Chapter 18 : Chapter Eighteen
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Chapter Image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
The train is moving.
The truth that has been running through my head on repeat for the last 5 minutes.
The train is moving, and I’m a complete idiot.
~ Yesterday… ~
“Hey Al, have you seen my Christmas hoodie? You know the one that has the sneezing reindeer on the front, you know the one that drives Rose mental?” I grin. She really should have shared those berries.
I’ve just walked back up from breakfast, and Al just descended from the male dormitory, looking much the same as before, like a pumpkin exploded on him. Except there was a couple of concerning differences. His eyes were dark and the flirty smile, I had witnessed on the stair cases, erased from existence.
“Al?” I repeat. He hasn’t even looked in my direction.
I grab his shoulder as he storms past me.
Completely unexpectedly, he shoves me off.
“Did you know?” he accuses the angriest I have ever seen him. “Did you know and didn’t tell me?!”
I frown and open my mouth to ask what the hell is he talking about.
But before I can, he shoves me off again and storms out the portrait hole.
What the hell?!
I decide to brave the dormitory in search of an explanation. Or at least inspect the damage.
I push open the door, only to find… Chase flying out the window.
On his broom of course.
Still without his shirt on.
I run to the window to catch him, but he swiftly disappears into the distance. After Al he’s probably the next best flier. I turn to inspect the empty room, everything is normal, nothing is broken, and everything is quiet.
But everything was obviously not alright.
~ Later that night… ~
“What did you do?” I find the girl after numerous hectic searches around the castle, outside the kitchens. Now before you think it. I’m not an idiot, it was the first placed I looked. I was just smart enough to keep checking back regularly. She visits the place at least four times a day.
“Don’t worry I didn’t take it all” she rolls her eyes at me, grins with her arms full of sweets, then continues down the corridor. Her crimson curls flying wildly behind her.
“What did you do Rose?” I yell after her.
She turns back with a miserable expression “I practically had to do it, I was dying, and they were being pricks”
“What…” I respond.
“Well they wouldn’t stop laughing at me, because I was honest and let everything slip, so then I needed some chocolate to ease the humiliation” she supplied bashfully.
I’m still very confused.
“I’m sorry…” I reply.
“Apology accepted. Anyway nice chat. I must be going” she winked and then continued on her merry way.
What the hell does a wink mean? That is not the situation at hand Scorpius. Focus.
“Wait… I need to talk to you” I yelled to her swiftly retreating figure.
“Well keep up then” she shouts back.
“What did you do to Al and Chase?” I manage to catch her at the staircases.
“I knew you’d be back. Told you I’m a genius” she grins again. Why does she look so happy?
“What did you do?” I repeat again. Maybe I have things confused. They did look happy on the staircases.
“Nothing really” she admits.
“Define nothing” I enquire.
“They just needed a shove in the right direction” she continues.
“Define Shove” I repeat, with a slight edge, which Rose misses completely.
“It was harmless. And he has nothing to be ashamed of, his got a great body” she replies back with a hint of appreciation.
“Who’s great body?” I growl.
“Simmer down. So do you. As if you didn’t know already” she rolls her eyes at me. She really knows how to make a guy feel special.
“Can we just start at the beginning?” I try. Nothing is making sense.
“And I knew Al would go crazy if he saw” she adds off handily like its some minor detail. Like she’s telling some really great story, that’s she’s mighty proud of.
But it’s not. Everything finally clicked. No wonder he went mental. I’m going mental. “What the hell were you thinking?” I round on her. She takes a slight step back, confused at my reaction.
“I was trying to help” she explains with a quirked eyebrow.
“You just couldn’t help yourself could you?” I sneer.
“That’s what I said. It’s my best friend and cousin, I want them to be happy” she defends.
“Happy?!” I scoffed. I can’t believe what I’m hearing.
“Of course” she responds definitively.
“You have no idea what you did do you? You’ve ruined everything” I inform her angrily.
“Ruined?” she repeats confused.
“Albus nearly punched me, Chase has gone deadly silent. It’s all your fault, but don’t worry there’s sweets” I’ve gone into blind rage I think.
“What? I don’t understand” she implores, with a step towards me.
“Exactly your problem, everything’s a game” I’m too angry to stop. I’m too angry to listen. I was too angry to see that maybe nothing was making sense.
“A game?” she repeats.
“You meddle, you think it’s just harmless fun, never mind if you actually hurt someone” I’m just hurling insults at this point. Why is she still confused? She knows what she did. Why isn’t she apologising?
“Tread carefully” she warns.
“Your careless with everything, you’re never serious, and to get an honest conversation with you I’ve come to realise is an impossibility” I divulge angrily.
“Cause you’re so open right?” she scoffs back.
“It’s like I don’t know you at all” I growl.
Her face deflates. The light and happy expression obliterated. It was what I wanted right? “Well there’s your answer. You don’t know me. You never did. And you never will” she responds, her voice completely void of any emotion. Her eyes, like ice.
“Evidently” I agree.
