stunning chapter image by .asperity @ TDA
"Are you going to tell me what the hell that was?" Malfoy's lawyer demanded as he shut the door behind the three of us. Scorpius dropped down into a chair at a table, taking his head into his hands with a heavy sigh as he realized his poor discretion in the courtroom only moments ago.
"I'm sorry. I don't know. I wasn't thinking," he commented, rumpling the hair he had smoothed down for the trial.
"The hell you weren't! We're trying to get you excused of all charges! Not convicted! Or am I just wasting my time?" his lawyer demanded, folding his arms across the chest.
I had been with the guy for only a few moments, and I already knew that I was not a fan of the guy. He was too intense; he clearly didn't care about Malfoy's fate, but only about the money Scorpius' father must be generously paying him.
It was when I was looking at the lawyer, submerged in my own judgmental thoughts when he turned to me with an accusing finger pointing in my direction. "And you! Because I couldn't fit time into my schedule to speak with him this morning, you should have reminded him of what is considered acceptable at this time!"
"You're the lawyer, not me. I don't have a client to keep in line. That's all you," I retorted, arms folded across my chest as I leaned against the wall. I only then realized how short I sounded with the man, but I realized I didn't really care.
"Then what are you doing here?"
"Making sure you
stay in line," I snapped.
Damn lawyers. Us Aurors have never really gotten along with the lot of them, but that changed slightly when Hermione took charge of the lawyer department. She kept the lawyers and their snarky attitudes in line while Harry made us do the same. I could see where the disagreements arose, though. Aurors are dark wizard catchers; we often face danger when on mission, and therefore face a little boredom during a normal day at the office. So we entertain ourselves by creating a little ruckus in our department while the lawyers work to maintain disruptions. We had clashing jobs, so to speak. Harry sat by while Ron and I often commandeered unimportant flying messages and lit them on fire for show, while Hermione told her employers to cool off when they were frustrated at us.
"You Aurors," he exhaled under his breath, turning to Malfoy while shaking his head.
I stood up straighter at that. I couldn't do much about the lawyer bad mouthing, but I could always report to Hermione that one of her employers was being a smart ass, my smart ass attitude already aside. "Excuse me," I interjected. "And your name is?"
"Justin Finch-Fletchley," he said, leaving it at that.
Oh, dammit. Talking about this guy to Hermione wouldn't do much good even if I tried. I recognized the name; he was Hermione's best lawyer. Wow, clearly Draco Malfoy was paying the big bucks for his son's case.
He turned back to face Malfoy and focused on his job. "Okay, so it didn't quite go the way we wanted it to in there - "
"Yeah, but I was myself and told the truth, just like you said," Scorpius snapped with just a short of fuse as I had.
Everyone seemed to be running on close to nothing today. Fletchley waved his hands around animatedly. "Was I finished? No. Yes, I told you to tell the truth, but what was the one thing I said was more important than telling the truth? That you get the tribunal to like you! You won't be pardoned by making the tribunal hate you!"
"I'm sorry! I just lost it," shouted Malfoy. His attitude around Fletchley was much different from what it had been with me, in confinement and with Ruckman. I could immediately tell that Malfoy didn't like his lawyer in the slightest, but rather that Fletchely irritated him, got under his skin and Scorpius couldn't seem to shake him off.
"Well, it's going to be extremely difficult to make a comeback after that," he huffed under his breath.
Scorpius watched him pace back and forth from his seat, completely unmoving except for his eyes that moved back and forth. Those grey eyes seemed to be giving death wishes for his lawyer; I wanted to laugh at the hatred that radiated from him for Fletchely.
That made two of us, Malfoy.
"What can I do?" asked Scorpius quietly. He didn't want to work with his lawyer, but he knew that his freedom was dangling by a thread after his remark in the Wizengamot just now. "I'll do anything at this point."
"Good," commented Fletchley. "That's what I want to hear after a show like that from you! But we need something big."
