Chapter Two: Competition

Scorpius was in need of an escape from the mountainous pile of homework now engulfing his side of the dormitory. With the first Quidditch match of the season approaching, he decided he was also in need of flying practice, especially since their disastrous last year. Slytherin had been spectacularly knocked out of the competition by the Hufflepuff team, but since some of their better players had left last year Scorpius was determined to win in this, his final year.

Scorpius had joined the team in his second year, not in the position of Seeker like his father, but as a Chaser. Throughout his schooling career the House Cup had been passed from house to house, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff; he was convinced that this year was one for the silver and greens.

As he entered the pitch he noticed a red-headed figure in the air. Lily was also a Chaser, and unfortunately, a damn good one. Currently, she was tossing a Quaffle through the hoop and then diving to retrieve it before ascending and weaving through imaginary adversaries. Once she had got it through the hoop at least three more times she descended, obviously not having noticed his presence, and went to retrieve a water bottle from a bag on the sidelines.

He sidled over casually as always, leaning against a nearby hoop. "Well if it isn't little Lily Potter,"

Lily jumped, startled by the cool voice and the sudden appearance of her least favourite person in the world. She glared at him, remembering Josephine's ridiculous comment about him having feelings toward her. As if, she thought to herself. He probably doesn't even have feelings. "What do you want, Malfoy?"

"Nothing, nothing, just a little chat is all," he smirked, conceited as always.

Lily felt somewhat threatened by the unidentifiable glint in his grey eyes, which never broke contact with hers. "You know, my brother knows I'm here," Lily replied coolly, keeping her voice even despite the fact that his presence made her feel anxious.

Scorpius looked at her quizzically for a moment, before coming to a realisation and laughing. "You honestly think I'd hurt you for no reason?"

Lily relaxed slightly at this, but shrugged nonetheless. "Hurt me, kill me, who knows."

"Miss Potter, I am greatly offended. I may be, let's face it, a bit of a prick-"

"Understatement of the century," she replied, thinking that perhaps Malfoy wasn't really dangerous after all, just a bit of an idiot.

Scorpius ploughed on as though she had never spoken, "- but a murderer, or a torturer, I am not."

"You torture Albus. Just because you don't use magic doesn't mean it's not torture."

"It's all in good fun."

"No it's not. You hate each other's guts, there's no pretence of civility whatsoever."

"Of course. How could I forget?" he replied smoothly, tilting his head to the side and smiling charmingly.

Lily smiled herself, finding herself momentarily disarmed by the way Scorpius tilted his head and the smile he was giving her. For a second she forgot who she was, where she was and exactly who she was talking to. When she regained that knowledge she rolled her eyes immediately, turning her back to him to get another water bottle from her bag; that way he couldn't see the furious blush that had crept up her cheeks.

"You can't hide it from me, Miss Potter," he said teasingly. "I can tell it's winding you up, because you're practically obligated to hate me. But I saw that smile."

"True," she began, suddenly and roughly passing him the Quaffle to test his reflexes; they were spot on. Scorpius reacted instantly and caught the ball with ease. "But you'd be hard-pressed to prove it, Malfoy." Lily swung her leg over her broomstick and kicked off into the air, hovering in the air a few metres away and staring at him as if to say 'well, are you coming or not?'

Scorpius followed suit, kicking off and using a complicated half-standing position he usually only risked when in the company of Slytherin comrades of the fairer sex.

"Nice stance there, Malfoy," Lily observed. "Where did you learn it?"

"My father. I wouldn't recommend you try it, it's only for us professionals," he replied with a wink, causing Lily to roll her eyes at his arrogance, though she was somewhat amused.

"Professionals, you say? Well, how about we have a little competition to see who's more professional?"

Scorpius raised an eyebrow; he was never one to refuse a challenge, however he knew enough Gryffindors to realise that they were brave to the point of insanity, and likely to push the limits of what they were capable of without thinking of the consequences. "And what would this competition entail?"

"Not volunteering straight away? Anyone would think that you were scared," Lily teased, this time smirking herself. "Follow me,"

Lily soared a little higher in the air. Not too far, but just enough to give her butterflies when she stared at the ground, thinking of what she was about to do. She made sure her broomstick was completely horizontal, before carefully moving one hand further down the broom. Scorpius seemed ready to protest when he realised what she was about to do, but didn't want to harm her concentration or balance as she placed both her feet on the broom and steadily rose to her feet, balancing on the broom. Once she felt reasonably stable she smirked triumphantly at Scorpius, who looked rather pale in the face.

