-Fear of Breaking Up With Someone, Even if you Really Really Want to-

Rose had whipped around me and grabbed my hand before I could blink, pulling me out of the dormitory and skidding down the stairs. Once we were in the middle of the room, we'd begun to panic; where else was there to go? As the corpse-zombie stumbled down the last of the stairs, I'd come to my last resort. I ran and threw myself at the exit, yanking Rose with me.

The next thing I knew, we were in the middle of the Hogwarts corridor.

Rose landed on top of me, immediately rolling off. Looking back at the entrance we'd burst through, I was surprised to see that it was a solid-looking wall. When I stood up and touched it, my hand didn't go through.

"That… that was some freaky shit," I mumbled. I held out a hand for her, but instead of grabbing it and pulling herself up like a normal person, she lugged me down to the floor until I had plopped down on my arse. She crawled into my lap.

"Don't ever make me do that again," she warned threateningly, but her voice was shaking. I rubbed her back. "That was not okay."

"Thanks to our sadistic teachers," I said darkly. Looking down the corridor, I could see Professor Sinistra shutting another group of students in the "House". "I think they enchanted it so that we couldn't see other students. So we'd be totally alone."

"Seriously, Scorpius. Not even a kiddie Haunted House."

"Deal." I think I had to change my boxers. "Nothing will compare to this one, anyway."

She breathed slowly, in and out twice until we got up and headed back to the Common Room. Hand-in-hand, not speaking. I think we'd both screamed and talked enough for the night.

Rose had just gone into the room where the Slytherin Common Room was when I saw my girlfriend stumbling over. I immediately froze, mouthing 'Help me' to Rose. She gave me an encouraging smile.

'Go on,' she mouthed back, hidden from view. I glanced back and forth between Veronica and Rose. Rose had gotten into the Common Room and was out of sight. Veronica had come up to me.

"I need to talk to you," she slurred.

Damn. Then I really did need to change my boxers.

"Sure, Veronica." I shoved my hands back in my pockets. "What's up?"

"Let's… go somewhere," she said in a low voice, wrapping her arms around my neck. I could tell she was trying to sound suggestive, but it just came out constipated. Instant turn off.

Wait. Go somewhere.

Shit, I thought, had she been saying that to people all night? Maybe to that guy who was grinding with her on the dance floor. What if they 'went somewhere' too? What if she had cheated on me? Or what if she did what I did and went with someone alone and ended up on top of them? Crap, can Veronica smell Rose on me? She might be out of her mind, but if she smells that bloody pumpkin spice, I might be beaten into pulp.

I might've been panicking a little.

But even through my inner alarmed ramblings, I had a point.

Would Veronica even remember in the morning that I broke up with her?

She was so wasted that I couldn't even tell. And what was she wearing? She never wore short dresses that shoved cleavage – not even in the summer! Why was she acting this way?

"Veronica?" I asked, taking her arms off my neck and sliding them off me. "Are you okay?"

She giggled madly. "I'm just a liiiiittle drunk, Scorpyy."

"No," I said gently, leading her to an empty classroom. She stumbled onto the ground, scraping her knees on the cold dungeon floor. I sighed and sat beside her in the middle of the classroom entrance. "Come on, Veronica. Tell me why you got so drunk tonight."

She leaned against my shoulder, her blonde hair sprawling everywhere. "Why didn't you show up to the dance? I missed you."

"I couldn't," I confessed, not knowing whether she would remember any of this in the morning, even if I wanted her to. "I saw you in there with some guy, and I didn't feel right about us anymore."

Veronica pouted. "You should've told me."

"I don't think that would've made a difference tonight." I pushed some of her hair away; it was getting in her mouth. "What's going on? You never act like this."

She was suddenly laughing, throwing back her head and roaring. Wow. Moody. "Oh, Scorpy," she said fondly, bringing a hand to my jaw and pecking me lightly on the lips. I grimaced; it didn't feel right anymore. She brought her arms around my middle. "So smart. All the time. You know me too well."

I waited. I didn't want her arms around me anymore, but I still cared for her and wanted to know what was going on that was making her feel so awful. Awful enough to get wasted and wear a tiny dress and be someone else.

She sighed, her smiled drooping. "My parents are getting a divorce."

"A divorce?" I repeated numbly. Something had punched me in the gut. "Really?"

"Yep." She popped the 'p'. "A divorce. My dad cheated on my mum."

"Oh, Veronica…" I pulled her against my chest in a hug. A friendly hug. "I'm so sorry. You should've told me, and I would've tried to cheer you up."

Her tears had arrived and were soaking my shirt. "You said you don't feel right about me anymore. Is there someone else?"

I squeezed my eyes shut. "Yes."

"Did you cheat on me?"


And being able to answer that truthfully might've been the highlight of my night. No matter how tempting it was, I was glad I had done the right thing. Especially since I really liked Rose, just being with her, and starting a relationship from lies was just setting myself up for failure. Rose wasn't just a rebound. Veronica and I had never felt real feelings for each other – and she deserved so much more than that.

I returned to the Common Room a little while later, feeling incredibly guilty. It wasn't the best time to break up with a girl, when she'd just received news about her parents' separation. As I spotted the couches, I was relieved to see that Rose was still waiting for me.

"Well?" she asked as I plopped down on the couch beside her. "How'd it go?"

I sighed. "Wet."


I put my face in my hands. "She was crying. Her parents divorced. That's why she was acting all funny."


"I don't know if it was right," I said, still not looking at Rose. "She was miserable and drunk and crying and then I had to go and break off our relationship, too. I wanted to," I added quickly, looking back at Rose, "but I just… don't know if I did the right thing."

She slid her hand in mine and brought it to her lips. "I think you did, Scorpius."

"How can you be sure?" My gut was being a painful reminder of my guilt.

"Would you prefer lying to her?" she asked, her brown eyes soft. "Would you prefer having not broken up with her now, but then breaking up with her when it's Christmas? Or Valentine's Day?" She stroked my hand with her thumb. "There's always something, Scorpius. It's never a good time. You did the right thing by being honest."

I thought for a while, then smirked. "You just wanted me to break up with her sooner."

"Maybe," she said, grinning. "But I promise every word I said was from the sincere, unbiased third party."

I closed my eyes and laughed. "That exists in you?" She didn't say anything, but shuffled closer to me and draped herself in my lap.

"I could probably help that guilt go away," she whispered, lifting my chin up with her finger like I had done in that Haunted House. I didn't have a moment to breathe before her soft lips were on mine, letting my mind fade into a blissfully blank oblivion that was Rose.

And that scared me the most.