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Chapter 19 : Valentine's Day
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She pulled her bedcovers closer to her and stared at the rip in the corner of the canopy over her. She put her hands behind her head on the pillow, stretching her toes until they nearly reached the end of the mattress. She yawned, tears forming in her eyes as she continued to recline.
Ada always woke early, which enabled her to take her time and dream of Scorpius for a few more minutes. Then she got to leave her room and wait for him in the common room.
Ever since their second year, she had sat in the same seat from 7:00 to 8:30, glancing up at the entrance to the boys’ dormitory sporadically. Every day he had left at the exact same time (8:30), but Ada was too afraid that he would leave earlier to risk going down at that time. Every day she had hoped that it would be the day he would talk to her, but he would head straight for the stairs and out to breakfast.
But now, she didn’t have to wait for him anymore. Now she could get dressed and go down to her chair by the unlit fire in the common room.
Ada got out of bed, and dressed hurriedly. The rest of the girls were fast asleep, so she tiptoed out of the room, clutching her tie and shoes and with her bag over her shoulder. Then she ran to her chair and plonked herself down in it, getting out her homework for her first lesson that day and finishing it hastily.
She had never got the best results in class, but she blamed that on the teachers’ obvious jealousy towards her and the fact that they wanted her to fail. She was eager during lessons, asking questions, talking over stupid people in the lesson. But she should dictate the discussion; after all- she was above everyone in her year and most in the school.
Ada heard footsteps coming from the boys’ dormitory, her head snapping to attention. They came closer, and she reclined back in the chair, swinging her legs over the armrest in what she thought was an alluring pose. In reality it looked like two people were pulling her arms and legs over the ends of the chair. And this was the first thing Scorpius thought when he saw her.
The second thing was: ‘Oh sweet Merlin’.
‘Scorpius,’ Ada attempted to slide off the chair, but lost her balance and crash-landed onto the green rug. Scorpius did not attempt to check if she was unharmed, standing still where he was at the foot of the stairs. Ada recovered herself and gave him a dazzling smile. He grimaced. ‘Good morning, boyfriend.’
‘Go away Ada.’ Scorpius repeated the phrase that he had used every morning for the past week. She was a leech who couldn’t leave him alone, and refused to accept that they were simply not a couple. Her constant presence was close to harassment, but what was worse was the fact that, because of her, Rose appeared to be ignoring him. He walked on to the stone steps out of the common room, Ada’s shrill voice calling out behind him. He ignored her.
He exited the dungeon, and began to walk to breakfast. He kept changing his route to the Great Hall, for fear of being followed by Ada. After 7 days of experience, and having to run away from her after she chased him out on one occasion, he was more cautious than to advertise his location.
Scorpius reached the end of a corridor, realising that he was now completely lost. He sighed, and looked behind him to check that he was still alone. He picked one passageway, hearing some noise from the same direction, and began walking until he could just about make out a conversation.
‘I don’t understand you Rose!’
‘Look, I have loads of work to do. I’ve offered you the weekend and if you don’t want to do something then- that’s your decision.’
‘I’m just trying to do a nice thing for my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day!’
‘I don’t like Valentine’s Day. I’m far too practical to be swept away but all of that nonsense. What is it about Valentine’s Day that makes perfectly comfortable couples freak out about whether the other person really loves them?’ Scorpius winced on behalf of Toby; even though he was an obstruction to any relationship with Rose, he could still imagine how uncomfortable her wrath could be. He peeked his head slightly around the end of the passageway, exhaling slightly upon seeing that their backs were to him.
Scorpius felt his palms go sweaty, watching Rose lean against a windowsill at the end of the corridor. Her hair curled perfectly down her back- flame red against the black of her school robes. She pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, and Scorpius could see the gold polish on her fingernails.
He was still taking her in when she turned around, and Scorpius thought he could see recognition on her face as he quickly ducked back into the passageway.
‘Toby, we’ll talk about this later.’
‘OK, let’s go to breakfast-’
‘No. I want to be alone for a little while. Please, I’ll catch up with you later or something.’ Scorpius moved his head around the corner and saw Toby attempt to kiss Rose. She turned her head so he pecked her cheek and hugged her awkwardly. Scorpius hated it- but he almost felt sorry for Toby and guilty that he was contributing to Rose’s harshness towards him.
But then she turned around and placed a hand on her hip, waiting for him to reveal himself (which he did). And as soon as he was stood across from her, his guilt melted away and all he could think about was how perfect she was.
‘Eavesdropping are we?’ She raised an eyebrow, perfectly relaxed. Scorpius wished he could be the same, but he was sweating even more profusely now that her attention was solely on him.
