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Oh, Merlin...

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“Oh, don't be ridiculous! Their kids wouldn't know what to look like!”

Sophie snorted, “All I know is they would be bloody beautiful.”

Rose stared at her friends, stricken to mortified silence as she listened. She hadn't thought that such an innocent conversation could take this sort of turn to crazy-ville. They had been wandering the grounds near the lake and were currently sitting with their feet in the shallows, keeping a close eye out for any signs of the giant squid. It had all started with Rose and Sophie teasing Emma for having a thing for Lorcan Scamander and it had devolved into the outlandish discussion that was happening currently.

Tilting her head, Emma considered this, “Well...yeah. Alright. But you have to admit I have a point...”

Merlin's beard. She was not going to stand by and listen to this!

“Well, yeah, you do,” Sophie agreed, turning to look at Rose speculatively, “I mean, her family certainly has a...distinctive look.”

Emma nodded, pointing her finger at the blonde, “And so does his. In fact, they--”

“Both of you just shut up! I am not having children with Scorpius Malfoy, alright?!” she finally burst out, glaring at them.

Someone cleared their throat behind them and Rose stiffened in horror. The three girls slowly turned to see Albus and Fred looking at them from the rise above the bank. Her stomach clenched and there was a furious warmth in her cheeks as she stared up at the two boys. At least they both had the decency to look uncomfortable with what they had overheard.

“Uh...look,” Albus started, “We were just...um...seeing if you girls would want to watch James and Lily having a go at each other in wizard's chess.”

Fred grinned, “I'm mentally erasing that from my memory now. Won't even tease you about it, though it will pain me so, and we'll go on with our lives and watch Al's siblings taunt each other mercilessly. Good?”

Albus glanced over at him and frowned, “Promise her.”

Sending a withering look at his cousin, Fred sighed, “My own flesh and blood in disbelief!” Grumbling under his breath, Fred put his hand over his heart and started loudly proclaiming, “I, Fred Weasley the Second, will never utter to another soul that Rose Weasley wants to have children wi--”

Rose was up in an instant, yelling, “I DON'T EVEN LIKE HIM!” as she lunged at him, tackling the taller boy to the ground. She quickly clapped both hands over his mouth and gave him her famous glare, allegedly inherited from her mother. Fred went still as he stared up at her, though she could feel him trying to repress laughter from behind her hands. She narrowed her eyes and leaned in close, “If you ever try to utter such bollocks again, Fred Weasley, I will personally tell Gram just who set off his father's Never-Ending Fireworks prototype in her kitchen.”

He went pale and she shot him a triumphant smirk, “That's what I thought.” With that, she stood and brushed the grass off of her skirt before stalking away. Sophie and Emma darted after her, followed by Albus and a chuckling Fred. As the group caught up to each other, Fred nudged Albus, “Imagine if they did have kids, though...the little tykes wouldn't know what to look like!”

Emma threw her hands up in the air before exclaiming, “That's precisely what I said!”

“I'm going to HEX YOU ALL!”

 

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The topic wasn't brought up for a while after that and Rose had begun to hope it had been forgotten. Unfortunately, she was now much more aware of Scorpius Malfoy. She didn't really know him all that well even though he was Albus's best friend. Sure, Scorpius seemed nice enough, but her father was quite...unfriendly toward the Malfoys. She'd always assumed it was best not to kick the hornets nest by trying to rub elbows with the boy. Granted, she'd never been mean to him and, in fact, almost looked forward to their unspoken competition in the various classes that she shared with him. He was certainly a match for her as far as academics went, but that was the extent of their camaraderie. After all, her challenging a Malfoy in classes was exactly what her father loved to hear about on breaks.

That was the only news she ever brought home about the Malfoy boy. She now wondered what sort of stories Albus told his parents about him. Rose caught herself watching the two boys when they were together, as if trying to absorb their friendship by observation. Every time she noticed she was doing it, she felt ridiculous. She'd never brought herself to actually asking Albus about his friend, though. It was beyond her ability to actually put herself forward to break the years of radio silence that had constituted her relationship with Scorpius.

But then the drawings happened.

