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Centrifuge by LovlyRita
Chapter 3 : III. The Daily Prophet
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 20


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The couch felt like a slab of concrete underneath his aching muscles as bright morning sun invaded Ron Weasley’s eyes. Slowly sitting up, he groaned from the pain of a terrible night’s sleep and shivered as he placed his feet on the cold wooden floor. It had been nearly a day since Rosie had mysteriously gone missing from the wizarding jail deep inside the ministry, and Ron was ordered to sleep on the couch in case she decided to come home. He grumbled some more as he recalled the conversation he’d had with Hermione the night before. Of course he would have to be the one who slept on the couch. After all, the slipped disk in her lumbar spine wouldn’t take well to the couch, and she was a bear without a full night’s sleep. Leave it to old Ronnie to bear the grunt of battle.

He opened his mouth in a yawn and stood, raising his arms in a relieving morning stretch. He did not hear the owl blow frantically through the open window, and was utterly surprised when it hit him squarely on the side of his head.

“Yeoww!” He bellowed, instantly rubbing the throbbing spot. The owl had dropped onto the floor, and it shook its head quickly, trying to forget any evidence of the impact.

“Bloody damned bird!” Ron swore, picking the small owl up off the floor. In its beak rested their morning copy of the Daily Prophet. “I don’t understand why Weasleys always have the worst luck with owls!” he muttered to himself. He paid the bird quickly, sent it on its way, and then made his way into the kitchen wearing only boxer shorts. He grabbed a banana off the counter and peeled it lazily. It was another mediocre morning at Weasley Hideaway.

As he settled in to read the morning paper, Ron heard the scrape of his mother’s cane through the house, and he sighed loudly.

“Ronald, dear, good morning! Has there been any word from our Rosie yet?” the elderly woman asked, finding her familiar spot at the stove. “A banana for breakfast? That’s ridiculous. I’ll whip you up some muffins.”

“No, Mum, nothing from Rose yet. And please, no muffins. This will do just fine.”

“Nonsense, you’re a growing boy, and you need nutrition.”

“I’m 52 years old, Mother! The only growing I’m going to be doing is growing horizontally. Please, just sit down and rest, you work too hard.”

“I’ve been resting all night long, I’m tired of sitting. Now read your paper, and I’ll be along with some warm muffins in a minute. Your father always did like muffins.”

Ron sighed, biting his lip before he really angered his mother, and turned his attention to the paper. The headline made him focus every ounce of his being on drinking in the words.




ROSE MALFOY GOES MISSING; DOUBTS RAISED ABOUT HER CHARGES

Rose Malfoy, 24, went missing from her jail cell at the ministry a day ago, ministry officials are reporting. It appears that she was taken by her husband, and they escaped and disapparated to an unknown location. It is unknown at this time how her husband, Scorpius Malfoy, 25, was able to break in to the ward and escape with her. Several ministry employees are being questioned regarding the disappearance, and aurors are tirelessly working to bring the two back into custody. Rose Malfoy is accused of killing Nathan Longbottom, the son of Hannah Abbott Longbottom, the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron, and Neville Longbottom, Herbology professor at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was murdered nearly a week ago at a small tavern outside of London, in front of several patrons. Owls from the Daily Prophet to the tavern were not immediately returned. In an interesting turn of events, the Prophet has learned that there are several witnesses coming forward now, recanting their original statements of seeing Longbottom’s body. His body was not found at the scene, and still has not been located. The department of magical law enforcement is expected to make a statement today regarding the charges. Alphard Hailen, Chief Warlock, was not pleased with this turn of events.

“I have no comment in regards to these witnesses and their statements. However, Rose Weasley, regardless of her guilt, will be prosecuted for her escapades outside of her cell, and her husband faces the same fate.”

In addition to the absence of a body and the new statements, others inside the ministry are beginning to doubt the woman’s guilt. One official spoke with us on the condition of anonymity.

“To be honest, the evidence is parchment thin. We know that Mrs. Malfoy was present at the tavern with Longbottom, and that there was an altercation. Mrs. Malfoy was angered by something, and did indeed threaten to kill Mr. Longbottom. There was a bit of magic that occurred, but no one is sure exactly what conspired. We are currently busy checking the magical backlogs to see if we can decipher what spell was uttered that night. Until then, she is still implicated in the crime, if a crime was even committed.”

