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Chapter 2 : Cracks In The Ice.
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Weasley family reunions were loud and chaotic and drunken and delicious. All of the things Rose Weasley was not.
She sat in the corner of Grandma Molly’s living room and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear before pulling out a green, leather journal and beginning to write. The noise surrounding her was barely a hindrance, and looking through the congregation of relatives from her place on the hearth, Rose noticed her rather frightened-looking cousin Molly curled up beside the wireless and watching her two brothers wrestle on the floor. She too, could be rather quiet in nature, but she had inherited her Father’s unfortunate knack for knowing a lot about things no one cared about. So the two were never really friends per se.
However shy, Rose was no stick in the mud. She knew that in a few hours, possibly less, she would be as loud as the rest of them, but she needed warmed up first, and she knew just the person to help her do that, so she sat and waited.
The appearance of a pair of legs beside her caused Rose to look up and grin. Teddy offered her his hand.
“Whatcha writing?” he asked.
“Nothing for you to see,” was her response as she let him pull her to her feet, crimson waves bouncing around her porcelain face.
“Too much of your Mother’s touchiness, that’s your problem kid,”
Kid. How that used to irk her so. Instead of giving the snappy remark he was once so used to, she looked up at him to giggle but faltered at his appearance. His hair was the same turquoise colour that he’d grown so partial to, his lips were spread into his usual easy smile; but it was a smile that did not quite reach his silver eyes. She looked at him for a moment.
“Later.” He said bluntly. “For now. Drink with me?”
Loud and chaotic and drunken—all of the things Rose Weasley was not… unless one Teddy Lupin had something to say about it.
Rose did allow herself a laugh this time as he pulled her through the dense crowd of Weasleys, hardly giving her time to stash the journal in her rucksack. Every single time she forgot just how many of them there were until a gathering such as this. She had also forgotten how fun Firewhiskey shots with Teddy were. In the few hours that followed the cluttered kitchen and smell of party food became a blur.
“Happy graduation,” He slurred, raising a toast.
“My graduation party was two years ago, this is your going away party,”
Going away. It was a strange notion to consider him halfway across the globe.
“I think you should stop now.” Rose gently took the shot glass off him, and his smile faltered.
“I know,” He sighed.
Thus far, Rose had been dreading the impending heavy conversation. Heavy was not good, they were not capable of heavy, especially when he was drunk. Now however, she felt that there was no more avoiding it.
“So… is it later?”
Teddy ran his right hand through his hair and sighed. He had been dreading this as much as she had, but who else could he tell? He had no shortage of family, but telling Rose first had always been much easier. Jumping down from the kitchen bench, Teddy turned away from the girl and exited through the back door. Barely a second passed before Rose followed suit. The cool night air was a welcome relief from the stuffy interior of the Burrow and the fireflies bathed the large, messy garden in a golden haze. At the very bottom of the rough, dirt path, almost entirely out of the view of the house, the two wizards came to a weeping willow tree. Its height would have been imposing but the way the branches drifted lazily in the night time, summer breeze was oddly calming. Upon sight, Rose’s face split into a wide grin, for near the top of the tree, set deep into the trunk and the branches, was a wooden box with a roof, and a door, and a window; filled with all the best memories from her childhood.
It was their tree house.
Teddy couldn’t help but grin at the sight of her smile, and with a flick of his wand, a silver ladder unfurled from the entryway and tumbled to their feet.
They took one look at each other and before either of them quite knew what was happening, they were fighting each other to get on the ladder first, their laughter echoing round the garden, just like when they were little. And just like when they were little, Teddy let her win, because he was older and it was his “obligation”, as he so referred to it, which she had always hated. The fort was exactly the way she remembered it. The oaken walls were bedecked with Weird Sisters posters, and the Gwenog Jones in her Hollyhead Harpies poster was still as irate after all these years, adorning a now slightly faded, fuzzy moustache, courtesy of Albus.
