Gift For: lachambre11
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: Chapters 2 and 3 here. I might write a Draco/ Asteria outtake to this at some point. *adds that to the "Stuff to Write Someday" List* ;D
CHAPTER 2: SCORPIUS
"So Scorpius, now that you have completed Hogwarts, what are your plans?"
Scorpius chewed his filet mignon thoughtfully. "I want to become a Master Potioneer, Grandmother."
Narcissa nodded approvingly.
"We are very proud of your achievement, Scorpius. Very few students win the International Prize for Potion-Making Excellence. That should help you to find your apprenticeship."
"I've already sent out letters of inquiry, Grandmother."
"You are a very astute young man, Scorpius. Many students will take a holiday before sending their letters. You are now ahead of the rest. Your grandfather would be very proud—Salazar rest his soul."
"Thank you, Grandmother. Now I just need to wait for replies."
"Very well. You seem to be on an acceptable path for your future. Are their any appropriate uxorial prospects?"
Scorpius felt his cheeks heating. "Not at the moment, Grandmother."
"Narcissa, leave Scorpius alone. He's only eighteen. There's plenty of time for him to fall in love and get married."
"I was promised to Lucius at birth, Asteria."
"Arranged marriages have been out of fashion for decades! Scorpius will find a proper wife when the time is right for him."
"Thank you, Mother." Scorpius ate his last asparagus spear.
"You should go visit your father and tell him everything you're doing. He'd be very proud. . ."
"Mother, I will not visit Father."
"I'm certain he would rather hear about your accomplishments from you than from your grandmother or me. It's been such a long time since you've seen him."
Scorpius finished his last sip of the exquisite Tempranillo. "I appreciate the excellent meal, but if you will excuse me, I am quite tired from the leaving ceremony." Scorpius rose and inclined his head. "Mother. Grandmother. I bid you good night."
"Sleep well, dear."
Scorpius was relieved to return to his bedroom. His grandmother's talk of marriage and his mother's talk of his father made him very uncomfortable. Especially since the one girl he'd gone out with in fifth year ditched him when his father was arrested for fraud. Scorpius had no idea how his father's arrest for fraud had anything to do with him, but at least his friends hadn’t ditched him, too.
"An owl left this for you, Scorpius."
"Thank you, Mother." Scorpius opened his letter and read it quickly. It was the same as all the others.
"Rejection letter, again?"
"Yes." Scorpius sighed. "From Gaspard Shingleton," he added before his mother could ask. "This is the last one."
"All of the Master Potioneers to whom you sent letters of inquiry declined your apprenticeship?"
"Maybe you should talk to your friend Albus' father."
"What could Mr Potter do, Mother? According to Al, his father doesn't know anything about potions."
"Harry Potter may not know potions, but he does know people. The Man Who Lived Twice would surely have a friend, an acquaintance, a contact who is a Master Potioneer and would accept the friend of the son of The Saviour of the Wizarding World as an apprentice."
"All right, Mother. I'll look into it."
"Thank you very much, Mr Potter. I'll make contact immediately."
"You're welcome, Scorpius."
"Dad, Scorpius will do no such thing. You shouldn't be encouraging him to talk business at a party."
"I asked your father for his help, Al." Scorpius rolled his eyes at his friend.
"Oh, all right, then. Sorry, Dad."
Harry just laughed. "I'll see you two later."
"So what . . ."
"I asked your father if he knew any Master Potioneers. He did. Several, in fact, one of whom I have not yet contacted."
"Great! It only takes one to say yes." Al was staring at something over Scorpius' shoulder. "Hey, mate, could you please go ask Rose to dance? Right now?"
Scorpius looked over his shoulder. "Bad relative?"
Scorpius could hear Rose's crazy relative as soon as he took a few steps. She was extremely loud. Poor Rose. Scorpius thought she looked quite fetching in her midnight blue dress.
He extricated her from said insane relation and steered Rose onto the dance floor.
"Thank you! Did Al tell you to ask me to dance?"
Scorpius looked very surprised, and wasn't sure if he should answer.
"It's fine if he did. We have a pact to help each other if Auntie Muriel corners us."
Scorpius laughed. "He did."
"I'll have to thank him later. You're a very good dancer, by the way."
"Thank you. As are you."
Rose rolled her eyes, but smiled and didn't comment. Scorpius quite enjoyed dancing with her.
As soon as the song finished, Scorpius heard a booming voice behind him. "May I cut in? I want to make sure I dance with all of my beautiful nieces tonight."
Scorpius turned to see one of the scariest looking men he had ever encountered. He had to be Rose and Al's Uncle Bill. "Of course, Sir." Scorpius was proud his voice didn't crack. "Thank you for the dance, Rose."
"Thank you, Scorpius."
As Scorpius walked away, he regretted no longer having Rose in his arms. From the forced smile on her face, she didn't seem too happy either.
