A platinum blond nineteen-year-old boy set down his quill and read the letter over a few times. It was short and to the point, unlike many of their arguments. Scorpius Malfoy was absolutely and unequivocally in love with this girl. However, he could not stand fighting with her. Hopefully, she would take the news in a somewhat positive light.
* * *
“Rose, you have been working too hard today! You need to go home and enjoy Christmas with your family and friends!” The Healer-in-Charge at St. Mungo's was proud of her most skilled--and youngest--Healer, but Healer MacDory knew that Rose had been working diligently since three in the morning that day. It was now six in the evening.
“Healer MacDory, please, I just need to finish this paperwork, and then I’ll go,” Rose promised.
“Dear,” Healer MacDory walked up to the door of Rose’s office and leaned against the mahogany frame. “First, call me Jane--we’ve been over this. Furthermore, go home. You’ve been here for fifteen hours. I won’t mark it against you, Rose. It’s Christmas Eve and everyone else has left, anyway.”
Rose tried to stammer another excuse, but after receiving glares from the elderly woman, she gave in and cleaned up the papers she had been filing. Jane, smiling, walked out the door of St. Mungo’s and Disapparated home.
Rose grabbed her cloak and Disapparated to the Burrow. All the Weasleys were already there for the annual Weasley Christmas Eve Dinner, but Rose was not in the mood. She and Scorpius had gotten into another fight last week, and this one had resulted in her storming out of Scorpius's apartment to Victoire's house, where she cried and cried to her cousin. This is how it was with Rose: she was in love, but she feared that their breakup was imminent.
Just as she was about to open the door, it swung open. Inside the foyer stood a beaming Molly Weasley, Sr., welcoming in the last of her ever-growing family.
“Hey, Nana,” Rose greeted her grandmother and kissed her on the cheek. “You haven’t started without me, have you?”
Molly Sr. embraced her in a rib-crushing hug and said, “Of course not, dear! In fact, I have yet to get everyone outside to the backyard for the dinner!” The dining room was too small to hold such a large group of Weasleys, so events were held under the giant tent in the backyard of the Burrow.
Molly Sr. went outside to help the other women prepare the dinner table while Rose hung up her cloak inside of the foyer closet. Before Rose could even turn around, she heard the patter of three-year-old footsteps and a squeal: “AUNTIE ROSE!”
A curly haired, energetic toddler scampered toward her, curls bouncing behind her. Ellyn Lupin ran into her godmother with all her might. Rose laughed down at the little girl.
“Hey there, Elly,” Rose smiled. “How’s your mama and daddy?”
“Good,” Ellyn replied. Suddenly, her hair changed from strawberry-blonde to a white-blonde, Victoire’s hair color. Ellyn was a Metamorphagus like her father, Teddy.
Rose scooped up the giggling three-year-old, threw the child over her shoulder, and ran out into the backyard. The two tumbled down to the foot of the grassy hill, where the tent was set up.
“Rose! You’re still in your work clothes?” The unmistakable voice of Hermione Granger-Weasley reached Rose’s ears, reminding her that she didn’t change into the proper Christmas Dinner attire. Raising her wand, she changed her Healer uniform to a plain but elegant red dress, complete with black pumps.
Hermione walked over to her daughter and placed a kiss on her forehead. “Hurry up, Rose. Everyone wants to eat, and you’re holding us up!” the woman joked. Hand-in-hand with Ellyn, Rose began walking with her mother into the tent.
An owl landed in front of them. Rose immediately recognized the dark brown owl and untied the envelope attached to its leg. Her eyes read the brief note slowly at first, but she read faster and faster over and over before finally bursting into tears and sprinting toward the house.
"Auntie Rose, where are you going?" Ellyn asked, about to run after her. Hermione stopped her.
"Sweetie, I think you should go and help Nana Molly with the plates," she suggested. "Don't worry about Rose. She'll be fine."
" 'Kay," the little girl was reassured easily. She skipped off into the tent.
Hermione followed and scanned the multitude of redheads for Victoire and Lily. They always cheered Rose up. She spotted them both standing next to James; Lily was reprimanding while Victoire and James were laughing hysterically. Hermione smiled and called them over.
"What's up, Aunt Mione?" Victoire asked.
"Rose got a letter from Scorpius," she explained.
"Great!" said Lily. "I knew they'd find a way to agree to disagree!"
"Lily, she ran off crying," Hermione told her.
"Oh dear," Victoire said. They looked for Rose everywhere before they noticed loud sobbing coming from one of the bathrooms. Rose had locked herself in the bathroom and would not open the door for them, despite their pleads.
“Just go away!” Rose yelled through the barrier. “I knew that it was too good to be true! You all were right! I’m so freaking stupid!”
“Rose, you aren’t stupid!” Hermione Weasley called to her daughter. “What did he say? Did he break up with you?”
“Of course, he did, Mother!” the girl responded.
“Rose Jeannette Weasley, open this dang door or else I will tell Uncle Harry to bust it down,” Victoire threatened. Silence from the inside of the bathroom. Slowly but surely, the door was pushed open.
“There’s my girl,” Hermione smiled weakly.
“Now, what exactly did he say, Ro?” Lily asked. Rose held out the note.
This constant fighting is becoming more than I can bear. I think that it would be in both of our best interests if we spent some time away from each other and see other people.
