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13 October 2007 @ 02:35 pm
Sins of the Fathers (A Story for Sansa) Part 4a/4  

Title Sins of the Fathers 4a/4 (At last! And it's not my fault lj has stupid word limits! 4b is up, too!)
Author blamebrampton Characters Scorpius and Albus, and pretty much everyone still alive at the end of DH, plus a few sundry extras working for scale.
Rating M? Adult themes, implied sex and questionable language. Albus/Scorpius once the latter gets past the brief Rose thing, Rose/James, Lily/whoever's handy ...
Words 8051
Notes
Absolutely nothing to do with Jo Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic or any other media titans. But affectionately nicked from all of the above.
Completely thanks to libby_drew , whose brilliant list of 20 Random Facts About Scorpius Malfoy is the entire reason this story exists.

Many many thanks to the wonderful and brilliant jadzialove without whom this story would have had many more blunders and been even slower. And eternal gratitude to norton_gale who first made me feel welcome in fandom and dumbys_baby who introduced me to both fandom and the concept of H/D, bless her cotton socks.


Part one

Part two

Part three


XIX
Despite Mr Ronald Weasley being the second-most highly ranked Auror in Britain, he takes his turn guarding Malfoy Manor. Scorpius is pleased and nervous about this in equal parts.

His nervousness is rewarded when Mr Weasley spots him looking out from his window and beckons him down into the garden.

"So, you and Rose, eh?" he opens the conversation, smiling down on Scorpius as they walk around the gardens.

Rose is so dainty, Scorpius always forgets how physically imposing her father is and, in full Auror regalia, he suspects he might be enough to scare away any goons from Magical Action by himself. "Yeah ..." Scorpius replies, as always slightly unsure how to even begin describing the relationship.

"I'm guessing she decided you were going out," Mr Weasley surmises, amused.

"Sort of, she let me do the actual asking, though."

Mr Weasley laughs loudly at that. "How did your dad react when you told him?"

Scorpius shrugs. "He told me that she was probably too good for me and that her grandmother would kill me if I put a foot wrong. Then he added that she's a lovely girl and that he's happy so long as I'm happy." He grins when he remembers this conversation. His father has always known when to stop talking, and he could see, and was profoundly grateful for, all the questions he didn't ask.

"Your dad's all right," Mr Weasley says. "And my mum coped with the news better than could be expected. Rose's mum told her that she wasn't to make a fuss unless she wanted to encourage Rose to run away with you to Majorca."

Scorpius starts. "Spain? With Rose? I wasn't even allowed to go with Lester this year thanks to those bloody nutters out there."

Mr Weasley ruffles his hair. "Don't worry, mate, we've rounded up a few more, can't be many left now. It's weeks since they raised their heads. By the time you go back to school, we should be sorted."

"Great. It's as though they're in league with Dad to make me study through the holidays." They walk a little further before Scorpius manages to find the words he has been wanting to say to Mr Weasley for months now. "Thanks for saving my Dad. Mum says that if you weren't there, he probably would have died."

Scorpius looks up at Mr Weasley as he finishes speaking, but the Auror's gaze is focused firmly on the ground in front of his shoes. "That's OK," he replies, somewhat embarrassed. "I feel half responsible for getting him hurt in the first place. He was so keen to show us how his new spells worked, Harry and I didn't even think it through to realise he'd be in danger. Bloody stupid on our part."

"Dad always says he likes to step outside his Department, I think he was happy to see his plans in action for once."

Mr Weasley flashes a grin at Scorpius. "Is that what he tells you? Right. No mention of the fact that he always insists on checking new procedures in person?"

Scorpius is amused. "None. He says his job is dull as can be aside from the intellectual satisfaction."

Ron Weasley whispers with a conspiratorial gleam in his eyes, "So he won't have mentioned what happened when he first came up with the scanning spells?"

Scorpius is intrigued. "No, do tell!"

"He calibrated it to pick up dark Magic artefacts that were being smuggled out of Britain. There he was, down at the Docks, running ahead of me and Harry, wand drawn – all of a sudden he's jumped by two Muggles who are waiting on a drugs shipment. They've dragged him in between two goods containers, we can't even see him, Harry races ahead of me and then just bloody Apparates, and I am seconds behind, wand at the ready, curses on my lips, when I hear Harry and your dad laughing their heads off."

"What happened?"

"Your dad had turned both the Muggles into hedgehogs, which would have been funny in itself, but then Harry Apparated into a puddle, slipped over, and narrowly avoided landing on them."

Scorpius laughs at the image. He's pleased to know that his father's work life isn't all the long hours in labs and wrangling Unspeakables he's been led to believe. And while he's not convinced he approves of the element of danger his father seems to embrace, he finds it hard to believe that he could come to any lasting harm while he's working with Mr Weasley and Mr Potter.

At that moment, the Apparition klaxon sounds and Mr Weasley throws Scorpius behind him, away from the direction of the siren. The Ward is quickly silenced, indicating either a friend or a breaching of the spell. Scorpius can see the other Aurors on patrol moving into defensive positions around the gardens and house. Mr Weasley's wand is drawn and he is mouthing a shield spell while waiting to see if attack is needed, then he puts his wand down and steps to one side, the situation at ease. Scorpius sees Mr Potter walking quickly towards them, a smile on his face. Mr Weasley looks around, sees Scorpius's wand drawn and claps his shoulder approvingly.

"Harry," Mr Weasley greets Mr Potter.

"Ron, Scorpius," Mr Potter answers. "Good news. Where's Malfoy?"

"Inside."

"Come on." Mr Potter turns quickly and leads them into the Manor. "Draco!" he yells once inside the doors.

"Harry?" Scorpius hears his father before he sees him. A few seconds later he appears at a run, wand in hand, at the top of the staircase, looking unsure until he notes the smiles on the faces of the men below.

