Chapter 20 : Penultimate Farewells
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She could feel him beside her though; he was what kept her going, reaching out and touching him, knowing that he was somehow still there. It wasn’t morbid, more calming than anything really.
It held her onto something.
Looking up the sun she smiled, before drifting back off again. Scorpius would come, she thought. Scorpius would come and get her. Then everything would be fine again. No more arguments, no more fights, everything would be happy again.
It had been seven hours since Rose had last been sighted, and Scorpius was growing more and more worried for each second that passed. She must be somewhere. Somewhere by Acanthus. She couldn’t have gotten far if she had Edward’s body with her but even that was another unknown to them all. They would simply just to have to wait and see.
He was searching the eastern side of the city, Lorcan the northern while David stayed at camp in case she returned. It was the only thing they could do right now. They were such a small group, only three of them, so it had completely changed everything.
Without her, they would really be nothing. There wouldn’t be such a strong bind as her, they would all fall apart. They would all fall away.
All Scorpius could hope for was that she somehow managed to stumble upon Charlotte and she was keeping Rose safe. Though Charlotte was still generally regarded as the enemy by the group is had somewhat lessened with the death of George as that had eased things over, and Scorpius thought that David might, in time, think of her as a sister again.
His feet kicked through the sand, sprinkling it everywhere. Glancing at his watch, he noted the time. Six o’clock in the evening. Rose would have to be found soon, even though it didn’t currently look like it, the sun would set, and the freezing temperatures would take over, and then they would really begin to worry.
A night unprotected in the desert was something Scorpius would wish on no one. Turning to the right, he surveyed the oceans of sand but there was not a single blip in the landscape, not a single sign of Rose.
Suddenly, a white, wispy lizard appeared in front of him and swirled around and around. It was Lorcan’s patronus.
“I found her, bringing her back to camp, come quickly…”
The lizard faded into nothingness as the words tailed off. Rose was back, found, she was safe. It would be ok again. He would be ok again.
Scorpius barely waited a minute after that final thought before running back. He wasn’t even sure of the way, markers in the desert were scarce so he had to rely on what the ancient wall guarding Acanthus looked like, but having crumbling bricks lining it all the way round didn’t mean much to him.
He couldn’t be far though, he had only been wandering here for an hour or two at the most and that was at a considerably slower pace as he had to go and check every bump, lump or other obscure objects which came into view.
Looking up, he could see the small, round peaks of their camp rise up in the horizon and as soon as his eyes locked in on them, his feet began to skid through the sand, almost as if they wanted to break free from his body as the speed would increase then. They drew closer and closer to him, until they swarmed into his sight and were before him.
Running and running towards the camp, he burst through the main section of the tent, and shocked a bewildered looking David, who didn’t seem to quite understand the reason behind his entrance.
“Lorcan… patronus… found Rose… coming here,” he wheezed out, clutching at his side. There was a reason why Scorpius had never bothered trying out for Quidditch, and that reason was being put on display right now.
David shot out of his chair and hurried over to the side, grabbed a flask of water and thrust it into Scorpius’s hands. Scorpius unscrewed the top and glugged it down. Nothing had ever tasted as good as it did now.
“Did they say anything else? About how Rose was or anything?”
Scorpius shook his head and watched David slump down in his chair in response. He wants to know something about Charlotte, Scorpius thought, that must be it. He couldn’t really blame him. Not that he had any siblings to compare it to nor was he that close to his parents but he knew what it was like when he was trapped in the present and Rose and Lorcan were running around in the past. He just needed to know something, anything, which would give him so hope he would be with them again.
After draining the bottle, Scorpius threw it down on the floor and joined David in sitting down. There was no need for words. They knew they just needed to wait for them and then the speaking would begin Lorcan and Rose would return. The clock ticked and tocked as time sped by, but they barely even heard it, all they could think of was the two hopefully returning safe and sound.
The curtain leading from the outside into their general living area began to ruffle, and Scorpius tensed up, one hand clawed to the chair, the other to his wand. He would be ready for whatever faced him on the other side.
“Lorcan, is that you?” David asked, jumping in before him.
“Yes,” he answered, walking into the room, clutching onto a black object while Rose stumbled in behind him. “It’s me. We made it back. Sorry for taking so long, we weren’t really in a state where we could rush.”
“It’s fine,” Scorpius said, “Is that, that….”
The pause seemed to fill in everything.
“Yes, it’s him. Rose somehow managed to bring him along though she wasn’t really in much of a fit state herself. She was rolling around in the sand, half out of it when I found her. She really doesn’t have a clue about what went on. She just wants to sleep. We can talk to her later; we might get more out of her then.”
They all turned to her and saw that she had collapsed in the corner, arms over her head, knees curled up. They couldn’t even see her face.
“Proper burial,” Rose muttered. “Anthony wanted a proper burial for Edward. It was his last wish.”
“Yes, we can do it soon, tomorrow. Not now though. You must be too tired right now. You just sleep and think about it tomorrow.”
