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Venom: A Tragedy by Violet Gryfindor
Format: Short story
Chapter 4: Act Three, Part Two
chapter image by bellatrixx
Act Three, Part Two
“Where are we going, Rose?”
Hugo’s large eyes were open to their fullest extent as he sat upon his neatly-made bed in his neatly-organized room, a disturbing sight for any boy of his age. The death of their father had affected him in no small way, making him almost a child, not that he had ever really stopped being one in Rose’s eyes. He still followed her as though no more than a devoted puppy, and she did nothing to stay his behaviour, no matter how often their mother and cousins protested. Hugo was all he could be. Rose had taken too much, leaving him mere fragments from which to construct himself, his brain, his heart, his soul. All was hers.
Their father... It made no difference to her whether he was present or not. He had too often been an obstruction. Rose had no time for obstructions. It was only in the darkest of moments that she remembered her childhood, those days before her mind had awoken, carrying her into the half-light of dim, dusty rooms filled with crumble-paged books filled with the tiny holes of worms that, like herself, devoured the content whole, scarcely taking the time to chew.
She had lost her father then, metaphorically. He had never understood.
Her cousins had been fathers enough. Albus and James, they had wanted to help, always giving things, not even bothering to ask before dumping whatever food and clothing and other objects they had no use for. They meant well, of course. That was what Hugo continued to tell her, day in and day out.
She never believed it. They sought only one thing.
No one could possess that.
No one can possess something that does not exist.
“We’re going away, Hugo. That’s all you need to know.”
His face crumpled in half-hearted rebellion. “I don’t want to go with Malfoy. I don’t like him, Rose. Something bad will happen.”
She moved toward the door with a toss of her head, hair flying in all directions, like it always had, like it always would, long after the final spell was cast, after the final body fell to the ground, bones crunching, blood staining all, the chess board no longer black and white, only red.
“Would you rather stay with Mum? Watching the world fall apart around you, save in her little tower, high above it all? Would that suit you better?” She did not even deign to look back at him, hiding her clenched first in the sleeve of her robes. If they were to be separated, would she care? Would he not be safer here, away from Malfoy, away from her?
“No. I want you to stay.”
Looking over her shoulder, she placed her hand upon the cold, brass knob of the door.
“We leave in an hour.”
She shut the door behind her and paused as she heard a noise from below. That light footstep could only mean one person.
“Hello, Albus. Come to pay homage to your poor, fatherless cousins once again?”
Her eyes narrowed as she surveyed the grim lines etched upon his face, a face so like that of his father’s that, in the eve of the death of that great wizard, they thrust Albus upon that same pedestal, hailing him the new Chosen One. There could not be a sentiment further from the truth.
“Or are we motherless now, too? How kind of you to–”
“The Ministry has not yet fallen, Rose, nor will it ever. Your mother remains strong, even if you cannot.” He held his head high, as though he looked down upon her, though she was a full two inches taller.
“You mean that I never could, cousin. I was never strong.” She watched him behind the pretence of examining her bloodred fingernails.
Albus waved an impatient hand, the scars running across it shining pink in the late-day sun.
“You and Malfoy–”
Rose rolled her eyes and sauntered over to the window where her hair burned scarlet in the light, but where her face was nearly hidden in shadow.
“That again? I’d have thought that old news by now.”
He let out a long breath, just barely controlled by the iron will that lay within.
“We’ve only just prevented you from being labelled a traitor of the Ministry, Rose. If not for your mother and I–”
“Haven’t you ever gotten it into that tiny head of yours that I want to be one?”
Her words cut across his too sharply, his tongue silenced by their gravity. Finally, she had put into words what had for so long sat upon the roof of her mind, weighing down upon her thoughts until she could only think of that word, her every action, her very being, framed about its immense power. She was not with them because she was not like them. She had somehow missed that Weasley-born gene which endowed one with bravery and goodness, though if her mother were there, she would remind Rose of those dark days of the past when jealousy and fear had eaten their way into the heart of Ron Weasley. Perhaps that darkness had never left him. Perhaps it had fallen to Rose.
Albus did not speak. He was a heavy thinker like others of their age had become heavy drinkers, and it likewise brought age into his face, drawing lines between his features that should not have existed in a boy of his age. There were even white hairs sprouting amongst the black. He might as well have been twenty years older.
