Chapter 10 : Back to the Beginning: Rose POV
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I was so lucky to have Selenia and Dom. They helped me get cleaned up and got me to bed. Selenia stayed with me until I fell asleep. I knew Scorp was there when I got out of the shower, but he and Al left after that. He didn’t even come to see me. I wasn’t surprised. I was playing a fool’s game, thinking that I could actually be normal. My heart twinged and tears pricked in my eyes. So this was the alternative to numbness - heartache and insomnia.
Fresh grief poured over me. I just couldn’t do this anymore. It had taken so, so long to feel like I could breathe again. I rolled on my side and squeezed my eyes shut, knowing that sleep wouldn’t come.
The other side of the bed moved with the weight of someone sitting down. Panic overtook me as my reflexes kicked in. In a lightning second, I pulled my wand from under my pillow, pointed and aimed a stunning spell before even looking.
“Holy Merlin Rose! It’s me – Scorpius!” The spell grazed his ear because my hand was quaking so much. His hand shot up to the injury. “I won’t be able to hear for a week!”
“What the hell do you think you are doing in my bed at six o’clock in the morning?!” My arm was shaking so much that my wand tumbled into the bedding. I pulled my shuddering hands into my chest and collapsed back against the headboard.
I blew out the breath I didn’t know I was holding, but I couldn’t stop quivering. Nausea was building again, waves pouring from my head to the pit of my stomach. I closed my eyes and sucked air in slowly, willing it to stop.
“Sorry, Rose. I’m really, really sorry.” Scorpius’s voice was low, but hurried.
“Dammit!” he exclaimed, “I am making a right cock-up of this. I am such a useless prat,” he continued spluttering apologies and self-deprecation for a few more minutes. I found myself focusing on the familiarity of his voice and the soothing scent of citrus and cedar. Very slowly, my nausea subsided and the violent shaking resolved to mild trembling.
“ …Rose?” He asked. Although I had felt his voice calming me, I hadn’t actually been listening to what he was saying. Clearly he was looking for an answer to his question.
“Sorry,” my speech was still uneven, “what was that?”
“Is it okay if I sit next to you on the bed?” The words came out of his mouth, but I was still too distressed to get meaning from them. I forced myself to think about what he was saying. I sucked in a much needed breath. I still couldn’t figure out what he was saying, mostly because it was so unlike Scorpius to ask permission for something like sitting next to me on the bed. My brain finally clicked on so I could at least nod my head toward him.
He slid over very slowly and rested close to me, but not touching. I felt the warmth of his hand over mine. He didn’t say anything at first.
“Rose,” he began quietly after several moments of silence. “I know. I know what he did to you.” Suddenly, his voice, his face, his presence was all I could concentrate on as my head turned toward his. A minute ago, everything around me was fuzzy and now, nothing else existed but his silver eyes, slightly pointed chin and soft, pink lips… and the words he just spoke.
I didn’t have a response. His words hit me as if I was smacked in the face. I would never be able to lie to him and try to convince him that it wasn’t true, that it never happened. I didn’t have the energy to do it anyway.
“I-I have to get up for training,” I tried to change the subject. With great effort, I swung my legs off the bed and stood on the floor.
Get up, wash, get dressed -
He didn’t say anything, just gently put his hand on my arm and coaxed me back to the bed.
“You aren’t going to training today,” he said matter-of-factly, his thumb stroking my forearm softly. “And neither am I.”
There was no more denying it. No more stories or pretending. My head felt heavy and fell to my chest. My hands covered my face and the release of two years of emotions poured out. I had never admitted anything to anyone, not even Dominique or Selenia. As the tears began to pour out of me, Scorpius had one arm around my shoulders and the other across my front, sort of hugging me sideways. The pain was thrust from my core and out of me, as I sobbed and sobbed.
“I’m so sorry, Rose. I’m so sorry, Rose,” he said over and over again. His voice was soft in my ear, his face close to me. I sank into him, unable to hold myself upright. I was shuddering from the sobs and the only real thing in the world was his voice in my head.
The numbness that had acted like a bubble around me had been peeled away and I was raw and open. I felt too much at once and the aching was unbearable.
“Rose, you didn’t deserve this. You did nothing wrong. Nothing,” Those words pulled out more emotions than anything else he could have said. I had spent the last two years trying to reconcile what I could have done, what I should have done differently. It didn’t occur to me until that moment that I needed someone else to tell me. A fresh wave of sobs overtook me. This time, they were of relief and realization.
