Chapter 17 : Before Life Got Easier
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“Rose.” Ryan turned her head to me curiously. “What ever happened between you and Scorpius?”
I stiffened at the question, frozen mid-bite of my Jelly Slug.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dom start a little too, aand the tiny nail polish brush jerked over Ryan's entire finger. She swore under her breath and grabbed a cotton ball.
“Scorpius....” I really didn't know what to say. “He isn't a good guy, never has been. We would never have worked together.”
“Rose, that's not true.” Dom said, turning to me. “I did date him for a reason, he's not a bad person.”
“Come on, in all the years that we've known him, there hasn't been one time he's been nice to you?” Ryan asked, raising an eyebrow at me, disbelief painting her tear stained face.
I tried to not remember, but the memory swam to the surface anyways.
It was March 15 of my fifth year.
I opened my eyes, and groaned, not wanting to get out of bed. I'd felt this way for weeks now, though nobody knew. I felt heavy, moody and exhausted all the time. I wasn't really functioning; just stumbling through school and after that, practice. From the outside I looked fine, I got my work done, maintained my grades and played well... Most of the time.
It'd started a little while ago. I started to notice it after Quidditch mostly, but I'd even had them after a few tests. I didn't know what to call them exactly. Not heart attacks obviously, but some type of attack. I'd get all worked up and then bam, it would hit me. A wave of weakness followed by dizziness would rush over me. Then my chest tighten, and breathing would become difficult. I'd gulp down water, but nothing would quench my thirst. And my stomach, Merlin, my stomach would tie itself into knots until I was sure my insides would fall out.
They were terrible, and I always ran, getting away from everyone, as soon as I felt one coming. No one had ever seen me have one, and I planned to keep it that way.
It wasn't just the attacks though. I'd noticed other things about myself too. I was tired all the time now, though I slept every minute I could. Little things started to feel like too much effort. Smiling seemed like such a big thing. Even my friends had noticed I'd been down recently, though I'd brush it off as tiredness.
Speaking of my friends. “ROSIE!”
Someone ripped back the curtains and my two best friends jumped onto my bed.
“Wake up, wake up!” Ryan sang, as Dom giggled madly.
I just rolled over and covered my face with my pillow.
“Come on, Rose.” Dom poked me in the ribs. “The game's in two hours.”
“Then I could have slept for an hour more.” I grumbled, throwing my pillow off my head. I got up, and stretched my sore limbs. I felt like I hadn't slept a wink, though I'd gone to bed at nine o'clock on James' orders. This was his last chance at the Cup, he constantly told us, and we weren't ruining it for him.
“Morning, Annette, Carmen.” I nodded at my other roommates. Carmen beamed at me, her dark curls a quivering mass that spilled over her shoulders.
“Morning, Rose.” Annette turned to me and smiled her signature fox-like smile at me. Annette simply looked like a fox, she had this slyness about her and short orange hair. Her green eyes always glittered mischievously. “Ca va?” She asked in French, Annette simply loved French.
“Ca va mal.” I grumbled, picking up my towel. “Tres mal.”
“Are we ready, team?” James asked, and I turned around to face him.
James Potter, standing six feet and two inches, was a lot to take in. He had messy black hair that he could never tame, and hazel eyes that sparkled with the same wildness as his hair and personality. His cheeks were flushed a little, probably from nervousness, but other than that his flawless skin shone ever the same. However, his expression was something you didn't see very often. He looked totally serious and focused, a far cry from his regular arrogant and carefree air. In his flowing scarlet Quidditch robes, he looked both terrified and confident.
“This is the big one, guys. The only thing standing between us and the Cup, is Ravenclaw. We can beat them, I know we can.” James looked around at us from his position at the front of the room.
He looked at each and every one of us commenting as his eyes caught ours.
“Lily, you're the best seeker Gryffindor's had since Dad. I have total faith in you.” He smiled a little at his little sister, who blushed, before he turned away.
“Fred, Rowan.” Rowan looked cocky, and Fred grinned wildly. “Smack the hell out of those Bludgers, and take down a few Ravenclaws while you're at it.”
