Gift For: lachambre11 in smrw_ficafest
Summary: Rose's life is not turning out the way she planned it. Neither is Scorpius'. Can they find happiness together?
Warnings: language, sexual situations
Word Count: ~14,000
A/N: Trying to catch up on posting recent fest fics. ;) Chapter 1 is here. Chapters 2 and 3 in the next post. Still squeeing . . .
CHAPTER 1: ROSE
Ron tinked a fork on his glass. "We would like to make a toast. To our beautiful daughter, our beautiful niece, and our two wonderful nephews—congratulations on finishing Hogwarts! Something I did not manage to do." Everyone laughed. Hermione put her arm around Ron and continued, "Here's to your futures—may they be bright, successful and overflowing with love and happiness! Cheers!" Ron and Hermione raised their glasses and drank.
Rose drank from her very full goblet. The bubbles tickled her nose. It was good champagne, but she preferred Firewhisky.
Harry cleared his throat, and the gathering quieted again. "To my son, my nephew, and my nieces. The four of you exemplify what the Wizarding world fought to accomplish just over twenty-five years ago. Four cousins in four different houses, and all of you the best of friends!" Everyone cheered and drank more champagne.
"To my niece Rose, Head Girl. To my nephew Albus, Head Boy. To my niece Roxie, Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, and my son Louis, Prefect and Hufflepuff Quidditch Captain. All of you are such wonderful young adults. We are so proud!" Bill looked to Fleur who kissed him on the cheek, raised her glass and said, "Vivre longtemps et prospérer!"
George stood up. "Angelina and I are proud, too, and all that, but forget toasts. Let's party!" Everyone cheered, and the dancing and music began.
Rose felt happier than she ever had in her life. She'd finished Hogwarts at the top of her class, she had all sorts of job offers in front of her, she was dancing with her handsome boyfriend whom she was sure would propose soon, and she would become Mrs William R. Davies. They even had plans to spend the night together since she didn't have a curfew for the evening.
After a respectable amount of time spent at the party, Rose and Will apparated to "their" spot—a field behind her Uncle George's house. They always went there to "be alone". Rose knew all sorts of privacy charms and cast every one of them. She conjured blankets with cushioning charms on them. Clothes became irrelevant as Rose's and Will's happy hands roamed over each other's bodies. They were completely alone, just the two of them, joined together in love, and fully satisfied. They held each other beneath the stars until they fell asleep.
Rose awoke early and watched the sun rise, her head pillowed on Will's chest. She was hungry, but didn't want to do anything about it for fear of waking him. She didn't have long to wait until Will woke up. He stretched, smacked his lips a few times, grabbed his wand for a breath freshening charm, and they made love again in the early morning light.
As they rested in each other's arms, Will said, "So what are your plans, now we're out of Hogwarts?"
"I don't really know. I'll have a bit of a break, but I've been invited to try out for the Aurors, and to the Healer program, and to try out for the Chudley Cannons, and to several positions at the Ministry . . . I really don't want a desk job at the Ministry, but I'm thinking I'll apply for Auror training like my dad. How about you?"
"I got the letter yesterday. The Sweetwater All-Stars want me to be their new Beater."
"But they're in the States. In Texas, aren't they?"
"Yes. I'll be moving there in a week."
Rose was shocked. "So soon?!"
"They want me to get to know the area and the players before training begins in August. So I was thinking Rose . . ." Will took a deep breath.
Rose was sure Will was going to ask her to marry him and move to Texas. She was surprised, but prepared herself to say yes.
"I love you and everything, but I think we should see other people. We're going to be so far apart for who knows how long, and it wouldn't be fair to be tied to each other . . ."
Rose's brain took a moment to catch up with her ears.
". . .and the team has a limited number of portkeys and limited travel time. I'm going to be the only non-American on the team at the moment, I'll probably have to use my off time to get to know my new team mates . . ."
Rose had thought Will was going to propose and now he was ditching her?
" . . . but you understand, right? We've had fun together, but now we've finished school, we'll want our freedom, yeah? Sometime in the future, if we're ever back on the same continent, who knows?"
"I understand, Will." Rose squirmed out of Will's arms.
"Where are you going?"
Away from you, Bloody Wanker. "I'm hungry."
"Oh, OK." Will stretched back out as if he were going to nap. Rose could not believe his nerve! She dressed quickly, picked up her wand, and summoned Will's wand and all of his clothing.
