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I knew it was going to be a good day when I woke up with a smile on my face. I hadn’t even been sure that that was physically possible before, considering that the idea of mornings themselves were so awful. But apparently it was possible, because the first thing I saw when I looked in the mirror this morning was a big ol’ grin plastered on my face.

I couldn’t help myself really – I know knew why all of those princesses in all of those old cartoon movies my mum had made me watch would sing all of the time – being in love made you ecstatic.

“Oh stop it,” I chastised myself as I walked down to the Great Hall alone. Earlier this year my own sappiness would have made me gag. What was wrong with me?  

I shook my head, trying to get the foolish grin that I could still feel playing at the corner of my lips to go away, but it wouldn’t. I tried thinking about my father, and Hugo, and James, but nothing was working.

I was insanely happy. I wasn’t used to being happy. My body and psyche weren’t sure how to deal with this. But it was nice. It was extremely nice. Maybe after I got used to it for a while, I would learn how to handle it. 

I made it down the final flight of stairs that led to the Great Hall and quickly scanned the room for a familiar head of platinum hair. Scorpius and I had agreed before we’d parted last night that he’d meet me here. 

“You sure seem happy this morning,” a deep voice said from behind me and then I felt a pair of arms grab me around the waist.  

“Oh you know, I’m just so excited for double potions,” I replied and I heard Scorpius chuckle.  

“Damn that Slughorn. And here I was, thinking you were happy to see me.”

I laughed and turned around, hitting him softly on the arm. “Let’s go eat. I’m starving.”   

“You’re wearing your bracelet,” he noted, not acknowledging my previous demand. I looked down at the delicate piece of jewelry on my wrist and smiled wider.

“Well, I figured it was too beautiful not to wear,” I replied. He smiled and kissed me gently on the forehead.

He then released my waist in trade of my hand and we walked slowly towards the giant wooden doors together. I was well aware of the whispers that followed in our wake and I tried not to let them bother me, rolling my shoulders experimentally to see if that would help release the tension that had suddenly seized down my spine.

“Nervous?” he asked, coming to a sudden stop right at the doors.

“Only slightly,” I replied, trying to sound more confident than I actually was. “But I’ll get over it.”

“The only people’s opinions you should really worry about are those that truly matter,” he said, looking down at me with a rather serious look on his face. “And those that truly matter are going to be those who want you to be happy.”

“When did you get so wise?” I asked, surprised.

“I didn’t,” he smirked. “My mum told me that when I first came to Hogwarts. I was afraid I wouldn’t make any friends because of what people thought of my parents.”

“Your mum is a smart woman,” I replied, imagining Astoria crouching down in front of her little blonde son at the train station, trying to make him worry less. I could definitely see the woman I’d met at Christmas saying something like that.

“That she is,” he answered, just as my stomach let out a very audible grumble. Scorpius laughed slightly and I instantly flushed and placed a hand over my stomach as if that would quiet it. “Let’s get you something to eat.”  

I let myself be led into the Great Hall and was surprised when it didn’t go completely quiet like I was expecting it to. The chatter did die down for a few seconds and then instantly started up again. Well that wasn’t so bad. The walk over to where Noel, Ashley, Al, and Tony were sitting didn’t take nearly as long as I had thought it would and before I knew it I was sliding into my normal seat next to Tony.

“Morning guys,” I said, probably interrupting whatever conversation they were having, but they didn’t seem to mind.

“Morning Rosie,” Noel replied at the same time Ashley said, “good morning!”

Then they turned to look at me and Noel’s mouth instantly dropped open and Ashley squealed and bounced up and down in her seat.

“Scorpius!” Ashley cried. “You’re here! That means – that means”

“You’re together again?” Noel asked, a happy and surprised beam breaking across her face.

“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US?” Ashley demanded, trying to pout, but not really achieving looking mad. 

“Slow down guys,” I chuckled, feeling my cheeks grow red again. “Yes, we’re dating again. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. You were both asleep when I got back last night and had already left by the time I got up.” 

“Ah! I’m so happy for you!” Ashley cried again and Scorpius wrapped his arm around my shoulders. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it because he was happy or to stop me from sliding under the table to hide from all the attention I was sure she was drawing to us.

“I’m happy for you two as well,” Noel smiled.

“Me too, mate,” Tony added, looking over at the both of us and grinning. “Merlin knows that my face can’t handle another alarm clock attack.”

