Scorpius Malfoy had an easier time at Hogwarts that he had originally anticipated when he stepped foot into the school. Sure, when he first began his education things weren't so simple. It didn't help that he was sorted into Slytherin. Another Malfoy in Slytherin? People were absolutely positive that another dark lord was forming before their very eyes and were sending warning notes to the Headmaster to watch his back. Scorpius didn't let their ideas and attitudes bother him, though. He kept his head down and his eyes and ears open. He didn't go out of his way to be overly social, speaking primarily with his dorm mates. He stayed quiet and paid attention in class, keeping very organized notes. He went to Quidditch games and spent warm days by the lake, like every other student. Over time people began to see that maybe he wasn't trying to become the head of evil in the wizarding world, and by the end of his second year, sneers and rude comments were few and far between.
Due to his excellent scholarly feats, he was awarded the role of prefect in his fifth year. He enjoyed the responsibility of keeping the peace in the halls of Hogwarts. He felt he did a rather decent job, as well. He was fair, giving his fellow pupils warnings and sending them on their way before taking away points and doling out detentions. He was hoping that he would be selected to be Head Boy by the time his seventh year rolled around, but alas, the position was given to Albus Potter. Bitterly, Scorpius understood why he was chosen. They had many of the same qualities—good grades, liked among their peers, fairness. However, Potter had more of a knack for socializing with students of all ages and houses, a trait important for a Head Boy that Scorpius never really fully developed.
Scorpius eventually accepted his role in the school, and was happy to continue his tenure as a prefect in his seventh year. He and his fellow Slytherin seventh year prefect, Clarissa Zabini, patrolled the corridors twice a week after curfew. They often times split up, covering more ground in a shorter amount of time.
One Friday night in March, patrols were going as they usually did. He saw students here and there, sometimes in romantic embraces, some knicking a midnight snack from the kitchens, and sent them back to their dormitories with a forewarning raise of his eyebrow. He traveled down the third floor corridor, checking classroom and alcoves as he went, when he heard the tiniest grunt. It was so quiet that if the wind had been blowing, he wouldn't have heard it. He walked to a nearby classroom and listened at the door. For a moment everything was quiet, and he nearly walked away until he heard soft shuffling and a small squeak. Scorpius stepped back and placed his hand on the handle, mentally preparing himself for what he thought he was about to walk in to.
He opened the door and glanced around, not seeing anything in the dark classroom immediately. He squinted his eyes, trying to adjust to the blackness, and slowly noticed two shadows in the corner of the room. After his pupils finally widened, he saw a tall body pressed against a smaller form, pushing the latter against the wall.
Scorpius slowly walked closer and cleared his throat, grabbing the attention of the two. "All right, time to break it up."
As he approached the couple, he recognized them as Joseph Wilcox and Rose Weasley, fellow seventh years, both in Gryffindor house. Scorpius found himself confused. Rose was a prefect, she should have known better than to be found in a dark classroom after curfew. He gave her a questioning look, before lowering his gaze a bit and seeing Wilcox's hand trailing out from inside her shirt.
The tall Gryffindor stepped in front of Rose, as if trying to protect her from Scorpius. "What goes on between my girlfriend and me is none of your business, Malfoy. Go away," he practically growled, cracking his fingers menacingly.
Scorpius rolled his eyes and shook his head. He found through his years at Hogwarts that he was very skilled wandsman. He knew that if the situation should arise, he could protect himself without breaking a sweat. He didn't find Wilcox's threats in the least bit intimidating.
"I think you will discover that it is my business," Scorpius breathed lazily, pointing at his prefect badge. "Now, move along. I'd much rather not have to hand out detentions this evening."
Wilcox took a step closer to Scorpius. "I told you to shove off, Malfoy!" Scorpius wasn't paying attention to the larger boy, however, because as soon as he stepped forward, he got a good look at Rose. She was visibly shaking. She raised her quivering arms and crossed them in front of her chest, holding herself tight. She closed her eyes and shook her head quickly, as though she were having a troubling conversation with herself.
Scorpius instantly felt protective… and extremely pissed off at the supposed Gryffindor now standing very close to him. "What exactly is going on here?" he asked quietly, directing his question at Rose. She seemed lost in her own world, though, and didn't reply. Wilcox, however, was more than happy to respond with a hard shove to Scorpius' shoulders.
"I said it's none of your busi-"
He stopped short when he noticed a wand pointed directed at his face.
"Fifty points from Gryffindor," he seethed, nudging his wand against Wilcox's nose, making the boy flinch. "Get the hell out of here. Touch Rose again and I'll go straight to the Headmaster."
The taller boy began to protest, but Scorpius said a silent spell that made sparks fly out of the end of his wand, making Wilcox flinch. He took a few steps backwards, glaring at the Prefect. "This isn't over," he threatened, then turned and stormed out of the room.
Scorpius took a deep breath and lowered his wand, keeping his eyes on where Wilcox exited, making sure he did not enter again. He felt satisfied after a moment that the appalling Gryffindor wasn't coming back, then turned to Rose. It didn't seem that she had moved much. She still had her arms wrapped tightly around herself, her eyes firmly shut.
Scorpius quietly walked over to her and gently placed his hand on her arm. Her eyes flew open and her body jerked, started by the sudden contact. Scorpius pulled his hand away and studied her. Her full ginger hair was in a slight state of disarray. Her eyes were red rimmed with tears that had not yet escaped. Her lips were swollen, and in the darkness Scorpius could see a dark fleck forming directly below her bottom lip.
"Are you okay?" he questioned her softly.
