Rose sat down with a huff in the Gryffindor common room, crossing her arms in front of her. The look on her face was pure, black anger, and Scorpius couldn't be happier about it.

"Nothing, then?" he asked casually, keeping his face blank.

"No," she growled. "But there's still a week left before the dance. Someone will ask me."

Scorpius smiled to himself. She might think so, but she'd just have to face the truth in another couple days: no one was going to ask her to the Christmas Ball. "Oh, of course, Rosie. You're just so popular, someone's bound to ask you. I only wonder why they haven't yet."

She glared at him. "If they haven't it's only because someone glowers at everyone who even approaches me. You're cheating."

This came a little bit too close to the truth for his comfort. "I don't know what you're talking about. I would never," he said uncomfortably, shifting slightly in his seat.

Snorting, she stood up again. "Whatever. You won't win. I will have a date for the Christmas Ball, and it certainly won't be you." And with that she haughtily picked up her bag and strode purposefully towards the stairs up to the girls dormitories.

Scorpius watched her go, momentarily distracted by the swing of her hips as she waltzed up the stairs. Merlin, she needed to stop wearing such short skirts…

His attention was dragged back by a loud cough from Al. "If you're done ogling my cousin's butt, I'd like a bit of explanation here."

Scorpius could feel his tinge with the faintest heat of a blush. "Explanation of what?"

Albus looked at him witheringly. "You know perfectly well what. Want to tell me why you're scaring off all of Rose's potential dates to the ball?"

"I don't know what you mean," he said for the second time.

"Oh, come on, Scorp. You thought I didn't notice you pulling aside every boy who's ever looked at Rose more than once and warning them not to ask her to the ball, or else they'd face your imaginative hexes? I want to know why."

Scorpius frowned, not entirely sure how much he should reveal.

As if he could read his mind, Albus spoke up once more. "Tell me everything, Scorpius. I want to understand why you're pissing my cousin off so much, and it better be a pretty good reason."

"Fine. But don't give me all that protective-cousin crap, Al. There's a reason you and I are best friends; you can't resist needling Rose every now and then either."

"Well. Alright. But still, she's my other best friend. It would hardly be fair to her if I always sided with you."

"Yeah yeah yeah, do you want to hear the story or not?"

"Of course I do."

"So shut up and I'll tell it."

Albus complied, and Scorpius began his tale.

XXXX

Flashback

"Rose, wait. Can I talk to you for a sec?" Scorpius caught the sleeve of her robe as she made to exit the classroom and tugged.

"Sure, Scorp, of course you can. What's up?" Rose turned towards him expectantly, eyes wide and trusting.

He took a deep breath, suddenly questioning his decision for the umpteenth time. Did he really want to go through with this?

Of course he did. She'd been tormenting him for so long now; he just had to do something about it. "I was wondering if you wanted to go to the Christmas Ball with me."

She looked at him queerly for a second. "Scorp, why are you asking me? You could have any girl in the school."

"I know, but…" his voice trailed off as he tried to think of a good reason. He wasn't quite ready to reveal the depth of his feelings for her, and had not anticipated this question at all. He sighed in frustration, running his fingers through his hair. "Well, it would be more fun to go with a friend, wouldn't it? I'd rather go with you."

She blushed, and he felt more confident now. So, he continued. "And besides, you want to go with me too, don't you?"

Now she looked coy. "Well, I don't know, Scorpius. I've heard that Lysander Scamander is also going to ask me, and you know, he's a pretty cute guy. Maybe I should go with him."

"No," he said immediately. "He won't ask you." He'd never let her get swept off her feet by some other man.

Confusion crossed her face, and he realized that maybe that was not the best tactic to use. "Are you sure? Lily told me pretty definitively yesterday that he was going to ask me, and you know how she is about these things—"

He cut her off hurriedly. "Um, no, I think he's actually going to ask Lucy to the ball." He crossed his fingers behind his back, making a mental note to discourage Lysander from ever asking Rose out.

A frown drew her eyebrows together. "Oh."