The owl landed at Scorpius' place while he breakfasted with his mother and grandmother.
Scorpius opened the letter and stared at it in shock.
"What is it, dear?"
"I have an apprenticeship!"
"With whom, Scorpius?"
Scorpius was certain his cheeks were reddening. "Madam Primpernelle, Grandmother."
"Oh, Mr Potter helped, then?"
"Yes, Mother. Madam Primpernelle is er, . . . rather fond of Mr Potter."
"Madam Primpernelle, the hairdresser?!"
"I may not want to follow in her footsteps for my future career, but she is a Master Potioneer, and has granted me an apprenticeship."
"Will she pay you, then?"
Scorpius hesitated. "No, Grandmother. It is an unpaid apprenticeship."
"I thought you wanted to get a flat with your friend, Albus?"
"I do, Mother. I will need to find paid employment in addition to my internship."
"My friend Mara is a Potioneer, but she never achieved the level of Master so she cannot have an apprentice. She may be willing to hire additional help, though. She runs The Apothecary in Knockturn Alley."
Asteria looked surprised. "You want my son to work in Knockturn Alley? I wouldn't let him set foot in that place." Narcissa rolled her eyes at Asteria.
"Mum, I've been to Knockturn Alley before." Asteria looked at him archly, and he shrugged. "I was curious."
"So Grandmother, do you think your friend would hire me?"
"I'm sure she would. She only works in Knockturn Alley because in my day female Potioneers were very rare. She had trouble finding an apprenticeship as well, which is why she never became a Master. At least not officially, although she is certainly capable. She produces the best flesh-eating slug repellant in the country. I think she would be most understanding of your predicament—ostracized for something which is not your fault in the least. We will owl her immediately."
Scorpius sighed. His potion had to have an extremely hot fire in order to be effective, and it was unseasonably warm for late autumn. His hair stuck to his head, and he had to be careful not to let any sweat droplets fall into the potion, as that would decrease its effectiveness.
He would not even have time for a lunch break today since he had to stir the potion every fifteen minutes. Mara didn't allow eating while potion making. It didn't matter how careful he promised to be.
He finished his round of stirring and set the timer for fifteen minutes. He sat down to wait, closing his eyes briefly. He could feel Mara's portraits staring at him. They were all fairly creepy, but at least they were quiet, unlike at Madam Primpernelle's where the portraits flirted with him.
Scorpius heard someone clearing their throat, and opened his eyes to see a gorgeous young woman standing in front of him. He thought he might be dreaming until she spoke.
"Yes?" Good. He had managed one syllable without sounding like a hormonal teenager.
"I'm Anna. I just moved here from Albania. My uncle knew Miss Selwyn at school, so she is helping me to settle."
Scorpius was surprised Anna didn't have much of an accent. He stared at her for a moment until he remembered his manners. Scorpius stood up and offered Anna his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Anna."
Anna smiled. "The pleasure is all mine, Scorpius."
Between working days at The Apothecary, and evenings and weekends at Madam Primpernelle's, Scorpius did not have too much time to spend with Anna. Fortunately, she didn't mind visiting him at The Apothecary. And Mara didn't mind either as long as he wasn't brewing anything too difficult.
Anna walked into the back room carrying a large basket. "I thought we could have lunch. I already asked Mara, and she said it was all right."
Scorpius pecked Anna on the lips in greeting, and peeked into the basket. Anna lightly slapped his hand.
"We can eat when you have kissed me properly." Anna pushed Scorpius back into his chair, straddled his lap, and kissed him deeply. When she paused to breathe, Scorpius wasn't sure he could remember his name let alone manage to eat.
He changed his mind when he saw the wonderful lunch Anna had prepared. They enjoyed the delicious meal, and Scorpius only had to pause to stir a potion once.
When Anna packed up the empty plates and containers, she turned to Scorpius, and with a gleam in her eye said, "Now for dessert." Anna took hold of Scorpius' belt buckle, and pulled him into the storage cupboard. She locked, silenced, and imperturbed the door.
Scorpius enjoyed "dessert" very much, even though he destroyed the potion he was working on. He was sure the portraits tattled on him since Mara deducted the price of the ingredients from his paycheck, but Scorpius didn't care. It was worth it.
"I thought you hardly ever see your flatmate?"
"I don't. Al works nights with the Aurors, so we occasionally pass each other when he's coming home from work and I'm leaving for work . . ."
"Then what is the problem?"
"Well, he could come home early. Aurors have unpredictable hours sometimes."
Anna gently wound a piece of Scorpius' hair around her finger. "But Scorpius, it would be so romantic to, what is the word? Shag in front of the fireplace." While Anna spoke her other hand found it's way into Scorpius' trousers, and he ceased to care if Al came home and got an eyeful.
Scorpius walked into the Leaky Cauldron, glanced around, and joined his flatmate at the corner booth when he saw Al wave to him. Al pushed a glass of Firewhisky over to him as soon as he sat down. Scorpius downed it in one, and Al refilled it for him from the bottle on the table.
