Rose Weasley had always had a thing for melting blizzards.
The first time that her parents took her to the pool, she was eight years old and not old enough to understand where she was really going, but she was determined that she was going to enjoy it. In contrast, her brother was complaining all the way.
"Pools are boring," Hugo declared, crossing his chubby six-year-old arms. "Pools are for Muggle children, not wizard children! Why d'we have to go there?"
Ron just sighed, leaning back in the seat of the extended Muggle car they'd snagged off George. "Your mother insists that I give you children the full Muggle experience, and this is part of it. Trust me, I'm about as happy about it as you are."
Her mother glared at her father, as if he'd done something wrong by stating his opinion. Determined little Rose shifted in her seat- was swimming really so terrible? From what she knew, wizards swam too. She decided that it was time for her to speak up. "But don't wizards swim too? I think I've heard of a few…"
"In Hogwarts: A History?" Ron sniggered. "Rosie, wizards don't swim competitively. If you want to try a wizard sport, I suggest you try Quidditch. Your old man was pretty good, back in his day."
Hugo's eyes lit up, but Rose just sighed and sat back. She found Quidditch to be one of the most boring things out there. Sympathetically, her mum looked back at her. "Quidditch is one of the biggest wastes of time in this world today, Ronald."
That set her father and Hugo off, and as they babbled on about famous Quidditch players and why it was so amazing, Rose tuned them out and thought about swimming. She'd always wanted to be good at something- James had his Quidditch, Molly had her writing, Victoire had her fashion, Dominique had her singing, Louis had his football, Roxanne had her baking, Albus had his heroic side, and Fred had his pranks. The others were too young to really care about talents and the like. But Rose… she was smart, but so was Molly. She wasn't really unique in anything.
If she had swimming, she'd be something different. She'd be Rose, the swimmer, not Rose, the intelligent but stubborn girl. And somehow, Rose the swimmer sounded much more appealing to the young girl.
The parking of the car interrupted her daydreaming, and she clambered out after her younger brother. The sweltering heat of the day just increased her desire to swim all the more.
Golden curls flying behind her head like a fire waiting to be doused out, she ran toward the pool. As she got closer, she shed her outer layers, much to the amusement of her mother and father, and made a move like she was about to jump in. Then, she dunked a single toe into the water and jumped back. "It's cold!"
Her father chuckled. "I did warn you, Rosie."
Her mother glared once again. "You'll get used to it. Just get in and get it all over with."
The reason in her head was fighting with her, telling her that it would only be worse if she did it all at once, but the impulsive side of her took over and she plunged into the water, feet first.
It was everything she had hoped it would be and more.
The water surrounded her, bending to her control as she swam back and forth. As she pushed herself forward through the water, she felt as though she were floating. There was no gravity within the water, no limits, no rules. She could stand on one toe and feel like a ballerina, like Lucy sometimes pretended to be (the little actress, already). Within the water, she could do whatever she wanted to, and anything was possible.
Dunking her head below the subtle waves, she kicked her feet in attempt to propel herself forward, instead filling her nose with the chlorinated water. She came up for air, giggling all the while. "Mummy, I got water up my nose!"
But her mum seemed to be deep in conversation with one of the people who ran the pool- a Muggle, but her mother, of course, held no bias.
Her mother peered back into the water at Rose with a smile. "How would you like to take swimming lessons?"
Eyes bright, Rose grinned up at her mother. "I would love to take swim lessons! But how- why am I being allowed to? And what was that guy talkin' to you about?"
"The guy is the swimming teacher for the young children's swim class," her mother informed her with a soft, fond smile. "He called you a natural- you know, your swimming is much better than other first time swimmers'."
"So Daddy's lettin' me take classes?" Rose gasped, her brown eyes lighting up even more. "I love you, Mummy!"
"Love you too, Rosie," her mother replied, a certain fondness in her voice reserved only for her two children (and her husband, if she was in a good mood).
Giggling, Rose threw herself back into the pool, adrenaline pumping as she raced her way down the length of the pool, the minimal air supply not bothering her in the least as she whispered charms under her breath that her older cousin had taught her- they weren't perfected, of course, but they'd do.
Once she finally reached the other end, she came up for air, her grin stretching from ear to ear. "This is really fun!"
She ducked back under, feet slicing through the water. One of her favourite things was the way that the water felt- penetrable, but still tough. It was enough to support her tiny body. Grinning, she puffed out her belly and lay still on top of the water, before she laughed and fell in once again.
She could almost hear the whispers from the side of the stage- "See, I told you. Your daughter's a natural."
A grin stretched across her face.
After that, her father had to take her back to the pool quite often, much to his dismay. He looked as if he'd much rather be at one of James and Hugo's Quidditch matches, which bothered her. Couldn't he be happy that she was happy? Was she inferior to his perfect son just because she wasn't a big fan of Quidditch?
But she ignored her father, swimming better than before, letting the feel of the cool water rush over her. He told them to try swimming while he held them just above the surface of the water. Rolling her eyes, she'd fallen over onto her belly and kicked her feet and arms in harmony. He'd just raised an eyebrow.
Rose Weasley had always been a bit of a showoff, anyway.
After that, they'd hired a separate coach to coach her while the others learned simple things like dunking their heads under the water. She'd just grinned as they taught her more complicated things like the breaststroke and the butterfly, and she thought that maybe she could do this.
One day, through innocent brown eyes, she asked her coach, "D'you think that maybe, when I get older, I could be on the swim team? You know, the one that does meets and competition and everything?"
The coach smiled kindly at her, not looking at all like he was trying to pity her, and told her confidently, "I think that the swim team would be lucky to have you."
Delight filled her, and she swam the butterfly perfectly for the first time that day.
During breaks, while the other children tried to perfect the art of swimming underwater and the other things that they'd learned during their classes, she would do perfect handstands and flips, cutting the water in perfect slices. It felt good to have control, even if it was over something so trivial.
Soon, she began to teach herself to dive, even. It made her feel good because her older cousin Victoire couldn't even dive and she was fifteen years old. Her coach was very impressed, and he helped to show her the correct form and everything, because the first time she'd attempted a dive, she ended up with water up her nose.
The second time, she had no more- worse, even- luck than the first- she ended up doing a belly flop, which pained her. She ended up sitting on the side, rubbing her red arms and torso.
"Hey," Coach Thompson walked over to her, sitting so that his feet nearly hit the water. "You're nine years old, Rose. You can't do everything. This dive is hard to learn, so hard that I know plenty of high schoolers that can't dive. Give yourself a break, why don't you?"
Her determined brown eyes met his. "No."
Then she perched herself on the edge of the diving board, standing in the perfect position, and she tried again (and again and again). Finally, about the fourteenth time that she tried, she did it perfectly.
"You're a determined child, Rose," Coach Thompson told her, raising an eyebrow at her.
"Thank you," she replied primly, walking over to her father and grabbing a towel, drying herself off quickly before leaving with a tiny wave.
Rose Weasley was a determined child; that was one thing that could be said about her.
Her father still didn't seem impressed, and if there was one thing she was determined to do, it was impress him.
