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Chapter 20 : Solace Amongst Insanity
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breathtaking chapter image by rojia @ TDA
Time seemed to move faster than ever at the summer house now. That, or with the rest of Rose's hearing around the corner, time seemed to stand still. I couldn't tell. And it didn't matter to me really. I was just happy I was with Rose; I was glad that she had found happiness during a dark time. I knew that the trial was freaking her out. It was there deep down, but I did my best to try to make her forget. Anytime a conversation about it would surface, I would change the subject, divert it with a stupid joke that always got a laugh from her. We tried to keep our thoughts away from the subject, and sometimes it was pretty easy. Others, it was fairly difficult.
We finally came to the agreement one day that we wouldn't talk about the trial until Ruckman appeared again to order us back in the Wizengamot. We knew that neither of us could change anything about the trial or speed up the process, so why worry about something that you couldn't change? I had to convince Rose of this. It was a conversation that showed how truly nervous she was. I could tell that she didn't like me knowing how deeply troubled she was, but when I consoled her and reassured her, I could tell that she was happy she had a shoulder to lean on. She finally agreed, and after that, things had been brilliant.
We spent our days either in our beds together, in the living room playing cards, down by the sand or in the water. Our skin was shades darker due to our many hours out in the sun; we had a bronze tint to our skin now, and it only furthered the impression that we were truly on a vacation.
Time had gone by so quickly that the full moon had come around once again. I had been craving my red meats again, and as such, I cooked us some hearty steaks for dinner. But I had made sure that I was by Rose's side all day to ward off and possible rages. She did something to me that I couldn't quite understand that made me relax, made me understand that everything was all right and it would always be. Despite this, I was dreading the coming of the night. With our new relationship, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to get away with it this time.
There were a lot of things I was beginning to have trouble getting away with. Instead of locking myself in my bedroom and apparating to the Ministry, Peakes and I had to owl each other to stay in touch. I couldn't find a reasonable excuse to get myself away from Rose and the summer house long enough to get to the Ministry and hold an effective conversation with Peakes and the lot of them at the Ministry. This had taken its effect on a lot of things. Certainly my knowledge of the progression of the case, what Peakes had found out, and it had also stumped the speed of the case. I hadn't realized that my ability to go back and forth and my new information was so vital to the timing and the process of the trial. It had slowed down extremely since my romance with Rose started because we had grown closer and I was trying less and less to pressure her about what she knew, if she could truly be helpful at all. Peakes' grand scheme of having me disguise myself was almost entering the obsolete stages. I was an important key part in the trial that I hadn't even realized till now.
If we wanted to end this trial soon - which was growing to be the longest trial the Ministry of Magic had ever seen - then I would have to find a day to go to the Ministry myself, to divert Rose in some way long enough to do so.
I was in the kitchen making us some tea. I poured the hot liquid into two cups, dropped two sugar cubes into Rose's, and went out onto the patio. I handed her own mug to her before I clambered into the hammock beside her. She giggled as it wobbled back and forth, and for a moment I thought I had disturbed its balance enough so that we would topple over, but we finally regained our balance. I leaned over and kissed her cheek, pushing back a lock of her red hair and kissing the newly exposed skin.
Rose and I loved our sunsets in the hammock together. It was how we ended the day now. Sometimes we even fell asleep in the hammock together, using each other's body as a system for heat. As much as I loved the sound of that and could feel Rose anticipating a night in the hammock together, I knew I couldn't do that.
I had to go indoors, and as much as I didn't want Rose to know I would have a fit later this evening, I knew I had to keep her with me if I didn't want to rage too greatly. So I had to come up with a plan. And fast.
Our day had been so peaceful, so tranquil, and so relaxing. It would be a complete surprise to Rose if I started to go crazy later. I had to do something that would lead to it, work up to it in case I did happen to lose control at some point tonight. I would keep Rose with me, though. Maybe with her arms around me, I would stay calm.
