Chapter 4 : A Drop in the Ocean
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"HELP!" Rose screamed as loud as she could, as the water level around her grew higher and higher. Her make-up smeared, and the binds on her wrists cut deep as she struggled against them with all of her strength and might. "SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
Soon the water rose to her neck, Rose thrashed violently in the water, the metal binds on her wrists slamming against the wall as the water around her hands filled with blood. Finally, losing any sense of control over herself, she sobbed hysterically as she screamed. She was scared shitless. Andrews was told to leave after a certain time as was she if they didn't find one another. And if he didn't find her she would die.
The water rose and rose around her, and her neck pulsed as she was filled with paralyzing fear. This was it. The end.
Scorpius woke up early, and crawled out of Jake Andrews bed to his kitchen. He missed his bed; it was warm, comfortable and despite it's size he had very little space in it. Jake Andrews bed was spacious with thin sheets and endless freedom. Scorpius didn't like it. Though he'd spent most of his life sleeping alone, he found it was harder to do now that he knew what it was like to be with someone else.
What was harder though was going through the day doing everything in his ability to become someone else. Sipping his coffee, he dropped polyjuice potion in it and after a few cups, his pale skin, light eyes and bright hair darkened. His body changed, his muscle thinned and he grew an inch and a half. Soon he was completely transformed. He finished the last drop of his coffee and scowled as he thought of what to wear from Andrew's wardrobe.
Getting dressed is such a simple process most of the time. You wake up and just pick out whatever you feel like wearing that day, but when you become someone else the whole thing becomes complicated. You have to think of what they would want to wear and why. Most imposters miss the why, and that's why they were so easily caught. If you don't know why someone chooses a blue blazer over a brown suit jacket, than you really don't know them at all. And there were people who knew Jake Andrews, who would know that his favorite color was blue and he hated wearing black, Scorpius's favorite color. So he had to watch and be careful.
It was easy deceiving Andrews friends. They were stupid enough to believe him when he said the reason he didn't get an inside joke was because he was tired. Sure Jake Andrews did work hard, but there was no reason for that to mean he suddenly didn't understand jokes between him and his friends. There's no amount of exhaustion that can erase that.
The hard part was walking around changing every natural instinct he had. He couldn't walk around like he would walk, with long purposeful strides. He had to take short rapid choppy steps, which would have looked ridiculous on Scorpius's body, but actually worked with Jake Andrews taller, thinner form. Also there were more little things that drove Scorpius absolutely mad, for instance, how Andrews was left handed. Half the day he'd have everything else down; the walk, the talk, the eating habits, the bad habits, but one thing he just kept messing him up was the natural reflex to use his right hand. Thankfully nobody noticed. As long as he did everything else right no one looked at him twice.
It wasn't way to spend his days. It was tiresome, and really boring, but he had to do it. They were going to come back, and they were going to tare the ministry apart. If he didn't do this his family would be endanger, Rose would be endanger, and that was something he'd rather die then allow that to happen.
So he sat in another man's house, in another man's clothes, in another man's body and another man's life until the time came that he could be himself again.
"Rose, my wedding is less than a week away," Kelly breathed anxiously as she paced the room. "I'm going barking over here!"
"Alright, alright cool it." Rose told her soothingly, as she took the wedding plans out of Kelly's white-knuckled death grip. "Let me hold onto this before you break it."
Rose guided Kelly to a chair, and pushed her long dark hair out of Kelly's face. "I want you to sit down and calm down. You get six days off a year and I don't want you wasting one of them on hysterics."
Kelly sighed and put her head in her tan hands. "I know! I know! I just…I want everything to be perfect. We are spending so much money and I just…"
"Shhh…It's okay. You just have to breathe alright?" Rose rubbed her back soothingly. "I have everything covered. All you have to do is jump into your dress and take a little walk down the crimson carpet."
