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Chapter 16: Never Let Me Go
My breath was rapid and unsteady as I crawled up the wall. My nails clawed into the brick wall as I pulled myself up. In my hand was my wand. Rachel had managed to toss it aside without anyone seeing. In the few seconds I had I repaired what I could. I didn't heal anything, but I did some quick fixes that would make my body work as well as it could for now. Later I could have a healer actually mend me, but for now I had a family to save.
I was about to walk out when I noticed I was back in my own body. Apparently somewhere in the process of being rammed through a wall, the polyjuice potion had worn off. Good.
If this is how I die I want it to be in my own body.
I could hear the Auror's dueling the guards. Clearly they'd seen enough and they weren't willing to go down without a fight. I knew without a hesitation that Scorpius was in the thick of them battling more than anyone else around him. Then I heard a sound that made me unable to hold back any longer, Albus's scream.
Letting out a breath, I firmly walked in there and blasted Yaxley off my cousin without even a hint of hesitation. The room seemed to collectively pause as the power dynamic switched drastically. Auror's and Death Eater's alike were gaping at me as people began to put the pieces together. Yaxley rose from the floor, blood dripping down his mouth, disbelief clearly shining on his face.
"No…NO…I watched you die." He growled in horror, his eyes alit with fear.
I smirked, it hurt so much it almost wasn't even worth it, but I was beyond pain. "You can knock me down as many times as you want." I breathed, "But I'm always going to get back up."
Then I flicked my wand three times. I disarmed James's captor, Teddy's captor and Albus's. Rachel bolted out of the room as her part of the deal was done, but she wasn't the only one. Once they saw I was alive two other guys took off for the exit and together four Auror's brought down the barrier.
One of Yaxley's followers tried to physically tackle me to the ground to get some leverage as everyone else around us was fighting, but I hexed him away. He staggered back to his feet and tried to duel me. I'll admit I was slower than I'd ever had been, but through all the sweat I still took him down.
For a moment I thought it was over. Most of his followers were gone, but I didn't think, I wasn't thinking clearly at all. In my haze I'd forgotten about Yaxley entirely and that was my biggest mistake. As I was running around helping other people and blocking spells Yaxley shot a nasty curse at me. It would have hit me square on, I didn't have enough strength left to move or enough time left to block it. But in a flash Scorpius bolted over and knocked me down to the ground full force. I groaned as my very bones cried out in pain. He saved me, but it damaged my body. Thick aching bruises lined my back from the pressure of his weight hitting mine. He didn't linger long; as soon as he saw the spell didn't hit me Scorpius leapt back up to his feet and threw himself into battle.
Before I could anything else, I spun over and I pointed my wand at Yaxley and cried out, "Petrificus Totalus!"
He dropped to the ground and was kicked away from the action by a nearby Auror. Far away I saw Lauren dodge a hit to the stomach and strike her attacker square in the stomach. Her fight was beyond magic. I was going to get up and help her when I realized I should check to make sure the spell intended to hit me didn't hurt anyone else.
Groaning, I bit my lip in pain and flipped over. My eyes widened as a shiver of uneasiness rose in my stomach when my eyes caught who had fallen on the floor. The mystery spell intended to hit me had hit my cousin instead.
"Al!" I cried crawling over to him, dropping onto bloody knees, my face filled with a raw mixture of panic and tears. "WAKE UP! WAKE UP!"
But he wouldn't. No matter how hard I shook him he wouldn't move.
Spells lit up the room, as screams and cries echoed across the hall, but I cared about none of it as I looked into my cousin's face. He could just as easily be asleep, but I knew it was far worse than that. I knew in that part of my brain that always told me the truth no matter how heartbreaking and horrible it was.
This was my fault. If he didn't wake up, if he didn't get better it would be all on me. I did this. I roped him into this bullshit in the first place. If I had been thinking clearly I would have taken Yaxley out. If I had been thinking clearly I would have put up a shield. If I had been thinking clearly Albus would still be fighting.
His jet-black hair was plastered to his unnaturally pale face and his eyes were closed. I cradled him getting my blood on his clothes. I no longer cared about the war we were fighting. My vision was going in and out, along with my consciousness all I knew was I couldn't leave Albus. I didn't have the strength left to even fake it. All I could do was hold him and pray with every fiber of my being that he would wake up.
"Rose," My mother whispered in what felt like minutes later after all the fighting had stopped. She lowered herself to the ground and pried me off of him. Her bushy hair had splashes of blood in it, but she was otherwise unharmed.
"Let go so the Healers can take him honey. There's nothing you can do." She repeated to make me understand, but I was too out of it to understand anything.
Hours later I sat in my hospital bed starring at the annoyingly white ceiling. They managed to fix me to the best of their ability, it took a few hours of poking and prodding me to do so, but they did. The only thing left they wanted to do was take me into surgery to fix my internal bleeding. Apparently that was the one thing they couldn't heal without more serious action.
They told me I was lucky to be alive. They told me that medically there was no reason that I should be. I supposed I should be thankful. I supposed I should have been grateful. But none of those emotions arose in me. All I could feel was pain.