Rose gave him a quivering smile. "Oh… yes, I'm… yes, I'm fine," she responded, patting her hair down with shaky hands. Scorpius was sure that she was trying to convince herself more than him. He pulled out a handkerchief as she continued to mumble. "It just… things got a little out of hand and…" She stopped speaking when Scorpius lifted the cloth up to her bottom lip and gently blotted.
"You're bleeding," he answered her confused gaze.
She stared at him as he dabbed her lip, attempting to mend the cut. After a moment he looked into her eyes, and found complete humiliation beaming from them. She began to shake more aggressively, her hands forming a shield in front of her face. Her breathing came louder and more raggedly. She leaned back, as though she were trying to rest her body against the wall, but stumbled a bit after realizing she had moved slightly and the wall was no longer right behind her. Scorpius quickly reached out and grabbed her shoulders, and then, quite unexpectedly, even to himself, brought her closer. He wrapped his arms around her back and held her tight.
He could feel her stiffen against him, and immediately the thought that grabbing her and holding her was probably the last thing she wanted after the encounter she just had. Before he could let go, however, he felt her relax a bit. She unshielded her face and grabbed the front of his robes, clinging to them. She lay her forehead against his shoulder, which was at the perfect height for her. He began to rub her back, something his mother would do when he was a child and upset. After a few minutes, her breathing returned to a normal pattern and she pulled away.
"I'm so sorry that you had to…" she began, but didn't seem to be able to continue her thought.
Scorpius took a step back and smiled at her easily. "No need to apologize," he reassured her. Rose gave him a small smile before looking down to the ground and running her hands against the outside of her thighs. "May I walk you back to your dorm?" he asked, gesturing to the door.
"Oh, you don't have to do that," she mumbled. Red patches appeared on her cheeks, indicating to Scorpius that he had embarrassed her with the suggestion. Perhaps she thought that he was under the impression that she was weak and couldn't look after herself. That couldn't be further from the truth. Scorpius knew from being in classes with her for the past six and a half years that Rose was a very capable witch, able to disarm, throw jinxes, and curse anyone almost as fast as he could. Which is why this whole situation perplexed him…
"It would make me feel better about myself if I did," he retorted, trying to make the situation more about himself to take the attention away from her.
Rose kept her focus on the floor, and barely nodded her head. Scorpius took a step to the side and motioned towards the door again. She exited the classroom before him and began down the hallway.
They walked silently up the flights of stairs and down the seventh floor corridor until they reached the portrait of a rather large woman.
"More students out after curfew? What is this school coming to?" she wailed dramatically.
Scorpius looked over at Rose, who was rolling her eyes at the painting. "Erit fortis," she called to the Fat Lady, who swung open with a huff.
Rose turned to Scorpius. "I… thank you," she mumbled quietly, "for everything, I suppose."
Scorpius nodded, and she climbed through the portrait hole. The painting almost closed completely, before a thought appeared to him quickly. He reached out and grabbed the portrait, swinging it open again, ignoring the Fat Lady's aggravated sputtering. Rose turned around to face him.
"If it's all the same to you, I'd like to stand here until you've safely made it to your dormitory," he spoke quietly.
Rose frowned. "You don't have to-"
"I know," he interrupted. "But I would sleep better tonight knowing that I did."
Rose raised her eyebrows in skepticism before nodding. "Well it's kind of awkward, you just standing there. Why don't you come in for a moment?"
Scorpius gasped. "A Slytherin in the Gryffindor common room?" he said dramatically, placing his hand over his heart. "You would be disbanded!"
Rose laughed lightly, shaking her head at him.
Scorpius smiled. He rather liked the sound of her laugh… "Goodnight," he said quietly, interrupting his somewhat random thoughts.
"Goodnight," she whispered back, then walked across the common room to a door, which, once opened, revealed a spiral staircase. She looked back at him and gave him one last smile before shutting the door behind her.
Scorpius, satisfied that she was safe, stepped back from the common room opening and let go of the portrait, which slammed shut. The Fat Lady glared down at him.
"My apologies, ma'am," Scorpius said, bowing to her slightly. The Fat Lady released her glower, but didn't lift her gaze from him. He laughed softly as he walked away.
He walked down the corridor to the staircase, wanting to finish his rounds quickly, as he was suddenly quite tired. When he reached the sixth floor landing, he spotted Albus Potter walking towards him. Another idea quickly came to mind.
"Good evening, Potter," he greeted, walking towards the dark haired young man.
Albus seemed slightly surprised that Scorpius was speaking with him. "Hello, Malfoy. Finishing rounds?"
"I was on my way to do just that," Scorpius answered.
Albus hummed. "I don't recall this floor being part of your route," Albus stated, almost accusingly.
Scorpius swallowed his sudden annoyance and recapped his evening to the Head Boy. He watched as Albus' face went from shock to abhorrence.
"I'll kill the bastard," Albus growled, quickly walking towards the staircase. Before he could get too far, though, Scorpius grabbed his arm.
"Committing murder will most likely take away your Head Boy position," Scorpius stated calmly, then drummed his fingers against his chin. "All though, if you're no longer Head Boy, I would most likely take over the role…" He let go of Albus' arm. "Go about your business, then."
Albus pulled a face at him before taking a deep, calming breath. "Where is she now?"
"I walked her back to Gryffindor Tower," Scorpius stated. "I don't think your portrait likes me very much."
Albus' face suddenly became alarmed and he began to pace. "She's in the Tower? What if Wilcox went back there as well? What if-"
"I stood at the portrait hole until I saw that she was safely by the stairs leading to her room," Scorpius placated.
Albus stopped his pacing and raised his eyebrows, seemingly impressed. He then breathed another deep sigh. "Do you suppose I should take this to the Headmaster?"