Lauren laughed as she lounged comfortably on Rose's couch. "Yeah, Kell, you're going to going go mad if you keep this up. The wedding is supposed to a happy occasion. 'member?"
"I'm quite aware of that Lauren," Kelly said sharply, as she rubbed her temples.
"Okay okay." Rose intervened, giving them both dirty looks. "Let's dial this back a bit and calm down. Alright?"
Both Kelly and Lauren nodded.
Rose sat down across from Kelly and sighed. "I have to get to work for a bit-"
"I thought you weren't working today!" Kelly shrieked, in blind panic.
Holding her hands out to soothe Kelly, Rose's eyes widened. "I took a half day…I have to go finish up paperwork. I will be back around dinner time." She shifted her gaze to Lauren, "So Lauren is going to take you out to see a muggle movie, and-"
"Oy-!" Lauren protested sitting up quickly.
"AND!" Rose continued her eyes narrowing at Lauren, "You two aren't allowed to talk about the wedding at all."
"Thank you Merlin." Lauren whispered under her breath as she ruffled her disheveled blonde hair.
Kelly's mouth snapped open, most likely to uninvited Lauren from the wedding entirely, but Rose swept in and picked them both up out of their chairs.
"I think you two need some fresh air."
"But-" Lauren began in a small whining voice.
Rose locked eyes with her and growled. "Lauren-Ann, don't push me alright?"
"Fine fine," Lauren conceded after the use of her middle name.
Rose eventually herded them both out of her flat and headed to work. Her patience was thinning with the pair of them. Lauren was still miserable and hadn't dated anyone since Hugo. Over the past few weeks her annoyance with Kelly's insistent talk about her wedding had grown to the point of outward aggression. It wasn't her intention to be jealous, Lauren wanted Kelly to get married and she wanted her to be happy, but to see them together and have to deal with it all the time just made it unbearable to her. Kelly to her credit wasn't trying to put her wedding in Lauren's face. She even went as far to suggest Lauren bring a date, but Lauren took this an offense like she would be seen as sad and pathetic if she came without one.
As far as she was concerned they were both being ridiculous. Kelly needed to realize that no matter how many preparations she made the whole wedding could go to hell, so she might as well just relax and enjoy it. Rose felt that Lauren, on the other hand, should just stop being an idiot and talk to Hugo. Whatever the hell had lead to their breakup was stupid if it wasn't enough to make their feelings for each other subside in the slightest.
Once she got to work she pulled out the muffins she baked at home and put them by the coffee station in the staff room. Before she could leave she saw Jake Andrews walk in all tall and lanky and take one.
"What are you upset about?" He asked bluntly gesturing to the food.
Rose frowned, confused on how he could know that. "I…nothing…What makes you say that?"
He flinched as if he thought he said the wrong thing. "You just…er look upset."
"No…" She laughed at herself. "I do bake when I get worked up…Uh I guess my best friend's wedding is just stressing me out. How could you tell?"
"I saw the cookies from last week, and the cake last month…" He drifted off not looking her in the eye as he took another muffin.
"Yeah well…" She shifted awkwardly blushing and scratching her hairline. She saw a flyer for the mandatory Ministry ball the next night and decided to move the conversation to something else.
"We seriously have to go to a dance?" She scoffed, crossing her arms pointing at the flyer. "How can they make this mandatory? We are adults! How can they make us do anything."
"It's a Ministry ball," Jake Andrews shrugged unconcerned as he took a bite of his muffin. "I'm sure it will be a laugh."
Rose eyed him with a nasty look on her face. Of course for guys it was a laugh but she was going to have to spend two hours getting ready for it. And since she didn't have a single motivation in the world to go it made the whole idea repugnant to her.
"Nothing." She lied shifting away from him.
"You know," He started a smirk forming that didn't quite look right on his face. "You say you have no problem with me."
"I don't." She countered walking out of the staff room to her desk.
He snorted follow her lazily. "You should tell that to your face."