“Emmer. I've seen you do great things, and some not so great things. But I put you on this team for a reason; I know you can do this.” Emmer looked a little uncomfortable at James' words, and ducked his head to fix his gloves.
“Gracie. You're a Goddamn good Chaser. You're agile, wicked fast and coordinated, and that's all you need to know. Score me some goals, will ya?”
Gracie looked determined and fierce, as she nodded her head vigorously, her dark black curls bouncing against her mocha skinned cheeks.
“And Rose. There's no telling what you can do. I know you've been a little off lately, but you, you are truly amazing. When you fly, it's like the air bends to your will.” His eyes sparkled in a big brotherly way as he punched me lightly on the shoulder. I smiled a little back at him, my cheeks stiff.
“I know we can do this, Gryffindor, all there's left to do is actually do it.” James' eyes swept back around the room once more, before he smiled his classic I-am-James-Potter-be-fucking-jealous smile.
“Hands in, everyone.” And he stretched out his hand in front of him, and we piled all our hands on top.
“Gryffindor on three! One, two, three!”
“GRYFFINDOR!” Our voices roared throughout the change room, like the lions we were.
Or rather they were, I didn't feel much like a lion.
“And here they come folks! It's Grrrrrr-yffindor!” Lysander Scamander shouted into the microphone. Lysander had been commenting the games since his first year at Hogwarts, having loved Quidditch but played bloody awful, much unlike his twin, Lorcan. Unlike most twins they were in different houses, Lysander was in Gryffindor, and Lorcan in Ravenclaw, both in my cousin Fred's year. Lorcan played Beater for the Ravenclaw team, he caught me gazing over at him and smiled at me before zooming over to his fellow Beater, Fabian Boot, or as most people called him, Fab.
“Potter, Thomas and Weasley as Chasers! Finnigan and Weasley as Beaters! Emmer as Keeper! And Mini-Potter as Seeker!” I heard Lily scoff as we took off into the air at this assessment of her.
We flew in a mass of scarlet around the pitch once, the crowd screaming for blood or victory below us. We came to a stop in the middle of the pitch, hovering about five meters above the ground. James landed quickly and chatted with Oliver Wood, the flying instructor and referee for Quidditch. He shook hands briefly with the Ravenclaw captain, Emily Carmicheal, before rocketing back up to us.
“Now, I want a nice clean game! From all of you!” Wood shouted up at us, glaring at us sternly. His black and white robes swished around him as he released the Bludgers and the Snitch, all of them zipping off and disappearing. He threw the Quaffle straight up and the game was on. I leaned forward on my broom and sped forwards, snagging the red ball right before a Ravenclaw player grabbed it. Tucking it under my arm, I raced down the field, players hot on my heels.
“And she's off!” Lysander announced to the crowd.
Exhaustion filled me. I was beyond tired, we'd been playing for nearing five hours now. Each time the Snitch appeared, Lily and the Ravenclaw Seeker, Kendall Sampson, would thwart each other and it would get away. And we needed that Snitch, we needed it badly.
We were tired, and we were starting to get sloppy. There's only so long you can go your hardest before you start to drop, and I think we had all reached that point.
The score was close but we were ahead. It was one hundred and ten to a hundred and thirty in our favour. All we needed now was the Snitch.
I turned my focus back onto the game as I heard my name called.
“Rose!” Gracie yelled, and she threw the Quaffle into my hands, then dodging out of the way of an oncoming Bludger.
I whipped down the field, Quaffle under my arm. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a oncoming streak of blue and I prepared myself for the coming attack. Emily Carmicheal came tearing up to me, lunging for the Quaffle but I turned my broom handle up hard at the last moment. Rocketing upwards, then upside down briefly, and I completed the loop, leaving a very confused Emily in my tracks. I dodged an Bludger as it flew past my left ear and I felt it's wind on my face. That was close.
I was nearly the goal now. I put all my weight on my right side, drawing the blonde haired Keeper towards me. I leaned and leaned and... waited. The Keeper slowly hovered to his left, watching me as I raced through the air. Finally, I raised my arm towards the right hoop and...