Scorpius shrugged. "I believe that decision is up to your cousin."
Albus ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "I can almost guarantee you what her answer will be." He shook his head, as though he were all ready frustrated with the conversation he had yet to have with Rose. "I'll try to talk to her."
Scorpius nodded before walking toward the staircase.
"Malfoy." Scorpius turned to Albus. "Thank you for stopping him."
Scorpius smirked. "Just doing what I can to make the world a better place. Saving damsels, delivering puppies, pulling cats from trees, all that."
He turned from Albus as he heard a snort of laughter.
Scorpius walked out of the Great Hall the next morning after almost everyone else had left. He had a bit of a lie in, causing him to eat breakfast later than usual. He walked to the staircase with his rucksack, meaning to go to the library, when he heard an argument off to the side of the steps.
"I said leave it, Albus. I can take care of this on my own."
"Obviously, which is why Scorpius had to save your ass last night!"
Scorpius had every intention of ignoring the raised voices until he heard his name being mentioned. His curiosity was peaked. He stopped on the staircase, still facing the direction he wanted to go, but listened in.
"What happened last night was a… it was a fluke. Joey just got a little over zealous."
"That's not the way I heard it," Albus mumbled.
He heard Rose huff. "Yes, well, you weren't there, so you wouldn't know, now would you."
"Rose," Albus said softly. By the sound of his voice, Scorpius could imagine him giving the girl a pleading look. "Let's just take it up to the Headmaster. Explain your side and-"
"We're not going to the Headmaster, Al!" Rose nearly yelled. "It was a one time thing! It won't happen again so there's no point in getting him in trouble!"
"You're being stupid, Rose!"
An icy silence filled the air after Albus' rude proclamation. The tension was a bit more than Scorpius liked to keep in his company, so he continued on his trek to the library.
He didn't get very far before he heard a voice call his name. He turned and looked down the stairs to see Rose running up them. Behind her on the ground floor was Albus, watching his cousin flee. He shook his head and mouthed, "Good luck," to Scorpius before stalking away.
Scorpius waited on the stairway for Rose to catch up. He watched as her dark red hair bounced with each step she took and glimmered against the morning sun that came in through the windows. He vaguely recalled the light jasmine scent of her hair from the previous evening when he had her in his arms, protecting her… Stop it, Scorpius scolded himself. What is wrong with you? Rose finally reached the landing, greeting Scorpius with a shy smile.
"Good morning, Rose."
"Good morning," she spoke kindly.
Scorpius was silent for a moment. He had expected her to speak, as she was the one who seeked him out. However, she merely kept a smile on her face as she awkwardly looked around the castle. He laughed softly. "I'm on my way to the library. Would you like to come along?"
These seemed to shake Rose from her reveries. "Oh goodness, I wasn't trying… no, no, I wouldn't want to be a bother…"
"I'm sure you wouldn't be a bother at all," Scorpius replied. "In fact, I suspect you may even be able to help me study for our upcoming Potions exam."
Rose grinned widely. "Well if you need the help…"
Scorpius returned her smile before continue up the stairs. They reached the third floor landing and began to travel down the hallway with little interaction, until Rose spoke.
"I want to thank you again for last night."
Scorpius adjusted his rucksack on his shoulder. "No need to thank me. It wasn't like I was going to leave you in such an uncomfortable situation without helping."
Rose nodded as she watched the ground. "I know. But you have to understand that this type of thing… Joey just… we wanted to find somewhere quiet to be alone and-"
"I would be much obliged if you would spare me the details," he interrupted, the odd sensation of his stomach clenching coming over him.
A soft laugh escaped from Rose's lips. "Right… well, I guess it got a little… heated." Scorpius' grumbled didn't stop her from continuing. "And, well… I realized that a classroom probably wasn't the best place to carry on, and tried to warn him, but…"
Scorpius continued down the hallway for a bit before he realized Rose was no longer beside him. He turned and saw her standing quite still, her eyes staring at the floor, but her mind far from her current location.
Scorpius walked to where she was and stopped in front of her. Noticing that the particular tile of floor she was gazing at was now occupied, she raised her eyes to meet Scorpius'.
"Did you tell him to stop?"
Rose didn't speak and didn't look away, allowing Scorpius to see panic to enter her stare.
Scorpius shook his head. "A lass tells a bloke to stop, he stops. It's as simple as that."
Rose lowered her gaze and scrunched her brow, clearly frustrated. "It's not-"
Scorpius turned and instantly felt irritated. Near the pair was Joey Wilcox, having just turned the corner, and was beckoning his girlfriend to him. The blond Slytherin glanced behind him to see Rose's shoulders hunched, her gaze not quite meeting her boyfriend's.
Scorpius turned back towards Wilcox and took a slight step to his left, blocking the sight of Rose entirely from the young man he was quickly learning to hate more and more.
Wilcox walked directly in front of Scorpius, trying to use his height to intimidate the shorter Malfoy. Scorpius merely raised his eyebrow at Joey, saying without words that if he wanted him to move, he'd have to make it happen rather forcefully.
The heated battle of wills ended with Scorpius looking back over his shoulder to Rose. She gave him an uneasy smile that looked more like a grimace and nodded her head. Scorpius knew that she wanted him to step aside so she could speak with the bastard in front of him, but he was reluctant to do so. Rose fingers lightly brushed his back, as though to reassure him that everything would be okay. Only then did he very hesitantly step over, only a breath from Rose's side.
Wilcox stood where Scorpius was previously positioned and had the gall to have an ashamed look on his face. Scorpius bit his lip, keeping his anger in tact.
Wilcox opened his mouth to speak, but was sidetracked with throwing an annoyed glare Scorpius' way. "Do you mind?" he asked lividly.
