Chapter 4 : Judged
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“Lookin’ good, Mrs M!”
“Thank you, James,” I said primly, after resolving the issue of whether to blush at the eighteen-year-old’s compliments or not. I decided not to, because Draco already look murderous and I doubted Scorpius would thank me for accidentally killing his (ugh) girlfriend’s cousin.
He blew a strand of his black hair out of his eyes and wolf-whistled at me as I leant over to help myself to some salad. I could almost feel Draco’s intense irritation, and smirked inwardly. “I hear you’re having my brother and sister to stay for the next two weeks?” James asked politely.
I smiled at him. “Yes, I am.”
“Are you an angel?”
“Don’t be fooled by appearances,” Draco said silkily, and made James jump and look up at him.
I bit my lip to hide a smile at the shell-shocked expression James wore as he realised he’d angered the Malfoy patriarch, and had to go all out just to stop a laugh escaping as the same flirtatious expression crossed his face. “Don’t you look dashing today, Mr M?”
And there was Draco Malfoy, completely out of words.
“That’s enough, James,” I said sternly – or at least, I tried to. My words were slightly muffled by the hand I had pressed to my mouth to stop the laughter. “Draco’s not used to being found attractive, so don’t rib him too much.”
James chuckled and winked a brown eye slowly at me, biting his bottom lip in what was clearly meant to be a seductive fashion. Suddenly terrified I would be witnessing a homicide, I snatched at Draco’s hand to try and tether him in one place. “Let me know if you ever get bored of him, Mrs Malfoy,” he purred, putting on that so-called ‘fit’ look that the fashion magazines swooned over (Yes, I read fashion magazines. When the choice is between that and talking to Draco, you’d be surprised how much your opinions are widened).
“James,” I began, highly amused, “I’m not into crable-robbing. If Draco hadn’t pissed about for so long with the proposal, Scorpius might’ve been your age.”
“But is it really robbing if this cradle wants to be stolen?” James persisted, running a hand through his hair in a way that seemed extremely characteristic of Potter males. Maybe it was a shampoo.
I stared at him for a moment, and shook my head slowly. “You’re incorrigible.” He seemed set to make another smart remark, so I cut him off sharply. “Draco is about ten seconds away from removing your head from your shoulders, so if you quite like living, you’d back off.”
“Piss off, James.” At first, I thought it was Draco who’d said that, but it then occurred to me (an embarrassingly long time later) that he would not have reacted in such a muted fashion, nor did he sound like a teenage girl (mostly).
“Aw, Rose!” he complained, turning to face the girl who’d appeared at his elbow. “I was having fun!”
“It’s all fun until someone ends up murdered by Draco Malfoy,” she scolded him.
She had a striking resemblance to her cousin (that bitch) Dominique, in that they both looked like the quintessential Weasley. Thick red hair, their fathers’ blue eyes, a similar thin gangliness – however, Dominique was more slender than skinny, and this Weasley had more than just a smattering of freckles. She was an average girl, I supposed, who clearly spent too long reading, judging by the glasses tucked into her shirt pocket, rather than straightening her mess of hair.
“You’re such a killjoy,” James muttered, shooting his cousin a scowl.
She ignored him and turned to me, extending a hand. “Rose Weasley,” she introduced herself, much more brazenly than Dominique. “And of course, you’re Astoria Greengrass.”
“Yes,” I agreed, unsure of what she wanted me to say to that statement, then hastily corrected her, “Uh, Malfoy. Astoria Malfoy, sadly enough.” I shook her offered hand and said politely, “It’s lovely to meet you, Rose. I think we met once or twice before, when you were littler.” When that thought occurred to me, I turned back to James. “The same goes for you. I first met you when you were about six-years-old. I was married with a kid then, too. So this flirting...that’s just...wrong.”
Draco’s hand was clenched around mine so tightly I was beginning to envision life without a functioning left hand.
“I have matured – ” James declared impressively.
Before he could pursue that thought, there was a loud yell, accompanied by an ear-piercing shriek from behind us. We all turned around to see the other two Potter children dropping their paper plates of barbeque food and sprinting at top speed across the lawn towards their brother, wildly excited expressions on their faces.