"So do you want to talk about it?"
Scorpius shrugged. "Father was happy to see me, he asked about what I've been doing. He didn't give me a hard time or ask any uncomfortable questions. I asked him what books he's been reading. It was fairly painless."
Al shook his head. "I still can't believe your mum and your grandmum asked you to go as their Christmas gift. How long had it been since you'd seen him?" Al refilled both of their glasses.
"A bit over two years. When I was underage I went every week I wasn't at Hogwarts, one week with Mother, and the next with Grandmother, since they alternate. For some reason, the Ministry Detention Facility does not count 'children' as visitors. When I turned seventeen, my mother and grandmother wanted to alternate every three weeks, but I didn't want to go, and they couldn't force me. Of course, they can still guilt me into visiting Father." Scorpius and Al both chuckled.
"My mum's trying to guilt me into finding a date for my sister's wedding, which wouldn't be that bad, except she has a particular person in mind."
"Who?" Scorpius laughed.
"Alice Longbottom, Lily's best friend and maid of honor. The only unattached bridesmaid. Well, the only unattached bridesmaid I'm not related to."
"I didn't think you fancied Alice."
"I don't. Mum does." Scorpius almost choked on his Firewhisky. Al began speaking in a very poor imitation of Ginny Potter's voice, "Oh! With Lily and Dean, Junior getting married, if you fell in love with Alice, and the two of you got married, I'd share grandchildren with my two best friends. Wouldn't that be wonderful? And besides, I married my brother's best friend, and see how well that turned out?" Al clasped his hands over his heart and batted his eyelashes at Scorpius.
"Your mother didn't actually say that, did she?"
"No. But she's hinted enough. It's too bad you don't have a sister, mate, then I'd have a date."
"How pitiful is it that you think your only prospect for an eligible woman is your friend's non-existent sister?"
"Speaking of women, how are things with Anna? I haven't seen you in ages. Not to talk to you at least . . ." Al laughed.
Scorpius blushed. "Would you let it go? Merlin! The only time you've ever come home early . . ."
"So I take it things are going well?"
"Yes, things are going well."
"We missed you at last month's dinner, Scorpius."
"I apologize, Grandmother."
"We know you are very busy, Scorpius, but seeing you only once a month is difficult enough already."
"Mara tells me you have a young woman in your life." Scorpius almost spewed his sip of Malbec across the table, but with great effort managed to swallow. "I would have preferred to hear that from you rather than from her."
"Really Scorpius? Why didn't you tell us?"
"I was planning to tell you in person today, Mother. I didn't think it would be proper to send an owl with that sort of news."
"Is she the reason you skived off our meal last month?"
"No, Grandmother. I ruined a potion and needed to work on my day off to make it up."
"I know you would never intentionally skive off, Scorpius." Asteria gave Narcissa a piercing look. "It is so rare for you to make a mistake in a potion, though. What happened?"
Scorpius shrugged and willed himself not to blush. He certainly could not answer that question truthfully.
"It's all right, dear." Asteria patted his hand. "So tell us about your young woman."
Scorpius sat at the corner booth of the Leaky Cauldron. He had already made a considerable dent in the bottle of Firewhisky.
"Bad day, huh?" Al sat down across from Scorpius.
"Anna and I broke up."
"What happened?" Scorpius blushed and poured himself another Firewhisky. "This must be good if you're blushing and having another drink. Tell me."
Scorpius rolled his eyes at Al. "Not much to tell. We went out for a while, I thought things were progressing rather nicely, and then she ditched me when she discovered I don't have a Dark Mark."
Al spit out his drink. "What?!"
"You heard me. She's part of some mental club who want to shag Death Eaters. She thought the Dark Mark was passed down from father to son, or some such nonsense. She didn't care my father's incarcerated, although she was rather disappointed it's 'just for fraud'. And even more disappointed that I have no ambition to take over for Voldemort. I don't know." Scorpius drank another shot. "I should have known better than to go out with someone I met in Knockturn Alley."
"If I ever met someone who looked like her, I wouldn't care where I'd met her." Scorpius snorted. "Umm, is there a reason she didn't notice a while ago that you don't have the Dark Mark? I mean, she's seen you . . . you've been . . ." Al made vague hand gestures.
"You can say the word 'shagging' Al." Scorpius rolled his eyes. "She thought I had disillusioned the Mark."
"That's awful, mate. I'm sorry." Scorpius shrugged and poured himself another drink. He slid an envelope across the table to Al. "What's this?"
"I thought the Aurors should probably know about this neo-Death Eater group. I don't know what they call themselves. That envelope contains an anonymous tip which you may show your father, but if you tell him it's from me, I will strangle you in your sleep."
"We are so proud of you Scorpius! Master Potioneer and on your first try, too!"
"Thank you, Mother."
