Chapter 3 : Three.
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“That would be lovely,” I said.
At least, I thought I said it. My mouth and brain never really connected anymore. Sometimes I wasn’t aware I was saying, and at other times I did not know what I was thinking. The words would just spill from my lips, and the thoughts would fly around my empty head, and I would only be able to come up the average, monosyllabic answer to some long winded and confusing question that I did not understand. I wouldn’t understand.
A fly buzzing at the window distracted me, and my gaze followed it slowly as it attempted to free itself. It flew away from the glass, then back at it with a soft thump. It repeated this sequence over and over. The recurrence of it’s actions were comforting, a routine, however sadistic it may seem. Thump. Ever since he had gone, I had lost all sense of time, and the routine I normally so strictly upheld had gone with him. Thump. I sat awake for hours at night, entranced by the moon and by the sunrises and sunsets and by the stars. Thump. I would sleep all through the day, my dreams plagued with memories and nightmares of his face and of the blood. Thump. Friends and cousins had visited and, during my brief moments of consciousness, they would sit and talk to me. Thump. I had not spoken coherently to anyone in a long time, not since the night with Lysander. When he left in the morning, I was all alone again. The full extent of that night and the events before it had hit me. It was like all the emotion I had was gone - wasted it all on that one night. Now, all that was left was desolation. My sanity was not holding up.
“Shall we say ten o’clock, then? By Flourish and Blotts? It will do you good to get out.”
The noise of her voice startled me, and, dropping out of my daydream, I nodded. I wouldn’t remember anyway. I would be asleep. The dream would keep me awake, tossing and turning in his bed, and so the stars would put me to sleep again.
“Dom, I’m worried about you. We all are.”
I stared at her again, my eyes fixing on every imperfection on her freckled face. I wonder if she actually knew what I was going through. I wonder if she even cared. This was probably just some family commitment, and there was a scheduled and organised timetable for who would see me next. It would be an annoyance, a frustration, an inconvenience. She was a distant relative. I didn’t know her name. She didn’t know me, she didn’t know Lorcan, and she didn’t know why she was here.
She leant over and held my hand in an attempt at comforting me. I recoiled.
“I’m going to bed.”
“Owl me, alright? When you want to talk?”
I nodded. The fly zoomed out the window. I remained rigid when she gave a cold kiss on the cheek, and I could smell her cheap perfume lingering around her sickly skin. Hopefully I would be sleeping by the time the next person came, all smiles and stories, trying to distract from the pain and the emptiness. Like that would help. I heard the door to the flat click.
I stood, my legs weak, and walked towards his room. The bed. Sleep. My last, sweet paradise. I needed it. The dream would keep me awake, but I had grown used to it. I had grown used to seeing his face. Sometimes, I wanted to see it again, reminding me that he had existed. His piercing blue eyes, his neat brown hair, his strong jaw. Every part of him. I missed him, and visiting him again in the dream made the gaping hole inside of me worth something.
Collapsing onto the bed, I pulled the sheets around me and the welcoming warmth enveloped me. The freckled girl had been so boring and the last night had been filled with nightmares that sleep came quickly and easily. I was wary of what might happen in the dream, but it was a deep and peaceful sleep. It refreshed me.
It was over faster than it had started. Opening my eyes, I could tell whom the next visitor was by the lightness of their footfall, their steady breathing, and the soft scent of roses.
“Rose, go home.”
The footsteps stopped, and I heard an exasperated groan coming from the other side of the room. In a second, I could feel a pressure on the side of my bed. She had sat down.
“How did you know it was me?”
I remained silent. She had never been good at hide and seek, even when we were kids.
“Dom, can you please get up?
“So you are just going to lie here and not speak to me?”
That’s what I did everyday, wasn’t it? For Hermione Granger’s daughter, Rose sure wasn’t clever.
“I understand how your feeling but...”
I had to speak. How could she possibly know what I was feeling? When was the last she lost someone so close to her? When was the last the love of her life died? The anger, apart from the obvious grief and suffering, was the only stable and strong emotion I had felt in days, and I relished it. Sitting up quickly in my bed, I turned to face her.
