A/N: Hello readers! Usually when I write a story, the first few chapters come in a rush and then I slow down. This one was different. If usual inspiration comes in plot bunny form, this one came in an avalanche. I've written 20 000 words in three days and am currently finishing off this story on the last chapter.
It started as a little bit of a break from my sequel to The Case of the Creature Kidnappings (don't worry, I'm nearly done that) and clearly got out of hand. I'm going to post a chapter of this every few days because it would be a pain to keep everything straight with weeks in between chapters.
The usual disclaimer applies.
And now for something completely different...
Rose stood on the landing above her family, watching through the banister with satisfaction as her plan came to fruition. Some part of her loved her family very much, but that part had been pushed aside by the rest of her that resented being pulled out of her comfortable bed, shoved into her father's stupid flying car, and driven off to the middle of nowhere to be crammed in an over-crowded house with all of her mental relatives. She would never seriously harm them, but she certainly wasn't above a few harmless mind games.
It happened in a flawless wave; she cast a quick spell in just the right place to trip Aunt Fleur as she wove through the crowd with a plate of potatoes destined for the table. Fleur tripped and the potatoes went flying, hitting her Uncle George right in the head. George, instead of turning to find out where the potatoes had come from, chose to instead lob a good glob of them at Ron's head, not pleased with his brother's hysterical laughter. From there, the room erupted into an epic food fight.
"If you used your powers for good instead of evil, you could have the highest grades in the school."
She turned her head from the chaos below, smiling at the one person who knew her well enough to recognise the trouble that was coming when she wore her put out expression and remove himself from the blast radius. Scorpius, just like Rose, didn't have a scrap of food on him.
"I already have grades in the top ten percent of our school," she said absently, ducking back as her mother glanced up towards the stairs suspiciously.
"I meant without bribing and blackmailing the teachers."
Rose smiled, showing all of her teeth. Most people shivered when she gave that smile, sensing that she was dangerous. Scorpius, however, just rolled his eyes and came to crouch beside her.
"Where's the fun in that?"
He chuckled as a levitating bowl of sour cream upended itself right on Hermione's head, distracting her from her suspicions. Rose slipped her wand back into her pocket.
"I'll never figure out how two war heroes managed to produce someone with so much darkness inside them."
"It's my dark side that attracted you in the first place."
Scorpius didn't disagree.
Rose could count on one hand the number of people who would stand there and bear the full brunt of her personality without running scared. If she was being truly honest, she could count those people on one finger. It was really just Scorpius.
Ever since their first year, Scorpius had been the kid who was usually standing off to the side, quietly minding his own business but still observing everything around him. Upon first meeting him, people usually assumed that he wasn't very smart because he never had much to contribute to a conversation, but Rose knew that this wasn't true. Just because he never voiced them didn't mean that Scorpius wasn't capable of intelligent thoughts. In fact, Rose was pretty sure Scorpius was a genius. She'd asked him once, but he had just raised his eyebrows mockingly and the subject was closed.
"You've got something planned," Scorpius observed quietly. There were rowdy children all around them in the corridor making their way outside on one of the first nice spring days of the year, and still Rose had no trouble hearing him. Maybe it was because he spoke so infrequently that it was like the universe quieted to listen in, or more likely it was that Rose was a little more in tune with him than she'd like to admit. Either way, she heard him loud and clear while pretending that she hadn't.
Scorpius wasn't fooled. Scorpius was never fooled.
Rose flashed him her best evil grin, ignoring the group of second year girls that scattered at just the sight of it. As they passed Victoria Lewis, a sixth year Ravenclaw that had been calling Rose a slag before break, Rose slipped a little package in the other girl's pocket.
"I saw that," Scorpius said out of the corner of his mouth. "Care to explain?"
"It's from her secret admirer, but she can't open it until next week or she'll get a nasty surprise."
"And what does it do when she opens it before it's time to?" It was almost guaranteed that Victoria was going to ignore the timeframe indicated on the package. The girl was known for her complete lack of patience. Her obsession with instant gratification was almost as well known as her skill on the Quidditch field. She was the Ravenclaw team's star chaser and took that role very seriously.
Rose smiled enigmatically. "It may explode, but I will neither confirm nor deny any involvement in the whole matter."
"Malfoy, Weasley," Professor Zabini called over the heads of the crowd, "A word."
Rose, being too short to see over many of the fourth years despite being in her seventh year, looked to Scorpius for direction. He was tall enough to see over almost all of their classmates. Smirking because he knew that she hated looking to him for help, Scorpius took her elbow and skillfully navigated thorough the crowd to where Blaise Zabini, head of Slytherin house, was waiting for them.
"Is there a problem, Professor?" Rose asked with the wide, innocent eyes she saved for manipulating authority figures.
Professor Zabini, having spent most of his life in the presence of master manipulators and having known Rose since she was a little first year with her first blackmail scheme, was not affected. "I'd like a word with the two of you, if you would follow me to my office."
Rose and Scorpius shared a confused expression. Scorpius rarely did anything wrong other than keep quiet about Rose's misdemeanours and Rose herself was rarely caught and had most of the school staff under her thumb for those rare occasions when she was caught. Neither of them could figure out why they would possibly be called to Professor Zabini's office.