"Got 'em," Mr Potter calls up happily.

Scorpius's father makes his way downstairs quickly. "All of them?" he asks.

"All of them." And with a laugh, Mr Potter hugs Scorpius's father, ruffling his hair.

Surprised, but smiling, Scorpius's father hugs Mr Potter back for a long moment. "Good job," he declares. He steps away and briefly hugs Mr Weasley. "Well done, both of you. I'll never call you scruffy layabouts again."

Scorpius laughs, because his father looks almost absurdly elegant between the two Aurors. His tailored black shirt and trousers are at odds with their leather coats, kicker boots and the longish hair most Aurors affect. All three of them are grinning manically, and his father reaches out and pulls him into a hug, laughing too. "Proper birthday party for you, then," he announces.

"Party? So ..." Scorpius's mother is at the top of the stairs, with Narcissa behind her. Narcissa is trying to subtly put down the marble bust she is holding in one hand at the same time as putting away the wand she is holding in the other, having twigged a moment later than Scorpius's mother to the fact that the alarm was a false one.

"All miscreants apprehended!" Scorpius's father says, laughing. "Our Boys in Black have done their work well and we are now able to resume our normal lives."

Scorpius's mother comes down the stairs and kisses the cheeks of Mr Potter and Mr Weasley. "You are magnificent," she tells them. "So, who are the leaders? And what do you plan to do with them?"

"They'll be tried at the Wizengamot, Mrs Malfoy, just like their followers," Harry tells her, his face losing its smile and becoming dark.

"But you are tired!" Scorpius's mother declares. "Come and sit in the drawing room, I will have food brought."

She ushers them into the formal room beside the entrance hall and mutters a request to a house-elf. Mr Potter thanks her and she puts her hand on his arm saying, "It is nothing, Harry. And you must call me Helene, Helene de Dreux."

Scorpius is surprised to hear the rich trill in his mother's voice as she speaks, and he realises with a small degree of horror that she is flirting. He is happy to see that the degree of horror he feels is as nothing compared to that experienced by Mr Potter, who smiles politely, detaches himself, then walks purposely across the room to sit between Mr Weasley and Scorpius's father.

"So who do we have to thank for the excitements of the last six months?" Scorpius's father asks, his tone not as light as he is trying to make it.

"The two at the centre of things were Peter Abbott and Barrington Warwick," Mr Potter replies.

Scorpius's father frowns. "Peter Abbott I understand. Death Eaters killed his wife. But Warwick was a Snatcher, and his brother was a Death Eater. How the hell does he decide that attacking me makes sense?"

"I think I know," says Scorpius's mother. Everyone looks at her in surprise, especially Narcissa.

She takes a glass of wine from the tray one of the house-elves is offering around, and continues: "My grandfather would tell me stories of the last Wars when I was a girl; both the Muggle war and the wizarding one. And it was easy for him to tell his tales, he was a hero who saved many people.

"But there were many others who were forced to appease, and they kept silent; and still others who chose to collaborate, and those who could not forgive themselves became mean, vicious, and looked about for others who they could lay the blame for their choices upon.

"Because there is nothing harder for some men than to admit that it was they who made the mistakes that haunt their lives."

She takes a long swallow of wine and sighs. "I am afraid, dear Draco, that no matter what you have done in your life, your name, this house, will always make you a target for men like this."

Narcissa has already finished her first glass of wine and is most of the way through her second. "Too true," she says. "And entirely my fault."

"Don't be ridiculous, mother," Scorpius's father says gently. "I'm responsible for my own youthful stupidity. So it's my fault."

"I think you'll find it's mine," says Mr Potter. And Scorpius has never heard such a quiet voice be so arresting. The air is filled with a thickness of anticipation, and he realises that this is a conversation he has not earned entry to. He quietly moves towards the door.

"Stay," says Mr Potter. "It's taken me almost two years, but I'm finally ready to answer your question."

Scorpius comes back into the room and sits beside his mother. She puts her hand on his shoulder and leaves it there in reassurance.

"Your grandmother saved my life on the night of the Battle of Hogwarts. She lied to Voldemort, in full knowledge that she would be killed in an instant if he found out. I've never told anyone that until now. Your father followed his two friends who had a plan to capture me and hand me over, he had a plan to stop them. I let people believe that he was working with them, because I was so angry with him after the fighting had ended. And that wasn't the first time he'd saved my life. In fact ..." Mr Potter looks about the room, and finally up at the chandelier, "... I think the first time was in this room, although it looks different."

"We've redecorated," Scorpius's father says weakly. "Purple was so last regime."

Mr Potter holds Scorpius's father's eyes for a long moment, Scorpius only realises how long when he must finally take a breath. Then his father speaks.

"I failed to save you, Harry. All of my war stories are stories of failure, no matter what I tried to do. I even failed myself. So how about we don't revisit them? How about we accept that today, you've done a good job and life can go back to normal."

Mr Potter opens his mouth to speak, but Mr Weasley beats him to it. "You've made up for it since, though." Scorpius's father and Mr Potter both look at him with surprise, and he continues: "Seriously, half the reason the Aurors can be trusted now is that you gave us spells that let us rely on skill rather than sneaking about. If you'd stayed locked in the Manor after the War, we'd still have a Ministry that spent most of its time battling itself and its own people. We couldn't have changed it without you."

"I think your wife's legislative reforms might have had some impact," Scorpius's father says, though he can't keep his smile at bay.

"Yeah, of course, but you know what I mean."

"He's right," says Mr Potter, quietly.

Scorpius's father grins. "Well, obviously I had to invent spells for you. Otherwise you'd have become famous as the Auror who took bad people's wands away, and sooner or later someone would have figured out to carry a gun ..."

Mr Weasley roars with laughter, and Mr Potter smiles. Scorpius realises that his grandmother has tears on her cheeks, and he moves to sit beside her. His mother stands up suddenly. "But there are still men patrolling the gardens, we should bring them inside, there are many cakes and more sandwiches than even four Englishmen can eat."

