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Chapter 9: Chapter 9
The rain poured down as I supervised the schoolyard, staring out at the kids as they left. Most of the older children walked home, so they had all left. I’d watched Sophia leave, her plaits bouncing after her as she walked along quite happily without an umbrella.
The last few stragglers left with their parents, and I headed on down the footpath to my own home, my brown boots, teacher appropriate unlike my traditional black ones, splashing along the pavement. I had a plain black umbrella shielding me from the rain, though I wished I could have cast a charm instead, but alas, I could not.
When I arrived at my door, someone was waiting for me. I stared, recognizing the figure as I drew closer.
“Scorpius?” I said as I pushed my door open.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
I shook out my umbrella, propping it up inside, next to the door, and closed it against the rain, turning incredulously to face him.
“I wanted to talk to you. Albus is busy, and you…you’ll listen, he said, losing volume as he continued on, and I could tell he was embarrassed.
I smiled at him, pulling off my boots as I did so.
“Want a butterbeer?” I offered, taking one for myself.
He nodded, and we took seats on my couch, sipping away.
“So, work going alright for you?” he said to me, and I nodded.
“I’m trying to keep up my end of the bargain. As long as I’m doing better than you, I’ll keep trying,” I said, and it was true. He was the benchmark that I was comparing myself too.
“Well, I think you are. I’m catching up, don’t worry,” he said with a smirk, and I laughed slightly.
“Have you found a story yet?” I enquired, my body turned slightly to face his.
“Nah, but I’ve done a lot of editing, and they’re haven’t hounded me about it quite so much. I think I’m still making an impression…at least I hope so,” he shrugged, the corner of his mouth quirking upwards.
There was a silence, both of us sipping at our butterbeers. It took me a moment, but I remembered that he’d come here to speak to me, and I highly doubted he wanted to talk about work.
“You said you came here to talk to me?” I probed, looking at him expectantly.
He started, shaking his head a little as if to clear it.
“Yes, I did,” he said, and his face fell slightly, and his tone turned serious.
“It’s about Albus, and Miranda.”
Ah. My face fell as well, and I sighed. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Scorpius had noticed. If I had, it was only reasonable that he had as well.
“I feel so sorry for Miranda,” I said, and I truly did.
She’d had feelings for him for such a long time, but didn’t have the courage to say it. I wasn’t sure why, but I expected it had something to do with not wanting to ruin the friendship, both between her and Albus and between the four of us. The break up between Scorpius and I had been hard enough, I wasn’t sure if we’d survive another.
“He’s an idiot, I can’t believe he hasn’t realised how she feels,” he said venomously, causing me to raise my eyebrows at his tone.
“You think he should be with her? Not this Emily girl?” I asked, and he nodded.
I sat back, taking that information in.
“Well, it’s simple then, isn’t it,” I said, a smile slowly breaking out on my face.
“Just get him to realise that Miranda exists, and is a dateable girl. He told me he’s only with Emily for convenience, after all, it shouldn’t be too hard,” I said, my mind already whirling with possibilities.
“You think we should set them up?” Scorpius asked, and I shrugged.
“Not set them up, per say, but put the idea into his head. She’s certainly not going to turn him down,” I said, and Scorpius conceded.
It was a plan.
We sat like that, before I remembered that my clothes were mostly soaked from the rain.
“I’m just going to go change, be back in a minute,” I said, excusing myself and walking into my bedroom.
I grabbed my old dark jeans and boots, slipping easily into my old clothing habits now that I wasn’t near the school. There wasn’t as many studs as I’d worn in high school, less of a rebellious teen look. Now, I just looked bad-ass. Almost like an Auror, I suppose.
Not that I’d gotten the grades to even consider that as a career. What I’d do after this challenge was over was still a mystery to me.
I came back out into the main room, deciding to ask Scorpius’ opinion on the matter of my career. He did seem to understand me scarily well, after all.
“Scorpius, you remember all those times we talked about our careers,” I started, and he nodded, “what did you think I’d end up doing?” I asked, sitting back down on the couch.
I saw his eyes take in my change of attire, but he didn’t comment on it.
“Honestly?” he said, turning to me with wide eyes.
“I always thought you’d do something in law enforcement, like your Dad. You’re tough, Rose, and you have that sort of attitude about you. There’s a reason Miranda chose a primary school as your workplace, after all,” he said, and we both laughed.