"What, is this too high for you Malfoy?" asked Lily, smirking; she knew that he could probably do just as she did, but at this height he wasn't game enough to try it, meaning she had won their competition by default.

"No, of course not," began Scorpius sarcastically, though it didn't cover the obvious worry. "I mean, if I was trying to fracture my skull, standing on my broom at this height would be the first thing I'd do,"

Lily rolled her eyes. "You couldn't fracture your skull from this height,"

"Perhaps not, but all the same, Potter, you should really get down. As surprising as this may be, I don't actually want to witness you killing yourself."

Lily sighed mockingly. "I'm disappointed in you Malfoy," she replied, slowly crouching down to grab hold of her broom. "I thought you'd-"

Lily had lost her balance before she'd gotten a grip on her broom; she felt the adrenaline pulse around her body as she reached out with her other arm and missed. Her stomach felt as though it was riding some sort of rollercoaster as she continued falling. Lily was conscious of someone calling her name as she fell, but mere seconds after that it seemed all light had been blinked from the world.

Lily woke up in the school hospital wing with no memory of what had happened after she had failed to grip her broom. It took her a couple of seconds to realise that she had been knocked out, another couple to realise where she was and who she was with. Scorpius was there, of course; she wondered how he had reacted. Had he been at all concerned about her? Part of her couldn't help hoping that he had been. But she dismissed the idea immediately; he probably handled the situation in his usual cool, unaffected manner, without much care at all.

"Good afternoon, sleepyhead," he said coolly.

Rose and Hugo arrived just as he had finished saying this, Albus arrived at the hospital shortly after in a frantic rush.

Albus took one look at Scorpius standing opposite Rose and Hugo, looking very uncomfortable, and snarled, "What did you do to her?"

Lily rolled her eyes, completely unsurprised. "He didn't do anything. Really. I was just showing off, and I-"

"Showing off for Malfoy? What a load of bollocks," scoffed Albus, looking at Scorpius as though he was the source of an unpleasant smell. "Did he threaten to hurt one of us if you told us what he did?"

"Interesting. How do you allege that I managed to communicate these threats to her, considering both your cousins have been here since she woke up?" Scorpius questioned coolly, logically.

Lily had to stop herself from smiling at the sense of sarcasm dripping from his voice. However she noticed that both boys were clenching their fists and staring heatedly at each other, and decided it would be best to lighten the mood. "I'm fine, Albus, really. I was standing on my broomstick. I was too high and he told me to get down – I fell off."

"Well why didn't you catch her then?" Albus questioned Scorpius accusingly.

Lily couldn't help but let out a laugh. "He was metres away, what was he supposed to do, dive to catch me? He got me to the Hospital Wing, isn't that enough?"

Albus was still staring viciously at Scorpius. "Who knows what else he did to you while you were unconscious,"

"Albus!" exclaimed Lily furiously.

This time Albus had really gone too far. First he was accusing him of hurting Lily, now he was accusing him of doing unmentionable things to her? Before anyone had time to react, Scorpius had drawn his wand and had it trained on Albus. Scorpius was just about to hex him into next week when the school matron appeared, dropping her tray of food in shock. "MR MALFOY!" she cried shrilly. "NOT IN MY HOSPITAL! OUT – OUT – AS A MATTER OF FACT, ALL OF YOU - OUT!"

With that, they were all thrown rather unceremoniously from the Hospital Wing.

"Nice job, Malfoy," said Rose sarcastically, stalking away. Hugo frowned but didn't say anything, instead choosing to simply follow Rose.

Scorpius rolled his eyes and turned on his heel in the direction of the Slytherin common room.

"Oi, Malfoy!" Albus called after him. He walked over to the taller blonde boy, poking a threatening finger into Scorpius' chest, unmindful of the difference in height and strength between them. "Stay away from my sister,"

"I'll keep that in mind. I'm not going to take any notice of you, of course, but the words are indelibly etched on my brain, I promise,"

Albus considered cursing Malfoy as he walked away for a split-second, but decided against it. First of all, it would be cowardly, and secondly, he and Scorpius had fought in the past – with magic, and with fists, and the Headmistress had made it perfectly clear that despite their families' history, she would not tolerate much more violence between them.