For all that Rose shared his age in number, she did not share his age in appearance. If anything, she appeared more youthful than ever, as though she kept a charmed portrait in the attic to wear the mask of her sins.
“Don’t say such things, Rose. You were always overdramatic.” His jaw was tense with mingled exasperation and disgust.
After a moment of silence, Rose released an impatient sigh. “Well, what did you come for?”
He adjusted his glasses as he was wont do to in his brief moments of uncertainty.
“Due to the increasing state of danger, your mother has requested that you and Hugo be placed under Auror protection–”
Rose made a face.
“–twenty-four hours a day until further notice.”
Her upper lip now retracted in a snarl.
“For our protection or to keep me conveniently out of the way?”
Albus noted the change in pronoun with a twitch of one eyebrow.
“To prevent anyone making use of you or your brother to manipulate the Minster of Magic.”
With a negligent shrug, Rose crossed the room to fling open the curtains and stare out into the growing twilight, her eyes lighting upon the shadows of the vigilant Aurors already at their posts. There was a slight tremor in her left hand as she gripped the heavy fabric, but when she turned back to face her cousin, she merely looked bored, jaw slack and eyelids drooping.
“Don’t you think they would have done that long ago if they thought it worthwhile?”
He took in a breath as though to deflect her words, but what would be the use? She would shoot back an answer of equal and opposite logic and they would continue to argue for hours, or as long as her whimsy took her. There was no time to play those games Rose so enjoyed. They were no longer bored children seeking entertainment on a stormy afternoon with pride as the only reward. Survival mattered far more now, and that was the one thing which Rose did not seem to understand. If death did not come for her, then it would come for another close to her.
She did not move from the window. The room grew oppressive with her presence. Albus quickly took his leave as though fearing that, if he were to stay longer, Rose, that human Dementor, would consume any happiness he had left in his heart.
When the door closed behind him, she smiled. Was she satiated or merely relieved?
The smile remained as she shut the curtains and took repose on the nearby chaise lounge, its gaudy upholstery worn on the arm where she had picked away at the stitching. The room grew dark around her, but she did not move, her mind twisting and turning within while her face registered none of that turmoil.
There would be no Aurors outside unless something had, at long last, occurred. Something that altered the arrangement of the players so that they would gather around to protect to the king and queen. Her mother, the king, was that powerless piece, only useful to the other side, constantly shuffled around with no aim but to survive. It was the queen that, unsurprisingly, caught Rose’s interest, her love of grand spectacle preventing her from taking the place of any subtler piece. She must have the one who could move at all angles, conveniently forgetting that she was a mere piece and not the player, believing that she could fly across the board to wreak destruction at her will.
Even the queen has her weakness, though she may prefer to forget it.
The long night began to pass. Not a nightingale sang, nor did the moon show its shame-stricken face to a world so filled with hate. The silence was broken only by the soft shuffling of the Aurors at their posts and the dull creaking of the house as it settled its ancient bones around her.
She waited for the dawn to come. She waited for the battle to end.
It was a slow breaking down that began deep within, signalled by a fading smile and tightening jaw, her eyes staring into nothing, seeing nothing, knowing nothing. At last, something snapped and the restless hand, pulling, plucking the loose threads, suddenly ceased its work to retract, covering her eyes from the sight of the room devoid of all life but her own. Once, it had been.... once.... no more. It was a dark place, dust clinging to every surface just as it clung to her robes, her hair, lurking in the depths of her eyes. She remembered it well, that day she had heard of her father’s death. She had sat in the same chair and listened, feeling nothing. Nothing at all.
What was she? A queen. A heroine. No. Not that. She was not what they thought of her. She was herself, the blighted rose, bloody thorned and flaming red, the knife at Juliet’s breast, the poison at Romeo’s lips. Why must she be tangible? Why must she be real at all?
The game. It had never really been a game, had it?
“Rose? Are you there?”
Hugo stood in the doorway, squinting into the darkness, his trunk floating beside him. His feet did not touch, much less cross the barrier of the room. They had not done so for many years.
“I’m ready now.”
Rose let out a long, low breath, but could not smile. “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me.”
His lips quavered, but he said nothing more, listening as Rose slowly took to her feet and crossed the room, the light from the hallway striking her face, catching on a slick stain that ran down one cheek. He reached out one small hand to touch hers, but it failed to meet its destination, his fingers touching only the air where she had been.
The distant sound of a shutting door drifted down the stairs. Hugo stared into the dark room, wishing for it all to end.