Will was stretched out completely naked on a conjured blanket in the middle of a field, oblivious to what was going on. Rose cancelled all of the privacy charms she had cast. Then just for good measure, she vanished the blanket. He didn't notice.
Rose Apparated directly to her room. She was not going to cry. She dumped Will's clothes on her bedroom floor. Maybe she'd burn them later. She'd have her owl Cannon return his wand . . . tomorrow. Cannon was fluffed up on her perch with her head tucked under her wing so her eyes weren't visible. She looked like a black feather duster. Or Uncle Harry's hair. Rose wished Cannon was awake so she could pet her. She was NOT going to cry. Her stomach growled. She hadn't lied about being hungry.
Rose undressed, put her clothes in the hamper, wrapped herself in her softest, fluffiest dressing gown, and went downstairs. Her dad was at the table lingering over The Daily Prophet. Rose was going to have breakfast with her parents. She was not going to cry.
"Hi Pumpkin! How are you this morning?" Ron asked.
Rose. Was. Not. Going. To. Cry. Rose burst into hysterical sobs.
"Sweetie, what's wrong?" Ron scooted back from the table and opened his arms. Rose flung herself at her dad, and sobbed into his chest. She was far too tall and too old to sit on her dad's lap, but she didn't care. He couldn't fix what was wrong like he could when she was a child, but at least wrapped up in her daddy's strong arms, she felt loved and cared for.
"Rosie?" Hermione had come into the dining room. Rose felt her dad shrug, and her mum began stroking her hair comfortingly.
She didn't know how long she cried, but her stomach rumbled loudly. She gave a wet chuckle, but didn't let go of her dad.
"I've placed warming charms on breakfast for whenever you are ready, Rosie. Would you like me to make you some tea?"
"Yes, please," Rose rasped. Ron conjured a handkerchief and handed it to his daughter.
She mopped her eyes, blew her nose, vanished the handkerchief, and got up from her dad's lap, taking the chair next to him instead.
Hermione came back in with tea. "Thank you." Rose took a sip. Her mum's tea always made her feel better. "Will ditched me." Rose figured getting straight to the point was always best.
"The bloody wanker!" Ron yelled. Hermione, for once, did not scold him for his language. "You want me to arrest him for something, Sweetie?"
Rose laughed. Dad always could make her laugh. "No, but thanks, anyway."
"Why don't we eat, and then if you want to, you can tell us what happened?"
Rose did feel better after a good cry, some hugs, a hearty breakfast, and several cups of tea. Telling her parents what Will said also helped. They both had properly horrified reactions to her story. She only omitted the detail that she and Will had been naked at the time. She figured her parents could probably guess that, but she didn't think she needed to spell it out for them.
The fireplace turned green and Roxanne's head appeared. "Good morning Aunt Hermione, Uncle Ron, Rosie."
"Hi Roxie. Have you eaten?" Ron asked.
"Yes, I have, thanks. I just wanted to see if Rose wanted to look at flats today." Roxanne gave Rose a significant look.
"That sounds good. I'll get ready and come over?"
"Okay. See you soon."
"Have fun with Roxie, Sweetie."
"I will. Thanks, Mum."
"You know there's no hurry to move out. You can just stay my little girl forever."
"I know, Daddy." Rose hugged both of her parents and went to get ready for a very different day than she had originally planned.
"So tell me what you really called me over here for." Rose and Roxanne were propped up on pillows in Roxanne's room.
"You first. I think whatever happened with you came before what I witnessed this morning."
Rose gave Roxanne a strange look, but she told her everything about what had happened with Will.
"So he shagged you twice before ditching you? What a tosser!"
Rose just nodded.
Roxanne continued, "But good for you! Leaving him naked and wandless in the field. Serves him right! So part two of the story . . ." Roxanne bounced a bit in glee. "When I woke up this morning, I heard Dad talking to someone, and he sounded angry. I snuck down to watch from the banister, and Will was completely naked in the kitchen with Dad."
"Was Uncle George naked?!" Rose wrinkled her nose.
"No!" Roxanne slapped Rose's arm, laughing. "Dad was in his dressing gown. Will was trying to convince Dad to conjure him clothes or let him borrow something since he didn't have a wand. Apparently, Will broke in to our garden shed, and since he was naked, it set off an alarm . . ."
