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Chapter 17 : The Point of No Return
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“What was Hugo, then?” I ask angrily, throwing the paper aside. “We’re having another meeting of One Hogwarts tonight.”
“We had one two days ago,” Scorpius points out.
“If this was Quidditch you wouldn’t care.”
“I’m still bitter about that,” he replies. “Cancelling the Cup.”
“We’re at war.”
“I know,” he says, holding his hands up in surrender. “Do you have any plans for what we’re learning?”
“Fighting the Imperius, then,” he says decisively. “Which means casting it.”
“We can’t Imperius them!”
“Would you rather the Honour Guard did?” he asks sharply. “We need only cast it once, maybe twice, so everyone can learn to fight it.”
“I don’t know how to Imperius anyone. Nor do I want to learn.”
“Then I’ll do it. If it makes you feel better, call Harry in to supervise this one. It might help with the others as well, make sure they’re comfortable with it.”
I nod reluctantly; though I hate the idea of the Imperius being cast on anyone, even for defence purposes, the idea of having Harry around to supervise makes the prospect much less frightening—and illegal.
“Cover for me in Charms,” I mutter, slipping out of the Great Hall to track down Teddy.
“Ted—Professor Lupin!” I call, spotting him walking towards his classroom. “Can I, uh, borrow your office?”
“The Floo Network, I need to go to the Ministry.”
“What for?” he repeats.
“Going to ask Uncle Harry to come to tonight’s One meeting.”
“There’s one tonight?”
“I deemed it necessary. Can I borrow the office or what?”
“Technically, I shouldn’t let you…”
“Technically, we’re at war. Rules go out the window.”
Teddy chuckles. “Well said, Rose. Okay, go, but if anyone asks it wasn’t my fireplace.”
“Of course not. Thank you!”
Hoping that I don’t get accosted by reporters at the moment of my arrival, I throw a handful of Floo Powder into the fire in Teddy’s office. “The Atrium, Ministry of Magic!” I call as I step through.
I’ve barely walked five steps before a balding redhaired wizard comes charging towards me. “Rose!”
“Dad,” I return.
“What are you doing here?” he asks worriedly, glancing around. “What are you doing here by yourself? There could be members of the Honour Guard anywhere around, waiting to kill you!”
“You have such faith in your security systems,” I observe.
“We are at war, Rose. Are you skipping class? Your mother would throw a fit, you know that?”
“Well, it’s a good thing she can’t see me,” I reply. “Seen Uncle Harry?”
“No, I haven’t,” Dad blusters. “You risked life and limb to see Harry? What’s so important about seeing Harry?”
“I hardly risked life and limb. I’m going to ask him to come to the One Hogwarts meeting tonight.”
“You couldn’t have sent him an owl? A Patronus message?”
“Well, I could have, but Charms has been a bit boring lately. Thought I’d skip a lesson.”
“What about me?” Dad asks. “Couldn’t you have asked me to come to the meeting? I fought Voldemort too!”
“Yeah, well, we’re doing some intense stuff tonight, and Scorpius thought—”
“Scorpius?” Dad repeats. “You listen to Scorpius—”
“Oh, Dad, shut up about Scorpius,” I say impatiently. “You’d think after a year you’d be used to it by now. As I was saying, he thought the others would be more comfortable if we had Harry around.”
“What exactly are you going to do?”
“Uh, well, we’re…hey look, the Auror Office.” I start forward, but Dad holds me back.
“What are you doing?”
“The-Imperius-Curse-but-it’s-okay-because-that’s-why-we’re-getting-Harry-to-come,” I say in a rush.
“The Imperius Curse? You expect Harry to cast the Imperius Curse on you?”
“Not cast, just supervise.”
“And who, in the name of all that is magical, will be casting it?”
“Oh, look at the time!”
“Rose. Answer me.”
“Scorpius,” I admit, bracing myself.
