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A/N I am so so so so sorry about the long wait for this. I had to go through some emotional crap after I wrote the last chapter. I'm through it, thankfully, so *drumroll* here's the next chapter!



"But… no one saw me, Scorpius. No one saw me." She whispered the last part so quietly I could barely hear the words slip past her lips. She was silent after that, her mouth half-open and slack. I don't think she even noticed the flood of tears rushing down her face and pit-pattering against the floor. Her her head. She held her hands stiffly over her heart, as if they could keep it from becoming anymore damaged.

I didn't know what to say or what to do. This strong girl that I had cared so much for and for so long, though she didn't know it, had just shattered in front of my eyes. I could practically see the tape and glue holding the pieces of her shaking body together. Half of me just ached to walk out that door and hex Liam within an inch of death. To beat him to a pulp and make him pay for what he had done to Rose. To make sure he could never again do to another girl what he had done to her. Maybe even kill him, no matter what the consequences were.

But the other half… the other half longed for me to gather Rose up in my arms. To hold her and comfort her and squeeze her tight and never let her go. For me to make sure that she could never be hurt again. For me to make all of her hurt go away. But I knew that wasn't what she wanted. What she needed. She had flinched eyes glazed over and she stared, seeing nothing. Or maybe she was seeing the memories flashing through away from my fingertips, so I didn't know what anything more would make her do.

Her body jerked slightly, and I saw reality return to her eyes. She let out a low moan that made my heart clench and sunk slowly to the floor. She stuck her head in between her knees and rocked back and forth. Merlin, I didn't know what to do. All I could do without scaring her was sit down next to her and listen to her soft whimpers.

At first, her low mumblings were incomprehensible. She strung together syllables with no meaning. I just stared at her forlornly, my vision blurred, feeling like a complete prat. Her whimpers slowly faded into nothing and her tears faded to sniffles.

She finally looked up at me pleadingly, her eyes dry but the evidence of her tears written plainly across her face. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She whispered.

I was bewildered. "Why are you sorry? The person who should be sorry is the bastard that did this to you." Her eyes grew shiny again and she swiped at them with her fingers. She looked up at the ceiling and her breathing hitched.

She mumbled something that I couldn't hear. "What did you say, Rose?" I tried to speak gently.

"It was my fault." I was surprised by the ferocity of her wail. She collapsed back, her arms and legs splayed out.

She was the most defeated little creature I'd ever laid eyes on.

I didn't know how she had kept up her facade for this long. Anger bubbled up in my stomach at her friends for not noticing her distress. They were with her almost constantly, how could they be so clueless, so absorbed into their own lives that they had neglected her. Even her own family hadn't cared enough to notice over the summer. I shuddered at the idea of her, broken and alone in so many ways, surrounded by her otherwise happy family for so long.

But I was also furious with myself; I should've seen something, anything, that pointed to her pain, even in the short times we had been together.

She kept repeating herself. I scooped her up off of the floor and laid her on the bed. Her skin burned feverishly under my hands. Fear sparked in me as I moved my arms from under her and took in the sight of her flushed skin. I pressed her fiery curls back from her face and gripped her head firmly in my hands. I looked into her eyes, though I could tell that her mind wasn't completely lucid.

"This isn't your fault, Rose. Blaming yourself isn't the answer." The fever had taken her quickly and her skin was covered with the light sheen of sweat.

"But she's dead. How could that not be my fault?" Her speaking of someone's death alarmed me. Had Liam done this to another girl, but killed her that time? She moaned and clutched her hands against her stomach, curling her body around them. "My Emma. My little Emma." She breathed. I couldn't recall anyone by the name of Emma that had ever attended Hogwarts, and I chalked it up to hallucinations from her fever. "I loved her so much." She choked out.

"Rose, try to rest. Please, for me." I sighed and moved away from the bed, intending to sit in the chair. She gripped my wrist tightly.

"Don't leave." Her voice was desperate and fear laid in her eyes.

"I won't. I'll be right here." My reassurance seemed to calm her as her eyelids slipped closed and she fell into unconsciousness.

She was one of the last to step off the train and onto the platform, dragging her bag unceremoniously behind her. The wheels clicked against the bricks. Rose could hear her name being called from somewhere in the crowd. She cringed internally everytime someone knocked accidentally against her. She flinched violently as her parents rushed at her, seemingly out of nowhere. Their arms felt threatening, like she was trapped; she hadn't expected to feel so much fear from the two people who had known her since before she was born, but she couldn't help it as her throat tightened and heart beat rapidly in her chest.

