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Then I Defy You, Stars by katti4493
Format: Short story
Chapter 6: The Sixth Visitation
Rose just felt drained. There was not a moment of the day when her heart wasn’t breaking and her mind was buzzing. Sometimes she felt as if she could barely close her eyes without seeing Scorpius beckoning her; without hearing his voice calling her from beyond.
She had thought she might be able to talk to the dead, but then she had never exhibited signs of this before. The only explanation that seemed plausible was that she was going mad; that grief and confusion had ravaged her mind until she could no longer tell dreams from reality, truth from lies and the living from the dead.
When Rose woke the next morning, she dreaded going into work. She knew she would have to walk into the office and face Jack, when the whole world had been pulled from under her feet. He had basically admitted he was in love with her, and nothing would ever be the same again.
She didn’t know exactly how she felt about this declaration; all she knew was that she was confused. Trundling into work, she expected to sit in silence for most of the day, only an office length away from Jack who she wanted to ask so many questions.
Opening the door to their pokey little office, Rose usually would bump into Jack who would give her a sunny smile, make a joke and give her a coffee if he had been past the café. However, that day Jack was nowhere in sight, and sitting in his place was Carla, busily filing her nails as if it were the most important task in the world.
“What are you doing here?” asked Rose unintentionally bluntly. Carla’s opened wider at Rose’s sharp tone, but she was such a gossip that she soon recovered and leant in almost conspiratorially. Lifting her hand to whisper behind, as if she was telling a dramatic secret, she began her tale.
“I’ve been promoted to this office because Jack turned up this morning in a bad mood; he had a scowl on him like I’ve never seen. He marched right up to Mr Nott’s desk and handed in his resignation right there and then, saying something about not being able to waste his life hoping that his dreams will come true in this crummy place.”
“What?” said Rose, slightly stunned. Jack had resigned? Jack had left? Jack had left her? That thought stung the most. Jack, who used to light up her dark days, had willing said enough was enough and thought he was wasting his time with her? Wasting his time being her friend? Or just desperately desiring more?
Without waiting a second, Rose span on her heel and dashed out of the office, down the corridor and out of the Ministry as soon as she could. Anger and emotion suddenly overcoming her, she apparated away from London, right across the country to the bottom floor of the Muggle block of flats that Jack occupied.
Jack lived on the tenth floor, and Rose heaved herself up the stairs as if they were nothing. She knew what he would be doing; in situations like this when he used to be late for work she’d come round to wake him up and find another nameless blonde answering the door. This time would be different, she knew.
Ringing the doorbell with unnecessary force, Rose tapped her foot in nervous anticipation as she heard Jack shuffling around inside the flat. The door opened sharply, and for a moment Rose did not know what to say; Jack was in his pyjamas, and without a shirt on.
“Can you get dressed Jack? We have some things to discuss,” began Rose commandingly, fixing him with a stare that could only be described as ferocious. His face had gone a spectacular shade of tomato red, and he shook his head sheepishly as he tried to close the door.
“Not now, maybe some other time. I just feel like such an idiot.” He went to close the door, but Rose held up an arm to catch it before it shut. Fixing him with a furious look, she tried to push her way inside. “Just let me in Jack, we need to talk.”
Taking her hand and spinning her round gracefully until she stood on the other side of the threshold to him, he spoke forcefully. “Not now. I don’t want to talk. I will talk to you when I’m calm. I don’t have the strength to talk now. I know you are not used to this, but I’m refusing you. I am saying no.”
And with that he shut the door.
It had shocked her so much, that she stepped back, blinking back furious tears. He had refused her so definitely that she thought she should respect that, and she turned around, sobbing quietly. She needed to talk to someone, for someone to hear her worries about Jack.
Julia had called in sick to work, and she felt incredibly guilty for doing so. Uther was asleep on her sofa, and she had spent the night listening to his breath rising and falling. He now sat there in his clothes from the aborted date, eating a bowl of cereal and trying to avoid eye contact.
“Uther,” began Julia, walking across the room to sit beside him, “you can’t spend all day here. You have to get up. Go and sort your life out. Smooth it out with Rose. If you could get over the love story of the century that was Scorpius and Rose, you can get over this.”
