Chapter 9 : Chapter Nine
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Brilliant Chapter Image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
2hours 28minutes 37seconds. That’s how much sleep I got last night. In the arms of Scorpius Malfoy.
I think I’m going to cry. Or throw up. Or both.
Now it’s not what you think. But it is still horrifying.
I’m currently stalkerish watching him from the arm chair in the common room. The lazy prat is still asleep on the couch with a Rose Weasley shaped hole next to him. I managed to untangle myself from his grasp, and move two steps before I freaked out and collapsed on the chair across from him.
It’s still early. Very early. Too early for this kind of stress and trauma.
The fire has gone out – I’m freezing. There was no blanket. Just pure 6 foot male body warmth. Merlin I hope no one saw us. What would people think? I actually really don’t give much of a stuff.
I spot his Harpies Hoodie at the end of the couch and pull it on. Like I said - freezing. And his familiar scent – is in no way comforting. I have no idea where my coat is… I’m still wearing my denim jeans and black long sleeved top from yesterday after classes, when I threw them on before the library. I pull my mattered hair into a messy bun.
Merlin I’m starving.
I can’t even think straight.
Food. I need Food.
A slight shuffle.
He falls to the floor.
I guess that was more of a push.
“Oh good your awake” I greet him cheerfully.
He just looks at me.
Moves to stand.
Then turns green.
And runs to the loo.
Ah. The lovely after effects of Alcohol.
The door shuts, and I hear the turn of the shower.
After few quidditch magazine filled enticing minutes. He emerges.
“You still look like shit – but at least you smell better” I acknowledge.
“I could say the same to you” he responds.
“I look great” I hadn’t changed. I haven’t braved the dorm yet – Lucy is going to kill me. Future Rose can deal with that.
Chase is looking at me weirdly “Is that Scorps Jumper?”
I smiled “I bought Croissants, I think we need some best buddy time” I evaded. I was lying on his bed. He was putting on his shoes.
“Croissants – there was croissants at breakfast?” He asked astonished.
“No. There was croissants in Malfoys trunk” I clarified. He won’t mind. He’s not using them, he’s still asleep in the common room where I left him, like 5 minutes ago.
He just rolled his eyes. “Oh and I found a Pepperup Potion too – might help” I handed it to him.
He downed it in one gulp and moved towards the door. “Where are you going?” I asked.
“This room is confining. Let’s go outside”
I noticed the pain flashing in his eyes. And it wasn’t from his throbbing headache or churning stomach.
He was hurt. Deep. Badly.
And quite obviously did not want to talk about it.
“Should I ask about my snoring roommate in the common room and your hasty and clumsy exit?”
I accidently tripped on a chair leg, sneezed loudly and bumped into the bookcase near the portrait hole. Yes. Stealth. Thy name is not Rose Weasley.
We are chilling near the lake. At 6am. Being besties and eating pastries. Just being our awesome selves.
“Oh I’m avoiding him” I replied truthfully. I don’t really like secrets much. Well not between Chase and I. Luce will always be one of my best friends – but since Alex, we have grown apart.
“What did he do this time?”
“We hugged” I replied absentmindedly chewing on my croissant.
“How outrageous” He mocked.
“I’m glad you agree” I ignored his snarkiness. I think he’s been spending too much time with Scorpius.
“Thanks for the early morning wake-up call” He began after a moment.
“Thanks for the late night shenanigans” I returned.
He smiled. But not a real smile. Not a chase smile.
“You can talk to me you know”
“I am talking to you” He laughed. Ah. Sarcasm as a defence mechanism. I wonder who he learnt that from.
“I mean we can just sit here and eat pastries and be awesome. Or you could say something and I would listen and hold your hand” I prompted.
“You’ll hate me” He looked at me with so much fear in his eyes. It nearly broke my heart.
I grabbed his hand and gave it a comforting squeeze of reassurance.
With a few more sighs of reluctance, he took a breath and began.
“I’ve been getting these letters” He started.