"Merlin, I completely forgot." Mr Potter shakes his head.

"I shall bring in more wine," says Scorpius's mother.

"Thanks, but they're not meant to drink while on duty," Mr Potter says.

"Oh Harry, you are their boss, you can give them the afternoon off." And at that Mr Potter smiles, and agrees that he can.

All three men stand to go and call the remaining Aurors in, then all three defer to each other. Harry puts a hand on the shoulder of each of the others and gently pushes them back into their chairs. "My team, I'll go," he says. His hand lingers on Scorpius's father's shoulder. "Draco, I'm sorry."

Scorpius's father shakes his head. "Don't be." He pats Mr Potter's hand. "I made my own choices and they've worked out well for the most part." Mr Potter smiles and heads outside.

Scorpius's mother calls for more wine, butterbeer and firewhiskey, and more plates and glasses. Looking at Mr Weasley she adds a request for hot pies. The Aurors traipse in, all grinning at the news of the investigation's success, and begin to load their plates with food. "Should we wait for Mr Potter?" Scorpius's mother asks her ex-husband.

He smiles at her fondly. "He's not coming back," he says. He's right.

Some hours later, Mr Weasley makes a point of seeing Scorpius before he goes. "Your dad says yes to a party, so we'll make sure everyone's here for it."

Scorpius grins at him. "Thanks. Say hi to Rose for me. I'll write and let her know what's happened."

Mr Weasley puts an arm around Scorpius's shoulders. "On that topic, Hermione and I were hoping you could pop over tomorrow and say hi to her in person. I was going to schedule a guard detail, but now you can just fly or have your dad Apparate you."

"Yeah, that'd be great. And I can stay with the Potters later in the hols, now, so we can see each other more."

Mr Weasley smiles at him. "She'd like that. You cheer her up and give her something other than books to obsess over. It's good."

After Mr Weasley leaves, Scorpius goes to his room and writes a long letter to Rose. After sending it off to be Owled, he writes a far longer one to Albus, happy that he remembered to share his news in the right order.

The rest of the holidays pass in a whirl of visits and Scorpius's sixteenth birthday party. Rose gives him a Ravenclaw scarf that she knitted. Albus gives him Winston Churchill's The Second World War. All his friends stay at the Manor that week, and even James manages to behave himself.

When they meet again at Kings Cross Station on the first of September, the Malfoy and Potter families are there together by design and are joined by the Granger-Weasleys. Luna Lovegood also joins them, as she and Ginny Weasley are due to head off on an expedition through Iceland that evening.

Scorpius looks forward to sixth year with calm happiness. It is pleasant being Rose's boyfriend, and, thanks to their conniving friends they end up with their own compartment in the Prefects' carriage. She kisses him and snuggles beside him, her soft red hair curling over his shoulder while he reads and she comments on his book. They take it in turns to make rounds to ensure the younger students aren't killing each other.

Each time they return, another prefect accompanies them. Slowly their compartment fills up with the same friends who were planning to give them space.

Laura Wadcock is patiently explaining to James that just because they are Head Boy and Head Girl, it is not a portent that they should go out. Maisie Carrington, thrilled that she is a prefect and her nemesis Lily is not, has given up on boys altogether and decided that Oonagh Quigley is simply fascinating. Oonagh, sensing a year of never having to get her own coffee, has turned her charisma up to high.

It is warm and comforting, and Scorpius feels safe among these people. Laura asks what he is reading, he holds it out to her.

"Muggle book, eh? Planning ahead for when you're Minister of Magic and need to deal with their PM?" she asks smilingly.

"Oh Al's going to be Minister of Magic," he replies with a glance at his friend, who nods his agreement.

Laura laughs. "What are you planning then? Prime Minister?"

Scorpius and Albus both look at her evenly. "Well, obviously," Scorpius says.

Laura shakes her head at the two of them and continues to do so every time she sees them together, well into term.

Sixth year lacks the immediate exam stresses of fifth year, and once timetables are sorted, everything rolls along pleasantly and evenly. So it comes as a shock to Scorpius when, while he is changing for the Halloween Feast, Ryan Timms suddenly runs into the dorm shouting his name.

"What's up?"

"My aunt," Ryan pants, "she lives near your place in Wiltshire. She just Floo'd me. There's something going on at the Manor, she says the grounds are crawling with Aurors and she could see a fire."

"Fuck!" Scorpius grabs a bag and stuffs it with textbooks and a change of clothes. "Is that it? Did she know who ..." He can't bring himself to ask if anyone is inside.

Ryan understands. "That's all she knew. How are you going to get there?"

Scorpius is frantic. "I could fly, but it'll take hours, even if I Transfigure. I could Floo from Hogsmeade ..."

Ryan shakes his head. "They know you there. They'd never help a student run away." He reaches under his robes and pulls out a paper timetable. "Listen, the next train leaves Hogsmeade in thirty-two minutes. That'll get you to Inverness in time for the evening flight to Luton. Do you have any Muggle money?"

Scorpius rummages through his drawer and pulls out a small bundle of pounds and a credit card. "Stash, in case of emergencies," he says grimly.

Ryan gives a half-smile in support. "It's generational. My parents drummed escape routes into me, too. Here, take my computer," he pulls a small electronic device out from under his robes. "It should work by the time you get to the station. Do you know how to use it?"

"Enough to book a ticket at any rate. Thanks, you're a mate."

"You can catch the Knight bus at Luton, if they can't get you home they can at least drop you at Swindon."

"Easy fly from there," Scorpius agrees, grabbing his broom. Then he puts his bag and broom down again and hugs Ryan briefly. "Seriously, thank you, and thank your aunt for me." He picks up his possessions again and walks swiftly to the door with Ryan accompanying him. "Can you cover for me?" he asks.