"Not at all," Scorpius responded flatly, not moving an inch.
Wilcox gave him one last glare before turning back to Rose and once again adorning remorseful features. Scorpius huffed and rolled his eyes, but made no comment.
"Rose, listen, I'm really sorry," Wilcox began. He took a step closer to Rose, and Scorpius was satisfied to see Rose take a tiny, almost unnoticeable step back. "I know that I've said it before, but I promise, I promise, this time I'll change." Scorpius felt alarm shoot through his system. She said it only happened once…"It's just that sometimes… Rose, you make me so crazy…"
Scorpius watched Wilcox gently grab Rose's hand. She quickly pulled away from him and stiffly put her arms by her sides. The regretful look on Joseph's face quickly turned to one of anger, and he reached for Rose's hand again, grabbing it more forcefully than before.
Scorpius' patience finally snapped. He dropped his backpack and shoved Wilcox as hard as he could in the chest, making the taller boy stumble and take several steps back. "I believe I told you what would happen if you touched her again, asshole," Scorpius raged, stepping in front of Rose again to block her from any further attacks.
The Gryffindor stabled after a moment, giving Scorpius a deathly glare. They once against stood off, willing the other to make the first move. Scorpius became distracted, however, when he heard a deep, unsteady breath behind him. He looked back and watched a tear course down Rose's cheek, her eyes closed.
Scorpius felt his robe tug violently to the side as his wand flew to the waiting hand of Wilcox. He twisted his body around, astounded that he was disarmed so easily. He began to walk towards the loathsome young man to demand his wand back, but a sudden blinding pain resounded through his jaw before he could take a step. He fell to the ground, hand clutching the side of his head. He looked up and saw Wilcox glaring down at him, his lip curled in a sneer, his fist lowering back to his side, having just punched Scorpius.
Scorpius didn't have time to react before Wilcox began to stalk towards Rose, who had taken several steps back from the altercation. A quick glance at the young woman showed shock and mortification written on her face. Her hands covered her mouth, her eyes were wide, and as her boyfriend began to walk towards her, fear overtook her.
Thinking quickly, Scorpius rolled towards the towering swine and before he could get too near Rose, grabbed a hold of each of his ankles and pulled as hard as he could.
Wilcox fell ungracefully to the ground, causing his chin to bounce off the floor with great force. He groaned in pain and grabbed his face, blood pooling out of the corner of his mouth. Scorpius jumped up and ran over to him, grabbing the wands that had fallen out of each of his hands. He threw the Gryffindor's wand down the corridor before raising his wand and yelling, "Stupefy!" effectively knocking the young man out cold.
Scorpius stood over the detestable fellow, breathing heavily. He turned his head to look at Rose. Her hands were still covering her mouth, her eyes wide with anxiety. He felt incredible anger surge through him, and he was surprised to realize that it was directed at Rose.
"Only one time, huh?" he asked, severely irate. Rose didn't move, only stood and stared. Scorpius shook his head. He grabbed his bookbag before marching over to her and grabbing a hand from her mouth. Once secured, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. They twisted and turned down several corridors before Rose finally seemed to shake her shock.
"Where are we going?"
"Headmaster," Scorpius mumbled.
"No!" Rose shouted, yanking her hand away from Scorpius'.
He turned to look at her, astonished. "Are you kidding me?"
"No," Rose said softer. She took a few steps away from him, her gaze bouncing all over the hallway, never meeting his eyes. Scorpius paced towards her, trying to regain her attention, which she responded to by leaping back and giving him a warning glance. Scorpius stopped advancing and put his hands up in front of his chest, indicating his surrender.
Scorpius wasn't sure how long they stood there, he with his gaze directed solely to Rose, she staring at the ground with her arms crossed over her chest.
"How long have you two been dating?" Scorpius asked, breaking the silence.
Rose kept her attention on the floor, biting her lip before answering. "Nine months."
Scorpius nodded. "And how long as all… this… been going on?"
Rose closed her eyes, but it didn't stop a tear from escaping. She took several deep breaths. "Six months."
Scorpius silently took a few steps towards her. "Rose, you're too smart to let this keep happening."
Rose, eyes still closed, shook her head. "It's not as simple as you and Al are making it out to be."
Rose opened her eyes, anger evident, before her brow rose, surprised to see how close Scorpius had gotten without her noticing. She turned her back to him, and Scorpius thought she was going to storm away. Instead, he found himself taken aback when she began to speak.
"Joey and I got together at the end of sixth year. During the summer he came to visit Albus, but of course they came over to my house a lot. He got on with my parents really well. Joey said that he was a Cannons fan, which made my dad instantly love him. He spoke about muggle literature with my mother… By the time summer ended, I heard them speaking in the kitchen, saying that they wouldn't mind if in a year Joey came and asked for my hand. At the time, I wouldn't have minded either." Rose brought her hand up and lowered her head; Scorpius assumed she was wiping away tears. "But then we got back to Hogwarts, and it just… things changed." She stopped for a moment, frozen in memory. Scorpius walked closer to her and gently placed a hand on her shoulder. Rose responded almost immediately, raising a hand and placing it over his, before she continued. "It didn't start out so bad. He would mention how he didn't like how I wore my hair that day or the outfit I was wearing on one of our dates. I didn't think anything of it, it was just his opinion. But still, I would change my clothes, style my hair differently. It didn't matter to me; I just wanted to make him happy." Rose shook her head slowly. She stepped away from Scorpius and walked to the wall, leaning against it before sliding down to sit. Scorpius dropped his rucksack again and squatted down in front of her. "After a few months, though, things started getting… physical…" Rose covered her eyes with a hand. "He wanted to move quicker than I was comfortable with. Whenever I would tell him no, he would become very nasty, telling me that I was a tease, stupid, a bint… So I would let things get a little farther than I liked, because I loved him. He knew afterwards that he had gone too far and apologized. Every single time he promised that it would never happen again, that he would change…"
Scorpius felt his body shaking with both anger and fear. "Rose, did he… has he…"
"No," her quavering voice answered. "But last night, if you hadn't come along, I don't know…"
Rose head dropped, as though all of her remaining energy vanished and she could no longer support the weight. Scorpius knelt down on his knees and scooted a bit closer to her, just enough to reach out and run his hand up and down her arm comfortingly.
