A/N: Please let me begin by saying that I won't be able to apologize enough for this awful, absurd delay in posting the last chapter. I moved from my home country twice in these two years, so it has been a very rocky ride. Nevertheless, thank you so much for your patience and your wonderful reviews. I'm sorry to those whom I didn't answer, I tried to answer them all but I'm sure I missed a few. I have a sequel prepared, so I hope you stick around to read it, if you're still interested. Again, I apologize. I hope you enjoy the closure to this part of the story and understand that it's a beginning for a new one. It's important to let you know that I have been editing this story to fix the grammar issues and some terrible writing. I recently corrected and replaced chapters 1,11,12,13 and 14, just so you know.
To those of you who enjoy the song titles of this story, I have a little addition at the very end of this chapter (after the lyrics), concerning Scorpius. Please, please, please remember to leave a review! I promise it won't take long
Rose left the Hospital Wing two days later, with the wound of her neck almost completely healed, the awful midnight headaches reduced to a minimal and a very light mark left on her silky skin that played the part of an unpleasant souvenir. She couldn't stop staring at it whenever she looked at herself in the mirror, wondering how long it would be before it disappeared.
With her eyes piercing their blue reflection, she thought of Gerard, of where he could be, and what he would be thinking now. She was turning desperate to know the magnitude of his anger towards Albus, towards Scorpius and most important: towards her father.
She startled, and turned around to look at Lily directly. Her cousin was standing under the doorframe of Rose's dormitory. "Are you alright? Albus sent me to look for you. He wanted to make sure you didn't miss breakfast."
"Yes, sure, I'm fine," she smiled vaguely. "Fine. Perfectly fine."
"That's too many fines in one sentence," Lily said melodiously, and walked up to her in small steps. "Do you want to talk about it? I'm guessing you haven't had time to think much about—"
"Believe me, I've had plenty of time," Rose cut in, lowering her eyes, just before she chose to turn around and face the mirror instead of Lily, to observe once more the cut that hadn't healed completely.
"Why is it still here?" she whispered and glanced at her cousin's reflection, who was looking at the same mirror over Rose's shoulder.
"I don't—Rose it must have been a powerful spell. Are you sure you don't want to talk?"
Rose shook her head, her eyes swimming in the glass of the mirror. "Want me to do your hair instead?" Lily randomly asked. Rose shrugged. Her cousin was shorter than her, but not by far. Rose stared at her through the reflection, contemplating her silence especially. Lily was braiding Rose's soft curls and wasn't looking at her as she did so.
"Are you alright?" Rose asked the girl, who nodded shortly.
"Yes—just, Rose!" she said loudly, releasing her hair when it wasn't done. Rose had turned around, interrupting the moment, looking at Liliy's mortified eyes.
"What? What is it?" she demanded. Lily´s resistance was short.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't know some guy was writing you those terror notes! I didn't! If I had I wouldn't have suggested that to Scorpius. I wouldn't have! I swear! I'm so sorry Rose!"
"Lily, it's fine," she shook her head.
"And he felt so bad about it, you have no idea what he looked like while you were unconscious in the Hospital Wing. And he wouldn't talk to anybody, and nobody would walk up to him, except for Al and me. It was just so sad to see him like that—I'm so sorry."
"Lily! this wasn't your fault."
"Just once I tried to talk to him, you know, to apologize, and the only thing he said back to me was how similar he was to this Gerard…man. Rose, he's not. He's nothing like that. He cares about you, I mean he never said much to me but I could tell. I really could, that's why I was so sure you two had a chance and I insisted him to— you know, to make things happen."
Rose chuckled. "Lily, you spend way too much time trying to fix other people's love life."
"But see? I wasn't wrong. You do have a chance together. You are perfect for each other, I can tell!"
"Lily, calm down."
"You're not upset with me for meddling in, are you? I know how reserved you are and all, but sometimes it's good to get a little help, you know?"
"I'm not upset," she promised plainly.
Lily sighed, apparently unconvinced. "Good. Now turn around so I can finish with your hair," she ordered.
Rose's first morning of regular classes went by slowly. Her interest on paying attention was very little. She didn't care about the academic world, she couldn't. It was impossible for her to stop thinking about Gerard, about how free and capable he was of doing anything he wanted. After a very quiet lunch she left the Great Hall with her two closest friends, who fortunately never talked about the incident, and as she walked down the school halls she saw a face she would recognize anywhere. Teddy Lupin, wide smile, black messy hair, and a sky blue shirt that made him look like a teenager.
"Teddy!" She threw her arms around his neck, the same way she did when she was a kid. Teddy hugged her back, strongly at first.
"You frightened everybody," he told her sweetly, before releasing her embrace. "Not me, though, I know you're too rough for that."
Rose smiled widely, "What are you doing here?"
"I believe I'm working," he said with a small, rather suspicious sigh. "I'm here to interview you."
"What?" she dryly said. "Oh no. Forget it."
Teddy chuckled. "I imagined that much, but come on, just a few facts. The Prophet wants you. That's big deal, huh?" he insisted, smiling too innocently to believe.
"I don't care," she insisted. "I'm not going to be more humiliated than I already am."
Teddy shook his head, and threw his right arm over her. In less than five seconds she was walking down the hall with him. She turned around to check on Albus and Anya, she was laughing shyly at some comment Albus had just made. Noticing how unimportant Rose had suddenly become in their conversation, she decided to leave with Teddy and no regrets.
They went into the nearest empty classroom, and with a secure smile she saw him taking out a pen and a small notebook. He set both of them on one of the students' empty desks, and stared at her intently.
"I'm not going to be interviewed by you," she insisted firmly. Teddy smiled.
"You, Miss Rose Weasley, are becoming one of the hottest stories of the year. It's been a while since my boss has been this urgent about something. I'm in plenty of disadvantage here. As your cousin I can't return to my boss empty handed," he flashed a smile at her, his long, black locks covering his face. Rose frowned, taking her fingertips to caress her soaring forehead.
