Summer of 2019
"Astoria, please." His voice was weak as he begged. He would have been mortified if anyone saw him like this -- kneeling on the floor next to their bed, tears staining his face as he begged his wife to let him take her to St. Mungo's. "There must be a way, love."
"I'm afraid there isn't, love." Astoria's weak voice broke his heart even more. She tried to lift her hand to caress her husband's face but she was too weak for even the simplest task. "Take care of Scorpius, I know you will. You're a wonderful father and husband."
"Please, let me take you to St. Mungo's." Draco tried again, this time his voice shaking as he clutched the white sheets of the bed, terrified of making her condition worst if he applied any pressure on her body.
"I'd rather not spend my last days there, Draco." She answered, trying to give a gentle smile as she examined his face. Over the years of marriage, it was evident that the Slytherin Prince known for his arrogance and spitefulness had grown up to someone different. Yes, every now and again, hints of those years raised to believe certain beliefs bubbled to the top, but all Astoria could see now was her loving husband and caring father on his knees crying for her, because of her. All because of a godforsaken family curse. "I want to spend this time with my family."
A broken and desperate laugh escaped Draco, "Scorpius doesn't want to be near here."
"Give him time, love." She said gently. Ever since the malediction became more severe, their son started distancing himself from her. Draco reprimanded him many times, but Astoria understood. He didn't want to see his mother in the worst state that she had ever been in. She had hoped to see him one last time, but she would rather have the last memory of her darling child be when he announced a Quidditch win just at the start of summer. He was so ecstatic and blissful.
But that was also the start of the end.
It was later that night when Astoria's body gave out and collapsed on the floor.
"J'espère que vous trouverez l'amour à nouveau." Draco made a choking noise at Astoria's words.*
"You are my love." He declared with so much conviction as more tears escaped his eyes.
Draco saw it slowly and yet so suddenly, the look on her pale face and lips a match to the sheets on the bed, but there was still a little light and fight in Astoria's eyes until there wasn't.
And that was when she finally closed her eyes and took her final breath.
Fall of 2020
"Be good, Lysander, Lorcan." Luna gave her twins another tight embrace. She couldn't believe it was the boys' first year at Hogwarts. "I packed your spectrespecs in your trunks. Please be wary of Wrackspurts, wouldn't want fuzzy brains, now, do we?"
She smiled down at her boys who gave her in union. Their usual bright and cheery demeanor wasn't present today, but Luna knew why. She understood. Of course, even she lost the bounce in her step ever since the accident. King's Cross was just as crowded as she remembered it was during her time, and she couldn't help but notice how her son's curious eyes were roaming around the station.
"Don't forget to owl once you get sorted." She said too gravelly, compared to her usual dreamy tone. "Your dad would be so proud of you! He loved you both so much."
She tried to sound chirpy for the boys' sake but by the way her sons turned and looked at her, she was failing. Even the bright colors of her outfit was a stark contrast to how she felt.
"Mum?" There was an edge on Lysander's voice as he spoke. "Were you nervous on your first time?"
"Not one bit," Luna answered with a genuine smile. "Because I knew there was nothing but adventure and magic and new friends from then on."
"Do you think we'll make new friends?" Lorcan asked, he resembled his brother so much -- both inheriting Luna's warm blonde hair, but unlike her unruly waves, there's were as tousled and bushy as their father's hair had been, their eyes were just as protuberant as hers, but
still a mirror image of Rolf's tawny ones. She was grateful for that because every time she looked into their eyes, she would always have a piece of Rolf in her life. She would always have her boys.
"Of course you will!" Luna exclaimed with a small laugh before settling for another smile. "And besides, you can always spend time with Hugo and Lily."
Since the death of Rolf, Luna had spent a considerable amount of time with the Granger-Weasley and Potter clan, forever thankful that they became her support system after the accident. Over the few months, her boys became close friends with Ron and Hermione's son and Harry and Ginny's youngest daughter.
"But mum, they're second years now!" Lysander said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "They wouldn't want to spend time with first years like us!"
"Oh?" Luna arched an eyebrow at her son, coaching a serious expression on her face as she noticed familiar bright red hair nearing them. "You don't think Hugo and Lily wouldn't want to spend time with a couple of first years?"