She smiled unwillingly, turned and nudged him. "Come on, we have loads of paperwork to do and I'm sure you have much better things to do than stand here and wonder what I think of you."
"And what if I don't?"
"Then you have a sad pathetic little life." Rose scoffed as she eased into her desk chair.
He eyed her, the smirk still visible. "What is it wrong for someone to want you to think well of them?"
Her teasing tone was gone, and she frowned, her eyes downcast on her work. "No one should care what I think of them. I'm nobody and I will accomplish very little. My name will be put on that plaque with all the other Auror's that died in battle, and my family will mourn me, but that is all." She looked up with a very forced smile. "So there's no need for anyone to get a their panties in a twist over me."
His hand twitched as if to grab hers, it was a flash, but then he put his hand under his desk and began working. Rubbing her eyes, she forced herself to believe she had imagined it. Jake Andrews would never comfort Rose Weasley and he most certainly wouldn't do so as a reflex. She had to have been seeing things.
"You alright Weasley?"
She nodded not bothering to look up.
Aiden, Rose's long ago boyfriend came strolling over to her desk, a big goofy grin on his face. "Hey Ro."
"What are you doing here?" She checked her watch. "Aren't you supposed to be in a conference in Japan right now?"
"Nah," He said plopping down in his desk chair. "I don't have that until Thursday. What are you up to?"
She gestured to the piles of folders. "Paperwork until March."
"So you couldn't possibly ditch this for a bit and do lunch with me?"
"I could," She began, "But I won't…Maybe later on this week?"
Aiden looked disappointed but he nodded all the same.
"How did your date go by the way?" She asked politely.
"Fine," He shrugged unconcerned by the whole thing. "How about you?"
Andrews didn't look up, but Rose noticed that he stopped fidgeting like he usually did while he worked when Aiden asked that particular question. "What do you mean what about me?"
"It's been three months Rose, it's almost the end of September." He said with a heavy sigh. "When do you think you're going to get back out there?"
Rose's face sharpened in anger. "If you think I can just put a dress on, go on a date with some guy when I don't even know if Scorpius is…" She let the sentence die as she forced herself to look back down at her paperwork.
"Okay, but what if he is alive, and well, and he's just out there dating and living his own life? I'm not saying it's likely as the whole ministry's on the look out for the bloke, but-"
"He wouldn't do that." Rose told him firmly. "He might be alive and he might be in hiding, but he wouldn't be going on dates out on the town like some idiot."
Aiden pushed his dark hair out of his face. "How do you know?"
"Because I know him." Rose said softly, her voice tender, but full of unwavering conviction.
Across from her she saw Jake Andrews smile for a second, this time she knew she saw it, but she didn't have the slightest clue what he could possibly be smiling about.
"What if his body is found?" Aiden asked worriedly, leaning forward towards her. "Then what?"
Rose swallowed the bitter unhappy feeling that just crawled up her throat at the thought of it. She turned away from Aiden and sighed, "Until that happens I have no idea what I'll do, but I do know I'm not going to suddenly go out with every bloke in town."
"I know. I know. I'm just concerned is all. I want to make sure you're happy."
She forced a smile on her face. "I'm fine Aiden. Now why don't you go get back to work huh? I'll see you tomorrow at the magnificent ball."
"You're going to that?" He laughed in disbelief. "You? Miss-I-Hate-All-Social-Gatherings!"
Rose laughed and flashed him a smile. "I have to, we all do."
"What color is your dress so I can find you?"
"It's just a simple little white dress I found when I was shopping with Lily."
"We'll I'll see you there." He kissed her forehead and left her to her paperwork.
She tried to go back to work and she did do some of it, but Rose's attentions wavered as memories started popping up in her mind.
"What most of your dates don't wear neon headbands and no make up?" Rose scoffed sarcastically.
"Shockingly no. They actually care how much of a resemblance they share with a sprawling duck."
She held back a laugh at that and instead gave him a look. "Well, what am I supposed to wear?"
