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Chapter 23 : Broomsticks and Breathing: Scorpius and Rose POV
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“Drink up, mate,” James commanded from across the pub. “We’re headed to ‘The Quaffle’ in a few.”
“How does he do this three… four nights a week?” I scrubbed my eyes to force myself awake. I was incredulous at James’s stamina.
“Easy,” Albus’s head hung low as he massaged his temples with his fingers. “His job doesn’t require him to get up at seven am. He flies a fucking broom for a living, for Merlin’s sake. I could do this too if I slept till two pm every day.”
It was day two of our ‘bloke’s’ weekend. The night before had been a blast. We’d gone to one of James’s quidditch buddy’s house for a get together. I’d been reluctant to go, but was really glad after a few firewhiskeys. I finally got my mind off Rose and her new freedoms – for a bit. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen. I was used to being with her almost every second that I wasn’t at training. It was more than just making sure she was safe, I was missing her. Her smile, her jokes, and the way she looked at me across the room when we were at the Burrow as if no one else was in the room but us.
Even though I knew the answer before I’d asked, I’d tried to pull the Hogsmeade duty for this weekend. Albus snorted and rolled his eyes, but Harry gave me a sympathetic look and said, “Sorry Scorpius, but there’s no way that’s going to happen. You need a break more than you realize. I need the best Aurors we’ve got on this case after the weekend. We need to catch this demon. Besides, Ron and I are going to do it.” Knowing that Harry and Ron are watching over her was the only thing keeping me sane. They’d never let anything happen to her.
All the same, I still felt guilty about how we’d left things. We hadn’t spoken since she came up to my room Wednesday night. I’d realized my last words to her had been ‘What do you want, Rose?’ in not exactly the nicest tone. I’d acted like a complete git, but I’d been so upset…
Rose and Selenia had left from St. Mungo’s after training on Thursday afternoon, getting special permission to miss Friday’s session (being Harry Potter’s goddaughter has its advantages).
Images of Stannous grabbing her and taking her Merlin knows where to fulfill the prophecy had been swirling into my mind at the most inconvenient times. At training, I’d been really off. Al had tried to cover for me, but I had to get my game back. Initially, I’d just planned to spend the weekend in my room, alone. However, Al had other plans. He’d threatened to imperious me, so the decision was essentially made for me. I had no choice but to enjoy this weekend and then set things right with Rose. I just hoped that she wasn’t too pissed. She probably used her time with Selenia to think over what a complete prat I’ve been and wouldn’t even speak to me anyway. At least Al and I would be partners in misery. Selenia hadn’t spoken to him since that night either.
A figure loomed over me and Al from above. James was standing up on one of the tables, singing some quidditch fight song with one of his teammates, their arms draped around each other. I stretched my tired neck to look up at him. The song ended with James shouting, “To The Quaffle! To The Quaffle!”
“To The Quaffle?” I turned to Al and asked, my voice thick with exhaustion and alcohol.
“Why the hell not,” he replied, lifting his head as if he’d just woken up. “We might as well.”
Gulping another swig of my pint, I looked over at Al. “We really are pathetic, you know.”
“Don’t you mean whipped?”
“Tomato, tomahto,” I felt a second wind coming on as I stood up, downed the last bit of ale and thumped the empty glass on the pub table.
“C’mon mate. To the Quaffle!”
“That’s it!” Selenia slammed her copy of Advanced Healing Techniques for Maladies of the Expectant Witch textbook down on the table in the suite she and Al had rented for their romantic getaway. It was a really nice bed and breakfast, complete with a romantic bedroom, sitting room and bathroom with a huge tub. I must say, Al has taste. He’d rented the best room in the place. We were at a quaint, but large Victorian house on the very edge of the village. There was a fantastic view of of the Forbidden Forest from the sitting room and I could even see the faint outline of Hogwarts from the bedroom window. Lily and Hugo were there and I couldn’t help but think that it would be really nice to see them.
“We are going out!” she exclaimed. “This is your first weekend of freedom in months and we are going to spend it – free! We did not come here so we could do exactly the same things we do at home every weekend!” She was on a roll. It was very amusing.
“We aren’t doing what we normally do every weekend,” I pointed out, grinning at her. “Usually we both get lai-”
“You know what I mean, Rose. We usually spend our time on the weekends studying. I want to go shopping.”
