Summary: The funny thing about falling is that sometimes it doesn’t feel like falling at all.
Characters/Pairings: Ron/Hermione, (mentioned) Rose/Scorpius
Word Count: 2,762
Challenge/Prompt: Fic - #143: “But this doesn’t even feel like falling.”
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: Yes, but please link back to my tumblr
If yes, your Tumblr username: heartsamongstars
Ron heard the sniffles before she did, funnily enough.
Hermione raised an eyebrow in question as her husband flailed at her from the kitchen doorway. “Is something the matter, Ron?”
“Rose is crying!” he exclaimed. “In her room! And she’s got the…the little stuffed hippogriff you gave her when she was three, and she’s cuddling it, and you know she only does that when she’s really upset, and—”
He was silenced when Hermione pressed a firm kiss on his lips. She pulled away, wrapping her arms around him and rubbing soothing circles on his back. She knew how seeing his only daughter upset affected him.
“Love, you’re overreacting again,” she chided gently. “I’m sure everything’s fine. I’ll go check on her, ok?”
Ron nodded wordlessly and sank onto a chair at the dinner table. Hermione shook her head, amused. Her husband could be so dramatic sometimes when it came to their children. She was usually the calm one.
Sure enough, when Hermione peeked into her daughter’s bedroom, she saw Rose huddled beneath the covers, crying brokenheartedly into the tattered stuffed hippogriff she’d received on her third birthday. Although Rose was about to start her final year at Hogwarts, at that moment, she looked every bit the young eleven-year-old she had been several years prior. Hermione frowned. Ron obviously hadn’t been exaggerating about his daughter’s distress.
“Rose?” she called softly.
“M-mum?” Rose sounded so vulnerable that Hermione felt a physical tug at her heart. Clearly, things were not fine at all.
“What’s wrong dear?” Her motherly instincts kicked in, and she strode to sit on the bed, wrapping an arm around Rose’s shaking form, squeezing her and kissing her curly, carrot-topped head in a soothing gesture.
“Nothing, mum. I’m just on my period.”
Hermione bit back a laugh. Rose inherited her flair for the dramatic from her father. “I didn’t know menstruation provoked such an emotional response from you,” she teased, but Rose only cried harder. Hermione sighed and rubbed the girl’s back comfortingly. “Come now, love, tell me what’s wrong.”
It took a few moments for Rose to calm her tears enough to speak. Hermione waited patiently. “Scorpius and I…” she began haltingly “I think we broke up.”
Hermione’s eyebrows hit her hairline. Broke up? But that would mean that they…
“You’re dating Scorpius Malfoy?”
Rose cringed at her mother’s surprised tone. “I know I never told you or dad about it, but Scorpius and I are…well, at least we have been…” Her breath hitched, and her eyes watered frighteningly quickly. Suddenly, her words came pouring out in a rush. “But I think he hates me now, mum, and he won’t talk to me, or answer my owls, or take my floo calls, and I haven’t seen him or talked to him in four days, and I don’t even know what I did wrong, but he’s so angry, mum, and I don’t know what to do to fix it because I don’t know what I did, and I miss him so much, and I keep thinking about him and wishing he were with me, but I know he couldn’t be at the house because dad would get so angry, and I haven’t told him we’re dating yet, but now I think we’re not, so it doesn’t even matter!” Rose ended her tirade on a sob. She’d risen into a sitting position during her little speech, hippogriff tucked against her chest, but as the tears came back, she fell face-first onto her mother’s lap, crying into the cotton fabric of her skirt.
To say Hermione was surprised would be a massive understatement. More accurately, the war heroine was completely floored. Sure, she’d known that her daughter and Draco Malfoy’s son had been friends for the past couple of years. The Malfoys had even been invited to Rose’s seventeenth birthday earlier that summer at Rose’s insistence, and, indeed, the young Malfoy heir had been present (along with his still-git-ish, arrogant father, much to Ron’s consternation). Now, after her daughter’s tirade, Hermione was amazed that she hadn’t noticed anything sooner. She hadn’t thought much about the Malfoys’ presence at the birthday party because plenty of other students and their parents had been there, too. But now, it was apparent that the couple had gone through great lengths to keep their relationship from their parents. Surely, if Draco Malfoy had known, she and Ron would have heard of it by now.
Rose’s sobs brought Hermione out of her musings. She frowned to herself as she resumed rubbing soothing circles on her daughter’s back. Well, whether she and Ron had known or not, it obviously wouldn’t have mattered. Rose cared deeply for their former-rival’s son, and Hermione had to solve this problem as best she could.
