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The Godric's Hollow Wizarding Parents Association

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Draco sighed as a knock sounded on the door. He had just managed to settle Scorpius at the piano, practicing his scales, and an unexpected visitor was bound to wind him up again. Predictably enough, he wasn’t even halfway to the door of their new cottage before Scorpius caught up to him, excited to see who was there.

Draco opened the door to find a cheerful witch in a tweed coat and perfectly coiffed blonde hair smiling at him.


“Can I help you?”


“Yes, Mr. Malfoy, my name is Mary Brown, I’m the head of the GHWPA. I’ve come to welcome you and your family to the neighbourhood.” She held out a pudgy little hand which Draco shook tentatively.


“Um, thank you, but I’m afraid I’m not familiar with… uh, your organization.”


Her eyes widened. “Did you not receive a welcome kit?” When Draco shook his head, she snapped her fingers and a small blue gift bag appeared. Handing it to Draco, she continued.


“The GHWPA stands for the Godric’s Hollow Wizarding Parents Association. As our name suggests, we are a network of parents here in Godric’s Hollow who support each other. We have tutoring services, many people willing to babysit in a pinch, playgroups, and parent mentors. Is this your only son?” She indicated Scorpius, who was clutching his father’s leg and peering up at the stranger.


“Yes. Scorpius, please stop hiding and introduce yourself to Mrs. Brown.”


Just as he had been trained, Scorpius let go of his father’s leg, and shy as ever, mumbled “Hello Mrs. Brown, I’m Scorpius. It’s nice to meet you.” He held out his tiny hand, which Mrs. Brown shook delightedly.


“Hello young man, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I heard some lovely piano playing while coming up the walkway. That wouldn’t happen to be you, would it?”


Scorpius immediately perked up and nodded with pride. “Do you want to hear me play?” He asked eagerly.


Draco almost snorted. Scorpius was never enthusiastic about playing unless he was sure someone would praise him for it. Figuring it would at least get him back to practicing, Draco extended the invitation.


“Oh, well, okay, but only for a minute.” The two adults followed Scorpius to the living room, where he immediately started playing his new song. It was simple enough, seeing as Scorpius was only four years old, but Mrs. Brown still cooed over him once the 30-second piece was over.


“How lovely Scorpius! Well, I must be going now, but thank you for the music, young man.”


“I’ll show you out,” Draco offered, “and I expect to hear some scales, young man.”


“So do you have children here too?” He asked as he walked Mrs. Brown to the door.


“Yes, my daughter Alice and the little one, Danny. Is it just you and Scorpius here?”

Draco inclined his head. “My wife and I divorced a few months prior.”

“Oh my, I am sorry to hear that. However, I think it’s quite lucky that your assigned peer parent is actually in a very similar situation, being a recently divorced young father himself.”

“I’m sorry, peer parent?”


“Yes, part of our program includes welcoming new families by offering them an already established family to show them the ropes. Your welcome package should include a note from him offering to meet in the next day or two.”


“I’m not sure that will be necessary,” Draco said hastily. He was content to keep his life with Scorpius private and didn’t need anyone else barging in.

“He’s one of the most involved parents, and even runs a tutoring service for the local wizarding children, preparing them for the Muggle primary school in town. Of course, if you really don’t want to meet him, you simply have to respond and say so, but if you need anything at all, I’m sure he’ll be

happy to help.”

Draco nodded as the witch stepped out onto the porch. “Thank you for stopping by Mrs. Brown.”

“Oh, please, call me Mary. And anytime, dear.”

She walked off with a cheerful wave, and Draco closed the door just in time to stop the sounds of Scorpius’ ‘composing’ reaching the street.

