The End of June
The last day of the current school term was met with the usual mad dash to round up lost belongings around the dormitories and classrooms, or teary farewells at the courtyard and the Great Hall. However, Rose had other things in mind as she set out across the Hogwarts grounds and past the greenhouses, strolling towards the Quidditch pitch void of any person…
Except for one.
The boy seemed surprised; he jumped a little when she called out his name, then he turned his head to face her with an embarrassed smile. "Oh, hello Rose."
She sat down next to Scorpius Malfoy, looking straight ahead at the empty pitch. "It's strange how eerily quiet this place is without all the cheers and zooming broomsticks around, isn't it?"
A nervous laugh. "Um… yeah, I guess."
Rose continued to stare at everywhere but Scorpius. She knew she had to say those words out, even if she could feel a lump in her throat that grew with the heavy guilt in her heart.
It has to end here, and now.
The boy merely shook his head. "I know," he said, and Rose could hear a crack in his voice. "I already knew that this day would come, but I'd been hoping it wasn't this soon."
Rose swallowed. As much as she was struggling with her own emotions, she could tell it was the same for her blond friend. Words they didn't want to say, but they had to.
"I don't blame you," Scorpius went on, exhaling slowly as he looked up at the sky. "I know you've been trying really hard for me, but… that isn't love. No matter how hard you try, your heart has already belonged to someone else."
Before Rose could open her mouth to say something, she was stopped by Scorpius' raised hand. "You don't have to say anything. Let me do all the talking." He paused for a moment to recollect himself, and continued, "I appreciate all the things you have done for me; I really do. In return, the one thing I can do for you now… is to set you free."
He placed his hand on Rose's shoulder. "It hurts me to let you go, but it hurts me more to see the person I love unhappy, torturing herself to do the things against her own heart."
He let out a chuckle at the nickname. "We may be just friends from now on, but I won't stop you calling me by that name. At least you don't call me 'Scorpion' anymore."
Rose knew that Scorpius was trying to stay strong; he might be the one who initiated the breakup, but there was no mistake about the single tear trickling down from the corner of his eye.