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Chapter 1 : Cosmic Love
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"Cosmic Love" - Florence + The Machine
I feel my heart beating out of my chest, at a million beats a minute, but I don’t stop. I can’t stop. Because he is back there and I said it and it really happened. It’s dark outside but I still keep running. I have no shoes on and no sense of direction. But I cannot stop running. My veins feel like they’re on fire. They are electrocuted with passion and I want it to stop. Why won’t it stop?
I take deep and ragged breaths as I try to quicken my pace. I pass the trees and the piles of wet leaves as the drizzles of rain turn into fat drops of water. It is no longer trickling down; it is going to rain heavy tears soon. Yet, I keep running. I need the feeling in my veins to cease but it won’t. It won’t and I don’t know what to do. Because the feeling is so strong. And it’s killing me.
I remember running through these woods in the summer when we were kids. When we were mere adolescents. Better yet, I remember before that - before we were friends. When Albus had brought him to The Burrow for the first time, for Christmas holiday. Albus invited him because he got into an argument with his parents. He saw me in our kitchen for the first time in person - not in a hallway or between rows of desks. I stared at him as he stared at me. I remember my heart constricting. My father was diligent with his skepticism, but then he eventually warmed up to him. He was the only Malfoy, my father told me, that he respected. That Christmas holiday foreshadowed my coming days.
He and Albus were blood brothers by Second Year. And he came back again for Christmas holiday except this time he talked to me. I remember my head getting fuzzy. Back at school in January he even began to say hello to me in the hallways. I was shocked as I found myself greeting him back. I remember the color of his blonde hair then and how it looked when wind would go through it, when he’d be running off past me in the opposite direction, through the corridor for class. I saw his body in slow motion. He was always running, that boy. When ever my gaze fell upon him, the stars shook. And then the stars up above shook again, because he knew to look back at me.
It was terrorizing, how he knew when my eyes were on him. He always caught me. Except when he was playing quidditch. After those gazes across the classroom and the stares during lunch, I think he was obliged to speak to me. To start conversation. He felt he had to begin our friendship and I felt it, too. It was surprising because I could not tell if it was real or not; but I eventually got used to him conversing with me. My heart no longer felt like somebody’s hand was squeezing it. It became easy.
He took the train back with us for Christmas to The Burrow for a third time in our Third Year. His hair color, I remember, got a bit darker that winter. More golden and less whitish blonde. Albus was no longer his only friend - I had become a part of their group. The boys and I became very close. We talked and laughed and it was easy to breathe in front of him now. And I was glad for that. The twinkle in his eye no longer shocked my core; I welcomed it like a hug from someone you hadn’t seen in a long time. I smiled and stared at him when they twinkled. I expected that twinkle, it reassured me that I was living in reality.
And I liked reality.
“Rose!” He calls out.
I must run faster. It’s pouring now. It’s pouring but I cannot stop. My legs will not allow me to take rest. My bare feet making contact with the soft dirt and prickly wet leaves are too satisfying. I almost run into a tree but I put my hand outwards and maneuver around it just in the nick of time. The feeling of the soaked bark under my fingers lasts for only a second before I whiz passed it, pushing off of the surface to stop my momentum from slowing down.
The rain begins to hit me violently, making the mud under my feet stick to the hem of my damp bridesmaid dress. Victoire will kill me…But I do not stop. The electricity is still in my heart and it’s beating so loudly. It feels as if my heartbeat is what’s causing the clouds to darken and begin to pour onto the earth. The intensity of the contrast between the clouds are beautiful and scary at the same time. I remember when he came to visit us at The Burrow for two weeks in the summer. His family wasn’t proud of him, but he didn’t care. He came to stay with us anyway. It was the summer before Fourth Year and we decided to run in these woods. The very same woods I’m trying to escape through right now.
Albus and I showed him how fun it was to see the trees blur. We ran together, laughing the whole time. We ran for miles and it was so liberating. We stopped at the end of a clearing. It was sunny and the reflection of the sun exploded through the forest. Our hearts were beating so violently, like we were fueling the sunlight. It got brighter and brighter as we stopped and stared at it, the three of us. He was next to me when I was looking at the sun. I know this because I wasn’t looking directly at the sun.
I was looking at him from the corner of my eye. I was looking at him, looking at the sun. Something told me to look away but I ignored the feeling in the pit of my stomach. I told myself to stop thinking such rubbish. We were friends now. And we were somewhat grown; hello, we were going into our Fourth Year, for crying out loud! So I stupidly told myself to get a grip and peaked at him from my peripheral vision. That is, until Albus suggested we head back. We turned around together but Albus started off before us, leading the way. His back was to us but I wasn’t paying attention. I still stared from the corner of my eye at the golden haired boy. But now that the sun was behind us, there was a glare - so I had to turn my head to be able to see him.
And at that moment, the corner of his mouth rose ever so slightly as he tore his eyes off of Albus…and on to me. His head did not move, but his expression was completely turned around. He knew I was looking at him. The smile on his face made it seem as if there was a hidden secret between he and I, like some sort of inside joke that no one else in the world knew about. There was a playful and mysterious gaze in his eyes. His irises hit me like an ocean wave; it was then that I was unable to move from the clearing.
The galaxy was in his eyes.
