Chapter 6 : Guilt.
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She pulled me up. My legs were still shaking, so she held me tightly, guiding me to a sofa in the sitting room. My stomach was churning and I felt sick. I willed my legs to work as I sat up, rushing to the bathroom, and locking the door behind me. I reached the bathroom just in time for me to bring my breakfast up. I was not ill. I was sure that it was the guilt of my actions. My legs were weak once more as I stood up. Scorpius was banging on the door, asking me if I was ok. Of course I’m not, I thought.
I remained in the bathroom for a long time. Scorpius ceased knocking after being ignored for a while, leaving me in peace with my guilt. I cried. I cried so much that my eyes stung and my nose ran. I thought of my brother. My baby brother. I’d let him down. I’d let down my parents. They spent seventeen years bringing me up, and this was how I repaid them.
But there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t just go home and act like nothing happened. My parent’s didn’t want me to speak to Scorpius any more, and that was just incomprehensible to me. I would return to them, but only once I had shown them that I could think for myself.
I knew Scorpius wasn’t a bad person. My parents’ prejudice was clouding their judgement. I had to show the, that Scorpius wasn’t bad and I needed to prove myself. I stood up, looking into the window. I was glad that I didn’t bother with makeup because I was sure that it would have been a mess. My eyes were red and my skin looked irritated, and I was still wearing my Hogwarts uniform. I splashed cold water over my face and composed myself.
I unlocked the door and stepped out. Scorpius was sat against the wall in the hall, his head on his shoulder, fast asleep. I smiled. He looked peaceful. I coughed and he woke with a start. He was no longer in his uniform and was wearing a scruffy pair of jeans and a T-shirt. He stood up immediately, stretching. “That was uncomfortable” he stated “oh, are you ok now?” he asked. I nodded. He smiled at me and pulled me into a hug. “Brilliant. You’re better than them, anyway” he stated. I felt a pang of guilt once more, but I pushed it to the back of my mind.
I pretended that I was just visiting Malfoy Manor, pretending that I was due to return home in the foreseeable future. It made it a little more bearable. I would look at the Daily Prophet from cover to cover, scanning for anything to do with the family. Occasionally, there was a small report on different Quidditch matches, written by Aunt Ginny. She never revealed anything personal in it, but it comforted me. It was almost proof that everyone was ok, because if they weren’t ok, she wouldn’t be writing.
Scorpius had no idea why I read the paper so thoroughly, but he found it amusing, and would sometimes laugh at it. A few weeks passed, when I received an owl. It was not an owl that I recognised. It was small and tawny, and the letter it was carrying had my name on it. I took it before Scorpius entered the room, and stuffed it into my pocket.
That day, I forgot about the letter. It wasn’t until I went to bed that evening, I pulled it out of my pocket. Perching on the end of the bed, I opened it.
I was writing to you with regards of your leaving of the family home. As I know you are aware, I have been in a similar situation during my own youth, therefore, I was wondering whether you would be interested in meeting me at the Leaky Cauldron tomorrow at lunch time? I will be there regardless, so think about my offer. I am sure you still care for your family, though you may not agree with their beliefs. For that reason, I hope to see you tomorrow.
Love, Uncle Percy
Just at that moment, someone knocked at my door. Stuffing the letter under my pillow, called out letting the person on the other side of the door in. It was Scorpius. His hair was slightly ruffled and he was smiling at me. He closed the door behind himself.
“Rose,” he began, “I was wondering if you were ready to...” he cleared his throat and turned, pulling the door open. “Don’t worry” he said.
My heart was pumping quickly, and I blushed, “Scorpius” I said. He stopped, turning back and closing the door once more. “I want to” I said. My voice cracked slightly.
Scorpius ran his hand through his hair. “Oh... ok” he said...
Scorpius eventually left my bedroom. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I ached, but at the same time, I felt euphoric. I couldn’t help but giggle at absolutely nothing. I wondered whether anyone would find out. Astoria seemed to have a knack for guessing these things, after all. I blushed at the thought of her knowing this. I briefly knew that I would die of embarrassment if any of my family found out. I went to sleep, for the first time in days, not thinking about my family.
The next morning, I was woken by Astoria, who was stood at my bedroom door. I suddenly remembered that Uncle Percy wanted to speak to me. I searched for the letter under my pillow, but it was gone. I assumed that it would be lost down the side of the bed, so I thought little of it. I then got dressed, making sure that I looked presentable, pushing away the recurring guilt. Uncle Harry had dropped my clothes off at the house a few days before, but he left before I was awake. I even borrowed some of Astoria’s makeup and put it on the way that she showed me. That morning, I felt like a woman.
Scorpius saw me, and smiled slightly. “You’re a bit dressed up for a day at home, aren’t you?” he asked.
I wondered whether I should tell him where I was going. I panicked slightly. “I’m just- I need to meet up with the boss of the Tornadoes about training for the Quidditch season. I should be back later.” I said, kissing his cheek. I left a pink lipstick mark on his cheek, and I smiled. That seemed like such a feminine thing to do. It proved that I was now a woman, not a girl.
Scorpius nodded. I looked at my watch. I was supposed to be meeting Uncle Percy in fifteen minutes! I apparated without another word.