I contemplated her offer. Going shopping would be fabulous. I hadn’t been properly shopping in months and months. It would get my mind off the prophecy. Don’t get me wrong. I was really, really grateful that my restrictions were lifted and even more grateful that I was able to take this weekend away, but I did want to talk about the prophecy. There were so many questions. Scorpius obviously didn’t want to discuss it. That was pretty clear on Wednesday night. Al would come through for me, he always did. But arranging a time and place for us to be alone for any period of time could be problematic - especially considering the fact that Scorpius wasn’t taking all of this very well.
My mind drifted back to him and his sad eyes. A pang in my gut for the millionth time in the past two days told me that we had unfinished business. Who was I kidding? I really just missed him. He was my rock. He brought me back from… from nothingness. Missing him made me uneasy and I was on edge- perhaps shopping wasn’t such a bad idea.
“Ro-ose?” Selenia was bordering on whining at this point.
“You’re right,” I replied. “Let’s go. -And we’re getting makeovers!” I added as an afterthought
“Eeep!” She squealed with delight. This was going to be fun.
“But we have to study later on today – both our obstetrics finals are this week.” We were nearing the end of our advanced training. Later that week we’d finish obstetrics with our written and practical finals. After that we only had two more courses left. The week following our finals, we would begin medical records along with advanced internal injuries. I guessed they combined the most complicated technique course with the most boring part of training. No one liked medical records. It was just one of those necessary parts of being a healer. After that, we’d have a three week break and begin our first session as interns within our chosen specialty. Ugh! Choosing a specialty was another ordeal I wasn’t looking forward to. I truly enjoyed every course I’d taken. I had no idea how to narrow it down.
“Alright,” she put her hands on her hips and cocked them to one side. “I promise to study later on, if you do not mention or even think about training and studying while we’re out today.”
“Deal,” I smiled for the first time in what felt like forever.
“You did not!” I exclaimed as we exited our fourth store. Hogsmeade had grown a bit, with many more shops and boutiques. Selenia had just confided in me one of the places that she and Albus had, er… been amorous.
“Okay, okay, we need to stop this conversation. He is my cousin!” I was giggling, but serious at the same time. I still wanted to be able to look Al in the eyes. My laughter stopped as I caught a glimpse of a large orange head across the way. He was nonchalantly reading today’s Daily Prophet. Really? How had Dad ever made senior Auror? He was absolutely terrible at being stealth. That was the third time I’d spotted him today. Earlier he was pretending to smoke (Mum would kill him) as he leaned against the side of a building and then, when we came out of Lady Monique’s Chic Boutique, he was sipping tea at the café across the way. Al failed to mention that one of the guards for this weekend would be Ron Weasley.
“When did you buy all that stuff?” Selenia pointed at the six bags I was holding.
“Two are for me and two are for Scorpius,” I answered. “His clothes and robes have been getting really worn from all his training. One is a bag from the Sweet Scents for your Sweet store. Remember, we bought a bunch of lotions and candles? The last bag is for Al. I picked up a few things for him, too – I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not! I know how close you two are – even though he can be an arsehole sometimes,” she grumbled. Clearly shopping had not lifted her mood to the level of forgiveness.
“About that… Selenia, I don’t want to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but he is really a great bloke and I know he is really sorry and he really loves you and if I’ve forgiven him, don’t you think that you could consider letting him off the hook?” I said it all so fast because I didn’t know how she would take it, not wanting to ruin the fun we were having.
“So, you’ve forgiven Scorpius?” she countered with an edge to her voice.
“Good point,” I acquiesced. I actually had forgiven Scorpius, but I took this to mean that she was done with the conversation. “Let’s not talk about it anymore. Here’ the salon. Lunch after this?”
“Absolutely, I’m already working up an appetite,” she grinned her bright smile and opened the door to the salon.
“Whoooooooohaaaaaaaa!” The screams of excitement and pure pleasure escaped from me as I soared higher and higher above the pitch.
“This was totally worth it!” whooped Al. He spiraled in a vertical dive toward the ground, caught himself just before smashing into the earth, completed a tight U-turn and sped straight upwards again into the sky peppered with stars.
We were on the Chudley Cannons pitch, flying in the chilled March moonlight. Only a few experiences in my life had come close to this much excitement – and all of the those involved a certain redhead. I began to weave in and out of the goalposts, glancing over at James and Al. It’d been so long since I had been on a broom, I almost forgot the total and complete freedom you felt while flying. James was lazily flying around the outside of the stadium, while Al was going totally nuts.
“We are definitely doing this again!” he screamed. He then proceeded to fly upside down – and backwards. I was really glad that I’d stopped drinking when we got to The Quaffle. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this half as much if I were completely smashed. At that point, I was still just slightly buzzed – just the right amount to completely revel in the moment. The only thing that could’ve made it more perfect would be if Rose had been there. She loved flying and I bet she missed our days of Quidditch at Hogwarts just as much as Al and me.
