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Chapter 5: When It Rains, It Pours...
Since the deadline for the ‘No Dialogue’ Challenge has now passed, I thought that this last and final chapter would be best written with speech, but only where necessary.
The next morning Draco and Hermione went to St. Mungo’s Hospital to visit Rose. Hand in hand, they walked the long hallways until they found her room on the fourth floor of the hospital.
Hermione looked up at him with little hope in her eyes and he gave a nod of encouragement that told her he would stay right outside the door should she need him for emotional support. He would wait patiently until she was ready to leave.
And so, she went in to sit awhile with her unresponsive daughter. She had much to say to her and hoped that she would be able to reach her somehow.
Rose was lying on the bed facing the window. It had been a beautiful sunny morning and she wondered if Rose had noticed.
Hermione slowly took a seat and scooted it up to her daughter’s hospital bed. She took her hand, hoping that it would stimulate Rose’s mind.
She wasn’t sure if her daughter could hear her at all, but she was determined to say what she needed to say. For Hermione realized something only recently during her time spent with Draco.
And so… a remorseful mother began voicing an apology to a daughter slipping away.
“Rose, baby, I am here. And I have so much to say to you.” She began. “I’ve come to realize that I have failed you and I am so very sorry.”
It dawned on her that she had been so caught up in trying to live with her own grief concerning Ron that she had not been there to help her daughter through it.
All that time she spent in front of the portrait, Rose had heard her mother’s tearful pleas and witnessed how she could not move on.
She saw how her mother wore her wedding ring month after month as if her husband was still alive.
And when Rose needed her, Hermione was too busy reading through books on grieving, trying to find the answers and figure it out herself.
All of that time spent on things that never helped only resulted in her neglecting Rose all those agonizing days, weeks, and months.
She was no role model on how to deal with grief and so Rose was left to try and deal with the loss of her father nearly alone.
It was no wonder then that when Scorpius died, Rose didn’t know how to cope with the loss of her love and when she took off the Malfoy ring and used it to bind the most beautiful roses she’d ever seen… roses from his funeral, her mind just simply shut down, unable to live in the midst of so much tragedy. She collapsed onto her bed and had not spoken or bothered to move more than an occasional blink ever since.
Hermione was so sorry for her failures. She felt like a terrible mother.
She had to swallow hard to remove the lump in her throat. She was trying to stay strong and inadvertently gave her daughter’s hand a tight squeeze.
“I threw every last one of those books into the fireplace, Rose. None of them helped me. And I’m so sorry that I put so much time and faith into them, hoping for an answer… hoping for something that would help me get over your father’s passing. I’ll never waste my time on them again. I swear it.”
Ron’s portrait came to mind then.
“And your father’s portrait, well… I had to finally face the fact that it would never wake, Rose. You know how much it meant to me to be able to talk with him, but that just isn’t ever going happen. And so, one night I got so angry that I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore. And so it is gone, Rose. I destroyed that as well. If I want to see your father, there are albums full of pictures of him. They’ll just have to do… without his voice.”
Oh, how she wanted to hear his voice. She had not known such disappointment in all her life.
“And finally, Rose, I finally removed my wedding ring.” She said as she fought tears, trying to be strong. “I… I couldn’t take it off. It was what kept me feeling as though he was still with me. I was still his wife and he was still my husband. But oh, Rosie… It was probably the hardest thing to let go of, but I did it. Can you feel my hand? It is gone, baby.” She said, taking Rose’s hand and putting it to hers. The ring wasn’t there.
“It is gone, Rose… because your father is gone.”
Hermione had to pause to compose herself, feeling for the ring that wasn’t there.
“I promise that with everything in my power, I will help you in your loss. I will be here for you when the storms rage and your grief is too hard to bear alone. I found that neither a portrait nor a book can truly help someone cope with loss. It is people… being around people who understand grief… that is what has helped me the most.”
