You guys. You guys are awesome. Seriously, everyone who reviewed, favourited, and followed this fic (especially you peeps who have put up with my terrible updating rituals, or lack thereof, since the beginning) has made me smile a little brighter these past few months, and that is very much appreciated.
I have a little something to say – I love you all for your reviews and it really does brighten my day to see that people like this story, BUT please do not send me messages or leave comments demanding an update. Some of them have bordered on abusive and it is most unappreciatedMy lack of updates isn't because I'm choosing not to, I'm not updating because life is getting in the way. But this story shall be continued. Until you see the status officially change to 'complete' always believe that there will be more, despite how long it takes me to upload.
On a side not – CHAPTER EIGHT! Sweet Holy Spaghetti Monster, this is a beast. And I will say, it's a bit slow and Scorpius is a bit of a dick, but that's just because we have to get this thing back on track and add in some things that may prove to be quite important later on (wink wink). Its frustrating because including them bulks it up and means it takes longer to get to the good stuff, but it also has to be done so it all makes sense eventually. Have faith, it will improve.
Disclaimer – the characters are not mine. The situations in which they find themselves are.
Ginny Potter, who was feeling 'better than you look, Mr. Malfoy', did not sit when he offered her a seat beside his bed most politely. Scorpius got the feeling she rather enjoyed towering over him, she probably thought it made her look imposing. Quite foolish really; Ginny Weasley could be the size of his little finger and he'd still be scared shitless.
"Like mother like daughter," she said with a raised eyebrow and a smirk that would rival his own. It was confusing as hell (no wonder Rose always complained when he looked at her like that).
"Rose beating you up," she nodded to the padding currently stuffed in his nostrils, "Its remarkably reminiscent of when her mum punched your dad."
"Hermione Weasley punched my dad?!"
This was perhaps the most incredibly fantastic, fucking hilarious news he had ever heard in his entire life. Ever.
"Yep – back in the day when she was still Hermione Granger. Third year of Hogwarts, she got him right in the nose," she raised another eyebrow, this one decidedly more humorous than the last, "He's never mentioned it before?"
Well this was some kind of a miracle – he was practically immobile in a hospital bed after a rather bad run in with a very disgruntled Rose, and here was her Aunt (sister of the man he had indirectly caused the hospitalization of, though he would deny it fervently if anyone accused him) joking about his dad being punched in the face by Rose's mum.
And if four men riding horses came trotting past to kindly inform him to say good-bye to his loved ones because the world was about to implode, he would not even be surprised. Not in the least.
There was a silence that encased his room that began as companionable until he realized the smirk Mrs. Potter had been wearing had slowly descended into something else. If he had to compare it to anything, he would say she was looking at him in a pretty similar way to how a vulture would look at a dying buffalo. That look that said 'You are as good as dead, and I'm hungry'.
Scorpius suddenly found himself prayingthat those four lovely horsemen would show up. Like, now.
"I didn't mean to intrude on you, Mr. Malfoy," for a blessed moment he thought she was going to leave. He was wrong, "You see noticed you being were here on my way back from my brother's room…"
Scratch that – she wasn't a vulture. She was a lion. And he was a gazelle. A lame gazelle. Tied to a tree. Drizzled with barbeque sauce.
Merlin let it be quick and merciful.
"You know he's been hospitalized, right?" She asked somewhat rhetorically. Scorpius could only nod in response, his voice apparently abandoning him. Stupid cowardly bastard; running away when the rest of his body couldn't move. Talk about betrayal.
"Yes," she nodded, that same deadly look in her eye, "See, when he saw the photo of you and Rose in The Prophet he, well, had an accident."
Scorpius swallowed rather loudly. "I…I'm sorry…?"
"For what?" she asked, smiling now in a way that was totally not reassuring in any way, shape, or form, "Kissing Rose?"
"No," he responded surprisingly confidently, "I don't regret that at all, and I don't believe either of us did anything wrong."
"Then what would you be apologizing for?" she quirked her head to the side in a show of mock curiosity before that unsettling smile slid from her face to be replaced with a look of cold, barely repressed anger, "A certain deal made with The Prophet, perhaps?"
Scorpius swallowed loudly again and shook his head the best he could considering all the damage that had been done to it recently.
"No, there…I…" he stuttered like a fool; thank Merlin no one else was here to witness this, "I haven't done any sort of deal with The Prophet."
Which was true. Kind of. Mrs. Potter didn't seem impressed nor convinced, her eyes narrowing at him. He suddenly became acutely aware of her wand visibly perched on her hip – very accessible should she decide she needed it. Fuck.
"Then why hasn't a retraction been printed? Rose seemed adamant on getting one published."
His first thought to respond with 'Rose has a very annoying habit of changing her mind,' but then realized that would mean explaining what he meant by that. Which would mean filling her in on certain events that had taken place last month. And if there was one thing he would find more painful than this conversation, it was discussing his sex life with his lover's war-hero aunt. No, best not say anything like that.
"I'm not sure," he lied, hopefully convincingly, "A mistake at the newspaper's end, perhaps?"
She glared at him – with the power of a thousand suns – and leant a little closer in a most menacing manner.
"Don't treat me like an idiot, Scorpius," somehow hearing her say his first name just terrified him more, "I'm very good at spotting liars."
"I swear I have not done some deal with The Prophet!" he objected adamantly, successfully keeping most of the desperation he was feeling from filling his voice, "You have my word on that, Mrs. Potter."