Lily was the first to smack into her eldest brother, and he barely managed to keep his balance as she leapt at him, arms and legs flying wildly. Less than a second later, Albus smashed into them, sending all three of them falling to the ground in a mass of writhing limbs and half-muffled yells and shrieks.
Rose dodged neatly to the side as one of James’ legs flailed near her, wearing a disapproving expression. “Sorry ‘bout that,” she said to me. “They’ve done it since they were all able to walk.”
“Looks like it hurts,” Draco observed, sounding like he hoped it did. I refrained from digging my nails into his palm because I was proud of him for overcoming his annoyance at James so quickly.
“It does,” Rose laughed. “Last summer, they spent the first family barbeque in Saint Mungo’s after they greeted each other on the cliff near my Uncle Bill’s cottage.”
“Cottage,” I heard Draco scoff disdainfully under his breath, and rolled my eyes.
The other adults had – of course – heard and seen the exchange between the Potter siblings, but clearly it was a rather normal event, as they all turned back to eating and talking loudly as if they hadn’t been interrupted. I sighed exasperatedly and whipped my wand out, walking away from the food table and approaching the now-groaning teenagers. Draco seemed reluctant to let go of my hand, so I dragged him with me.
Albus was the closest, and had his eyes scrunched up in pain as I knelt down awkwardly, Draco refusing to squat and make it easier for me. “Alright, where does it hurt?” I asked gently. I worked as a Healer at St Mungo’s, in the children’s ward, but that was only in term-time.
Despite his apparent agony, he smiled at me (he grimaced) and said cheerfully (in a pained groan), “Afternoon, Mrs Malfoy!”
“Yes, yes, good afternoon,” I said distractedly, yanking my hand from Draco’s violently as I inspected a cut the idiot boy had received just underneath his hairline. With a few muttered incantations, I’d healed most of his injuries and warned him, “Next time you feel like jumping on your brother, do it where there’s less concrete, alright?”
“Gotcha,” he agreed. I loved Albus. He was so easy-going. Picture Draco (it might be painful at first, but bear with me). Now, picture the opposite of him, and that’s pretty much Albus. A fairly well-built but scrawny kid with his father’s eyes and hair and his mother’s sense of humour and honesty.
I turned to Lily next, who was sat up and making no effort to hide the fact she wasn’t feeling particularly brilliant at that moment. “Piss, piss, piss,” she was muttering, looking entirely hacked off.
“Where did you get hurt?” I asked, and she looked up at me as I knelt beside her.
“Oh, hi, Mrs Malfoy!” she smiled at me, in an eerily similar fashion to her brother. “Did you do something with your hair?”
“No, actually,” I smiled at her. Lily was the charmer of the family – all the smooth-talking of James, the combined beauty and charisma of her parents, and the easy-going, brutally honest nature of Albus. Draco would kill me if I ever told anyone, but he adored Lily (in secret, of course. You couldn’t have Draco Malfoy feeling fatherly about a Potter). My theory for his surprising friendliness towards her was they were both similar – stubborn and convinced of their own looks and popularity. The only difference between them in this was that Lily’s ego was built on truth. “Where’d you hurt yourself?”
“Ah, my hip, and – ouch, yeah, my stomach and pretty much all my back,” she muttered. As I worked some magic, I could hear Draco shifting behind me, torn between checking the baby Potter was alright, and retaining the aloof, up-himself attitude he liked to present.
“Got squashed between James and Albus?” I asked sympathetically, and she nodded, sighing in relief as the grazes melted from sight. She held up a piece of her now-gritty dark red hair and grimaced.
“Alright, I’m gonna go clean myself up,” she decided out loud. “Cheers, Astoria.” With that, she jumped to her feet and headed inside, trailing behind Albus like she’d done since they were tiny.
I stood up and eyed James, who was clearly waiting for me to come and heal him, a grin emblazoned on his face. “Draco – ” I started, before deciding that asking Draco to heal James Potter would be like asking Voldemort to host a tea party. It was unlikely to happen, and if it did happen, someone was bound to end up poisoned.
Screw it, I decided, and turned my back on James. I’m married to a Slytherin. I’m allowed to be a bitch.
“How’s the barbeque for you, Draco?” I asked, turning to face my husband with a smile. “Enjoying yourself?”