“Scorpius Malfoy? The Imperius Curse? Scorpius Malfoy can cast an Imperius Curse? I knew it, Rose, I knew he was bad news, who knows what he’s capable of doing…to you! That’s it, I’m coming to Hogwarts tonight—”
“You will do no such thing,” I tell him, surprising myself with my firmness. “I trust Scorpius a hundred percent—”
“And what happens when he betrays that trust?” Dad demands.
“I am not having this conversation with you again. Scorpius is not his father, no matter how much you think he is, and I love him. Why do you insist on mistrusting him?”
“Because you’re my daughter, Rosie, and I can’t trust anyone else to protect you!”
I’m lost for words at that outburst, and glance at Dad curiously. He’s staring pointedly at the floor, his face reddening.
“You know, I think that’s the most touching thing I’ve ever heard you say.”
Dad goes even redder. “Yeah, well,” he mutters. “Yeah. So you see why I don’t like Malfoy.”
“We’ve got him,” I tell Scorpius, slipping into Arithmancy. “Harry, I mean. He’s agreed to come for an hour tonight. Seemed quite excited about the whole idea.”
“Didn’t freak out at the prospect of the Imperius Curse?”
“Nope. He thought it was a good idea. Said to keep it quiet from the Ministry, though.”
“The Ministry? He is the Ministry. Or at least, the part of the Ministry that’s meant to care.”
“His words, not mine.”
“And he was okay with me doing it?” Scorpius continues nervously.
“Yeah, my dad was a different story though.”
“You told your dad?”
“I kinda…ran into him. And he kinda…asked for the details. So yeah. You’d think you were Voldemort reincarnate, the way he reacted.”
“Your father’s such a lovely man,” he comments, rolling his eyes.
“He’s not all bad,” I reply, still thinking of his words at the Ministry.
“What do I have to do to gain his approval?” Scorpius asks, a hint of frustration in his voice. “Change my surname? Disown the family?”
“It’s nothing personal.”
“Nothing personal?” he repeats incredulously.
“Well, yeah, he’d be the same with any guy who wanted to go out with me.”
“How do you know that?”
“Coz I asked him what his problem with you was, why he seems so intent on mistrusting you, and he said he can’t trust anyone else to protect me.”
“Deep words from Ron Weasley.”
“I know, I was…surprised.”
“Perhaps I should find your dad and express my willingness to jump in front of an Avada Kedavra for you.”
“Don’t you dare ever do that. Jump in front of a curse for me.”
“Because I couldn’t live without you. Damn Dad, he got me all sentimental.”
“I’m touched, Rose.” He places a hand over his chest. “Your grudging sentimentality warms my bitterly cold, black Malfoy heart.”
“Evening, folks!” I call to the assembled One Hogwartians that evening. “Tonight, we’ve got something intense. Something scary. Something unthinkable, even. Which is why we have Head Auror Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived, Chosen One, yada yada, supervising the proceedings tonight. Everyone say hi.”
For half the group, this is the first time they’ve ever actually seen Harry in person, and a gasp rises up from the crowd. Harry waves slightly awkwardly from the wall he’s trying to inconspicuously lean against.
“Before we begin, I want you to all cast a Patronus. All of you. You should have learned this in sixth-year Charms. Excellent. See that? That means none of you are Dark wizards. Always a comforting thought, isn’t it? You’re probably wondering what the big deal is. The fact is, I told you we’re going to be fighting the Dark Arts. And to fight the Dark Arts you need to be prepared for the worst. Tonight, you’re going to learn to fight the Imperius Curse. You’re going to be put under the curse, in a controlled situation, supervised by Harry Potter and Professors Lupin and Longbottom. Scorpius will be casting the curse. Hands up everyone who saw Scorpius’s Patronus.”
“It was an owl, wasn’t it?”
“I saw it.”
“Wait, wasn’t that Rose’s? The owl?”
“Yeah, the owl was Rose’s.”
I nod to Scorpius, and we cast our Patroni at the same time. Two silver owls swoop through the Room of Requirement as thirty people watch.
“They’re the same!”
“They have the same Patronus! You know what that means?”
“Anyway,” I call, interrupting the chatter. “You saw Scorpius’s Patronus. What can you tell me about that?”
