Title: The Hollow's Child
Disclaimer: Yeah I don't own HP. Whatevs.
Synopsis: Just a silly little epilogue, because I always like epilogues.
Rose tugged at the waist of her dress, which felt a little tight. Fitted, her cousin Lily had called it. But why did it have to be fitted so tightly?
"Oh leave that alone," Lily said, knocking Rose's hand away from the corset before raising it again to play with her hair. "So do you feel different now? Now that you have a sister?"
Rose shrugged. She hadn't actually thought of Zoe as her sister yet. Though she supposed that's what the girl was. She wondered if her new 'sister's' name would be Zoe Weasley-Granger-Chang.
"We should probably get back to the party now," Lily said, tucking her own red hair behind her ears.
"Yeah, just give me a moment." Rose looked at herself in the mirror a final time.
"You look gorgeous! Is that a Clothilde original?" The mirror asked her back. Rose nodded. "Beautiful! Stunning!"
"Well… I suppose that should boost my confidence for the rest of the millennium."
"Come on, Rose," Lily was again pulling at her arm. "If you're worried about… you know… you don't have to be. I've been seeing Lawrence Montague for months now, so you don't need to fret about me."
"I wasn't." Rose pulled her arm away, and ran her hand once more through her short hair. "I was just… I don't know… This dress look silly!"
"No, it doesn't. It looks lovely. Really. Now I'm going out there. And you can stay in here if you like, but it'll be your loss."
And Lily disappeared through the door.
Rose wanted to go outside, she really did. She had been amazed at the way her grandparents' lawn had been transformed into this wonderland for her brother's wedding. There was large golden tent canopying the bulk of the green yard, and underneath that tent were several round tables, each laden with sparkling tablecloths, heavy silverware, and glittering butterflies flitting around floral centerpieces. And it had been a lovely ceremony. And Rose had not objected at that one point when the minister asked if anyone did. She had seen Hugo meet her eyes just then, expecting her to rebel, but she hadn't. If her brother wanted to get married young, well, then, he should. If he was that sure of his relationships than surely that was a good thing, and she could not hold it against him. No matter how much she wanted to.
As she'd been standing up there, serving as Zoe's only bridesmaid, she'd tried to keep a straight face as she'd looked out at the crowd. It had been difficult, with all of her cousins in the front few rows, making faces at her, trying to get her to laugh. Fred had been especially difficult to tolerate. And even he had not been the worst of it. Because there, in the back row, had been Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius Malfoy, who had come all the way from New York City to be with her this day.
When her father had first seen Malfoy's name on the guest list he had caused a hissyfit until finally Rose had admitted that she had written him in as her date. Her mother, who she had not talked to, not really, in months, had stepped in and defended her choice of guest. Rose, not wanting to thank her mother, had simply walked away. But here they were, weeks later, and Malfoy had been in the audience.
Walking out into the yard where the reception was going on, Lily having just disappeared into the crowd before her, Rose looked around, hoping to spot Malfoy. She did not see him immediately. Instead she saw her cousin James, smiling and laughing and then deeply kissing Tandi. When James caught her looking at him he waved her over.
"Great show today, eh? Can you believe it? Hugo's married!"
"No," Rose shook her head. "I can't believe it. It's weird isn't it?"
"You bet it is!" James laughed as he slung his arm around Tandi's waist. "But then I guess we're getting to that point in our lives where everyone's pairing up."
Rose watched as Tandi gave a small, awkward smile. Then she laughed and excused herself, still on her desperate hunt to find Malfoy through this crowd.
"Rose, could I talk to you a moment?" Her father, now, was calling her. Rose knew, from what she had seen, that her father had had several glasses of nettle wine today. "About that Malfoy bloke-"
"Yes?" Rose asked, turning her head, hoping to spot Malfoy, and, if she did, hoping to ward him away from this particular conversation.
"Please don't date him. Malfoys are gits. They really are. Awful, awful gits-"
"Ron!" Her mother was suddenly at her father's side, grabbing his arm as he slid downward, clearly intoxicated. "How about we let Rose date whoever makes her happy?"
Her father gave an unintelligible moan and shut his eyes. Rose was half sure he was sleeping, right there, standing up. So it was just she and her mother then.
"Rose-" her mother began.
"No." Rose cut her off. "I don't want to talk to you."
"Rose, that's not fair-"
"Not fair? It wasn't fair when you didn't tell me that I had another brother. For years. It wasn't fair when you kept that secret-"
"Don't be unreasonable-"
"I'm not being unreasonable. I'm being perfectly reasonable. You're the one- You're the one who-" She had so many things she wanted to say. But she knew she wouldn't say any of them now. Not here. Not at her brother's wedding.