I laughed and I heard Scorpius chuckle uncomfortably.

“Alarm clock?” Noel asked, one of her pale eyebrows raised inquiringly.

“Uh, yeah,” Scorpius said before Tony could open his mouth. “I might have thrown my alarm clock at him.”

I saw Noel’s mouth drop open in a little ‘o’ but then Tony laughed uncomfortably. “Yeah, but I deserved it. And it’s all good now. We both explained ourselves last night. Al, you’re very quiet over there. Don’t you have any congratulations to offer to our favorite couple?”

Al cringed at the spotlight was suddenly thrown on him and I saw him scowl and run his hand through his already unruly black hair angrily.

“No, I don’t,” he muttered, glancing up and glaring back and forth between Scorpius and I. “I do have congratulations to offer though. And that’s to you, Rose, for being so stupid.”

I felt my eyes go wide and I felt like I had just been slapped. “What the hell is your problem?” I asked waspishly, feeling my stomach start to churn from how angry I had suddenly become.

“My problem?” he asked, the anger in his voice matching mine. “What the hell is yours? How could you just take back the bastard after all he did to you? After how bad he hurt you?”  

“Stop it,” I commanded, cringing away from him as each of his words hit me like a whiplash. “Things have changed Al. He made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Even you Al. Don’t try to be Mr. High and Mighty after all you’ve done this year.” 

Instantly his face turned from angry to a mask of embarrassment, hurt, and shock. He looked away from me to back at his plate and played with his eggs absentmindedly. Our little group at the table was silent, and Scorpius squeezed my shoulder supportively.  

“You’re right,” Al finally said, his voice low. “I’m sorry Rose.”

He lifted his eyes from his plate and stared straight at Scorpius. “I wish you could have seen the look on her face the day I found her. I swear to Merlin and Circe, if you ever do anything to make that look come back on her face again, I will kill you. No one does that to my cousin twice and gets away with it.”

I bit my lip in an effort to keep from crying, even though I felt my eyes still cloud up. Al looked over at me sympathetically and I smiled at him gratefully.

“I promise I won’t,” Scorpius replied solemnly and I looked up at him to see what looked like horror in his grey eyes.

Al nodded and so did Scorpius, and I felt something that only teenage boys could understand had passed between the two of them. I didn’t have time to worry about what that could have been because at that exact moment Hugo slid into the seat next to Al.

“Hugo?” I asked, my brow furrowing in confusion as my brother dropped his bag to the floor and sighed heavily.

“Morning,” he said coldly, glancing up at me and then over at Scorpius, rolling his eyes. “You’re with him again?”

“Yes,” I replied, not able to keep a bit of annoyance out of my voice. “Now what do you want?”

My little brother humphed affrontedly and shook his dark red hair out of his eyes. “Have you talked to Dad lately?”

“No,” I replied, feeling more than slightly annoyed at all of his beating around the bush. “Why would I have?”

“He hasn’t written you?”

“No Hugo, he hasn’t! Now are you going to tell me what this is all about or am I going to have to beat it out of you?”

He scowled at me and then shook his hair out of his eyes again. “Well, I got a letter from him this morning and he asked me if I knew where Mum was staying. He said that he needs to know so that he can send her things there. He said he’s selling the house.”

“Isn’t she staying at the Leaky Cauldron?” I asked, trying not to think about the fact that my father was going to be selling the only home I’d ever known.

“He said that he talked to the owner and she checked out a week after Christmas. It’s February. Either she’s bought herself a place to live or she’s living at the Ministry.”

“I don’t think that Mum is crazy enough to live at work,” I replied. “She’s not that much of a workaholic. And it doesn’t seem like her not to have gotten her stuff if she’s moved somewhere new. She’d need furniture. Are you sure she’s not staying with Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry?”

“Dad’s already checked,” Hugo sighed. “She’s not living with any of the Weasleys or with her parents. And she’s not been staying at the Ministry, he asked the night guard.”

“I don’t know then, Hugh,” I said, feeling a little flutter of nervousness in my stomach. “She’s probably got her own place.”

“I think I might have some valuable information to shed on this situation,” a voice said from behind me. I shifted in my seat and saw out of the corner of my eye that our whole group shifted too to see who was talking.