“It started at the beginning of summer, I ignored them for weeks and shoved them in a drawer. I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But then I went to stay at the burrow and I let a seed grow. From no hope or even want – I cultivated this idea that I could have that. I wanted the happy family. Not an alcoholic Mother and a Father who ignores my existence. So I thought, times change. And people could change too. So I read the letters and wrote back. The correspondence continued until last weekend. I hadn’t told Al. I was ashamed. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
He took a breath. He was staring out into the miles of water – like it held all the answers or could turn back the clock. I was trying to take it all in. Chase doesn’t talk a lot about his family. He practically lives at the Potters or even at mine in the holidays. His parents separated at the end of summer before third year. At Christmas, he told them about Al and how he truly felt. They lost it. Uncle Harry and Aunty Ginny, took the revelation in their stride – already having their suspicions anyway. They tried to help Chase’s parents accept it. But they blamed Al for influencing and warping their sons mind. His mum turned to the bottle for answers, and his dad tried to get Chase moved from Gryffindor, different classes, out of Al’s life for good. He tried to poison, everything. Maybe it shows the real depth of their love or Chases’ true courage – he stepped up, he packed his things and moved out of their lives for good. He chose Al. And I don’t think he has ever looked back. He visits his mum on occasion during the holidays – but his dad remarried and just erased him from existence. Because he fell in love with the wrong person. It was rough for a while, but Al and all us Wotters stood by him. He has a sister – she hadn’t started here at Hogwarts before everything happened, so the dad shipped her off to Beaubaxtons Academy. Chase tries to keep in contact, but they hardly know each other.
“He asked to meet me yesterday at Three Broomsticks, and of course Al turned up, he didn’t agree with me giving him a second chance, but he was going to stand by me nonetheless.” Chase spoke with such adoration for my idiot cousin. “I was shit nervous. He had been so kind in all his letters, but I still wasn’t fully convinced he was a changed man. But I waited and waited, finally the door opened, they looked straight at me, and smiled, but it wasn’t him. It wasn’t my dad” Chase was leaning against the tree, his eyes a little glassy, mine too. I was sitting next to him, with my head on his shoulder, and hand comfortingly in his. “It was her, Helen, the woman he married. I felt so stupid, how could I not have known it wasn’t him. He hated me. And I had deluded myself into thinking he had gone and grown a conscience? The big time Quidditch player. I was an idiot” A tear trickled down his cheek. “They’ve separated now too, apparently he was having an affair or some shit, so she left. And she wanted to get to know me. I’d never met her before, she’s a writer for Quidditch Weekly. But I couldn’t handle it. It was too much. Even though he had nothing to do with it, my father had managed to ruin me. Again. So I politely told her to shove it. I stormed out, Al followed me and I just kept thinking about our group presentation. I know it’s stupid, but my brain had gone on auto pilot or something. So Al acquiesced and we made it back. After class, I got another letter, Helen told me to contact her again when I’m ready and that she’s here for me. I just cracked up, and Al walked in on me in hysterics. And I lost it. At him. I was just so angry. I was cruel Rosie. I was jealous of his supporting and accepting family. I was so cruel. He tried to comfort me, but I told him, to shove it too. And I ran. I ran from everything” He let out a breath, a defeated and exhausted breath. His eyes were empty, there was no life or spark or even pain, they were just hollow.
He was still running – but he had no one to run too.
What is that noise?
I turn over.
Merlin it’s freezing.
I reach for my quilt. I can’t find it. This is not my bed. Where am I?
“No matter how good friends we are Scorp, I’m not holding your hand” an amused voice spoke.
I crack open my eye and lower my blanket searching hand.
I’m in the common room.
He was seated at the foot of the couch. Eating what looked like a bowl of Seeker Snitches.
“Why are you sleeping on the couch?” He asked after a mouth full. I sit up – feeling very sleep deprived.
“Rose” I deadpan tiredly.
“Geez. You aren’t even dating and she’s already making you sleep on the couch. That’s rough mate” He smirks.
