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Rose hated Valentine’s Day.
Not because she had no one to celebrate it with (she didn’t), but because of how bloody commercialized the holiday had become. From the moment she apparated from her flat to a little café where she generally ate her breakfast to the moment her usual, plain muffin was replaced with a red-dyed, heart-shaped, plain muffin to arriving at her job at Gringotts as a Wizarding Security Supervisor, she couldn’t move two feet without being bludgeoned in the head by some sort of flying Valentine’s Day decoration.
Exhausted from battling her way through the swarm of hearts and streamers just floating around Gringotts, she slowly trudged up the stairs to avoid the singing cupids that had taken over the elevators.
“Are you serious?” She groaned, opening the door to the office she shared with her partner, Ryan Duncan, to find that her office, too, had been appropriately decorated for the holiday.
Ryan looked up from his coffee held in a paper cup plastered with baby angels holding hearts. “You don’t like them?”
“Are they necessary?” She grumbled, swatted away an unsuspecting floating cupid that had unfortunately floated right in front of her face. “Are you responsible for this?” She asked
He shook his head. “I think the goblins have had so much free time on their hands since we took over security at Gringotts that they decided to decorate every inch of the bank.” He took a sip of his coffee, then added, “Either that, or they’re trying to punish us for taking their jobs.”
Rose walked to her desk and sank into her chair. “Well, they should just get over that.”
Gringotts had appointed wizards to take over the security at the bank after Damon Varick, a Dark Arts enthusiast, and his supporters flooded Gringotts one night, somehow circumvented the security measures set by the goblins, and cleaned out a large portion of the vaults to fund their campaign against the Ministry and to bring more awareness to more powerful (which also meant more dangerous) magic. They believed that the Ministry was holding the Wizarding community back. Why should wizards, a more powerful being, have to hide away in the corners in the world, shielded by magic, while Muggles were out in the open, allowed to wander about freely?
The Ministry of Magic demanded Varick be sent to Azkaban immediately, but Varick had disappeared and no one was quite sure who exactly his supporters were as the ones that were seen were always covered in masks. It was 5 years after the break in, and still, no one knew where Varick was or who his supporters were. The only thing the public was aware of was that he was steadily gaining supporters for his cause.
“I don’t want to encourage your hatred toward Valentine’s Day decorations, but you need to see today’s Prophet,” said Ryan, gesturing toward the copy of The Daily Prophet that was delivered that morning from an owl and set on Rose’s desk.
“Oh no,” she picked the paper up and stared at it in horror. Little red hearts ran up and down the edges and weaved in between paragraphs of the paper. “How is one expected to read this?” she asked, infuriated.
"Open it," Ryan grinned.
She turned the page and was immediately choked by little heart confetti that burst from the seams of the paper. She sputtered, doing her best to rid her mouth of the horrid-tasting charmed confetti.
Ryan laughed loudly from across her.
She brought her paper down so she could glare at him from over the edge of her paper. “Are you enjoying yourself?”
He struggled to keep a straight face. "Of course not."
She shot him one last glare before bringing the paper up and flipping through the pages again, opening each page slowly to defend herself against any other surprises.
She skimmed through the paper. And between the bothersome successful love stories and the rubbish ‘find your magical partner’ ads, a headline and a photo caught her eye.
Scorpius Malfoy, esteemed Auror, taken away by Varick Supporters. And beneath it was a picture, taken three years ago, on the day he was inducted in the Ministry as an Auror. He was staring into the camera with a solemn expression on his face, his official Auror badge pinned to his chest.
Rose felt herself tense and the hearts floating around the page blurred. Suddenly, getting a hold of herself, she slammed the paper shut and tossed it on top of her desk.
Ryan looked up. “Something wrong?”
She looked away from the closed paper and to Ryan. “No,” she shook her head. “There’s nothing wrong.”
Scorpius had left for America to attend an esteemed Auror training school two months after he and Rose graduated with their friends from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
They had been a couple since their fourth year at Hogwarts and best friends since their second. And when Scorpius left, they promised to remain as close as they always have been. However, their lives began changing and eventually, as many relationships and friendships do over a period of time apart, they lost touch with each other completely.
He returned to England two years later to officially accept a job at the Ministry. However, to the surprise and dismay of Rose, he had changed completely. Her long time friend was gone and replaced with someone who was nothing more than a stranger to her.
