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Chapter 15 : Breakable: Rose POV
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Somewhere in the back of my mind it registered that the ground beneath me felt squashier than the grungy floorboards of the pub. My knees buckled and hit soft carpet as Lily and I slumped to our the floor, kneeling. My arms were locked tight around her and the only sounds in my ears were her hysterical cries. Someone grabbed me from behind and I turned abruptly around and pointed my wand upward to send a curse at -
“Aunt Ginny!” I cried. I lowered my wand shakily as she knelt down to us and wrapped herself around us.
“Girls, what happened!?” The panic laced the edge of her voice. We were starting to upset her with our hysterics.
“Death eaters… at the pub… attacking everyone…” was all I could choke out. One arm still gripped Lily tightly. I had to consciously relax my muscles. We were at Aunt Ginny’s house. We were safe.
“Death eaters?” Aunt Ginny couldn’t hide the shock in her voice. “Oh, Merlin,” she bit her lip and ran her hand through her hair. She was in her nightdress and had obviously been woken up.
Lily was still sobbing frantically. I brushed my fingers through her hair, trying to soothe her hysterics. “Lily. Lily, love. We are all right. We are home,” I said to her, smoothing the tears from her cheeks.
Lily’s head jerked up and she gasped in fright. I grabbed her eyes with mine before I spoke again, holding her head in my hands firmly, but gently. “You’re alright Lily,” I said in a calming voice, recalling from training how to console an upset patient. As I had learned, my grip relaxed a little and so did Lily. She reached for her mother. Helping her to stand, Aunt Ginny and I guided her to the sofa.
“Where’s Uncle Harry?” I looked around, just realizing that he wasn’t there.
“He was called in to help. There is a spell that Aurors can do to summon each other.”
“Aruelius Adveho.” I just realized what Albus and Scorpius had been doing.
“Yes, that’s it. I am sure that your Dad responded as well…” Aunt Ginny trailed off.
As my breathing returned to a somewhat normal pace, I began to go over the events in my head. Screaming, curses sparking and spiraling through the darkened pub, the tall masked figures taking control… and my panic. I had frozen. What the hell was the matter with me? I had an E in defense N.E.W.T.s and I couldn’t think of the proper ‘stupefy’ spell or ‘expeliarmus’? Terror welled up inside me once more. I could have put everyone in danger. I should be there, fighting with them. I didn’t like being stuck here, not knowing what was going on. I wanted to go back, to help.
Was Scorpius okay? There were loads of death eaters in the back room. I had left Scorpius alone to fight them all. We had both left Al behind to get to Lily. How many death eaters did Al have to fight alone? What about James? And Fred? And Dom? Oh shit! Did Dom get out? Was Jax with her?
The anxiety and dread swirled in my gut, simultaneously pulling me upwards to a panic and downwards through the horror of my entire family being under attack. Face after face of my loved ones screamed through my mind. My hands flew up to my head to hold myself together.
“Aunt Ginny, they are all there! Fred, Albus, James, Dom, Scorpius…” and I was here – in the safety of the Potter’s living room. Doing absolutely nothing.
“Rose, it will be okay,” Aunt Ginny reached for me from her position on the couch. She was holding on to Lily, who had begun to cry harder now. “Harry and your Dad have been on hundreds of these types of missions and they have always come back,” she spoke to both of us. While her words tried to sound reassuring, her voice sounded worried. “The best thing we can do is to take our mind off of it. I’ll make some tea.” Tea? Is she for real? Our entire family is under attack and she wants to make a cup of fucking tea?! Aunt Ginny gently lifted Lily from the sofa and steered her into the kitchen.
I stayed behind, dumbfounded. I knew my Dad was an Auror and I knew he went on missions and had to fight death eaters, but until tonight, I never thought about what that really meant. I figured the Aurors were always going to win – we are the good guys, right? Anger began to seep up from inside me. I was angry at Aunt Ginny for trivializing the situation, I was angry at the death eaters for attacking all those people, but most of all, I was angry at myself. How could I just freeze like that? Scorpius could have been hit by a curse while he was trying to deal with me. That first death eater could have hexed all three of us while my spell failed to attack. I can’t always assume that Scorpius or someone else will be around to protect me.
