A/N I just want to let you guys get reading. I'll put a longer note at the end. Trigger warning for any sexual assault/ abuse victims.
As soon as he left, I felt it. The all too familiar churn of guilt in the pit of my stomach. But what did I have to feel guilty for? Scorpius wasn’t my friend, wasn’t a confidant that I had ever run to. Not that I had run to any confidants recently. Before now, I wouldn’t have even qualified him as a friendly acquaintance. I felt as if I had to make him at least that, now. I’d fainted in his arms for Merlin’s sake!
I let the breath I had been holding all out in a great whoosh, disturbing the silence of the bathroom. I startled myself, what with how nervous I was. I couldn’t tell him what had happened anyway. What could he do? What Albus and James would have done if I had told them? What my parents would have done? What my girlfriends would have done? I ran through the scenarios in my head. What the outcomes would’ve been. I wasn’t happy with any of them. All of them ended with someone close to me getting hurt. I couldn’t have that.
Then I contemplated the outcome of telling Malfoy. He couldn’t really do much. And why would me being hurt harm him in any way? No one would believe that I told him anything about it. Nobody in their right mind would think that I would even breathe a whisper of a word to him about that night…
Maybe I could finally tell someone.
The possibility of getting everything out in the open made a small flame of hope flicker inside me.
But it also made me feel the deep bite of fear down in my gut.
I felt my lungs beginning to constrict again. I tried to take deep breaths, but controlling panic attacks wasn’t really my forte. I’d considered going to Madam Pomfrey for a potion or some sort of medication, but she would’ve had to tell my parents. I didn’t like that idea in the least. And something would’ve somehow leaked to the press about it. Our family was high profile even before mum became Minister of Magic.
There was a chance that Malfoy wouldn’t even believe me. That he would laugh in my face and think I was telling him this for attention, or for him to give me more leniency when it came to my sleeping habits. I didn’t know if I could put that as being below him. I didn’t even know if I could put that below some of my friends. I was too afraid to trust anyone.
Or he could think that it had been my choice, but that I regretted it, so now I was making myself the victim. He could end up thinking that I was a dirty, disgusting, lying whore. There was a chance of that, even though in the back of my mind I knew it was small.
There was also that fact that he would turn me into a person he pitied. The kind that you treated as porcelain dolls, the sort that you made small, sympathetic sounds when you were listening to their sob story, the type that would forever be the tragedy that happened to them; the people who were only talked about and almost never to. I didn’t want to be that person.
No one deserved to be that person.
Even after thinking all of the bad possibilities through, I still wanted someone else to know.
Once my breathing became somewhat better, I made up my mind. I was tired of living this half life, lying to everyone I loved. Maybe I could handle it if a person, just one person, could know. I steeled myself, opening the bathroom door that led to his room.
I hadn’t been in his room before. Everything was organized, neat, and clean, but was bare of knick knacks. There weren’t any mementos except for a few scattered pictures of a smiling woman, one with a smiling man, most likely Draco Malfoy, next to her. I guessed that they were happy. They looked happy. The photo nearest his bed, sitting on a nightstand, held them as a family standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. They were all laughing in that one.
The coverlet on his four poster bed was a deep, silken emerald and the pillow covers were a rich black. I was tempted to fall into the depths of an armchair nestled in the corner of the room, it looked so comfortable. I breathed in. The room smelled of him; sandalwood and ink from the quills and his own attractive musk. I breathed deeply, momentarily enjoying it, then shook myself, wondering why I had even noticed that. I spotted him standing at a desk placed against the wall, not bothering with the chair, hunched over a stack of papers. His desk was the only thing that showed a sign of clutter.
I almost didn’t want to disturb him; he looked so deep in thought. But I felt that he had a right to at least a small explanation. And I had already made up my mind.
“Scorpius.” His first name popped out before I could help myself. He looked over his shoulder. I hadn’t known that he wore glasses. They suited him. I saw the surprise in his eyes before he turned around from his work. I spotted layout plans for something or other before he blocked them, not purposely.
