I’m pacing the waiting room outside Tom’s office, wondering just what the hell he could have on Daisy. Of course I always knew there was something fishy about her. After all, she showed up out of nowhere, basically, and all of a sudden she and Scorpius are married? Perhaps she’s an illegal immigrant, and Scorpius married her so she could stay in the country. And then he taught her how to speak with an English accent...despite the fact that he has a Scottish accent and his English accent is actually quite poor...
Okay, well there’s that scenario out the window.
Perhaps she has children of her own somewhere? Maybe she was married before and she left her husband to marry Scorpius – only she didn’t actually divorce her husband and now she’s a bigamist! And she’ll have to go to prison and her marriage to Scorpius will have been a sham all along!
I really do watch too many Muggle soaps.
Maybe she’s a murderer on the run and she changed her name to Daisy. I mean, she could hardly have been named ‘Daisy’ at birth. Although if she is a murderer I doubt Tom would have called me to tell me – I imagine he would have just contacted the Ministry.
Then it hits me – what if she’s having an affair? What if Tom has discovered that Daisy is having an affair with someone, and he knows that this will inevitably destroy Scorpius’s ‘safe stable home’ argument? It would be too perfect. I would no longer have to feel guilty about kissing Scorpius at the wedding, because Daisy would be responsible for the disintegration of their marriage, not me.
But I can’t help having a worrying feeling in the pit of my stomach. This woman has been in contact with my child for the last three months, maybe even longer, and there is so much I don’t know about her. What if she’s dangerous? How could I have been so stupid to just trust Scorpius’s judgment of her when he has made some disastrous decisions in the past? Maybe I am a bad mother after all, allowing a perfect stranger to look after my son so often.
Tom opens the door of his office and beckons me inside. I’m starting to feel nervous now.
“How’re you today then Rose?” Tom tries to make small talk.
“Just tell me,” I demand, “I’ve been going over this in my head nonstop since yesterday – please, just cut to it.”
Tom nods. “Have a seat.”
I do as instructed, fold my arms, and wait for it. This chair is so bloody old and uncomfortable, but I barely even notice.
“Right…in our last meeting you told me you didn’t know much about Daisy,” Tom recollects.
“Yes,” I say, feeling so ashamed of myself.
“Tell me, do you know her maiden name?”
I pause for a moment, and realise that I don’t even know that much about her. Did I really think knowing as little about her as possible would make a difference? She’s not just going to disappear.
“No, I don’t,” I admit, looking down at my lap.
“Scorpius never mentioned it?”
“I never asked. I try to have as little to do with her as possible.”
Tom nods again.
“What is it, Tom?” I ask, “Is she…dangerous?” I will never forgive myself for this. How I wish I had done some digging of my own when she first came crashing into our lives.
Tom doesn’t answer straight away. Instead he flicks through some papers on his desk, and pulls out a sheet of parchment. “I have an old friend at the Ministry who owed me a favour. I asked him to do a background check on Daisy Malfoy. ‘Course he couldn’t find a Daisy Malfoy, mainly because she hasn’t officially changed her name yet.” He stops looking at the piece of parchment. “I’m sorry Rose, I never offered you a cup of tea –”
“Forget the tea!” I snap, “What did your friend at the Ministry find out?”
Tom grins to himself, leading me to believe that he only offered me tea to wind me up. “Mrs Malfoy’s maiden name before she got married was Peters. Diane Peters.”
“Diane?” I ask in confusion.
“Daisy is a nickname she took on when she was at Hogwarts,” Tom explains.
“Oh.” Really, she could have picked a better name. Daisy is her name by choice. “Well, lots of people go by different names than their Christian one. How is this going to help my case?”
Tom looks at me darkly. “She wasn’t always Diane Peters either.”
“Peters is her mother’s name. Lyla Peters was a pureblood witch, died when Diane – well, Daisy – was only nine. Had to go live with foster parents after that.”
“What about her father?”
“Well, that’s the thing,” says Tom, his face getting darker and darker, “He couldn’t very well take care of her from Azkaban.”
“Azkaban!” I exclaim, “Her father was in Azkaban?”
“Until just a few years back when he finally kicked the bucket,” Tom tells me, “About time and all. See Rose, before Daisy Malfoy and before Diane Peters, she was called Diane Dolohov.”
