Ahoy hoy! This is the first in a four-parter about the deliciously destined couple. I don't really like this first bit, but it kinda sets up the rest of the story. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON IT YET! I promise things will get more interesting, so please don't desert me just yet :)
This first part is from Rose's perspective, but it will shift between her and Scorpius between each chapter.
NOTE: when I say they're excuses for them sleeping together i mean just sleeping...for now ;)
I think that's about it. Please review - I would love to hear what you think.
Excuse 1: He needed me…
Rose couldn't believe her luck. Or severe lack thereof. Not only was she made to attend the launch of the newest History of Magic exhibition being showcased in London, but she had to attend it with one of her least favourite work colleagues. On a Friday night.
Rose had been listening to stories of her family members since she was born and, though she was far from unappreciative of them, they tended to grow a little old if told too many times. And in her 23 years, Rose had certainly heard them too much.
She had originally come here (involuntarily) as a representative of the Ministry with her colleague, but as soon as the organizers had found out she was attending she had been promoted to the rank of 'guest', plus one. It simply added insult to injury, as she was made to listen to a brief overview of the sufficiently intense tales of her loved ones that had been overtly dramatized to the point of being embarrassing. Really, something that had been contributed to by Reeta Skeeter was guaranteed to be utterly outrageous.
And to top off the evening, she had to attend with Scorpius Malfoy, said least favourite work colleague.
It wasn't that they were enemies; on the contrary, he had been a close friend of her cousin, Albus, since their third year in Hogwarts. Granted, he and Albus hadn't gotten along at first, and had in fact acted like archenemies from the beginning – the rivalry was initiated by Albus, not Malfoy much to everyone's amazement. Albus and Malfoy had been out to get each other on the Quidditch pitch and classes alike right from the beginning.
In third year they had had a full on brawl after Quidditch one Saturday, successfully landing both of them in detention with Professor Longbottom. To everyone's great amazement, they had walked out of their detention acting as if they were life long friends. They still had their Slytherin-Gryffindor rivalry, but it was almost brotherly. Albus somehow seemed to bring out the funny, laid-back side of Malfoy, and the anonymous pranks that graced Hogwarts had grown more devious and cunning since Malfoy had joined Albus' group of friends.
Actually, now that she really thought about it, Rose had known him for almost half her life. And she still wouldn't consider him a friend.
Rose and Scorpius' relationship was always tense. He was often polite, greeting her not so much with warmth as respect. He congratulated her on achievements, but it always seemed hollow, like it was just a response he had been programmed to say. He would watch her, examine her expressions and movements with a look of such indifference that she didn't even know why he bothered. He would often mutter sharp little comments that struck her a little too harshly, but would then be an ideal gentlemen and, on occasion, make her laugh. He even bought her flowers for her birthday last year, but gave her such a look of disinterest when he delivered them to her that she didn't know what to think of it.
He had walked into her office at the Ministry, knocking politely before entering, bouquet in hand. He dropped the card on her desk and handed her the flowers.
"Happy Birthday Weasley," he said as she took the flowers, then left just as abruptly. He had barely made eye contact with her and his voice had been completely emotionless.
He hadn't even called her Rose.
It was utterly perplexing. Sure, she had given him a birthday present (a nice silk tie that she had never seen him wear) but she gave everyone presents. Malfoy, for a man as wealthy as he, never seemed to spend a sickle on anyone else.
So instead of the happy birthday she was supposed to have, she had an all together confusing one that left her in such a tired and ragged state that she hadn't even made it out to drinks with the girls. All because of some bloody flowers from the most indifferent man alive.
But his indifference and disinterest were not the most frustrating of the Malfoy's traits. No, the most insufferable thing that Malfoy had a habit of doing was smirking.
That infuriating smirk that he would shoot her when she commented on something. It was such an unreadable look that it disarmed her. She didn't know if that was the closest thing to a smile he could muster, after all he was a Malfoy, or whether he found her comment to be stupid or in someway self-incriminating. He frustrated her beyond belief. He seemed to be able to read her completely without even knowing her. She, on the other hand, couldn't even interpret whether his greeting was sincere or not.
