Chapter 18 : Numb (Scorpius)
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I step onto the walkway, a small sigh escaping my lips. This is it. We’re going to find Al’s dad.
Somehow, the sense of dread in the pit of my stomach won’t go away. It doesn’t make sense to me, nothing bad is going on.
Why should I be worried?
But I am. I’m so worried. It appears that’s all I can do—worry. Worry about mum. Worry about Al. Worry, worry, worry.
I bite my lip as I walk up the stone walkway. After a moment I knock on the door. I am greeted by a head of red hair, and flashing hazel eyes.
Lily Potter glares up at me. “Malfoy,” she sneers. “Can I help you?”
I wince internally at the way she says my name. I’m not like my father, or my arse of a grandfather. I’m not a coward. And I won’t let other people make my decisions for me. I know what I want out of life and I’m going to do whatever I can to get there.
But still, the way they say the name, as if it’s some curse… It seems that I can’t even take pride in my family name. I’m an outcast, another Malfoy Slytherin.
I close my eyes for a moment, trying to calm down and then ask through my teeth, “Can I talk to Al?”
I open my eyes again to see Lily’s eyes flash with confusion before she finally says, “He’s not here. Go talk to Rose.”
Then she slams the door in my face, not even bothering to say goodbye.
I stare at the red wood in front of my face, blinking slowly. After a short moment I move, but then bite my lip.
I really don’t want to go to Rose’s house.
That sounds awful.
No, no, I do want to go to her house. I want to see her smile at me, I want to hear her laugh, I want to snog the hell out of her (oh, Merlin, I didn’t say that…).
But I really don’t want to see her father. I really don’t want to be screamed at for my last name. I really don’t want to spend time around her without kissing her, or…
You have to find Al, numbskull. Just do it.
With a slight moan, I turn and apparate.
… And fall right into Rose’s arms.
I pull back quickly, my face heating insanely fast, my heart pounding. Oh, Merlin, that’s awkward…
She bites her lip as she watches me, and… Is her face red too?
Of course you idiot, you just fell into her arms. (...I hate this voice in the back of my head that won't shut up...)
Unless… Al’s right and she actually does like me… I scrutinize her for a moment, but then blush again as she raises an eyebrow at me.
I clear my throat and say rather awkwardly, “Er… Hello… Sorry about that, it’s just… Have you seen Al?”
I don’t know how she manages to understand a single word that I’m saying—or, rather, mumbling incoherently—but she blinks at me, those beautiful sky blue eyes of hers narrowing, her glistening red hair falling in her face, and she says, “Shouldn’t you be at the Potters house?”
I bite my lip and stammer, “I… I already checked there. Lily… Lily told me he wasn’t home… and… er… slammed the door in my face…”
Rose seems to freeze and then blinks up at me and then repeats, “He wasn’t home?”
I nod slowly, raising an eyebrow at her. Shooting a quick glance around the yard she grabs me by the arm with a vice grip and pulls me inside the house, through the two open French doors.
“Ow,” I mutter as I yank my arm back. She rolls her eyes at me and I whine pathetically, “That hurt.”
Rose shakes her head in exasperation, and then, leaning closer to me—Oh, Merlin, I just want to… (damn it, shut up)— says, “I haven’t seen Al since last night. I was looking for him a few hours ago too.”
This causes me to freeze, and I almost forget the persistent urge I have to grab her and snog the living daylights out of her.
I shake my head, trying to get this lovely vision out of my head, and leaning closer to her (bad idea) I ask quietly, “Wait, you haven’t seen him since last night either?”
She shakes her head, her red hair flying everywhere, her sky blue eyes sparkling with worry for her cousin. And my heartbeat speeds up.
Damn those butterflies.
I swallow, and try quickly to think up where Al would be, all the while trying to stop thinking about Rose.
I fail. Miserably.
Finally, I gasp to her, “Where would he be?”
She shakes her head helplessly again, looking stricken and panicked. I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. I can’t even formulate a sentence.
Whether that’s from confusion over Al’s weird disappearance or from being this close to her I have no idea.
