Cover design © Tsubasa Kurono;
Butterfly stock image from Pixabay.
Chapter 2: Foreword - Author's Notes
The Butterfly Trilogy begins with my attempt to explore forbidden love relationships—in particular, incest—with a lighthearted approach. Regardless of its undesirable implications in the biological and social aspects, I am not squeamish about such relationship due to personal reasons.
In this trilogy, I choose Rose Weasley and James Sirius Potter as the key characters to form the cousincest pair. We all know Rose has pretty much inherited Hermione's personality, while James has taken on his grandfather's instead. Both of them seem like the extreme ends of the spectrum, which I thought would be interesting to explore if they could become an unlikely couple.
The structure used in this trilogy is an experimental style loosely based on the Three-Act Structure. I am not a fan of it (even the industry standard hates it), but I just thought of using the format to play around with a new way of storytelling. I hope you will enjoy this unique mini-trilogy.
I appreciate all those who are open-minded enough to give this unconventional fanfic a chance by setting aside your personal opinions and taking the first step out of your comfort zone. It doesn't matter to me whether you're supportive of forbidden relationships or not, but I believe that we're now in an era where people are rising up to fight for their own rights, such as calling the public to accept homosexuality and non-binary people. Most importantly, increasing awareness that relationships outside of the norm exist, and learn to be more understanding of them.
Chapter 3: The Butterfly Effect - I
There is no logic to love.
Forbidden or not,
you don't need a reason to love someone.
A chaotic effect created by something seemingly insignificant; the phenomenon whereby a small change in one part of a complex system can have a large effect somewhere else.
January, Part One
Christmas break was over, and the new year began with the usual chaotic rush back to Hogwarts on the crowded Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Bobbing heads and waving hands of the students aboard the Hogwarts Express dotted the train windows, bidding farewell to their teary families left behind at King's Cross station.
Every compartment was full, so Rose Weasley had to share with her cousin, James Sirius Potter and his merry gang consisting of a fellow Gryffindor, Miyu Kisaragi, and two Ravenclaws, Tobey Rider and Raven Taylor. (She had lost sight of her brother Hugo, and cousins Albus and Lily, but she knew they could take care of themselves.) The quintet played a few rounds of Exploding Snap; soon Rose got bored after Miyu had won four times in a row. She was pretty sure he had cheated, but she had no proof.
James was hungry; he suggested they should take a break and munch on some snacks. Tobey was quick to start a heated debate with Raven over the flavors in Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans—or rather, a one-sided rambling from Tobey, while Miyu ate all the chocolate frogs. None of the enchanted frogs could escape from the Japanese boy's clutches, with the cards featuring famous witches and wizards piling up at an alarming rate next to him.
…Guess he didn't cheat after all. Just someone with very deft fingers.
James, however, had his head tilted to the side, a faraway look on his face as he stared out of the window, a half-eaten bar of chocolate in one hand. Rose had never seen this side of her normally rowdy cousin before. Was he really this handsome? He did have the good features from both of his celebrity parents, and the shadows cast by the setting sun only made the angular jawline more alluring. Her eyes then traveled up to the slightly parted lips, with a small chocolate stain at the corner of his mouth.
She was jolted out of her thoughts when the sound of her name finally reached her ears. She could feel heat creeping up her neck to her cheeks, realizing that James was staring at her.
"You okay? Your face is all red."
Rose turned away from James' concerned look. "I'm fine, thank you."
This isn't fair. Rose hated the carefree, insensitive James who used the misery of others for personal entertainment, but she hated this unexpected tenderness even more.
The James before her now felt like a complete stranger. Not the annoying git she knew, but a young man who could take a maiden's heart away with those gentle, caring eyes.
She froze when James stuffed his chocolate bar into her gaping mouth. "Here. You look like you need it more than I do."
…Was this what they call an indirect kiss?
That's stupid. Rose shook her head firmly and took a bite out of the chocolate bar. Nothing could possibly happen between them.
James was her cousin, for Merlin's sake.
