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The Life and Times of Scorpius Malfoy

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Draco Malfoy was anything but idle after the War. 

He was cleared of all crimes but called to court several times to either put Death Eaters in Azkaban or clear their names of any wrongdoing. His mother died not long after his father was given the Demontor's Kiss and Draco was finally a free man. Determined to start a new life, he freed all the House Elves and encouraged them to go to Hogwarts, before burning Malfoy Manor to the ground. He made sure the grounds would not be built on for a long time: he reported that an environmental toxin had seeped into the ground causing the Muggle government to quarantine the area. The money he got from the insurance he donated anonymously to Hogwarts.

He began at the Ministry in a lowly finance position and moved to a very small flat in Muggle London. Kingsley offered him a better position with a better title and better pay, but Draco wanted to prove to himself (and to his father, to his ancestors, and to everyone in the Wizarding World) that he didn’t need the Malfoy name to get by. He wanted the Malfoy name to mean something else.

It was during this stage of his life that he ran into, became reacquainted with, and fell in love with Astoria Greengrass, against both of their better judgements.

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"Mr. Malfoy?" Draco looked up at his young assistant, "Your wife and son are here."

Draco smiled, taking his reading glasses off, "Yes, yes, of course, let them in."

"Daddy!" A miniature clone of Draco ran in and jumped on to his father's lap wrapping his short arms around his neck, his blonde hair nearly falling in front of his pale grey eyes. "Mama said today we get the puppy you promised!"

Draco glanced at his wife quickly, hiding a sly smile as she tried to look innocent. "Scorp," he started seriously.

Scorpius released his arms from around his father's neck to stare seriously at him, "Yes, Daddy."

"Do you promise to train him?" Scorpius nodded dutifully. "And pick up after him?" Another nod. "And feed him?" Another nod. "And play with him?"

Scorpius looked scandalized, "Of course, Daddy!"

Draco grinned and set him on the ground. "Very well, Scorpius, let's go find you a puppy."

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Draco had not planned on falling in love with the pureblood sister of one of his classmates, but he had. She was beautiful, smart, and kind. And when he had first met her after the War, she was poor, living in an awful Muggle flat and without a family - just like him. She may have been a pureblood, but she was exactly the type of pureblood his father would have hated.

Now the Malfoys lived in a nice Muggle neighborhood in London and wore Muggle clothes. There was nothing dark or sinister about their average home: no dark magic books or artifacts, no portraits of ancestors. The furniture was new and Muggle-made; everything was soft, light, airy, and open. It represented the new era of Malfoy.

By the time Scorpius was born, Draco had come a long way at the Ministry. Few people glared at him now and he even had gained the respect of many. When Scorpius was 10, Draco was made the Minister of Finance, a very prestigious and very difficult position, but one that no Malfoy had ever held before.

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"Daddy?" Scorpius stood at the threshold of the kitchen where Draco was drinking a glass of wine and reading the paper.

"Scorp? What are you doing up so late?"

Scorpius frowned, "Couldn't sleep." He sat on a chair next to his father, "What if I don't make friends? What if they don't like me?"

Draco smiled at his son, "Whatever House you're in you'll make friends. Just be nice to everyone, right?"

"And everyone will be nice to me." His blonde eyebrows furrowed together, "What if I'm in Slytherin?"

Draco smiled and patted the top of his son's head: they had this discussion frequently in the past few weeks. "There's nothing wrong with Slytherin, Scorpius. A long time ago there were a few bad people in Slytherin, but not anymore. Your mother and I were in Slytherin, you know, and we aren’t bad.” This earned a small smile from Scorpius and Draco patted his back. “Everyone is very nice and very friendly. Now go to sleep, Scorp. You have to get up early tomorrow."

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Scorpius could feel what felt like hundreds of eyes on him and he fidgeted slightly under the dark grey storm clouds of the ceiling above him; his father had told him that this may happen, that even after so long people were still prejudiced, still angry. He may have only been 11, but his father had been very honest with his past.

He noticed the eyes that had been staring at him now turned to the two First Years who stepped up next to him. They did look familiar. The boy next to him groaned and Scorpius smiled at him, "Everyone stared at me too. I look just like my dad."

The messy-black haired and green-eyed boy looked at him, "Me too."

Scorpius stuck his hand out, "I'm - "

The red-haired girl next to the boy looked at him, her blue eyes piercing his grey ones, "Scorpius Malfoy," she finished for him. "I'm Rose Weasley," she turned back to look towards the front of the Hall.

The boy's green eyes looked apologetic, "I'm Albus Potter," he said quietly, "that's my cousin."

Scorpius nodded, shifting, slightly uncomfortable under Albus' intense gaze. He opened his mouth to speak again when the Headmistress began addressing the students and then Professor Longbottom began calling out students' names.

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With a heavy heart, Scorpius sat at the Slytherin table. As many times as his father told him it would be fine if he was Sorted into Slytherin, he knew his father really wanted him to be in another House.

At least everyone was smiling at him.

He was surprised to see Albus Potter sit down next to him a moment later: wasn't Harry Potter a true Prince of Gryffindor?

‘Maybe Slytherin won’t be so bad,’ Scorpius thought.

Albus' face was pale. "I didn't want to be in Slytherin either," Scorpius whispered and smiled at Albus' surprised expression. "I wanted to be different from the rest of my family."

"My dad said there's nothing wrong with Slytherin," Albus trailed off.

"So did mine," Scorpius nodded. "And maybe it won't be."

They watched Albus' cousin, Rose, sit down at the Ravenclaw table and Albus let out a small laugh.

Professor McGonagall spoke briefly before encouraging everyone to eat and get a good night's sleep. Scorpius and Albus had just started eating when a boy with the exact same black, messy hair as Albus, brown eyes, and glasses clapped him on the back. "Slytherin, eh, Albie?" Albus turned to his older brother but didn't say anything. "You and Rosie are the first ones in centuries to not be in Gryffindor!" He shook his head. 

Albus gestured towards his new friend, "James this is Scorpius."

James shook his hand, "Malfoy, right?" He smiled, "James Potter. Dad'll be happy you lot are friends, not starting some ridiculous competition. But Uncle Ron?" He laughed, grabbing the attention of the other Slytherins. He grinned at his brother, "I hope you get on the team this year; the sooner I can start beating you." He ruffled his brother's hair, "I better grab Fred before Rosie kills him."

Albus turned to Scorpius, "That's my brother."

Scorpius grinned, "I noticed."

Albus began to tell Scorpius about his family, his multitude of cousins, aunts and uncles, after Scorpius said he would like to hear about them. Albus and Rose were best mates, even though she could sometimes be a bit intense, "She's not all bad though. She does like to have a bit of fun with us, doesn't mind James and Fred." James and Fred, he explained, were as good as twins, and were very close with their cousin Dominique who was very different from her older sister, Victoire. He had a younger sister Lily who was nearly inseparable from Roxanne, Fred's sister. They were the same age as Rose's brother, Hugo, and his other cousin Molly. Louis and Lucy were much younger. He then explained Teddy, their as-good-as-adopted brother, who was apparently dating Victoire.

"I promise they won't bother you too much - they won't be mean," he shrugged. "They'll tease me, but out of good fun."

Scorpius smiled, despite feeling a pang of jealousy. He would have loved a big family with cousins to befriend: he had no wizarding friends growing up, just the few Muggle neighbors who were all a bit older.

As they followed the prefects to the dungeon, Scorpius wondered what his father would think about being friends with Albus Potter. He'd probably be fine with it; Draco respected Harry Potter. And it would have driven his grandfather mad which would make Draco very happy.

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Albus and Scorpius were fast friends: they sat next to each other in every class and did homework together every night. But they really connected from being the sons of famous and infamous parents and being near-identical to their fathers. They both soon understood that the Slytherins weren't really all bad; they were just ambitious. And competitive.

"You going to try out for the team," Scorpius asked.

Albus grinned; he wasn't nearly as quiet and stoic around Scorpius as he had once been. "Keeper, yea. Are you?"

Scorpius shrugged, "Might as well. Doubtful I get on my First Year. I'm all right at Chaser and Beater."

"James and Fred are the best Beaters at school - maybe ever. Uncle George reckons they might be better than he and his twin were," he shook his head. "And Jamie never lets me forget that. You got a good broom?"

"My dad's old Nimbus. Says I should earn a better broom."

Albus' eyebrows shot up, "That's pretty strict."

Scorpius shrugged, "I don't mind. At least I've got a broom, yea?"

There was sniggering behind them as a few Second Year Hufflepuffs walked past, but Scorpius ignored them. He was used to the occasional taunt or glare that some students sent his way. They weren't worth getting riled up over, but Albus frowned. They were only projecting the anger and prejudice their parents felt. Scorpius knew his father was a changed man who still felt guilty for the past: he had nothing to prove to these students.

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Rose Weasley did not like Scorpius Malfoy. It wasn't because he was a Malfoy or because their fathers hated each other or because his father had once called her mother terrible names. But Rose saw that Scorpius was going to give her stiff competition for Top of their Class.

Scorpius, once her dislike for him became painfully apparent, found Rose to be nothing short of interesting. She wasn't one to shove her excess knowledge in everyone's faces; she only raised her hand in class once everyone else had a chance. She allowed other students to answer, but the difficult questions that no one else knew were hers. Unless Scorpius raised his hand.

Her clear blue eyes would blaze slightly when he would answer, but she never glared at him. She was cold and civil to him, calling him 'Malfoy' and only barely acknowledging him when she would talk to Albus. And Scorpius found it fascinating. She didn't like him merely because he was smart: it had nothing to do with who his father was.

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Albus and Scorpius both tried out for the Slytherin Quidditch team their First Year and they both made it: the Captain, a Fifth Year, was overhauling the team, hoping for a better-than-last-place finish this year. With Albus' excellent Keeper skills and Scorpius' promising Beater and Chaser skills, Tara Barnaby, a Muggleborn, had hope.

They came in third place that season, thanks to Albus' shutout against Hufflepuff.

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Albus and Scorpius sat with some of their yearmates and teammates in a compartment, promising Tara they would practice all summer. Albus turned to Scorpius, "You can come practice at my house, Scorp. Dad has hoops set up for us."

"Dad usually just takes me to a field somewhere away from Muggles," Scorpius admitted. "So playing with you would be fun."

Albus grinned, "Come meet my dad then - he'll want to meet you."

Scorpius nodded, trying not to worry. His dad wouldn't be angry, or at least he didn't think he would. Draco had written that he was glad Scorpius was making friends and that Albus sounded like a "fine young man". But would Mr. Potter be pleased that Scorpius was friends with his son?

Scorpius was a bundle of nerves as they stepped off the train. He saw his father immediately, his pale blonde hair standing out in what seemed to be a sea of red. Was that the entire Weasley-Potter family? Or, as he presumed, were there more sitting at home somewhere? How big exactly was Albus' family?

"I'm going to find my dad first, Al, that all right?"

Albus was grinning widely and waving to his parents, "Hurry up though, yea?"

Draco grinned proudly and ruffled his son's pale-blonde hair before pulling him into a hug. "How's Slytherin's newest Chaser and Beater?"

Scorpius smiled, "Good! I did well in all my classes too. Tied for top."

Draco chuckled, "Good lad."

Scorpius shifted slightly, "Albus wants me to meet his dad - and to meet you," he watched his father adjust his Muggle tie slightly. "That all right?"

Draco cleared his throat, "Yes, yes, of course." He smiled at his son, "Lead the way, Scorp."

When the two Malfoy men approached the large red-haired family, the tension was nearly palpable until Harry Potter, grinning genuinely, took Scorpius' hand, "You must be Scorpius. Congratulations on making the team." He looked at Draco for a moment, still smiling, "How are you, Draco?" He shook the man's hand.

Draco's face broke into a cheerful smile, Ron was surprised to see that it wasn't cold, cruel, or calculating. "And you must be Albus," Draco shook his hand. "I"m very glad Scorp has made such a good friend in Slytherin," he glanced quickly at Harry. "And I hear you're quite the Keeper."

Ginny put her hand on her son's shoulder before offering a firm handshake to Draco, "Nice to see you, Draco," she smiled wryly. "I think we'll be seeing much more of each other now." She ruffled Scorpius' hair playfully, "Wonderful to meet you, Scorpius. I'm glad you don't wear your hair like your father used to."

Laughter erupted quickly from Harry's mouth and Draco's mouth twitched. "Draco, this is our eldest son, James, and this is Lily."

Draco smiled at them both, "Nice to meet you."

Ron coughed and nodded at Draco, "Malfoy," he said gruffly. "Never thought I'd see the day when you wore Muggle clothes."

" Ronald ," his wife hissed.

Draco smiled and Scorpius noticed his eyes soften and he almost look guilty when he addressed them, "No, it's all right. I've actually been favoring Muggle clothes for many years now. We live in Muggle London."

Ron's mouth hung open and Hermione smiled brightly, offering him her hand, "Draco," she said brightly. "It’s nice to see you."

"As it is to see you, Hermione."

Rose, who had been standing quietly in between her parents now stood before Draco, "Mr. Malfoy, I'm Rose Weasley." She stuck her hand out, "I'm in Scorpius' year."

Draco had to bite back a smirk, "Hullo, Rose," he looked to Scorpius. “So you and Rose are top of your year?"

He watched Rose bristle slightly, "Yes, we are."

Draco was amused to see that Ron was having difficulty holding in his laughter and Hermione was still smiling broadly. "She's in Ravenclaw, dad," Scorpius said.

Draco smiled at the girl, "Very nice, Ms. Weasley." Her eyes bore into his, the intelligence of her mother was evident in the clear blue eyes she shared with her father. And for her sake, Draco was pleased to see her red hair wasn't as bushy and uncontrollable as her mothers.

"Draco," Harry grabbed his attention, "Scorpius must come over this summer to practice Quidditch." His smile was slightly lopsided, "I won't have anyone saying that I was trying to ruin Slytherin's chances at the Cup by prohibiting them to practice."

Draco put his hand on Scorpius' shoulder, "That's very nice of you, Harry."

"Yes, thank you, Mr. Potter," Scorpius was grinning, glad that all sorts of violence was avoided, "And it was nice to meet you, Mrs. Potter, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley," he smiled at Lily, "and you too, Lily." He grinned at his best mate, "See you soon, Albus," he flashed a quick smile. "Bye, Rose."

"Malfoy," she said tightly.

As they walked away, Draco could hear, "He doesn't seem pompous at all, Daddy. He was quite nice. And Scorpius is nothing but pleasant." Draco couldn't help but grin: at least their children were going to live without all the pressure and prejudice they had. He had a feeling they'd all be mates for a long time.

