Questions and Answers


Story Summary:
What happens when the past collides with the present and threatens to cast the Potters' and Weasleys' lives into disarray...

Chapter 09 - Sounds of Silence


Ginny set the notebook and quill aside. 'Oliver, Puddlemere is looking better and better every season since you started coaching them. Three League championships in a row, the European Cup twice. All in the last four years. It looks great.'

Oliver Wood grinned. 'Thanks. I'm on the short list to coach Scotland for the World Cup,' he said just a bit self-consciously, yet beaming with pride all the same.

'That's fantastic!'

'It's not mine yet, Ginny.'

'True, but you'd be the youngest national team coach in years.'

Oliver watched Ginny scribble a few notes in the notebook. 'You miss the game don't you?'

'Sometimes,' Ginny admitted. 'The thrill of victory and all that rubbish,' she said with a slight laugh.

'So why did you stop playing? You were one of the few who could ever score a goal on me on a regular basis,' Oliver asked curiously. 'I remember you just resigned. No reasons listed or anything. Sent quite the shockwave through the other teams, I'll have you know.'

Ginny sipped her coffee and shrugged. 'It was time,' she said simply.

'It was your peak!' Oliver countered.

'Yes, but there were things I wanted to do that didn't go very well with Quidditch.' Ginny gave Oliver a look. 'Like raise a family. I liked playing, but I could always see myself doing something else, too. Even before I signed with Holyhead. Wasn't my lifeblood, like it is for you.'

Oliver shook his head sadly. 'You could have played for England. Harry, too. With the two of you, England would have won the World Cup a few times.'

'That would have been a sight.' Ginny laughed. 'Could you imagine the crowds? Especially the first few years after the war? It would have been madness.'

'Yeah, but what a rush it would have been...' Oliver said dreamily. He checked his watch and muttered a pungent expletive under his breath. 'Bugger me. Is that the right time? Better get going, Ginny. Got a team meeting in twenty minutes.'

'Thanks for the interview, Oliver.' Ginny shook Oliver's hand warmly.

'Any time. Just send an owl to me.' Oliver left the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny checked her own watch, and noted she had around an hour left before she would need to pick up Lily from school. She turned her attention to her notebook, and started to put the bones of the story for the Sunday Prophet together, making a note to get with the photographer and choose a photograph to go with the story. The paper was about to begin a series profiling each British and Irish Quidditch captain and coach. Oliver had specifically requester her for his interview.

Ginny felt a pair of eyes on her. She looked up to see a vaguely familiar woman holding a neatly folded coat over her arm, trying to catch her eye. 'Ginny Weasley - I mean Potter?' she inquired politely.

'Yes.' Ginny shut her notebook, studying the woman with a guarded expression.

'Daphne Malfoy.'

'Oh! You're Scorpius' mother!' Ginny exclaimed, pleased to finally meet her. 'Please, sit.' Ginny indicated the chair Oliver had just vacated. 'I hope Mr. Malfoy is feeling better,' she said in a stilted tone, the politeness her mother had drilled into her head as a child bubbling to the surface. She still hadn't forgiven Lucius Malfoy for her first year at Hogwarts.

'He's...' Daphne hesitated, searching for the neutral way to say it. 'Not any worse than he was before Christmas. I just came back for a few days to attend to some personal matters.' Daphne shrugged, sitting down. 'I wanted to thank you for allowing Scorpius stay with you over the Christmas holiday.'

'It wasn't a problem.'

'He wrote to me. When he got back to school. It sounded like he had a lovely time.' Daphne bit her lip uncertainly. 'I hope it didn't cause any problems. With your family. I mean, with his being who he is.'

Ginny shook her head. 'It wasn't a problem,' she repeated.

'All right, then. I must go. My Portkey leaves for Calais in less than an hour.' Daphne stood and slipped on her coat. 'Thank you. For everything.'

