Have one thing to say - it's good to be back.
For now - Chop! Chop! Get on to the reading. A long chapter ahead.
Warning: Self-harm trigger and strong language
Disclaimer: Everything recognisable belongs to JKR. Copyright infringement is unintended.
25. Going Under
"Waltham's looking for you."
Rose looked up from the patient report she was reviewing to see Raymond walking into the Mungo's break room, looking extremely tired.
"Move," he grunted, pushing her feet off the couch she had extended her legs on. He promptly plonked himself on the couch, rubbing his forehead.
"What does he want?" she sighed, subconsciously running her fingers across her temples, trying to numb the sharp pain that just shot across her forehead.
"All I know if that he looked happy. Now-"
Just then a memo flew in towards her. She caught hold of it and unwrapped the letter to read it.
"He wants to see me in his office now", she frowned. The note was simply a request. No details about what the meeting was about.
"Now now darling. Why would you so look so sad about meeting Waltham when he's in an absolute spiffy mood? You know there's good news coming up."
How was she to explain the sadness to them? For that is all she saw around her these days.
It had been nearly two weeks since she moved out of her home with Scorpius, and with each passing day, her hopes of reconciling with him crashed further with each rejection. He didn't reply to her letters or her requests for a meeting. He was rarely ever at his home or his office, often taking up active duty assignments such that he was mostly travelling due to undercover work. Rose knew she couldn't keep frequenting his office without running into her father or Uncle Harry, which had happened every time she'd done so in the last week. She knew she had to be discreet, so she'd reached out to Albus.
However, he found out that Scorpius was expertly avoiding him as well.
Scorpius had been actively chasing assignments that would have him on the move, and Ron had been more than happy to comply, giving him assignments to keep him busy, while having no idea how Rose and Scorpius's marriage was happily disintegrating with each passing minute. What made it more difficult was Albus's assignments that had him shuffling between countries for a day or two; he had to tie up any loose ends from the case, wrapping it up once and for all.
Frustrated, angry, and upset, she'd decided to drop one last note for Scorpius at his desk before deciding not to bother him anymore. She knew Scorpius needed some time to think things through. He always came through for her at end. Always did. They'd had so many arguments in the past and they always ended up being ok. Maybe she just needed to back off; Scorpius hated nagging. And he loved his job. Them getting back together was simply a matter of time. They just needed to cool off.
So she did back off, allowing Scorpius to focus on his work, while she focused on hers.
But there was always this looming, depressing pit at the bottom of her stomach, terrifying her with the thoughts of Scorpius deciding to walk away from her and Amy. He'd thought of a divorce even before they'd gotten in this mess. Who's to know that he won't consider it again?
But then she remembered seeing those emotions in his eyes when he was with her, the ones she'd never seen in him before. He'd kissed her with a passion she knew no woman before her had the honour to experience. She knew he loved her, goddamn it! He couldn't just walk away from something as precious as what they had.
They'd been through so much together; it was impossible to imagine a life without him.
"My Rose wouldn't have cheated on me. But then, you aren't my Rose, are you? You've never been so."
His parting words haunted her sleep, often instigating nightmares where he'd left her and Amelia, and moved on to live the playboy life, just as he'd been before they got married. She woke up every morning in tears only leading to new bouts of crying before she steeled herself to get through the day.
She had to be strong for herself and Amelia. She couldn't just sit back and mope around. She had to keep fighting.
A loud snore distracted her from her thoughts. Raymond was now dead asleep, mouth hanging open, snoring without a care in the world
Shaking her head, she got up from the sofa and walked towards Healer Waltham's office.
On reaching his office, Rose knocked on the door and entered the moment she heard a 'come in'.
"Miss Weasley", started Waltham kindly, smiling at her over his glasses as she approached his desk, "Just went through Miss Rhodes' files. She seems to be making a rather fantastic recovery."
A small smile broke on her face. "That she is", she replied, thinking of the five year blonde girl who'd been admitted to Mungo's after a rather nasty Quidditch accident. "The little girl is extremely patient with her medication and therapy. Her parents are so helpful. It's been absolutely smooth – love to have patients who are so cooperative."
