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Chapter 3: For the life of me
We've tried to wash our hands of all this
We never talk of our lacking relationships
And how we're guilt stricken sobbing with our
Heads on the floor
We fell through the ice when we tried not to
Slip, we'd say
I can't be held responsible
She was touching her face
And I won't be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place
For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and
We'd never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe
We'd ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen
The years passed by and life continued. Scorpius maintained his dream like state for many months before he became used to the new reality he reluctantly found himself in. We finished college and Scorpius went on to become a top Quidditch star, breaking many records in the process. But for all his achievements, there was always something missing in his life, it was the hole that Rose left, and that hole could be filled by no one else.
* * *
Scorpius felt the coarse sand squeeze between his toes as he walked along the beach beside his home. The waves lapped the shore with intense regularity as they rushed in and out, mobilising the grains of sand which stood no chance against the power of the ocean. The ocean breeze was cool against his skin, a welcome relief from the blazing sun that was starting its descent through the western sky. The sound of the waves calmed Scorpius' mind, it reminded him about how small he was in comparison to the world. He was just like a sand grain, one among millions being tossed around by the power of the waves. Constantly being picked up, thrown about and ground down, only to be discarded for a short while before being picked up once more. If it was lucky, that poor little sand grain would be taken out to the far reaches of the ocean where its power was less and it would sink down into the abyssal depths. Over time it would be buried by millions of other sand grains and slowly it would be crushed and cemented back into rock, it would be thrust back up onto the surface to be eroded down once more back into the tiny sand grain.
It had been ten years to the day since the loss of Rose. Scorpius felt so much like a sand grain. His emotions became the angry sea, constantly tormenting him and never ceasing. It was the guilt, the loneliness, the despair the sorrow, it was the loss of his one true love. As the weeks turned into months, the months slowly into years, he managed to hold his emotions in check, making a prison of his heart. Every so often the emotions would escape through the unhealed wound that scarred his heart, but he would just throw himself deeper into his Quidditch and his other pursuits, using the physical pain and exhaustion to mask the emotional suffering. For every day where the world seemed brighter as he sailed through the calmer sea, he would eventually be crushed once more by the burden of his guilt and his loss, he would be thrust back to the dreadful day when he found her cold and lifeless, and before he knew it he would be that sand grain once more, being ravished by the ferociousness of his own mind.
Scorpius had tried his best to move forward with his life and to wash away the memories and guilt he felt. Albus had been instrumental in keeping him sane and helping him through the depression that threatened to take him to Rose sooner than he ought to. Albus was the only person who fully understood the bond between himself and Rose as he had also shared a special bond with his lifelong friend. Their lives had been thrown into turmoil by her death, in ways that they could not comprehend at the time. They didn't talk about her much anymore, it was an unspoken mutual agreement they both understood. No benefit would come to dredging up the memories from a time they both wanted to forget.
Her legacy lived on through their hearts, her fire, her passion, her love, her devotion. They tried to remember the happy memories as much as they could. Scorpius' heart belonged, as it always had, to Rose. His Quidditch career made him the object of many girls’ fantasies, but there would never be anyone else. He had tried on several occasions to have a relationship again, but Scorpius knew that he would never love them as they deserved. His heart was too damaged. Albus was much the same when it came to love, he could not find someone who matched up to Rose in his eyes as much as he tried. They didn't talk about their lacking relationships, there was no point. It would only bring to the surface the memories of what was lost and what could have been.
Scorpius climbed onto the rocks surrounded the headland, shaped by years of being battered by the waves. The tide was receding and little pools had been left in the crevices of the rock. This was a journey that Scorpius had made many times. He trod as carefully as he could over the rocks, the jagged edges cutting into his feet. Scorpius continued on regardless, like he did every other time, forgetting the pain he felt, it helped to reminded him that this was not the dream he wished it was. You could not feel pain in a dream.
