A/N:Hello little munchkins. Happy New Year and all that. Once again, I come to you apologetic. I've been rather busy you see and I'm going to admit writing has not been the first thing on my mind. I was planning to finish this before going to uni, but as always, life got in the way. Awful hassle.
Anyway, here is chapter sixteen. Probably only one or two chapters left now. So you will get a conclusion.
As always, thank you so much for your reviews they really mean a lot that you take the time to read this and review it.
THIS CHAPTER HAS MENTIONS OF EATING DISORDER AND ASSULT.
After New Year, the time until we went back to school seemed to close in like a black hole. Scopius had gone back home on New Years Day, and we were reliably informed by an owl arriving, that his mother hadn't murdered him for escaping, just shaken her head disapprovingly. I'd finished all my homework with Max, who'd stayed since New Year because his dad, Ernie, had gone to Madagascar for work. But suddenly it was Sunday night. The Hogwarts Express was leaving tomorrow at eleven, and I was going to be on it and so was Jake Abrams.
"Rose dear, are you packed?" Mum said, sticking her head round the door.
"Yep." I said flopping back onto my bed.
"Good. Dinner's going to be ready in a few minutes, so come down when your ready." She said disappearing.
Staring up at the ceiling, I thought about the inevitable storm that was going to come with tomorrow. A familiar weight jumps gently up onto the bed next to me.
"Hey Angie." A plaintive meow responds, I reach down and lift Max's tabby cat up onto my stomach and run my hands over her.
"You don't have problems like this, do you?" I ask, as I scratch her ears, she meows again.
"No you just have to sleep and eat and sometimes go outside." I sigh. "To be a cat eh?"
"Talking to the cat again Rose?" Max asks, coming in and throwing himself down next to me.
Angie starts, but then decides my stomach is the place to be, and sits back down again purring.
"She's my only friend." I say somewhat dramatically. Throwing my non cat occupired hand to my forehead.
"I'll just leave then." Max says jokingly affronted.
"I'm kidding Maxie."
"I know dearest."
We lie in silence for a while, until...
"You're gonna be alright this term aren't you?"
"What do you mean?" I ask, knowing full well what he means.
"You know. The not eating, the hiding away… The getting really really skinny." He tails off.
"I'll be fine. And I wasn't hiding away… I was… erm… working." I mutter, scratching being Angie's ears.
"Promise Rosie, cause I worry, we all worry. We love you and if there's anything wrong we want you to come to us." He gets it all out in one breath. Somehow I think this conversation was the product of much deliberation on behalf of my family and friends. I smile slightly at their worry.
"I promise. And I know, I was just in a bit of a dark place is all. But I'll be fine now." I tell him knowing full well that I'm lying through my teeth. Everything will not be fine.
"DINNER." Ginny yells up the stairs.
"Come on you." Max says standing up and holding his hand out to me. I grab onto it and he pulls me up and Angie falls off me with a disgruntled meow. As I'm about to collide with him, I wrap my arms round him and place my chin on his shoulder.
"Love you Maxie." I whisper in his ear.
"Love you too Rosie." He whispers back.
"Race you downstairs."
He grabs my hands and practically drags ne down the stairs until the kitchen door, where he lets go so I'm behind him.
"WINNER." He cries falling through the kitchen door.
"You pushed me." I laugh following him.
Everyone's sitting down already and the room is quiet, and I plop down next to James.
"Alright Rosie?" He asks piling potatoes and then sausages and then broccoli onto my plate.
"Yep. Why am I the only one eating?" I ask to the room.
No one else has moved. They're all just sitting there waiting until James is done giving me mammoth portions. But suddenly there's a flurry and everyone reaches forward, almost simultaneously to take food from the range of dishes on the table in front of us.
James keeps adding food after food until my plate is literally a mountain of Ginny's finest. I know what they're doing, reminding me what food is before Gran, Ginny and Mum no longer have a say in what I'm eating.
"I want everyone finishing everything." Ginny says.
I roll my eyes somewhat. "You'd think they didn't feed us at Hogwarts." I mutter sarcastically to Lily whose sitting the other side of me.
She smiles sardonically back at me.
"It's looks like we're never going to be eating ever again. Savour it Rosie." She says dramatically. Everyone laughs, but I can see Mum and Ginny eyeing my plate as I eat.
I finish everything. I'm not really in the mood for berating right now. To be honest though, in our family, if the adults decide one of the kids needs to be talked to, they send one of the other kids on a mission to do it (Apparently Max has been added in on this now). It's Something Uncle Harry decided was promoting youth relations in the family. Plus we're more likely to listen to each other than our parents.
