AN: And here is the final (and longest, YAY!) installation of my first, if unexpected, Scorose mulitchapter! I hope you like it! It has a slightly different format, but I hope that makes it more interesting.

Enjoy!

xxxicls


It had been three months since Rose Weasley and I became friends. They were easily the best three months of my life in Hogwarts. Studying in the library, butterbeers at three broomsticks, late nights in the kitchens, all spent in a haze of conversations and laughter.

I grew to know her rather well, and recognised more than several of her habits.

Twisting a lock of hair.

Tugging the end of her braid.

Tucking her bangs behind her ear.

Yanking on a curl.

Chewing lightly on the end of her braid.

Twirling a free section of her hair.

Her hair is her coping mechanism.

"So," I concluded, "Not all Slytherins are sadistic and bloodthirsty. Usually it's the height of their ambition and determination that tends them toward such extremes." I put a large piece of my brownie into my mouth.

Rose nodded, accepting my point.

"Also, as long as we're on this topic, I would like to point out that not all Gryffindors are uppity show-offs. They just tend to be prouder than others."

I laughed and shrugged. "Whatever you say, Weasley," I said. Then I paused. "However, they do throw awesome parties," I conceded.

Rose chuckled. "I think you can credit that to my cousins. You should have seen the party James, Fred and Roxanne threw before they graduated last year."

"You were at a party?" I questioned, disbelievingly.

"You first spoke to me at a party, Scorpius," she deadpanned.

"That was because you needed saving from my disgusting friends."

She scowled at me for good measure. "I was not a damsel that needed saving, Scorpius. You were just doing me a favour."

I rolled my eyes.

She laughed – I still enjoyed the sound immensely.

"That reminds me," she began, looking up from her bowl of butterscotch ice cream.

"Yeah?" I asked, setting my fork down next to my plate of delicious, oozing, chocolate brownies.

"You still haven't told me what the whole 'incentive' thing was about."

I laughed. "Do you really want to know?"

She smiled at me, pushing up her spectacles as her eyes twinkled. "I really do."

"It might not be what you want to hear."

"I don't really care."

I paused. "Promise it won't change things between us."

The corner of her mouth perked upwards as she gingerly placed her spoon on the table. "I promise."

I continued looking at her, meeting her challenging gaze, and then decided against it. "Nope," I decided. "I'm not telling you."

"Come on, Scorpius," she complained.

I shook my head resolutely.

"You know I won't stop bugging you until you give me an answer," she informed me.

I sighed unhappily. "Remind me why we're friends again?"

"Aww c'mon, Scorpius. You know you love me."

If she only knew how right she was. But then I pushed the thought from my mind.

"Well, it... it was because thought you were interesting," I said.

She let out a short burst of laughter, like she had trouble believing it, and I scowled at her.

"Listen to me," I insisted.

She sighed and but then looked at me attentively.

When she's listening, she twists her hair between her fingers. She bites her bottom lip, and her brows rise ever so slightly as her eyes grow wider – you can see she's trying to concentrate.

"You were so different from… from, well, me. From everyone. I was intrigued. But I never said anything to you about it, because you were Rose Weasley, and I'm Scorpius Fucking Malfoy. You were so alive, so real, when you were with your family, when you were happy, and I guess that drew me to you."

She just watched me speak.

"So I guess I felt this completely irrational urge to 'protect' you from Chang and Zabini during that party. I don't know if any of that makes sense," I said, and then paused. "Probably just weirded you out will all that information though," I added as an afterthought.

She shook her head, looking rather faraway.

When she's thinking, she tugs on the end of her braid. Her brows furrow and she scrunches up her nose. She begins to chew on her bottom lip.

"You made a promise," I reminded her, feeling rather nervous.

She turned to look at me. "Make the same promise with me," she requested.

"Huh?"

"Whatever happens during this conversation, whatever we say, let's promise it doesn't change things between us."

I nodded slowly, but interjected, "Things don't usually work that way, though."

"Just make the promise!" she snapped.

"Merlin, relax!" I said quickly. "I promise."

When she's embarrassed, her cheeks begin to colour slowly and she runs her fingers through her hair and tucks her bangs behind her ear. She looks down and looks up again, and you can see she's terribly uncertain.

"Scorpius?" she asked in a small voice.

"Yeah?" I answered, afraid of what she was going to ask.

"This is a stupid question, but...did you ever like me? I mean before-" she blushed and looked down quickly.

There was one issue though – whether to answer honestly or not.

"I didn't know enough to properly like you then... I admired you. But I supposed I could have liked you, if I knew you well enough."

"You know me now," she noted.

I nodded. "I do."

When she's stressed, she undoes whatever confines her hair is held in and shakes it out. She then runs a hand through the curls and yanks on them, as if willing more blood to rush to her brain, to help her solve the problem she's facing.

She then scowled at me. "You're not going to make this easy for me are you?"

I chuckled. "To be perfectly honest, I'm sort of making this up as we go along. I never thought we'd be having this conversation today."

"Were you ever planning on having this conversation with me?" she asked, squinting at me distastefully.

"To be perfectly honest, I never really thought about it," I answered. "I mean, I never thought you'd ask me. I never actually considered anything further than hoping you'd forget the whole 'incentive' thing. It was a stupid thing for me to say, really."

She laughed lightly, and was silent for a while, beginning to playing with her hair. I waited for her to speak, the conversation seeming very surreal to me.

When she's nervous, she separates a lock of hair from its main body and places it between her lips, unwittingly beginning to chew on it lightly. I don't tell her when she begins to do this – she hates this particular habit of hers, although I find it endearing.

"So do you?" she asked finally.

"Do I what?" I responded, tilting my head to the side, watching her.

She groaned, rolling her eyes. "I don't know what those idiots are blubbering about, Scorpius. You're as charming as a flobberworm."

I winked at her, and grin when I see a blush work up her cheeks. "I just never feel the need to try with you."

"Way to charm a woman," she deadpanned, but laughed despite herself. "Answer my question though," she demanded.

"What question?" I asked, purposefully teasing her.

"Merlin, Scorpius," she groaned exasperatedly.

I grinned, biting back a laugh.

This entire conversation was a risk – a horrible, terrible thing if it went badly, but something amazing if it went right.

Question was, should I take the risk?

"Do you like me, Scorpius?"

That shocked me out of my thought-monologue; seemed like she just took the risk for me.

"I don't know how to answer that," I told her.

"It's a yes or no question," she said, and she had lifted a lock of hair and brought it up to cover her lips. Then she added quickly, "There's no right or wrong answer, though."

I sighed. I guess we always had the promise as a back-up plan.

"Yes," I finally said, and my voice sounded very strange and choky. Malfoys weren't supposed to speak like this. I briefly wondered how my stone-father won my mother over.

When she's satisfied, she twirls a lock between her fingers, smiling ever so slightly as she realises she has solved her problem.

She leaned over the table that separated us, elbows resting on its wooden surface, tilting her head to the side. My heart abruptly increased its pace.

"I might have to break that promise, Malfoy."

"Which promise?" I asked, even though I knew the answer.

"The promise that things wouldn't change between us."

"Why?"

She looked down, suddenly nervous. "When two people like each other," she said softly, "that should be enough, right?"

"Right," I agreed, waiting for her to look up.

When she didn't, a sudden daring seized me and I reached out toward her and tilted her chin up with my index finger.

"So do you?" I asked, echoing her earlier question.

"Do I what?" she said playfully, following the thread of our earlier conversation.

That was answer enough.

Now it's my fingers in her hair.


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