When the twins gave their nods, Luna turned to the people behind her sons. "Is that true Hugo? Lily?"
Lysander and Lorcan turned to see the Granger-Weasley and Potter lot. Their Uncles Ron and Harry fighting amused smiles on their faces as their Aunts Ginny and Hermione gave them warm smiles.
"Of course not, Aunt Luna!" Lily Luna answered, moving away from her parents to give her namesake a hug. "Right, Hugo?" She gave her cousin a stern looking, almost daring him to counter her statement.
"We'll help them about, Aunt Luna," Hugo said.
Sooner than Luna would like, it was nearing 11 o'clock and the train gave a final signal that it was about to depart.
"How are you, Luna?" Hermione asked once the train was out of the station, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder. Luna was certain that she could feel the slight tremble of her body when she did. "How are the boys holding up?"
"Nervous but I think they're just worried about the Nargels." She said in that familiar airy voice she had when they were back in school. "But, don't worry, I made them some Butterbeer cork necklace to ward them off."
Hermione gave Ginny a look, which then gave Ron and Harry a look that clearly said, 'say something!'
Ron was the first one to claim his wits, "Would you like to grab a cup of tea with us?"
"Oh, that's nice of you, Ron." She told her friend. "But I don't think being around people who pity me is the best for me, you see."
She still spat out uncomfortable truths just as before. The years didn't disrupt that part of Luna.
"We don't -- Luna, we mean -- what he meant was --" Harry stuttered before getting cut off by Luna.
"It's perfectly alright, Harry," Luna said, trying her best to sound unfazed. Although she was grateful for their support and love over the past couple of months, she just wanted to be alone for now. Maybe busy herself with work. "You go ahead now. I'll be alright."
"If you're positive?" Ginny asked, giving her a sympathetic look, but quickly realize that was just Luna didn't want or need right now.
"Oh, surely. Go on about your day, please." She gave them a nod and smile.
They exchanged goodbyes and promises to have dinner later that week.
It's when she was alone on the platform, the mass of people swarming around her in a blur mitigating, that she decided to leave as well. But as she began to make her way out, she noticed a familiar head of platinum blonde hair. It was him, she was certain.
She was not sure what to do as their eyes met, but she allowed herself to move closer to him, a kind smile on her lips. He didn't turn and walk away like she had first expected, he waited until she was in front of him.
"Draco." She greeted, examining his appearance. He still looked the same, still the same cold grey eyes, pale ivory skin, and sharp features. His hair was still the same almost white-blonde hair, but was longer and was pulled back in a precisely placed ponytail. Just like when they were in school, he still carried himself with an air of confidence and arrogance that only a Malfoy could possess but she could feel it was just a facade. "Haven't seen you in a while."
"Lovegood, how are you?" He gave a courteous nod in agreement. She looked different. Still wearing bright colored clothes that clashed with each other and her hair still up to her waist in a messy of waves, but there was something off when he looked into her usually bright silver eyes. The energy around her changed. "What are you doing here?"
"It's Scamander now." She corrected, "I'm well. I dropped off my boys. It's their first year."
Draco made a sound in acknowledgment, "Congratulations. I would tell you it gets easier every year you drop them off, but it doesn't, really."
She was surprised by his words, how he continued the conversation and by the way, his eyes widen a bit, he was surprised by his own words as well. "I'll keep that in mind."
There was a pregnant pause between them when Draco didn't reply, his eyes darting anywhere but hers for a moment before Luna decided to speak again, "I'm sorry about your wife. Ginny told me."
"Yes, I know it must be hard."
"Do you, now?" He met her eyes and she could see the sneer and anger building up behind them.
"Yes, Rolf -- my husband -- died just before summer started."
The words caused Draco to bite the inside of his cheek. He had heard from the grapevine that Lovegood-- Scamander now, he supposed -- had married but he didn't know about the death of her husband, he was still so preoccupied with his own grief.
"I'm sorry for your loss."
"Thank you, Draco."
Again, silence before Draco said his goodbye and turned to leave, but Luna quickly blurted out, "We should have tea sometime."
Well, that had come out of seemingly nowhere. He turned to look at the girl -- woman -- he corrected in his mind, behind him.
