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Chapter 25: Chapter Twenty-five: Act
AN: And here we have the final chapter of Whispering. It's been quite a long time coming. But don't you worry, there is still the epilogue. :)
Enjoy and R&R lovelies!
beautiful image by amoretti @ TDA
Chapter Twenty-five: Act
“And so I told Al, 'There is no fecking way I am going to play a part in your deluded sexual fantasies.' Needless to say, he slept on the couch that night."
Rose chuckled at the thought of her cousin wanting to do such things. Granted, she wasn't thrilled to hear about her cousin's sexual appetite, but it was at least some much needed girl talk.
"Clearly, married life is going well," Rose joked.
Cecelia rolled her eyes. "I forgave him that very next morning. On that couch actually. Multiple times."
A peal of laughter burst from the two friends as they commiserated about their relationships.
"So, Rosie, have you and Ben…you know?" Cecelia asked, not as subtly as she had planned.
Shaking her head, Rose answered, "No. I'm just not ready. I mean, I don't even just spend the night at his flat. He's barely seen me without clothes on."
"I suppose that's natural, given what you have gone through…"
"Cece, please don't attempt to psychoanalyse me. Just be my best friend and push on with questions about our relationship. Besides, you know I'm fairly tight-lipped about that kind of thing. How long did I keep you in the dark about Scorpius?"
She let out an uncomfortable laugh as she wrung her hands restlessly.
Rose mentally slapped herself for mentioning Scorpius. He had been running around in her mind too much as of recently.
"Of course. You have always been quite private about that sort of thing," Cecelia responded quickly.
Just as quickly, she changed the topic. "So I know Ben spoils you silly. What has he been up to recently?"
Grateful for the switch of focus, Rose began a long-winded, yet half-hearted, tale about Ben's attentiveness.
Following her lunch with Scorpius, Rose began to analyse – possibly even overanalyse – her relationship with Ben. He was a wonderful boyfriend, caring and doting and very attune to her every whim.
Frequently, Ben would surprise her while on duty with beautiful bouquets, thoughtful notes, and boxes of chocolate that would leave every other witch on duty beyond envious. She thoroughly enjoyed the nights they went out, and the nights they stayed in, and even the nights they spent on the rooftop of St. Mungo's when they were both still on call. Whenever their schedules allowed, Rose immensely enjoyed showing Ben around Muggle London and taking him to West End. She was more than aware that her feelings for him were growing stronger daily.
But at the very same time, she often found herself pulling away from him.
It started out small. She would be holding a conversation with him, Ben speaking the larger part of the time, and suddenly, her mind would disengage, drifting away. It would be only a matter of seconds, at first, but soon enough these wanderings grew in length and increased in frequency. It was almost to the point where she lost entire conversations.
Rose also noticed that when he touched her – a gentle hand on her arm or knee, fingers searching for hers, wrapping an arm across her shoulders or around her waist, a peck on the cheek – there were times when she flinched at, froze after, or purposely avoided the contact.
Nearly every night as she lay in bed, Rose tried to recall these actions, wondering if there was some sort of outside influence for them. She would compare it to their outings and their dates, the ones she really enjoyed. Repeatedly, she found none. The only thing she could attribute was the inkling in the back of her head that they were moving too fast. They began seeing each other early July, became official late July, and it was now mid-November. It was hardly an extremely serious relationship, but near-on five months wasn't anything to write off.
Rose didn't sleep with him. She didn't spend the night at his flat or he at hers. He had only seen her without her shirt. She didn't want to be too intimate, she couldn't be too intimate. After all that she had gone through, Rose couldn't bear it. She certainly couldn't tell him. She couldn't tell him at all.
The Scorpius ordeal. It was too personal and too new and too open. It was still an unhealed wound, almost healed, but not just yet. Things weren't put to rest even now. Feelings still stirred, all thanks to that one little peck on the cheek after lunch.
The combination of Ben, the boyfriend; Scorpius, the friend and former bofriend; and love, the problem, was becoming difficult to manage.
Even after Cecelia left her flat, Rose's thoughts were centered on this entire ordeal. They did so too often.
But this night – this night – as she laid in bed as her mind went over everything and when her eyes closed for the night, she knew what she needed to do. She finally found a fix to her problem.
The next morning, she owled Ben, asking him to meet her in an hour at the park they always took strolls in. It was a Sunday. Sundays meant that there were few people at the park until at least until three p.m. She would have all the time in the world to tell him all she needed to.
Arriving fifteen minutes early, Rose sat on a park bench, rehearsing what she was going to say.
Ben arrived right on time, eleven a.m. on the dot. He smiled as he bent down to give Rose a kiss on the cheek.
