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Chapter 19 : XIX - Pumpkin Juice with a Kick
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“You and Uther are engaged I can’t believe it!” squealed Julia, clapping her hands together in excitement. However, there was not a bone in Rose’s body that was happy about this news and to give herself strength she reached into her robes pocket and curled her finger around her wedding ring. She could almost see the emerald snake made up of diamonds and emeralds, and the thought of the everlasting bond between them cheered her. Almost as if fate had played a significant role into the plan of the day, Scorpius and his younger brother Orion appeared through the barrier with their trolleys at that precise moment. Rose shot Scorpius a little secret smile as he wheeled his trolley over to the door to help Orion load his trunk onto the busy train.
“Urgh,” groaned Cecelia dramatically giving Scorpius a furtive look, “I was hoping daddy would have finally got his wish and sent them both to Durmstrang.” With those words Cecelia began to drag her case towards the train followed by Rose, who was looking very tired, and Julia who looked positively chipper. Rose couldn’t help but notice Cecelia shooting her curious looks over her angular shoulder, but she had forgotten all about these strange little expressions when they were loaded on the train with all the Gryffindor regulars and back into the natural rhythm of chatting animatedly.
“Whose up for an engagement party in the Gryffindor Common Room tonight?” bellowed Uther as the whole crowd of Rose’s friends cheered, minus Rose herself. Cecelia shot her a quizzical look but no one seemed to notice this odd little expression and they continued to chatter excitedly. Rose was sure she would have to appear the model of an excitable fiancée with beady eyed Cecelia around watching her every move. Rosaline clutched Albus’ arm in excitement, digging her bony fingers into the exposed flesh of his forearm. They had become girlfriend and boyfriend again after Albus had saved Rosaline from Fred at the Christmas Eve Party, leaving Cecelia’s competitive streak to rear its ugly head again.
“I’ll come,” said Duncan lazily stretching himself out, “just as long as James cheers up enough to give us a smile!” James had been in a depressed stupor ever since Roxanne’s prediction but he sat up and gave Duncan an annoyed looking grimace before saying rather loudly and tactlessly, “as long as I see Rosie happy, she never looks happy!” The mere suggestion that Rose wasn’t happy after such momentous news was disgusting and the whole crowd descended into icy silence, which refused to be punctuated by anyone. Uther became stiff next to Rose as he gripped her hand rather harshly, drawing red lines on her pale skin. The atmosphere was tense and restricting until Julia summoned the courage to pipe up, “yeh, you always look miserable at parties.”
Rose tried to stop herself blush a deep maroon under Cecelia’s intense gaze and Uther’s bemused expression, but she felt the blood pump into her cheeks as the colour came. But luckily Margot asked Rosaline what she was going to wear to the engagement party and Rosaline went into a long explanation about these new sea green shoes she had that would compliment her eyes. This sudden return to normality forced Uther to turn away and start a brief conversation Barry about Quidditch. However, Rose still felt Cecelia scrutinising her, and under her friends intense gaze she felt her skin burn. Gazing down at her hands Rose diverted her attention away from Cecelia and then began a conversation with Robert about the miserable weather.
“Where the hell has Cecelia gone?” asked worriedly Rose as the students began to tuck into their delicious feast. Mounds of chicken, gravy, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings filled their golden plates but Rose did not seem to care. Cecelia had slipped away and they had not seen her since they left the train for a mad dash to the carriages through the torrential rain. Rose was slightly uneasy, Cecelia had been very awkward on the train and it had almost seemed to Rose that Cecelia had been analysing her. Rose, unlike the rest of her friends, could not eat because of the fear consuming her insides. Maybe Cecelia had found out about Scorpius and was about to reveal it to the whole world.
“Rosie!” came a voice as a hand tapped Rose’s shoulder. Turning round Rose recognised the profile of her cousin Dominique, her blonde hair plastered to her head because of the rain and her blue eyes wide in shock. It seemed as if she couldn’t say much as she stuttered, “read” and shoved a piece of parchment in Rose’s hand. Unfolding the parchment Rose saw tight writing in a dark black ink as she began to read.
