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Acanthus by patronus_charm
Chapter 6 : Wicker Lines
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12


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“Scorpius Malfoy, oh how I’ve longed for this moment,” The man said, stepping into the light. His features were plain, indistinct. His hair was of a coarse, brown type; again, something nondescript. Even his height and build were nothing out of the ordinary. The only thing noticeable about him was that his accent was English, not Egyptian. “It’s almost fate that you ended up here you know. I control your past, your present and your future.”

Scorpius reached into his pocket and felt for his wand. It was still wedged in tight, ready for the crucial moment. He brushed his hand against it for reassurance before beginning to speak, “How do you know my name? Where are the others? Why do you control my life?” he asked. After all, all he was meant to be doing was searching for shelter from the storm – not this.

“I had been warned of your fondness for questions. What a delight! Inquisitive people make life a lot more fun, don’t you think? People like you actually want to interact with life, with me. It makes the results of it so wonderful.”

“If you like questions so much, why haven’t you answered any of mine. What have you done with Rose and Lorcan? Where are they?” Scorpius cried out and edged towards the man, his hand resting on top of his wand.

“Yes, I agree. I said I liked questions. The urge of wanting to know the answer creates a sort of suspense which I enjoy. I do not, however, enjoy answering them. It ruins the game. Besides, what’s life without a little tension, Scorpius? Surely you would know that due to your romance with Rose Weasley?”

Scorpius stayed silent. How did the man know about him and Rose? How did he even know who they were? This uncertainty about the situation was killing him. He was about to make a run for it, he needed to escape, to think, to do anything other than deal with the situation at hand when a spattering of footsteps could be heard, and Scorpius watched his companions enter the room before he could warn them away.

“Scorpius, what has happened? Where are the others?” Dalila asked, while Rashidi clung onto her shoulder for support. She gave him a quizzical look, but all he could do was shrug his shoulders. Perhaps if they ran away now, if they didn't know a thing about what occurred they could still have a chance of getting away, Scorpius pondered.

“Ah, excellent, we’re all here then. I do enjoy a good audience, I have to say. Do sit down.” The man began ushering Dalila and Rashidi into the seats dotted around the room, and Scorpius joined them out of not knowing what to do. Even sitting in them didn’t provide much comfort. The cold, metallic seats only made him focus on trying to get out of here even more. Then there was the fact that the smashed glass, which Rose and Lorcan had drunken from, was in his direct line of sight. Scorpius felt that he was smashed up too, that he was searching for the pieces but the more he reached for them the more they cut into him.

Did this man want to kill them? Was this a joke? Did The Prophet organise this to create a more sensational story for Rose? All these questions and no answers. Now he was blindly following the man’s instructions in the hope of finding those precious answers. He could only ignore the niggles of doubt suggesting that this would leading him further from that quest rather than nearer.

He looked over at the other two and saw Dalila whispering away to her grandfather before being broken up by a fit of coughing from Rashidi; it seemed as if his health had gotten worse and worse for each day that passed. This trip had already resulted in two possible deaths, and he didn’t want there to be a third. He would never be able to redeem the Malfoy name, but strike it down either further instead.

“Now, to inform the other two about why we are all gathered here on this not so glorious day, I must first explain to them the curiosity of Rose Weasley and Lorcan Scamander. You see, their fate is almost intertwined with that of my great-great-grandfather. I shan’t reveal his name just now for that would ruin the surprise, but you must remember the connection.

“As you may have noticed, there are two of us who aren’t currently present. This is due to a potion I concocted using a very ancient recipe. To make the potion work it requires part of bone of someone deceased in that era. The bone in question is from someone you all know well, so you can try and figure that out too.” The man paused, strolling towards Scorpius before smirking at him. “In fact, the God of Death, Osiris, is rumoured to have invented it. He has a temple in the famed Acanthus and was the god of the afterlife in case you didn’t know.”

Scorpius had enough of him. Whether it was his patronising tone, insane story about the potion or just a general dislike, he needed to do something. Simply sitting here wouldn’t help save Rose and Lorcan. He pulled his wand out of his pocket before running towards him. “Tell us where they are. Now! I don’t want or need to hear this story. I want and need to see Rose and Lorcan. Tell me where they are!”

