I looked at the clock nervously, 11:59. One minute to go. I stared intently at the fireplace as my stomach churned with anticipation. Any minute now. My dad shifted impatiently next to me. He had insisted on being present at Scorpius' arrival. An intimidation tactic, I assumed.
I really did not envy Scorpius.
Green flames flared inside of our fireplace and then Scorpius was stepping out of the fireplace.
My anxiety slipped away as he entered the room and my face broke out into a smile. We'd only been apart a couple of days, but it was like seeing him with new eyes again. As I drank in his appearance greedily, I wondered what my father seeing. Red probably. Or blonde, rather. Too much blonde. Too much Malfoy.
Scorpius' eyes lit up as he saw me and he grinned, pulling me into a hug. "Hey Rose." He turned to face my father, "Hi Mr Weasley."
My father had risen deliberately slowly from his chair. "Ah, Scorpius Malfoy, is it?"
"Yes sir." The smile had frozen slightly on Scorpius' face. "Nice to meet you."
"Hmm." was my father's steely reply as he twirled his wand absentmindedly in his right hand.
I rolled my eyes. And so it begins…
Scorpius nodded awkwardly, he'd have been a fool for not expecting the cold response. He shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably and a tense silence fell upon us. Just as Scorpius opened his mouth to say something, a wild Alex catapulted from behind the couch. "RAWWWRRR!"
And to everyone's amazement, Scorpius took a step back and a fleeting expression of what one could only assume to be shock momentarily graced his face.
A beat of silence as everyone stared in awe.
"YEEEEEE-ESSSSS!" Alex crowed jubilantly, dropping onto his knees as he raised his arms in triumph."Malfoy has malfunctioned. I repeat, Malfoy has Malfunctioned. Mission Make Malfoy Malfunction complete." He then proceeded to high five not only me, but also my dad. "Thanks Rose, Thanks Mr Weasley. I couldn't have done it without you."
Scorpius stood there, stunned. He stared at me and I could see the hurt creeping into his eyes, "You knew about this, Rose?"
I had known I would feel guilty about throwing him to the wolves like this, but Scorpius' wounded expression of betrayal fair pierced my heart. "Yes, but I have reasons for it!" I said anxiously, my eyebrows knitting together.
I went hastily up to him, going on my tippy toes to whisper in his ear, "My dad thinks he has the upper hand now, he'll feel a little bit more secure, he'll go a bit easier on you."
"What are you whispering to him?" Dad demanded indignantly from across the room.
"Sweet nothings." Scorpius replied without missing a beat, putting an arm around my waist and looking him in the eye defiantly.
My dad glowered.
"Well, I best be off now. Don't want to impinge on your hospitality any longer." Alex spoke up, cutting through the tension. "Thanks Rose, Mr Weasley." He shook our hands. "See you later, man." He said to Scorpius, clapping him on the shoulder.
"Congratulations." Scorpius offered weakly.
"Not going to lie, I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic, but I'll take what I can get." Alex replied with an affable grin.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay for lunch, Alex?" My dad asked astonishingly pleasantly.
All three of us stared at him. Had my dad taken a shine to Alex?
"Um… no, that's alright. Thanks anyway." Alex said hastily, glancing nervously between Scorpius and my dad. "Scorpius is a much better lunching companion. He's a really great guy! Thanks for everything, bye!"
We watched in bemused silence as Alex let himself out.
The door slammed shut and just like that, the temperature in the room dropped several degrees, and I'm sure the sunlight, which had previously been filtering happily through the windows, dimmed dramatically. My dad turned back around, fixing his eyes back on his prey. Sorry, I mean Scorpius. Bows were dragged dramatically across the strings of cellos and double bases as ominous music played in the back of my mind. Scorpius wiped his hands nervously on his pants.
I opened my mouth to intervene, but thankfully before my dad could use his next thinly veiled threat (which I'm sure he'd meticulously thought up earlier), my mum entered the room. "Hi Scorpius, I'm Hermione, lovely to meet you."
Scorpius looked gratefully at her, "Thanks, you too."
"By the way, Ronald, you have mail." She handed a letter to my dad.
As he read the letter we watched as his expression turn from apathy, to confusion, to apprehension. I peeped over his shoulder to read the letter, but only caught the words 'nothing like his father…' before it was snatched away from my eyes.
"Have you read this?" He asked my mum in outrage. Scorpius ducked quickly as my father brandished the letter wildly, almost decapitating him in one fell swoop.
I shot a warning glare at my dad.
She nodded, "I guess McGonagall hasn't lost her touch."
"McGonagall? Why is McGonagall sending you letters?" I asked curiously.
"To tell me everything you're up to." My dad replied loftily, "We're very close."
My mother snorted in the background.
"Anyway," He continued, tossing the letter dismissively into the bin, "I'm not sure if you know, Malfoy, but I fought in the war at the mere age of 17 when I had pitifully little skill compared to now where I work for the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic."
An aggressive meow sounded from outside.
We all turned in surprise to see a tabby cat sitting imposingly on the fence outside. I hadn't thought it possible for cats to glare, but this one was certainly having a good go at it.
My dad's face paled rapidly. He looked swiftly from the letter to the cat, and then at my mother. "She can't be serious." His voice was hushed with horror and disbelief.
My mother was looking amused and mildly impressed, "It seems she is."
"Merlin, I hope Malfoy got the same treatment." My dad muttered angrily under his breath. He took a moment to gather his composure, and then asked rather stiffly, "So Scorpius, care for a game of Wizard's Chess?"
A/N: Oh Merlin, it's the end! Can you believe it? I knew it was coming, but it's still a wrench. Oh, how I enjoyed writing Rose!
I cannot thank all you readers and reviewers enough. Honestly, you don't know how much you've meant to me. I began writing this story on a whim last year, and even though I had a lot of ideas I wanted to get down, I know for a fact that I wouldn't have finished it had you guys not been cheering me on from the sidelines. This was my first foray into creative writing again after many years of only writing essays for school, and you guys have not only enabled me to improve my writing tenfold, but more importantly helped me rediscover how much I bloody love it! So to all of you sitting behind your computers who have the tiniest inklings of ideas, open up a word document and just START WRITING! It is rewarding, consuming, and just darn good fun.
You guys are lovely. I love you all! I really hope you enjoyed this last chapter. Thank you for indulging me!
Merry Christmas! (if you celebrate it) Happy holidays :)