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Chapter 20 : Chapter Twenty: Deal
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I know, it's horrible. I've been crazed with college and family things and life in general. I feel awful for my lack of updating. It's been forever. A few months I think. : /
But now I've updated! Think of it as my late Christmas present! (I really intended it to be an early Christmas present, but family festivities disallowed me to get writing so I could post before Christmas day. And obviously Christmas day was a day spent hanging out with my family, so I couldn't write then.)
Please let me know what you think. If you hate it, love it, need me to do a better editing job. Whatever. I'm all ears.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a happy Christmas (or a pleasant Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and/or holiday time). I'll let you get to reading!
Enjoy! R & R!
Happy New Year!
Sincerely, magical words
beautiful image by benedictus (formerly known as Royal) @ TDA
Chapter Twenty: Deal
After a troubling summer, Rose was nearly back on track. She had worked steadily in late July and all of August at her Uncle George’s joke shop from nine to five and spent most of her time with Cecelia and Al, saving all her other time reading Healer journals and various textbooks on Healing. She was determined more than ever to become a Healer and be the best in her class.
Needless to say, her parents were thrilled she was getting back to her normal self. Cecelia was a bit worried about her somewhat obsession with Healing, but she supposed it was better than dwelling on the past.
Rose still hadn’t spoken to Scorpius, but that didn’t bother her. She did better on days where he wasn’t even mentioned. Of course, he could hardly be forgotten when her favourite cousin was his best mate and in the same Auror program as him.
September finally came after the summer dragged on. Her Healer training started on the eighth of September, a week after Cecelia’s curse-breaker training began.
On September first, she accompanied her parents to King’s Cross to see Hugo off to his sixth year. After returning home from the station, she made sure to do more research on Healing. All her time was spent learning all she could, especially since Cecelia was busy with her training.
Cecelia came to visit Rose after her first day, absolutely exhausted.
“Who would have known that curse-breaking was so physically exhausting? Muscles I didn’t even know I had hurt!” she panted, collapsing on the Weasleys’ living room couch.
“You must be really out of shape, Cece. What is it that you were doing? Wrestling giant, man-eating teacups?”
Cecelia laughed which immediately turned into wincing and whimpering.
“No. I had to do a fitness exam. You know, with running and stretching body parts that aren’t meant to be stretched in the ways they were. Oh, and pull-ups and sit-ups and dastardly squats.”
“Are you sure you didn’t join an Auror program?” Rose laughed.
“Har-de-har. I most certainly did not. My Superior, Agent Burgess, said that contrary to popular belief, being extremely physically fit is necessary to be a curse-breaker because working in a bank like Gringotts is not like working a bloody Muggle bank. At Gringotts, it’s like being Indiana Jones from the Muggle film. He does a lot of action sequences and things,” Cecelia informed Rose angrily.
“Yes,” Cecelia sighed. “But I love it.”
Cecelia smiled slowly. “Oh yes. Especially since Agent Burgess removed his shirt in training to reveal an impeccable set of abdominal and pectoral muscles. And that he promised us by the end of training, we would at least look half as wonderfully as he did sans shirt. And trust me, that is more than enough incentive for me, because half of what he had would be outstanding. He also said on the side, just to me, being the smexy man that Agent Burgess is, that significant others can’t help but try to remove clothes to see the amazing bodies. So I am quite excited to see Al’s reaction.”
Cecelia let out another sigh, this one much more contented than before.
Rose rolled her eyes. They were the perfect couple, but sometimes they were nauseating.
“Excuse me! I resent that,” Cecelia cried, offended.
Rose suddenly realised that she said that out loud. “I’m sorry, Cece. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”
“As if that makes much difference,” Cecelia said.
Rose grinned sheepishly. “Well, going back to removing your clothes, you haven’t…you know, have you?”
Cecelia remained silent and looked anywhere but at her best friend.
Rose didn’t make any sound that hinted at her disappointment, anger, or whatever emotion she was feeling. In fact, Rose’s following question was even-toned and calm.
“Merlin, you weren’t supposed to find about this,” Cecelia stage-whispered. “We wanted to keep it between us. I’m still living with Caleb and Cailyn, but we’ve been talking about me moving into his flat. I’ve spent nights there. We don’t always make love. But more often than not, recently, that’s what we do.”
