Chapter 8 : Vacations and ideas
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The next day was my day off from St. Mungos, leaving me wandering around my house, wondering what Rose was doing.
I quickly consider going to apologize to her, but remember that she takes a few days to cool down. (I learned that one the hard way during school. Trust me, if you don’t want a black eye, you’ll wait until Rose seeks you out to apologize to her.)
Somehow, I find myself sitting at the piano, something I hadn’t done in a very long time.
I allow my hands to drift over the keys, the crystal clear notes emerging, filling the air with a sound almost as wonderful as laughter, something like magic.
Of course, I can’t be cheesy and say the ‘if magic existed that is’ line, because then I would sound stupid and… Never mind.
I shake my head and return to the keys, playing softly, feeling the cold, still perfection of the keys moving under my light, nimble fingers.
“Beautiful,” I hear someone say from behind me, and I whirl around, nearly falling off the piano bench, to see a man with gray eyes and blonde hair.
“Dad,” I choke after a moment of partly confused, partly irritated staring. “What—erm, what are you doing here?”
He sits down on the bench next to me, ruffles my hair slightly and says after a moment, “Your mother… I thought I would just warn you… She’s still very adamant about setting you up with Emma.”
I groan. “Of course she is.”
He chuckles a little and says, “She wants you to come to dinner next week.”
I close my eyes, sighing and mutter, “What time?”
“She says five o’clock on Tuesday,” my father responds lightly, “but I have a feeling that’s because Emma can make it.”
I feel a triumphant grin light my face. “I can’t do that. I’ll be working.”
My father snickers at the look on my face. I grin up at him and we are silent for a moment, watching each other before he says, “Where did you learn to play the piano like that?”
I smile softly. “Rose and Al taught me some. I taught myself the rest. We went up to the room of requirements every once and a while… We always made up songs together. Al would play guitar, I would play the piano, and Rose would sing, and…”
My father smiles at that. “James didn’t go with you?”
I think back and then laugh. “He did sometimes. He would dance. It was the worst dancing I’ve seen in my life.”
My father laughs with me and replies, “I used to play in the room of requirements too, you know?”
I glance at him and he continues sadly, “I was always so afraid of my family… Of being myself around Blaise, Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle, so I just went and hid in there, usually. Did my homework. Then one night there was a piano in there. Winky had taught me how to play when I was little, so… I just did.”
I smile and scoot over on the bench, giving him room to turn around and play. He smiles back at me, gently, and finally sets his fingers lightly against the keys, letting them drift up and down, playing a song that I recognize.
I play with him, an octave down, and we play through the song, laughing softly to ourselves.
We play a few more songs, but after a bit, he pulls back. He looks at me for a long moment and finally says, “Scorpius, I know I haven’t been the best father.” There is a pause as he considers this and finally says, “Fuck, I was a goddamn awful father.”
I laugh, but feel tears come to my eyes at the same time. Why am I so freaking emotional? What is wrong with me?
My father rests his hand on my shoulder as he continues, “I want to make up for that, Scorpius. I should have tried harder, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. I love you, you know that right?”
I smile up at him, thinking that things might finally start looking up in my life.
Wow. I could have a stupid checklist or something about what would make my life better.
1. Make up with Dad. Check.
2. Cure James. Working on it…
3. Talk to Rose. I mess it up every time I try, don’t I?
4. Get Mum to leave me alone. This one might just be impossible.
5. Get Al a girlfriend and collect my twenty galleons. (That’s a long story right there.) Er… This one’s harder than I thought.
I shake my head and return to the conversation, not thinking about my (stupid) mental checklist.
“I love you too, Dad,” I say, watching him calmly. “And… It’s okay. It was probably the best for me. I don’t think I would’ve been especially keen with a super close relationship.”
He smiles at me again, softly and says, “I realize that, but I’m going to make it up to you someday.”
I grin at him. “And I’m alright with that.”
He hugs me slightly. “I was hoping you would say that.”
Of course, that’s when Mum decides to show up, screaming around the flat, “Scorpius! Where are you?”
Groaning, I call back, “I’m in here, Mum!”
She enters the living room and opens her mouth to say something to me but then stops in surprise, staring at Dad.
“Er… Draco…? What are you doing here?”
I can feel silent laughter shaking through Dad’s body. I feel like laughing too. Mum is so overly ridiculous sometimes.
“Why, Astoria, I was just visiting our son. Do you have a problem with that?”
Mum opens her mouth to say something, stops, and tries again, but ends up gapping at the two of us, her blue eyes suspicious.
