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Chapter 20 : Boredom: Rose and Scorpius POV
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I’d been able to convince myself that I didn’t really need to go out and do anything during the chilled winter months, but now it was nearing the end of March and while not exactly warm outside, the weather was getting milder and I was suffering from the absolute worst case of cabin fever. Even though all my friends and family put forth a concerted effort to make my twenty-first birthday celebration special, the fact was that I still felt the restrictions pushing in on all sides. Without wanting to seem ungrateful, I’d put on a smile for the entire party, which was a very nice dinner at my parents’ house. I couldn’t help but think that I would’ve traded it all of a lovely walk outside in the chilled February air.
I pouted and turned back to my cauldron. The pregnancy-test potion we were charged with making for today’s lesson was the perfect shade of silver. I couldn’t help myself from thinking that it perfectly matched Scorpius’s eyes. Being locked up day in and day out was made – er - not so terrible by the fact that I was spending my nights with him. Merlin, I was in deep!
Potions had always come really easy to me. I had made this one seamlessly, getting it to the right temperature without bubbling. If it were to bubble, I would’ve had to start over, like most of the other healer candidates. Selenia had to start hers over once and poor Wolfram Longbottom was on his fourth try. I’d been done for the last hour and I’d already made a timetable to study for my obstetrics finals that were next week, then briefly reviewed the symptoms of the most common witch ailments to have during pregnancy, and was now re-reading the letter I’d received that morning from my therapist Ruth, who was still abroad along the Bulgarian-Romanian border.
I hope this letter finds you well. My research has been enlightening. I happened upon some interesting information that might prove valid to your situation, but I don’t feel confident writing it in a letter. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to returning to London in about four weeks time. I wanted to remind you to keep doing things that bring you peace and joy, but to also expand your horizons when you feel up to it. The more you keep to doing regular, everyday activities, the faster your recovery will be.
Regular everyday activities. I scoffed to myself and tucked the letter back into my pocket. Clearly Ruth hadn’t been up-to-date on the Death Eater attack at The Quaffle and the protective measures that ensued thereafter. I’d be sure to send her a response later on. For the moment, I was still stewing over my own predicament. I was tired of having to stay put. It was ironic, really. I finally wanted to experience life outside of my own little cocoon and wasn’t permitted to.
But what if there’s another attack? The voice in the back of my head reasoned with me. Was it really so absurd to consider fighting back? But how?
These thoughts tumbled through my brain while I was putting the finishing touches on my potion. Having reserved a small sample for grading, I was now filtering the rest into several vials for the obstetrics department to use. The entire time, I was getting more and more irritated.
“I can’t take it anymore – I’m locked in my own private Azkaban day after day!” I blurted across the table to Selenia, letting my frustration get the best of me.
“I don’t think they let you shag your boyfriend every night in Azkaban,” she pointed out with amusement. “You know, someone once suggested a silencing charm to Albus…” she had a sly little grin on her face as she carefully added three drops of essence of hydrangea. Selenia was one of the top Healer Trainees and she always carried herself in a confident, reserved manner, but to her closest friends, she definitely had a wild side.
I could feel the heat rise up my cheeks. Scorpius and I had experimented with interesting ways to occupy our time over the past few months. My face was getting hot thinking about the things that we’d been doing. Perhaps a silencing charm was in order. He was so incredibly gentle and sensitive with me, always letting me take the lead. Fact was, sometimes I just lost control around him. He made me think about things I never thought before. My breath quickened as I recounted the night before.
“Earth to Rose… Hey – are you thinking about shagging right now?!”
“Shhh – why don’t you announce it to the entire staff of Mungo’s?” I whispered ferociously. “It’s not like we have a whole lot of other things to do, ya know,” I hissed.
I knew I was being a little overdramatic about being locked in Azkaban. But, in reality, it did feel like I was in a sort of prison. I was getting more than a little tired of looking at the same walls every day.
That’s when it hit me. I knew exactly what would fix my problem of boredom – and the other problem that had been plaguing me for the past few months.
“Actually,” I wiggled my forefinger upwards as I answered Selenia, “you just made me think of a brilliant idea of something productive I can do with Scorpius!” I was getting really excited.
“Great! But I don’t want any details about your sex life.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be there too,” I giggled at the look of horror on her face.
“Oh no!” she exclaimed as the potion started to bubble furiously. “I have to start over again!”