"What are your plans now that you have achieved your goal?"
"I would very much like to work making potions for St. Mungo's, Grandmother, but those jobs are very few and difficult to come by. I'll keep working for Mara until I find a position."
"We have every confidence in your abilities, Scorpius." Asteria nodded enthusiastically.
"Thank you, Grandmother. Mother."
Scorpius saw the owl and opened his bedroom window to let it in. He removed the letter from the owl's leg, and the owl immediately flew off without even waiting for a rest or a treat.
"We are sorry to inform you that we cannot accept your application for employment at this time . . ."
Scorpius crumpled the letter into a little ball, and threw it at the wall as hard as he could. He sighed. He was tired of receiving rejection letters. Every job for which he had applied had rejected him. So far, Al kept reminding him. Al had to be the most optimistic Slytherin of all time.
Scorpius sighed, donned his dressing gown and left his room in search of coffee. Al looked up from the paper when Scorpius appeared.
"What's the matter? You don't look well . . ."
"Another rejection letter, from St. Mungo's this time."
"That's their loss, mate. I made coffee . . ."
"Thanks." Scorpius poured himself a cup and sat at the table with Al. "May I have the employment section, please?" Al shuffled through the paper and handed it over.
There were never that many listings for Master Potioneers in The Daily Prophet, but as Scorpius had applied, and been rejected recently, from every one of the listings in various potions publications, he looked anyway.
Seeking Master Potioneer to work in Research and Development for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes—London, Hogsmeade, Paris. Apply in person to Mister George Weasley at the Diagon Alley Branch.
It was the only listing in the Potions section. "Why didn't you tell me your uncle is hiring a Master Potioneer?" Scorpius demanded.
"Which uncle?" Al put down the paper.
"Why would Uncle George need a Master Potioneer?"
"To work in research and development, apparently. That's all it says."
"I didn't know he was hiring someone. I do know, last time I talked to Rose, she was having a terrible time figuring out some potion or other, but she wouldn't tell me much about it. Roxie wouldn't either, which is pretty strange . . . Where are you going?"
"To Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes"
CHAPTER 3: ROSE & SCORPIUS
Rose was rereading her notes for the thousandth time, when Uncle George hurried in with a huge grin on his face. "Guess what, Rose!"
Rose rolled her eyes. "Please just tell me."
"I've hired a Master Potioneer."
"Really?! I thought no one had answered the advertisement."
"Someone has now." George leaned out the door into the front room, and then Scorpius Malfoy walked in.
"Scorpius! You have your license now? Al told me you were working on it. Congratulations!"
"Thank you, Rose."
"Since you two know each other, I'll leave Rose to explain your first project."
"Thank you, Mr Weasley."
"Scorpius, Mr Weasley is my dad. I'm George." George winked and left Scorpius and Rose alone.
"So what are we supposed to work on first?" Scorpius looked at Rose expectantly.
Rose really wished Uncle George had explained this since it was his barmy idea. "Several months ago, I knocked some bottles over while I was making Fever Fudge, and accidentally created a new product. Uncle George has wanted me to replicate my results, but I haven't been able to. I have all of my notes of what I have tried here." Rose handed Scorpius the notebook she was holding.
Scorpius took the notebook and began to skim the contents, impressed at the meticulousness of Rose's notes. "What is this new product supposed to do?"
Rose was not surprised at Scorpius' question, and she would have to tell him, but she could feel her face heating and knew she was blushing. "It will make all the clothing in the room vanish."
Rose smiled at the expression of absolute shock on Scorpius' face. "You look like you're reconsidering working here."
"No, I want to work here, especially as your uncle is the only person who wants to hire me, but why would he want a product that vanishes clothing?"
"Wheezes does have a line of adult products. Uncle George said it would be good for pranking large groups or for parties."
"I don't even want to know what kind of parties he attends."
Rose laughed. "That's what I said!"
"Why don't you give me the details of how this happened and maybe I can think of something?"
Rose reluctantly told Scorpius the entire story, only omitting her sobbing and then falling asleep in the cupboard. She concluded, " . . . and we have plenty of samples of the purple goo if you want to analyze it."
"I'll do that, but it would also help if we knew exactly what was on the table when the explosion occurred and the arrangement of the bottles. You said you were distracted at the time, are you sure you remember each item that was there?"
"Not entirely, to be honest, but I don't know . . ."
"Have you thought of putting your memory in a pensieve?"
"That would help, but where are we going to find a pensieve?"
"My grandmother owns one. I'm certain she would let me borrow it. And I need to go over there tonight to tell her and my mother about the new job anyway."
"You got a pensieve!" Rose shrieked by way of greeting the next morning.
"I told you my grandmother would lend it to me."
"So what do we do to make it work?"
"First of all you need to remove your memory of that day so we can look at it." Rose turned bright red. "Oh, er . . . we don't need the entire memory. Probably just what you were doing before the explosion would be sufficient so we can see what bottles were on the table."
