In For One, In For All
Another next-gen, using the same characterisations as my other fic. This one's actually a take on romance by the most inexperienced person in the world. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Have a Bad Faith
He was awake. More aptly, he was now aware that there was darkness and silence that encapsulated him, that he was lying on something soft, and that his head was likely split in half. Oh, not silence, there was that murmur of noise that he couldn’t make out. But there was still darkness. His eyes were closed. He was just waking up, then. Should he? His eyes felt too heavy to be opened, but his mind was definitely too restless to just go back to sleep, the voices were to be blamed as they grew louder. He gave up sleeping and strained his ears to listen. Slowly, the noise—words—began to make sense.
“—sure nothing—“He could only catch snatches from this high-pitched voice. It was familiar, and for some reason it made his mind stir. Whose voice was it that he felt he ought to have recognised in matter of seconds?
Then there was another stream by a lower-pitched voice—still feminine, though. Who, again? This one wasn’t important then. “—mind—potion—ask—“
They were very loud now, as though they were standing right next to him. His curiosity won and he forced his eyelids to open, only to shut them again as soon as the light hit his cornea. It was too painful; he would not open them again until much later.
The first voice made a squeal. He winced—or tried to; it made his ears ring and his head throb.
“—opened, I swear, Madam Pomfrey—“ On the bright side, his comprehension was getting better. So he tried opening his eyes again, this time slowly. The light was still blinding, but he forced the eyelids to stay where they were. The girl squealed again. It actually helped him making it to half-opened eyes. He let them adjust to the brightness. Once it no longer stung, he opened them fully.
He was greeted by a round object with white background. He squinted slightly. The squeal was coming from this round object’s—face then—red opening—lips. The face was framed by a cascade of red—hair. On the face were two bright points—eyes, brown eyes that were very warm and seemed to have light on their own.
“Lily.” The word jumped out of his mouth without much processing. His stomach was behaving oddly; it felt like it had just gone through a flip-flop.
The girl—Lily—nodded. Her bouncing head was a cute sight, he decided, and his mouth wanted to curl. His stomach still had a nauseous quality to it, which somehow worsened when her lips quivered. “I’m so glad you’re finally awake! Madam Pomfrey said you would wake up some time between today and next week but I was still worried because this is Belinda we’re talking about and she’s about as good at Potions as Al is at flying,” she said all this very fast and without breathing, tears were forming in her eyes, “and I was so worried, maybe she poisoned you, I don’t understand why, I mean, we’re best friends, and you never fought—“
“That’s enough, Miss Potter,” Madam Pomfrey said curtly, her lips thinned in disapproval. He didn’t agree with her, though, he would like to know more—never mind the fact that his eyes were starting to close again.
“No, let her—“
Madam Pomfrey sent him a very sharp look. “You will rest, and you will leave him alone.” She shoved Lily away. He was consoled by the fact that she was very reluctant to comply. “You can talk to him again when he’s fully recovered, but right now Mr. Malfoy needs his rest!” She had finally managed to get Lily outside the ward. “And please, do not alert Mr. Potter.”
Potter? Which one—wait, there were two Potter boys, weren’t they? Lily’s brothers? He felt dislike rising when he thought of an older Potter, but when he got to the younger one, he felt a tug and a pang that he would not be able to see him right now. What was his name…Al? Asp?
He wished Lily would stay, he needed to know why he was in the Hospital Wing; he was not here often, someone else was.
He could not summon a name or even a memory to it, for his eyes finally snapped shut and his brain followed suit.
The second time he woke up, his senses caught up pretty quick, and he could identify immediately the grinning visitor above him. Messy black hair, wide and rather weak green eyes—they could only belong to one Albus Severus Potter. “Asp.” His mind was rather quick too now that he could summon that nickname.
Asp’s grin only got wider. “And good morning to you too, your highness Scorpius,” he said lightly. Asp plopped down on the feet of his bed. “Well, how do you feel?”
“Sick.” Asp raised an eyebrow. “Oh, fine, I felt like someone had taken a large chunk of my brain.” It was quite true, he still couldn’t dispel the feeling that someone should be there beside Asp, someone that he also wanted to meet, and yet at the same time he dreaded it. He frowned. What put him in the Hospital Wing?