“Cece, it’s not my choice to make, but I would have thought you’d tell me. Aren’t I your best friend?”
Cecelia was offended. “Of course you’re my best friend! It – just – gah! The timing was never right to tell you.”
“Since when has our timing been all that great with things like this?” Rose joked lightly, referring to everything they had gone through in the past months. “Just tell me when; I’m not going to judge.”
“A few days after Al and Sc – his best friend reconciled. I think it was a Wednesday. It hurt. And it was awkward. I cried afterward.”
Rose nodded knowingly, trying to ignore the fact she had even started to mention Scorpius.
“Albus was really worried about me once I started crying. He nearly stopped when I cried out, but I wouldn’t let him. Eventually the pain subsided some. It got better. I insisted we do it again after that first time – Al was scared he’d hurt me again – but I made him. Now, it’s no problem whatsoever.”
Rose wanted to share her first time, but she knew that if she even tried to get a word out, she’d begin to get upset and she didn’t want to start that. She wished she could just get over it all. Unfortunately, this wasn’t something you just “get over.”
Cecelia had waited to see if Rose would share anything with her, but deep down, she knew Rose couldn’t and wouldn’t. Eventually, Cecelia hoped. Eventually.
Their conversation settled into familiar territory of daily occurrences and funny stories. They laughed at silly things as Cecelia detailed her first day of Curse Breaker training. Rose couldn’t wait to tell her all about her Healer training beginning the following Monday. They would have even more things to talk about.
Cecelia stayed for dinner at Ron’s insistence. He liked having the extra company. He had grown used to only having Hermione for company during the school year, but now that Rose was living at home, he always wanted the extra company she brought.
Cecelia left shortly after dinner since her brother Flooed, wondering if she could watch Chloe and Cameron for a few hours.
“I’ll see you later, alright Rose? Probably after training tomorrow.”
Cecelia gave her best friend hug. “Keep busy, love. Just a few more days before you’ll be in training yourself!”
“I will, don’t worry. Have fun with your niece and nephew!”
Cecelia smiled and stepped into the fireplace.
Cecelia disappeared and Rose was left alone. Her parents went to their offices, each with a cup of tea and wished their daughter good night. Rose retreated to her room and read Healer manuals for hours before falling asleep with the light on.
Hermione went in to check on Rose late, finding her fast asleep. Placing the book she had been reading on the nightstand and tucking Rose in, Hermione placed a kiss on her eldest’s forehead.
“Sleep well, Rosie,” Hermione murmured. Turning the lights off as she left, Hermione took a lingering look in her daughter’s direction.
Hermione left swiftly, shutting the door behind her.
Rose awoke the next morning feeling refreshed. She showered and dressed quickly, ate a small breakfast, and left before her parents woke up, writing a short note to let them know she was going to Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes for work.
It was a slow day at work, but for the first time in quite a long time, Rose couldn’t help but feel fully and truly alive. She felt whole and she didn’t know why. Nothing new had happened. Nothing exciting or remotely interesting had happened. She didn’t think that you could one day wake up and everything was alright. But today, if only for one day, she certainly was grateful for it.
Her morning shift ended and she went on her lunch break. She smiled at every passing witch or wizard on her way to one of the many cafes in Diagon Alley. The sun peaked out from behind the clouds on the crisp early autumn day. All was well.
Lunch ended and Rose returned to WWW in equally as charming spirits and sold a record amount of jokes and gags that afternoon. Uncle George commented happily at the successes of the day and even let her leave early.
Rose returned home and immediately set to work, reading about Healing.
Dinner came and went and Cecelia didn’t show up like Rose had expected her to. It was nearly eleven thirty at night when Cecelia Flooed the Weasley household.
Rose was reading in the living room and witnessed Cecelia stumble out of the fireplace with a huge grin plastered on her face.
“Oh Rose!” she cried ecstatically. “You can’t possibly guess what news I am about to tell you!”
Cecelia stood in front of Rose, her whole body atwitter with excitement.
“Well?” Rose asked, setting her book down.
“Guess!” Cecelia cried throwing her arms up.