"How does the Prophet know about this?" she asked, biting her lower lip fully.
"Rose, if the school knows, the parents know, and you can take it from there."
"Brilliant," she mumbled.
"Don't suffer it! You're famous," he teased, closing his hand in a fist to hit her cheek softly. "It'll be fine."
"It's embarrassing Teddy. I went after my own stalker, alone! How stupid was I? And now everybody knows about it. I'm worst than those women that get attacked for going alone into dark alleys," Rose confessed in severe shame. Teddy, on the other hand smiled softly.
"Don't be so hard on yourself. What's with you Weasley women and your obsession with what people think? Who the hell cares? You handled it, and best of all: you got out of it alive! You're sixteen, you're allowed to do stupid things now and then." She frowned even harder, and he chuckled. "Oh, I get it, the problem is that Miss Perfection here isn't entitled to one mistake."
"Shut up," she ordered. "I'm not Miss Perfection," Rose announced weakly. Somehow, it sounded like a familiar discussion she had had with Scorpius.
"It's true. You can do no wrong, or at least that's what you've made us believe all these years."
"Teddy! Stop! You're being evil!" she punched him.
"I'm not! I'm impressed! I love this new side of you."
"Right, that's because you have a thing for trouble girls," she rolled her eyes.
"Correction. A thing for one trouble girl," he retorted, smiling fully, Rose shook her head. "That cousin of yours can be a handful, but…" he smiled again, shrugging. Ever since she could remember Teddy had been her role model. She admired his writing skills, his good humour, his perspective towards life, his metamorphic abilities, and especially the way he adored Victoire.
Hermione enjoyed telling Rose about how difficult she had been to babysit when she was little, and how during a phase she would only allow Teddy to watch over her. As a result, and over the years, Teddy had become the one person she never felt intimidated to go to when searching for advice. He was kind, easy going, and had a gift for understanding almost anything. Not to mention his ability to get information out of her.
She stopped smiling. Her eyes, somehow had locked. Somewhere, between Teddy's relationship and her own, her mind had stopped to wonder many things at the very same time. Faster than she imagined, Teddy had noticed, and had approached her.
"What is it?" he inquired.
"How is it that you two are even compatible? I mean, don't get me wrong. I love you with Victoire, but how do you make it work? You're so different," she pointed out. "You are…you know, steady, easy going, and she is...a bit mental at times."
Teddy looked at her suspiciously, his brown eyes soft but curious. "Huh, I'm guessing you're not just asking that," he frowned. "Is Scorpius Malfoy giving you a hard time?"
She stared at him intently. "No."
"He was with Al when he saved you."
"He was," she breathed in. "Teddy, it's just that, he is so different from anyone I've known, ever. I just—I have no idea what's going to happen. My dad doesn't know, and everybody has such an awful opinion of him, it's not even fair. I believe in him Teddy, and I know he's this amazing person, but then he says these things, like he deserves every single word that has been said about him. I don't believe that, but everything about him seems so uncertain at times."
"Seems to me like he's into you," he said. "And I don't think you would have gone through all this trouble for any bloke."
Rose chuckled, lowering her eyes. "Teddy," she waited. "I um—I haven't told him just how strongly I feel for him." She knew she was blushing, but looked at him again.
"Why? Scared of saying it out loud?" he asked, and at first she thought he was joking, but she soon found that he was asking a very serious and maybe even important question. She gave herself into thought.
"Maybe," she said, shrugging softly.
"Maybe when you say it out loud, there will be no turning back," Teddy said.
"Thing is, that you are already admitting it Rose, and it's exactly like last Christmas. You went to the Prophet looking for reasons to stop yourself. Well, you can look all you want, you're not going to find anything to make what you feel go away," he said, standing in front of her. She looked at his hazel eyes, and nodded softly. "You asked me how it is that Victoire and I are so compatible when we're so different. Well," he shrugged. "I don't know. I never knew, and to be honest I stopped wondering years ago. I really hope I never figure it out. I mean, you may think it was easier for us because we grew up together, but it wasn't. It still isn't." He smiled, a half smile. "I remember the day I realized I had fallen for her, but I don't know and I'll never know when I started to feel any of those things. Maybe when I was seventeen, maybe when I was five, I'll never know."
"But you two trust each other. You know each other since you were kids. You know she'll never hurt you, in my case—"
"See. That's where you're wrong. That's not love. Knowing the other person is not capable of hurting you? Is that what you're looking for? That's not remotely close to love." Teddy sighed strongly. "Rose, from the moment I started dating Victoire I was sure of one thing: that she could break me to pieces if she wanted to."
"But she adores you! She always has— I mean, the way she looks at you—"
"I know that now. But back then I knew those two years of difference between us were going to make it hard at some point. You know how she can be at times: inconstant, unpredictable, immature, she's a bit wild, and that issue she has with commitment—" he rolled his eyes. "It's stupid. I knew that was going to backfire at me."
"She had an issue with commitment," Rose corrected, but Teddy didn't seem to pay attention. He continued.
"I ignored all that, and thank Merlin I did! But, she still left to France for two years."
"I know! I'm not blaming it on her at all. I even encouraged it, I know I was the one who made her go, then things got too complicated and we broke it off. And Rose, that's when I knew. If that had never happened I wouldn't have been sure that she is the only woman capable of making me feel this way. There's no one else."
Rose looked at him, deeply. Was pain what it took to realize how much you loved a person? She didn't think she needed that. She knew. No matter how hidden it was to Scorpius.
"Rose, my point is that love doesn't mean knowing that the other person can't hurt you, it's the entire opposite. It's knowing exactly how much damage they can cause, but still giving in. Trust and confidence is something you have to build for yourself, with the other person's help of course. But love won't give you any of that."
She exhaled heavily. "That sounds complicated," she whispered and Teddy smiled.
"But it's true. One question, though. You said she had an issue with commitment. What did you mean by that?" Teddy raised his eyebrows.
"Nothing," she hesitated.
"Rose, have you been talking to Victoire?"
