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“Ha-ha!” my father cried, jumping up and banging his fist down on the table. “That’s my boy! That’s my son!”

I glanced from my father to Hugo, who had turned bright red but was smiling proudly up at my father. He turned to look at me when he felt my eyes on him and I noticed something like defiance mixed with resignation in his eyes. My heart fluttered nervously as realization ran through me and I couldn’t help the slight gasp that escaped my lips.

I felt all the heads at the table turn towards me, but I did not look at any of the adults at the table, still staring at my brother in disbelief.

“You little prick,” I growled, glaring at Hugo. Instantly I saw the proud pink flush drain from him cheeks.

“Rose,” my mother cautioned, laying her hand over my in an attempt to comfort me, but I snatched my hand away and stood up, not able to stand sitting any longer.

“He is Mum!” I cried, looking down at her and gesturing wildly at Hugo. “He doesn’t really want to live with Dad!”

“Rose, calm down,” my mother said, her voice still comforting, but I could hear the order that laced it. “Hugo has the right to choose where he wants to live.”

“But he’s not choosing!” I insisted, knowing that I was right. “He’s settling because he’s afraid to admit that he would rather live with you.”

“That’s not true!” Hugo cried, jumping up from his seat as well and kicking aside his chair. “I want to live with Dad!”

I snorted disbelievingly and there was a loud chatter for voices around the table as both of the lawyers and my parents tried to talk at the same time.

“See Hermione,” my father growled when the chatter had died down. “I knew I was right.”

“Ronald,” my mother sighed, dragging her hand through her hair wearily. “Don’t start this.”

“Of course you don’t want me to start this,” he yelled. “Because then you’ll have to admit that I’m right.”

 My mother didn’t say anything.

“Just admit it,” he said, pushing back from the table and walking slowly towards Hugo. “Admit that you can’t stand seeing and hearing that someone out there loves me. Admit that you can’t stand the idea that our son might love me more than you. Admit it. I can see it in your eyes Hermione. I can see that you are frustrated that you didn’t win this too. That you aren’t better than me at everything.”

“SHUT UP!” my mother cried, her chair crashing backwards with a loud bang as she stood up quickly, panting hard, her hair wild and her eyes livid. “We promised we wouldn’t do this!”

“No, you promised we wouldn’t do this,” he shot back, his hands balling into fists at his sides. “I never promised anything.”

“Ron,” Cho said sternly, her words lost on my father.

“I think that the kids should know! They should know that their mother is a horrible woman who wants to take everything from me and shove it back in my face!”

“That is enough!” Justin roared, standing up and resting both of his hands on the table, glaring at my father who was standing rather close to him now that he was next to Hugo. “Let’s remember that we are the adults here.”

“Of course you come to her defense,” my father roared.

“I am her lawyer,” Justin pointed out. 

My father let out a roar of rage and the next thing I knew, Justin was soaring backwards across the room. He landed with a loud thud against a bookcase and my mother shrieked loudly. She glanced from my father to Justin and then back to my father so fast that all I could see was a blur of her frizzy brown hair. She apparently decided that making sure Justin wasn’t dead was more important than hexing the shit out of my father and she rushed over to him. 

I stood there in shock, not even sure what had happened it had all happened so fast. My father had just thrown Justin across the room. 

“Are you crazy?” I cried before I could stop myself.  

My father glared down the table at me and I resisted the urge to crawl under the table. 

“What did you say to me?” he growled.

“Are you crazy?” I repeated, my tongue almost acting of its own accord. “What the hell is your problem?”

I watched as my father’s eyes grew very wide and it seemed that he was too shocked to even glare at me. I wanted to look over and see what my mother thought, but I was afraid if I looked away for even a second it would be over.

I had actually said something to my father that made him stop and think. I had actually, in a way, stood up to him for once.

It felt good

It felt like there was a little person inside of me coming to life for the first time, spreading her wings and breaking free. It was amazing. I felt like I should be breathing heavily, because I felt like I had just run a marathon, but at the same time I felt so completely airless that the idea of breathing in itself seemed superfluous.  