“Rose,” Hermione shook her gently, “there, there, love. Stop your crying, and tell me what happened. I’m sure he doesn’t hate you, sweetheart. Did you say something that hurt him?”
Rose’s cries quieted, but she still didn’t speak. She merely shrugged her shoulders.
“I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what happened, Rose.”
Heaving a great sigh (Rose really did get her dramatic nature from her father), the teenager sat up, swiping at her tears with the sleeve of her flannel pajamas.
“We were on a date last weekend. It was only our two-month anniversary, but really, mum, I’ve liked him since fifth year, and I guess he’s liked me nearly as long, because Albus said he’d heard him talking about it to Vincent Goyle in the locker room after one of the Quidditch matches.”
Hermione’s eyes hit her hairline once again. Fifth year? Goodness, she really was out of the loop, wasn’t she?
“Anyway,” Rose barreled on. “We’ve been sort of seeing each other since last December, but we didn’t make it official until he asked me to be his girlfriend during my birthday party.”
Hermione’s eyes widened. How on earth had she missed all this?
“Don’t look at me like that, mum. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you or dad, but I just didn’t know how to, and I didn’t want either of you to get mad at us or keep us from being together.”
At this, Hermione’s shocked expression turned stern. “Rose Jean Weasley, do not dare imply that your father or I would have been unreasonable in this situation when you didn’t even give us a chance in the first place. You should have told one of us much sooner.”
Rose looked down, properly chastised. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled quietly.
Hermione softened. She cupped her daughter’s tear-stained cheek in her palm and tucked a stray red curl behind her ear. “Never mind now, love, just keep telling your story.”
“We got into a fight on our date,” she began again. “I don’t even really know how it escalated so badly, but he wanted to bring me to meet his dad and mum. I told him that I had already met Mr. Malfoy—he was at my birthday party, remember?—and I met Mrs. Malfoy at the train ages ago, so I didn’t think it was really necessary, but he said he wanted to introduce me to them officially as his girlfriend, and he wanted me to bring him here to introduce him to both you and dad as my boyfriend.” Rose paused to take a breath.
“So why did you say no?”
At her mother’s question, Rose faltered. “I just…I was afraid of what you would think, of what his parents would think.” Hermione opened her mouth to object, but Rose rushed on. “I just know you and dad hated his parents in school! I know the circumstances were different, that House relations were different, and there was the war, and Mr. Malfoy used to be a Death Eater, and I just didn’t want you and dad to try to talk me out of it, or get mad at me, or…” Her voice trailed off at her mother’s glare, and she cringed inwardly. “Don’t yell at me, mum, not right now.” In another dramatic gesture, Rose turned away and fell onto the bed, her face on her pillow and her stuffed hippogriff squished between her stomach and the bedcovers.
Hermione sighed. Clearly, there were many things she and Rose needed to talk about. But that could be discussed later. Right now, she needed to deal with her daughter’s tears.
“You know what I think, dear?” she asked.
A muffled “what?” came from the direction of the pillow.
“I think Scorpius feels that you don’t care for him enough since you won’t make your relationship public. Does anyone else know that you’re both dating?”
The young girl turned over to face her mother, swiping her red curls impatiently from her face. “Just Lily,” she confessed. “I think Lily might have told Aunt Gin, but I’m not sure—but you can’t tell Aunt Gin, mum! Don’t even think about it!—and I think Scorpius told Vincent. But I don’t think anyone else knows. James and Albus don’t even know. We’ve just not…I didn’t think we were that serious yet. I didn’t really want to tell everyone until I was sure we were serious.”
“I think his reaction is enough indication of that, Rose.”
“I know that now,” she sighed despondently. “I just…honestly, mum, I didn’t realize I liked him this much until he got so mad at me. He walked out on me in the restaurant!” Tears filled her eyes once again at the memory. “And I’ve been trying to contact him for days now, but he’s still ignoring me.”
Hermione shook her head, bemused. For all the intelligence and hard work ethic that her daughter had inherited from her, she’d also inherited just as much of her father’s cluelessness. Honestly, she’s as hopeless as Ron was at that age, she thought fondly.
“You’ve got to keep trying, Rose,” she encouraged. “If you love him, you can’t let him get away.”
The teenager’s eyes widened comically at Hermione’s choice of words. With flaming cheeks, Rose sputtered, “Love?! I don’t know that I l-love him, mum!”
“Maybe not yet.”
Rose’s mouth opened and closed like a fish, looking very much like her father.
Hermione laughed. “Oh, Rose, you’re so like your father sometimes.”
“He was clueless, too, at your age.”
Rose gave her mother an affronted look. “Mum, I’ll have you know my grades are as good as yours were when you were in school!”
