Chapter 16 : Breakages: Scorpius POV
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“How are you doing?” I asked her for the first time since the battle. We had stopped just outside Harry’s office. She looked down at her healer bag dangling from her other hand.
“I’m - erm - alright…” she said with a heavy sigh. I turned to give my full attention to her, lifting her chin to meet me and grabbing her eyes with mine. Her face was knit with worry. Clearly she was not alright. I raised my eyebrows at her.
“We’ll talk about it after the debriefing,” she said definitively. She let go of my hand to grab the doorknob and pushed it open. The conversation was closed for now.
Harry’s office was large, but even so it was quite crowded. There were at least twenty aurors plus the trainees that had been at The Quaffle – along with James and Fred. Everyone was clustered around the large room. The most injured had been granted seats in the chairs and couches, but most were standing, crammed against the wall or leaning on a free chair arm. All heads swung toward Rose and me as we entered. For the briefest of moments I was the tiniest bit hopeful that we could sneak past and no one would notice, but no such luck.
Ron Weasley, standing with arms crossed next to Harry’s desk, eyed me through lowered lids. “Look who finally decided to show up,” his voice was scathing. He didn’t even look at Rose, conserving all of his energy for the loathsome look on his face. “That’s the second time you broke protocol tonight, Malfoy,” he jabbed his finger toward me. “This is not going to reflect well on your training.” I glanced over at Harry, who said nothing. Oh shit. This was going to go very bad for me. I eyed the room, searching for a fee space to stand and slid between two junior aurors against the far wall.
Albus was sitting in a chair in the corner of the crowded room, his head propped against the wall and eyes closed. He was holding his bad arm gingerly against his side. Rose immediately marched over to him and opened her healer bag. She gently rubbed his good arm and whispered something to him. He didn’t even move.
She took out a bottle from her healer bag and raised her wand. “Evanesco,” his sleeve disappeared to reveal a nasty gash with bloodied red spirals twisting from a central point a few inches above his elbow. “Hold on Al, this is going to sting a bit.”
Sure. He gets a warning.
Rose dripped some liquid from the bottle on his wound. Al sucked in his breath as his head fell forward and his arm tensed. Rose raised her wand and murmured some spell under her breath several times as she slowly moved the tip up and down his arm. After a few seconds, the wound looked like it was well on its way to healing. He opened his eyes and gave her a small smile, “Thanks, Rosie,” he said through tired eyes.
“That wound needs to stay uncovered and open for forty-eight hours. I'll have to apply more dittany every twelve hours, so make sure you find me, alright?” She gently rubbed his good arm again and gave him a comforting smile.
Rose then made her way over to James, whose side was visibly smoking through the tear in his jumper. She stopped when she was halfway there, realizing that all the aurors were staring at her. “Don’t mind me,” she said loudly. “Look, if you idiots wouldn’t be so proud and moronic and simply go to St. Mungo’s to get treated first, I wouldn’t have to be here.”
Harry spoke first, since everyone else was pretty much tongue tied, in awe of her... well, balls.
“Rose, we just need to be sure that we are maintaining security here. This meeting is to debrief the aurors and therefore is highly classified with very sensitive information.” Ron was just staring at the floor. His expression was unreadable, but I knew his anger hadn’t decreased.
“James and Fred aren’t aurors,” she pointed out. I had to suppress a smirk. Rose always thought she was so meek, but it’s times like these I want to burst with pride. Yup. That’s my cheeky girlfriend. Not afraid to call out the Head Auror right in front of a meeting with all of his department.
She continued, “Besides, I was there. I saw what happened; there aren’t any ministry secrets I’m gonna give away.” Harry opened his mouth to protest again.
“Look,” she continued firmly, “I know Stannous was either there or he was behind it,” her voice wavered slightly at the dark wizard’s name, but she nonetheless bent down next to James and pulled out some more of the ointment that she had put on me. “I also know he was looking for me – or Lily…” she lifted James’s shirt and found the black wound in his side. It was bubbling a little bit. She dabbed ointment on the end of a little stick and began smearing it on his gash.
“FUUUCK!” James screamed as he jumped nearly two feet in the air. That settles it. Albus is her favorite. She continued to bandage him up and finally stood up to face the crowd of aurors that was at least half made up of her own family members. They were all staring at her.