It wasn't technically a lie. Still, she looked unconvinced. He gestured weakly to his heavily bandaged body. "It's not like I'm gaining anything from keeping this story in circulation."
Mrs. Potter raised an eyebrow at him once more. Scorpius wished that's all Rose did when she was angry with him; it was most certainly an improvement from a broken nose and teeth. He watched as Mrs. Potter leaned back and took a slow sip of her coffee, apparently relenting for the moment. After several painful moments of silence she spoke again.
"So you and Rose," she let the statement hang in the air between them for a few moments before elaborating, "What's the deal?"
"You and Rose," she gestured for him to continue, as if it was obvious what she was asking, "What's your…relationship status?"
"Well…" he paused, not entirely sure how he should answer that at the moment, "Well it depends on who you ask."
This time both eyebrows rose and a curious expression broke across her features.
"Well I'm asking you – so according to you, what's the deal?"
Scorpius shifted to make himself more comfortable but only found the new patch of cement he was sure his bed was made of even less accommodating than the last. All the money his family had thrown at St. Mungos over the years and these were the best mattresses they could afford? He made a mental note of using some connections to get better mattresses for all the wards. Notably the ones he was likely to find himself staying in the next few weeks if Rose continued her furious (and some might say, over-done) vengeance.
Oh Merlin he was supposed to be answering her question wasn't he? Right. Well. Best get to that.
"I...well for me…that is to say I thought…" he sighed and would have run his fingers through his hair if he could find the strength to lift his hands that high; why had no one in his family ever had feelings? Surely this was some genetic defect he could have fixed, "I am very fond of your niece, Mrs. Potter. Probably more than I should be. And, regardless of what my current ailments may suggest, we are – or at least were – friends. And, I believed that we were, possibly, in the future, could maybe…be…um…I thought that she…well…"
She put him out of his misery by asking another question.
"And, hypothetically, if I was to ask Rose the same question, what might her answer be?"
He did his best to crack a sad kind of a smile but found he couldn't look her in the eye.
"I'd say, given recent events, that she would say I was the bane of her existence. And would never be anything else."
Scorpius suddenly became aware of a dull ache resonating through his chest that he was, unfortunately, extremely aware of – his heart hurt (which was pathetic and weak and he would 'take-care-of' anyone who dared suggest he was capable of such a ridiculous sentiment). Scorpius momentarily thought that it was ridiculous that of all these damn spells and potions they had given him and not one could cure heartache. Someone should work on that.
Mrs. Potter smiled warmly down at him – it was a mother's smile, one that said 'I'm a nurturing person by nature and feel a little sorry for you, but do anything stupid and I can still kick your ass'. She sighed loudly and set her now empty coffee cup on the table beside his bed
"Here's the thing, Scorpius," she was stern but not enraged; that was a positive sign, "I don't mind you. Before this week I had never heard Rose complain about you or say a bad thing about yourself or your work ethic – she clearly respects you and, judging by that photo, maybe there's something more. I honestly don't know enough about this whole thing to comment. I'm not one for judging people based on whatever reputations their relatives have; the fact that your last name is Malfoy has very little relevance to me. I don't want to be against you."
He watched her features grow stern as her voice grew colder. Not good.
"But," she leant in closer to be more intimidating again, "If you have any intention of hurting any of my family with this little secret scheme of yours than let me make one thing very clear – I will consider you my enemy. And things didn't end too well for the last person who I considered an enemy that hurt my family. You might have heard of him – his last name began with the letter V. That is what I will do to you if you do anything to hurt my niece or any of my loved ones. Do you understand?"
Right, so Ginny Potter would give him 'Voldie' status and therefore exact 'Voldie-level' vengeance on him if he inadvertently hurt her relatives.
Fuck the horsemen, if The Great Almighty wanted to just smite Scorpius right here where he lay right now he probably wouldn't protest – vengeance from Heaven was sure to be a hell of a lot more merciful than vengeance from Ginny Potter.
"Yes, Mrs. Potter," Scorpius' voice was shaky. He decided to blame the spells and potions they'd given him for that, "But please, believe me when I say I have absolutely no intention of hurting Rose."
"Really? Because whatever stunt you pulled that's keeping Rose from setting the story straight with The Prophet would suggest otherwise…"
"That is a…" he chose his words carefully, "Misunderstanding."
She didn't look impressed with his defense, raising an unimpressed eyebrow and letting out a heavy kind of breath that told him she didn't believe him.
"Well I suggest you clear it up as soon as possible if you want to keep that pretty face of yours from getting another beating."
She leant back and straightened her blouse, looking very professional and, as always, scary as all hell. She shot him a tightlipped smile and stared him down once more.
"This doesn't need to get ugly Scorpius," she adjusted her hair which was swept up and away from her face, "And I know Rose certainly doesn't want, and by the look of it, doesn't needanyone fighting her battles for her. So, I will do my best to keep myself and my family out of this little spat you two are , the second I get any inclination that this is causing Rose pain, I will get involved. And I can guarantee you, once myself and the rest of my family gets involved, you will pray for the days that a few chipped teeth, a broken nose and a sore back were the worst of your problems. Do we understand each other?"
Scorpius swallowed embarrassingly loudly – holy hell he was close to crapping himself.
"Yes, Mrs. Potter," he looked her right in the eye and spoke deceptively smoothly for someone as terrified as he was, "But, as I said, the last thing I want in any of this is for Rose to get hurt. I would never wish to cause her pain."
She raised a curious eyebrow, and that strange smirk slid back into place once more.