‘Sorry, it was an accident.’ He couldn’t think of anything else to say, and evidently neither could she. They stood in silence, their eyes never breaking the gaze as they silently pleaded each other to say something first.
‘We haven’t spoken in a while.’ This sounded less conversational than Rose had intended, her intonation making it appear as an accusation. She cursed silently, the seconds before he replied feeling like years.
‘Yes. Our paths haven’t exactly crossed recently. The last time we talked was…’
‘In the library.’ Rose finished his sentence, knowing exactly what he would say next.
‘Yes, although when I found you afterwards you said some pretty important things too.’ She remained silent so Scorpius pushed her more, as he had wanted to since seeing her by the Lake on that awful day. ‘Like when you said that all you needed was a day.’ They were circling now, moving around like two boxers in a ring. Or rather, two wizards in a duel. Whichever, Rose felt it was more uncomfortable than when they had nothing to say.
‘I know. I meant it at the time. But he wouldn’t let me.’
‘Why- because you love him too much? You love him more than me?’ Scorpius stopped circling, his arms folded and with a hurt expression that Rose wished she could wipe away.
‘That’s not fair. I’ve loved him longer-’
‘What does that have to do with anything? Do you love him now? Because I didn’t hear you say that you did when you promised that you were going to end it.’
‘You can’t ask me to break up with my boyfriend!’ Rose had turned indignant, boiling with fury towards Scorpius.
‘I didn’t! You said that you would! I told you I would wait, but that I couldn’t forever.’
‘Yes, you pressurised me into making a decision!’
‘I would never force you to do anything! Forever didn’t have to last a day! I was talking about a week, a month! And if you really loved me, you wouldn’t blame me for this.’
‘If you loved me you wouldn’t ask so much of me!’
‘Love isn’t about blame,’ Scorpius replied flatly, the hurt now mingled with disappointment. Rose could hear it all, but the anger refused to allow her to surrender.
‘I can’t just break his heart- because then it would break mine.’
‘Then you don’t like me as much as I thought you did.’ He paused, and Rose could think of no retort so allowed him time to think. ‘Have you ever read Macbeth?’ This had not been what Rose was expecting. She nodded. ‘At the end, Lady Macbeth accuses Macbeth of being her murderer; because of all of the people he has killed. All of the people he killed were murdered because of a plot she instigated. Are we like that Rose?’
‘Don’t think so. I’ve got decent soap.’ Scorpius smiled, but the amiability lasted only for a second. ‘I’m trying my best.’
‘You may be. But I can’t hold out for ‘best’. I love you Rose. And I would do anything to prove it. You, however, still have a boyfriend. And for his sake as well as yours, I won’t interfere with your,’ he coughed, ‘mutual love.’ Then he walked away.
Rose watched him turn back into the passageway from whence he had come. She wanted nothing more than to run after him and apologise and promise more things that perhaps she couldn’t deliver. But she knew that Toby was stopping her, like a loyal, irritating puppy that kept jumping in her way.
As much as she hated it, Scorpius had been totally right. She was acting like a child, moaning about a situation that she had got herself into and blaming it on people that were not to blame.
Including Toby. When she remembered how she’d treated him before, her skin crawled with guilt. At this rate, she would alienate both of the guys in her life.
Scorpius hated walking away, wishing he could run back and tell her everything was ok. There were two reasons why he couldn’t.
Firstly, he soon realised he was completely lost and couldn’t find his way back even if armed with a Marauder’s Map. Secondly, he was too angry with Rose to return. A part of him knew that she couldn’t help it, that it was difficult for her with Toby holding onto her. But for the first time, she had made him doubt whether his love was requited. He knew that if it wasn’t, it would be the worst discovery of his life.
He tried to shake off this negativity, but he still spent the first few hours of his day in wallowing self-pity. Even Albus couldn’t make him feel better, perhaps because Scorpius couldn’t tell him what was wrong. That was something else that irritated him about his current situation: he didn’t want to be a secret anymore.
Given his choice, he would try and forget her, and all of the pain that came with her. This was impossible considering every part of Hogwarts reminded him of her.
The Entrance Hall was where he had first found her attractive. The Great Hall was where he had sat only a few tables away from her every day for four years. Every classroom was somewhere that she could have sat. Every corridor: where she may have walked.
Scorpius avoided people during the day. All of the happy couples, all of the happy people. Would Toby and Rose be one of them? His first few lessons passed without incident, words going over his head and eyes scanning pointlessly. People were so engrossed in the sentimentality of the day that they didn’t care about his absence.
