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Chapter 23 : The Breaking
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"Well, would you look at this? How enchanting. Our two murder suspects have fallen in love. Or should I say one of our prime suspects."
I shot Peakes a harsh glance. Rose looked to him in confusion; her eyes were no longer on me, so I glowered at him. I felt a growl leave my throat. I didn't need this. Rose would be sentenced to Azkaban - that was a given - so why couldn't he just leave it be? Why did he have to pull at a thread that was already frayed?
"P-Please don't," I stuttered, looking upon Peakes with desperation. "Please..."
stunning chapter image by rojia @ TDA
"Miss Weasley has a right to know, don't you agree?" he asked me.
I began to tremble once more. I was aware of Rose's eyes upon me, staring me down and trying to read just what was running through me, trying to figure out what Peakes was saying and what hold he could possibly have over Scorpius Malfoy. I looked to Harry and Ron. They looked back and forth between Rose and I, knowing what Peakes was trying to do. I couldn't figure out what they were thinking. They couldn't help but watch.
I didn't answer his question. I knew she had a right to know; of course she did, but giving myself away was the last thing I wanted to do. Right now I just wanted to keep Rose happy before she was taken away from me and to keep our bond strong so she would have something to hold on to. I knew, if she found out of my betrayal and my lies, she would break. Shatter into a thousand tiny pieces that would never fit back together again. And then she would be put in Azkaban like that, left to rot with nothing to look happily upon. I couldn't do that to her.
"Miss Weasley," Peakes began again, turning his head to her. I immediately knew from the tone in his voice that he wasn't going to let this slide. So the time had finally come for me to expose myself... "your lover has something to say to you."
"N-No," I stuttered, trying to ward it off. "I don't. Other than I love you and I wish you hadn't done this! T-That's it..."
"Oh, come on. You have much more to say than that. Share your secrets with her now before her sentence is placed, and you may have your bittersweet goodbye," he said coolly.
Everyone but Rose seemed to know what Peakes was trying to force. She knew something was wrong, and she began to believe Peakes. She looked at me with pain in her eyes.
I looked to Peakes, begging. "Please. I'll tell her. But let me tell her my own way. L-Let us have a proper goodbye, and I'll tell her..."
"What are you taking about?" Rose finally muttered. "Scorpius, what are you talking about?!"
"Aha, Miss Weasley. That is exactly it. The man before you that you have clearly fallen in love with is not the man you think he is. In fact, his name is not Scorpius Malfoy."
My heart was beating wildly. My stomach grew heavy, and I felt it drop to the floor. My body hung loosely as I trembled, the guards holding me up, and my tears fell steadily down my cheeks.
"Shut up!" I suddenly shouted, mustering what courage I could, seeming drained from the pain of Rose knowing my secret. "Just shut up! Please, Jimmy! Don't say anything else!"
"No!" Rose finally demanded. Peakes had done what he intended to do; he had awoken the creature inside Rose that demanded the truth from me. She now fully believed that I was hiding something from her, and she wanted desperately to know. She tried to leave that chair, the shackles banging around on the chair and on the stone floor. She thrashed, wanting to look me in the eye as I held my gaze from her. "You tell me! Tell me, Scorpius! What is he saying? He's lying, right? He's...lying..."
"Rose," I moaned desperately, and I didn't know why.
"Tell me!" she screamed.
I squeezed my eyes shut at the horrible screech that was directed at me. I raised my head to her. "Rosie, please," I moaned desperately. "You have to understand. I-It's my job. It was my job! I was just doing what I was told!"
"What the hell are you saying?!"
I continued to ramble on. I didn't even know if I was making any sense. "Then things changed, and I wanted to take it all back. I was doing what I was ordered to do for different reasons. To keep you safe because I couldn't bear to lose you! I had to protect you! That's all I was trying to do, Rosie. To protect you."
"Just tell me!" she screamed in horror, hating my statements that were dodging the plain and simple truth. That I'm not Scorpius Malfoy; that I am Teddy Lupin.
I didn't want us to end like this. It wasn't right. I jerked my head to Peakes and looked upon him with hatred. My tears turned to those of rage as I shouted, thrashing and kicking. Suddenly the guards weren't beside me as a precaution anymore. They were restraining me, holding me down, stepping on my calves to keep me on the floor, twisting my arms this way and that.
"Why are you doing this to us?!" I demanded.