"You have an alarm on your shed?"
"Yes. It can only be heard in the house and not in the shed, though. Mum insisted on it when Fred and I started dating. It goes off if anyone is missing clothing. I don't know what Will thought he would find in the shed anyway . . . Well, Dad wasn't the least happy about it, and I'm sure he knew if Will was naked without a wand, then he had to have made you angry, but he finally conjured Will a loincloth, and said he'd let him use the Floo." Roxanne started laughing.
"As Will was Flooing, Dad banished the loincloth."
"So he got to his house naked." Rose shrugged. "His parents probably weren't even up yet . . ."
Roxanne continued to laugh. "Dad didn't give him Floo Powder."
Rose look confused, then shrieked, "Not the Itinerant Itching Powder!"
"Yes! Dad's been wanting someone to test it."
Rose laughed. "That's why your dad's my favorite uncle! So where did it send him?"
"I don't know yet, but I certainly plan on reading The Daily Prophet tomorrow morning."
"Naked Man Floos to The Leaky Cauldron."
"Breakfast Patrons Observe Naked Man Scratching His Bollocks Raw."
Rose giggled. "They wouldn't really use that as a headline."
"No, but with Itinerant Itching Powder it will probably happen."
"How long does it last?"
"Dad doesn't know for sure, which is why he wanted to test it." Roxanne winked. "Probably a long time. And there's currently not an antidote."
"I didn't know there wasn't an antidote. I love Uncle George!"
"So how'd the entrance exam go?" Rose had barely made it through the door of the flat she shared with Roxanne before Roxanne pounced on her.
"I think really well. Since the Auror academy uses the Auror's final exam as their entrance test, just to see where everyone's strengths and weaknesses are so they can individualize the training, Dad and Uncle Harry made it sound like I shouldn't worry if I didn't know half of the answers, but I knew more than I thought I would."
"Well, you probably aced the exam. You've been reading Auror books for years." Rose shrugged. "Oh you won't believe this! Uncle Harry came by the shop today, and I happened to overhear his conversation with Dad."
Rose laughed, "You mean you eavesdropped!"
"Like father, like daughter. It was very irresponsible of Dad not to imperturb his office door . . . Anyway, the Davies want to sue Dad."
"Apparently, Will is still itching. Everywhere. And he can't use the Floo because he still doesn't come out where he intended to go."
"It's been a month!"
"I guess Dad made the stuff a bit strong." Roxanne shrugged. "Uncle Harry convinced them not to sue, because Dad would have grounds to press charges and have Will arrested for trespassing, breaking and entering, attempted burglary . . . You get the point. But Uncle Harry did strongly suggest Dad abandon the idea of Itinerant Itching Powder."
Rose laughed. Before she could say anything, her dad's head appeared in the fireplace. "Oh good, you both are here. Can you come over right now?" Rose and Roxanne looked at each other and nodded. "Great! See you in a tick!"
Rose and Roxanne Apparated to Rose's house . . . into chaos. Most of their family, except the ones who were out of the country, were crammed into the kitchen.
"She's here!" Everyone cheered. Rose had no idea what was going on. Not that it was unusual for the Weasley's to have impromptu parties. "To Rose—who earned the highest score on the Auror Entrance Exam EVER. High enough that she could qualify today as a full-fledged Auror." Rose gasped while everyone shrieked, "To Rose!" Ron popped the cork out of the champagne and raised his glass to her. "That's my girl!"
The practical trials were the next day. Rose was very jittery about them. Of course, she had always excelled in her Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, but that was nothing compared to what Aurors did. And it was nothing compared to what her parents, Uncle Harry and her other aunts and uncles had done in the war, either.
The Auror Gymnasium had been transformed to look like a seedy section of Knockturn Alley. Or at least like the pictures Rose had seen of Knockturn Alley, since she had never been there. Louis tried to convince her to go with some of their year one time, but she really hadn't wanted to go and so had stayed home instead. All she had to do for the test was apprehend the suspect. She had read the "case file" extensively. And besides, only minor hexes were allowed. How hard could it be?
About thirty seconds into Rose's exam she fell victim to a jelly legs jinx, tarantallegra, and expelliarmus simultaneously. As her weak legs flopped around at an amazing speed, Rose felt like a complete idiot. So much for being an Auror . . .