"Already sorted," Ryan assures him. "I'm going to tell everyone you've got food poisoning after that dire excuse for sausages at lunch."

"Glamorous, cheers." Scorpius chuckles grimly. "Can you tell Al where I've gone?"

"Yeah, course," Ryan promises, pausing now they're at the oak doors. "And Rose, too."

"Thanks, I'll try and get back by morning." Scorpius throws a leg over his broom.

"Good luck," Ryan tells him, his voice following Scorpius up into the air.

Twelve minutes and four Galleons into the ticket machine later, Scorpius realises he should have walked. Then he would have arrived here just before the train. The station is all but deserted and the waiting rooms are locked due to early knock-off for the festivities. The train is due in twenty minutes, and he has only textbooks to distract him from the fact that anything could be happening at his home. He uses Ryan's computer to book a flight and is again frustrated at the unwillingness of the wizarding world to embrace instant news reporting.

Eleven minutes later he has walked up and down the platform five times and can confidently declare that it is three-hundred and eighty-two steps long. He hears his name being shouted.

James and Lily Potter come out of the sky on brooms and land flanking him. "You need to come back to school," James tells him in a hurried voice. "Dad Floo'd, your family are fine, the Manor's OK, just a bit of charcoal around one window. Your dad says he'll come and see you tomorrow but if you get suspended for bunking off he is docking your pocket money from now until you're seventeen."

"My dad said that?" Scorpius raises an eyebrow.

James shrugs. "My Dad said your dad said that, so he may have actually threatened to strangle my dad if he didn't stop you doing something stupid, but that's the version I was told."

Lily takes his bag and broom from his unresisting hands, puts them down and gives him a hug, with no groping, so he knows she is being serious.

"Dad was in a panic. He told us to go and find you and when you weren't at the feast or in Ravenclaw, we knew you must have already heard the news and bolted. So he told James and me we had to stop you before you got in trouble."

"You and James?" Scorpius is slightly surprised that Al isn't with them.

"Yeah, he made James immobilise Al before he told us anything," Lily says with a sigh. "He's going to be furious."

"Immobilise him? Why?"

Lily laughs. "Are you joking? He'd have locked the two of us in a cupboard and Apparated the two of you to Wiltshire. You'd have turned up with fingers missing. Dad sent his sensible children. Now be a sensible child yourself and come back to school with us before we all get detention."

Scorpius sits down suddenly on the platform. It takes him a moment before he trusts his voice to speak. "They're really OK?" he asks.

"They're really OK," Lily tells him.

"Dad promised," James agrees. "He'd Apparated back to his office from the Manor so that he could Floo. Your dad made him go straight away. Which just goes to show that you should get the Manor connected to the Floo network."

"Yeah, good point ..." Scorpius agrees in a shaky voice. He stands up. "All right. Let's go back."

When they arrive back at the castle, Scorpius can feel its relief at his return. He runs his hand along the walls as James walks him to Gryffindor Tower, while Lily goes to snaffle them some food. Albus is under a duvet in one corner of the common room, James whips it off and removes the body-bind spell, then leaps quickly out of the way of the kick Al aims at his testicles.

"Are you all right?" Al ignores his brother for his friend.

"Mostly," Scorpius says with a feeble smile.

Al hugs him and guides him over to the sofa nearest the fire. He sits with an arm around his shoulders until Lily returns with an entire basket of food and a house-elf carrying a tray of thick hot chocolates. Lily puts her basket down, then kisses the house-elf's forehead after he has handed out the drinks. "You're a darling! Thank you so much!" she says.

The elf stammers that it was nothing and makes a blushing exit.

Scorpius begins to laugh. "Potters. You're all terrible, terrible people," he says.

"Course we are, Scorp," says Lily sitting at his feet, her brothers having taken both sides of the sofa. "That's why you love us."

"That must be it," he agrees.

Over breakfast the next morning the Daily Prophet arrives, carrying a front page entirely devoted to Peter Abbott's escape from Auror custody and his attack on Malfoy Manor. A photograph takes up half the page, there, under the banner FORGIVENESS, is Abbott sobbing in Narcissa Malfoy's arms, her hand patting his hair as she murmurs gently to him.  Despite the alleged terrorist's threats to blow the Manor up, which provoked a siege that required the involvement of twenty-three Aurors including Harry Potter himself, the only casualties, according to the report, were a pair of curtains and an albino peacock.

Rose is horrified at what might have happened. Scorpius is almost giddy with relief as he reads the story again. "I always hated those birds."

He returns Ryan's computer and thanks him. He tells Rose again that he is all right, and silently thanks Lily who remembered to run and collect her for their supper in Gryffindor. Various voices up and down the Ravenclaw table call out to ask him how he thinks his grandmother talked the suicidal Abbott down.

"I think she either fed him cake and tea until he gave up, or else she opened the top buttons on her robes," James opines. "Narcissa Malfoy's still got it in spades, and it would take more than a death wish not to notice."

Scorpius knows he should be appalled, but he is too busy laughing with everyone else.

As promised, his father comes to see him after breakfast. He arrives with Mr Potter and Mr Weasley flanking him. He is wearing the long black robe of an Unspeakable, and his hair is unkempt. Emily Craddock and Laura Wadcock are at the head of the gaggle of students leaving the Great Hall when they spot the three men. They stop in their tracks. The gestures they make with their hands could be mistaken for fanning.

Scorpius runs past them to barrel into his father's arms. He steps back and looks at him closely. "Are you sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine," his father tells him. "Your grandmother's fine, the house-elves are fine, we are one more peacock on the road to a sane garden and those curtains had to go anyway."

"The Prophet says it was a four-hour siege." Scorpius isn't letting him laugh the incident away.

"Two hours, and there was only any danger for the first five minutes."

"What happened?"

