Chapter 13 : Here Without You
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“SCORPIUS!” James roared his arms seizing Scorpius by the waist and using every ounce of his strength to hold the struggling man back. “SHE’S GONE! YOU CAN’T GO IN THERE!”
“NOO!” Scorpius screamed as he punched, kicked and did everything in his power to break free, but he couldn’t. “LET ME GO POTTER! LET-ME-GO!”
James winced, “I can’t Scorpius…She’s gone!...She’s gone.”
No matter how hard he tried or how hard he fought he couldn’t break free from James’s hold. James held onto him until the Ministry members came and even then he kept a close watch on him.
“No.” Scorpius kept repeating to himself, his eyes unfocused as he looked at the remains of what once had been Rose’s building.
His whole life wasn’t over. He wasn’t committed to her in any real sense. He had a job. He had friends. He had a family. But at the end of the day he still felt like he was watching his entire life burn to the ground.
Two hours later Hugo stood in front of his mother’s house, with a face full of tears. His eyes, his cheeks were crimson from the hour he’d spent crying. All of the weight of his life was sitting on his rib cage, crippling him and shaking him to the core. His tall, once gangly figure leaned against the door as he tried to prepare himself for what was to come though he knew there was nothing he could do help this.
He knew one day he’d have to make this visit, as soon as his sister joined the Auror’s office he knew this day would come. But he always hoped with every fiber of his being that she would be the exception. He always believed that his sister would simply be too headstrong to die. But the day had come and he wasn’t even remotely ready for it. How could he look at his mother and tell her this?
Inside Hermione Granger Weasley was sitting in her favorite armchair in her study. She could see her son leaning against the front door of her house and she knew this would be the hardest part of this whole ordeal, pretending she didn’t know anything. When her son came in the house she would have to lie to him, and more importantly she would have to make him believe it. Sometimes she wished she could be ignorant. Sometimes she wished that she wasn’t always in the loop, because doing so made everything else so much more complicated.
Adjusting her bushy brown hair, she scooted back farther in her chair making her sweater ride up slightly. She didn’t mind, because like so many other random little things it reminded her of her long departed husband. Hermione Weasley looked across the room at an old picture of them taken right before she was pregnant with Rose. They’d been so happy, so in love and everyday she ached from the pain of his absence. It was true that every day it got easier, but she knew that pain was always going to be there. It was there to remind her of him, of them and of what she was lucky to have in the first place.
As she tried to plan out how she would react to the news her son was about to give her she started to think about the way of the world and she remembered something that had occurred to her a few years ago. She was sitting in this very same chair and she found a letter he had sent to her years ago when she was studying in France. Instantly she fell to the floor, cradling the note, as she broke into hysterical tears. She wondered if this agony would ever cease and what practical thing she could do to help it. But her overly logical mind couldn’t find a solution no matter how hard she tried. It didn’t make sense to her. Her husband wouldn’t want her to feel any pain or distress over him being gone and yet she felt it and would always feel it. It took her a long time to realize why, but when the answer hit her she was so shocked she laughed, the first real laugh since her husbands death.
Love, she now understood, was like an alarm clock. For most days you set your alarm clock for a specific reason, to wake up for school on time, to remind you to take your medication or to generally keep track of time. Hermione reasoned that love was a lot like that. When something is important enough to you, you remember it, whether it is meeting at the market or going to a meeting, there’s a subconscious alarm clock inside of you ringing, nudging you to remember.
At first she thought this was a bad thing. She worried she would be tortured to live in the past and think of nothing but his untimely death. But as time grew on she began to see things differently. She started to see that it wasn’t a punishment, but it was a gift. A part of her needed to remember. She needed to know that once a upon a time she loved one person with all of her heart and that some one else loved her that much too. Even in her darkest moments she needed to know that even though he may be gone that love still exists and will always be there for her to hold onto.
In the distance she heard the front door bell ring and knew Victoire would answer the door first. In the past few days Victoire and her protruding belly had been getting restless from being locked away in the house, but Hermione knew she would be able to walk around freely soon enough.
“Aunt Hermione!” Victoire’s soft voice called up the stairs, “Hugo’s here!”
Hermione let out a short sigh, and pushed herself off her chair to her feet. Then after giving the photo one more fleeting look she frowned and went downstairs to see her son.
“James.” Harry Potter whispered as he came into the St. Mungos. His eldest son was sitting far away from all the civilians, his face was dark and his eyes were completely bloodshot.
Biting his lip, James nodded tentatively, “Dad.”
“I’m fine,” He waved away his fathers concern. “Just some minor burns.”
“Did you-?” Harry began hesitantly not quite sure how to phrase the question.
James shook his head, his long black hair falling into his face. “Scorpius wanted to do it.”