Ron squeezed her tighter before he clumsily set her down on the bricks. He ruffled her hair beneath his hand; he knew she hated it. "Dad!" Rose groaned, knowing that he would expect that reaction. She had to make her front believable if she didn't want them to find out.

"I'm just happy to have you back, Rosie." He grinned almost manically, happy to have his two children home for the summer. His hand locked on Hugo's shoulder as he gazed at the two of them proudly. He hadn't noticed the way that she froze when he innocently ruffled her hair again, or the way that her hands clenched tighter to the handle on her suitcase when he called her Rosie, or the way her jaw would tic slightly everytime someone would bumb into her shoulder or her leg as they hurried by.

"How were your last few months, darling?" Hermione interjected. She hadn't seen Hugo or Rose since Easter, and even then she hadn't been able to spend much time with them. Her duties to the Ministry had her running about all over the place and having to leave her family multiple times curing the break. She had missed them dearly. Even Hermione, the Minister of Magic and the brightest witch of her age, didn't notice how her daughter hesitated before a smile came upon her face.

"They were good, mum." Rose said, lying through her teeth. Her breathing was beginning to tighten and her fingers were beginning to numb. She begged silently to herself to calm. "Everything was pretty normal, for once." She joked.

"Rose! Hugo! How are my darling niece and nephew?" Ginny walked up, Harry trailing behind her. Rose spotted Albus and James shoving each other playfully in the background, Lily grimacing at their behavior.

"They were great!" Hugo said enthusiastically. "I got the top marks in most of my classes." He said proudly, always the ravenclaw.

"That's my boy! Thank Merlin both of you got your mother's brains. And my dazzling looks." He brinned cheekily as Hermione smacked him on the shoulder. Rose flinched again at the sound.

"You alright there, Rose?" Harry asked from where he had his arm wrapped around his wife's shoulder.

"Yeah. Just got the chills, is all." She offered up the excuse lamely. She could still se concern in her uncle's eyes as he nodded, but was grateful when he didn't push the subject.

"Let's all go to my house, shall we? Get out of this blasted crowd." Ginny asked, though it was more of an order. As everyone rushed towards the entrance, Rose trailing behind them, Harry caught her shoulder. Rose froze, fearing that it he knew everything. But how could he? No, it was just her fear making her jump to conclusions.

"Are you sure you're okay, Rose?" She couldn't stand the heat from his hand on her shoulder. She withdrew from his grip quickly.

"Yes, Uncle Harry. I'll be fine." He didn't seem to notice the inflection of her words.

She only hoped that what she said would turn out to be true.


Heat clutched greedily at me and I could feel sweat slicking my skin. The dull red of my eyelids was the only thing I could see, since I couldn't manage to open them. My clothes and a thin sheet clung to me, making me feel sticky. I didn't feel entirely there and my mind was befuddled. In my confusion, I kicked off the sheet and tried to wrestle off my shirt. Strong hands restained mine. "Rose, stop." Someone whispered. I could only assume that the voice belonged with the hands. It sparked something warm and familiar within my stomach. I stopped struggling for a moment.

"Too hot." I whimpered. My throat burned uncomfortably as I sucked in a breath.

A cool cloth pressed to my forehead. I sighed gratefully at the small comfort as I opened my eyes halfway. My vision swum in and out of focus, but I spotted piercing blue eyes and a shock of blonde hair. I tried to recall a name, but it floated just out of reach. I could feel myself growing frustrated as my eyelids slipped back closed.

My lungs burned everytime I tried to suck in a breath. I turned onto my side and curled into a ball as I began to cough uncontrollably. I heard quickened footsteps cross the room, the turn of a doorhandle, the rush of water from a faucet, and the footsteps cross back to me, then I was dragged into a sitting position.

A cool hand grasped my neck gently and a glass pressed to my lips. I sucked down the soothing moisture. I tried to claw through the thick layer of drowsiness and befuddlement that pressed down on me. The water seemed to help, though my limbs were still weak. I opened my eyes fully this time. They widened in surprise when I saw Scorpius bent over me, eyes brimming with concern.

I don't know what came over me. I don't know if it was just that I was happy to finally have someone know, or if it was the fact that he seemed to care, but a feeling I hadn't expieriened in a long time rushed up within me. I practically flung myself at him as my arms encircled his neck. My weight and his surprise pulled him down beside me on the bed. He tensed beneath my touch, but wrapped his arms gently around my back after a moment.

It was the first time I had been able to willingly hug someone ever since that night.