We stand there staring at each other for a moment. I can’t help it any longer. I start to lean in, which is, of course, when her father enters the room.
Merlin, just kill me already.
“What the hell are you doing in my house, Malfoy?!?” He screeches.
Thankfully, I don’t think he noticed I was about to kiss his daughter. Rose turns on her dad, rolling her eyes. I don’t think she noticed I was about to kiss her either.
“For Merlin’s sake, dad, he’s just—”
“Get the hell out of my house, Malfoy!”
“Dad, stop being so fucking prejudiced!”
I wince slightly. Oh, Merlin. This is going to be a long day, isn’t it?
Rose and her father continue yelling at each other, and I wonder if it would be polite to just leave the house already.
Then Rose’s mother enters the room, spots me, and starts yelling at her husband. I roll my eyes at this, but, being my idiot self who has no common sense whatsoever; I wind up standing around in the middle of the room.
And then Rose’s brother comes in the room, adding his voice to the mix, yelling, “It’s so loud in here!”
I wince again, and glance over my shoulder, trying to find a way out. And then claws scrape against the window, and it seems to penetrate the noise, a haunting silence filling the room.
I turn to look at the window first, but everyone else follows suit.
A snowy white owl is hovering outside the window, a letter hooked in its claw. It gives a soft hoot. We all pause, and then Hugo walks over to the window and opens it, retrieving the letter from the owl before it flies away.
“Who’s it for?” Mrs. Weasley asks softly.
A look of confusion crosses Hugo’s face, and then he turns. His eyes meet mine, and I feel my stomach drop.
Dread settles over me and I can’t move as he slowly holds the letter out to me. I take it with trembling hands, forcing myself to breathe.
Nothing bad is happening, I chant to myself. Nothing bad is happening.
I open the letter, turning my back to the Weasley’s curios stares. I smooth out the folds slowly.
As soon as I read the words written on the paper, I feel my entire body go numb, and my eyes sting with tears. I take in a few shuddering, sob-like breaths, trying to control myself.
It doesn’t work very well.
I squeeze my hand into a fist, my fingernails biting into my skin, crumpling the paper in the process.
No. No. No. This cannot be happening….
Make it go away, please Merlin, tell me this isn’t true….
“Scorpius?” Rose asks softly.
I turn around quickly, clutching the crumpled letter to my chest; tears blurring my vision, making everything look fuzzy and oddly shaped.
The Weasleys all look at me oddly.
Rose opens her mouth to say something, but I flee the house as fast as humanly possible and take off into the park across the street.
It can’t be true. It can’t be.
I stare at the letter again, as if that will make the pain of the words go away.
“Scorpius?” I hear a voice ask, and I turn, angrily wiping tears off my face, to see Rose standing behind me, her red hair gracefully falling out of her ponytail, her face flushed, her breathing hard.
I pull back and try to turn so she doesn’t see the tears glistening on my face, but it’s too late.
“What’s wrong?” she asks after a moment, biting her lip.
“N—nothing,” I say, my voice cracking as I fight not to let a sob catch in it.
I feel her presence settle beside me, but even that can’t cheer me up in the slightest.
“Did you think I would actually believe that?” She asks after a moment.
“No,” I whisper. I bite my lip, but then lean over and set the letter in her lap, feeling the tears spill over again.
She picks up the paper and begins to read quietly. After a moment, I feel her stiffen. I look up in time to see her pale, horror written across every line of her face.
“Oh, Scorpius,” she says, stumbling with her words, trying to backpedal as fast as possible. “I didn’t… I mean… I should… I should just go, shouldn’t I?”
She starts backing away, but I quickly gasp, “No! Please. Wait.”
She turns to look at me, wide-eyed, and I gaze back, tears still dripping slowly down my face.
“I was—I was going to go—And… I was… I was wondering if you would… Come with me,” the last emerges on a whisper, but she can still hear me. She stares at me in surprise and I add in a choked voice, “I can’t go alone.”
Rose watches me carefully, and then gives a slow nod, turning to offer me her hand. I take it and stand up, readying myself for what’s next.
