Title: A Helping Hand, or A Hogwarts Bathroom Ballad
Pairing: Scorpius Malfoy/Albus Severus Potter (kind of...)
Rating: M for grown-up language and sexual situations and themes.
Warnings: slash, slightly non-consensual situations (later on), original characters (recycled because I like them)
Hello my babies, honeys and ragtime gals! 'Tis me again. Happy 2015, y'all!
As you can see, I've written a new story. It's been about time, eh? If you want to read it right away, feel free to skip this intro and go to the "Chapter 1" bit.
So, here's the thing: Some of you might know that I'm a wordy writer. "Verbose" is practically my middle name. My stories are long ass stories because I enjoy that kind of thing and because I simply do not know how to make them short. (Honestly, how do you do it? There's always more to say!)
Just after finishing Calor/Ardor last year, I got an itty bitty idea in my head and got very excited about it. Not only because that idea was delightfully naughty and even a little crack-ish – that was new for me – but because it was seriously itty bitty. This story, for once, promised to be short. Possibly under 40 pages. A quickie! A challenge, a novelty! I was keener than mustard and started writing like a lunatic.
Well... this short story clocked in at 86 pages or 50k words which I divided into 17 chapters. Sigh. Beware of itty bitty ideas, they grow up so fast. Also, if anyone asks, I'll be over here in my corner, and the likelihood that I'm writing a novel-length story is wayyy high.
Last but not least: Thanks to raiyana for favving Thoughts, to wanderingsinthoughtspace for favving Doors (people who seriously like that story are so wondrous to me) and to ultimatebishoujo21 for favving Stars. And also, as always, thanks to the wonderful Nia aka HP-Lette-Fan for beta-reading my story and finding the time for me despite all tribulations. Muah!
Somewhat important notes:
1) You should know by now that my stories feature slash, that is, relationships between characters of the same gender, and sometimes things get a little explicitly intimate and even romantic. If you do not want to read about something like that, ask yourself why you even clicked on the link (come on, it's in the summary and in the header) as you make use of the 'back'-button of your browser. Bye!
2) As usual, this story is already completely written, but I will post one new chapter each afternoon/evening (European Standard Time) so I can reply to reviews written by guests (and, let's face it, so that some people actually see it when it pops up several times on the 'updated'-page). This one will be completely uploaded by Sunday, 25th of January 2015.
3) I love nothing more than replying to reviews (except maybe getting and reading them) and will reply to each and every one regardless of length or level of friendliness. (Warning: Subtle hint detected!)
4) Do we actually still need disclaimers? Everyone should know that all the Potters, Malfoys and Weasleys and the rest are belong to Joanne K Rowling and that we are only borrowing them for gratuitous fun.
Okay now. Enough with the prelude. Read and enjoy!
"Young Master Scorpius, your father and mother require you in the south wing study."
Scorpius first nodded absently. He was snuggled up on the couch with a blanket and his favourite winter pullover which, strictly speaking, was too warm to wear in the well warm-spelled Malfoy Manor but he didn't particularly care, immersed in the special edition of Quidditch Today, a 157 page thick, glossy magazine with facts and figures about all the teams that would compete in the coming world cup that his mother had given him for Christmas a few days ago. Damn it if the Danish team didn't look even more unbeatable on paper than on the pitch...!
He made a 'hmm' sound to acknowledge the house-elf and her message, but then his brain really registered what had been said. He paused and looked up at Milly who was still standing there, the reading matter in his hands all but forgotten.
"Did you just say that both my parents want me in the south wing study?" he asked, putting lead-heavy emphases on the key points of his almost fearful inquiry.
"Milly did, Young Master Scorpius," the elf confirmed, noting but unable to categorize her young Master's sudden pallor and the wide eyes. Preemptively, she got worried, wrung her hands and bowed, and then vanished with a plop.
"Shit," Scorpius swore, letting the magazine drop to the floor, never minding the dog ears, and swore again, "Shit!" as he stumbled over his own slippers on the way to his wardrobe.
He needed good clothes. A nice, well-fitting cloak and an understated but classy shirt and tie to go with it. Neat as a pin. Dressed to the nines, or at least to the eights.
His father and his mother.
Telling a house-elf to fetch him.
To the south wing study.
His mother didn't believe in ordering her house-elves around to that purpose. She thought it was decadent and impersonal – not family-like – and also she probably enjoyed walking in on him without ever knocking because that's what mums do. For her, it wasn't a chore that should be foisted off on the house-elves, but a privilege.
