Chapter 6 : Life as I know it.
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I spend the next 24 hours waiting. Waiting for the end; Armageddon, the apocolypse, World War III - whatever. People have all kinds of different names for it, but it all comes down to one thing: the end of life as we know it.
I know it will come. With absolute certainty, as a matter of fact.
So how do I spend my last hours on this earth? I sit.
And that's basically all I do.†
I sit on the windowsill in the Gryffindor common room, and stare out of the window. My eyes keep searching the skies for any sign of the Grim Reaper - aka an owl. An owl carrying with it my death sentence.
"So you're really going to spend the entire Saturday staring out of that window?"
I see the reflection of Dom in the window, and I don't turn around to meet her worried frown.
"Answer me," she demands.
I sigh heavily.
"Yes," I say. "Yes, I am going to just sit here."
"It's not gonna help get that letter here any faster," she tells me. I just scoff. "There might not even be a letter! You just assume that-"
"Believe me," I interrupt," there will be a letter."
"They might not even know about-"
"Our family is worse than Gossip Girl, Dom. Of course they know."
"Like when Teddy and Victoire got "secretely"†engaged and tried to elope. Remember how that worked out?" I remind her.
"Well, that was different-"
"No! It wasn't. It just proves that nobody in this family can keep a secret. And because of that, Teddy and Vic now have to do the exact opposite of what they wanted; which was no fuss. And now everybody's fussing over them."
"I bet they're not thinking like that. Maybe they're glad it got out, and-"
"No, they're not," I scoff and roll my eyes. I look at Dom for the first time and she looks annoyed. "Your sister hates crowds, she can't handle pressure and she's struggled with anxiety since she was seven. How is a big wedding good for her?"
Dom's eyes turn into slits.
"Don't you sit there all high and mighty and think you know my sister better than I do," she hisses. "You're not the one who's had to handle all of her crazy fits over the years. I know how fucked up she is, I don't need you to tell me that."
I go back to staring out of the window.
"Then why did you tell your parents she wanted to elope?" I ask in a voice barely audible.
I hear a gasp.
"I was thirteen!" she exclaims angrily. "My older sister told me she was gonna run away - leave me and Louis alone with our alcoholic mother and manic depressiv father. How do you suggest I should've†handled it?!"
I now regret getting into that subject. I didn't want to rip up the past; especially not Dom's past.
"You're a bitch, Rose. Seriously," Dom spits out before marching away.
I turn†around with my mouth open, ready do apologize, but something keeps me from doing it. So I just go back to glaring out of the window, leaning my forehead to rest on the cold glass. My breath makes foggy circles around my nose and mouth, and I let myself get hypnotized by it.
It's almost midnight.
I've dozed off in my seat, and my face is squished against the windowpane. I wake up with a jerk when something repeatedly taps on the window.
Carrying...a red letter.
"Fuck," I whisper under my breath, and I feel my pulse reach a peak.
With fumbling fingers, I open the window to let the owl fly in. It lands on my knee and reaches out his foot. My hands are shaking so bad, I almost can't untie the letter tied to his leg. He lets out an impatient toot, and flies back out the window the second I get the letter loose.
A gust of wind reminds me of the open window, so I close it, but my eyes are still on the letter in my lap.
I can't bring myself to open it. But it's a howler, and it will deliver its message whether I want to or not. The edges are already getting scorched, and I brace myself for the worst possible scenario as I watch it burst into flames.
My dad's voice booms out of the letter inside the envelope.
"Rose Nymphadora Weasley!"
I quickly check around to see if anybody's still up - but, luckily, there aren't anyone. I'm alone.
"Your mother and I just got home from uncle Percy and aunt Audrey's, where we heard some...concerning news," he growls, and I can hear the anger in his tone. "We're right in the middle of dessert when my bloody arse of a brother-!"
"Ronald!" mum's voice interrupts. "There's no need for that kind of language!"