 

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Draco sat down at his desk with a heavy sigh. He had only just managed to put Scorpius to bed by denying a 5th bedtime story and insisting that he had more than enough water to last him the night (especially since the cup on his bedside table was charmed to refill itself). Tonight had been another difficult night. After Mary had left, Scorpius had refused to practice any of his scales, and of course, once Draco had announced dinner, he had promptly shoved his Spaghetti Carbonara to the side and demanded peanut butter and sprinkles. This had been a new phase since shortly after Astoria had left. Scorpius refused to eat anything other than peanut butter and coloured sprinkles for days at a time. Not only was it unhealthy, it was downright disgusting. He wouldn’t even eat peanut flavoured things, such as a sandwich, or apple slices dipped in peanut butter, except on days when he got really hungry. Draco was really starting to worry about his son’s nutrition, hoping this phase would wear off any day now.

Putting Scorpius’ disgusting tastes out of his mind for the time being, Draco reached for the welcome package he had received that afternoon. The first item was a little pamphlet explaining the GHWPA and their services. It looked like a nice community, Draco thought wearily. The next sheet, a map, revealed the various parks around town, as well as a few stores and businesses that looked useful. Finally, he found what he was looking for the note from his ‘peer parent’.

 

As much as he didn’t need another parent’s help, he did need to find a tutor for Scorpius, and Mary had mentioned that this man did just that. The sooner he had Scorpius back to his studies, the sooner Draco could finish unpacking their new home and return to his own business. He was fortunate enough to be able to work from home, but his job did still require a fair amount of attention during business hours. He felt that tuitions were the most productive way of keeping Scorpius entertained. Astoria had never been fond of the idea of starting his education so young, but Draco maintained that it was never too early for a Malfoy to learn. Scorpius was already a bright kid who could read and write mostly unassisted and was great at simple arithmetic as well. Hoping to foster his bright mind, Draco opened the envelope and started to read the untidy scrawl:

Dear Mr. Malfoy,

Welcome to Godric's Hollow! My name is Harry, and I’ll be your assigned Peer Parent!

Wait- what?! Harry, as in - a quick check of the signature confirmed Draco’s fears. His only contact in this new town was none other than the Golden Boy himself. Draco took a few fortifying breaths before continuing.

I’ll start with a little bit about myself. I am a single father of 3, and while I am not formally employed, I volunteer a lot with the GHWPA. I am currently in charge of the charms-at-school program, where children of primary age are taught appropriate behaviours to attend the local primary school. While the school is predominantly muggle, we are excited at the prospect of adding a special “advanced class” for wizarding children, now that there are enough magical children in the area.

The GHWPA has many events planned for the rest of the month.  You and your family are more than welcome to attend as many as you’d like. Please see the enclosed list for full details.
Beyond that, I would also like to invite you to my home for a cup of tea to further explain our community to you, and to help you get settled. You are, of course, more than welcome to bring your son along, though my children will not be present. Please let me know if you are able to visit tomorrow afternoon.

Finally, while I am more than willing to put aside our school rivalry and become friendly neighbours, I understand if you are uncomfortable with me being you peer parent. Should you prefer another peer to talk to, simply let Mary know and she’ll be able to assist you with the swap.

Hoping to hear from you soon!

Kind Regards,

Harry Potter

Draco seriously considered contacting Mary for a new match, but in the end decided that if Potter could be civil, then so could he. Besides, it sounded like Potter was the best choice for educating children in this town, and he didn’t want things to be awkward around Scorpius. Resigned to his fate, he scribbled a quick note affirming that yes, he and Scorpius would join Potter for tea tomorrow and sent it off with their owl. Deciding he had had enough of the sodding GHWPA for one day, and not feeling particularly inclined to unpack, Draco dragged himself off to bed.

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The next afternoon Draco found himself reprimanding Scorpius for fidgeting with his collar as they walked down Bumbleberry lane. The cottages along their street, while very similar in their architectural design, were all unique in decoration. Their immediate neighbours had a yard with a perfectly manicured green lawn, with one that was almost entirely patio on the other side. The next one over had a flower bed to rival the Manor gardens, followed by an overgrown mess, and the one right at the end was so littered with children’s trinkets that Draco couldn’t help wondering at how spoiled the children living in that house would be. He groaned when it turned out that this was the exact house they were headed toward.

