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Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen: Bare
AN: Well, it has been quite some time since my last update. I just want to say that life got in the way. College is fun, but demanding. Plus, I haven't had much inspiration to write. That is slowly changing though. Hang in there.
Thank you everyone who has been sticking with this story. I truly appreciate it. I apologise in advance if this chapter is a little slow. Like I said, finding inspiration has been a bit difficult.
So, enough talking. ENJOY! And R & R!
made by .1smallTREE @ TDA
Chapter Nineteen: Bare
Hermione didn’t know if it was right taking her emotionally distraught daughter out of St. Mungo’s after a little less than two weeks. Her Healers had clearly said that she had made very little progress in her therapy sessions. Physically, Hr. Patil-Henderson said, Rose had a bill of good health. Emotionally, that was another story.
Hr. Diddams told Hermione that she was dumbfounded that Rose had never wanted to tell her a single thing about anything. Most women after experiencing such situations could not wait to tell someone and vent their frustration and anger and have someone console them. In her twenty-three years as a psychiatrist at St. Mungo’s, Hr. Diddams had never seen a patient as young as Rose close herself off.
“Mrs. Weasley, I’m sorry but it seems as though there is nothing I can do to help your daughter. She refuses to speak to me and that is getting her nowhere. She is not being assisted at this facility. It might be best if you take her home and give her a bit of familiarity. Perhaps that will open her up.
“I expect to have weekly reports about any progress. Even if I am not seeing Rose, I’d like to see her getting back to her normal routine and self.”
Hermione let out a deep breath. “I will do my best. But are you sure it wouldn’t be best for her to stay here? There is so much that can be done here and I don’t know –”
“Mrs. Weasley, if this helps any, act exactly as you have her whole life. Watch and observe discreetly her when you have the chance. Notice any things that are out of the norm and jot them down. Once a week, owl your observations to me and I’ll owl you back with some sort of response. If there isn’t much of a change, just detail a few of her daily habits. But be sure that you are discrete about it. And do not baby her. That is the worst thing you can do at this stage. Feel free to owl me with any questions or concerns.”
Hr. Diddams extended a hand to Hermione. “I hope everything turns itself around soon.”
Returning the courtesy, Hermione extended her own hand. “So do I. And thank you.”
A small, polite smile graced Hr. Diddams’ face before she turned and left.
Hermione looked back into her daughter’s hospital and saw her staring out the window. This was not her daughter. Rose Aurora Weasley was not this girl. Never had she ever been so difficult and never had she wallowed for so long.
Hermione had half the sense to tell Rose that before she was even born, she had had a handful of miscarriages. Each one of them was as heart-breaking as the next, but it wasn’t the end. The Healers had told her that because of all the spells Hermione endured during the war, her body was just rejected the idea of carrying a baby term.
Those years of Ron and Hermione’s marriage were very difficult but Ron had promised to stand by Hermione in whatever she chose to do. Hermione had nearly given up and was ready to start the adoption process when she finally made it to eighteen weeks. Ron didn’t even know that she was pregnant, so when the twenty week mark approached and Ron finally noticed her weight gain, Hermione told him enthusiastically that they were going to have a baby. Then on July 17, 2006, Rose was born.
Hermione personally knew the hurt and devastation of a miscarriage and she would have never wished such a thing on her own daughter, especially when her life wasn’t secure. Sure, Rose had told her that Scorpius professed his love to her and promised to be there for her, but living together, preparation to make a life together, helped make that security. They didn’t have that.
Why hadn’t he tried to contact her? Why didn’t he come see her? It didn’t make sense.
Hermione found herself standing beside her only daughter, her hands on her shoulders.
“Are you ready to go home?”
Wordlessly, Rose nodded.
How Hermione hoped and prayed Rose would tell her what was going on within her mind. How she wished her daughter would react in a volatile way to show some kind of change.
But she didn’t.
Hermione watched Rose closely when they returned home, but not too closely she thought. It was obvious that this Rose who was currently walking about the Weasley household was not the same Rose who bounded up the stairs a little more than two weeks before.
