She asks him on a Sunday.
They're outside, just behind the line of trees that disguises them from the Potters' house, Rosie on the swing that hangs from the largest willow here, Teddy sprawled out on the ground next to her. She's unmoving, eyes staring out into some distant point that Teddy can't see but wishes he could, both of her feet planted solidly on the ground beneath them. He wraps his fingers around her ankle, tugging gently.
“Rosie,” he whispers when she doesn't look down at him. She gets so lost in these moods sometimes, always looking as if her life is a tragedy. “Rosie, you all right?”
Sniffling, she finally looks at him, dark eyes wide and tear-filled.
“Scorpius broke up with me last week,” she mumbles, looking so sad that he can't help but feel sad, as well. “Said he didn't want to be tied down for his last year at school.”
“I'm sorry,” he says, and a part of him feels guilty because he isn't sorry at all. She shrugs, looking away from him.
“It's not your fault,” she says, the tears finally spilling. She cries silently—no undignified sobbing or snotting for Rose Weasley—the hitch in her breathing the only evidence of change.
“Am I the only one you've told?” Teddy asks, fingers still wrapped around her ankle. Her skin is hot underneath his palm, fair and freckled from the sun. He doesn't know why he's asked that, but the question lingers in the air for so long that he knows that he is.
“Yeah,” she answers, wiping a tear off of her cheek with the back of her hand. “I should probably tell Dom soon. She'd get mad if she found out from somebody else, and Louis is a terrible gossip.”
“Worse than a girl,” Teddy says, hand still on Rosie's ankle. She cracks a little smile at that, but doesn't say anything.
“Is there anything I can—I dunno. Anything that I can do? To make you feel better?” Immediately after the words leave his mouth he feels like a complete and utter prat. What the hell can he do about it? She and her non-violent sentiments would hate him if he kicked the shit out of Malfoy.
She's silent for so long that Teddy feels compelled to say something.
“I'm sorry, Rosie. I'm being a—“
“Actually,” she interrupts, voice very soft. “There is something.”
“Anything,” he says, rubbing his thumb along the bone in her ankle. Her skin is like silk underneath the pads of his fingers.
“Scorpius and I—well, we never—we never did, er, that.” His finger stills, eyes nearly bulging out of his head at the implication of that statement. Trying his best to remain calm and not jump to any conclusions, Teddy lets go of her ankle.
“What do you mean by 'that'?” he asks her, sitting up on the ground to better see her face. There's dirt in his hair, he's sure, but he doesn't particularly care right now.
“Sex,” she whispers. “We never had sex.”
“And you want me to—to have sex with you?”
“Merlin. Never mind, I'm an idiot,” she says, standing up very suddenly. Her dark hair is pulled into a messy plait down her back, and her sundress—floaty and lavender in colour like something a fey creature would wear—is nearly see-through in this lighting.
“Yes,” Teddy tells her, grabbing that ankle once more. Her skin is hotter than before, and the vague thought that she'll burn him rises up.
“Oh, well. All right.” She grins at him, the first grin he's seen on her face in days.
“Rosie,” he starts, running that hand up the inside of her calf. “Why me? Why now?”
“I've had a crush on you since I was born, practically,” she whispers, the scarlet stain of a blush crawling up her face.
James calls his name, then, and they make their way back to the house in silence. There is something blooming in his chest, though, and he smiles the whole walk back.
He doesn't know what exactly has changed, but when Teddy steps into the Weasleys' house the next Saturday, the urge to turn tail and run is strong. Blame it on the nearby full moon, but he feels decidedly on edge. Teddy can't shake the thought that he's committing some grave and unforgivably sin against the Weasleys by deflowering their only daughter.
“Would you like some tea?” Rosie calls out, already halfway to the kitchen. “I just put the kettle on. Should be ready in a minute.”
“Sure,” he says, shutting the door behind him. After a moment of standing rather awkwardly in front of the door, Teddy follows Rose's path into the kitchen.
“Three sugars, right?” she asks him, smiling. Silently, he nods. He likes things to be sweet, almost to the point of hurting his teeth.