“Papa, look at all the toys!” Scorpius cried happily as they crossed the yard toward the door. “Can I play with them?”


“We are not here to play, Scorpius, we are meeting with Mr. Potter. You have your own toys at home.”

“But they’re all in boxes,” he pouted. Draco sighed and bent down to look his son in the eye.

“Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, we are here as guests, and I expect you to be on your best behaviour. If you are, perhaps we can go to that park we saw afterward, as a treat?”

Scorpius nodded reluctantly. Taking a deep breath, Draco knocked on the door.

That breath left Draco in a rush as a rather fit man opened the door. Draco hadn’t seen Potter since the year after the war, but time had been kind to him. Potter had grown his hair out and tied it up in a bun, and his skin had a beautiful tan to it. He seemed to carry himself with more grace, and his attire, while still much more casual than what Draco and Scorpius were wearing, seemed to have grown up with him.

“Mr. and Mr. Malfoy, welcome!” Potter exclaimed jovially, throwing the door open and ushering them in. Noticing the cluster of shoes on a rack near the door, and Potter’s own bare feet, Draco toed off his shoes, urging Scorpius to do the same.

“Thanks,” Potter said kindly as they followed him into a cozy sitting room. Potter’s cottage was about the same size as his, but where Draco had a separate sitting room, dining room, and kitchen, Potter’s house seemed to have all of these blended into one. “I know most people aren’t used to the no shoes in the house rule, but with all the people that come and go, I can almost never keep the floor clean without it. Please, have a seat.” He gestured to a worn leather sofa and with another wave of his hand a tray of cookies and sandwiches, and another with a tea set came flying out from the kitchen. Draco could now see the practicality of no walls.

Potter served Draco tea and then turned to Scorpius.

“Are you old enough to drink tea, young man? Or would you prefer juice or milk?”

“I only had tea once,” Scorpius said.

“And the caffeine drove him up the wall,” Draco muttered, remembering that ill-fated day with a shudder. “You may choose juice or milk, Scorpius.”

Potter chuckled. “I do have caffeine free tea if you think that would be okay? My eldest gets quite hyper, too, so I’ve learned the tricks of the trade.”

Well, this was news. Tea without caffeine? Draco nodded calmly, but inside he was cheering. Mother would be so proud if he could teach Scorpius to behave at a proper tea service by the time they went to meet her for Christmas.

With another wave of his hand did Potter do a lot of wandless magic? Harry summoned another cup and served Scorpius his tea. He suggested Scorpius sit on the ground so that he could use the table to support his teacup, and Draco couldn’t agree more. This also put Scorpius within reach of the roast beef sandwiches, and Draco almost whooped when he saw Scorpius reach for one.

“Are you a, uh, peer parent for many families?” Draco asked politely.

“Not at the moment, no, but I do volunteer a lot with other GHWPA initiatives, such as hosting playdates or parent meetings, and I often volunteer to babysit. I do also have three of the most social kids in the world, so there are constant friends coming over as well.”

“You have three kids?” Scorpius asked in awe as he craned his neck, looking around for some sign of the other children. “Where are they?”

“They’re currently visiting their mum, at her house,” Harry explained gently. “She travels a lot, so they like to go meet her whenever she’s home.”

“Oh” came Scorpius’ disappointed reply.


Scorpius picked up his second sandwich, chewing quietly and not looking at Potter anymore. Hoping it would distract Scorpius from thoughts of his own mother, Draco changed the subject.


“So, you teach wizarding children in the neighbourhood?” Draco asked Potter, who nodded.

