A/N: This story is... odd, I'm warning you now. I wrote the first 6 chapters in 5 days, so it was written crazy fast. I don't think the story really suffered for it though, you guys be the judge. It's my November novel writing project and completely written.
Thanks to Adele for betaing this!
Also! Don't forget that voting is open for the Harry Potter Fanfiction Poll Awards. The Devil's Secretary has been nominated. There's a link in my profile.
I don't care, no I wouldn't dare
To fix the twist in you
You've shown me eventually what you'll do
I don't mind
I don't care
As long as you're here
All the Same – Sick Puppies
Rose reclined in the uncomfortable plastic chair and once again cursed Scorpius Malfoy as she waited in the MLE office. For a good, law abiding citizen, she spent an awful lot of her spare time sitting in the same squeaky plastic chairs usually reserved for petty criminals and their families. She supposed that she technically fell into the second category – though not willingly.
Scorpius needed to gain either some responsibility or a sense of moderation, preferably both. The git had a serious deficiency in both areas. Once again, he had called upon her to come down to the MLE station and bail him out of jail. For reasons beyond her comprehension, she was always the one he called - probably because, against her better judgement, she always went to get him.
She knew without counting that there were 1036 tiles on the ceiling and 43 chairs in the small room. It was dingy and smelled oddly, and half the time there was an overtaxed mother waiting in there with her, filling the air with either sobs or yells. It was always those mothers that, despite all evidence on the contrary, still believed their children to be their little angels.
"He in trouble again, Rose?" Patrick asked, coming into the room with a clipboard. Patrick was almost singlehandedly in charge of all the prisoners thrown into the holding cells and waiting for bail. Rose knew him too well.
Standing from her chair, Rose nodded tiredly. She stomped her foot slightly, trying to get the pins-and-needles feeling go away. If Scorpius planned on calling her to the uncomfortable waiting room again, she was going to make him donate enough money to buy comfortable chairs and possibly a fish tank or something for her to look at while she waited. He could certainly afford it.
"What's he done this time?" she asked as she followed Patrick towards the holding cells.
The man checked his clipboard before snorting in amusement.
Rose's stomach dropped. It was never good when Patrick was amused at Scorpius' antics. She braced herself and when his snort turned into a guffaw, she knew it was going to be really bad.
"The bloke got picked up for prostitution and assaulting an officer."
She blinked, too shocked to react further. Scorpius was many things, but prostitute was not one of them. Someone had to have made a mistake. In different circumstances, she may have been able to see the humour in the situation. As it was, this mistake had dragged her out of her bed and down to the MLE office in the middle of the night, so no one would really blame her for ignoring any amusement she may have otherwise felt.
Holding cells in the ministry were basically the same thing as those in Muggle police stations, but with the added protection of anti-Apparition wards to keep family members from showing up and taking the criminals away. Bare stone walls, simple metal benches bolted to the floor, and a toilet against the back wall created a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere, encouraging visitors to return soon.
"Is he at least sober?" she asked. When intoxicated, Scorpius wasn't his usual surly self. It was disturbing.
Patrick shook his head. "Sorry Rose."
He didn't look all that sorry, the MLE officer was still wearing that amused expression that had taken over his face the moment he'd set eyes on her.
Exhaling a sigh, she continued to follow Patrick down the hallway towards the holding cells. A sober Scorpius had been too much to hope for.
The blond was sprawled out across one of the benches in the cell, an arm thrown dramatically over his eyes while he appeared to sleep. Even unconscious and drunk the pillock somehow manage to look regal. Rose had no idea how he did it, but she did have the suspicion that it was a subconscious thing, instilled at a young age by a slightly insane and entirely too strict Pureblood mother. If that was the case, she'd much rather have her loving mother and the grace of a newborn giraffe.
