It's so stupid really. When you look back at your life and see all the times you could have been happy and weren't, most of them were because of you. The pain of rejection and the pain of loss come when you care about anything, but somehow you convinced yourself that you were better off alone. You got in your own way and decided that it wasn't worth it when really it was that you were scared. Because what's scarier than admitting that you care about someone else? There's nothing more honest or real than that. When you say it you take out a piece of yourself and offer it to the other person. The problem is we think we know who best to give these pieces to, but we don't. We are shooting blind and sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we don't. And although some of us are the lucky few who shot right, we may never get those pieces back. Those pieces are a part of who you used to be and sometimes a part of who you used to be. And with some people, the select few you give the most of yourself to, I don't think you ever get those pieces back. The problem is those are the people that no matter what you do or where you go you can't ever stop loving.
And I really didn't want Scorpius to be that person, but the longer I lived and the more time went on it was becoming clearer that he was that person for me.
"Why," I whined, "do I," I hit my head on the counter in front of me, "keep getting stuck," I continued to hit my head, "with-him
Lauren frowned, "Well I would answer you, but you really don't want to hear what we have to say."
Kelly snorted from across the table in agreement.
"No," I laughed hollowly as I took a very large swig of firewiskey, "I really don't." I pointed accusingly at Kelly. "You are going to tell me something sappy about how love conquers all," I narrowed my eyes at Lauren, "And you are a traitor who makes out with my brother."
Lauren let out a sound of outrage, "You swore you were okay with it!"
"Yes well…" I frowned into my half drunken mug. "That was when I was sober and able to disconnect my feelings from honesty."
"Rose," Kelly scolded me warningly.
"What?" I scoffed softly, "I support her! I just don't get why my brother. There are millions of blocks…I mean blucks…I mean-"
"Alrrright," Lauren announced grabbing my glass, "I think you've had enough.
I blew poorly constructed raspberry at her. "Lies."
My hair was pushed up into an awkward bun, which was falling in my face. My make-up was smeared and I was half sure my dress was on inside out. But it didn't matter, why? Because we were in dive bar that was horribly lit with not a single soul around us that knew who we were. Not that it would have been bad for anyone to see Kelly and Lauren. Kelly was, for once, not in her scrubs, she was wearing some jean shorts, a slinky blue tank top with her dark hair down. Lauren was wearing a sundress with some tight jeans under it with her bright blonde hair in curls. I was the one that hoped to god that no one here would ever see me again.
Suddenly, I gripped the table as my head became incredibly full. It was like all the alcohol was swimming around my brain drowning it from forming coherent thoughts. My legs wobbled as I found myself leaving the safety of the table and rushing for the bathroom. It wasn't a conscious thought, I moved on pure instinct. Busting through a stall, I dropped to the floor and began to hurl the contents of my stomach into the less then hygienic toilet. When I was finished I cleaned myself up lazily and crawled to the sinks. Lauren and Kelly wandered in behind me with looks of disapproval prominent on their faces.
"I DON'T LIVE HERE!" I announced, feeling euphorically better.
Lauren's lips narrowed, "Of course you don't, we are in a bathroom."
"I-don't-livvve-here!" I announced in a singsong voice at the top of my lungs.
"Oh Merlin," Lauren groaned checking my face, "She's stage fiving."
Kelly slumped down to me and sighed, "She hasn't been this bad since Meredith Kitter's wedding."
Both of them lowered to the ground grabbed me by my armpits and heaved me up to my feet. "Where am I going?" I wondered in a childlike tone.
"Home," Kelly laughed as they ushered me threw the crowded bar.
Everything was so bright and swirly. There were so many swirls. I felt my feet scrape against the floor, but I couldn't focus on anything. I knew they were talking and I almost positive they were talking about me, but I couldn't identify anything in particular. All I could remember was Kelly helping me change and Lauren helping me into bed.
Cuddling into my pillow I felt like I was riding a roller coaster even though I was perfectly still. "Lauren?" I mumbled into my pillow.
Bemused, Lauren sighed and sat down next to me. Her blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight as her blonde hair fell to her chest. "Yes Rose?"
"How did you fall in love with my brother?" I asked bluntly, any sense of a sensor gone. "I mean…Did you just always like him or was it like a fairy tale?"