Neither one of them said anything. Scorpius remained looking hopeful, hoping that Fletchley would solve all of his problems while the lawyer himself was still trying to figure things out. I myself had an idea, so I decided to just throw it out there.
"Veritaserum," I muttered under my breath. I thought it was a great idea, but clearly from the looks I was receiving from the both of them, they didn't agree. I rolled my shoulders in questioning, trying to show that this might be their only option at this point if they wanted to avoid a conviction. "What? If he's telling the truth and has nothing to hide, then why not? It's illegal to use it by force, but it is perfectly legal to administer the serum under consent by one of the Wizengamot members."
"Well," began Fletchley. He had this incessant habit of rubbing his chin with his index finger, clearly something he did to help him think, and he continued to do so as he pondered my reasoning. "That makes sense, and it would most certainly prove that you are being honest. Simple as that."
"Exactly," I said, looking to Scorpius now.
"Would you be willing to take the serum?" Fletchley asked him, and Scorpius nodded eagerly.
His lawyer went over with him how the Wizengamot would go about that, how at the resuming of the trial after I chain him down, I can make a motion to administer the serum. It will then be approved by Malfoy, and Sondheim should appropriately send for one of the tribunal members to fetch a bottle of Veritaserum, and we would go from there.
Fletchley and I both made sure Scorpius knew the drill. The thirty minute recess passed quicker than any of us would have liked. As the time got closer, Malfoy got more and more on edge. He grew tense, sweating and shaking in his seat. Fletchely was taking down a few notes in a chair in the corner, not paying attention to his client, so I walked over to Malfoy. I knelt down in front of him, and I watched him digging his nails into the back of his left hand. He had drawn blood, and I noticed the other scars. Perhaps it was a nervous habit he had picked up.
I tried not to mention it as I looked up at him. "Hey. Look at me, kid."
He did so, immediately prying his eyes away from his scarred hand. They were swimming with something I wouldn't necessarily understand from him, but I felt as if I had made a connection with him, and I didn't know why. I know he felt it too, though. In any other situation, he wouldn't have opened up to me; he wouldn't have looked at me, his one hope in that courtroom just now. Maybe it was the fact that I was slowly turning into him, that I was losing grasp of my own self and instead becoming him. That was what made me get soft with Malfoy, and perhaps that was why he had opened up. I was the only one he had spoken to in weeks, aside from his lawyer who didn't get a rat's ass about him.
"You'll do fine. Just mind your tongue, and things will be fine. You're going to take the serum; that will convince the tribunal quite greatly. Don't worry," I said.
Malfoy lowered his voice and leaned forward. I was aware of him glancing at Fletchley; he made sure his lawyer was paying him any mind. That was when he whispered to me.
"They're twisting my case though!" he panicked and a quite hiss. "They're twisting my words to the point where I can't even redeem myself. There's something going on beneath all this, and you know it. We heard those men by the window. This is twist - "
"I know," I hissed out quietly. I said this mostly for the purpose of silencing him, but I found that I believed my own words. And perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut. But I kept on going. "I know that this is twisted. I think you're right; there is
something going on beneath all this, something we don't know about. But remember what I told you. You worry about making the tribunal like you, and I will do my job."
I couldn't believe how full-heartedly he trusted me. How he looked at me like I was his only hope.
"You have to," he pressed. "You have to find out what's going on. Please. Don't let me rot here, or worse, in Azkaban."
"I won't. I promise I won't," I answered, but really, how could I keep that promise? I was living the life with Rose at that summer house? Peakes and Ruckman were my only other means of communication. I trusted Ruckman completely, but I didn't trust Peakes. I was beginning to think more and more that Peakes was one of the ones behind this, and he could have Ruckman's every move being watched. Or worse, Ruckman could be doing Peakes' dirty work without even realizing it.
I hated myself more and more these days. Making promises I couldn't keep, lying blatantly to people's faces.
I swallowed and whispered again. "I-I will."