The man withdrew his own wand and jabbed it into his neck. The small smile he had worn had quickly faded. “Now, now, Scorpius. What did I tell you about me controlling your life?” The man stabbed his wand even deeper into his neck causing Scorpius to let out a little moan. “I would have thought you would have listened better. To think I held vaguely high expectations for you…Crucio!”

The pain which Scorpius encountered from the first explosion was nothing compared to this. It felt as if his body was alight with flames, burning forever. He could feel spasms echo up and down him, not knowing how to stop them or when they would. He tried to hold in the screams, not wanting to give him any satisfaction. Then the fire grew and grew, and he felt something pierce through his throat. Even through the pain he could make out his throttled screams.

“Very good, Scorpius. You did last a long time. All I wanted was one little scream, and it would have all been over. Sit back down. You have learnt your lesson now. Any sign of rebellion will be quelled and quelled quickly.”

His words slowly penetrated into the fuzz of Scorpius’ thoughts. He peeled open the lids of his eyes and found himself curled up on the floor, still shaking from the event. The soft cold of the floor provided him a comfort nothing else could. Not even his mother could soothe him like the floor did. He wanted to lie here and never have to face the world again, never have to be as scared as he was then. But he couldn't be like that, he knew he couldn't be like that. He had to fight for Rose and for Lorcan. Scorpius pushed the tips of his fingers onto the floor and eased himself up gently, ready to face him again.

“I said sit back down, Scorpius. I thought you would have learnt from that incident to take me seriously.”

The man was right. After feeling the burn that the Cruciatus curse caused, he didn’t feel brave anymore. All he felt was stupidity. If he just listened to the man perhaps he would be free or find out what was really going on. He couldn’t be brave on his own. The few times he had even brave were due to being powered on by Rose. Lying here alone, he felt as if he was nothing, worthless.

He gave a light shake of his arm, attempting to wake it from its numbness but the feeling refused to disappear. Giving up on that idea and not wanting to be forced to experience that spell again, Scorpius crawled along the floor, too tired and in pain to attempt walking. He caught sight of Dalila and Rashidi’s looks of pity. He didn’t want or need them. He didn’t deserve them after what he just did. He had made it worse for everyone.

“If you learnt from this lesson we wouldn’t all be here. You wouldn’t have done what you did so we wouldn’t have been here. I hope that hint shows what a crucial role you play in everyone’s lives, Scorpius Malfoy. Remember where the Sorting Hat placed you. Now, back to the story. You still do not know where your dear friends are; only knowing that they are not here. Well, everything is interconnected so that should help you both. You somehow caused a grievance against my family in the past, but how you might wonder. Oh you’ll find out in due course Scorpius Malfoy. You’ll find out everything.”

Scorpius sat there paralysed, unable to move, unable to think, unable to comprehend. The only thing he felt a little bit sure about was that the person who had to die was him.

*

Hermione Weasley paced the floor of her office. She hadn’t heard from Rose in over a week now, and that was very unlike her daughter. Though the relationship was fraught at the best of times, they did at least try to put their grievances behind one another and keep in touch when they were away. This, though, was very unexpected and unexpected was something she did not like in the slightest.

She knew Egypt was far away and all, but an owl would have reached her by now. She heard from Rose almost daily so this silence was questionable. She sifted through the piles of yellow parchment on her desk, noting her daughter’s annoying habit of never properly forming her S’s leaving the meaning of the word incomprehensible. Coming to the one on the top, she checked the date scrawled at the top of the parchment, the 25th April. It was the third of May today.

She headed over to a wall in her office which was covered with a map of the world and eyed Egypt. Hermione couldn’t help but feel proud of her daughter for being asked to go there; it just pained her that her daughter failed to acknowledge this recognition. Perhaps she had failed as a mother. Hermione wouldn’t be surprised if that were true. Real life was one of the few things she couldn’t learn by a book, and one of the few things she had struggled with.