When he voiced this to Asp, the Hufflepuff’s grin vanished to be replaced by a thin smile. “Potions accident,” he said evenly. It was Scorpius’ turn to raise an eyebrow. Asp tried to fool himself into believing he was a good liar; he, Scorpius, could see through it like a child through a glass. He continued staring until Asp relented. “Oh, well, you know, the usual.” Asp’s eyes darted around, another telling habit of his. “You, er, got involved too deeply with our family. Lily’s not here because she has practice, by the way.” And once the subject was changed, Asp’s eyes were back on him. “They’re up against Slytherin next, and you know how James gets. Completely mental.”
Scorpius thought it was supposed to be funny, but he couldn’t laugh. He also thought he had recovered, but many of his thought processes were halted—he knew he was usually very quick-minded. He had the accident to blame, whatever it was. He gave up on that train of thought; he’d just play along with Asp’s small talks for now.
“And how much homework do I miss?”
Asp gave him a sympathetic look. “A boatload, mate. You’d be lucky to finish them by the end of the year.”
Scorpius groaned. Asp’s lips twitched; to his credit it didn’t budge. “You can always plead them to lay off—you’re Scorpius Malfoy, the top of our year, I’m pretty sure they’ll understand.”
“Not in OWL year they won’t. And I’m not the top.” As with Lily’s name, this sentence too just jumped out. A moment later he wondered just what OWL was, or who the top was then.
Asp finally smiled. “Oh, well, you two are always alternating so I guess the average’s the same. Anyway.” He was changing the subject again, though from what Scorpius didn’t know. “Lily said she’d drop by as soon as practice finished so if you dared to fall asleep she’d hex you awake. I personally would like to see how Madam Pomfrey would let that happen.” Asp laughed softly.
Lily wanted to see him. It made his heart swell and he had to force himself to remain neutral (why?). “Right.”
“And beware of Hugo or James or...every Weasley, actually.” Asp looked at him apologetically. “Just pretend you’re knocked out or still has Flobberworm mucus for a brain.”
“Huh?” Who were they? They didn’t spark a memory and therefore are insignificant. From the sound of it Asp thought they were important though.
“I’m pretty sure they mean well, but they have always been slightly, er, biased against you. Sorry.” He stood, preparing to leave.
“Wait, you’re leaving already?”
Asp scratched his head sheepishly. “Madam Pomfrey said we shouldn’t talk to you too much yet, afraid it’ll jog your memory so much it’d get scrambled again.” Seeing Scorpius’ scowl, he added, “I said yet. Usually I wouldn’t care but I think I should give the opportunity to Lily, don’t you?”
His head was inclined to nod; a part of his brain that was still dead objected to it. Asp saw this as well for he said, “Just give it time, you’re not fully recovered yet.” As soon as Asp disappeared, Madam Pomfrey appeared and started fussing about inappropriate visiting hour and noisy visitors. He tuned her out; she wouldn’t tell him what was wrong with him anyway. He closed his eyes, hoping it would drive the matron out. It worked, because now she left him alone with his thoughts.
Lily. A beautiful flower, fit for a beautiful person. (Did he say that to her?) Was it really Lily? Something in the befuddled part of his mind kept trying to object or say something, though it was muted by the lightness of his healthy mind and the swelling in his heart. He couldn’t wait to see her.
She didn’t come.
Lily showed up the next day’s afternoon with a little more hysteria than he anticipated—if he didn’t know any better he would have assumed that she thought depriving him of her would malnourish him. He smiled as she rambled on and on; this was a part of her personality and it amused him at the same time it exasperated him; he wouldn’t mind talking to someone a bit colder but less enthusiastic…
“—I mean, he’s the captain and all, but everyone knows he’s a lousy Seeker. Why can’t he just be the Beater I’d never know, I mean, Dad’s a Seeker but he’s James not Dad! Sometimes I think he’s keeping that position just to aggravate Rose—“
That name struck a chord, a chord that was half-way between harmonic and dissonant and made his head throb painfully. “Wait, who?”
Lily clapped her mouth, looking horror-struck. It irked him somewhat: what was the point of baiting him and his memory? “Didn’t you say Rose?” How odd. He wanted to say the name again as much as it revolted him. He kept his gaze at Lily. She looked torn between obeying the matron or her natural impulse of expository; he could practically see her weighing both options.
“Are you sure you don’t remember?” She asked tentatively.
