It was precisely three o’clock in the afternoon; the large clock on the mantle informed her. Rose was sitting in the cozy window seat, as she had been for the majority of the last two days, reading a book with a cup of tea. It wasn’t beautiful outside; it was a grey sort of average. Rose was feeling particularly cramped, and was debating going for a walk.
Everyone else was pretty much doing the same thing. They were either napping, lazing, playing cards, scheming, reading, or, in her father and Uncle Harry’s case, working quietly on something in the study. Nana Molly was trying to teach the Potters’ cook how to make real chicken soup, or something like that. Dom was asleep on the couch, her mouth hanging open, and Roxie and Lucy were painting their nails on the floor. Molly was sitting across the room, absent mindedly playing with the fringe on the carpet, which made Rose wonder what she was thinking about. Suddenly wanting to get out and do something, Rose slid off the window seat and set her tea down on top of her book.
“Anyone for a stroll?”
Dom continued sleeping, her long veela hair spilling everywhere. Roxie and Lucy glanced up, shook their heads in unison, and went back to their nails. Molly jumped slightly, looking nervous, and shook her head. Sometimes she reminded rose of a much freaked out, paranoid, bunny.
“Sorry, Rose. Hate the snow.”
Rose waved her hand, not at all displeased, and went to get dressed.
After she had found her boots, jacket, gloves and hat, and had explained to her mother that she was going for a walk and would be back before dinner, Rose was standing outside of the Potter home, hand shielding her eyes in a bit of glaring sunshine. There was definitely a large black cloud in the distance, but Rose thought it would probably drift the other way. On the other hand, things didn’t exactly seem to be going how Rose thought they would. Oh well.
Setting off, she listened to the crunch of the snow under her boots. About fifteen minutes later, Rose remembered that she had forgotten her wand, which was sitting on the windowsill by her book. Oh well. She probably wouldn’t need it.
The scenery was changing slightly, into more of the rustic oak scrub trees and tall, spindly, skeleton trees. It was becoming more rustic, with big jagged rocks sticking out here and there across the occasional large, rolling fields. It was a little windy after a while, but Rose still felt amazingly peaceful. It was so nice to be away from people just for a while, only accompanied by her footsteps.
And then, it was amazing how fast those clouds rolled in. A while later, it started snowing like crazy. It was a blizzard of white and stinging wind. It was heavy snow, making everything thick and dense. It also made it so that you couldn’t see anything, and Rose became quickly lost.
Panic had never come quickly to Rose. She could usually find some logic to work around her fear, some way to feel better. And even if the panic was reasonable, and she decided that she did have reason to worry, she still wasn’t really too worried. What was the worst that can happen? She supposed that this came from her odd comfort with death. She didn’t want to die, obviously, but she didn’t fear it. It seemed something that everyone had to do eventually.
However, freezing to death would not be a pleasant way to die. The cold gnawed at her whole body, it seemed. Her feet were wet, freezing, and almost numb from the slushy snow, her face felt chapped and cut from the wind, her eyes felt frozen shut, her fingers…she couldn’t feel them anyway. This was the kind of thing that she panicked about. The kind that you could sit and think about for a while. Her breath sounded shaky and jagged, like there was snow interfering in her lungs. Pieces of flyaway hair were frozen to her face, which was probably frozen in an ugly, gargoyle like grimace. Her ears felt tingly, even under her thick wool hat.
Rose tried to stay calm. She stumbled to huddle underneath the closest tree, waiting. After perhaps ten minutes of slow burning agony, the white out calmed slightly. She could barely stand. She thought for a moment that maybe she would die right here, frozen and alone. But then, she smelled it. Smoke. After a moment, she saw it, rising above the thicket of trees, just a shade darker than the snowy sky. Hope shot through her and pushed her muscles to work, and she was stumbling across the thicket of trees, as close to that beautiful smoke as she could get.
Gasping, she realized she was in the back of a huge estate. The side she was coming closest to looked like the back of a looming, gray mansion. Its windows reflected uninvitingly.
It was the most wonderful thing she had ever seen.
