Chapter 2 : Rose
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Second April 1941
“What happened to her?” Minerva asked; rubbing her shoulders in an unavailing attempt to calm herself down. The Doctor, who was covering something from view stood to his feet and brushed the debris off his clothes.
“No idea,” he relied, “but whatever it was it was not human,” he walked over to Minerva and looked down upon her, “how are you feeling? It isn’t a pleasant sight to see; even in a war,” The Doctor asked sympathetically.
Minerva looked up; her green eyes watered with tears. “She was my cousin,” Minerva sighed, “I promised her family I would keep her safe. What good was I?” The Doctor looked down at Minerva, she knew that he wanted to offer her his condolences but words could do no good now.
Without another word, Minerva stood to her feet, shrugging the blanket of her shoulders. “Thank you Doctor,” she said sincerely. Minerva waited for The Doctor to give a curt nod before walking outside.
What was she going to tell everyone? What about her parents? And the town? How could she explain to a muggle town that a werewolf murdered a young girl when the moon wasn’t full?
She had seen many things during the war but never as violent as that. Taking a deep breath, Minerva fought back the tears that threatened to break. Running her fingers through her tatty brown hair, she attempted to sooth herself, but nothing seemed to work.
“Minerva,” spinning around, Minerva saw her friend, Katerina Stratford, standing behind her. Katerina’s long brown hair flew behind her, creating a halo of hair. “I’m sorry,” nodding solemnly, Minerva, allowed herself to fall into her best friends arms.
Minerva’s fingers twirled through the long grass as it wrapped tightly around her fingers. Katerina stared at her best friend without knowing what to say, “how did she...?” Katerina’s voice trailed off.
“Werewolf.” She stated, her eyes not averting from the grass. “The bloody werewolf is back,”
Hesitantly, Katerina reached out and patted Minerva on the back, “you couldn’t have stopped this Minerva. Rose knew the rules, she shouldn’t have been awake that early let alone out of her room.” She said.
Minerva looked disgusted at what Katerina had just said. “She was seven!” She exclaimed; her eyes narrowing into small slits.
“Oh, god no! Minerva I wasn’t saying that it was her fault, I was saying that there was nothing we could have done to prevent this! The werewolf told us he would strike again. If we had known it was going to be Rose than-”
“We would have what? Locked her up in a small room with no windows and no doors?” Minerva snapped back as she attempted to fight back tears. “She was just a child Kat, not even seven,” Minerva took a deep breath and brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes.
“Come on,” Katerina said, standing to her feet. “Everyone’s going to want to know what happened,”
“Minerva what happened?”
“Oh my gosh, are you okay?”
“I am so sorry.”
When Minerva stepped into the dorm of her share-house, she was swarmed with girls trying to get information out of her. She had known this was going to happen and as such, she had prepared herself. “I’m not ready to talk about it,” she replied, raising her hands to her face as if to show just how defeated she felt. Immediately, the girls stopped talking and stepped back. Katerina walked confidently behind her best friend, her eyes scanning through everyone.
Building all of her strength up, Minerva spun around on her heels and faced the inquisitive girls. “I’ll tell everyone at dinner tonight.”
She didn’t know why she was doing this; she didn’t want to talk about it but Katerina had assured her that the quicker she told everyone the truth, the better. Rumors had already begun to formulate around this morning’s incidents. Taking a deep breath, Minerva allowed her eyes to survey the room. Silence eloped everyone as they entered the hall; it was if someone had cast a silencing charm upon everyone.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Katerina asked, rubbing Minerva’s back. Nodding, she replied she did. Minerva wanted everyone to know the truth. She wanted them to know how Rose lived and how she died; it was the only thing she could do for her beloved cousin now.
She watched as people of all ages poured in from the doors. Some she recognized; others she didn’t. Then he entered the room; she didn’t know how she saw him amongst the crowds but somehow, her eyes had searched for Tom Riddle and they had successfully found him. Riddle took his hat off and placed it in the hat room, which had been built conveniently next to the door. When he emerged, his blue eyes found Minerva’s green. Neither adverted their gaze.
“Minerva,” Katerina jolted Minerva out of her reverie. Breaking eye contact with Riddle, Minerva faced her friend. “Everyone’s ready,” nodding solemnly, Minerva planted her feet firmly on the ground and faced the expectant crowd.
“I know there are some rumors going around about my cousin, Rose, and how she died, but I am here to tell you the truth. Rose was seven years old; going on eight. She had abnormally long blonde hair and was adored by everyone she met; no one ever said a bad word against her. Yes, Rose was a beautiful girl, she was the perfect daughter and the perfect witch, and yes, Rose is dead.” Small clumps of chatter broke out among the crowd and Minerva waited patiently for them to die down.
“She was killed by a werewolf in the early hours of the morning. I don’t know why the werewolf would target a little girl, but it did. I promised to her family that I would protect her; that I would keep her safe and I failed, so I implore you as parents, guardians, siblings, friends, keep an eye on your friends and family. Rose’s death was tragic, but I can assure you that it will not go unpunished.” There was so much more that Minerva wanted to say, but, no matter how hard she tried, she could not put two words together.
Faintly, she heard Katerina say something to the crowds, and at that, Katerina took a hold of Minerva’s hand and walked her outside into the cool, English air. “Come on,” she said, “let’s get you to bed, you need some sleep.”
It wasn’t until her head hit the pillow that night, that Minerva realized that Riddle had not averted his gaze from her at all.
‘Maybe he was human after all,’ she thought, clenching her fists into tight balls. ‘No! Stop it’
There was a bloody war going on, and whether she liked it or not she could not stop it. Her first and foremost duty was to protect the rest of family and friends; fleeting romantic feeling could wait. For now, at least.