Author's Note: I'm so sorry for taking so long to update. Family life and many (many) computer-related issues have only recently allowed me time to write.


Black Velvet

Chapter 32: We All Fall Down

Cassie's blood thrummed as she nimbly made her way down from Ravenclaw Tower. Looking around the empty halls, she mused upon the quality of silence in the forgotten hours of the night. There was no rustling of ghosts, no steady rhythm of insects, not even the shuffle of Mr. Blunt's footsteps. The castle seemed at one with the quiet of the dark night; not that she was complaining. Far from it, it served her purpose better to remain unnoticed. Her socks muffled the sound of her footfalls in the silent corridors.

She strode to the centre of the Owlery on brisk steps and whistled a swift tune. In less than a minute, a tawny brown owl swooped down from one of the hundreds of perches in the Owlery and settled upon her arm.

Cassie stroked the owl's earthy plumage fondly and pulled treats from her dressing gown pocket.

Astor would need all his energy to fly to London and back before the night was over.

She smiled as the owl treats disappeared one by one. Stroking the bird, she latched a tightly wound roll of parchment into the tiny letter holder built into his collar.

"Astor, darling, you have to take to this letter to Mrs. Zarkos at The Daily Prophet. You must reach her tonight. Can you do that for me darling?" Cassie cooed into the bird's ear, occasionally nuzzling against his feathers. The bird cocked a golden eye at her and lightly bit her finger. Then, bracing his legs, he leapt into the air and shot through the opening in the ceiling like an arrow.

Cassie grinned. Revenge was indeed sweet. This time tomorrow, the Potters' dirty secret would be plastered across the front page of every edition of The Daily Prophet. Harry Potter might have been the Chosen One, but the newspaper hadn't had a scoop this big since civil war ended in England. There was no way they wouldn't print this story, Head Auror or not. Straightening her back, Cassie wondered how on earth she would manage to keep a straight face as Princess Potter's carefully constructed persona was picked apart in the papers. All things considered it would be worth waiting for. She couldn't wait to see the reactions on everybody's face when they finally realised Princess Potter was nothing more than a freak, a pathetic nutter who ideally belonged in the loony bin at St Mungo's.

She sighed. All in good time. There really wasn't long to wait, now. One day more and it would all be over.

X

Lily sighed. She turned her attention back (for the six hundredth time) to the fat tome on her lap, as Marcus continued to bark orders at his team. From the looks of things, he was arguing for the need of longer and more frequent practice sessions. Apart from Worth, the rest of the team seemed to be in a mutinous mood regarding the new training schedule. Not that she could hear anything, of course.

Marcus had imperiously insisted on her sitting within the confines of a Muffling Cone, where she should not be able to hear or make any sense of what he was saying to his team because being a member of the "enemy house" he didn't want her "spying on his team and reporting back to her brother".

She'd rolled her eyes.

Scorpius had been ready to storm out but she'd stopped him and told him she didn't care about Quidditch strategy anyway. He stared at her for a long moment before sitting down to listen, glaring at Marcus, sneer firmly in place.

So she'd trudged away to the bleachers, muttering about what an idiot Marcus was. As Seeker, Scorpius was required to sit in on this training session despite the fact he would not be fit to fly for another week or so and she was tired of the constant staring in the Great Hall and other common places. She would try to meet Scorpius as he left the Slytherin Dungeon instead of waiting for him in the entrance Hall. This system worked to keep Albus civil, as well.

Today however, all it managed to do was frustrate her. She couldn't sit next to Scorpius, nor speak to him. Grinding her teeth together, she stood abruptly and was just about to leave when an arm curled around her shoulders.

"Running away?" Scorpius pressed his lips against her temple.

Lily pouted and hugged him close. "It's better than sitting around feeling like an outsider."

Scorpius' smiled dimmed. "Fuck." He shut his eyes for a moment. "Lil, I'm sorry. Marcus is an arse. I'm boycotting the next session. I don't care."

Instantly, her annoyance and built up anger disappeared. She blinked. She hadn't even realised how much irritation she'd been holding onto until the moment her body relaxed. "You don't have to do that Scorpius! I'm sorry. I overreacted."

