Title: How We Missed the Weasley Family Reunion, by Scorpius Malfoy, Aged 10 ½
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Challenge: for treacle_tartlet
Keywords: picnic, traffic violation, a duck
Dialogue: "What do you mean, you left it at home?"
Warnings: Implied swearing, implied sex, childish language and some grammar mistakes, OC point-of-view, crackish humor and more than your RDA of cute.
Summary: Scorpius writes the most interesting primary school essays.
Beta Acknowledgment: Once again, my friend Linda helped with this. Thank you, Linda!
How We Missed the Weasley Family Reunion, by Scorpius Malfoy, Aged 10 ½
Madam Judith Brabourne yawned behind her hand and shoved the last paper she'd marked across her desk. Ever since Hogwarts had decided that its recent students showed no sign of having been taught to write in wizarding primary school, she and the other teachers had had to assign at least one essay a month, and carefully mark all the points of wrong grammar, all the odd turns of phrase, all the missing details, all the sloppy letters…
They're writing with a quill, she thought in irritation as she picked up the latest essay, and most of them are under ten years old. Of course some of their letters will be sloppy.
Not this one, though. Judith lifted her eyebrows in reluctant admiration. All the letters were sleek and well-formed on this one, and it looked as though the student had spent a long time painstakingly working with the quill.
She understood when she saw the name at the top of the paper. Scorpius Malfoy. Even the irregularities of his personal life—his parents had got a divorce two years ago that made the newspapers scream for weeks, and then his father had taken Scorpius and moved in with the equally divorced Harry Potter, of all people, who had custody of his three children—couldn't diminish the impact of the private tutoring Judith was certain he'd received.
She hadn't marked one of Scorpius's essays before, since all the teachers took turns trading various batches around, but she had had him in classes where they explored the interaction of wizarding and Muggle history. He was a polite child who, most of the time, gave the impression of not wanting to answer all the questions correctly and leave none for the other children to get wrong.
Not like the Potter boys, Judith thought with a sniff. She was glad that the older one had gone to Hogwarts this year; Crossways School was much quieter without an exploding toilet or half a dozen children convinced they'd eaten something that was going to turn them into lizards every week.
She laid the essay down before her and began to read.
How We Missed the Weasley Family Reunion, by Scorpius Malfoy, Aged 10 ½.
After a moment of confusion, Judith realized that Scorpius must have had the "develop a personal experience" topic this week. Shaking her head to get thoughts of history essays out of her head, she looked down at the first lines.
We were supposed to go to the Weasley family reunion. It's a picnic they have every year. They invited Father Harry, because he was part of their family, and Al and Jamie and Lily are still part of their family. But this was the first year they invited us, too. Dad and me, I mean. They didn't invite us before because we were Malfoys. I don't know why. Dad just turns red in the face and mutters whenever I try to ask him about it.
But we didn't actually get to go to the family reunion, and I'll tell you why.
Dad came down the stairs early we were supposed to take the Floo. He wanted to make sure it was ready. He lit a fire on the logs with this neat swish of his wand that I want to learn how to do someday.
But the logs gave this damp pop like this, pop and a duck flopped out of the chimney.
Dad stood there staring at it until the duck waddled over to take a bite out of his shoes. Then he spun around and shouted up the stairs because Father Harry sleeps up there with him like they were Mum and Dad, but Dad says I shouldn't worry about that and I'll "know better" when I'm older. "Harry!" he yelled. His face turns purple when he yells. "Why is there a duck in the chimney?"
It took Father Harry about ten minutes to come downstairs. I know because Dad yelled at him that it took ten minutes when he got to the bottom. Then Father Harry came down with his hair hanging in his eyes and yawning every step—that's what Dad says—and tripped over the last step because of his fringe covering his "cursed scar" and fell on the ground and hurt his head. He said lots of words that begin with f that I'm not supposed to write but they would have this many letters: f-f-f-f.
