Chapter 1 : I. Rescue
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The hallways of the ministry of magic were still after her arrival was announced. The quick cadence of clicks from her high heeled shoes echoed as workers and visitors alike halted their daily routines to watch. No one dared whisper as she passed. Silver wisps of hair flew haphazardly around her face as she made eye contact with no one, choosing instead to focus her hardened gaze straight ahead. The entourage of guards peppered around her was unnecessary as she would not struggle during any point of her much anticipated visit to the ministry. She was escorted to the elevator, and never heard the flurry of whispers that ensued once she was safely out of ear shot.
“I heard it, I did, and I told me wife Ella that a storm is comin’,” a short wizard with maintenance robes on declared quietly.
“It’s a shame, after all that she’s been through, and now this! Quite the scandal!”
“I’ve never seen the whole corridor go quiet before. Dead silent! I’ve been here 20 years, and never complete silence!”
The truth of the very complicated matter, however, was that no one truly knew what the woman’s visit pertained to. And as she rode down the elevator to the hearing that was ready to begin, she was not entirely sure that all the details had been divulged to her.
The hall was dark when she arrived, and she was shuttled quickly into the court room, in front of the Wizengamot. Her long hair was pulled back away from her face, defining her sharp features. Though her appearance was markedly different as it had been in her youth, everyone in the room knew who this woman was.
“All Rise!” called a wizard clerk, and the entire room stood for the Chief Warlock, Alphard Hailen.
Hailen scanned the room slowly, drinking in each face he saw, analyzing any stray emotion.
“Where is the accused?” His voice boomed, drowning out any doubts of his authority.
“Here,” an equally strong voice replied, standing from a dilapidated chair in the middle of the room.
“You have been accused of the murder of Nathan Longbottom. How do you plead?”
“Not Guilty,” came her reply, the defiant sparkle in her eye shining brightly.
The woman watched, her eyes narrowed as she strained to hear the preceding. She dropped her manicured nails quickly on the lacquered table in front of her, trying to drown out the tension of the moment.
The Chief Warlock turned his head to the noise and noticed her there. Only she noticed the brief flicker of alarm across his face before he spoke.
“Hermione Weasley. To what do we owe your presence today?” Though the cartilage in her knees was worn, she stood and briskly walked up to the bench.
“I would like to know the circumstances pertaining to this murder you say happened.” Her voice was calm as she spoke, as though the topic were about her prized rose garden.
Hailen’s frown lines were deep as he responded. “Mrs. Weasley, I am currently not at liberty to discuss the circumstances of this murder with you. There is no doubt that this murder happened. Whether or not it involves—“
“My daughter is not a murderer!” she spat coldly at him, turning to face her only daughter, Rose.
“Your loyalty to this organization, to this country, is unwavering. The service that you and your husband have given to the ministry is unparalleled, and I trust that you will receive some kind of service plaque for your mantel in the near future. However, simply because you say that your daughter is not a murderer does not make it a provable fact. While your motherly concern is endearing, I must ask you to vacate the court room as your emotional compromise will further hinder this investigation and trial.”
“Alphard,” she whispered softly, so that no one else in the large room could hear her. “Please. I understand that you have a job to do, I understand why you are being cold, but please show mercy. Please. You know Rose, I know you know that she is not capable of this, she wouldn’t do this!”
“Ever since she married the Malfoy boy, I’m not sure of anything anymore. Go home, Hermione. There’s nothing you can do here, your efforts would be better spent at home, praying for the safe return of your daughter. There’s evidence I can’t ignore. Go home.”
Her eyes caught his, and the room was heavy with the tension of their exchange. Turning her back to him, Hermione looked at her daughter, Rose, rooted to the floor by chains. Her brown hair was matted down to the grease on her face, and though she wore pricey robes, they were torn and tattered.
“Mum.” Rose’s voice was small as she said it, lacking the confidence displayed earlier.
The dark stone walls seemed to be closing on Hermione as she looked down to her feet and walked from the judicial chamber. She apparated directly outside the doors.