“An Auror, then?” I asked, and a part of me wished I’d gotten the grades to at least consider the option. I could always work overseas, in a different Ministry so I wouldn’t be under the nose of most of my family the entire time.
“Something like that. A Hitwizard, maybe,” he said, sipping his butterbeer, looking thoughtful.
I pondered it too. I had never really considered law enforcement, and to be honest, I’d had no real reason to. I had rejected it on principle since it was my Dad’s area of employment.
“I suppose,” I mumbled, and we both lapsed back into silence, listening to the rain fall outside, and the soft patter it created on my roof.
It was silent apart from that, so silent that we could hear the hurried footsteps approaching, and the frantic knock on my door was frighteningly loud.
I looked at Scorpius, and he looked back at me, and after a moment’s hesitation, I got up and pulled the door open.
I looked down, my eyes widening as I took in the shaking, sopping wet form of Sophia. She looked terrified.
“Sophia! What are you doing here?” I asked, as she pushed past me, her eyes darting around as she looked behind her.
If I wasn’t mistaken, she was acting like she was being chased. I looked out into the dark, and then back at her.
“They’re chasing me!” she said frantically, as she backed up into the living room.
She hadn’t blinked an eye at my clothes, drastically different to those she usually saw me in, and now she only just glanced at Scorpius, before turning back to the door that I was still holding open in shock.
“Who’s chasing you?” I asked, blinking as I tried to figure out why a small child was freaking out in my house.
“The bad men who were plotting something in the abandoned houses” she said simply, and I turned my head to look outside.
It took me a minute, but I could see figures appearing, but nothing definite.
“It was probably just some teenagers figuring out a prank,” I said, bending down so I was at her level, and she shook her head.
“No, Miss Weasley, they had big pencils like you do. Miss Weasley…they…I’m scared,” she said, shaking once more.
Big pencils? I looked at Scorpius, and reached for my bag by the door, grabbing my wand.
“Sophia, why don’t you go sit in the kitchen and grab a drink,” I said kindly, putting on my teacher voice, earning myself an eyebrow raise from Scorpius.
“Rose,” he whispered frantically as he stood up to join me by the door, Sophia walking into the kitchen, “what the hell is going on?”
I just looked at him, and then opened the door. The figures were closer this time, and I could hear them yelling, trying to find where the girl had gone.
They weren’t Muggles, either. They were apparating, and I could see them using Lumos to light their way.
“Call the Aurors,” I muttered softly, hoping that Scorpius would find a way to do that without exposing ourselves to Sophia.
That wouldn’t end well at all.
“Try this place!” One of them shouted, and I watched as they grouped together and headed my way.
Whatever this was, they weren’t Muggles, and it was fairly serious. I could see that they were in their forties, most of them, and dressed in black. To me, they looked dodgy, and I would easily place them in the crime circuit. Growing up with an Auror for a father, I’d gotten good at recognizing the ‘look’ most common criminals had.
I sent a stunner at the closest one, and they all paused slightly. I couldn’t quite hear them, but I knew they were surprised to run into another witch here, and I had the element of surprise.
“Hurry up, Scorpius,” I said furiously over my shoulder, and I felt him approach.
“Done. They’re coming, and Sophia’s in the kitchen, I cast muffliato, hopefully she won’t notice a thing.”
I glanced at him briefly, both of us not saying the thing that was forefront in our minds. We were dong magic in front of a Muggle, as were the people approaching. This wasn’t good.
“Screw it,” he whispered, and I smiled.
We turned to the strange men, and sent hex after hex and curse after curse. The Aurors apparated in soon after that, surrounding the area. As soon as the pops were heard and they made their appearance, I saw a ripple go through the men as they turned to look at each other, and they all disapparated.
We hadn’t managed to take down a single one.
Another figure approached me, one I recognized as my father.
“What happened, Rose?” he asked, stepping inside and out of the rain. He glanced at Scorpius briefly, and I could see he was wondering why he was present, but didn’t ask.
“One of my students,” I started, as I poked my head around the wall to see that Sophia was still sitting there, apparently completely oblivious to what had just happened, “said she overheard some men plotting something, and ran here. They must have followed her.”
Alarm crossed my Dad’s face.
“She’s a Muggle?” he asked, as he too looked around the corner at Sophia.
“Guess so,” I replied, only just realising that she could, actually, be a witch, and I wouldn’t know. She could easily be a Muggle born, I’d never considered the fact.
