lorcan and Lysander Scamander recount their parents' latest expedition to Qatar, where the Crumple-Horned Snorkack's quarry was supposedly located.

Rose vividly remembers that it was exactly on that moment that her cousin Roxanne got up, tossed her mane of dark-haired curls away from her face, and loudly announced to no one in particular that she was bored.

"Let's do something different," she suggested, her hazel eyes sparkling with the possibility of mind games and manipulation. "Let's play Can You, Can't You."

"How Gryffindor of you, Roo," her twin brother teased, with an identical glimmer in eyes and a smirk gracing his dark lips. "Especially when you know that this was the game that almost landed me and James in jail last year."

"I just want to have some fun," she justified.

"Yeah, right," Louis snorted. "As if anyone would ever believe that."

"Humour me, then." And probably because Roxanne knew most of them would never back down from a challenge, she cocked her head to the side and shot them all a sardonic grin. "I dare you."

Freddie, Jamie and Louis, always the proud and reckless Gryffindors, jumped in immediately. Everyone else took some convincing, though, and Al put up a fight, but ultimately, they all ended up doing Roxanne's bidding.

An hour later, Lucy had streaked naked across the neighbour's backyard, while Molly lost a dare and had to blushingly admit having slept with Marcus Welsh, start chaser of Puddlemere United, six months ago.

Also, much to Rose's chagrin and Freddie's cheers, Hugo had tasted Firewhiskey for the first time, while James was currently sporting lime-green hair decorated with pink stripes, courtesy of Cecilia Longbottom's spell-work.

Then it was somehow Rose's turn and Albus winced while Lily had smiled kindly in her direction, when Roxanne, the one who had started this game in the first place, was the one posing Rose's dare.

It was right around that time that Rose figured she should've thought this whole thing through before agreeing to take part in Roxanne's mind games again.

Excellent thinking on your part, Weasley, her voice of reason sniggered, sounding scarily like Professor Parkinson's voice. Except it's a tad overdue.

"Can you or can't you," Roxanne started, giving Rose a sheepish smile when the girl's face turned crimson in anticipation, already knowing what was coming for her, "kiss Scorpius Malfoy?"

What the hell? Rose thought, at the same time as Al spluttered in his drink and Hugo angrily bellowed –

"Sod off, Roxanne."

"She agreed to play, Hugo," Roxanne informed him with her matter-of-fact tone. "Everyone here has agreed to play by the rules. You drank quite a lot of Firewhiskey, and I had to eat eleven charred jacket potatoes. Lucy even ran starkers, for Merlin's sake!"

Rose felt warm all over, her mind running to a million different places. See, it was a well-known fact that she and Scorpius weren't exactly on the best terms.

But what everyone else except Roxanne knew, was that Rose has had a tiny, almost non-existent crush on Scorpius since their third year. Once upon a time, before their falling out in the fourth year, Roxanne and Rose were close friends. Now they were a lot of things, but friends weren't one of them.

Her cousin had been using the knowledge she'd acquired about Rose to torment her for quite a while now, and she'd apparently decided it was about time to clue in Scorpius about Rose's dirty little secret.

Great, Rose thought. This is exactly what I need.

"Well, can you Rosie?" Scorpius suddenly asked from somewhere behind her. Up until then he'd been very quiet, sitting so still, as if he'd been made of marble. "Or can't you?"

"Are you out of your bloody mind, Malfoy?" Rose snorted, whirling around to look him dead in the eye. "I know your parents dropped you on your head when you were a child, but now you just sound downright idiotic."

Scorpius just shrugged, as if it wasn't really that big of deal in the first place. She knew he couldn't care less about whether or not she kissed him, seeing as that would only give him more ammunition to take the Mickey out of her later, but to her, this was a big deal.

This was a huge deal.

And everyone was going to see it.

"So, Rose?" Roxanne pushed. "Are you in or are you out?"

"Fine!" she snapped, taking a deep breath, steadying herself and trying to rein in her nerves. "I'm in."

Might as well get this over with.