She was watching him expectantly, turning the full force of those silvery eyes on him as if there were nothing unusual about her statement.
"I'll think about it." He replied, seeming to mull over his next words. "I'll owl you when I make up my mind."
It's a week later when she finally received a letter from her boys. She can't help the smile on her face as she read that Lysander was sorted into Ravenclaw, he gushed about the riddles that the bronze eagle-shaped knocker asked, how he was immediately taken by Herbology and how he couldn't wait for his third year just so he could take up Care of Magical Creatures as an elective. She raised an eyebrow when she read that Lorcan was sorted into Slytherin and how happy he was to get to see the giant squid and several other underwater creatures through the windows of the common room. He also wrote about some of the other students that he saw himself becoming friends with. What surprised Luna was a mention of one Scorpius Malfoy. At first, Luna feared that maybe the young Malfoy would be bullying Lorcan but was pleasantly stunned when he mentioned that Scorpius actually defended him from a pair of bullies who made fun of him when he tried to discuss several Quibbler theories about Nargles.
She wrote back how proud she was of them, saying that she hoped they would enjoy and be good during the term. She attached a parcel filled with fresh and some sweetened dirigible plums.
After she sent the owl on its way, she busied herself again in her work. She was working on another article for the Quibbler in her home-office when she heard a tapping on the window. She turned to see an unfamiliar owl with a piece of parchment attached to one of its claws. She untied the string, giving the bird a small treat, expecting it to fly away but it didn't move. It was waiting for her response.
Mrs. Luna Lovegood--Scamander,
I have thought about your offer and I would like to invite you for tea here at Malfoy Manor. Please respond with when you are free and we can set up a schedule.
Luna couldn't help the way her nose scrunched up due to the format of the letter. So formal and prim, but after all, it was Draco. It shouldn't have been a surprise.
She quickly wrote her response, telling him that she was free on Friday at 3 p.m.
She turned to the owl, already eaten its treat, retied the parchment on the leg of Draco's Eagle Owl before it suddenly took off.
He couldn't fathom why he had written that letter, couldn't think a reason why he invited her over but after that day on the train station, he couldn't stop his mind from wandering to thoughts of her. He was certain that this was a bad idea.
It had been more than a year since Astoria's death and he still found himself alone in the dark manor. During the first few months, he received visits from his former Slytherin housemates Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini but he just couldn't endure the look of pity in their eyes when they visited.
He wasn't in his best state during the beginning but he knew he had to at least show some resemblance of looking adequate for society's eyes, especially for Scorpius when he was home. But when he was alone, behind the closed doors of the Manor, in the dim lit rooms, he could wallow in self-pity and drown himself in firewhisky.
But during their encounter at King's Cross, Draco saw something in Luna's eyes that was different from all the other's ever since Astoria's death. It wasn't pity, empathy or how she must feel sorry for him. No, it was something else. It was a glint of understanding. Maybe spending time with someone who actually shared and understood his pain and grief could help him see the light again.
It was the sound of the doorbell echoing in the large manor that brought Draco out of his own pitiful musings.
He waited for a moment for the door to open and the house elf to ushered her in.
"Welcome to Malfoy Manor Missus Scamander." The house elf --Wolry-- said as she escorted her into the drawing room where Draco stood near the fireplace. "Wolry is almost finish with the tea."
"Thank you, Miss Wolry." Luna shot the elf a warm smile. Wolry mirrored the smile but with much more exuberant at being called by a title.
"Hurry up, Wolry." Came Draco's deep voice, causing the two to look at him, a look of fright flashing across Wolry's face. His expression was as hard as his tone,"We'll be having tea on the patio."
"Of course, Master Draco." Wolry nodded before disappearing with a snap of her lanky fingers to finish her duties.
"Hello, Draco," Luna said as she approached her. Draco's expression softened as she reached him, she noticed. She didn't know how to react to that, but she was glad he didn't look so uppity. Even if just a little. "You have a lovely home. Too bad I didn't get to see much of it the first time I was here."
She said conversationally, so nonchalant that it took a beat for Draco to register her words.
"Luna, I'm sorry. I completely forgot! How selfish and insensitive --"
"It's okay, Draco." She cut him off with a small sympathetic smile. "The past is the past. I would rather move forward than dwell on the negatives of before."
