The next day started off as ordinarily as any other day before it. I dragged myself out of bed, flinching as my feet touched the cold floor and stumbling to my trunk to collect my clothes.
Scorpius was distant all last night after Hugo’s rant; his goodnight kiss was hesitant and detached and left my body feeling cold. The feeling didn’t go away. I shivered and pulled on a sweater, knowing that no amount of fabric would cure the icy feeling in my chest.
I glanced absently into a nearby mirror and almost fell onto the floor when I stumbled back in fright. Merlin, I was pale. There were dark circles under eyes that looked like they had seen death. My hair was a knotted mess and my lips were a very abnormal light-purple color.
I fled away from the mirror, picked up all of my showering necessities and sprinted to the bathroom, keeping my head down so no one would see how awful I looked.
My clothes were tossed on the floor in less than a second. The shower curtain swooshed closed and the hot water was on me, my eyes closing in sweet relief.
I wanted to forget everything. I wanted to forget everything in the world except one beautiful blonde boy, whose kisses made the entire world disappear and whose name sent shivers down my very spine. I wanted nothing and no one to exist except me and him.
My shower was done much too soon and I grabbed my towel, carefully stepping out of the shower and heading to the mirror. I added color to my face, rubbing it into my skin fanatically to try to get my face to look less zombie-like. Eye shadow and mascara were the instruments I used to disguise my death eyes, and pink gloss brightened my pale lips.
I looked weird. But I’d take weird over resembling one of the undead. Once I was dried off I pulled on some clothes. Today was Saturday and I really needed some breakfast before I started studying, so I dropped off my things at the dorm and headed to the staircase.
It was almost six in the morning, so barely anyone was up. I didn’t really know why I always got up so early on Saturdays; it was just one of those weird forces of habit. My footsteps echoed off the empty walls as I walked down the corridor to the stairs.
I could feel my heart pumping in my ears. It was quiet. Way too quiet. I gulped and kept on walking, convincing myself I was merely psyching myself out.
A message from my brain yelled at my legs to run. I didn’t know where I was going; all I knew is that something was wrong.
Oh my God.
I rounded a corner and my hand whipped up to cover my mouth in horror. A beautiful face, bleeding and broken... arms that were once strong, now limp like that of a ragdoll’s, attached to an unmoving body slumped against the wall.
My body turned numb and I couldn’t move. My limbs were frozen and I couldn’t take a step towards him. Was he dead?
I forced myself to take a step and my knees gave out beneath me. I hit the floor with a frightened sob, and keeping my head down I crawled on my knees to Scorpius’ side.
He had been beaten up. He had been beaten up bad. Blood was pouring from his nose and his face was bruised. He was unconscious and I could barely hear him breathing.
A scream built in my throat and before I could stop myself I was frantically yelling “HELP! SOMEBODY HELP!” at a terrifying pitch as loud as my voice would go.
After a few moments I heard hurried footsteps and Professor Horvin, the Ancient Runes teacher, rounded the corner and gasped at the sight.
“Miss Weasley, what happened?” he asked breathlessly as he hurried to Scorpius’ side.
Tears were pouring down my face and it took me a while to calm down in order to speak. “I-I don’t know! I found him like this! Please hurry, I don’t think he has much time!”
The Professor nodded in grim agreement and scooped Scorpius up into his arms with little difficulty, walking as fast as he could to the Hospital Wing. I sat on the floor, sobbing and looking at the blood stains on the wall.
I could already see the scene playing out before my very eyes.
He was just walking through the hallway, probably to get away from the Hospital Wing for a little bit. There was a noise behind him and suddenly he could feel nothing but pain as someone hit him and beat him. They must have been strong in order to take him; I knew Scorpius wouldn't have gone down without a fight. He probably cried out, but no one could hear him. And then when the damage was done, he was left to bleed out in an abandoned hallway, all alone.