 

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"He's just the son of some bloody Death Eater, probably cooking up ways to get rid of Muggleborns."

"His bloody father should be locked up in Azkaban. Or given the kiss. He's a miserable hate-monger and it's despicable that he's allowed to interact with -"

Scorpius tried to tune them out but that was nearly impossible as there were very few people in the Great Hall this early and the three Hufflepuffs were speaking quite loudly.

The taunts and glares had been getting worse, but he wasn't sure why. It wasn't as though he was treating people badly, his father wasn't in the newspapers more frequently - he was in the papers occasionally because he was the Head of Finance. Maybe it was because Slytherin was finally a fierce competitor for the Cup?

Other students started trickling in but the Hufflepuffs continued. Scorpius ignored them as best as he could, his face paling slightly. It was when they said something about his mother that he finally snapped.

"What did you just call my mother?" His voice was ice as it cut through their conversation, his grey eyes wild and fierce as he stood slowly. He may have only been 13, but he had a fierce and commanding presence. Nearly everyone was silent.

Two very large boys stood up, two other boys waiting eagerly on the bench, their hands itching for their wands. "I said," one snarled, "that your mother was a Death Eater-banging, Slytherin-prick-sucking, bitch who -"

Scorpius barely raised his wand before a cold, female voice started from behind him, "I'd choose your next words very carefully." He saw Rose Weasley out of the corner of his eye, her blue eyes blazing. "His family has paid their debts, as has everyone -"

"What do you know, Weasley? You're only a Third Year!"

"His father was a -" the other boy said.

Rose and Scorpius both fired hexes at the two very large boys; Albus, who had snuck up beside Scorpius hexed the other two boys who were now standing with their wands in hand. "You will never say something like that about his family," Rose spat at them.

"And that goes for everyone," Albus said clearly, addressing the Great Hall. "No one should be attacked verbally, physically, or emotionally for their family."

One of the boys managed to get free of Albus’ binds, but James and Fred caught him, "I wouldn't do that," Fred chuckled.

"Unless you want to wet yourself in front of everyone," James' voice was anything but teasing.

"Oi! What is the meaning of this?" Professor Longbottom approached the students, "All of you off to class, except for you lot."

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They had been given a week's worth of attention with Mr. Cooper and as they walked out of the Great Hall, Scorpius thanked them Albus, Rose, James, and Fred before grabbing Rose's arm. "Why did you - we aren't - you don't even like me!"

Rose's face remained neutral, "I don't not like you, Malfoy. You're my cousin's best mate, aren't you?"

"But," he frowned, staring at her as though he didn't recognize her. "You've never gotten a detention!"

"Yes, well," she continued to walk down the hall. "There's a first time -"

Scorpius was not satisfied with this response, "But why?"

She stared at him for a moment, "It wasn't exactly fair, was it? Calling you and your parents those terrible things? Your father is a changed and good man. And it's not fair to judge you on your father's past." She watched him for a moment, "I was only doing what was right, Malfoy."

And that was when everything changed.

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Mr. Cooper set Rose and Scorpius to clean the trophy closet, without magic and set Albus to organize one of the broom closets that hadn't been touched in what looked like centuries.

They had started in silence, but Scorpius didn't want this: he wanted to understand Rose. She had obviously not liked him and yet she had gone out of her way to hex students for him and got a detention.

"Rose," he said hesitantly and watched as she continued to scrub but looked at him. "Thank you."

She shrugged, "I told you. Wasn't fair to you."

He nodded, "And you understand what it's like," he watched as she bristled slightly. "Being judged on who you’re parents are."

"Most of us do," she said tightly. "And none of us like it."

"I'm sorry you got your first detention because of me," he said sincerely.

"You got your first detention too Malfoy."

They worked in silence a moment before Rose spoke, "Do you really live in Muggle London?"

"What?"

Rose blushed slightly, "When I met your dad, when my dad was a bit of a prat to your dad, he said that he always wears Muggle clothes and you live in Muggle London."

Scorpius grinned widely causing Rose to blush harder. "It's just a question," she said defensively.

"We do live in Muggle London - no disillusionment charms or anything. I was friends with some of the neighbor kids, but they're all older." Rose seemed truly intrigued, so he continued. "Dad did it at first because he knew his father would be furious - wherever he is now - but he grew to actually love it. Muggles intrigue him. He likes their television and cell phones. And their clothes are very comfortable." He grinned, "I have a Muggle dog too."

Rose's hand stopped moving as she stared at him, her clear blue eyes wide, "Really? Mum's a cat person - we have a half kneazle that hates me. But I've always wanted a dog," she smiled slightly. "What's his name?"

"Hephaestion -"

"Alexander the Great's best friend," Rose finished, blushing slightly as Scorpius stared at her.

"Right. I was young when we got him," he explained.

Rose smiled, "You were Alexander and he was Hephaestion."

Scorpius ran a hand through his hair, "I, uh, have a picture, actually," he reached for his bag, handing Rose the picture.

She stared at the medium-sized dog and watched as he looked at the camera before running for a ball and bringing it back. "He's a mutt, he was only a few weeks old when we rescued him from the pound, really skinny and scared," Scorpius frowned. "They found him wandering the streets alone."

Rose glanced at Scorpius, saw the way he watched his dog in the picture, the sadness gripped her heart slightly, "But he's got a wonderful family now. He's really happy."

Scorpius smiled, "He's really a great dog. Gets all excited when mum or dad do a bit of magic," he shrugged, "Dad takes him to work sometimes when I'm at school."

Rose handed him back his photo before turning back to scrubbing a trophy.

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The third night of their detention, Scorpius asked her why she seemed to despise him.

She sputtered indignantly, "I do not!"

"Well," he raised an eyebrow. "You clearly dislike me."

"I - I don't," she rolled her eyes at his slightly-naughty stance. She let out an aggravated groan, "You aren't going to leave me alone, are you?"

Scorpius smiled slyly: it was rare to see Rose worked up like this, but it was wildly entertaining. He was going to have to rile her up more often.

"Fine, because you're my main competition for Top of the Year and I want to be first. I need to be first."

Scorpius frowned slightly at her word choice. He had suspected this was the case, but why did she need to be first?

When he asked her, she deflected, "I just want to be all right? I work hard and I deserve it."

Scorpius stared at her, "I work hard too, Rose."

She put her hands on her hip, her eyes defiant, "That's why you spend so much time in the library?"

He chuckled, shaking his head, "There are other places to study," he chided.

This only infuriated her more and her anger amused Scorpius.

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Albus found it rather amusing at first, the way Rose would get so aggravated she would nearly stutter and yell at Scorpius to keep quiet. Scorpius would smirk and continue to do little things to push her buttons. But now it was becoming more frequent. And it began to irritate the usually very stoic and very calm Albus.

"It's just a bit of fun, Al. She needs to loosen up."

It was no longer fun, however, when Rose taunted Scorpius for doing poorly on one of his Ancient Runes assignments. She couldn't help but gloat to his face and to her friends, but she became irritated when he didn't defend himself or fire back.

They were on the lawn waiting for care of Magical Creatures and because the weather was finally getting nicer. "Since Scorpius has cocked up royally so close to the end of term," her eyes darted towards him to gauge his reaction. "There's no way, really, to make up for it before OWLs." She laughed teasingly, "Why did you do so badly, Malfoy? Not working in the library finally take its toll."

Clenching his fists, he turned around slowly, his eyes sad and forlorn instead of the fiery Rose had expected. "Hephaestion died, Weasley," he unclenched his fists. "All right? I couldn't concentrate on my bloody assignment when my bloody dog just died."

Her stomach sank and her heart tightened, her face turned white in guilt and sympathy. "Scorpius, I'm -"

"Please, Weasley," he said gruffly before turning around. He had never called her by her surname, not in the nearly six years they had known each other. And he had never been as terrible to her as she had been to him. He always stopped before things got too out of hand. He only pushed her buttons playfully, but she had been malicious.

She spent the next week feeling awful and made hundreds of attempts to apologize, but Scorpius ignored her. She didn't blame him, but she didn't give up.

"Scorpius, I -”

Albus stepped in front of her: he looked both upset and disappointed which only made Rose feel worse. "Rose, just stop, would you? He wants to be left alone," he shook his head. "Just - just let him be."

"But, Al I want to apologize -"

"Not now, Rose," he said firmly and walked away to keep up with Scorpius.

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Scorpius stared up at the dark green canopy of his bed. Why had she been so malicious and terrible in her taunting? Was she so desperate to be first she didn't care who she hurt or why? Had she thought she was only being as mean as he had?

He frowned, knowing that couldn't be the case. He had never been malicious or attacked her in such a personal way. He only liked to tease her and push her buttons since he seemed to be the only one who really could.

Every time he looked at her now he was confused and sad. Maybe he had hurt her this way and she was only retaliating. Her apologies made him feel guilty and filled him with immense sadness. Maybe Rose Weasley wasn't who he thought she was.

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Scorpius was thankful Rose wasn't at the Potters when he went to play Quidditch with Albus. "I didn't tell her you were coming, mate," Albus frowned, "but you have to speak to her sometime. You're both my mates and I won't be in the middle."

"I know, Al."

"She really does feel awful you know."

Scorpius ignored this comment.

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Astoria Malfoy sighed as she stood to answer the door; she had only just sat down to begin her book when the doorbell rang. She was very surprised to see a young, red-headed girl at the door.

Rose was nervous: she had lied to her parents, had traveled to Muggle London and searched for the Malfoy's residency. She had met Mr. Malfoy, but she was in no way prepared to meet Mrs . Malfoy.

She was absolutely gorgeous and absolutely intimidating in her confidence and reminded Rose of her Aunts Ginny and Fleur. She was tall, had long, dark brown hair pulled into a ponytail and large, beautiful, clear hazel eyes. If she was this exquisite barefoot and in plain shorts and t-shirt, Rose couldn't even begin to fathom what she must look like in heels and a dress.

"Um, Mrs. Malfoy? I'm one of Scorpius' classmates -"

She smiled broadly, "Rose Weasley? Albus' cousin and the young lady Scorp is always saying is so smart?" She opened the door, "Please, please, come in. Scorpius isn't here unfortunately, but could I offer you a drink? Lemonade? Cola?"

"Oh, um, a lemonade, thanks," she glanced around the room, shocked at what she saw. Her father always made it seem like the Malfoys lived in a Dark Magic museum, but everything was new and clearly Muggle-made. "You have a lovely home, Mrs. Malfoy," Rose said quietly, taking the glass she offered her.

"Thank you, dear," she looked around the room fondly. "Draco and I didn't much like our family homes when we were growing up." Her eyes met Rose's, "Did you want to leave a message for Scorpius? He should be back after dinner."

"Ah," she took a sip of her lemonade to calm her nerves. "I had actually came to apologize to Scorpius, I was terrible to him and I've felt awful but he - rightfully - won't accept my apologies."

Astoria watched the young girl's face: what she could have possibly done to Scorpius to make her look so guilty?

"I'm sorry to hear about Hephaestion," Rose said quietly. "I would have liked to meet him."

"Yes, he was a very good dog. Draco was devastated and we told Scorpius when he had to finish an assignment, I believe."

The color of Rose's face paled, her few freckles stood out against her very pale face. "You couldn't lie to him of course." She frowned, her forlorn blue eyes looked haunting as she met Astoria's hazel eyes. "I taunted Scorpius about that assignment," she spoke quickly. "I had no idea. I was dreadful and he won't accept any of my apologies."

Astoria moved to sit next to Rose on the couch, "Now, now, Rose," she put her arm around her shoulders to comfort her. "You meant no real harm. Scorpius will forgive you soon enough."

Rose nodded sadly, "Will you get a new dog, Mrs. Malfoy?"

She frowned, "I'm not sure; not right away. I think Scorpius - and Draco - need some time."

Rose nodded, "Thank you, Mrs. Malfoy," she took a small envelope out of her pocket. "For you and Mr. Malfoy," she stood. "Don't mention to Scorpius that I was here," she looked sad again. "It won't make much difference."

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"Astoria, darling, what's this?" Draco picked up several pamphlets.

"That," she kissed his cheek, "is the animal shelter that we will be fundraising for and volunteering at."

Draco quirked an eyebrow, "But I thought you were busy enough with -"

"This is for you and Scorpius, darling," her smile grew slightly. "And you'll never guess who suggested it."

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"Mum," Scorpius started skeptically, "what are we doing here exactly?"

"We are volunteering at the shelter's adoption day," she smiled, "look, there's Albus, why don't you two go play with some of the dogs, talk with some of the people who are interested." She patted his shoulder, "You're doing this for the dogs, Scorpius. Remember that."

It tore his heart to see these dogs, so playful and happy to be outside and playing with people. Taking a deep breath he waved at Albus: he was determined to get every one of these dogs adopted.

His head shot up: he knew that laugh. But what would she be doing here? His mother had invited Albus, but she didn't know Rose and Albus hadn't said anything. He watched as Albus approached her, clearly irritated, but she only glared at him, her hands on her hips.

That was when his mother approached Rose, smiling and shaking her hand, as if they knew each other.

He felt his father's hand on his shoulder, "It was Rose's idea - your mother's involvement with this shelter."

Scorpius turned to look at his father, "But how -"

"Apparently she came round the house, wanting to apologize," his pale grey eyes boring into his son's. "She felt awful, Scorp, and wanted to make it up to you."

Scorpius turned back to watch Rose squatting to pet two puppies laughing as they licked her face. It didn't make any sense.

"Scorp," Draco said, his voice a bit softer now, "I'm ready for another dog if you are," he smiled sadly and ruffled his son's hair, "these dogs deserve a good home."

He approached her slowly, still trying to figure out why she was here, why she had gone to such trouble for him. She considered him merely her competition, a yearmate, her cousin's best mate. He pushed her buttons and challenged her intellectually, but they weren't friends . This was the second time she had done something out of her way for him. It was inexplicable .

He squatted beside her, startling her as he pet the puppies. "Oh, Scorpius, I -"

"This was your idea?"

Her mouth opened, but she didn't say anything; she couldn't read his expression. "I - I went to your house to apologize, I felt - I still feel absolutely awful, Scorpius and when I left I researched animal shelters and owled everything to your mum -"

His clear grey eyes locked on her blue ones, "Thank you, Rose."

She let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding, "I really am-"

He shared a quick, grateful smile, "I know. It's over now." He watched the dogs for a moment, "Your mum letting you adopt one?"

"No, but my Grandma Jane wants me to get one for her," she smiled. "But they're all so adorable I’m not sure how I’ll only pick one," she laughed at the two puppies as one bit the other's ear. "Especially these guys."