There seemed to be no change in Rose. No change at all. She was still as a stone with vacant eyes, seemingly unresponsive and barely breathing.
Hermione gave her daughter’s hand one last squeeze.
“There is much life yet to live, sweetheart, even if we can’t see it. Even if we don’t want to go on without the ones we love the most. We must.”
When she could see that her daughter was not responding, she pulled a hairbrush from her handbag and proceeded to brush out her daughter's beautiful long dark red hair. Again and again she slowly brushed out the long strands, hoping it would bring her comfort. When she finished, she voiced one last promise.
“I will not give up on you, baby. I’ll come back tomorrow and the day after that and every day. Come back to me and I promise to be here for you. I swear it. I swear it on your father’s grave.”
As she stood to leave, she couldn’t help but notice something strange happening outside the window.
The sun in all its glory suddenly became hidden and a dark shadow moved over the hospital and into the room.
And then came the rain… sheets of it poured down and hit against the window. Hermione watched it for a few seconds and then looked at Rose.
Was Rose causing the rain, this sudden change in the weather? Was her conscience slowly coming back to the living?
And then as if a knife through the silence, Rose let out a piercing shriek of grief, accompanied by a fierce lightning crash just outside her room. Catastrophic tears began falling down her pale freckled face and her utter sadness raked through her body, causing it to shake almost violently.
Outside the door, Draco thought he heard rain, but wasn’t sure. But when he heard an ear-piercing scream and a lighting strike and watched the lights in the hall dim and buzz off and on threatening to go out, he instantly became worried for Hermione.
Had Death come for Rose?
He stormed into the room, only to find great relief at the site of a mother comforting her grieving daughter who was now crying rivers of sorrow and pain.
Rose was back, coming to grips with her cruel and heart-breaking reality, conjuring a storm that wrapped around the hospital and lasted through the night… a most fierce and beautiful storm.
One breath at a time, Rose would learn to breathe through her pain. She would struggle with anger over the slightest of things as she picked up the fragile pieces of her life torn apart by loss. But for now, there would be rain and lightning and storms to come.
Another year went by, but it was full of places to go as Draco invited Hermione to all manner of aristocratic things, including gala events that had them dancing the night away in ballrooms with such beauty only befitting of dreams.
Draco was truly sharing his life with her… sharing and introducing her to the things that he enjoyed.
But by far their favorite things to do actually didn’t cost anything at all, like the evening when he surprised her by showing up riding a Thestral.
He looked downright dangerous and menacing with his hood up and his cloak draping behind him, looking like the Angel of Death himself. She was about to hex the seemingly dark and threatening wizard into oblivion when he quickly removed his hood to reveal his blond hair.
When she let out a breath of relief, he got closer and offered her a seat in front of him. Up and away into the night sky they climbed. The view from high above was amazing, but so was the feeling of his arms wrapped around her keeping her warm and safe.
And he rather enjoyed spending time with her on her cottage swing. It was so peaceful and comfortable, and really, a safe haven away from the magical world.
At times, their conversations got as deep as the ocean, while other times, there was a quiet silence between them. It was at those times when they knew what the other was thinking. When one was having a rough time, be it on an anniversary or birthday or simply when something reminded them of their loss, the other would just take their hand and be there for them.
There was no need for talking during these times and it was of great comfort knowing that nothing had to be said. The pain was there, but it was shared instead of having to bear it themselves.
They held hands a lot and learned that it was the best way to calm the rain should it fall.
Draco still held fears of losing her and at times he wondered if he was doing the right thing in having a relationship with her. But in the end, it was Scorpius who had him taking the risk. Because every time he felt the Malfoy ring that he kept in his pocket, he heard the echoes of his young son saying, “I love you, dad…” and knew that to love and lose… was still worth it.
As time passed, Draco wondered when Hermione would be ready to wear a new ring. He had picked out a pretty white gold lacey band crowned with a rather large tear-shaped diamond. For the beautiful life that they now shared was born from their tears and so he thought it appropriate that it be tear-shaped.