Albus was meters ahead of us by now, and he called us by name but did not turn around. I was too dumbfounded to even care. It happened so fast, but my mind remembers it all in slow motion. His eyelashes, his blonde hair reflecting off the sun, the wrinkles in his lips. They were all factors that I took in at the speed of light, like my eyes became a sponge to what was shown before me and I was forced to soak everything in.
That’s when I tried taking my first step towards my cousin’s retreating figure, hoping that the past two seconds were part of a dream. I tripped, of course. He caught me at exactly the right moment, though. His smile was kind and my smile was somewhere in my throat. The sun blinded me, yet I could still see him. We stood like that as he held me, until Albus barked at us to catch up to him. We were only thirteen, soon to be fourteen… and that was the first time he had held me.
My throat is constricting now. I can’t take it. The clearing is near. I will eventually have to stop running. But logic isn’t my friend. Not now. Not ever.
I can’t tell if I’m crying or if it’s the rain washing my makeup away. My bridesmaid dress is ripped in dozens of places and my bare feet are all scratched. One whole seam has ripped up the dress, exposing my entire leg. I’m too numb to feel the pain as the burning in my veins motivates me to keep going. It’s getting late, and the reception is going to come to an end in a couple of hours. They’ll know that I’m missing.
They’ll know that he’s missing. This is not good! Why is he running after me? This must not be reality because reality could never be this cruel to me. Reality could never let me slip and make such a mistake right in front of him. Reality could never make me feel this much pain. The pain I’m trying to run away from.
But the pain is catching up to me. It’s catching up to me because he can run faster than me - I did not think of this. Perhaps he can’t see me; perhaps my thunderous heartbeats are what’s leading him to me. Just follow the stupid earthquakes and you’ll find the dumb girl, the stars must be telling him. I can’t see any stars because it is not the dead of night yet, but everyone knows that stars are always there. In the daytime. They are just invisible.
Do you want to know why?
Because the stars are afraid of him during the day. They only came out when he needs them to come out. That’s why they told him to follow me. Because he’s a tyrant, he is. They’ve willingly given up all of their information to him so that he would salvage them. His presence startled them so badly that they blabbed everything, including where I was headed. The stars have betrayed me. What did he do, threaten to take away their moon? Their sun? Their twilight? Their sunset?
What was my betrayal worth?
I never thought, in my wildest fantasy, that I would become such great friends with him. However, mates were all we were and all we should ever be. I hoped for nothing more since day one. I knew my heart felt differently since the first time I saw him…but it did not matter. Having him as my mate was better than living a life without him. I realized that a long time ago. Which is why it baffles me that I could be so brash with my feelings in just one instant on Victoire and Teddy’s wedding day, of all days. For years, for years I was okay with being his friend. God damn it all! I’m graduating this coming year. I held it in for so long… I trained myself to be good. Except now. My first mistake.
The only mistake I needed to make.
I went this long just to ruin it; everything I kept from him for so long is out in the open like my pain was worth nothing these past seven years. I’m such a fool! What was I thinking, saying that out loud? He is going to think I’m a freak; in fact, he’s probably trying to run after me to tell me that he was flattered. I knew he didn’t like me back. He feels embarrassed for me now, I’m sure.
I never admitted to another living soul what I felt for him; I was alone in silent misery but his presence made it go away. I was happy, wasn’t I? Why did I mess this up so quickly and so badly? I’m Rose Weasley, the careful one. I’m always careful.
Especially in front of this particular blonde. He was like me; he loved literature and books and irony. We spoke of music and favorite poets and classic film. I had to watch myself much more carefully with him, because he understood me when I spoke.
In the middle of breakfast with my family, I would be the child that would recite a line from "Sense and Sensibility" out of nowhere. In the middle of hearing my friends talk in the courtyard at school, I’d be the one who would stare at the wind blowing through the trees because I thought it was more interesting than gossip. In the middle of talking with Albus and his best mate, I would make a metaphor to the clouds only to be stopped mid-rant by him.
He completed my sentences. Damn it, he understood everything I said. Every feeling and emotion that came across in my hidden words, he would pick up on it gladly. Our eyes would lock whenever he would do this; I felt at home. Although taking extra care of my mind while being around him was a full time job, I never stopped controlling my thoughts. My words were rehearsed and usually practiced.
I was too afraid that one day he would read into my words too much, and my secret would be out.
But alas, there’s no point anymore because he knows. To be brutally honest? Blood is boiling through me because my words would not have made sense to anyone else, anyone else except him. He just happened to be the guy to hear it. The fact that I slipped and said that to him of all people, the only boy who really read into everything that came out of my mouth…It angers me to no end. I should have been more careful, more responsible. Those words escaped under my breath, sure, but I was not thinking when I said them. I was staring down into my glass of champagne.
I hear his cries but I can’t do what he’s telling me to do - I can’t stop running. The fear and the pain will catch up with me and even though I can’t feel my body anymore, I feel everything inside of me. I can’t change that. Once those two feelings are reversed, maybe I’ll consider stopping.
I turn around to see how close he is and I choke. He is soaking wet, hair slicked back from the wind, running full speed after me. He is about ten meters away, I believe. My body is shaking so I bite my lip to stop from tumbling down onto the bed of leaves surrounding me. I cannot give up.
“Rose, I will keep running!”
Shaking my head, I shut my eyes firmly before opening them.
“I won’t stop and you know it!”
His voice echoes in my ears with the sound of the rain.