“But I promised him,” she said, “I promised him I would give him one. It was all I could do. All I could do before he killed him. I tried to stop him but I couldn’t. Then bang, Anthony was dead. It was all my fault, I should have stopped them. Could have stopped them. All my fault.”
David prodded Scorpius in the side.
“Take her to bed, she isn’t making any sense. We can do the burial tomorrow. It’s what we all want to do, I think, but right now she needs to go to bed.”
Scorpius nodded and wandered over to her, rubbing her arm in an attempt to ease her up.
“Come on, Rose, let’s go to bed. You don’t need to stay up, just go to bed and then everything will be ok again. We can do the burial tomorrow, talk tomorrow, do anything tomorrow really, but right now we need to go to bed.”
She whispered a yes to him, and allowed herself to be pulled up and led to her room. He pushed her onto her bed before wrapping the covers over her and she was asleep within seconds, hair messed up, fingers curled around the blanket. Scorpius gently sat down in the bed, carefully not to wake her from her slumber and looked at her.
He knew he loved her, really loved her, and he was fairly certain that she felt the same way about him too. That was why he would do it tomorrow, do what had been plaguing his mind for a while now. It would be for the best. He had already given Lorcan what he needed. He would just have to tell a simple lie and then it would be fine.
It would be for the best. They would see one another eventually. He was certain of it.
Rose couldn’t keep her eyes off of the black blanket. Behind it lay Edward. He would lie there forever and ever, in this pit of sand with nothing much to mark him with as the desert tended to blow away anything which lay here. She hoped that this was a proper burial Anthony had asked for. It was the best they could do, the best for now.
“Shall I say a few words?” Lorcan asked, breaking through their thoughts. They all gave a small nod and he began.
“Edward was always a good man, which is something to say as you cannot always find those. It will always be a great shame to me that I only got to know him for a few weeks as I would have loved to really get to know him and become friends but it can’t always be that way. He’ll always be up here, in my thoughts, though, and he will never fade from there as his passion for everything, especially everything Egyptian will stay with me. Forever.”
Lorcan looked at all of them, rubbing at his eyes. “Is there anything you want to add?”
They all shook their hands bar David. “I want to say a little thing.”
A silence fell among them for a few minutes before David gave a steady look at them all before speaking.
“You will always be in my thoughts no matter what Edward. I will always be thinking of your instinct for things and how you just knew what was right. I can’t describe you fully as that would take hours, but I will always remember you. I know I should have some great, long, eloquent speech ready to say, but I just can’t. It wouldn’t be me, and then I wouldn’t be remembering you properly, but I will always remember in my head, my mind, my way.”
They fell into silence for a few moments before David spoke again. “That’s it... We can do it now.”
With a flick of their wands, the piles of heaped sand began to float onto the grave. Speck by speck, the black was coated gold and Edward soon disappeared under it all. He had faded away, Rose thought, gone for now but not forever.
They stood there for a few moments more before wandering the hundred metres or so back to camp.
It had to be today. Today would be the day when Rose and Lorcan went back. It couldn’t wait any longer. It just had to be done so he could try and live again as soon as possible. Every time he saw her he just wanted to give into his selfish side and hold on to her forever but he had to let her go back to the present even if it meant, if it meant, he had to stay here. There, he had finally said those words, accepted his fate.
There was no going back now. He had sealed his fate. He wondered if he looked at the others would they be able to guess what path he had decided on.
They were in the general living area, Rose, Lorcan and him. Luckily David was safe away somewhere else, so he could break the news now.
“I think we should go back. Today. It would make sense. There’s no point in waiting around and we just need to have a fresh start as soon as possible, so let’s go, today. Lorcan, you still have the potion for you and Rose, don’t you?”
He could feel his cry out as he uttered their names. Perhaps it would be the last time he would say them for them to hear. Perhaps this was the last time he could hear them answer him. So many lasts, they were always so much more memorable than firsts, it seemed to Scorpius.
“Yes, but are you sure about this? Why so soon? We just buried Edward yesterday, and now we’re going to leave David. It’s not the most ideal time.”
“I just need to get away, start again. I can’t bear being here any longer.” Scorpius knew it was the sort of truth. He needed to get away from them; it was the only way for him now. He just needed to accept his fate and start living it. “I keep on being haunted by horrible thoughts and images and the sooner we’re gone from here the better as they’ll go then.”
“Are you sure this is a good thing? Going back?” Rose asked, grabbing hold of his hand.
“Going? Going where? I thought we were leaving tomorrow or the day after.” David’s voice stunned them all. Reveal or conceal? The question was poised in Scorpius’s mind. He was already concealing so much, too much he almost feared. Could he spread his lies even further?
“We have to go now,” Scorpius said. “There isn’t any other way. It’s urgent. We will see you now, but I just need to get back, I can’t deal with it anymore. I can’t go on.”
