Chapter 3 – It's easier when you're just being a broomhead

When Scorpius got to the prefect's bathroom he discovered that he wasn't the only one who thought they had a good chance at a bath in solitude. Her red hair, which usually flowed to just below her shoulders, was swept back and up into a messy bun that revealed the length of her neck. He knew he should probably turn around and walk away but he couldn't seem to form the thought, instead moving towards her. A bench stopped his advance however as he ungracefully walked into it, causing him to stumble. The noise caused Rose to look up and she saw Scorpius now sitting on the bench and rubbing his shin. She couldn't help but giggle. "It isn't funny," he automatically snapped, but immediately regretted the move, "Anyway, sorry to intrude, I'll just go and bathe at the dorm." His shin no longer hurt as much, and he realised that it was probably not okay for him to share a bath with Rose who, as far as he could see (which wasn't far due to the mass of bubbles), was not wearing anything at all.

"You can stay if you like," Her quiet voice floated over to him and his eyebrows hit his hairline, if she says anything else like that it isn't a hot bath I'll be needing, he thought. Rose caught on to his embarrassment, "I'm wearing a bikini if that's what you're worried about," she told him and he tried to stifle the relieved breath he let out. Knowing that she probably wouldn't bother him, they were still enemies after all, he stripped to his swimming trunks and lowered himself into the bath a few metres down from her. They sat in a relaxed silence for a while just soaking away the day. Rose let out a long tired sigh as she shifted in the bath which was then followed by a sharp intake of breath and a "What the?!" which drew Scorpius' attention. What he saw removed all the effects of the calm the bath had given him and he was once again livid. Up one side of her back there were dark purple patches most prominent on her shoulder blade and midway up her ribcage and lighter purple spots on the other side. He knew they were impact bruises but they weren't from falling off a broom in quidditch, these were from that afternoon.

Rose had been relaxing in an Albus-advised bath when Scorpius had tripped. For some reason, seeing him, the-man-of-grace-Malfoy, bash his shin in a goofy manner, had helped to release that final knot of tension in her chest. She had told him that he could stay, and she was surprised at how happy she was when he did. Even if he chose to sit at the other end of the bath. Despite tending to go for each other's throats, there were plenty of times that Rose could remember them like this, in peaceful quiet, as if, just by being close to her enemy, the rest of the world melted away. She sighed as her mind returned to that afternoon and she repressed the urge to scream in anger, the shift that she'd made with the sigh caused her shoulder blade to press into the side of the bath and a surprisingly sharp pain radiated across her back. She hissed in a breath before letting out an involuntary "What the?!" Twisting to get a better look she caught Scorpius' expression. She couldn't explain the mix on his face. He looked like a mix between pained and furious. When he saw she'd caught him staring he turned his face away and used the best Malfoy self-defence tactic he had, be condescending.

"What happened to your wand?" he asked bitingly.

"What?" she was slightly startled by his tone.

"When your boyfriend" "Ex-boyfriend," She cut in.

"Fine. When your ex-boyfriend had you grabbed by the arm, where was it?" he demanded.

"I didn't think I'd need it, it was supposed to just be a shouting match," She replied her voice and eyes driving icicles into the back of his neck.

"If I hadn't been there you could have been hurt even worse, you were weak Weasel-bee," he sneered.

The silence that followed caused Scorpius' residual anger to turn to worry that he'd pushed her too far, after all it had only taken place about three hours ago. When he looked at her, he saw the blush was high in her face and she did indeed look like she was about to cry. But then her expression shifted and she took on a faraway look and let out a sigh that seemed like it would have rather been a scream. "Thanks," she said, puzzling him. She even let out a low chuckle, "It's easier when you're just being a broomhead,"

Scorpius felt his own expression soften. Rose let out another of those damn sighs. He made a decision. "Rose," he called and him actually using her name rather than Weasley, or Weasel-bee shocked her into looking right at him, "After dinner, meet me by the fountain in the court-yard under the clock-tower." She started to form a question but he stopped her, "Don't ask why and don't refuse, Professor Maddox told me that you could miss the practical so your evening is free," he paused for a second, "Well," he corrected himself, "It isn't anymore because you're coming with me." And with the finality of that statement, he pulled himself out of the bath and left to change, leaving Rose with the very pleasing mental image of his quidditch-toned form to keep her company before she decided to dress and head to dinner.

Dinner was quiet, for her at least, her family was rowdy as ever although they seemed to be going easy on her, she deduced that Albus must have given a heavily censored version of the events that had taken place earlier that day. She knew it must've been heavily censored, otherwise that cauldron bum, Thaddeus Edgecombe, would not have been sitting eating his dinner at the Ravenclaw table. She was comforted by seeing Edgecombe repeatedly and nervously turn his head to the Slytherin table where he would meet at every occasion the terrifying and piercing glare, of Scorpius Malfoy. Intermittently, he would look to the Gryffindor table where he would meet the combined wroth of the Potter-Weasley clan and friends who were sat there. Rose had never seen anyone more stuck between a rock and a hard place. It made her feel secure to know just how many people had her back. Even if she was bemused that I-only-protect-myself Malfoy was one of them. She couldn't help sighing though. The need to scream was becoming a suffocating urge, even if the burden was relieved somewhat when she was with her family, it wasn't a permanent fix. But at least the food was delicious, a range of crisp short-crust savoury pies as the main, with profiteroles in a heavenly chocolate sauce for dessert. It helped to fill her up a bit and make her feel more like herself again. Just as she was about to head off to the Astronomy practical, she remembered what Malfoy had said to her, and out of curiosity, if nothing else, she went to meet him. Even if it went horribly she could always look forward to a good duel.