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Chapter 7 : Torn Apart
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It all felt like a bad dream.
Roxanne's mind, while in a turmoil continued to whisper those words to her, as if repeating them would make what had happened to her at Malfoy Manor disappear. The night had started out so wonderfully as she'd danced and laughed with her relatives, never thinking that she would ever come into contact with someone that had vanished the year before.
And yet, everything had changed the instant Benjamin Malfoy had appeared in the darkness of her grandfather's shed, awakening feelings in her that she'd tried to fight away.
The excitement of seeing him, coupled with the thrilling thought of doing something she wasn't supposed to had spurred her on to making a decision that had led to ruin. Benjamin wasn't the person that she had known before he had left, before he had destroyed their strange little friendship and turned his back on her without even a backwards glance.
But he had kissed her...he had kissed her as if she had been the only thing that mattered in his world.
Roxanne had fought the pull between them but while her mind had wanted one thing, her heart and body had yearned for something more. Everything that had happened had been a mistake. A horrible, terrible mistake that she could never make any better and it would fester and boil inside of her until she blessedly forgot it.
But no matter how hard she tried to keep her mind blank, images of Benjamin invaded her brain, somehow as tormenting as if he were standing near her or pressing his mouth on hers. Although it had only been a few hours ago, only a few seconds seemed to have passed for her tears to dry and for the overwhelming bitterness in her heart to ease.
After fleeing from Benjamin and hearing his insults ringing in her ears, Roxanne had blindly run through the Manor, her footsteps taking her further and further away from the person that had hurt her the most. Even though she hadn't been to Malfoy Manor in an entire year, Roxanne's mind had led her to the right destination without her really noticing.
Most wizard families kept a fireplace with a handy bowl of Floo powder and when Roxanne had stumbled into a living room, the furniture covered and reminding her of dead bodies...she had breathed a sob of relief. Mr. Malfoy had either still been in his office, drinking his troubles away or upstairs in one of the many bedrooms to have missed her slinking through his home.
Roxanne had jumped at every little sound, had hesitated every so often thinking that either the man would appear and demand to know what she thought she was doing or worse, that Benjamin would catch her. Some part of her didn't know why she'd thought he would but there had been nothing but silence in the Manor...a deafening sort of silence that could have driven any sane person mad.
Roxanne hadn't known how she'd survived it but she'd managed to dig her trembling fingers into the bowl of Floo powder on the mantle, stepped inside the grate like a thief and fled. The twisting and pulling on her way back to the Burrow had been swift and she'd found herself falling onto her grandparents kitchen floor in a heap of painful limbs and sobs.
A beautiful sun had risen over the grounds of her grandparent's home, slanting through the windows and despite it, Roxanne had sobbed for a full five minutes before she'd picked herself up and dragged her body upstairs.
Neither her parents or grandparents had been awake but she'd heard Perce banging around up in Uncle Ron's room with that old ghoul that still lived up there.
If she hadn't known any better, they had been trying to make the banging and slamming into musical notes but her mind had been too numb and dark to find amusement in it. Distantly, she'd trudged back to Aunt Ginny'd old bedroom, opened and closed the door and crossed the expanse of the room until she'd flopped onto the bed.
All of the horrible sobs and screams that she had tried to keep bottled for fear of waking or disturbing others had exploded out of her, buried rudely in her pillow like a bad secret. Roxanne wasn't certain for how long she'd stayed like that, crying and screaming her life away but eventually, she had slept, though not for long. The sounds of her family coming out of their slumber and preparing for the day like normal had slowly forced her to open her eyes.
They would go and see Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey and all would be well, if Roxanne managed not to burst into tears during a conversation. She could only imagine how ridiculous it would be for her to be the only one crying while everyone else was having lively conversation or digging into a good lunch.
But there were worse things, Roxanne's tormented mind tried to tell her. She could either burst into tears or somehow confess to what had happened.
There was no way that she could do something like that, the humiliation would kill her. Roxanne Weasley, just another number notched onto Benjamin Malfoy's broomstick and the thought was already making her already pale skin wash out of what remaining color it had.
If her family found out, they would never forgive her and Roxanne flinched at the thought of what her father would say, how her mother would feel and what Perce would do. If there was one person that Benjamin hated, it was him...
"Wait!" Roxanne cried desperately as she chased after the speck that was Benjamin Malfoy as he stomped away. Her parents and brother were calling after her at the shop but she found herself ignoring them and shoving various witches and wizards out of her way to get to Benjamin. "Don't leave!" she begged.
The older boy didn't turn around even though he stiffened just a little at the sound of her voice. If anything, he walked away faster and Roxanne had to pump her legs a bit harder to get to him, pants now issuing from her mouth as he started to slip away from her more and more. "Leave me alone!" Benjamin snarled over his shoulder at her.
Roxanne gasped at what she saw and even as he turned swiftly away, hiding his face from her eyes, it wouldn't be something to forget. Her brother had said something mean to him earlier in front of the shop and his feelings had been hurt and she furrowed her brow, stomping determinedly after him, "Wait, stupid!" she snapped.
Benjamin flinched in shock, stopping right ahead of her near Eeylops Owl Emporium. Roxanne wanted an owl for when she went to Hogwarts too because her brother had gotten one but she pushed the thought away, "Who're you calling stupid?!" the boy snarled at her, turning around.