He didn't look convinced. "Are you sure? Because, I don't really care about what Marcus has to say to me."

"I'm fine. You shouldn't skip practice and Marcus…well, I guess he's just paranoid." She shoved her book back into her bag and hefted it up on her shoulder. "I don't mind waiting for you Scorpius, it's just—" She glanced back at the rest of his team. "I feel like I'm intruding someplace where I don't belong."

Scorpius looked directly into her eyes. "You belong with me. Where are you not supposed to be?"

Lily shrugged. "You know how it is. Every time I come near your table, it's like everyone's staring at me, like they're thinking 'What is she doing here'?"

Scorpius chuckled. "They're jealous." He pulled her closer even as the uncertainty on her face became apparent. "They all wish you were waiting for them, but you aren't," he whispered hotly against her ear. The tip of his tongue traced the rim of her ear.

She started in surprise, but he tightened his hold on her.

"You're mine, and they just have to live with it." He ran his teeth over her earlobe before kissing her neck. He felt her book bag drop and her arms brush up against his sides. Her fingers clenched in his hair and against his neck as she pulled him into a kiss. It swallowed him whole, he felt aflame, like tiny pricks of electricity raced over his skin and through his bones. He pressed her against the wall, his fingers grabbing a handful of her shirt to pull it out so he could run his hands unfettered up her body when the icy cold realisation that he was entering territory they had not yet discussed, territory they hadn't even acknowledged strung knots in his brain.

He cursed under his breath and with all the strength he could muster, pulled away from her.

She looked at him with an adorable confusion that dug knives through his chest. "Scorpius?"

"Let's skive today."

She blinked and shook away the dazed look from her eyes. "No." She took a deep breath. "I mean, I have class."

Scorpius smirked. "Which class?"

"Arithmancy," she replied steadily.

He smiled back. "I can teach you Arithmancy."

"No," she said, her voice flat.

"You know I can," he answered smugly, watching with great delight as she blushed bright red.

"You mean like the last time you taught me? I hate to break it to you Scorpius, but I hardly got any studying done then. You kept distracting me." Watching the smirk stretch across his lips, she hurriedly added, "Besides, I don't want my grades to suffer." She shrugged, hoping he would leave it at that.

"Class attendance makes up barely forty percent of your grade, and my sources tell me . . . ." He took both her hands and pulled her forward, flush against his body. His voice lowered to a whisper. "You have enough to cover your entire year. Skiving once won't even make a dent in your record."

"Yes, but…"

"I'll show you the Dungeon…where no Gryffindor has been before…" He trailed away, dangling temptation in front of her.

Lily arched an eyebrow. "Daddy's been there."

Scorpius scoffed. "I seriously doubt he got the official tour. C'mon, nobody will be around right now."

Lily bit her lip. It wasn't that she didn't want to spend alone time with Scorpius, but going with him to the Slytherin Dungeon when it was guaranteed to be deserted was just asking for trouble. More importantly, Albus kept the Map with him at all times. Knowing that Albus could see exactly where she was didn't give her any confidence. "We can go sit on the Terrace."

"And get gawked at by the entire school, not to mention it's Professor Longbottom's favourite haunt." He leaned forward, pressing her against the wall. "Sorry love, I don't quite fancy another lecture so soon. Come o-n Lily."

"No, Scorpius."

His smile dropped and he pouted. "I'm beginning to think you don't want to be with me. All you ever do refuse me…again and again."

Lily smirked back at him. "Poor baby, are you done pouting?"

Scorpius grinned. "So, we're skiving."

Lily ran her hand through her hair. "Okay but first, we'll only stay there for a little while and only in the Common Room. Okay?"

His eyes flashed. He smirked. "Okay." At least she took the bait. Whether or not they stuck to the agreement was a different matter, altogether. He'd effectively gotten her to break Rule Number One. It was promising to be a very good day.

X

"Here we are." Scorpius said as they approached the curving wall where the entrance to the Slytherin Dungeon was artfully disguised.

Lily turned to look down the corridor. "Are you sure it's okay Scorpius? I mean, I don't want you getting into trouble with Professor Sorin."

