Chapter 10 : Her Unwanted Epiphanies
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Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.~Fulton Oursler.
Scorpius blinked, staring at Rose's suddenly retreating back.
“Er...was that Rose?” James came out fumbling with his tie.
“Yeah,” Marissa frowned. “She...I think she just remembered something about...”
But even she couldn't seem to explain her abrupt departure. Lily was staring at the spot Rose had been standing in merely ten seconds ago with wide-eyed contemplation, whilst absently stroking the satin fabric of her dress. Scorpius turned away, trying not to imagine another redhead in her place, looking so thoughtfully at the dress he had held in front of her.
Scorpius had been unable to resist the impulse to hold the smooth dress flush against Rose, his mind already fast forwarding to the day of the wedding when he would see her walking down the isle in that exact same dress. He hadn't been able to ignore the pull that led him straight to stand so close to Rose but- just half a centimeter more and he would have been completely pressed against her back.
It would have been so easy to gently move the stray strands slipping out of her tied back hair and place feather-light kisses down her back and past-
Scorpius tore his thoughts away from Rose. His forearm still tingled from where it had brushed against her shoulder as he held the dress.
Stop. Just stop.
“Well,” James spoke again. “That was...”
“Unexpected?” Marissa suggested.
Scorpius scratched the back of his head uncomfortably, as Lily's thoughtful looked deepened into a frown.
“I suppose I can ask the cashier to keep this on hold,” Marissa held up the pink dress. “And consult Rose later.”
“Right,” Scorpius nodded. “I'm going to get out of these stuffy clothes and go.”
Go think about what the hell just happened.
“I'll come with you, Scor,” Lily smiled suddenly and exuberantly, handing Marissa her dress. “Can you ask them to hold onto this for me too, please?” Her smile seemed out of place on her recently frowning face.
“Sure,” Scorpius said uncertainly. There was a distinct glint in the youngest Potter's eyes as he walked into the next room to take off these ridiculously uncomfortably clothes.
Lily and Scorpius left Marissa and James to their own devices, heading down the street at a leisurely stroll. There was a few minutes of companionable silence as both were content with watching the stores and Muggles passing them by.
“You know, Scorpius, Rose will never admit it but...she's a lot more afraid of falling in love than most people,” Lily said suddenly.
Scorpius didn't know how to respond to that. So he settled for a simple “Um...”
Lily gave an understanding smile, “She believes in self-preservation above all. She's very much a Slytherin in that aspect. Ambition notwithstanding. Falling in love with you would go against her core beliefs, and so she runs away.”
“Lily, not to be rude but...why are you telling me this?”
Lily slapped the back of his head. “Because, you stupid do-do head, Rose is in love with you but she's not going to come out and say it.” She followed this proclamation with an exaggerated eye-roll then grumbled, “Men.”
“Oi!” Who knew her tiny hand could hurt so much?
Right...she's a Chaser. Wait...in love-?
Scorpius' heartbeat sped up. “And how do you know if she's...that she- tha- you can't know that,” Scorpius shook his head, convincing himself more than Lily.
Lily kept staring blankly at a passing couple for a few moments before speaking. “What you need...is a plan.”
Scorpius vaguely wondered if she had gone into a trance, judging by the faraway look in her eyes. He wasn't sure if she was talking to him or to herself.
“A...plan...” She repeated, nodding her head very slowly. “To woo her.”
Scorpius blinked, “Woo?”
“What, are we in the eighteenth century?”
“Form the way you act around her, I'd say,” Lily shot him a condescending look.
Lily cut him off, pulling him by the elbow into the nearest cafe. “This is what we're going to do...”
Rose sank down on her large bean-bag seat with a defeated sigh. She was already regretting her impulse to run out the shop. But Scorpius had been so...so...just so damn there.
He had been right there and Rose felt utterly lost.
She shouldn't be feeling this way. Not about Scorpius Malfoy. Sure, she had been attracted to him. She admitted that. But this hadn't been attraction. It had been something else. Something different. Something she had never felt before. Something...more.
And she was scared.