The wind still howling, she stumbled through snow covered hedges and around what could be a fountain, perhaps, towards the possibly warm grey building. The smoke was coming from a chimney, and when she looked she saw that there were several other chimneys with that lovely smoke seeping out. She realized that this mansion must be huge, and amidst her cold, she longed to see the front.
Running up a main pathway, she came to two big back doors. Locked. Not panicking, but the cold making it hard to think, she looked for another door. With a gasp of relief, she saw a smaller, more modest door that blended in with the wall, and was hidden mostly behind the big hedge. Hopefully a back door. Stumbling towards it, she nearly fell on the door, knocking as hard as she could with the side of her hand.
For a second, she feared that no one would be there. She collapsed against the wall by the door, the wind still howling around her, blowing the snow off the hedges and onto her face. She didn’t even hear the door open over the wind.
Immediate relief washed over her. She couldn’t move, but it was a motherly voice. She could tell.
“Oh, good Lord!” Rose heard again over the howling wind. Rose tried to see the woman, who it was. She was a big blur, short, and squat, with an apron on. Rose pushed against the wall, and managed to get up. Arms grabbed her under her armpits and dragged her inside. Immediate warmth. Rose heard herself sigh. Opening her eyes a little better, she saw she was in a wide, dimly lit kitchen, with a roaring fire in one corner. With a little help, she stumbled over to the fire, and sat down on the floor next to it. The woman’s hands let go immediately, and she realized that she was shivering uncontrollably. She was shaking.
She heard more cursing, and then some clattering. The cook woman was bustling around, doing something. She turned back to Rose and helped her to her feet. She pulled off her soaking, heavy, and frozen jacket, as well as her hat and gloves.
“Oh lord. Just sit by the fire now, while I make you some nice hot tea.”
Rose kicked her boots off, as well as her frozen socks, and collapsed on the bench by the fire. The sheet of ice that had covered her face was slowly melting, and she could open her eyes. The cook was squat, but quick, with her dark grey hair piled atop her head, an apron tied around her waist. She bustled back, a cup of steaming tea in her hand. She set it down on the table and came over to Rose. Her hand felt Rose’s cheek. It felt so hot it burned her face. Rose flinched.
“T-thank you s-so much. I was s-so, so c-cold.” Rose said, trying to smile. The cook looked surprised.
“Of course! I couldn’t leave you out there to freeze to death!”
Rose smiled again, which probably still looked like a gargoyle, finally feeling her fingers and toes. The cook stood up, and flicked her wand at Rose’s clothes. They all jumped into the air, and shook themselves out, snow and ice scattering across the floor. They hung themselves out on the other side of the fire. Rose remembered her tea, and took a sip.
“Oh dear, what in heaven’s name were you doing out there?”
Rose laughed shakily, setting down her tea to flex her fingers.
“I was taking a walk, when I got lost and then got stuck in that blizzard.” Rose shuddered. “I saw smoke, er—smelled it, actually—and came towards it, and found this huge mansion here.” Thank Merlin, she added in her head.
“Oh, that is awful. You shouldn’t have gone out alone. What did you say your name was, dear?”
“Rose. Rose Weasley.” She said her last name hurriedly, hoping the cook wouldn’t catch it.
“Rose Beenzlay, is it? Unusual name. I’m Bess.”
“Lovely to meet you,” Rose said hurriedly, “and thank you so much again.”
“Yes, yes,” Bess said, hitting Rose’s boots together to shake off the ice, and setting them by the fire too. “You look so much better with some color on your face.”
“Oh yes, I feel so much better already. I don’t live too far from here, I should probably be going,” Rose lied.
“Heavens no, child. Not until the storm stops.” Bess bustled back to the counter, grabbing an onion.
“Oh, I suppose that’s probably smart. I’m so glad you let me in, I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Bess smiled, waving her hand. “Of course.”
Rose sipped her tea, staring at the fire, thankful at how quickly she could recover. She wondered who lived here. Maybe an elderly gentleman? Maybe a young estate owner, like Mr. Rochester from Wuthering Heights…
Bess interrupted her thought.