I just glare at him. Shouldn’t he be in like mortal pain? A drunken night of tone deaf noise was flashing through my ears.
“Why are you so chirpy?” I question suspiciously.
“Scorpius, the sun is shining, it’s a Wednesday, We’ve got a quidditch match on Saturday, and I’m enjoying a nutritious breakfast with my best mate – what is there not to be happy about?”
“Cheering charm, Pepperup potion or something stronger?” I asked knowingly.
“I’m hurt that you think so little of me” He scandalised, mock hurt.
“What’s going on? Where’s Chase?” If I wasn’t paying so close attention – I would have missed the pained expression cross his face.
“I assume he’s eating – you know breakfast, the usual activity that entertains people at this time of the day” Al rebuffs, turning away and stuffing his mouth full of cereal.
I didn’t respond. Something was wrong. Albus is never this snarky, or this cheery after a drunken bender. A certain birthday party comes to mind – I think Al was still drunk 2 days afterward. Or the Treacle Traffic Concert - He just cannot hold his liquor, well neither can Rose, but that’s another story.
“Al… is everything alright?” I begin tentatively.
He just looks at me.
“I already said...” He begins, but I cut him off.
“I know what you said. I’m asking about what you’re not saying”
“Look I’ve already had James at me this morning. Please just back off” he warned with an exhausted expression.
Now I know something is definitely wrong. I decide not to push. But try a different angle.
“You’re a terrible singer you know” I admit with a smirk.
Al looks confused for a second, then realisation hits. The lovely effects of intoxication.
He winces. “How bad?”
“Bad” I confess.
His façade drops for a second, and I see the black rings around his eyes, and the light green tint of his skin. He probably shouldn’t have inhaled breakfast so quickly.
“Excuse me” He mutters before racing up the stairs.
When I enter the dorm, he’s just coming out of the bathroom. He looks like shit. And evidently feels like it too.
“I’m never drinking again” He mutters.
“So why did you – weren’t you just going to find Chase and bring him back?” I ask the question which has been tormenting me since we found them last night. I have a feeling it’s not going to be good.
I thought maybe now he wasn’t all smiles and rainbows – he might be more respondent. Receptive to an explanation.
“I was” He replies definitive, sitting down on his bed.
“Until?” I prod, walking towards him.
“He dumped me”
“So I went after him. He was being a real arsehole, but he didn’t mean any of it. And I knew he still needed someone. Even just someone to yell at”
We were throwing a quaffle between us, I was sitting against the wall, and Al against his bed. He relented and told me about the devastating Hogsmeade lunch, and their argument afterwards. Al didn’t want to talk about it, but he needed too. As the best friend, and a roommate to both, I generally try to stay out of their squabbles, that’s all they have ever really been, little tiffs that don’t last longer than the next morning. Neither have any restraint – I remember Rose and I managed a full 3 weeks without speaking and we were paired together in potions. I wasn’t going to let her win. But of course inevitably, I lost.
“I was supposed to work through some plays with James that night – so I left him a note. Remind me again to rip him a new one for telling you and Rose” He glared at me.
“And remind me to rip you a new one, for not telling me or Rose” I returned.
He smiled. Still painfully, but a little more genuine, than the freak show I woke up too.
“No promises. I’m a forgetful person” He quipped.
“No worries. I’m not” I smirked back.
We were silent for a moment, just the momentum of the quaffle flying back and forth echoed across the room. Al’s attention was caught by a photo of us all on his nightstand.
His smile vanished.
“He was in bad shaped when I found him. I’d never seem him so bad. Even after the mess in third year. But yesterday - He wasn’t angry, He was just gone. Desolate. My Chase. I tried to reason with him, I tried and tried and tried. I wasn’t going to give up. And then he just said it. Five words. Five imploding words. I can’t do this anymore. And I stopped fighting. I stopped breathing. He looked at me so defeated, lost and pleading. I didn’t know what to say, or do. Never had things got so out of control. We fought. But we also laughed. I thought we would last forever. Happily fucking ever after and all that shit. But his Father – I guess he got what he wanted all along” Al spat resentfully.
