Chapter 19 : Home
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The morning was chaotic. Lots of tests, Healers, and requests, whether it be breakfast or clothing or that I wait outside while they examined Scorpius for a physical. I blushed and all but ran into the hallway. I could hear Scorpius’ laughter through the door.
He was released around nine with the promise of results by the next day and only if he was on bedrest. Scorpius was quick to nod, but when we were out of earshot he asked if I wanted to jump any waterfalls. I told him I was waterfalled out and maybe we should just have a lazy day. Reluctantly, he agreed.
I accompanied the Malfoys to their home, nestled on a cute country road where there were big yards with giant trees and hills. It wasn’t too far outside of the city, but far enough to have some peace and quiet. His house was very nice, though obviously nothing like the manor Dad told me about. It was three levels with large windows and a grand porch that wrapped around the whole place, decorated with rocking chairs and lush, green plants.
“This means I can’t avoid you now,” Scorpius said with a smirk as I helped him up the stairs. His parents had already transported his things back to his room and were holding open the door.
The living room was just as chic with stylish furniture and a large television placed over the mantle. Everything was in creamy shades of beige.
“It’s just upstairs,” he said, nodding to the stairs. He made a face.
“I’m sure you don’t want me to levitate you,” I said.
“Yeah I’m certain I had some added bruises because of that.” Scorpius gripped the railing with one hand and we took the stairs one at a time. His parents disappeared into the kitchen to put away some groceries and make tea.
One step at a time. I kept my arm steady around his middle.
“You’d think I’d be okay after a day of being out,” Scorpius said, gritting his teeth. “I guess the waterfall jumping was a poor idea.”
“Just maybe.” I smirked as we reached the landing and moved to the right and down a small hallway. He nodded to the door on the left and I pushed it open, helping him inside.
Scorpius’ room wasn’t what I expected. His room in the mountains was empty and plain. It was boring. This was anything but. The walls were a shiny silver with green vertical stripes. His furniture was a deep chocolate brown and each lampshade was a different shade of green. He didn’t have posters, but he did have a collage of photo frames over his desk featuring his family and friends from Hogwarts. There was one of him and Danielle.
“Well, this is it,” he said, stumbling over to his bed, which was made up of plush bottle green blankets and pillows. He sank right into them and let out a content sigh. “I don’t think I’ll be moving for the remainder of the day.”
“You look exhausted,” I said, taking off my shoes and beginning to look around the room.
“Can’t say I’m not,” he said with a brief shrug.
“Do you want me to put your things away?” I nodded to the bag from the mountains.
“You don’t have to do that.” Scorpius tugged the blanket up around him. “Just relax, love.”
His voice tugged at my heartstrings. “You relax,” I said with a grin. I grabbed his clothes. The dirty ones I tossed into his hamper and I hung the few clean shirts he had left. His wardrobe fascinated me. It was a coordinated row of collared shirts and polos as well as blazers, ties, and vests.
This boy knew how to dress.
And I wanted to take it off with my teeth.
I flushed. Shit. That was not at all what I should be thinking about when he was ill and in bed.
I concentrated on putting his things away, tossing his bathroom accessories into his ensuite and then grabbed a familiar book from the bottom of the bag. “Scorpius?”
A snore signaled I was very much alone in the awake department.
I passed the book between my fingers. There was no way I could do it. I would lose it if I knew he’d read my journal. Not that I kept a journal. But if I did, I wouldn’t be happy if he’d been nosing around in it. Then again, that was how I found out about Danielle.
What if there was another girl he was seeing?
Okay, that was rubbish.
But it was practically burning my hands. I wanted to know what he’d written. All I would have to do was glance at a few lines of every couple entries.
I didn’t even have to really read it all.
Just enough to see. You know, if he actually fancied me. Right. Because what if he didn’t? I should leave if he didn’t fancy me. So that was definitely a reason to read it.
And to see if he really liked my paintings or if he was just being nice.
See? Plenty of reasons to read his journal.
I’m fairly certain she hates me. Not just fairly certain. Very certain. Just fairly certain she’s never going to speak to me again.
She hit me today. I’ve made a mental note to never again underestimate the power of a slap to the face. I’ve had frozen peas on it for the better part of two hours and it still stings.
Picnic by the waterfall
Fishing at the lake
Dinner at the diner?