"Why won't you go to the Headmaster?" he asked delicately.
Rose sniffed sadly. "I… I mean, my parents, they love him… and it's not so…" Scorpius placed a finger under her chin, lifting her eyes to his. He raised his eyebrows at her, letting her know that her excuses just weren't good enough. Rose sighed and lowered her head again. "Because I'm so ashamed," she whispered.
Scorpius felt his gut wrench at her admission. He turned his body so his back was to the wall and sat next to her. He lifted an arm over her shoulders and brought her closer, giving her an awkward half hug. Rose laid her head on his shoulder for a second, accepting his comfort, before lifting it and laying back against the wall.
"I don't know," Rose mumbled, "I kind of feel like I've let this go on for so long that I kind of deserve-"
"No," Scorpius asserted sternly. He turned his body towards her and grabbed a hold of both shoulders so that her torso was facing him. He kept his hands on her arms, making sure that she paid attention to every single word. "You do not deserve this. Nobody deserves this."
Rose kept her eyes attached to Scorpius' a moment. Then, slowly, she nodded, before leaning forward and laying her head against his shoulder. Scorpius wrapped his arms around her back, feeling slightly guilty for enjoying this moment so much.
Minutes passed, and the two students were content with letting the world pass them by, if only for that short period of time.
"Why are you doing this?" Rose murmured softly.
Scorpius leaned back a little to see her face. "Doing what?"
Rose leaned back as well, though kept little space between them. "Being so… I don't know. Nice?"
Scorpius raised an eyebrow skeptically.
Rose shook her head. "Don't get the wrong impression, I'm very grateful for all that you've done. I'm just wondering… we've never really talked before. We've only ever had classes together. We hardly know a thing about each other."
Scorpius lowered his head so that his line of sight was even with hers. "True. I don't know much about you. But from what I can gather, it seems you're in need of someone who's unbiased about this whole situation." Rose snorted, and Scorpius realized that the word 'situation' was a rather light term to describe this mess. "I just happen to be the lucky bloke who was in the right place at the right time." Rose glanced down, picking a spot on her knee as a coy grin stretched her face. Scorpius smirked. "Would you rather I called you a daffy Gryffindor and sneer at you all the time?"
Rose giggled lightly. "No, I wouldn't."
"Then I'm not sure why you're questioning my intentions." Another chucked escaped from Rose's lips, causing Scorpius' smirk to turn into a large grin.
"I suppose I'm not sure either."
Scorpius stood up and offered his hand to Rose. She took it and he lifted her to her feet. Once steady, Scorpius raised his eyebrows and leaned his head to the left, the direction of the Headmaster's office. Rose blinked several times before turning her attention to their still joined hands.
"I will go to the Headmaster, but… I just need some time. I need to wrap my mind around everything," she promised.
Scorpius took a deep breath before inclining his head. He let go of Rose's hand and picked up his book bag, heaving it over his shoulder, before offering his arm to Rose. "To the library?"
Rose gave him a genuine smile and hooked her arm through his. "To the library. But do you mind if we take a different route?"
After that, life at Hogwarts for Scorpius wasn't as simple. Monday morning, a few days after the Wilcox fiasco, he left the Great Hall after breakfast. He began walking to his first class of the day, Potions, passing gaggles of students along the way, when he spotted Rose on the opposite side of the corridor. He didn't wave to her or try to grab her attention in anyway; he simply watched with a tiny smirk as she stood with a group of girls, throwing her head in laughter as one of them cracked a joke. She must have felt his gaze on her, however. She began to look around before spotting the Slytherin standing off to the side of the Entrance Hall. She gave him a bashful grin over her shoulder before turning back to her friends.
He lowered his head and began to walk to the staircase leading to the Potions classroom. He knew that he would see Rose in class, and it made his heart skip a beat knowing that he would soon be near her again. He stopped walking and shook his head forcefully. You need to stop this! Courting Rose should be the very last thing you on your mind right now! His internal scolding was quickly interrupted, however, when something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye, making his skin crawl-Joseph Wilcox just stepped out of the Great Hall. Without much thought at all, Scorpius redirected his path and walked up directly behind Rose.
Rose's friends stopped chatting one by one as soon as he came into view and gave him rather peculiar looks. Rose, seemingly perplexed as to why the conversation suddenly ended, turned around and raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"Oh, good morning, Scorpius."
Scorpius nodded his head slightly. "Good morning, Rose. I was wondering if I could accompany you to Potions today?"
Rose stared up at the young Slytherin, her brow scrunched in confusion. Trying to draw as little attention as possible to the reason for his sudden chivalry, Scorpius swiftly flicked his eyes up above her head, signifying the person standing not too far behind her, before meeting her stare again. Rose was mystified for only a moment before her eyes widened in realization.
She cleared her throat. "Yes, that would be lovely, thank you." She turned to her bewildered friends to bid them farewell before walking towards the stairway leading to the Potions classroom, Scorpius only a step behind her.