"And of course, we can't ignore the way you manage her and other patients, Rose. We'll miss having you around here for a while," said Waltham with a small smile, sending a knowing look over his glasses.
"Wha-what do you mean?" she spluttered, her heart rate rocketing all of a sudden, her surroundings turning blurry. Were they firing her? Was her performance over the last few weeks unsatisfactory? Had she slipped in her work? That couldn't be. She'd always been a professional, irrespective of the upheavals her personal life witnessed.
"Relax-RELAX, Rose!" exclaimed Waltham on seeing Rose's panicked face, "I'm talking about your application to the Tilden Toots's Medical Leadership Programme – just heard from them that you got through! Don't tell me you forgot the results were due this month?"
"What?" whispered Rose, absolutely dumbstruck. This was certainly not what she'd expected when she walked into Waltham's room. With the emotional turmoil her life had recently gone through, the results of the application were far from her mind.
Over six months ago, Waltham had recommended she apply for the Leadership Programme, an exclusive training programme that accepted only thirty applications from all around the world every year. Anyone who got through to the programme was a sure-shot front runner to becoming the Healer-in-Chief at Mungo's when the time came. Waltham too had been a recipient in his time.
At the time of application, she'd been highly unsure of going ahead with it, given how young Amelia was and that to attend the programme, she'd have to be in Switzerland for three months. But Scorpius had been adamant, pushing her and encouraging her to apply as soon as possible.
"Things are going to get more competitive with each passing year – don't let this opportunity go. Imagine, once you get through - which you will - you'll probably be among the youngest candidates to enter the programme. Just imagine the network of talented people you'll meet there, how far you'll go! Apply, Rose! Don't worry about me and Amy. You know I've got your back. Amy will be fine! We'll visit you every weekend - we'll work this out!"
Her heart clenched as she remembered Scorpius's encouraging face, pushing her to fill up the forms, helping her out with her application essays, staying up with her all night to find the right words, making tea for her, taking care of Amy while she'd passed out due to exhaustion.
She missed those times so much. She missed him so much.
Rose's attention snapped back to Waltham's concerned face.
"I'd thought you'd be more excited about this opportunity", he said, the smile slipping off his face, but just so.
"I am", started Rose slowly. Honestly speaking, she had no idea about how to deal with the news. With the separation from Scorpius, uncertainty about their future together, this news probably couldn't have come at a worse time.
"Ok, good" he replied, smiling, "They are awaiting your confirmation of participation in the programme. Just get back to them at the earliest, alright? Else, they'll forward your seat to the next person in the waiting list."
"Sure," smiled Rose uncertainly, getting up from her seat. She needed guidance. She needed to speak to Scorpius at the earliest.
"Many congratulations, Rose! Your family is going to be so proud of you."
She could only nod. Her mind was running with a thousand possibilities around this news. Maybe this fellowship could be the break she and Scorpius needed; he could come with her, away from all the negative emotions and energy that surrounded their current situation here in England. The scenic and calm environment of the Alps could help them revive their marriage. They needed that happiness at the earliest.
She needed to see Scorpius at the earliest.
She rushed back to her desk and pulled out a parchment and a quill to scribble a message. However, the moment the quill touched the parchment she hesitated.
There was a very high possibility that Scorpius might not be at the Ministry, or even if he received the letter, he may not respond.
Gritting her teeth, she scribbled her letter to Albus, whom she knew would be reaching the Ministry soon. He'd been in Italy the past two days on a Auror work, and was probably on his way back to England. He could help her out.
And surely, three hours later, she received Albus's reply.
He's here. Come around 8 PM.
Confronting Scorpius at work was the only option she had. He'd left her no choice.
"Goddamn it, Malfoy! It'll take me days before I walk straight again."
Scorpius merely chuckled as he collapsed on the training mat, sweaty and tired after a sparring session with Chris Thomas. Intense workouts such as these made him feel good. He was chasing anything, anything that would take his mind off the hollowness he felt these days.
Doing paperwork from remote locations, interviewing witnesses, chasing petty criminals – anything that kept his mind busy and distracted, was more than welcome. Anything he can control, he's good to go ahead with.