"This is such a lame challenge," James protested, ignoring Roxanne's glare. "Slytherins wouldn't know a good dare if it bit them in the arse."

Three other Slytherins took offense of James' statement, and all started to talk at the same time, but Rose couldn't hear any of them, as her eyes locked on Scorpius'.

He was smiling mildly at her flushed complexion, as if daring her to walk away from what she'd just agreed to. Summoning the courage she didn't really feel, Rose moved closer to where he'd been sitting, between Albus and Louis.

Once they were facing each other, his light grey eyes searching her brown ones, Rose's already hectic heartbeat took off. And even though she was really trying to keep herself in check, her hands began to shake when she kneeled in front of him.

Scorpius' smirk grew wider, and not one to be outdone, he sneaked his arms around her waist, tugging her closer, too close for comfort. But Rose recovered quickly enough, and boldly cupped his strong jaw, pulling his face to hers until they were mere inches apart.

She could smell his breath ghosting against her cheek, turning heavier by the second, and she unconsciously licked her lips, feeling pleased when Scorpius' gaze grew wider, dropping to her mouth.

This was it.

Her nose brushed softly against his, testing the waters, and she summoned the rest of her courage and climbed on his lap, closing the distance between them.

When their lips touched, and Scorpius uttered a soft oh against her mouth, her whole skin began to tingle. She tentatively moved her lips against his, but ended up bumping their teeth together, hard.

Scorpius groaned and they sprung apart, her scrambling off his lap, laughing and stumbling through an apology. He glowered at Rose for about two seconds, and then, to her utter surprise, just shook it off and silenced her amusement with another kiss.

"I can't watch this anymore," Louis and Al simultaneously groaned out, but Rose barely heard them, consumed by the feeling of Scorpius' hard body under hers, his hands cradling her head while his scent invaded her senses.

This time Rose couldn't really discern what had happened, except that her hands were fisting his dark-blue shirt on their own accord, and that their tongues were touching and melding together; and that as clichéd as it sounded, it was as if fireworks were exploding behind her closed eyes.

When they finally broke apart and looked at each other, really looked at each other, they realized those fireworks weren't as figurative as they first thought they were – but that they were instead the work of Molly Weasley, who had sneakily turned around and lighted them up, trying to distract James from nearly chucking pumpkin juice on the kissing couple.

Then somehow everyone was cheering, and Freddie was passing the Firewhiskey around for everyone, even the minors. Then there were more fireworks, drinking, and kissing by the bonfire under the moonlight, and they all had ended up pissed out of their mind.

Rose also distinctly remembers Scorpius sneaking into her tent that night, slipping into her bed as if he had every right to be there, kissing her breath away until the sun came up.

They spent the last days of summer discovering that while they were not be able to hold a civilized conversation for more than twenty minutes, they were certainly able to tolerate each other for much longer than that if their lips were otherwise occupied.

And of course when there was so much of wandering lips and hands going on, they were bound to get caught. Rose soon learned that no amount of time would erase the mortification of having her Dad bursting into her room to find Scorpius' hand up her shirt. The poor man nearly had a heart-attack.

Her room was now designated off-limits, and Hugo hovered around her like a very irritating mosquito whenever Louis, Al and Scorpius showed up at her house. Yet they always managed to steal some moments alone here and there. To Rose, the rest of that summer ended up feeling like something straight out of someone else's life.

But then the summer was ending, and Rose was a bit sad, because she knew what will happen once they returned to start their final year of school– once at Hogwarts, this thing between them, whatever it was, would be over.

Scorpius and she lived very different lives in schools, and not only were they separated by their houses and their schedules, their reputations played a really big part in it as well.

So, on the eve of September, 1st, Rose was trying very hard to enjoy the little things, like the casual way Scorpius had his arms around her shoulders while they walked through Diagon Alley, doing some last-minute shopping.

"Stop it," he suddenly told her, as if he were able to read her thoughts.

"Stop what?" She tried to play it off, because it was scary how well he knew her. "Walking?"

"Rose…" They've come to halt, and she realized they were standing in front of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. Suddenly, all she wanted was a tayberry cone, and she wanted it now, so bad that it made her mouth water.

