Every new beginning
Comes from some other
- Closing Time by Semisonic.
For a wedding hosted by the most notorious Slytherins alive, Rose finds it somewhat lacking in green.
Instead, the orchard in which the ceremony was taking place is strung with golden silks and twinkling fairy-lights. It is done obnoxiously so - there might as well be a flashing sign screaming "Look here! It's a wedding!" - and that irks her. As much as Scorpius is an arrogant bastard, an attention seeker he is not. It just goes to show what kind of awful woman he's about to marry.
Crowds of elegantly dressed aristocrats mingle together, all in their element as they compliment the orchard with just a touch of insincerity. Rose could swear she just heard the phrase "Wedding of the Year!" float around among the streaming decorations. Not if she had anything to do with it.
There was a number of things that could go wrong; the first being caught by Draco Malfoy. As sarcastic as he was regal, the ability to read Rose's mind was a common trait between father and son. He was far from dense and would know what she was doing with a single glance. There was doubt that he would have her carted away. Nothing could be allowed to spoil such an important social event.
The second being that once - if - she manages to get face to face with Scorpius, he could always turn around and scream at her. Hurl insults, call her names, yell that he never wants to see her again - all things that would inevitably cause her heart to break. Or worse, he could laugh at her, as if it was completely banal of her to think that she - the lowly Rose Weasley - could have any effect whatsoever on his marriage. No matter how furious he makes her, she doesn't think her pride can take the blow.
And finally, the option that scares her the most, is that he could listen. Despite how angry she is, she isn't really here to sabotage his wedding - at least, not out of spite. How could she? The git has wormed his way into her heart and is breaking her resolve from the inside out. She loves him, desperately, and all she wants to do is tell him before he gives himself away for good. He doesn't have to say it back, he doesn't have to leave his fiancee, he just has to know. That's all she wants.
However, if he does happen to change his mind and run out with her into the sunset, she wouldn't mind a bit.
Taking a deep breath, she pushes open the grand steel gates and walks down the gravel path. She sticks out like a sore thumb wearing tattered jeans and a striped sweater. Her hair is even still dripping down her back! But she doesn't care. She isn't here to look pretty. She is simply hear to deliver a message.
One that requires a response that will determine her future happiness. No big deal.
She hears whispers the moment she enters the orchard - Ronald and Hermione Weasley's daughter coming to a Malfoy wedding? Absurd! - but she ignores them. The only thing she can really hear is her blood rushing to her ears, accompanied by the thudding beat of her heart. Suddenly, her palms are sweaty and her knees are a little weak, and she's terrified. She half-wishes that Draco Malfoy will appear out of nowhere and banish her from the Manor until the end of time.
Unfortunately, he doesn't and her feet are traitors. In an act of betrayal, they lead her directly towards a small collection of white canopy tents concealing what she assumes will be the most important members of the wedding party. This whole scene is so very dramatic. She's always thought that, despite his love for tradition, Scorpius was more of a guy who would marry you at the Local Registry office. No fuss, no frills - just two people in love. Obviously this mystery woman is having a somewhat negative effect on his views.
She reaches the first canopy and listens for the tell-tale squealing of the bride and her bridesmaids. There is nothing. Mustering all of the courage she can - keeping in mind that she isn't a Gryffindor for a reason - she pulls the opening of the tent backwards, and pokes her head inside.
It's amazing what magic can do. The interior the tent is a lavish lounge room, complete with mirrors stretching across the length of the material wall. Suits in all different shades of greys and blacks hang from the ceiling. The couches are made of the finest cream suede - not surprising - but who is sitting in one catches her off guard. She doesn't know why - he's the person she's been looking for.
Astoria stands in front of him, proceeding in the motherly act of fixing his tie. His strong chin juts upwards in a muted indignance - real men shouldn't have to get their mothers to tie their ties - and he looks as handsome as ever. Something contracts around Rose's heart for a moment before her brain completely melts in oblivion. She can barely remember why she's here. All she knows is that the man in the tent, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, is the epitome of perfection.
