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Chapter 20 : "A Plague a' both your houses" part II
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"I'm sorry, Juss," apologised Cornelius, "I've just never seen you in a dress."
"With flowers on it, even," Scorpius added.
"I wear a skirt at school you fool."
"Yeah, but it's not quite the same." Cornelius replied.
"And it is normally covered by your school robe," Scorpius added, enjoying her annoyed facial expressions.
"Listen to me, you two," she muttered with venom, "I will not tolerate girly comments! Let's just go to brunch, eat, and come back here without any one getting hurt!"
Cornelius smirked and Scorpius wondered what exactly it was that had Justine's knickers in a twist. It was Easter Sunday and Draco was about to leave for the Continent. They were all awaiting the arrival of Professor Lupin. The three students were to stay with him for the duration of the break and then take the train back to Hogwarts. Scorpius had been given the OK by Healer Weasley.
They simply had to survive Brunch with the Potters/Weasleys first.
Draco was dressed to the nines in one of his dress robes and resembled the man Scorpius grew up with. Upon the arrival of Teddy Lupin he was very gracious.
"Thank you, Professor, for taking care of Scorpius and his friends."
"It is my pleasure, Mr. Malfoy." To Scorpius he added, "Victoire is using your recovery as an excuse to change the party venue to our house instead of the traditional gathering at the Burrow. I hope you don't mind that I've agreed to this."
"OK" Scorpius didn't know what else to say. Jussy looked relieved and so did Draco.
"I should be back in time to see you all to King's Cross."
Scorpius waved as Draco walked out to the beach to catch his appointed Portkey. Then he and his friends followed Professor Lupin.
The home of Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley was a traditional looking stone farmhouse located off a dead end lane. The outside looked early 1800s while the inside was completely renovated to accommodate the modern witch and wizard.
The back garden contained a large rustic wood table set for brunch. Spring flowers were in early bloom and enchanted butterflies swirled about the picturesque setting.
Jussy and Scorpius stood alone by the firepit. Jussy held a cup of punch and Scorpius was drinking his second mug of hot chocolate, courtesy of Nana Molly.
“Look at him,” Justine sneered, “he’s holding court.”
Scorpius looked over at Cornelius. He was chatting amiably away with Rose, Dominique, Roxanne, Molly and Lily. Not too far from them were James, Albus, Hugo, and Fred. Judging by the way James Potter was waving his arms they were probably talking about Quidditch.
“You don’t strike me as the jealous type, Jussy. Are things alright with you and Cornelius?”
“Don’t be a prat, Scorp. I’m not jealous, I’m just…” She didn’t even finish her sentence.
“Are you still sore about how they all reacted to your hair?”
She blushed, “A little bit.”
“I still think they were reacting to me, Juss. I look like hell.”
“You are not that bad. You’ve been putting on weight you know.”
“Not fast enough. Mrs. Weasley won’t stop bringing me hot chocolate. I think she would be force-feeding me if we were at the Burrow.”
Self-consciously she touched the flower pin in her hair and brushed her fingers through the short locks.
“James Potter is an ass. You do NOT look like a boy.” Continuing on, he pointed to her short hair.
“I’m still touched by that you know.”
“I know and I’m still glad I did it, but promise me you’ll sit by me at brunch. I don’t know if I can count on Cornelius.”
They were half lucky. Victoire had her own ideas for seat placement. She and Teddy took their spots at the head and foot of the table. The others were arranged as follows. One side seated: Molly, Charlie, Roxanne, Louis, Dominique, Cornelius, Rose, Albus, Lily, Hugo, Angelina, George and Fleur. The other contained: Arthur, Audrey, Percy, Lucy, James, Justine, Scorpius, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Nana Molly, and Bill. Cornelius and Rose were directly across from Justine and Scorpius. Justine kept scooting closer to Scorpius to keep away from James. Scorpius was anxious not to bump Ginny.
“Stop,” he hissed quietly to Juss halfway through the meal, “Mrs. Potter is going to think I’m hitting on her.”
“Fat chance.” Loverboy.
“How do you like your new home, Scorpius?” Ginny asked, taking his attention away from Justine.
“Very nice, Thank you,” he responded automatically. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jussy raise her eyebrow at him. “It’s more remote than I’m used to,” he added.
“Your father has an entire island I understand?” Harry inquired.