“And you wonder why I don’t want to live with you,” I added darkly, my voice rising with every word. “This is why, Dad. Because I don’t even recognize who you are. Because you terrify me. And most of all because you are terrible to me. You’re horrible to everyone these days – me, Mum, Hugo, our family, everyone! And for no reason! And I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired of being treated like crap. I’m tired of sitting back while you treat the people I love like crap. I’m done with all of it. And if that means being done with you – well then so be it.”

By the time I got done talking, I was shaking like a leaf. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the relief of having gotten at least that off of my chest or because of the sheer terror I was feeling watching his facial expressions contort. He seemed to be hurt, angry, confused, in pain, and angrier all in the same instant.

Everyone was quiet as we waited for my father’s reaction. I took a deep breath to try to steady myself for the onslaught, but it never came. Instead there was just silence.

I didn’t know what I would have preferred more – to have him yell at me and scream at me or to have him be quiet. The quiet almost seemed worse than the yelling. It was as if by him being quiet, he was internalizing it all, letting it fester inside of him until it turned ugly and mutilated and reared its head later.

My stomach churned at the thought guiltily. I probably should not have said the things I did. Even though I meant them, even though I really wasn’t in control of the word vomit that had come out of my mouth in that moment, I should not have said it.

I knew that those words that had spilled out would cost me dearly later.

The few moments that passed as we all waited for my father to react felt like hours. Where time had seemed to move so fast before now it felt excruciatingly slow. I wished it would speed up again. All I wanted was to know what was going to happen now. I had set the ball rolling, and it was in his court now. But it was as if he had called a time-out and stopped the clock with two seconds left. We were all left hanging.

And I was going insane waiting.

Finally my father seemed to snap out of it. He shook his head of ginger hair like a dog shaking the water out of its fur and blinked a few times. His eyes met mine for an instant, and I automatically knew what was going to come next. I gripped the edge of the table tightly and waited for it.

“Fuck off,” my father spat, his voice filled with more contempt than I think I’ve ever heard.

There was a loud scraping noise as he pushed away from the table and then I watched him turn on his heel and storm towards the door, jerking aside the purple curtain with much more force than necessary and storming through it. I listened to the sound of his loud angry footsteps go down the stairs and across the wooden floor and then the sound of the heavy gold gilded doors opened. I winced as the slammed shut with a resounding crash.

I could feel every eye in the room on me but I couldn’t do anything but stare forward in shock, gripping the edge of the table for support. In all of my life, my father had never walked away from me of his own choice. My mother had forced him to walk away from me back in McGonagall’s office all those months ago and I had run away from him at Christmas. Now, he was choosing to walk away from me. 

That was what I wanted, right? That was what I had told him.

But what did I really want? Did I want him forever out of my life? No. I most certainly did not want that. He was my father for Merlin’s sake. In a sadistic, sick way, I loved him unconditionally. I would always love him. That was the way things were supposed to be. Did I want him in my life? Yes. But did I want him in my life like this? No. There was no way I could live like this anymore. Like I had told him earlier, I was done being a victim. It was time for me to stand up for myself.

But boy did that ever bite me in the butt.

In leaving he had told me exactly what I need to know – that the two of us could not have a relationship of any kind. He was not willing to change. Or maybe he didn’t know how to. Whatever it was, I realized that this was the way my father was, and I could not change it. I either had to learn to deal with it or end it forever. My father had made that choice for me.

I suddenly couldn’t feel my legs anymore and I collapsed back down into my chair, feeling the room start to spin. I felt the first hot pricks of tears well up behind my eyes, but I didn’t have the strength or the resolve to reach up and wipe them away. I laid my forehead against my knees and let myself sob.

 

 




 

My mum let me use her personal fireplace to Floo back to school instead of having to go back down to where the paparazzi were probably waiting. Our goodbye had been a quick, chaste one and I had shaken hands with Justin, who looked a little bit shell-shocked still.

The whole affair was rather awkward, although that wasn’t surprising. What do you say to someone after something like that?

Needless to say, I was more than relieved when I stepped back into McGonagall’s office.

“Hello, Miss Weasley,” McGonagall said, examining me over the brim of her glasses again.

“Hello, Professor,” I replied wearily.

“Did you have a good meeting?”

I restrained a dark laugh and nodded quickly. “As well as could be expected I suppose.”

“Where is your brother?” she asked, looking behind me into the fireplace as if she expected him to just pop out of it any moment.