As Scorpius journeyed further around the headland, he came upon a large cave that had been carved by the energy of the sea. He pulled out his wand, whispered “Lumos,” and a bright beam cut through the darkness, illuminating his way. Scorpius entered the cave and the world immediately descended into silence, cut only by the soft sound that water makes as it drops onto the surface below. He followed his well trodden path across the rocks, careful to avoid the slippery edges covered with the algae that thrived in the damp and the darkness.
Scorpius approached the far corner of the cave where by some bizarre act of nature, a sort of staircase had formed leading up to the roof. With a little magic, Scorpius had gouged the rock to enlarge the stairs so he was less likely to lose his footing and fall to his death. The air became less dense as Scorpius climbed upwards, he could just touch the roof of the cave and feel the breeze from the world outside swirling around his face. He had nearly reached his destination. Sitting down on the highest step that he could possible get to, as the jagged rocks of the cave pressed into his shoulders and back, Scorpius pushed away the bracken and moss that had covered over the opening at the top of the staircase. The sunlight blinded Scorpius momentarily and he had to blink several times while his eyes adjusted to the newly found light. Wiggling upwards, Scorpius pulled himself through the small opening and emerged onto a forest clad headland that jutted out into the sea.
Scorpius had found this place by chance when he had been exploring his newly acquired property. Quidditch definitely paid well and he needed a place with lots of land and space where he could get away from the eyes of the world. He was, much to his dislike, a hot celebrity and he constantly found his face on the cover of Witch Weekly, Teen Witch and Quidditch Today. Thankfully no one had found out about Rose. It was his well guarded secret, but he was always in fear that one day the media would stumble upon his tragic background.
Through the trees, Scorpius espied the reason for his journey and set off towards the brilliant red rose that he had planted. It was full of blooms, each as magnificent as the last, and while they did come close, they couldn't quite match the beauty of Rose herself. Beside the rose lay a small white pebble that Rose had picked up out of a garden one day as they had walked around the college campus, hand in hand.
“This is for you,” she had said, handing him the pebble.
He looked at it quizzically, before answering “Its a pebble.”
“Well of course it is, silly,” Rose responded, laughing, her beautiful smile lighting up her face, “but it can also be so much more than that. Look how hard it is, but yet so smooth and perfect and simple. Yet that pebble has been around for many years, far more than me. Keep it and remember me with it, for when I am gone, that pebble will live on forever.”
One month later, Rose was gone, but the pebble did live on. Scorpius had brought it here as her memorial stone to over look her flower. Etched in tiny letters spiraling around the small pebble were the words “This pebble lives forever, but so do you. You will always be in my heart, you will always be my one and only love.”
Scorpius sat down and leant upon the nearest tree. It was still easiest to blame himself for what had happened. He was still pained by the guilt of it all. He never talked to Albus about it, but it was again one of those topics that they didn't need to discuss. Neither needed to know how many days they spent with their heads on the floor, crying out their tears of guilt. It did not happen as often as it once did, but it took very little flare up the sorrow that would leave Scorpius incapacitated on the ground crying until his eyes were dry. It could be a smell, a sentence or a possession she had owned. What it was didn't matter, only that the memories would flood back in full colour and clarity and it would seem like she was there once more. Sometimes it would be a happy memory, other times it would revolve around those fateful last days. Neither was easy to deal with.
Back in the days just after Rose's death, the future seemed bleak and futile, but Scorpius had ploughed on, immersing himself in anything and everything to keep him mind off the one thing that truly mattered to him. The frigid swirling waters that wanted to take him down into their deep dark depths were constantly nudging at his chin, and it took so much effort to keep his nose above water and to swim through it with his numb and exhausted mind. Scorpius tried as hard as he could to glide through his future, across the slippery ice laid down before him. He avoided attachment, he avoided anything that could lead to disappointment and he removed himself from anything that would splinter his heart further. Scorpius tired his hardest not to slip as he went along the new path that lay hazy in front of him, and he succeeded. He never slipped. Instead, he would fall straight through the ice, his whole facade breaking as the emotions he tried to contain within himself unleashed with full force.