Scorpius arched an eyebrow. "Do I detect a sense of fear?" Before him, the wall slid away to reveal a descending staircase.

"No," Lily shot back.

He grinned and pulled her forward by the hand.

Lily took a deep breath and followed him down the stairs. Her eyes took a minute to adjust to the gas-lit chambers, but what she saw took her breath away. The ceiling was high, stone arches crisscrossed each other, the keystones supported by intricate stone serpents, their tails curled around the pillars. Gas lanterns hung from the ceiling. As they drew near the fireplace, flames leapt up in the hearth, chasing away the chilly air of the chamber. She trailed her fingers along the smooth leather of the black couches.

Scorpius dropped Lily's book bag near the couch and sank onto it, watching her take the room in.

Lily shivered as a waft of the infamous damp air of the the dungeon hit her. She rubbed her hands over her arms. Gryffindor Tower was never this chilly. She thanked the Hat for not listening to her. Seven years straight in this cold would have made her miserable.

Scorpius stood and tapped her elbow, beckoning her to follow him. Leading her past the fireplace, he made his way past the charmed glass wall that kept the waters of the Black Lake out of the dungeon, past the corridor that led to the boys' dormitories to the far wall, where a huge tapestry displayed the names of the families holding ties to Slytherin House since the establishment of Hogwarts. Many of these families had died out. Many were obliterated in the two wars, but the few that survived found their names still gleaming in silver thread upon deep emerald velvet.

Scorpius focused upon the top section of the tapestry, eager to find the name he wanted to show her.

Lily paid more attention to the middle portion of the tapestry, reading each name carefully. Her eyes grew wide as she spotted an entire section devoted to Blacks and Malfoys. Scorpius' name sat proudly at the end of both those lines. She glanced at him. He didn't notice.

All of a sudden, he exclaimed, "There!" Turning to her, he pointed at the top of the tapestry. There, barely visible was a name, Gregory Potter. "He went here in the sixteenth century." He chuckled. "So you have some Slytherin in you."

Lily leaned forward curiously. "Let me see." Sure enough, there it was. "I thought you were joking."

She glanced at the glass wall, eager to change the subject. "Do you ever see the mermen?"

Scorpius wandered back to the couch. "Not that I recall. Sometimes the squid floats past, but it's rare. It's peaceful for the most part."

She nodded. "What about the water? I know the glass is charmed but has it ever seeped through? I remember there was a big hue and cry about it in third year. Someone hexed the glass and the dungeon was flooded for days."

Scorpius stared at her like she was crazy. "No! Never. Where do you hear all this?"

Lily blushed with embarrassment. She was going to kill Albus. "Oh. Well, its all everybody would talk about for days."

"Really? They had nothing better to do?" Scorpius stretched back against the couch. "I worry about you, I really do." He tilted his head to one side. "Aren't you going to sit?"

Lily blinked. "Oh yes." She tentatively sat down beside him, self-consciously pulling her skirt down, an action not unnoticed by him. It earned her an amused smirk. She rubbed her knees with her hands, rocking back and forth. She froze for a moment when he stretched his arm and brought it to a rest on her shoulders. He pulled her closer.

"Relax," he whispered against her temple. "There's nobody here, but you and me. Nobody knows we're here. You can relax, Lily."

"About that . . . ." She forced a laugh. She'd been thinking about telling him about The Marauders' Map, because having Albus turn up everywhere she was might be normal for her, but she knew it would annoy Scorpius no end. Being completely unaware of the tangible advantage Albus had over him was unfair to Scorpius. If she didn't tell him about it, it would also be a sort of betrayal.

"Al knows where I am."

"What?" He leaned forward. "So he's talking to you again?"

"Not exactly."

"Then how, exactly, does he know where you are?"

Lily took a deep breath. "Well, you see, there's a Map. It shows where each person in Hogwarts is at any given moment. My grandfather and his best friends made the map when they went here. It is a marvelous piece of magic." She swallowed. "James gave the Map to Al when he graduated. He can see where I am whenever he wants."

Scorpius blinked. "He can….do you have any idea how disturbing that is? Why would anybody want to do something like that?"

