Chapter 1 : Where Rainbows End
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My grandfather takes me by the hand for our regular afternoon walk; an adventure, he always calls it. The third-best adventure you'll ever have, Rosie. I always ask what the first two adventures will be, but the only reply I ever receive is a you'll see when you're older that makes no sense to a girl who considers herself quite adult for her age.
Through the pouring rain we walk, my grandfather clinging to my hand while droplets of water fall onto my sou'wester, trickling down until the water's peppering my face with raindrops in a similar fashion to the freckles I inherited from my father.
Despite this, I love to dance in the rain.
Whenever my grandfather loosens his grip on my hand, I scurry away and dive into the largest puddle I can find. This doesn’t always please my grandfather, who usually ends up covered in splashes of filthy water, nor my grandmother, who will inevitably have to clean my Wellington boots when we return home. But whenever my grandfather takes me on that mysterious third-best adventure, neither of them seem to mind.
Strangely, the sun is always shining whenever my grandfather takes me on those adventures. Years later, I will understand the reason why: that the rain and the sun make a rainbow, but with my carroty hair twisted into plaits down each side of my head and an uneven fringe, I stare up at the sun until the raindrops splash into my eyes, forcing me to look away. Somehow, every time we arrive at our destination, the top of a hill speckled with daisies and buttercups, it stops raining. Though I know that my grandfather is a Muggle, I’m convinced that he possesses more magic than my own parents do, because my parents can’t manipulate the weather. Later, I will learn that it is all down to checking the weather forecast, but in that moment when I am still a child, a believer of all things impossible, I learn an invaluable fact of life.
"You see, my dear Rosie," my grandfather whispers, stroking my hair as we sit together on a blanket, our picnic basket discarded, "those stories of finding gold or leprechauns where rainbows end... They're wrong. The truth is, it's love at the end of the rainbow."
"Love?" I ask curiously. "What do you mean, Gramps?"
"I remember the day I met your grandma, Rosie. We were at dental school together; she was one of only a few girls in my class. I asked her out on a date, and she refused to go until I proved I had pure intentions. She’s the most wonderful person in the world."
He takes a deep breath, eyes glassy as he lingers in the realm of memories for several moments until, impatiently, I tug at his sleeve.
"Gramps, you've got to tell me," I demand. "What does Grandma have to do with where rainbows end?"
My grandfather sighs, giving me a gentle smile. "Patience, little Rosie. I knew I was in love with your grandma very early on in our relationship, but it wasn't until our wedding day that I realized just how much. It rained that morning, and your great-grandpa's car broke down, so your poor grandma had to run to the church in her wedding dress. She was so worried about the state of her dress and make-up, and how her hair was dripping water everywhere, but none of that mattered to me. And later, when we went outside, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining and there was this rainbow not very far away from us, and all of the wedding guests were debating where it ended and what they would find there."
My eyes are wide with anticipation, desperate to know what my grandfather is about to reveal next. His pause jolts my patience, and I pout before folding my arms with a frown. "Gramps, what happened next?"
"I turned to your grandmother, and I looked at her; she was so beautiful and so happy that I lost all thought and announced loudly that I didn't care for all the world's riches, if it meant that I would lose the woman I loved. There would be nothing at the end of the rainbow to tempt me to search for it, because all I wanted in the world was your grandmother. She’s where my rainbow ends."
"Awww! Now look at you and Grandma! You lived happily ever after!"
My grandfather nods. "So will you, my darling. One day, you'll grow up and you'll meet a man who loves you very much. Don't settle for anything less than where rainbows end, Rosie, promise me. Don't settle for less than love."
"I pinky promise, Gramps," I reply, holding out my baby finger and interlocking it with my grandfather's. "I'll find a rainbow man."
My grandfather chuckles, but smiles nonetheless.
"That's a good idea, Rosie," he says, engulfing me into a hug. "Rainbow men are the most special."
It ends when I am an adult, a young woman in my twenties - although truthfully, I don’t quite feel like I’ve grown up.
There is no denying that I’ve had my Apparation licence for years, nor that I have my own career - and of course, Scorpius and I have been living together for the past couple of years. Even after all of that, I can’t help but feel like I’m ten-year-old Rosie again, more worried about how my latest baking recipe is going to turn out than how much it cost, and if that’s the way I feel, how will they feel?
I’ve met Scorpius’ parents before. We were best friends from our first day at Hogwarts, after all - we didn’t become a couple until years after we graduated, so there have been countless occasions when I’ve spent the day at Greengrass Manor. The trouble now is that it’s not just Scorpius’ parents who will be there: it’ll be his grandparents, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. I’m used to having a big family and revealing any news in my life with several announcements - like last week, with my parents, Hugo and Granddad as well as some of the others, although it didn’t go well, which is why I’m absolutely terrified right now.
Scorpius wants as many members of his family present; it’s important to him to give them reason to celebrate, and I don’t want to take that away from him. Hopefully everyone will take the news cordially; though the world’s changed from what it used to be, according to the older generations, there are still some people who are sceptical if your parents were Death Eaters or Order members.
“Are you ready, Rose?” my fiancé calls from our bedroom.
I take a deep breath, nodding in response as I survey my appearance in the mirror. My hair is loose and bushy like my mother’s; impossible to tame. James often jokes that it looks like a bird has nested in it whenever I style it, so I’ve decided against that. I’m starting to wish I’d done something now, even a plait - I look so young when my hair is loose. Young, silly and frivolous, and I don’t want Scorpius’ family objecting to our engagement because they believe that I’m not old enough for such a commitment.
“Rose?” he repeats, and it’s then that I remember the bathroom door is closed, so he couldn’t see me nodding.
“Just a minute,” I call out, and I hear his footsteps receding away.