He pulled me tighter and nuzzled his nose into my hair. I was puzzled as to why I wasn't panicking, why I felt so safe in his arms when I hadn't felt a smidgeon of comfort and nothing but fear in anyone else's, but I nudged my confusion aside and huddled closer into his warmth.

"I don't know why you did, but... thank you, for being here. For listening. For everything." We had turned from almost enimies to what I believed to be friendship in the quick flip of a hat.

"I did what anyone would've done, Rose."

"Not everyone would've stayed." All he did was sigh, but it sounded almost happy.

"Your friends are looking for you, you know. I kicked them out of the common room and changed the password. They're probably figuring out ways to break down the door right now." A loud clanging that sounded from the common room just seemed to prove his point.

"I don't want to talk to them." All of my walls were down. I didn't know if I could continue to lie to them if they saw me like this.

"You don't have to." He said. And I knew that. But I couldn't help the guilt that radiated through me as another harsh bang clattered against the entrance to our rooms. I sighed and slipped regretfully out of his embrace. I stumbled down the stairs, still a little groggy and flushed with a higher temperature than usual. I could feel him trailing behind me as I pushed open a protrait. I backed out of the way as people flooded in. Zara, Dominique, and Albus looked furious, but Melissa, Cassandra, and Johnny just looked annoyed at the others' behavior.

"What in the bloody hell have you two been doing, holed up in here for a day and a half?!" I almost startled at that piece of information. I hadn't realized that I'd been out for that long. I quickly threw up a smile.

"You know, homework, heads' stuff, some heavy snogging sessions. The usual." I looked to Scorpius and felt relief when he played along, a cheeky grin enveloping his face, though I saw concern in his eyes when they flashed briefly to mine.

Albus growled in annoyance, but Zara cut him off before he could say anything. "You gave us a right scare, you idiot. Rushing away from breakfast and then dissapearing for hours." She scolded. I felt a bit cornered as six pairs of eyes peered either curiously or angrily at me.

"Maybe she just needed a break from you lot." Scorpius chipped in. His hand brushed my lower back reassuringly and at an angle that they couldn't see.

Albus pushed by me and stood toe to toe with Scorpius. "Why should you care, Malfoy?" Scorpius' eyes glistened with anger. Both of them drew their wands. I was panicking but tried to keep my coolness on the outside.

I pushed against Albus' chest. "Albus, stop being a prat or I'll hex you from here 'till next Sunday." My voice was harsh in my ears and I heard Dominique make a distressed sound from behind me.

Albus looked down at me, bewildered. He laughed as he took a few steps back. "I don't know what in hell has gotten into you, Rose, ignoring your friends and family and then defending the likes of that prick. Come talk to me when you've actually aquired some sense." He snarled. With that, he stormed from the room. Johnny shrugged apologetically in my direction, but trailed after him.

Though Harry and Ginny had held no prejudice against the Malfoy's, they had, in fact, been the most forgiving after the war, Ron and their Grandfather had drilled caution and dislike, almost hatred, so deeply into Albus, Dominique, and the rest of my cousins that that fact didn't matter.

Zara shoved me and I stumbled back into Scorpius. "What the fuck, Rose?!" I should've predicted her siding with Albus, since she had been in love with him since practically forever. It still stung though.

"Zara!" Melissa shouted in disbelief and dragged a cursing Zara from the room. "I'm sorry, Rose." Melissa said sincerely. Dominique, fuming, followed the pair and slammed the portrait behind her. Cassandra was left in their wake, looking flabbergasted.

"Cassie, why don't you follow them. Wouldn't want them to be pissed with you, too."

"What if I don't want to follow them?" She asked cocking her head. I smiled genuinely and I knew she was subtly telling me that she was on my side and that she was here for me. She was the best friend that I was least closest to, but was showing me the most love.

"Then I guess you'll just have to stay here." She took he book bag from over her shoulder and slung it down on the couch.

"I brought new reading material. Muggle stuff this time. Do you know who Shakespeare is?" She settled down next to her bookbag and ushered me over, she began to blab about poetry and forbidden love.

Scorpius came up behind me before I could walk over to Cassandra. 'We can talk later." His breath whispered against my neck and made me shiver, but not from fright.

"Okay." I whispered back, then went to listen to her gush about her muggle fiction. When I looked up, Scorpius was gone from the room.

A/N Sorry about the semi-crap ending, but I didn't particularly know how else to end it. Once again, sorry about the wait and I promise that I will update a lot more frequently from now on. But I wanted to warn you that my school starts in a few weeks, so the updates may not be as frequent for about a week or so, but then they'll pick up again. Please, please review guys. It's what keeps me going.


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