By the time he had awoken from his own thoughts, he was alone in the clearing and the sun was beginning to set behind the trees. He snorted as he realised the irony of the situation. Sighing, he straightened in his chair. Pain shot up his back as he struggled to adjust his seating position. The throbbing did not ease as he manoeuvred the wheelchair towards the exit of clearing. He had been here too long. There was no point in staying now, it would not fix anything, and even if it could he doubted things between the two of them could be fixed. There was too much hurt and anger between them that had festered and grown over time. There was nothing, not even her rising from her final resting place that could fix what was and has always been broken. But it didn’t matter, because she was gone.
His Rose was gone.
He had to get out of there; even from beyond the grave she was driving him insane. He slowly began to make his way to the car that was silently waiting for him about a mile away from the clearing. Every jolt of the wheelchair made his back ache just that little bit more. How long had they waited for him? Three, maybe four hours? He did not know or care for that matter. The sinking sun was now bathing the clearing in a soft orange glow. Beams of fading light sparkled around the forest as the reflected off the frames of the pictures of her. One offending beam reflected right into his eye. He cursed aloud. If that eye wasn’t already damaged, it would be now. It would be just another ailment to add to what seemed to be a never ending list. He turned in his wheelchair around to glare at the picture. She was gone and she would still not leave him alone, still she could not let him be. She always had to have the last word, always had to have the last bloody say in everything. She had once described herself as persistent and determined, though he much preferred to describe her as demanding and annoying.
She was young in the picture, only four or perhaps five years old. Despite the quality of the aging photograph he could still see her clearly. She was wearing a red and white polka dot dress. It was loosely fitting; probably a hand me down of some sort, with puffed out sleeves that gathered just above her elbow. The bottom of the dress hung limply, finishing just below her knee; the lace frilling that hung from the hem was starting to fray, probably with age.
She looked horrible.
He would never have been allowed to wear hand me downs in his home, let alone in public. He doubted his parents would have even understood the concept. It was obvious she came from a family of ‘muggle lovers’. This was the influence of the outside world. No self respecting wizarding family would ever allow themselves to be portrayed in such a manner. He came from a pureblood family that still believed in the traditions and values of old; pride, power and money. Appearances always came first; always.
She was running around like a deranged animal in the photograph. She had no poise, no grace, no – class. She was smiling too, though she really shouldn’t have been as she was missing two of her front teeth and the gaping hole in the middle of her mouth was not the most attractive sight. Her hair was unkempt and all over the place, a stray twig or leaf stuck in the pile of knotty chaos. A little boy; her brother was chasing after her. She cackled hideously as she hid behind a tree while he attempted to find her. The old man shook his head. She was so wild and naive and innocent.
She was everything he was not.
He couldn’t remember a time when he had been allowed to be – a child. His family had suffered greatly throughout the second war and it had taken and would continue to take many years of grovelling and generous monetary donations to restore and rebuild their family back to the prestige and power that it once held. His family had vowed to let nothing get in the way of their climb back to aristocracy. This meant no temper tantrums, no public outburst, no crazy fun filled birthday parties and effectively, no childhood for Scorpius Malfoy. From the age he could talk he had been treated like an adult. He dressed like an adult, ate like an adult and lived like an adult. He had no fun, no life and no friends.
No. He had one friend.
He remembered the first time he ever met her. It must not have been long after the photograph had been taken as the cavernous hole in her mouth had recently been replaced by equally bad buck teeth. He laughed as he remembered. She had been wearing that god awful dress.
It had been at the Ministry. Both their fathers were officials there; his in the Department of International Magical Cooperation and hers in Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. It was a Sunday. His mother was away for the weekend so his father was forced to take him into work with him. They had met in the elevator. It had been raining outside and she was wearing yellow galoshes and a yellow mackintosh. It just made her look even more ridiculous.
They had entered the elevator after his father and he had. He watched his father curtly nod towards his college and eager to make him proud, he did the same. The gesture went unnoticed by his father, but not by her. She had looked him at up and down once or twice then stopped and stared curiously at his face. As if she should be staring at him. He was not the one who looked like an overgrown Christmas decoration.