Scorpius watched her face, "They are," he agreed.

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Draco smiled to himself as he watched Scorpius pick up the identical puppy of the one Rose Weasley had just left with. "This little guy looks lonely, dad," Scorpius said as he walked over with the dog. "Just lost his sister."

Draco took the dog from his son's arm, "His name?"

"Apollo," he replied and Draco smirked slyly. If Rose were anything like her parents, which he knew she most definitely was, this was going to be very interesting.

 

Chapter Text

“How are your grandmother and Artemis getting along?” Scorpius watched as Rose turned her head, her long, wavy, red hair fluttering slightly as she moved, a brilliant smile on her face, and her beautiful, clear, blue eyes wide with excitement.

"Oh, hullo, Scorpius," she was still smiling. "She and Grandmum Jane are getting on brilliantly. I visited every week this summer."

Albus came up behind him, "Hullo, Scorp," he was grinning widely. "You mind if we sit in here a moment, Rosie?"

Rose's friends, Suzanne and Caeley, shrugged and Rose attempted not to roll her eyes as their eyes traveled over the now very tall bodies of her cousin and his best mate. "We have a prefect's meeting, Al."

Albus chuckled, "I know, I know. But I have good news," his bright green eyes danced. "I'm Quidditch captain."

Scorpius laughed, "Well done, Potter."

"All the Potter's are Quidditch captains, aren't they?" Rose chuckled before Albus and Scorpius sat down and began to chat.

Rose barely paid attention to the stories Albus was telling them all of James and Fred's first weeks with the Pride of Portree. She found her eyes and thoughts were drawn to Scorpius. She still felt guilty for being so heartless last term even though he had forgiven her. Like her cousin, Scorpius had only gotten taller over the summer. His eyes were still their unusual ice grey that could at times be soft, fierce or wild, but always exuding such intelligence and maturity. His pale white blonde hair that looked overly-styled on his father, looked soft, terribly touchable, and carefree on him. She caught herself before she thought 'how nice' it must feel to run one’s fingers through it.

Her friends were eyeing the two boys openly, unabashed in their obvious attraction. Rose tried not to feel sick: her cousin and Malfoy ?

"Sorry?" She tried not to blush.

Scorpius smiled slyly, "I said we should go to the prefects' meeting, meet the new Head Boy and Head Girl."

Rose stood, rolling her eyes, "Considering the Head Girl is my cousin -"

"Not everyone is lucky enough to be related to half the castle, Rose," his smile grew when she shot him an icy glare over her shoulder. Yes, he had missed this.

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"We are going to try something different this year. We all know it's sometimes difficult to get some students to listen to prefects who aren't in their Houses. So, we're going to do rounds - for the 6th and 7th years - in pairs from two different Houses,” Dominique Weasley said to the car of Prefects.

"And we'll alternate every two weeks, but we may change this if we feel the pairs are working really well," Jon Greyson the Ravenclaw Head Boy finished.

"Sixth year pairs will be Gryffindor-Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw-Slytherin and will alternate to Gryffindor-Slytherin and Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff. Seventh year pairs will be Gryffindor-Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff-Slytherin and alternate with Slytherin-Gryffindor and Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff," Dominique smiled sweetly, but her serious and threatening eyes were not lost on any of them. "You are all prefects and you are expected to set examples for your fellow students. If you can't set aside your House loyalties to work together there will be consequences. We'll meet next week to see how this goes."

Rose's stomach tightened in either anger, anxiety, or annoyance, she wasn't entirely sure. She'd no longer be going rounds with Tim, one of her good friends, but with Malfoy and bloody McLaggen, the most pompous Hufflepuff she'd ever seen.

"Weasley," the pompous git smiled in a way that made Rose want to throw up. "Look forward to doing rounds with you."

Rose nodded curtly, "Not for another two weeks, McLaggen." Avery, James' girlfriend, dated his older brother? Callum had seen like slightly less of a prick than Conor, but still.

Scorpius watched Rose's short interaction with McLaggen before she shot her cousin a quick glare. Dominique smirked.

Scorpius turned to his fellow Slytherin prefect, "Well, it was fun, Wilson."

Gemma Wilson rolled her eyes at Scorpius but smiled, "Yes, Malfoy, I'll never see you. Ever again. We won't have to keep the Slytherins in line at all."

Scorpius grinned, slinging his arm around her shoulder and pulling her towards him, "Oh, my little Williams," he said fondly, "sarcasm is so very becoming on you."

They walked out of the compartment; Rose was talking with her cousin. Wilson quirked a perfect dark brown eyebrow, her pale, violet eyes twinkling wickedly, "So you'll be doing rounds with Weasley and Greene, hm? How did you get so very lucky?"

Scorpius ruffled his hair slightly, his bangs inching dangerously close to his eyes, "I'd be luckier still if I got to do rounds with the Head Girl."

Gemma rolled her eyes but said nothing; she walked with him to the compartment he had been sitting in earlier, a smirk spreading across her face when she saw Potter chatting up Rose's Ravenclaw friends.

"Potter," her smirk grew when he turned, his hand immediately messing his hair again. She turned to the girls, quirking a challenging eyebrow, "Wood. Sampson."

Albus recovered from his momentary silence, "Gemma, you want to join us?"

Scorpius watched with a smirk as she flashed a winning smile, sitting directly across from Potter. Gemma had to have known what she did to Albus, because she seemed to enjoy the usually cool, calm, and collected boy squirm. But Potter denied any feelings other than friendship for Gemma despite the way his bright green eyes were slowly moving up her body.

"I made Quidditch captain," he said quickly, catching himself before his staring became obvious to someone other than Scorpius.

"Nicely done, Potter," her pretty and mesmerizing eyes were sincere and Scorpius noted triumphantly, impressed. "Maybe now with those Wonder Beaters, gone, we'll finally win a cup."

Albus frowned slightly but could only manage a sad, “No pressure.”

Caeley Wood and her boring counterpart, Suzanne Sampson, were blatantly annoyed at being ignored by Albus and Scorpius wondered briefly what Rose thought of her two mates lusting after her cousin. And hadn't Caeley been snogging Albus' brother a few years back? Wood, from what Scorpius recalled, didn't seem so bad but how could Rose be friends with someone like Sampson?

Not a moment later, Rose opened the compartment door, a pretty scowl on her face. "What happened, Rosie?" Sampson and Wood both looked at her cheerfully.

"Nothing," she managed when she saw Scorpius. "Dominique and Greyson just changed a few things up this year, that's all." Scorpius couldn't help his smirk. "Oh, hello, Gemma, how was your summer?" She sat down next to her, a true smile on her face.

Scorpius and Albus shared a shocked and dubious look that only grew when Gemma grinned back. "It was lovely - but a bit cold."

Gemma Wilson, the sixth year, Muggleborn Scottish Princess of Slytherin, was friends, actual Merlin-to-goodness friends with Rose Weasley, the daughter of two of the most famous people in the entire Wizarding world and the ultimate Ravenclaw.

Scorpius nearly lost his mind.

However, Rose called for them all to get changed - they were rapidly approaching Hogwarts.

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Albus may have been the last person anyone would think of when they heard 'Slytherin' but that didn't mean he wasn't very much the typical Slytherin. He was very ambitious to prove to everyone that though he looked nearly identical to his father, he wasn't. He had picked the Quidditch position that no Potter had played and one that no Weasley had ever played consistently or practically well.

Albus was also very cunning. So when Albus found out that his best mate and his cousin were paired to do rounds together, he knew he had to do something to get Scorpius to act. What he hadn't planned on, however, was that Scorpius was busy figuring out a way to get Gemma and Albus closer to snogging. And neither knew that Rose had a plan of her own.

"So you and Rosie are doing rounds tonight?" Albus asked Scorpius in what he hoped seemed a nonchalant way.

"Oh, you heard her snipe and gripe at me earlier? Heard her disgruntled whining?"

"Yes," Albus said thoughtfully, "why do you reckon she acts like that when she organized the whole animal shelter thing?" He smirked as he watched Scorpius drink his pumpkin juice, lost in thought.

"All right, Malfoy, let's go. We've got a long night ahead of us," Rose stood behind him, tapping her foot impatiently until she saw Gemma. "All right, Wilson?"

Gemma grinned, her violet eyes beaming brightly, "Take care of my prefect, Weasley. The Slytherins actually listen to him."

"I'll do my best, Wilson," she smiled brightly before turning back to Scorpius. "Stop dilly-dallying and come on, will you?"

"Oi, since when are you such good chums with Gemma?" Scorpius asked after they were out of the Great Hall.

Rose didn't bother to look at him as she continued down the corridor, "Didn't know you were keeping a ledger of my friendships, Malfoy."

He loosened his tie, doing his best to not let her affect him. "Gemma's my follow prefect and a good friend and I couldn't help but notice that until recently -"

"Last term," she corrected.

"You were more than acquaintances last term?" Scorpius asked dubiously.

"She was often in the library," she almost immediately regretted those words, but Scorpius ignored it. "I was sorry I never talked to her sooner, she's a lovely girl."

Scorpius watched her closely, the way her fierce blue eyes roamed the dim corridor, her wand rolling along her fingertips in a slightly menacing way, the way her long, wavy red hair fell down her back from her ponytail. For a girl that was so practical and dedicated to her work, he could never quite understand why she kept her hair so long. Not that he minded -

"And you saw that Albus is mad about her," Scorpius smirked devilishly at her. "I'm impressed, Weasley."

She quirked an eyebrow, barely moving her head, her lips in a slight smirk, "For a Ravenclaw," she corrected lightly.

"So, what, are you being her friend so Albus knows you've given your silent permission?"

Her eyes flashed dangerously, "And what business of it is yours, Malfoy?"

Scorpius took a deep breath, but her haughty tone and her superior attitude toward him struck a nerve. "He's my best mate Rose, and Gemma has been my good friend a bit longer than she's been yours. I offer my sincere apologies, but I was hoping to get them both to see sense and to get Al to up his game a bit."

She scoffed before composing herself, "I don't know what 'game' he has to 'up' but fine," she stopped walking a moment to face him. "I want them to get together organically, I don't want to force them."

"Just give them a push in the right direction," he smirked. "How Slytherin of you."

She pursed her lips, but her eyes revealed her true amusement, "Don't make me sick, Malfoy."

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Scorpius had hoped he and Rose could connive and plot together, but she apparently had other plans, mainly setting up conversations for them. Scorpius was pleased Albus had finally stepped it up and had been a bit less nervous around Gemma and even began to very nearly flirt. And occasionally it was Gemma who squirmed now.

Scorpius and Rose continued to "compete" in classes and Rose had been unsurprised, but still a bit peeved that Scorpius was in every single one of her classes. "Guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other, eh, Rose?"

She had rolled her eyes and steadfastly ignored him.

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The next time they did rounds, Scorpius started the conversation with something that had been bothering him. "Why were you so determined to get me to forgive you, Rose? Why did you go to my mum and organize everything when you make it plain to everyone that we're rivals of sorts?"

"You're my favorite and closest cousin's best mate, aren't you? My behavior was unacceptable, no matter to whom it was towards and I wanted to make amends." She continued to stare resolutely ahead of her, "Nothing more than that, Malfoy."

He didn't believe her; he couldn't believe her. He watched her closely now, the way she walked so confidently, without any regard that he was walking behind her: she didn't strut sensually like other girls did. Her long, wavy, unpractical, hair wasn't as bright as her brother's or her father's, it was darker, an absolutely lovely color that Scorpius' couldn't help but admire. He had begun to notice and enjoy the way her beautiful, clear blue eyes would spark when he would tease her, the way her lips would tighten and pout slightly, a terribly appetizing pink color, her cheeks would color slightly, giving her flushed and beautiful complexion. He liked how she looked when she was irritated. But he also liked to watch her when she was concentrating, when she was laughing when she was -

Yes, Scorpius had admitted to himself that he was watching Rose a bit too closely too often. And he was thinking about her more than was appropriate. He refused to believe that she only defended him their third year and researched animal shelters because he was best mates with her cousin. She had to have at least considered him a friend.

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"Our last rounds together, Malfoy."

"For two weeks, anyway," he smiled, looking at her from the corner of his eye. He wondered, not for the first time in recent weeks, what she looked like without her robes. He was becoming increasingly aware of her body as he had continued to study her face nearly every class.

She caught him staring at her, "What?"

"Nothing," he coughed. "Things seem to be going well with Al and Gemma."

She hummed in response. "Did you write your Potions essay?" she asked a few minutes later.

"Just have a few finishing touches," he shrugged. "I wanted to start my Runes."

"That's not due until next week, Malfoy," she smiled slyly. "I didn't take you for a 'do work in advance' type."

"Couldn't keep up with you if I wasn't." This was flirting! They were flirting! He was bloody flirting with Rose and she was flirting back! She couldn't just consider them to be acquaintances now

She groaned, "As much as this pains me to admit, Malfoy, I do not look forward to doing rounds with bloody McLaggen."

"Are you saying you'd rather be doing rounds with me, Rose," he laughed triumphantly. "I knew you didn't despise me as much as you claim."

"All right, all right, don't get cocky, Malfoy," her cheeks were coloring slightly. "Compared to McLaggen it's not that much of a compliment."

"Thanks, Rose," he chuckled, "you'll put McLaggen in his place," he grinned. "He wouldn't dare mess with you."

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He had been 'observing the heavens' for an assignment and had uncharacteristically lost track of time. If he ran into any professors he could pretend he had thought he was on round-duty and knew he could convince the prefects who were truly on duty not to give him a detention or take points. All rational thought, however, escaped his mind when he heard someone very distinctly and very loudly say 'no, stop.' It wasn't just any voice; it was her voice. Gripping his wand tightly Scorpius raced down the hall, his blood boiling, his mind filled with rage and anger and other emotions he had rarely - if ever - felt. "She said no ," he said icily as he approached the bulky-figure of McLaggen hovering over an unseen Rose.

The pompous git turned his head and chuckled, "You need Malfoy here to fight your battles, Rosie? Your new boyfriend come to protect you?"

Scorpius made to retort, his feet carrying him toward the pair when he was forced to jump out of the way, just barely missing the flying, hulky mass that was McLaggen's body.

"I don't need anyone, McLaggen," her blue eyes were blazing, her wand still pointed threateningly at him. "Let's see what happens to you when McGonagall hears of this, shall we?" She turned on Scorpius who was surprised to feel the brunt of her anger, "And you . What in Godric's name was that? I don't need saving and I don’t need you, of all people, fighting my battles."