Get lost in the woods
Cooking dinner for her
Painting that sunset
Dinner on the roof with the easels
Everything is set. I leave to pick her up in a few minutes. I keep thinking the collar of my shirt is too tight. I haven’t been this nervous in ages. I have no idea why I’m this nervous. We’ve been spending time together almost every day for the better part of a month. I told her that I want to be a television host. No one knows that.
Salazar, she makes me nervous.
Everything is perfect, though. Everything is set. I don’t see how anything could possibly go wrong. I hope it doesn’t, as she hasn’t forgiven me yet.
I hope she does. There’s something about her I can’t quite explain.
I don’t want to explain it. She makes me want to stop dreaming and think.
The list of people who have saved my life is very thin. In fact, there is only one name on it: Rose Weasley.
She got in trouble for coming to see me. In the middle of the night! I still can’t believe it. How does she not realize? How does she not understand who she is? She is the bravest girl I’ve ever met. It just takes a little bit to get her out of her shell and she is fearless. She scaled a house to spend the night with me.
I wish she could have stayed forever. I like everything about her. The way she smells. The way she laughs at me. The way she made me confess my love for a giant fish. The way she broke the house’s latticework frame to get to me after going through a forest when I had just been chased by a bloody bear.
That girl. She’s something else, isn’t she? I just hope she’s not in too much trouble.
Maybe I’ll write to her.
I never asked. Why did I never ask?
She’s crazy if she thinks I wouldn’t get on with her family. Though her brother is more than difficult, her parents are charming. They’re just protective over her. I can’t blame them. If Rose was my daughter I wouldn’t let her out of my sight.
I tried not to stare at her, but it was difficult. I kept having to concentrate on the game pieces and her parents. She kept smiling at me. I tried not to let it get to me, but all I wanted to do was throw the sodding game across the room and kiss her. That was something about Rose - I always want to kiss her. Always.
I blame male hormones for that kiss against the tree. And the fact that I never wanted it to stop. And the fact that I have never been so bloody turned on in my entire life.
All I want is her.
More than anyone, I wanted this treatment to help Mum. I feel like I’ve done nothing but run the house for years as Father tended to her. All I want is for her to be better, but nothing seems to be working. We can throw all the gold in the world at the Healers, but they’re going in blind. They’re just offering up remedies they aren’t even sure of anymore because nothing is working.
And this, once again, isn’t working.
We’re leaving in the morning. Mrs. Weasley just left a few minutes ago.
I couldn’t be more furious. Can’t they wait it out a little longer? Keep my mother on bed rest? Just a few more days.
When did I become so selfish?
If it’s not working I should be striving to find the next thing that is. I’ve made such a long list of all the treatments they have tried that have failed. It seems to be never-ending. I really want her to be okay. Hell, I want me to be okay. The more I get dizzy and cough up blood, the more I worry. I haven’t told Mum yet, but I have the dates documented in the beginning of the journal. I can only hope it’s a coincidence, but I’m an intelligent person. I know it’s not.
Maybe Rose will be willing to just skip seventh year and travel around the world with me. We could see all the exotic countries and lounge on the beach and eat the strangest food. She would make faces at all of it and I would tell her that she has to take more risks.
But I’m not going to be able to say good-bye. Hopefully Mrs. Weasley tells her that it wasn’t my idea. It was my parents’. I just hate the thought of leaving her here for the rest of her vacation, however short it may be. Being at home or the hospital sounds horrible as an alternative to spending the day with her.
Since when did I become such a romantic sap? The guys are going to tear me a new one for it.
I don’t care. I’ve never wanted to spend so much time with one person. That has to be special, right? After my dates with Danielle I wanted my own time and space to do my own things. After my dates with Rose I want to fall asleep beside her and never let go.
I just wish I could say good-bye. Tell her that I’ll miss her. Tell her I want to go to Diagon Alley and shop for the world’s most boring books together. Tell her everything I’ve been avoiding saying for a month.
I just wish I could find the words.
I was in a similar state of not being able to find the words as I stared at his sprawling script. I didn’t know whether to smile or cry or laugh or sink down into a puddle of myself. I glanced behind me, but Scorpius was still fast asleep. The blanket was clutched tight in his fist.
I closed the book and placed it on his dresser. And then, even though I wasn’t tired, I crawled into bed and wrapped my arms around him, for once being the one to pull him close to me.
I didn’t want to let go.