She snorted at the last part, but shook her head. "We've always been friends, but I ran into him after work and we got to talking. Then at one point we looked up and realized the bar was closing up and we were the last ones in there. We'd spent the whole talking to each other not noticing that everyone else had left." A faint blush crossed Lauren's pale face. "I'm only telling you this because I doubt you'll remember anything tomorrow."
"No, I want to remember this." I whined, "I'm glad you've finally settled down. I just wanted to know why, and Hugo's always so…bearlike."
"He was just nervous…He assumed you would trash it." She admitted sheepishly.
I closed my eyes, "I'd never do that. I wish you guys would have told me."
"Are you sure you're okay with it?" Lauren whispered hesitantly.
I nodded, "Oooh, it's like a swirl…" I fought to gain control of my mind. I opened my eyes and pointed at her sluggishly. "I just want you both to be happy and if that's with each other that's great. I can't think of two people who deserve it more."
Lauren's face lit up, and her eyes watered slightly as she was touched by my words. She really had expected me to reject their relationship, to tell her that she wasn't good enough for my brother and vice versa. But she didn't see what I saw. I saw how happy they had become, and even though I'd been focused on my own life I'd seen so many positive changes in them both. They were good together. Lauren finally found someone that wouldn't be a coward and let her run the show. And Hugo finally found someone who wasn't attracted to him because of his surname. It was perfect really.
She whispered something else, but my eyes fluttered to a close and I fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, I arose to the most agonizing headache known to mankind. My head felt like a squashed melon and my throat was too dry. The second I moved, my whole body recoiled as if this movement would result in instant pain.
"Ulgh!" I groaned, crawling into a ball as I tasted a horrible taste in my mouth. "What-the-hell
The light from the sun burned into my face as I tried to hide under my covers and pillow. An obnoxiously loud knock sounded at my door. I submerged myself farther into my bedding and growled at the intruder hatefully.
A familiar chuckle echoed in the living room. "It's just me Rose."
"Aiden?" I wondered from under my cocoon of protection.
He lifted the sheets and gave me an amused look, his dark hair catching in the light as he smiled wickedly. "Yes, it is I
and I think it's time Rose you and I had a little talk."
Several miles away Scorpius was in his parent's dinning room. His father was fully dressed, but his mother was still in her nightwear. They had not expected their son to arrive let alone come at eight o'clock in the morning enraged.
"Why didn't either of you tell me?" Scorpius breathed furiously.
"This is far too early in the morning for us to be having this conversation." His father told him briskly as he drank his morning coffee to fight off his obvious exhaustion.
Scorpius's eyes flashed rage. "I'm not leaving until I get an answer.
His mother's face was etched in guilt, but his father's face stayed firm. "We didn't want you to go looking for her and get yourself into trouble."
"You…did what?" He breathed, "She was my girlfriend! What right did you have to make that call?"
Astoria reached for his hand, but he pulled away. Her brown eyes shined with tears. "Scorpius you were only eighteen we didn't want you to throw away your life-"
"SHE WAS MY LIFE!" He scoffed flippantly, rising out of his chair. "You both had no right to keep this from me!"
"Scorpius please!" His mother insisted sternly pushing him down in his chair. "You will get your father's blood pressure if you keep raging like this!"
"All you would have done is risked your neck for nothing and gotten yourself killed." His father told him diplomatically as if he were discussing some business matter. "And clearly she felt the same was as she kept from you as well."
Scorpius glowered at him. "Yes and I'm still livid about that."
"Of all people don't be mad at her," His mother muttered sadly. "That girl went through a lot. She was trying to protect you …and even if you don't believe it." She paused to lean forward, her soft stare centering on him. "We were too."
"That's great and all, but you had no right." He spat, grabbing his cloak. "I have to go to work…." He glanced over them furiously. "I understand your intentions, but that doesn't make it right. I was an adult. Whatever I chose to do would have been my choice. MINE. Not either one of yours."
And with that he stormed off.
When he was in America he rarely got angry. Sure there were situations that would annoy him, but he was never this incensed and ever since he got back it was constant. He was angry with his parents, he was angry with Rose, but the worst part of it all was he was the angriest with himself. This wasn't her fault. This was they're fault. This was his fault. How had he been so stupid all of these years? How had he not investigated her leaving? How had he let himself believe that she would leave like that without a single word to explain herself or even a word of goodbye?
