Chapter title taken from the Harry Style’s song.
Trigger warning: self harm.
“George would notice.”
I’m the only person who would ever care about you. Who else would want you? You’re worthless.
Most days, those words faded into memory. But on days like today, they echoed further into her ears, bleeding out from her tear ducts.
They started as whispers, lingering in the back of her head. They would then blossom into voices, then demonize into her psyche: reminding her, always, of who she was. She could never escape.
Rosalind sank into the ground, still pinching nail marks into her arm. I’m so stupid, she thought. He was right.
No one will love you.
After everything you’ve done to your sister? How can you say that you have the ability to love people? No one would do that to the one that they love.
“Stop it,” she muttered out loud, her breathing staccattoing. “That’s not true.”
All you do is hurt the people you claim to care about. How could anyone care about you?
“I can care about people I’m not a terrible person--”
You’re manipulative. You use people. You hurt them to save your own neck.
“No--no I don’t--”
You’re heartless. A monster.
“STOP IT!” She covered her ears, dropping her head and the rest of her body onto the floor. “I’m not! No I’m not!”
You don’t deserve to live.
Rosalind’s body was parallel to the floor, her heart beating as slow as the ticking of the clock. On the other side of the room lay a shard of glass, likely from one of her drunken nights long ago. Shaped like an iceberg, with harsh ragged edges, glistening in the evening sun. It stared back at her curiously. Begging her to be picked up, sliced against her skin. “Horizontal for attention, vertical for results.”
She crawled like an animal, grabbing the glass and placing it on her wrist. She shoved it hard against her skin, digging deep for any sign of life inside her, for crimson strings of blood to slither out of her arm. But they never came. Her body was so deadened nothing could penetrate it. The window clanked as she threw the shard, frustrated that she couldn’t feel anything. Not physical at least--she couldn’t remember the last time she felt physically hurt. But the emotional pain--that never left.
Seven chimes from the clock signaled that it was time for the meeting at The Burrow. She tried to lift her body and spirit but her soul was too heavy. It wasn’t like anyone would miss her or notice she was gone, anyway. She was insignificant, a newcomer. A parasite.
George would notice, a small voice offered. He would miss you. He cares about you.
He wouldn’t care if he found out about Draco, she couldn’t help think. He would leave and forget about her--it was her own fault anyway.
But he still cares about you.
Rosalind’s heart burned at the thought of George knowing. She slowed her breathing, opening her eyes and forcing herself up. She had to stop feeling sorry for herself.
At almost a quarter past seven, she cleaned herself up enough to be presentable. A small popping sound signaled her departure and arrival at The Burrow.
Smiles and laughter faded as soon as Rosalind stepped into the usually warm, cozy home. Mrs. Weasley wasn’t even at the door to greet her since she was late. Hermione, Ginny, Harry and Ron were sitting at the crowded far end of the table and George was nowhere in sight. The only chair available was next to a lanky, dorky looking young man with oversized ears, two left feet and a friendly smile. She smiled shyly and he nodded, allowing her to take the seat.
“You must be Rosalind,” he said taking out his hand. “Harry and Kingsley’ve been talking about you.”
“Why what’d they say?” she asked paranoid. “How’d you know that?”
“Harry described you as the small brown girl running around the Ministry with Malfoy,” he said with a laugh. “I saw you in the Prophet a while back too.”
“Oh.” She wasn’t sure whether to be amused or annoyed. “Yeah I guess that’s the easiest way to describe me.”
“They’re in serious talks that there could be a revolt soon, is that true?” the young man asked in a lowered voice. “Werewolves and Muggles?”
Rosalind paused. What else did he know? “Who knows, I’ve learned that anything is possible here.”
The man opened his mouth, when Kingsley Shacklebolt’s booming voice silenced the room. “Evening everyone. It has been a long day at the Ministry today, we’ve had several incidents occur as of late.” He cleared his throat, turning to Harry. “As many of you are aware, there have been more disappearances and deaths recently. Mr. Potter will take the lead and explain a possible theory, as well as possible outcomes.” The Minister bowed his head to Harry, who took his turn at the front of the room.
“Well,” he began, holding rolls of parchment and what appeared to be Rosalind’s notes. “One of our newest recruits, Ms. Morana has offered a theory after conducting her own research and speaking to a fellow officer who was attacked just last week. She already explained it to us in detail so to save her the trouble I will do my best to explain everything to everyone here as well.” He glanced at her, and Rosalind signaled that it was alright. The room listened intently: not once did anyone interrupt Harry or ask where he got the information, until he mentioned the tracking of the wands.
“Who’s to say that she isn’t working with ‘em?” a disgruntled old wizard chipped in. “She is from the same country as ‘em, what’s she got to gain from us? Woudn’t be a wee bit surprised if they tracked ‘er all the way over ‘ere.”
“I didn’t come all the way over here with my own wand,” Rosalind retorted, offended. “It was destroyed in a fire when my parents were murdered and I walked into Mexico to get a new one before flying here.”
The entire Order shifted their heads into her direction. “You walked into another country without a wand?” someone scoffed. “And flew here? That’s quite the way for a broom.”
“No I flew here on a Muggle plane,” she replied, uneasy from the aisles of eyes staring her down. “With my sister when she was a child. That was the easiest way to get here.”