Twisted my wrist just at the last second, aiming for the left hoop and the Keeper's weaker side. I watched as his eyes bugged out a little as he tried to stretch for the red ball shooting past him but he was too late. The Quaffle soared into the hoop.
“And another goal for Weasley! Her and Potter are now tied, with five goals a piece, and four from Miss Thomas!” Lysander cheered into the microphone, and I pumped my fist into the air, relishing in the small feeling of victory. The crowd booed and cheered in turn and I set off down the field again.
“And Ravenclaw in possession- Oh, it looks like Potter has seen the Snitch!” Lysander yelled into the microphone and I whipped my head around to see Lily, with Sampson hot on her heels, in pursuit of the Snitch.
“Potter in the lead, will this be the end of it folks? But, no! Sampson's caught up, they're neck and neck!”
I watched in horror as Sampson pulled level with Lily. They both reached for the Snitch and... It dived straight down, and the Seekers dived with it. They plummeted through the air, still reaching, the ground nearing. Play around us seemed to stop as all our eye were glued to the two Seekers.
Barely ten feet from the ground and it happened, Sampson, who was a bigger bloke in seventh year, leaned into Lily, using his size to his advantage. She wavered, losing control of her broom for a fraction of a second, and his hand jetted out and snatched the Snitch up. He tried to pull his broom up at the last second, he was only five feet from the ground now, but no such luck and he crashed into the ground, his body crumpling on impact. Lily righted her broom just in time, and somersaulted off her broom and landed in a heap in the grass.
All this happened in the space of a second.
And then the crowd exploded into cheers.
“THE SNITCH IS CAUGHT! RAVENCLAW WINS THE CUP!” Lysander yelled over all the noise in the stadium.
No. No, no, no, no! NO!
We had lost.
I felt the no familiar sensation grip my chest and I stuttered in the air. All my air rushed out off my chest and I struggled to get a breath in as dizziness washed over me. I turned my broom around in the air, ignoring best I could the insane urge to throw up, and racing towards the entrance to the changing rooms. I barely noticed the transition from air to ground as I took off down the hall, passing the Gryffindor changing room. I couldn't go in there, someone might see me. I whipped my head back and forth, looking for someplace that might work when I saw it. The Slytherin changing room. Perfect, no one who look for me in here and no one would be in there.
I threw the door open and slammed in shut behind me, then collapsed on the floor. My breath came out in gasps, each movement of my chest more painful than the last. Every breath of air felt like it was scraping my lungs out. My head swam, and I closed my eyes, trying to escape the blur of images that the silver and green changing room had become.
I felt my stomach tie itself in knots, and I dry heaved. I was glad I hadn't eaten anything, or it would be coming up now. I felt shudders rack my body, my stomach convulsing. And my mouth was parched, I felt like I'd never drunken water in my life. And my head, it felt as if it was splitting in two. My body ached too, and I felt more sweat pour down my face. I barely noticed the door open.
“What the- Rose?!” A voice from behind me yelled., and I curled up in a ball, flinching away, hoping they would go away and not see me like this.
“Merlin, please be okay, Rose?! Rose!” The voice was closer now, and I felt a hand shake my shoulder now.
I cringed away again, and rolled over, my eyes still closed. As quickly as it had come, it left. My stomach unknotted itself, and my lungs seemed to open up, welcoming the air. I gasped gratefully, and opened my eyes, seeing for the first time, who the person was.
“Wh-What are you doing here?” I managed to cough out, which was surprising, seeing how much my throat ached and how dry my mouth was.
I pushed myself up on my elbows, noticing for the first time how close Malfoy was. His hands were cupping my shoulders, and he was leaning over me. We were closer than we'd ever been before, barely inches apart.
He looked really worried, his grey eyes were searching all over me, as if looking for an explanation to why I was acting like this.
“Are you okay, Rose?” He asked, his voice low and intense.
I swept a hand over my face, pushing my sweaty hair out of my eyes. I licked my cracking lips, and nodded.
