The Sugar Quill
Author: The Morning Starr (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sins of the Fathers  Chapter: Chapter 2: Troubled
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Sins of the Fathers

Sins of the Fathers

by The Morning Starr

 

Author’s Notes: Many thanks to Ashwinder for her input and Ara Kane for Beta Reading.

 

Chapter 2: Troubled

 

            On any given day, the Potions Shack was abuzz with activity.  The modest building was home to numerous cauldrons, countless glass vials, ingredients galore, and enough books to make one think that he had just stumbled into the Potions section of Flourish and Blotts.  There were usually about four or five potions brewing at a time, each giving off its own distinctive odor, and Draco Malfoy would move from cauldron to cauldron, carefully inspecting each one and adding the necessary ingredients.  He had enough regular customers that his days were fairly predictable.  The sniffling Fitzpatrick picked up his Pepperup Potion every Monday at nine o’clock sharp, while Mrs. Purejoy stopped in on Tuesdays just before having tea with her mother-in-law to collect her weekly dose of Euphoria, and the representative from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement came in for Veritaserum every other Friday, just after lunch.  During business hours, he was rarely alone in the Shack for more than a few minutes, especially when it was time for his Wolfsbane customers to come in.  Today, however, was rather slow in comparison.

 

            “That will be nine Sickles, Iowerth,” Draco said to his customer as he put stoppers into several just-filled vials filled with a powder blue liquid.

 

            “F-f-f-or a C-c-c-calming Draught?”  sputtered Iowerth Spinks, a lanky man whose hunched-over posture hid his true height.  Th-th-th-that’s more th-th-than usual.”

 

            Draco carefully wrapped the vials and placed them in an indistinct brown box.  “You did order nearly twice the usual amount.  You’re not taking it more than three times a week, are you?  Overuse can cause horrific side effects.”  He handed the box to Iowerth, knowing that his very faithful customer was indeed taking much more than he ought.  The stuttering was a dead giveaway.

 

            “Of c-c-c-course not,” Iowerth managed as he counted out nine Sickles with a trembling hand.  “S-s-s-some of it’s f-f-f-for my w-w-wife.”

 

            As Iowerth left the Potions Shack, Lucette hurried in, beaming.  Her smile faltered for a moment as she caught sight of Iowerth quivering, but she shook her head and turned back to her husband.

 

            “You’ll never guess what just happened,” she said as the door closed behind her and walked towards the counter.

 

            Scorpius wrote to say that he’s seen the light and he’ll stop running around with the Potter boy straight away?”  His tone was purposefully dry.

 

            Lucette placed her hands on her hips and gave him the look.  “No.  And we decided—”

 

            You decided; I merely conceded,” he corrected her.

 

            She rolled her eyes at him and walked around behind the counter, joining her husband.  Smoothing out the front of his work robes, she said, “We decided that it would be good for him to branch out and make friends outside of his House.  You were the one who didn’t want him to be judged according to your father’s alliances.  This will help him.”

 

            Sometimes Draco hated when his wife was right.  “But of all the children for him to make friends with…”

 

            Lucette took his hand and patted it.  “On the bright side, they are from good families.  At least we won’t have to worry about him getting involved in Dark magic now.”

 

            Draco groaned.  She had been gently teasing him about their son’s new friends ever since they’d read his first letter telling them the news.  Every letter since had detailed his afternoons with his new friends.  Draco wasn’t certain he could take any more of Lucette’s constant reminders that his only son was running around with a Potter and a Weasley.  He decided it was best to change the subject before she got it into her head to invite them all to tea.

 

            “So then, what is it that happened?”

 

            Lucette’s bright blue were wide with excitement.  “Oh!  I was in the third greenhouse, and my Mandrake seeds have taken root!”

 

            This was good news.  The Mandrake Draught was tricky, and tricky potions were Draco’s specialty, as well as the bulk of their income.  It wasn’t the type of potion that customers put in advance orders for, but it was the sort of thing one would want to have ready for when that urgent owl came in.  Urgent orders meant higher prices.  This was very good news indeed.

 

            “Do you think Iowerth Spinks is becoming a bit too dependent on the Calming Draught,” Lucette asked, changing the subject suddenly.

 

            “I know he is,” said Draco as he tended to a thick orange paste in a small bronze cauldron.  “But there’s not much that can be done.  I told him ages ago that over-consumption leads to increased anxiety, but it’s quite clear that he ignored me.”

 

            “Should we tell his wife?” Lucette asked, but Draco quickly shook his head.

 

            “We’ve built our reputation on our ability to be discreet.  That means that we don’t pass judgment—at least in their presence—and we don’t get involved.”

