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Still Delicate by padfoot4ever
Chapter 34 : Endings
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 251


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Chapter 34 - Endings

“You know Rose, it was only a matter of time before you flipped out and left the country,” Dom says casually, sipping on a cocktail. She’s made me the same one. I don’t care to know what’s in it. “I’m just glad Scorpius had Aidan at the time.”

“I’m surprised I didn’t flip out and kill someone,” I admit. “Because it’s only a matter of time before that happens too.”

Dom laughs, points her wand at my glass, and it refills itself. Really, this is probably the best idea I’ve ever had. I don’t know why I never thought of fleeing to France when life got on top of me before. It was actually Dom’s idea to come to her grandparents’ house; Madame and Monsieur Delacour asked very few questions when we turned up out of the blue. They were happy to see their granddaughter, and they hadn’t seen me since I was in their house for Teddy and Victoire’s wedding almost seven years ago.

Maybe I’ll just stay here forever. I’ll have Aidan sent to me, of course. But I could quite happily stay here in France with Dom and my son and no men whatsoever. I could learn French and everything.

“Are you sure your grandparents don’t mind?” I ask again.

“’Course not,” Dom says confidently. “Mémé’s always writing to me asking me to visit. And it’s not like they don’t have the space for us.”

It’s true that the Delacour house is gigantic, but I still can’t help but feel like I’m imposing. After all, I decided only a few hours ago that I was actually coming here...

“So spill it,” Dom tells me. “What has finally caused you to leave the country?”

“Oh, you know...”

“Scorpius.”

“What else...”

**

“I can’t believe him, Rose! How did you ever see anything in that tool?” Tom vented. He’d been venting for a while. Probably about half an hour. I’d said very little. I didn’t know what I could say to calm him down. The truth certainly wasn’t going to cut it. “I mean, we’re engaged! He thinks he can just punch me in the face and you’ll fall in love with him?” I suppose it was a change from him ignoring me, which he had done all morning.

“I’m sorry, Tom,” I said, and I meant it. Scorpius was being such a tool because of me. I felt responsible for him; I always feel responsible for him.

“You shouldn’t be sorry,” he sat down next to me and took my hand. We were in the living room; Aidan was at school. Tom had taken the day off work so we could “talk” and so he could “think”. I had come home on my lunch break, as per his request. “I’m sorry I went a bit mad at you last night.”

“He punched you in the face, you had every right to,” I said. I didn’t really know how much I believed what I was saying; all I knew is what he wanted to hear.

Tom looked so stressed. I’ve never seen him look so stressed, not even before he goes before the Wizengamot. “I think we should tell your parents,” he said.

“That Scorpius punched you? No offence, but I don’t think telling on him is going to do much good here...”

“I think we should tell them we’re engaged,” Tom said seriously. “Maybe if we put the word around that we’re getting married, he’ll get the message.”

I felt uncomfortable. After the previous night’s conversation with Scorpius, I wasn’t sure where I stood with anyone. “I don’t know...”

“Why not? I mean, we are engaged after all...”

“Well...we’re sort of engaged,” I said carefully. I saw anger flash across his face. “I mean, we agreed we’d get married some day. But not immediately, you know?”

“Yes, well I still count that as engaged,” he said grumpily. He let go of my hand. “If you don’t want to marry me, all you have to do is say so.”

“No!” I exclaimed. “I mean yes, I do want to marry you, it’s just my parents are going to tell me we rushed into this. They won’t take it seriously, Tom. And telling them we’re engaged just to send Scorpius a message doesn't really seem like the right motive.”

Tom studied me for a moment. “Rose, do you still love him?”

And there it was. The question I so dreaded, because I’m so transparent when it comes to Scorpius Malfoy. Except now I couldn’t honestly answer yes or no to that question, because I didn’t even know the answer myself. So I gave the most unsatisfying answer of all.

“I don’t know.”

His face fell. I felt awful; I’ve actually never felt so awful.

“But I know I do love you,” I told him. Except I didn’t really know that either.

It didn’t solve anything. He told me to go back to work, and that he’d talk to me later. I gladly went back to work, happy to be getting a break from my now mess of a personal life.