He saw neither Toby nor Rose- which was good, as he would have felt the need to punch Toby and kiss Rose. He wanted to refrain from the first because he knew Toby didn’t deserve it, and the latter was undesirable because he categorised his feelings as more of a liability than a blessing.
By the time Arithmancy came, he had almost convinced himself to give up on her completely. But then he saw her sitting at the table they shared and all of his resolve disappeared like it had Apparated right out of his body.
He walked slowly towards her, unsure of whether he should pretend he hadn’t seen her or give her a very dirty look. He chose the former, and judging by her guilty expression, this was sensible.
‘I’m really sorry. I don’t know what happened to me this morning, just the whole day and the fact that I had to spend it with Toby instead of you and I hated Toby but I couldn’t tell Toby why I hated Toby and you were the only one who knew everything and I just-’
‘Took it out on me.’ He finished, and she nodded ashamedly. He could see the tears in her eyes and decided that he had forgiven her the minute he walked in. ‘Let’s just forget it.’ She smiled and he smiled back, taking her hand under the table and squeezing it. He tried to pull it away in case anyone saw them, but she held on tightly so he left it where it was.
‘OK class,’ Professor Vector bustled into the room, her wand sending the lessons’ objectives onto the chalkboard. ‘Now, before we start today’s lesson, I’d like to talk about the projects that you’ve all now completed.’ Rose gulped and looked at Scorpius, she didn’t remember handing in their booklet. They hadn’t even finished it because she’d run away when they were in the library. ‘I was… disappointed with some of your efforts,’ Rose thought she might cry, how could she have been so careless. ‘I will give out the booklets to each pair, and I’ve graded them with what they would achieve at OWL level. For some of you, I hope you will use this as a wake up call to work harder if you wish to succeed in this subject next year.’ She picked up the stack on her desk and began to hand them to the pairs. Rose’s classmates dissolved into wails, shouts of triumph and underwhelmed grunts as she sat shaking at the back of the classroom.
Finally, Professor Vector reached their table, pausing before handing them their paper. Rose peered at the top corner of the front of the booklet where she could see a single red letter and some further writing below it.
‘T- unfinished, minus 10 points.’
But this was not on the page as Rose had expected.
Instead, there was a perfect ‘O’ and an extra note stating that both Slytherin and Gryffindor had gained an extra 10 points.
Rose looked up in disbelief at Professor Vector’s smiling face, her mouth resembling the grade she had just received in a paper she had not finished.
‘Very well done both of you. Especially you, Mr Malfoy- it seems pairing you with Miss Weasley has benefited you greatly.’ Scorpius smiled.
‘Yes, Professor. She’s definitely taught me a lot.’ Professor Vector smiled again and moved on, beginning the lesson hastily so as to focus the class after the discovery of their respective grades.
‘But- but we didn’t finish it!’ Rose whispered, the incredulity still etched on her face.
‘You didn’t finish it,’ Scorpius looked deeply amused. ‘I may have given it some extra time over the past few weeks.’
‘But we got an ‘O’! How is that even possible? You must have spent so much time on it.’
‘Are you happy?’ Rose stopped staring at their paper and looked Scorpius in the eye.
‘Then it was worth it,’ he said simply, before looking towards the front of the classroom and writing down the exercises on the board.
They spent the next hour side by side, neither talking, but not needing to. Rose felt time passed quicker this way, so that they could stay together where no one could see them. Scorpius wasn’t even thinking this, knowing that making her happy was enough for him at that moment.
Finally, the bell rang, and Professor Vector dismissed the class.
‘Come with me,’ Rose whispered in Scorpius’ ear, and he shoved his books in his bag and ran after her obligingly.
He followed her down the corridor, walking just behind her so as not to raise suspicion. Since Ada Plum had kissed him, however, more and more girls had begun to take notice of him. This proved irritating as they often blocked his way and staying behind Rose was more difficult as a result.
So it was with a relieved sigh that he pursued her when she ducked into a side corridor and began to walk into the emptier areas of the Castle. He moved to walk beside her, and grabbed her hand without saying anything.
‘So where are we going?’ Scorpius looked sideways at Rose, and she returned his gaze with a grin.
‘Are we lost?’
‘Probably. Is that ok?’
‘I’m with you, aren’t I?’ Rose stopped in the corridor and raised an eyebrow. Scorpius swung around so that he was facing her and they both dissolved into a fit of giggles.
‘That’s so sickly; we are now a romantic comedy couple. Happy?’ Rose rested her head on his shoulder, her whole body jerking from the laughing.
