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Rose woke up to the sounds of rain on the windows, it took a few seconds to realize what was wrong with that. She was a Slytherin and her bed was in the dungeons; there were no windows. Opening her eyes she looked around she saw the whitewashed roof, the curtains around the bed and Scorpius sitting on a chair with his head resting next to her on the pillow snoring quietly. Looking down she realized he was still holding her hand. Rose smiled. On her bedside table she saw her torn blouse and she remembered why she was in the hospital ward. Rose began to shake uncontrollably, Scorpius was awake and standing by her in seconds, he held her hand tightly and stroked her hair and forehead while he called for Madam Sharpe. Rose had calmed down even before Madam Sharpe had arrived because she had also remembered Scorpius charging through the door to rescue her. She had needed him and he came but she also remembered she could not scream because they had gagged her. Rose looked a Scorpius with awe, how had he know she needed help, how had he know where to go? She needed to ask him this but not here, she would wait till they were alone.

When Madam Sharpe arrived she sent Scorpius to find Professor Parkinson, who was the head of Slytherin, to arrange for a change of clothes for Rose. Scorpius was then ordered to go to breakfast; when he hesitated Madam Sharpe told him that she would send Rose up after her checkup. Scorpius slowly walked off to do Madam Sharpe’s bidding. In the Great Hall he sat himself down in the chair nearest to the door so he could be with Rose the second she walked through the door.

Once Madam Sharpe had finished her checkup she released Rose to go back into the school. But she also told Rose that if she had any problems, depressions or just wanted to rest she was to come straight back to the ward.  Rose walked slowly down the corridor to the Great Hall and stopped just out side the door to take some deep breathes before she felt up to going into the hall for breakfast. She stopped inside the door and looked around. Scorpius was sitting at the end of the Ravenclaw table closest to the door. He looked a mess, clothes were dirty, torn and looked like he had slept in them, which he had. His long blonde hair was oily and mattered. She could not remember him looking more appealing than he was now. She walked over to him and sat down. Scorpius looked up with a start; she figured he must have dozed off after sitting with her all night so she leaned over to him and kissed him on the check to say thank-you. For a second Rose saw a very goofy look come across Scorpius’s face before he slipped again behind his mask of indifference.

“How do you feel” Rose and Scorpius both asked at the same time.

“OK” they both replied at the same time.

Rose put her fingers to Scorpius lips and continued “I want to thank you for saving me last night and I want to thank you for staying with me during the night.”

She released his lips so he could now have his say. “Any time but I pray that you never need saving again.”

Robyn had come over while they were talking. She sat on the other side of Rose, she did not say a word she just reached out and gave her a big hug. Rose looked at her friends “Please don’t say anything to anyone about this”; they nodded just as the bell for the first class sounded. Robyn reached down and handed Rose all her stuff for Herbology which was their first class.

As the day went on the absence of Zabini and his group was noticed and then the rumors started. Each rumor seemed more outrageous than the last;  they blew themselves up while trying to brew in the “Mnemonis Potion” in the lab; they got caught breaking into the Three Broomsticks and were going to Azkaban, they had been expelled for practicing the dark arts. There were every kind of rumor except the truth and only three people knew what that was and they were not talking. The problem for Rose was that every rumor she heard, no matter how wrong it was, remaindered her of the truth and this caused her to withdraw into herself more and more. At first she just became quieter and less talkative; then she started avoiding people and jumping when ever someone touched her. It got to the point that holding Scorpius hand, which got her through the horror of the night, made her feel uncomfortable and unclean. By the end of the day she was so upset that Robyn put her to bed and sat with her talking quietly till she fell asleep. She slept that night with a candle lit.

Scorpius also noticed the change in Rose; at breakfast she would not let go of his hand and by dinner she refused to even be near him. Real issue was that it was not just him; Rose refused to let anyone be near her. Scorpius needed to talk about what had happened but at the same time was aware that Rose did not want the whole school to know about the incident. Luckily Scorpius had a solution, Cameron. After walking Rose and Robyn to the door of the Slytherin common room he made his way around to the entrance of the Hufflepuff rooms and sat on the ground to wait for the next Hufflepuff to enter or leave so that he could let Cameron know he was waiting. As he had left the dinning hall early to take Rose to bed he did not have to wait long before a second year Hufflepuff approached the entrance. Scorpius stood as the student approached “Excuse me but would you be able to tell me if Cameron Ludge was in the common room.”

“That won’t be necessary” a booming voice announced, Cameron had just come around the corner. Scorpius could not help but grin when he saw Cameron, he was always in a good mood, always happy and willing to help.

“CL my friend, how’s it going”?

Cameron raised an eyebrow “Scorpius, Scorpius, Scorpius; I may be Hufflepuff but I am not blind or stupid, you have a problem and you have come to me. So let me ask you how’s it going.”

Scorpius sighed “You’re right I have two things I wish to say, the first is private so we need to find somewhere quiet. The second is something I need to say publicly so now is as good a time as any.” Scorpius dropped into a formal correct way of talking “Cameron I wish to apologize to you; I have been guilty of not treating you and all other students as my equals. I have been guilty of believed all that house propaganda that we were the smart ones, you the loyal, Slytherin were the ambitious and Gryffindor the brave. I now see I was wrong; our abilities are not defined by our houses but within ourselves. All of us have each of these characteristics and I should behave towards you as I would want people to behave towards me. Please accept my most humble apologies.”

