Hello Lovelies! I'm baaaackkk! Anyways, finally another Scorpious-Rose fic after Excuses finished all those months ago. This is kinda like a prologue/set-up chapter so it's a bit 'blah'. Things will get better, so please don't desert me just yet :-)

This one's a bit up in the air and will probs take me quite a while to finish so don't expect me to be updating regularly. Especially now that college is back :(

A big thanks to all that reviewed any of my work - it is all very much appreciated and I love each and every one of you for taking the time to let me know your thoughts. And you know, I wouldn't mind if you reviewed again...like now for example :-)

Thank you and enjoy


Rose Weasley's 24th birthday was going along the right track to be predictably uneventful. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, after all, Rose's birthdays stopped being eventful around fourth year, when everyone had accepted that she was generally more mature than most of the adults in her family and didn't like parties. Given that her birthday was at such an inconvenient time for everyone (October 31st – yes, she was born on Halloween) there wasn't usually anyone around to celebrate with her. Or if there was, they were actually celebrating Halloween with a quick 'Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday Rose' thrown haphazardly on the end of a banner. Not that Rose minded – she really didn't like parties and was quite happy to just celebrate an unrelated occasion instead of congratulating herself on surviving another year. She was even more happy to let everyone else go and celebrate Halloween while she stayed at home with a good book or was simply left to herself to do something completely of her own choice. She liked having the occasional quiet time as it never happened often with a family such as hers. And there was no reason that this birthday should be any different – after all, 24 wasn't exactly a milestone. It was a nothing birthday, which meant it was even more acceptable for Rose to not have a party.

Excellent.

So her birthday was shaping up to be a quiet one in which she would go to work, leave early (like she always did on her birthday), go to the Burrow for afternoon tea with the family, then go home and curl up on the couch with a book and a mug of hot chocolate (the full fat, extra sugar, double fudge sort that she only allowed herself to drink on her birthday and at Christmas) and have a peaceful evening. She may or may not be accompanied by her 'boyfriend-when-its-convenient' Henry. As much as she knew she shouldn't, Rose was quite hoping Henry has some spectacular party he had been invited to as part of his work that he simply must attend so she wouldn't have to spend the evening with him, only the family afternoon tea. Normally afternoon tea on birthdays was reserved for people who were either born into or had officially married into the Weasley brood, but everyone made an exception for Henry because he was so exceptional.

He was the star Chaser of the Chudley Cannons and had almost single-handedly saved their season last year so it went without saying that her Father loved him. She may or may not have seen him kiss Henry's cheek when he successfully scored the winning goal just as the Snitch was caught to keep them in contention for the Cup. Henry was also very intelligent and passionate, traits her mother held in high regard. Upon meeting her the first time, he and Hermione had spoken for at least an hour about the new policy she was trying to pass and why it was pivotal that it was recognized officially by the Ministry (Rose wasn't sure what the policy had been about, something to do with House Elves no doubt). After that lengthy discussion, in which Henry had agreed with anything her mother had said and even added his own personal views on the subject, Hermione had fallen in love with the idea of having him as a son-in-law, even if she never explicitly said so. In the months that followed, Rose had diagnosed both her parents with 'Mentionitis' in which neither of them could stop mentioning Henry or asking question about him.

Of course he'd had no problem charming the rest of the family either – all the female members admired his charm and looks (that was the other thing – he was a tall, muscular, brunette with eyes of chocolate that could melt anything with a heartbeat), while the men all loved him for his athletic ability and overall 'manliness'. The only person who was her saving grace at family functions that didn't fawn over her boyfriend-when-its-convenient was her Uncle Harry.

Harry had been impressed with Henry, but as soon as he managed to excuse himself, Harry had sort out Rose (who was sitting alone outside) to have a quiet moment or two with her.

"He's quite the talker isn't he?" he commented with a knowing smile. Rose picked up on the hidden meaning and nodded softly, a little put-out at the time by the way her family was more in love with her boyfriend than they were with her.