“Resolutely” she binds. We’re standing about two feet apart. On the first floor landing. Her arms are still filled with sweets, and my hands are clenched. Our words alive and thick in the space between us.
I could perceive the hurt flashing in her beautiful blue eyes. I did that. And I’m not apologising. I don’t understand her at all.
“Enjoy your sweets” I sneer and begin back down the steps.
I’m nearly to the bottom when her soft voice rings out, “You know Scorpius, Thank you, for preventing me from making the biggest mistake I could ever make, TWICE”
I turned back but she was already gone.
~ Today at Breakfast… ~
There has been no improvement. Except the anger has dissipated and I just feel like crap.
And Rose isn’t eating, which probably should be marked as some historical moment or something. I’m seated a few spots down, she didn’t notice me when she arrived a few moments ago. She looks different. She doesn’t look like Rose. And nothing feels like Christmas.
I might go find Al, I haven’t really tried talking to Chase. I don’t really know what to say to either of them.
Why did she have to meddle?
“Okay. I don’t mean to be rude. But what the fuck did you do? You broke Rose!” Lucy catches me in the entrance hall. She followed me out. I could sense her trying to catch my eye. But I didn’t feel like chatting. I knew she would only yell at me.
“That would be the day” I roll my eyes. Maybe not all the anger is gone. They are my best friends. Al is like a brother to me. He is a brother to me.
“What, you think under all that attitude, she’s not a big marshmallow?” Lucy justifies offended.
“She sure enough eats enough of them” I pettily reply, crossing my arms.
“What the hell is wrong with you? You’re starting to piss me off, and I’m not above punching you” she threatens.
“Well go on then, complete my life” I scoff.
Lucy just frowns. “If you’re acting this way to me, I’m afraid what you said to Rose”
“She got off easy”
“I know you saw her in there, she deserved that?” she gestures to the great hall.
“Yes” I shoot back, resolute.
“She went too far” I defend.
“Al and Chase” I respond.
Luce goes silent for a minute, then “They weren’t at breakfast or dinner last night” she discerns.
“Merlin knows where they are, but I know for absolute certainty they aren’t together” I inform her.
“Rose’s matchmaking schemes backfired, brutally” I reply.
“And you decided to rub salt into her wound” Lucy concludes.
“Of course you did. Neither of you can resist” She adds.
I have nothing further to add to this conversation “I need to finish packing” I begin to walk backwards.
Lucy just nods and retreats back to the Great Hall.
What a way to start the holidays.
~ Before the train… ~
So packing was a bit of a non-event. There has been a further sighting of the elusive Ace. I met Al on the stairs, there wasn’t much to report, he was heading for the train with James and Jordan who were squabbling behind him. Then I met Chase waiting in the common room for Lucy, he didn’t really want to talk. Whenever they have a fight, they always distance themselves from me to try and not make it awkward, or the dormitory like a battle zone. But this is just unbearable.
“Please tell me I’m not going to have to search your trunk for contraband” A tired voice sounds from the door of the second year dormitory.
Channing Wood. Head girl. Gryffindor.
I grin “Nah, I’m a stickler for the rules” it’s an unsettling feeling, being fraudulent, like a masquerade. I guess if I’m not happy, I may as well pretend to be someone who is.
She just laughs.
“Isn’t James helping you?” I enquire.
Her eyes widen “James Potter – I just had to confiscate at least a third of his trunk” she scoffs, amused.
“So he’s still transitioning then?”
“His explained that it’s a lengthy process, and it’s going to be a day by day development.” She rolls her eyes. “But I’m mostly done, a few fifth year prefects are finishing up. Want to walk to the train together?” She adds confidently.
“Sure” I reply automatically. Maybe a distraction might actually lift my spirits a little.
~ On the Platform ~
“Oi” Only Lucy Weasley would greet someone with such grace.
I’d just spent the last 10 minutes in hysterics, as Channing retold the story of what is actually hidden in the locked cupboard behind Filches desk. So I’d momentarily ignored the dark cloud that has been painfully following me around. I hadn’t forgotten, I was just actually having fun.
So when I turned with a grin and met the angry face of Lucy Weasley, I was expecting the worst.
“What’s wrong?” I deadpan.
“Rose is MIA” she reveals solemnly.
I knew something like this would happen. I’m ignoring the jolt in my stomach.
“And…” There’s always something else when it comes to Lucy and Rose.
“She might be travelling with a jinxed trunk” Luce bites her lip guiltily.
“I’m guessing you’re privy to that piece of information, because you may have had a hand in it?” I decipher.
“You aren’t the only person who cares about Ace” she justifies.
I just roll my eyes.
“She told me she was walking with Hugo” Channing joins in. I’d nearly forgotten she was there.
“You talked to Rose?” Lucy and I both interrogated.
“…Yeah. I asked her if she wanted to walk with us, but she said she was meeting Hugo” Channing gestures to herself and me.
“Rose Lies” We both explained.
“Oh” Channing deflates.
“Well obviously you know nothing” Lucy concludes “I’m going to check with Hugo” she decides, then waltzes off.