Yes Scorpius Malfoy was her least favourite colleague because she did not like being around people that she couldn't read. Especially when they had blonde hair, grey eyes and a bad reputation. And he was on record as her plus one.
It was embarrassing.
So here she was, standing with Scorpius Malfoy, her plus one, as he nonchalantly (as always) handed her a glass of champagne. The only slightly satisfying point was that he seemed even more reluctant to be here than she did.
"Here you are Weasley," he said as he handed her the glass, before checking his silver pocket watch non-too discretely, "How long till this thing finishes anyway?"
"It hasn't even properly started yet," she replied quietly, looking around the room at all the artwork inspired by the events of the Great War. The majority was as appealing as any five foot 'unauthorized' portrait of your Uncle and Dad could be. And some of her mother were, well, bordering on distasteful (she highly doubted that her mother – the Hermione Weasley – ever wore a skirt that short or a shirt that low cut and…clingy). Rose was starting to regret having her name officially on the guest-list. This was humiliating.
She was pulled from her musings by an undignified snort from beside her. At first she thought it was a very un-Scorpius thing for him to do, and wondered what on Earth had made Scorpius Malfoy snort. Then she saw what he had been looking at. It was a huge seven-foot painting of her Uncle Harry fighting Voldemort.
Dressed in a suit of armor.
With doves flying behind him.
As he defended helpless school children.
On a unicorn.
Rose couldn't help but let out a burst of laughter, but quickly covered her mouth to avoid many strange looks that had been shot her way. She smiled apologetically at the people around her before looking back at the painting. It was atrocious. She let out a choked kind of a laugh and tried her best not to burst into a fit of giggles. She looked at Malfoy who had one eyebrow raised in a look that was especially reserved for things he thought were pathetic. She had to concur – this painting was pitiful.
"I wonder how much it costs," she said attempting to start a conversation with the man beside her. It worked.
"Why on Earth do you care?" he asked in both surprise and disgust, "You're not seriously considering buying that are you?"
"I don't know," Rose shrugged and examined the look on Harry's' face again – pure determination, with a bit of cheap romance novel suave thrown in, "It would almost be worth its inevitably extravagant price tag just to see the look on my Uncle's face when he sees it."
Scorpius conceded and gave a smirk – a smirk – and let out a snort/laugh sound. He simply took another sip of his champagne, shook his head once more at the painting and moved on. Rose stayed looking at it a moment longer. It was like a car crash – horrifying but strangely hypnotizing. Shaking herself from her musings, she moved on.
The majority of the rest of the exhibition was just as amusing and insulting. Pictures of Rose's mother in her father's arms whilst defending themselves from various Death Eaters – Rose was sure that her mother would be outraged by this, after all, Hermione Weasley was more than capable of looking after herself. Others of her various family members, including her grandparents, aunts and uncles, even Professor Longbottom were scattered through the display. She noted that there were none of the Malfoys anywhere to be seen. In fact, there wasn't anyone on Voldemort's side anywhere – they only featured in the background of portraits of Harry and the others.
At least that's what she thought, until the reach 'The Dark Room'.
Set up out the back through an overly dramatic cobweb curtain, 'The Dark Room' had been named as such because it was filled with portraits of those who fought with and for The Dark Lord. Though Voldemort himself rarely featured (people were very weary of presenting his image in public), there was an abundance of portraits of his Death Eaters. None of which were complimentary.
Rose passed one of Bellatrix Le Strange looking rightfully deranged, her eyes wide and crazy. Her fingers were long and contorted with sharp pointed nails at the ends. She stood in a field of fallen bodies and was laughing wildly. Rose could see why her father had banned the name 'Bellatrix' or 'Le Strange' being spoken in his house – she was a truly terrifying woman.
Rose walked past the rest, haphazardly looking at each one she passed, but really, there was only so many pictures of exaggeratedly demented people one could look at. She scanned the room for Malfoy and saw him standing a few paces up from her. She thought she might as well try to make conversation with him even if the arrogant sod did just smirk and grunt at her. It was mildly more stimulating than these stupid paintings.