“He’ll be along shortly. I think he was still talking to my father’s lawyer,” I replied, knowing full well that Hugo had gone to look for my father shortly before I left.

“Okay then,” the older woman replied. “Afternoon classes have already begun. If you would like, you may have some lunch in the kitchens and then go back to your dormitory, or perhaps go the library. You have already been excused from all of your classes for the day.”

“Thank you, Professor,” I replied. “I’ve already eaten. I think I’ll go to the library.”

She nodded me goodbye and then returned back to the letter that she had been writing and I let myself out without another word. I really had not eaten lunch, but just the idea of food at the moment seemed repulsive and I really did not want to go back to my dormitory, no matter how good sleep might have sounded.

I trudged along the deserted hallways without really registering where I was going, letting my feet tread the path to the library mindlessly. I had made the trip so often last year during O.W.L.S. that it was not a spectacular feat.  

I shuffled through the doors without attracting much attention to myself and scanned the walls for an available table. Most of them were occupied by fifth years and Ravenclaws and I scanned the back of the room to find a more friendly face.

No one.

I sighed and blew a strand of hair out of my face, tucking it behind my ear angrily. The only available table was the one directly in front of me, although I was pretty sure that someone was using it, considering there was a bag thrown down into one of the chairs and books stacked all over the table.

I looked around quickly to see if someone was using it, but no one else who was here looked like they were occupying the table. Maybe they had wandered off and forgotten their bag here. Or maybe they were out looking for another book and would be understanding when they came back and saw me sitting there. Whoever it was, I was sharing with them.

I strode quickly forward and plopped myself down across the table from where their bag was. I pulled the smallest book that was sitting on the table towards me, hoping to find something to do to make it seem like I was not just sitting there, staring into space aimlessly. 

I realized that I had read the cover about five times without actually having read it. I shook my head slightly to wake myself up and looked down at the cover properly.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

I stared down at the title for a moment in shock, rereading the title a few more times to make sure I had it right. Someone in this school read Shakespeare? I opened the cover to see if it had a name, but there was none. It seemed from the card inside that it was a library book.

Well, that was a new discovery. I hadn’t known that Hogwarts carried Muggle books, let alone that there was anyone in this school besides me, my mum, and Hugo who enjoyed them. I looked at the numbers that were printed on the card to find out what section the Muggle books were located at and then stood up, stretching slightly as my joints creaked.

A good book would get my mind off of things for a while. And I hadn’t done much reading since I had started school. It would be nice to get lost in a world of fiction for a while.  

I found the Muggle fiction section off in a darkened corner without much difficulty and soon was enjoying myself perusing the titles. A lot of them I had read over the summer at my mother’s insistence. There were some titles that were completely new to me, but I skimmed vaguely over those, not really interested in something that would take a lot of concentration to get into. Finally, I found the one that I had been subconsciously looking for.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I grabbed the well-worn book off the shelf and walked slowly back to the table, really feeling relaxed for once. It was nice to not have to worry about anything for a few hours. I could understand why my mother liked the library so much. There really was something peaceful about the busy silence, the smell of old books, and the slight feeling of excitement lurking around every corner.

I was almost ready to declare myself blissfully happy when I came to a complete halt at the end of a row that lead to my table. Because there, sitting in the chair next to the mysterious bag, was Scorpius.

I felt as if I had had the wind knocked out of me. It was almost hard to breathe. I wanted to scream, cry, and curl up in a ball and pretend that this nightmare of a day hadn’t happened all at the same time.

Because really, the irony of it all was almost comical. How much possibly worse could things have gotten for me? It couldn’t have. It absolutely couldn’t have.  

I bit my lip anxiously as I tried to figure out a way to get out of the library without having him see me. The only way I could possibly see was to walk straight past him. I couldn’t go backwards; there was only the Restricted Section behind me. I had to do it. But no one ever said I had to walk.

I put down my book on the shelf next to me, feeling slightly bad that someone would get blamed by Madame Pince for not putting her precious books away properly and then quickly ducked down onto all fours. I crawled forward quickly but quietly, looking back and forth rapidly to make sure that no one had seen me.

Scorpius was not looking at me – he had his nose buried in Macbeth. Everyone else was not aware of my sneaky tactics either. With one last furtive glance to the left I crawled forward quickly, glad that my hands and knees did not make much noise against the dust padded carpet. 