She was perched delicately on the edge of my bed, prim and perfect as she always was. But she wasn’t like the many distant cousins and estranged friends that had come to see me so far; although her auburn hair and clothes were as elegant and tidy as usual, her eyes were tired and shadowy. Their usual primrose blue was dank and murky. Her cheeks were pale, her freckles dark against her skin. Her make-up might have been flawless, but it could not hide the grey bags and bloodshot eyes. All I felt now was guilt, and pity, because, in my comatose and insensible state, I had presumed that nobody else had been as badly affected as I had. The closest relative to Lorcan I had seen over the past few days had been Lysander - and his reactions were obviously a lot different to those who had actually cared about his brother. I could not believe that I had been so selfish, to think that all the grieving should be have done by me.
We stared at each other for a while. I appreciated that this may have been the first time in days that Rose had seen me properly. I could see tears welling in her eyes, but she smiled brightly. I could not remember the last time I had seen Rose Weasley cry. She was usually so strong-willed and opinionated, not letting anyone take her granted. This was strange and unnatural.
“It’s nice to see that you are moving. Usually you just sleep.”
I laughed. It was croaky and weak. I had not done it in a long time. She smiled again.
“We’ve missed you Dom. Really. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”
I smiled. It hurt. The muscles in my face had not been put to much use. Leaning over, I hugged her briefly, but she gripped me tightly, and her floral perfume covered me. It comforted me, and I was reminded of late night talks in the Gryffindor common room, trips to Hogsmeade and Christmases at the Burrow. It reminded me of my family. Not the unapproachable relatives that had visited me, but my proper family. My Nana Weasley, my Mama, my Papa, Ted and Vic, Louis. Rose. I had missed out on all of them. They had tried to comfort me, at least, by visiting, and I had shunned them away. I had ignored them. I should have been helping them. Lorcan was their friend too.
“Scorp is here,” she said, her voice cracking with tears as she moved back, her arms still wrapped around me, “and Lysander. Shall I tell them to come in here? Or do you want to try walking?”
She added the last comment with a hint of sarcasm. I nodded.
“How do I look?” I asked.
I smiled weakly, pushing my hair away from my forehead and pinching my cheeks to get some colour and sliding out of my bed. Rose held out her hand for me to take. I accepted, and she led me into the living room. Scorpius Malfoy was sitting on the sofa, staring deeply into the fire, and Lysander was helping himself to some juice from the fridge. When Rose and I walked into the room, Scorpius stood up hastily. Lysander just smirked at me.
“Looking lively, Dom,” he said, swigging straight from the bottle. I gaped incredulously at his mockery, and he winked.
“I’m joking, you look,” he paused, putting the juice down on the table and striding over to me, “you look perfect.” He hugged me. I felt warm for the first time in days.
“Calm down, Lysander. You don’t want to suffocate her, she’s only just started moving,” Scorpius joked.
Releasing myself gingerly from Lysander’s arms, I turned around. Rose had walked over towards the sofa, and was standing next to Scorpius, his arm hung loosely around her shoulders.
“It’s good to have you back,” he finished.
I smiled at him, and he beamed back. Lysander was still standing next to me, and his heat was radiating off of his body. I shuffled closer.
“You alright?” He asked quietly. Rose and Scorpius had resumed their seats by the fire.
“Yeah...I’m a bit tired.”
“What? But you’ve been in bed continuously for about three days!” He said, laughter spilling from his lips.
“I’ve been grieving.”
When I said it out loud, it was strange; that such a small word had such a large effect on me. Saying it out loud was admitting it, succumbing to it. I had been grieving, but it hadn’t felt that insignificant. I thought grieving was crying for a dead rabbit when you were four or weeping silently so some distant relative. What I felt was more like living in a void and I was nothing without him. If that is what grieving is, then I have experienced the epitome of it. It was hell.
I had been standing for while, and the others had moved from the kitchen towards the living room, and I followed them. Rose perched delicately on an armchair near the fire, Scorpius opposite her. Lysander, of course, had lounged out along the sofa like he owned the place. Tapping his feet away, I sat comfortably at the end.
“So...what’s new?” I asked, the heat from the fire warming me. Lysander began talking quickly and fluently about his return to England, reunions with old friends and finding a new job. He did not stray once onto the subject of Lorcan and I was grateful. Rose sat listening intently, unusually quiet. Scorpius chatted about his new case, the evidence, the suspects and the alibis.