"And for some unknown reason, I think I believe you," she shot him a look that very nearly caused him to empty his bowels right there, "But I have been known to change my mind."
All he could do in response was nod his head. She smiled once more – that smile that belonged to vultures – before looking at her watch and letting out a heavy sigh.
"Well, things to do, places to be and all that," she took her empty coffee cup and began to leave, "Heal quickly Mr. Malfoy. I daresay you'll need your strength when you and Rose next meet!"
He bid her farewell, watching as the door to the ward swung shut behind her.
Holy Shit. That was the most intense situation he had ever found himself in, and that included the time his Grandfather found him with a Muggle Studies textbook. Perhaps he would have to do something about the whole 'Prophet' business. He tried to shift his body to the side and was simultaneously struck with overwhelming tiredness and an intense pain that ripped through his side where three ribs were trying desperately to grow back the broken bits. Later, he decided, I will handle The Prophet later. After sleep.
Scorpius laid his head back and fell into a much welcomed but definitely not peaceful sleep filled with angry red heads and dancing, bleeding noses. He begged it wasn't a sign of things to come.
Even though there was absolutely no reason for her to feel the least bit guilty about her actions – because the turd-munching bastard had it coming goddamit! – Rose did feel the tiniest bit bad for beating Scorpius up so severely come Thursday morning. Apparently she had actually broken his nose. And a few teeth. And then there were the shards of wood from her desk he had to have removed from his person. But that part was mainly his fault anyways. So despite her reaction being totally justified and reasonable in every conceivable way, Rose still felt just the tiniest smidgen of guilt for the severity of his injuries.
Her guilt dissipated into a feeling of resounding relief when she read an owl from her mother as she was eating breakfast.
Not exactly the proclamation of falsity you were hoping for I'm sure, but at least it's a retraction. Very glad to see things have sorted themselves out.
Have a good day at work,
Lots of Love,
It took Rose a minute to fully comprehend what her mother had just written – retraction. Surely that could only mean…
Without another second's hesitation Rose sprinted from her apartment still wearing her dressing gown and slippers, running down the stairs as quickly as she could until she reached the lobby. The lobby with the newspaper stand. She slid to a stop in front of Augustus, the lovely man who had attended this newspaper stand since before Rose moved in three years ago. He smiled at her from behind his very impressive grey beard and bid her good morning.
"Mornin, Miss. Weasley," he said with a smile, "I hear a congratulations are in order."
Rose spotted today's copy of The Prophet, snatched it up and scanned the front page. Nothing. At least the 'Desk photo' didn't make the front page. She flicked angrily through the pages until she came to the society pages. Still no desk photo – HALLELUJAH! But there, tucked away in the corner, was a tiny little square that read:
The Daily Prophet wishes to retract the statement made in the edition of Saturday, November 1, which stated that Mr. Scorpius Malfoy and Ms. Rose Weasley were engaged. The pair are not engaged. The Daily Prophet extends its apologies to all parties impacted by this claim.
Rose's face almost split in two as she looked up at Augustus, handing him back the paper.
"Yes, today is most definitely cause for celebration," before he could reply she turned and began to run back up to her apartment, calling behind her with an energetic wave over her shoulder, "Have a wonderful day Augustus!"
Today was going to be a good day.
Rose conceded as she walked into work that she guessed she should thank Scorpius for finally having that ridiculous Anti-Retraction statement lifted. It really was a great relief. Even if it was his stupid fault that the damn thing was even put in place at all, it would be the polite thing to do – show him she was more mature and adult then him and his silly little games he played. Plus he seemed to have done something to stop them running the questionable photo of her on his lap after her desk broke. That was most certainly appreciated. Yep, it was time to be the bigger man and show him that she was thankful and willing to put this whole thing behind them. Maybe they could even remain partners – no one worked better together than they did after all. Plus she didn't want to be stuck with a recently graduated intern who didn't know Austria from Australia.
That thought abandoned her briefly as she approached his office and heard the unmistakable sound of someone giggling. A female someone. Seriously?! He went to all this trouble to convince the world that they were engaged, and then continued to flirt with every female he could find? Just typical.
At the sight of the closed door she briefly considered walking away – she didn't need to be publically humiliated by her non-fiancée doing the nasty with some random woman. Then she remembered all the stress he'd put her through these past few days and decided that cock-blocking him was the least she could do to get her own back. And maybe then it would finally convince all her insufferable work colleagues that they really, truly, weren't dating (it was ridiculous how many refused to believe her. Even after attacking him yesterday there were some who were still unconvinced. Knobs).
With her head held high, Rose walked towards the door with her glare already fixed in place. Just as she reached for the door handle, the door swung open rather enthusiastically, startling her. Rose now found herself face to face with the man she had been seeking in all his blonde haired and finely-robed glory. (Rose may or may not have had an embarrassing flashback to Saturday morning when he'd greeted her in much the same manner, sans shirt. She tried her damnedest to shut that vision down before things got too out of control. Stupid filthy conscience.)
Her gaze fell on his eyes, which she noted were much wider than usual. In fact he looked almost…relieved? Like he had been about to face Fluffy the Three Headed Dog, and then in walked Rose with a pretty little music box. It was a face that said 'Thank god you're here – help me before it eats me.'
'It' as it turns out wasn't a three-headed dog but rather a svelte raven-haired woman who was perched on Scorpius' desk (in a skirt much too short to be considered appropriate for work attire). Rose recognized her immediately – the woman with startlingly blue eyes and the cursed shiny straight hair (that made Rose's heart ache to look at) was Miss. Regina Longhorn. She was a junior associate, a perfectly adequate worker, and was always very well presented and polite to all she encountered.
