Chapter 18 : Awake
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For Dancing Mooncalf. And Moonlight. I hope you caught that fly.
When I woke a few hours later, my face was cold from the settled tears. The room was the same, just darker now that the sun had set. I turned on a couple lights and noticed a hot mug of tea beside me. Thank Godric. I took a sip and a breath, trying to relax all over again.
He was so still, the only movement coming from the rise and fall of his chest.
My stomach made an obnoxious noise and I groaned. Great. Hunger. I placed the tea back on the bedside stand and examined Scorpius for a moment longer. I just wanted to know that he was okay. I wanted him to tell me he was okay. I wanted to teach him to paint again. This overly white, sterile room wasn’t exactly the most romantic setting in the world.
I leaned over, kissing him gently. I hated that he couldn’t kiss me back. After moving his hair away from his sweaty forehead, I left the room. The hallway was blinding with its loud lights. Horrible. How long had I been asleep?
It was mostly empty except a Healer at the far end of the hall pushing a cart into a room. This would be an excellent moment for a cart of food to materialize.
My stomach grumbled again.
Cafeteria. I need you.
According to the sign posted at the end of the hall, the food was located on the fifth floor. I didn’t really want to leave Scorpius, but I was hungry and he was still unconscious. I couldn’t just not eat. I could even get some extra food to bring back with me so I wouldn’t get hungry later.
How late was I staying?
I didn’t want to think of that now. I began walking upstairs, pausing on the third floor to send Mum a quick owl about what had happened and how I was staying, and was thankful to smell all sorts of horrible fried foods when I opened the door to the fifth floor.
The cafeteria was massive. Tables stretched from one side to the other and the stack of trays was taller than me. It was a giant buffet of food, plus some a la carte options at the end.
I just started shoveling food onto my tray. Chicken. Crisps. Sandwiches. Salad.
“You’re awake.” Mrs. Malfoy was at my shoulder, her tray holding salad and a water.
“I am.” I nodded. “Thank you for letting me in to see him.”
Mrs. Malfoy smiled a little. “Why don’t you sit with us?”
“Really?” I said before I could stop myself.
“Sure.” Mrs. Malfoy led the way to the register where she paid for her food and my own, despite my protests, and then to the far windows where Mr. Malfoy had secured a table. He looked just as tired.
“Good to see you, Rose,” Mr. Malfoy said with a confident nod. He didn’t look at me as he began to eat.
So I was eating with Scorpius’ parents. Awkward.
I busied myself with putting condiments on my sandwich.
“So,” Mrs. Malfoy said after a while. “How did you manage to get the room number out of the clerks downstairs? They were even tight-lipped when my sister was here during visiting hours.”
My cheeks burned. “I told them I was Scorpius’ girlfriend. I guess they felt bad for me.” I tried to shrug it off. No big deal. Lied to get my way.
Used any means to achieve my ends.
Scorpius would be proud.
“Are you?” Mrs. Malfoy asked quietly.
Shit. Shit. Shit. What?
I nearly choked on the sandwich I had just bitten into. “No,” I said with my mouth full. “I’m not.”
“Why?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Neither of us asked.”
Mrs. Malfoy nodded a little. She was absolutely bloody terrifying when she was like this. “Do you like my son?”
This felt like a trap. I glanced over my shoulder just in case there was a master in archery waiting to off me at the answer.
“I do,” I replied. Honesty was the best policy. And bravery in the face of horrifying situations. I could do this. I could.
The Malfoys exchanged a glance I couldn’t read. Wasn’t it obvious I liked their son? I was in the hospital. I damn near tore through that hallway to see him. I must have looked like a complete loon. I sobbed and fell asleep beside his bed. If that wasn’t obvious I didn’t know what was.
“So, Rose, are you excited for your final year at Hogwarts?” Mr. Malfoy asked.
His son was unconscious in the hospital and he wanted to know if I was excited for seventh year. Bloody NO. Not now anyway.
“I am,” I replied, trying to keep my smile calm. “I can’t believe it’s my last year.” That’s the general answer, isn’t it? Can’t believe it’s my last year. It’s flown by. Not looking forward to the NEWTS. Blah blah blah.
“What’s your best class?”
“My best class is Charms,” I replied. “My favorite is History of Magic, which is certainly not my best.”
“They still teach that?” Mr. Malfoy said, his nose wrinkling. “That class was horrible.” He looked like there was a bad taste in his mouth. Mrs. Malfoy shot him a look.
