Author's Notes: I am not going to put anyone through waiting year and a half of waiting for the ending of this. It is written, saved on my computer and already uploaded to the system here but I won't publish the ending until the weekend. (This weekend, not some far off one) Please let me know what you think by REVIEWING! This makes me happy, and that makes me want to write more. Let me know if you think anything is OOC or just doesn't make sense, I am open to both good and bad reviews. I'm doing this fan fiction thing to work on my writing skills because I'd someday like to be a writer so be honest.
ONE OF THE GUYS
She saw red.
Her knees were suddenly flobberworms and they almost buckled under the weight of her humiliation. She clinched her jaw to fight back the flood of mortification threatening to engulf her. Instead Rose smiled and made a comment that she wouldn't remember later, and the conversation rolled along with her devastation unnoticed.
Moments later she made an innocuous excuse and the boys didn't notice how quickly she fled.
Only able to make it to a few steps outside her bedroom before she succumbed to tears.
Self loathing compounded grief as she spotted her puffy eyed reflection. What pathetic weakness, Rose was above this rubbish. She didn't let emotions leak out of her like all those bints she laughed at.
With those words he'd slapped across her face a harsh reality she hadn't expected; though perhaps she should have.
He would never see her as anything other than 'one of the guys'. He would fall for the girl she could never be; doe eyed and feminine.
She squared her shoulders as she roughly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand; she began to look at herself. Trying to objectively see what others, what he, saw.
Her nose was long and her jaw was square. Long hair pulled tightly into a pony tail with a mess of half curls sticking out haphazardly. All angles with none of the softness girls were supposed to be made of.
She pulled the white vest over her head and inspected the freckled skin of her arms and torso. Placing her hands at her shoulder, she ran them downward along her skin.
Flat as a board, bee stings protruded more than her breasts did.
She turned to inspect her profile and smiled the smallest bit; she had a small curve to her after all. Her backside, though she knew it was all muscle, was a curve none the less.
A knock on the door pulled her out of the inspection.
"Rosie dear, may I come in?" Her mother's voice called out politely.
In a panic she threw the vest back on, her reply muffled as she called out her assent.
"Hey little bean," Her eyes were too sympathetic and Rose knew when the door clicked that this wasn't a simple 'put away the washing'.
Rose flopped onto her bed gracelessly and began picking at the hem of her cut off denims without saying anything.
"What's the matter dear?" The bed shifted beside her and they began the usual waiting game of who would speak first.
"Who said anything's wrong?" Rose looked up and when her question was simply answered with a raised eyebrow Rose shoulders fell at the realization she couldn't keep this from her all too perceptive mother.
Her mum had always been good at letting a moment take its time. Her dad would have been in a panic insisting to know every detail; she just waited. After a long while Rose spoke up.
"Mum, will you grow me boob?" and although Rose was quite earnest in her request her mother laughed and patted her hand.
"No dear, I won't magic your chest." Her mother smiled affectionately and smoothed the wild nest of curls gently.
"You fixed my teeth last summer, how is this any different?" Rose knew she wasn't going to win. It was the same as when she was 7 and had spent several months pleading for a pet porlock.
"It just is; give it year or two."
"It's not fair Hugo has boobs and he's only 13."Rose smiled wickedly hoping she'd crack but her mother just frowned.
"Be nice, you and your brother have a different body type." Her mother chided. "This takes me back to a conversation I had with your Aunt a very long time ago."
"Aunt Ginny asked you to grow her boobs too?" Rose asked.
"Yes, she was just about you age and convinced she'd never get her 'hand full' as she so colorfully put it." She smiled, lost in memory.
"Her boobs aren't bad; you could give me her boobs." Rose's hopes soared that this might work out.
"Sorry dear, those are natural. Genetically speaking you'll be getting a pair rather similar in the next while." Rose weighed this fact in her mind for a moment. She wasn't very patient but she really didn't want to explain the letter from the ministry about underage booby magic to her dad.
"Is this about a boy?" She asked pulling Rose out of her reverie.
"What makes you think it's about a boy."
"Because it was about a boy with your Aunt." She answered in a soft voice.
"Sort of, but it's not only him," She looked up at her mum as she struggled to find a way to explain herself. "I feel stuck."
"Stuck?" Her mother repeated; a prompt for more.
"Last week, when you and Aunt Ginny were taking all the girls to the cinema to see that 'chick flick', well I sort of, maybe, wouldn't have been completely against going." Rose felt her cheeks flush in shame.
"We asked you to join us, why didn't you come?" Soft hands stroked her clinched fists, comforting her against the swell of awkwardness overpowering her.
"Albus teased Lily for wanting to go; I didn't want to get made fun of, especially in front of everyone." She shrugged sheepishly.
Her mother gently lifted her chin until their eyes met.
