Chapter 19 : The Island
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“Your mother has all the furniture from the London flat.” His father said. No word was given on when he’d see her.
Thankfully there were no mirrors in his room. He’d taken down the one in the bathroom the first day. His father never made a comment about it.
He’d been on the island for 2 days. He’d stayed in his room the entire time.
Now, on this third morning, he still had no desire to get out of bed.
His father entered the room at precisely 8:00 am.
“Breakfast is ready. I think you should come out to eat. “
“I’m not hungry.”
“You are not going to get your strength back by refusing food. Besides, you can’t take your potions on an empty stomach.”
Draco stayed while Scorpius slowly crept out of bed. As he wrapped his robe around himself, Draco walked out.
Scorpius shuffled around the room looking for his slippers. The wooden floorboards held a grayish tinge. The walls were gray stone. Out the window he could see the waves crashing in, all white foam and gray.
Gray like my skin, he thought.
Finally, after taking as long as he could, he left the bedroom.
The main living area of the cottage was small. A wooden trestle table flanked one side of the fireplace and a small, uncomfortable looking sofa on the other. Books were stacked everywhere on the floor.
“I know it doesn’t look like much,” his father commented. “Now that you’re here I’ll focus on getting it in better shape. Even better, maybe we could get your mother to come out and help. I know she could make the cottage look like home.”
“When will mother be here?”
Draco didn’t answer and set a plate in front of Scorpius.
There were 2 eggs, a slice of bread, and some dried fruit. There was also a bottle of pumpkin juice.
“I’ll set the kettle on and have some tea ready shortly.”
Slowly Scorpius began to eat. The bread was awful.
“Sorry,” Draco said, “I know I’m not much good in the kitchen. The eggs are fresh, though.”
Setting down the bread, Scorpius choked down the pumpkin juice. His father was right, however, the eggs were excellent. Both were gone in about five bites.
“Slow, down! You don’t want it coming back up again.”
“No, I’m OK.”
“Well, then go wash up, get dressed and I’ll show you around.”
It took Scorpius a long time to dress. He dug his oldest pair of jeans out from the bottom of his trunk. They barely reached his ankles and still slid down his waist. Pulling them back off, he then reached for a pair of thermals to wear under the jeans. The end result gave him extra warmth and bulk so his pants wouldn’t fall down. Thick socks and boots took care of the length problem. Two T-shirts and a fleece managed to mask some of his weight loss. He ran his fingers through his hair. It had fallen out in clumps so there were bald patches all around his head.
“Dad,” he asked as he re-entered the main room, “do you have a hat I can borrow?”
Silently Draco pulled a knitted cap from a coat pocket and handed it to him. “Good idea to cover your head,” he said. “It’s quite windy out there.” He didn’t make any other comment about Scorpius’ looks.
Outside it was still gray. The stone cottage was situated not far from the shore. Draco pointed out the nearby cove. “It’s good for fishing and in the summer for swimming.”
The area behind the cottage was empty and expansive. Four trees lined the back and what looked to be a small greenhouse and…a barn?
“The trees I planted first thing.” Draco said. “It looks like the elm needs some attention today.”
“How can you tell?” Scorpius asked, but his father had already moved on.
“The barn houses the hen coop, cows, and a few magical animals. I’m still in the experimental stage.”
Experimenting for what? He wondered.
“I also have a small aviary.” Gesturing ahead, “Come,” he said, “Let me show you the greenhouse.”
The greenhouse was unlike anything he’d ever seen. It was even more expansive than the one at Hogwarts.
Rows and rows of miniature trees lined tables which were reminiscent of the Hogwart’s tables in the Great Hall. Each one was precisely marked. More tables housed what looked like vegetable plants, nut and fruit trees.
“I’ve gathered the trees from all over the UK, Europe, and Russia,” Draco said proudly. “Once they are a little bigger, I’ll plant them on the island. Muggles can’t see here, so there’s no worry there.”
Scorpius looked around at the barren landscape. Other than the cottage and the barn, there was nothing.
“But what…where…” Scorpius couldn’t finish his sentence. He’d wanted to ask how close to Muggles they were. “I don’t understand.” He said, finally. “What are you planning to do?”
