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 21 - Shadowed Snowflakes


Scorpius sat in the middle of his bedroom floor, and carefully laid Lily's book in the middle of a square of wrapping paper printed with sparkling snowflakes. He painstakingly folded the paper around the book, the tip of his tongue protruding from the corner of his mouth, and used an old roll of Spellotape to seal it. Flipping the flat package over, he attached a tag with Lily's name on it to the front, and wound a ribbon around it, tying into a crooked bow.

He looked up in satisfaction, grinning at the neatly wrapped package, the satisfied smile fading slowly. Draco was lurking in the shadowed corridor outside Scorpius' bedroom. Scorpius hadn't seen his father much since he got home, except at dinner. He tugged self-consciously a bit at his sweatshirt, emblazoned with a Gryffindor logo, and met his father's gaze. Draco blinked a few times, and rocked a little in indecision, but habit sent him down the chilly corridor to his bedroom. Scorpius merely shrugged in resigned acceptance and picked up his gifts for James, Al, and Lily, and deposited them in the bottom of his wardrobe, before tidying the debris from his gift-wrapping spree.

Draco pulled open a bureau drawer in his bedroom, and began to rummage for the flask he'd hidden there. He unscrewed the flask and tilted it over his mouth. He gulped a few swallows of the whisky inside and slowly lowered it, using his sleeve to wipe his mouth. Draco jammed the cap back on the flask and shoved it under his socks. He backed up slowly, until the backs of his knees came into contact with the edge of the bed, and sank down, giving the bureau a baleful glare. He knew the alcohol had become a crutch since his father died last spring. He hadn't completely drowned himself in an alcoholic haze yet, like Lucius had. Draco took some comfort in that he hadn't sunk so far as to spend every evening working his way through a bottle of whisky. He fell backward onto the bed, staring sightlessly at the ceiling.

Talking to his son didn't come easily. It never had. Draco had seen Harry take his two sons to the train last year, and his stomach twisted with envy as he watched Harry speak to his youngest son, a reassuring smile on his face. Draco had wanted to badly to be able to do the same to his own son, but all he could manage was a stern lecture on upholding the Malfoy family name. It was what his father had done, after all. Showing affection was not something easily done in the Malfoy household.

Draco had mentally sampled several topics of conversation he could broach with Scorpius, and almost immediately rejected them at dinner the last few nights, settling for ostentatious throat-clearing to hide his crippling indecision. He couldn't help but see Scorpius' shoulders tense each time. Draco had heard the rustle of paper when he came up the stairs earlier, and stood hidden in the shadows, watching his son meticulously wrap a few gifts, humming tunelessly under his breath. The last one, though, Scorpius had taken extra care in wrapping. Draco stepped forward, the question as to who it was for dying on his lips, even as the question formed on them.

Draco curled into a fetal position in the middle of the bed, pulling his knees into his chest. Spineless, he sneered. It was an accusation his father had thrown at him often enough before Lucius had gone into Azkaban.

He wondered how long it would take until he slipped under the surface of his self-loathing and drowned in it.

He wondered if he had the courage to stay afloat.


Scorpius bounced slightly on the sofa at Andromeda's, a little impatiently. He reached for another biscuit, and idly nibbled it, heaving a gusty sigh. 'Are we boring you?' Teddy asked, an amused glint in his eyes.

'No,' Scorpius replied, not untruthfully. It was interesting, listening to stories of what his grandmother had been like at his age, but he was anxious to go to Godric's Hollow for the last few days of the holiday.

Teddy laughed, and stood up. 'Go get your bag and coat. I promised Ginny I'd have you at the house before dinner.' Scorpius dashed from the sitting room, and into the front entrance, to collect his things. When he returned, his coat hung haphazardly from his shoulders.

Scorpius dropped his bag and threw his arms around his mother. 'Thanks, Mother. I'll send you an owl when I get to school Monday.'

Daphne returned the embrace, kissing his cheek. 'I'll see you at the Easter holiday, dear.'

Scorpius turned his attentions to Narcissa. 'Good-bye, Grandmother.'

Narcissa ruffled Scorpius tumbled hair. 'Stay out of trouble. I don't want any letters that you've done something, like exploded the Potions dungeon.'

'I'll have you know I get Outstandings and Exceeds Expectations in Potions,' he sniffed. 'I can't promise nothing'll explode around Fred, Jacob, or James, though,' he said, grinning impudently. 'Thank you for the tea, Mrs... Er... Aunt...'

'Andromeda's fine,' Andromeda interrupted gently.

