Playlist Ch. 21: ‘Not Now But Soon’ by Imogen Heap
Chapter Twenty-one: Forwarding Addresses
Lounging lazily back in his compartment of the Hogwarts’ Express, Scorpius let his eyes fall shut, pressing his forehead against the cool glass of the train and releasing a deep sigh. When he opened his eyes, he was forced to immediately shut them again if he didn’t want to be sick. The scenery rushing by was enough to unsettle anyone, much less a seventeen year-old boy so unaccountably nervous.
It was finally over.
His seven years at Hogwarts were at an end and he was heading home with everyone else. Only he wasn’t planning on staying home. He tried to calm the nervous anticipation he felt, his hands curling into tight fists in his lap. Lily was nowhere in sight, and though her school trunk was stored beneath one of the seats, its presence did nothing to alleviate his ever-increasing feeling of stress. More unhelpful than even Lily’s absence could have been, was Travis Bletchley’s unwelcome presence in her seat.
The recently graduated Slytherin was kicking back languidly, looking for all the world as if he was the bored, unruffled boy everyone had always assumed him to be. Noticing his slightly sweaty palms, Scorpius was willing to bet that he was anything but.
“I told you I haven’t bloody seen Rose already, Bletchley,” Scorpius groaned, pressing his forehead further against the glass window and hoping its relative coolness would somehow alleviate his building headache.
Travis scowled over at Scorpius, stretching his arms back and behind his head to rest against with practiced indifference and a smirk on his lips. “We just bloody graduated after seven years of schooling together, and you still can’t call me by my first name, can you, Malfoy?”
Scorpius snorted, not even facing the boy, not wanting to give him the satisfaction, though the corner of his lips did turn upwards a fraction of an inch. “Not on your life, Bletchley.”
Both Slytherins grinned to themselves, neither caring to point out just how incredibly juvenile they were both acting, thinking it simply suited their friendship.
“So, where’s your redhead, then?” Travis asked, one eyebrow raised as a smirk overtook his lips.
Scorpius only sighed in response, finally turning in his seat enough to face the boy across from him, a dark expression crossing his face. “Presumably she’s off to find Rose somewhere, which I still don’t know where, so for the hundredth time, stop asking me.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” Travis smirked, arms now folded across his chest, looking smug. “I only asked once, it's hardly my fault you keep interpreting my carefully crafted facial expressions as that of wanting further information.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes, unable to help from taking the mickey out of him. “Yes, I can’t imagine why I would think such a thing with your pathetic puppy eyes searching out the hall every few seconds,” he scoffed.
“No worse than you, moping like someone kicked your Kneazle.”
Scowling darkly at the boy across from him, Scorpius wondered at how he could have ever considered them to be friends. Deciding to tease him further, Scorpius went on, wanting to have the last word. “You know, it really is beginning to be just pathetic, Bletchley. Your obsession with Rose, that is. You’ve only been following her around for what? Seven years now? Going to trail after her to university for another seven? See if she finally takes notice?” he sneered.
Travis only shrugged, unfazed. “You know, Scorpius, not everyone has to get beaten to a pulp in front of the whole damn school in a show of bravado to decide what’s worth fighting for,” he said, only a shadow of superiority crossing his features. “Some people, myself included, know what they want and just wait for it.”
Scorpius sneered, glaring hatefully out the window once more at the memory of his two public school fights a few weeks previously. Bletchley had certainly been the one to come out on top this time in their verbal sparring, that was for damn sure.
“Besides,” Travis continued. “Rose would never take seven years more to finish her schooling. She could get a handful of degrees in as many as two years and you know it.”
Scorpius shrugged, admitting this was true. “I don’t even see why she’s going to university,” he said, “It’s not as if her NEWTS aren’t high enough for any position in the Ministry or other training program. What is she thinking? More than that, how do you seem to know so much about it?” he asked, his eyes narrowing in on the boy across from him.
Travis answered unconcernedly, waving Scorpius’ questions off with a careless wave of his hand. “She’s wanting to go into psychology, she told me, and I happen to know because she talks to me.”
Scorpius snorted aloud at this, trying and failing not to laugh. “You’re kidding? She doesn’t talk to you! She’s been avoiding you for years, ever since you tried snogging her under the mistletoe in Charms first year.”
“I was eleven,” Travis spat indignantly.
“And so was she, didn’t stop her from hexing you six ways back from Sunday,” Scorpius laughed.
