Rose's few, precious weeks away from the Ministry flew by. Even with Al and Scorpius back at work – Scorpius still had another year and a half of training to go and Al had started his apprenticeship – her days were full. For starters, she made her way through the entire Weasley roster, popping in to explain why she'd been gone so long and what job she'd taken. All of her aunts and uncles were suitably impressed. Uncle George offered her five hundred galleons to sneak out some of the liquid holding the brains her dad had told him about; Uncle Percy gave a very long speech about the honor of the Ministry; Uncle Bill didn't bother trying to hide his jealousy and kept trying to quiz her, along with Aunt Fleur, about the things she'd learned; and Aunt Ginny simply gave her a long look before rounding on her Uncle Harry, who threw his hands up and regarded Rose with an expression of betrayal that clearly begged for help.
Gran Molly gave her an earful about danger and risk and then gathered Rose into her arms with a reproving sob. Rose could only look helplessly at Granddad Weasley, who simply shrugged as Gran Molly pulled back to ask if Rose was really moving in with "that Malfoy boy."
Moving in with that Malfoy boy had been both exactly and nothing like she'd expected. Most of the actual moving in happened while Scorpius was at work, and Rose had a shocking number of people volunteer their help. Her mum came over to help figure out a way to integrate her belongings into Scorpius's. (Rose noticed Mr. Malfoy slipping out of every one of his photos when her mum arrived). Her dad popped by and managed to get through five whole minutes of unpacking before making a crack about the prominence of green in the decor. Hugo and Lily both came over via floo powder, though they spent more time digging through Scorpius's things and arguing with the miniature he kept of his grandmother than helping. Al would sometimes pop over after work, gleefully mussing Scorpius's sock drawer ("He had four locking charms on it in the dorm room. Ridiculous.") or hiding his favorite tie ("I think this is my favorite part of you two living together – he'd never let me in on my own, before.").
She'd been nervous for the first few days, fearing that it would be too hard to adjust to sharing a flat with anybody, let alone Scorpius. There had been a few rows, to be sure, and, knowing them, there would be more to come. Scorpius had practically turned purple when he'd come home to discover that she'd re-arranged all of his books when incorporating hers. ("They're not your bookshelves anymore, you great arse, they're our bookshelves!"). Rose had needed to count to about a thousand when she'd caught him toweling off a soaked Archimedes with her favorite Cannons t-shirt ("That was my dad's!"). And, because she was her mother's daughter, there had been a very heated discussion about the house-elf who came to tidy-up every day. ("For Merlin's sake, I pay her, Rose. Neither of us have the time nor the inclination to learn cleaning spells. Get over it.").
Then there were the rows they weren't having, the things she'd never thought about until she'd sat in their living room and felt the eyes of his grandmother on her and saw traces of the Manor in the oddest places.
Still, random creepiness aside, so long as she didn't think about things too much, it was almost like being at Hogwarts again, only now they didn't have to go up two separate staircases when it was time for bed.
Scorpius came home at odd hours, usually exhausted and always with a pile of parchment and books. Rose secretly enjoyed helping him study, and, much to his amusement, spent her last free day making him flashcards for his Concealment and Disguise training.
"I don't know how you ever convinced the sorting hat to put you in Gryffindor," he said, bending down and brushing his lips against hers after he magicked the soot off of his black robes. He took the cards from her and flipped through them with a crooked smile.
"There's curry takeaway in the kitchen if you're hungry," she said, tucking her feet under her.
"Couldn't eat anything if I tried," he said, falling down on the sofa and putting his head on her lap. Automatically her hands reached for him, fingers burying in his silky hair and massaging his scalp. "Too exhausted to chew."
"I can't believe you still have a year and a half to go," she said sympathetically.
"Neither can I," he said darkly. "That curse breaking job sounds awfully appealing all of a sudden."
"Don't be an idiot," she said, tugging gently on a lock of his hair. "You'd be bored out of your mind."
"And it's not like I need the galleons," he agreed distracted, studying the detailed analysis of the disillusionment charm she'd written out.
"Scorpius," Rose said warningly. This was the row they hadn't had yet, and also the one she was hoping to avoid.
"Rose, I'm a Malfoy. Malfoys have gold. We'll always have gold, no matter how much my father is willing to pay to clear his conscience. Get used to it."
"I don't have a problem with how much money your family has," she said, a little indignantly.
He gave a tired sigh and sat up, turning to face her. "I know you don't, so why don't you just say what you do have a problem with."
"I just…" Looking at his face made it almost too hard to say the words. She really didn't want to have this argument because she really didn't want to say things that would hurt him.
"You just don't like where the gold comes from." His voice was matter-of-fact. He sat waiting for her response, and his calm made her more nervous.
"No," she said slowly. "I don't."