He didn't answer me. He just smiled. There was silence, but to me, there seemed to be a maddening crowd in the room with my roaring thoughts. I began to tremble when I heard Jimmy Peakes speak again. He ordered the guards to place me directly in front of Rose. I wasn't allowed to get to my feet. They dragged me by the arms in front of her, and they dropped me there just a foot in front of her. I looked up to her, my eyes full of pity for her future and hate for myself for letting this case get completely out of hand.
Her eyes gave me that one small whim of hope, though. She simply looked confused and angry with me, angry with the rest of the tribunal as well for making a scene that she still only had half-answers for. She wasn't fuming, she wasn't destroyed. Not yet...
"Show her your real face," Peakes demanded.
My eyes, locked with hers at his words, betrayed me, and that was when she knew I wasn't who I had been claiming to be these past few months. My eyes moved away from hers; I didn't want to watch her as she saw who I really was. Instead, I found my god-father, still standing near the door in shock. His eyes were wide, and I could tell he was fuming with how Peakes had treated the situation, with how he had forced me to do this. It was clear in his eyes that he was on my side, and that gave me a little bit of hope. He seemed to understand that I felt as if I would lose everything in those next few seconds, so he smiled as best he could and nodded, silently telling me it would be okay.
Then I let my abilities take over me. I let Scorpius Malfoy fade from my appearance, probably for forever. I felt my legs get longer. My hair darkened and grew longer, and my facial features changed until I knew I was me again. I opened my amber eyes, no longer the bluish grey of Scorpius Malfoy but my own, and Rose blanched.
She grew still, eyes wide, and unresponsive. She had no idea what to think or what to do. Finally, she opened her mouth. "Teddy...? Teddy Lupin?"
The first time my real name had been spoken by her since we had fallen in love, and it was still heaven to my ears.
"Yes," I answered. "I-It was never Scorpius Malfoy. It was always me."
"What?" she breathed, trying to grasp just what I was saying. Then she was suddenly ranting. "No. No, it wasn't. It wasn't. You're lying! No...It couldn't be!"
"I'm sorry," I whispered. "It was my assignment to impersonate Scorpius Malfoy and interrogate you. That way, if you and Malfoy had worked together, I would know immediately. But you didn't! And then it was too late, and I wish I could take it all back! Rose, I'm so sorry!"
"It was you?!" she questioned. I was aware of the volume of her voice growing with anger, with her feeling of betrayal. "It was you the whole time?!"
"Rose, I'm sorry," I said, already beginning my process of begging for her forgiveness before it was too late. "I'm so sorry. I was only doing my job! Then everything changed. All I wanted to do was protect you, and I fell in love!"
"It was you from the beginning? When that Auror took us out of the Ministry and to the summer house? Even then?!"
"I can't believe you! How could you do this to me?! Oh, and that explains why you hugged me when you saw me and I was confused! And why I was mad at you - at Malfoy! Because I saw the real one, and he didn't even know what was going on! You were impersonating him! You were lying to me to the whole time! I thought...I thought...How could you do this?!"
She was screaming now, tossing herself about in that chair. She wanted to slap me; I could see the urge in her eyes. I cringed as she thrashed even though I knew she couldn't strike me, not from that chair. She didn't ask any other questions. She didn't even want to. She didn't care where the real Malfoy had been the entire time. She didn't care why she had clearly gotten different treatment than the real one. She didn't question any of it. Maybe those curiosities were there deep down, but for now, she didn't even think about the situation other than my deception.
I was lost as to what to do. What could I possibly do? I knew this day had to come, and yet I felt myself slowly crumbling, dissolving into nothing with the wrath Rose unleashed upon me. Was I to beg for her forgiveness? She would never accept it. There was no way I could possibly voice my thoughts and my feelings. It had started off as strictly business, then it became personal, and by then I was in too deep. I had fallen into the character of Malfoy; I had taken him on gladly, adapted him to my own personality. I knew the man I had been trying to be for the first few days at the summer house was now the real me. I was a changed person, and I had grown slightly insane along the way. I knew that. If I wasn't mad, then how did I possibly think I could ever get away with this? That this wouldn't end with Rose's hatred? With my destruction and her breaking?
"I'm so sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. I don't, but Rose, I love you!"
"Shush!" I was aware of her ordering me. She closed her eyes to block out the sight of me. She was trying to silence me. She didn't want to hear what I had to say, but she would hear it! "Shut up!"
