Chapter 2 : Bent: Rose POV
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Saturday night was for going out – which I rarely did. It just wasn’t my scene. I preferred to stay in and study. I would get the flat to myself for a few hours and I reveled in the peace and quiet.
The party was already in full swing when Dom, Selenia and I got there. It was a big one. James had invited over his entire Quidditch team. There was an abundance of meaty, young men on the prowl and several witches and wizards that I didn’t recognize. Selenia found Al quickly and they began snogging almost immediately. They just couldn’t keep their hands off each other. For someone so reserved and composed in every other situation, Selenia just couldn’t hold back when it came to Al. They had been hot and heavy ever since they started dating. I have yet to meet another couple that never seems to tire of each other.
After about ten seconds, I began to get the uncomfortable lurch in my stomach. There were too many people. In addition to the Chudley Cannons team, there were several other Auror trainees that had obviously been invited by Al and Scorpius who were in the program along with Dom, and a few of the Healer trainees that were in the program with Selenia and I at St. Mungos.
Get a grip, Rose, this is just a gathering at the boys’ flat. No big deal. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to start reciting potions directions to get through it. People might start to look at me weird. I quickly made my way to a (somewhat) quiet corner and plopped myself down on a miraculously empty couch. This is where I would stake myself for the remainder of the evening, just long enough to make it look like I wasn’t leaving too early. I closed my eyes and started to repeat how to make the veritaserum potion in my head. I’m not weird, I told myself. I just needed a few minutes to relax.
“Butterbeer?” My eyes opened to a pint of the warm liquid right in front of my face. I would have jumped a mile in the air, if I didn’t know the owner of the voice, the only voice that had the power to calm my nerves, for whatever reason.
“Thanks,” I breathed, looking up into Scorpius’s soft gray eyes. He plopped himself down next to me unceremoniously.
“So… James managed to pull off the biggest gathering so far,” he was making casual conversation. “He had to enchant the entire flat to make it large enough.”
I merely nodded, having nothing to add to this particular dialogue. I was only putting in my face time until I could leave and go back to my warm bed. To make it seem less awkward, I took a long draw on my drink and stared out at the crowd. There had to be at least 100 people here.
“Tough day?” he asked, running a hand through his white-blond hair and scratching at the back of his neck. It was one of his nervous habits. Why would he be nervous?
I nodded again but didn’t embellish. “Where did he find all these people?” I wondered. “Some of them don’t even look of age-”
Scorpius just breathed out a mirthless laugh. “Hogwarts graduation was last weekend. So James made a point of inviting all the new grads – but only the female ones. He had to have a healthy… er… supply for his teammates.”
I shook my head. Leave it to James. He could throw a party. Even at Hogwarts, he had the best ‘gatherings,’ as he called them. I hadn’t even realized that it had been Hogwarts graduation this past weekend. For once, no one in my family was graduating. Louis graduated last year, Roxy and Lucy would be next year and Lily and Hugo still had two more years to go – they weren’t even of age yet. Besides, Al and James were so protective of Lily; I doubt they will let her come even when she is of age.
“All of your cousins seem to be doing all right,” Scorpius commented, sarcastically. He was in a bad mood. I looked around to see what he was talking about. Al had his arm around Selenia and was leading her down the hallway to his room – no surprise there.
Dom was standing by the kitchen chatting animatedly with one of James’s teammates – I think he was from Australia. He had sandy blond hair and was very tan. They would make the most gorgeous babies – if Dom was in for that sort of thing, which she wasn’t. I smirked when I saw her signature move – a flick of her flowing blonde hair off her shoulders with a simple head shake, followed by a flash of her winning smile. I pointed to them and whispered to Scorpius, “I can almost hear her saying ‘Wow! You have to work out, like every day?’” He smiled, finally. We both knew all of Dom’s pick-up lines.
He nodded over to Fred, who was sweet-talking not one, not two, but three very young witches near the hallway. “It’s a good thing graduation was last weekend,” Scorpius commented. “He has gone through pretty much the rest of the entire female population.”
I couldn’t help but snicker. “Oh, Freddy. You are lucky you are so loveable.” I laid my head against his shoulder. It felt nice to be next to someone and be so comfortable. We both started to giggle and almost completely lost ourselves when I pointed out awkward Molly talking to Wolfram Longbottom across the room.
“Er… h-hello, Molly, is it?” Scorpius did a great Wolfie impression. He was such a gentle soul, but shy to a fault. “Do you come here often?”
“Oh, Wolfie,” I began playing the role of my cousin, “You look positively dashing in that purple sweater vest!” Scorpius shook his head from side to side in silent laughter and then burst out coughing violently, leaning over the side of the loveseat. I had to smack him on the back a few times. “Hold on there, Scorp. I’m not a healer just yet!” I was laughing harder now. He lifted his head up from his bent over position and grinned at me though a few more vicious hacks.
