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Chapter 33 : Beating Heart: Scorpius POV
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When we finally stumbled into the waiting area, I immediately spotted James across the way, hunched forward in one of the chairs with his head in his hands. There weren’t very many people around at that hour of the morning, so he wasn’t hard to see, sitting alone and fisting his messy hair. Tufts of black clumped between his fingers. He was alone and it just seemed odd that none of the other Weasleys were there as well.
“Where is everyone?” I blurted. They were her family. She needed them and they should’ve been there.
His head popped up, startled at the sound of my voice. “I sent Al to get you first,” James answered blearily, looking around as if he wasn’t exactly sure where he was. “He went to get you… as… as I was apparating her here. I knew you’d want to come straight away. Selenia’s gone to find Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione – but she didn’t go until after we got here. They just… took her from me and wouldn’t let me g-go with her.” His eyes were red and his hands were shaking.
“What happened?” I was finding it hard to take in enough air to make words.
“Dunno,” James choked. “just found her at the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t even hear her fall. She had all these photos and documents around her. I figured she'd tripped, but I swear – I didn’t hear her. Sh - shouldn’t I have heard it?” He dropped his head into his hands again. Al put his arm on his brother’s shoulder.
“It’s alright James. ‘Lenia and I didn’t hear her either and we were only one floor away in the kitchen. It’s lucky you found her. If you’d apparated to the kitchen like we did, nobody would’ve noticed…”
My stomach gave a violent twist at the thought of Rose lying unconscious for hours until one of us got home or someone realized she wasn’t at training and finally thought to go look for her. The protective feeling began to possess me once more. It swelled from deep within and poured itself to the very end of my fingertips. I needed to see her. I needed to see what her injuries were. Without thinking, I turned from the Potter brothers and headed determinedly toward the double doors that led to the emergency care wing. I pushed through them and was immediately stopped by the receptionist on the other side. Her desk was positioned right in front of the hallway that led to the patient rooms.
“Name, please.” She spoke as if she repeated those words about 1,000 times per day. She didn’t look up as she flipped through some magazine.
“S-Scorpius… erm Mm…” I began
“Patients name,” she cut me off. “I don’t have a Scorpion or whatever registered in this wing.” She had a nasally, bored voice.
I shook my head to clear it.
“Rose W-Weasley,” I managed to choke out. I looked past her, down the hallway, to see if there was any movement or other indication of what room Rose was in. The hallway was mostly empty, with a few medi-witches meandering in and out of rooms, checking on their charges.
She finally looked up, raising her eyebrows and lowering her chin to peer over her reading glasses. “I’m sorry, sir,” she said curtly. “She’s just been admitted and needs to be evaluated. Even then, visitors will be limited to immediate family, only.” I turned to look at her and she stared up at me. Clearly she knew who Rose was, her family was famous after all. And she also knew I was not one of them.
“I’m her… fiancé,” I enunciated the last word. If this woman thought she was going to keep me from getting to Rose, she was in for a rude awakening.
“Sure, sure,” she commented; thumbing through her magazine once more. “Listen honey, I’ve heard it all before,” she said, waving me off with a flick of her bangled wrist full of clangy jewelry. “You saw the daughter of a famous wizarding family come in and now you’re making up stories because you work for Miss Witch U.K. or some other rag and want ‘the first scoop.’” She, ironically, was flipping through the latest copy of one of the aforementioned rags as she rebuffed me.
I was seething. I felt my last shred of tolerance give way and I was about to lose it with this witch, when a commotion began about three quarters down the hallway. A muffled warning alarm was going off from inside one of the rooms and Healers and medi-witches and -wizards appeared out of nowhere and were all running towards it. Some of them were pushing carts that held complicated looking pieces of equipment on them. I knew this wasn’t good. I skirted the receptionist’s desk as my feet tore off down the hallway toward the commotion.
