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Chapter 19: XIX
Is there a remedy for waiting for loves victorious return
Is there a remedy for hating every second that I’m without you
“I love you too.”
I had never said those words before to any one – I had never wanted to, nor had I ever meant it – but the sentiment fell off of lips as naturally as though I had been saying it all my life. I felt it course through me – love, love, love. It was something I had never experienced before, and it made me feel wonderful.
I soon forgot why I had been crying, why he had been holding me, as I kissed him hungrily before he or I could say anything else. I wanted to savour the moment, to make it perfect, and believed that any words that followed ‘I love you’ were unnecessary.
He soon returned my kiss, and just as ravenously. It surprised me, catching me off guard. He would have usually pushed me away, blushing faintly, and said that we couldn’t. He’d insist that we had to study, or go somewhere where we couldn’t be seen. He’d smirk, tell me I was a tease and that he wanted to, but ‘we can’t’ he’d say. And that would be the end of it. It would soon be forgotten.
His hands twisted in my hair almost painfully, and the wall was hard as I was slammed against it. I moaned in pain, but he quickly silenced me with his mouth, and made me forget. My heart was racing and my lips stung with the passion burned within the kiss. His cold fingers lightly ran up my leg as I wrapped it around him, and it made me shiver as I felt his other hand, which was almost icy, touch the bare skin at the small of my back.
“No.” He whispered roughly as he tore away from me. “Not here.”
I looked into his eyes, mine full of such love for him that I didn’t care where he wanted to take me. I didn’t care as long as I got to be with him. As long as for that time, he belonged to me. I was his, and he was mine. That was how it worked, how we had kept our secret tryst alive for all these supposedly ‘sordid’ months.
He took me tightly by the hand, and I followed him eagerly. As I always followed him. He led me wordlessly to his common room. Everyone was in Hogsmeade, or in the library he told me. He pulled me up the stairs and together we stumbled into his dormitory. He locked the door behind him after seeing the look of alarm appear on my face, and then pulled me back into his arms. He kissed me with a sudden gentleness, which was more characteristic of him, and lightly brushed the side of my face with his fingertips.
I laughed against his mouth as we tottered back and fell onto his bed. The mattress pressed against my back as he leaned over me, biting his lip. I saw anxiety in his eyes, and it made me nervous. I reached for him, drawing him down for another kiss, and whispered that I loved him. He held me close and softly murmured my name.
I woke hours later, alone, with my clothes strewn around the room. I shivered, murmuring quietly, and opened my eyes reluctantly. I reached across the bed, expecting to find his hand, but instead found nothing. I sat up, gasping, and stared at the empty space beside me.
Clutching the sheets to my bare body, I felt a wave of emotion crash over me. My lower lip trembled as I drew my knees to my chest, the memory of his touch still lingering. Tears ran down my cheeks as I thought of the way he had looked at me, like he had truly loved me. He couldn’t love me, not if he could leave me alone in his bed without any explanation.
I no longer felt as though I had made love to the person who loved me, but had given myself up to someone who didn’t care. I didn’t feel special, I felt used and disgusted in myself.
Worst of all, I felt like my mother.
I knew now why she sobbed when she awoke in the mornings, not because of what she had done, but because of the way it felt to wake up alone. I felt cheap, and it was as though something inside of me – my naive, stupid, foolish, idiotic, ridiculous belief in love – had died.
It was then, as I tearfully began to pick my clothes off of the floor that I realized that he had never said that he loved me. Not once.
Rose had found me silently fingering the aging marking and she had raised her eyebrows expectantly. She had no way of knowing what it meant to me, so I forbid myself from being with annoyed with her. I merely shoved the memory of my broken heart away and followed her to the cushions by the bay windows in silence.
She asked me, in a low voice, how I was feeling and I smiled faintly as I told her I was fine.
Because I wasn’t fine. I hadn’t been ‘fine’ since I was fifteen years old.