The Leaky Cauldron was quiet, which surprised me. It was usually filled with people going in and out of Diagon Alley. I looked around, and in the corner, Uncle Percy was sipping a Butterbeer. Opposite him was a lone Butterbeer. He saw me and smiled. I felt a rush of affection. There he was, my favourite Uncle. Balding, red-headed and wearing very thick spectacles. “Rose!” he said, standing up and pulling me into a hug. “I knew you’d be here!” he stated. I smiled as we sat down. He looked at my face more thoroughly. “You’re- wearing makeup,” he stated. I nodded. “You don’t need it Rose! That’s not you!” he said. I blushed and looked at the floor.
“I’m not here to be lectured.” I stated.
“Of course not!”
“How are Molly and Lucy?” I asked. Percy’s face lit up at the mention of them.
“Brilliantly. Lucy has her first boyfriend!” he stated, grimacing a little. I smiled against my will. Lucy had had multiple boyfriends, and it was so like her to let her Dad think that she had only just got a boyfriend. It reminded me of how much I loved my family. Everyone was so different, each with a different personality. You never did know what was going to happen when everyone met at the Burrow.
“Of course, Hugo is finding school a little bit hard at the moment. People are whispering about him a lot, apparently. He got into a couple of fights with various Slytherins.” He stated frankly. I felt that guilt once more. This time, it felt like a punch to the stomach.
“Oh” I said. “How- how’re Mum and Dad?” I was dreading the answer.
“They miss their Rosie,” he said, he looked sadly at me now. “Hermione, well, she cries every time anyone mentions you. Ron said she won’t even go into your bedroom any more. And Ron, well. He’s been suspended from work for now. He’s snapped at a lot of people, and his nightmares have got worse. He’s more upset than your mother,” he stated.
I felt tears running down my cheeks. “I miss them” I said quietly, rubbing my eyes, temporarily forgetting I was now wearing makeup. Uncle Percy looked at me sadly.
“You know what you need to do then” he said softly. “Honestly, returning is the hardest part. Once you get home, you’ll be ok- I promise” he said. I did miss them, and I wanted to go home- even if it was only to be turned away. At least then, I could say that it was there fault, not mine. “Come home with me” Uncle Percy said, standing up. I took a deep breath. There was no use hiding from my family. I then noted that my hands were covered in black mascara.
“Wait,” I said thickly. “I need to go to the toilets” I stated. He nodded and watched me move towards the bathrooms. I looked in the mirror, clearing up the makeup that had run over my face, and took a deep breath.
I wondered whether I should tell Scorpius. I owed him a reason, surely. I couldn’t just go home without him knowing, could I? As I walked out of the bathroom, I had a strange feeling of being caught doing something I shouldn’t have. Scorpius was stood there, seemingly waiting for me. “What is it with you and bathrooms? I’m going to get a reputation if I keep waiting outside of them...” he stated. His smile flickered when he saw my face. “Have you been crying?” he asked, a concerned look on his face. I looked down at the floor. Scorpius sighed. “I found this,” he stated, holding out something.
I glanced at it, feeling once more a sensation of guilt in my stomach. “Are you going back to them?” I couldn’t answer him. I could see the back of my uncle’s head across the pub. Scorpius looked at where I was looking. “Has he been making you cry?” he asked. His tone was aggressive. I did not answer. In a way, he had been. But, in another way, it was my own feelings that had caused it.
“Has he been manipulating you?” Scorpius asked, his tone still aggressive. I shook my head. I could feel tears threatening to fall again. I had no idea what to do. My uncle was waiting to take me home.
“Scorpius, I’ve been thinking-“
“I love you.” He said. I looked at him. He was looking at me urgently. He pulled my hand into his. “I love you so, so much.” He said. His aggression had dissipated, and he was looking at me tenderly. I felt my heart skip a little. I processed the words in my head. It made sense. I felt a strange moment of clarity. It now seemed to make sense.
“I love you, too” I stated, smiling. Scorpius moved forwards and kissed me softly.
“Let’s go home” he said, softly. I nodded apparating back to the Manor. Then, after Scorpius and I made love for the second time, remorse hit me. I had left my favourite uncle alone at the pub. He’d waited for me, and thought he’d convinced me to go home, but he hadn’t, and I had ditched him at the last second, like a coward.
That was it. I’d hit rock bottom. I didn’t think I could hit any lower. I was angry at myself.
I couldn’t sink any lower. I found myself laughing when Scorpius referred to people as Mudbloods. I joined in. I said it so often, that I eventually believed it. I said it without thinking. Scorpius never stopped me. He would encourage me. I started to believe it so passionately, that the thought of being born to my own parents made me feel sick.
My family was a mix of blood-traitors and Mudbloods. I had finally accepted it. After one alcohol fuelled night with Scorpius, I aired my views to Draco. He did not judge me. In fact, he told me to read up on certain books about blood purity. They were filled with prejudice and hate, and I soaked up every word. I’d become twisted and I didn’t care. Scorpius was still there for me. Scorpius was still attracted to me. In fact, he told me that my new outlook on life was, in his words sexy. Scorpius regularly told me I didn’t need my blood traitor family, and I agreed with him. I would repeat his words when I was alone. Determined not to become a coward and run back to my family.
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