Before me stood a boy of about medium height, with short, mousy brown hair and a long nose. He was very thin, probably as thin as I was, and his dark robes seemed to be about three sizes too large for him. His blue Ravenclaw tie was undone and hung over his black, baggy sweater like a necklace rather than a tie. He seemed to be around my age and I vaguely recalled that he was in my year, but for the life of me I could not remember his name.

“And who are you?” Tony asked rather rudely, but no one reprimanded him. We all just stared up at the awkward boy, who seemed to notice the subdued hostility in the air and shifted his enormous bag higher up on his shoulder.  

“My name is Jacob,” the boy said, looking straight at me. “Jacob Finch-Fletchley.”

“Justin’s son?” I asked, although it really wasn’t much of a question.

“The very same,” he grinned, revealing a set of very white teeth. 

“Why do you think you know anything about our Mum?” Hugo asked coldly, but Jacob didn’t seem fazed by it. 

“You want to know where she’s been living, right?” Jacob asked, pretty much ignoring Hugo and sliding onto the bench next to me, elbowing Tony out of the way. 

“Ideally, yes,” I answered, feeling slightly perturbed and a bit wary of Jacob. That nervous feeling came back into my stomach and I scooted closer to Scorpius automatically.  

“Well, as far as I’d last heard, she was living with my father,” he said nonchalantly, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world.

“WHAT?” Hugo and I both cried at the same time. “Why would she do that?” Hugo demanded.

“He is her lawyer,” Al interjected. “They’re probably friends.”

I shook my head, the horrible realization dawning on me. “I think they’re more that just friends.”

I heard Hugo gasp and then all of the dishes on the table rattled as he shoved away from the table angrily. He stormed away without another word and I felt a few hot, angry tears slip down my cheeks.

The table was silent with shock for a few minutes and Scorpius wrapped his other arm around me and I scooted closer to him. How had I not noticed it before? It was so obvious. He had come over to our house on my birthday. She had run over to see if he was hurt instead of jinxing the hell out of my father a few weeks ago. It was so obvious.

I quieted down after a few minutes and detached myself from Scorpius’s arms. He was staring down worriedly at me and I attempted to smile at him to let him know I was all right. He smiled back grimly and planted a swift kiss on my temple.

“I seem to be the bearer of bad news,” Jacob said, trying to make an awkward situation less awkward, but failing miserably.

“It’s not your fault,” Noel assured him, but I could tell that she didn’t really mean it.

“Yeah, it’s not your fault,” I agreed, sniffling slightly and wiping at my streaming eyes.

He shot me a sympathetic smile but I didn’t bother to return it.

“I don’t mean to chat and run, but I’ve got to go do something,” I said, standing up and tucking my hair behind my ears.

“You haven’t eaten anything,” Ashley reminded me.

“I’m not hungry,” I mumbled, already walking away.

I heard footsteps behind me and I wasn’t surprised when I felt Scorpius’s hand in mine. “You don’t think I’d let you go alone, do you?” he asked, and I tried to smile.

“I’m glad you’re here,” I admitted.  

We walked silently from then on and he let me lead him around the Castle. He seemed surprised when we stopped in front of the Owlery.

“I need to find out for myself,” I said, answering his unasked question.

He nodded. “I understand. I just hope you don’t expect to find out anything different.” 

“I don’t really,” I mumbled, looking at the ground. “I just – I just need to know.”

He put a finger under my chin and lifted my head up so that I was looking at him again. I couldn’t help myself, I threw myself into his arms and hugged him tight, feeling safe and secure when his arms wrapped around me and held me closer. His lips grazed the edge of my jaw lightly and I kissed the base of his throat softly. I pulled away from him again and leaned against the door to the tower. 

“I have practice after classes until about nine,” he told me, his eyes never leaving mine. 

“Okay.” 

“Do you want to meet me in the normal spot?” he asked.

I nodded. He smiled and walked over to me, bracing his arms on either side of my head and leaning his forehead against mine. “You’ll be all right?” 

“I’ve learned to be strong without you,” I replied, and his eyes flashed with pain again. I felt instantly guilty, but then I reminded myself that he needed to know. “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need you.”

He grinned and then really kissed me and I let myself forget about my problems with my mother and just focus on how good I felt in that moment. All too soon he was pulling away from me. 

“I’ve got to go, or I’m going to be late to class,” he sighed, running his hand through his hair. “I’m guessing you’re not worried about being late?”

“Not especially,” I replied, thinking guiltily about what McGonagall would say when she found out I was ditching class again.

