I flopped down on my bed, not exactly angry, but not exactly pleased with myself, either. I had just returned from accompanying Rose back to her flat. She insisted that she was fine, but I needed to see her home, for my own well-being. She wouldn’t let me stay, maintaining that I should be back at the party. I don’t actually give a damn about the party, evidenced by the fact that I am lying in my bed at ten pm on a Friday night, with the largest party in Wizarding UK going on just outside my door.
My mind couldn’t get past the fact that Rose had been in my bedroom, half-naked, mere minutes ago. She was here. She touched me and let me touch her. I had felt freer than I had felt in a long, long time. I rubbed my cheek where I could still feel the heat from her thin, soft fingers pulling me back from my ire with Albus and his barging in. He always had been a bit overprotective of Rose, and I resented the implication that I couldn’t take care of her. Okay, okay, maybe his implication was less about me taking care of her and more about the fact that we were both in an obvious state of undress at the time of his entrance… It was eerily familiar… No Scorpius, I told myself. Don’t go there.
I thought about the tee shirt that I had given to Rose. She had looked at it questioningly. I figured she recognized it – it was hers, after all. Perhaps she was really questioning why I had held on to it for so long. I clamped my eyes shut and willed my mind again not to go back there, but tomorrow was the anniversary… and the memory slammed into my brain like a freight train.
“Dad, why not?” I knew that I was treading on dangerous ground. My upbringing had taught me not to question authority. However, I had quickly learned at Hogwarts, that not all young wizards had had the same rearing as I had.
“Love, I don’t think today is a good day,” Mother, always so kind and understanding, usually piped in on my behalf, but today had joined forces with father.
“What are you talking about?! Did you actually agree that I couldn’t play a game of football with the neighbours? What next? I can’t visit Albus this year?...” I trailed off when I saw the look on Mum’s face.
I looked to mother for support, but she wouldn’t catch my eye. My yearly trips to the Potter’s house were the only thing that kept me sane during the summer holidays. Things were so normal there. All right, so maybe normal isn’t the correct word, if you took into account the incessant pranks James played on everyone, frequent visits from all family members – I could swear the Potter’s fireplace saw more floo powder than the Ministry of Magic – and to top it all off, Albus’s Grandad Weasley would come over all the time to ask Harry about some muggle artifact or other.
The Potter’s house was the most fantastic place to me. Rose, Hugo, Wolfram, Molly, Dominique and many other cousins all visited many times a week. It was busy, busy, busy. People were always talking, shouting, goofing off and laughing. It was such a contrast to my cold, quiet, country home and I loved it from my very first visit. At my house, my father barely spoke to me. Mum and I would cook together, and that was when we would talk about other topics, but those dinners were always eaten in near silence with my father, who over the years had become more and more distant.
I knew that he didn’t love the fact that I visited the Potter’s regularly. The bad blood between Harry and my dad was well known to everyone. However, they both seemed to put aside whatever differences and allowed Al, my best friend and I to see each other during holidays. I even spent the Christmas holidays at the Potters house some years. The idea of missing out on seeing my friends and feeling a little more like a regular kid was overwhelming to me.
“This is ludicrous!” I slammed a fist onto father’s desk. “I’m going to play football. And I’m going to visit Al next week. Just try and stop me,” I said as I stood up to my full height. He did the same and we stared at each other from across the desk in his study. I realized for the first time that I was taller than him. Not just taller. I had a good two inches on him.
“Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy!” he bellowed. “I forbid you to…”
“What?!” I countered, now figuratively standing up to him for the first time in my life. “Associate with commoners? Non-magic folk? ‘Mudbloods?’” I had heard enough. Obviously the rumors going around Hogwarts were true. I shoved my hands into my pockets and stormed out of the room. I felt like blasting something away. All I wanted was to be as far away from my father as possible.
“Scorpius, please don’t leave,” my mother begged. “It’s not sa-”
But I never heard the rest of what she said. The door slammed behind me. Usually my mother was the one who could calm me down after an encounter with my father. But not today. Today, I was fifteen and angry and bound and determined to prove a point. They couldn’t cage me anymore.
“Do you want to meet up again tomorrow, Malfoy?” the irritating voice rang through my head a few hours later.