Soon enough, two days at the pool began to be too little for the aspiring swimmer. She decided it was best to bug her parents to take her to the pool more often, because after all, she was little, adorable, fiery Rose, and no one could refuse her anything, right?
They glared at her, instead, as if they were already doing a lot for her (Muggle gas wasn't that expensive, right?) and her father told her that, if she wanted to go swimming, she ought to go outside to the woods and find one of those creeks filled with water or a pond in which to swim, which she thought was a pretty good idea.
So, because Rose, the ball of fire, was determined and persevered through everything, especially these hardships pressed upon her by her parents, she went outside that very day and began to make her way through the woods. She was completely and utterly determined that she was going to find a creek or a pond that she could practise her swimming in.
Finally, she brushed yet another sharp branch out of the way, and her eyes fell upon a tiny little pond. It was small, yet it seemed to be perfect for her to practise swimming in. Stripping down to her swimming suit, she plunged into the water, letting it cool her off. She grinned and swam to the other side. Perfect, she thought.
Grinning, she practised the butterfly, since that seemed to be her weakest spot so far. She continued practising until the sun began to set in the sky, when she gathered up her clothes and reminded herself that the next time, she'd need to bring her dinner with her.
After that, she went out to the pond every day to practise her swimming and such. She was determined, and it showed in her swimming classes. Her fire was beginning to blaze for everyone to see.
Then, one day, she went down to the pond in her swimming suit as usual. But when she arrived there, she discovered an unwanted visitor in her haven.
The boy peered up at her through a tangle of brown curls and icy blue eyes. "What are you doing here?"
"What am I doing here?" Rose hissed, putting a hand on her hip. "I come here every day to practise my swimming. I think the question is, what are you doing here?"
"I'm looking for frogs," the boy informed her with a sweet smile. "Mum says they're best this time of night. Lorcan told me to look for Nargles too, but I don't think that they even exist. Also, I like swimming- it's nearly as fun as Quidditch."
"Another Quidditch fan?" Rose wrinkled up her nose. "Why, though? It's so boring."
"I just like moving around and sports and stuff," the boy replied, pushing a curl out of his eyes. "And because I'm a wizard, I suppose it's kind of expected that I like Quidditch, you know?" He stood up, water dripping from his chest. "Anyway, I've got to go now. It's nice seeing you- what was your name again?"
She extended a hand, eyeing him carefully. "Rose. Rose Weasley."
"And I'm Lysander Scamander," he grinned at her. "I suppose our parents know each other, then- but we've been in Africa, on the hunt for Nargles, for quite a while now. We've only just returned. Well, I'll see you later then. Nice talking to you!"
As he walked away, water still dripping from the curls at the nape of his neck, she couldn't help but think that if there was one thing Lysander really liked to exercise, it was his mouth.
She slipped into the water, determined to get in some practice time still- but her mind kept travelling back to the strangely endearing Lysander Scamander.
She was ten years old when they asked her to join the swim team. Gratefully, rather than honing her Quidditch skills like Hugo or reading over Hogwarts: A History for the fifteenth time, she accepted. Of course, she was the youngest and the smallest, but she still had skills that none of the others dared to question.
The first month, she reckoned that she would be the slowest, and she was down there with the lowest. But as time went on, she began to get better and better, if just because of her dedication.
Every day that she was physically able and they had practice, she was at swim practice, and the other days she was in her pond, practising. Her times just kept going up and up until finally, they reached a peak. But still, there was one girl with honey curls, blue sky eyes, and faster times than Rose.
Her name was Maya and she was thirteen, and as Rose later learned, she was a witch. She was only there for the summer, as in the fall, she would be going off to a 'boarding school'. But she was good and she knew what she was doing.
One day, she walked up to Rose, and with a large smile, she said, "It's Rose Weasley, right?"
"Yeah," Rose smiled uncomfortably. "Why?"
"My mum- Lavender Brown- she used to date your dad," Maya chuckled. "Quite a funny story, really. Anyway, Rose, you're a natural at swimming, a bit like me, I suppose. But you know, it's not exactly smiled upon in the world of wizards."
Brown eyes wide, she stared at Maya. "What d'you mean?"
"Rosie," Maya told her softly, "wizards think that swimming is for Muggles."
Horrified, she shook her head and jumped into the pool, letting the water surround her once again. She let the water flow through her fingertips, trying to forget about what Maya told her, because it couldn't be true, right? How could they think that swimming was for Muggles? If they had been swimming, they would know how good the water felt as it swirled around you. They would know the euphoria that swirled through you if you did a dive right.
From there, her swimming career took off even more. When Maya went off to Hogwarts, she claimed the role as one of the best swimmers- still not the best, but somewhere up there. Her scores constantly improved, and she constantly practised, because what else was there to do?
Louis went off to Hogwarts that year, and he sent her letters, all describing what he was doing at Hogwarts. But when she asked about sports teams, he responded that, much to his dismay, the only sport that they played at Hogwarts was Quidditch. He was trying to start up a football club, along with Roxanne, but he hadn't heard anything about swimmers at Hogwarts other than Maya, who was in his year and house.
Disappointed, Rose continued to swim and try and forget what everyone was telling her, that things wouldn't be quite so simple once she got to Hogwarts the next year.
Somehow, inside, she knew that it was true, and that worried her more than anything.
One day, she went back to the pond to practise and she happened upon Lysander Scamander, once again. He was tossing a Muggle baseball in his open hand, smiling even when he dropped it. And when he dropped it in the pool, he would dive in to get it.
Rose couldn't believe her eyes. Nervously, she asked, "You like Muggle sports? And… and you know how to dive?"
"I like all sports," he said brightly, not even looking startled at being interrupted by her. "I mean, I love Quidditch, but I can look outside of wizarding sports to see that Muggle sports are fun too, y'know? And swimming feels really good, especially in the summertime when it's hot outside and the water is all refreshing and stuff."
She almost laughed at his nervous blabbering, which seemed to happen a lot of the time. But he continued to toss his baseball up and down, not even noticing that she wasn't saying anything.
At last, she spoke. "Lysander, have you ever considered joining a football or a swimming team?"
"Well, I already know that I'm going to try for the Gryffindor Quidditch team," Lysander smiled adorably at her. "But I suppose that if I can, I'd join a swimming team and a football team. You're a swimmer, right?"
"That I am," she grinned back at him before diving in to the small but shallow pool, coming up and gasping for breath but happy. "I love swimming, but apparently, Hogwarts and most wizards don't care much for it."
"Well, we'll have to change that, won't we?" The corners of Lysander's mouth turned up. "I'll be starting first year in a couple of months too, so we can start up a couple of Muggle sports teams-"
"I only like swimming," Rose admitted sheepishly. "But my cousin Louis is a big football fan, perhaps you could join his time?"
"I probably will!" Lysander's face lit up. "I'm so excited to finally go to Hogwarts. Mum expects me to be a Ravenclaw, but I have a feeling that I'll be a Gryffindor. It's going to be so fun, though, and I can do sports all the time."
"You don't want to be a Ravenclaw?" Rose raised an eyebrow.
