There is no fanfare. No press, no onlookers, no protestors on either side of the debate. There's only the mighty, cavernous entryway of the Polish Magical Senate, empty and echoing with their footsteps as they first cross into it.

At once, Scorpius's guards are on edge. This is not how they were expecting things to go. Surprise is the enemy of security for men like him.

"Where is everyone?" one of his guards asks, her voice tight. Another guard mutters something into his palm, alerting someone, somewhere, likely in London, about this development.

Scorpius doesn't answer. His guards have grown accustomed to his silence and speak only amongst themselves. He can feel a dull thud against his ribs and realizes that he is frightened. It's been so long since he's been frightened of anything that the feeling is almost refreshing.

"We should scout the perimeter," says one guard to the other. "I don't like this. What sort of peace summit happens in an empty building?"

"Go to the south wing," Scorpius says, though his voice cracks at first from disuse. His guards look back at him, surprised.

"Sir?" says the guard on the left to him. "Your Sight?"

Scorpius doesn't need to say yes or no. He has seen this in his head a thousand ways, without a thousand subtle changes, in a thousand subtle iterations. They're already sure that his command is Prophecy, and they're not ready to doubt him. They do not need to know that there's nothing in the south wing.

"Chalmers, stay with him," says the left guard to the right. "You two, with me."

And like that, three of his guards go hurrying toward the south wing, leaving him and the most unfortunate Edgar Chalmers alone. Scorpius starts off slowly toward the Senate Floor, where he was originally meant to go. He walks slowly, hands shaking almost imperceptibly. He stares at Chalmers as they walk.

"Your baby girl will be born next week," Scorpius says to him.

Chalmers looks back at him, startled.

"Seven pounds, two ounces."


"Perfectly healthy, her and her mother both."

Chalmers doesn't seem to know what to say. It's as though he wants to smile, but given the sudden danger, he simply can't.

"She'll be lovely," Scorpius says, voice fading from his throat. "Lovely and brilliant. She'll have a tremendous mechanical mind, she'll build things we can't even dream of."

"Sir, I don't…"

"I just wanted you to know that, Chalmers," Scorpius continues, voice hitching. "I wanted you to know that."

The doors to the Senate floor swing open when he approaches. The Senate is also empty, of course it is. Scorpius heaves his heavy formal robes up a the knee and ascends the long staircase toward the center of the room.

"Sir, this isn't good, please stay close," Chalmers says. He is on high alert. He is also thinking about his baby-girl-yet-to-be, whose name he'll never know, wondering darkly and dreadfully in the back of his mind why the Grand Seer chose this moment to tell him it, wondering if he'll ever hold her.

Scorpius shuts his eyes, and precisely three heartbeats later, the grand fireplace on the far side of the room roars to life.


It's Harry's voice, of course. He's seen every iteration of his conversation already.

"Scorpius, get out of there now!"

"Minister Potter!" It's Chalmers, across the room, spinning on his heel. "What's—?"

"It's too late," Scorpius says, to Chalmers or Harry, it doesn't matter.

"Scorpius, the separatists are planning an attack on the Senate, you have to leave now, before—"

"Did you not hear me?" Scorpius says, with more volume that only amplifies the waver in his voice. "Harry, it's too late. They've already sealed the magical front doors."

There's a beat of silence. "You've seen—?"

"He'll forgive you, you know," Scorpius tells him. "One day. Just be patient."

Alarm rises in Harry's voice. "Scorpius, Jesus, why did you never—"

"Grief is a funny thing that way," Scorpius continues, as he hears the double doors clatter open again, hears Chalmers's scream and the rip of his flesh. "It has its way of erasing grudges and sealing wounds."

"Scorpius, why did you never mention?" Harry is hysterical. "I told you, I told you back in London—"

The fire goes out, magically extinguished by a wand on the far side of the room.

"Grand Seer!"

The thick Polish slant is nearly impenetrable. Scorpius turns around and looks at them, huddled and snarling, hunched, wands out, teeth bared.

"Good evening," Scorpius says, as neutrally as he can manage, doing his best not to look at the corpse of Edgar Chalmers at their feet.

"Where's the rest of your guard?"

"Gone already," he answers.

The one who had addressed him, the stocky man in the front with the gnarled wand, spits on the polished marble floor. "He's lying," says the woman next to him. "He's a Seer, he's got something in store."

"I assure you I do not," Scorpius says. "You know the lengths you've gone to. Did you think I didn't? Did you think for a second that I didn't know what was going to happen here?"

"Forgive me my skepticism," says the first man with the gnarled wand, stalking forward dangerously. Scorpius remains perfectly stationary.

"They'll catch you," Scorpius tells him, knowing full well that there is never a timeline in which he can talk Igor Zielinski out of his furious, separatist rage, but saying it nonetheless. "They'll kill you, but you'll get what you want."

The corner of his eye twitches.

"Good," he says, and raises his wand.