DEC 06, Harry Potter, The Minister's Affair (6/6) Title: The Minister's Affair Prompt: Hot Buttered Rum Author:roma_fics Fandom: Harry Potter Characters: Harry/Astoria Rating: NC-17 Word total: around 800 Warning(s): Het Infidelity, character death (doesn't sound very cheery *g*) Note: These warnings are for the whole series, not for each chapter. Summary: Members of two families keep one secret to the very end. This is a six part drabble story. Beta: The most awesome eeyore9990
The Minister's Affair Part 6
Al rushed to the fireplace and helped lift Scorpius to his feet.
The young, tall, lanky boy surveyed the room and then ran up the stairs. Al followed. James was not far behind. The latter went to his own room to retrieve his father's cloak and some Extendable Ears. He expected to hear Scorpius blubber on about how Astoria and his father were having an affair, what he didn't expect to hear was that Astoria had been keeping another secret, one that no one else knew.
Al did his best to comfort his best friend but soon left to retrieve his parents, knowing the situation was bigger than he could handle.
Harry's stomach was in knots, wondering what was wrong with Astoria's son. The boy was a treat to have around the house and he often wondered if Draco could have been the same, given different parents and circumstances. He rose from his chair when Al called for him and Ginny, leaving Ron wondering why Harry sacrificed his queen.
Scorpius was curled up on Al's bed, trying to catch his breath as sobs escaped his mouth. Harry followed his instinct to comfort the boy and sat down next to him. Ginny Summoned a warm cloth and wiped his face.
"What is it, Scorpius?" Ginny asked.
Scorpius tried to answer but couldn't. Al stepped over to his parents and spoke for his friend. "Scorpius snuck into his mother's sitting room and discovered something horrible."
Harry's hand withdrew from rubbing Scorpius' shoulder as if he had been electrified. The children were never to know about the affair. Never, ever. James appeared in the doorway, looking smug with his arms crossed. Harry looked up at Ginny; her eyes were fierce.
With hesitance, Harry asked, "What did you discover, Scorpius?"
Scorpius swallowed hard and took a few deep breaths. His red-rimmed eyes focused on Al and then they turned to Harry.
"My mum's going to die. She has cancer again, and they can't treat her."
With the greatest strength Harry could muster, he tried not reveal the shock to his heart and soul.
"Why can't they treat her?" Ginny asked. Harry was momentarily pleased that Ginny's face and voice showed genuine concern.
"It…it was in her legs before, and they could grow new bones, but…but this time it's her spine and skull."
Harry bit the insides of his cheeks, holding back the devastation he felt. He wanted to run out, find Astoria, and hold her one more time.
"Does your father know?" Harry asked.
Scorpius shook his head. "I don't think so," he gulped. "Father and Mother were in the kitchen drinking Hot Buttered Rums while she was putting her cranberry sauce into jars for tomorrow's Christmas hampers. She was laughing at one of his stories. They— they looked so happy. This is going to kill him. He worships her."
The jar was hidden in his Minister's desk. The drawer was locked both physically and magically. The words on the label were spelled for him alone to read.
</i>Harry, Thank you and I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I have one final request that I hope you can fulfill. Please share your passions with those that deserve it. </i>
He wanted to ask her what the hell she meant, but the request that he not visit as they had said their goodbyes, he respected.
The first snow of the New Year was coming down strong outside his window. He stared at the snowflakes as his mind replayed the scenes from Christmas night. It was Al and Ginny who escorted Scorpius back to the Manor and talked with Astoria. Al told the waiting family when he returned that Astoria thanked them and then handed them a Christmas hamper. Harry opened it up late that night and found the jarred sauce.
The first time Harry ever said the words, "I love you," to Astoria Malfoy was as he lit a red candle at her graveside when all others had walked away. The ground was covered in bouquets of roses that filled the sticky summer day with a scent he never associated with her. The words he spoke were not from a lover, but from a friend.
He didn't hear or see the wizard approach him. He guessed correctly, who the fist that broke his nose belonged to without opening his eyes. There was no defence. He grabbed his eldest son and Side-Along Apparated them home.
On Christmas Eve, Harry Potter, Minister for Magic, found himself locked to his headboard with white fur cuffs. Buttered rum, a-bit-too-hot, was being methodically licked from his chest while a leather-clad hand stroked him off.
Twenty-three years after Harry Potter had met Astoria Greengrass, he fell passionately in love with his wife.