"Look, I don't know what you're talking about," she said, marching towards the shop. "I'm getting ice cream, do you want some? I'll pay."

"Speak now or forever hold your peace," he quoted, trailing after her. "I know what you're thinking, Rosie."

"I told you not to call me Rosie, Malfoy," she warned, pushing the door aside and stepping in without a glance in his direction, just in time to hear him add –


It happened just like she knew it would – as soon as they boarded the Hogwarts Express, their lives went their separate ways.

It was not for Rose's lack of trying. She and Scorpius actually spent most of the ride to Hogsmeade sharing a compartment, just the two of them. There was an uncomfortable silence that couldn't seem to be filled, no matter how many conversational topics' Rose tried to broach.

But somehow they couldn't find middle ground, and things turned awkward really soon. Rose kept holding her breath and checking her watch until it was time for her, this year's Head Girl, to meet her fellow Prefects in their compartment.

She left the room really fast, and Scorpius just looked confused when she just shook his hand and walk away without as much as a glance in his direction.

Rose made sure that they didn't talk or see each other much after that.

"Look, it's not like I don't think you're great, darling," Louis is telling some girl with ash-blond hair, whose face is steadily growing red, "it's just that I need to focus on my schoolwork, you know, with N.E.W.T.s and everything.

"And you're just so lovely that it distracts me." He shot her a winning smile, touching her cheek with the tip of his fingers. "Can we just be friends?"

"That's the worst excuse ever!" The blond girl shrieked. "And I know you've told this to Lizzie McCartney last week," she added, before slapping him in the face and stomping away.

"I suppose I deserved that," Louis conceded with a grimace, holding his cheek.

"You think?" Rose mumbled, moving his hand away to access the damage. "You're out of luck, though. This one will leave a mark."

"Poor Marcy," her cousin whispered.

"Her name was Olivia," Rose corrected, searching her school bag for the healing balm she always carried around. Not only did Louis get slapped a lot, she was prone to freak accidents on a daily basis. "And why do you go out with those random girls for a week if you can't even be bothered to learn their names?"

"I have no idea."

"You're very weird." Bettina, who usually did her best to ignore Louis' antics, was eyeing Rose's cousin with annoyance.

"Merlin, aren't you a great observer, Rose's Shadow?" Louis snapped, the faint red colouring on the tips of his ears betraying his embarrassment.

"I know your poor mental capacity makes it taxing for you to retain long-term information," Bettina snapped back, "but I'm pretty sure you can remember my name."

"Oh, that I do," Louis crooned. "It's what I shout whenever I'm –"

"Don't be gross," Rose interrupted him. "Do you want to add a well-aimed kick in the family jewels to your list of current injuries?"

Bettina huffed and walked in the direction the Great Hall without turning back, doing her best to ignore Louis' laughter.

"Hurry back, lover!" Louis shouted at her retreating back. "I'll miss you!"

"Louis, leave Bettina alone. I know it kills you that she's not as infatuated with you as the rest of the female population here at Hogwarts, but this is not the way to get her to see you in a favourable light."

"And who says I want that?" He protested, but it sounded feeble even to his own ears.

"I swear, you act like a nine year-old." Rose sighed, starting to follow her friend. "You're this close to dipping her ponytail into parchment ink, and it's not cute."

"Shut up, Rose," he mumbled at her direction. "It's not like you're doing much better with Scorpius anyway."

She blushed but shook her head, carefully avoiding Louis' eyes.

"Isn't it so?" He snorted. "Who do you think you're kidding? We all know you're dying a little bit inside because you and Scorpius haven't talked ever since you set foot in this castle."

"I've been very busy. Not only do I have the Head Girl duties, I'm taking eight N.E.W.T. subjects. It's not like I've been avoiding him or anything."

"But you are. You try to act like what had happened between the two of you this summer didn't matter, or that it doesn't hurt you when he's running off with other girls, but I know you, Rosie. I know you.

"You want him. You're just too afraid to admit it."