‘It sounded a lot less corny in my head, I promise!’ Scorpius smiled and kissed the top of her head, squeezing her as she howled into his chest.
Once she had stopped laughing, they continued walking, stopping every so often when new passageways presented themselves.
‘So, why aren’t you with Toby right now,’ Scorpius asked the question he had wanted to ask for so long, but didn’t have enough courage for.
‘Because I’m with you.’ Rose’s arm was looped around Scorpius’ waist, his arm draped over her shoulder.
‘That’s how. I want why.’ She looked up at him, seeing the sombreness on his face. She looked away, considering her answer intently.
‘It doesn’t feel right with him anymore. He’s a really nice guy. But he’s not…’ She trailed off, her head drooping slightly.
They walked on in silence, Scorpius’ mind blank of possible conversation starters. He knew that these passageways would dry up eventually, and that they’d have to return to the corridors where other people were soon enough. But another part of him seemed to believe that they could stay like this forever. Close and in love.
‘What’s going to happen now?’
‘We’re going to walk to the end of this corridor.’
‘And after that?’
‘We have to rejoin the world.’ He buried his head in her hair, making a low whining noise and bringing them to a halt.
‘I don’t want to go back there.’
‘But there’s no food in here.’
‘What’s your point?’
‘We won’t survive.’
‘We can’t just die in here, we never achieved anything.’
‘Why can’t our life be more like a Smiths song?’
‘Because the Knight bus is triple-decker.’
‘Technicality.’ Rose laughed, and leaned against the wall.
‘Anyway, I have to take care of something.’ Scorpius went to lean beside her, the stone wall cold on his poorly insulated back.
`You don’t have to.’
‘Yes. I do.’ Rose hugged him, their foreheads pressed against each other’s. ‘I don’t want you to wait any longer. Besides, it’s not fair on Toby.’ Scorpius nodded and kissed her lightly, their lips barely touching.
They continued to walk, and reached the end of the passage as Rose had predicted. They hugged again, and Rose seemed reluctant to let him go, burrowing into his neck and pulling him ever closer to her. Finally, he stepped back and began to walk away, retracing the route they had taken.
Before he turned around the corner, he looked back to where she stood transfixed.
‘Happy Valentine’s Day Rose,’ was all he said before he left her to deal with Toby alone.
Rose walked out into a bustling corridor, going with the surge of the crowd as they made their way to the Great Hall. With shock, Rose saw that outside was dark through the gilded windows, wondering just how long she had been with Scorpius.
She reached the Great Hall, taking a deep breath before she walked into the red-heart adorned room. The ceiling, however, depicted a stormy scene, which Rose felt was more appropriate for how she felt.
She walked to the Gryffindor table and sat down by Lily and Hugo, who smiled when they saw her. She returned the grin, and made light conversation before allowing them to return to whatever discussion they had been engaged in before her arrival.
Rose took a minimal amount of food from the plates in front of her, using eating more as a way to kill time rather than a valued activity. She kept her eyes on her plate, not daring to look around for Toby. She wanted to put off seeing him for as long as possible, still basking in the warm glow that Scorpius had given her.
Then, she felt something cold on her back, and looked up to see the face she didn’t want to see. He smiled apprehensively; clearly still concerned that this morning’s mood had not yet evaporated. Rose could feel it returning but fought it down so that she wouldn’t make this worse than it was already.
She stood up from the table and waved to Hugo and Lily as she left them. Mercifully, Toby didn’t try to grab her hand as they departed. They walked into the Entrance Hall, and Rose let him lead her outside to an empty courtyard and a stone bench.
Toby sat down, but didn’t motion for Rose to join him when she remained standing.
‘I haven’t seen you all day Rose.’
‘I know. About this morning-’
‘Yes. About this morning. I’ve had enough Rose. You treat me like dirt, and I never see you anymore. You always make excuses and I feel like you don’t want me around. I feel like you don’t love me anymore.’ Toby looked up at Rose, who was shifting on her feet and staring at the ground. His face was a mixture of emotions: hurt, anger, and relief at being able to say what he had felt for several weeks.
‘I’m really sorry Toby,’ was all she could say, and she sat beside him and took his hand in her own. He considered this for a while before sighing and squeezing her hand.
‘Maybe we can work through this, together. I still love you so much, and it’s not as if you’ve fallen out of love with me.’ Rose remained silent, Toby’s pleading words hanging in the air awkwardly.
‘I’m really sorry.’ Rose didn’t know why this was all she could say, and clearly Toby was confused also, his handsome face knitted with bemusement. ‘I did love you, but something’s changed and now…’
‘You don’t,’ he finished flatly, moving further down the bench so that they were further away.