The name makes my heart stop dead in my chest. I don’t have to ask what the significance of this is. I don’t even have to ask if it’s the same Dolohov I’m thinking of, because I can tell by the look on Tom’s face. Daisy’s father was one of the Voldemort’s most devoted followers. Antonin Dolohov was a Death Eater.
Antonin Dolohov killed Teddy’s dad.
“She’s the illegitimate daughter of Antonin Dolohov,” Tom clarifies unnecessarily, “Conceived after Dolohov and the other Death Eaters escaped from Azkaban in 1996. Doubt he ever even knew about her, to be honest.”
I take a moment to process this. There is absolutely no way this can be true. I know she’s a cow, but she couldn’t possibly be Dolohov’s daughter! How could Scorpius take up with the Dolohov’s daughter? Dolohov was up there with the worst of the Death Eaters, like Avery and Nott and Mulciber and Malfoy –
Then I remember that I too took up with the child of a Death Eater. And that my son is the grandson of a former Death Eater.
“With all due respect,” I begin, “It’s not going to come as a shock to the Wizengamot that Aidan has been living with the daughter of a Death Eater – his surname may be Weasley, but Aidan’s just as much a Malfoy.”
Tom leans forward, placing his elbows on his desk. “Rose, I’m well aware of Scorpius’s background. And I’m not saying the Malfoys were angels, but at least they redeemed themselves. Dolohov was scum to the bitter end.”
“But will that really make a difference? She’s not her father.”
“Apples and trees,” Tom shrugs, “Dolohov murdered Remus Lupin.” I nod sadly. Anger bubbles up inside me for all the pain Dolohov has caused Teddy over the course of his life. “And don’t forget he killed your grandmother’s two brothers during the First War. Fabian and Gideon Prewett were two great wizards – won’t see the likes of them again. And he tried to kill your parents on several occasions.”
“A lot of people tried to kill my parents,” I point out. Even I’ve tried to kill my parents.
“Really, Rose, how good is it going to look to the Wizengamot that Daisy has not only been lying about who she is, but that she is the daughter of one of the most evil wizards of the last hundred years? A wizard who killed members of your family, and seriously hurt hundreds? Do you really think the Wizengamot would place a child in the custody of two children of Death Eaters?”
I can suddenly see why Mum thinks Tom is such a good lawyer – he is absolutely ruthless. I can’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable with all of this. I know Scorpius, and while he can be an utter prick at times, I would never imply that there is any kind of evil in him. Merlin knows we can’t choose our parents. And while I can’t stand Daisy, I know she can’t be evil either. Not truly evil. Not evil enough to kill someone in cold blood, as her father did so many times.
“I told you I’d win this case for you Rose,” Tom says, “Question is, are you going to let me?”
My head is buzzing by the time I get home from work. Since lunchtime, all I can think of is Dolohov. I’ve seen pictures of him in the Daily Prophet when they do war specials every year. Such a horribly ugly man, with a pale and daunting face. The thought of him is enough to make me feel sick. And as much as I want to hate Daisy, I can’t help but feel sorry for her. I don’t think I could live with myself if I had a father who had committed so many atrocities – but then again, I’m used to being the daughter of a national hero, so maybe that makes me conceited.
“Mum, how do you spell ‘bark’? I want to write that my dog Ollie likes to bark,” Aidan asks from the floor of the living room, where he is doing his homework. I’ve asked him a million times to do it at the kitchen table, but there’s no talking to him. He prefers to lie on the floor doing it so he can pet Ollie at the same time. I’m not in the mood to argue with him.
“B-A-R-K,” I tell him slowly, keeping an eye on how he’s writing his letters. Brian told me I should watch him when he’s writing in case he gets the letters mixed up. “Bloody right she likes to bark. Kept me up all last night.” Really, Ollie wasn’t that noisy. I just heard her whimpering to go outside, so I brought her out in my dressing gown. I was awake anyway. I’m nearly always awake these days.
“Dad says he hears her barking too when we stay at his house. I don’t hear her, I think you’re lying,” Aidan says, kicking his legs behind him as he scribbles. Sounds like Scorpius isn’t getting much sleep these days either.
“Lies are naughty,” I remind him. Oh how hypocritical we parents are.
“Sally at school got into trouble for telling lies today,” Aidan tells me, “She said that she ate all her lunch but then teacher found her sandwiches under her chair. And she said she done her homework –”
“Did,” I correct him, “Not done.”