Rose nodded. "I don't know how to remove a memory."
"I could help if that would be all right?"
"Focus on what you were doing right before the explosion. Try to picture the space, especially visualize what was on the table. I'm going to put my wand to your head and remove the memory. Keep concentrating." Scorpius gently touched his wand to Rose's forehead and said the spell to remove her memory.
Rose closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on the pre-explosion arrangement of things. She felt Scorpius move close to her. She couldn't hear what spell he used, but she felt his warm breath on her face as he spoke it, and the gentle pressure of his wand tip against her forehead. Rose's spine tingled.
"Got it." Rose opened her eyes as Scorpius placed her memory in the pensieve and stirred the airy, liquidy silver stuff with his wand.
She saw her image rise out of the pensieve, standing at the table, listlessly stirring a potion as she read a piece of parchment. She thought she looked bored, sad, and frustrated, which she supposed was accurate for how she was feeling that day.
Rose glanced at Scorpius to see if he noticed how depressed she had looked, but he was not paying any attention to her pensieve image. He had drawn a diagram of all of the bottles and ingredients on the table and was carefully labeling each one. Rose thought the way his hair fell over his eyes while he wrote was rather sexy.
Scorpius handed her his drawing. "Would you like me to put the memory back into your head or vanish it?"
"Please put it back in. My memory's poor enough without missing any of it."
Scorpius laughed. He picked up Rose's memory from the pensieve, and again touched his wand to her forehead. There were some curls escaping from Rose's plait, which were intermingling with the strand of memory. Scorpius gently moved them out of the way, as he spoke the spell. He thought he felt Rose shiver, but he wasn't sure. He knew he wanted to find more excuses to touch her hair.
Scorpius handed Rose his diagram and her notebook. Rose glanced at her list of ingredients, and Scorpius' diagram, and shouted, "Doxy urine!"
Rose looked confused. "Doxy urine is the ingredient I forgot."
"Oh, I thought that was creative swearing." Rose laughed. "George really uses doxy urine as an ingredient?"
"Yes. Uncle George uses a lot of different ingredients. Why don't I gather the ingredients while you examine the purple goo, and we can try to sort this out?"
A couple of hours later, Rose and Scorpius were ready to try.
"So if this works, we're both going to end up starkers?"
"That's the general idea, yes. There are two storage cupboards at the back of this room, so we can each run into one of them until we can conjure clothes or someone can bring us some."
Scorpius nodded, and waved his wand canceling the enchantment which held the proper measure of each ingredient in stasis over the cauldron.
Rose's top had vanished, leaving her in her orange bra. Scorpius was shirtless, and missing one sock and one shoe, on different feet funnily enough.
"I guess it isn't strong enough." Rose took her wand out of her jeans pocket, summoned her shirt, and put it back on.
Scorpius was rather disappointed Rose put her shirt back on, "So we can just summon our clothes?" He summoned his, put his wand down, and redressed as well. "Maybe we could have different strengths of this stuff. You know, a regular version and the adult version?"
"That's a good idea. We can run that by Uncle George when he gets back."
"Where'd he go?"
"To visit Louis and Dominique at the Paris shop." Rose continued scribbling notes about the results of the experiment in her notebook.
"Are all of the shops run by family members?"
"Yes. Fred manages the Hogsmeade branch, and James helps him when it's not Quidditch season. Dominique and Louis are in Paris. Victoire wanted to stay home when she had the baby, so Louis went to help there. Roxie does the books for all three stores since she's so good at arithmancy. We do have non-family members who help, too, though."
Scorpius nodded. "Do we want to try again and make everything stronger?"
Scorpius made some calculations. "We can try these amounts."
Rose immediately made a dash for the cupboard. The door slammed behind her. She turned to check the knob to make sure she wasn't locked in again, and ran into something warm and solid.
"This is my cupboard!" she yelled at the warm and solid Scorpius.
"Excuse me, but you didn't specify which cupboard was whose."
"Please leave and go to the other one." Rose couldn't see anything, but knowing she was naked in a cupboard with a naked Scorpius Malfoy was going to drive her absolutely crazy.
Scorpius tried the door knob. "It's locked. I guess this is our cupboard then, unless you have your wand? I left mine on the table."
"Mine was in my pocket." Again, Rose thought unhappily. "So we're stuck." Rose rolled her eyes, even though she knew Scorpius couldn't see her.
"How long will we be in here?"
"Until someone comes to the back room and notices we aren't there. It shouldn't be too long since Roxie will want lunch." Scorpius started to say something, but Rose continued before he could, "It won't do any good to yell for help because there are silencing charms between the shop and the back room."
"Oh." Scorpius sighed. "Well, I certainly can't say my first day of work was boring."
Rose laughed. "No, working for Uncle George has never been boring."
