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Roses grow at Malfoy Manor by Merope
Chapter 10 : Birthday Presents and White Masks
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 16


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A/N Everything you recognise belongs to J.K.Rowling. Everything you don't belongs to me. Enjoy. :)






“How is she?”

It was a simple question. A question a stranger could have ask about a woman he saw on the street, a woman that had started bleeding and had fainted. The stranger could have owl-ed a healer, the healer could have come to aid the woman, and then the stranger could have asked the simple question how she was. There were no feelings hidden deep inside. No hidden truths. Therefore, the question came out of his lips as a result of curiosity. After all, he was more or less a stranger to her. Or so he wanted to think. Because Draco Malfoy didn’t particularly like the feeling that he was staring to like the muggle born encyclopaedia he had hated for so many years.

He also hated the sudden realization that his current thinking was impregnated with lies. He did care. He just hoped that the “how is she” didn’t scream out, “I’m starting to fall for her.”

“Well...I managed to stop the haemorrhage, but she did lose a lot of blood. I think she’ll pull through, though,” she added upon the realization that Draco became a few shades paler. He just gave her a small nod, his eyes not once leaving Hermione who was sprawled on the bed, her enchanted straight brown hair arranged around her head like dull halo. He felt the urge to rearrange it back into its messy state...to return her freckles and see her real face. “Listen, I’ll come and check on her tomorrow, she’s stable at the moment...I’ll get a house elf to look after her tonight.”

Narcissa’s words were unheard by her son, whose existence seemed to have become entangled in the image of Hermione all small and fragile in his dungeon room. All vulnerable. All alone. “Draco, darling, I’m sorry you had to see this,” said Narcissa. She had apparated at her former home immediately after she received the owl from her son, requesting her urgent presence. The servant woman, Anna, was in a critical condition when she arrived, but managed to stop the bleeding within minutes. Narcissa remained, after all, the Healer that she had trained to be before marrying Lucius. She felt good to use her skills again. But her blue eyes kept looking at Draco in a concerned way. She couldn’t recall seeing him look so worried before. “Draco?”

“Hmm?” he asked. It seemed to Narcissa that it pained him to take her eyes of Anna. And when he looked at her, he seemed quite ready to cry. She stood up from the edge of the bed and walked towards him, placing a warm hand over his cheek. “I think it’s best if you go, I know this is upsetting for you...”

“No!” he half exclaimed as if he had just woken up from a relatively deep daydream. He took a step back from Narcissa and ran his hand over his eyes for a moment. “I’d like to stay. I think she...she may need some human company when she wakes up. I’ll instruct a house elf to look after her later.”

Narcissa raised her elegantly curved eyebrows in a questioning glare. She couldn’t comprehend her son’s peculiar behaviour. She looked back at the still unconscious Anna. She found her quite pretty...quite a natural beauty. Her bones were small and her face seemed kind. Still, she thought, she was very different to Astoria.

And yet...Narcissa though, even she had seen the deterioration of her son’s relationship with his wife, so she couldn’t help wondering if Draco found much needed comfort in this unconscious woman. “Are you telling me, that you want to deliver the news to her?”

“Deliver what news?” came a weak voice from the bed. Draco and Narcissa looked at each other in worried glances before casting their cold eyes upon Hermione. She attempted to sit up and with a bit of struggle managed to do so, as her eyes ran over her bloodied clothes and bed sheets. Narcissa was next to her in an instant, while Draco stood frozen, unable to take his eyes off her shaking hands.
“Anna?” asked Narcissa in a soft voice.

“What happened to me?”

“Draco found you haemorrhaging. You lost a lot of blood. Are you still feeling dizzy?”

Hermione shook her head, looking at Draco with big, worried brown eyes.

“Anna, did you know you were pregnant?”Narcissa persisted, her blue eyes warming towards the young woman lying before her. Hermione broke her eyes from the bloodied mess and cast a nervous glance towards Mrs Malfoy.

“W-were?”

Draco took a step towards Hermione, but she didn’t acknowledge him. She persisted looking at Mrs Malfoy with watering eyes, knowing the truth but in need of verbal confirmation to believe it and let it bite her with sharp teeth and cause her agonising pain.

“I’m really sorry,” was all that Narcissa said.

Hermione just nodded once, her eyes looking down at her flat abdomen and all the blood on her clothes. She felt her eyes stinging with tears, but she couldn’t let them fall. “Can I please be left alone?” she asked, her voice shaking.