She was also hated by every female employee within the Ministry.
It wasn't because her alluring appearance and ethereal looks drew in any man she set her sights on; it was because the men she set her sights on had a habit of being off-limits. At least to anyone who wasn't Regina. It didn't matter what they looked like or how old they were, if they were married or in a serious relationship or unattainable in some other way, Regina wanted them. And with that waist and those lips, she usually got them too.
So when Rose saw her sitting on Scorpius' desk like some kind of slutty sacrifice, needless to say she was pissed off.
Because Regina was up to her old tricks and pursuing men who were not available. That's all that bothered her.
The fact that Scorpius wasn't actually unavailable because they weren't engaged or together or whatever was completely besides the point. The point was that everyone thought they were and therefore what Regina was doing was wrong.
Rose wasn't seeing red because she actually liked Scorpius. Not at all. He was a Grade-A pain in her posterior and current bane of her existence – she really didn't care who he entertained in his free time. Not one iota.
But that didn't stop her from wanting to light Regina's hair on fire. And Scorpius' as well. Just for being a dick.
Really! Going after a (as far as she was concerned, if she hadn't already seen The Prophet) newly-engaged man? What a bat-fowling strumpet!
And yes, Rose had been revising her Shakespearean insults. But if Scorpius was going to try and disarm her with The Bard's poetry she could shoot him down with it too. It was called being proactive and she would not be judged for it! (Besides, insulting someone using words like 'flap-dragon' and 'hugger-mugger' was so much more satisfying than simply calling them a whore).
She gave a tight-lipped, completely insincere smile to Regina who returned the sentiment only hers was, much to Rose's enjoyment, considerably more fearful. Rose was distracted once more by Scropius' eyes doing that weird 'warm' thing again as he held his arms out wide and moved to hug her.
"My dear Rosie, how are you this morning?" he must have seen something akin to a scowl cross her face because he refrained from hugging her as was clearly his intention. Instead he just patted her awkwardly on the shoulders and fiddled with his hands in an attempt to keep them busy. If Rose didn't know him better she'd say he looked scared (but not of her?) and possibly even a little desperate. She couldn't imagine why. Peeking behind his shoulder to find Regina pouting at them whilst she pushed up her cleavage, Rose couldn't resist the urge to step closer to Scorpius, placing herself well and truly in his personal space now. She wouldn't touch him lest she catch some abhorrent disease, but she could send a message regardless. And that message said 'Some women will fight back you gorbellied harpy (man, Shakespearean insults were fun), so either put up your dukes or get the hell out of this office'. But she was just fighting her off on principle. Rose wasn't actually fighting for Scorpiusspecifically – just for her fellow sisters who had had their men stolen by the Reginas of the world. Yeah – fist-pump for sisterhood!
"Don't call me that," she murmured distractedly at Scorpius before smiling tightly at Regina, "Regina! You're in the office very early. Something special on today?"
Regina faulted for a moment, obviously not preparing an excuse for why she had to visit Scorpius lest she be interrupted (amateur). It may have also had something to do with the way Rose was staring her down – her mother had taught her a thing or two about threatening someone with little more than a stare. It had served her well over the last few years.
"I…" the raven-haired girl swallowed and composed herself with a flick of her immaculate hair, "I thought I would help Scorpius sort out his affairs, considering he's leaving us."
She actually pouted at him. Fully pouted. Rose should have been given a medal for not losing her breakfast all over the floor. She was about to retort when she felt Scorpius step even closer, now wrapping his arm around her waist. Rose would have scolded him and thrown it off had it not been for the way Regina had blanched when she saw the movement. Instead, Rose just reminded herself to disinfect her clothes when she got home and put on a brave face, doing all that she could to convince the women in front of her that she didn't want to punch the blonde-haired twat in the face.
"Thank you for the offer, Ms. Longhorn," Scorpius grinned much more politely than Rose had, causing Regina to visibly swoon, "But myself and my lovely partner here," he tugged Rose a little closer to him and she subtly elbowed him in response, "Are more than capable of sorting out my things."
Regina gave Rose the once over and let out a sigh that was heavy with disappointment as she dismounted the desk. She sauntered past, visibly avoiding eye contact with Rose. Regina crossed the threshold and turned as if she was on a catwalk, hip jutted out and hand on her waist. She gave Scorpius a coy little wave and may or may not have winked (right in front of Rose. What a beef-witted pignut). He didn't return it, simply unwrapping himself from Rose to shut the door in the girl's face. Which was good because it kept Regina out. Not so great because it kept Rose in.
Just as Rose was going to berate him about something (the specifics were hazy but she figured that she could just roll with whatever came out of her mouth first), Scorpius let out a relieved sigh and a muttered, "Thank Merlin." Well, that was strange. What was stranger was the prompt kiss he planted on her head before walking back to his desk before she could punch him.
"You, Rose Weasley, are a goddess," he said emphatically as he collapsed into his chair, cringing when he landed. He readjusted himself to relieve the ache before continuing, "Sent straight from the heavens to save me from the evils of unrequited lust. I could kiss you."
"You do and I'll make sure you pay St. Mungos another visit. And what on Earth are you talking about?" she snapped, walking further into his office, still glaring a little. He gestured towards the closed door with a look of disgust screwing up his face and distorting his features.
"Longhorn the Harpy," he said with a look much like that of a five year old that had to take some rather disgusting medicine, "It appears she's pursuing me. It's scary."