We woke around noon, his eyes filled with sleepiness. We stayed in bed for a while, our eyes on each other, a stray kiss every so often. I kept considering admitting I read his journal, but the words stuck to the back of my throat like a bad cold. Instead, I remained silent. I ran my fingers through his hair and appreciated his smile and eyes and cheekbones.
In any other situation I would have wanted to get up and leave, to move around at the least. I always wanted to keep busy. Do something productive.
This, though, was ideal.
My gaze slipped from his back to his lips and from there to the lines of his face, strands of his hair, and the tiny sunspot freckles on each earlobe. So many things I had not taken the time to notice about him before.
My grip found his shirt. His arm. The back of his neck as the hairs stood on end when I touched him.
It reminded me of standing in the middle of a creek with a net.
“Your parents might be missing you,” Scorpius said at last, clearing his throat after.
“They might be,” I agreed. My heart was thumping again, loud.
“You think Hugo will take you cliff-jumping while I’m on bed rest?”
I smiled. “I’ll be sure to ask.” The thought of Hugo doing something that didn’t involve winning, women, or video games baffled me enough to laugh. I wondered if Mum and Dad let him go into the village to talk to his teenie-bopper girls that followed him around. I’d never understand so I didn’t attempt to.
“You don’t have to stay.” Scorpius’ hand moved to my hip, thumb brushing against the exposed skin from where my shirt had ridden up.
“I know.” I kissed him again. “I’m not staying because I have to.”
“Why are you, then? I’m not much fun.” He nodded to the bed with a smirky smile. That was how he won over every professor at Hogwarts. That charming grin that made my stomach explode with nerves.
“I don’t need to be traipsing through the forest to have a good time with you.”
He squeezed my hip gently and pulled me against his chest. “Let’s do something tomorrow,” he said in a rough voice, right in my ear.
“What kind of something?”
“Go somewhere.” His lips found my neck and a sharp chill shot through my spine.
“What kind of somewhere?” I fought to steady my voice.
“Anywhere,” Scorpius murmured. “Anywhere that isn’t here.” I noticed the strain in his tone. He didn’t want to be there, so I nodded. “I’ll figure it out. Can you write me tonight?”
“If you want me to,” I replied as he kissed my neck again. He really needed to stop as my face was now on fire. Everything was on fire.
“I’m not as good at talking as I am at writing things down,” Scorpius explained.
“I don’t know that I believe that,” I said, laughing a little. “Especially considering you have won the heart of most people at Hogwarts by talking.”
He shrugged a little. “Maybe just not where it counts,” he said. “You make me forget what I’m going to say.”
“Pretty sure you’ve had a lot to say this month.”
He chuckled and kissed the space behind my ear. My body melted into his like a puddle of chocolate in the heat. “Pretty sure you’ve had a lot more,” he countered in a low growl.
What were we talking about again?
Something about talking or cheesecake or how much I wanted to snog his face off.
Was that even a thing?
“Something wrong, Weasley?” Scorpius asked with a snicker. He pulled away, grey eyes fixed on mine.
“You could say that.” My fingers gripped his hair, still messy from the hospital stay, and pulled him back toward me. I kissed him hard, my own head spinning. I could be content like that for hours, breathless like I’d run a marathon, hands tangled in his hair. He returned the kiss just as hungrily, grip tightening on my thighs as he pulled me on top of him. My hair fell around him and onto the pillow, part of it into my eyes, but I made no move to fix it. All I wanted was him.
Scorpius tugged on my shirt to bring my chest to his, arms wrapping around me as the kiss deepened to the point where our breathing was heavy and uncontrolled. My fingers curled around the collar of his shirt, holding it tight as if I was afraid I would float away. Everything felt as if it was floating away.
I don’t remember how long I kissed him. Long enough for my hands to find his bare stomach and his to brush my cheek and send chills through my entire body. When we pulled apart, we were breathless, our lips plump and our faces pink.
We would have kept at it had we not heard footsteps on the staircase.
“Do you two want lunch?”
It was Mrs. Malfoy. I practically leapt off Scorpius and moved to the chair beside the window, grabbing a random magazine and opening it to the center page. It was some entertainment piece on a famous singer. Boring.
“Not all that hungry, Mum!” Scorpius called just as the door opened and his mother walked in. She smiled. “But thank you.”
“When does Rose need to be home?” she asked.
That was my cue. Parent code for ‘she should probably leave soon because I know you two are up here attached at the lips.’
“I’ll be heading out soon,” I said with a small smile. “Thank you again for letting me help.”
