Chapter 6 : A Respite of Sorts
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That was fine by Scorpius.
The Gryffindor Quidditch team was angry with James, but since he was the newest member of the team, they easily found another person to take his place.
Justine, Scorpius, and Cornelius were now taking part in Hufflepuff Quidditch practice once a week. They couldn’t do any more than that, without violating the rules. Also, Garridan only had them taking part in drills; zigzag races around the pitch, passing quaffles, etc. The only time they ever played a game was after a Quidditch match; when no other team would want the pitch.
Ravenclaw flattened Slytherin in the middle of November. Scorpius and Justine were filled with glee.
“Don’t you two get started,” demanded Cornelius in response to their Slytherin jeers, “now you are treating them the way that they treat you. The same way that James treated you. I thought you were above that?”
Feeling sufficiently admonished, Scorpius conceded. “I suppose you are right—but when do I get my break?”
“What the blazes do you mean?”
“I’ve been the subject of ridicule, disdain of the Slytherins since my sorting. Most Gryffindors and anyone else who was on Harry Potter’s side during the war still accuse me of at least being a snob and at most engaging in the Dark Arts. Throughout all of it I’m expected to not ever react. When do I get to be…?” He stuttered, suddenly at a loss with what he really wanted to say.
Justine and Cornelius were looking at him with surprise. “I say, Scorpius that was a bit...” He looked to Justine for help.
“…emotional.” She concluded.
“What brought this on?”
Justine guffawed and lightly punched Scorpius’ shoulder. “Knock it off; you are sounding like a girl.”
Christmas was fast approaching. Trees adorned the Great Hall in abundance. Every evening the ceiling of the Hall was enchanted to look like snow was constantly falling. The night before Christmas Break, the trio lingered in the Great Hall chatting with Kavi and Tarani.
“What are everyone’s big plans for the Holidays?” Inquired Kavi.
Cornelius groaned, “I’m going with my family to my Grandmother’s house in Bermuda.”
The group was silent. “Why in the world are you upset at going to the beach?” Justine asked incredulously.
He blushed, “Christmas just isn’t the same when it’s 80 degrees and you are on the beach. That scene is more appropriate for Easter Holidays.”
Justine laughed, “You are such a purist, Cornelius.”
“That’s why we love you,” chimed in Tarani. “What’s your family doing, Scorpius?”
“We usually spend Christmas in Prague or St. Petersburg.”
“Do you enjoy that?” Kavi asked.
Scorpius paused a moment before replying. “Yes,” he said, finally. “Dad is a lot happier in Eastern Europe and my parents usually throw a smashing New Year’s Eve party and New Year’s Day brunch with a lot of big names from Quidditch.”
Justine and Cornelius’ jaws dropped to the floor. “Can we come too?”
Scorpius laughed, “I’ll work on it.” He continued, “What does your family do, Tarani?”
“We usually get together with Kavi’s family.” He nodded in assent. “There is always a lot of football and quidditch talk.”
Justine laughed with the rest of them and then the crowd on the other side of the hall caught her attention. “Sweet Merlin,” she said, “Is that the Potter-Weasley clan?
Everyone looked over. Sure enough, on the far side of the hall, the entire Potter-Weasley family congregated. Most of them were Gryffindors, but there were at least two who were Ravenclaws.
“Holy cow,” observed Justine, “They are all redheads except for James and Al.” She stopped for a moment, “So all of the Weasleys ARE redheads.”
“What in the blazes is THAT supposed to mean?” Scorpius asked.
“Nothing really,” Justine answered, “I’m just making an observation.
“Please, no more stereotypes,” Scorpius insisted.
“Don’t forget that Victoire and Dominique are blondes.” Cornelius observed.
“Are we finished analyzing the Weasley clan?” Scorpius looked over to the group. James was sitting off to the side, separate from the group. “Hey, Jussy, James is looking at you.”
She scoffed, “Are you sure he’s not just giving our group the evil eye?”
He laughed, “Well I’d expect that to be the case if he was looking at me, but he’s definitely looking at you.”
“He probably still can’t believe that a girl got the best of him.”
“We’re all sitting together on the train tomorrow, right?” Kavi looked around the group, questioningly.
“Of course, mate.”