Chapter 4: The Butterfly Effect - II
January, Part Two
It was already the end of January, but the winter was just getting to its climax—its strongest snowstorm yet raging outside the Hogwarts castle, while roaring fires within the walls kept the cold away from the lethargic students dragging themselves from classroom to classroom.
However, Rose was far from the cozy warmth of the main castle grounds, huddled in the mess of ruffled hays in the Owlery. She wasn't shaking because of the howling blizzard storming through the arches that surrounded the Owlery walls.
It was the only place she could cry her heart out.
Drowned in her own sadness, she was unaware of someone approaching her secret sanctuary. Not like she could hear the footsteps of crunching snow above the deafening sound of the wind around her, anyway. She only looked up when she felt a shadow looming before her.
…Why is he here?
Rose merely continued to stare wide-eyed as she waited for James to catch his breath. "I knew I'd find you here," he began, loosening the thick Gryffindor scarf around his neck so he could project his voice better against the screeching wind. "Come on, you'll catch a cold if you stay here any longer."
"Why do you care?"
James sighed and ran a hand through his windswept dark hair. "You're like a sister to me. Of course it's my responsibility to take care of you, whether we both like it or not."
Rose glanced away. "It's really weird when you're being nice to me. Almost like you've got an ulterior motive."
James frowned at her. "Why would I do that?"
A sniffle. "I don't know. Maybe you need a favor from me to cover up another one of your dirty pranks, for instance."
"Are you serious?" James chortled, clutching his sides. "You sure hate me a lot, huh?"
Rose threw a scathing glare at her cousin. "Well, because you're a jerk. And the worst kind."
James seemed unfazed by Rose's verbal attack. "Yeah, yeah, I heard you." He squatted down in front of her and wrapped his scarf around the trembling girl. "Let's get you back to the castle first."
Rose's face broke out a small smile as the warmth of the muffler touched her cold cheeks, very much glad that James wouldn't be able to catch the blushing chuckle under all the red and gold stripes.
It took Rose three classes to finally catch up to James the very next day. She pushed his scarf back to her amused cousin before turning on her heels, marching out of his sight without a single word.
Half an hour later, she then realized she had returned the wrong muffler when she noticed James' initials on the underside of the scarf that she had been wearing the whole time.
She buried her face deeper into the muffler to hide her reddening cheeks. Oh well.
It was more forceful than she had intended, but at least Rose could finally bid farewell to the most troublesome thing of the month… except that she slapped the box of chocolate onto James' face instead of his outstretched hands.
James rolled his eyes at her as he rubbed his nose gingerly with a hand. "What are you so flustered about?" He shook the box near his ear with his other hand. "Obligatory chocolate? I'm surprised—I thought you've always hated me."
"Shut up. Besides, you'd get lots from the girls in your year, anyway."
"Oh?" James smirked, leaning in closer to Rose's face. "Don't tell me you're actually… jealous?"
It took every ounce of Rose's willpower to stop herself from pushing her cousin away, refusing to give James the satisfaction at her reactions. "Please," she snorted, averting her gaze from those mischievous eyes to regain her composure. "Who says I can't give friendship chocolates on Valentine's Day? Must it always be from a lover or crush? Aren't you thinking too highly of yourself?"
James continued to close in on Rose, the tip of his nose brushing against hers… so near that she could taste the faint sweetness of pumpkin juice from his breath. Was this what he truly looked like, a mature sixteen-year-old young man? Was the usually playful, childish James that she thought she knew merely a facade?
"I've been looking forward to your 'friendship' chocolate, Rosie," James' soft voice sent shivers down the girl's spine—in a pleasant way, of course. "At least yours isn't spiked with love potions."
"B-But they aren't handmade or anything… Just bought them through owl mails…" Rose gripped the hem of her jumper, trying to silence the heart beating wildly against her chest. This is bad—this is all wrong! Her mind kept screaming at her to get away from James' advancement, yet her body told her otherwise. She felt as if she was melting into James' embrace, longing for his touch…
"No, this isn't right." Rose shook her head and pushed James away. "We're cousins. We can't do this."