Sometime later, I found myself with my head in his lap and his arms still around me. I felt a comfort that I had not felt in a long, long while. Slowly, I pulled myself up and looked into his soft, gray eyes. They were searching my face, trying to read it. I was so tired all of a sudden. “Please stay here with me,” I pleaded.
“As long as you need,” he replied, stroking my hair. I could see relief wash over his face, but I didn’t totally understand why. He locked his arms around me and, for a moment, I felt like he needed the closeness more than I did. My head was resting against his chest and I squeezed my hands around his. We laid there for a long time and I don’t know when, but I finally fell into a deep, heavy sleep.
I don’t know how long I slept. The sun was bright, but filtered through the drapes in my room. Splashes of light jutted across the bed and our legs that were intertwined. Waking this time, I felt a kind of relaxation, like there was a weight that, although not gone, was much lighter. My head was still against Scorpius and I tilted back to look up at him.
He was sitting up, but asleep with his head resting awkwardly against the top of the headboard. As I lifted up, he stirred. I adjusted myself so we were face to face. Without thinking, I smashed my lips upward and into his. My hands grasped the back of his head, pulling him to me. He kissed me back with the same fervor for a few, brief seconds. Then, he put his hands on either side of my face and gently pulled me slightly away, transforming the kiss into a soft, tender one. He pulled away first, and wrapped both arms fully around me, pulling me into him.
“I’m hungry,” I said the instant I thought about it. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I ate. All of a sudden, getting food was all I could think about.
“Well, let’s go get a bite,” Scorpius said, his lips curving upward. “I feel like I haven’t eaten in days.” We dressed quickly and I felt a sense of security as he gently took my hand and led me out of the door.
We went to a pub in muggle London for our lunch – actually it was near three o’clock. I didn’t want to go anywhere that anyone from the wizarding world would see us and, because of the time, pretty much no one in the muggle world would see us either. We both ordered typical muggle pub fare – bangers and mash for Scorp and fish and chips for me. We also ordered two pints of beer, to calm the nerves. Eating came first – we were both incredibly hungry. He waited patiently for me to be the first to break the silence.
“So… I take it Albus knows as well,” I said timidly. “And I am sure he will tell James, too. Shit.” I was talking more to myself than to Scorpius.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “Selenia explained that she hadn’t seen that kind of damage before. Th- the scars looked pretty deep.” I knew what he was saying. I was hideous. I fiddled with a crease in the napkin and he continued, “Did she and Dom ask you about it at all, Ro?”
“I think they both s-suspected something before last night. They’re not stupid. I-It’s really hard to come out and say it, you know?” my voice broke and I dropped my head and tried to smooth out the napkin with increased force. Why can’t I ever feel normal?
“I know,” he was talking slowly and quietly, as if choosing his words carefully. “Rose, I think we need to tell Harry.”
“What? No way. No.” My head jerked upright and the response was instant. I could see his eyes boring into me. They weren’t angry like they used to be. They were kind, but serious at the same time.
“Listen Rose, your flat was breached last night, despite the protective enchantments on it. Now, I plan on being there as much as possible, but I can’t be around you every second and you are in danger.”
“Scorpius- ” I tried to interject, but he moved his chair closer to me and gently put his hand over mine for the second time that day. I noticed that this was all the contact he was willing to make.
“Rose,” he began, both hands now covered mine. They were so, so warm. He shifted in his seat and leaned in toward me. “L’erge Stannous is a fugitive and we are breaking the law by not reporting this. There is no way that Dom, Al and I can let the fact that the most wanted dark wizard in the world breached your flat last night and attempted another kidnapping.” He paused to let me think.
He was right. This was a big deal. Bigger than me – and all of us. I couldn’t ask the three of them to risk their future with the auror department by keeping this under wraps.
Scorpius continued. “Rose, you need to tell the ministry. Let’s talk to Harry. I just figured it would be handled best by someone who you trust, and who loves you.”
I didn’t answer him. I was thinking, thinking of any way to get around this. My napkin was now a pile of shreds on my lap. After a long while, my brain exhausted, I couldn’t fight it anymore.
“All right,” I conceded, “Will you come with me?”
“If you want, I will be there, but I was thinking it might be best if Albus is the one with you when you talk to your Uncle.” I nodded, understanding that his was too much for him. I was too much for him.
We finished eating and hurried back home. I wanted to get this over with and, hoping Albus would be agreeable, would try to catch Uncle Harry before he left for the day.