When owls came, Hermione assumed from Al, Cecelia or Scorpius, Rose did not become aglow with excitement as she used to. Every so often, Hugo would make her laugh, but it didn’t reach the depths of her eyes. Al and Cecelia often visited and put Rose in better moods but Hermione was worried that Rose didn’t leave the premises of their home. Hermione was even more worried that Rose didn’t mention Scorpius at all.
Rose of course noticed her mum attempting to be secretive about watching her. However, the fact that she took off work to just linger was irritating. Rose could barely stand being in a full house, since her father also told his manager Dorkins he would be better served to stay off the pitch for a week or so to deal with family things.
Rose spent a torturous nine days in the nearly-constant presence of her parents. They hovered. They exchanged worried looks between each other when they thought Rose wasn’t looking. They tried too hard to act normal. It was worse than being in a hospital.
On the morning of day ten, Rose plainly told them that they were going back to work the next day. There wasn’t going to be any ifs, ands, or buts. Negotiation was not an option.
Although they hated the idea, Ron and Hermione consented. Day eleven would mark the day where Ron and Hermione managed to help Rose by keeping out of her way.
Scorpius was beside himself. He felt helpless, useless.
He spent four days transferring furniture and things to his flat, and then rearranging it multiple times. When he was tired from moving or rearranging, he was sulking in the Manor lounge. His parents left him to his own devices, occasionally asking him to join them for a meal here and there.
The day came when Draco put his foot down and demanded Scorpius to be productive. Immediately, he set his son to work in his office copying archaic Auror write-ups to keep in records.
Scorpius had worked from Thursday July tenth to Sunday the thirteenth, eight to ten hours a day for his father, rewriting the hundreds of records. Some part of him missed the Auror program immensely; that work was easier and less tiring he felt.
In the midst of rewriting a particular write-up from 1803 on Sunday afternoon, Scorpius heard a tap upon the window.
Scorpius got up from his father’s paper-covered desk and made his way to the window. As he opened it, a brown owl swooped in and sat upon the back of a chair.
Carefully, Scorpius removed the letter from the owl’s leg. The owl took its leave and flew out of the open window.
It was a reply owl from a department in the Ministry.
Hastily, Scorpius ripped open the letter. It was from the Auror Academy.
After much consideration between your superiors of the Accelerated Auror Program and the superiors in the standard Auror Program, your plea to be reassigned to the standard Auror Program has been accepted.
Your former Auror Superior Ridges has spoken directly to your new Auror Superior, Angie Dawes, to inform her of your immense dedication, work ethic, and perseverance. Although your previous training has been more aggressive, by no means should you become less productive in your new program. If anything, you should be more so. Take that as a warning, for there were a handful of those on the Auror Board who were less than pleased at your request.
Also, as a response to your personal experience with the Advanced Auror Program, there will be a new plan implemented to alert other family or friends of impromptu, out-of-the-country training sessions. In it, there will be a contact list of up to ten people that you feel need to know when you go Untraceable on these trips. Legal guardians will not be a part of that list since they already warrant the need for that knowledge. Future Accelerated program Aurors have you to thank for that.
Auror Superior Dawes expects you at seven o’clock on tomorrow morning, ready for training. She will not accept tardiness at all and she requests an interview with you following the day’s training session.
Head Auror Perkins Malagasy
He was going to be back in the Auror program.
Rose just wanted to be left alone.
She had forced her mother to go the Ministry the day before because Hermione couldn’t afford to miss another day when there was a huge case coming up. Rose had practically begged her father to go to the pitch. Ever since he and Hugo had taken her to St. Mungo’s, he couldn’t bear to let Rose out of his sight. Rose reasoned, however, that his teammates desperately needed him, more so that she did right now. (Although this was a complete lie.)
Hugo on the other hand, was allowed to stay at home with Rose, but that was only on account that he didn’t bother her every bloody moment. Currently, he was up in his room with the door closed and music blasting. He clearly understood Rose’s present need for some serious time alone.
Rose slowly ambled her way through her silent house. Her liveliness still hadn’t returned, but that had nothing to do with her physical fitness. Rather, she was quite healthy physically; her emotional state was somewhat fragile, causing her to her to be a bit lethargic.