Roxanne was once again confronted with the sight of his face flooded with tears and a miserable expression that made her own heart hurt. She had never really seen boys cry but it made her sad to see it on his face, somehow worse than anything a normal little boy would have done, "I'm sorry about what my brother said, and I don't think you're stupid." She mumbled.
"I don't care about what you or your dumb family thinks!" Benjamin snapped at her, startling a few people on the sidewalk. They sent him chiding looks while overlooking Roxanne, who saw them all one time or another on the street and he sent her a dark look, "just leave me alone, okay?"
"But...I thought we were friends." Roxanne found herself saying, frowning and feeling more tears coming. Benjamin recoiled as she took a step towards him, extending her hand a little, knowing that she still stunk from toilet water and that he probably didn't want to touch her at all. "You're crying and you're sad."
Benjamin stayed stonily silent.
Roxanne bit on her lower lip, trying to remember what he said about making people feel better. He had given her daisies earlier when he had seen her crying on that bench so maybe... "I don't have any flowers though,"
Would he still want to be her friend if she didn't give him flowers?
"I don't want any stinking flowers." Benjamin wiped furiously at his eyes with the back of his hand, looking as if he wanted to cry even harder. His voice sounded so mean and she couldn't imagine that this was the same person that she had wasted an entire day with blowing up toilets and sharing lunch.
"Are you mad cause I don't got any? I'll get you some." Roxanne said firmly and Benjamin eyed her annoyingly, a blush coming into his face. His entire body was stiff, his fists clenched tightly at his sides and she felt very bad for him, "my brother didn't mean all that stuff he said,"
Benjamin glared at her and her outstretched hand until she lowered it weakly to her side, shoulders sagging. "Yes he did! He's nothing but a cocky bully that gets whatever he wants just cause he's a Weasley," he said their last name as if they were the deepest scum.
"There's nothing wrong with being a Weasley!" Roxanne defended hotly, now feeling angry herself. There were people like Rachel Travers that didn't think she was a Weasley but she would never let someone talk bad about her family, not ever, "we're not bad!"
Benjamin frowned severely. "All of you are the same to me! Red hair, freckles or brown skin and curly hair. You all are the same and I hate going to school because of your stupid brother!" he cried furiously. "Him and that dumb Teddy Lupin and your cousins are always picking on me!" he said, fresh tears threatening to come into his eyes.
Roxanne gasped in outrage. No one said that about her brother, "My brother isn't a bully!" even though Perce had acted like one back at their father's shop, she didn't want to believe that.
"He is a bully! Him and Teddy Lupin shoot hexes and jinxes at me all the time but when I fight back, I get in trouble!" Benjamin shouted angrily and the anger sounded as if it had been brewing for a long time.
Roxanne didn't want to think about all the owls that Perce got when he was at Hogwarts or the arguments her parents had had about him. She loved her brother and he didn't hurt people, he wasn't a bully... "Y-you're wrong! You're lying!"
Benjamin's eyes widened a little as if she had really hurt him. "Cause I'm a Malfoy I'm a liar now?" he demanded heatedly. Roxanne shook her head defiantly, that not having any thing to do with it, "You're just like everyone else,"
"I am not! I don't care that you're a Malfoy!" Roxanne cried angrily, now flushed and feeling more upset. Benjamin glared at her, his blue-brown eyes rimmed with red and a bit swollen from crying, "I'll be in Slytherin with you! I'll prove it and be the best lying, stinking Slytherin ever!"
Benjamin looked surprised for a moment, his cheeks turning a bit pink but he stayed silent a long time. Roxanne hoped that she was in Slytherin, she hoped that she could be his friend forever but he destroyed any hope by snapping cruelly, "I don't want some snotty brat following me around. I don't want nothing to do with any Weasley so go home," and with that, he stomped off, leaving her standing there alone.
Roxanne tried to stop her tears but they came anyway until she could barely see straight. She saw him wandering further and further away in a blurry haze until he vanished entirely in the busy sidewalks, "You coming home yet or do I have to carry you?" Perce's voice demanded some minutes later.
Startled, she turned and saw a blurry shape directly behind her that suspiciously resembled her brother. Roxanne sniffled, "Leave me alone," she whined.
"Cut it out Roxie and stop being a brat." Perce said annoyingly, hands on hips in the way their mother did when she had had enough. Despite looking like their father, Roxanne had always heard their relatives say he acted more like their mother when it all came down to it and she'd always been jealous.
Roxanne wiped at her eyes so she could see him better and once she lowered her arms, she gave him a moody look. Perce appeared so much taller and mature than she did even though he was only twelve and she said, "I'm not a brat,"
Perce rolled his brown eyes. "Of course you are. Dad gives you whatever you want and still you whine and cry until you get more stuff," he said irritably even though he was just as spoiled. Roxanne glowered, "Mum made me come and get you, it took forever too so you owe me."
"I don't owe you anything!"
"Yeah, you do for hanging round that Malfoy boy when I'm just looking out for you," Perce said defensively and Roxanne thought of what Benjamin had said about him. Bullies didn't look out for their sisters, "Malfoy's no good to be hanging around with, he does bad things at school."
Roxanne nodded, weakly. "He doesn't want to be my friend anyway." Her brother looked very relieved by this but he said nothing, "and, uhm, I'm sorry Fred, I didn't mean it when I said I hated you." She mumbled awkwardly.