“You heard?” Dominique asked, a sympathetic look on her face.
To get away from all the red and pink decorations, Rose and her only two single cousins left – Dominique and Albus – decided to have lunch in the corner of a pub located on a busy Muggle street. There were still decorations hanging on the ceilings and off the walls, but, much to Rose’s pleasure, they weren’t moving.
“Yes,” Rose sighed. “I heard, but I don’t care.”
“But you do. Why do you always insist on denying your feelings?” Dominique replied.
Rose frowned. “I don’t deny my feelings. Albus, tell Dom that I don’t deny my feelings.”
Albus looked hesitant.
“Albus!” Rose snapped.
“Rose, to be honest,” he shifted in his chair uncomfortably, “you do tend to deny your feelings occasionally.”
Dom smiled smugly. “See?”
Rose leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms across her chest. “Name me one time I denied my feelings.”
Albus thought of something immediately. “The day your pet rabbit ran away, what did you do?”
Rose thought back to the day her beloved first pet ran away from home. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Hugo told me you shrugged when Uncle Ron told you your poor Bunnykins ran away.”
Rose furrowed her eyebrows. “I didn’t shrug. I said ‘okay’.”
Dominique stared at her. “You said ‘okay’ when your pet rabbit ran away?”
“What's wrong with that?” Rose asked, defensive. What were they trying to prove? Wait. “That does not count as me denying my feelings!”
Albus looked at her pointedly.
“It does not! I am perfectly in touch with my feelings,” Rose protested.
“What did you do when you read about how Scorpius, a friend of yours for years and your old boyfriend, was captured by an evil,” Dominique looked around at the Muggles and lowered her voice, “wizard.”
What did she do? She remembered setting the paper aside, saying something or another to Ryan, and starting on her work.
“You did nothing, didn’t you?” Dominique asked, feeling as if her point had been made.
“I didn’t do nothing,” said Rose quietly. She never thought of herself as someone who denies her feelings.
“You didn’t try to find out more information?” asked Albus.
Rose paused. She didn’t even read the entire article.
Dominique stared at Rose, studying her, and then gasped. “You didn’t even read the article, did you?”
Rose looked down.
“You didn’t read it?” Albus asked in disbelief. “Even I read it and I hate the bloke!”
“Fine,” Rose snapped. “So maybe I’m not incredibly in touch with my feelings.”
“You probably get that from Uncle Ron,” Dominique nodded slowly, as if she were solving the impossible puzzle that was Rose’s personality.
“But it’s not at all the same situation,” Rose realized after a moment. “I’m not on the same terms with Scorpius than I was with that rabbit.”
“Are you saying that you’re on better terms with Scorpius or the rabbit?” Albus furrowed his brow.
“I loved that rabbit, and I admit, I was slightly … stoic about my reaction to his running away. But Scorpius and I aren’t even talking. The last time we saw each other was a mess. You do remember, don’t you?”
Albus and Dominique shuddered at the memory of that night.
“If I remember correctly, it was a disaster. He said things, I said things, he said more things, and then I hit him. Scorpius and I just aren’t on the relationship level you two seem to think we are.”
Albus was silent.
After a moment passed, Dominique spoke. “But you two were wonderful together,” Dominique said, softer than before. “You were best friends.”
Rose looked at her and said, equally as soft, “Exactly, Dom. We were best friends.”
Rose returned to her office a few minutes before her break was officially over. Taking a seat behind her desk, she glanced at the copy of The Daily Prophet she had tossed on her desk that morning.
She sighed and picked it up, flipping to the article about Scorpius. As she turned to the page, the picture of Scorpius stared up at her.
She frowned. Covering the picture of Scorpius up with her left hand, she leaned back in her chair and began to read the article.
The Ministry had been notified that supporters of Varick (identified by the masks they wore over their faces) had broken into the house of a wizarding family of four. Harry, the Head of the Aurors, sent out Scorpius and his partner, Scott Langton, to quietly take care of the situation, preferably bringing in Varick’s supporters.
When they had arrived at the house, Langton got the family safely outside while Scorpius went after the wizards that had broken into the house. Langton caught a glimpse of Scorpius being dragged away before he himself was stupefied along with the rest of the family.
The Ministry, according to The Prophet, was currently doing their absolute best to take control of the situation and the family and Langton were currently recovering at St. Mungo’s.
