Usually, I'm up for the celebrations. What's not to love? We get candy, and lots of it. There are pumpkins. There are some epic decorations. We went all-out this year in arranging Halloween at Hogwarts, only to find my girlfriend in the most revealing costume I've ever seen, not acting like herself and pretty much scaring the pants off me (except not literally). What else is there to do but run away to the Slytherin Common room?
Unfortunately, that's where I sat on Rose Weasley.
-Fear of Living-
I don't think I'd ever been so scared in my life.
Merlin, I sound like a pansy. I swear I'm not. I'm Scorpius-bloody-Malfoy, and I promise that I am much more masculine than my father ever was.
Just because it was Halloween, it didn't mean it was frightening. Hogwarts didn't usually do much for the holiday besides decorate the Great Hall and serve a shitload of sweets at night. We got to go to Hogsmeade during the day. We didn't really dress up in costumes, and trick-or-treating wasn't exactly an option in a castle.
But that year, I just thought… we were in a castle.
I was Head Boy. I could make these things happen.
So I talked it over with Headmaster (pushover) Slughorn, came up a plan with the Veronica Smith, the Head Girl (who also happens to be my girlfriend) and put it into motion. The Halloween dinner was a tradition, but we scheduled a dance afterwards.
That was Veronica's idea. My idea was badass.
I came up with a Haunted House.
I got the Charms and Transfiguration teachers pumped up to actually create it… except it wasn't exactly a house. It was more like a sectioned off part of the castle set up in mysterious ways by my sadistic teachers. I didn't attempt to aid them in the mapping out of the "House." I wanted to enjoy it, too. That feeling of pissing my pants off was hard to come by, usually.
So I suppose I wasn't really scared at that moment I was talking about earlier. I didn't feel like my bladder was about to explode, or like there was a shiver going down my spine. It was more like a sick, nauseating feeling when I watched my girlfriend grind against some random bloke at that dance. And that scared me.
Naturally, I ran out of the room faster than Severus Snape being confronted with shampoo.
The dance was held in the dungeons for the creepy, Halloween effect, so it was technically a short walk back to the Slytherin Common Room – but it didn't feel short. Not in the slightest. The image just kept flashing in my mind: my girlfriend in the midst of the crowd, wearing Merlin-knows-what, pressed up against another boy's sweaty body, one that wasn't mine, hands all over each other.
There goes my stomach.
(It likes to make uncomfortable bowel movements.)
My footsteps clanged in time with the thumping music, fading as I walked further away but it barely registered in my mind. My girlfriend hadn't cheated on me. I knew that. But how was it right for her to be like that with someone who wasn't her boyfriend?
And here's the thing: she wasn't some skanky bitch who happened to make top grades. I knew how she treated other people, too. Veronica wasn't nice to me and awful to my friends. She was genuinely a good person. She always helped people. She was practically a genius – well, figures. She was in Ravenclaw.
We were perfect together. Head Boy and Girl. Intellectually matched. Slytherin and Ravenclaw – so none of this pride shit. Hell, we even looked good together with our matching blonde hair. We made each other laugh and she was a good kisser. We were both pureblood. Like I said: we were perfect together.
And that's what I was feeling as I walked back to the Halloween. A little sickness (did she actually just do something like that?). Lots of confusion (why did she do that?). Kind of annoyed (I mean, she didn't really cheat. Not really.). But most of all, I was scared that what I wasn't feeling was jealousy.
No sir. I wasn't even the least bit upset that some guy was groping my girlfriend.
"Fork-tongue," I said absent-mindedly as I reached the wall that was hiding the Slytherin Common Room. I thought Slytherins were cunning. What an unoriginal password.
Then again, my father once said it was 'pure blood.'
He taught me all those values. They were carved in the pumpkin that was my mind. Okay, so maybe my mind wasn't exactly a pumpkin, but the rules were so set in my mind that it might as well have been some sort of orange squash.
Respect women. Respect your elders. Always look presentable. Formality. Some people considered them to be limiting boundaries, but they made enough sense to me. I think that's why seeing my girlfriend like that. It was unsettling to have figured out that her values didn't match mine.
I turned the corner and the couches came into view. Ah, those sofas. They were my only comfort, now. They were black and leather but squishy and absolutely perfect. They never let me down. Unlike some people.
Closing my eyes, I heaved a sigh and collapsed onto the nearest loveseat.
But instead of my butt meeting the perfect amount of squishy comfort in the couch, I was met with something hard. Actually, bony. I quickly scrambled away.
I had accidentally sat on a person.
Well, that just made my night.
"Bloody hell - I'm so sorry." I had begun apologizing before I even saw who I was sitting on, and when I turned around, the words died at my lips. I sat on Rose Weasley - and who could blame me? She was tiny. The only way anyone would notice her was by her hair, which could easily be mistaken for being on fire.