"I think this is a very appropriate time for some cursing, Hermione!" he hisses. "It's a howler, for Merlin's sakes!"
I roll my eyes. Why can't my family be normal? They can't even make a howler properly.
"I don't really get why you're reacting like this," mum's rational voice says, and I can hear her rolling her eyes. "It's probably just Percy wanting to get a rise out of you-"
"Really? And how do you explain the letter he showed us, the one that he got from Molly? Yes, precicely! You can't!"
"I still don't-"
"Well, you're not the one doing the howler, are you? I am! So go away so I can do it properly!"
Mum sighs heavily.
"Fine. Just don't overreact," she tells him. And then she adds: "Can't wait for you to come home for the holidays, Rosie darling! And don't let your father scare you - you know how he gets."
"Hermione!" dad whines loudly. "You're totally ruining this for me. A howler's meant to scare the recipient, it's how it works."
"Not in this house. Our daughter needs to know she's always loved."
"Ron!" Oh-uh, mum is using her strict voice on dad. And I can sense dad's courage take a step back.
"But Percy said-"
"I don't care about what your brother said, Ron! Of course Rosie isn't engaged to Scorpius Malfoy - she'd never do that. She's too level-headed to rush into such a thing. Do you really have that little faith in your daughter? Come on, Ron."
There's a loaded silence, and I hear dad's heavy breathing. My stomach churns at mum's words.
"Okay, Rosie," dad says with a forced calm voice. "Your mother seems to think I'm overreacting. I disagree, but that's where you come in. Are you, or are you not engaged to Draco Malfoy's son? I expect an answer by tomorrow morning, or else... I'll-I'll come down there myself!"
"I'm serious, Hermione! Don't laugh!"
"I'm sorry," mum chuckles. "You're just so short-sighted sometimes."
"Are you saying I'm stupid?"
"Oh, don't take yourself so seriously, I just-"
"Whatever. I stand by my words, Rosie. I expect your letter by 10 am. And I definitely will come to Hogwarts if that's what it takes."
"Ron, you'll never change... Bye Rosie!"
"Hermione! You ruined my ending! You can't end a howler with a pleasant 'ta ta'."
"Just wrap it up, Ron."
"Rosie... This is important. Send the letter immediately."
And then the rest of the letter goes up in flames. The ashes fall on my legs, and I sit there with very mixed feelings.
What the hell am I going to do now? I need to talk to Malfoy - now.
I jump to my feet, but fall flat on my face.†
Since I haven't used my legs all day, they're completely numb and useless.
"Come on," I urge them and angrily massage some feeling back into the lifeless flesh. They prickle for a moment or two, and then I shakily get on my feet again. After a few trying steps, I take off out of the common room and sprint down the stairs to the dungeon. That's where Slytherin's common room is located. It's cold and damp down there, and I urge myself to run even faster.
I'm completely out of breath when I reach the entrance to their common room, and I wheeze out their password before I slip inside. In my head, I thank Al for being so loose with their password.
I locate the sixth year boys' dormitory, and speed up to the door. I take a deep breath before slowly opening it and going into the dark room. I'm immediately met with a wall of snoring and farting. Seriously, boys are disgusting.
The beds are in a semi-circle, just as my own dormitory, so it's fairly easy to navigate. But the floor is still covered with rubbish, and I stumble my way from one bed to another, checking for a blonde head.
"Bingo," I whisper to myself as I gaze into the very last bed - the one next to Al's(the worst farting sounds come from his bed, and I'm not surprised).
For a minute I just stand there and watch Malfoy sleep. He looks peaceful, and his hair falls into his eyes in a very soft way. I feel like stroking his cheek, but I control myself.
I catch myself smiling as I stand there, and I'm completely caught off guard when Malfoy's eyes suddenly pop open.
"Bloody hell!" he gasps, and sits up. The thick blankets fall off his chest, and I get to see his whole upper body completely garment-less. Strangely enough, I don't find myself humming 'private parts are private'...