Rose had just reached the bottom of the article when Ryan walked through the office door, whistling happily.
She looked up, folding the paper back up at once and setting it aside on her desk.
She smiled in greeting at Ryan and then turned to her work.
What had Scorpius gotten himself into?
As Rose was getting ready for bed that night, there was a loud knock at her door.
She glanced at her watch. It was almost eleven o’clock. She frowned, didn’t people know that it was rude to knock on someone’s door loudly after nine? Hell, she could have been asleep!
She marched up to the door, ready to tell whomever it was to bugger the hell off, but when she opened it the words fell from her lips.
“Hey Rose,” Scorpius stood at her front door. His hair and robes were matted with mud and his face was badly cut up and bruised.
Rose’s eyes widened as she stood, frozen, in front of the last person she ever thought would be on her doorstep at eleven o’clock at night. “W-what are you doing here?” she stuttered. She then paused, getting over her initial stage of shock. “Wait. Why aren’t you holed in some dark wizard’s evil lair?”
His eyebrows rose. “Lair?”
“Answer the question!" she exclaimed, thoroughly annoyed.
“I escaped,” he said, as if it were that simple.
“You escaped?” she said, unbelieving. “What did you do, break the magical bonds that were tying you up, grab your wand, and stun them all?”
He nodded. “Pretty much.”
She frowned. “So you escaped…”
He nodded his head yes.
“Why are you here? At my flat?”
He cleared his throat and looked at her hopefully. “I need a place to hide.”
Author’s Note: This little plot bunny would just not leave me alone! I’m definitely excited about this new fic – I’m trying to shift away from the general romance genre that I’ve gotten so comfortable with to a more adventurous/mystery type fic. So hopefully you enjoyed, and please leave a review! They are always appreciated.
How did this happen? Here she was, sitting on the sofa twiddling her thumbs while listening to the water run from her bathroom as none other than Scorpius Malfoy showered.
No more than 15 minutes ago she was simply going through her nightly routine of getting ready for bed. But of course, the fates had to have their fun and bring Scorpius to her front door in need of a shower and a safe place to hide.
She swore, if it hadn’t been for her mother’s voice repeating itself in her head, she would have left him on her doorstep to be captured by Varick. But no, her mother just had to be the head of an organization in charge of securing rights for the ‘lesser magical beings’ of the world, and she just had raise Rose to be a witch who would never leave someone more unfortunate than herself on her doorstep.
“Darn you, mother, for raising me with principles,” she muttered under her breath.
What was she going to do now? Just have him spend the night? She had lent him a pair of her father’s old pyjamas when she sent him to her bathroom to clean himself before he got any dirt from his dirty robes on her furniture.
She mentally slapped herself. She needed to start thinking before she did stupid things like loan old friends pyjamas. Where was he going to sleep? On the sofa? Wait. He’s going to demand the bed, isn’t he? She realized, making a face. Yeah, that sounded like him.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sudden silence that filled the room when he turned the water off of the shower off. She froze, listening to his footsteps from the bathroom.
A few seconds later, he emerged from the bathroom in a set of broomstick-printed pyjamas, his white blond hair sticking up from the water.
“You’re doing this to spite me, aren’t you?” He gestured to his clothes.
Rose resisted the urge to laugh. “Of course not. I just happened to have those in my wardrobe.”
“You just happened to have a set of man’s broomstick pajamas stored away in your wardrobe?” Scorpius raised an eyebrow.
“They belong to dad,” she explained. “He left them here one night when mum kicked him out the house. I keep forgetting to return them to him.”
“That would explain the length of them,” Scorpius looked down, the too-long pants hanging inches over where his feet ended. “But don’t you have some of my old clothes or something? I do remember lending you multiple t-shirts that I never got back.”
Rose furrowed her brow, thinking about his t-shirts that were currently somewhere in her wardrobe. “I threw those out years ago,” she lied, unwilling to admit that she often enjoyed wearing them to sleep.
“Oh,” he said, looking slightly disappointed that he would have to remain in Ron’s too-long pyjamas.
“Well look on the bright side,” she said. “At least the broomsticks aren’t moving.”
Scorpius smiled a little. He had forgotten that she shared his hatred toward all things that were charmed to move in annoying, concentric patterns.
