Chapter 26 : XXVI - Onwards
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Rose had never felt any physical pain as bad as this before. The only times she had ever felt so damaged were James’ and Scorpius’ death and while they felt like her soul was being destroyed, this was different. This was the slow ripping of her body from inside out.
“Come on Rosie,” came her mother’s voice, “you can do it!” Rose knew she couldn’t. After the loss of Scorpius, she was not strong enough for anything anymore; especially having a baby. She could feel she was in the presence of her family and friends; she could feel their warmth and hear their gentle voices, urging her to go on.
But then there was the darkness. That was so much more appetising. It reminded her of her forgotten lover, the stolen embraces, the sweet kisses and the more she held onto it, the more she wanted it. She wanted the darkness now. She needed it.
The pain was building and there were excited squeals around her as she realised the baby had just arrived. She could hear its cry as Julia’s voice wafted her way, “oh, it’s a little boy!” Rose could vaguely hear the clapping, but not much. She felt tired, she felt drained and suddenly she heard the buzz of panicked voices.
“I don’t understand! What’s wrong?”
“Rose, can you hear me?”
“Mrs Weasley, please calm yourself!”
“But that’s my little girl!”
She took one breath as she let herself freefall into the darkness, beyond anything she had known before. Life and death would no longer stop them. They were forever bound together by love and he was calling her home.
When she opened her eyes it was no longer dark. In fact, her eyes were flooded with soft white light and tingling warmth. Wherever she was she knew she liked it. There was a thick white fog hovering around her, it embraced her and kissed her skin gently. She could just see through it as she could see her own pale hand hovering in front of her.
She looked down at herself. She was dressed in the hospital gown she had been wearing before she left. Before she died...
Suddenly something registered in her brain. If she was dead from the complicated childbirth then he would know and he would be here. She knew he would have come for her, to take her to wherever they went now.
Wildly looking for him she found herself gazing up above her. She could see beautiful gold arches as if in a cathedral. Maybe this was a place to feel settled and reflect on oneself. Looking back down again she turned her head and then standing at a distance from her was Scorpius.
She did not shout his name. Her feet were doing all the talking for her as they sped her towards him. The exertion that she would usually feel from running was gone. She felt as if she was flying past everything and straight into his arms.
She felt them close around her and she took in his familiar scent. She nearly screamed with joy. After being taken away from him so cruelly they were reunited and Rose thought she could never let go of him now. They stayed like that for a moment, wrapped in each other’s arms until Rose choked out a few words.
“Scorpius,” she said, her words compressed against his chest, “is it really you?” She was so happy she wanted to cry, together at last! There would be no more secrecy, just the two of them, bound together for eternity. “Yes, it’s really me,” he said, stroking one hand through her long red hair.
“Why did you do it?” she whispered, unborn tears choking her for a moment. That was one question she had not been able to answer. How and why had Scorpius stood up to the Heir and won? He laughed at this question, not because he thought it stupid, but that Rose was still bound by earthly memories.
“I had dreams,” he answered, “prophetic ones. Dreams that told me that James was to kill the Heir. Once I killed James however, I took his place. It was my destiny, just as it was my destiny to fall in love with you.” Rose smiled for a moment, whereas Scorpius did believe everyone had a predestined path, she certainly didn’t.
“I was never destined to love you,” she smiled, “I chose to love you because you were perfect for me.” She kept hold of him tightly at which point Scorpius said, “I know about the baby.” At this Rose’s smile faltered, their child would be an orphan; although he would be raised by a loving family he would still never have parents.
“The baby will be alright, won’t he?” asked Rose anxiously, “I mean, all alone without us?” Scorpius smiled sadly as he broke away from her. His next sentence seemed as if it had been plucked out of the air; “What can you see?” Rose was puzzled for a moment. Surely she could see the same thing as Scorpius.
“I can see mist,” she said looking around her. Lifting her head she peered up at the ceiling, attempting to make out the golden arches she had seen before; they were gone. Puzzled, Rose looked back at Scorpius before saying, “there was a ceiling up there, with golden arches,” she paused for a moment to gesture above her head, “but it’s gone now.”
At that statement Scorpius’ light hearted facade seemed to break. He looked down at himself as if he was analysing his own skin and then looked back at Rose. “Just mist,” he asked his voice throaty, “nothing else. Is that all you see?” Rose nodded urgently. She was confused; was she meant to see more in this afterlife?
“Rose,” he said sadly, “you’re not dead.” Rose stood frozen for a moment. Not dead, how was that possible? She was standing here, staring at a man who had been dead for nine months. She had joined him, how was it possible that she was still alive? “I don’t understand,” gabbed Rose, “we’re both here. I can’t be alive! I can see you!”
Scorpius sighed for a moment before saying, “you can’t see limbo can you? It hasn’t materialised. If it had you may have had a choice, but as you can’t even catch a glimpse of it...you’re meant for other things Rose.” Rose was too shocked to cry as she burst out, “but it’s so unfair! We’ve just found each other again!” He kissed her forehead unbearably tenderly and wrapped his strong arms around her, embracing her passionately. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, “but you will have our son. He can’t be alone.”