James raised an eyebrow. "What are you thinking?" he laughed, flicking a finger lightly on Rose's forehead. "Something naughty?"
Rose was unamused. "…Not funny."
James was still smiling; it was the same tender, caring face he gave her back on the Hogwarts Express. The same look that made her uneasy, squeamish… but desiring for more. She wanted him to love her as much as she did towards him.
"We're both thinking the same thing," James said, his eyes boring into Rose's. "It's all written on your face. You've always been easy to read, like an open book."
"But—" Rose tried to protest, only for her lips to be sealed by James'. Not quite the kiss she had imagined, especially when it was from the last person on her mind.
James smirked, triumphant. "You don't need an excuse to love someone, you know."
And they kissed again, among tangled scarfs and playful cuddles.
THC | [Y2R1] Short | Non-canon Romantic Pairing: Rose Weasley/James S. Potter
Chapter 6: The Butterfly Fallout - I
No matter how much they long for each other,
no matter how much they want to be together…
It's a line that can never be crossed,
a love that can never be realized.
The biting, cold wind was easing out, making way for spring to come. A season that brought joy to Earth and the students who welcomed the warmth—except for one person.
To Rose Weasley, it felt like saying goodbye to the fluffy but fleeting memories of those quiet winter nights she had been spending with a certain someone. A name she could never tell a soul… A bond she could only keep to herself.
It's all wrong.
The battle between her mind and heart was tearing her sanity apart, yet she couldn't resist the elation of seeing him in secret, the nature of their relationship that went unnoticed to the eyes of their peers and families. It was a world that existed only for the two of them, surrounded by the snowflakes eddying around the pair.
Stop. This isn't right.
She fiddled with the scarf around her neck idly as she followed her cousin, Albus Potter, and his friend Scorpius Malfoy, to Hagrid's Hut for Care of Magical Creatures class. She paid no attention to the boys' conversation, her finger tracing the sewn initials hidden under the muffler. She still hadn't returned the scarf back to him, and she had no plans to give it back, either.
"…Rose. Hey Rosie, are you listening?"
She was jolted out of her own thoughts when Albus suddenly had his hands around her shoulders in a vice-like grip. She winced at the pain.
"Sorry." Albus relaxed and backed away from her. "But yeah, you've been acting really weird lately. This isn't like you—where's the serious, confident Rose I know?" He continued to stare at her, his eyes narrowing. "I also saw you walking off with my brother a few nights ago."
Rose froze. She couldn't even blink to break the eye contact. She kept her lips tightly shut and swallowed—she felt as if her wildly beating heart would come of mouth if she didn't. She simply shrugged at Albus in response.
"It's strange that you're unusually close with James," Albus went on. "I thought you hated him." Even Scorpius had his eyebrows raised as he watched the rising tension between his two classmates.
"And I do," Rose snapped. "Besides, it's none of your business who I'm with."
She was about to storm off, but Albus grabbed onto her wrist and stopped her.
"I saw you holding hands with him."
Rose spun around, her face inches away from Albus', with a glare so fierce that made her cousin step back quickly, shocked. "I don't care what you've seen, and I don't care about what you think. You know that we're cousins and nothing can ever happen between us. Just leave me alone."
"Um," Scorpius tried to put himself between the squabbling cousins, shuffling uncomfortably when their attention was diverted to him. "I don't know what exactly is going on, but maybe you two need a timeout?"
She could hear Albus complaining, "What the hell's wrong with her?" as she left the two boys behind, marching towards the hut on her own.
Chapter 7: The Butterfly Fallout - II
The Easter holidays didn't feel like a well-deserved—albeit short—vacation for the students. For one, it was merely a prelude to their year-end exams, or better known by its oxymoron: a study break.
Rose was up in the Owlery again, far away from the hubbub in the Gryffindor common room and even the library. In one hand, her quill scratched across the parchment she had on top of a hardcover resting on her lap, while the other was stroking a screech owl nibbling next to her.
It was ironic, really. She felt suffocated by their presence—she was more at ease when she wasn't surrounded by so many people. Maybe because she couldn't stand their childishness, their stupidity… Or the way they looked at her, sniggering at her studious nature.