"I wouldn't be a good Ravenclaw, at least," Lysander shrugged. "My brother, Lorcan- he'd be a better Ravenclaw. I mean, he believes in Nargles and all, but he's pretty reasonable, other than that. I think he's a perfect Ravenclaw. But me, I adore sports, talk far too much, hate reason and schoolwork, and act on impulse… I don't think that I'd be a good Ravenclaw."
For the first time, as she bobs up in down in the water, she noticed that there was a faint glow about him- the glow of a Gryffindor, of a fire-boy, and she thought that he would definitely be a Gryffindor. But as she tilted down, staring at her reflection in the water (which reflected back her gold curls and chocolate eyes), she wondered what house she would be sorted into.
"Lysander?" she looked up so that her soft, chocolaty eyes met his. "What house d'you think I'll be in?"
"Well," he replied, "the house that you deserve to be sorted into, of course."
She thought, as she looked up at him, that maybe she should start taking his naïve, innocent look at things, because she over-analyzed things far too often.
As she began to practise her backstroke, though, she could feel his eyes on her. Sitting forward so that she bobbed above the water, she asked carefully, "What are you looking at?"
"You're really good at swimming," he observed as he watched her, his feet dangling into the water. "Water Rose."
"What does that mean?" she wondered.
"You know, water lily, Water Rose- I figured it was the same sort of thing," he shrugged with a grin. "Not good enough, then? How about…Goldfish?" Reaching over, he tugged one of her golden curls.
Her hand flew up to pat down her curls. "That's better," she allotted with a tiny smile.
"The goldfish with golden curls," he told her, lips curling up into a smile.
She laughed because it was just such a Lysander thing to say.
For whatever reason, he came to her first swim meet, icy blue eyes sparkling as he sat in the audience and cheered as she swam. For her first meet, she definitely wasn't terrible. She swam her heart out and it definitely showed. She came out of the water positively glowing, like the fire within her had finally decided to show itself.
"Lysander," she choked out, running over to where her 'friend' was sitting with her disgruntled looking father and brother. "Did you see that?"
"You claimed the bronze medal," he grinned encouragingly, "and you were amazing. I knew you could do it, Goldfish. But haven't you still got one more race to go?"
"Oops," she giggled, lifting her sparkly gold nails to her lips. "I do, don't I? I should probably go now, then! See you, Lysander!"
She could see the pure admiration in his eyes as she ran off to the rest of the team, taking her seat back on the bench just as they announced the next race- her weakest. It used the backstroke, which she absolutely loathed, because it had always been one of her weak spots. She could do it, sometimes- with the right motivation- but most of the time, it ended up in complete chaos, with her splashing around in the water and feeling as if she was going to drown.
In other words, she absolutely despised the backstroke.
But she perched on the edge of her starting board anyway, staring nervously at the water, until they shot the blank and she took off.
It was hard, she knew it. She was struggling, sweating despite the fact that the water was covering her, and her lungs were working so hard that she thought that she was about to explode. But Rose was determined that she wouldn't give up. She pushed harder, making herself go as fast as she could. Somehow, she felt as if she could feel the positions of the people behind her- they were gaining on her.
In her head, she imagined Lysander's blue eyes, the same colour as the pool. She imagined her daddy, waiting for her with a proud smile- almost as if he was as proud of her as he was of Hugo.
In the end, that was her key motivation.
She pushed all the way to the finish line. Once she got there, she heard her team explode into cheering as they announced that she'd come in second.
But in the end, she'd done her absolute best, and that was all she'd really wanted.
Lysander hugged her and told her she was fantastic, handing her a gold bracelet with butterflies and waves on it. She started to think that he was quite the good friend, after all.
The first time that she officially met Lorcan was at when Lysander came over to play Quidditch with her father and Hugo, along with Louis, James, Fred, Dominique, Lucy, and Roxanne. Lorcan accompanied him, book in head, and she'd thought that this time, she'd have a fellow spectator.
"Not a fan of Quidditch, then?" she asked briskly.
"Not at all," Lorcan set his book down, revealing the title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He motioned to the book. "Written by my great-grandfather. I'm Lorcan Scamander."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Rose Weasley," Rose gauged carefully. "I know your twin, Lysander. He came to my swim meet." Carefully, she fingered the bracelet he'd presented her with.
"Lysander's mentioned you," Lorcan informed her. "Can't say I listened. I'm only here because he forced me to be."
"Well," Rose replied, annoyed, "you could at least attempt to be friendly."
"I could," Lorcan shrugged over at her, "but I prefer solitude, thank you very much."
However, she did notice the way that whenever his eyes weren't glued to the pages of his book, they were glancing over the top, landing on Lucy Weasley.
In the end, Lysander's team won, and she tackled him in a hug. It was just one of those things- he celebrated with her, she celebrated with him.
She also found him a pillow in the shape of a Snitch and presented it to him. Gift for a gift, right? Favour for a favour?
They head off to Hogwarts the very next month.
Just like some sort of fairytale, they were both sorted into Gryffindor, though she'd half-expected that they'd stick her in Hufflepuff or something. But just like Louis had informed her, the school took no interest in Muggle sports.
In the way of sports, it was Quidditch or bust, and Rose felt as if she were going to bust. The school held so many people, and all of them witches and wizards- it was nearly too much to handle.
Most of her time was spent outside in a large pond that she'd discovered in the Forbidden Forest. She'd never had much of a thing for rules, especially those regarding the school. In fact, she'd only read Hogwarts: A History to get an idea of how the school ran and the geography of it. Contrary to most people (Fred)'s beliefs, she was quite intelligent, and could surely hold her own in class.
But a lot of her time was spent dreaming about when she could go to the pool next. Since she was only a first year, her grades didn't drop considerably, but she definitely wasn't performing to the best of her ability.
One day, Professor Longbottom held her after class. Sternly, he stared at her. "Rose. You seem distracted lately."
"No," she fidgeted uncomfortably. "I'm just trying to reach my dreams, Professor. May I go now?"
"Reach your dreams?" he peered curiously at her. "Is your dream not to be a professor?"
Rolling her eyes, she shook her head. "It was when I was five. I'm older now and I know that I don't care anymore about childish things like becoming a professor. I'd much rather be a swimmer than a professor."
"A swimmer?" Professor Longbottom began to shout, but it was too late- she was already headed out the door. "Rose, that's not a reasonable profession for a-"
She didn't catch the rest of his statement, but she had a pretty good idea of what he'd said.
At some point in the middle of first year, Lysander caught her out by the pond. With a smile, he informed her with excited eyes, "Hey, Goldfish, I thought we could hang out today! I'm free, the teachers haven't given a lot of homework- it could be fun, y'know."
"Sorry, can't," Rose threw the towel over her shoulder. "I'm going to the lake today to practise."
The excited look on Lysander's face fell. "You've practised everyday this week, Goldfish. Don't you ever take breaks?"
"No," she responded deadly. "I need to practise. I'm determined that the next summer I'm going to get a gold medal-"
"Oh," he seemed to finally understand what she was on about. "Oh, so that's what all of this is about. Honestly, swimming isn't about whether you get silver or gold. It's more about doing what you enjoy, and honestly, everyone needs a break from what they enjoy at some point or another."