Rose perched herself on the edge of the floor, swinging her legs over the edge as Teddy reached the top of the ladder.
“How are you feeling?” she asked eventually.
“Like I’m about eight years old,” he joked, surveying the inside of the fort with childlike happiness.
The remark made her smile as well, which he was happy about because at least he had provided some sort of distraction. That was the point in all this, but despite all of his best efforts, there was no mistaking the seriousness behind her piercing blue eyes. Apparently the daughter of Hermione Granger was not so easily fooled.
“Victoire asked me to move in with her,” he said quietly.
Rose squealed and jumped up to hug Teddy. It was a few moments later before she relinquished her hold and moved back to her original place, a broad smile on her features.
“That’s great, I knew you guys would make it! Tell me everything! What did you say?” she spoke at a million miles an hour in a voice quite unlike her own.
“I broke up with her,” he answered, his tone falsely indifferent.
“Aw that’s so— y-you what?” she spluttered, catching on a little too late as her insides filled with cold dread.
The silence was thick. Now Rose knew why he had come to her, and not Harry, not Ginny. Her stomach dropped. She knew what he was doing. He was running away, again. Biting her lip, Rose cast her mind back to around this time 3 years ago, when Teddy and Victoire kissed for the first time and she, a sixth year, had walked in on them. She remembered how she had felt then with an onslaught of bitterness, and compared it to how she felt now. It was quite amazing how much a person could change in such an insignificant amount of time.
“And that’s why she’s not here,” she said eventually.
“She took it rather well actually; seemed to understand how important my trip was to me. I told her I was thinking about moving there. Oh please don’t look at me like that Rose, I came to you to avoid that. I thought you of all people would understand.” He took her hand and she cast her eyes downwards with a frown. “We wanted different things. It was too soon,”
“Was it?” she quipped coldly, but softened as she saw his face fall almost imperceptibly. She squeezed his hand. “You can’t keep doing this, Ted,”
“It’s what you would do,” he said in a low voice, watching the crease between her eyebrows become more pronounced as her look of anger faded to one of puzzlement.
He looked at her for a little while longer, taking in the adorable sampling of freckles on her nose and cheeks and fancying they were children again; or back to her early Hogwarts days where she would never have judged him so. The memory filled him with an inexplicable sadness.
“It’s not me who’s in this position,” Rose countered, ever logical.
Teddy however, didn’t appear to be listening. He had a faraway look on his face and his eyes were focused on the petite figure of his Godmother making her way down the dirt trail.
“Rose!” Ginny called up when she reached the foot of the tree. “Scorpius is here,”
Rose turned to say goodbye to Teddy for the time being, but he wasn’t looking at her, so feeling slightly cold, she disappeared over the edge of the tree house. Shaking her head sadly as Ginny threw a questioning look in Teddy’s direction, she made her way towards the house. At the door, she paused to turn back to the weeping willow, allowing herself some happiness at the sight of Ginny at the top of the tree, hugging her Godson.
She had barely closed the door behind her to the kitchen when she was attacked by a mop of silvery blonde hair.
“Go home dick, you’re drunk,” she laughed as Scorpius leaned down and planted a rather sloppy kiss on her cheek.
“Nope, just nervous,” he said slowly, laughter in his voice.
Rose looked at him questioningly, arms still encircling his body. He just grinned again, looking around at the rather small kitchen which at the moment, housed the two of them, Hermione, Ron, Harry, Molly and Percy who sat at the table conversing, drinks in hand. Scorpious gulped, but was made slightly more at ease by the wink Ron threw in his direction. Still a tad unsure about what to do with himself, he began pacing.
“Ok, Rose… Rose, Rose, Rose. I have put a lot of thought into this, about how young we are, what this would mean, and what we might like to do with our lives. And I think… Well I know… That I have quite decided that whatever I might like to do with my life, I would like to do it with you.”