I couldn't stand it anymore. At one point during all the procedures I had passed out, but once I had woken up I couldn't bare to be alone. They told me to stay put until they had me cleared for surgery, but I was never one to listen to the rules.
They had wiped me clean of all the blood and debris, but left me in the dress I had been wearing. So I just grabbed my wand, brought a wheelchair to me and lowered myself into it. I wasn't stupid. I knew I shouldn't be moving around, which is precisely why I had magicked a wheelchair to move for me. As long as I stayed still I shouldn't cause anymore damage than I already had. Even if it did cause me more harm than good I had to go sit with my family. I couldn't stand being kept in the dark.
When I rolled up to the waiting room though I didn't get a warm welcome. James had a slice mark on his forehead, but was physically fine. His brown eyes locked on me in such fury and such anger that I didn't even bother go towards him. Instead I moved myself into the corner by my mother and Teddy. My mother looked disappointed that I had moved from my hospital bed and I knew I'd hear something about it, but Teddy interceded her as the only one happy to see me.
"Hey Ro, how are you feeling?"
"She's supposed to be in her hospital bed, not moving." My mother interjected said sharply. "The healer said you have to go into surgery soon."
I shook her off unconcernedly. "Not until I hear about Albus."
"Rose-" My mother began sternly, but I cut her off.
"Mum, there's no way I'm going to be put unconscious without knowing what's going on with Albus." I told her firmly. "I'm in a hospital chair. I'm not moving around like instructed, but that's all you're getting from me right now."
She wanted to fight me, but I could see she didn't have the energy to do so anymore. I let out a heavy sigh. Across the room Lily was asleep in her mother's lap, and Uncle Harry sat next to her. Harry had spent the better part of the evening lecturing me when I was going through the procedures. He was livid, mostly because I didn't tell him about my plan, but also because I had involved his son in this. He had every reason to be angry at me so I didn't say anything to defend myself. I didn't say that Albus had known the risks. I didn't say that I told him he could back out at anytime. I just took it knowing nothing I could say would ever make involving Albus right.
The only thing that was keeping me awake was the constant pain circling around my body. They had given me potions, but none of it worked. My body burned through them within an hour and then it was just becoming ridiculous to even bother. I knew I needed surgery and I would get it, but not now. I couldn't go into surgery without knowing about Albus. I couldn't take care of myself without taking care of him first.
But the healers hadn't come back for a while now. The room was quiet, which was a first for our family. Uncle Harry, James, Aunt Ginny, Lily, my mother, Teddy and I all were usually so lively and talkative, but right now we couldn't think of a single thing worth saying.
Hugo had left an hour earlier to sit with Lauren. She was only allowed one visitor and I told him it should be him. Kelly was in surgery right now on my cousin so if we couldn't do it Hugo was the best choice.
My mother eventually put her arm around me; I could tell she was crying so I held her hand. None of us wanted to ever be here again. If it was anyone it should have been Teddy, or me we had signed up for this type of punishment, but not Albus.
Thinking of him, my eyes began to burn. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. There was like a emotional dam stopping anything from getting through. We'd all been through so much, but it was never going to be over. Glancing out the waiting room window, I watched all the healers running around and felt so incredibly lost. My whole world was twisted and distorted, I felt so completely off center. I was supposed to be the one that died. Everyone else was supposed to be fine. It was supposed to end with me. Why couldn't it ever just end with me?
Teddy rose after I'd been there for about an hour. I was about to ask where he was going, but the words died on my dry coarse throat. He was probably going to go check on Victoire and the kids. Even if he wasn't I had no reason to stop him from leaving. Teddy had done his part in helping save our family. His work was done.
I felt so heavy, the weight of the world wasn't on my shoulders, it was on my chest, breaking every bone in there until I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think of a single thing that would make this pain cease. My mother's touch just reminded me of what I had taken away from Aunt Ginny. And Teddy's reassurance had reminded me of the fact that I had cut Uncle Harry out of my plan. Everything was too much.
My mother got up to go check on Hugo, leaving me alone on my own ostracized corner of the room. I didn't feel sorry for myself. I deserved this pain. I really did and there was nothing to save me from it.
Gradually, my eyes scanned through the window until I saw Teddy walking with someone. Someone that made me ignore the requests of my healer and stand up. Though my family was furious with me, they all echoed sentiments that I should sit down. But I couldn't, my legs without a signal conscious direction from me. Teddy waltzed over to me, as my eyes locked on the man he was with. He smiled, and put a gentle hand on my shoulder.
"I'm going to be with Victoire. You know how to reach me if you need me."
"But what…" I whispered in shock.
Teddy made me break me glance with Scorpius to look him and he said, "Rose, this isn't your fault. None of it. Everyone's mad because they don't know how else to deal with what happened. You deserve to be happy. So be happy."
Then he walked away leaving Scorpius and I alone in the once crowded hallway. Scorpius's face was half black from bruises and I could tell there had been something wrong with his arm, but he was here now. The tears from before, the ones that refused to fall, fell and I took a hesitant step forward.