"I don't need a break," Rose protested, resisting the urge to hit him with her towel. "Don't try and tell me what I can and can't do, Lysander."
Angrily, she stomped off, taking her towel with her. She didn't want to look back- she didn't want to see the disappointed look that she was certain would be on his face.
But she ended up looking back anyway, and with his loose brown curls spilling into his face, he looked much like a little wounded puppy.
It hurt her, somewhere deep inside.
The following summer, he showed up at her swim meet. She hadn't expected him to. For some reason, she'd thought that he hated her. But apparently they weren't on bad terms, because he was there with a hint of a smile on his face.
Right after the meet was over and she'd claimed yet another silver medal, she made her way over to him, smiling a nervous smile. "I thought you were angry with me."
"I thought you were angry with me," he replied with a tiny bit of a laugh. "Look, Goldfish, I'm sorry about before. I didn't mean to sound controlling. I support your swimming, I really do."
"I'm glad," her face softened. "I support your Quidditch and… I'm, um, sorry for snapping at you."
"It's okay," he smiled at her. "Nice job today, anyway. Silver looks nice with your hair, y'know."
Shaking her head, she rubbed her thumb against the silver medal that hung around her neck. "I prefer gold. Gold, like my parents- the heroes."
Getting to his feet, he shook his head at her. "Word of advice- don't try to live up to your parents. Then you'll just be living in their shadows and what fun is that?"
She shot him a glare and shook her head. "Neither of my parents were swimmers, Lysander."
He just laughed it off, at the time, and put an arm around her, suggesting that they do something fun- get ice cream, take her mind off swimming for a bit. And that was what they did, for once.
Second year came around and Rose decided that she wasn't going to be quite so dedicated this year. She wanted to concentrate on her studies this year, and of course, there was always the ever-present issue of Lysander, who loomed around with his watery blue eyes, just waiting for her to have free time. Never did she consider that he would gain a social life without her.
Still, most nights when she had free time, without fail, she would go to the large pond and practise more. Sometimes, she would invite Lysander to go with her.
As she dove into the pond on one of those nights, she informed Lysander, "We need to get a swim team."
"We definitely do," he agreed with a bright smile. "But honestly, Goldfish, who would join? Me, you, maybe Louis, definitely Maya… is that it?"
"I don't know," she seemed to consider a bit. "I might be able to convince a few of my cousins, if I tell them that swimming is one of the easier sports and you don't have to get all sweaty."
"Besides," he reminded her jokingly, "you never know what Slytherin is hiding his or her talents because of their lovely pureblood parents."
"Very true," Rose said brightly. "We can send out a notification in private, then? And they can let us know in some way that no one else can see?"
"You mean like a code," Lysander nodded. "But how would we do that?"
"We're magical, Lysander," Rose reminded him, smirking a bit. "Anything is possible."
They didn't actually end up being able to start the swim team that year, much to the disappointment of both Rose and Lysander. But as they parted for the summer on the platform (not for the last time, of course), she told him that they'd start it up next year, for sure.
That summer, she was on the swim team again, of course. Her first meet wasn't her best- nor was it ever. She didn't even place at all, which disappointed her immensely, but it also gave her motivation to do better.
After the second meet of the year, in which she gained one bronze medal, her coach jerked her over to the side. With his dark eyes, boring into hers, he asked her, "Rose, have you been practising over the school year?"
"I gave myself a bit of a break," she admitted, cheeks clouding with red.
"Rose, if you want to succeed on this team, you've got to have dedication," the coach demanded. "Taking breaks is not a sign of dedication. Do you even care about this team at all?"
"Of course I do," Rose's mouth fell open. How could he even question her dedication?
"Well, you need to start acting like it," the coach commanded her. His face softening, he followed it up with, "Rose, you're a terrific swimmer. If I'm speaking by ability, you're one of the best on the team, quite honestly. And you used to be so dedicated that it amazed me. But lately, you don't seem so dedicated. You seem more… lukewarm. And honestly, we don't need any more lukewarm swimmers here."
Suddenly, one of the swimmers from the rival teams caught her eyes, silencing her protests. It was a tiny girl with a handful of blonde hair that reminded her a lot of Scorpius Malfoy, a Slytherin who she neither liked nor disliked, though he was best friends with her cousin Albus. Her eyes narrowed, wondering why she was here.
Impatiently, she asked, "Can I go now?"
"Can you be more dedicated?" he asked her.
She inhaled deeply. Swimming was what she loved, and if this was what it took, then she would do it, for the sake of being able to stay on the team. Grinning, she nodded. "I'll be the most dedicated person out there next year, you'll see."
"Good," the coach nodded. "You may go, then."
Quickly, she dashed over to the blonde girl and grabbed her arm just as she was about to walk out the door. "Wait a second."
The girl spun around, raising one perfect blonde eyebrow. "Who are you and why are you randomly grabbing my arm, Mu- never mind," she added hastily, looking as if she was about to say Muggle.
"First and foremost, Malfoy, I'm not a Muggle," Rose informed her with a raised eyebrow.
"Who are you?" the girl demanded.
"Rose Weasley, witch and going into third year," Rose said primly. "Who are you? I guessed that you're the sister of Scorpius, and your little slip there gave you away completely."
"Gemini Malfoy," the girl fidgeted uncomfortably. "Um, can you not tell anyone about this? I'm really not supposed to be here. My father forbids it, but it's not as if I do anything he says anyway. I rather enjoy swimming, so I'm going to do it."
Rose had to admire the girl's determination. Gemini sort of reminded Rose of herself, in that way. With a grin, Rose told her, "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. I just wanted to ask you something."
It was then that Lysander interrupted her, walking up between the two of them and looking between them, obviously bewildered. "Gemini? What are you doing here?"
Ignoring her idiotic best friend, Rose continued, "We're thinking of starting up a swim team at Hogwarts. A secret one, so that anyone with pureblood supremacist parents could join without their parents finding out. Interested?"
Gemini's grey eyes lit up. "You bet I am! Just tell me when and where… and I've got to go. I'll see you at Hogwarts, then? I'm starting first year!"
"See you," Rose called to the blonde's retreating figure before turning back to see Lysander's bewildered face.
Rose had to laugh.
The swim team started up the following year. At first, it was only Rose, Lysander, Louis, Maya, Molly, Dominique, and Gemini. But of course, that was enough people for a team of beginners.
Being the most experienced swimmer, Maya was assigned to captain. Rose felt a flash of envy, but it vanished as she reassured herself that it was only because Maya (with her golden curls like the sweetest honey) was the oldest swimmer on the team (other than Louis, who knew next to nothing about swimming). She didn't coach Rose as much- she didn't have to. Everyone else needed a lot more help than she did. So she'd just practise everything that her coach had told her to.
She was definitely the most dedicated of them all, Maya coming in second to her. Every day that she could, even when she had schoolwork or things that were probably more important, she was out there in the large pond, swimming and practising everything that she had learned. She'd been listening when he said that she needed dedication if she was going to make it, and determined, she was. She knew that she could do it, and maybe even claim gold. She just had to have the determination to do it.
