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Old Long Since

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To: ladielazarus
From: Your Secret Santa

Title: Old Long Since
Author: bitchet
Pairing: Draco/Astoria and Rose/Scorpius. Mentions of Astoria/Oliver Wood. All canon couples mentioned by JKR are here, lurking in the background.
Summary: Astoria pulled away from him, her eyes searching his face as she said, “I thought we needed a change. Neither of us are the same people we were twenty years ago, why should we lead the same lives?”
Rating: NC-17
Length: 15,000 words
Warnings: See endnote for potentially spoilery warnings (no standard Archive warnings apply)
Author's notes: I tried to create a costume drama atmosphere and include lingerie, bondage, sarcasm, and sex outside the bedroom in the story. I hope it works. Also, for purposes of this story, I've made Lysander Scamander slightly older than JKR intended and turned the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts into a cross between Julliard and the RADA. Thanks to my beta, X , for all her help and patience!


December 24th

"Do you ever regret it?" he asked, smoke curling in front of him as he spoke. His eyes weren't on the woman next to him but on the happy couples inside as they laughed and danced under the garlands and fairy lights.

Pansy glanced over, her own cigarette clutched in her gloved hand. "Not having children? Never. I liked my freedom and figure too much for that. Why? Do you want to try for another?"

Draco scowled at her and in return, her smirk only deepened. Wearing a dress of pink satin brocaded with beige leaf patterns and her hair once again in a short bob, she didn't look much different than she had at the Yule Ball thirty years before. They could be fourteen again, outside to steal a few sips of Firewhisky with their entire lives in front of them.

"So ...what happened between you and Astoria?"

"You haven't been keeping up with the latest rumors?"

"I've tried, believe me, but the mystery behind the Malfoy separation is just that." She paused to brush a fallen leaf off the lacy pale beige sleeve of her dress, frowning at it as if it had offended her by existing. Glancing at him, she continued with a shrewd look in her eyes. "Unless I'm willing to believe that Astoria has been conducting some long-standing affair with Oliver Wood behind your back, which I'm not, no matter how deliciously scandalous that would be. Astoria has that pesky obsession with honesty that explains why she wasn't sorted in Slytherin. And it can't have been some known arrangement as, let's face it, dear, you're not capable of having anything but the most conventional of marriages --"

"Some would find the idea of arguing with their spouse over who gets their shared boy-toy this weekend to be disturbing." He still wondered if the tales of their extramarital exploits were actually some long-running joke Pansy and Blaise had decided to play on him.

Pansy positively came alight at that, giggling and biting her lip. "Trust me, if you knew what Claude was capable of with that tongue of his, you'd understand."

"Claude? What happened to André ? And why do I know any of this?"

"Living vicariously through us?"


She shrugged. "If you say so. So will you be getting a divorce?"

He rolled his eyes and took another drag of his cigarette. "Why? Is there opening in your lineup?"

"You're a bit older than we like, I'm afraid." she said consolingly, rubbing his arm before he jerked it away. "Seriously, Draco, what is all this about?"

"Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you unless I was ready to see it show up on Page Six of The Prophet," he snapped.

Pansy was clearly wounded by that but he couldn't find it in him to much care. That he didn't know how this had happened only made it that much more frustrating. He'd spent the past three weeks going over every conversation they'd had, every minute they'd spent together, looking for answers and finding none. He had his suspicions but sometimes he wondered if it was just as others had said: with Scorpius raised and out of Hogwarts, Astoria hadn't seen a reason to stay.

The idea that she'd been biding her time all these years was the most hurtful one of all.

“Well, back to my original topic. Scorpius; how is he doing? Does he still have that little netsite thing,” she asked, crinkling her nose. “The Daily....News?”

“Word,” Draco supplied. “And yes, he does. And it's still as obscure as ever, thank God.”

“That bad?”

“It certainly hasn't improved.” He had, at first, gave some encouragement to Scorpius' idea. Draco could admire the ambition into getting into what his son insisted would be the “media of the future” even if Draco thought that was an overly optimistic view of what appeared to be a ridiculous fad device favored by those on the outskirts of society – and his son. Draco had wanted to believe that this was a sign Scorpius was finally becoming serious about his life.

Then he had started following The Daily Word.

Scorpius seemed to have a personal goal of topping each previous “edition” with one that was even more outrageous in its views. First he had argued that all Magical Beings – from Giants to house-elves- should be invited to study at Hogwarts as wizards were. In that same edition he had insisted that Muggle Studies be made mandatory and suggested the curriculum include classes on other Magical Cultures and language classes that taught Mermish and Gobleddygook, like they did at Beauxbatons. Another edition had him asserting that anything less than a formal constitution and Muggle-style elections was tyranny. Apparently, having the Wizengamot chose the Minister and then allowing the Minister for Magic and senior member of the Wizengamot vote on new members was insufficient. Lest he'd be mistaken for having views only slightly more radical than most of his generation, Scorpius had also opined that having a government at all was a restriction on freedom and that perhaps the entire thing should be abolished and self-rule become the new law of the land.

In his latest edition he had shown some real “chutzpah,” as Astoria's granny would say, by arguing for unrestricted access to books concerning Dark magic, including instructional ones. Even with the almost-snappy talking point of “criminalizing knowledge of the Dark Arts ensures only criminals will know how to wield the Dark Arts,” Draco could not agree with his son showing any public support of Dark magic.

“I'm not surprised he doesn't have any interest in a job with the Ministry but Astoria tried to get him a job with the W.A.D.A, let him put those creative urges to good use. He turned it down.”

“Parenthood must bring such complex joys.” Pansy Vanished the butt of her cigarette with a snap of her wand. “Well, I must be going, our Portkey leaves at midnight. I'll give Claude your love.”

She kissed him on the cheek as he bid her a good-night.

Taking a drag from his cigarette, Draco watched as Pansy made her way out of the tent only to be stopped by a familiar blonde.

She looked stunning, there was no point in pretending otherwise. She wore a pale blue chiffon gown that hugged her body and flowed around her. The bodice was accentuated with several blue and white crystals, the decoration only drawing attention to the deep v-neck and her pert breasts. Unlike nearly every other women there, she wore her long blonde hair down, falling in waves over her shoulder. She could have been a not-entirely-chaste angel, complete with an ethereal glow surrounding her.

His relief at her brief conversation with Pansy ending was short-lived, as she soon turned her attention towards him.

“Draco, I 'eard you were 'ere!” Gabrielle Delacour exclaimed, gliding towards him. Over her shoulder, Pansy watched the scene with an arched brow.

“I 'aven't 'ad a chance to talk with you since I arrived,” she said, hugging him tightly and kissing each cheek in turn. Her face clouded over with a look that could only be described as delicate disgust. “You smell 'orrible!”

“It's not me, it's the smoke.” He waved at the potted trees with his wand. “They imported those from America, they're made specifically to draw in the smoke and turn it into fresh air but as you can tell from all the fallen leaves--”

“I need to get out of 'ere,” she interrupted, giving a small cough. “I don't know 'ow you stand this.”

He was tempted to feign ignorance until she left on her own. But they still had one more week of working together and she had proven crucial to getting the Goblins to agree to their terms.

“Let's go back to the Atrium then,” he said, walking ahead of her without offering his arm.

Once outside the tent, she touched his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. “I wanted to thank you. This 'as been a wonderful opportunity for me and I know you were responsible for me being offered this chance.”

“You were clearly the best person for the job.”

She smiled at him and all the candles and fairy lights seemed all the dimmer for it. “You are too kind!”

“It's one of my greatest flaws.”

Gabrielle opened her mouth but something behind him caught her attention. “ I am sorry but my niece is 'ere and I must say 'ello to 'er. We will talk again, yes?”

He truly hoped she was giving him the brush-off, it would make life so much simpler. “Of course.”

“'appy Christmas, Draco!”

He gave a curt nod and made his way towards the dinner tables. It didn't take him long to find his sister-in-law and her girlfriend still sitting together, Daphne resting her head on Millicent's shoulder. What he didn't see was Astoria.

Scanning the crowd as he walked around the room, Draco had nearly convinced himself of the worst when he spotted the pair on the make-shift dance floor. Wood was in some rented tie and tails, looking as if he was working hard at not stepping on her toes. Astoria made the best of it, moving with ease and grace, even laughing at his botched attempt to twirl her.

She looked so happy it was almost hard to breathe.

The song ended and Draco moved without thinking. It wasn't until he was on the dance floor, standing beside them, Wood's face darkening at his presence, that he realized this could be very embarrassing.

“You don't mind if I cut in, do you?” he asked, looking at his wife.

She sighed, Wood sputtered, and the band started up the next song.

“Thank you,” he said, taking Astoria's hand and leading her away from her partner.