Narcissa nodded once, stood up, squeezed her shoulder in sympathy and left the room. She held the door open for Draco, but the latter gave no sign of being inclined to leave. When the door closed yet again, Draco took another step towards Hermione who was staring into the unknown, tears running down her cheeks. If he didn’t know the news she had received, he would have said they were rain drops, for her face hid the emotions associated with crying. Her eyebrows were relaxed and her muscles, beneath her unhealthily pale skin refused to tense. The lack of her visual pain made him feel slightly nervous, for he was too well acquainted with the reactions of women in such emotional torture.

Draco opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. He felt out of place and rather silly that he was just standing there, as if waiting for her to acknowledge his presence. He wanted her to look at him and promise she would be okay. Promise that she would get through. Promise him that she could find her strength.

“It’s gone...”she whispered between a heartbreaking sob that made her hidden pain erupt to the surface. Her face crumpled in a sheet of emotions as her tears started falling in vast numbers. Hermione was holding on to her abdomen, as if wanting to protect what should have been developing within. It’s absence...it’s emptiness seemed to be confusingly painful to her.

And it seemed right for Draco to move by her side in an instant, allowing her a sanctuary of physical comfort within his strong arms. Back and forth he rocked her, as if soothing a frightened child to sleep. She didn’t push him away—the blow she had received made her weak and she had not the strength to cry on herself. Crying on Draco seemed a better option even though she hated him with all her being for holding her like that. It should have been Ron holding her. It should have been her husband there with her, suffering with her, mourning the loss of their unborn child. Draco was stone like next to her...Draco couldn’t understand...or so she thought.

But Draco did understand as he held her in his arms, allowing her to cry the pain out as she struggled to break free. Draco understood better than Ron could have, because unlike her deceased husband, Draco had experienced such loss. It didn’t seem like such a long time ago, when he rocked Astoria just the same way. The same bloodied sheets, the same tears, sobs of the same essence, pain of the same level. Only, unlike Hermione, Astoria had been seven months pregnant with a baby girl of his. A baby girl that died before living.

He closed his eyes, wishing for the sudden memory of such loss to pass away quietly and not make a fuss. The bottle of Firewhiskey was too far out of his reach, and, as he reminded himself, he was not the one in need of comfort. He held Hermione in a protective embrace as she tried to fight him off. But he knew she needed someone. And, right then, he was the best she had. So he let her wail and try to hit him with her legs, as her had her arms pinned to her chest in a bone crushing embrace. It was only too soon that her fragile body became tired and she stopped deliberately convulsing. Her struggle was replaced by full on sobs and incoherent murmurs, which, if he listened to carefully enough, were telling him to go away. But, as he was sitting behind her on the bed, he just hugged her tighter, burying his face in her increasingly bushy hair and trying his best to absorb some of the pain that held her chained to depression.

“I know,” was all that he said.




Hugo Weasley knew that there was something wrong with his older sister. Not once did she smile at him that day. Not once did she offer him her customary warm eyed look. He was worried, for he hadn’t seen her look out of a heavy curtained window so absent mindedly since the day their father died. But Hugo was also slightly puzzled because whenever Rose felt the weight of something too heavy bring her heart down, she would share it with him. This new Rose, however, dismissed her tear stained dry face and blotchy red eyes with a nonchalant smile, blaming the Malfoy dust for causing her such an allergy. He knew she was lying, but he was also aware of the fact that if he persisted longer, she risked getting angry. She really did inherit their mother’s fiery temper, thought Hugo. So, in a circumstance like that, he did the only think his five year old heart could come up with: he gently took her hand and squeezed it once, hoping it was enough of a reminder that he was there for her. Rose responded with a small, sincere smile.

The two boys had been looking for a safe place to play in, when they came across Rose lingering on the corridors, saying something about not finding her duster. It was Scorpius’ idea to come playing in one of the deserted Malfoy libraries. So it was only natural for the two Weasleys to expect a place full of spider webs and spurs of dust flying in the air with each step they took, giving birth to grey fairy wings.
But the apparent deserted library looked more like a small museum.
The wooden floor shined with the marks of being polished regularly and the only thing that gave away the fact that the room was not often used was the absence of out-of-place books on the mahogany side tables. That and no plants—the beautifully gold decorated vases were empty and silent.