She had been in the library working on transfiguration papers with Albus and Sophie when suddenly Lorcan and Emma were standing next to their table. Rose glanced up at the older boy only to see a friendly, confused look on his face. Her eyes immediately darted to Emma, who was grinning right at her. That was never a good sign. With narrowed eyes, she looked back to Lorcan and was confronted with a sheet of paper being held out toward her.

Emma piped up as Rose gingerly took it, “See, turns out Lorcan's a bit of an artist...so I asked him for a...favor.” She glanced to Sophie with a conspiring wink, “Just to prove we were right.”

Rose stared in horror at the images that were on the paper. Lorcan took her silence as a need for explanation, “See, I couldn't decide what coloring to give them, so I made a few different combinations...”

The silence dragged out. Slowly, Emma grabbed Sophie's arm and the three moved away, wanting to avoid the lashing they were in for one Rose snapped out of her daze. She stared down at the young faces smiling at her. Some with freckles, some with pale hair, some red, curly, straight, pale eyed, and blue. Every possible combination was there, staring up at her as if expecting her to choose one and conjure the child into existence.

“Rose...?”

She thrust the paper at Albus with a panicked look, her mouth working, but no words escaping. Her eyes never left his face as he looked at the paper. He did a poor job of covering up his grin, eventually having to cover his mouth with his left hand to stop her from seeing it turn into a smile.

He shook his head and slid the paper back toward her, “I have to say...he's a pretty good artist.”

She thrust the paper hastily under her books, looking around to make sure no one else had seen, hissing, “What?”

He nodded toward the now-hidden artwork, “Lorcan. He did a really good job of mixing you two.”

Rose blinked at him.

What?

He held up his hands, “I'm just saying!”

With a quiet groan, she put her head in her hands, “Just what I need. I thought they'd forgotten about that stupid thing...”

Albus laughed, “You should know Sophie and Emma well enough by now to know they won't drop a topic that entertains them until it's good and truly dead.”

Peering at him from between her fingers, she frowned, “I'm bloody screwed.” He chuckled and she lowered her hands again, peering under her book at the smiling children. With a sigh, she looked back at him, “I mean, what would Scorpius even say if he found out something like this was going around?” Her eyes widened and snapped the book down hard, “What if I lost the drawing and he found it and then he would think that I...that...UGH!” She dropped her head to the table to cradle it in her arms.

Albus patted her arm, a smile in his voice, “He would think it was funny.” She peered at him from her safe cradle, not sure if she believed him. He laughed, “I can talk to him about it, if you want, just in case.” She shot up, mortified, but he hastily continued, “I mean, that way you wouldn't have to worry about losing the drawing or if Emma and Sophie start talking to others about it and rumors start.” He shrugged, “I'm just saying, it might be better to just head it all off at the pass.”

She insisted they drop the entire topic and went back to working on their papers, but Rose had trouble focusing. After an hour, she gave up, deciding it would be best to just get up early the next morning and finish it. A good sleep would help her brain settle down. On their way out of the library, before they had to go to their respective dormitories, she glanced over at Albus, “Okay.”

He glanced over, a hopeful expression stealing over his face, “Okay?”

“Yeah,” she said with a nod before turning and heading toward the Gryffindor common room where everything was warm and red and gold.

 

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Rose and Sophie were on the final steps of their potion. It was turning that lovely purple color that meant it was combining the right way. She couldn't help the small, pleased smile that flitted across her face, ignoring Sophie's amused roll of eyes. She reached out to drop just a pinch of root into the cauldron...

“So I hear you want to have children with me.”

Her eyes widened in shock and Sophie balked at the quiet, smooth voice that came from behind them. Then, suddenly everything was moving too fast.

She realized an instant too late that her hand had opened in surprise. Then all she could do was watch helplessly as the entire amount of chopped root fell into the cauldron. It only called for a pinch. Oh, Merlin...

Next thing she knew, she was being pulled backward, even as she saw Sophie diving away from the cauldron. She was in a daze, staring as the potion flashed a bright yellow and burst into white flame, licking out toward where she had been standing only moments before. Now, she was laying on something warm that had its arms wrapped around her waist. Arms.

