Summer break begins to a good start, with Rosie returning home to her family with Nala in hand and spending the first month settling into the non-magical routine. She visits old friends, attends family barbeques, and catches up for lost time with Ryujin.
Jennie's never far from Rosie's mind, but she refrains from contacting the girl, Nayeon's words lingering with her as a reminder to keep her distance. Being out of the castle walls is good for her, and Rosie thinks summer break came just in time.
A good distraction comes in Ryujin's magical powers beginning to show. Rosie's sitting in the garden with Ryujin one afternoon when her sister accidentally makes the cubby house disappear. Ryujin looks on wide-eyed before accusing Rosie of teasing her with magic, who only looks on stunned at where the cubby house used to be.
When she tells Ryujin that it was in fact her who caused disappearance, Rosie's not sure she's ever seen her sister so happy. Rosie doesn't realize until then just how worried she had been over the chances of Ryujin developing powers.
While the idea of juggling the powers of another budding witch worries Rosie's parents, they're also ecstatic when Rosie shares the news with them. Rosie figures they were just as worried as her over the prospect of having to let down Ryujin's dreams of attending Hogwarts.
Rosie meets with her school friends more often than previous summers, minus Joy and Seulgi who are occupied with their summer quidditch program. Wendy, Hyeri, and Jihyo have all now graduated, and they insist on making the most of the summer before the friends are split between school and entering adulthood.
A feeling of nostalgia hovers over them, and Rosie can't imagine what it will be like returning to Hogwarts without so many of her friends, especially Sana and Mina. Rosie knows Sana and Mina feels similarly about Jihyo departing, and after a solemn discussion between one another the trio decide to stop sulking, making sure to enjoy every second with their friends in the summer.
Rosie receives a text from Jennie one afternoon, which surprises her, seeing as she figured the Slytherin would have binned the phone she gave her some point after their breakup. But her phone buzzes and Jennie's ID lights up on the screen, so apparently not.
She's with her friends at the time but they remain clueless, still unaware of Rosie's escapades with Jennie in the months leading to school's end. Rosie opens the text once she's sure no one's looking over her shoulder, and she hates how such little contact with Jennie still manages to have an effect on her.
Jen <3: Are you free tonight?
Rosie stares at the text, knowing what Jennie's asking of her, but still holding a sliver of hope that maybe it's more than a physical need. She reminds herself of Nayeon's words and deletes the message. But then Rosie's finger 'slips' and she's calling Jennie, moving out of the room where her friends are as she waits.
The phone rings a few times before Jennie answers, Rosie's stomach jumping up to as she immediately regrets the decision.
Rosie freezes, mouth opening and closing dumbly, "Um- hi."
"Hey." Jennie responds, "You know you could've just-"
"I don't think we should do this anymore."
The statement is blurted out, and Rosie's heart breaks over the idea that she's just ended what little connection she still had to Jennie. But again, she reminds herself of Nayeon's words. If she wants any chance of being with Jennie again, it won't happen on the road they're currently traveling down.
There's a silence on the other end, and Rosie toys with the hem of her skirt as she waits anxiously for Jennie's response (half hoping that she'll surprise her and say something that doesn't completely crush Rosie). But of course, while magic is apparently real, fairytale happenings aren't, and Jennie's voice is cold when she speaks again.
"Okay." Jennie says, "Have a good summer."
Rosie can't help the disappointed sigh that falls from her lips, and she nods in defeat, "You too." she murmurs back sincerely.
The call goes dead moments after that, and Rosie reminds herself that she hasn't lost Jennie. Because she never won Jennie back in the first place.
Over the next month Rosie doesn't hear from Jennie.
She exchanges a few letters with Nayeon, who is at the same quidditch program as Joy and Seulgi. And when Rosie asks about Jennie, Nayeon doesn't have much to tell, saying she's received one letter from her best friend with no more following.
Rosie tries not to worry, but when she receives a letter from Taehyung a week later that mentions his own lack of contact with Jennie, she can't really help it. After all, Jennie hadn't exactly been in the healthiest of mindsets before the school year ended.