They were sitting on the floor, behind a large antique green and faded couch, playing a game of naming powerful wizards. Whoever knew the most, would win, and despite her heavy heart, Rose found that she could find the strength to enjoy herself.

“Merlin?”

“He doesn’t count,” said Scorpius with a playfully evil smirk.

“Yes he does!” said Rose indignantly.

“He’s worshipped too much. Everyone knows what Merlin did.”

“Fine. How about Dorothy Burbage?”

“Never heard of her,” said Scorpius in a serious tone, after which he
added, “Harry Potter?”

Rose felt her stomach twist and contract with an immense and heavy dread. She missed uncle Harry like mad, but since he died, it was her dad that kept her heart occupied and entangled in pain. Her cousins and aunt Ginny came flooding into her mind with the mention of Harry’s name. Their faces peered at her, and screamed words she could not hear. Their faces were contrasted into sheets of emotion and their eyes filled with tears. She wondered where they were, if they were all right, if they were hurt. She took a look at Hugo who was as pale as she felt, his eyes not leaving the patterned wooden floor boards.

“Yeah,” she said in a voice drained of feelings and energy. “Harry Potter...”

“Ron Weasley,” said Hugo suddenly, looking straight into Scorpius’ eyes. Rose wished her little brother wouldn’t have brought their dad in the conversation, for her heart started throbbing.

“Nahh....” said Scorpius in a nonchalant voice, “He doesn’t count.”

“Yes, he does!” said Rose through gritted teeth, feeling anger starting to boil within her veins.

“Why?” persisted Scorpius. “He was just a Harry Potter wannabe. I read he did more harm than good when they were searching for horcruxes. I can’t remember who the author was...Skeeter...or something.”

“That’s a lie!” said Hugo, his cheeks flushed.

“Come on, not even many people heard of him...it was Harry Potter who saved the wizardry world and defeated Voldemort.”

“HE WOULD HAVE DONE NOTHING WITHOUT RON!” shouted Hugo standing up and looking quite ready to jump on Scorpius and strangle him.

“Why do you care so much? What’s it to you? I’m just saying what everyone is saying,” said Scorpius utterly taken aback at his reaction, but standing up as well.

“Well they’re all wrong,” said Rose, her eyebrows tensed and her eyes flushing with pure agony. Unlike her little brother, she was more ready to cry than shout, and hoped that her emotions were not washing too clearly over her features.

“Why are you acting like this?” asked Scorpius in a sincerely confused voice. “It’s just a game,” he added. “I thought we might have fun...”

“It’s okay...it’s just that our family was...proud of what Ron Weasley did,” said Rose lowering her eyes and wishing to pack her bags and buy a one way ticket towards another conversation.

But for Hugo it was not okay. The little boy’s face was crimson red and his green eyes were twinkling with an unnatural light. “Hugo, sit down, it’s okay,” started Rose, but didn’t get to finish the sentence for she was soon interrupted.

“NO IT’S NOT OKAY! HE WAS A HERO...!”

“Hu-Harry, calm down. You’re right, he was a hero, there’s no need to....Harry?” Rose watched in pure disbelief as her little brother’s feet separated themselves from the wooden floor and levitated Hugo in mid air. His eyes rolled back in their sockets until only the white was visible and the little boy seemed to be in a trance like state. Even his breathing hardened and became audible, sending grunting echoes through the room.

“Oh Merlin,” said Rose hyperventilating. Scorpius took hold of Rose’s hand and together they moved further away from the levitated Hugo. “What’s wrong with him?” she shrieked.

“I...I don’t know,” said Scorpius equally frightened when one of the nearby vases shredded to pieced, sending porcelain weapons flying around the room. “He looks possessed!” he exclaimed as several large volumes flew out of the library towards them. He quickly dragged Rose down and they hid behind the green sofa, holding on to each other for dear life.

“I never saw him getting this angry,” she whispered, as her hand was becoming sweaty in his. Scorpius did not have enough time to reply because the library door opened, someone cast a spell neither children heard of before and just like that, Hugo’s body stopped having a war with gravity. He was gently returned to the ground, where he lay limp and unconscious as if in a deep and peaceful sleep. Rose ran to him, trying to fight the tears that were forming inside her eyes and
conquering her cheeks in vast numbers. She hugged him close to her chest and even though she knew he was not really harmed, his heart beating against his small chest sent currents of relief through her veins.

“What happened here?”

