Chapter 6 : Six.
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Everything you recognise is J.K's. The rest is mine!
It was dark outside when I opened the door to my flat. I lit some candles hurriedly and stashed my wand away before helping Lysander carry Scorpius into the living room. He slumped onto the sofa, his head lolling onto his chest. His eyes were closed and he was snoring gently. I got a glass of water and put it on the coffee table for him.
Lysander and I stood there for an age, just looking down at the miserable wreck in front of us. We watched as he twitched and mumbled incoherently in his sleep. His blonde hair fell into his eyes and for a moment he looked like a child, sleeping peacefully.
We had never seen him break down like this before. He was always so good at being the best friend, the constant and reliable one, and the person whose shoulder you always cried on. It was different. Now we were the ones who were meant to support him, to be there for him. It seemed that Lorcan was the one who held us together. Before he died, Scorpius was quietly happy, sure that Rose would leave Noah, knowing that one-day she might realise something. I doubted that he ever thought that Rose would marry him. I never thought that she would marry him. Maybe she had jumped into the marriage too hastily, after seeing what could happen to the ones we love.
I stole a glance at Lysander, who looked sheepishly back at me. Together we both looked back at Scorpius. Lysander’s hand automatically flew to his hair and he ran his fingers through it in an act of desperation. His eyebrows knitted together in thought.
Neither of us knew how to deal with a drunken Scorpius.
The blond man snored ungainly, and it seemed to break us from our reverie.
“I’ll get a hangover potion.”
“I’ll make the bed.”
I watched silently as Lysander made his way to the spare room, and when the door closed behind him, I turned towards the kitchen and towards the cupboard were I kept the general medicines. I plucked the blue vial from amongst the other bottles, pausing for a second as I saw Lorcan’s neat handwriting on the labels. I shut the door quickly, not letting myself be reminded of him when I was meant to be looking after Scorpius. I put the tiny bottle on the table.
That was when I saw it.
A white envelope lay on my kitchen table, dark blue ink on yellow parchment. My name was written in curvy, elegant handwriting. There was no address. I wondered how it had got on my table. I didn’t see Lysander pick it up, and usually my letters and newspapers lay in a towering pile of paper underneath the window from where the owl had dropped them. A majority of them were from the time after Lorcan’s death, from when I hadn’t done anything but cry and sleep. This one was different. The letters from work were usually stamped with some sort of official seal and the letters from family and friends were recognisable because of their handwriting. I turned it over in my hands and opened it. Inside was a single sheet of parchment, folded tightly.
Dear Miss Weasley,
In this letter, I send my commiserations and regret upon hearing the news of the late Lorcan Scamander. He was a trusted and accomplished young man in the field of healing, and I believe that St. Mungo’s has lost a very fine man.
I am also remorseful to discover that the Auror office has made you unemployed due to your possible involvement with the case concerning Mr. Scamander’s demise. However, it is regarding this that I am writing to you. I have a proposition. One of my employees has recently left my services due to unseen circumstances and we have already headhunted you as a possible candidate for the post.
I cannot tell you what the job would involve, as this letter may become lost in delivery. The operation we are running for the Ministry is top secret, and, should you decide to accept the position, an associate will come to you and discuss the matter with you in person.
Again, my sympathies concerning Mr. Scamander, and I do hope that you will accept the offer.
I turned quickly, crumpling the letter and hiding it behind my back. Lysander had returned from the spare room, a blanket clutched in his hands and his eyes wide. I could feel the smooth parchment in my fingers as he stared at me. I watched as he placed the sheets on the sofa and came over to me, his hands now gripping my arms. He was far too close to me. I could smell his aftershave.
“Are you alright?”
I smiled, and laughed breathily, pushing my strands of hair away from my face. My smile felt too large and fake to fit inside my cheeks.
“I’m fine, really.”
Lysander eyed me suspiciously again, but then his look softened, his lips twisting into a sad and sympathetic smile. He patted my shoulder consolingly, his smile turning patronising.
“Listen, Dom, I know its hard, it being Lorcan’s big day and all,” I scoffed incredulously but he interrupted me before I could speak, “but if you want to go to bed and be alone or something that is fine. I can look after Scorpius all by my myself.”
He said the last words with a hint of defiance and I couldn’t help but think that he was trying to prove himself.