She felt so goddam guilty for agreeing to the plan with Jack that only now she saw it as an utmost betrayal. Rose was her best friend, and Uther…Uther…
She’d pined for him for years, in silence, as Rose stomped over him. He was no high flyer, he was no genius but he was a man who wanted simple things. He wanted a wife and children, he wanted walks on the beach, he wanted to be sitting with his wife when they were old and grey. Uther had always wanted a simple life, and whatever Rose was, she was never simple.
Uther had believed he could tame her, that he could change her. But Rose wanted the high drama of doomed love, of a desperate desire for a passion that could never die. Uther wanted a different kind of love; he wanted companionate love, and a woman he could sit there playing Wizard Chess with when he was eighty. Julia knew that Rose could never give him that.
“Is there a point?” moaned Uther, putting down his cereal, “I feel so terrible. I’m a terrible, terrible boyfriend. She makes me feel like I am a tyrant, like someone who is intent on destroying everything that makes her happy. But I just want to know her. God Julia, I just want to share her life, and for her to share mine.”
Uther’s hand was resting lazily on hers, and she felt as if she was on fire, as if the years of emotion were just flooding out. Julia could almost feel her eyes brimming with tears. “Don’t let her make you feel like that. You are a good man Uther, you would make a good husband. Sometimes, I just don’t think she sees the light that shines from you. She doesn’t see how good you really are.”
Tears were running down Uther’s cheeks as he leaned towards her. “Do you really think so, Julia? Do you think I’m a good man? For years I’ve felt I was second best, that I could never be as wonderful as Scorpius, never as charming, never as funny, never as talented, never as passionate. She makes me feel like the lowest of the low sometimes, like I’m the dirt on the bottom of her shoe.”
Julia lifted her hands to his face, wiping his tears away. “You are my dream Uther, God, if Rose could love you half as much as I do you would be the happiest man in the world!” Uther’s eyes widened in shock as Julia realised what she had said. That secret she had been keeping for years was gone in one sudden rush of emotion.
She expected him to recoil, but he did something she never thought in her wildest dreams would happen. He scooped her into his arms and kissed her with such ferocity that she was startled. Urgently, she kissed him back, not wanting him to stop, but suddenly he broke away as quickly as he had begun.
“I can’t do this,” he croaked, “I know what it feels like to be in the other shoes, to have the person you love cheat on you, and for the whole world to know but you. I’m sorry Julia I can’t do this. I just can’t.” Leaping from the sofa he ran from her home without saying another word.
Julia crumpled to the floor, tears pouring down her cheeks. For one, brief, brilliant moment she had her dream in her hands. She had Uther. Then, just as quickly, she had lost him. Just because she was dowdy and plain, there was no reason that she couldn’t be loved by at least one man, and why not Uther? But no, he was strictly the property of Rose Weasley.
Julia cried for what felt like hours. She considered asking Celia round, but then she thought she would yelled at for being an awful friend. Julia had always been a good friend, but sometimes she wished she could be free and do whatever she wanted.
The knock on the door was so sharp that Julia let out a little gasp of shock. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she made her way to the door, only to find standing on her threshold the last person she wanted to see.
“Rose? What are you doing here?”
Without giving an answer, Rose barged into Julia’s home. She marched resolutely into the lounge and threw herself onto the sofa where Uther had been sitting minutes previously. “I need to talk to you, Julia. You know Uther, you know Jack, do you think I am making the right choice? Do you think either will make me happy? Should I be with either of them when neither of them are Scorpius?”
Julia gazed at Rose with shock. Cecelia had always been the self absorbed one, but here was Rose ignoring Julia’s red eyes, ignoring her emotions. She was questioning about whether Uther or Jack would make her happy, and not even thinking about her affect on them. “I sometimes think that me and Uther are just not meant to be. He’s so clinging and needy, and I don’t deserve that. I deserve something better, I deserve someone funny, romantic, talented and reliable. Uther is just so…”
Julia didn’t want to hear this anymore. For years she had heard Rose moan about Uther, when Julia wanted nothing more than to hold him and tell him how much she loved him. Yet Rose had his heart, and she had no thought or feeling for him at all.