His father, being an opportunist at heart, instead of going out of his way rather made a habit of postponing whatever issue he had until he inevitably encountered him somewhere downstairs, in the kitchen, the living room or the gardens later on. On the occasion of Scorpius raising his ire – which had only happened twice in 16 years, for good reason – he would simply roar his name and the Manor would do the rest, carrying his voice through all rooms and corridors like a gigantic howler.
A house-elf relaying an attendance request was ominous.
An attendance request issued by both his parents at once was downright sinister.
And then, the south wing study.
Both his parents, his mother in particular, hated that room, he knew. It was wide and high-ceilinged with huge French windows that let in plenty of light, it had a view of the southern meadow and the duck pond, and there was an original Degas on the eastern wall that would have made every gallery curator weep.
But it was also the room in which Armand Malfoy poisoned his first wife, and in which Abraxas Malfoy used to behead his old house-elves, and where Septimus Malfoy smoked his noxious lightroot-tobacco pipe, and, last but certainly not least, where Lucius Malfoy had received Voldemort, and the stench of all of this seemed to have seeped into the oppressively dark ebony floor, the thick wine-red-and-gold-filigree tapestry and the unbearably gaudy chandelier that dangled over the bulky monster of a work desk like a sparkly, spiky sword of Damocles. Also, there was a certain draft in the room that always gave you cold toes which would be especially bad now in the middle of winter.
In all, this room stood for everything the Malfoy family had tried and was still continuously trying to leave behind. The dark past. The flaunting of unlimited wealth coupled with the persistent urge to do so in the least subtle or classy way possible, the officiousness and self-importance and snobbish self-distance and, quite frankly, the copious amounts of wanton cruelty that blackened the name. Therefore, everyone avoided it. Even the house-elves were told not to bother with it too much, so a musty smell hung around the air in there, mingling with the ghost of Septimus' acrid tobacco smoke, and a thin coat of dust that had settled on everything added a powdery, pale sheen to the scenery.
And yet, there they were, waiting for him in that horrible room.
Scorpius looked himself up and down in the mirror, trying to smooth down a stray lock of hair with spit. Whatever was going on, he knew it was bad, and all he could do was try and not look like a disaster to make it even worse.
Taking two deep breaths and quickly deciding against doing something cosmetic against the spots on his forehead, he made his way downstairs.
"Scorpius. There you are. Come in, please. Sit down."
His mother gestured woodenly toward the empty chair on the left. She herself was standing next to and behind his dad who was sitting in the most deceivingly uncomfortable office chair in the entire house behind the aforementioned bulky monster of a desk. Scorpius had seen the hunk of polished cocoa-coloured wood at numerous instances but was startled anew every time at how unbelievably ugly it was. So many frills and carvings and bulges. Even Louis XIV wouldn't have wanted it because it was just too gaudy.
But he wasn't very focussed on the desk in this moment. He barely even registered his mother's words, or the thin line of his father's lips, or the short acknowledgement of his efforts to dress properly which showed in both their eyes – relief that he hadn't come in his favourite Power Rangers pyjamas, or even just straight up wearing his boxers with the Pokémon on it.
To his right, in two more chairs, two people were seated. He recognized the woman right away, and the man by inference. Suddenly, being in this awful room made a little sense.
"Undersecretary Granger," he said, and his voice spiralled upward at the end in question and possibly a twinge of fear. "And, uhm, Mr Weasley."
"Scorpius," Mrs Granger, Undersecretary and Public Relations manager of Kingsley Shacklebolt, said, inclining her head ever so slightly and smiling. She was probably going for 'mild smile' but it was too wide and the muscles around her eyes didn't move at all, like in most of the photos in the Prophet when they were taken for some unpleasant reason, like tax raises or fraud allegations.
"It's Auror Weasley, Scorpius," his father corrected him almost casually.
Mr Weasley simply stared daggers at Scorpius and said nothing. A muscle was twitching in his cheek.
"Sit down, darling," his mother said again.
Scorpius found that his knees had just quit their job and gone for a butterbeer. Sitting was not an option. Neither was walking. "Uhm," he mumbled and didn't move an inch toward the empty chair that stood there, innocuous-looking and inviting, an innocent accessory in this interrogation-scene-in-the-making. "Sorry," he said, apologizing preemptively and in general, just in case. "What's... what's going on? Exactly?" Several good-cop-bad-cop-scenes flashed before his eyes.
"There's something we need to talk with you about," his mother helpfully remarked.