My breath caught at the look on his face. He looked entirely pissed off, and his anger was directed at the eldest Potter child. When I turned around, I caught James miming some entirely inappropriate things before he hastily stopped. A redhaired cousin flopped down beside him, roaring with laughter.
“Draco,” I said again, rolling my eyes inwardly. Bloody prat. Feeling threatened by an eighteen-year-old? Merlin, what a high opinion he held of me.
“Astoria,” he managed to get out, between hissed teeth. “Mind telling me why there’s a teenager convinced that you’re good between the sheets?”
I blinked stupidly at him for a moment before breaking into hysterical laughter.
His scowl deepened.
“Two things,” I said, once I’d managed to get a grip on myself and stopped cackling like a rabid hyena, “firstly, I would never cheat on you, let alone with James Potter – perhaps his father –” at the look on Draco’s face, I realised joking was not helping the situation, and continued hastily, “no, not even then. And secondly, if you keep scowling like that, you’re going to get wrinkles, and Merlin knows, you’re ugly enough as it is.”
I pecked his cheek, then took his hand again and dragged him back towards the crowd of adults.
“I could never look wrinkled when I’m next to you,” he muttered.
“Then I guess you’ll just have to stick with me,” I returned cheerily, and sat down in one of the deckchairs near Angelina.
“I don’t know how you do it, you know,” she said as I nodded to the chair beside me and Draco sat down like a sulky child. “Sure, he’s not exactly hard on the eyes – ”
I could hear Draco’s ego inflating.
“ – at least, he wasn’t – age is a bit of a kicker there,” she continued, her eyes laughing silently as Draco’s moody expression settled back into place. “But honestly, he’s a total prat – why did you even get married?”
“I ask myself the same question everyday,” I said, and Draco nodded wholeheartedly in agreement, muttering a “hear, hear” under his breath.
At his acknowledgement of my words, Angelina’s eyes sparked with amusement. “Ah,” she smirked. “So you do have some things in common, then?”
“No!” we both protested, scowling more deeply at each other.
She sighed and popped a tomato into her mouth, still smirking away at us. “Then I conclude you got married because you deserved each other.”
“I don’t like you,” Draco said to her, no hint of regret to his tone. I reached out and smacked his shoulder, rolling my eyes at Angelina, who was choking on the tomato as she tried to control her laughter.
“Anyway,” I cut in, feeling it had gone far enough, “Draco, Scorpius introduced me to his girlfriend.”
Draco gave me a blank stare which clearly suggested he didn’t care.
“Girlfriend?” Angelina spoke up in surprise, having cleared her airways and gotten over her fit of laughter. “No offence, but he is a bit of a pretty-boy – ”
“Spitting image of Draco,” I agreed, earning a scowl from Draco.
Apparently, having aspersions cast on Scorpius’ stud status was enough to make the news of Scorpius’s new pet interesting to my husband, who said with a slight sneer, “I assume she’s good-looking enough for our boy? Although – she is a Weasley.”
Angelina’s face contorted into a scowl, but she managed to control herself enough to turn her back on us and join in the conversation with the Scamanders on her other side.
Draco was wearing a smug smirk as he looked at me, and I sighed in exasperation. “This is why we never go out anymore,” I muttered to myself, then raised my voice slightly and said, “She’s not pretty. She has that horrible tarty ginger hair – ” one of the Weasley horde overheard this and scowled at me “ – and she’s exceedingly overweight, and she has the worst personality of anyone I’ve ever met – ”
“Astoria,” he drawled, his smirk widening, “you’re lying to me.”
We held eye contact for a few short minutes before I buckled. “Alright. I am.” Then, out of curiosity, I asked, “How did you know?”
“If Scorpius looks anything like I did at that age...”
I hit his arm again, causing him to choke on the mouthful of butterbeer he’d just taken. “Egotistical prat,” I murmured under my breath, although I couldn’t help but agree. My son was fantastically handsome. Honestly, I didn’t know where he’d gotten those good genes from – Merlin knew, it wasn’t from Draco.
Draco was studying the girl who was stood in front of him through cold, calculating eyes. She looked about ready to piss herself, which was making me exceedingly proud of Draco. Scorpius was scowling at his father, clearly aware of his goal to make this ‘Dominique’ – such a stripper name, no class whatsoever – as uncomfortable as possible.