'You're welcome.' Ginny watched Daphne Malfoy leave the Leaky Cauldron, hundreds of thoughts flying through her mind. Ginny had only seen Daphne in public just a few times. The last time had been the morning of September first on the train platform. Their brief conversation spoke volumes to Ginny, as attenuated as she was to reading people during interviews. Daphne wasn't anything like Ginny had expected. Ginny hadn't known Daphne at all during school, and the Malfoys didn't really socialize much outside their circle, when they socialized at all. A few small pieces of the puzzle that was Scorpius Malfoy began to fall into place.


Daphne wearily pushed open the swinging door that led to the kitchen of the villa in Nice. It was very early. Or rather late, depending on how one viewed the matter. It would be a couple of hours yet until the sun rose. The house was eerily silent and still, seeming to wait for something to happen. The undercurrents of tension were giving her a headache.

Lucius Malfoy was dead.

Daphne let the door swing shut behind her, while she massaged her temples. She was exhausted. Draco had shut himself up in his bedroom, when it was obvious Lucius was dying. Narcissa had kept vigil at Lucius' bedside until the end, when she silently rose from her chair, and disappeared into the depths of the house. Daphne couldn't stand to leave things alone, and had gone into the study to see to the details of transporting Lucius' body back to England for burial.

'Daphne?' Narcissa's soft voice drifted across the room. Daphne jumped in alarm, opening her eyes to find Narcissa sitting at the table, in an old, comfortable dressing gown, a large mug of tea in front of her.

'Oh! Narcissa.' Daphne slumped in the chair across from Narcissa's, Summoning a mug from the cupboard. 'May I get you something?' she asked tiredly.

'I think I should be the one to ask you that. Have you slept at all?' Narcissa asked gently.

Daphne rubbed her burning eyes. 'No.' She poured tea from the teapot in the center of the table into her mug. 'And miles to go before I can sleep.'

'You're going to have to get some sleep soon.'

'I will. I've just been writing letters to the French Ministry, and ours. Scorpius. Filling out the necessary forms for the French Ministry and ours. Setting aside the important papers, Lucius' will. Trying to find out how to transport the body back to Wiltshire.' She grimaced slightly. 'I know I'm probably overstepping my boundaries, but I couldn't just sit and do nothing.'

'I appreciate it, Daphne. I thank you for handling it. I do not think I would have been up for the task.'

'There is one letter left, though...' Daphne ran a hand through her already-disheveled hair, wincing. Her hair even hurt. 'It's to the Aurors,' she began. 'I wasn't snooping, truly, I wasn't, but I found Lucius' release forms from the Ministry...' she trailed off. 'One of the conditions is to -'

'Notify them of his death,' Narcissa finished flatly. Daphne nodded silently. 'Are they ready? The letters?'

'Yes. All except the one to the Aurors.'

'I'll write it.' Narcissa said. 'You go on to bed.'

'Are you sure?' Daphne asked.

Narcissa shook her head. 'Yes. I should do that one. I shouldn't have left you alone to cope with the others, either. Go to bed,' she urged Daphne. 'Get a few hours of sleep, and we'll go to the post office in the morning and owl everything to where it needs to go.' Daphne hesitated. 'I insist. Go,' Narcissa said firmly. Daphne nodded and put her mug in the sink, before slipping through the swinging door, and up the stairs.

Narcissa poured more tea into her mug, ignoring her stomach, churning from too much tea and not enough food, and left the kitchen. She went into the study and found the neatly written letters, already addressed, waiting on a corner of the desk. The other papers were on the other side of the desk. Sitting in the middle were Lucius' release forms.

Narcissa sat behind the desk, and spread the bundle of parchment across the blotter. The topmost form was an official letter from the Minister. Attached were Harry Potter's statements about her behavior in the Forest, Draco's own unwillingness to murder Dumbledore or turn him or his friends over to the Death Eaters. Narcissa found the part of the bundle of parchment with the conditions that kept both Draco and Lucius out of Azkaban. Notify the Ministry of any travel plans. Notify the Ministry of the country you were visiting of your whereabouts. Register your wand, if you still had one. Failure to do so would result in a sentence in Azkaban. Notify the Head of the Aurors in the event of said former Death Eater's demise.

She and Lucius had relocated to Nice as soon as Shacklebolt allowed them to leave England. The stares from the rest of the wizarding community were too much to bear this time.

