Chapter 15 : Chapter Fifteen
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Chapter Image by the Brilliant Clara Oswald @ TDA
Three years ago today, I had just kissed Rose Weasley. Three years ago today, I thought I had everything. And then, I didn’t.
Just like last year and the year before that. A letter was patiently waiting to ambush me when I woke up. For some reason this is the day they decide to care and write to me. It’s like a solemn day of death not a celebration of life. They aren’t altogether bad parent’s, I definitely consider myself one of the lucky ones. But I guess the nightmare of three years ago broke them as much as it broke me. My father is still struggling with the past and my mother with the distance he has placed between them. My parents are both healers, so their work keeps them extremely busy and the most effective catalyst to not deal with anything at home. Even me I guess.
I rip open the letter and my eyes swarm on the words.
So it’s been another year. Your mother and I wanted to let you know that we are here for you. That even with their wrong doings, your grandparents still had their virtues and would be so proud of the man you have become.
Yes. There grandson the first Malfoy in Gryffindor, favorite subject Muggle Studies and best friends are Wotters – I’m sure they're bloody throwing me a party, up where ever they are. Not that dad ever had a problem with my friend’s last name. We were once extremely close. Fight the world together, one laugh at a time. Not so much anymore.
I know this day is never an easy one. And I know that we haven’t spoken in a little while. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry that we have let you down. I’m sorry that we haven’t been the parent’s you need us to be. I’m sorry that we haven’t been our best selves. We don’t want you to feel alone Scorpius. I know that our past actions don’t appear in support, but we need you and you need us. I can just imagine your eyes roll in rebuttal to our honesty, but things are changing. Your father and I have been seeking some help for the last few months, we didn’t tell you as we wanted to wait and evaluate our progress. It’s hopeful. We still have a long way to go. But I feel like we can finally move forward together, as a family. I will be forever grateful to those heroic friends of yours. They were there for you, when we couldn’t be. I guess when we chose not to be. I’m not perfect Scorpius. I make mistakes. Grief and pain can be extremely dangerous companions, as I’m sure you know. We blame ourselves. We are ashamed at the choices made in regards to them. We kept you from them. And we kept them from you. They did a lot of bad things Scorpius, but at the end of the day, they weren’t bad people. They just wanted to survive. I can’t really blame them for that.
I know you have grown to be strong and stand alone in your pain. But I hope with time, we can stand alongside you.
We love you Scorpius.
Mum and Dad.
I trace the aged folds in the letter. Malfoy’s aren’t sensitive people. We aren’t the type to apologize for our shortcomings. Well at least they didn’t use to. Mum wrote the words, but Dad wrestled with their consequences. But here it sits in my hand. A rehearsed sincere confession. But does it actually mean anything? Do I actually feel any different? Will it actually change anything? Not really.
So I pocket the mail and let future Scorpius deal with it.
After a long hot shower. I was finally starting to feel normal again. I had classes this morning. I assume the lads are already scoffing their faces in the great hall. Or in Al’s case scribbling down Friday’s homework.
So it wasn’t a surprise when I found the common room empty. However on second looks it wasn’t. For over in the corner, sat a fiery red head, obviously completely frustrated and definitely fighting impatience. But there she sat waiting for me anyway.
“Finally, you take forever. You realise if I miss breakfast, I will be just the biggest bundle of joy for the day” although she voiced the words with narrowed eyes, her voice betrayed her. She didn’t want to be anywhere else.
And there she goes again, completely taking my breath away. I’m in so much trouble.
“Unfortunately from being on the end of all your joyful moments I can verify that” I agreed.
Rose rolls her eyes, then stands and makes way to meet me at the portrait hole. “Ready?” She asks. And I know she doesn’t mean have I got all the correct text books for today’s classes.
“Not at all” I grin.
She smiles back. A true smile. A Rosie smile. A smile of understanding, hope and tad of impatience for berries.
I’d like to think we have been making progress lately. Rose and I. Of course I try not to let my hopes get too high. As you know, she’s kind of insane, and who knows what her next move will be. But if the quidditch party has taught me anything, it’s don’t give up, just yet.
“So what do you think?” The girl in question posed beside me. She just finished informing me of her conversation with Lily yesterday.
“Uh. Holding hands?” I answer back. I'm glad I resisted the urge to grab her hand as we walked to breakfast. Who knows what kind of chaos would have ensued. "I'd like to think it means something, for Al and Chase of course" I couldn't help but add.
"Yes. But I think they still have a lot of healing to do" Rose admitted.