“When one of the death eaters stormed into the back room, he saw Lily and me standing there and he said ‘Red… I found her, she’s back here.’ He must've been referring to me or Lily. Since I'm the one he kidnapped last time, I assume it’s me, but we should probably consider all possibilities. Now, please, just let me get a look at each of you and help however I can. I promise to keep my mouth shut and stay out of the way.” She made her way over to Fred to look at the mass of bruises and cuts on his face.
I smiled. This was the first time Rose has spoken about her abduction to any sort of an audience. Albeit, she was pretty focused on healing the mounting pile of injuries, but all the same, she wasn’t letting the emotion get to her.
Her explanation was apparently good enough for Harry, so he continued. “Okay, did anyone else hear anything from the death eaters?” Everyone shook their head. “So… we’ve already determined that Stannous is targeting Rose Weasley. The real question is why.” His eyes darted between Al and me. I shrugged and shook my head to show him that we weren’t any closer to figuring out an answer to that question.
Harry tried another tactic. “Rose, can you think of any reason?” She paused while she was mixing together some sickly green colored paste and stirring it with a peacock quill. “Honestly, Uncle Harry, I have no idea why – except for the obvious. I’m a Weasley.”
“But why not go after Dom, Molly or Roxie? There are lots of Weasleys.” Albus pointed out.
“Exactly,” Harry agreed. I noticed that Ron was still looking at the floor, but his face was bright red with rage. I couldn’t tell if he was angry that his daughter was being targeted or he was just really pissed at me for breaking the protocol and leaving Albus. Although aurors are expected to think on their feet during battle, there are a few basic protocols and priority number one is to never leave your partner. Since Al and I had been the closest to each other when the death eaters entered - we were automatically paired up and I shouldn’t have left.
My eyes wandered to Rose. Merlin, she was absolutely amazing as she worked her way around the room, moving from person to person, administering her healer care to them. She really knew what she was doing. Harry continued to go through each auror that was present and what they saw, trying to reconstruct the exact events of the attack.
“Alright,” the head auror concluded, “on Monday, we will form a joint task force with the Department of Mysteries to work on getting intelligence to determine what Stannous’s intentions are and why.
“Next order of business: While this was not a training session, since many of our trainees were involved, let’s evaluate their responses. First off, great job to Albus for summoning the aurors immediately when danger was apparent to civilian witches and wizards,” he nodded toward Al.
“Thanks, Dad,” Albus was standing now. Clearly Rose’s ministrations had worked and he was feeling much better.
“And all of the other trainees sent out their summoning charm in a timely manner as well,” Harry continued.
“Is that about when Malfoy broke protocol and left his partner alone to fight off several death eaters and retain a SERIOUS INJURY?” Ron’s voice started off softly, but ended in a roar. He was furious. I closed my eyes. I was expecting this and I knew the best thing was to just take it.
“Uncle Ron, he left to go aid your daughter, who'd fallen to the floor to avoid a curse.” Albus was alarmed. “He helped both Rose and Lily escape. Didn’t we just establish that Rose was most likely the target of this attack?”
“That’s not my point, Albus. YOU NEVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER! The point is that we can’t have rogue aurors taking it upon themselves to think with their dicks during an attack!”
“Oi!” Albus and James both grunted their surprise and displeasure at their Uncle’s brashness. Albus walked quickly to stand next to Rose and James stood up, taking a few steps toward Ron.
“Dad!” Rose abruptly stood up from healing Auror Stephens’s broken ankle. She couldn’t hide the hurt in her voice. She closed her mouth and set her jaw, trying not to cry at his betrayal. I wanted to go to her and hold her, but I thought that might just make everything worse. The room was dead silent. The other aurors had gasped at the initial outburst, but Ron Weasley still held the title of Senior Auror and commanded the respect of all of the department.
“Alright.” Harry was taking control again. This time, there was an edge to his voice. “It’s late and we have covered enough for now. We'll reconvene on Monday at noon. If you're on duty tomorrow, we're going to do another walk-through the pub at 2 pm. If not, see you Monday.” The others were filing out and I held back to wait for Rose, who was packing up her healer bag.
