“He’s in the papers again, Scorpius. I think this might be getting serious,” Maria Malfoy states cautiously while taking her husband’s empty plate and replacing it with the morning edition of the Prophet.
“Potter? I was at school with him like I said before, Mar. I don’t think we need to worry about him at all. Besides, his father would put an end to anything he thought about starting,” Scorpius mutters without glancing down at the paper but his wife merely glowers at him.
“Harry Potter defeated a Dark Lord, Scorp. He might be in denial about it all. I mean, who would want to admit that their son was becoming the very thing Potter Senior nearly died to defeat?”
“So he has a few extreme ideas. I don’t see how separate schools for Mudbloods and Wizards would really be so bad. I mean he is right about one thing; they do come in totally ignorant about our world and traditions. Specialised educations might be best for them,” Scorpius muses while reading over the article. Potter had appeared at a public trial and angered ministry officials by ‘enticing a mob mentality’, as the Prophet had put it, among the other spectators. The article failed to mention whose trial it was and what they were even on trial for which makes Scorpius dubious about the whole thing, which he promptly points out to his wife.
“This is how it all started with him, you know. Your history classes may be a joke at Hogwarts but I went to school in the States as you know and we learned all about the two wizarding wars of Great Britain. Voldemort started by gathering followers who had similar political beliefs and aggravating the Ministry. It didn’t seem extreme in the beginning either and look where that ended up.”
“You are catastrophising,” Scorpius says, throwing the paper down on the table.
“I’m showing concern. Saiph doesn’t need any of this. We’re only just getting over the last war and all the prejudice.”
“I know that,” Scorpius mutters while avoiding his wife’s gaze. She is right of course. It had taken a lot of work on his father’s part for people to give the Malfoys’ another chance and Scorpius has always been watched a little closer than some of his colleagues at work. What Maria is not saying outright is that if there is another Dark Lord on the rise, people will automatically connect the Malfoys. Saiph has entered his seventh year at Hogwarts and is exceptionally bright. He doesn’t need this sort of shadow looming over him, if there is a shadow at all.
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“Just keep an eye out and an ear open or something. If there is trouble…”
“If there is trouble, what?” Scorpius cuts in sharply. “Where would we go exactly? It isn’t like the Malfoy family held on to all its riches after the war. We can’t just up and leave if things get uncomfortable for us.”
“I’m aware that the fortune was taken, Scorpius. I get reminded about it by your father and grandfather any time I get within ten feet of them!” Maria snaps, sending their plates away with a flick of her wand before throwing herself into a chair behind her husband with an exaggerated sigh. “We’re not poor either. We both have good jobs. We could move somewhere and start again, somewhere where our name doesn’t stack the odds against us before we even open our mouths.”
With that she falls silent and leaves Scorpius to his own thoughts. Albus had never been the sort anyone would suspect of this when he was at school. Well, not anyone who could see past the green and silver of his robes.
Scorpius puts the whole thing to the back of his mind and fobs his wife off until it all gets too close to home. He has never been a fighter and only wants a quiet life. A year passes with his wife fretting over newspaper reports but accepting that it isn’t too bad for them to flee just yet. Just because things have happened before doesn’t mean they have to go the same way again. Many call Potter’s ideas much needed reform and his cousin Victoire Weasley backs him from St Mungos. She rose up the ranks quickly there and has influence. Many cases of muggleborn injuries with magical creatures come out of naivety because they don’t learn the same things growing up and it doesn’t occur to the wizarding world to teach them she insists and many listen.
It doesn’t matter if Scorpius agrees or not because his life has already been decided. He has a job, a home, a wife and a chance to get out if he needs to but his son is different. Things start to really matter when Saiph comes home and mentions that he agrees with Potter. Scorpius sits in shock and listens to him talk about classmates that struggled all because of things that didn’t occur and how someone else had to explain to them. He talks about how Hogwarts needs to move forward and how his cousins in the States just seem to get so much more from their education, from their communities in general.
Potter was in Hogsmeade to visit his niece Saiph mentions and they had a word. He then excitedly declares that he is free to owl Mr Potter any time he has questions. Scorpius swears his heart stops for a fraction for a second and his chest burns as the words penetrate his mind. Saiph talks of change and it just screams of danger. Suddenly Scorpius understands why his wife is so worried. Saiph agreeing is dangerous, because Saiph is a man not yet enough of an adult to know when to keep such opinions to himself.
There is suddenly an urgent need to know what Potter plans to do about all his opinions and ideas and paranoia seeps into Scorpius’ subconscious while he starts to actually read the newspaper clippings his wife has stored away in the library. He wonders if his son will be given a mark as his own father was or if Potter is more civilised than that. He wonders if Potter will go the democratic route if he does go for power and if there are enough people out there that would actually elect him. Nothing but words can be pinned on Potter and in a way that terrifies Scorpius more than anything else. He can’t do anything about the unknown.