“No, Lysander. I think I want the distraction.”
“Then I’ll go put him in the spare room. I’ll sleep on the sofa tonight.”
I nodded, watching carefully as he hauled Scorpius out of the living room with his arm slung around him, supporting him. I exhaled deeply, leaning against the table behind me. The letter from Iago Debole was still clutched in my hand, and, after checking Lysander and Scorpius were in the other room, I smoothed out the crumpled parchment, slumping into a seat.
I read it over and over again, inspecting every inch of the handwriting and the carefully crafted signature. I wondered where I had seen or heard the name before, my mind trawling through the hundreds and hundreds of records I had been ordered to file during my time at the Auror office. If Debole was leading a top secret Ministry organisation then surely the Aurors would know about it. I hardly doubted that my uncle or any of the top Auror employees would spill confidential information like that to a mere assistant, but some things do get filtered down through the system. You hear names, places and tiny snippets of mission plans. These points, admittedly, does not put the Auror office security in a good light, but nothing bad has happened. So far.
I flipped the paper over for a sign of a seal or mark depicting where the letter was sent from. I looked over the type of parchment and the envelope. There was nothing. It was bare. I re-read it. How did Iago Debole know that I had lost my job so soon after it happened? How come it was on my kitchen table instead of on the tottering pile of newspapers under my window? Had someone been in my flat?
I could hear Lysander struggling with Scorpius in the other room, and, for a second, it distracted me from the piece of paper that was in my hands. I decided that I didn’t have to worry about it that night. I threw it back onto the table and walked towards the spare room and opened the door as silently as I could. I leant my head in.
The room was dark, the curtains closed against the moonlight. Lysander had successfully managed to get Scorpius into the bed. The blonde man was breathing heavily, his chest rising and falling. His breathing was the only sound in the room.
Lysander sat on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands. The breath caught in my throat as I peered into the darkness, just watching him in the moment of silence. He looked so crushed, so dejected, and it scared me. I didn’t want to break the stillness. Lysander moved his hands up and down his face, as if ridding his skin of something. His fingers slid through his hair. I could see a single tear rolling down his cheek, and I wanted to cry. Lysander had broken. His brave face he had held before his brother’s death was crumbling, and now the intensity of it all was crashing down on him.
Lysander stood up, and pulled the covers over Scorpius. My hand slipped on the door handle, making it rattle. He turned to look at the door, and for a second, he realised that I was there. I pulled my head out of the room and shut the door quickly. I guessed he wanted his privacy.
I walked towards the kitchen again, purposely avoiding the letter on the table and reaching for the kettle. I filled it up and put it on the stove, and water boiling almost immediately. I waited nervously for Lysander to reemerge from Scorpius’ room. The time seemed to crawl by. I made a cup of tea, drank it, and then made another. I re-read the letter from Debole. I rearranged the pillows on the sofa. I was just looking at the photographs on the mantelpiece when Lysander came out.
We locked eyes for a second, and he smiled weakly at me. I returned the gesture.
“Tea?” I asked feebly. He nodded in agreement.
I set up two cups and placed them on the table, hurriedly sliding the letter underneath the Daily Prophet that Rose had left that morning. The article about her marriage to Noah was still visible. Lysander slumped into a chair, and pulled the newspaper towards him. I managed to grab the letter quickly enough for him to not see it. I didn’t know why I was trying to hide it from him. I knew that he would probably encourage me to take it. I wasn’t ready to do that.
Lysander read the article, and I saw his face grimace in disgust. He flung it back at me.
“Have you seen this?” He asked, with barely disguised disgust. I nodded.
“I really don’t know what she sees in him,” he continued, staring down at the picture of Rose and Noah.
“I do,” I said matter-of-factly, sipping from my cup of tea.
“Well you would, of course. He’s just like Lorcan.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” I retorted, leaning over to look at the picture again, “Lorcan was relatively nice,” I added sarcastically.
Lysander grumbled something incoherent, and opened up the paper to read the headline columns. I stared at him from over the rim of my mug.
“Do you miss him?” I asked him quietly. He put down the newspaper.
“Lorcan? Not really.”
I could tell that he was lying. His voice was fainter, less confident and his eyes were downcast. I leant over and took his hand in mine, and I smiled comfortingly up at him.