"So how'd it go?" Roxanne asked as soon as Rose slumped through the door.
"I buggered it."
"You couldn't have been that bad."
"I was. I must have received the lowest score of all time. There's no way they'll let me be an Auror now."
Ron's head appeared in the fireplace. "May I Floo over?"
"Sure, Dad." Rose sighed. Dad probably wanted to deliver the bad news in person.
"I brought you something." Ron handed Rose a bottle of Firewhisky with a pink ribbon tied around it.
"What's this for?"
"Surviving the practical trials." Roxanne giggled.
"I was complete pants at the practical trials."
"You have been accepted into the training program."
"I have?" Roxanne silently cheered for her cousin.
"Of course. The two scores are taken together. You have a strength for written work, and just need more practice for the field work. The Aurors could use someone like you who is so brilliant and wonderful at research."
"Thanks, Dad." Rose hugged him.
"So are we celebrating or drowning our sorrows?" Ron held up the Firewhisky.
Rose laughed. "I don't know."
"Well, whatever you do, Sweetie, I just want you to be happy. It's up to you if you become an Auror or not. Either way, you'll always be my girl."
"I love you, Daddy." She hugged him.
"Just don't tell your Mum I brought you Firewhisky."
Rose had just said good-bye to her dad and put the Firewhisky in the cupboard, when her Mum's head appeared in the fireplace.
"Mind if I come over?"
"Harry told me about the trials today, so I brought you your favorite chocolate. Honeydukes was closed for renovation, so don't tell your Dad I stole it from his stash. I'll replace it as soon as I can, but I wanted to get here quickly."
"It'll be our secret." Rose laughed.
Rose had a month to decide if she wanted to join the Aurors, so thought she'd go to the tryouts for the Chudley Cannons in two weeks and see what happened. She still wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life, and thought she might as well keep her options open. Rose had always been a very good Keeper. Having such long limbs had to be good for something, after all.
Rose had been practicing her flying and thought she was ready for the tryouts . . . until she saw the other players. Apparently she had no idea what professional Quidditch was truly like. It didn't matter if her dad had had season tickets to the Cannons for the last twenty-five years. It didn't matter if her hair was Cannons orange. Rose felt like she was going to throw up.
Rose awoke with both of her parents standing over her, each of them holding one of her hands.
"What happened?" she asked weakly. Her throat felt scratchy. Her mum held a glass of water with a straw in it up to her mouth so she could drink.
"A bludger hit you in the head, and you fell about fifty feet. Fortunately the coaches slowed your fall, but you were still hurt pretty badly."
"Oh well, I guess I didn't make the team, then. So much for the Cannons." Rose attempted to chuckle. "I'll start Auror training, then."
Ron and Hermione looked down and shuffled their feet.
"Sweetie," her mum said. "You've been here for a week." Rose's eyes widened.
"Auror training begins in a week. The Healers won't clear you for it by then," her dad said quietly.
"So I can't be an Auror?" Tears began to fill Rose's eyes.
"No! You can still be an Auror, love. You'll just need to wait for the next starting class."
"But that's a whole year away!"
Hermione stroked her hair. "If you really want to be an Auror, maybe you can go back to work for your Uncle George again until you're well enough."
Rose didn't know what to do. She did know she was exhausted from the short conversation and drifted off to sleep.
The next time Rose awoke, she saw Roxanne curled in an armchair next to her bed reading.
"Hi," she croaked.
Roxanne dropped her book as she leapt from the chair. "You're awake!"
"How are you feeling?" Roxanne held water up to Rose's mouth so she could sip from the straw.
"Good." Roxanne stood there staring at Rose and didn't say anything else.
"I know that look. You have something to say but don't want to say it."
Roxanne sighed. "O.K. I have bad news and good news . . . "
Rose interrupted, "Tell me the bad first so we can get it over with and have the good to look forward to."
"We are losing the flat."
"What?!" Rose sat up further in bed.
"Apparently it says in the lease that if either of us is without employment for more than one month, we have to move."
"But I'm in the hospital! And you make enough to pay for it without me! Well, not if you want to eat, but still . . ."
"I know! I even had Uncle Percy look over our lease. He says we can't do anything about it. It's perfectly legal. We signed it thinking nothing bad would happen to either of us . . ."
"So what's the good news?"
"I found us another flat."
"Above Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes."