The prophet will continue to update on this story as more information arises. So far there has been no word from the woman’s parents, Ron and Hermione Weasley, and they are not expected to comment. Weasley and his famous brother-in-law, Harry Potter, work as aurors at the ministry, and were not assigned to her case. Draco and Astoria Malfoy are also refused comment for this story. The ministry is investigating the possibility of aid being given to the runaways by either party






Ron’s complexion was red with anger as he stood, knocking his chair over and startling his mother in the process.

“Ron, dear? What’s the matter?” His blue eyes were fierce as he ignored his mother and snatched the paper angrily off the table. He stomped through his beautifully decorated house, shaking the walls and knocking decorations from their well thought out places.

The door to his bedroom was latched, and he did not bother to knock as he opened the door and stormed through. The curtains were drawn and the room was still dark, but Ron cared little about it.

“Hermione!” He bellowed, marching up to her side.

“Wha?” came a quiet response.

“There’s an interesting article in the paper today that I think you ought to see.” Ron walked over to the curtains and drew them back, allowing the brilliant morning sun to pour through the windows. Hermione shot up out of bed, her hair sticking wildly in every which direction.

“Ron, what is the matter with you? I’m trying to sleep in here, it’s only 6 o’clock in the damned morning,” she yelled acidly. “And, it’s a Saturday.”

Ron narrowed his eyes at his wife and tightened his jaw, shoving the newspaper in her hands.

This is what’s the matter with me. Look at this. Rose has been missing for nearly 24 hours, I had to sleep on the godforsaken couch in the front room, in the off chance that she decided to stroll through the front room. That…Malfoy…broke her out. And I had to learn it all in a…in a fucking newspaper article, Hermione. That’s what’s the matter with me!” The words spewed quickly from him as he unloaded his intense anger and frustration on her.

“Language, Ron! And I suppose it’s my fault?” she countered, scanning the article. “I don’t even know where they got this, I was never approached for a story. Someone ought to comment on our behalf. This is ridiculous. Well, they can come here and search the house if they’d like, we clearly have given out no aid to our daughter, or our son-in-law.”

“Don’t call him that! “ Ron spat angrily, plopping down onto the soft mattress.

“Why! That’s what he is. Her name is Rose Malfoy now, and regardless of what we think about that, we need to focus on the real issue here- our Rose is missing somewhere, with him, and we need to find them.”

“I swear to God, they better not have gone to Malfoy.”

Hermione sighed, yanking off her dressing gown and stepping into their bathroom to shower. The original shock of her daughter’s sentence had worn off, and now she was worried, tired, and angry at Rose. Tension had clawed its way into Hermione’s shoulders and had not left since the news broke. The truth about it was, Rosie probably did go to Draco Malfoy looking for support, and the thought of it destroyed Hermione.

“What? You don’t just walk away in the middle of our conversation! This is our daughter we’re talking about!” Ron called indignantly from the bed. He did not, however, get up to join her in the bathroom as he found the luxury mattress quite agreeable against his aching back.

“Would you just let me alone to think for a few moments, Ronald!” she screeched, massaging shampoo into her unruly locks. She knew that it was a possibility—that Rose would defer to Draco Malfoy rather than her own kin. The thought of her at the ridiculously large mansion, begging for their kindness and sympathies made her absolutely sick to her stomach. True, the Weasley household had not always been welcoming to the young couple, but Hermione had always been sure that at any sign of trouble, Rosie would come home.

Thinking back on recent history, Hermione could barely recall why things had ended up so sour between them. Ron had always been a staunch opponent to his daughter’s relationship with Scorpius, believing the young Malfoy boy to be just a clone of his father. Rose had brought the boy around several times, and each time Hermione thought him to be good tempered and polite. After he had dyed his hair a deep brown, the resemblance between Scorpius and his father lessened, and Ron seemed to relax a tiny bit.