It's late one night when Rosie receives a text from Jennie, and her worries over the girl's welfare are confirmed valid. Rosie is lying on her bed catching up on one of her muggle shows and willing away sleep when her phone buzzes. When she sees Jennie's ID on the screen all sleepiness is immediately forgotten and Rosie is snapping up straight as she stares at the unopened message.
She considers just deleting it, but Rosie's never been good with practicing control and she opens the text after a few moments.
Jen <3: are you home? I'm outside.
Rosie frowns, getting up from her bed and moving to look out of her window. She finds Jennie sitting on the curb of the road at the end of Rosie's driveway, illuminated by a streetlamp. Her stomach twists with nerves and she doesn't bother to respond to Jennie's text, pulling on a jumper before sneaking downstairs and out the front door.
Jennie is hunched over, head in her hands and oblivious to Rosie approaching until the Gryffindor speaks.
"Jennie?" Rosie calls hesitantly, Jennie immediately turning around at her voice.
There's a beat of silence where Jennie stares at Rosie, eyes shining in the moonlight and looking like she hasn't slept in days before she eventually stands up.
Jennie stumbles, and Rosie immediately recognizes the signs of intoxication written on her features; glazed over eyes finding Rosie again once she's regained her balance.
"Did you apparate here?"
Jennie nods, hands shoved into the pockets of her jacket and keeping the awkward distance between them.
"You're drunk." Rosie says, letting out a sigh, "You could have hurt yourself."
The Slytherin she shrugs, "I don't care."
Rosie's unsure how to respond to the version of Jennie standing in front of her, noting the redness in Jennie's eyes when the girl does manage to glance her way.
"Why are you here, Jennie?" she asks, watching as Jennie kicks at the ground beneath her.
Jennie shrugs again, offering a murmured 'I don't know' in return.
"Are you okay?"
Jennie laughs, but it's hollow, and the smile that tugs at her lips is more like a grimace.
"No." she answers, voice cracking in the process.
Rosie hears Jennie sniff, and sees the girl wipe at her face before she speaks again, giving in.
"Come on." She says softly, turning on her heel and walking back towards her house.
She doesn't wait for Jennie, too aware of just how lacking she is in self-restraint when it comes to the Slytherin. But she hears the girl catch up behind her a few moments later, and when she reaches the door Jennie is all too close.
Rosie turns, swallowing when she is faced with Jennie right there, looking at her with those lost eyes that are making Rosie's heart ache.
"You have to be quiet, okay?" Rosie says, "My family's sleeping."
Jennie nods, and Rosie doesn't allow herself another moment of their close proximity before opening the door for Jennie to walk inside.
Jennie's lacking her usual grace as she stumbles up the staircase, making Rosie cringe at the thought of her parents waking up from the commotion. But thankfully, they make it into Rosie's bedroom without any run-ins with a parental figure, and Rosie closes the door behind her with a sigh of relief.
Nala is lying on Rosie's bed and the kneazle immediately wakes when she catches Jennie's scent, jumping down from the bed and walking over to the girl.
"Hey, you." Jennie mumbles, crouching down to pet Nala who purrs happily at the greeting.
Rosie takes the opportunity to run downstairs and retrieve some water for Jennie, and when she returns she finds the Slytherin sat on the floor, resting back against the wall as Nala sits in her lap.
"She misses you." Rosie says, walking over, "Here." She says, holding out the water bottle to Jennie, "Drink."
Jennie accepts the bottle and talks a half-hearted sip before capping it and placing it next to her, eyes focused on Nala.
"What?" Jennie says after a while, looking up to where Rosie still stands watching her, "Can't even sit next to me these days?"
Her words are slurred, and Rosie frowns at the angry expression on Jennie's face. Letting out a sigh, Rosie moves to sit down next to Jennie on the carpet, ensuring a decent amount of space still separates them.
"Nayeon and Momo said they haven't heard from you lately." Rosie starts hesitantly, looking at Jennie who stares ahead of her, "I think they're worried about you."
Jennie shrugs, "Nothin' to worry about."
"It doesn't look like that to me."
Jennie glances at Rosie for a moment before she turns her attention back to Nala, choosing not to respond.
