“And that’s the second time we’ve saved your life tonight, you two-faced bastard!”
He could still hear that yell, when he had nightmares. It didn’t make anything any better.
Not that he was too badly off. Oh no. He was fine. A prominent member of society, as the head of a Specialized Task Force at St. Mungo’s. His father had thought that a man of his status shouldn’t have to work, but Draco had always felt the need to…he wasn’t sure what.
He was married to the charming and beautiful Astoria, and they had a good boy, Scorpius, and a good girl, Madea. Or at least…he had thought that Scorpius was a good boy, intent on bringing further honor to the ancient name that was Malfoy.
Then there were the two letters, during Scorpius’ final year at Hogwarts.
First, from Scorpius:
All’s well here. Studying hard for my N.E.W.T.s. Have a girlfriend. You’ll meet her this summer.
Then from Madea:
He’s dating the Weasley girl. Ugh.
Then, the nightmares began, almost all of them involving Granger punching him in the face and Weasley shouting that sentence from under Potter’s invisibility cloak.
Needless to say, he hadn’t been doing too well after those letters.
And then, over the summer, when Scorpius was sending his application in to St. Mungo’s, he invited Rose (what a horrid, mudblood name it was too!) over for dinner. Draco had never sat through a more silent meal, and that included during the summer that Lord Voldemort had stayed in his house (he shivered at the memory). He watched Rose keenly, looking for traces of her parents. He was not pleased to find them. She had gingery brown, curly hair (what if they had ginger children! Oh the shame! Never had a Malfoy been a ginger! They were always blonde!) and pale blue eyes. Her teeth were slightly bucked and Draco couldn’t help remembering casting a jinx on Granger’s incisors. Every now and then, she would glance over at Scorpius, her eyebrows knit together, and he would see Granger and it did not make him happy.
He couldn’t bring himself to hope that they would break up, because not too long afterwards, Scorpius had his introduction to the Weasley family and was, thereafter, invited over to weekly dinners, from which he always returned happily fed and watered. Oh Scorpius! Where did this come from? Madea was such a good girl! She was going out with Harold Nott.
Well, things progressed from there. Scorpius went to the Weasley’s for major holidays and sometimes, Rose joined them at Malfoy Manor. She rarely spoke when she came, but usually shot significant looks (again, looking tremendously like Granger) at his son.
Then, one evening, at a family dinner, the worst of Draco’s fears were confirmed. His twenty-five year old son looked him squarely in the eye and said, “I am going to ask Rose to marry me.”
Lucius was not pleased. Nor was Narcissa. Astoria’s face remained oddly blank and Madea and her fiancé, Heroditus Zabini, looked shocked. Everyone looked at Draco, as if expecting something drastic and caustic to come out of his mouth.
But Draco could only manage a weak, “Right…” before downing the rest of his Elf-made wine, then pouring himself something slightly stronger and downing that as well.
Lucius tried to convince him to talk sense into his son. He replied that, in all other matters, Scorpius was rather sensible and so it didn’t seem likely that he would be at all receptive to his father’s advice. Narcissa suggested that he threatened to disown him, but Astoria refused, saying that they were Malfoys—not Blacks—and they didn’t disown family members at the drop of a hat. Madea wanted him to make sure that Scorpius’ marriage took place after her own. He felt he could allow that…
He managed, for the most part, to avoid most of his son’s wedding plans. It wasn’t very difficult, as it seemed that Rose and Granger were taking charge and leaving Scorpius with very little to do. (Both men were grateful for that.)
But it was the evening before the wedding, which was to take place on July ninteenth, that Draco dreaded. It was the Family Dinner, when he would set foot in the house he had always avoided (the Potters were hosting) and actually face the men who had saved his skin twice in one night…
Draco, Astoria and Madea apparated just down the road from the Potters’ house. Scorpius was already there and Heroditus couldn’t make it (Draco suspected that his not-so-gormless son-in-law had found a very good excuse to get out of dodge).
“I have to admit,” (Madea sounded very grudging as she spoke) “that it is a nice house.”
The house was fairly small and sat on the edge of a large pond. A dock jutted into the water, and on that dock, Draco could see a table, chairs and lanterns and he knew instantly that he would be expected to sit and be devoured by mosquitoes while nodding and being polite. God, it would be an unbearable evening.
They entered the Potters’ front yard and were greeted by Rose, whose smile was rather strange as she offered to take their traveling cloaks.