Perce appeared very happy about this and she saw that he had been very worried about this. He teased and picked on her so much already but Roxanne had never told him that she hated him, not even once until today, "Its okay, Roxie," he said with an embarrassed shrug. "Gonna hug me?" he asked curiously.
Roxanne hugged him before she could stop herself. This was her brother and her brother wasn't a bully...he didn't do mean things to people, "I love you Fred,"
"Stop calling me Fred. You never call me Fred," Perce said annoyingly while hugging her back. It was true, Roxanne never called him by his real name unless she was upset or overemotional, "I sort of don't even know who I am if you don't call me Perce all the time. Weird, isn't it?"
Roxanne nodded roughly. "You're Perce and you're my brother and I'll love you forever and ever and ever." That made him laugh and he patted her on the head.
"Forever and ever and ever?" Perce asked curiously. "That's a long time." Roxanne nodded, her face buried in his scrawny chest, "and by the way, Roxie, Mum says you're in trouble. Dad says he'll give you a cookie too."
Roxanne frowned, not wanting to know what punishment her mother had thought to give her. A spanking was the most horrible thing she could imagine, "Okay," she mumbled miserably, "I guess I can come home if Daddy gives me a cookie."
"Good, cause I'm hungry." Perce made her release him only long enough for them to be turned around towards the shop. The walk back was much nicer with his arm around her shoulders and she leaned into him, "and by the way, Roxie,"
Roxanne glanced up at him. "What?"
Her brother wrinkled his nose. "You smell bad. Like a toilet."
Roxanne frowned. "Nuh-uh,"
Perce grinned, showing off his deep right dimple. "Yuh-huh,"
"Nuh-uh," Roxanne said with a grin herself, feeling her own dimple appearing in her left cheek. The playful banter lasted until they had reached home again but that night, even as she was happy, she couldn't help but wonder about Benjamin Malfoy and wonder if he really did hate her....
“Oi, Roxie! Wake up already and get dressed!" Perce was pounding on her door now and Roxanne rolled over on Aunt Ginny's bed, surprised that she had dozed off again after so much noise had woken her up in the first place. "Might want to shower too before Mum and Dad go in there!"
The gross image that flashed through her mind was enough to get Roxanne up from her aunt's old bed. Muscles protested and she felt a guilty blush covering her cheeks before she slipped off the edge and blearily made her way to the door, where Perce was still knocking obnoxiously, "Would you quit that?" Roxanne snarled angrily upon opening it.
Perce was already dressed in jeans and a red Weasleys Wizard Wheezes T-shirt in faded yellow letters. A pair of sunglasses were pushed up in his wavy brown hair and he looked lazy and well-rested, "Whoa, Roxie, what are you wearing?"
Roxanne glanced down and cursed herself for still being dressed in her tank top, tights and mini skirt. She'd been too exhausted to change into pajamas, “Erm,” she started, tongue feeling dry.
“Snuck out to see one of your friends at a party, huh?” Perce asked with an approving gleam in his eye. Roxanne flinched mentally at the words but she must have looked a tad guilty because her brother leaned in and whispered, "listen, I snuck out last night too to see Leanne. Her parents weren't home cause Georgia had to go to St. Mungo's,"
Roxanne briefly forgot about her own problems. "What's wrong with her?" Georgia was usually the more careful of the twin sisters and she rarely ever hurt herself badly or got sick.
Perce grinned impishly. "Leanne gave her an extra batch of liquid Vomit Enhancer for her tea. Dad hasn't perfected the antidote for it yet," Roxanne felt herself almost smiling. Their father had just started experimenting with the new product and her brother must have stolen a few packs and given them to his girlfriend to try, "so, they had to go to St. Mungo's to fix her and meanwhile, I got to hang with Leanne all morning."
Roxanne frowned in disgust even though she had no right. "I don't need to know what you two were doing all morning." Her brother laughed but when he saw the bleakness in her face, he frowned in concern. "What?"
"You all right, Roxie? You look...sick." Perce said while running his eyes over her critically for some sign of marks. Roxanne prayed that Benjamin's hickeys weren't showing themselves on her dark skin and when her brother didn't comment on it or ask, she blew out a quiet sigh of relief, "partied too hard, huh?"
Roxanne rubbed at her eyes, glad that he wasn't chastising her for sneaking out and probably sneaking back in. He had probably done the same thing long before she had gotten a chance and was briefly thankful for that because she wasn't certain what she would have done if he'd seen her earlier. "I guess, so." She yawned for good measure and her brother gave her a pinch on the cheek before he released her, "what was that for?" she asked him irritably, rubbing at the spot.
Perce shrugged, "You looked sort of pale." He gave her another concerned look that he quickly hid over a smile before smiling. "I'll see you downstairs. Gran made cinnamon rolls, sausage, pancakes and squeezed some fresh orange juice for breakfast,"
Roxanne heard her stomach growling and she placed her hand to it with a glance up at him. Perce was running his eyes over her, something lurking in his eyes that was rather suspicious but he gave her a swift grin before she could comment, "I'll get ready then. Try to save something for me."