“That sounds cool,” chimed Albus. Scorpius smiled.
“Are you returning to school after the holidays?” Rose asked.
Rose nudged Albus, “I know Al will be glad to have his potions partner back. Remember what happened last week?”
Al’s green eyes flared with anger, “Really Rose…”
“He may regret having me back once he sees how behind I am.”
Brunch continued amiably. Ginny made inquiries about the island and Lily asked about the various animals. “Care of Magical Creatures is her best subject,” Ginny informed him.
Harry asked about Draco’s work. “It’s been quite the talk throughout the Ministry,” he said, “I wish him well in his endeavor.”
Scorpius managed to consume double helpings of everything much to the delight of Victoire and Nana Molly. Cornelius continued to chat up the Weasley girls while Jussy remained silent. James was also silent in stark contrast to his exuberant behavior before the meal.
After the dishes were cleared, Charlie pulled out a camera and proceeded to take photos. In the midst of the clan arguing of placement and background, Justine and Scorpius returned to the firepit. Scorpius felt a bit chilled in the twilight and was grateful for the flames.
“I guess it hasn’t been so bad,” muttered Justine.
“The food was excellent. James hasn’t tried to kill me, so I guess I’d agree with you.”
She laughed. “Look at them. What a noisy bunch.”
He looked over at the group. They were debating whether to arrange by height or age. Everyone was injecting an opinion.
“I envy them in a way. My family has never been like that.”
“I suppose we are similar that way. It’s always been me and my dad, for you it’s been you and your parents. “
“Ah, the lonely lives of only children.”
She rolled her eyes. “When do you see your Mum?”
“I don’t know. Dad hasn’t said. I can’t wait to have her back, though.”
Nana Molly had taken over direction and placed everyone for the photo. Charlie set the camera, took his place, and using his wand began taking several pictures.
“Shouldn’t we include the others?” Lily asked.
So that’s how Cornelius, Scorpius, and Justine became a part of the Potter-Weasley Easter 2020 photo. Justine, annoyed that she’d been placed next to James, leaned over and placed her arms around a seated Scorpius’ shoulders when Charlie shouted “Say ‘cheese’.” Charlie promised to send everyone a copy.
“Splendid,” said Cornelius.
The three friends said their goodbyes and scurried upstairs while the family lingered over their farewells. They congregated in the room Scorpius and Cornelius shared.
“Shall we go exploring tomorrow?” Cornelius asked.
“I should study. Why don’t you two go?”
“C’mon Scorpius, you should go too.”
“How am I going to make it through exams?”
“You’ll get caught up,” said Justine. “You are almost there thanks to Professor Lupin’s help.”
“Give me the morning to study and I’ll go out with you in the afternoon.”
The next day he did as promised. After a morning spent in homework, he showered and dressed and walked into town. He met up with Justine and Cornelius at Bean Around the World Coffee. After collecting their drinks they decided to walk to the harbour and watch the ferries.
The sun was shining, but Scorpius was thankful for his jumper protecting him from the breeze. Idly he wondered if he’d ever get back to normal. He eyed the short sleeves worn by his friends. The weather didn’t seem to affect them the same way.
Jussy seemed to read his mind. “You’re getting better Scorpius,” she reminded him.
“Hey Scorp,” interrupted Cornelius, “isn’t that your Mum?”
Scorpius looked over to where Cornelius was pointing. A pretty woman, all dressed in red, was walking from the Ferry station, and wheeling a single suitcase behind her.
“It is her,” exclaimed Scorpius and setting down his hot chocolate, he ran toward her.
“Mum!” He called out joyfully. He threw himself into her arms.
“Scorpius? Darling?” She hugged him tightly and leaned back to look at him.
He wanted to shrink away at her look of horror at the close-up of his face. She caressed his scarred cheek and whispered, “Where is your father?”
“He had to go out of town, a meeting with The International Confederation of Wizards and the International Quidditch…” He stuttered, a little out of breath. “We are staying with Professor Lupin until taking the train back to school.”
Astoria then noticed Cornelius and Justine standing off to the side. She took a moment to collect her thoughts and then spoke.
“Cornelius and Justine, I’ve booked a room at The Longueville Manor Hotel. Scorpius will be staying with me for the duration of the break. Would you kindly see to it that his things are delivered there?”
