"This is a terrible idea."
Scorpius squeezes Jamie's hand, and he only does that because he knows that there are spells in the Potter yard that would prevent anyone from seeing them or from taking a picture. "I can go if you want."
Jamie shakes his head. "I'd rather have you here, but it's still a terrible idea." He steadies himself and then opens the front door. "Mom, Dad?"
"In the kitchen," Ginny answers.
Scorpius closes the door behind them and follows Jamie into the kitchen. Both of Jamie's parents are sitting at the table, drinking hot chocolate and doing the crossword puzzle from the Prophet, so intent that they barely look up from the paper.
"Hello, love, give us a moment. Your father thinks that he's better than me at this. Have some chocolate, I just made it."
The word is barely out that both of them look up. "Oh Scorpius, I thought your father- Not important." She smiles, but she sends a look in her husband's direction. "Albus isn't here."
"Good morning, and Albus is at home, suffering the effects of last night celebration," he said, chuckling. "I came with Po- Jamie. I hope you don't mind."
"Of course not. You're always welcome here. Please, sit and relax. We're not going to bite, despite what Skeeter might say."
Jamie snorts at his mother's word just as he brings two cups of hot chocolate to the table. "Skeeter just loves us, doesn't she?"
Scorpius presses a hand behind Jamie's back in support before sitting down. Jamie does the same. Scorpius can't help but notice how they are in one corner while Jamie's parents are in the opposite corner on the other side of the table, as if drawing battle lines. For a moment, they just stare at each other, before Scorpius turns to Jamie. "Do you want me-?"
"No, it's my mess." Jamie puts his hands around the cup and stares into the cocoa as if it's holding all the answers. "A reporter contacted me yesterday, asking me for a comment about a story he's running. It'll be in print next week. He wanted to know what I thought about the alleged child I'm about to have."
"If this is one of your pranks, it's not funny," Harry answers.
"It's not, Dad. Trust me, this wouldn't be a topic I'd pick." Jamie bites his lip before looking up. "I haven't answered yet, because I have no idea if it's true or not. I don't remember this woman, but I don't remember a lot of names of people I've shagged."
"What have I told you?" Ginny asks. "How many times did I tell you to slow down? Not to shag around? Not to get in the hype that surrounds the league? I told you this would happen. I told you to be careful-"
"I have been careful." Jamie gets up and paces. "I can't remember a single time when I haven't been careful, but-" He runs his fingers through his hair, and the fact that he's messing up his carefully styled hair tells Scorpius just how nervous he is. "Sometimes there's a little too much to drink, so it could be possible. I don't think so, but it is a possibility."
"Are you marrying her?" his father asks.
Jamie makes a face. "Are you mad? Of course not. I don't even remember her."
"If it is your child, you have responsibilities."
As Harry talks, Scorpius can't help remembering Albus mentioning how scary his dad could be when he stared you down, clearly disappointed in what you were doing or saying. Scorpius has never been afraid of his father and until this very moment, he hasn't understood how anyone could be afraid of Albus' dad. The man is always so very softly spoken with a gentle smile and a paternal gaze, but right now, he can see the Harry Potter his father talks about, the one from the history books. No son should have to deal with that legend and he's thankful for his own dad who's never anything but a father at home. "Mr. Potter, Jamie understands that he has responsibilities. To the child."
Green eyes move from Jamie to Scorpius, but Scorpius isn't as easily affected. "Why are you here, Scorpius? This is none of your business."
"Because I promised Jamie that I would be here and because he has my support, as far as being my business-" He gets up and laces his fingers with Jamie's. "Since Jamie is my boyfriend, I'd say that a child of his is very much my business. If it is his child."
"I don't think so." Jamie's words might be for everyone to hear, but he's looking at Scorpius.
Scorpius nods. "I know, but if it is, we will find a solution that works for her, for the baby, for you and for your image. Until then- I've been thinking about the article. Maybe we can get her to retract for the right amount of money or at least stall until we can do paternity spells. I mean, she's got to know that she'll be crucified if it turns out that you aren't the father and if she's after money, we can make her happy and Dad can talk to the reporter."
"We don't need your father's help," Harry cuts in.
"With all due respect, Mr. Potter, my father wouldn't be helping you, but Jamie," Scorpius answers.
"And why would he do that?" Ginny asked.
"Because I told him about us." Scorpius knows that he should be nicer. He's always been nice when he was just Albus' friend, but he knows how easily Jamie would go along with what they want if he lets him. Jamie will do anything to make his parents' happy, regardless of what he wants. "Jamie, what is that you want?"
Jamie smiles. "This is the first time you call me 'Jamie'."
Scorpius laughs. "I'm glad you're concentrating on the important things, Potter. Better?"
"Much. 'Jamie' freaks me out."