“Yes, I’m sure,” he answered impatiently, annoyed by his headache. If only he could just access that part of his memory…
She bit her lower lips. For a second he considered asking her again, but then she answered, “My cousin, the only Weasley in Slytherin, and their Seeker, and that’s why I think James’ being a competitive macho prat.” She said all these very fast as though hoping that this way he would miss some of the information and thus not able to overload his poor memory. She didn’t succeed. His brain was pounding as soon as Lily started talking, but he could care less: the pain was the proof that this Rose was the key to his condition. He gritted his teeth in frustration—how was it that a person could make him want to meet her and spat at her at the same time, and kept eluding him every time he was about to grasp his memory of her?
He focused back on Lily, about to ask her to elaborate more. Much to his horror, her eyes were glistening with tears and her lips were quivering. “I’m so sorry!” She wailed. “Belinda’s usually very kind and nice, so I don’t know what has gotten into her, ooh, this is all my fault…”
“No, it’s not,” he blurted, desperate for anything to stop those tears. Lily openly sobbed. Scorpius wanted to faint then and there; it would be so much easier to do than to deal with a crying girl.
“B-But, look at you!” She wiped her eyes; more tears flowed out. “You have to stay in the infirmary for two weeks, and this is your OWL year, too, and I know that your father’s grumpy about your grades—“
“I—I’ll be fine!” He lied frantically. “I’ll recover soon and—oh, please Lily—“
He could almost kiss Asp for appearing right at that moment, his vibrant green eyes twinkling with mischief. “Oh, hey, Lily, I didn’t know—“ Scorpius’ stomach and relief was turned upside down when Asp gaped, then set his jaws. “What.” Asp’s voice was eerily high-pitched, and the air around him crackled slightly with magic. Scorpius was officially doomed. “Did you do to Lily?”
Correction, Scorpius wanted to Stupefy himself. Or rather, Stupefy the two Potters in front of him.
“None of your business!” It was Lily who answered. She had stood up, and despite that she wasn’t much taller standing than sitting, he could see Asp balking down slightly. His surge of affection for her was tinged with slight guilt that he did, in fact, have a hand in making her cry.
“It is, you’re my sister,” Asp replied defiantly, but his tone was even and he no longer had the freaky aura around him. “Well, anyway, I need to talk to Scorpius.”
Lily pouted. “About what?”
Lily didn’t move. Asp sighed. “Not fair, when you say you want to talk about girl stuff I have to get out…” He cleared his throat. “Ah, that’s right, James is looking for you.”
The redhead groaned. “Again? I swear, I’m going to persuade Neville to take his Captaincy.” She stalked off anyway after kissing Scorpius on the cheek and while muttering under her breath.
Scorpius rubbed the spot where her lips had met his skin, the warmth of her touch had spread all the way down to his toes. Asp’s throat-clearing brought him out of his stupor. He wished he hadn’t, Asp was now giving him a half-smirk-half-grimace.
Asp shook his head, plopping down on his usual seat. “Just be grateful you’re my best friend. Actually, if I have to give my sister to anyone it might as well be you.”
Scorpius’ face was heating. “Yeah, well, it’s not really your right. What do you want?”
“Oh, so now I need an excuse to talk to you.” Asp rolled his eyes. “Well, Your Highness, it just so happens that I’m fulfilling your number one need…” He paused dramatically, groping into his pocket, then made an impressive gesture of presenting his palm. There were tiny square button-like objects on it—shrunken books, he realised. “Presenting, your books and assigned homework, courtesy of my cousin—the Dursley one—and, er, the other one who shrunk it.” Here Asp’s eyes darted around temporarily. Scorpius had a distinct impression he knew who. “We had to do it the covert way because Madam Pomfrey absolutely insisted that you stay away from any brain-using activities for at least a week.” Asp carelessly dropped the miniature books on the bed sheet. “Prolato Salvus.” The books expanded to their original size and weight. Scorpius cursed Asp’s lack of insight—these books were heavy and they were on his legs. “Oops, sorry. Anyway, if she gets nosy the spell is Viesca Salvus Apocryphus.” The books shrunk back to their button-state. “Don’t ask where it comes from. Oh, and your wand is on your bedside. You are to stop reading and/or writing as soon as the headache starts.”
Asp, he decided, needed a new nickname for snakes were among the quietest and deadliest of the animals, and this one did not do justice to them. Scorpius was more interested in the spells, though. They sounded like self-created spells; Asp’s slip and Lily’s revelation as well as a nearly-bubbling memory gave him an idea who. “Who is Rose?”