“Okay,” he nodded, stepping away from me. “Don’t get yourself in too much trouble. I’ll see you later tonight.”

“See you,” I agreed, and he turned away and started walking back the way we had come. In a spurt of either idiocy or boldness, I added, “Love you!”

I saw Scorpius stop and he turned on the spot to face me. “Love you too,” he chuckled and I felt my heart soar. I’d never get used to hearing that. I waved him goodbye and he turned around again. I didn’t stop waving until he was around the corner, and then I let my arm flop back down to my side.

The anger, confusion, and hurt I had been feeling before all came flooding back into me, and I scowled at the dark wooden door behind me, as if it had intentionally hurt me. I grabbed the handle wearily and opened it before I could lose my nerve, trudging up the long flights of stairs that wound their way up to the tower. The smell of the owls preceded the actual room and I pinched my nose in disgust. That was one of the reasons I didn’t own an owl. They smelled pretty bad.

I stepped inside the room and scanned the rafters for Hugo’s owl, Marius. I spotted the large, grey owl sleeping in the corner and quickly hurried over there.

“Marius,” I hissed, swiping at the air around the bird in an effort to wake him up. The owl opened one of his golden eyes and looked down at me, then hooted softly and flew down to land on my shoulder.

I tried not to jump as I felt his talons cling to my shoulder and made my way over to the window. “Stay,” I commanded to the bird when he hopped down and stood on the open sill. “I’ve got to write a letter to my Mum.” He shifted from foot to foot and I took that to mean that he understood.

I pulled a fresh sheet of parchment out of my bag along with a quill and some ink and quickly jotted down a note.

 

Mum,

I have recently learned that you are staying with Justin Finch-Fletchley. His son Jacob told me. While I’m happy you’ve found some place to live, it makes me wonder some things. I hope you don’t think that this is too abrupt, but are you and Justin seeing each other? Please write back to me as soon as you can. I know Hugo is wondering too.

Rose

 

I reread over the letter again and decided that that was probably the best I could come up with. I’d never been all that good at writing letters, especially such awkward ones as this. I sighed and tied the letter to Marius’s leg. “Take this to Mum, okay?”

He hooted again and took off out the window. I watched him go until he was out of sight and then slumped against the wall, not letting my legs give out so that I would fall to the floor. That was just gross in here. Now there was really nothing to do but wait. I glanced at my watch. I was already a half hour late to Potions. There would be no point in going now. And really, if I missed Potions, what was the point in going to any of my other classes?

Not fully contented with that skewed logic, but knowing that I’d follow it anyway, I climbed up onto the windowsill and sat down, pulling my knees into my chest and letting my head rest back against the cool stone wall.

Now all that was left to do was wait.

 

 




 

“Rose. Rose! ROSE!”

I felt a hand shake my shoulder and I grumbled, opening my eyes slowly and becoming instantly blinded by the bright sunlight that was streaming through the window.

“Rose!” whoever it was yelled and shook me again.

“What do you want?” I asked grouchily, shielding my eyes and glaring at whoever it was. “James?” 

“Hey,” my cousin said, squinting against the sunlight.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Well, I could say the same thing about you,” he reminded me, gesturing to the Owlery around us.

“Yeah, right,” I said uncomfortably, tucking the hair that had fallen in my face behind my ears. “So, uh, what’s up?”

“Well, I was just coming up here to send a letter when I saw you sleeping in the window while Hugo’s owl hopped around you, trying to give you a letter.”

“What?” I cried, scrambling up from my position in the window and glancing around wildly. “Where is it?”

“Relax,” he said. “I’ve got your letter right here.”

He reached  into his pocket and pulled out a small piece of lavender parchment that I instantly recognized as my mother’s. He held it out to me and I snatched it from his hands, probably a little bit too eagerly. I didn’t bother to apologize, but quickly unfurled the parchment.

 

Rose,

I am so sorry that you had to find out this way. I had hoped that I would be able to tell you and your brother about Justin and I over Easter, but apparently it’s too late for that. I’d really like to be able to talk more about this with you in person – you have a Hogsmeade weekend this weekend, right? What would you say to getting together at the Three Broomsticks for lunch? I love you honey. I’m so proud of you.

Love, Mum  

 

I felt angry tears prick in my eyes. Even though I had promised Scorpius I wouldn’t get my hopes up, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I had wanted to believe that she was better than that. I wanted to believe that she was just staying with him because they were friends.