The sound of approaching footsteps made the birds around the girl fly away, yet Rose didn't need to look up to know who they belonged to. Only one person knew she'd be here.
"Hey." Rose would recognize the mischievous smirk on James Potter's face anywhere, but that gentle, knowing look in his brown eyes always made her forgot how much she hated her jerkass cousin. "There are better places to study alone than, well, in a windowless turret that smells of bird poop, you know." His handsome face wrinkled in disgust to emphasize his point.
Rose threw a handful of hay half-heartedly at him, giggling. "Go away, then." The smile disappeared as quickly as it came, and she shifted her gaze away from James.
"Something's been bothering you," James said as he sat down in front of her, his fingers entwined with Rose's. "Let me guess: has someone caught up to our little secret?"
"Albus is getting suspicious," Rose sighed, putting her book and parchment aside. "He's been bugging me about our relationship ever since he saw us sneaking out holding hands that night."
The lopsided grin on James' lips turned upside down. "I expected no less from my pesky little brother. So, what are you gonna do?"
Something about his hardened eyes told Rose he already knew her answer; still, she had to say it aloud. "Maybe we should stop seeing each other like this for a while."
Rose was surprised when James didn't push himself onto her, but chose to let go of her hand. "Alright. If this is what you think is best for us both, I guess we should reconsider this relationship."
He placed a finger on her lips, cutting her off. "It takes two hands to clap, and you of all people should know this better than anyone." Then he moved closer to Rose's ear. "Even if I'm willing to wait as long as I can for you to reciprocate this unrequited feeling, you and I know that it's definitely not going to end well."
Rose could only watch as James stood up and turned to leave. Her heart ached at the look of cold contempt he gave her before he was gone, but she didn't have the courage to stop him from walking away.
"Rose, slow down on the butterbeer."
Ignoring Scorpius' plea, Rose downed her tenth drink before slamming the tankard down on the table. She felt hot and light-headed, and the grimy interior of the Hog's Head seemed to be swirling before her eyes.
Scorpius placed a firm hand on hers to stop her calling for a refill. "Please, talk to me. I can't help you if you don't tell me what's on your mind."
"Rose," Scorpius sighed, pulling the empty glass out of the moaning girl's fingers. "Stop. I've never blamed you—"
"Then you should!" Rose tried to claw for the mug, then gave up and let her hand rest heavily on the table. "I tried, Scorp. I really tried, but… I'm sorry. I just can't."
"Don't be." Scorpius placed a hand on Rose's slumped shoulder. "I don't want you to force yourself to like me. It saddens me more to see you torturing yourself like this."
This is awkward. Rose had an urge to slap herself, over and over again. What had she done? Why did she drag Scorpius into her own problems? He shouldn't even be in this mess. She didn't deserve his kindness.
"I know you still like him, but this is for the best." Scorpius shook his head sadly. "You know that nothing can come out from that kind of relationship. It's just… wrong."
"Of course I know it isn't right," Rose waved off Scorpius' little lecture. "But my heart just won't listen to my head."
She turned her head and looked out of the dusty window. A storm raged outside the pub, and she couldn't see anything beyond the darkness except the reflection of the disheveled state she was in. Silence hung around the pair, with only a ballad by the Weird Sisters from the radio by the counter mixed with the barman's gruff voice filling up the almost empty pub:
"What is love? You ask
No logic, just magic
From the moment I met you
I knew I would spend the rest of my life
I tried to run away from you
But I couldn't stop myself
Every time we passed by each other
Your eyes pulled me into your arms
Rose clutched her chest and closed her eyes. The lyrics really hit close to home as memories of the time she spent with James flashed across her mind. The warmth she felt when they hugged each other on those snowy nights, the impish smile she hated and loved all the same, the arousing whispers only for her, and her alone…
She looked down at the table. Ever since the break up with her cousin, she decided to grow closer to Scorpius and eventually agreed to date him. But no matter what she did, no matter how hard she tried, nothing could be the same as before. She couldn't completely avoid James without making Albus (and by extent, their families) suspicious. She wasn't sure if she could take her mother, Hermione's, wrath if she ever found out about the forbidden relationship.
