Chapter 5 : Besotted: Rose POV
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At first, I thought I might be having another panic attack. That was the main reason I insisted on going home the night before. Usually, they come in clusters and I have a spell for several days in a row before they begin to subside. Since no one knew the truth about what happened at the cabin, I wanted to keep it that way. No need to bring anyone else into this. Besides, it was under control, anyway.
I got out of bed to head to the loo, but it wasn’t another attack. There was uneasiness in my belly – not nausea. It was like I was hyper aware of everything – but in a fog of confusion. The flat was completely silent. Selenia would be back from Al’s in a few hours so we could start our weekend studying routine. Dom didn’t come home either. I had the feeling that she hit it off with that blond quidditch player.
A splash of cold water across my tired eyes served to wake my body to match my racing mind. I was so confused about last night and I needed – something. I just didn’t know what it was yet. Did I forget to do something? No, that wasn’t it. My head lifted from the sink as I stood up. My nightdress had slipped off my left shoulder and one of the scars peeked through at me – a wrinkled, red reminder of Stannous. Instead of turning away, I cautiously pulled the sleeve of the nightdress down further to investigate the markings that I never, ever let myself look at. I peered at the discolorations as if I were seeing them for the first time. My eyes traced over the pattern and how the marks splattered across the light, freckled skin of my shoulders.
Before my brain was in control of my actions, the unbuttoned nightdress fell to the floor as I slowly turned sideways and lifted my left arm to get a closer look in the bathroom mirror. Angry streaks spiraled outward from the disfigured point on the side of my waist. They sprawled across the entire left side of my torso, extending from my shoulder down to my hip. Their colorings varied from almost blood red to faint pink depending on how deep the curses had penetrated. Or rather, one curse, performed multiple times.
It wasn’t enough to just use the unforgivable ‘crucio,’ curse. Stannous chose to take his torture sessions to the next level, so he created his own brand of crucio curse. It had the added benefit being akin to a searing spike jammed into your side that grew hot iron snake arms and crawled from the central point, burning you from the inside out. As a bonus, the curse would control your thoughts and play the most gruesome images through your mind. If you screamed, it hurt more. It seemed to take the noise from your shrieks of pain and turn it into more agony.
After the torture, if I was still conscious, Stannous would glare at me with a strange look in his eyes. Sometimes he stayed for a long while, just lingering over me and staring, but he never touched me. Later on, when I had finally regained consiousness, there would be a series of healer accessories in the room for me to use. I got quite good at healing my own sores without a wand. Dittany combined with an infusion of murtlap essence soothed the pain and stopped the bleeding best from the limited stash that I had to work with. It may have been the delirium from the cruelty and fatigue, but I had the feeling that someone else was at the cabin with us. I fleetingly saw some older person leaving the room one night after I came to from a short blackout. All I remember is a shock of white flyaway hair walking out of the room.
I stared and stared at my body – seeing the full damage for the first time. I looked at the scars as if I were an outsider, pondering their origin. They were repulsive, angry and a reminder of what evil really was. I was pretty sure Scorpius didn’t see them last night, as my left side was facing away from him and the room was very dark. I shuddered at the thought of anyone else seeing my hideousness.
I let my hand trace a scar across my shoulder and collarbone. My fingertips crept up to the side of my face and I flashed back to last night when I was touching Scorpius in the same spot. Twenty four hours ago, I couldn’t have done this. I didn’t even have a mirror in my bedroom because I didn’t want to accidentally see any of the reminders of my kidnapping. Even in the bathroom, I had only ever let myself look from the neck up. But I was different now. There were feelings that had surfaced. And suddenly, I knew what had been bothering me since I woke up. I knew what I needed - to get to Scorpius. I dressed quickly and apparated to the alleyway behind their flat.
The place was littered with evidence of the morning after a party. Cups strewn about, furniture misplaced and the unmistakable aroma of ale mixed with stale firewhiskey. There was a couple snuggled up on one of the love seats – appropriately named for what I was sure they had been doing on it last night. Two blonde heads snuggled up together told me it was Dom and that quidditch bloke. Good for her. I think she really liked him. After my incident last night, I saw them together again as Scorpius was leading me out of the party. I tip-toed past the love couple, down the hall quietly beyond James’s door and paused at the second door before quietly pressing it open.
He still was dressed in his clothes from the night before, face down on top of the bed, snoring softly, with one leg hanging sideways off the mattress. Feeling drawn to him, I crossed over and knelt down next to his head.
“Hey,” I whispered, to see if he was close to being awake.
“Mum,” he breathed out. I recoiled at the smell of his breath. I was practically drunk myself from just breathing near him.