I give Channing a reassuring smile, and we board the train.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll turn up” I try.
“I should have known. I thought it was weird, when I signed Hugo and Lily out 15 minutes earlier, but I guess maybe I was hoping for her to decline” she admits nervously.
“She isn’t my favourite person either” I agree. But from the dejected look on Channing’s face I think I might have missed something.
The train was very much alive, and extremely chaotic. Channing soon disappeared after a strange odour began smoking from underneath a compartment door. Disciplined that one. But unfortunately in her absence, my mask fell. So I welcomed back my friends moody and destructive. We came upon the Weasley Potter Compartment. Well the door. Inside I could hear the yelling. The frustration. The pandemonium.
And you know what I did…
So here I am. Sitting alone. The train is moving. My best friends hate each other. The girl I’m crazy about, ruined everything. The girl I’m crazy about probably missed the train. I’m an idiot. But what do I care?
I’m wearing a red pointy hat with a white pom pom on the end.
Merry fucking Christmas.
Al and Chase are holding hands.
Like Seriously. Oh my Merlin. What should I do? Just act natural. Smile. Let them know your cool, everything’s cool. Wait… No! Don’t look, I might scare them off.
Look at Lucy. She’s yelling at you. Nod. Yep, Nod.
I have so many questions. I’m so excited. They’re holding hands! What is going on? What does this mean? Do we still hate Rose? Is Ace back? I feel so honoured to be a part of this moment. I just want to hug them.
I’m grinning now. Lucy does not look pleased.
Tone it down. Tone it down.
Sigh. I’m so proud.
“HUGO – THE TRAIN IS MOVING” Lucy yells in my face. My face splits into a grin again. Oh who am I kidding, it’s been there all along.
“I know! And I’m completely on board!” I grab her into a bear hug, and nearly burst into tears. Love is just so beautiful.
“I think he’s in some sort of psychopathic trance” Lucy voices aloud to the others.
I can’t believe Rose is missing this. She’s going to kill me for missing this.
For once, it’s actually worth it.
They’re still holding hands.
I’ve found my person.
The food trolley lady and I are like kindred spirits. She’s the Jelly Slug to my heart. The Chocolate to my frog. The Treacle to my tart. The potato to my mash. The Pumpkin to my Pastie.
“Here’s another scoop”
She just gets me.
“I’m sorry I’m a blubbering mess” I sob.
“It’s alright Kid. The Marshmellow Ice-cream sometimes can do that” Opi the Food Lady awkwardly pats my shoulder in comfort. I was strewn amongst the candy delights in the food compartment with Opi. After aimlessly wondering the train for like 2 minutes. I tracked her down, since she hadn’t began her rounds yet. It was fate I tell you, my destiny.
The melting cone continues to drip all over my hand. The tears continue to stream down my cheeks.
“It’s just so beautiful” I whisper with complete admiration.
“I know” she solemnly agrees, carefully sorting the red berry liquorice from the chilli pepper ones. As we’ve been acquainted for about 15 minutes, Opi has adjusted to my sudden outbursts.
“It’s just I don’t think life can ever be this beautiful again” I weep in grief.
“Well it has won awards” she replies proudly.
“I feel honoured” I swear, with my hand on my heart.
“Well you did have the first scoop and… the last” she gestures to the empty container with furrowed brows.
“I don’t know how I’m ever going to leave you” I sob.
“I’d be a little more worried, but I understand you’re talking to the cone” Opi nods.
After a few more tears and complimentary liquorice wands, she decided/agreed to let me tag along as she served Hogwarts hungry and starved.
“Is your mother going to sue me when you’re running naked down the train from a sugar high?” She turns to me, not altogether worried, more waiting in anticipation for the excitement to begin.
“Well she didn’t the first time” I smile.
Opi just laughed.
“That’ll be 12 sickles” I politely total.
The kid hands over the money and grins in excitement as he unwraps his first ever acid cherry pop.
“You aren’t going to cry again are you?” Opi looks at me wearily.
“Opi, It’s truly a magical experience. Once you’re on the other side. You can never go back. It’s happened. Everything’s different. You’re different. And I’m playing a pivotal role. To that decision, that moment that defines a small part of you. That moment where you become adventurous or safe, determined or satisfied, Kind or intolerant. The moment where you find a piece of yourself. That moment that changes your life forever.” I smile wistfully. The darkness is slowly clearing, or at least turning to grey.
“You don’t get out much do you?” Opi turned to me with amused eyes. Her face is lined with life. Her eyes, though piercing are alight with fire. Her hands worn from crafting her successes and persevering in her failures. Her feet, holding tall an unappreciated hero, a shadow, the unidentified Chosen one. Her smile, real. She’s old. She’s wise. She’s a little grumpy. But she’s Opi, the lady with the trolley of food.
“Oh Merlin here comes wonder boy, always riles me up. Takeover will you, I’ll fetch some more peppermint fizz” she advises me. Role model right here.
“Grab some sugar quills” I add.
“There’s still a full box” she frowns.