"Can't promise you that." Perce said truthfully before he gave her a gentle push than usual before he started walking away. He had a swagger to his step, she noticed and a happy smile nearly covered her face when she thought of how he and Leanne had probably spent such a nice time together. It had probably been much nicer than her own, she thought bitterly, "hurry up, okay, Roxie? I told Leanne I'd get her some seashells for her boobs."
Roxanne heard the comment but snickered at the ridiculous image that would be when Leanne's boobs were a bit larger than her own. Seashells wouldn't fit but that was probably what her brother was hoping for, "Don't rush me!" she snapped at his retreating figure before slamming the door for good effect, something she would have done if she hadn't been sick.
But her brother knew that she wasn't feeling well and Roxanne wished that she could say something but it wouldn't be wise. So, with a miserable sigh, she spent a few minutes gathering some clothes for the day, towels and shampoo and after swallowing more tears she trudged out of her aunt's old room towards the bathroom.
She could smell food in the kitchen and her parents were making her grandfather laugh about something and their voices, so familiar and untroubled nearly had her caving with guilt.
They would be so disgusted by her and what she had done. At the thought, Roxanne fought back the burning pressure of her tears and rushed into the bathroom, where she quickly opened and locked the door. After turning on the water in the tub and waiting for it to reach just the right temperature before she turned on the shower, she tried to force herself to relax.
It was over and she wouldn't have to see Benjamin again until Hogwarts and even then, he would be in Slytherin while she in Hufflepuff. And hopefully, hopefully, he would leave her alone. After getting what he'd wanted, he wouldn't want anything else to do with her and he'd made that bitterly clear.
Weakly she smiled as she recalled the punch that she had given him and his threatening command for her to get out of his room and out of his life. Roxanne just still couldn't understand why he had come to get her, why he would pretend to have missed her? Had he at all? What had been real and what had been a lie?
The truth was threatening to blur in front of her eyes and some part of her didn't want to know or think about it. It was already painful enough having her heart broken into so many pieces.
She felt torn apart, as if she would never be put back together. But Benjamin would find that only too amusing, her fawning and groveling around for him and Roxanne tried to force herself to be strong, like her mother.
What would she do in this sort of situation? Would she have even gone with Benjamin in the first place? No, her mother had a bit more sense than she did and wasn't nearly as reckless and she was just so strong, she could handle anything.
Roxanne would have to do the same somehow. But it felt as if her heart would never knit itself back together again but she would try, she would try to, little by little.
Against her will, she found herself looking down at her hands, her legs, hating every ache and feel of Benjamin on her body. Hurriedly and hearing her heart breaking all the while, she undressed, wincing every now and then as little bruises and kiss marks flared to life on her brown skin.
For a reason she couldn't understand, Roxanne paused to glance apprehensively at the mirror, where a bit of steam was sliding around the edges as her water heated. After wiping most of it off, she found herself staring at a girl that she recognized but looked washed and watered down.
There was a wild expression on her face, her hair a tangled mess of curls that started to frizz around the edges. Roxanne hated what she saw and despised that her brown eyes were terribly red rimmed, that her lips were full and puffy from too many nips and swollen from too-rough kisses.
Perce had seen her this way and she could only imagine what he had been thinking and she wondered worriedly why he hadn't pressed her for more answers on her appearance.
Maybe he didn't want to know. Maybe he would rather forget he saw it, just how Roxanne thought that it might be best to try and push it as far into the back of her mind as possible. The thought formed, like a hopeful wish but faltered quickly as she glanced down at her naked body, noticing that Benjamin had left his mark on every inch of her he could.
"You're sweeter than sugar, Weasley...." Benjamin had whispered softly against her flushed ear, knowing at that time that it was too late for her to think clearly. Roxanne closed her eyes tightly, trying to block out how his hands had felt, where they'd been and how wonderful his body had felt over hers, with her limbs tangled around his.
The memory made her stomach churn painfully and for one moment she thought that she might actually throw up. After the feeling passed, born from panic and depression, Roxanne practically hurled herself into the tub, forced on the shower with sweaty hands and allowed the water to fall.
Shakily, she yanked the curtains closed and after sighing in relief as the water teased away embarrassing aches and pains. Without hesitation she went to viciously using the thick bar of soap along her skin. It was blissfully wonderful, like heaven. Sighs of pleasure and relief were hard to stop and she forced herself to enjoy the fact that she was at the Burrow, with her family that loved her.
Hot water scalded and branded and even that happy thought wasn't enough to stop the painful details of this morning from reforming. Benjamin's eyes...she couldn't seem to burn them out of her memory, they seemed to stake her right through the heart over and over again.
Although his words had destroyed her, it was that look in his eyes that had really forced her to concede that the boy that she had known had been swallowed up entirely and this new creature didn't care for her at all.
If he had at all. Trying to stay strong and thinking of what her mother would do in this situation wasn't enough for her to ignore the disgraceful feel of tears sliding down her cheeks. Benjamin was everywhere and she couldn't shake him from her memory, couldn't erase the evidence that he had touched, kissed and tasted nearly every inch of her and never would again. Roxanne rubbed harder on her skin, desperate for freedom.
And yet, the harder she scrubbed her skin and used the shampoo on her tangled curly hair, Roxanne could still smell him. She could still feel his hands roaming over the trembling slopes of her body and taste his mouth on hers...reliving disastrous kisses that tasted like sin.