Travis rolled his eyes, standing up and smartly straightening his robes. “Well, much as I love to be a victim of your verbal abuse, I just caught sight of a few redheads down the hall and chances are one of them is mine.”
“You wish,” Scorpius muttered under his breath.
The other boy smacked his friend upside the head, managing to escape just out of arms’ reach when Scorpius attempted to strike him back. Travis raised a warning eyebrow at him and both boys’ hard expressions crumpled as they chuckled at themselves.
“Go and get the hell out of here, Bletchley!” Scorpius shouted as Travis left the compartment, a roguish ‘Sod you!’ being echoed back to him before his compartment door was slammed unceremoniously in his face.
Rolling his eyes, Travis turned and knocked straight into one of the two redheads, Lily Potter’s muffled squeak causing him to back up a few feet in apology, thinking her narrowed eyes were a sign of irritation rather than appraisal.
“Looking for Rose?” she asked teasingly, her green eyes shining.
Deciding that silence was his best option, Travis pressed his lips tightly shut, trying to fight the heat creeping up the back of his neck. God, he was as bad as a first year!
Lily only giggled and pointed a finger down the train’s aisle, watching as the Slytherin boy’s eyes followed her line of sight, his flush increasing ten-fold as he caught sight of the other redhead a few cars down. “Thanks,” he muttered gruffly, moving past Lily and down the train’s aisle towards Rose, studiously ignoring the delighted expression on the younger girl’s face before she slid into his formerly vacated compartment to rejoin her boyfriend.
Rose was busy talking to one of her former roommates down the way, completely unaware of the Slytherin’s eyes on her as he headed towards her. Pulling a Muggle ink pen out from her jeans pocket and scrawling her new address for university onto her friend’s hand, Rose glanced up just in time to see a pair of blue eyes, immediately glancing away again and trying to concentrate on the proper spelling of said address.
Elbowing Scorpius to stop him from sniggering, Lily shot her boyfriend a filthy look and then returned her attention to her cousin and her stalker once more, trying to stop the grin from overtaking her face. “You don’t really think that’s cute, do you?” Scorpius whined.
“Oh, shut it, you are hardly the romantic type, so don’t go judging Travis for being utterly adorable,” she shushed him.
“Adorable?” he choked, spluttering indignantly. “And how exactly am I not romantic?”
“Please,” she laughed, turning sparking green eyes upwards. “The first time you kissed me, you shoved me up against a wall,” she laughed.
“Technically, the first time I kissed you was in Diagon Alley,” he corrected.
Lily cast a withering glance at him. “My point exactly,” she drawled but he only grinned back at her, shrugging unapologetically as she turned back to watch Rose, who was now seeming very agitated indeed.
“I still don’t see how mooning over a girl like he is, is at all adorable,” he muttered.
“Because he’s been head-over-arse in love with her for seven years!”
“That doesn’t make his actions adorable, it makes him a bloody stalker!” Scorpius scoffed.
“SHH!” Lily hissed, motioning for quiet. “They’re talking!”
Scorpius rolled his eyes but clamped his mouth shut, well aware of the good smack his girlfriend would give him if he didn’t shut the bloody hell up!
Sliding the cap of her pen back in place, Rose smiled weakly at Hannah as the girl turned to walk back down the compartment the way she’d come. Biting down on her lip and trying not to meet those blue eyes a second time, Rose began to slowly turn, hoping there was a way she could follow after Hannah even though it was the opposite direction of where she had originally been intending to go.
“Hey, erm, Rose?”
Wincing, Rose turned back, schooling her features into a politely questioning look though the pen was still trembling in her fingers. “Y-yes?”
Bletchley ran a hand through his dark hair nervously, cursing the sounds of Scorpius’ sniggers from down the train’s length, a sharp intake of breath meaning that Lily must have elbowed and effectively silenced him.
Rose glanced away from the much taller boy, trying to form an excuse for leaving though for some odd reason her ability to think seemed to be failing her. “Listen, I should… um, get going, lots of people to say goodbye to and all…” she muttered, inwardly cringing at the excuse she made.
Just as she was starting to turn away, Travis took a hurried step towards her, his hand darting out to catch her shoulder and she spun around to face him.
“Wait, Rose, erm, I was just wondering, if… if I could write you? Being as it’s summer and we’re not exactly going back to Hogwarts again…” he trailed off, looking hopeful.