A wonderful and completely amazing idea came to me just then. I mean it was totally perfect. I swooped over next to Al and told him of the plan that was quickly forming in my head.
“You are insane!” he screamed. “And brilliant,” a smile spread across his face. “Of course I will help you. We have to time this just right. Race you to the goalposts!”
I twirled around and around in the middle of Main Street in Hogsmeade. I felt light as a feather. Thinking back, I couldn’t remember feeling this carefree and elated since I was a little kid. My lungs filled themselves with air that didn’t smell like a hospital or a three hundred year old dingy house. This was what I needed for so long. A small bit of walking down the street.
“I can’t believe you cut off all your hair! You look fabulous,” Selenia exclaimed as the pair of us practically skipped down the lane.
“What about you?! That streak is so cool – and hot. I think you are going to drive Al crazy with that. It is so unlike you!” I leaned in to get a closer look. She had kept her short, smart style, but had added one bright streak of purple that swept across the front of her straight, raven hair. She could really pull it off with the stylish and conservative clothing she wore on a daily basis. My own hair was cut to chin-length, and, as a result, the color was a little bit darker and the texture had gone from wavy to curly as it framed my face. It felt incredibly light as I shook my head from side to side. I definitely looked older and more professional. Coupled with the new makeup and lessons we both got, we’d gone from students to professionals in a matter of only a couple of hours. It was a good choice considering we’d be interning with actual patients in a few months. Hopefully, Scorpius would like it as well.
“Let’s eat!” I commanded. I was so hungry, I felt nauseous. It was really late – almost four pm, so we were really having tea, not lunch. It was hard to tell if I was more hungry or tired. I would need some sustenance to keep me going to make up all the studying we had missed during our excursion.
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as we entered the tea house. Dad was there – again. It wasn’t a very large shop, and he was sitting at one of the five tables in the dining area. We sat down at a table next to him – they were so close together, all of the tables were next to him. Not wanting to be rude, Selenia said hello.
“Hello, ladies,” Dad tipped his cup at us and then his eyes flew open. “Merlin, Rose! I didn’t even recognize you! You look so different with your hair cut. Wow.”
Honestly, I can’t believe he ever hunted down and found all those Death Eaters that were hiding out after the Second Wizarding War. I am sure they used disguises and aliases. Maybe Uncle Harry did all of the groundwork and Dad was just the muscle. Maybe Mum helped. For Merlin’s sake, I can’t figure that man out.
“Hi, Dad,” despite my annoyance, I gave him a peck on the head and a tight squeeze. “Do you like Selenia’s hair?”
“Very chic,” he commented. I giggled. I didn’t know he even knew that word.
“Thanks, Mr. Weasley,” Selenia smiled. “Do you want to join us for tea?” I stifled a groan. Ron Weasley never turns down food.
“Well, I am on duty, but I don’t think it would hurt to have a bite, considering my charge is right here!” he smiled at me and I just couldn’t stay annoyed with him. He could be so cute sometimes.
The morning after flying was a whole heck of a lot easier to get up than the morning after the Quidditch party. I am off firewhiskey for a while. It was Sunday and Rose would be back later on today. My heart began to thump, thinking about seeing her. We hadn’t been apart for this long in about six months. Could you actually go through withdrawal from another person? Then I remembered how we’d left things and my heart was beating faster with anxiety. This could go either way. A familiar lump in my stomach returned. It hadn’t been there since Rose and I’d gotten together. I pushed it down and went to go make breakfast for Al and me.
Immediately, I knew that nervousness was spreading around Number Twelve like a bad cold. Al sat with his head in his tea at the breakfast table, his knee bouncing up and down with worry. He didn’t even look up to acknowledge me as I began the preparations for our breakfast. He just sat in silence as if all the answers to his problems could be found at the bottom of his teacup.
“Mate, you need to calm the hell down,” I slid a spinach and feta omelet onto his plate a few minutes later.
“Can’t,” he was still staring at his tea, but he picked up his fork absentmindedly and stabbed at the omelet. Apparently his nose still worked.
“Look, I know you are in a tight situation, here. You can’t tell Selenia the truth because that would break your trust with Rose and Harry. But you can’t let her think you are a major arsehole either, when you really aren’t.”
“Thanks for summing that up, Scorp. Any other flashes of brilliance within you today? Considering you are the one who walked out on Rose the other night. Right after she got the worst news of her life.”