"No!" she lied, recalling immediately their talk at the Department of Mysteries. "I was just thinking, why in the world aren't you two married yet?"
"Why else? She doesn't want to. I'm not going to push her into it. She knows my position, she knows I'd marry her this afternoon. If she changes her mind all she has to do is—"
"What? Tell you?"
"Of course!" he reacted. Rose laughed softly, realizing that pride was on both sides of the relationship.
"Wouldn't that be like Proposing? That sounds like Victoire," she said in sarcasm.
"It wouldn't be proposing, but I won't bring marriage into the table again unless I see that she's changed her mind about it."
"Maybe you should look harder," she mumbled.
"Why?" He raised his eyebrow.
"I don't know," she shrugged. "So? When are you going to interview me for the Prophet?" She asked him, to change the subject, following Scorpius' sharpest evasive style.
"I thought you didn't want to be in the Prophet."
"Actually, if there's going to be articles about me in the papers, then I prefer something written by you than a destructive piece where a journalist I don't even know tells people just how stupid I behaved."
Teddy laughed. "No one's writing that about you. To the papers you'll either be a victim or a heroine," he mocked her. "So, which parts am I allowed to publish?" Teddy then asked, right before he pulled a golden pen out of his left pocket.
"The part where I broke an oil lamp on his head," she smiled.
In less than a week things began to come back to normal at Hogwarts. Students returned to their regular duties, except when Rose and Albus walked past them. Every time she entered a room she had to witness a second or two of uncomfortable silence. Since she came back to her regular activities, she had been very intrinsic about her entire adventure. She vaguely answered her classmates' questions. The situation drove Rose crazy, while Albus had managed to ignore everybody. He suggested her to do the same and Rose wished she could have her cousin's patience to ignore the look others gave her.
The person who surprised her the most was of course, Scorpius. While Albus worked on ignoring their noisy classmates, Scorpius' methods were natural and even challenging. During that week, whenever they met after class he would approach her with absolutely no self-consciousness, kissed her or gave her a demonstration of affection that made her believe that no one was ever looking, when actually, everybody was. He did not care about her warnings of James, and of course had absolutely no interest in the gossiping that was developing behind their backs.
"I can't get used to all of this. It's annoying, really," she told him hastily, one afternoon as he walked her to Herbology class. "Albus is really calm about it. He's been dealing with extra attention since he was a kid, and he does it well. I've been in everybody's lips for the last week and I really can't stand it. The last thing I heard was that I fought against four dark wizards at the owlery, while Albus had to use the Cruciatus curse on Gerard to free me.
A small sound came roughly out of his throat. "Cruciatus," he murmured. "Nice touch," he added, releasing his grip from her hand and stopping right in front of her, only a few yards away from the Greenhouse. "Here you are."
"But you," she continued. "You almost pretend like nobody exists. How do you even do it?"
Scorpius laughed shortly, shaking his head. "It's not that hard," he shrugged. "At some point in my life I began to stop watching, listening. I just stopped."
"You just stopped?" she inquired.
"Yes. People are scared of me, which is actually a pretty great thing because no one dares to piss me off."
"Is that what you want? For people to stay away from you?"
"The unpleasant people. Yes."
"How can you tell? There's also wonderful people. "
He took a step forward, standing rather close to her. "That's the beauty of it. I like to discover them in the right moments."
She breathed in. "I see," she whispered.
Scorpius smiled, and placed his hands on the sides of her waist, making her chest incinerate. "I bet I was the bad guy in those stories you've heard this week," he said, almost proudly. Rose raised her eyebrow.
"Maybe," she hesitated. "But you like it, don't you? You actually love coming off as the bad guy."
"Don't be ridiculous," he chuckled with a wide grin, and leaned down rapidly to brush her lips with his.
"I'm not being ridiculous," she told him. "I did hear some silly stuff, though. One was of you secretly being on Gerard's side." She saw him smiling. "And that you two were family," Scorpius' smile faded. He stared intently into her eyes but somehow that wasn't enough, and she was sure he could tell she needed more.
"What do you really want to know?" he asked her, with a rather serious face.
"We're about to begin here," Neville Longbottom said, standing under the door to the Greenhouse, ready to close it.
Scorpius released his embrace, and Rose let out a small but very annoyed hum. "I guess I'll see you later," she hastily said, and was ready to turn around when he took her face gently, but firmly.
"I'll meet you after class, at our place, alright? We can talk there."
Rose nodded, releasing a small smile, and finally turned towards the greenhouse.
After a rather encouraging Herbology class, where Neville congratulated Rose and Albus for having a perfectly grown Mimbulus "Mindy" Mimbletonia, she exited the greenhouse with Albus, with only one encounter in her thoughts.
But she ran into Anya while walking back to the castle. It was impressive how much time Anya spent with them lately. Rose wasn't sure if she was finally trying to approach Albus, because she was still too shy to demonstrate any kind of affection towards him. Nevertheless, her interest was obvious, at least to Rose, who frequently saw her nodding to anything Albus said and smiling to every single one of his smiles. She had to wonder if that was what she looked like whenever she listened to Scorpius.
They entered Hogwarts, and Rose noted how Albus' eyes turned to Annemarie, who was crossing the hall at that very instant. He stopped walking, and stood firmly. Rose observed them exchanging glances, and Anya staring intently at the entire picture.
Albus seemed to snap out of the situation in a matter of seconds, and entered a profound silence.
"Are you alright?" Rose questioned.
"I'm brilliant," Albus nodded. "What about you?" He turned the subject towards her, and she suddenly realized that she had broken the beautiful silence that had maintained the harmony between the two of them. There had been no inquiries or judgements on either side for the past days, but that was only because they had not spoken about the past events.
"Fine, I guess," she weakly answered, thinking in a rush of a random comment to fill her answer. But nothing trivial came to mind.
"I heard your dad officially returned to the Auror department," Anya intervened. It wasn't how Rose had expected to change the subject, but at least she wouldn't have to talk about Scorpius or Gerard. She nodded weakly.