‘Don’t say you’re sorry again. Please.’ The whistling of the wind consumed the silence, Rose shivering from the coldness of the empty air around her. This had to be one of the most uncomfortable, painful experiences of her entire life, and it made her question whether this was worth it anymore. ‘How long?’
‘How long…?’ Rose had no idea what he was talking about, although uneasiness had started to creep in.
‘How long have you been in love with someone else?’ For a long sentence that was dragged out slowly from Toby’s mouth it sounded remarkably like a gunshot.
‘What do you mean?’
‘You know what I mean. How long have you been in love with Scorpius Malfoy?’
‘How do you know…?’
‘Because I’ve seen you staring at him breakfast, lunch and bloody dinner.’ He spat the words out, and for the first time, Rose was slightly scared of her boyfriend.
‘It was an accident, I loved you so much and then he was so different and… I just couldn’t help it.’ Rose was crying now, and she thought Toby was too. She knew that she couldn’t explain what had happened, but now that Toby knew it didn’t matter. They were over, and Rose could feel him moving further away.
When they’d first started dating, she had thought it impossible to love anybody else. She had been so consumed by this new, handsome, funny, considerate person that she had spent time with no one else for several weeks. Every minute was spent with him or dictated by thoughts of him. She had strove to be a better person just so that she could be worthy of him.
Was that healthy? Probably not. Yet, she was so in love that she just didn’t care.
With Scorpius, it was different. She felt like he loved her no matter what or who she was. Now she thought of him every minute. But she thought of herself with him, and how perfect they were together instead of how far above her he was. He made her a better person, but simply because he allowed her to focus on the good parts she already possessed.
With him, she may have done bad things, but that didn’t make her a bad person. It made her human. And weren’t humans meant to be in love?
The tears stopped, and she stood up.
‘I loved you Toby. And I still think you are an amazing person. But that’s the problem. You’re an amazing person and I don’t deserve you. I hope you find someone who does.’
‘Rose, I don’t want this to end.’ He stood up and moved till he was inches from her face.
‘I know. I didn’t either. But familiarity isn’t a good thing sometimes.’ Toby nodded and took a step back.
‘What do we do now?’
‘OK. Rose. We are officially over.’ Rose smiled, the corners of her mouth upturning only slightly. She wasn’t crying, and she didn’t feel like she should be either. In reality, they had ended weeks before today.
Rose moved forward and hugged Toby, who paused before wrapping his arms around her too. Then, she stepped away and kissed him on the cheek before turning and walking towards the doors.
She didn’t look back.
The warm air flooded over her as she slipped back inside, finding empty corridors and silent classrooms. She ran up to the Entrance Hall, where there were more people congested as dinner finished. She stood by the door; searching for him like the past hour hadn’t happened and she had only just arrived at the Great Hall.
Then a hand grabbed hers and she was pulled away from the crowd.
Before she had time to register what was happening, she was in a broom cupboard in total darkness. She could hear someone else breathing, but could feel no one.
Then a wand tip ignited and Scorpius’ face appeared in front of her.
‘So…’ Scorpius began.
‘Sorry for kidnapping you…’
‘That’s ok. I wanted to find you anyway.’
‘I’ve got some free time now.’
‘That’s… good. Then.’
And then she kissed him.
No. I am not stupid. I know it’s Christmas. I know Valentine’s Day is in February. Deal with it. ;)
Anyways, I hope you guys have had a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant few weeks since when I last spoke to you. I’ve been having a lot of fun recently writing these, ahem, 12 pages… But seriously, it was like the best eleven hours of my life. :)
I hope you enjoyed the results and thanks for taking the time to read it all!
So. I have managed to ignore the very important thing that happened in this chapter! Tose is now OVER! Were you expecting it? Or, did you run around your room in shock and fall out of the window with an incredulous look on your face? No? Just me then. So, do you think this spells (see what I did there...) the start of a proper relationship between Rose and Scorpius? Or do you think there will be trouble ahead? (“But while there’s music and moonlight and love and romance, let’s face the music and dance!”) Will we ever see Toby again, or will he be doomed to the fate of Eloise Midgeon who is only mentioned in passing? We shall see…
Tell me what you thought in the review section below! I read every word twice and respond with the same fervour so please take a little time to make me happy! It won’t cost anything and reviewers will get a free mince pie/carrot for their troubles! (That may be a lie…)
I hope you stick around for what is to come; there are still plenty more romantic clichés and drama to include!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading my (very long) latest offering!
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