It was strange to have her in his arms again, to touch her, when they hadn't spoken in weeks. He was at once on edge – painfully aware of his every movement and her every reaction – and completely relaxed in a way that reminded him of coming home to his own bed after a long day.

“You look beautiful,” he told her, for want of anything better. She was dressed to the nines in what had to be a new gown of black lace over white silk, her dark hair straightened and pulled back and her green eyes rimmed in kohl. It wasn't hard to imagine later, after she had let her hair down, her face flushed, lipstick smeared, and eyes shining bright as pulled off her black gloves and asked him for help in unzipping her dress.

But it wouldn't be him she would be asking.

“Thank you,” Astoria said politely. The candlelight overhead made the diamond earrings she wore glitter, they were the same earrings he'd bought her for their tenth anniversary.

“How has work been? I heard Daphne mention you've been spending time in Muggle London, visiting record shops and the like.”

“Yes, I have.” Seemingly compelled more by duty than interest, she added, “And you? I hear you're working long nights again.”

That she'd been paying any attention at all to what he'd been doing gave him some hope. “I am. I think we're close to a resolution, however. After eighty-hour work weeks, most of which are spent babysitting Goblins and temperamental foreigners, I am anticipating the light at the end of this tunnel.”

“Are you?” she asked quietly, her lips drawing into a tight line and her gaze focused on their joined hands. Her hand rested lightly in his, as if even this much contact was too much.

”Scorpius and I will be having dinner at the Manor tomorrow,” he said, feeling as if he were hanging from a ledge and grabbing for any solid surface in reach. “If you'd care to join us.”

“Daphne and Millie are hosting Christmas this year. My entire family will be there. I already said I would be attending.”

“You can come before. Or after. During, even, if your Uncle Lelantes is there and wants to rope you into another investment scheme – word on the street is edible brooms are going to be the next big thing,” he joked, mimicking her uncle's leer.

“I don't think so.” She said, stilling as the song ended.

Astoria pulled away from him, her eyes searching his face as she said, “I thought we needed a change. Neither of us are the same people we were twenty years ago, why should we lead the same lives?”

He couldn't speak, he didn't know if he wanted to mock her empty platitudes or fall on his knees and beg her to come back. Maybe both.

“Good night, Draco.” She turned and walked away.


He cupped her arse, pulling her closer to him, and she couldn't help the small moan that escaped her mouth. Rose could feel him hard against her thigh and she had the sudden urge to push him against the wall, fall her to knees, and suck him off right there.

“C'mon,” she whispered while nipping at his jaw. “You wanted to see my desk?”

“I did, Auror Weasley,” he breathed against her neck, her ears heating up with those words.

“Let's go then,” she said, grabbing his hand and leading him towards her cubicle. Not daring to use Lumos lest someone walking by should see them, Rose guided him through the dark office to the small cube she shared with Heather Thomas.

“Christ, you are a neat freak,” he muttered, taking in her spartan surroundings. Everything was neatly tucked away into drawers and filing cabinets, and everything from the calendar to the quills and the inkpot were Ministry standard. The only sign that the cubicle was hers at all was her nameplate on the wall. Rose had found she rather preferred it that way.

She sat down on the desk, thankful for the slit in skirt that allowed her to wrap one leg around him while pulling him closer by his lapels. Kissing his neck while slowly unbuttoning his waistcoat, she told him,“We Aurors have to be prepared for anything, you know.”

He shrugged off his coat. “I bet you say that to all the boys you bring up here.”


He didn't respond immediately, trying at first to unzip her dress and settle between her legs at the same time. “No?”

She pushed him back so she could stand. “You're the first boy I've used it on.”

With that, she slipped out of sequined chocolate-colored dress that had eaten most of her last paycheck. Maybe later she would blame the three martinis she'd had but she wasn't scared. The danger of it all only excited her more.

“You little minx.” She could hear the smile in his voice. “I knew you weren't wearing anything underneath.”

Rose snorted at this. “That's because you spent all night feeling me up.”

He gave a lazy shrug at this, tossing his shirt and waistcoat on top of his jacket. “Well, yeah.”

“Pervert,” she said as she sat down on the desk once more, her arms behind her and her legs slightly akimbo. Even in the dark she could see his gaze shift downward.

Pushing her knees apart with his thighs, he settled between her legs, his right hand coming up to cup her breast. His breath hot against her skin, he ghosted his lips over her neck and his hand slid down her body, stopping when he reached her center. After a day of dirty messages to each other and a heated snog session in the lift, she was ready for this. The feather-light movement of his slick fingers against her clit had her spreading her legs for more while the brush of his mouth against her cheek made her turn her head expectantly.

“Tart.” He kissed her quickly. The combination of his tongue moving against hers and his fingers slowly pumping in her killed off any response she had.

It really was an awkward angle, her perched on the desk, lying down as much as the cubicle wall would allow and her legs wrapped so tightly around him Rose feared she might get a cramp. But with his tongue teasing at her breast and his fingers making her moan and rock her hips for more, she found she couldn't care as long as he didn't stop.

So naturally, Scorpius pulled his fingers away. Before Rose had a chance to scream in frustration, she heard the familiar rustle of fabric as his trousers slipped down his thighs. She watched as he did the necessary charms, her hand moving down between her legs as she enjoyed the brief glimpse of him the blue light from his wand provided.

"You're killing me here, Rose," he groaned, his knuckles brushing against her hand as she touched herself.

"Then hurry up."

Needing no further encouragement, he entered her in one slow stroke.

"Hold on,” she breathed, nearly hitting head against his as she tried to kiss him while he nodded his reply.

Rose moved her hips slowly, her wet fingers still moving over her clit. Scorpius met her movements, his broad shoulders taut as he tried to restrain himself. The angle soon became more maddening than awkward; she felt as if she were being teased rather than properly fucked, her position not allowing him to go deeper or her to spread her legs more.

It hurt and she knew she'd be sore later but she couldn't stop herself from urging him on, thrusting against him as much as she could until the sound of slapping skin seemed obscenely loud in the quiet office. Chasing her own release, she clenched around him, earning a surprised moan from Scorpius. She did it again, the second time enough to make her toes curl and have him buck against her hard.

"Rose--" he gasped, his movements loose and jerky as his came. Nails scratching his shoulders as she rode it out, her disappointment mingled with her desire.

Breathing hard, he stood silent for a moment and she wrapped her arms around him. She was still on edge but, truthfully, her wrist was starting to hurt and the idea of getting herself off on her desk wasn't nearly as appealing as the sex had been.

Scorpius pulled away suddenly and Rose didn't even have time to adjust to the loss when he dropped to his knees in front of her.

"What are you doing," she managed before the first swipe of his tongue. "Oh."

Holding onto her waist tightly, he sucked and licked her clit, the feeling nearly overwhelming her. Her cries came in small gasps and she realized she was both trying to move away his mouth and spreading her thighs for more, her hips moving at a restless pace. She was completely at his mercy, the entire Auror Squad could interrupt them now as she wouldn't be able to stop.

His hands slid down to her legs, pushing them apart, his fingers digging into her skin as he held her open. It was too much; she came with a low moan. Rose bit her lip before she could make more noise, trembling and breathing hard as his tongue moved slowly over her sensitive skin. Finally, she pushed him back so she could close her legs and find some relief.

Scorpius kissed her knee before standing.

Resting on her elbows, she watched as he moved around the quiet office, gathering his clothes and hanging her dress over the wall of the cubicle.

“You're so pale,” she said, eyes on his perfectly-formed arse as he stood with his back to her.

“I'd think you'd like that,” he said over his shoulder. “Easier to watch me in the dark.”

With that, he grabbed his trousers from the floor and – giving an exaggerated wiggle as he did – pulled them back on.

“I wasn't complaining,” she laughed.

No longer comfortable sitting on the desk, Rose stood and reached for her wands. A few quick Charms and both she and her cubicle were clean and the smell of sex no longer hung in the air.

“Both our parents are downstairs, you know,” Scorpius said softly as she pulled on her dress.

She hadn't a clue where he was headed with this but she'd be surprised if her was embarrassed by what they'd done. Their first time had been in the orchard behind the Burrow while they were supposed to be picking apples for her grandmother. And just last week he'd had his hand up her skirt, trying to get her off in his father's office while the elder Malfoy was busy one room over in a meeting that featured half of her extended family.

“I know.”

“Be a good time to tell them about us, don't you think? Christmas Eve, they've had a few, they're bound to be in a good mood.” He zipped up her dress. “Well, your parents at least.”

Rose turned to face him. “Don't you think it's a bit soon to be thinking about that?”

Even in the dark she could see him frown, his eyebrows knotting in surprise and hurt. “No, not really as we've been seeing each other for four months now.”

Silence hung over them as Rose tried to find the words for the great reluctance she felt. Wringing her hands, she finally told him, “I just don't see how that's necessary. At least right now.”