Scorpius thanked his luck that Albus too had been mostly on the move; having to tie up loose ends from their last mission, he'd been shuttling between France, Italy, England, taking in testimonies from victims, their families, and witnesses. He'd heard Albus might be coming back today, but he was yet to run into him. He'd hopefully head back home by then.
He hated going back to the place he'd called home for the last two years, for he'd be bombarded with their memories.
Of his darling Amelia playing by the TV, her toys littered all over the floor.
Of Rose sitting on the couch, a cup of coffee warming her hands as she read muggle literature.
Of the beautiful little girl as she climbed onto his stomach in the morning while he was sleeping, poking him awake.
Of the woman he loved as her nails dug into his back while he drove into her wantonly, each moan, rasp of his name making him want to never stop.
Of Rose's daughter hugging him tight as she greeted him every time he came back from work, calling him her 'dardee' when he knew he wasn't one. Could possibly never be one anymore.
Of his best friend telling him that she loved him, just when she'd felt the same for someone else over two years ago who now wanted her back. He didn't have the name 'Malfoy' attached to him.
He'd wake up in a sweat each night, his nightmares alternating between Rose and him continuing their marriage but destroying themselves in it, and Rose and Amelia moving on, happier without him. He'd immediately step out of his bed and head for a hot shower, scrub his skin till it was red, sometimes wanting his bruises to bleed; he just wanted the pain, that 'everywhere' pain to stop. The pain would start every time he'd find himself alone, clawing at his heart, creeping up his skin, overwhelming his senses, and provoking him to start breaking things around the house. Sometimes, drinking himself silly was the only option he had. He'd simply pass out at night for a dreamless sleep.
Scorpius remembered the early days of their marriage, when Rose would go into a shell, and just stare out the window of their new home, zoning out from her surroundings. He knew she was thinking about Ryan, of whether to reach and tell him, of wondering whether she'd given up early. But she never voiced those thoughts out loud. She'd pretend it was all fine.
He had known she had feelings for Ryan at least the first few months into their marriage. But he'd never pushed her to get over him. So should it be any surprise if those feelings still remained, or had simply resurfaced?
Scorpius had wondered in the last few days, if offering marriage on that fateful night had been the right thing to do.
And every time his mind had replied with 'yes'.
For these two and a half years were the happiest of his life, giving him the family he could have only imagined in his wildest dreams.
But that was all he was allowed. And he was finally making peace with it.
Rose had been trying to reach him the past two weeks, but he couldn't speak to her. There was nothing to say from his end. He was done with this, their marriage.
He'd found a note from her on his desk when he'd come back from his offsite meeting earlier this week.
Please meet me, Scorpius. We need to work this out. Don't give up on us, it said. He'd simply put the note in his desk, not having the heart to dispose it off.
Maybe he wasn't meant to have a family. Maybe Rose and him were destined to be just friends.
And he'll have to move on from this, one way or the other.
Scorpius got up from the mat with a grunt, smirking at the two younger female Aurors on the training mat next to theirs, currently exchanging galleons.
"Oh come on, McMillan!" groaned Chris, shooting daggers at them, "You can't tell me you guys bet against me!"
"Zip it, Thomas!", said Natalie McMillan coolly, while her sparring partner, Emma Jackson giggled, "We both bet against you. Emma said that you'd last twenty-five minutes. I'd said fifteen."
"What the hell?!"
"Malfoy's way more jacked than you. And check out his stance," she replied, pointedly looking at Scorpius's form, "He's been holding in a lot of rage. I know a winning combo if I see one." And then she winked at Scorpius, making him chuckle.
"Easy ladies! He's married," interrupted Chris, looking indignant.
Not for long.
Scorpius was startled at the snide voice in his head. As Chris and the two Aurors got into a verbal spar, he turned away from them. He walked towards his locker and picked up the duffel bag, to head towards home, desperately trying to the sinking feeling inside.
The solution was pretty simple, wasn't it? He had to stop running away from reality. He had to face the facts and the music. He was tired of feeling so hurt and empty. He had to move on.
He knew Rose wouldn't take the first step. He couldn't force her to stay with him because she was legally bound to him.
