Characters: Rose, Albus, Scorpius, and… well, you'll see :)
Length: 1333 words
Summary: A new generation - a new war...
Note: Written as an ownficfest giftlet for melfinatheblue.
"Are you done yet?"
Rose bangs on the door, then sticks her head inside.
Al's room is half-dark, his trunk and bag wedged onto the bed; a travelling cloak settles around his shoulders as he turns to glare at her.
Then she notices the second figure beside his desk.
"Malfoy?" She hears her voice waver and curses the stab of anxiety that runs through her. Unlike his parents, he isn't wanted – yet. "What are you doing here?"
"He's here for me," Al cuts in before Scorpius can open his mouth.
Rose feels herself soften. "You better say good-bye quickly, then," she advises. "Mum and Dad and Aunt Ginny are ready to roll. We're just waiting for you."
Al's thin, intense face tightens. "I'm not coming."
"What do you mean, you're not coming?" Rose hears her voice spiralling up, and reins it in with effort. "You said you wouldn't go back to Hogwarts when they closed Slytherin House. After all the strings Uncle Victor pulled to get you admitted to Durmstrang-"
"We're not going back to school," Albus says.
"You're not…? Are you out of your mind, Albus Severus Potter? You need to complete your education, and there's a war going on!"
"No, there isn't." Albus states flatly. "The Lestranges are dead, their rebellion crushed. The only thing that's going on is the Ministry terrorising purebloods and Slytherins."
It's then Rose understands, and realisation hits her like a punch in the gut.
"No, you can't…" she gasps, taking a step forward. Scorpius moves to intercept her before she can grab Al's arm. "You're just kids. Tell me you're not even thinking about running away to join that new Dark Lord. Did you ever think of James? It would kill him!"
When the Lestranges struck at the Ministry, they took out the entire year's crop of Auror recruits, among them James Potter's best friends, whom he'd hoped to join in training after getting his NEWTs. He's thought of nothing but vengeance since.
Malfoy speaks up for the first time. "He didn't seem to care much that the Aurors attacked the Manor without warning, murdering my grandfather when he dared covering my parents' and grandmother's escape." An instant's pause while sharp white teeth dig into the side of his bottom lip for an instant. It's probably the most emotion a Malfoy will permit himself. "And then dragged the Notts and Parkinsons and Bulstrodes to Azkaban, children and all, without a shred of evidence that they had anything to do with the Lestrangists."
"I know it's wrong." Guilt is churning in Rose's stomach. James isn't the only one blinded by dreams of revenge. "That's why Uncle Harry and my Mum have resigned and will leave the country in protest against Ministry policy."
"They should stay and fight," Scorpius says, implacable.
"They can't, can't you see that," Rose cries. "They've worked for the Ministry all their adult lives – they can't just... just turn on their friends and colleagues."
"That's why it's got to be me," Al points out calmly. "If Scorpius goes alone, it'll be what the Ministry expects – the last Malfoy going over to the Dark. But if Harry Potter's son joins the rebels… not even the Minister can ignore that."
"And that makes it worth serving a new Dark Lord?"
"There is no new Dark Lord," Albus snaps, then pauses. "Not yet, anyway."
"And who do you think attacked your Dad last week?" And left Ex-Head Auror Harry Potter unconscious and bleeding in a side street of Diagon, she doesn't add.
"I think you should tell her," Malfoy says. "Somebody should know, just in case. We can always Petrify her before leaving."
"Know what?" Rose shrills. "And if you even point that wand in my direction, I'll hex your balls off!"
Malfoy fixes her with that creepy, silvery look of his. "Well, you're right, Weasley. We're just… well, kids, not warriors. There's never been a 'new' Dark Lord, just a handful of deluded ex-Death Eaters who're all dead now. We needed a leader – so we found one."
One corner of his mouth twists up in a smile that distorts his handsome face. He lifts his left hand. When the sleeve falls back, it reveals four slender, pink fingers… and one of smooth silver.
Rose pales and stumbles backwards. "You- you brought back You-Know-Who?"
"Don't be daft!" her cousin snarls.
"Show her," says Scorpius.
Al swallows, and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, his gaze is darker, his cheekbones more sharply defined. Rose's skin crawls when he looks at her.
"Miss Weasley-Granger, I presume?" A voice that is scratchy and velvety at the same time, unlike anything she's ever heard coming from Al's vocal chords. It sends shivers down her back. Al looks at Malfoy. "Please reassure me, Mr Malfoy, that I shall not be saddled with a repeat edition of the infamous golden trio."
"It's you," Rose gasps, the smooth, caustic venom too familiar to mistake. "Pro… Headmaster Snape."
Scorpius chuckles. "Your portrait is hanging in the main Potions classroom at Hogwarts, Sir. It scares the hell out of the little Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs."
"Preferable to facing the Boy-Who-Lived sans scar when looking into the mirror, without doubt," Al-who-isn't-Al sneers.
Rose shakes her head. "But why Al?"
"There was no body to resurrect." Headmaster Snape's words fall, precise and terrible, from Al's lips. "And not even these two would dare disturb the wizarding dead. So, like my colleague Quirrell a long time ago, young Mr Potter chose to offer his body."
"Can he hear us?" Rose asks in a small voice.
"Yes. But he is merely a watcher now."
"Can you bring him back?"
Al's eyes glitter, so dark suddenly that the green is almost eradicated. "Certainly, Miss Weasley."
Then they widen and Al stumbles, caught at the shoulder by Scorpius before he can fall. He's breathing hard. Rose wants to slap him until he screams; instead, she rounds on Malfoy.
"You cut off your finger for this, you insane loon?"
Scorpius shrugs, although his mouth tightens for a moment. "It's a fair tribute to Grandfather; I think he would approve. And well, I'm not the only one who made a sacrifice – Albus Severus attacked his own father."
Al flushes under her shocked glare. "Blood of the foe, forcibly taken…" he mumbles. "Dad was our best bet. The Headmaster didn't exactly leave many enemies to survive him. Finding Snape's father's bones on the Spinner Mills Parish Cemetery was the easy part."
Rose sinks down on Al's pillow, head buried in her hands. "You two are even more crazy than James and Hugo. I didn't think that was possible."
Scorpius smiles down at her. "Would you like to come with us, Rose?"
For an instant, temptation digs in its claws and shakes her, like it did during the early months of her fifth year when Scorpius Malfoy was on her mind all too often. Then reality sets in.
"I couldn't do that to Mum and Dad and Hugo," she whispers. "They'd go insane with worry." They will anyway, over Al. She shudders to think about James's reaction.
"It's all right, Rosie," Al says and comes over to hug her. She wraps both arms around his slender frame, almost crushing the breath from him.
"You make sure that your Professor Snape keeps you safe, you hear?" she hisses fiercely. "No dumb heroics!" Without raising her head, she adds, "That goes for you too, Malfoy."
Al smirks up at her, looking far too young. "Dumb heroics are for Gryffindors, dear cousin."
She lets him go, remaining sitting on the bed while he grabs and shrinks his bags. They pause for a moment, next to each other in the moonlight that falls through the window. Rose just nods, once.
She waits until they've disappeared – what's a bit of Disapparating without a licence for those who've gone to wage war on the Ministry? Then she gets up, slow like an old woman, to break the news to her family.