Chapter 14 : So it ends so it begins
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So it ends so it begins
Rose found her parents in the drawing room, with Draco and Astoria. Hugo was already there, lounging in one of the Malfoy’s exquisite chairs, a glass of something amber in his hand. He winked and wiggled his eyebrows and Rose burnt from her toes to the top of her head; she wanted to throttle him.
“Should you be drinking when you have a concussion?”
“I’m all better now,” he responded.
“I can fix that,” she threatened.
“Oh Rose, you silly, brave girl.” Hermione raced across the room and folded Rose close to her chest; Rose let her. “You could have been killed, you and Hugo. What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know, mum,” Rose muttered. “I’m sorry.” Rose turned from her mother and hugged her father, who looked at her face searchingly for a long moment, before nodding in satisfaction. His eyes lingered briefly on the marks on her throat – Rose had not thought about removing them – but he said nothing.
“Dinner is ready,” Astoria said with a gentle smile, indicating the table. Rose hadn’t even noticed the house elves bringing in the food, or even smelt it her head was so filled with Scorpius.
Hugo sprang up from his chair. “I’m starving!”
“You always are,” Hermione said tightly, embarrassed, Rose knew, by her son’s trait of consuming everything in sight. It didn’t seem to matter that the Malfoy’s considered Hugo part of the furniture; they were used to him, that was evident. Rose had seen it throughout their stay in the Manor. She moved away from her parents and sat, taking the seat to Scorpius’ right; Hugo took the left.
Rose picked at her food, listening to the conversation flowing around her. Words washed over her ears, and it wasn’t until her mother mentioned Lucinda did Rose choose to listen.
“They found her?”
Ron nodded. “Wandering around Hogsmeade, yesterday. She was dazed and confused and didn’t know where she was. She is in St Mungo’s with the others. Heidi is doing well and Isobelle has been sent home. Raven is still in a coma, but the Healers say she is in no danger – it is just a matter of waiting for her to wake up. Lucinda has claimed responsibility for cursing her, although she can only vaguely remember it, like she was watching it happen from outside her body.”
“Anyway, she isn’t a Parker at all,” Hermione said, sipping her wine. “She’s Parkinson.”
Draco’s eyebrows lifted. “Pansy’s brat? Who’s the father?”
“Some Italian wizard Pansy met through work,” Hermione said. “With no connection to Voldemort, I might add. Apparently, Pansy wanted Lucinda to marry Scorpius for her own means. You know she’s been...rather ostracised...since school and she wanted her way back into society. And, I think, it was a way of getting a small slice of revenge on you, Draco.”
“She was never too bright,” Draco sighed.
“But how is Lucinda linked to the whole episode?” Astoria asked, leaning forward. “I don’t understand how she could be involved – Selina and Elspeth yes, considering their family history, but Lucinda? Pansy was never a Death Eater.”
“No, but she was a sympathiser, right until the end, and after, if rumour is to be believed. That poor girl was probably brought up on a diet of delusion and warped history,” Ron said with a shake of his head.
“You can’t know that,” Rose argued. “Lucinda was a nice person. Maybe, she just got confused about what was right and what was wrong, like so many people do.”
“Perhaps. There will be a hearing – the Wizengamot will examine her, and Selina and Elspeth too, and we will see what proceeds from there,” Hermione said gently. “Elspeth has admitted to Stunning Isobelle, but she can’t remember why she did it. She claims she dreamt it, which, considering what has happened with Scorpius, is highly possible. Selina has a little memory of what happened last night, in Little Hangleton, but neither of them remembers the graffiti.”
“What about the Mark?” Hugo asked between mouthfuls. Rose snuck a glance at Scorpius, but before he could say anything, Ron was speaking again.
“It seems it was cast from Raven’s wand, but as the girl is unconscious, we can’t-”
“It was me,” Scorpius announced in a firm voice. “I remember it now, but vaguely – it’s just like Selina said: it’s like watching a dream.” He glanced quickly around the table, settling on his parents. Rose watched curiously as Draco rubbed absently at his forearm. She saw Scorpius swallow, his eyes following his father’s action. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“It wasn’t your fault, sweetheart,” Astoria said, reaching over to grab his hand. “And it’s over now. We can get on with our lives.”
Draco gave his son a fond look, before frowning. “Did Potter discover anything about my father’s mask?”