It’s so weird going into St Mungo’s and walking past the receptionists’ desk, instead of just staying there for the day. I usually stop there for a chat, but I rushed past them because I just wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. As it turns out, I would have been better off staying there. Because when I went back to the Potions lab, Scorpius was waiting outside it for me.

“Go away,” I said immediately. How he could just turn up there, after everything that happened the night before, I had no idea.

“Two minutes!” he pleaded.

“You came to my work?” I hissed angrily.

“Well I couldn’t go to the house in case he was there,” Scorpius shrugged. “Rose, please, just hear me out...”

“I heard enough from you last night.”

“It’s about last night,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry about how I came out with all that. Really, I am. But I meant it –”

“Why do you have to piss all over everything?” I whispered viciously. “I’m finally happy and you have to swoop in with your stupid confessions and empty promises! Why can’t you just let me be happy?”

“Are you really happy?” he asked.

I paused for a minute. There were a few people walking up and down the corridor; I still had ten minutes left of my lunch break. I pulled him into an empty room across from the Potions lab so that nobody would see me have a meltdown.

“You’re not allowed to ask me that!” I snapped at him, shutting the door behind us. I had told him the previous night I was happy. Why did he need to hear me say it again? Why did we have to have this same fight again?

“I’m not allowed to ask if you’re happy?” he scoffed.

“It’s none of your business what I am! You blew so many chances; if I’m happy with someone else you have nobody to blame but yourself!”

His eyes flickered down, and then back to mine. “You’re not wearing your ring.”

It was true; I wasn’t. I always took it off for work and when I was going to visit any of the family other than Dom or Jenny, as they were the only ones who knew about the engagement. I was planning to keep it that way for as long as I possibly could.

“I don’t want it to get destroyed by the Potions,” I lied.

“Right,” he said flatly. He didn’t believe me. “Look, I told you last night that if you can honestly tell me you don’t ever want to be with me again and that Tom is the one for you, I’ll leave you alone. But you never said it.”

Another surge of anger flashed through me.

“How dare you,” I snapped.

“You can’t even say it!” he said, almost laughing.

“You’re an arrogant little shit, Scorpius Malfoy, you always have been –”

“You used to love that.”

“I never loved that!” I practically shouted. “That was the side of you that made me doubt everything I actually did love about you! Tom doesn't have a side like that. He’s actually a good person.”

“You have a side like that too, you know,” he shot back.

I know he was right. I do have a side like that; a horribly ugly side, a side that kissed a married man and prayed for his marriage to break apart. How I hated that he was right. Again.

“Look,” he sighed, frustrated with the conversation, “I’ll leave you alone for a few days. I had to see you today because I couldn’t leave things how we left them last night. But I’ll let you think about it. But don’t just say no, Rose. Just...think about it.”

I paused, and then I nodded. I knew I would think about it, even if I didn’t want to think about it. It was all I could do not to think about it, about him, since last night. With that he left, and I returned to work.

**

“Right, so you had an argument with Tom and yet another argument with Scorpius The Shit,” Dom sums up the part of the story I just told her. “But how does that lead to you turning up to my flat and asking me to flee the country with you?”

“Stop saying ‘flee the country’ like I’m never going back,” I say. “That’s not even the half of it.”

**

I came home from work at six o’clock, not really knowing what mood Tom would be in at that point. After a day of ‘thinking’, I didn’t know what conclusion he would come to. Maybe I wouldn’t have to make a choice between Tom and Scorpius; perhaps Tom would just leave me, and that would be the choice made for me.

As it turned out, he hadn’t left me. In fact, as soon as I stepped in the door, there was a very nice smell coming from the kitchen and Aidan ran out from the living room to greet me.

“Hi Mum! Tom’s cooking dinner and Nana and Grandad are here!” he chirped excitedly.

“Oh really?” I was suspicious. It was so unusual for my parents to stop by for dinner unannounced. Well, Dad did it sometimes if he was just hungry and looking for some food if Mum wasn’t home to cook, but Mum would never do something so unmannerly.

I followed my son into the living room, and sure enough Mum and Dad were sitting there on the sofa, while Tom was on the armchair, and they were chatting and laughing together. I felt excluded; I felt uncomfortable.