“Oh, God, this is too painful to watch…” Scorpius grumbled under his breath. “Just cut off his balls and call him a Hufflepuff already.”
“Oh, would you shut up!” Lily hissed, smacking his shoulder and looking eagerly back to where the two graduates were still standing uncomfortably, though close together, Travis’ hand still on Rose’s shoulder.
Rose glanced down at that same hand and how big it was, feeling heat seeping though the sleeve of her shirt. “Erm, y-yeah, that… that would be fine, I suppose,” she squeaked.
Travis grinned down at her, looking like he’d just won the Quidditch Cup, “Yeah? I mean, really?” he asked excitedly.
Rose smiled up at him, trying not to blush at the attention from this boy she’d ran from for nearly as long as she’d known him. “Erm, yeah, I guess so…”
“Can I have your address, then?”
“Like he doesn’t already know it,” Scorpius scoffed quietly, wincing when he felt another sharp jab to his stomach. “Damnit, Lils,” he croaked.
“I said, SHUSH!” she smiled sweetly down at him, down because he was half-bent over, clutching at his ribs and trying to breathe.
Unable to keep from smiling at least a little bit, Rose uncapped her pen once more and held her hand out, carefully not meeting Travis’ eyes as she wrote her new university address across the back of his hand. “Oh, and erm, I-I won’t be starting up at univeristy until September… so… here’s where I’ll be till then,” she squeaked, scrawling down a second address beneath the first. When she finally gained the courage to look upwards, it was to see a full-out grin on Travis’ face and before she knew what to do, he had leaned forward to swiftly kiss her cheek, both their faces flaming red when he pulled back.
“I, erm, alright, then,” he said.
“Yeah,” Rose breathed.
Travis grinned at her one last time before finally saying goodbye and heading down the train’s length, opposite from the direction that would lead him to his still sniggering friend. He glanced back over his shoulder at Rose as he went, positively beaming when he caught sight of the small curve of her lips and the twinge of pink in her cheeks. Glancing proudly back down at the addresses scrawled across his hand, he kept himself calm and composed, inwardly wanting to shove his marked-upon hand right back in Scorpius’ face and dance like a mad-man.
Rose had barely turned around before there was a flurry of red tendrils flying towards her and an excited squeal from Lily, the younger girl’s arms squeezing her ribcage painfully tight. “OH, MY GOD!” she squealed, “YOU TWO WERE SO CUTE!” she shrieked.
“Lily, I can’t breathe,” Rose gasped, laughing as she did so.
When her cousin finally released her, Rose was able to catch sight of Scorpius standing a few feet away, arms crossed smugly as he leaned back against his compartment door. “Why, Rose, I’m hurt,” he frowned, placing his hand over his heart in mock seriousness. “You never gave me your address, certainly not both of them,” he chuckled.
Rose wrinkled her nose distastefully at him, no longer able to fight the blush creeping over her face.
Lily only clapped her hands together, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. “Oh, that’s it! You have to tell me everything,” she enthused, seizing her cousin’s arm and dragging her back to an unused compartment, her boyfriend rolling his eyes behind her.
“Not like you didn’t see the entire sorry scene,” he sighed exasperatedly while Lily only dragged Rose further away from him, not giving him a second’s attention which made Rose erupt into giggles.
“And I suppose that I ought to just wait for you here?” he called after them. “All by myself, me and the trunks?”
“Maybe if you hadn’t taken the mickey out of Travis so badly, you wouldn’t have to sit all by your ickle self!” Lily sang, sweeping Rose into the nearest empty compartment so fast she fell against the seat, Lily slamming the door shut behind herself. “Now,” she sighed dramatically, face alight. “Tell me everything!”
Rose shook her head in laughter, refusing to give anymore details than Lily had already, wanting to keep everything to herself for just a little longer, to drag out the feeling she still didn’t quite understand and enjoy it. All she knew was that she had been utterly devastated by Scorpius’ rejection a few weeks earlier and that she was now feeling so good that she could even make light of his relationship with her cousin, turning the teasing back on her. “He really is a petulant child, isn’t he?” she laughed, referring to Scorpius.
Lily giggled in response, smiling fondly back behind herself despite the compartment door that prevented her from seeing much of anything much less anyone. “Yes, he is a bit of a prat in that respect, but really, he is good in spite of his spoilt brat tendencies.”
