I was studying like all students do. All right, I lie, I was reading up on my favourite Quidditch team when Scorpius came and broke the news to me that tore my heart in two. It had been a few days since the incident and physically, Rose had made a remarkable recovery, but emotionally she was a mess. I had seen her on several occasions, streaks of tears glistening upon her pale cheeks. I would ask what happened, why she was crying but she would simply say she had tripped down the stairs and her tears were because of the fright she had sustained and the pain she was feeling. Little did I know that the pain she was talking about was the pain in her heart.
I wasn't a fool though and I knew there was more to the tale. However, I knew that it was not right to push Rose. I had known her for long enough to appreciate that she would tell me when she was ready. Scorpius had been suspiciously absent from her bedside which immediately told me that something had happened between them. At first I was relieved to finally have some answers, but I was not prepared for what Scorpius was about to tell me.
* * *
“Have you got a minute?” Scorpius asked, tentatively. He had dark circles under his eyes and he looked disheveled. It was obvious that he had not slept in several days.
“Sure,” I replied, putting my book down and sitting up on my bed so I could give Scorpius my full attention. Scorpius pulled the chair out from under the desk and sat down, holding his head in his hands and staring at the floor. He took several deep breaths before he looked up and spoke.
“Rose was pregnant. When she fell we lost the baby.” Tears began to course down Scorpius' cheeks and the pain he felt was evident in his voice. My jaw dropped to somewhere near the bed and I looked at Scorpius in stunned silence. I knew something had happened, I had no idea how terrible it actually was.
“I'm...I'm so sorry,” I finally managed to say, grief gripping my own heart as I witnessed my friend’s anguish.
“We were fighting,” Scorpius continued. “I asked her if she wanted to have the baby which made her think I didn't want it. I was just in shock, that was all. We were fighting when she fell.” Scorpius paused briefly, guilt crossing his features. “This is all my fault.” Scorpius was suddenly overcome with tears and I levitated the tissue box to his side where he took one and wiped his eyes.
“You can't hold yourself responsible” I said, trying my best to comfort him. “It was an accident, that was all.”
“I know,” Scorpius admitted, “but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I've seen Rose on several occasions, but she is so sad, so forlorn. I'm sure she understands now that I did want the baby and that everything I said and did was out of shock. She hardly says anything though, and I'm sure she blames me for what happened. I can't help but feel that our relationship is over, how can we move on from this?”
“She just lost a child. She's distraught. Give her some time to work out her feelings. She may come back in time,” I said, unsure at how my true my words were.
“I'm going to go home for a week.” Scorpius said. “I need to get away from here for a while. I need to forget her so I can move on.”
“Are you sure that’s the wisest course of action?” I asked. “Surely your place is here, with Rose. She will come around with time. I know she will.”
Scorpius shook his head. “I wasn't talking about Rose, I was talking about my child. I imagined she was going to be a girl, with dark brown hair and brown eyes, just like her mother, but she would have my smile.”
* * *
It was hard to know what to say when someone tells you news like I had just heard. Nothing prepares you for this sort of situation. I tried to be as supportive as I could but I had no idea what to say or what to do. So I let Scorpius leave as I saw that no harm would come if he went home for a while. To this day, that decision haunts me. It will haunt me until the day I die.
* * *
Scorpius spent the next week with his father. He had explained everything to him as he needed the support of someone far older and wiser than he. His father was surprisingly supportive, never once rebuking him for his carelessness that led to the situation in the first place. He had cheered up slightly, or more, the grief was no longer hanging as a dark rainstorm, following his every move. The events had broken his heart but he hoped that he would be able to mend things with Rose over time. He had sent her several owls but he received no reply which wasn't exactly unexpected but was disappointing. He didn't expect her to welcome him back straight away, but he at least hoped that they would be able to sit and cry together.
Scorpius returned to his dorm room, dumped his belongings and looked at himself in the mirror. He was looking much healthier now, some colour had returned to his cheeks and the dark circles under his eyes were almost gone. A shower and a hair brush had also done wonders for his appearance and helped to lift his mood. Judging himself suitable, not cheerful, but not quite death warmed up either, Scorpius left his dorm room and headed over to Rose's.