If they were living together, that had to mean that they were serious. And if they were serious, that would have to mean that they’d been dating for a while. My mother wasn’t the type to move in with someone on a whim. And that had to mean – no. I wouldn’t think that. I couldn’t think that.  

“Rose,” James asked, sounding worried. “What’s wrong?” 

I didn’t even look at him. I was so angry with her. How could she do this? How could I trust her? Had I been wrong about her? Had my father been right?

A strangled sob escaped my throat and I did the only thing I could do. I let the letter drop to the floor and I turned and slammed my fist into the wall.

Instantly my hand erupted in pain and I screamed, pulling my hand to my chest.

“AHHHH!” I wailed, looking down at the mass of purple, black, and blue that had become my hand.

“What the hell!” James cried, rushing over to me and taking a quick glance at my hand. “Rose, are you all right?”

“No, I am bloody not all right!” I cried, feeling fresh tears of pain fall down my cheeks.

“I think you need to go to the Hospital Wing,” he said, studying my hand carefully without touching it. “You’ve probably crushed all the bones in your hand from doing that.”

“OWWW,” I moaned, cradling my hand carefully. “It hurts so bad.”

“Of course it does, love,” he said, picking up my bag and throwing it over his shoulder. “You punched a brick wall.”

“Right,” I said, trying not to laugh. James swung his arm around my shoulders and guided me down the stairs. 

We walked towards the Hospital Wing in silence for a few minutes while I tried not to cry despite the throbbing pain in my hand.

“James,” I said suddenly, realizing how odd the situation was, “how come you’re being so nice to me?”

I saw my cousin smile and he looked down at me. It awed me a little bit how big and tall he actually was. “You’re my little cousin, Rosie. Despite the fact that I might not agree with all the decisions that you make, I never want to see you in pain. Even stupid, self inflicted pain.”

I chuckled and leaned up and planted a sloppily, silly kiss on my cousin’s cheek. He pulled me closer and I winced slightly from the pressure that was put on my hand and he instantly loosened his grip. 

We walked the rest of the way to the Hospital Wing in comfortable silence. As we got closer and closer to the doors, my heart started to beat erratically, and I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of showing my injury to Madame Burch. She was sure to be unsympathetic when she heard I’d done this to myself.

Before I was ready we were there and James was pushing open the door with a grim smile on his face. The ward was mostly empty, save for one bed with stark white curtains pulled around it, and Madame Burch came bustling out from the curtains with a vial of Skele-Grow in her hands.

“Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley,” the matron called upon seeing us standing there, “what’s happened now?”

“I think Rose crushed her hand,” James said loudly, pulling me forward despite the fact that I was digging my heels into the floor with all my might.

“Really?” the matron said smugly, her unibrow raised inquisitively.

“Yeah,” James replied, ushering me forward still so that I was standing right in front of her. “See.”

I winced as I stood under the Madame Burch’s gaze and I tried not to think about what she was probably going to do to me. Suddenly my hand erupted in pain as the large woman grabbed my wrist to see my hand properly.

“OUCH!” I cried, feeling tears prick my eyes again.

“Yes, it’s definitely broken,” she confirmed, letting go of my wrist and I instantly cradled  my hand to my chest again. “I think that we’ll cast it this time.”

“Cast?” I croaked, shuddering with horror at my last memories of a cast. Madame Burch had had to re-break the bones in my foot. Oh dear Merlin, if she had to re-break the bones in my hand –

“Yes, a cast, I think,” she grinned maliciously. “But the bones have probably broken in the wrong way. So we’ll probably have to re-break them.”

I felt my face instantly pale and my stomach churned nauseously at the thought. James rubbed his hand reassuringly down my arm but it didn’t help.

So much for having a good day.

 

 

 


 
A/N: So I wanna start out this note by giving out a huge apology to all of those who were confused by my last Author's Note. I understand why you were all confused and I'm really, really sorry. :( I hope I cleared that up for all of you in my review responses.

No, this story is not yet over!! :)We've still got 9 chapters left! Oh my gosh, that number sounds so huge and yet so small. It's going to be a bumpy ride, and I hope you're all up to it! :) 

Moving on to this chapter - so what did you guys think? Like it? Dislike it? I really hope you liked it. Were you guys suprised by Hermione/Justin? See it coming? Please, let me know in a review! 

Thanks fo reading everyone! Again, please, please review! :)

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