It all began before it began. At least, before anyone knew it had begun. All things that begin begin before they've really begun. And only once it's begun you realize when it really began.
It was on a bridge. The light was coming through the pale leaves and the world seemed to stop. They just stood there, acting like the other was not standing inches away. Racing thoughts were the only thing keeping the serenity of the moment. Each knew they had been scorned deeply, but how could someone so sweet and gentile be so hurtful?
Could one person, who was innocently standing on a bridge not an arm's length away cause so much pain? Could someone so indescribable meet clenched fists at any moment other than that moment? It was the time when it began before it began all over again. And neither wanted to stop the wave of emotions that had been welled up inside for six years. Six long years.
Rose stood on the edge of a bridge, her feet teetering over the edge, her fingers barely holding onto the metal railing. She wanted to be free and soar down with no regards to beginnings or ends, but only middles. She wanted nothing to start and nothing to stop, but she knew her freedom would have to end when she hit the smooth creek just a meter below her.
Scorpius was walking briskly until he saw the red locks of hair he knew to be Rose's gently blowing in the crisp breeze of the cool afternoon. The leaves were pale and the sun was a soft golden shade that fell softly upon her hair in a way Scorpius had never seen before.
That was the beginning. That was when it began before it even began. The leaves and the sun and the hair and the water whipping over the rocks as it made it's way under the bridge and below her toes. That was the beginning.
He walked over, careful to let every click of his shoes against the smooth stone fade away into the breeze before he took another step. This was a girl he had known since he was eleven and yet he had never known her. Never taken the time to talk to her. Never cared to find more about her than her last name.
He supposed old prejudices had kept him from reaching out to talk to her. He didn't know why he was even going to strike a conversation with someone he knew but didn't even know. Maybe it was the way she seemed different today. Maybe she just felt different from the rest of her family. Alone. Quiet. Searching for the courage to push her delicate toes over the edge.
"Hello." she said without turning around. That was it. A simple 'hello,' and a slight wiggle of her toes from the other side of the railing. The side facing the rushing water. The side Scorpius wished he could be on. The side he would never be on. He would forever be on the safe side, pretending that there was no option to hop over and not care about the consequences.
"Hello," was all Scorpius could think to respond. They stood there for a moment, Rose teetering on the edge with every gust of wind, swaying from side to side as the breeze permitted and Scorpius standing rigidly directly behind her, with his hands close together and his heart racing.
"Why are you here, Scorpius. These are muggle gardens in a muggle town. You do not live here and you do not talk to me. Why are you here?" Her words were crisp and dignified. She pronounced every syllable and the words rolled off her tongue sweetly, but coldly.
"Why are you here, Rose. There are muggle gardens in a muggle town. You do not live here and you do not talk to me. Why are you here?" he repeated, avoiding answering the question because he could not answer the question. He knew not why he was here or what had happened. It just had.
"Take your shoes off. And your socks." It was a command rather than a request. No was not an answer. He took his shoes of and then his socks and set them next to her shoes and socks at the end of the bridge.
"Now?" he asked tentatively, not quite sure of what she would say next, but he had a feeling he knew the words that would come out of her mouth.
"Stand next to me." she whispered, still looking ahead into the setting sun. "And tell me something." She waited as he slowly walked across to meet her and also look out at the last of the sunset.
"I will." Scorpius whispered back.
"Are you free yet?" were Rose's final words before she closed her eyes and the two stood on the other side of the bridge, looking out at the fading rays of light.
They had been sixteen then, enjoying the last days of their vacation before their seventh year. Those last few days were wonderful, with lunch in a cafe here, a simple kiss in a warm rain there. Then came the return of the routines and the separation. And the lives they had before they had begun their lives. The real lives.
But now, they were back on the bridge, staring into the the sun like they had six years ago. Like they had before it had all began. Like they had when bare feet and stone bridges were the signs of freedom.
Should she break the silence? Should she pretend the rifts and the screams and the tears had not been there? It had been six years, surely she could handle talking to him. Surely she could handle letting the simple word, 'hello,' slip from between her lips for the creek she once associated with being different and the sun she had watched set so many times from this very bridge and him to her. And Scorpius.
"Hello, Rose." he said, before she could work the courage up to even put the letters together in her mind to say something.