Scorpius was enraged; his temple throbbed, his heart pounded, and his grey eyes were cold, "You, Rose Weasley are unbelievable," he seethed.

"I didn't need you, Scorpius. You've embarrassed us both," she hissed.

"In front of who? Who are you bloody trying to impress?" He let out a cold, harsh laugh, " This scum?" He shook his head and checked his tongue before he said something else he regretted. He had never let his anger get the better of him before. He left abruptly, unable to even look at her.

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The incident changed Scorpius' opinion of Rose almost immediately: he knew she wasn't a bad, spiteful person, but she was acting petulant, spoiled, and utterly ridiculous. His fascination with her was finished.

Albus, ever observant, noticed the cold front between his two best mates almost as soon as it began and requested Gemma's help to discover the source of the problem.

Scorpius was harder to crack than Rose's simple, "He offered unwanted help in a situation that I had very much under control."

"I'm tired of our acquaintance being so one-sided is all. I have better and more important things to occupy my time than Weasley."

McLaggen was stripped of his prefect duties and given a warning.

Malfoy had his first rounds with Cordelia Greene two days after the incident. And hoping to rid his mind of Rose Weasley entirely, he focused on his beautiful new Prefect partner. Doing rounds with Cordelia Greene was the greatest confidence booster Scorpius could have ever wished for and the most fun and shameless flirting he had had in awhile. Cordelia made it painfully obvious to Scorpius that she found him wildly attractive and humorous. But while it was fun, Scorpius kept wishing she were just a bit more like Rose. But no: he was done with Rose, hadn't she shown him how selfish and foolish she really was?

But Cordelia was terribly attractive with her long, dark brown hair, her big golden-hazel eyes, and her perfect, pouty lips. What harm could come from flirting with her and enjoying her presence? For two weeks he looked forward to rounds with Cordelia, although at times she was terribly boring and had nothing of real interest to say: Scorpius overlooked this minor detail. 

Too quickly, however, he and Rose had rounds again. Within the first twenty minutes they were arguing loudly, drawing the attention of several students and eventually the Head Boy and Head Girl.

For the life of him Scorpius could not recall what was said: Rose was yelling, he was talking loudly. Insults had flown, snide remarks were tossed almost too easily from one to the other, but the specifics were lost and forgotten. All Scorpius could remember was being yanked away from her (they had been standing inches apart) by the Head Girl. They were reprimanded, but Scorpius barely heard; the blood was pounding loudly in his ears.

He was forced to finish the two weeks' rounds with Dominique, Rose with Greyson, and then they would all go back to rounds with their Housemates. Scorpius and Rose had ruined the experiment for everyone.

The day after his epic and much-discussed blow-up with Rose, Scorpius asked Cordelia to Hogsmeade.

One week later, Rose was seen walking hand-in-hand with the Head Boy.

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Gemma glared at Scorpius, "Greene? Really, Malfoy?" He shrugged indifferently. "She's very pretty, I'll admit. But honestly, what could possibly talk about?" She rolled her eyes when he raised an eyebrow. "You'll tire of snogging eventually." Scorpius continued to ignore her. "Malfoy you're much to reasonable for this. I mean you aren't one to take up with a girl just for her looks. Do you really think Greene is going to make Weasley jealous?"

"I don't know why this is any of your concern, Wilson," he shot her an indifferent look. "What happens between Cordelia and I is strictly between Cordelia and I."

"And half the school," Gemma muttered.

"I'm sorry,” Scorpius said rather rudely. “Did you want me to talk about you and Potter?"

She opened her mouth before shutting it angrily. "Fine," she said through clenched teeth.

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Thankfully, Scorpius hadn't grown tired of the snogging yet. And when she could occasionally get clingy or suffocating, Scorpius would tune her out or remind himself that she was gorgeous.

It was nearing the end of the year, however, and Scorpius wasn't entirely sure how he wanted things to play out over the summer. Thankfully Cordelia was going to America for the entire summer and had suggested they "take a break".

Albus laughed, "You got out of that one way too easy."

Scorpius feigned indignation, "I don't know what you're talking about, Potter." He tensed slightly when he felt her arms wrap around his shoulders, her lips pressed quickly to his cheek, "Hello, love, did you have some time this afternoon?"

Scorpius attempted a smile, "Actually, I have to finish packing before the Slytherin party," he hoped his smile was charming enough. "And I wouldn't want you to miss out on time with your friends."

His smile worked, "Of course, love. I'll see you on the train."

He turned to see a barely-composed Albus laughing behind his hand and a smirking Gemma, "Oh, shut it."

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Draco watched, one blonde eyebrow quirked in surprise as a girl he didn't recognize kissed his son quickly on the cheek before hugging him fiercely. It wasn't the fact that Scorpius had a sort-of-girlfriend that surprised Draco, it was the fact that this girl wasn't Rose Weasley.

Discreetly, Draco's eyes wandered across the platform looking for any redheads when he stumbled upon a young man with his arm around one Rose Weasley. Well, that explained everything. Draco watched the boy briefly, unimpressed by his physical features and stature: he didn't mean to judge the boy so harshly, but he assumed that this boy was Scorpius’ competition or...

Draco sighed. Who knew. He would never fully understand teenagers.

"Hullo, dad."

Draco beamed at his son before quirking a cocky brow, "Who was that pretty brunette? Your girlfriend?"

Scorpius sighed, "Thankfully, no."

Draco bit his tongue: he and Astoria would need to slowly and carefully extract information regarding his apparently frosty relationship with Rose Weasley.

Chapter Text

"Astoria, darling," Draco walked through the front door of their house and was immediately welcomed by an over excited and slightly clumsy Apollo. Draco scratched his ears affectionately, "You little mutt," he laughed. "Astoria?" She poked her head out from the kitchen, her finger to her lips, and beckoned him over.

"Marabelle, please, it's not you, I promise. I know, over the phone is dreadful but - no, no, of course. Yes, good luck with your interview. Yes, tell her I said hello." Scorpius groaned when he hung up the phone.

"Another girlfriend dumped?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes at his father, "Please spare me. We went to one Muggle movie and she bloody thought we were getting married."

Astoria stifled a laugh and teased him, "Scorp, all the girls just love you because you're too cute and they go crazy, it’s hardly your fault.” Scorpius blushed and scratched his head sheepishly.

Draco smirked at his wife, "Potter - I mean, Harry, invited us all over this weekend for his belated birthday and a party for Albus, Rose and your last year." He was grinning at his wife and watching his son's face when he mentioned 'Rose'. "Said we should bring Apollo and any kind of food or drink we'd like. He said someone would eat it."

"Brilliant," Scorpius muttered.

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Scorpius had always liked Albus' older brother and had found his younger sister to be highly amusing. In fact, he had gotten along with all of the Potters and Weasleys except for Rose. Which was why he was determined to ignore her at the 'party' despite that it was partially being held in both of their honor; he wanted to have fun.

But he knew he would have to talk to her: it was only proper.

"You and your cousin really helped Portree along this season, James," Draco smiled at James from beside Scorpius. "And I hear you two will be captains this season?"

James grinned, "Yessir, trying to recruit this one here," he put his arm around Avery as she walked over. "And my other darling cousin, Dominique, but they are playing hard to get."

"The Harpies have really sweetened the deal," Avery grinned. "Confidential, of course," she winked at Draco and Scorpius.

"You and Rosie are going to make an interesting Head couple," James grinned teasingly.

"Yes," Fred agreed easily. "A real explosive duo.”

Scorpius rolled his eyes, "Did Albus invite his pseudo-girlfriend Gemma over?" He enjoyed meddling in his best mate's life with the infamous pranksters; it kept his mind off her.

Rose had seemingly gotten more beautiful though Scorpius loathed to admit it: her hair was sleeker, more golden red. Why was she wearing such a delicious and romantic summer dress that would look so innocent on anyone else? Her lips were red from her ice pop, and Merlin, Scorpius had never loved summer so much before. Thankfully it looked like her oaf of a boyfriend wasn't here: one less thing for him to be irritated about.

"She's barely seen or heard from him all summer," Albus interrupted his thoughts and Scorpius was slightly surprised to see the look of disdain cross his features. "Thrown himself completely in his work. Some shit job at the Daily Prophet ."

"He was Head Boy, Al, I'm sure -"

"Scorp, don't defend the guy. He and Rose barely speak and she always has to visit him. He's working for the bloody gossip section -"

Scorpius was completely shocked, "The gossip section?" The Potters and Weasleys were notorious for frequently refusing to give interviews and statements to the Daily Prophet , preferring to speak through other publications. Over the past 30 years, the Daily Prophet had lost much of its credibility. "Has he written anything?"

"Not directly but I'm sure he's given some information, I mean, that trash about Fred's girlfriend?"

Scorpius frowned, "’Fraid I don't keep tabs on your family through the paper."

Albus laughed and clapped his best mate on the back, "Hopefully few people do."

"Scorpius has really grown up," Lily nearly purred, her voice sounding slightly grating in Rose's ear. Roxanne hummed her agreement. "Very delicious."

"Those eyes could just pierce through your soul."

"And look at how wonderfully that shirt hangs on him."

"He's very fit."

Roxanne and Lily ignored Rose who stood in between them. "You reckon Albie would be very angry if we -"

Rose didn't know why but she very nearly snapped at her two younger cousins for being "uncharacteristically ridiculous" but she bit her tongue. It was none of her business.

"Rose?"

She looked at the two girls and blinked at the four nearly identical brown eyes that stared back at her. "Rose -"

"Are you all right?"

"We were asking if you would be angry if we, you know -"

"Made ourselves known to Malfoy."

"Since he is Head Boy and all."

Rose clenched her jaw: Lily and Roxanne were infinitely worse than Fred and James when it came to the unnerving habit of finishing one another's sentences. "I doubt Albus or James or Fred would like it very much.” She rolled her eyes, “And I doubt Scorpius would have much time."

She ignored their mischievous smirks, "But you have time for a boyfriend, Rosie."

"Yes, well, he won't be at school," she shook her head and sighed. "Do whatever you want, you always do."

Rose glanced across the yard after her cousins walked away: Scorpius did look a bit different. She couldn't deny that he did look more fit, more, dare she think it? Manly.

"Congrats on Head Girl, not that there was ever much doubt," Scorpius said to Rose politely.

"Congrats to you too," she paused awkwardly. "I guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other."

Scorpius chuckled, "Yes, dare say we will. How's Greyson?"

Rose bristled slightly, "He's fine, got a job at the Daily Prophet , very busy, you know." She bit her tongue before asking about Cordelia. "I suppose I'll see you on the train, Malfoy?"

"Most likely at the Heads' meeting," he agreed.

Rose inwardly screamed as she walked away and wondered whose brilliant idea it was to make them Heads.

"Where's Scorpius' girlfriend?" Rose asked with an air of indifference to Albus as he was fixing himself a plate of food. "And where's Gemma?"

"Gemma said she'd be a bit late," he hid his knowing smirk. "And Scorpius and Cordelia ended it before the holidays. It wasn't ever very serious."

"But they'll surely get back together," Rose said, trying to make conversation.

"Doubtful, Rosie. She wasn't exactly his," he hesitated, his green eyes finally meeting hers. " Type ."

Rose tried to stand tall against his piercing, soul-searching emerald eyes. "I doubt that Malfoy has a type," she smirked slightly. "I heard Lily and Roxanne discussing his -" she blushed slightly and swallowed. "Discussing him."

Albus didn't look worried or angry like she had hoped, "I doubt Scorpius would want to date Lily or Roxanne.” He smiled, "And again, they aren't his type." She bristled but didn't respond, grabbing a plate to keep herself busy. "How's Greyson," he asked tersely.

"Jon is fine. Busy of course, trying to appease his bosses so he can be promoted quickly."

"Funny about that blurb about Evan and Fred -"

"He and James play Quidditch for Merlin's sake," she snapped. "They were bound to be in the gossip rags." Her fiery eyes met his, "And anyway, he's going to change departments just as soon as -"

"Yea, yea," Albus turned away from her. "So you've said."

She tried not to fume: she had heard more than enough of her family's opinion of her boyfriend. Her father was being his typical, over-protective, and irritable self, but even more so than he had ever been with Ginny because Rose was his 'only daughter'. Hermione tried to be supportive but recently she'd been frequently asking Rose if she just wouldn't think it over - did she really know Jon? She rarely saw him, was she going to have time next year? Hugo was trying to stay out of it, but his disapproval was clear. James and Fred had at first taken the usual 'older brother' roles, but after the Evangeline-Fred pregnancy blurb, they had demanded she ended things and seriously consider his "intentions". Albus had never been quite so verbal, but it was painfully clear what his opinion was.

But hadn't she thought long and hard before dating Jon? When he said he wanted to stay together hadn't she thought about it for days before agreeing? She would never have done something so momentous without making a pro/con list. She was still processing Jon's proclamation of love weeks later and she still wasn't ready to say it.

'Or feel it', she reminded herself. She had nearly interrogated him after the article but she didn't doubt him. Why would he write that article when plenty of people knew about Evan and Fred and anyone could have lied about the story? She wasn't giving him better access or information.

And she found that she didn't particularly mind not seeing him all the time. She liked him well enough but he could be a tad boring. His hands were often clammy and he wasn't very comfortable with just sitting together and talking. And she never really felt the passion that Victoire, Dominique, and Avery spoke about when snogging. Jon was safe, but he never made her feel safe. All-in-all he was rather dull.

But she had a boyfriend, so no one could tease her now. Except everyone seemed to hate him.

Her eyes wandered to Scorpius who laughed loudly at something James said; she watched Lily approach them and felt her eye twitch slightly. Scorpius would make a girl feel safe, with those arms from years of playing Quidditch and that chest that was currently (and cruelly) covered by a shirt. Those eyes that screamed intelligence and warmth and passion -

"Rose?" She blinked in surprise and stared at the beautiful, intimidating, and exquisite mother of the boy she had just been openly ogling.

"Ms. Malfoy? How are you?"

Astoria smiled, "I'm fine, Rose. This party is so much fun. Congratulations on Head Girl, dear."

"Thanks," she returned the smile, her near-embarrassment forgotten.

"Shame your boyfriend isn't here. Jon, wasn't it? I would have liked to meet the young man who's taken your fancy, being Head Girl and top of your class and oh, so beautiful," she spoke so eloquently and quickly that Rose could barely comprehend the compliments Ms. Malfoy was laying on her. "Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?"

