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Scorpius Malfoy sat on a bench in the Transfiguration Courtyard as he waited to put his plot into action. He intended to confront Rose Weasley and perhaps push her a little farther than he ever had before. The plan was risky, the girl was a Prefect and if he pushed her too far he might end up out of school for the remaining month of the term, something that his parents wouldn’t like. They were still angry that he had not been made a Prefect and often railed about it at the dinner table when he was at home.

Home, a place that he would have to go to at the end of the term, it was also a place that he wished that he could avoid. The days when the name Malfoy had meant something had vanished with the disgrace that his grandfather had brought upon the family. As if that had not been enough a large amount of the furnishings of their home had been sold to allow them to keep what land they still owned. The holdings of the family, which had been in the family for generations, had been severely diminished and the family itself was now more or less treated like a pariah among pure-bloods. Yes, home was a place that he didn’t long for anymore.

Minutes later, the door to the classroom opened and he watched as Rose stepped out of the room to enter the courtyard. The tall redhead was laughing as she talked to her group of friends and looked stunned when she saw Scorpius sitting in a courtyard outside the classroom that he had just been absent from. She left the group and walked purposefully towards the boy who rose as she approached.

“You do realize that you missed Transfiguration class and, by the looks of things, you did it on purpose!”

“Shut up, Weasley, you act like I care about class or what you have to say.”

“Careful, Malfoy, don’t forget that I’m a Prefect.”

“Like that matters, Weasley! I don’t care about that badge or how powerful you think you are. I don’t even much care if you take points from Slytherin because you’re just as bad as Blackwell, maybe worse. At least she’s a pure-blood; I don’t even know what they call a half mud-blood half blood-traitor, but whatever they call it that’s what you are!”

Rose’s face flushed a bright red that nearly matched her hair as she trembled with rage. The students gathered around the pair watched as she unconsciously clenched and then unclenched her fist over and over again. She towered over the boy by nearly four inches and had no issue with staring into his eyes. The boy could read the anger in her eyes and knew that it was time to put the final piece into his plot. He suddenly lashed out and slapped her across the face with all of his strength.

Unprepared for the attack, Rose reeled backwards and just caught herself to keep from falling. She dropped her books onto the grass and stepped back towards him as he spoke.

“Did that hurt? You’re not going to be like Blackwell and start crying are you, Weasley?”

“I’m not going to cry, Malfoy, but I am going to take you to Professor Leeds. You just attacked a Prefect and I know that he won’t be happy about that.”

“Try taking me to Leeds, I’ll smack you in the face again if I get the chance.”

“She doesn’t need to bring you to me, I’m already here.”

The pair and the other students gathered in the courtyard turned to see the Headmaster standing in the entry way to the courtyard. The students who had not been a part of the confrontation hurried to get to their next class as the tall wizard approached the boy and the girl that he had just slapped. That she had been struck was apparent, a large red mark covered her cheek and it appeared to be swelling.

“Miss Weasley, I want you to go to the Hospital Wing to be examined.”

“Yes, sir, Professor Leeds. Do I need to report to your office when I’m finished?”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Mister Malfoy will, however, accompany me to my office. But, Miss Weasley, before you go, how many points should be taken from Slytherin House for this attack? I am going to leave it to you because this is something that has never had to be dealt with in a very long time.”

Rose thought for a moment before looking Scorpius in the eyes and speaking.

“Professor Leeds, I am taking two hundred points from Slytherin for Scorpius Malfoy’s attack on a Prefect. According to the by-laws of Hogwarts, an attack on any Professor or Prefect is an act which can lead to the expulsion of the offending student.”

“You are quite correct, Miss Weasley. This incident is grounds for expulsion and that option shall certainly be considered. As it is, until a determination of your fate is made, Mister Malfoy, you shall immediately be sent to the Isolation Tower. But before that we have a meeting in my office and an owl needs to be dispatched to your home. Come with me please, Scorpius.”

Rose watched as the boy that had struck her left with the headmaster before she picked up the books that she had dropped and left the courtyard. Minerva McGonagall watched from the door to her classroom and wondered just exactly how this incident would play out. The trouble between the Malfoy and the Weasley families were well known and this was sure to enflame them. The witch watched as the girl disappeared before turning to her classroom full of students.