"S-Sorry," I manage to whisper, and I hold up my hands in surrender. "I-I didn't mean to, I-I mean-"
"What the hell are you doing here, Weasley?!" he hisses and looks over at the other beds, but they're all still asleep. "Have you gone completely mental?"
"Maybe," I admit, still whispering. "It's very possible."
Malfoy's face softens, but still looks uneasy.†
"Something wrong?" he asks, and I have to lean forward to hear him properly through all the snoring.†
"You could say that," I answer, my voice trembling a bit.
Malfoy sits there and just stares at me for a while. I feel myself choking up under his stare.
"I'll meet you outside," he then tells me, and my heart takes a leap. "Let me just get some clothes on."
I want to say that he doesn't have to, that I in fact prefer him half naked. But I manage to keep my mouth closed. My mind is too forward for its own good.
"A-Alright," I mutter and scramble on out of there.†
For the second time that day, I find myself waiting. I stand in the cold, damp hallway right outside the entrance of Slytherin's common room. The chill in the air and my nerves make my body tremble.†
The entrance opens up, and I draw a quick breath as Malfoy steps out.
His eyes are squinting, his hair is in a disarray and the t-shirt he's wearing is the wrong side out.†
"I must admit I'm curious," is the first thing he says as he walks over to me. I suddenly find it a bit harder to breathe. "What brings you into my dormitory in the middle of the night?"
Like a fish, I just stand there with my mouth opening and closing on its own accord.
"You woke me up so I could stand in the hallway, freezing my bollocks off?" he asks jokingly. It makes me relax a tiny bit, and I find myself smiling again. He smiles back.†
"Tell me," he says. "What's going on?"
"I-I got a letter," I manage to press out in a strained voice.
"A letter?" Malfoy raises a brow. "That's it?"
I shake my head jerkily. "Unfortunately not."
He urges me on with his eyes, and I take a deep breath.
"I got a howler."
Malfoy's brows shoot up to his hairline. "A howler? Really? From whom?"
"M-My parents," I tell him honestly.
"They found out."
"Well..." he sighs. "Fuck."
We stand there without saying anything for a few seconds. I wait. For what, I don't know. Maybe for him having an answer to all of my problems. That would be bloody fantastic.
"My parents know too."
I gave myself a whiplash for looking up at Malfoy too quickly. I stare wide-eyed at him.
"They do?" I breathe, and feel the air slipping out of my lungs.
"W-When did they find out?"
"A few days ago. I haven't answered their letter yet."
"At least you didn't get a howler..." I mumble sourly under my breath.
I nod slowly.†
"Yeah..." I trail.
He clears his throat and looks down at his feet.
"What are you going to tell them?" I ask, but he doesn't answer. I'm inclined to repeat my question, but he suddenly looks at me.
"You tell me," he says.
"But-But I don't know what to do!"
"And you think I do?"
"Well, you can't be as clueless as I am! I didn't even remember that this thing happened until a few days ago!"
"And that makes me more able to make sense of this?"
"Well, I don't have the answer!"
"But I don't either!" I stomp my foot.
"Then what do we do?"
My cheeks feel flushed.
"What did the letter from your parents say?"
Malfoy scratches his neck. Dear god, did that boy have imaginary fleas every time he was uncomfortable?
"Erh," he coughs, "not much, really. Just that...they expect me to break it off as immediately."
"Yeah, they didn't really believe it when they heard. So they just told me that if it were true, I should do what's right - to end it."
"Bloody hell, what do they think I am? A boggart?"
"You're a Weasley, that's enough," Malfoy scoffs. "Besides, that letter wasn't from my mum. She wouldn't have frased herself that way. That was all dad. No doubt about it."
He looks angry when he speaks of his father. His jaw is clenched.
"Well, that's just like my parents," I say, and try to ease the tension. "Dad freaked, but mum kept interrupting him and assuring me that I was loved." I let out a laugh. That howler really was absurd.