"I'm sure he could talk for hours about anything even remotely related to himself," Harry had said as he sipped a cup of tea, overlooking the grounds of the Burrow through his trademark round glasses. Rose smiled up at him and laughed under her breath. Harry had put a hand on her shoulder and had smiled down at her with eyes she had never seen hold malice.

"How about we leave the rest of them to fall over their feet trying to kiss his and go and have a nice quiet game of chess?"

Never, in her entire life, had Rose ever loved her uncle more. They had spent the next 2 hours playing chess until the rest of the family remembered the two of them existed.

Rose didn't resent Henry for being loved by her family. She couldn't resent him because she felt so indifferently about him. He was a great person, totally arrogant but she supposed that sometimes came with greatness, and was wanted by thousands of women around the country if not the world. He was exactly the type of boy she should bring home to meet her family so she had, even though they weren't strictly speaking 'dating'. They hung out, they snogged, and occasionally shagged, but they still didn't label anything. He said it was difficult for him to be in a relationship with someone when he was forced to dedicate so much time to The Team (he said it that same way a gangster might say 'The Family') and that it wouldn't be fair on her if he were to tell her he could commit to something when he knew he really couldn't.

That hadn't bothered her at all – she didn't really want him to commit to her, and she didn't really want to commit to him. But it was nice sort of having someone there. So they kept up their 'not-a-relationship' thing and enjoyed each other's company when they had the time to share it. But she wasn't expecting him to make any time for her on her birthday and that was more than fine with her.

So as Rose packed up her desk early just like every birthday, the only question still floating around in her head about what the night ahead held was which book she was going to read whilst feasting on deliciously calorie-packed hot chocolate. She finished placing a few miscellaneous items in her bag before throwing it over her shoulder and heading out.

"Happy Birthday Rose," Arrabella Argenforg called on her way past Rose's office door.

"Thank-you!" she replied with a smile. With Arrabella's well wishes, that meant that everyone on the floor had spared a few minutes to say happy birthday to her today.

All except Scorpius Malfoy.

Rose thought this was more than a little odd. It wasn't as if they were enemies: on the contrary, Rose and Scorpius got on quite well. They were polite to one another, showing a sort of mutual respect for each others' abilities, and found it refreshing that they could share an insightful and intellectual conversation with one another. Working together closely on several cases wasn't an issue; Rose was pleasantly surprised to find that Scorpius was extremely organized and dedicated to his work. In fact, comparatively, it was Rose that was the slob, continuously leaving her notes and half-written parchments strewn around her office where Scorpius' were perfectly piled in neat little piles in various trays on his desk. But they worked well together – being part of the Department of International Magic Cooperation they were in charge of making sure things between countries and interest groups remained friendly which meant schmoozing a lot and charming people, something Scorpius was very good at. He was probably the only person in the known universe who could give Henry a run for his money. And being the daughter of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, not to mention the niece of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley, meant that usually people were more than happy to oblige Rose. They worked perfectly together, and had been nothing less than civil throughout their many joint assignments.

And they did flirt with each other. Constantly. It was playful and harmless – they both knew it. It was just two almost-friends having a bit of a laugh with the other. It didn't matter if either of them were attached or not because they each knew that it didn't mean anything and therefore no one had anything to worry about. Scorpius often greeted her with what could only be described as a pick-up line, and she would often wink at him over her shoulder when they parted. They engaged in what most would consider banter and there was even the occasional circumstance when he'd kiss her hand with a smirk or pull her close to side-long apparate to international meetings when Rose was perfectly capable of apparating by herself. But it didn't mean anything, it was just two people who got along very well.

Then there was one time that her and Scorpius had gotten on a little too well.

