“They still won’t speak to each other,” I announce to Tom when I come home from the Malfoy house for the sixth day in a row.
Tom is making dinner. He has been collecting Aidan from school every day since Astoria died, because I have been going to see Scorpius and Draco after work. Tom has been so supportive throughout this whole ordeal; I don’t know what I’d do without him. Being in a grown up relationship really is rather handy during crises.
Scorpius and Draco haven’t spoken one word to one another since Astoria died. I’ve always known she was the glue holding that family together, but I never thought they would fall apart this easily without her. It’s so hard to believe she’s gone; I liked her so much. She was the only member of that family who never really pissed me off. As a result, I feel it’s my duty to her to keep her two boys together. I know if I died, and if Aidan and Scorpius wouldn’t speak, I’d like to think there would be someone there to bring them back together.
“The funeral’s tomorrow,” Tom says. “Maybe they’ll speak then. You know, maybe they just need closure.”
“I hope you’re right,” I say gravely. “Where’s Aidan?”
“In his room writing a letter to Astoria,” Tom tells me. “Apparently his teacher told him it’s a nice way to say goodbye to someone you never got the chance to say goodbye to. He was upset again today.”
I feel like I haven’t had the chance to get properly upset about this yet. I’ve been so busy. Mum and Nana Molly keep giving me things they’ve baked and cooked to bring to Scorpius and Draco, and I’ve been helping Scorpius to plan the funeral. Draco has been doing and saying nothing. He looks broken. While it is a relief to know the man can actually feel something, it’s getting a bit disturbing that he won’t say a word to anyone, not even his son.
Scorpius has been saying very little to me too since the night at the hospital. I know he saw my ring, but I thought it was best not to bring it up and I haven't worn it around him since. I also haven’t brought up the fact that Daisy has yet to return from America, which I find very odd considering she’s his wife and everything. Perhaps she couldn’t get time off from work.
Al has been to see Scorpius a few times too, as he doesn't live too far from the Malfoy house now. Scorpius has talked to him a lot more than to me, apparently, which I am a bit offended by. But again, I’m not going to start an argument with a man who has just lost his mother.
I go up to Aidan’s room to see how he’s getting on with his letter. He’s now staying in Hugo’s old bedroom. He is sitting at his little desk, holding his special quill with the anti-dyslexia charms, and scribbling away.
“How are you getting on, love?” I ask him softly.
“Hi Mum,” he greets me sadly. I kneel down beside him and wrap my arms around him. “Can I read you my letter to Nana Astoria?”
“Of course you can.”
“Dear Nana Astoria,” he starts. “I miss you now that you have gone to live in heaven. I wish you didn’t die and I am very sad. I wanted to tell you goodbye, but you went to heaven before I could say it, so I am writing you a letter instead. I love you very much, especially when you used to bake me cakes and give me hugs. I will miss you Nana Astoria. Lots of love from Aidan Weasley.”
I smile at the last part.
“That’s lovely, Aidan,” I tell him. “Why don’t you draw some pictures on it and we can put it in with Nana Astoria at the graveyard tomorrow?”
“Okay Mum,” he nods. He still looks very upset.
“Are you okay?”
“Nana Astoria is Dad’s Mum,” Aidan says. “And Dad is sad because his Mum died. Will you die?”
“No! Aidan, you don’t have to worry about that, you’ll always have me and your Dad!” I tell him, which isn’t strictly true, but I’m not about to have the circle of life conversation with him right now.
“Good,” Aidan responds.
When I eventually climb into bed with Tom, I can’t fall asleep. I keep thinking about Scorpius and Draco, wishing they’d say something to one another. All Draco has now is Scorpius. How can he just ignore him? Why do they both have to be so bloody proud? And while I know I shouldn’t be this worried about two fully grown men, they stay on my mind even as I drift off to sleep.
The next morning, I dress Aidan into a black suit that I bought him for the occasion, and I change into a new black dress I bought this week too. I take him up to the Malfoy house, while Tom says he’ll meet us at the Church, so as not to impose. Al and Jenny are at the Malfoy house too, and Aidan goes straight to them, as Scorpius is surrounded by sympathisers.