Yeah, as soon as I catch my breath. I couldn’t look at Scorpius.
“You’re welcome.” Mrs. Malfoy smiled pleasantly. “Scorpius, just yell if there’s anything I can get you.”
“I’ll probably go back to sleep for a bit.”
He was probably tired again from all that. My skin was still burning from his touch.
Once she left his face exploded in color and he pulled the blanket to his chest. “I don’t want you to leave,” he noted.
“You’re just spoiled.” I grabbed my purse and leaned over the bed, kissing him slowly. “I’ll write to you tonight, okay?”
“Just stay a little longer.” His brows raised and he demonstrated the most pathetic excuse for a puppy-dog face I’d ever seen. Truly, it was dreadful.
But it did its job. I groaned and kicked my legs onto the bed. I put my arm around his shoulder and let him drift into a calm sleep as I moved my hands through his hair. He needed it.
Before leaving, I paused, searching the room with my eyes. Was I forgetting anything? I hadn’t brought anything and I already put everything away, but something caught my gaze just before my hand turned the doorknob.
I needed to take care of something.
I double-checked the scrap of parchment in my hand and knocked on the door a second time. The house was relatively large with green shutters and a fresh coat of white paint. The garden out front was much more well-kept than anything I could come up with, which made everything smell wonderful. I had always considered gardening, but when I went outside to try it once I found myself with a canvas and paint, pressing together the different browns in the dirt, seeds forgotten.
Gardening just wasn’t for me.
I checked the drive. There was a car so I waited another minute before walking back down the steps. It was worth a shot.
I almost tripped over a crack in the sidewalk when I heard the door open behind me and a familiar face against the screen door. “Rose?”
“Hey,” I said, moving back onto the porch nervously. This had not been the smartest idea I’d come up with. “Listen, I want to apologize for yesterday.”
Danielle pushed open the door and stepped outside. She didn’t look as put-together as she had at the hospital. Her hair was in a knot on top of her head and she was wearing grey yoga pants and a pink t-shirt. She just looked sort of regular, which made me wonder how put-together she even looked last night and how much of that was my own paranoia.
“You want to apologize?” she said, closing the door with a thud behind her. She took a few steps and leaned against the brick side of the porch between two potted plants.
I shrugged, feeling awkward. “I’m not apologizing for Scorpius because he has his own issues to deal with, but I feel guilty last night happened like it did. Suddenly.”
Danielle tried to look unfazed. “It’s fine,” she said. “It just caught me off guard.”
“Trust me,” I damn-near blurted. “I’ve been caught off guard before.”
Like when I found out about her. Casually-seeing girl. Ugh.
She rubbed her pink lips together. “Did you meet on vacation?” she asked.
“We met at school,” I explained. I didn’t have to, but I knew if I had fallen for someone only to have them not feel the same way, I would appreciate a little explanation other than a simple apology while I sat on the side of a hospital bed. “We just happened to run into each other on vacation.”
“He told me he couldn’t be with anyone because of his mum,” Danielle said, her arms crossing over her chest.
“I’m pretty sure he felt the same way until a couple days ago,” I said.
I couldn’t help it. I felt bad for her even after her snarky remarks at the hospital. Granted, she didn’t have to lie and say she was Scorpius’ girlfriend, but after building it up for a month when he was gone maybe the excitement just got to her. I’d never know. I didn’t ask. I just gave her the benefit of the doubt.
“So are you two together?” Danielle frowned.
I nodded. “Yeah,” I said. “I just wanted to apologize because up until not too long ago, I didn’t know you existed and I didn’t want the first time I met you to go like that. Scorpius spoke very highly of you.”
“Could have at least written me,” she said, tone laced with bitterness.
“I wish he would have,” I agreed. “Though I know he wanted to do it in person.”
“How very Scorpius of him.” Danielle rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t matter. It’s over. I’ll get over it and he has to go back to school in the fall so it’s not like I’ll see him at the corner store anymore.” She shrugged. “But thanks for coming over here.”
I hated the hurt in her eyes. The heartbreak. It was all there – under the mask of anger last night.
“Right.” I cleared my throat awkwardly since it was randomly full of saliva and gross. “I’ll, erm, see you around.”
She nodded and without a word, moved back into the house. The door closed and I walked down the sidewalk to the street and toward Scorpius’ house so I could Apparate from there.