He had to be the first one to do it. And he did try today morning, didn't he?
"I'm so sorry!"
Scorpius was interrupted from his thoughts when someone ran into him. He immediately bent down to pick up the papers that had strewn across the floor as a result of the collision.
"I'm sorry, miss-," he started, raising his line of sight to finally meet the eyes of the stranger. His stomach swooped as he looked into the eyes of an old friend. "Erin?"
"Scorpius!" breathed Erin Wellington, her face breaking into a wide smile as she tucked her hair behind her ears. "My my. Aren't you a still a treat for the sore eyes!"
"Likewise!" he replied, before hugging her briefly. She smelled divine. Just like old times. And looked spectacular. Just like old times. "How have you been? It's been ages since I last saw you!"
"We haven't met since Hogwarts, idiot! Been working with the dragons in Bulgaria since. Had come down to visit Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures – some regulatory work!" she said, before taking a moment to look around and notice individuals walking around in trench coats, many of them rushing towards the elevators, making their way home. She suddenly looked embarrassed. "And I'm guessing this is not Level 4. The elevator was pretty crowded, so I just went with the flow of the crowd."
Scorpius shook his head, amused. "No. This is Level 2 – the department of Magical Law Enforcement. And isn't it too late to have a meeting at the Ministry? People are heading back home."
"The officers I needed to meet with arrived here like an hour ago and I couldn't wait till tomorrow. Forgot to ask - what are you up to here?" she asked, eyeing his gym wear and the duffel bag he was carrying.
"I am an Auror.", he replied awkwardly, running a hand through his hair. It really had been a while since they'd interacted. They hadn't kept touch post Hogwarts, which was tragic because Erin was a nice person, and he had genuinely enjoyed her company, "Thought of indulging in some combat practice before leaving for home."
"Wow! You certainly look the part, Malfoy!" she replied, her eyes roving his body, her old teasing grin coming back on her face.
Scorpius grinned back at her, finally smiling genuinely after what felt like years.
He and Erin had dated back in their sixth year at Hogwarts. Before they'd started dating, they'd been flirting shamelessly with each other, each moment surmounting to their ever-building sexual tension. So much so, they ended up sleeping together on their first date and he'd lost his virginity to her. However, with passing weeks, the passion waned and they'd split amicably after two months, realizing that the sexual tension was the only thing that brought them together, their relationship lacking the depth and passion needed to keep it alive for more than a few months.
"We should catch up sometime post work. I'll be here for a few days," she replied, cocking her head at smiling. Her eyes dropped to his left hand holding the duffel bag, "Is that a wedding ring? Someone made an honest man of you, Malfoy?" she gasped, her eyes wide in surprise.
Scorpius immediately stiffened, blood pounding in his ears, anger slowly rising in him.
Was he married?
Really? Was he?
"Yup, he is."
Scorpius and Erin turned to look at the source of the sound.
Albus Potter had appeared by his side, fixing them with a calculative look.
Scorpius needed to plan his escape route. Fast. He couldn't deal with Albus right now.
"Hey Albus! Long time no see!" said Erin jovially, extending an arm to hug him, which Albus returned, "You're working as an Auror as well?"
"Yes" replied Albus, his smile not reaching his eyes, "Just wrapping up cases at the moment, will be heading back home to Elora in a bit."
And Rose, his mind immediately added. His insides started twisting uncomfortably at the mere thought of her, the monster inside him clawing at his insides, wanting to rage at something, crying out in despair, wanting her so bad, and at the same time terrified at the thought of being with her, knowing he isn't good enough for her.
Gone were the days when he'd look forward to going back home to meet his daughter and wife. Now, the home was simply a pretty house, with no people, no heart, no life in it.
"Oh my god! You and Elora got married?! That's brilliant!" she squeaked, her hand covering her mouth in surprise.
"As did Scorpius and Rose," added Albus, looking firmly at his friend, who was avoiding his gaze by looking firmly at Erin.
Scorpius swore he could have punched Albus at that moment. He could feel the resurgence of that internal pain again. The monster inside him was roaring in anguish, begging for a quick death. He couldn't handle this pain. He wanted to be free of this burden.