I sound like my mother. I think I can even feel my hair getting bushier.
“She said she did her homework but then teacher checked and she didn’t do it at all.”
“Silly girl,” I tell him, “Homework is very important.” Not that what they get to do is really homework. Their homework for today was to do three sums and write four sentences on their pet.
“Teacher sent a note home to Sally’s Mum.” God, hearing gossip from five-year-olds really is quite boring.
Aidan’s rambling about his day is interrupted by Dom, who apparates right into the sitting room. That girl really has absolutely no manners, which is surprising considering her parents were always quite strict.
“Evening, Blondie,” Dom greets Aidan, who sticks his tongue out at her, “Rose, you’d want to put manners on that lad.”
“Aidan, be polite,” I warn him.
“Hello Dom,” Aidan greets her in a dull voice. Ollie goes crazy sniffing around Dom for a few minutes, until Aidan takes her into his room for a while so that I can talk to Dom in private. I had considered telling nobody about what Tom told me, but I just can’t keep it to myself. And I know that Dom won’t tell anyone if I make her promise not to. And on top of that, I really need to know what to do. Really, does Daisy’s background really matter?
“I have to tell you something,” I begin.
“Right, but before you do, I have to tell you something,” Dom interrupts me. “There’s going to be a debate in the Ministry on Friday evening between Percy and your mum. The whole family have to go, according to Nana Molly, and none of us can take sides. Except that we’ve all sided with your mum. Obviously.”
“Oh...couldn’t you have told me that over the phone?” I ask, wondering why Mum didn’t tell me. She’s probably been so busy with her campaign – I wonder if Dad’s still alive.
“Probably could have, but then how would we eat these?” She pulls a box of chocolates out of her bag, grinning. How I hate how skinny she is and how much she eats. “Brian gave them to me.”
We scoff chocolate as I tell her about what happened with the solicitor, swearing her to secrecy. She looks so shocked when I tell her, more shocked than I expected. Usually I’m the one who makes a big deal out of everything – am I just under thinking this?
“Dolohov’s daughter?” Dom gasps, “I knew there was something off about her. I wonder does Scorpius know? There’s no way that woman can be let near your son ever again!”
“Well, I don’t know if Scorpius knows...it’s not like she ever knew her father. I mean, it’s not her fault...we can’t choose our parents...”
“Rose,” Dom holds a hand up to stop me talking, “You cannot be serious. How can you defend her? She’s the daughter of a Death Eater!”
“Yes, and Scorpius is the son of one,” I remind her.
“And I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him,” says Dom defiantly, reminding me of my dad. “I can’t believe you’re even considering not bringing this up in the custody battle. It just proves that you don’t know anything about Daisy, or Diane or whoever the hell she is this week!” She sighs and takes a deep breath. “Rose, I’m sorry, but this is huge.”
“Why is it so huge? It’s not like she committed any murders –”
“That you know of.”
“I want to hate her, Dom. I want a legitimate reason to hate her. I’m not sure that this reason is legitimate.”
Dom looks so angry, it scares me. She is being so irrational. Or am I being irrational? I have absolutely no idea what the right reaction is. Maybe if Daisy had been raised by Dolohov, or if she showed signs of being pure evil instead of just a bit of a bitch, then maybe I could understand where Dom is coming from.
“Her father is the reason Remus Lupin is dead,” Dom tells me firmly. Once again, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. “Do you think Teddy would be quite as understanding as you? Or Nana Molly for that matter? Or Uncle Harry? Or your parents?”
“I hate her father,” I tell Dom, “I really do. Just like I hate Draco Malfoy’s father. And like I hate all Death Eaters. But like I said, we can’t choose our parents...”
“Stop being so rational!” Dom yells, “Just stop! Dolohov put our family through hell and you know it! And if you’re not against his family, then you’re against ours.”
With that, she leaves. I feel like she’s slapped me. I’m not a traitor, but I feel like blaming Daisy for something she can’t control is wrong. If I thought she was in support of her father’s actions, I would have no problem agreeing with everything Dom said. But maybe she’s just like Scorpius, born into a family with a bad reputation and trying to get along in life. Mum has always taught me that we shouldn’t judge people by their family’s actions, but by their own. Dad always taught me that all Malfoys are gits.
No wonder I’m so bloody confused.