“Hi Mum, Dad,” I greeted them. “What brings you here?”

“I invited them,” Tom told me immediately. “Thought it might be nice to have a family dinner.”

“Oh, right,” I said. It still hadn’t clicked with me. I don’t know how it didn’t click.

“Should be another ten minutes or so,” he said.

There was something slightly unnerving in his eyes. It was as if he was trying to win a bet or a race or something, which I suppose he was. Still, he was the frontrunner, at least at that point he was, so he shouldn’t have been so on edge about the whole thing.

“So Rose, how’s work?” Mum asked me.

We chatted for a while about work and other such trivial matters. We moved to the dining room to eat, which was yet another uncomfortable affair. Dad looked kind of suspicious of the whole occasion, just like I was. We didn’t do these formal kind of dinner things, and when we did, I was definitely not the one to host them. Mum seemed happy enough to think that I was maturing. Dad knew better.

“So Tom,” Dad said, and I swear his voice got deeper. He was trying to be intimidating. “Seriously, why did you invite us here?”

“Ron!” Mum exclaimed. “I’m sorry Tom, he doesn't mean to be rude...”

Dad definitely meant to be rude. It’s why I love him so much.

“It’s alright, I actually did have an ulterior motive,” Tom admitted.

And then it clicked. He was going to tell them we were engaged, even though I specifically told him not to.

“Tom,” I said warningly. Aidan was there; surely he wouldn’t say it in front of Aidan.

He took my hand; how lucky he is that I didn’t break his fingers.

“I asked Rose to marry me,” he said.

Dad’s face paled.

“And she said yes!”

And then Mum’s face paled.

I can only imagine how white I went.

“Tom,” I hissed, pulling my hand away. “I can’t believe you just did that...”

“Rosie, is that true?” Dad asked, half laughing.

“Dad, I was going to tell you,” I started.

“It’s true!” Mum gasped. “But you’ve only known each other a few months!”

“You’re getting married?” Aidan was clearly confused. “But why?”

It was an unmitigated disaster. Really, I don’t see how it could have gone any worse, short of James running in and shouting “Rose had her first drink when she was fourteen!”.

“We’re not getting married,” I said, very definitely.

“Then why did Tom say you were getting married?” Aidan asked.

“He was just joking, weren’t you Tom?” I looked at him pointedly.

Tom said nothing. He got up from the dinner table and stormed out, and I couldn’t have cared less where he went. There was a silence for a few minutes as I contemplated just how to work some damage control.

“So, that was a joke?” Aidan asked.

“Yes,” I told him.

“It wasn’t very funny. Uncle James’s jokes are way better.”

“Aidan love,” Mum said gently, “Why don’t you go and play in your bedroom for a while?”

He protested a bit, but eventually went upstairs when Dad told him he’d be up in a minute to play too. Really, he should be used to being asked to leave rooms at this stage; there’s nearly always an argument going on that we’d rather he didn’t hear.

“Rosie, what the hell was that?” Dad asked as soon as Aidan was out of earshot.

“Did he really ask you to marry him?” Mum chimed in.

“Yes, he did,” I told them. “And I told him I’d marry him some day. And we agreed not to say anything but he’s apparently lost the fucking plot...”

“Language,” Mum warned. It really wasn’t the time to warn me about my language. I suspected it could get a lot worse. “I really think you should get to know each other better before making any sort of commitment.”

“Definitely,” Dad agreed. “I always thought you’d end up with Malfoy...”

Mum and I looked at him incredulously.

“Dad, you hate Scorpius,” I said.

“You hate all the Malfoys!” Mum added.

“He’s not too bad, I suppose,” Dad shrugged. “Gave us Aidan and everything. And compared to that fucking crackpot –”

“Ron, language!”

“—Scorpius doesn't seem so bad anymore.”

It’s typical that just when I start to move on from Scorpius that my father finally decides to accept him. I’m sure if I move on from Tom the Crackpot Dad will just fall in love with him too.

**

“So wait a second,” Dom splutters. We’re on our fifth cocktail now. I love France. “Tom actually told your parents you’re engaged? What a psycho!”

“I know,” I agree. “He actually made Scorpius look normal.”