What brought me to this destructive point in my life? My mind is set ablaze and I cannot think about anything but the past. Is that what happens to everyone when they feel this sort of thing? There is this brick wall that hides the future and I keep running into in with every step I take. Do you know what this torment feels like? Like I’ve lost. Like I’ve lost my grip on everything without having the chance to grab it. My chest is constricting just thinking about what I’ve just done. What terrifies me even more than the fear of now, is the fear of all this time.
All these years, every moment with him… He controlled my life and he didn’t know it. Why did I let another human being do this to me? I could have stopped myself from falling in- from liking him. I could have, yes. If I wasn’t such a sad and dumb little girl.
“ROSE!” He bellows. I don’t turn around. I’ll be damned if I turn my head to see how close he is now.
How did I get here?
My lip quivers and my face starts to feel the physical pain now. I’m replaying the episode in my head and the tears come down faster, racing with the tears of the clouds. They’re hotter than before and they sting my eyes like crazy. I try not to wail.
It happened like this:
He was talking to Albus about a theory he had. I was just merely listening in and sipping champagne every other minute. It was an interesting theory - he believed that people lived their lives half blind to what was around them. I personally thought it was remarkable, and Albus thought he was being absurd. Until he explained himself. Then Albus almost understood…
“Every person, no matter who they are or where they are, live their lives half blind,” Scorpius begins, stirring his white wine.
“What do you mean?”
“People see what they want to see,” he explains simply.
“That doesn’t make a lick of sense,” Albus reasons, pouring himself a glass of the same white wine. Both boys ironically prefer wine over champagne for special occasions.
“Of course it does.”
“Rubbish. If you aren’t blind, you can see everything and anything.”
“Oh, really?” Scorpius Malfoy’s eyebrows rise up a bit, challenging Albus Potter’s words. “So you’re saying that seeing and looking are the same thing then, mate?”
He scoffs in reply.
Scorpius smirks knowingly. “What color is your desk?”
My cousin’s face is etched with confusion. “What?”
“The desk in your bedroom. What wood is it, and what is the color of the stain?”
I begin to use my index finger to twirl around the rim of my champagne glass. I smile down at the tablecloth at Scorpius Malfoy’s clever remark.
Albus draws a blank. “I don’t know.”
Scorpius Malfoy nods expectantly, taking a long sip from his glass. “Exactly my point. People wake up every day and use the same tools, sit on the same furniture, eat on the same kitchen table. But they don’t pay any attention to the details. No one knows every color or every scratch in their houses, their schools, their automobiles. Because they never think to see beyond other things. Everyone is always thinking about something; so preoccupied with other things that they cannot appreciate what they see for granted every day.”
My cousin laughs to himself, shaking his head. “You’re weird, mate.” Scorpius did this a lot. Albus knew that out of the two of them, Scorpius was much more intellectual.
“No, really. Think about it,” he says to Albus. “There’s so much to discover just under our very noses, but no one ever has the time to stop and appreciate it. Remember the woods, the first time I ran with you and Rose?”
I bite my lip.
“We ran so fast because you said it was fun seeing the trees blur together. But what if we didn’t run? What if we stopped and studied every single green leaf on every single tree?”
Albus slowly understands, thinking to himself. “So you’re saying that seeing something and looking at it… depend on whether or not our minds are curious enough… to see it as an independent thing?” His words are spoken slowly, and I can tell by his facial expression that he’s just confused himself into oblivion.
Scorpius chuckles, and grabs his best friend’s shoulder. “You’re getting there.”
“But it’s impossible to see everything that your eyes lay on. It would take too much time,” Albus points out.
My eyes dart up to Scorpius, and he looks nostalgic. I feel inhuman for letting my eyes parade over their discussion, but curiosity has a firm hold on me.
“True, but think about the real beauty you miss every time you blink. It boggles my mind, mate. How you can see something for so long, every day of your life, but once you get questioned about it… you freeze up. Like your desk. I know it’s a cherry stained desk made of oak, but I highly doubt you’d have remembered that. And I remembered this detail because I personally think it’s an interesting heirloom.”
Albus is impressed. “I see your point.”
Scorpius shakes his head almost nervously, looking down into his empty wine glass. “I wonder if it goes the same for people.”
I snap my eyes off of them as fast as I can and direct my attention back to my champagne. I twirl my finger around the rim again, without a pause. I don’t want them to think I’m listening in.
“In what sense?” Albus curiously asks, shoving his hand in his pocket and leaning against the table. “I know details about my mother and father that I see everyday, if that’s what your saying.”
“Kind of,” Scorpius continues. “But it’s different. You’ve already acknowledged them with your eyes for so long… you love them. Of course you pay attention to them. That’s really why I think my theory is more than just a theory.” He triumphantly pours more wine into his glass and guzzles it down as Albus Potter replies.
“I thought we were talking about everything the human eye can see, I didn’t know we were objectifying things, separating things into categories.”
“But that’s the whole point; your eyes objectify them innocently all on their own. Your mind memorizes details about your material possessions, and your parents, automatically… because you love them.”
Albus raises one eyebrow, looking as if he needs to vomit. “I am so confused.”
Scorpius just laughs.