“I kind of view it like a story,” I explained, cheeks warm again. “Like a book I’m reading. It’s interesting knowing a lot of those rebellions actually happened.”
He looked at me and I knew exactly what that expression meant: You are your mother’s daughter. I’d received it on more than one occasion.
“So tell me,” Mrs. Malfoy began, balancing some pineapple on the end of her fork. “Have you and Scorpius spent the whole month together?”
I wished he was here to field these questions. My feet rubbed against the floor anxiously. I had no idea exactly what he told his parents.
“A lot of it,” I admitted. I couldn’t lie to them. That was not a great way to begin a relationship. “We found each other by the creek and just started hanging out.” I shrugged a bit, trying to sound casual. I was pretty sure I failed considering the whole ‘yes, I was the one your son left your sick side to see’ wasn’t a great selling point on my behalf.
“And you were there for a vacation?”
“I was,” I replied.
“Did you have a good vacation?” Mrs. Malfoy asked. I had no idea if this was sarcastic or not, so I merely nodded. She ate her pineapple, but something made me think she wasn’t saying everything she wanted to.
I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry,” I said finally. “Do you not want me to be here?”
“What?” Mrs. Malfoy said, almost spitting pineapple all over the table. She paused to swallow. “Of course that’s not the case. I’m sorry if you felt that way.”
“I don’t want to intrude,” I said.
Mr. Malfoy looked over and to my surprise, he smiled. “You’re not intruding,” he said. “You found Scorpius after he was attacked. You couldn’t possibly be intruding.”
I relaxed a little, shoulders falling from their former stiff position. “I just wanted to make sure,” I said. “Have you … heard anything yet?”
Mrs. Malfoy’s lips tightened. “The Healers said he has some of the same symptoms I did at the beginning,” she explained. My stomach dropped. “But they aren’t sure. They’re running some more tests.”
“Scorpius told me you were in America because the Healers recommended the humidity,” I said.
She nodded, moving her food around the plate. “It didn’t do much of anything. At most, it made me sweatier than usual and gave Draco a reason to complain more.” Mr. Malfoy huffed. “I’m doing okay now that we’re back, but some days are better than others.”
I opened my mouth to ask a question, but then stopped myself. It wasn’t my business.
Unfortunately, she was watching me like a bloody hawk. “Go ahead.”
“What’s it like?” I blurted. It wasn’t my business. Part of me didn’t want to know, but with Scorpius being a private person and me leafing through a few articles about her illness it was something that drew out my curiosity.
“Hard,” she replied simply. “It’s hardest not knowing what it is. I have another round of tests scheduled for this evening.”
“Ah.” I couldn’t think of anything constructive to add to the conversation. They hadn’t figured it out in the years Mrs. Malfoy has had the disease. And now Scorpius could have whatever it was. He could have good days and bad days. They could ship him off to the United States to try and vacation in the humidity.
I had no words.
“I hope they go well,” I stammered out, my mind fuzzy with Scorpius’ fate.
Mrs. Malfoy lifted her wrist and checked her watch. “Actually, it’s getting close to the time I have to be upstairs. Are you okay here, Rose?”
“I’ll be fine.” I smiled a little, but it wasn’t genuine.
The Malfoys excused themselves to throw away their garbage and left the cafeteria. It was getting louder in the room since more people had filed in for a late dinner, but I kept my eyes outside. There were pinpricks of lights in the distance, but otherwise it was dark.
I wished I’d known more about Mrs. Malfoy’s disease, but with no one knowing much of anything, I didn’t feel left out. I didn’t even know if it was a real disease. Or what the symptoms were. Passing out on the stairs? Hell.
Eventually I excused myself back to Scorpius’ room. It was exactly how I left it, including the light on his bedside stand. He hadn’t been moved so I settled back into the chair and pulled a book from my purse and began to read.
Somewhere around page ten I started to read out loud. It wasn’t a very exciting book, just something fun and leisurely. A love story about two people who wouldn’t fall in love until the very last pages of the book. Awkward encounters. Laughter. Stares across the room.
Every so often I glanced up at Scorpius. His chest continued to rise and fall.
I wished this was a fairy tale. That I could be the princess who wakes the prince from sleeping. That I could just kiss him and he would grin at me in that cheeky way I enjoyed so much. What was that called? True love’s kiss? Something like that.
But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t love.
It was something, though.