“You said I couldn’t possibly guess what it is you want to tell me,” Rose laughed.
“Al proposed to me and I said yes!”
Rose’s face went blank as did her mind.
Nervousness began to set in on Cecelia. “Rose, please say something.”
“I – I – What do you want me to say?”
“That you’re happy for me,” Cecelia answered meekly. “That I am made the right decision. That you believe we’ll be happy.”
Swallowing proved to be difficult for Rose. Finding a way to say the words Cecelia wanted to hear was even more complicated.
“Don’t you think it may be a little premature? You’ve only been together a few months. How can you possibly know you want to be together forever now?”
“Rose, how can you say that to me? I’m your best friend!”
“Exactly, I’m your best friend and I want to make sure that you’re ready for this and that you’re not going into this without really thinking.”
Cecelia was dumbfounded. This – this was insanity. Cecelia could hardly believe her ears that her best friend didn’t want her to be happy.
“I’m not really thinking? I’m not really thinking?! I love him, Rose! I love Albus and he loves me! People in love take the leap and get married when they love each other. People in love do not push each other away when something bad happens, especially when it isn’t either of their faults! They forgive each other.”
This was outrageous. Rose found it entirely unbearable that her best friend was being so callous. And for some reason, Rose believed her words to be entirely truthful; she thought Rose was being a bitch and punishing Scorpius unnecessarily.
“I don’t need a lecture on what I should do, Cecelia,” Rose said scathingly.
Letting out a deep, angry breath, Cecelia spoke. “Fine. Then I won’t tell you anymore.”
She turned around abruptly and strode over to the fireplace without a second look.
Watching her best friend disappear in the flames, Rose felt ready to cry. She buried her head in her hands and let the tears flow because, unfortunately, she knew Cecelia was right.
And she also knew that today had started out alright, but it certainly didn’t end that way.
The next day began considerably worse than any day in the past few weeks. Calling in sick, Rose stayed in bed and didn’t even bother to read a single word of her Healing books. Instead, she kept under her covers and wallowed.
Her mum checked in on her frequently, seeing that she didn’t have to go into the Ministry that day. Hermione brought Rose lunch in bed, leaving it on her nightstand; Rose didn’t even touch it. When Ron came home from practice shortly after four, he also visited Rose, trying to get her to hop out of bed. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. He sat at her bedside for an hour, urging her to talk but she didn’t say a word. Eventually, his stomach called and he had to retreat to the kitchen.
“Hermione, I honestly don’t know what is wrong with her! Yesterday, she was having a great day. George even had to Floo me at the pitch to let me know that the old Rose seemed to be back. Nearly, that is. He amended his statement and said the true old Rose could never be back, but she was as close to as she could be. What happened between the time we went to bed and the time we woke up this morning?”
Ron was sitting at the kitchen table, his head balanced in his hands.
Hermione came up behind him a placed her hands on his shoulders and began kneading them.
“I don’t know, love. I know she stayed up late reading in the living room. It’s possible today is just a bad day. She had a good one yesterday, and now she has to suffer an awful today.”
“But, Mione, that’s not fair!”
Hermione’s hands stopped working her husband’s shoulders. She leaned forward a placed a soft kiss on the back of his neck.
“Unfortunately, life isn’t fair and we just have to deal.”
Hermione walked over to the sink and began to prepare for dinner.
“But she’s my Rosie,” Ron murmured to himself somewhat angrily as his son Flooed in.
“Hugo! What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at Hogwarts!” Ron cried, his anger dissipating as he saw his son take the seat across from him.
“Mum Flooed Neville to ask if I could talk to Rose and figure out what’s wrong with her. What’s up with her? It hasn’t even been a week since I left. She was fine then.”
Hermione turned around from the sink and the various pots and pan and utensils she had spelled to make dinner. She rubbed her hands together anxiously and sighed.
“Rose had a horrible day. She called in sick to Uncle George this morning and holed herself up in her room all day. She hasn’t eaten or said anything. Could you try to get her to talk and eat something, sweetheart?”
Sucking in a lot of air through his nose, Hugo breathed in deeply. He let it out heavily as he stood up slowly.
