Chapter 13 : The Crossroads
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I could hear it everywhere. There was a merciless, unforgiving clock ticking each second of Scorpius by.
Nothing was enough. No matter how much I kissed him, no matter how much I touched him or held him, it wasn’t enough. Three weeks was nothing.
Three weeks came. And three weeks went.
We had spent every second possible together. He sat up all night talking with me. We must have kissed a thousand times. I spent hours just looking at him, memorizing every line of his face.
He had pretended to be strong for me. He had pretended he was going to be okay and that everything would go as planned for us. But he couldn’t hide the raw fear I saw in his eyes. He just couldn’t.
Scorpius was going into war. He could very well die. I was going to have to stay here, hoping and praying he was okay every second of every day.
Where had our three weeks gone? The recruiter was due to the school any minute. I sat with him on the stairs as we waited in the front hall, clutching his arm. He had no expression. He simply stared at the doors ahead of us, waiting for the end to come.
Then he turned to me. I looked up at him and his eyes darted down to the ground. “Rose...” he whispered.
“Y-yeah?” I asked, my voice quivering.
“I’ve spent the last three weeks thinking about how much I love you. And how I want to marry you someday. I’ve thought about our life together. We’d live in a little house in the country. We would eat dinner together every night and then clean up together. We would go to bed and talk about our days until we fell asleep. I would always kiss you goodnight. We would have beautiful kids that have your eyes and tell them the story of how we met until they’re absolutely sick of it. We would have a swing outside where we could sit and watch the sunset in the summer. And all these things I’ve been thinking of seem so tangible, and so reachable, that it makes me think I’m invincible. It makes me think I can’t possibly die when I have a future like that waiting for me. But that’s a lie.”
Tears spilled down my cheeks and my chest ached as he grabbed my hands in his.
“If it’s meant to be, I’ll be back,” he whispered. “And then I’m gonna buy a ring and marry you, and we’re going to get the house and the swing and have as many kids as you want together.”
Time stopped for a second as I looked at him. I suddenly remembered when Mum and I would watch those cheesy Muggle movies where the guy and girl, high school sweethearts, swore they were headed for marriage and broke up a few months later. I swore to myself I would never be that naïve.
But somehow... this was so different. I could see it. I could see the kids. I could see the swing. I could see the house. I could see everything; it felt so real to be with him. I imagined growing old with him and slow dancing to our favorite song in some retirement home on the coast.
Did those naïve lovers have a future like that? Did they feel what I felt at this exact moment? Did it burn through their veins? Did it course through their body with every pump of their hearts? I don’t think it did.
Scorpius was looking at me expectantly when I finally came back to reality. He looked like he was afraid I was going to say I didn’t want to marry him. I drew a shaky breath.
“You’re perfect. It’s perfect. I can see it,” was all I could get in before he grabbed me and kissed me. His hands clamped onto the sides of my face and he kissed me urgently. I wrapped my hands around his wrists and let myself drift to that happy place he always managed to bring me to.
He finally pulled away as he heard footsteps outside the door. He grabbed my hands and looked deep into my eyes, channeling every single bit of my attention.
“Be strong for me. I love you. I’ll be thinking of you every single second. I’ll write every day,” he slipped something into my hand. My hands closed tightly around a small envelope. My eyes filled with tears as I slipped the picture of me I’d brought for him from my pocket and folded his fingers around it.
“Don’t forget me,” I whispered.
“Never,” he whispered back.
“I love you, S-Scorpius.”
He smiled at me tenderly, cocking his head and stroking the side of my face. “I love you too, Rose. You’ll be seeing me.”
He kissed the top of my head and got up just as the door opened. A woman in an impressive army uniform walked through the door.
“Mr. Scorpius?” she asked. He nodded as he slung his bag over his shoulder.
“Come with me, please.” She started to turn away when she saw me on the steps. I knew what I must look like and I saw her tough expression soften a bit.
“May I ask who this young woman is?”
Scorpius grinned proudly. “That is my beautiful girlfriend, soon to be fiancé.”
I laughed a little through my tears. The tiniest trace of a smile appeared on the recruiter’s face. “Why don’t you meet me outside in a minute,” she suggested gently, then closed the door behind her.
I ran to him and jumped into his arms before he even had the chance to blink. “I love you. I’ll miss you. I’ll be seeing you soon,” I whispered. He held me tightly and I could tell he was crying.
“You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me,” he whispered shakily, kissing me tenderly on the lips. After a few seconds of holding each others’ gaze, we let go and he walked to the door.
He paused, turned around and looked at me, smiled half-heartedly, then closed the door behind him.
I hit the floor.
I didn’t think it was possible for your heart to actually, physically hurt. But that notion was definitely proved true as I clutched at my chest and laid on the cold, unforgiving floor.
You knew, didn’t you. You knew the second the door closed I would fall apart. And you didn’t – wait.
I propped myself up and stared at the envelope in my hands. Hands shaking, eyes stinging, heart aching, I opened it.
Dear lovely, beautiful Rose-
Don’t cry, my love. Crying doesn’t help. We’ll see each other again; this I promise to you. And I can keep that promise, because I know that we will be reunited in the end; whether in life or in heaven. Don’t shed your tears at the thought of us meeting in heaven being our fate. I’m so happy to have met you, and I feel deep down that we are not done. I’ll be thinking of you every single second. I’ll be picturing your face and remembering the sound of your voice and the way you always bit your lip when you were unsure about something. I noticed that you didn’t bite your lip when I talked about marrying you. I’d say that is a very promising sign. Rose... I love you. I always will love you. And I’ll send my love through letters like these, and whenever we get sad and miss each other we can read these words and remember.
I’m kissing you. Right now. Your eyes are closed and you look beautiful. I’m kissing you as I write these words; I can taste your lips and I can smell your perfume all over me. And even though in reality, I’m sitting in the Common Room late at night, I’m kissing you. I have memorized kissing you. And when I close my eyes, I’ll be kissing you. When I close my eyes, I’ll be stroking your hair. And when I fall asleep, your face will be in every single dream.
Or something romantic like that. My love, my heart, my sky... don’t miss me too much. I’ll be there with you. There’ll be no reason to miss me.
Hold onto this letter. Read it when you’re sad, and remember how I don’t want you to cry. Because I’ll know you’re crying. You know I will. I know you’re crying right now. So stop, my love. Stop it for my sake.
I love you. I’ll miss you terribly. Be strong for me, baby. We can make it through this.
Much, much, much, much, much love-
P.S. I knew right when I saw you that something was going to happen. I knew it. I was so afraid to tell you, to approach you. I will never, ever forget that moment in time where I looked at you and knew. Never.
* * * *
A/N Author's Note: Hello everyone! I am SO SORRY for my horribly long leave of absence! Nothing much happened in this chapter, I know, but I needed a transition into the grittier parts of the story and this was it. I really just want to fast-forward to the good part but you all must be patient as must I. :)
Next chapter will be up hopefully soon as I enjoy my lovely break of spring! :)
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