Rose had an idea and began rummaging around one of the shelves. Aha! She thought the Glory Stix were stored here. They weren't one of the more popular items. Uncle George based them on the Hand of Glory, which only gave light to its owner, but their one lumos spell didn't last very long, and that was all they did.
She cracked one of the Stix. It gave her enough light to see Scorpius leaning against the wall across the cupboard from her. He was extremely fit. His hair was mussed and had fallen into his warm, blue eyes. His cheeks were flushed, from the run across the room, or from embarrassment, she didn't know. His chest and arms were far more muscular than she would have expected for someone who made potions for a living. She supposed he probably had to haul around boxes of ingredients, too. Unfortunately, she couldn't see his arse since he was leaning against the wall. She moved the light lower. Scorpius was very well-endowed. And very aroused. He wasn't the only one.
"What are you doing?"
Rose gasped and dropped the Glory Stix on the floor, which made the light fizzle out. "I was . . . just rummaging through the shelves to see if there was anything that could help us. Some of the more expensive fake wands can actually do one spell, and I thought we might be able to use one of them to open the door, if it would work, but I don't know, but I can't find them so . . ." Rose knew she was completely babbling, so stopped. She felt flustered. All sorts of things were going through her mind that she and Scorpius could be doing in this cupboard that did not involve talking.
"Oh," Scorpius replied. He was sure Rose was lying, but he didn't know why. He felt like she had been staring at him, but it was dark in here—he didn't understand how she could be staring. If she were staring, he hoped she liked what she saw. There was a thin strip of light beneath the door, but all Scorpius could see were his own feet. He couldn't see Rose at all, and she wasn't even a metre away from him. Of course, he had a rather lovely view of her bum as she dashed into the cupboard ahead of him. He slid down the wall to sit on the floor. He heard Rose do the same.
Rose wasn't sure how long they sat in the dark cupboard talking and pretending neither of them wanted to do more than talk. Finally, she heard "Rosie? Scorpius? Where are you?"
"We're in the cupboard, Roxie!"
"The purple goo everywhere means you figured it out?"
"Yes. Now please unlock the door and hand us our wands."
Roxanne collected the two wands, waved her own, unlocked the door, and opened it just wide enough to slip Rose and Scorpius' wands through the crack. Both of them immediately summoned their clothing, which turned out not to be the best idea, as a deluge of fabric flung itself through the crack in the open door and draped itself all over the cupboard. Roxanne laughed hysterically at the sounds of scuffling emanating from the cupboard.
"Stop laughing at us!" Rose shrieked. "Do you want to work on this stupid potion?!"
"Apparently, you and Scorpius are doing just fine with the potion." Roxanne managed to answer through her laughter. "I'm going to the flat for lunch. Both of you feel free to join me when you get yourselves sorted out."
Rose ignored her cousin and continued trying to paw through the clothing maelstrom to find hers. She had her jeans and her top, but had yet to find her bra and knickers, which she really needed first.
"Ouch! That's not an appropriate place for your elbow." It didn't help Rose that Scorpius was also trying to dig around to find his clothing.
"That's not my elbow, it's my wand. Sorry."
Rose couldn't help herself. She started to giggle. The whole situation was so ridiculous.
"Um, not that wand! I mean, my real wand, er . . . the magic one . . . um . . ."
Rose doubled over laughing so hard she could not even talk.
"How about I just stand here, and you can get dressed and leave, then I'll get dressed." Scorpius quit feeling around for his clothes and held perfectly still.
"Oh. Kay." Rose gasped, trying to quit laughing. She used another Glow Stix, found her clothing quickly, put it on and left.
Scorpius easily put on his clothes, since they were the only ones remaining, until he tried to put on his jeans. "Rose, I think you have on my jeans."
"Do I? I guess that's why they don't fit right." Rose took them off, then knocked on the cupboard door. "Here. We'll trade."
Scorpius opened the door a crack, thrust Rose's jeans out, and took his. Their hands brushed during the exchange, and it made Scorpius' hand tingle.
After they had lunch and filled Roxanne in on the morning's excitement, they spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the purple stuff, making notes and plans for further testing, and discussing potential names for the new product.
When Rose came down to the shop the next morning, Scorpius was already there, making tests on several different types of containers.
"Good morning, Scorpius."
Scorpius looked up from his work. "Good morning, Rose. Sleep well?"
Rose blushed. She was late for work because she had overslept, but that wasn't why she was blushing. Her dreams had been plagued throughout the night by a naked Scorpius who was doing far more in the cupboard than just sitting there talking. "I slept fine, thanks, if a bit too long." Rose attempted a chuckle. "You?"
"Oh fine, thanks." Scorpius returned to the containers, knowing he was completely lying. He had dreamt of Rose walking down the stairs in his townhouse (it belonged to him in the dream, not to his parents) in only her orange bra and matching knickers (Scorpius assumed she had a matching set, even though he had not seen both. Yet. ) The undergarments brought out her fiery hair, which she wore down instead of in a messy plait, as she was now. Scorpius ran his hands through her hair and slowly removed the orange bra and knickers from her fit body . . . Scorpius needed to stop thinking of his dream or he'd have to have another cold shower.