Dear Miss Dominique Weasley,
I have decided that, in your best interests, you are to come to Remedial Potions every Tuesday evening after you abysmal test results before Christmas. In the dungeons, seven o’clock sharp. Professor Brown
Rose hiccupped. Now, two of Roxanne’s prophecies had come true, and that just left the third, the most terrible of them all. Rose acted quickly by stuffing the parchment back into Dominique’s outstretched hand as she whispered urgently, “whatever you do, do not tell James, under no circumstances do we want to worry him. This is just a coincidence and nothing else. Dominique gave Rose a gentle nod and turned away; walking back along the table and not even giving James a friendly smile. Rose barely had time to think however before her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice.
“Hi guys,” said Cecelia jumping into a seat next to Rose. Cecelia was unusually cheery; normally she was quite a cynical sarcastic person and this happiness was totally unlike the usually morose Cecelia. There were no more raised eyebrows or intense looks, she just instantly began to tuck into her dinner and let Rose turn to Julia to begin to a conversation about elfish rights. After Julia had finished her rant against the Hogwarts House Elf Accommodation she began tucking into her shepherd’s pie leaving Rose to turn back to Cecelia.
“Drink?” asked Cecelia lifting a gold goblet filled with pumpkin juice towards Rose. Rose wanted to try and heal the breach between herself and her friend and also try to appear unsuspicious. So Rose grabbed the goblet and downed it in one, feeling the cold liquid sliding down her throat and failing to see the contented grin spread across Cecelia’s face.
The common room was crowded with party goers by the time Rose, Julia and Cecelia arrived after dinner but to Rose’s surprise Cecelia did not get immediately involved with the revellers but instead made her way to the peace and quiet of the dormitory. Rose followed her obligingly and as Cecelia reached the stairs Julia closed in behind Rose blocking her way back into the throng of people in the common room. When they were all safely inside the dormitory Cecelia turned to the wooden door and locked it tight shut with a spell, making Rose’ heart flutter nervously. What was Cecelia up to?
“Rosie,” Cecelia began, circling her friend in the most patronising way, “who was it really that spilt ink all over Julia’s jumper that she got for Christmas in first year?” Not a moment passed before the word spilled out of Rose’s mouth without her meaning to say anything, “Me!” Rose gasped in shock at what she had said. That secret had been firmly kept by herself and Cecelia since first year and now Rose had told Julia the truth without even meaning too.
“Rose!” squawked Julia but Rose was suddenly struck by a terrible thought. She had told a truth that she had been keeping for years, one of her deepest, darkest secrets. Rose would not have willingly told that piece of information and it suddenly struck Rose about how the words had almost been forced out of her body. Then it hit her, the reason for Cecelia’s initial sombre mood swinging to cheer. The Pumpkin juice that Cecelia had given her was spiked with Veritaserum. Cecelia was smiling in satisfaction but Rose overcome by the most terrible rage she had ever experienced. Her blood boiled as her vision became blurred with the intensity of her anger.
“How dare you Cecelia! I didn’t think even you could sink this low!” Cecelia still wore a smug expression on her face as Julia looked between her two best friends, confusion etched across her face. Cecelia squared up to Rose, trying to pile on the pressure and her enemy crumpled. Rose began to cry for two reasons; the first for the depths at which her friend had sunk and the second for the secrets that were about to come pouring out of her mouth.
“What’s going on?” asked Julia in a tinny voice but she got no answer as Rose stumbled backwards in the upset and fury she possessed, falling with a hint of ungainliness onto her back leaving Cecelia to bear down on her unpleasantly. Julia knelt beside Rose in panic, clasping her friend’s clammy hand and looking up at their other friend in confusion with a hint of terror in her large chocolate coloured eyes.