“It’s empty” I grin sheepishly.
Opi just rolls her eyes. She understands. Giving is hungry work.
The troublemaker, Opi was so keen to avoid, unfortunately I recognise.
For someone who is paramountly strict about colouring inside the lines, he sure makes a mess of everyone else’s drawings.
“What can I do you for?” I enthusiastically offer. I’m at work. My personal problem with Alex, will have to be carefully served and communicated.
He frowns. Ah. Looks like he recognises me. “Wesley?”
“It sweet that you remember” I smile kindly. I think I might tear up.
He looks confused. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m travelling home for the holidays, like you I presume” I eloquently respond.
“But you’re serving sweets?”
“You know us Women Alex, brilliant multitaskers” I wink.
“But you should be wearing gloves and do you have the suitable permit and permission from the Department of Health and Safety? I know you like to be spontaneous, but I’m afraid this isn’t something you can just do without going through the appropriate channels” he begins snidely.
“I couldn’t agree with you more. You’re always looking out for me. I take this position with the utmost seriousness. I always like to apply a fresh pair of gloves with every new customer, I like to think it adds another layer of protection. Something the DHS have taken on board and are writing in for the next year’s agenda. And I’m proud to advertise, that this trolley is rolling with its very own DHS food of excellence award. It’s practically famous” I conceitedly and wickedly rebut. The students patiently waiting behind Alex begin to applaud.
I’ve missed this. The transformation of the big headed and small minded. It’s liberating. And I’m slightly impressed that he keeps trying. I was about to repeat my offer of assistance, when his hand twitches and latches onto a wrist behind him.
Mayday Mayday. We may have a hostage situation on our hands.
He just won’t admit defeat. He was always like a bloody cockroach.
“Rose” He begins. O-Oh. My first name. This isn’t going to be good.
“Have you met my new girlfriend?”
I unfortunately had to leave Opi. She understood, she always knew I wasn’t a lifer, but she said I always had a place, there with her, the trolley and the food. I admit I nearly cried. But there wasn’t time. I must find Lucy.
This is bad. This is very bad. I should have known. I should have been with her. What if she already knows? Why is he such a prick? I ended up handing her a Chocolate Rose (I thought it appropriate), wished them the best of luck, and made my exit. Well I may have accidently slipped a little something extra into his Pumpkin Pastie. He may need to stay close to the lavatory. The guy is always going on about the hazards of processed foods. I was just supporting his beliefs. What was he even doing at the food trolley in the first place? I remember sitting through a two hour long lecture one year, when I reluctantly offered him some Jelly Slugs, the presentation may have ended with his healthy and nutritional sandwich transfigured into a rat. Completely accidental. I was trying to use visual aids, to argue my point. After that, Lucy and Alex decided to travel separately on the train. I like to think I still left the victor, but with Alex, you never know.
I skid to a stop, in front of the previously appointed Weasley Potter Cabin. It wasn’t as rowdy as before, they must be eating. Although I never saw them when I was manning the Food Trolley. They better not be munching through Hugo’s stash, I totally had dibs.
I was about to knock when the door slid open and I fall to the ground with a thud, and a painful throbbing begins on my eye. Not this again.
“Oh Shit!” Jordan exclaims apologetic. Not sure what language the apology was in. I remove my hand and squint at her confusedly. Her eyes widen and she squeals. The chaos really begins then.
“ROSE” they all chorus and nearly body slam me.
Well this is knew. My family loves me again.
After they realised I’d just been punched, they provided me with a little wriggle room, and a seat to catch my breath. Apparently Jordan was aiming for Fred who ducked.
“I was protecting my assets” He cries indignantly. With a hand gesturing to the face, well his nose more specifically, he’d attached an artificial festive Christmas Snowman Carrot nose for the festive season. It really didn’t become him.
“You better watch yourself Weasley” Jordan threatens, biting ferociously at him. Fred just grins.
“Why is Jordan and Fred fighting?” I ask.
“Well I was trying to formulate a plan, to rescue you, but Fred would not keep his damn nose out of my face. I warned him it would happen” her eyes narrow.
Yes. We’re all accustomed to Jordan’s fair warnings. It probably went a little like That’s it! Fred I’m going to punch you! Max, and James send me a knowing look. I don’t know where everyone else is.
“Why did I need rescuing?” I remember.
“Well you missed the train” James explains.
“Oh. Shit! Really?” I jump up. Wait… No I didn’t.
“Yes! It was incredibly irresponsible of you” James shakes his head disappointed in me.
“It really doesn’t sound like me. I’m always on time” I sit back down.
“On time for Lunch maybe” Jordan mumbles.
I punched her in the arm for that. Hey… it was only fair.
Unfortunately the hand holding didn’t last long, as Albus left to find Scorpius, see if he had any news, and Chase decided to tag along with Luce and I, apparently there had been a sighting of an elusive redhead near the south end of the train.`
I didn’t have my hopes up.
I don’t think anyone else noticed the exciting moment. Lucy seemed distracted.