He wasn’t sure that she would say yes. He wasn’t anything like Ron. He was far too serious in all things to remotely be considered a fun or friendly person. He still held an air of coldness about him, even when he didn't mean to. But one thing he knew was that he loved her.
It wasn’t just the way she stayed so close and tangled or the way he still felt comforted every night and every morning. It wasn’t just her honesty or the way she presented her tea so formally. She never asked for anything and never expected him to change or be someone that he wasn’t. She never complained that he should be doing this or that. And it wasn’t even because she understood him on such an amazingly deep level.
Ultimately, it was that Hermione was so easy to love.
They didn’t even argue like he thought they would. And the reason was easy enough. She had regretted her petty arguments with Ron and decided that she wouldn’t waste the time away doing it. But really, Draco never pushed her to argue with him about anything anyway. He was surprisingly easy to get along with. He was tidy and had impeccable grooming habits. She never had to pick up after him. Draco never made any demands and learned to ignore things that weren’t perfect, which was something new to him as he regretted being so strict with Scorpius.
Surprisingly, Draco was so easy to love.
Really, it was their tragedies that had made them better people with new perspectives on what was important in life and what wasn’t.
And so when he thought she was ready, he bent down on one knee, and presented her the tear-shaped diamond ring. And without words, asked her to be his wife.
And without words, she said yes.
Rose still suffered bouts of anger over seemingly unimportant things. She had to learn to sort out what was important verses what was truly petty. She struggled, but was learning to recognize when she was being irrational.
She had come a long way in her healing and on the day she was to marry Scorpius, she wanted to visit his grave.
She wanted to talk to him and tell him that he wouldn't believe what their parents were planning. She'd heard of the old saying, "Stranger things have happened," but their parents marrying had to top that list and push it over the edge of strange.
Some days she was angry about the entire thing and the only way she would describe their relationship was "sick and twisted," but above all else, "unfair." She was the one that was supposed to become a Malfoy, not her mother. Draco was supposed to become her father-in-law, not her step-father. She abruptly stopped her thoughts when it came to them actually having a child together. The thought repulsed her as anger welled within. She had to block out those thoughts and hope it would never happen.
Truthfully, it was a good reason to get busy moving on with her own life. And Rose thought it best to start her new life by attempting to say goodbye to Scorpius with a letter left at his grave. She knew that she could never actually voice it, but she could attempt to write it.
"My Dear Sweet Love,
We were to be married today. I would've been the happiest bride... marrying you. You would have seen tears of joy flow from my eyes. You would've looked so handsome in your formal robes. The entire magical world could've been there to witness our union, but I never would've seen them because my eyes would've been fixed on you. I will never forget your voice saying, "Marry me, Rose." And I understand now why Father's portrait was so important to Mum as she missed his voice. She was desperate to hear him again, as I am to hear you pledge your love to me on this day. A part of me dies inside, knowing that I won't be hearing your voice saying, "I do."
But Mum says that we must keep living, even though the ones we love the most are no longer with us. And so, I suppose she's right, as usual. And someday, should someone come for me, I hope you forgive me for moving on. But please understand, I never wanted it that way. I never wanted this cruel reality. Everything seems to be so messed up. I'm so angry... and I mean ANGRY at everything. Dad... You... You were taken from me so quickly... so quickly that I actually shut down for awhile, unable to process it all. During that time, all I thought about was finding you, as if you were lost and all I had to do was find you and bring you back home to me. I didn't want to leave that place because leaving it meant giving up hope. I felt so alone. But then Mum came along and promised to help me through it all... and that, to her credit, she has.
Oh, the storm that followed... My God, I grieved for you. I cried an ocean for you. Even though my heart was utterly shattered, it will always love you, Scorpius. And now, it will always miss you. This is so hard for me to write, Love. So hard, I'm afraid I have to change the subject.