“She could be a Muggle born I suppose, I don’t know. It’s not like I was going to ask,” I said softly, as Dad approached the kitchen to question Sophia.
He was in full Auror mode now, and I knew nothing I said that wasn’t directly relevant was going to penetrate his mind.
I turned back to Scorpius, who looked thoughtful.
“I guess I found my story,” he said slowly, and I couldn’t help but laugh a bit.
“Nice way to go about finding it,” I grinned, and he smiled.
“This whole thing is confusing, I want to figure it out,” he said, and I nodded, that feeling I could understand.
“Me too,” I muttered, smiling slightly at Scorpius, and he smiled back, mutual understanding passing between us.
“Rose? I need a statement.”
I turned to see my father beckoning me from the kitchen, and I headed down. I smiled reassuringly at Sophia, who was looking around at all the action, wide-eyed.
“Miss Weasley, what’s going on?” she said, clearly trusting my answers more than anyone else’s.
“What did you tell her?” I said quietly to my father as I passed him.
He looked at me, his gaze serious.
“I had Crowley run her name, it’s protocol. She’s a muggleborn, Rose,” he said carefully, and I blinked at him.
“She’s a what?”
My eyes flicked between my father and Sophia, who was looking up at me, still waiting for an answer.
“You haven’t told her?” I asked, and my father shook his head.
“She seems to trust you, so I’m leaving it in your hands. She gave me the full story on what the bad men said, though,” he said, throwing a reassuring smile at Sophia this time, but she kept staring at me, and at Scorpius, who I could feel was hovering behind me.
“I need any information you have, Rose,” Dad said, and I nodded.
“Alright. Let’s go to the living room.”
I bent down to Sophia’s level, whispering in her ear.
“Sophia, you should go home. This is our little secret, okay? I’ll explain it all to you tomorrow, promise,” I whispered, smiling brightly.
She pulled back, her eyes scanning my face.
I nodded at her.
She seemed satisfied with that, and hopped off her seat. Dad had one of the Aurors escort her home, and Scorpius was, like me, sitting down with an Auror to give his account of the events.
“So, I guess we won’t be charged for using magic in front of Muggles then, since she wasn’t a Muggle?” I said slowly as Dad sat down on my couch.
“You did the right thing, Rose. It was self-defence anyway,” Dad reassured me, and I felt myself relax.
I hadn’t said it out loud, but I’d been worried about that.
“What did Sophia tell you?” I enquired, ignoring the fact that he was supposed to be asking the questions, not me.
“From what she said,” Dad said hesitantly, “it sounds like they’re part of the dark object trading circle.”
My eyes widened at this information – how on earth was such a thing happening in this small town, and, more importantly, why?
“She said they were plotting a break in somewhere, they have an object they need to retrieve.”
“And you think that’s the object your prisoner came in with?” I said, my mind whirring as it made the connection.
He nodded, his face grave.
“Well,” I started, deciding it was time I gave him anything I could, “I didn’t really see or hear anything much, but I can give you rough descriptions,” I said, and he quickly called over one of the Aurors who had a sketch quill on him, and my descriptions were jotted down, turning into fairly accurate drawings.
“Good work, Rose,” Dad said a while later, patting me on the knee.
“I don’t understand this, Dad,” I said quietly, and he sighed, smiling down at me.
“You don’t have to understand it. Sophia stumbled upon something much bigger than her, and ran to you, which inadvertently dragged you into the whole mess. It’s in our hands now, and out of yours. Don’t worry.”
With that, he bid me farewell and left with the legion of Aurors, leaving Scorpius and I alone once more in my house.
“Well, that was eventful,” Scorpius said dryly.
There was a pause, and then I burst out laughing. It was an inappropriate reaction, that much was obvious, but I couldn’t help it.
What else was there to do but laugh?
“Dad thinks we should leave it alone, that it’s in their hands now,” I said between giggles, ignoring the look of bewildered shock on Scorpius’ face at my outburst.
“Hell no,” he said, and I grinned.
“So, you up for solving this, I take it?” I smirked, and he grinned back wickedly.
“It’s happening in your town after all, and you have a student with first-hand knowledge,” he said with a shrug.
“We probably can help, and besides, I want that story.”
Just like that, the two of us decided to go after the case. We had leads, after all, thin and weak as they may be. Surely we’d at least get Scorpius a decent story.
“Bring it,” I said, nodding.
It was nice to have a purpose, something to do besides just work.