Rose knew he was right. She could not be selfish, not when her baby needed her. She wondered whether other women had had to make a choice like this before; their lover or their child? Rose did not know how she would summon the strength to make this decision, but she knew she had to. Burying her head in his chest she took in several deep breaths. How long would she live? When would she see Scorpius again?
“What are you going to call him?” asked Scorpius gently, whispering into her mass of unruly curls. Rose did not hesitate before she answered, “isn’t obvious? I’m going to name him after his brave daddy. He will be Scorpius Malfoy, just like you.” She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling with newly born tears. Stroking his cheek she gazed at him, absorbing in his image for the last time.
“I don’t know if I can do it,” she whispered, as the tears rolled down her cheeks, “I’m not strong enough. I want to be with you.” Taking Rose’s hand, Scorpius kissed her fingers before taking it and placing it on his heart. “I’ll always be with you Rose, in spirit.” Then sublime, angelic music seemingly seeped from the mist, swirling around them, lulling them both into emotional calm for one heavenly moment.
“I’m being called,” whispered Scorpius sadly, “I’ve got to go.” He dropped her hand and stepped away from her, symbolically the furthest he had ever been from her. His eyes looked moist; it was obviously painful for him too. “Please,” said Rose, “please, don’t go yet, just a little while longer.” He couldn’t even bring himself to smile this time as he said simply, “I can’t.”
The lump rose threateningly in Rose’s throat as she gazed at him longingly. Why did it have to end this way? She said the words that had been burning her throat as the conversation continued, “I love you.” He nodded, almost knowingly. Did death bring you wisdom as well as distance? “I love you too.”
He turned away from her and his figure slowly began to dissolve in the mist. Rose began to sob openly; she knew this had to happen but that knowledge did nothing the stem the abhorrent pain. Scorpius turned his head back for a moment and said kindly, “when it’s your turn, I’ll be here, waiting for you, so you won’t be alone.”
He was becoming translucent, his blonde hair mixing with the white of the mist. “Where are you going?” cried Rose in desperation, longing to hold onto him for one more moment. His answer was simple as he curled his mouth into a gentle smile, “Onwards.” Rose reached out her hands as he seemed to dissolve into nothingness, slipping through her fingers once again.
He was gone. Rose watched where he had been standing for a moment before the rest of limbo followed his lead. Everything seemed to be coming weaker, as if the fabric of this world was slowly ripping at the seams. Her last glimpse of the ceiling saw it disintegrating into pieces and falling slowly towards her. Her feet no longer seemed to be on solid ground as the substance of this world fell away and she tumbled down into the darkness as it engulfed her, drowning her as it had done so many times before.
“You should see the headlines,” came Cecelia’s voice rather distinctly, “they’re all queuing up for a picture of this baby, the story everything!” She was whispering rather urgently, as if it was an almost taboo subject. “I bet Rita Skeeter would sell her wand for this story!” There was a quiet titter of laughter as Albus butted in.
“Well, who wouldn’t? This will be one of the big stories of the century. Two enemies children fall in love, it would make a great play,” mused Albus. There was some tutting on Cecelia’s part before she said stuffily, “It’s already a play, it’s called Romeo and Juliet.” There was a long pause; it seemed as if there was confusion on Albus’ part.
Rose heard all this but she chose to keep her eyes closed. For one moment she could savour that moment with Scorpius while her friends spoke of the outside world. “I don’t think Rose will want pictures taken of him,” came Julia’s voice “after all, this is bound to resurface memories for her, you know, memories of him...” Her voice trailed off and there was another pause, awkward unlike the first one.
“Let’s not talk about this now,” came Uther’s gruff voice, “it’s not just her who it is a sensitive topic for. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is Rosie getting better.” There was another silence, but it was brief as Julia said, “she is going to get better, isn’t she?” This was followed immediately as Cecelia said defiantly, “of course she is, it’s no good scaring us!”
Rose opened her eyes and peered up at them. Two sat on either side of her bed, Cecelia and Albus on one, grasping each other by the hand and Julia and Uther on the other, not quite looking at each other. Julia was the first to notice Rose and she screamed happily, “Rosie, thank heavens! You’re awake!” She jumped on her, and Rose found herself choking on her friend’s hair.
“Rosie!” laughed Albus, “you’re alive! You gave us quite a scare there!” Julia jumped away from Rose letting Albus take her place. The affection was a comfort and as Albus moved away, Cecelia moved in to embrace her, “Rosie, don’t you ever do anything like that ever again!” Rose hugged Cecelia back as heartily as she could.
After Cecelia released Rose, Rose looked expectantly at Uther, but after he failed to move Rose turned to them all, “how long have I been out?” They all looked at each other as if they were scared to say, “a week,” said Cecelia eventually as Julia plumped up her friend’s pillows. Rose sat up sharply, “a week! My little boy has been without his mum for a whole week!”
“Do you want to see him?” asked Julia, “I’ll go and get him if you do, you’re mum’s looking after him.” Rose nodded enthusiastically as Julia got up and jogged out of the whitewashed ward, leaving Albus, Cecelia and Uther with Rose. “So,” asked Cecelia jokingly, “what was it like being comatose, fun?”