"The Marauder's Map isn't disturbing!"

Scorpius pursed his lips. "When your brother uses it to keep tabs on you, then yes, it is disturbing."

Lily bristled, and pushed against his chest. "It is not!"

Scorpius chuckled and he clasped her hands. "Here I thought we'd sit here and chat, but you seem to have other ideas." Leaning forward, he caught her lips with his. "You could have just told me you wanted to wrestle."

She smiled against his lips as he pulled her onto his lap. His fingers curled into her hair as his other hand trailed down her back, coming to a rest at her hip.

Lily was conscious of a tiny voice at the back of her head, telling her to stop and climb down off him. She kissed him harder. She felt his hand on her knee, rubbing circles into her skin before slowly, oh so very slowly moving up her thigh. Her breath caught in her throat.

He was being reckless and he knew it. As soon as he heard her gasp and felt her body freeze he knew it was time to back off.

He pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Too soon?"

He nodded when she didn't answer. "Too soon." Lifting his hand off her leg deliberately, he moved back 'til he sat against the armrest. He ran his hand over his face. "Fuck's sake. What am I doing?"

Lily scooted closer to him and cupped his face in her hands. "Scorpius, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…jump like that. I was just surprised."

Scorpius looked at her. "Don't be sorry. I shouldn't have brought you here."

Before she could answer, there was the unmistakable sound of the wall opening and footsteps entering the Dungeon. Lily tried to move back further but only ended looking like she was beating a hasty retreat when the newcomers reached the fireplace.

The surprise on Lily and Scorpius' face was mirrored by Dominique and Blake as well.

Dominique comically let her jaw drop. Her lips curved into a smirk. "Oh! Oh no. Did we interrupt something?" She asked slyly.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "You didn't interrupt shit. I don't think I can say the same for you, can I Weasley?"

Dominique waved a hand dismissively. "Eh, we were just coming down for a nooner. Didn't think the old dungeon would be taken though, did we babe?" She glanced at Blake.

Blake sat down and grinned deliberately at his best friend. "No." He watched Lily fidget with great amusement.

Lily gaped at Dominique. "Nooner?"

Dominique raised an eyebrow. "What are you looking so shocked about? Did you forget how you were when we walked in?"

Lily blushed. "Dom! Nothing happened…I mean we weren't doing anything!"

Dominique arched an eyebrow and glanced at the two of them. "You don't say…."

Scorpius frowned. "Not that it'd be any of your business even if we were."

Dominique shot a look at Lily. "I'm impressed Lil. I thought you were going ahead with your 'rules' nonsense. I guess you reconsidered."

Lily glared at Dominique. "Shut up Dom! Merlin, you just don't know when to stop." She frowned and sat back with her arms firmly crossed across her chest.

Scorpius ran his hand through his hair.

Dominique would continue to tease Lily if they stayed. Better leave while they were ahead. He hadn't brought her here for a ribbing by Dominique. He stood and pulled Lily to her feet. "Whatever. You two are welcome to the Dungeon. See you around." He ignored Dominique, who looked like she wanted to stop them, and kept walking until they were climbing the stairs.

They made their way back to the Charms corridor, where Lily had her next class.

X

As they stepped into the corridor, both Scorpius and Lily noticed something strange. People suddenly broke off their conversations and stopped to stare as they were noticed.

Lily dismissed it. This had become the norm since she'd started dating Scorpius. At least, she though it was normal until she realised most of the students watched her with a wariness she hadn't seen before.

A boy from her Transfiguration class held a newspaper in his hand. He offered her a weak smile. She smiled back tentatively but couldn't shake off the feeling that she was the one they had been talking about just moments before. There wasn't any whispering but just the way everyone looked at her made her cringe.

She spotted her dorm mates standing outside Professor Linton's classroom. She tugged on Scorpius' hand. "I'll just go ask them what's going on." She took a few steps towards Candace when she spotted Hugo looking around wildly for something. Frowning, she made her way to him.

"Hugo?"

He whipped his head around. His eyes grew wide. "Lily!" He opened and shut his mouth, unable to speak. He just shook his head. "Lil, we need to find Al."