I knelt down next to her and heard her sniffling. I took a deep breath to try and control my anger. How dare he make her cry. She leaned into me when I put a hand on her shoulder. I just wanted to get home so we could be together, without all this other bullshit.
“Ron, hold up, please,” Harry’s voice was firm. Rose and I stood to go. Harry stopped us. “No, you two need to stay as well,” he said firmly. I was getting very close to losing my temper, but Rose’s small fingers slid into my hand and she squeezed tight, and I felt the rage drain slightly from my body. But I needed more. I broke contact for a moment so that I could wrap one arm around her and pull her close. Quickly, I grasped her empty hand with my other one and guided her to Harry’s desk where he and Ron stood, glaring at each other and waiting for the other aurors to file out.
Ron took one look at Rose and I and made the connection that we were now a couple. I hadn’t pressed the issue of her telling her parents because of all the other stuff she had been dealing with. Whatever pace she was ready to do things, I would accept. Now I found that I would not only accept them, I would defend them. I pulled her closer in a protective move and stared hard into Ron’s icy blue eyes.
“What. The. Hell,” he growled between clenched teeth.
Harry took a deep breath. Apparently he thought that ignoring Ron was the best move at this point. There were more pressing issues. He began, “Since we are fairly certain you're a target Rose, I’m going to have to ask you to refrain from any public places until further notice.”
“What?!” she did not take the order very well. “What about training?”
“The ministry will provide extra security for you during your training at St. Mungo’s. Don’t worry - I promise they'll be inconspicuous,” he said quickly before she could protest. “Scorpius, I am assigning you to Rose as her personal guard when she's not at training. I'll rearrange your schedule so that you can take her to and from St. Mungo’s every day and you'll be with her unless another auror or third year trainee is with her anytime she's not at training.” Read: you, Albus and Dom better keep a good eye on her. I nodded in agreement. This was my first official assignment.
“No way in hell,” Ron’s face was contorted.
“Ron, I’m only asking him to do what he’s going to do anyway – what he’s been doing for the past few months. He’s proved himself in training and in sticky situations.”
“He can’t follow the rules, Harry. He’s just a Malfoy, out for himself-”
“Ron!” Harry’s voice boomed. Rose jumped within my arms. I had only heard him yell a few times before, usually when James and Albus had destroyed something in the house during my summer visits. “I think you have lost some perspective and need to be reminded of a couple of things,” Harry spoke through a clenched jaw.
“Oh, really? And what are those things?” Ron growled, and rounded on Harry, not about to back down.
“First and foremost: Parents should never, ever abandon their kids if they can help it. You just as good did that with your comments and actions tonight,”
“Wha- what? What are you talking about?” Ron spluttered, “If you were really concerned, you would put an actual auror as her guard and make sure she was in a safe house. This isn’t about me – you might as well just tell him it’s alright to shack up with her!”
“They are already in an unplottable house with a fidelius charm and have been for the last three months,” Harry said unapologetically. I could almost see the smoke coming from Ron’s ears. The red in his face reached all the way up to the top of his head, blending in with his fire-orange hair.
Harry continued, ignoring Ron’s fuming, “your judgment is clouded by your prejudices. Please do not question my motives, Ron. I am still your superior.”
That did it. Ron’s clenched fist banged on the desk next to him. “What the fuck, Harry? Did everyone know about this but me? Have you forgotten what the Malfoys did? I don’t think you would be so clear minded if we were talking about Lily instead of Rose!”
Harry was white with rage, “So now you are going to acknowledge her? You haven’t even looked at her since she came into the room, or conducted yourself in a manner that implied your daughter was present. You need to leave and cool off. And if you have another outburst like that in front of the department, know that I will take administrative action.”
Rose’s mouth was open in shock. I don’t think she ever saw her father and uncle fight like this before. They always seemed to get on so well. I guess the name ‘Malfoy’ was a hot button. Normally, I would have been angrier, but there seemed to be enough people pissed off in the room at the moment. There was no doubt where Ron stood.
As if to show her father exactly where she stood in all this, Rose snaked her arm around my waist and rested her head on my chest. I gave her a squeeze and leaned my chin on top of her head. I knew she was crying. Ron looked from her to me and back again to Rose. Without saying anything, he turned and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him. Harry put a comforting arm on his goddaughter’s back.