I wanted to throw up. I wanted to wring the neck of whoever did this to him. I wanted to rip their heart out of their chest just like they had ripped out mine. It made me so angry. My heart ached at the thought of him hurting.
Scorpius’ bleeding face returned to my mind and I got off my feet and rushed up to the Hospital Wing, my anger no longer relevant with Scorpius’ life on the line.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to die.
If he died... I would have nothing left. If he went to Azkaban, that would still mean he was alive. But if he were to go away permanently... if he DIED... I wouldn’t know how to live my life.
If he heard me say that he would scold me. He would tell me how stupid it is to think that way. But deep down, he would know it was utterly, undeniably true.
I reached the Hospital Wing and hesitated at the doors. I could hear Madam Pomfrey whispering feverishly with Professor Horvin. Then I heard her say seven words that made my heart stop.
“I don’t know if he’ll make it.”
I opened my mouth and let out an empty sob, collapsing onto the ground in front of the doors. I couldn’t feel anything. I was so terrified.
I sat there for about a half-hour. Whenever I heard someone coming I scooted over into the little alcove off the side where they couldn’t see me. Pretty soon, I just stayed there. I was too scared to go inside. I didn’t want to see a sheet covering his body. I couldn’t take it.
And then I realized that Scorpius would have been in there the second they laid my battered body onto the bed. He would have been right at my side the whole time. He wouldn't have left me alone for even a second. He would have pushed his fear aside to be there for me. And with all my heart, I would do the same for him. With one last collective breath, I got up and slowly pushed the doors open.
Deafening silence greeted me. I looked to see Scorpius lying in his bed, bandages covering every inch of his body. Madam Pomfrey was just finishing bandaging his face. She looked at me with a pained expression and shook her head, finishing her work and walking out to give us some privacy.
I heard her whisper “Poor girl,” before she left the room.
We had spent too much time in this place together. Why couldn’t it have been me that got hurt this time?
I pulled up a chair to his bedside and sat looking at him. It was like déjà vu. But last time was different. We hardly knew each other. He hadn’t been in danger of dying.
This time... reality was taking me for a spin. People die. That’s what we’re born to do. Everyone has to die at some point. But it wasn’t Scorpius’ time yet!
If he died at the height of my love for him... I would probably always love him. I would never be able to love anyone else. I would lose everything that ever meant anything to me.
I bent down onto his bed and sobbed quietly, my shoulders shaking and my glass heart cracking with every mournful sob.
It wasn’t fair. I know he screwed up. I know that he deserved punishment for what he did, but why did someone have to take it this far? Beating him to a bloody pulp won’t fix anything. A bleeding Scorpius won’t fix Professor Almadora’s face. This solved nothing. I hope they find out who did this. If Scorpius dies... that person is a murderer.
“He might not make it.”
Madam Pomfrey had no reason to speak to me when I entered this room. I saw what she wanted to say in her eyes. “Say goodbye now, because you won’t get another chance.”
I couldn’t hear him breathing anymore. A small part of me was telling me that he was gone. A small part was trying to tell me the boy I loved was dead.
A small part of me believed it.
A small part of me believed my whole world had just ended.
A small part of me really thought Scorpius Malfoy was dead.
But dead boys can’t touch your hand. I looked up to see Scorpius’ bandaged hand on mine and relieved tears poured like an endless waterfall from my eyes.
His eyes flickered open and he turned his head to look at me.
“Rose...” he whispered.
I leaned closer, unable to stop my tears as I gently grasped his hand.
“I told you... I’d never dream of leaving you,” he whispered weakly, coughing and closing his eyes.
I smiled through my tears, a part of me still absolutely terrified but a bigger part knowing deep down that he was going to be okay. He wasn’t going to die. Not this time.
I was absolutely giddy. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry. He was still alive and well. He was still mine to love.
I was about to turn around to get Madam Pomfrey to tell her he was awake when I heard him whisper something so quietly, it was barely audible.
Three words came from his lips.
“I love you.”
And that was when I knew.