Malfoy laughed a bit too.
We smile at each other.
"But... Dad also said that if I didn't send him an answer within†10 am, he'll come here and find out for himself."
That makes Malfoy's eyes pop.
"Are you serious?" he asks.
"Hundred percent," I sigh, and bite my lip. "And he's crazy enough to go through with it."
"Why can't they just let us be?" Malfoy seethes to himself. "Why must our fathers dictate our lives? I'm so tired of it!"
I can feel his anger, and I'm surprised by it.
"I've lived under my dad's control my whole life. You know what he said to me when he sent me off to Hogwarts for the first time? He pointed at you and your family, and ordered me to keep away from you. What father does that?! It's not my fault he's got something against your family - it's got nothing to do with me!"
"Dad said the same thing to me," I say, and I feel very confused. Malfoy is right - it was a strange thing for a father to say. "He also told me that granddad would never forgive me if I married a pure-blood."
"There you go! That's exactly what I'm talking about, Rose."
He called me Rose. He doesn't usually do that. It makes my heart leap.
"You know...when dad found out that I'm friends with Al, he threw a tantrum. I ended up spending the rest of the summer at the Potters'."
Oh, so that's why that happened. I've been wondering about that.
"Oh," is all I can think of to say.†
"I've had enough of this shit." He pauses and looks directly into my eyes, my breath gets caught in my throat†"Rose... Aren't you sick of having your life dictated?" he asks and takes a step toward me.
I swallow hard as I gaze into his intense eyes. His words ring a sense of meaning. Something gets unlocked inside of me, and I finally understand that I'm actually angry at dad. For prohibiting me to make contact with the son of his former enemy, and putting so much pressure on me at the tender age of eleven.
"Yes," I whisper hoarsely.
Malfoy's eyes is shimmering in the little light that's in the hall.
"Then let's not give a fuck what they think," he whispers excitedly. "Let's go against them. Let's show them they can't control us anymore!" He grabs my shoulders and forces me to keep looking into his eyes.
"M-Malfoy," I stutter, and try to ignore the warm feeling his hands are giving me. "What are you saying exactly?"
After giving me a hard and decisive look, he smiles and leans into me. His face closes in and he stops right beside my ear.
"Let's do it," he whispers, and his hot breath tickles my skin. "Let's get engaged, and teach our parents a lesson."
"We don't have to get married at the end; we just go public. We let them all think we're going through with it. Couples can be engaged for years, right? And then they break up. We could be one of those couples!"
"Are you serious?"
He backs away with a huge grin on his face.
"Don't you want to finally be in control of your life?"
I think about it, and then nod.
"Don't you want your dad to realise he can't tell you what to do anymore?"
I nod again.
Dad does have an undeniable control over me. I just never realised it before.
"So...we're doing this? We're going to act all in love and...and stuff? Will we be able to do that?" I stammer, and Malfoy's hands let go of my shoulders.†
"I know I can." His eyes get a twinkle of tenderness in them, and I immediately know I'll be able to do that as well.
"Okay, then, Malfoy." I put out my hand. "Let's do this."
With a large grin, he takes my hand and shakes it slowly up and down.
"I think it's time you call me Scorpius," he tells me cheekily, and I chuckle. "Since we're engaged and all."
We're still shaking hands, and I hope he doesn't see me blushing. "I suppose."
"Then... Goodnight, Rose," he bids, and brings my hand up to his mouth before giving it a light kiss.
"G-Goodnight, Ma- Scorpius," I stutter, and smile goofily.†
And with that, he sneaks back into his common room, throwing me one last smile before the door shuts behind him.
"Okay," I say to myself. "I guess I'm engaged."
Are you shocked? :D Well, I am. I didn't initially intend for them to actually get engaged, but alas, it ended up so. I'm actually really satisfied with this chapter - even though it's kinda strange.
Hope you liked it!
What do you think of the new banner, by the way? Pretty awesome, eh?
All my love,
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