"Not grandma's old sweater and a pair of fisherman jeans." He told her authoritatively.
"What? And I should be dressed like you? Who wears black on a first date?!"
"Clearly," Scorpius began snidely, "Someone who values the wear of a good tailor."
She rolled her eyes. "Fine. You know what? You're right."
"That only took seven years for you to discover that."
"Well since I'm such a slow learner and you CLEARLY have a better fashion sense then me why don't you go pick out my outfit?"
Apparently, that was not what he was expecting to hear. "…What?"
"Well since you are so superior to me in everyway," Rose stopped to smirk, "Then you should have no problem picking out something as simple as something for me to wear."
It took a second, but then he scoffed and walked past her. "Whatever Weasley."
He spun on his heel and gave her a thoughtful glance. "What are you playing at Weasley?"
"I'm going to keep challenging you because you Scorpius Malfoy seem to think that you can do anything. And I'd like to see you prove that."
"You're on Weasley."
"Weasley?" Jake called waving a hand in front of her face.
She blinked and looked around sharply. "What?"
"We have to go, there's a meeting."
"Oh…" She nodded putting away her files temporarily. "Thank you."
She followed Jake to the staff room and stood in the back with him away from the leering stares of some of the other Aurors. There were a few that liked her and were friendly with her, a fair few that was respectful to her out of memory of her father, and then there was an obnoxious number of young male Auror's who went out of their way to bother her.
Jade, the only girl in the room Rose actually liked, moved through the crowd and leaned against the wall next to her.
"You alright Rose? You look like you're dazed."
"I'm just out of it. I haven't been getting enough sleep or something like that I suppose." She shrugged nonchalantly. "How are you?"
Jade's white smile popped against the contrast of her dark skin. "I'm good."
"…Who is he?" Rose asked knowingly.
"Who is who?"
Rose laughed and crossed her arms across her chest. "The guy that has you smiling so big."
"Oh he's a nobody."
"How many dates have we had with Mr. Nobody?" Rose teased her nudging her side.
Jade blushed, a very minor change in her face's coloring. "Three."
"Well I'm happy for you." Rose told her promptly giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
Harry Potter walked into the room, and promptly said, "I'm going to keep this short and to the point as I'm sure you all have more important things to do than to talk about this bloody ball, but I have to say this, show up and for the love of Merlin please don't embarrass this department."
Jade snorted under her breath to Rose, "Like last year when James did a handstand because he was so pissed on firewiskey?"
"His father wasn't even mad at him," Rose smiled at the memory.
"Meeting over," Harry announced promptly walking past them.
Rose laughed at the bluntness of the meeting and followed the herd of people leaving. Jake caught her arm and pulled her aside.
"We just go a lead on the McKibbon case."
Rose frowned, and a rush of guilt rose in her stomach as she thought of the dinner she wasn't going to make with Kelly and Lauren. She wrote them a quick explanation, grabbed her cloak and followed Jake into the elevator. As the metal doors shut, her mind once again drifted off, this time the memory was a few months later than the first, at much different time in their relationship.
"Okay," He declared before planting one more firm kiss on her urgent lips. "Now I have to go."
"I know," she pouted standing on her tiptoes to be eye level with him. His hands winded easily around her slender waist. "I know you do."
Rose reluctantly kissed him, and walked him to the door. He opened the door and walked out the door without another look at her. It was the first flat Rose ever had and she shared it with Kelly. It was a small little two bedroom flat with a long winding hallway that was impossible to apparate out of. In order to apparate people would have to walk all the way down the hallway and go to the stairs. The process was practical because then they would be able to put spells on the door to avoid anyone they didn't want to see. But for Rose and Scorpius it just made the situation harder.
They were right in the middle of their teenage infatuation. It was at the stage where it was unbearable to be a part and unthinkable to leave each other, but they had to. He lived and worked in America, she lived and worked in London. There was no way at the time that either one could relocate. So every time he visited, Rose had to watch him walk down the hall knowing it could be days, weeks until she saw him next.