Rose and I were just sitting in silence, looking at the sunset when I gave a defeated sigh. I made sure it was loud enough and depressing enough to gain her attention. Her eyes immediately moved to me with worry, and she gripped my knee with her free hand.
"What's wrong?" she said quietly.
"This has been going on for so long now. When will it end?" I asked in pain. And it truly was. The case had been going on for nearly two months now. I was fine at the house. I was with Rose and living a grand vacation, but I knew it stressed her out more and more as the days went by. She had to sit back and wait for someone to order her back to Wizengamot where her freedom would be put on the line. She was holding a great face, but I couldn't imagine how truly distressed she was inside.
Her kind and supportive look immediately faded. Her eyes drifted from mine, and I knew I had struck a nerve.
"I don't know. But we're okay, right? I mean...We have each other now. You've been great for me, for the trial, I mean. You've kept my mind off things, and sometimes when I remember, I try to tell myself that it's just you and me in the world, that we're on vacation and nothing else matters. Then things get better. You've helped me so much. Am I not doing the same for you...?"
"No, no, Rosie," I said quickly. I turned to face her. I set my mug on the ground and cupped her face in my hands, rubbing my thumbs against her cheeks. "Of course you have. You really have. I'm sorry. I'm just having a moment. I mean, we can't stay here forever. What kind of life is this?"
"I know..." she whispered, pulling her face free and looking away. "I'm sure those Aurors are on the case. The world wants to know who killed the Minister. I'm sure they're doing everything in their power to figure out just what happened."
Oh, you have no idea... I thought. Peakes was certainly doing a lot in his power, but if he were doing everything then things would be going a lot differently. I had learned of Peakes recently to be a harsh man. I knew he had no boundaries now.
"Still! Don't get me wrong; I love being with you, and here with you. But I want to be other places too, be other places with you." I was sure to stress that I wanted her by my side, for I didn't want to offend her, and it was the God's honest truth that I wanted her by my side. I did. I didn't ever want her to leave my side either.
Her smile was sad, and she crawled into my lap, putting my arms about her. She wrapped my own arms about her and leaned against my chest to show that she wasn't going anywhere, that I was all hers and that she was all mine, and for us that should be enough. The gesture made my eyes sting with tears. For I knew I was all hers. She had my heart, and would probably have it forever. It just pained me so deeply to know that I was lying to her.
Sometimes I did wish we could run away, that I could be Scorpius forever so she would never have to find out, for how could she possibly trust me after she found out?
"Rose..." I whispered, shaking with every breath I took. The words that left my mouth surprised even myself. "We could leave. We know we are able to leave this place...We could run away; no one could ever find us. It could be just you and me!"
"Scorpius!" she gasped, appalled and turning in my lap to face me. "You know we couldn't get away with that."
"I don't know that! And neither do you!" I said quickly, panting, holding her tightly to my body, never wanting her to leave me, never wanting her to know who I truly am.
Shit, what's wrong with me?!
"W-We couldn't do that..." she whispered, her voice trailing off. Soon enough she turned her head to hide her eyes. She knew I could read everything in her eyes, and she hid them from me purposefully. So that I couldn't see that even she had begun to consider the idea.
It was ridiculous. And wrong. I knew it was wrong in every way. To run away from the law, for one thing, but to live forever as Scorpius and never tell Rose of my deception was another. It was something that I didn't believe I was cruel enough, heartless enough, or dishonest enough to do, and yet I knew I would just for the sake of having Rose in my life. I could let Ted Remus Lupin go and fade into nothing just to have Rose to myself....
Looking over it, Ted Lupin was nothing compared to Scorpius now. Ted Lupin is a liar, a manipulative bastard for betraying someone he was supposed to protect. I am a manipulative, lying bastard. And Scorpius...
Well, Scorpius was here giving all the encouraging words Rose needed to hear, Scorpius was here loving Rose. He had Rose completely and irrevocably to himself. Not me.
Things would be better as Scorpius...