“You aren’t any good at chopping vegetables, are you? I could sure use the help for tonight, if you don’t mind,” She said guiltily, “but take your time. You sure were cold.”
Relieved to be of some help, Rose jumped up. “Of course, I would love to.”
Bess gave her a knife and an onion, and with a guilty smile, gave her instructions on exactly how the onions had to be chopped.
Chopping was nice. Bess chatted about the soup she was going to make, and some bread that a friend of hers had picked up for her. Her chatting wasn’t annoying, like Rose would’ve thought. It was comforting, soothing almost. At one point, Rose heard something above them. It sounded like yelling, and there was a shattering sound. Bess stopped talking at once. Rose continued chopping, feeling awkward. A door slammed loudly above.
“They’re always going at it.” She whispered, even though Rose doubted they could hear her.
Rose nodded, “That must be awful.” She hoped it would stop snowing soon so she could go home. She was having a strange premonition that she should leave.
Bess nodded too, “Yes, I think it’s mostly about--” A door slammed, this time much closer to the kitchen, and Bess stopped. There were hurried footsteps coming down the stairs to the kitchen. The footsteps came into the kitchen, echoing on the stone floors. Rose kept her back turned to the intruder. Their footsteps stopped behind the table, and Rose hoped she was hidden by the hanging pots and pans.
“Hey Bess, I was wondering if y—who is that?”
Rose spun around, knife in hand. She knew that voice. Vision couldn’t deceive her anymore.
“Malfoy?!” She exclaimed, at the same time as he exclaimed, “Weasley?!”
She saw surprise dominate his face before something sliced across her finger. Her knife clattered to the ground. His mouth was open, his eyes gaping at her.
“What are you doing here?” She blurted.
He closed his mouth.
“I live here, actually.” His brow was pulled together.
“Wha- you wha—you live here?” Rose stuttered smartly. This wasn’t making any sense.
Oh. He lived here. Okay. Her head and heart were thumping together, making it hard to hear or think.
“Oh god! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean—I mean, not to burst in at your—I got lost, and I was so cold—I’ll leave, I’m so sorry.” Rose said, flustered. This. Was. So. Not. Okay.
She looked down, and realized that her finger was steadily dripping blood down her leg.
Ow. It hurt. Bad.
She could feel another wave of shock come across her face. Tears sprung into her eyes. She stuck her finger in her mouth.
She heard Bess gasp.
“Oh, honey. Oh god. Oh Jesus. Oh Merlin. Let me see.”
Rose pulled her finger out of her mouth. She could taste the blood that covered her lips. Bess’ quick fingers examined the cut.
“Scourgify!” The blood siphoned off, leaving a generous cut that seeped more blood the second after she performed the spell.
Malfoy was still standing there, looking still confused, shocked, panicked.
Rose felt so awful.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry. Now I’m getting blood everywhere, I really should just leave--” She heard her tearful voice say.
Malfoy moved towards her; his face had taken on a totally different expression. Pity? No.
“Wait! Jesus, calm down, okay? It’s fine! Don’t worry.” He gave a sort of suprised laugh. Coming over quickly, he took her hand without hesitation, blood dripping on his fingers too. “Look. Pinch it here.” He closed his fingers right below the cut, so less blood could come out. Rose gasped.
Bess was panicked too.
“Where are those damn bandages?” There was a clattering of boxes.
“Bess, will you bloody calm down!” Malfoy said to her.
Bess stopped, and spun around to look at him, her mouth open, about to speak. Malfoy spoke quickly.
“No, no it’s fine Bess. Look, it’s already slowing down. I know her from school, I have a ton of first aid stuff upstairs, and I’ll help her clean up.”
Bess hesitated, “Well, if you’re completely sure…” She handed Rose a cloth to wrap around her hand.
Malfoy nodded, “Yes, completely. Thanks so much for…” He gestured in the general direction of Rose.
Rose was surprised at how easily he slipped into the position of authority. Actually, she was surprised about everything. Her mind was still reeling. Malfoy lived here? Was that his parents who were yelling? He didn’t hate her? Her blood was on his hands? She was at the Malfoy Mansion? Why did her hand hurt so badly? Oh, right. Her whole arm was throbbing now.