She had enjoyed her quiet Monday and was looking forward to this quiet Tuesday/
She was heading toward the kitchen to fix herself some popcorn. Al appeared just as she had pulled out the popcorn kernels.
“Thought you could use some non-parental-or-Hugo company,” Al said sheepishly before noticing the popcorn. “You’re making popcorn? Well then, let’s watch a film!”
Rose managed a smile. Al did love Muggle aspects of life. DVDs were just one of the many.
Although she didn’t really want any company whatsoever, she realised a film might be just what she needed.
“Alright. You head to the den and pick out a film. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Al grinned widely and cried out happily. He dashed out of the kitchen, failing to hear Rose call out to him.
“Make sure you get a good action film!”
Although she said that Rose had an inkling that he had already picked an American classic entitled Fight Club.
Rose opened her kitchen cupboards and unearthed a pot, the popcorn oil, and the popcorn bowl. After pouring a generous amount of oil into the pot partially filled with popcorn kernels, Rose set the pot on the stove her mother insisted on having in their kitchen. The ironic thing is that Hermione may have used it three times total; Ron used it more often than she did.
Rose gently placed the lid on the pot and turned the stove on manually. She was going to the refrigerator to take out the butter when she heard a knock at the kitchen door.
“It better not be Shane Ollendorf again,” Rose muttered under her breath angrily.
Upon reaching the door, she opened it hesitantly.
“What do you want Sha –”
Rose stopped before she could finish her aggravated sentence. Her guest was certainly not annoying little Shane Ollendorf.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Rose hissed, not thinking twice about asking her guest inside.
“I came to see how you were doing and to try to explain.”
“Well I don’t think you deserve to know how I’m doing and I don’t want to hear your bloody explanation.”
Rose’s eyes were wide with fury and her words were venomous.
“Rose, please,” Scorpius Malfoy pleaded. He was desperate.
“You wouldn’t let me explain at St. Mun –”
“And you think that I’m going to let you explain to me now? You abandoned me Scorpius! You abandoned me and my baby when you were needed most!” Rose cried. “I think you blew your chance.”
The popcorn was popping furiously in the background but neither Rose nor Scorpius was paying any attention to it.
“Rose, I was called out on an Auror training mission and–”
“No no no! You can’t explain it to me. You don’t have the right. You left me when I needed you most.”
“You at least owe me the opportunity to explain myself,” Scorpius insisted.
“Owe you? Owe you?! I don’t owe you a bloody thing!” Rose hollered.
Scorpius’ sorrowful but hopeful face fell.
“Rose, had I known…”
The thought wasn’t finished, nor could it be finished because he could hardly bear seeing Rose standing before him – her skin pale and lacking the luster he was accustomed to, her eyes full of hatred and sadness – so he just looked at her where she stood, holding the door open and staring back at him with ferocity.
“Had you known what?” she asked him impatiently, somehow managing to keep herself together thus far.
“I would’ve –”
“Rose what are you – Malfoy!”
Scorpius took his sad eyes off of Rose and saw Al standing in the kitchen doorway, looking livid. Al had impeccable timing.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I came to explain to Rose why–”
“No Malfoy. You don’t get to explain. You had your chance. Now leave.”
Al looked positively menacing. Scorpius was even a bit scared of his best mate. Or at least, his ex-best mate.
When Scorpius didn’t move an inch, turning his attention back to Rose, Al snapped. In five long strides, Al stood beside Rose and punched Scorpius without any warning. The force placed in the punch sent Scorpius reeling.
“That should teach you to listen,” Al told Scorpius’ crumpled frame on the doorstep.
Al slammed the door shut the same moment a fire alarm went off.
Their popcorn was on fire.
Al rushed to put out the flames as Rose’s legs gave out.
Relinquishing her hold on her composure, she fell down onto the floor and immediately burst into tears.
She sat there, weeping, for ages.
Al, not really knowing what to do, sat down beside her once he dealt with the burnt popcorn. He sat there for hours until Rose picked herself up off the floor and wiped her eyes roughly.
“You should go home Albus.”
“But Rose, I don’t think –”
“Go home, Al,” Rose said forcefully.