I knew she wasn’t either. I knew her better than to believe the way that she smiled was real, or fall into the trap of thinking that her little giggle meant that she was happy. Because she wasn’t, she was just as unhappy as I was. It made me sad to think of the girl who had worn pigtails in her russet hair for years because Scorpius had jokily told her it was ‘pretty nice’ was suffering.
I watched her as she read, regarding her curiously as she faintly smiled as her eyes flickered rapidly down the page. I had never met anyone who could read quite as fast as Rose, nor someone who was so captivated by the words before her. When Rose picked up a book, she didn’t just read it. She fell into the world and lived in it up until the very last page.
So captivated I was in her, that I didn’t notice the owl waiting at the window until it pecked impatiently at the glass. Rose, so lost in her fantasy world, didn’t notice, she merely murmured quietly in reaction to the noise. My eyes rolled at her as I reached across to unlatch the window. The bird made a small noise in appreciation, and leapt onto my arm.
I quickly pushed away the desire to cringe and push the owl away. I had never liked birds, not since I had been attacked by almost the entire Owlery’s worth of owls when I was in my first year. It was James’s fault. For a ‘laugh’, he’d put flakes of bird seed in my hair without telling me.
The tawny bird held its leg out to me, and, though slightly confused, I untied the letter. I murmured ‘thanks’ and opened the window again. The bird left after giving me a sort of dirty look, probably disappointed that I didn’t feed it or something, and I closed the window with a bang.
Rose glanced up, startled, and asked me if I had said something. I shook my head, exasperated, and she shrugged before she went back to reading. My eyes flashed to the ceiling. I opened the letter, half expecting it to be from my mother. Begging for me to come back to her, as though she didn’t know it was already too late.
Emmanuelle, I heard about what happened with your mother. I am so sorry; I actually thought that my talk with her had helped. It seems not. But if you ever need somewhere to stay, someone to talk to - I’m here. I know I didn’t react well to what you said – I’m sorry. It was a lot to take in that I have had a daughter for seventeen years without knowing. Because the thing is – I would have wanted you. I do want you. I’ve always wanted children – a daughter, a son. It doesn’t matter. I want to be in your life, I want to try to become the father you’ve always wanted – if you’ll let me. – Dennis.
P.s I’ve been to see Albus Potter today. He’s doing much better than he was before. Responding to the new treatment excellently. He might be back sooner than you – or we – expected. He asked to see you several times. I told him you’d gone back to school but – if you want – I can give him a letter from you? The ward doesn’t accept owls due to it apparently endangering their patients – some of whom are important figures, you see, so it’s the only way.
P.p.s Hope you’ve enjoyed your first day back so far. I hope we can see each other soon.
P.p.p.s You must keep taking your daily potions. Don’t do anything physically exertive. Don’t go to class if you think it will be stressful. You need to rest, not worry. Take care.
I stared down at the words, written in such a beautiful scrawl, and felt my lower lip tremble ever so slightly. I’ve always wanted children – a daughter, a son. It doesn’t matter. I could picture him saying it. I could see his kindly eyes, his lips moving with the words and his unadorned left hand. He wasn’t married. If my mother had known, maybe I could have had him in my life when I had needed him.
I want to be in your life, I want to try to become the father you’ve always wanted – if you’ll let me.
I felt my hand touching my lips, which I discovered to be quivering. I drew in a sharp breath, trying to steady my shaking nerves. I reread the letter, once, twice and then a third time. I stared at name of the person I loved, my eyes filling with tears. I touched the page, touched his name. As though it somehow brought me closer to him.
Albus. If only he were with me.
“Rose!” I exclaimed frantically. I needed my best friend. I couldn’t hide what I felt any more. I needed her to light the way, to show me what to do and how to feel what I was feeling without being so overwhelmed. “Rose, please.”
Rose looked up at me in surprise, and the book fell from her hands, forgotten. She saw my expression, the letter in my hand and worked it out as only Rose could. She scrambled to my side, put an arm around me, and deftly plucked the letter from my trembling fingers.
She read it through with a slight frown, and then turned to me. She lowered the letter to her lap, and considered me seriously.
“This man – he’s your father? You found him?” She asked me quietly. By her tone I could tell that she was trying her best to do it carefully. As though I were so emotionally unstable, I needed to be treated with care or else I would go off of my rocker.
