A/N: Hi everyone! This story (Petals on a Rose) is pretty old. I've been adding to it for the past few years, a few one shots every once and a while that depict all different possibilities and personalities. Anyway, I've never been happy with the original chapter one, so I am making this chapter the new chapter one. If you've already seen it, that's why. Anyway, happy reading!
Also, this is painfully cliché and you hopefully won't hate me for that. Yeah.
She's swirling and twirling, leaving behind a trail of sparks. She's graceful, a butterfly flitting around the dance-floor, all gem colors and pretty smiles. And he's captivated.
Her dress is an emerald green, the color so rich that it would not be amiss outfitting the highest quality stones, all shimmer and sparkle and so perfectly her. He exhales softly, almost afraid that his breath might blow out her flame but it doesn't because all the glamour, the shine, is coming from within; she's radiant and nobody, no amount of water and quick rushes of air, can extinguish her fire. For this he is immeasurably grateful.
But she's burning away (how long until there's nothing left?). Feel her forehead, fever ravages her brain until the room is a haze of pretty colors that her delirious mind tends to misinterpret. Her eyes are falsely bright, shining with an overflow of ambitions and innocent happiness. This is her place, here, right here, but not with these people who watch her with suspicion and a mixture of awe and pity. Don't! She wants to scream, avert your eyes. Leave me alone! And maybe she does scream it, but they don't hear and they keep watching, as if they want to puzzle her out even as she's willing to solve all the mystery if they would only listen.
The dancing has her legs tired and her soul sore, so she stumbles out, away from the staring eyes that make her feel like she's just in one big fishbowl and they're all children with their faces pressed against the glass, noses scrunched like pugs. And everything is so heavy, even though there's no weight on her back. She's bowing under the pressure, bending, and she's so scared that this will be the straw that will break it all.
He follows her out the door.
"Hullo," he murmurs, careful to keep his voice soft to avoid frightening her. She looks like a bird, bones hollow, eyes desperate for scraps (of what? She's refused all food for the past week). He momentarily fears that she might take wing and float off into the velvet sky, a dove disappearing into the endless starry night.
She responds with a polite, "hi," but stares straight past him. She doesn't see him, the little white ghost of a boy, small statured and a shock of white unruly hair.
"Are you-" he pauses, unsure of a socially acceptable way to complete his inquiry, "okay?" Her head rotates, looking as far away from him as possible, eyes still distant, mouth pressed in silence. He gingerly sits down on the stone bench next to her, maintaining a small space out of respect for the space-case of a girl.
He thinks that she's not going to say anything, that all the answer he'll get is her hunched posture and the clenching of her fists. But then she speaks. "I don't know. I think I am, but then everything swirls around and people treat me like I'm made of glass or china, delicate swirls of blue on the creamy white. My grandmum has some plates made of china, they're beautiful but we never touch them because we're all so terrified of breaking them. People won't touch me- they think I'll shatter. Will I?" She looks at him with wide eyes, the honesty of the question leaves him almost speechless.
He finally finds his voice, and the certainty of it astounds him, "Are you already broken?"
She takes a deep breath, air audibly swooshing into her lungs, "I think I'm breaking, but I haven't completely fallen apart yet."
"What you need, m'dear, is some superglue to piece you back together." He's not sure where that remark came from, but her face brightens in a way that looks healthy, not sickly, and he feels like he's glowing just from the accomplishment of making her smile.
"Yeah, I guess that's about right."
"You deserve better, Rose," he says so quietly that she almost misses it.
She laughs bitterly, "I don't think there's such a thing anymore- there's just bad people and even worse people."
"He was wrong to do that, but you can't keep punishing yourself," Scorpius tells her, eyes bright with something that looks like concern (and is that love, dear? You know you can't do that, the girl's a mess and you're not good at cleaning up).
The moonlight dances across her skin and she looks radiant with a sad beauty that's haunting. She straightens her back and tilts her chin up to the sky, her heart shaped face absorbing the pure white light. "Look at the stars," she says in a voice so musical that he thinks she might be singing a song for her ears only, "aren't they incredible tonight?"
"Yeah," he agrees, voice soft so as not to interrupt her trance-like state.
"When I was little, he and I would set up sleeping bags in the field and sleep under the sky. It seemed like the nights were infinitely long, filled to the brim with our laughter and the reflection of the moon in his eyes. We'd curl close to each other and I could feel sparks where his skin brushed mine and I thought that this was it- my future, I mean. One of those nights, there was an impossible amount of light, the stars seemed bigger than just pinpricks in the sky, and he leaned in and kissed me and I thought that I might fly away. I thought that those were the most beautiful stars I'd ever see, but tonight's are just as gorgeous.
"Why," she still speaks with her head thrown up the sky, her gaze never falling on him, "can they shine so brightly even when he's not here? They were ours', why can they be just as special without him?" There's desperation in her voice, a plea for an explanation that makes his heart ache in sympathy.
A tear runs down her face, the droplet catching all the light coming from the universe and containing it until it drips off her chin. Another takes its place quickly, and he's dying to run his thumb under her eye and rid them both of the beautiful eyesore that is her pain. He stays still.
Without warning, she falls against him, her head resting on his chest. "Oh, Rose," he sighs. Her eyes droop closed, her fingers loosening their grip on his wrinkled black button-down shirt, her breathing evens, and she falls asleep. "Oh, Rose," he repeats, even quieter.
She stays pressed against him and it feels like heaven, but it's late and they can't stay out here all night. With strong arms, he lifts her into the air, cradling her tiny frame against his chest. She mumbles something, but shows no signs of stirring. Just like that, holding her with a gentle grip as if she's about to fall to pieces in his arms, and maybe she is, he carries her up the stairs and back to the common room. She smells like fire and lilac and stars.
As carefully as possible, he lays her out on the blue velvet couch, resting her head on a pillow. With a quick wave of his wand, he summons a blanket from his room to lay across the sleeping girl. He brushes his lips to her forehead and turns to leave, but stops right before exiting the room. There's one more thing he needs to do for her before retiring to bed. One final summoning charm later, he retreats up the stairs and into his dormitory, flopping onto his bed and falling into a heavy sleep that's tainted with the light of the moon and the scent of lilac.
In the morning, the early sun rouses Rose from her slumber. She looks around, confused by her familiar surroundings. Next to the couch, on a table of wood marked with rings from glasses left irresponsibly sans coaster, is a note. She rubs her eyes free of sleep and blur and reaches for it. The handwriting is clear and beautiful, lacking embellishment but almost ornate with its simplicity. Attached to the note is a small tube of Superglue, the note instructs her to "use it when you feel like you are breaking".
She smiles and its all sunny days and blue skies and fluffy clouds with not even a hint of celestial fire.
A/N: Y'all know the drill, review or face my imaginary fire-breathing dragon. Yeah, it's gonna get you. Please, don't favorite or alert without dropping me a little something to make my day.