“Oh, hey Rosie!” a familiar voice called right as I was passing Scorpius’s table.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to try to reign in the anger that bubbled up in my stomach and stood up quickly to see Tony peering down at me curiously from a few rows over. I sighed loudly and waved back, hoping that he could tell how frustrated I was with him. I could feel Scorpius’s eyes on my back.

“What are you doing?” Tony asked, coming over to me and slinging an arm around my shoulder.

I did my best to try to shrug his arm off of me without being rude, but he didn’t seem to get the message because his hand gripped my shoulder tighter.

“Oh, you know, just, uh, reading,” I replied, feeling a hot blush creep up my cheeks. I could definitely tell without looking that Scorpius was glaring at us now. From the way Tony had slightly turned me, all I had to do was look up to see Scorpius’s face, but I tried to stay focused on what Tony was saying to distract me. Despite everything, it still felt like an enormous chunk of my heart had been taken out of my chest just thinking about Scorpius.

“That makes sense,” Tony replied, although I wasn’t really listening. Being in this close of a proximity to Scorpius again was distracting. My heart was doing weird things. It felt like it was speeding up and slowing down at the same time. Whatever it was doing, it was incredibly painful. I had never wanted to run away more in my life. “What were you reading?”

Pride and Prejudice,” I told him, shifting from side to side uncomfortably. Could he not tell that I was dying over here? 

“I don’t think I’ve ever read that,” he said, his brow furrowed thoughtfully.

“You wouldn’t have,” I answered wearily. “It’s a Muggle book.”

“Oh, right,” he nodded. “Well listen Rosie, sorry I can’t stay and talk longer, but I’ve got an essay for old Sluggy that I’ve got to finish for tomorrow or I’ll have another Saturday detention. I’ll see you at dinner, okay?”

“Okay,” I nodded in reply, glad that this was over and I would finally be able to leave. “See you then.”

Tony smiled and then did probably the oddest and most surprising thing I’ve ever experienced: he leaned down and kissed me gently on the cheek.

I felt my eyes go wide with shock as he grinned again and walked away from me, a slight swagger to his step. My hand went instantly to the place where he had kissed me, but it wasn’t hot nor was there any sort of butterflies. It was just there.

I turned almost mechanically towards Scorpius, not because I wanted to see his reaction, but almost as if to make sure that someone had just seen what had happened, and it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. What I saw confirmed that I was not just dreaming. Scorpius was staring at me with his mouth open in shock, his hands clenched into tight fists around his book.

When his eyes connected with mine he slammed his book down on the table and stood up quickly, shoving things pell-mell into his bag without looking at me. I watched as he straightened up and glared not at me, but at where Tony had disappeared. He looked at me for a moment with something like sadness and regret in his eyes and then he kicked his chair aside and strode out of the library with his hands shoved in his pockets.

I watched him walk away with a feeling of déjà vu running down my spine and when he was out of sight I collapsed into the chair I had previously occupied, my hand still covering my cheek. I removed my hand and stared at my palm, as if I had expected there to be some sort of stain or mark upon the white skin.

I sighed loudly and laid my head down on the table, my mind too cluttered with excess thoughts to even have the strength to sit up. I did not feel the cool smoothness of the wood against my cheek though, and I lifted my head up to see the much worn copy of Macbeth under my cheek.

I stared at the cover for a moment and then pushed it aside, letting my face rest back against the table again.

Why did life have to suck so much sometimes?  







 
A/N: Whew! It's done. And hey, look, there's a Scorpius appearance in this one! Probably not as much as we all would have liked, but don't worry, he'll be in there more often from here on out. 

So what did you think? Rosie stood up to Ron for once! And Tony mucked everything up.... I hope you all liked it. Oh, just as a disclaimer, I don't own Macbeth or Pride and Prejudice. Those belong to William Shakespeare and Jane Austen respectively. I just had to pay homage to two of my favorite books ever. :) 

What did you guys think of think of it? Like it? Dislike it? Expect it? Not expect it? There wasn't much of a cliffie this time. :) Drop me a line and tell me, if you want..

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling, so I'm going to cut myself off. Thanks for reading everyone, and please, please review!

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