“Scorpius?” Harry frowned thoughtfully.
“He was there when it happened. I had to hold him back from going in after her.” James whispered as his father sat down beside him.
“He hasn’t a word since…” James’s soft voice drifted off as rough tears sprung in his eyes. He looked up at his father. “I don’t know what to do dad…I can’t…” He croaked, his face shuttered as he fought back the emerging tears. “She can’t be dead. Not Rose. She was too smart for this to happen to her. I mean I knew they’d come for her, but…not like this.”
His father, the great and famous Harry Potter shifted in his seat without a single word of wisdom to share. He’d seen a lot of deaths in his fifty-three years of life and had lost many of his family members, for that matter but this was the only one that didn’t feel …right. This didn’t feel finished at all. It just felt like someone cut her life short like stopping in the middle of a sentence without adding any punctuation. There was no coma, no period; it just ended without any real conclusion.
Harry Potter ran a hand through his graying hair, and put a hand on his eldest son’s shoulder. “I don’t know son…I don’t know.”
“Has anyone told Albus?” James asked between deep breaths.
“Your mother did a few minutes ago.”
“How did we get here dad?” James sniffed through tears. “My generation was supposed to be beyond this. We weren’t supposed to be attacked for being blood traitors or for the war. It was supposed to be over.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned.” Harry sighed, “It’s that some people never really let go of the past.”
Sitting by himself, in a sea of empty chairs six floors down, Scorpius sat perfectly still. People had tried to talk to him, but he didn’t talk to any of them. He didn’t have it in him to pretend to be interested in what anyone else had to say.
It was simple. If she wasn’t alive then he didn’t want to be alive either, because a world without her was a world he didn’t want any part of.
She could be a million miles away. She could be married with seven kids. None of that mattered as long as she was happy and alive. He was even flexible on the happy part, because that could always change with time. The one thing he wasn’t flexible on was the possibility that he would never see her again. Even when they hated each other, even when they wished each other bodily harm, at the end of the day he would always love and protect her with every morsel of his soul and he couldn’t even consider the thought that in the end that wasn’t enough.
He didn’t choose it. He didn’t choose this. If he had a choice he would have picked someone different, someone less brave, someone less fearless, someone less selfless. Someone he could give up. Someone he could forget about. Someone he could handle losing. Anyone but Rose. Only Rose could wring his existence out like this. He had a life before her. He had a life after her, but none of it was important. It didn’t matter to him that they’d changed. It didn’t matter that they might not have worked out anyway. All that mattered was that they never even got the chance to try. He would never be able to make her understand how much he regretted the time they spent apart. He would never be able to make her understand how deeply he loved her.
When you’re seventeen it’s easy to think you love someone and maybe you even do, but it can fade quickly and move into being a past memory even quicker. How you know it’s real is when you’re tested. For Scorpius it was the years apart and then finally seeing her again that did it. He’d told himself when they were dating that he would be fine if they’d break up. He even went as far to tell himself when it happened he would be fine as if he knew for a fact that something would come along and rip them apart. And he was right. But the part that he got wrong about was himself. He wasn’t fine when they were over and he never got over it like the assumed he would. Because when you love someone with all of your heart and they love you the same you never really let them go.
Scorpius didn’t know himself half as well as he thought he did. He had always programmed himself to be the better version of his father, modernized and past all of his father’s petty flaws. It took Rose leaving for him to realize he could be more than that, that he actually had always been more than that. She was the only person who ever saw that.
Even when he came back he saw it in her blue eyes, that instinctual trust, that unyielding faith in him and his abilities. She might have said she hated him, but he could see that it wasn’t true. She wanted to hate him. She wanted it to be that simple, but she was drawn to him just like he had always been gravitated towards her. And despite everything that he had done to her she still saw through every façade he put on and saw who he really was. Just like he saw past all of her toughness and newly acquired skill to see the girl who could save herself, but wouldn’t despise him if he did it for her.
But that wasn’t the only reason he knew he loved her. There were millions of annoying reasons that continuously presented themselves to him. The one that stuck out the worst was how he felt when he was near her again for the first time. Past his rage, past his hurt, past everything was… happiness. He didn’t recognize it at the time; he was too blinded by everything else to see it, but apart of him needed her and would always need her. She was vital to him. Even if he could never be with her, he needed her around to believe that one day he could be whole again. Something he hadn’t been since she first left him.
He buried his head in his worn hands as he curled forward on the cold bench.
How could she do this to him? How could she make him fall in love with her all over again and leave him again?
She really did make him love her again. Despite all of their efforts to stay separate from one another, to not care, in the end none of it made a difference. Her voice, her jokes, her spirit, she may have become tougher, she may have become darker, but the real Rose hadn’t changed much at all. Her temper may have been more controlled but it still was there.
Now her laugh rang in his ears. He heard it merely seven hours earlier and now it was haunting him into madness. He should have fought harder. He should have done everything in his power to save her. He should have hexed James and gone after her. Even if nothing changed he should have died next to her.
“Mr. Malfoy?” A healer whispered through the open door.
Scorpius looked up, dropping his hands from his face. “Yes?”
“You can identify the body now.”
Forcing himself to his feet, he used every bit of his strength to hold himself together as he followed the fifty something year old healer down the dark, frigidly unsettling hallway.
He couldn’t believe it. He wouldn’t let himself. If he saw her, if saw her body then he wouldn’t be able to deny it anymore. And that piece of himself that always belonged to her would break off of him and be gone forever.
Scorpius hesitated at the door the morgue. James had offered to be the one to do this, but he knew it had to be him. If it wasn’t her mother that had to indentify Rose than Scorpius didn’t want anyone else to do it.
“In here Mr. Malfoy.” The woman gestured inside, her dark eyes filling with kindness as she saw the pure, unfiltered misery in his grey eyes.
Scorpius straightened up his jaw and stepped towards the gurney boldly. The walls were lined with cabinets and inside were corpses. The blonde hairs on his arms stuck up as he crossed his arms and starred at the sheet over the deceased body less than five feet away from him.
No matter how many times he tried to drill the idea into his head it never stuck. So he knew there was only one way to make himself see what he didn’t want to. This was going to kill him. It was going burn out any part of him that good, any part of him that was decent. But he couldn’t live in denial. He needed to face this, for better or for worse.
The healer lifted the sheet up, “Is this her?”
Gulping he took a step forward and prepared himself. The skin was too burned for him to be able to see her delicate pale skin or freckles, but even with her eyes closed he could see her square chin, her rounded nose and her wide lips. It was her.
“Yes,” He whispered in a voice two octaves lower then his own. “It’s her.”
The healer looked up, her eyes beaming with sympathy. “Was she your wife?”
“No…no.” He found himself unable to look away from her and couldn’t find the words to explain what Rose was to him in a way she could understand.
He wasn’t dating her anymore, they had no commitment between them and they hadn’t for sometime. In fact they’d never been engaged, they never officially lived together and they never had a status more permanent than girlfriend and boyfriend between them, but even that felt insufficient to show what they were to one another. How could a phrase he heard guys commonly speak of the girl they were casually shagging apply to him and Rose? They’d always been more than that, even when they didn’t intend to be.
His hand lowered his hand to her hair; he twirled it for a second, before stepping away from her body completely. Then as he felt himself lose control he turned away from the gurney and clamped his hand over his mouth.
“Sign here.” She told him handing him a clipboard.
As the clipboard slid into his hand he read:
This is the deceased body of Rose Weasley, I the undersigned identify the body.
For a moment, he saw every second, every memory he had ever had with her and before he could even consider controlling himself he saw tear drops fall from his face to the paper. Snatching the pen, he signed his signature and bolted from the room.
His long legs carried him far as he did everything he could to stop himself from sprinting. He heard heels clicking behind him but he didn’t turn to see who the owner was.
“Mr. Malfoy!” The healer caught up to him. “You forgot her personal affects.”
Broken, disheveled and beyond any sort of compassion he starred at the floor and held out a shaky hand. She placed a plastic bag in his hand.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” The woman whispered before walking back to the morgue.
In the bag was a pair of earrings he knew her father had given her the Christmas before he died and the heart shaped necklace Scorpius had given her many years ago. It was everything he could do to not break down and die right then and there. His had gripped the bag and he apparated to his flat. Falling to his knees he threw the bag against the wall with all of his strength and crawled into the fetal position. All of his composure was gone. He was completely ruined.
At the Potter residence Albus’s face was pale as he heard his sister sobbing with his mother in the next room. He knew he should go in and comfort them, but he didn’t have time. So instead he grabbed something from the kitchen and left into the night.
After shaking three tails, he finally arrived at his destination. Albus double-checked the perimeter before walking into the abandoned building. Being a rookie, and given the status of the situation, he was extremely paranoid and cautious. He needed this to work out as planned or all of this was for nothing. Once he got inside he loosened up and relaxed.
As he opened the basement door, he whistled and walked inside. In his hand was a bright green apple. Without looking, he threw it across the room before turning around to lock the gate behind him.
“All taken care of chief.” He announced with a sigh.
“Good,” Rose responded coldly, catching the apple out of the air and taking a rather large bite out of it. She sat against the old dusty brick wall, her knees against her chest as the moonlight shined against her face. “We’re back in business then.”
Song in the summary is Here Without You By: 3 Doors Down.
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