“A Muggle contraption? Why not a Portkey?” the same wizard pressed.
“I had no access to one and I wasn’t about to enter a country illegally.”
The old man hmphed, as murmurs interrupted them. They didn’t trust her. No matter how hard she tried, she would never entirely fit in with them.
“Well now that we have that settled, let’s move on,” Harry cut in. He pulled out Rosalind’s charts, further explaining her theory. Rosalind tuned out his words; they were hard enough to say, let alone hear from someone else. She began pinching her arm again in frustration.
“Hey,” the young man next to her whispered as Harry continued. “I thought that was brave what you did. And with your little sister? I bet she really looks up to you.”
Rosalind let out a small smile. “Thank you.”
“I’m Neville by the way,” he said waving awkwardly. “Neville Longbottom.”
Rosalind shot up in her chair. “You’re Neville Longbottom? The guy that was almost the Chosen One? Who killed You-Know-Who’s basilisk at the Battle of Hogwarts with the Sword of fucking Gryffindor?”
Neville’s eyes widened as his face flushed. “I s’ppose that’s one way to put it, yeah,” he said timidly. “I didn’t know people actually knew about that.”
“Are you serious?” Rosalind laughed, starstruck. “You’re everywhere back home. After the Golden Trio you’re just as famous.”
Neville’s face burned a brighter shade of scarlet. “Well I don’t know about all that, they did most of the work.” He laughed nervously, moving a strand of hair behind his large ears. “They deserve the glory.”
“So do you,” she complied. “You were just as essential as they were.”
“Well uh, thank you,” he answered modestly. “Most people don’t recognize me so it’s odd when someone does.”
“I’m glad I did then,” she began to smile when Harry spoke in her direction.
“Rosalind? Are you able to do that?” he asked.
“Do what?” she asked lamely, having no idea what he said.
“Help us organize a resistance team against these foreigners,” he replied. “You know them better than we do. Everyone in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement will need help. We need training.”
It was Rosalind’s turn to burn red. “Really? You want me to help?” she asked with a dumbfounded look. “I uh--yeah, I can do that.”
“Good. We start tomorrow. You’ll lead the group. We’ll have a meeting beforehand to discuss various tactics.” He clapped his hands, signaling the end of the meeting and the table began to disperse.
Shit, Rosalind thought. How the hell am I supposed to train a group of wizards against these guys? They probably don't know a thing about the Dark Arts.
She sighed, as Neville patted her gently on the shoulder. “Don’t worry I’m sure you’ll do great,” he said with a smile. “It’ll be like old times at Hogwarts with Dumbledore’s Army.” She tried to reciprocate the smile before he turned away to talk to the strange girl, Luna Lovegood but couldn’t bring herself to do it.
As the crowd left and the table emptied, Rosalind remained in her seat, jaw clenched and tapping her foot. She shouldn’t have said yes. If it came down to it she would get so many people killed...she couldn’t live with anymore guilt.
“Why the long face, love?” a familiar voice asked. George’s hands clasped her own and he kissed her sweetly. “Long day at work?”
“You could say that,” she said avoiding his gaze. “Lots of old memories brought back.”
“I’m sorry.” He sat in Neville’s seat, caressing her knee. “Harry and Hermione told me what happened before you arrived, I had no idea.”
“Yeah,” she replied in a hollow voice. “Doesn’t matter now. Can’t do anything about it.” She held her breath to hold back her tears. She didn’t want to cry in front of George.
“C’mere,” he grabbed her hand. “Hold on.” Before she could react they were upstairs, in a rickety area of the house: two twin beds sat on opposite sides of the room, Quidditch posters all over the walls, trunks full of old joke shop product on the floor, some still weaseling their way around. A picture of two gingered-haired boys was displayed on the dresser, beaming with their big round eyes. On the other bed there was a picture of Fred and George, the day their shop opened.
“Is this your old room?” Rosalind asked, wanting to look at more baby pictures. “With Fred?”
George nodded. “Indeed it is. Haven’t been up here in ages.” His normal cheery tone was gone; he sounded like he was in mourning. “I figured I needed to get you away from the crowd.”
“You didn’t have to bring me here if you didn’t want to,” she said quietly. “But I really appreciate it.”
George peered into her eyes, grazing her cheek. “I wanted to make sure you felt safe.” His voice was soft, not as somber. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
Rosalind stared at the ground, knowing where this was going. “I can take care of myself.”
“I know you can,” George replied, still staring at her. “But I want to be the one who keeps you safe and takes care of you. I lo--I adore you, Rosie. You mean the world to me.” He closed his eyes as Rosalind’s remained open, as he gave her the most passionate kiss she had ever felt: tender, warm and full of love. "I would do anything for you. Anything to make you happy."
Rosalind sobbed, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I adore you too George.”
And she cried, not because of the intimate moment between them, but because of the guilt she was carrying.
Poor Rosalind. She can’t seem to ever feel good about herself. I know this was a shorter chapter, I thought it’d be a nice change from the uber long ones I’ve been posting. Oftentimes I don't realize how long they are until after I post them. Thank you so much for reading! The next chapter is a flashback, immediately after Rosalind and Emma arrive in London. Next chapter: Tears in Heaven.
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