Asp, previously having fun with levitating the button-books around and therefore was caught off guard by his question, nearly fell off his perch. “Uh, why’d you want to know?” He stuttered, trying too hard to appear composed.
Scorpius sighed. “Lily had told me, but she said you’d know better. I know she’s your cousin.” Asp heaved his shoulders in resignation. “And she’s probably related to my ‘accident’, probably even the cause of it—“
“Merlin, no!” Asp shook his head so forcefully Scorpius feared it would get unhinged. “Well, you can say that she did—but not directly! Never, she’s your best friend too!”
“As good as you two can be with your feuding fathers anyway—“
“If she’s my best friend,” he almost spat the two last words, “then why are you and your sister the only ones who visit me?”
Asp grimaced and glanced around. Once satisfied no one else was around, he leaned closer. “Madam Pomfrey will go ballistic, and I agree with her, but...I think that can wait. Mind you, she’s not exactly happy about it—“
“Mind telling me what’s wrong with me?” Scorpius asked, his temper rising. He was tired of being handled like he could become a vegetable from the weight of simple information.
Asp hesitated, again avoiding his eyes. At that moment, Madam Pomfrey once again interrupted whatever discussion Scorpius managed to have with his visitor. She drove poor Asp out like a panther chasing out a lost squirrel, and then fussed over Scorpius with lectures of getting some rest so that he could get out earlier and make the ruckus outside, sniped at how mindless and rebellious teenagers these days were, and threatened him to drink all of his medications lest he wanted her to write a letter to his parents. He grudgingly obeyed, endlessly wondering how she knew his weakness. Father would not hear about this, or Scorpius would never hear the end of it. He was partly grateful Grandfather was now safely beneath the earth, unable to prattle about pureblooded-ness and being weak and the endless junk.
Under Madam Pomfrey's watchful eyes, he spent a good part of his sleeping time being irritated at himself for remembering what his rotten Grandfather had droned on and on about his family, and not remembering about the more important thing that was his recent memories.
When she was out of sight, however, nothing stopped him from devouring his books. Two weeks! He had barely had time to rest when he had been healthy, how would he fare now that he had missed a week and a half? Of all the years to be admitted into the Hospital Wing it had to be his OWL year. Perhaps he was infected by Potter-Weasley bad luck after all.
He could not even get a decent dream. That night he was in the middle of the Forbidden Forest with its tight canopies and little sunlight, right in the middle of a patch of lilies and roses. He wanted to pick both of them, but a white snake had come out of the ground and slithered around him, hissing ‘only one, one only, not two, not both’. A moment later while he hesitated shadows of four-legged beasts danced around him, and he headed to the lilies. When he did, he heard a roar, turned around, and saw that the patch of roses had turned into an angry red dragon; it was opening its mouth and breathing fire out...
And then he woke up, already forgetting the stupid dream except for the feeling that it was extremely ridiculous and went right back to sleep.
Feedback here, please.
Those Who Inherit, a next-gen WIP.
In For One, In For All, a next-gen romance/drama/mystery.
Re: In For One, In For All
Five minutes into waking up and silently mourning the fact that he was still in the Hospital Wing, Madam Pomfrey walked in with a set of potions and a short list of questions, most of which consisted on how much of his memory he had recovered. She had pressed him to remember down to the last minute the last activity he had done before fainting—to which he answered nothing (in hindsight, lying about this would have gotten him out of the infirmary much faster, but he had had no idea at that time), to what degree did his headache linger (every time he got to reading more than twenty pages of a textbook, but he couldn’t very well tell her that), and especially if he had a burning and lingering hatred for someone. He considered answering Dirk Montague and his gang of Slytherins, but he didn’t think it was what Madam Pomfrey wanted to know, so he honestly answered no one. He tried asking her in return what exactly, in the name of Hippocrates’ code, was wrong with him. Her response was to force those bottles of potions (without the bottles, thank Merlin) down his throat and a threat to go back to sleep.