“What are you on about, Rose?” Albus turned to Rose, he the first of us to recover and actually respond to her request. We’d just finished eating dinner. The eight of us were, as usual, gathered around the large table in the kitchens. During the week, we made a point of eating together whenever possible, each couple taking a turn to cook. The meals ranged from really quick, easy food when Albus and Selenia cooked to more complicated, but filling meals when it was mine and Rose’s turn. We really enjoyed cooking together – I was able to show her a lot of the stuff my Mum taught me. Tonight was Dom’s turn... so, as per usual, she’d waited until the last minute and Kreacher reheated whatever was left in the refrigerator.
Rose looked directly at Albus. “I want you to give me defense lessons. You, Scorpius and Dom. I want you to teach all of us special practice in defense.” Her voice was different. She wasn’t asking and she spoke with a grave determination.
She continued, “I’ve already worked it all out. We can practice in that field at the far end of the Muggle park on Stanton Street. We’ll put up Muggle repelling charms!”
This was not good. I looked over at Al and Dom. They carried identical sober expressions. In light of our discoveries a few months back, I didn’t think this was going to fly with the heads of the department.
“Rosie... you already have an ‘E’ in Defense N.E.W.T.s,” Albus was the first to respond.
“That’s just because I did so well on the written part of the exam.” Rose explained. “I can’t have another incident like what happened at the pub,” her tone was getting urgent, desperate even.
“Ro,” I began. “The muggle park isn’t a good idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure that would go against Wizarding law - to use a park for our own purposes. Besides, you don’t have to do this.”
“Yes I do, Scorp.” She said with determination. “We got lucky that night in The Quaffle. It’s foolish for me to think there will always be someone to come to my rescue. I don’t want to have to depend on that. I need to be able to defend myself,” she paused and glared right at me. “I froze. I couldn’t think of the spells and couldn’t react. That can’t happen again. Come on Al,” she turned to her cousin again. “Everyone knows you’re the best,” she wrapped her arms around him and squeezed. It was true. Al just had a knack for spells and thinking on his feet. He would breeze through the training sessions, while the rest of us trainees were out of breath and exhausted at the end.
“Sorry Rose,” he said, patting her on the arm twisted around him. He looked really uncomfortable as he spoke, “if my Dad ever found out… I just don’t think he would approve of an underground DADA course.” Al trailed off.
“Al, please, we don’t have to use the Muggle park. We could use an empty lot in Diagon Alley - or maybe the Canon’s Pitch when they aren’t practicing!” she begged.
“What’s the big deal?” Selenia chimed in, coming to Rose’s aid. “You three just help the rest of us polish up?”
It was Dom’s turn. “The ministry is very secretive about Auror training is all. We aren’t permitted to show you most of the stuff we learn.”
“How is being secretive going to keep us alive?!” Rose spat as she stood and dropped her arms from around Albus. She stalked toward the center of the room to address all of us. Her face was flushed and her eyes pierced Dom’s as she pointed an accusing finger. “You’re being ludicrous! Do you realize that one of us could have died that night? It could have been any of us! Jax or Selenia or Samara… or Lily!” She gestured around the room and her eyes landed back on Albus.
“Ro,” I began softly, trying to make her see reason, “that’s what the Aurors are for. The ministry puts a lot of time and effort into keeping up to date with intelligence and their response systems. No one got seriously hurt, because the system works.”
Rose looked at me with her mouth hanging open in disbelief. She swung her head around the room and saw Al nodding his agreement. Dom was looking at her dinner, a bit more intently than re-heated lasagna deserved. Anger bubbled to the surface as Rose stood up; rage I had never seen was taking hold.
“What the fuck?! Three people DIED, Scorpius, we’re just lucky it wasn’t more!” She exclaimed. Jax moved uncomfortably toward Dom and put his arm around her. Samara had yet to speak. “Do you all feel that way?” Rose continued. No one dared look at her.
Selenia spoke next, trying to come to Rose’s defense, “So, until the ‘Ministry’ shows up, we are just supposed to lie there and take it if some dark wizard decides he is going to take a turn with us-” She stopped abruptly, realizing the significance of her words. Samara and Dom both jerked their heads up at her. Rose’s red face drained to white with shock. She slowly backed out of the kitchen, turned and hurried down the hall. The distinctive crack that was heard left no mistake. She was gone.
“Shit!” Albus mumbled. “What the hell?” He got up and followed the path Rose had taken and then hurried up the stairs to see if she had just apparated herself up to one of the bedrooms. I stood there in disbelief. She wouldn’t. She knows how dangerous it would be for her out there. Actually, she doesn’t even know half of it. Shit!
A sob escaped Selenia as she backed against the wall, wrapping her arms around herself. How could she have been so insensitive? Guilt permeated her features as her chin bowed against her chest and her eyes squeezed shut. After a few moments, she lifted her head up and looked around the room with the same look of disbelief that Rose had. I don’t know how this got so out of control. Why was Rose so upset over silly defense lessons? We were trying to protect her - why couldn’t she see that?