Instead of going into the kitchen with Aunt Ginny and Lily, I tromped down into the cellar. Uncle Harry had put in a practice dueling room down there. There were wooden dummies that had fake wands. They were charmed to point and block. Uncle Harry had made sure that all of his kids and all of us Weasleys knew basic defense against the dark arts skills from a young age. He didn’t have anything against the DADA professor at Hogwarts; he just didn’t want any of us to be in a situation where we didn’t know how to protect ourselves.
Exactly like what had happened to me tonight.
We would gather weekly at the Potters and practice during summer holiday. I don’t know exactly how we were allowed to do magic down here when we were underage, but I guess the ministry made an exception for Harry Potter. He showed us all the basic spells. Every single one of us could produce a corporeal patronus before fifth year. Right now, I was so disappointed in myself, but I was angrier because I felt that I had let Uncle Harry down. I was more than angry, I was pissed off, I was furious.
“Stupefy!” I shouted at the first dummy. “Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!” I went down the line of dummies and hit every one with the spell. I did it again, and again. Until the stupefy charm was embedded in my head. I then proceeded with expeliarmus, diffindo, reducto, protego, impedimentia, and any other defense spell I could think of. I went down the line again and again. Then I began to mix it up. Just like a Ravenclaw, I was studying the spells. I was committing them to memory as if there would be some kind of exam at the end of the chapter.
Finally, fatigue overcame me. I knew that I could practice with these dummies for days and days, but it wouldn’t matter unless I had an actual opponent to determine my abilities. Looking up at the dummies, I realized that I had pretty much pulverized most of them.
I was wracking my brain for a spell to fix them, when Aunt Ginny appeared at the bottom of the stairs. I stared blankly from the other end of the room, sitting on the floor in exhaustion, with my arms wrapped around my knees. “Instar Reparo,” she spun her wand round the room as she headed toward me and the dummies instantly were made right again.
“It’s harder, you know,” she said, sitting next to me on the floor, “being the one who stays behind. It takes a lot of trust and faith to believe they are going to come back. The one saving grace I can tell you is that it gets easier. However, being the wife - or girlfriend - of an auror takes a special person. A strong person.” She paused and waited for me to say something.
“I don’t feel like a strong person,” I commented, pulling my frizzing hair out of the loosened hair tie. My fingers pulled the unruly curls tights and twisted it back into a ponytail without thinking. Most days, I felt like a stiff breeze would break me in two. Every time I think I might be getting better, something comes along to remind me how fragile I am. “I hate feeling this way…”
“Rose,” her voice was tentative, “you’ve been through something that would cripple even the strongest, most confident woman… something that I would never wish on… anyone.” I looked up at her, surprised. She knew.
“Harry told me,” she explained. “Please – don’t be angry. I think he just really needed to talk to someone about it. You are very special to him and I think... sometimes, he feels that he fought so hard for years so that his family wouldn’t have to suffer.”
“I-I didn’t tell him to make him feel bad,” I was very quiet, taking it all in.
“We know that, love,” Aunt Ginny’s voice broke. Since I could remember, I’ve never seen my Aunt Ginny cry. Her arms fell around my quivering body as she choked out a sob. As my hair became damp from her tears, she said, “I am just so sorry that I didn’t know earlier. Harry is too. We could have been there for you. I can’t even imagine how hard this has been.”
She sniffed in a deep breath to compose herself and spoke deliberately and slowly, “and I think, if you were willing to share this with your Mum, you might find that she understands better than you realize.”
I pulled away and looked up at her, completely shocked. I couldn’t even get air into my lungs because those muscles had ceased to work. Her words did not get past me. I knew what she was implying.
“Mum…?” the word was blocked in my throat, and I couldn’t go on.
“The war was really tough for all of us,” she described. “Harry and your Mum and Dad saw the most horrifying things; dark magic, wizards who were pure evil, wizards and witches who followed evil for the sake of power. They were underground for almost a year and were even caught at one point and taken as prisoners to... Malfoy Manor. Because of your Mum’s blood status, she was... tortured.”