Cameron burst out laughing and slapped Scorpius on the back “It took you six years but now you start to see the truth, you have started to realize that your true nature is not your house or the person you show others. Now you must work at finding what your true nature really is.” Cameron threw a huge arm around Scorpius shoulders and propelled him down the hall to an empty class room, swung the door shut and locked it. “Now tell my all about your private problem and I will try to help you”

Scorpius first needed to make sure Cameron knew the need for secrecy “CL I do trust you fully but I have to be very plain and clear about this. What we talk about here is not to leave this room; under no circumstances are you to pass this information on or even give a hint to anyone about the topic. Is that understood?”

Cameron nodded and with his straight forward open honesty way stated “I will never give away your secret.”

Scorpius felt that a great weight had been removed from his shoulders as he sat in one of the chairs and sighed. “My whole life has changed in less than a week and it all revolves around Rose.”

Cameron was slowly shaking his head “Let me guess, you ignored my advice and made the Eutharsos Potion and screwed up everything with Rose; that is why she would not even let you near her at dinner.”

Now it was Scorpius’s turn to laugh but it was a sad laugh “I only wish that it did happen that way. Then the only person who got hurt would have been me and I would have deserved it. No, the problem a lot worse than that.” Cameron waited while Scorpius got his thought into order. “CL, what do you know about Adonis Zabini?”

If Cameron was surprised be the question he hid it well “He is a bully; he is egotistical; he only thinks about what he wants and he expects the world to give it to him.”

“That is a fairly accurate assement" said Scorpius. After a slight pause he continued "Well what he wanted on Sunday was sex with Rose and when she said no, he attacked her. She kneed him in the balls and ran off.”

Cameron tried not to laugh at the image and only succeeded in snorting.

Scorpius remained serious as he told what happened next “As she was running away he tried to hex her in the back so I stunned him.”

Cameron gave Scorpius an appraising look and added “Rumors say that the person who stunned him also broke his wand.”

Scorpius tried to look embarrassed and failed “Yes, I broke his wand. I then followed Rose around the lake and found her crying.” Scorpius continued in a dream like voice “I held her in my arms till she stopped crying and I told her she was beautiful.” His voice hardened again “I would have told her anything if it would have stopped her from hurting. If Zabini had of come around I would have hexed him again for hurting her like that. Anyway, Monday morning she call me over to her table for breakfast and we had a good talk, I was even tempted to tell her how I felt about her when Zabini came in. She sort of froze up again and I knew she was not free of him yet so I kept quiet.”

Cameron was shaking his head again “You should be honest, it is a lot less work and causes less problems.”

Scorpius sarcastically replied “Your clairvoyance is working perfectly CL. I realized my mistake at lunchtime; we were talking as we were going to the Great Hall. I lost the battle with myself and without actually making any decision I found my hand caressing her face. She asked me if I wanted to kiss her and I said no.”

Cameron could not contain himself “You bloody idiot; I know how you feel about her. . .You stupid bloody idiot. Why in hell did you say that for”?

Scorpius stood up and prowled around the room unable to sit still any longer “I told her no because she was not ready to move on.” When he looked at Cameron he realized that his friend did not understand. “Look CL. She just had her boyfriend tell her she was an ugly slut; she was on an emotional rollercoaster one minute on top of the world and the next in the pits. And she still had issues with that bloody Zabini. If I had kissed her it would have created even more issues. Afterwards she would think that I was using her or taking advantage of her emotional state. She could even hate me for it. I would have been in just as bad position. I would not know if she kissed me because she wanted to or was I just handy or did she do it to get even with Zabini. We both need time to know what we wanted without Zabini’s shadow tainting everything.” Looking into Cameron’s eyes Scorpius saw he did not agree but he didn’t argue. “If it is any consolation I think Rose knew I lied to her.”

The anger started building up in Scorpius. He stopped his pacing and picked up a chair and threw it at the wall so hard that a leg snapped off. “Then Zabini tried to fucking rape her.” He picked up another chair and smashed it into the floor “He tried to rape her.” Scorpius fell to his knees crying. He did not care about anything anymore, he knelt on the ground amidst the broken chair with tears streaming down his face saying over and over again “He tried to rape her”

Cameron was shocked by what he had just heard and by the emotional state Scorpius was in.  He stood and walked to where Scorpius knelt and picked him up like he was a child and half carried him over to the chairs. Scorpius sat crying while Cameron stood nearby, not saying anything but with a hand on his shoulder to let him know he had a friend if he needed anything. After about ten minutes Scorpius was cried out, the two friends look at each other but still did not have to say a thing.

Finally Scorpius felt he could finish his story. “I carried her to the hospital and stayed with her all night. In the morning she would not let go of me, I had become her anchor but as the realization of what almost happened to her began to seep in she could not stand for any one to touch her. I know she understands it was just Zabini who is evil but emotionally we are all being painted with the same brush. I don’t know if she will ever be ready to hear that I love her and I don’t think I could tell her if I thought it would bring back the memories of last night. Zabini has destroyed her, he has destroyed any possible us.” The tears returned as the two friends sat in the darkening room.

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