Rose’s voice was barely above a whisper as she spoke into my shirt, “What was the other thing?”
“Come again?” Harry said distractedly. He was trying to mask his rage from her.
“You said that you needed to remind my Dad of two things.”
Harry’s demeanor softened, he looked at Rose and me and sighed, “You can’t help who you fall in love with.” I think I even saw the traces of a smile on his face.
Ron was too enraged to go home, but he was hungry. He usually had some form of a snack in his office, but realized that he had eaten it earlier that day. He pushed his hunger aside for the first time since he could remember and tried to concentrate on paperwork. After several minutes, he was unsuccessful at distracting himself.
Harry was wrong.
How could he take the side of a Malfoy? He knew what had happened to Hermione. How it took her months to recover after the war. His hands shook as he remembered how she would wake up screaming night after night. All he could do was hold her and rock with her until it had passed. Ron hung his head. Harry didn’t know about all that.
Harry didn’t know that Hermione would shake until she was sick and Ron would sit next to her in the loo and hold her hair back. Harry didn’t know that Hermione reached a point where she couldn’t go to any public places for several months. They always made clever excuses, but she barely would travel to the burrow or to Harry’s place. It was all because of the Malfoy’s.
Harry was wrong.
Ron couldn’t go home, not yet anyway. He didn’t want Hermione to see him this upset. He settled for walking around Diagon Alley for a few hours. He didn’t want to run into anyone, so he avoided the Leaky Cauldron. He thought about visiting George for a chat, but the lights were off over his shop and he didn’t want to wake him and Angelina. He stewed and stewed over this Scorpius situation. How could Rose choose a Malfoy?
Finally, as the light of a new day had begun, and exhaustion and hunger were threatening to overtake all rational thought, he apparated home.
When he arrived at his house, he immediately headed to the kitchen. He was so hungry; he couldn’t remember the last time he ate. He stopped short when he realized his kitchen was full of people.
Bewildered, he blinkingly found Hermione sitting at the table with Ginny and Harry. They were all staring at him as he stood in the doorway. His eyes lowered at Harry, he was still angry from their earlier confrontation. But Harry didn’t look angry, he looked sad. As Ron looked from Ginny to Hermione, he knew something was wrong; both of them had red, swollen eyes.
“What happened?” Ron’s gut clenched in guilt, immediately thinking of Dominique. He hadn’t even checked on his niece at hospital.
“Sit down, love,” said Hermione softly. “We need to talk.”
Scorpius apparated us home, to the steps of number twelve, Grimmauld Place. It had only been a few hours, but it seemed like years ago that we apparated to the pub. I'd been so excited, so happy to be with him and go out to see family and friends. Then it all came crashing down.
He took everything - again. The realization that Mum had gone through the same thing during the war washed over me like a wave. At Malfoy Manor.
Suddenly, I was too tired to even think. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t look at Scorpius, I didn’t even have enough energy to apparate myself to my room. I just trudged up the stairs and my heart ached a little as I passed Dom’s door, promising myself I would go see her as soon as I woke up.
I slumped into my room and fell onto my bed, not even closing the door. There were just too many things that had happened. My brain was shutting down. I was half-conscious as it registered somewhere within me that Scorpius had followed me and was lying next to me. I had flopped onto my side, facing away from him. His powerful arms pulled me tightly against his chest and I breathed out. He tucked my head underneath his chin and squeezed tight. Tonight could’ve gone so much worse, I knew that he needed to hold on for a few moments. I grasped his wrists and squeezed back. He was not his family. The last thought that entered my mind as I drifted off to sleep was the realization that without a doubt, without bias or fear or complications, I loved him.
I just didn’t know what I was going to do about it.
A/N: So, I did something a little different with this chapter - I broke my POV and wrote a small scene with Ron as thrird person POV. I thought about leaving it out, but I really liked it and it helps with some stuff that happens later on. I also tried to leave out Rose's little part at the end, but it just doesn't work at the beginning of the next chapter, either. So.... let me know what you think!
All of these chapters that start with "break-" happen in the same day. It was sort of my way of tying it all together. I was running out of words to use that started with break- and that is the main reason this one took a few days longer to post - haha! I absolutely love all reviews and I will respond to all of them! Thanks again for reading!
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