Chapter 5 : The Prophet's Daily Prophecy
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Violet stopped outside her door.
“Don’t be ridiculous. What would a death eater be doing here? They don’t exist anymore, anyway. The government stamped them out after the last wizarding war.”
“Don’t be naïve, Violet. Extremist groups like that aren’t going to give up completely just because their leader’s gone.”
“But why would they be here?” Violet asked, incredulously.
“Nothing to do with the fact that both dad and granddad were really involved in supporting the dark side, I’m sure.” Scorpius said sarcastically.
“What? Don’t be stupid. Neither of them was ever that bad. They can’t have been. Granddad worked for the Ministry of Magic, he can’t have been a death eater, he just can’t!”
“Oh, well if he worked for the Ministry it was obviously just a side hobby then.” Scorpius said, drily.
Violet pushed the door open of her room and sat heavily on the bed. Scorpius followed her in, and instantly began fiddling with the bottles on her dresser. Violet resisted the urge to snap at him out of sheer curiosity.
“So, how involved does involved actually mean?” She probed
“Well, put it this way, it’s a miracle we were born here and not in Azkaban prison as a result of a conjugal visit.”
“I don’t know what’s worse, our whole family being notorious death eaters, or the thought of our parents…” She couldn’t finish.
“Whatever. It was bad. They did a lot of things you probably couldn’t imagine. People forever hate the Malfoys because of it. Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life, Violet.”
Violet was silent for a moment, and then,
“How do you know all this, anyway?”
“James Potter never lets me forget it. Well, he used to, until his parents found out he told me. Since then, nothing, just pathetic remarks. I can handle it. Potter’s nothing. Just some big head, riding on the fame of his father. At least there’s no way anyone can place any of our achievements on our parents.”
“What did he say?” Violet was horrified. If James Potter knew, surely that meant all the Potters and Weasleys did, including Lily and Hugo.
“Just little things at first, you know, “Traitor scum”, that kind of crap. But then he started going on about dad. Got into my first fight over it, actually. First wizarding duel and I won it. Well, he wasn’t bad, but his nose has seen better days.” Scorpius sniggered
“Truthfully, I didn’t know what the hell he was going on about of first. Wasn’t hard to find out. There are still books and things on it. Didn’t read them all, but there were some old articles in the prophet in the library. Asked McGonagall too. She didn’t want to say anything at first, but I kept asking and eventually she told me. Granddad was Voldemort’s right hand man. He used to come here, with all his followers for meetings and things. They used the basements of this house to hold their prisoners. Aunt Bellatrix suggested it to him; she was really close to Voldemort. There’s more but I don’t know it all. McGonagall said our dad was misled in the Battle of Hogwarts. You could tell she was embarrassed but she said it.”
Violet shivered. It was a lot to digest, the fact her granddad, cold as he may be, had such a part in the Battle of Hogwarts, and not in a good way. The fact the Voldemort had actually been inside her house, possibly even inside her room, made her feel strangely odd.
“But what does that have to do with the death eaters in our house now? Voldemort’s been gone over twenty years! Why are they here? If Granddad and dad wanted to reform, why are they still coming here? It doesn’t make sense!”
“Perhaps they’re scared? I don’t believe that myself. Lucius Malfoy is the scariest thing, man or not, that I’ve ever come across. Which is why I took the liberty of purchasing a few extendable ears from your friends. I’m going to dangle them outside the basement the next time they’re all in there. I’ll find out what’s going on.”
“Don’t do anything stupid, Scorp. They might be outdated, but they’re still powerful, dark wizards. And you’re just a third year.”
“And you are just a first year, little shrinking Violet. So why don’t you leave the important jobs to the big kids?”
“Shut up. Get out. I don’t want to know anymore.” The truce, which had temporarily existed between Violet and Scorpius, was clearly over. He grinned wickedly letting the door slam shut in his wake.