It was wrong that he had this sort of power over her! The bastard. Roxanne closed her eyes, willing the memories to fade away, even as some part of her wondered if she would always feel this way, if she would always feel possessed by Benjamin Malfoy.
Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey's cottage was a nice, simple stone structure on the beach and constantly appeared peaceful and a part of some fairytale picture book. It was set a good distance from the ocean but the once blue stones that made up the cottages two-story structure had been washed down to a pretty, hazy grey that emphasized a very red front door.
Roxanne didn't know much about how her aunt and uncle had met but she'd found out from Molly that the two of them had been on rocky ground for a while before they'd finally gotten married. Their cottage resembled that to her at some moments when she saw a chipped bit of stone smoothed over comfortably and sweetly with time.
A stone pathway led to the front of the house and as Roxanne and her family shook off the after effects of Disapparation, they followed them eagerly. The sun was shining down pleasantly and the crash of large waves brought to mind of a ship rocking crazily to some unknown destination and Roxanne longed to go there.
She still felt miserable, tainted but she tried her hardest to appear as normal, though both of her parents had asked more than once if she were feeling all right. There was nothing worse than worrying them but Roxanne hadn't been able to tell them the truth about what she had been doing and with home for most of the morning.
So, she had lied.
It had felt badly and tasted like bile but she had lied to her parents and hoped that Perce's curiously perceptive stare wouldn't blow her cover and leave her blubbering for excuses. But he hadn't pressed the issue over breakfast at the Burrow and while their grandparents had decided to go and visit Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron for the day, Roxanne missed the cover of their company.
But she shook the thought off and concentrated on the task at hand. It was hard trying to hold onto the heavy bags in her arms when she felt so drained, “You carrying that all right, beautiful girl?” her father asked, noticing her struggle.
“I'm all right,” Roxanne said with a weak smile at him. There was the briefest of pauses as he stared at her, worry etching itself around his eyes but he only gave her a faint smile in return. It hurt, lying to him especially when she loved him so much, “just the heat I guess.”
That had her father nodding in agreement, his skin already turning faintly pink and he sent his wife a flirtatious look. Perce looked suddenly ill, “Angie, you'll have to rub me down with sunblock to protect me from the sun. My skin is really delicate in certain areas,”
“You're planning on doing something completely different with that sunblock and we both know it, Georgie.” Roxanne heard her mother say with a sly wink in his direction (He blushed). To her utter embarrassment, her father sent her a look that made she and her brother gag loudly, “but we'll discuss that later,” their mother promised.
Roxanne shuddered while they continued walking to the front door, her parents still flirting outrageously. "Is Dom-Dom still coming round?" Perce asked, interrupting them at the point when she thought they would start groping one another and snogging all over the sand.
Before they'd left the Burrow, they'd gotten an owl from Aunt Fleur saying that Victoire's ballet audition would be going a little late. Apparently she had done so well that the instructors had made her perform with some of their prized artists and Roxanne had sensed that Dom-Dom had been rather displeased.
"Well, Fleur said that she'll drop her by after Victoire's audition is over.” The fact that Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur lived only a few miles away didn't seem to mean much when Roxanne knew that Dom-Dom would prefer to be alone. She hated being coddled by her mother and any escape from her sister was one she dreamed of, “they're probably going to take Victoire out for a while to celebrate.”
Perce groused. “So how long is that going to take?”
Their father was trying to coax a smile out of Roxanne by tickling underneath her arm and she swatted him away. Looking slightly upset by it, he frowned, “I'm not sure, Fleur didn't exactly specify," their mother explained while taking her husband's hand in her own and giving it a little squeeze.
Roxanne found herself sighing wistfully. She wished that she could be more like her and some part of her wished that she could have the sort of relationship her parents had with someone. Someone that was not at all a Malfoy or treated her like scum, "So Toire isn't coming either?" Perce asked in annoyance.
"Not sure, Fred, maybe you should send an owl." Their mother replied calmly, though there was a suspicious gleam in her brown eyes. Perce looked away innocently as she asked, "you didn't tell a certain blue-haired boy that she was going to be here and tricked him into coming round too, did you?"
Perce laughed nervously and their father gave him a pat on the back, looking awfully pleased with him. They looked so eerily alike in that moment that Roxanne could have thought they were twins, "Of course not, Mum. Merlin," he said while smoothing his hands down his shirt, "what sort of person do you take me for?"
There was a slight pause before their mother said dryly. "My son. That's more than enough reason to be suspicious," she said and Roxanne laughed weakly. Her mother sent her a concerned glance, squeezed her husbands hand one more time before letting it go and said to her son. "You know all they'll do is give the rest of us a headache."
Perce gasped girlishly, grasping his chest. "Mum, to think that you would assume I would do something like that on purpose is just hurtful and evil." Their father burst out laughing as he said in all seriousness. "But yeah, I did send him an owl but not because of Toire,”
“Then why?” their father asked suspiciously, though his eyes were dancing with obvious amusement. Roxanne felt more guilt building for making him worry about her and tried to force her depression down, “You know Vicky and Teddy hate each other.”
Perce looked simply impish as he replied smugly. “I know.”
Their mother rolled her eyes, even though she was smiling. “And this is our child, George. See what you've done?” she accused and Roxanne watched father and son burst out laughing, “that was mean of you, Fred, inviting Teddy here. All he'll do is get on Victoire's nerve.”