“I can’t believe we are here,” he whispered into Astoria’s ear.
“It’s good manners, dear,” she said through pursed lips. “Besides, it means a lot to Scorpius.”
Draco wondered how much he loved his son. It was clearly enough if he was willing to suffer through this on the boy’s behalf.
“Welcome!” came a cheery voice. There was Mrs. Potter. Her hair was up in an elegant bun and looked slightly thinner than it had been when last he had seen her on platform nine and three quarters six years before.
“Good to see you,” smiled Astoria, her arm linked firmly in Draco’s.
“Likewise. Why don’t you come outside to the porch. It’s such a beautiful evening it seems pointless to spend it indoors.”
Draco had anticipated something bad.
It was worse.
There were gingers everywhere in the back yard, sitting around tables, wading in the water of the pond, standing about.
The youngest Potter, the girl, was sitting, dangling her feet in the water of the pond, her head leaning against the chest of some chap who had an overlarge nose and a rather scrawny physique. The one who looked ridiculously like Potter—eyes and all—was sitting with Rose and Scorpius (who had his arm around his fiancée’s waist). All three were laughing heartily. The eldest Potter was sitting with a woman Draco could only assume was his wife, and another couple: one who had gingery blonde hair (undoubtedly one of the fifty-odd Weasleys who were present) and a bloke with (of all colors) dark turquoise hair (he must be the cousin that Draco had never met…). And, standing chatting with a young man with flaming red hair (whom he could only assume was Rose’s brother, given that he also had Granger’s bucked teeth), were Granger, Potter and Weasley.
He needed liquor. And fast.
They looked precisely as they always had—only older. Potter had flecks of grey in his hair, Weasley had laugh lines and Granger had put on some weight (after bearing children, he assumed). They all seemed to be very interested in what the young ginger was saying.
Maybe they would stay like that and he wouldn’t have to deal with them…
Almost as if they had heard that thought, Potter’s eyes flew to his and he made his way over to say hello. Weasley and Granger followed.
“Draco,” Potter said tentatively, as though unsure as to whether they were on first name terms now.
Draco sighed internally.
“Harry,” he replied and, even to his own ears, his voice sounded much more like a startled frog’s than his usual light tenor.
“Thank you for hosting this lovely dinner.” Leave it to Astoria to say something polite and lighthearted.
“It was so kind of Harry to do it,” beamed Granger. “I mean, we are all exhausted from the wedding preparations, but we did want to have a little celebration of just the family, because lord knows we can’t hog them tomorrow night.” She smiled and looked contentedly over at Scorpius, who had just leaned down to kiss Rose.
Draco felt Madea shudder slightly, and was glad to know that at least one of his children still had some common sense.
“Better him than my mum,” said Weasley, nodding his head over to the dumpy woman that Draco remembered seeing in some photgraph or other. Her hair was now white, not ginger, as was that of the man who stood beside her. They were deep in conversation with a rather tall, redhead whose face was completely scarred, and someone who was unmistakably Fleur Delacour (Weasley). “She would have gone utterly mental over it. She’s had enough Weasley weddings to deal with recently.”
It was only then that Draco really became aware of how many non-gingers were present—undoubtedly those who had married in. His stomach jerked at the thought that his own son was to join their ranks in less than twenty-four hours.
“Can I get you anything to drink?” Mrs. Potter was back.
“Firewhisky. No ice,” said Draco, swiftly.
To his response, Weasley said, “I’ll have the same, if you don’t mind, Ginny.”
“Gin and Tonic, if you please,” smiled Granger.
“Oak-matured Mead, please, dear,” said Potter.
“The same for me, please,” smiled Astoria.
“I don’t suppose you have vodka?” asked Madea.
“I’m afraid that Freddie and Roxanne have cleaned us out at the moment,” said Ginny.
“I’ll have a firewhisky then, please.”
They stood there, awkwardly for a moment.
“You must be so pleased,” said Mrs. Potter, who had returned and brought back alcohol (bless her). “Both your children married.”
“Oh yes,” said Astoria. Why was she being so talkative? Although, maybe it wasn’t a bad thing. It meant he didn’t have to. “It’s so lovely to have them out on their own. Your son is married, isn’t he?” she gestured over to the oldest Potter, who had just thrown his head back and was howling with laughter.
“No. His girlfriend doesn’t believe in marriage for some reason I don’t fully understand. Something about the subjugation of love, or something ridiculous like that,” said Pott—Harry.