So she increased her determination and her dedication, determined that the next summer, she would claim the gold medal and all. At school, she would probably become the captain the following year if she kept at it. But in her dedication, she nearly forgot about her friends.
All she could really hear was the sound of her coach's words: "We don't need anymore lukewarm swimmers here."
And if there was one thing Rose Weasley was not, it was lukewarm. She was on fire.
Every day that she could, she was out at the large pond, swimming. On the other days, she would practise at swim practice. Her times went down and her determination went up. She was muscular, now, and even skinnier than before.
One day, when she was at the pond, Lysander caught her. "Hey, Goldfish. It's been a while."
"You see me every Tuesday and Thursday at swim practice," she pointed out, dangling her toes into the water. "It has not been a while."
"Yeah, but you hardly ever just hang around anymore," he offered her a fraction of a smile. "I miss just talking to you."
"Talking's for people with no hopes and dreams," she hissed, glancing down at her reflection in the water. Oh, how things had changed. "I have to practise, Lysander."
He nodded, not looking happy in the least, and standing up, he walked off.
(She watched him and wondered when she became so cruel.)
It was later that year, during her near-constant training and all, that she realised how little of a social life she really had. That day was a Hogsmeade day, and everyone had left already, leaving a few scattered people to dominate the grounds of Hogwarts. She decided to go talk to someone. And by the smaller pond, she found a boy, his pale feet skimming just above the water.
As she sat down beside the boy, she greeted him with a quiet "hullo". But as he turned his head, she realised that he was not just any random boy. Grey eyes met chocolate brown.
The boy was Scorpius Malfoy.
At Hogwarts, Scorpius Malfoy was something of a legend. He was what some might call a player. Every week, he had a different girlfriend. Legend had it that he had dated every eligible third year at some point and was beginning on the fourth years. However, Rose knew it wasn't true- he hadn't ever dated her.
But despite the rumours swirling around him, Rose could tell you for a fact that the ice-boy was absolutely gorgeous. His eyes smothered and his hair fell perfectly into place. She would say that he was like a Greek god, but she hadn't ever seen a Greek god, so she didn't suppose she could really say that.
He blinked at her. "Rose Weasley. What are you doing here?"
"Scorpius," she managed to stammer out, caught under his silvery gaze. "I- wait, what do you mean, what am I doing here? It's the public school grounds. I have as much a right to be here as you do."
"I mean, you're usually being antisocial in that big pond of yours, swimming or whatever it is you do in there," he wrinkled up his nose. "What are you doing out here, talking to me?"
"I just realised I was being a bit antisocial and all," Rose shrugged. "And you looked like you needed some company, which is weird and all, because normally you're surrounded by friends. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"This isn't about me," he replied. "It's none of your business who my friends are, why I'm here, or why my friends aren't with me. Don't you have friends?"
"I have friends on the swim team," she said before she clapped a hand on her mouth. "Wait, never mind that."
"You're on a swim team?" he peered at her. "Hogwarts has a swim team?" Rather than looking repulsed, he looked rather interested, so she decided to spill.
"It's a secret, really," she began, before telling him everything except the part where Gemini was also on the team. He listened intently, so she didn't really question why she was telling Scorpius Malfoy, the infamous one.
"Would you be interested in joining?" she finally breathed out.
Fingering his Ravenclaw tie, the thing that set him apart from his father, he nodded. "I think I would. Are you sure my father won't find out?"
"I'm sure," she replied, a mysterious twinkle in his eye.
(He wasn't quite so gracious when he found out that Gemini had been on the team for ages and hadn't told him.)
Lysander cornered her in the corridor that way, not looking happy at all. "Goldfish. Can I have a word with you?"
"Sure," she replied easily, not letting her fear show through.
"What is your problem?" he spit out, glaring at her. "So you've been ignoring me for ages because you've got to practise your swimming. Everything's about training, and your life revolves around swimming because you've got to have determination like your coach said. Even at practice, you avoid me, and you tell me it's because you have to spend every spare minute swimming. So I believe you, but then I come back from Hogsmeade to find you sitting on a log, talking to Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius freaking Malfoy."
"Look, Lysander, I was only talking to him because I decided I need to be more social," she tried to explain.
"I thought I was your best friend," he said, and she watched as the warm water that normally made up his eyes froze over.
"You are my best friend," she protested weakly. "It's not what it seems like."
His eyes flashed over, and she watched as what seemed to be an angry blizzard raged in his eyes and in his tone. "Are you sure?" he asked bitterly. "Because I think it's exactly what it seems like."
Angrily, he stormed away, not looking the least bit happy with her. But when he turned around, she felt like she was being sucked into the blizzards that were his eyes once again.
Terrified, she turned and walked off the other way.
He came back to her (didn't he always?).
She didn't know how, or why, but one day, during her last meet of the summer, he was sitting in the audience, not looking quite as angry as before. In between two of her matches, she tore over to him, eyes bright. "Lysander! You came!"
"Of course, Goldfish," he replied, but his voice was soft with emotion or something of the like. "I told you I would come to your swimming meets, the important ones, at least, and who am I to go back on my word?"
She just laughed a bit, grinning at him. "I'm so glad you came, though. I'm really sorry about the whole Malfoy thing- you see, I suddenly realised that I needed to be more social, because I'd been spending all of my time at the large pond, and I needed to make more friends. So I went out and the first person that I saw was Malfoy, so I talked to him. I don't want you to be mad or anything..."
"Calm down, Rose. I'm not angry anymore. In fact, I actually really wanted to tell you that-" he began.
But she never got to find out what he really wanted to tell her because his words were cut off by her coach, who yelled, "Rose Weasley! Your longest race yet starts in two minutes, so you'd best get down here and stop chatting with your lovely little boyfriend."
Giving him an apologetic look, she turned around. "That's my cue. I'll talk to you later, Lysander, like after the meet?"
"See you," he said with a nod, but as she walked off, she cast him one last glance. The blizzard had returned to his once-warm eyes.
It sort of stung.
She ended up getting a silver medal, much to her disappointment, but it was a lot better than the bronze medal from last time. However, she didn't get the chance to talk to Lysander afterward, as her Muggle coach took them all out for hamburgers and the like.
One thing that she had not considered was that Lysander had a social life outside of her and the swim team. But the next year, when Lysander kissed Molly after Gryffindor killed Slytherin in Quidditch, it was hard not to consider.
After that, instead of Lysander-and-Rose, it became Lysander-and-Molly. She couldn't even bring herself to be bitter toward Molly- she'd never seen her sweet cousin so happy. And they were cute, in a sickening kind of way. But she sort of felt her hormones appear out of nowhere that year, and they were all pointing out how cute Lysander Scamander was getting.
With his blue eyes, brown curls, talent for all things athletic, and pretty girlfriend, Lysander was quickly making his way among the heartthrobs. And Rose didn't like it one bit.