 

            “But there must be something we can do for the poor man.”  This was typical of Lucette.  She always wanted to help people, to do good in the world.  She was warm—right down to her golden hair and sun-kissed skin—while Draco was cold.

 

            “Well, I’ve already done something,” he said.  Her look of surprise made him smile.  “I decreased the strength and didn’t tell him.  It should at least help with all the shaking and stuttering.”

 

            Lucette threw her arms around Draco’s neck and kissed him.  “Every now and again you do something that proves you aren’t as cold-hearted as you want everyone to think.”

 

            “Oh, but I am.  You see, if dear Iowerth lands himself in St. Mungo’s, he’ll be taking their potions, and we’ll have lost ourselves a valuable customer.”  He grinned at her.

 

            “You say that, but I’m on to you, Draco Malfoy.”  She kissed him again and then turned on her heel.  “I’ll be in the third greenhouse preparing the soil for our new Mandrakes.  Then I’ll be out and about with my morning pruning.  Do send Biddle for me if Scorpius sends anything more about his new friends.”

 

            She winked at him and left the Potions Shack through the back door.

 

            The door closed behind her, and Draco checked his watch.  He had another hour before the wizard from the Dragon Reservation would there for the burn-healing paste.  Draco took off his work robes and hung them over the counter.  With a flick of his wand, the front door locked and the sign in the window flipped to “Closed.”  He strode casually to the back door, where a quick glance out of the window confirmed that Lucette was already in the greenhouse and up to her elbows in soil.  Draco quickly locked the back door as well and then ducked into his office.

 

            His office wasn’t large, but it served its purpose.  This was where he kept up with the accounting and stored all of his customer’s confidential files.  It was also home to Severus Snape’s personal notes and papers, which were quite frankly the secret to Draco’s success.  To this day he still didn’t know why Professor Snape had bequeathed these to him, but he was convinced that his old teacher had been one of the most brilliant potions masters ever.  Not only had Snape modified most common potions to make them better or stronger, he had also developed a number of experimental potions that Draco attempted to recreate in his spare time.  So while any idiot could brew up a decent cure for boils, only Draco knew that three spoonfuls of sugar and a dash of cinnamon made it easier to swallow without diluting its strength.  He kept Snape’s papers locked up in his office; only Lucette knew about them, but she knew about everything.

 

            Not everything, he thought.

 

            Hidden underneath the floor next to his desk was a secret compartment.  He’d installed it years ago when Lucette had taken Scorpius to visit with her parents for the weekend.  At first he had meant to tell her about it, but something stopped him.  It wasn’t that he’d had anything to hide from her; indeed, until the previous Tuesday he had only used it for storing her birthday and Christmas presents.  Any other time it sat there unused.

 

            And now that he had a reason to use it, he wished he didn’t.  He knelt beside the hidden compartment and mumbled the various enchantments needed to unlock it.  Draco reached into it, his hand trembling twice as much as Iowerth’s had earlier, and pulled out the confidential letter he had assumed was an order for Wolfsbane Potion. 

 

            What the letter actually contained, however, turned out to be infinitely more complicated than any potion.

 

            Malfoy, the letter read,

 

            I know what you did and that you were never brought to justice for it.   It would be a shame if it came out now.  Your wife and son would miss you if you were sent to Azkaban.  Give me what I want and spare yourself the humiliation and jail time.  Further instructions to follow.

 

            Accompanying the letter was a photograph of an opal necklace.

 

*~*~*

 

            “You’re waving it all wrong,” Blair said to Scorpius.  In an odd twist of events, she was helping him with his Charms homework.  “Your circles are too big.  Keep them tighter.”

 

            Scorpius did as she said and waved his wand in a smaller circle, trying hard to keep his movements more controlled.  He found Charms oddly frustrating, possibly because it was one of the few classes where he hadn’t instantly excelled.  Professor Wimple was a burly and intimidating man and was not at all the type of person one would expect to be teaching Charms.  He was head of Hufflepuff House, and true to the whole fairness trait that supposedly defined the House, he was equally tough on everyone and overloaded them all with homework.

 

            “If it makes you feel better,” Al said, “I was having a bit of trouble with it as well.”

 

            Scorpius, Al, and Blair were sitting in the courtyard, enjoying the mild weather while it lasted.  Al was busy getting a head start on his Transfiguration homework, and Blair was helping Scorpius master the art of making small circles with his wand while she skimmed Delia Everette: Winter Fashion Preview, occasionally interrupting the wand waving to point out pictures of her mum modeling various new robe designs while the boys took turns making gagging motions when her back was turned.

 

            “Father says men ought to be fashionable, too, you know,” Blair said when Scorpius accidentally rolled his eyes after being shown the latest dragon-hide footwear.  Her bottom lip stuck out a bit when she said it, and Scorpius felt a pang of guilt for hurting her feelings.