“Scorpius,” I said, a little louder, brushing my fingertips to his bent elbow.
“Mum, I’m sorry,” he said, quieter than before. “I didn’t mean to storm out like that,”
My heart broke for him at the realization of this particular date. Today was the eleventh of July. It was the fifth anniversary of his parents’ accident. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten. The panic attack yesterday and the incident at the party had distracted me from thinking about other things. A pang of guilt stung my gut as I stood to sneak out of the room so he could sleep for a bit longer. I had come to make myself feel better on the worst day of the year for him. How thoughtless could I be?
“Rose?” I turned to see his head lift off the bed, his eyes squeezed shut.
“Sorry, Scorpius,” I apologized, whispering. “I just… where did… are you hung over?” Wow. I was really bad at this.
“Still drunk is more like it,” he mumbled, righting himself up and then he kept on going until he almost landed sideways on the bed. His slowed reflexes finally caught him just before he was lying down again. It took more than a few moments for his hands to push his torso to a proper sitting position.
Once he wasn’t swaying anymore, his fingers pressed to his eyes, rubbing out the sleep. “You doing all right?” he asked, referring to last night’s incident. A large belch came up with the last word.
“Sorry, pardon me.” he said quickly. Scorpius was always, always aware of decorum. It draws back to his proper upbringing. I, myself, had been brought up by Ron Weasley, so a little burp here and there didn’t even register on my radar. However, it did sound odd coming from Scorpius.
Apparently, sitting up didn’t seem to fit well with his current state and he dropped his head between his knees, sucking air in large gulps.
“Hold tight,” I commanded and turned to exit the room. “I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t think I’m going anywhere for a while,” he managed to creak as I passed through his doorway. I headed to the kitchen and worked quickly to brew the hangover potion. As usual, I tweaked it a little, accounting for the fact that he wasn’t actually hung over yet.
My friends and family were used to being test subjects on my potions experiments. I was good enough to not cause any permanent damage and most of the time I was able to make educated guesses that led to positive results.
This morning, I added a little extra gurdy root and a crumble of dried sage to account for the sheer volume of firewhiskey that he had obviously consumed. Plus, I used the shortcut I had discovered in sixth year of boiling the first six ingredients, using a cooling charm and adding the last three. It made the potion in about a third of the time. Let’s just say that, having attended my share of James’s ‘gatherings’ at Hogwarts, I was well versed in brewing hangover potion.
When I returned to his room, he was again lying down, this time on his back with his eyes closed. I thought he might be asleep again, but he let out a small moan when I put the glass of potion on the nightstand and gently began pulling the covers up over him.
“Watch where you stand, Rose. I can’t promise I won’t spray you with vomit.” Another groan. “I am so, so dizzy,”
“Can you sit up? I made you some of my famous cure-all.”
“The thought of anything passing though my esophagus right now… in either direction…”
“Trust me on this one. Just lift your head a tad.” I knelt down next to the bed as I had before and gently lifted his head from behind. Using my wand, I levitated the cup and poured a small amount of the potion into the corner of his mouth. Even given his state, I was hyper aware of how close our faces were to each other. I repeated the dose a few more times until I was satisfied he had taken enough to feel better in a few moments and returned his head to the pillow. My fingers massaged his forehead as his face slowly relaxed.
“You are amazing,” his eyes finally opened lazily, pupils wide and unfocused. “Bloody, fucking, amazing -Rrrosie…” Well, it seemed as if the potion had absorbed enough alcohol to make him just really, really drunk again. He never called me Rosie. Usually only Al and Dad did. I will make notes to my private portfolio later. I should have used marjoram instead of sage. At least it was better than him about to puke all over me.
“You know who else was bloody, fffffucking amazing?” he sat up on the side of the bed. Actually, ‘sat’ might be a bit of a euphemism. He rolled his legs off the side and pushed himself up enough to rest on one arm.
“Who?” I decided to humor him, knowing the potion would continue to work until he wasn’t so pissed and had more sense.
“My Mumm,” he slurred. I only nodded from my seat on the floor, unable to speak because a lump was forming in my throat.
He continued, “She was. She was bloody fucking amazing for putting up with that cold, rat-bastard for years and years,” he gestured wildly with the arm that wasn’t holding him up.
“She stood by that prick through all the shit he pulled. He never wanted to go out. He hardly ever spoke to either of us. I could – I was at least at school and had friends, but she had to fucking live with him. Everyday – cook, clean, sssit in the goddamn parlor. And she never complained,” he leaned further off the bed and looked right at me. “She never complained Rosie,” his arm reached for me and I placed my hand in his and squeezed.