I closed the book and reached out, taking Scorpius’ hand in my own. It was cold, but not freezing. Probably because he had tubes in his wrists. I looked away to his face. The tubes made my stomach churn.
“I guess this is why you didn’t say good-bye,” I said with a small laugh. It felt odd talking to him, but the silence was unbearable. “I freaked out. You probably figured that, though. I’m not exactly stable when it comes to things like that. Mum drove me back to your place to say good-bye and you weren’t there. The colorful words out of my mouth were definitely worthy of Slytherin. Not you, though, as I’m pretty sure your vocabulary isn’t as crude as a lot of other people’s.” My thumb pressed into his palm.
“I wish you would wake up,” I continued softly. “I just had an awkward conversation with your parents in which they asked why I wasn’t your girlfriend. I lied about it to get up here. I think the bloke took pity on me. I said I was.” I frowned. “I should have asked. A thousand times. When I saw you in that creek in your stupid rubber boots I should have just asked you right then and there. I couldn’t help it, though. I got distracted. You were stripping, remember?”
I glanced over at the clock. It was close to eleven. I wasn’t tired since it wasn’t too late in America so I pulled the chair beside Scorpius’ bed and placed my feet on the edge. “I miss you, Scorpius,” I said, blinking quickly. “More than I probably should.”
I opened the book and continued to read again.
I opened my eyes. The book was still in my lap and the room was still dark. It couldn’t have been more than a tiny catnap. I was being shaken awake by Mrs. Malfoy.
“Yeah?” I said, yawning. Scorpius, once again, hadn’t moved.
“Would you mind waiting in the hallway for a moment? Scorpius has another visitor who has requested a little alone-time,” she said.
I nodded. I could understand that. Though it was strange this late at night, I grabbed my bag and the book and followed her out into the hall.
I expected to see someone who looked like Scorpius. A relative. A grandmother or aunt or uncle. Maybe someone I recognized from Hogwarts.
I didn’t expect to see a stunning blond girl with bright eyes and a charming smile.
She was in a pretty sundress and strappy shoes with her hair in perfect waves down her shoulders and onto her back.
I was suddenly very aware of my own wrinkled clothes and the mustard stain on my shirt.
Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy went back to the bench they had originally occupied. She looked exhausted after whatever tests she’d had done. Whatever they were hadn’t kept her from her son, however.
The girl extended her hand almost immediately.
“Hi,” I said, shaking it. Even her handshake was firm, professional, and awake. “I’m Rose.”
The girl smiled. “I’m Danielle,” she said sweetly. “Scorpius’ girlfriend.”
Never in my life had I gone from smiling to wanting to throttle someone so quickly.
Scorpius had mentioned during our date he wanted to break things to her in person. But he had also insisted they were not an actual couple. That they were just going on a couple of casual dates. This girl did not look like the casual dating kind of girl. She looked like the kind of girl you brought home to Mum and Dad and then proposed to the next day.
Hell, I would bring her home to my parents. Even her teeth were straighter than mine.
“Pleasure,” I managed to get out before Danielle brushed past me and into Scorpius’ room without so much as a second glance.
The door closed and I jumped, looking over at the Malfoys.
“That’s who I’m competing against?” I blurted.
Mr. Malfoy cracked a brief smile. “Well, if we’re being open about it, I’m not quite sure there’s even a competition.”
“What’s she doing in there then?” I peeked through the thin rectangular window in the door, but all I could see was darkness.
“Did you want to break the news to her?” he asked, still fighting against a bigger smile. “I’m sure she’d love hearing that from you.”
“I quite like not adding to my bruise collection,” I mumbled. Why was she still in there? What was she doing? Was she kissing him? Holding his hand? Reading to him?
I hated her already.
“I can hardly break anything to her when it’s not official,” I mumbled, beginning to pace. Just as I imagined Scorpius had been.
More bloody official than she was with him. Introducing herself as his girlfriend. Over my bloody dead body, girl.
I turned back to Scorpius’ parents. “She’s a Muggle,” I said. “How is she here? He told me she didn’t know he was a wizard.”
“Draco went home while I was in my tests to get a change of clothes and she was there,” Mrs. Malfoy replied. “He has already modified her memory so she assumes it’s a normal hospital.”
“She looked all pathetic just sitting on the porch,” Mr. Malfoy said with a shrug. “I couldn’t just leave her there. It was starting to rain.”
Should have effing left her.
She was still in there. Scorpius was unconscious. What in blazes was she still doing in there?
Great. She was probably on top of him making out with him.