Once down the stairs and safely into the dungeons, Rose stopped, causing Scorpius to nearly bump into her. He searched the ground, expecting to see something she dropped to explain the sudden impede of travel, but saw nothing. He walked around her, questions on his lips, before he saw her face. She had her eyes closed and was breathing deeply. Original questions forgotten, Scorpius laid a calm hand on her arm. "Are you okay?"
Rose opened her eyes and nodded. "I am now," she replied, gifting him with a small smile. "I was just thinking… I don't know what I would have done if he had come up to me, acting like everything was normal. I don't know if I would have been strong enough to walk away from him."
Scorpius lowered his arm. He bit the inside of his cheek to keep his emotions in check and stop himself from wrapping his arms around the troubled girl again. "I like to think that you would."
Rose scoffed and looked away. "I like to think that as well, but it doesn't mean it would have happen." She shook her head before meeting his eyes again. "Thank you, by the way. Again."
A small, sad laugh left Rose. "As long as he doesn't show up when you're not around, I'll be right as rain."
Scorpius lowered his eyes, looking to the ground in thought. He would be lying if he said he hadn't thought of that situation as well. He stayed up late the last two nights, thinking about what would happen if he, or even Albus, weren't around to stop Wilcox from getting his way with Rose. It was early on that very same morning that his very tired brain came to a decision.
He placed his hand on Rose's bicep again and gave it a little squeeze, grabbing her attention. "I know that it's impractical to think that I can be where you are all of the time, but when we happen to be in the same classes or in the hallways… well… I would like to help you whenever I can… if it wouldn't be too much of a bother," he finished with a mumble, a very faint blush crossing his cheeks.
Silence filled the hallway after his decree. The embarassment boiling in the pit of his stomach stopped him from looking at his Gryffindor counterpart. He didn't think he could get any more obvious of his intentions with her. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, sating his mortification, before returning his attention to Rose.
She had crossed her arms while he silently loathed himself and was studying him thoughtfully. "You may very well be the nicest Slytherin that's ever been through Hogwarts."
Scorpius chuckled. If only she knew how very Slytherin his thoughts were…
"I would really like that," Rose said softly, answering his query with a blush gracing her face.
Scorpius smiled, more to himself than to her. He could express how relieved he was to know that he would be able to keep her from getting hurt, and had permission to be near her… Unable to resist, Scorpius threw an arm over her shoulders and began to walk towards the Potions classroom, effectively bringing her along with him. He glanced down and saw Rose's smiling at him, her cheerful expression making his stomach do flips. He gave her shoulders a squeeze as they walked towards their first class of the day.
The fact that the two were spending more time together did not go unnoticed by the vast majority of the population of Hogwarts.
Their fellow students didn't think much of it at first. They were often spotted together in the library, studying and quizzing each other. While some thought it was strange, most knew that they were both the top of their class and it made sense that they would study with someone else of their intellectual prowess.
More eyebrows began to raise, however, when they seemed to travel exclusively with each other in the hallways. They were often times so lost in their conversation that they didn't realize where they were going and would have to backtrack to get to their classes.
The gossipers of the school began to whisper about them when Rose and Scorpius started sitting together in their shared classes. How odd it was for a Gryffindor and a Slytherin to work peacefully together on projects and class work. Many of the seventh years looked on at the pair with jealousy, as their combined mental capacities ensure that they received the highest marks in class.
The straw that broke the camels back came one morning in April, when Rose walked into the Great Hall for breakfast, scanned the Gryffindor table for a moment, before walking over to the Slytherin table and confidently taking a seat next to Scorpius.
He felt the seat next to him shift, and stared at her in surprise as she began to scoop eggs onto her plate and butter toast next to him. One glance at the Gryffindor table, however, made him realize why she decided to dine with him that morning. He spotted Joey Wilcox sitting almost directly in the middle of the table with his friends, a large bouquet of flowers settled on the seat next to him. Scorpius didn't say a word about it to Rose, and began to speak with her about their upcoming Charms exam.
They both finished breakfast around the same time, and stood up to leave the Great Hall. Not long after they exited, Scorpius was surprised to find himself alone in the hallway. He looked around quickly, panic rising in his chest, until he saw Rose against a far wall, apparently dragged there by her cousin, Lily Potter. He walked closer to them, not wanting her to be too far from his protection. He stood to the side, trying not to listen in on their conversation. It was hard not to hear, though, as Lily wasn't trying to mask her irritation with her cousin.
"What the hell are you doing, Rose?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Rose mumbled, evidently knowing exactly what Lily was talking about.
Lily huffed. "Why did you go and sit at the Slytherin table with Malfoy? Joey was there waiting for you!"
"Well maybe I didn't want to sit with Joey."
"I don't know what's going on with you two, but whatever happened, he's trying to apologize!" Lily said with a stamp of her foot.
Rose was so quiet that if Scorpius hadn't gotten used to hearing her voice everyday, he probably wouldn't have even heard her.
Lily definitely didn't hear her. "What?"
Rose let out a deep sigh. "Listen, Lily, I really don't want you to worry about it. We just… we have some things to work through."
"And sitting with some other boy at the Slytherin table is really going to help you work through those things," Lily mocked.
"Leave her alone."
Scorpius raised his head to see Albus walking over to them, his hands in his pockets, looking rather relaxed that his sister was belittling his cousin so severely.
Lily turned her glare on her brother. "Al, how can you-"
"Lily, drop it."
The siblings stared at each other, Albus slightly raising his eyebrow as he looked down at his sister, who was giving him a deathly glower. After a tense moment, Lily stomped her foot again and stormed off down the hallway, but not before throwing Scorpius his own miffed scowl.