'Thank you, Andromeda,' Scorpius said, blushing slightly. He looked up at Teddy. 'Ready?'

'Absolutely. Let's go.' Teddy stooped to kiss Andromeda's cheek. 'Bye, Gran. I'll be over for dinner tomorrow.' He and Scorpius stepped out to the back garden. 'Hang on,' he said to Scorpius. Scorpius gripped the sleeve of Teddy's coat, and they Disapparated to Godric's Hollow.

Teddy led Scorpius into the back door into the kitchen, calling, 'Harry? Ginny? We're here!'

Scorpius blinked in the warm kitchen, redolent with the scents of cinnamon and chocolate, following Teddy through the kitchen door into the sitting room. He was greeted by the sight of James and Al lying on their stomachs by the hearth, playing some sort of game, muttering things about conservatories and candlesticks. Al glanced up and his face lit up. 'Hi! How was your Christmas? Did you get anything good this year? Did you get the scarf from Mum? We waited to take the picture, so you could be in it - '

'Are you going to let Scorpius answer, or just have him wait until you pass out from lack of oxygen?' James interrupted. 'Not like you haven't seen him in months, either.'

'Shut up, James.' Al scowled at his brother. 'So?' he asked, looking up at Scorpius expectantly.

'Christmas was fine. I got some more of those Muggle comic strip collections, and a book on Scottish magical herbs, and yes, I got the scarf.' Scorpius pulled the end of the deep red scarf from his coat, waggling it over Al's head. 'Can we do it first thing in the morning, like last year?'

The sounds of footsteps on the stairs made Scorpius turn. Lily had come down the stairs, but stopped halfway, ducking her head. 'Hi, Lily,' he said, grinning happily.

Lily didn't respond, but turned and bolted up the stairs. Scorpius watched her with a raised eyebrow. 'What was that about?'

Al and James exchanged a look and shrugged. 'Don't know,' James said, gathering up the pieces of the game and stowing them in a box. 'She's been like that since Saturday. Right little ray of sunshine on Christmas, I'll have you know.'

Scorpius shrugged off his coat and plopped to the floor. 'What happened Saturday?'

Al shook his head. 'Don't know. She and Mum were talking, and then next thing we know, she's shut herself up in her room. Refused to come out until we went to the Burrow the next day for lunch.'

'That's odd,' Teddy said from the sofa. Startled, the three boys turned their heads to look at him. They had forgotten he was in the room. 'Lily doesn't usually go for the quiet sulking route. If she's upset about something we're sure to hear about it.'

'No kidding,' mumbled James.

'Oh!' Ginny came out of the office. 'When did you get here?'

'Five minutes ago,' Teddy answered, rolling his eyes. 'You must be getting deaf in your old age.'

Ginny narrowed her eyes at her godson. 'I may be thirty-seven, but I can still duel your arse into the ground,' she countered, lightly cuffing him on the back of the head. 'Why don't you three go take that stuff upstairs and get ready for dinner?' she told the boys, pointing to Scorpius' abandoned bag. 'Harry,' she called over her shoulder. 'Teddy's here!'

'Ow.' Teddy rubbed his head next to his ear. 'You're awfully loud for someone so small.'

'You think Lily gets it from Harry?' Ginny snorted.

'She might.' Teddy grinned at Ginny. 'Have you ever heard him chewing out a group of trainees for not working well together? Can hear him all the way on the other side of Level Two. Scares the hell out of 'em. He's so quiet normally.'

'Staying for dinner, Teddy?' Harry asked, walking into the sitting room, a sheaf of parchment in his hands.

Teddy heaved a put-upon sigh. 'We've been through this, Harry. I don't cook. I can't cook. Gran's tried to teach me. Molly's tried. You've tried. Ginny's tried. Fleur's tried. Even Ron tried to teach me after I finished school. I can barely make toast. I nearly burned down the flat when Vic came round for dinner last month. And all I was doing was trying to boil some ruddy water for tea.'

'I hope to Merlin she can cook,' Harry sighed. 'Otherwise you two might as well move in here, with Andromeda, or with Bill and Fleur. You'll starve otherwise.'

'Probably,' Teddy agreed genially. 'I can hardly make sandwiches.'

'Wait.' Ginny held a hand up. 'Explain that one.'

'They're either too soggy, too dry, too much on them, not enough on them.' Teddy shrugged. 'It's a total mystery.'

'Yeah, even the Department of Mysteries can't figure that one out.' Harry went to the bottom of the stairs. 'Lily! Come down here and set the table for dinner.'