"Oh yes, and I'm sure you've been denying her affections fervently," she spat the words, an anger rising in her that was ugly and confusing. She couldn't explain it (and even if she could she refused to do so), but there was something about the whole encounter that left a fowl taste in her mouth.
Scorpius smiled with that odd warm look again that made the parts of Rose's brain that were stupid swoon incessantly. The logical bits of her brain banished them to the shadows once more and threatened to kill them with fire. They stopped swooning. His features settled into their trademark smirk.
"Green's a good colour on you, love," he murmured
"What?" she snapped but he simply smirked and shrugged.
"Stop calling me that!"
"Ok honey bun."
"No," she pointed a finger at him in a manner that would suggest she was capable of shooting flames out of it, "Enough with the pet names."
"Not even Schmoopsie Poo?" Oh the man was a fearless bastard. That or just incredibly idiotic. Actually, now that Rose thought about it, it was probably the second option. She scowled at him and pointed at him menacingly once more.
"You ever call me that and I will end you."
He threw his head back and laughed melodiously (which was damn annoying because he shouldn't be able to look or sound attractive when she was still angry at him) before turning to face her.
"Not that I'm not thoroughly enjoying your company, love," Rose opened her mouth to berate him but he continued quickly, "but was there a specific reason for you gracing my presence this lovely Thursday morning?"
"Don't call me love."
She threw her arms in the air and let out a growl of frustration.
"Why must you make everything so difficult?! "Rose exclaimed, sounding more tired than angry, "Why can't you just – for once in your life – not make a conscious effort to make my life more difficult?"
He just smiled and shrugged.
"In my defense most of it isn't conscious – I'm just naturally gifted it would appear."
"I prefer to think of it as a person defect."
He laughed loudly with genuine mirth in his eyes.
"Touché Rosie! Touché," he pretended to dip his hat to her before clapping his hands together, "So, what is it that has brought you to seek my counsel on this pleasant Thursday? Or did you simply detect your beloved in distress and sought to protect me?"
"You are not my beloved."
He simply hummed in response and smirked at her. She wanted to slap that look right off his stupid face but then remembered that she was supposed to be proving she was a bigger person and above all this bullshit. She'd be nice.
Well it would probably be more 'civil' than 'nice'.
Ok, so she would do her best not to physically maim him. That was pretty much the same as being nice right?
Rose cleared her throat and took a deep breath. She could do this. She could do this.
"Well I came in here to thank you for fixing up all that business with The Prophet and getting them to print a retraction," she crossed her arms and picked at her fingernails, trying to pass it off as nonchalantly as possible, "Even though it was you fault in the first place. You and your damn Anti-Retraction Statement."
The shit-eating grin that spread across his features wasn't alluring in the slightest. He just looked like a conceited ass. Because that's exactly what he was.
"Ah yes! The 'Anti-Retraction Statement'," she didn't like the weird sarcastic emphasis he used, "Yes well that was nothing. Really."
"Well thanks all the same." She added a shrug just to ensure he didn't realize how relieved she was by the whole thing.
"No seriously," he reiterated, "It was literally nothing. I'm surprised you didn't sort it out yourself."
"Well that was a little difficult, considering you were the one who put it in place."
Scorpius' face fell as he stared at her blankly.
"No," he muttered, almost to himself, "You can't not know."
"Not know what?" She faced him and took another step closer to his desk to be imposing, arms still crossed defiantly.
"The statement. With the Prophet," he looked at her like she was being particularly slow. She didn't like it, "It was all fake."
What. Le. Fuck.
Scorpius continued to look at her like she was daft.
"The Anti-Retraction Statement – it doesn't exist. The whole thing was made-up."
For a split second the only bodily function Rose was able to perform was an abnormal twitch in her right eye.
"Are you serious?!" she finally managed to force out through gritted teeth.
"Of course!" Scorpius was apparently not aware that he should have been apologizing profusely and begging for his life. Instead he tidied some paperwork that Regina had put out of place with her derriere as he continued in a tone that suggested he was thoroughly amused by the whole situation, "I mean really – an Anti-retraction Statement? And for an article that explicitly stated your name and described a relationship you may or may not be in? Of course its bullshit! How in the name of Merlin would that ever be legally binding?"
He stopped sorting through his papers and looked at her with disbelief and much too much amusement for his safety.
"Don't tell me you didn't read through the contract yourself," at her silence he tsked and shook his head condescendingly. His nose suddenly seemed in dire need of another punch, "Rosie, Rosie, Rosie! We write up contracts for a living. How did you not ask to see it?"
Ok. So when he said it like that then it made her sound like an incompetent idiot. But she had been so confused and angry and surprised and tired that she hadn't thought of it at the time. Or any of the days between then and now. Ok, so it looked bad. Rose looked bad. BUT IT WAS STILL ALL HIS FAULT FOR BEING SUCH A TURD-MUNCHING ASSHOLE AND SHE WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO READ THROUGH ANY DAMN CONTRACT IF HE HADN'T MADE IT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Ok. So she needed to breathe so she didn't burst a blood vessel.
"Don't you dare turn this back on me! This is still all your fault!" Rose tried to ignore the voice in her head that agreed with him and thought she was an idiot, "And does this mean that you fabricated official documents? Because that is a criminal offense."