Rose looked away, thinking the same thing. “Do you mind sleeping on the sofa?” she asked, quickly changing the subject.
“I don’t mind,” he said, moving toward the cream-colored sofa that was centered in the room, aligned against the wall.
“I’ll get you a blanket,” she walked quickly to her linen cupboard.
Rose lied awake that night on her bed, staring at her ceiling, unable to fall asleep.
After she had handed him a clean blanket they had said, somewhat awkwardly, goodnight and she had walked quickly into her bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
She let out a sigh and rolled over on her side.
Why was he even here? Didn’t he have any other friends that weren’t in the Ministry that he can go to? He had to have some friends. He can be sociable (when he wants to) and is occasionally somewhat bearable to converse with.
That is, when he’s not busy saying horrible things and ruining friendships.
She pulled her pillow over her face and groaned into it. And why the hell is he acting like everything is just fine and dandy? Did he not remember the horrible things he said to her the night he came back from America in front of her entire family?
She angrily tossed the pillow away from her face, remembering the night. She had no obligation to take him in! Let him be tortured by some psychotic evil wizard and see if she cared.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud snore that came from her living room. She rolled her eyes; she had forgotten that he was one of the loudest snorers that have ever walked the earth.
But she had to admit, she didn’t hate him so much anymore. At least, not as much as she used to. She obviously wasn’t ready to forgive him or even consider having him stay at her flat for a second longer than he needed.
But she could at least, if she put in enough willpower, be around him without wanting to poke her eye out with her wand.
She then rolled over on to her other side, forcing herself to close her eyes and try to get some sleep. After all, it was a good deal past her bedtime.
The next morning, Rose had left her flat to a still-sleeping (and snoring) Scorpius. She was running late due to her lack of sleep and she was in a foul mood. The door to her office slammed shut behind her, and Ryan glanced up from his desk.
“What happened to you?” he asked, staring at the dark bags beneath her eyes. “You look absolutely…,” he shrunk away from her withering glare, “ravishing,” he quickly finished.
“Yeah, well,” she dropped her briefcase on the floor, “you try to spend the entire night being woken up every few hours because of an exceptionally loud snore coming from the room next door and see how well you look the next morning.”
“What?” Ryan asked, confused, as he knew Rose lived alone.
She sighed. “Nothing,” she shook her head, taking a seat behind her desk.
“Well, this might wake you up,” he picked up an envelope and held it up.
“What’s that?” asked Rose.
“It came in the post about five minutes before you walked in,” he held it out for her to take. “It’s from your mother.”
“So, mother, what’s wrong?” Rose took a sip out of her pumpkin juice. The letter that came for Rose from her mother that morning was inviting her out for lunch to discuss something of ‘critical importance’. “Nothing bad, I hope,” said Rose, setting her cup down on the table.
“Nothing bad,” replied Hermione. She paused for a moment before continuing, “At work today, I had a conversation with your father and your uncle concerning Scorpius Malfoy.”
“You know by now that he’s been captured by Varick.”
Rose nodded slowly. “Yes, I read it in The Prophet yesterday.”
“Well, here’s what’s going on,” Hermione’s hands folded together on the top of the table. “The Ministry couldn’t confirm that it was Varick before. The Prophet just speculated that it was his supporters, based on the masks they wore. The Ministry didn’t believe it. Everyone thought that they were … impersonators or something.”
Rose was silent, listening.
“Varick has not come into the public since the break-in at Gringotts those years ago,” Hermione continued. “He’s been growing support but everything has been completely underground and practically untraceable. This kidnapping is the first thing he’s done openly.”
Rose’s eyebrows knitted together. “Why a kidnapping? And why Scorpius?”
Hermione nodded. “That’s exactly why the Ministry was skeptical. But this morning, someone working in my department at the Ministry was caught sending a letter out to Varick with one of the Ministry owls.”
“What did it say?”
“It basically said that no one at the Ministry suspected that it was actually Varick, and that Varick was ‘all clear’ and that he should ‘go ahead with the plan.”
“A Varick Supporter?”
Hermione nodded. “And a stupid one. However, he is a Varick supporter and he’s been working at the Ministry for over a year. No one suspected a thing.”
“Where’s he now?”
“Well, the letters sent out with Ministry owls are scanned before the owls are allowed to leave Ministry grounds, so he was caught. He’s currently in questioning.”