“So then your choice should be easy enough, right?”

“I don’t know...”

“Rose, your life is so dramatic,” Dom yawned.

I lie back on the very comfortable bed that we have been sitting on, chatting. The Delacour house is just as beautiful and extravagant as I remember, if not more so.

“I know. I’m so sick of it, Dom. Why couldn’t I just have a normal, boring life like Lucy?”

“Yeah. I wonder what’s going on with Lucy these days...”

Lucy’s that member of our family that everybody always kind of just forgets about. Louis is a close second. They just lead normal, boring lives, unlike me or James or Al or Dom. Even Molly has had her fair share of drama, but I’m not sure just how much of that she’s made up in her head. I suppose her father running for Minister of Magic was quite dramatic for Lucy at the time, but nowhere near the scale of drama the rest of us are used to. In fact, my mother running for Minister is more of a back story in my life.

“So what happened next?” Dom presses.

**

The next morning, I woke Aidan and told him to get ready to go to his Dad’s for the day. It was Scorpius’s weekend to have Aidan, and although I really didn’t want to see him, Aidan unfortunately did. Because Scorpius and Daisy ended the lease on their old flat, Scorpius has been staying with his father since he returned from America. So when Aidan was ready to go, we took Ollie and apparated to the Malfoy house.

Scorpius was out when we arrived. He was doing some food shopping, which was very disturbing to hear. I couldn’t imagine him doing something like that, something helpful and normal.

Draco let us in and I momentarily forgot about my own drama when I first saw him. He looked so broken.

“How are you doing?” I asked him.

“Fine. Scorpius should be back in a few minutes,” Draco said curtly.

“Grandad, can I go and play?” Aidan asked immediately. The Malfoys have a rather large playroom that had once belonged to Scorpius, which Aidan loves to play in when he comes to visit. I never had a playroom. I had a sibling and cousins, which was so much better. Draco gave Aidan the go-ahead, and he ran off happily.

Draco sat himself down in the chair I think he might have slept in the night before. He stared distantly into the fireplace, and I had no idea what I could say to make him feel any better. There was literally nothing I could do to ease his pain, and even though I never had much time for the man, I really wished I could.

“So, are you going to explain why my son is acting so strange these days?” Draco drawled after a few minutes silence.

“Oh, you know...stupid drama,” I shrugged, not quite knowing how else to explain it.

“He tells me you’re engaged.”

“I...I don’t really know what I am.”

“Well, you’d want to make up your mind,” he said.

“Is this the part where you tell me to be with your son?”

“No,” he said shortly. “You should pick whoever you want. Life is too short not to be with the person you want.”

It was probably the deepest thing I’d ever heard the man say. I wasn’t sure he had that kind of depth in him, but apparently grief does strange things to people.

It got to me, what he said. It really got to me.

I needed to pick the person who I truly wanted to be with, no matter what he did. I needed to pick the person who if he died, I would look just as broken as Draco Malfoy did at the death of his wife. I needed to pick the Astoria to my Draco, as completely twisted as that sounds.

And that is when I left the Malfoy house, apparated straight to Dom’s, and asked her to take me far away from everybody.

Which is how we ended up in the Delacour mansion in France.

**

“So who is your Astoria then?” Dom asks me. It is now after two in the morning.

“Fucked if I know,” I reply, staring up at the ceiling.

“I reckon you do know,” Dom says. “You’ve always known.”

“You see, the thing about Astoria is she brought out any bit of good there was in Draco Malfoy,” I explain. “And I’m not sure either of those idiots brings out any bit of good in me.”

“I don’t know...” Dom says annoyingly. “I mean, Scorpius is a total moron, I’ll give you that, but when you’re around him, you’re constantly trying to make him a better person. I think you’re the Astoria in the equation.”

“But Tom is so good,” I insist. “I mean, I know he messed up royally, but I think that’s just because of everything that Scorpius was saying. I don’t have to try to bring out the best in him because it’s already on display, you know?”

Dom paused.

“That sounds really annoying,” she concludes.

“It kind of is.”

“Well fine, if personality isn’t going to decide it...who’s hotter?”

I glare at her. “Dom, I’m so glad you’re not shallow.”