“It doesn’t matter if you do, Lysander.”
He seemed to take this as a personal insult and stood up hastily, the chair behind him falling to the floor. I recoiled my hand as Lysander walked over to the living room, his hands already threading themselves through his hair. He stared into the fire for a second, and his arms dropped to his sides.
“You always get so angry whenever I bring him up,” I said.
Lysander was silent, and moved his hand along the mantelpiece, looking at all the photographs. There were pictures of Lorcan and me: on holiday, at balls and at family Christmases at the Burrow. There was a photo of Rose, Scorpius and me with Noah and Lorcan. He moved it aside to reveal another photo frame behind it, covered in dust and cobwebs. It was small. He wiped it clean with his sleeve, and returned to the kitchen table. Pulling the fallen chair off the floor, he sat down and slid the picture over to me.
It was a picture of a young Luna, her long blonde hair blowing in the breeze. Rolf was standing at her side, tall and proud. Two small boys were wrestling at their feet. They were identical, both with dark brown hair and bright blue eyes. From a glance, you could tell which one was Lorcan. His shirt was tucked into his shorts, and his hair was parted neatly. Lysander was messy, with dirt on his bare knees and a rip in his jumper.
“I took a copy of it when I went travelling,” he said.
“When was this?” I asked quietly.
“When we were five,” he said. He smiled nostalgically, “Lorcan won the fight.”
I nodded, still entranced by how innocent the two boys looked. They had been friends then, I supposed, before they had both fallen in love with me. I knew that sounded selfish and horrible, but I knew that it was true. They were not friends because of me. I was the catalyst for their separation, and, even though their indifference was inevitable, I hated myself for that.
I replaced the photo to the mantelpiece, making sure it was at the front. He came and stood next to me.
“I’m sorry, Dom,” he said. It was quiet.
“For everything, and for this.”
He turned to face me, and I looked up at him, unsure what ‘this’ meant. I could see everything about him etched onto his face. I followed the contours of his face with my eyes: his dark hair, his stubble and his slightly freckled skin. His eyes were piercingly blue. He could have easily been his brother, alive and breathing and standing in front of me. I wished it was.
In a way, I wanted him to just leave me alone. Lysander should have just left, and then the thoughts might not have come back.
The journey from Luna’s house to the wood were we had caught the port key and the trip back to my flat had been spent recognising how close Lysander was when he stood next to me, or the way his arm muscles tensed as he heaved Scorpius up the stairs. I tried to avoid my eyes. I tried to think of Lorcan. I loved Lorcan. I loved Lorcan. The thoughts that I had decided to keep hidden, to disappear beneath the surface after that night when he had returned, had come back. That night my world had changed forever.
One of Lysander’s hands rose up and stroked my hair. I knew this was dangerous territory but I didn’t stop him. He rested his forehead against mine.
I watched his lips. They were unavoidable. My arms were still glued to my sides, but I could my fingers twitching towards his lean chest, his perfectly tousled hair, his rough, callused skin...
I closed my eyes forcefully. What was happening? Why wasn’t I stopping him? I could feel his breath playing on my lips and his nose bumped against mine. He just looked so much like him, like Lorcan. I suppose I got confused. I suppose I thought that Lorcan might have come back to me.
A shout interrupted us, and I felt my breath catch in my throat. Scorpius had woken up. I pulled myself away from Lysander. I wasn’t sure whether I grateful that Scorpius had shouted, and that unsettled me. Lysander’s hand caught mine, but I couldn’t look at him. I would realise that he was the wrong twin.
I pulled my hand out of his and almost ran into the next room, closing the door swiftly behind me. Scorpius was sitting up in the bed, looking confused. I leant against the door. I suddenly felt very tired.
“How much did I drink?” Scorpius asked, rubbing his eyes free of sleep. I smiled.
“Just a whole bottle of firewhisky. Rose was really impressed.”
Scorpius fell back onto the pillows, clutching his forehead and groaning.
“And are you alright?”
“I’m not sure.”
It's all coming along nicely now! The mystery side of the story will come in thick and fast in chapter 7. This chapter is sort of the boundary between Dom's grieving and the rest of the story. I'm afraid we won't be seeing any ScoRose for the next couple of chapter either. :(.
Check out my MTA page!
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