“You wouldn’t be upset if you had nothing to hide!” shrieked Cecelia nastily, pointing a bony finger at Rose’s nose. “I’m fed up with all these lies and secrets I know you’re keeping from us! Creeping around at night and never speaking to us the way you used to. I just want to know where my old friend has gone and as you were not going to enlighten me this was the only way to find out.” Comprehension dawned on Julia’s face as she stood up to Cecelia and shouted, “you evil cow! How could you do this to Rose?”
“I want to know the truth!” screamed Cecelia in Julia’s face. Even though her frustration and anger were etched deeply on her face, she still had the ability to return suddenly to her usual calm demeanour and turn to Rose to simper sweetly, “Now, question one. Why have you been in such an odd mood today?” The tears poured down Rose’s cheeks as she desperately tried to keep herself from answering Cecelia’s question. As the curious faces of her closest friends bared down on her as the potion forced the words from her mouth as she whispered hoarsely,
“Everyone will not stop talking about my engagement to Uther.” The words seemed to burn Rose’s throat before they escape. Trying to get up Rose reached for her wand but Cecelia was quicker and with a flick of her own dragon heartstring wand she managed to disarm Rose, sending her friend’s wand careering through the air and landing on Julia’s bed with a small “puff”. Rose turned to her friends who both looked highly confused as Cecelia continued her questioning.
“Why does that upset you?” asked Cecelia. Rose thought for a moment she was trying to be kind but then she remembered how Cecelia had almost force fed her Veritaserum. Rose willed herself to not answer, but the effects of the potion were just too strong, and the words poured from her mouth before she had a chance to try and reign them in.
“Because I don’t want to marry Uther. Not now, not ever. I don’t love him.” Her friends looked the most shocked she had ever seen them and the expression that crossed Cecelia’s face was almost disgust. Cecelia fell to her knees in front of Rose and in almost a second she was imitated by Julia. Rose’s skin felt as if it was on fire as Cecelia gave her one of her most intense stares that she saved for moments such as this as she whispered maliciously,
“Well why are you leading him on and messing around with his heart?” It would come out, the secret that she had fought so hard to keep and she tried with every bone, muscle and organ in her body to not tell the truth. Distorting the words she said may save her secret for a few more precious moments. Her heart hammering in her chest she felt a new sensation. It was like the words were being ripped from her body.
“It’s to hide the truth!” sobbed Rose as she buried her head in her hands. The question was coming; the one which answer would reveal the truth and leave the ball in neither hers or Scorpius’ hands. They would be on the brink of losing the game and all because of Cecelia’s insatiable curiosity. Cecelia and Julia were barely blurs to her through the fresh tears but she could still hear Cecelia’s ice cold voice penetrating through the air.
“And what’s the truth Rose?” her voice made it sound as if there was a lump in her throat as she spoke, but Rose did not care for her most treacherous of friends at that moment. She knew the secret would be stolen from within her by an evil magical potion that extracted well hidden words from her body that was racked with tiredness, and the thought of it scared Rose as she felt the words being removed from her stomach. They seemed to slip up her throat and she could not stop them as they erupted forth.
“I’m already married!” At this revelation Julia began spluttering incoherently but Cecelia was stock still and stony silent. Through her own sobs Rose could barely hear her friend’s next words. The icy edge on which these words teetered was what scared Rose, not the content. Cecelia’s eyes were filled with angry tears as she whispered, “take me to him!”
Scorpius nervously waited for Rose in the Room of Requirement, rapping his fingers on the desk that had materialised. It was the first opportunity he had had to talk to her since the announcement at the Ministry Ball and his whole body had ached to see her ever since that moment. The door clicked loudly as Rose pushed it open and he walked towards her but then he noticed the streaming puffy eyes and the red complexion.
“Rose, what’s...” he began, but without her uttering a word his question was answered. She had been followed into the room by Cecelia and Julia who both were gawping at Scorpius as Rose moved to stand next to him, taking his pale hand in hers as they turned back to face the two girls in front of them. Julia had a compassionate look on her face but Cecelia looked absolutely aghast.