"Wake up, Malfoy, you're free to go," Patrick called, opening the cell. He handed Rose Scorpius' wand – prisoners weren't allowed to be in possession of their own wands until they were out of the building. Rose pocketed it for later, she had a few hexes she wanted to try on him before she gave him a way to defend himself.
Groaning, the blond removed the arm from his face and stiffly rose from the bench.
"Rose," he slurred with that sweet smile he only ever showed when he was completely smashed. It was the kind of smile a child shows upon seeing something that delighted them. Scorpius was only the type to display childish delight with copious amounts of alcohol in his system.
Unfortunately, copious amounts of alcohol also made him too friendly.
He stumbled out of the cell and threw his arms around Rose, burying his nose in her bushy hair, murmuring her name again.
With a grimace, Rose pushed him to arm's length and cast a sobering charm. Hers were stronger than the average person's; she had more practice than most.
While Scorpius regained his bearings, she turned to Patrick and handed him a small bag of Galleons for the bail. "You could have cast a sobering charm on him before you let him out," she complained. Her own spell wouldn't have made it past the bars; her wand didn't have that kind of clearance.
"We all know you both secretly enjoy those moments of closeness, it's such a nice difference from your usual sexual-tension fuelled bickering," Patrick said.
Scorpius twisted his face into a mask of disgust. "Sobering charm or not, I'm already fighting off nausea. Don't make me vomit with your disgusting musings."
Ah, there was the Scorpius she knew and loathed.
"Prostitution?" she asked as they walked out of the building.
He didn't look at her, probably a little embarrassed for throwing himself at her only moments before – he usually was. His embarrassment after the fact never stopped him from doing it however.
"I was just wandering down the street, minding my own business-"
"Drunk beyond all reason," Rose added.
"Slightly tipsy," he amended. "When out of nowhere, this man asked me how much for my... services. Being the upstanding citizen I am, I promptly punched him. When someone tried to break up the fight, I punched him as well. I was only charged with the prostitution because my arresting officer was riled that I'd broken his nose."
Rose snorted. Scorpius was about as upstanding a citizen as Voldemort had been – okay, maybe he wasn't quite Voldemort bad, but upstanding citizen he was not.
"You're just bitter because it's required of you as the evil stepsister."
Rose winced, hating to be reminded that they were stepsiblings. Her father had run off when she was in fifth year and Scorpius' psycho-bitch of a mother had tried to strangle her son, leaving her husband with full custody and a divorce. Somehow, Hermione Weasley and Draco Malfoy had found a spark between them, and by Rose's seventh year of Hogwarts, she'd had a brand new stepfather and brother. Needless to say, their home life was a little rocky at times.
"Aren't you supposed to be crushing my dreams or something?" he continued.
Rose raised an eyebrow. "No, I'm supposed to come between you and your prince. But wait! You've already punched the only prince who would've ever wanted your screwed up arse."
"For your information, I could get any bloke I wanted," he said. "You should know; I've gotten you easily enough."
Restraining a blush, Rose grabbed his wrist and Apparated them both to Malfoy Manor, where the both of them had been living since they'd graduated from Hogwarts a year and a half ago.
In her family, Rose was known as something of a screw-up. Her grades had been good enough to rival her mother's, but after school, Rose had found that she just didn't have the motivation to move onto the "something more" everyone seemed to expect of her. It was just too much pressure. So she lived in Malfoy Manor with her mum, step father, deadbeat stepbrother, and Hugo - when he wasn't at Hogwarts. It was a strange arrangement, but it was sufficient while she worked on finding something better.
Unfortunately, Rose had an idiot of a stepbrother constantly calling her to come get him from the MLE office. His ridiculous and over the top behaviour made even Rose look like a huge success.
The moment they were outside the unreasonably large building they called home, Rose released Scorpius' wrist, making him stumble and fall on his arse. It seemed he wasn't as sober as he'd wanted her to think.
"You know," she said almost conversationally as they walked side by side up the long drive, "your cries for attention only work if your parents actually hear about them. Having me come to get you and keep it a secret from your father really doesn't accomplish anything."