It had been about a month ago, one Friday night after work. Rose had had plans with Henry but he'd had to cancel due to other 'Team Things' coming up unexpectedly (read: drinks at a very exclusive club filled with overly accommodating ladies in very short robes.). Rose decided to go out to a bar and drown her supposed sorrows at being pushed aside for younger, prettier versions of herself, only to discover that she really didn't care what Henry did with his time. So Rose had found herself in a bar she had never seen before in her life in a very quiet and secluded part of muggle London, not very drunk at all, enjoying the music and being away from anyone who was likely to recognize her as anyone of any importance.

To say she was surprised to see Scorpius Malfoy sit down beside her would have been the understatement of the century.

He had opened with some particularly cheesy line as he slid on to the bar stool beside her, questioning why she was here all on her lonesome.

"Plans fell through," she answered with a shrug, "Thought I'd have a quiet drink by myself."

He smirked as he ordered two alcoholic beverages she thought she heard him called 'ciders' and pull out some muggle money.

"Which roughly translates as you got stood up and are drowning your sorrows," he took a sip of one drink and slid the other towards her.

"No," she defended, although she realized, as she accepted his drink without argument, it kind of was the truth, "I'm not sad I got stood up – I honestly don't give a damn what Henry does with his time – it just means that the plans I did have I don't have anymore. So I needed to fill in time."

He paused as he wrapped his head around what was apparently, for a man such as Scorpius, a baffling issue.

"So you came to a tiny pub in muggle London because you didn't have anything else to do on a Friday night when your plans with a man you don't care about fell through?" he had an eyebrow raised and she could tell he was trying to make her feel like an idiot.

"Yes," she answered with a nod as she took a sip of her drink, "I'd just be bored at home."

Scorpius laughed as he raised his own glass.

"You really need a hobby."

He smirked when she scowled at him before taking a large swig of his drink. They eventually moved from the bar to a little booth at the back of the pub where they had engaged in more banter, more flirting, and more drinking. Rose remembered thinking that in the lack of light his hair was kind of like a beacon that continued to shine regardless, and that his silver eyes were quite pretty. Alluring almost. And his cologne was sort of magnetic in the way it drew her closer and closer along the bench towards him until they were right next to each other. And that his voice had a nice velvety quality to it that she hadn't allowed herself to notice before.

Over the course of several hours it had all rolled into one big ole ball of spontaneity and carelessness that had led Rose to thinking it was perfectly acceptable for her to kiss her work colleague in the corner of the some little Muggle Pub. She wasn't alone though, as Scorpius apparently thought it entirely acceptable to practically pull her into his lap and snog her senseless as well. Deciding that a Muggle Pub was probably not the best spot for what they both had in mind, they had somehow managed to stumble out of the pub locked around each other before making their way down a little dank alleyway and apparating to Scorpius' apartment. From there it was all kind of hazy. All that she really remembered with any sort of clarity was lying on his bed, half naked already and snogging Scorpius and moaning relentlessly. In amongst the grinding and groaning, he mumbled something against her neck.

"Mine," he said softly with a surprising amount of conviction. Rose had made some non-committal noise (most likely a moan) in response, much too preoccupied with imminent sex to be bothered with talking.

Then he stopped.

Completely stopped. Not a muscle moved. Her eyes snapped open to look at him, only finding him staring down at her with an odd ferocity.

"Mine."

She hadn't really known what he was talking about, after all, she was all kinds of distracted at present. But he seemed worried, a little afraid even. Desperate. And the way he had looked at her had stirred something and suddenly she knew. He was talking about her. He wanted her to be his.

Well, she was half way (ok, more than half way) to fucking him and he felt the need to clarify now? Like snogging him in a bar and allowing him to remove her clothes (in record time) wasn't enough of a give way? She cursed him silently and tried her best to be angry. Then she saw how scared he was and decided to be compassionate instead. Through the haze, she had removed on of her hands from his person and reached out for where his hand was gripping the mattress somewhere above her head. He followed the path her hand made with his eyes, locking their fingers together when they met. Rose, thinking this was a great idea at the time due to the amount of alcohol she had in her system, had leant up and kissed him with a sincerity that surprised Scorpius and herself alike. She then moved her lips to his ear and breathed just loud enough for him to hear.