“We – we found each other. He is – he was my Healer.” I mumbled, with my eyes fixed on the letter that sat on her lap. “At St. Mungos.”
“Of course, that makes sense. How else would he be able to visit Albus?” Rose murmured quietly, and most likely to herself. I could see it on her face, that within that wondrous mind of hers she was organizing her facts, getting them straight and figuring out the blanks. She was brilliant, and absolutely wasted in Gryffindor. “What happened with your mother?”
“She kicked me out. She told me to leave – to come back to school – and to not come back.” I muttered earnestly, avoiding her gaze. I heard her gasp, and the arm that was around my shoulder hugged me to her even tighter.
“Oh, Em. I am so sorry.” She whispered, sounding more sad than sympathetic. I couldn’t help but glance at her, and I saw that I was right. Her entire face was despondent. She drew me into a brief hug, which forced my face into her hair – which, oddly, smelt like fruit. “But – that’s good news about Albus, right?”
“I suppose.” I muttered. I dropped my gaze and shifted away from her slightly. I felt my neck throb and ache as I craned it around to cast a nervous glance over my shoulder. I touched the spot where I knew there were two puncture marks hidden underneath bandage, and shivered uncontrollably. “There’s something you don’t know. I mean – there’s a lot you don’t know –”
“That doesn’t matter. If you wanted to tell me, you would. I’m not going to force anything out of you, Em.” Rose broke in, wearing a small, however compassionate smile – one that I did not deserve. She gripped my hand in hers tightly, and then let it go.
“Albus sent me a – a letter – when I was in hospital, not long after we’d arrived.” I began, confessing my sinful truths unhappily, “I sent it back basically saying that I didn’t love him – and that he should leave me alone. It’s just – before that I had snuck out of my room to see him – I needed to know that he was alright – and lying there, he looked so – broken. And I knew that it was all because of me and what I did. Then I woke up and his mother was there – she told me to stay away – and I have to. I have to stay away – but if he comes back, I don’t know if I can. I do love him – I really do, but that doesn’t matter because I know I’ll just end up hurting him.”
“But that’s exactly what love is, Em. Perhaps it isn’t about ending up half-dead in St. Mungos – but it is about all the pain and the madness. Love isn’t supposed to be straightforward. You’re meant to work at it – both of you. If it was easy – then why would we even bother?” Rose declared, saying it in a manner which only Rose could master. Intelligently, but in a way that even I could understand.
“When – when did you get so smart about love?” I jested, making sure to say it quietly, so she could not hear the shaking in my voice. Rose lightly touched my hand again, faintly smiling.
“I lost it, and now it seems I know everything.” She beseeched with a small, soft sigh. “Oh Em, I don’t know what to do. You’ve got to help me.”
“You want my help? Didn’t you hear a word I said, Rose? I’m a mess. I am a complete failure at love.” I despairingly divulged as I drew my hand away from Rose’s, and wrapped my arms around my tender torso. I suspected that stress was behind the sudden reappearance of pain. “You should take my advice, and then reverse it. That way it might actually work.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Rose contested haughtily, wearing a smug little smirk that did not suit her. It made her look too much like Hugo, which was not at all a pleasant thing to be. “Your advice is sound. Your problem is that you just don’t follow it.”
It is hard to be lectured by Rose Weasley and not take to heart some of the things that she had said to you. That was precisely why I was outside, in the cold, looking for the ungrateful oaf she happened to love, whilst she hid behind a tree, whispering frantically for me to come back.
Scorpius wasn’t hard to find; he was tall, he was blonde and he was brooding.
That meant that there was only one place for him to be; sitting on the edge of the lake, gloomily staring across its dark waters, underneath the willow that people only sat under when it was warm. Any other time of the year it was a place for the lost souls, the broken hearts and people who desperately needed a cigarette.
I found him under a cloud of grey smoke, wearing a pensive expression on his face and clutching what appeared to be an eleven year old girl’s diary.