On Friday, we all gather at the Ministry of Magic to attend Mum’s debate against Uncle Percy. There are so many important figures from the magical community here – former Ministers, Quidditch officials, top Aurors (led by Uncle Harry, of course), Hogwarts Headmaster Professor Flitwick, and other professors, Healer Wharton from St Mungo’s, all of the Wizengamot. Then there are countless reporters all gathered at the front of the stage, where there are two podiums set up, one with the initials HW, the other PW.
As instructed by Nana Molly, all of the family are here. It’s the first time I’ve seen Al and Jenny since they returned from their honeymoon – Al waves at me, while Jenny sits two rows away and pretends she didn’t see me. How petty. Hugo and I sit up at the very front beside Dad, and right across from Audrey, Molly and Lucy. Lucy waves kindly to us – thank God one of them is a Weasley, I was getting worried about that family. Most of the family sit behind us, showing that they are definitely supporting Mum. Nana Molly, however, says absolutely nothing, and chats to both Mum and Uncle Percy before the debate begins.
Across the way, I notice that the Scamanders are here too, and Luna gives me a very dreamy wave when I accidentally catch her eye. And behind them are a family I never expected to be here – the Malfoys. Draco, Astoria, Scorpius and Daisy are all sitting together. I wonder who they’ll vote for. I would have thought they’d hate Uncle Percy just as much as Mum.
“There’s Dad and Daisy! Can I go over and say hello?” Aidan asks me excitedly, having spotted them too. “And Grandma and Grandad Draco too!”
“We can say hello to them after your Nana speaks, ok?” I tell him. I can almost feel Dom shooting me daggers, but I know she hasn’t told anybody about Daisy’s heritage. Dom has the loyalty of a Gryffindor, thankfully.
Stand-in Minister of Magic, Timothy Russell, stands up to introduce both candidates before the debate. He looks a lot more exhausted since the last time I saw him. I can only imagine how stressful his job must be – and how stressed out Mum will be if she gets it.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Russell begins, “I want to thank you all for joining us today in the candidate’s debate for Election 2028. The candidates running, as I’m sure you’ll know, are Mrs Hermione Weasley, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement –” he pauses for the claps, “And Mr Percy Weasley, Senior Assistant to the Minister.” And some more claps. Molly looks very smug with herself. How I’d love to slap her.
Mum goes first. I’ve heard her speech five times – this is my sixth time hearing it. She’s been practicing all week, listing out her promises for reform, her dreams of a brighter future for house elves and goblins. She sounds like a bit of a crackpot to be honest, but people seem to like her and agree with her policies. I find it kind of disturbing how obsessed with helping house elves my mother is. I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m even here is because Dad offered to help house elves too, and Mum took this as dirty talk and was so turned on that she married him and bore his children. I never really stood a chance, given the circumstances I grew up in.
When Mum’s speech is finished, we all cheer for her, but Nana Molly cheers just as loudly for Percy when he steps up to the podium. I suppose she can’t really show favouritism. Still Dad looks grumpy, as if she’s chosen Percy over him. Maybe sibling rivalry never fades.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, my worthy opponent has made some truly exceptional promises to you all. Exceptional, and sadly, impossible.”
I look over at Audrey, and she is mouthing the words along with Uncle Percy, as if he’s a rock star and she’s his groupie. It’s disgusting.
“To free all house elves is to deprive an elderly woman of her only friend; a disabled man of a carer; a bed-ridden convalescent of a cook. House elves want to serve witches and wizards – it is in their nature. Once the elves are free, where are they to go? To work in the Hogwarts kitchens, where they will receive a wage that makes them feel degraded? It is their greatest honour to serve the wizarding community! What Hermione Weasley is suggesting is cold and heartless. If you care about house elves, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will vote for me on July 19th!”
Mum looks fit to murder.
Percy waffles on for the next fifteen minutes about the budget and supplying Hogwarts with cauldrons so that students don’t have to buy their own. When he finishes, nobody in the family but Nana Molly and Grandad clap for him. It is ridiculously obvious that Audrey wrote the entire speech for him. Uncle Percy is a highly intelligent man, I don’t see why he lets himself be controlled by such an old wagon as her. And in fairness to him, he does go up to Mum and shake her hand after the debate, which I suppose was diplomatic of him.
He’s still a plank.