“I’ll show you later,” was his father’s only answer.
“That’s the barn over there,” he said, pointing. Jersey is accessible beyond those rocks.”
Scorpius could do nothing but look. He was still confused by the whole thing.
A few hours later, Scorpius was convinced his father was going mad. What was his father up to?
Draco had finished showing Scorpius everything there was to see. The barn was uneventful. Barnyard animals didn’t interest him and the few magical ones about were hardly worth noticing. As time went on, Draco rambled on and on about his future plans and the more time passed the more crazy he seemed to be.
“Dad, stop stalling. Please tell me what you are up to?”
Draco motioned Scorpius to follow him. They ended up in the cellar of the cottage.
Draco lit a few candles which illuminated what looked to be a workshop. Pieces of wood cluttered the worktable and floor. Also lined on the table Scorpius could see hair, string, feathers and other odd bits.
“What do you know about wandmaking?”
“Crafting a wand is a precise art in which a wizard or witch carefully combines the wood with another magical element, such as dragonstring, phoenix feather, or unicorn hair, for example. The resulting construction is the wand which reacts to the owner the wand itself gives allegiance to.”
“Now, what do you know about brooms?”
“Nimbus and Firebolts are the best, Comets are the best inexpensive model,…”
Draco waved his hand in interruption.
“A broom is an inanimate object which only responds to a witch or wizards magic.”
"I am on the brink of discovering a way to custom design a broom that will respond to its owner in a similar way.”
Scorpius was stunned. “How?”
“It’s difficult to explain. It isn’t exactly the same as crafting a wand. You can’t use it to cast spells…” As Draco went on about the specifics Scorpius could see the fire in his Dad’s eyes and could sense his own excitement building.
“Is this legal?”
“I have a patent pending on the type of construction I’m proposing. I have a little more research to complete before my final presentation. So far the wizarding ministries in Russia and Eastern Europe are looking favorably on the enterprise. Britain isn’t acting as favorably, but since I’m going for an international standard, if others approve, she is sure to follow.”
“Will you show me?”
Hours later, although it only seemed like minutes to Scorpius, Draco suggested they head upstairs. Scorpius was sweating under the layers of clothing and started to feel chilled.
“We’ll get you into dry clothes and you’ll feel better.”
“Is my fever coming back?”
“No, I don’t think, but maybe we’ll have Healer Weasley take a look at you.”
“Didn’t I tell you she’d be stopping by?”
Alone in his room he tried to make sense of it all. He could hear his father pattering about in the kitchen, probably boiling water for more tea.
Draco was quiet as Healer Weasley looked over Scorpius. His chills were easily taken care of with a large mug of strong tea.
"Is there any reason to be concerned about the chills?" Draco asked.
"No," she replied. "They are a normal part of his recovery." To Scorpius she added, "You should continue to dress in layers as you did today. As soon as you feel hot or cold, remove or add clothing. Don't let yourself freeze or get overheated."
"How long will this go on?" Scorpius asked.
"It's hard to say. Eventually you will stop feeling these extreme temperatures." She turned back to Draco, "This really is an excellent environment for him to recover in. The summer weather especially is perfect."
Draco seemed pleased with her comments.
"Teddy, that is, Professor Lupin was hoping to come by this weekend to assist Scorpius with his studies. Would that be alright?"
Scorpius nodded and looked for affirmation from his father.
"We shall expect him anytime after 1:00."
"Very good," she smiled. "Scorpius, continue with your potions and work on your appetite. Several small meals would be best."
"What if Dad's cooking kills me?"
"Ha, then you can learn to cook yourself. You would be recovering faster if you could eat more. Would it be alright if I sent food with Teddy? " She started gathering up her things. "When I see you next week I'll show you some exercises to do to help regain your strength. For now stick with short, daily walks. Absolutely no flying."
Damn, he thought. It actually
never occurred to him to start flying, but hearing the restriction set him off.
"When can I return to school?"
"Possibly in time for final exams."
“When will he be well enough to receive visitors?” His Father asked.
“What visitors?” Victoire replied.
“His close friends, Cornelius and Justine, have asked to visit over the Easter holidays.”