"I won't! Not until you understand why I was deceiving you! Please, Rose. It was my assignment, and I wanted to keep you safe! Then you became everything to me! Please understand. I love you so much," I moaned.
"No! No, you don't! You're a liar. How could you love me?! It was all a lie. We have been practically family all our lives. We were never close, but it was always a given that we could trust each other and rely on one another! How could you possibly break that?!"
"I-I don't know...Rose, I'm so sorry! Please understand. I love you," I whispered.
"Stop saying that!" she shouted, cringing as her salty tears seeped between her lips. "I love him!"
"But that's still me, Rosie! It's me. I'm that same person you fell in love with. It's me," I whispered desperately, begging, trying for her to understand that it was me she had fallen in love with.
"No. I fell in love with Scorpius Malfoy. Not Teddy Lupin," she cried.
Then I grew quiet, if only temporarily, but the pause allowed Peakes enough time to nudge Sondheim. Sondheim cleared his throat to gain everyone's attention. Despite this, hardly anyone could pay attention to him. Rose and I had made a scene that no one could possibly forget, that no one could tear their eyes from.
"I am sorry to interrupt such a sad and tormenting moment, but this can take place elsewhere. Rose Weasley's testimony concludes the case for the murder of Jarvis Otto Branstone. Rose Weasley will be sentenced to life in Azkaban Prison to begin immediately."
I quaked with fear, my eyes shooting to her to read her expression. She was trembling, staring at Sondheim. For that one moment, her composure diminished slightly. Her eyes scanned the room for anyone to save her as she was hit with the reality of being sent to Azkaban. For one brief moment, her eyes landed on me, and she did seem to beg with me as I had done with her. Then she looked back to Sondheim, and to Peakes. They gave her a look that seemed to read you were the one who voluntarily confessed.
The guards shoved me aside. I landed on the cold, stone floor with a thud. I watched as the guards released Rose's shackles and pulled her from the chair. She uneasily stood on her feet and looked at the tribunal with horror. I rose to my feet and ran towards her. I had to hold her one more time, one more kiss, maybe convince her that our love was real if I could. However, as soon as my hands had submerged themselves in her hair, she took one look at me and was bolting out of the door of the courtroom.
My eyes went wide. Members of the tribunal gasped with shock, raising to their feet. The guards looked to Peakes, the Auror who called the shots due to his position as Acting Auror. Peakes shook his head, and I knew why. He was going to give me a moment with her. So I shot out of the Wizengamot courtroom. From behind me I heard Sondheim shouted wildly, pointing for the door. "Stop her!"
I figured I knew why she was running. I didn't believe her to be running from her sentence. She was running from me. She was so desperate to get away from me that she would run from the Wizengamot court.
I was running after her as fast as I could, right past a startled Ron and my god-father. The guards were on my tail as well, doing their best to seize Rose who would now appear as an outlaw for what she had done. Did she really not care that much?
I was closing in on her. She was already panting from crying so hard, and I already had the physical advantage on her. She didn't go for the elevator. She went for the back stairs and raced up many flights of stairs. When I was finally able to see her, her red hair whipping around the next corner up in a blur, I shouted to her.
"Rose, don't run! They'll think you're running away from your sentence!"
"I don't care! Anything to get away from you," she shouted, choking on her tears.
"Rose!" I shouted, and I was fully aware of the begging tone that filled my voice. But I knew I was. I was desperate. I was begging. Begging for her to just listen, to hear me out, to try to understand my weak argument and what little reasoning I had. I had to beg. I couldn't lose her. Not now.
She finally left the stairwell, and we were running through the main floor. I shouted after her. "Rose, just wait! Wait and listen to me! Please!"
"No!" she shouted, rounding on me. She stopped running just so she could look me in the eye and I could see her hatred. It made me feel cold, empty, and it made me hate myself more than I already did. "Why should I?! I trusted you. You were lying to me that entire time."
"I know, and I'm sorry," I said quickly, trying to defend myself.
"Oh, sorry doesn't even cut it! Don't you even begin to apologize to me. There's no use," she said, full of rage.
"Rose!" I cried out, and tears filled my eyes. I can't even remember the last time I cried. "I never meant to hurt you! I never meant for it to go this far. I thought it wouldn't take as long as it did, and I never expected this to happen! I was just doing my job! I never...I had no idea!"