Violet tried to put the conversation out of her mind. It was made easier to do so by the fact she didn’t see any sign of the death eaters again, but the knowledge they were there, sat in her basement, plotting whatever it was they were (she couldn’t imagine it would be anything other than bad,) made her feel slightly sick. Two days later, and just three days before the end of the Christmas holidays, Violet found Scorpius sat in the library. As she came in, he stuffed the book he was reading behind the cushion of the armchair he was sat on, his cheeks slightly pink.
“Oh, it’s you. I thought…”
“Sorry.” Violet didn’t know why she was apologising. She wanted Scorpius on her side again though. He seemed to have moved past the truce, however. He was smiling at her, his grey eyes fixed levelly on hers. Violet hated that Scorpius always seemed to know what she was thinking, and used it against her too.
“You know why I’m here.” She said eventually.
“Because you want to know what I found out on my little excursion?” He toyed with the tassels on the cushion of the chair.
“I can’t deny it was extremely…interesting. And it’s changed my perspective on a few things, that’s for sure. But I can’t possibly tell you.”
“Calm down, Violet,” his eyes glittered darkly, “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Violet stalked out, angrily kicking the skirting board on her way upstairs.
“Violet Artemis Malfoy, is there any reason why you feel the need to deface the house of your ancestors in such an aggressive manner?”
Lucius Malfoy was standing at the bottom of the stairs, his white blond hair pulled of his face, which was contorted into a grimace.
“Just go. Away.” Violet muttered, more to herself, than to him. He heard, though. He took a step up towards her, pointing his staff in her direction.
“That school has done nothing for you. Nothing. But your father has seen sense. Why, yes he has. You’ll see, Violet, the real way to turn. And let me tell you this,” the staff was so close, it was almost touching her nose, “You’ll soon discover that conversing with mud bloods and traitors isn’t the right way at all.”
.“You of all people would know about traitors. Or so I’ve heard.” She muttered, sulkily.
“You impertinent child,” Lucius hissed. “One day soon, you’ll have to decide between being loyal to your family, or those pure blood traitors you foolishly regard as friends. Sooner than you think.”
“What’s going to happen?” Violet asked, a little fearfully. “What are you going to do?”
“Do you know who was killed by curiousity, Violet?” Lucius asked, wickedly. “A lot of very foolish witches and wizards. It would be a shame for you to go the same way. So be careful. Because times are about to change. And your friends at school aren’t going to like it very much. Not at all.”
The beginning of January could not come soon enough, and Violet was relieved to finally board the Hogwarts Express after a tense few last days at home. She found Hugo and Lily who were sat, to her slight dismay, with James, Albus and Rose. She hesitated at the door, wondering whether to turn back and find Scorpius, but Hugo saw her, and waved before she could creep away.
“Come on, Vi!”
Violet entered the compartment and took the last empty seat, which was thankfully next to Lily. James Potter eyed her suspiciously.
“How was your Christmas?” Lily asked, excitably. Violet shrugged, nonchalantly.
“You know, it was…predictable.” Hugo grinned and Lily shook her head.
“Bet you’re glad to be back.” Violet nodded, and looked out the window, willing the conversation to move on. Minutes later, Lily, Hugo, Albus and Rose were immersed in a conversation about the next Quidditch World Cup, which was due to take place in two years time, in 2020, and whose hosting country was being announced that year. Violet pretended to listen, but was lost in her own thoughts, when James leaned towards her and said
“So you’re Malfoys sister.” Violet nodded
“Interesting. Can’t imagine what that must be like,” His tone was casual, but Violet knew he was prying. She supposed from an outsider’s perspective, it must be hard to imagine the house or family of a family as dark as the Malfoys.
“It’s just…normal, I suppose.”
“Normal? Excuse me for not believing you. Having Scorpius Malfoy as a brother. And your dad…” He was smirking, especially now he had the attention of his brother. Albus tugged his sleeve.
“James…” He warned. But James was unstoppable.
“No, really. I mean, what do you talk about at dinner? How sad it is that Voldemort’s gone? The amount of lives your grandparents condemned to death?”
Violet saw red.
“What do you talk about at dinner? That time you got your face jinxed by a first time dueller two years younger than you? Or is that a touchy subject?” To her surprise, James laughed, good-naturedly.