The sun rose with great calm, hearkening in a day that seemed at peace with itself. The streets of the Muggle world were mostly unchanged, knowing only the slight vibrations of the conflict brewing beneath its feet, but the only figures daring to cross the cobbles the Diagon Alley were heavily cloaked and even more heavily armed, their faces tense, their senses open to every danger that lay ahead. It was not the same time of darkness that had lain heavily on their world in past days of glory and rebirth. This world was stricken, not plagued with evil, yet ill beyond reproach. It festered with the canker of distrust, dishonesty, and distaste. It was a slow-spreading disease that knew no cure but death.
There was no battlefield. The war was fought everywhere and nowhere. Some thought it a trick of the mind, but others knew, and knew too well, the lives lost, the bodies maimed, the souls torn free from earthly bounds.
Hugo took careful steps down a shaded alley, placing each foot where Rose’s had trod as though he imagined this alley to be a mine field where every step could be his last. He glanced from side to side, imaging trolls and dragons lurking behind each pillar and within each cave-like entryway. Was that a flash of light, or a pair of eyes? Was that a gleeful bird, or a warning cry? The chill of fear had permeated his delicate bones, for while the day dawned warm, he shivered within his winter robes, pulling the hood of his cloak further down his face to hide the wild red curls that burst from his freckled scalp.
They were part of who he was. They were also his death warrant.
He had not liked their exit from the comfortable cottage of his childhood, where wisteria vines stood guard at the door and hung low over the kitchen window, filling the house each spring with intoxicating scent. The small rooms were filled with books, old Quaffles, dusty photographs, and endless rolls of parchment, rarely unused. He remembered the way the door had closed behind them and the gentle click of the key as Rose turned it in the lock, whispering the protection spell out of habit more than a true desire to protect. They would never return to those worn stone walls and low thatch roof. Hugo said goodbye to it all with eyes squeezed shut so that he would not start to cry.
The Aurors sent as prison guards, or so Rose had said, lay tumbled over a broken pot of tea, its scent sour in Hugo’s nostrils. He dared not ask what she had put into the tea.
And now their quiet path had brought them here, to the darkest of places, the centre of a pulsating city where the day did not end with the setting of the sun, but eternally laboured on. The feeling of endlessness curled tight around his weak, erratic heart.
“Rose,” he whispered, his voice shuddering even over that single syllable. “Wait!”
But she had already stopped, touching her wand to the corner stone of a crumbling house. A flash of red, then it was a stone once more.
“Yes.” It emerged little more than a half-mutter. “Yes, wait here. Keep watch.”
Her hand rested on his head for a moment, the only caress, the only outward affection she would offer in those agonizing days. She had been so far away from him, and he reached for her hand at the last moment, threading his clumsy fingers with hers, stepping forward with desperate tears forming in his dull blue eyes. Something in the air raised the hairs on the back of his neck. He could feel an alien tension crackling around them, but when she turned upon him with impatient, questioning eyes, he could only produce a pathetic squeak of protest, easily shaken off.
“It won’t be long, Hugo. Stay out of sight.”
She began to fade through the shadowy entrance, but she returned into the murky half-light of the city to look hard into her brother’s face as though to trace the lines of her father’s lost life. The wide blue eyes registered surprise and, she was certain, also delight, childish adoration of the idol who now gazed down upon him, the ivory brow softening, the tight lips giving a minute twitch.
“You know the signal.”
A pair of feverish, dry lips brushed across his forehead, a fleeting touch much less than the flutter of a butterfly’s wings but meaning so much more, all the world coming together, all of the war falling away, as Hugo Weasley closed his eyes and knew that he was loved.
Push the pawn aside. The queen, she comes.
One is the other. They are the same. For if she falls, he may cross to take her place, giving life for her cause, exchanging his place so that she may rise and win the game.
Up the twisted, wooden stairs, her shoes perilously angled, her hand unwilling to grip the splinted rail, she climbs to the attic room to look out over a city at war.
Do you hear the soldiers marching through the cobbled streets? They assemble, softly, in the nooks and crooks of medieval byways with weary faces and muffled feet, hands gripped around wands, jaws clenched around teeth, the beating of their hearts echoing loud in their ears. They would not meet in a lonely field between flooded trenches, nor would they hide behind fortified walls, ducking at each fire of the cannons. They had killed in secret for so long that they knew no other ways of war. They huddled on stairways and looked out from attic rooms onto empty streets. Few would wander back to the land of peace restored. The armies were evenly matched: both virtuous in belief, both strong in arms. But together they could never be, only apart.