Stupid Danielle and her stupid sundress.
“See anything?” Mr. Malfoy said, eyeing me.
“Just dark,” I replied, frowning.
He chuckled. “Why don’t you go on in?”
I stared. “Because she’s in there with him.”
“Ah.” The look he gave me reminded me of the one he had given me at dinner, just a little different. Then he laughed and said something quiet to Mrs. Malfoy.
I knew that look.
I was my father’s daughter.
“Fine,” I said and walked right back into two-ten. I marched down the hallway. “Danielle, we need to have a chat.” I turned and stopped dead in my tracks.
Danielle was seated on the edge of the bed, her hand in Scorpius’. Her hair was shining against the light and I hated her for it. That wasn’t what had stopped me, though. It was Scorpius. His eyes were open and he was looking at her before realizing I was there.
Scorpius raised his right hand and held his finger toward me. “One moment, Rose,” he said. Then he looked back at Danielle.
I stared. What?
I had been here half the bloody day. I read to him. And he was conscious and not dead and using that moment to talk to bloody Danielle the goddess.
I was standing here awkwardly, not knowing what to do with my hands. Great.
At least he remembered who I was. That was positive. Right?
Scorpius cleared his voice. “Do you understand?” he asked her.
Danielle didn’t so much as glance back at me. “Of course not,” she said. “You only left for a month. Did your mother say something?”
Scorpius shook his head. “I’m sorry, Danielle. I didn’t mean for things to happen like this.”
“So all of those kisses meant nothing?” she asked.
Oh Godric Gryffindor I did not want to hear this. The thought of this blond bint snogging Scorpius made me sick. Go away now, please. I considered just leaving, but part of me was curious. Who was I kidding? I was always curious.
“It’s not like that,” Scorpius said with a sigh. “Look, I think you’d rather not hear me explain it. Just please take my word for it.”
“You can’t just do this!” Danielle said, her voice rising.
What a bint.
Scorpius frowned. “Look--”
“No!” Danielle cried. “This was something. We were together!”
“You bloody were not!”
Both of them turned and looked at me, considering the words came out of my mouth. Whoops.
“Excuse me?” Danielle said, a brow raising. “Who are you again?”
“Short memory span probably isn’t your most attractive quality,” I said, taking a step forward. “Look, Danielle, Scorpius is in the hospital so if you could kindly not raise your voice.”
“You’re not in this conversation,” she shot back. “So wait outside until we work it out.”
“Actually,” Scorpius began, his voice still calm, “she is in this conversation.”
Danielle looked back at me again and then to Scorpius. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” she said and I could practically hear the eyeroll in her voice. “Her? Seriously?”
Danielle went flying onto the chair, knocking it over.
Scorpius looked over. “Did you have to hex her?” he asked patiently.
I shrugged. “You looked a bit like a damsel in distress.” I smirked. “She okay?”
Scorpius ran his fingers through his hair and glanced over. “She’s alive.”
Danielle hoisted herself up, blond bombshell hair all over the place. “What the hell did you just DO to me?” she shrieked. “What did you throw?” She looked around, but as I hexed her while her back was turned, she found nothing. I had long stuffed my wand away. “Scorpius, this is madness!”
He could only shrug. “Sorry, Danielle,” he replied. “You really are a lovely person.”
“Oh fuck off,” she snapped, turning on her heel and marching out of the room, careful to shoulder-check me as she went. The door slammed and I heard her yell something, presumably at Scorpius’ parents.
My eyes moved back to him. “You’re awake.”
“How long have I been out?” he asked, looking around.
“What do you remember?” I said, moving back toward him and sitting where Danielle had been. I took his hand, thankful he could hold mine in return.
Scorpius moved back into the pillows and rubbed his lips together. He looked like he was concentrating hard. “Being upstairs,” he said. “I was upset we were leaving. I was writing about it and then I got annoyed and threw the journal. I went to get a drink, but I was in the hallway and I started to get lightheaded...” He paused, eyes on the ceiling. “I figured I was dehydrated. After that I can’t remember anything. I just woke up and Danielle was singing something. It was strange.”
“She told me she was your girlfriend,” I said pointedly.
“She told me that too.” Scorpius wrinkled his nose.
I grinned a little, squeezing his hand. “You’ve been out since yesterday.” I took a moment and explained how we went back to say good-bye and he was gone.
“So you’ve been here since you got back to England?” Scorpius asked. “Your parents brought you back early?”