Scorpius looked up in surprise.
“As long as Scorpius continues to eat and rest, that should be fine.”
Three and a half weeks later they stood at a curve of rocks on the beach, the same one’s his father had pointed out on the first tour. Using a simple wand tapping combination, similar to what was used to get to Diagon Alley from the Leaky Cauldron, a bridge appeared connecting to Jersey. Jersey was where Professor Lupin and Healer Weasley lived. Professor Lupin had kindly agreed to escort Cornelius and Justine once they arrived at King’s Cross from Hogwarts.
Nervously he paced. He looked better than at original arrival. He’d gained some weight, but still was ultra-thin. Victoire Weasley had been bringing food regularly. Every other night packages arrived full of the rich French cuisine that she loved to cook.
The bread was marvelous.
His father had magicked his better jeans to fit him properly. He’d also bought Scorpius a navy blue fisherman’s jersey made out of thick wool. He liked it for its warmth and the fact that it made his skin look ‘less gray.’
He still wore the cap covering his hair.
Scorpius was never vain about his looks, but the damages of the Dragon Pox were difficult to accept. Green-gray, scaly skin, pock marks ravaged his face and neck. Healer Weasley kept insisting the scaring wasn’t permanent. The marks no longer remained on his arms, back, and legs.
How long was he going to look like a freak? How would Jussy and Cornelius react to him?
“Well, I’ll admit you’ve had better days,” was Jussy’s comment after they’d finished lunch and Draco had excused himself to his workshop.
“That’s putting it mildly, Juss.”
“Don’t roll your eyes at me, Scorp…”
“So why do you always wear the hat, Scorpius?” Cornelius asked.
“My hair looks awful.”
“How bad could it be?”
Scorpius just looked at Cornelius.
“Seriously Scorpius, we’ve been here a few hours and haven’t run screaming from the house. We’re your best friends and aren’t going to stop hanging out with you because you have shoddy hair!”
Slowly Scorpius removed his cap. Cornelius didn’t say anything, but Justine rose from her chair and circled Scorpius. A few times she reached out to ruffle a bit of what was left of his hair.
“It’s not as bad as you think.”
“I have bald patches all over my head!”
“Well, not exactly. Have you looked in the mirror lately?”
He snorted, “I make a point of not looking in the mirror.”
“You should look. It isn’t as bad as you’re letting on. Look, all you need is a trim to even out the patches. The bald spots you are complaining about have grown in quite a bit. Will you let me trim the longer ones so that it is even? I think you’d like it better.”
He nodded his head in assent. Anything would be an improvement.
The result was a shocker. Not only did Jussy trim his hair, but she also hacked her own off “in solidarity”with Scorpius. Scorpius barely got over the shock of seeing beautiful Justine with a buzz cut before Cornelius picked up his wand to follow suit. Of course, Justine had to finish the job because he lacked her finesse, but the end result was 3 students sporting really short hair. Scorpius looked at Justine’s shorn long locks and was amazed. The intensity of his friends’ devotion was amazing.
"I don't know what to say."
"Don't say anything," said Jussy. "Let's just go out to the beach."
And so they went.
That night they built a bonfire on the beach and roasted marshmallows--something that Cornelius said American muggles like to do. He described how you were supposed to combine the marshmallow with graham biscuits (crackers Americans call them) and chocolate bars. Jussy and Scorpius didn't get it, but decided there was enough intrigue there for the three of them to brave a trip to the muggle market on Jersey the following day.
Oddly, Draco joined them. "I've had something come up, Scorpius," he said. "I'm to present my proposals to the International Association of Quidditch in two days."
"Wow Dad, that's fantastic!"
Jussy and Cornelius looked aghast.
"The problem is I can't leave you all alone."
After a moment of silence he continued, "Professor Lupin has graciously offered to oversee you all, but it means that you are spending Easter with the Weasley-Potter clan."
The three friends looked at each other with amusement.
"Guess who's coming to brunch?" She said.
A/N I know it has been forever and I'm sorry. It has been a tumultuous year. Thanks for all who are still out there.
This chapter was originally "A Plague on both your houses" part II, but the chapter was too long, so I cut it in half. The "plague" part II will follow this one.
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