"But we could!" I said, persisting onward with my damned ploy and godforsaken mouth that wouldn't shut up. My hands held her face, brought her gaze back to mine and held it there steadily. "Rose, we could."
"But think about it when we could both be free! Scorpius, neither of us will be convicted. We're innocent. Things will work out in our favor; they have to. Stop thinking like this. I know you're angry we're here, locked up all the time, and constantly worrying about our fate, but we know it will go right! In the end, it will go right," she said, whispering the most encouraging words I had ever heard from her. And they helped the real me, deep down inside. Not the Scorpius Malfoy I was dying to forever live as, but Teddy Lupin. Helping the real me realize the insanity that had taken over me during the past month.
The thing was, I knew it wouldn't go right in the end. Maybe it would for Rose when neither she nor Scorpius was convicted. But not for me. When they will both be released, I will be left to reveal the truth. That I am not who she thinks I am. Then things will never be right for me. Oh, how selfish I had grown...
She saw me open my mouth to protest again, and that's when she silenced me with a deep kiss. She pressed down so hard on my mouth I knew it would be tender tomorrow, and she made sure to let her tongue caress the inside of my mouth so I couldn't manage to get a single word out. My hands knotted themselves in her hair, and I painfully drew her in, wishing that maybe we could just stay here forever.
She finally pulled away when she knew I had shut up for good. Panting, she fell back into the arms of the hammock and tenderly drew my head towards her breasts. They made a pleasant pillow as she ran her fingers through my hair, coaxing some sense into me. My arms tightly went about her, daring the Wizengamot, Peakes, or anyone who thought they could control my or Rose's fate to take her from me. I would fight tooth and nail to keep her right where she belongs.
"I-I-I'm sorry," I finally murmured. "I just..."
"It's okay," she whispered. I could feel her smile as I lay against her, feeling her chest finally even out with relaxed breaths. "We can't all keep our composure all the time. You've constantly been the one that's there for me. I think I've forgotten that you're on trial too, and for that I'm sorry. I should have understood that you're in the same situation I am."
Well, not technically but it was nice to have an easy excuse that I hadn't even come up with. I dragged it out a little further.
I nodded, rubbing her arm with my index finger. "It's all right. I try not to worry about me. I don't really care what happens to me as long as you're all right. I like worrying about you, instead of me."
"Then let me be the one to worry about you," she suggested, a compromise.
I smiled at that. "I can agree to that."
"But let's not worry at all right now," she said in a cheerful voice, forcing everything else behind us and looking at things only with optimism. "I know you want to get out. So tomorrow, why don't we do that? We went to Egypt and it was fine. We could go out to dinner. I don't know where, but somewhere far away."
I liked the sound of that. Loved it actually. I know I had been the one to try and keep Rose at the cottage, but we were on the same page now. I needed out as much as she did to keep me sane. I was slowly beginning to lose it, and it was a good thing she suggested tomorrow. Tonight I needed to be indoors, out of the moonlight with Rose by my side. And this needed to happen soon before I began to rage all too much.
I was nervous to have Rose with me, but we had long ago crossed the line that mutually stated that she would be with me. At the last full moon, I had promised she could be there the next time I raged. I just hoped I wouldn't too badly tonight, at least so she wouldn't question it and would just understand.
"Can we?" I asked breathlessly. "I don't care where we go, but somewhere away from here. Tonight I just want to be with you."
She smiled and tried to pull me against her, but I refused. I couldn't let us fall asleep in the hammock. We needed to get inside; I couldn't stand the feel of the moonlight on my skin any longer. I jumped from the hammock, taking her hand and pulling her with me. She seemed surprised by my sudden movement, but didn't question it. She let me lead her inside and to her bedroom. I chose her bedroom - even though we mostly slept in mine at night - because it receives the least amount of moonlight. In her room, it was just enough to illuminate everything and make gentle silhouettes. In my room, however, the full moon seemed to beat down directly into the room.