When Scorpius went to the Hospital wing after dinner to apologise for what had happened earlier, Lily already had company. Both her parents, both siblings, and a handful of cousins were standing around her bed, a fact that seemed to be putting the matron slightly on edge. Scorpius felt he would rather swallow an entire cutlery draw than enter a room full of Potters and Weasleys, thus he decided to swing around later, after curfew, that way he could be sure no one else would be there.

He was the first to enter the dormitory, meaning he had to wait quietly, pretending to be dead to the world until his dorm mates fell asleep. The last of them to do so was Albus Potter, but the soft snores seemed to be authentic, so with extreme caution he snuck out of his dormitory, downstairs and out of the common room into the corridor, by which time his eyes had somewhat acclimatised to the dark; he wasn't going to chance lighting his wand. Scorpius had been given the position of Head Boy this year, and if he was caught breaking the rules it would set a very bad example. However, he figured that if he were caught, he could think of some believable excuse. Scorpius was good at thinking on his feet.

After a tense and quiet journey, he reached the Hospital Wing undetected, and managed to sneak in the door without alerting the matron, whose light was still on in the office. He tiptoed over to her bed, being careful not to wake her, but as he reached her side, the figure stirred.

"Albus?" she questioned, not sleepily at all, and Scorpius concluded that she was already awake.

"Not quite," he replied, his voice low.

"Malfoy? What are you doing here? You'll be in massive trouble if you're found out after curfew,"

"I know. I thought I should apologise for earlier," Scorpius replied, though in his mind he still felt her brother would have deserved it, after what he said.

Lily sighed. "Even I was a bit surprised at what he said. He shouldn't have implied that - well, you know. You shouldn't have gone to curse him, but I understand why you did," she conceded.

"Well… good," replied Scorpius, managing to dodge any real admission of fault, "How are you?"

"Fine. Good. I suppose you're going to tell me I told you so?"

"No, no. See there's this unspoken social rule that when someone is hurt, you're not allowed to say it. Apparently it comes off badly, or something like that." Scorpius replied somewhat sarcastically.

"You don't say?" Lily questioned sarcastically. "Oh, and by the way… unfortunately for you I'll be out on the pitch in full force for the match this weekend, so expect to lose."

Scorpius shrugged. "Potter, haven't you learned that the only important position on the team is Seeker. Unless you're in the Professional Leagues, we Chasers have little impact on the outcome, so in the unlikely event of our loss, it will be through no fault of mine."

"You're quietly confident," she replied sarcastically. "How much would you be willing to stake on that?"

"I don't know… perhaps me leaving you alone for the rest of my schooling career vs. a date with me in Hogsmeade?"

"Wh-what?" Lil stammered, gaping, though he could not see the bewildered expression in the dark. "A – a date with you? Why?"

"No need to sound so frightened, Potter. I figure that there could be no greater punishment for you than a date with me. Why else would I ask?"

"I don't know, what would you have thought," she snapped defensively. In the dark, Scorpius smirked.

"Do we have a deal?" questioned Scorpius.

Lily frowned slightly. "I don't know… how can I guarantee you won't continue bothering me anyway if Gryffindor wins?" she questioned, though the word 'bothering' wasn't entirely true. She thought of the conversation she had had with him at the Quidditch pitch, and realised honestly that he hadn't really bothered her at all. In fact, this was probably the second real conversation she had had with him throughout her entire schooling career, both of which had actually been – she thought grudgingly – rather amusing.

"Well you'll just have to trust me, won't you? But you won't have to worry about that. As much as I hate your family, they're all rather good at Quidditch, and almost all of them left last year – face it, the best members of your team have all left. Your team is up the creek without a paddle,"

Lily snorted. "That's what you'd like to believe," she replied, ignoring the slight truth in his words. Her cousins were the best, and with their gradual leaving over the past few years, the Gryffindor team was left with a few good but rather inexperienced players. In fact this was true for all of the teams except for Slytherin, which looked to be at its peak this year. "You're on."

"See you on the field."

Author's Note: An eventful (and surprisingly amicable) first 'proper' meeting of the two, though unfortunately we can't say the same for Albus. As for the wager, Lily can't really win either way, don't you think? Leave a review and let me know!