While Scorpius was making his trip to the office of Professor Leeds and Rose was walking to the office of Madam Pomfrey, the members of all of the Houses were reacting to the loss of two hundred points from the hourglass of Slytherin House. No one had ever seen such a loss of points from one incident and this, coupled with the revelation about the incident in the Potions classroom as well as Nelly’s assault on Elizabeth, meant that the House of Salazar was down almost four hundred points in a very short time.

The House of Slytherin was outraged about this loss, especially when they heard about the attack that Scorpius Malfoy had launched against a Prefect. They had no chance at all of winning the House Cup now, not even if they won all of the remaining Quidditch matches that they had for the term. Looking at the hourglass with the glowing number thirty–five above it sent all of the affected students into a state of disbelief and anger at those responsible.

Scorpius’ meeting with Professor Leeds was swift and he was soon standing in the common room of the Isolation Tower. The two first-year girls were sitting in their assigned rooms and Nelly sat silently in a chair in front of the mantle. None of the girls even glanced at him when he first entered, but as he sat down in a chair Nelly finally spoke.

“Blackwell?”

“No, I clobbered Rose Weasley in the face.”

Not even this news made the girl smile, even though she had been no fan of the victim of Malfoy’s attack.

“How many points are we down to?”

“I imagine about forty more or less. Leeds let Weasley decide how many points to take after I smacked her in the mouth.”

“How many did she take?”

“Two hundred, she took two hundred.”

The face of the girl blanched as she thought about what he had said. They had been well on their way to and virtually assured of winning the House Cup. Now all of that was lost and they had no chance at all.

“You know that the entire Quidditch team is going to be out to get you, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know, but if things go the way that I hope this is the place that I want to be in.”

“What do you mean?”

“There are books in the library here that we can use against Blackwell.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I want her expelled from this school forever.”

The pair of Slytherin rose from their chairs and scurried into the library to begin their search unaware that Margaret had overheard their plans. She rose from where she had been sitting and hurried out of the tower to make her way to the office of Professor Leeds. Scorpius and Nelly intended harm to Elizabeth, the very girl who had helped her when she had spoken to Professor Leeds, and she had no intention of letting that happen. Her mind made up, Margaret swiftly made her way to the tower where she hoped that Professor Leeds would listen to what she had to say.

Elizabeth sat quietly in the Great Hall while she studied with Beatrice and Lily for the coming exam. The trio of girls had avoided staring at the Slytherin hourglass, but could still hear the irritated grumbles coming from the students from that House.

Lily leaned towards Elizabeth to point out something on her parchment and was happy when her friend, after swiftly reading what had been indicated, nodded her agreement. Professor Grims smiled as the students in his class made progress in their preparations for the exam that they would soon take in his classroom. The room had been temporarily abandoned when Peeves had set off several Dungbombs, causing the students within to hurry out and down the stairs. The feelings of nausea over, the students had settled back into their routine.

Finally, the old professor released the students and they hurried out of the Great Hall to make their way out into the large Entry Courtyard. The girls sat down on a bench where they watched a group of students playing games of Gobstone. Lily was particularly good at the game and had defeated many of the boys that she had played the game with. This had bruised many egos and the boys soon tried to find a reason to quit the game when the girl decided to play.

Elizabeth looked at her friend, who was watching the games with interest and mischief in her eyes. Lily reached into the pocket of her robes and swiftly drew out her Gobstones before rising and challenging a boy who had been loudly boasting that he could beat any girl who played against him. It was not long before a crowd gathered around the pair that was playing and it wasn’t much longer before the girl had the boy on the defensive.

Lily liked to play aggressively and was soon well ahead of her opponent, who grew increasingly agitated as the game went against him. The girl kept her calm and was soon rising from the game circle as the victor. The Hufflepuff boy looked across the circle at the girl before speaking.

“Beginner’s luck, Potter, you know that you can’t do that again.”

“Want to bet on that?”

“Sure, what’s the bet?”

“Whoever loses has to stand up on that bench and announce that they lost because the other person was better than them! In fact, if I win you have to announce that you lost because girls are better than boys.”

“And if I win?”

“Then I announce that I lost because boys are better than girls, but we have to play until one of us has won two games. So I have already won one game, if I win the next one you have some announcing to do. Do we have a bet?”

