He was king, and Hogwarts was his castle. The teachers his subjects and the students his servants. When he prowled the halls and staircases it was to see smiles from those that he liked - or needed - and eyes staring at the floor from those that he didn't. He was the Scorpion King, child of the most faithful Death Eater and he, himself, most loyal to their lord and master.
And everyone in the Wizarding World was loyal to him. Or, almost everyone. There were still rumours of his army, fighting a losing battle as if it could bring back Harry Potter. But one by one, they were captured. It was Scorpius' greatest wish to see Hermione Granger locked up, to hear her screams mixed with those other mudbloods in the dungeons below. To see her at the front of Dark Arts so the younger students could use her for practice.
His father had promised it; Voldemort had promised it. If they reached their goal and finished mudbloods for good, when Granger was captured, Scorpius could have her.
Scorpius was a King in a small part of their world, but one day, he knew he would stand at the right side of their Dark Lord and then he truly would be king.
He strode down the corridor, his robes swirling behind him, his footsteps echoing on the stone floor. He scanned every face he passed for any sign of hate or distrust; Professor Umbridge had admitted to him that she believed there was a spy in their midst, and he wanted to capture them. But none of the students around him looked like a spy. Every student here was thankful for their place and proud that they were the purest of the pure. While Scorpius didn't like many of them, he knew most would never betray Hogwarts. Or Voldemort.
Craig ran down to him, jumping neatly from one staircase to the next as they both started to move, and thrust a small pile of books at Scorpius. 'Your... Your potions homework.' he stammered. Scorpius looked at him, impassive, almost enjoying the way the boy cringed. 'I've finished it. It was... An honour, Scorpius. I enjoyed the challenge.'
A lie, but Scorpius didn't care about that. He didn't choose his victims because he liked them. He chose them so they remembered their place, something Craig knew well. Craig, whose great grandmother was a muggle. The only reason he was at the school was because his grandparents and parents had proved their worth.
But that didn't mean his blood was completely pure.
Scorpius took the homework and flicked through it, checking the boy had actually done his job and not got any questions wrong. Scorpius knew every answer. But that didn't mean he had to waste his own time writing them down. 'Good.' he said, after Craig had squirmed enough. 'There will be herbology work later. Come to my room after dinner and I will give it to you.'
'Of course Scorpion King. Of... Course.' The boy scurried off, and Scorpius let out a low laugh, throwing the parchments and books into his bag. He had been on his way to the dungeon anyway; his dorm was on the way down there anyway.
Dorm. That was the wrong word for Scorpius' home at Hogwarts. Once, it had been the home to the entire Slytherin house, back before Slytherin was the only house. Now, it was home to Scorpius and his inner circle, his most trusted friends. They all held true pure heritage and the names that went with it. Black. Lestrange. Knott. Carrow. Avery.
Theirs was the best rooms: under the lake, the light was always a gentle green that cast rippling shadows over the walls. The fire crackled in one corner and plush sofas were scattered around the rest of the room. Where others had to share rooms, they had one each. Scorpius' own was covered in paper clippings from when each of the DA had been caught.
They had the best of the best, while the rest of the school were given the cast offs. Once the common rooms of the Cowardly Gryffindors, stupid Ravenclaws and useless Hufflepuffs, they were all covered in green and black and the emblem of Slytherin house and Hogwarts School. The top half of a skull over a snake in the shape of a V.
V for victory.
V for valour.
V for Voldemort.
Scorpius crossed his wrists in front of his heart as he approached the door. There was a dull click and a hiss as it opened, and he strode in, nodding his head at the girl sat in front of the fireplace. She put her book down to raise her own crosses wrists, mouthing Voldemort and valour at him before going back to her book. Scorpius held back his snort. Avery had always been bookish. He thought it stupid; while she dug her way through old books like Hogwarts; a History, he knew they didn't need books to know the important things.