“I’m starting to see why they put you in Gryffindor. We’ll make a lion of you yet.”
“James’ a prefect” Rose said, rolling her eyes. “Thus he has ownership of everyone in the house.”
James laughed again. “Actually, I’ve heard you’re not bad on a broom. Gryffindor’s in need of a good team recently. Two of our chasers and a beater left last year, we want a younger team. I’m keeper. Albus isn’t interested and Rose is rubb- ow!”
Rose cuffed James round the ear.
“There are more things to life than Quidditch you know, James. Intellect for one, looks for another. Both of which you lack,”
The journey seemed slower than usual, which Violet supposed was down to the fact she was desperate to get to Hogwarts and speak to Lily and Hugo alone about what had happened over the holidays. Eventually, they pulled into Hogsmeade. It wasn’t long after that, that Violet was back in the Great Hall, where she felt a sense of belonging once more. After the welcoming feast, Violet, Hugo and Lily made their way up to the Gryffindor common room, where they found a secluded corner in which to sit. But just as Violet opened her mouth to begin explaining what had happened over the holidays, they were interrupted by Rose, who came over with a stern look on her face.
“Do you not think you should go to bed? Lessons start tomorrow; you don’t want to be up late.”
“Rose, go away! You’re worse than mum!”
Rose glared back, until the three of them stood meekly up and went to bed.
Violet didn’t have a chance to explain her cryptic holiday until it was too late. The next day, the owl post came, which included a copy of The Daily Prophet. Lily unrolled it eagerly
“There’s supposed to be an interview with Lionel Baggins in here! He’s so dreamy!”
But Violet was distracted by the article on the front page
“Dark magic surfacing: Is this the return of the masked men?” This was accompanied by a blurred picture of what was almost unmistakably a death eater. Violet shuddered as she took the page from Lily to read.
“Whilst preparations for the celebration of the twentieth year of freedom have begun, something dark is brewing. Over the past four months, there have been five reported sightings of figures donning the silver masks and dark robes associated with the “Death Eater” movement, close followers of the deceased Lord Voldemort. The Minister for Magic, who issued a statement condemning anyone partaking in such activities for questioning, has not taken such sightings lightly. If anyone knows of any information linked to these sightings, they are implored to come forward and share it, for the safety of the wizarding world.”
“What’s that?” Hugo asked, his voice muffled through a mouthful of toast.
“It’s…nothing.” Violet said. When she looked at Lily and Hugo in comparison to herself, they were worlds apart. Their families had risked their lives to try and prevent Lord Voldemort from taking control of the wizarding world; hers had offered him use of their house to set his evil plans into motion. Violet hated all of the stark differences between them because it reminded her that however much she tried to overthrow the stigma around her, she couldn’t ever change what her family had done, and this factor meant they would always have some degree of control over her. Violet was reluctant to share the Daily Prophet article with the others because it was yet just another reminder of what had been and what would always be.
It was easy to forget the mysteries of the Christmas holidays when lessons started again. Violet, determined to prove herself as just as good a student in Gryffindor began spending extraordinary amounts of time in the library doing extra reading, until even Rose, who practically lived there, commented on it.
“You are only a first year, Violet. Don’t you think you should take it easy? Why don’t you go and play a game of Quidditch? Have a little fun.”
There was a reason Violet was particularly keen to avoid the Quidditch pitch; Scorpius had recently been made Seeker of the Slytherin team, and Violet was determined to avoid him as much as physically possible. However, it wasn’t long before James was pressuring her to come for tryouts for the team, and Violet was beginning to crack under their insistence, and her passion for flying.
“I thought first years weren’t allowed on the team anyway.” She grumbled, as she changed into a set of old Quidditch robes.
“That rules been redundant for ages!” Hugo said, pulling on a pair of Keeper’s gloves.
“Our dad isn’t that old!” Lily scoffed. She pulled out a helmet and jammed it on Hugo’s head.
“Now shut up. I want to watch Violet play!”
The pitch was misty with early January fog, but Violet was able to make out the huddle of scarlet robed figures standing underneath one of the three goal posts, thirty or so metres away from the changing rooms. James Potter turned and waved her over.