“Er… I’ll have to see, Mason. I’m not sure when we are going on holiday this summer.” I was searching for any excuse that would allow me to not have to give this tosser a definite answer. I’d only agreed to hang around with him to irritate my father. I knew it would get on Draco Malfoy’s nerves to know his son was spending time with a muggle kid from the neighbourhood. Unfortunately for me, Mason was dull and borderline annoying. It was obvious why none of the other kids wanted to be around him.
“We make a great team, don’t we?” the desperation in his voice was grating on my nerves. “The M&M team! Malfoy and Mason!” See. He does things like that to make everyone hate him. I didn’t even have a reply for this immature fodder. Mason had served the purpose of sufficiently annoying my father – although I really had wished at that moment I had chosen one of the other neighbourhood lads that were less maddening. He just happened to be the only person around that afternoon.
“Look Mason, I’ll owl you tomorrow if I can hang out,” his face screwed up in confusion and I realized my mistake a little too late. “I meant call. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Any confusion instantly vanished as he smiled widely. I don’t think anyone ever said they would call him before. I turned down the walk and slumped into the house before he could say anything more.
I knew something was amiss the instant I entered. It smelled weird. Not a specific smell that I could pinpoint – it was just… off. And quiet. It was eerily quiet. The house was always quiet, but this was different. It was as if all the normal sounds had been sucked out of the house by a muffliato charm or some other magic.
By habit, I walked down to the kitchen to visit with Mum. She would be working on dinner and I rarely missed a day of cooking with her when I was home. I knew Mum wouldn’t be put out at my earlier outburst. She always understood. She continually put things right with my father and I with her gentle words and warming foods.
“Mum, I -” but the words never made it past my throat. They were caught up and swallowed by the horrific scene in front of me. It was so bizarre that my mind couldn’t compute what my eyes were seeing. I cocked my head to the side and just stared in confusion, which quickly followed disbelief.
I would never admit to anyone just how long I stood there, transfixed at the sight that my brain would not allow me to process. It felt like I was there for hours and hours. In truth, it was probably only several minutes. My parents’ bodies lay lifeless before me and the kitchen barely resembled the room that I had known since a small child. There was debris everywhere and part of the stove was still smoldering.
Somewhere in the back of my mind it registered that I should smell the burning from a hole blasted deep into the stone wall that had puffs of smoke billowing from it. I couldn’t really smell anything. I couldn’t hear the blood rushing to my ears as my heart pounded out of my chest. Nor could I taste the bile that was rising in my throat. I had even lost the ability to feel the floor beneath my feet or door frame that my body was now leaning against for support. All of my senses failed in response to the overload that my eyes were suffering.
I couldn’t enter the room. My feet would not carry me through the threshold as if refusing to acknowledge the scene before me was real and the room where my eyes were transfixed was a room I visited daily. Twisted fragments of iron were strewn everywhere. The table had been blasted off of its legs and lay in several shards, thrown against the far wall. Everything, everything was covered in black soot.
A body lay sprawled and bent at unnatural angles on the floor just below the where the stove used to be. I say a ‘body’ because I couldn’t reconcile that it was indeed my mother. Nothing about the way it lay and bled and was torn through by metal and heat left any indication that this was the woman I shed tears upon as a small child.
My father lay several yards away, toward the back door. He appeared more or less normal. If it weren’t for the fact that his eyes were left open and staring at nothing, I would think he had just chosen to lie on the floor of the kitchen for a brief nap. There were some ashes splashed through his thinning blond hair, but otherwise, he looked rather unscathed.
After several long minutes, my feet began to take over my brain function and I backed out of the room. I paced and spun in a slow frenzy around the living room, walking backwards, forwards, and every which way with my hands over my face until I bumped sideways into the fireplace across the way. My head hit the mantle hard and I turned around in surprise that there were actually solid objects still existing in the universe. My body had seemed that it was floating through the air and at the same time pushing its way through a thick plasma substance that made breathing difficult. As my hand rose up instinctively to my head, it bumped against a small jar that had rested on the mantle for as long as I could remember.
The nerves in my fingers tingled with heightened sensitivity as I fisted a handful of the gritty powder, stepped into the fireplace and choked out the words “Ministry of Magic,” with every last ounce of sanity I had left.
A/N: I am splitting this chapter in two. I have wanted to do this for a while and, after considering the story as a whole, I am changing a few things up and this seemed like the best place to start.