Twenty Three years ago, Harry Potter was captured and killed by the Dark Lord. Those that fought at Potter's side had quickly been killed or they disappeared, and those that had been on the right side were honoured forever with Voldemort's favour and given freedom and future. The injured were healed, the ones locked in Azkaban released and a new world started. A world where Draco Malfoy was head of magical law enforcement, helping to capture and stop the muggleborns that were trying to steal their magic, and where Scorpius was a king.
But where Scorpius believed that was all that was important, Avery devoured books on their history non stop. She said it was because knowing the past could help them capture the last of the resistance, but Scorpius never quite believed her. She had access to books that no one else did - books on Harry Potter's life and first editions of the history of Dumbledore, before they were edited and rewritten by The Augurey. If Scorpius didn't know better, he would say Avery was hunting down things in the books that didn't make sense. That she didn't trust in Voldemort or their future.
But to question that would be to have her locked away and used in Dark Arts, and for now, she was useful to him. After all, all that reading meant she was a font of knowledge. She had been the one to find the old potions book, covered in notes and strange spells. And she had been the one smart enough to read it before handing it over to Professor Umbridge. Thanks to her - and whoever the half blood prince was - Scorpius knew some interesting spells that helped pull answers out of even the most stubborn of traitor.
So for that, Avery had earned something from him. Not friendship, but enough respect for her to be invited into the true Slytherin common room. And that was enough for him to leave her alone. In peace. With her books, and the knowledge that she had to share everything she learnt with him.
He dropped his homework on the table. One of the books slipped from the pile and crashed to the floor. Avery looked up at him, folding down the corner of the page as she shut her book.
‘What has that book ever done to you?’ she asked him. Her hair fell into her eyes and she tied it up with a small snarl. That was, Scorpius supposed, another reason he kept her around. She was funny. And pretty.
‘Be written.’ he replied. ‘Who needs all this anyway? Potions. I get it, Avery. Snape is one of the oldest and most faithful of his followers.’ A sneer. Scorpius had never liked the Potions teacher. They may have won the war, but that didn’t meant there were not casualties. Many of their own had fallen before Harry Potter had given himself up. Snape had stood by – hidden – and watched it happen. Scorpius blamed him, partly, for what had happened. Because he had had six years teaching Potter, and he had done nothing to kill the boy that was meant to be their Lords downfall. ‘But hasn’t Snape learnt yet that we no longer need him. We got rid of the houses, we are destroying any memory of mudbloods and traitors. We no longer need him.’
‘Okay.’ He would have said something about the lack of interest in her voice, but she had heard his complaints far more than even he would admit. ‘Scorpius?’
‘How many times have I told you not to call me Avery?’
‘I’ve lost count, Roxanne.’ While he was the only Malfoy at the school, she was one of four Averys. And he called each of them by their surname. It had worked for his parents, and their parents. ‘You should be proud to carry that name. Your grandfather-‘
‘Died in Azkaban after not betraying Voldemort, yes, I know. Hurray, he was a hero. But he isn’t me.’
‘Oh, go and be the Scorpion King somewhere else. I’m reading.’
He strode back to the door, turning to watch her as she picked up her book again. Scorpius didn’t trust many people. And the people closest to him, he trusted the least, because they were the ones that would find it easiest to stab him in the back. But Avery – he would have to watch her. She was a spark of anger and he never understood why. He assumed it was jealousy. He was the one that was set for the best future. Professor Umbridge had already hinted at him being Headboy when he was old enough. And after that, he would follow his father into working in The Augurey. He would stand at the right hand side of Voldemort and he would watch as traitors to their world burnt. There would always be those at Hogwarts that wanted his place. But Avery’s anger was more than that. It was an anger at being a name. Scorpius would say it was almost an anger at who they all were. But he would not say it.
Not until he had proof. And then he would rip any confession out of her along with her screams.
For now, he only said ‘Voldemort and Valour’ and watched as she said the same, before striding out of the door and turning to the stairs that descended into the heart and horrors of Hogwarts. He had work to do.