CHAPTER 7: PAIN
“Have you seen this?” Rhea apparated into the office, startling Scorpius. She slammed the magazine on his desk and looked at him expectantly, hoping for answers. Hoping for him to admit that he was responsible for Rose Weasley’s death.
“Oh, that. It’s all taken care of now.” He said in a calm voice. Rhea looked at him in confusion. “It was just a rumor somebody spread.” He explained.
I don’t believe this.
‘But I believe that he might not be responsible. He is so sweet.’ Rhea contradicted the Voice.
Keep thinking like that. I don’t want to die again.
“Oh.” Rhea dropped the subject. “Is Al in his office yet?” she asked.
“I guess so.” Scorpius shrugged. “How are you now?”
“I’m fine. I just needed a lie-down.” Rhea smiled at Scorpius’s concern. The Voice was wrong. It had to be. The man who was talking to Rhea wasn’t like that. “I better get my graduation papers to Al.” she gave another smile and walked out of the room, ignoring the glare Mary send her way, which had become a daily routine.
“May I come in Al?” Rhea knocked on his open door. Al looked up from his papers and broke into a wide smile when he saw Rhea. Rhea’s heart started to do what it always did when Al was around: run a marathon.
“Why ask? You are always welcome here.” Al gestured for her to come in. Rhea sat down with a smile. She had no idea why, she always had a smile on her face when she was with Al. The Voice hated it for some unfathomable reason, but Rhea could not control it.
“I came to give this.” She handed her graduation papers to Al, careful not to touch his skin, for the fear that the tingling sensation she felt might still be there.
“Oh, right. The moderators will be here after lunch. You have to be ready to talk to them.” Al said, flipping through her papers, frowning.
Rhea’s heart thudded. Did he find out that it was not really hers?
“Wh-what is it?” Rhea asked hesitantly.
“Nothing, it just… your results reminded me of Rose.” Al said, with his throat thick. Rhea’s heart lurched for the suffering man in front of her. She stood up and made her way near him and kept a hand on Al’s shoulder and squeezed it.
My Al. This is what Scorpius Malfoy did to my family. I can’t bear to- to just watch from inside you like some sort of a parasite. I want to be there in flesh, to be with my Al. He’s my COUSIN, for Merlin’s fucking sake! How can you think of him in such an unholy way? It’s incest!
‘I-I don’t understand. I’m not thinking of Al in anyway like that.’
Al cleared his voice. “Sorry about that.” He smiled sheepishly.
“I understand Al. Wounds like that does not fade away so soon. Rose was very close to you, it will take time.” Rhea smiled reassuringly.
AL! I’M RIGHT HERE! LOOK AT ME, ROSE IS RIGHT HERE!
Rhea winced. Her head pained a lot when the Voice shouted like that. She smiled again to cover up her moment of pain. “I lost both my parents, I understand more than anyone.” She had no idea whether it was the truth or not, but the words came out of her lips without her control.
“Rhea, I’m so sorry.” Al hugged her. She stood in shock for a moment and then hugged him back, feeling electricity surge between them. Whatever emotion that was there in her heart for Scorpius was gone at that moment. It was Al, only Al. Just the two of them, just Albus Potter and Rhea Sanchez.
“Ahem.” A voice from the doorway made the two of them jump apart. Rhea turned to see Scorpius standing there, looking extremely awkward. “Sorry to disturb you two,” he smirked at them and Rhea felt herself blush for some unknown reason, “but Al, Freya wants to see you.”
Rhea’s eyes widened in shock. Freya Malfoy. She felt Al drop his head on her shoulder with a groan. Rhea started and then relaxed. “No offence mate, but I really don’t want to deal with your sister right now. She’s damn scary.”
Scorpius chuckled. “None taken. But you have to face her someday, Al. You can’t just put it off.”
“I know, I know.” Al sighed and walked out of the door with an exasperated look at Rhea.
“What was that?” Rhea asked Scorpius, picking up her graduation papers form Al’s desk. She had thought that they were still together. But it didn’t seem so, from the way the two men were conversing.
“Freya is the Senior Assistant to the Head of Magical Law Enforcement. She is here on a case regarding a patient. But Al and Freya’s relationship has gone rocky after they broke up, so they aren’t really comfortable around each other.” Scorpius explained with a sigh of frustration. Rhea could tell that he hated the rift between his best friend and his twin sister.
