While the talk that Scorpius and I had made me feel better than I had for months, I wasn't too eager to talk again while staying in house with my entire family (not that Hogwarts is that different), even though I knew I probably should. Of course, it being the Burrow and all, there was never a calm moment. The two of us barely saw each other at all over the last few days of winter break, and if we did it was at opposite ends of the dinner table or light conversations before being pulled apart by our pranking teams, being scolded for 'fraternizing with the enemy'.
The fact that our last night was dedicated to running frantically around the house trying desperately to locate all of our possessions and tell them apart from those of our cousins didn't help to promote a calm atmosphere either. Somehow, everyone's stuff all ends up all around the house every time we spend extended time at the Burrow. By the end of the day, I was so tired that I went up to the attic to relax with a book, and I didn't invite Scorpius. Everybody needs a little time alone, and after weeks of nothing but family in close quarters, I more than needed it.
The next morning, much to the shock of nobody at all, Malfoy and I ended up sitting next to each other on the train. It would be, what, eight or so hours before arriving at school? Oh goody, forced confrontation with feelings. My favorite.
Lily, being the only one in the compartment who knew the extent of our relationship (I had vented to her the day after I had spoked with Scorpius), smiled innocently in our direction before saying, "So, one hell of an accomplishment, keeping the bet a secret from the Weasley Clan, huh?"
"Well, only the adult Weasley Clan," Al corrected. "But yeah, it is impressive, secrets don't really stay that way for long in this family."
"Actually," I put in while glaring at Lily for bringing up the bet, "Uncle Harry figured it out. Which means he probably told Aunt Ginny."
Malfoy let out a sigh and ruffled his hair a bit. God it was hot when he did that. It felt really nice to not be incredibly ashamed while thinking that for once. "As long as it stays away from your dad, I'm fine."
"And Grandad's ghost. He'd be furious to know we had a Malfoy in the house, let alone to hear that he's socializing with Weasleys," Hugo added, stressing the last three words with the tone of voice members of our family would imitate Lucius Malfoy. It was a good thing that Scorpius could laugh at his family too, otherwise being around the Weasley/Potter family sometimes would get really awkward really fast.
Lily seemed unhappy with how the conversation was veering off, so she tried to bring it back. "No but really, very impressive. How long have you had the bet going again?"
"It started on the first day of school Lil, you know that," I said, keeping a smile plastered on my face while making my eyes wide. The message was supposed to be clear: Drop it, drop it now, I told you this stuff because I thought I could trust you so DROP IT NOW.
Lily either didn't see the message or didn't care. "Riiiight," she drawled. "Silly me. How much longer do you think you'll keep it going, then?"
Scorpius, who must've realized that Lily knew that the bet was called off, stepped in to help me. "The whole point of the bet was to get ol' Rosie here to fall in love with me by the end of the year, so by that logic it would end at the end of the year."
Look at how skillfully he manipulates conversations to help me, I thought to myself, smiling proudly. He never lies, but he doesn't tell the full truth. Such a Malfoy. Such a gentleman.
"But do you think it'll end before the end of the year?" Lily asked, trying to suppress her smile at the rapt and mildly confused attention that our conversation was receiving from everyone else in the compartment.
"No, I'm sure it'll end sooner," Malfoy said, causing me to forget how to breath for a moment. "Rose'll fall in love with me before the school year ends."
I tried to hide my sigh of relief. The way he was pretending to be just as douchey as before was covering our asses, and I couldn't have been more grateful. We would of course have to tell the rest of our friends that the bet was off at some point, but considering we didn't fully know what our relationship was at the time, I didn't want to do that just yet. It was nice to see that he was on the same page.
Could this be what having a semi-healthy relationship with Malfoy will feel like? I questioned. Actually feeling supported and liking the way the other one acts?
The rest of the trip took place without consequence. Before I knew it, I was back in the common room that Malfoy and I shared, awkwardly trying to pull my bag into my room while Malfoy did the same. I hadn't thought about how uncomfortable our close quarters might be now.
I knelt by my wardrobe, placing my new Weasley sweater into it with care when I heard Scorpius' voice from the open doorway. "Can I come in?"
"Scorpius Malfoy asking permission to invade my privacy? Somebody pinch me!" I laughed, standing up. "Sure, come on in."
"Yeah I know, it's weird not being a dick all the time."
We both sat on my bed for a moment until we got uncomfortable and I moved over to my armchair, not thinking about the fact that it still left Malfoy sitting uncomfortably on my bed. I decided to brush past it. Getting past the awkwardness would have to be the first step.
"I think we should tell everyone tomorrow that the bet's off," I began, jumping straight into the conversation.
He looked taken aback, and a bit concerned that he had done something wrong. "Oh, I thought that you wanted to-"
"I did, today, but I think that we can't keep this secret much longer, especially with Lily around."
"Fair enough. So why should we tell them we called it off?"
Well," I considered, "we should be as honest as possible. Maybe something like we kind of just want to be friends and the bet is getting in the way of that."
"Sounds fine," he said after a quick beat, looking like he was forcing his response a little bit. He hesitated before adding, "so, we're gonna be...friends?"
You could practically hear the 'just' in his words, and I quickly jumped in to correct him. "No, I mean yes, we will be friends, but if we become anything...else..." I faded off. "That's what we'll tell them. Then, whatever ends up happening will build on that friendship, and they'll just have to be okay with that as it comes."