Oh no. She didn't really want to go with Lysander, did she? "You know how pretty Lucy is," he said desperately, wishing he'd never invented this lie.

Now she was well and truly glaring at him. "You mean I'm not pretty?"

Shit. How had they gotten here? This was not supposed to be how it worked. She was supposed to fall into his arms and agree to go to the dance with him, not twist his words into insults. "No, of course that's not what I meant! Of course you're gorgeous, Rosie."

"So why wouldn't Lysander ask me to the ball?"

Because I won't let him have you. "Because he just…wants to ask Lucy more," Scorpius said weakly.

"Fine. Then maybe I'll go with his brother, Lorcan. Or maybe with Frank Longbottom. Or maybe I'll get Albus to take me even though he's my cousin, or I could get Patrick Finnegan, or—"

"No one else is going to ask you to the ball!" Scorpius cut her off before she could make him even more jealous of all the boys she was listing off.

Her breath huffed out. "What did you just say?"

Shit. Nothing else to do but brazen it out. "No one else is going to ask you out. You should just go with me."

"No one else is going to ask me out, hm? So you're sacrificing yourself to keep me from realizing that no one wants me? You really think that no one else in this entire school would consider taking me to the ball?"

"No, dammit, that's not what I meant—"

"Well, you're wrong," she said, speaking over him. "Plenty of boys will ask me. Tons of boys will ask me." Her voice rose with every sentence. "I will be practically swamped in boys wanting to go the the ball with me, I certainly don't need your pity just to get a date!"

He snorted, ready for this exchange to be over now. "I doubt it. No one else is going to ask you, Rosie." He'd fend them all off if he had to. She wasn't going to this dance with anyone but him.

"Oh, I doubt that. I can go the ball with anyone I want to, and that will never be you!" And with that, she stormed off.

He stood there for another moment, a bit stunned.

What had just happened?

Instead of successfully asking Rose to the ball, had he just challenged her to find a date other than him?

Damn, that would mean even more people to fight off of her.

End flashback

XXXX

"So that's what happened. Happy now?" Scorpius finished his tale.

Albus paused for a moment. "Let me get this straight. You tried to ask out my cousin, the girl you've fancied for years, but instead you somehow managed to get her to swear that she'd go to the ball with anyone but you?"

Scorpius scowled. "I have not fancied her years."

"Oh, sure," Al snorted. "But really though, this is priceless. I don't think I know anyone else who could bollocks up such a simple thing quite as completely as you did."

"Shut it. She'll come around. When it's the day before the ball and still no one has asked her, she'll accept my offer and go to the dance with me."

Al looked at him incredulously. "Scorp, we're talking about the same person here, right? Rose Weasley, the most stubborn girl on the planet? If she said she'll go to the ball with anyone but you, then you should believe her."

"Al, you're really not helping, here."

He continued anyway. "And if you're serious about going to the ball with Rosie, which I think that you are, then you better be planning to do some serious groveling to get her to go with you." He caught sight of the look on his friend's face. "Of course, you're just as stubborn as her, so maybe it just won't work out. One of you will have to swallow their pride, and it certainly won't be her."

Scorpius sighed. "It'll be fine. I'll just wait until she's completely out of options, then ask her again. She won't say no."

"If you say so, mate," Al said skeptically.

XXXX

A few days later

Rose Weasley let out a sigh of pure frustration. The ball was only one day away, and still no one had asked her.

She couldn't believe it.

She was nice, she was pretty, she was smart, and she was decently popular. Surely someone should have asked her by now.

A couple times, she had thought someone was going to. A boy would approach her, a tentative smile on his face, pleasantly engaging her in conversation. And just when she thought they were going to ask her, they'd break off suddenly and walk away.

And Scorpius was always right there, smirking at her failure.

She couldn't stand the prick. Never mind that she'd been waiting for him to ask her out for the past several months, he had botched the job so well that she'd never consider going anywhere with him anymore.

And she certainly wouldn't be going to the ball with him. If he wanted to insult her and imply that she couldn't get a date without him, then by Merlin she would show him up.