“Has Draco said anything to Scorpius yet?” I ask Al and Jenny.
“Not that we’ve seen,” Jenny answers.
“Scorpius hasn’t said a whole lot to anyone either,” Al adds. “Can’t be easy for them.”
While taking a break from shaking many people's hands, Draco slips out of the living room fairly discreetly, but I still notice it. I follow him as he heads for the back garden to be alone, for one last attempt to reason with him. It’s so hard for me to reason with people when I can’t shout at them.
“Mr Malfoy,” I say. He doesn't turn to face me. I didn’t expect him to. “Draco, you need to speak to Scorpius. This has gone on too long.”
He pretends I’m not there.
“You two need to stick together. I know this is difficult for you but –”
“You don’t know anything!” he hisses. The first words he’s spoken, at least in my presence, in a week. “You have no idea, Weasley.”
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I really am. But she wouldn’t want you to block Scorpius out like this. He knows what you’re going through more than anyone.”
“Leave me alone,” he snaps.
“No,” I retort. The only way I’ve ever gotten through to Draco Malfoy is by being abrupt. Politeness gets me nowhere with him. “Grow up.”
“How dare you -!”
“No, shut up a minute,” I snap. “You are not the first man to lose a wife. And I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through this, but this does not give you the right to ignore your only child! He is suffering, and while he might be a full grown man, and while he mightn’t admit it, he needs you! He’s already lost one parent! So get a grip and be there for him!”
I storm back inside without waiting for a reply. The sombre tone in the house makes me uneasy, because I’m afraid people might have heard me screaming at the bereaved widower. Classic Rose Weasley.
Scorpius is still shaking hands with people, most of whom I’m sure he’s never seen before. Draco comes back inside a short time later, says a couple of words to Scorpius, who nods and smiles slightly. I have no idea what he said, but I’m satisfied with this.
Aidan and I head to the Church with Al and Jenny. Most of the Potter and Weasley clan are here for the funeral, which I think shows some real developments in Weasley-Malfoy relations. Tom is here too, and he sits with me and Aidan and the rest of the family.
The funeral, needless to say, is very sad. Most funerals are sad, but this one is especially heartbreaking, considering how young Astoria was when she died. It’s a huge funeral too. While her husband might not be the most popular man in the wizarding world, Astoria was very well liked. I scan the crowd, looking for people I know. There’s lots of Ministry people, and Hogwarts professors. Then, at the very back of the Church, I see Daisy.
I nudge Jenny, and she turns around too, and looks at me mildly surprised, shrugging. Why Daisy isn’t sitting beside her husband at his mother’s funeral is a mystery to all of us.
At the graveyard, Aidan throws his letter to Astoria on top of the coffin. Scorpius holds his hand then, and the two stand together while she is buried. A woman who looks like Astoria, and must be her sister Daphne, is in floods of tears. I hate seeing other people cry, because it makes me want to cry.
There is tea and food at the Malfoy house afterwards. I help out with serving so that Draco and Scorpius don’t have to do too much. Daphne and a few of Astoria’s nieces and nephews help out too. Even Dom helps out, and it takes a lot to get her to help. She doesn't even help out at The Burrow.
“Did you see where Daisy went?” I ask Dom quietly as we brew more tea.
“No, I only saw her in the Church,” Dom tells me. “What d’you reckon is going on with them? Seems so weird that she hasn’t been around all week.”
“I know,” I say. I have a feeling I know what’s going on, but I don’t want to speculate. But it would appear that Scorpius and Daisy have broken up.
“Have you talked to him about that yet?” Daisy nods at my ring, which I am wearing on a necklace instead of on my finger.
“There hasn’t exactly been a right moment.”
“He’s going to find out one way or another, you’d best tell him,” Dom says. It’s ironic that she is giving me relationship advice given the state of her own love life. Oh, yeah, as far as her and Brian’s breakup went; he wanted to have babies with her. That one went down like a lead balloon. I don’t know why he wanted to have babies with Dom anyway; I’m fairly sure she’d eat her young, like those wild animals. In fact, like the sympathetic cousin I am, I laughed when she told me. Anyway, when she told him she never wanted to get married or have children, he broke up with her. Her official stance on men now is that they are all scum sucking idiots.