"Good morning, Rose."
She smiled absently, the hands in her homemade knitted gloves moving restless on her lap.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" he asked casually, sitting down beside her. He didn't suspect a single thing.
Rose looked at him, her heart aching at what she had to tell him. He was a wonderful guy, brilliant, handsome, and he was everything she needed.
"Ben, I'm really sorry."
She didn't say anything more because his face said it all as it fell. He may have been what she needed, but not what she wanted.
He looked at her, disappointed, but very understanding.
It was too good to be true. He knew it from the start: a beautiful, intelligent, charismatic woman, unattached and seemingly unburdened. And the fact she was a celebrity by birth? It was an extra bonus, having all those connections. Of course, her famous parents were a perk he only realised after the fact.
Nodding mutely, in more of a statement than a question, he asked, "There's someone else, isn't there?"
Rose took a deep breath and sighed. "Not in the way you think."
"Your old boyfriend? The one from Hogwarts. Am I right?"
Closing her eyes and swallowing the guilt in her throat, Rose attempted to keep her composure.
"How do you know about him?" she asked calmly, opening her eyes. She knew he never read newspapers.
Ah, the truth will out. He knew that what he was about to tell her would ruin everything. It was too late now to lie his way out of the situation; the relationship was already crumbling.
"I'm not proud of myself for it, but I read your medical file. All of it. I started to worry when you started acting differently – flinching sometimes when I touched you, zoning out when I tried to keep a conversation. Your psychiatric evaluation was very insightful."
He had read her life story. He knew about her miscarriage. He knew about Scorpius. He knew it all. In an instant, Rose got very angry.
"You had no right! If you wanted to know why I was acting strangely, you should have come to me as a concerned boyfriend, not snoop into my sealed hospital records. Just because you are a Healer, that doesn't mean you can have access to such records whenever you like! That part of my life was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I hurt everyday because of it and I don't think I'll ever go back to the way I was before. In fact, I know I never will. As you should know, I'm only twenty. I may have not experienced as much life as you have, but I have personal experience with losses that you certainly haven't. For a long time, I was exceptionally fragile. It took me months to even talk to him civilly. But I have always loved him. Always. And I am doing this to protect your heart, even though you clearly have not had mine in mind at all. Your actions prove such.
"I wanted to spare you. I wanted to let you down easily, because although you could probably never have my whole heart, you were slowly finding your way into it. I wanted to remain friends, but you've ruined that now."
Rose's brow was furrowed – anger, betrayal, curiosity.
Ben could say nothing. He knew he was wrong. Everything Rose had said created another open wound.
"This goes beyond betrayal. Know that I will no longer associate with you, unless in a purely professional setting. I hope any future girlfriend, wife, or partner never has to be analysed by means of their medical records by you. And despite the fact that I will never be able to trust you, I only wish you all the happiness in the world and I hope you find someone to love."
Rose gave Ben one last look before turning on her heel.
Before she was completely out of range, he called to her. "Does he love you back?"
Rose stopped and slowly twisted her neck to lock eyes with him. "I can only hope."
As she left her former boyfriend standing alone, ashamed, Rose could not have felt more empowered and self-assured. She was taking her life in her hands and holding on to it with a firm grasp.
Rose returned home, her heart heavy but her mind free. She sat in her living room, wondering. Wondering if Scorpius felt the same way still, wondering if she were strong enough to confront Scorpius, and most of all, wondering if she did the right thing.
That evening, she headed to St. Mungo's with a heavy heart but attempted to put on a happy face. Smiling faces always helped at a hospital.
She put on her robes, checked in, and started on her first patient.
The first few hours of her shift sped by and before she knew it, she was on break.
Rose headed to the break lounge, finding that Malena was also on break.
"Oh hey Rosie. Just finish up the first part of this evening's shift?"
"I did," Rose replied as she made herself a cup of tea.
"I've only ten more minutes, but we can chat," Malena said brightly. "What are we going to do for our double date this upcoming weekend? Derek has been bothering me about it. He said he wants a response tonight. Bossy wanker."
Malena smiled expectantly.
"There won't be a double date," Rose answered shortly, adding a bit of milk to her tea.
"Because, Mal, we broke up."
Rose walked steadily to the chair across from Malena and sat down.
Malena was shocked. "When did this happen?"
"Barely an hour before my shift started."
"But why? Who was the one to break it off?"
"Malena, it doesn't really matter. It just…wasn't right for either of us."
Suddenly, a light went off in Malena's head. "You broke up with him."
"Maybe I did, but that doesn't matter. We're done. And that's that."