My stomach twisted as nausea flowed over me. My eyes couldn’t leave Aunt Ginny’s face. No wonder my Dad hated the Malfoys. I bet Scorpius didn’t even know about this. I mean it’s not like you go around telling your kid stories from the good old days when your house was used as a POW camp and a hideout for pure evil. How did my Mum ever get through all of it? She didn’t even have her family to help her. I am pretty sure she left out specific details when she reinstated her parent’s memories and explained to them about the Wizarding war.
Aunt Ginny continued, her voice gaining strength. “I think that is why Harry became an auror. He knew – and still knows – that there will always be people out there, seeking power and pushing the dark arts. He feels a duty to the Wizarding world to do the best he can.”
“I think Scorpius wants to be an auror because he wants the world to know that he can be better than his family name,” I said. “He has a really good heart, Aunt Ginny. He has helped me so much. I don’t think he knows very much about his parents’ past. He didn’t even grow up in Malfoy Manor. His father sold it shortly after Lucius and Narcissa died.” My mind wandered back to the pub and the fighting. Waiting was torture. Who was hurt? I couldn’t even let my mind think that any of them might be worse…
“Rose? Love?” I heard Mum’s voice at the other end of the room and my head shot up. Aunt Ginny and I both looked up at her. Her eyes were red and swollen with tears.
“Mum? How long have you been here?” I didn’t need an answer; her face told me that she had heard enough. I climbed out of Aunt Ginny’s arms and ran to her.
I held onto her the way I’d done when I was a small child. The world was so much more frightening than I ever thought it could be. She gripped me with such ferocity that I couldn’t tell who was consoling whom. We both cried into each other’s shoulders and stroked each other’s hair.
After several minutes had passed, I pulled back and opened my mouth, but words failed me. There were so many things I wanted to say, but I couldn’t put my voice to them.
She spoke first. “I know, love,” Mum traced the curve of my cheek and across my chin. “I’m so sorry. I wish with all my heart I could take it away from you. I would do anything to prevent you from having to go through that. I’m here now and I promise to help you through this.” She hugged me again. I sighed into her shoulder and realized that we didn’t have to say anything to each other. Finally, I recognized Aunt Ginny was right: tea did sound like a good idea.
Once we got upstairs, my anxiety returned. Why were they taking so long? How many were hurt? Did the death eaters take anyone captive? Was Stannous there too?
Stannous. My breath sucked in. The one death eater had said “Red… I’ve found her…” Was this an attack to get to me again? Had I put everyone in danger? Who could have known I was at the pub?
I spoke to countless people that night, so many old friends and friends of friends. It could have been just about anyone. I looked down at Lily, who had fallen asleep on one of the couches and the anger from before began to bubble inside me again. What. The. Hell. What is going on? I wanted to know and I wanted my answers now.
“What the hell is taking so long?” I shouted out to the room. Lily stirred from her sleep on the sofa and sat up. She stood up and wrapped the blanket around her, kissed Aunt Ginny and headed up to bed.
Neither Mum nor Aunt Ginny answered my question because they knew that they didn’t have anything to say that would make me feel better. I walked into the kitchen for no apparent reason, just so I could move and feel like I was doing something other than sitting there. As soon as I left, I heard a distinct crack in the living room.
“Scorpius!” Mum’s voice was shocked. I hurried to the living room and ran straight for his arms. I buried my head in his chest and he jumped back, groaning out in pain.
“Holy shit, what happened to you?” He was sporting a wound that went right through his sweater and undershirt and into his flesh. The black mark dug a large gash that ran across his chest from his right shoulder down past his navel. Thankfully, it passed just under his heart. It was still smoldering slightly from the dark magic that had produced it. I took a moment to look up at his face, which was half covered in dried blood from another cut on his scalp. His hands were also black in places and he was holding his side tenderly.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” I was yelling at myself more than anything. “That looks like a laceration from violenti totalis. How the hell did you survive one so deep?!” I recognized the wound from training and remembered what to do. “Aunt Ginny do you have wolfsbane and snake fangs?” She didn’t answer me, just ran from the room to look for the ingredients. I pulled my healer bag from my pocket and tapped my wand to make it normal sized. Opening it up, I knew what to look for. Finding the essence of dittany, I turned to Scorpius. “You,” I ordered, “on the couch, now.”