"Right, is everyone packed?" Harry asks when we've all finished pudding.
(Some crazy chocolate mess, which has left me in what can only be described as a food coma.)
Affirmative answers come from around the table.
"Hugo?" Mum asks, raising her eyebrows at my brother.
"I'm so nearly done. I just have to put my robes in." He says guiltily.
"and your cauldron and all your books." Al adds, grinning evilly.
If looks could kill, Al would be dead.
"Upstairs now Hugo." Mum says.
Hugo plods up the stairs loudly, muttering angrily to himself.
"Right the rest of you. Into the living room." Harry says, pushing himself up. Ginny waves her wand and all the plates fly into a neat pile in the sink and begin to wash themselves. Lily and I cram ourselves into one of the armchairs by the fire. Harry divides us into teams to play the Potter's annual game of family charades.
An hour later finds Hugo gesturing wildly at me, Lily and Al.
"Hagrid's chest hair."
"Eugh, obviously it was Dumbledore's beard." Hugo says exasperatedly. "Hagrids chest hair. Don't make me think about that." He sits on the floor.
"And unfortunately for them even with that sterling effort from the young Mr. Weasley. My team wins." Uncle Harry announces to the room. James, Max, Mum and Ginny all cheer.
"You had more people, that's all I'm saying." Al says.
Ginny laughs and rolls her eyes at her son. "Right you lot. Bed." Hugo pulls Lily and me up and we troop upstairs to bed.
When the lights out. I hear Lily roll over to face me on my mattress on her floor.
"Rosie, promise me if anything happens with… you know… you'll come and tell me? I know there's not a lot I can do, but we can cope together, cant we? Make sure we're not alone."
"Course Lil, and the same if you need me."
"Good. Makes me feel better. That I'm not by myself, even though, I wouldn't wish this on anyone else."
"I know, I know."
There's a brief silence as we both lie there in the dark. Thinking about going back makes me cringe a little bit.
"Rose. You have to tell Scorpius. He loves you. He cares about you, he can help." Lily says, so quietly I can barely hear her.
"I can't Lil, don't you see, I can't tell anyone… I just… can't. Not yet anyway. He'll hurt someone else I love."
"He won't Rose, he'll be expelled, and then he won't be able to touch you."
"Just leave it. Okay. I'll deal with it in my own way." I hate myself for snapping at her.
"I just want you to be alright." She explains.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to snap." I climb up into her bed and hug her.
"Its alright." She sighs. "He does love you, you know."
"I know he does."
And I spend my last night of peace holding on tightly to my younger cousin, as we both dread the morning.
I think it must be the Weasley genes or something, because no amount of practice or preparation ever improves the day we go back to school. The only time I think it ever went well was when we were visiting Uncle Charlie in Romania and we flooed straight to Hogwarts. But alas. Even then we were late.
"ROSE WEASLEY. LILY POTTER. GET UP RIGHT NOW."
I groan and roll over. Straight onto the floor.
"Shit. Ow." I curse.
I look up to see Lily's groggy face peering down at me.
"And that, is why single beds are for one person only." She says sarcastically.
"You two better be awake…" Ginny comes crashing in "…oh. You are. Excellent." She does a double take, seeing me pressed with my face against her bright pink carpet.. "Rose, why are you on the floor?"
"I fell." I inform her.
"Excellent, excellent." She mutters leaving the room. Two seconds later we hear.
"ALBUS SERVERUS POTTER. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN BED?"
"Glad to see Mum's in a good mood." James says sauntering in fully dressed. "Come on, up. The pair of you."
"What." I roll onto my stomach. "Has brought this on?" I push myself up and turn round to face him.
"What on?" James asks, too innocently.
Lily and I look at each other.
"This!" we chorus and I gesture to James clothed state.
"And the slight superiority complex." I add.
"I just thought it was time I lived up to my age and being the oldest sibling, you know help mum out." He says, somewhat suspiciously.
"Uh huh." I raise my eyebrows.
"Eugh, fine. I may have been stocking up on supplies for this term rather early this morning."
"Supplies?" Lily asks raising her eyebrows disapprovingly.
"Oh don't go all high and mighty on me, the pair of you. I am older and wiser. Therefore, I know best."
"Older yes. Wiser, I'm not so sure about." Lily says hopping out of bed.
"Just so long as you share with us Jamsie." I call out as he rolls his eye and turns to leave.
"As if I would dream of doing otherwise cousin dearest."
Twenty minutes later finds all of us crammed into Uncle Harry's car. With Harry driving, Mum and Ginny in the front and all us kids shoved in the back. Which I hasten to add, normally only fits three comfortably, now has six.
