“Why are we still here?” Albus spoke rather harshly, pulling out of the hug. “We have to go, Scorpius is… Scorpius is… We need to go now.” Albus picked up his wand and headed for the door, not bothering to check if his siblings were following.
There were, of course. As if they’d let Albus wander into an abandoned building where some dangerous people may or may not be torturing or just killed a young boy. Albus broke out into a sprint once out in the open. He kept his wand in one hand and the other on the necklace, hoping beyond all hope that it was simply a malfunction in the magic.
His legs burned as he picked up the pace, rounding a corner. The manor was about a ten minute walk, and there was no way Albus could run that far. He slowed to a fast-pace walk, trying to catch his breath whilst his siblings caught up. His mind was running rapid with dangerous thoughts, but the one that stood out the most was: I can’t do this without you .
He couldn’t. Scorpius was his whole entire world. A part of Albus that he didn’t even know he was missing until he met Scorpius, and he fit into him like a puzzle piece. They were meant to be together; they were meant to share this world. Without him, Albus… Albus wasn’t Albus. He couldn’t be happy; he couldn’t be excited; he couldn’t be a good sibling, or even a good son. Scorpius was all the best parts of him, he brought out Albus’ better half. Albus didn’t want to live in a world without Scorpius Malfoy. It wasn’t a world worth living in.
James and Lily caught up eventually. Albus barely noticed. James was rambling about coming up with a plan, but he wasn’t listening, he couldn’t listen. Sadness, anger and pain all fired through him, riling him up for a fight. Whoever it was that hurt Scorpius, Albus was going to kill them.
The Rowle Manor stood tall and brooding, the moonlight shining down and illuminating all the dank, dark corners of a building on the verge of falling apart. The garden grass loomed tall, most of it dead or decayed from years of neglect, the trees barren with fallen leaves at its foot. The gate was rusted, an old padlock keeping it closed, but it broke off easily when James pulled it. The gate creaked open, further adding to the creepy demeanour.
Albus’ heart stopped, paralysed with fear of what he might find buried deep within the grounds. Any and all confidence he developed on the way here was washed away as the potential nightmares came to creep around his brain. There was a hand on his shoulder and another on his arm and on slow, careful steps, they walked towards the front door.
The drive was long and painful. Albus could have sworn he’d seen shadows lurking behind bushes and statues of the past Rowle’s looming in the garden. He tried a tunnel vision approach, but every slight noise left his senses on edge. Before James tried the door, Albus felt the necklace once again with a small ounce of hope.
He let out a sigh upon feeling the faint – very faint – heartbeat of his best friend soaring through his veins. He was alive . With every passing second, the heartbeat grew stronger. It took all his strength not to collapse on James in relief.
His head throbbed as he waved back into consciousness, opening his eyes to find a bright silver pair staring back at him with a wicked smile. He was too tired to panic, too in pain; too weak.
“Didn’t think we’d let you slip away that easily, did you?” Delphi said in a chirpy voice that cut painfully through his headache. He blinked away the water in his eyes, struggling to find his voice. He felt – for want of a better word – like living death. “For a moment I didn’t think I’d be able to bring you back, but I should know better than to doubt my own abilities.”
Scorpius groaned as he half sat up and shuffled away from her, even though his body felt weighed down with a tonne of bricks. “Why didn’t you just let me die?” He croaked.
Delphi rolled her eyes, her wand twiddling precariously between her two fingers in an oddly threatening way. “I’m not done with you, yet. I’ll admit you’ve been a hard one to break, but I know you’re very close to submitting. And when you do, I’ll be one step closer to my goal.”
Scorpius, with all the energy he had, scoffed. “To bring back eternal darkness. Funny how you can’t do that without me.”
It was the wrong thing to say. Her eyes became icy cold, shooting daggers in his direction. A chill ran down his spine as those dark eyes bore into his soul. Scorpius felt vulnerable, like she was searching through his memories again, but this time she wasn’t. The familiar tug wasn’t there. But under her gaze, he wanted nothing more than to fall into the centre of the Earth.
“I don’t need you. To me, you’re worthless, but you’re not to those who follow me. You see, Scorpius, I am the answer this world has been looking for.” Delphi stood, pacing back and forth and making Scorpius feel like the size of an ant.
“The world doesn’t need an answer, that question was solved years ago when Voldemort was killed in the war,” Scorpius spoke, wanting to put fight into his words but unable to find the strength. He wished she'd just let him die, at least then he'd be with his mum.
Delphi paused in her pacing to look at him, ire firing through her. “My father didn’t deserve that.”
“You’re…” Scorpius faltered, his mind whirring trying to calculate exactly what that meant. His head throbbed harder as he came to a conclusion, one that never made much sense in his haze. “Voldemort… you’re his daughter?” Scorpius knew he had ties to Death Eaters and finding out how close his grandparents were to Voldemort was one of the most harrowing things of his childhood but finding out now he was somehow related to his daughter . Scorpius’ heart was about to give way again.
