Lily had been working in the administrative offices of the Wizengamot since she finished Hogwarts. She was studying to be a judge for one of the lower courts, but until she finished her exams she would spend her days in the office of Judge Amara, handling paperwork and researching case law for whatever matters the Wizengamot was currently ruling on.
“Ms. Potter. I trust you had an eventful weekend.”
The judge swung her official cloak from off her shoulders so it landed on the back of her armchair after only two steps into her office.
“Sadly I didn’t get to read about any of it with my morning tea. Seems the Minister’s new house elf initiative is more important.”
She delivered her question without a hint of irony. Her dry sense of humor was what Lily liked most about her boss.
“It is a real shame that The Prophet thought the political goings on in this country would be of more import than who I’m snogging.”
Lily sat a stack of yellow papers covered in her scribbled handwriting onto the Judge’s desk.
“So you are snogging someone then?”
“No.” Lily finally broke from their dry tone to let out a soft laugh. “Sadly there really wasn’t anything of note these last few days.”
The youngest Potter pushed her bangs out of her face before flipping through a stack of files next to the notes she had sat down. They seemed to be files from the civil proceedings, not anything the Wizengamot would be processing.
“Very well, then. Suppose we’ll just have to settle for getting some work done.”
Suddenly a name inked across the signature line of one folder caught her eye: Rose Weasley-Malfoy
“Judge? Are these processed? Should I go ahead and file them?”
“No no dear. These have been marked with errors. They need to be sent to the  department to alert those who filed the petitions.”
Lily shoved the paper she had been examining back into its folder quickly to avoid her boss thinking anything of her interest.
“Oh, well I can do that.” She offered again, starting to piece together what she had just stumbled onto.
“Don’t be silly, dear,” Judge Amara waved her off, “Someone from upstairs will be round to fetch them. Have you finished the notes for this afternoon’s hearing?”
“Yes” Lily responded, urgently pushing the yellow papers forward as if it were evidence, “And really, it’s no trouble.” She picked up the stack of errored folders “I actually have some friends up on that level, that I haven’t seen in a bit so I’ll drop these by and say a quick hello.”
Before her boss could decline again she had backed out of the office and stormed down the hallway into the lift. Once the golden gates closed she dropped the stack to the floor and cranked the lever to send her to the correct level. Then she dove to her knees and furiously started searching the stack for the name that had jumped out at her.
She felt her heart sink before realizing it was just the lift navigating its way through the ministry. How could this have happened? Why did she have to see it?
The elevator jerked forward and half the folders lost their contents, but Lily kept her search until she finally found it.
I Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy do hereby agree and consent to dissolve my marriage with Rose Weasley-Malfoy in answer to the petition sent….
There was a lot of legal annotations after that so Lily’s eyes fell to the bottom of the page where a bright colored tab had been stuck to the edge of the page:
I__________ do hereby agree and consent to dissolve my marriage to Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy in answer to the petition sent….
That line was missing Rose’s signature, which meant the divorce decree that had been issued was null and void, which meant that Rose and Scorpius were still legally married.
“Should I ask why you’re on the floor or is this Potter mayhem I’d be better off avoiding?”
Lily’s sudden grip of fear was calmed when she looked up to see it had been Freddie Royce to discover her hunched over the stack of papers like a mad woman. She was in such a state of shock she hadn’t felt the lift stop or even heard the arrival announced.
“Since when have you ever distanced yourself from Potter mayhem?”
She asked with a smirk as her brother’s best mate bent down to help her clean up the mess of paperwork that now littered the floor. Freddie had grown up with Lily’s oldest brother James. He introduced James to the woman who was now his wife - though her brother’s version of the story doesn’t give Freddie as much credit.
After they shoved all the papers back into folders they each took a stack and stepped out of the lift - which was now angrily reminding them that they shouldn’t block the gate.
“I just need to get these to-”
“LP...you were just crouched over that stack of folders like the wicked witch about to dip an apple in her cauldron. I’m willing to bet you’re not handing all of those papers over.”
Lily raised her eye raised in confusion, “what potion is someone brewing that they’d dip fruit into it?”
Freddie just waved his hand to tell her to forget about it. He was raised by his muggle mother and now worked for the muggle liaison office - he had a habit of making references that went over the rest of their heads.
“Look, LP,” Lily’s shoulders tensed at the second use of the nickname. Not because she hated her initials, but because to Freddie they didn’t stand for Lily Potter, but for Little Potter. “You can do what your brother did and ignore my advice only to realize later that I was right all along or you can share with the class and live happily ever after in Romania with the love of your life.”