Chapter 2: Interference
As if he, Scorpius Malfoy, He-Who-Thinks-At-The-Speed-of-Sound (the speed of light would have been too presumptuous, Asp had said) could go back to sleep with his dilemma’s mystery and a ton of homework to catch up to. As soon as she was out of sight and he could hear her bustling remotely from his ward, he got out his wand and muttered the incantation. Yesterday he had attempted drinking every word in Zoltān Granger's note about the goblin wars (how a Muggleborn could stay awake and even take detailed notes in Binns’ class still eluded him) and managed to have an extraordinary bout of headache, so he set the History notes aside. Charms had only one essay to submit, and so did Muggle Studies (Careless Alchemists of the past are the reason for present Muggle’s proximity to discovering Transfiguration. Discuss.), so they could wait. Ancient Runes and Arithmancy, as much as he would have loved to tackle immediately, would incapacitate him within an hour of work, so they had to be set aside. Potions was usually pretty easy, and this one was no exception (Discuss the properties of Moonstone and its use in potions.); he put it down in favour of doing Transfiguration. Macmillan disliked him for some reasons (not really, he had a good idea which one of his parents was responsible, but still.) so he had to put even more efforts into that subject. He began reading a borrowed note in familiar, scraggly handwriting on Vanishing vertebrae.
Half an hour later he gave up; his brain simply refused to cooperate further. He wanted to hex something in frustration—he had thought he had recovered well enough. Oh, how the mighty Malfoy heir had fallen. Grandfather would have been doing somersaults in his grave.
He decided to have a break, though he had been par to optimistic in the hopes that it would help to restore his mind. He couldn’t stop thinking and guessing; normally people who were sick were let in on their predicament, the fact that they had avoided talking about it openly gave a notion that it was akin to the deadly Muggle disease (Homicide Invigorating Virus or something) and he didn’t like that. Horrified, even, that anything so mortifying and terrible could ravage a mind, and then be transferrable from one to another. He laughed woefully later: he must have been terribly brain-damaged to let his imagination run rampant and then trust it. Thinking about this predicament made his head even sorer, so he resolved to find other means to pass time.
The Hospital Wing was very lonely and deserted that day, as he didn’t see anyone coming in save for a couple of Hufflepuff first-years who had had boils as large as Snitch on their face before Madam Pomfrey removed them and a Slytherin third-year with the words ‘GIT’ dotted across his face. He knew these incidents were related and was sorely disappointed when Madam Pomfrey vanished the dots, though not without her trademark lecture. Beyond that, though, he had no other entertainment. He tackled Transfiguration again soon after. Neither Asp nor Lily visited him again, and he was slightly resentful for that. How considerate of them, letting him be alone when he wanted their companion the most. They were probably afraid he would badger them again about Rose, and that would be quite right; he was slightly obsessed for the moment and he knew he was justified for it.
By supper he had only finished half of the essay demanded by Macmillan. Irritated beyond reasoning but realising that he could not really have done more, he shut his eyes tightly and willed himself to sleep—the time spent to rest was inversely proportional to the time spent caged in the infirmary after all.
His consciousness was floating somewhere between existence and non-existence when a faint murmur made by two people drifted into his ears. He figured that someone had probably gotten hit by a prank (the Potter-Weasley terrible duo came to mind) and needed a cure. It was none of his business, and he had better gone to sleep while he could. The voices refused to cease. He refused to do anything more than closing his eyes and emptying his mind. He was soon drifting again, but now the voices grew stronger. His better—or worse, in this case—nature took over and he finally opened his eyes. All drowsiness was immediately gone and he bolted upright.
Madam Pomfrey was not alone, and the person she escorted was a very tall and lean girl wearing the Slytherin-customised school robe. He knew without a shadow of doubt that this was the Rose Weasley who had been eluding his memory, and the answer to Madam Pomfrey’s question about who he hated. It was quite irrational, because he couldn’t point out exactly why he hated her, but the hatred was there, as blinding and unforgiving as the sun had been to poor Icarus.
“Ah, Mr Malfoy, you’re awake after all,” Madam Pomfrey said, looking a tad disappointed. She turned to Rose. “Though he has progressed far better than I had stipulated, please do not invoke too much of his memories.” She glanced at the clock on the wall. “I shall give you half an hour.”
Rose nodded. “Thank you, Madam Pomfrey.” Her voice was considerably low and slightly cold, not at all like Lily’s high-pitched but vibrant voice. He loathed it—and yet found it much more preferable than Lily’s.
Madam Pomfrey had the grace of leaving the two of them alone; as soon as she did Rose took a seat next to him. She was an odd visage. Her hair was predominantly dark red, but there were strands of other colours, from black to white, haphazardly growing on that short, curly mane. Her eyes were hidden behind those glasses; once in a while he could see past the glints and catch a good sight of them. They too were discoloured: the left eye was a jumble of blue, green, and yellow; the right eye had black, grey, and even tinges of red—there were also three slash marks over the right eye.
