As the months pass, I heed my father’s word and steer clear of Scorpius. A nod in the hall, slight acknowledgment that he is alive.
Then the bullies come. They flock to my red hair and freckles, teasing me. “Oh, look at the Weasley. Fish out of water,” Every single bully is from Slytherin. Green robes, proud backs and chins. Fish becomes my nickname there.
One day I simply can’t take it. Instead of doing homework, I sit on a couch in the Commons and bury my face in my knees. The couch shifts slightly to the left as someone sits next to me on it. I lift my face up and find myself looking into Scorpius’s gray-blue eyes. I stare at him for a moment.
“I’m not supposed to talk to you. My Dad says.” I say in a calm, measured voice. I wonder why I even said anything, and lower my face again, letting my hair cover my face.
He smiles slightly. “Father says not to pay any attention to the low born Weasleys. But Father’s values aren’t always right, besides, they don’t have to know.” I sit straight up, startled by his bold statement. “What’s your wand?”he asks, not noticing my alarm.“Like, what’s the core and stuff.”
“Willow. Thestral tail.” I say slowly. Why is he asking me this? I consider ignoring him. Didn’t I tell him I wasn’t supposed to talk to him? Does he care about the rules at all?
He whistles, impressed. “Thestral tail, huh?”
“Yeah.” I blink at him, slowly.
“You know, Thestral tail was used in the elder wand.” He pokes me.
“Yeah, I know.” I smile at him. Agh, what am I doing?
“So, what’s wrong?” He studies me.
I swallow heavily, looking down. “It’s nothing.”
“Rose…” He says imploringly.
I bite my lip. “Okay,” I allowed. “Wait, how do you know my name?”
He flushed, looking down at his feet. “Well, I, um..” he looks at me, biting his lip. “I just payed attention to you. You’re not exactly a typical Ravenclaw.”
I feel my ears burn a little. “Um.. thanks?” I say awkwardly, clearing my throat and looking away.
Scorpius pokes my arm again with a half-smile. “You were saying?”
I frown at him. “Why are you so determined to find out why I’m upset?”
“So you ARE upset!” He grins triumphantly.
A small bubble of pleasure builds inside me, and I fight back a smile with an irritated scowl. “I said nothing of the sort. Leave me alone.”
“I will not.” He says stubbornly. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Like you’d care what a fish like me has to say,” I mumble.
He must hear me, because he scowls and says, “Is that why you’re upset?”
“Is what why I’m upset?” I ask, avoiding his gaze.
“Don’t play dumb with me. You’re a Ravenclaw, for God’s sake.” Scorpius glares at me. “The Slytherins.”
“Maybe,” I mumble, not meeting his eyes. “I just-“ I cut off with a sigh. “I just wish they’d leave me alone.” Scorpius is silent for a moment. “They won’t leave you alone.”
“That’s helpful,” I say sarcastically.
Scorpius ignores me. “They won’t leave you alone because they’re bullies.” He glances at me sidelong. “But I’ll be here for you,” he blurts, staring at his feet and turning bright red. “If you want me to,” he adds.
I smile at him, a new sort of feeling I can’t place swelling inside of me. “That would be perfect.”
He’s shocked into meeting my eyes.
Slowly, his smile grows to match mine.
My interactions with Scorpius only increase from that day on.
The next time we talk, Scorpius is much more subdued.
“What’s wrong?” This time I’m the one who’s asking.
Scorpius looks up at me sharply. “Nothing.” He bends his head down to continue working on his homework.
For a moment, there is no sound but the scratching of quills on paper.
“Do you really expect me to believe that? You’re a rubbish actor.” I say.
Scorpius glares at me, but gives no reply.
“Fine,” I say. “If you don’t tell me anything, I’ll just leave.”
Scorpius studies me silently, gauging to see if I am lying. “Fine.” He looks back at his paper. “I’m mad at my dad.”
“Your dad?” I repeat, bewildered. “But-“
Scorpius slams shut his textbook and storms out of the commons, leaving his homework half-finished.
God, the nerve of her! I pace back and forth in a hallway just off of the main hall to the Ravenclaw dorms.
She thinks she can just butt into my family life. So what if my dad’s disappointed in me? I cringe away from the thought.
I hate being a Malfoy, anyway. Everyone can tell who I am just by looking at me. Just by glimpsing my hair. I scowl, running my fingers through my white-blonde hair. I hate this hair. I hate these clothes. I never want to look like my father again. Ever.
With a sickening sense of satisfaction, I storm into the boy’s dorm.
The next day, Scorpius and I come to some sort of silent agreement. He follows me to class, because everyone else was too rude to show him anywhere, and maybe, just maybe, if someone comes along with me, the Slytherins will leave me alone.
But of course, I’m wrong.
“Well, hello there, Fish,” a tall Slytherin snarls as we pass. Dolohov. His mob of Slytherins quickly surround us, cutting us off from the surroundings. “Looks like you’ve got a tail.”
“Leave us alone, Dolohov,” I murmur non-confrontationally. Maybe this time, they’ll leave me alone. But I know better. “We’ll be late to class.”
“D’you think I care?” Dolohov says with a snort. “Maybe if you don’t go to class, you’ll learn how to be a little less insufferable.”
I bow my head, letting my hair cover my face like a veil. “Leave me alone,” I mumble, backing up a few steps.
There’s a cold, harsh laugh as I collide with someone behind me. Rough hands push me forward, causing me to stumble forward and drop my textbooks.
I drop to my knees and scoop them up, avoiding Dolohov’s eyes. Avoiding everyone’s eyes, especially Scorpius’s- god, this is so embarrassing, I think, cringing inwardly.
“Maybe you’d fit in a little bit more of you weren’t so clumsy, fish,” Dolohov snarls. “Maybe you’d-“
There’s a flash of movement to my left, followed by a thud. I snap my head up and watch in shock as Dolohov reels back, clutching his cheek.
“You leave her alone,” Scorpius growls.
Dolohov gives him a strange look, but backs away. His group of cronies follow him as they stalk off to wherever their next class is. I turn towards Scorpius, textbooks in hand, gaping.
“Let’s go,” he says gruffly, avoiding my eyes.
I can’t believe I did that. I stare at my hands in Charms, unable to focus.
I just punched someone. Punched them.
“Mr. Malfoy?” Professor Oakwood says. I flinch a little, but he definitely grabbed my attention.
“Yes, sir?” I smile at him unconvincingly.
He rolls his eyes. “What is the levitation charm?”
“I’m sorry, sir,” I say truthfully. “I wasn’t paying attention.”
“That’s what I thought,” he said. “Wingardium Leviosa.”
The summer comes all too quickly. Soon, I am boarding the Hogwarts Express, Scorpius close behind me. I walk into an empty compartment, not wanting to deal with anyone who isn’t Scorpius at the moment.
We sit in silence for a while, watching the Scotland plains roll by.
Scorpius is the one to break the silence. “Rose…”
I swallow. “Scorpius, don’t.”
“Rose,” he repeats firmly. “You know… you know we won’t be able to talk all summer.”
“I know that.” I glare at him.
“Rose,” he says with an exasperated sigh.
“I don’t like goodbyes,” I tell him. “I don’t want to say goodbye.”
“Okay.” Scorpius says.