Chapter 4 : Bereft: Scorpius POV
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A kitchen accident.
That was the official report from the Ministry of Magic investigation. My parents were killed from the results of a magic-induced explosion in the oven. It was most likely my mother who inadvertently flicked her wand in the wrong way that caused the heavy, cast iron relic to overheat rapidly and the pressure built inside and eventually burst, spewing hot metal and gas across the small kitchen.
The next several hours poured into days that all swirled together into one seemingly endless period of time that was just… dark. My mother was killed instantly from the explosion that tore through her delicate frame. It was determined that my father died from a blow to the head as his body was thrown violently into the stone wall behind him.
The ministry officials interviewed me, took care of the bodies and arranged the tiny funeral. After a few days, I was sent to stay with my only living relative, my Aunt Daphne, who had married a muggle sometime after the second Wizarding war. I didn’t really know her very well. I remember her from my grandparents’ funerals when I was very young. She seemed nice enough, but, because she chose to live among non-magic folk, the house was full of muggle artifacts and everything was strange and queer to me.
I rarely came out of the small room that I had been assigned to. Aunt Daphne’s house wasn’t very big. She never had any children of her own, so she didn’t need much space for just her and her husband. He was an all right fellow, but really didn’t understand wizards and magic and looked at me warily most of the time. I couldn’t care less, I was so tired that I just stayed in bed and Aunt Daphne didn’t force me to eat, as I’m sure my Mum would’ve done. I only got out of bed to shower. The warm water pouring over my skin was necessary to wash the soot off of me. I could feel the grime that covered my parents’ bodies and the kitchen on me at all times.
A week went by and I was left mostly alone. Aunt Daphne didn’t leave the house; she didn’t really bother with me at all – except to put a tray of food outside my door at regular intervals.
The guilt was building and building inside me. My last words to my parents had been in anger, even to my mother, who hadn’t done anything to deserve my wrath. I had slammed the door behind me and didn’t even look back. I continually replayed my actions over and over in my head. If I had only listened to them, and stayed home… I would’ve been cooking dinner with my Mum that afternoon, instead of brooding with that tosser, Mason. I would’ve seen the leak in the stove – or smelled it – and Mum wouldn’t have tried to light it. Perhaps my dad would’ve stayed in his study instead of helping Mum with dinner and wouldn’t have been thrown back into the stone wall from the blast… The images of their bodies flashed into my head every time I tried to close my eyes, and although I was tired beyond belief, sleep eluded me.
Late one evening, I heard Aunt Daphne quietly talking to someone else downstairs. The voices were too muffled for me to make out the words, and I didn’t care anyway. I rolled over and buried my head deeper into the covers to block it out.
A few minutes later the door creaked open and I stilled. Aunt Daphne rarely came into the room, but she obviously wanted me to get up and meet with whoever had come to the house. Hopefully, she would fall for my ruse of pretending to be asleep and give up.
“Scorpius?” a soft, tentative voice called out to me. Not Aunt Daphne. It was Rose. I sat up immediately. What in the world was she doing here?
“Rose?” My croaky voice sounded foreign, even to me.
“Oh, Scorp!” she crossed the room, flying towards me and captured me in the biggest bear hug I had ever received. The two of us teetered backwards on the bed as she squeezed so tightly that my eyes hurt. “I’m so sorry Scorpius. So, so sorry,” she sobbed into my chest and my arms instinctively wrapped around her as she steadied herself next to me on the bed.
“Hey, Scorp,” Al followed in behind her and leaned his tall frame against the bedpost.
I was in utter disbelief that they were even here, and my mouth just kept opening and closing as I was at a loss for words. But, Rose, being Rose, I didn’t need to say anything. She took a deep, shaky breath and began ejecting words at me.
“I just… I had to see you. Uncle Harry said you’d been sent to live at your Aunt Daphne’s house, but we should give you a bit of time. I told Al that we needed to find you, straight away and come to see you. He agreed and we decided that we were coming no matter what and we had to get a bit creative with our excuses to our parents, but… I think they bought it. It isn’t easy to fool two Aurors and the head of Magical Law Enforcement, you know. Although I think the hardest one to fool was Aunt Ginny, don’t you agree Al? I suspect she knew all along what we were up to, but didn’t say anything.”
