Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 44

AN: Happy Halloween for all those who celebrate it! May it be filled with treats, and hopefully you can get in a few tricks.

Thank you for all the support! I deeply appreciate it!

Why couldn't anyone understand that he was acting in their best interests?

Percy ripped open the seal and unfurled the letter. He skimmed over the parchment, his muscles growing more tense with every curse word. With a snarl he thrust the letter into the trash bin. He pulled out his wand and flicked it. The letter, along with the other fifty or so parchments, disappeared.

Percy paced the floor. Why can't these people understand that covering up this crisis was the best course of action? What would they have me do, cause an unnecessary panic? How is it that one letter from Draco Bloody Malfoy can rile people up to the point where they no longer see their own gracious government as benevolent?

Two owls pecked at the window. Percy stomped over to them. Judging from the smudges on the seals, these letters were written in haste. From the distance he could see five other owls. An hour from now the trash bin may need to be emptied again.

"Mr. Weasley?"

Percy spun around.

Michael gulped. "There's someone here to see you."

"I told you not to let in anyone without an appointment."

"Not even your own father?"

The secretary stepped aside, allowing Arthur to enter the room.

"Father, uh yes," Percy shooed the seven owls away. Six of them hooted while the seventh glared at him before flying away in silence.

Michael snuck out of the office and shut the door behind him.

"I wasn't quite expecting to see you here," Percy began.

"I debated on coming here, but there are some things I didn't feel comfortable telling you over the floo," Arthur folded his hands. "I hope you aren't too busy."

Percy gestured towards the chair in front of his desk. "I wasn't preoccupied at all. I was just shifting through my mail."

Arthur sat down. "It doesn't look like you've gotten too many letters."

"Let's just say that hasn't been the case for most of the day," Percy answered.

"I see."

"I'd imagine you did not come here to discuss my mail, though."

"No, I did not."

"Then what do you ned?"

Arthur cleared his throat. "First and foremost, I wanted you to know that I did not have an episode last night."

Percy's expression softened. "That is wonderful to hear."

Arthur grinned. "It's wonderful to be able to say that."

There was a spark in Percy's eyes. "This will be wonderful to report to the populace. If these episodes cease, then it will make Draco appear prematurely alarmist. Wizards will finally understand why I behaved as I did."

Arthur's eyes widened. "You cannot be serious about using my lack of an episode as a political talking point."

"I need to report this," Percy replied. "Draco played his hand too soon. If there is no amnesia then his whole platform of exposing the Ministry coverup falls apart. It appears as if the Ministry was wise in holding off on acting, thus justifying my behavior."

"People were injured during those episodes," Arthur snapped. "We're lucky nobody lost their life."

"Nobody died, and the amnesia is over for now. That is all the people should be concerned with."

"Damnit Percy this is my life you're playing with!"

Percy closed his mouth.

"During one of my episodes I attacked my own grandson because I believed him to be his father. I could have seriously injured a member of my own family," Arthur answered. "How could I have lived with myself if I hurt Scorpius?"

"You did not seriously injure him though…"

"It doesn't change the fact that I still attacked him."

Percy frowned.

"What on earth is the Ministry doing to prevent these episodes from occurring again?" Arthur asked.

Percy shifted his eyes to his Newton's cradle.

Arthur raised his voice. "Is anything being done about this?"

Percy cleared his throat. "There is a research project in the works…"

"Then can I be a part of it?" Arthur asked.

Percy swallowed.

"Please Percy, please tell me how I can help resolve this crisis. Let me participate in a study which will resolve this issue."

"Does Mother know you want to participate in a study?"

"No."

"No?"

Arthur slumped in his chair. "I only speak to her when necessary."

"You didn't find it necessary to share this plan with her?" Percy asked

"It," Arthur swallowed. "My relationship with your mum is complicated."

Percy's voice was low, "Are you considering a separation again?"

"I don't know." His voice grew stronger. "But that is none of your concern. Right now we need to focus on getting me involved in some type of study which will end this illness once and for all."

