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Chapter 5: V. Potter Manor/The Burrow
Never before had Scorpius been more grateful for his Auror training. As a young man, fresh out of Hogwarts, he found some of the teachings to be ridiculous. Surely one would know how to handle themselves in a crisis. People have been doing it for years without coaching. He was supposed to learn how to camouflage himself, how to hex and jinx an opponent without them seeing it coming. Hell, he even found tracking the Muggle way more useful than the “Crisis management” tutorial. But as the last of his superior’s Patronus vanished, a thought crossed his mind, to owl the wizard who had taught that class and send him a bottle of mead.
His eyes traveled towards Rose and found her rooted on the spot, her eyes wide in fear, one hand gripping the table like she was about to fall over, the other covering her mouth. The professional side of him kicked in and he spoke to her in a firm but calm tone.
“Get up and go to your bedroom. You will pack only essential clothing, nothing too heavy, no Undetectable Extension Charms. You will need money and your identification papers. I assume you have Muggle identification papers?” she nodded. “Then, you will send a message to your employer, telling him that you need to take some time of. You have an hour, the first plane for London leaves in four and a half hours and it is of utmost importance we be on it.” he finished and signaled for her to leave.
Rose obeyed like a small child, getting up and dashing towards her bedroom. Scorpius took a sip of his tea, attempting to calm his nerves. An attack on the Head of the Department was nothing short of a war declaration. And the team would go forward for their leader. But how do you track down and capture somebody you have never seen and have no clue where to find?
The thoughts were running through his head and it made it spin. He drained the last of his tea and with a wave of his wand the mugs when flying into the sink where they proceeded to wash themselves. It calmed him to watch the rhythmical movements of the soap and sponge on the porcelain of the mug and he didn’t notice Rose’s return.
“I’m ready when you are, Scorpius.” she said quietly, pulling at her Muggle denim jacket. Next to her was a packet black Muggle suitcase, same color as her boots. She was good at dressing in Muggle clothes, he observed in his mind as she gathered her documents.
“We’re going to take a Muggle taxi to the airport.” he informed, turning to look at the room one last time. His eyes stopped on the clock that hug on the wall next to the door. She had only taken twenty minutes to get ready. Scorpius nodded, more to himself than to her and motioned for her to leave the room.
The drive to the airport had taken them longer than expected and with every passing moment Rose noticed the Auror beginning to get impatient.
“We’ll get there in time.” she assured him, looking out the window at all the Muggle cars that were stuck in traffic. She had never failed to wonder why they thought the metal boxes on wheels were a safe way to travel. Off the top of her head, she could think of less Quidditch accidents that were more likely to happen as opposed to accidents in those things.
As they finally pulled into the white zone of the “Henri Coanda” airport, Scorpius paid the driver in a hurry and picked up Rose’s luggage with ease. They were lucky to find no lines at the check - in points and with her case on the way, they made their way to customs.
The elderly security guard inspected them with a machine Rose knew from her mother had the role of detecting metal. She was surprised he had not inquired about her wand, but the look of concentration on Scorpius’s face made her suspect a Confounding Charm was responsible. Finally, they settled into their seats and as the airplane started it’s take off maneuvers, she looked at him closely for the first time that day.
In her mind, Scorpius Malfoy would always be the blonde boy with a pointed chin and eyes too blue to be natural. But in the years since she had last seen him, he had changed. it was a very subtle difference, but the lines around his mouth and his eyes had deepened and there was a certain air about him that made Rose feel uncomfortable, like a young girl would in the presence of an adult.. She was the first to speak.
“How come they could summon you back with a Patronus but they had to send you all the way here to talk to me? Wouldn’t it have been easier to Patronus me as well?” she asked, her eyes traveling from him to the Muggle flight attendant that was giving them safety instructions.
“The Patronus isn’t used for that. We couldn’t risk you being with somebody else when it arrived. And if you were to return, your safety needed to be guaranteed.” he replied in a very official manner.
“You know, you can drop the whole Ministry attitude. It’s really starting to bug me. We have a few hours ahead of us and if you’re going to talk like my uncle Percy the whole time, I maybe bored to death by the time we land.” she declared, rolling her eyes at him for good measure. He remained silent. After a few minutes he addressed her again.