“Who is Freya?” Neither Scorpius nor Al had mentioned her before, so it was necessary for it to seem as if Rhea didn’t know her.
“Freya is my twin sister. She looks sort of like you, with that blonde hair.” Scorpius smiled.
“You have blonde hair too.” Rhea pointed out.
“Yeah, but you see, Freya’s hair looks like my dad’s. Mine is a bit lighter than them.” Scorpius ran his fingers through his hair.
“I see.” Rhea nodded, and let silence fall over the place.
“I have to see a patient.” Scorpius finally broke through the silence. He wasn’t a Healer- he was just one of those who handled all the papers and stuff. Rhea knew he just wanted to escape the awkward silence, so did she. Rhea nodded, keeping her eyes down.
The sound of the opening of the door sounded in her ears. Rhea could feel a headache coming. She was about to burst because of the frustration building inside her. She was so damn confused all the time. She had to escape from the pains and unknown emotions which haunted her every waking moment. Not only waking moments-they haunted her even in her dreams. Even when she was asleep. How long can one survive without cracking?
“I have to get out of here.” She whispered to herself and ran out of Al’s office, towards the door, which was her only escape.
She was close to the door; she knew she could make it. Rhea could have just apparated-but that required concentration, and Rhea’s head was in a million places at once. She would probably splinch herself if she tried to apparate in her condition.
“Where are you going?” the familiar voice made her stop in her tracks. Al stood in front of her, with a blonde close behind him. She could see the blonde’s eyes narrow as Rhea came closer.
“I have to go home.” Rhea panted. “I’m not feeling right.”
“So this is the one you brought to replace Rose.” The blonde spoke up in a cold voice. “Bad choice Albus. Just like all of your other choices.” The blonde stepped right in front of Rhea and Rhea had to force down a gasp. Freya Malfoy stood in front of her, looking like a carbon-copy of her expect the eyes, which were a stormy grey. Even Freya looked a bit surprised on seeing someone so similar to her, but regained her cold expression.
“She didn’t come to replace Rose. She just came to take the job which used to be Rose’s.” Rhea smiled gratefully at Al. “And you are no one to judge my choices, Malfoy. Keep your thoughts to yourself, and please keep them work-related. Don’t get personal.”
What happened to Freya and Albus?
‘Didn’t you hear what Scorpius said earlier?’
They were the perfect couple.
For some reason, that made Rhea very angry. Look at the two of them fight! They were not the perfect couple. Al doesn’t look happy with Freya.
“Whatever. My investigation is done for now. Update me regularly on the patient, Mr. Potter. I’ll be off now.” Freya gave a brisk, formal nod to Al and a cold glare towards Rhea and disapparated.
“Sorry about that, Freya is just…you know what I mean.” Al ran his fingers through his messy hair and suddenly, Rhea had the urge to run her own fingers through it. The thought scared her. She had never felt an emotion like it before.
Rhea nodded. “I understand. She isn’t taking Rose’s death well, is she?”
I’m not dead. The voice said in an annoyed voice.
“The moderators will be here in an hour. Are you well enough to stay back?” Al asked in a concerned voice. Rhea smiled at him. “I’m fine Al.”
Al nodded and gave her a pat on the back, sending shivers down her spine. “Go and have lunch, and they’ll be here soon.” Rhea nodded back at him and walked into her room. Scorpius wasn’t there.
“Are you Rhea Sanchez?” The bald moderator asked Rhea. She nodded. An image flashed.
A kind smile on the bald man’s face. “Good job, Ms. Weasley.”
Rhea wanted to groan. Everything seemed to be about Rose. Rose. Rose. Everywhere she went, everyone she talked to, everything seemed to be connected to Rose somehow. Rhea had had enough of it. It irked her, how everyone doted on Rose, when Rhea knew Rose wasn’t the perfect girl everyone thought of her to be. Rose Weasley was selfish. Rose Weasley treated Rhea as if she was scum under her feet.
Rhea took a deep breath and smiled. “Yes sir.”
The man smiled back. “Glad to meet you Ms. Sanchez. I’m Nicholas Hemmingway. I don’t remember you at my Healing Class. Who was your teacher?” he frowned as he inspected her papers.