“Well if I had to pick who’s hotter, I’d probably go with Tom,” she says casually. “But then again, I’ve kind of always preferred dark haired guys, and I am a bit biased because Scorpius is my ex and all.”

“Dom, it’s time for sleep,” I tell her.

I drift off to sleep with thoughts of them both in my head. I know I’ll have to pick one, and I need to face them tomorrow. But for now, in France, I can just sleep in ridiculously comfortable bed and drink mysterious cocktails and forget that my life is rapidly becoming one very long and complicated joke.

**

Dom and I leave France after dinner the following day. Having spent the day relaxing and eating ridiculously tasty food, I am ready to head back home and face my life again. The break has done me good, even if it was only twenty four hours. I thank Madame and Monsieur Delacour for their kind hospitality and apologise for barging in. They insist that I am welcome any time, and I’m thinking that this place might be a nice sanctuary every time my life gets so messed up. I may as well just move here.

We take a Portkey home; one of the many advantages of having a mother who’s the Minister of Magic is that you can get Portkeys at pretty much any time.

Dom comes home with me to my empty house.

“Have you made a decision?” she asks.

“I don’t know,” I reply.

“I won’t ask anymore,” she says, and hugs me. She tells me to call her as soon as I’ve ‘done it’, in her words, and we can cry or laugh or do whatever seems appropriate. I’m not quite sure what is appropriate.

I have no messages from Tom. I had been expecting one, or at least hoping for one, but there is nothing. No letters, no messages on my phone, nothing. So I decide to take things into my own hands, and not to let him slip away like this. I need to know, one way or the other, where I stand.

I find Tom at his old house, which he still owns. We never really made anything official with moving in and getting engaged, so I suppose he was wise to keep his house as a backup. He stands aside silently to let me in. He looks very like how he looked the first time I met him: a complete mess.

“I didn’t expect to see you,” he grumbles, leading me into the kitchen. He flicks his wand at the kettle and refuses to look at me.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,” I tell him. “What you did the other night was –”

“Stupid,” he interjects. “I know. But I had to do it.”

“It wasn’t your place!” I argue, annoyed that he isn’t apologising to me. “They were my parents, it should have been me telling them.”

“Then why didn’t you?” he snaps. I like the stubble on his chin. I thought I would know as soon as I saw him whether I wanted him or not. But I still don’t. “You were never going to tell them.”

“Yes, I was!” I insist, although I don’t even know if that’s true.

“You still love him,” he says. It wasn’t a question, so I don’t answer. “You want to be with him.”

“Tom, it’s you I need,” I say definitely. “You’re mature, and nice and you treat me so well. We get on so well, we hardly ever fight. Scorpius and I fought all the time. He’s moody and immature and –”

“The love of your life,” Tom finishes sadly. He approaches me and takes my hand, and in this second I want to kiss him, but I can see in his eyes that he doesn’t want to kiss me. “You might need me, but you want him. So it’s a matter of choosing between who you need and who you want...”

I thought of what Draco Malfoy said: life is too short not to be with the person you want. Am I really about to take the advice of Draco Malfoy? Then again, I have a feeling that Astoria’s death might have changed him. Perhaps leopards can change their spots after all.

“And you’re going to choose him,” Tom says.

“No, I won’t –”

“Even if you don’t,” Tom continues, “I can’t be with you. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me.”

“But I do!” I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to hold on to this. I’m not sure there’s any point now.

“Just admit you love him,” Tom sighs, annoyed.

I look away from him. I know I love Scorpius, but I don’t like him. I want to kill him most of the time. He’s made me experience pain worse than I could ever thought possible. And, on the other hand, there have been small intervals where he has made me happier than I’ve ever been.

“I do love you, Tom,” I say honestly. “But...I have just always loved him more than reason could ever really explain. I’m ... I’m so sorry for all of this.”

He looks almost satisfied by this answer, and yet hurt by it too. I take off the engagement ring, which is still hanging on the necklace I am wearing, and I give it back to him. I’m not sure why I ever took it in the first place.

“Have a great life, Rose,” Tom tells me. “And don’t let him hurt you again. You’re better than him, you know.”