Scorpius took a few steps and Rose watched from the doorway still in her sleeping clothes as tears surfaced in her eyes. It took all of her energy not to be pathetic and chase after him. Most times she lost control and chased after him, snogging him a few times before begrudgingly letting him go. He never turned around on his own. Rose never asked why, but she could tell it was because it was taking all his energy to leave in the first place. If he turned around even for a second he might not leave at all.
But that day was different because he heard her sniffle. The other times he was so focused on moving forward he had not, but on that day he did. The small soft sound reached him and sliced through his heart. And for the first time he turned around and Rose saw that she was right about him. His face was broken, and full of unshed tears as he had been trying to hold it all in. Scorpius took a few steps forward, before dropping his bag and rushing towards her. He couldn't bear to think of her crying, and more than that he couldn't stand to hear it.
"Don't cry." He begged her, his eyes hardened, as the glimmer of tears appeared in his own eyes. The tips of his thumbs wiped the tears away from her reddening eyes.
She broke and threw her arms around him. And after a seconds hesitation she threw her legs around him too. Trying to show with every squeeze, every touch, every embrace just how deeply he loved her, Scorpius buried his face in her hair and clenched his eyes closed.
"I love you! I love you! I love you!" Rose declared knocking him clear off his feet and planting kiss after kiss on his face.
He laughed, his face alive with joy and untainted delight. "I love you too."
There were other men, she could specifically remember their names, only that they had chased her for years, trying to capture her attention. Scorpius was the only one who never had to do that, because from the moment they kissed seven years ago he had taken her heart fair and square. It was odd, but whether they were aware of it or not, every day they were apart it felt like they'd spent the whole time still fighting to be together. Maybe there are some relationships you just aren't meant to forget no matter how unhealthy it is for you to dwell on them.
They apparated to an old Scottish castle and the butler lead them to a balcony to wait for the man that had information for them on a cold case they were working. The castle wasn't well kept up, the walls looked brittle and so breakable. Rose just wanted to get this done as soon as possible, finish her paperwork and go hang out with Kelly and Lauren. She didn't want to think about Scorpius anymore. She didn't want to think about what Aiden had asked her. She didn't want to think about where he was or if he was even alive at all. All she wanted was to keep moving and avoid that part of her life all together.
Of course she couldn't do that, but the idea was so beautiful that it caught her off guard. As they waited for the lord of the castle to appear Rose sighed.
Staring out at the skyline, she rested her arms on the cement railing and asked Jake, "Do you ever just have flashes of your life? Like your brain is just processing what is and what has always been in your life?"
"Like what?" He asked matching her stance.
She shrugged, "Just little baby moments of time that you have with other people that seem so common at the time, but are the things you hold onto later."
"Yeah…I think we all do that."
"Mr. Andrews?" The butler announced, his crisp Scottish accent breaking their conversation. "Lord Swan will see you now."
Rose and he walked forward through an extremely large and dusty library. She felt that something was strange about this place and wanted to investigate further.
"So," She said under her breath, "Can you deal with Lord-what's his-name for a bit?"
"Where are you going?"
She shrugged, "Take a look around…There's something weird about this place…I'll meet you at the entrance in a half hour."
As soon as Scorpius figured out Rose wasn't where they were meant to meet up he searched the old broken down castle for her. It had taken him only ten minutes to take down the old fat Lord's statement, and it had taken ten minutes of his life to realize that they didn't need to come in the first place. The man provided no new information to the case; he merely repeated the statement two other people had made.
The longer he looked the more paranoid he became. He traveled down one of the older more cobwebbed staircases calling her name, glancing around for her. Finally he hesitantly stepped into an odd room, it was a room like any other but he could see it originally was used to be a large bathroom from the large pipes a ledge around the edge, and dug in cavern that was filled with water that had to be at least thirty feet deep. That's when he saw her.