People that speak out against Potter’s reform ideas start to leave their positions and then leave the country altogether without giving reasons, and then someone has a horrible ‘accident’ on a long weekend away from work. Again, nothing can be pinned on Potter but Scorpius knows he has something to do with it all and Maria demands he do something. Intimidation is a dangerous form of darkness because no laws are broken and children can’t be made to fear the one behind it. Scorpius decides the only way to protect his family is to seek out Potter himself and really he knows that the moment he makes that decision he has sealed all their fates. They just don’t know what that fate is yet.
“I knew you would come looking for me,” is the first thing that Potter says when Scorpius meets him in a bar in London. It had been easy to track Potter down and easier still to arrange a meeting. It feels like it should be more dramatic and yet Potter is sitting in very plain dark blue robes, drink on the table, and looking smug as Scorpius joins him at a table in the corner. No one pays them any mind and Scorpius feels oddly at ease. It isn’t what he expects which is to have Potter’s lackeys hovering behind them and a tense atmosphere all around. In a way the lack of it winds him up more.
“You approached my son,” is all that Scorpius says as he takes a seat and accepts the drink Potter has clearly ordered for him. He doesn’t want to know how Potter knows exactly what he likes.
“No,” Potter beings slowly, lines creasing his forehead, “I think you will find that young Saiph approached me. I merely answered his questions.”
“I don’t want you talking to my son.”
“Your son is an adult, Malfoy. He can talk to whomever he pleases and there is nothing that you can do about it. Like I said, he spoke to me. I merely answered the questions that you clearly haven’t as his father.”
It stings, cuts deep and hits home, because it is something that has crossed his mind before. Perhaps if he had spoken to Saiph about the controversial topics more then he wouldn’t be seeking out people like Potter for answers about the world.
“What do you want with him?”
“Want with him?” Potter smiles, before taking a drink and shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t want anything with him. I’m not Slughorn, Scorpius. I don’t collect people. He asked me questions and I answered them. I then politely offered that if he had more questions he was free to owl them to me. As far as I am aware, that doesn’t break any laws and given my family I tend to be up to date with these things.”
“Cut the crap, Potter. All this talk of reforms and separate schools for the muggle and wizard raised, as you’re calling them, is causing turmoil in the Ministry. Then Shaw has that convenient accident a few weeks back when she was the one calling for you to be arrested for disturbing the peace? You’re up to something and I don’t want my son involved in it,” Scorpius says in a rush. He can feel himself getting flushed and wonders if Potter can tell that he is raging inside, ready to erupt at any moment and lose his composure. It would be most unbefitting for him to do so but he can feel the control slipping away. This is his son. Despite the tradition of having one son and heir, Scorpius would have loved to have had more children but Saiph’s birth had been long and hard on Maria and it wasn’t to be.
“Change is natural, Scorpius,” Potter says slowly. “We’ve been stuck in a rut in magical Britain for centuries and someone needs to have the balls to do something about it. I’m not killing people and plotting world domination.”
“People have had the balls to try and change the way we live before. It didn’t end well, Albus. Ask your dad.”
“For things not ending well, perhaps it is your father I should be talking to,” Potter hisses, his body-language far more defensive now as he stares Scorpius down. “I’m not some raging Dark Lord.”
“What are you then? You’re not a politician and you need to use politics and democracy to change things without being seen as a Dark Lord. I don’t want my son wrapped up in that crap.”
“The system doesn’t work. It needs to be changed before we can move forward,” Potter says simply, and Scorpius can see the real Albus being revealed as he pushes him further. It is both satisfying and makes him sick to his stomach because it seems Maria was right. Maybe they should have left before Saiph ever had the chance to meet him.
“And those that stand in the way of this change?”
“Are fools that need to stand aside,” Potter says icily before adding, “And if they need to be encouraged to move then they need encouraged to move. No one has to die but they do need to understand. Making them understand may be problematic because not everyone is as brilliant as your boy. You should be proud, Scorpius. He understands my vision perfectly. He helped classmates at Hogwarts who came to our world disadvantaged. I want equal footing for all. No one should struggle because of the home they happened to be born into.”
It pains Scorpius to admit it to himself that he agrees in many ways. Taking a large gulp of his drink he buys himself a moment. It is all so dangerous because while it is radical it is sensible. The end goal is a good one but the way Potter seems determined to go about it is not. His words suggest that while he won’t seek violence he will do whatever he has to.
“I just don’t want my son to be part of this movement,” Scorpis admits, silently conceding to the other man that he agrees with him partially. The smirk on Potter’s face tells him he didn’t need to say anything anyway.
“That is no longer for you to decide.”
Scorpius remembers what his father told him as a boy about how family had to stick together and that no Lord was more important than protecting their own. He just can’t see another way to protect Saiph than to know exactly what he is involved with.
“Well, I guess then I just decide for myself. Tell me more about your plans. If Saiph is to be part of this and helping you then I will do the same.”
Potter’s eyes are bright and victorious and with a sinking feeling, Scorpius can’t help but wonder if this was in fact the other man’s plan all along.