“And you already met Mum,” he said to the girl, who reached out for his hand to comfort herself. I gave her a piercing stare, and she stepped away from my son hastily. Scorpius seemed unsure of whom he was most annoyed at, Draco or myself.
“Lovely to see you again, Mrs Malfoy,” she said, a little unsteadily. I felt a rise of triumph inside me. Scared? She should be. At a sideways glance from Scorpius, the little cow stood up straighter and asked, “May I call you Astoria?”
“No,” I replied. “I love your blouse, Dominic. Where did you get it?”
“That’s what I said, Scorpius,” I waved him off, then gave the son-stealing thief a cold smile. “Your blouse?”
She tugged at the blue floral thing between her fingers and straightened it. “It was my sister’s,” she said, with a small, nervous grin.
“Ah, a hand-me-down,” I said, then nudged Draco, who released her from his cold stare and gave me a small, almost invisible smirk. Circe, we were a good team. “Isn’t that just precious, Draco?”
“Very,” he agreed in that cold drawl of his, eying the blouse with great disdain. “Real family spirit.”
“I’ve always admired your family’s great sense of charity.” I watched her cringe, and felt my great sense of victory increase. “When we’re done with Scorpius’s old clothes, we like to pass them along to the children’s ward in St. Mungo’s, you know.” I waved a hand dismissively, then smiled slowly, “One must always get the most use out of clothing, after all. Don’t you agree, Dominic?”
“Quite,” she managed to get out, her cheeks a bright pink that clashed disgustingly with her hair.
“Mother,” Scorpius cut across, and that’s when I knew how annoyed he was with me. It was always ‘Mum’. His cheeks too were tinted pink, but while she was flushed with humiliation, he was just angry. It actually made me rather proud of him – and they said Slytherins didn’t have a backbone? “Dominique was hoping to introduce you properly to her parents.”
Draco’s smirk didn’t falter as he said smoothly, “By all means, go ahead. We’d love to see where such a – ah, interesting person as yourself came from.”
Her face looked like it was hotter than the sun. I wondered how much embarrassment it would take until she either combusted or broke up with my son. Then, he would be so emotionally scarred, he might never date again.
Perhaps him having a girlfriend wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
“Of c-course,” she said after a short pause where she clearly was struggling for words. “I-I’ll just go get them.”
She all but ran from us. I wondered if she could hear Draco’s next comment of, “Does she have a speech impediment? Maybe he feels sorry for her.” I would have felt guilty, but she was dating my son. Collateral damage and all that.
Scorpius rounded on us as soon as she was out of earshot. “What are you doing?” he hissed, his ears scarlet with a mixture of embarrassment and fury. “Mum, her name is Dominique. Call her Dominic one more time and I’ll be forced to prove that she’s female.” I winced at that. Draco didn’t seem particularly fazed by that threat, funnily enough. “Dad – stop looking at her like she’s something you want to Crucio.”
Draco ‘s smirk slipped from his face and he winked slowly at our son in a rather inappropriate fashion which he received an elbow in the ribs from me for. “Well done,” he said approvingly. “Her face is symmetrical.”
I rolled my eyes and shifted so that I was stood mostly in Draco’s shadow, the sun irritating me. We were stood a little way from the main group of talking Weasleys, who had taken shelter under a gazebo which Ronald had made rather a hash of putting up until his wife’s irritated growl of “Are you a wizard or what?!” The little cow my son was dating had slipped into the midst of the rabble.
“Please, try and be nice,” Scorpius pleaded, widening his grey eyes at me in a way that reminded me of a starving niffler – desperate for a shiny treat. I sighed inwardly, trying to choose between my son’s wishes and his best interests.
“Stay strong, Astoria,” Draco murmured in my ear, and looped an arm around my waist as the little hag reappeared from the midst of the Weasleys, two adults trailing behind her, looking rather unenthusiastic.
It surprised me when I saw the old Head Girl of Beauxbatons, flicking her silvery hair over her shoulder and walking towards us with an unreadable expression on her face. I didn’t go to many Weasley-Potter gatherings (the reason for which stood with his arm around me) so to find her married into the Weasley clan – well, I was a little surprised. I’d always thought Fleur whatever-her-name-was had some class.