He knocked softly on the door and heard no reply so knocked a little harder. Still no reply. Scorpius was not fazed and decided that he would let himself in and wait for her to return. He pulled out his wand, pointed it at the door handle and whispered the password. The door unlocked and Scorpius pushed it open. That's when he saw her.
Lying beside her bed, her eyes open, her face deathly pale was Rose. Scorpius's heart fragmented into shards as sharp as a knife blades when he saw her. It tore apart his insides and shredded his soul. Tears flowed from his eyes. “No,” he moaned softly. “Rose, what have you done? Rose, talk to me.”
But there was no reply. Scorpius collapsed to his knees beside the cold body, every fragment of life had long since disappeared and all that remained was the empty shell which once contained the life and soul of Rose. An anguished sob escaped from Scorpius as he took her cold, limp hand in his. He reached out and stroked the side of her face, brushing her dark locks away from her lips. A tear dropped from Scorpius eyes and landed on Rose's cheek, creating a trail as it rolled down her face and onto the floor.
Scorpius looked at Rose's peaceful frame and noticed a small unfamiliar looking bottle under the bed. Reaching over the body, Scorpius pulled it out, fearing the worst. Immediately, his fears were confirmed. The bottle was empty and the words 'Valium' were written in dark ink. This word was unfamiliar to Scorpius, but the specifics did not matter as the end result was the same.
Suddenly, the full reality of where he was and who was lying across of the floor hit Scorpius. His body began to shake, his heart began to pound and he broke out into a cool sweat. Loud cries split the quiet dormitory as Scorpius gave into his grief. The tears flowed thick and fast and he fell the rest of the way to the floor so he was lying next to Rose. He sobbed mercilessly, his whole body shuddering with mourning as his tears fell from his eyes, rolling across his face and onto the floor.
The seconds and minutes merged together as Scorpius lay, sobbing on the ground, next to the body of his one true love. Scorpius couldn't begin to comprehend what he was feeling, it didn't have a name, it was an intricate matrix of so many emotions; grief, guilt, love, pain, loss, loneliness. Scorpius had never contemplated growing old without Rose, in all his dreams he had seen her walking down the aisle to become his wife, he had imagined having a family with her, of spending every last waking moment by her side. This was not how things were meant to end, death was so final. It was a place that Scorpius could not yet go to, he would eventually follow, but the timing was not up to him to decide. Unlike Rose, Scorpius still felt like there was something to live for, some bright light would someday shine on the horizon and tell him that this was his path.
Scorpius couldn't see any bright light coming for a very long time. He loved Rose with all his being and now she was gone. For so many years she had been the one constant that all his thoughts and actions revolved around. Without her, his life no longer had meaning or substance. He was just like Rose was now, an empty shell, the only difference was that he was still breathing.
“How did everything come to this?” Scorpius sobbed. Life had been perfect, his own fairy tale, but this was no fairy tale ending. One silly mistake had led him down this path, one silly mistake had caused a chain reaction that led to tragedy.
“This is all my fault,” Scorpius choked out through his cries to Rose, hoping that where ever she was, she was listening. “I should have shown you how much I cared, I should have made it clearer to you that I did want our child, I should have cried more with you, I shouldn't have been so naïve to think that everything would work out perfectly. If I had shown you, how much I was hurting, then maybe this wouldn't have happened, you wouldn't have driven me away. If I didn't leave, I would have been here for you, I would have saved you.”
Scorpius succumbed to the deepest depths of despair. His sobs echoed the discordant beating of his heart that was shattered into tiny pieces. His vision blurred to a mass of hazy colours, much like his life. It was an unclear fog that gave no glimpses into the future, his body shivered despite the warmth of the day and his mind registered nothing but the moment he was in. Despite all the outward signs that he was alive, Scorpius felt dead inside. He had no recollection of time, where he was or what was happening. The only thought that consumed his mind and soul was that Rose was gone, his purpose, his reason for existence was no more.
At some unknown and not very special point in time, when the sun had long since disappeared below the horizon and the sky was streaked with various shades of orange through to the deepest of blues, Scorpius felt the presence of somebody else. Stars were starting to shine down on the world, ongoing and ageless to all those below them who gaze up every night. A constant sentry of the night, always looking down on the earth, silent and solitary, observing the world through their ancient eyes. To all observers, the stars were immortal, their life time far outstripping even the oldest of wizards. However, even the stars would eventually die. But their death would go unnoticed, it would not hurt any one, it would not rip to shreds the heart of a freshman.