He watched Lorcan take in the seriousness of his words and pull out the two vials at that point. One for Lorcan, one for Rose. He just had to hope they thought his was elsewhere.
Scorpius turned to David and was surprised to see by how sad he appeared, and how easily he swallowed their lies. “I shall miss you dearly, you will stay in touch, meet up after you’ve done your urgent business? I think I’ll need you all after this dreadful experience as only you really understand what we went through here.”
All three of them gave murmured promises of yeses and of course they would meet up, in Diagon Alley naturally, and catch up there. This general chit chat carried on for more than hour and Scorpius could barely believe it. He had only just broken the news to Rose and Lorcan and they were seemingly all for it. Perhaps they really were as desperate as he was to end this misery?
“I suppose it’s time to be off…” Rose said slowly, shocking Scorpius again as it was she, not he, to break it off and bring forward their departure. “I must go and grab my bag, not that I have many things, most of my stuff is Charlotte’s.”
“Don’t worry about that, Rose,” David said softly. “Just keep it, a departing gift. I don’t think she would mind all too much.”
“Are you sure? Really sure?” Rose said, her voice sounding close to tears.
“Yes, and now go get it.”
Rose managed a crumbling laugh for David before running out of the room, Lorcan shortly following her. In the few minutes they were gone, David and he were silent again. They knew something was changing for all of them and only voicing that view would make it worse. Once the two returned, slightly red eyed but armed with a small bag each, they turned to David.
“Yes, we really should be off,” Lorcan murmured. “We don’t want to get back too late.”
Scorpius watched him roll the potion over to Rose, and she grasped hold of it and pulled off the top. The final steps were in motion.
“I will miss you dreadfully,” Rose cried, leaping from her seat and sweeping David into a hug. “Never forget me for a second.”
“How could I?” he said, laughing, before patting her back.
David would never forget Scorpius though as Scorpius would never leave him. It was from Rose and Lorcan’s memories he might fade.
“Don’t forget me either, old chap,” Lorcan teased, giving David a firm clasp of his hand.
“No, I shan’t ever do that.”
Scorpius followed the two of them in their sad goodbyes but he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t act anymore. He wanted to scream it all if he was honest, but he couldn't. He wouldn't. He would remain silent.
He watched Rose and Lorcan raise the vials up to their lips, readying themselves for what they had to do. Not knowing, not knowing a single thing. Not knowing what he did it. Not knowing that this was their final farewell.
It was at this point Scorpius had to stop and give in. He couldn’t do it anymore. He had to out the truth. He had to say what he knew, what the others didn’t know yet. That there wasn’t enough. That he wasn’t coming. That this was it for them, the end of the line.
“Rose, Rose, Rose!” Scorpius cried out.
But it was too late, too, too, too late. Rose lowered the phial on her lips just as Lorcan gulped the last drop. She looked at him, eyes locked, and at that point Scorpius wondered if she had figured out the truth, figured out what he did, but she was gone in an instant. Both of them gone, disappearing into thin air. Gone forever. He couldn’t believe it. They really weren’t here anymore. They were gone. Gone.
There wasn’t even a single bang to signal their farewell.
“Where did they go?” David cried, running to the spot where they had vanished from. “Where did they go? I know we’re magical, but how could they just disappear. What did you mean about there not being enough potion to take you back? What did you mean? None of this makes sense. You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”
David arched his eyebrows at him, face red from the yelling but Scorpius couldn’t bear to answer him. He was breaking up inside. All the functions were stopping, heart no longer beating. He couldn’t go on, his chest was tightening. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it without her. Without Rose.
She was gone, disappeared into the clarity of the future and he was stuck in the murky depths of the past, forever forgotten. He would live here forever without her, and she didn’t even know that yet. She thought he was coming along, that he had swallowed the potion too. She thought they would be together, for always, forever.
But he wasn’t coming. There wasn’t enough for him. Not after the vials had smashed. Not after his attempts to recover them had failed miserably. Not after he had only just scrapped enough for two, let alone three. It wasn’t meant to matter though. He was meant to be dead as Frederic Russell was meant to be right, so her being in the future would be better rather than with his corpse in the past. It would have been ok, for the best.
But Frederic was wrong. Scorpius was alive, heart beating unwillingly in the past. Anthony died in his place. And now he would have to explain everything to David and hope that somehow he would understand all the mess he had created.
Author's Note: Whoo fastest update ever as I usually take about a month and now you guys get a few days :P So this is the penultimate chapter, and bahahah who saw that coming? :P Poor, poor Scorpius, trapped in the past, do you have any ideas of what might happen in the final chapter? I don't want to give any hints away but I would be interested to see what you think. I hope I can have the last one up tomorrow or Sunday as I'm out Saturday but want it up soon.
Thanks for reading again, and for reviewing too, because I jokingly said the 200 thing, and bam I got so many reviews so thank you so, so, so much as it means a ton to me and you guys really are too lovely! ♥
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