Reluctantly, Al said a half-hearted goodbye, left the kitchen and went to the Floo fireplace in the living room. Rose heard the familiar “whoosh” and closed her red, swollen eyes.
Rose rushed up to her room to retrieve her wand. She passed Hugo’s on the way back down.
Barging into his room, she alerted him that she was going to Cecelia’s.
“Alright. What time do you think you’ll be back?”
“I don’t know. Why does it matter?”
Hugo tried with all his might to keep his face expressionless but failed miserably.
“Who are you going to have over that you don’t want me to know about?”
“Well…” Hugo began. “Emily.”
“What other Emily do you think?”
Rose rolled her eyes.
“Be smart Hugh.”
Disappearing as quickly as she appeared, Hugo couldn’t help to wonder what had caused her to finally leave the house. Whatever it was, he was kind of glad to have the house to himself…and Emily.
Finding herself in the Grafton’s living room, Rose hurried up to her best friend’s bedroom. The door was shut, so she knocked just in case.
“Visitors welcome” came a voice from within.
Rose wrenched open the door and hurled herself on Cecelia’s bed.
“Hello there, Rosie. This is a pleasant surprise,” Cecelia said cheerfully.
“No it’s not, Cece. He came and visited me today.”
Cecelia got up from her armchair and sat beside Rose on her bed. Reassuringly, she stroked her hair.
“What happened, hon?”
Rose burst into a fresh set of tears.
Rose cried for some time, letting it all out before divulging the most important part.
“Al was there and he hit him.”
Cecelia’s eyes went wide and a gasp escaped her lips.
Rose nodded mutely.
“No. He couldn’t have.”
“But he did!” Rose cried hysterically.
“Why did he do that?”
With a big sigh, Cecelia decided she had to tell Rose.
“Rose, Al is incredibly conflicted. You’re his cousin and his first-ever friend, but Scorpius is his best mate. He feels as though he needs to protect you, since you are his cousin and yet he hurts Scorpius in the process of backing you. He is confused and his confusion is causing him to do irrational things to Scorpius. He didn’t want you to know, fearing that you’d hate him too. Please don’t tell him I told you.”
“What? Why would he do that? I could never hate Al for being friends with Scorpius. I can’t even will myself to hate Scorpius. But I can’t deal with our relationship right now. But that doesn’t mean Al can’t.”
“He needs to hear that from you.”
Rose rubbed her eyes roughly.
“I can’t believe Al would think that.”
“Well he did.”
Rose stood up abruptly and fixed herself so she looked a little more presentable.
“I need to find Al then.”
Flashing a small smile, Rose left as quickly as she came.
Flooing to the Potter’s, Rose found Al reading in their living room.
“Al, can I talk to you?”
Albus looked up from his Quidditch magazine and gave his cousin a small smile.
He placed his magazine on the nearby table and stood up, following Rose out into his backyard porch.
“What’s up Rose?”
“You don’t have to be my protector you know. I would be alright if you were just willing to be my friend and my cousin. I don’t want you to have to choose sides between me and…him.”
Al was confused and had no idea from where this conversation was coming. His face became scrunched up as he thought hard about the purpose of this conversation. Then he remembered that he had talked to Cecelia.
It was the day before “the popcorn incident.” The day’s Auror training was grueling and for some reason unbeknownst to him, Auror Superior Dawes decided to pair him with Scorpius.
Al, terribly conflicted that his best friend – former best friend – and favourite cousin were no longer anything at all, managed to kick the living shit out of Scorpius. For a few minutes, Al felt so much better, and then he felt like the scum of the earth. After training, he immediately Apparated to Cecelia’s to find some solace.
He found her reading in her room. Too tired, too sick, too weighed down, he collapsed beside her on her bed. He wrapped his arms around her and told her how he couldn’t take not talking to Scorpius despite the fact that he hurt Rose so much. It was too much to ask of him: ignoring his best friend and trying to help his cousin cope.
“Damn it! She told you!” he cried out angrily. “She promised she wouldn’t.”
“It’s better that she told me. She made me realise a lot. I was blind, too tied up in my own emotions. I shouldn’t have allowed you to do this, even if it was on your own volition. It doesn’t concern you and he’s your best friend, no matter the circumstances.”