“You don't see how that's necessary,” he repeated, drawing out the words as if he were trying to make sense of them.

“I don't know why we have to make any formal declarations to our families.”

“Right.” He pulled his jacket on. “And we can keep our options open by staying quiet about this.”

“I thought we were just friends having a bit of fun and seeing where it went. That's what you said!”

“Four months ago, yes,” he said, crossing his arms.

“Scorpius,” she sighed, placing her hand on his. “I think we need more time before we take any big steps. There's so much going on, I've started with the Aurors and between that and getting my paper published, helping my uncle with the shops and my Mum with G.N.A.W. - I've been so busy I hardly have time to think.”

She could feel him relax under her touch.

“I know.”

Rose smiled, rubbing his hand. “And to be very honest, I never thought you of all people would be interested in something serious. Least of all with me.”

“Really?” He cocked his head to one side and Rose had an urge to run her fingers through his messy hair.

“Well, yeah. You like to run off to the continent for months at a time and you still live at the manor and have no intention of moving out which makes it hard to spend the night.” He gave a wan smile at that and Rose felt bold enough to press on.

“It's been more than a year now since we left Hogwarts and you still haven't settled on a job and you spend most of your time at the pub or playing pick-up Quidditch matches with my cousins. A serious relationship doesn't mesh with all that.” She gave a small snort. “A serious anything doesn't mesh with all that.”

“I have a job.”

For a moment Rose wondered if there was something vital she had missed, then realization came over her and she just felt peevish. “You have a site where once every whenever you feel like it, you post one whole article to a devoted audience of dozens.”

He scoffed. “Well, I'm sorry I don't have a daddy who can get me a job with the Aurors.”

“Fuck you.” She gave him a small push and stalked away from him. “You have more money than all my relatives put together, your father is well-placed in the Ministry of International Magical Cooperation and your mother is one of the musical directors for the Academy of the Dramatic Arts. You've no right to act hard-done-by.”

“I think having a girlfriend who's ashamed of me gives me some right.”

“I'm not ashamed of you.”

“You have a funny way of showing it.”

He walked off without another word as if he expected her to run after him. Taking a deep breath, Rose held her ground and watched him go.


December 25th

There was a sudden, loud bang and along with the ringing in his ears and the smoke and falling paper, Draco felt something clamp around his head.

“I had happily forgotten about this.”

He looked across the table to see his son wearing a tin crown painted gold and adorned with “gems” of blue and brown glass.

Draco pulled his own crown – silver paint with green and white glass – off his head and tossed it aside. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Scorpius pause before reluctantly doing the same.

His son and wife had always worn their crowns for the duration of the meal and sometimes for the rest of the day. Some years, dinner had even been postponed while the pair talked him into playing one of the games that had been inside the crackers.

With an annoyed flick of his wand, he cleared the rest of the paper and toys from the table. “It's a bit silly to keep having those, don't you think?”

His cheeks turning pink, Scorpius didn't meet his eyes but nodded all the same. He wordlessly Vanished his crown.

Before Draco had a chance to give in to his better judgment and call off the charade of a meal, the food appeared on their plates. Out of habit, he raised his goblet. “Happy Christmas.”

“Yeah,” Scorpius muttered, half-heartedly doing the same.

Draco glanced across the table, to the empty chair that would have been Astoria's. It didn't happen as often but he still found himself looking for her, expecting to see her sitting across from him or feel her next to him in bed. Each time he realized his mistake, it was as if she had left him all over again.

The crackling of the fire and scrape of metal against china were the only sounds in the room as the two ate. For a second, Draco thought it odd that Scorpius would be so quiet but thinking on it more, he couldn't think of the last time it had just been the two of them sitting down for a meal.

“I saw you writing in your netbook earlier, working on another piece?”

Scorpius shook his head, eyes on his plate. “I just published one last night.”


He had managed to forget about it for a few hours – an angry screed about how the emphasis on pure-blood when sorting for Slytherin had to be abolished if the British Wizarding world was ever to make meaningful progress.

“I read it,” Draco said, pushing a forkful of oyster stuffing in his mouth to quash the urge to say more.

“Yeah. You and four other people.”

He raised an eyebrow at this. “Well, it's Christmas, Scorpius. Most people don't want to spend their holidays reading why everything they know and believe is wrong.”

Scorpius frowned. “Guess you're right.”

Feeling guilty that the conversation had taken the turn it had, Draco changed the topic. “So, what time will you be leaving tomorrow morning? I'll be in meetings all day, of course, but I'll have the house-elves here early to make you breakfast.”

His son looked at him as if he'd congratulated him on his latest article. “What are you talking about?”

“The Boxing Day Hunt. I know your Mum invited you.” Daphne had mentioned it. “I know you don't care much for the sport but you've always loved flying and I hear your granny will let you use her best Granian.”

“I'm not going,” he sulked, turning his attention back to his food.

Draco set his fork down. “And why not?”

“I don't want to spend time with her.”

“Her? You mean your mother?”

“Who else?”

It was strange. His entire life, Scorpius had favored his mother over him and Draco had always been a little bit envious of the bond the two shared. The petty sense of satisfaction that rose up in him quickly died and was replaced by a sense of unease. His family was falling apart.

Looking him straight in the eye, Draco told him, “You're going.”

“No, I'm not.”

“Yes, you are. It's the holidays, you should spend some of them with your mother.”

“Then let her come here! It's Christmas and where is she? Off with that prat Wood --”

“She's visiting her family, you know that.”

“Yeah, and I bet she's introducing them all to her new boyfriend.”

Draco sat back, the words hitting him like a hex.

“I mean, it's obvious isn't it,” Scorpius continued. “They're going to Ministry functions together, they must be serious.”

“No, it isn't obvious. There's no reason to think she is that serious about him.” Draco said the words with such confidence that he was tempted to believe them.

“Whatever,” Scorpius grumbled, taking a vicious bite of his turkey leg. “I know she only married you for your money.”

“And how do you know that?”

“Everyone knows that, it was in the papers when you married.”

“Scorpius, I would have thought that you of all people knew that the Daily Prophet is more interested in half-truths and propaganda than it is in real journalism.”

With a particularly mulish look in his green eyes, his son stared at him over his goblet. “So how much of it is a lie then?”

Insufferable brat.

“Our parents, our mothers to be exact, thought that the marriage would be beneficial for both our families after the damage caused by the war. Granny Greengrass thought that the Malfoy... resources,” Scorpius smirked at Draco's choice of words “Would help your Aunt Daphne who had been attacked by a werewolf during the Battle of Hogwarts, as you know.”

His son had the good sense to look chastened at that.

“And my mother thought that my marrying into a family with a good reputation would help with our rather poor one.” Not wanting to give up on their pureblood ideals entirely, there had been few families that were suitable. Pure though they were, the Weasleys were too far beneath them in manner to be a serious choice even if they would have had agreed and the Macmillians and the Longbottoms had only produced sons. The Greengrasses, and Astoria in particular, were the most logical choice.

It wasn't an ideal situation for anyone at the time but it had seemed the best one available.

“So neither of you loved each other. Well, things make more sense now.”

Draco threw down his napkin. “It means, we understood what was expected of us and were willing to do what was required. Something you still need to learn.”


December 26th

Her netbook on her lap, Rose opened it and flipped through the pages. There was mail she still had to respond to, including pictures Auror Thomas had sent of her holiday in Spain. The week before Rose had spent nearly an hour trying to explain how to send pictures and that you had to press them to the pages face up, not face down like you were making a scrapbook, before you said the incantation and they were saved to the book.

Half the pictures were blank. Rose could only guess that Heather hadn't remembered and had decided to do it both ways in the hopes that some pictures would come through.

She turned the page to the one she reserved for Scorpius and her heart sank as she found it hadn't been updated. There'd been no mail since Christmas Eve, no messages, no owls, no nothing.

A sudden movement beside her caused her to look up and she saw her dad standing, she nearly did the same, thinking they were cheering, when she realized he was just calling the pasty vendor over.

“Well, that was unpleasant,” her mum said, coming to sit down next to her.

Rose glanced at her but it was Ron who answered. “Those two still fighting, eh?”

“Worse than ever, I'm afraid. They're arguing entirely in French.”

Rose looked behind heR. Just as she had expected, Dominique and Louis were still in their seats and Victoire was still curled up in Teddy's arms. That left only two possible suspects.

“Why are Auntie Fleur and her sister fighting?” she asked and Ron beamed.

“See that? Future Head Auror material right here.”

“Basic deductive reasoning,” Hermione countered before turning to her daughter. “Though, you are correct, dear. As for why--”

“Gabrielle has a thing for married blokes from the sound of it,” her dad answered, eyes back on the match.

Hermione glared at him, her frown only deepening when her husband didn't notice, his attention entirely on the Harpies and the Wasps as they battled it out on the pitch. “Ron!”