"I don't know who I am anymore." Jennie admits eventually, voice barely above a whisper. She looks to Rosie's swallowing, "I got my results back for the end of year exams. " She says, "I barely passed; and now they're trying to make me drop from my advanced classes." Jennie's jaw tightens and she lets out a bitter laugh, "So I don't have quidditch, I don't have my grades... everything I've ever worked for is just... gone."
Rosie's resolve breaks now and she shifts closer, taking Jennie's hand in her own, "Don't say that."
"Why not? It's true."
"No it's not." Rosie pushed firmly, "You can turn it around, Jennie. You just have to try." She squeezes Jennie's hand, "What you're doing right now? That's not what's going to help you."
Jennie's eyes scan Rosie's features, "Why do you even care? You didn't even want to see me this summer."
Rosie's face falls, "You know it's not like that, Jennie."
"Do I?" Jennie responds, voice a bit stronger now.
"Yes." Rosie bites out, "Of course I wanted to see you. Every day." She says, "But not in the way that you wanted to see me."
Jennie frowns, some of her usual stubbornness shining through; and Rosie's almost thankful for the final appearance of some remnant of her Jennie.
"I thought it was working." Jennie says, "It's not like we haven't done the 'no strings attached' thing before."
"There were always strings, Jennie. It was never meaningless." Rosie argues, "And you might be able to, but I can't pretend that I'm not in love with you. I can't act like being with you doesn't affect me."
Jennie's jaw tightens, "So instead you just ended everything completely?"
"What we were doing... it wasn't good for either of us." Rosie says, "I can't keep chasing you when you refuse to give me any hope of anything changing." She shakes her head, swallowing the lump in , "I love you. And I don't know how that's ever going to change. But I hurt you, and clearly you're nowhere near ready to trust me again. So I guess I just need to accept that maybe there isn't any 'winning you back' after all; maybe it's just... over."
Rosie's voice cracks at that, and when she looks at Jennie, the Slytherin is refusing to meet her gaze.
"And as much as that absolutely kills me," Rosie says, "Stopping now is a lot better than continuing on like this and forgetting why we even loved each other in the first place."
Jennie doesn't say anything for a while, making Rosie more nervous with every second. But then she does speak and well, Rosie's not sure if she would have preferred silence.
"You know, it's funny." Jennie starts, eyes narrowing at the space ahead of her, "Joy went on and on about me 'using you'. Everyonetalked about how I would be the one to hurt you." she says, "The big bad Slytherin playing with the sweet, innocent Gryffindor's heart." A sigh falls from her lips and cold eyes find Rosie, "And then you ruined me instead."
Rosie doesn't have enough of a check on her expressions to hide the hurt the statement causes her. She knows Jennie's being driven by alcohol and months of bottled up emotions, but it doesn't stop Rosie from feeling like Jennie's just shoved a dagger into her heart.
She doesn't get a chance to respond before Jennie's apparated out of Rosie's room.
The last month of summer break brings the end of Joy's summer program, and with that comes an invitation for her friends to spend time at the Park family home.
Rosie and ally arrive a week before the rest of their friends to catch up with Joy, and it proves a much-needed fix between Rosie and her best friend. Things are finally settling between them again, and Rosie's thankful for the fresh start the break from school has given them.
The Park's are invited to a summer charity ball, of which the majority of the other girls' families also received invitations for, and the group of friends spend a long day in Diagon Alley picking out dresses for the event.
Rosie's relatively silent for the majority of the day, allowing her friends to dominate conversation and taking a backseat. Hyeri and Wendy lead them to their favorite dress store and the girls settle in for an afternoon of trying on dresses with one another. It's an afternoon of laughter and goofy catwalk attempts (from everyone but Hyeri - who Rosie swears was born for this), but for the life of her Rosie can't manage to catch the same excited mood as her friends.
Instead, her minds addled with thoughts of Jennie and the last time she went to a charity ball like this; a night that had brought tears, but also the confession of Jennie's love two days later. In addition, the idea of facing Jennie again makes her feel like investing in an invisibility cloak.