"So what?!" she snarled. "So what if you were just doing your job?! You should have quit as soon as you were given the assignment! How could you possibly think this would be okay? Did you think everything would go just peachy and everything would return to normal after the case, huh?! You should have known from the very beginning, that no matter what happened, I would have found out the truth. Sooner or later!"
"I don't know what I thought. I wasn't thinking! Please, Rose, I'm so sorry."
I could hear the thunderous footsteps of the Wizengamot guards chasing after us. Peakes had given us a little time, most likely to let us have this conversation, but it wasn't enough. No amount of time would ever be enough to explain to Rose before she would be hauled off to Azkaban for the rest of her life.
"You...You betrayed me! How could you?! After what I just did...After what I just said! I thought I was going to Azkaban for Scorpius! For Scorpius! Not for you, and you've been lying to me this whole time. What we had...isn't even real! It's - "
"But it is real! It is! It was real the whole time!" Why couldn't she see that?
"No, it wasn't! I thought I was in love with Scorpius! I turned myself in for him! So he could be free! And now for nothing!"
We had stopped running. She was holding onto her side as if my betrayal were physically hurting her. Her tears were fluid down her cheeks, her eyes bloodshot, and her jaw set in anger.
"N-No," I said as my tears escaped my eyes. I blinked so my vision would clear. I wanted to see her beautiful face, even if she was hating me, before I would never see her again. "If I had known what you were doing, I wouldn't have let you go! I never would have let you leave my side. I would have kept you safe."
"Shut up!" she shouted in pain, clamping her hands over her ears.
The guards were closer. I whipped around to look at them, running at full speed. The one in the front withdrew his wand, and with a simple wave, he bound Rose's hands together. They flew down from her ears, clamping together at the wrists, and a gold spark had them magically bound. She yelped in surprise, temporarily losing her balance and sending her emotions even more spiraling out of control. I jumped forward to steady her before she could fall, just like our first day at the summer house when I softened her fall out of the fire place. And just like then as well, she reacted to my touch as if I were acidic.
She screamed until I let go of her, and then she only fell to her knees. The guards had reached her now, and they were pulling her up by her elbows. Rose wasn't even moving, wasn't fighting it in the least. She was letting herself be hauled away, her eyes squeezed shut to maybe fight off the sight of me. The guards were informing her of how she was being escorted directly to Azkaban now, no chances for goodbyes to her family, no last meals from within the Ministry. No, those privileges had been revoked as soon as she ran out of the courtroom after being sentenced to Azkaban.
I realized this would be the last I would ever see of her. She would rot away in a cell in Azkaban, maybe go insane. Maybe that would be better for her now, though, after the damage I had done to her. But I knew I couldn't leave it like this.
I quickly ran after her just to stay by her side for a few more minutes.
"Rosie," I said, this time my voice soft and desperate, loving. "I love you, Rose."
"Don't you dare tell me that," she said, her voice torn between a whisper and a crying shout.
"But I do, Rose. I want you to know that. I don't care what you think, but you have to know that I love you. If we are to never see each other again, can't you look me in the eye and understand? Just tell me one more time that you love me."
"But I don't love you."
"Yes, you do. I may not be Scorpius, but I'm still the same man who was at the summer house with you. I'm still him. I'm still that man who fell in love with you and that you fell in love with as well." I tried to be gentle now, to be sweet and encouraging. She was about to meet her doom; I just wanted her to be at peace with how she went. But I knew that I was also looking for an understanding before she wasted away in that prison.
She said nothing though, so I only pressed on further.
"You will regret it if you don't make things right with me right now."
"No, I won't," she said sternly. "With the memories of the man I killed, the Dementors hovering over me, and your betrayal, I'll go mad in a matter of days. Therefore, nothing really matters."
"Rose," I begged again. I hated the sound of her going mad. She couldn't. "Please. I love you, and I know you love me."
We had reached the fire place to which Rose would floo directly into Azkaban. This was it. This would be the last I would see of her. I looked at her desperately, for some form of hope from her.
"I don't love you."
"You know that's not true!" I shouted, demanding more from her. Two guards stepped into the fire place with her, Rose smushed in between them. I tried to step in there with them, to take her into my arms, but the guards gave me harsh shoves and I fell onto the cold, tile floor of the atrium. I looked at her, the tears running down my cheeks, and I shouted over the roar of the flickering flame. "You know you love me!"
"I don't. The man I fell in love with doesn't even exist." Then the green flames took her away. I had successfully broken Rose, shattered her into a million pieces. I was never to see her again, and my heart went with her.
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