Scorpius had a blast on the train. He laughed and joked with his friends. Inside he was slightly worried about the break. He was used to the boisterousness of the Hufflepuffs and his friends. His home life, in spite of what he told them the night before, was very different. Besides, he and his father hadn’t really spoken since that day in the Headmistress’ office.
Astonishingly, Draco was the one to meet him at the Platform. He was dressed in his usual black. “Hello Father,” Scorpius greeted him formally, shaking his hand.
“Hello Scorpius.” He looked around to the group that stood hesitantly behind his son. “Will you introduce me to your friends?”
"Of course, father. Let me introduce you to Cornelius Fairbotham, Justine Finch-Fletchley, Kavi Strauss, and Tarani Philips.” Draco nodded politely to the girls and shook hands with Cornelius and Kavi.
“We should go, Scorpius. Our Portkey to Prague leaves in 5 minutes.”
“Yes, Father.” With one last look at his friends he followed Draco.
The Portkey turned out to be a coat hanger left on one of the chairs in the waiting room. Scorpius sat next to his father watching the other students and their parents take their turns walking through the brick wall that separated Platform 9 ¾ from the muggle world. He saw Albus Potter walking with a little red-haired girl. That must be Lily, he thought.
“That Justine girl is pretty,” Draco said, out of the blue.
“Huh, well yes, I guess so,” replied Scorpius. “I never really thought of her that way.”
“She’s not your girlfriend?” He inquired.
Scorpius shook his head. “No father, she’s just my friend.”
“Hmm…look it’s time to go.” The hanger began to glow and both reached for it just in time.
Moments later they arrived at their flat in Prague. Christmas smells of Billie’s excellent cooking greeted them immediately. Billie herself came running in from the kitchen to take care of Master Draco and Master Scorpius’ things. “Miss Astoria is taking tea in the library, sirs. Your room is all set for you Master Scorpius.” Both men went in search of Astoria.
She greeted them warmly. First she kissed her husband and then enveloped Scorpius in a warm hug. “Darling Scorpius, it’s so wonderful to see you! Tell me everything about school.”
He sat down across from her and proceeded to talk about school. She listened avidly while Draco poured a firewhiskey for himself.
“How’s the Quidditch team doing?” Draco asked when there was a lull in the conversation.
Scorpius turned sheepish, “Well, the Hufflepuff team is struggling, but they’re working on it.” He brightened up, “Garridan has had Jussy, Cornelius and I train regularly with them. There’s a good chance all three of us will be on the team next year.”
Astoria smiled proudly.
“What about this year?” Draco’s face was slightly pink in reaction to the firewhiskey.
“First years aren’t allowed on their house teams.”
“They bend the rules when they want to. St. Potter was on the team in his first year.”
What could he say? He knew that his father was speaking the truth. He also realized that the school was not going to bend the rules for the son of a former death eater the way they would for the Boy-Who-Lived.
“How is your schoolwork?” Draco continued.
“I’m doing very well father. I’ve received all Outstandings and Exceeds Expectations.”
“Are you the best in your year?”
“No,” he replied, falteringly, “it’s pretty much a tie between Rose Weasley and I.”
Draco scoffed, “She must be a know-it-all like her mother.”
Astoria intervened, “We’re very proud of you Scorpius. You’ve done well.” After a moment, Draco nodded.
“What are your best subjects?” He went on.
“I suppose its Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
Draco nodded, “Potions was always one of my best, too. Is Cornelius your Potions partner?”
“No, he’s Justine’s partner. I’m with…” He paused, unsure whether to tell the truth or lie.
“Go on, dear,” encouraged Astoria.
“Albus Potter is my partner.”
Draco, who unfortunately had been taking another swig of firewhiskey, coughed uncontrollably. “How in the blazes were you matched with a Gryffindor?”
How to explain? “Father, it just happened. It’s not that big of a deal!” He insisted.
Draco looked as if he would burst. Scorpius wanted to sink into his chair. Billie entered the room. “Dinner is ready, Miss Astoria.”
“Thank you, Billie. Boys, I think it’s time to move on.” Astoria ordered.
Draco left right after dinner, claiming to “run some errands for Christmas.” Astoria offered to play cards with Scorpius, but he wasn’t in the mood. He returned to the library and buried himself in a book. She sat with him for a while, but sensing his need to be alone she shortly left him for her studio in the back of the flat.