"Now, I keep telling you, dear," Astoria chides goodnaturedly, "Twist, loop, loop, knot. It's honestly not hard at all."
Scorpius fights the urge to roll his eyes. "Yes, mother."
"What are you going to do after you get married?" she continues, combing through his platinum locks with her fingers. "Ask your wife to do it for you?"
Just the very word 'wife' cuts into Rose like nothing she'd ever experienced before. He was getting married. There was no going back from this moment. And if he was getting married to somebody other than her, did that mean he loved that girl more?
"I think I'm perfectly capable of-" His words cut off as he flicks his eyes sideways, catching Rose in the opening. Traitorous as always, her feet root to the floor and she's paralysed. "Rose?"
Astoria turns to her with a flourish, a wide, yet confused, smile on her face. "Rose, darling, I certainly wasn't expecting you!"
Guilt warms her face in a flush. Suddenly, the realization of how important this moment was for people other than her and Scorpius hits home. "I'm not staying long. At least, not for the ceremony. I just..."
She trails off, not knowing how to explain. Scorpius' sharp gaze is still on her, scrutinizing and cool. "You just?" he prompts.
The Gryffindor inside of her starts to emerge when she turns away from Astoria, looking him straight in the eye. "I just came to say something."
"Perhaps another time," Astoria says, making a strangled noise in the back of her throat. "We're a little busy."
Scorpius, however, stands to his feet. "She'll be quick."
A sudden nauseous shock clings to her at his firm voice. All this time, the words had done nothing but swim around her mind, repeating themselves over and over. Now her brain was empty abyss - she had no idea what to say. Nothing that sprang to mind was enough.
Astoria, once again, made a sound of despair and muffles it in the back of her throat. This time, she flounces past Rose, giving her a weak smile as she does, and left. There was nobody in the tent except Rose and Scorpius; a fact that sent shivers down her spine.
He stares at her, his stormy eyes unyielding. If either of them was going to make the first move, it was going to be her. It has to be her. Fear grips at her mercilessly, disabling her thoughts as well as her voice. Questions began to tear at her: was this fair? Was it what she really wanted?
A few minutes pass and all they do is stare across the tent at one another. She can see the impatience start to crack his perfectly composed mask and decides that she has to speak up now. It's either that or let him go.
"What you said to me," Rose starts warily, "back at my apartment, did you mean it?"
"I said a lot of things."
There's something in his voice that makes her think that it's too late, he's too far gone. Still, she isn't going to give up without a fight. She juts her chin forward, a feigned look of confidence. "You said that you loved me."
Emotion flickers behind his eyes, something Rose can't define. He swallows noticeably. "Yes, I said that."
"Did you mean it?"
Crackling tension fills the tent as the pair remain silent, watching each other with caution. Whatever was said next, from either party, could change the direction of their story entirely. Tears claw at the back of Rose's eyes but she stubbornly refuses their escape. Scorpius looks at her as if one more word might break him.
"Of course," he finally breathes, his smooth expression crumbling. Where absolute fear consumes him, it is hope that fills Rose. Hope that maybe, just maybe, he might still feel the same way.
She opens her mouth, fearlessness rushing through her veins. "Scorpius, I-"
"Darling, come on! The ceremony is about to start and you'll be late!"
The sound of Astoria's frantic voice shatters the atmosphere into tiny splinters of glass. Rose looks to Scorpius, the hope inside of her desperate not to dwindle. However, his composed mask is back and he is watching her contemplatively - that was never a good sign. His expression screams 'responsibility' and there's nothing more that Rose wants than to crawl back into that hole of hers.
Scorpius steps towards her, his gaze brushing her skin like a feather, and he has the nerve to look sorry. "I have to go."
She wants to reach out to him, she wants to plead, she wants to drop to her knees and sob at his feet; but she doesn't. Her old friend Rationality had left her to deal with everything right up until now. Realization of what she's actually doing flashes in front of her eyes like a neon sign. No matter what she says, there's going to be somebody that gets hurt out of all this. She can't be that selfish, she just can't.