Rose remembered the first time they had met for their first meeting in September and racked her brains for a time when she had sat with a man who wasn't a cousin (or gay), and who wasn't trying to hit on her. She realized she could remember no such time. In fact, she hadn't even been out on a date with someone in forever; the lunches and teas and snacks she had had with Scorpius were the closest to dates she'd come in the last year. He was so normal around her, not like other men who wanted her for one thing only: her name.
She'd jumped up to hug the guy, for Merlin's sake, that wasn't a side most people usually saw of Rose Weasley
Something about him was so easy and carefree. The constant light in his eyes encouraged those around him to laugh. With him. At him. It didn't matter. And that was what she did, she realized. Every time she was with Scorpius, he managed to extricate a smile- a genuine, full blown smile- from her at the very least. Something very few people had been able to do since Rose threw herself into work.
Rose didn't want to feel this way. She didn't want to be one of those girls who went weak at the knees. Whose stomach lurched from a single glance from those ridiculously icy-blue eyes. The girl who wanted nothing more than to ride into the sunset in a golden chariot.
Rose used to be one of those girls. Right up until Auror training came around, and she saw what foolish, and heinous crimes people committed in the name of love, and then she realized it wasn't all that cracked up to be.
That and...well, golden chariots didn't exist anymore, did they?
Nor did that beautiful sunset. Not in the London smog.
Maybe over the Black lake with Hogwarts as it's backdrop. But Rose wasn't at Hogwarts anymore. And she certainly wasn't the idealistic seventeen year old setting out to be an Auror anymore.
Her only solace was making others happy. Her happiness lay in that.
Not in a pair of beautiful blue-gray eyes.
“Fuck you Scorpius Malfoy,” She spoke to the empty flat.
Empty and lonely.
Friday night dinners were just as boisterous as always even without Albus and Cely. In fact, they were more loud without Albus around to control his much too loud siblings.
The holidays were approaching and the snow had already set everyone into a festive mood.
James and Hugo were singing a Weird Sisters Christmas Carol while Ginny, Hermione, and Lily spoke about the upcoming wedding, and Ron and Harry were engaged in yet another game of Wizard's chess.
As was usual at these events, Rose felt oddly alone. Usually this didn't bother her much, but ever since her self-revelation that she felt something for Scorpius Malfoy, he was all she could think of. It made Rose feel oddly pathetic.
Looking around the room quickly, Rose escaped to garden where she had spent many two-on-three Quidditch with Albus, James, Lily, and Hugo over the years. Come to think of it, Rose couldn't remember the last time she sat on a broom. Changing her path, she made to the broom shed and took one of her old brooms for a lazy flight.
The sky soon turned dark, and the Potters left together, and Hugo followed shortly afterward. All of them shouting their goodbyes to Rose in the wintery air that Rose felt fitting to her current mood.
Ultimately, Hermione called her in with a stern reprimand that Rose would catch a cold. Rose obliged, much as she had been doing for the last week or so.
Everything anyone asked of her, she would do without much thought. Her brain had been turned onto autopilot, and there was nothing that could be done about it.
Smile here. Frown there. Change the color. Call the florist. Send mail. Buy supplies.
All of it was mechanical, and Rose did it with an even more pronounced sense of detachment than ever before.
It helped to some degree that she had refused to meet with Scorpius, instead sending Marissa on those meetings. Not that it mattered, because Marissa informed her Scorpius had been sending Jenna in his place. Rose didn't give much thought to that- at least not consciously. She was more content with staying out of the office, and running the idle errands Marissa was meant to do. It kept her busy, and her mind off Scorpius.
Hermione insisted she stay at the country house for the night to make sure Rose didn't catch the non-existent cold.
But still, it felt nice to be in her old bed with her parents down the hall. It was like old times, if she imagined hard enough that Hugo had gone to Lorcan and Lysander's house for a sleep-over for the night.
Her room was the same as ever: the Montrose Magpies poster adorning an entire wall, various pictures of her, Cely, Albus, and (the occasional one or two) Scorpius along with her entire red-haired clan. But what caught her eye first was her Wall of Ideas, although Hugo used to refer to it as the the Wall of Crap. It was made up of pictures, articles, designs, cloths, and various other tidbits that Rose had stuck up with a permanent sticking charm. This was where her initial creative streak had taken root.