For once, Malena didn't make some kind of remark, but merely gave a short nod before starting a new topic.
Although they were on a different topic – gossiping about unbearable and humourous patients – Malena's thoughts spun around the idea that Rose broke up with Ben because of her feelings for Scorpius. It only made sense. But Rose didn't share that kind of information with her – or anyone – anymore. Malena accepted that, when Rose was ready, she would tell her.
Malena soon took her leave, clocking in again.
Rose spent the remainder of her thirty-minute break mentally arguing with herself. She second-guessed her decision to break up with Ben repeatedly while debatingwhether or not she would tell that certain someone what she needed to…
Hardly finishing her tea, Rose clocked back in and was swept into the whirlwind of being a Healer.
Just moments shy of taking a brief fifteen minute break, Rose was called into the catastrophe ward from spell damage.
"Hr. Weasley! We've got an Auror unit in catastrophe. Seems to be a 48-07A," a Medi-Wizard in bloodied robes cried. "Hr. Otawa, Barnes, and Calibri need your help."
Rose jumped into action practically sprinting to the catastrophe ward. A 48-07A wasn't the worst she had seen, but it certainly wasn't an easy healing. The 48 referred to the types of injuries, which translated to harmless scratches to bodies ripped open and intestines falling out. The 07 meant there were 7 patients and the A merely referred to the cause of admittance: attack.
Rushing into the ward, Malena was the first to notice her.
"Rose! Thank Merlin! You're with me. We've got an Auror of the Beta Squad in possible critical condition," Malena spouted off, promptly turning her attention to her patient.
Clearly, it was a young man whose identity couldn't be distinguished by the amounts of blood – apparently his – cascading down his face.
Malena and Rose worked together to find the source of the blood as they waved their wands repeatedly to check his vitals and to clean the blood off.
"Heartbeat is weakening. We need to find the source of stop the flow stat," Rose announced, mentally casting spells. "Wait! Found it! There's a deep gash behind his left ear barely missing carotid artery."
As Rose worked to sterilise and seal the wound, Malena noticed the patient coming-to.
"He's becoming alert," she said as she uncovered another deep cut crossing the right side of his forehead.
As he stirred, Malena took the time to vanish the last blood on his face.
"Fucking Merlin," Malena whispered, halting temporarily, just long enough for Rose to notice and see her patient's face.
It hadn't occurred to Rose or Malena who would be on the Beta Squad.
Rose felt sick. Her head spun and her eyes blurred. But her mind; her mind was spinning with hundreds of emotions and thoughts.
Fright. What if he got terrible scars? His flawless face, marred. His perfect physique, disfigured. Surely, they were merely superficial things, but they would change him, change the Scorpius Rose had committed to memory.
Anger. Who dared do such a thing? He was an Auror. He protected people and what did he get in return for his duty to his people? He was attacked and cursed.
Terror. What if he had to have surgery? There could be something she had missed, something miniscule, something vital.
Sadness. What could have possibly occurred for this to happen? Who was so conflicted and so angry that they would dare harm the individuals who worked so hard to protect the people? And why, why was violence the answer?
Love and absolute fear. What if she never got to tell him she loved him: really and truly, madly and deeply?
Soon Rose was nearly as pale as her patient, who had indeed lost a good amount of blood.
"Rose! Focus! We need to check to see if there are any other injuries he's sustained."
Rose, being the calm professional, pushed on, trying to remain objective and banish the thought that this was Scorpius. Her Scorpius.
But in the back of her mind, all she could see was the blood all over his face. She worked and worked to heal him, but she didn't see. She didn't see the healing wounds that wouldn't even leave a trace of a scar. She didn't see his face cleared of all the blood. She didn't see the colour slowly returning to his cheeks. She didn't see his eyes flutter as he gained consciousness. She didn't see any of that because once she knew that he was healed, she moved on to help the other patients.
Malena, knowing that Rose needed to work and not be worried about Scorpius, didn't give an update about him. She didn't tell Rose he was in stable condition and on blood-replenishing potions. She didn't tell Rose that Scorpius saw her while he was becoming conscious and asked for her repeatedly after becoming fully conscious. She didn't tell him he was only five beds down from where she was currently healing some other catastrophe patient from the Beta Squad. She didn't because she was a good friend.
Five hours later, Rose and Malena were finally off-duty – but only for an hour. It had been a busy night, but the Beta Squad's appearance in the catastrophe ward certainly was the highlight of it.
"Whew, I'm exhausted. I'm ready to sleep for ages."
"Well, I guess that's what happens when you specialise in the catastrophe ward and dabble in a few others," Malena responded running a hand through her hair.