“Seems like it,” Rose smiled, her light mood wilting as she looked at her cousin, trying to gauge whether or not Scorpius had been successful in convincing her to run away with him. She’d been afraid to say anything before now, worried that somehow she would only be contributing to the problem. Now though, they were on the train back and she wondered…
“So, erm, have any plans for summer?” she asked carefully.
Lily’s smile immediately vanished as she turned back to face her cousin and Rose felt her heart abruptly plummet. “Erm, yeah, well, s-sort of…” Lily trailed off, becoming fidgety as she played with her fingertips in her lap.
“What kind of plans?” Rose questioned.
Lily wet her lips, looking away for a moment, seeming uncomfortable. “I really should have told you sooner, but I just… I suppose now’s the first time it’s really starting to feel… final…”
Rose reached across the small compartment, lightly touching her friend’s knee. “What’s final, Lily?”
“You know,” she sucked in a breath to steady herself, “you know all about that… that note, right?”
“Well, Scorpius reckons that things are only going to get worse back home and erm… well…”
“What is it, Lily?” Rose breathed though from the sinking feeling in her gut, she was sure she already knew. It would explain Scorpius’ agitation recently, Lily’s too bright smile the past few weeks… ever since Scorpius had asked for her help in convincing the other girl to go with him that day in detention…
“Lily?” Rose prompted.
“Alright, don’t interrupt me for just a moment, okay?”
Rose nodded, her hands balling together as she bit down on her lower lip.
“Um, well, Scorpius’ parents had provided for him to go on holiday to the continent as a graduation present. He’s known about it since the start of his sixth year, his mum let it slip ages ago… And, well, he wants me to come with him.”
Rose breathed a sigh of relief. A holiday might not be that bad, depending on…
“How long would you be gone?” she asked as lightly as she could.
Here Lily winced, averting her gaze as she answered. “I-I’m not quite sure…”
“Like, a few weeks, months even?” Rose asked, her voice starting to shake.
Lily’s face flushed, leaning further away from her cousin and back in her chair. “I, erm, I don’t think we’ll be coming back, anytime soon,” she added when she caught sight of the alarm in Rose’s eyes.
Immediately, Rose felt her hands ball into fists, so angry they were shaking. “Have you lost your mind?” she hissed. “You’re actually suggesting dropping out of school, out of Hogwarts and you’ve not even taken a single NEWT-level class yet!”
“Keep your voice down!” Lily hissed, glancing fearfully behind herself though the compartment door was still closed.
“Why are you doing this?” Rose demanded. “Because your boyfriend asked you to?”
“Yes!” Lily spat out defensively, flushing when she caught up to herself, “I mean, no, but, you don’t even know what’s going on back home, Rose!”
“Neither do you! Did it ever occur to you that that note wasn’t true? That it was all just…”
“What? My mum and his dad only looked like they were having an affair together?” Lily spat out scathingly, starting to rise from her seat she was so indignant. “No, Rose,” she sarcastically enthused, “that never did occur to me!”
“Lily, just listen to me!” Rose cried, seizing her cousin’s wrist to tug her back down but the younger girl only shook her hand off, glaring down at her with tears in her eyes.
“You don’t know anything, Rose!” she cried, tears streaking down her face. “This is why I didn’t tell you sooner! I knew you’d try to stop us!”
“You’re damn right, I’ll try and stop you!” Rose spat, rising to her full height and glaring at her cousin. “What you’re doing is utterly foolish and Scorpius is an idiot for thinking this solves anything!”
“What do you know?” Lily scoffed, turning to rip the door back open but Rose’s hand on hers prevented her. “What, Rose? What else do you have to say?” she cried, turning on her older cousin with hot tears spilling down her cheeks.
Rose looked aghast at this, suddenly unable to form a reply. “W-when do you leave?” she finally choked.
“Three days,” Lily sniffled, swiping at her tear-filled eyes.
Rose felt her shoulders deflate. Only three days. Three days to try and convince her distraught younger cousin not to make the biggest mistake of her life and they hadn’t even pulled into the station yet.
“Just don’t, Rose. You go back to y-your family and I’ll go home to mine, but I’m not staying and nothing you can say will be enough to stop me!”
But Rose was too late, helpless to do anything but watch as her cousin flung the compartment door open and fled down the aisle, vanishing into Scorpius’ and her compartment with a small sob. Rose sank heavily back against her seat in the now empty compartment, her mind buzzing hopelessly. She dropped her head in her hand with a frustrated sigh.
And it was supposed to be the holiday…