The heat of the day was dissipating as the sun began sinking below the horizon line. Pulling himself to his feet, he began his descent back through the cave and onto the beach beyond, the sand cool between his toes. Scorpius spotted the first star of the night in the darkening sky, the first of the many stars that looked down on him every night. They were the same stars that had looked down on him every night since the day he was born. It just wasn't until Rose's death that Scorpius fully grasped the shortness of life and the finality of death and only then did he fully grasp the longevity and seeming immortality of the stars.
Those last few days were still so clear in Scorpius' head. Time had done nothing to erase the memories, they were only heightened, reinforced with each replaying in his mind. He could still picture Rose in her room telling him she was pregnant, hysterical with worry, he could still see her lying in the hospital bed mourning their unborn child, wiping the stream of tears from her cheeks. He could still hear the smashing vase as he left the room.
Scorpius felt like he should be dragged in chains towards the gallows and executed for his crimes, but he had done nothing wrong, except to show the usual confusion of a freshman. “I can't be held responsible,” Scorpius said to himself on the deserted beach. “I can't be held responsible, and I wont be held responsible. She was crying just like I was, wiping the tears from her eyes, she was the one who fell in love with our child and didn't want her to be alone. She was the one who wanted to follow her. This is no one’s fault, not mine, not hers and not the worlds.”
“What made us think we were wise?” Scorpius asked the stars. He couldn't remember now what made him think all those years ago that he knew everything. Young and full of himself, he thought he knew best, and he would never take on the advice of his parents or compromise in any way. Scorpius laughed quietly to himself and his own naivety. He was older now, but he felt like he knew less than he ever had before. Maybe that was the real secret of knowledge, as you grow older you find that you know a lot about very little. In some ways, Scorpius now felt that they were meant to have the child. It may have seemed so wrong at the time, but he was sure that eventually everything would have worked out for the better. Unfortunately, he would never know because his youth and his head had overruled his heart.
Every day, he was still paying for the mistakes he made over those few weeks ten years ago. A part of him died with Rose and every day he didn't spend with her made him feel like he was dying just a little bit more. Consequences had seemed a lifetime away when he was young. He never thought they would follow him to the grave.
He was young then, but he was still young now. Scorpius may have aged by ten years and finished college, he may have a successful Quidditch career and become the idol of millions of Quidditch fans, but in many ways he still felt like a freshman. There was a beginning to everything, however small the journey was. So far it had led him to this point and every small step would take him further onwards. At some point, he would once again be the new person, the freshman with the fresh ideas and the impression that he knew it all. As far as Scorpius was concerned, there was only one journey left that he wanted to go on, and that was the journey that would reunite him with Rose.
Scorpius reached the end of the beach and the steps that led up to his house. He paused and looked out over the ocean, shimmering in the light of the moon. He smiled to himself as a tear started to roll down his check. But it wasn't a tear of sorrow, this tear came from a different place. It was a tear of love simply because he had known Rose. Their time together may have been short, but it had always felt so right. She was still a part of him in every way, and no day passed when he didn't think of her. Scorpius loved Rose more than words could describe, but more importantly, she loved him.
* * *
I never again witnessed a love like that between Rose and Scorpius, nothing even came close to capturing the harmony they shared with each other. However, tragic circumstances intervened and tore Scorpius's world apart. He spent many nights crying himself to sleep, as did I. As the years passed, we tried to move on, but Scorpius would never be able to replace Rose. I, on the other hand, had such high expectations of what love could be, that everything ended in disappointment. She had such a large influence over both of our lives that she will be a part of us forever.
This brings to an end the tale of Rose and Scorpius. They shared a love like no other, a love that was cut short in the most horrible way. Even though their time together was short, they achieved more than they ever knew they would; they healed the rift in the wizarding world. Rose's death brought about an end to the feud that had divided their families for years. The feud was settled by grief, but more importantly, by love.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this story, as much as you can enjoy a story like this. It is so completely different to everything else I have written. Please, please, please leave a review. I would be most appreciative and you would completely make my day.