Rose had never thought she would say that in her entire school life, but she really was beginning to hate Hogsmeade weekend trips.

This one, the third one since the beginning of the term, was taking place two weeks before they were supposed to leave for the Christmas holidays.

This was also the third time that Scorpius was attending with a different girl on his arm. The first girl was a brunette, and he'd lavished her with several types of Halloween sweets that they'd bought together at Honeydukes.

In November, Scorpius took the second girl, a raven-haired fifth year Prefect named Maggie, for a romantic evening at Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop. If you asked Rose's opinion – not that she wouldn't give you one otherwise, as Louis had pointed out several times – that just showed a severe lack of imagination.

On that third weekend, Scorpius was parading around with a certain hazel-eyed Slytherin, who also happened to answer to the name of Roxanne Weasley.

Not that it bothered Rose or anything.

She just happened to notice these things.

"I can't believe her!" Rose furiously whispered to a bored-looking Louis and a distracted Bettina.

"First she makes us kiss, then she has her paws all over him. What is wrong with her? Why does she enjoy torturing me like this?

"And are you two even listening to me?"

"Oh, sorry," Bettina said, without sounding apologetic at all. "It's just that you're repeating yourself. We've listened to your rant the first five times you've said it."

"She's right," Louis eloquently endorsed.

"Some friends, the two of you are," Rose told them, glowering at Scorpius and Roxanne's direction. "I swear, you've been insufferable ever since you got together, and I still don't even know how that happened."

"It's a long story." Bettina was offering no disclosure.

"I wooed her with my considerable charms, roguish good looks and, of course, my great arse," Louis admitted, looking very smug.

"Please," Bettina scoffed. "You just exhausted me."

"Which is Bettina-speech for wooing, you know."

"Ugh, can you believe her?" Rose muttered, partly to herself, partly to her drink. Roxanne was making a show of leaning across the table and whispering something in Scorpius' ear. "It's as if she has no sense of decency."

"And you are like a woman possessed," Bettina informed her. "Why don't you just tell him you like him and get this over with?"

"Are you insane? I don't like him. I don't."

"Yeah, right," Louis snorted into Butterbeer, only to yelp in pain when Rose kicked him in the shins.

"Bloody hell! That hurt!"

"Merlin, you're such a baby." She drained the last of her drink and got up, blatantly ignoring Louis' glare.

"I'm going to the loo."

"I'm writing to your Dad about this," Louis threatened her retreating form, but still she paid him no attention. "She kicked me really hard," he complained to his girlfriend, who just rolled her eyes and continued to ignore him.

"I swear, I'm so unappreciated, it's not even funny."

She was washing her hands with the apple-scented soap by the green-marble sink when Roxanne entered the toilet, flashing someone a smile over her shoulder. Rose stiffened when she saw her cousin.

"It's occupied," she informed her, her voice cool and distant.

"Oh, hello, Rosie," Roxanne greeted, her smile slipping and her own voice mirroring Rose's detached tone. "Hadn't seen you there, sorry."

"Somehow I don't I believe you."

"Well, that's your problem, isn't it?" Roxanne's reflection smirked at Rose's in the mirror. "You can go on ignoring my general existence."

"Except that you're trying really hard not to let that happen, aren't you Roo?"

"Sorry?" Roxanne arched an eyebrow at Rose at the use of the nickname while applying some lip balm. "Are you mistaking me for someone who cares?"

"Then why would you be practically pawing Scorpius right in front of me?"

"Because he's attractive? Because I want to?" Roxanne huffed. "Everything is not always about you, Rose."

"I know that! But this time feels like it is. You've certainly paid no attention to Scorpius before. And if I recall it correctly, you even mocked me when I –"

"Yes?" Roxanne pushed.

"Nothing. Look," Rose shook her head, trying to prevent herself from babbling. "From where I'm standing, it just looks like you're trying too hard."

"Funny, that never seemed to trouble you before. Just admit it, Rose. You have problems with sharing. That's called a breakthrough."