“Anyway, Al and I had to navigate muggle transportation. We flooed to Diagon Alley just before our Dads got home from work. Then we went through The Leaky Cauldron and into muggle London. We walked a few blocks and picked up a bus and finally took a taxi to your Aunt’s house and… here we are!” she said brightly. Then her face clouded over as she realized the event that had actually brought her here. She worried her lip in concern and her eyes began to glisten. The tears welled up and spilled over as she embraced me once again.
“Listen to me,” she scolded herself, leaning back and grasping my hands with her soft warm ones. “I’m prattling on about how hard it was getting here when you… you have lost… oh Scorpius, I am just so, incredibly sorry.” She flung herself at me again. “I just… I don’t know what to say, Scorp…” Her soft, red curls smelled sweet and clean against my face.
The barrier I had put up around me was crumbling with every word she spoke. She was so sincere and caring; hearing her voice and feeling her next to me was just what I needed. I looked up at Al standing by us and he nodded. He didn’t need me to say it. Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I needed my friends.
“Rose. I-It’s all right. Just… you being here is… it’s so good to see you. B-Both of you.” I looked over her shoulder at Al again. He lowered himself next to us on the bed and gripped my shoulder. It was the most comfort I had felt since my parents’ deaths. The three of us huddled together for a long, long time.
Rose squeezed tighter and stopped talking. After days and days of living in a dark cloud of anguish, I finally began to feel real pain replace the detachment. I tried to hold back from crying at first, but the emotions overtook my body and I sobbed and sobbed onto Rose’s shoulder and she just held on and stroked my back and my hair. Albus patted my shoulders and didn’t say anything, just held on as a physical and wordless emotional support, as only a best friend would do.
I hadn’t cried when I found them lifeless in the kitchen, nor when I was talking to the ministry officials, not even at their funeral. Now every single unshed tear over the past week and a half was driving its way out of me and onto Rose’s shoulder.
I don’t remember what happened next, other than we obviously stayed there long enough to fall asleep. Even though I had been in bed since I came to my Aunt Daphne’s I hadn’t actually been sleeping. With my best friends next to me, I fell into the deepest slumber I had had in a long while.
I probably would’ve slept for a whole lot longer, if a screaming, perturbed red-headed Auror hadn’t been yelling in the hallway, demanding to see his daughter.
“Rose Jean Weasley! Where are you? Are you mad? Running away from home?” I heard as I lifted my head, groggily. I could see the sun peeking through the drawn shades. It was late morning.
“Er… sir, I am sure if you could just wait for a few moments, my wife will be home and she can help you…” My uncle’s footsteps pattered hurriedly behind Ron’s in the hallway. “Here. Let me call her on my mobile. She will be home momentarily… Sir? Sir?” his squeaky voice trailed off.
My arm was trapped beneath Rose, who had nestled herself against my chest. Her curls were now messy from sleep, but her hair still smelled the same sweet smell of… lavender? My eyes shot open at the realization of what this looked like. This was the worst possible way to be woken up by Ron Weasley – in your bed with his fifteen year old daughter clutched in your arms. Fuck.
Well I was definitely awake. I sat up and scooted over as far as I could from Rose, ripping my arm out from underneath her and rubbing my eyes, just as the door burst open and the volume of Ron’s voice raised several decibels.
“What is going on here?” He apparently had seen both of us now. My uncle’s head popped around the door frame and he let out a tiny shriek when he saw us. “Daphne, love,” his high-pitched cry squealed into his mobile. “I think you need to come home right away. Yes… I know you are at the market, but some other… er… magic blokes have arrived… and they seem to be bit put out…” his head disappeared from the doorway as he frantically whispered to my Aunt on the phone.
Rose began to stir and sat up, looking around confusedly. The color had drained from Ron’s face as he stood in the doorway in disbelief. A moment later, a dark haired wizard appeared next to Ron. Briefly, I thought it was Al, who was conveniently nowhere to be found at the moment when I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and realized that no, it wasn’t Al. It was Harry. Fuuuuuck. This was going from bad to worse by the second. They would probably find a way to stick me in Azkaban for this.