“It seems it was just a mask, Malfoy. Just a relic of the past, nothing more. There is so much associated with it I suppose that is a curse in itself,” Ron said. “In the end, the mask was nothing but a prop – it was Selina’s compulsion of Scorpius that made him act like he did in the end, nothing more. Lucius’ dreams were obviously involved, of course but I’m buggered if I know how.”
Hermione sighed. “I don’t think we will fully understand what happened here. We don’t know how the old magic works properly. If Lucius wanted to reach his grandson, perhaps the only way was through Scorpius’ dreams.”
“Maybe he was trying to tell you something,” Hugo said to Scorpius.
“Wish he’d written me a letter,” Scorpius muttered.
“Maybe he wanted to show you what it was like, so that his mistakes are not repeated, in any form,” Rose said softly. “But there was so much to share that it affected others as well, others like you, with horrible things in their family history. They chose to hear the message differently, that’s all.”
Draco looked at her in surprise and Rose wondered if she’d spoken out of line. He sipped his wine, his eyes appraising her over the rim of his glass. “That is quite possible, Rose. My father was indeed remorseful for his past acts.”
“What about Melody?” Astoria asked.
Ron laughed. “Melody. That girl has no connection to Death Eaters – she is, to put it simply, a nutter. She was that intent on winning this contest she was willing to do whatever it took. She had plans to bump everyone off one by one. She will be charged with attempted murder, and will no doubt spend some time locked up.” He looked at Scorpius, eyebrows raised. “You must be something, mate, if a girl is willing to go that far.”
“It appears so,” Scorpius muttered, looking at his plate.
Astoria shook her blonde head delicately. “I told you it was a bad idea, Draco.”
“At least I get to keep my thousand galleons and don’t have to pay for an over-the-top wedding,” Draco said.
Scorpius cleared his throat. “Actually, now that everyone is here, I want to tell you I’ve chosen a winner.”
“Darling, you don’t have to,” Astoria said, turning to her husband. “There is no pressure, is there, Draco?”
“None at all,” Draco replied. “I don’t think I could have handled having any of that lot in my house a moment longer. Were they really the best on offer, Scorpius?”
Scorpius smiled. “The best didn’t even apply.”
Rose swallowed nervously as he reached for her fingers, lying limp beside her glass. Every set of eyes in the room watched as Scorpius lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it; Rose heard her mother’s intake of breath, heard her father drop his fork, heard Hugo’s gagging noise, Astoria’s knowing chuckle and Draco’s sigh.
“Just what I need: another Weasley moving in.”
Everyone ignored him. Rose lifted her eyes from her plate, and glanced at her parents. Hermione was pale, shocked; her father was so still he may have been Petrified.
“Someone, say something, please,” she tried to joke, but her voice was strangled. She felt Scorpius’ hand tighten on hers and she knew he was as nervous as she was. Not that she thought her parents would object and tell her the relationship was forbidden – she was an adult and that was not their right – but she didn’t wish for things to be uneasy. She was already dreading facing Roxanne.
Hermione cleared her throat awkwardly. “Well,” she breathed, blinking away her shock. “This is a surprise...”
“Are you kidding?” Hugo laughed. “I knew this would happen.”
“You did not!” Rose remarked, leaning across Scorpius to glare at her brother, who shrugged.
“Well, okay, not exactly, but I knew once you two stopped snarling at one another and actually talked a bit you’d work it out,” Hugo replied. “And what’s a near death experience for but to bring people together?”
A strange sound came from the other side of the table. Rose looked at her father, worried he was choking on something; anger perhaps. His mouth was still open and his eyes wide. He pointed his knife in Scorpius’ direction and then at Rose. “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” he accused. Thick silence fell and Rose could think of nothing to say in the face of such a left-field allegation. Hugo started laughing, doing absolutely nothing to cover up his amusement. Rose let her eyes travel the length of the table. Draco and Astoria were watching her, the latter with her hand over her mouth to suppress her mirth.
“No I am not,” Rose said firmly, turning back to her unfortunate father. Her cheeks were blazing. “In case you’ve forgotten, dad, you need to have sex to get pregnant and we have not been having any sex!”
“Not yet,” Hugo said, “You’re lucky you didn’t see what...”