Aidan drags me over to the Malfoys once everybody gets up and starts chatting. When we reach them, I look at Daisy in a whole new way. And when I look at her, all I can see is Antoin Dolohov. She has his eyes. Although hers are slightly warmer than the ones printed in the Daily Prophet – but I suppose, his eyes were probably warm at some point too. Maybe she’s not evil yet because she hasn’t quite grown into it. She’s only in her thirties after all. Maybe Scorpius will grow into his Malfoy genes too, and Aidan. Maybe wickedness is just something that is passed on from father to son, or daughter, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
After all, Scorpius seems to be turning more and more evil every day. How I miss the person I thought he was.
Aidan hugs each of the Malfoys in turn. Astoria, Scorpius’s Mum, is just about the only one I can stand.
“Your mother was just fantastic, Rose, I really agree with all of her policies,” Astoria tells me politely, as Aidan proceeds to tell a clearly uncomfortable Draco how he found two Knuts on the floor. “Of course your Uncle makes some good points...”
“My Uncle is an utter twit,” I tell her, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to say nice things about him.”
“I wasn’t planning on it,” I hear Draco mumble. Astoria rolls her eyes at him. She continues speaking to me, but I’ve stopped listening now. I keep observing Daisy, looking for some sort of indication that she is just as horrible as her father was, but it’s just not there. She’s laughing at something Roxie said to her, linking Scorpius’s arm, as if trying to exhibit to everyone that Scorpius is indeed her husband, nobody else’s. The act of a possessive wife, not an evil Death Eater.
Somehow, as people are mingling, I end up beside Draco Malfoy with absolutely nothing to say to him. Somehow, I always tend to get doubly sarcastic and cheeky around him, just to piss him off. It’s like a hobby.
“Hello Rose, you’re looking well,” he says, not looking at me at all.
“Are you flirting with me, Mr Malfoy?” I ask, and he stumbles and stutters angrily while turning a deep shade of red.
“How dare –”
“Don’t have a heart attack, I’m just joking,” I tell him, “You know, jokes...things that provoke laughter...you probably haven’t heard of them, they’re quite new...”
“You know, I think I prefer Scorpius’s new woman after all,” says Draco dryly, “Even if she is forty-seven.”
“Thirty-three,” I correct him, “And I think I’ll take that as a compliment. I really wouldn’t want to be considered a friend of yours. You might start inviting me to your puppy-hunts and brandy parties.”
Before Draco can respond, I feel a hand on my arm and know who it is before I even turn around. I’d know his touch anywhere.
“Rose, can I have a word?” Scorpius asks quietly. I nod and follow him to a secluded area in the room so we won’t be overheard. I can tell this is going to be about the hearing. “My solicitor rang me this morning. We have a date for the hearing.”
“Oh? I didn’t hear anything,” I tell him. Then again, I’ve been purposefully ignoring Tom’s calls in case he’s ringing to tell me that yes, Daisy is in fact an axe-murderer.
“Yes...it’s April 19th.” My heart plummets. This is just typical. “I’m sorry, I tried to get it changed, but that’s the only day they have in the next seven months. They only do these custody things every month.”
“I didn’t pick the day,” he tells me. And he actually does look genuinely sorry. Which is nice, I suppose. “I hope we’ll come to some sort of amicable agreement though...it’s not like there’s going to really be a winner or a loser.”
“That’s easy for you to say. If you win, you get him for four days, including weekends,” I spit, “That’s hardly fair.”
“I’m not starting this again with you,” Scorpius frowns, “I’m sorry the trial is on your birthday, really I am, but do you have to be such a bitch all the time?” Then he stops and hits himself on the head mockingly. “Of course, I forgot who I was talking to.”
“You know, you’re getting more and more like your father every single day,” I tell him nastily. I then look over at Daisy, and back to him, and wonder if he knows her deep dark secret. “But I suppose, we all turn into our parents, don’t we?”
He looks over at Daisy too, and the expression on his face tells me what I have been supposing for the last few days:
Scorpius does indeed know that Daisy is the daughter of a Death Eater.
A/N - The quick update makes up for my 5 month absence, right?? Hope you liked the chapter, and the twist, I was really unsure about using it but I think it worked out OK. Thanks to everyone for their wonderful reviews on the last chapter, I'm really glad to see you haven't all given up on me! Hopefully the next chapter will be up in the next two weeks (if it's going to take longer, I'll post on my Author's Page).
Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Edit: Also, reviewers, please keep reviews 12+ - site rules! (i.e. no bad language. if you don't like Scorpius, call him a Squib!)