“Yes, Mrs. Malfoy,” they said in unison.
“I’d also like a word with Professor Lupin.”
Scorpius sat in the private garden of the Cottage Suite with his mother. He’d spent the last two hours filling her in on everything that had happened since Christmas: the illness, Nana Daphne’s, St Mungo’s, Draco’s cottage, brunch with the Weasley’s, everything. She’d asked very few questions; just periodically she’d touch his face, rub his arm, or hug his shoulders. He was happy to be with her again but her silence was disconcerting.
“How are you, Mum?” He asked when the silence hadn’t been broken for several minutes.
“I’m better now that I’ve seen you, dear.” She sighed. “I don’t like this,” she muttered. “Things are going to change.”
“What is going to change, Mum?”
“First of all, I’m getting you out of here. I’m going to take you to New York with me.”
“I don’t want to go to New York, Mum. Why can’t we just go to the cottage? We could fix it up together as a surprise for Father.” He said earnestly. “Between us and Billie we could do it up right.”
“A deserted island is not where I want to be.”
“I know the place needs some work, but it has potential. It’s not that bad, although Dad’s cooking sucks.” She didn’t even elicit a smile. “Mum, don’t you think it is time we were all together?”
“I’ll order room service for dinner,” she said, ignoring his question. “We’ll talk more in the morning.”
They were silent as they ate. Scorpius picked at his beef and Yorkshire pudding. He’d tried to engage his mother by talking about brunch with the Weasley’s, but he could tell she wasn’t really paying attention. After a while he gave up.
Their silence was interrupted by the arrival of two owls. One flew to Scorpius and the other to Astoria.
Excellent news—my patent has been approved by the International Confederation of Wizards. I can formally begin production on the broomsticks. You, my son, will be the first recipient. By the start of school next year I should have approval by the Ministry of Magic so you’ll be able to use your new broom at Quidditch. I think I shall make a contribution of new broomsticks to the Hufflepuff team. What do you think? I’ve already written to your mother. Hopefully we will all be together soon. I think this is the start of something really exciting for us.
“Mum,” he shouted. Did you hear the news?” He looked over to see her reading her letter. He assumed it was also from Draco. “Isn’t it fantastic about Dad? He explained the principles to me it is really fascinating…”
“Yes, quite,” she interrupted. Don’t you think you should be getting ready for bed?”
He was surprised at her abrupt interruption. “Yes, Mum.”
After brushing his teeth there was a knock on the bathroom door. Opening it, he saw Astoria holding a green bottle. “I want you to wash your face with this.”
He took the bottle and inspected it. The word AVEDA was written across the bottle in all caps.
“What is it?”
“It’s a gentle face wash. It will help clear up your skin.”
“How do you use it?” The top was unlike any bottle he’d ever seen before. He grasped at it and started twisting. The white cap simply spun in circles.
“No Scorpius,” she laughed, “like this.” She placed it on the counter and pushed the top down. A liquid spilled out of the white tube thing. “Mix this with water and spread it all over your face. Then rinse and dry.”
“Ok,” he complied. The white stuff smelled like chamomile and rosemary.
She smiled in satisfaction. “Do it again tomorrow,” she said and kissed him goodnight.
The next morning Scorpius woke to a huge breakfast being served in their private garden. He gorged himself much to his mother’s delight.
“Are you finished?” She asked after his third helping.
“Yes, I think so,” he laughed. “I told you Dad’s cooking sucked. Healer Weasley has kept us in supply of decent food.” Astoria frowned.
“Yes, well, get dressed. I’m taking you somewhere this morning.”
“Just get dressed.”
Scorpius dressed in his normal layers and slapped the cap on his head. The weather was cool today. Outside of the hotel, the two caught a cab. His mother railed off an address to the driver.
Scorpius felt awkward. The only other vehicle he’d ever ridden in was the Fairbotham’s car.
They stopped in front of a white building. The words ST. SAVIOUR’S CLINIC was printed on the glass doors.
“What is this place?” He asked.
“Just go inside,” she said. “Follow my lead.”
Inside they approached the front desk. Four women sat behind upright rectangles, wearing strange items on their ears. Three seemed to be talking to themselves. One looked up as they came closer.
“How may I help you?” She asked.
Scorpius had no idea how his mother responded. He was staring at everything and felt his heart begin to race.