Scorpius had always had trouble believing that Rose loved him. She was always so controlled in public, and even when it was just them, he had a hard time seeing it. Most of it was his overactive insecurities, but mostly it was because he could never truly see what it was. She was always so guarded he was never really sure she meant what she said. He always believed she was fine without him. He always believed that she could survive anything and that at the end of the day she didn't need anybody.
But when her eyes lifted and met his he saw it. He's been so angry with her, his whole body was triggered to explode with the amount of hate and pure wrath he had rising in him. When Teddy found him he was silent. All he could think of was all the hateful things he could say to her to make her feel just as horrible and shitty as he had felt. He wanted her to understand what she had done. For once, he wanted her to realize how much other people needed her. How much he needed her. He needed her to need him back.
All rage dropped to the floor as he saw her eyes reflected the complete anguish she felt. This wasn't the face of a liar. It was the face of entire sincerity. It was the face of someone who was looking at someone they loved. As he took in the sight of her red hair, he saw no brown hairs left. Here she stood, purely Rose, and here she stood with a face full of remorse and regret. She did love him; anyone would have been able to see it. It was shinning so clearly in her blue eyes that it tore his heart in two.
"It needed to be real!" She told him fiercely as she moved forward, her heart pounding on her sleeve. "You needed to believe it! If you believed it they would believe it. He looked at you and from your reaction he believed I was dead. That was the only way to stop the bloodshed and stop them. And we did!"
Scorpius frowned, his expression hurt. "And you think that makes it alright?"
"No! Of course not!" She whispered in a rush, "But I had to. After they …" She cleared her throat, but couldn't get rid of all of the emotion that lay there.
"After they killed Oliver Wood I knew it would only escalate from there. They planted that bomb. They were going to kill me anyway. This way they got to do so without risking anyone else. I'm so…" She gulped through her tears. "I'm so sorry, but I couldn't let anything happened to you. I couldn't take it Scorpius! I know you hate me, and if you want me to transfer to a different branch, or even a different department I'll do it." She cried. "I'm sorry…I'm so sorry. I just couldn't watch you die-"
Her speech was stopped. Scorpius had been standing perfectly still his face was transfixed on hers, memorizing every single detail, but he couldn't stand it anymore. He could stand to be even a few feet away from her. He needed her in his arms. He needed her in his life. He needed her period. There was no even a second thought that could hold him back. In just three strides he seized her, his arms wrapped around her waist as face buried in her hair. As she choked out a sob of relief, he picked her up, lifting her a few inches off the ground and pressed her as close to him as humanly possible.
"I would have come back." She whispered in the darkness, not quite sure if he could hear or not. "I'll never leave you again… I love you."
Her voice was so desperate, so vulnerable as she vowed this. Scorpius pulled away from her hair, keeping her body against his and planted her with a kiss that drove fire up and down her veins. She knew she should stop him. She knew she should tell him to be gentler because of her injuries but she didn't care. She could die right now and it wouldn't matter because there was nowhere she would rather be, no one else she'd rather be with and not single thing she'd rather be doing. Her arms cupped his face securely as her eyes squeezed shut. His hot lips pressed hard on her recently healed jaw as her cool tears rolled from her face to his. This was all she needed right now and Scorpius felt the exact same way.
Eventually he pulled away, gasping slightly as he did so. He carefully put her down on the ground but didn't loosen his grip on her at all. His forehead pressed against hers as he starred into her eyes, knowing he would be perfectly fine if he never saw another thing for the rest of his life he'd still feel like the luckiest man on earth.
"Don't ever do that again." He declared in a rough voice. "Promise me."
"I promise." She smiled as he wiped away her tears with his calloused and broken hands.
Scorpius eyed the wheelchair from the next room and gave her a confused look. "Why were you sitting in a wheelchair?"
"I um…" Her face broke out into guilt. "I have internal bleeding."
A rush of remorse reddened his face as he looked at how he was holding her. "What?!"
"I'm fine! I just need surgery! I'll be fine I swear!" She reassured him weakly.
Giving her a rueful look, he grimaced when he looked at her battered body. "Where's your healer?"
"Because I'd like to talk to him and ask what exactly is wrong with you so I don't cause you more damage…I wouldn't have snogged you like that if I'd known…"
She smiled despite herself. "That's exactly why I didn't tell you."
"Come on." He grabbed her hand sending a rush of warmth up her arm as her eyes filled with happy tears. "Let's take care of you."
Then Scorpius Malfoy walked her back into the waiting room. He protectively and unnecessarily helped her into her wheelchair. Then he went to speak to her healer after kissing her forehead softly. While he was gone Rose looked up and saw James laughing under his breath. She furrowed her eyebrows to ask him why, but he just laughed harder.
Finally he said. "I'm still mad as hell at you, but I think it's hysterical that this is what it took to get you two together."
Despite everything, she found herself laughing too. She supposed they were quite ridiculous.
Song in the summary is Never Let Me Go By: Florence and the Machine. PLEASE REVIEW! Thank you everyone for reading and reviewing!