“Do you have any water?” I replied, my voice cracking a little at the end. Normally, I would have flushed but now I was just too tired.
It was his turn to nod as he conjured up a goblet with his wand and filled it with water. I drank from it gratefully, taking huge gulps of the cool water. It carved it's way through my body, soothing the ache in my chest and calming my nerves. I sat up and leaned on the wall behind me, crumpling slightly because all the energy seemed to have left my body.
“Thanks.” I breathed once I had finished the glass. I made to stand up, but Malfoy's hands returned to my shoulders and held me in my sitting position.
“There's no way you're going anywhere.” He looked at me sternly, like a parent would to a naughty child.
“Look, I'm fine now.” I protested, trying to get up again but his hands pushed me right back down.
“You didn't look fine a minute ago.” The expression on his face turned from stern to almost disgusted. “Merlin, Rose! What happened to you?”
I pursed my lips, thinking. There was no way in hell I was telling Malfoy about these attacks. I really wish I had my wand on me, I would have just been able to stun him and make an escape.
“I'm not letting you leave until you tell me what happened.” His voice was demanding, harsh even and he flicked his wand at the door, locking it.
“Let me out.” I hissed, attempting to sound my usual scathing self. “I'm fine!”
“Bloody hell, Rose!” He snapped, sitting down of the bench in front of the wall I was slumped against. “Why won't you tell me?”
“Because you're a Malfoy!” I sneered, knowing this would hit a nerve.
“Don't you think I don't know that?!” He looked ready to exploded and I almost smirked in satisfaction before he seemed to calm down. He took a deep breath, and looked at me; studying me. “Let's just pretend, pretend that in this room, I'm not a Malfoy and you're not a Weasley. Let's pretend we don't hate each other for one moment, and you tell me what just happened.”
He looked directly into my eyes, burning me.
“Fine!” I snapped, looking at him murderously. “You really wanna know?”
He nodded once, a hard nod, like he was a solider addressing his general.
My voice was scathing, a little sarcastic and deathly angry. But I couldn't take keeping this secret locked up any longer.
“I've been....” I searched for the right word, totally ruining my whole tough-Rose facade. “depressed, I guess. Yeah, that's it. I'm depressed. Getting up in the mornings is like torture. You know what I used to do every morning? Think about one thing to look forward to each and every day. And you know what I'd do every night? I'd find one thing I was proud of doing for that one day. One little thing!”
My breath was coming out in slight heaves and I probably looked like a lunatic, but I pushed up from the wall and paced in front of Malfoy. I couldn't control the words that came out of my mouth, it was like breaking a dam. It felt so good to talk.
“And you know what happened recently?”
I looked in dead in the eye, glaring at him scathingly, as if this was somehow his fault.
“I stopped finding things! I couldn't think of one little thing to look forward to every day, and I couldn't find one damn thing I was proud of doing that day. Not. One. Little. Thing.” I growled the last words.
I shook my head fiercely back and forth, as if that would stop the tears that were starting to prick my eyes.
“I kept up my act though! I went to school, and then practice, did my homework, got good grades. God, I even beat you.” I gestured wildly at him, not really seeing him.
“I put up a good act but I wasn't happy! I'm still not! Merlin, do you know how hard it was to get up this morning, to get up and go out there to face the world?! Sometimes it just felt like too much. I hate to admit I thought about running away, getting away from everything and starting over again. God, I still do.” Tears were streaming down my cheeks now, but I made no effort to brush them away.
“And then these attacks started about a month ago. Mostly after Quidditch, sometimes after big tests. That's why I left that one Defence exam early, I had an attack.” I looked at him, shrugging my shoulders a little. His expression was empty, he was simply staring at me, utterly focused on me. I took this as a sign that I should keep going.
“First would come the dizziness and I'd feel like I was even too weak to hold up a quill. Then my chest would tighten, and it'd feel like my lungs had disappeared. My body would ache, my head would hurt and I would get so thirsty. All I could think about was the pain and water. But I wouldn't dare drink anything, not when my stomach was wrenching like it always did. It'd feel like my stomach was exploding, and couldn't help but be sick. And then it'd all go away.