“This isn't about Toire Mum! How could you even think that? I love Teddy, he and I go way back, almost to the womb.” Perce was saying dramatically and Roxanne rolled her eyes even though it was mostly true. They were best friends, practically doing everything together, “I invited him here so the two of us could bond as one."
"That sounds perverted as hell." A new voice rang out and they turned to see Aunt Audrey peering out at them from the cottages open door. She had let her long black hair down from what Roxanne could see and there was a bit of paint on her nose, "I could hear you laughing all the way in my studio Greg." She said to her father.
Roxanne watched her father gawp at her. "I'm not that loud!" he denied but their mother shot him a weird look and he snorted, blushing just a little. "Okay, so I get loud at the most important moments. You know, when I'm naked and--"
"Dad, no," Perce interrupted in revulsion while walking up just as Aunt Audrey opened the door wider. She enveloped him in a tight hug and proceeded to happily kiss his face before letting him pass, "its too bloody early to throw up," he grumbled from inside.
Their parents snorted with laughter. “You're looking as sexy as ever Angie,” Aunt Audrey said to her mother, by way of greeting. “If we ever get divorced from our redheaded husbands, you're mine,” she declared saucily.
“She's promised to Katie Wood if we ever get divorced and then Alicia Jordan if they don't work out. So you'll have to get in line,” Roxanne heard her father say smugly, sounding quite pleased.
Roxanne watched her mother from the corner of her eye enviously, wondering why she couldn't at least be as pretty. Noticing her stare and ignoring Aunt Audrey and her father going over the particulars of a contract (That apparently included full benefits), she heard her mother say, “Smile for me today, Roxie.” She commanded gently, reaching over to pinch her chin, “and it wouldn't be a bad thing to tell me what's bothering you."
Parents had secret powers. Roxanne was more than sure of this as her mother released her, smacked her husband out of the way before he could get inside and hugged Aunt Audrey closely before stepping into the house. "Angie, you'll pay for that! Come on, beautiful girl," he said to her with a gentle nudge, "you'll have to hug her anyway you look at it and I know its horrible—"
Aunt Audrey's eyes widened. "Well, that's not nice!"
"—but everyone has to face their fears sooner or later." Roxanne's father finished wisely before launching himself at Aunt Audrey and nearly making her fall. It didn't really look like hugging to her, more like wrestling but her aunt eventually shoved her father away and she was hugged at last.
Aunt Audrey always smelt like paint and fabric to Roxanne but she gave some of the best hugs next to Aunt Ginny. "Molly's waiting for you in her room," the woman said to her happily after letting her go, "I caught her dancing to that horrible music in her panties earlier and she was too embarrassed to come out."
That had Perce, who had made himself lazily comfortable in the living room on their couch roar with laughter. "She'll be red for days!" he crowed happily as he flipped through channels with a remote at rapid speed.
Inside the cottage it was a strange mixture of Muggle and wizard and from what Roxanne had been able to guess, Uncle Percy had given his wife electricity for a wedding gift.
There was also an art studio where Aunt Audrey made puppets (She sold them to witches and wizard shops for a good price) and supposedly sketched nude pictures of Uncle Percy.
Roxanne glanced up towards the second floor where the bedrooms were, dying to see Molly. She couldn't tell her what had happened but she loved Molly too much to keep secrets from her, she was her favorite cousin and one of her best friends.
"Where's Percy?" Roxanne's mother asked curiously while setting their bags neatly onto the floor and avoiding a pinch to her rear by her father, who was nearby.
Aunt Audrey thought about it for a moment. "He took a day off today and I told him to go buy me some more panties at this Muggle place I like in London." Perce gagged and their father paled drastically even while Roxanne hoped her aunt was joking, "and I think he was going to find a computer to toy around with, you know how he gets."
Roxanne knew her uncle loved Muggle things as much as his own father did but she didn't think that he had a shed. Yet, "Well, he should have taken me with him!" her father cried angrily while glancing at his wife seductively. "I'd love to have Angie model some new panties for me."
"Dad!" Perce cried while briefly taking his eyes off what looked like soccer on the TV screen. He was probably just waiting for Molly to come out so he could bother her, Roxanne thought dryly, "no one wants to know about mum's panties!"
That had their mother roaring with unabashed laughter. "Like they stay on long when I do wear them." And that had Aunt Audrey bursting as well while Perce visibly shuddered on the couch and turned the volume up on the TV.
Roxanne intervened hastily before her father could comment on anything more having to do with panties (He was currently asking her mother what sort she had on since he liked lace) and asked her aunt. "Where's Lucy?" she hadn't seen her bounding down the stairs towards them like a brown-haired bullet yet.
"Oh, that girl." Aunt Audrey said with playful dismissively. Roxanne watched as she walked into the living room with her, long black hair trailing down her back, "she got an owl from that other one,"
"Which other one?" Perce asked curiously.
Aunt Audrey grinned. "Ms. Dom-Dom. Apparently she and the rest got back from some audition that Victoire was at and she was dying to be rescued so Lucy went, in full gear to get her." Roxanne wondered if her daughter had dressed up as a military woman again complete with fake gun to snatch their cousin and laughed a little. "They should be here in a while."