Rhea’s heart thudded painfully against her chest. This was it-she was dead.
‘Huh?’ The name sounded familiar, but no memory of Rose sprung out. That confused Rhea.
“Madam Gladys.” Rhea answered. After all, Rose must know better than Rhea.
“Ah… now I see why I don’t remember you. It must be a pleasant thing to work here, right? Rose Weasley was my student, you know.” He smiled proudly. “She was the brightest student I’ve ever taught. Always gets the spells right, just like her mother.”
Rhea felt like gagging. She tried not to let it show as she plastered a wide smile on her face, which did not reach her eyes.
“You seem like a bright student. Just like Rose, always getting full marks.” Rhea decided that she really hated the balding man. She was no second Rose Weasley, she was the first Rhea Sanchez, and to be frank, she didn’t want to be compared to anyone else.
“Thank you sir.” Rhea said formally.
Nicholas Hemmingway smiled brightly. “You’re all verified now.”
Rhea had to smile back. “Thank you, sir.” Nicholas nodded and walked out of the room, taking Rhea’s papers with him.
‘Won’t he know that I told a lie?’ It was the first time Rhea had taken the initiative to talk to the other soul in her head.
He won’t. Madam Gladys died two years, sorry, three years ago in a fire accident at her house. And you seem to be brilliant at lying, he didn’t suspect a thing.
‘He can check the records, you know.’
Nope. The records were with her when the house burned down.
Rhea let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding. For some reason, Madam Gladys, her burned house, they all seemed to hold some importance to her.
What do you know? The Voice asked wearily. It sounded tired.
‘Are you tired?’
Answer my question.
‘I’m sorry. I don’t remember anything. Now answer mine.’
Yeah, I’m tired. I have no idea why. Let’s go home.
‘You don’t talk this much at home.’
That’s because I have no use of being there when I know I have no memories there.
That’s it. That is the way to get the Voice to be quiet. Stay away from places and people connected to Rose Weasley. That would mean staying away from Al, and that thought made Rhea feel weird. She didn’t want to stay away from Al. She never felt such a connection with Scorpius, who she thought she was in love with. But the electricity they had between each other had faded and now Rhea only imagined the blonde man as her colleague, her friend, her partner. Al was what kept her moving; what made her come back to the place which she couldn’t wait to get away from every day. Al had started to become her everything.
NO! DON’T THINK STUFF LIKE THAT!
‘What sort of stuff?’
You can’t fall in love with my cousin!
‘I’m not in love with him. He’s my friend. My best friend.’
Please let it stay that way Rhea. Please.
Rhea couldn’t speak. The Voice said her name for the first time. For the first time Rose acknowledged that Rhea was there. Rose Weasley was begging.
Don’t seem so shocked. I am polite. I just don’t like you so much.
‘If that makes you feel better, I don’t like you that much either.’
That does make me feel better.
‘Glad to know I was of some use.’
Rhea should be scared like a normal person would be. But Rhea Sanchez was not normal. Here she was, having a conversation with another in her head.
Rhea passed by Al’s office on her way out. “Al, I’m going home, okay?” At her voice, Al hastily hid something underneath his papers and gave Rhea a smile which didn’t reach his eyes. “Sure Rhea. Bye.” With that, Al turned to his papers and buried himself in it, leaving Rhea very hurt. He had never done that. Now it felt like Al was shutting her out and for some reason, the thought cut her deeper than a knife could.
“Bye.” She mumbled and held back the tears which threatened to flow for some reason. She ran out of the room and out to the courtyard where she could disapparate.
Why are you so affected by Al’s behavior?
‘He never shut me out like that before. I didn’t want to feel like this. It just happened. I’m confused Rose.’
Then stay away from him. Rose’s voice turned hostile. The little amount of concern and friendship in her voice was gone.
“I can’t. He is too important for me.” Rhea said out loud.
“Who are you talking to?” Scorpius asked, suddenly appearing next to her. Rhea quickly brushed away the tear that had fallen and turned to smile at Scorpius.
“No one. I’m going home. Tell Al that I might not come tomorrow.” Rhea informed the blonde. Scorpius looked confused for some time, and then nodded. “Bye.”
Her own goodbye was muffled by the crack sound made when she disapparated.