"What's going on?"

Hugo blanched and then looked about. Sure enough, everyone was watching them curiously. "Well, we need to find Al, Lil."

"Will you tell me why you're so panicked? What's happened? What's going on?"

"Lily?"

Lily turned to find Candace looking at her nervously.

"Oh hi Candace."

Candace smiled nervously. "Hi Lily."

Lily arched an eyebrow. "Is everything alright?"

Candace sighed. "I don't mean to sound like a bitch or something but I feel its something I have to ask. Are you alright? Is it true?"

Lily was stumped. She shrugged. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Candace frowned. "That means you haven't seen the paper this morning?"

"No, I haven't." Lily replied, beginning to lose patience now. "Will someone please tell me what's going on and why are you all staring at me like this?"

Candace took a deep breath. Hesitantly, she stepped forward and touched her elbow. "That's no good. I thought you knew. Lily, I just want to tell you…I'm so sorry."

Lily shivered involuntarily. "You're making me very uneasy Candace. What do the papers say? Will someone tell me for, fuck's sake?"

"Oh for the love of peace," another voice joined in. Smug, self-satisfied and calm, Cassie spoke up from somewhere behind her. "I'll tell you, Princess. Today's Daily Prophet had a very interesting story, about how your father covered up the truth about his freak daughter."

"Shut the hell up, Cassie!" Hugo spat back.

Candace frowned. "Cassie, please. That's a terrible thing to say."

Lily froze. Her heart sank even as Cassie's eyes gleamed viciously. "Oh is it? And the fact that it happens to be true means nothing?" She sneered at Lily. "So, I'll fill in the blanks for you. Yes, it's true!" She turned, looking at every person in the hall by turn. Her eyes stopped at Scorpius. "Your precious Potter Princess is a monster. She's a freak who—"

Hugo pulled his wand out, "I'm warning you Cassie! Shut the fuck up! Right now!"

Scorpius looked from Lily to Hugo, perplexed. What on earth was going on? What was Cassie talking about?

Cassie rolled her eyes. "Please Hugo. It's on the front page of the Prophet. Go read it if you want. You can't stop me from saying the truth. Your cousin tried to kill her own father! How's that for messed up?" She looked at Lily, disdain marked her features. "You disgust me."

Blood pounded in her ears. Lily shrank back from Cassie, shaking her head. "That's not how it was. That's not how it happened."

Hugo snarled and drew his wand back, his mind searing through his memory searching for the cruelest, vicious curse he could unleash on the golden-haired Ravenclaw. Deciding on one, he whispered the incantation and swung his wand. Just as the tip of his wand aligned and he felt a burst of energy crackling through his veins, someone pushed his wrist up. Crimson jets of lights burst from his wand, crashing into an alcove, shattering a marble statue into smithereens. A girl screamed, there was a minor scuffle as everybody shuffled back, away from the cousins.

Lily slid down to the floor, her hand covering her mouth, as tears threatened to spill from her eyes.

Rose stood as still as a statue, her fingers still curled around Hugo's wrist. She snapped her eyes towards Lily. Glancing at Hugo, she whispered, "Get her out of here."

"But Rose…" Hugo demurred.

Rose whirled to face him. "Don't you get it? There's nothing left to do. Get her out of here. I need to find Al."

Behind them Cassie laughed mockingly. "Yeah, get her out of here. Merlin knows she doesn't belong here."

"Will you stop it Cassie?" Candace retorted indignantly. "What is wrong with you? Can't you see she's upset?"

Cassie looked at her in disbelief. "Are you fucking kidding me? She's upset? What the hell is wrong with you? She's the problem here, not me! She's a nut job, a criminal!"

Candace was backed up by another girl from the Gryffindor dorm. "She was a child under the Imperius. How exactly does that make her a criminal?"

Cassie crossed her arms over her chest, a little of the obvious joy draining from her expression. This was not the response she'd wanted. "Obviously, brains are in short supply in Gryffindor," she retorted, trying to maintain her haughty tone. They were not supposed to sympathize with their precious, fallen, Princess Potter!