Rose paused, taking a deep breath. She hadn’t realised herself how hard talking about it would be.
“I want you to know that your friendship with him doesn’t affect our friendship whatsoever but it won’t change my mind on the situation at.”
Albus ran his hands through his unkempt hair before enveloping his cousin in a tight hug.
“I’m so sorry things had to end up like this,” he whispered. “Thank you.”
He placed a kiss on Rose’s forehead and gave her a sad smile.
“I guess I’ll go then. You’ve got some Quidditch to catch up on,” Rose told him weakly, trying to keep the tears at bay at least until she Apparated home.
Al watched her disappear with a ‘pop’ and just stared at the spot she vacated until Ginny came out on the porch and tapped him on the shoulder.
“It seems as though you have an apology to give.”
“Yeah. And I’ll need to lend an ear to listen to the whole story.”
Ginny smiled softly. “Why don’t you go there now? What else are you doing?”
“I will Mum. I’ll apologise and hopefully he will be able to forgive me.”
“He will, Al. He’s your best mate. When he sees how you feel about it, then everything can be smoothed over.”
Ginny left her middle child standing on the porch.
He stood there for a few minutes, wondering how the bloody hell he was going to apologise for all of the things he did. And there was the question of whether or not Scorpius would even listen to him.
But Al would come to that soon enough.
In a swift motion, Al found himself on the pavement in front of the Malfoy Manor. Absently, he fingered his wand in his pocket.
His feet took determined steps to the door and his hands found themselves upon the door knocker. His body seemed to have a mind of its own.
Clunk clunk clunk.
The sound of the knocker on the door reverberated and he could hear it pass through the Malfoy foyer in an echo.
Al waited for what felt like forever, but then the massive door opened.
It was Astoria Malfoy and she was shocked beyond belief.
“Hello Mrs. Malfoy. Is Scorpius around?”
Astoria’s face dropped. She looked upset. “I’m sorry, but he’s not. He’s at his flat.”
“Oh.” Al was a bit forlorn; he wanted to put this behind them as soon as possible. “His flat?”
“Yes. His flat on the Thames. He’ll be around tomorrow though, after training if you want to stop by then.”
“That’s alright Mrs. Malfoy. I’ll see him at training I suppose then. Thanks.”
Astoria smiled weakly. “It’s nice seeing you Al. It’s been much too long.”
“It has been. Thanks Mrs. Malfoy.”
Al returned the smile before he turned and Apparated back home.
Al spent the rest of the night wondering what he was going to say to his best mate. What could he say?
After a restless night, Al arrived at Auror training early, hoping to meet up with him.
He was lucky: Scorpius was already there and he was sporting a black eye.
Warily, Al made his way toward a disgruntled Scorpius.
“Morning,” Al said.
“Come to give me another black eye?” Scorpius asked angrily as he looked up to see who addressed him.
“Oh really? Maybe you’ll break my nose this time.” Scorpius’ voice was thick with sarcasm.
Al let out a frustrated sigh. “I’m not here to do you any physical harm. I’m here to apologise if you’ll forgive me for being a complete arsehole.”
Scorpius’ stony face barely changed except for a little quirk of his eyebrow. “Well, I don’t know how I feel about that proposition.”
Al sat down beside him. “Mate, I’m sorry. Everything I did – kicking your arse in training, punching you yesterday, ignoring you until last week, everything – was uncalled for. What else can I say other than that I’ve fucked up? I was confused, conflicted. Whose side was I supposed to take: my cousin’s or my best mate’s? Was I supposed to take sides? I didn’t know what the fuck to do. I made bad decisions that Cecelia and Rose told me off for. I made bad decisions that lost me my best friend.
“I understand if you don’t want to forgive me. I wouldn’t forgive me. But I needed you to know that I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. You didn’t deserve it. Any of it. So, I’m sorry.”
Slowly, Al began to get up from his seat. He was a few steps away when Scorpius finally said something.
“Al, I forgive you.”
Al sighed and turned around.
He smiled slowly. “I’m glad, mate.”
Scorpius held out and Al took it.
Something was turning out as it should.
AN: R & R lovelies!