Their wedding, however, was unacceptable. Hermione never truly understood the reason behind her daughter’s choice to elope suddenly one summer day, but it positively killed her father. Ron never got the chance to walk his beautiful darling girl down the aisle. It was, no doubt, a Malfoy ploy to distance Rosie from her own family, and when word reached Hermione that the Malfoys had known about the wedding plans all along, the final nail was driven firmly inside the coffin.

Still, she missed Rose’s distinctive laughter and the smile that stretched across the girl’s face. She missed the jokes and play that would take place between Rose and her brother, Hugo. The treasured memories of days long ago seeped slowly into the forefront of her mind. As she longingly recalled the distant past, tears bubbled in the corners of her eyes. Rose and Hugo had always been so innocent, so full of happiness and wonder. Her Rosie never shied away from living creatures buried deep in the soft earth, and she always took a challenge. Hugo was always quick on her heels, trying to best her at everything. They were her precious babies, and now Rose had deviated away from them with Scorpius, and Hugo was too busy to come home once a week.

Hermione let her tears blend in with the warm water, allowing it to wash away her pain.

“When was the last time Hugo was around?” she called, trying to mask the cracks in her voice.

“Hugo? Last week, I suppose. Busy with his auror training.”

Hermione turned the water off and grabbed a towel, meticulously drying herself off before wrapping her hair.

“Perhaps we should call on him for dinner. He must have a lot of questions about what’s happening to his sister.”

He must have a lot of questions? What exactly can we answer for him, Hermione? We have a lot of questions. He needs to stay focused on his school work, and he doesn’t need interference from us. If he needs to talk, he knows where we are. He isn’t 12 years old,” Ron replied coolly, getting up from the bed and grabbing a pair of pants.

“Ronald, at least take a shower first,” Hermione nagged, beginning her coveted feminine morning rituals.

“Later,” he grunted.

A scream issued from across the house, and Ron took off from the bedroom, sprinting to the voices. They were coming from his parents’ room, and he could tell already that today was not a good day for his father.

“I don’t want muffins!” the voice belonging to his father yelled indignantly.

“Please, Arthur, you must eat something, you’re so thin nowadays.”

“I don’t even like muffins, damnit, woman! I demand to see my wife!” Ron reached the room, and the scene broke his heart into a thousand quivering pieces. His mother was on the floor, picking up the shards of what had once been a glass plate carrying steaming blueberry muffins. A few cut into her skin leaving bloody trails, and she winced in pain.

“Mum! No, don’t do that, use your wand, damnit!” Ron said, kneeling beside his mother.

“I-I don’t know what to do, he won’t eat, and he…he doesn’t know me. He’s always known me…” tears dripped slowly down Molly Weasley’s nose as she cleaned the floor and salvaged the muffins.

“You there! Young fellow! Will you fetch me my wife, Molly? She’s the pretty young thing with the smile. This old witch here is trying to feed me muffins, and I’d really like something else.” Arthur’s voice was thin, and he meant no harm to his wife. His Alzheimer’s had truly devoured his life, leaving a shell of what once was a vibrant, quirky, loving father and husband.

“Dad, you love muffins, now just eat the bloody things, and I’ll see what I can do. Come on, Mum, let’s get you to the kitchen to get this cleaned up.” He helped his mother rise from the floor, and gave his father the muffins. Arthur protested a little, but Ron was too empty to respond.

He brought Molly into the kitchen and helped her dress her wounds, calling her silly and foolish for picking up glass with her hands. Hermione walked in then, dressed very professionally in a business suit.

“Where are you going?” Ron asked.

“I have some business to take care of. I’ll be home in a few hours.”

“Of course.” Ron watched her leave, cursing in his mind as she disapparated outside the door. Of course she could escape whenever she felt the need, but he was chained to the home to look after his parents, who were nearly more work than his kids had been.

“It looked important, dear. She was all dressed up,” Molly commented mildly with a sigh.

“It better have been important. Rosie is missing and here I still am, stuck in this God Damned house.” Molly scolded him for language, and Ron felt more trapped than ever.

***
Rose awoke to a soft tap on the window of the large bedroom. Startled, she shook her husband awake.

“Scorpius! Scorp…I think someone’s knocking on the window!” she exclaimed.