"Healer maybe," she smiled. "No one in the family's been a Healer yet." She shrugged, "Maybe a reporter, you know, start a paper that offers both sides, opinionated views of the government, the truth. What the Daily Prophet apparently used to be." She had suggested such a publication to Jon, but he told her that the Daily Prophet could get back to the way it had been before the War, that a new publication would never get off the ground, that it was foolish -

"Both of those sound very refreshing dear, very noble," she smiled. "Either way I think we are all very excited to see what you end up doing, Rose."

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"Malfoy I think we-" Rose started when she saw Scorpius on the train.

He held up a hand, "Seeing as we have to work together, occasionally live together, do rounds together, and be role models for the rest of the school," he quirked an eyebrow as she crossed her arms. "I promise to never question your authority in front of others and I promise to never be chivalrous unless you specifically ask for it."

"Are you quite finished?" He nodded with a slight smirk. "Splendid. Now, I believe that we can work well together as long as we don't wind each other up -"

"But you make it so easy -"

"Malfoy," she warned.

"I prefer if you call me by my given name in front of the students."

"Malfoy," she smirked. "We're alone. Outside of the Heads' Room we'll keep up appearances, pretend that we got along splendidly in class -"

"You don't think we could?"

"I'm saying we have -"

"No, not pretending, but actually, honestly, get along. Dare I say, nearly like friends," he raised an eyebrow at her.

She rolled her eyes, knowing there was no other possible way to get him back on track. "Yes, yes, fine, Malfoy, we're friends. Now, back to scheduling."

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Their first meeting went swimmingly and Hugo, a first-year prefect, said to his sister, "Some of the others said that was the best meeting they've been to - said you weren't as downright scary as Dominique, but said they were excited for this year." He grinned, "I am too."

"How's Greyson?" Scorpius asked as they walked out of the compartment to rejoin their respective friends.

She noted he didn't sound angry or snide like Albus and others. "He's," she hesitated and sighed, "busy. Rarely saw him, rarely write," she frowned, "and I think he's wasting his potential, but -"

"Sounds like a keeper, Weasley," he winked smugly and walked to the opposite end of the train as she stood dumbfounded.

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Rosie

Sorry I couldn't see you off - Peterson has been working us hard since that pregnancy store was proved wrong. Threatening us if we don't find a good story soon. And don't bother starting a legitimate, recognized and successful paper is impossible and you know it. How was your first meeting with Malfoy? I hope you two get along better than you did last year. And don't worry, being a Head is easy enough if you want it to be just delegate duties to the prefects. Don't worry too much about classes either, dear. You're a Weasley, you'll find a job.

Please write back soon - don't know when I'll have time, however.

Love,

(When are you going to say it dear? I've been waiting patiently for months.)

Jon

Scorpius looked away from the letter in disgust: Rose had dropped it in their common room and Scorpius, letting his curiosity get the better of him, read it. But now he wished he hadn't: who was this prick? And why in Godric's name did Rose let him speak to her like that? At least she didn't love him -

Scorpius frowned, plopping himself down on one of the plush chairs. He and Rose had been getting along well these past few weeks. They were more than civil during class and at their meetings and actually spoke of real, important things when they did rounds. They teased each other occasionally, but made sure not to wind each other up too much; he missed watching her face color, her eyes alight with passionate rage, but he enjoyed talking with her civilly, occasionally studying together in the common room. 

But this letter - it made him angry and confused. Why was she with this terrible bloke? What could they possibly have in common?

He was forced from his thoughts when she entered the room, books in her arms, her brows furrowed together in thought. "Oh, hullo, Scorpius." She had been calling him by his first name more frequently. "You finish your six inches for Flitwick? I won't let you look at mine but I’d like to hear your thoughts -" she stopped abruptly when she saw the letter on the table. "Did - did," she stuttered in anger, "did you bloody read my letter?"

"It was on the floor," he said calmly, his eyebrow raised. "I don't stand for litter."

"It’s none of your business, you can’t just read other people’s private -"

"Why do you let him speak to you like that? He's out of his bloody mind -"

"Oi! That's my -"

"He's a prick and you know it, Rose." He stood up and took a step towards her, not surprised when she didn't take a step back, "He doesn't care about you or what you think or what you want -"

"Malfoy," she warned, her eyes never leaving his but her voice resigned.

"He doesn't believe in you, Rose -"

She let out a harsh laugh, "Really, Malfoy? Merlin, you're ridiculous," she shook her head. "I am quite capable of taking care of myself. I don't want to discuss my personal life anymore - I'd like to continue to be civil in front of everyone." She snatched the letter from the table and headed towards her room. Furious, Scorpius grabbed his bag and left for the Slytherin common room to surround himself with sane people.

Rose crumpled the letter tightly in her fist. Malfoy was right, of course, like he always seemed to be about everything. Jon's letter had infuriated her to no end. Who did he think he was? If Rose was being honest, she often forgot they were even dating unless someone specifically asked about him. She had yet to respond to this letter and seriously considered simply not -

But did she want to break up with him? It got everyone off her back for being too consumed with work and Head duties if she had a boyfriend, and having one who was never around and only annoyed her through letters wasn’t all that bad.

An image of Scorpius' worried and disbelieving grey eyes flashed in her mind, his manly, earthy and intoxicating scent had washed over her just moments ago -

She sat on her bed and opened her books. She had no time for this, she needed to work.

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A few days later they sat together in the Heads’ Common Room, ignoring their blow-up fight about Jon and his bloody letter: they had to work together after all, didn’t they?

"Right, so Hogsmeade trip," she sat down on the floor, putting several rolls of parchment on the table, her school books on the floor next to her. Scorpius leaned forward from his seat on the couch.

"Quidditch schedules too," he reminded her. "Hufflepufff needs to be reminded when they get to practice and when they can't."

Rose mumbled something and bit her lip, unaware that Scorpius was watching her intently. "All right, so in two weeks - first Hogsmeade. Then -"

"One at the beginning of December, for holiday shopping and all that."

"Then - February?"

"Around bloody Valentine's, yea."

She quirked a teasing eyebrow but said nothing, "Think we can convince McGonagall to add an extra trip in the spring?"

Scorpius smirked, "Studious Rose wants an extra day in town?"

"I thought it would be nice for everyone," she stuck her tongue out at him childishly. "Don’t be a prat."

"We'll run it by our darling Headmistress, but you know that means more work on our part."

She nodded, "Quidditch schedules?"

This took longer - this was the first year the Heads had to create a schedule so far in advance: there had been major issues last year, mainly on the Hufflepuffs part. To avoid conflict, Rose and Scorpius needed to create a schedule that Madame Hooch could approve.

Rose sighed, "Bloody hell, this is getting ridiculous."

Scorpius ran a tired hand through his hair and looked at his Muggle watch, "Time for rounds. Then kitchens? I’m bloody starving."

Rose thought for a moment, she really hated having to break the rules. "Yes, all right, I could use some tea," she sighed.

On their way back from the kitchens Scorpius watched her for a moment, "Can I ask you a personal question?"

"As long as it has nothing to do with Jon, yes."

Scorpius noted she hadn't called him her 'boyfriend'. "Why did you tell me once - when we had detention - that you needed to be top of your class?"

"I never said that," she deflected.

"You said needed and then corrected yourself to 'wanted', Rose," he frowned. "And don't try to deny it. I know what you said."

She avoided his eyes and it pained him to see her upset and it confused him that he cared so much about her. "My parents are famous, all of my aunts and uncles are famous and revered and well known. All of my cousins and Hugo and I hate being so heavily associated with them, we want to be our own people," she chanced a glance at him, “As I’m sure you feel the same way.” She took a deep breath, "Every one of my cousins is good at something - Quidditch, making people laugh - Lily and Roxy and Victoire and Dom are gorgeous and everyone's smart. But what am I? A bit bossy? A bit uptight? I hate flying, I'm not nearly as funny or as pretty. And I'm the first bloody Ravenclaw, so why not lean into that? I need to be Top of the Year to distinguish myself from everyone, Malfoy. I need to be my own person, to show everyone I'm good at something."

He stared at her for a long moment before shaking his head, "You're off your bloody rocker, Rose." He let out a soft, disbelieving laugh, "I'm a Malfoy for Merlin's sake. I know a little but about living under a family's shadow, Rose." His eyes watched her carefully, "Your family loves you, Rose, for who you are. You don't need to prove anything to them. I've seen you interact with them - you and Albus are best mates, I know James and Fred like you and you help them with pranks. How often does your brother and Lily and Roxanne go to you for advice? You and Dominique get along fantastically and Molly bloody idolizes you." He shook his head, "You're bloody smart, you're confident, you’re beautiful. Stop being so melancholy for melancholy sake. It's unattractive and ridiculous." He cocked an eyebrow, "We'll finish the schedules another day," he turned to head towards the Slytherin common room, leaving Rose confused and alone in the corridor.

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Jon -

Sorry I've taken so long to reply but I've been very busy with all of my classes - everything but Divination, of course - and Head Duties. Not only were Scorpius and I in charge of Prefect and Hogsmeade schedules but Quidditch practice as well. I'm afraid I've been far too preoccupied to write you back.

I take real offense that you believe I would get hired anywhere just by my name - that is something I do not want nor have I ever used my name to such an advantage. You should know that and I’m dismayed you don’t. I want to earn my job.

I've thought a lot about - us - and I think we've run our course, Jon. We are two very busy, very different people who are at different places in our lives. I really think it's for the best that we end this.

-Rose

Rose tied the letter to the owl she and Hugo shared, feeling as though a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She had wanted to say more, to verbally rip his head off, but she refrained. They were no longer together, that was all that mattered.

Until, of course, the next day when there were very choice and very harsh words written about Draco Malfoy's past and several of her own family members. Very few students got the Daily Prophet anymore, but those who did showed everyone the "juicy" truth. Albus confronted her at lunch, his usually calm face livid. "Did you see what your precious little boyfriend wrote about my mum?" His eyes bore into hers, "About Uncle Percy? James and Avery? Bloody Teddy?" He shoved the paper into her face, "Well?"

"Wh - I -?"

"Molly's bloody crying in the girls' bathroom wondering why her idol's bloody boyfriend would write terrible things about her father." He stood there, fuming, "I can't believe you've put your prick of a boyfriend in front of your family, Rose. Unbelievable."

Rose was aware of nearly the entire student body watching her as Albus stormed away. Taking a deep breath she read the article. Horrified, she left the Great Hall quickly, hoping to write an emergency letter to her mother and Uncle Harry so they could Floo everyone else. She'd worry about formal apologies after class.

During dinner, however, she got a short letter from Jon himself.

Dumped me for that son of a Death Eater, did you? Good luck getting him or anyone else to notice you, Weasley. I was the best thing that ever happened to you.

P.S. I hope your family enjoys the spotlight.

She shoved the letter in her pocket and strode quickly out of the Hall and towards the Heads' Room to write letters to everyone the article mentioned and a statement to the Quibbler , Witch Weekly, and Quidditch Quarterly . Hopefully enough people would see that and realize the Daily Prophet had gone certifiably insane.

"Some boyfriend you have," Scorpius said, his voice eerily flat as he finally made it to the Heads’ room later that night. Rose had been worried he wouldn't show up at all and she wanted to explain to him what happened and apologize profusely. "Everyone's going to love the reminder that the Head Boy is the son of a former Death Eater," he was examining his nails as he approached her; his words were icy and deliberate and Rose was very intimidated, unsure of his reaction. "And I loved the tidbit thrown in there about him torturing Muggles for sport and raping them all in front of my mum, of course." His cold, hard, grey eyes finally met hers and she felt the full blast of his anger, "Yes, everyone's going to love a Head Boy with a father like that." He nearly hovered over her in her chair, "I told you, I warned you that he was a prick, Weasley -"

She stood up, no longer intimidated but angry as she stared at him, pulling herself to her full height, "He wrote terrible things about my family too, Malfoy. Or had you forgotten? You're so selfish you didn't even notice the terrible things he wrote about my family?" She took a step toward him, "And don't you dare tell me you warned me, like you're some savior." She pulled a crumpled piece of paper from her pocket, her eyes never leaving his; they were both breathing hard, their cheeks pink, their eyes wild. Rose's hair cascaded down past her shoulders and Scorpius' blonde hair was pushed away from his face in anger. "He's writing all these terrible things because I ended things with this prick yesterday," she said through clenched teeth, holding the note up for him to see.

He watched her for a moment before his eyes quickly darted to the note he had written her, his blood boiling again. "That little prick," he murmured angrily before turning back to her, taking in her flustered appearance, her obvious anger, and he did the only thing he could think to do in that moment.

He kissed her.

Chapter Text

Merlin, her lips felt fantastic, they were bloody perfect. And she was kissing him back. Her hands had somehow made it to his chest, grabbing his tie, the other over his heart; his hands had snaked to her hips, holding her in place, afraid that this could end at any moment. Nothing had ever felt so perfect. No other girl had ever kissed him quite like this.

This was the passion her cousins and her books had always talked about, this was the electricity they had always mentioned. And Godric, his chest felt just as good as she had imagined it would. She completely disregarded that this was Scorpius, that they had just been arguing loudly, that he was blaming her for what Greyson wrote about his father. This kiss was too bloody fantastic to end.

When they needed to breath neither opened their eyes, not wanting the reality of this kiss, of the consequences, to be real quite yet. Scorpius kissed the corner of her mouth, moving to her jaw, "Rose," he said softly, barely whispering her name. He wanted to apologize, wanted her to see how much he cared for her, wanted to be with her, wanted to rip Greyson apart. He kissed her neck slowly before moving to her mouth again, sighing in relief when she returned his kiss.

Too soon, she pulled away, her hands still on his chest, her blue eyes wide, her lips red, her cheeks flushed: she looked thoroughly snogged and Scorpius smiled slightly. She was bloody beautiful. "Scorpius," she started quietly and he could see the gears turn in her head.

"No, Rose, come on, please - "

"Friends," she looked away quickly, her hands falling from his chest. "Heads," she continued and willed her eyes to look up at him briefly. "We can't."

He wanted to fight her, wanted her to see that this - that they - were right, that they absolutely could do this, but he knew he couldn't - wouldn't - push her. He knew she wouldn't see sense yet.

"Scorpius," her hands fell away now and her eyes pleaded with him to not be mad or try to persuade her.

He nodded, his hands slowly and reluctantly releasing her hips, "I'm not going to give up, Rose," he said softly, his voice still a bit husky.

She smiled sadly, "I know," and with a quick nod, she turned and walked to her bedroom. Scorpius ran a hand through his hair and released a long breath before leaving to return to the Slytherin common room: he wouldn't be able to sleep when she was in the room right next to him.