“Shut up!” Rose snarled. She was absolutely mortified. Scorpius was trying not to laugh but Draco wasn’t even trying. Rose had never heard him laugh, but now, he was sitting back in his chair casually, mouth open, his eyes alight, and his hands over his stomach.
“Please, by all means, continue,” he snickered. “I’ve not been this amused in a long time. Are meals with your family always this exciting? Granger, I’m waiting for a dinner invitation because we should do this more often.”
“Draco,” Astoria warned. “Don’t be rude.”
Rose glared at her father, whose face had turned a deep red. “I was just checking,” Ron mumbled. Hermione sighed and shook her head, a long suffering action that Rose knew that came from having a husband who spoke first and thought later.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Astoria asked, her eyes bright, her question addressed to Rose and Scorpius.
“Yes,” Scorpius said.
“Rose?” Hermione asked softly.
Rose looked at Scorpius, sitting so pale and still beside her. There was a little frown between his eyes and she reached across and smoothed it away with her spare hand. He smiled and Rose smiled in return.
“I’m sure,” she said.
“France or Spain, Rose?”
“Why?” Rose smiled. “Is Hugo moving?”
“Funny,” her brother snapped. He had, Rose noticed, been feeling a little put out and Rose didn’t really blame him. She had, after all, stolen Scorpius from him. To make up for it, she included her little brother in as many things as possible. Scorpius also sensed that Hugo was sulking and had found himself stretched on occasion, between spending time with Rose and making time for Hugo.
“No, we’re going on holiday.” Scorpius stretched, sliding his arm around her shoulder. Rose could not help but feel the animosity of Roxanne’s gaze and did her best to ignore it. Generally, the family had been pleased, stunned but pleased, happy that she was happy, but Rose knew there was still a major bridge to be mended. A week after Roxanne left the Manor Rose had gone to see her at her home in Hogsmeade. She had been greeted with a frosty glare and had barely gotten the words, ‘Scorpius and I,’ out before Roxanne had slammed the door in her face.
Fred told her not to worry about it, his sister was just sulking and she’ll get over it. Rose wasn’t too sure. Today, the monthly Weasley family luncheon, was the first time she had seen Roxanne in almost five weeks, and they hadn’t spoken much since their argument at Malfoy Manor.
Louis laughed at Hugo’s face. “Do you really want to be tagging along, Hugo? I’m sure they’ll just be making eyes at one another and snogging all the time. I’ve seen enough of that sort of behaviour to last me a lifetime.”
“We do not make eyes,” Rose said. Lucy and Lily dissolved into fits of giggles.
“You do,” they said in unison. “All the time.”
“It’s rather sickening, actually,” Albus put in. “No offence, Scorpius.”
“None taken,” Scorpius replied with a grin. She supposed hanging around with Hugo for so long had prepared him for her family.
It was almost Autumn – the leaves would start to turn from green to yellow, deepening later in the season to oranges and reds and finally, to brown, when they would tumble haphazardly from their branches to litter the ground. Rose did not like the cold and had complained to Scorpius, whose solution, it seemed, was to go somewhere sunny. Not that Rose minded – being with Scorpius did indeed have its perks. She had never eaten at so many up-market restaurants, or owned so much jewellery. Astoria seemed to insist on buying Rose jewellery, even though she barely wore any. Scorpius told her to just accept it and let his mother spoil her. Buying people things was Astoria’s way of showing affection, he said.
Rose had also managed, in the months they had been together, to teach Scorpius how to cook and how to drive. The cooking he didn’t really care about but the driving he loved. He also loved her flat – he loved that it was just big enough and that no space was wasted. He liked the view of the city from her window and the early morning sounds of the street below. Rose had been nervous about him seeing her flat for the first time but he had simply smiled and declared it must feel like freedom.
Scorpius, in turn, had taught Rose how to relax. She no longer worried if she was one minute late getting to work, or if she hadn’t gotten out of bed by eight on a weekend morning. She didn’t care if there were dishes in the sink at night or if she left a towel on the bathroom floor. She laughed more, she smiled more and she had him to thank for that.
Lucius Malfoy had passed away a month earlier; Rose and her immediate family had attended the funeral, which was small and dignified. Teddy and his elderly grandmother, Andromeda, had also attended, the latter supporting her younger sister through the service. Rose had almost forgotten Teddy and Scorpius were cousins; they’d never had much of a relationship, but she hoped that would change.