"He was angry." Scorpius's father walks a little way down the corridor with him as James, Lily, Al, Rose and Hugo spot and swamp their fathers. "He wanted to be heard, so we listened to him."

"Was that all?" It doesn't make sense to Scorpius that so much anger could be dispelled so easily.

His father smiles gently. "Oh no, we told him we were sorry, and also that we forgave him."

"He tried to have you killed."

"That's what I forgave him for." Scorpius's father looks at him seriously. "He's not an evil man, son. Just an angry man who did bad things. Now a lot of that anger is gone, maybe he can go back to being the man he's meant to be."

Scorpius nods. He thinks he understands.

"Harry tells me that you were sensible and stayed where you were safe last night. I can't tell you how glad I was, we didn't know if there were others out there, I was so worried about what would happen if you left the safety of the school."

Scorpius can see James nodding firmly over his father's shoulder. "Oh, yeah, James and Lily explained the situation and made sure everybody acted reasonably," Scorpius lies smoothly.

"That's a first, there's hope for them yet," Mr Potter says behind him.

Scorpius wants to defend his friends, but there is a limit to the amount of lying he can do in one morning.

They talk for a few more minutes, then Professors Flitwick and McGonagall appear and the family reunion expands into a school one. Scorpius and his classmates are sent off to ready themselves for the day, while the adults catch up for a short period before they are due at the Wizengamot where Scorpius's father plans to speak in favour of leniency for Peter Abbott.

The castle is humming through Scorpius's feet in the way that he has learned to read as happiness. "What is it?" he asks, putting his hands against the stone.

You never told me they had all become friends
, it chides him gently. I had been afraid that they would never forgive each other.

Scorpius is surprised that it has never before occurred to him to ask: "Can you show me what happened between Dad and Harry Potter?"

I will show you the last time I saw them together when they were young, it replies. Then it shows him the Great Hall, hangings rent and jewels spilled over the floor. Mr Potter stands in the middle of the room, he is young, pale and bloodied, yet the light of early morning makes him seem golden. In front of him is the twisted body of a man in black robes, and Scorpius realises with a shock that he is seeing the only man Harry Potter has ever caused to die. A look of utter relief comes over that face, so like Albus's, and he looks about, searching, as a cacophony of joyful shouts fills the air. He finds the target of his search and smiles, then frowns.

The castle follows his eyes. Scorpius sees his father, youthful, tattered, being held by Narcissa and a man he assumes must be Lucius. The young Harry Potter looks at the tableau for a moment, until the arms grabbing him and holding him are too insistent and he succumbs to being passed from one hug to the next. He does not look back into the corner of the room where the three pale heads are nestled together. When Scorpius's father at last pulls himself away from his mother's arms, he looks around the room with increasing anxiety, but Harry Potter has already left.

They never spoke again inside these walls, until you came here, the castle tells him. It shows him his father moving to stand by a long row of bodies, then walking along the line until he stops near a young woman, who looks vaguely familiar. He straightens her clothing, wipes dirt from her face with a clean part of his own shirt, puts her hand into the hand of the man beside her, then turns away with a look of deep sorrow.

"Who's that?" Scorpius asks.

His cousin. They only met a handful of times. The castle draws its line of sight back, and Scorpius can see how small most of the bodies in that row are. They are his age for the most part, one or two seem even younger. Tears come to his eyes, and the mysteries of his father's life are wrapped into this larger mystery. For how can so much horror have gone past without the world changing entirely? How can division and banality survive this profound break with all that should be sacred?

And yet, over the following months, Scorpius's own life seems to carry on as normal. Only he is aware of its change in focus.

In May, the Wizarding world pauses to mark the 25th anniversary of Liberation.

Scorpius wins the Charity Burbage essay prize and so, on a clear blue and green morning, with birdsong on the breeze, in front of the thousand-odd chairs lined up in formation and filled with students, staff, alumni, parents, and veterans, he takes the podium to speak.

"We stand here on the ground of the Battle of Hogwarts," he says. "On a field where students died because one man believed that his life was the only one that mattered.

"He convinced others that he was right. That they, too, were superior by virtue of birth, by virtue of blood. They followed him. They committed acts of great evil in his name, some because they loved the corrupted freedom evil afforded them, others because they hungered for the power they were promised in reward.

"And we would like to think that we are nothing like them. Although for many of us, they are our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles. We think we would do differently, do better. Because our world is not like their world. We know now the cost of their lies. We know now the horror of their evil.

"And we say to each other, remember our dead. Remember those who died on this field, those who died in the castle. From Severus Snape who gave his life away years before he lost it, to Colin Creevey whose life was snuffed out at the beginning of its brightest years.

"And we do remember them. Their names are carved on the plinth beside Albus Dumbledore's tomb. Fifty-five Liberators lost their lives here that night. We learn their names in our classes, we hold them in our thoughts.

"Seventy-eight Muggles died that day, too. The Village of Little Hangleton was destroyed by Tom Riddle in his rage. If you read their newspapers, they say it was an explosion, caused by poor fuel containment at the garage. Yet every one was dead before they were consumed by the fire.

"Brendan Waters was driving down the High Street with his wife Diana when Riddle struck. His car was found with his three children cowering in the footwells; their parents bought them the time to hide, prayed it would be enough. Sarah, Peter and Mary died with them.

"Gemma Harris was difficult to learn about because the Muggle papers just referred to her as 'student', but if you look hard enough you will find out that she was on her gap year, and that she planned to be a doctor, partly because she thought the money looked nice, partly because she never got over her mum dying of cancer and wanted to use her pain for good.

"The Thompson family died while eating an early dinner, they were killed at the start. Bill Frederickson must have heard what was happening, his wife and daughters made it into their car and halfway across a field. He died with a weapon in his hands, it had been used.