"Hello Scorpius." She says, and before he can reply, her sandals are off and she is walking to the edge of the bridge so she can walk to the other side. Her bare feet are teetering over the edge, the cool breeze inching between her toes.
"Can I ask you something?" he says, as his own shoes are off and he is standing quietly next to her. He knew it must have taken minutes for him to get there, but once he was standing next to Rose on the other side of the bridge, he felt like he had gotten next to her in a matter of seconds.
"Yes. You may do so." are the only words escaping from her chapped lips. She has an idea what he will say, but only after he repeats what was said long ago will she believe. Only then will she believe he remembers.
"Why are you here, Rose. These are muggle gardens in a muggle town. You do not live here and you do not talk to me. Why are you here?" The words escape him slowly and softly, with a comforting edge on them Rose yearned for so much in the past years.
And that is when she knows. She knows he remembers. She knows he thinks about it, at least some of the time when the leaves are just right and the sun is just so. She knows that he came here to remember. And she knows she came for that very reason.
“Am I free yet?” she whispers, afraid of the answer she knows. Instead of answering the questions she had asked so long ago, she stares into the sunrise. The golden light reflects off of her hair to the creek below and the leaves blow in the wind without so much as a rustle.
Can she forget? Can she forget all that had happened since the first time the two had stood on the other side of the bridge, looking into the sun and just being. Can she forget the reasons she had tried so hard to remember to never forget?
Can he pretend? Can he pretend that everything had never happened? That the nights spent under the stars had never occurred? Can he pretend that she had never changed him, never seen him, never made him fall so she could see how high she was? Can he pretend that she is a girl and he is a boy and there is nothing more?
“What if I could show you how to be free?” he asks, unsure of how she will take this.
“It depends on how you plan to show me.” she responds, with as much question as answer apparent in her voice.
“It depends on what you would like to do.” he says, with the same half question, half answer tone as she had used.
“I would like to have a day to what I'd like. A day filled with lunch in a care, stopping on my way somewhere just because, getting lost just to be somewhere new. That is what I would like more than anything.”
He is surprised by how confident in her answer she seems, because that is the answer he would have given. What he would do to just be and nothing else. Just walking wherever fate took him and spending a whole day doing nothing.
“Will you jump with me,” she asks, breaking the silence that had fallen between them. He nods and takes her hand, ready to hit the murky waters and smooth stones below. She tugs and he is pulled down into the cool water, the legs of his pants sopping wet and nearly on top of Rose.
They stand there for a moment, not making any motions that anything out of the ordinary has happened.
Then Rose lets out a soft chuckle, which grows louder until Scorpius joins her in laughing at their state. Imagine, thought Rose, we are two fully grown adults standing in a creek without our toes in the mud. Is this really how things could be, if I just forgot?
He helps her out of the creek and fetches her well worn sandels, muttering a spell to dry her off as he hands over the beige shoes. His own shoes take much longer to put on, until he realizes that he has forgotten to dry himself off. He only notices that his socks are bunched up around his toes and the legs of his pants are still dripping when he looks up to see Rose chuckling lightly at him.
“Let's go, let's leave. Let's find a place that we can pretend everything is different in.” he says to her, only regretting the last part after they have escaped his lips. Is it really that obvious, that they are both playing a game with each other? That they both know deep down that they cannot truly be happy and really forget the hatred and the pain?
“Let's. But first, I should tell you something.” She says cautiously, unsure of he will react to the news.
“Yes Rose, what is it?” He is getting worried. What if she's got cancer or malaria ... or worse; is married! He feels wrinkles crease his brow as he waits for her to answer him. This could go horribly horribly wrong. He wanted to have nothing to do with their real lives brought into the day.
“I feel the need to go talk to that man over there. The one with the pipes and the crooked smile.” She was going to say something else, but she couldn't bring herself to tell him. Not now. Not yet. Maybe she could back down a few times more, but she needed to tell him soon and there were not always going to be men with strange pipes to run away from the truth.
She wanted to stop him, tell him what was really on her mind, but her fear that pretending was not an option for even a minute stopped her from saying it. He would not know now, and perhaps he would not ever know. Was that really how Rose wanted it?
A/N: Written for VioletBlade's Five Elements Challenge I do not own Harry Potter Hope you enjoyed and please review!