“He’s madly in love with you!” someone calls.
“He is, but what else?”
“He’s not a Dark wizard?”
“Bingo! Correct. And I just told you he can cast the Imperius. I hope that puts your mind at ease a bit. Dark magic is more often than not determined by intention. Scorpius, if you please.”
“All right,” Lorcan says. “I’m here. Talk to me.”
“I don’t know what to do,” I admit miserably. “It’s like there’s no way out.”
“That doesn’t mean there’s not a way through. We’ll talk to Mum, you can live with us, she’ll understand—”
“I don’t want to even think about that right now,” I interrupt. “I want things to go back to normal. I want to get hold of a Time Turner and go back, except my parents destroyed the lot of them in the second wizarding war.”
“Well, it was either mine, Rose’s, your mum, or Professor Longbottom.”
“Are you going to tell your parents?” Lorcan asks, bringing me back to the subject at hand.
“I don’t know how, I haven’t spoken to them in weeks. I don’t want to tell anyone, in case…”
“In case what?” he asks sharply.
“In case nothing comes of it.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know. I need to talk to Medea.”
“Medea? Why Medea?”
“Because she’s the leader of the Honour Guard, Lorcan,” I explain impatiently. “That, and she’s not going to look at me like I’ve fallen so far from grace it’s a wonder I’m still alive.”
I stand to track down Natalia.
“Talk to Medea?” Lorcan calls after me. “You’ve barely even talked to me, and I’m the damn father!”
“You weren’t there when I needed you!” I yell back, hearing my voice crack on the final words. “I needed you, and you walked away! Don’t you dare act like you have any say in what I do!”
“Lily!” Cameron calls, puffing as he sprints to catch up with me. “McGonagall wants to see you in her office.”
Fear grips me, cutting through my anger like a knife. The Honour Guard, the pregnancy…which of my dark secrets has McGonagall found out about? Dismissing Cameron, I force myself to remain calm as I walk through the castle and hover at the door to McGonagall’s office.
“Good, you’re here,” she says crisply, beckoning me inside. I follow her up the spiral staircase, taking the seat she gestures me to as she takes her place behind her desk.
“I’ve just spoken to Madam Pomfrey.”
“Right,” I manage in a strangled voice.
“She informed me of your…condition. I don’t think I need to tell you that I am unbelievably disappointed in you, Miss Potter.”
“As you are no doubt aware, this school has not, does not, and will not tolerate sexual relations between students, whether they be of age or not. And you, Miss Potter, are not.”
There’s a very loud, very sudden coughing fit from one of the portraits on the wall.
“That’s enough from you, Severus,” McGonagall calls without turning around. “Miss Potter, your parents will need to be informed, as will the parents of the father…”
“No!” I shout, hearing the hysteria in my voice. “Don’t tell them, please.”
“What will the famous Harry Potter think, his daughter getting pregnant in her sixth year?” the portrait drawls.
“Fuck knows why Al was named after you,” I mutter, addressing the portrait. “You’re an absolute git.”
A furious McGonagall fires a curse at the portrait, and a disgruntled-looking Severus Snape falls silent.
“I will not tolerate that kind of language in my office,” she says icily. “Do I make myself clear?”
“Who is the father of the child, Miss Potter?”
“Don’t call it a child.”
“Who is the father?”
“The Ravenclaw Prefect?”
“Go and get him,” McGonagall says crisply. “Now.”
I’m not in the mood to answer the bronze Ravenclaw knocker’s riddles, instead cornering Dom on her way into the tower.
“Tell Lorcan he has to see McGonagall in her office, now,” I say flatly.
Dom eyes me. “Everything all right, Lily?”
“Fan-fucking-tastic. Just get Lorcan.”
Shooting me another concerned look, Dom retreats into Ravenclaw Tower, and I return to McGonagall’s office.
“He’s on his way,” I reply to her unanswered question.
“He knows, I assume?”
“Oh yeah, he knows.” I can hear the bitterness creeping into my voice.