You wouldn't believe what my Mum and your Dad are planning. In all their grieving, they've come together... as a couple! Tell Dad to remain calm, because Lord knows what he will try to do if he ever finds out.
I do hate this reality. The only thing there is for me to do now is hope that it somehow gets better. Hopefully sooner than later, because my rain must stop eventually. It must. I have to say goodbye to you. Forgive me. I don't want to. I would marry you today if I could. I swear on all that is holy that I would take your name and pledge to you my life until death, but death... it has already come. And so, I must say goodbye.
I once took great pride and happiness in practicing what was to be my new name, but since it won't ever be my signature, this will be the last time I write it. I write it for you on this day. With all the love within me, I will miss you, Scorpius... my Groom.
Love, Your Bride,
~ Rose Malfoy
She tucked the letter into an envelope that she addressed,"My Groom" and then put a self-destruct charm on it should anyone actually try to read her words written for him.
Her mother offered to tag along for support and even promised to keep her distance. But Rose declined the offer, telling her mother that she was strong enough now, strong enough to go alone. She took an umbrella with her, knowing it would get emotional.
But when she got there, she was surprised to see that someone was already there and it was already raining.
She recognized him as soon as she saw his form. For it was, Blade Zabini, the one who would’ve stood as Best Man on this very day. In truth, he and Scorpius had been as close as brothers, given their fathers were best friends themselves.
Rose’s broken heart melted for him, thinking it incredibly thoughtful of him to remember the significance of the date.
The wedding was to be such a happy and joyous celebration, but instead, the day called for rain.
As she slowly approached, she took out her letter and tucked it into a bouquet of white roses, arranged much like a bridal bouquet, and carefully layed it on the ground against his headstone.
When she finally turned to see Blade, she could see the great sorrow on his face, as he truly missed his best friend.
Scorpius was to return the favor of the day by being Blade’s Best Man when the time came. But really, Blade didn’t know how long that would be now that his fiancé had left him. She could not understand why he was so angry all the time. Tragedy it seemed had changed him for the worse and so she left the day before the invitations were to go out, leaving her engagement ring on his night stand.
Rose saw Blade’s mouth quivering, wanting to say something, but unable to conjure the words. And without thinking, she took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
He turned to her then, looking into her sad tear-filled eyes that were now spilling over.
He still could not speak, but she knew what he wanted to say. It wasn’t fair that his best friend was in the grave instead of getting married that day. It just wasn’t fair. It was this unfairness that had left them angry with the world.
With the bravery that she was born with, she slipped her arms inside his cloak and around to his back. He welcomed the gesture and wrapped his arms around her.
The two embraced tightly as waves of grief surfaced and overwhelmed him. It was as if her touch was the very thing he needed to finally let it out. He knew that if anyone understood his grief, it would be Rose. She wouldn’t fault him for it. She wouldn’t judge him nor would she look down on him or find him weak. She would understand his anger. She would understand the rain that poured all around them.
He buried his head into her shoulder and sobbed as if it had just happened… a terrible and heart-wrenching display of prolonged and delayed grief that he’d been holding in much, much too long.
She felt the weight of him on her shoulders and she thought she might fall to the ground as the young wizard grieved the loss of his best friend, his very brother.
But soon, he was holding onto her, practically picking her up off the ground. And when he was finally able to catch his breath, Blade did something completely unexpected that strangely felt both so wrong and yet so right all at once.
His lips went to her cheek. His hands went to the sides of her neck. He watched her sapphire blue eyes close with anticipation as she held her breath. And then… they kissed.
And the rain poured down...
Many thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement that helped me finish this emotion-packed story. And thanks to hpsauce for the 'No Dialogue' Challenge and for TenthWeasleyWriter for the "Sad Story Challenge" and especially to them both for the freedom to choose our favorite ships in which to write.
Love to all,
** This story was inspired by and dedicated to the five people my family lost in 2012. **