“Most of the children in the area are of primary school age. I’ve been renting a room at the local library, and while the program is drop-in, most kids come Monday to Friday, as if it were a regular school schedule. We practice math, science, reading and writing, as well as ‘muggle skills’. Then, once parents feel that their child is ready, they enroll them at the muggle Primary school, so that they can socialize and develop their reading and writing before Hogwarts. We have a pair of students that are heading off to Hogwarts in September, so I started a bit of a transition program for them too. Our most exciting project, however, is that I now have a muggle teacher’s licence, so I’ll actually be starting to teach a class in the muggle school specifically for magical children. The first class will be about Scorpius’ age, so it would be great if you would like for him to join.”

Scorpius perked up at that. “Can I really go to school, papa? Instead of having boring tutors all the time?”

Draco sighed. “Why don’t we start with Mr. Potter’s drop-in program first?” he suggested.

“The class won’t start until the next school year anyway, so that’s a good idea,” Potter said. “Scorpius can join us as early as tomorrow, if you’re ready?”

More than ready, Draco thought. He could only take one more day off from work and he really needed to get their new cottage unpacked and settled.

“How about it Scorpius? Would you like to go tomorrow?” Draco asked eagerly. Scorpius nodded, equally as enthusiastic at the prospect of getting out of the house for the day. After discussing a few more details with Potter, Draco thanked him and herded Scorpius out the door.

As Draco sat on a bench and watched Scorpius climb all over the jungle gym, he noticed a general store on the far side of the park. He made a mental note to stop by on their way home and pick up some of that caffeine-free tea Potter had served this afternoon. Tomorrow was family time instead of study time, and seeing as it would be Scorpius’ first day of school, it would be the perfect afternoon to introduce Scorpius to tea time. Speaking of school, he’d also need lunch containers and a backpack, as Potter had suggested.

Draco really hoped he’d be able to keep Scorpius’ schedule the same as it was before their move. While they had still been living in London, Scorpius would spend the morning and early afternoon with his tutors. He had had three in total- one for academics, one for etiquette and one for arts and music. They had developed a schedule amongst themselves to ensure that there was always someone watching and teaching Scorpius during the day, Monday to Friday. In the afternoon, Scorpius had been Draco’s responsibility, and they alternated between studies or practicing his piano skills, and what Draco had deemed ‘family time’. In London, this had usually meant that Scorpius was free to play with his toys or fool around on the piano while Draco did a spot more paperwork and then prepared dinner. He was hopeful, however, that with such a large community of Wizarding families here, Scorpius would have more of a chance to socialize with other children and that they could find something interesting to actually do as a family. Scorpius seemed more prone to tantrums since the divorce and Draco hoped it was really just pent-up energy.

Draco’s theory proved true that very evening. After having spent almost an hour on the jungle gym, Scorpius held Draco’s hand quietly as they made their way quickly through the store, and then home. He once again refused to eat anything that wasn’t peanut butter, but seemed content enough to have it slathered on toast rather than eating it straight.

As he was tucking Scorpius into bed, Draco suddenly remembered that he needed to pack a lunch and snacks for Scorpius, and that Potter had specifically said that the classroom was to be nut free. With a groan, he wandered into the kitchen, willing a lunch to pop into existence. He finally gave up and packed up the leftover risotto from dinner, and a bag of carrot sticks. As an added thought, he tossed in a yogurt cup as well. Calling it a night, Draco crawled into bed.

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“Good morning, Scorpius!” came Potter’s cheerful voice as they walked into the makeshift classroom. Scorpius’ eyes widened at the sight of about 15 children his own age, playing with a multitude of toys.

“Morning, Mr. Potter,” he answered, still dazed. He finally looked up at his new teacher and noticed a little girl sleeping in his arms.

“Who’s that?” he asked curiously.

“This is my daughter, Lily,” Potter said proudly. “She comes to our class too, even though she’s too little to learn as much as you will. If you want to get started for the day, you can hang up your bag on one of the hooks there and go find some friends to play with?”

Just then, a young boy who looked to be Potter’s clone came running up to them.