The food trolley must be parked somewhere up here as there appears to be a crowd forming. But when we come upon the scene, It’s not the highly sort after sweets people are lining up for, it’s the men’s room. Apparently someone is hiding in there, well turning into a long term occupant.
“He nearly didn’t make it” I overheard one boy narrating. “He practically threw Jack out of the stall” he gestures to his friend. “I didn’t think I’d live to see the day when Pompous Prefect Alex got scorned. I fear whoever was game enough to prank him, they’ve got balls” he sounds impressed.
Rose will be livid she missed that. First Ace, and now this, maybe I should think about conjuring a shield charm?
I look to Lucy, but she was grinning. She was laughing. She looked wild. Downright Devious.
“Rose is on the train” she surmises.
Where? What? Oh. Of course.
I don’t know whether to feel loved that they were all worried about me or insulted at their obvious lack of faith in me. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s been a long day and I just want to get home. And hey, at least they’re talking to me again. Not that I really deserve it. I need to try again with Chase or Al.
But first, Lucy.
I keep nervously checking the door, for Lucy’s return. Max filled me in on everyone’s whereabouts. So Scorpius wasn’t worried at all. Figures. The guy is a prick. Probably enjoying a nice train ride in the company of the perfect Channing.
Fred was trying to add Red streaks to his hair, so he had the Christmas factor. As the blue was turned to green in a fit of revenge. In the luggage compartment, A first year, Outsmarted them. I was so proud. Max blames Fred, but I heard she threw the first Apricot (I’m not really sure on the specifics). However they both manage to pull off the green. You know except they look like Slytherins. But I guess we can all be a little cunning and selfish at one point or another.
Jordan is sleeping, she really should be fetching me an ice pack. James is eating through a packet of Jelly Slugs which have a concerning label on the front, Property of Lily Potter, Eat and be slugged! Er. I’ll send Flowers to the funeral.
Muffled voices become distinctive outside the door. James stuffs the bag behind the pillow. Yeah like that’s going to help. “Why would she come back here? We’ve all been horrible to her” I hear a male voice, which sounds vaguely like my sceptical little brother. Before I could even decipher what they were talking about…
The door slides open to reveal Lucy and Hugo. She smiles at me and responds “Because of me”
Well Rose is on the train.
I should be relieved. I should have been worried. I should care.
However that’s my problem isn’t it. How many excuses do I make for her? When she doesn’t give an ounce about me? When she hurt’s my best friends? When she thinks her little meddling ways are just harmless?
I just can’t even… She just makes me so…
She was smiling. After what she did. I feel like punching a hole in the wall.
Sue me… Yes, I may have been looking. As Yes, I may have been worried and even though I shouldn’t, I did care.
Of course she was with the sweets. I knew if I hung out for it long enough, she would appear eventually. On the train or not. It’s like she’s magnetised to them or something. I used to love that about her. I thought it was endearingly adorable.
How delusional was I?
Drew Collins is walking around with her scarf, like a gold medal around his neck. I did punch the wall then. Better than his face I guess. Not because of him, because then she’d know it was me. My bruised knuckles are fuelling the rage that keeps swelling. Does she have no compassion for anyone?
“Scorpius…?” Al voiced from opposite me.
I blinked and loosened my clenched fist “…Yeah”
“I said can you pass the Flask?” Al repeats confused.
Al found me about 5 minutes ago. He took one look at my bruised hand, sat down and pulled out the Firewhisky. This is why we’re best friends.
We aren’t drunk. Slightly buzzed maybe.
“I think I’ve finally decided” Al continues. We’ve sort of got this silent agreement to not discuss, Rose, Chase or any other potential conflicts that may have led to us drinking our problems away on board the Hogwarts express.
“Took you long enough” I replied.
“Dragon” he decided.
“Like that isn’t a cliché” I scoffed.
“Well they can fly, breath fire, who wouldn’t want to be a dragon? Maybe I like being one of the masses” Al argues.
“You once sent a fireball through the Gryffindor quidditch stands, because no one was paying attention to you” I smirked.
“Well I am Captain.” He justifies.
“Yes, and that’s totally one of the many isn’t it” I goad.
“I can’t help it if people see me as a leader” he replies, a little pompously.
“Yeah it’s not like you campaigned for the position or anything” I smirked, thinking of the endless posters around the school Al Potter QC, Vote him in, Gryffindor for the win. Rose created the limerick, and Chase photographed the head and in-action shots. I remember one day, Al had to do a Wronksi Feint about 300 times, to perfectly illustrate his quidditch brilliance. Those were the good times. Before everything got complicated. Before everything fell apart.
I looked to Al, he must have been thinking the same. He wasn’t smiling dazedly anymore. His expression was just blank.
I broke The Drunk Train Ride Rule Number 1 - Don’t mention those who made us want to get drunk in the first place.
“Sorry” I mumbled. Idiot.
Al was looking out the window. He turned to me… “Why? I’m not”
I just shrugged in response, what am I supposed to say. He hasn’t told me about Chase. I only know because I figured it out. And I’m not near enough drunk yet to broach the subject voluntarily. So I took another swig, it burned as it ran down my throat.