"You've had three boyfriends and cheated on every one of them with the same person: me. Are we really going to have a conversation about cries for help?"
"Don't talk about that!" she snapped. "Our parents would kill us both."
Scorpius was remarkably unconcerned about his possible – and probably painful - death. "They'd kill you, that sort of behaviour is expected of me."
That was the worst part of the situation; he was right. Though she'd been just as drunk as Scorpius all three times, a person didn't just accidentally sleep with their stepbrother three times. Once could maybe be called a drunken lapse in judgement, but after the second time the accidental ship had sailed.
For a while, Rose had suspected that Scorpius had purposely gotten her drunk and then seduced her, but she couldn't figure out his motivation for doing something like that. Spiteful bastard that he may be, she didn't believe that he would intentionally set out to sabotage any chance at a normal relationship she may have had.
Somehow, they'd managed to keep the incidents from both their parents, but Rose worried that it was only a matter of time before something came out. Hermione had asked Rose several times what had happened with her most recent boyfriend, a nice Hufflepuff. It had been pretty serious until Scorpius came along and ruined it just like her previous two relationships.
"We're so screwed up," she sighed. "It's amazing Hugo isn't a crack dealer or something with role models like us in his life."
Scorpius nodded his blond head. "That brother of ours is one disturbingly well-adjusted kid."
Finally, finally, they arrived at the huge double doors of the Manor.
"If you expect me to do that again, you're donating enough money for them to replace every chair in those waiting rooms of theirs with something cushy. I risk Deep Vein Thrombosis every time you get arrested," Rose said, remembering her earlier resolution.
He arched an eyebrow at her. "Why should I waste the money? We both know you'll come get me whether I bother or not."
Eyes wide at his audacity, Rose stormed up the stairs to her room and slammed the door. The effect was somewhat ruined by the fact that Scorpius followed behind her, laughing as he went. Someone had thought it would be a good idea to give all three children bedrooms in the same hallway, dubbing it the 'children's wing', so their rooms were only a few doors down.
More than anything, she hated that he was right. Rose sighed; she was entirely too nice to be related to Malfoys.
Rose dragged herself out of bed, hating Scorpius all the more because it was his fault she was feeling so tired. Just once, would it really hurt him to call her down to the MLE office in the afternoon? It was always the middle of the night with him.
Years of practice allowed her to reach the kitchen for her morning juice without properly opening her eyes. If she'd had any say in the matter, Rose would have slept until well after noon. Unfortunately, she had to work.
Working for her Uncle George at his shop wasn't exactly the future Hermione had always pictured for her only daughter, but she'd resigned herself to it after a few monstrous arguments. Rose liked working with her uncle; he was laid back and carefree, something she aspired to be.
Her disgustingly cheerful mum was giggling as Rose approached the kitchen. She could hear the sound before she even entered the room. Her nose wrinkled; Rose had a feeling she wasn't going to like whatever it was she was about to walk in to see.
Hermione was at the stove cooking while Draco was behind her kissing her neck and smiling. Not something Rose wanted to see first thing in the morning. They were old, that sort of thing was supposed to be out of their systems.
"Disgusting," Scorpius complained, coming into the kitchen behind Rose.
In a misguided effort to unite their families, Hermione insisted they eat breakfast together every morning.
It didn't help.
If anything, the forced breakfasts were straining their relationships further.
They each took a chair at the table Hermione had insisted they have in the kitchen. At first, all meals had been taken in the formal dining room, but Hermione had put an end to that practice pretty quickly. She wasn't one to stand for such stiff formalities for casual family meals. She claimed it took away from the comfortable atmosphere that should surround a family.
In Rose's experience, a less formal setting didn't mean that they weren't excruciatingly uncomfortable, but Hermione overlooked that minor detail.
"How are you children?" Hermione asked while they dug into steaming plates of pancakes. She resolutely refused to accept that they were legally adults – probably because neither of them really acted like adults. It wasn't their fault that they hadn't lived through a war that made them old before their time.