"Could you not expand it just a tiny bit?" James whines.
"No. It needs to look somewhat viable. There will be muggles around James." Ginny snaps.
Personally I think their just punishing us for not being ready on time. James hadn't finished packing his 'supplies' so Ginny walked in on him shoving three bottles of vodka into his suitcase plus about 20 packs of Weasley fireworks were on the floor. She didn't take them but she gave him what he described as the 'disapproving eyes' and muttered, "I'm going to kill George." As she left the room.
"Al. Stop. Moving. My legs are about to break." Lily says pressed up against the window.
"I'm sorry. But Max weighs about three tonnes so it's hard to stay still." Al retorts angrily.
"Oh do stop exaggerating Albus." Ginny snaps.
By the time we reach Kings Cross, tensions are running pretty high. Lily storms from the car, grabs her trunk and pulls it onto a trolley then marches away towards the barrier. Al isn't speaking to anyone.
Hugo extracts himself and stretches.
"Holy shit. I think I'm broken." He mutters. Walking round to the boot.
I grimace at Max who rolls his eyes back. We walk in formation to the barrier, Lily is nowhere to be seen. Ginny is arguing quietly with James, I hear a snatch of:
"You better not give any of it to the younger ones, I don't care if you lot drink it, but, Lily and Hugo aren't allowed any."
"Of course mum." James says, clearly just replying to please her.
I hurry through the barrier first and I see Lily with Connor almost immediately. She's gesturing furiously and I can see a small smirk on his face as if he's trying not to laugh. I have to say, he's doing a bloody good job. Lily's amusing when she gets into her irrational rages. As soon as Nott sees me though, he points discreetly and Lily turns around. He gives her a quick hug and whispers something in her ear to which she smiles. Then he turns around and walks away.
At that moment the others come piling through the barrier behind me.
I manage to make it onto the train and into a compartment with my friends seeing neither hide nor hair of Jake Abrams. Mum was basically crying when we said goodbye.
"You promise you'll write to me if you need anything." She said, her voice wobbling a bit. "And look after each other." She added.
"Yes mum, promise." I said.
"Promise." Hugo echos.
She hugged us ridiculously tight as the whistle blew; I think she may have broken one of my ribs.
Scorp was sitting next to me, I'd seen him say goodbye to his parents and watched them leave. Mr Malfoy's eyes had wandered over to me as they passed, and if I wasn't entirely mistaken, he had smiled knowingly at me. As soon as they were through the barrier, Scorp had come running over and picked me off the ground. He buried his face in my hair.
"It's only been four days you dolt." I laughed.
"Still missed you."
"Missed you too Scor." I whispered in his ear.
He pulled away grinning.
I rolled my eyes at him.
Back to the present. Dom and Lorcan were sitting opposite me being sickeningly flirty.
Fred casts a quick muffliato charm over the two of them. They remain oblivious.
"Here we see the lesser spotted Scamander attempting to do a rather stunted mating dance with the more common Weasley bird." He says quietly.
"The efforts of the Scamander, whilst desperate, appear to be working on the Weasley. Which would suggest that the Weasley bird is urgently seeking out a mate." James adds.
Dom laughs loudly at something Lorcan says and throws her head back.
"The Weasley bird throws back her plumage, a rare occurrence, and a prime example of a mating display." Max says.
By this point the rest of us are in hysterics.
Lorcan looks over.
"What?" He asks Ria who's currently doubled over she's laughing so much.
Fred rapidly removes the charm so they can hear the reply.
"Nothing." Ria chokes out. Which set the rest of us back into laughter.
"Snap anyone?" James asks.
Of course Ria is the first to agree. And the rest of us all crowd round the table to play. Half way through the first game we're interrupted by Dom and Lorcan, and honestly, I think I may be sick.
"You do it."
"No you do it."
They're simpering at each other. I'm genuinely going to vomit.
We all slowly turn around to look at them. Again, they remain oblivious.
"If neither of you are going to do it, then I'll bloody well do it." James snaps.
They both look up.
"Look would you just get it on already." Fred asks impatiently, they both blush bright red. "And save us the pain of watching you two simper round each other like idiots?"
They look at each other.
And then they ensue in what can only be described as the most violent game of tonsil tennis I have ever had the misfortune to witness in my life. We all sit in shock. The Creevey's barge in.
"Woaah." Says Alex
"Keep it PG." Adds Joe as they cover each others eyes.
Dom and Lorcan pull away grinning sheepishly.
"Now that was something I didn't need to witness." James mutters under his breath.
"Oh, go back to your snap Potter." Dom says, leaning in to kiss Lorcan again.