"Oh," he grinned, seeming relived. "Good. Great."
We stared at each other a second longer than we should have before he jumped off my bed and started toward the exit. I rose off the chair slowly. "Wait, Scorpius." He turned around, a smile playing at his lips from me calling him by his first name. "It'll get easier. I promise. We just have to get used to not hating-" I paused. "Well, I have to get used to not hating you. Not that I hated you. Although I did sometimes but not...all the time." Yet another pause. "And just promise me that we won't get all gross and gooey romantic after...whatever happens happens, okay? I really don't want us to get bored."
There it was, my worst fear about our relationship, hanging in the room. I was worried that this development would make us lose the teasing, fun, interesting part of our relationship.
I think he could tell how much effort it took me to say that, and it showed him how much I meant my words. It looked for a moment like he had something important to add, but he changed his mind at the last minute. Instead, he smirked, and said, "Right. Sleep well, Weasley, if you're not too busy fantasizing about me."
With that, he was out the door, leaving me smiling like a fucking lovesick idiot. Woah, not lovesick. Not love.
"Well I am shocked, shocked to my very core!" Lily screamed the next morning as soon as we told everyone that the bet was off.
The others, who were all frozen, took a bit longer to process the information. Al was the first to lower his spoon,, which has been stranded in midair for a few moments. "...So Lily already knew."
It wasn't a question. "Yeah, Lily already knew."
Anna glanced between the two of us. Of course the ever-flirtatious Anna Strite would be the first to suspect us. "Is there something going on here? With you two?"
Malfoy and I both let off an almost easy sounding laugh, and I wondered passingly whether he had been awake in his bed last night, practicing things like laughing just so that he could sound natural when the time came to tell our friends. I hoped he hadn't been able to hear me through the walls, at the very least. "Do you really think calling off the bet would be the way to bring us closer together?"
I admired his ability to omit the truth without lying once again before pipping in. "Why would anything be happening? We're kinda-sorta friends now, and the awkwardness of the bet was making it hard for us to just be friends."
"Yeah, like either of you want to 'just be friends'," Alice said rolled her eyes.
"Weasley was just getting pretty confused, being torn between wanting to watch romantic comedies with me while eating ice cream and popcorn versus tearing off all my clothes, so I decided to make it easier for her," Scorpius added, winking in my direction.
I glared back, trying my best to hide the butterflies that were going rampant in my stomach. This wasn't for a bet anymore, this was just him being cute because he liked me. Feeling braver than I had in months, I added, "yep, tearing clothes off it is."
Every eye shot to me, looking horrified, and I laughed easily. "Kidding, kidding. Can't any of you take a joke anymore?"
"Yeah we can take a joke," Al muttered. "Let's just stear clear of jokes about my cousin and best friend having sex, okay?"
Scorpius raised an eyebrow at Al. "You know I can't promise that, mate."
Anna once again took over the conversation. "So you too are gonna be just friends, while living together, attending all your classes together, basically spending all your time together, and you're not planning on doing anything else at all?"
"You're not wrong," Scorpius replied easily. What a phenomenal young man. And he's mine.
Nope. Not mine. Not mine. Just Scorpius Malfoy. Not in any way belonging to Rose Weasley.
The conversation moved on to other things after that. Scorpius and I even got involved in other conversations, the only real interaction between us being me asking him if he could pass the salt. After breakfast however, just before heading off to History of Magic, I was exiting the Great Hall when I felt an arm whisk around my waist and tug me into the nearest broom closet. Dizzy, I looked up and, to no surprise, saw Malfoy's stormy blue eyes gazing down at me.
"You were great just then," he whispered.
"Me? What about you? The way you manipulated that conversation, never lying, never giving a real answer, I wanted to applaud," I laughing leaning in playfully towards him and biting my lip a bit.
He smiled but didn't lean back. "So, believe it or not, I actually had a real reason for dragging you in here."
"You mean other than to have your wicked way with me?" I fake gasped.
"Exactly. I was wondering if you were free two weeks from now."
I paused, glancing at him. "Why?"
"There's a Hogsmeade trip. I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me," he said, pure open honesty in his voice.
Unable to help it, I burst out a small laugh. "Woah. I guess things really have changed. Yes Scorpius, I'd love to go on a date with you."
"Good then," he grinned, and pecked me on the cheek. I swear to Merlin, I think I saw him blush for a moment there. Before I was able to really tease him about it, however, he was pulling me back out of the closet, up to the History of Magic classroom, babbling quite suddenly about Quidditch or Chess or something funny that Al did the other day.
AN: Wow. Super sorry you guys.
I won't get into all my reasons for not updating for so long, so I'll just distract you with this shiny new pretty chapter! Ooooooh, isn't it niiiice?
A problem have with this story is that it was written several years ago at this point, and so my writing from several years ago makes me want to cringe and crawl into a deep, dark hole. I am very sorry if I have sometimes lacked motivation for finishing it for this reason.
On a happier note, this story has over 60,000 views! How awesome is that?! I guarantee you that I will finish this story, and updates will be fairly regular, I'd say once or twice a month.
I'm also realizing the ending I once had planned out for this story doesn't work. I have a number of ideas, but if anybody wanted to leave their own suggestions that I might incorporate into it, that'd be amazing. If you just wanted to leave a review, that'd be pretty amazing too (nothing to boost motivation like building up an ego, amirite?)! I love you guys, thanks for standing by this story, and I'll definitely see you again before the end of July!