“Rose.” I guess we were on a first name basis now. He raised an eyebrow and my name was the only thing to ring around the room for a few moments.
“I-I… I thought that…” The words got stuck in my throat. He probably thought I was a nutter. Or he would, if he didn’t already. And I didn’t know if I would blame him
“Rose, you really don’t have to tell me anything. I meant that.” I could see the sincerity in his eyes.
“I know that.” I swallowed the lump in my throat. “But do you even want to hear about it? We’re not exactly… We don’t really do this.” I moved my hand back and forth between us, trying to communicate what I meant. He still didn’t say anything. I sighed and gave in, sinking down into the plush green armchair I’d spied earlier. He grabbed the previously forgotten chair and moved it closer to me. He swung it around and straddled it, resting his forearms on the back.
I closed my eyes then, not wanting to see any reaction that he had to me; whether it was revulsion, pity, sympathy, understanding, contempt, dispassion… I just didn’t want to see it. I prayed to anything that could be listening that he wouldn’t interrupt. If I was stopped I didn’t know if I could start again.
“I told you before that they had happened before.” I hoped he knew what I was referring to. I didn’t want to call my panic attacks by name in that moment. “But I didn’t tell you why they happened. I didn’t tell you because… I didn’t tell you that I was…” I didn’t know how to just outright say it. I buried my face in my hands.
“Do you remember last year, when Gryffindor won the final quidditch match against Slytherin?” My voice was muffled against my hands. I didn’t doubt that he remembered, he was on the team, but I didn’t wait for confirmation. “There was a party. Afterwards, in the common room. There was beer, and fire whiskey, and potions. Maybe even some muggle drugs, I don’t know. Loads of things that you could get messed up on. Even mess other people up on, if you were that cruel. And nobody was regulating it, not even me, Miss no-nonsense-prefect. I just wanted to be normal. For once I didn’t want to follow the rules. Just for one bloody night, I wanted to have some fun.” My hands were gripping fistfuls of hair. I hadn’t realized until I tugged painfully on a clump.
“I should’ve been the good girl. I should’ve reported the party.” I whimpered, saying this almost as an aside to myself. I could feel the tears finally welling up, the pain of holding them back cutting deep into my chest. But I wouldn’t cry. Not in front of Scorpius. Not when I didn’t know how he would react. “And he was there, right there. And I’d liked him for so long, and I wasn’t right with all of the alcohol in me.” I felt a tear leak down my cheek. I swiped it away, hoping he hadn’t noticed.
“I just wanted-“
“Rose! Rose Weasley! You have some explaining to do missy!” I was launched to my feet and my eyes flew open at the sound of footsteps and Dominique’s voice. I cleared my throat and scrubbed at my cheeks hurriedly, trying to make them tear-free. I knew that I would regret giving the password to the Heads' dorms to her.
“I’ll be down in a minute!” I called. My voice sounded off, even to my own ears. I started towards the door, trying to put on my best smile. A hand grabbed my wrist. I flinched, but didn’t turn around.
“Rose, you don’t have to go out there. Not now.” His voice sounded pained. I heard the chair scrape the hardwood floor as he stood, the chair creaking with the absence of weight.
“They’ll know something’s wrong if I don’t go.” I knew that he had already guessed at what had happened. But I still hadn’t been able to get all of the words out. The words that had been clawing at my insides for so long.
“I can take care of it.” With that, I looked back at him. I looked into his eyes. When I did, I knew something in our relationship had changed. I saw that he cared about me. And not in the way a bystander cares about someone in a car wreck. It was in a way that I hadn’t thought possible for him to care about me.
This scenario wasn’t one that I had even remotely anticipated.
“You can’t take care of this.” I whispered. I cursed myself as the tears flowed freely.
“Just… just let me try to help.” When I didn’t say anything he let go of my wrist and walked out the door. I stood, completely frozen. I heard murmurings, something about working on a project, and then he was back. He walked right up to me, his eyes sweeping over my tear stained face.
“Rose, talk to me. I’ll listen if you want to tell me. If it will help at all.”
