Draco Malfoy never missed the Manor.
Without addressing the memories of its final years, his childhood had been marked by cold and quiet hallways that led to dozens of empty rooms. He’d had other purebloods for company, some of them even real friends, but what did they mean to the superiority complex his parents had instilled in him? No one was on his level, (what a lie that turned out to be!) and so, he was always alone.
During his birthday trip with Scorpius, Draco decided he would do all he could to make sure his son never felt alone. The first step was to move out of that deathtrap of a house. It had almost gotten him and his mother, he wouldn’t let his son succumb to its legacy.
That is all to say that nothing brought Draco more joy than hearing the excited patters of his son’s feet while he ran from room to room. Draco chuckled as he knelt in front of the kitchen door. He waited as the patters got closer.
Suddenly, the door swung open, revealing the three-year old tornado he had for a son.
“Papa!!!” Scorpius screamed at the top of his lungs. Draco winced briefly before spreading his arms as Scorpius ran straight into him. He dramatically fell back, moaning and groaning.
“Scorp, you must’ve grown at least a foot since I last saw you!”
“It’s only been 2 days!” Scorpius giggled into his ear.
“And I’ve missed you every second of it,” Draco responded. Scorpius grinned widely as he clambered off his father.
“Mémé will be upset if she sees us on the floor.” He grabbed hold of Draco’s hand and began pulling to heave him up. Draco gave a full-bodied laugh. He was amazed at how perceptive his son was.
“Let her be,” Draco said, sitting up and pulling Scorpius into his lap. “Nothing can overcome a happy Papa!” Draco began to tickle him and Scorpius kicked his legs wildly, crying for Draco to stop.
Narcissa Malfoy walked into the kitchen at that moment. Draco grinned impishly at her, daring her to say something. He raised an eyebrow at her and she raised one in return. He continued to tickle Scorpius as Scorpius gasped out, “Mémé, au secours s'il vous plait!”
Narcissa walked past them to sit down at the small table, unfolding a napkin onto her lap as Dora, one of the kitchen house elves, arranged for tea on the table.
“It is time for tea, Draco. Unhand my grandson.”
“You’ll have to make me!” Draco challenged. Narcissa held back a smirk while she lifted her wand. She sent a golden spark that passed through him. He gripped his chest in mock defeat and fell to the floor.
Scorpius ran over to Narcissa, hugging her and thanking her for saving him.
“Don’t you think your Papa will want tea as well? Go wake him up, he won’t tickle you now, I swear,” she reassured her adorable grandson. She brushed back his white-blond curls affectionately and smiled as he focused on his father draped over the floor like a discarded toy.
She’d never gotten to be so playful with Draco when he was this age, because of both herself and Lucius, and she regretted it with all her heart. When Draco had come back from his trip, determined to bring a better life for Scorpius, she had agreed to all his conditions and suggestions. She hadn’t blinked at losing her sister all those years ago because Andromeda was still alive but the War had put her life into perspective. She would do anything to see her family simply happy, including fake-stunning her son to fake-rescue her grandson.
“Do I just use the magic words?” he asked. He ran to his father after Narcissa nodded in reply.
“I love you, Papa,” Scorpius whispered into Draco’s ear, planting a slimy kiss on his cheek. Draco opened his eyes in wonder and hugged Scorpius in gratitude for saving his life. He scooped him up into his arms and carried him over to the table, sitting across from his mother. Narcissa stared at him pointedly, causing Draco to sigh. He placed Scorpius into the seat between him and his mother and gestured for Dora to pour them their tea.
“Is it finished?” Narcissa asked. Draco nodded as he pointed at which cakes he would eat with his tea.
“The Manor is no longer. We still have some forms and documents to sort through before opening the library and gardens to the public but I doubt it should take longer than a month. It took only a little over a month to move and tear down the Manor.”
Something had to be done once they left the Manor and Draco loathed the idea of selling it and the land to someone else. The property was too beautiful for that. He’d come up with the idea of opening a public wizarding library and garden space.
“Two months,” Narcissa corrected, mixing cream into her tea. “Bureaucracy is slow, and we don’t have the influence we used to. Open it on Halloween. Invite Harry Potter.”