"I'm afraid he has."
"You gotta admit, you saw it coming," Albus said. Rose turned her eyes at him.
"I don't think I did," she answered, straightforward, disappointed in her own judgement. "Now I think I should have. He has been working there for the past months, but I thought it would end faster."
"It's pretty serious," said Albus. "When it all began they were after a few old, rusty deatheaters. Now it's an entire plot that has been evolving for years, with insiders in the Ministry of Magic, and probably in Azkaban. If they're as organized as we think they are, this could take years!"
"Thanks Al, that's encouraging," Rose sighed, too loud, too heavy.
"They'll catch him soon, Rose," Anya softly said, placing her small hand over Rose's shoulder. In some ways Rose loved Anya's optimism and sweet nature. In others, she thought her naïve.
"It's not even him, I mean—It's not only him." She stopped walking. "How do you handle it, Al? How do you not go mad thinking that uncle Harry might be in the worst danger, night after night, after night—"
"Alright. I got the picture. Thanks," he cut her off plainly. "Lovely."
"I'm sorry. I just admire you, I guess. I don't know how I'll handle this. It's my father. I didn't think I'd ever have to be scared for him in this way."
"That's the point, Rose. You don't handle it. You can't do anything about it," he declared. Rose found the statement plain and of no use at all. She gave him a note of silence, and it wasn't long before he realized her discomfort. He looked down for a few short seconds before raising his head to see her again.
"I remember how much you used to worry about him, Al. I didn't forget," she told him with a plain tone of voice. He sighed.
"I know. What can I say? I…got used to it," Albus shrugged and this time Rose felt a trace of resentful honesty. "Listen, I guess it's easier for me now because I grew up with it. I know I can't tell you to stop worrying about uncle Ron, so just take it one day at a time. Don't put so much thought into it, and maybe…it'll be over faster than you can imagine."
"He's right, Rose," Anya said. "Nothing good can come out of worrying that much, you'll see. Nothing will happen to him." Rose turned to look at her friends one more time. Of all her flaws and virtues, she had no idea if the ability to accept the inevitable was one of her character traces. She suddenly realized that she had spent way too much time talking to them, and she was supposed to be heading back to the spot by the lake where Scorpius was probably already waiting.
"Anyway, I have to go," she absently declared. "I'll catch you at dinner? Is that alright?"
"Go on," Albus shrugged, uninterested, and took off with Anya before she did. In many ways it was nice to feel that Albus had disconnected himself from his previous disgust with Scorpius.
As she had imagined, Scorpius was waiting for her, sitting on the ground, his back against the tree that stood in front of the black, quiet lake. The afternoon was still, lonely, and most definitely lazy.
"Sorry I'm late," she smiled and threw her bag on the ground. He glanced up and contemplated her as she sat next to him. The moment she sat down she felt the urge of saying something, anything that would avoid an uncomfortable silence between them.
"Are you ready for the match this Saturday?" she asked, in a tone so careless that sounded fake. His first response was a patient smile.
"I am," he answered with what sounded like a small chuckle.
"What?" she reacted instantly, and his soft, hoarse laugh was heard again.
"Nothing," he shook his head slowly. "Are we out of topics? Or are you uncomfortable?"
Rose stared at him for a few seconds. "Well, you don't talk much, do you? So it's either random conversation or snogging all afternoon," she retorted, and immediately recognized bitterness in her own words. Scorpius' eyes widened slightly and momentarily, soon a half smile occupied his lips as he raised his eyebrow at her.
"I'm guessing that's a reproach more than a proposal," he laughed softly again, and his patience began to annoy her. They had already been through a very big deal of things together. She was not going to act as if nothing had happened, not with him. He was the only person whose opinion mattered at the moment. It was him she didn't understand and it was he who had her completely intrigued. He seemed too steady for everything that had happened, as if nothing had made a world of difference.
"It's not that I don't talk much what bothers you, is it? He asked plainly, driving his fingertips to pull a loose lock behind her ear. The skin of her cheek trembled a little. "It's the deal of things you want to know."
Rose pressed her lips together, strongly. She breathed in, as much as she tried to maintain composure, it was always despair what ended up taking the best of her character. "I'm asking too much from you," she whispered looking at the lake, instead of him.
"No. You aren't," he said quietly. This time Rose turned her head towards him to find that he was looking at the lake as well. His face plain, serious. They had broken the sweet enigma of kisses and no explanations, but she didn't regret it, her mind couldn't live in that stage eternally. "What do you want to know?" He asked, and Rose recalled this question early on their relationship.
"I don't know where to begin," she chuckled, mocking her own anxiety. "I've been asking myself so many questions I forgot which ones where important."
"You should become a journalist," he said, turning to look at her with a witty half smile. Rose shook her head.
"I don't think so," she chuckled dryly. "I guess, the place to begin is at my house. Remember? You visited me with something important to say, and then suddenly completely forgot about it. And don't say that—wait a minute," she interrupted herself abruptly. "My house. You were at my house and I never gave you my address. The house had a protective spell, and—I completely forgot about that! How did you ever get there?"
"Lily," Scorpius plainly said, shrugging his right shoulder.
"It couldn't have been Lily. The protection only broke when one of us gave the address away. Lily couldn't have broken it. I found that out during the holidays. I didn't even know."
"Yes, we did figure out that one eventually. She gave me your address and when I went to visit you I wound up in an open field. I figured you had a protection over your house and that's when I realized how serious your parents where being about your safety."
"And how did you get there?"
"I went back to my house, wrote to Lily and she offered to take me there."
"Oh," she whispered in realization.
"She actually had to hold my wrist to your house, otherwise I would end up in the field again," he explained. "I assumed your parents didn't want to alarm you or your cousins, that would explain why they were still able to apparate on your front door."
"Anyway, I'm sure that's over by now," she said through a sigh. "Dad will reinforce that house as much as he can."
"I'll manage," he smiled proudly.