When the house finally starts to clear out, Tom takes Aidan home and I stay behind to help clean up. Draco goes to bed early, but makes a point of saying goodnight to both me and Scorpius. I’m so relieved they are finally on speaking terms.
“How are you doing?” I ask Scorpius once we’re left alone.
“Just glad today’s over,” he says.
“I know.” We say nothing for a few minutes, just continue cleaning. Then I decide to bring her up. “I saw Daisy in the Church.”
“Yeah,” he responds flatly. “We’re getting a divorce.”
It’s what I suspected, but it still takes me by surprise to have it confirmed.
“I’m sorry, Scorp,” I tell him, and I actually mean it. A few months ago, I would have given my right leg to hear him say that. Now I actually do feel sorry for him. “Does this mean you’re staying here?”
“Yeah, I think so. It was for the best,” he shrugs. “It was never going to work. Nice ring you were wearing the other night, by the way.”
He adds it in very casually, but his eyes flicker to me for a reaction. I barely give one.
“You noticed then.”
“You really thought I wouldn’t notice?”
I don’t know what to say to him, or how to explain myself.
“Bit hypocritical of you, don’t you think?” he says calmly. “You gave me such shit for getting married without telling you, and you’ve gone and got engaged without telling me.”
“I was going to tell you!” I exclaim. “And we’re not getting married for ages, Scorp. Years. I was waiting for the right time to tell you, it only happened last week. I mean, it’s not really an engagement...well, yes it is, but I haven’t even told most of the family yet, just Dom and Jenny.” I’m rambling again.
“You must love him then.”
The statement stuns me for a minute. I don’t know what to tell him. I knew as soon as I saw Scorpius I would start having doubts about the engagement. I mean, I’ve had doubts from the beginning anyway, but I have doubts about everything at first. I knew he’d mess up my head. He always does.
“I do,” I tell him.
“You must love him more than you loved me.”
I can’t agree with this one. I physically can’t. And every bit of me wants to say that I love Tom more than I ever loved Scorpius – except for one little nagging part. I need to see about getting that part of me removed.
“Because,” he continues, “You never said yes to my proposal.”
“I was scared,” I tell him honestly. “You know I loved you. After all we’ve been through, especially this year, you can’t possibly think otherwise.”
“D’you think I never fought for you?”
It’s such a random question, one that I never really thought about.
“I...I don’t know?”
“I don’t think I did,” he goes on. “I mean, I just took your weird coldness as you rejecting me, when really I just knew that’s who you are. You fought for me, and I just fought against you. You stormed in on me in a bathroom. I never did that to you.”
“Yeah, that’s not a bad thing,” I remind him. “Generally storming in on people in the bathroom isn’t polite.”
“You told me you loved me even though I was married.”
“Again, not socially acceptable,” I say, starting to feel embarrassed by the trip down ‘stupid shit Rose did’ lane.
“I want you to be happy,” he says. “I really do.”
“I want you to be happy too,” I tell him.
With that, he tells me he’s going to bed and will finish the cleaning in the morning. He tells me to go home, and so I do. That is the end of our deep conversations about 'us'. We have agreed that there is no longer an 'us'...I think.
Aidan is in bed when I arrive home, while Tom is reading the newspaper. He asks me how everything went, and I say fine, and that I’m tired, and head to bed. I put my ring on and twist it around a thousand times, or so it feels, all the while hating myself for doubting what I have Tom over a few words with Scorpius.
Scorpius is right. He never fought for me. Tom would fight for me, if it came down to it. That is the crucial difference between the two of them.
Over the next few days, it spreads like wildfire through the family that Scorpius and Daisy are getting divorced, and that he is living at home again. Jenny and Dom arrive at my house as soon as they hear. Jenny truly is committed to gossip to travel the whole way from Scotland to get the full scoop.
They come in the evening, and Tom goes out to meet his friends in the pub in order to stay firmly away from the girl talk.
“I can’t believe it!” Dom keeps saying, and then contradicts herself entirely by saying: “Although I definitely saw it coming.”