"I know that, historically, my family has been terrible, Rose. Believe me, I know."
"It just feels strange, sometimes," she admitted. "To think that…well…"
"To think that the Malfoy gold that paid for my broomstick and the robes on my back and everything I own came from the support of the Dark Arts?"
"I'm not saying that you – "
"I know you're not," he said impatiently. "I am not my family's history, no matter what the rest of our world assumes. I'll continue doing everything I can to prove that being a Malfoy doesn't mean being like my grandfather. But I can't change the past."
"I'm not asking you to," she said, reaching for his hand. "But it makes me uncomfortable and I suppose it's better if you know that now, no matter how much I've been trying to avoid the subject."
"It never bothered you before," he pointed out.
"Well, I was never living in a flat that was - "
"Paid for by evil?"
"You said it, not me," she replied archly.
"Would it make you feel better if I told you that I paid for this flat?"
She rolled her eyes. "With your family's money."
"With my mother's family's money. The Greengrasses weren't exactly saints, but they weren't Death Eaters either, Rose. My mother's parents set up my Gringotts trust."
"Really?" she asked in a small voice, hating that his answer made a difference.
"Really. I hate the Malfoy gold and the Manor and all the rubbish that comes with it more than you do," he promised. "And someday we're going to have to figure out what to do with it all, but today is not that day."
"Merlin's beard," she whispered.
"What?" he asked, confused. "I didn't – "
She silenced him with a kiss, sliding into his lap. Scorpius didn't bother asking questions, just kissed her soundly, hands sliding under her jumper. His cool touch made her shiver, and he pulled her closer, long fingers ghosting over the skin of her back.
Knowing that he had to study, and knowing that if she didn't stop them he never would, she slid her lips across the line of his jaw, peppered tiny kisses along the expanse of his neck, and stopped and rested her head on his shoulder.
"Not that I'm complaining," he sighed, sliding his hands out from under her jumper and wrapping his arms around her waist. "But what was that for?"
"For the 'we.'" she answered.
He pulled back, puzzled. "Pardon?"
"We are going to have to figure out what to do with the Malfoy money," she said, feeling like she'd just eaten a whole bag of fizzing whizbees.
Scorpius furrowed his brow. "Well, of course we are. I mean, wizarding law dictates that the manor must pass to the eldest Malfoy child, and as I'm the only Malfoy child – "
Rose put a finger to his lips. "We."
She saw the moment comprehension dawned, but was surprised when he scoffed. "Well, of course it'll be we. You didn't think I was going to let you shirk off all the horrible parts of being married to me, did you?"
She raised her eyebrows. "So we're getting married?"
"Don't be thick," he said, giving her an incredulous look. "What? You thought you'd just move into my flat – "
"Our flat," she corrected.
"Fine. Did you think you'd just move into our flat and…that'd be it?"
"Of course not," she said hotly.
"Obviously we're getting married, Rose. Surely you knew that."
"Yes, well," she said primly. "It isn't like you've asked."
Scorpius laughed, a deep rich laugh that warmed her to her toes. "Of course I haven't asked. You wouldn't want me to ask right now. You've only just got back. We need to ease our parents into the idea that they're going to be family, Rose. And I need to know the aurors aren't going to chuck me out."
"You already said you have heaps of gold, so, practically, what would it matter if they did? Besides, the aurors aren't chucking you out."
"So you want me to ask then?" he asked, gray eyes glinting.
"At some point, obviously, I would like that very much. And before you get offended, I wasn't so pleased because you were referring to getting married."
"Then what?" he asked, chuckling.
"I'm pleased because you were referring to a future where you don't try to shelter me from your family. That I get to help you work it out," she said, squeezing his hand.
"Seeing as you're loads cleverer than I am," he said, pressing a kiss to her forehead, "it would seem silly of me not to ask for your help."
"Don't try to change the subject, Scorpius," she said with a nudge. "You never wanted Al and I to visit. You never really wanted to talk about your family. You shielded us from your grandmother wherever you could, which we always told you was ridiculous."
"Wasn't. Wish I could shield myself from her, sometimes," he muttered.
"None of us would be here if it weren't for your grandmother," Rose said gently. "What I mean to say is that the fact that you trust me to help you deal with the least pleasant parts of your life means something to me."
"Well," Scorpius said, the back of his neck coloring as he stared down. "The fact that you want to help means everything to me."
"Scorpius Malfoy," she said, clapping her hands to her cheeks. "Are you turning sentimental on me?"
With a grin he flipped them over on the sofa. "Never," he said with a messy kiss. "And let's not joke our way out of what was a very….touching….moment."
"You have to study," Rose laughed, slapping playfully at his chest as his hands started to wander.
"Sod studying. I need to snog my future wife."