“Sir. Sir! You cannot go down there!” I heard the scrape of her chair against the floor and I knew what was coming next, but my Auror reflexes kicked in and I turned only enough to defect the stunning jinx she sent at me. I could’ve deflected it just into the wall next to her, but instead, I made sure it hit her square in the chest. Perhaps she shouldn’t be so rude to upset fiancés.
By the time I reached it, the door had closed and the hallway was eerily empty. I looked through the window but couldn’t see the patient because there were so many people moving around in front of the hospital bed. A male Healer appeared to be the one in charge, because he was barking orders at everyone.
“What is it now?” he asked above the din of the .
“One-ninety,” answered a medi-wizard next to a bubble that had several numbers displaying on it. The bubble was emitting a pulsing orange light, as a warning.
“And the fetus?” the head Healer shouted.
Another Healer answered this time, “Two-twenty. Aphis, this is a clear sign of distress. We need to act. Now.” I recognized the voice of Healer Chang. However, this time it wasn’t calm and reassuring. It was rushed and serious.
A medi-wizard hurried away from his post at the head of the bed and I could glimpse through the other medical people as they shifted and moved around the room.
It was Rose. Her eyes were closed, and she was lying very still. However, the thing that struck me the most was her face. She was so pale. Her lips were light gray and the rest of her face was ghostly white. My heart jolted. It was pushing out of my chest to try to get to Rose.
“Yes. Give her two vials of the Cor Retardadis potion. Chang – is that the appropriate dose for the fetus?”
“It’s a little high, but it should be alright. We need to get this slowed down before one or both of them are in cardiac arrest.”
Cardiac arrest? Holy shit. My hand was on the knob of the door, pushing it open, when a white-haired witch suddenly bustled out of the room and pushed me back from the doorway. She wasn’t wearing healer robes, but she still looked familiar.
“’Ello?” she began in a cockney accent. She looked surprised to see me there. “Yow need ta be ‘n the waitin’ area. No visitors now.” I shook my head. There was no way I was going anywhere.
“What’s happening?” I was looking past her, trying to catch another sight of Rose. If I could just go and hold her hand…
“Oh, dear,” I heard Hermione’s voice behind me. My head turned to see her and Ron coming down the hallway. Selenia was with them. The first two stepped around the receptionist who was still lying unconscious on the floor. My deflection had knocked her chair over and blasted part of the wall away.
“What’s going on?” Ron’s voice boomed as he stomped down the hallway toward me. Selenia had stopped to check on the unconscious receptionist. She whispered a quick spell and gently sat her up against the wall. She said something else and waved her wand.
“Bloody ‘ell,” the white-haired witch swore and bustled past me, stooping down next to Selenia and the receptionist. In a few moments I saw another set of medi-witches coming down the hallway, answering Selenia’s summons. As soon as she saw the receptionist was in good hands, she sped down the hall to catch up with Rose’s parents.
I leaned my arm against the wall for support. “I don’t know what is going on. They won’t let me see her. James said she fell down… erm - the s-stairs…” my voice broke and I felt tears prick in my eyes. I should’ve been there. Ron and Hermione were staring at me. Even though they wouldn’t say it, I could tell they were thinking the same.
I took a deep breath to steady myself. “I heard them say something about something being too high… one hundred ninety for Rose and two hundred twenty for the baby-” I needed more air. All three were staring so hard at me. “They gave her s-some kind of potion. I think it was ‘kora retardia’ or something-”
“All right,” Selenia broke in, rubbing my arm. She seemed to understand what I was saying and what it meant. However, she didn’t let on how serious the situation really was. “I’ll go in there and see what I can find out. As soon as I know something, I’ll come and tell you.” She spoke to all three of us and I could tell she was trying to keep her voice positive, but it lacked its usual bright timbre. I appreciated that she didn’t tell me to leave like everyone else. She knew that I wasn’t about to be any further away from Rose than was humanly possible. I watched and felt so completely helpless as she pushed through the door to Rose’s room.