"Oh, there's Sally!" Father Harry said when he stood back up. He put his glasses on so he could see. One time, Al and Jamie hid his glasses and put a prank spell on them that Uncle George Weasley taught them so that the glasses wouldn't come when Father Harry Summoned him and he dented a couple walls when he bumped into them wandering around because he couldn't see. "I wondered where she got to."
Dad's face was like a plum now. I wish there was a plum tree in our backyard. "Who is Sally?" he asked. His voice was quiet like thunder is quiet. "I told you the last time—"
I saw Al on the stairs, and grinned at him, because we hadn't been allowed to overhear the last argument about Father Harry's birds and got sent to bed but we were going to hear this one.
"Sally is Neville's duck," Father Harry said. Neville is Neville Longbottom, who's Headmaster of Hogwarts now and a very important person. We visit him all the time. Father Harry tries to look patient when he's arguing with Dad, but he just looks like he has to go the loo real bad. "I'm taking care of her this week. Neville says that she usually lives in the fireplace, so I enchanted our fireplace so that it wouldn't burn her nest."
Dad opened his mouth, but Sally bit him then, and he hopped on one foot and tried to kick her. Father Harry got in the way and rescued her, but Dad kicked him instead. Father Harry fell over and made more f words, only this time they have this many letters: f-f-f-f-f-f-f. Oh, and the b word.
"Reverse the spell on the fireplace." Dad sounded like he did the time that I pulled up some of his Potions ingredients in the garden to make him a bouquet.
"It can't be reversed until Sunday," Father Harry said, shaking his head. "I used a Permanency Charm on it."
Dad said some words that I can't pronounce and he won't teach me, I think they're French. Then he said, "Well. If we can't travel by Floo, then we will simply take our brooms." He turned towards the closet.
Father Harry, who had picked up Sally and was holding her the way he holds Lily when she's frightened by the stories Al tells her about murderous Dark wizards who only cast curses on eight-year-old girls, cleared his throat and looked guilty.
Dad stopped. "What now," he said, without looking around. (I know there's suppose to be a question mark there, but he said it with no question mark).
"Well," Father Harry said. "Um. I was riding my broom yesterday, you see, and it appears that I swerved into the sight of some Muggles." Dad turned around looking like someone was going to die, only not him, and Father Harry said, "I didn't mean to! I thought I was perfectly safe. But I did, and the Ministry charged me with a traffic violation and took my broom away. I'm sorry."
He should have said, "I'm sorry," twice. It's always good to say it twice, and sometimes you want to see it three times, when Dad looks like someone's going to die.
Then Dad pinched his nose like he wanted to stop breathing, but Lily's the only one who's still childish enough to do that, she holds her breath when she wants something, and said in a whisper, "Fine. Then we will Apparate. It would not have been my first choice, since you know that Lily still gets sick when we do it, but—"
"Yes," Father Harry said. "About that."
Dad opened his eyes, and now he looked like the house was about to blow up, because he would make it. "What?"
Father Harry sighed. "I, um, I went to see your mother yesterday, you know. I took the children with me, because she doesn't get to see them often."
Dad nodded. I remember that trip. I don't really like going to see Grandmother, because she's in the fourth floor of St. Mungo's, and she doesn't recognize us most of the time. Dad says she was cursed, but Father Harry says that she never got over finding out that Dad was really bent.
"She, ah, stole my wand," Father Harry said, staring down at Sally and scratching her on the beak. Sally quacked and shook her body so that several feathers drifted to the floor. Father Harry's face was so red that it looked like he was going to start spouting blood like a Skiving Snackbox. "And hid it somewhere. The hospital staff didn't want me to look too hard for it or upset her because sometimes it takes hours to get her calmed down."
"Thank Merlin I didn't let you have my wand." My Dad said every word in that sentence separately, like a bunch of separate little sentences. Then he flung his hands up and said, "And I can't Apparate all of us, because you need to go with Lily so that she doesn't get sick, and I can only take one person at a time in a Side-Along."