As the one Professor that Rose respected too much to bribe or blackmail, there shouldn't be anything that Zabini would have on her. Rose actually did her work for his potions class, so that couldn't be why they were being called to his office. Maybe another student had complained about her? Rose would make sure whoever it was paid.
When Rose saw that it was her dad and uncle Harry that were waiting for her she stopped, nearly making Scorpius collide with her back. "Daddy?" she asked in the little girl voice that had Ron wrapped around her finger. "Have I done something wrong?"
She had, but nothing that her father should have found out about. Rose quickly went over everything she'd done in the past few months of school that could possibly have gotten her into trouble. Maybe this was about the food fight she'd caused over break? But that wouldn't call for two Aurors – and they seemed to be here in the capacity of Aurors, since they were in uniform.
Ron wrapped an arm around his daughter's thin shoulders and glared at the potions professor. "I thought you said you'd bring me someone who could help, not my innocent daughter. She couldn't hurt a fly and doesn't need to be involved in any of this."
Rose was intrigued but wasn't willing to ruin her father's impression of her just to satisfy her curiosity. She leant against her dad and looked to Scorpius, who read her message loud and clear.
"Perhaps we should hear what you have to say and decide for ourselves if we can be of use to you."
Taking her cue, Rose looked up at her father with adoring eyes. "I'd like to help if I could, Daddy."
Ron rubbed her arm. "I know you would, sweetheart, but this is too dangerous for someone as sweet as you. I don't want you involved with bad people."
It took all of Rose's willpower to keep up her innocently adoring expression when Scorpius snorted and she desperately wanted to glare at him. He was going to ruin the act she'd been building since before she could remember.
"Zabini knows his students, Ron," Harry intervened. "If he thinks Rose is best for the job, then we should listen. I don't like it either, but she's smart and she'll be well looked after inside the castle. At least we can be positive that she's a reliable informant."
"Wait a minute," Ron said suspiciously, his eyes narrowed towards Scorpius. "How do we know that the Malfoy boy's trustworthy?"
Scorpius wasn't thrown by the blatant accusation in the least. In fact, he had expected it.
"Rose," he said with a careless shrug.
That one word was more than enough. She had been his best friend since they'd started school, and he certainly wouldn't screw that up because some of his peers tried to pressure him into joining some group that was doomed to fail. Besides, both of his parents adored his scheming friend.
Harry accepted that answer. "We've received a few tips that have led us to believe a new generation of Death Eaters are trying to get organized. We need someone within the school to investigate.
"These are our current suspects," he said, laying out two pictures on Blaise's desk. One of them showed a heavily made up girl who was biting her lip seductively and coquettishly blinking bedroom eyes at the camera and the other showed a square-jawed boy who gave the camera a rude sign and then swaggered off out of the frame, clearly bored with them all. Hyacinth Goyle and Craig Nott.
Rose immediately ruled out Hy. The girl was devious, but in a harmless way. She was only concerned with sleeping with as many boys as possible. Going all blood supremacist would severely limit her pool of penises to choose from.
Craig was another story though. Rose had always seen him as a small time bully, enjoying picking on those who were smaller and weaker than himself. She wouldn't have thought him capable of organizing a wave of new Death Eaters within Hogwarts, but it wouldn't do to underestimate him.
"What we want you two to do is find out everything you can about this new order of Death Eaters."
"Rosie," Ron said, tightening his hold on his daughter as if just holding her tight enough could keep her from getting involved in something potentially dangerous, "Don't think you have to help us or anything. You're free to stay out of it. In fact, your mum and I would prefer if you just focused on your studies while you're here instead of potentially dangerous work for the Ministry."
Scorpius was looking at the pictures contemplatively and then turned his eyes to Rose. "I didn't have anything more interesting planned for our last year of school, did you?"
No, her plan would have been entertaining and they would have gone out with a bang, but it would have completely blown her cover as a good girl. This idea would allow her to use her skills while still keeping up her facade. It was perfect.
"I want to help, Daddy."
Ron sighed. "I was hoping you wouldn't say that, but I should have known. You're a good girl, Rosie. Don't let those other Slytherins corrupt you."
Again, Scorpius had to fight to conceal his snort. He managed because he knew that Rose's retaliation should he be the one to ruin her good girl image would be swift and ruthless despite their long friendship.
"I'll do my very best, Daddy," she said with that worshipful smile she was so good at faking.
"I don't know whether to be awed or scared of that performance," Scorpius said later, when Ron and Harry had left. They were told to find as much information as they could on the suspects and report anything they found to Professor Zabini.
"I think it's about time you used your powers for good instead of terrorizing the staff," Professor Zabini said.
"Are these new Death Eater people really enough of a threat to involve the Aurors, Uncle Blaise?" Scorpius asked. Blaise really was his uncle; it wasn't just a nickname because the potions professor was his father's best friend. Shortly after Draco married Astoria, Blaise married her older sister, Daphne. They had a son together who was a year younger than Rose and Scorpius.
Blaise ran a hand through his hair. "I had heard mutterings of it, but I dismissed them – until something happened over break. Did either of you notice that the sixth year Hufflepuff Jade Day has been absent?"
Neither Rose nor Scorpius really bothered with the other students unless it involved a scheme of some sort.
"She was attacked while playing with friends and has been too afraid to return to school."
"Then we better get started on looking into this," Rose said with a suck up smile and fake concern that neither person in the room believed.