She shakes her head. “Anyways,” she turns to me, sending Dad a slight glare and continues rather angrily, “Can you come to dinner on Tuesday, Scorpius? How about around five?”
I silently thank my lucky stars that Dad came and warned me about this. “Um…” I take a regretful (completely fake) breath in and say to her, “I… I can try, but I can’t guarantee that I can make it.”
Dad snickers next to me, and I send him a glance, smirking. Mum is completely oblivious and says, “Oh, well, that’s a shame. Do you think you might be able to make it?”
“Of course,” I reassure her, lying through my teeth. “I’ll try as hard as I can.” To not make it.
“Alright!” Mum agrees cheerfully. “I’ll tell her to come then,” she mumbles to herself, and I shoot Dad a thankful glance as I question, “Er, what?”
“Oh, nothing.” Mum says dismissively, waving her hand around. Then she turns to glare at Dad. She steps forward and grabs his arm, saying, “We’re going home now, Draco.”
Dad shoots me a look that reads, Merlin help me as Mum pulls him out of the room. I laugh softly to myself, but stop as the fireplace turns green.
James stumbles out, causing me to roll my eyes at him. “Has my home become your new sanctuary, James?”
He looks to me desperately. “You have to help me.”
I sigh softly, standing up. “What now?”
“They’re driving me insane,” he gasps. “I told them about my date with Amelia, and then I overhead them talking about having someone follow me.”
I pause for a moment and nod. “They are going a… Little overboard.”
James looks at me tiredly and asks, “A little?” Then he shakes his head, an odd look crossing his face as he sinks down on the couch. “I feel like I’m going to pass out.” He shakes his head, and leans back on the couch, letting out a breath.
I grimace. “Stress,” I hear myself mumble, and James glances up at me.
I shake my head. “Some people say stress can make cancer worse. Others say stress can cause cancer… It’s all kind of iffy, but…”
James jolts upright, understanding my meaning. “Uh… Then what do I do?”
I bite my lip. “We tell them to back off, I suppose,” I mutter, glancing at him.
He shakes his head quickly. “They won’t listen. They’re all freaking out.”
I pause for a moment and then say, “What if… That might… I have an idea.”
James glances at me, and I lean forward, whispering in his ear.
Albus Potter’s POV
“I really don’t think James wants us following him on his date,” I say dryly, rolling my eyes at my parents.
Dad looks relieved that someone has taken his side, which causes me to grin. That is, until Mum starts talking again.
“No! I don’t want to leave him alone!” She says desperately. “What if something happens to him?”
“Aunt Ginny,” Rose says softly from next to me. “James is old enough to take care of himself…”
I hold back a slight snicker as Lily says, “Mum, Scorpius would tell us if something happened. Leave James alone for a little while. He hates being babied. You know that. He’ll be okay.”
Rose twitches slightly at the mention of Scorpius’s name and I lean closer to her, asking, “What happened?”
She shakes her head too quickly. “Nothing, Al.”
I make a face at her, but she doesn’t say anything else.
Aunt Hermione touches Mum’s shoulder. “Ginny, it’ll be okay. He—”
“How will it be okay?” Mum asks sadly. “He’s not even denying it, Hermione. He’s going to die.”
Uncle Ron looks up from his hands. “I still don’t trust Malfoy.”
Rose turns on him, her eyes flashing. “Dad, grow up for once, will you? What do you think he’s going to do? Murder James?”
“As a matter of fact...”
“Don’t be so daft! He’s a doctor, and he’s James’s friend!”
Uncle Ron looks at Rose, his eyes flashing angrily. “Yeah, well, if he’s such a good friend then why did he disappear for eight years, huh? Got a good explanation for that one, Rosie?”
Rose pales slightly. Then Lily makes a squeaking noise, causing us all to look at her. “I…” Rose starts, but Lily looks at us sadly.
“I’m sorry,” she tells Rose and me.
“What?” Rose asks at the same time I say, “Lily?”
“It’s might fault,” Lily tells Uncle Ron. “That he left. I… I told him too.”
Rose gapes at Lily, and I stare at her, desperately confused. “But… But… Why?” I demand.
Lily opens her mouth to respond, but there’s a knock on the door. I look up to see James and Scorpius.
Great. Their timing is just brilliant, isn't it?
Uncle Ron glares at them but then Aunt Hermione hits him on the arm and he turns to look out the window.
Scorpius glances at James hesitantly and then asks him softly, “Er… James, can I have a moment?”
James nods and shooting a quick glare around the room, he leaves quietly. Scorpius shuts the door behind him as he steps in and stops in front of us, a tired look on his face, his silver eyes regarding us warily.
“What is it?” I ask him, and he sighs slightly.