While her parents asked if Aunt Audrey would mind if Teddy Lupin came by unannounced (Perce seemed awfully pleased) and if they had enough food for all of them, Roxanne went upstairs.
As she made it onto the second floor and started towards Molly's room, she could hear blasting music that reminded her of screeching cats before she realized it was actual lyrics. Not sure if her cousin would hear her or not when she reached the door, which looked as if it would burst from the inside out, Roxanne simply opened it and stepped inside.
Molly was, apparently, dancing in her underwear again and using a mangled brush as a microphone to sing along to her favorite song with fan girl enthusiasm.
The way you touch me, please me
Tease me like a madwoman with no guarantee
Makes me wanna, (Makes me wanna)
Beg and plead like a lunatic!
The bloke was singing to a ridiculously overdone tempo and Roxanne rolled her eyes while Molly finished the lyrics expertly. "Plead baby just like this!" she practically screamed with her back to her.
Roxanne snickered. Molly's room was done up in dark purples and blues, her bed tucked in a neat corner on the other side of the room while her desk was littered with Hogwarts textbooks and quills. A Ravenclaw banner was hanging on one small spot on the far wall while every other square inch of the place was dominated by perverse posters of her favorite band, Twisted Duo.
They were a really famous group but Roxanne had always thought their music was too much like cats being slaughtered. She had never been a real fan of them, but plenty of other Hogwarts students were, and a few girls in her dorm were constantly blasting their music at every opportunity. Molly was currently enjoying herself too much to notice that she had company and Roxanne watched her in genuine amusement.
It was rare for her cousin to speak in crowds and she blushed whenever a boy talked to her even though she was sixteen but it had always been that shyness that Roxanne had liked about her. Dom-Dom had her stutter, Lucy was as peculiar as Aunt Luna and Victoire...well, Victoire had enough issues.
And yet, Molly had always been her favorite and she watched her now fondly, all of her troubles threatening to overflow. She couldn't let anyone in her family know but keeping such a secret from her closest cousin felt wrong, "Nice moves, Molly," she said loudly as she watched her cousin shaking her butt to the music.
Molly paused at the sound of her voice and even from where she was standing, she could see every inch of her skin turning bright pink. A little scream issued out of her mouth and she turned, black hair flying, "Have you been standing there the whole time?" she asked, mortified.
"I could just die!" Molly wailed as she slunked over to her dresser, where her stereo was thumping the horrible music. After turning it off and looking over at her with mournful brown eyes, she asked miserably, "you're not going to tell anyone are you, Roxie?"
Roxanne shook her head. "Your mum already did." Molly groaned and ran her fingers through her short hair miserably, looking as if she wanted to die on the spot. She was wearing a Ravenclaw T-shirt at least and hadn't been dancing completely naked, "so, uhm, that was pretty hilarious."
Molly glared at her. "I know I looked like a major loser!" she groused but when Roxanne didn't burst out laughing like normal, her cousin stared at her in confusion before saying apologetically. "I forget that you don't like Twisted Duo,"
"I don't see how anyone likes them." Roxanne found herself saying honestly while putting her hands in her pockets. She'd chosen to wear jeans and a long-sleeved shirt to hide most of Benjamin's kiss marks, "they're just too much..." she said while eyeing a particularly bold poster of the lead singer thrusting his leather constrained crotch at her.
Molly laughed a little, still flushed pink. She didn't seem to mind that she was standing in front of her in her underwear though, but that was mostly because they'd seen each other in worse conditions over the years. "I think they're energetic."
Roxanne turned away from the crotch poster to look at another poster of the two wizards drenched in blood. They were naked underneath it all and considering that she had had sex with Benjamin and knew what a man looked like without clothes up close, she still sort of blushed. "I think they're weird,"
"They've won all sorts of awards you know!" Molly defended hotly while trooping over and gazing at the posters reverently. Roxanne gave her a dull stare, "Witch Weekly said that they're two of the hottest celebrities out! And they only debuted a few years ago!"
Roxanne read Witch Weekly but she'd always turned the pages on the music section quickly to get to the latest fashions. She liked music just fine but Twisted Duo was not what she'd ever call soothing for anyone's ears, "So, which one is which?" she asked, pointing at one of the wizards in blood that had a head full of dark red hair.
Molly didn't even hesitate, looking lovestruck. "That's Kieran Rookwood."
"Rookwood? Is he related to that Rookwood kid that goes to school with us?" Roxanne asked curiously, knowing that his grandfather had been a Death Eater. The kid she had in mind, Logan Rookwood was a Ravenclaw so she rarely ever saw him, though he didn't really talk much.
Molly thought about it. "I think so but I'm not sure." At Roxanne's mock surprised expression, her cousin frowned, "I'll have you know that they keep everything very private, no one even knows their birthdays!" when she laughed a little, her cousin frowned and pointed to the other wizard, whose hair reminded her of a burnished bit of Galleon. "And that’s Jason Crowe."
Roxanne didn't think he looked all that impressive compared to the other one but she was rejecting them both in favor of Benjamin. A Benjamin that wasn't the same and had callously tossed her aside, "....Have you ever asked your parents why they love each other, Molly?" she asked, not knowing why she was.