Scorpius rolls his eyes. "Fine, so what do you want to do, Potter."
Jamie grins, because this banter grounds him. "I know what I don't want. I don't want to get married to someone I don't know. I'm not sure I want to raise a child, but I don't think there's enough money to deal with that."
Scorpius shrugs. "I'm sure I can ask Dad for money if we don't have enough."
Jamie takes a deep breath, and then looks at his parents. "I think Scorpius is right. We try to keep the story quiet until we know and if it is my child, we worry about it."
"A child isn't a worry, but someone you love," Harry puts in.
"Maybe for you, Dad. You loved Mum and you wanted to be married, but did you ask her if she wanted to give up her career to have us?" Jamie can't imagine quitting Quidditch to have children. "And did you remember to love us when we didn't fit your image of the world? What about when Albus was sorted in Slytherin? At least I know that I'm not perfect and a child is better off without me as a father, but I'll do what I have to if it turns out that I got her pregnant. That doesn't include marrying her or even having to deal with her, because if she wanted me to have any say in this, she would have told me when we could have done something about it."
Scorpius closes his eyes when he hears the gasps from Jamie's parents. Weasleys, Potters and abortions don't get along well. He winces as both of them start yelling at Jamie about children, love, responsibilities. It's impressive how loudly they can scream and how many reasons they can give for why Jamie is a horrible person for even saying it while talking on top of each other.
Jamie seems to shrink under the barrage of words. It doesn't matter that Jamie is wider and more muscular. Scorpius moves over, almost as if he can shield Jamie from his own parents. "Enough," he finally says, loud enough to make them stop. He's pretty sure that he will not be welcome here after this, but he can't help himself.
"Let it go," Jamie whispers.
"Bullshit." Scorpius stares at Jamie. "Don't let them do this to you. You can't live your life based on what they want, always trying to please them-"
"He hasn't tried too hard, considering all of his… conquests," Ginny says.
"He's done everything else and you can't even see it." Scorpius shakes his head. "You're his parents, how can you not be aware? My Dad always knows what I'm thinking, why I'm doing things, but you can't see how much he tries to be perfect, how he's got a different image depending on the circumstances. The shallow jock, the supportive brother and cousin, the prankster, the Head Boy, the perfect student."
"Malfoy, enough." Jamie looks at Scorpius with pleading eyes and shakes his head. "Don't do this."
"Do what? Tell the truth?"
"I do what I want to," Jamie answers.
"Sure, but they should know what you do. They are your parents. Do you know what my father asked? Why I'm willing to give you a chance after the awful things you did to me in school, and I couldn't give him a proper answer, but do you know why?"
"I'm still wondering that myself," Jamie admits.
"Because you didn't hate me or the rest of the Slytherins. You did those things, because they were expected from you. Because I saw how you reacted when Albus got hurt. You were sad, you felt for him, but you still did whatever you did, because you felt you had no choice. You did what your family taught you to do. I won't let you ruin your life because of what they are saying now. Maybe they aren't willing to put you above their ideals, but I am, because you mean more to me than any ideal." The hug is unexpected, but Scorpius responds quickly and holds Jamie tight.
Jamie pulls back after a moment and smiles despite everything. "You're a complete idiot, Malfoy. For putting up with my insecurities, with my family drama, but thank you for sticking around despite the insanity, and we'll go with your plan. We'll talk to your dad and keep the story quiet for now." He turns to his parents. "I am sorry. I’m sorry that I've disappointed you and I'm sorry that you don't like my solution, but it is my life and I'm not getting married, not with this woman at least. I'm sorry that I'm not Teddy who settled down after school, became an auror and has the kids."
"Teddy has nothing to do with this," Harry says.
"Please, as if we don't all know that he's the perfect son." Jamie shrugs. "Dad, it's fine, really. He's done everything you think a person should do. I tried, but I can never do what you've done or what he's done. I hope you can be okay with what I do."
Ginny walks to where Jamie is and gently places her hand over his cheek. "We love you. Teddy- your father might think of him like a son, but he's not my son. You are. Right now, everyone is upset and we let our tempers get the best of us. What you and Scorpius have said is rather upsetting and once we're calmer, I want to talk to you about it, because if we've made you feel like you can't be yourself, then I'm sorry. Right now, you do what you must about your own child and your father and I will support you."
She turns and glares at her husband. "We will support him whatever he chooses to do, Harry. I'm not my mother and I'm not telling my children how to run their lives." She takes a moment to refocus on her son. "Go take care of this and we'll have you and Scorpius over for dinner one of these nights so we can talk, okay?"
Jamie nods. "Thank you, Mum."
Scorpius knows it's not perfect, but at least it's a start. Now they just have to convince his own father to help without killing Jamie.