“Who is that with James?” I asked Scorpius when I could speak again. Both our moods had lifted. James had his arm comfortably around the most beautiful witch in the room – not counting Dominiqe, of course. She was someone that I hadn’t seen before. She looked a bit older – probably in her mid- to late-twenties and she was, of course, gorgeous. She had flowing, dark blond hair, soft brown eyes and was wearing a short white dress that clung to her and left little to the imagination. She looked really sophisticated for this lot of Quiddich players and trainees.
“That is Samara Tinsman,” Scorpius nodded toward her. She is American and working with the ministry as some sort of ambassador for international relations. Harry asked Al and Dom to introduce her to a few of the younger crowd. Although, I don’t think this is what he had in mind,” he gestured toward James and Samara as he dipped in for a steamy kiss.
“She doesn’t seem to mind,” I commented, and we both broke out into fits of laughter again at my ridiculous family.
I suddenly felt much lighter and I stood up and said, “Let me get you a refill. You practically spewed your entire drink across the room,” I drained the last of my pint, grabbed his glass and headed across the crowded room. I had to suppress a giggle as I passed by Molly and Wolfie and heard her say, “Really, Wolfram? I never knew vomit could come in so many different colours!” Eww. He was in the Healer trainee program with me, but you don’t see me discussing sick colours with anyone. They really couldn’t come up with a better topic of conversation? Well, whatever rocks your socks. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed Molly and Wolfram were perfect for each other. I catalogued the overheard conversation in the back of my mind so I could tell Scorp about it later.
I took a leap and decided to go for the more alcoholic ale than the mild butterbeer. Perhaps this night wouldn’t be so bad after all. I was still chuckling to myself about Molly and Wolfie when I felt an unknown, large hand wrap around my waist and pull me roughly sideways, so that the beer sloshed down my shirt.
“Hey, sexy,” a hot, drunk breath growled into my ear. Every muscle in my body tensed and the two pints of beer splattered more of the ale onto my shirt as my hands clutched instinctively to my chest. I could feel the cold, wet liquid soaking through. “I’ve been watching you all night. You are damn fit.” He twisted my taut body around and lunged forward with his face. I leaned back, but I couldn’t get away because his arms were gripping my waist so tightly.
The world seemed to slow down. Everything around me faded away and all I could see was this unknown wizard’s dark brown hair falling in clumps around his face that was obscured by a heavy beard. His eyes were black and beady. I dropped both glasses so I could push him back with my hands, but he was stronger and grasped a hand behind my head to force me toward his face. I recoiled and tried to twist free, adrenaline rising up inside me.
I didn’t hear the bang or see the curse fly from behind me. I just felt his grip release me and the force of my pushing throw me backwards toward the ground. It felt like I was falling in slow motion, but before I hit, a new pair of arms came from behind and caught me. They gently lifted me back to standing and wrapped around me. I don’t remember turning around, but my legs felt like jelly and I fell into Scorpius’s chest, gripping around him tightly, until I could open my eyes again and turn my head to see my aggressor. Who was he? Definitely not a trainee or a Quidditch player.
Scorpius had one arm around me and the other one holding his wand, pointed at the wizard who was now lying on his back and propping himself up on his elbows, recovering quickly from the stunning hex placed upon him and lifting his wand arm up slowly at Scorp and I. The words were on my lips to warn Scorpius, but before I could say anything, he shouted, “Petrificus totalis!” and the wizard’s torso flung back to the ground, his arms at his side and his entire body now immobilized. James and Dom immediately appeared at our side, wands drawn. The nearby party goers were forming a circle around the commotion.
I sucked in a much needed breath, just realizing that I had forgotten the simple act of getting oxygen to my system. My muscles were no longer tensed up, but now I was shaking out of control and Scorpius lowered his wand so he could wrap both arms around me tightly.
“I got it. I got it!” Dom shouted as two other Auror trainees joined her and James, wands at the ready. “Hey, arsehole! Who the fuck are you?” She demanded to the bloke who just smiled up at her and… crack – apparated away. How the hell did he do that? You can’t apparate if you’ve just been body bound. What the hell was going on?
“What the hell?” Dom’s voice boomed as she searched around the room. The entire party had now ceased and everyone was moving toward us – toward me. I buried my face deeper into Scorpius’s chest and stopped breathing again.
My mind was racing, trying to process the situation and at the same time, trying to maintain control of my body that wasn’t able to keep steady. Scorpius shifted and I faltered against him, grasping his steady arms with my trembling ones. My eyes rose up to meet his. He looked down at me and concern laced his features, realizing that I was unable to hold my own weight. He whispered something so only Dom and James could hear and slowly guided me away from the crowd. I don’t know how my legs were able to move and I kept my eyes trained on the floor in front of me.
It seemed to take us several minutes to walk the few steps down the hallway. Scorpius was doing most of the actual walking. I was just shifting my feet. Before I was able to realize what was going on, before my brain was able to slow its pace of logging information, sounds and sights around me, we were in Scorpius’s room and it was quiet and calm. I was sitting on his bed and he was next to me, his arms still around me.