"Is that so? You can't relay on Lily anymore," she raised her eyebrow, and Scorpius bent down a few inches to brush her cheek with his forehead.
"Too bad," he kissed her softly, and Rose was already getting used to the fervent feeling of his lips against her skin, when he pulled away. "I have to admit that she was very helpful," he grinned.
"Well, She can really meddle in people's life easily."
He stared at her firmly before speaking again, like trying to make something out of her voice or her face. "Remember that night you saw us talking in the hallway. It was late."
"Yes," she hissed.
"The next morning she stopped me on my way to charms to tell me you had flipped out." He was poorly hiding his proud smile, and that fact gave Rose a cold rush through her stomach.
"I did not flip out! I didn't—I mean, I was concerned for her. I—" She stopped and breathed in. "I did not flip out." Scorpius' laugh was soft but a hint of mockery flooded upon it.
"Insanely jealous. Those were her exact words. And according to Lily, that was a wonderful sign!" He laughed quietly, and Rose's chest burned harshly.
"Ok, let's get a few things straight. I wasn't jealous, I did not flip out and Lily is ridiculous," Rose numbered each statement with her fingers, and Scorpius maintained a steady smile that both amused and insulted her a little. She sighed as she concluded hat he wasn't interested in her explanation. "I guess you're taking her side."
"I'm just quoting," he said, with a raspy voice that killed her indignation. She gave him a half smile and lowered her eyes to the ground. Scorpius was quick to take her chin, so her eyes would meet his. "I was going to tell you about the letters," he explained in a whisper. "But, it was too embarrassing. I had been taking the advice from a girl two years younger than me, and at that very moment I felt like a git. What if you thought me a complete airhead? I had realized that maybe it was best to leave it unsaid, just to make sure you didn't think of me as an idiot."
"You were being silly," she said, and took the hand that had been holding her chin. She removed the embrace away from her and bit her lip gently. "And you're still being silly. There was something disturbing you. You admitted so when I was recovering at the hospital wing." She had hoped he would voluntarily explain to her the reason for his unsure behaviour, but now she knew that one thing had not changed with the past events: Scorpius' mysterious behaviour. She hated the idea of having to question him, but he didn't seem to be opening up any time soon.
"Rose," He whispered and her eyes drifted towards his immediately. She wondered at that moment if maybe the effect he had on her was so obvious that he used it to his advantage. Then again, she couldn't blame him. "Since the moment I started seeing you differently I convinced myself that being with you would have been very…unpractical."
"That's one way to put it," she chuckled softly.
"It's the truth, but once I decided to get close to you, things got complicated, especially when I realized I had a chance." Her eyes fixated on his, she twisted her mouth and transformed her expression into a repressed grin.
"A little chance," she teased him, to which he laughed.
"Yes, well, whatever it was I saw it, and Lily. Problem was that as much as I liked being close to you, our situation never stopped from being problematic."
"Problematic!" She retorted with a laugh that was turning flirtatious. "Why do I suspect this has something to do with me?"
He smiled widely, and brushed the bare skin of her arm with the back of his hand. "That's the thing, everything had to do with you." The words rushed down Rose's spine like playful tunes.
"Was it your family?" she inquired, knowing for various reasons that it wouldn't be the only reason.
"Yes, but not always in the ways you imagined. I made it clear to you from the beginning that being with you would upset the hell out of my family, didn't I? I meant it, as I also meant it when I said that I didn't care. If anything, I would enjoy the look on Lucius' face. But later I realized that I was not just messing with my family, I was messing with yours and, most important, I was messing with you. It hit me then how much of an arse I was being."
Rose looked down, at his hand still caressing her arm. She moved her own hand to take his and tightened her grip, their warm palms strongly pressed against one another. "I don't see what you see. If their approval doesn't matter to you, what's the big deal?"
Scorpius tightened the grip for a moment. "Why don't you understand that there are people in my family capable of causing damage if they need to?"
"I though that had been a long time ago. Things are different now, aren't they?"
"Rose, you live in a world where everything is possible. You think people are naturally good and everything can be solved somehow. You come from a family that believes in justice. You don't see…that some people will never change."
"I never said anything like that."
"But you can't see that some things are the way they are, and some people have the lives they have, and that's it. There's no way to change it. You can't fight it, just punish it."
"Scorpius, why don't you tell me what's really going on," she said sternly.
"What is it?" She insisted, fearing that she was putting too much pressure on the situation, on him. From what she knew of Scorpius Malfoy up to that moment, he could close up completely when feeling attacked and refuse to say a word for the rest of the day.
"I think my family may be involved in this," he declared in a rush. She heard the words dry and clear, but didn't understand them until a few seconds had passed. Rose dropped her gaze. She could hear the afternoon birds chirping closely. She looked at him again.
"How involved?" her low voice cracked.
"I have absolutely no idea," he admitted. She studied his eyes momentarily and got nothing more than angst out of them. "I don't think they're involved with what happened to you. I suspect it's got something to do with Rodolphus Lestrange and the rest of the fugitives who broke out of Azkaban." Rose sighed strongly, suddenly very tense, while Scorpius looked at their intertwined hands. "They've been acting strange. I noticed during the holidays. I don't know what it is but—I really don't think it has something to do with you. I just can't prove it. But you do understand how serious this would be? Don't you?"
"Of course I do."
Scorpius rested his head against the tree, shutting his eyes. She contemplated him breathing in, slowly, and out, just as slow. His eyes opened and he looked at her again. She had no more to say at that moment. Sure, she could ask him thousands of questions, but none of them made sense in her head.
"I know I may be asking for a lot, but I don't have proof, I don't have anything—"
"I won't tell anyone," she rushed herself to say. "You don't have to worry about that."
They sat in silence. If that was the case, and the Malfoy family was involved in a plot against the Ministry of Magic, just like her parents thought, just like Scorpius suspected, then their relationship would be many levels beyond complicated, or unpractical. Their relationship would be dangerous for one of them, most likely her.
"I have to give it a shot," he whispered, and Rose woke from her small absence. "I have to figure out what goes on in the house."