We were supposed to be rivals or something. I think. I had never really spoken to her in my life, despite the fact that she was in my House (how weird is that? A Weasley in Slytherin?). She was super quiet and always read books in the corner. I didn't know why; personally, I don't see the point in wasting time reading when we already spend all day in classes.
Not to say that she didn't read in classes, either. She did. Even after knowing her for seven years and being in the same classes, the only word I could describe her as was weird. She was a strange person. She never talked unless she was answering questions in class.
Did she have friends?
"It's okay," she answered softly, smoothing out the pages of her book from where it crumpled.
"But I sat on you!"
"Happens all the time."
"Bloody hell," I blurted out. To my surprise, Rose smiled. "What?"
"My dad says that all the time."
"Bloody hell," I repeated yet again, flopping backwards until my back hit the couch. I stretched my limbs wearily, glad I hadn't bothered wearing a costume and thrown on muggle clothes. Wouldn't have been much use, seeing how things turned out. "Doesn't he hate my father or something?"
I yawned. "Why are you in pajamas? It's only seven-thirty."
"Felt like it."
"Are you going down to the celebrations?"
Perhaps this was why she didn't talk to people. Couldn't carry on a conversation.
"So," I said casually, stretching my arms underneath my head, "do you hate the world or something?"
Her face revealed only a moment of shock before she straightened in her seat, passive as ever. I don't think she thought I would ever say anything like that to someone I barely knew. "No," she replied smoothly, not bothering to even spare me a glance. "Do you enjoy hearing the sound of your own voice?"
I'm in love.
No, I'm not joking. Or lying. I'm in love.
I stared at her in awe. I always thought she was pretty, don't get me wrong, but holy crap. It's like those words omitted some sort of beam of light around her. I didn't know a tiny thing like her with flaming red hair could be so attractive.
She sighed and put down her book to look at me for the first time. Her eyes are brown. Holy shit. "Malfoy, what do you want?"
I shrugged and lazily stretched out my arms again, one going behind her back. She raised an eyebrow at me, my action clearly not going unnoticed. "So, why aren't you celebrating?"
She shifted away from me. "I hate Halloween."
"What?" I inched closer. "Why?"
Her hip hit the armrest in efforts to move away. "It's stupid."
"It's a holiday about candy," I emphasized, trying not to grin as I cornered her on the couch.
"Exactly!" she protested, moving up so she was sitting on the armrest. Her book dropped to the floor. "That's all anyone thinks! Halloween isn't just about candy. It's a day to honour the dead."
I fully took her vacated seat on the couch, her scent still lingering there. Merlin, she smelled like... pumpkins. And spice. I gripped her shins, and she flinched. "You really want to spend Halloween honouring the dead instead of having fun at a dance?"
Her eyes were growing steadily wider as she realized she had nowhere else to go. "Yes."
"Then let's go to the Haunted House."
She swallowed, gently moving my hands from her legs and sliding off the sofa. "No. Malfoy, what the hell are you doing?"
"Isn't it obvious?" I asked cheerfully, moving off the sofa. She stepped backwards. I stepped forwards. Again and again and again.
"It looks like you're trying to corner me."
"That would be correct."
"What are you, a serial killer?"
I grinned cheekily. "Something like that."
Rose's back hit the wall. I towered over her. She wasn't short, per se - she was only a few inches shorter than me - but she was so small that it felt that way. "Will you move? This is just getting stupid."
"I think I might be in love with you," I said casually, placing my hands around her waist. She wiggled around. Quite stupidly, I might add. It wasn't as if wiggling was going to get her out of this – if anything, it was going to keep her there. While I snogged the living daylights out of her.
When she was done wiggling, she groaned. Loudly. That wasn't helping her case, either. "Malfoy, you're not in love with me. Did you swallow a love potion or something?"
I laughed. "I haven't had anything to eat or drink since dinner. I don't think so."
"What about your girlfriend?" My smile faltered.
I did not want to think about her.
Rose picked up on it right away. Maybe it was because I let go of her. "Malfoy, did something happen?"
"Erm, yeah." I scratched at my head. "I think we're over."
"I guess… can I trust you, Weasley?" Honestly speaking, I didn't even care if I could trust her. I just wanted to tell someone.
I mean, you know when people just start expecting things from you? When I became Prefect, I was expected to become Head Boy. Then when Veronica was made Head Girl, I was expected to meet up with her. Then date her. Thank Merlin I was awful at Quidditch, or I would've pressured to become Captain.
I told Rose everything. How weird it was to find my girlfriend grinding her arse into someone else (and for the record, Rose agreed. It was weird). How I didn't feel jealous at all. How we were kept together due to pressure.
By this time, we were sprawled out in front of the fireplace. She'd barely said anything throughout the entire story, but she was listening, absorbing everything I said like a sponge. It was refreshing.
