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Chapter 18 : The Possibility
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Soon after the others had left, Hugo and Rose made their way back to their cousin, Albus, who was still lying peacefully on the sofa in the sitting room.
In a way, Hugo envied Albus. His cousin was defenseless, but he had been unconscious through every horrific thing that had happened since he was attacked. Through the murders, the fighting, and Victoire’s disappearance, Al had been blissfully unaware and, in Hugo’s modest opinion, looked relaxed.
And Hugo really wanted him to wake up. His desire might have been born of a selfish need for a companion to share his own misery with, but, if Al had seen the murderer, then he would be able to help them find Victoire and clear up the argument over Scorpius. He needed Albus to wake up, and he worried that he never would.
Hugo sighed. In all actuality, at that moment, Hugo would have gladly traded positions with his cousin. It would be easier, after all, to be unconscious and unaware, guarded and protected, than on guard and protecting, and excruciatingly aware of the terrible things that were happening.
Hugo’s optimism was waning fast, and he didn’t know how much longer he could keep it up before he snapped.
A clock ticked cruelly in a corner, mocking his emotions.
“Rose,” he croaked, remembering his duties. He waited a heart beat for her to respond, before he looked up and saw she wasn’t there. Suddenly alert once more, Hugo cried louder, “Rose!”
“I’m in here, Hugo!” He heard her shout back from the direction of the dining room. He should have known she would be in there with Scorpius.
He debated the wisdom of leaving Al alone in the sitting room, but he hated the thought of leaving Rose alone more. He quickly cast a few defensive spells around the sofa Albus slept on, before making his way down the corridor.
His sister met him at the door to the dining room, and right away Hugo knew she was up to something. “What is it?” He asked, the drop in his voice giving away his suspicions.
Rose raised her chin slightly to be able to look her brother in the eye. “I’m going to untie Scorpius.”
“You’re what!” He exclaimed. He didn’t even know why he was so surprised; this was Rose he was talking to, and when his sister got it into her head to do something, she did it. Lowering his voice, he pleaded with her, “But Rose, what if Scorpius really is the killer?”
“You know that’s not true, Hugo—you know it isn’t!”
“But Teddy thinks he is! How will the others react when they come back—possibly with Vic de…”—Hugo didn’t want to think about that possibility—”when they come back and find Scorpius walking around.”
“Why do you care so much about what Teddy thinks!” Rose snapped at him under her breath.
“I don’t know,” he whined, “but he’s the leader and an Auror—”
“And what made him leader?”
“He’s always been the leader,” Hugo argued, “He’s always been the…oldest.” Hugo’s voice faltered. Even he could hear how ridiculous his argument sounded.
Rose snorted as she surveyed her brother imperiously. He scowled at her.
Rose’s expression softened as she tried a different tactic. “Think about it, Hugo—how could Scorpius have killed all those people? It just doesn’t make any sense, and you know it. Now that the others aren’t here, scrutinizing you and blindly following Teddy, can’t you see that? You and 1—were both smarter than that, right?”
Hugo studied his own feet as he considered what Rose was saying. He shifted uncomfortably as Rose continued to stare at him.
She was right, of course. His sister was always right. Finally looking up, he nodded to her.
Rose breathed a heavy sigh of relief, and said, “Good, because I already untied him!”
Oh that cue, Scorpius stepped forward from the room looking tired and disheveled. He rubbed at the purple and red bruises on his arms from where the ropes had bound him. “Thanks Hugo,” he said sincerely.
Hugo didn’t respond. He was too busy gaping at his sister. Once again, he didn’t know why he was so surprised, because Rose always did what she wanted.
“So what's the plan?” Hugo asked when he finally regained his voice.
“I think we should check to see if there’s a boat,” Rose said and lightly tossed Scorpius his wand back to him.
After checking that the coast was clear, Hugo, Rose and Scorpius rushed out of the house. They ran flat out with their wands drawn across the lawn, racing against time and the possibility that someone out there maybe watching and targeting them. As they came upon the dock, Rose was ecstatic to see a small boat tied to it. She pointed it out to the others, and the sight of it gave them the energy to run faster. They practically slid across the dock.
Scorpius stepped into the boat first, and held his hands out for Rose as Hugo began severing the ropes that held it in place with his wand. Rose pocketed her own wand to hold his hands as he helped her into the small, motorized dinghy. She turned to examine the motor as she tried to determine which spell to use to get it to work. As this was a magical island, the boat must have been redesigned to work here. Rose's cleverness paid off, and soon the little boat was running. Smiling for the first time since this had begun, Rose turned to tell her companions they were ready to go, only to discover that her brother wasn’t in the boat.
"Hugo, get in here so we can leave!"
Hugo was still standing on the dock, his wand hanging limply in one hand as he stared sadly at his sister. "I'm not coming."