Only a few Death Eaters still survived - Yaxley, Rowle, Crabbe, Goyle, Amycus Carrow.

And Draco.

Narcissa closed her eyes. Yaxley and Rowle were in Azkaban on a life sentence. Crabbe, Goyle, and the Carrows had received long sentences. Alecto Carrow had died in Azkaban, and if rumor served, Amycus was still in Azkaban, nothing more than a blubbering idiot. Crabbe had been released after ten years, and lived in near-poverty in Portsmouth, virtually a Muggle. The Ministry had snapped his wand. Goyle had been released after ten years, as well, and lived with his son and his family. He was also wandless.

Draco lived in the mansion in Wiltshire with Daphne most of the time. They were able to live comfortably, if not extravagantly, after the heavy fines the Ministry levied on them. They also lived a sort of isolated existence, seeing only family and a few friends. Draco chafed under the restrictions on his life. Narcissa knew Scorpius indirectly suffered a great deal from it, too. Although not in ways Draco would recognize nor sympathize with.

And Lucius. Lucius had never fully recovered from the year he had spent in Azkaban following the battle in the Department of Mysteries or the next year during the war. Broken. If Azkaban had nearly broken him physically, the war and its aftermath certainly had their toll on Lucius mentally. He had simply faded away bit by bit. Narcissa had felt nothing more than relief when he drew his last breath hours ago.

Narcissa pulled a sheet of parchment toward her, and inked a quill. Mr. Potter, she wrote slowly. This letter is to notify you of the death of my husband, Lucius Malfoy. She wrote steadily, outlining their plans to return the body to England and the necessity for Draco to travel from Nice to England.

The letter completed, Narcissa magically sealed it to all but Harry Potter, and set it with the others.


Al watched Scorpius pack his things for the summer. He'd been somewhat subdued the last several days. 'You all right?' Scorpius shrugged. Al rolled his eyes. The past few months had been rough on his friend. After his grandfather's death two months ago, the papers had been full of articles of Lucius Malfoy and his actions before and during the last war. People gave Scorpius a lot of long looks for a few weeks after that. Harry had called it 'guilt by association'.

Scorpius had also been the butt of several verbal and physical assaults from the Slytherins. Including a few of his Greengrass cousins.

At first, the Slytherins had waited for him to leave the Hall after meals when they could corner him alone, without the mass of the cousins. The Slytherins caused his bag to rip magically, in which bottles of ink broke, spilling ink all over his books and homework. In the halls between classes, they deliberately ran into him or blocked the corridor, so he would be late. More than once, one of them had shoved Scorpius so hard, he'd tumbled into the stone wall and ended up with a bloody nose.

During Potions, which Gryffindor still had with Slytherin, Geoffery Greengrass, one of his cousins, flicked the slimiest ingredients he could find at the back of his head. It seemed that no matter how many detentions Professor Williams gave Geoffery, he still tried to toss the most disgusting thing at Scorpius' head at least once a week.

Al had seen some of the notes that found their way into Scorpius' bag during class and between classes. Even sometimes brought by owl at breakfast. Most of them were along the lines of saying he was a swotty poof for being in Gryffindor. Or his mother must have been a slag and tart, because there was no way he was a real Malfoy. Whispers of "tosser" and "wanker" in the corridors.

But Scorpius said nothing. He never said a word to Neville, who could have helped do something about it. Even when Victoire used Episkey to fix the scrapes and bruises from the shoves, and insisted Scorpius tell her who did it, he remained silent. The cousins took it upon themselves to start shadowing Scorpius. Parker and Victoire were prefects and took House points from those students who were involved in the abuse and bullying that they were able to witness. Rosie had gotten so fed up with Geoffery Greengrass; she cornered him after Potions one day and backed him into a wall, telling him off the entire time. Then she punctuated it with a good hard right hook to his nose. Professor Williams had seen it all, but much to Rosie's relief, pretended he hadn't.

And Scorpius still said nothing, other than a brief word of thanks to Rosie. Al didn't know whether to be impressed with his friend's ability to ignore the Slytherins or to hit him over the head for being so thick about it all and not asking for help.