As soon as the door clicked shut, Ron turned to peer through the window in the door, intently. I stepped back to give him some room. The blood was still pounding in my ears and I rubbed the back of my neck and was surprised to feel a comforting hand squeeze the one hanging at my side.
“Scorpius,” Hermione’s hand felt surprisingly like Rose’s. “Please don’t blame yourself. It was an accident.” Her words were kind, but I could hear the tension in her voice. I couldn’t fault her for blaming me.
“I wasn’t there.” I couldn’t stop a few tears from brimming. “I should’ve been there.” Hastily, I wiped them away.
Ron turned around and looked from me to Hermione. He opened his mouth to say something as he took a step towards us, but it snapped shut just as quickly. Instead, his left arm rose up and drew back. I stiffened and fingered my wand, trying to think of the best defense that wouldn’t get me completely ostracized from the Weasley family.
My eyes followed his arm as it continued to draw back, as if in slow motion. The weird part was that it began to move forward in slow motion and landed gently around Hermione’s shoulders. He pulled her in close and kissed the top of her head. She was still holding my right hand and her other hand reached up and grasped my upper arm. She pulled me close as she leaned her head sideways against Ron’s chest. I reached my other arm across and placed it on Ron’s shoulder. The three of us stood there in our bizarre huddle for… ever. We stared in through the tiny slit of a window and watched the dichotomy between the frantic pace on the other side of the door and our side where time had all but stopped.
After many, many minutes of my heart pounding nearly out of my chest, the door opened again and Selenia came out. A few of the medi-witches came out as well and they headed off to other patients. The craziness seemed to die down a tad. The three of us looked at her expectantly.
“Stable for now,” Selenia sighed, “but her heart rate is still far too high. The baby as well.”
My throat tightened.
“Did this happen from her falling?” I asked. It seemed weird to have a really high heart rate from a fall. But I wasn’t a Healer, so I didn’t know.
“No. That’s the part that has everyone stumped. When she first arrived she was stable, just unconscious. The heart rate didn’t increase until after she’d been here for a bit.”
“What do we do now?” Ron asked
“All we can do is wait. They’ve given her a potion to slow it down and that’s helped a bit, but they can’t give her any more without harming the baby.” She was very kind, but very professional in her words. I noticed that she was choosing them carefully, and never mentioned that everything would be all right. My breath sucked in and Hermione squeezed my hand tighter.
“Can we see her?” Hermione asked.
“Not just yet. They want to monitor her for a little bit longer. Then it will only be immediate family and one visitor at a time. Why don’t you get something to eat? I know I interrupted your breakfast and I’ll stay here and send out a patronus the moment anything changes.” She nodded to us and went back into the room.
“I dunno,” Ron waivered, looking back through the tiny window in the door.
His wife set her jaw and turned him to face her. “Ron, let’s run to the cafeteria, quickly. You’ll feel better with something on your stomach. That way, we can come back and hopefully get in to see her straight away.”
“All right,” he agreed to his wife’s direction, but still was looking through the window at Rose.
She pulled him gently down the hallway and, after a moment, turned back. “Scorpius, would you like to join us?” she asked with deep concern in her voice.
I only shook my head. “I’ll go update the rest of the family.” I couldn’t possibly eat and I figured that talking to everyone would distract me for long enough until we knew more about Rose and the baby. That way, I wouldn’t have to be too far away.
“Oh, thank you,” Hermione looked relieved. “Can we bring you something back?”
“That’s all right. I’m not very hungry.”
To my surprise, Hermione took a step toward me and leaned in to kiss my cheek before she started down the hall, arm wrapped around the waist of her husband. Ron pulled her close to him. Turning from them, I stared into the room for a few more moments, looking at Rose’s limp figure on the mattress before heading in the opposite direction toward the waiting area.
The receptionist had been relocated – probably to her own hospital room. I felt a pang of guilt. She’d only been doing her job.
