Yes, "Angelica" is in a bit of a death-spiral. I have a wee epilogue penned, but I'm not terribly happy with it. I was going to see if I could finish that before releasing this, but I kinda like it, so here goes. Not sure whether to capture the actual wake and funeral, but I might. Nevertheless, please enjoy
The Mercury Chronicles: A Little Death.
I suppose we looked rather a sight to Mum that morning. She'd apparently banged on the door a time or two before walking in to find the three of us curled up together in bed rather cosily. She being a Quidditch journo has seen her share of people in various stages of undress, but I suppose walking in to her half-naked son curled around his female cousin and another young man (neither of whom were wearing much clothing, either) was a bit much, even for her. Nonetheless, she soldiered through and woke us, letting us know that Scorpius's dad was going to drop by in about an hour, and we had better be presentable by the time he got there.
Presentable? Merlin's balls, didn't she know to whom she was speaking?
"Scorpius, love, wake up for fuck's sake!" I hissed, shaking the boy as he appeared to curl back into a ball next to Rose.
"'M comfy. Leave me 'lone."
"Didn't you hear my mum? Your father's going to be here in under an hour, and I haven't a thing to wear. I'm the only Slytherin in this whole forsaken house – think I can get a hand here, mate?"
"Come here, love," he says, pulling me towards him and kissing me on the forehead. "It's my dad – really. The man has some sense of style, but none of fashion. Just be yourself, really." He patted my cheek and looked fondly at me, rather like a child would look at a lost kneazle kitten.
"It is really dreadfully wrong that that looks that hot?" Rose piped in. "The two of you, I mean. Really. Albus, why don't you go hit the shower, love? I think Scorpius and I are going to need some alone time here."
"Right, Rose," I answered. "And Mum walks in while you 're riding his face like a second-hand broomstick, and then where are we?" Rose huffed loudly at this.
"Fine, kill the mood with that crudeness, Albus Potter. See how many more favours I do you, then." She hopped out of bed, still wearing nothing more than a brassiere and knickers. She then threw on one of my casual robes, and headed towards the bathroom, stealing one last look at Scorpius before tossing her hair dramatically and sashaying out of the room.
"How in the nine hells are we going to explain this one to your mum, Albus?"
"Explain what, love?" I asked, quite confidently. "She doesn't know anything. Think about it: Rose is my cousin, and you're a bloke."
"Didn't seem to stop you last night, mind," he replied. I chuckled.
"Right, but she still remembers me with that Mick bint I went around with. So all she'll be is confused, and she'll chalk it up there with 'those wacky kids,' and we won't hear a word about it. Else I'd have blocked the door somehow, right? Anyway, if she asks, I'll tell her we were trying on outfits. What does she know about that, anyway? She hasn't given a thought to what she's wearing since she got sprogged up the first time. Now, love, is it too early for eyeliner?"
"Well," Scorpius replied, "I look like the Bloody Baron's 'young companion' when I wear the stuff, so for me it's too early until I shuffle off this mortal coil. You can get away with it anytime, though. Looks fabulous on you."
"Excellent. The green jumper with the grey trousers, then? Muggle it up in Slytherin colours for the occasion?"
"Perfect, although we'll have to coordinate with Rose, anyway. I'm going with the robes, personally. Royal, but the cincture will be silver. Father's changed and all, but I still don't want that disapproving sneer he has. That's why he's got so many wrinkles, you know."
"And how does this look, boys?" Rose called out, looking absolutely marvellous in teal. We applauded as she curtsied, before she offered to head downstairs first and bring us each up a mug of Ginny Potter's finest Assam. Scorpius and I had our showers and got put together as quickly as was reasonable to expect, under the circumstances, and headed downstairs to face Mum.
Who was in a surprisingly chipper mood, considering how she started her day, and that she didn't much care for Scorpius's dad. At least she was chipper, until she got a good look at me.
"Honestly, Albus. The earring is one thing – suppose we have your uncles to thank for that – but eyeliner? Isn't that a bit much?"
"Actually, it's quite a reasonable amount, Aunt Ginny," Rose offered. "Thin line, neatly done. But then again, he's been wearing it for a year now, so I should think he's had the practice. He could probably –"
"Yes, thank you Her-, um, Rose." Mum said with a cheeky wink in Rose's direction. Rose stuck her tongue out at Mum – it was a game they'd been playing for ever. Every once in awhile Rose will get to talking and forget about the shutting up, and Mum will call her on it. Rather darling, if you ask me. But I'd been woken up wrong, had only had the one mug of tea, and was in no mood to be subjected to some London hausfrau giving me sartorial pointers.