I glance down at my hand, and my engagement ring catches my attention. I know I’m biased, but it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. While most girls have diamond rings, Scorpius has given me a gold band with emeralds upon it in the shape of leaves, with rubies in the middle carefully placed to depict a blossoming rose. It’s the perfect engagement ring, not only symbolizing our blossoming love but representing my grandma Rose after her passing a few months ago. That’s why I love Scorpius. He knows me so well; understands that my family is a part of me and despite the fact engagement rings are meant to be just about the couple, he’s given me one with a double meaning because he knows I’ll love it all the more.
I sigh and open the bathroom door, walking through my bedroom before I find Scorpius in the kitchen. Hinky, one of his parents’ house-elves, is standing on the worktop wearing a rather lovely navy outfit.
Scorpius grins when he sees me while Hinky smiles.
“Hinky would like to congratulate Master Scorpius and Miss Rose on their engagement!” he says, beaming. “Hinky will buy Master Scorpius and Miss Rose an engagement gift when Hinky is paid next!”
“You don’t have to -” I answer, but Scorpius interrupts me.
“You complained that I made you late last week; Hinky’s Apparating us directly into the house so that we don’t have to walk, and he has to serve dinner.”
I sigh and take Hinky’s hand, closing my eyes as I do so. Instantly, I feel the familiar sensation of disappearing and reappearing before I open my eyes to see a portrait of Scorpius’ great-grandfather hanging in the hallway. I’m about to greet him when I’m pulled into a hug by Astoria Greengrass - she never took the Malfoy name - and at first I flounder, uncertain of why she’s so excited to see me; I hope no-one’s heard about the engagement already, because Scorpius would be disappointed if he didn’t get to make this announcement.
“Astoria, let the girl breathe,” Draco says from behind her. “I’m sorry, Rose. She’s just excited because Daphne and her children have turned up for a surprise visit today.”
I nod in understanding, barely hearing as Astoria lets go of me, murmuring something about going to fetch her sister so that she can introduce me. Draco smiles and leads me to the drawing room with Scorpius close behind us; surprisingly, Draco and I get along quite well, and often we play chess on a quiet afternoon when I visit. Today, however, when the door opens, it reveals not a chess set but his parents seated upon the chaise lounge by the window, although they both stand when they see us.
“Grandmother, Grandfather,” Scorpius smiles, embracing his grandmother and shaking his grandfather’s hand before turning back to me. “Rose, I’d like to properly introduce you to my grandparents, Lucius and Narcissa.”
I step closer to Narcissa and kiss her cheek at the same time as she kisses mine, before turning to Lucius. Automatically, I hold out my right hand to shake his, but it is his left hand that he extends and quickly, before I’m unintentionally rude, I let my right hand fall to my side and proffer my left. Only after Lucius’ grip turns pincer-like and he turns my palm downwards do I realize my mistake: my ring is unusual enough, but the finger which it is upon heightens the attention it attracts.
“Scorpius?” I whisper, desperate for him to speak up - I don’t want to blurt out the truth to divert attention like I did at The Burrow last week - but he keeps glancing at the doorway. Clearly, he’s waiting for his mother to come and I don’t blame him; Astoria would be heartbroken if she was the last to know, but the tension in the room is growing thicker. His grandparents keep staring from me to the ring then to me again, while Draco’s gaze is fixed upon me solely, none of us speaking when we should be.
“Mum!” Scorpius yelps all of a sudden, and I breathe a sigh of relief. “Come over here!”
I hear the sound of Astoria’s footsteps nearing, before Scorpius grins and claps so that everyone is looking at him.
“I have an announcement to make - or rather, Rose and I have -”
Astoria interrupts. “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
“No!” I exclaim, just as Scorpius lets out a wail of, “Mum! We’re getting married!”
I’d heard people say that silence was deafening, but I’d never believed them until now, because it is. No-one dares to speak; everyone is stunned into silence, processing the news. My heartbeat accelerates in terror, until at long last, Draco breaks the silence.
“Welcome to the family, Rose,” he smiles, and I let out a sigh of relief.
It is the catalyst. As if they had been paused, my in-laws-to-be are suddenly animated again; Astoria engulfs me into another hug, while Lucius nods politely and Narcissa gives me a smile. For people who spent almost fifty years of their lives believing in pure-blood mania, they seem to be reacting well at the concept of their grandson marrying a half-blood who comes from a family of blood traitors, which is more than I expected. Even if they don’t like me or my family, they’re not showing any sign of that and I’m immensely grateful.
Hinky chooses that moment to knock on the door and announce that dinner is ready. Instantly, everyone else begins to file out towards the drawing room, leaving myself, Draco and Scorpius at the back of the group.
I can’t resist asking Draco the question that I’m too afraid to ask Lucius and Narcissa. “Are you sure you’re okay with it?”
“You’ve been my son’s best friend for years,” Draco answers. “I like you a lot more than any of the ex-girlfriends we heard about - you’re the only one we’ve met, which says something. Just don’t ask me to sit next to your father at the wedding,” he adds with a wink.
Scorpius and I both laugh and nod. Draco gives us a smile before Astoria starts calling his name, and he hurries ahead. Now that we’re alone, my fiancé turns to me and takes my hand into his.
“See,” he says. “I told you my parents would take it better than yours. Now that’s irony for you.”
I laugh. “I love you, Scorpius,” I answer, stopping our walk so that I can stand on my toes to kiss him softly. “I’ve been thinking about me and you ever since you proposed, and I’ve realized that you’re my rainbow man. Us, me and you, it's where my rainbow ends.”
“Rainbow man?” he asks in puzzlement.
“Something Gramps told me; have I never told it to you?”
Scorpius shakes his head, so I take a deep breath before proceeding to explain while we walk.
“It starts when I’m a little girl…”
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