There was something in the back of his mind that kept trying to jump out at him. What was it, the cross-eyed witch...
The odd visages aside, the eyes seemed flat and even cold, and so were the slightly tightened jaws. Lily radiated brightness; this one projected wariness of her; she was not a girl to be crossed. He still didn’t like her look, so unusual and yet not attractive unlike Lily’s simple prettiness.
"...The witch made a deal with the devil..."
“Have you taken a good look?” She droned, and he realized a bit too late that he was staring a bit too obviously. “You lied to Madam Pomfrey, didn’t you.” He could have sworn her eyes flashed in an unidentified emotion for a fraction of second.
“What do you mean?” He snapped at the accusation.
"...power and glory, rule over the earth..."
She didn’t answer, her eyes bore straight into his. He returned the favour. Rose broke the contact, standing up and walked away. For a second he thought she was about to leave him (good riddance!) but she just went to his bedside cabinet, on which his array of potions stood, waiting for their night dose. Her eyebrows were slightly knotted when she bent her knees to examine the bottles, and he had to wonder whether she was planning to poison him through his medication. The eyebrows stayed that way as she turned to him with her back straightened. “Tell me, how do you feel right now?”
"...havoc and desolation pleased the devil..."
“You’re the cause of this fiasco, aren’t you?” He countered the question with another question, not willing to yield.
The corner of her lips hitched a bit. “Answer my question first, and then I can deem if you deserve the answer or not.”
"...souls of a kind, beginning where the other end..."
He hissed pent up steam--his annoyance was only helped by his pounding head, though a part of him was amused. “I definitely don’t understand why they kept saying you’re my best friend,” he answered vaguely. Do not show your fangs until they are within reach, Grandfather (or Father) had said. Hopefully she would give him more information under the illusion that she could bait him further.
Her face was restored to its stony condition. “I see,” she murmured slowly and almost inaudibly, “so you really don’t remember.” Her eyes were unfocused and she bit her lower lip. Perhaps with a little more push—
"...the human was the devil, the devil was the human..."
“Some other time, then.”
“WHAT?!” He couldn’t help the shout—here he was so close to finding the answer, and yet the source of it bailed out for, apparently, no reason at all but to spite him. He didn’t think it was possible that his hatred for her could escalate even more. "I want to know!" He demanded. "Now!"
Her eyebrows shot up. “Or what?” She was vaguely amused; he definitely wasn’t. “No, don’t answer that. You can’t even piece together the many clues Al and Lily have dropped.”
"...and havoc did they create..."
His head was drumming, ready to burst; it only served to fuel his anger. So now he was ignorant and stupid. He wanted to say something, anything to topple her arrogance but a particularly nasty throb had him doubled over, clutching his head so tightly he wondered if that was the source of his pain.
"...run, should you see her, for she has no patience..."
A bright spot covered most of his vision, and he was only vaguely aware of someone calling his name...his skull would burst at this rate...
"...For a hair of every colour did she have..."
Red flash covered his vision before darkness overtook. He gladly welcome the shutting down of his brain.
“...Her eyes, not one colour was enough to describe...”
It didn't feel like sleep at all. He was conscious of his dreams, conscious that he was dreaming, and when he finally woke up in the morning, he could recall nearly everything in his dreams. He remembered his first time in the Hogwarts Express, and especially the faithful moment when he met both the short mini-Harry Potter and the lanky oddly-coloured girl. The green-eyed boy stuck with him, even after they had been sent to different houses, like an annoying toffee that grew to be a part of him. With the girl, though, he had had various disagreements and odd banters--he somehow always ended up trying to temper her sarcastic moods.
Somewhere along the way he was introduced to Lily. She channelled the spectrum of the sun itself: so bright, innocent, and cheerful that just seeing her could alleviate his worst moods.
It was a progress, but even then it was still impressions; he still didn't have his memory back and whole. He couldn't point out exactly what was his fondest memory of Lily, his biggest apprehension regarding Asp, and why, exactly, for all their personality clashes he still listed Rose as a friend.
Friend. How odd, especially since yesterday he felt nothing but a desire to curse her into oblivion. Hindsight was always 20/20, or so the Muggles said. Not that he knew where the phrase came from or what exactly it meant.