"If there's anyone whose make-up you ought to be looking at, Mum, it's this one," I said, pointing at Lily. Lily, who at nine in the morning on a Saturday was sporting no less than three shades of eyeshadow. Three too many on a fourteen-year-old, to be honest. "What happened, Lils, did you bump into the Fat Lady's portrait as she was getting a touch-up?"
"Mum," Lily said, perfecting the art of the non-sequitur, "Rose must have made her bed quite early this morning. I was up at six, and the bed looked hardly slept in. Scorpius, would you happen to know anything about this?" Scorpius feigned a mortified look, as if he'd just been caught with his hands in his pants. Rose placed her hand on her face over her opened mouth. I looked at Lily severely before turning to my friends.
"Minions, it appears as though we have once again been foiled by Junior Auror Potter and her amazing clue-finding prowess. We must quickly retreat to the lair and re-group, once again... to plot our... dastardly deeds." I couldn't quite keep from laughing; Rose and Scorpius were a lost cause about two seconds into my faux monologue. Mum kept up appearances, but she seemed to enjoy the snark more than the tattle-tale.
"Lily, that's quite enough now. It's no business of yours where Rose sleeps, is it?"
"But, but she and Scorpius!"
"Are not dating, you empty-headed twit." I interrupted. "Look at them, for Merlin's sake. Do they look like they're dating? We were up late, considering colour schemes for this year's ball, and she stayed in my room with Scorpius and I. Sweet Salazar, Is James still on about what he imagines the three of us get up to? What do they put into your heads over there in Gryffindor? No offense, mum." Mum was laughing by this point.
"None taken, love. Lily, Albus and his friends are going to have company over. Would you like to help me clear up?"
"Company?" Lily asked. "Who is it?"
"It's Scorpius's dad, love. He owled me this morning; said he'd be here about 10:00, if it was alright with us, which I said it was. Now, be a dear and help me with these dishes."
"Oh, but muh-um!" Lily whinged. "This is my chance to meet a real Death Eater. Can't I please –"
"No. No fucking way!" I shouted, surprising everyone at the table. "Get her out of here, mum, please?"
"Albus Potter, your language is atrocious. Does Professor Longbottom, er, I mean, Professor Venino let you speak that way? No matter. Lily, you will not disturb Mr. Malfoy when he comes over, do you hear me? It's been a long time since the war, and we really don't need you starting another one."
"Mum, are you serious?" Lily whispered. "You'll let two snakes just plot like that in your own home? I know you want the war over and all, but –" I was ready to deck her. Mum was a bit more politic than I, but not by much.
"Lily Luna Potter. One of those 'Snakes' as you call them is your brother. The other is your brother's best friend's father. You, young lady, will march straight upstairs to your room and not emerge again until – wait." If I didn't know better, I'd say the look on Mum's face was practically Slytherin. "You like the war so much, Lily, you're going to write me a three-foot long paper on Peter Pettigrew and every other Gryffindor Death Eater from the two wars. And I want to see citations – no pulling together stuff from family stories unless they're cited somewhere, too. Oh, and don't worry about meeting Melinda this afternoon. I'll go ahead and owl her mum that you won't be able to make it."
"Mum! You can't! I- I mean-"
"Yes?" Lily looked at me as if I was the one person that could keep her puppy alive.
"Albus, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to denigrate you or your guests." I couldn't let the kid suffer anymore.
"Thank you, Lily. Your apology has been accepted."
"And?" Mum led her on to her next task.
"Scorpius? I'm sorry I said mean things about your dad. That wasn't very nice of me at all."
Scorpius simply nodded his acceptance, smiling graciously. This was something he'd gotten all too used to from the Gryffindors, so he undoubtedly chalked Lily's behaviour up to general principle and didn't think much of it. At least not that he let on.
"Thank you, Lily," Mum continued. "And now, I do believe I heard those dishes calling your name."
"Yes, mother..." was the grumbled reply of a chastened soul.
Mum's calling out to her "Do a good job, and we'll think about letting you go out today," however, was enough for her to get started more quickly than she otherwise would. And yes, internally I counted down from three once Lily had left; waiting for Mum to start in on us for the scene she walked in on. She surprised us all by not saying a word. At least she didn't say anything for a minute and a half.