“Well just dump him then!” shouted Julia, exasperated, “if he is not good enough for you, you the precious Rose Weasley, then end it and go back to sticking your head in the clouds pretending you are still a princess, that Scorpius is still alive and you can continue playing around with both Uther and Jack’s feelings. God Rose, you are just so selfish!”
Rose’s mouth was open wide in shock. “I’m selfish!” thundered Rose, “my whole life everyone has just told me what to do and how to live. The one good thing in my life I lost, so is it not right for me to look for the best in life, to make sure I’m happy after what happened to Scorpius? I have our son to think of as well!”
“Yes you do!” bellowed Julia, “and Scorpius sees Uther as his dad. Uther is the only man who has been there constantly for him. Uther has loved you and your son, the son you conceived while you were cheating on him, and how do you repay him? By stamping on his heart, his confidence and his esteem and make him feel guilty because he is not Scorpius! And then you stand there playing the saint!”
Rose had gone a brilliant shade of red, and Julia recognised that look in Rose’s eye that had registered what Julia was saying. “Oh great!” croaked Rose, tears coming to her eyes, “I thought you were my friend Julia, but apparently not! I clearly know when I am not wanted!” And with that, Rose turned on her heel and marched out the house as quickly as she had come.
Rose’s head was burning with so much pain as she got home that she refused to dismiss the nanny; she could barely think coherently let alone look after Scorpius. Running up the stairs, almost blind because of her tears, she dashed into the bedroom and threw herself onto the bed, sobbing quietly.
The sudden blurriness came, just as she expected. “I don’t want another vision!” she shouted furiously. But she knew it was futile, and once again she was standing in the Great Hall, the candles hovering overhead. It was clear it was close to winter, as the sky was overcast and grey, and in spite of her sadness, Rose felt herself walk down between the tables. It was not long before she noticed who she was meant to see.
Cecilia and Julia were sitting on the end of the Gryffindor table, their heads close together as if they were speaking secretly. Jogging towards them, Rose just caught the end of the conversation. “I can’t ask him Cecilia,” a thirteen-year-old Julia was saying, nibbling her fingernails nervously, “what if he doesn’t want to go to Hogsmeade with me? I bet loads of girls have asked him!”
“When you are not in the game you can’t win,” said Cecilia wisely, fixing Julia was a stern look, “you pluck up all your courage and just go and ask him! What makes you think that he will like you less than any other girl that comes past?”
“Oh let me think,” said Julia sarcastically, “maybe it’s that I’m not as pretty as other girls, or as funny, or because he is the Minister of Magic’s son! There’s loads of girls that will want to go out with him, so why would he ask me?” The penny suddenly dropped; Julia had secretly liked Uther for years, and this explained her suddenly frosty attitude.
The scene changed suddenly as a red blur came darting down between the tables. It only took Rose a moment to recognise her thirteen-year-old self, who was smiling enthusiastically, her face blushed red. “Guess what! Guess what!” Young Rose evidently did not leave time for her friends to answer as she shouted, “Uther just asked me to Hogsmeade, and I said yes!”
Young Cecilia and Julia shot a horrified little look before Julia turned to her friend and said meekly, “congratulations Rose, I hope you have a good time.” With that, young Julia leapt out of her chair, tears in her eyes, and dashed off to the door. Following her with her eyes, older Rose suddenly noticed who was there.
“Scorpius!” she yelled furiously, “I’m going to get you for this! I really am!” She darted after him, but suddenly she felt as if she were tumbling, and she landed back on her bed with a loud thump. Sensing Scorpius behind her, she suddenly felt excessively drained, so mumbled into her pillow.
“I’ll catch you one day Scorpius, I promise you.”
A/N: Loads of apologies that this has taken so long, but I hope you like it and please leave a lovely review! I don't know how long the next one will be, but I will try to be as quick as possible! Next time...Cecelia and Rose talk and there is an unexpected arrival...