Chapter Twenty-Two: What the Minister Had Dropped
Dad looked at me with a forced smile. “You look lovely, honey.”
I glanced at him, both sides of my head aching from the weight of my red hair in pigtails. I was just about to tell him that prettiness wasn’t part of my profession when there was a knock on the door. Dad put on a smile and strode forward. His black robes fluttered out behind him, and for a moment I was able to see the Auror that the entire Ministry saw and respected. But it vanished, just as soon as it appeared. My father had never been anything but a sidekick, and he would never be anything but that.
The front door opened, and I saw, among the white flakes of snow, my weak cousin Albus standing there like an owl. His pink face gleamed in the light that spilled from my house out onto the step.
Dad held the door open wider. “Come in, Albus,” he said warmly. It was no secret that my father had always loved his nephew better than his own daughter.
Albus faltered on the doorstep. “I didn’t come alone, Uncle Ron. I came his my friend’s family, and their—“
“They can come in!” Dad said. “This party is for everyone!”
I rolled my eyes. I knew who Albus’s friends were- the Malfoys. I wasn’t going to tell him that. Sometimes it’s more fun to watch other people fall on their faces.
Hazel Malfoy entered first, acting like she was a Gryffindor instead of a Slytherin. Anything other than a Malfoy, at least. I sniffed at the other girl. She was always trying to act like she wasn’t all brooding and evil, but everyone could see through the act. It was just my idiot cousin who believed that Malfoys should should get a second chance.
Dad was still smiling as Scorpius and his mother followed. I don’t think that he knew who they were, for if he did, the smile wouldn’t be there.
Removing her grey cloak, Hazel nodded curtly to me. Strands of white blond hair fell across her face, and she brushed them off. Her twin glared at me. Obviously he hadn’t forgotten how I had told him the hard truth about Hufflepuffs.
Well, two can play that game, I thought, narrowing my eyes even more than they already were. When I’m the Minister, I’ll remember Scorpius Malfoy. And how rudely you treated me!
Scorpius opened his mouth and appeared to have something to say to me, but a sharp intake of breath from my father distracted all three of the Malfoys.
The entrance hallway was already thick with evil, but once Draco Malfoy stepped into our house, the amount of evil increased by a thousand-fold.
Dad’s face was facing a little aways from me, but I was pretty sure that he was looking shocked that Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing Ferret and Death Eater had dared to walk into his house. Albus let the door close and stood, his wet, snowy boots soaking the hardwood floor.
“Uncle Ron,” he said evenly,” these are the Malfoys.”
Thanks for the introduction, Albus, I thought. Albus continued talking, introducing each one of the Malfoys. I clenched my teeth together. But I’m pretty sure that we know who these people are. Aside from Astoria Malfoy, who looked like none of her family, their white blond hair, cold grey eyes, and sharp features gave them away.
I watched as Draco held out one pale hand to Dad. His shirt sleeve drew back a couple of inches, and I could see a jet-black scar vividly. The Dark Mark. Although it had faded into just scar, one could imagine the thing pulsing as Voldemort issued orders.
After a couple of seconds, Dad shook his. I noticed how their fingers barely touched, and Dad’s ears were red. With anger maybe, or fear.
Probably fear, I mused. I locked my gaze with Scorpius’s, who was still glaring at me. Dad’s always been afraid of Draco. He’s never stood up to him or anything, or if he did he always came out worse.
Dad drew his hand back and turned to me. “Rosy,” he said, face stiff and smiling. “Can you please show Hazel and Scorpius to the dining room? Albus, why don’t you go to. Leave us adults to catch up with each other.”
I didn’t ask how Dad knew the Malfoy children’s names. It was bad enough being grounded, but speaking to the people who put me other punishment was almost worse. Without another word to Dad, I spun on one heel and walked to the side of the staircase, following the sound of laughter and clinking of china.
Albus hurried behind me, his feet clipping the back of mine. Hazel and Scorpius followed him, walking beside each other. If they hadn’t been different genders, it would’ve been hard to tell the two apart. Their faces were both set in the same emotion, and both pairs of grey eyes glittered coldly in the bright light of my house.
After a couple of strides, the talking grew louder, and as we turned the corner, passing by the swinging door to the kitchen, we came to the dining room. Witches and wizards of all ages were in there. The youngest were my brother and Albus’s sister, who dashed around tripping people. The older children talked in the corner, no doubt about me.
Most of the adults were eating, but a couple of pairs were dancing to the Muggle music Mum enjoyed so much. Apparently the pure-bloods and half-bloods enjoyed it too. I stopped at the threshold, but Albus and Scorpius dashed right in. They went to the tables that stood on the sides of the room, and started grabbing as many sweets as possible.
Boys, I sniffed. They’re all the same.
“I heard what you did to the Ravenclaws, you know,” Hazel said. She stood beside me, white dress fluttering around her knees. “That wasn’t very nice of you. And your own housemates?” She shook her head.
“Nice?” I asked. My brown eyes blazed. “Nice doesn’t get you anywhere in life, Malfoy. And the Ravenclaws— those aren’t my housemates. They’re stupid, lazy, and want to have fun half the time.” I spat out the words like they were booger-flavored Bertie Beans, a treat I enjoyed when I was younger.
Hazel gaped at me, then stomped into the dining room. I hoped that I was ruining her evening. I couldn’t stand her for some reason.
I surveyed the room, then decided that no one in there was worth my attention. Maybe I can sneak back upstairs, I thought. I had a chart that gauged the effectiveness of my new “I’m not being nice” campaign. Spinning around, my face was enveloped in something warm and mushy.
“Ack!” I yelped, stumbling backwards. I looked up, about the scold whoever it was for not watching where they were going. But the words died in my throat as I saw the person I had never met, yet always wanted to be.
The Minister… I stumbled backwards, stuttering.
“Um… Sorry to, to bump into you, Mi- Minister.” Immediately I cursed myself. Stuttering always was weak, and the first impression always mattered.
“No problem, Miss Weasley,” said the Minister. He had clearly seen the massive amount of freckles and dark red hair that I had. He strode forward, robes waving. He brushed up against me, and a small pamphlet fluttered out and onto the ground.
Picking it up, and read the title and decided not to give it back. This piece of paper could change everything.
The Junior Assistant to the Minister Application Process.