“Why did you come all the way out here? With your family, they could’ve gotten you into the best apprenticeship in all of the country.” he commented.
She shrugged at his words, her face bearing an expression of annoyance. Scorpius couldn’t quite tell what his question brought up for her.
“All the more reason to come out here. This trade is brutal, you have to be smart and on your feet, any mistake can prove fatal to the subsequent user. At home they would’ve babied me. Vasile maybe a creepy guy but he’s straight forward and won’t settle for second best when it comes to his business.” she pointed out. Her tone made the Auror aware that his question had hit a nerve. “You know, it’s been a long day. Maybe I will try to get some sleep.”
Scorpius recognized her dismissal and resumed looking out the window, lost in his own thoughts.
Ron Weasley checked the back door once again and decided that a third analysis wouldn’t do much good, seeing as the first two didn’t show anything significant. That was the point of entrance, but the door had been magically unlocked, just like in Dedalus’s case and nothing was taken. He passed the members of his team on his way to the living room of Potter Manor, where his sister and Harry Potter were waiting.
Potter Manor was improperly named so. While the house was indeed large, standing at three stories high, it didn’t resemble any of the old wizard manors. The Potters wanted their home to have a comforting air about it and so they decorated in wood and warm colors. The only marble found inside the place was in the bathrooms and kitchen.
Ron found them in the living room, Ginny sitting on the sofa, dressed in her nightgown and nursing a cup of tea while Harry paced impatiently in front of the fireplace.
“Nothing, it’s like they evaporated.” he announced and the frown on Harry’s face deepened.
“But, I don’t understand. We have wards set up. There are protective enchantments all over the place. Even the boys couldn’t sneak out when they were home from school.” Ginny declared and she shot her brother and husband an alarmed look.
“That’s precisely it, Ginny. Whatever or whoever it was, they managed to get in pass the wards, unlock the door and wonder about, waiting for me outside our bedroom. I can’t even imagine what would’ve happened if you had been the one to get up and use the loo.” he replied and finally sat down in an armchair, putting his head in his hands.
“Auror Potter?” a voice asked from the door and he looked up to see Simone, one of his colleagues in the door way, clutching a notepad and a quill. “Sir, we’ve done a full search, there is nothing in here, no forensic prints, no magical prints, no DNA, nothing. The only place we haven’t managed to get into is the study.” she informed.
“That’s because the room has extra security measures on it. It can only be entered by myself or Ginny if we perform a charm with our own wands on it.” he replied, getting up from the armchair and once again standing in front of the fireplace.
“It’s a necessary precaution with boys like ours.” Ginny said more to herself than to Simone.
“The only thing we need is your statement for the record and we can leave.” she told him. He motioned for her to take a seat and she did so, opening her notepad and taking notes.
“At approximately 5.30 AM this morning I was inside my residence and I found an intruder. I was unarmed and tried to subdue them physically but I failed. They fled through the back door and I issued a report. By what I could tell, they had simply been standing in the hallway, expecting me. They did not speak and I did not see any features that may help with recognition.” he concluded.
“Thank you, sir.” Simone said as she got up and made her way towards the door. “If the crime lab comes up with anything we’ll let you know.”
“Mate, maybe we should take a look at the study, just to be sure.” Ron suggested as he watched the young Auror leave. “Better safe than sorry. The bastard who was here got through the wards, we need to check.”
Harry nodded at his words and grabbed his wand, making his way up to the second floor, where the study was located. He tapped his wand on the door and it unlocked, making way for the men to enter. It only took Harry a few steps to stop dead in his tracks. His heart dropped and he felt the blood in his veins turn to ice.
“Go tell Ginny to pack a bag, we’re going to the Burrow.” he told Ron and his friend only nodded, his face as pale as Harry’s.
On the wall in front of them, above Harry’s desk, somebody had left him a message. The one word made him realize that things were about to take a turn for the worse. “SOON” had been burned into the wallpaper.