Draco looked up at his mother in shock. She continued to mix as though she hadn’t spoken a name they hadn’t actively avoided for years. “It’s the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Second War. It’ll be great publicity and,” she paused, meeting his shocked gaze finally. “You can move on.”
Draco nodded, mindlessly stopping Scorpius from taking his third frosted pastry. He’d never go to bed on time if he ate more than two.
“Speaking of moving on,” Narcissa continued. “Daphne visited while you were away. You should call on her before you see Theo.”
Draco tensed as he turned to glare at his mother. Scorpius squirmed excitedly in his chair.
“If we’re going to see Aunt Daphne, will we also be seeing Mama?” Scorpius questioned. Narcissa sighed. She frowned apologetically at Draco who tried to control his breathing as he thought of ways to tell his son he would probably never see his mother again.
Daphne Greengrass always missed her sister. Draco knew this, had watched her protect her in Hogwarts and during the Dark Lord’s reign. So, he was understandably angry that she put on an act every time she saw him, cursing at her sister and claiming she didn’t understand why Astoria had left them.
But she knew why. She knew better than Draco ever would, and he had no doubt in his mind that Daphne had encouraged Astoria to do what she felt was right. Daphne hadn’t known that Astoria was determined enough to leave everything, (specifically her son,) behind her to pursue the life she wanted.
She was sitting in a café not too far from Theo’s, with giant, dark sunglasses hiding her eyes from the people nearby as if the scar that stretched from her chin down the length of her neck didn’t draw enough attention. Draco sat down across from her and she smiled meekly. She lifted her hand, calling to a waiter. Draco declined to eat or drink.
“Have I caught you at a bad time?” Daphne asked as the waiter walked away to get her chamomile tea and slice of lemon cake.
Draco shook his head. “I just had tea with Scorpius and my mother. They both say hello.”
Daphne allowed herself a bright smile before it fell from her face. Draco smirked, leaning back.
“So what news do you have of our dear Astoria?”
“I have an address,” she said, fidgeting slightly in her seat. Draco thought briefly of how every Pureblood he knew was slowly losing all the careful training they’d had as children. She would’ve never let her nerves show before the war. “You should write to her.”
“To say what exactly? ‘I know you’re indulging in your American toy, but our son keeps asking when you are coming home’?”
“Yes!” Daphne lifted her hand up to slap it on the table before she caught herself. Draco scoffed. “She’s not listen-if you talk to her, maybe she’ll know it’s all real.”
He narrowed his eyes at her and leaned forward. He crossed his legs, folding his hands onto the table.
“What is all real?” he questioned. Daphne looked away. The waiter deposited her drink and food in the space of the silence, quickly backing away. The quiet conversations of the other patrons filled their ears as Draco waited for Daphne to answer him. She wouldn’t. He decided to just ask her. “Did you tell her?”
Daphne’s head snapped toward him, the conflicting anger and guilt evident all over her face. That’s what the sunglasses are for? he mused, repressing the urge to roll his eyes at her. He had very little space in his mind to care how Daphne expressed herself or how she was feeling. They’d never been close friends and were only connected through other people like Astoria or Blaise who she’d had a long, torturous relationship with. The only reason she was still in his life was because of her genuine affection for Scorpius.
“Did you tell her?” he repeated, leaning closer to her. Daphne nodded and lifted her tea to her lips. Draco groaned loudly enough that several people looked over at them. Daphne busied herself with her tea and snack while Draco pressed his palms against his eyes and struggled to keep his breathing controlled. “That was not your place, you wretched bitch.”
“She needed to know,” she defended, the clink of her spoon against the teacup making them both wince slightly as they remembered how noisily the Dark Lord had drunk his tea. Daphne took a deep breath to focus back on the matter at hand. “She needed to know her actions have consequences.”
Draco snorted and stood up. “I agree but you’d do better to appeal to her love for Scorpius than for me.”
