Chapter 12 : How To Charm a Witch
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"Do you need any help packing?" I ask her, not wanting to let her away just yet.
She nods. "Yeah. That'd be nice." Her voice is hoarse, and she tries clearing it.
We get up and she helps me up to the dormitory, holding my hand so the stairs don't flatten out. I help her collect her various textbooks, sorting them tentatively by subject while she rummages around her room for clothes that she lost during the year.
We make casual conversation and crack the usual jokes, but neither one of us is laughing.
Rose and her other dormmates come in around ten and go to bed, not paying too much attention to us except for the usual cordial greetings. We sit on the floor to the right of her bed, packing and revising for tomorrow.
Around midnight, everything is packed except for her school robes and materials for tomorrow's exam plus her pjamas and toothbrush.
"Well, I guess I should go to bed now." She whispers from a foot or so away, where she is sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor, her charms notes in front of her.
"Same." I say.
She looks at me, and we meet eyes for the first time since right after the kiss.
Taylor comes over and wraps her arms around me. I circle my arms around her waist, not wanting to let her go. She presses her face into my shoulder, and I trace patterns onto her waste with my thumb. Neither of us want to let go.
We both know that we're not going to see one another again once she leaves. Not more than every eight months or so. And at least for a couple of years, maybe forever. We both have to go into the real world soon, find jobs and find families, just as we're made to. We're going to fly away from each other, and it's doubtful we'll touch down together again.
Her breathing, somewhat frantic at first, slows down and relaxes when she's in my arms, and she's half asleep within several minutes.
I lean against the side of her bed and think back to the time we went to the beach after she and Brad found out about their dad being arrested.
Me and Taylor were laying on our stomachs at the edge of the water, playing tic-tac-toe in the sand while Brad was trying to start a fire a ways up the beach.
"Hey Taylor, when do you think you'll go home to be with your dad? After he gets out, that is." I asked her.
"Never, probably." She said definitively.
"No. I'll probably cave in at some point. I love him too much to let him go forever." She admitted.
"But for now?"
"I'm never speaking to him again and he's dead to me."
"So you think you'll let it go sometime?" I asked, seeking clarification.
"Yeah. I'll have to let it blow over sometime, and that'll probably be when he comes back for me. But for now I'm letting him go. There's no point in fighting for him right now."
"Shouldn't you always fight for the ones you love?" I questioned, knowing this was going somewhere.
"Yeah. But it's all about timing. You have to have the strength to do it. And you have to be selfish enough to do it." She told me.
"What about Brad?" I asked.
"He'll give in first. He's the better decision maker between the two of us. Plus, he's less stubborn. Not to mention it was less of a betrayal for him."
I nodded. I nudged her elbow. "Tic-Tac-Toe, three in a row." I said, pointing out my row of X's.
She laughed. "I don't think so." She made a squiggly line connecting all of her O's. "Tic-Tac-Toe, four in a row!"
I laughed, rolling my eyes. "I guess you win. I didn't even realize that that was possible."
"That's because you suck at this." She said, grinning.
"Darn. There goes my dreams of going pro."
"Guess you had better find something else to do with your life." She shrugged.
"Well, I guess I'll probably be stuck with you, crashing in your fancy flat that you bought with all your winnings."
"I'll find a way to get rid of you somehow." She smirked.
"What, like a job grooming your majestic steed?"
"I was thinking more like a swift kick to the curb, but we can work on negotiations later."
"You'll have to try a lot harder than that to get rid of me."
She laughed. "A duel it is."
Several minutes after midnight, my eyelids begin to fall and I can sense that Taylor is already sleeping, her breaths slow and steady against my neck. My thumb slows, until it stops the patterns altogether. Just before I fall asleep, I catch a figure leaving the dorm.
I quickly and methodically leave the dormitory, quietly passing my dormmates and Al, who's sitting with Taylor in the dark. No questions there. For now, at least.
I pad down the steps in my socks and slip out into the corridor. There have been exactly two times I've been out of my house after curfew that wasn't for prefect duties. Both have had to do with Scorpius. This is one of those times.
That little nitwit with his superflous yet perfectly punctuated letters.
Rose, what did you write for your Herbology Essay?
I wrote about the effects that dragon dung has on soil. Since when are you even in Herbology?
I'm not. I just wanted an excuse to annoy you.
Well, please stop then.
I'm bored. Don't tell me you are actually listening to this crap.
I happen to find the Goblin Repression of 1357 very interesting.
I call Bullshit.
I was on my way to meet the twat right now, but I had no idea what to expect, nor did I know what I was going for. Curiosity has always been my weakness. And I guess Scorpius has been my other.
I know I'll probably never show this to you, but I just wanted to let you know that your hair looks especially nice this week. I don't mean to seem creepy, especially since we're not actually friends or anything, but you deserved to know. I really want to tell you this story about how my dad is making me get some junior internship at the ministry this summer. I know you'd think that my boss is ridiculously hilarious.