Scorpius, Albus and I arrived at the ministry less than an hour later. My quick pace had them trotting to keep up with me despite the fact that they were both much taller than me. I wanted to get this over with, rip it off like a plaster. If I waited long enough to think about it, I would chicken out. I just kept repeating the words I needed to say in my head, over and over.
The ministry was mostly empty and we were taking a chance that Uncle Harry was even there. I don’t even remember taking the lift, but moments later, we were at the door to the Head Auror’s office. Grabbing Albus’s hand before knocking, I looked up at him. I needed to know that he was there. Scorpius rubbed my shoulder and gave my other hand one last squeeze before taking a chair next to the office door. We had agreed that he would wait outside Uncle Harry’s office while Al and I talked to him.
Albus looked down at me and gave me an encouraging smile. “It’s okay Rosie, I’m here,” he said as if he was reading my mind.
“C’mon in,” I heard Uncle Harry’s voice nonchalantly from the inside. I pushed the door and we entered.
“Hi Rose! Albus!” Uncle Harry said brightly. “Come in – sit down,” he gestured to the two chairs in front of his desk.
Immediately, I began to get cold feet. The blood drained from my face and a cold sweat began to break across my forehead. I sat down quickly because my head was swimming. I tried not to think about what I had to say and just to focus on saying it. At once, Uncle Harry knew there was something wrong, his eyes darted quickly between mine and Albus’s faces. He tried to start off the conversation slowly.
“I heard that Scorpius wasn’t at training today. Is everything all right?” He spoke to Albus and my mouth went dry – I didn’t know where to start.
Thank Merlin, Albus stepped in. “Actually, no Dad, it’s not,” he said firmly. “There was an incident in Rose’s flat last night, and we thought you should know about it.” The confidence in his voice spread over me and I straightened slightly in my chair.
“What sort of incident?” Uncle Harry’s voice dropped. He knew this was serious.
“L’erge Stannous showed up, and-” Albus continued. Before he could go any further, Uncle Harry cut in. “And you didn’t report it immediately? Albus, how could you be so careless? There are enchantments and protections we could have put on their place! You are not a fully trained auror yet, might I remind you - ”
“Dad! Dominique already had every protection she could think of on the flat! He and the others got through them… somehow-” Albus trailed off, sounding like an ashamed little kid.
“Others?” Uncle Harry’s voice was straining to keep calm.
Al’s head hung down in guilt. “There were two other wizards there when Scorp and I arrived. They both disapparated instantly when they saw us. I didn’t get a good look at them.”
I knew that this was the moment for me to step in. “One of them was the wizard from James’s party last weekend,” I said.
Al’s head popped up in alarm. “The one who grabbed you? I didn’t know that!”
“Hold on,” Harry interjected. “What happened at the party? There has been more than one instance?”
“It gets a bit more complicated than that, Uncle Harry,” I said quietly. He looked right at me with his bright green eyes. I had to close mine so that I could concentrate on the words that I had rehearsed in my head on the way over here. I took a deep breath.
“When Stannous had me captive in the cabin, he… a-assaulted me… several times-” the last bit caught in my throat. Having to say it out loud is like having to live it again. I slowly lifted the left hem of my jumper slightly to reveal the bottom part of the scarred tissue.
I opened my eyes to see Uncle Harry’s face, his mouth was slightly open in a half-gasp and his emerald eyes searched my face, concern and pain showing as the realization hit him. I sped through the rest of the pertinent parts of the story, just so I could get it over with.
“When he apparated into our flat last night, Dom was able to send a patronus to Albus and Scorpius, who came straight away, but Stannous wanted to scare me, so when they arrived…” I couldn’t go on.
“Dad he was touching her,” Albus’s face was taut with rage. “That sick fuck had his hands all over her and was saying... things-”
“He wanted to scare me,” the words bit through my emotions. I cut Albus off, mostly because of the look of horror on Uncle Harry’s face. We could spare the nitty gritty details. I don’t know if I could hear anymore without retching my lunch all over Uncle Harry’s office.
“Anyway, I got pretty sick from… the… emotion of it all. Albus and Scorpius stayed over last night to make sure we were okay and Scorpius stayed home with me today.” I finished the last part up pretty quickly. Oh, Merlin, I just wanted this to be over. Albus had stood up and had one hand on my arm and another was rubbing my back. I sucked in a breath and held it, hoping against hope that I did not start to cry again.