She continued to stare at him for the remainder of the elevator ride. He had not felt so uncomfortable in all his short life and he had never been so happy to hear the elevator announce that they had arrived at his father’s floor. Though his relief was short lived, as apparently her father’s floor and his father’s floor were one and the same.
She left first.
He watched as her father took her hand. It had been strange and awkward for him to see displays of affection; especially in public. It was something he had never witnessed, let alone felt. Even on the first day he met her, he knew that she represented something unusual. He may have only been young, but he understood the concept of social class. She was different, therefore she was beneath him and not worthy of his time. She was odd and foreign. She was an opposing force. But he was attracted. She was nothing like he had ever experienced before. She was so peculiar that he could not help but feel intrigued and genuinely curious about her.
They left the elevator briefly after she did, but it seemed they could not be rid of her. Their father’s offices were located at the same end of the floor. Though, this time it was his turn to watch her. Usually he would enjoy going to his father’s office. Though, he would admit that it was not the most joyous of places, but it was somewhere different. It was somewhere where he could escape the confides of his wing in the manor and loose himself in a world of fantasy. He particularly enjoyed walking down the hallways looking at all the portraits hanging on the walls and talking to the statues that lined the halls. But that day he had no time for that. Today he only had time for her. He watched her and her father ahead of him; they were still holding hands but she was – skipping and singing at the top her voice.
She was skipping and singing down the hall in her ugly red dress with her ugly yellow raincoat and gumboots on. Had she not pride? No Dignity? Why did her father not stop her, did he not understand the social repercussions that would occur if they were to be seen? This was a government building that was frequented by numerous important people. People did not behave in this way. Especially, not here. It was not done, not the proper thing to do. When people were in public, they were on show, how they represent themselves was how they represent their family. It was what he had always been taught. Did her father wish people to see their family as uncultured and rampant? Her behaviour and her father’s for allowing her to act in such a way were irresponsible and – childish.
The old man leant back in his chair. It was amazing to think that on the first day he had met her she had made him question who he was and everything he had known up until that point. He wished he had known then what he knew know. If he had known she would turn his world upside down and inside out time and time again he would never have gone after her that day. He would have stayed away. He would have let her be and continued to look at her differently like he had been taught.
It was all her fault.
She had changed his life.
From their first meeting in the elevator at the ministry she had changed his life. She was so true to herself, even then. Her aura was so commanding that he could not help but be sucked in. He had been hers ever since that day.
The worst part was she didn’t even realise the power she had over him.
Maybe if she had, things would have been different
When they had arrived at his father’s office, he had been directed to a chair and told to sit. This was usual, but if he waited patiently until his father was absorbed into his work he could slip away quite easily. Normally he would wander, but today he was going to find her. He had to speak to her, though for reasons he knew not of.
Her father’s office had not been that hard to find. But she was harder. He looked for her for an hour before giving up and heading back towards his own father’s office. He could not risk being gone any longer, his father may decide to leave at any moment and he did not wish to face the consequences if his father found out where he had been.
But there she was.
Slumped against the wall just outside his father’s door. She looked bored, and snorted as he looked at her appearance with distaste. Even at five she had spunk. A few minutes into their awkward standoff she stood. At face height her presence was more commanding. This is it. It was time to tell her what he thought of her behaviour from before in the hallway. He would tell her that she was disgracing her family and the wizarding world. He would tell her that it is people like her that have destroyed everything his family has ever worked for.
But she spoke.
She said one word, and in a second he had lost himself completely. He wanted to tell her what he thought of her. But he couldn’t. Though he tried to deny and resist he was entranced by her. She oozed enigma and he could not help but be caught up in her spell. The bravado of seconds before had now disappeared as he stared at the oddity before him. She really was ugly and her sense of clothing left a lot to be desired, yet she represented something different; something new. And despite the a fact that everything he had known about his life up until that point screamed in protest, he wanted to know more. He wanted to know more about –