He told a joke and we all laughed. It was like the old times. Before any of it had ever happened. Before Lysander left, before he died, before everything. All I wanted was for things to back to the way they were, for him to be alive again, for him to be here with me. But as we sat, and as we chatted, his memory faded, as it was like the times when he was at work, and I was just talking with my friends. It was easy. The constant impression of his death had been indelibly printed on my brain, and for now, I was happy, because I felt as if I had conquered it. I felt as if I had conquered the torment that he had left me with. I felt alive. It almost repulsed me, thinking that I should be unable to feel any joyous emotion while he was gone. I realised that this was my true sense of healing.
But along with this newfound feeling of bliss, I still saw my friends shoot furtive glances at me, as if checking that I hadn’t done something reckless, like thrown my head in the fire or smashed my head in with a pillow. During a break in the conversation, there was an uncomfortable pause, and the three of them seemed to decide something telepathically. They were going to tell me something. I tensed. Rose stood, and walked over towards me. Lysander scooted up the sofa, and she sat down putting a comforting arm around me.
“Luna and Rolf told me of the arrangements for his funeral.”
I grew very pale. I tried to smile, to put on a brave face, but I bet I looked strained.
“You alright, Dom?” Lysander asked quietly.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll be there.”
“Are you sure?”
I wasn’t whether it was the heat from the fire that was making my eyes water.
“I want to say goodbye.”
Silence. I could hear the flicker of the flames, the cracking of the wood and Rose’s steady breathing. I couldn’t stand it.
“Really, I’m fine,” I stated, my voice attempting to be strong, “I hate that you all think I’m delicate or something. I’m not Victoire.”
Scorpius gave a half-hearted laugh. The others kept looking at me, their looks disbelieving.
“You were bed-ridden for four days,” Lysander said, “I’d call that delicate.”
“You’ve been away for two years. Don’t pretend that you know me.” It slipped out before I could stop myself. The words would just spill from my lips, and the thoughts would fly around my empty head. I saw his eyes darken and I paled. I had hit a soft spot and I was sorry.
“Sorry,” I whispered. Scorpius had long ago stopped laughing. There was an air of uncomfortable ness that hung over the entire room. It was a fog. It was strange how the mood could change - from one of joviality and happiness, to one of grieving, and finally to one of anger. I had been responsible for the latter, and the thickness of the air, and the stifling heat of the fire were suddenly very noticeable.
“Don’t worry,” he answered. I felt the room let out one collective breath. Lysander seemed to genuinely accept my apology, because he smiled, clapping his hands together. I had always valued how Lysander to change the feeling of a room in a second.
“So when is it then? I can’t wait to bury my dearly departed brother,” he joked, but Rose shot him a stern look.
“What? Too soon?” He finished, withering slightly under her intense gaze. I bit my lip to avoid laughing.
“It’s in two days, up at Galleacht,” Rose pronounced the name with difficulty, “Luna wanted him to be buried next to his grandfather or something.”
“It would be good to see the home town again,” Lysander said.
“Who’s going?” Scorpius asked, flicking his wand at the kettle which immediately began boiling, whistling profusely. Rose looked at me, thinking that all this talk about my boyfriend’s funeral was distressing. It was, but I nodded to show I hadn’t broken down yet.
“Us, Luna, Rolf, all the Weasleys, Molly and Louis if they can make it back from France on time. They have sort out port keys and such. Teddy’s away on a mission somewhere so he can’t make it. A couple of Lorcan’s work friends and some people from school are coming as well.” She ticked the people off on her fingers in a very Hermione Granger-like way.
“Quite a party then,” Lysander cut in.
“What! Dom’s laughing.”
I was. Rose glared at me because I was meant to be on her side. I shrugged innocently.
“So Louis moved to France...how’s he doing?” Scorpius asked me.
“Good. He’s doing some course with some French potion people. I haven’t heard from him in a while,” I replied, accepting the cup of tea he passed to me.
“You have been a bit distracted,” he agreed. I leant into him, resting against his chest. Rose and Lysander were squabbling loudly about some current affair I didn’t know or care about, and it was peaceful just listening to the thumping of Scorpius’ heart.