A morning storm whipped through the country side, making a normally easy apparition very difficult. Arriving outside her front stoop, she used her arm to cover her face as she fought her way inside.
The Weasley house was bright with activity when Hermione arrived. Her elderly in-laws had taken up residence a few years ago, once it had been determined that poor Arthur was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and there was rarely a dull moment. Ron and Hermione had saved for years to be able to afford their home, and nearly every time she arrived home, Hermione smiled. This, however, was not one of those times.
“I’ve got to get it clean, must get it clean,” Molly said, scurrying quickly through the kitchen with a walking stick, clutching her wand as though an intruder may jump out and steal it. Her hair had lost any hint of ginger many years ago, and at 80, Molly wanted to make sure that it was known that she was not an invalid.
“Molly, where is Ron?” Hermione’s voice shook as she spoke, making the Weasley matriarch turn slowly.
“Well, I don’t know, dear. I think perhaps he’s out in the workshop, but in this weather, I hope he’s come inside.”
“Thank you.” She turn on her heel and sprinted from the kitchen.
Lightening streaked the sky as the rain descended in sheets. Any sort of charm would be useless against this, and Hermione didn’t attempt one. She ran through their beloved yard, leaving muddy foot prints as she went. The shed was in the back corner of the yard, and she ran through the wooden doors into a magically enlarged wonderland of muggle tools, mostly from Arthur, but some handed down from her own father.
“Ron!” Hermione called as her eyes darted between an old saw and some stacks of pine.
“It’s Rose.” Like the lightening flashing outside, he was there, standing in front of her, covered in dirt and saw dust.
“Where is she?” Ron had never been one to show too much emotion, but when it came to his only daughter, he was often waterworks, bending to every need and desire she would approach him with.
“At the ministry. In front of the Wizengamot. On trial for Nate’s murder,” she rasped with gritted teeth.
“What?” he roared. “That is not possible.”
“I assure you it is. She was there, in front of everyone. Her hair was just hanging there, and her face was dirty and streaked. There were cuts…it was just…terrible, Ron. It was the worst moment of my life.”
“No, Hermione. That isn’t right, she wouldn’t…not Rose. Never Rose.” Thunder clapped loudly overhead but did little to hide Ron’s dismay.
“You…you didn’t see her. She looked awful, Ron. She looked like a murderer. So small, there in the middle of that room. I mean, I know she was difficult in her last years at Hogwarts, but I’ve never seen her like that. I don’t know what…what that Malfoy has done to her, but she’s changed. And poor Neville.”
“She didn’t kill Nate! She loved him! He might as well have been a blood relative! She and Hugo spent so much time at Neville and Hannah’s playing with Nate when they were little…it doesn’t add up! Why would she even be implicated in this? It is preposterous!” Ron’s normally steady hands shook with anger. “I’m going to the ministry now, I’ll set them straight.”
“I was just there, Ron. Alphard is presiding, and he kicked me out. I tried.”
“Alphard? Well he should be merciful! Surely Roxanne…or even George and Angelina…could talk some sense into him! Alphard is family, damnit! Surely he will let her off the hook!”
“Ron, he can’t. He has a job to do, he can’t show favoritism. Just because he’s Roxanne’s husband—“
“We’ve got to do something. I think I’m going to go to Ginny. She’s always had a level head about her, and I can’t even think straight. I need you to be strong. Hugo will be home soon, and he’s going to want to know what’s going on. People are talking, Ron, and they’ll be asking him questions at work. And he always looked up to her. I just don’t know.” Tears fell freely from her eyes, blending in with the remnants of the rain.
Ron accepted her shivering body into his arms, kissing the top of her forehead gently. Through it all, he was always her rock, keeping her steady even though he felt like dying inside right along with her. Before they left for Harry and Ginny Potter’s house, they cried together, fearing their daughter had been lost forever.
Rats. She heard them scraping across the floor as she lie shivering on the putrid cot in her cell. Rose Weasley Malfoy stared up at the ceiling, tears stinging the corners of her blue eyes. It had all spun out of control so quickly. Scorpius had always promised to be there forever, and where was he now?