“You know that stress is said to make cancer worse?” He asks of nobody in particular, glancing around the room.
Aunt Hermione nods slightly. “It’s also said that stress can cause cancer, but nobody’s entirely sure.”
Scorpius smiles slightly at her before he returns to the conversation. His voice drops an octave and he says, “I don’t think you know how much James is freaking out.”
I glance at Rose, wondering if she knows what’s going on, but she doesn’t look up from her hands.
“And how would you know?” Uncle Ron inquires, glaring at him.
Scorpius makes a face. “James has been coming to my flat for the past few days when he wants to get away.” He glances around at us all again and says, “Look, I’m not here to just make small talk.” He sighs slightly. “James is under a lot of stress right now,” he informs us. “And…” His silver eyes glance around nervously and he runs a hand through his blonde hair before flushing slightly. “I know this sounds awful, but I think that it’s because of you all.”
“What?” Rose asks softly, looking up at him.
Scorpius turns to look at her and says, “I think that he’s so stressed, not because he’s going to die, but because if he dies, he wants to die in peace. And you won’t leave him alone. He hates that.”
“So what are you suggesting we do?” Dad asks hesitantly, watching Scorpius carefully. Scorpius bites his lip.
“I hate having to ask you this…” He whispers, pain flashing across his face.
“What is it?” Mum asks quickly, slight panic in her voice.
Scorpius grimaces, turns to me, and then asks, “The rest of your family is on vacation, right?”
“Right,” I agree, even more confused.
Scorpius watches us carefully for a moment and then says, “What I’m asking you to do is to leave.”
“What?” Lily gasps from behind us and we all turn to look at her. “You want us to leave James? Now?”
Scorpius swallows slightly and says, “I can’t think of anything else. I know that it’s a tendency to be overprotective, but James hates that. You know he does. There’s no other option.” He looks at us all desperately. “I wouldn’t be asking you to do this if I didn’t think that him being so stressed would make this worse.”
I stand up and finally say, “I’ll go. If it’ll help him.”
Scorpius looks to me gratefully and says, “I’ll call you if anything drastic happens. I swear.”
I nod. “I believe you.” I glance at the rest of my family and then inform them, “I’m going to go pack.”
As I step out of the room and into the hallway, I find James there. He looks at me in relief and hugs me. “Thank you, Al.”
I smile softly, sadly, hoping this isn’t the last time I see him. “Tell me you’re going to be okay,” I insist, watching him.
“I’m going to be fine,” he murmurs, humoring me.
“And tell me you’ll call if something happens.”
“I’ll call, Al.”
“And tell me you’ll have a great time on your date.”
He smiles at this one, his hazel eyes sparkling. “I promise, Al.”
I start up the stairs but then turn back and say, “And… James…”
“Yes?” He asks, turning to look at me.
“Promise me you won’t think of me any differently for leaving.”
He glances at me sharply, confusion etched across his face. “But… I asked you to leave, Al.”
“I know,” I say softly. “That’s why I’m doing it. It doesn’t change the fact that I feel like kicking myself right now.”
James smiles softly at me, and wanders up the steps to join me. “You’ll always be my little brother, Al. I love you.”
“I love you too,” I say softly, and pull him into another hug. “You’ll be okay,” I murmur into his shoulder, feeling tears come to my eyes.
James pulls me out to arm’s length and says, “This isn’t goodbye, Al. I promise you.” I feel myself smile softly.
“I know,” I say. “I know.”
James’s hazel eyes watch me dart up the steps and I hear him say to himself, “You’re the best person I know, Albus. Don’t ever doubt that.”
I smile again. “I don’t,” I say to myself. “Not if you believe it. But you should know that you’re the bravest, most caring, best brother I could ever ask for.”
And with that, I turn to pack, leaving James in peace, all the while asking myself if I'm doing the right thing.
A/N: So there's chapter... What is this? Eight? Nine? Goodness... This story is really going fast. Wow. And I'm so happy you all love it. I love writing this story. This one and Gone are my favorite to write, so I'm glad you all like them. It makes me very happy. :)
Well, I hope you all enjoyed that chapter right there. (Eight, right?) What about Albus? What did you think of his POV?
And what was Lily's roll in Scorpius's dissaperance? Got any guesses?
The next chapter should have Amelia and James's date, which will probably be unbearably cutsey and fluffy, but that's okay.
And if any of you were wondering, stress is said to affect cancer, and there is some contreversy over whether or not it causes cancer. (I do my research. As boring as it is. Oh well.)
Well, this Author's Note is getting to be too long. A review would be much loved and appreciated. :)
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