Once again she didn't question why I had chosen her room for the night. She just slipped into the bathroom to take care of whatever business she needed to accomplish while I kicked off my jeans and t-shirt. I climbed into her bed and threw the duvet over my head. I didn't care that it grew hot beneath the covers. The feeling of claustrophobia was beginning to take over, and my breathing grew rapid, but I forced my eyes shut and knew it was better to suffer under there than to let the moonlight taunt me. Besides, Rose would be back soon and I knew everything would be well again.
After a few short minutes, she slipped in beside me and put her arms around me. Even though I was burning, I pleasantly shivered as she pressed her nearly bare body against me. I let my hands explore her smooth skin to feel for myself just what little amount of clothing she was still wearing. Her back was bare, smooth and unflawed by any scratches or a bra line. My hand moved down her back and encountered the line of her lacy knickers.
So that was all she was wearing.
I felt my lips pull up into a crooked smile. Rose enjoyed enticing me these days. I knew that much. She had a great time of flaunting herself in front of me, tempting me as I tried to resist her. I knew that she was hoping any night now would be the night when we would finally make love. But I couldn't do that. Not yet. I couldn't even begin to explain how much I wanted to, but I couldn't do that as Scorpius.
As much as I wanted to run away with her and live as Scorpius forever, I found that I still couldn't have sex with her as Scorpius. That just wasn't right.
Well, there was proof then that I'm not completely twisted! Not yet, at least.
I knew Rose was growing restless on the matter, as was I. I was running out of excuses as well, and she was trying harder. Inside, mostly she would just walk around in tiny, lacy kickers with no bra and one of my button down shirts buttoned haphazardly and laying loosely on her shoulders. We slept together wearing just about nothing, and we even showered together occasionally. We had seen each other completely bare and had done plenty of other things, but I still had to hold back that one important deed.
Tonight was no different. Maybe she thought having sex would clear my mind of all my troubles, for her fingers looped around the elastic of my boxers and tried to tug them down. But I quickly grabbed hold of her hands and moved them to my chest, trying to keep her at bay with my abs. Most of the time she forgot about any other goals when she began to feel my abs; she would melt into a pool beneath me and squeeze my stomach, latching on as I kissed her until she finally gave up her pursuit.
Tonight she was more persistent, though, and I had to take her hands into my own, gently massaging them. I delicately kissed her fingers, and then placed one long, loving kiss on her lips before taking her into my arms to show that I wasn't in the mood tonight, even though my body said differently.
Her disappointed sigh into my neck was evident, and I tried not to feel too guilty about it. I knew I was making the right decision. She finally accepted that it, once again, wouldn't happen and she rubbed my back with her small hands.
We grew silent and still for many moments. I thought she had fallen asleep shortly after, so I turned away from her, not wanting to squeeze her too tight. I faced away from the moon, gripped the pillow with all my might and bit down into it to stifle my shouts.
Rose had done well. She had kept the monster in me at bay until she had drifted off into sleep, but now it was clawing its way out and I had to do everything in my power to stay in control.
I felt myself clenching every muscle in my body, demanding to remain still and quiet. I dug my nails into the wood of bed frame, biting down on my pillow so no sound but my heated breathing escaped my throat.
Just when I thought I was losing control, I felt her delicate fingers squeeze my arm. Then her voice followed, and she pressed her chest against my back. "Hey," she whispered lovingly. "Shh, it's all right."
She didn't even know what was wrong, she didn't know if it was all right, and yet there she was. Telling me everything would be fine. I released on the pillow and let out one long, exhausted sigh. I closed my eyes and found peace as Rose stroked my arm. I reached up and entwined our fingers. She didn't ask what was the matter, nor did I say anything to her in return. She seemed to understand that I was struggling with the problems I had recently explained to her about being locked up.
So she just laid there, one arm about me, our other hands tightly entwined, with her head in the crook of my neck as she whispered reassuring things in my ear. Then I had found solace and the moment of the moon tormenting me was gone. That time Rose made sure I was asleep first.
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