Truth, Chapter Nine
P.S. So. I'm evil. I left this in my folder for months, and never updated. Damn.
Oh, and can you say "confrontation"?
Rose was scrambling to her feet…
But he was already gone.
And so she was following him…
"Rose! Wait!" Lily was storming after her in her three-inch heels, the sound muffled by the music blasting around them. "Where are you—"
"Stop, Lily." Marcus had grabbed her arm and was talking to her quietly. "It's something she has to do." Then, as she turned to leave again, he added, "On her own."
Rose wasn't paying attention to either of them, still running after him…
He just kissed me. He—
Was standing in front of her.
Rose wasn't sure if the very earth were moving beneath her; she felt as if her legs were about to give out beneath her.
"Rose-" he started.
"-I don't think we should do this."
"Just. Please." Each syllable felt like dirt in his mouth.
"I don't understand-" She reached out to his trembling figure. He recoiled.
"Stay away from me."
Her hand dropped.
"Please, Scorpius we can-"
"There is no 'we' Weasley, just…go." He could no longer look at her. Her eyes were pleading for explanation. He couldn't give her one. Not one that she wanted.
She would not leave. She did not understand. What had happened? Just a moment ago, he had…it had seemed…was she a fool?
No, he was the fool. But she did not know.
Now, he turned away. Rose did not see the unbearable sadness in his eyes, but it was there. He walked away and did not look back.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Malfoy, but one cannot resign from the position of Head Boy this far into the term. You have responsibilities. You cannot simply abandon them without good reason."
McGonagall assessed the young boy in front of her. He looked the Scorpius Malfoy she had known—cold, pale, rigid—but somehow, he seemed…vulnerable. Irrationally so. Why would he ever want to resign as Head Boy? Did he not know, that if he did so, a Gryffindor would surely take his place?
"I think it is necessary," he said.
"Perhaps, Rose Weasley?"
He had not answered her. If McGonagall had not been keener, she would have missed the boy's slight hesitation at mention of the Head Girl's name. But, it was not distaste she had sensed, but rather a certain fear. It couldn't be. His father, maybe, but Scorpius Malfoy was no coward. If circumstances had been different, the Headmistress would have gladly welcomed the boy into her own House.
"If that is so…"
"Rosie! Tell me what happened!" Lily Luna pleaded of her elder cousin, now reduced to a curled up heap on her bedspread.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Rose Weasley, I know something happened. If you won't tell me-" Here Lily paused. What would she do? This was not the type of scenario for blackmail or shallow threats. She had the answer. "-I'll ask Wood himself." A triumphant smirk was plastered on her face as she watched her cousin's blank expression morph to horror.
"Y-you can't! It's not-"
Lily clucked. Tsk-Tsk-Tsk. Did her cousin take her for a fool?
"It's not about him then? Then…it can only be about Scorpius, eh?"
Rose looked bewilderedly at Lily. How she had not made Slytherin, she would never know. Rose had promised herself she wasn't going to speak about that dreadful night, but here she was, spilling the beans to her cousin in a heartbeat.
"Come on," Lily prodded, whacking Rosie with a feather pillow. "I know it's about him. It's always been about him. You were just too dense to realize it."
Was it true? How long had this—'it'—been going on? Now that she thought about it, there had only been two real "boys" in her life—Benjamin Wood and Scorpius Malfoy. One scared her. The other one…more so.
"You need to talk to him, Rosie. He's just scared. Understandably." Lily spoke so lightly, it was a wonder that her advice was serious. Rose turned to her cousin with fire on her tongue, the words ready to spill out.
"But he didn't let me talk to him! He told me to go away!"
"He was in shock. You terrify him."
"I terrify him?" The Head Girl gave out a bitter laugh. "He's the one who bloody petrifies me! All he has to do is look at me, and I can't even move!"
"Mmhmm…" said Lily, pondering. Wasn't it the same thing either way? They both made the other vulnerable…She twiddled a strand of hair around her finger, meeting her cousin's eyes once more. "How do you know it's not the other way around?"
Rose sputtered. "I-it can't be! He's always so calm, so bloody expressionless." But that was not true. How many times had she caught him displaying emotion when he thought no one was looking? How could she be so naive? There had to be a reason for his actions, irrational as it seemed…
"Rosie, I know what you're thinking. And what you need to realize is that Scorpius Malfoy is not the monster, the inhuman being you grew up thinking he was. He's a boy."
Rose groaned into her pillow.
"You know," continued the youngest Potter, "he's resigning as Head."
"Marcus told me. Apparently he needs his space. Personal issues, he said."
That couldn't mean?
"Of course, it means you, Rose. Who else? You better talk to him before it's too late. I already arranged for your meeting in the common room."
"Lily!" Rose hissed. Her devious cousin merely shrugged.
"If I hadn't done it, you would've never listened to me. He's waiting out there right now."
Rose almost slammed the pillow right in her cousin's face. Cousin or no cousin, this girl was every inch a manipulative Slytherin.
"For how long?" she demanded through clenched teeth.
"About two minutes. You took longer to convince than I thought."
With a huff, Rose went out to face her biggest fear:
She would conquer this unsettling knowledge.
She was a Gryffindor, after all.
"Talk to her, mate."
It was Zabini. How he knew to find him here was a mystery. Scorpius should remember to never underestimate him…
The Owlry was covered in snow. Late November wind swept up the colored leaves of autumn, and an early blizzard had brought in heaps of slush and ice. Scorpius did not meet the gaze of his best friend. Rather, he was looking out into the landscape before him, his frozen breath spouting puffs of white in front of his face. He decided he liked the cold. It numbed his senses, cleared his thoughts.
"You know I can't face her."
"Why?" Marcus prodded, though he knew the answer. He wanted him to think it, to accept it.
"I'm-" He hesitated. Fear was one thing. Admitting it was another. A weakness. A chink in his armor, if there ever was one.
"You're afraid of her."
His unspoken answer was already known to them both. Scorpius sighed. How could he face her, after what he said? 'There is no 'we' Weasley.'
It was the truth. There was him, and there was her, and there was a line either was forbidden to cross. This was his reasoning, and he was sure it was hers.
"If she didn't think it could work, she wouldn't have pursued you."
"Face it, Malfoy. You're just afraid of your own skin. It's been telling you the truth this whole time, and you're not man enough to face it."
…Not man enough?
Not man enough?
"You get over here!"
At last Scorpius whirled to face his fellow Slytherin. He was surprised to see him standing so close. When he swung, Zabini managed to get him in the jaw. The impact shook them both.
Both boys touched their faces.
The Zabini boy was smiling. His grin was contagious.
"Ha. Ha. Ha."
"You're my brother, you know that, right?" said the darker of the two.
"Of course," said the blonde one. "Always was, always will be."
The Zabini boy slung a casual arm around his counterpart, leading them both down the steps to the infirmary.
Then, he added:
"Talk to her."
Of course they had set this up.
"Hello, Rosie," greeted Marcus Zabini. Scorpius stiffened in his chair. He had not known the confrontation to be so soon. He internally slapped himself for playing into Zabini's hand. And apparently Lily Luna Potter's, too.
"Hello, Marcus." She gave the boy a curt nod, words as dry as sandpaper. She had been played. When she got her hands on that cousin of hers—
Speak of the devil. Both Heads turned to face the youngest Potter as she made her exit of Rose's room and leapt into the arms of Marcus Zabini. And then she was gone.
"Toodles~!" called Lily, her echoing laughter bouncing off the corridors.
Marcus waved, following after his girl. "C'est la vie" were his last words.