Before running up to Rose’s room, he kissed his mum and gave a nod in his dad’s direction.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Hugo couldn’t help but wonder what his parents would have done had he not been born.
Reaching Rose’s room, he gently rapped on the door with his knuckles before letting himself in.
“Hey Ro. You awake?”
Her room was dark; the curtains were drawn and the lights were off.
Hugo noticed she was buried under all her covers, as if she were in a cocoon. Delicately, he sat on the edge of her bed and pulled the covers down a little so he could see her face.
Her eyes were tightly shut; her face a blotchy mess; her hair absolutely chaotic.
“Rose, open your eyes and tell me what’s going on.”
Like a child, she shook her head and tore the covers back over her head.
“Rose, you’re being ridiculous and you’re acting like a child.”
The covers instantly came off. Rose, in all her messy glory, glared passionately at her brother.
“Acting like a child? I have every right to sulk and pity myself when my best friend has gotten engaged out of the fucking blue and didn’t listen to me at all when I said she might be rushing into things since she’s been with only four months and then left angry at me, basically saying that we aren’t friends anymore.”
For some reason, Hugo was expecting something more drastic, but the news that Cecelia was engaged to Al was kind of radical. He was expecting something like Scorpius had visited again or something.
“Well, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to mope some, but your moping is too extreme, Ro. Why don’t you go talk to Cecelia? Try to understand why she’s upset you said she shouldn’t get married. That’s a better solution than wallowing.”
“Says you,” Rose muttered angrily, crossing her arms in the process.
“Fine. Lose your best friend over something stupid. Cry and carry on like a fucking five year old. I’m gonna go back to Hogwarts and deal with my own rational problems.”
Hugo made a move to leave, but Rose caught his arm.
“Hugh, I’m sorry. I’m just really frustrated,” she said softly.
Hugo gave his sister a small smile. “How about instead of telling me why you’re frustrated, you tell Cecelia? Hmmm?”
Groaning, Rose let go of her brother’s arm and flopped back on her bed.
“You know, I’m really getting sick of you giving me advice, Hugh. I really am.”
Hugo chuckled. “I kinda like it, to be perfectly honest. It’s a nice change.”
So Hugo stood there, waiting for Rose to finally climb out of bed.
“Well?” Hugo asked impatiently after a few moments of no movement.
“I would get out of bed but I’m just not comfortable walking around in my lacy, barely-there knickers with you around.”
Hugo made a sound of disgust and his face crunched up with revulsion. “Yeah. A brother doesn’t need to see that. But why would you be wearing anything like that anyway? It’s not like you’ve got anyone to impress.”
Rose threw a pillow at her brother and he left rubbing his head where the pillow hit.
“Good luck Rose. You’re doing the right thing,” Hugo told her as he slipped out of her room.
“Pshah,” Rose scoffed as she climbed out of bed and threw on a pair of trousers and pulled on a jumper. Hastily tying her hair up, Rose attempted to give herself a pep-talk.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as inspirational as she had hoped. She just barely mustered up enough courage and slid on her trainers when Hugo popped his head back in.
“Are you going or not?”
“Shove off, Hugh. Can’t you tell I’m working myself up?” she barked at him.
When he didn’t leave, sarcastically, she added, “At least I’m fully dressed and rearing to go now.”
Hugo laughed and opened her door wider. “Best be on your way. The parentals are in the kitchen so you can avoid them altogether.”
Rose sighed and rolled her eyes before pushed passed her brother with a smile and headed toward the living room.
Taking the Floo, she ended up on the Grafton’s living room floor in a heap. Caleb was there, reading The Daily Prophet.
“Hello Rose,” he greeted her cheerfully.
Meekly, Rose greeted him. “Hi Caleb. Is Cecelia around?”
“Of course. She’s probably resting in her room; rough day in training. I’m sure she would enjoy seeing a friendly face. Head on up.”
She smiled and thanked Caleb, all the while laughing on the inside that he was completely unaware of the row she and Cecelia had the nightbefore.
Rose probably stood in front of Cecelia’s bedroom door for five minutes before her hand even touched the handle. Taking a deep breath, she decided to get it all over with.
A gentle rap on the door. A firm grip on the door handle. A response from the other side allowing the visitor to enter.