They didn't know him. They'd never seen him cheer in the stands with a legitimate smile on his face. They'd never heard him talk about his worries, about his dreams, about how he compared to his brother.
And yet, they did. They knew an entirely different Lysander than the one Rose knew. One that cared only for sports, himself, and sometimes Molly. A dense, stupid, Lysander. They knew him more than Rose did, yet they didn't know him at all.
That sort of scared her, more than anything else- the double-sided person that Lysander had become.
Jealousy, she claimed later, was what drove her to do it. She was mad with jealousy over the whole Lysander-and-Molly thing, and she wanted her own special type of revenge.
But in truth, she didn't think that it was from jealousy. It was from her own selfish desires- the desire to make Lysander suffer the way that she was suffering, the desire to be popular, the desire to prove that she was better than everyone else.
So, one day at swim practice, when Scorpius Malfoy asked her out, she agreed.
It might have been a moment of temporary insanity. It might have been jealousy. But either way, she was Scorpius Malfoy's girlfriend, and there was nothing anyone could say to stop her.
If there was one thing that Scorpius didn't understand, though, it was personal space.
Rose preferred to spend much of her time at the large pond, alone, practising her swimming. Yet, the day after Scorpius asked her out, when she was practising her swimming once again, he found her there. With his cocky smile (that she couldn't help but compare to Lysander's dorky smile), he asked her, "Swimming once again? Do you ever take breaks?"
"No," she replied, surfacing for just a second, annoyed with this boy already. Couldn't he tell that she preferred to practise in silence? "Scorpius, I'm going for a gold medal. I need dedication and determination."
"Dedication and determination," he rolled his eyes. "Talk about corny."
Reproachfully, she glared at him, still annoyed. "If I agree to come out and snog you, will you leave me alone for the rest of the afternoon?"
His stormy grey eyes flickered with indecision. "Maybe."
Irritated still, she climbed out of the pool, walking over to him with a frown.
As her wet lips collided with his dry, cracked ones, she couldn't help but think how very wrong this was. He was a Malfoy, and she just didn't go with him the way she was supposed to. She felt that she might go perfectly with Lysander, but wait, it was too late for that, wasn't it?
He was with Molly now, and there was no use thinking about him, anyway.
But for some reason, she wasn't able to stop.
In the summer between fourth and fifth year, Rose and Scorpius broke up. It was expected, or at least, she expected it to happen at some point. But then she was single, and she had no way to make Lysander jealous, not to mention she still had hardly any friends, the little anti-social girl. Not to mention, she wanted the gold medal that she still hadn't claimed.
So every day, she was at the large pond. She didn't speak to anyone unless class forced her to, and she never hung out with anyone. She even stopped going to Lysander's Quidditch games- they weren't really good friends anymore, what was the point? All of her time was filled up with swimming. It was her OWL year, yes, but she didn't want to be an astronomer, she wanted to be a swimmer, so she saw no point in really studying.
Everything meant nothing to her, with the one exception of the large pond filled with its murky water that she cleaned every day.
One day, Lysander grabbed her shoulder. "Goldfish."
"Oh, you're talking to me?" she asked coolly. "I didn't realise we were on speaking terms anymore."
"Well, you've been blowing me off to go to the lake every day that you can, but that's normal for you," he hissed through his teeth. "I just wanted to ask you something."
"What? Did Molly finally realise you were an idiot and break things off with you?" Rose smiled sweetly. "At last."
"Goldfish! Please, just play nice for a second," he sighed, deflating both his ego and his mask that he was trying to keep on, but he never could with her. "It's the Quidditch Cup tomorrow. Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff. They have Louis and Hugo. I was just wondering if you could come and cheer us on- we could definitely use the support."
She considered for a second before she nodded. "I suppose I'll be there. Though I don't know if it'll be for you."
He shot her one last smile- one that said, we used to be friends, what happened? Her forlorn smile replied, I don't know.
Hufflepuff won the Quidditch cup that year, costing Gryffindor their first defeat in about three years. She saw the distraught looks on all of the Gryffindors' faces, particularly Lysander and the Gryffindor captain, Jonathan Wood. And then, before she could make her way over to him, Molly was already there, hint of a frown on her face- Rose could understand why, but honestly, why make it worse?
Of course, though, Molly just made everything worse, because it was then that she broke up with Lysander. It was at the low point of his year, too- how could she?
Rose didn't know what to say to him, but he approached her first. The blizzard back in his blue eyes, he asked her shakily, "Goldfish, can I- can I talk to you?"
"Aren't you already?" she wondered, sarcasm evident in her tone. Then she sighed, relenting at the look in his eyes. "Fine, talk."
"We're having a team party tonight," Lysander informed her. "Despite the fact that, you know, we lost and all. Anyway, we're all meant to bring dates. Molly was supposed to be mine, but you know how that failed. So, I was wondering if…"
"If I would be your date," Rose supplied, a tiny smile tugging at the edges of her lips. "Of course I will."
"You're serious?" Lysander raised an eyebrow. "You're not planning on going to the big pond today or something?"
"I'll go with you," she replied, not mentioning that she had been planning on going to the pond. But she'd been neglecting him- everyone- lately, so she felt like she had to go with him. She owed him at least that much.
"Good," he replied, the edges of a soft smile evident on his face, though the blizzard still raged in his eyes.
Once they got to the party that night, Rose slipped her hand into Lysander's nervously. He looked over at her. "Something wrong?"
"No," she fibbed. "It's fine."
But there was something wrong. As Rose glanced around the room of Gryffindors, she found that other than Gemini, Lysander, Roxanne, Molly, and some of the people in her classes, she didn't recognize anyone. There had been hoards of first years that she hadn't even bothered to approach. She'd never really taken the time to branch out, and now, she couldn't name half of the people in the room. As Lysander ditched her to dance with a pretty brunette, she felt herself on her own, once again.
"Care to dance?" a soft voice spoke from behind her, and she spun to see Scorpius Malfoy. With a scowl, she asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Roxanne invited me," he shrugged. "Her little crush Benjamin is being an idiot still, and she's the Chaser- she couldn't come alone. So, she invited me. She knows that I've hit a bit of a low spot ever since my breakup with, well- you."
"You don't still fancy me, do you?" she questioned quietly.
"No," he shook his head. "I don't. I fancy someone else, actually, which is why I've stopped with my player antics."
She realised suddenly that his arm was on her waist, so she hesitantly placed a hand on his shoulder and they began to dance. "You love Dominique, my cousin." There was no question in her tone, and she wondered how she could have missed this. What else had she missed while she'd been stuck in her world of swimming?
"I don't know if I'd call it love," he said finally. "But something like that, yes. And…Rose, you're so oblivious, honestly. Haven't you noticed that Lysander's in love with you?"
"He is not," Rose replied hotly, but she laughed as the song ended and Scorpius disappeared into the crowd.
Lysander returned to her then. "Care to dance?"
"Why not?" she replied softly, letting him lead her to the dance floor and wondering if what Lysander implied was actually correct. There was no way that he was in love with her, right?
But she rolled her eyes, and within her peripheral vision, she caught sight of her brother- Hugo - dancing with Gemini Malfoy, and she wondered what all she'd missed out on.