"They fought in our war, too, without understanding why, without hope of success. Yet they fought for the same things we did, for things they loved, be that family, home, or a future …

"So when we remember those who were snatched from us by bigotry and by hate on this day, I ask that we remember there were one hundred and thirty-three of them. And that we remember the thousands whose lives were torn by their loss, and a world made less because they are not here."

Scorpius steps down, and Professor Flitwick steps forward to lead the choir in a song of solace. Albus is there, with his father. James and Lily are with Mrs Potter, on the other side of the aisle. Mr Potter catches Scorpius's hand as he walks past, pulls him down into the empty seat that Flitwick has left. Mr Potter holds onto his hand, and Scorpius realises that it is because his own hand is shaking. Mr Potter's is firm, and strong. Albus reaches across his father and covers both hands with his own.

The ceremony ends. Harry Potter has not spoken. He never does at these events, but he is here, and the cameras zoom in on him. They capture him hugging a young blond man. They do not hear the words he whispers. "Your father would be so proud!" he says.

"He wanted to be here, but …" Scorpius shrugs.

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy!" There are reporters lunging towards them. "How does your father feel about your fondness for Muggles, Mr Malfoy?" Rubeus Hagrid and his wife choose that moment to impose their large selves between the Potters and the press. James and Lily come in beside their father to block Scorpius from the cameras.

"Run," Harry advises the children.

They turn to go, but Minerva McGonagall is there, and Scorpius stops still.

She looks up at him. As though she cannot remember exactly when he grew taller than her. She kisses his cheek gently. "Thank you," she says, quietly. "And Harry is right. Run."

They do. Al takes the lead, Lily runs with him and James takes the rear and they are soon back inside the castle and Scorpius never hears Rose calling after him.

"That was a good speech, Scorp," Lily tells him.

"Yeah," James agrees. "And thanks to you, we don't need to pose for photos. Genius. I'm going to see if there's any morning tea about. Coming?"

Lily follows him, but Scorpius rests against the wall and doesn't quite seem able to move.

Al looks at him, worried. "This won't do," he says. "You're a shambles."

Scorpius realises that his shaking hand has spread, and now it's knees, teeth, everything. Al drags him to the troll tapestry and leans him against the wall while summoning the Room.

You did well, the castle reassures him, yet the shaking does not stop.

Al half-carries him inside. Sits him on a sofa, calls a house-elf to bring supplies, then forces Scorpius to drink hot chocolate. Takes the cup away when he splashes too much over the rim. "Scoop, what is it?"

"It shouldn't have been me," Scorpius's voice is too high, too fast. "I've only just realised. I should have let the Headmistress read it, or you, or anyone. Just not me. They're going to make me the story, because I'm a Malfoy. They won't have listened to a word I said!"

Al takes his hands to stop him jiggling them. "It's okay," he says. "Dad is out there with the Press. He'll talk to them. And most of them think he's unhinged, anyway, so now they know he likes you, they'll toe the line in case he hexes them."

Scorpius looks at him with hope. "Do you think?"

"He has to get some benefit out of being Harry Potter," Al grins.

It is such a grin.

Scorpius's hands go to that jaw, and pull that mouth against his own. Years of not touching Al, not smelling his skin, not revelling in the dark madness of his hair, are gone in that second. And Al's mouth is moving, and there is a tongue against the back of Scorpius's teeth and he knows he has never made that sound before.

But he's never known that Al's shoulders or chest felt like this, either, nor felt so giddyingly unbalanced as when Al pushes him back along the sofa, and he's not entirely sure why Al is laughing softly and saying that he knew, that he was certain. Then Al's hands have pushed his dress robes off, and they're under his shirt, and Scorpius is trying to remember what he does and does not know and it's all much too hard.

Except that: "We're meant to be at a memorial service."

"We did that. We fled."

"Is this disrespectful?"

Al cups his face in his hands. "The first thing any of those kids or adults would do if they could come back, is this. Or something very much like it."

"I …"

Al covers his mouth with his hand. "I love you," he says. "I've loved you for such a long time." And his hand moves away but then his mouth is there again and his hands are elsewhere and there is no sense of time in such a fervid whirl of new experience.

And so when Scorpius finally thinks how different this is to being with Rose, it's an hour later, even though he could have sworn it was only minutes. And everything stops with that thought. Al's eyes are as green as spring, and it takes him a moment to see that he has been pushed to one side, and that Scorpius is thrusting his feet into his shoes. He blinks.

"I'm sorry, I can't, I'm sorry …" And Scorpius runs rather than see the next look on Albus's face.

He runs. Everyone is back in the castle, the service is finished and there are students wandering about with tea and cake. People still call "Good speech!" after him, when it's absurd now, because he should have told Rose, he should never have touched Rose, and he thanks providence that a first year is coming out as he reaches the door, because he couldn't answer a question as to his name at this moment.

He bursts into the common room and comes to a dead stop at the sight of Rose in her favourite blue armchair.

He hears the haughty voice of Emily Craddock: "What do you look like?" and he blushes furiously.

He knows exactly what he looks like: shirt untucked and awry, belt unbuckled, lips swollen, neck bruised, and hair that may as well have fingerprints through it.

Rose's voice is cool, but almost encouraging as she stands up. "Tell me it isn't what it seems," she says, a nervous smile playing across her lips.

He can't. It is. It's worse.

He lets her slap him, almost feels better as his head snaps round and his ears ring. But the harsh sob contained in her "Get out!" breaks his heart again.

He runs to his dormitory, and for once fate is with him and there's no one else there. He throws himself against the wall and begs the castle to show him Al.

You're upset, it doesn't think this is a good idea.

"Please!"

And there he is. He's sitting on the floor, holding his shirt, and Scorpius's dress robes. He's taking gulping breaths of air and trying very hard not to cry.

He's confused, he doesn't know why you left,
the castle tells him.

"Show me Rose," he whispers.