"What are you talking to my client about?" Fletchley sudden questioned.
I jumped slightly; so did Malfoy. We both looked to the lawyer, who was suddenly watching the both of us intently. I rose from in front of him, wiping my sweating palms on my dress pants.
"Reassuring him. Because that's the last thing you're doing, but it's also the first thing he needs right now," I snapped. I looked to my watch that had been synced with Ministry time upon the beginning of the recess. "But it's time to go back to court, so let's go."
I turned back to Malfoy, beginning to pull out my wand. I prepared myself to tell him what I needed of him, but he already complied. He lifted both his hands to me, pressed his wrists together. I gave him a reassuring smile and bound them together. The three of us entered the room. Fletchley took his proper seat, and the rest of the tribunal had been waiting for our return. Malfoy sat back down in the chair, and I strapped him back in. After completing this task, I turned to the tribunal and spoke directly to Sondheim.
"Scorpius Malfoy would like to be administered Veritaserum to prove he is being truthful," I said.
This seemed to surprise the tribunal slightly. I don't know why it always surprised people. Anyone could take it when consent, but not many ever did. When you agreed to take the serum, a full vial of it would be administered. This usually made the accused spill anything and everything, and half the time one little comment - even if they were truly innocent - could be bent the wrong way to have a conviction be made.
"Very well," said Sondheim, and I took my seat. "Mr. Malfoy, do you give your consent?"
"Yes sir," he whispered.
Sondheim gave a wave of the hand, and somewhere a court member rose to fetch the serum. There was an eerie silence in the courtroom, and it was thankfully broken by the footsteps of man who had gone to get it. He returned and showed the vial to the court to prove he was administering the correct serum, and when Sondheim nodded, he turned to Malfoy. He didn't even give Scorpius a second to prepare. The man grasped his jaw, pried his mouth open, and poured it directly down his throat.
Scorpius gagged briefly, and I winced at the sound of it, but he swallowed every drop. When he finished, he brought his head back forward, wiping his chin on his shirt, and he looked to the court, awaiting his questions.
Sondheim wiped the slate clean after that. He folded his hands and asked the simplest, most straightforward questions possible. "Well then. Let's start from the beginning then, shall we? Did you kill Jarvis Otto Branstone?"
"No," Scorpius said immediately with complete lack of emotion. There was a murmur of surprise over the room, and I sat up straighter, proud. Maybe we would actually get somewhere positive with this today. "I did not kill him."
"Do you know how the Minister of Magic was murdered? What was the weapon?"
"I do not know what the weapon was," he said again.
"Did Rose Weasley kill the Minister of Magic?"
"I don't know."
"Do you know who killed the Minister?"
"No, I don't."
The tribunal gave a heavy sigh. I don't know what this meant, though. It seemed as if Malfoy was clearing his name pretty fast, but I think the tribunal was hoping that the serum would at least give them a lead in another direction. However, that clearly wasn't happening. Scorpius Malfoy appeared to not know anything at all.
I thought the rest of his trial went pretty well. The serum had kicked in somewhat - clearly. We all knew his words were truthful, but Malfoy was lucky in the fact that he wasn't spilling his deepest desires or rambling about the strangest things. He only spoke when he was asked, and he answered accordingly. I thought he was doing brilliant. Surely the Wizengamot would get him acquitted after this. I didn't want to think about what that meant for Rose. For the time being, I was worrying only about the man I knew I had to support.
I was expecting Malfoy to be acquitted then and there in the courtroom, but after Malfoy was done being questioned, Sondheim's words surprised me.
"That will be all for today. This hearing is now closed, and the case of Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy is to be put on hold until further notice. There will be no verdict today."
I was shocked. Appalled actually. And I should have contained myself, but there was no stopping what I did next. I was on my feet, my fists tightly clenched by my sides, and suddenly everyone was looking at me in surprise.
"That's outrageous! He's taken Veritaserum; he hasn't killed anybody! What more do you need?!"
