“Yesterday, it was reported that the three Potter siblings – James, Albus and Lily – disappeared from their home in the mid-afternoon the previous day. There have been no sightings since and it’s fair to say the entire Wizarding world is holding their breath for their safe return. Harry Potter, father of three young Wizards and Head of Magical Law Enforcement, has something to say.
“We are waiting anxiously for every sighting or any slight bit of news about the kids,” Harry said on the little radio in their hotel room, James had charmed it for the Wizarding channels. “Both Ginny and I are doing everything we can, and we have sent Aurors out looking as well. Please, if you have our children, please send them back to us. We miss them deeply.”
“They think we’ve been kidnapped?” Albus asked in disbelief as Harry’s voice faded and the presenter continued with another story.
“It’s probably the only answer they’re willing to accept. Plus, what would the media say if all three of Harry Potter’s kids ran away, they’d have a field day,” James said, turning it down slightly.
Lily sat up, rubbing her eyes. “I couldn’t sleep last night,” she mumbled, deciding to change the subject. Albus guessed it was because she didn’t want him going on a rant about their dad again. “I’m so worried about him and if this whole thing about Death Eaters is true then does Scorpius really stand a chance? What if we don’t get to him in time?”
James – being the great older brother he was – wrapped Lily up in a hug. “Scorpius is a lot stronger than any of us believe him to be, he can carry his own. I know it’s scary, but I believe he can be brave enough until we find him,” James said, and once again, Albus nearly believed him. Lily, it seemed, did too.
She sighed, taking a shaky breath. “He doesn’t deserve it,” she mumbled. She was right. Scorpius was the least deserving person for this to happen to. Scorpius was kind and caring. He never pushed anyone aside and would always help if needed. He’s been ridiculed and taunted his entire life, pushed aside for not being good enough or for being too much like his father. No one ever stopped long enough to see him for who he really is: a kind, bright, intelligence spark.
The problem with sparks is that they often fizzle out.
Scorpius’ did. A long time ago. There was only so long one could pretend to be okay. His spark returned often, and his kindness never left him, but that didn’t take away the sheer sadness that was deep within him. Albus could only hope his spark was lit long enough for him to get out of whatever he was in alive.
“Lily,” Albus said, a fierce need to protect his sibling coming out. “Here,” he took the necklace from around his neck and placed it over Lily’s head. “Touch it.” Lily did. There was a slight look of awe on her face as she looked at Albus through tear-filled eyes. “That’s Scorpius – his heartbeat. It’s slightly fast right now but it’s there. He’s still alive, Lils. He could still get out of this. That’s what I’ve been focusing on.”
Albus leaned over and touched the gemstone over Lily’s hand. He couldn’t feel it, only the wearer could, but the look on Lily’s face showed it was working for her the way it worked for Albus. It helped calm her down, knowing he was safe – or at least alive – and finally having some proof of that. Albus was glad he could provide that for her.
Lily took off the necklace, handing it back to Albus who put it back around his neck. “Let me guess, Scorpius?” She asked.
Albus smiled fondly, “how did you guess?”
She returned the fond smile, but hers had a mixture of pride in it too. “He’s always been brilliant like that.”
“He made them in fourth-year, after the incident with Craig when his anxiety grew worse and I was diagnosed. Around the time we both realised we couldn’t live without each other,” Albus smiled to himself, a small sad smile that wished for his best friend to be there next to him. He fiddled with the necklace, hearing his heartbeat, but it wasn’t enough. Scorpius wasn’t there.
There was a short silence and then James quipped, “and you’ve only now just confessed your love for each other?” All three of them laughed; a sad laugh, one of solidarity. They were all there, together, and missing a boy they all loved in three different ways.
“Scorpius doesn’t even know,” Albus whispered. “He must be so scared, and he confessed his love in that letter probably thinking it’s the last thing he’d do. What if he thinks I hate him? I know I never confessed because I’ve always been too scared to ruin what we had, what if he’s the same? What if dies thinking I hate him and what if-”
“Albus.” James said, sharp enough to cut through his spiral. “Stop. Scorpius isn’t dead. No more what-ifs or maybes. That boy is making it out alive even if it kills me. So, where to next? Pansy?”
“That’s what Dante says,” Albus confirmed.
“Now, I don’t know where she lives, but I know where she works, and it won’t be easy to blend in there. Lily can go under the cloak, but me and you, Al, are going to have to change our appearances.”
“A fair amount. She works in Borgin and Burkes, and we will be recognised in Diagon and Knockturn Alley.”
“Maybe we could get Teddy to get us some appearance changing products from uncle Ron’s shop? And then we could charm our eyes a different colour, you could take off the glasses, I’ll put some on? Change our clothes, too, transfigure them into something better.”