We walk together silently through the white hallways. Rose has to pull me along behind her. I can barely move; I have to force my legs to walk forward, have to fight the horrible weight sinking down on my shoulders.
When we step inside the door, my vision is so blurred with tears that I can barely see straight. My whole body trembles.
Rose lets go of my hand, backing up a few steps and shutting the door behind her, watching me sadly through her sky blue eyes.
I walk over to the bed and sink down onto my knees, feeling the cold tiled floor through my jeans. My tears begin to fall freely now, and I can’t stop them.
I don’t want to.
I reach for her hand, looking for any sign of comfort. As soon as I find it, I grip it tight in mine, but her cold, slack hand offers no comfort whatsoever.
“Mum,” I whisper in a choked voice, leaning my head against her blankets. “I…” I brush a strand of blonde hair from her pale face, swallowing. “I love you.”
In the silence that follows, I pray for a response, even though I know that it’s impossible. I won’t get a response.
Because she’s gone.
I sob, and hear Rose whisper, “Oh, Scorpius…”
“She’s dead,” I gasp to Rose, unable to say anything else. “She—she’s gone. I won’t ever see her again.”
My hand slips from my mum’s and I turn away from the bed, sinking onto the floor, curling up in a ball. I bring my knees tightly to my chest and wrap my arms around them, as if trying to keep myself in one piece. I’m sobbing hysterically now, unable to control myself, my whole body shuddering.
I feel Rose sit down next to me and slowly wrap her arms around my shoulders, whispering comforting things in my ear. In my strange haze I can’t understand a single word she’s saying.
Suddenly, I think (strangely) of Al. I try to imagine what he would say if he was here. Knowing Al, he would do his best to try and awkwardly comfort me, which would probably cheer me up more than anything else.
I don’t know what he does, or how he does it, but it works.
And it’s incredible. Even with his dad missing…
I jerk upright, my tears stopping for the moment, and Rose’s arm falls to the side. “What is it?” She breathes, confusion flashing across her face.
“I know where he is,” I whisper, my eyes widening.
“What?” Rose asks, her brow furrowing.
“He went after his Dad.”
Yes. It’s so obvious. Where else would he be? What else would he do? I know him better than that.
But still, something isn’t right.
“Who?” Rose demands, standing up.
“Al,” I murmur, gazing out the window. “But where are they? Where could he be? What am I missing?”
In a short moment, I flash back to that day in his Dad’s office. The doorknob in the wall, the desk in the hidden room.
That familiar voice, whispering to himself as Al and I stood in the darkness, nervously waiting, hoping not to be discovered.
And I know where he is. I know where he is.
But trouble is coming.
Because I know what’s going to happen next.
And it isn’t pretty.
The passageways are cold and dark. Rose shivers as she grabs my arm, following closely behind, trying not to lose me.
She unconsciously steps closer and asks, “Where are we going?”
I squeeze her arm in a comforting way and say, “To find Al.”
Nervously, she breathes, “What does a secret passageway in the Potter’s library have anything to do with that, though?”
“If I’m right…” I murmur to myself as I work my way down the hallway, going simply by memory and the light of my wand.
I find the door on the right side of the tunnel, right where it was before. I twist the knob and it creaks open ominously.
I walk through the silent room, Rose scurrying closely behind, and open the next door, the one leading to the Ministry. I give the hallway a quick glance around before starting through it.
Rose follows again, nervous, but still believing in me, no matter where I’m taking her, which fills me with a strange, warm feeling.
I am not mushy. I am not mushy. I am not—
I stop as I hear a loud creak. Rose freezes with a gasp, clutching me tighter. I glance down at my feet, and shift.
There’s another creak.
“Stairs,” I mutter to myself, lifting my wand up higher to get a view of what’s in front of me.
I start up the stairs with Rose following quietly behind, her breaths shallow and anxious. I want to comfort her, but I have no idea what to say. I’d probably muck up any attempt at comfort towards her though. I’d panic.
I nearly run in to another door, but quickly open it. And suddenly I can see again. I blink in the light, squinting.
“Where are we?” Rose squeaks.