For the first time since the library door opened, Rose looked up to see the intruders and her heart skipped a beat. She felt the surge to take Hugo’s limp body and hide behind the sofa in the relative safety of being out of his eyes. For right next to Mrs Malfoy, stood a very tall and a very imposing Dominus Blackwell, or, as Rose remembered him, the cruel man who wanted to kill her mother.

“Well?” persisted Astoria looking at the mess around the room as if it was her worst nightmare. Scorpius could swear he saw her hair get out of place upon her entree.

“My brother had a magic outburst,” said Rose finally placing the puzzle pieces together. Dominus pierced her with his eyes which made her look away as if she were a vampire in front of a burning, agonising sun.

“Your brother seems to have serious temper problems. Most children bend forks at dinner, not fly around the room breaking vases with their magic auras.” Rose shrugged as Blackwell’s poisonous voice cut through her like a sharp knife. She hoped her shaking hands were out of the man’s vision and hugged Hugo tighter. “Maybe he’s just strong,” she found herself saying in a surprisingly strong voice.

“How dare you talk back to a guest in my house!” said Astoria taking a step towards the little girl. “And with such disrespect!” she added raising her voice. Rose looked down. “Well? What are you waiting for? Apologise at once!”

Rose looked up to meet Blackwell’s cold grey eyes. She never felt such hate and fear in all her life. It was like an agonising square with sharp edges, growing bigger and bigger within her stomach. He gave her a small, evil smirk as if he enjoyed her tortured expression.“I’m sorry. I’ll clean everything.”

“Yes, you will,” said Astoria getting hold of Scorpius’ arm and dragging him next to her. The little boy looked utterly uncomfortable. “And make sure you tell your mother to tame this monstrous brother of yours, or I won’t allow him to come out of the dungeons and play with my son. He’s too dangerous.”

“No he’s not!” protested Scorpius.

“Do not answer back, young man. Come, we’re going!” she said taking
Scorpius out of the room despite the fact that he gave her angry looks. Dominus lingered another moment or two, looking around the mess in the library. For a moment, he opened his mouth to say something, as if remembering some other girl’s face. But one look at Rose’s enchanted red hair and green eyes made him reassure himself he was just making silly assumptions. So he left without another word and let Rose breathe in peace. As soon as he closed the door, a flood of relief washed over her and just like that she found herself holding on to Hugo and crying her eyes out.





It came and it went. For the next two weeks, Hermione found herself staring into the unknown, daydreaming of what it could have been if Ron was not dead and if her unborn baby had not decided to depart the world it had not yet entered. And whenever such thoughts entered her mind, and threatened to disturb her newfound numbness, she would scrub harder, dust more and cry less. After all, she thought, tears were not helpful for they did not have some soothing secret potion within their core.

She even told Rose and Hugo, that there would no longer be a new sibling. She thanked the gods for Hugo’s innocence, for the little boy did not linger in her dwelling pain and accepted the news as a fact. As it was, he found it easy to move on and not bring the subject into conversation. A few days later he forgot about the facts that made her mother scream in agony within. And for Hermione, this made it easier to lock little parts of the pain in the chests of her unconscious mind, destroy the key and throw them into the sea of a calm forgetfulness.

Rose, however, was like an enchanted sponge that did not let the water out. For a few days, the little girl seemed to experience a similar pain to that of her mother. She gave up cleaning, under the false pretext she had a headache and found little excuses to be around Hermione as much as possible. She would hold her hand when sleeping, hoping perhaps to absorb some of the pain that made her mother’s usual luminous eyes, unhappy and chained in a dull, dark light. And it really helped Hermione. It made her realise that despite the pain that would always stay hidden within her, and launch to bite her in the most opportune moments, she had not lost everything. Her children, Rosie and Hugo, were the most a mother could ask for and she swore that she was never going to lose them.

It was a Monday late afternoon, when the sun started settling behind the Wiltshire high hills and the house elves retreated for their early evening break, saying something about going into the nearest free house elf village. This gave Hermione the kitchen to herself, all the scrubbing having been done, all the ingredients back in their cupboards, all the spoons in their drawers. She was sitting at the table, savouring a bit of wine the house elves had intentionally left in sight. She really admired the little creatures, for they had an intelligence humans lacked. They knew she was hurting, without her ever saying a word. Melvin, more so than the others, for her often gave her more chores to do, aware that she begged for her mind to be occupied in order to avoid remembrance followed by pain.

“Granger.”