“I’m telling you, Rose, they like what they are doing!” Lysander shouted, his hands moving with wild gesticulations. Scorpius and I groaned as we picked up the subject - house elves. Never venture into a conversation about house elves with a Granger woman. You won’t come out alive.
“It’s slavery. That’s what it is! You can’t deny it!” She was getting high pitched now. Lysander was venturing into danger country.
“Fine! Fine! What ever you say. I can’t be bothered anymore,” he sat back. Rose smiled smugly, leaning over to pick up her mug of tea. Something sparkled.
“Rose, what’s that on your hand?” I asked. She immediately withdrew it.
“Oh nothing, just something I picked up in Diagon Alley.” She looked nervous, hiding her hands away in the pocket of her coat. Lysander leaned across and pulled it out slowly.
“It’s a wedding ring!”
I felt Scorpius tense beside me. His heart rate went so faint I thought he might have died. I sat up quickly, pulling her freckled hand towards me. A large diamond ring was sitting awkwardly on her small hand. It was impossible to miss it, yet somehow all of us had.
“Did Noah give this to you?” I asked her quietly. Noah Bryant was Rose’s long-term boyfriend. They had been dating since fifth year, the sort of fairytale relationship you see in Muggle children’s books. He had been a Ravenclaw; one of Lorcan’s good friends and Lysander had hated him. As my cousin’s boyfriend, I had been inclined to be polite towards him, Scorpius even more so. Through our last years at Hogwarts, Lysander and I had secretly plotted Noah’s downfall from grace. Rose deserved someone better - someone like Scorpius. He had pined over his best friend for years, and we all knew it.
It was strange. If you saw Rose and Scorpius walking in the street, you’d think that they were couple. If you saw them talking together, you’d think that they were couple. They were so comfortable with each other, so at ease, you’d think that they were couple. If you saw Noah and Rose, you’d think the complete opposite. Both were stunningly beautiful, that was a given, but their relationship wasn’t. On the outside, it may look like Prince Charming and his princess, Head Boy and his Head Girl, but they had more arguments than Victoire and I. Most were about Scorpius.
She was looking at him now, staring him directly in the eye. Lysander kept switching his gaze from the both of them, like he was watching a tennis match. It was distracting.
“I love him,” Rose stated.
“But I thought that you and Scorp...” Lysander began. I gave him a pointed look that told him to be quiet.
“I love him,” she repeated.
“And?” Scorpius’ voice was reverberating around the small living room. He had stood up, looking impressive and handsome in the firelight.
“I’m going to be his wife,” she replied.
“Congratulations,” he said spitefully.
He turned on his heel and picked up his coat. I stood up, getting to the door faster than him, placing my hand upon it so that he could not leave.
“You can’t just leave, Scor. You’ve got to fight for her,” I said quietly.
“I already tried,” he responded quickly. He looked so defeated, so desolate. I could not see how Rose could have possibly hurt him this badly. She was usually so aware of everyone’s emotions all the time, apart from the ones that were staring her right in the face.
“See you later, Lysander. I’ve got a meeting with Copperfield now; he wants to discuss port keys and something. I’ll be round tomorrow, Dom. About twelve?” He rushed through our plans, putting on a brave face. He completely ignored Rose, who was standing defiantly by the fire. And then, he was gone. Lysander quickly followed, giving me a sympathetic look and pecking me on the cheek.
“I’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything drastic,” he said quietly, “you deal with Rose.”
I nodded and closed the door silently.
Rose broke down.
There you go. Sorry it took so long. I took me a while determine the exact plot of this story, and now I have a gigantic spider map thing on my wall - it's got lots of pretty colours. Anyway! Off topic!
I hope you like the ScoRose stuff. I simply adore writing Scorpius - even though he had very little in this chapter. He will become a very major character in the coming chapters.
Galleacht (where Lorcan will be buried) is a fictional place in Ireland (where the twins grew up). 'Gal' means 'stranger' and 'leacht' means 'gravestone'. Quite key, don't you think?
Sorry, this A.N is probably longer than the chapter, so I'll stop now. Feed the magic box!
Lots of love, Hattie.
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