Well after midnight Scorpius set down his book. Already he missed his friends more than he thought he would. He realized then how much they were together. With the exception of sleeping and the bathroom, Cornelius, Justine and Scorpius were constantly together. The 3 of them rarely went anywhere without each other.
How am I going to make it until January? He thought. Then it hit him, how am I going to make it through the summer holidays? Maybe they could devise some sort of a plan.
Sighing, he put his book back on the shelf and made his way to his room. Walking down the hall he passed the living room. Glancing inside he saw the main living area was dark except for the light from the fireplace. His father sat on the sofa holding Astoria on his lap. They were murmuring quietly. Neither one of them were aware of his presence. Scorpius was about to speak when he saw his father begin kissing his mother very passionately.
Blushing, he tiptoed down the hallway to his room and quietly closed his door.
Billie had already emptied his trunk and put away his things. Everything in his room was in neat and precise order. He noticed his mother had redecorated. Before, everything was done in green, black and silver, in preparation for what was expected of a Malfoy. Now everything was done in Gold and Black. He smiled in thought of his mother’s kindness.
He sat down on the bed not knowing what to do. He didn’t think he could sleep. The thought of going into the kitchen to get some food was appealing, but then he’d have to walk through the living room. He didn’t really want to think about what was going on there.
Shrugging his shoulders he pulled out his schoolbooks and started on homework.
Christmas Day came and went in the Malfoy household. Scorpius received a new broom from his parents and the chance to attend an international quidditch camp in Bucharest over the summer.
Draco gave Astoria a goblin-made necklace and earrings. She gave him a custom-made leather folio and desk set. “You are an artist, darling,” and kissed her in thanks.
“Scorpius, we are forgoing the New Year’s Party this year.” Draco announced to Scorpius' shock. “I’m taking your mother out for the evening. On New Year’s day we’ve been invited to the Krum’s’ for brunch.”
Scorpius was surprised.
“You’ll be able to entertain yourself, won’t you darling?” His mother asked.
“I’ll be fine, mother,” he replied. There’s always more schoolwork, he thought.
He actually wasn’t disappointed in the change. The New Year’s parties always included the Zabini’s, Nott’s, and the Parkinson-Jones crowd and he wasn’t in the mood to be with them. Although, he thought, it’s been lonely.
“Ah, the post is here,” observed Draco.
The usual owls came delivering the Daily Prophet and other mail for his parents. This time they were accompanied by a brown speckled owl they had never seen.
“I believe it’s for you, Scorpius.”
Sure enough, the owl landed right in front of Scorpius and held out his leg. He recognized the handwriting at once—“It’s from Cornelius,” he exclaimed.
Mum and Dad got me an owl for Christmas! Isn’t that fantastic? His name is Ennis. I hope you are having a nice break with your family. How many famous Quidditch players have you met yet? Listen, if you are bored with your glamorous life and can find a way to get here, Mum and Dad would like to invite you for New Year’s. Our plans to Bermuda were changed, so we are still in England. We aren’t going to do much, just make pizza and have a late night scrabble. I know it’s not as exciting as what you do, but it would be great if you could join us. You could experience how muggles live! Alright, so that is lame, but know you are welcome. Jussy is invited as well. It turns out she doesn’t live too far from us so her Dad is going to drive her over and pick her up after midnight.
Send a reply with Ennis—even if it is no.
“Mum, Dad, since you are going out for New Year’s could I go to Cornelius’?” Briefly he explained the invitation. “Would Billie be able to apparate me there and back?”
“Why can’t you floo?” Draco asked.
“Cornelius’ parents are muggles.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize Cornelius is muggleborn.”
Scorpius waited. “Yes, Scorpius, you may go. Billie will take you,” Astoria consented.
Draco didn’t say anything.
Mum says I can go. This is brilliant! They are going out for New Year’s anyway. To answer your question, no, I haven’t met any quidditch players yet this break. However, we are due at the home of Victor Krum for brunch on New Year’s day.
Billie will apparate me there and back. Looking forward to meeting your parents and seeing you and Jussy.
A/N: This is a bit of a filler chapter--I'm trying to display some family dynamics and create more of a picture of why Scorpius and Draco are the way there are. Look for a sharp contrast with Cornelius' family in the next chapter.
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