"Piss off," said Rose, immediately regretting the loss of composure. "Do what you want, Roxanne. I can't even claim to understand you anymore. First we have this awful fight about something that both of us can't even remember anymore –"

"You ratted on me to Headmistress Vector!"

"– and then you ditch me for your other friends. You've mocked me whenever I have been around, and then, this summer, you used something I've told you in secret, ages ago, just to try to get the best of me. You've made me kiss Scorpius in front of everyone, for Merlin's sake!"

"I never heard you complaining."

"Why do you take pleasure in doing these things to me?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'm just built that way."

"That's rubbish, and we both know it." Rose took a deep breath, trying to will the tears away from her eyes. It would do her no good to cry in front of Roxanne. "We used to be best friends. Don't you miss that? Because I do."

"Listen, Rose, I've changed. You've changed."

"But we're still blood. We'll always be. That's not a bond you can dissolve with your little derisive comments and pranks, don't you get it?"

"It's too late," Roxanne whispered, looking down. "Too much time has passed."

"Maybe," Rose agreed. "Maybe not. Just, you know...stop being such a raging pain in my arse."

"I'll think about it," Roxanne challenged, with a hint of her real smile on her face.

Rose smiled, discarding the towel in her hands and turning to leave.

"Just so you know," Roxanne added in a quiet voice, "Scorpius didn't really want to come with me to Hogsmeade. He only agreed when I pointed out that this would make you so furious that you might start talking to him again."

"Oh." Rose heaved a sigh, running her hands through her hair.

"Why did you stop talking to him anyway?" Roxanne pressed. "I mean, after that night, I just assumed you two would finally get together. That's why I –"


"Nothing," Roxanne blushed.

"That's why you dared me into kissing him?"

"Well, you sure were taking your sweet time admitting your feelings for him, so I sort of thought that maybe, if I gave you a little incentive...And it worked."

"I swear, Roxanne, you and your mind games..." Rose trailed off, torn between irritation and giddiness. Her cousin, in her own twisted way, had tried to help her. "And today was just another misguided attempt of yours to help me, I figure?"

"You can't force me to stand here and talk to you about our feelings and other unbearably mushy things," Roxanne checked her reflection in the mirror for the last time before walking towards the door. "But what are you waiting for, Rose?"

"I'm scared," she confessed softly, but Roxanne had already left.

"What took you so long?" Louis asked her as soon as Rose plopped down in their booth with a guarded expression on her face. "You look weird."

Bettina, who had seen Roxanne enter and leave the loo, merely sent a quick smile at Rose's direction and squeezed her friend's hand. But Louis, nonplussed by the girls' lack of reaction, just continued his inquiry.

"Are you sick or something? Or, you know, experiencing some female issues? Is it urgent? Should we rush you to the Infirmary?"

"Shut up, Louis," both Bettina and Rose demanded.

"Fine," he relented. "But I'm still writing that letter to Uncle Ron."

To say that Rose is surprised to walk into the library and find Scorpius there, sitting in her favourite armchair, is a serious understatement.

First, because she's pretty sure she's never seen him studying in this place before, and second, because everyone in Hogwarts knows that that chair is her spot.

Nobody ever seats in her spot.

(Maybe she's a bit anal about her study habits. She is her mother's daughter after all.)

"H-hey," she throws in his direction, mentally slapping herself for stuttering. She's been thinking about meeting him for two weeks, ever since her conversation with Roxanne, but she kept putting it off until the time was right.

The right time, apparently, was now.

"She talks," Scorpius drawls out, without taking his eyes off of his homework. "It's so unexpected that I think I might faint. Maybe you should fetch Poppy."

"Madam Pomphrey is due a lot more respect than that, Malfoy." Rose scowls at his head, since he continues to keep his head down, avoiding her stare. "Are you always this rude?"

"Hadn't you noticed?"

"I've been very busy. It's not as if I have the time to track the ups and downs of your erratic behaviour, you know?"

Liar, liar, pants on fire, teases her voice of reason. For someone who claims to be as busy as she is, Rose knows she sure spends a lot of time glancing at Scorpius from across the room during the mealtimes.

"You keep telling yourself that, Rosie."