The waiting area had been effectively taken over by the Weasleys. As I expected, nearly everyone was there. They were all talking in quiet whispers to each other and didn’t see me at first. I stared at the lot of them for a full minute before taking the few, bold steps needed to face them.
Heads raised up as I approached and the whispers died down. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I didn’t have any real news to tell them. Nothing good, anyway. They were all looking at me and waiting. They wanted someone to tell them that all was well – and I couldn’t do that. I felt my knees weaken. What if Rose’s heart rate was shooting up as I stood there giving the report to the Weasleys? I needed to be near her. I found the closest chair and leaned slightly against the back for support.
James was sitting down, not looking any better than he’d looked earlier. Al had stood as I walked toward them, eyes searching for an answer. I looked away from him. Dom was propped up against the far wall, but had a steeled look on her face. The rest of the clan was spread around the room, standing or sitting or just leaning on chairs.
I scrubbed my face, pressing hard with my hands and closed my eyes tight, trying to focus on exactly how to tell them just how dire the situation was. I felt someone move to stand next to me. Expecting to see Albus when I opened my eyes, I was startled that it was Harry who had taken the spot next to me, with a solid pat on my back. Even more surprising, Ginny was standing on my other side and had gently wrapped herself around me. She had moved the chair aside and taken its place. She was much shorter than I, and couldn’t reach my shoulders, but was squeezing around my side with both arms. With their touch, the tension inside me eased by the tiniest amount. In an effort to show my appreciation, I put my arm around her as well.
“Er…” I began. “Uhh – it’s not too good.” Oh, Merlin. Don’t start crying in front of all of them. “She fell and hit her head and - is still unconscious.”
This was so much harder than I thought it could ever be.
I tried to continue, “... but the problem they’re dealing with right now is that her heart rate has increased to d-dangerous levels.” They were dead silent, wide eyes boring into me. “It’s a bit better after they gave her some potion… but not back to normal yet. They can’t give her any more because it’s too risky for the ba - er… the baby.” I bit my lip as the word choked out of my lungs. I couldn’t say anything else without completely embarrassing myself.
“What can we do, mate?” Fred asked and many of the red heads began to nod.
I cleared my throat to force out an answer. “Er… all we can d-do now is wait. They won’t even let anyone i-in the room...” My legs began to tremble. I knew that I was becoming unglued right there in front of just about every Weasley family member. I stared at the floor. “At least Selenia can be with her right now.” I said quietly because my voice was getting so shaky. I really needed to pull myself together.
“Scorpius,” Ginny’s voice was always so kind when it needed to be. Her soft hand brushed the hair that had fallen over my face. It briefly reminded my of my own Mum. “I think Fred meant what can we do for you, love?”
I was so startled that I looked up. “Oh.” Why would they want to do anything for me? I was the one who had been completely ignoring Rose for the past few weeks. I hadn’t been there for her. I was the one who flitted off to the Cannon’s pitch this morning to have a fly before training instead of checking in on my fiancée.
And I was the one with the death eater family line that caused this whole situation in the first place. I had no idea how to answer that question.
Before I knew what was happening, Al and Dom walked toward me. He put an arm on my back and she reached up and took my hand that was covering my face with both of her hands, squeezing tightly. Teddy, James and Fred were behind her as they reached around and each patted a shoulder. Bill, Fleur, Victoire, George and Angelina came next and Nana Molly fought through all of them to push her way to the front. She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed so tight I thought I might pass out from lack of oxygen. Only Percy, Audrey and Molly stood awkwardly off to the side. No one said any words; they all just sort of stood there, holding me up. Even Grandad Weasley was there with a supportive arm.
After a few minutes, I said, “I think I should go and check on her again.” Slowly the sea of red hair pulled back and only a few black, messy heads remained. Albus and Harry stayed on either side of me as we went back through the doors to the patient rooms. Ginny fussed a bit over my hair once more, before letting the three of us go.