Lily trudged down the stairs, and disappeared into the kitchen, without so much as a wave toward Teddy. Teddy gestured toward Lily's disappearing back. 'What's going on with her?'

Harry wrapped an arm around Ginny's waist. 'Just realizing that life isn't like her fairy tales,' he said. 'She'll come round.' He paused. 'I hope.'


After dinner, Scorpius presented James, Al, and Lily with their gifts. He noticed that while Al and James ripped excitedly into theirs, Lily took it with a listless word of thanks, and set it in her lap, making no attempt to open it. He'd given James a set of Chaser's gloves - fingerless to maximize the ability of the player to grip the ball, but charmed to keep the wearer's hands from sweating. They were also specially designed for the student player. The gloves would grow with James, and he would still be able to use them his seventh year. For Al, Scorpius had found a model Quidditch pitch with two miniscule teams. He could play by himself, pitting each team against each other, or another person could direct the other team.

Harry noticed Lily, sitting quietly, her hands folded in her lap, the gift untouched. 'Lily? Aren't you going to open yours?'

Lily shrugged. 'I'll open it later.'

It bordered on insolence, as far as Harry was concerned. He looked at Ginny and she gathered the boys together, taking them into the kitchen for hot chocolate. Harry beckoned to Lily. 'Lily, when someone gives you a gift, you're supposed to say thank you. This is not how you treat a guest in our home.' Lily's wide eyes glittered mutinously, but Harry continued. 'You need to open that gift, and thank Scorpius for it, even if you don't like it. He's obviously spent a great deal of time and effort to find something for you.'

'I don't want to open it right now,' Lily protested.

Harry restrained himself from pinching the bridge of his nose to stave off the incipient headache. 'Then you need to go to your room.'

Lily grabbed the package and ran up the stairs. She didn't slam the door this time, but all the same, she closed it with an audible bang.

Teddy leaned back against the sofa cushions. Lily had been distant to Scorpius all night, and Scorpius had noticed. Teddy hadn't missed the brief flash of hurt confusion when Lily refused to open her gift. It didn't tally with what he'd observed of the way Lily had treated Scorpius over the summer. Then, she'd been the polite, bubbly child he'd always known her to be, not this glowering shadow. True, Lily had a temper, but like Ginny, it burned quickly and petered out as quickly as it flared.

Teddy slid off the sofa and headed toward the stairs. 'Harry, do you mind...?' he asked, gesturing up toward the upper floor, and swiftly went up the stairs, without waiting for Harry to answer him.

James, Al, and Scorpius trooped back into the sitting room in front of Ginny, who levitated a tray loaded with biscuits and hot chocolate. 'Where's Lily?' Scorpius asked levelly.

'Upstairs,' Harry said. Scorpius just nodded, his normally expressive grey eyes shuttered.

James and Al exchanged looks and bolted after Teddy. 'We're going to get that game Uncle George gave us,' James shot over his shoulder.

'It takes both of you?' Ginny asked.

'Yes.' Al's reply floated down the stairs.

Ginny closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them, smiling kindly at Scorpius, whose face was carefully blank. It was an air Ginny recognized from Harry's younger days. 'What did I do?' he asked almost plaintively

She touched his shoulder. 'You didn't do anything,' she told him firmly. 'It's just something Lily needs to work out.'


Teddy knocked on Lily's door. 'Lily?' No answer. He knocked harder. 'Lils?'

'Go away,' she said sullenly.

'Seriously, she's been like that all bloody weekend,' James said behind Teddy.

He looked at James and Al standing on the landing of the stairs. 'Blimey,' he said mildly. 'I didn't expect her to go hormonal on me until she was your age, James.'

James' mouth opened. 'Hey!' he protested. 'I'm not that bad.'

'Yeah, right,' snorted Al. 'When Mum and Dad took your broom away the summer before I started school, you sulked for two straight days.'

'I did not!'

'Did, too,' Al retorted.

'Can we focus here?' Teddy sighed, interrupting the sibling spat. 'You two go back down stairs, and entertain Scorpius. Lily and I need to have a chat.'

'Fine,' mumbled James. 'C'mon, Al,' he said, tugging on Al's arm. 'Let's go show Scorpius the new game we got from Uncle George.' Al reluctantly let James tow him down the stairs.