“Okay, you missed the official try outs, but I thought you could sit in on a practise with the players we already have. We’re missing two Chasers, a Beater, and obviously a Seeker. I thought we could try you out on each position. Although, actually, I’m not sure whether it would be morally okay to let you try out as a Beater. You’re quite small…”
“I don’t mind,” Violet replied, breathlessly. She couldn’t wait to get back onto a broom. The heavy winter snow before the Christmas holidays had brought all flying lessons to a halt, and although Malfoy Manor had good grounds for flying in, she hadn’t felt there had been an appropriate time, what with a whole host of Death Eaters staying in the house.
“Okay,” James was saying, “Finch, you play as Beater, I’ll be in goal, and Hornby, you take Violet and play Chaser. We won’t bother about Seeker for now, but Albus and Rose, you take the Quaffle and step in for the other team. Everyone ready?” He winked at Violet, before shooting up in the air towards the goalposts.
Violet had never played Quidditch properly before, although she knew the rules religiously. She found in practise, being a Chaser was a lot harder than it looked, as it involved trying to fly swiftly, whilst having both hands ready as much as possible in order to catch the Quaffle, on top of judging where your team mate was so you could pass the Quaffle if necessary. Violet soon found it was easier to hold onto the broom using just her knees, and keep her hands open, although this was slightly risky. After fifteen minutes of playing, in which she managed to pass the Quaffle a good number of times, the whistle was blown, and the players flew back down to the pitch for a regroup.
“Not bad,” James said, grinning. “Violet, you were good once you’d warmed up. Shall we swap?”
“Can I try Beater?” She asked, adventurously. He nodded, and handed her the bat. Violet mounted her broom once more and experimented flying one handed. Once again, the whistle was blown, although this time the game only lasted ten minutes. Violet found that, although flying was easier with one hand, she lacked the strength to send the Bludgers far away enough that they wouldn’t come back before the other players had a chance to recollect themselves. They flew down once more. James shrugged and brought out the golden snitch.
“Might as well try it. You’re more built for a Seeker than a Beater in any case.”
The whistle was blown for a third time. Violet rose up into the air, scouring the fog-covered sky for a flash of gold. Twice she was forced to quickly duck a Bludger that came dangerously close to her head, and once she accidently clipped the broom of Finch, the remaining Gryffindor Beater. Soon, she became more coordinated with the other players, learning to hover above the game rather than try and actively find the Snitch in amongst the action. This tactic proved more successful. Violet soon spotted the Snitch, hovering several inches away from the ground. She jerked the handle of her broom round sharply, forcing the end of it down, which sent her plummeting towards the ground at an alarming speed. Violet felt a jerk as she left her stomach behind. She imagined this was what splinching felt like, although she was sure the rush was incomparable. Violet pulled her broom straight mere centimetres from the ground, her hand outstretched towards the hovering golden ball. The result of this was that she flipped right over in a kind of mid air somersault, yet somehow managed to land back on the broom, the golden Snitch tucked safely in her palm. There was an outbreak of whooping and cheering as she landed, before she was engulfed by Hugo and Lily in a celebratory hug.
“Vi, that was bloody brilliant!” Said Hugo, his eyes shining.
“Wow Violet, Quidditch and acrobatics. You’ve set the bar for all the other Seekers!” Lily said, hugging her again. James came over, his dark hair pushed back off his face with sweat.
“I think there’s going to be a little on pitch sibling rivalry going on soon. Congratulations, Violet. I think we have our new Seeker!” There was another outbreak of cheering, followed by the triumphant holler from Hagrid, who it seemed had been watching from his hut, before making his way to the stands. Violet’s heart lurched as she realised he was not the only person sat watching. Scorpius and a group of his detestable school friends were sat in the Slytherin stands, watching with a mixture of amazement and dislike. Scorpius raised his hand in a sarcastic half wave. Violet ignored him and turned to follow the others back to the changing rooms. Whatever he had planned, whatever he knew, she didn’t want any part of it. Little did she know that she would soon have no choice...