“Are you sure you want to do this, Rosie?” Teddy asks her, perching uncomfortably on the edge of the counter top. His eyes are darting around the room nervously, hair turning mousy brown almost against his will. Sometimes it's as if he has no control over his appearance at all.
“Mum and Dad left for America yesterday, and Hugo's at the Potters' for the week. Said he liked Al better than me, the little git. Not that I haven't told you this already,” she answers with a little smile, gently setting a mug that's meant for thicker drinks on the counter space next to him.
“I—I'm not sure that—” Teddy starts, eyes darting towards the door.
“Do you not want to do this?” Rose whispers, taking a step back. “Because—because if you don't, I'll just find somebody else. Don't feel obligated, Teddy.”
“No, Rosie! I want to, I'm just. I don't know,” Teddy quickly tells her, grabbing her hand in his own. Her hair's loose today, surrounding her face in a halo of dark curls, and she's wearing the skimpiest nightgown Teddy has ever had the pleasure of seeing on her.
“If you're sure,” she murmurs, sitting on the counter next to him. There's something odd about this arrangement, but he still nods his agreement.
That dark, nervous feeling lingers in the pit of his stomach, though, and Teddy wishes to God that he'd thought this through.
It starts, as this sort of thing usually does, with a kiss.
They're sitting on her bed, Rosie above and around him like he's wanted her to be for longer than he can properly comprehend. She'd always been too young—she was thirteen when it started for him—and he hadn't felt right about his feelings until now.
Her tongue is in his mouth and his hands are on her skin, one playing at the soft skin of her belly, the other crawling up her thigh. She's as perfect as he'd always thought she'd be.
He's already harder than he'd ever been for Victoire, and when she grinds down on him—how far had she gotten with Scorpius?—Teddy can't stop from moaning.
“Close your eyes,” Rosie whispers, leaning down to kiss his neck. He does so without question, his fingers finally reaching her cunt. That feeling that she will burn him is there again, and her flesh is so slick beneath her knickers that Teddy thinks he must be dying.
“Can I try something?” she asks, and he nods before she's even finished asking, all former apprehension disappearing. Merlin, she could try anything right now and he'd probably like it.
When she whispers a spell that forces Teddy's hands up, over his head and ties them to the headboard, he isn't as sure.
“Why—” he starts, another kiss interrupting him.
“Don't worry,” Rose murmurs, hands roaming his chest and hips grinding down on him again. He moans again.
Her fingers are making their way up his neck now, stroking the skin of his face, and he's suddenly profoundly uncomfortable with the situation.
“Rose,” he manages, voice soft, cajoling. “I want to touch you.” She giggles like a little girl, pressing a hand over his lips to quiet him.
“I'm sure you do,” she says darkly, the other hand pressing over his mouth now. Her skin is so hot over his face that he must be burning, her fingers like tongues of fire on his face.
Rose, he tries again, but he can't even breathe, his nose covered under her palm. Teddy finally opens his eyes, tries to shake her off, tries to tell her—
“Fight me, Teddy,” she tells him, pressing down harder. “It's more fun like that. You should've seen Scorpius, flailing around like a fish out of water. You're much bigger than him, though. I didn't have to tie him up.”
He's thrashing underneath her now, trying to buck her off of him, his legs kicking out, searching for purchase on anything. Terror is curling in his throat and he wants to scream and shout and sob with it.
She smiles down at him, pretty as she always is, and the blackness overtakes him.
“The second body this month,” Ron sighs, a thoroughly exhausted expression on his face.
“Any leads?” Hermione asks him, feeling so, so cold. This should've ended with Voldemort.
Harry’s completely inconsolable—it's even worse than when Sirius died. He's locked up in Grimmauld Place by himself, not even Ginny able to get through to him. The grief must be overwhelming, Hermione knows, and Harry’s always had that way of wrapping himself up in sadness until it nearly kills him.
Rose is almost as bad, having locked herself in her room the moment she heard the news of Teddy's death. Hermione dreads telling her about Scorpius, but it must be done sooner or later.
“Not a single one,” Ron says, resting both hands on the table.
There's a note of finality to that statement, Hermione thinks, and she gets the horrible sense that this case won't ever be solved.