“So you’re saying that I hate my oak desk? Is that-”
“Merlin, no,” Scorpius rolls his eyes, hiding a chuckle. “It was just an example. This was just another truth to prove my theory that humans remember the details of other human beings they love, or those they have serious attachments to. When emotions are involved, no matter how good or bad they are, they start connections in your mind. Your eye become a sponge because they become one with your mind. Whether they be with people or animals or trees. My theory works with anything - that is what I’m saying. ”
“Thank God, it’s starting to make a bit more sense to me… I think.”
“Yeah. You really are thick, mate,” Scorpius Malfoy slaps Albus Potter’s arm fruitfully.
Albus is not entertained. “Yeah, whatever.” Although my eyes are not on them, I can tell Albus is trying hard to stop from sticking his tongue out.
“Oh, come on. I was trying to show you how I can prove my theory by asking questions about things you see all the time, as opposed to everything everyone else sees. You’re my best friend, Albus. And I’m yours, right?”
“Of course,” he replies without hesitation.
“Well the brotherly love we have for our friendship helps remind you of our jokes, our conversations, etcetera. When you see me you think back on the good times, some great moment we lived through. Everything revolves around love, all in different degrees. Your desk, your parents, your mates…”
Albus squints at his best friend, making Scorpius pause his never ending analysis. Scorpius stops himself from trailing off again, and shakes his head. “Okay, how about this: I’ll ask you something about me, and it could be anything, and tell me if it doesn’t immediately come to your mind. For example, without looking at my face, tell me my eye color-”
That was when the stars started falling from my heart.
Because time standed still and I exploded inside. It was a whisper, nothing but a whisper into my champagne glass. Albus was no longer paying attention by this point and he didn’t even hear me as he looked off in the middle of his friend’s speech, trying to make sense of the conversation. Scorpius stopped on the spot, blinked, and looked at me. His mind had connected the dots as his eyes confusingly took in the sight before him…. And my face then gave it away. Gave it all away.
My heart stopped when I said this because I looked up, then noticed his face staring back at mine. It was then that I realized that I did indeed just say that out loud. I thought I was being electrocuted on the spot. My chest began to rise with an uncanny sense of urgency; I had to get away from him immediately. I thought I was having a heart attack because the contracting in my chest grew so quickly.
And so I ran.
I knocked over my champagne glass in haste as I got up; it thumped onto the grass. I walked slowly, weaving my way around the other tables, then started to quicken my pace. By the time I got through to the other side of the reception tent in our backyard, I made a run for it. The whole time I was running away, I felt his eyes boring holes into my back.
If he had not been talking about his theory, if I wasn’t listening to their conversation… if I hadn’t of opened my mouth, none of this would have occurred.
It fueled me to keep going; I kept telling myself that the faster I ran the faster I could go back in time and change everything. Things were simpler that way; Scorpius need not know my feelings for him, they were unnecessary and I valued his friendship too much. What will this do to us?
Will he ever speak to me again?
Not if I can help it.
The rain is falling at a slower pace now, but each drop still feels like a bullet. The sky will not get better. It is the quiet before the chaos. The calm before the storm… It will get worse. But I don’t give a damn. I’d rather get lost in the woods and be soaking wet and cold than speak to him.
The adrenaline in my body is beginning to run out as I start to feel the burn in my thighs and my calves. The cuts in my feet and along my legs begin to burn. Where are my shoes? They must be back there…
I see the clearing up ahead; I am both grateful and worried by this visual. Eventually, I will have to stop. And that’s the last thing I want to do right now. I don’t want to face him. But my legs… they need rest, as my drenched body is beginning to weaken with every step. I look back and realize his beige sports jacket is somewhere lost in the wet leaves of the forest floor. I run a few more meters before I feel him getting closer.
He is behind me now. Two arms length away and I feel like bursting into tears. He’s won.
“Why are you running?” Scorpius asks me this out of confusion but also frustration, anger, and maybe even fear.
I don’t answer him, at least not until I reach the clearing. Until I reach the spot where he caught me when I fell…that one time when we were young. When we were young.
I eventually stop running and so does Scorpius Malfoy. My chest is going up and down at an alarming rate as I stand still, my heart pumping copious amounts of blood - the feeling you sense because of your secrets revealed and your dignity shattered. My breaths are ragged and I finally feel what running for so long has done to my muscles. I sense a small dose of lightheadedness as neither of us speak. I still have my back to him, as I can hear his heavily filled gasps. My limbs no longer feel like they are attached to me. The cold has taken its toll on my body.
“Look at me,” he says strongly. Gripping me from behind and turning me around, his hands grasp my shoulders forcefully. I lean away from him almost instantly, horrified that this has become my reality.
I see his eyes and his face and his chin and his hair and his strong neck. I arch my back away from him in silent pain as my face contorts into an unbelievable expression. An expression full of fright and anger and hurt. Unbelievable hurt. I open my mouth to say something but the emotions are stuck in my throat. So I just stand there, practically falling backwards, with my mouth agape and my eyebrows furrowed in misunderstanding. I don’t understand this!
How can this be happening?
Scorpius shakes me and I am snapped back at the horror before me. The horror of Scorpius knowing about my feelings and having them catch up with me. Oh, how harsh reality is to me. I blink once or twice, very slowly, letting the tear drops and the rain wash over my face. Then I look up at the sky, arching my neck with my eyes wide open, and I look at the lack of sunlight. The rains falls more violently on my face, I feel like.
Scorpius moves his hands down my arms until he reaches my elbows, practically holding me up right. To stop me from falling, he tightens his hold and steps forward. I keep writhing from his grasp but it’s a useless effort, I have no strength and no motive. Not anymore. He’s already caught me.