Out of my peripherals I could feel Malfoy's eyes on me. I knew he agreed with me; of course he did, and he seemed to be sending me his silent gratitude with that eye contact.
"Mr. Lupin, calm yourself. By your outburst, you don't mean to question the decisions of the Wizengamot tribunal, do you?" he said in a condescending tone with a look to go with it.
Of course I meant to question the decision of the tribunal, but I knew I couldn't say so. I had just involuntarily put my job on the line. With this sick and twisted courtroom, I felt like anything could happen.
"N-No, sir," I said, stumbling over my words and struggling to articulate the right thing to say. "I just...Isn't Veritaserum proof enough to get him acquitted? Why is his case being postponed?"
"This is a dual case, Mr. Lupin; we have two suspects. You know that very well. A verdict will not be given until we have held a hearing for both suspects involved. Not to mention, Veritaserum can prove what Mr. Malfoy knows. However, if he happened to have been Obliviated, then Veritaserum would not do the trick. Someone - perhaps even one of his friends - could have wiped his memory for him. There is always the possibility, and we must keep our options open."
At this mention, Scorpius looked truly horrified. He and I had both thought this would all be over. Not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month. But today, after he agreed to take the serum. Fletchley had even thought so as well. This had been the last thing we were expecting.
But I just swallowed a thick lump that had formed in my throat and nodded. There was nothing I could do. So I sat my ass right back down before I did something else incredibly stupid.
Ruckman went to unchain Malfoy while I tried to gather my bearings, staring at my knees. When the courtroom had cleared out, I finally rose and exited the place. I ran into Ruckman in one of the halls. He told me that Malfoy was using the loo and that he would watch him for a bit. I thanked him for giving me a temporary break and went to my office to eat lunch.
Inside, I was startled at what I found. I slipped in as fast as I could, slamming the door shut before anyone could notice.
"M-Mr. Malfoy?" I asked, surprised to see Draco Malfoy sitting at my desk.
"H-Hi, Ted," he said quietly. "H-How did it...How did it go? The hearing, I mean."
I sighed heavily and sat across from him. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, illegal, but I had done so many things that were illegal to my contract lately, what was one more? I could hardly care anymore. I looked to the floor, squeezing my hands together and trying to form the right words to tell Scorpius' dad.
"Not as well as we would have liked," I finally answered. "It was awful at first. It really was. But Scorpius agreed to taking Veritaserum, and I thought that was brilliant. He answered everything the way an innocent man would, and I thought he would be acquitted. Then Sondheim suggested that Scorpius could have been obliviated, and that would make the serum absolutely obsolete."
"Shit," Draco cursed under his breath. He leaned forward in my desk chair, taking his head into his hands and rubbing his temple. "He's not a killer....He's just not!"
"I know he's not, and I'm so sorry about this, Draco. But it seems like this will last a little longer," I said. I reached out and gave him a firm pat on the back.
"Very well," he said. He rubbed his chin and stood up. "I'll get out of here before you're seen with me. Thanks again, Ted. For all your help."
I only nodded and watched Draco leave my office.
I shortly met up with Malfoy again, and the two of us bolted across the main atrium, past the screaming bystanders who were throwing things and calling Malfoy foul names. We were by ourselves again in the confinement ward, and I was latching the door behind the two of us.
"You smell good, but your nose is kind of big," he muttered under his breath, looking at me in awe. "Did you know that?"
Oh, Merlin. He had been muttering strange things the entire walk over here, but I hadn't paid them any mind. Now that it was just the two of us and I could hear him clearly, I was just now listening. Clearly the Veritaserum had finally reached its full effect, and Malfoy had reached the point of spilling everything.
He was rambling about the strangest things that crossed his mind. He had clearly forgotten about his postponed trial. I just tried to ignore him, but at the sound of Roses' name, I had to tune in.