"I knew it!" exclaimed Erin, turning to look at Scorpius at him with a knowing smile. "You and Rose were always just meant to be. Do you remember me telling you the same when we broke up and the way you laughed in my face when I told you so? What an idiot you were!"
Fate's laughing in my face, Erin. You have no idea.
"Yeah, well" he replied uncomfortably, avoiding eye contact with Albus, "I better going now – it's getting late" he then turned to look at Erin, who looked a little confused at the sudden change in demeanour, "Drop by if you'd like to hang out sometime. I'll be on this floor."
Hugging her goodbye quickly, he excused himself from them and walked quickly into his office to pick up the rest of his papers. Seconds later, he heard Albus entering their office.
"Dude! Seriously!" hissed Albus, his eyes blazing, "Things have gotten rough between you and Rose, and suddenly you're getting chummy with your ex who just happens to be here at the Ministry-"
"Watch it, Albus!" snapped Scorpius, the monster inside him wanting to lash out at Albus for even suggesting that. "There was nothing going on. I wouldn't do that to Rose. You know I wouldn't hurt her like that."
"Yet, you're walking away from her. And you've been avoiding me," spat Albus, crossing his arms and walking towards his table, "What the hell are you up to, Scorpius?"
Scorpius pressed his palm to his head, trying to form the words before he let them out. The blood was pounding in his head. He'd need a drink or many, before going to sleep.
Simply living had become so exhausting these days.
"I am trying to do what's best for me and Rose, Albus", he replied, sighing, trying to calm down the raging monster inside him. "'You don't understand what we've been through in the last two years. We got married out of convenience, and our reasons for getting married did not include love. I thought we had something in the middle, that we could finally love. But it was all foolish and-"
"That's bullshit and you know it, Scorpius!" thundered Albus, a steely look on his face, "You've both loved each other since you were kids. You didn't realise it, but I have seen and known the two of you since then. I've seen how you are when with each other, and how incomplete you are when the other isn't around. Erin wasn't blind when she'd said what she said back then - you guys are meant to be together. Just quit running away when your marriage is seeing troubled waters. She loves you. And you love her. Fight for your marriage – call her and work out things with her; go to a counselor - anything. You both have a daughter together - don't bullshit with that Smith nonsense. Amelia is yours and Rose's. Why are you giving up this easy?"
"Because things are not the same anymore, Albus!" hissed Scorpius painfully, trying to hold back his tears as he looked at his best friend. He hated how toxic and hateful he felt at the thought of Rose and him being together. He knew that even if they got back together - Merlin, he loved her so much - his insecurities would destroy them and any shred of relationship they had, not just their friendship, would disappear. There was no way in hell he was letting go of that. And even if she didn't cheat on him now, he knew things would turn for the worse which may push her to look for someone else. He didn't know if he'd be able to handle it then. He had to break things off before they got worse. "We have reached the stage in our marriage when I know things wont work out for us. I know it. And if we continue with this farce of a marriage, I'll lose her and Amy completely. I can't ruin Rose's life - she has so much to look forward to. And Amy- she's just a baby! She can't have parents who are always each other's throats. It will destroy her. She can't have a traumatising childhood like that. I won't let her have that. Please understand."
Albus stared at him with a troubled expression, his own eyes growing redder with each passing second. Growling, he ran his hand through his unkempt hair, before slamming it on the table, making Scorpius wince. Just then he started, something on the table catching his eye. He lifted a set of papers to his eye level, making Scorpius curse.
He should have kept them inside the desk as soon as he'd come back from the meeting with the lawyer. How on earth did he forget that?
"You've filed for a divorce?" asked Albus, his voice tense as he lowered the papers and fixed his steely gaze on his best friend.
"Not yet," replied Scorpius, trying to stay calm himself while the word 'divorce' reverberated in his head; his heart rate had just shot up. He closed his eyes, trying to calm his heart and convince himself, yet again, that he was doing the right thing. "I met a lawyer earlier today. He'd given me the papers to review, and explained the process. I will be speaking to Rose about this before formally signing these documents."
There was a deafening silence at the workstation.