“Not that he minds, particularly. I don’t know if James wants kids,” sighed Ginny, glancing over at her son.
“And, of course, Lily is engaged to Franklin Longbottom—“
“Longbottom?” Draco couldn’t stop himself. Why did he have to say it? And so accusatorily, as well.
“Yes. Longbottom,” said Harry simply, gesturing over to the scrawny young man on the dock.
Draco took a swig of his Firewhisky.
“And Albus is between girls, at the moment, and Hugo is between boys, so…” Ginny, trying pointedly to draw the conversation away from the fact that her youngest daughter was marrying a Longbottom. “Oops, you’ve already finished, Draco. Let me refill that for you.” And she was off again, leaving the rest of them in another awkward silence.
“How has St. Mungo’s taken to the new reform on prescription potions?” asked Granger.
“Oh, well, you know…” And he was off, complaining about the morons who had the gumption to force through an utterly ridiculous law that made it all-but impossible for patients to make their own remedies once they left the hospital.
Granger nodded, and interjected every now and then. Weasley wandered off to chat with his earless brother. Harry stayed where he was, but sometimes, his gaze would drift over to his daughter, who was now sitting on Longbottom’s lap and flicking water onto the dock to entertain an extremely plump tabby cat. All the while, Ginny kept refilling his firewhisky glass, until he was sure that he had had one too many…
And before he even knew what was happening, Ginny had called “Dinner is served, everyone!” and a swarm of gingers descended onto a table of food. It was during this rather hectic few minutes that Draco found himself standing next to his son for the first time all evening.
“Hi dad!” beamed Scorpius.
“Hello Scorpius. Hic. How are you!” smiled Draco.
“I’m doing ok, dad.” Scorpius was looking at him appraisingly.
“Good. Good. That’s how it is supposed to be. And you are getting married tomorrow! And to such a lovely—hic—young girl. From such a good family, too.”
“Dad…are you drunk?” asked Scorpius.
“Drunk? Me? Not at all! Hic.”
“Mum,” Scorpius hailed Astoria. “I think dad has had too much. Can you cut him off?”
But Astoria was giggling so hard that it was utterly impossible for her to respond. Scorpius glanced accusingly at Ginny.
“What did you do to them?”
“I thought they might relax if they had a bit to drink,” shrugged Ginny.
“And relax we most certainly did,” slurred Draco, placing his arm around Ginny. “You know, Ginny, I don’t think I have ever told you what nice—hic—skin you have.”
“What’s going on over here?” Ron had arrived.
“Ron! Did I ever thank you for saving my life twice in one night? I should have, if I didn’t. It really made a big difference, didn’t it? If you—hic—hadn’t, our kids wouldn’t be getting married, would they? And—“
“That’s right, dad. We wouldn’t. Now let’s go sit over by the pond.”
“This paella is delicious, Mrs. Potter.” Madea had arrived.
“Thank you dear,” replied a now rather flustered Ginny.
“Yes. Very deliciousss,” said Draco.
“Uh oh,” said Madea, looking from her brother to her drunk father.
“Yeah,” muttered Scorpius. He seized his father by the arm and dragged him over to an empty table. Madea did the same thing with Astoria.
“What happened?” demanded Madea.
“Ginny boozed them up.”
“I see that. Honestly, dad, I leave for fifteen minutes to say hello to Polly Halliwell and I come back and you are so liquored up that you can’t stand up?”
“’Snot that bad, Dea,” mumbled Draco, who was already feeling rather abashed.
“You are going to be ridiculously hung over tomorrow. And, as you have already pointed out, dad, I’m getting married,” snapped Scorpius.
“Sorry, Scorpy,” giggled Astoria.
“It’s not funny, so will you stop laughing?”
“I can’t stop laughing. I’m drunk!” Astoria choked out.
“Madea, can you take them home? They are in no fit state…they will only humiliate themselves and, frankly, I don’t think that they can handle that like mature adults,” sighed Scorpius.
“Come on mum, dad. Let’s go home,” said Madea at once, glad of an excuse to leave.
As Draco departed, or rather, was forcibly steered from the party, he wondered whether allowing Weasley's daughter to marry his son somehow offset all that Weasley, Potter, and Granger had done when they had saved his life. He hiccuped, and decided that it probably wasn't, but that he was definitely not about to try and pay them back the full debt. He'd already done quite enough that night.