I wasn’t sure if I should tell Scorpius yet, but I was glad I went and saw her again. First impressions aren’t always the best, though sometimes they can be.
Like the first impression of a little boy on a boat.
“And here I was thinking you had moved in,” Dad said when I walked in the back door, spotting him at the kitchen table. “I told Hugo to go pack your things.”
“He would have thrown a bra, Transfig book, and a bar of soap in a bag,” I said, pulling open the fridge and grabbing the juice. Unlike my charming brother, I didn’t drink directly from the carton. Instead, I poured it into a tall glass and took a seat opposite my father.
“Isn’t that all you have?” Dad asked, making a face and returning his gaze to the Prophet. He didn’t look interested and eventually turned to the classifieds. He had been talking about a motorbike for the last few months. “So what’s the news? How is he? Your mum showed me that sorry excuse for a letter you wrote from the hospital. I didn’t recall you couldn’t spell properly under anxiety.”
I rolled my eyes. “I was on my way to eat.”
“Food? Oh. That’s different. No one needs to spell properly when hungry.”
I took a sip of juice. “Scorpius blacked out and fell down the stairs,” I explained. “They think he might have the same thing his mum has. Same symptoms and such.”
Dad’s eyes found mine. “Does he think so?”
I nodded. “He’s been thinking it for a while. He didn’t mention it to me, but I’m guessing that shaped a lot of his mentality.”
“Mentality?” Dad raised a brow.
“Like his obsession with risk-taking,” I said offhandedly. “Jumping off cliffs and doing daring things.”
He stared. “Did you jump off a cliff?”
“That depends,” I replied. “Do you still have that shotgun?”
“Then maybe I did.” I smirked.
Dad folded the paper and placed it on the table neatly. “How am I supposed to threaten the life of a boy who might have a sodding disease?”
“You’re not.” I grinned.
“You planned this.”
“Of course, Dad, I planned Scorpius getting sick and falling down a flight of stairs,” I replied dryly.
“Yes, well, I wouldn’t put it past you.” Dad threw the paper, hitting my shoulder. “So how’s he doing now? Out of the hospital?”
“At home on bed rest,” I said, grabbing the paper and opening it. Nothing interesting.
“So he’s being boring and you came home.”
“Don’t look so gleeful about it,” I said. “He’ll have his test results tomorrow. He wants to go do something, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to. He might have to go back in.”
I didn’t want to think about it because if he had the same thing as his mum, they had spent years trying to figure out what it was and she wasn’t getting any better. The idea of watching the same thing happened to him made my body cold. It made me want to go back to his house right now and search for a latticework frame to climb to get into his room.
It being the middle of the day, though, I could just shoot sparks into his window. Or against his window. That could be fun.
Dad reached across the table, stole my glass, and downed the rest of my juice. “He okay?”
I shrugged, unsure of what to say. “I don’t know,” I finally replied when he sat the glass back down. “I’m trying not to think about it.”
“You can think about how good of a father I am instead.” Dad smirked. “I told Hugo we’d make ourselves scarce because a girl is coming over tonight. I’m locking myself in my room in case they start snogging. Something I’d rather not see.”
“Didn’t know Hugo knew how to snog,” I noted.
“I sure as hell hope you don’t.” He narrowed his eyes.
“Not one bit.” My face went red.
As promised, I did make myself scarce. After I made sure all of Hugo’s chunky baby pictures were on display around the room. Just as I locked my bedroom door, I peeked out the window to see my brother leading a leggy teenie-bopper up the drive with his arm around her. She looked like she was giggling.
Godric. Thanks for the warning, Dad.
My room wasn’t anything special. I didn’t have my walls plastered in Quidditch posters like some of my cousins and it wasn’t littered with bottles of colorful nail polish like Dom’s. It was just a bedroom.
My bed, covered in old scarlet and gold bedding my parents got me when I arrived home from my first year, was flanked by two large bookshelves. They were mostly packed, through scattered frames made for decoration to show off my friends over the years, family gatherings, and vacations. The window was opposite the door and three easels leaned against the wall beside it. Blank canvases piled in the corner. Seven painted canvases donned the walls, but were frequently replaced with newer, better works. The old ones sat in my wardrobe undisturbed.
My bags from the States had been tossed in the center of the room, but I ignored them. Unpacking for Scorpius was enough for one day. Instead I grabbed a stack of parchment and flopped down on my bed.
Hey, I promised.
More letters, cousins, and some news
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