“Dad, can we take out the silly sand please?” he begged. Potter shook his head.

“Not now Al, we’re going to start in a few minutes. Speaking of, we have a new student today. Scorpius, this is my son Albus.”


“Hi, Scorpius!” Albus exclaimed. “Do you wanna help me and Zac build a Lego castle? We’re halfway there.”

Scorpius nodded excitedly and ran off.

“Is there anything else I need to do?” Draco asked, hoping there wasn’t. “I’ve packed his lunch like you asked, it’s in his bag, and there’s also a self-inking quill and a notebook for him to write with.”

“That sounds perfect, and otherwise he seems to be fine. I mentioned that home time is 3:00?”

“Yes. Well, if that’s all, thank you Potter, and I’ll see you at 3.”

“Harry.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Call me Harry. The kids already call me Mr. Potter, I’d go spare if all the adults did too.”

“Right, Harry. I guess you should call me Draco then.”

“Perfect. Well, then we’ll see you at 3, Draco.”

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Scorpius did not stop chattering about school all the way home. In fact, he didn’t stop when they reached home either. Draco almost felt bad interrupting him, but he knew he’d get started again once they sat down for tea anyways.

“Scorpius, please go wash your hands and face, and come down to the dining room. Then we can continue talking.”

“The dining room?” He asked, confused. Draco nodded.

“Yes. I thought we could have tea together today, and you can continue to tell me about your day.”

“But Papa, you said I wasn’t allowed to have tea again.”

“I bought some of that special tea we had at Mr. Potter’s place last night. We’ll have that, and enjoy a proper afternoon tea together.”

Draco was surprised at how well tea went. He couldn’t remember the last time he had heard Scorpius talk so much, and while he only ate a few biscuits, none of them were peanut flavoured. Draco dared to hope that he might finally be over the peanut phase.

“Papa, can we do some study time before dinner?” Scorpius asked. It took all of Draco’s composure not to spit his tea back into his cup.

“You WANT to study?” Draco asked suspiciously. Scorpius nodded.

“Mr. Potter gave me a muggle book to read this weekend. He said we have to write down at least 2 questions about muggles and bring them to class on Monday.”

“Well then, let’s get started.”

As they settled down on the couch to read, Draco noticed a note taped to the cover of the book.

“Oh yeah! Mr. Potter said to give this to you!” Scorpius said, pulling the note off and handing it to Draco. As Scorpius opened his book, Draco unfolded the letter.

Draco,

First of all, I’d like to tell you that Scorpius had an excellent first day. He is a bright young man, and his reading and writing are both very advanced for his age. He also seemed to get along very well with the other children, especially my own son, Albus.

Yes, Draco had heard all about Albus that afternoon. Of all the kids in Godric’s Hollow, trust Scorpius to make friends with a Potter.

I do however have one small concern. Scorpius did refuse to touch his lunch today. After quite a bit of encouragement, I managed to convince him to eat most of his yoghurt and a couple of carrots, but there was no hope for the rice. You are, of course, his father and know best what he should be eating, but if I may make a small suggestion, most parents send easier-to-eat lunches with their children, such as sandwiches or chicken fingers.

Other than that, he’s off to a great start! Have a wonderful weekend!

-Harry

With a sigh, Draco reached into Scorpius’ bag and pulled out a box of uneaten risotto. He gave Scorpius a look, and the kid had the balls to giggle.

“Okay, new rule Scorpius. If you don’t finish all your food at school, you need to tell me as soon as you get home so that I can renew the preservation spell. Understood?”

Scorpius nodded absently, before putting his book down.

“Papa, what’s a shopping mall?” he asked, pointing at the book.

“I believe it’s a big building that muggles keep many shops in.”

“Like Diagon Alley?”

“I think so.”

Satisfied, Scorpius turned the page. He read on for another moment before asking another question.

“Papa, what’s this word?” He pointed at a long word that was unfamiliar to Draco.