Scorpius internally begged Albus to say something.
This was all forms of scary. He needed Albus by his side.
He couldn't lose the other family he had.
"Would be rather difficult, wouldn't it, given that you run away every time I come closer?" came a voice from the doorway.
Scorpius's eyes snapped open on hearing the voice that haunted his dreams. His insides bottomed out as his eyes met the pair he loved the most in the world.
Rose Weasley was standing at the doorway of their office, her eyes blazing, anguish lining each inch on her face.
Scorpius was actually filing for a divorce.
He was going to end this.
She'd let him speak first; she wants to know why he didn't want to fight for her, for their child, their marriage.
She had to be the level-headed person in the room. Scorpius wasn't going to be so.
She also had to hold herself up, not allow herself to crumble or get too emotional. She was on the verge of breaking down completely.
She could sense her emotions, just ready to topple over and flood her entire body with grief.
But she'd promised herself before coming here that she would control her emotions. She had to be the strong one and lead the conversation with clarity. She had to stay objective and deal with things calmly.
"Rose", said Albus, his voice cracking as he started towards her.
"Don't. You. Leave now." she replied firmly, looking straight at him, her eyes begging him to leave them alone.
This fight was between her. and Scorpius. He should not get involved.
"No", Albus replied, just as tersely. Rose noted the angry tears that were forming in his eyes. She knew that any separation between her and Scorpius wouldn't just push them apart. It would impact Albus as well. He was their family, just as they were his.
The three of them had been together since they were eleven.
The divorce not only risked her relationship with Scorpius; it also risked Albus's relationship with them as a friend and a brother.
"Albus, please," came Scorpius's pleading voice from behind him. Rose's eyes snapped back to her husband.
He looked tired; from his attire, she could tell he'd come back from the gym, but it was the pain in his eyes that twisted her heart brutally.
There were dark circles under his eyes, and he seemed to have aged up in the two weeks they were apart. He needed to sleep at least 8 hours to help his body recover and let his skin rest after taking all those potions. She hoped he was taking his medications.
The scar on his left cheek also didn't seem to have healed as much as it should have. She would recommend increased dosage of Dr. Ubbly's No-Scar ointment to speed up the healing process.
Stop acting like a healer! Say something now.
Rose pressed her lips tightly and focused on shutting her conscience. Being a healer taught her to keep her emotions in control during times of duress. This is the only way she could handle whatever was happening.
"You need to go, Albus. You can't do anything."
Just then, something akin to comprehension seemed to have dawned on Albus's face at her words.
"Don't do anything stupid. Both of you!" he blurted urgently, now walking hurriedly towards the door. "I'll be back. Just - just don't do anything stupid."
Rose heard the door close behind her. She could hear Chris's voice outside, and then Albus's. And then it was silent.
The tension in the air was so thick that it was suffocating her.
"So" started Rose impassively, while her heart was having mini palpitations, "How convenient was it for you to even reach out to a lawyer but not speak to your own wife about the marriage not working out?"
Stay objective, Rose!
Scorpius's eyes flashed angrily at her, the tiredness seemingly gone. "Whatever I had to say was said and done. I know what you want. And it's not me. Therefore, us separating in the only logical thing to do."
"Do you still believe I cheated on you? I told you this then, and I am telling you this now - I didn't."
"It's not a matter of just Smith, Rose," groaned Scorpius, putting his scarred face in his hands, "I just don't think we are compatible anymore."
That took Rose by surprise, causing her to drop her tough demeanour.
"What do you mean?" she asked softly, not believing her ears, clenching her fists tightly and trying to hold back the tears. Did he seriously think they didn't make sense together anymore? Wasn't this whole madness related Ryan and Lily's tomfoolery?
Scorpius extracted his face from his hands, and fixed her with a stare. His pale blue eyes were empty; no sign of any emotion. His lips were tight in disdain.
And it suddenly struck her how much he resembled his grandfather at the moment. Cold, unemotional, guarded.
"We are always fighting, almost biting each others' heads off." said Scorpius coldly, making her wince with every word he said. "I know you'll say that we have always argued. But this isn't just any other argument we have, Rose. It's not playful, it's spiteful, it's hateful. This is toxic, what we have is."
