Chapter 8 : Chapter Eight
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My darling boy,
By the time you read this I’ll be dead, but I want you to know that I loved you very, very much. I loved you more than anyone, even Auntie Daphne, even Daddy. It’s because I love you that I’m telling you this. I want you to know, so you can escape before it’s too late.
Draco was having an affair with your Auntie. God knows, and I knew, that he was into some weird stuff. I suppose Daphne just got caught up in it, but he killed her. I don’t know if it was by accident or on purpose, or even how it happened. All I knew about it was that she’d been murdered, when they found the body.
You see, Daddy gets very angry, and he has to vent his anger on something, and often it’s me, but sometimes he’ll go out and shoot birds or animals to control it, and I think that’s what he was trying to do with Aunt Daphne, but it got a bit out of hand.
I found letters from Auntie Daphne to your father in his study. She’d sent him a lock of her hair. He kept it all these years. I wonder if he truly did love her. I wonder if he’s even capable of love.
I wish I could meet you now, beautiful boy. I wonder what you look like; I bet you look just like me! I always told Daddy you looked more like me. I’m so sorry I had to go. I’ve tried to talk to you in this as I would to an adult. I’ve probably done terribly.
Please, darling, if you’re reading this, go home and pack your things and leave that house today, before he gets too angry. I’ve taken a risk leaving you with him this long, but I can only enchant the letter to find you when you come of age.
I love you, always, always, always. I will never stop loving you. I’m so sorry.
All my love
He cried when he read it the first time. Sitting there at the damn table at breakfast, crying. He had to go. His father was a murderer.
Once he’d read the letter a few times, he realised that he was just like his father. The comprehension made him retch and he only just got to a toilet before throwing up.
That weekend he ran away from Hogwarts. He took everything he owned in a rucksack. He refused to think about her. He went into Hogsmeade with the rest, and he just kept going.
He found a job in the Muggle world in a factory. His wand sat at the bottom of his bag, forgotten. He didn’t even look at the wizarding papers. He forgot the wizarding world even existed, or he tried to. He was so heartsick, so empty, so ill. He wanted her, but he couldn’t have her. He battled the knowledge that his family was all gone, that his mother had left him, that he was like his murdering, violent father.
After a while, he begins to come to terms with some things. He mellows out a little (possibly due to the influence of his new flatmate, Charles) and relaxes. It’s a most unusual sensation. No one here knows he is the son of a Death Eater. To them he is just a mysterious boy who turned up looking for a job one day. He loves it. He loves the anonymity, the acceptance.
He begins to buy the Prophet, scrupulously hiding or burning it so that Charles does not find it. This is how he sees about the trial, realises what she was crying about. He feels surprisingly relieved that it was not his fault. Slowly, he starts going back to the wizarding world, trying a few charms when Charles is out, transfiguring some shoes.
The day he glances at the front page of the Prophet and sees the horrible headline ‘Superstar’s daughter locked in coma after jumping from car’ is one of the worst of his life. That’s her. That’s Rose. That’s his Rose. In a coma. Dying.
Not possible. She can’t die. He clutches that thought as though the force of his will can keep her alive.
Her life hangs in the balance for a week, a week where he doesn’t eat or sleep well and merely paces the flat desperately hoping for news.
Finally, finally, she is returned. She’s back. She’s alive.
The relief he feels is tremendous.
He doesn’t want to seek her out. He’s not sure why. He doesn’t want to risk her rejection, doesn’t want to risk a relapse after he’s changed himself this much. He just – he doesn’t even know. He gives himself time.
Soon enough he goes for a pint in the Leaky Cauldron. It’s a cold, late-winter day, and sunshine like frozen honey pours through the windows. He’s drinking warmed Butterbeer, which gives the drinker a curious sensation like a hot ice cube sliding down the throat, and is virtually the only thing suitable for such a bone-achingly cold day.
“The usual, please Tom,” someone says breezily, leaning on the bar next to him. Holy…he knows that voice. Slowly, he lowers his tankard.
It can’t be her. Her hair is bobbed gracefully around her earlobes, exposing the long whiteness of her neck. She has her back to him, but he can see from the curve of her chin that she’s lost weight that didn’t need to be lost. She’s suffered, too.
He doesn’t know what to do. He’s frozen.
Luckily for him, she senses him looking and turns around, coming face-to-face with him. She looks shocked.
“Scorpius?” she murmurs.
And there it is. He closes his eyes as the bittersweet rush hits him. He still loves this woman, he loves her with all his heart. He wants her still.
“Rose,” he whispers, reaches for her face. She pulls away. He stops, but she holds herself still and he brings his fingertips up to touch her cold cheek.
“Oh, God,” they sigh in unison. “I missed you.”
“You copied me.”
“It seems that you copied me, actually.”
“Do you-” she bites her lip. “Do you want to come up to my room? It’ll be a lot more private.”
“You’re living here?” he asks, surprised. “Of course.”
She collects her drink and leads the way upstairs, and on the landing she sets her drink on a windowsill and turns to him and just puts her lips on his, no pressure, no nothing, just her mouth on his and then he pulls away and leans their foreheads together and the tips of their noses just touch, and then she says;
“Maybe we can make something out of this after all.”
That's all folks!