When I arrive back at the Common Room, I know something is different. It’s dark and the portrait of my Uncle Fred is smiling. I’m not sure why, but it creeps me out. You see, after Uncle Fred died in the Battle of Hogwarts, he became the portrait of the Gryffindor Tower. On my very first day, when I arrived at the portrait, the first thing I see is my dead Uncle laughing at me and the other first years.
It’s a very large portrait and the only other one I have seen is at Uncle George’s place, hanging in his study.
So to see Uncle Fred smiling, as if he knows a secret (and a delicious secret) can make you suspicious, even at the best of times. “Ah, young Hugo, my favourite nephew of all. How was the quack tonight?”
I laugh. Only Fred (apart from me) would call the shrink a quack.
“You say that to all your nephews Uncle Fred. I believe that about ten minutes ago you said the very same thing to Louis. And the quack was as he usually is. Wanting to talk about my feelings and the imaginary anger I seem to be bottling up inside.”
“Mmmmm, trust me. We Weasley’s can’t keep our anger in for long, so that guy has no idea. And, I never call Louis Weasley my favourite nephew. He is part Veela, and part Veelas are something you don’t mess with. If you were to get technical, James Potter is my favourite nephew. There is just something prankster like about him. Reminds me of myself and George when we were in our seventh year.”
“Uncle Fred, can I ask you a question?”
Uncle Fred looks at me for a minute, before nodding.
“Do you miss Rose?”
I see him turn away for a fraction of a second, as if expecting that question to come up.
“Hugo, why do you bring it up? Today of all days?”
“Because I miss her. There are times when I love her and there are times, like today, when I hate her. I hate her for leaving me with a broken family. And I hate her today, because she is not here to celebrate her own birthday.”
“Have you told the quack this? That you hate her?”
“He suspects, I know he does. Lately, he has been asking me that question a lot. I never give him a set answer.”
Uncle Fred just looks at me. I can tell he wants to cry, but he will wait until I have gone to do so.
“Just go inside Hugo.”
He swings open, not even waiting for the password. He does this most of the time to the Weasley’s. It isn’t like he gives us special treatment or anything; it’s just that he knows who we are. But when we are surrounded by others, he always asks for the password.
I cross over the threshold, the conversation still trying to find a place in my mind.
I had finally voiced what was troubling me. I told someone else that I hated my sister sometimes. I actually told someone that I blamed her for our broken family.
What I didn’t expect was a full blow party taking place inside. I know it was Lily’s idea; every party is her idea. Parties are the only thing (apart from the hair and eyes) that Lily and James have in common. The funny thing: neither Uncle Harry nor Aunt Ginny had parties like this back in their school days. Then again, my generation doesn’t have the threat of war hanging over our shoulders.
Over the last couple of days – and I’m not sure if it was me being paranoid or not – Lily and Louis have been sneaking off and having conversations that happen to stop when I get there.
When this happened, I always thought it was Lily talking about another boy she is intending to shag. Or perhaps Louis has his eye on someone. But, I never saw this coming. Sure there have been parties organized by Lily before (at least three a month), but to celebrate Rose’s birthday; this wasn’t what I was expecting.
“Hugo! You’re here!”
The voice belongs to a very drunk Lily Potter. Typical, it is only eight thirty and she is already pissed. How Uncle Harry doesn’t know of Lily’s activities, I will never know.
“Lily; already hitting the Firewhiskey are you?”
I see her stumble a bit, before strong hands wrap around her waist. Eric Danwin is holding her tightly, looking into her eyes. He is a seventh year and a Slytherin. I don’t have anything against the Slytherins, really. Rose herself was a Slytherin and I loved her, so why would I have something against the rest of them. I only had something against this guy.
When hiding from people you tend to hear a lot of gossip not intended for your ears. Let’s just say that I know for a fact (after seeing it a fair few times) that Danwin was a man-whore, who has already shagged (within my ear shot), about ten girls – this month.
So, as you could guess, I didn’t want to see his hands on my cousin’s waist. Lily didn’t deserve to become number eleven.
“Oops, watch it there Lily. Don’t want to get hurt now would we?”
He shoots her a smile, teasing her. I see Lily blush. Oh Merlin, someone save her. Where is James or Albus Potter when you need them?
She’s batting her eye lashes. Merlin, she knows how to get a man.
I see him release her, ever so slowly. His fingers brush over her arm, before he leans in and whispers something into her ear. As he is leaving, I see Lily giggle. Lily Potter giggling?
“How much have you had Lily?”
I don’t want to be a nag. I never was before, but I don’t want to see someone else I love getting hurt.
“Only about...” I see her stop. She looks down at her hands and starts to count. “Six. No, wait. Maybe nine. Yeah, that’s it, nine.”
She turns pale, swaying slightly to the side. I know what is going to happen next. It always does.
I rush forward and wrap my arms around her, leading her out of the Common Room and into the corridor. I hear Uncle Fred yell out to us, telling us to stay out of sight. Nine o’clock (and curfew) passed without me even knowing. But I had to help Lily, like I have done for Rose many times. I lead her to the Prefect bathroom, knowing that a good bath will help her.
The water rushes out of the taps, while I help Lily undress until she is only in her underwear. Its sounds gross that I’m helping her, but it isn’t like I’m looking. Plus, I’ve had to do this before.
After all the parties that Rose went to, I just got use to having to help her sober up. It wasn’t easy having a sister like Rose, but I loved her so much that I didn’t want her to feel the wrath of our father.