He jumped, nearly losing hold of his half-eaten pasty. “What? What's up?”

“I don't think that was appropriate.”

Ron glanced at his daughter, as if hoping for some help but Rose could only smile and give the smallest of shrugs.

“She's eighteen!”

Behind her, Hermione sighed. “That still doesn't mean you should go broadcasting Gabrielle's personal business.”

“I had a little help there, as I recall,” he said, giving his wife a pointed look. Then, in a voice that suggested he was laying down his trump card, he added, “Besides they're French.”

Rose smiled and her mother laughed, asking. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Everything! You know how the French are. They don't think anything of hooking up with married people. You're always hearing stories about some famous French writer or politician dying and his wife and mistress standing together at the funeral. It's their culture,” he finished sagely.

“Well, either Fleur has missed out on some important aspects of her own culture or the French are not a monolith.”

Grinning, he waggled his brows at his wife. “Or she's just sore because Gabrielle's stealing all the interesting married men.”

“Somehow I doubt that.”

“Really? Did she miss a few?”

Feeling as if the argument had suddenly turned into some bizarre form of foreplay, Rose excused herself. “I think I need a pasty too.”

Netbook in hand, she didn't wait for a response before heading for the aisles.

Rose wished she could talk Hugo into trading seats with her but he, like most of their cousins, had brought someone. The Weasley-Potters were sprawled out over several rows and walking past each had her feeling more and more dejected. There were the newlyweds, Teddy and Victoire, there was Hugo and his Hufflepuff, there was Dominique and her flavor of the week. Even Al had brought Lysander with him, the first time they'd ever been together at a family event like this. She passed the happy couple as they sat side-by-side, thighs pressed against each other and heads bowed as they tried to get as close to one another as the seats would allow. Other than herself, the only other people over the age of fifteen who came alone were Roxy and Gabrielle. From the sounds of it, Gabrielle probably only came alone because there weren't enough seats for both her lover and his wife.

Finally at the top of the steps, Rose leaned against the railing and opened her book again. She knew if she kept doing this she might break down and write to him first which was exactly what she did not want to do. She wasn't wrong. It had been eighteen months since they'd left Hogwarts. Scorpius should have some direction or some signs that he knew what direction was.

It was as if he didn't care at all.

Four months ago, right after he declared it “a bit of fun,” she had taken it upon herself to start reading every edition of The Daily Word. Other than noting that “The Bi-Monthly Word” might be a more fitting name, she was impressed . He really did make some strong arguments and have some very good ideas. He was very clever. People said she was but Rose always felt it was more hard work than raw brilliance. With Scorpius it was the exact opposite, loads of raw brilliance and no hard work.

Without even meaning to, weeks ago she had found herself reading up on the W.A.D.A, its musical theater and its orchestra. And since Gabrielle had come to visit, she'd been peppering her with questions about the summit, trying to learn more in the hopes that if she ever did meet Mr. or Mrs. Malfoy, she'd be able to talk intelligently with them about their work and about their son. She wanted them to know that she was interested, that she was serious.

She wasn't even sure Scorpius knew what G.N.A.W. stood for.

Sometimes it was as if he didn't care about anything at all but shagging her, winning pub quizzes, and writing the occasional article. She didn't need him to be Trainee Healer, but she needed him to do something; a steady job at the Leaky as a bartender would be enough.

Louis, Al, and Freddie had done most of the heavy lifting for her when it came to introducing a Malfoy to her family. Her parents already knew him as their friend, the Fourth Musketeer, as it were. They both liked him well-enough but she knew they'd be more critical when they found out about her relationship with Scorpius.

Slamming the book shut, Rose gave it up as a bad job.


December 27th

Her fine features contorted in concentration, Gabrielle gave a soft grunt followed by a low groan.

Several of the wizards at the table shifted in their seats and Draco noticed a few that looked as if they were about to run out of the room with their books and scrolls clutched suspiciously in front of them.

The head Goblin, Gurgnak, made a hacking noise in response that Draco knew meant “thank you.” Gabrielle hacked right back at him and the pair stood and shook hands, lightbulbs flashing around them as the reporters took their pictures.

Nearly a month later, and the great Banking Crisis of Wizarding Europe had been solved. Draco shook hands with everyone he had to, ignored those he didn't, and sat back down in his seat. He had a few messages he wanted to check before he joined the others at the brunch.

Opening his netbook, he saw that Goyle had sent him two more pictures of Kneazles with captions written in pidgin English underneath. For the life of him, he couldn't understand the fascination. As expected, Astoria has not responded to his letter. He had been so careful this time too. Rather than giving into his desperation, he hadn't even mentioned seeing her or asking her how she was. Instead, he had given her a friendly notice about the mood their son was in, hoped their outing went well, and mentioned that he would be very busy for the next two days should anything happen. He hadn't even said what he would be doing, letting her fill in the blanks however she chose. Evidently, she hadn't cared to fill them in all. She hadn't even wished him a Happy Holidays.

Spotting a letter from Scorpius, he tapped on the message and watched the words appear on the page.

Hullo Dad,

Wood was a no-show yesterday. Sounds like Mum might have finally ditched him. Thought you'd like to know.

– Scorpius.

His momentary elation was strangled by the words “might have.” Had he asked her and she told him they weren't together? Or had Scorpius jumped to conclusions after not seeing Wood at the hunt? Or perhaps she truly had ditched Wood but now there was someone else taking his place. Draco couldn't imagine Astoria going through beaus that quickly but he also hadn't expected to come home one day to find her sitting on the bed, her bags packed and ready to go.

He scowled at the page, tempted to go straight to her even though it would be more prudent to get more information from Scorpius first.

“You should be 'appy,” a voice chimed. He looked up to see Gabrielle, clutching a mimosa in one hand and holding out a glass for him in the other. “It was a great success.”

“I'm perfectly happy,” he said, frowning at her. She sat down on the table beside him, not seeming to care how close she was or how high her skirt was.

“I am not,” she said, taking a sip of her glass. “Your England is a very unwelcoming place. The landscape is so cold and dreary and the people are no different. It is no wonder my sister is so miserable. It is very lonely 'ere.”

The mention of unhappy Weasleys piqued his interest but he brushed it aside. Looking up, he found her watching him intently, as if she were practicing Legilimency.

“This is strange. I normally don't 'ave to try this 'ard for a man's attention,” she admitted.

He gave a sharp laugh. “No, I imagine not.”

“And once, I did not even 'ave to try at all for your attention.” Her blue eyes still fixed on him, she crossed her legs, pushing her skirt up further. He thought of the old office he'd had down the hall and the nights he'd spent there with her on the desk, her blouse open and skirt around her waist as they fucked.

“That was a long time ago.”

“If you say so.” She looked out the window behind him, charmed to show a snowy scene of the Muggle London streets above. “And 'ow is your wife?”

He glared at her, not answering. Gabrielle continued on, unaffected by this. “I saw 'er there, dancing with another man. 'e is a very famous Quidditch player, I 'ear.”

“Was,” Draco corrected. “He doesn't play any longer. Too old.”

“She left with 'im. She left you for 'im.”

He looked down at the letter his son had sent him.

“It is very unusual,” she mused. “I 'ave seen many marriages where the 'usband 'as 'is fun and the wife does not, I 'ave even seen marriages where they both have romances on the side but I 'ave never seen one where it is the wife who 'as the fling and the 'usband 'o waits.”

“I doubt an arrangement like that could last long with you around.”

“No, it could not,” Gabrielle laughed throatily, her lips curved into a secret smile. She turned to him, frowning with pity. “You must love 'er very much.”

Draco opened his mouth but he couldn't say anything, denying it would be a bald-faced lie and it was too personal a thing to admit out loud. He looked away.

“Then you must fight for 'er!” she said, pushing off the table. He barely caught his mimosa glass in time. “You should challenge Oliver to a duel!”

“I beg your pardon?”

“For 'er 'and! It is very romantic. Trust me, many wizards 'ave fought for me. It will win 'er back for certain!”

The idea of cursing Wood into oblivion did have its appeal. “I don't think it would work.”

“Suit yourself.” Gabrielle brushed her fingertips over the back of his hand. “I still have several more days before my Portkey leaves. I could 'elp you forget about 'er for a while.”

“I know you could.” And his loneliness and spite were enough to tempt him to surrender. He had toyed with idea ever since she had arrived. “But I don't want to.”

Gabrielle gave a small shrug and leaned over to kiss his cheek, whispering, “'ave a 'appy New Year, Draco.”


December 28th

The early morning sun bright overhead, she pushed open the door to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and was greeted by an empty shop.

“Hullo?” Rose called, stepping inside and looking around. It was odd being here when it was so quiet and clean. She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen the shop like this.