I’m afraid to look at his face again. Because I see perplexity in his expression and softness in his eyes. And it shakes me in every sense of the word. He’s scared, but not like I am. He just wants an answer. And I just can’t give it to him.
“Why are you running from me?” his voice cracks. My emotions over the course of the past few years come flooding back to me as my chest begins to hurt. The pain shooting through my ribcage makes me snap my head back up. The boy, who’s grasp has taken a hold of my arms shakes me forcefully until I look at him. His eyes are boring into mine and I almost gasp.
Scorpius looks like he’s in perplexing pain. “Why?” he repeats softly.
His sigh cuts me off. It’s loud and feels like it’s a hundred pounds heavy. His eyes don’t move for a second, but then he looks off into the wet rain, and then back. His lips come together in thought, and his eyebrows furrow. My face gives away nothing as I find myself now mirroring his stare.
He is still gripping my arms tightly.
“Rose,” Scorpius whispers.
My heart is beating so loudly. This is it, he’s going to tell me what an idiot I am. I feel like someone has shot an arrow through me. What else is there for me to do now except wait to hear what he says? I take a deep breath. No. My conscious tells me. I have to do this. My last attempt. And for some reason, I listen to the voice in my head.
So I close my eyes.
“What color are my eyes.”
It comes out stronger than I thought it would. My voice is barely shaking now. Maybe it is because I need to know if I can trust him and my inner strength helped me through? I don’t know. All I know is that this is all I can muster. Even though he’s been looking straight into my eyes intensely for the past ten seconds… I had to ask.
Scorpius loosens his grasp, taken aback. I cannot see him, but I feel his face relaxing all on its own. I can imagine him leaning backwards away from me and studying my face. No, he isn’t smiling, but he could if he wanted to. He’s caught on to my test, I sense.
“Green.” He moves his hands slowly up my arms. I suddenly feel heat close to my face.
I stay silent as I let him continue. “Emerald green,” he says strongly.
I open my eyes.
The intensity of his stare allows me to presume he’s been this close to my face since I closed my eyes. My brain is shocked by the view, and for a split second I feel like inhaling in shock but I don’t. Because all my energy is focused on him.
“Why did you run.”
It’s not a question this time.
I open my mouth again but even now I can’t say anything. It just brings the tears back into my stinging eyes. So I just shake my head in response. My face. My tortured, tortured face… I can only imagine the hideousness he is now witnessing. My makeup and my tears look horrid.
He closes his eyes and breathes in deeply, stepping closer to me and straightening his back out, reaching up to his full height. He cranes his neck to keep his face where it is. Without opening this eyes to look at me, he rests his forehead against mine. I can barely move.
I hear thunder as the sunless clouds start to spread gloom throughout the forest.
“You’ve led me in to the dark, Rose,” he exasperatedly says, almost laughing blackly.
Startled by his statement, I lift my face a bit, making him scrunch his eyebrows again.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble so low even I can barely hear. I don’t know what to say. I’m still shocked over the fact that I can form words, let alone speak. I hear lightening in the background and it connects directly through the vibrations of my heart.
“I am going to stay.”
I try to decipher what he means but I am unable. Although the wind is picking up and the rain is still pounding and I can barely hear, I am focused solely on him. But this surreal moment is making it hard for me to grasp what exactly is going on. He is holding me. Scorpius Malfoy ran after me in the rain, through the woods. And he is now holding me.
Sensing my confusion, he adds, “I’m going to stay in the darkness with you.”
He is not making sense, and it is making me nervous. Surely he doesn’t mean what I think it means. “What does-”
His lips slowly connect with mine and it takes me a while to realize that they are his. I close my eyes and feel my body slowly disintegrating. The electricity I feel is burning me. He keeps kissing me and without thinking my body mimics his movement and we just stay like that for a while. I’m convinced I’m dreaming. His lips are soft and cold; the weather is taking a toll on his health. I can barely feel my face, let alone wonder what my lips feel like. The only motion I can sense are his lips on mine. Even if my whole body became paralyzed… I’d always be able to feel his touch.
In between our classes at Hogwarts, there would be instances where we’d accidentally brush up against each other on the stairs. I remember one day where he bumped into me, and steadied me with one hand, before looking down at me with a smile etched on his face. He then apologized as he proceeded to maneuver around me. His hand left a burning mark on my arm. It felt like a hot iron…and then it turned into a rash. I had to look at my arm every once and a while just to make sure that it wasn’t some sort of fungus, and that I wasn’t imagining the tingly-ness I felt.
My insides. My insides are on fire.
My human body, my external skin feels nothing, there is no physical fire - but everything residing in me is alive. The rain keeps pouring and his mouth continues to move with mine. I am confused and embarrassed and hurt and never did I think that he would kiss me. Ever. Especially like this. He knows the color of my eyes, he knows my favorite book, he knows how I feel about him… he knows everything about me. And yet, he is connecting with me in such an intimate way. I cannot fathom.
Why is he doing this?
He kisses my neck as I numbly look ahead of me, the rain smacking onto my eyelids, making it hard for me to blink. I cannot even see what is ahead of me. Not that I’d be able to concentrate on anything regardless. I’ve turned motionless. I cannot move. His mouth feels like a bee sting every time it comes in contact with my skin and it is addicting. I hear lightening again and look up into the sky.