“So we started drinking, and I guess the rest of the night we left on the dance floor and the vast amount of empty bottles we drank” Al finished, then slumped to lay on the floor. The quaffle now in his grasp, he began to throw it up and then catch it firmly. He wasn’t going to drop it, everything else was slipping away.
“Family, or lack of. It messes you up.” I eventually spoke. Al turned his head and caught my eye and he knew what I was thinking. I’d been there. The pain. The devastation. The emptiness. It’s suffocating. And all you feel like you can manage, is to breathe. And run… as far and as fast as you can.
“You know you snore”
My eyes fly open and I bolt straight up.
Rose Weasley is lying next to me in my bed.
“Am I dreaming?”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment and ignore the horrified look on your face” She smirked.
After Al left to go for a fly before class, to sort his head out. There’s nothing like travelling at break neck speeds and a 1000 foot drop below to clear the head and ease the pain. I was horrified to realise it was only 6.30am. So I decided to get a few more hours sleep before the day officially began. Hoping that drifting off would dissipate the memories which were drudged up.
“What are you doing in here?” I asked. I actually haven’t had a chance to stress about last night’s revelations and this morning’s sleeping arrangements. I thought she would have been avoiding me.
“Eating” she deadpanned.
“Yes I can see that. Isn’t there a dedicated place for those sorts of activities?” A crumb falls on my nose. What is it with me waking up to hungry Wotters?
“Yes but you weren’t there” she observes, taking another bite.
“Yes I’m here, in my bed, asleep or at least was – which you’re getting crumbs all over” I glance at the crumb covered quilt disapprovingly.
“I was going to share my muffin with you – but I’ve reconsidered” and she stuffs it in her mouth. Charming.
I just roll my eyes and sit up against the headboard beside her.
“What’s going on? You only harasses me in the mornings when you’re afraid of…” I cut myself off, as I recognise her choice of attire.
“What?” she looks at me with wide eyes.
“Is that my jumper?” I quirk an eyebrow at her.
“Nope. It’s mine” She smiles.
“Since when?” I question with a knowing smirk.
“Since no one claimed it” she reasoned. Her eyes sparkling.
“Well I was sleeping”
“That’s not my problem”
“It doesn’t even fit you” I tug on the end of it.
“I think it looks rather fetching” She looks down at the aforementioned questionable item.
I just laugh at her.
“I thought you would be avoiding me?” I admit hesitantly after a moment.
“Oh I was. I freaked out. Ate. Talked with Chase. And now I’m eating again. The usual. You act like sleeping together is some big issue. Now do you have any more of those delicious muffins?” She responded, got up and began searching through my trunk.
I was floundering.
“What? No… I don’t think… Muffins… I was sleeping…and” I stopped talking. Argh. She is evil.
“We need some brain food to make a plan” She ignored my mumbling and continued her food search.
“Plan? What plan?” I had a feeling I knew exactly where this was headed, but I wasn’t sure how much she knew and I didn’t feel it was my place to tell her.
“Merlin you’re slow in the mornings” she informs me.
I stand and walk towards her ransacking my trunk. Privacy - Not when it comes to Rose Weasley.
“I think there’s some croissants in there somewhere” I think back.
“Scorp, they’re long gone. Please try and keep up” She warns, without looking up.
“I assume you ate them” I pull another jumper on.
“Well, someone had too” she justifies.
“They were mine” I grumble.
“You’re sounding a little selfish Scorp. Now. We don’t have time for your antics” She gives me the Rose Weasley look (The I’m smarter and cuter than you – so give it up look) “We have to make a plan” Satisfied, that she’s looked everywhere, she finds some fudge and rips open the packet.
“A plan?” I ask again tiredly.
“To save Ace”
And don’t think I missed my new title. Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence and three times – maybe it’s not a lost cause after all.
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