“Yes,” she spoke proudly. “And I will bring a world that he envisioned. With a Malfoy at my side, just like him.”
With the last of his strength, Scorpius pulled himself up, so he was sitting properly. “My grandfather abandoned your father in the war. I have no idea how you have him bowing down to you now because he’s a coward. He’s flees the fight when the fight gets hard. And when you fail , he’ll abandon you too.”
“I’m not interested in him, Scorpius. I’m interested in you.”
She whipped an object out of her pocket, the silver of a blade catching the light and she dove towards him. He couldn’t fight, even if he wanted to: he was too weak. He tried to squirm, but she pinned him to the floor easily. One knee dug into his chest whilst her foot pinned his wrist to the floor. She smiled wickedly down at him before eyeing his pale forearm.
“Ever wondered what it’s like to have a Dark Mark?” She asked, briefly pulling her sleeve up to reveal a jagged pink scar going down it. “It may not be like my fathers, but it will show that we are one, Scorpius. That together, we will bring back eternal darkness.”
“No,” he managed despite the crushing weight on his chest. She laughed and shook her head, before bringing the blade to his forearm and dragging it across his pale skin, cutting deep and drawing blood. Scorpius let out a scream that scratched his throat, his eyes squeezed shut in agony. When the sensation stopped and all that remained was a throbbing pain, he looked down to his arm to see the blood pouring onto the tiled floor.
“Too late,” she giggled.
“Delphi,” said a voice from the door. They both looked and standing there was a man Scorpius hadn’t seen before. He’d been isolated to his room, or the room with the pensieve, with just Delphi and Lucius. He didn’t realise others were here as well.
Delphi got off and him and spoke to the man in a low voice. He watched her face turn from annoyance, to concern, to delight in the space of a moment. She then ushered him away and turned to Scorpius and sang, “gotta go, someone’s at the door for you.”
Albus, James and Lily stepped into the entrance hall after finding the door very easy to pick open. They all had their wands brandished at their sides – even Lily, despite it being against the law. Albus and James told her not to use magic, but she argued that surely their Aunt Hermione wouldn’t expel her from school given the circumstances. Besides, Lily was insanely gifted in Defence Against the Dark Arts and they could use her.
“Albuuuuuus,” came a voice emerging from the dark, high-pitched and slightly manic. Emerging from the shadows like a phoenix from the ash was a girl, older than James, with dark silver hair tinted blue at the tips. She already had her wand in her hand and she was smiling, almost like she was expecting them.
“Who are you?” James asked before Albus had the chance. “And how do you know my brother?”
“Delphi. And he never shuts up about you, of course. Starting to get on my last nerve.” She spoke rather eloquently, a hint of bitterness to her otherwise chirpy tone. She leaned up against the doorway in a bored manner, observing the three Potters before her.
“Where is he?” Albus asked. He felt Lily slip behind him and then over to James, where she unzipped his backpack. Albus didn’t even realise James had brought it with him.
Delphi shrugged. “Who says he’s even here?”
“I do.” Albus stepped forward, threatening her with his wand. She looked at it before letting out an intimidating giggle, pushing herself off the wall.
“You don’t want to talk about this? Are you sure you want to fight a powerful witch such as myself?”
“If you hurt him -” Delphi’s lips twitched into a smile “- then yes. Bombarda!” He screamed, watching as the wall around her tumbled down. Delphi threw up her shield, protecting herself from the falling debris and simply walked away from the chaos.
“Silly, pathetic little boy,” she scolded, her tone now harsh and cruel as opposed to her previous. She threw another spell Albus’ way, but James blocked it for him, causing the spell to bounce off the statue in the corner. Others emerged from various rooms, circling the two boys – boys, wait, where was Lily?
“James?” Albus asked as James threw up a shield around the two of them. “Where’s Lily?”
“Trust her,” James said, putting his back against Albus’ so together they had a full view of the others. There was maybe six, including Scorpius' grandfather Lucius, with Delphi commanding their every move.
“Where is she?”
“Trust her, she’s fine.”
Albus did, and because he did, he decided to drop it.
Albus looked up, seeing a chandelier above two members of Delphi’s Death Eater gang and smiled. “Drop the shield in 3…2…1.” James dropped the shield whilst Albus shot a spell at the chandelier, causing it to rain down crystals on a man and a woman underneath it. They didn’t react quick enough to save themselves, and by the time anyone could shoot at James and Albus, the shield was back in place.
Though they couldn’t work like that forever. They were outnumbered. They had no choice but to head into the fight without so much as a plan. Delphi and her troops got fed up of them hiding behind a shield and started throwing spells at it to break it. Eventually, James dropped it and the two went separate ways, throwing spell after spell and hoping it hit a target.