And she is leaning against Emily, keening softly, and Emily looks fit to kill. Then she leaps to her feet and runs from the common room, leaving Emily looking after her.

Scorpius swears, and bangs his head back against the wall.

Don't.

He steps away deliberately. Decided, he reaches under his bed and pulls out his trunk, then begins to pack his clothes neatly into it. He ignores the castle's attempts to gain his attention, or to soothe him. Then …

Scorpius!

The castle has never called him by name before. He sits on the ground, and pats the stones awkwardly.

You can't lose all of us in the one day.


He laughs and sobs in the one breath, then stretches out, and hugs the floor as best he can. "I'm being an idiot, aren't I?"

Yes. But you're young. It's allowed.

Smiling to himself, he stands up and starts to take his possessions out of his trunk, which is when Lily Potter runs into his room.

"Oh Malfoy, you cannot be running away again!" she exclaims.

"The brilliant Miss Potter whose genius was only flawed by her being unable to tell the difference between packing and unpacking," he jokes weakly.

She squeezes his hand briefly and sits on the corner of his bed. "Is it terribly awful?" she asks. Ignoring his shrug, she goes on. "Because I have a theory. None of you have ever given me credit for the significant size of my brain." She smiles at his look of incredulity.

"But here's what I've worked out in the last six minutes. Rose ran up to me in the Great Hall and dragged me away from cakes to ask me why I couldn't keep my hands to myself. She is upset and irrational. I file this observation as supporting my hypothesis, then I run up here, to find you looking like a tousled strumpet.

"At the same time I recall that the last time I saw you, you were in my brother's company, the same brother that I have not seen for the past hour, despite practically everyone else being at the Memorial Festival of Cake downstairs."

Lily pauses for dramatic effect. "Ergo," she continues, "you are unbelievably stupid. Luckily, I am one of your best friends and I am a genius. I have left Rose seeking comfort in the broad and, I am told, attractive arms of my other brother. I have then come in search of you so that I may slap you around the head until you start acting like a sensible person, at which point I will take you in search of my missing brother, because goodness knows the two of you are stupid enough for each other. So, are you coming with me to find Al, or do I start slapping?"

Socrpius looks at her in amazement. "How did you get into my dormitory?"

Lily laughs. "For as long as there are Ravenclaw boys, Scorp, I will always be able to get into your dormitory. Coming?" She holds out her hand, Scorpius takes it.

Emily Craddock is looking daggers at them as they walk into the common room. Lily leaves Scorpius for a moment and whispers quickly to Emily, whose face softens into bemusement. "You are so stupid," she tells Scorpius. "But I can keep that quiet, too."

He smiles at her as Lily drags him past and out the door. He remembers that he knows exactly where Al is, but when he tells Lily this, she insists on accompanying him. "One, to make sure you get there, and two, because I will need to intercept Rose if she makes a bid to kill you."

"Three, because you're dying to know where we disappear to," he adds.

"Well, obviously ..."

They arrive at the tapestry. Scorpius walks past the room once, a door appears.

"I thought it took three times," Lily says, surprised.

"It does." Scorpius is just as surprised. He puts a hand on the door.

Just knock.


He does, and the door opens a crack. "Lil …" he looks over his shoulder.

She is smiling, and already dancing away. "I've done my bit," she tells him. "You're on your own from here."

He is somewhat relieved to hear that.

He steps through the door, and Al is still sitting on the floor, pointedly not looking at him.

"I am an idiot, you know," Scorpius tells him.

Al doesn't look round, but a smile twitches at the corner of his mouth.

"I came back …"

"You left." Al is still looking steadily away.

"I broke up with Rose."

The smile is firmly on Albus's face now. "How did that go?"

Scorpius steps into Al's line of vision and sits beside him. "Badly," he admits.

Al takes in the blooming bruise on Scorpius's cheek. "Oh."

"It's all I deserve."

Al shakes his head slightly, but Scorpius smiles at him.

"No, it is. Because I had no business making her think I cared for her like that when I've been in love with you for such a long time."

"So is she going to kill us?" Al is smiling so brightly, he seems to glow.

"I don't think so, Lily has decided to explain everything and make everyone see sense."

"So the entire school will know by dinner."

Scorpius can't help laughing. "I don't think so. She's a good friend. Although she's also a demon from hell, so you can never be too sure."

"Well." Al reaches out to him. "If we're damned for a penny, we may as well be damned for a pound."


Part 4b
 
 
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: The World in Union (GO LIONS!)
 
 
 
the center of the room and beyond: flails heartsnottygrrl on October 13th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
oh man! i so want to read this and i haven't time right now (nor probably in the next 24 hours). [*weeps*]

am v. v. excited though [*smooches*]
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 13th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
Remember, snotster, real life moves quickly, but fanfic is up until lj notices. Go with the former!
shiikishiiki on October 13th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
I've been following the story from the start (I forgot how I found it, though) even though I don't care for slash. Still don't, but I very much enjoyed the little bits in between here - the memorial speech, in particular. I wanted to say that the 'Charity Burbage essay prize' was an exceptionally good touch. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 13th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
If anyone had told me I would be writing slash six months ago, they'd have been subjected to a serious glare. Perfectly reasonable position for you to take, so thank you a great deal for putting up with a fair amount of quiet slashiness in this. I'm very very glad you liked the other parts. I did think poor Charity deserved her own prize after being so summarily executed. I like to think that she and McGonagall had a standing dinner date every Saturday where they would read Muggle novels and laugh at the silly parts.
This brilliant Tuesday in this lonely placeno_mad_skillz on October 13th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeeee! *runs to Part 4b*
Catscatsintheattic on October 13th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Sins of the Fathers 4a/4
I love this fic. I would like to say more, but I'm speechless, sobbing and smiling at the same time.

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story.