Selina, Elspeth and Lucinda had all faced the Wizengamot and had all been let off without charge. Rose was glad – none of them were malicious people, and she was pleased they were not going to have their lives turned inside out for something they had no control over. Melody, on the other hand, was due for a stay in Azkhaban.
Rose looked down the table, shading her eyes from the sun and watched Teddy and Victoire. They had announced on their arrival that Victoire was pregnant, and now all near them were bathed in her impending motherhood. She glowed, her face radiant and her hair gleaming. Dominique had received the news well, and Rose supposed she was finally taking steps to rid herself of her love for Teddy. She had brought a date to lunch, some quidditch player who was remotely famous. Rose had forgotten his name already.
“Anyway,” Hugo said, his voice bringing her back to the present moment. “I couldn’t go on holiday at the moment. I’m going to be much too busy.”
“Doing what?” James remarked. “Your hair?”
“I got a job,” Hugo said, loud enough for those at the other end of the table to hear. Hugo smiled his cat-like smile, now that he had everyone’s attention. “Yes, it’s a very important position. I’m going to be working in publicity. Seems my employer thinks I have a way with words.”
Rose just stared at him, open-mouthed, as did most of the family.
“Who on earth was mad enough to give you a job?” Fred asked. “They must be a complete nutter.”
“He’s a very important man, actually,” Hugo replied. “He runs his own charity business, and sits on the board of many organisations.”
“Who?” everyone asked, voices ringing. “Where?”
“The Alabastor Peacock Foundation.” Hugo sat up straight, puffing out his chest.
Scorpius burst out laughing, startling everyone. “You’re working for my father?”
“Yeah, well, he decided he may as well put me to work,” Hugo said with a shrug. “He called it bed and board money.”
After the laughter had died down, Rose went inside to offer her help to her grandmother, who shooed her out of the kitchen immediately. Dismissed, Rose wandered around the lower floor of the house for a bit, looking at the photographs that were crammed on every surface possible and tacked to every spare part of wall. She loved looking at the ones of her father and his siblings when they were children. There was such innocence in their eyes, which had gone now, due to the war and the simple act of growing up.
She headed down the hall towards the kitchen, when the closet under the stairs opened and an arm shot out. She was dragged quickly into the darkness and folded in a familiar pair of arms.
“Scorpius, what are we, fifteen?” she giggled as he kissed her throat. Rose was amazed at how much her body still burned and her blood sang when she was with him. When they first declared themselves a couple, they were glued together so much people gave up trying to find either of them alone. Victoire had called it the honeymoon period, warning Rose that it would fade and they would see each other’s ugly sides soon enough. So Rose waited, expected it, and when it didn’t happen, when her desire and her need to simply be with him didn’t slip away, she told Victoire she was wrong. Scorpius had done as she asked and not tried to hide any of himself from her. She knew him completely.
Several quick minutes later Rose was partially undressed and slick with sweat. He had always known how to touch her, like his hands were made for her body, his lips made for hers and never had they had an awkward moment. Everything just worked. It was effortless.
Someone tapped lightly on the door as she was removing Scorpius’ shirt.
“Oh god, its Uncle Bill,” she whispered, scrambling for her clothes.
“I know you’re in there; everyone does. You’re not the first people to duck in for a quick snog. Listen, lunch will be on the table in ten minutes,” he said through the door. Rose could hear the laughter in his voice and her face burned.
“Okay,” she managed to squeak, mortally embarrassed.
“And Scorpius, a word of advice,” Bill went on, snickering openly now. “Make sure your shirt is the right way around and your trousers are done up properly. You need to keep some propriety about you in these moments. And do your hair. You don’t want to make it too obvious.”
“Sure thing,” Scorpius grinned. Rose buried her face in his chest, listening as Bill walked away. “I like your uncle,” Scorpius whispered, tipping her face up and finding her lips in the darkness. “We’ve still got ten minutes.”
Chapter title from the song, Father’s Son, by Tori Amos.
There it is. The end. What started as a short story quickly morphed into a novel. I have no idea how that happened. Thank you for reading and I really hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I am overwhelmed at how much support this fic got – I could never have predicted that so thank you all again!!
Title credit for The Alabastor Peacock Foundation goes to Tydeman’s on TGS. Thank you!