CHAPTER FOUR – THINGS THAT HURT
Scorpius had turned white, the little colour he’d had in his face had drained entirely. “No” he whispered, his expression pained.
Effie nodded, she would have looked bitter had she not been crying. “We were identical. Her name was Rainie and she was my best friend. We were closer than anything – we told each other everything, shared everything. We were always together”
“What happened to her?” Scorpius managed to say, though his voice was slightly cracked.
“Her magic” Effie whispered “She’d always been more magical than me. She started when she was very young. We were nine and spending a day at the beach. We wandered off to investigate the rocks near the cliff. She got excited when we found a cave – she wanted to move some of the rocks so we could get to it – but she was too impatient and her magic flowed out of her and suddenly the rocks came tumbling down on her. I woke up in St Mungo’s. She didn’t.”
Scorpius wrapped both his arms tight around her and pulled her in against his chest. She complied willingly, leaning into the warmth of his body and the comfort it provided.
“Effie” He said softly, she could feel his breath on her head “now I know why you’re in Gryffindor: you are the bravest person I’ve ever met”
“I’ve met someone braver” She mumbled “James introduced me to his Dad once, on the platform.”
Scorpius gave a soft chuckle “Even Harry Potter had people around him when he went through all of that, who have you got? You’ve had to go through all of this alone”
Effie didn’t reply. She just sat against him, wrapped in his arms, feeling like if he let go, she would break down and crumble into tiny pieces.
“I’ve never told anybody any of this before” She said softly “Not ever.”
“Not even James?” Scorpius asked.
“No one” she replied.
Scorpius could read in her eyes what she meant “I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
“Thank-you” She breathed.
They stay wrapped together for a while, silently. Effie wondered why, after all this time, Scorpius was the person she had told. Was it just because he knew about her parents? She doubted if it had been anyone else that she would have said anything. Perhaps if it had been James... though the reason she never told James before was because she couldn’t stand to see the look on his face.
She tried to ignore the uneasiness that stirred in the bottom of her stomach – knowing that she’d just shown her most vulnerable side to someone she occasionally talked to and sat with in class.
“You can always talk to me, you know” Scorpius murmured.
Effie leant back slightly and looked up so that their eyes met. He looked so concerned and sincere. And his arms around her made her feel so much better. She’d never felt so safe in a boy’s arms before.
Their faces were close together. So close that she could have counted his eye lashes if she’d had the urge. Instead she felt the urge to do something else.
She told herself that her high emotions, the fact that he had his arms around her and was comforting her while she cried, contributed greatly to what she did next.
She leant closer to him, shortening the gap between their faces considerably. He lowered his lips, hesitantly, before kissing her softly. His lips moved gently, a soft caress until he was absolutely positive she wanted this; she pushed herself closer to him and her arms wound around his neck, holding him to her.
The kiss deepened and his arms tightened around her, pulling her onto his lap. All she could think about was the feel of him. She let his presence wash away all other thoughts, pushing the grief and pain until all she could feel was Scorpius: his arms around her, her body pressed against his chest, his soft, warm lips moving with hers.
He felt so good. He filled every space, every thought and every breath. He was everywhere; his hands running gently over her, his tongue parting her lips and she let him rid her of everything else. There was no room for other emotions, there was only room for him.
After several long moments they stopped for breath. Their eyes locked.
She looked at him hard, her face serious, and he looked back. What just happened? She thought vaguely. Her head felt light and she was struggling to focus on her surroundings.
Stringing coherent thoughts together was already proving challenging so forming words was still out of the question for several moments.
“It’s late, we should go” She whispered, before kissing him again softly.
He nodded and still keeping an arm around her, they got to their feet and made their way out of the tower. His hand slid down from around her shoulders to her hand and he held it as they walked down the stairs.
This was the point where they would have to go their separate ways. He squeezed her hand “I’ll see you tomorrow, Effie.”
“See you tomorrow, Scorpius” She said, before turning and disappearing down the corridor.
* * *
When Effie woke the next morning she felt slightly dazed and was confused as to whether she had dreamt the previous night’s events or not.
At the foot of her bed though, was Scorpius’s jacket, indicating that it had not been a dream. In which case she had spilled her biggest darkest secrets of her past to him, cried her eyes out in his arms and then kissed him.
Effie lay back on her pillow, stunned.
What on earth had possessed her to do that?
She knew what had possessed her though; Scorpius’s soft voice, strong arms and concerned face. All of it had made her feel safe and cared for – an unfamiliar concept that she longed for.
Now, she felt hollow and empty inside from crying all night. She doubted she could have shed another tear even if she wanted to, she was all out.
The other girls were getting ready, so Effie pulled back her bed hangings and did the same. She pulled her uniform on numbly – the pain and grief fresh in her mind. For a long time she’d done a good job of burying all those memories and feelings about Rainie and her parents, and last night had brought them all bubbling to the surface.
She spotted Rose eyeing Scorpius’s jacket suspiciously. Effie rolled her eyes, grabbed the jacket and her bag and headed out of the dormitory.