Rose was looking over their notes from the previous day, making further comments. Or at least pretending to. She couldn’t keep herself from staring at Scorpius. She needed to think of an innocuous conversation to keep her mind off of how much she wanted him, but at the moment all she could think to say was, 'Want to go shag in the cupboard?' And she doubted that would be appropriate.
Scorpius had to do something to take his mind off of that dream, and off of Rose. Asking out the niece of his employer wouldn't be a good idea, would it? He'd always thought Rose was attractive, but since she'd had a serious boyfriend before he realized girls were girls, he'd never given going out with her much thought. He certainly was now, though. He also couldn't help thinking about getting Rose naked again, but without the purple shite.
Scorpius turned to look at Rose and conversational inspiration came to him. "So you're a fan of the Chudley Cannons?"
Rose looked down at her Cannons tee shirt. "Yes. I have been my entire life. My dad, too. He's had season tickets for forever. I've always gone to the games with him as often as I can. You're a Cannons fan, too, right?"
"How do you know that? I haven't told you." Scorpius paused, his forehead crinkling. Then he gasped. "You were staring at me in the cupboard! You had some way or some product or something that let you see in the dark and you were staring at me!"
Damn, Rose thought. Her and her big mouth. "No I didn't! I . . .I accidentally saw your boxers when we exchanged jeans." Rose just knew her face and ears were bright red. Damn Weasley blush.
"I think you're lying." Scorpius crossed the room to the cupboard before Rose realized what he was doing. He rummaged in the cupboard and declared, "Aha! Glory Stix!" He came out of the cupboard waving a Glory Stix at Rose accusingly.
Rose just gaped at him with her mouth hanging open.
"Well?" Scorpius demanded. "Don't even try to deny it. There are two broken Glory Stix on the floor of the cupboard."
Rose still didn't know what to say. She couldn't tell if Scorpius was truly angry with her or if he was teasing her to get back at her. "Are you angry?"
"That depends. Do I get to see you naked?" Scorpius smirked at her.
"What?!" At least he was teasing instead of angry, Rose realized.
"It's completely unfair that you were examining my naked body for quite some time without my knowledge, and I only got a fast glance at your bum as you ran into the cupboard ahead of me." Scorpius was still smiling.
Rose relaxed and smirked back. "So you want me to strip right now?"
"Good morning!" George's voice boomed. "I thought I'd have a bit of a lie in this morning after the trip to Paris. How are things going here?"
"We figured out the potion," Rose answered, disgruntled at having her conversation with Scorpius interrupted.
"Spiffing!" George beamed at them. "Why are you holding Glory Stix, Scorpius? Those things were bugger all . . ."
Scorpius wildly invented, "Um, Rose and I were discussing the idea of including them with the new potion, which we've given the working title of 'Starkers Syrup'. We thought if people turned out the lights after the Starkers Syrup exploded, there could be Glory Stix around to, er . . . add to the fun?" Scorpius thought he sounded like a complete idiot.
"Hmm . . . That has merit. At least it'd be a way to get rid of the bloody things. Now tell me everything about how this works . . ."
George kept Rose and Scorpius so busy over the next several days that they didn't have time to return to their interrupted conversation. Their after work hours were kept busy, too, with their family obligations. Scorpius visited his father, by choice this time to mention the new job, and had the obligatory meal with his grandmother and mother, which was now weekly rather than monthly since he had far more time without working two jobs. Rose had the preliminary bridesmaids' meeting for Lily's upcoming wedding, as well as a shopping trip and the weekly dinner at the Burrow. George was so excited about the new product that he had barely left Rose and Scorpius alone.
"I think we have the Starkers Syrup ready to go! Now we just need to work on designing the packaging. I'll see if Fred has any ideas for that. He's the artistic one. Rose, we are running very low on Confusion Confections. Could you please brew some more Confusion Concoction?" Rose nodded. "And Scorpius, I would like you to brew some Amortentia, please. I've had some product ideas for that for quite awhile, but until you came along, I didn't have anyone who could brew it."
"Of course, George, I'll brew it, but do you think it's a good idea to mix the fumes of Amortentia and Confusion Concoction?"
"Just open the vents. It'll be fine." Scorpius nodded, uncertainly. "Oh, I almost forgot. I wanted to show you both the new packaging." George held a brightly colored label in front of Rose and Scorpius, which said in large illuminated letters, sort of like letters that would begin the paragraphs of a medieval manuscript:
Rose and Scorpius stared at the label, and then spoke at the same time.
"You could spell it properly—C's will keep the nice alliteration as well as K's."
"You spelled it incorrectly on purpose, right George?"