“I'd calm down, and get up. Wipe off my mouth, and go out there and pretend like none of it ever happened.” I finished quietly.
“Rose.” He said, his voice ringing with more emotion than I had ever heard. He stretched out a hand to touch my wrist, but I flinched away.
“Does anyone else know about this?” He asked softly.
I shook my head, and wiped under my eyes, now feeling embarrassed about crying in front of Malfoy.
“Rose, I know it-”
I interrupted him. “Stop calling me Rose.”
He looked at me confused. “Why?”
“Stop acting like you know me. Only my friends call me Rose.” I glared at me. “You aren't my friend.”
“I don't care if I'm you're friend right now. Right now I care about getting you the help you need, you need to talk to somebody about this.” He insisted.
“No, I don't.” I avoided his eyes, staring out the window at the empty grounds. “I'll be fine.”
“Goddamn Rose, if you don't tell someone about this, I will.” He looked at me threateningly and I knew he wasn't kidding.
“You wouldn't dare.” I hissed.
“I would.” He glared back at me, drawing himself up to his fullest height and looking down at me.
I couldn't really explain what happened next. Maybe it was because it finally all caught up with me. Maybe it was because I was so damn tired. Or maybe it was because I was now terrified.
Either way, I just crumpled.
I felt Malfoy catch me, his Quidditch reflexes kicking in and grabbing a hold of me before I fell. He held me to him chest and sat down on the bench, holding me next to him.
I sobbed onto his shoulder, unable to stop myself. I don't know how long I cried for and how long after I sat there, with my head against him shoulder, just thinking. Finally, I spoke, my voice cracking and dry.
“I don't want to tell anybody.”
“Why not?” He asked, his voice soft and gentle.
“Because then people will know I'm not perfect.” I whispered.
I heard him chuckle once. “No one's perfect, Rose.”
“Then why do I try so hard to be?” I asked like a small child asking their mom if Santa was real.
“I don't know.” He sighed, and then took a deep breath. “But I do know you have to tell somebody about this.”
“I know.” I breathed. “But I'm afraid. And it's going to be so hard.”
“Most things in life are... But there's always a way.”
We sat in silence for a couple moments and I though about the strangeness of this situation. Here I was sitting in the Slytherin changing room, tears running down my face, curled up next to my mortal enemy that I'd just spilled my guts to. I shifted away from him, and stood up.
“Thank you.” I said simply.
“You know I would never have done this for you.” I blurted out.
He shrugged. “That doesn't matter now, what happened, happened. It's the past now.”
I nodded, and turned to leave before I stopped myself. “This doesn't mean I'm going to stop hating you, Malfoy.”
“Never thought it would, Weasley.”
That night I wrote my mother a letter, telling her what I'd been going through. I told Dom and Ryan too, and we'd cried but it was okay now. I didn't tell anyone what made me decide to tell finally, I planned to take that secret to my grave.
I got into bed and looked back at my day. I was proud of it. I may have lost the Quidditch Cup but I started my life again. I finally had the strength to tell someone. Who knew it would have been Scorpius Malfoy. That was a surprise I had certainly been unprepared for.
“Rose?” Dom asked, waving a hand in front of my face and breaking me out of my flashback. “There has to be at least one time Scorpius was nice to you.”
I cleared my throat, still half in my memories.
“No. There hasn't.”
A/N: So how was that? This is one of my favourite chapter, so I hoped you liked it! The attacks Rose was having are anxiety attacks, very severe ones, I just did my research online, so sorry if that is not accurate. I really hope this chapter shows why Rose is sometimes very reserved and mean, I was trying to show a little of her backstory. And a question to you guys, I noticed reviews have been down a little lately, are you guys not liking the story? Please review and tell me your complaints! In the mean time, keep reading! Love you all, xoxo
Ca va? = How are you / What's up
Ca va mal = I'm bad / It's going bad
Tres mal = Very bad
I know there are supposed to be accents, but I can't put them on, so deal without them! :)
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