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He was pleased to see that she could look him in the eyes the next morning without blushing. It was going to be enjoyable trying to make her see sense. As long as he did it quickly.

He received a quick letter from his father that morning.

Scorpius -

Rose sent us an apology letter very early this morning. Make sure she knows no one blames her. Be sure to read the Quibbler or something when they come out, it'll explain everything if she hasn't already.

Good luck this season.

- Pops

Scorpius looked up when Albus grumbled and sat across from him. "You were up early," he took a muffin. "Who's that from?"

"My dad. Rose wrote apologies to everyone and the papers," Malfoy replied.

Albus snorted gruffly, "Much good that will do."

Scorpius felt the sudden and overpowering need to defend her. "That prick wrote those terrible things because she dumped him, Al. She's written explanations to all the other papers, no one is going to believe any of this trash anyway."

Albus stared at his friend, his green eyes wide, "Sorry," he said slowly, fishing. "Guess she explained it all to you then?"

"After I yelled at her, yea," Scorpius shrugged. "Maybe you should talk to her."

Albus watched his friend closely, "Yes, yes. Probably should."

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Scorpius sat next to her in DADA, something he didn't usually do and was pleasantly surprised when she turned to him with a quirked eyebrow, "Well this is new."

"Dad wrote to tell me that he got your apology -"

She smirked and held up a letter, "And told you to be nice?" She teased, turning back to her notes and rolling her quill between her fingers. "My dad wrote - well, mum did, to say she had to threaten him so he wouldn't murder Greyson."

Scorpius bit back a smile; it was obvious she wasn't going to ever mention the kiss, but something had changed. There was still an underlying tension, but now it was electric; she was suddenly teasing him more. Every time she spoke Scorpius had to consciously look away from her lips. It was going to be tough to not kiss her in the middle of class. But he would get her to change her mind.

He was going to get Rose to see sense.

It nearly killed her to sit so close to him and not touch him. His long, calloused fingers, his muscular arms, that chest; what she wouldn't give to run her fingers along his jaw, through his hair. And how it felt to have his arms around her -

She looked at him out of the corner of her eye as he wrote quickly across his parchment, his bangs falling in front of his eyes slightly. He was smart and could hold a real conversation with her on things that mattered. And he cared about her, made sure she knew how foolish she had been to believe she needed to be top of her class -

She turned back to her notes. It was best if they remained friends and courteous Heads. She couldn't become lax with her studies and duties.

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"You're not in the library I see," Scorpius teased as he walked through the Heads common room door to find Rose on the floor surrounded by various books and parchment. "You're not there nearly as often now, Rose," he grinned as he sat on one of the chairs, still in his Quidditch gear. "You finally realize there are other places that are just as good to study?"

She rolled her eyes, "If it's not Albus and Gemma flirting, it's someone else talking or asking me questions. The library is no longer quiet. And there's more room here," she gestured to the floor in front of her.

"I think you just like hanging around here and waiting for me," he stared at the ceiling with a grin.

"You caught me, Scorpius." They sat in relative silence for a moment. "Aren't you going to change?"

He chuckled, "Smell too much like a strong Quidditch player, do I?"

"Smell too much, yes," she grinned when he turned his head to mock-glare at her. "Seriously," she continued to smile. "I don't want that chair to be ruined I rather like it."

He couldn't help but smile as he went to get changed; he liked their current situation, although it could have been improved with snogging. They teased each other, were open and honest and were never malicious or mean.

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Rose and Scorpius were by far the greatest Heads pair in decades: unlike previous duos they worked as a team, a well-oiled and perfect team. Neither was "better" or more intimidating than the other; all of the prefects and all of the students, no matter the House, respected them.

One night, as it got closer to the holidays, and they were studying in their common room, Scorpius asked her what she planned on doing after graduation. He watched her intently as she spoke about wanting to do something different than her family, wanting to prove to everyone - and herself - that she could earn a career and not just rely on her family name. Before he could say anything in reply, she looked at him intently, " I know I don't have to, Scorpius, but I want to. For myself," she hesitated. “You understand, don't you?"

Of course he understood. His parents were more supportive and loving than any of their ancestors, but he was still a Malfoy. Wizarding society still expected certain things from him. "I do, Rose," he smiled grimly before shaking his head as though to clear it. “What careers were you thinking?"

"Healing," she shrugged. “But this whole Daily Prophet thing," she bit her lip, watching him for a moment before explaining her ideas that Greyson had once been so quick to dismiss.

Scorpius was very impressed, "That will be a lot of hard work."

She grinned, "I like a good challenge."

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They sat side-by-side, arms touching on the couch as they went over Runes. Scorpius was very aware of where they were touching, the way her hair was draped over one shoulder, leaving part of her neck exposed, of the way she bit her lip occasionally in concentration, or the way her fingers drummed across the parchment. They were studying by only the light of the fire and he watched as the shadows flicked across her face; he wanted to kiss her, needed to kiss her.

She stared at him, "Scorpius?" She nudged him with her arm, "You getting tired?" She looked at him worriedly, "We can stop -"

"No," he said quickly, "no, I'm fine, I -" he licked his lips. What was he supposed to do? Just kiss her? Tell her how he felt? Ask for her permission? "Rose, Merlin, I - " his eyes flicked down quickly to her lips, "why did you make us stop?"

"Scorpius, I - "

"I've wanted to do nothing but kiss you for months, Rose. Merlin, I -"

"Scorpius," her voice was quieter, trembling slightly.

He reached his hand to touch her cheek; was she afraid? "Rose, I know you felt it too -"

"Scorpius," she tried again, but she wasn't exactly protesting as she leaned her face into his palm.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he brought his lips closer to hers, his eyes never leaving hers, watching to see if she would regret this or pull away.

But she didn't move away and soon his lips met her perfect ones; his hand cupped her face, the other slowly trailing down her arm as she trailed a hand down his chest, the other fingering the soft hair at the nape of his neck. They moved slowly and deliberately, exploring each other's mouths, not wanting to ruin this moment, never wanting it to end.

"This is such a bad idea, Scorpius," she murmured against his lips as her fingers found the hem of his shirt and slipped her hand underneath it, her hot fingers leaving goosebumps on his chest.

He shivered and let out a deep, quiet groan, "No, it's not, Rose, it's perfectly wonderful," he slipped his fingers into her thick, wavy, beautiful red hair.

She pulled away slightly to look at him, "Scorpius," she said softly, searching his face, her hand lightly touching his cheek. “What are we doing?"

"Rose," he looked at her and said gruffly, "you're beautiful." He tucked some of her hair behind her ear as she blushed, "Let’s not analyze this, please. Just let this be -"

"Scorpius -"

"It's almost the holidays -" he kissed her softly, "we can talk about this later, Rose."

She didn't argue and continued to kiss him. She couldn't deny that she had wanted this too, had been so aware of his presence, had wanted to snog him senseless in the middle of class. So who was she to put up a fight?

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She woke up, still fully clothed, in front of the fireplace on a blanket, Scorpius' warm body wrapped around her. She shivered slightly, not from cold, but from being around Scorpius, feeling so comfortable and safe around him: she felt her body thrum with electricity.

Beautiful. He had called her beautiful. And he had meant it, even when she was wearing her Muggle pajama pants and one of Hugo's old and faded Ballycastle t-shirts, he had thought she was beautiful.

She didn't want to get up, but she knew they had to: the sun was creeping through the windows and they had classes and had to help direct all the students to the Hogwarts Express for the holidays.

She tried, slowly and gently, to get up, but his arm was draped rather tightly around her waist and she couldn't help but smile. She didn't know what exactly was going on between them, or what she wanted to happen but -

His arm released her slowly and she rolled over to face him. "Morning," he said groggily, eyeing her warily, fearful she might snap. When she smiled, however, he went to kiss her, but she sat up, "Scorpius, let's not rush into anything right before we have to leave for the holidays, all right?"

He rubbed his eyes tiredly before looking at her and she had to concentrate hard to not reach out and touch his perfect, handsome face. "You promise you'll think about this?" He motioned between them, "About us?"

She grinned and nodded, "Yes. Come on then, we have a very busy day."

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"Someone looks more cheerful than usual," Albus quirked an eyebrow at his best mate. "Stayed in the Heads' Room last night?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes but couldn't erase the large grin from his face, "I stay there occasionally since it is my room, Al." He continued to ignore Albus' glances throughout breakfast.

Classes and the train ride was torture as all Scorpius wanted to do was reach out and touch her. She was so close to being his, they just had to make it through the holidays, she had to see that there was nothing to be afraid of, that they could work - would work.

He finally cornered her on the train, a boyish grin on his face that made Rose's heart nearly melt: he really was too good looking for his own good, and it was obvious he wasn't aware of it. Her back was against the door of the Heads' compartment, his face close to hers, his grey eyes twinkling. "Don't overanalyze this Rose," he teased.

"Scorpius," she hissed and smacked his arm when he laughed.

"This would work," he pressed himself closer to her. “And you can't deny our chemistry."

She put both her hands on his chest, ready to push him away but didn’t, "All right, Scorpius.”

"One last kiss before the holidays?" His voice was huskier now, his eyes a steely grey, and all she could do was nod slightly before he was kissing her soundly.

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Her holidays were as enjoyable and family-filled as usual: Teddy and Victoire were back in England and present at nearly every meal leading up to Christmas. Avery and Evangeline were at The Burrow or the Potter’s often too.

However, one morning Rose was woken up by the not-so-quiet shouts of her father and her mother's pleas for reason. Confused, she walked down stairs to where her parents were arguing in the library; when they saw her, Hermione froze and Ron's face nearly turned purple.

He held the paper up in anger, "You slept with Malfoy ?"

" What - "

"You've been gallivanting around, ignoring your studies and Heads duties and sleeping with Malfoy, haven't you?"

Rose stared at her father in horror, "What?"

"Ron, you know this boy is a liar! A spiteful, angry, liar."

"Did Greyson write that?" Her blood boiled.

"There's a picture of you two," Ron's face contorted as he held the paper in front of her eyes. “Do you deny it now?"

Rose's face paled. There they were, kissing on the train. It was a grainy picture but there was no denying who it was. Underneath the picture it read, "Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley caught shirking Heads' Duties - credit: C. McLaggen." Of course. Bloody McLaggen.

"Daddy -"

He shook his head as he paced the library, "You're grounded, While you're at home, at least. And you'll apologize to your cousin. He wrote terrible things about her. And -"

"Ron," Hermione tried her best to sound soothing.

"Are you shirking your duties?" He turned to face her, his eyes a bit softer now, his face no longer as beet red as his ears.

"Of course not! Please - nor my studies. It was just one kiss, an accident, please -“

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. "Go to your room," he thrust the paper in her hands. “Get rid of this."

Rose left the library, trembling slightly. Hermione hurried after her, "Are you all right, darling?" She held her shoulders gently, "He wasn't angry so much as shocked," she frowned watching her daughter's face. “Do, do you like Scorpius?"

Rose met her mother's eyes briefly, "I don't want to talk about this now, mum."

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Scorpius paced his room, Apollo watching him from the bed. Rose had yet to respond to his owl and it took everything he had not to storm into her house and demand she speak to him. Or to find Greyson and pummel him.

As soon as Scorpius saw that picture he knew they were done. Regardless if her family (her father really) disapproved of a Malfoy, she wouldn't want anything to do with him now that it was public knowledge that they kissed. He knew she would demand they remain professional, she would throw herself into her work, would deny that there was anything between them.

He knew the real blow was the caption "shirking their Heads duties" that would make Rose angry, would make her question herself. He knew they were a great team and had gone above and beyond, but she would no longer think that.

"Scorp!" His mother knocked on the door, "You have a phone call - it's Albus."

Running a hand through his hair, he went to the kitchen, Apollo at his heels. "Hey, mate," Albus sounded relatively cheerful, although Scorpius knew it was fake; they had kissed behind his back after all. "Sorry I haven't spoken to you sooner. It's been a bit hectic what with Victoire and Teddy being here and James and Fred determined to wreak as much havoc as possible."

Scorpius couldn't help but laugh before turning serious again, "Al, I'm sorry."

Albus chuckled, "Mate, I rather hoped you two would snog already," he hesitated. “But Rose -"

"She hasn't responded to my owl. It's over before it even began, mate,” Scorpius couldn’t hide the sadness in his voice.

Albus let out a sigh, "I tried to talk to her about it, but you know her."

"I do."

"You can't give up though, I mean, you guys are a pretty great team and -"

"Thanks, Al," Scorpius ran a hand through his hair. He was getting her cousin's blessing for nothing.

"Greyson's never going to write about any of us ever again though," he chuckled.

"Oh?"

"Dominique went down to his flat, berated him for writing that she had dumped her boyfriend - who moved to Australia permanently - for her coach. Utter nonsense, all of it, of course. She and Brendan broke up months back and she's dating one of James' teammates anyway. Nothing serious. So she pummeled him and forced him to write an apology."

Scorpius laughed, "I always did like her."

"But Victoire, not knowing that Dominique had already been round to see him, went to his flat and forced him to an Unbreakable Vow. He’ll never write gossip about anyone ever again."

"Merlin," Scorpius laughed and ran a hand through his hair, "your family really sticks together."

"Aunt Fleur wasn't happy, but no one else complained," he laughed. "I should go - Lily and Roxanne are giggling, which is never a good sign," he sighed. “No one's mad at you Scorpius. And don't give up."

"Happy Christmas."

Happy Christmas indeed.

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She was ignoring him. Merlin how old was she, five? Ignoring his very presence? Granted it was awkward as nearly all the younger students were staring at them. But Merlin.

He was never around her alone and could never apologize - for what, he wasn't sure. She was always around other students.

She never came to the Heads Room, at least when he was there. And everytime he went to the library to look for her she wasn't there.

He was getting angry at Rose's amazing avoiding-skills and would occasionally snap at his friends and teammates.

"Don't you have to do rounds together?"

Scorpius ran a tired and irritated hand through his hair, "She switched this week," he grumbled.

After nearly a week of having her avoid him, he skipped Quidditch practice, determined to find her either in the library or their common room.

"Oh," she stood in the middle of the common room, a book in her hand as she stared at Scorpius who had just walked through the door. "What are you doing here?" she asked rudely, crossing her arms and glaring at him.

"You've been avoiding me," he stated. She chose not to respond. "We have to do rounds together eventually."

"What do you want Scorpius, I'm busy,” her voice cold.

He took a step towards her, her snideness angering him. "It's not my fault, Rose. I wasn't happy with that picture either."

"Did your father ground you, Malfoy, because you were ignoring your duties?"

"We didn't," he said angrily.