When I finally stopped, she sighed and set her chin down on her knees, which were pressed against her chest. "You really can talk, Malfoy."
I grinned. "The sound of my own voice is beautiful."
"You're an amazing listener," I told her. My admiration for this girl was never-ending.
"Thank you," she said softly. She stared into the fire, which reflected in her eyes. "Sometimes I think that's all I'll ever be. My ex-boyfriend liked me because I was quiet. And broke up with me because I barely said anything."
"He might have a point. That's the most you said in the past hour."
She grinned and shook her head. "Maybe he just wasn't the right person. Like Veronica."
"Maybe. I always felt too formal around her. Like I had to watch everything I said."
"Jeez, Malfoy, you're practically a girl."
"I am not," I said crossly for about the millionth time. "You don't know what it's like! Every day, she would ask me if she looked pretty. Or if she looked fat in something. What do you say to that? And she would pick off my plate all the time. I mean, why not just get your own damn food?"
She laughed. I really liked her laugh. It was light and soft, sort of like the rest of her. She looked very hug-able. Or squishy. "Are you sure you're meant to be with a girl? You don't swing the other way, by any chance?"
I leaned forward to brush a strand of hair behind her ear. "Nope."
"And now you're just magically in love with me."
She rolled her eyes. "You're stupider than I thought."
"You're prettier than I noticed," I blurted out. Word vomit. Brilliant, that had started. It happened every time I was attracted to someone.
To my surprise, Rose blushed. "Thank you."
I hadn't expected that. I thought she'd make a sarcastic remark or snide, witty comeback. Maybe she was insecure, too – but I didn't see why. She had a ginormous family. She was the Seeker on the Slytherin team. Everyone said she inherited her mother's brains.
Bloody hell, were all girls insecure?
"So what are you going to do now?" she asked, interrupting my thoughts. "About Veronica."
"Oh." I shrugged. "Avoid her as long as possible."
"Hate confrontation," I said, shuddering. "Takes effort. And time. Both that should be directed to more purposeful activities."
"I dunno." I smirked. "Snogging you?"
She buried her face in her knees, probably blushing again. "You know, I thought you were a depressed and brooding lunatic who made good grades."
"I seem that way."
"I never knew that you're actually a giddy, horny lunatic."
"Hey, now that's just harsh," I protested, laughing along with her. "You've never even talked to me before. You've no right to judge."
She ignored me. "And you didn't judge me?"
"No. Except that you're quiet. Which," I added triumphantly, "I was right about."
"Goody. Want a prize?"
"If it's a kiss from you, of course."
"Oh, bugger off," she said, shaking her head and smiling at me. Merlin, her smile is amazing. "What possessed you to sit and talk to me for an hour? Furthermore, how did you hit your head and decide you're in love with me?"
"I told you why I'm here and not out there." I jerked my thumb towards the exit. "You're nice on the eyes. You smell better than a Rose, Rose."
"I like talking to you."
"That's what everyone says. Then they complain about how I'm non-responsive."
"You know what?" I said loudly, straightening up and looking her straight in the eye. "I've talked to you for an hour, and I don't understand where anyone gets that from."
She looked away. "I guess I don't do well in crowds. Like in my family."
A silence filled between us, but it wasn't awkward. If anything, it was kind of sad. Like I could feel how sad she was. I guess she really didn't fit in with her family except for her hair and name. Personally, I didn't know why she'd want to – bunch of obnoxious Gryffindors – but I could understand that she felt alone. No one from Slytherin really befriended her, as far as I noticed.
Maybe I could change that. I'd be her friend. Then she'd fall in love with me.
"Hey," I said quietly, and she glanced back to me. "Let's forget them all. Let's do something. Celebrate our new relationship."
She seemed amused. "Not a date, surely? You have to break up with your girlfriend first."
"Oh." Yeah… even if it wouldn't feel like cheating… "Fine. It's not a date."
"Let's go to the Haunted House," I started again, and she sighed. "No, wait! I talked it over with the teachers. It's supposed to be awesome."
"Wasn't this house your idea?"
"Even more reason for it to be awesome."
Rose sighed again, biting on her lip. I wanted to kiss it so badly. "I don't know. I just…"
"Just… what?" I asked.
I smirked. "Scared, Weasley?" Her eyes immediately snapped to my gaze. The tips of her ears burned red.
"Are you sure?"
"Then why don't you want to go?"
"It's late," she declared. I rolled my eyes; it was only nine o'clock. Seeing my expression, she switched excuses. "Okay, I have a lot of homework to do."
"Weasley, it's Friday!" I couldn't stop from cackling evilly. "Admit it, you're scared!"
"Prove it," I challenged. She was angry, now. Rose wasn't a Weasley without the temper – or without the drive of competition. I didn't know why she didn't want to go, but I'd practically forced her to.
Anything to take down a Malfoy.