And I had thought telling him would help me. I thought that getting it off my chest would make some of the pain go away. Now… I wasn’t so sure. I hadn’t truly gotten into it earlier. I had barely told him anything at all. I could stop without him knowing anything important.
“I don’t think anything can help.” My voice didn’t sound like my voice. It was cold, emotionless.
“Maybe it will.” I don’t know why his words made me break.
“He was one of Albus’ friends. He still is. I thought I knew him. And I liked him so much, for so long. Since third year, when we’d had him over during the holidays. He ate dinner with us. He made my whole family fall in l-love with him, t-trust him. He was the l-ast p-person,” I hiccupped with a sob. “I n-never thought that h-he would h-hurt me like... like this.” I clutched my hand to my stomach, taking deep gasping breaths. I could feel my grasp on reality slipping through my fingers.
“Rose, who was it?” He tentatively touched my shoulders with his fingertips. I tried to hold back the shiver it caused, but I knew he noticed since he pulled back slightly.
I didn’t know if I should tell him. But the name came clattering out before I could close my mouth. “Liam Bray.” I gasped out. I could tell through the way he tensed that he was restraining himself from walking out that door. His face was stoic, but his eyes flickered towards the door. I kept talking before he could make the decision to leave. I moved my eyes away from his face.
“Everyone was drunk. There were a few students from other houses, even. Albus and Liam came over. I could tell that Albus was sloshed; he never could resist fire whiskey at a party. We shouted to each other over the music. I don’t even remember when Albus left. I only had eyes for him.” My voice sounded so blunt in my ears. How could I be so forward about this? From then on, the words came like a flood.
“He asked me if I wanted to go upstairs, to get away from the noise of the party so we could just talk. I took him to the dorm that I lived in. I was surprised that no one else was there. I didn’t think anything of it when he locked the door with his wand and put a silencing charm on it. Why would I? He was a friend; I was supposed to be safe with him. I don’t think that the alcohol helped me think straight either. He turned around and smiled. He walked over to me. When he kissed me, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I thought that he just thought of me as his best friend’s cousin. I never thought he would want to kiss me.” I let out a laugh that was anything but humorous.
“It felt okay at first, great even, but then he got grabby. It started to feel strange. I didn’t like him all over me. I tried to push him away once his hands started to drift upwards under my shirt. For a second, I thought he was pulling away." But he didn't. After that, the memories became fuzzy. From the alcohol in my system then or the trauma I felt now I didn't know. My breathing hitched and my chest contracted painfully. But I had to get through this. I had to be free.
“He kissed me again. I never thought kissing could hurt, not in a bad way, but it did. When he pushed me onto my bed, he let my arms go. I scrabbled for my wand. I had it in my hand. But he knocked it away."
“He called me something, but I was too busy seeing stars to hear him. I tried kicking him. I tried so hard to get away. I punched and kicked and flailed and even bit his shoulder. But he was stronger. He didn’t even have to use magic. He just laid on top of me to pin me down. I felt sick, like puking. I hoped I would. Maybe he would be too disgusted to go on. But I didn’t.”
“And then… and then..." I couldn't even say the words. "I thought breaking my leg when I was nine was one of the worst pains I’d ever feel. I was wrong. So, so wrong.” I closed my eyes now, remembering the burning, piercing pain. The deep, constant pain in my gut for days afterwards, even with the magic I used to heal myself. The way that just the simple task of walking straight hurt like hell. “I screamed, but no one could hear me. After he was done, he just left me there. I ran to the bathroom, half-hoping no one would find me. I sat in there for hours. But no one came. No one looked for me. No one noticed that I was gone.”
“Even the next morning, no one noticed. Sure, I put on a brave face. I tried to not let them see. I didn’t want to hurt my friends, my family. I didn’t want them to hurt even a sliver as much as I was. But… no one saw me, Scorpius. No one saw me.”
With that, I was done. But I felt anything but free.
A/N This chapter was especially emotional for me to write. I hope that you guys can see how deep Rose's pain is. I don't want it to seem superficial. If it does, please tell me because I want it to seem anything but that. Please review, it would really mean a lot to me. I love you guys.
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