After that, Rose began to consider getting back into the spin of things, but she didn't act on it. She was stubborn and determined that she was going to get a gold medal the next summer, no matter what anyone said. And if that meant sacrificing her social life for a bit longer, then so be it.
At least, that's what she told herself. She nearly lost her resolve whenever she saw Hugo, his hand in Gemini Malfoy's, or Lysander, looking like a little lost puppy.
But she needed this, honestly. Otherwise, she couldn't maintain her position as Rose-the-swimmer. In a big family like hers, she needed to have something, some special talent, unless she wanted to be swallowed up by the immense number of family members that she possessed. And unless she got that gold medal, she had a feeling that she wouldn't be recognized for her swimming talents for much longer.
The fact that when Maya graduated, she'd been named captain of their ragtag swim team only added fuel to her fire. If she was going to lead the weak, she'd have to set a strong example. They didn't really have meets or anything; she just taught them everything she knew and then they'd leave. That was why she wasn't really caught up on the gossip or anything of the like.
So she decided that she was going to neglect everyone, once again, because there was no room for social time at all in her tightened schedule. Her schedule now went something like this: get up, swim, eat, swim, classes, swim, eat, swim, classes, study, swim, sleep. It was crowded enough already; there was no room for social hour. And she tried so hard to convince herself that she didn't care at all.
But when she saw her brother walking around the Hogwarts grounds, hand in hand with Gemini Malfoy, she almost gave up her resolution in order to catch up with her brother.
She didn't, though, because she was determined and she had to have determination in order to get a gold medal, right?
Then she almost broke again when she saw the blizzard raging in Lysander's eyes again. There were no words for how much she wanted to go talk to him, to comfort him, but it would take too much time out of her schedule.
So back to the large pond it was. There was no other option for her.
It was one day, when she was making her way to the pond once again, that Lysander stopped her, not looking happy in the least. "Goldfish," he asked, "can I have a word with you?"
"Aren't you already?" she replied sharply. A wounded expression appeared on his face, reminding her of a lost puppy once again, and she sighed. "Go ahead, then."
"Look, Goldfish, I know we're your friends and all, but you can't keep playing us like this. You can't keep ditching us for swimming. I know you've got a bit of a swimming obsession and you want to be dedicated or whatever, but how do you think it makes your friends feel? We've always been there for you, but you're never there for us, and we're getting tired of it. So, I've decided to give you an ultimatum," his eyes gleamed.
"You're going to make me choose between you all and swimming?" Rose's eyes widened.
"Not exactly," Lysander responded. "If you come to this one event and spend some time with us all, then I'll assume that you've decided to come back down to planet Earth. It's just an indicator, really- we'd still love for you to spend time with us afterward."
"And what would this one event be, then?" She questioned with a bit of a frown.
"The school year's almost over, so nothing involving school or anything. It's my birthday party," he replied, a bit of a guilty smile tugging at the edges of his face. "I'm turning sixteen and I would adore it if you could come."
"What day is it?" she asked quickly.
"June 25th," he responded with a bit of a hopeful smile that she could never resist. "Be there or… we may not be there when you need it most."
She nodded as he walked away, before it hit her.
June 25th was the day of her first swim meet.
She decided that she would talk to her coach first. But he wasn't too thrilled with her, either.
"Rose Weasley!" her coach exclaimed. "What was that speech that I gave you before? Do you remember? It was about dedication, about determination! This match could very well be one of the most important of your career and you want to give it up to spend time with your little boyfriend!"
"It's his sixteenth birthday!" Rose protested. "That's different than me wanting to give it up to go on a date."
"You've got to be here," he demanded, not looking happy. "We need you, Weasley, and you need us."
She just shook her head, which was already clouding was thoughts- would she really have to choose? Lysander or the swim team?
Head reeling with thoughts, she simply walked away.
It was her choice, and there was no way out of it. Either she could attend the meet and continue on with her swimming career as usual but lose her friends- most notably Lysander- or she could attend Lysander's party, at the risk of ruining her swimming career.
It was time for her to choose.
Dedicated, determined Rose would have chosen swimming with no second thoughts. But Rose wasn't sure if that Rose even existed anymore. Scorpius' words rang in her head. Her father's words rang in her head. But so did her coach's. Who was right? Was there no perfect solution? There was no way to choose both, to satisfy everyone. It was all or nothing, here.
Finally, she made her choice.
She wasn't sure if it was the right one- was she sure of anything?- but she knew that it was necessary.
Her careful fingers pulled open the door. Her heart was beating- thump thump- faster than it'd ever beaten before. She still wasn't sure of her decision, but this was something she had to do.
As she pulled the door open, a blonde figure came rushing her way. "Rose, you came! Lysander was terrified that you wouldn't. I haven't seen you, either- Wrackspurts got you?"
"I came," she repeated softly, the guilt of skipping the swim meet starting to settle in. "No, I've just been around, Aunt Luna- where's Lysander?"
"Right here," came a voice, raw emotion barely contained in his simple words. His arms reached out to hug her, and she ran right into them, burying her head in his chest. "I didn't think you would come," he whispered into her hair.
"I didn't think I would either," she laughed.
Smiling, he took her hand and led her back to a room that was crowded with Lysander's friends and acquaintances. She didn't actually recognize a lot of them, but she smiled awkwardly anyway.
A voice broke through the crowd. "So, my little fish of a cousin has decided to come out of the water and rejoin the normal world." Grinning, Victoire ruffled her hair affectionately.
Rose blushed and jerked back, looking around. The band onstage had begun to play music, and some people were beginning to dance. Lysander disappeared into the crowd at some random redhead's invitation.
Just as she was beginning to regret her decision to attend, her cousin James, clad in his uniform Gryffindor tie, appeared. Extending a hand, he asked her, "Care to dance?"
With a laugh, she let her goofy cousin sweep her onto the dance floor. Throughout the afternoon and later, night, she danced with family and friends, people that she hadn't seen in ages. But it was the last dance that proved to be the most special.
It was a slow song, which was weird enough in itself- she didn't know what she was meant to do with a slow dance. Was a guy supposed to ask her, or was she supposed to ask someone? She just stood awkwardly until finally someone approached her with a bit of a smile.
"Goldfish," he asked, looking a lot like her prince or knight in shining armour, "would you care to dance?'
Her heart nearly skipped a beat, and she had to wonder if Scorpius Malfoy was actually right. Could Lysander possibly be in love with her? But she accepted nonetheless, taking his strong hand in hers. With a smile, she let him pull her close to him. "You realise this means you owe me, now?"
"I do," he confirmed, a smile playing at the edges of his lips. "Shall I come to your big swim meet, then?"
"Sounds good," she confirmed, before inquiring, "You honestly thought I wouldn't show up?"
"I had my doubts," he confirmed. But as he smiled at her, pulling her closer, he whispered, "They're all gone now."
She laughed a bit as he spun her around. "Good to know. And what brought this on, anyway?"
"What?" he played innocent.
"Your ultimatum," she explained. "And, well, you suddenly grew a backbone. All of it."