I'm off to read the last chapter...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 13th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Sins of the Fathers 4a/4
Oh, thank you! Sorry about the sobbing, glad to hear it has smiles attached. They have such a fragile world to grow up in, I wanted to make sure that they at least were happy. Hope you liked the last bit, too. And thanks for being such an encouraging commenter!
the queen of all schadenfreude: HP/Ravenclaw - House Prideanimamea on October 14th, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
I usually don't comment on multi-part fics until the last entry, but I wanted you to know that you are brilliant and you made me cry.

My boyfriend now thinks I am completely insane.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 14th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I have come to the terrible realisation that under some circumstances I quite enjoy making people cry, but please know that I am virtually sending you a quite good cup of tea with lovely cake until you've perked back up. And boyfriends always think we're insane, it's part of our charm! He's clearly wrong, though.
dumbys_baby: HP social lifedumbys_baby on October 14th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
"We've redecorated," Scorpius's father says weakly. "Purple was so last regime."

*gigglesnort*

Off to read 4b ...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 15th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
Heh! Knew you'd laugh at that.
Blindmouse: whee...blindmouse on October 15th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
I love Narcissa surrepticiously putting down the marble bust.

I love Lily, hugging without groping to show that she's serious, and her "For as long as there are Ravenclaw boys, Scorp, I will always be able to get into your dormitory."

I love "Years of not touching Al ..." and I love the castle showing Al still sitting in the Room.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 15th, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)
YAY! Those were some of my favourite parts to write. Narcissa's face in my head was v funny, alas, I am not the artist I would like to be.
honilee on October 17th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC)
Yay! Yay, yay, yay! Oh, what an emotional rollercoaster! I almost don't want to go on to the next part because I don't want it to end! Scorpius' essay literally made me cry and I haven't cried over a piece of fiction in a long time. And then Al and Scorpius finally got together only for Scorp to be stupid enough to leave him at the worst possible moment! And look! I loathe the nickname "Scorp" but you make it seem so natural... I really should hate you for that, but I couldn't possibly hold it against you; you've made these two characters, their families, friends, and world come alive for me. Thank you so, so much for that.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 17th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
I have discovered that it is a bad character flaw that I enjoy making readers cry. I, too, loathe Scorp, and Al, bless him, at least tried to get Scoop working. There is something about boarding school that means nicknames will happen; it's as though children are possessed by Australians (Oh! I must ask my one Aussie friend who went to boarding school what happens when you square that effect!) You are very welcome, it was immense fun watching this world grow and grow.
(no subject) - honilee on October 17th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on October 21st, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - davidkevin on October 19th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on October 20th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Creativatorravenpan on November 9th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
Sins of the Fathers 4a/4
The running had me scared. The speech had me sobbing - and everything afterward had me worried and smiling all at once. Lovely!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
Re: Sins of the Fathers 4a/4
Thank you! I am sorry I made you cry, but happy that the smiles were soon back.
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on December 17th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Finally!

Wait, first, I loved the interaction between Harry and Scorpius after his speech.

Okay, back to it. What an utterly wonderful "first" kiss. The whole scene was gorgeousness x awesome. But this, I think was my favourite:


Years of not touching Al, not smelling his skin, not revelling in the dark madness of his hair, are gone in that second. And Al's mouth is moving, and there is a tongue against the back of Scorpius's teeth and he knows he has never made that sound before.

But he's never known that Al's shoulders or chest felt like this, either, nor felt so giddyingly unbalanced as when Al pushes him back along the sofa, and he's not entirely sure why Al is laughing softly and saying that he knew, that he was certain. Then Al's hands have pushed his dress robes off, and they're under his shirt, and Scorpius is trying to remember what he does and does not know and it's all much too hard.


So beautiful!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 17th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
Yay! Harry is quite the champion, in several senses. And yes, I think that the moment the Albus that existed in Scorpius's head was overwritten by the real experience must have been fabulously overwhelming; one of those kisses where there is always a part of your brain that is happily shrieking "This is really happening! I can't believe it! Huzzah and let ring the bells!!!"

I do so hope it's not just my brain that does that ...
Randy: Brian Justin Loversdrgaellon on January 11th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
I am in love with your Lily here...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 15th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the delay on this, but thanks! Especially thanks since she is based on me at her age (um, I'd say that she's exaggerated for effect, but I suspect that I was even more appalling. It was the 80s, the live music scene was very distracting ...)
mein_profilmein_profil on March 26th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Wonderful fic, thank you so much! And, oh, the good old fanon albino peacocks in the mansion's garden! Draco's comment "We are one more peacock on the road to a sane garden" nearly kiled me, haha! Any idea who came up with these for the very first time? As far as I remember they are not canon, are they?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 15th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Oh good grief, I am the worst replier to comments in the history of the world ... sorry! Thanks for that, and the albino peacocks are actually canon, at least in the UK editions, though they're certainly not as foregrounded as they are in fic! Sorry about my failure at replying, a mixture of native tardiness and irregular notifications from lj is fatal!
the source of all heresiesms_worplesdon on January 15th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
And here I thought my heart was going to break!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 15th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
You know, I've not read this story in ages, it's actually quite good in parts ... DO NOT START THE SEQUEL unless you can cope with something unfinished. I really and truly am intending to complete it soon, but it keeps being put on the backburner ...

Thanks, dear!
~ina-chan~: mattxmelloina_chan0808 on April 25th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
i just don't know how i can tell you how much i love this ^^ when scorp kissed albus my playlist switched to "the glory of love" from Primal Scream and i couldn't stop myself from grinning like an idiot...great!
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on June 1st, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
"His tailored black shirt and trousers are at odds with their leather coats, kicker boots and the longish hair most Aurors affect."
ohhh, hot, if I could draw I'd so do that scene in a heartbeat...

"After sending it off to be Owled, he writes a far longer one to Albus, happy that he remembered to share his news in the right order"
Cute. And sooo obvious :-D