"Yours."

And suddenly he was moving again, and so was she, and the few layers they still had on had disappeared and it all ended in a crescendo of moaning and gasping and most likely some expletives. He didn't let go of her hand throughout.

Thoroughly exhausted, Rose had fallen asleep practically straight away. When she awoke the next morning she had a killer hangover, more than a little attack of the guilts (though not as much as she probably should, but then she remembered her and Henry weren't even really dating so therefore it wasn't really cheating. And she was 95% sure he had slept with someone else during their….whatever this thing between the two of them was) and a snoring Scorpius Malfoy wrapped around her. She had very carefully removed herself from the scene quickly and quietly, and had apparated back to her apartment where she had promptly showered and went back to sleep for several hours. Rose had been more than a little worried about going in to work on Monday for fear of having to face Scorpius, but it appeared he didn't remember. Or if he did he had the decency not to say anything about it. They went back to flirting with each other constantly; he would still kiss her hand and seemed to feel the need to stand a lot closer to her than was considered appropriate for a working relationship, and she winked at him a lot and blew him sarcastic kisses when he said something provocative. It was all back to normal.

Or at least it had been. Until Rose's 24th birthday. Then it got a lot more complicated.

She should have just kept walking. She really should have just kept walking and just accepted the fact that Scorpius didn't want to say Happy Birthday to her. But, for reasons she couldn't and wouldn't allow herself to understand, it hurt a little that he didn't remember it was her birthday. He had remembered in previous years. And she had told him not two days ago that she wouldn't be attending the Ministry Halloween Gala because it was her birthday. He knew. She knew he knew. And he still hadn't said anything. Maybe he just hadn't had time to come and see her. Maybe that was it. He just couldn't make time. Well, she'd give him the perfect opportunity.

As Rose walked past his office on her way out, she poked her head in the door and saw him writing elegantly across the page. That note was probably telling someone to get their arse into gear and stop being a tosser and yet he still looked calm and elegant and graceful. Whenever Rose wrote a note like that her face screwed up as she mimed her fury-filled words. He had commented on it often. It wasn't her fault – not everyone could achieve the bored expressionlessness that he could.

"Good night!" she called with a smile, to which his head snapped up to look at her, confusion and intrigue etched into his features, "See you Monday."

He raised an eyebrow and vanished the letter he had been writing with a flick of his wrist.

"Good night?" he questioned, a smirk starting to make its way up his cheek.

"Yep," she shrugged with a smile, "I'm heading to the Burrow for afternoon tea."

She watched his face light up in shock and amusement as he began to strut towards her.

"Do my ears deceive me?" he questioned jokingly as he leant against the front of his desk, "Is good little Rose Weasley, former Miss Head Girl herself, actually leaving work early?"

Rose gave him a look and flicked her hair over her shoulder flippantly.

"Yes," she exaggerated, "Just like always."

"Always?" he tucked his hands into his pockets as he walked towards her again, "Since when do you make a habit of sneaking out?"

Rose took a few steps forwards, also crossing her arms, to meet him half way across his office.

"I've been doing it since I started," she shrugged and laughed a little at the utterly shocked and slightly impressed expression that crossed Scorpius' face.

"You know Weasley," he said moving forward until he was barely a step from her, "As a concerned and dedicated co-worker, it's my responsibility to report such mischief and mayhem."

"I'll hardly be causing mayhem, Scorpius," she rolled her eyes but couldn't help the smile that graced her features.

"That's what they all say!" he countered, thoroughly enjoying himself apparently, "It always starts as an early night then BAM! You're rocking up to work in your pajamas without brushing your teeth!"

He smiled down at her with a genuine smile that almost knocked the air out of her lungs. It would have had she not developed a tolerance to it during their months of tireless carefree flirting.