“Is he talking?”
“No, not a single word. He’s been sitting in the interrogation room for over twelve hours now.” Hermione shook her head. “Generally, we would just continue with the interrogation and hope he talks, but time is an issue here. Which leads to why I wanted to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“Your father and I, and your uncle, were really hoping to leave you kids out of this, but the Ministry is grasping at straws. We can’t get a lead of any kind, and if Varick is planning something, we need to find out immediately.”
Hermione paused for a moment before continuing. “I know this may be difficult, Rosie, but I need you to tell me anything that could help us figure out what Varick might be planning.
“I absolutely hate what he did to you, Rosie, and I’m slightly unwilling to admit this, but you do know Scorpius well, possibly more than anyone else in his life. Do you have any idea of why Varick might want him?”
Rose swallowed. She knew she should tell her mother that Scorpius was currently staying with her and she didn’t feel right lying to her mother, but it also didn’t feel right to betray the trust of Scorpius – friend or not.
And what harm could come from not telling her mother? Obviously, whatever Varick was planning he couldn’t go through with anymore being that Scorpius was no longer his prisoner. And she could get information from him herself, without involving her parents more than they needed to be involved.
Her mother was staring at her, waiting for Rose’s answer.
Rose swallowed again. “I don’t know,” she finally said. “I haven’t talked to him in years.”
Hermione nodded. “I figured that,” she said. “But if you think of something or if you find anything else, please let me know. We’re just trying to take care of the Varick situation before it gets out of control and people start worrying.”
“I understand. I’ll let you know if I hear anything,” Rose promised.
Rose and Ryan were in the vaults later that day. Rose was happy for the distraction of work, not allowing her time to think about whether her decision to give Scorpius up or not was the right one.
They were securing new vaults that had been opened up earlier that day. They ran through the standard spells: the charm that allowed only Gringotts goblins to enter and a few other safety precautions.
They were just about to finish securing their last vault for the day when Rose heard a loud bang and a scream from outside.
Ryan looked up, alarmed. “What the hell was that?”
They both ran to the entrance of the vault they were in and peered down the torch-lit corridor.
When whatever caused the commotion came into view Rose gasped. It was a giant ball of brilliant green flames, moving at an extremely fast speed throughout the maze of passageways, coming right towards them.
“Get back!” Ryan shouted, grabbing Rose around her waist and jumping them both back into the safety of the vault. Ryan threw his cloak around the both of them as they crouched into the corner as green flame roared past the vault they were in.
When the roar of the fire dyed down, Ryan lowered his cloak and Rose removed her hands from over her head.
“Shit,” Ryan gasped, turning around from his crouched position so that he may sit on the vault floor to catch his breath.
Rose followed suit.
After a moment, Ryan got to his feet and walked toward the edge of the vault again.
“Be careful!” Rose warned, standing up also.
He glanced down both ways of the passageway. “It’s gone,” he turned to face Rose.
“You’re sure?” She tentatively walked to stand behind Ryan.
“What the bloody hell was that?” Ryan spat, furious, his face turning red.
“We have to find out what just happened,” Rose said, looking down at what was left of the cart that was parked just in front of the vault they were.
Ryan stuck his leg out and nudged what was left of the cart with the side of his foot. The remaining metal crumbled and fell to the bottom of the tracks. “What are we going to do?” He turned back to Rose.
“We have to get out of here,” she said, logical thinking taking over her feelings of panic. “Find out the damage, see if anyone got hurt, and then we find out what or who the hell did this.”
“… 2 goblins dead…”
“…4 vaults completely destroyed…”
“…A break-in. It’s got to be supporters…”
“…They were caught, though, weren’t they?…”
Rose turned away in disgust at the noisy buzz of gossip that filled the lobby of the Ministry of Magic. Didn’t these people understand the severity of what had happened today? Two goblins died today, in the vaults. They deserved silence and respect, not to be gossiped about like some insignificant celebrity scandal.
“Just ignore them,” came Ryan’s voice softly from beside her.
She looked up at him, her face hard, doing her best to ignore the images that inundated her mind with the aftermath of the fire.
When she and Ryan had reached the vault where the fire began, they found nothing but ruin.