She breathed deeply, "Scorpius, you know, all this happened only because of Ryan meeting Amy and that blasted accident. You know what we were and what we'd become-"
"We were best friends who got married out of love, Rose." he said, his tone a little soft now. He was still avoiding her gaze, choosing to focus on a spot a little to her left, "You know when we started this, I was just trying to help you. Things happened. Somewhere along the way, I'd like to believe, we started feeling something for each other. But Ryan wants you back, and I am good for nothing -"
"You need to stop believing that, Scorpius!" cried out Rose, horrified that he'd still think that. She moved closer to his table, looking at him with open eyes, silently begging him to see into her soul and see just how much she loved him and what she thought of him. "We have had our setbacks, but we can get through this. You need to trust me-"
"That is unfortunately something I don't think I am capable of doing anymore" said Scorpius, with a tinge of disappointment, "I hate what I have become ever since the accident. So suspicious, hateful, spiteful - I couldn't go one day without firing at you. You know how much you cried those few days after I came from Mungo's. I know how much you did. Is that what you want for the rest of your life?"
"Of course not!" replied Rose, horrified, "Scorpius, we need to get help. Post trauma stress is very common and people can recover well if they reach out to help on time."
"Which I'll take care of. I need you by my side as my best friend, Rose. Not my wife." he replied, his voice cracking as he made eye contact with her. His voice was wavering, but the eye contact was firm. His eyes were blazing, looking as if he believed every word coming out of his mouth, crumbling her resistance even more. "I just-just can't be with you anymore. The idea of getting back together with you fills me with so much hate. I can't deal with this negativity in my life. Especially when I am trying to recover. Please let go of me. We can't work this out."
Rose couldn't see what was in front of her anymore. Her eyes were overflowing with tears. Gone was her resolve of staying steely.
Every thing he said about being with her, punctured every fibre of her being. She felt like he was virtually choking her with every word, breathing was becoming next to impossible. She was slowly drowning in an abyss of the unknown.
"I hate who I have become. I keep having nightmares of you and Ryan-"
"He isn't what I want Scorpius," sniffled Rose, moving closer to his desk.
"And I worry about our friendship." continued Scorpius painfully, as if not having heard her. His emotions were now showing on his face, which was now crumbling, "You were one of the first friends I had, Rose. You accepted me for my name, for who I was. And I would always be grateful for that. And I know that if we continue with this marriage, things will only keep getting worse. Trust me, I am doing this for our good. I can't lose my best friend, Rose."
Rose whimpered, tears streaming past her chin now, wetting the coat she was wearing. Every nerve of hers was crackling with agony.
She hated how pained he sounded, how hateful he was at the idea of them getting back together.
But she knew he wasn't thinking straight. She had to get through to him.
Scorpius looked alarmed as she walked around the desk and knelt in front of him. She quietly took his hands, and cried internally in triumph when he didn't pull back and had instead curved his hand around her fingers. She locked eyes with him; his eyes looked lost, angry, and heartbroken.
"I need you to listen to me very carefully, Scorpius," she said, trying to steady her voice and control the flow of tears that were dripping past her chin. She gripped his hands tighter. "I'd had a very stable life, almost bordering on mundane and ordinary. And just when I thought my life had taken a turn for the worst, you happened. And then my life wasn't my life anymore. It had become a fairytale. You became my every reason to live, every hope and every dream I've ever had. Every day that we were together, was the greatest day of my life. And I will always be yours. Because I love you."
Saying this, she'd reached up to gently cup his face and kiss him, just when his words stopped her, crashing her entire world in seven words.
"I don't think I love you anymore."
Shocked blue eyes stared back into his soul. He could see the turmoil unraveling inside her. Despair slowly overtook her face as she tried to comprehend what he was trying to say.
"I can't lie to you or myself anymore. It's just that I don't love you enough anymore to want to work things out. I just want our marriage to be over. I want to move on."
Scorpius was absolutely gutted at the misery that ripped across her face. He knew he had her at those hideously heartbreaking words.