Let them fight that battle off-stage, where we may hear their cries, see the flash of their spells, and smell the blood that flows from their veins, mingling as it drops into the ancient sewers. Let the game of chess come to its end, so that we may clear the board and, at last, find our rest.
The players moved again. Black pieces shifted to and fro, their queen alone, remaining still, the black knight drawing near her, the white king lurking close behind.
Odd shadows were cast upon alley walls. Footsteps resounded in hollow spaces. A lone figure navigated through the labyrinth of streets, his movements light, his heart not. He had not bothered to cover his head, the pale hair grown dull. Scorpius’s feet echoed the movements of Rose and Hugo only moments before, taking care to walk only on certain stones, his eyes darting back and forth with each step. He knew what he had chosen to leave behind. There could be no going back. To do so would reveal the weakness so many expected of him. His grandfather had failed. His father had failed. Was he destined to do the same?
Yes. It was better to leave all of this and be weak than remain with strength and die. No Malfoy was a fool. No Malfoy would willingly give his life, no matter the cause.
“Not even for her.”
He had not meant to speak, but there was a chill in his heart, an odd feeling that had remained with him all of his years. He remembered that day, the first day, too clearly, the little details rising to the surface long before the broad strokes. He remembered the way her hair flew out in every direction, how her face radiated with the delight of the game. More than delight, even, a sort of mad ecstasy, as though a gleeful murderer instead of a child at play.
They had never stopped being children. There had been no time to grow, to learn, to revel in that purgatory before their lives truly began. They were sent straight to hell with no return ticket, no hope or dreams to guide them, only the bitter reality of death.
He glanced up at the building, nondescript in all regards. She would watch the game as it crashed toward its end, awaiting the moment to make the final move. But what would it be? This was no game of chance in which one roll of the die could make you win or lose. She sat behind the pieces, hovered over the board, the thread of existence pulled tight between her anxious fingers. She alone knew how it all would end.
His faith in her abilities was unending. His faith in the rest....
Braced for attack, he shoved open the door to peer into the dusty, grey room.
But all doubts were cast aside at the first glance that passed between them. The eyes that met his were filled with ill-repressed tears. This was no fearful harpy or jaded, blind goddess. The lines of her face were smooth, the freckles bright against her faded cheeks, red lips quaking at his entrance. Cupid’s arrow could hold no light against the hooked thorn of the English rose. Scorpius leapt forward, drawn as to a magnet, like a fly into the web. The spider stretched forth her hands, the nails hacked down to the quick, her hair hanging loose about her.
He had not meant to stare. He had not meant to take her hands in his. He had not meant for words of comfort and affection to bubble forth from his dry, cracked lips. He liked to think that she also had not meant to lean so heavily against him, her head nestled against his shoulder, her hair spilling over him like a shower of dripping blood.
“I thought we would never make it,” she whispered. “The Aurors had us under house arrest like common criminals....”
Scorpius’s brow tightened. “How did you get away?”
If they had been followed to this place, then he was as good as dead, the target already painted upon his back. He had only just evaded Zabini’s unrelenting gaze, joining the others chosen to patrol the city streets, scouting for Ministry officials to snatch. Snaking through corridors and passing through busy shops, he had found himself here, only to be threatened once more, heart constricting in his chest as his cheeks grew a shade more pale.
The slightest pause preceded her reply. “Albus won’t at all be pleased with me. That is all I will say.”
A sound approaching a giggle emerged from her throat, but she swallowed it in a sob, her fingers twining into his robes, her lips approaching the throbbing vein on his pale neck. His arms tightened around her as her mouth found its mark, but the rose did not crumble in the scorpion’s embrace. Not a petal fell from her long-lasting bloom of that startling shade which drives bulls to madness and lovers to jealous frenzy. She seemed to thrill at the pressure of his arms, the closeness of his body, his cool flesh fading against her searing heat. Sensual delight rippled through their bodies as their mouths hovered, millimetres apart, in anticipation of what was to come.
The crash came, the scorpion’s sting lashed, the rose’s thorns plunged deep, and both knew no breath. All was heartbeat, raging wildly within. They danced the tarantella to quell the poison that flowed within their veins, the blood of feuding families for once unspilled, yearning to mingle. Together, they could create a new world, if only–
“We have to go.”
