Look, as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters to me.
You didn’t need to bring me to the station, Dad.
ALBUS picks up his case and makes hard away.
But I wanted to be here…
But ALBUS is gone. DRACO MALFOY, his robes perfect, his blond ponytail precisely placed, emerges from within the crowds to be beside HARRY.
I need a favour.
These rumours – about my son’s parentage – they don’t seem to be going away. The other Hogwarts students tease Scorpius about it relentlessly – if the Ministry could release a statement reaffirming that all Time-Turners were destroyed in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries…
Draco, just let it blow over – they’ll soon move on.
My son is suffering and – Astoria hasn’t been well recently – so he needs all the support he can get.
If you answer the gossip, you feed the gossip. There’ve been rumours Voldemort had a child for years, Scorpius is not the first to be accused. The Ministry, for your sake as well as ours, needs to steer well clear.
DRACO frowns, annoyed, as the stage clears and ROSE and ALBUS stand ready with their cases.
As soon as the train leaves you don’t have to talk to me.
I know. We just need to keep the pretence up in front of the grown-ups.
SCORPIUS runs on – with big hopes and an even bigger case.
SCORPIUS (still hopeful)
And suddenly we’re in the Great Hall and PROFESSOR McGONAGALL is standing at the front, with a big smile on her face.
And I’m pleased to announce Gryffindor’s newest member of the Quidditch team – our – (she realises she can’t be partial) your superb new Chaser – Rose Granger-Weasley.
The Hall erupts into cheers. SCORPIUS claps alongside them all.
Are you clapping her too? We hate Quidditch and she’s playing for another house.
She’s your cousin, Albus.
Do you think she’d clap for me?
I think she’s brilliant.
The students circle ALBUS again as suddenly a Potions class begins.
Albus Potter. An irrelevance. Even portraits turn the other way when he comes up the stairs.
ALBUS hunches over a potion.
And now we add – is it horn of Bicorn?
Leave him and Voldemort’s child to it, I say.
With just a little salamander blood…
The potion explodes loudly.
Okay. What’s the counter-ingredient? What do we need to change?
And with that, time moves ever onwards — ALBUS’s eyes become darker, his face grows more sallow. He’s still an attractive boy, but he’s trying not to admit it.
And suddenly he’s back on platform nine and three-quarters with his dad – who is still trying to persuade his son (and himself) that everything is okay. Both have aged another year.
Third year. Big year. Here is your permission form for Hogsmeade.
I hate Hogsmeade.
How can you hate a place you haven’t actually visited yet?
Because I know it’ll be full of Hogwarts students.
ALBUS screws up the paper.
Just give it a go – come on – this is your chance to go nuts in Honeydukes without your mum knowing – no, Albus, don’t you dare.
ALBUS (pointing his wand)
The ball of paper bursts into flame, and ascends across the stage.
Of all the stupid things!
The ironic thing is I didn’t expect it to work. I’m terrible at that spell.
Al – Albus, I’ve been exchanging owls with Professor McGonagall – she says you’re isolating yourself – you’re uncooperative in lessons – you’re surly – you’re—
So what would you like me to do? Magic myself popular? Conjure myself into a new house? Transfigure myself into a better student? Just cast a spell, Dad, and change me into what you want me to be, okay? It’ll work better for both of us. Got to go. Train to catch. Friend to find.
ALBUS runs to SCORPIUS, who is sitting on his case – numb to the world.
(concerned) Scorpius… are you okay?
SCORPIUS says nothing. ALBUS tries to read his friend’s eyes.
Your mum? It’s got worse?
It’s got the worst it can possibly get.