He'd been so incredibly and inexcusably stupid, but he couldn't give himself to face it. His pride was severally wounded and he couldn't take another hit. So he held onto the small fraction of this that was her fault and blew it out of portion to cover his pain. To cover the heart she broke really. And he knew, deep inside, that this wasn't fair. The way he was treating her, the way he was treating everyone, but he couldn't stop. He was on speeding freight train headed straight for disaster and he didn't have it in him to stop.
Scorpius had grown up a great deal in the past few years, but somehow none of it counted now. Now he was becoming more immature than he was when he left Hogwarts and it was like he couldn't even begin to control himself. He knew if she hit the right button, if she just pushed him far enough, he would let out all the rage hiding behind his cool exterior.
He arrived well before she did, but she was always on time, but never early. This was one thing that he always loved about her, because to him it showed level headed and calmness he'd never possess. Scorpius on the other hand always arrived early everywhere. His father had instilled that, and his sense of organization in him early enough to leave a lasting impression. But today he wished she would just show up. The earlier she came the sooner he would be in his new flat and away from her.
Looking up, his whole body tensed as he saw her. He would have thought it would have gone away by now, this raw energy he felt whenever he saw her, but it didn't. She could dye her hair and change her clothes, but she was still Rose. Her face was still beautiful with her long eyelashes, big blue eyes and warm smile. And her figure had gotten leaner with years, which he attributed to her strict Auror work out schedule. Before she saw him, he memorized her face, the jagged fading scar on her neck, the pale soft skin of her cheeks, the way her hair tucked perfectly behind her ears, but stuck out slightly in the back. For a second he let himself feel what it was like to be in love with her again.
It was like sunlight suddenly warming your body when you've been sitting in the shadows all day. At first he was startled, but then the warmth spread and he began to feel alive again in a way he never felt when he wasn't around her. Clenching his eyes closed, his hands formed into fists and he forced the feeling away. He couldn't do this. He had to stop himself. He had to save himself from the trouble he was so recklessly teasing around. If he kept pushing it he would fall in and there was no coming back from that.
Sipping down his black coffee, he focused on the file in front of him, silently vowing that he would do his best to put everything aside. To forget her and everything that happened, everything that she used to be, everything she used to mean. He knew it was impossible, but he promised in vain that he would be professional and hold it together.
"Fuck off James," I snapped looking down at my desk hatefully.
"Oh quit being so hostile." James rolled his eyes, sitting on my desk.
"James," I started sharply, "Get away from me."
He saw my furious expression and didn't look the slightest bit concerned. He had expected me to be mad and he wasn't disappointed. "I have your newest assignment." James held up the folder, "But before I give it to you I'm going to get your partner to switch into his new desk."
"What's wrong with you?" I whispered with pure distain. "You know our history, why couldn't you have stuck me with someone else? Anyone else in this department would have had my back!"
James lip curled over his teeth in a thoughtful expression. Then, he put away his tough-love method for a second and sat in the seat next to me. "Rose, I love you. You're more like my sister than my cousin, but I'm not going to watch you die. You're right every one of us would die to protect each other, but I trust Scorpius." Swiping his black hair out of his face he sighed sadly. "And honestly if you were in danger I know he would do everything he could to protect you, and I do mean everything."
"Since when did you two become all buddy buddy
?" I scowled.
"Since I'm not my brother and I like to give people a chance…" James leaned forward, his eyes forcing me to look at him. "I don't care what happened between you two right now all I care about is keeping you safe."
Most of my anger faded as I starred at him. I never could stay mad at James long, but this time it was because I understood where he was coming from. Wasn't that what I was trying to do for everyone else?
Still, I couldn't bring myself to openly forgive him. Didn't he understand at all what he was doing to me? Sure I never talked to him about Scorpius and he had never even met him until he arrived at the Ministry, but he had to know right? Our mother's were best friends he had to have overheard something about it over the years, but looking at his face I saw nothing of it.
"Fine," I muttered with a sigh.
"You know," He began with an arrogant smirk. "You look like a baby dragon when you're angry…You just sit there huffing and puffing fire, but not saying anything."
Uncrossing my arms, I glowered at him. "You can leave now James."
He raised his hands like I was pointing a bazooka at him. "Alright, alright! Well you both are on training duty this morning."
