Chapter Nineteen – Silence
The looks stopped; the school fell silent.
The conclusion of Draco Malfoy's trial seemed to be the end-all of the gossip in the school, as though this finally solved everything. With Mr. Malfoy in jail, Scorpius and I were set free, if only because people were certain that our game was over. Scorpius went on with his life like nothing happened to his family, while the mastermind, fallen without her comrades to do her dirty work, withdrew with full cowardice into her shell, leaving nothing behind.
And in a way, I did retreat into myself. Though I truly was no mastermind behind the project, I felt partially responsible for Mr. Malfoy's fate. I could have pushed my father harder, forced him to protect him more, explained the idiocy of the whole event in layman's terms, and even gotten involved in the trial. Yet I sat back, relaxed while I was safe, watched as Scorpius suffered. Nothing I did prevented this outcome, and perhaps I only helped it progress. Now, I fell into myself, reflecting on my wrong-doings and hiding from Scorpius.
I sat in the Divination room, staring at the crystal ball in the center of the floor. Faces popped in and out, voices whispering as they passed by, but I remained motionless beside it. Professor Firenze allowed me to stay in the classroom, without a word giving his consent. After taking one look at me, he nodded and hurried away to wherever he went when he wasn't in the classroom. I was just grateful that he wasn't one of those teachers that wanted to "talk" when something was wrong. I needed peace.
I continued to stare at the crystal ball in front of me, focusing on the faces and whispers, not bothering to look at the person who was addressing me. I could tell who it was, anyway. He had repeatedly been to the Divination classroom to check up on me, coming once every hour or so. Had there been classes today, I probably wouldn't have hid, but seeing as there was no reason to be with everyone else, I didn't find it necessary to mingle. He persisted anyway, trying to drag me out of myself but to no prevail.
"Rose, come one, it's time for dinner. You haven't eaten anything all day. Are you trying to starve yourself?" He didn't move closer to me; he didn't touch me; he didn't reach out to me from where he stood. I heard no hint of movement other than a rising and falling of his chest as he took deep, calm breaths. He was not going to force me to come with him, and I wasn't expecting him to. He was probably too scared of my possible reaction to force me, but at least he was trying.
"Rosie… Rosie, please come eat!" He was begging now, sounding weak, and I half-expected him to get on his knees and plead with me. My other half was right, though; he stayed frozen in his spot, his reflection in the crystal ball not moving. I closed my eyes, refusing to look at him, and focused on my thoughts, instead. How was I going to see Scorpius again? Did I not expect this to ruin everything? Was I too naïve to realize it?
Then, with the ruffling of fabric touching fabric, I heard a movement. I kept my eyes shut, squeezing them even more tightly than before. Maybe Hugo was leaving, giving up on me, as he rightly should. I didn't respond to him all day, and I wasn't about to respond to him now. Yes, he was my brother, but that didn't mean I had to obey him. I was the older one, here.
"Get up," a different voice, one older than Hugo's, commanded, but I only shifted my head to turn my ears away from the noise. I didn't need my whole family to come in and order me around. At least Hugo was polite about it; Albus was just being rude.
Then, grabbing my arm, Albus pulled me to me feet, and I opened my eyes to glare at him. "Stop it. You're being a baby." He returned my glare with narrowed eyes of his own, looking disgusted and annoyed. "Rose, you're going to go downstairs to the Great Hall, you're going to sit down with Scorpius, you're going to stop hiding from everyone just because you're scared of them, and you're going to eat. You're going to stop being afraid because you're a Gryffindor. You're supposed to be brave. You're supposed to stand up for yourself instead of making your family do it for you."
Something snapped in my head, and I pulled out my wand, pointing it at my cousin. He didn't even flinch, as though he expected this to happen, but Hugo whimpered, quietly reaching for his wand. Albus didn't reach for his, though, and I didn't lower my wand.
"Shut up, you… you…" I couldn't find a word suitable enough to call him. I was so furious now that the whisperings from the crystal ball were now screaming in my head, all yelling at once, and I couldn't understand a word of it. "Do you even know what I did? Nothing! That's what! I could have stopped this entire thing from happening by telling your dad everything I inferred! I could have saved Scorpius' father, my dad and your dad, myself, from everything everyone said! And now that it's stopped, it's like…" I shuddered, my whole body shivering. "No one even cares that I did it. I did it!"
The eyes in front of me lightened, looking worried now. Albus removed my wand from my hand, sliding it away from my grip with ease; I didn't care anymore. "What are you talking about? Did what?"
"What?" I asked, and Albus looked back at Hugo. Something wasn't right here.
"Are you okay, Rosie?" Hugo walked closer to me, but he kept his wand out, pointing it at me. I felt uncomfortable, dizzy, and the screaming in my head kept getting louder and louder. I turned around, looking at the crystal ball, faces passing through like it was a train moving through the station. All I could hear now were the voices, and all I could see were those faces, plastered in my head, screaming in my ears.