She met James in the Common Room.
“Morning Effs” He saluted her with a grin, before he noticed the jacket she had in her hand.
Effie rolled her eyes and stuffed it in her bag.
He raised an eye brow “Who’s jacket is that?”
“No one’s” Effie told him, taking his arm and leading him out of the portrait hole.
“Have you been getting off with random guys again?” He asked suspiciously.
“Shut up James, no I haven’t – and you get off with different girls all the time!” She replied indignantly.
This was true, James Potter was a player with commitment issues. He was snogging a different girl every week more often than not, which was easily done since so many girls were throwing themselves at him thanks to his good looks, popularity and high status. Effie always said that it was fame going to his head.
“In moderation – I’ve never gone through more than three different people in a week” He argued, pausing before adding “Sober.”
Effie ignored him and continued to walk down to Breakfast.
After a moment James said “It’s Malfoy’s, isn’t it” he peered into her bag, where the jacket could just be seen sticking out.
“So what if it is?” Effie replied, not looking at him.
“You never let guys give you their jackets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you admit a weakness in the whole time that I’ve known you” James said, eyes narrowed.
“Yeah, well I was cold” Effie told him, not meeting his eye.
“Is there something going on with you two?” James persisted “you can tell me – you’re my best friend, I’m not going to tell anyone.”
Effie stopped and stared at him. She felt like crying again. “Am I really Jamesy?” She asked softly.
James’s eyes widened and he had her in his arms in an instant “Of course you are!”
James had hugged Effie before, but usually it was more of a one way thing. He would grab her and squeeze her tightly; in excitement because she’d agreed to one of his crazy ideas or because he’d not seen her during the holidays.
Now she wrapped her arms around him, her head against his chest and he held her to him, like she was something precious he had to protect. She couldn’t help but notice that in the past twelve hours or so she seemed to have turned into an emotional wreck that was prone to signs of affection – a dramatic departure from her traditional personality.
“Effs” He said quietly “you mean a hell of a lot to me”
She looked up at him, certain that if she’d had any more tears left she’d be crying now “You mean a hell of a lot to me too, James”
He smiled “You can tell me anything, you know that, right?”
Effie nodded “Let’s just go to breakfast” she said.
He linked her arm and they walked into the Great Hall. Several girls shot Effie an envious look, clearly longing to be the girl on James Potter’s arm. James noticed this and with a mischievous grin, slid his hand down her arm so he was holding her hand, leading her over to Gryffindor table.
Effie rolled her eyes. She knew he enjoyed winding up the girls that fawned over him. As they sat down and Effie took her hand back she said “You are disgraceful.”
James didn’t even bother to deny it, instead he said “Just playing along with the rumours” with a grin.
“The rumours that you are responsible for” Effie reminded him.
James just laughed and started piling his plate high with food.
Effie eyed the bacon, sausages, eggs and waffles he’d helped himself to with distaste. She supposed this was the downside to having a boy as your best friend. Boys eat like pigs.
She sat and ate her toast, listening to James ramble on about his brilliant ideas for pranks, how he and Fred had gotten a detention for setting a suit of armour on some Slytherins and how he was certain they were going to win the next match. She laughed at his lame jokes and she felt happier and lighter after their conversation earlier.
She realised that having him as a best friend, knowing he cared about her, reassured her. She liked it and thought that perhaps she had been wrong all these years to distance herself from everybody and keep everyone out.
Her gaze wandered across the hall where she spotted Scorpius getting up from the Slytherin table and heading to the door. She quickly jumped to her feet, said “I’ve gotta go, see you later Jamesy” and rushed off after him.
As she hurried out of the Great Hall she spotted him walking up the stairs and called out to him “Scorpius! Wait!”
He stopped and turned to face her, half way up the stairs, and waited for her to reach him. Before she could open her mouth though, he spoke.
“You’ve come to tell me that last night was a mistake, that you were upset and weren’t thinking straight and ask me to keep it a secret haven’t you?” He said flatly.
Effie blinked “What?”
“I saw you holding hands with Potter” he explained “it’s okay, anyone can see that you two were always going to end up together.”
Effie frowned as he started to walk away. “Wait, Scorpius no!” she grabbed his arm and pulled him round to face her “James was just doing that to wind up those fifth-year girls that are obsess over him. It didn’t mean anything and we’re definitely not together. He’s my best friend.”
Comprehension seemed to dawn on Scorpius and he said “Oh.”
“I-I don’t think last night was a mistake and I’m really thankful for what you did” Effie uttered. The words felt unfamiliar and awkward, tumbling out of her mouth. She never said things like that.
Scorpius’s lips turned up in a smile “I don’t think it was a mistake either and you don’t need to be thankful – I didn’t do anything”
Effie shook her head “You were there for me; I’ve never opened up like that before. You made me feel better and I know I can trust you” this was the most affectionate, emotional thing she’d ever said to another person.
Scorpius took her hand “You can trust me”
Effie smiled up at him. This was the most bizarre twelve hours she’d ever had, but she felt happy for the first time in months.
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