"You could get in plenty of trouble," Rose whispered back, still remotely absent.
"Not more than what you got into," he laughed, releasing her hand now and throwing his arm over her shoulders, wrapping her tightly. Rose didn't hold back the smile and rested her head on his chest, breathing in his scent, so strong, deep, wonderful.
"Your family must think we're monsters," she heard him say. She repressed a sigh.
"They don't think that," her voice was plain and weak. There wasn't much she could do anymore to pretend that things didn't affect her.
"And they wouldn't be completely wrong. If there's a possibility that my family is involved with what happened to you, then your parents would be right. We are monsters."
"Stop. My parents have never called you that. Just—And that wouldn't include you, or your entire family. You're being too hard on yourself."
"My grandfather shouldn't know about us, at least for a while," he added I absence.
"Ok…but your parents saw us at Kings Cross," she pointed out. "Don't they suspect anything?"
Scorpius sighed heavily. "That same day my father asked me a few questions. I told him you were helping me out with Muggle Studies," he smiled at his own anecdote. "The entire thing upset him enough to stop asking me about you. And my mother…she told me you were very pretty."
"She did?" Rose smiled, while Scorpius lowered his gaze to contemplate the bare skin of her bended knee. "And what did you say?" she inquired, with a melodious tone of voice. Scorpius raised his gaze and looked at her again.
"I think I said something like…she's alright."
"Alright," she frowned immediately, twisting her lips in disappointment.
"I knew you would love it," he laughed. "I didn't want to catch their attention."
"Maybe you're exaggerating," Rose said cheerfully. "Maybe there's nothing going on, and you have been jumping into wrong conclusions." Scorpius looked at her intently, for no more than a few seconds. He said nothing, but pressed his lips softly against her forehead. Rose understood the gesture, and felt discouraged, naïve even.
"I almost forgot," he said once the kiss was over. "I brought you something." He bent towards his bag and opened it in a few quick moves. From inside he pulled a brownish white envelope, its paper old and broken on the edges. Scorpius opened it and pulled out a small pack of photographs.
"I looked for them during the holidays. You said you wanted to see my grandparents. This is her, my grandmother on my mother's side." Rose took the first picture, a portrait of a young woman, her face slim, and round green eyes. Her long, dirty blond hair fell like silk all the way down to her waist. She was sitting on the sand of a beach. She smiled and sometimes even laughed, like holding a private conversation with whoever was taking the picture. Rose stared at her mouth for a few seconds, and then looked up at Scorpius.
"You have her mouth," Rose said. Scorpius frowned.
"I think so," she smiled. "She was very beautiful."
"My grandfather and her had just married, a few years before he took that picture." Scorpius searched through the small pack and handed her another photograph. "And this is one of them about six years ago," he explained. Rose took the picture and saw the same woman, whose hair was still silky and long, but this time it looked silver rather than blond and it was neatly pulled back. She wore small rounded glasses and smiled at the camera, while holding the hand of the man sitting next to her. He was much taller than her, his eyes were a strong shade of brown. The man smiled politely at the camera, sometimes turning to see his wife. "I took that one," Scorpius explained, contemplating the picture. "They knew how to keep each other company."
Rose smiled warmly. "They seemed happy. You must really miss them." Scorpius nodded softly.
"I spent a great deal of time at their house by the shore," he absently said.
Rose looked at him, and she knew her glance was heavy. Scorpius smiled, his eyes still staring at the picture. "I also spent an entire summer there once. I had a…difference of opinions with my Grandfather, which turned into an awful fight with my father. It was the same night I returned from Hogwarts, after our second year of school," he sighed, looking now at the ground. "I don't even remember how it begun but I remember questioning Lucius, asking him why he was still living in the dark. It got quite tense during dinner. He ended up telling me that my head had been poisoned by my mediocre professors and my—" He looked at Rose. She stared back at him in silence. "And my mudblood friends."
Rose blinked, and pressed her lips together. "What friends was he talking about?"
"Thomas. His mother is a wizard. His father, though, is a muggle."
"Really? I don't think I knew that. That's a bit odd for a Slytherin, isn't it?"
Scorpius shook his head. "Not really. Most of the Slytherins are not a hundred percent purebloods, although everybody assumes they are. It's one of the myths of our house. Take Rita Halward, for example. Remember her? She graduated last year. She and her sister are muggleborns."
"I do remember that," Rose shrugged.
"And my friend Jasmine, you met her at the party," Rose nodded softly. "Her mother is a muggleborn and her father a wizard, from a long line of Slytherins."
"Still, neither of your friends are muggleborns per se, they're halfbloods at the most."
"It didn't matter to Lucius. He said the good name of Slytherin was being slaughtered. What he doesn't care to understand is that if Slytherin were to accept purebloods only, then it would be three or four students in our house, at the most."
"I suppose you're right. Things have changed a lot since the war, that's what everybody says. But, don't you think it's difficult for your grandfather to accept so many changes?"
"Call it what you want, Rose. But the idea of muggles and wizards mixing, and compromising the purity of the blood is something Lucius does not allow," Scorpius stated, through a stern whisper, and in a way, she felt that his words were nothing more than a quotation. "That night he realized how strongly I disagreed with him, you can imagine his anger. He wanted to know since when I had had those stupid ideas in my head. He didn't know that it took me almost two years of school to understand the way things really where, how wrong I had been, and that everything he had taught was rubbish, very dangerous rubbish."
"You said that?" Rose said, her voice low and soft.
Scorpius sighed heavily, caressing her hand with the tip of his fingers, his eyes low, like staring at the skin he was touching. "I said a lot of things that night. I even told him all the things I had found out about our family since I entered Hogwarts, all the awful things he had managed to hide. So, he accused me of betraying my traditions, my family, I think he even talked about my honour," a chuckle escaped his throat when he said the last word. "Like he has one. At some point we got very aggressive with each other, and that's when my father stepped in. He's never really had a major opinion on the subject, very little I've heard him talking about it. It's almost as if he left that part to Lucius. So, that night all he wanted was for me to show my grandfather some respect." Scorpius stopped speaking, and Rose waited as patiently as she could for him to begin again. "That's when I said that I would never show respect for a man like him, a coward," Scorpius laughed, as if mocking his own self. He shook his head to the sides. "I know…I can be a bit radical with my position."