"But we could," she raised her voice. “We could have started to ignore everything and everyone -"

"That's ridiculous, Rose -"

" - And then what? Then our grades would suffer, the prefects and students won't know what's going on and I'll never find a job my parents -"

"Rose!" He was standing right in front of her now and she was surprised to find his hands were gripping her shoulders. "Stop it," he said roughly, "that won't happen. We can do this."

"Get off of me, Malfoy," she hissed, but he only moved his hands down her arms.

"Rose, we can do this."

"Malfoy," she said through clenched teeth. "I don't want to do this. I don't want to date you."

Scorpius took a step back as though he had been slapped, "You don't - but we -"

"Not anymore," she said curtly. "I want a professional Heads' relationship with you and nothing more." She tucked some hair behind her ear, "Now, if you'll excuse me."

Scorpius fell back onto the couch in a daze. He was expecting a fight, but he had not been expecting that.

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He rarely went to the Heads' Room for the remainder of the year; he rarely spoke to her unless it was about Rounds or other Heads' duties. He focused on his friends (it was his last year at Hogwarts after all), his studies, Quidditch, and his Head duties. They never screamed at each other, never teased and only spoke to one another when it was absolutely necessary.

"You two were a very good team," Professor Longbottom was grinning, his hands clasped on the desk, looking very much like an overexcited boy at Christmas. "The best Heads I've seen in a very long time. Any suggestions for next year's pair?"

"Higgins -" they said at the same time. They looked at each other slowly, Rose's eyebrow quirked in slight surprise. Scorpius gestured for her to continue. "Higgins and Sperry."

Scorpius smiled slyly, "They get along too well. I'd say Higgins and Duncan." Rose rolled her eyes.

"Very good, very good," Neville waved them out of his office and they went their separate ways.

Scorpius had been offered decent pay for a Quidditch position on the Arrows, but he was still unsure he would take it. Albus had already signed with Ballycastle who were in dire need of a decent Keeper. Scorpius was much more inclined to join the Muggle Liaison Office and they seemed to be very keen to have him.

Too soon he was leaving Hogwarts, grinning as he watched Gemma and Albus kiss goodbye (she'd be moving to London at the end of the summer) and trying to avoid looking at Rose. The pain that wretched through his gut every time he saw her had finally stopped. He tried not to think about the possibility that now that they were no longer in school...

He said his hellos to the Potters, promising to see them soon and promising to keep an eye on Albus when they moved in together before he saw his parents and Apollo barking happily. His mother hugged him fiercely and pinched his cheeks playfully, as his father grinned widely at him,  "Muggle Liaison Office, hm?"

Scorpius returned his father's grin, "I wanted it to be a surprise."

"Nonsense. It was the greatest and best of surprises," he handed Scorpius the leash. “We couldn't be more excited."

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Scorpius immediately loved his job and began to quickly fly through the ranks: he was a very fast learner and unlike his colleagues, he actually understood Muggles and didn't wear ridiculous outfits. He was also the youngest employee by nearly a decade and so was more easily able to adapt to the "ever-changing Muggle culture".

He saw Albus frequently (and occasionally Gemma when she came to visit) for drinks, dinner, and weekend Quidditch pick-up games. Rose was never present at the Potters, but Scorpius didn't have the strength to ask where she was.

One Sunday towards the end of August Scorpius was surprised to find a livid Albus. "You all right, mate? Something happen with Gemma?"

"No," Albus frowned and brought him to the backyard where no one seemed especially happy. "Rose bloody left."

"Sorry?"

"Rose told us all this bloody morning that she got a job. In the bloody states. For some bloody Wizarding paper."

Scorpius' eyebrows were lost in his hair, "I thought she was in Healing training."

He snorted, "She started yea, but left for America not two hours ago, said she wanted to start somewhere fresh where no one knows her." He laughed bitterly, "Bloody selfish. At least Teddy and Victoire told us months in advance -"

"She'll come back for the holidays," Scorpius said in an attempt to cheer them both up.

"Bloody doubtful. She said she's going to be the international correspondent, will be traveling a lot. Probably too busy."

Scorpius felt his stomach drop slightly.

Now was the perfect time to get over Rose Weasley.

Chapter Text

Scorpius threw himself into his work after Rose left but quickly found himself bored of his department and title. He was the most knowledgeable in the Muggle Liaison Office (who wasn’t Muggleborn) and he was often asked to consult in other departments on Muggle culture. But teaching stuffy conservatives and those too lazy to bother to learn was boring and disheartening. Scorpius needed a change. And it was Hermione Granger-Weasley and Harry Potter who helped change his life.

Hermione, having seen Scorpius' work pass through her office, went out of her way to stop by his desk and after nearly two hours of chatting suggested he look into a position in the Department of International Magical Cooperation. "Your talents are being wasted here, Mr. Malfoy. You've nearly rewritten all the procedures - there's not much else you can do." She smiled warmly, "And you could travel."

Scorpius immediately found a position within the Department of International Magical Cooperation, although he kept his old title: he knew they'd need him. His new Department was exciting and demanding and Scorpius was thrilled, throwing himself into his work again and nearly forgetting about her.

And then Harry made an off-hand suggestion that Scorpius could not pass up: the worst team in the league, the Tutshill Tornados were for sale and no one wanted to buy them for fear of financial ruin. But Harry could think of nothing more exciting than to buy a team; he just wanted some help managing. So Scorpius and the one and only Harry Potter became co-owners of the Tutshill Tornados.

Scorpius was going to be too busy and successful to even think about her.

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It was their second Christmas as "big kids" as James had teased Albus and Scorpius: "How does it feel to be a big kid?"

Albus rolled his eyes and Scorpius could only laugh, "Feels bloody fantastic, Jamie."

"Where's your date, Scorpie?" Lily teased, joining her brothers and winking playfully at him.

"Ah, Lily, love, you know you're the flower of my -"

"Watch it, Malfoy, that's my sister," James glared before striding off to find Avery.

Lily bit back a laugh as Scorpius slung his arm around her, "No one knows about Macintosh I take it?" He said out of the corner of his mouth.

"Albus, Gemma's looking for you," Lily waved a hand at him before turning back to Scorpius. “No, and I'd like to keep it that way. Unless you want your star Keeper to end up murdered."

"You just like him because he's Australian," he teased her, grabbing a drink as a platter floated by.

"It's just a bit of fun, Scorp, something you should consider."

"Dating the players on the team I own? Bit of a conflict of interest, I think. And a bit unethical,” he winked at her.

"You know what I mean," she looked at him briefly, concern crossing her features, "Roxy would always” She rolled her eyes when he glared at her. "You deserve to have a bit of fun."

"Thanks, Lily, I'll be sure to consider that the next time I get a moment to myself, yea?" He loosened his tie, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a speech to make."

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Rose snuck in the back of the party, hoping to scope out her family before making her presence known. She had been invited to the Tutshill Tornados Christmas party but hadn't RSVPed, not wanting to face her mother's disappointment in case she couldn't show.

"So when the Mr. Harry Potter had playfully suggested purchasing the Tornados , how could I refuse? He's the Boy-Who-Lived-Twice! Does anyone ever say 'no'?" Everyone laughed and Rose's eyes were drawn to that voice she used to know so well.

And there he was: Scorpius Malfoy, the man she daydreamed abour. How could she not? The man was gorgeous - and seeing him in a suit now? She had never seen anything so perfect. His hair was the same and even at this distance she could see his eyes were still the same expressive grey they had always been. How could she not compare every man she met this near-perfect specimen?

She listened to his speech, his voice smooth, as he made everyone laugh and she couldn't help but smile. He was a natural in front of everyone, not that she had ever doubted he would be.

"Rose!" Her mother pulled her into a bone-crushing hug after Scorpius had finished his speech. "You didn't tell us you were coming."

"I wasn't certain I could get away, mum," she hugged her back, her eyes searching for a certain blonde but only finding redheads.

She was passed around to all her family members, nearly being suffocated by her Grandmum, and was surprised to meet Dominique's new boyfriend, one of the Tornados Beaters. Everyone seemed relatively pleased to see her, but disappointed that she was really only here on quick business. The only one who didn't give her a hug, who didn't seem thrilled to see her, was Albus.

"I've been keeping up with your seasons, Al, you're doing wonderfully,” Rose said.

"Can't say I've read all of your articles," his voice was flat.

She colored slightly, "There are a lot and I'm sure they're hard to come by, especially since you're so busy."

"Rose!" Gemma hugged her friend, shooting her boyfriend a hard look, "So lovely to see you! How long can you stay?"

"Not long, I'm afraid," she frowned. "I wish I could stay longer, but work, you know."

"You should probably say goodbye now then since you'll be leaving in two hours," Albus cut in.

"Albus Severus Potter," Gemma hissed.

"No, he's right, Gemma," Rose frowned. "I deserve it." She looked at her cousin and best friend, "I am sorry, Albus. One day I hope to make it up to you."

Scorpius saw her as soon as he raised his glass for the toast, smiling, her own glass raised, her blue eyes clear and locked on him. Her hair was shorter than it had been during school, but it was still long and she was wearing a navy sheath dress that Scorpius assumed she'd wear to the office. He tore his eyes away determined to finish his toast without stuttering: these were his colleagues and his employees. His eyes followed her, however, as she was passed among her family members and when he saw she was speaking with Albus, he braced himself for the potential blow out.

Albus had done little to hide his anger and disappointment at his closest cousin; he rarely spoke of her and when someone else did he quickly changed the subject. She had hurt him and nearly two years later, it still stung.

Scorpius was relieved - and surprised - to see that there wasn't an outburst, that Albus hadn't openly chastised her. But when he saw her hurt face as Albus and Gemma walked away, he knew that his stoic, quiet anger was just as devastating.

What was he doing sympathizing with her? She was the one who moved away with no forewarning, she was the one who never visited and apparently rarely wrote, she was the one who alienated herself, who terminated their friendship and their potential relationship. It was all her doing and he knew that. But a part of him couldn't help feeling for her, pitying her; his heart ached.

Before he could think of an excuse to get away, a slightly sloshed Harry had put his arm around his shoulder and he found himself face-to-face with Rose and her father. She looked absolutely horrified.

"Rosie, Scorpius here has been extremely busy, completely revitalizing the Muggles department,” Harry started.

"And he works with your mum sometimes, sweets," Ron nodded eagerly. “She’s always going on about how smart he is and all that."

"And now he's doing international stuff," Harry continued. "I'm not even sure what it sounds so complicated -"

"It's not really -" Scorpius raised his glass to his lips to try and hide his embarrassment.

"And look at what he's done with the Tutshill . If I weren't so dedicated to my Canons," Ron shook his head. "I keep telling him to move to the Canons next, fix them up, but he says he can't. Not yet at least," Ron raised his glass at Scorpius. “He’s a good one, all right Practically part of the family," he hiccuped.

"Introduced Dominique and Greggson, very suave,” Harry attempted to wink.

"And his mum's great - really nice - Gin and Hermione and her get along great. And Draco's not so bad anymore," Ron added.

Scorpius could feel his face heating up and he chanced a quick glance at her: she looked equal parts impressed and sad.

Ron continued, "I'd say he's as good as married into the family." Ron nodded again as his firewhiskey sloshed dangerously in his glass.

Harry nodded in agreement, "Albus' best mate and my business partner, yes, I would say so," Harry grinned. “To Scorpius!"

Scorpius caught his father's bemused glance and inwardly groaned when his father raised his own glass from across the room.

Rose still looked sad. And it suddenly hit Scorpius: she felt replaced. And that made him angry. He had been a bigger part of the Potter-Weasley family these past two years than she had been, hadn't he? He hated to get so childish, but he didn't speak to her the rest of the night.

She avoided him anyway.

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The past two years of her life, Rose had barely spent more than three weeks in one location: she was always traveling, always moving, always working. And she loved it: she enjoyed the constant changing of scenery, the different people, the new and unusual stories she heard. And she had never once had time to feel lonely. Until she returned to her family and realized that things had changed: they'd grown up and moved on without her, they'd continue to live their lives and she hadn't been there to share any of it.

Dominique had a new serious boyfriend; Evangeline had published a very successful Muggle book and was working on a follow-up; Albus and Gemma were dating seriously and Gemma had left her Ministry job to become a Healer; James and Avery were recently engaged and were not planning on getting married anytime soon; Roxanne and Lily were being recruited by several Quidditch teams and were considering joining separate teams; and Scorpius had essentially replaced her within the family. All of her cousins loved him, all of her aunts and uncles loved him, even her own father loved him.

It irritated her and made her slightly jealous and that made her feel guilty, but how could she blame her family? How could they not love Scorpius?

She had been impressed too: after her father and Uncle Harry had drunkenly embarrassed themselves, her mother told her all of Scorpius' accomplishments since graduation. It was impossible to not be impressed.

She watched him chat with Lily and Roxanne and assumed the worst: they were flirting with him, the feather-light touches, the laughing, the whispering. And Lily and Roxanne were beautiful and smart and exciting and - well, they were in England. She was jealous and she hated feeling jealous. They had once said that he was gorgeous, that they'd love to date him, and now that they were nearly done with school and the family loved him...

Because even after all of her travels, all of the intelligent, successful, gorgeous and wonderful men she met, no one could seem to compare to bloody Scorpius Malfoy. And she had shot down that opportunity long ago.

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"Want to come out for drinks, Scorp? James and Fred want a boys night out," Albus asked when Scorpius walked into their flat.

"Can't," Scorpius smirked, shrugging off his Muggle suit jacket. "The Swedish Ambassador wants a tour of our great city."

Albus looked at his best mate with his eyebrows raised, "Won't that put our relations with Sweden -"

"If she hadn't seduced me in Stockholm last month, sure," he grinned at his friend. "She explained, very clearly, that it's a one time - two time," he corrected himself, "thing. She's going to be taking a permanent position in Russia soon."

Albus nodded, slightly concerned for his friend: Scorpius had not gone on a single date - well, a real date - since graduation and then, after Christmas, he was able to "squeeze in" several dates. There really weren't that many, but it was an obvious increase since Rose had appeared.

And they were all boring. Terrible for conversation. None lasted more than one date. "They aren't supposed to," Gemma had said. "He wants just one night stands."

Albus worried for his friend.

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"Mr. Malfoy?" Scorpius looked up from his desk to see the Department's Secretary, "Mr. Potter wanted to remind you that tonight is the party."

"And I should have a quick speech," he nodded. "Thank you, Suzie."

"Also, Miss Potter sent an owl about your date."

He waved a hand, "Throw it out, please."

"Of course, Mr. Malfoy," the elderly woman smiled. "And did you hear the big news today?"