When Madam Pomfrey came up to examine him,he still insisted that she tell him his predicament, adding in what he hoped to be a convincing way that he was perfectly healthy and sound and could stand the news. She still didn't tell him. His mood soured.
"You can't even piece the clues together..."
He should get started on the many essays he had stacked in his mental to-do list. Instead, his mind was buzzing with replaying every conversation he had had with his visitors.
They kept asking about his memory--he was unhealthy in that respect and that much had been obvious. There was also that odd question of Madam Pomfrey's. Why did she ask whom he hated? At first he thought she was just trying to pinpoint the culprit, but then the question should have been who hated him. At that time he had thought of Dirk Montague, but when Rose showed up...
He ran a hand through his hair; his heart was beating faster. It was as though a connection had just been made in his brain; his subconscious mind had already solved the problem for him but his conscious mind still took a little longer to retrieve that information. So he tried to repeat the train of thought.
Madam Pomfrey's question: did she mean to imply that his hatred was artificial? And Rose...did he truly hate her? That was how he felt yesterday, but after his sleep he had thought that he was actually quite as fond of her, or maybe a bit less, as he was of Asp. So it was possibly artificial. By what? A potion?
He had been so preoccupied with calming Lily's burst on her last visit that he had missed some of her words. She had mentioned Belinda twice, even though he only vaguely remembered her as one of Lily's friends. The rest of the sentences were pretty interesting: not good with Potions, and normally kind--
A flash of idea burst so instantly he was nearly shaking when he retrieved his Potions textbook. There was a page at the very back that jutted slightly; it didn't look like what a page from his books would be--it was slightly torn and dirty. He quickly flipped to that page and was soon lost in the paragraphs. It was not his all right: it was a piece of parchment charmed to copy one of the books in the library's restricted section; he had a good idea who was responsible for it. The page described a potion known as Haman Hamartia or else known as the Loathing Lugol, the counter of Love Potion. A part of his brain was irked that he didn't notice the obvious clue sooner. Another part of him, the one that did most of the thinking, was frustrated because it couldn't go further.
Then the taskmaster part woke up and told him to work on his schoolwork. He obliged, knowing that if he didn't he would end up in the infirmary soon after his release for overworking.
His sour mood was slightly drowned by his sense of accomplishment by supper time. He had finished one essay, started two others (he had to alternate between working on Muggle Studies and History because the former needed an actual Muggle's assistance while the latter was so boring he nearly nodded off), one was halfway through; if he was correct in interpreting Madam Pomfrey he would be out in two days, and his head hadn't ached as bad as the day before.
It was even better when Asp decided to slip in, cracking a nervous smile. "Hi, Scorpi."
The smile that had almost formed on Scorpius' face dropped. "Hello to you too, Albie."
Asp winced. "I'm just checking, you know." Unlike his previous visits, Asp didn't take his spot but instead opted to stand shiftily near his bed. Shifty Asp always had trouble with him.
When he asked, Asp simpered and asked back, "How's your head? I heard you had a nasty faint yesterday."
Scorpius scowled. How did Asp know about that? Then he remembered, a bit too late, that Asp and Rose were yet another case of pea-in-a-pod Weasley cousins.
Asp, upon seeing his scowl, widened his eyes. "What? What actually happened then?" He noticed the Hufflepuff's head made an odd stagger to his left.
"I'm sure someone can tell you better," Scorpius answered flatly, following a wild idea that someone else was there with them.
"Huh?" Asp's eyebrows went to his hair, but his mouth wasn't slightly opened--he was faking cluelessness.
It didn't help Scorpius' irritation. "Why did you Stun me?" He asked the air next to Asp.
Asp looked like a fish caught in a net. Scorpius paid him no mind, for the air next to him rippled and in a blink of an eye Rose appeared, having just pulled the silvery and water-like Invisibility Cloak off herself. Even Asp jumped slightly when she did that, as though he didn’t know that she was there all of the time. So that’s what we look like when we uncloak. Rose dumped the Cloak on the bed next to his.
“He can guess I’m here,” she said to Asp, handing him the Cloak, “so I presume he’s alright. As for the Stunning spell—“
“—you Stunned him?” Asp interjected, aghast. “You actually did?”
She stared down at Asp, an easy feat due to their height difference (although he nearly applauded Asp for not cowering). “Keep it up, will you,” her voice was very flat and low, “Madam Pomfrey really needs to know.”
Asp clamped both hands on his mouth. “Sorry.”