"Wow," Rose weakly whispered, her eyes staring blankly at his face. "That must have been—very hard."
Scorpius shrugged again. "I don't know. I think I had to say it, I had to say something. Anyway, my fight with Lucius became a huge fight with both of them. I have a vague memory of my grandmother Narcissa and my mother, both sitting quietly at the dinner table. I can't remember their faces, though. After a while Lucius made it clear, that the only solution was for me to change schools."
Rose cleared her throat. "It sounds like he has a lot of power in your family." He looked at her, smiling proudly.
"That's exactly how it sounds, and that's exactly what it isn't. He's an old man, who lost everything, even his family's respect. My mother jumped the second he spoke of sending me to another school. According to him, he never supported that I went to Hogwarts in the first place. But my mother didn't allow me to go anywhere else, and that night she made it clear that I wasn't leaving Hogwarts, unless I decided differently." Rose's eyes widened. She had never met Lucius Malfoy in person, but from what she knew of him and how she had pictured him in her head, she immediately admired the character of a woman strong enough to stand up to him.
"It's a good thing you have your parents on your side."
"Just my mother, my father's opinion is…not always there."
"Is that why you call your grandfather by his name? It's a bit cold."
"More or less. If it were up to him, I'm sure he would ban me from the family. So, I chose to think I already banned him from mine," he winked at her, and Rose felt utterly confused. She was clearly proud of Scorpius' character and principles, but couldn't help on noticing how much resentment he was carrying, although she could hardly blame him for it. "Things became very tense that night, so I left to my grandparents' house and stayed there, almost the entire summer. After that I left to Hogwarts, and to make my point a little clearer I took Muggle studies."
Rose laughed softly, shaking her head in disapproval. "That's a war declaration." He smiled back.
"It's a good thing I had Tom and Jasmine."
"That's why you've changed so much, because of your friends."
"Yes, and you've met them. You know they are both pretty straightforward. Jasmine and I had huge fights the first year. She really pulled my feet back to the ground, in a very harsh way, but still, I deserved it. I was an ignorant git."
"It really wasn't your fault."
"Tom was different. He always tried to reason with me. Eventually I learned, and ended up despising everything I had known up to that moment. It's a funny thing, I can say I've been brainwashed twice in my life. Once by my grandfather, the second time by my friends." A small, bitter laugh escaped his throat.
"You've had it hard."
He smiled softly again. "No, it's alright. No big deal. Things haven't been the same when I'm around the manor. Only a few times has Lucius tried to talk some sense into me. It's sad, really. Sometimes I think he had high hopes for me," he explained, his voice distant.
"Do you really think your grandfather would be capable of involving himself in all that has been going on?"
"I don't know. From what I've learned he's a weak coward, so maybe he isn't capable. But I'm telling you, things got very strange during the holidays and I would prefer to suspect from him, instead of trusting him again. He was a deatheater, Rose."
"He claimed he was forced into it."
"Well, he wasn't, and I'm sure your father would agree with me."
"What about your father?" Rose asked softly. Scorpius shook his head.
"Nothing about him. It's humiliating, the things I had to learn of his life. He never really took a position with me, though. It was like he never agreed or disagreed with my grandfather. Maybe he's still scared of him, I don't know."
"Maybe he's just tired," Rose whispered, and Scorpius looked at her intently.
"Perhaps," he shrugged at her. "It was Jasmine the one who told me the things he did—or almost did—during the war."
"She did that?"
"I told you she had been harsh. She has reasons, though. Her mother, Susannah, was only 12 years old during the war and suffered a lot from it. You know, being a muggleborn and all."
"So she was at Hogwarts, when the battle broke."
"Yes. Susannah's brother was also a wizard, worked at the Ministry at that moment. He disappeared and was never found. The Ministry probably got rid of him during the trials, when they sorted out the muggleborns. Susannah was already an orphan, her older brother was the only person she had, and when the battle broke, she was left alone. After it all ended she finished school and married very young, but she never really recovered."
"It's so sad, there are so many stories like that."
"Jasmine worked her way into proving to me the things my family had done, including my father." Rose frowned, grabbing Scorpius' hand tightly. "Don't worry, it's something I had to find out. I couldn't go on forever believing that our family had been victims during the war."
Rose remembered the night she met Jasmine, how she dared Scorpius to show her a death mark that was not there, for the only purpose of scaring her. Now that she knew all this, she certainly didn't understand how Jasmine could have joked about something like that. "I'm surprised Jasmine got sorted into Slytherin," she mentioned.
"Oh, she's a Slytherin, alright. Her father was, and she makes the most out of our house's traces. She's cunning for sure, and you saw her dark sense of humour, worst than mine. It's as if she weren't scared of anything, not her friends or enemies. Her mother's hard past doesn't upset her, she actually uses it to feel stronger. She's absolutely radical, and she believes that everything horrible that happened in the past should be remembered by every Slytherin, as a warning of what people are capable of doing. She doesn't believe in the purity of blood, she knows it's a myth and that it has nothing to do with how great the wizard can be, and she's determined to prove it. It's thanks to her persistence that I started seeing things differently, until I understood how wrong I had been. Once she felt that I was on her side she tried to clear my reputation around the school, but never succeeded, and when she realized that I didn't care what other people thought of me, she understood that it was easier to have fun with it."
"And scare people with rumours and nonsense," Rose said. His immediate laugh startled her. He tightened the grip of her hand.
"Hey, we didn't invent the rumours. We just played along," he shrugged plainly, a gesture that inexplicably sent a rather unpleasant shiver through her stomach.