When we get off the train it's pouring with rain. I'm first onto the platform and I nearly slip and crash into all four of the Nott siblings who are huddled together. Jenny glares at me then goes back to listening to what her brother is saying.
"Wonder what they're plotting." Will mutters in my ear as he passes pulling me with him and looking over his shoulder.
I laugh. "Connors not too bad, I don't think the family genes rubbed of on him so much."
"Whatever you say Rosie bear." Will says grinning. "It feels like I haven't seen you in ages." He pulls me into a rib-crushing hug. I'm seriously worried about my ribs now; people seem to be getting awfully fond of squeezing me into oblivion. He lets me go and I hop into the nearest thestral drawn carriage (I can't actually see them) to get out of the rain and wait for the others. The door slams shut behind me.
"One second, my friends…" I trail off as I turn and see who shut the door.
"Good Christmas Weasley?" Jake Abrams asks me maliciously.
I quickly try the door, but nothing happens.
"Let me the fuck out Abrams." I say through clenched teeth.
"Don't you want to be friends Weasley?" Abrams asks. "That's all I want from you, friendship."
"You've got a fucking funny way of showing it." I hiss.
The carriage has started to move. Fuck. Not good. Not good at all. I try to surreptitiously reach for my wand.
"Ah, ah, ah. Don't even try it."
My hand is instantaneously pinned to the wall of the carriage behind me. The other one quickly follows so I can't move my upper body. Abrams moves towards me, putting away his wand.
"You look good like that Weasley. All pinned up." He grins manically.
"Fuck off Abrams." I kick out at his approaching body. He frowns as my feet make contact with his chest and he's thrown back slightly.
"No. We won't be having that." He pulls his wand out again.
My feet are added to the pinned down situation. He advanced towards me again, his face coming closer and closer to mine.
"See Rose. I warned you. I told you not to go after Malfoy. But you did, and now, your little cousin is having to pay for your mistakes."
"That's you? You're the one hurting Lily?" I scream at him.
"Me… and others." He smiles tauntingly at me, his face now inches away.
"Now Rosie sweetheart, I'll give you a deal, if you agree to leave the Malfoy boy, and be my girlfriend, I'll leave your precious little cousin alone. I think that's fair, don't you?"
I feel my resolve break.
"Why are you doing this?" I ask quietly, the first tear making its way down my face.
"Don't cry Rosie darling." He says kissing it away. "I'm doing this because I want you even though you need to be punished. I'm saving you."
"Punished? What the hell? Punished?"
"You don't even remember." He says lightly, looking disappointedly at me. "Don't worry, I'll look after you, even if the others are not so kind." He punctuates is last words with kisses to my face, the last one on my lips. I turn my head away in disgust.
"Face me." He says. I don't turn my head. "FACE ME." He grabs my chin so I'm looking at him. "I'm helping you Rose, don't you see." He pulls my face to his so our mouths meet in a messy kiss. I'm about to bite his lip when the carriage stops and he pulls away.
"Shame." He says, unpinning me quickly. "The offer stands Rose. It's your choice." He says, before vanishing out of the carriage and into the darkness. I sit for a while shaking, unable to move. My legs have gone numb, and my arms ache. I feel dirty. I wipe my face on my sleeve and mutter a quick cleaning spell pointing my wand to my hands and then lastly my face. Shit. Shit shit shit.
Now I have no idea what to do. Well, obviously I know what to do. I can't let Lily be hurt because of me. I can't. It's not fair on her, and to think that she's had to go through all of this, because of me. Because they wanted me. Whoever the fuck 'they' are. I need to talk to Lily. She's the only one who will understand properly.
I pull myself up, my legs still weak and hop down out of the carriage just as the others pile out of the one behind me all laden down with pets.
"Thanks for waiting Rosie. Were you all by yourself?" Max asks.
"Yeah. Sorry, the door just shut behind me and the carriage left." I said apologetically. "Dunno what happened."
Max frowns and the others look at me sceptically but they seem to want to get out of the rain. Scorpius wraps an arm round me.
"You okay? You're pale as a sheet." He asks.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I smile up at him.
He looks at me doubtingly and I pull out of his embrace.
"I'm fine. I said I was fine. Just leave it." I snap. He looks abashed.
We walk into the Great Hall and I deliberately move away from Scorpius so I'm in-between Fred and Alex. We sit down and I see Jake eying me from the Ravenclaw table, nodding his approval that I'm not sitting next to Scor. I look at my boyfriend whose watching me curiously, small upset lines appear between his eyebrows. And I swear to Merlin, this last half hour is the worst of my life.