The only problem was that it looked like he was right. The ball was tomorrow, and she still didn't have a date.

Time for a last-ditch effort.

"Hi, Albus, my dear," she said, sidling up to the armchair her cousin was relaxing in.

"Well hello, Rosie," he responded, smiling at her warmly. "What can I do for you?"

"I was actually wondering if you would do me a huge favor."

"Name it."

She sighed, swallowing her pride. "Would you take me to the Christmas Ball, please? I don't have a date yet, and there's no more time."

Al's face fell. "I'd love to, Rose, but I can't. I'm already going with Alice."

His long-time crush. Of course. "Good for you!" she said warmly, trying to disguise her disappointment.

"Sorry I can't be of help. Is there no one else without a date yet?"

"No, it's fine," she said. Scorpius still didn't either, but there was still no way she was going with that boy. "I'll just go alone, or something." She turned to go up to her dormitory.

And ran smack into Scorpius himself. The idiot had a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

"Still can't find a date, Rosie?"

Mutely, she shook her head, seething with frustration.

"Too bad." He didn't sound particularly sympathetic. "Well, my offer still stands. Go to the ball with me, Rosie?"

"No way," she spat. "I'll just go alone, thanks." And with that she practically ran up the stairs.

Scorpius walked over to the chair Al was in. "Damn."

Al just laughed. "Told you so. Once she makes up her mind, she'll never give up."

Scorpius frowned. "Fine, I'll ask her more nicely. She'll come down for dinner, I'll do it then."

"Good luck, mate. You'll need it, if you honestly think that just being nicer to her will change my cousin's mind." Al turned back to the textbook on his lap.

"We'll just see about that."

"Yes, we will," Al could barely disguise his snort of derision.

Seething, Scorpius threw himself down in the chair opposite his friend's and began to plan.

XXXX

Rose descended the stairs into the common room, trying to think of a plan. She didn't really want to go alone, but as far as she could tell, Scorpius really was the only one left without a date. She was still determined to go without him, but didn't want to go alone.

And then she was ambushed.

The rest of the common room was empty, there was only one tall, blond boy in the middle of the room.

The exact person she didn't want to see.

Intending to just ignore him, she swept down the last few stairs and walked calmly, unhurriedly, through the room, carefully avoiding him.

But he moved around until he was standing in her path again, and there was no way she could avoid him this time.

Stepping closer to her, he spoke. "I'm sorry."

That was not at all what she'd expected him to say. "What?"

"I'm sorry," he repeated. "I'm sorry I implied that you couldn't get a date on your own. I didn't mean for this contest to happen."

She peered at him, trying to figure out what his game was. Surprisingly enough, he looked sincere.

"Please just go to the ball with me," he continued. "That's all that I wanted. Just please, go with me."

Rose was stunned. Scorpius Malfoy, not only apologizing, but also saying please? It must actually mean a lot to him.

She really, really wanted to just say yes.

But he'd insulted her, whether he'd originally intended to or not. And she'd already stated that she'd never go to the ball with him. She'd never give up.

Keeping her head high, she shot him a haughty look. "No." And with that she exited the common room and headed down for dinner, leaving Scorpius standing frozen behind her.

XXXX

Scorpius slid onto the bench next to Al at the Gryffindor table. Noticing his friend's dejected look, Albus concluded, "She said no, didn't she?"

He nodded morosely. "I even apologized. I asked her nicely, I said sorry, I practically begged. And still she turned me down."

"Told you so, mate." Al turned back to his dinner.

"Come on, Al, you have to help me. I made you finally ask out Alice, and look how well that turned out. Now you have to return the favor." Scorpius was nearly at the end of his patience.

Al considered it for a moment, then nodded. "Here." He clapped Scorpius on the back and stood up. "I'll take you to the person you need."

They walked down the table a few yards, to a cluster of redheads. Gesturing grandly, Al reached out and tapped his little sister on the shoulder.

"Lily?" Scorpius couldn't believe it. "You want me to tell all of this to Lily?" If he did, he'd never live it down.