The drops of rain sting my eyes.
There is no sky, no heaven, no galaxy. The stars… the moon… they have all been blown out.
“Rose…” he stops kissing my neck and my exposed shoulder and he moves up to my mouth again, without his lips breaking contact with my skin.
While growing up I’d be fantasizing and imagining what kissing him would feel like - but never considered what him kissing me would feel like.
I blink a million times until I can steadily look into his eyes. I see the drops of rain slowly trickling down his flawless face.
“It doesn’t matter where you run. I will always catch up. Always. I am not afraid of the dark.”
I swallow a big lump in my throat as I feel tears in the back of my eyes daring to spill. My brain is connecting to his words but my heart doesn’t believe it.
Scorpius gazes at my face, his thumb caressing it endlessly, staring into my eyes. Does he… does he love…?
“If I told you right now that I was yours, would you let me stay in the darkness with you?” His eyes are alive, brilliant. His voice is dominant but not domineering, soft but not whispering, full of emotion but not pain. “Because that is where I want to be, where I’ve wanted to be since I first met you in that kitchen, Rose. I saw your timid eyes and I felt a connection. From then on I felt a confusion wash over me when I thought about you; I needed to know you. You were a mystery to me and that mystery turned into interest and that interest turned into something much more. I’ve tried to hide it, tried to make sure you wouldn’t expect a thing… but I’m tired.”
I feel my throat going completely dry.
There is no way Scorpius Malfoy’s telling me this.
“No,” I whisper numbly, flabbergasted. “No, I- this can’t be real.” I shake my head repeatedly, shame and anger rising. The pain slowly subsides as I think about his words a million times over. He is baffled by my small quip.
“Why did you run from me, Rose?” Scorpius studies me, his face almost teasing but still curious. There is a light in his eyes, one filled with amazement and realization. But he asks me again, anyway.
I swallow another lump down my throat. “You know why,” I croak, feeling the cold water wash away some of my pain, my fear, my secrets.
He rests his arms around my waist. “I want to hear you say it.”
My shocked eyes meet his and I cannot hide my fright. My breath turns ragged again, the heat building inside one more time. No matter what I felt for him over all these years, I never admitted it out loud to myself. I never spoke the words. How am I supposed to say it in front of him?
I always thought I would be in the dark alone…
“Say it,” he pleads, gripping my waist and bringing me closer to him. My lips rest on his drenched button down shirt. “You don’t get to make me run after you in the woods during a torrential downpour for nothing.”
It was supposed to be humorous, I’m sure, but my brain is so jumbled with thoughts that I don’t know what he’s even saying anymore.
“I’m in love with you.”
The words came out of my mouth smoothly, like velvet. I barely felt my mouth move; in fact, I’m unsure about whether or not I’ve actually spoken.
But then I study his face and I can see that he got the message. His eyes are unchanging, but there is a small smile forming at the corner of his mouth. I repeat myself again.
“I’m in love with you and now you know. I ruined everything. Now you know, so you ran after me because of it and…now you know,” I say slowly in complete and udder confusion, with the same soft spoken voice I usually speak in when I’m not, you know, in the middle of a lightening storm.
He cups my face in his hands.
“I’ve been waiting for you to say that for so long.”
My heart starts to beat feverishly. “Why is that?” I do not feel well.
He chuckles softly to himself. “Rose, have you heard a thing I’ve said to you?”
“I don’t know,” I murmur truthfully.
I feel as if my entire world had just crashed down two minutes ago, I’ll be damned if I can actually comprehend anything. I can’t just keep something in me for so long and then let it go, and keep my sanity, too.
“You make my heart race. The color of your eyes wake me in my sleep. When I come to the Burrow every summer I secretly wish that you’re there, too. Rose, I made excuses to touch you. You were never in the way when walked down the stairs halfway between my classes… I would purposefully take a different route so I could run into you from time to time on the stairs,” he says all in one breath, shaking my shoulder softly. “Clearly you understand.”
“I… I don’t understand much right now.”
Scorpius throws me a look that questions my health, my sanity, and my ability to stand.
“This doesn’t make sense,” I continue, groggily. “ I don’t know why you could like me like this when I clearly like you too much-”
“I like you just the same, Rose. I’m in love with you.”
Everything stands still.
I convinced myself, practically shamed myself, into thinking I was never the kind of girl Scorpius would fall for. And now, everything I thought about myself and thought about my feelings are shattering, because the man I love has just told me he’s in love with me. Love is a serious thing. Love grew between us because we had a friendship; it was like my fence. My love for him grew exponentially because I realized what kind of person he was. I fell in love with him as a human being. Infatuation turned into deep love the moment I knew his flaws and accepted him anyway. Love is not fickle, or unjust, or shallow. I was certain that this deep connection I secretly had with him was not an emotion that was going to be returned - I thought it was one-sided. And here he is now, Scorpius Malfoy, telling me that he cares for me more than he cares for himself. That he appreciates me as a human being. That he respects me and understands me. That he accepts my flaws.
That he loves me.
He’d been motioning for the past five minutes that he loved me back and all I did was numbly blink my eyelids and reply with ‘I don’t know’? What was wrong with me? I’m starting to sense a woozy feeling taking over my limbs…
Maybe the cold rain has numbed me so much that any plausible way for me to be somewhat presumptuous has escaped my mind. Not that I’m overconfident when not slowly dying of hypothermia in the rain, but you get what I’m saying, don’t you? I should have picked up what Scorpius was telling me all along. This worries me, but I’m too cold to care.