“Well, hello,” a familiar voice called and she turned to see her Uncle George walking though the door, carrying several boxes in front of him. “I didn't think you were working today. I didn't see you on the schedule, thought your brother was pitching in for the morning shifts.”

“He is. I forgot my purse here last night.”

“Haven't seen it, Rosie. But Roxy is in the back, she might be able to help,” he said, heading up the stairs.

“Thanks.” She looked at her wristwatch, and winced as the hand crept ever closer to “Late for Work.”

The sound of laughter coming from the back room made her pause and she barely had time to jump away when the door swung open.

“Sorry!” Her head snapped up to find Scorpius standing in front of her. The contrite look on his face twisted into something more belligerent. “Didn't see you there.”

“Well,” she began quietly. “Seeing as we are both here, maybe we should talk?”

Rose hadn't intended on saying that to him, she hadn't intended on speaking him at all today. She certainly hadn't expected to run into him here, of all places. However, after a day of waiting for him to write and a night spent reminiscing over just how good he looked in riding boots and breeches, she was willing to once again be the mature adult in their relationship.

Scorpius clearly was not so amenable. He made a great show of looking around him as if expecting someone to happen across them. “Are you sure you want to be seen speaking to me? In public?”

“Will you stop?”

“Scorpius,” Roxy said, hurrying out of the back room, scroll in hand. “Don't forget this for tomorrow.”

He smiled brightly at her, his voice becoming warmer and softer as he said, “Thank you.”

Rose narrowed her eyes at him but he didn't seem to notice, he didn't even spare her a second glance as he headed for the front door.


Draco watched as the room around him melted and expanded at once, the intimate setting of their master bedroom giving away to a theater of people with he and Astoria in the front row.

Compelled by the idea that there had to have been something he had missed, he had created a Pensieve for the month before she had left and had spent the entire morning sifting through the memories.

This memory, however, was one he'd already had on hand. He had created it the morning after, in fact.

As a teenager, he had realized that if skin mags were fun, a Pensieve would be even better because it was real. The first one he'd ever made had been of his fumbling first times with Pansy. It had served as a thrilling reminder that an attractive girl had been naked in front of him. He destroyed it after leaving Hogwarts. His sense of propriety towards his ex-girlfriend and childhood friend made him feel uncomfortable for hanging on to it. More importantly, his own embarrassment over how ridiculous he had looked and acted had made it excruciating to view. It had to go.

But he still retained the knowledge and he continued making the Pensieves until he had four dozen of them, all from different stages in his life. Some were of happy, domestic scenes with his family but most of memories that were far less wholesome.

Long ago, he had even made two for Gabrielle. Draco had held onto those longer than he should have, months after the affair had ended ,until finally watching their trysts filled him with more shame than lust. Eventually, he destroyed those Pensieves as well.

The only woman who remained in these memories now was Astoria. He believed he now had every single time they'd made love and every single time they'd fucked, from their first night together to the one he stood in now, their last.

Astoria sat beside him, her face a polite mask of interest as she watched the performance before her, and her hand resting on top of his. Her gloved fingers slid over his own in a way that he still found distracting.

Draco watched as he turned his head towards her, some sarcastic remark ready on his lips only to be distracted by the choker necklace hugging the elegant column of her neck and the way her breasts seemed ready to push out of the neckline of her dress with every breath she took.

Knowing what would come next, he braced himself. There was an ear-splitting scratch of the cello bow followed by the blaring of trumpets.

“This is a joke, surely?” He had asked in a stage whisper She had smelled so good that he hadn't been able to resist leaning in further, his nose brushing against her ear.

She blushed, her eyes brighter than flames as she inclined her head towards him. “This is the new sound I was telling you about.”

“Good God.”

She had been a far better sport about it than he would have been. After decades of tireless work, the W.A.D.A. had seen fit to brush her aside in favor of some twenty-five year old upstart who had convinced the world that discordant noise was a new and exciting sound. Apparently, destroying a fine instrument by playing it poorly was actually avant-garde.

Draco waved his wand, moving forward through memory. He had been through this one enough to know that there would be no answers for him here.

He stopped when they were back in the bedroom.

She was pressed against him as they kissed, following his steps as he led her into the master suite, one possessive hand at the back of her neck to guide her. Draco slammed her against the door as he shut it, breaking off their kiss in the process.

“Turn around,” he ordered, not waiting for her to get her bearings.

She did as asked, her hands braced against the door. Not inclined to take a few seconds and unzip her dress further, he ripped it open, making her gasp and tearing the zipper in the process. Resting his hand at her right breast, he remembered being annoyed that her corset prevented him from feeling much of anything. He had wanted to rip that damn thing off next, to have her bare to him, but that was not in the script that Astoria had planned for them.

Draco pulled her dress down until it was a pool of red silk and black beads at her feet. He told her to kick it aside.

As soon as she had, he pressed against her again, his hard cock against her arse as he slipped his right hand into the black satin knickers she wore.

“You're soaked,” he breathed. “You've been waiting all night for this, haven't you?”

Slowly she nodded.

He remembered his finger circling her clit and how she had rocked into his touch.

“Don't move,” Draco told her, his thumb pressed against her clit as he let two fingers push into her cunt. He teased her, his movements slow and shallow.

“Maybe I won't fuck you just yet.” With his left hand, he traced his fingers along her spine, stilling when he came to the clasp of her choker. His thumb on the latch, his slipped one, then two, then three fingers underneath the necklace watching her throat constrict with each shallow breath she drew.

“Maybe I'll put my mouth where my fingers are now.” Her eyes fluttered closed as he rubbed his thumb against her clit. He gave it a quick pinch, causing her to shudder. “I'll lick you until you're dripping wet. Then I'll tell you to get on your knees and suck me off.”

She licked her lips at that and Draco remembered how that had almost been enough for him to come undone. “You'd like that wouldn't you?”

He opened the latch on her necklace and she sighed in relief, sagging against him for a moment before catching herself and straightening. Draco had kissed and sucked at her throat then and her pulse had beat wildly against his lips.

Both his hands now resting on her hips, he pressed his lips against the nape of her neck. Draco pulled down her knickers, pushing them down her thighs until they fell down to her ankles. She stepped out of them and he pushed away from her so he could admire the view.

The smell of her still on his fingers and the image of her lips stretch around his cock in his mind, he had been tempted to do just as he had said. She would have let him, she would have wanted him to. Astoria had always been the more daring one out of them, particularly when it came to things like this. It was he who was afraid to push too far.

“Go sit on the bed.”

Draco stood against wall, watching the scene, his cock heavy. He could see himself undressing, pulling off his waistcoat and kicking off his shoes and socks while his wife sat gently down on the bed. She wore nothing but the corset, her stockings, her shoes, and her gloves. Her skin was flushed, her hair was still pinned up but mussed, and her eyes were watching him as he stripped off his shirt.

“Lie back.”

She did so and Draco watched as he made his way over to her, one knee on the bed between her thighs as he took in the scene before him. Dropping his wand on the pillow, he knelt over her and Draco watched their lips and tongues meet as they kissed languidly. She tilted her head back to give him better access as he kissed down neck and over her breasts. He had left bruises there that she hadn't Spelled away. He wondered if she had left him carrying those reminders on her skin.

Draco watched as her hand cupped his erection, he could almost feel the small squeeze that she had given him before undoing his flies and pushing his pants and trousers down. He remembered entering her slowly, determined to be stay in control even though with her underneath and around him, it was a losing battle. Her moans were soft and steady at first, then he had paused for a second to pull her legs over his shoulders. The angle let him go deeper and he watched again as she arched her back and gave a small groan as he thrust into her.

He had told her not to move but as he had expected, she hadn't listened. She couldn't resist meeting his thrusts and he saw her toes curl each time she did. Draco had even given her a light slap on the thigh to get her attention but she had only ground her hips against him in response.

The stays on her corset had been charmed to ever-so-gradually tighten and even from here, he could see the difference. Her breasts were nearly spilling out of the black satin and her waist looked so small he was certain he could have circled it with his hands.

Rather, he wrapped one hand around her throat. Tight enough that she'd feel a light pressure but no more. Even that had him shaking with something more than exertion.

It had been enough for her. Astoria's eyes on his, she had moaned loudly, her hands clutching the covers as her body quivered and clenched around him. He watched as her eyes rolled back and her breathing stopped while he scrabbled for his wand in the middle of his own climax.

Draco remembered thinking of all the hundreds of ways this could go horribly wrong in the second after he said the incantation and just before her corset split open. Her breasts rose and fell as she drew another breath and he watched as he collapsed over her, his movements quick and unsteady as he came.

On his knees on his bedroom floor, it took only a fast tugs on his cock before he came. He watched the scene before him, his wife kissing his shoulder, rubbing his back and whispering lovingly to him and he wondered if he would ever have that again.



December 29th

Up until the point where Scorpius had caught her eye and winked, Rose had merely been confused.