Deep breath in. Don’t kill the son of the savior of the Wizarding World. “I’m going to let that pass because I know the stress you are under. I was just trying to say, that maybe you could plan a nice evening with Selenia. You know, meet her in Diagon Alley when she gets back… take her out to dinner… grovel until the sun comes up.”
A heavy sigh left his lips. “Sorry, mate. Just thought you should know that the rest of us care about Rose and this prophecy as much as you do. We aren’t taking it lightly. But she needs you more than she needs me,” he shoved a forkful of omelet into his mouth. “Good idea about Selenia,” he said with his mouth full.
“Hey, I have my own reasons. I want you to come to Diagon Alley with me today. I need your help – remember?” Besides, if you take Selenia out to dinner, Rose and I can be alone for a few hours.
“Alright, we can head out after breakfast. I will send her a patronus to meet me there.”
After Dad kissed me goodbye in the entryway of Number Twelve, I slipped upstairs to my room. Selenia had reluctantly accepted Albus’s invitation to dinner in Diagon Alley. I had to work in some major persuading on that one, but in the end, the fact that she was completely in love with him won over.
I assumed Scorpius was up in his room, still brooding. The house seemed unnaturally quiet. I opened the beaded bag that Mum let me borrow and began removing my purchases from the weekend shopping trip. I felt lighter than I had in a long, long time. Laying out Scorpius’s clothes on the bed, I set the candles around the room and then turned to the purchases I’d made for myself. Most of them were new outfits for when I began my internship. I wanted to look professional around the patients.
Hanging them up in my closet, I paused when I got to the new traveling cloak. It seemed silly that a piece of cloth could make me so excited, but I fell in love with it when I saw it in the little boutique. It was periwinkle trimmed in black. I’d never seen a cloak like it. So soft, but it was charmed so it would not get wet in the rain, it was perfect to wear during the rainy London spring - and the fall as well. Thinking more about it, I knew I’d just wanted it so badly because it meant I finally had places to wear it; out to dinner, shopping in Diagon Alley or just going for a walk in the park. Carefully, I hung it up and ran my fingers down the smooth fabric once more before turning back to the beaded bag.
The last package to pull out was quite small and I began to giggle uncontrollably at the images that popped in my head.
After tea with Dad, he wanted to hang out with us for a while, but I knew it was just to keep his eye on me. I politely declined and we began to walk around town, after the renewed energy from the tea and biscuits. However, there he was, at every turn. I decided to teach him a lesson. We ducked into Lady Lindsey’s Luscious Lace and I roared with laughter, knowing Dad would never follow us in there. Selenia was laughing too, but I wasn’t done yet.
“I am going to buy something here!” I declared, feeling really adventurous. Scorpius wouldn’t have any objections. “You should too!” I squealed to Selenia. “I just absolutely cannot know what it is. I have already learned too much about you and Al.” I was still laughing, but she knew I was half serious.
We left the shop a little while later and lo and behold, the orange-headed man was closely examining the fountain in the middle of the square, just a few yards away. He looked up expectantly at me and I made sure to dangle the package that was clearly too small to be pyjamas on my finger, with a defiant look on my face. I turned to Selenia, who was examining her package (that was no bigger) and began to giggle uncontrollably. I didn’t even have to look. I knew he was turning redder and redder. Suddenly, Selenia’s eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped open as she looked over at the fountain.
“What is it?” I was alarmed. Dad was just going to have to stop babying me. What could he possibly be doing? I dragged my eyes away from Selenia’s shocked face to see what she was looking at – and my hand flew to my mouth to keep me from guffawing at a shocked Harry Potter, standing next to Dad, his hand still in a semi-wave at his son’s girlfriend. Selenia waved awkwardly back and dropped her head.
“We need to get out of here!” she whispered loudly, trying frantically to stuff the package into her cloak.
“Come on, Sels. He can’t possibly think that you and Al just kiss and snuggle and then go to your separate bedrooms!” But it was too late. She was horrified.
“Look,” I continued, “I know for a fact that Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny categorically adore you. Ginny even said to Mum that you were the best thing to happen to Al. Don’t worry about it. We can head back now if you want,” I was still giggling a little. “We have to go study anyway. For what it’s worth – thanks for a great day,” I gave her a hug as we headed back to the inn.
That was the day before. We both woke early that morning to get a few more hours of studying in before we’d left to come back. I couldn’t stop thinking of Scorpius. My head kept doing funny things and drawing my thoughts away from my studies to his touch, his smell, his lips.