And her mother, with that scathing look. Her father would no doubt be angry, and what about Hugo? He’d always looked up to her. At 24 years old, she had no idea what life had in store.
She thought of her love, Scorpius, who was the spitting image of his father, something he vehemently detested. He had dyed his hair deep brown in his seventh year to stop all the comparisons to his father, which happened quite frequently. She could hear his deep baritone echoing in her mind. He did love her, of that she was sure.
The situation was impossible. Nathan Longbottom had been a family friend for years, and she loved him like a cousin. She would have never laid a hand on him. A flash of lightening lit the room for a split second, allowing her to see the dirt pushed deep into her nail beds. It was so uncharacteristic of her to be so dirty when she had spent her life trying to prove she was clean.
Back at Hogwarts, she had been a tough sell for Scorpius. The daughter of Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley was all but banned from the son of Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass. She had rebelled against the stranglehold her parents constantly enforced upon her, and it was her spunk and charm that had attracted Scorpius. Truth be told, she didn’t really even know Scorpius existed until her fifth year at Hogwarts. Sure, they were in the same year, but he was a Slytherin, she a Gryffindor, and their paths rarely crossed.
As she matured, she began to resent her parents and their rules. Her mother was often nervous and anxious, and made her daughter check in with her like a silly muggle child. Her father was somewhat absent minded, and as he aged, became more like his own father, her grandfather. She assumed that their personalities were remnants of the devastating war that dominated their teenage years, and she had frequent arguments with her mother. It had also been difficult to grow up in the spotlight. Witches and Wizards alike would approach the couple and their children for autographs and pictures, and if Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny were with them as well, forget about getting anything accomplished in Diagon Alley.
Rose squinted her eyes shut, trying to block the memories out of her mind. Clearly she had taken her life for granted for years, and now she sat in the tiny cell, wishing for anything but this. Deciding sleep was not in the cards for her, she stood, listening to the chains secured around her ankles scrape the ground. She began to pace back and forth, staring at the dust on the floor as she moved.
How had it all come down to this? Where was Scorpius? He had always been there, and never would she have imagined that he would abandon her now. She sat down, unable to make up her mind about what position her body craved. The rats quit their movement, opting instead to settle in for the evening. Why was everything in her life unsteady?
She heard the faint sound of a door opening somewhere distantly down the hall, but she paid no attention to it. And then, inexplicably, he stood there with his hair slicked back and a smirk on his face.
“You look like hell,” he whispered, his long fingers wrapping around the bars that imprisoned her.
“How did you…get here?”
“No time for questions. Please get off of that filthy mattress and let’s go.”
She felt like her muscles were made of concrete as she stood.
“Faster please,” Scorpius whispered impatiently. Rose made her way to the front of her cell, and Scorpius expertly unlocked the door. They stole away into the night, seemingly invincible. Before they apparated to assured safety, Rose turned to Scorpius and hugged him quickly. The wind howled around the trees surrounding the prison as another spring storm blew in, even more violent than the one from earlier in the morning.
“How did this happen? How did you rescue me?”
Scorpius tenderly brought his wife’s lips to his and kissed her.
“You didn’t kill Nathan, Rose,” He whispered, smoothing her unkempt hair. “You didn’t.”
She stepped away from him, jerking his strong hands off of her.
“Yes I did! What’s the matter with you? Of course I did! I put the wand to his head, and I did it! I killed Nate! Oh God…I killed Nate.”
“No you didn’t, Rose. You didn’t kill him. He’s alive.” A sob escaped her throat.
“Are you lying to me, Scorpius? Do you speak the truth?” A loud yell issued from across the yard, and Scorpius grabbed Rose and they apparated before being seen.
A/N: Welcome to my newest creation! I must admit that I've never read a next gen story before, so if this story doesn't feed into normal stereotypes, that could possibly be why. Also, if it DOES feed in to normal stereotypes, then you can sleep well knowing I THOUGHT I was being creative...haha. I must thank Eridanus for checking this out for me before I posted it, she's amazing! Also, to Drecklin for creating this stellar banner! It's gorgeous! Much love to my Slytherins :)