"There's a flat over the shop?"
"Yes. Dad and Uncle Fred lived there when they left school, and after Uncle Fred died, your dad moved in. Then when your parents got married, Dad lived there alone for a bit until he married Mum, then they both lived there as newlyweds. It's been vacant since Mum and Dad moved into the house."
"Why have we never heard about any of this?"
"Dad stored some stuff there for awhile, but he didn't need the storage after he expanded the shop, so no one's been up there in ages. He just hadn't thought about it."
"Brilliant! But I hate to leave you to move all by yourself . . ."
"Are you taking the mickey? We're Weasleys! Our dads have already planned the Moving Party," Roxanne and Rose both laughed.
After spending several weeks in St. Mungo's Rose realized how wonderful Healers were. They didn't just do the bare minimum for her—all of the ones she met were thrilled to answer her questions, and talk to her, and even bring her books on Healing. She never had time to get bored between all her reading and her physical therapy. Rose had been invited to join the Healer Training program, and her experience as a patient at St. Mungo's made her decide that was what she wanted to do.
"Rose! I didn't know if you'd be well enough to make it!"
Rose smiled as she hugged Louis, "I wouldn't miss my cousin's going away party."
"It's not like I won't be back to visit frequently. You'll probably see me more often than we saw our parents when we were at Hogwarts."
"True, but you know our family. Any excuse to throw a huge party." Louis laughed. Before Rose could respond, one of Louis' fellow Hufflepuffs flung herself at him. Rose made a hasty retreat.
Unfortunately, she hastily retreated directly into Auntie Muriel.
"Rose!" Auntie Muriel glared in Rose's direction like an angry flamingo. "Where's that handsome Quidditch player who was courting you?"
Rose felt herself blushing, "We aren't going out any more, Auntie Muriel."
"Stupid girl! You shouldn't have let that one get away. What with your orange hair, those skinny ankles, and being taller than a giraffe you're not likely to find another one . . ."
Auntie Muriel quit talking with Scorpius Malfoy's appearance, and Rose jumped at the opportunity to change the subject.
"Auntie Muriel, this is Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius, this is my great-great-great-great aunt Muriel Prewett."
"It's an honor to meet you Mrs Prewett," Scorpius bowed to Auntie Muriel, and kissed her extended hand.
Auntie Muriel almost giggled, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr Malfoy."
"Would you mind terribly if I asked Rose to dance, Mrs Prewett?"
"Of course not, Mr Malfoy." Auntie Muriel glared at Rose as if ordering her with her eyes to say yes.
Scorpius bowed to Rose. "Rose, may I have the pleasure of this dance?"
Even Auntie Muriel looked impressed with Scorpius' manners. "I would love to, thank you, Scorpius." She reached for his offered hand.
As she took it, Auntie Muriel turned away and shrieked to no one in particular, "I'm 134. I need a chair!"
Scorpius, winking at Rose, conjured a squashy, emerald arm chair. "Will this suffice, Mrs Prewett?"
"Thank you, Mr Malfoy," Auntie Muriel tittered as she sat.
Before Auntie Muriel could say anything else, Scorpius nodded to her in response, and then hurried Rose off to dance. Thank Merlin for Scorpius Malfoy!
Rose began Healer training on September 1, and she loved it. She loved the reading, she loved the class work, she loved her fellow students . . . She had classes for several weeks before they began to do rounds with qualified Healers. The Student Healers were only observing, but they wanted them to get a feel for the place early.
The first time Rose went on rounds, she saw blood, and fainted. "It's all right, dear, everyone does that," Healer Education Specialist Mitchell told her.
The second time Rose went on rounds, she saw a dead person and vomited. On the floor. In front of her class. "It's all right dear. You'll get used to it." Healer Smethwyck said comfortingly, as he vanished the sick.
But Rose wasn't at all sure she wanted to get used to it. What if someone's life was at stake and she fainted? She knew everything in the books. She read faster than all of her classmates, but when it came to doing anything practical, she was hopeless.
She tried to intern with her Mum beginning in November. There were no lives at stake in terms of their hearts actually beating, but what if she missed something in the research and sent an innocent person to Azkaban? She worried constantly about missing something, but at the same time was bored out of her mind reading dusty law books. After not quite two months, and with her mum's blessing, she quit.