He had moved onto the platform out of curiosity and found her underwater. It took him a split second to realize her situation; at first he thought she simply fell in. His mouth opened to say a joke, but soon he saw her thrashing around underwater, never getting far. Then the expression immediately dropped off his face and without another single thought he leapt into the water. She was still conscious but only just. Her body convulsed as she fought to escape. She reached out to grab him, but he was just a few feet too short. And soon, the air that had been struggling in her lungs had given out and she stopped struggling.
Her hair was drifting through the water, and her eyes had slipped to a close, as her now limp body drifted through the water. She looked like she weighed nothing at all as the only thing keeping her from floating to the surface was the steel bindings that trapped her in the first place.
Scorpius didn't give a shit about protocol or his mission or anything else in the entire world. Everything inside him cried out in matching shrieks of uncontrollable and unearthly pain. His muscular arms cut through the water viciously as he fought to get to her. As soon as he did he slashed his wand through the water and helped her free from her hold. Her body drifted forward, her head dropping to face the floor as an invisible anchor lifted her to the waters surface.
He pressed his lips to hers, forcing the oxygen in his body in hers, but she was lifeless and unmoving under his grip. Scorpius didn't wait, he wrapped a protective arm around her waist and shot them both up to the ledge at the waters surface.
Gasping, as his body slammed against the wet ledge surface, he pushed her onto her back and immediately used every spell he could think of to get her to wake up. And when that failed he began performing muggle CPR.
"No," he kept saying. His eyes wild and mad with fear. "No, you can't do this! You are not allowed to do this! Do you hear me Rose Weasley? You are not allowed to die on me!"
She choked, a small splutter of a cough that rose from her small stomach to her throat, spitting out a small amount of water. The color slowly began to return to her face, and Scorpius let out a rather large sigh of relief.
All the hope he had inside of him, any happiness, contentment, or anything remotely pleasant about him resided purely on her survival. When he thought she had died, even for those few seconds, it was like the life had been sucked out of him too leaving him dry and worthless to the world. But now, he sat with her head in his lap and a wide blissful smile on his face looking into bright blue eyes.
"Andrews," She snorted, pushing herself up shivering as she did. "Don't start getting goofy on me. I'm alright…I am...Did you catch them?"
He snapped back into character and frowned. "Who?"
"Rachel Levitt, and some man." She gulped, her eyes full of panic as she trembled. "They snuck up on me... disarmed me and locked me down there as they turned on the water."
Scorpius's chest tightened. How could he have been so stupid to let her walk around a strange castle by herself and not think anything of the false interview? This was a trap. The Death Eater revivers had planned this to get Rose out of the way.
"Are you okay?" He asked unable to hide the fear in his voice as dried them both with his wand.
She nodded, "I'll be okay. I just want to get out of here."
"Come on then," He lifted her up to her feet. "I'm going to have a word with Lord…whatever."
"I don't think that idiot knows anything." She told him.
He bit his lip, "Why did you come down here in the first place?"
"I heard music playing. I thought it didn't make sense. I should have known something was more than just off."
Scorpius looked at her face. "Come on. Let's get out of here then."
"Wait," She grabbed his arm to stop him, her red hair frizzing and sopping wet. "Thank you ...for saving me."
After almost losing her he lost track of his priorities. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to tell her who he really was. He wanted to throw this whole charade out the window and just hold her. All he wanted was to feel her steady heart beat against his chest and know she was going to be okay. But he couldn't. This act, this seemingly random act of violence was specific, was a sign that he couldn't be Scorpius Malfoy. Right now he had to stay in the dark. And no matter how much he wanted to be with her he had to wait, until she was safe.
So he simply said, "You're welcome." And they apparated back to the Ministry.
Song in the summary is A Drop in the Ocean By: Ron Pope. Thank you for all the beautiful and wonderful reviews! I love them so dearly! Thank for reading and PLEASE CONTINUE TO REVIEW!
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