Molly Weasley was cooking breakfast. A lifetime of raising children had taught her that the best way to start your day was with a cup of strong tea and a good, healthy breakfast. Even though the years had passed and the children had grown up, Molly never abandoned the occupation she had grown accustomed to. She got up before her husband, cooked the breakfast and prepared the tea, glancing from time to time at the wall, towards her trusted clock.
The children had removed the old clock when the last of them got married and replaced it with an updated version that showed her now larger, extended family. Hermione would even add people to it, as the children were born and so Molly had all of them under her watchful eyes. Her heart still pained a little when she saw the tongue labeled Fred stop on “The Burrow” but she almost never cried now. It was over twenty years ago that she lost one of her children in the war and she couldn’t recall a more darker time in her life. The aging witch shook her head at the memories that came to her and resumed her cooking, when she noticed several of the clock’s tongues move and point from “Home” to “The Burrow”. Smiling, she summoned several plates from the cupboard and proceeded to set the table.
Harry, along with Ginny and Ron entered the kitchen, the men carrying several bags with them.
“What a lovely surprise dears! And just in time for a spot of breakfast!” she greeted them, then turned towards the door that opened towards the rest of the house. “Arthur, the children are here, come have breakfast with them!”
Ginny gave her mother a peck on the cheek and a small hug and then made her way to the stove and started pouring herself a cup of tea. Harry and Ron were standing in the doorway, unsure of how to tell the matriarch about the events of the night. Right on cue, Arthur Weasley entered the room, his walking stick making small noises as it hit the wooden floors. Even in his old age his face showed kindness, but his hardships were also etched across his face.
“Good morning, you lot!” he chuckled and took a seat. He looked at each of them and then at his wife, who was busy eyeing the luggage they had deposited in front of them.
“What’s going on?” she finally inquired, turning from Ron to Ginny. “Have you come for a visit? Where’s Hermione?” Ginny approached her mother and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Mum, we’re going to explain. As for Hermione, she is on her way, we sent her a message to meet us here.” she said calmly and placed a cup of tea in front of her father.
“Well then, I’m waiting.” Molly said, placing her arms on her hips and giving them her best “motherly” glare.
Harry sighed, running a hand through his messy hair, which did nothing for his nerves. Even as his hairline thinned, he could not get it to lay flat on his head.
“Mum, Dad,” he started and walked next to his wife near the table, as to be able to look at both his parents-in-law while he spoke, “somebody managed to get past the wards of the house last night and ransacked the place. We were hoping we could stay here while we work on rebuilding the protections around it.”
As he feared, Molly paled when she heard the news and Arthur started asking questions at a very fast pace. Ron stepped forward and took his mother’s hand.
“Mum, it’s okay, they’re okay as you can see and nothing was taken. It’s just a precaution.” he assured her, though his discomfort was obvious. The three of them had agreed not to worry them with their suspicions that the break in was connected to the recent murders until they were sure what was going on and if the family was indeed in danger. The investigation would become top priority as soon as Scorpius would return, with or without Rose.
“Son,” Arthur said, addressing Harry, “is this related to what happened with Dedalus and Hestia?” Harry shook his head.
“Nothing indicates it, but we will be investigating it in parallel.” Harry told him, his insides growing restless under his mother-in-laws gaze.
“Well then, can we stay or not?” Ginny finally spoke, sitting down next to her father.
“Of course you can stay. You’re welcome for as long as you need.” she exclaimed, outraged by the question. “Harry, Ron, you both sit and we’ll eat. Best keep your strength up.” she ordered and got up, picking up the plates of cooked sausages and eggs and placing them on the table in front of them, getting started on the toast.
“Mum, I think we’re going to be expecting a few more people through here today. “ Ron informed her as the watch indicated Hermione had arrived.
“How many people, dear?” she asked while turning the bread in the pan, placing warm pieces of toast next to a plate of butter and a jar of jam.
“Well, ‘Mione just arrived and we sent a message to Bill to meet us here today, to talk about the wards.” he started explaining, but was interrupted by his wife’s entrance into the house.