Albus jumped behind a sofa with his back against a wall, out of breath and growing tired from the constant fight. He couldn’t spot James from here and assumed he was also hiding somewhere. Delphi’s voice rang through the entrance hall, high pitched and manic, “boooyyssssss, come out to play,” she said, her voice rising in octave as she spoke.
“ Expelliarmus! ” Albus shouted from his spot, disarming another random man but he wasn’t good enough at the spell to get the wand himself. He jumped out from the sofa, throwing another spell at Delphi who quickly blocked it with barely the wave of her wand.
The world tumbled under him as another spell came his way from behind. Albus greeted the floor like an old friend, letting out a strangled “ oof, ” as he did. He rolled over, coughing as dust entered his lungs from the crumbling framework of the house. It was sure to collapse at any moment. James found him, pulling him up to his feet. They were down to Delphi – by some miracle – and were both still fairly uninjured, despite James’ previous state.
But Delphi was no easy task, not even for an Auror and his little brother; not even for the children of Harry James Potter.
Above him, Scorpius could hear the sounds of a fight. Spells were being thrown carelessly and he could have sworn he heard Albus’ voice. He quickly convinced himself it was the same delusion that had been playing tricks on him since he arrived. Instead, he focused on himself and stopping the blood pouring out of his arm. It had clotted mostly, but still there. Scorpius used the bottom of his t-shirt to apply pressure.
There was a scuffling from the other side of the door before it was pushed wide open. Scorpius pulled his knees to his chest and peered round, but no one was there. Until Lily Potter popped up from behind an invisibility cloak.
“Lily?” He spoke, for sure his mind was playing tricks. Surely, it couldn’t be that cruel to him.
“Scorpius! She almost shouted, just as shocked to see him. “There were so many doors I was worried I wouldn’t find you,” she walked carefully over to him, but he didn’t move. He couldn’t. The shock paralysed him.
“You’re… are you real?” His jaw trembled with oncoming tears that he blinked away to look at Lily properly. Her fiery red hair and baby brown eyes, looking fierce yet defeated all at the same time. That was the Lily he knew. The Lily who let him braid her hair, who stood up for him against the bullies, who ate with him at the Slytherin table when Albus was sick. The Lily he thought of as the little sister he never had.
Lily nodded furiously, dropping down to her knees in front of him. “Look at you. What the bloody hell have they done?”
Scorpius scrambled up, the pain in his body forgotten on adrenaline, as he tackled Lily in a hug so tight he could break her. She was real. And if she was here, then maybe Albus was to. She held him back just as fiercely.
“You came for me?” He asked, a sob erupting from him. She pulled away, looking in his eyes and mentally searching for injuries. You’ll be looking for a while , Scorpius thought, knowing his body was on the verge of shutting down once again.
“Of course we did. Now let’s go,” she encouraged. Scorpius was weak on his legs, but he managed to hold himself enough with Lily supporting him.
She guided him up the stairs from the dungeons, the hand that wasn’t holding his waist was armed with her wand. He tried to stay quiet on the ascend up the stairs, but the pain was blinding. They kept stopping so he could catch his breath, willing away the dizziness he was feeling. It was hearing Albus’ voice above them, shouting spells, that made him keep going.
“ALBUS! JAMES!” Was that…
“Dad?” Lily asked out loud, confusion laced in her tone.
“Your dad is here?” Scorpius whispered.
“Get away from my sons!” He bellowed, no doubt towards Delphi.
Lily and Scorpius hurried up the rest of the stairs as quick as Scorpius’ legs would take him. They emerged into complete chaos. The building was on the verge of collapsing, dust, glass and debris everywhere from fallen structures or explosions. Albus was on the floor next to James, who was standing weakly in front of him. Harry Potter and a group of Aurors were by the door, wands brandished and pointed straight at Lucius and Delphi, who did not look like they were about to surrender at any point.
Delphi turned to them and smiled, shaking her head at the clear betrayal of Scorpius, even though he had never agreed to join her.
“Scorpius, I thought we had a deal?”
“You’re going to wish we did. Diffindo!” She screamed, directing her spell at Lily. Scorpius reacted before the spell hit her, pushing her out the w ay . The spell collid ed with his stomach , a large gash opening across his abdomen . Lily landed on the floor with a crack , screaming out about her shoulder. Scorpius collapsed to the floor as Albus screamed, scrambling to his feet and pushing James aside.
“Oh be quiet,” Delphi said, brandishing her wand towards Albus. She waved her wand, nonverbally casting a spell that Scorpius had never seen before. A purple flame emerged from her wand, slashing across Albus’ chest, who barely had time to react to anything before crumpling to the floor. The Aurors immediately attacked.
Scorpius let out a scream so loud it tore through the room, breaking up the sounds of the building crumbling and spells being shouted. A scream that ripped apart his already dry throat and severed his vocal chords. A scream that contained only one word. A name. A name that meant the entire universe to him. A name that could rip his heart in two if it wanted. A name that did just that as he was hit with the end of a dangerous spell.