He wanted her to stop, stop fighting for them. They did not have a future together; how was she so blind that she couldn't see it?
He knew she had to hear these cruel words from him, else how will she even consider the divorce?
He needed her to hate him for now, he needed her to move on from him, so they could be friends and be happy that way.
He loved this woman with all his heart. And he knew that no one would come close to her. He would always be in love with her.
But she didn't need to know that. Because she won't remain in love with him. And that's why they needed to end their marriage.
He knew she'd be thankful to him a couple of years.
Rose mutely got off the floor, dropping his hands and walking away from him, walking around the desk and facing him.
She wasn't crying anymore; her face was still lined with disbelief, her tear-streaked cheeks now pale. She was staring at his desk, her eyes absolutely blank.
Scorpius knew he had to say something. His heart was in his mouth, blood was thumping loudly in his ears. He was feeling extremely light-headed, on the verge of fainting.
"Rose, we were always meant to be friends. If these two years with you have taught me something, it is this.", he said, wishing for the earth to swallow him so that he doesn't have to see how much he'd hurt her. Perhaps he can drink himself into oblivion tonight. "You mean the world to me, Rose. Just not the way you wanted."
Her eyes finally snapped up to meet his, and that's when he saw it, the emotion that gripped his insides in absolute misery, the emotion of pure hatred.
But he'd probably imagined it, because that emotion had disappeared in a second, and had instead been replaced with a vacant expression.
"Where should I sign?" came her quiet voice, startling him.
"The divorce papers. Where do I sign?" she asked, lowering her eyes and staring at the desk.
Scorpius almost burst into tears at that moment.
She'd finally given up on them.
He should have been rejoicing, right? After all, she'd finally done what he'd wanted.
Instead, the monster inside that had been troubling him and urging him to separate from Rose, was wailing inside, its cries of anguish amplifying with each passing second.
Blinking back tears and clearing his throat for his emotions were choking him, he raised himself from his chair to pick up the divorce papers that Albus had slammed on his desk. He handed the papers to her.
Rose was unnervingly calm, a complete opposite of what he'd seen a minute ago. She was still avoiding eye contact and then asked for the quill.
On handing her the quill, Scorpius turned around, not being able to bear the sight of her signing off the end of their marriage.
Not her, you! IT WAS YOU. YOU DESTROYED US! yelled out the monster inside him.
He put his hands on the wall in front of him, breathing deeply, trying to compose himself as he heard the gentle scratch of the quill against the parchment paper of the documents.
This was it, the end. This was the end he'd wanted, right?
"Done." came her voice.
Heart full of dread, he turned around. Rose was tucking in the divorce documents in a folder, which she then kept back on the desk.
She'd signed the divorce papers.
It was over. This is what he'd wanted, right?
"Let me know when you start the official processes," she said, her voice hollow as she stared at her feet, "You can send any other documents to my office. Will sign them and send them back."
She simply turned around and left, not sparing him a second glance.
Just as the door slammed close behind her, Scorpius felt the world in front of him move dizzily.
He reached for the nearest dustbin, upchucking everything into it.
His marriage with Rose was officially ending.
It's been nearly a decade since the last update, and there can't be enough apologies for sending out the story update so late.
I'll start with this for now:
Thank you to all the loyal readers who have stuck through, reviewed the story and even been sweet enough to send personal messages to follow up! You guys are simply amazing! Sending lots of hugs. You guys motivated me to come back, seriously! Those encouraging messages to come back and finish the stories is what got me to finish and update this chapter. Many at times, I started and gave up. But the recent slew of messages and reviews got me to pull up my sleeves and decide to finish this story once and for all.
There are about 5-6 chapters still remaining which I hope to finish in the next few months.
About this chapter, it was extremely difficult to write given the context of it. The past decade has also exposed me to different schools of thought about relationships and togetherness, and I hope I was able to capture the pain of the breakup decently enough - although I do understand some of you may even have your pitchforks ready for separating them.
Credits to Nicholas Sparks for that quote from The Notebook.
Loved the chapter? Hated the chapter? Want to say hello? Please drop a review! Will only motivate me to work harder, write better, and update faster. Crazy explosive chapter, coming up next.