“Sit down,” she pleaded, glancing around the café warily. When it was obvious she would need to say more for him to give her a chance, she sighed. “I tried, okay. I’ve tried everything and she won’t listen to me anymore. She claims to be…”
Draco raised an eyebrow at Daphne.
“Happy?” he supplied. Daphne shrugged. Draco growled because she knew and he was over her coddling. Through his anger, he could still feel his heart contract. She was happy? His legs gave out under him and he landed roughly in his seat.
“If she is happy after more than a year with no contact with her son, then there is nothing for me to say to her. Good luck to her.”
“Please try? So that way we can say we tried everything we could?” She held out a slim piece of paper to him. He let her hand stay erect until it started to wobble. He took the address and looked at it, holding back tears as he stared at the hometown of Astoria’s happiness. That was the realest thing of this all. She was not coming back. “Scorpius deserves us to try everything.”
Draco sighed, closing his eyes and ignoring the stray tear that escaped.
“He deserves better than her,” he stated. Daphne nodded in agreement. “But I will write to her. If that is all, I’m off to Theo’s.”
Daphne lifted her sunglasses, exposing him to clear blue eyes he’d just been mentally cursing. It made him think of another reason for her sunglasses: Astoria and Daphne could’ve been twins.
“Draco,” she started in a whisper. “Just because you say it like that doesn’t make it any less of a cemetery. You need to stop—”
“I think we’ve reached the limit of what you can order me to do,” Draco spat.
“I’m just trying to help!” Her voice rose as she started crying. “Merlin, Draco! You need help and I just want to give yo—”
“Keep it,” he interrupted. “Keep whatever it is.”
Daphne looked at him with angry, reddened eyes and lifted her chin in defiance.
“I don’t have many friends Draco, we don’t have many friends so excuse me for trying to be there for you,” Daphne argued. She picked a few coins out of her coin purse and stood up to leave. She paused before she had left their table. As she slid her sunglasses back onto her face, her defense against her lonely world, she told him, “Say hi to Theo from me. Tell him I miss him.”
Draco stared straight ahead for a moment. “Of course,” he finally said. She nodded and practically ran from the café. He folded his arms onto the table and rested his head inside them, willing himself not to cry.
Over Astoria, who he’d loved with all his heart despite their arranged marriage, who he had become a healer for. Over Theo, who had been his only friend throughout the war, who’d survived Voldemort only to be murdered by a random with righteous anger in his veins. Over Daphne, who was sweeter than life had been to her, who had tried so hard her whole life, who was trying hard with Draco and while he knew this, he could never stop himself from being so mean.
He didn’t even bother to think of Scorpius. He would’ve cried like a baby.
Since Draco had left the café later than he’d planned, at the cemetery he was greeted by Pansy. She was leaning on Theo’s tombstone, a bouquet of pheasant’s eye and pink carnations beside her. She smiled smugly at him as she patted the space on the other side of the flowers.
“I’ve finally beat you to Theo. What kept you back? Scorpius being a brat?” she questioned bluntly. Draco chuckled. He sat down and rested his head on Theo.
“Daphne,” he answered simply.
“Huh. I should’ve guessed as Blaise ran off not too long ago when he got a text from her,” Pansy replied.
Draco groaned. “Don’t tell me they’re back together!” Draco could not handle any more of their drama. He glanced at Pansy and she shrugged in response.
“She gets weirdly vulnerable around you and when she’s vulnerable, she knows she can call Blaise and he’ll come running. He won’t let her go,” Pansy explained.
“He’s got a savior complex about her, anyone can see that,” Draco added. They sat in silence for a moment as Draco contemplated Blaise and Daphne’s relationship. Daphne always did act shy and vulnerable around him…
“She doesn’t…Is Daphne in love with me?” Draco asked Pansy. She gasped, slapping her hands together too loud for the creepy cemetery vibe they had going. They both jumped at the noise.
“Morgana’s muff, she’s in love with you!!!” she gasped. “That is so messed up! You’re married to her little sister!”
“Was,” he corrected. Pansy frowned. Draco laughed. “She’s apparently found the love of her life in that wanker and part of me knows she still cares about Scorpius, that none of this is about him but…” Pansy waited patiently for him to continue talking. “If this guy’s the love of her life, what am I? What was I?”