"Come on Scorpius," she said with a smile, her voice sincere, "Cut a girl some slack on her birthday."

His face dropped slightly and he looked at her strangely, clearly confused.

"Birthday?" he asked, as if going over the facts in his head.

"Birthday," Rose nodded and tried not to feel a too upset at the fact that he had actually forgotten.

"Twenty-three?" he asked, obviously guessing her age. How he could have got that wrong was just beyond her – they were the same bloody age!

"No," she said with a slight chuckle, "That would have been last year – when you remembered may I add."

"I did?" he seemed rightfully shocked.

"Yes!" Rose smiled up at his adorably confused face, "You wished me happy birthday first thing in the morning."

"I did, hmmm?" he asked with the signature smirk, "Treasure the memories of us together do you Weasley?"

Rose felt like there was something buried sneakily under that statement, but chose to ignore it, laughing it off.

"Oh yes Malfoy," she said dramatically, "I only wish I could create a pensive of every moment I am in your company so I could relive them over and over again."

"You know I find sarcasm is a dreadfully unattractive trait in a woman," he offered with that charming smirk of his.

"Then it's lucky I'm not trying to attract you, isn't it Malfoy?" that may have been a tiny lie, but she was sure he hadn't picked up on it. He laughed heartily, throwing his head back as another gloriously genuine smile filled his features. Rose merely smiled back politely, hoping to escape quickly – she felt a little put out by him not remembering. But then she did like spending time in Scorpius' company. And he knew now.

"So," he looked back to her eyes, "Twenty-four 'eh? Little Rosie Weasley getting old."

"Don't call me Rosie," she responded almost reflexively to which he simply smiled again.

"Right," he continued regardless, "So have you enjoyed your day?"

"Yes," she nodded, "I've had a lovely day thank you. I've been very spoilt."

He quirked another eyebrow and looked confused again.

"Spoilt?"

"Yes," she nodded, "Mum and dad got me wonderful gifts as always, as did the rest of the extended family. Really, I don't think I've got enough space in my house for them all."

Scorpius' face dropped and he looked slightly uneasy as he dragged one of his hands through his hair.

"I didn't get you anything," he said bluntly.

"I didn't expect you to," she answered just as abruptly.

"I probably should have," he shrugged and started fidgeting in his pockets, "Its kind of customary."

His eyebrows suddenly shot up as he located something in his pocket. He retrieved a small ring and looked at it curiously.

"What the -?" Scorpius seemed completely bewildered by the ring's existence, which Rose found odd seeing as it was in his pocket after all. He glanced up at her then back to the ring in his fingers. His face lit up and he looked decidedly like an excited first year.

"Here," he said holding out to her, "You can have this."

"That really isn't necessary," Rose said with a gentle smile. He thrust it toward her again.

"Go on, take it."

Rose crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at him.

"Scorpius I'm not taking that from you just so you don't feel guilty."

"I don't feel guilty," Scorpius shrugged and looked at the ring with repugnance, "I just really want to get rid of this old thing and you present the perfect opportunity."

"Well gee," she rolled her eyes and jutted out her left hip, "Don't I feel special?"

"Would you prefer I guilt-trip you?" he said as he smirked at her and leant forward, pushing the ring closer to her face.

"No."

"Then just take the bloody ring Rose," he was getting a little touchy, that much as obvious, "Really; I've out grown it."

"So I get your rejects?"

"No, you get my hand-me-downs. There's a difference. "

She snorted and threw him an expression that said 'Don't give me that shit'.

"And what would Scorpius Malfoy know about hand-me-downs?"

"Very little, as this is the only one I've ever received," he looked at the ring with an upturned nose and sneered at it, "I wouldn't electively own this."

"Now you're making me feel sorry for the ring."

His eyes lit up and a hopeful smile spread across his features.

"So does that mean you'll take it?"

"No," Rose stepped back slightly, figuring that if she distanced herself from him than he wouldn't be so damn persuasive, "It's not my place to take it from you."