“What are you thinking, Rose?” Hermione noticed the off-in-the-distance expression that was apparent on her daughter's face.
“I want to talk to Victoire. Alone.” Lily and Hermione left them alone, knowing that if anyone could cheer up Rose, besides Scorpius, it was Victoire. The two girls were more like sisters than cousins--closer to each other than their real siblings or two best friends.
“Vic, what do I do?” Rose sat on the edge of the tub.
“You know what, Rose?” Victoire sat next to her. “If he’s dumb enough to let you go, then he isn’t the one for you.”
“But I still love him. Like a lot.”
“I know you do, sweetie, and maybe he loves you too, but he can’t organize his feelings just yet.”
Rose straightened up. “So you’re saying that he could still love me but in his head he thinks he doesn’t?”
“It’s quite possible, just like it’s possible to love someone in your head but not really love them in your heart,” Victoire explained.
“What should I do? Do I try to get him back?”
“Ro, look at me.” Victoire cupped her cousin and best friend’s chin. “Talk to him. Just talk. Then you’ll know if he truly is in love with you. My dad always told me that he can tell Mum loves him by her eyes, even when they're arguing. He said that when you’re in love, there is a sparkle in your eye that is only extinguished when the love fades and goes away.”
“Thanks, Vic. I’m going to go talk to him right now!” Rose hugged her cousin in a loving, appreciative way. “Remind me: why aren’t we sisters again?”
“Because our mothers would go crazy!” Victoire laughed. The girls laughed for a while before they decided that Rose should go to Scorpius.
“If anyone asks where I am, tell them I am going for a walk to cool off steam,” Rose said.
“Definitely,” Victoire promised. “But what should I tell Ellyn? You know, my daughter, your goddaughter? She’s gonna have her questions.”
Rose laughed in remembrance of the curly haired toddler. “Tell her that I’m getting her a super special surprise.” Victoire raised an eyebrow. “What? I actually do have a super special Christmas gift for her!”
“Okay, fine,” Victoire went over to the doorway of the room. “Don’t forget: just talk and watch his eyes.”
“Got it.” And with that, Rose Disapparated to Malfoy Manor.
* * *
Rose appeared on Scorpius’s front step. It was 10:12 p.m. At this moment, she knew that he would be sitting with his parents in front of their fireplace to reflect on past Christmases.
She was nervous, to say the least. Sure, she had been to Malfoy Manor countless times before then, but it felt different this time. She wasn’t sure if he’d even agree to talk to her. Gathering up her courage, she knocked on the door. Draco Malfoy opened up the door. Scorpius had apparently informed his father of their break up because he looked surprised to see Rose there.
“Miss Weasley?” Draco said.
“Hello, Mr. Malfoy,” Rose greeted politely. “Could you ask Scorpius if he would join me outside for a brief chat?” It was important to use suggestions whilst talking to Draco; he didn’t enjoy being told what to do.
“I will be right back.” Draco shut the door and retreated into his home.
Scorpius was laughing politely at a joke his mother had made. She was ill again, and he wanted her to feel comfortable. Draco walked over to his son with his arms folded.
“A young girl is at the door by the name of Rose Weasley,” Draco said. Scorpius’s grin faded right away. “She asked to speak with you.”
“Well, I don’t want to,” Scorpius retorted.
“And why not?” Draco continued.
“Because I broke up with her. I want nothing to do with that witch ever again,” Scorpius said.
“Scorpius!” Asteria scolded.
“Son, you were raised to be a gentleman. A gentleman always answers the requests of a lady,” Draco said.
“But she isn’t a lady!” Scorpius stood to his feet. “She's a girl! And she hates me!” He turned to stomp away, and Draco followed suit.
“That is ridiculous, Scorpius.”
“She doesn’t love me anymore, Father!”
“Scorpius, look at me," Draco ordered. "That girl must not hate you or else she would not be at your door asking to talk to you. This is proof that she is refusing to be apart from you.”
“But what if she came to yell at me for breaking up with her?”
“Then you’ll take it, as you should,” Asteria said. “You are a gentleman, like your father and I raised you to be, so you are going to allow her to be mad because it was you who chose to end the relationship. Go outside right now and talk to her. However, you will not raise your voice at that girl. She may come off as strong, but you and I both know that she is very sensitive; she has been ever since her brother was killed in that car crash two months ago."
Scorpius sighed and kissed his mother on the cheek before going to the front door. He took a deep breath and opened the door. Walking outside, he shut it behind him.
“Rose,” he stated shortly.
“Scorpius, I want to talk about your letter,” Rose said with complete self-control.
“Okay. I want you to know that I understand all the reasons for your decision and that I respect them. At your request, I will leave here and never see you again,” Rose said. She then looked directly into his eyes, as she was instructed by Victoire. “If that is really what you want, I--that is what I will do.”
She didn't notice any change in his eyes. No extra twinkle, sparkle, glow--nothing. Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned to retreat down the stairs, mentally begging him to pull her back and hold her close to apologize. She got all the way down the steps before her eyes could not contain the tears which now slipped down her cheeks. He still hadn't moved a muscle--she wasn't even sure if he had blinked. As she stole one last glance at him on that top step, he was standing in the same way he had been before.
That was when she concluded that he wasn’t going to try to stop her from leaving. She sprinted off down the street, in no state to Disapparate.