“Good morning! I got here as soon as fast as I could. Are the two of you alright?” she asked Harry and Ginny, her tone filled with concern.
“We’re alright, thankfully we were unharmed and nothing was taken.” Ginny told her, her head tilting ever so slightly towards the sitting room, indicating to Hermione that she would be filled in. Hermione nodded and joined the table, helping herself to tea. The small party started eating in silence, with Molly making sure they all had their fill.
A couple of minutes later they heard a knock on the door and everybody instinctively turned to the clock. Teddy Lupin was there, but he wasn’t alone. Another tongue had moved, the one labeled Rose. Molly let out a delighted shout and hurried to open the door for her grandchildren.
Teddy’s presence on the clock was something that Molly had personally insisted on, when it was changed, years before the boy married Victoire and became part of the official family and Hermione agreed, even though the elderly witch never told her the reason. It was just one of the things Molly did, along with feeding them mountains of food with every occasion. Teddy was always invited to any kind of family dinner, lunch, celebration or even breakfasts such as these and Molly always hovered, making him take second or even third helpings. Ron had once asked his father about this behavior towards Teddy and his father simply smiled, looking fondly at his wife. He then told him a story from the war, back when the Order resided in Grimmauld Place and Remus Lupin had assured Molly that if anything happened to either herself or her husband, he would not let the Weasley children starve. This was Molly Weasley’s way of paying her respects to the Lupins.
But in front of her door, she found not two but three people. Scorpius Malfoy was also there, carrying a suitcase and looking thoroughly uncomfortable with the situation.
“Nana Molly, good morning!” Teddy greeted and hugged the woman. “I found these two at work and knew I’d find Harry and Ron here.” he said and gestured to the people behind him for effect.
“Oh Rosie, why didn’t you let me know you were coming dear!” Molly said and pulled her granddaughter in a tight hug. “I would’ve made cake. Oh, but you’re here, that’s what’s important. Come in, all of you. There’s tea and breakfast, we can catch up!” she finished and steered Rose and Teddy in the direction of the table. Scorpius remained in his spot, unsure of what to do. “You too, Scorpius. I bet you fancy a cup of something hot, you look tired.”
Ron started glowing when he saw his daughter enter the room and got up, opening his arms to her, a huge grin on his face.
“Daddy!” Rose shouted and ran to hug her father. He enveloped her in a tight embrace and kissed her head, making his parents smile at the scene. But the whole air in the room shifted when she let go and turned to her mother.
“Mum.” she greeted her politely, with much less enthusiasm than her father. Their hug was quick and formal and Rose sneaked a peek at Scorpius, who shot her a very curious look. Shaking it off, she greeted the rest of her family and sat beside her grandfather.
“Rosie, how long are you staying for?” he asked her and patted her head hand in a fond manner, seemingly ignoring the scene that just took place before him.
“I’m not really sure.” she said, looking at Harry, who sat across the table. “I’ve taken some personal time and I decided to come visit.” she grinned and the Aurors present, except Scorpius let out a breath they didn’t even realize they were holding. Scorpius rolled his eyes at them. He had instructed her, it was part of his job. His mind was about to wander into another rant about the prejudice that men still held against each other when he was presented with a cup of tea and his thoughts returned to the conversation in the room and he surveyed the scene in front of him.
It was a normal morning, like those any family has, with light conversation at the table and preparations for the day ahead. Except this was not a family like any other. One of them was the symbol of the wizarding revolution, one of them exiled herself to study the most obscure branch of applied magic possible, one of them had brought to her knees the most sadistic and devoted follower of an evil madman (his great aunt Bellatrix) and one of them was the orphaned child of brave and noble soldiers.
If one threw in Arthur Weasley’s obsession with everything Muggle and his wife’s motherly nature, their daughter-in-law’s highly logical mind and their daughter’s keen reporter senses, you had the strangest group of people you could imagine. It was a wonder they all got along so well, but seeing them, Scorpius’s mind traveled, this time to his own family. However his family might be, they were not as united as these people.
“Arthur dear, it’s time to take your potions.” Molly told him after a few moments. “You know they must be taken on a full stomach. While you go take them I’m going to prepare the room for Harry and Ginny.” she announced and left the room, helping her husband along the way.