Malfoy gestured to her, “Come on.” In an unreal state, she followed Malfoy out of his kitchen, and up the stairs.
His house was so beautiful. Not the same beautiful as the Potter mansion, where everything was a mix between the modern and the antique. It was chilling beautiful. Not colorful, not comforting like Hogwarts. It was classic, cold, and had a sense of emptiness. Everything was stone, it seemed. It all felt black and white. He led her through a side hall, staying on the edge of the room, and up some more stairs.
She had the feeling that even he felt unwelcome, uncertain here.
Suddenly, as they were going up a bigger set of marble stairs, there was more yelling. It was so much closer this time, perhaps just around the corner and through a door.
“I told you! Why must you always doubt me?!” It was soft for a moment, just undistinguishable voices.
“NO! I am so SICK of this! What will they think?! Did that even occur to you, you filthy, selfish beast?!” There was a sob. It was definitely a woman’s voice.
As the yelling had started, Malfoy had suddenly stopped. Rose bumped into him, gasping quietly. Her finger was throbbing. Malfoy’s hand shot out and grabbed her other arm by the wrist. His grasp was hard. He started walking quickly again, and Rose stumbled to keep up. She had no doubt that he was mad now. This was so bad.
At the top of the stairs, it was a flat hallway, with four separating other hallways. There was a big French door, obviously closing off the room where the yelling was coming from. Malfoy rushed past it, Rose still being pulled along like a rag doll by her wrist.
The yelling had stopped, or maybe they were just too far to hear it anymore. She had lost track of how many hallways they had come down. They had crossed a huge parlor, but he was walking too quickly for Rose to see anything. At this point, she just wanted to disappear into the floor. She wanted to leave. She felt so incredibly bad. She was still cold, and the pain in her hand was making it all worse. Her heart was beating frantically, from the pain she couldn’t tell. Just when she thought her other arm was about to go numb, he let go. He stopped suddenly in a wide hallway.
He spun around to face her. His face looked pained. “Sorry.” His eyes were searching her face, hurried.
“What? N-no, I’m sorry. It was just the blizzard and I honestly, swear-to-god, d-didn’t know that you lived here,” Rose choked out. He dropped her other hand. She tried to start another frantic, apologetic sentence but stopped at the look on his face.
“Would you not have come if you knew I lived here?”
His face still had that pained look, but now it was contrasting with a grim look of amusement. How confusing.
Rose felt her face burn.
“No! No, that’s not how I mean it. You kno--I should leave, honestly, this is so rude, intruding on your house and--”
He turned away from, looking down the hallway.
“I don’t think it would be very responsible to let a guest leave in this weather.” He gestured towards the window, from which Rose could see the complete whiteout.
“Oh.” Rose said, her voice sounding small.
“Honestly, it’s not a big deal,” He said, “It’ll blow over soon, I bet.”
Rose nodded. This was weird. He was being so nice to her. Comforting, even.
Ironically, he suddenly cussed.
“You’re bleeding again. Let’s go.” Sure enough, the cloth was entirely red.
He reached out, maybe to take her arm again, but jerked back, and started walking. She scurried along behind him. They went down another hall, and up a large set of stone stairs. They came to a big white door, which he opened and walked in.
Rose hovered outside, not sure whether or not to go in. Did he mean for her to wait outside? She stood there for a moment.
“The door won’t lock behind you, if you want to come in.” He said from inside the room. His voice was hurried, but he was also laughing.
Rose laughed nervously, hesitating for a second more. Feeling suddenly vulnerable in this big, empty mansion, suddenly afraid of being in the hallway alone, she hurried through the doorway into Scorpius Malfoy’s bedroom.
Haha, cliff hanger for evenryone!! Any guesses as to what happens next? Did you hate this chapter? Is it unrealistic? I looove coincidences and fate...drop me a review! Terrible? Decent? Do you hate Malfoy?
Thanks so much for all the support and the really good criticism, too. Amazing.
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