"My little bean, so strong and so sure in everything she does."Her mother sighed heavily. "My mother drove me batty trying to get me to go shopping and to salons. Perhaps by never doing the same, I deprived you of your own sense of femininity."
"It's not that I want to all the sudden only talk about shoes and girly crap." Rose scowled.
"How about you and I have a day out?" Her mother got up and moved toward her closet, she picked up a stray pair of socks along the way and tossing them into the hamper. "We can go to the cinema and see that film; and we'll go shopping too, make a whole day of it."
"You don't need to take me to a picture you've already seen." She answered glumly having gone back to picking at the thread of her tattered hem. Suddenly a shirt dress that still had the tags fell into her lap.
"Yes, I think I do."
. . .
Rose took a deep breath to steady her haggard nerves. In the three days since she'd ventured off for a day out with her mum, she had astutely avoided her cousins. She wanted practice at feeling entirely different in her skin before seeing him again. But him being her cousin's best mate chances were high he'd be around, as usual.
With a sudden burst of courage she threw the floo powder into the fire and stated her destination. An uncomfortable moment later she staggered out of the fireplace coughing.
"Morning Rosie," Aunt Ginny called from across the room. "They're all in…" her voice dropped off when her eyes took in Rose's appearance. She placed her hands on her chest with a wide grin and made that clichéd mum squeal that old ladies always seem to make; Rose's cheeks burn red. "Oh take a look at you! You look lovely." Her flush deepened further and she felt immobilized.
"Come here and turn around I want to see you." Rose complied gingerly; her steps wobbly as she moved across the room, still not used to the shift in her center of gravity. "Oh you look -"
"Like a chicken, a great chicken teetering on stilts. What in the devil are you wearing?"
Rose's heart sank at Albus' words.
Instinct told her to bolt but Albus and, oh Merlin Scorpius too, had come in through the doorway and were now between her and the fire place. Rose's desperation for escape over powered anything else and she opted for the door out to the garden, tripping on the steps she threw one of the accursed shoes at the hedge, a screech let her know she'd hit Norbert, the Potter family cat.
She ran lopsidedly not taking the time to remove the other pathetic excuse for footwear. When she was finally far enough away from the house that she couldn't hear her Aunt's yells she settled on the grass under a large shady tree overlooking a secluded coy pond.
She rubbed at her eyes, paying no mind to what it was doing to the goop she'd painstakingly learned to apply perfectly with the childish hoped that if she couldn't see the world the world couldn't see her.
"Rose?" his voice made into a question spoiled her hiding place after only a few moments to steady her breath.
Oh joy; Scorpius, here to witness her bungled foray into womanhood. She should have just stayed in bed with a book. She didn't need a real man, she could read all those romance novels her mother stashed behind the encyclopedias.
"Go away, I don't really feel like company." She didn't look at him; instead she gave up on being invisible and stared down at the bright orange fish beneath the water.
"Well it's you or Al's mum screaming, I think you win on the less awkward scale."
"You might reconsider; I'm feeling pretty blasted awkward right now." Rose's voice was high and strained as she fought the humiliation building inside of her from spilling out. She picked up a small pebble and threw it into the water, the fish scattered for a moment before resuming their movements. She felt him settle into the grass beside her.
"Since she's yelling about your blossoming womanhood you might want me out here."
"Dear Merlin, I hate my life." She pulled her feet up and wrapped her arms around her bare legs.
"Don't feel bad," Scorpius managed after a strained moment of silence. Rose simply huffed out a breath loudly then buried her face against her knees.
"For the record; I think you look great." Rose half turned her head to him with her face still hidden. He wasn't looking at her, instead he was picking at the grass as his cheeks tinged with pink.
"Well chickens are majestic animals."
"You look nothing like a chicken," He insisted kindly.
"No, I do a little bit. My legs are ridiculous stick things." Rose straightened her twiggy legs in front of her, and smoothed down the skirt she'd watched cascade gently around her in a beautiful dizzying swirl of movement as she twirled in front of the mirror.
"You have fantastic legs." He stammered as he spoke, searching for words and Rose couldn't keep from smiling at his attempts to placate her.
"Thanks Scorp, it's nice to know chicken legs have a fan out there."
"I've always been a fan-" Scorpius was cut off mid sentence by two loud cracking sounds that ripped through the air one right after another.
"Then the only thing I could think to say was 'at least they aren't my knickers.' Oh, hey!" James called out, having just only a few meters away apparated beside Frank.
Rose stood up suddenly at the appearance of Frank and ran a hand over her hair to repair the damage her flight had done to her newly wrangled tresses. She wished for a mirror, why in Merlin's balls did they have to land right there in the middle of her pity party.
When Frank saw her she was suppose to be polished and put together. There was little point in this if the only sort of woman he ended up seeing her as was little better than the mess of a girl he'd known his whole life.