“Rose? Rose, are you okay?”
Maybe it took him to actually say the words ‘I’m in love with you’ for me to snap out of my subconscious and into my reality.
“Rose?” Scorpius tightens his hold on me as I fight to keep my eyes open.
My entire body is just so numb-
I hear his demanding voice trying to alert me, to tell me to stop losing consciousness, but alas, I can’ t do anything about it. I lean my head back and lose my mind in a swirl of black.
I heard whispers for a good five minutes before I realized that I was no longer sleeping, and that the sound of my mother’s voice was not part of my dream. I’ve just felt someone immediately pick up my hand, so I’m hoping I’m somewhat alive and not imagining this.
“She’s dead,” Lily melodramatically exclaims.
“Don’t be daft, Lily. She’s probably in a coma,” quips Roxanne.
“Merlin, I’m surrounded by idiots.”
I think that was my other cousin, Molly Weasley.
“Back away, all of you! You’re going to smother her,” comes the voice of Grandma Weasley, followed by what sounds like thunderous footsteps towards me. “She’ll get claustrophobic.”
My eyes flutter open to a room full of mothers and wives and daughters. I take in my surrounding without moving too much.
“Mother, dear, I think you should calm down, she’s bound to wake up soon,” My mother says calmly to her in-law. “And I’m sure seeing your blood pressure rising is not going to be the first thing she’ll want to see when she opens her eyes.”
I’m in the house. In a bed. A warm bed, with half the females of the Weasley/Potter households. I have a thermometer in my mouth and my mother is sitting on my bed, holding my hand. Molly is giving Dominique snide looks for re-applying her makeup in the closet mirror, Lily and Roxanne are wide-eyed about my fortunate survival, and my grandmother is trying to shove all my cousins out of the room.
“OH, SHE’S AWAKE!” Grandma Weasley bellows, before stomping to my bed again and sitting next to my mother.
“Rose, are you alright?” My mum alertly asks me, gripping my face. “We were worried sick.”
Grandma takes the thermometer out of my mouth and examines it under the light.
“I don’t know what happened,” I mumble groggily, trying to get up.
“Now you just sit right back down, young lady. You ’ave to stay in bed for at least an hour. You could ’ave gotten pneumonia out d’ere in ze cold!” My aunt Fleur shouts, making her presence verbally known. She takes the thermometer out of grandma’s hands and starts waving it around. “What were you t’inking?! You’re lucky Scorpius found you when ’e did.”
“She’s right, you know,” Grandma comments, a look of annoyance still on her face. “I was on pins and needles when I found you in that boy’s arms. He was carrying you like dead weight!”
“He- he was?” I say slowly. What exactly did he tell them? Or rather, what really happened? There’s a part of me that thinks I passed out in the woods and I just imagined him kissing me and him knowing what I felt for him. My mind tells me that that should be the more logical idea; but I trust that my reality won’t be as kind.
“Your temperature is almost back to normal, now you stay put and we’ll leave you be-”
“Awe, why?” Roxanne whines.
“There’s nothing on the telly, though!” Lily comments.
“Come off it, maman!” Dominique intervenes, “There’s nothing else to do!”
I didn’t know I was such a spectacle.
Aunt Ginny comes in with a glass of cold water in one hand, and a mug of tea in the other. “Hello, dear. Glad to see you’re awake. You had us worried sick about you.” She rests the tea and the water on my nightstand.
“We were just about to leave,” my mother tells her.
A grunt comes from a few of my cousins.
“Oh? Well I just thought I’d bring you something in case you were thirsty. Hoping you don’t have a fever, I brought you some tea. But in case you do and you start to sweat, I brought you a cold glass of water.” Aunt Ginny was never very good at medicines or remedies, but she was still a mother.
“Thank you,” I respond.
She smiles at me, and quickly kisses the side of my cheek.
“Come on, now,” Aunt Fleur says, pointing to the door. “Out!”
One by one my cousins reluctantly leave the room and my mother kisses me on my forehead.
“You need your rest.”
“But I’m not tired,” I tell her.
The look on her face tells me this isn’t negotiable.
And so I am alone now, in my small bedroom, under my warm fluffy blanket, slowly regaining the correct body temperature. I look around the empty room and piece together what has just occurred. The storm, Scorpius, my feelings, the numbness… it hits me like a wave.
A feeling of worry washes over me, but it doesn’t matter - my biggest fear has been revealed. He knows now and that is that.
I close my eyes.
Everything feels so real now. It makes so much more sense. Before, in the forest, everything was heightened by my emotions. And I was slowly losing my mind, along with body warmth, all the while. But lying down in this bed, in this room, completely dry (except for my hair), has already made me realize that I have a clearer head on my shoulders now than I did before.
Scorpius Malfoy said he loved me.
The small juvenile girl inside of me is itching to smile or giggle at this fact, but I can’t handle it, nor believe it. Perhaps I do a bit, only because that kiss was filled with so much passion… but also because Scorpius would never lie to me.
I hear a knock at the door, and I tell whoever it is to come in.
He closes the door behind him and dries off the rest of his wet hair with a small hand towel. His blonde hair is sticking up at all different ends.
