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Heart of a Lion, Head of a Serpent
The golden, orange, and red leaves on the lonely high limbs of the great oak trees had the appearance of fire, swaying softly with the crisp summer breeze. An icy film of frost topped the fallen browning dead leaves that covered the forest floor. The grounds were quiet, empty as if the world itself had stopped spinning.
As she walked the winding, narrow path back to the massive and almost ominous looking castle on the top of the hill looming over the great Black Lake, Rose Weasley appeared calm and serene, but trouble brewed beneath the surface. With only the sound of the few chirping birds that remained in the trees and the crunch of the gravel beneath her feet to serenade her while she pondered, she pictured the face of her mother when she came home for the Christmas holiday and told her that horrid secret she had pushed to the very back of her mind where she hardly dared to go.
Before she knew it, she was at the castle gates. Hogwarts castle. This is where it all began. This ancient, historic castle that is the setting for almost every tale she was told as a child. The stories of armor that moved, a poltergeist that terrorized first years, the professors for which her cousins were named, the library where her mother studied for hours on end and was petrified in by the basilisk that her uncle had slain and rescued her aunt from, where her parents fell in love. If not for Hogwarts, she would not exist, she would not, and neither would her problem.
She should go inside, she knew she should, it was lunch time, almost time for her next class. They’d be looking for her, she knew they would. If they did not find her in lunch, they would track her down and corner her in the common room. At fifteen, Rose thought she could decide who her friends should be and what she did was her own business, but apparently not. They would find him.
Well so what? There’s nothing to tell. They’ll look like right proper gits they will.
Rose decided that her appetite had dwindled into nothing with just the thought of him, that stupid boy.
“Git,” she muttered, kicking the pebbles by her toes.
“Who’s a git?” someone whispered in her ear.
She whipped around, her heart leaping into her throat and her long red hair swiping whoever was behind her in the face. She turned and stared directly into the very eyes of her quandary. They were a stormy gray-blue, not a cold and hard blue like the ones of the others in their family. There was a smile upon his pointed and pale face. Not a big one, but a small, playful, mischievous one. That smile made her angry. She wanted nothing more to whip out her wand and bat bogey hex him so hard that she’d never have to see that stupid smirk again.
“You, Scorpius,” she growled. “Get away from me before I jinx you!” She shoved him back, but it had no effect.
He had a strong, muscular build. The best Gryffindor beater Hogwarts had seen since Rose’s twin uncles Fred, whom she had never met, and George, who must have had two ears back then. He was clever and bright, if he was not a Malfoy, her mother, Hermione, would have liked him. He was also uncommonly kind; she had never seen him hurt anyone, not if he could help it. Trouble seemed to find him, he could never roam about the castle alone, too many children of his father’s old friends, growing more and more powerful every year.
“Rose, please, don’t,” he pleaded. “Please, just tell me what I’ve done.”
“You won’t leave me alone!” she cried.
Scorpius looked at her with sad, desolate eyes.
“We were so close last year Rose,” he said, softly. “What happened? Please, tell me.”
“It’s nothing you can fix,” she murmured.
“Please Rose, let me try. I deserve a chance, please,” be begged.
He was desperate. He needed a friend. Sure, the other Gryffindors had given him a chance, but if they knew what he wanted, if they knew what was between him and one of their own, they would surely turn on him, so would the his Ravenclaw friends because of Rose’s brother, Hugo. The Slytherins loathed him, as they should, them being Slytherins and him being a Gryffindor, and from a Slytherin family at that! When the now almost ancient Professor McGonogall had called his name to be sorted, he heard whispers buzzing about like demented bees, mocking him and his family. The Great Hall was dead silent with shock while he wore the Sorting Hat, it telling him that he was so different from his family. How it thought he would undoubtedly be a Slytherin, and now it must decide between Ravenclaw, and Slytherin’s arch rival house, Gryffindor. His parents had disowned him after they had seen his Gryffindor robes that summer holiday, sent him away to live in the house of his deceased grandparents, Narcissa and Lucius. Not that it had mattered much, they invested little time in him before and was raised more by the house elves than by his proud parents.
There was little company there in that old place, only the elderly housekeeper, Millicent-a bitter old woman- sent to take care of him. He was miserable, alone, and without affection until he had received his first letter the summer after his second year at Hogwarts. It was an old owl who had delivered it. Pig, was its name, perhaps? There was a letter from Hugo and Rose Weasley, and even James Potter, who had become his friend on the Quidditch team. His friends were from families that his despised. Civil on Platform 9 ¾, but forever loathed one another. The Potters and Weasleys accepted Scorpius after his parents had rejected him. They kept an eye on him the first time he visited (it had been that same summer), but they learned to trust him, that he was different. He had grown closer to Rose toward the end of their Christmas holiday last year their fourth year at school, and now he had lost her and he had to know why!