She had come to the Leaky for a pint after work. Not long after she had sat down, Scorpius had strolled in – with Roxy behind him. From her little table in the corner she had watched as the pair had talked and laughed over their pints, even sharing a basket of chips between them.

There were many perfectly reasonable, non-sexy reasons for them to be here together. Perhaps they were trying to think up the perfect gift for Freddie's birthday next month. Perhaps that scroll he had brought with him was actually a new article he was working on about how Wheezes challenged the pure-blood hegemony. Perhaps Roxy had purchased a new miniskirt she'd been dying to wear in the middle of winter. The possibilities were endless.

Scorpius said something that made Roxy laugh and he leaned in, brushing his knuckles against hers to get her attention as he continued talking.

She felt ill.

“Oh, good evening, Rose.” She looked to her left but Hannah had already moved in front of her, blocking her view of her cousin and Scorpius. “I didn't see you come in.”

Rose gave a tight smile. “Just popped in for a pint.”

“Care for a bite to eat?” Hannah asked, refusing to budge from the spot. “Tonight's specials are lamb stew and shepherd’s pie.”

“I didn't bring much money with me.”

“I'll put it on your tab!”

A large crowd of entered just as another crowd made its way towards the door creating a wall of people
blocking her view of Scorpius.

“Maybe next time,” she said, standing and throwing her Galleon on the table.

Rose pushed her way through the throng only to find the table that her cousin and boyfriend had shared was now occupied by a giggling group of Hogwarts students. Scanning the room, she was about to give up and look outside when she spotted Scorpius' blond hair like a beacon in the smoky tavern; he was heading upstairs to the bedrooms.

She hurried after him, determined to remind him that she, unlike him, had been honest. That she, unlike him, had not resorted to mind games or sulking like a child. Basically, that she, unlike him, was not an immature git.

Rose reached the landing and saw Scorpius disappear into the bathroom at the end of the hall. Merlin help her, if he had Roxy with him she would not only hex his balls off, she'd be sure to tell Roxy's parents that their daughter liked to go into toilets with strange men.

Not even bothering to knock, she pushed open the door to find Scorpius standing there, the top button of his jeans undone as he washed his hands in the sink. He was alone.

“What the hell, Rose?”

Never one to back down from a fight even when she was in the wrong, Rose poked him in the chest. “You, you arse! What game are you playing at?”

He smirked. “Haven't the foggiest idea what you mean.”

She wasn't sure if she wanted to slap him or cry. Maybe both. “It can't have been a date.”

The smirk didn't budge. “She doesn't mind being seen in public with me.”

“Doesn't mean she'd let you get your dick anywhere near her. She has standards, you know.”

“Unlike you?”

Rose sneered. “Obviously.”

“Oh, Rose,” Scorpius sighed. He moved in, pressing her against the door, his face inches from hers. She tried to keep the fierce look on her face but she found her eyes drifting to his full lips. He leaned in closer and she arched into his touch, shivering as his mouth ghosted along her neck. “Four days without me and you're desperate enough to let me fuck you in a toilet.”

Acting more on instinct than reason, she grabbed her wand. “Incarcerous!

Scorpius fell back on the closed toilet seat, the glowing blue bands pulling his arms back and binding him to the pipes.


“Really.” She hadn't a clue what she had intended by doing that – it was just the first spell that had come to mind. What she was certain of was that she would rather eat a bucket of slugs than let him know that.

Suddenly he laughed, shaking his head. “You really are a sore loser you know that?”

“I am not! And how am I the loser? You're the one stuck on the loo.”

For someone stuck on the loo, he looked awfully smug. “Because it's been four days and you've chased me down in public twice.”

“First of all, it's been five.” He chuckled and she raised her voice. “And secondly, I did not chase you down!”

Scorpius gave a pointed look to the bonds around his arms and then back to her.


Placing her wand in the inside pocket of her coat, she stripped off her coat and kicked off her boots. Next, she pushed off her socks with her feet and pulled her jumper over her head, all the while hoping she did not tip over.

“What are you doing?”

It was her turn to smirk as she unbuttoned her jeans and pushed them down her hips. “What does it look like I'm doing?”

“It looks like you've finally gone around the bend,” he said, voice faltering as she unhooked her bra and tossed it in the sink.

“Hmm,” was Rose's non-committal reply as she slipped out of her knickers. She thought about taking her long red hair out of its ponytail but decided against it. Now fully nude, she walked over and straddled him. “Now, tell me that you weren't hanging around my Uncle's shop waiting for me.”

He swallowed, a pink flush rising in his cheeks. “I wasn't.”

“And you didn't bring my cousin here to make me jealous?” she asked, unbuttoning the blue shirt he wore.

“That wasn't why I was with her, no.”

“That wasn't why you were with her,” she repeated, her fingers working their way down to his belt. Once there, she pressed the heel of her palm against the bulge in his jeans. “Do you want me to leave?”

He closed his eyes and she could tell he was fighting not to thrust into her touch. “No.”

“Then why were you at the shop? And what were you and Roxy talking about today?”

“Is this what they teach you in the Aurors?”

“Yes, it's Sexy Interrogation for Beg--”

He cut her off with a kiss and Rose's annoyance with him getting one over on her was only matched by her loast. Moaning into his mouth, she kneaded him through his jeans until he was thrusting into her hand. Rose pulled away and he bit back a whimper.

“Why won't you tell me what you're doing?”

“Why won't you ask me like a normal person?”

“Would you tell me if I did?” she asked in a small voice.

Scorpius sighed, his expression softening. “Not yet. Soon.”

Rose kissed him again, melting against him as his tongue traced the inside of her lips. She kissed the corner of his mouth and his chin. Settling on his lap so she was pressed fully against him, she rocked her hips as she kissed and sucked on his neck. With her fingers threaded in his hair, she pulled his head back so she could lick his Adam's apple.

“This might be more fun for you if my hands were free,” he nearly moaned as her lips closed around one nipple and her hand worked its way into his jeans.

“Doubtful,” she murmured, her mouth latching onto the other nipple.

Realizing they weren't going to do much but hurt themselves with his jeans half-zipped like that, Rose climbed off of him and pulled his jeans down. Licking her palm and fingers, she stroked him slowly.

“I'm tempted to leave you here like this,” she teased, her thumb brushing over his slit.

“You wouldn't.” It was half-statement, half-plea.

She looked down at his flat stomach, muscular thighs, and thick cock. He was right.

“I'm too nice,” Rose said, lowering herself onto him. Biting her lip to keep from moaning loudly as he filled and stretched her, she rolled her hips.

Whatever he had intended to say to that was swallowed up by a groan. Bracing one hand against the wall, she slid the other between her thighs, her knuckles brushing against his cock as she touched herself.

He nipped and sucked at her breast, his tongue tracing her peak as they rocked against each other. She clenched around him, making him cry out.

“If we break the toilet,” she started breathlessly, both of them moving as fast as they could. “You're paying.”

“If we break this...we will never... live it down.”

Rose laughed, her muscles clenching around him and pushing him over the edge. Scorpius threw his head back in a wordless shout.

Clinging to him, her face buried in his neck as she felt him spill inside her, Rose soon followed.


He had done many, many, many stupid things in his life. So very many that if he tried listing them all, Draco was certain he might die before he had finished. However, not keeping a stocked liquor cabinet after his wife had left him certainly had to go in the top twenty dumbest things he had ever done. Possibly even in the top ten.

It wasn't that he was drunk, he decided, the December air biting at his skin and his steps seeming slower than he would like. Drunk wizards Splinched themselves when they Apparated and he had not, so he was not drunk. He was just low on alcohol.

He came to the corner and weighed his options.

The Leaky was closer but there was a chance that they would notice he'd already had a few (bottles) and not serve him.

Finnegans's Fine Wine & Spirits was further away and also closed - Draco pulled out his pocket watch and peered at it – five minutes ago. The Leaky it was then.

He turned left and crossed the street, stopping to check his reflection in a shop window. His hair and clothing were neat and his eyes were clear. This would be easy as long as he didn't talk too much. If he asked for the two most expensive bottles they had, he doubted they would care at all what state he was in.

And why should they? His friends thought his misfortunes were fodder for the gossip mill. His wife and his son had both abandoned him. Scorpius hadn't even bothered to tell him he was moving out, just sent a note telling him he'd be by later to gather his belongings. His parents were dead, his father couldn't even stick around for two weeks after Narcissa's death, not even for him. And thanks to Granger, he didn't even have a bloody full-time house-elf to go fetch him some liquor. He was totally, utterly, wretchedly alone.

He had said as much in the letter he was writing to Astoria. Draco wasn't going to send it; he didn't think there was enough alcohol in the world to convince him that was a good idea. When he had started writing two bottles ago, he had every intention of sending it. He had simply needed a little Firewhisky to help him along. In vino veritas.