Pansy didn’t respond. She brushed her fingers through his hair gently and he was suddenly transported back to sixth year.
“I’m guessing that’s what you’re sharing with Theo today,” Pansy said. Draco smiled at her subject change.
“That and that Malfoy Gardens and Library are almost finished.” Pansy nodded approvingly. “What will you be sharing? How upset you are that Granger’s moved on with one of the Indian twins?”
Pansy scoffed, gently smacking his head before bringing it back to her side. “I am not hung up on Hermione Granger!” she exclaimed. Draco turned to face her fully and raised his brow. She rolled her eyes.
“I swear, I am not,” she reassured him.
“But what about her creamy chocolate thighs?”
“I described them as milk chocolate.” Draco raised his brow again and laughed. Pansy laughed with him. “Okay, you got me there but she’s saved in my phone as ‘Milk Chocolate’ now, I’m never gonna forget that. And the sex was nice but there was nothing else,” she asserted.
“If you say so,” Draco relented.
“I do. I haven’t thought of her outside a friend way since we ended our ‘co-workers with benefits’ arrangement. Weirdly enough, I think the sex made us friends. Like it did for you and me.”
They laughed heartily.
“If that’s how you make friends, you should have hundreds by now,” Draco commented.
“Don’t be jealous of my slag swag, darling. If things are done with Astoria, this is your time. We can work around the kid,” Pansy joked. “But, uh, that’s actually what I want to tell Theo. I think I’m pregnant.”
Draco’s eyes widened. “This’ll be quite the conversation,” he murmured. Pansy grinned.
It was half past 6 and Scorpius shouldn’t be awake, but Draco hadn’t come home to say goodnight before work yet. Narcissa had tried to coax him with promises of treats, toys, and a father to see when he woke up, but nothing soothed the boy. His face was slowly turning red from the strength of his cries.
Draco rushed into the room, apologizing profusely. Scorpius met Draco halfway, crying into his father’s shoulder.
“Scorp, you should be asleep,” he whispered as he carried Scorpius into bed. “You also scared Mémé and you know better.”
Scorpius sniffled as he looked over Draco’s shoulder at Narcissa. “Did I scare you?” he cried.
Narcissa shook her head. “No, mon petit fils. You did nothing wrong.”
Draco held in the sigh crawling up his chest and gestured for his mother to leave. He laid Scorpius down, getting under the covers with him. It was only a few minutes of Draco soothing his son before the little boy fell asleep, exhausted from crying and worrying about his father.
Draco carefully removed himself from the bed, replacing his body with a large stuffed dragon named Draco, and hurried into his room to change into his healer robes. His mother was in there waiting for him.
“Draco, you should’ve called or done something, we were both worried!”
“I was fine, I was with Pansy and Theo,” he explained.
“Yes, but you should’ve called!” Draco heard the unshed tears in her voice and he paused. He turned around to see his mother with her eyes covered. “He kept asking me where you were and I didn’t know and then it was 6 and he kept asking—” She couldn’t speak any further past her tears.
Draco walked briskly to his mother and hugged her tightly.
“I’m okay Mother, I promise you,” he said softly. She nodded into his hug and gripped him just as tightly. “I started with Theo late and I lost track of time, that is all.”
“We love you so much, Draco,” Narcissa mumbled into his shirt. He smiled, kissing the side of her head.
“I love you both. More than I can say. I’m sorry I worried you,” Draco whispered.
Narcissa broke out of the hug, wiping her tears away and nodding for Draco to continue getting dressed for work.
“Well, you can make it up to me by telling me how Miss Parkinson is handling Miss Granger having a new lover?”
“Mother,” Draco reprimanded, looking at her with exasperation. She gave him a perfect smile. “I wouldn’t have told you about them in the first place if I knew you were going to gossip about them. Do you know how embarrassing and uncomfortable it was to have Goyle’s mother ask me if I had been Pansy’s beard in Hogwarts?”
“A little gossip never hurt anyone, did it?” Draco rolled his eyes at her. “And it never made the press, so it would still be a secret. A more widely-known secret.”