James was nodding along. “I’ll contact Teddy and hopefully he can help us out.”
After meeting Delphi – his so-called cousin – Scorpius was escorted by her to the eerily dark room for Merlin knows how long. He tried to sleep, but the constant anxious energy that flared through him kept him from closing his eyes for longer than twenty minutes. It was a long night – or what he assumed was night. But, when Delphi showed up the next morning with her wand pointed at him and a wicked grin on her face, he wished morning had never come.
He didn’t dare be defiant, and instead listened when she demanded him to stand and follow her. Scorpius’ eyes took some adjusting to with the light and it was a while before he could process where he was. Which didn’t even matter because he had no clue anyway. All he knew was that the halls were long and winding, it was cold where he was staying and there was a faint musky smell that suggested the place hadn’t been used in a long, long time.
They came to a stop inside a study-like room, not majorly big but was once probably filled with books and a desk. Now, however, it was empty save for a stone pensieve in the middle of the room. Scorpius furrowed his brows in confusion, and looked to Delphi, seeing that Lucius was standing just behind her.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
“Did you have time to think about it?” Delphi asked, stealthily avoiding his question.
“I told you,” Scorpius said, “I want no part in any of it. I just want to go home.”
“Scorpius, Scorpius, Scorpius,” Delphi said, her voice leaking disappointment. “That was the wrong answer.” She tapped her wand against his cheek a couple of times before tapping it against her own palm threateningly. He gulped, fear growing throughout his body, terrified of not knowing what’s going to happen next. “I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to persuade you, that you would have seen that this is what the world truly needs.”
“Why would I want that?” He asked, his voice quiet.
“You were born in darkness, from the moment you entered this world you’ve been ridiculed and bullied by the very people who think they own the light! If that’s the light, then surely the dark can’t be much worse.”
“So, what’s your plan? You speak of bringing back eternal darkness, but what does that mean?”
Delphi smiled, drawing her wand along his neck in a cut-throat gesture. “Oh honey, I can’t tell you until I know you’re on board. Is it still a no?”
“Of course it is.”
She scoffed, light and airy and brought her wand to his forehead. Scorpius winced and closed his eyes, ready for an attack of some kind, but nothing came. There was a pulling in his brain, like she was searching for something. When she pulled her wand away he opened his eyes to find a blue light emitting from the end of it: a memory. One of his memories. Delphi walked over to the pensieve and deposited his memory inside, before dragging him back to the circular stone basin and pulling him inside the memory.
He didn’t even have chance to fight against it – fight against her seeing his memories – before he was pulled deep into his own brain. He landed awkwardly on the floor, whereas Delphi seemed to simply float into view. She dragged him up, pulling him to his feet and kept a firm hand on his arm. It was wrapped so tight around him that he was sure it would bruise.
Scorpius looked around, finding himself standing in the Astronomy Tower in Hogwarts. It was a memory, he knew it was, but part of him wanted to run to the Slytherin dorm room to find Albus. He was prevented from doing so, not only by Delphi’s arm but by the sound of Albus’ voice.
“Why are we going up to the Astronomy Tower after curfew again?” Albus said, a hint of amusement in his voice.
Shit. Scorpius knew what this day was. He knew how it ended. He had spent so long trying to forget about it, but here it was, right in front of him. He was going to have to relive the worst day of his life… and Delphi – a girl he clearly could not trust – was also going to witness it.
“Because, Albus, I want to see the stars. I miss them,” memory-Scorpius was saying, but quickly froze when he reached the top of the stairs to see the Astronomy Tower wasn’t empty.
Scorpius spun around as memory-Scorpius pointed, and there, was his worst fear. Craig Bowker Jr was sat on the railing, chest breathing heavily and emitting soft sobs.
“Why are we here?” Scorpius asked Delphi, willing to get out, to run away and not witness it even though he knew he was trapped.
“To show you that you bring darkness everywhere you go. You can’t save anyone, Scorpius. You couldn’t even stop poor little Craig jumping to his death. You probably pushed him over the edge,” she replied, not even bothering to look at him, too intrigued on the scene playing out. His memory-self and Albus had made their way over to Craig. It was strange to watch himself stood there, trembling on the spot. He remembered the day so vividly, yet from this perspective it was so different.
“Craig?” That was Albus, stepping forward. Memory-Scorpius reached out to take Albus’ wrist, a small warning not to approach too fast. Craig was in a much too vulnerable position.
“Get lost,” Craig near-screamed, his voice full of pure sadness.
“Craig,” memory-Scorpius said, now taking a small step forward himself. “Craig, can you please get down?”