“Ro, I can’t. I only came to see you because I promised. I have to get to the ministry to meet with all of the aurors for a debriefing.”
“Forget the debriefing,” I commanded. “You can go in ten minutes. If I can get the ointment on you before it starts to bubble and pus, you will heal in one-fifth the time.”
“Scorpius,” Mum began tentatively. “How are the others?”
My heart stopped. What a piece of shit I am. As soon as I saw Scorpius, I didn’t even think about anyone else. How could I do that to my family? Albus, James, Uncle Harry, Dad, Fred, Dom… I looked at Scorpius with my eyes wide, holding my breath. Knowing he wasn’t getting out of here any other way, he lowered himself onto the other couch as he spoke.
“Dom got hit pretty hard with a cruciatus,” I could hear Mum suck in her breath and my hand clasped itself across my mouth to suppress a whimper. “I think she will be okay, but they took her to St. Mungo’s. There were three casualties that were patrons from the pub. James got hit with the same curse as me, but it just grazed his side. Fred’s face is pretty banged up, but I think he was actually muggle dueling one of the death eaters after they both lost their wands. Ron and Harry are fine,” he paused. “Albus got the worst. He has a big gash all the way down his wand arm. But he wouldn’t let us take him to St. Mungo’s. Stupid git.” he looked up at Aunt Ginny as she entered the room carrying the ingredients I requested. She had a stern look on her face, but I knew she was putting up a brave front – just like the wife of an auror. Now she is also the mother of an auror and I can’t imagine that makes things any easier. I decided that I was going to help out any way I could.
“Stupid git is right,” I said. “Fine. I’ll go to him. Aunt Ginny, I will need some more essence of dittany, some bandages and if you have any quills from a peacock - that would be brilliant.” She immediately hurried out of the room. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the mortar and pestle; I pointed my wand and set it to work grinding all the snake fangs she had given me. I needed all I could get. I scooped out two spoonfuls and let it continue grinding so I could bring more to the ministry. After sending a patronus to Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, Mum gave me a tight squeeze with a little more gusto than our normal hugs usually convey. I found myself blinking back fresh tears as I looked at her, not sure what to say again. “I love you and I’m so proud of you Rose,” she smiled and I felt my mouth stretch a bit at the corners. Her face relaxed as she stepped in the fireplace to floo to St. Mungo’s to check on Dom.
I hurried back to the kitchen. Mixing the powdered fangs with the essence of dittany and the crushed wolfsbane, I assembled the ointment for the antidote to the violenti totalis curse that Scorpius needed. When I applied it to his wound, he yelped, arching off the couch, “Fucking hell, Rose! A little warning would have been nice.”
“Sorry, sorry! It should only sting for a minute.” I wrapped a bandage on top of his wound. Next, I recited the spell to fix his cracked ribs. After a few more bandages and a cleaning charm for the blood that was dried onto his face, he looked much better. “Okay, you are all set. Let me grab the rest of the ingredients and we can apparate together.” I hurried from the room and collected everything I needed in the kitchen. Aunt Ginny was putting the last of the powdered snake fangs in a vial for me. I paused for a moment and gave her a big hug. “Thanks, Aunt Ginny… for everything.”
“Rose,” she hugged back, “you are strong. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met – and that’s saying something, in this family. Of course, you have had excellent role models,” she raised her eyebrows and her brown eyes glinted at me. Now that we knew everyone in our family was safe, more or less, our moods were much lighter. I packed the last of my things in my healer bag and headed to the living room to Scorpius.
I made sure to stand on his side that I hadn’t just healed. He wove his arm around my waist and tugged me close. I looked up into his pools of liquid silver and his head bent down for a desperate kiss. The intensity of the moment pulled at my insides and my fingers found his face, lightly stroking and thanking Merlin that he was still here. We pulled apart and I took his arm, perhaps gripping a little tighter than usual.
A/N: And - another chapter done! So Rose finally learns about Hermione and Malfoy Manor. Uh-oh! I really appreciate all reviews and I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for taking the time to read my story! ~Beth
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