After a moment I asked the question I feared the most “So it’s all worth it then?”
Al looked at me and after a time he smiled, it was a foreign appearance, the guy has been nothing but a banished Weasley gnome on crack since yesterday. But now he looks weird. Hurt. Angry. Drunk. But hopeful. “Who said it’s over?”
Well. Cheers to that.
“Not that I’m not glad to see you or anything, but honestly, priorities, did you bring me anything to eat?” I enquire. It feels like an age since Opi and her marshmallow ice-cream.
Lucy rolls her eyes. Hugo just laughs. And Fred kindly offers me a bite of his nose. Well at least someone cares.
“Can we talk?” Luce gestures to the door. Hugo grabs the jelly slugs from James’ completely hidden spot, and stuffs his face. Well… the damage has already been done, can’t blame the guy for finding comfort in the wreckage.
I follow Lucy outside into the hall. We haven’t actually talked since breakfast. First she was hating on Scorpius as he was being a conceited, fat headed prick. Then she began mimicking his behaviour. It was actually quite hurtful. He obviously told her. She didn’t verbally abuse me like he did, just turned away with a cold shoulder. So I hate myself, and everyone hates me, sounds like a great way to start the holidays.
“You realise he’ll be out for revenge” Lucy finally begins. It seemed as if she was still at war with herself about talking to me at all. So she knew. Of course she knew. And I know underneath that tough Kevlar façade, she’s crying inside.
I just look at her blankly. She is still a prefect.
“Thank you for having my back” She adds, nervously.
I manage to smile in response. Thank you for not having mine. It seemed Lucy followed the same thought.
“Chase went to find Al” She answered my unspoken question.
I was about to respond when a group of girls nearly trample me in their haste.
“Oi! Watch it” Lucy yells as she hauls me back to my feet.
“Hurry we’re going to miss it” One girl squeals and then they run off giggling. My apology obviously stuffed forgotten in the bottom of their oversized, over-used, beauty case.
I looked back to Lucy, but she had her second nose sniffing. Trouble. I swear she must be part wolf or something.
She grabbed my hand and we were off.
I don’t know what I expected to find really. Gerald and Fiona’s annual holiday break up. Happened this morning. Jack Kerry without a shirt and face full of apple pie. Last night’s feast. A naked Slytherin, streaking down the halls, after paying up a lost bet. Hopefully still to come. Alex stuck on the loo, cursing my existence. Probably still presently occurring. Insert Evil Cackle. Mwahahahaha. Chase and Al making up in the luggage car. Well wouldn’t that just solve all my problems?
However what I did find…
Was not remotely amusing, a repeated offense, or wishful thinking. However it did include Ace, and I may have been accidently responsible.
Scorpius had just punched Chase in the face.
He was being held back by Channing. Chase was holding his Jaw. And Al was staring between the two in shock.
The rest of the Wotter’s had heard the commotion and found us. Lucy was trying to move along the mob of spectators. I had no idea what the hell happened.
I moved to check on Chase. Scorpius noticed our entry and outright glared at me, he also shrugged off Channing’s hold. AL seemed to finally find his voice. “What the hell?!” This was directed at Scorpius.
“He started it” Scorpius defended.
“He just wanted to talk” Al returned.
“He doesn’t deserve to talk. I’m sure Rose led him a stray but, he wasn’t imperiulised” Scorpius returned. The he wasn’t saying much at all. But then again, Chase was never really one for confrontation, especially when your opponent is you ex boyfriend’s best friend. I mean isn’t that just asking for trouble?
At the mention of my name, and an unforgivable curse, everything got decidedly louder, whispers circulated of our secret affair (Chase and Mine) if the guy wasn’t sporting a bruised jaw, and Scorpius didn’t look deadly serious, I might have laughed.
Instead… Al yelled.
“What on earth are you talking about?” Al thunders.
“I know what he did, they did” he points to Chase and myself. Lucy looks a little angry again. James and Lily have joined the fray, dressed like me, with puzzled expressions.
“Oh.” Al deflates. “But that isn’t your fight” he adds.
“He cheated on you. I’m your best friend” Scorpius justified.
“What?” Pretty much everyone yells.
“Rose set it up” Scorpius accuses.
Eyes and eyes swarm on me. Some shocked beyond belief. Some completely disbelieving. Some excited by my downfall. And some already content with my guilt. Lucy was among the latter. Well that just broke my heart.
I think I stopped breathing. How could anyone think I was capable of such a hideous act? That I would ever even instigate something like that? That Chase would even agree to… like seriously!!!
“What?” I hoarsely manage.
“Do you want me to repeat it?” he threatens. This time, looking directly at me.
“Why on earth would you think that?” I demand.
“Because you told me” he defends.
“No I didn’t” I respond resolute.
“Yes you did” he replies just as definite.
“It didn’t ever happen. So how could I tell you about it?” I explain.
“It’s a little late to save face” he scoffs.