"You two really understand each other, I guess," she shrugged back, and Scorpius focused his sight intently on her. The corner of his mouth twisted playfully into a smirk. The second she saw his expression she regretted the entire remark. Scorpius released the grip of her hand, embraced her waist with both of his arms and pulled her closely towards him.
"She's just a friend, from a time when I had none. She and Thomas helped me make things easier," his raspy voice stated. "Tom was always there for the jokes, the long talks. Jasmine was there for the pressure. I would be a different person without them."
Rose's head had been inevitably placed over his chest. She breathed in deeply, his scent, his words. She erased the previous unpleasant shiver. She felt his touch, the soft sense of his lips kissing her head before whispering to her.
"Listen, it really isn't easy to deal with such a maniac family. And our past—it's very humiliating. That's what I never want to talk about it, and that's why I'm afraid we may be involved in all this."
"You don't have to include yourself, you know. It's wouldn't be your fault," she stated plainly, still feeling his lips against her head. Scorpius breathed in deeply, his chest moving strongly, slowly.
"It doesn't matter where I go, Rose, what I do. I'll always be a Malfoy, I'll always be guilty of something."
Rose heard his words, before returning to listen to the birds that chirped playfully in the wild, close to them. She buried her head in his chest and stared blankly at the silent lake.
Rose opened her eyes, which focused on the ceiling of her bed. It was very warm inside the covers. Summer had arrived gradually and was irremediably there. The past months had flown away, nothing changed much after the incident, but everything had been different. Ravenclaw had won the Quidditch house cup, a fact that brought James' spirit to the ground, since it was his last year at Hogwarts. Louis, on the other hand, as Ravenclaw's captain had been full of pride and joy. As his last year at Hogwarts as well, he showed off his cup as much as he could. Rose knew how proud her uncles Fleur and Bill must have felt with the news, especially Fleur, who was eager to praise any of her kid's accomplishments. Scorpius never showed himself to be shocked that Slytherin didn't make it to the final match. Rose felt slightly guilty about it, for his concentration had wandered off after the incident at Hogsmade. She tried to talk to him about the subject, but the conversation never went past a smile and a "We'll win it next year," from his behalf.
Nothing had changed with Gerard, who was still on the run, just like the rest of the fugitives the aurors were after. Rose had learned to put that subject aside, as she focused on her last months of class. She had managed to complete her finals and now the end of the year had arrived. That morning, as the last day of school approached her she regretted the summer, the end of something that was definitely going to be different when she returned next year. Rose had spent as much time with Scorpius as it had been possible. At school people were getting tired of seeing them together so she was already becoming old news, but she knew that back at home things would be different. Her family would become very overprotective, and she was certain that she wouldn't have as much freedom as she did at Hogwarts. She had agreed with Scorpius to be discreet about their relationship, in fear of upsetting her father, her uncles and, most importantly, Scorpius' family. She also knew that that amount of discretion was not going to last very long. Her family was too big and her father would soon find out that she had been running off with Scorpius all around the castle during the final months of the school year.
Rose's better judgement assured her that she should have been more discreet about her relationship with Scorpius, if they pretended to keep it confidential with their parents. But truth was that she had been too into it to care at the moment, too desperate to feel more and more every single day.
She had a long breakfast with Albus and went back to her dorm to get her trunk ready. As soon as her books, clothes and parchments were properly placed she walked towards the grounds of the school. Scorpius was waiting for her outside the castle, his hands in his pockets, a small smile on his face.
"You're all set?" she asked once she reached him.
"Pretty much, yes."
Rose looked down at the ground, and bit her lower lip.
"I suppose it's best to say goodbye here than at King's Cross," she said, looking at him once again.
Scorpius shrugged in return, and drew his right hand out of his pocket. He reached for her hand and took it softly. "I suppose," he smiled again.
"Write," she said in a whisper. It was a command more than a request, to which she chuckled weakly. "Will you?"
"I will," he nodded. "But your father will probably have your mail intercepted during the summer."
"He can't do that," she raised her eyebrow. "He wouldn't."
Scorpius nodded. "Alright then, I'll write. And I'll visit when the moods calm down."
Rose remembered that small fact. Her entire family would have doubts about her new friendship with Scorpius, and more doubts would come once they figure out that it was a relationship. She was heading towards the least peaceful summer of all.
"You…you have become everything to me," he suddenly said. Rose smiled, her heart beating frenetically. With all the things her mouth could whisper, her head could think and her body could feel, her only true reaction was to remain still. He placed his hand under her chin and she felt the smooth touch strongly. She wanted to remember every single second so she would never have enough strength to doubt of him again, so she could have enough boldness to express how crazy she was about him. But she wasn't bold, and words were piled at the bottom of her chest, hidden from Scorpius' ears. She wished herself to be stronger, to say something back regardless of the fear of ever waking up.
She looked at him, at his mouth, at his soft smile and searched for it. She buried her lips one more time in his kiss.
A/N: Thank you for taking this journey with me, and I can't thank you enough for your patience. I will develop the second part of this story soon, and as soon as I have more than one chapter written I will start uploading them. Please remember to review, I really appreciate your comments!
There's a part of me you'll never know
The only thing I'll never show
Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes
It's plain to see it's trying to speak
Cherished dreams forever asleep
Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes
Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling
But the moment never comes
A/N: I had two inspirational songs for every chapter I wrote. It really helped me to brainstorm and it was lots of fun. One was from Rose's point of view, and that song obviously made the title of each chapter. The second song was from Scorpius' point of view. So, for those of you who have enjoyed the music that inspired each chapter of this fic, I'll leave Scorpius' songs listed below, according to each chapter:
WTF? – Ok Go
I will posses your heart – Death cab for cutie
Hysteria – Muse
Shiver – Coldplay
You make me smile – Blue October
To be with you – Mr. Big
True Love Way – Kings of Leon
Closer – Travis
Crazy little thing called love – Queen
I'll Be – Edwin McCain
Dreaming of You – The Coral
Lucky – Radiohead
No way back – Foo Fighters
Open your eyes – Snow Patrol
Endlessly – Muse