“Professor?” Lorcan says, hovering in the doorway. He glances at me, and realisation seems to dawn on his face.
“Take a seat, Mr Scamander.”
He does so, pointedly ignoring me.
“I trust you know why you’re here,” McGonagall says.
“I can venture a guess.”
“Are you aware of the procedures relating to such an issue as this?”
“Can’t say I ever thought I’d need to be, Professor.”
“Are you seventeen, Mr Scamander?”
“Nearly.” He shifts around uncomfortably.
“You’re aware that under wizarding law you will be bound to pay child support from the moment you are of age.”
I can’t believe we’re discussing this. No.
“I would have anyway,” Lorcan says.
“Miss Potter,” she says, turning to me, “You will be unable to attend Hogwarts next year. You can choose to come back to complete your schooling when the child is older, or complete a NEWT-equivalent course through the Ministry by correspondence.”
Why is not having this child not an option?
“We will give you two weeks to inform your parents,” McGonagall continues. “If you have not done so, an owl will be sent. I must also ask you to hand in your Prefect badges.”
“Professor!” Lorcan protests, and I stare at her, aghast.
“Prefects are to at all times model exemplary behavior and abide by all school rules,” McGonagall says tartly. “You have done neither.”
“We didn’t break any school rules!” Lorcan says angrily. “It didn’t happen at school!”
“Where it happened is of no consequence,” McGonagall replies. “Nor do I want to hear the details. You are both students at Hogwarts, not only students, but Prefects. Students who are meant to be role models and leaders. I have been teaching at Hogwarts for seventy years, Mr Scamander, and I have never seen such shocking behaviour from our Prefects.”
“So this is worse than plotting to kill the Headmaster and bring Death Eaters into the school?” I demand hotly. “Draco Malfoy, Slytherin Prefect, we’re somehow worse than him?”
“That’s enough, Miss Potter. Your badge, please.”
This must be how Rose felt, I realise as I unpin the badge from my robes, holding it in my hand for one last time and placing it miserably on McGonagall’s desk.
“You are dismissed,” she tells us, and Lorcan and I rise in silence and depart her office.
“We’re members of the Honour Guard,” Lorcan says resolutely. “And that matters far more than a Prefect badge.”
“Natalia,” I call, spotting her up ahead and jogging to catch up with her. “I have a favour to ask.”
She hangs back, allowing Emily and Damascus to go ahead, before turning to me. “What is it?”
“I need to talk to Medea.”
“We’re going to Headquarters again tonight,” she tells me. “Emily’s already told Lorcan. Twenty five past seven, usual place. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, it’ll be fine.”
When we arrive at Headquarters, I immediately seek out Medea, casting Muffliato as I do.
“That’s a curious little spell,” she notes.
“Invented by Severus Snape,” I reply. “It means conversations can’t be overheard.”
“What do you need to talk to me about that can’t be heard by the rest of the Guard?”
“Well, that explains a lot.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve been overly temperamental,” she replies. “Lorcan’s, I assume?”
“That, also, explains a lot.”
“Like the fact he’s not talking to me?”
“Precisely. That’s unfortunate.”
“You’re telling me.”
Medea sighs. “I’m sorry to be blunt, Lily, but you really are no use to the Guard pregnant.”
“That’s what I thought,” I mutter, looking up at her in trepidation. Is she going to kick me out?
“Do you intend to keep it?”
“I really would rather not.”
She considers me thoughtfully. “You’re a good duellist,” she says at length. “A powerful girl, and an asset to the Guard. You are, effectively, our secret weapon. The Ministry may guess some members of the Guard, but you will never come under suspicion.” She drops her voice, lowering her head to whisper in my ear. “I know of potions that can fix the problem. Fix it, and make it seem natural.” She straightens up. “It’s entirely up to you. I’m not pushing you in any direction. But if you want another option, an option to stay in the Guard, then that’s it.”
A/N: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update, but I'm making this story my priority for the next couple of weeks. I finished it for NaNo last year, and I want to get it posted as quickly as possible. So expect fast updates for a while, and thanks for your patience! :)
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