“How?” asked Cecelia in absolute shock as Rose’s dose of Veritaserum kicked in again as she was forced to answer the question. “Robert McLaggen tried to kiss me at the Masquerade Ball, but Scorpius saved me and we went out with each other for a couple of months and we got married in secret on Christmas Eve.” At this point Julia walked up to Rose and wrapped her arms around her neck.
“I’m so sorry Rose. I just spent the whole time assuming you loved Uther, I suppose you felt pressured into it. I’ve been an awful friend, I thought you took an unusual interest in Scorpius but I never saw it as more than an intense dislike. Oh, and I’m so sorry about the Veritaserum, I promise you I had no idea!” Julia had done nothing wrong; in fact she had been the most caring and considerate of Rose’s friends and when Rose accepted her apology Julia’s face beamed with light.
Cecelia remained silent however, not even daring to look at Rose. Crestfallen, Rose looked down at her shoes as she shuffled her feet nervously, waiting for her friend’s explosive reaction. Scorpius could see in her eyes that it was dawning on her how far people could reject them and hurt them. Snaking his hand around Rose’s waist he pulled her closer and looked defiantly at Cecelia, willing Rose to do the same. Julia had now turned around and was gazing at Cecelia who looked indignant.
“I can’t believe you Rose!” Cecelia whispered sternly, “you have betrayed Uther, you have betrayed us!” Her arms were crossed across her chest and Scorpius could see that Rose had gone red in the face wanting to scream at her friend, but Julia beat her to it. The usually placid girl had puffed herself up to her full height and looked absolutely livid as she bared down on Cecelia as she bellowed,
“Rose fell in love, what she has done is no worse than what you did to Albus. What is despicable though it slipping Veritaserum in Rose’s drink!” Cecelia looked slightly afraid of Julia and she backed down, leaving Julia to turn back to Scorpius and Rose, her white teeth still bared in her anger. Rose herself was crying into Scorpius’ shoulder and Scorpius was delicately kissing the top of her head.
“What are you going to do?” asked Julia, switching her line of vision between Scorpius and Rose. Neither of the upset couple said anything as Scorpius’ mind whirred. This changed everything and Scorpius knew that Cecelia’s curiosity had pushed him and Rose to make the announcement of their engagement sooner than either had expected. Tilting Rose’s chin up he gently kissed her on her sweet tasting lips. Turning back to Julia he gave her a warm smile as words began to formulate in his tired brain.
“To save you any stress, we will tell the world tomorrow,” Scorpius said bitterly. Tomorrow the world would know and they would have no peace. But maybe they had a small chance to be free. Scorpius felt Rose’s head lift of his shoulder and then he heard her say clearly, “I want to do a Fidelius Charm, Scorpius can be the secret keeper, that way we know our secret is safe. Julia nodded enthusiastically and then turned to Cecelia who looked slightly shifty for a moment.
“I’m sorry,” she mumbled, “and I will do the Fidelius Charm thing.”
“I am the Chosen One, like my father. As you are the successor to Lord Voldemort, I am the successor to my father.” Then the dark haired boy charmed the dagger and it flew through the air, hitting the stone directly in the centre, splitting it cleanly in half and sinking it into the heir’s heart. But there was no chance for triumph as the green light struck the dark haired boy in the chest, culling him before he ever had the chance to blossom.
Scorpius snapped his eyes open. He was sweating profusely, his dream making him panicky and anxious. He was about to scream but then he saw a dark figure moving across the room and out of the door. Suddenly realising it was Mercutio, Scorpius grabbed his wand and instantly disillusioned himself, giving him the ability to follow his friend without being seen. Standing up like a silent column he began to tread Mercutio’s path across the room, down the stairs, into the common room and out the portrait hole and into the winding corridors of Hogwarts.
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