"How're you doing?" Joy asks when she falls down into the decorated armchair next to Rosie, the taller girl donned in the latest dress of choice.
Rosie breaks out of her thoughts, offering Joy an unconvincing smile, "I'm good." She answers simply. But then curiosity gets the better of her. "I'm just... thinking." She says, "What... what are the chances of..."
"Of Jennie being there?" Joy finishes for her.
Rosie nods, and Joy sends her a sad smile, shifting in her seat.
"She'll probably be there." Joy says, "Her mom is on the board for a lot of charity organizations, so I think her parents force her to go to most of the things, like mine do."
Rosie doesn't respond, turning her attention to the dress sitting in her lap that she's yet to try on. It's green, go figure. Apparently even her subconscious has her seeking out Jennie in most things too.
"You know, we don't have to go." Joy says, watching Rosie, "We can just hang out at home instead."
Rosie smiles, grateful for the offer, "Joy, your family wants you there. You can't just ditch a charity event."
"There's gonna be like, twenty Park relatives there anyway. No one will notice if I'm missing." Joy jokes lightly, "I don't want you to feel like you need to come along just to be polite."
"It's okay, I want to go." Rosie says, "This is our last summer with all of us together, you know?" she smiles, looking to where Jihyo and Sana have picked out the ugliest dresses yet for their own amusement. "I want to make the most of it."
Joy nods, smiling softly, "Well... if it makes you feel better, I promise not to be a major this time round."
Rosie laughs at that, "Thanks, Joy."
When the night of the ball arrives, Rosie has to be practically yanked along by Hailee and Karlie in order to get the girl to walk through the doors and into the venue, too frozen with nerves to do it herself.
After spending the week preparing to be faced with Jennie, Rosie realizes that she was never really going to be ready for the moment.
She's in conversation with her friends when Rosie's heart is treated to its first palpitation of the night, spotting Ms. Kim speaking with a group of people nearby.
Joy notices Rosie freeze, and then hesitate over whether to greet the woman. But Jennie's mother makes the choice for her and when Jennie's mother's eyes find Rosie, she is excusing herself from conversation and walking over to the girl.
"Roseanne, darling." Ms. Kim greets, a wide smile on her face and bringing Rosie into a warm hug. When she pulls away, her hands catch Rosie's softly, eyes glancing over the girl's dress briefly before meeting her gaze, "You look beautiful."
Rosie smiles, relieved over the warm greeting and blushing slightly at the compliment, "Thank you, Mrs. Kim."
"Mrs. Kim?" Mary frowns playfully, "I thought we'd had this conversation before."
"Mary." Rosie corrects herself, grinning.
The woman squeezes Rosie's hands, "Have you been well?"
There's a hint of concern in Ms Kim's eyes, and Rosie nods firmly, smile faltering only slightly as Jennie crosses her mind.
"I have." She affirms, "How about you? And Mr. Kim?"
"Getting old." Mary jokes, winking at Rosie, "But we're making the most of it."
The pair's conversation is interrupted when a man sidles up to Ms. Kim, requesting her presence with a group of attendees before leaving them once more.
Ms. Kim rolls her eyes, attention turning back to Rosie, "Whoever decided balls were an opportunity for business chat was truly an evil witch or wizard." She says, "I'll let you get back to your friends."
Rosie smiles politely, nodding and taken by surprise when Ms. Kim brings her into another hug.
"Don't be a stranger, okay?" Ms. Kim says sincerely, "Even Hooky has asked about you a few times."
Rosie laughs, "Okay." She nods, despite knowing the unlikeliness of her following through on the agreement. Jennie's mother seems satisfied, though, and with a final squeeze of Rosie's hand she leaves to join her business partners.
When Rosie returns to her friends they offer soft smiles but don't say anything. And then Seulgi is squealing and Joy is joining in, and Rosie's sure hell has frozen over.
She stands paralyzed in utter confusion (along with the rest of her friends) as Seulgi and Joy rush across the room and towards none other than Nayeon, who is wearing a grin when she notices the pair.
"Am I imagining things?" Rosie blurts, looking to Mina who simply shrugs.