In January, after four failed attempts at careers, (she gave up on Auror training after seeing what Al was going through) Rose went to work, as she had on every holiday since she was thirteen, for her Uncle George. She mostly just mixed potions, but Uncle George gave her the title, Director of Research and Development for WWW Enterprises—London, Hogsmeade, Paris.
Two years later, Rose was still Director of Research and Development for WWW Enterprises—London, Hogsmeade, Paris. She also still mostly mixed potions.
The potion Rose was working on today wouldn't thicken properly, and Rose wasn't sure why. She was debating if she needed to throw it out and start over, but the ingredients were expensive, and she didn't want to waste them unless absolutely necessary. Not that Uncle George would be too fussed, but still. She was distracted today, but kept stirring as she glanced at the cause of her distraction.
Mr and Mrs Harry James Potter
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mr Dean William Thomas, II
Saturday, the fourth of July
Two thousand twenty-six
at three o'clock in the afternoon
Ottery St. Catchpole
Lily would finish Hogwarts in June and get married in July. Dean had only proposed at Christmas, and they had already set a date. Roxie was engaged, too, but she and Frank were waiting a bit to get married. Of course, she knew Frank and Roxie were already enjoying "certain activities" as her mum put it, and was pretty sure Lily and Dean were not. At least last she'd heard.
Rose sighed. She glared at the potion, which was still not thickening. It had been ages since she had participated in "certain activities". Not since Will, in fact. She hadn't even had a date in a year. Not after what happened the last time, but she didn't want to think about that . . .
Rose continued to stir with one hand and put her head down on the work table on her other arm. She heard several loud clinks and a thunk, glanced quickly at the potion, and dropped to the floor.
Rose felt something wet splash on her. She cautiously looked up. The ceiling and walls were covered in purplish . . . goo. She didn't know what it was. Rose looked at herself, and screamed. She was completely starkers! What had happened to her clothes? She quickly scurried across the floor and hid in a storage cupboard. She didn't want anyone to see her like that . . . particularly Uncle George. She reached for her wand to conjure some clothes . . . Shite! Her wand had been in her pocket, and now there was no pocket.
There was no one in the work room. Maybe she could sneak out and grab her wand and sneak back in and conjure some clothes without anyone from the front coming to the back? She turned the knob to the cupboard. She shook the knob to the cupboard. Hard. Sod it all! Yelling for help wouldn't do her a bit of good, because Uncle George had silencing spells between the shop and the work room—explosions tended to unnerve the customers. Rose was still working for her uncle in the pity-job he'd given her since she was too useless to do anything else, she had caused a serious explosion, she was the only one of her female cousins who was not at least engaged, and she was locked in the cupboard, wandless and naked. Rose started to cry.
Rose awoke with a start.
"Rosie, what happened? Where are you?!"
"I'm in the cupboard, Uncle George," Rose responded dully.
"Are you locked in? I'll let you out."
"You want to stay in the cupboard?"
"No, but you can't open the door! I'm naked," Rose whispered the last bit.
"Why can't I open the door? I couldn't hear you, love."
"The potion dissolved my clothes, and I'm naked."
"What were you making?"
"Fever Fudge, but I think I did something wrong, because it wasn't thickening properly, and then I think I knocked something over. It all happened so fast . . ."
"This could be a brilliant discovery!"
"What?!" Rose could not believe what she was hearing.
"A product that vanishes all the clothing in the room? It'd be great for pranking large groups or for parties."
"I don't even want to know what kind of parties you and Aunt Angelina go to."
George laughed. "Do you think you can figure out what you did? I'll get samples of the purple stuff . . ."
"Maybe, I don't know. Uncle George, are you going to let me out of the cupboard?"
"You told me not to open the door."
"I didn't tell you not to unlock the door!"
"Don't get your knickers in a twist!" George laughed. "I guess you can't get your knickers in a twist if you aren't wearing any, can you?"
"Uncle George!!" Rose whined.
"In here, Roxie." Rose had gone home from her awful day to have a soak in a bubble bath—a luxury which always made her feel better.
Roxanne poked her head into the bathroom. "Dad told me the basics of what happened. You can fill in the rest. We're going out."
"I don't feel like going out, Roxie."
"You never feel like going out. You need to go out more, get pissed, have some fun."
"I can get pissed here. Your dad sent me home with a bottle of Firewhisky."
