Chapter 12 : XII. Sober Truths
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Scorpius stirred in his sleep and as he turned he felt the warmth of another body next to his. Opening his eyes, he saw Rose sleeping, both her arms under the pillow and her hair tangled all around her. The sight of her, peaceful and relaxed made him smile. The blanket was pulled up around her, but he could see the outline of her shoulders in the morning light, as they rose slightly with each breath she took.
The events of the previous night came crashing down on him at that moment and he closed his eyes to try and chase the image of Penelope, pale, with her eyes open, laying on her bed. Instead, he willed himself to focus on his own bed and the girl in there. His interest in Rose had started from the first conversation he had with her. She had grown, she wasn’t daddy’s girl, like she had been at school. Like him, she didn’t take the easy way out for her life. He would be lying to himself if he said he didn’t see it coming. He had seen this coming a mile away and he could have easily prevented it. But a part of him didn’t and maybe it was a mistake, but at the moment, his mind freed from the clouds of alcohol, he couldn’t bring himself to regret neither the kiss, or what happened next. He felt they shared so many common traits. Both were lost in their lives. Like him, she seemed to be going nowhere and fast. For a moment he thought that maybe they could go together and that made him smile.
He sighed and started tracing the line of freckles that dusted her back, lost in his thoughts. When you worked with a team, risking your lives and catching bad guys together, you develop bonds of friendship and trust. If you cant trust your colleague with your life you’re as good as dead. A voice in the back of his head kept telling him that Penelope had trusted them all with her life and they had failed, they hadn’t been able to find her in time. What if it were somebody else? What if they had taken his mother, or his aunt, or Rose? The last thought brought him back to his arrival at Grimmauld. He didn’t want to fall apart, but she was there, just listening, being supportive and it overwhelmed him. He had sobbed shamelessly and he wasn’t sorry for it. He cried for Penelope and the life she never had. For her family and the families of all those that had died at the hands of the ones he was trying to track down. And Rose had been there, and she was holding him and soothing him. Then she looked at him and it happened.
Rose looked at him and it was like he had been waiting for it to happen. It wasn’t called falling in love, or even in infatuation. It was the kind of feeling he got when he was picked first in Quidditch tryouts in his 3rd year of school or when his potion was best in the class. The feeling that somebody is looking at you and thinking of you, even when you aren’t there. He kissed her and in that moment he didn’t want to care about the deaths, the threat and the fact that he was on a mission. He wanted to hold her, to bury his hands in her soft curls and kiss her like they were the only two people in the world. A year ago, a month ago even, he would’ve scowled at the mere thought of what he did. But times had changed, somehow even the two of them had changed and the silence that passed between them was louder than any declaration.
As he looked at her, his eyes met hers and to his surprise she was awake and smiling at him.
“Good morning!” she said in a soft tone and smiled as she stretched. He returned her smile and settled on his back, as she cuddled next to him. He kissed her forehead and continued running his hand across her back.
“Scorpius, I wish you would just say what’s on your mind, instead of looking at me with that look in your eyes.”
“I was thinking it’s a shame we have to get out of bed today.”
“And why would that be?” she asked in an amused voice.
“Because our happy ending is safe here.” he replied and she frowned. He could see how she was analyzing his words in her head, turning them over on each side, assembling and disassembling them.
“What is it with you and speaking in riddles?” she finally asked him, an annoyed look on her face.
“I like to think of it as part of my charm.”
Shaking her head at him, she got up from the bed and reached for the nearest article of clothing available, which unfortunately for her was Scorpius’ old Slytherin t-shirt from school. She realized it after she had pulled it over her head and he started laughing.
“I wish your father could see you now!” he said through peels of laughter, his eyes shinning.
“Be careful what you wish for, Malfoy. I don’t think it’s good for your health, my father seeing me climb out of your bed. He might decide to do you in first and I might have time to run away.” she replied with a scowl and went to pull the covers off him.
“Hey, leave those alone! I’m shy!” he protested and his outraged expression sent her into a fit of laughter.
“Yes, I’ve seen how shy you can be. Now come on, I’ll get started on the coffee and you can cook me breakfast.” she retorted and opened the door, stepping in the hallway and making her way downstairs. He pulled his shorts on in a haste and with a wave of his wand his bed began making itself. He went into the bathroom and washed his face and his teeth, then decided to follow Rose downstairs.
The coffee was already in mugs by the time he arrived and Rose was cutting up fruit, humming a tune to herself. Her messy hair was pulled up in a bun and she danced on the spot, unaware of his presence.
“Don’t trust me to cook for you, I see.” he said and she gave a start and turned her head in his direction.
“You really enjoy scaring me, don’t you?” she asked and he laughed as he put sugar in his coffee.
It was comforting to him, seeing her cook breakfast in his clothes. Warmth spread through his body at the sight of her and for a moment he could see Rose doing the same in his flat in Diagon Alley, away from all the drama that surrounded them. The comfortable silence enveloped them as they ate and as they were finished, Rose cleared the table. She sat in front of him and stared for a long time into her coffee, then finally looked at him with worry in her eyes.