Scorpius gave her a look as he scoffed at the notion. "Oh please. If Cuffe had bothered to have his legal team come in and assess the parchments, or even read the damn thing himself," she didn't like how he glanced sideways at her when he said that, "He would have come across the very big paragraph which outlines the document's fallaciousness and the very explicit statement that says it is in no way an attempt to fabricate legal documents or repress an individual's right to free speech, but rather to play a practical joke. I even signed it."
So really Cuffe was almost as much to blame as Scorpius. Her hit list was growing. She had to shake her head to clear it of all those thousands of hexes she had learnt over the weekend to cause as much pain as possible without breaking any really important laws.
Master of douche-baggery turned back to her, pleased with how he had rearranged his impeccably neat piles of extremely ordered papers, and continued.
"Also, given that an Anti-retraction Statement isn't an actual document because it doesn't exist in the first place, I haven't committed any crime. I merely presented Mr. Cuffe with a very large, very official-looking parchment – I even stated that he should peruse it at his own discretion and decide the best course of action. I am completely unaccountable for the fact that he only read the opening paragraph rather than the document in its entirety."
It became clear to Rose in that moment that it was entirely likely that Scorpius Malfoy had a death wish. Or maybe he was just really, really, really stupid. He had the audacity to actually try to charm and bullshit his way out of this with all this technicality crap that he usually baffled their clients with. It was usually something Rose admired about him – his elegant charm combined with his deceptive whit that made their clients consider what he said to be gospel. It truly was a thing to behold.
He seemed to have forgotten, however, that Rose was no push over client that could be dazzled by a smile and bewildered by technicalities. She had worked beside him – she had witnessed this first hand. And there was no way in hell he was going to weasel his way out of this.
"Let me get this straight," Rose shifted her weight and jutted out her hip, presenting a picture of defiance and attitude, "You dressed up an old man in expensive robes-"
"Expensive and boring robes – like a true member of the Wizenmagot," he flashed her a smile that she told her heart didn't make it flutter – that momentary palpitation was just the cause of something minor. Maybe a clotted artery. She should have that looked at by a Healer, "I aim for authenticity."
"But not sincerity," she shot back.
He shrugged. "Not in this instance."
"You made-up a document which authorized the repression of an individual's basic human rights – my rights," she practically growled the last two words. He seemed unphased, interrupting her as he began rifling through paperwork. Apparently her argument wasn't worth his attention. Ass.
"No, no, they were simply made to look like they did," he glanced at her sideways as he continued to peruse his papers, "Also, I feel like 'made-up' should be considered pretty important in this equation."
She continued, undeterred. "You then presented said documents to the Editor of The Daily Prophet, fully intending him to just jump to conclusions and go through with said repression of my rights."
"There is absolutely no proof that that was my intention," he had that smug grin on his face that he always did when they argued. What an artless bum-bailey!, "In fact the inclusion of the paragraph stating it was a practical joke is evidence to the contrary."
She chose to ignore that.
"And afterwards you gave him a fake love-letter which used lines from a muggle poet, without authorization I'm guessing, and seeing as it has now been published in a public forum and you have taken credit for it, you have committed a crime." She had him on toast. On toast.
So why did he look so damn happy.
Really. He was outright smiling at her.
The nerve of the man!
He stood – with a certain amount of difficulty that totally did not make her feel bad for him in any way – and walked around his desk to stand before her. "Firstly, who said anything about the love-letter being fake – maybe I was genuinely declaring my love for you?"
She scoffed. "I think this entire scheme is a declaration of the love you have for yourself."
"You wound me," he placed his hands over her heart (or whatever contraption he had locked in his chest cavity to pump his blood around) dramatically.
"You disgust me," she fired back.
"Ouch," he actually looked a bit wounded, but brushed it off and continued, pacing leisurely around his office, "Well, secondly, The Bard – yes, I know his nickname, try not to faint at my brilliance – is public domain and therefore I'm allowed the use of such words for individual creative expression. Surely I am not the first man in the world to use good ole Will's words to woo a woman. Thirdly, the letter was published entirely without my consent or knowledge – I could rewrite an entire volume of Hogwarts: A History for my own enjoyment at home and I'm not committing any crime. If someone then breaks into my house, steals my copied version, and publishes it without my consent or the original author's with my name attached to it, I am not accountable, which is the case with this letter. So really, none of this is my fault."
Rose spluttered very unattractively for several moments before finally finding her words. "Not your fault?! You gave them the letter and the documents!"
He simply shrugged in response as he leant against the edge of his desk. "You can take a horse to water, but you can't take the mountain to Mohhamed."
Well that made zero sense. "What?"
"It's an…expression?" he looked doubtful for the first time possibly ever.
"No, it's two expressions you've merged together, dumbass."
Scorpius' face dropped and he scratched his head in confusion. Rose refused to find it humorous on the basis that she was furious.
"Well what happens when you take the horse to water then?" he asked, genuinely confused.
Rose let out a heavy sigh. She could not believe she was having this conversation. "You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
"Ah! Yes! That's what I meant. Can't make it drink."
"That doesn't even make sense."
"But you just told me that's what it is."
"I mean it doesn't make sense in this situation."
"Yes it does. I led the horse – which, in this case, is The Prophet – to water – being the documents – but I didn't make them drink – believe them – because I never said they were genuine. Hence, horse, water, drinking. It is completely appropriate."
He looked ridiculously proud of himself.
Rosie simply stared at him blankly, "That really isn't how that saying works."
"Well I'm reworking it then."
Rose decided, for the sake of what little was left of her sanity after the past week, that she best just let it be and get back to yelling at him over the Anti-Retraction Statement situation.