Percy took a deep breath. "Offering yourself up as a test subject will not erase Scorpius' memories of you attacking him, nor will it resolve your martial problems with Mum."

"I need to do something," Arthur answered in a quiet voice. "Surely you understand that."

"I do," Percy replied. "Still, you are putting me in a difficult position. How can I allow my father to offer himself up as a test subject, even if he is pleading with me to do so?"

"You can remember that this will benefit not only our family, but the Wizarding World as well," Arthur answered.

Percy lowered his head.

"Please," Arthur pleaded. "Please tell me who I can contact who is working on this problem."

"Very well then," Percy reached into his desk drawer. "I can give you the name of a few doctors who are on tap to work on this epidemic."

"Have they started work yet?" Arthur asked.

Percy froze.

Arthur buried his face in his hands.

"Relax Father," Percy replied. "The Ministry is hard at work resolving this crisis."

Arthur sighed. "For our sakes I sincerely hope so."

Draco rapped on the door. Nobody answered. After a few moments he pressed his ear against the door. He could hear the rustling of papers.

He knocked again.

"I'm coming," a man shouted.

Draco backed away from the door. The man opened it and gave him a small grin. "Hello, Uncle Draco."

"Hello Victor," Draco answered. "How have you been?"

"I have been well," Victor stepped out of the threshold.

"Good," Draco walked inside. "I am happy to hear it."

"Can I get you anything? A coffee or a tea perhaps?" Victor offered. "I have a muggle machine which is capable of making them both."

"No," Draco waved his hand. The door shut behind him. "I actually came to ask something of you."

"What would that be?" Victor asked.

Draco's eyes glistened. "How would you like to work as a member of my campaign staff?"

Victor's eyes grew. "I am not sure. It would be an honor to work for you, but I have little experience in politics."

"You wouldn't necessarily need to work in the field of politics in order to be of assistance," Draco answered.

"If I'm not working in politics then what do you have in mind then?"

"I was hoping you could write the rough drafts of statements I plan to give."

"Haven't you been writing your own letters?"

"At the moment, yes," Draco replied. "Still, they could use some polishing, something a good lawyer could provide."

Victor twisted his lips.

"I've heard your opening and closing arguments in court. You are a persuasive writer. Between you and my father, I could have a potent writing team."

"I always have enjoyed writing."

"You are excellent at it."

"Still, I am a defense attorney, not a speech writer."

"I am certain you can expand your skill set very easily."

"True," Victor answered.

"I won't lie," Draco began. "Being on my campaign staff is a risky venture. You will more than likely need to quit your job in order to give this your full attention. Also if we lose you could wind up on Percy's bad side, which could impact your career prospects. Still, I believe the risk is worth the potential benefits."

Victor stood up straighter. "I remember how terrified Mum was when Dad disappeared that first night, and how distraught she was when she called me from the hospital. The Ministry has proven that it will do nothing to protect her from ever experiencing those emotions again. I feel obligated to help her somehow."

"You would be doing her a great service," Draco answered. "Especially since she is one of the researchers I've hired to look into finding a cure."

"I wondered if you had hired her."

"Indeed I did."

Victor shuffled his feet.

Draco locked eyes with him. "If you agree to be my speech writer you will be working closely with Carina."

Victor paled.

Draco smirked. "I would say that is an outstanding reason to enjoy my campaign."

"I uh,"

"Don't pretend you aren't interested in her."

Victor bowed his head.

"You're a total Gryffindor, just like your mother. Every emotion you have is exposed for the world to see," Draco put a hand on Victor's shoulder. "I see the way you look at my daughter when you think nobody else is around. You are quite taken with her"

Victor bit his lower lip.

"Don't fret. She could do worse than you," Draco answered.

Victor made eye contact with him. "So you would approve?"

"I will approve of you more if you ever get up the courage to ask her out to dinner," Draco replied.

"Sure, uh, I can do that," Victor answered.

Draco extended his hand. "Do I have a new speech writer?"

Victor took it and shook his hand. "You most certainly do."

Draco beamed.

Everything was coming together beautifully.