As she approached, Rose noticed something strange about Malfoy – his face was paler than usual, his body had lost its casual elegance and was instead stiff and tense, and his eyes were fixed, unblinking, on the painting in front of him. She thought it strange – he'd done nothing but ridicule the ones in the other room, what could he find so perplexing in this one? Rose stopped next to him and tried not to be insulted when he didn't so much as acknowledge her presence. She rolled her eyes and, mid roll, suddenly realized why she had become invisible. She turned and faced the wall that Scorpius was transfixed on.
There, right in front of them, was an eight-foot portrait of the Malfoys.
Scorpius, obviously, wasn't included because he hadn't been born at the time of the war, but his father and grandparents were. Lucius Malfoy was in the center, holding a silver headed-cane with a hand that was just as animalistic as Bellatrix's. His eyes were wild, a maniacal smile painted across his face with pointed eyebrows furrowed. His nose had been exaggerated and his teeth were dripping blood. A woman, whom Rose assumed to be Narcissa Malfoy, stood next to him, her face largely shielded by hair platinum blonde hair that fell rampantly across her face. One of her eyes was visible through a gap in her hair, and it seemed to stare at Rose with such ferocity that it almost pierced her. Then, in the background, was Draco Malfoy, Scorpius' father, licking blood from his fingertips with his crazed eyes seemingly watching her. He looked almost skeletal, fragile, and quite pathetic as he lapped at the blood with desperation. The whole painting wasn't just disrespectful; it was horrifying. And Scorpius shouldn't have to see his parents and grandparents portrayed in such a way.
It was only then that it dawned on Rose - just as most of the paintings in the previous room were of her family, most of the portraits in this room were Scorpius' family. No wonder he couldn't take his eyes away.
Beside her Scorpius suddenly started pulling at the collar of his robes. At first it was subtle but quickly progressed to being a desperate attempt to rip it from him.
"Malfoy," Rose asked curiously, trying to avoid a scene, unlike the man beside her, "What are you -?"
His flustered muttering interrupted her as he thrust his glass of champagne into her hand before continuing to pull at his collar with both hands now.
"What?" she asked, leaning a little closer to the troubled man. He turned to look at her, fear and anger in his eyes as he began to physically rip his robes.
"I can't breathe!" he exclaimed before making a mad dash through the crowd and down a passageway. Some surrounding guests had followed Scorpius' movements before turning back to Rose. She smiled politely and excused herself, placing both her's and Scorpius' glasses onto the tray of a passing waiter. She then went after him, following the trail of frenzied guests he left behind him.
After winding in and out of various rooms, Rose found herself in a corridor lined with many doors, none of which she recognised. She continued on regardless – Malfoy had looked a little upset when he had run off like that, she shouldn't leave him out here on his own.
She began to ponder what had forced him to run off like that. Maybe he'd been cursed? Or maybe he was just being an arrogant prick that had a bad reaction to his undoubtedly expensive aftershave. Whatever was wrong with him, it gave her a reason to escape that bloody ridiculous exhibition.
She continued down the hallway until she heard the distinct sound of glass shattering. It came from the door to her left. She paused to try and determine whether she had actually heard what she thought she'd heard. The noise came again, followed by a loud thud – there was definitely something behind that door. And Rose had a very strong suspicion that it was Malfoy. She approached the door slowly and knocked tentatively. There was no reply.
"Malfoy?" she said softly when she knocked again. Then there was a scream; a guttural, pained scream from behind the door, followed by more crashing noises. This wasn't good.
"Malfoy!" she called through the door, but was only met by more screams and crashing sounds. She opened the door and burst into the room, just in time for a vase to be sent flying past her head and into the wall beside her. She got her best scowl on to berate him for what she was sure was nothing but a tantrum.
Then she saw him.
Standing over the table which she assumed had once housed the vase now in pieces on the ground beside her, stood the swelling back of Scorpius Malfoy, though one wouldn't know it to look at him.
He had ripped his robes and discarded them somewhere on the floor, scratch marks around his neck from where he had been desperately trying to free himself earlier. His rib cage rose and fell dramatically with each quick breath he took, scars from what she had hoped were simply pranks gone wrong littering his back. His hair was disheveled and falling all over his face, his muscles tense and bulging. All of him was completely rigid – his pale white skin seemed to be the only thing holding all of him together.