“I’m probably just the same as him,” I tell him. “And you’re definitely better than the both of us.”

He doesn't argue this; I’m sure he probably agrees. He gives me an awkward hug, and with that I leave his house, and him, forever.

*

After my conversation with Tom, all I want to do is go home, crawl up in my bed and cry. It’s lucky really that Aidan is still with Scorpius, because there is no way he’d be able to sleep through my sobbing. By the time I arrive home, all of Tom’s things have disappeared from the house. Part of me wants to call him, but I know I should let it all go. Another part of me wants to call Scorpius, but that too would be a disaster, especially considering the condition I’m in. I’m not even sure what I would say to him.

Instead, I choose Celestina Warbeck and wine.

Of course, this would be the exact time my father would choose to drop in for a visit. Excellent timing, Ron Weasley. I answer the door with the bottle of wine in my hand; I’ve been drinking directly from it.

“Bad time?” he asks, looking concerned. I’m so glad Mum’s not with him. She doesn't like to see me drink.

“H-hi Dad,” I sob. He comes in, closes the door, and pulls me into a big bear hug like he used to do when I was a kid.

“Poor Rosie,” he says, hugging me so tight I can barely breathe. “What’s happened?”

“Oh D-Dad,” I sniff, breathing in the smell of chocolate that I always associate with my father. “Everything’s so fucked up.”

Dad proceeds to lead me to the living room and makes me a cup of coffee. He takes the wine and sets it down on the floor and I spill everything to him.

“Tom broke up with me,” I sob. “And I don’t even know if I’m really all that sad about it, and that’s making me even sadder. And Scorpius is such a fuckwit and yet I don’t hate him as much as I should. I just wish for once my life could be normal, you know?”

Dad has an intense look on his face and considers what I’ve said.

“To be honest, I never liked that Tom bloke. Your mother did, mind, but she hasn’t the best judgement of people sometimes,” Dad says bluntly. “And I always thought Scorpius was a fuckwit...”

He sort of trails off unsurely.

“So basically I have shit taste in men,” I sum up.

“Scorpius isn’t all bad,” Dad tells me, and this makes me snort in laughter.

“Dad, you’ve always hated him. What’s changed now?”

“Yeah, he’s a git,” he snarls. “But, for a Malfoy, he’s alright. I think he’s much more of a fuckwit when you two aren’t together than when you are.”

I’ve always valued my Dad’s opinion and judgement above everyone else’s, even Mum’s.

“What are you saying?” I ask him, because I’m so confused.

“I think Malfoy needs you,” Dad says simply. “Or else he’ll just turn into his fuckwit father and then nobody’s happy, are they? I mean think about it, any time Scorpius made you feel miserable, was it when you were actually with him?”

I think about it. Of course he did kiss somebody else in seventh year, but we had been fighting quite a bit at the time, mainly because we didn’t get to see enough of each other. Apart from that and a few odd squabbles, the unhappiest I’ve ever been is when Scorpius and I weren’t together.

“I suppose not,” I sniff.

Dad hugs me again and tells me to just consider what he’s said. When he’s made sure I’m okay, he goes back home and tells me he’ll check back in tomorrow.

I know what I have to do now; I have to see Scorpius. I have to see him and decide once and for all if I’m going to gamble my entire life on him. And so, I apparate to the Malfoy house, not really caring that it is rather late.

Draco, once again, answers the door.

“What are you doing here?” he asks. “Aidan is asleep.”

I check my watch and realise it is now after eleven.

“Shit. Sorry, I lost track of the time, I was at Tom’s and then...”

“You picked him then,” Draco observes, and I swear I think he looks disappointed.

“Actually, we broke up,” I say, although I’m not sure why I’m telling Draco Malfoy of all people. He’s hardly one for girl talk.

“Well at least you’ve made up your bloody mind.” Ah Draco, so comforting to those who have just been dumped.

“Look, can I just come in?” I say exasperatedly.

Draco steps aside, clearly bored with the drama that has been going on with me and his son for longer than any of us care to remember. “He’s in his room,” he tells me.

I take the stairs two at a time and barge into Scorpius’s room without knocking, because that’s just my style.