Scorpius felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. It seemed to offer protection and sanctuary, a way to move past this moment in time where Scorpius was frozen. If given the chance, he would stay where he was forever. His body couldn’t move, his mind wouldn’t allow him to. If he were to move away from where he was, he would be admitting to himself that Rose was gone, and even through he knew that she was, he had to deny the truth for as long as he could.
The gentle pressure on his shoulder increased and a warm hand touched his own. The warmth took a moment to register, so accustomed he had become to the feeling of cold flesh. It was as though an unknown force was controlling him now, and Scorpius slowly sat up. The stranger helped him to his feet and led him to the far side of the room, an arm comfortingly slung across his shoulders.
Scorpius watched on in his dazed and disorientated state as healers in their crisp and clean white robes walked in and knelt next to Rose, prodding her with their wands. She gave no response. A healer reached up to Rose's face and gently lowered her eyelids, closing the beautiful chocolate coloured eyes of her mother and by doing so, closing the one remaining connection between Rose and the world. To Scorpius it was the final point of denial and he fell to his knees, taking the supportive stranger off balance. He curled into a ball and sobbed into his hands, tuning out all noise and all light and thinking of nothing but Rose.
Once again through the gentle coaxing of the stranger, Scorpius felt himself pulled to his feet, hearing words like 'magical law enforcement squad', 'survey the scene' and 'talk to you' in a myriad of disconnected sentences. As soon as Scorpius was through the threshold, several law enforcement personal entered the room and Scorpius was engulfed in a sea of official looking people taking over the dormitory corridor. A charm had been placed around the scene so only certain people could enter and see through, but Scorpius could see a bunch of curious onlookers huddled in the corridor intently discussing what was occurring.
A law enforcement officer approached Scorpius with his quill and notepad in hand and began to ask a series of questions. In his dreamlike state, Scorpius answered, unaware of what he was really saying, let alone if he was even speaking English. He wanted to get out of there, to run away and let the earth engulf him into its molten core. Suddenly, the interview was over, a card was thrust into his hand and the supportive stranger, whom Scorpius had only just realised was still there, led him outside of the protective cordon and away from his only love.
* * *
In all that time, Scorpius never realised that the protective stranger was me. I had been checking on Rose often while Scorpius was away. She never said anything when I was there, she just lay on her bed, curled in a ball, holding herself protectively. She stared into space with a vacant expression and tears glistening down her checks. She heard me though, as I sat there with her, talking about what was going on in the world outside the confines of her dormitory walls.
Then their were the times when I told her that however dark things were right now, that time would heal the wounds and life would go on. That she and Scorpius would help each other through the healing process. She couldn't give up on life as it hadn't given up on her, she had so much to offer the world and the impact she would have on other peoples’ lives would be monumental. I knew she heard me, even though she stayed completely still, the only sign that she was alive was the shallow rise and fall of her chest and the stream of tears that continued unabated the entire time.
I was worried sick as I saw her. I didn't know what to say, and who would in a situation like this. She refused to talk, refused any help at all, and I was at a loss as to what to do next. She was mourning not only for her lost child but also for Scorpius, she still loved him completely with all her heart and soul and only he would be able to bring Rose back from the brink of the abyss. He just came back a few hours too late.
I had several hours of classes to attend, so with much reluctance I left Rose curled up on her bed and attended class. As soon as they were over I went back to her dorm to check on her, my sixth sense alerting me that something was amiss. I knew as soon as I reached the top of the stairs that something terrible had happened, I could hear the cries from Scorpius echoing down the corridor. The door was left slightly ajar and as I reached it I could see two people lying on the ground. My heart sank as I realised that Rose was gone.
Grief over took me and I swayed where I stood, grabbing onto the wall to steady myself. How long I stood, there I do not know. It took all my concentration just to continue breathing. I wanted to scream, I wanted to run away, I wanted someone to wake me up form the nightmare. But there was no one else. The corridor was deserted. It really was just Scorpius and myself alone with Rose. This was our chance to give her our final farewell, while we were alone. This would be the only chance we would get.