Uncle Harry didn’t say anything for a long time. He, unlike Albus and me, needs a few moments to process information. I could tell Albus was getting impatient, but I gripped his hand that was on my arm to let him know that he needed to give his Dad a bit of time. I wondered if Scorpius was getting worried sitting outside.
After what seemed like ages, Uncle Harry finally spoke. “Well, my first instinct is to have you girls move in with Ginny and me. I know you will be safe there, but I also know,” he continued quickly as I took in a breath to protest, “you three will never go for that.”
He continued, “If you stay at your flat, we will have to put ministry guards around the clock to keep you safe. We can do that, but it will be tricky because you live in a muggle neighborhood.”
“However, I think the best option is for you six to move into number twelve, Grimmauld Place. It is unplottable and we can put a fidelius charm on it to offer more protection than you have right now. If you choose this option, you will need someone to serve as your secret-keeper. I, of course, will offer to do it, but you should all discuss it and agree to whomever you choose.”
“The six of us?” I was confused.
“You, Dominique, Selenia, Albus, James and Scorpius. There are more than enough rooms for you each to have your own space. With six of you living together, it is less likely that any one of you will be alone in the house and frankly, I’ve seen the way that Scorpius looks at you, Rose – I doubt he will be letting you out of his sight any time soon. Am I not mistaken that he is sitting right outside my door? You may invite him in; he should be a part of this conversation and, er, probably wants to be here for you, Rose.” I wasn’t so sure about that last part, but I nodded anyway.
Albus walked over to the door and stuck his head out. “Hey Scorp, can you come in for a minute?” Relief spread over me as I saw him enter and walk quickly toward me. His face was grim and worried, but his eyes found me and fixed on my face as he crossed the room. When he reached me, he grabbed my hand and held on to it, refusing to sit.
I felt myself calm with his touch. I think Uncle Harry could see it as well, because he looked less anxious than he did before. He quickly explained the plan to Scorpius, who nodded intensely in agreement. We just had to convince the others and I didn’t think that would be too hard. The girls were just as scared as I was last night and James was so easy-going, he was usually up for just about anything.
As we were just finishing up with the details, I found the courage to say the final point I needed to make. My resolve returned and I spoke with determination.
“Uncle Harry, just one more thing -- my father can never know.” He opened his mouth to respond, but I continued. “I know what I am asking of you, but it has to be this way. I don’t think that he will be able to handle it and I don’t know what – actions he would take… if he ever found out. For that matter, I really don’t want Mum to know either. They have had enough pain. I don’t want them to have to bear this as well. It is too much.” I was pleading.
“Rose,” Uncle Harry spoke slowly, “your parents love you very, very much. I think everyone” his eyes flicked to Albus, “underestimates what their parents can handle. Generally, I don’t like keeping secrets within the auror department, because I feel that it puts us in danger. However, I will honor your wishes, as I encourage you to reconsider.”
After a moment, he added, “I have always found my greatest strength lies within my friends and family…” he looked like he was going to say more, but his face hardened slightly and he said, “Talk it over with the others, you can move in tomorrow.” The three of us headed out the door, Scorpius’s hand still holding on to mine. I knew he was just trying to be nice because I was so upset.
Once we were outside and heading down the hallway, I suddenly stopped. “Er, can you two give me a minute?” I asked.
“Sure,” Albus said and Scorpius just nodded. I turned on my heel and headed back toward Uncle Harry’s office, gaining speed. I didn’t even knock on the door as I pushed through it and was almost sprinting as I ran towards him. He stood from behind his desk and I ran into his arms. We gripped each other tightly for a long minute. I think he needed it more than I did.
Raising my head, I looked into the emerald eyes bright with tears. “I’m okay, Uncle Harry,” I whispered. “Like you said, I have the most wonderful friends and family.” A few traitorous tears were flowing down my cheeks now, but they weren’t of pain or sadness. It was from relief that I cried. “I’m really okay,” I said again.
“Rose, I love you so much and I wish I could make this go away, but I am glad that you have people to watch over you. Please know that Aunt Ginny and I are here if you need anything – even just to talk.”
“I know, Uncle Harry. I love you too. Thank you for everything.” I gave him a peck on the cheek and he smoothed my hair and walked me out of his office. Scorpius was waiting to take my hand as I entered the hallway.
A/N: Hello! Sorry for the long chapter, but I couldn't find a place to break it off. I'd love it if you could tell me what you think! Thanks! ~Beth
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