"You need to be able to trust yourself before you can put that trust into someone else" I replied.
"True. But I also think when people are lost, they need an anchor, someone to help them find their way back, or at least someone out looking" she responded.
"And you say you don't believe in love" I smile.
"I don't. I'm far to enlightened" Rose argues back.
"Or pessimistic. Having something and losing it. Is still better than never having it at all" I inform her.
"That's the age old debate" she sighs.
"It's not always something you can prove. Truth or false. You have to believe in it. Jump with your eyes closed. Nothing is ever constant, forever" I try again.
"Sometimes love isn't enough, and the timings wrong and accepting that it's not supposed to be that hard, is the kindest thing you can do" she rebuffs me, of course. Stubborn as a rock, that Rose Weasley.
"Maybe. But I still want to hold your hand anyway" I smirk.
I received a punch in the arm for that. But I didn't miss the small smile that graced her lips. We made it in time for breakfast, Thank Merlin, and the princess got her berries. We were now walking towards the transfiguration classroom.
Rose stormed off to catch up with Al who was being comforted by Chase as he had somehow lost the hastily scribbled out assignment from the great hall to the classroom. I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a nightmare.
“Our Rosie giving you trouble again?” Fred laughed from beside me. I swear the guy just appears out of nowhere.
“When isn’t she? But it was actually my fault this time.” I deadpan.
“Oh. Should I punch you then?” he asks. And I don’t need to look at his face to know that he’s completely serious.
“Maybe another day” I frown.
“You know what you need to do Scorp?” Fred pats me on the back, ready to deliver some FWW (Freddie Weasley Wisdom). I really don’t know what he’s doing on this side of the castle. He currently has Divination. Which is nowhere near here. Perhaps he just has this sense, when his presence is required.
“Hmm?” I prompt. Hoping to Merlin, James hasn’t let Freddie back into the Witch Weekly pick-up lines again. Although he claims they are Fred Weasley Originals. I once heard him use… Have you just surfaced from the Great Lake, You’ve completely entrapped me with your tentacles. Yeah I think he was in the hospital wing for a week after that one. But you know Freddy, never loses hope.
“Confidence is key my friend. Confidence” he threw me a cheeky smile, a nod, like I knew exactly what he was talking about and he strode off. Rose is always informing me that I’m too arrogant. But what the hell, I’ll give it a go. I'm also fairly confident. I've had previous girlfriends, granted they didn't last longer than the odd Hogsmeade Date, and broom closet rendezvous. But I'm not completely daft.
I strode into class, ready for action. I spotted Rose already seated talking animatedly to Max (she’s still sporting the Blue hair, of course Fred is as well – at breakfast I heard him say. Maxie we're just a couple of strapping young blue pixies. He received a smack over the head for that one too) Should I really being doing this?
She turned and winked at me.
“Max I’m afraid this seat is taken” I declared once I reached their table.
Max quirks an eyebrow at me. “I know. I’m sitting in it” she gestures as if it’s obvious.
Rose just rolls her eyes. “Why exactly does she need to move?”
"Um... There's a draft" Nice Scorpius. I'm seriously the epitome of subtlety. Max was looking at me with a pitied look. Rose looks like she was about to burst into laughter.
Then... She smiles.
Hands me her scarf.
"Er..." I hold the foreign object in my hand hesitantly.
"Oh it's to keep you warm, over there-" she gestures to a seat on the opposite side of the room. "You know, to fight the draft"
And then she winks. Like I said an insufferable princess.
I sigh. Thank her politely and walk off.
Seriously Scorpius. Taking advice from Fred Weasley. I should be grateful I didn't get hit with a hex.
"So I couldn't help but notice the whole situation that happened in there" Max catches me as we leave Transfiguration.
"Oh. And here I'd nearly convinced myself that it never happened"
"You're still wearing her scarf"
"Well I didn't want her to think I was lying"
"Of course she knew you were lying!" Max scoffs.
"Merlin guys are daft"
I didn't really have a rebuttal for that.
"Why are you acting so weird, yesterday both of you were completely wrapped up in each other"
"Yeah but that was yesterday" I tried to justify.
"So what does that mean..."
"It means today I’m wearing her scarf. Not holding her hand"
"Now you just sound creepy"
"Yeah. I just took some bad advice is all"
"Let me guess. Fred?"
"You got off lightly then"
"Yes well I think I added in a little Scorpius anxiety. Which saved me from saying something truly humiliating"
"Yes. So what are you going to do about it?"