“I am not saying a word, Mother,” He grabbed his work satchel from his desk and skipped to his mother. He bent down for her to kiss his head. “I am off to work, I won’t be back until around 9 tomorrow.”
“Alright my darling, go heal children. I’ll see if Pansy’s said anything to Dahlia on the matter.”
Draco smiled at his mother before rushing out to floo to St. Mungo’s.
St. Mungo’s was a rush of wrongly ingested potions and misread spells. It wasn’t until around 3 AM when things began to slow down and Draco had time for a nap.
Draco knew he’d turned off the lights before going to bed so the fluorescent rays streaming into his closed eyelids had him pissed off already. Except he was now aware of a body lying beside him and he could think of 2 doctors that would be so bold as to climb into bed with him.
He opened his eyes and shifted up in the bed, pausing at the sight beside him. The woman had a large mane of curly hair, one he would recognize anywhere, and wore a simple green dress robe. He refused to entertain the idea that he knew this woman. He surveyed the room, stumbling further and further into confusion as he looked.
He wasn’t in the doctors’ room, he was in an actual hospital bed. Flowers, cards, and gifts seemed to tower on every surface. On the bedside table next to him was a picture of two kids of drastic age difference smiling into the camera, one who vaguely looked like Scorpius.
Where is Scorpius?? He thought. His breathing became erratic. Where was his son and what was wrong with him that he was in a hospital bed? It couldn’t be his fault, could it? They’d avoided hospitals last time…
The woman moved suddenly. Draco jumped, trying to avoid the arm that was attempting to wrap around him. This couldn’t be who he thought it was so, he roughly shoved her arm away. She woke up, lifting her head sleepily.
Draco watched Hermione Granger while she began to cry. She covered her mouth when her cries turned into screeches. She sat up on her knees, inching closer to him.
“After everything, everything,” she dragged the repeated word out, her eyes momentarily hardening into a glare before they returned to their overwhelmed relief. Her eyes have always been ridiculously expressive, he thought. “we’ve been through, you had better have a good explanation for this.” She reached out to Draco. He leaned out of her way.
“I’m sorry, why are you here?”
“What?” she gasped.
“Do-We-I-” Draco stuttered, unsure where to start. “Where’s Scorpius? I want to see my son right now.”
“He’s home, honey,” she replied. Her voice was starting to fill with the confusion Draco had been feeling since he opened his eyes.
Draco spluttered and began to laugh. “Have I dreamt myself into a new world? Honey? Granger, aren’t you dating Parvati Patil?”
Hermione’s brow furrowed. She opened and closed her mouth a few times before she settled on a trembling pout.
“Oh, Draco,” her voice wavered, her eyes watered, and she watched Draco move away as she moved closer. “Please…” She paused, biting her lip. When she spoke again, her voice was even weaker.
“Draco, what year is it?”
His face scrunched in confusion. What kind of elaborate, idiotic joke was this?
“It’s 2007,” he answered.
Hermione blew out a breath that dissolved into more cries, whimpering “no” over and over. Draco watched her break down with more curiosity than confusion. Her entire body seemed to be trembling, her cries softened only because she’d buried her face in her arm. She rotated between crying and sniffling and coughing in an endless cycle that would’ve made Draco angry if he didn’t feel like he was missing something very important.
He tentatively rubbed her shoulder in what he hoped was a soothing manner. He’d only ever comforted two people in his life and neither of them were there.
“It’s not 2007 anymore, is it?” he asked softly. He’d watched heartbreak in his reflection enough to know what it looks like; Hermione Granger was heartbroken over him. He had missed something very important.
Hermione looked up at him instead of responding. She threw herself into his arms and hugged him tightly, rubbing her face along his shoulder. Draco hesitated for a moment before he returned her hug.
A few doctors and nurses rushed into the room suddenly, relief evident in their faces as they took in the scene. Draco recognized Healer Moxon right away but frowned at the gray hair enveloping the man’s head. A younger healer stepped forward with his chart in her hand.
“Healer Malfoy, you gave your wife quite a scare.”