“That’s not what I meant,” Hermione chuckled. “Your father was hopeless when it came to matters of the heart, like love and relationships. And you’re just like him.” Fondly, she tapped a finger to the tip of Rose’s nose. “You’re as clueless as he was at seventeen.”
Rose blushed. She’d also inherited the Weasley propensity for reddened cheeks. “I just…I’ve never felt for anyone quite like I do for Scorpius. And I didn’t even realize it until recently. It’s honestly kind of scary, mum. ”
Hermione smiled fondly. “Falling in love is scary.”
“But this doesn’t even feel like falling.”
Rose’s words made her pause with their sincerity. Hermione studied her daughter. She’d really blossomed into a beautiful girl. With pale skin beneath flaming red hair that curled past her shoulders, heart-shaped face and cute nose, dotted lightly with freckles, and soulful blue eyes, she was almost the spitting image of her father. Rose really was a beauty. With her intelligence, wit, and sweet disposition, it was easy for Hermione to see how Scorpius Malfoy—or any other boy, really—would fall head-over-heels for her daughter.
And Rose had apparently fallen head-over-heels right back and hadn’t even realized it.
“Sometimes love is like that,” Hermione began. “Sometimes love catches us by surprise. It sneaks up, and we don’t notice, and suddenly, we’ve woken up one morning and everything is different. All of a sudden, when you look into his eyes, you see your future there. And he’s always in your thoughts, and you wish he were with you every moment of every day. Before you know it, you’re missing his touch, and his smell, and his voice. He’s become the most important thing in your life, and you never even noticed it happening. Sometimes, Rose, you hit the bottom before you even realized you’d been falling.”
Rose’s tears were back, and Hermione wrapped her oldest child in a strong embrace. She whispered soothing words into her hair as Rose cried on her shoulder. Hermione sighed rather heavily. She could scarcely believe that her daughter had fallen in love without her even noticing. She felt like a terrible mother.
Soon enough, Rose’s sobs turned into sniffles, and her breathing calmed. Hermione continued to hold her, waiting patiently for the girl to speak.
“Is that what it felt like when you fell in love with dad?” she asked.
“That’s exactly what it felt like.”
With a shaky breath, Rose pulled away. “I think I…” she paused again, as if gathering up the courage to make this confession. “I think I love Scorpius Malfoy.”
Hermione smiled. “I think you’re right. And you should tell him.”
Emboldened by her admission, Rose got up from the bed, a determined expression on her face. “You’re right, mum. I can’t believe I’ve been so stupid! I’m going to go see him. I don’t have access to his floo from here, but I can apparate now.” Without a second glance, Rose grabbed her winter robe, shoving her arms in as she hurriedly rushed out of the room. “I won’t be home for dinner, mum, so don’t wait for me. Oh! Hi, dad!” A sharp crack! signaled her departure.
For a long moment, Hermione simply sat. Her daughter was in love with Draco Malfoy’s son. And from the sound of it, Draco Malfoy’s son was also in love with her daughter.
It was mind-boggling, it was.
A shuffle at the doorway caught her attention, and she looked up to find Ron poking his head into the room, looking very disturbed.
“’Mione,” he started cautiously. “Did I hear that right? Did Rose just say she’s in love with Malfoy’s brat?”
“Don’t call him that, Ronald,” she chided. “He just might be your future son-in-law.”
Ron’s expression darkened immediately. “Rose Weasley will not be getting married until she’s near thirty, so there won’t be any talk of that.”
“Ronald!” Hermione laughed. She walked to her husband, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply. With a sigh, she pulled away to rest her head on his shoulder, moving her arms about his waist in a tight hug. “She’s really growing up, isn’t she?” she questioned quietly.
He grunted in agreement. “Did it have to be Malfoy’s kid, though? You know he’s still a prat. He still makes stupid comments about my hair and Gringotts vault every time we see each other in the Ministry.”
“And you still make comments about his more…ferrety qualities.”
“True, true,” Ron chuckled. “I guess this means we’ll be seeing more of the blonde baboons, doesn’t it?”
Hermione laughed heartily, the comment reminding her of Headmistress McGonagall. “I guess we will.”
Hermione smiled, giggling as she allowed her husband to pull her down the hall and into their bedroom. Secretly, she was somewhat pleased. Her daughter had fallen in love, and once this whole misunderstanding had sorted itself out, she’d be happy again. Ron’s lips fell to her neck, and she sighed contentedly into his embrace.
Yes, sometimes falling in love didn’t feel like falling at all. Sometimes it felt like a tidal wave.
But it is worth it, Hermione thought. As long he’s there at the bottom, waiting to catch you.
Michiko || Gryffindor || 97 pts