Morning finally arrived and the sun shining through the ceiling was causing a sharp throbbing behind her eyes. That night, Rose had experienced the worst pain anyone was capable of experiencing. She lost track of time until the sky started to lighten and despite her best hopes, no one came for her. When she was conscious and not being tortured, she attempted to reassure herself.
She did her best not to cry. At some point during her endurance of the cruciatus curse, she had passed out again and when she woke up the man was gone. But there was no hope for escape. He came back and she tried to get more answers out of him. He responded with more torture.
Rose screamed until her voice was gone. The beating and the concussion was nothing compared to the cruciatus curse. She had once asked her mother what it felt like and sobbed at the thought of any enduring this. The only thought that kept her going was that her mum had survived.
Her mum had beaten the bastard blood elitists and so could she.
When he stopped the Cruciatus curse, he came over to Rose. He kneeled down beside her shaking body and leaned in, “You smell good.”
He licked the side of her face.
Vomit came out of Rose’s mouth before she could stop it. The bastard jumped back as Rose threw up all over him. “You stupid bitch!” But Rose couldn’t help it. The nausea she had been fighting up took hold of her and there was no way to stop it. Rose heaved and heaved until there was nothing left in her stomach.
And when she was finished throwing up, all she could do was shake on the floor.
Tears pooled in her eyes and Rose willed herself not to let the bastard see. Somehow, she didn’t think crying would move him towards an act of compassion, but only antagonize him further.
The only satisfaction she felt was that he was covered in puke too.
After several moments of looking disgusted, he waved the mess away with a swish, and looked down at her coldly. “You’re going to die.” He didn’t yell or scream this. He didn’t even sound particularly invested in the statement. He said it as easily as Rose said ‘I’m going to breakfast.’
“And when your lips are blue and your body is cold, I’m going to deliver you to your mother.”
After breakfast, Scorpius, Albus, and Penny went back to the dormitories to retrieve their books for morning classes. Slytherins and Gryffindors had Potions first thing and while part of Scor wished that he had a bit more time, he knew the longer Rose and he avoided each other, the more awkward it would get.
So it was better to bite the gun, or whatever muggles said, in Scorpius’s opinion.
He was even tempted to pair up with her for Potions just to prove that things could go back to normal. What even was their version of normal?
Was it fighting all the time? Or was their new friendship the norm now?
In the end, Scorpius made it just in time for the bell and predictably sat with Al, who had arrived before Scor. He waited for Rose to join
Penny at her station but she wasn’t there by the time Slughorn waddled in. Scorpius bit his lip so hard it almost bled. He couldn’t imagine she would go so far to avoid him as to skip class.
“Did you see Rose on your way here?” Albus asked under his breath.
Scorpius shook his head once, barely moving side to side. Panic started to rise and it wasn’t just because he was afraid of rejection. He had left her out on the ground, late at night, right near the lake and the woods.
For a moment, he had the ridiculous thought, what if she fell in the lake and drowned?
He internally rolled his eyes, thinking that would be impossible. Rose could swim.
But that didn’t preclude the possibility that she had tripped or gotten hurt on the way back to the castle. And every second that
Slughorn spent arranging his supplies and scratching the blackboard with chalk, Scorpius’s blood pressure went up and up.
When Slughorn finally turned around to address the class, his eyes immediately went to the empty seat next to Penny. “Where is Ms. Weasley?” If it had been any other student, no doubt Sluggie would’ve assumed she was running late or skipping… but this was Rose Weasley.
Penny looked just as baffled as Slughorn and answered nervously, “I’m not sure, professor. I think she’s just running a bit behind…” she responded unconvincingly.
Slughorn frowned, “Right, well, we’ll just crack on.” He looked too flustered to take points away from Gryffindor. It was entirely possible that Rose was just running behind. Perhaps she had just fallen asleep in the library and had to run back to get her books for class.
But the panic in his gut would not go away until Scorpius lay eyes on Rose.
And that’s how he found himself standing up and saying, “Professor, will you excuse me?”
Slughorn barely got a word out before Scorpius was out of his chair and shrugging his bag over his shoulder. “Of course, m’boy. But—but,” Slughorn stuttered, but Scorpius didn’t pay him any attention. “Is anything the matter—”
“Sorry, professor, there’s something I have to take care of,” Scorpius muttered, not really hearing the words that came out of his mouth.
Next thing he knew, he was walking briskly across the dungeons. He wasn’t sure exactly where he was going, but he would start in the obvious places. The library, Hargid’s hut, and then go back to where he had left her last night.
“Mate, wait up!”
Scorpius whirled around. “Al? Penny?” The pair was sprinting after him, looking concerned. “Sluggie let you leave?”
“We didn’t really ask,” Penny said cheekily. “Besides, we’re worried about Rose too.”