"Can't it wait?" he asks, his voice tired. Paused by the opening of the tent, the late afternoon sun turning his blonde hair into a typical halo, Rose knows that his beauty will never get old. He wants to know, she can tell, by the curiosity that gleams in his eyes. But curiosity killed the cat, and she refuses to kill his wedding.
She purses her lips, forcing them into a tight smile. "I just wanted to say congratulations. I'm happy for you."
Rose can almost see the words worming their way into his brain, linking together in comprehension. That line of concentration that appears in between his eyebrows when he's confused appears and she knows that, for once, she's caught him off guard. He forces a tight smile, muttering something of a thanks and leaves, abandoning Rose to her Fate.
That Fate, in which, happiness isn't really an aspect.
How dare she? How dare she show up to the wedding, dressed in nothing but a pair of jeans, and twist him right back around her little finger?
And to think that he almost let her. It was absurd.
The wedding was over, thank Merlin. What could have possibly possessed his mother to throw a wedding for her cats. Cats as in four-legged, hairball-spitting demon creatures. Scorpius hates cats. Especially ones dressed in wedding attire.
So, if his day hadn't be torturous enough, Rose decides to be the icing on the cake. He doesn't even know where she's gone, but he's searching. Wandering around his over-illustrious manor like an idiot trying to find her. Because that's what he'll always be when it comes to Rose - a blundering fool.
She can't have gone far, he tells himself. The soles of his perfect Italian shoes - the type with just the right amount of ill-comfort - squeak against the marble, the sound bouncing from the walls covered in leering, cold-eyed portraits. His heart is pounding in his chest, drowning out the squeaking.
Where the hell is she?
After a good ten minutes of running, his determination is about to give way. Malfoys are not the type of men to run about for a girl in the first place, and ten minutes is pushing it. His feet stumble to a stop, his fingers tugging through his hair in frustration. All that's left to do know is turn around and admit defeat.
Then he catches a glimpse of colour. The only colour to break the harsh grays, black and silvers. A splash of red in the corner of his eye. He turns, his heart beginning to hammer again, towards an open door leading out onto one of their many balconies.
Through the folded french doors, Rose stands against the railing holding her chin in her hands. He takes one look at her and fear rocks through him. This moment, this exact second, is the point of no return. He has a choice: step out onto the balcony and face breaking every belief that had been drummed into him as a child, or walk away.
There isn't really a competition.
"Rose," he breathes, stepping out into the cold evening air. It's only really late afternoon but the days have fallen short. If he looked hard enough, he could probably point out a few pinpricks of light in the sky - the wishing stars.
She turns to him in surprise, her blue eyes mirroring the twilight night. "Oh, Scorpius." She swallows, as if she's fighting back words that are piling in her mouth. She forces a smile. "Congratulations."
Pulling his eyebrows together in confusion, he flicks his eyes over her face. Where it's usually pale and smooth and dusted with freckles, it's covered in soft red blotches. Her eyes, still vibrant and cerulean, are a little bloodshot. She's been crying, he realizes, and that hidden Gryffindor-esque protectiveness makes another appearance.
"You're upset," he says in all obliviousness. "You're crying."
Rose chokes back a bit of wet laugh and wipes her face. "Oh really? I hadn't noticed."
He steps closer to her, ignoring her noticeable step back (a sign of self-preservation, he would later realize) and captures one of her wild, unruly curls around his finger. The contrast is shockingly familiar - red against cream, heat against the cold. It defines them, really. Just that small, mundane gesture makes up their definition.
Suddenly they're both seventeen again, standing out in the cold night, merely hours before their graduation. Everything had seemed so huge then as if one wrong move would send their whole future into a catastrophic abyss. At seventeen, everything seemed like the end of the world even if it was just the beginning.
Which it was. Neither of them realize it but that night, that conversation, that kiss, is the catalyst that lands them here. This moment, this fragile segment of an hour glass is linked with a tiny red string, lacing back to that bottle of firewhiskey and that horrible feeling of impending failure. Rose wanted to step out of her little box - she did. Scorpius wanted to feel something - well, he was here wasn't he? Both of them were.