So I slumped down outside the room, allowing Scorpius to be alone with Rose and I cried. I cried like I never knew I could. I cried tears for the friend I lost, I cried tears for all the happy times we had spent together, and I cried for the future in which Rose could no longer be a part. Then the tears ebbed away. Its funny how they can do that, be so fast at one moment, and then clear away an instant later. My mind had taken over from my heart, it knew that there were things that needed to be set in motion. The tears could wait just a little bit longer, but Rose could not, and Scorpius needed to feel life again.
It was then that I notified the authorities and went and placed a comforting hand on Scorpius' shoulder. It was a long time later before he realised who I was.
* * *
“Albus...How? When? Scorpius stuttered, seeing the face of his friend sitting beside him. Gradually he was once again becoming aware of where he was. The fresh air was calming his senses and his mind was starting to win the war against his heart, which had been numbed to all but its own anguish.
“I came to check on Rose and...” Albus had to stop himself as his mind flashed back to the scene on Rose's bedroom floor, her ashen form lying still and motionless beside her bed. “I called the authorities, they needed to know, and they know what to do next.” He choked out the last words. Did Rose's parent know yet, should we have notified them instead, where was her body? There were too many things to do, but in a time like this, who can really think of anything other than their own grief.
“This is all my fault,” Scorpius muttered as he stared away into the night sky which held none of the solemn mood that hung over their heads. It was short phrase, but it held so much guilt. He had whispered in many times to himself after the loss of their child, and now he would say it again.
“I feel the same way,” Albus replied, “but we can't blame ourselves. We cannot assign the blame for her death to us.”
“It's easier to blame myself than it is to think that Rose did this to herself. To think that she gave up on herself, on life, on me.” Scorpius stood up and walked around the green lawn, lit by the pale light of the moon, which held too much beauty for his present state of mind. Tears welled behind his eyes once more and started to cascade down his cheeks. It didn't matter how much he wanted to blame himself for what Rose had done, he knew that he couldn't be held responsible. Maybe he didn't weep enough for his child, and that was most definitely true from Rose's point of view, but it didn't mean that he wouldn't embrace the new life that they would bring to the world, it certainly didn't mean that he would leave Rose. He loved her more with every passing day, and a world without her, the world now in front of him, was a scary proposition.
'No', Scorpius thought to himself, 'I can't be held responsible.' Rose was the one who had fallen so in love with their child, Rose was the one who blamed herself and Rose was the one who decided to give up on life. Maybe I shouldn't have left her, but Albus was here, I needed to heal myself. Scorpius wiped the tears away from his checks, his resolution set. “No. I wont be held responsible,” he said quietly to himself as he gazed up into the star filled sky. He would mourn Rose until the end of time but he would not attribute the blame onto himself.
Albus watched Scorpius as he walked around the grass courtyard and heard his quiet phrase whispered to the night. The air was remarkably still and warm. The atmosphere had a surreal feeling about it, like nothing was real. “This all feels like a dream,” Albus said, reflecting on the calm world around them.
“It is a dream,” Scorpius replied, taking a seat next to Albus once more, “and it will be a dream for the rest of my life. If she is not here then it's not reality. I'll wake up when we're reunited, it doesn't matter how long I have to wait, or where I have to go. One day I will see her again and only then will the dream end, because there is no world without Rose.”
“What made us think that something like this could never happen to us?” Albus asked.
“I don't know,” Scorpius answered. “We're just freshmen, we think we know everything and don't want to compromise, ever. For every mistake I've ever made, I am now paying the price. I'm alive, but it doesn't feel like I am. My dreams and my future have been ripped apart, and all that remains is the fragment of my old life, the objects and the possessions are still there, but the feelings are gone, like the love, the love that only Rose could give me. It's something that will never be replaced. My heart is still beating, but it has no rhythm, no feeling, no spark of life. There was a part of me that always belonged to Rose, it belonged to her before I even knew it existed. That part of me has died with her.”
* * *
We cried many tears those next few days weeks and months. Our lives went on, but the gaping hole left by Rose could never be filled. Her absence weighed on us with an oppressive force. For a long time, our mood could never rise above dreadful and Scorpius was in a constant state of dehydration, never drinking enough to sustain the tears that he cried. We were there for each other more than we ever had been before and ever so slowly, our lives returned to what can only be described as moderately normal, as normal as they can be when the one person you love above all else is gone.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please, please, please leave a review. They mean a lot. :) There's one more chapter to go and it will be up really soon.
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