"Don't call me Rosie." She wills herself to stay calm. This conversation isn't quite going as well as she'd hoped. "Also, you're sitting in my spot."

"You're touched in the head if you think I'm getting up," he coolly retorts, continuing to scribble on his parchment with the chicken scrawl she has come to recognize as his.

"But this is my spot!"

"You've said that already. I'm still not getting up."

"This is bullying, you know. I could just give you a detention."

"Do as you wish, you little Caesar, but I'm not going anywhere. You'll either sit your hot little arse down to work on the Astrology chart that I know you're dying to delve into, or you'll just have to huff away to search for another seat."

Taken aback, Rose puts her bag down.

"That's a good girl. Now, are you going to stare at me all night or what, Rosie?"

"Don't call me Rosie, Malfoy," she automatically reprehends, but then something just clicks, and she grins widely.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"You like me," she sing-songs.

"What?" Scorpius finally lifts his eyes from the table, and he is looking at her as if she were mad, but Rose keeps on smiling.

"You like me, Malfoy. You've just admitted that you have the hots for my arse. Or something similar. Either way, that sentence sounded a lot better in my head."

"Are you off your rocker?" He scoffed. "I mean, more than you usually are?"

"You can try and deny it all you want, but I've seen through your facade," she continues. "You want me. You're practically stalking me."

"I've been insulting you for the past five minutes."

"I know. But that's because you have the emotional range of...well, Louis. But you know that on Wednesdays I have Astronomy, and you know this is my favourite seat in the whole library. It's not like you come here regularly. Or at all."

"And, aha!" Rose points an accusing finger in his direction, so excited that she is bouncing in her seat. "You've remembered Caesar, from the Muggle history book I told you I was reading this summer. You really, really like me."

"No I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"No, I don't."

"Oh, yes, I think you do."

"Must you always be this infuriating?"

"Must you always be this stubborn?"

"Rosie, shut up."

"Don't you call me Ro–"

But her sentence is cut short as he grabs her hand and tugs her towards him, his mouth seeking hers, their lips locking in a feverish kiss that soon grows much too passionate for a library.

"Miss Weasley!" Madam Pince's scandalized voice cuts through the fog that has clouded Rose's mind ever since Scorpius' skin touched hers. "I'd never expected you, out of all people, to be found in this position! This is neither the time nor place for a romantic rendezvous, as you surely know it!

"Out! Out of my library!"

Rose regretfully breaks contact, flushing scarlet-red with embarrassment and something else altogether that only Scorpius is able to awaken in her.

"I'm so, so sorry, Madam Pince," she mutters, hurriedly collecting her things while Scorpius smiles delighted, leisurely closing his books.

"Hurry up," she whispers to him, shooting him an annoyed look while Madam Pince waves her wand at them. "I think she might murder us."

"Behaving poorly, cavorting around like ruffians in this sacred place," the librarian is now screeching as she shoos them out of her workplace. "I'm too old for this kind of disrespect, I've told Longbottom this time and time again, but the boy refuses to listen. Out, you two, out!"

Once they are safely outside the range of Madam Pince's wand, Scorpius doubles over in laughter, sliding to the floor, and Rose can't help but follow, dropping next to him and clutching her stomach with her hands.

"I've never," she gasps out, "been kicked out of a library in my life."

"She behaves like those books haven't seen a lot of perverted things before," Scorpius is currently drying tears from his eyes, a nice, real smile gracing his features. "Doesn't she know that's where Louis brings his conquests?"

"What?" Rose screams, shell-shocked. "I really didn't need to know that."

"Yeah, trust me; I didn't have a great time finding that out as well."

She giggles, and the look in Scorpius' eyes grows serious. From the way they are sitting, side by side, she is very aware of their thighs brushing against each other, and the electricity of the touch sends shivers down her spine.

"Your hair is a mess," he informed her. Her hand flies to her head, feeling the jutted mess of red curls that has escaped her usual hairstyle, a French braid.

"Don't fix it," he adds. "I like it that way."

"I must look like a deranged lion skulking around the savannah."