He is sitting on his bed, which is covered in a Slytherin bedspread. He looks like his teenage self, in his teenage room. His walls have pictures of himself and Al at school, and some of Aidan, and some of me and him at school too. He is reading a book, which he puts down, and stands up to face me.

“Hello,” he says uncomfortably.

“Hi,” I respond. “Tom dumped me.”

I feel uncomfortable, like my mourning period should have taken much longer. Two hours ago I was engaged, now here I am in Scorpius’s bedroom.

He frowns. “Why did he dump you?”

“Because for some ridiculously stupid reason I still love you,” I snap, angrily. Scorpius comes towards me, looking surprised and happy all at once, but I put my hands up straight away in defence. “Wait.”

He doesn't move or say anything, like I’m a deer who’ll run away if he makes any sudden movement.

“I don’t know if I want to be with you yet. Are you going to hurt me again?” I ask him.

“No,” he says firmly. “Rose, I promise, my shithead days are over.”

“I don’t know how I can believe you,” I snap. “If we’re to do this, we can’t mess around anymore. No more breaking up and getting back together. We can’t do it to Aidan.”

“Agreed,” he says.

“On top of that, you need to stop being a selfish idiot and I’ll stop being a neurotic psycho. We need to get rid of all the drama.”

“Right. Sounds good to me,” he nods.

“And you need to understand that I’ve changed too,” I go on, perhaps saying more than I want to. “I’m not that pathetic little girl in love with a married man. I’m not the girl who’s only ever slept with you.”

He frowns again. “Rose, I don’t want to hear this...”

“You need to hear it,” I tell him. “I wouldn’t change what I had with Tom, and I don’t regret it. And I don’t expect you to regret what you had with Daisy. We’ve both grown up, we’ve both learned from our relationships. Can you...accept that?”

He doesn't answer as quickly this time. He puts his hands in his pockets, looks at the floor and grumbles something.

“What was that?” I ask.

“Fine,” he says grumpily. I know it’s the thought of me sleeping with somebody else that’s getting him this angry. But like I said, I regret nothing.

“And finally,” I go on, “You absolutely must promise never to kiss anybody else, especially not slutty Hufflepuffs.”

“It was years ago Rose –!”

“Malfoy,” I warn.

“I promise never to kiss anybody else, especially not slutty Hufflepuffs, even though I apologised for that about five thousand times -”

“Alright then,” I straighten myself up.

We stand in silence for a few moments, not quite knowing what to do with ourselves.

“Can I kiss you now then?” Scorpius asks.

“I...yes, I suppose so.”

It’s a bit weird being nervous about kissing someone I’ve kissed thousands of times before. He comes towards me looking nervous too, knowing this kiss will mark either the beginning of the rest of our lives, or the beginning of a relationship that will eventually destroy us both. I suppose it’s a gamble we both have to take.

I’d forgotten what it was like to kiss him. All the kisses from Tom had negated the kisses from Scorpius, but as soon as his lips touch mine it all comes back to me, and I know I’ve made the right decision.

There couldn’t have been any other ending.

It’s also weird kissing him in his old bedroom under the watchful eyes of Salazar Slytherin; I feel like we’re sixteen again, only not pregnant, just two nervous teenagers in love.

“Kissing’s not as fun when you’re not afraid of getting caught,” he jokes when we break apart. He keeps his hands around my waist, and I slap him. It was supposed to be playful, but it made a right good noise. I like to brand my men with bruises, apparently.

“Well, your Dad could walk in at any minute, he wouldn’t like to see you kiss a Weasley,” I say to him.

“I’ll make a Malfoy of you someday,” he replies, and he kisses me again.





A/N - All those in favour of the cheesy cliché ending say aye! One more chapter left, the epilogue! I really hope you Tom lovers aren’t too disappointed, but it was always going to go this way; if it didn't, I'm pretty sure someone would burn down my house.  And who wants that, really.  I find this chapter a bit jumpy and disjointed, but I think Rose's head was a bit jumpy and disjointed too so that could be why!  I hope you've enjoyed the story, this will be the last you'll be hearing from Rose! Thank you all so much for your ongoing support over the last four years (yes, it has been that long!!!), I can't believe it's almost over! x


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