And then, silence.
"I swear, I didn't do it. I thought you were sticking up for me. I thought you understood that I wouldn't do anything having to do with You-Know-Who again. Even if he is gone."
The cloaked man crossed his arms, pacing back and forth in front of the cell in Azkaban. Draco Malfoy looked the same as always, blond and annoyed, but fear passed through his face for a split second. The cloaked man noticed this, stopping in his tracks and facing Malfoy for a moment before resuming his pacing. He said nothing and did not need to, but Malfoy, impatient as ever, clutched his cell bars and stuck his head out through them.
"We had a deal. You find the real murderers…" He paused. The other side of the bargain had not been decided, but Malfoy could offer up any reward. He had all the money he needed and more—inherited, of course. But the cloaked man didn't really need the money; he had enough of his own. Surely Malfoy would be able to pay the cloaked man back, anyway. He owed him.
"Yes, I'll find them." The voice, muffled beneath the cloak, seemed to whisper the words, though no one else bothered to eavesdrop. The man stopped pacing once more, turning to face Malfoy. "Five Muggles dead, Malfoy. Only two wizards were arrested. You and one other man, whom we proved innocent. You're the only person we have right now. Can you explain why that is? Why no one else is popping up? We're not completely incompetent, Malfoy, despite your thinking so. We don't even have any leads."
Malfoy looked even more annoyed now, his face scrunching up into a twisted mess. "You're just not looking in the right spots, I suppose. I mean, people framed me, and they did a damn good job, didn't they?" He paused again, looking for some sort of sympathy from the cloaked man. He received none. "Look, I don't know where the people, or person, who did it is. If I did, I wouldn't be sitting in jail. I would be testifying against him in court. All I know is that I didn't do it, and you believed me up until five minutes ago. Why have you stopped?"
The cloaked man unfolded his arms and moved his hands to his pockets. "Your son…" There was a smile beneath the hood.
This conversation seemed far too familiar to Malfoy, and he furrowed his eyebrows. "Right." He ran his hand through his hair. That seemed familiar, too. "Scorpius."
Something wasn't right here.
"People talk, some people listen, some people ignore it," the cloaked man said, his muffled voice ringing out stronger now. "It's my job to listen, to take action. Some students at Hogwarts have written to the Aurors to inform us of a certain Scorpius Malfoy sneaking out after dark and heading off to the grounds. Perhaps off them. We wrote to the professors and told them to keep an eye on him and to watch the dungeons at night. He was caught the other night sneaking out."
Malfoy removed his hands from the bars and backed away, looking disturbed. "He wasn't doing anything wrong, I'm sure of it."
"Neville Longbottom stood up for him, told the Headmaster that he and Scorpius were working on a project at night for Herbology." The cloaked man began pacing a third time, and Malfoy now appeared disgusted. "Needless to say, the project was terminated, at least during the night. Scorpius hasn't been caught the past few nights, but I'm curious as to how long this will last. I do not doubt Neville. I believe him… he would never stand up for your son if it wasn't true. All I'm wondering is whether or not your son has another project off school grounds during the night. No one is watching the dungeons anymore."
"What about Rose, hmm?" Malfoy sneered now, and the cloaked man froze in his tracks. "If my son is involved, I can almost guarantee that she is, too."
"You're wrong. She's far too intelligent to get involved. And she knows all about what happened to the Death Eaters last time." Malfoy didn't look convinced. "She's the one advocating for you at Hogwarts, according to Neville. Your son isn't even sticking up for you anymore, but Rose is. Would she be trying to set you free if she was involved? Would she have framed you if she was a part of this? Her boyfriend's father? I don't think so."
Malfoy moved towards the bars once more, leaning his body against them and grinning. "No one can say anything against her and have a basis for it. She's untouchable." His sly look appeared to bother the cloaked man, and the man tightened his gloved hands. "But… from what I understand, she is Head Girl. And isn't Albus the Head Boy? If she snuck off the grounds, he wouldn't turn in his own cousin, would he? She has the ability to get away each night… doing rounds and such. If she wanted to get away, she could, couldn't she?"
"Maybe she wouldn't." Malfoy shrugged. "But isn't it also true that she is particularly gifted in Divination? Don't you find that strange, considering her mother and father both lack talent in that subject? Don't you find it strange that she is so gifted, but her parents aren't?"
The cloaked man tightened his hands even more, the leather of the gloves squeaking against itself. "It doesn't have to be inherited. She could just be gifted in Divination. Maybe she is a Seer… maybe Firenze is just a really good professor. She's good at all of her subjects."
"Scorpius told me she has very vivid dreams. Very accurate, vivid dreams."
"What does this have to do with anything, Malfoy? I've heard the same thing, but I don't think I'm feeling quite as enlightened as you apparently are," the cloaked man snapped, the muffled voice becoming clearer and angrier.