Hermione turned around to face the mouth the voice had come from. Draco Malfoy was standing in the doorway, his eyes resting on her glass of rosé wine, the corners of his mouth going up to form a small smirk. She found herself smiling at him, for it was not the first time Draco just popped in the kitchen looking for her under the false pretext he was searching for food or drink.

“I thought I had hired you for a particular purpose,” he said in a jokey way, to which Hermione responded with a nonchalant smirk. Draco moved from the doorway and found a chair next to her, pouring himself some of the wine.

For a moment, neither said a word, yet they were both becoming slightly uncomfortable at the ongoing silence. So, he cleared his voice and said:

“Are you okay?” It was the first time he asked that question since her miscarriage and he hoped it sounded as sincere as it was. Her smile faded and she looked away.

“I’m managing,” she said simply before falling into dark silence yet again. Draco just nodded, as his eyes dropped to his pale hands. He could almost feel the aura of pain she emitted when remembering and he felt rather nailed to the chair. But then she looked straight at him, making him feel as if her eyes could see straight into his soul. He didn’t know what to expect from her, but when she opened her mouth, the words that came out made him feel extremely exposed.

“Are you okay?”

He knew that she knew. He wouldn’t have been surprised if the whole of England and Scotland knew of the argument he had had with Astoria the previous week. It was an argument that had reduced them both to screaming at each other and throwing blind accusations, hoping that their words would strangle one another. He had accused her of cheating more than once. She responded with throwing a vase in his direction before he could cast a shield and making the side of his temple bleed. They only stopped when Scorpius came in, his face tear stained, his eyes rather scared and his bottom lip trembling. It was Draco that put him to bed that night, as Astoria left the mansion, claiming she needed some time away and some time to spend with a friend. But he knew she was lying. He knew that she was going to him, and surprisingly, he found that he didn’t hurt as much as before. “ I’m great,” he said and tried not to sound too sarcastic. Hermione’s next question surprised him even more that the first one.

“Why did you marry her?”

Draco sighted, and for a few seconds, Hermione could see regret washing over his pallid features. But then his emotionless mask hid it behind the false pretext that the past no longer hunted him. “I was foolish enough to believe myself in love,” he eventually said as if the memory of a young Astoria was very different from the current Mrs Malfoy. Hermione could recall seeing her at Hogwarts, sitting alone at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, during warm, summer lunchtimes when everyone else was outside, enjoying the rare occasions of sunlight the Scottish highlands offered.

As it was, Draco’s eyebrows tensed a little and she thought he would look for ways to end the conversation, deeming it inappropriate for a servant such as herself. And, despite her current emotional state, she even expected him to make some sour or witty remark to throw back at her, for daring to ask him such a personal question. But Draco gave no sign of being annoyed by her curiosity. He didn’t abruptly stand up nor did his voice rise when he addressed her. He seemed almost...pleased that someone dared ask him what he held inside since she said yes.

“She was my one true friend at Hogwarts,” he continued,” the one who spent her days in the library and her evenings hidden within the blankets of her dorm bed. She was...very different back then.”

“Why?” she asked.

“She was...scared of the world. It was her father’s fault. He made her weak. Every time he hit her, every fist, every bruise and every cut was like a chain that held her back from happiness. And she only showed herself to me, when I showed myself to her. I would tell her about my father and the Death Eaters and Voldemort and she told me of the monstrosities her father did to her.” Draco drank the rest of his wine in one go as Hermione watched his eyes darken. “We bonded,” he continued,” because we believed to be alike. We were young and foolish. We didn’t really know each other as well as we claimed...we were only familiar with each other’s pain. In our final year at Hogwarts, we declared to be in love. We apprenticed together afterwards in Defence against the Dark Arts. She still lived with her parents back then. One day she came to me in the middle of the night, the right side of her face was swelled up and her eye blood shot. Her wrist was broken and her body covered in bruises. Her father had had too much Firewhiskey and she begged me to save her. I asked for her hand in marriage the following day and she came to live with me here at the Manor, leaving the Greengrass family far behind and never speaking of them.”

“And then she changed. With me she had the freedom she never did at home and also the money. We lived in an almost bliss for a couple of years, but then she went in the arms of another man and....well thing haven’t been the same since then. And I don’t think they will ever be.”

Hermione felt a surge of sympathy for him. He had married her to save her, yet the love required to keep them together was absent. “I’m sorry,” she said and placed her hand over his and squeezed it gently.