Why did she feel so tired? It was as if the mysterious tiredness Rose was feeling had transferred to her. Why was Rose tired anyway? Rhea suddenly felt too tired to think of an answer.
Still in her clothes, Rhea ran inside the bathroom and opened the shower head. She hoped that a quick shower would help calm her mind and perhaps help her to sleep. She did not bother taking off her clothes; they were dirty anyway. A sudden pain that shot through her forced Rhea to clutch her head tightly. She felt dizzy. The whole room was spinning. The shower kept running, and Rhea could not reach out to close it. She clutched the bathroom sink with one hand and tried to steady herself.
The spinning slowed a bit and a new pain shot through her eyes. Rhea opened the flip that protected the mirror from the water from the shower head nearby and opened her eyes to look at herself. Instead of the brilliant blue she was used to, Rhea saw brown eyes. A wave of shock, fear and surprise ran through her body.
“What on earth?” she blinked furiously, once, twice, thrice, hoping that she was just having a misunderstanding, and that her eyes were still the same blue as her mother. Maybe it was the mirrors fault. She wiped the mirror with her sleeve, but the colour did not change. Rhea started to shake with fear. What was happening here?
“I’m in control now.” The voice that came out of Rhea’s mouth wasn’t her words or her voice; it was the same voice she had been hearing inside her head. It was Rose, speaking through her.
“That’s not possible.” Rhea found out that she would speak too. It was like in her head; both sharing the same thoughts. Both could talk. Her head thudded painfully, and Rhea knew that a memory was coming. As soon as the memory hit her, she found out answers to almost all of her questions.
Rhea looked in the mirror in her bedroom and smiled upon seeing brown eyes instead of blue. She raised a piece of opaque lace and clipped it with her hair, covering her mouth. With that, she apparated with a loud crack.
She was in the garden of her old house. The daisies had withered and died. Rhea made her way to the nearby bushes and after a bit of digging, found some pieces of papers. With yet another crack, she disapparated.
Rhea was in an office. Newspapers cluttered the desks. A large sign read ‘Magic Daily’.
Rhea gasped. It was the same magazine in which she saw the news about Scorpius.
“What do you want miss?” A man of about thirty asked her. Rhea smiled at the man. “I come with evidence that Scorpius Malfoy is responsible for the death of Rose Weasley.”
The man’s eyes widened. “What? What sort of evidence?”
“This.” Rhea handed the man the papers she took from behind the bush of the house in Godric’s Hollow. The man read the papers and his eyes widened even more.
“Rose, meet me near the Forest of Dean on Al’s birthday at seven. I have a surprise planned and everything. Scorpius.” The man read.
“Albus Potter’s birthday. The same day Rose disappeared. This must tell you enough.” Rhea said.
“Bu-but how did you get this information?” The man asked.
“Don’t ask me how. Just do your job.” With that, Rhea disapparated from the office, back to the house.
She snapped back to the present from the memory and stared at her reflection in horror. “It was you who did that? But I do not remember a thing.” Rhea whispered.
“Yes, it was me. The world deserved to know who the real devil behind Scorpius Malfoy is. And yet, he is living his life to the fullest.” Rose’s voice said bitterly.
“Why did you do it?” Rhea sobbed. Anger bubbled inside her. But this anger was not her own; it was Rose fueling the frustration and confusion inside her.
“Why did I do it?” Rose whispered furiously. “I’ll show you exactly why!” With that, Rhea was plunged into another memory, this one more familiar to her.
She was standing at the edge of a forest, anxiously glancing at her watch now and then.
Rhea wanted to run away as far away as she could. She didn’t want to see the memory. Not again. As the men spoke, she felt pure fear this time. Suddenly, Rhea realized that it was her memory. It wasn’t like before. She wasn’t seeing Rose suffer. She was Rose. She was feeling what Rose felt.
The pain was unbearable. Rhea shivered and sobbed.
She was jerked from the memory. Shaking, Rhea stood from the wet floor she had fallen upon and looked at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were blue again.
Rhea. Avenge me. You saw what they did to me. What he did to me. Take revenge. Please, Rhea. Please. Rose’s voice said in her head.
Rhea felt red-hot anger. Anger towards the men, anger towards Scorpius.
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