Oh, Merlin! She rolled off quickly and stood, running over to the singed workspace, ignoring the cause of this whole problem in favor of making sure her cauldron was unharmed. She didn't want to have to explain to her mother that she had destroyed her nice cauldron because she'd been surprised by a quiet voice whispered all too close to her ear that had said something about having children with him. No. She didn't want to have to explain all that.

Especially not that the particular boy was Scorpius Malfoy and that his particular voice had been very distracting when whispered so nicely there...

She rounded on him, her eyes snapping with sudden anger, uncaring that he was still laying on the ground, just starting to lean up on his elbows. She lunged at him, her finger jamming sharply into his chest, her face a foot away from his as she growled, “What in bloody hell were you doing?! I WAS ABOUT TO PUT THE ROOT IN AND YOU...” she flushed red and spluttered for a moment before giving an enraged 'aargh' to the room and storming out, Sophie calling after her pathetically. No, she was not about to deal with this. She didn't care if Professor Trawson took points away.

She stowed her robes in her room and then she pushed out of the doors and was out on the grounds, running. She flew across the ground, trying to get lost in the feeling of blood surging through her limbs and adrenaline coursing along her veins. It usually helped her focus and calm down...and she needed calm right about now. Or she would turn around and hex the idiot. What had he been thinking?!

She pushed it out of her head, focusing on her breathing. In. Out. Push, push, push.

Run.

 

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When she got back to the castle, lunch was almost over. She was just glad that potions had been right before break, or she would have missed a good portion of her next class. She stopped at the bathroom to wipe her face down and make herself presentable, instead of someone who had just been running pell mell across the grounds. When she got to class, Sophie was there with her books and a wrapped up sandwich. She took them silently, shooting her friend a thankful look before putting her head into the lesson.

Altogether, it was an interesting class, but it dragged along. She could feel Sophie's eyes on her the entire time, questioning and concerned. Finally, they were released and the torrent of worry was unleashed.

“I'm just so glad that you're alright! I was so afraid when I saw it start turning color, but I didn't realize you weren't moving...and...” her friend took a deep breath.

Rose smiled at her, “Oh, don't worry. It's nothing Madam Pomfrey wouldn't have been able to mend.”

Her friend shot her a sharp look, “But still. I would have felt terrible if you'd gotten hurt. It was good that Scorpius grabbed you.”

She scowled, “Yeah, right. It wouldn't have happened if not for him.”

With a small laugh, Sophie shook her head, “It wouldn't have happened, you're right. But...I have to admit, I've never seen something freeze you up so effectively.” She nudged Rose with her elbow, “Hey, even I liked the sound of his voice.”

“It wasn't like that,” she growled.

“Oh, well, you'd better figure out what it was because I see a certain Slytherin waiting for you outside transfiguration.”

Rose followed the direction of her friend's nod only to see the tall, pale blonde figure of Scorpius leaning against the wall next to the door talking to Albus and looking miserable. Oh, Merlin. Really?! She did not need this right now!

As if sensing her gaze, he looked up and immediately stood straight, a sheepish look on his face. Albus took one glance at her, patted his friend's shoulder and said something that sounded like, “Good luck, mate,” before disappearing into the room. Sophie didn't even pause when they got to the door, only shooting Rose a 'go easy on him' look before following after Albus.

With a deep breath, she came to a sharp stop before Scorpius, looking up at him with a severe, expectant look, “Well?”

He looked down at his feet and shifted, “Uh...yeah. I'm...sorry.” Rubbing the back of his neck, he met her eyes, “I really am. I didn't realize you were about to put the root in, otherwise I would have waited till after.”

She frowned, “Your word choice could have used a little work if you didn't want to scare the hell out of me.”

He chuckled, “Yeah, I suppose so. I just sort of went with the first thing that popped into my head. In hindsight I could have reworked it.” He paused, his lips slipping into a crooked grin, his pale eyes laughing, “You have to admit, though. If it had been any other time, you freezing up like that would have been pretty entertaining.”