He didn’t say anything until my breathing evened out and I was not shaking so intensely. I was embarrassed at my reaction. It certainly isn’t the first time some girl had been grabbed at a party. It wouldn’t be the last. I was embarrassed that a crowd had gathered and everyone had seen me cowering. I didn’t even think to draw my wand. All the others reacted so quickly and my best response was to just push him away? I was embarrassed that I couldn’t walk away without Scorpius’s help. That about sums up my life. The daughter of Ron and Hermione Weasley was a coward – worthless to even protect herself against some drunk idiot at a party.
“All right there, yeah?” Scorpius asked in a whisper against my forehead.
“Yeah,” I lied. “Much better.” Part of me wanted to get up and go back to my own flat, but I couldn’t move just yet. He lowered his arms from around me and began to lift off the bed. As I felt him pull away, my fear returned.
“Wait!” I was desperate. “Don’t go!” My hands clutched his forearms. I felt safe and calm with him close to me and suddenly the thought of him leaving was terrifying me. He lowered back down and wrapped his arms instantly around me again, grasping me tighter and gently stroking my hair.
“I’m not going anywhere, Rose,” he whispered into my hair. His voice was so soft, steadying me and bringing me back to earth. My heart began to slow its erratic pace. “I’m right here. I just thought you would like to change your shirt.”
“Oh. Yes.” I leaned back when I realized that his shirt was also wet from the spilled drink. The smell wafted up to my nose. “I’m sorry – for getting your shirt wet and… overreacting. I don’t know what came over me.” Another lie. I knew exactly what had come over me.
He accioed two shirts from his wardrobe – a clean oxford for him and a Ravenclaw Tee that had to have been from our third year. There was no way this shirt could possibly still fit him. He handed it to me and gently lowered his arms so he could unbutton his soaked clothing. I turned myself away from him and removed my own saturated shirt. It fell to the ground as the door banged open.
“What the hell happened?” Al demanded, his hair all rumpled and missing his own shirt. We must have looked completely ridiculous, the three of us in the room and none of us wearing any clothing on our upper halves (except for my bra).
“Damn it Al! Did you ever hear of knocking? Merlin!” Scorpius bellowed as he wrapped his clean oxford around my front in an attempt to give me some privacy.
Sense finally won out over outrage as Al realized he was in a room with his own cousin disrobing. He turned his head and covered his eyes, but continued to yell. “James said some blighter jumped Rose, then apparated away after being hexed. He came to get me and… and… why the hell don’t either of you have clothes on?”
“What?!” Another, very similar and very familiar voice rang out behind Albus and Dom stormed through the door, followed by James and Selenia. Dom had a look of great amusement on her face. This is fantastic. Why don’t we just invite Nana Molly and Grandad here and call it Christmas.
As irritated as I was at my cousin, the disruption was enough to bring my racing mind back to reality and I explained our unfortunate situation. “The aforementioned blighter spilled beer all over me and Scorpius got it all over him trying to help me.” Hoping that was enough of an explanation to shut him up so he would get the hell out. I really wished they would just leave so I could get decent.
“Can we discuss this in, say, five minutes?” Scorpius’s temper flared again. The group just stood there, looking dumbfounded at the two of us. “As in… get the hell out of here so Rose can put a goddamn shirt on!” Finally, the crowd retreated and the door closed. Scorpius flicked his wand angrily and the lock clicked, signifying at least a few moments of peace against any other family members who felt the need to see me half naked. I tentatively handed Scorpius back his shirt and quickly pulled on the loaned tee shirt.
He was staring hard at nothing in particular across the room as he furiously buttoned up. I knew he was really irate and trying to sort it all out. He was often angry.
I stood up and took a few steps toward the door to make my escape. If the party was still going on, I could make my way to the apparition point without being noticed and… I stopped.
I didn’t want to be weak and pathetic anymore, in the same way that I didn’t want Scorpius to be angry anymore. I turned around and saw him sitting on the edge of the bed. He was still looking hard away from me as I slowly found my way back and lowered down next to him.
“Hey,” my fingers pressed into his arm and I found myself wishing that he hadn’t put his shirt on so quickly. Did I just think that? He blinked once at my voice, but didn’t turn his head. I rested one finger on his jawline and coaxed his head toward me. His tensed muscles began to relax as our eyes met. The hardened look he had been harbouring softened as he blinked again at me. Instead of taking my finger off his cheek, the other four joined it and my thumb began to trace gentle circles on his smooth cheek. Then his strong hand rested on my back and copied the motion. It felt really nice – to touch him and have him touch me as we stared at each other. I usually avoided most human contact.
“Thank you,” I whispered. “For everything.” He just nodded, staring at me with his caring silver eyes and rubbing my back. It was not until that moment that I realized that I had spent more time alone with another human being than I had in the past two years. The numbness and emptiness were not the sole emotions I was experiencing. For the first time since my kidnapping, I was able to give and receive consolation from someone else.
I felt something.
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