With bated breath, I got myself and the room ready for this evening. All last night, I was thinking what I could do to show Scorpius how much he meant to me. First, I took a quick shower and used some of the new lotion I bought. I put on the new makeup, remembering the ‘less is more’ rule the lady taught me and Selenia. The light dusting of powder made my freckles less noticeable.
Changing the sheets to the bed, I was getting really lightheaded, suddenly so excited to see him, I didn’t think I could wait much longer. Selecting a new pair of straight-legged, dark jeans and a white wrap-around knit top, I smiled. It tied with a little navy blue bow on the side. Back to the bathroom for a quick dry of my new hairstyle, I puckered my lips into the mirror. I did look really different. Definitely older. This was a new Rose Weasley – professional healer and… girlfriend extraordinaire? The jury’s still out on that one. And for the final touch of the romantic evening I had planned, I was going to make him dinner. He was such a wonderful cook; I wanted to show him that I had really been paying attention to all the things he’d taught me when we cooked together. I apparated myself down to the kitchen.
The anxiety of my situation combined with the lightheadedness from not eating a proper lunch two days in a row caused a wave a queasiness to wash over me from apparating. I had to close my eyes and take a moment to keep my stomach where it belonged. It took a minute for me to be able to look up, and even then, I stumbled and almost fell over. I would have been kissing the hard, cement floor if someone hadn’t caught me.
“Whoa – hang on there,” that voice. His voice. His arms were around me. It took me a second to realize I had stopped falling halfway to the ground, but I was still looking at the floor. When I heard him, my breath caught. All queasiness was gone. I shifted in his arms to look at him properly.
“Ro?!” His arms went limp and I felt myself sinking toward the hard floor again. A squeal escaped my lips and reflexively, I grabbed for his arms. He came to his senses and pulled me to an upright position – a little too quickly – my head was spinning. I panted as my eyes squeezed shut. My hands were gripping his forearms. I can’t believe that he makes me do this. Normally, I am a very controlled person. His arms tightened around me as he pulled me closer. When I opened my eyes, we were staring at each other. My body relaxed. I was home.
“Ro?” he said again. Actually it was more of a question. My head was clearing from the spinning, but I was confused at his confusion.
“Scorpius?” I countered. What the hell was the matter with him? His eyes widened and he pushed me away. It wasn’t exactly a push, more like he stood back to get a good look at me. He kept his hands at my waist. Finally, he darted toward me and planted a kiss on my lips. I tried to kiss back, but he pulled away really quickly, licking his lips with a look of concentration on his face. What. The. Hell?
His eyes softened and he exhaled. “Rose,” he breathed as his eyes roamed me from top to bottom.
I was about to ask him what the hell was the matter with him, when he spoke first.
“You look amazing. I didn’t even recognize you. I mean, you look good. Really good. Really, really good.” I stifled a giggle at his backpedaling. How long would he continue if I didn’t stop him? This could actually be fun. I stepped back.
“Are you saying you don’t even know your own girlfriend?” I drawled, crossing my arms against my chest.
“No! I mean, yes. I mean…you look incredible. Everything…,” he ended really quiet. I knew he thought he was cocking this up. He was so adorable; I had to let him off the hook.
“I missed you,” my fingers found the side of his face. He hadn’t shaved in a few days and I massaged his stubble. A smell wafted across the kitchen and I realized that he had actually beaten me to my plan. Dinner was about to be served, but it was the furthest thing from my mind. I was really hungry – but not for dinner. Slowly, I leaned into him and pressed my lips against his. After a few moments I pulled away, my fingers still playing with his stubbly chin. As I pulled away from him, I could smell something else. The smell that was specifically Scorpius. My body took over my actions and I crashed my lips against his as our feet began sliding across the floor and out of the kitchen. My fingers fumbled with his shirt and we had to break our embrace for a few seconds so I could shed his shirt on the floor in the hallway.
Finally able to really feel him against my desperate hands, I was taking full advantage of his naked chest. He slipped his hands under my new shirt and the warmth of his touch sent my heart racing and gasping for breath. We clung to each other desperately as we climbed the stairs as one. Sounds came from both of us, but no words. I began to lose any thoughts other than pure desire to be as close as possible with him. Clothing was discarded along the stairs and it was somewhere at that point that I became completely lost in the moment, lost in Scorpius Malfoy. We made it to the bedroom, but just barely.
A/N: So Rose is a bit different in this chapter. I know it's a bit fluffy, but I really thought she deserved some fluff after the last two chapters :) I'd love to know your thoughts!
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