She was pulling away, too strong for his grasp, her face turned aside, only a slight blush upon her cheeks revealing that she had felt anything at all. It may have only been his fervent kisses that had raised it, a mere physical reaction. He felt himself sink, no more than an insect beneath her toes, the exhilaration fleeing from his lungs, wishing he could hold her again.
“I’ll fetch Hugo.” With tilted head, she offered a discomfiting smile, too bright for the occasion. “I won’t be long.” Her lips glided against his, then she was gone.
Scorpius let out a long breath and waited.
No clock was present to tick off the lonely seconds of her absence, only the beating of his heart made him believe that any time passed at all. The street outside was silent, that kind of eerie silence that sometimes happens in the city, as though it has taken in a great breath, awaiting the coming storm. He strained his ears to hear something, anything, but there was nothing. Feeling, yes: the tension in the air pulled at his nerves, making him pace the room, if only to hear the sound his feet made on the old wooden floor.
The ending had at last come. He could feel finality lurking around him, as though it knew that soon he would no longer be standing here, but far away. For all that she did not love him, he would not leave her. There was no other, no more perfect a specimen. He hated her and loved her all at once. Nothing else had made him feel as much as a single thought of her. Each measure of repulsion he experienced at her cold laugh and unflinching logic brought with it additional measures of attraction which he could not resist, hard as he sometimes tried. Those times were rare.
And now to be leaving this nation that knew nothing but war, each following so soon on the heels of the last that the blood had not yet dried on the paving stones and the screams still echoed in the survivor’s ears. Scorpius could not grasp what it would mean to be gone from this place, to turn his back on the only world he had ever known, the people whom he’d known all his life, his family.
Yes, family. The ties of blood could never fade.
But each moment also roused his nerves into a ferocious quiver that made it impossible to think of blood for long. What were the ties of blood to every feeling she stirred within him? Those people who claimed him as their own had never given him life as she did, nor could they so easily take it back again, teasing, tempting, driving heat through his clammy, Slytherin veins.
Just as he grew to despise each breath taken in her absence, a shadow fell across his own. Rose stood the doorway, haloed in light, alone.
It made him think of the blossoming flower he had seen sit across from him those years before. She had changed so little, hardly aged at all, the memory overwhelming his mind, overwhelming those cares of war and darkness and escape. What did it matter, if she was here. If she was his and he hers?
With a smile he stepped forward to take her again in his arms, to again kiss those lips and feel her breath sucking the air from his lungs. He did not want her to speak. He did not want to hear the strange and terrible ideas she kept within her mind, the dreaded secrets she held close to her tainted soul. He would have knelt before her, eternally supplicant, but only as long as she remained the silent idol, that figure in his memory who had stood on the Hogwarts stairs, looking down upon him, mesmerised by the sight of the one who would worship her.
After all this time, she was, to him, still that same girl. That is the vision that permeated his mind, so brilliant with figures and facts and things, but utterly useless when it came to her.
How beautiful she was as he held her close, his eyes feasting on her perfect flesh, his lips feverishly pressed against hers, so cold, so unyielding, refusing to touch him as she had before, but he still drank what sweet liquid he could from her scarlet mouth. It had been so long since their last, since they had done more than merely embrace, and the hunger consumed him, the poison of his need, his obsession, the filthy thing he called his love.
It was not love. It never had been.
From that moment he had looked upon her... No, sooner. That moment she had called out her mastery of the game and sat down, the challenger who dared be female, dared be confident, dared to be assured of her win when it came, and had it come! The queenly attitude as she looked down at her supplicant, the poor priest who offered his own blood as sacrifice to the great goddess.
And she had accepted, just as she had accepted the challenge, just as she would accept any challenge tossed within reach.
But oh, how he... how he.... He moved closer still.
Pain. Hollowness within. Blood pouring forth.
He looked down at his stomach, the knife still in her hand, its blade buried hilt-deep in his abdomen, then up at her face. It revealed too little. Determination, maybe, but otherwise eerily calm, white as a ghost, eyes dull. Perhaps she was dead too. Like he would... like he was....
She leaned close, her breath warm against his ear.
“Feel the blood. Thicker than water, isn’t it? You should have remembered. You may be disloyal, but I am not.”