As he had continued writing, too much truth had spilled onto the pages. He apologized for not wanting to marry her at first, for considering her boring and swotty, for not even caring about her beyond the good reputation she brought with him and the son she'd eventually bear him. He apologized for not wanting Daphne around his son after he was born. At the time he had believed that even if Greyback's attack hadn't turned her she was still too dangerous to be trusted around a child, especially his child. He apologized for being such a horrid father to Scorpius in the beginning. Maybe he still was now but he'd been even worse at the start. Babies frustrated and frightened him and he'd had found it easier to let Astoria and their mothers do the bulk of the work. He apologized for the affair, for telling Gabrielle he wished he had met her first, for wanting to leave Astoria, and nearly being ready to do so until his father had stepped in. He apologized for not falling in love with her sooner, that it wasn't until his parents were both dead and he had hit rock bottom that he realized how much she meant to him and everything she had done for him. He had even apologized for their last time together, if he had been too rough or not rough enough or for whatever he had lacked that she had to fuck other men to find.

No, there was no way in hell he was sending that letter. Still, he felt as if he were getting somewhere and with enough liquor in him he might find whatever truth had been eluding him so far.

The door to the Leaky pushed open and Draco walked right into Oliver Wood.

“Sorry, mate,” the other man said before a dark look recognition passed over his face.

“No problem,” Draco drawled, lips curling into a cross between a grin and a sneer. “I've seen you fly, no reason to think you'd be much better at walking.”

Wood scoffed at this and turned to leave.

“Congratulations, by the way. I hear you'll be the next captain of the Cannons. You'd think Puddlemere would have made an offer but I reckon they still have standards.” Wood glared and Draco gave a harsh laugh. “Thank God for Chudley.”

“If I were you, I'd shut up.”

“If you were me, you'd have an I.Q. greater than your weight.”

“Fuck off, Malfoy.”

Blood seemed to roar in his veins, and Gabrielle's advice to him swam in his head. He tapped the cuff of his coat, his wand lowering into his palm. “Speaking of which, thanks for keeping my wife company. Tell me, do you fuck like you play Quidditch because she was begging me to take her--”

Draco didn't even have a chance to raise his wand in defense before Wood's fist made contact with his jaw. As his head cracked against the brick wall behind him, he wondered why he hadn't just hexed him first.


December 30th

Caught somewhere between waking and dreaming, Draco felt her nearby. She had smoothed back his hair and whispered words of comfort to him. He could smell her perfume in the air, sandalwood and vanilla, and he was certain he had heard her move around their bedroom. She was there, he was certain of it.

Draco opened his eyes and look across the bed. He was honestly shocked to see it empty.

“Good, you're finally awake.”

He snapped his head around so fast he cracked his neck in the process. Grimacing, he bit his lip so as not to whimper at the pain.

“Draco, relax,” Astoria cried, hovering over him with her wand. His entire neck felt very warm as she whispered the charm, the pain and tension receding with the heat. “You have to be careful.”

“You're here,” was all he could say.

“Yes.” She sat down again the chair beside his bed. “Scorpius had to be somewhere, he'll be back soon but he didn't want to leave you alone.”

He pushed himself up into a sitting position. Now that he had her here, he hardly knew where to start.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

He shook his head. “The house-elf has the weekend off.”

“Have you already forgotten I can cook?” she said lightly before frowning. “Sorry.”

“No, I hadn't forgotten.” He may not have a clue what to do but he was certain he didn't want her spending her time in the kitchen.

Astoria nodded, her hands clasped in her lap. She'd leave soon if he didn't do something, he could see her thinking of an excuse.

“Thank you for coming,” he tried.

“The hospital called me.”


“I was a bit surprised when they told me what had happened,” she said, pursing her lips as she looked at him.

It must have been a side-effect medicine they had shoved down his throat at St. Mungo's because Draco had no idea why he blurted out, “I asked him if you left him because he fucked like he played Quidditch.”

She reacted exactly as he expected, shaking her head, rolling her eyes, and sighing, the corner of her mouth tipping ever-so-slightly upwards. “That is really none of your business, Draco.”

Blinking, he recoiled from her words in surprise. “It's not? I'm sorry, is it rude of me to wonder when my wife runs around fucking other men? Would it be impertinent of me to inquire when she might shut her legs and come home?”

Astoria gave a cold laugh. “You really do have some nerve.”

“Because I don't like seeing you with other men?”

“Because you think there are two sets of rules: one for you and one for me,” she snarled and Draco felt himself go cold. “Because you didn't even try to hide what you've done. Because seventeen years ago, I sat you down and offered to have an open marriage and you refused, feeding me some line about how you simply didn't want anyone but me.”

Her eyes shining with unshed tears and her mouth in a tight line, she gave him a sideways glance. “I'm not quite as blind as you hoped.”

The day he had always expected had finally come, eighteen years late.

Draco swallowed thickly, feeling as if his heart had lodged itself in his throat. “I didn't think you were blind at all.”

“So how many were there?”

He stared at her, some part of his mind still rebelling against telling her. As if he just denied it, this whole thing would go away.

“You still think you can get out of this, don't you? I've told you I know and yet, you think that if you just have enough time--”

“One,” he admitted. “Just one.”

Her face crumpled at this and she turned away from him quickly. Facing away from him, she braced herself on the chair as she stood. “How touching.”

“Astoria,” he groped for something to say but only hollow cliches came to mind.

She paused by the doorway. “You should be more careful about where you leave your Pensieves. Unless you want people to find them.”

He shook his head. “I destroyed it years ago. I did.”

Draco was certain he saw genuine surprise flicker in her eyes. In the distance, the chime of the Floo announced Scorpius' arrival home.

“Well,” she said crisply, her face once more an impassive mask. “I'm sure these past few weeks have given you enough memories for a new one.”


December 31st

“There's a line?” Rose said, standing at the foot of her staircase, looking up at Roxy, Lily, and Hugo as they stood outside the one and only toilet at the Burrow. She didn't have to go, she was just so determined not to check for any messages from Scorpius that she'd been filling time however she could. In the past two hours she had listened to her Uncle Percy go on about the dangers of lax cauldron standards, prevented James from using a gnome as a cheap cat toy, and helped her grandmother make hot buttered rum for everyone. With two more hours to go until midnight, she was tempted to suggest some grand prank to her Uncle George just to pass the time.

“Not for me,” her brother said, bounding down the steps as he made a beeline for the front door.


Lily had apparently had enough of waiting as well. Banging on the door with her tiny fists, she yelled, “Al! Lysander! If you don't get out of there now I'm going to hex your bollocks off!”

There was no response. Not even a snicker.

Cupping her mouth, Rose called. “Stand back, Lils, I know how to open this.”

As she had intended, the door soon opened. Scowling as he pulled his shirt over his jeans, Al stepped out of the loo followed by rather content-looking Lysander.

“Gross! Get a room you two,” Lily said, before slamming the door behind her.

“Would if there were any free,” Al grumbled as he passed her on the steps.

Roxy gave her a small smile. “And my parents always wondered why I refused to bring anyone to family gatherings.”

“Yeah,” Rose said, biting her lip. She had fully intended to wait until Scorpius told her but, she reasoned that it had already been two days and with the holidays it might be two more until she saw him again. “Say, I saw you with Scorpius Malfoy the other day at the Leaky...”

Her cousin raised a brow in response, seemingly unwilling to offer an explanation as she had hoped.

“I was wondering... why?”

“It's private.”

“Private like a date, private?” She knew it hadn't been but for the life of her she couldn't figure out why they had been meeting.

“I don't think Lorcan would appreciate that much.”

Rose felt her face grow hot. She had forgotten. Lorcan and Roxy had been together since Hogwarts but he'd spent the past several months underwater studying Mer culture. He wasn't due to surface until February.

“And private as in, not my secret to tell.”


Roxy gave her a keen look, her large dark eyes seeming to go right through. “Maybe you should ask Scorpius.”

“Maybe,” was all she could muster. Turning, she walked down the stairs and contemplated heading right out the door and Apparating home. Only her fear of running into Hugo as he wrote his name in the snow kept her inside. Falling onto the couch, she laid her head back and stared out the window at the night sky.

She hoped that Scorpius wasn't spending tonight by himself. She had Owled him, inviting him to come join her but he hadn't answered. Rose didn't know if he was still angry or if he just had other plans.

“What are you doing here?” her dad said.

Rose sat up, expecting him to be talking to her and instead finding that he was talking to someone at the door.

“I invited him,” she yelled as she spotted Scorpius. She ran over to them, nearly pushing her dad aside as she grabbed Scorpius' arm and pulled him over the threshold.

Behind her dad, she could see her mother and Uncle George watching her.

“He's my guest.” Scorpius smiled at her and she took his hand. “And my boyfriend.”