He said the last part in one breath, and afterwards, stood there for a few moments. The door clicked and a few heads turned as Ginny and Teddy entered, the latter looking considerably happier. Ginny caught sight of Harry’s goofy grin and promptly squealed.
“Oh my god, she said yes?!”
There was a loud bang as Ron’s head hit the table and three other exasperated looks were thrown in the direction of the redhead, who caught on pretty fast.
“I’ll just be over there then,” she said, hanging her head in shame and slinking over to the other side of the kitchen, the tips of her ears burning red.
Harry snorted. Rose however, was left confused.
“Well, I know it’s probably a bit obvious now, but I want to do it properly anyway. Rose Weasley,”
He dropped to one knee and pulled out a small, velvet box. The embedded diamond sparkled in the candlelight and she imagined how it would look on her finger.
“Will you marry me?”
A choking noise escaped from the back of her throat. No. No. NO. No. Absolutely not. The girl looked up, around the faces of her family. They all looked thrilled at the prospect; clearly expecting her to say yes. Then her blue eyes landed on Teddy, whose jaw was set and his stare cold.
“Of course!” she proclaimed, her voice slightly higher than usual as she leapt on Scorpious.
A few hours later, and Rose found herself, quite alone, in the exact same spot in Grandma Molly’s kitchen, Scorpius’ proposal running through her mind as she examined the beautiful diamond ring on her finger. She couldn’t do it. But how could she disappoint everybody by calling it off? The door opened quietly and Teddy entered with the same hard expression as earlier (Was his face stuck?), having already made his farewells. He closed the door behind him and cast the muffliato spell.
“I can’t do it Teddy. I can’t marry him. You were right, I’m just like you after all,” she bit back a sob.
Without saying a word, he pulled out a chair at the kitchen table for her and poured two glasses of Firewhiskey. He placed one in front of her and sat in the chair opposite.
“Then don’t. No one will think any less of you,”
The lack of tone and expression in his voice was somewhat disturbing and her heart made the familiar drop that came with it. Still, he was here, and therefore he cared.
“He will,” she said quietly.
“Why do you care?” he kept his eyes on the table, and then sighed before answering his own question. “Because you love him,”
“I don’t want to get married,”
“But you’re going to,” he remarked, now looking directly at her.
“Why are you so sure?” she almost failed to get the words out.
“Because I know you. I admit I struggle to keep up with you these days, but you’ve grown up Rose. You do want to, you’re just afraid. Maybe you’re just holding out for something better,”
“There is no better,” she quipped automatically, cutting him to pieces.
“I know,” he croaked. “Not for you. So how can you say you don’t want to marry him?”
He was right of course, and with that comment she realised that this was exactly Teddy’s intention. Scorpious made her happy like she never knew she could be. There truly was no one better for her, so what, or who exactly was she waiting for? Rose looked at Teddy long and hard, fighting the rising lump in her throat. In appearance he might have changed in the long years since their childhood, but in personality he was exactly the same. A coward who did nothing but run and fight off those who loved him more than anything in the whole world. He hadn’t really changed. The same could not be said for her. And tonight in the tree house, Teddy had made a mistake in not realising that.
Rose didn’t realise she had been silent for so long until Teddy cleared his throat before saying very bluntly.
Then he did something unexpected and moved his chair round beside her and rested his head on top of hers, pulling her into him.
“Since I won’t get to say it later I just want to tell you that… well… goodbye,”
And with that, he kissed her forehead and left her in the kitchen where she fought the urge to cry her heart out. So that was it then.
Rose took her time to recover, before entering the living room. Upon sight of her fiancé and his goofy, lopsided grin, she felt the happiness bubble up inside her and could not help but smile. Making her way over, she all but jumped on Scorpious as she threw her arms around him. This was the man she wanted to spend her life with, and all her previous doubts were easily vanished as he kissed her passionately. As the night wore on the two thoroughly enjoyed the reunion that, eight years later, they would attend with their first child.
This was real love, not the dependency that had consumed her adolescence.
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