Three wizards, apparently, had gone to a vault led by two goblins around 3 o’clock that day, about an hour before the brilliant green flame had roared past Ryan and Rose. They killed the two goblins that had led them to their vault, and then proceeded to use the goblin’s dead bodies to get into several of the surrounding vaults, emptying all of them.
However, when they attempted to escape the last of the four vaults, security measures had kicked in and created a force field around the vault, keeping them trapped inside.
They had used the brilliant, green flames as an attempt to escape, hoping to break the force field with the enchanted flames. The barrier, obviously, held and Ryan had taken them to the Ministry of Magic when he and Rose arrived at the scene of the break-in after lifting the spell that prevented people from apparating inside the bank.
The two wizards were currently under interrogation, though nothing was for sure except they were, in fact, Varick supporters.
While Ryan was at the Ministry, Rose took control of Gringotts – apparating to the lobby, carrying the two goblins that had been killed in her arms. She, with the help of the employees – goblin and human, emptied and closed the bank to the public with no reopening date.
Now, Rose had joined Ryan in the lobby of the Ministry, waiting to see the Ministry and the Head of the Aurors, Harry.
“It’s okay,” Ryan put a hand on her shoulder. “It’ll be okay.”
Rose frowned and looked up at him. “No, it won’t.”
Ryan was silent.
Rose looked down, staring at the cold stone floor she was standing on.
Their silence was soon interrupted by Harry’s voice. “Hello,” he said solemnly as he approached them, nodding in greeting.
Rose looked up and stared into the face of her uncle. He was the face that every magical being in the wizarding world associated with safety and security and hope. The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One. But now, Rose doubted that his face would be associated with any of those things currently.
She swallowed the lump that had risen up in her throat.
“The Minister is ready to see you now,” he said, gesturing for them to follow him.
Rose had only been this close to the Minister once before in her life, and it was under completely different circumstances. He had visited Gringotts after she and Ryan had been hired, praising their hard work and commitment for the safety of the wizarding community.
Rose scoffed. Yep, she was bloody wonderful at keeping the magical community safe.
Now, the Minister, Rufus Giles, sat behind his large desk, drumming his fat fingers against the arm of his cushioned seat.
“So it’s settled,” he said. “Aurors and Magical Enforcement Officers will be positioned all around Diagon Alley and will create a perimeter around Gringotts. And because we now know the two wizards who broke in were Varick supporters, the Ministry feels that Gringotts should be on complete lock down. No one in or out.
“We’ve spoken to the head of Gringotts and he agreed that the Ministry is the only one to be in or around the bank until further notice.”
Rose saw Ryan, who sat beside her, from the side of her eye lean forward and open his mouth to protest. She quickly put an arm on his to stop him, thinking it was best to just remain silent and follow the Minister’s orders.
“Do you have something to say?” The Minister asked warily, eyeing Ryan.
Ryan took his arm out from under Rose’s arm and spoke. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
“How so?” Harry asked, who was leaning against the wall behind the Minister’s desk with his arms crossed.
“I feel that we need to put Gringotts back together. We obviously don’t have to open the bank publicly, but the least we could do, is repair the major damage that was done to it for the time being. I know those vaults better than anyone.”
The Minister was silent for a moment before he nodded. “That sounds fine. I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem.” The Minister then turned to Rose. “What about you?” The Minister asked. “Will you be helping?”
Rose swallowed. She had easily taken over that afternoon, taking command of the immediate aftermath of the break-in. It was like second nature to her, taking control over an emergency situation. And she was good at that.
She was good at taking control over a problem when the actual situation and the emotions attached to it hadn’t hit her yet.
“With all due respect, Minister,” Rose began, “I don’t know if I want to help.”
Harry frowned and straightened. “Rose?”
Ryan spoke up. “It’s fine,” he said. “I can do it on my own with the help from the Ministry and the goblins. Rose can take a few days off and rejoin us when she feels fit to.”
Rose bit her lip. She was supposed to be helping, but instead, here she was, hiding from a situation she couldn’t handle. Her parents would be ashamed for raising such a cowardly daughter.
The Minister nodded. “Very well, then.” He waved them from his office. “We’ll be in touch,” he shook Ryan’s hand.
Rose pushed her chair back and stood up, following Harry and Ryan out into the hallway.
“Is everything all right, Rose?” her uncle asked her once the wooden door to the Minister’s office was shut behind them.
“Everything is fine. I just need some … time,” said Rose.