"I don't think Rose Weasley killed the Minister either, but if she did, I'm going to be so mad. That means I'm here because of her. Weasley is beautiful though, don't you think so? I always loved her hair. She's too thick headed though. She's just about fearless, and I'm afraid of snakes. Ironic that I'm in Slytherin, right? I'm a bloody baby. We snogged once though, and she's fucking good at it."
"Hey!" I finally had to cut him off. He wasn't going on about anything important. "Scorpius! Snap out of it or shut your mouth."
"But you must think so as well," said Scorpius, continuing to ramble on. He took two giant strides so we were shoulder to shoulder as we approached his cell. He looked at me eagerly, not seeming to really care that he was about to be locked up once again until a decision in court could be made.
"Think what?" I asked, not quite caring.
"That Weasley is beautiful. She's got hair like fire," he said, and that was when I knew he wasn't quite there anymore. That was just the Veritaserum talking, making all his deeper thoughts that he would probably never admit to even himself come forward. "We snogged in a broom cupboard. Albus and Ewan locked us in a cupboard and just left us there. We tell people it was a dare, but we both know we did it out of boredom. I always tried to get her to do it again after that, but she never did. Maybe I wasn't good enough at it."
"Oh my god, Malfoy!" I huffed under my breath, holding my wand out to the sensor for access into Malfoy's cell. I wanted him to shut up. Partly for going on and on about the weirdest things, but I found that, deep down, I was uncomfortable with what he was sharing with me. Not because he was making the situation awkward - because he wasn't - but because I didn't like hearing about how he had snogged Rose senseless. I didn't like it. It put me on edge.
I know that I had grown protective of Rose recently, but had I grown this protective?
"I'm sure you were perfectly satisfactory," I commented. I should have just told him to shut up.
"Then why wouldn't she snog me again after that?" he asked, seeming deeply disappointed.
Really, I should have just told him to shut up.
"Maybe because she's a girl; girls like that mushy stuff, even Rose who is one of the strongest women I've ever met. She may have snogged you once for purely physical means, but she still wants
that emotional connection," I rambled.
"Ah. So she wanted feelings?!"
"Well, I don't have those for her," he slurred and I almost laughed.
We were in his cell once more, but he didn't seem too bothered by it just yet. Granted, that was probably because he was high as the sky due to that Veritaserum. I told him as he spun around, looking at the walls, briefly. "All right, Malfoy. Change your - "
"It's looks purple in here..." he stuttered.
"Hey, listen to me. Chan - Wait, what? Are you colorblind or something?" I asked, bewildered. It was a truth serum, not a mentally deranged serum.
"Yeah-huh," he answered.
"Well, that makes more sense. Okay. Strip. It's time for you to get back into your cell clothes," I ordered.
He complied and was shortly handing me the outfit Rose had picked out for me this morning, and it wasn't long before we were parting ways once more. I locked him back in his cell, and I made my way through the main atrium, making my way back towards the Auror department. I had just entered the Auror floor, and then I saw her.
She was already in the room, and as soon as I saw her, I was beaming from ear to ear. I was temporarily glued to the spot as she turned to look at the department's newest companion, and then I was overcome with the joy of seeing her again. I was thrilled. I bolted forward, opening up my arms with her name on the tip of my tongue. Ruckman beside her didn't even matter.
"Oh, Rose," I breathed as I took her into my arms, engulfing her fully and completely.
She didn't do anything. She just stood there, kind of surprised, and I didn't really understand why.
A hug. I had promised her I would give her one. She said she would need one; I was ready to give it.
I rubbed her back, my brow furrowing in confusion. Ruckman was looking at me as if I had lost my mind, and I didn't get it.
"H-Hi," she stuttered out to me, and I pulled away to look at her. "That was a surprise."
"W-What?" I asked. What was she talking about?
"You and I...We've never been...Never mind. It doesn't matter. It's good to see you, Ted," she said, giving me a smile.
Oh, shit. I think I just blew my cover. I had completely forgotten that I was still me.