“What happened last night?” she finally asked and Scorpius knew it was coming. The over-analyzing. The questions. The same questions that hung over his head but that she wanted answered right now.
“You see, Rose, when a man and a woman really like each other…” he started but she threw a sugar cube at him.
“I don’t need you to explain about the birds and the bees. I got that talk from my mother when I was thirteen. You know what I mean.“
“I know you can’t stop analyzing everything in your head and trying to
find a meaning.” he told her and her frown grew deeper.
“It’s not like me to do spontaneous things. It’s not like I didn’t warn you.” she muttered and he felt himself smiling.
“What do you want it to mean, Rose?”
“That’s just it!” she burst and threw her hands up. “It’s so bloody confusing. You’re so bloody confusing. One moment you’re all high and mighty Auror, the next you’re… you. And I don’t know which of those is the real you.”
“Is the existence of a real me necessary? I am both those people. I underwent training so hard I can’t even begin to explain it to you. I’ve seen and heard things that would make your blood turn cold. I can survive for days in the wild. But does that mean I want to live in the wilderness? Can’t it be just as real, this part of me, as the professional part is?”
“I wish you’d stop answering my questions with more questions.” Rose retorted. “It doesn’t make me less confused.”
“What is it you want? Do you want long walks on the beach and kisses in the rain? Do you want me to climb up your bedroom window just to see you? Or write you a poem?” he inquired.
“No, I just want to know what I should expect. How am I to know you won’t walk out that door today and asked to be reassigned?”
“You’ll just have to trust me on this one, Rose. I don’t do things I don’t want to do. I can’t be forced or coerced into doing anything. I’m not my father.” he said simply and looked at her, waiting for the reaction.
“I do, I really do.”
“Then trust me. It’s as simple as that. I trusted you. I still trust you. I already let you in, you’re just to busy staring between the lines to see it.” he said in a soft voice and reached for her hand. Her fingers closed around his and she sighed.
“Do you really have to go, today?” she finally said in a small voice.
“Of course I do. But I’ll be back. As long as you need me to come back, I will.” he said and she smiled sadly.
“I wish we could find the person responsible for this already. I hate living like this, in this fear and uncertainty.” she said bitterly and shook her head.
“We have to find a way to track them down. That's the main thing right now. They're wanted for the abduction and murder of an Auror. We won't leave a stone unturned. And I'll make sure you're safe.” he told her in his most reassuring voice, though deep down he had a hard time believing it himself. There was no clue as to the whereabouts of the Peverell Society and even less to get them started.
“Maybe we should look into the old families again.” Rose said. “If they were tied with Slytherin, maybe they married into some other old family. Or recruited them as members. I'll do that today.” She was speaking mostly to herself but smiled and Scorpius returned her smile, savoring the warmth that spread inside of him when he was looking at her.
After a few minutes, he went to his room to get ready for the day. He showered, even though he would’ve preferred to keep her scent with him the whole day. She was really one of a kind, Rose. She could be a full grown woman one moment and the next, she was a small child, lost and in need of guidance. The shower helped clear his head of these thoughts. He needed to have his wits about him, especially since they were no where closer to solving the case. If something else happened, he couldn’t be caught off guard.
When the emerged from his room and went downstairs, he saw Rose in the kitchen door, leaning against the frame. She had a calm look on her face but he could see in her eyes that it was only apparent. She walked up to meet him at the bottom of the stairs.
“Be safe today. I’ll have dinner ready when you come back.” she said and placed his arms around his waist and hugged him.
Scorpius smiled in her hair and kissed her forehead.
“That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. We will talk about this!” she declared in a very serious voice that didn’t quite fit her present situation. She was a scary woman when she was mad but something about her petite frame, barefoot and in his shirt didn’t strike Scorpius as very intimidating. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
“Love, if I make it out alive today, we’ll talk until you use up all your words!” he said and opened the door, Disapparating on the front step.
Rose closed the door behind him with an aggravated expression on her face.
“Damn that man and his mysteries. Why can’t he just give me a straight answer?” she wondered out loud and to her surprise she heard a reply.
“I knew a girl named Belle, once. She was as mysterious as they come.” Sirius Black said from his portrait.
Rose smiled sadly at the man’s words and shook her head. Maybe it wasn’t just Scorpius, then. Maybe relationships were just meant to be mysterious and complicated. And the last thing Rose needed was a little more mystery in her life.
There it is, chapter twelve and Scorpius' take on the events of the previous evening. Belle, as mentioned by Sirius Black, belongs to Jami (Jchrissy) and is a character in her novel "Before They Fall", which has become my head canon for everything Marauder Era related. If you want to know more about Belle and Sirius, you should check it out!
And here's a preview of chapter 13:
“How do we know the location’s good?” Ron said from his chair.
“Do you have a better lead, Weasley? I was under the impression you didn’t, which is why Potter came to me in the first place. This is what I have. Take it or leave it.” the man said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms.
Any guesses as to who the mystery man is? Shout out in the box below! If you can guess it, I'll give you a cookie!
As always, everything belongs to JK Rowling.
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