And then he looked at her without his mask on, his eyes warm and gentle, speaking the words they both knew yet didn’t have the
courage to say out loud.




“Happy Birthday! Oh, my darling, look what mummy got you! Isn’t it beautiful?”

Scorpius Malfoy forced himself to smile, hoping that his eyes didn’t show the shocked and somewhat nervous look. From a green box filled with ribbon and paper, Astoria took out what seemed to be a slightly oversized yellow jumper with a red collar. Draco almost choked on his Firewhiskey and Rose, who was holding a tray of cookies, tried not to laugh. She really tried. But her laughter was rebellious, so it interacted with her saliva and a loud cough came out before she turned away from the birthday scene, and disappeared down a corridor, leaving behind a trail of loud coughs and almost refrained laughter.

“I know it’s a little big, honey, but its Madam Malkin’s design! The colours are splendid, you’ll just grow into it, you’ll see,” said Astoria who demanded another kiss from her son, who let out a nervous laugh.

“Thank you mum,” he said in her bone-crushing hug, after which he placed the jumper back into its box and hoped to forget it somewhere.
But Scorpius didn’t hide his excitement at the other presents he received as the guests came to his eighth birthday party. Not only did he receive a brand new broom from his father, but he also got a new Quidditch outfit from his father’s best friend, Blasie Zabini. Luckily for him, Blasie’s sons, Jerome and Clive were also obsessed with Quidditch. Since Clive, who was the same age as Scorpius, was his best friend, it had not been hard for Blasie and his wife Pansy to pick the present for Scorpius.

As it was, Scorpius and Clive were so excited about the new broom that they immediately went out into the garden and attempted to fly off, before Draco came and scolded Scorpius for leaving his other guests.

Hermione and Hugo, however, were banned from the party, much to Hugo’s disappointment. Only Rose was required to serve the guests drink and cookies, but under no circumstance was she permitted to play with the other children. Draco had said something about high profile guests from the Ministry who might recognise them, so he must prevent any suspicious looks before they could be formed.

To Rose Weasley, the party was something splendid, yet highly intimidating. She felt as if she did not belong there, with her silver plate, tiny hands, short nails and her servant’s uniform. Her mother had braided her hair for her, to make her look more special, in the hope that she would feel less inferior. But Hermione knew her daughter better than anyone. And for that reason she also knew that Rose was, by fate, forced to be a young butterfly in a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants. Her wings would tire in the course of the night, and despite her strong character she would fall into someone’s trap. As it was, Rose also felt like she was the target of nearly one hundred predators dressed in the finest garments and drinking the finest champagne. But did hope that her predator would not bite that soon.

Vincent and Arcturus Wilson were twins of ten, both with unnaturally crooked noses that had been separated at birth. They both had a red, pea sized birth mark on the left cheek and shaved heads. One of them, presumably Vincent, wore glasses, yet no one was sure he knew how to read. Their father, Velkin Wilson, was a Ministry official, working in the Department of Law Enforcement. Since his
appointment, a month prior to Scorpius’ birthday, fifty six muggle borns had been “legally” sent to Azkaban for the crime of “stealing magic” for a sentence that a lifetime couldn’t beat. And that particular evening, the highly unintelligent and bored eyes of Vincent and Arcturus were on the red headed girl wearing a servant’s uniform and holding a tray of cookies. So they made their way through the mass of red and silver balloons and side tables of soda drinks and fruits and presents, towards Rose who was moving further away from them. She reached a wall and stopped. She was trapped and there was something about those older boys that made her realize they weren’t coming for cookies.

When they reached her they smiled an unnatural smile revealing crooked and missing teeth. One of the twins had his mouth full of chocolate fudge. Rose held the tray towards them, hoping with all her heart that they could just take some cookies and leave. They did take the cookies, but didn’t leave.

“You’re a servant?” asked one of the twins. Rose nodded. The other twin started laughing.

“But you’re small,” said the other twin. Rose didn’t reply. She just raised her eyebrows at them.

“She’s a dwarf,” said the first twin as they both started laughing.

“Well that would make you two gnomes then,” said Rose’s mouth
before she could stop it. The Wilson twin stopped laughing as they took another step towards her.

“What did you say?”

“I said if I am a dwarf, you must be gnomes.”

“I don’t think I heard you well. You’re a servant and you dare talk to us like...like that?”