Al finally appeared at Ron’s other side and I looked desperately at him. Ron had raised his wand at me and muttered “Impedi-” Harry reached over and grabbed his wand arm, just in time to deflect the curse to the other side of the room. I could hear my uncle let out a screech in the hallway. Ron’s wand fell from his hands and rolled across the floor. I breathed out the air that I was holding in at the prospect of being hexed.
“Dad?” Rose had obviously not copped on to what her father was agitated about. “Why would you try to hex Scorpius?!”
Ron didn’t answer; instead he lunged through the door with surprising speed, growling. “Malfoy… I should’ve known. You little prick!” I recoiled, having no way to defend myself. I was underage and this was, for all intents and purposes, a muggle household and any underage magic would be detected immediately. If the ministry came here and saw Ron and Harry, they would never believe that I was a victim. And, although we were the same height, Ron was much broader – I was still a scrawny fifteen year old so there was no way I could physically fend him off.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to, as Al and Harry simultaneously shot through the door after Ron and each grabbed an arm to hold him back.
“Oh my, oh my… Daphne!!” my uncle bellowed into his mobile. “You need to get home now! Use that apparate cadabra stuff you know! Just get over here!”
“What are you on about, Dad? Nothing happened. We came to be with our friend! Who just lost his parents!” Rose stood up on the bed in front of me, obviously trying to shield me from any further attempts on my life. She seemed genuinely stunned at her father’s actions.
“Really, Uncle Ron, it’s true.” Al chimed in, keeping a firm grip on his uncle. “I slept in the chair after Scorp and Rose fell asleep on the bed. I was in here the whole time. I just now got up to use the loo.” He spoke quickly, his voice a little desperate.
“All right, let’s everyone calm down. We can head down to the parlo-” But Harry’s attempt to diffuse the situation was cut off.
“Why are you half-dressed?” Ron shot at Rose, struggling under Al and Harry’s hold on him. I wondered the same thing as I looked at her, still standing defiantly on the bed in front of me. She was wearing one of my tee shirts, her own Ravenclaw tee shirt and jeans discarded on the side of the bed. My eyes traveled up her long, freckled legs from her bare ankles to her knees and her thighs that were exposed half-way. I fought the urge to groan and cover my face in my hands. That would make me look guilty.
“I had to change my shirt, so I grabbed one of Scorpius’ to sleep in. Mine got… wet.” She was past being apologetic and flopped off the bed to slide her jeans on. I consciously looked away as her hips wriggled to pull them over her bum. She left my shirt on, however. Then she walked over to where Al and Harry were still holding back her father. If I thought there had been a hint of embarrassment in her voice, it was squelched as soon as she spoke slowly and deliberately to Ron.
“I came here to be with my friend. I needed to see him and I would do it again in a heartbeat. You weren’t too much older than me when you ‘ran away from home’ to be with your friend,” she nodded toward Harry and pushed past the three of them. “Now, if you would excuse me, I have to use the loo - unless, of course, you want to follow me in there and accuse me of doing something untoward with the toilet.”
About an hour later, we were finally sitting in the parlor and my Aunt had returned from the market and effectively calmed my uncle down. It wasn’t that he was afraid of magic – he just didn’t really understand it. I’m pretty sure my Aunt had mostly only told him about the bad stuff – like when Voldemort was around. I knew that my father had been involved in some of that, but my parents never told me very much.
I knew it was bad, though. Bad enough to make my Aunt choose to live as a muggle. She never used magic on a daily basis and I couldn’t ever remember her with her wand in hand. Based on my father’s reaction when I asked him about being a death eater, I could conclude that my parents never had any intention of telling me about their part in the second wizarding war. If I ever even skirted around by asking a remote question, my father would hold his book up over his face and say, “All you need to know, Scorpius, is that you are much more like your mother than me.”
Rose and Albus sat loyally by my side, Rose a bit more defiantly, but Al was nonetheless not assenting to leave anytime soon. Ron was still seething, but had at least agreed to sit down to talk.