Her eyes narrowed at him, instantly killing the amused look on his face. After a moment, she nodded, “Well, you'd better work on better lines for next time, then.” With that, she swept past him, ignoring the surprised look on his face.

Next time? Better lines? What was that?! She resisted the urge to put her head on her desk when she sat down. Was she flirting with Scorpius Malfoy now? He'd almost burnt her face off! Granted, not intentionally, but still.

He'd also saved her from being a little crispy on the edges, but the point still stood. It was quite a jump to be going from 'he almost killed me' to 'have better lines next time you talk to me.' Albus was going to have a hay day with that when Scorpius told him. She could see her cousin shooting her worried looks already from his place across the classroom...next to none other than Scorpius Malfoy.

Her life had officially turned into a mess in the space of half a day.

She didn't handle messes well.

Generally tried to avoid them.

Which was the whole 'let's not talk to Scorpius' thing in the first place. And Albus was supposed to talk to Scorpius about the kids thing so it didn't become a problem. That did not require her talking to him at all. But then he'd decided to take it upon himself to talk to her.

Why?

Her eyebrows drew down as she paused in her note taking to consider this. Why would the fact that her friends were making crazy kid stuff up inspire him to suddenly talk to her when they hadn't spoken directly in their five years here?

 

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“So I hear you had a run in with the father of your future children.”

Rose glared up at Fred from her place in the almost empty common room. It was late and almost everybody was already asleep...of course except for her and her snarky older cousin. She chose to ignore him and go back to writing. The essay was giving her particular trouble so what better way to pretend annoying cousins don't exist?

He sat down next to her and pulled at one of her curls, “Oh, c'mon, Rose. I'm just teasing.”

With a sigh, she leaned back against the the couch, “Fine. Yes. He almost killed me. Happy?”

Fred laughed quietly, “Yeah, I heard that. Too bad you didn't get to deck him. I heard he saved you, though.”

She snorted, “Yeah, after trying to kill me. Don't forget that.” It was quiet for a moment as Rose let her brain drift back to the moment. Arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her confidently out of the way of the flame. The warm body underneath her, firm in all the right places...Oh, Merlin. She rubbed her face with a groan, “I barely even know the kid and he's causing me worlds of trouble. What did I do to deserve this?”

With a small shoulder nudge, Fred grinned, “You let Albus tell the kid about the joke--”

“So he wouldn't go thinking crazy things if word got out!”

“Needless to say, Scorpius found out and couldn't resist teasing you. I'm really not surprised, actually.” He grinned over at her, “You do realize you're an attractive girl, right?”

She blinked at him. What the hell was that supposed to mean.

He shook his head, “Oh, you don't see anything, do you? Just like your mum.”

With a frown, she cuffed his arm, “Hey. That's not a bad thing.

“Yeah, yeah. Means you ignore a lot of things while getting immersed in being smart.”

“What're you getting at, Fred,” she growled, narrowing her eyes.

His grin widened as he stood, “You're a smart girl. I'm thinking you'll get your next clue pretty soon, if I've learned anything from my da about people.”

And with that, he left her alone in the common room, staring at an almost finished essay, but not seeing it.

 

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She wasn't sure what Fred had been talking about, but it was very easy to tell that something had changed when the next time her friends got together to work on their essays, Scorpius was there. And the time after that. And the next. The shy, apologetic boy was gone, replaced by someone who was comfortable with joining in on conversations and banter. It should have been a bit frightening how easily he merged into their midst, but soon he was traipsing everywhere with them, in on their routines and their inside jokes.

For all they were now comfortable with each other, Rose avoided being alone with him at all costs. To get to know Scorpius in a group setting was already treading on thin ice if her father ever found out, so getting to know him any further was not in her plans. Her father would probably have a heart attack if he heard any sentence starting with 'Scorpius and I...' coming from her lips, and she really didn't want to be the cause of any health problems for her family.

So, when Sophie claimed illness and Emma claimed 'Lorcan-time,' Rose thought nothing of it. When she entered the library and claimed their usual spot, she wasn't worried. When Scorpius sat down across from her with a small smile of greeting, she still wasn't quite concerned. When, after a few minutes, Albus didn't join them, she felt an inkling of panic.