“Blimey, I need another drink,” her dad muttered, heading back towards the kitchen.

“You're lucky I didn't know that before I hired you,” her Uncle George said, wagging his finger in Scorpius' face. “We don't believe in nepotism at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.”

Rose looked at her boyfriend, mouth agape. “Is he joking?”

“I start Monday morning in the Hogsmeade branch.”

“What about The Daily Word?”

He shook his head, his mouth turning up in a wry grin. “It's done.”

“No, Scorpius, you can't give up on that--”

“I'm not. Roxy mentioned that her boyfriend was interested in reviving The Quibbler once he's back on dry land.” He gave her hand a small squeeze. “I'm going to help him bring it into the twenty-first century.”

“I'm sorry,” she said haltingly. “I've been horrid.”

“You really have,” he agreed, smiling widely and Rose felt as if her heart would overflow “But you were right, I did have to grow up.”


Scorpius gave her a quick peck on the lips. “You can make it up to me later.”

Looping her arms around his neck, she kissed him again. “I will.”

“Save it for midnight, you too,” Hugo said, breezing into the house.

“Learn how to spell 'auld lang syne.' And how to aim!” Scorpius called after him.


Technically, he was trespassing. If caught, he could claim that he had come to look for his wife. However, as his wife likely had no interest in being married to him any longer, he didn't pin his hopes on that excuse working.

And that was assuming she was here at all.

He had spent the past two hours trying to find Astoria with little luck. Both her parents and her sister said they didn't know where she was and made it clear that even if they did, they weren't inclined to tell him. Scorpius hadn't known either. Though he was a possibility, Draco had a feeling that Wood wouldn't be able to help him on that score and that had been his only comfort.

The sound of the wireless seemed to beckon him forward and he followed it down the corridor. At the end he found an empty music room, with one piano in the center and Astoria sitting in front of it.

Draco knocked on the open door and Astoria jumped in her seat. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see you.”

“We've nothing more to say to each other,” she told him, her back to him as she dumped a stack of music books on the bench next to her.

“You've nothing more to say to me, I know that.” Having a feeling she might Curse him if he tried to Transfigure one of her books, he moved a chair closer with the flick of his wand. As it stood, she'd likely Curse him even if he didn't but he wanted to have his say first. “But I've something to tell you.”

Astoria stared at the piano in front of her and he took it as a good sign that she didn't leave or tell him to do so. Finally, she shifted on the bench so she was sitting facing him, an expectant look on her face.

“There is nothing going on between myself and Gabrielle.” His wife's mouth twisted as he said her name and he hurried on. “Or me and anyone else. You've been the only woman in my life for the past seventeen years.”

“I want to believe you, Draco, I do. But I can't.”

Draco was ready for that response. “I'll take Veritaserum.”

She was unmoved. He could have just announced his intention to part his hair on the right for all the interest she showed.“You're an Occlumens. You can get around that.”

“The Unbreakable Vow then.” It wasn't without risk, of course, but that was part of the appeal for him. She would know he was serious. “You'll have the truth and some insurance for the future.”

“That's insane,” she snapped, green eyes flashing. “Even for you.”

Strange as it was, her response gave him some hope. Wondering how soon they could find a witness able to perform the oath, he stated firmly, “I'd do it.”

“Maybe you would,” she said, looking away. “But I would never agree to it so it's an empty gesture.”

He deflated at that, The Unbreakable Vow had been the best grand gesture he could think of and she had shot it down in less than a minute. “Pensieves? I'll make you a Pensieve for every second of the past month, the past seventeen years if you like. I'll even give you all the ones I've already made.”

“You have others?”

“Of you. Of Scorpius and my parents as well, but most of them are of you.”

“Pensieves of me? Pensieves of me doing what?” Draco couldn't tell if she was baffled, annoyed, or both.

“Well, me, mostly.”

Astoria colored at that.

“I have our first time together.” Two days before the wedding, she had shown up on a broom outside his window, insisting that he take her to bed so they could know just how much of a disaster their marriage would be. “Our honeymoon. The night Scorpius was conceived. That trip to Tahiti we took when Scorpius left for Hogwarts. That day five months ago when I came home from work to find you... pleasuring yourself.”

“You did not save that,” she scoffed.

“It's one of my favorites, actually.” Even without a Pensieve, it still would have burned itself in his memory; her completely nude as she knelt on their bed, a dildo pumping between her thighs while she touched herself, and the sly grin that had spread across her face when she saw him in the doorway.

Glancing away, Astoria shook her head and gave a small laugh. When she turned towards him, however, he could see that she was crying. “Did you love her?”

Draco shook his head, he wanted to give a firm denial but he could no longer remember what sort of things he had told Gabrielle in the memories he had once kept. Astoria would probably know better than he. His lips barely moved and his voice wasn't more than a whisper as he confessed, “I thought I did at the time.”

He hadn't known what the word meant. As a young man he knew what it meant to love his parents, his only family and sole source of comfort and protection for the first twenty-something years of his life. After a few months, once Scorpius showed signs of doing more than sleeping and eating, he discovered what it meant to love a child.

Having a partner, someone who was his best friend and his lover, had taken him longer.

When he was a teenager, he had just assumed he loved Pansy because she loved him, had sex with him, and was a friend. When he met Gabrielle, he thought it was love because he couldn't get enough of her, because the feelings she roused in him were unlike any he had ever felt before. Feelings that he could now see had been more about what she represented – status and the possibility for a new future – than who she was. If his father hadn't taken him aside and told Draco that another scandal on the Malfoy name would surely kill his ailing mother, he would have continued with the affair until it had inevitably ended in disaster. At the time he had been too selfish and too filled with self-pity to do anything but.

With Astoria it had been different. In the span of a few months, he broke it off with Gabrielle and had to deal with the deaths of his mother and then his father. Astoria became his port in the storm and much more. He remembered sitting in the garden as Scorpius toddled around, watching her laugh at something he had said and being struck by how much he wanted to always make her that happy.

“I know I love you,” he told her, taking her hand. “I have for a long time and I will for the rest of my life.”

She looked down at their hands. “Everything's been so awful at work and when I heard that she was coming back, that you had specifically asked for her, I just couldn't take it anymore.” Her shoulders shook and her voice broke as she admitted, “I couldn't spend the next several weeks wondering every time you had to stay late at the office. I had to get out.”

It was too damn awkward trying to hold her while sitting across from her, so Draco pushed the chair back and knelt down before her. “Sorry isn't enough but I am sorry. I would do anything for you to believe me.”

She kissed him, suddenly and sweetly and he nearly fell over from the shock of it. Draco held his balance, however, threading his fingers in her soft hair as she deepened the kiss. With her tongue sliding against his and her hands fisted in his shirt, he felt as if he were waking from a long, fitful sleep.

Astoria nudged him backwards and he complied, trying to keep his mouth on hers until they had to break off the kiss so they could move to the floor without her falling on top. Draco sat on the floor and Astoria straddled him, her skirt bunched up around her thighs and her body pressed against his. He felt as if he were on fire, what little restraint he had was gone as his mouth sought every inch of exposed skin and his hands roamed from her hips to her arse, holding her against him.

He moaned as she rolled her hips, responding in kind until they were grinding against each other, while he tried to remove the fuzzy v-neck jumper she wore and undo her bra at the same time. Any finesse or self-control he had gained over the past three decades had disappeared and he was fifteen again and desperate to get to the sex part of the equation any way possible.

She took mercy on him, pushing him back so she could take off her jumper and half-unhooked bra. He wasn't sure if it was his audible sigh of relief or the way his attentions immediately shifted to her breasts but she laughed.

Her laughter soon turned to sighs of her own as he took turns licking and sucking on each breast, his cock hard as she rocked against him.

“It's been a month,” he gasped, as she nipped at his neck and then ran her tongue over the mark. Her kissing him, half-dressed, her hair down, her cheeks pink, and sighs pouring from her full lips as she rubbed against him was killing his ability to form coherent sentences.

Luckily, she somehow understood. Kneeling over him, she undid his flies and pulled down his trousers and pants. Every bit as impatient as he was, she didn't even bother taking off her knickers, she just pulled the fabric aside before lowering herself onto him. She licked her lips as he filled her and Draco was amazed he didn't come right then and there.

“God, Astoria,” he moaned. Their coupling was quick and frantic. Her need matching his own, she came first, crying out as her cunt pulsed and tightened around him, bringing him with her. He came with a grunt, his thrusts hard and fast as he drove into her.

He fell back onto the floor and she followed, resting her head on his shoulder. Draco was grateful that she didn't immediately pull away, that they were still connected.

Dimly, he became aware of cheering coming from the radio and a familiar song being played. “It's midnight.”

Astoria looked up at him with a smile and kissed him gently. “Happy New Years, love.”


The End