"We need to find you a bloke, so you can have a boyfriend by the time of Lily's wedding. Seen anyone interesting lately?"
"Well, you don't want Auntie Muriel making comments like she did at Louis' party."
"Isn't she ever going to die?"
"Rose! That's awful," Roxanne laughed anyway, then said in an excellent impression of Auntie Muriel's loud screech, "I'm only 137!"
"We need to find someone for you to go out with. You've only had a handful of dates since Will, none of which went well."
"You've only gone out with one person in your whole life, Miss I've-Been-in-Love-with-Frank-Longbottom-s
"What about Scorpius Malfoy?"
"What about him?"
"You enjoyed dancing with him, and he even impressed Auntie Muriel. You could ask him to be your date for Lily's wedding."
"I've hardly seen Scorpius in ages. He's even more of a recluse than Al."
"You're blush-ing," Roxanne sing-songed.
"Would you go away and let me enjoy my bath in peace!" Rose threw a handful of bubbles at Roxanne, who dodged them as she left the bathroom.
Rose tried for months to figure out what she had done with the potion, but she had no idea. She had caused several more explosions, none of which removed her clothes, however. Uncle George had been patient with her, so far, but she could see the not-quite-hidden look of disappointment in his eyes. Today had been a particularly bad day. Rose sighed. She hadn't come up with a new idea in a year, and now she couldn't even figure out how to repeat her "accidental discovery". She just wasn't any good at this!
"Hey Rosie, why don't we call it a day?"
"All right, Uncle George."
"Want to come with me to the Leaky, and I'll buy you dinner and a pint?"
"You're going to fire me, aren't you?" Rose would die from shame if she couldn't even manage to be successful at working for her uncle.
"What?! Where'd you get that mental idea?! Of course I'm not going to fire you. I just want your opinion on something."
After their stomachs were full, and they were both sipping their second pint of the evening, George broached the subject he wanted to discuss. "Rosie, I know you've been having a spot of bother figuring out that new potion, and I would like to hire someone to help you. What do you think?"
Her uncle George had managed to convince her earlier he would not fire her. "But everyone in our family is pants at potions, including me, which is the problem . . ."
"First of all, you are not pants at potions, you are very good at potions—the best in the family, actually, but it is your weakest area. And I wasn't thinking of hiring someone in the family. I was thinking I'd advertise for a Master Potioneer."
"It could be good to have someone to work with," Rose responded flatly.
"You don't look like you think it's a good thing. What's going on?"
"I'm sorry I've let you down, Uncle George. I haven't come up with any new ideas in ages, and I can't figure out the explosion I caused, and now because I'm being useless, you have to pay money to hire someone else to help me since I can't do the job, and you aren't going to fire me just because I'm your niece."
"Rosie-Love, you are completely too hard on yourself. I only am fortunate enough to have someone as brilliant as you are working with me because you're my niece. I know you've had a tough time figuring out what you want to do, and didn't see yourself working at Wheezes forever. I've always been the "let's earn spending money" uncle for you and your cousins." Rose chuckled. "But I would love it if you made Wheezes your permanent career. I want you working with me." Rose started to interrupt but George held up a hand to stop her. "After the war, when the entire family was helping me get the shop going again, it was three years before I invented anything. I didn't know how without Fred. So when you say it's been ages, it hasn’t been anywhere near as long as I went."
"But Wheezes thrived after the war!"
"Yes, all of the shops did. People had been in hiding for too long and were thrilled to be out and about again. For the first year, we revived all of the old products and that's what we sold. Fred and I had had a couple of ideas that didn't make it to production before we had to go into hiding, so we started making those next. Your Mum and Dad, and Percy, Audrey, Harry, Ginny all helped. But the ideas came from mostly Ginny and your Dad, Percy came up with quite a few surprisingly, Andromeda had a couple of ideas. I couldn't think of a thing, and would have gone out of business without help."
"What did Uncle Percy think of?" Rose loved Uncle Percy. She especially enjoyed discussing books she had read with him, but he didn't seem like the joke shop type.
George laughed. "Blimey! Percy and Audrey began our line of adult products."
"I'm not. It's always the quiet ones." George shook his head. "You feel better now?"
"Yes, I do." Rose smiled.
"Good. I'll run the advert for a Master Potioneer in the Sunday Prophet. I'm not sure if we'll get any response, but it can't hurt to try."