Draco gave her another apology and a sheepish look.
He gestured for her to follow him to the patio overlooking the garden that Astoria had tended to, but now it was only Wolry who attended to them. He still could picture her working in the garden, watering the different assortment of flowers, with a muggle-device. The garden showcased different kinds of flowers but Astoria's prized collection were her white roses, they were her favorite, so mundane and so very muggle-esque compared to the other magical plants, but they looked so pure and beautiful. Just like her.
"You have a beautiful garden." Her eyes shining with admiration.
"Thank you, Astoria was very fond of flowers." He replied, pulling out a chair for her.
"What was she like?" She asked once Draco settled in front of her.
For a moment, Luna thought that she had already pushed the boundary when she saw Draco's expression stiffen, but it melted away as soon as it came.
"She was brilliant," Draco said with pure admiration in his voice and eyes. "Had a bit of a sweet tooth, something that Scorpius inherited."
"Not a fan of sweets?"
"Not for every day," He said with a small laugh, "But Astoria always had to have a something sweet daily. Sometimes even sneaking Scorpius treats when we agreed not to as punishment."
"She sounds like a wonderful mother." Luna expressed, watching Draco's distant expression. It was obvious he was still reminiscing happier memories. One would normally think of this rude, but not to Luna, she, of course, found herself drifting to other places and moments.
That suddenly caused for the blissful expression on his face to vanish, but she hurried reached across the table for his hand.
"It's okay, Draco." She affirmed softly. "I miss Rolf too. It can get to me even on the most unexpected times."
Draco was so focused on the feel of her small dainty hands on his, that he didn't notice that she had began humming softly, he sighed, trying to collect and organize his thoughts, but it was impossible with Luna in front of him. It was hard to ignore Luna in any capacity. She had a way about her, that just made you want to gravitate towards her.
Unfortunately, as he recently found out since that day on the platform, he was one of those people.
"How are your twins?" He managed to say, pulling his hand from hers. "I'm sorry I don't know their names."
"That's no matter." She replied softly, "Lorcan and Lysander. They owled me the other day, telling me about their first week. Lysander was sorted into Ravenclaw while Lorcan is in Slytherin."
That caused a perfectly groomed eyebrow of Draco to raise just a bit, "Slytherin? A Lovegood in Slytherin. Surprised that didn't make it to the front page of The Daily Prophet, like when Potter's son was sorted into Slytherin."
"I'd rather not see my son's name on that horrible publication!" Luna retorted with a ferocity of a lioness protecting her cub could only possess. "Actually, Lorcan also mentioned Scorpius in the letter." That caught Draco's attention, making him lean on the glass table. "Apparently, your son defended mine from a couple of bullies."
Draco noted the small gratified tone in the witch's voice as she spoke.
"Is that so? Looks like an incentive is in order for Scorpius."
"You spoil him so, don't you?" There was no hiding or doubt anymore, Luna was amused.
"He is a Malfoy, after all." He said in that familiar arrogant tone that was accustomed to him during his years back in school. "Deserves nothing but the best."
There was a sudden pop and Wolry was back with their tea and cakes.
"You may go now, Wolry," Draco said to the elf after she finished setting up the table with several choices of cakes and tea.
"Thank you again, Miss Wolry." Luna smiled at the elf who was now blushing.
"Thank you Master Draco and Missus Scamander," Wolry replied, looking pleased with herself.
"Please, call me Luna."
"Of course, Mistress Luna!"
There was a loud sound of glass breaking and Luna turned to see Draco had dropped the cup on the floor, an almost murderous look on his face.
"It's Miss Luna." He said to the elf in a deep and almost menacing voice. Wolry had gone pale and was now cowering behind Luna. "You only have one Mistress, you insolent, useless house elf! I ought to --"
"Draco!" Luna reprimanded immediately.
Draco's stony eyes seemed to soften as he turned to look at her -- something that was becoming more frequent, the more time he spent around Luna.
"She didn't mean it." She said, her voice gentler this time.
"Wolry didn't mean it! The house elf said, her voice shaking as she continued to shiver in fear. "My dearest apologies Master Draco! Wolry is sorry. So very sorry."