"What if she did it… but she was sleepwalking? Usually you have to be in REM to have such clear dreams, I think, but since Rose is gifted… maybe she doesn't have to be. Maybe she could be sleepwalking and experiencing all of these dreams. And maybe they're telling her what to do."
The cloaked man laughed, chuckling quietly at first, but then laughing insanely, as if he had never heard anything funnier in his life. "That's good, Malfoy."
Something wasn't right here.
"Hey, look, she's finally waking up. Someone go grab that glass of water for her, and grab that plate of food, too. She looks like hell. And someone grab her something cool to put on her head—this washcloth has gotten warm now." The firmness of the voice disappeared, and now the voice sounded softer, more concerned. "Rosie, how are you feeling? Are you okay? You scared the living daylights out of Hugo and me."
I sat up, immediately knowing that this was a mistake. Collapsing back against whatever I was laying on—something soft and squishy, but definitely not a bed—I kept my eyes shut. Opening my eyes and seeing everyone crowded around me trying to see if I was okay did not sound like a good idea at the moment. In fact, it didn't sound like a good idea ever.
I heard tiny footsteps approach me. "Thanks, Lily." Albus spoke much more lightly than he had to me earlier. That much I remembered, if nothing else. What had happened? Why was everyone here, when I was supposed to be hiding? Where did all of those voices go… and the faces? They all disappeared from my head, and the only sounds I heard now were the voices of my family and the shuffling of feet.
"Drink this, Rose." He helped me sit up, and I finally managed to open my eyes. Albus was holding a glass of water out to me, while everyone else (just Hugo and Lily, actually) ran around the common room trying to get stuff for me. How did they get me to this couch, anyway? Wasn't I in the Divination room?
Hugo came to my side with a wet towel. Placing it on my forehead—more like forcing it on me, actually, since it was cold and wet, and the rest of me was getting soaked—he kneeled down on the floor.
"You kind of… had a spasm or something. Just kind of shuddered and dropped…" Hugo looked disturbed to be telling me this, but I felt far more disturbed hearing it. Shuddered and dropped? It sounded horrible like that, but thinking about it more carefully, I probably just fainted. I hadn't eaten anything all day, after all.
"Actually, you screamed, 'I did it!' before you passed out," Albus added, and Hugo blushed; he obviously wanted to hide that detail from me. "Though, I'm curious, do you actually know why you screamed that? What did you do? You were talking about how you could have stopped Draco Malfoy from going to jail, but then you just yelled that you did 'it'."
"Oh…" I shook my head, downing the water that Lily brought over. Swallowing, I looked at my cousin and my brother, shrugging. "I don't know. Maybe I was just a little confused. I had been staring at that crystal ball all day, and these faces kept on talking to me. First, they whispered, but I think they started screaming at me. I was probably just disoriented."
Albus blinked. "Faces and voices? In the crystal ball?"
"It's nothing." I smiled at him, trying to reassure my worrying cousin. That was all he ever did. Worry, worry, worry. He needed to just get away from me for a couple of days and sleep. He would be on cloud nine after that.
"Um, Rose, that doesn't sound—"
"It's nothing," I replied, interrupting him but remaining calm. "I've always been able to see things in the crystal ball, and sometimes whatever is there talks. Besides, you were yelling at me, weren't you, Albus? I was probably just getting upset and shouted whatever came to mind. I didn't mean anything by it."
Neither Albus nor Hugo looked convinced. Nor was I convinced by my own explanation. Sure, the voices had come from the crystal ball, and the faces that had been running through my mind had, as well. But something beyond my knowing was happening. Something worse than what I knew was happening. Something wasn't right.
Author's Note: No, I have not abandoned this. No, I am not going to leave you hanging. No, I will not give up on this just because I have another Rose/Scorpius fanfiction going. Finally, yes, this will be finished someday. I can't promise you when. But I can promise you it will be completed.
I know I sometimes take a long time to update. Sometimes I update too fast and people miss things. (It's usually the former… I know.) I sincerely apologize for that. But you just have to stick with me because I promise the end result will be great. I'm sure it's frustrating, waiting months and months for an update. In fact, I know how that feels. You probably think the update won't happen. Sometimes it doesn't. But I WILL finish this. There WILL be an update, no matter how long it takes. Trust me.
Anyway, I thank you all for sticking this out with me. I was looking at when I published this the other day—August of 2007. It's taken me almost three years so far to write 50,000 words. For NaNoWriMo, I do that in a month. But, you know, I like looking back at chapter one. Can you see how much I have improved? It might not look like much to you, but it's phenomenal to me.
So, I just wanted to clarify that I will be finishing this. Don't give up on me, now! This chapter was pretty intense, right? You want to know more. I know you do. Oh, yeah!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Thanks for sticking it out! More updates to come, I promise!