Those that remained in the kitchen sat in silence for a few moments, before Hermione burst.
“What happened last night? Who was it?” she said in a loud whisper, careful not to be overheard.
“Somebody broke in, left a message on the wall of a warded room for me.” Harry told her, the grave look returning to his face. Hermione gasped and looked at Ginny, who shook her head.
“We talked it over and for a while this is the safest place for us.” she continued. “Until we find out how this is connected to the deaths of Dedalus and Hestia. I’ve got some ears in Knockturn Alley and I’ve asked them to tip me off if they hear anybody bragging about it in the pubs. We haven’t told Mum and Dad that the attack may have been connected, I don’t want to worry them, not with Dad’s health and all.” she concluded in a sad tone.
Arthur Weasley’s health had been deteriorating in the past years, after a life of hard work and fighting in two wars and the family did their best to keep him stress free and give him a happy retirement. Harry reached for Ginny’s hand and squeezed it.
“It’s okay Gin, we’ll figure this out in no time. Now that Rose is here, we’re one step closer to figuring this mess out.” he assured her. “Now, let’s get to it. We have to figure out where Rose is going to stay while here.”
“She’ll come home of course!” Hermione replied. “There’s no where better for her to do her work, isn’t that right?”
“The thing is, I don’t want to attract attention on her being here, it’s what we agreed upon. I think she needs to go somewhere nobody will think of looking. Because her childhood home is the logical place to go.” Harry argued, looking from Ron to Hermione.
“I will need an extensive library, you know.” Rose announced, annoyance in her tone. “And I will need for you to not talk about me like I am not even here.”
“I’m sorry, Rose.” Harry said gently, ignoring the expression on Hermione’s face. “Sometimes I forget you’re not a little girl anymore.” he smiled at her and she managed a small smile as well. “Well, I think the best place for you to go is Grimmauld Place. You have every book you can imagine there, well, for a private collection, it’s not Hogwarts. And we can assign an Auror to check on you daily, both for protection and updates.”
“Can I have Scorpius assigned?” she asked bluntly, making both Scorpius and Ron choke into their cups. She shrugged at her father’s bewildered look. “He’s gotten me here, I know him already. I don’t want to have to get to know some Ministry worker.” she explained.
“But Rose, we have Teddy here, or Freddy, or even Dean.” Ron argued, looking around the table for somebody to back him up.
“I don’t want somebody from the family, Daddy. This is my job here, I don’t need to be seen as little Rosie while I do it.” Rose replied, still holding her own. “And Mr. Thomas is a nice enough man, but I think I’ll work better with him.” she waved in Scorpius’s direction.
Harry spoke up, trying to settle the row that was just waiting to happen in front of him. “Scorpius? Would you be willing to take this task up?”
“If this is what I am assigned to, then I will do it, of course.” he said, nodding his head while he spoke.
“That settles it.” Harry concluded, summoning a piece of paper and a quill and scribbling the address for him. “This is the address. I, the Secret Keeper have entrusted you with the location. You both must read it and then destroy it. Once Rose is settled in, you will bring her the necessary items required for her analysis and then report back to the office.”
Scorpius got up after receiving the order and Rose followed him. She hugged her father and pecked her mother politely on the cheek, shouting her goodbye to her grandparents and waving to those in the room. With Teddyescorting them to their apparition point, the three left. Those left in the kitchen looked through the open door at their departing figures.
“You know,” Ron said. “This girl is so bossy, she always has been, so much like Hermione was at her age. And for a very long time we’ve looked at her to find myself in her traits.” Hermione let out a sigh at his words, not taking her eyes off her daughter.
“And then she does something like going against all of our better judgments and I say to myself ‘Oh, there he is.’!”
AN: Another chapter written! Thank you everybody for all the feedback and for reading, it's really amazing for me to read your comments and improve because of them!
As a preview for next chapter, we'll see Rose in Grimmauld Place, studying the wands left on th scene. Maybe she will shed some light on this whole situation.
Once again, I don't own anything, it's all property of JKR.