It was terrifying.
Another sudden shock of something ripped through him, forcing a painful scream to be elicited from deep in his throat. He threw his head into the air and let it out, grabbing the small side table and throwing it into the nearest wall in an attempt to release whatever it was that was taking over him.
"Scorpius!" Rose screamed, finally finding her voice but not being brave enough to take a step towards him.
He spun violently to face her, his eyes red and face contorted into an expression of pain and fear. Now that he turned, she could see that some of the scratches on his neck were very deep, blood still trickling down his chest, his fingertips smeared red with his own blood. He looked her in the eye, desperation filling his face.
"Make it stop!" he cried desperately, tears threatening to flow from his grey eyes, his entire body shaking.
"Make what stop?" she asked, pressed against the closed door in an attempt to distance herself from him.
"The PAIN!" he yelled doubling over and clutching his hands over his abdomen as he let out another guttural yell. Rose stepped towards him but faltered when he stood and screamed at the ceiling again.
"Well, where," she paused when he threw whatever he could reach – in this case a lamp – onto the floor. Rose shielded her eyes and turned away as he yelled again and clutched at his chest.
"Where does it hurt?" she asked, trying not to cry herself.
"EVERYWHERE!" he screamed as he looked at her again. He scratched at his neck again before throwing himself against the back wall – his back now facing Rose.
He threw his fists into the wall and cried out in pain uncontrollably. There was something inside of him that needed to get out. It was suffocating him. He couldn't stop it. It was everywhere. It was killing him.
He wasn't used to this – couldn't deal with this. All this…emotion. It was too much. He couldn't take it.
She knew what he wanted – he wanted her to flick her wrist and for everything to be ok. After everything she had seen her family go through, she knew this wasn't the case. She knew no words would help, and neither would any spell or Muggle medication. She looked at his rapidly rising and falling frame, his arms holding his body up against the wall.
She didn't know what came over her, or the thought processes that lead to her actions, but instead of just standing there watching Scorpius slowly fall apart, Rose walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him.
His body stopped shaking and went rigid immediately as he held his breath, his stomach muscles retreating as far away from her hands as they could get. She simply held him a little tighter and laid her cheek against his back.
"What," his voice broke as he stuttered, "what are you doing?"
"Making it go away," she whispered quietly, her breath slowly passing over his skin. She tried her best not to be scared – for all she knew he was about to transform into some great hideous beast that would attack her instantly. Or he would just attack her as Scorpius Malfoy – most people would have found that scary enough.
To her surprise, and his as well she was sure, his shoulders began to relax and his breathing slowed. After a moment or two, Rose felt his body start to shake, but she could tell it wasn't with pent up anger or hate.
Hands still against the wall in front of him, head looking at the floor, Scorpius Malfoy started to cry. And Rose Weasley stood behind him the whole time, silently holding him tightly and forcing herself not to cry as well.
She couldn't be sure just how long they had been lying there for, but she had been quite certain she had fallen asleep after him.
Sometime after he had been crying against the wall, Rose still wrapped around him, Scorpius had started to fall. His entire body had gone limp and he started to crumble. Somehow they had ended up lying down on a patch of ground not littered with broken wood or ceramics from all the things he had thrown, still connected by Rose's arms and Scorpius still struggling to maintain his steady breathing.
Once lying on the ground, she had made to remove herself from him, but his arms suddenly regained life and clutched her own to his torso as he took in a sharp breath. If she didn't know better, Rose might have considered it an almost desperate attempt to keep her close. And then it dawned on her -
He needed her.
Scorpius Malfoy needed her right there beside him, arms clutching him tightly, to get through whatever demons had suddenly arisen at the sight of the paintings. For once in her life he wasn't being indifferent and unreadable – he was totally vulnerable and unguarded.
And he needed her.
Rose conceded and laid back down behind him, arms still wrapped around him, and had fallen asleep soon after.
She vaguely remembered feeling him shift in her arms but no solid memory came to mind. It wasn't until she woke up to find the pale face of Scorpius Malfoy facing her own that she realized what had happened. It was also then that she registered the weight on her waist. Looking down, she saw his arm encircling her, his hand draped casually over her hip.