 

            Fortunately Rose came along just then, carrying two enormous books.

 

            Advanced Transfiguration and The Modern Animagus?” Al read aloud.  “Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself?  You haven’t even turned a match into a needle yet.”

 

            “I know,” said Rose, groaning a bit.  She had told Scorpius earlier that her mum had managed it fairly early on, and he suspected she was hoping to follow in her footsteps much the way wanted to follow in his father’s.  “But Professor Falco wrote both of these, and my mum said it was always a good idea to be familiar with a professor’s publications.  It lets you know what they’re interested in and can give you insight on what sort of topics they’re likely to focus on in assignments and exams.”

 

            “Oh,” said Blair, looking up from her magazine, “do you think Professor Falco will teach us how to become an Animagus like her?  I wonder what animal I’d be.  Probably something beautiful, like a peacock.”

 

            “You do know that female peacocks are brown and grey,” Scorpius informed her.  Clearly, she hadn’t known that, because her face fell a bit.

 

            “No matter,” said Blair.  “Then I’d be a snow leopard.”

 

            “Actually,” said Rose, “I doubt she’ll be teaching any of us how to become one.  It’s very advanced magic, and if it was something that could easily be taught to students, there would be far more Animagi now, wouldn’t there?  But it’s fascinating magic nonetheless, and the theory should make for some interesting reading over the weekend.”

 

            “That figures,” said Al quietly to Scorpius while Blair—happy to finally have an attentive audience—showed Rose all the pictures of her mum.  “She’s the only one who didn’t get assigned Transfiguration homework, but she’ll probably do more reading this weekend than the seventh-years.”

 

            “Speaking of seventh-years,” said Scorpius, nodding towards a girl who was walking towards them.   Her long hair was nearly as pale as Scorpius’s, but with a reddish tone to it that gave it the appearance of being pink.  He could see from her badge that she was the Head Girl.

 

            “Ah,” said Al.  “That’s my cousin, Victoire.”

 

            Scorpius was entranced by her.  She seemed to glow in the sunlight.  He was certain he had never seen anyone so beautiful in his life, and he suspected he never would again.  He thought the witches in Blair’s fashion magazine could take a few beauty tips from Victoire.  For a moment, he wanted to tell her so, but he was gripped by fear at the thought of speaking to her, and resigned himself to gaze at her instead, unaware that his mouth was wide open.

 

            Scorpius, snap out of it.”

 

            Rose was shaking him by the shoulders.  The beautiful Head Girl was gone.

 

            Wh-what happened,” he asked, thoroughly dazed.

 

            Al was laughing, but Rose looked slightly embarrassed while Blair just seemed annoyed.

 

            “Is that the first time you’ve met Victoire?” Rose asked.

 

            Scorpius nodded and wiped at the corner of his mouth to remove an unfortunate bit of drool.

 

            “Well, it wasn’t your fault,” she said.  “Her great-grandmother is Veela, and every now and again it comes out in Victoire.  And if you’ve never been exposed to it before…” 

 

            Al doubled over again.  “You should have seen your face, Scorpius!  It was priceless.”

 

            Scorpius’s whole body felt hot.  He knew Al was only teasing, but he felt foolish and horrified by the thought that he’d just embarrassed himself in front of his friends and the Head Girl and everyone else in the courtyard for that matter.

 

            Blair stood up abruptly.  “I’ll see you in Transfiguration, Scorp.  Rose, thanks for the tips on the matches.  Perhaps now I’ll be able to get mine to go all silvery too.”  She walked off, though without her usual bounce.

 

            “Ugh,” Scorpius groaned, only just registering what she’d said.  “We have Transfiguration with Zephaniah Smith.  He just sits there and uses up what little brain power he actually has trying to come up with clever insults.  He said something about Blair’s hair, though, so she jinxed his book like she did mine.  I think he suspects it was me, though, because he gave me a right nasty look after class.  Not that he has to try very hard to look nasty.”

 

            Rose wrinkled her nose.  Scorpius, just ignore him.  He only wants you to get all worked up so that you’ll do something rash and end up losing points for your House.  You shouldn’t give him the satisfaction.  He’s not worth it.”

 

            “It’s too bad we can’t duel him,” said Al, who had finally recovered from  his earlier fits of laughter.  “That’d shut him up, I expect.”

           

            But Rose looked uneasy.  “Al, just because your dad heads up the Aurors doesn’t make you a brilliant duelist.  Besides, your mum would murder you if you went around challenging people to duels.  I know Smith’s a giant prat, but both of you just need to ignore him.”  She stood, picking up her oversized library books.  “Now come on, it’s nearly time for class.”