I could only stare at him for a moment, before Rose’s hissing snapped me out of my reverie. Smirking sardonically as I approached him, it was only when I cleared my throat that I managed to capture his attention.
“You’re back.” He remarked, and for a fleeting moment actually looked surprised. He watched me, appearing mildly curious, as I slowly lowered myself onto the floor. Our eyes met as I murmured in pain, and I saw panic appear in the midst of his gray irises. He touched my arm, and I flinched uncontrollably. He mumbled that he was sorry, and I lamented my actions.
“I know what happened.” I eventually stated as together, we stared across the waters of the Black lake. “I know what she did, and why you’re acting like a pissed off teenage girl.”
“Great.” He muttered brusquely, drawing the cigarette away from his lips. A haze of smoke filtered the air as he exhaled heavily. “Em’s back with a mighty fury. Did you enjoy hospital so much that you want to go back?”
“Shut up. I was talking.” I snapped, swatting his arm as though I were reprimanding a small child. “You do realize how miserable you’re making Rose, right? Do you have any idea how unhappy she is – I mean, really?”
“She thinks I am a fucking Death Eater – so you know what, Em? I don’t really give a fuck as to how she is faring right now. Probably upset that she snogged someone who belongs in a fucking cell.” He snapped sharply, raising his voice for most likely the first time in his life in my presence. I saw his fist curl into his fist around his blonde hair, and watched in alarm as he seemingly made to tug his hair from its roots. Hesitantly, I reached out and touched his wrist lightly. He shied away from my touch, just as I had.
“She does not think you are a bloody Death Eater, Scorpius. Bloody hell, I bet you have no idea how much that girl cares about you. She’s been half sick with this obsessive little crush on you since she was about twelve.” I retorted harshly, making my exasperation over the pair of them apparent. I saw him glance at me slightly, from the corner of his eye, and saw it as a sign to continue.
“It’s true.” I said, smiling slightly to myself as I thought of Rose and the way she used to watch him with wide eyes and beg me to tell her if she had food in her teeth. I’d always say the same thing, knowing it made her feel better about herself, ‘you look perfect, Rosie’.
“When she was thirteen she told me about it, but I’d known all summer. I think she first started liking you towards the end of second year, when you told her you liked her pigtails. You touched her silly pink ribbons, and she went beet red. Yeah, I think that was what caused it. After that she kept asking me questions, wondering what you were like and whether you’d ever mentioned her. I told her you had to make her feel better – because that’s what friends do. We lie to make the world a better place for each other.”
I knew I had his full attention now, even if he still continued to refuse to look at me.
“I meant what I said in that letter, it’s always been you she’s wanted. All these years, you’ve been the only person for her. The only one in her heart.” I winced slightly. I might have overkilled it, just a little. “She wouldn’t have spent five years of her life pining over a guy she thought was a Death Eater. Rose is smart – but even she can make mistakes.”
“She told me what happened. I know why she said it – for goodness sake, she was upset – and I think you need to stop being a coward. You need to go talk to her before it’s too late. I don’t want to see her unhappy for long, and if you’re not going to talk to her – then I am going to do everything in my power to convince her that she doesn’t need you in her life to be happy.”
Slowly, Scorpius turned to look at my glowering face. I watched as his features change and saw his Adam’s apple bob. He looked me in the eye steadily; his lips pressed into a tight line, and echoed the word he had written at the bottom of my letter.
As we exchanged a smile, he did something I’d never had expected. As he tossed his cigarette into the lake, he leaned forward, grinning faintly still, and pressed his lips against my cheek. It was only fleetingly, but the gesture was still touching.
“I know you think that you’re this dreadful person, Em – but you’re not. You never have been. You’re difficult, yeah, but you have a good heart. I guess it’s only natural for a person like Albus to be the one to finally point it out to you.” He softly remarked as he scrambled to his feet. He made my heart skip a beat. His words were an eerie echo of the words Albus had said to me at the Burrow.
He offered me his hand, which I took after a moment’s hesitation. It took work, but eventually I managed to get up onto my feet as well.