"That's a...weird and specific imagery."

"You're the one who once told me that."

"I don't remember ever saying it."

"It was on April 19th of our second year. I was wearing my hair down with a blue and bronze headband, and when I walked into the Great Hall for breakfast, you delivered this little gem all the way from the Slytherin table."

"This is worryingly accurate."

"I have an extraordinary memory," she clarifies, pointing to her forehead.

"That explains a lot, actually," he agrees, and she shrugs. "But I probably didn't mean it. I say a lot of things I don't mean."

"Then why do you?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's because my parents might've dropped me on the head," he smiles a little sardonically. "Maybe it's because I was jealous of you."

"Jealous?" She asks, her voice soft, because there is a look in his eyes that she has seen before, but has yet to figure it out. "Why would you be jealous of me?"

"Are you kidding me, Rosie? You're intelligent – the smartest student in our year. You're kind, and even though you're wound so tight, and sometimes you can act like a bit of a snob, you can also be quite fun and adorable once someone gets you to relax. People just take an instant liking to you, they can't help it."

"They like you too."

"No, they don't. I mean, I lucked out when I made friends with Louis and Al, but that's about it. The rest of them just think I am a Death Eater's spawn, and nothing else."

"That's not true. I mean, girls fall all over you."

"Not the one I want," he admits quietly, looking her dead in the eye.

"You're...um... you're clever!" She rushes to change the subject. "Even if you act like you don't want to have anything to do with the academic aspect of Hogwarts."

"I don't give a shite about academics, Rose." She flinches at his crude words. "My future is already determined – once school is over, I'll be working with my father. I'm not like you, Rose. I'm not going to leave school with a thousand job offers, like you or your cousins will.

"Don't get me wrong, my family certainly still has some pull, but I've just... Even if I wanted their help, I'm not sure they'd be able to help me, at least not where it matters."

"Why? I mean, if you could to work anywhere after we're done with school, where would that be?"

"I'd want to work for The Ministry. But the Department I'd want to join would never hire me, so what else is there for me to do except work with Father?"

"That's not fair, Scorpius. Who says the Ministry won't hire you? I've seen your test scores; you're in the top percent of our class. You could do anything you want."

"Rose," he says patiently, and a twinge of sadness in his smile makes her heart ache, "I had this talk with Professor Parkinson in my fifth year, when I told her I wanted to be an Unspeakable, and she spelled it out for me – it's never going to happen, not in this lifetime. They won't take in someone whose family was in Voldermort's inner circle, and practically made of Death Eaters. Trust me."

"But – but we have to change this, Scorpius. We can change this. Just because Professor Parkinson told you this, doesn't make it true. And even if such a policy is implemented, well, that's highly illegal. It's discrimination, and that's not what the Minister says his administration is about. So you don't have to be seen as a Death Eater's spawn. You can be seen as anything you want."

"It's not that easy."

"I know. But don't be afraid of opposition – a challenge won't hurt anyone. And you're so stubborn; you'll probably win them over by sheer force of will. You just need to try."

"You really think I can do this?"

"Yes," she assures him, smiling with certainty. "You're like a mule."

"Thanks, I guess," he laughs. "So, you think my persistence will be able to win you over as well?"

"Well, you haven't been making much of an effort," she admits. "Perhaps..."

"Okay," he says quietly, his eyes growing darker as he moves closer to her. She can see the little specks of blue and green dancing around the grey, and whenever he looks at her like that, she feels excited and nauseous at the same time. "Just so you know, I'm going to kiss you in about ten seconds. I figured this should give you enough time to move away if you don't want me to."

Rose counts nine heartbeats and stills, without looking away.

"Ten," she tells him.

"Just in case I forget to tell you later," he says, surfacing for air, "I'm really sorry for everything. Especially for calling you a deranged lion."

"Skulking around the savannah?"

"I'm trying to apologize here, Rosie."

"Stop calling me Rosie, Malfoy," she admonishes, "and start kissing me again."

A.N: Hopefully, getting back into writing and fandom is just like riding a horse. Thanks for reading, please leave a review =)