 

            The three of them made their way back into the castle.  Rose was giving Scorpius last-minute pointers for his upcoming Transfiguration lesson, which she and Al had already been through.  They were about to part ways when Al stopped suddenly.

 

            “Oh,” he said to Scorpius, “I was so busy laughing at you earlier that I forgot to invite you to tea on Saturday.”

 

            “Tea?”

 

            “Right.  With Professor Longbottom and his wife.  They’re old family friends.  You can meet the whole Weasley clan—well, those of us at Hogwarts that is.  That’s why Victoire came looking for us in the courtyard, to remind us.”

 

            “Oh, please do come, Scorpius,” Rose pleaded with him.  “I’d love for you to meet all of us.  And you’d have loads to talk about with Professor Longbottom.”

 

            He did quite like Professor Longbottom, and he was curious about what big families were like.  But he wasn’t keen on humiliating himself in front of Victoire again and said as much to  his friends.

 

            “She’s different when it’s just us,” Rose assured him.  “It won’t be like today, I promise.”

 

            Scorpius hesitated, but finally agreed.

 

            “Brilliant,” said Al, smiling.  “See you after class, then.”  Al and Rose headed down to the dungeons for their Potions lesson.

 

            Scorpius slipped into the sea of students making their way to class.  When he reached the Transfiguration classroom, he was confused to find the door closed and his Housemates waiting outside.

 

            “N.E.W.T. students in there,” Zanzibar Baddock said in response to Scorpius’s puzzled look.  “They work through lunch some days.”

 

            “You’d best get your homework ready,” said Xerxes.  “Artemisia Lynch told me that Professor Falco collects it as we walk inside.” 

 

            Scorpius dutifully removed his assignment from his bag.  Thanks, mate.”

 

            Just then the door opened and a small number of seventh-year students filed out.  One of them was Adeline Lynch, who stopped as soon as she saw Scorpius.

 

            “Ah, Malfoy, just the man I wanted to see.  We want to try you out for reserve Seeker this next week, on Friday.  Meet me in the Entrance Hall after your last class.  We’ll see if you’ve got what it takes, yeah?”

 

            Scorpius nodded vigorously as his classmates began filing into the classroom.  He turned to join them when he was greeted by an unfriendly face.

 

            “You?  Try out for Quidditch?”  It was Zephaniah Smith, flanked by his two cronies.  “Now that I’ve got to see.  Dad says that when he was at school, Slytherin always fell just short of the Cup.  I guess their Seeker just wasn’t much of an asset.  Try not to fall off your broom.  Actually, please do.  No one would miss you.”  Zephaniah sniggered and pushed past Scorpius, causing him to drop his homework.

 

            “Never mind him,” said Adeline, picking up his parchment and handing it to him.  “Adrian’s captain of the Hufflepuff team, and if I know my brother, that kid’s got a better chance of getting Professor Wimple to tap dance than he does of playing Quidditch while Adrian’s in charge.  See you next Friday, Malfoy.”

 

            Scorpius hurried into the classroom, handed over his homework to Professor Falco’s waiting grasp, and hurried to take his seat next to Blair, who hardly acknowledged him.  He was busy unpacking his book, parchment and ink when he heard his name called.

 

            “Mr. Malfoy, please see me at my desk this instant,” Professor Falco, while much kinder than Wimple, was still not the type of teacher one wants to cross, and the tone of her voice sent chills down Scorpius’s spine.  He immediately complied.

 

            “Is this some sort of joke?” she asked sternly when he was standing in front of her.

 

            She was pointing to his assignment, only it didn’t look anything like what he’d worked on except that his name was still written at the top in his handwriting.  The rest looked as if someone with advanced arthritis had attempted to scribble runes all over the parchment.

 

            “I…I…” Scorpius stammered, not knowing what to say.

 

            “Perhaps you think Transfiguration homework beneath you?”

 

            “No, Professor.  I…I don’t know how that happened, I swear.”

 

            But he could tell she didn’t believe him at all.  “I will not tolerate such pranks, Mr. Malfoy.  You will serve detention in addition to redoing the assignment and I will be taking ten points from Slytherin.  Now please, return to your seat without another word.”

 

            Scorpius turned around slowly, his mind reeling.  He had written the essay.  How could it have gone all jumbled like that?  His first thought was of Blair, who liked to play jokes on him, but even she wouldn’t do anything this serious.  She would never want to see him in trouble.

 

            And then he remembered Rose’s words. He only wants you to get all worked up so that you’ll do something rash and end up losing points for your House.  He knew exactly who would want to see him in trouble.

 

            Sure enough, when he looked up he saw Zephaniah Smith in the back of the classroom, smirking victoriously.

 

~*~*~

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