Candace and Maria rolled their eyes. Candace replied, "Look Cassie. You hate Lily, we get that—we all get that. But attacking her over something she had no control over and something, that's obviously traumatised her, is low, even for you. Maybe you're the one who's disgusting!"

Cassie scoffed and soon found herself ensconced in an argument—in which she somehow seemed to be on the losing side—that was swiftly growing to include more and more people.

Clenching his fists, Hugo turned and pulled Lily up by the shoulders. "Lily, we have to go." He'd heard enough. They could go on arguing for all he cared.

Lily stared at the ground. Her hands felt like ice, her skin looked deathly pale.

Hugo shook her slightly. "Lily!"

She looked at him, lips trembling and knees shaking.

Hugo sighed. "I can't do this alone Lil. I need you to help me." She nodded brokenly.

Suddenly, Scorpius was beside them. He took Lily's hand and led her away from the crowd; it didn't prove difficult. The rest of the students happily stepped back, giving way.

Scorpius glanced at Lily. She looked so small. She had retreated inside a shell. Her eyes were blank, like she couldn't see anything in front of her. His mind reeled. What had Cassie said? How was it possible? Lily couldn't hurt a fly. How on earth could she have tried to kill her father? It was all nonsense. He couldn't believe it. It had to be all wrong. There must be some mistake.

Before long they reached Gryffindor Tower, Hugo glanced around and quietly whispered the password. The Fat Lady looked at Scorpius and coughed loudly.

Hugo sighed. "Please, he's with us. And he's helping me take Lily inside."

The Fat Lady looked at Lily, leaning against the wall with her head down, and raised an eyebrow. "You should take your sister to the Infirmary if she's not feeling well."

Hugo rolled his eyes. "She's fine. She just needs to lie down." The portrait swung open. "Thank you. Come on," he said to Scorpius, who pulled Lily forward and nudged her to climb through the portrait hole.

The Common Room was empty save for one person.

Albus scowled the minute he saw Scorpius. "What the hell are you doing here?" His eyes widened at the sight of Lily. "And what happened to her? What the fuck did you do?" He asked aggressively.

Hugo jumped forward. "Al! He's just helping us."

Something in Hugo's voice betrayed his desperation and Albus focussd upon him. His cousin looked terrible.

"What is going on?"

Hugo ran a hand through his hair. "Al…everyone knows. About Lily." He choked up. "I don't know how they found out. But it's in the newspaper. Everybody read it. They all know."

"What?" Albus said in complete disbelief. "How is that possible? You don't know what you're talking about."

Hugo sniffed. "It's true. Go see for yourself. Cassie's down there, calling her a freak. Bloody twit's trying to incite a riot."

Albus shivered. He looked at his sister, who was silent, who simply stared at the floor with a vacant expression. He sat down next to her and loving stroked her hair. "Lil, it'll be alright. Don't worry. I'll fix this."

Lily took her time to raise her head and look at him. "You can't fix this Al. Nobody can."

Albus shook his head. "It's all a mistake. They'll realise."

She laughed bitterly. "They do realise. They know it was a mistake to send me here, to treat me like I'm normal. I'm a monster Al. I don't belong here."

"Lily, first of all, calm down. Listen to me. We are going to call Dad and sort it all out."

Lily pushed him aside and stood up. "You can't sort it out!" She shouted. "Don't you get it? I can't be fixed. I'm a monster! I'm a freak! I can see it in their eyes. They're all terrified of me. Of being in the same school as me. Of standing in the same hall, breathing the same air as me. And they should be scared. It's still in my head Al! After all this time, after everything. It is still in my head." She sniffed. "You weren't there. You don't know. You don't know anything."

Albus watched helplessly as Lily crumbled, sobbing and mumbling the words over and over. He tried to hug her but she pushed him aside.

Scorpius watched in shock as Lily began to hyperventilate. Her breathing grew ragged and short. Her trembling became worse. She slapped Albus's hands away each time he tried to get close to her.

Giving up on calming her down, Albus reached for his wand and whispered, "Petrificus Totalus."

Lily's arms and legs snapped shut against her body. She teetered like a board.