"It's not..." A thought came to him and rushed out of his mouth immediately. "Is Rose all right?" He looked at her parents, heart beating quickly. "Nothing has happened to her, has it?"
Mr – Auror – Weasley growled. He actually growled. Scorpius had always thought that people didn't really ever do that, just like they never gulped or cried beautiful single tears. Except that he caught himself gulping as Mr Weasley's growl grew into a word. "Yet."
"I find it interesting, Scorpius," Mrs Granger piped up, casually and inconspicuously sliding her hand onto her husband's thigh, presumably to calm him down or hold him down before he could jump up and tear his throat out or both, and Scorpius wondered why she insisted on saying his name again and if it was some sort of psychological warfare tactic that one learned as the Undersecretary of the Minister of Magic (because if it was, it was working), "that you would ask about Rose immediately. She's perfectly fine, by the way-" - Was Scorpius imagining things or did her fingers claw into her husband's leg a little? - "and there's nothing to worry about. Tell me, are you two... friends?"
It was a very strange feeling, going red and going pale at the same time. He supposed that the technical term must be something like 'going blotchy'.
"Uhm," he uttered, then cleared his throat. "In a way, I'd... I would hope so, yes."
Truth was, plain and simple, that Rose Weasley was hot.
Like, unngh, scorching hot. And pretty and smart and perfect.
But her parents could not know that under any circumstances.
Not to mention that he also hadn't really told his own parents anything about it. His father had... issues with everything Potter-, Weasley- or Granger-related – Scorpius didn't know the details, but he knew all of them had gone to Hogwarts together, and that they hadn't exactly been pals, and that somehow there was a ferret involved.
It had taken Scorpius a year and a half before he ever mentioned that Albus Severus Potter was a fellow Slytherin, and that had happened only by necessity because his parents had once decided to watch a Hogwarts Quidditch match – which had prominently featured Al as a beater in green and silver right alongside himself. When he mentioned that Al and he were really good friends – best friends, to be quite honest – his father had stared at him with a twitching eyelid and said nothing for several minutes. Ever since then, Scorpius saw his eyelid twitch when he said Al's name, even though he sometimes made the effort to hide it.
And now he had to somehow make the idea of Rose Weasley palatable for him. Whoop de do. Several hundred highly unpleasant things he'd rather try to do came to mind immediately. He drove the pointy corner of his thumbnail into the tip of his index finger and tried to concentrate on preventing acute hyperventilation.
"We, uh, we've got Herbology together, and, uh, she's also into Quidditch, like me. We're in the same year, which... you... probably know. Same age, you know. Just like her cousin, uh, Albus Severus, which... you also... uhm." He closed his mouth, breathed once, then opened it again more carefully. "She's a great person."
No one said anything. The cold draft licked his ankles. His father's eyelid twitched, and so did the muscle in Mr Weasley's cheek.
"And, uh, a great student, too," he added lamely. "Like, she's smart as a whip. Smartest witch in our year." He somehow managed to catch the 'And she's totally got your hair, Mr Weasley' before it slipped out of his mouth and covered it with a cough.
"So you wouldn't necessarily say that you are... close?" Mrs Granger probed, then clarified, "Romantically?"
He stared at her like a hippogriff caught in headlights.
"Scorpius." His father sighed his name and somehow managed to cram all his annoyance and displeasure into it. "Are you dating Miss Weasley?"
"Um," he replied. "No,"
The accurate answer would have been 'kinda', but given the circumstances and the environment he thought it was a fantastically bad idea to insinuate things. They might ask follow-up questions and require him to go into detail and he'd rather cuddle with an acromantula than spell out the nature of his thoughts about Rose Weasley – particularly and frequently featuring Rose Weasley's fiery hair, and Rose Weasley's pleasantly curved lips, and Rose Weasley's perky breasts, and Rose Weasley's shapely backside – in front of Rose bloody Weasley's bloody parents.
The thing was, ever since they'd been dancing slow at the Hallowe'en party, slightly tipsy, and he had got a whiff of her hair and a peck on the cheek for his troubles, he had been planning on asking her out and dating her properly. Al had told him to be patient, though, because he had known that she'd been loosely dating Lucas Macmillan at the time, and it had been good advice. He had got himself partnered up with her in Herbology and found out her usual library times, so they had been running into each other and hanging out, talking steadily and regularly, getting to know one another better and better. (Well, at least he was getting to know her better. She was the one doing the talking for the most part.)
It was a kind of dating, wasn't it? Scorpius had always liked to think so, at least.