“Yeah, we have a bet.”

The crowd around the pair grew to the point that Professor Tindwell, seeing the gathering, hurried out to break up the fight that he assumed was occurring. He made his way to the center of the crowd to find a battle in progress, but not the sort of fight that he expected. Moments later, he was standing with the students as the boy won the next game, much to the delight of the male students in the swarm.

Lily watched as her opponent sent the first Gobstone into the circle and knew that he had made a critical error. His stone had opened a path for her to score several points and she took advantage of that mistake. Her stone, aimed with accuracy as well as power in mind, knocked three stones out of the circle. The reaction to this paled in comparison when a moan from the assembled boys sounded after their representative miscalculated the strength of his launch and propelled his own stone out of the circle. Lily took advantage of the error and proceeded to remove several more stones from the playing field as the boy became more desperate.

Two turns later, the girl rose as the victor once again and the despondent boy climbed up onto the designated bench to make the required announcement. The assembled girls cheered as he finished while the defeated boys slunk away to comfort themselves. Lily joined her friends as they hurried back to the castle to enjoy the mid-day meal and the festive mood that the female students were experiencing.

Professor Leeds was preparing to leave his office when a fierce pounding sounded on his door before it opened and a winded Margaret Betts rushed into the room.

“Miss Betts, why are you here? You should be in the Great Hall at one of the Isolation Tables for the mid-day meal.”

“Professor Leeds,” the girl said after regaining her breath, “you have to stop Scorpius and Nelly!”

“Why do I have to stop them? What are they doing?”

“They were in the library in the Isolation Tower looking for a book to hurt Elizabeth with! They want something to happen so that she gets expelled.”

“Are you very certain of this, Margaret?”

“Yes, Professor Leeds, I learned my lesson about lying. They plan to do something horrible to her. She’s my friend and I don’t want that to happen.”

“Very well, go on down to the Great Hall sit down at you table. Do not say anything to anyone, I will deal with this little plot and deal with it harshly.”

The tall headmaster watched as the young girl left his office before vanishing with a POP to appear in the Great Hall. He looked around to notice that all of those in isolation were at their seats with the exception of Margaret and he knew that she would be there swiftly. Elizabeth was sitting with her friends as they talked and laughed while they ate and he could see plainly the mark that Scorpius had left on the face of Rose Weasley. He had seen a great many troubled students during his time as a professor and the group from Slytherin concerned him. They were capable of doing ghastly things and he knew that he needed to bring their reign of terror to a conclusion.

No one even looked up when Margaret slipped into the room and walked to her seat with the exception of Tobias Leeds. The small girl hurried to dig into the meal that had been provided to her and soon everyone in the chamber was concentrating on the food before them. He leaned towards Minerva McGonagall before speaking to her.

“I need to deal with something that has come to my attention, Minerva. Please act in my stead while I am gone.”

The eyes behind her glasses widened, but the elderly witch nodded and then watched as the wizard vanished. This fact did not go unnoticed by some of the students, but they were all used to his disappearances and put it off to nothing of immediate importance to them.

Elizabeth looked at the mark on the face of her friend again and winced. It looked horrible and probably hurt worse, but the offender had been dealt with and the situation was in the past. She had no idea that Professor Leeds now stood in the center of the library of the Isolation Tower or anything about the plot against her.

Scorpius and Nelly finished their meals in a rush and then hurried back towards the Isolation Tower and the library that it held. They made their way up the stairs and were soon back within the room that held what they were looking for where they began once again to pull books off of shelves that they had occupied for decades, if not centuries.

“Are you sure that the book is here?” Nelly asked swiftly.

“It has to be here, this is the only place in the castle except for the Restricted Section of the Library where we might find what we need.”

“What exactly are we looking for?”

“We’re looking for a book about ancient curses written by Gabriel Koeppler. My grandfather said that there was one in this library when he went to school here. It has to be here, there’s no reason for anyone to have looked here and removed it.”

“So how does this help us?”

“It’s going to help us because with it we can make Blackwell go all wonky and attack someone like she tried to do in the courtyard when she faced down old McGonagall. Too bad they didn’t kill each other; it would have improved this school a lot!”