"I suppose I was just getting tired of you treating me- all of us, really- like dirt. We missed you, Goldfish," he shot her a forlorn smile. "But you didn't really care that much. So I decided it was time for an ultimatum."
"I do care," she protested, wiping a red curl out of her forehead before placing her hand back on Lysander's shoulder, realising with a start that sometime over the last year he'd become quite muscular. Trying not to focus on that, she continued, "I don't even- how do you even know what the word ultimatum means?"
"You don't," he replied solemnly. "You're a bit selfish, Goldfish, and you don't even realise. I am too; I'll be the first to admit. And anyway, Lorcan told me what it meant, of course. He wanted you to wake up from your little daydream."
'I didn't know Lorcan cared," Rose seemed astonished. "He and I don't really speak."
"Oh, but he cares," Lysander retorted. "Probably because I talk about you so much, but-"
"Why?" she interrupted, before finishing her question. "Why do you care, anyway?"
"Why do I care?" he asked, the sparkle back in his blue eyes, all trace of the blizzard that had once existed gone. "I care because…"
He didn't finish his sentence. Rather than explaining, he simply leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. Once he pulled away, he smiled a bit. "That's why."
And then, the daring, brave Gryffindor walked away from Rose without a word of explanation.
Her mind raced as she walked through the doors of the biggest meet of the year, which they'd conveniently placed near the start of the summer. She couldn't stop thinking about Lysander, and how he'd kissed her. There was no other explanation- Scorpius had to be right. But she still couldn't believe it, nor could she understand why.
She walked over to her still-fuming coach and raised an eyebrow. "Rose Weasley, reporting for duty."
"You ditched," he hissed through his clenched teeth. "You ditched the next match. I don't even know if I should allow you to swim anymore."
"But you need me, remember?" she replied in a cocky tone. "The team needs me."
He looked taken aback, probably because she didn't normally speak to him that way. With a shake of his head, he replied, "We could do fine without you."
"But you know you want me on the team," she smirked at him, "despite the fact that I've never gotten a gold medal. Because I'm one of the best swimmers you have and you know that."
Looking intensely surprised now, he quoted the same words she'd spoken to Lysander: "Whoa, when did you grow a backbone?"
"The same time I realised that you're a filthy liar," she hissed, the fire returning to her eyes. "Sure, practise may make perfect. But haven't you ever heard of too much of a good thing? I was neglecting everything else in my life for perfection, and that's not what you need to win. All you need is determination."
Angry, she walked off to take her spot in the lineup, and her coach didn't protest. She hadn't thought he would, anyway.
But he'd only entered her in one event, and it was one of the longer ones. She waited for her turn, semi-patiently, only barely restraining herself for yelling at the stupid people who were running it.
Then they whistled and she stepped on to the board, waiting for the sound of the gun.
Boom. As it fired and she dove off, she spotted her father, Hugo, and Lysander in the audience. Splash. She hit the water and she took off, still loving how the water felt against her skin. She was in control, she was determined, and for once, she wasn't tired. She knew what she was doing. In fact, she could control the water under her touch. Her hands sliced the water as if it were nothing.
She kept going and going. Behind her, she could feel everyone else getting tired, but her rigid training schedule and preparations had prepared her for this.
And when she finished, her first thought was that she'd finally gotten gold. As she clambered out of the water, they hung the gold medal around her wet neck and she laughed. Her wet fingers fingered it.
Lysander ran over to her, wrapping his arms around her soaking body. Hugo followed him, draping a towel around her shoulders before grinning. She ruffled her brother's hair before turning to Lysander. "Ly, I got the gold medal!"
"I knew you would, Goldfish," he told her, running a finger over her medal before smiling at her. "I knew it."
Then he kissed her again, but this time, they were only broken apart when her father walked over to the two of them and cleared his throat loudly. Lysander jumped away from her quickly, reddening. "I- I'm sorry, I'll let you two have a word…"
Ron nodded as the boy took off before turning to him with a smile. "Your new boyfriend?"
"Daddy," she protested, feeling her face heat up as well.
"Might've guessed," he nodded with a laugh. "Anyway. You've done a nice job, Rosie, a real nice job. And hey, when you're racing- sometimes, swimming is as exciting as Quidditch. Did you hear Hugo and I yelling? You had a good lead on them, though. I think you've got a bright future, my dear daughter."
"You're allowing me to pursue swimming?" Rose could hardly believe her ears.
"I'm allowing you to do what you want," Ron replied.
She wanted more than anything to jump at him, squealing, and wrap him in a hug, but that wasn't the way that she did things. Instead, she hugged him carefully and then pulled away. "Thank you, Daddy."
He nodded, walking away to Hugo, probably to discuss the latest Quidditch statistics. But for once, Rose didn't care. She actually laughed as she looked at her beaming coach, at her happy father, at her little brother. That was when she was joined by Lysander, once again.
He grinned at her. "I'm proud of you. We all are. The little Weasley swimmer, Rose, the swimmer."
Nodding, she told him, "That's all I wanted all along, to be known for something."
"You already were," he told her, and then, looking like he was filled to the top with emotions, he leaned over and kissed her once again. Once he pulled away, he whispered, "I think I might love you."
She giggled a very un-Rose-like giggle. "You know, I think I might love you too, Lysander. From the bottom of my selfish heart."
He smiled and just kissed her again. "How do I know that you're not going to just become obsessed with swimming again and leave me in the dust? I'm not going to just let you in, like that."
"How do you expect me to make it up to you?" she asked breathlessly.
Lysander just smiled. "Prove it to me."
One day, after she'd given her brother a very long and detailed speech telling him about relationships and how she approved of his relationship with Gemini but didn't want any Malfoy-Weasley babies to take care of (that were his), she decided against going to swim practice and instead decided to Apparate over to Lysander's.
He was standing in the midst of his mother's garden, looking irritated, and she could see why- the flowers seemed to die whenever he walked up. Giggling, she approached him from behind, wrapping her arms around his waist. "Guess who?"
"Goldfish," he grinned, pulling her around to face him. "Aren't you meant to be at swim practice?"
"I ditched," Rose said simply. "Decided to come see you instead."
"Is this your way of proving yourself to me?" Lysander shook his head, laughing, before he took another step forward and yet another flower died. "Ugh."
"Hey," Rose reminded him gently, "not everyone can be Mr. Perfect."
"Try telling that to yourself," he shot back, before he just shook his head and pulled her to him, kissing her gently.
As they pulled away, she could've sworn she saw one of the flowers come back to life.
The blizzard was gone from his eyes, now.
Rose Weasley had always been the fire that melted Lysander's blizzard.
A/N: Gah, I don't even know. Do with this what you will. It's a product of my adoration for swimming and Pearl's Coffee Flavors Challenge.
And yeah, this is for Pearl (PrincessPearl) cause I've owed her a RoseLysander since like, the beginning of time. So here you go
Review, please, and don't favourite without reviewing! I'm sorry that this was so bad.
AND THAT ROSE AND LYSANDER WOULDN'T SHUT UP. Gah. Why are they so cute?... wait, I did not just say that.