“You should probably tell us how bad the fight actually was.” Albus suggested.
Scorpius shook his head, “It wasn’t even a fight really. She just needed to be alone.”
That’s what he kept telling himself. She needed to be alone. She obviously still needed to be alone. That’s why she was avoiding everyone. And yet… there was something so cowardly about hiding out in a secret room somewhere.
And Rose was not a coward.
“So where are you going?” Albus puffed as he jogged to keep pace with Scorpius’s long stride.
“To look for Rose?” Penny asked.
Albus frowned, “Do you really think she just lost track of time in the library?” The question was more directed towards Penny. As Rose’s roommate, she would know more about Rose’s habits and daily comings and goings.
“Maybe,” Penny didn’t sound confident. “Wouldn’t be the first time, it’s just weird that she got back so late last night and left so early. I wouldn’t put it past Rose to get up early and hole somewhere, but it’s odd that she broke curfew and stayed out after patrol.”
None of them said anything else, all tense but not quite sure what to think.
When they arrived at the library, Madam Pince questioned why they weren’t in class and Albus muttered something about Slughorn giving them permission to leave early. Once they were past the fearful librarian, they split up to search for Rose.
With each passing shelf and each empty section, Scorpius’s anxiety grew.
He hoped that when he met back up with Al and Penny, they would have Rose with them. But they didn’t. And each of them looked significantly more scared then when they had separated. They met up at the checkout desk and then left the library. No one seemed to know where to go from there.
“So where did you leave Rose?” Penny asked again.
“By the lake.” Scorpius thrust his hands into his hair. “I wasn’t thinking. I’m such an idiot,” he voice rose and he couldn’t help but turn around and kick the wall in frustration.
“Scor!” Penny hissed. “Be quiet!”
“We need the map,” Albus said.
Scorpius turned to him, his foot throbbing. “Is it back in the dorm?”
Albus groaned, “No, James has it.”
“In his room or on him?” Scorpius demanded. They needed the map now. And if she wasn’t on the Marauder’s Map then they would check the Room of Requirement. Scorpius forced himself to stay calm. It was plausible that she would go to the Room of Requirement
for space. He repeated that mentally over and over.
“He usually keeps it in his trunk.” Penny said.
Albus looked uncomfortable with Penny’s knowledge of his brother’s routine. “Can you get it? I mean, I know boys aren’t allowed in the girls’ dorms…”
“I think girls can get into the boy’s dormitory,” Penny said quietly. “I’ve heard some boys complain about it.” Albus’s shoulders untenses and Scor nearly laughed at the awkwardness of James and Penny dating and Albus having to come to terms with it all. For a moment, Scorpius remembered nearly kissing Rose and thought of Al’s reaction.
“Let’s go.” Scorpius didn’t wait for Penny to lead the way to Gryffindor tower.
Once they reached the Fat Lady, Penny told them to stand back so that neither of the boys could hear her mutter the password.
“Seriously?” Albus deadpanned.
“Just wait there, I’ll be back in a minute.”
The Fat Lady swung open with a snort and Penny disappeared into the portrait hole. Scorpius paced back and forth while they waited.
“You must be Harry Potter’s other son,” the Fat Lady exclaimed with an ear-piercing shriek. Albus flinched, either at the high pitch noise or at being called ‘Harry Potter’s other son.’
“Yeah.” He replied gruffly.
“You know, I knew your father very well during his time at Hogwarts,” the Fat Lady said dramatically. “He was always coming and going from the common room at all hours… there was one time he was wandering the castle with a killer on the loose.” The Fat Lady spoke proudly of her connection to the famous Harry Potter.
Scorpius couldn’t expend energy being amused by the portrait bragging about knowing Harry Potter to Harry Potter’s son. He needed to lay eyes on Rose. Even if she cursed him and sent him away, he needed to see her and know that she was okay. He could take all of her anger and fury, if it only meant that she was safe.
When Penny returned, he pounced on her. “You got it?” He resisted the urge to rip it out of her hands. She had already opened it and was studying it intently.
“Yeah, it was actually in Lily’s room.”
“Well?” Albus asked impatiently.
Penny bit her lip and when she hesitated, Scorpius wanted to shake her. “Do you see Rose?” Scorpius demanded.
“Not yet.” Penny said quietly.
They huddled together and searched the map from Rose’s name and footprints. But as far as Scorpius could see, she wasn’t on Hogwarts grounds. “Maybe she’s in the Room of Requirement.” Albus said hopefully.
“Al,” Penny whiserped, “we have to go to McGonagall.”
Al paled and looked at Scorpius.
“She’s right.” Scorpius said stiffly. “With everything happening in Europe… with the attacks and murders… we can’t waste anymore time.”