There was another receptionist sitting behind the desk – a gruff looking wizard with huge arms. He steeled a look at us for a moment until his eyes met with Harry. He did not say anything as the three of us passed by the desk to the corridor beyond. Ron was standing outside of Rose’s room. He turned when he saw us coming. Harry and Al patted him on the back – a wordless show of support.
We all turned toward the window in the door to look in on Hermione standing next to Rose’s bed. There were still a couple of medical people in the room, including Selenia. However this time, no one was running around and shouting directions. Selenia and the others were monitoring the bubbles that had all of the numbers and diagrams on them. I noticed that there were two – one for Rose and one for the baby.
“Any news?” Al asked Ron.
“Her heart rate is down to one-twenty and the baby is at one-sixty. They said that is alright for the baby but for Rose one-twenty is still a bit high. We can go in and see her – but only one at a time.” We all nodded our understanding.
Hermione came out and Ron went in to see Rose. After a few minutes, he came out and Harry and Al offered me the next turn. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted so much to be near her, but I couldn’t help but think that this whole ordeal was my fault.
“Let Al go,” I said. “She’s known him the longest.”
Hermione went to give the latest news to the rest of the family. Shortly after she left, James, Dom, Teddy and Fred came down the hallway. Harry went in next and Ron stayed in the hall with Rose’s cousins and me. One by one, they all took turns sitting with Rose and I just watched from the hallway. The term ‘immediate family’ had been expanded for the Weasleys. No one was going to argue with Harry Potter. After Fred left, Nana Molly and Grandad went in. Next came Ginny and then the rest of the aunts and uncles. Finally Audrey and Molly went in. One by one, they each had a short visit with Rose and went back to the waiting room. I still couldn’t move from my spot in front of the door. Again, I felt a force pulling me to her – it was getting stronger.
“She needs you, ya know,” Ron hadn’t left to be with the rest of his family. He was leaning back against the opposite wall of the corridor, hands stuffed in his pockets and one foot propped up on the wall behind him.
“I know,” it was just more proof of how much I was letting Rose down. Proof of all the reasons for me to stay away. Part of me wanted to get out of there and the rest wanted to burst through the door and grab Rose’s hand. The two opposing powers left me completely immobile. My finger traced the edge of the window.
“Scorpius…” Ron started and then stopped. I figured he was going to tell me that I had to make a decision and not string her along anymore. I braced myself and summoned up the nerve to ask him the one question that had been plaguing me for weeks. The entire reason I was questioning my future with Rose was balancing on the answer Ron would give about my past.
“Ron, I need to know…” still looking away from him, because that was the only way I was getting through this. “…what did my father do… when you were captured and taken to - erm… Malfoy Manor… when Hermione was…”
“Oh,” he said, realizing what I was asking. “Listen, that is… was... way in the past.”
“I need to know,” was my response, a little desperate. “I can’t ask my fa-…” I looked back at Rose and thought of how much she’d gone through and what promises I’d made to her. I blew out a heavy breath.
“Harry… would try to sugar-coat it – but I know you… will tell me truth. I need to know.” I repeated and looked in his eyes so he would know how serious I was about this.
After a long moment, I heard a very quiet, “All right,” although his lips barely moved.
“We were found by snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor,” he started and then cleared his throat.
“Erm… Hermione had disfigured Harry’s face so he was basically unrecognizable to anyone who didn’t know him – but your dad did. And he didn’t rat us out.” I nodded, but he still hadn’t answered my question. I waited for him to continue. He was staring at the ceiling as he related the story.
“Harry and I were locked in the cellar, but they kept Hermione upstairs. She was tortured by Bellatrix… we could hear h-her… erm - s-screaming,” his voice was barely above a whisper.
“Fuck,” I said out loud. I didn’t want him to have to relive this. “And my dad just – stood there and did nothing,” I conceded. I was seething. How could he just sit idly by and let such a horrific thing happen to her?