The man beside her had a dark scowl on his face as he fixed his gaze on my son, and automatically, I disliked him. Besides the urge to kill my son that he was so obviously flaunting, he had long ginger hair which was swept back into a ponytail and an earring. Need I say more? I didn’t think so.
“Mr and Mrs Malfoy, I’d like you to meet my mother and father, Bill and Fleur Weasley,” Dominic said breathily, sharing a terrified look with my son.
“Fleur,” I said politely, and crossed the gap to kiss her on both cheeks. “Ca va?”
She squinted at me, then her face lit up. “Astoria!” she exclaimed. “Zees eez a surprise!” Clearly, surprise brought out a more pronounced accent.
At the blank looks on our children’s faces, I explained slowly – I wasn’t sure how educated Dominic was, and I’m nothing if not generous to the dim-witted – “Fleur was the Head Girl at Beauxbatons while I was in my third year. She used to tutor me for Arithmancy.”
“A small world,” Draco said coolly, eying the part-Veela woman with a mixture of disdain and appreciation that made me scowl. “You might remember me from Hogwarts, Miss Delacour.”
“Mrs Weasley,” she corrected him. “And, oui, I think I do! You were zee annoying one who was following Viktor, no?”
I bit my lip to stop from smiling at the affronted expression on my husband’s face, and Scorpius snorted quietly, drawing our attention back to the matter in hand. The slaggy cow next to him paled and this time summoned up the nerve to actually grip my son’s hand. The nerve of her! Right in front of me, as well!
“So, my daughter and your son, hmm?” Fleur frowned. “I suppose eet could be worse.”
“Quite,” I agreed, thinking that it could only have been worse if Scorpius was dating the Giant Squid. Or, Merlin forbid, one of the Golden Trio’s children.
“You should come over for dinner thees summer,” she decided, smiling at me. “We can deescuss the old days over some coffee – I can’t stand tea, I think eet is disgusting Engleesh stuff.”
“We should,” I nodded politely, not wanting to appear completely rude. Besides, it was alright for me to appear friendly with Dominic’s mother – Draco had the hostility covered with his staring match with the fang-eared freak. If Scorpius was to make that man somehow related to me...I shuddered at the thought and reassured myself that I had the next two weeks to make sure that never happened.
“I ‘ear you have invited Dominique to stay wiz you for zee next fortnight?” Fleur said, clearly thinking something similar to me – I could see the mistrustful glare she was giving Draco out of the corner of her eye, and smiled slightly to myself. “Zat is very generous of you.”
“It would be our pleasure,” I replied calmly. Inside I was not calm – generous? Was she so desperate to get precious little Dominic out of her hair? Oh, Merlin. My son was dating the spawn of Satan. Or worse – the spawn of Bill Weasley.
“Out of interest – ‘oo else eez staying wiz you?” Fleur asked after a short pause, clearly because there was nothing else to keep the awkward conversation afloat. The teenagers were both petrified with nerves, and the two men were both absorbed in a fierce stare-down.
“Scorpius ‘as informed me,” I accidentally mimicked her slight accent and winced inwardly as her eyes narrowed, “that Lily, Albus, Dominic – que, the Scamander boys and Rose, apparently – ” I had been informed of this last one approximately ten minutes before “ – are staying for the next two weeks.”
“I see,” she said, then narrowed her eyes further. “There will be proper – ah – supervision? Zey will not be left alone?”
“Of course not,” I hastened to reassure her, slightly insulted that she would consider me that irresponsible. Like I would leave six teenagers on their own in a manor. Merlin knows what they would get up to.
She appeared to relax. “Then eet will be okay, I think.”
There was an awkward silence again, and I finally nudged Draco gently to try and reawaken him. He glanced away from the glaring ginger man in front of him to frown at me. “What, Astoria?” he hissed. “I was winning!”
I realised I rolled my eyes far too much to be healthy as I suppressed the urge to do just that, and just muttered, “You’re being antisocial.”
“You have a lovely daughter, Fleur,” he said almost before I’d finished, suddenly charming and refined. He ran a hand through his mop of platinum hair and smiled alluringly at her. I blinked a little, shocked at the change and already missing the sullen prat I was used to. “She’s already told us about your charitable natures, and was so very eager to introduce us.” The hag in question flushed a dark red, and Scorpius sent a look that could have killed at his father. Pride blossomed in my chest, quite possibly for the first time, at Draco’s cold smooth-talking.