“Which way?” He laughed, self-deprecatingly. “I don’t suppose it really matters.”
“It does matter,” memory-Scorpius replied, a fierceness to his tone. “Your life matters, of course it does.”
“Everyone! Your friends, your family. Craig, is whatever you’re going through right now worth ending your life?” Scorpius watched himself let go of Albus and walked slowly towards Craig. Craig had turned around now to look at himself and Albus, eyes bloodshot red and tear marks still staining his cheeks.
“You don’t even care, you don’t even know me,” Craig sobbed.
Albus stepped forward, “we may not know you, but we know what it’s like to not feel wanted. Craig, please, please get down and come over here.”
“You can’t even imagine what happens up here,” he said, pulling one hand off the railing and pointing at his head. Both Scorpius and memory-Scorpius flinched, both ready to jump forward and catch him. Beside him, Delphi laughed at his reaction.
“Get me out of here,” Scorpius begged.
“Sorry Scorpius, but we’re just getting to the good bit,” she giggled.
“Good bit? A boy jumps off the tower. He dies, Delphi.”
“I’m well aware of what happens, I read the papers, that’s not what I’m interested in.”
Behind them, the scene was still unfolding. Scorpius and Albus both begging Craig to get down, begging him not to jump. Memory-Scorpius was in tears and Scorpius remembers the feeling. The feeling of hopelessness, or worthlessness, knowing he wasn’t enough to save his life. Scorpius looked away from the scene, unable to watch it.
Delphi looked at him, rolling her eyes. She turned him around, kicking the back of his knees to make him crash to the floor. “Watch it, Scorpius. Watch what a failure you are,” she muttered in his ear, forcing his head in the direction of Craig. It was the longest few minutes of his life, struggling against her grip. Whenever he closed his eyes, she kneed him harshly in the back.
He was forced to watch that awful event all over again. The event that traumatised both of them. Watching him jump from the top of the Astronomy Tower like his life never even mattered, like he wouldn’t make an imprint on anyone. Little did Craig know that he was so dearly loved. When he jumped, Scorpius closed his eyes, hearing the screams of all three boys but not willing to look, no matter how much Delphi kicked him.
When he opened his eyes again, he was on the floor of the courtyard, looking over Craig’s body and watching himself sob his heart out. It was when others heard the commotion and students started filling out onto the courtyard that things really got bad for Scorpius. Albus had gone to fetch Professor McGonagall, and Scorpius had no idea how the news spread but it had.
A boy – a sixth-year Gryffindor – pulled memory-Scorpius from Craig viciously, throwing him away like he weighed nothing. “Get away from him, Malfoy,” he spat, coming up and kicking him in the stomach. “You probably pushed him like the psycho Death-Eater you are.”
The crowd around him got bigger, people screaming and shouting at him, accusing him of an awful crime he never committed.
“Get me out of here,” Scorpius begged Delphi, tears now streaming down his cheeks.
“Look at you,” she said, her voice distant. “You’re so tiny, so weak. Aren’t you tired of being weak, Scorpius?”
“No.” Delphi looked at him, to realise he wasn’t look at the scene. She seized his chin, harshly turning his face towards the scene.
“Look at you. A failure, pathetic. Everywhere you go, you wreak havoc. You’re a born disaster, destined to bring darkness everywhere you go.”
Delphi gripped his arm, pulling him from the memory and back into real life. He fell to the floor when they landed, still shaking and tears still streaming. That memory was still burned into the back of his mind, and seeing it again meant it was fresh. Scorpius sobbed, over and over, yet he couldn’t calm his beating heart.
“Don’t you see, Scorpius?” Delphi screamed, using her wand to lift his chin. “Don’t you see that this, bringing back eternal darkness, this is what you were born for?”
Scorpius folded his legs up, wrapping his arms around them and shook his head. “I’m not. I’m not!”
“CRUCIO!” The pain was sudden and unexpected, ripping through him like a thousand knives penetrating his body. He screamed, collapsing onto his back and screaming through the pain. It was excruciating and prominent, soaring through every ounce of his body. His lungs burned from screaming, his heart pounding to the point where he thought it would explode, but the pain was the worst.
The pain coursed through him, a lightening bolt igniting his bones, zapping him into a state of pure agony and panic. There were heavy beads of sweat pouring down his forehead, yet his body shook as though he’d been left in the snow overnight. Scorpius struggled to catch his breath through his constant screams, his throat dry and raw.
I’m going to die, he thought.
So, when the pain stopped and the flashes of red from Delphi’s wand disappeared, he felt relief. He wasn’t dead. Not yet. But a small part of him wished he was.