“It sounds like an owl,” he grumbled in return, turning away from her.

“Well go check and see! What would an owl be doing here?” Rose pushed, poking her husband some more.

“Ugh, fine!” Scorpius got up from the very comfortable bed and walked to the window. Drawing back the curtain, his suspicions were confirmed. An owl was pecking furiously on the window, a large newspaper in his beak. “It’s the Daily Prophet. I took out a subscription in a different name so we could keep up with the news. I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you,” Scorpius admitted, allowing the bird to fly in.

“How did it get here so fast? That’s a long way for an owl to travel.”

“Well, dear, it’s one o’clock in the afternoon. The bird has had all morning to fly. Now come on, let’s get a bit of breakfast. Where is that weird little house elf?”

“Don’t call Lurry weird, he was very helpful last night, and the steak was amazing!”

“You were amazing,” Scorpius said slyly, rejoining his wife in bed.

“Oh, stop it,” Rose laughed.

“No, really. Baby, if I could, I’d have you all day long!”

“Well, you can!” Rose smiled and craned her neck so she could kiss her husband good afternoon. “Well, we’ve got the Prophet now, what does it say?”

“Aww, come on, Sugar, I did all that smooth talking and you want to get down to business already?” Scorpius pouted, sticking his bottom lip out so that he looked positively ridiculous.

“If you keep calling me strange little pet names, you’re not going to see me all day! Seriously, Scorp, I want to know what the headlines say.”

“Fine,” he said, pulling the newspaper from the top of the night table. Unrolling it, his eyes became saucers as he read the bold headline. “Holy Shit! Rose, look at this!” He pointed to the headline.

“Doubts…are being raised about my charges? Really? This is wonderful!” Rose exclaimed, jumping up so that she was standing on top of the silky black comforter of the large bed. “They have little proof! This is so exciting!” She started to jump, as carefree as a five year old child.

“I don’t know, Rose. Maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating just yet. They haven’t found Longbottom’s body, obviously because there isn’t a body to find. But…that only means he’s out there somewhere. And he’s going to be counterproductive to our plans. I don’t know what he’s plotting out there, but this isn’t over.”

“You’re probably right,” Rose said, taking a leap and landing on her behind. “I can’t believe this happened. Nate is such…such an arse! I can’t believe it, I really can’t.” Scorpius took the opportunity to move over to Rose, snaking an arm around her bare waist.

“What happened, Rose? I think it’s time that you told me everything that happened that night.”

Rose moved away from her husband. “I’m not ready to talk about it yet. Maybe tomorrow.”

“Come on, Rosie!” Scorpius prodded, the hot Malfoy temper rising inside of him. “I need to know. You have to tell me. Did he hurt you? Did he say something about me, or your family, or something? Please tell me.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, ok?” she huffed, rising from the bed and putting on a robe. “I’m going to see if Lurry will make us some breakfast. Or lunch. Or something to eat, anyway.”

Scorpius cursed under his breath, taking the opportunity to rise from the bed as well. Her reluctance to tell him what happened bothered him to no end. Whatever had transpired between the two, it was not good. He hoped to God that Longbottom hadn’t violated her in any way, but, then again, he couldn’t really imagine Rose allowing herself to be vulnerable enough to be violated.

The house they were staying in was truly magnificent, and the bedroom was perhaps the grandest room of them all. There was a large stone fireplace, marble floors, and all the furniture was made of deep cherry wood. There was a patio door that led straight to the beach, and there was a large mirror decorating the wall. Everything had its place, and though it hadn’t been used since the early 1990’s, it still had a comfortable, elegant feel to it. Scorpius took a moment to admire the great standing his family once held within the wizarding community before settling in to read the rest of the article. When he was finished, he felt more hopeful than before, but he knew that there was still a long road ahead of them.