"Why did we do that again?" Rose asked, laughing.
"Because we get a sick thrill from long nights and strange sleeping patterns?"
Rose smiled as she took off her lime green Healer robes, unveiling matching lime green trousers and a white tee shirt. "That must be it."
As the two friends took their time getting to the Healer bunks, they grew more tired with each step.
"I'm going to collapse!" Malena complained. They were only a few metres from the bunks, but it felt like kilometres.
"We're nearly there."
Just as they reached for the door handle, it opened and Derek emerged.
"Why hello Rose and my beautiful girlfriend. Just get off a shift?"
"Hello Derek," Rose said. "We did just get off. Now, it's time for us to sleep."
Derek smiled, knowing exactly what she meant. "Alright then, I'll let you do that."
Rose slipped past Malena and Derek toward the bunks. Malena had collapsed in Derek's arms, nearly asleep. Derek had chuckled as she rested her head on his chest, ready for sleep.
Giving her a kiss on the forehead, he scooped her up into his arms and placed her on the bunk near Rose's.
"Lena, once you're done with your next shift, just Floo my flat, alright sweetheart?"
Malena mumbled an affirmative before falling into a deep sleep.
Rose set an alarm to wake her and Malena up in an hour and laid down. She hardly registered Derek leaving and closing the door behind him.
Soon enough, Rose was wide awake, before the alarm even went off.
She groaned, frustrated. Only forty minutes of sleep in the past fifteen hours. She sighed when she realised she only had a three hour shift starting in half an hour. Reluctantly, she got up, put on her robes, and left the bunks to head to the Healer lounge to grab a cup, or more, of coffee.
Nursing her cup of coffee, she sat down and began to think about things. She started to think about her parents and how they had had an empty nest for roughly a year already. After all, Hugo was months into Quidditch career on the only team he would play for, the Chudley Cannons. She didn't know how her parents coped without anyone in the house. It was only the two of them in that big house all alone, bickering and then making up afterwards. In the end, she knew they would have gotten used to it sooner or later.
And then she thought of Al and Cecelia, married and living in the cutest little flat and enjoying every day. Although she hated to hear it from Cecelia, she and Al had a wonderful sex life and an equally as wonderful everyday life. Rose couldn't be happier for her two best friends.
There was Malena and Derek, working out their lives together, as Healers and as a couple. They had their difficulties, often it being the slight age different and Derek's parents' problem with Malena being "the older woman," not that Malena had a single problem with it. But they were perfect for each other and every day Rose saw firsthand how they were falling deeper in love.
And then she thought of Scorpius. Her Scorpius. An Auror in the Beta Squad and a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor on the side. He was the man who had been her friend for nearly a decade. He was the man who had seen her go through so many things. He was also the man who had gone through so many things with her. Wonderful things, unbearable things, heartbreaking things, even terrible things. All she could see in her mind's eye was the blood, everywhere, matting his hair, covering his face, running into his eyes. She couldn't find an image in her mind of him that would stick other than that one. And she never wanted to see that one again.
She never wanted to make him feel alone, or betrayed, or heartbroken like she had done in the past. She wanted him to feel whole, and trusted, and loved like she knew he deserved to be. And she wanted him to know that he made her feel whole and trusted and loved more than anyone had ever made her feel before. They had history, that was true, but that was what made them stronger. In the end, all their battles made them stronger individuals and would make them a better couple. She needed to tell him.
She stood up abruptly, slamming into Malena unexpectedly.
"Merlin Rose!" Malena cried, trying to set her balance. "I was beginning to think you were in a coma."
"Yes. I was trying to get your attention for practically five minutes."
"Oh is right. We have to get ready for our next shift. Starts in five."
"Alright. I'll meet you in the catastrophe office. I need to finish this coffee," Rose told her.
Malena nodded and then went on her way.
Rose adjusted her robes before downing the last of her coffee and then charming the mug clean.
Making a stop in the loo before heading to the catastrophe office, Rose took the time to inspect herself. She looked the same on the outside, but she certainly didn't feel the same as she had before that 48-07A.
Before she knew it, she was being called to the catastrophe ward for being late. They were extremely strict about catastrophe Healers.
So Rose rushed out of the loo and toward the catastrophe ward.
Again, the loudspeakers called for her. "Hr. Weasley to catastrophe."
"I'm coming," she muttered under her breath, removing her wand from its holder.
She was almost there when a flash of blonde caught her eye.
The blonde head turned around and was evidently surprised.
She rushed to him, hearing her name being called but dismissing it for the time being.
He wrapped her in his arms and she clung to him.