Molly looked startled by the question and the fact that she was still in her underwear. She made an awkward little dance before Roxanne gave her a dry expression, "I don't want Fred coming in here and seeing me in my panties, all right?" she groused and that had her laughing. "And anyway, I've asked my dad why he loves my mom and he says that she's just...like joy incarnate."
Roxanne wouldn't have expected her uncle to say something like that. It was actually rather beautiful, "He really said that about her?" she asked, knowing that Benjamin would never say something like that to her, not when he had abandoned her for the second and last time.
Molly nodded, smiling embarrassingly. "They don't act like it all the time but my dad would do anything for my mum. Mum doesn't care that he's a wizard, she doesn't care that he's Undersecretary to the Minister and she lets him know it all the time," a memory surged in her mind and Roxanne saw her flush even deeper. "But I dunno, its just the way they look at each other."
Roxanne nodded, knowing with a horrible ache that Benjamin had never looked at her that way. Everything had been a trick, and a lie, "...I was just curious."
"How come? Your mum and dad are always snogging. And you know, doing stuff in the shed when we go the the Burrow," Molly said, blushing furiously. Roxanne didn't respond with her usual exclamation of horror and her cousin asked softly, "You feeling all right, Roxie?"
Tears were welling already. Why couldn't she be strong like her mother? Why couldn't she fight it all down and pretend that it had never happened? The look that Benjamin had given her, she couldn't wipe that look from her memory. He had never stared at her with so much coldness, with so much hate.
What had she done to deserve it?
What had happened to him in Italy? The scandal that had caused his father to flee with him right alongside him...had it really been as terrible as she suspected? Benjamin had always been guarded with her, never telling her too many details about his home life or even himself but Roxanne had never been the focus of his displeasure.
At Hogwarts, he'd been nice to her. Helping her study, tending to little scrapes on her knees from romping around the grounds with him, that was the Benjamin that she knew, the same Benjamin that had given her white daisies for her birthday.
Though he'd never admitted to it or how he'd always managed to sneak them into her dorm room at the exact moment when she wouldn't be there, Roxanne had always known.
It had made becoming a year older all the sweeter with the thought that she would keep coming to school, keep sneaking into the Manor with him by her side. Roxanne just couldn't understand why he had hurt her so badly.
Had he always wanted to, deep down? Benjamin had never made it a secret that he hated her family but she'd never, ever treated him like a reject, even when he made her angry.
When their strange little friendship had ended the year before he'd fled to Italy with his father, Roxanne had yelled and cursed at him but she'd never said any of the things that he heard on a daily basis. So was it her fault for being around him in the first place when everyone else with enough sense had left him alone?
The other Slytherins were either too afraid of or cruel to befriend him from what she'd noticed and her cousins couldn't stand the sight of him but Roxanne had never treated him that way. Why was that such a bad thing? She really was as silly and immature as everyone said she was.
“Roxie, are you feeling all right?” Molly asked, snapping her thoughts into pieces and snapping her back to reality. She sounded worried and whatever her face must have looked like only made her brows furrow together, “you look really sick.”
Thinking about Benjamin was making her sick, that was all. "I'm...fine," Roxanne found herself saying, hating that just the sound of her cousins concern was enough to have her nearly bursting into a puddle of mush.
"You don't look fine to me. Did you and Fred have a fight?" Molly demanded worriedly as she moved away. Quickly, she snatched up a pair of jeans and stuffed herself into them. After smoothing her hands over her short black hair thoughtfully she remarked, "you look really upset, what did he do to you this time?"
Roxanne felt her eyes overflowing with tears and she wiped at them irritable, unable to believe it. But she had never hidden anything from Molly and even the humiliation of what she had done with Benjamin wasn't enough to stop her from saying in a watery sniffle, "M-Molly, I need to tell you something."
Though Molly was unbearably shy, she could always be counted on to be there and Roxanne collapsed onto her bed, feeling the mattress threatening to give way. If only she could be stronger, if only she could wipe that look on his face from her mind! Roxanne felt her throat tightening, "Whatever it is, Roxie, you can trust me."
“I know but it just...” Roxanne wiped at her eyes weakly with the back of her hand, noticing the slightest tremor. Benjamin had kissed her fingers, clasping their hands together at the exact moment when she'd given him everything, “it just hurts.”
Molly made a soothing noise as she sat beside her. Gently, she took her trembling hand in her own, rubbing it comfortingly, "What's hurting?” Roxanne shook her head weakly, feeling the pressure building. “Tell me what's bothering you, Roxie, I'll listen."
Roxanne felt ridiculous little sniffles bubbling in her throat along with a dizzying wave of relief. Benjamin couldn't take her bond with her cousin away from her...he could hurt her but Molly was here and everything was going to be all right, "...Don't hate me after I tell you all right?" she whispered.
"I couldn't hate you, Roxie." Molly said softly and with a sincerity that seemed to settle sweetly into her chest. That seemed to be all that she needed and what felt like a storm of words and emotion seemed to burst out of her and she confessed.
It felt terrible but she confessed to having wanted Benjamin Malfoy and being tossed aside like trash. Every little detail was revealed but what she didn't tell her cousin was that, even now, her heart still longed for something she couldn't have.
Thanks for reading! Both Twisted Duo and the song lyrics you saw here are fictional (Thank goodness) and were created by me. The song Molly was singing so badly was "Kiss It" by Kieran Rookwood and I will not go into the details on the how or where.
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