Al sighed. 'I know you had a shite year,' he told the back of Scorpius' head. 'You can trust us, you know. Me, James, Rosie, the twins, Parker, Isabella, Maddie. Even Nicky, Alex, and Sophie when they come next year. We can help you. Jacob and Fred have more pranks up their sleeve than a pack of pixies. Add James, and you've got some serious mayhem. Get some payback at least.'

Scorpius nodded stiffly. He didn't trust himself to speak right now.

Al closed the lid of his trunk. 'Train's leaving right after breakfast,' he said, and went down the spiral staircase to the common room. The cousins waited in a group.

'Is he coming to breakfast?' Rosie asked. Al shook his head. The cousins moved as a group to the portrait hole.

'Maybe I should go up and try to persuade him,' mused Victoire, looking over her shoulder at the staircase leading to the boys' dormitories.

'Leave it, Victoire,' said Madeline. 'He probably wants to be left alone.'

'But -' Victoire bit her lip. 'Maybe we should save him something, then.'

At the Gryffindor table, they were unusually quiet. Victoire Transfigured the tie from her uniform into a basket, and packed it with scones. 'I'm not really hungry.' Al pushed his plate away. 'I'm going to get my things and wait for the carriages.'

Al went back into the Gryffindor tower, and up to his dormitory. Scorpius was still sitting morosely on the foot of his bed. 'Victoire saved some scones for you,' Al told him. Scorpius merely grunted in reply.

Al picked up his schoolbag. He fiddled with the fastener. He decided to give it one more go. 'Look mate, we like you. We don't believe any of that rubbish that lot in Slytherin says. We're your friends. We care about you and what happens to you.' Scorpius still sat motionless, his gaze fixed unblinkingly on his shoes. Al turned and headed to the door.

'Al?' Scorpius' voice was soft and gritty with disuse. 'They do it because I'm an easy target. Like Teddy was when he was here.'

'But people didn't try to beat Teddy up in the corridors, either,' Al pointed out.

'True,' Scorpius conceded. 'Unfortunately, I will have to see Geoffery on occasion this summer. Family and all that,' Scorpius reminded Al.

Al blinked. 'Can't you at least tell your mother about the notes he's sent you?'

'The ink on the notes vanished after a few hours. Who's going to believe me when I show up with scraps of blank parchment? I'm not going to run crying to Mummy, and Merlin knows I won't tell my father. My father will think I deserve it.' Scorpius slid off his bed, and picked up his own schoolbag. 'The other stuff, in the corridor. It's nothing.'

'How can you call a broken nose nothing?'

'They stopped doing that once you lot started grouping around me between classes. Especially Parker and Victoire. I heard Professor Trentham giving them the wrong side of her tongue when she demanded to know why they'd lost so many points. Now, it's just the notes and whispers, and that's nothing.' Scorpius headed out the door. 'I can handle it.'

'Maybe you can come stay with us for a bit over the summer.' Al grinned. 'We can watch the rest of Star Wars,' he said enticingly.

'There's more?'

'Yeah. Two more films.' Al scrunched his face. 'Well, there's five more, really, but Dad hates the last three that were filmed, so he pretends they don't exist.'



'Thanks. For reminding me not everybody hates me here.' Scorpius scuffed the toe of his shoe against the floor. 'Helps to hear it every once in a while.'

'It's not everybody, Scorpius. Just a few berks who need to feel superior to everyone else.' Al gave Scorpius a look. 'You know Lily likes you. She asks about you all the time.'

'She's nice. Not like most girls I know.'

'Ew. That almost sounds like you like her. She's not even ten yet!'

'No!' Scorpius was horrified. 'She's just... not like most girls I know. Not really prissy or anything. She's actually kind of fun. For a girl, I mean,' Scorpius insisted diffidently.

Al looked at Scorpius skeptically. Lily may not yet be ten, and Scorpius barely twelve himself, but he had heard stories about Ron and Hermione when they were in school. He had even heard his father say jokingly that his mother had been patient enough to wait for him until he came to his senses.

It was enough to make Al wonder.