"You're not taking it," he advanced on her, "I'm giving it to you."

"I'm not taking that ring," she said with as much defiance as she could manage. He raised an eyebrow and looked at her with mock authority.

"Didn't your parents ever teach you that it was rude to reject people's gifts?"

"This wasn't supposed to be a gift for me though; that makes it different."

He sighed and looked thoroughly annoyed.

"Just take it Rose, please – I don't want it."

"I'm not taking it Scorpius," she said with conviction as she looked him in the eye.

"I was planning on pawning it off in Diagon Alley somewhere after work tonight – if you take it at least I know you'll look after it."

Rose allowed herself to look at the small silver ring closely for the first time. It had a large green jewel in the center of it and the band was curved and engraved in the most beautiful pattern. There were little stones of onyx lining the emerald in the middle, giving it an edgy quality that she liked. Really, how could someone 'out grow' something that looked so very pretty? Rose apprehensively took the ring.

"Are you sure you don't want it?" she asked cautiously, admiring it some more in different lights, "It's really very pretty."

He snorted. Apparently the ring was not meant to be 'pretty'.

Then, quick as lightening, Scorpius captured one of her hands and forced the ring into her palm. He closed his fingers over her own so she had no choice but to clasp the piece of jewelry.

"I'm positive," he said with finality before removing his hand from hers. Rose opened her hand and looked down at the ring in her hand. It really was very pret….stunning. She smiled and slid it onto her middle finger. Scorpius let out a dramatic sigh, tsk-ed at her, and reclaimed her hand in his own once more.

"It goes on your ring finger Rose," he removed it from her middle finger and slid it onto the ring finger of her left hand. Rose felt it shrink to fit her finger perfectly and then examined it. She didn't care if it wasn't meant to be pretty – that's what it was. It was pretty and stunning and imposing and somehow her hand now looked and felt important with it on.

Scorpius was still holding her hand and staring down at the ring where it sat around her finger. He smiled to himself, something flashing in his eyes.

"Perfect," he murmured softly. Rose, too wrapped up in how stunning the trinket was simply nodded and examined it from different angles by twisting her hand.

"Yeah," she agreed, "I'm sure it looks much better on me then it ever did on you."

Scorpius gave a low chuckle and ran his thumb over her finger and the ring in a gesture that felt a little too intimate for her liking, but she put it down to him just playing their little game. He smirked once more to himself before letting go of her hand.

"Happy Birthday Rose," he said, looking to her eyes, which were still focused on the ring. She looked up when she heard her name and smiled.

"Thank-you, Scorpius," she beamed, figuring that being giving her such a pretty ring made up for the fact that he hadn't really remembered her birthday, "And thank you for the very lovely, although totally unnecessary gift."

They stood there, just looking at each other and smiling for a few moments. Rose was put off by the fact that Scorpius seemed to be smirking again – that look very rarely meant good things for her. She held his gaze for a moment longer than was probably considered appropriate, secretly reassuring herself that this was a perfectly acceptable exchange of gifts between work colleagues and friends. After all, he didn't even want it. And she would take care of it. Rose animatedly looked to her watch to break the tension.

"Well I have to get back to sneaking out of the office," she said with a cheeky grin as she turned back to open the portrait hole, "Don't work too hard without me!"

She heard him chuckle as she walked out of his office with a spring in her step. As she strode towards the fireplaces to floo to the Burrow, Rose felt considerably happier about this whole birthday situation. Her hand was graced with a stunning trinket that looked perfect on her finger, her calorie-pumped hot chocolate was waiting for her at home, and the chances of her having to listen to Henry talk about himself for the entire evening were slim. Yes, Rose Weasley's 24th birthday was shaping up to be deliciously and perfectly uneventful.

How wrong she was.


Bum bum buuuuuum! Anyhow...please review (OMG that rhymes! haha...sorry, i need sleep) :-)