And she couldn't bring herself to like Scorpius the way she did with James.
She never felt so helpless, so ashamed, so lost in her life. Her smarts were useless to get her out of the grave mistake she had made, and she also hurt Scorpius out of her own selfish desire.
"I don't deserve you being nice to me," Rose moaned as she tried to stand up, wobbling a little on her feet. "Why don't you hate me? I never liked you, and I was only using you to escape from my own pain. I… I'm horrible. You're too good for me."
Scorpius didn't comply with Rose's attempt to shoo him away. He stepped forward to catch her from tripping over. "I'm the same as you, Rose. Just like you can't help loving someone you shouldn't, I can't help falling for you." He cracked a small smile at her. "Love has no logic. It's sweet when that feeling is returned, but bitter when it's not. That's how the oxymoron 'bittersweet' came about, isn't it?"
Rose raised an eyebrow at him. "Good one," she finally dropped the sullen look and giggled. Her drunkenness was beginning to wear off just as sunlight was breaking through the dusty windows. "Maybe I just need more time. Maybe… I just need to let it go rather than mulling over him."
"You just need to give yourself another chance."
And the pair left the pub for the sunny Hogsmeade.
THC | [Y2R3] Short | [Speech] "From the moment I met you, I knew I would spend the rest of my life avoiding you."
Chapter 9: The Butterfly Returns - I
Love is beyond logic.
Even if it is a scum's wish,
true love will prevail all odds and prejudice.
The Beginning of June
It's just for one night after all.
That was what Rose Weasley kept telling herself while moving as stealthily as she could towards the Owlery—in the middle of the night, of all times. Sneaking around like this (not to mention, breaking school rules!) was so unlike the model student image everyone knew her for. She was annoyed at how her mind and heart were still at war with each other, pushing her resolve to its absolute limit.
It's all his fault.
Why was this person always on her mind, no matter how much she had tried to forget about him? Even if she had the brains to come up with a million reasons to blame the whole world for the torment she had been going through for the past few months, deep down she knew they were merely empty excuses to escape from the throbbing pain in her chest.
Why him? Why can't it be someone else?
It didn't take Rose long to reach her destination, but she couldn't help to shudder at the pitch blackness around her. The Owlery seemed more intimidating at night, so different from what she could remember about her sanctuary at Hogwarts. She let out a frightened squeal when she suddenly felt something ticklish brushing past her shoulder.
The ball of light from the tip of her wand was greeted with a chorus of angry hoots and screeches all around her, with many pairs of yellow eyes that seemed to be glowering at the red-haired girl.
How silly of her. To think that she, the fearless daughter of Hermione Weasley, would be afraid of the owls in the dark!
It didn't help her nerves when she heard the all-too-familiar snigger from behind. She whipped around and almost jabbed her wand into the ribs of her cousin whom she hated…
But loved all the same.
Rose recollected her composure, rolling her eyes at the wry grin on James Sirius Potter's face. "How rare to see you up here on the dot." She recalled how he'd always show up fashionably late when they were still snogging each other every night back then.
James let out a snort of laughter. "What, so you think I'm incapable of turning up on time for a date?" Then his expression softened. "You're like an open book to me, remember?"
Rose narrowed her eyes at him and pouted. "I really detest that side of you."
She expected another snide comeback from her impish cousin, but James had dropped the lopsided smile on his face, holding her gaze with a look of concern. "And I can also tell that something's up. What's wrong?"
The genuine question came as sudden as the hand that patted on her head, so much so that Rose didn't know how she should react. Words refused to form on her trembling lips.
So much to say… but where to begin?
Before she knew it, she had thrown herself into the arms of a shocked James, bawling her eyes out in his embrace.
I'm sorry, Scorpius. I'm really, really sorry. Just let me be with him for this one night, and no more.
Chapter 10: The Butterfly Returns - II
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.