“It’s kind of sad,” Jenny says. “A marriage breaking up. Scorpius being divorced at only twenty four.”
“Whatever, now he and Rose can –”
I hold up my ring and cough loudly. I’ve been wearing it constantly around the house since my conversation with Scorpius. I just haven’t been wearing it in front of the family. That’s not weird. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
“Are we really taking that seriously?” Dom asks. She has not exactly been supportive of my hasty decision to get engaged to Tom. In fact, she simply thinks that Tom and I are just playing house for now and that we’ll never last. I have an innate desire to prove her wrong.
“Dom!” Jenny scolds her. “Never mind her, Rose. We’re happy for you and Tom.”
“You seriously haven’t considered getting back with Scorpius since he and Daisy broke up?” Dom asks incredulously.
“I’m with someone else, what’s so difficult for you to comprehend?” I ask angrily.
“Nothing...it’s just, you let him go so quickly and then got engaged to somebody else. It’s not like you. I just don’t want you to get hurt again!”
“And I do appreciate it, Dom,” I tell her. “But Tom has been so supportive and so good with Aidan. It was the right decision.”
Jenny looks like she doesn't quite believe me either. It’s easy for them to say this to me; neither of them have a six year old to think about. Dom is perfectly happy playing the field, while Jenny was lucky enough to find the love of her life in her very first real boyfriend. I, on the other hand, have to get real and stop chasing after a bloke who doesn’t want me. Tom wants me. Therefore we will get married. My logic is flawless.
They leave after about an hour, and Tom returns from the pub a little while later.
“You’re back early –” I stop mid-sentence. “What happened your nose?! Have you been fighting?!”
He is covered in blood; he’s clearly got a punch to the face.
“Your psycho ex is what happened my nose!” he snaps.
Clearly by “I never fought for you”, Scorpius meant “I’m going to punch your boyfriend in the face”. I’m going to kill him.
“Scorpius did this? Tom, I’m so sorry! He must have been drunk, he’s still upset over his Mum!”
“It’s not his Mum he’s upset about,” Tom growls. “You never told me he was still in love with you.”
“He’s not, he’s just –”
“He told me he was going to fight for you,” Tom goes on, as I rush to get a cloth to clean the blood off his face. I know a spell to fix his nose, but I’m too shaken to try it. “Rose, should I be worried? Do you still have feelings for him?”
I pause. “No! Here, let me fix your nose.”
He lets me fix his nose and wipe away the blood, and I give him some pain relief potion. He’s still fuming.
“I’m going to kill Scorpius Malfoy next time I see him,” I vent.
“I don’t know how comfortable I am with that.”
“Don’t worry, I can do a clean job, they’ll never know it was me,” I joke.
“I’m serious,” says Tom, which is weird, because he’s never this serious. “If he’s in love with you, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with you being around him as much as you have been.”
I back away from Tom, with a look of disbelief. “Tom, he’s Aidan’s father, I can’t just block him out. He’s just upset that his marriage is over and that his Mum died, he doesn't know what he’s doing half the time.”
Tom doesn't say much more, just heads up to bed in anger. I’m angry too; how dare he say I can’t see Scorpius? And how dare Scorpius punch my fiancé in the face? Why can’t I just meet a normal man?!
Instead of joining Tom in bed, I deliberately disregard what he's just asked of me and I apparate to the Malfoy house, to which I still have a key. I let myself in and luckily Draco is in bed, so he doesn't have to witness me killing his last immediate family member. Scorpius, however, is in the living room drinking Firewhiskey. He has a busted lip; it looks like Tom threw some punches too.
Can I just point out, for the record, that in general men don’t go for me. I’m not Dom. I don’t have men begging to go out with me, or fancying the pants off me, or even taking me out on dates. In fact, Tom being interested in me at all was pretty bloody miraculous given how ridiculous a person I am. So if two men are actually taking the time to fight over me, it can only mean one of two things. Either I’ve turned into a startling beauty in the last couple of weeks (and this definitely hasn’t happened, seeing as my wiry hair is as red as ever and I’m basically as plain looking as I’ve ever been), or the two men who are fighting in me haven’t a brain between them.
It’s definitely the second one.