Whatever his mother said to the women caused another person to bring out a chair with big wheels on it. He looked over at his mum in confusion and she merely gestured toward the chair. The person behind it was very tall with big beefy arms. He sat down shakily and was pushed through a pair of double doors, his mum in tow.
Each stop brought about a new sort of alarm. First he was made to stand on a metal contraption that measured his weight. They made him stand up to measure his height. Next, he was placed in a chair where they poked something in his ear.
“Thirty-seven point nine.” Said the woman. What did that mean?
Another person wrapped something around his bicep. This person proceeded to squeeze a ball thing in her hand which caused the wrap to get tighter on his arm.
“Mum,” he said with alarm.
“It’ll be alright Scorpius.” Was all she said.
But it didn’t feel right. With some forcefulness he was escorted onto a cot. Upon lying down his arms were strapped down. He felt a sharp pinch in his right arm. He looked down to see a sharp point being pulled out and blood dripping down his elbow.
“Mum!” He shouted.
She was there, her hands gently rubbing his forehead. “This is medicine,” she said, “It will help you get better.”
Hours later they were back at the hotel. Scorpius was still furious.
“Why did you take me there mum?”
“Scorpius, I don’t have to explain myself to you. I was unhappy with your care.”
“Healer Weasley is fantastic. She’s been taking great care of me.”
“Nonsense, now I want you to take the medicine they prescribed.”
“I’m not touching that Mum. I don’t know what’s in it!” He shouted, pointing at the bottle of pills.
A loud knock interrupted the argument.
It was Draco.
He strode in with a purposefulness that Scorpius hadn’t seen in a while. He embraced Astoria and his son. The fact that she did not return his embrace seemed lost on him.
Scorpius noticed it.
“It’s done. I have full backing of both the International Confederation of Wizards AND the Ministry of Magic. My custom broomstick company is a go.” He looked over at Scorpius, “I was thinking of calling it The Hyperion Company or should it simply be Malfoy & Son?”
Scorpius couldn’t answer. His anger with his mother and his happiness for his father was difficult to process.
Draco continued on, “I’m glad you’re here Astoria. I can take you two back to the cottage. You haven’t seen it yet.”
“I’ve seen it,” she snapped. “It’s disgraceful.”
“Come dear, it’s not that bad.”
“I can’t believe you would let MY son convalesce there!”
“OUR son has been recovering just fine. He’s making great progress. You didn’t see his former condition.” He pleaded.
“Enough Draco. I am not going to let you spirit him off to a deserted island so you can play farmer. I’m taking him somewhere civilised and nursing him back to health.”
“Jersey IS civilization!”
“No!” She shouted. “I am going to do what I want. I am going back to New York, where I have found success and I am taking MY son with me!”
“Stop,” Scorpius whispered. His chest felt tight.
“He never would have gotten sick if he’d been with me!” She cried. Her eyes misted.
“No one knows how he caught the pox, it could have happened at school.” His expression darkened. “His conditioned worsened under YOUR mother’s care! Did you know that she had him locked away in your old room?”
Astoria started to cry in earnest.
“Do you remember that my Grandfather DIED from Dragon Pox? Scorpius was more susceptible to the disease.”
“See, it IS your fault!”
“Mum, you are not making sense…”
“No!” She shouted. “For the first time in years I AM making sense!” Turning to Draco, “I am not going to wait for you to rescue ‘the Princess in the Tower’. I am making my own decisions instead of following your lead. It is over Draco.”
Scorpius’ heart thundered in his chest. Disbelief and shock flooded his system in spite of the fact that he’d seen this building for a while.
“What is that?” Draco questioned sharply, pointing at the white bottle from the clinic.
“Medicine for Scorpius.” She retorted.
“You took Scorpius to a muggle clinic?”
“Studies have shown that muggle medicine CAN be effective.”
“Studies have also shown that muggle medicine can be detrimental to wizards! You thought you’d use our son as a guinea pig?”
“Stop it!” Scorpius shouted, but his parents did listen, they were too busy shouting at each other.
He pounded his fist on the chair, “NO!” and the fireplace exploded.
Within moments they were surrounded by wizards.
A/N: This chapter was difficult to complete, but I finally got it done. The next few chapters have been started so expect much quicker updates. Thanks for reading!
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