"Oh, sod it. Alright you three, spill. What in Merlin's name did I walk in on this morning?" Forty-five seconds of awkward looking around amongst the three of us later, the floo lit up to save us that rather embarrassing conversation.
Draco Malfoy appeared at the floo calmly, as if he'd been appearing at 12 Grimmauld Place his entire life. He casually pulled a pocket watch out from the inside pocket of his finely-tailored cloak, snapped it shut, replaced it, and graciously reached for Mum's hand in greeting.
"Mrs Potter, thank you for allowing me to drop in on such short notice," he said, not betraying the slightest hint of sarcasm.
"Mr Malfoy, welcome," replied Mum, a study in stoicism. "It is a pleasure to have you. We have so enjoyed having Scorpius as our guest since he and Albus have become friends. Please feel free to call me Ginny. What brings you to our home this morning?"
Mr Malfoy smiled, surprisingly sincerely. "Thank you, Ginny. And please likewise feel free to call me Draco. Unfortunately, I have some rather sad news to relay to my son. Is there a place where he and I may speak privately?"
Scorpius remained steady, but those who would notice such things (such as I) would have noticed him flinch for the briefest moment.
"Father," he began, "would it be all right if Albus and Rose joined us?" An interesting play from the Ravenclaw. Obviously, if he were in trouble, there would be no way that Mr Malfoy would allow us to listen in on his dressing-down. Mr Malfoy paused for a moment to consider the request, smiled, and nodded his head. There was a small crashing sound in the kitchen, followed by a rather strident oath from Lily and Mum shaking her head apologetically.
Mum brought the four of us upstairs to the library where she conjured up an extra chair for Mr Malfoy. He stood in place as Mum shut the door behind her, and then grabbed Scorpius by the shoulders and hugged him tightly.
We've heard plenty of stories about Draco Malfoy growing up, so for Rose and I to witness this, even knowing that the surname "Malfoy" did not necessarily mean "cold, bloodthirsty Death Eater," was a shock. But Rose being female and I being Slytherin, our surprise was well masked as the father and son embraced. Mr Malfoy gently kissed Scorpius on the forehead and took a seat, motioning for us to do the same. We sat three abreast on a settee that had been a holdover from 12 Grimmauld's days in the House of Black.
"Mr Potter, Miss Weasley, I'm very grateful for your friendship to Scorpius. He speaks of you often and fondly. Scorpius, I'll just lay it out there. Your Grandfather passed away last night in his sleep. Grandmother Narcissa was by his side as he went, and it was very peaceful. I know you and he weren't close, but your mother and I would like you to come home to help the family grieve properly."
Scorpius looked up, all concern gone from his eyes. He smiled at his father and gently said
"I'm sorry for your loss."
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence as the two Malfoys considered their next moves. Scorpius went first.
"Father, I understand you and Mother would like me to come home, but I do believe it would be better if I stayed close to my friends, especially during this difficult time." At this he placed grabbed our hands rather subtly, but made enough of a show of it to get the point across. Mr Malfoy was unmoved.
"Unfortunately that's really not possible, Scorpius. The ceremony is Monday, with the viewing tomorrow. We need your attendance there."
"Isn't that why we employ house elves, Father?" I wished I'd had a snack. This was entertainment.
"You're not there to serve, son. You're there because the sole heir to the House of Malfoy will be present at the Patriarch's funeral. This is not optional." Mr Malfoy's voice was raised, and his jaw clenched. Scorpius took a breath. Certainly Mr Malfoy could compel him to attend – he was only just 16, after all. But, like all Slytherins (and apparently, all Malfoys) know, once the opponent has given away his primary motivation, negotiations are nearly over and you've already won.
"Grandfather never did get over my being sorted Ravenclaw, did he, Father?" That Scorpius was able to deliver this line with a straight face should have won him an award of some sort. "I don't think he ever did appreciate having any diversity in the family. Pity – perhaps had his views been different, he and I could have become close after all. Did you know that, Rose?"
Mr Malfoy sighed and held the bridge of his nose between finger and thumb. He'd been beaten, and he knew it.
"All right, son. You've won. Now name your terms." Mr Malfoy reached for the purse attached to his golden cincture.
"Come again, Father?"
"Name your terms, boy, let's go. How much will it take to get you to come home? Fifty galleons? One hundred?"