They stopped at an unoccupied desk and Lily sat her stack of folders down before leaning on them.
“I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see, but now that I’ve seen it I can’t unsee it.” She started processing outloud, “And what I shouldn’t have seen is going to be huge news if I don’t take care of it discreetly” her pace quickened as her thoughts became less certain, “and even if it doesn’t get out to the press it’s still going to be possibly life-altering to those involved” she kept going without a breath, “and that might be for the best, but it could also be for the absolute worst” her hands were gesturing as quickly as her words were flying out, “Cause I mean it’s taken years for those involved to move past the thing I can’t unsee and once I show them they won’t be able to unsee it either - but it should be me who shows them right?”
Freddie sat his stack of folders next to Lily’s with a loud ‘thud’.
“The way I see it, withholding information from someone means you’re making their decision for them,” he answered with narrow eyes as if he were trying to solve a riddle, “would you want someone else making your decisions for you?”
Lily knew he knew her answer. Afterall, it was the biggest regret she had in life. Not that she’d fallen for Kit, but that she’d allowed her love for him to overshadow her own wants and ambitions. One decision at a time, she gave up herself to become the person he wanted her to be, but it was never enough. And in the end, knowing he’d lied or even that he chose someone else wasn’t what left a pit in her stomach; but that when she was left alone, sitting on the floor of her room alone for the first time in years, she stared at her reflection in the full length mirror and she didn’t even recognize the person staring back at her.
Lily let out a huff using her bottom lip to blow her bangs out of her face, “fatherhood has made you wise, Royce.”
She couldn’t take it personally. He was going to get upset and she had to prepare herself for that - but it wasn’t really at her. He was going to be okay. He’d gotten past this once already, he could do it again.
Because it didn’t really change anything - right? They had already filed once - they would just sign the same forms - no harm done. Of course, they hadn’t actually seen each other in over two years now so that could make it awkward. And, Rose was in a new relationship now, which heightened tensions. But that was exactly why they deserved to know. So they could make an informed decision about how to move forward. And if Lily didn’t tell them the ministry eventually would and who knows how that would be handled. No - Lily had to be the one to tell them.
“Hmmm?” Lily looked up from her plate of chips, “Who is? With who?”
Albus rolled his eyes at his sister, “Pay attention, LP,” He walked passed her and stole a chip before sitting down across the table, next to his wife, “The Scamander kid thinks you’re fit.”
“You’re upset because a boy fancies me?” Lily looked to her sister-in-law for support in how immature the conversation was, “Are we twelve years old?” She and Charlotte laughed lightly.
“Maybe we are children” Scorp scoured into their giggles, “It was pretty childish of you to let him think there was something going on between the two of us.”
Lily dipped a chip into ketchup and decided to reply whilst chewing it, “I simply didn’t correct him. It was harmless flirting.”
Albus opened his mouth to counter - but his wife put a finger to his lips to stop him. Scorpius’ wife was both out of the country and unaware of their intact marriage - so he didn’t have anyone to stop him.
“I’d appreciate if, in the future, you played your little games without draggin my livelihood into them.”
Lily’s eyes narrowed in on the blonde at the end of the table. Lily didn’t react well to guilt. She didn’t react well to most forms of negative feedback, but guilt was definitely at the top of her ‘don’t bother’ list.
“Who thinks we should get cake? Personally, I could really go for some cake.”
Albus tried to ease the growing tensions, but the others seemed intent on escalating the conflict.
“What exactly do you think I’m going to do to the poor lad?”
“What you do to all of them, Potter. Draw them in and then spit them back out. Sander is a good bloke and he deserves-”
Scorpius stopped himself before the end of his sentence, but he’d said enough. The sudden silence in the room made the air feel heavy.
“Go on, say it then. He deserves better than me.”
Scorpius crossed his arms over his chest, “I’m not suggesting that you-”
Lily disaparated before she could hear his attempted apology.
The plume of sand whirled around her as ground took solid form again. It took a couple minutes to readjust to her surroundings after letting go of the portkey. She opened her jaw as wide as it would go to try and pop her ears, but they weren’t budging.
She took a deep breath before starting her way toward the house number she’d been given. Her anxiety hung in the back of her mind like a melody you can’t remember how to resolve.
Lily left her brother’s furious, but had calmed back down by the next morning. After all, it only hurt so bad because it was true. Lily had no business getting someone’s hopes up, she wasn’t in a head space for love or romance and she’d caused enough heartbreak. It was time to make amends, starting with her cousin.
“Lily? What in Merlin’s name are you doing here?”