Rose couldn’t help but roll her eyes at them. She opened her mouth to say something else, but felt the tray of cookies flying out of her hands and before anyone could notice, she was ushered by the Wilson twins into a nearby corridor, where they threw her against a wall. Before she could protest, she felt a boot hitting her ribs twice. She cried out in pain as the tears rolled down her cheeks, but no one heard her for they all started singing happy birthday to Scorpius. The lights went out and a giant chocolate cake levitated itself onto the main table. Lucius’s arm was around Scorpius’s shoulder. Rose cried again as she felt another boot hit her side.

“That’ll teach you a lesson. You must respect your superiors, you scum! Come Vince, there’s cake,” said Arcturus as he and his brother made their way out of the dark little corridor. She remained there on the floor with her tray and cookies watching through her teary eyes as Scorpius blew the candles. And she saw him looking straight at her with big, grey eyes.





“Are you okay?”

Rose looked up at the piece of birthday cake that Scorpius was offering to her. She didn’t take it, but said instead a small and sad “happy birthday.” The little boy sighted once and sat down next to her on that dark little corridor.

“You should go back to your guests,” she said.

“The cake is really good. Try some,” he replied, taking a little bit of chocolate with his finger and licking it off.

“Scorpius!”

“They won’t notice my absence for five minutes,” he said in a more serious voice, insisting with the cake. Rose rolled her eyes and took the cake form him, with the spoon he offered.

“What happened with the Wilson twin?” he asked looking as the two boys enjoyed their cake in a far corner. One of them was looking through his presents, the other stuffing his mouth with as much chocolate as he could fit.

“So that’s what they’re called,” said Rose in a bitter voice. “I called them gnomes,” she finished.

Scorpius choked on his bit of chocolate before laughing out loud with mirth. “Good one,” he said. Rose couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction.

“They didn’t take it well, though,” she said and placed her hands over her ribs. The pain had started to cease. “I’m sure their parents never told them,” she finished, but Scorpius didn’t have time to laugh as several pops broke in the air allowing numerous black hooded figures with white masks to appear between the guests. A few screamed in panic, some dropped their plates, as a dreadful silence fell upon the room like cold mist. Rose and Scorpius stood up in an instant, their hands squeezing each others.

Both Astoria and Draco turned pale as several Death Eaters walked towards them at ease. The first one ruptured his mask away to reveal the cold and sardonic face of the Minister of Magic.

“Blackwell!” exclaimed several guests who did not know that their so called leader was a follower of Voldemort.

Lucius Malfoy was also shocked, however, the shock came dressed in a different outfit that the one shared by the guests. He had always know Blackwell was a Death Eater—what shocked him more was the fact that he was no longer hiding such a fact.

“Good evening,” said Blackwell in a calm and cold voice. Not many people responded. Wilson senior nodded in salute, as did Lucius to keep his spy game going. Draco’s eyebrows were so tensed that they threatened to fly off his face. “I hope we’re not interrupting anything important,” continued Dominus.

“Actually,” started Draco, “I’m afraid you are. It’s my son’s birthday,” he said in an equally calm and cold voice. Lucius shot him a weary look.

“Oh, I’m dreadfully sorry,” said Dominus as an evil smirk appeared on his face. “But, the news we came to deliver are by far more important,” he said in a more serious voice as his eyes darkened. He turned from Draco to face all the other guests. “The Dark Lord is back. Soon, he shall rise to power. Bow to us and you will be rewarded. Oppose us...and you shall die,” he said as everyone gave each other worried glances, and other locked their gazes in a terrified glare. “And remember,” continued Dominus, “this time, there is no Harry Potter.”




Ok. I apologise for such a long wait--I know it was annoying. I also want to apologise for this chapter, as I forced myself to write it when all my inspiration went away and I faced a big and fat writer's block. It still didn't pass completely. Oh, and if you find any errors, in the form of spelling mistakes, typing mistakes or similar, I apologise for those too. I finished writing this chapter today, and didn't really have time to proof read it--I wanted to post asap. I will come back to edit, so sorry if that put you off.

Anyway, if you survived reading this, than thank you and I will love you forever and ever if you feedback. I really appreciate all your feedback so far--it helped me so much to improve as a writer and it was a joy to get back.

Also, as I've mentioned at the end of chapter 9, the time frame from chapter 11 onwards will change. Scorp and Rose will be 16 and that's all I'm going to say. Hope you're looking forward to that. :)
Merope xxx





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Roses grow at Malfoy Manor: Birthday Presents and White Masks

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