I blink, looking up and down the hallway and finally, tilting my head, I say unconfidently, “The Department of Mysteries?”
Rose blinks at then looks around in confusion, as if she’s noticed that the black brick hallway looks familiar too.
After a moment, I hear voices and turn down the hallway, slipping through an open doorway, dragging Rose with me.
We both glance around and then someone hisses softly, “Scorpius? What are you doing here?”
I whirl around, coming face to face with a rather lanky boy who has wide, sparkling emerald eyes and tousled raven-black hair.
“Al,” I breathe in relief and his emerald eyes narrow. Rose’s head pops around my shoulder, and I can see the amazement in her blue eyes as she looks at me.
“How did you…?” She doesn’t seem able to finish her question.
“What are you two doing here?” He asks, his voice low. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“Albus…” Rose’s tone is threatening.
“Look,” I snap. “I’m not about to let you die. I was going to come help you find your dad no matter what. You could’ve just waited a few more hours.”
Regret and sorrow flash through his emerald eyes quickly, almost a cry for forgiveness before he pouts and says, “I couldn’t wait any longer. I… I—”
“Wait,” Rose commands, her voice full of shock. Al and I both turn to look at her, him annoyed, me curious.
“What?” I ask softly, brushing a strand of red hair behind her ear. She doesn’t notice—but Al does. He shoots me a look and then smirks that Malfoy smirk that he picked up from me (I didn’t realize how damned annoying it was until now) as I turn red.
Rose glares at us, her eyes flashing and growls through her teeth, “You know where Uncle Harry is?”
Al and I both look at our feet, pretending we’re not red and mumbling unintelligible things under our breath.
“And you didn’t tell anybody?” Rose finishes, still snarling.
“Rose,” Al whispers, biting his lip. “We couldn’t… Think of what would’ve happened if… If…”
“If we were too late,” I finish for him, flinching slightly. I watch him wince. Rose grimaces. I know that’s what Al was going to say, but still, it sounds awful…
Suddenly, there’s the sound of a door open, a loud, menacing creak. Rose, Al, and I turn quickly, wands raised, completely alert.
The first person to come out from the door is a man wearing a long, sweeping, dark black cape.
He walks to the center of the room and pulls his hood back, revealing long black hair falling in dreadlocks and a death eater mask, sparkling evilly in the bare light of the room. Silver eyes flash back and forth behind the mask and finally, the man raises his wand and shoots a soft jet of electric red sparkles upwards.
A long line of death eaters marches out of the door, but their pace seems to be off, almost as if something is slowing part of the line down. It’s impossible to tell what it could be through their billowing capes.
I hear Rose whimper slightly behind me and shoot her a glance. Her face is pale, full of fear.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for her to see this.
At least Al and I knew this was coming.
She had no idea.
The line stops and the first man lets out a snarl. A person is shoved out of the lines and onto the floor.
His hair is a mess, his face dirty and tear-stained, his clothes in tatters, his glasses askew, but it’s still quite obvious who it is.
I could tell just by his eyes if anything.
They look so much like the pair of eyes I’ve gotten used to seeing.
Next to me, Al lets out a trembling gasp.
His voice is choked when he finally manages to say, “Dad."
A/N: There’s eighteen. Poor Scorpius… (Bye, bye, Astoria) and for all of you people who have been questioning whether Harry’s alive or not… There you are! Look, it’s Harry! And somehow, miraculously, he’s still alive!
Nineteen will pick up. My first ever battle scene. *creepy smile* Fun, fun. (Don’t mind me)
Anyhow, here’s the preview that you’ve all obviously been waiting for:
I turn to him, smirking that annoying smirk I picked up from Scorpius. “If there’s one thing I can tell you it’s this. We’re not going down without a fight.”
And all hell breaks loose.
Colored jets of light, red, green, gold, blue, white, black, they’re everywhere, flying up towards the ceiling, smashing into the walls, whizzing past my ear, missing me by just an inch…
Every death eater has joined the battle against Rose, Scorpius, and I (bloody hell, we’re going to die.)
Chapter nineteen will be up as soon as possible. And that empty box down there is very hungry. You should give it a snack.
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