"Well, using your totally bogus example, you still screwed up, because 'The Horse' did drink. It drank the whole fucking water supply."
"Not my fault the horse was thirsty," he looked much too pleased with himself. Rose was sorely tempted to punch him again, "I simply led it to the river; it was it's own decision to consume such a momentous amount of fluid."
"So you're pleading innocence based on the fact that, technically, The Daily Prophet refused to print my side of the story, even though they only did that because of a fake document you presented to them?" she asked incredulously.
"That is just…so…." Her magnificent vocabulary failed her for several long moments, leaving her to finally settle on, "Slytherin."
That only seemed to make him proud. Scorpius beamed and leant a little closer to her. "To the core, love."
"I am…" she spluttered. Again. Stupid bastard of a vocabulary, "I can't even describe how angry I am right now."
"Not with me I hope."
"Of course with you!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms in the air wildly, "You engineered this whole thing!"
"And then un-engineered it – you seem to be forgetting that bit. Just view it as a test of The Prophet's editorial staff which they failed horribly."
"No. I'm viewing it as you using charm and lies to get what you want."
His eyes darkened and his voice lowered.
"No, if I got what I wanted then we would have used your desk for something very different yesterday."
She scoffed and rolled her eyes, "Do not try to turn this into innuendo Scorpius – I am in no mood."
"But you're so sexy when you're angry."
"Then I'm about to become bloody irresistible."
"I really don't understand – you got what you wanted, The Prophet have told everyone we're no longer engaged."
"Yes but no one believes it!"
"That's not my problem – I sorted out The Prophet."
Just when she was about to say something in response, the door to his office burst open to let in a speedy inner-office memo in the shape of a paper plane. It landed in Rose's hair, tried to flail and flutter its way out, making itself more trapped, before realizing all hope was lost and just settling under a mass of her knotted curls. Scorpius did his best not to outright laugh at her. Rose made a mental note to punch him for it later. She grumbled to herself as she retrieved the memo, pulling her hair this way and that angrily until the blasted piece of paper was finally free.
And now her hair was more of a mess than usual. Just what she needed today.
Rose read the note as Scorpius waited patiently.
"Meeting in the Conference Room," she muttered before throwing the piece of paper on the floor, just to piss Mr. Neat Freak off. He glared at her for a moment – to which she simply smiled widely – before levitating the offending piece of parchment into the bin.
"Then I suggest we get going," he said as he strode rather stiffly out of his office. Rose was left to follow, hot on his heels, not yet done in her tirade. It wasn't until she saw some of the looks people were giving them that she realized what they all would have witnessed – Rose Weasley coming out of Scorpius Malfoy's office with a flushed face and hair a greater mess than usual. Just great. Not suspicious at all.
She didn't have to run to catch up to him – with the injuries he sustained yesterday he was walking a bit slower and with less grace than usual. Rose refused to feel guilty about it.
She couldn't keep quiet, the constant nagging in her head refusing to give her peace until she finally blurted out, "I just don't understand why?"
Scorpius was understandably confused by the question.
"Why are you doing this?!" she stressed emphatically, "Why are you making everything so goddam difficult?!"
"Isn't it obvious?" he shot her a grin over his shoulder, "I'm wooing you, love."
Rose gaped, "Wooing me?"
"Aye. It means I am pursuing your hand…"
"I know what wooing means!" she snapped and had she not been walking she would have stomped her foot too. She took a deep breath to calm herself down, "What I was questioning was why on earth you are trying to 'woo' me. I have already told you nothingis going on between us and nothing ever will."
"Nothing? Really?" he looked rather pleased with himself again. She had a sudden urge to make him vomit slugs, "Because if I remember correctly, I do believe you kissed me at the Gala."
"No, you kissed me!" she ground out through gritted teeth as she came to walk beside him. He just continued to smile at her sideways.
"Yes but you kissed me back – that still counts!"
Rose grumbled to herself and let an expletive or two fly under her breath. She glared at him sideways and used every ounce of self control she had not to smack him across the back of his big fat stupid blonde head.
"If this is your way of wooing a woman, it needs a lot of work," she grumbled under her breath, not sure if she wanted him to hear her. He did.
He shot another smile (like it was a freaking weapon against all females) and wiggled his eyebrows at her.
"If you feel like giving me the proper tutorage I am more than happy to comply."
"Oh no," she shook her head as they made their way through the cubicles and to the corridor leading to the Conference Room, "Just because you weaseled your way out of The Prophet thing with some massive bullshit technicality nonsense does not mean you get to start flirting with me! This is still your fault which means I still get to hate you."
He did that damn smirk again and if there had not been witnesses Rose would have slapped it right off his face. "Hate is such a strong, hurtful word."
"I know – that's why I used it."
"Oh come on," he held a door open for her and she really hated it because he was being chivalrous and assholes were not supposed to be chivalrous. He continued, "Like there hasn't been certain advantages to having everyone thinking we're engaged."
"My father is in hospital and my mother thinks I'm incapable of keeping control of my own life!" she whispered at him as angrily as she could as they passed the senior offices.
"Yes, and how is dear Mrs. Bashandi?" she could hear him smirking behind her, "I hear you and her had a good chat, along with her European friends."
Rose stopped in her tracks before spinning almost violently to face him.
"Lovliest Neffie," that shit-eating grin was back. She hadn't missed it, "She has always been quite fond of me, floos often. She mentioned that you and her had a little meeting with her very powerful friends. How did it go, Rosie?"