When Ronald Weasley is hungry and tired, it isn’t a smart idea to wake him up by falling over your feet. So, I took it upon myself to help Rose have a bath, wash her hair and then crawl into bed. I never hated her for it; I did it out of love.
I help Lily into the bath. She sits on the edge, the water covering her body. I don’t help her take her underwear off, she does that herself.
She slips slightly into the bath, but I grab her before she can slip beneath the water, into her death sentence. “I’m sorry Hu; I wasn’t thinking.”
I nod, although she can’t see me. There are times when she doesn’t think, just acts.
She reminds me of Rose.
The water brushes over her red hair and I think of the many times I did this for Rose, here and at home. Every simple thing I do now, reminds me of her.
It takes a while to help Lily back to the Common Room. It’s been well over an hour since we had left and the party had grown in size. The word had got out about it.
The staircase to the Girl’s Dormitory is blocked from anyone that is not a female. There are times, in case of an emergency that a male can walk up the stairs. If it isn’t, the stairs will turn into a slide. The only person over the last few years to try this was James Potter, back in his seventh year. Let’s just say, James Potter never tried THAT again.
Lily was murmuring beside me, pushing herself away to re-join the party. I tightened my grip on her waist, leading her closer to the staircase.
One foot after the other – and thankfully without sliding down – I helped Lily into her dorm room. I have never been inside the girl’s dorm before. Whenever Rose got pissed, she always had one of her tarty friends around to help her. I guess, at school, no matter how much Rose might have loved me, I was always the less important child; too below her for her to worry about.
It sounds wrong, but it is usually how things are done at Hogwarts.
Lily’s eyes are closed as I help her into her bed. I brush a strand of red hair out of her eyes and leave the room. I’m half way down the stairs when I see a figure sitting on the steps facing the opposite wall. From here, I can tell it is a male.
His blond hair is hanging over his eyes and he looks as if he doesn’t really want to be here, but has somehow ended up here.
His grey eyes have no emotion, just grey pools of nothing.
I don’t know if I should be surprised at his appearance at the party. Through-out his years at Hogwarts, he was well known for his appearance at parties.
Over the last few days, I have avoided him like a bad smell. I don’t want the memories of Rose following me everywhere. Avoiding him is hard, considering he is my professor. I haven’t even told Lily and Louis that he is here, although I suspect that they know, considering how often they stop talking when I come up to them.
The Scorpius Malfoy that I know, is no more.
My first instinct is to bolt. Just run back up the staircase fast and get as far away as I can, as if my life depends on it. But considering that I am standing on the staircase up to the girl’s dormitory, I have no choice but to head down the stairs. I hesitantly walked towards him, hoping that he won’t notice me.
It doesn’t work. I am mere meters from him, when he speaks. It is barely a whisper, just a croaking whisp, but I still hear it.
“Hugo, we need to talk. Please, sit.”
Not once, has he ever used my real name. It is always Weasel, or lately, Mr Weasley.
I shrug, even though I know he can’t see it. I don’t want to stop and talk, I just want to get out of this hell that I have somehow been placed in.
“Do I need to make it an order? Trust me; I don’t want to be a teacher when I don’t have to be.”
It takes all of my strength to lower myself to the ground. It feels awkward, like something we swore mentally to never talk about, is about to be spoken.
“Rose and I use to always sit here during parties. It was our spot; the one place we couldn’t be disturbed, or even laughed at. Being a Malfoy is more than it is cracked up to be. All the money in the world can’t make you happy; or take away the pain. She understood my world Hugo; and she made me understand hers. We were fire and ice, but we made it work. I loved her with all of my heart; and like you, I lost her.”
I stare at him, wondering if tears will reach his eyes. But, when he turns and smiles at me, I know he is passed all that. He has accepted it quicker than I have.
“How are you?”
The words are barely audible, but I hear them. By far, this is the strangest conversation I have had in a long time.
I know he won’t believe it, but somehow, I know he won’t press the matter any further.
For a long time we just sit in silence. I’m not sure what is keeping me here. Maybe just the comfort of knowing that somehow, apart from family, loved her.
Five minutes passed before I see him stand up. He looks down at me, before reaching into the bag on his shoulder and holding out a red book. It is just a small, leather-bound book, with red roses filling the cover. I immediately think of Rose.
I reach up for the book, unsure of what to think. “What is this?”
He looks down on me, his eyes no longer blinking. “Her diary. It was in the back-pack she left at my house on that, on that – “He stops, shaking his head. “It is hers and it is personal, and I didn’t want the Auror’s to get their hands on it. Nothing in there would have helped them; at least nothing that they didn’t know already. And plus, it wasn’t their business either.”
He is staring at the book in my hands, deep in thought. “Why didn’t you give it to us earlier?”
“I didn’t want your parents to have it; there was stuff in there that she didn’t want them to see. So I kept it. But now, I want you to have it.”
He’s walking away, unable to stare at the book, or me, any longer.
I watch him turn around, as if he was expecting it.
He looks at me and smiles. “I think that you should get to know her. Maybe, see deeper into the world that she never let you into for your own protection.”
“But I did know her! I do know her!”
I stand up quickly and try to push passed him. He reaches out and grabs my arm, pulling me back.
“You didn’t know her Hugo! You didn’t know her fully. There are things, in there –“
“Did you read it?” I watch as he nods. “You had no right! It wasn’t yours to read!”
I try harder to push passed him, this time succeeding. Just as I reach the doorway to the Common Room, where the music is much louder, I turn to face him. I look at his faded clothes that hang loosely on his body, and his fading eyes. “You’re not supposed to read other people’s diaries.”