I opened my mouth to protest, but James with his ridiculously long legs just waltzed away. Taking another swig of Aiden's hangover cure, I braced myself for the hell that was to come. Of course I would try to be the bigger person. I would use all of my sluggish energy to be civil with him. It was going to take everything I had, but I had no choice.
Rising from my seat, I forced myself to walk over to him. When I was standing right in front of him, his eyes flashed to my face and my whole body felt like it was caving in. But I held on, my finger nails clenching onto what remained of my sanity.
"We have to go train downstairs."
"Fine." He replied curtly, grabbing his wand and rising from his chair. "Let's go."
Moving forward, I heard him following behind me, but I didn't check. I knew he was too professional to let our bullshit stop him from doing his job.
On the way down, we said nothing to each other. We were so passed faking small talk and pretending that we both weren't furious with one another.
"Do you want to lead it?" I asked quietly before we entered the training room.
He spoke briskly and purposefully to the group, while I stood in the corner. I'd never seen him at work. Even when we were dating I never saw him work as an Auror, but as I watched him talk to them and check their stances I saw that he was actually pretty good. It came naturally to him, as naturally as breathing. Eventually though he needed to include me. Today was a lesson on subduing a person without magic, which I already knew wasn't a good idea from the start.
"Weasley," He chipped coldly.
I scowled, walked up next to him and then waited for him to give me an instruction. He hadn't called me that since early seventh year and he hadn't expected the return to that to sting me. He knew exactly how to get under my skin to get to me, but I didn't let it show. This wasn't the time for us to have it out.
"Now I will take Weasley's wand and Buckley's wand, and Buckley here is going to try to take her down." He gestured to the only woman in the group. "The point of this exercise is not to fight, but to contain the other person."
Standing at five feet and seven inches and weighing in at just a little over a hundred and thirty pounds I was easy to toss around. But Hadley Buckley looked even easier. She was a small little thing measuring at five feet four inches and weighing in at just a little over a hundred pounds, but I recognized that determined look in her eyes. It was the same look I had when I first started out.
I handed Scorpius my wand and stood a few feet in front of her. Her thick dark hair slunk into her face.
"Now Hadley," I told her in a low voice so the others would hear. "I'm not going to make this easy on you, but I'm telling you to give this everything you've got or those boys are going to eat you alive. Even if you have to hurt me, do it, because I can handle it. Got it?"
She nodded and then took her stance.
Scorpius stood back with the rest of the students. "On my count Buckley, three…two…one-"
The small girl launched herself at me, and almost got a hold of me. She was much faster than she looked, but I was a little faster. Her technique was much different than the boys. They thought to use blunt force, but never just to make a grab for me. Hadley's only thought was to get a hold of me and then she'd worry about binding me after that. She tried for several minutes and really made me work for it, but all she earned from it was a bruised cheekbone and ego.
"Nice try Buckley," He told her curtly, "Now who's next?"
Most of the boys knew me well enough to know that they would leave limping or at the very least bruised, but still every time there was always one that liked to challenge themselves. Once or twice one in the month and a half I've been authorized one managed to get the better of me, but it didn't happen often. After waiting for a few seconds it was clear that no one was going to step up.
"Alright, then one of you has to try and pin me down." He challenged knowingly.
Hadley crossed her arm, still obviously offended for getting singled out. "Why do you try and pin her down?"
"Me?" Scorpius was caught off guard. His eyes switched over to mine, as one of the few brown hairs left on my head fell in my face.
"Yes, you." She stated authoritatively. "We clearly aren't going to catch her, but you have been trained and in the field longer than she has
"I'll hold the wands!" James offered stepping into the room merrily.
I literally considered murdering him in cold blood. My hands squeezed together in a strangling motion as I used every muscle in my body to stay where I was. What THE HELL
was he up to?
"It's not professional." I insisted not meeting Scorpius's eye.
"Nonsense," James countered snatching bother of our wands and standing back with the students pompously. "I've fought both of you in front of them countless times. I don't see the difference."
The difference was I had wrestled with my cousins since I was little. James and I had even gotten into a physical fight once, but I'd never gotten into a fight with Scorpius. The most that we ever did was chase each other around and eventually snog. It was nothing but playful. But we knew too much about the way our bodies worked. I knew all of his ticklish spots and all his trick nerves just as well as he knew mine. It was like cheating.