Al shrugged. "Only if you really want help." He turned and went back to his dinner.

Scorpius sighed.

"What is it?" Lily asked, curiosity peaked after witnessing the exchange.

"I, er, need your help." Scorpius admitted. "I'd appreciate a bit of, er, discretion, though."

"Oh, definitely," Lily said. "Excuse us, girls, I apparently have a problem to tend to."

Her family looked at them questioningly, but let them go.

Lily led him out of the Great Hall, walking through corridors until they reached an empty classroom. "Alright, now, tell me what's on your mind."

Scorpius sighed again. Time to swallow his pride, once and for all. "Rose won't go with me to the Christmas Ball."

Lily grinned. "Yes, I've heard about the little challenge you issued her."

"It wasn't a challenge!" he protested weakly.

"Well, she certainly took it as such. Has she still not got a date?"

"No, and that's the problem. She said she'd go with anyone but me, and I've managed to scare off the rest, but she still won't go with me. Even though she has no other prospects."

Lily nodded, encouraging him to continue.

He complied. "I even asked nicely, apologized for the whole challenge thing, said please, and everything. And she turned me down again. I don't know what to do."

Now Lily grinned. "I have just the thing."

"What?" he said warily, not sure he liked the look on her face.

"Well, my cousin is nothing if not romantic. So all you have to do is bowl her over with a grand romantic gesture, and there's no way she'll refuse you!"

It was better than any other ideas Scorpius had, of kidnapping her and making her agree to go to the ball with him. "Okay," he said. "What do I have to do?"

"Very little, actually. Leave it to me." Lily sprang up from her seat on a desk. "So many things to do! Come see me tomorrow morning and I'll get you all prepared."

"Tomorrow morning?" Scorpius said doubtfully. "Will that be soon enough? The ball is tomorrow, after all."

"It'll be fine, don't worry. Now go away, I have things to figure out. Would you mind terribly if I got Roxanne and Molly and Lucy to help me?"

He considered it for a moment. "No, that's fine," he said at last. "Just don't tell your whole family, okay?"

"Of course not," Lily snorted. "James might kill you for annoying Rose, he's never been particularly fond of you. And Louis and Fred would never let you live it down, how head over heels you've fallen for our dear cousin. Not to mention the teasing you'll get anyway from us girls."

Scorpius gulped. This did not sound like a pleasant future, except for the part where Rose agreed to go to the ball with him. "Okay," he agreed.

"Excellent. Now please leave," Lily said, herding him out the door.

Scorpius left her to her planning, feeling a bit apprehensive. But if Al was right, it appeared that Lily certainly could help him. Now if only he could survive her 'help,' whatever it would entail.

XXXX

The next morning

"Come with me," Lily caught Scorpius's sleeve and pulled him along the corridor, heading for another empty classroom. "Okay. Here's the plan," she said, filling him in before they got to the room. "You're going to do exactly as I say. To keep it simple, you're going to meet Rose in the common room this evening as she comes down the stairs. I promise there will be no way she'll say no, once she sees you."

Scorpius felt a bit skeptical, but decided to trust her. "Alright. I've brought my dress robes, like you asked."

"Excellent," she grinned. "Now, come in here." Lily pulled him into the classroom and pushed him down into a chair. Lucy, Molly, and Roxy were already there.

"Ready, girls?" Lily asked her cousins. "Okay. This is, in more detail, exactly what's going to happen." They all leaned in and filled Scorpius in on the brilliant plan.

He pulled back when they were through. "And that will work? Really?"

"Of course it will," Roxy scoffed. "Honestly, have you even met Rose? Everyone knows you have to be super extra spectacular to impress her. And you certainly will be that."

"Okay then. What do you want me to start with?" Scorpius pulled out his wand.

XXXX

That evening

Rose put the finishing touches on her hair, admiring her handiwork in the mirror. She cut a stunning figure, if she did say so herself. A beautiful white dress with a full skirt, liberally sprinkled with sparkling gold dust, charmed to stay firmly affixed to the fabric.

If only she had someone to go with.