He turned his attention back to Rose and Albus, who had watched Lily leave. Albus rolled his eyes and looked back to his cousin. "Care to accompany me to Transfiguration?" he asked, offering his arm to Rose.
She smiled up at the Head Boy and looped her arm through his. She then turned to Scorpius. "I'll see you at lunch?" Her question was laced with so much hope that Scorpius couldn't help but adorn a large grin. He nodded at her and watched her and Albus leave. Before they could get too far, he noticed Albus turn to look behind them, directly at Scorpius, and nod his head. Scorpius returned the gesture, knowing that Rose was in safe hands.
Scorpius and Rose walked through the dark corridors after curfew. Albus had recently paired them together as prefects partners, an act that Scorpius was more than happy with. They were haphazardly looking for disobedient students as they went along, but were more interested in speaking with each other than trying to catch rule breakers.
They walked in companionable silence for a few moments, before a question that had been nagging Scorpius for a few weeks bubbled to the surface of his mind again.
"May I ask you a question?"
"No." Scorpius furrowed his brow in confusion and looked over to Rose, who was smirking up at him mischievously. "Go on."
Scorpius smiled at her playfulness before continuing. "I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that you've gotten some… we'll say flack, for hanging around me so much."
"Not by anyone whose opinion actually matters to me," Rose murmured, opening a classroom door and looking around before continuing down the hallway with him.
Scorpius raised his eyebrow at her. "Your cousin's opinion doesn't matter to you?"
Rose snorted. "If she's going to be nasty about things she doesn't even understand, then her outlook on this whole situation doesn't hold much value to me."
Scorpius nodded. "But it's not just your cousin giving you a hard time."
Rose looked off to the side, not wanting to meet his eyes. "I know."
"Then why do you continue to spend your time with me?" Scorpius asked, finally finding the nerve to voice the niggling question.
Rose stopped, causing Scorpius to turn and face her. "Would you rather I call you an evil Slytherin and sneer at you all the time?"
Scorpius smirked and looked down at his shoes, recognizing the words he had spoken to her a month before.
To his immense surprise, his shoes were joined by another pair, and he felt arms wrap around his torso. He raised his head in time for Rose to lay her cheek against his shoulder. His heart began to thud quickly in his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly against him.
"I spend time with you because you're kind," she murmured into his shoulder, "and because you're intelligent, and because you're funny. And because this, right here," she said squeezing his torso gently, "is the only time I ever feel completely safe."
Scorpius felt as though his heart had just exploded in his chest. All of the feelings and thoughts he had been berating himself over concerning the young woman disappeared, and he hugged her with such gusto that he lifted her off the ground a few inches.
Rose giggled as he placed her back on the ground. She lifted her head, and Scorpius saw genuine happiness radiating from her stare.
"This… this… well," Scorpius began in a hushed voice, "this safeness, as you call it, will be here for as long as you need it," he promised, lightly running his fingertips up and down her back.
He saw Rose close her eyes and take a deep breath, causing her shoulders to shrug a bit. She opened her eyes and returned her gaze to him as she bit her bottom lip. "I may need it for quite a long time."
Scorpius realized that Rose was nervous. He needed to reassure her that there was absolutely no reason to be, because as much as she wanted him there, he wanted to be there so much more. He leaned down and laid his forehead against hers. "I'm okay with that." He then leaned in further, until his lips were pressed to hers.
The gentle kiss that Scorpius had intended on giving her quickly became more as Rose, over the initial shock of his actions, raised her arms to wrap them around his neck and enthusiastically responded.
Scorpius placed his hands on Rose's waist and pulled her close, so she was flush against him. If he thought his heart had exploded before, it was nothing compared to how it felt now. To have this amazing woman in his arms, to be kissing her after wanting to do so for so long… it took his breath away.
Scorpius pulled away from their embrace, his brow furrowed and his eyes wide. It literally took his breath away… he couldn't breathe. He tried to take a breath, but found that the air around him refused to enter his lungs.
Rose looked up at him, panic written on her features. "Scorpius, what-"
"How quaint." Loathing swiftly became Scorpius' dominate emotion as he looked down the hallway. Not twenty feet away from them stood Joseph Wilcox, pocketing his wand. Scorpius removed his wand from his pocket, but without air, he couldn't speak or even think properly. He watched as the despicable boy walked smoothly down the hall, a disturbing smirk on his face. When he reached them, he forcefully took possession of Rose's arm. "Come along, whore. We have some unfinished business."
For a fraction of a second, Rose and Scorpius' eyes met, panic interwoven between them.
Joey then began to yank her down the corridor, never looking back.
Scorpius began to follow, but his body refused to move without oxygen. He fell to his knees, and could do nothing but watch the one he cared so much for be dragged away, fear riddling her body.
I have to stop them! was the last coherent thought that stampeded through his mind before dark spots conquered his vision. He leaned his head against the ground as the burning in his lungs intensified. His hearing was slowly disappearing, and he accepted the fact that if someone didn't come along, this was mostly like the end for him.
With what felt like his last store of strength, Scorpius turned his head in time to see a frozen Joey Wilcox fall to the ground and Rose running at him at full speed.
Relief instant washed over Scorpius as he gasped loudly for air. He coughed and sputtered, but did not stop sucking in that beautiful, wonderful oxygen. He turned and laid on his back, his head on the floor, as his lungs began to function again.
"Scorpius! Oh my…are you okay?" Rose was kneeling beside him, running her hands over his face, on his chest, through his hair, needing to reassure herself that he was safe. He knew that he nearly died, but he couldn't help but enjoy her attention. When one of her hands returned to his chest, he grabbed it and held it tightly.