"I guess they became friends at their quidditch camp."
Rosie's mouth still hangs open as her brain attempts to process the image of Joy excitedly embracing Nayeon.
Okay, Seulgi befriending Nayeon isn't too surprising, but Joy?
Yeah, the pair would make great friends but with Nayeon comes Jennie. While Joy hasn't been as anti-Kim in recent months, Rosie would never have imagined the girl willingly associating herself with Jennie's best friend.
The shock of the moment only lasts so long, however, and soon enough Rosie notices Jennie standing next to Nayeon.
Rosie's breath catches in at the appearance of the girl, who's donned in a black dress that compliments her shape to perfection. She looks healthier than she had in Rosie's room, and she seems to be standing taller, with an air of confidence that Jennie used to possess every day of the week.
Jennie is watching Nayeon conversing with Joy and Seulgi, wearing the same confused frown as the Gryffindors also watching. Seulgi says something to Jennie and it makes the girl chuckle, and then Joy also says something. When neither Joy nor Jennie are drawing wands, Rosie's sure she's stepped into an alternate reality.
"Guys." Sana says, eyes not leaving the exchange occurring across the room, "Did one of you slip a potion into our butterbeer earlier? Or is this really happening?"
Wendy nods, "I honestly... don't know."
Rosie is about to say something when Jennie's eyes find hers across the room and she immediately freezes. She's not sure if she imagines it, but Jennie seems to nod in acknowledgement before she turns to Nayeon, says something, and heads off to where her parents are mingling.
Joy and Seulgi eventually join them once again, immediately receiving questioning looks from their friends, the pair simply shrugging.
"She was the captain of our summer team." Seulgi explains, "She's actually kinda cool."
Joy catches Rosie staring at her, "What?" she mumbles, "I'm trying that whole 'Slytherins aren't that bad' thing you have going."
That makes Rosie grin, and she laughs, "And what's the verdict?"
Joy rolls her eyes, "I guess they're okay." She answers playfully, nudging her friend, "Now come on, time to try convince the bartender we're old enough to drink."
Rosie basically spends most of the night avoiding Jennie at all costs. Which isn't too hard, seeing as the Slytherin seems to be in non-stop conversation with one important-looking person or another.
She speaks to Nayeon and Momo for a while about their holidays, and attempts to immerse herself in the fun her friends are having, but everything seems to fall short with the memory of her last ball hanging over her head.
Eventually, Rosie excuses herself from dancing with her friends and takes solace out on one of the many balconies of the venue. She looks out at the view of the extravagant castle and allows her thoughts free reign for the moment.
She remembers the promise Jennie made; that they would be one another's dates to every ball after the masquerade. Rosie imagines what it would have been like if things had worked the way they were supposed to.
With her attending this ball on Jennie's arm, and spending the night together instead of apart. Her heart aches with longing for that reality instead of this one.
She's out on the balcony for a while before she hears a set of heels behind her, and when she glances over her shoulder Rosie finds Jennie approaching.
"You know, I expected at least one call." Jennie says, coming to stand next to Rosie with a confidence in her stance that almost intimidates the younger girl, "Or an angry letter." Her eyes trace over Rosie's features, and Rosie hates how the action still makes her cheeks redden and her body tingle with warmth, "You've never been one to leave an argument open-ended."
Rosie swallows the lump in and clings to any semblance of composure, "If I thought I'd get a response I might have." She says, meeting Jennie's gaze, "But talking kind of stopped being our thing somewhere along the line."
A sad smile tugs at Jennie's lips and she nods, "You look nice." She responds, deciding to take the conversation elsewhere and glancing over Rosie's dress, "Green has always been your color."
Rosie's brow furrows; confused by the playfulness swimming in Jennie's eyes. The Slytherin is acting... well, like the girl Rosie fell in love with in the first place. She seems together; confident and all smirks like she used to be. If there are remnants of the brooding, colder Jennie of recent months, Jennie's doing a good job at hiding them.
"Thank you." Rosie answers eventually, cracking under Jennie's stare and turning in favor of the view, hoping her hair shields the redness in her cheeks. She clears , grounding herself in the feel of the smooth balcony railing beneath her fingertips.