“I know. And I don’t feel the least bit sorry for you” I respond. I’d caught up. Boy was he going to hate himself tomorrow. What an arsehole. He definitely got one thing right last night, he doesn’t know me at all.
There wasn’t an explanation, evidence given, arguments debated, witnesses called, a verdict, a judge residing, Innocent or guilty. There was just Al, with one look, the trust from a best friend, and the seed of doubt began to grow, the smoke cleared, the blinding rage dissipated, and the unforgiving eyes, blinked.
“You didn’t…” Scorpius begins.
“Never” I finish.
“Completely misunderstood” I confirmed unwaveringly.
His eyes widened in terror and regret. He turns to Chase.
“I…” Scorpius starts.
“Don’t. Even though it wasn’t what you thought. I still deserved it” Chase frowns.
“Right.” The guy obviously seems to have regained enough sense not to open that can of worms. He turns next to his best friend. Who wasn’t looking angry, more resigned. “Al…” Scorpius begins nervously.
“If you hadn’t I probably would have” Al admitted, with a small glance at Chase who disappeared through the crowd. Al followed. I don’t know when things have ever been so messed up.
Scorpius just nods slowly, in response. Then he looks at me. Direct. Apologetic. A little hazily. The empty flask lay forgotten on the floor, but I think it was the most obvious thing in the compartment.
“I…Um…” he begins. Everyone seemed to scram. Normally a Scorpius and Rose showdown is a never missed event. But when Lucy Weasley is riddled with a guilty conscience, the audience is dispersed quickly.
We were standing on opposite ends of the compartment. I felt numb. I felt like I was looking at someone that is forever out of my reach. Someone who doesn’t trust me. Someone who must look at me and see a stranger. Someone who doesn’t accept me as I am.
“Rose... I…” Scorpius begins.
“Stop.” I implore and turn for the door. It slides open.
“Wait… Last night…” He grabs my arm. It burns. I fear it will be forever seared onto my skin. Like his smell consumes me, and I can’t breathe. His eyes are holding me in place, I feel paralysed. His words are remorseful, but I can’t silence the unsaid. His expression isn’t hopeful, it’s fractured. He knows there isn’t anything to say. But he knows once I walk out the door, it’s over. He reels me back in. I relinquish. It slides closed.
“Was extremely enlightening” I finished for him, turning into his waiting arms.
“I messed up” he acknowledges.
“No... I did” I admit. We were close now. I could feel his warm breath on my face. He had a hand around my waist. My palm holding his cheek. Our eyes, fixed on one another.
“No…” He responds pleadingly.
“I let you in…” I begin. “And you let me go.” A tear falls.
“Rose” He tries. But I close the distance. At first it was soft, light and graceful. But that wasn’t us. It’s never been us. I jumped into his arms and Scorpius caught me. He held me close. My legs locked around his waist. My hands tussled into his soft perfect hair. He backed us against the door. The kiss got deeper. Heated. Demanding, wanting, longing, aggressive, perfect. Fireworks. Snow. Fudge. Firewhisky. Tears. Passion. All my favourite things. We didn’t want to let go. He knew what it was.
It was a moment. A fleeting beautiful moment of truth. A moment for us. A beautiful disaster. It wasn’t an impulse. It was our goodbye, at least for now.
He pulled away first. We were still nose to nose. Eye to eye. Blue to blue. Pain to pain. Love to love. He wiped away the traitorous tears falling down my cheeks. I never cry. But Scorpius Malfoy is the one guy worth breaking all the rules.
“I’m sorry” He whispers. I think he might be crying too.
“I know” I sincerely reply. But we can’t go back. He may know me better than anyone, but not enough it seems.
I wrap my arms around him again and hold on tight.
“I can’t believe I’m going to lose you again” he mumbles into my shoulder. More to himself than to me.
I didn’t know how to respond. So I didn’t.
I unhook my legs. And my feet touch the ground. We were still close. Moulded together. We fit perfectly. I looked up. Our lips met for one last brief fleeting fraction in time. Light. Like it never really happened at all. I turned, took a deep breath and shakily opened the door.
And he didn’t stop me.
“Here” He hands me an icepack. A peace offering.
“Thank you” I replied.
We were at the back of the train. I needed fresh air. The landscape flashes past, beside us one minute, then left behind in the next. Story of my life really.
The icy tracks guide us home, we will be in London soon enough. I don’t blame Scorpius. I mean it is insulting. I’ve shared a dorm with the guy for five and half years. And he has been crazy about Rose for the duration. Loyalty and love can do that sometimes. Blur the lines and hide the truth. Al has given him a home as much as he has me. You spend a lifetime trying to repay that kind of gift. To belong somewhere. To feel safe. And wanted. He found that place in Rose too. But she can be meddlesome and doesn’t always talk in fully understandable sentences. I hope they can work it out somehow.
I look up. Al was staring ahead. The words still unsure on his lips. He turns to me…
“Thank you, for coming home, even though I've made you feel like you shouldn’t”
I didn’t know what to say. There goes the guy again. Completely taking my breath away. For a while I didn’t speak. We just stood, side by side, together.