“She was a good, loving wife and mum,” I had to whisper it because the lump had grown in my throat. The emotions were swirling through me. Twenty-four hours ago, I was completely devoid of feeling and everything that had happened since last night was building up. My hand squeezed his again.
“Shhhhe stood by him,” he repeated, his gaze was getting more intense and I couldn’t look away as he continued. “The same as you stood by me. All those times you came to be with me…”
“We’re friends Scorp,” I explained. “We help each other. You helped me last night, see?”
He shook his head. “No-no-no-no. I’m just like him. I didn’t a-app- appreciate you. You deserve so much more. I slept with every ssslag at Hogwarts. And you knew. You knew I was a piece of shit, rat-bastard like my father and you still stood by me.”
My mouth opened, but nothing came out. I didn’t want him to do this to himself. Not today, not any day. I had no idea that he knew I found out about his… indiscretions. Of course there was talk. But, being a Weasley, you learn early on to make your judgments based on actual facts instead of all the hearsay. There had, however, been a lot of talk. I had turned a deaf ear to all of it, defended him even. That is, until I couldn’t deny it anymore because it was staring me in the face. Literally.
My other hand reached up to grab his so I could get his attention away from the self-loathing. “Scorpius, that wasn’t you. You were going through a lot and you made some… poor decisions.”
In retrospect, the real reason I didn’t believe any of the talk was because I had started to have feelings for him. The feelings came about slowly, or maybe they were always there. It is hard to tell. We spent a lot of time together, doing homework, playing Quidditch (we were both on the Ravenclaw team) and we found ourselves just generally hanging out with each other more and more.
I could always tell when he had been having a bad day – and I would sneak up to his room in the boys’ dormitories after everyone had gone to sleep. Over time, these late night meetings meant more and more to me.
It was on one of these nightly trips in sixth year that I saw them. He was right; she was one of Hogwart’s slags – a slutty Slytherin, as Dom called them. And she had her hands all over him. They were both naked and there was no mistaking what they were doing. That was the moment I realized just how deep my feelings were for Scorpius. I had been fooling myself that I was just his good friend and we were only teammates, classmates, and housemates. It tore my heart apart. Unable to hide my emotions, I basically locked myself in the girls’ dorm for the rest of the weekend.
“Selenia told Al and he just about cursed me into oblivion.” Scorpius’s voice pulled me out of the past and back to his pained expression.
He cleared his throat, “I swear Al would have used the cruciatus on me if the other Ravenclaw boys hadn’t stopped him.” His speech was evening out, the reversal potion was working. “I didn’t even know why he was going after me at first until he called me a ‘stupid, idiodic, clueless prat who couldn’t see what everyone else in the world could see was right, fucking in front of me.’ And he was right. You were always there, every single time. And I just took you for granted. Fucking prick that I am.”
“Stop it.” I commanded. “You’re not an idiot. I could have told you how I felt. I didn’t even have the guts to tell you.” I had taken Selenia’s advice and just decided to wait until Scorpius came around; she assured me that he would. Something about the whole world knowing he was in love with me.
“Rose,” Scorpius said and I jerked my eyes up to his again, remembering that I was trying to be a good friend to him on this sad, sad day. He paused for a moment, making sure that our gazes had met. “He was right. I was the biggest prat in the world. And I totally didn’t deserve you. I know that I still don’t. But…” he paused again and I couldn’t look away, “you should… I haven’t… Since that night, I have never been with… anyone else. I just want you to know that.”
A strange, but old familiar feeling was growing in my chest. Something I hadn’t experienced in years. I had needed him to say that to me. I have no idea why I needed it, but I did.
“Thank you – for telling me,” I smiled at him and when he smiled back, I felt my heart lift.
“Come on!” I stood up and tugged at his hand that I was still holding. “We are going to go out and do something – anything you want. But we are not going to stay here today.” He lifted off the bed and was suddenly very close to me, looking down with his intense silver eyes.
My stomach twinged - but not from looming anxiety. I felt so, so safe with Scorpius.
“Thank you,” he said, gently taking my other hand in his. For a moment, I thought he was going to lean down and kiss me as we stood there, staring at each other with both of our hands clasped together between us. However, he didn’t move his gaze from mine. The euphoric feeling I had had just moments before was replaced with a heavy longing. I couldn’t give him what he deserved. I wasn’t that person anymore.
“You go take a shower and get ready,” I suggested. “I have to throw out the rest of that potion before everyone else drinks it and we have a flat full of drunks again.”
A/N: Thanks for reading. If you just recently found this story, I'd love to hear a review of it. If you were following it before, I'd love to hear what you think of the new bits! ~Beth
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