Teddy waited until their footsteps faded and he heard their voices excitedly begin to explain how the murder-mystery game worked. 'Lily? They're gone. May I come in?' He experimentally twisted the doorknob, and the door swung open. Lily perched in the window seat, twisting the one of the ears of her beloved stuffed bunny. Teddy went to sit next to her. 'Hey, now. You don't want to make Cadbury there lopsided, do you?' She shrugged. Teddy frowned. Lily normally had a personality as vivid as her hair. This was not the Lily he considered his baby sister. She twisted the ear harder, and Teddy winced. He'd given her the bunny on her third birthday. He laid a hand on her wrist, and she stilled the incessant coiling of the ear around her hand. He hefted Lily into his lap, his hair fading to its natural sandy brown. 'What's wrong, pumpkin?'

Lily shook her head, the ends of her plaits brushing against Teddy's hands. 'Nothing.'

'Hey.' Teddy tilted up Lily's chin. 'You've never treated Scorpius like that before. That was rude, Lils.'

Lily scowled at Teddy. 'He...' She bit her lip and blew out a breath, shaking her head. 'His grandfather did something bad to Mum when she was in school,' she explained haltingly.

'Ohhhh.' Teddy nodded. 'The diary?'

'How did you know?' Lily looked up at Teddy in amazement.

'My dad kept journals.' At Lily's confused expression he elaborated, 'That's a diary to you chicks. He taught Defense the year after that and your mum was having a rough time in class. He managed to get her to talk about it. It was affecting her ability to defend herself. Riddle got into her mind pretty good. Took her a good couple of years to get through it.

'Anyway, I found all of Dad's journals in the attic of Gran's house when I was James' age. I'd take one, read it, and put it back, then get another one.' Teddy shrugged. 'But I still don't understand why you're so distant with Scorp.'

'It was his grandfather,' Lily repeated, as if that explained it all. 'It was like he didn't care about what might happen to Mum.'

Teddy sighed. 'Lily, has Scorp ever done anything remotely hurtful to anybody in this family?'

'No,' she admitted. 'But he's related to someone that's so...' Lily trailed off searching for a word. 'Nasty,' she finished.

'So am I,' Teddy said quietly. Lily's eyes widened in shock, and all the air in her lungs exhaled in an audible whoosh. Teddy smirked mirthlessly. 'Yeah. My gran and Scorpius' gran are sisters. And one of Voldemort's, Riddle's - whatever you want to call him - biggest supporters was their older sister. She was part of his inner circle. Neville - his parents died in St. Mungo's a couple of years after I started school. They'd been tortured into insanity and dementia by her.' Teddy gulped. 'Neville never held it against me being related to her,' he continued softly. 'Just because you happen to be related to someone doesn't mean you'll share their beliefs.'

Teddy stopped to take a deep breath. 'Scorpius doesn't deserve for you to be so unfriendly to him. He's had a difficult life because of his father and grandfather's actions. You usually don't disappoint me like this, pumpkin.' Teddy kissed the top of Lily's head, softening his words a bit. He slid Lily back to the cushion on the window seat and left.

Lily looked at the gaily wrapped package she'd tossed to the middle of her bed. She picked it up, and slid a fingertip under the edge of the wrapping paper. A book fell into her hands and she turned it over a few times, before taking it back to the window seat.


Lily lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. She was hungry. She'd picked at her dinner and refused the pudding. It was quiet and still in the house. She shoved the bedding away and found her slippers and dressing gown. Tiptoeing down the kitchen, she stopped short upon finding Scorpius sitting at the table, a mug of hot chocolate on the table in front of him, a book in his hands. He looked up at her. 'I don't know what I did,' he began uncertainly.

'You didn't do it,' she stated flatly.

'Then why are you ignoring me?'

'I'm not ignoring you!'

'Oh, really?' he snorted. 'So what do you call what you've been doing to me ever since I walked in the door this afternoon?'

'I don't want to be mad at you,' Lily said, marching to a jar on the counter, and digging out a handful of biscuits.

'That doesn't make sense.'

'Your grandfather,' Lily almost spat. 'He hurt my mum.'

'Oh.' Scorpius ransacked his memories. 'I didn't know...' he murmured.

Tears streaked down Lily's face. 'I can't help it. I look at you, but all I can think about is...' She dropped into a chair across the table from Scorpius, and munched her biscuits. They were both silent for several long minutes. Scorpius stared at the same page, the words ceasing to make sense. Lily cleared her throat. 'I like the book,' she offered softly. 'It's funny.' She was silent for a moment, and got up to get another handful of biscuits. 'Thank you.' She pushed the handful of biscuits to the middle of the table in mute offering.

Scorpius looked up from the page of his book. 'You're welcome,' he told her quietly, taking one of the biscuits.