Rose fell asleep with a small smile on her face for the first time in days.
The next morning, Rose woke slowly, grasping at last nights memories, wondering why on earth she wasn't on her grand king-seized bed when she realized two things.
The first being she was at her old home, and the second: Ron Weasley was making waffles. For her.
She could smell the batter, and syrup, and hear the distinct sizzling on bacon.
She made her way down to the kitchen loudly, and enthusiastically. She couldn't remember the last time she had been this happy to be out of bed on a Saturday.
Her giddy smile froze on her lips when she saw a blonde head sitting around the table. Rose tried to make her way back up the stairs, but in her hurried attempt, tripped and fell down the last three stairs with a resounding thud and a loud “Fuck!” She clutched at her head, positive that a small lump must have already started forming. Her legs were still sprawled over the staircase, and to anyone looking at her, it would have seemed she was sleeping on the stairs.
“Honestly, sometimes I wonder how you passed Auror training, Rose,” Hermione huffed, making no attempt to help her only daughter stand up.
Thanks Mum. Love you too.
Yeah, you too, Dad.
“Need help?” the face she had been desperately avoiding, swam into focus, albeit upside down. Even then, he looked too goddamned handsome.
Her instinctive reaction had been to blurt out the one question on the forefront of her mind: What the fuck was Scorpius Malfoy doing in Hermione and Ron Weasley's home? On a Saturday?
But she bit back and let Scorpius help her up. However, because either Fate hated her, or she was just a supremely clumsy person, (she suspected a combination of both) Rose's feet were tangled once more, and she ended up stumbling onto Scorpius Malfoy. He grabbed her around the waist with one arm, and held her right hand with his. It felt like a very awkward dance step. In which, Rose belatedly realized, she was wearing nothing but her underwear and her brother's old, oversized (for her) tees. Gryffindor Quidditch tee in particular.
For all her self-acclaimed poise, and aloofness, Rose was as gravitationally challenged as...well, as they came.
Although, she wasn't regretting the current situation much, seeing how she was pressed up against the object of her very pleasant dreams for the last week.
“Thanks,” Rose muttered, moving out of his arms before her mind could wander much. She physically fought off the blush threatening to over-take her face before turning back to face the foursome sitting around the table.
“Um...hello,” Rose shifted awkwardly, feeling wholly under dressed next to a dress robes clad Scorpius.
“Hi,” he muttered, glancing around the room awkwardly.
There was a long pause during which the bacon sizzled and the smell of syrup became too much to bear.
“Scorpius was here to drop something off from Harry,” Hermione answered Rose's unasked question.
“Would you like to stay for breakfast?” Ron asked, waving the spatula.
“No!” Rose said sharply at the same time as Scorpius.
“I-I mean, you can stay,” Rose mumbled, staring at her bare feet. “I should go.”
“No-it's your house. 'Sides, I'm expected at-”
“Saturday lunch, yeah,” Rose snapped her fingers nervously. Even though there was nothing to be nervous about. “Working on Saturdays, I see.”
Scorpius chuckled, “Decided to take a leaf out of your book.”
“Well,” he waved his hand to the door. “-I should-”
Rose nodded, “Yeah, you-”
“Should, I suppose.”
“I'll see you rou-”
“Bye.” Rose finally looked up at him.
He stared at her for a few more moments before leaving with a curt nod at all three of them.
Rose turned to Ron and Hermione who were looking at her with similar expressions on amusement.
“Articulate much, Rose darling?” Hermione smirked.
“Oh, shut up,” Rose grumbled, pounding up the stairs like a sixteen year old version of herself, and ran cold water to wash away the burning sensation around her hand and waist.
A/N: Short chapter, I know. And it's sort of a filler. I had a bout of writer's block for a couple of days.
Anyway, hope you liked it. Let me know what parts you liked or didn't like in a review.
And whatever you recognize is not mine.
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