The man beside Fleur finally stirred, and spoke for the first time in a dark, angry growl. “If your son hurts my little girl, Malfoy, then Merlin save me, I will kill you.” There were faint scars on the man’s face and it suddenly occurred to me exactly where I’d heard the name ‘Bill Weasley’ before – at Teddy Lupin’s wedding, Ginny had explained the story of Fenrir Greyback’s attack on her brother to me. And the man responsible for letting that werewolf into the school in the first place?
“Please, Weasley,” my husband drawled lazily, a mildly amused expression playing across his face, “I highly doubt you know which end of your wand the spell would come from.”
“Who needs a wand to kill a ferret?” the eldest Weasley asked. Draco’s expression tightened, as did his grip around my waist. “You wring their necks, with your bare hands.”
“Watch who you insult,” Draco half-snarled, his eyes leaping to life as a dangerous light flickered in them.
Bill looked set to reply, but I decided it had gone far enough. As much as I loved to hate my husband, no one should have the joy of murdering him but me. “You are insulting your daughter’s choice in boyfriend,” I reminded the tall redhead calmly. “And we are not judging your daughter on any of the crimes your family has committed against ours – so please, do us the same courtesy.”
He looked set to argue, but the look on either mine or Draco’s faces must have stopped him. It surprised me that the supposed victors of the War could be so naive – surely they knew their victories came at a cost?
Fleur was fuming. “WILLIAM WEASLEY!” she yelled at her spouse, who winced. “How dare you insult zee family of Dominique’s petit ami! I am ashamed of you!” Her accent was becoming more pronounced as she continued to yell, until half of it was in garbled French. But the last sentence was uncomfortably clear – “SCORPIUS EEZ A PART OF ZEES FAMILY WHILE HE EEZ DATING OUR DAUGHTER!”
Like one beast, the heads of every Weasley snapped towards our little group, zoning in on Scorpius. My son had gone pale, and Dominic had also gone the colour of a pasty cheese (how unattractive. What on earth did he see in her?), and I could see his eyes darting from side to side, testing to see if it was worth making a run for it.
He tried – and didn’t get very far. A jinx flew from the end of Teddy Lupin’s wand which hit him between the shoulder blades, locking his limbs together and bringing my poor baby boy to the ground. As one, various cousins and siblings closed in on Scorpius, all wearing some form of evil smirk or scowl, and most with wands drawn. Several colourful threats were already being issued by a certain Louis Weasley as he passed us to join the crowd around our son.
I hadn’t realised that Draco’s arm around my waist had become a vice to stop me whipping out my wand and cursing the whole lot of them to smithereens.
Well, apparently Draco did know enough about social niceties to know hexing your host’s family wasn’t...ideal.
A load of cursing came from the group of teenagers, then it fell silent and I watched with baited breath as Scorpius got to his feet – there was soil in his blond hair and again, I felt Draco restraining me. Bloody bastard.
“This is for dating my sister in secret!” Louis yelled suddenly, and then a fist smashed into my son’s face. Several gasps, and a few cheers rose up from the group around him – one particular cheer came from Ronald Weasley, but a hissed “sit down and take that smirk off your face, Ronald!” from his wife had him silenced.
Draco was still holding me in place as I watched my son pinch the bridge of his bleeding nose. “I knew we shouldn’t have let him date a Weasley,” I breathed, ignoring the fact that we hadn’t let him do anything.
My husband chuckled, sounding genuinely amused for the first time that day. “Are you joking?” he asked, still watching our poor, sweet boy try to mop up the scarlet fountain erupting from his nose. “If I get to watch Scorpius be humiliated like this everyday, he can date every bloody Weasley he wants.”
okay, i have a few things to blather about and i pray *fingers crossed* that this little author's note will not be too long.
last chapter, i dropped the Dominique bomb on you all. first off, thank you (<3) for the response i got on the chapter. and also, to all you worried Rose/Scorpius 'shippers - that pairing is listed for a reason. i would not lie to you about that. :D
(edit: just wrote a ScoRose scene. feeling comforted yet? ;D)
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