“How are you feeling?” His voice is kind, and his eyes glitter as he looks at me. He walks over to the chair next to my window and drags it next to my bed, and sits in it.
I take a deep breath and try to steady myself. “I’m okay. I’m not sure what happened.”
He continues to angle his head out to the side and dry his hair. “You fainted.”
“You told my mum that you found me before I fainted?” I guessed. “What did you tell them?”
He sighs. “Nothing too out of the ordinary. In fact, everything I said was quite plausible. You were in the woods for a quick walk by yourself, when the storm hit. You were convinced you were going the right way but you got lost, and you were eventually in too deep to know your way out. I told them you ‘probably’ tried to find safe ground at the clearing. I also told them that I saw you walk into those woods twenty minutes prior and didn’t see you back yet.”
I nod, understanding. “You told them you went to look for me, and thought to check all the way to the clearing. You saw me and I told you what happened and why I was too afraid to walk back, and then I fainted from the cold because I had been there so long.”
Of course he’d make me seem like the damsel in distress I’d probably be.
“So you lied about the whole thing?”
I’m not particularly mad, just worried.
Scorpius shrugs, looking benevolent. “Just a bit.”
“And Albus? He knows you ran after me.”
He shakes his head and stops drying his hair with a towel. “I told him to keep his mouth shut.” He leans back on the chair and gazes at me.
I blink. He is so handsome. “Wow, sounds complex. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell them the truth?”
He raises his eyebrows at me and it hits me immediately. My father. My mother… my family. The whole presumptuous lot of them. Nosy pestering toads.
“Right,” I say. “Of course, my dad would have bombarded the both of us.”
“He doesn’t like me too much when it’s just you and me. If Albus isn’t there-”
I put a weak hand up. “I know.”
“You Weasley’s are very attentive, you know. Your mum was giving me a watchful eye when I told her the story. I think she thinks I’m lying.”
I doubt she’ll say anything.
“Thank you for covering for me, Scorpius.”
It becomes very quiet for a while as we both stare at our hands.
The clock on my wall becomes the only sound I hear after a minute. Maybe I should say something? Explain my actions, apologize perhaps…ask if he still wants to be my friend.
“I just wanna say-”
We both stop at the same time and chuckle a bit.
“You go first.”
Scorpius smiles at himself before looking at me. “Okay.”
Here it goes…
“Rose, I’m in love with you. At first I was ashamed to say it because I thought maybe you’d never think of me that way but now I don’t care.”
I was not expecting- Oh, my.
“I’ve always liked you, even when you were too oblivious to see it. I was subtle, and I’m sorry. Because if I knew, I would have been anything but subtle about my feelings. But the fact that you ran… why did you run?”
I pace my breaths and hope I don’t faint again. The boy was always confident, but my goodness.
“Scorpius, I was ashamed- I am still ashamed. You know why I ran. I gave my feelings away, like that,” I snap my fingers. “Just like that!” Frustration builds in me slowly.
I shake my head repeatedly. “I knew you knew. You looked at me and I knew that you knew. I opened my stupid mouth. I had to get away; I thought maybe I could convince myself that it wasn’t really happening. That I didn’t catch your drift, that I wasn’t eavesdropping your conversation. So I never stopped running. I was waiting for it to go back to the way it was.”
His perplexed face is nothing but caring and confused. He wants answers, that’s obvious. He feels his whole heart has just been put on the table and he wants to know why I made him run in the woods after me.
“Now that you know why I ran from you… I want to know something.”
He urges me to go on, silently, with a nod of the head.
“Why were to running after me?”
Why did he follow me in that forest in the first place?
“Because,” he begins, taking a big breath, “You knew the color of my eyes.”
I bite my lip.
“Because I never, in a million years, thought that you were listening to that conversation long enough to answer that question. I saw your face, Rose. You weren’t even paying attention. Do you know what my heart did when I heard you speak? Rose, I wanted to hear you say it. I wanted to hear you say it for so long, that I thought I imagined it. So I had to run out after you, to convince myself that what you said applied to me because you loved me. So I could prove to myself that it was real. That you said that because of my theory and my perception of feelings.”
My heart feels like it’s going to explode. And it’s not because of the cold and my heightened emotions, not because my secret’s just been revealed, not because of the burning shame. Because for once my reality has surpassed my imagination.
I am still confused, so confused, as to how Scorpius could ever find himself falling in love with me.
“Oh,” I murmur, breathing loudly. I gulp. “What happens now?”
Scorpius Malfoy’s face instantly turns serious and pensive. He rises out of the chair, dumps his towel on the ground, and stands still for a moment. I take in his tall stature. The rain is slowly drizzling against the window behind him. I can see the angst in his face, but I can also see the adoration in his eyes. Something I will never get used to. Scorpius looks a bit intimidating, but not in the way that you’d think.
He leans over me on the bed, and sits next to me. He dangles his lips in front of mine, staring my face down to the point where I am convinced I’m going to melt. His eyes don’t leave mine as he kisses me. His mouth moves with mine and his lips taste sweeter than ever before. I am knocked off my feet. He caresses my face and keeps kissing me.
I am in love with this man.
The night sky was my imagination, but now?
The starts, the moon… they have all been blown out.
The light is not my friend.
Scorpius pulls away from my lips slowly and leans in, to whisper again the words that shook me.
“I am going to stay in the darkness with you.”
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