"Oh. I'm sure we will have a loud discussion about it at lunch and then I'll mope the rest of the day" I've accepted my fate.
"At least you've got a plan"
"Fred says plans are boring" I reply.
"Believe me, Fred could do with making a few plans, he might actually achieve something if he did" Max smiles and then walks off to join Jordan and Lucy.
I'm not really sure if that conversation actually helped at all.
Lunch didn't improve my depressive state. My letter from home, feeling like led in my pocket. The scarf around my neck, a chocking reminder of my hopelessness and the food on my plate, sits forgotten and untouched.
I'm actually a fairly cheerful person. Normally. Before. And still some days now. I mean happiness is never constant. It's as flighty as the Room of Requirement. Some days it's there. Some days it's not. Today is just a day I need to survive.
"Was the essay 3 foot or 5 for Herbology?" Al asked from beside me. Sandwich in one hand and quill scribbling furiously in the other.
"You really need to work on your time management skills"
He just gives me a look. "Devoted Quidditch captain"
"Lily deals alright" I shoot back.
We both turned to see the redhead in question with her head on the table, parchment everywhere, and Hugo warily patting her back.
Er. Maybe Not.
"Its 5 foot" I inform him. He grins then frowns. And his head lands on the table with a thud.
The troubling life of a sporting scholar. Like brother, like sister.
The afternoon bell finally rings. The day is over.
Al finished his essay, with minimal trauma. Chase managed to transfigure Penelope Flits textbook into a glass of water (I know I didn’t get it either, until she transfigured it back and all the pages were soggy). Max tried to explain to Fred, why she didn’t want him to add stripes in her blue hair, so they matched, with a great degree of difficulty. Jordan and James had another fight, unsurprisingly. Lucy stole one of my quills, I doubt I will ever see it again. Rose decided I wasn’t responsible enough to foster her scarf, after it may have taken a swim in my lunch. So she underhandedly stole it back, with minimal conversation. I think she is avoiding me.
And I… well I made it through the day. Which I think is a great achievement considering how it started.
But I guess I’ve come full circle as currently I’m staring down at a blank piece of parchment, uncertain how I feel, what I should say or whether I actually should write anything at all. One letter doesn’t just solve everything. It just makes things confusing.
Mum and Dad,
It’s never easy to admit fault or areas of accountability. We don’t like to name our imperfections or accept blame without an easy resolution. Life is difficult. In times of grief its human instinct to withdraw and heal alone. You lose trust in everything. Hide from ourselves, and others expectations. But if we are being candor, you aren’t alone in culpability. I didn’t break the silence. I think I reveled in it. If you weren’t talking, I didn’t either. I knew you were there and I hope you knew I was there too. But healing isn’t a team sport. It’s independent. Finding your own ways to face the world again. To trust. It’s comforting to know there is a person, out looking when we get lost. But effectively we are the ones holding the compass. I’ve never been alone. And I’ve always been found. You both made sure of that. Al, he’s family, my friends, they keep me grounded, distracted, loved. Rose drives me insane, as she does. But I wouldn’t really have it any other way. Even at home, because I live somewhere else. I perceive the reality of us. What we do, what we don’t do, what we don’t say. But you know me. Even if you haven’t been looking. I know you’re both out there and we all will find our way home again. We are Malfoys after all.
Don’t work too hard. Have some fun.
See you at Christmas.
Even after I’ve tied it to the family grey tawny owl, and watch my words fly completely out of my reach. I can’t help but doubt every single thing I said. This morning I woke up to a choking mess. Tonight, it’s still a mess, but I guess at least we have acknowledged its existence.
“You realise the stench of owl droppings and moldy parchment isn’t the most romantic atmosphere for a deep and meaningful broodathon” a voice speaks from the darkness. The voice that torments my dreams and is my every nightmare.
I smile. “I just love when you talk and insult me. It makes me feel special”
“Well you are special” she clarifies, and the gorgeous face of Rose Weasley appears before me.
“Ditto” I snark back as she takes place beside me. The comforting grounds of Hogwarts darken in the silence.
“So, have you been sending any unrequited love letters or have you just finally found your home among the parliament?” she begins after a moment. I don’t doubt for a second, she knew exactly what I was up here doing.
“I don’t think I have the hair for a politician”
“Yes, I think even a group of owls would over throw you with that unruly mess”
“People completely underestimate you”
“I like to keep them guessing”
“You definitely do”
It was then I realized we were holding hands. So I decided, with my parent’s letter still forefront in my mind. I need to decide, do I want to shatter the glass?