Those dumb little notes that he gave me were completely honest, completely stupid, completely genuine, and completely heartbreaking.
I doubt I'll actually send this letter, I was just bored at my house. It's pretty lonely here over the summer, except when Al or Taylor or Tanner or John or someone comes over. Next time Taylor comes, you should come with. The truth is, I've really missed you this summer. Hope you're having a great summer,
Thanks for the letter, glad to know you still think of me. Please know that it was unexpected, as we're far from being friends. It was noted however, and I would consider coming along with Taylor sometime if I have nothing better to do.
The letters made me want to admit certain thoughts that I'd been having to myself these past few years. Scary thoughts. They terrified me, yet they kept poking and prodding at my brain in constant motion.
I'm tired of holding things in around you. I know you Rose. You should know that you could tell me anything and I'd only like you more for it. You should confront yourself more often. Just tell me what's wrong.
It's none of your business Scorpius, just leave me alone.
That letter was the first mention of anything to do with the L word. It made a lump form in my throat. Probably only because I'd been needing a good cry. But it was six letters later that had me bawling my eyes out. It was one he hadn't sent me.
I can't hold it in anymore. I need you to know. So I'm planning something huge to make sure you know how much I feel for you. I can't get you out of my mind, and I want you to be more than just that far off thing I have to keep reaching for. To be honest, my arm is getting tired. I can't keep holding on to this bar for much longer. I'm just going to have to take a leap sooner or later. I'm going to fight for you Rose. Like I've been fighting my whole life.
Then there was only one more letter, and you could tell it was written recently.
I'm in love with you. Hopefully you've figured this out by now. If you feel anything in return, please meet me in the Astronomy Tower at midnight tonight. I'll be there.
Which is where I was walking the stairs up to now.
I get to the top, and Scorpius is there, facing the other direction, leaning against the railing looking out to the grounds.
"Scorpius?" I begin.
He turns, slowly, and stares at me. "Do you have something to say Rose?"
"I..." My voice breaks and I clear my throat, starting over. "I... I'm kind of in love with you."
He searches my face, looking into my eyes. Then he smiles. He walks over to me, and takes my face in his warm, rough hands.
Then he leans down and slams his lips to mine.
He breaks away only for a moment, saying, "That's brilliant, as I'm definitely, 100% in love with you."
I smile, and reach up to kiss him again.
"So. Why'd you let it happen?" Scorp asks me Sunday morning in the library. Taylor and Brad had been gone for a day now. "Why'd you let her get away?"
"I sent her."
His eyebrows crease together. "What?"
"I sent her to America."
I look up at his confused face. "She needed to go to her dad. She needs to fix stuff with him. Her and Brad both do."
"I know that, but why'd you let her go without knowing?" He clarifies.
"Scorp, we're sixteen. You think I want to screw up something so great because I was a stupid, reckless teenager?"
"No. I think you wanted to screw her but didn't have the balls to tell her about it."
"Scorpius, I'm not gonna see her again for a long time. I'm just glad we parted ways on such good terms as friends. This is how we've always worked out best. As best friends. No complications, no 'benefits', just simple friendship."
"That has to be the stupidest thing you've ever said."
"Scorpius, do you know what she said to me before they left yesterday?" He shook his head. "She said that there was no fear between us. No fear for a relationship, because it just wasn't there. She wasn't afraid of us not becoming friends, and she wasn't afraid of becoming something more-because it wasn't a possibility. And I realized the only thing I'm scared of is losing her as a friend."
Scorp sighs. "I guess you make some sense. I still think you should have just kissed her and gotten on with it."
I laugh. "You know, ever since you and Rose started going out, you've been a bit of a romantic."
"Al, I've always been a romantic. Why do you think the girls kept coming?" He winked.
"I suppose I always thought it was because of your attractive and charming best friend, but apparently, I've thought wrong."
"That's right you have." He nods approvingly.
"She sent me something by the way." I say, sliding the box across the table.
He takes it questioningly, and opens it.
He reads the note and grins. His grin grows as he sees the contents in the package. "Al, what time is it?"
"Ten. Why do you ask?" I smirk.
"Well, there's no time like the present, wouldn't you agree?" He asks slyly.
"Absolutely I do."
I know you said you wanted to stop the Dare Jar Club, but I don't think you should. However, with a year under its belt, the current Dare Jar is due for a retirement. I think you'll find that the contents of this package will help with that. Help the Dare Jar of 6th year go out with a bang.
Don't forget to write me in America,
Underneath the note, there is enough explosives to match the amount of points Edwardian took from us in the past two years.
A/N: I'm back! Please know that this is not the end of this story! This is simply the end of part 1! These characters aren't finished yet, and neither am I! Please let me know what you thought of the story so far, and your hopes and dreams for Part 2 (note that it is already in formation, I am just curious to hear what you think/want to happen for the characters in the next leg of their shenanigans). Thank you to all of my lovely readers and reviewers for sticking this story out for so long!! Also, let me know what you thought of the Chapter Image made by yours truly!
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