"I saw all your friends dancing in there. I think they're having the most fun anyone's had at one of these functions before."
Rosie smiles, nodding, "They have a habit of doing that."
Jennie watches Rosie curiously, "So why are you out here, then?"
Rosie shrugs, "I needed some air." She answers simply.
If Jennie doesn't believe her, she doesn't let on.
"And why are you out here?" Rosie asks when Jennie doesn't continue, managing to find it in herself to look at Jennie properly now.
The cool and collected composure Jennie's been maintaining falters slightly at that, her brow furrowing. This time, it's her who turns from the eye contact, looking down at her hands on the railing.
"My father thinks that with the right networking and a notable donation I'll be able to find a place in a club's quidditch program." She says, "The chairwoman for the Holyhead Harpies is inside."
Rosie frowns, "Isn't that a good thing?"
Jennie chuckles in a way that makes Rosie feel naïve.
"I want to be chosen for a team because I'm good enough." Jennie says, "Not because of my family name." she shrugs, "He means well. But if I'm going to achieve anything I want it to be done on my own efforts."
Rosie smiles softly, "Well... you deserve it." She says, "You always have."
Jennie regards Rosie with a soft expression, and Rosie can't remember the last time those eyes looked so unguarded.
"I wanted to say sorry." She says eventually, "For everything that happened before break, and for showing up at your house like I did."
The apology comes off Jennie's tongue as though the Slytherin's had it practiced, and Rosie tries not to get her hopes up over what might come next.
"It's okay." Rosie shrugs, "I mean, it takes two. And you were upset. I'm glad you came to me."
"Still, I was a mess. And it was unfair for me to use you as a way to feel better." Jennie says firmly, "You were right to end things."
Rosie accepts the apology, "You look better." she says, smiling softly, "Healthier."
Jennie nods, "Yes well, I think I kind of hit rock bottom when I showed up at your house." she jokes lightly, although Rosie struggles to find the humor in it, "My mother had a few stern words for me and I realized I needed to get myself together. I wasn't proud of the person I let myself become. Like you said, I was only making things worse for myself."
A smile traces Rosie's lips, "I'm happy for you." She says, "Really. You look happier."
"I'm getting there." Jennie shrugs, "I've been studying and focusing on my quidditch with Momo. I still have a lot of work to do but... I'll get there."
"I don't doubt that."
Jennie smiles, eyes tracing of Rosie's features for a moment and making the younger girl's stomach do somersaults.
"I should get back." she announces eventually, stepping away from the railing, "Gotta play the trophy child for the parents."
Rosie laughs softly, turning around to face Jennie and attempting to mask her disappointment over the Slytherin leaving.
"Enjoy the rest of your summer, Rosie."
Rosie's heart skips a beat at the nickname, "You too."
Jennie nods, and goes to turn and leave only to come to a halt at the entrance to the balcony.
"I didn't mean it, by the way." She says, meeting Rosie's gaze, "What I said in your room, about you 'ruining' me."
Rosie frowns, but doesn't say anything, waiting for Jennie to continue.
"If anything, I was better when I was with you." She says, "I could never regret any of it."
Rosie doesn't really know what to say, and Jennie doesn't give her an opportunity to formulate a response before she smiles softly and heads back into the ball.
The Gryffindor is still out on the balcony a while later when Joy appears next to her, linking her arm with Rosie's and resting her head on the girl's shoulder.
"I saw you and Jennie talking." She says after a moment, "Are you okay?"
Rosie chews on her bottom lip, letting out a sigh, "You know, Jennie told me she loved me two days after the charity ball on new years." she says eventually, voice wavering slightly as she peers over at Joy, "It's weird how much things can change."
Joy smiles sympathetically, squeezing Rosie's arm lightly, "Do you still love her?"
"Yes." Rosie answers easily, not needing a beat of thought, "More than anything."
Her best friend nods, and she lets out a sigh as she pulls her arm from Rosie's to instead rest it over the girl's shoulders, pulling her into her.
"Well then." She clucks, "I guess we're just going to have to get her back."