She’s standing proudly in a smelly, old tower, hand in hand with me, her supposed nemesis. If she can be brave. Why shouldn’t I?
“You’re holding my hand” I gesture to the limbs in question.
I feel her tense a little. Seriously did she think I wouldn’t notice?
“And here I thought you were stupid” she replies back casually.
Merlin, she is insufferable.
“I love the way you deflect with sarcasm. Keeps us in this undefined status” Yep I went there. All in.
“Well, what do you want me to say?” she responds after a moment, with complete lack of eye contact.
To hell with it all. “Something real” I whisper, and I lift her chin up with my finger. If she’s going to reject me, I at least want her to look me in the eyes when she does it.
“My hands are sweating” she tries back. However I notice the little pink tinge to her cheeks. The walls are breaking.
I gave her a glare and tightened my grip on her hand, so she didn’t just up and leave. Rose Weasley is definitely a flight risk.
“I… Uh. Um… I don’t know! ….I like your unruly hair” she gave in, with angry eyes and pink cheeks. And the walls crumble to dust.
I just smirked and she glared, but didn’t look away.
In that moment, it was enough. I leant forward and closed the distance between us. I could feel her shock and hesitance, or more likely defiance. But she soon reciprocated. Enthusiastically. Completely carefree, unlike the Rose I know.
Too soon for my liking we pulled apart. Her hand was tussled in my aforementioned unruly hair and the other was resting on my cheek.
Her eyes were wide, but she looked like she was lost somewhere else. Somewhere in the past. Somewhere that hurt. I have a feeling I may have been there too.
She blinked. “I…Um..” she tried. Her eyes took focus. All too soon, the window of honesty slammed shut. Rose was back, and she pulled away. Of course. We stood in silence for a couple of moments. I was trying to figure out where the mine fields were. She, well I’m sure she was calculating the fastest escape route.
Apparently she’s going through my face.
“Well this just got awkward” she spoke.
I very nearly laughed. I swear her body armor deflects as much emotion from getting out as it does getting in. I decided to just humor her. My head was a little fuzzy. Maybe I’m allergic to her perfume? “You just slapped me!” I huffed.
“I know. I’m quite proud of myself” she spoke truthfully, looking out into the distance.
“I’m sure your award will be arriving by owl any minute now” I replied, still rubbing my cheek. The girl has an arm on her.
“Just wait till you hear my acceptance speech” she responded, still not looking at me.
“I didn’t think I’d be invited” I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“Well of course” she smiled.
“So I can be humiliated?” I responded knowingly.
“No…” she turned and grinned “So you can sit in misery in the face of my win”
“Well it was just an honor to be nominated” I begin to close the distance between us, once again.
“We all know your well-rehearsed rejection speech” she shot back, bringing an arm around my shoulder.
“I’m just glad you’ve been paying attention” I smiled, and leaned in to close the last gap.
Her hand shot to my chest, holding me back.
“You kissed me” She burst out, like her head finally caught up to her. Mine was still relaxing back with my good friends Brave and idiot.
“I wondered when you were going to bring that up” I sighed.
“Evidently you weren’t” she glared.
“I prefer conversations to follow a less palpable track, you know so I actually might learn something” Stating the obvious is so mundane and ordinary and Rose Weasley is definitely not remotely ordinary.
“Yes I know, you’re afraid” she rolls her eyes.
“Afraid of my own awesomeness” I deflect.
“What were you thinking?” she shakes her head at me, not altogether angry, more amused.
“Me? You’re the one that kissed me back” I decided to go with deflect and avoid.
She couldn’t deny that. “True. Maybe we’ve gone loopy from the high altitude and fragrant stench”
Definitely a plausible theory, one I was expecting. One, I’m of course going to rebut. “I actually think you like me” Man I’m being daring tonight.
She gives me a horrified, but amused expression “I think you’ve just confirmed my theory”
“Rose” I try again.
“What?!” her eyes catch mine. Those frustrating and dangerous blue eyes.
And then I kissed her. And she kissed me back. I mean, how could she resist?
A/N – One year ago today I started this story and here I am fifteen chapters later and it still only feels like the beginning. I’ve got the next few chapters written, so hopefully will be updating more regularly. Thank you to everyone who is reading, reviewing and/or favoriting. I really appreciate the feedback, in all forms. As I was really nervous about posting this chapter, hence the 2 month hiatus. Anyway I hope you enjoyed it.
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