She's shying away from him, her glazed eyes trained adamantly on the floor. She refuses to look at him in absolute fear that she'll crumble away. He'll always have that effect on her, married or not.
"Rose, look at me." His voice is panicked, but soft. The farthest thing she's ever heard it from composed. She looks up at him, not out of obedience but shock. Like a rock penetrating the surface of a lake, his eyes bore into hers. "I don't know why you're crying. Tell me. Please? I need to..."
The words trail off, something flashing in his granite gaze. Incredulity rockets through her. How could he not understand why she was upset? Didn't he even feel the slightest sadness knowing that what they had - whatever tainted, flimsy and vague moment - could never be touched again?
"I'm upset because I love you," she finally cries, though her voice can barely count as a whisper. "I love you and you're married! And it's my fault you're married because I ignored everything, everything, and I was too stubborn and scared to do anything about it!"
She tugs herself back from him harshly, and he lets her go, too frozen in surprise to react. What was once a concerned gaze had shifted into something else. It wasn't exactly harder, only it had an edge to it. It wasn't soft and loving; it was as if she had hit him full on with the Hogwarts Express.
Swallowing back, she can't help the words that spew from her mouth, unraveled with the rest of them. "And you're an absolute snob! You're a prat, actually. And I'm so angry with you, Scorpius! I want to punch you in the face, but I can't! I can't because I could nev-"
Cliche of all cliches, her words are stopped with his kiss. It isn't burning with fire, and it isn't tender and sweet. It's knowing and sarcastic, and if a smirk could be translated into a kiss, it would be this.
She pushes him away furiously. "You son of a bitch! How could you?"
He looks at her, long and hard, for a moment before chuckling. The glare from her only intensifies, the flush on her cheeks from kissing only making her all the more amusing. "I don't understand why you think I would ever get married."
"Because..." The sound of the clogs churning her brain is almost audible. It never really made sense for Scorpius to be getting married but she had just put it down to her own loathing of the idea. Not once did the memory of their first coffee date slip into mind.
"Thoughts on marriage?" she said, eyeing him over the edge of her mug. His eyebrows shot up and he blinked a couple of times.
"Is that something you usually ask people you don't really know?"
She smiled at him. "Just answer the question."
"Not for me," he replied after a few thoughtful moments. Rose nodded, and that was that.
A delicate, wary smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "So... you aren't married."
He shakes his head slowly, his typical smirk growing across his face. Closer and closer he moves, pressing her up against the railing of the balcony with a grin. "I am not married nor attached to any woman."
"I see," she replies, desperately keeping her breathing and hammering heart unnoticeable. Her eyes flick up to find him already raking her face hungrily, teasingly, adoringly with his own. "That's... useful information to withhold."
Feather-light, his lips are brushing over hers again, sending sporadically shivers over her skin. All she has to do is lean up and give in to his teasing, but she doesn't want to. Instead, she wants to stay here, trapped between him and the possibility of falling to her death, relishing in this moment of victory. When she had thought she had lost, he came riding back to her - her crooked, snobbish knight in shining armour with a tendency of harbouring firewhiskey on his person.
Because, all in all, this is another one of those moments that are indefinable. Is it the beginning of the Rose-And-Scorpius-Happily-Ever-After? Or is the ending of their first beginning? Is it merely just a milestone or a chapter? She doesn't know. She'll never know. All that she knows is that every moment leading up this, and every moment leading onward, is tied with that mysterious red string that links it all together.
That piece of red string that turned three balconies and a staircase, four completely ordinary and untouched places, into monumental landmarks of history. Of their history.
Well, first of all, I'll apologize for the wait. Second of all, I'll explain that this chapter took forever to come out and I still don't think it's fantastic. Oh well, tell me what you think. AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING AND REVIEWING! I'LL ABUSE THE CAPSLOCK BECAUSE I LOVE YOU THAT MUCH. YES, I DO! I LOVE YOU! And this is the end. Or is it the beginning?