They all began speed walking to the Headmistress’s tower, talking in hushed tones as they went. Luckily, they had excused themselves right at the beginning of the class period so the corridors were nearly empty. There were a few older students who had free periods, but no one paid the trio any attention.
“If something happened last night…” Scorpius ran his hands through his hair nervously, “it’s been nearly twelve hours.”
“I’m sure everything’s fine.” Penny said with confidence, but when she thought Al and Scor were looking away, the facade fell.
“And it’s not like anyone can just walk onto the grounds from outside,” Albus agreed.
Scorpius wished he had their confidence. Maybe he would feel more reassured if he wasn’t feeling so guilty for leaving her. This wouldn’t even be a question if he had not left her standing at the edge of the lake and forest alone.
“Scor, it’s not your fault.” Penny said. Clearly he had not hidden his thoughts well.
“I was an idiot for walking away.”
“Mate, if you hadn’t walked away, Rose would’ve.” Albus said. “You know what she’s like. So damn stubborn.”
Despite Al’s reassurances, Scorpius didn’t feel any less guilty. He walked quickly, convinced that McGonagall would be able to find Rose, even if she wasn’t appearing on the map. Only ten minutes later, they were all standing in front of the large eagle statue that allowed people to enter the Headmistress’s office. As a prefect, Scorpius knew the password and was able to get them up the stairs without delay.
The burst through her office door and skidded to a halt.
“Professor—” Scorpius started before he saw Professor Longbottom speaking with McGonagall.
“Mr. Malfoy?” McGonagall’s eyebrows slammed down and she stood up from behind her desk. Longbottom looked just as confused and peered behind Scorpius.
“Al? Penny? What are you lot doing out of lessons?” Longbottom stood up. “Gryffindor and Slytherin are meant to have Potions—”
“Professors,” Penny interrupted, “we left class because Rose didn’t show up. We came here to see if you could help us find her.” The tone of Penny’s voice left little room for questioning, it would clear that she was genuinely distressed.
“Yeah, why would we skip class and come to the Headmistress’s office?” Albus muttered.
“Rose skipped class?” Longbottom frowned.
Penny shook her head, “Not just class. She wasn’t in bed this morning and she didn’t come down for breakfast.” She glanced at Al and Scorpius. “And I don’t remember her coming back from patrols, but I thought maybe I was already asleep. We thought that she had just gone to the library early or something…”
Scorpius cleared his throat, “Rose and I had an argument last night… I thought that she was avoiding me.” He lowered his head, “but no matter what, she would never skip class.”
“Ms. Weasley has never been the type to avoid uncomfortable things.” McGonagall said to no one. “Mr. Malfoy, when did you last see her?”
“Last night, after our argument Rose told me to leave her alone. We were out by the lake and I left her there.” Scorpius still couldn’t believe that he had just left her out on the grounds alone. “Such an idiot,” he muttered to himself.
“But it’s not like anyone could get onto Hogwarts grounds…” Albus said.
“I daresay that there could be a way. Students are always finding new passageways to Hogsmeade,” McGonagall murmured, “we’re done our best to seal them up, but teenagers will be teenagers.” She came around her desk and turned to Professor Longbottom. “Send a message to Hermione and Harry.”
“What about the map?” Longbottom asked Al.
Albus blinked in surprise, “Oh, um, we looked but couldn’t find her on Hogwarts ground. We wondered if maybe there were any place other than the Room of Requirement that wouldn’t show up.”
“Let me see,” McGonagall extended her hand and Albus hesitantly gave the Marauder’s Map to her. He looked dejected that he had to give up one of their secrets to the Headmistress, especially since keeping the map of the teachers’ hands was priority number one. But desperate times called for desperate measures.
“I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good,” Longbottom told the map and words appeared. Scorpius and Albus looked equally surprised that Longbottom knew so much, but Scor reminded himself that Neville Longbottom was close friends with Harry back in their Hogwarts days.
McGonagall and Longbottom inspected every inch of the map. “She’s not here. And I don’t think it’s likely that she wouldn’t turn up for classes, even if she was avoiding you, Mr. Malfoy.” Scorpius’s fists clenched, knowing what that meant.
“What do you think happened?” Scorpius asked. He needed to hear McGonagall say it. He knew what happened, but he needed to hear it.
McGonagall looked hesitantly towards him, “There’s no way to know yet. Neville, have Harry bring an investigative team. I’m going to ask that you three stay here until they arrive and tell them everything you know. Mr. Malfoy, I’m sure the Aurors will want to know where exactly you saw Ms. Weasley last.” She turned back to Professor Longbottom, “Go to the Ministry and get the Aurors. I’ll inform the other teachers to place the school under lockdown. Every student must return to their common rooms after classes and are not to leave until their Heads of House say so.”