Dom and Samara were too shocked to speak. Dom was still huddling against Jax – a rare moment of vulnerability for her. I looked away and stood up to go check down the hallway - foolishly, as if Albus just didn’t see Rose and she had been standing there all along.
“Bloody hell,” I said to the room as I walked back in. She was really gone. James ran his hand through his messy hair. “Dammit,” was all he could say. He didn’t know the severity of this situation, but he was quick enough to figure out that this was very, very bad. We have to find her. Now.
“How are you idiots not getting this?” Selenia, still pressed against the wall yelled as soon as Al apparated into the room and shook his head. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Her head was bobbing frantically between all the blokes in the room.
Al reached an arm around her and she shoved him away. As far as she was concerned, he was the main culprit here.
She was sobbing uncontrollably now, “The ministry couldn’t help Rose when she was in that cabin with Stannous. They didn’t get there in time to stop-” she broke down and slid to the floor, cradling her head in her arms.
The room was dead silent.
“Fuck!” I spewed. This was bad. Really bad. Rose doesn’t even know how bad this was and she could be anywhere.
“Where do you think she went?” James was the first to come around.
“All right,” My thoughts started to clear. Panicking would not help. We need to stay present and identify the task.
I may not be as quick as Albus at spells, but I was pretty good with organizing a group. “Dom, you and Jax go to the Burrow and see if she’s there. Don’t say anything to alarm Nana Molly or Grandad, just act like you came for a quick visit and send me a patronus.”
“Selenia, why don’t you go and check St. Mungo’s on the off chance she just went there to cool off in the staff room or something.” I softened my voice when I asked her; she was still crouched on the floor, but was at least able to look up and nod at me. Al was standing close, unsure of how to approach her.
“Scorpius,” her voice was still tight from her crying. “Today at training she was talking about how she is sick of being stuck here all the time.” She and Rose were such close friends. “Maybe she went to Diagon Alley. You know, just to get out…”
“Shit, it will take forever to find her there,” I thought out loud.
“It’s almost 7:00 on a weekday. Most of the stores are closing up,” Samara pointed out.
“Okay, okay,” this wasn’t as bad as I thought originally. “Al and James, you’re the quickest. Go to Diagon Alley and cover it as fast as you can. See if Fred is around at the shop to help you. Samara,” I turned to the blonde. “You stay here, in case she comes back. Anyone finds her, send a patronus to the rest of us.”
“Where’re you going to go?” James wondered.
“To Ron and Hemione’s house. It’s possible she just went to see her Mum. If not, they need to be aware their daughter is MIA. I know Rose won’t like it, but there’s good reason she was put under protection. And maybe they can think where she might be,” I added as an afterthought
Everyone nodded their agreement and went down the hallway to apparate to their respective assignments.
I landed in the living room of the house I knew so well. My long, red curls swished in front of my face, suffocating me. As I reached up to swipe the mass of hair from my face and suck fresh air into my lungs, I felt my head spin from the apparition and I instinctively leaned over, holding tight to my knees with my eyes closed, focusing on letting the nausea subside.
This time, it didn’t.
As the bile rose up my throat, I hopelessly tried again to gulp some air.
I didn’t need to open my eyes, as I knew the steps to the bathroom by heart, getting there just in time to vomit violently in the toilet. My head swelled with dizziness from the panic attack and I pressed my forehead into the seat. Sometimes the cool porcelain would ease the spinning, but not this time.
Slowly inhaling and exhaling to quell my nerves, I knew what was coming next. The shivers spread from my center out to my extremities. Stay here. Don’t think about the past. Stay in the present. Breathe. Breathe… Another round of vomiting, but this time, it was less intense. I felt the warmth of familiar, steady hands twist up my hair and rub my back. The shaking subsided a little bit and I took another deep breath.
“Thanks,” my voice was raspy.
“All right, love?” The voice said, knowing that I wasn’t all right, but just done with the vomiting part. I nodded and finally opened my eyes after rubbing the tears that had been forced out due to the viciousness of the retching. I didn’t say anything back, and I knew I didn’t have to. We would just sit there in the bathroom together until I was ready.
A/N: Hello to all! So, this chapter started off slow, but had a bit action at the end. All I can say is... hold on to your hats - It's gonna be a bit rough for the next few...
Special thanks to -BookDinosaur- (or Emily the Awesome, as I call her) for the chapter title.
And also thanks to my Beta reader, crestwood - I'm so appreciative of all your advice and edits! ♥
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