“I make a very convincing panicked face,” I explained. “I thought it was your mum. But I also figured if it was your mum you would have sent me an owl. Any owl.”
“You know me well.” Scorpius smiled.
“I should call the Healers.” I reached for the buttons on the side of his bed, but he stopped me.
“Wait.” He pulled me down against him. “I’d rather not.”
“Why?” I brushed some hair away from his face just as I’d done when he was asleep.
“I’d rather just live in a fairy tale for a while.” Scorpius wrapped his other arm around me, ignoring the fact that tubes were still in his wrists. “When they come in here it’ll be all bad news and tests and nonsense. Just let me live in this for a while longer.”
I watched his eyes. They were a bit glassier than usual, so I nodded. “Did you know?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I assumed,” he said. “When I started to get lightheaded a year or so ago. Some headaches. The occasional blood when I coughed. I figured.” Scorpius shrugged a little. “It was only a matter of time until something big happened, right?”
I couldn’t help it. I kissed him, fingers tangling in the fabric of his dressing gown. “I want to be your girlfriend,” I said in an almost stubborn way.
“Yeah?” he asked, grinning. I’d never seen his eyes light up so fast. “Is that because you want to or just because I may have a mystery disease?”
“Both?” I teased, kissing him again.
“Is this you asking?” he said against my lips.
“This is me asking.” My fingers trailed up his chest and into his hair. “So say yes.”
“All right. Twist my arm.” Scorpius chuckled and we kissed for a while, making up for lost time.
His parents came in a little while later and talked to him about what had happened. The Healers did some tests, but scheduled most for the morning when the rest of them would be in (and awake). Scorpius was very diligent and attentive, doing everything he was asked, though he glanced over at me often.
The Healers told Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy to go home and get some rest since he was awake and stable. They refused, so the Healers offered them a cot in the waiting room down the hall. I grabbed a thin blanket and curled up into the armchair.
Once the door was shut, Scorpius chuckled. “Right,” he said. “Like you’re going to sleep there.”
“Have a better idea?” I asked.
“Turn the light off on your way over here,” he said and so I did and curled up beside him.
We woke somewhere around four, the room still shrouded in darkness. Scorpius pressed his lips to mine. “She’s usually not like that, you know,” he whispered.
“Who? Danielle?” My fingers absently trailed against his chest.
“Mmhm.” He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me against him.
I left it in silence for a moment. “I can’t blame her,” I said at last. “I guess to be so sure of one thing only to have it tossed in your face … and the girl standing right there.” My nose wrinkled. “She reacted less than I would have. Hell, I hit you and I didn’t even think we were together.”
Scorpius laughed lightly, though it was clear he didn’t have much of his strength back. “I shouldn’t have done it like that,” he said. “Do you see why it was so hard for me before? I hate hurting people.” He kissed my forehead. “But I knew if I didn’t it would only hurt you more.”
“And that’s the thought you had after waking up?” I rolled my eyes. “Leave it to you not to be concerned about your own safety and health.”
“I’d much rather be concerned about you.” Scorpius let out a sigh and squeezed my hip.
“Aren’t you sweet?” I snorted.
“The very sweetest.” Scorpius was quiet for a while and I concentrated on his breathing. The movement of his chest in the darkness. “How long can you stay?”
I shrugged. “I owled Mum and told her what happened,” I explained. “I don’t think she’ll come hunting for me any time soon.”
“Good.” Scorpius moved his hand to my hair, brushing each set of locks with his fingers. “I’m not the greatest fan of hospitals, so it’s nice to have a friendly face.”
“You have your parents,” I countered.
“Allow me to rephrase,” Scorpius whispered, placing his free hand under my chin and tilting my head toward him. “A friendly face I can kiss.” He brought his lips to mine for a moment, smirking into the kiss.
I couldn’t get enough of him to the point where it almost freaked me out. But in this moment I didn’t care. I just wanted to kiss him.
“I’m going to be okay, you know,” Scorpius said when the kiss broke.
“I believe you.”
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
“I do.” I nodded and kissed him again.
“Took you long enough.” He pulled me on top of him, his hands on my thighs. “If my heart rate rises don’t call the Healers.”
I kissed the pompous smirk right off his face.
A/N: Thank you all for the amazing words and putting up with my plot twists. I realized at one time, all 3 of my stories had ended on chapters with plot-twists. WHOOPS. Sorry about that!
UP NEXT: More letters, home, and Rose needs to handle something herself.
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