“I just don’t want to hold you back” I whisper to the distance disappearing in front of me. The truth. The thoughts that keep me up at night, and weigh me down every day. The wind, carries my voice, but the consequence of my words, lays heavy between us.
Al sighs then softly responds “You hold me together” and his hand finds mine.
Then the door creaks open.
Our hands fall.
Our eyes widen.
Her hair is a mess. Her face is tear stained red. Her eye is bruising black rather rapidly. But there she stands. Strong, with her head held high. Her expression forgiving, and her eyes kind and apologetic. Like she has anything to be sorry for.
Al moves first and engulfs her in a hug, whispers something in her ear and with one last glance at me, closes the door.
Someone else needs him now. We can see her, imagine what he looks like.
Rose moves and stands beside me, she curls her arm around mine and leans her head on my shoulder. A couple of tears slip down her cheek.
She doesn’t ask what really happened. How everything fell to pieces. Why Al was so angry. Why I was so quiet. After all, she’s the one who lost something. Someone. Collateral damage some would say. Everything happens for a reason. People make their own choices. I think on some level she has her suspicions. She knows, it was me. I’m the reason we’re here. Alone. Broken. But here she stands, beside me, supportive, comforting, because she knew I needed her. Because she knew there was a reason. Because she knew it wasn’t really my fault. Even though I don’t.
It’s just life.
The green mountains and valleys, transform to the concrete jungle of over populated streets, dark clouds and colourful Christmas lights. London. Home. I guess.
The ache that has been heavy in my chest for months, numbs. I’m not going to let it consume me. I’m stronger than that. And I’m not alone.
I’m Chase Adams, and he is worth fighting for.
Ginny Potter POV.
I should have made a sign. Eh. They’ll find me I guess.
I should have let Harry come along. But he’s like another child I have to muster. And I’m not too fond of him at the moment.
I shouldn’t have let him talk me into buying James his very own car to drive home in. But he claims, James is ready for the responsibility. Last week he wrote me to send him another pygmy puff as he was minding Jordan’s and had lost it. Then another followed 5 minutes later with…
Disregard. Mystery Solved.
It was hiding in Fred’s shoe. The fluff ball was just sleeping. Er. I think.
Or maybe past out from the smell.
“You really need to quit worrying. I think he might surprise us” A voice whispers behind my ear and an arm circles my waist. A small smile pricks my lips.
“I thought I told you to wait by the car” I warn.
“You did” he agrees smugly.
“So… did you just miss me too much or misunderstand my instruction”
“I didn’t realise separation anxiety was a suitable argument”
“Lucky I didn’t miss you then”
“Maybe. But I am clever”
I sighed. “You have the car in your pocket don’t you?” I turn and face the handsome and mischievous face of my husband.
He frowns. “Well so much for clever”
I just laughed and swatted his hands away. He is charming, and I begrudgingly admit, Clever. But I’m still mad at him.
The students begin to fill the station. Families swarm to meet their children. Some are making first introductions, with red cheeks and sweaty palms. Some are braiding hair, and removing make-up, so their true selves are masked with innocence. Some are charming last minute grades. Some are exchanging holiday gifts. Some won’t leave the friendship hug. Some are sneaking a last minute snog or smoke. And some are waiting for the parents that won’t arrive.
Harry squeezes my hand.
A streak of red hair catches my eye. Lily comes bounding towards us. “Mum, dad, Missed you, Merry Christmas and such. Did you bring me anything to eat? I’m starved” Lily grabs us in a hug. But really she’s searching our pockets.
“Mum. Lily tried to bite me” Enter James (The supposed responsible Head Boy).
“He ate my Jelly Slugs” Lily (The one inhaling a chocolate bar)
“Well Jordan punched me” Rose (The one sporting a black eye).
“I was aiming for Fred” Jordan (The one sporting bruised knuckles).
“I was protecting my nose” Fred (The one wearing a carrot nose and I’m not going to mention the hair)
“You’ve been eating it. How precious can it be?” Hugo. (The one with slug eater written on his forehead, James is identically branded).
“He has another two spare in his pocket” Max. (The one holding onto her beanie, whilst winking at me, oh dear)
“Well he gave one to Dom” Chase. (The one sporting a bruised jaw)
“A parting gift, when he stole my fudge” Dom. (The one with her lipstick smudged)
“Well that was considerate” Louis. (The conspicuously normal looking one).
“Rose nearly missed the train” Al. (The one with his shirt on back to front and inside out, Where is this boy’s mother, honestly)
“The important word being nearly” Scorpius. (The other one with bruised knuckles)
“Fred has green hair” Harry. (My One One)
“It looks quite fetching” Harry again.
“I jinxed Roses trunk” Lucy. (The one I need to watch the most)
“I had nothing to do with it” Jordan.
“It was your idea” Max.
“Take off your hat” Jordan.
“No.” Max, pulls her hat down tighter.
Harry and I share a look. He laughs at the monstrosity of kids before us. Then winks at me.
Let the madness begin.
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