Oh well, she thought to herself. No helping that now. Scorpius had probably already found someone else to go with, so even if she did in fact want to go with him (which she most certainly didn't) it didn't matter anyway.

And with that thought in her mind, she descended the stairs to the common room, only to stop short at the sight that greeted her.

One Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, dressed in impeccable black dress robes with gold detail and holding a corsage consisting of one large, gorgeous white orchid.

No way.

This could not possibly be happening. Her Scorp would never do this for her. He teased and taunted her, made her help with his homework, acted annoyingly possessive of her, gave her trick gifts on her birthday, plagued her night and day. He most certainly didn't do nice things for her.

But there he was still, not a mirage and not a hallucination, wearing a tentatively hopeful smile.

"Go to the ball with me please, Rosie?" he asked holding out the corsage to her.

"How did you…" her voice trailed off as she realized the full implications of this. "You were serious about going to the ball with me?"

"Of course I was." He chuckled. "We're both just too stubborn and hot headed. Otherwise this could have been worked out days ago."

"But…how did you know what my dress looked like? I haven't shown it to anyone but—" she broke off, eyes narrowing. "—Lily."

His slightly guilty look gave it away. "You got Lily to help you organize this," Rose accused him.

He readily admitted to it, with a sheepish grin. "She said this would work. Look, I even combed my hair for you." He gestured up at his hair, which was indeed lying flat and neatly combed. "So please, Rosie, please go to the ball with me?"

Part of her hung on to her adamant statement of how she would never go to the ball with him. But the rest of her was weakened by the flower and the effort and the sentiment of his actions, and she figure that just this once, just this once she could give in.

Not before she made him sweat a little bit more, though. Payback for all those years of annoyance. She walked up to him, stopping right in front of him and looking up into his handsome face. "Why should I go with you?"

He swallowed. "Because I really, really want you to."

She smiled. "Good enough for now," she said. "Yes, I'll go with you."

The smile on his face warmed her heart, and she shrieked and he swooped her up in his arms, spinning her around. "Let me down, you oaf!"

He did, still grinning. "Come on then, let's go down to the ball," he said, offering his arm.

She took it, smiling up at him. "I can't believe you did all of this for me."

"Of course I did," he responded, looking affronted. "I couldn't just let you go alone, now, could I? Even if it meant combing my hair."

"I appreciate your display of affection," Rose said, reaching up and ruffling his hair out of order. Laughing at the horrified look on his face, she continued. "But I like it better this way."

"Good," he made a face. "Me too. Come on, princess, let's go to your ball."

And they did.

XXXX

Later that night

This was very close to heaven, Rose decided. Being ensconced in Scorpius's arm, swaying gently to the light strains of music floating out from the Great Hall, protected from the chill outside by a clever heating charm with the smell of Christmas pines surrounding them. It didn't get much better than this.

He hummed along with the music, creating a gently buzz deep in his chest that she could feel.

She hated to disturb the peace, but there was one question that kept plaguing her thoughts. "Scorpius?"

"Yes?" He looked down at her.

"Why did you ask me to the ball?"

He smiled. "The question that started it all. You really want to know?"

She nodded.

He leaned down to whisper in her ear, sending pleasant shivers down her spine. "Because you're the only one I want."

"Really?" she asked breathlessly.

"Really. And one other thing."

"What is it?"

"I got tired of trying not to do this." And with that, he kissed her full on the mouth.

She melted.

How had she ever thought she could resist this man?

One thing was certain: she never would be again.

Scorpius couldn't believe how wonderful she felt in his arms. If only they could've avoided all the strife to get here… but it didn't matter anymore.

Now that he had her, he'd never let her go.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A/N: Okay, here it is. First story I've managed to finish in what feels like ages. I have another story I've been working on, a much longer multi-chapter Scorose fic, but I thought I should finish it entirely before posting. It'll be up in a week or so, I hope.

Anyway, I really hope you like this story. I wrote it all this morning, and haven't actually read through it, so I can't gauge its quality very well. What do you think of it? Please leave a review!

~Star