This was not the kind of position she wanted to be found in – holding Malfoy as he held her, sleeping peacefully on the floor of a room now in tatters from his outburst earlier.
Rose was sure that she had never heard anything more heart breaking than the sound of a grown man screaming in pain.
Then she had heard him cry.
Rose had decided that the sound of Scorpius Malfoy crying was not only heart-breaking but also, for some strange reason, one of the most terrifying sounds in the world. How could someone so cold and unaffected by anything ever feel that much to cry openly in front of her? The amount of pain and anger built up inside of him was too much for her to try and comprehend.
Her eyes fell on his face. He really was a very beautiful man. James and Albus had always picked on him for being a 'pretty boy' and she was well aware that he had had several female admirers throughout school (she was sure that at least every girl in her year level had fancied him at some point…except her of course) but it wasn't until now that she really bothered to look past all the hype and see that yes, he was a very attractive young man. 'Sex-on-legs' would probably be the term that Lily would use. Rose didn't have a doubt in her mind that the reason he suddenly became more attractive to her was because of seeing him lose control, in pain and crying. It made him more real – proved that, underneath everything, he really was human after all.
Remembering that this would look most suspicious to anyone that wandered into whatever this room was, Rose gently slipped her arm off his waist and went to remove his as well when she was stopped once more. The hand he had on her hip was now firmly placed against her lower back as he pulled her closer to him. He murmured some sort of a protest in his sleep as he held her even closer and tighter than before. Rose tried not to breathe too deeply as he settled, now seemingly content with their closer proximity. She couldn't see, because she couldn't move her head, but she could feel his legs entwined with her own, his right hand firmly pressed against the small of her back with his arm ensuring she didn't move, whilst his left hand somewhat held her right where it was awkwardly placed between them. He shifted his head and let out a deep breath, bringing their foreheads together.
This was beyond awkward. She was officially snuggling with an unconscious Scorpius Malfoy and, much to her great horror, was enjoying it ever so slightly.
This was just ridiculous.
Trying to focus her attention somewhere other than his face, she dropped her gaze to his – still bare – chest. Her eyes immediately fell on the marks on his neck and upper chest. Created by his own hand, she couldn't believe how deep they were. The blood had dried but was still smeared on his chest, some marks present on his stomach from where the blood had been transferred from his hands.
Using the hand he wasn't holding, she ghosted her fingers over the marks, following the blood droplets back to the original wounds. She felt her eyes starting to burn as she remembered the look in his eyes as he scratched at his neck – how brutally raw they appeared.
She had almost reached a particularly deep one when the body beside her suddenly took in a shallow intake of breath.
She looked up quickly to find two grey eyes staring at her, alert, awake and….something was wrong. He wasn't indifferent (that look she knew from a mile away) but he showed an expression she didn't recognise briefly, which slowly morphed into apprehension and fear. She felt his thumb lightly brush over the hand he was holding. Why was he even still holding her hand?
As if aware of her thoughts, he halted his movements, and regained his indifferent composure. He gracefully removed his arm from around her, untangled their legs and pulled away from her. He dropped his gaze and rolled over before sitting up. Rose rolled over and also sat up while she stared at nothing in particular on the wall in front of her.
They both stood, Scorpius cursing under his breath when he saw his ripped robes and shirt on the floor in the corner. He repaired them quickly before pulling them on. Rose dusted some dirt and rubble off her skirt and readjusted her hair, doing all that she could not to allow any part of his anatomy to come into her line of vision.
When he was done, Scorpius stood tall and walked around to stand beside Rose, his gaze not falling on her once.
"Don't," he paused and swallowed, "Don't tell anyone."
He sounded almost ashamed and very unlike the confident, arrogant young man she knew him to be. Rose simply nodded, not looking at him for fear of blurting out something totally inappropriate.
They left the room silently, reached the front doors and left without another word to one another.
Next Monday at work, Rose couldn't help but notice that Scorpius wore the silk tie she had given him for his birthday last year. She smiled to herself and when she arrived at her desk she found a small note. It wasn't addressed to her, and it had no signature, but she recognized the impeccably neat cursive writing from the flowers she had received for her birthday. All it said was two words – thank you.
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