There was another reason to be worried about this too. Well, several reasons to be worried with reported sandstorms and soaring temperatures, but Hermione Weasley considered this matter more important than other. The matter of Scorpius Malfoy.

She knew he was there and something had occurred between the two in the past. Something she wasn’t bothered by, but her husband more so. That could be an explanation for the silence, not wanting to let her mother know about a new found romance. With a problem like that she would simply have to wait and see what was going to happen next. Or the owl could be dehydrated.

People had repeatedly told her she could become a professional worrier, so perhaps her mind was simply going into overdrive. She would have to put it down to that for now.

*

Lorcan had been carried off to bed by Edward. As soon as Edward entered the room and saw his crumpled body on the floor, he whipped him away before Rose could even blink. With Lorcan now being unconscious, that left her to her own thoughts and theories. Her fingers traced the lines of wicker woven into the chair, it was never ending. They either curved over the end of the arm, bending back around again or coming from underneath. It was rather like her problem. Endless, but she could find the end if she tried.

She knew she could solve it, she knew it. It was just a question of how to solve it, that was all. It couldn’t be harder than solving any of the cases she had worked on for The Prophet. Though they were mainly based on cake disappearances at Witchy Bake-off, it was something, and something meant a lot to her right now.

“Er, Miss Weasley, I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while now,” Edward announced, causing Rose to startle. “It’s about something important, and I suppose it will have an impact on a lot of things.”

Rose gestured to the seat next to her, and he came and sat down. “Just call me Rose; Miss Weasley makes me sound old. What did you want to tell me then?”

Edward gave her a small smile before emitting a loud cough to announce he was going to begin.

“It’s about what we’re looking for and whether you wanted to come and search for it with us. It would make sense for you to come along; you and your friend seem to be reasonably nice people. Though I do wonder what your parents think of you gallivanting around with him-“ Rose immediately cut him off when she realised what on earth he was insinuating.

“Oh no, me and Lorcan are just friends. Nothing more. It would be too strange as I consider him to be almost my brother rather than anything else.” Even though she had nothing to hide she couldn’t help but feel red to seep to her cheeks. Perhaps it was merely the thought of her and Lorcan ever being like that which made her feel so embarrassed.

Edward pulled a sheepish face. “Oh, I do apologise for that misunderstanding. I just assumed, that’s all. Back to where we’re going. As you know we wished to search for Tutankhamen’s tomb but were beaten to it by that bastard Howard and his friends, so we spent some time with the locals and discovered another legend of equal worth. It was about this ancient city which was destroyed during the Roman times, and it’s called Acanthus…”

Rose was lulled back into the tale of it, each part being the exact same as what she heard previously. She began to wonder whether her going along or not would be a good idea. The last trip resulted in her being launched back years into history, so who knew where she could be end up on her next attempt to the city.

She couldn’t help but ponder whether she was meant to have ended up here. After all, how many people had really heard of that city outside of Egypt? It just seemed to be too much of a coincidence, but whether it was a coincidence worth investigating was the question. Her eyes drifted over to the canvas partition which separated her from Lorcan. Would he be willing to go and search for it again?

“So what do you think, do you want to come to Acanthus with us and find it? It should prove to be some good fun, and we could even consider it to be adventure if you really wanted to.”

Rose paused for a moment, taking a final glance at where Lorcan lay. She knew that he would be up for it. He had such an inquisitive mind she almost didn’t need to ask whether he wanted to find out whether this legend was true or not.

“Yes, I’ll come and find it. I think it sounds like an excellent idea!” Rose cried out. Either way it would result in her going to Acanthus meaning her article could get finished, and she might possibly be able to find a way home back to modern day England and end up getting it published. Whether this was wishful thinking or not, the only way to find out would be by going there.

Author's Note: So there were a lot of different POVs in this chapter, and I would love to know your thoughts on whether you liked it/it was confusing/meh in your opinion! I hoped you liked learning more about the man and why Rose and Lorcan are there.

I really appreciate every review I get and answer to all of them, so if you left me one that would be brilliant! Thanks once again for reading! ♥


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