She had already turned to Scorpius, her gaze softening. “If Madam Pomfrey had known about your spasm, she would have kicked me out and made you stay longer.”
“Uh-huh,” Scorpius muttered before he could stop himself, “so Stunning someone with a potential brain damage was the best option?”
Her ears reddened. “I panicked.”
He grimaced, suddenly aware that Asp was watching them with his head swivelling in the direction of the speaker. “Right, so your impulse was to raise your wand and said ‘Stupefy’?”
The redness crept up to her nose, and she looked away. Scorpius watched as Rose stalked off to the other side of the ward (Asp practically leapt out of her way and onto Scorpius’ bed). The two boys shared a glance; Asp mouthed ‘good job’, for which Scorpius kicked him.
None of them certainly expected that, so they just continued to stare at her back. Rose turned, made her way to stand in front of him (Asp dropped to the floor on reflex) and looked at him. Her glasses did its job too well, but once in a while, in between the light glares, he could see that they were, for once, weak. “I shouldn’t have done that.” She broke their eye contact by examining his line of medicine. He used this chance to share a look with Asp, who had finally been able to properly stand beside Scorpius. Judging by the look on his face, even Asp didn’t know what to do or what had actually transpired. So Scorpius took the initiative.
“Look, I’m alright, okay?” He said, a little more meekly than he wanted. “Just...don’t do that again. I mean, we promised not to raise wands at each other.”
“Which has been broken like, what, a hundred now?” Asp took his cue, grinning. “There’s the Duelling Club. What’s wrong, Scorp?”
Scorpius had blanched when Asp mentioned the Duelling Club. “I completely forgot about that!” He moaned. “What did I miss?”
“There’s going to be a Random Party Duel at the end of this month,” Rose answered, and he was relieved that she seemed to have returned to her usual demeanour.
“They’ll rig that again,” Asp mumbled in a disturbingly sordid manner, “we’ll never be in the same team.”
“Look at it this way, they know that we’re the best threesome there is, so their best chance at winning is to separate us.”
Scorpius made a face. “Threesome?” Asp blinked, then mimicked his expression.
“Just the two of you, I’m afraid,” Rose deadpanned, “the gossip mill thinks you have something going on.”
Scorpius thought he was going to throw up. Him, and Asp? What about Lily, did they think he fake it? He looked at Asp, who once again had mimicked Scorpius. An idea struck him.
“You know, you’re right.” He wrapped his arm around Asp’s waist, noticing the way Asp stiffened or his own shudder. “We’ve been trying to find a way to tell you.”
Asp shot him an alarmed look. Scorpius looked back, hopefully conveying ‘play along’. Asp gulped then turned to Rose, wrapping an arm around Scorpius’ head for revenge. “Yep. Scorp’s just using Lils to get to me.” He squeezed Scorpius’ ear for good measure.
Rose’s lip twitched. “Oh, really? Congratulations. Prove it.” The two ‘lovers’ gaped. Her lips cracked in a smirk. “Kiss, or something. If this has been going for a while, show it.”
“No way!” Asp sputtered. “I’m not doing PDA!”
“Right, should I just leave you two alone then?” He could have sworn her glasses’ glare was evil. “Isn’t that why you’re so eager to see him?”
Her grin got wider, and he finally realised the hole he had just dug for himself. He pushed Asp off. “Rose—“
She hummed. “Oh, should I tell Lily and James as well?”
Asp’s eyes were as wide as saucers. “No! Rose, please, we’re just—“
“Oh, look at the time.” She nonchalantly glanced at her watch. “It’s my time to patrol. See you later. I’ll take this.” She pointed at the Invisibility Cloak. “I trust you won’t be staying here for the night, Al? He is still sick.”
She draped the Cloak around her, and was soon gone from sight. He and Asp exchanged glance: they didn’t know whether it was safe enough to resume conversation. After a minute of being frozen in their respective positions, Asp spoke.
“This is all your fault.”
“My fault, now? Whose tact was missing, as usual?”
Asp grumbled and bade his goodbye somewhat half-heartedly. In spite of that, after he was sure no one was watching, Scorpius couldn’t resist a grin. He would never trade his two best friends for anything else. He wished they could stay that way forever.
At some point when he was about to slip into sleep, he remembered that he had forgotten to ask them about his discovery. He swore into his pillow, blaming Asp for his talent to distract Scorpius and Rose’s brick-like sense of humour.
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Those Who Inherit, a next-gen WIP.
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