But Scorpius didn't seem to mind, after sending James a particularly nasty look he stepped forward and looked at me expectantly.
What had I ever done to James? The rage was back with a vengeance, but with it came with a shudder of not fear, but excitement. A large part of me really wanted to beat the shit out of Scorpius and now I had the perfect opportunity to do so. So for a second I tried to be rational. I tried to tell myself that this was only asking for trouble. That if I had grown up in the slightest I would just walk away and ignore anything the pair of them had to say to me.
"Unless your scared Weasley." Malfoy drawled.
And suddenly I was seventeen again with a large need to prove myself and I didn't give a single fuck about being the bigger person. I saw the pompous seventeen-year-old boy he used to be clearly in front of me and it was clearly time we had a chat.
"Go for it Malfoy," I growled harshly, widening opening my stance to prepare for any sudden movement.
"That's what I'm talking about!" James flicked his own wand and made plushy seats for him and the thirty or so students behind him well out of the way of any action. "Now get comfy kids!"
He took a step forward, it was a calculated step, and he was doing his best to make sure he was thinking absolutely everything through. Finally he had acknowledged that I wasn't the same girl, and that he shouldn't underestimate me.
We started to move in sync. He would take a step, and I would follow. Then finally, after what seemed like forever he reacted. First he tried to simply tackle me, but I maneuvered around him so I could flip over his back and rush away from him. I barely made it to steps before he knocked grabbed me around the waist and tossed me over his shoulder. My adrenaline hiked up, as his arms snared around me. I elbowed him in the center of his stomach and twisted around as I kicked him in his lower rib. He dropped me instantly, and clutched his side, but he clearly wasn't done. Scorpius waited just a beat for his pain to subside, and then he sprung at me again. I stood by the opposite wall panting, with my hands on my knees as slick sweat dampened the back of my neck and the top of my forehead. His steel eyes sliced through the air between us, as he starred at me the whole world ceased to exist around us.
A large bruise formed on my arms as I ducked his arms swiping to reach me, but he missed and ended up punching my arm. I let out a groan of pain, and he looked like he might stop when I roughly knocked his legs out from underneath him. Scorpius's body crumpled to the floor and before he could get his second wind, I jumped on top of him. My hands suctioned around his wrists, and my legs were angled so they perfectly trapped his. Our minds were still in the fight as he struggled beneath me, but I and I alone had the power.
The harsh warm breath that left his body went right into my open mouth as I glared into his eyes. His body adjusted and he stopped fighting me. It wasn't that he could throw me off of him. There were dozen's of ways for him to His whole body tensed under my weight as the tension between us shifted into something much stronger than hate, and much darker than love. There was a faded, but familiar feeling growing inside of me as I looked at him. I hadn't felt that way in a very long time so it took me a minute to realize what it was. As soon as I understood, I saw the lust in his eyes and a blood red blush rushed to my cheeks.
I could have kissed him. The past was nowhere in sight. All I could see was his chest rising and falling faster and faster because of how close we were. All I could hear was the hitch in his breath as he considered it himself. It was like we were in our own little protective bubble. His body grew warm underneath mine and the parts of my body that were directly touching his began to tingle. I saw the triangle of freckles under his eyes, and his silky blonde hair and I almost lost it. I almost gave in.
But then I looked up and like a tidal wave reality came crashing down on us and I immediately peeled myself off of him. Pushing myself to my feet I fixed my hair and adjusted my outfit. I didn't offer him a hand up. I couldn't bare the thought of touching him. I didn't even look at him. I couldn't handle being under the gaze of his steel eyes for any longer. Instead I waltzed over and took my wand from a stunned James and told him he could finish the rest of the lesson without me.
Controlling my overwhelming anger, I pushed out through the doors and walked as fast as I could to the elevator. Tears were welling up in my eyes, but they didn't fall until after the elevator doors shut.
I just felt more in five minutes than I had felt in the entirety of the past five years and we didn't even kiss. How could that be possible? And more importantly why didn't he throw me off of him? He's supposed to hate me! How am I supposed to go back to hating him after that?
The old saying goes whatever kills you can make you stronger, that part is true, but in the process it kills a little piece of your soul to make you stronger and if you're not careful you could lose it all. And I almost did, again.