Draco let out a huff, closing his eyes, calming himself as best as he could. "Leave now."
And with a pop the elf was gone again.
A moment of silence passed before Draco found his words again, "I'm sorry. It's just -- I couldn't, I was just so --"
“You’re trying." She said in her soft dreamy voice of hers that instantly calmed Draco. "That’s all that matters, all right.”
"I'm sorry, shall we eat?"
Luna nodded before settling down again and began to drink her tea.
Luna's visits grew more frequent as time went by, often bringing advance copies of the Quibbler for Draco to read, she was also fascinated by the creatures in the perimeters of the manor, especially the albino peacock. She had mentioned to him that she was thinking about writing an article about that specific breed of peacocks.
"When Rolf and I traveled to South America," She said casually once during tea on an autumn day. The weather was starting to change, the leaves almost all gone as the nights became colder. "We saw a special type of peacocks that could breathe fire! Can the ones you have do that?"
"Not to my knowledge, no." He shook his head as his eyes scanned the pages of the Quibbler. He only started reading it to amuse Luna, but he found some of her writing rather interesting and worth the read.
"Pity." She replied, taking a bite of the dirigible plum pudding she brought over.
"Out of all the most idiotic and dangerous things you have gotten yourself into, this one takes the cake, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy!" Draco reprimanded his son. He seldom raised his voice at Scorpius but this was beyond, even with all the shenanigans that he was involved in growing up. They just got home from King's Cross station. The first day of winter break. "Honestly, I knew being friends with Potter and --"
"Enough, dad!" Scorpius yelled, but instantly regretted it when the stern look on his father's face only intensified. "I'm sorry, okay?"
Draco's face softened and he pulled his son into a hug. "I can't lose you too."
The teenage angst that was manifesting inside the fourteen-year-old evaporated and was replaced by overwhelming guilt.
"I'm sorry, dad. I promise it won't happen again." He pulled back from his father's hug. "You won't lose me."
I'm glad to hear that Scorpius is safe. Ginny also mentioned the incident in one of her letters. I'm happy that all the children are alright now. Maybe I should give some dirigible plum to Scorpius, after all, they do help with opening one's mind. Maybe I'll have Lorcan give Scorpius a parcel of them after the holidays. Doesn't that just sound lovely?
Anyway, daddy is currently in St. Mungo's and it looks like we'll be spending Christmas there with him.
Maybe we'll see each other again when we drop off the boys at Platform 9¾.
It would be their first Christmas without Rolf.
Somehow, Luna was glad they would be spending it at the hospital instead of back home. She couldn't bear to decorate their home without Rolf. He would always match her excitement in putting up different tinsels and ornaments the muggle way. It just felt more fulfilling doing it that way. Especially with the Christmas tree. Rolf would always choose the most exceptional tree for them to put up in the middle of their living room. Last year, Rolf gave the boys their first ever brooms on Christmas day and even though it was far too windy and cold, all three of them went flying around Ottery St Catchpole and when the boys tired themselves out, Luna prepared hot cups of cocoa for them to enjoy with their Christmas dinner as her father told stories and updates about a recent creature that was said to be sighted in the Arctic.
Of course, this caused for Rolf to start planning an expedition while the boys were away for their first year at Hogwarts. The boy started arguing that they wanted to come along. Luna met Rolf's eyes from across the table and there was mischief in his eyes. She had to stifle a laugh from bubbling up.
But that had been last year. This year, she got the boys a present from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in hopes that it would at least brighten up their mood as this was their first Holiday without their father.
Her own father was confined for an experiment gone wrong. It was lucky that he still had all his fingers, one of the Healers told her. But she was just glad that her father was going to be alright.
It was the day after Christmas when she received a parcel from a familiar looking Eagle Owl.
Happy Christmas, Luna.
It wasn't signed but Luna knew it was from Draco.
The parcel was wrapped in satin green paper and tied with a silver ribbon. When she opened the small box, she gasped when she saw a beautiful headpiece made of greenery and naturally preserved flowers.***
She beamed as she looked at the present. She quickly put it in her that was in a messy bun on top of her head.
It wasn't exactly Christmas without her Rolf, but it was still Christmas.