“We’re just supposed to wait here?” Penny argued desperately. “Shouldn’t we go look for Rose in Hogsmeade or something?”
Scorpius knew that McGonagall was not going to allow any of them to leave her office, but Penny felt as helpful as he did. Scorpius grasped onto the hope that maybe Rose had just wandered off.
It was a ridiculous notion, but better than the alternative that Scorpius couldn’t get out of his head. With the radical attacks inching closer and closer to the UK, what was the chance that the Minister of Magic’s daughter just took a stroll and got lost.
“I’m an idiot,” Scorpius repeated to himself.
Professor Longbottom glanced at him, “It’s not your fault.”
“Mate, we already told you that there was nothing you could do once Rose decided she didn’t want to be around you anymore.” Albus agreed. Somehow that did not make Scorpius feel better.
Professor Longbottom left with a hasty goodbye. Scorpius had really been hoping that McGonagall would tell them that Rose went home for the week or some other entirely implausible scenario.
Twenty-six minutes later, Mr. Potter, Minister Weasley, and nine aurors were gathering in the headmistress’s office questioning Al, Scorpius, and Penny. Hermione spoke with McGonagall while Harry interviewed the three students. The other Aurors were searching the grounds and speaking with ghosts.
“You’re sure she didn’t come home last night?” Harry prodded Penny.
Penny slumped into her chair, “She could’ve done… but I usually hear her when she comes back from late patrols. And her bed was made this morning, but she makes her bed when she wakes up anyways. I swear I thought she just went to the library.”
“That’s a reasonable conclusion,” Harry replied and then turned to Scorpius. “Walk me through what happened last night.”
Scorpius leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. He ran his hands through his hair, which uncharacteristically disheveled. “We were patrolling down by the lake and the forest, just doing a perimeter run. And we got into an argument about assumptions and prejudice,” he swallowed. “And when the argument ended she told me to leave, that she didn’t want me around anymore and she needed to be alone.”
“Can you show me where you were walking?” Harry asked.
When Harry stood up, Scorpius followed.
“Al and Penny, you two should stay here.” Harry said. Scorpius was relieved that it would only be him and Mr. Potter walking down by the lake.
They walked silently through the castle, looking around critically as if maybe they would stumble upon Rose reading in an alcove. As they walked, Scorpius thought about what he would say to Mr. Potter. Should he tell Mr. Potter the whole truth while they were alone?
It was better than announcing it in front of everyone, but maybe Mr. Potter would tell everyone anyways.
By the time they were down by the lake, Scorpius knew what he would do.
“I have to tell you something,” Scorpius said quietly.
It was a sunny day, which seemed so out of place with the situation. The lake glistened beautifully and a light breeze ruffled the tree leaves.
Harry looked sideways, “What’s that?”
“When I said that Rose and I were arguing… that wasn’t why she told me off.” Scorpius finished in a rush of words. Harry frowned and turned fully towards Scorpius.
“You didn’t argue?”
Scorpius sighed, “We did, but then we realized we were being stupid.” Scorpius was so hesitant to describe their almost kiss because it seemed like such an intimate moment that no one but the two of them should know about. And admittedly, he was embarrassed by his desire to kiss a girl that he spent five years publicly hating.
“I think you should get to the point.” Harry said.
“We had a moment,” Scorpius blurted, “And it freaked her out. So she told me off and I was so embarrassed that I walked away without thinking it through. If I had an inkling of danger… a slight possibility… I wouldn’t have left. But it didn’t even cross my mind, I was so wrapped up with our own drama.”
“Scorpius,” Harry interrupted, “it’s not your fault.”
“It is, I should’ve stayed.”
Harry pressed his lips together thoughtfully, “It must’ve been a surprising situation for you both. And I doubt Rose handled it with care, so I don’t blame you for listening to her when she told you to leave.” Scorpius looked at the ground, too ashamed to look Harry Potter in the eyes.
“Are you going to tell everyone?”
Harry rubbed the back of his neck, “I don’t think that’s necessary. It doesn’t appear to be relevant at the moment, but understand that if it does become relevant, I will have to tell the other Aurors.” Scorpius exhaled in relief.
“Good,” he muttered and then caught Harry staring at him intently. “Not that I’m trying to hide it. We just didn’t get a chance to discuss what the moment meant and I don’t want everyone gossiping behind her back.” Scorpius explained hastily, not wanting Mr. Potter to think he was embarrassed of Rose.
Harry gave him a sympathetic smile and then refocused. “Now, show me exactly where you were standing and where she was standing when you separated.”
A/N: Hi readers, I apologize for the long wait on this chapter. I am currently in a novel writer's bootcamp and that has been taking up all of my "writing energy."
Let me know what you think of this chapter? Do you think Scorpius needed to come forward or is that only going to create problems?
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