"I'm-" he started, but began coughing again. Rose gave him a pitying look, and he tried to smile at her through his hacking.
"What is going on here?" they heard a stern voice ask loudly. They turned and saw Professor Longbottom standing near the frozen Gryffindor, confusion evident on his face.
"Professor, he…. he…" Rose began, but before she could finish, the professor had his wand out and was stalking towards Scorpius.
"What did you do?" he seethed, pointing his wand at the Slytherin, who was frozen on the ground.
"Neville, no!" Rose yelled. She jumped up and grabbed the professor's wand arm. "Scorpius didn't do anything wrong!"
Neville stared at Rose for a moment. "Oh," he said, lowering his wand. "Then what happened?"
Rose took a deep breath. She looked down at Scorpius, who was still lying completely still, then shut her eyes. "Joey has been making me…" she stopped and swallowed, trying to gather her courage again.
After a moment, though, Neville seemed to put two and two together. His eyes widened and he grabbed Rose by the shoulders. "Rose, did he-"
"No," she answered quickly. "No, we never got that far, but…" She stopped shook her head, then looked back down at Scorpius. "Scorpius has been helping me through all of this. He's protected me from Joey on more than one occasion."
Neville released Rose and took an shaky, relieved breath. "Good. I wouldn't fancy telling your father…" he shuddered. He then walked to Wilcox, and muttered, "Levicorpus." Joey rose in the air, although it was a bit unsteady, and he was knocked roughly against the wall. "Oops! Clumsy me…" The frozen boy hit the wall a few more times while the professor walked back over to Rose and Scorpius. "I'm going to take him up to the Headmaster. You two will have to come as well to relay what happened."
Rose took a deep shuddering breath and nodded. "We'll be there in a moment."
Neville began to travel down the hallway before turning back. "Mal—Scorpius?" Scorpius raised his head off the floor just a bit to see Professor Longbottom. "I apologize for my assumption. Old prejudices die hard."
Scorpius cleared his throat, making sure that his voice was ready for use again. "I understand, Professor."
Neville gave him an apologetic smile before continuing down the hallway with Wilcox and out of sight.
Scorpius laid his head back on the ground and stared up at the ceiling. He felt as though a weight were lifted off his shoulders. Rose was no longer in danger. He didn't have to stay awake at nights wondering if she were okay, if Wilcox had done anything to her the common room, if he would see her the next day. Another concerning thought crossed his mind, though. Where did this leave him in her life?
He felt something bump his side and glanced over to see Rose sit down next to him. He looked into her eyes and smiled. "You stopped him," he rasped.
Rose nodded and looked down at her knee. "He wasn't allowed to hurt you," she stated, as though it were a fact.
Scorpius rose up, placed his elbows on the ground behind him, and leaned against them. The movement made Rose look at him. "He wasn't allowed to hurt you, either."
Rose stared into his eyes for a moment, but Scorpius didn't think that she was really seeing him, but instead was lost in her own thoughts. After a moment, she slowly nodded her head, finally realizing what he had been trying to tell her through this whole ordeal.
Scorpius gave her a beaming smile, breaking her from her musings. She grinned back at him and stood up, offering her hand. He grabbed it and she pulled him up. Once steady on his feet, he found himself in very close proximity to Rose. He kept a hold of her hand and raised his other to brush his fingers against cheek. "What I said before still stands. I'll be here for as long as you need me."
Rose let out a deep breath as she closed her eyes, a smile gracing her face. She turned her head slightly, nuzzling her cheek against his fingertips. "What if I need you for forever?"
Scorpius released her hand and brought it to the other cheek, cupping her face. "Then I would be extraordinarily happy."
Rose opened her eyes and gave him a look of supreme happiness and gratitude. Scorpius lowered his face and brushed his lips against hers in a soft kiss. He pulled away after a moment, never having been more content in his life. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and squeezed her tightly, and she reciprocated by squeezing his midsection. Wrapped in each others arms, they began their journey to the Headmasters office.
*steps up on soapbox*
Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone. I just wanted to address a few things before you leave a review (that is, if you intended on leaving a review).
I can imagine some of you read this story and said, "What the heck? Why is Rose so weak?! She should have been stronger!"
I have, thank goodness, never been in an abusive relationship. However, I did study to become a social worker for several years, and saw many cases of abusive relationships. During my studies, I saw cases of women, strong willed, strong minded, ready to take on the world, be brought down by one manipulative and abusive person (for the purposes of this story, I say 'woman,' but that's not saying that men can't be abused as well, because it does happen). It is a cycle: Things are good - An argument happens and things get heated in the relationship - Abuse occurs - Abusive person says it'll never happen again - Things are good. The thing about this cycle is that, as most cycles are want to do, it happens over and over and over again. Often times the women in the cases I studied were asked why they stayed with their abusive partner. Many excuses were given: financial reason, the kids, etc. But more often than not, the answer was the same as Rose's, "Because I love him." When things are good after the abuse, that's the person that the women want to remember, to love, to have around all the time, but the cycle of abuse won't allow it. Human emotion can be a tricksy, tricksy thing, causing people to put themselves in harms way, regardless of what is safe or what is right. The cycle of abuse is just one example. So for those of you saying that Rose should have been stronger, just keep that in mind.
My public service announcement comes to this conclusion: If you find yourself in a situation similar to the one Rose was in, my social work advice to you is to get out. Find someone that you trust, tell them what's going on, get help, and get out of the relationship. You may still feel that you love him/her, but you don't deserve to be abused in any way, no matter what your partner says.
*steps off of soapbox*
A/N 2: My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of Sandy Hook Elementary. This is a terrible tragedy. I will continue to pray for them daily.