It was the not-so-warm greeting she expected from her cousin so she shrugged it off, “are you going to invite me in? It took two port keys to get here.”
Rose backed herself against her door as Lily invited herself into the flat. The walls were empty except for a few holes where photos once hung and the hall was littered with boxes.
“Are you leaving again?”
“My job requires that I travel.” Rose let the door slam behind them. “So yes, I am leaving Egypt. Is that what you came here to ask? Because if it was you could have simply asked my mother.”
She bit back before pressing passed her cousin.
“Really? I mean does she really know that you’re leaving - cause when you moved from Nepal to Rio she didn’t know until Albus mentioned it. He says hi by the way, so does ‘Lotte.”
Lily peeked into one of the boxes, but Rose was quick to refold the lid just before she could see inside. There was enough tension between them to snap a rubber-band.
“What do you want Lily?”
As if it were an answer, Lily laid the manila folder onto the table that sat between the women. Her cousin touched the page with her wand and the pages flipped and unfolded until a bright tab stuck out next to the empty signature line.
“What is this?” She flipped her wand between her fingers absentmindedly, “Is this some kind of joke?”
“The fact that I’m the one who has to deliver them is a twist of irony I didn’t expect, but no - it’s not a joke. You never signed your consent. It voids the divorce decree so-”
“So I’ll sign it and we can be done with this.”
Rose stretched her wand out to the page again to sign, but Lily put a hand over the papers before any ink could touch them.
“These forms were dated, Rose. I’m sorry, but new ones had to be drawn up. You won’t have to do any sort of mediation if you’re happy with the agreed upon terms, but you both will have to sign them again.”
“Then move her hand and I’ll sign them.”
Rose swatted away her cousin’s arm and Lily backed away from the table. She bit her bottom lip for a moment as she fought within herself to stand her ground,
“I’ll give you the new petition, but I’m not taking it back with me.”
Rose’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, “What are you playing at?”
Lily made every attempt to sound more resolute in her second attempt. She wasn’t sure if this was the right decision, but she was sure it was the one she wanted to make.
“If you want Scorpius to sign them then you have to take them to him.”
Rose tapped the papers so they folded back uniformly before shoving them into her cousins’ chest, “You know I have no intention of seeing Scorpius...” She took off toward the front door again and Lily had to chase after her.
“Look - don’t sign them at all if it’s that big of a deal to you - but the two of you are properly married until these get processed.”
Lily had to spit out auburn curls after running into her cousin’s back - apparently she had gotten her attention.
“That’s it then,” she spun around to look accusingly at Lily, “some sort of ruse to get me back to London?”
Lily shook her head back and forth to try and make it clear, “Scorp doesn’t know.” Rose’s shoulder’s tensed at his name, “I was going to tell him, but then I realized I owed you...for what happened between me and him.”
Rose huffed, having heard enough, and started back towards the kitchen. Lily chased after her again, “I owed looking you in the eye and telling you that I’m sorry for overstepping a line, even if it was way after your divorce was final, and even though I never meant to cross it, and it didn’t even mean anything except we were both very drunk and very heartbroken and very very immature.”
“Whatever.” Rose made an attempt to sound casual, “It doesn’t matter now anyways.”
“It does matter,” Lily took her cousin’s arm and spun her around so that she had to look at her, “It matters because Scorp tore into me the other night for being reckless and I finally got it. Because he thinks he’s just protecting Sander, which he probably is, but he’s also projecting his own bullshite onto him. Because Scorpius fell in love with a woman who had a reckless streak and he’s still wrecked over her.”
Lily took a quick breath before continuing, the words coming out before they could even fully form in her mind,
“He’s not going to chase after you, Rose. He won’t put himself out there like that, but this is a chance for the two of you. You can make it alright again - but you have to do it.”
“What are you even on about? Make things right? I don’t want to be with S-” Rose shook her younger cousin off in an attempt to hide her inability to finish saying the name out loud, “Him.” Her eyes were starting to well up, “He told me to go...so I went...and I’m happy” She brushed a tear from her cheek, “I’m with Anders, and I’m happy.”
“Stop being so bloody stubborn and-”
“Thank you for keeping this from the press. I’ll handle it from here. You can go.”
“I meant what I said.” Lily warned, “I’m not going to say anything to him, Rose. This is my debt repaid. If I’m a part of what’s keeping you away then let this be a part of what brings you home.”
“Don’t think so highly of yourself, Little Potter. If anyone’s running it’s you. It’s just harder to see because you’re running in circles.”
“Yeah…” She laughed lightly, “and I think I’m finally getting tired.”
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