"Thank Merlin you're alright!" she cried, pulling away to examine him.
"Of course I'm alright. Now at least that some very handy Healers fixed all my scrapes," Scorpius answered good-naturedly.
"I desperately need to talk to you," she spouted off quickly, ignoring Scorpius' subtle thank-you.
"What do you need to tell me?"
"Hr. Weasley, please report to catastrophe ASAP. Hr. Weasley to catastrophe," the loudspeakers in St. Mungo's yelled.
"Shouldn't you head to catastrophe?" Scorpius asked curiously.
Rose brushed him off, reholstering her wand before continuing.
"This is probably the worst time possible for me to have stopped you. I'm on-call and in my scrubs, ready for whatever catastrophe makes itself known. I'm dirty; I haven't showered in far too long since I've been on-call for eighteen hours without a minute of real free time and I still don't have any. I haven't slept for longer than forty -five minutes this whole time. And to top it all off, you happened to be one of the catastrophes waiting to make itself known because you had to go on some bloody mission – when, in fact, you should be at Hogwarts, teaching – where you nearly had your head blown off!" Her voice was escalating and it was a bit dramatic, even for Rose.
"Rosie, I think that's a little extreme. I just got a nasty cutting hex to the head; that can't be considered getting my head blown off." Scorpius now only vaguely heard the loudspeakers calling for Rose. Rose had blocked them out completely.
"It's certainly close enough! There was an unnatural amount of blood spurting out, Scorpius!" Rose cried hysterically. "And it scared the fucking hell out of me! If Malena hadn't been there too, you may still be in a hospital bed, taking some serious blood-replenishing potions or worse: dead. And I couldn't bear that."
Rose sighed heavily and leaned against the nearest wall, looking away from Scorpius.
He couldn't bear to tell her that he had indeed been in a bed for hours taking serious blood-replenishing potions since it would only rile her up more.
"But I'm not," Scorpius reassured her. "So what is the reason you stopped me before you went off on your rant?"
Rose looked up and stared at Scorpius as if she had been caught doing something bad. She began stuttering, completely flustered. Pacing, she attempted to explain herself.
"Well, seeing you – well, incapacitated – really scared me and I began thinking – I was, um, so worried and I thought 'what if something' – And I didn't know how I could live with myself should anything – I want you to know…"
She stopped right there, not able to say a single thing more.
She stood still and tried very hard to avoid looking Scorpius directly, but she couldn't help but be drawn to his eyes.
And there he stood, looking at her expectantly.
Rose's brain stopped functioning it seemed and she couldn't possibly get the words out. It was three simple words, three simple syllables, but they were anything but simple.
She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.
He continued to look at her expectantly, but he didn't rush her. There was no need to do so.
Standing apart, gazing each other, they said nothing.
Then he smiled slowly and took a few steps closer.
Scorpius looked down into Rose's eyes and she looked up into his, their bodies centimeters apart. Finally, he spoke.
"Know what?" Rose whispered as Scorpius leaned forward.
He didn't answer her with words but with a simple kiss.
He pulled away and told exactly what she had been too afraid to tell him.
"I love you too."He
"Oh," Rose whispered breathlessly before Scorpius' lips captured hers once again.
Even after all this time apart, being together again like this made each of them realise just how perfect they were for each other.
"Rose, damn it, come on!" a cry from the adjacent corridor. "We've been calling you for nearly five min–"
The voice broke off abruptly. "Oh. Oh!"
Rose, clearly, was occupied with a "patient" seeing that she was pressed firmly against the wall by a man with very blonde hair who was kissing her with every fibre of his being.
"Alright, I'll tell the other Healers you're busy with another patient and you'll be over in ten. I'm holding you to that!"
Reluctantly, Rose broke away and looked down the corridor briefly, nearly missing Malena turn the corner.
"Huh, wouldn't you know; we finally got caught!" Scorpius joked lightly.
Rose couldn't help but laugh at the irony.
Getting caught in the act wasn't nearly as thrilling as she had thought it to be.
AN: Oh. My. Gosh.
This is how I ended it. I know. The story really changed from what I initially expected it to be. Quite angsty (sometimes too much for my taste) and complicated and there were plenty of instances where you just wanna yell at the characters to get their bloody act together. However, in spite of all that, it ended on high note. At least I hope it did.
Well readers, don’t worry. There will be an epilogue to follow. I don’t know when exactly since I plan on having a lot of material in it, just tying up everything and showing where every character you love and gotten to know ends up. That’s a lot a lot. So please be patient. But be sure to let me know what you think of this chapter though! I’d very much appreciate it.
Love you all!