Nelly abruptly straightened up as she pulled a large book from the shelves. It appeared ancient, the cover peeling and the pages brittle with the many years that it had been sitting on the shelf.

“Is this it? I can’t read the title but it says Koeppler on the spine.”

Scorpius dropped the book that he was holding and hurried to the side of the girl. She handed him the ancient tome and he eagerly opened it before looking at the title page.

“This is it! There are curses in this book that will get rid of Elizabeth Blackwell forever. She’ll be crazy and they won’t have any choice but to send her straight to St. Mungo’s. They’ll put her right in the crazy ward with Professor Longbottom’s parents and that dolt Lockhart.”

“Can you read that thing?”

“Yeah, I can read it. When we get done Blackwell will be in the crazy ward before you can say the word “Insane!”

They were both laughing heartily at the thought when a voice that they had not expected broke their reverie. Startled, they both turned towards the large window and were horrified when one of the drapes began to change forms until finally Professor Leeds stood in the room facing them.

“That book will be of no use to either of you, for it is not the works of Gabriel Koeppler. The book that you are seeking now lays safely entombed in one of the vaults that the Ministry maintains. Both of you are in far more trouble than you can ever hope to get out of and I shall see the both of you out of this castle for the remainder of the term if not forever. I have heard your plots against Miss Blackwell which is all of the proof that I need to expel you immediately!”

“You shall still face an inquiry by the Department of Magical Studies as well as the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. This could mean that you will be permanently barred from any school of magic as well as being forbidden from ever performing magic for the remainder of your lives.”

Both Nelly and Scorpius were stunned into silence and the only noise that sounded was when the book that Scorpius held fell to the floor to vanish instantly.

“You shall immediately pack your belongings and prepare to leave this castle. Do not even attempt to argue your innocence or that this is unfair to you. I heard and saw everything that you did and it is completely within the realm of my authority to punish you both in this fashion.”

The defeated pair considered arguing with the Headmaster but decided that argument would fail to produce a benefit. Neither was prepared, however, when Professor Leeds spoke again.

“I need both of you to give me your wands and I mean right now!”

Nelly tearfully reached into her robes to withdraw the wand that she had carried since starting school and then handed it to her headmaster. Scorpius was a little more resolute, for a moment considering refusal of the directive but after considering the consequences of doing so finally handed over his wand with trepidation.

“I will not destroy these at this time but should the inquiry produce evidence that you are not worthy of further trust I shall.”

The students watched as their wands were handed to an ancient House-Elf that had apparated into the room before the creature vanished with them firmly in his hand.

“Now, begin packing for your trip home. Once you are finished one of the elves shall transport your thing to the departure rooms. They have not been used in many years and I had hoped that they would never be used in my tenure as Headmaster of Hogwarts, but you have both given me no choice.”

The pair left the room and didn’t see the headmaster wave his wand or the books that flew back up onto the shelves that they had been pulled from. Ripped pages mended and damaged bindings restored, the books looked as they had for many decades as they settled down for another long repose. Tobias Leeds walked out of the room, but not before restoring the drape that he had displaced and casting a spell that sealed the door to the room. No one would enter the library without his approval and that approval would be hard to come by.

A day later, both Scorpius and Nelly left Hogwarts for the remainder of the term secure in the knowledge that there would be no chance that Elizabeth would extend her forgiveness or that Professor Leeds would forget about the plot that they had tried to carry out.

Draco Malfoy would stare angrily at his son as they sat in the sitting room of their home while the boy recounted what he had attempted to do. The boy was showing the same volatile temper that his grandfather had often displayed and this frightened Draco. After the boy had left the wizard drew up his sleeve to look down at the forearm that had once held the Dark Mark. After the defeat of Voldemort, the mark had faded away but its bearer had never forgotten what it had tried to lead him to do and he hoped that his son would never follow the path that his grandfather and father had trodden. He looked up at the ceiling of the room as he thought to himself.

‘Surely there is a way to save him. I promise with my every breath that I shall seek to prevent him from walking to destruction and pain. But this means that my father must stay away from Scorpius and I shall do anything necessary to ensure that happens.’

No one who had known Draco in school would have believed what they were seeing as tears fell from his eyes to land on his robes. No one who knew him would believe what he knew that he was going to have to do to protect his son from following his grandfather down a path to destruction.
 

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