Those words instantly brought floods of memories of her time with Scorpius to the front of her mind. Her eyes prickled with tears but she forced them back, looking at Cecelia and lying artlessly, “it was like being asleep, very comfortable.” There was a biting silence for a moment before Rose said half heartedly, “so, got any food for me?”
Albus immediately threw a packet of Bertie Botts in her direction and she consumed them ravenously. She had not noticed how hungry she was. Suddenly there was a loud bang as the door slammed open, revealing a flustered looking Hermione Weasley, followed by Julia with a small bundle in her arms. “Rose!” shouted her mum, running towards her and flinging her arms around her daughter’s shoulders.
“Thank god! You scared me so much!” Rose patted her mother on the back until she broke away, leaving Rose to gaze at the bundle in Julia’s arms. Her friend tenderly passed the little boy to Rose and she instantly felt the urge to protect him. He had pale skin, Rose’s colour skin, but the curly hair that sprouted from his head was a pale blonde. The features that attracted Rose the most were his eyes, the same silvery grey as his father’s.
It was almost as if a part of Scorpius was still with her in the beating heart of his son. Rose seemed to absorb her sons figure, drinking in every slight detail. Her motherly instinct had kicked in and she had to stop herself crying. This child would depend on her for everything and she took up the job wholeheartedly.
“What are you going to call him?” asked Cecelia enthusiastically. Rose hesitated for a moment as her eyes flicked over to Uther. He looked a broken man. He seemed haggard and tired and the usual sparkle in his eyes was gone, as if he were dead. Rose turned her eyes back to Cecelia before saying, “Scorpius, Scorpius Malfoy. His father was such a brave man and it will be an honour for him.”
There was a silence, as if no one knew how to take this news. Rose’s mum was the first to speak, “that’s lovely dear,” she said, stroking her daughter’s hair gently. There was a sense of relief for Rose, she was sure she would greet some opposition to the name. Suddenly there was a loud squawk that made everyone jump. Albus pulled his watch out his pocket, it was screaming at him.
“Got to go, I said I would go help Gran with something. Coming Cecelia?” Cecelia gave him a quick nod before taking his hand and giving Rose a little wave, she hopped off her stool and followed Albus out of the ward. “Oh, how could we be so awful!” said Hermione Weasley suddenly, “we’re all hogging you and there will be so many people happy to know that you’re awake!”
Scurrying off the spread the news, Rose turned to Julia who smiled at her gently. “I’m sorry Rose, I have to go too, I promised Barry I’d go tell him the second you were awake. I won’t be long.” She tapped Rose’s hand as she shot a quick look at Uther. Rose sighed, she knew Julia had nowhere to go, but she thought that Rose and Uther needed to talk and there was no time like the present.
After her curvy figure had disappeared around the door, Rose turned to Uther. They looked at each other as if they were frozen, suspended in each other’s eyes. This was the most terrible she had ever felt; Uther had loved her and she had betrayed him. She thought it would be different if she hated him, but she didn’t. She loved him as much as she did before.
The conversation did not start like Rose expected it would. Uther just stared at her, a look of sadness in his eyes. She was the one who had to start, “Uther,” she said gently, “I...I...don’t know what to say.” Rose could feel the tears coming to her eyes again but she felt no sympathy from Uther. His voice cracked when he finally spoke, “if you had just told me you loved him. I would have let you go Rose instead of stringing me along like that.”
“I would have done,” said Rose sadly, “but I still loved you, even if it wasn’t the way I loved Scorpius. I didn’t want to hurt you. My parents would have been so disappointed.” It didn’t look as if Uther was paying much attention until he blurted out, “you loved me?” Rose watched him for a moment, not sure what to say, “I still do, it’s just there was so much pressure on that relationship that I didn’t think I did love you, but I do.”
Uther seemed confused for a moment until Rose said, “I want to be friends with you Uther, I want to be part of your life. I just don’t know if you’re ever going to trust me again.” She had only just noticed how heavily she was crying and she wiped the tears away gently. Uther gazed at her gently, then at the baby in her arms, “I still love you Rose, despite everything that’s happened.”
Rose gave him a gentle smile before saying, “well, we could try to be friends I guess.” Nodding, Uther gave her a small grin before saying, “just one thing, where exactly is this relationship going?” Rose looked at him, grinning at him in spite of herself. The only thing she could think to say was the last thing Scorpius had said to her, “Onwards.”
A/N: So, its finished! I hope you all enjoyed it! I just want to thank everyone who has favourited and written reviews, they are really encouraging. Please review and tell me what you thought of this chapter or the whole thing!
So, I've still got Legendary my founders fic on the go - please read it if you liked this one - and I've just started to write my new Andromeda/Ted story which will hopefully be in a similar vein to this only with a happier ending!
Once again thank you so much - Katti
NEW NEWS :) I have decided to write a sequel to this story called "Then I Defy You, Stars" please keep tuned in if you want to hear more from Rose and Scorpius.