Slowly, Rose entered.
Cecelia just stared at her visitor. There were no words exchanged. Dead silence.
Finally, Rose spoke up.
“I came to apologise for my lack of support and being a right bitch. It wasn’t fair to go off like that. I want you to be happy, and if getting married to Al will make you happy, then I will support you fully.”
Cecelia inhaled deeply before speaking.
“Thank you. It means a lot to me, Rosie.”
Rushing over to Cecelia, Rose gave her best friend a tight hug.
“I really am happy for you, Cece. It just threw me for a loop, you understand. That was probably the furthest possible thing from my mind, you and Al getting married. It’s a bit unbelievable.”
Cecelia smiled as Rose clung to her. Giving her a friendly squeeze, Cecelia let Rose that she completely understood.
Rose let go and looked at Cecelia eagerly.
“So tell me all about the proposal. I need to know if I need to beat my cousin for being too sappy or whatever.”
Giggling and falling onto her bed, Cecelia launched into the romantic engagement.
In a few short hours, Rose and Cecelia were back on good terms and caught up with everything in each other’s life.
Rose eventually left, returning home to find her parents waiting up for her. They looked pleased that she was up and in a much better mood. They bid her goodnight and headed up to their bedroom as Rose retired to her own, anticipating a good day tomorrow.
She anticipated correctly; the next day, and the following days, were all good days. She woke up ready to face the day, not dreading a single thing. She worked at her Uncle’s store and kept a cheerful disposition. She would take her lunch break and return eager to work. She came home for dinner, helping Hermione with whatever she was making and made pleasant conversation with her parents until she retired to her room for catch-up reading in the Healing field. She had to be prepared for Monday.
And prepared she was.
Monday September 8 was yet another wonderful day for Rose.
She walked into St. Mungo’s fully equipped to begin her very first day of Healer training. It would be a tough two year run, but Rose was ready for every single moment of it.
Six months of training, another six months of apprenticeship, and then a year of full fieldwork and Rose would be a full-fledged Healer.
Head held high and confidence soaring, Rose entered the lecture room reserved for press conferences. Needless to say, she was overwhelmed by the number of people milling about.
“Bloody hell,” she whispered, pushing her way further into the room.
“That’s exactly what I said when I walked in,” a feminine voice said to her.
Startled at the fact someone had been listening to her, Rose looked around frantically.
“To your left hon,” the voice said.
Rose looked left and beside her was a friendly-looking woman roughly the same age as her.
“It’s a tight fit, all of these wanna-be Healers. Like sardines in a tin my dad would say. Only two-thirds will we here after a week; proven fact. I, however, am going to stick it out till the very end. Malena Otawa.”
The girl extended her hand.
“Hello. Rose Weasley,” Rose replied stunned, shaking Malena’s hand.
Malena smiled. “Nice to meet you.”
While everyone around them was busy chatting, the two stood in silence. Until Malena broke it.
“I’ve done this twice already. I’m twenty-two, you see, and, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to pass my examinations when it rounded graduation time. My former Healer Superiors told me to give up, as did my parents and my brothers, but third time’s the charm. I will graduate. I’ve been able to stick this whole thing out twice before; I can do it again.”
Malena said this so matter-o’-factly. Rose could hardly imagine failing to graduate once after devoting two years of her life to what would be her future profession, let alone doing it twice.
“I know you’re probably thinking ‘that’s ridiculous,’ since you’re probably one of those girls that gets everything right the first time round, but I’m bound and determined to graduate no matter how many times I have to go through this program because this is what I want to do for life. I want to save lives. Just because I am absolutely rubbish at taking examinations doesn’t mean I won’t be a fecking amazing Healer. Oh no. I’m actually quite capable; I know more than some of the Healers hired here. But, that’s the system and I just have to work it.”
Taking in Malena’s words, Rose was surprisingly inspired.
This Healer training had better be ready because it had just met its match.
The months passed quickly and Rose proved to be a capable and worthy opponent for anyone seriously hoping to work within the Healer profession. eHe
As Malena had predicted, a third of their classmates left by the end of the first week. Quite a few couldn’t stomach the footage their Superiors showed of live surgeries or operations. Some couldn’t take the pressure and the workload. Most of those who left weren’t driven enough. The other two-thirds however managed quite well in all three departments.