"Rose," she felt a hand grab on to her upper arm. She turned. Malfoy. "And Mrs. Weasley-Granger. Lovely wedding."
"Thank you, Scorpius," her mother said with an easy smile. Her father, still drifting downwards, merely grunted. "I'd better get him something to eat. And maybe some coffee."
And with that her mother was, carrying her father, disappearing back into the crowd.
"Rose," Malfoy continued. "I thought we might talk."
"Yeah," Rose nodded. They'd barely said two words together in person since May Day, over two months ago. He'd been back in New York, at the hospital, and she'd been busy finishing Trinity term. "We can go inside."
"Alright," Malfoy nodded. And so she led him into the Burrow, back where she had just come from, up the rickety wooden stairs and up towards the room – her father's old room – which she and Lily had set up as their headquarters.
As soon as they were alone, Malfoy leaned over and kissed her.
"I've been wanting to do that all day," he said, smiling.
"Me too," she said, and she leaned forward and kissed him back.
"I get the feeling your dad doesn't like me much." Malfoy said when they'd broken apart again.
"Really? And what makes you say that?"
They both laughed, a little, but then Malfoy turned away, and looked towards the floor.
"I- I should tell you. I found something."
"What'd'ya mean?" She did not like the look on his face.
"I've been keeping tabs, like you asked-"
"Uh huh…" She could feel her pulse pick up a little. Could it be?
"And something came up-"
"What? What something?"
"Rose, I don't know if it's anything definite, but…"
Malfoy reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of papers, folded up together. He handed them to her. Charts. And figures she didn't understand.
"They're from a hospital in Japan." Malfoy said, as if that would settle her confusion.
"And what do they mean?" She couldn't understand anything on them.
"They mean that, well, unless there's another living Voldemort horcrux out there, then this is him. They're weird numbers, these."
She looked at the charts again, trying to will them to unpuzzle themselves for her.
"So… He's alive then?"
"Pretty much. I guess so, I mean."
"And he's in Japan?" Her heart was beating very quickly.
"Probably not. I'm keeping track, but only of information that's gone public. I found these in the proposed schedule for a conference. Someone's trying to make a case study out of them. Which isn't a bad idea, really, they're very odd figures-"
"So he's not in Japan-"
"Oh, well, I don't know, is what I meant to say. Just that this information's from early May. Just after… Time's passed. He's probably somewhere else by now."
She nodded. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself.
"He's alive, though, wherever he is." She folded up the papers and handed them back to Malfoy. "I knew it. I felt it. I just knew he was-"
"Knock knock!" The door was opening and Albus was entering. "I'd say 'sorry to barge in' only I'm not. Hugo wanted someone to check on you. Make sure you weren't doing anything awful in here."
"No," Rose rolled her eyes. "We're not doing anything awful."
"Well… Good then. Still. I think we should all go back outside. Zoe's gonna throw the bouquet soon. You'll wanna be there for that, right? At least to stop Lily from getting it. I don't like the way Montague is looking at her."
Albus did not move from where he stood in the open doorway, his head turning suspiciously from Rose to Malfoy and back.
"We'll be right out."
"I can wait."
"Fine. I'll wait down the hall."
And Albus was walking away, leaving the door open.
Malfoy looked at Rose.
"What's got his panties in a twist? Sad that he's not dancing with Patrick Longbottom, is he?"
Rose looked at him, narrowing his eyes.
"You know about that?"
"Rose, everybody knows about that. Or they should. The two of them have been sneaking off together since fifth year." He saw the look of surprise on her face and laughed. "For a smart person you can be really dumb."
She reached out and playfully slapped him across the shoulders. Then, hoisting the skirt of her dress so that she could take a step without tripping on the hem, she moved towards the door. Just before she made it out into the hall, Malfoy grabbed her arm, gently, and pulled her back, into him once more. He kissed her again.
"Alright then," he said, when he had finished the kiss. "Now let's get back to this party where most people hate me."
"They don't hate you," she said as they walked together down the hall.
"Yes they do," Albus chipped in as they came up to him.
Together, the three of them made their way downstairs and back out into the yard.
It really was a lovely day, Rose thought. A really lovely day.
Too bad things wouldn't stay this nice for long. She knew. She just felt it. Something big was coming.
Note: Thanks for reading everyone! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. A sequel, "The Lion's Star," will be coming soon!