"Besides Roxanne Weasley being signed to the Tornados?" He smiled at her.

"No, the Daily Prophet's been purchased and was immediately shut down."

Scorpius' head shot up, "Really?"

She nodded, "That's what everyone's saying."

No daily newspaper? Granted, the Daily Prophet rarely published news, but it just seemed odd to not have a consistent, daily publication. "Thank you, Suzie. That should be all. I'll be leaving a bit early, if you could remind Don?"

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"This is it, boys," Rose grinned at the three men sitting on top of their desks. "Phase one complete."

"The easy part," Tim Lightfoot agreed, his American accent sounding strange now that she was back in Britain.

"Once we get started, it will be easy," Rose nodded. "And once we establish ourselves -"

"Weasley, come on, just use your real name," Anders said with a smile. "It'll make things easier, no one will suspect -"

"They will, but -"

"Everyone's going to put two and two together, Weasley. They're going to buy the paper because it's good. Not because it's you," Anders rolled his eyes playfully.

She frowned, "All right, all right. I'll fix the Editor's note and cover the Tornados press conference. Lightfoot, make sure you proofread Naveen's column. Davenport -"

Jon Davenport leaned back in his chair, "Darling, we've got it under control. This time next week we'll have ten pages."

"And more employees," Anders agreed.

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"It is with great pleasure that I, on behalf of the Tutshill Tornados, welcome Roxanne Weasley as our new Chaser and Benjy Millhouse as our new Keeper." The large room broke into applause as Roxanne and Benjy walked on to the stage and waved. "We hope that with these two new players the Tornados team can continue to grow and win."

Rose watched as Scorpius shook Benjy's hand and kissed Roxanne's cheek. Merlin did that hurt.

She knew that by starting a newspaper in England she'd see her family everyday and hoped that she would be welcomed back in. But she knew that also meant she'd be seeing a lot of Scorpius. And since he would probably be in the news a lot -

"Hey, Chief," Davenport smiled lazily. "You all right?"

Rose turned toward her colleague, plastering a smile on her face, "Course, course. You ready to interview some of my family?"

This newspaper was her baby. She had wanted to do this for ages and she was going to bring the news to the public. 

Rose watched Davenport approach her cousin and Scorpius; she knew he was a fantastic journalist and was lucky that she had "recruited" him for her paper. She was thankful he had a dead-end job stuck in the outback when she ran into him and saw his writing. He was fantastic.

Rose, Davenport, Anders, and Lightfoot were a great team; Rose was thrilled with how adventurous a bunch they were. When she had suggested to Lightfoot several months before that they buy out the Daily Prophet, he was game. None of them had much money now; enough to publish a few weeks' worth of The Owl , but they knew that soon enough they'd be moving into bigger offices.

Or they'd be completely broke and without a job.

She was lucky that none of the men wanted to be Editor-in-Chief and insisted that she was.

She looked up again to watch Davenport interact easily with Roxanne and Scorpius until Scorpius looked away and out towards the crowd, searching for someone. He hadn't figured it out, had he? She was hoping everyone would be too drunk or too happy to see her to put two-and-two together. She didn't want anyone to know until the next morning.

"Rosie!" Molly grinned and hugged her, "What are you doing here?"

Rose smiled at the girl, "Just visiting, Mol." Molly had grown a lot in two years: she wasn't as gawky anymore and she seemed to have relaxed slightly. She found herself being passed around again, getting tidbits of what everyone was up to, of all the family news, when she felt a pair of eyes on her.

She shivered slightly when she turned to see Scorpius' intense grey eyes watching her, his lips curved into a knowing smirk. She quirked an eyebrow in defiance before turning back to her father.

Some time later, Davenport found her, his hand on the small of her back and everyone watched as he whispered into her ear. "Could we all have dinner tomorrow, mum? Outside somewhere so we all fit?"

Hermione blinked in surprise, "Well, yes, yes of course."

Rose grinned, "Brilliant. I'll see you all tomorrow," she turned and followed Davenport out into the warm summer air.

"Let's go print a paper, Chief."

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They worked long into the night working on various articles, occasionally using pen names to give the illusion that they had more employers and they finally began to print, using the now-defunct Daily Prophet printers.

At 6 am, after several cups of tea (and coffee for Lightfoot), Davenport took several stacks to Diagon Alley, Anders to the Ministry, Lightfoot to St. Mungo's, and Rose traveled to Hogsmeade and several other Wizarding villages in the United Kingdom. "All right, now they'll only be able to take a paper if they've been paid for -"

"We know how it works, Chief."

"And encourage owl delivery -"

"Got it, Chief."

She grinned as Davenport mock-saluted her, "Good luck."

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We are The Owl Post Review , your new Wizarding newspaper. We: Anders Cook, Jon Davenport, Tim Lightfoot, and Rose Weasley, alongside our international correspondents, promise to bring you the real news. No Quick Quills, no gossip, no lies. We only publish the truth: both sides of the story. The news you want to know: local, Muggle, and International. Arts. Sports. Advice. Opinion. Education. Health. Policy. We don't take donations and no one can "sell" us a story. This is your newspaper. For the news. No gossip. Ever.

Enjoy our first issue.

Sincerely,

The Owl Post Review

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He recognized her writing right away: he had read every one of her articles that she had written these past two years. He told himself it was only because she happened to be writing about things he cared about, but he knew that wasn't true. So despite the different names and the attempts to disguise her writing, he knew it was her.

And the paper was good. They had sold out at the Ministry almost immediately.

Scorpius was reading the article about Tutshill and Roxanne when Albus strode through the door unannounced and began to pace. Suzanne scurried in after him, "Mr. Malfoy, I tried -"

"It's all right, Suzanne, thank you,” Malfoy nodded at her.

"She's back, she's bloody back,” Albus mumbled.

"The paper's good," Scorpius watched his friend’s reaction.

"She apologized, very heartfelt, really apologetic, felt awful," he ran a hand through his messy hair. "Wants to work on things, once the paper gets off the ground and all that."

"And what's the problem, Potter? I am very important and very busy," he said dryly.

"Do you think she's going to stay?"

Scorpius knew that Rose's abrupt departure really bothered Albus and he knew that Albus would be severely affected if she left again. "I think she's your cousin and one of your best mates and you can't ignore her. You two should work things out and know that she’s grown and changed and won't hurt you again, Al. She's not evil."

Albus smiled, obviously relieved. "You really do defend her too much. She doesn't deserve it - not from you." He shook his head, "See you at dinner."

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Rose returned to the small office to find a small gathering of people hoping to be hired. She was surprised to find Greyson at the front of the line. She let out a disbelieving laugh, catching the attention of her colleagues.

"Says he used to work for the Daily Prophet ,” Anderson jerked his thumb to Greyson.

Rose‘s voice was harsh, "This is the bloke that wrote that terrible nonsense about my family and I."

Davenport, Lightfoot and Anders glared at him, "Get out."

"If we had known -"

"Can I kick his ass, Boss?" 

"I'd leave, if I were you," Rose said icily.

Greyson left in a flash, extremely scared.

They spent the rest of the day sifting through writing samples: they couldn't publish daily until they had enough employees. They were about to close up and head to the Burrow for dinner when a dozen owls began tapping at the window. "What in tarnation," Lightfoot muttered.

"Says they're a donation - they had been sold to the owlery from the Daily Prophet , but they don't need them," Anders grinned as he read the note attached to one of the owl's legs. "Says they can send another twenty next week."

Rose grinned, "We're in business, boys."

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Scorpius was more than thrilled when Roxanne signed with the Tornados: she (and Lily) provided endless entertainment, she was a great Chaser, and would help to continue Tutshill’s slow progression to being a great team. And she was entertaining for the crowd and that meant ticket sales.

Like Lily, she enjoyed teasing Scorpius; but unlike her cousin she did flirt with him and had, on occasion, offered to snog him. So when Rose, arriving with her three male friends, spotted Roxanne chatting with Scorpius, she was absolutely correct in her assumption that they were flirting. But she had no reason to be jealous.

"Godric, look at those men," Roxanne whispered conspiratorially to him. “I don't think I've ever seen such attractive men," she smiled coyly. "Except you, of course, darling."

"Naturally,” Scorpius rolled his eyes. Merlin three men? He assumed they worked for the paper, but three? Three tall and objectively attractive men?

"But I see you still hold a candle for my cousin," she sighed dramatically, something she had picked up from her father and brother. "I guess it'll be all right to talk to that Australian gentleman, then?”

"Be careful, darling," Scorpius turned back quickly to her. “Wouldn’t want to scare someone who's new to our country, would we?”

Rose called for everyone's attention before introducing her "esteemed colleagues" and explaining to her family how this "motley crew of journalists" came together for the same goal: to bring actual news to the United Kingdom. She explained that, yes, she would be staying in London indefinitely as Editor-in-Chief of The Owl Post Review . As soon as she was done speaking, her mother and father enveloped her in a hug.

Scorpius watched as Albus grinned and hugged her: they were going to be alright.

She watched him chat with her mother and watched him make her father laugh before he was cornered by her cousins. She watched as Lily said something that caused him to laugh. "That the guy you've been holding out for?"

Rose turned abruptly to find Lightfoot smirking behind her. "Excuse me?"

He chuckled, "Come off it, Chief. How many dates have you been on since I've known you? How many guys have you slept with?"

"Timothy," she hissed, fearful that her brother or Fred heard.

"Rose," he rolled his eyes. "It’s painfully obvious that you haven't shown interest in anyone because you're longing after him. I mean, shit, Davenport and Anders could even tell - after you indirectly turned them down."

She laughed, "They never wanted that with me, Tim." He gave her a look but she shook her head. "Anyway I'm not pining after Malfoy."

He smirked, "So why have you been watching him all night?"

Rose rolled her eyes, "I haven't been. Godric!" She hit his arm, "Stop being such a prat, Lightfoot! It's very unbecoming."

"I say go for it and stop being a wuss," he smirked again and walked away.

She sighed loudly and took a sip of her drink, thinking about the 10,000 things she needed to do the next day in time for their next issue.

"You did it." She turned at his voice and her breath hitched when she saw him standing right next to her with that familiar smile and those expressive grey eyes.

"Did what?" she asked stupidly.

He chuckled, "Started your own paper," his smile was disarming. "It’s fantastic, by the way."

She smiled, slowly regaining her poise, "Thanks. I won't be getting any sleep the next few weeks, but it'll be worth it."

"I had rather guessed last night at the press conference what with the Daily Prophet being brought out," he said nonchalantly before taking a sip of his drink.

"Could never get anything by you, Malfoy," she said dryly, glancing at him again. "So how is it, owning your own Quidditch team?"

He glanced sideways at her, "It's not all fun and games, Rose," he emphasized her name. “It’s a job. I have two of those you know.”

"Yes, you're moving right along in the Ministry, aren't you?" She quirked an eyebrow, "Impressive," she inclined her head towards him slightly. “Good to see some young blood there."

How did she do this to him? How could she affect him like this while any of the other gorgeous, intelligent women he tried to date couldn't? She wasn't as clinically beautiful as Lena, the Swedish Ambassador and yet he believed Rose was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. How could she be so bloody perfect and so bloody infuriating?

"If you ever want a guest writer, or an interview," he smirked slightly, as she rolled her eyes. "And if you need some owls -"

"We don't take -"

"They're too old to fly internationally," he continued, raising his eyebrows. “And are no longer of much use in our department. I think they'd like to fly again."

She nodded, "Thank you. You - or your secretary - can send them over tomorrow." She saw her grandmother wave at her and grimaced slightly, "Great. Time for interrogations," she nodded at Scorpius. “See you around, Malfoy. If I make it out alive."

His laughter floated after her as she walked towards her grandmother.

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He didn't go out of his way to see her: he saw Albus and the other Potters and Weasleys as often as he always had, but now Rose seemed to always be there. She wasn't of course - she was extremely busy trying to run and expand the paper, but she was (obviously) around more often than she had been. And wherever she was, three men always seemed to be.

"Someone is wild with jealousy."

Scorpius turned to Gemma who sat next to him at the pub they were all recently frequenting. "I don't know what you're talking about, Gem. I just don't understand why she always has a posse."

"One of which is currently chatting up Roxy," she smirked. “And that gives you no excuse -"

"Hey, Scorp, whatever happened to Lena?" James asked from across the table.

“Or wasn’t Chloe most recent? I think there was a Katerina somewhere in there too,” Fred teased.

"Delilah?” James asked, unaware of Albus’ glare.

Scorpius could feel Rose’s inquisitive eyes on him when Lily came rather quickly to his defense, “Oi, leave the lad alone, will you?”

“Not everyone can be so lucky to be dating the same person for decades,” Roxy said in faux-disgust.

“You lot are really missing out,” Fred put his arm around Evan smugly. 

“Yea, Malfoy, you hadn’t really dated until recently - ow! Lils, what the hell?” James rubbed his arm where his sister had punched him. “That’s my Quidditch arm!”

“I think they’re both your Quidditch arm,” Avery said into her pint, extremely embarrassed.

“I was just saying -“

“And we think you should stop,” Lily said through clenched teeth, her brown eyes narrowed. 

“Why?” James looked around, confused. “He’s busy with two jobs, he probably didn’t have much time!”

“As much as I enjoy everyone dissecting my love life or lack thereof,” Scorpius stood up. “I must leave you here.”

“Oh, Scorp, we were just playing,” Fred frowned.

Scorpius flashed them all a winning smile, “I’ve got an early meeting is all.” He glanced at Lily, “I’ll see you for coffee tomorrow?”

James eyed Lily and Scorpius warily and his face contorted slightly but before he could open his mouth Avery’s hand clenched tightly on his thigh under the table and he stilled immediately. “Don’t bloody say anything, you absolute nutter,” she whispered harshly into his ear before kissing his cheek.

“Night, Malfoy,” James managed to squeak out when Avery finally let his thigh go. 

Scorpius waved goodbye to them all, trying not to let his eyes linger on Rose who looked simultaneously confused and disappointed. He could bloody kill James Potter for being so obtuse but knew Lily and Albus would reprimand their brother on his behalf. 

He decided to walk home from the pub despite the distance: he needed to clear his head. He couldn’t shake the image of Rose’s intense stare and pink cheeks when Lily had jumped to his defense. Was she jealous? Was she merely just curious as to who or why Scorpius was dating? Or did she not even give him a second thought? He took a breath and knew that soon he would have to decide if he was going to pursue Rose (again) and risk heartbreak (again) or if he was finally going to let sleeping dogs lie.

He ran a hand through his hair and sighed deeply: he already knew the blasted answer.