Father Harry opened his mouth, and I knew that he was going to say something about Side-Along Apparition, because Al clapped his hand over his mouth like he does whenever his Dad is about to say something really stupid. (Father Harry is Al's dad, and Jamie's, and Lily's, but Dad is my Dad. I put that here so you wouldn't be confused). Dad shot him this glance that made him shut up, hard, and said, "No, you can't borrow my wand. Besides, you can't reliably transport more than one person at a time, either."
Father Harry huffed. "I don't know what you're so worried about, Draco. We'll just take the Knight Bus. Since you still have your wand, we can summon it."
Dad shuddered all over and regarded Father Harry with these eyes that stood out of his head and made him look funny so I had to hide a laugh and Al almost fell down the stairs trying to hide his laugh, too. "I'm not going to take that filthy contraption," he said.
"No." You have to know my Dad to know how hard he said that word.
Father Harry sighed in frustration. "Then why don't you go to the reunion and tell someone that we need them to come back with you and help Apparate us there?"
"Beg for help from a clan of Weasleys?" Dad curled his lip and did this little haughty thing with his head. (Don't tell Mum, but she imitates that when she wants to make fun of Dad and we're alone together). "Are you out of your skull?"
"With reason, maybe!" Father Harry's hair can really stand on end when he wants it to.
"I won't beg," Dad said.
"Then we're not going!" Father Harry stomped upstairs with Sally in his arms, and Dad ran after him, because he wanted him to put the duck down. They started arguing the minute they were in their bedroom. They do a lot of arguing in the bedroom.
Al and I looked at each other and started laughing, and we didn't even care if they heard.
But you know what? I think that Dad wasn't that upset, because his eyes had this gleam in them when he came down later. And then I heard him chuckling to himself when he was writing a letter to St. Mungo's to ask them to look for Father Harry's wand so that they could get it away from Grandmother.
He didn't want to go to the Weasley family reunion. I somehow think he plotted this whole thing, but I know that's impossible. Dad likes to think he's in control of lots of things that he really isn't in control of, like when I go to bed.
Judith stood outside the school the next day to observe the arrival of Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy when they came to pick up Albus, Scorpius, and Lily. She had often seen them come before, but she usually paid an equal amount of attention to all her students, trying to make sure that they got out of the school intact and carrying beloved possessions with them. This time, she had decided to let the other teachers deal with that. They owed her for making her mark more than eighty essays.
Mr. Malfoy scooped his son up into his arms and hugged him briefly but fiercely, and then stepped back and smiled at him. It wasn't the beam that the more demonstrative parents used. Judith thought that hardly mattered. There was a lot of love concentrated in that smile. "What was school like today, Scorpius?"
"I got a good mark on my essay," Scorpius said, immediately and charmingly, and gave his father a dimpled smile. He didn't offer to produce the essay and let his father read it, Judith noted. A wise move, considering some of the things he'd said in it.
"Very good," Mr. Malfoy said, and then turned around to where Mr. Potter was attempting to referee a squabble between his two children. Mr. Malfoy's smile grew strained at once, and he said, his voice heavy with patience, "What's the matter, Harry?'
Mr. Potter snapped his head up and glared at his partner. "I don't see why anything should be the matter, just because my children choose to argue," he snapped.
The two Potter children obviously disagreed, and both tried to interrupt and appeal to Mr. Malfoy at once. Mr. Malfoy made a disgusted sound and shook his head before joining them. Then the whole family began walking towards the Apparition point. Apparently they'd managed to find Mr. Potter's wand, Judith thought, watching them go with a smile.
A moment later, Mr. Malfoy's voice soared. "What do you mean, you left it at home?"
Judith chuckled and went back into the school. Mr. Malfoy sounded perfectly exasperated. But she had seen his face before he turned away, and she had had Scorpius's essay to tell her what to look for.
There had been a gleam of happiness in his eyes, a gleam that said he was enjoying life just as he found it.
Ducks and all.