Scorpius rushed forward to help, but Albus blocked him, quickly setting Lily down on the couch.

"What have you done to her?" He demanded.

Albus looked back at him coldly. "You can leave now. Thank you for bringing my sister back. We will take care of her now."

Scorpius bristled. "I'm not going anywhere, not until you tell me exactly what is going on here!"

Albus shoved his hands in his pockets. "You don't need to know."

"The hell I don't. She's my girlfriend."

Albus shrugged. "Be that as it may. This is a family matter. And you are not family. Just go."

Scorpius scoffed. "This is ridiculous. Will either of you at least tell me what in Merlin's name is this all about?"

Albus ignored him.

Scorpius clenched his fists. "Seriously? You won't tell me?" He turned in frustration. "Look, I get it, okay? I am probably the last bloke you want around your sister, but goddamnit Albus, I have a right to know."

Albus shoved his hands in his pockets. He sighed. He couldn't ignore Scorpius forever. He would find out anyway. And even though he personally didn't care, he knew Lily would be upset if Scorpius had to find out through the paper. At least, this way, he would get the actual version of events.

Staring at the wall, he said, "It was supposed to be a fun day. They were going to make a quick stop at the joke shop and come home for the party. Hugo's seventh," he added by way of explanation. "Mum and Aunt Hermione went to pick up the cake and when they came back, Lily wasn't there. We searched everywhere. We couldn't find her." He shrugged. "She just….disappeared."

Scorpius felt his shoulders sag. A wave of sympathy washed over him. He could see Albus was struggling with the memory of the ordeal. "What happened then?" He asked softly.

Albus rubbed his neck. "We found her three days later. She seemed alright. Scared out of her wits but uninjured and unharmed for the most part. We were overjoyed. Two nights after, Lily grabbed a cleaver and tried to ram it in Dad's chest." He sat down. "Dad figured out what was going on, and that was that."

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room as all three boys studiously avoided looking at each other.

Albus smiled bitterly. "Now you know. Happy?" He stood. "If I have your permission, I must put Lily to bed and call my father." Of course, he had to end the discussion with a snide comment—couldn't have Malfoy thinking sharing this confidence made them friends, or anything.

X

Scorpius tore through the corridors till he reached the Dungeon again. He stormed in. Looking around, he spotted a couple of fourth years seated near the charmed glass of the Black Lake, reading a newspaper. He marched over to them and snatched it out of their hands.

"Hey!" The boy started to protest but fell quiet as he saw who it was.

Scorpius spread the paper out in front of him on the table and began to read it. In huge letters on the front page was the headline:

THE POTTER SECRET: A MURDERER IN THE FAMILY?

The Wizarding World was plunged into a state of shock over reports that Harry Potter, the Chosen One and Saviour of the Wizarding World lied and helped cover up a heinous crime committed by his only daughter, Lily Luna Potter. Following a tip by an Anonymous source, the Department of Vigilance discovered that the Head Auror buried evidence of an attack on his life at the hands of his own daughter. Documents relating to the case were destroyed and all evidence of the incident whisked out of Auror headquarters. The case is an old one but according to informant sources, Lily Potter was kidnapped when she was seven years old, sparking a massive hunt that lasted four days. The little girl was found in an abandoned pure-blood family seat deep in the Scottish countryside. She was relatively unharmed albeit scared according to the initial diagnosis of the presiding Healer on the case. This was a grave mistake, leading to the cause of all the subsequent sorrow.

Two nights after she was rescued, Lily Potter, aged seven, tried to murder her father with a butcher's cleaver. Harry Potter successfully stopped her attempt to kill him and found upon further investigation that the girl had been placed under a powerful Imperius Curse, directing her to kill her father. A terrible tragedy was averted that day owing to the quick thinking and alertness of Mr. Potter. However, in a weak moment, the Auror decided to bury all evidence of the incident and continue living as though nothing had happened.

When we questioned the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, their spokesperson had assured us that appropriate action will be taken against Mr. Potter, pending the investigation into these allegations and a Committee shall confer on whether charges shall be made against Ms. Lily Potter.

Ms. Lily Potter meanwhile, shall continue her education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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