He asked me if I wanted to go down to the kitchens for a cup of tea, which I jokily said I’d rather die than doing. Any other person would’ve been hurt, or called me names, but not Scorpius. He actually understood my humour.
“There’s something you should know – Rose, she’s behind one of those trees up there. I told her I was going to talk to you and she tried to stop me – but then she saw you and sort of collapsed behind a bush. She’s fine, I checked. She just didn’t want to be seen because she has so little faith in me and thought I’d make everything worse, I’d imagine.”
Scorpius looked up in alarm, his eyes flickering around the grounds frantically. I laughed, grabbed his arm and pointed to where I had left Rose. The top of her dark red hair could be seen, and it made me laugh even harder. It made me very aware of where I had been splinched, and the pain obscured my vision momentarily.
“You go talk to Rose. I – I have something I need to do.”
I saw his reluctance to leave me, which made my heart swell with affection for him, but he still went to Rose. Her pull was greater than my need. I watched as she slowly rose to her feet from behind the bush, and climbed over it to get to him faster. He approached her with a hurriedness I’d never see before in him. I heard her say his name, and heard him ask her if she really thought he was a Death Eater.
I watched, with tight eyes, as Rose’s head shook frantically and saw the smile creep onto his face. It seemed that Rose did not. It appeared as though she were crying as she exclaimed, shakily, that she loved him. She stumbled over the words, but finally, after five years, she had finally said them. I felt, amongst other more negative emotions, a surge of pride.
Scorpius grinned, and repeated those three words back to her. I lowered my eyes just as Rose threw her arms around him, knowing she’d be upset if she knew I was watching.
But that wasn’t why I couldn’t look at them. It made me even more disgusted in myself than I already was. I was jealous. Not of Scorpius, or of Rose’s happiness. But that they were in love, they were allowed to have moments of perfection and I wasn’t. I was aware that it was selfish, childishly so, but it didn’t change how I felt.
It didn’t take me long to get back to the hospital wing, where I was apparently supposed to sleep, and it was of comfort to see that my trunk was still where I had left it. I opened it as I fell onto my bed, and used my wand to extract exactly what I wanted: my Christmas present from James Potter – the second.
It was a book, with a stupid cover design adorned with girly hearts and flowers but with a title that suddenly meant so much more to me. ‘How to follow your heart and do right by it’. I flicked through it, curious, and smiled when I read what James had written on one of the pages.
I totally knew that you would read this eventually. I always knew you were a big softie, Delacour. Anyway, I am expecting you to come to one of my matches. I’ll smuggle you in my broom cleaning kit and say you’re a leprechaun who’ll bring me luck. You are short enough to fit the bill. Just work on a beard, and owl me. Have a ball, kid, and don’t break my little brother’s heart too quickly. I’m not going to say I love you, nor have a good year because that’s bollocks. I know you’ll make yourself miserable no matter what I say – Jimmy Potter (oi, I reckon Jimmy works, yeah? Owl me.)
I smiled faintly, fingering James’s barely illegible, boyish scrawl. I could hear his voice in my head as I read the words, and it chased away all the bad thoughts that were in my head like a Patronus Charm. It was strange how James had always been able to do that. It must have been a family trait.
Chapter One: When your heart calls, listen.
Chapter Two: Kill criticism, live for praise.
Chapter Three: Embrace the future, forgive the past.
I turned to chapter three of the book, and read quickly the paragraph which gave a detailed description of how to ‘destroy’ the ‘ghosts of your past’. I thought back to the sudden onslaught of memories, triggered by what had happened after the party in the Room of Requirement, and knew that what I was dealing with was more than just a ghost. It was another skeleton in my cramped closet.
Author’s Note: Wellll, finishing on a lighter note this time. Rose and Scorpius reunited, Em possibly having the father she’s always wanted, and James giving her the exact advice she needs to wake up? Yeah, I think it ended pretty optimistically, for a change. Haha. Well, anyway, as always I hope that you enjoyed it – and I am so sorry for the wait. Putting my new story up took longer than expected.
Lyrics: All of Me – Angus & Julia Stone.
Thanks for reading!