“Look.” Ron spoke unnaturally loudly. “I’ve not made it a secret that I was never a fan of Draco Malfoy. However, circumstances as they were, he didn’t have a lot of choice. His entire family were death eaters – and he was expected to follow. Voldemort made no qualms of killing his own followers for even minor indiscretions. I’ve never been able to forgive his actions – or lack thereof – but the reality is… he was just a kid – only seventeen years old at the time. And he was very much under the influence of his parents.”
I nodded my understanding. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I’m sorry that you – and Hermione – had to go through that. But… thank you for telling me.” I really wasn’t sure what to do with this information. I didn’t know where to go from here.
“Scorpius, we are not our parents. I’ll never forgive your father, but you can’t beat yourself up for something that you had absolutely no control over.” His voice was a bit forced. This wasn’t easy for him.
I could only nod, staring at the window frame. I couldn’t look at either him or Rose - and I wasn’t quite sure that I would be able to forgive my father either.
“Scorpius, it’s not about how you are different,” Ron’s voice broke through my thoughts.
What? What was he on about? How my father and I were different? I turned to look at him, quizzically.
“The prophecy,” he was attempting to explain. “You need to think about what it really means.” What in the world was he talking about? I was really confused.
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. “You and Rose are meant for each other. It’s actually recorded for all time that you will be together. I really, really didn’t want to see it at first, but-” I pulled in a breath and took a step down the hall, retreating quickly.
“But,” he continued, putting a firm hand on my arm to stop me. “I’ve seen the way you two are when you’re together. Hell, I knew it the day I caught you in each other’s arms when you were fifteen – at Daphne’s house. And if I can see it, anyone can.”
He paused and emphasized. “It’s not how you are different. It’s how you are the same.”
How Rose and I are the same? We come from completely different backgrounds.
My family tortured her family.
But… maybe… he was talking about the fact that we were both Ravenclaws – the first in either family to be sorted into that house. Maybe it was the fact that we both had to be patient with each other – waiting for the right moment until we could finally be together. She had waited for me and I, in turn, had waited for her. As far as I was concerned, I will never, ever be with anyone else.
“Whatever reasons you’re thinking about,” Ron said. “Whatever it is,” he continued, waving a hand in the air, “and many other reasons. You both are fiercely loyal to your friends and family – and each other. You both have incredibly sharp minds that work at speeds dizzying to the rest of us.” I nodded vaguely, turning finally to look at Rose’s pale frame lying on the hospital bed.
“And…” he seemed to be struggling to get the next part out. I rounded to face him. “… and – you both have been through horrible… events,” he paused to gain control, “and it hasn’t affected your ability to love others. Most people who suffer that deeply – lose something of themselves, but not you and Rose.
“Believe me, Scorpius, if I thought for one bleeding minute that you had anything other than the most noble of intentions with my daughter, you’d not be standing here in front of me right now. I don’t question for a moment that you’ll be anything less than a caring, compassionate and loved husband and father.”
Loved. He said loved.
He was breathing pretty heavily, even though he didn’t say the words with any force. I don’t think Ron Weasley had ever said so much at one time.
I nodded and finally understood. As my mind became clearer, my head moved to look through the window one more time at Rose. We hadn’t needed the prophecy to bring us together, so why should it tear us apart? Rose and the baby needed me… me – and I was going to be there. I looked over to thank Ron, but he was already walking down the hallway toward the waiting room and I realized why he hadn’t gone to be with his family until that moment. Whatever anyone had ever said about Ron Weasley – he understood a lot more than he let on.
At long last, I turned the knob and pushed through the door to see my Rose.
A/N: Hello! So... things are looking a little icky for now, huh? Thanks again to Emily (-BookDinosaur-) for the help with the Chapter title! And a SUPER special thanks to Anja (merlins beard) who recently reviewed EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER in less than a day - whew! I'm still a bit giddy. I'd love to hear from anyone who wants to leave a comment or review - and I will reply to all of them. Thanks again! ♥ Beth
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