"What!" She exclaimed, reaching up to grasp his arm. "I can't leave you here."
"I can't abandon, Al. He's defenseless."
Rose tightened the grip she had on her brother's forearm as she glared up at him from the boat. "What is it with you damn Gryffindors! It's ok to runaway sometimes. It's ok."
Hugo shook his head. "He's my cousin."
"And, I'm your sister!" She half-yelled, half-sobbed.
"You're going to be safe now, Rosie," Hugo insisted, smiling at the thought even has his eyes grew reflective with suppressed emotion. “But Al—”
"Rose," Scorpius said quietly from behind her, placing his hand lightly on her back, "Rose, we should go."
"—he's completely defenseless in there."
"Al," Rose gasped suddenly.
Scorpius, Hugo, and Rose all dropped to avoid the jet of red light that was heading towards them. Shocked, Hugo spun around only to be hit by Al's next curse, as his cousin came running across the lawn. Deep gashes appeared suddenly across Hugo's chest as he staggered and fell into the water.
"Hugo! No!" Rose screamed, pulling herself up from the bottom of the boat to reach over its edge. She clawed desperately at the water, hoping to grab her brother as he slowly sank to the bottom. Scorpius wrapped his arms around her waist, trying to drag her back from the edge as her screams became mixed with hysterical sobs.
"We have to go, Rosie, we have to go..." Scorpius repeated, tightening his grip a little more every time Rose broke free towards the water. She could barely hear him whisper in her ear above her own sobbing and shrieking and the purr of the motor. His words were just another element of the background noise, nothing stood out, and nothing else mattered except that her little brother was in the water, and she needed to get to him. She was his big sister, and she needed to protect him. They always looked out for each other, always. Rose continued to reach for her brother, even as he slipped out of view and into the murky depths.
Suddenly, Rose noticed a change in the background noise. The motor still purred, she still cried, but Scorpius's whispers were gone. His grip on her waist slackened.
Holding back the sobs, Rose turned slightly to look at her boyfriend, who stared back at her, blank and motionless. “Sc-Scorpius?” She asked quietly, dread filling her stomach.
With a sudden snarl, Scorpius raised his wand and yelled “Stupefy!”
Rose yelled out and ducked, narrowly avoiding the jet of red light that came hurtling her way. The boat swayed dangerously with the movement. “What are you doing!” She shrieked.
Scorpius did not seem to care what Rose was saying to him as he raised his wand for another spell. But, Rose had always been the quicker draw, and she disarmed him easily. She had just caught his wand, when he lunged for her and caused the boat to spin wildly and collide with the dock. Rose lunged low and forward to avoid his attack, this time her magic acting of its own accord, as a bolt of light burst from her wand and knocked Scorpius onto his back.
Standing back up, she saw Albus on the dock, a smirk on his face as he watched the scene before him. “Stop this!” She screeched, “please, stop!”
Rose’s moment of distraction cost her, as Scorpius recovered and lunged once more. His hand closed around the one that held both of their wands. Rose slipped backwards under his weight, her head colliding painfully with the motor. Dazed, she watched as Scorpius forced her arm to the edge of the boat, causing her to drop both wands into the water.
The fight was over. Rose had lost.
“Stop,” she called out to him, as Scorpius’s face swam back into focus. “Please.”
She struggled to the bitter end, but it became very clear to her that, at the moment her wand slipped from her hand and fell over the edge of the boat, there was no turning back from the path that she had been shoved down. Her world spun, though she lay immobile, and Rose couldn’t tell if was the boat futilely churning its broken rudder, or the still night that descended upon her lungs. Or maybe, she mused through the fog that rolled into her mind, as a vicious burning invaded her limbs, the spinning was the feeling of her life slipping away from her, like gravity pulling water down a drain. And even as blackness obscured her view of the sky, Rose still saw Scorpius’s eyes filled with hard-glazed determination. And she wanted to hate him in those final moments, but she focused on the abject horror buried behind the emptiness and knew. Scorpius could never hurt her on his own free will, but it was that very thing that had been robbed of him.
And then quite suddenly and without fanfare, Rose wilted and faded away.
The soundlessness, the coldness, the aching void left of her stilled heart penetrated the veil of the Imperius curse that Albus had put on Scorpius. The young lover’s scream shot through the air, and he lifted Rose to him tenderly with the same hands that had been her final enemy. His deafening, remorseful sobs racked his body and shook the boat, sending ripples fleeing across the water.
Upon the shore, Albus flinched at the sound, only slightly, before his mouth formed into a harsh line. And his eyes were as hard as emeralds when he flicked his wand, and said sarcastically, “Stop your crying.”
And much to his horror, Scorpius had no choice but to comply.
A/N: So...what did you think? --ducks-- The title is adapted from the song Possibility by Lykke Li, and if you want mood music, i suggest you listen to it.
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