He gasped as she thrust the blade deeper, clutching at his abdomen as she stepped away, her eyes crackling to life, throwing off sparks of fire that burnt away his soul, his love, his life. Spots of darkness passed before his eyes, blotting out the terrible flame that was her, the one who had, in the end, betrayed him.
Even as he collapsed, he did not know the truth.
But she, by then, was gone, her feet swift upon the creaking stairs, fading into nothing.
His life flowed away so slowly that it is impossible to tell when the final drop spilt forth. The sun fell low upon the window sill, illuminating the pool of blood that surrounded the one who had loved neither wisely nor too well, who had made a mockery of himself, deserting his kin and kind, thinking only of the thing he could never possess, the one who would, forever, remain beyond his, and every other, grasp.
Time passed, the sad pages of history inscribed with death and victory in one breath. The war was over, but could there be peace again? Could there be anything?
At last, a sound was heard by dead ears. A mother’s sharp cry of grief, footsteps ascending the stairs, then a seeking spell burst into the room to hover over the grotesque form that had once been an artless Romeo, murdered by his Juliet.
Albus entered the room, his face a stormcloud, all rain and thunder. His upper lip rose with disgust as he took in the sight of the crushed scorpion. Perhaps he would have been surprised had he not borne witness to the scene down below, the boy’s throat slashed from side to side.
As another appeared at the door, he turned to block her view.
“Please, Minister. It’s better–”
“This is not the time for formalities. I will see it.”
Rose’s mother pushed passed with an impatient hand, only to be taken unawares by the identity of the murdered wizard. Like Rose, her hair was a wild tangle, but it was streaked with white, her face lined with thought rather than worry, her eyes filled with a serenity her daughter could never know, nor understand. There was blood on the Minister of Magic’s robes were she had clutched her dead son to her chest, but still her gaze was unflinching, her nerves like iron.
“She got away.” The worlds filtered through her half-closed lips.
Albus knelt over the body, rifling through its pockets with irreverence, only to pause and slowly remove a long, thin blade from a hidden sheath. His gaze darted between the knife in his hand and that which protruded from the carcass.
“They’re the same. A pair, both engraved with ‘M.’” He examined the one in the final rays of light. “One for Malfoy, the other for–”
“Montague.” Her voice was strained.
Jaw contracting, stomach twisting, Albus nodded. “She must have believed that Malfoy... did it.” His courage, everlasting through the day against the opponents who had crumbled in his wake, failed him now against mere words.
“Killed Hugo. Killed my son.” She ran a hand over her face, but did not turn to leave, as he thought she might. “Rose loved her brother. She’d have done anything for him.”
Three Aurors poisoned. Her lover murdered. How many others? How many had fallen before the queen? How many more would fall, wherever she had gone?
The two, the Minister and the Auror, stood silent for the dead as the sun vanished from view.
Always to be looked down upon, Scorpius Malfoy was given no choice but to receive homage, even sympathy, from his once-foes. Rose had made a single mistake; she had killed the wrong man. Her brother’s stifled cry had gone unheard, his hand disarmed before he could perform the spell of warning. Montague had captured the pawn, only to find his death in the next street.
The game had ended. The players long dispatched. After Albus had left to oversee his few remaining Aurors, the Minister of Magic continued to stand over the body, centre stage. There was nothing new to her eyes, history merely repeating itself once and again, spiralling into forever, but this– It was more than she had expected of the strange daughter she hardly knew, and that was what saddened her most. Rose had acted as a mother, and the Minister of Magic had done nothing.
Could this bloodshed have been prevented? Was there ever a point in time when all of this could have been halted, altered, turned away from tragedy?
The light faded. Words came to her mind as from another world, a distant time where she read too much and knew nothing of magic. A girl who had scoffed at the story of a failed love, star-crossed lovers taking their lives in error, their infant souls weeping, a stream of blood flowing in their wake.
Author's Note: Another story finished! This is far from my best work, but I am, after a year, pleased to have completed this experiment in writing. This ending is meant to be depressing, just as much as Rose is meant to remain enigmatic and Scorpius is meant to be fickle.
In this chapter there is a line adapted from Othello 5.2 about loving not wisely but too well. Inspiration for this story also came from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and the twisted relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff.
Many thanks to those who have read and commented on this story, offering their assistance in ironing out the creases and improving the style. If any reader should see something that can be improved upon, please let me know! Thanks for reading. :)