Rose and Malena became good friends very quickly. Malena was always ready to help Rose before she even voiced a single question (she didn’t have an abundant amount, but they certainly were vital, complicated questions that Malena always answered fully and correctly so Rose never had a need to ask her Superiors). When Malena (frequently) opposed their Healer Superiors, Rose was always there to smooth things over. Despite their Superiors’ dismay, both Rose and Malena were easily the top of their class. Their classmates were not thrilled with this, but that didn’t stop the innumerable amount of dates both were asked on.
Malena accepted these offers easily and often; she enjoyed the attention despite the fact they were usually asking just to get ahead in the Healer program. That didn’t stop her one bit from having some fun with them.
Rose didn’t accept a single offer for weeks. September passed. October passed. Mid-November, she finally conceded to one fellow trainee by the name of Derek Whitaker. They went on a handful of dates in November. He was handsome and intelligent, in more ways than just Healing, and a good laugh. He, however, reminded Rose too much of her cousin Fred in looks and demeanor and that just wouldn’t do. (Malena, however, didn’t mind one bit when he asked her out after Rose politely told him she wasn’t really interested.)
After Derek came a whole host of men who only had the opportunity to take Rose out on a single date each. They were all fit, brilliant, and amusing but Rose couldn’t bring herself to believe that she could see herself with any of them. Malena thought she was absolutely mad, but Malena didn’t know the whole story yet.
Just around mid-terms in late November, when they had a few days off to relax and revise, Rose brought Malena back to her home to get her to see a bit of her life since Malena could barely believe that her parents were the Ron and Hermione Weasley. (The fact that Rose’s last name was Weasley didn’t set off any red lights in Malena’s head.)
“So this is the infamous Weasley household! It’s beautiful,” Malena commented as she wandered into the foyer. “It’s so warm and inviting. I love it!”
Rose laughed. “Well, it’s just home to me.”
Gazing upon the pictures adorning the walls, Malena was amazed.
“Oh! Is this you and your brother?” Malena asked pointing to a particular shot taken the morning of Hugo’s first shipment off to Hogwarts. He was grinning like nobody’s business as Rose casually stood beside him, nudging him every so often.
Rose nodded. “Yeah. Me and Hugo. I was a third year when he started. He’s a sixth year now. Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, huge flirt, jokester extraordinaire.”
Malena laughed as she moved on, landing on Rose’s graduation picture.
Rose didn’t frequently look at the pictures her mother framed and was a bit surprised to see that this one was still up.
Rose couldn’t place when it was taken – it had been such a whirlwind – but it was of her, Cecelia, Al, and Scorpius. It was clearly a couple shot. Al was pulling Cecelia into his arms, placing a kiss on her forehead as Cece laughed without abandon. Scorpius had his arm around Rose’s waist and she was looking up at him before leaning up to give him a kiss.
“Rose Weasley, you’ve been holding out on me! Who is this fit blondie in this photo with you? And who are these other people? They’re absolutely adorable!”
“Well the couple is my best friend from Hogwarts Cecelia and her now-fiancé, my cousin Al. They’re getting married in December and both of them are driving me bonkers with all their planning and dress appointments and food tastings.”
Malena looked at Rose expectantly. “And this blonde fittie? Who is he and why haven’t I heard about him before?”
“How about we go into the living room?” Rose suggested.
Eyes widening, Malena instantly understood this was a tale that was long and upsetting.
After roughly an hour of in-depth retelling, Malena now knew Rose’s full story. She understood her reluctance to acknowledge the variety of boys that were throwing themselves at her feet and her sometimes distant, far-off look.
“And I’m still not ready to talk to him. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.”
“Honey, I’m surprised to see you functioning as well as you are. Had it been anyone else, even me, I don’t think I’d be out in public for groceries let alone devoting myself to my studies. You, my dear, are something to aspire to.”
“Sometimes I’m not so sure about that. I tend to just take my life day by day, minute for minute.”
Reassuringly, Malena grasped Rose’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Rose, sometimes that’s all you can try to do to deal.”
AN: R & R lovelies!
Happy New Year!
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