She cleared her throat, “Uh...so where's Albus at?”

Scorpius was scratching away at his parchment. He shrugged, “He said he needed to talk to Fred about something.” Pale eyes glanced up at her. They were hard to place a color to... “Why? Where are your little followers?”

Rose scowled at him, though it didn't hold long as she saw the teasing smirk, “Emma had to spend time with her boy-toy and Sophie says she's sick.” She turned her gaze to the book open next to her, “If you ask me, I think she's just faking because she's tired of working on papers.”

He laughed, “Aren't we all?”

And then they laughed together, smiled, went to their papers and had a completely fine time. They talked about homework, even helping each other out (which he was much better at than her other friends), quidditch came up a bit, and she found herself becoming concerned with how easy it all was. She had liked to think the only reason they really got along at all was because the others were there to keep them from driving each other insane...but alas it wasn't true.

When they finally left the library, they were laughing about Emma's fawning over Lorcan, and Rose found herself almost disappointed that they couldn't walk further together when they reached their parting place. They stood for a few minutes, chatting some more, until silence finally fell.

She grinned, “Ah, well, guess I'd better be off. Test tomorrow in arithmancy.”

He watched her for a moment before his hand reached out to brush a curl of her hair behind her ear, eyes never leaving her face. The hand didn't linger, but she felt the light brush of fingertips against her cheek even after they were gone. She felt a flush crawl across her cheeks.

Scorpius gave her a soft smile that sent something fluttering in her stomach before saying, “I like to think they'd have your eyes.” Then he smiled shyly at her and was gone, turning and disappearing down the corridors.

She stood there for a few good minutes before going her own way.

Rose thought his eyes were much more compelling.

 

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“AARRGGGH!!”

Emma blinked in shock at her redheaded roommate as Rose plopped face down on her bed while Sophie just cackled.

She grinned at Emma, “I can guess what this is about...”

“I...I'm not sure I follow,” came the other girl's quiet response, concern knitting her brows as she peered at Rose.

The redhead sat up sharply, glaring daggers at Sophie, “You planned this didn't you?!? You're not even sick!”

An innocent look passed over the blonde's features, “Weeell...I am sick...of working on papers while you two sneak glances at each other when you think the other isn't looking.”

Emma suddenly brightened, “Oh! Oh, she and Scorpius!”

Sophie rolled her eyes, “Yes. Her and Scorpius.”

Rose scowled at them, “I hate you all.” Then she flopped back down onto the bed, this time face-up. Her brain was moving too fast right now and she just needed it to slow down. With her hands over her eyes, she tried to think of calming things, but pale eyes kept popping in there. Soft smiles and the sensation of light fingertips sending tingles across her skin.

She groaned again, “I can't believe this is happening to me...what did I do?”

The edge of her bed sank down as Sophie plopped down next to her, “Sooo...what happened? We want to know details.”

Rose didn't take her hands off her face as she grumbled, “He said he would 'like to think' they would have my eyes.”

There was quiet for a moment until Emma spoke, “Oh my gosh. He is so talking about your kids.”

Rose snorted, “Ya think?!”

With a small tug, Sophie pulled Rose's hands away, “Alright. So he essentially told you he thinks your eyes are lovely and that he is in it for the long haul before the haul even starts. This is progress.” A withering look was shot her way, but she continued, “Which is why it's your turn to figure out what you want.”

Rose whined, “My father would kill me...”

“Psh, your father would understand eventually. Besides, your mum definitely wears the pants and he'd do anything for her,” came Sophie's sharp response.

“I hate you.”

“I'll take that as 'love.'”

Rose growled and rolled away from her, “You shouldn't.”

Sophie turned to Emma with a bright grin, “She loves me.”

 

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There was only one thing for it.

Get new friends.

Barring that, she would have to simply avoid any instances that Scorpius would be present.