"I can spell with a k rather than a c if I want to. K's are more fun."
"More stupid, too," Rose muttered. Scorpius snorted.
"What was that, Rose?"
"Nothing, Uncle George." Scorpius winked at Rose behind George's back.
"Let's get to work then. I'm going to re-label the Konfusion Konfecktion boxes."
George took Scorpius and Rose to lunch as the Amortentia and Confusion Concoction stewed. And finally left them alone after lunch to continue working on their potions.
The Amortentia had been left alone long enough over a low fire that the steam was now swirling about the surface just as it should be. The smell assaulted Scorpius' nose as soon as he walked into the back room of the shop. He could smell chocolate, bubble bath, and Orange. Can you smell a color? Maybe it was the Confusion Concoction steam that was making his mind spin. He didn't smell oranges, but Orange—excitement, energy, life, a warm fire, a summer's day. The scent reminded him of Rose, especially her hair. Was he going out with Rose? And if he wasn't, why the hell wasn't he? He would have to sort that out just as soon as his mind cleared.
Rose felt hot from the steam of the two potions, and her brain was all fuzzy. She hated brewing Confusion Concoction, but she certainly could never brew Amortentia. She couldn't tell what she was smelling, though. In sixth year potions class she smelled chocolate, fresh mown grass, and wind. This was definitely not the same smell. There was something alcoholic—Firewhisky, wine, grapes, she wasn't sure. Something spicy—that smell was making her hungry even though she had just eaten lunch. Maybe she wasn't hungry for food? She felt confused. She also smelled an apothecary. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to mix the fumes of Amortentia and Confusion Concoction, even with the vents open. Confused or not, she knew with certainty whom she smelled—Scorpius. Was she really ready to try love again? Once burned, twice shy, Grandma Granger always said. Even though she had been in Ravenclaw, Rose tried to summon whatever shred of Gryffindor courage she had inherited from her family.
Rose shook her head to clear it, at least a little, checked her potion, and declared it finished. She removed the cauldron from the fire, put the lid on it, and then her mind really did clear as the steam dissipated, although she could still smell the Amortentia.
Scorpius felt less addle-brained when Rose finished the Confusion Concoction. He decided to take action. "What do you smell in the Amortentia, Rose?"
"I'm not sure. I can't exactly place the scents. What about you? What do you smell?"
Scorpius looked into Rose's eyes and answered, "You."
Rose smiled, breathed a sigh of relief, and said, "I smell you, too." Then she kissed him.
Rose and Roxanne sipped their drinks and watched the dancing as they rested for a few minutes.
"See, I found a boyfriend before Lily's wedding all by myself."
"I'm so proud!" Roxanne pinched Rose's cheek, and then rolled her eyes as Rose slapped her hand away.
Rose laughed and turned back to watch Scorpius dancing with her mum, Frank dancing with her Aunt Angelina, her dad dancing with Luna . . .
"Who is that girl Louis is with?"
"I don't know. Whoever he's dating this week. I think she's a friend of Gabrielle's daughter. Not sure though."
The song ended and Frank came to collect Roxanne. Scorpius came to the table a few minutes later. He leaned down to kiss Rose softly.
"Hi, love. Would you like to dance some more?"
"Sit with me for a minute. These heels are killing my feet, and I'm too tall in them anyway."
"So take them off," Scorpius whispered in her ear as he nuzzled her neck playfully.
Rose frowned. "Take off my shoes?!"
"Why not? Luna isn't wearing shoes. If the groom's mother is barefoot, it should be all right for a bridesmaid to be barefoot." Rose nodded, and slipped her shoes off under the table. "Better?"
"Much. Good idea." Rose turned to look into Scorpius' eyes. "But I'm still taller than you even without the heels. Does that bother you?"
"Not at all. You're the perfect height—your breasts are placed so I can look down your cleavage without being obvious about it."
Rose burst out laughing. "Scorpius!"
"What? It's not like I've never seen them before."
Rose rolled her eyes. "True."
"You look beautiful in that dress. I'm not sure if I told you."
"I think you need glasses. Lily just had to pick yellow. She thought it would help her future mother-in-law to like her. I'd say Luna already likes her, since she is her godmother."
"Why does Luna like yellow?"
"Something about it's good luck to wear sun colors to a wedding. I look like an omelet covered in catsup with my hair and this dress." Rose laughed.
"No, you look like the warm glow emanating from a fire." Rose blushed. Scorpius ran a finger over her cheek. "Your blush only intensifies the effect."
Rose heard Alice Longbottom's voice through a Sonorous Charm. "We need all single witches to the center of the floor as the new Mrs Dean Thomas throws her bouquet!"
"I should go out there, bridesmaid and everything." Rose shrugged apologetically to Scorpius.
"Stay here. I guarantee you won't need that bouquet." Then Scorpius kissed her, in a very inappropriate way considering all of her family were probably watching. Rose felt happier than she ever had in her life.