"Whoa, Rose don't you look different." Frank said and Rose very much so wish he hadn't. Her heart was thundering within her rib cage and this whole ludicrous farce felt like the most obvious desperate plea for attention it most certainly was.
"Aww! Rose, don't tell me you've gone over to the dark side? Getting all fluffed up like the rest of them; and to think for a while you were my favorite cousin." James chastised her as he reached out both hands and lifted up locks of her hair on either side of her head with a disappointed huff.
The heart that had risen into her throat only moments before suddenly plummeted like a stone into her belly. He was scolding her like some little child who couldn't use the loo properly. This was a mistake; all of it. The shopping, the skirt, the shoes, the hair, the nails; all of it was just a charade. She could never be more than the scruffy boobless wonder that didn't fit in with the boys or the girls. He must think she's some ghastly joke for attempting it.
"Come on James, don't be a complete arse hat." Scorpius stood up swiftly right in front of James.
"Yeah James, she looks good, don't be mean to the kid." Frank flashed his dazzling smile at her then suddenly all the worries that weighed her down before were gone. She felt as though her whole body was weightless; her soul was only tethered to this earth by that darling smile.
James shrugged before they both took off in the direction of the house. Rose followed him with her gaze affixed firmly to his retreating form. Silently she savored the feeling of elation that gripped her being just from being around him.
"Earth to Rose," Scorpius scowled as he waved his hand in front of her face trying to get her attention.
"He said I look good." She whispered vaguely, still unwilling to pull herself away from her bliss.
"I said you look great." Scorpius said in an annoyed disapproving tone.
"And he noticed me. First thing he said was that I look different, Frank freaking Longbottom noticed me and then he really and actually said that I look good." Rose sighed and leaned against the tree, her eyes still unfocused and faraway.
"Is that what this was all about? Frank freaking Longbottom suddenly caught your fancy so you're changing everything about yourself?" Scorpius question was more of an accusation and his confrontational tenor snapped Rose away from the happiest moment of her entire life.
"Not that it's any of your business but he hasn't just 'caught my fancy' and you so patronizingly put it, I've been wand over fist in love with him since I was 8 thank you very much.
"As for your condescending accusation that I changed everything about myself for a boy, if you hadn't noticed I've always been a girl. Choosing to accept that part of myself doesn't change who I am." And she made to storm off but as she only wore one very tall shoe put a damper on her dramatic exit as she stumbled bottom first into the coy pond.
She involuntarily let out a gasping shriek as the cold water soaked through her clothes layer by layer, stealing her breath with the shock of it.
Rose was preparing a ranting tirade on his lack of loyalty and utter bullocks as a best mate when suddenly a second splash cut through the air and she was washed over in an additional wave of arctic water.
Before Rose could get a handle on her breathing after the unexpected onslaught of freezing temperatures to her nether regions, a soft voice distracted her.
"I'm sorry. I am being stupid." Scorpius, whose decent into the knee deep pond was the reason for the second splash, was sitting up in a manner all too dignified for someone on their arse in a coy pond.
"You joined me in freezing cold water to say you were sorry?" And as simple as that she'd found she'd already forgiven him.
"It seemed more effective this way." He smiled back as though he'd read her mind.
"You never fail to make me smile, thank you. Though for the record you were being a jerk."
"Yes, I was, but I don't like to see you make such a radical change just for him."
"It wasn't JUST for him. It's for me, I want this, I think I sort of need this. I can't keep being one of the guys." And when she said the words a light went on in Scorpius' head as he put the pieces together.
"The other day, wow, it always has been him hasn't it?" His voice was sad and distant, she wondered if he was worried about the change this might mean for them.
"I'm not saying I want to be a different person with different friends and a personality transplant. You're still my best mate. Nothing will change that."
"You're right, nothing could ever change that." And even though he said it, and it was a good thing; somehow his voice was even more forlorn. She had to prove to him that they were still fine, that they could still talk about important things.
"You just couldn't possibly understand, I'm in love with someone who's a good friend. My biggest fear is that I will stand by and watch him fall in love while I go completely unnoticed; that he will never see that I'm right here.
"I'm sure that if he would just look at me, really see me he'd know that we're meant for each other.
Silence settled comfortably between them and she felt a rush of relief to get this off her mind for the first time.
"You're right, what would I know about being in love with your best mate. It must kill you to feel invisible even though you're always there." He picked a blade of grass of his damp knee without looking at her but she warmed at his understanding of her. How amazing he was to just get her like that. He really understood.
She was about to get up when his hand reached toward her and brushed a wet tendril off of her cheek.
"Any guy who looks at you every day and does not see the beauty you've always had is a fool." She blushed and felt uncomfortable at his tender assurance.
"Well aren't you just full of little snippets of wisdom today." She said smiling at him, trying to lighten the mood.
"What can I say, I am no fool."