The latter was much easier to accomplish, seeing as her friends refused to leave her alone. Well, 'easier' was the wrong word. More like the 'lesser of two evils.' Sophie and Emma were constantly trying to get her to come with to various study things where Scorpius would be at, but Rose became very adept at weaseling her way out of them. The only downside was her time with Albus became limited, seeing as he had taken to bringing Scorpius everywhere with him now that his friends had accepted the other Slytherin.

She would arrive to class exactly on time and leave in a rush, expertly avoiding any chances of having to talk to Scorpius. Even in potions, with him behind her, she would only give him one word answers or pretend she was so concentrated that she didn't hear him. Out of the corners of her eyes she would occasionally see Sophie shooting him apologetic looks or rolling her eyes in frustration.

Between Quidditch practice, schoolwork, and tutoring, she had a plethora of excuses for not spending much time with any of them. In fact, if other projects came up, she jumped on board without another thought. It was good to have so many things to immerse herself in and take her mind off of the mess that had become her thoughts about Scorpius Malfoy. Malfoy! Her father would have a fit.

Sophie and Emma tried to talk to her about it, persuading her to 'stop being stubborn' and just 'let it happen.' Sophie even lamented once that Rose and Scorpius were soulmates and she was just trying to 'evade destiny.' As if. The only thing she was 'evading' was her father's potential murder attempts if something were to ever happen.

And besides being accosted by her roommates at every chance, her plan had worked quite well. Her time with Scorpius was almost zero and she would officially have nothing to report to her father come Christmas break.

What she hadn't accounted for was Scorpius himself.

 

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“Rose.”

She froze in the middle of unclasping her quidditch robes. She had stayed late on the field to practice a few new defensive moves she'd heard about from the other players. The locker room was officially empty.

Except for her.

Except for Scorpius.

Turning slowly, she looked over to find him leaning against the doorframe that marked the entrance of the room. He was just in his school uniform, no robes, and she couldn't help the small flutter of warmth that snaked through her at the sight of his lean form. Alright. Okay. He was really pretty. Okay, not pretty, but...whatever. Besides the point. DANGER DANGER! Remember? Yes.

She cleared her throat with a small smile, “Oh, hey.” She lowered her eyebrows, feigning confusion, “Uh...why are you here exactly? Did you mix up locker rooms?” She grinned before pointing, “I think yours is that way.”

He didn't even crack a grin. Oh, Merlin.

“Rose, I'm not here because of quidditch.”

She bit her lip and turned to hang her robes up, “Oh.” She started to remove her bracers, focusing on the process far more than she needed to, ignoring the sound of movement as he walked toward her. He sat down onto the bench next to her propped up calf as she worked at the fastenings to the guard.

He sighed, “Why are you avoiding me?”

She shot him an incredulous look, “Oh, please. Don't flatter yourself. Why would I--”

“Albus talked to me. Sophie talked to me. Hell, even Emma and Lorcan came over to talk to me and tell me that you're avoiding me, but not to 'take it personally.'” He looked up at her, “So, I want to know why.”

She let her face shut down and she tossed her bracers into the locker before closing it and gathering up her bags, “Look, I'm busy. I have a meeting.”

“Rose--!”

She strode quickly toward the door, hoping to get away, “It's nothing, I'm just busy, I'll see you--”

Then there was a firm grip on her arm and she was pulled back and spun around.

Next thing she knew there were lips on hers and they were soft and crushing and she couldn't help the small noise of surprise as he pulled her into him. And then she couldn't help her response and next thing she was kissing him back and it was heady and wonderful and everything she'd been daydreaming for the past few weeks and...yeah.

She had learned to rely on her brain to get her out of difficult situations. It was her survival tool when it came to homework, classes, family, and people in general. Her mother had always taught her to use that tool to its fullest and to rely on it when nothing else could be counted on.

But her mother had never told her what to do when even that failed her. Her mother had never explained that sometimes the brain will short circuit and everything goes blank before restart. Her mother had never had to deal with Scorpius Malfoy kissing her.

And now Rose stood in shock, staring at the pale haired boy before her as he waited for her response, his eyes intense and marvelous.

“I hope they have your eyes,” was all she said before she pulled him in for another kiss.

Her father was going to kill her.

Kill them both.

And for the first time, she was completely fine with that.

 

THE END