Harry nodded, still obviously concerned. “Well, let me know when you’re feeling better. We would all really appreciate your help with this situation.”
Rose nodded, feeling even worse. Harry patted Ryan on the shoulder before turning and walking away from them.
“You should go home and get some rest,” said Ryan, once Harry had disappeared down the corridor.
He put a hand on her shoulder. “Let me know when you feel better,” he instructed.
Rose looked down. “I will.”
Home. Rose couldn’t think of anything better as she took the stairs two at her time to her fourth floor flat. She just wanted to lie down and forget about this horrible day.
But as she reached her floor and started walking down her hallway, images of what she had seen that day came her mind and made her stop mid-step. She stood there for minutes, just standing in the middle of the hallway, her heavy bag slung on one shoulder and her hand balancing herself on the wall beside her, as image after image flashed before her eyes.
She closed her eyes and tried her best to do what she had been doing all day – to just push the images out of her mind and lock them away and think about something else – something more cheerful.
But there were no more distractions. There was no one wanting her to do other things, no one badgering her with questions, nothing to keep her mind off of what she had seen.
She let out a strangled noise and collapsed to the floor, her back against the wall, inches away from the door to her flat. She clutched her head in her hands, hoping to push the images out of her mind and out of sight. She pulled her knees close to her chest and buried her face into her knees, her hands still cradling her head, as tears began to fall from her eyes.
After a few minutes, the door to her flat softly opened.
“Rose?” Scorpius’s voice came from the doorway.
She quickly swallowed and looked away, doing her best to wipe her tears away.
She shook her head, unable to speak.
She felt him walk toward her and take a seat beside her. “You can talk to me,” he suggested softly.
She looked up at him through red eyes. She sniffled and then shrugged, ignoring the tension that was building in her throat and chest. “I just had a horrible day is all.”
She nodded. “How’d you know?”
“It was all over the news,” he answered quietly. “It took me a few hours to figure out how that old radio of yours worked, but I eventually got it.”
She found herself smiling lightly. “You found that ‘on’ switch, huh?”
“Hey!” he said jokingly. “In my defense, it was very small.”
She let out a watery chuckle before her smile faded and they both became serious again.
“So, do you want to tell me why you’re crying?”
She sighed. “It was just a … tiring day.”
He stared at her. “Rose Weasley, as much as you want to deny it, I know you. And I know that you, Rose, don’t cry just because you had a hard day.”
She stared back at him, her heart pounding. They hadn’t spoken in years, but their connection was undeniable. And as much as she wanted to deny it, Scorpius knew her and she knew him.
She cleared her throat, unsure of how to exactly phrase what was really on her mind. “I’ve never seen a dead body before today,” she finally said, after several moments passed, pushing her hair out of her face.
She felt Scorpius freeze from beside her.
She looked down. “The goblins that were killed today were just lying on the floor, lifeless, when we found them,” her voice broke.
She thought back to when Ryan had left with the two wizards in tow, magically bound at their hands and feet.
She was left completely alone, save the two dead goblins left at her feet. She had simply stared at the two goblins that had brutally slain, unsure of what to do – unsure whether to move the bodies or cover them with her cloak or at least close their eyes so they would stop staring at her.
But no, she had stood there, completely frozen, just staring at the lifeless bodies of the two goblins that had given up their lives for what? Money? Greed? Power?
She felt the warmth of new tears as they slid down her cheeks.
“Merlin,” Scorpius whispered, moving closer to her.
She felt his arm reach around her shoulders and she rested her head against his chest, still breathing deeply and tears falling from her eyes.
“I’m so sorry, Rose,” he whispered into her hair.
She clutched his – her father’s – pyjama top and closed her eyes, breathing deeply. Something about being nestled against Scorpius’s chest, so close that she could hear his heartbeat, soothed Rose.
And as her breathing returned to normal and her sniffles eventually subsided, she found herself truly grateful that it was Scorpius that was sitting beside her.
Author’s Note: This chapter was an extremely hard one to write – as I said, I’ve never really tried a fic where there was some Mystery/Adventure mixed in with the romance, so any feedback would be extremely appreciated! Thanks for reading!
I would also like to thank all the wonderful people who have reviewed! You have no idea how much it all means to me and how helpful it is! I'm definitely taking everything into consideration, and again, any further help is really appreciated :)