“There’s nothing Scorpius!” she shouted, tears twinkling in her bright green eyes. “Nothing! Just nothing you can do!”
He didn’t move, his face was stony, his eyes sad. She couldn’t bear to look into those eyes, those eyes that gazed at her so lovingly at one time. Such a wonderful time that was. In the Burrow, that had been expanded upon yet again after her brother was born, with her grandparents and the Potters on Christmas Eve. The whole family had been in the orchard that snowy afternoon playing a friendly game of Quidditch. The losing team had to clean up the plates after dinner, to their dismay, without magic. Rose had been on the loosing team, despite being one of the best chasers, not unlike her Aunt Ginny, on the Gryffindor House team.
She was washing dishes when Scorpius joined her. He brought her a mug of butterbeer and had sprinkled just a bit of cinnamon on top because he knew that was her favorite drink. He had asked her to join him by the window in the lounge across from the cackling fire. They were alone and they were having a splendid time. As the night progressed, Rose had rested her head on Scorpius’s shoulder; he had his arm around her waist. Rose remembered never wanting such a happy feeling to end, but, alas, it did. Hugo had walked into the room and loudly cleared his throat. Rose couldn’t help but think her father was standing in front of them, as he and his son shared appearance and that same disapproving stare. It was hard, angry, and spiteful.
That had been the end to their closeness. They had avoided one another for the rest of the break, and never got a chance to see one another between their classes. They spoke only during meals, and that was limited by the amount of people they were dining with.
Rose hung her head in shame, for she understood, or so she thought, more than Scorpius why Hugo had been so angry that night. She knew what she had to do, and, despite that it was a bitter and cold act, she had done it. She would do it forever if it meant pleasing her family, which was all she wanted to do. She felt a horrible churning in her stomach and felt ill. A tear rolled down her cheek and Scorpius wiped it away with his thumb. He tilted her face upward and her heart began to race.
“You can tell me, Rose,” he assured her.
Little did poor Rose know, Scorpius knew what she was going to say. That very night, Christmas Eve, he began to understand that she would never allow herself to be with him if her family disapproved. He knew her though, he knew Rose better than her family. She would decide for herself, she had to. Scorpius had faith, and he would pursue her until she told him herself that she did not want to be with him.
She opened her mouth to speak, almost afraid that she would vomit instead of talk, but nothing came out. He waited patiently for her, his eyes never leaving her face despite that she wanted nothing more than to run away and never see him again. She opened her mouth, but instead of words, she made some sort of gurgling noise. She clamped her jaw shut tight, took a deep breath, looked at Scorpius with an unyielding glare and began to speak, only to be cut off by the sound of her brother and cousins.
“Where could they be?” Hugo demanded, angrily.
“C’mon Hue, what’s the worst that could happen?” said James.
“He’s a Malfoy! A no good, rotten pureblood, and he’s got my little sister! What couldn’t happen?!” Not only did Hugo look like his father, but he also had his temper.
“He’s our friend,” said Albus.
“He’s a Malfoy!”
His words stung Scorpius, but only for a moment. Hugo was his friend, and he understood his family history did not serve his purpose well. He was a Malfoy, he knew what he was, everyone knew what he was, but they did not know what it was like to live in the home of Draco Malfoy and his wife. They could not possibly imagine.
Rose looked at him, terrified, and pulled away from him. “I have to go, they can’t find us! Not like this!” she hissed, and began to turn toward the castle.
“Rose, wait!” Scorpius called after her. She faced him again, more tears in her eyes. “I know my family and yours are enemies, but I haven’t seen my father or mother in over two years. I’m different, I am! You know it! They know it! Please, give me a chance. I deserve a chance, don’t I?” He held out his hand, inviting her to come with him. “Please, Rose, trust me.”
Rose glanced back at the castle, the footsteps of her brother and cousin coming closer and closer, her heart pounding against her chest so hard she thought it would burst out. The words her father had said right before she boarded the Hogwarts Express five years ago ringing in her ears;* “Don’t get too friendly with him, though, Rosie. Granddad Weasley would never forgive you if you married a pureblood.”. Her eyes darted back and forth between the castle and Scorpius’s pleading face. With a final look, she made her decision and took Scorpius’s hand. Together, they ran toward the Black Lake.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*Direct quote from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows