I sniffed loudly and rolled over to eye my cousin. "Huh?"
Albus frowned, as he fumbled with something in his hand. He seemed to chose his words wisely as he looked at me. "Do you…Well, do you regret it?"
"Dating Malfoy." He immediately raised his hands defensively as my face turned to annoyance. "I don't mean because what I put you through. I mean because eventually it broke your heart and it still hurts you now."
Groaning I turned from my spot on the floor to face away from him. "Can we not talk about Scorpius? Please? I really don't want to think about him right now."
"Well we're gonna be here for a while we might as well talk about something."
"Al you honestly don't have to stay here. I'm sure Aunt Ginny and Lily are worried about you."
Albus scoffed. "They'll just think I'm off sulking somewhere. You're the only one that would have come looking for me."
"Well that may have changed now that I'm legally dead." I told him wryly.
"Sure if I don't show up by the end of the day James will look for me, but for right now I think they'll have their hands full mourning you." Albus told her honestly.
A ball of impenetrable guilt heated up in my chest as I thought of my grieving family. I never wanted to put any of them through this. I would rather be tortured alive for the rest of my life than cause a single one of them pain, but I had no choice. As soon the attacks began I knew exactly where it would take me. With me dead my family stands a chance, with me alive they all would have ended up dead.
But as I looked across the room at Albus I realized I was being unnecessarily rude. Sure it brought up painful memories of my betrayal to talk about Scorpius, but Albus wasn't asking for much. He, after all, had given up just as much as I when he agreed to help me. So I put my feelings aside and answered him.
"No I don't regret dating Scorpius." Pausing, I curled my lip thoughtfully. "I definitely regret the way it ended, but I don't regret what we had together."
"Why though? If it hurts you now?"
This was easy enough to understand, but Albus had never been in love. So anything in regards to the whole process confused him. He didn't see how if something damaged you, how you wouldn't take it back if you could. It was only something that could be understood after you went through it. Looking into his 24 year old face, I was saddened. He saw me and felt pity for the pain I felt and always have felt. In his mind it should be avoided not sought out. It was like looking into the face of a fearful child.
"Because it hurts because it meant a lot to me." I sat up and starred at the dusty concrete wall next to me. "He meant a lot to me. And I needed him in my life. He made me a better person and through that I grew stronger. Strong enough to handle what came after we were done."
Albus shook his head. "It's seems pointlessly painful."
"To you maybe, but wait. One day you'll wake up and you'll want the girl who spent the night to come back or maybe stick around for breakfast." I gave him a knowing smirk before becoming somber again. "And you'll get this feeling in your chest. This feeling that will make you feel braver, better and more alive than you've ever felt before and you'll realize that although you are perfectly fine on your own you aren't even remotely as happy without them."
I ran a hand through my hair while I released a slow breath. "If we make it through this I'm going to talk to him. I'm going to tell him we should just let go of it and move on."
He titled his head in thought. "Why let go of it, if it means so much to you?"
"Because," I breathed, "When he finds out I'm alive and I let him believe I was dead…" I hung my head in shame. "He's going to hate me, and he deserves to."
Albus was outraged. "You are ridiculous. You faked your own death to save him, to save everyone! How could he possibly be mad at you for that?"
"Do you know what I've put him through?" I shot at him defensively, my eyes slicing into him. "I've broken him in every way I can without cheating on him. You can't possibly understand how deeply you can hate a person until someone you love has betrayed you."
Albus had nothing to say to that.
I shook my head and tried to shake the thoughts this conversation had stirred. We needed to focus. If we didn't focus the darkness would take over me and break me. We'd come too far to let it all slip now. We had them right where we needed them and I needed to end this for once and for all. I couldn't let my personal feelings get the way of protecting my family. They were going to come raining down hard soon and I had to be ready for it.
Albus shifted to leave, but he hesitated. "When are they going to strike?"
"Tomorrow at the charity auction." I answered. "It's mandatory for all ministry officials to attend."
"If this all goes according to plan, then what?"
I frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Then what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to spend the rest of my life groveling to everybody." I admitted freely as I closed my eyes. "This may be the right thing to do, but I'm still doing a horrible thing to get it done. And no matter what justification I may have for doing it, it doesn't make anyone else feel better."
"Why'd you tell me and not James?" Albus asked in a small voice.
I let out a small empty laugh. "James Sirius Potter would have never gone along with this. He would have said there had to be another way, and been furious that I even suggested such a thing. You on the other hand always get on board with my schemes." I paused to give him a smile. "Besides, you're my best friend."
"One of many," Albus rolled his eyes moving to leave.
"No," I shook my head, "You're my best friend."
For a second he looked genuinely touched by this sentiment, but Albus being Albus couldn't stay sappy for too long. "Well I'm going to go, before we get to painting nails portion of this evening. Are you sure you ate enough?"
I nodded. "I'm fine. Go take care of the family. I'll see you tomorrow morning."
He walked over and kissed my forehead goodbye before walking out. As he left, he took anything that was left of my good spirits. I could feel the pain I had caused and it was killing me. Tears slipped down my face and I didn't even bother to stop them. Now was the time to feel guilt. Better now than tomorrow when everything is on the line.
It took everything I had not to tell Albus to check on Scorpius. I needed to make sure he was okay, but I knew that I couldn't send Albus to do that. If Albus anywhere near Scorpius he would probably kill him out of pure hatred and grief. I cried harder as I thought of what he must be going through. My family would be mad, but they'd forgive me. After all, in our family causalities were common and often so they would understand after everything was said and done why I did this. Scorpius might not.
I tried to put myself in his shoes and reverse the roles. My whole body filled with livid burning rage at the thought of Scorpius doing this to me, but the difference is he never would. Scorpius loves his family, but he would never be forced into this situation. He might die fighting as an Auror, but there was not a reason in the world for anyone to pick a fight with his family.
Still, I knew above everyone else, he was hurting the most. My mother would have hurt more if I hadn't included her in the planning, and Albus too. But once I brought them in on what was going on Scorpius became the biggest target for pain. I wanted to tell him, but I couldn't. They were watching him. They were watching his reaction. They knew that if he was legitimately grieving than I must be dead. Because they had heard me cry out his name when they hurt me, and they had seen how desperately I wished he would run in and save me. They knew that I would never put him through this, but on that front they were wrong. I was crueler than they could imagine.
He wasn't going to be able to forgive me for this. How could he? I would have to switch to another department and stay as far away from him as he requested me to. He might even hate me enough to transfer to another country. The thought struck me down and wounded me more than I could say.
My enemies had to be thrown off guard. They assumed I would be warned about my building and watch as it burned to the ground. It was their intent to rattle me, but not kill me yet. They wanted my death to be public and etched into every bystander's memory forever. I took that away from them and by making that decision they weren't going to make anymore little statements. They were going to for a fully fledged assault at an event where most of my family was present. They were going to take whatever members weren't by force and torture them in front of the ministry members as a last stand.
We had four members of my family informed in advance, so we would be able to accurately spread out and be on guard. This ends tonight.
Scorpius woke up on his rug feeling hung over and sick all over. Groaning he rolled to a sitting position and squinted around the room. He couldn't remember what had happened the night before. He knew he didn't drink anything because his breath didn't taste of firewiskey. As he rose to his feet, he stumbled around the room and tried to piece the night before together. The depression from the night before swept upon his as he bent down to pick up a plastic bag on the floor. As soon as he held the bag he now understood why he felt so awful.
His throat became dry as he tried to gather his emotions. He wouldn't lose it again today. Today he had to go to work. He had to bury all of his feelings deep down where he couldn't find them till at least the end of the charity dinner. Pocketing the bag, he went to the bathroom and scrubbed his face with cold water until he felt human again. As he glanced in the mirror, he cringed. His face was much paler than usual; he looked like a hollow ghost. If it weren't for the fiery burning in his chest he would have thought it was him that had passed on.
He changed into his work clothes slowly and when he was finished he forced himself to eat breakfast even though he knew he would probably just throw it up later. If he could just get through today, then maybe it would all just be a dream. Maybe it would all be one big lie.
Her personal effects were still in his pants from yesterday and he took a moment to think of what to do with them. He couldn't leave them here. A weird part of him felt the need to guard them, as if it might someone bring her back somehow though his rationality told him it was ridiculous. So he took the bag and put it in his pants pocket knowing full well how stupid it was.
Sitting at his desk, an hour later he was hit by an excoriating wave of pain. Looking at her desk and seeing it empty was like being stabbed repeatedly and randomly with a thousand pin pricks. No one bothered him all day. He wasn't given any new cases. It seemed as if the whole office had somehow known that it would be unwise to come near him. They acted as if he was this violent, reactive volcano just waiting for the right moment to strike, and they were right. As he worked the cold cases he turned his brain off and tried to help other people though he knew it would do nothing.
When lunch came he left the office and ate alone in his flat. He didn't want to give anyone the excuse to worry about him, because if they worried over him they'd talk to him, and he couldn't handle that. His rage was bobbing just under the surface and if anyone taunted him he would lose it. He had nothing left to lose and if he was waiting for someone to just let him let it out.
Before sitting down at his new dinning room table, he dragged over the only chair he owned and fell into it. He wasn't going to eat. He wasn't even remotely hungry. Scorpius just wanted to be alone. Leaning back in his chair, he shoved his hand into his pocket and place the plastic bag onto the table in front of him.
Usually he had a tick that would stop him from being self-destructive, a sixth sense that would tell him he was going too far. But he was beyond that. He wanted to be destroyed. He didn't want to be whole anymore. Any chance of that happening had died yesterday. His hand opened the bag and he took out the pieces of jewelry. His grey eyes locked onto them as the sunlight streamed in from the open window. He wasn't interested in the studs at first. They were a present from her father; they had nothing to do with them. But the longer he starred at them the more and more sure he was that she hadn't been wearing them yesterday. She never wore earrings to work, so why would they be with her stuff?
He picked them up and held them in his hand trying to grasp what he was seeing. Then he swiftly put them down and examined her necklace. The magic placed on it had prevented it from burning in the fire and there was nothing special or different about it then when he saw it the day before.
Furrowing his eyebrows he starred at the earrings and tried to think of a logical reason they would be on her person. He read the description to see if they were just in her pocket like the necklace, but they weren't. The mortician wrote that they were in her ears, as in she was wearing them. Leaning forward, Scorpius let out a low whistle. "Son of a bitch..."
The next morning I woke with a heavy heart, and an even heavier conscious. I didn't sleep well. I kept tossing and turning on the cotton sheets. The thin sheets did little to give my body support against the hard wooden floor, but it did manage to give me protection against the dusty, musty floors. Checking the watch Albus had left for me, I saw that he and the rest of the cavalry would be here soon enough. I grabbed a face wipe from the small bag Albus had brought me and after cleaning my face I brushed my teeth and waited for them. It didn't take long.
I could hear heels clicking as Albus negotiated with her. Her voice rang clear as he opened the door. "Albus Severus Potter, you better start explaining what the hell-" Her voice stopped dead as soon as her eyes locked on me.
Standing up, I waved feebly. "Hey."
Lily's swollen eyes widened in shock as she saw me. "ROSE?"
"Yes it is me, and I know you're going to hate me for this, but it's for your own good." I grabbed my wand and flicked it at her.
She dropped to the floor with a thud. I pocketed my wand, picked a hair from her head, handed it to Albus, picked her up and put her unconscious body on the blanket I slept on during the night.
"You sure she'll be alright?" Albus voiced nervously eyeing his little sister.
"She'll wake up about three hours from now with a minor headache. I left some food for her to eat, and then at least one of us should make it back to let her out of here by the end of the night." I told him firmly.
Albus's eyebrows furrowed, as his whole face turned dark. The situation was bleak but we had to push through and get through today. If we could just make it through today then it would all be over and we could go back to our lives.
Teddy strolled in, his golden hair lighter in the sunlight. He eyed Lily's sleeping body wearyingly. "Well I see we are up to speed."
"Did you do all the paperwork?" I asked him calmly.
My cousin in law nodded as he moved to stand next to me. "Yep. As far as the ministry is concerned I should be away on assignment for the rest of the evening."
"Okay so you have everybody all lined up." I spoke briskly as I paced the room. "We have all our bases covered…or as covered as they can be anyway….Did you bring the potion?"
Teddy handed me a vial full of polyjuice potion. "Your mother added some extra ingredients that will make it last six hours instead of just one, but the change will be instant. You won't be able to feel it coming like you would if it was just an hour."
"I wish we knew the exact time of their attack…" I shrugged, "Well there's nothing we can do about that. Since it's my potion, I'll just have to deal with it when it happens. The charity event only goes from 7 till 11 so I will take it at 5."
"Are you absolutely sure you want to do this Rosie?" Albus asked cautiously.
I nodded, my throat tightened, as my face grew pale. I dropped Lily's hair into the potion. "Yes."
"Are you ready?"
I breathed in and out as I looked down at the polyjuice potion. "Let's do this."
Song in the summary and the title was The Hardest Part By: Coldplay. PLEASE REVIEW!
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