"Oh no. You are not going to dare suggest that faking a relationship with you is actually to help me with work."
He shrugged and moved past her, leaving her to follow him angrily. "No, I'm merely pointing out that certain opportunities that weren't available to you beforehand are now, all because of that little ring on your finger. Where it really does look dashing."
"Dashing?" she scoffed, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were from the 1800s."
He paused to face her, "Dashing is a legitimate compliment."
"Oh really?" Rose crossed her arms and quirked an eyebrow, "And would you be happy if someone called your robes 'dashing?"
"Yes. Because they are," he straightened his robes and turned his nose up at her, "I endeavor to look dashing everyday."
"Jolly good old chap!"
His face dropped and he continued towards the Conference Room, "Now you're just being silly."
"You have no right to comment on other people's silliness," the tight space forced her to walk behind him lest someone come the other way, but she got as close to his back as possible to appear menacing, "Not after all the crap you've pulled."
"I've hardly been silly. Cunning? Yes. But silly? I don't think so."
"Ha!" she jumped around to be in front of him and pointed at him accusingly, "So you admit you've been cunning and deceitful!"
He looked at her like she was daft again. "I thought that was pretty clearly implied by the Slytherin comment?"
"You really don't regret any of this do you?"
They came to a stop outside of the Conference Room doors which where, thankfully, closed. Rose looked up at him and crossed her arms.
"Yes you don't, or yes you do?" she asked, anger still lacing her tone.
His eyes were growing dark again and she didn't like it in the slightest. "Yes, there are things I regret."
He moved in so close she could feel his breath on her lips. She wondered why she wasn't kneeing him in his nether regions. Perhaps her knees were asleep….
"I regret pretending to be asleep that morning you snuck out of my room," he whispered it barely loud enough for her to hear, but hear she did, "I should have dragged you back to bed and made love to you for hours. I should have made sure you would feel me on you for days."
She refused to move away to avoid appearing weak or scared. Because she wasn't. Her heart was just doing that weird palpitation thing again. Definitely needed to get that checked out.
"We didn't make love. We screwed – end of story," she bit out with possibly more malice than she really meant.
"Oh no Rosie," he smiled at her and she didn't miss the way his gaze dropped to her lips. "This is only the beginning."
The air suddenly seemed heavier and she was sure she felt him pulling her towards him again. "Don't touch me."
He really wasn't. His close proximity just felt like a physical caress.
Ok, if she ever thought anything like that again she may just Avada herself.
He seemed to consider his words for a moment before speaking
"But I'd very much like to, if you'd let me" his voice was low and the arrogance had fled from his words. He sounded apprehensive, almost as if he were pleading. It was most confusing.
Before she could respond – either verbally or with her knee – the door to the Conference Room opened to reveal Arrabella Argenforg who looked startled at their presence. She looked between them – noticing the very small distance separating them – and smiled widely.
"We're not -!" Rose begun before Scorpius cut her off, gesturing for Arrabella to move past them and thus destroying the little bubble they had found themselves stuck in (thank the Almighty!).
"Morning Arrabella!" he beamed at the petite brunette widely, "How's Collyflop doing these days?"
Rose knew that Collyflop was Arrabella's cat. She knew that because her and Arrabella conversed on a semi-regular basis (Arrabella was a truly genuine person, if not a little odd, and was one of the few work colleagues that Rose could honestly say she thoroughly enjoyed spending time with). The question was, how the hell did Scorpius Malfoy know that Arrabella Argenforg have a cat called Collyflop?
Arrabella's heavy sigh as she moved past them brought Rose's attention back to the current moment.
"Not great unfortunately. He ate another pot plant yesterday."
"Your cat eats pot plants?" Rose asked, not knowing whether to be worried or impressed. Arrabella nodded solemnly.
"Yup. The stupid twat gets infatuated by the flowers and just kind of...", she gestured with her hands erratically a bit before simply saying, "Eats it."
Rose didn't have anything she could say to that. Scorpius simply hummed speculatively and nodded.
"And those potions didn't work?" he questioned. Arrabella shook her head and shrugged.
"Oh well. Guess I'm just not meant to have pot plants," she smiled kindly at them, "Probably a good thing. I'd probably just end up killing them anyways."
Arrabella looked in at the quickly filling Conference Room and nodded in its direction.
"You two better get in there," she smiled devilishly at them both as she moved down the hall, "That is as long as you lovers have finished chatting."
Rose opened her mouth to retort but then realized that yelling so close to senior offices was probably not going to win her any friends. She just huffed at the self-indulgent look on Scorpius' face as he opened the door for her. Again.
She glared at him and whispered angrily as she passed him, "We have not finished discussing this! This isn't over."
"I told you before Rosie," he smiled deviously and winked at her, "This is just the beginning."
"That's where you're wrong," she leant in close and whispered through gritted teeth, "If this ring isn't off my finger by the end of today, I am officially declaring war, Malfoy. And I will end you."
He simply smirked at her again and whispered, "Bring it on, Schmoopsie Poo."
Rose decided that if Scorpius Malfoy didn't have a death wish already, he certainly would by the end of tomorrow. She would make sure of it.
Holy Crap. That was Chapter 8. I have never written anything this long in chronological order before. It's a struggle. Also, I know that Scorpius seems to be acting like a bit of a douche lately but I promise he is going to redeem himself and get better. I just have to get through the 'Rose is really angry at him and wants to burn him with fire' part before that happens. So stick with it – he will become a nicer person, promise.
Anywho, please let me know what you think – I would love you forever if you did