“First off, Daphne and Phil, thank you so much for having Rose and Albus over last night. We are very relieved to know that they are safe.” Harry worked to calm all the involved parties – and perhaps throw a little guilt toward Rose and Albus.
“Er… yes. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Miller,” Al looked a little sheepish and Rose’s face bordered on mortification. She wouldn’t want anyone to think her rude or ungrateful.
“Thank you so much!” she almost stammered. “It was so kind of you to have us.”
I reached over and grabbed a second sandwich my Aunt had prepared for the group, chewing hungrily. I offered one to Rose and Al, but they both shook their heads.
“Well, I can see that they did Scorpius a world of good,” Aunt Daphne nodded toward me. “He slept for the first time last night and this is the most he has eaten in at least a week,” I stopped chewing and stared at her, not because I wasn’t hungry, but because I didn’t think my Aunt had paid that much attention to what I had or hadn’t been doing.
“However,” she continued. “Their visit made Phil and me realize that we don’t completely have the abilities to offer him what he really needs right now.” She spoke sadly as she turned to me. “Scorpius, I really did love my sister very much. But she chose her life and I chose this one. You will always have a place here in this house, but I know this is not where you want to be.”
“Daphne,” Harry was quick to pipe in, “Would you and Phil be open to the idea of Scorpius coming to stay with us for a bit? It wouldn’t be for the entire summer, but perhaps you are right and a few weeks with his closest friends would do him a bit of good.”
I looked hopefully at my Aunt. Staying with the Potters, even if it was just for a short while, would be like heaven compared to this strange house with people who were also strangers to me.
“Harry, that is very kind of you. But I will leave the final decision to Scorpius. He is fifteen and should be able to have some say in his living arrangements.” I practically choked on my sandwich in acknowledgement and Harry gave a chuckle.
“It’s settled then,” he clapped his hands together and stood up. “Albus, you can stay here and help Scorpius get his things gathered for his visit. Rose-”
“-is heading back with us,” Ron finished.
She opened her mouth to protest, but Al put his hand on her arm as I glared at her. We had just won the war, for cripe’s sake, let’s not mess with this tiny battle. She gave us both a small smile and mouthed the words “you two owe me,” to which we both nodded.
The Potter’s house was just as jovial and crazy as I had remembered. It was good to be in a place so eventful that I didn’t have too much time to dwell on my parents’ deaths. Harry and Ginny had rearranged the house so that I had my own room, for which I was eternally grateful. Sometimes, I just needed a few moments to collect myself. Other times, I wished that I had someone to distract me from the dark places my mind would go. The guilt still tortured me.
A few weeks into my visit, I had had a particularly rough day and I was just… missing them. I begged off an evening of Quidditch in the Potter’s backyard and went to my room, the horrible ghost of grief overtaking me yet again. It was odd how you could be doing just about anything that seemed normal on the outside and, without warning, feel enveloped by a cloak of sorrow and anguish in an instant.
I didn’t lock my door at the Potter’s because I never needed to. No one encroached on anyone’s privacy. There was respect and… love. So I was surprised when I heard the door creak open and I sat up in my bed. The room was dark and I blinked to make out the figure approaching me.
Rose never said a word, just climbed in next to me and found my hand. She intertwined our fingers and stroked my forehead with her other hand. I could feel my jittery nerves calming with each touch. I knew this was not about being defiant to her father. Rose wasn’t like that. She didn’t waste time fighting for the sake of it. She fought for things she believed in. Like her family and friends. She had this uncanny way of knowing when I needed her to just… be with me. She stayed the night like that – and many nights after. I am sure that Ginny knew, and possibly Harry too, but no one ever questioned me about it. When we returned to Hogwarts for our fifth year, she would, occasionally, find her way to my four-poster bed in the boy’s dorm of Ravenclaw tower – always after a particularly bad day. She was my rock.
“Go Fre-ed, go Fre-ed, go Fre-ed,” my brain was pulled back to present day as the chants grew louder. Fred was apparently doing something downright amazing out there. I knew sleep was out of the question. At this point, I couldn’t even ask for quiet. Fuck it. I was going to go out there and forget about Rose (Who am I kidding?). I would have a drink to honor dear old Mum and Death Eater Dad. It was high time I got good and drunk.
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