Rose opened her mouth to answer, but she caught sight of the paper her stepfather had just picked up. The front page story was going to make for some interesting breakfast conversation. She slid her eyes over to Scorpius, who was slightly more pale than usual. He must have noticed the article as well.
"I think I know," Draco said, his tone ominous. He'd just opened the paper to the front page, which was sporting an unflattering picture of Scorpius with bleeding knuckles and a snarl on his face. He looked surprisingly fierce, something that was only going to hinder Draco's ongoing effort to make people forget that there were Death Eaters in the family.
"You forgot to bribe the press, didn't you?" Scorpius muttered out of the side of his mouth so neither of their parents would notice.
Rose shrugged; it had been the middle of the night when he called her. Small things like bribing the media tended to slip her mind when she was barely awake.
Sighing, Scorpius braced himself for an explosion as Draco unfolded the paper and showed it to his wife.
"PROSTITUTION?" Hermione screeched, completely horrified.
Eyes flashing coldly, Draco looked at his son. "That's the third time this year. This is unacceptable behaviour for a Malfoy; you're dragging our name through the mud."
Both parents were so busy focusing on the falsely contrite Scorpius to notice Rose as she nearly choked on her orange juice. If they only knew about three of the times she'd gone to pick him up and were this upset, then they'd have a heart attack should they ever see the MLE file on Scorpius.
"In my defence," Scorpius said, making sure to look both parental units in the eyes, "I only got the prostitution charge because I broke the arresting officer's nose. He was being spiteful."
Draco whipped the paper onto the table. "That's it. We're sending you to go work for your grandfather. Maybe some time with him will make you appreciate how lenient I've been with you."
Judging by the angry red tinge that was staining both the Malfoy's usually pale skin, Rose could tell a shouting match of monumental proportions was about to begin. She took a few more hurried bites of her delicious pancakes before trying to slip away.
"Not so fast, Rose," Hermione said before her daughter was even out of her chair. "I have some news I want to share with you children, though I was hoping for a slightly different atmosphere to deliver the announcement."
Once again, Rose shot a glance at her stepbrother, but he was too busy engaged in a fierce staring match with his father. He probably hadn't even registered that Hermione had said something. Subtly, Rose elbowed him under the table to snap him out of the contest of wills. They'd be stuck like that for a while if she or her mother didn't interfere.
Nervously, Hermione twisted her fingers together, betraying her nervousness.
Rose's eyes widened; the last time her mum had seemed so bothered by an announcement, she'd had to tell her and Hugo that their dad had left. Draco was obviously still present, so the announcement was probably of a different nature this time. Maybe they were getting a divorce? Rose didn't think so, their disgusting display only moments before didn't exactly scream divorce.
Reaching over, Draco covered Hermione's twisting hands with one of his own, lending her strength and presenting a united front. Okay, so definitely not divorce. What could it be?
"I'm pregnant," Hermione blurted in a rush.
Almost before the words were out of her mouth, Scorpius was up from the table and out of the room.
Rose took a little longer to process the information, blinking at her mum in startled confusion. She'd heard the words, but they didn't quite make sense in the current context. Parents weren't allowed to reproduce once their oldest child graduated, it was just wrong.
Hermione sighed. "I was expecting him to take the news badly."
"Not your fault, darling," Draco soothed, making Rose shiver with revulsion. There had to be a rule somewhere that parents and step-parents couldn't be all touchy in front of offspring. It was wrong.
"How did this happen?" Rose asked. She flushed and immediately changed her answer. "I mean, aren't you right on the edge of menopause? The chances of getting pregnant at you age are so slim..."
Nope, still things she didn't want to know. "You know what? Never mind. I have to go to work anyway."
Rose stood from the table and left the room, just as Scorpius had before her. Really, what did they expect after such disquieting news so early in the morning?