“Rose, hear me out,” Scorpius begins, putting up his hands in surrender and spilling some of his drink in the process. “I know you’re angry, what I did was stupid - OUCH! FUCK!”
Yes, I’ve slapped him once again. He deserves it.
“You’re an arse Scorpius Malfoy,” I hiss. I think arse was actually very tame for me.
“I know!” he says, holding his now sore cheek. “Can I just explain?”
“What is there to explain? You’re doing what you always do! You’re deliberately fucking with my head!”
“I’m not,” he says, in what would be a serious tone if he weren’t so bloody drunk. He approaches me and I instinctively back away from him. “I’m not giving up this time.”
I narrow my eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I’m fighting for you. I’m fighting until there’s no fight left in me. And...yeah. I just wanted you to know that.”
I stare at him in shocked silence for a few moments, trying to process what he’s telling me.
“You’re drunk,” I say. “And your wife has just left you and your Mum has just died. You shouldn’t be saying these things, Scorpius. And you definitely shouldn’t be punching my boyfriend!”
“I thought he was your fiancé?”
“He’s not right for you,” Scorpius tells me. He sets his glass down onto the very grand mantelpiece and then sits into the armchair that his father usually occupies.
“How would you know?” I scoff. “You don’t even know him.”
“He’s a lawyer,” Scorpius retorts. “I know enough.”
“You know nothing!” I yell, and Scorpius casts a Muffliato on the door so I don’t wake Draco. He can sense my rants coming now. “You pissed off to America with your wife and never even wrote to me! You know nothing about Tom or my life with him, so don’t even pretend to! He’s so good to me; he actually tells me he loves me and he wants me which is a damn sight more than you ever did!” I’m crying now. Angry crying, of course. Scorpius looks like he feels guilty, which makes me happy. “There’s no bullshit with Tom. I don’t feel like shit about myself anymore, because I did for such a long time. And that was partly down to you. Actually...it was mostly down to you.”
I feel I might have gone too far. I know I may be rubbing salt into the open wound of his divorce and bereavement, but this has been bubbling up inside me for a year now. He needs to hear it.
He doesn't look at me. He focuses his eyes on the ground as I compose myself and wipe away my tears. As God as my witness, this will be the last time Scorpius Malfoy makes me cry.
“I had no idea I made you feel like that,” Scorpius says quietly.
“You Malfoys are heartless pricks by nature,” I snap.
He has said these words so many times they barely mean anything anymore.
“I’m going home,” I tell him, emotionally exhausted from the last few minutes. He gets up from the armchair and approaches me again, but this time I stand my ground.
“Rose, I really am sorry,” he says again, and his eyes actually meet mine this time. “But I really am trying to change.”
“You need to try harder,” I sniff.
“I’ll give up on you if you really want me to,” he tells me quietly. “But can I just say, as the voice of experience, entering into a marriage while you’re in love with someone else is not a good idea.”
I go to hit him again, but he grabs my arm and stops me.
“I’m not trying to make you angry!” he insists.
“Well you’re doing a bloody good job of it –”
“I want you to be happy, Rose!”
“Well then why are you being such an idiot to Tom?”
He sighs, and suddenly he appears completely sober, which makes me think he may have been faking a lot of the drunkenness.
“I don’t think you and I are ever going to be happy without each other,” he says simply.
I pull myself from his grip and disapparate immediately. When I arrive home, Tom is still awake but is pretending to be asleep. He knows where I’ve been and he’s angry, I can tell. I climb into bed and cry silently to myself, marvelling at how I get myself into such royally messed up situations.
I’m crying because of the threat there now is to my once blissful relationship with Tom. I’m crying because I hate crying and I can’t seem to be able to stop myself. And I’m crying because, as much as I absolutely hate to admit it, Scorpius Malfoy might actually be right.
It makes me sick.
A/N: I have the next chapter written, but I may change it now. There are only two chapters to go! Thank you so much for your ongoing support, I know you're all conflicted and there's no way I can satisfy everybody with the ending, but I'll do my very best! I really love all of your reviews, but could everyone please adhere to the site rules and keep them 12+? It makes it nicer for everyone! Let's leave the swearing to Rose! xxx
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