He thought back to his time at Hogwarts, the crazy days that they were. Nate Longbottom had always been a jerk around the school. His father was a professor there, and one of the most highly regarded wizards of the time. Neville Longbottom had been a member of the storied Dumbledore’s Army and friend of Harry Potter, and Rose’s parents, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger Weasley. Nate was their only son, and he paraded it around the halls like he was some kind of royal prince. He was raised in the castle, and as such, he knew all the ins and outs of the corridors. Though his father had a rather gentle demeanor and kind disposition, Nate was hellfire. He would pull pranks on other students, and as a Gryffindor, it was just kind of expected. Every generation of Gryffindors had their resident pranksters, and Nate was one of them. He ran around with James Potter, and they had a grand time annoying every living creature at Hogwarts.

Scorpius wondered how James had taken to the news of Nate’s death. All the Potters must have been devastated. He sneered at the thought of the privileged Potter name and got up to ready himself for the day.

Rose was in the kitchen, sitting idly with her thoughts of Nate and their long lost friendship gone very sour. Nate had always hated Scorpius, even in their day in school. He had been a good friend of Rose. In their youth, they would sit around and dream big, impossible dreams. At Hogwarts, they had often studied together. She knew all his dreams, and the crazy aspirations that he had kept in the back of his mind for years. What a crazy boy he had been.

She felt like crying, but didn’t, because something was lurking in the back of her mind. Nate. His dreams. His hopes. His….

“Oh My God!” Rose exclaimed, rising quickly from the table. “Scorpius! I know where he’s hiding! I know where Nate is!”

***

Several quick raps on the door roused Draco from his sleep. Taking care not to awaken the beautiful creature that slept soundly beside him, he threw on a robe and left his bedroom, latching the door behind him. The strong knocks continued, and he was quite annoyed that someone found it necessary to disturb his peaceful Saturday morning. Sighing, he found the doorknob and pulled back the heavy door. His eyes narrowed as he gazed upon his unwelcome guest.

“You better have a bloody good excuse for waking me up at 7:30 in the morning, Weasley.

Hermione rolled her eyes at his childishness and invited herself inside, pushing her way past him.

“I think you’ll find your copy of the Daily Prophet quite interesting this morning, Malfoy,” she replied, plopping the paper down on an ornate table that decorated the massive entryway to the mansion.

“Why, nasty wizards keeping house elves abroad? Another disparaging article about the Malfoy name? A titillating article about your family and all that…wonderful work you do down at the ministry?” he sneered.

“No. Actually, it’s about your son and my daughter, and their little runaway escapade. I want to know if you know anything about it. Did they come to you for help?” she demanded.

“Well now, that’s really none of your business, is it, Weasley?”

“YES! Yes it is my business, Malfoy, because it is my daughter! Maybe your son put his little claws into her, but she is still my daughter, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let you keep secrets from me. Where are they?”

“Temper, temper, Weasley. And I don’t know where they are. Maybe they stopped by at one point, maybe they didn’t. That doesn’t mean they told me where they were headed.” He glared at her. “You have some nerve marching into my house, demanding things. I’m sure they are fine. Now why don’t you run along and go play house with your little husband.”

Hermione drew her wand and placed it on his throat, backing him into a corner.

“I swear to God, Draco Malfoy, if I find out you’ve been helping them, I will use my power at the ministry to bring you down once and for all.”

“Bring it on, Hermione. Bring on the big guns. I’m ready for the showdown.”

She disapparated quickly after that, and Draco knew that she would return, next time with her husband. Sighing, he went back into the bedroom, disrobed, and climbed back into bed with Astoria.

“Who was it?” she asked sleepily, smiling at him.

“Just a small annoyance, love. Go back to sleep for a while. I plan to do the same.” But he did not sleep, for he was transfixed by the memory of the deep sorrow lodged in Hermione Weasley’s eyes. As much as he despised her, she was suffering just like him. Their children’s lives were tangled in danger and possible despair, and that common link between them haunted him. She would be back, and next time, he wasn’t sure if he could keep the truth from a mother who was sick with worry, regardless of her surname.

***

A/N I know this chapter was thin on Rose/Scorpius, but I wanted to establish a little bit more background. It’s important to understand the kind of homes that our two love birds grew up in, so you can understand the choices that they made. Next chapter: The hunt for Nate begins, Draco may reveal something to the Weasleys, and Hugo might make an appearance. I say might because I haven’t even began to write it, as I’ve just finished this, but hey, we’ll see where the wind blows me! :)


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