After breaking up with Macmillan three weeks in, Rose was not looking for anyone else – that he knew of, and according to her cousin, at least. Neither was he, naturally. They were hanging out all the time. In Scorpius' limited – if not to say non-existent – experience, that counted as kinda dating. He was convinced of it.
He knew that her birthday was on the 18th of January and that her shoe size was five and a half, and that she would freak out over the Quidditch boots signed by Antonia Guarda herself he had got her for said birthday. On the occasion of handing over the present, he had planned to ask her whether she was willing to make things official, feeling in his gut and heart and various other places of his body that she wanted him just as he wanted her.
Dating. Officially. With touching and kissing and stuff.
"But you plan to?" his father asked. "To date her?"
Scorpius knitted his eyebrows, looking from him to Rose's parents and back as if to say 'What's this, then, matchmaking? What year is it, 1589? Do I officially have to ask her parents for permission to court her? Is there a chaperone?' His father had the decency to shrug one shoulder apologetically.
"You see, Scorpius," Mrs Granger said, saying his name yet again and he barely refrained from rolling his eyes, "Rose has big plans for her future. In February, she plans on going to Beauxbatons for a month and a half with the Beaugwartons exchange program. After that, she will have a special tutor to work with her in Charms and Transfiguration because she wants to take her N.E.W.T.s in those subjects already this year in order to be able to attend an international Charms-and-Transfiguration Postgraduate Program in India after the exams in June until September."
Scorpius had known some of this, of course. Rose had told him herself – they had been talking a lot since the Halloween dance, after all, and she hadn't been able to shut up about what a wonderful opportunity 'C.a.T. P.o.P.' was – and he hadn't said that she was smart as a whip for no reason.
Still, it all begged the question what it had to do with him. Accordingly, he followed up on this in the most straightforward way possible. "So?"
"So you don't feature in these plans, boy," Mr Weasley suddenly spoke up and was promptly subdued by his wife again.
"Plans like these are not easily made, Scorpius," Mrs Granger said, talking more loudly than before now, and he bit the lining of his cheek hard to keep from commenting, trying to find something to look at that wasn't Mr Weasley's angry visage or Mrs Granger's cunning face lest his expression gave away just how annoyed he was quickly becoming with this whole beating-around-the bush-while-still-making-him-feel-that-he-was-standing-in-the-dock- thing, "so naturally, we have taken absolutely everything into consideration, and have taken absolutely every measure to secure the future our daughter has chosen for herself and has worked so hard for."
Spoken like a true politician. After so many words, Scorpius still didn't have the foggiest notion what she was talking about.
"What Mrs Granger is attempting to say," his father cut in now, another sigh underlying her name, too, hinting heavily at the fact that there was still no love lost between them, which was probably also the reason why this whole shindig was taking place in this of all Manor studies, "is that they have consulted an oracle to secure Miss Weasley's future endeavours."
"Not so much consulted, really," Mrs Granger commented quickly, suddenly slightly flustered at the implication. "She just happened to be in town for the week, and she still owed me a favour. But yes, basically." She straightened a little in her seat. "The oracle read our daughter's future in her palm."
Scorpius' eyebrows knitted so much that he feared they might fuse together. "You had some scamster read Rose's palm?"
Four adults drew an audible breath.
His mother was the quickest to comment. "Scorpius, darling, don't say such things. True oracles are respectable people."
"Yes, and rarer than the wisdom tooth of a hen that can play Beethoven's ninth backwards on a recorder," he mumbled, voice full of the annoyance that had accumulated over several years of Divination class, but this cursed room's acoustics made sure that absolutely everyone heard nonetheless. So he went on, with an annoyed huff, "I still don't see what any of this has to do with me. What's the point?"
"The point is, Scorpius," - he didn't even try to prevent his eyes from rolling now, - "that the oracle had a true vision and made a prophecy for Rose which involves you ruining her plans," Mrs Granger said, voice sharp and hard now, all the affected mildness quickly evaporating.
"And what on Earth could I do, Mrs Granger," he fired her name back like a missile, "to screw up Rose's plans?" He opened his hands, looking from one adult to the next. "There's nothing short of death that would stop that girl, I think, so-" He paused. "Oh, no. Is that it? Did the oracle tell you I'm going to kill her?!"
Before he could continue with something like 'That's fucking ridiculous' in many variations, he was interrupted.
"Worse," Mr Weasley growled and the look on his face was so cold that Scorpius could practically feel it in his teeth. "You're going to knock her up."