"Father, I'm not coming home. I thought I had made that clear that those are my terms. You don't want me there – not as anything other than a showpiece. The Death Eater circus that's certain to attend Lucius Malfoy's funeral doesn't want some swotty, 'defective' Ravenclaw there, either. And I'm spending a lovely couple of weeks with my two best friends that I really don't want to cut short. Summer hols are short enough – why should I waste them with attending the funeral of a man I spent my life trying to avoid?"
"Because that man is your grand – was your grandfather, and you are a decent and civilised young man who can look past the bad blood you had with him for just three bloody days. Scorpius, if nothing else, come home for me. Be there for your father who's just lost his father. Be there for your grandmother Narcissa, who's just lost her husband." Rose made a motion to me suggesting that we might let Scorpius and Mr Malfoy discuss this in private. But I knew that Scorpius would lose all his bargaining power if we left, so I quietly shook my head "no".
"Both the viewing and the service are to be at the Manor, Father?" Scorpius asked.
"Then, if it is alright with them and their parents, allow me to propose the following: Albus, Rose and I stay here, but we will attend both the viewing and the service together. After the last houseguests have left, I will return to the Manor. And that means Uncle Roddy, too. Do you know if Auntie Daphne and Uncle Michael are planning to attend?"
"If it will help, I will ask your mother to invite them. Those terms are acceptable, Scorpius. I appreciate your being reasonable."
"Oh, I said nothing about being pleasant, Father. Just that I would show up. If you want pleasant, that will cost you." Mr Malfoy's face broke into a wide grin.
"Of course, son. Here." He tossed a rather engorged purse into Scorpius's lap. "There should be one hundred galleons in there. That really ought to get you through the summer?"
"Thank you, Father. Spelled by Patil originals don't come cheap, you know." Scorpius shot his father a wink and a grin, and the mood lightened considerably.
"Mr Potter, Miss Weasley? May we assume that this is alright with you as well?" We jumped slightly as Mr Malfoy addressed us, having been rather entranced by the negotiations.
"Yes. Yes of course, Mr Malfoy," Rose answered. "And please allow me to express my sincerest condolences for your loss." Mr Malfoy looked touched by this gesture.
"That is very gracious of you, Miss Weasley, especially considering some of the stories you've heard concerning my father," he replied.
"I don't believe there have been any such stories told about events in my lifetime, have there?" Rose offered with a smile.
"Please, sir," I interjected, "as Mum was telling Lily this morning, the war was a long time ago. If Scorpius and I can be best mates, even considering his unfortunate sorting into Ravenclaw, then perhaps there's hope for the lot of them not lucky enough to be sorted Slytherin. Right? Let's not discuss the war further. I will ask my parents if I may attend, and Scorpius and I will approach Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione on Rose's behalf."
Mr Malfoy stood up, as did the three of us. He extended a hand to me, which I accepted and shook.
"A credit to Slytherin house and to your noble family, Mr Potter. It will be an honour to finally be able to extend to you and your lovely cousin the kind hospitality your family has so often offered my Scorpius. Now, if you will excuse me. We shall see you three then at nine tomorrow morning." Mr Malfoy then hugged Scorpius once more, kissing him on the forehead, before shaking my hand again and kissing the back of Rose's.
"A pleasure to meet you both. I only wish it had been under better circumstances. Until tomorrow, then," he said, and he made his exit. Scorpius sat back down onto the settee – slumped would probably be a better way to describe it – and exhaled.
"Albus, would you be a dear and cast a muffliato on the room? Rose, love, would you mind locking the door for a mo'?" We did as he asked without question – he seemed to be in no shape to brook anything other than obedience – and then looked at him, waiting for him to explode.
Which he did, rather spectacularly, unleashing the most visceral, guttural grunt anyone's ever heard from him at a volume that would make a hippogriff's honk seem dainty in comparison. Scorpius then grabbed me – first by the jumper and then by the face – and kissed me soundly on the mouth. He did the same to Rose, but she was treated to a small dip and a much longer snog.
"Brilliant!" Scorpius shouted after he released a rather breathless Rose. "That was fucking brilliant! Did you see him? I had him eating out of my hand! Merlin's balls, but that felt good! Gods, what a rush!" Scorpius then took a very deep breath, exhaled it, and straightened his clothing.
"Right. Well, then. Care to drop the charms, kids? And let's go see about getting you two permission to come to the funeral of the year."