“Well, let’s sounds it out.”

“El-e-vat-or. What’s an ely-vator?”

“Umm, may I see the book?” Draco asked. Scorpius handed over the book, and Draco read the entire page out loud.

“Cindy and her mum stepped into the ely-vator and Cindy pushed the button for the 3rd floor. She watched through the glass as the fountain squirted and they rose higher and higher until the people below looked as small as dolls. When they stepped out of the ely-vator, Cindy found what she had been looking for all along the bookstore!”

This Ely-vator thing sounded like a levicorpus charm to Draco, but if muggles wanted to reach the third floor, couldn’t they just take the stairs?

Scorpius had the same question when Draco tried to explain his assumption.

“Maybe we should put it on the list of questions for Mr. Potter?”  Scorpius suggested. Draco agreed, and captivated, he continued to read along with Scorpius. Their list of questions grew well past two, and soon enough it was time for dinner, followed by a bath and bed.

“Papa?” Scorpius asked as Draco tucked him in. “Can we visit a muggle shopping mall?”

Draco hesitated. Part of the reason he chose to move to Godric’s Hollow was so that Scorpius could learn to interact with muggles, instead of growing up ignorant like he had. On the other hand, he had only been to a muggle shopping mall once, and it had been a terrifying experience. Perhaps they’d better work their way up.

“Maybe one day Scorpius. But I don’t think either of us knows enough to venture into such a big muggle place yet.”

“Oh.” Scorpius hadn’t sounded this disappointed since Draco had announced that they were moving. Aiming for a compromise, he said instead, “Why don’t we start with one of the muggle restaurants here in town? If you practice all your scales on the piano tomorrow, we could go out for dinner?” This seemed to boost Scorpius’ mood immensely. Nodding happily, he settled under the covers.

“That sounds good, papa. Good night.”

“Goodnight, son.” Draco kissed his forehead before turning out the lights.

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Of course, with the promise of a reward, Scorpius was on his best behaviour the next day. Since it was Saturday, he didn’t have school, but he practiced all his scales and songs, cleaned up the toys strewn around his room, and even sat down to practice his penmanship without being asked. In fact, when it came time for dinner, he even dressed in a nice shirt without fussing once about the collar. Draco should have known it was too good to last, but alas, they wandered naively into the muggle restaurant near the park. It seemed normal enough at first glance there was a  hostess booth right inside the door with a sign asking that they wait to be seated, and even though the decor seemed rather casual, the setup was the same as any wizarding restaurant, with various tables around the dining room.

“Can we sit there, Papa?” Scorpius asked, pointed at a large round booth with a beaded canopy over it. It looked big enough to seat six people easily, and so Draco explained to Scorpius that the hostess would want to save it for a larger group of people.

Just then, the door opened behind them and in walked none other than Potter no, he had said to call him Harry and his three children. Or rather, the 2 boys walked and his infant daughter was seated in his arms.

“Scorpius, Draco, what a surprise!” he said happily.

“Dad, are Scorpius and his dad going to have dinner with us?” Albus asked excitedly.

“What about it, Draco? Would you both like to join us?”

As hesitant as Draco was about spending the evening with Potter and his children, Draco knew he would be able to help avoid any faux-pas. And so he accepted the offer, just as the hostess appeared.

“For five?” She asked. Potter nodded.

“Could we get three children’s menus, plus two booster seats and a highchair?” he added. The hostess nodded and led them over to the booth that Scorpius had been eyeing. She pulled out a wooden high chair, into which Potter strapped his daughter, and then handed him what looked like two red plastic chairs, but without the legs. He placed the two in the middle of the round booth, and Albus promptly clambered up onto one of them. He called Scorpius over, and after a moment’s hesitation, Scorpius climbed up onto the other one. It seemed to elevate him enough that he could reach his place setting on the table properly.

As the rest of them settled down around the boys, Potter and his eldest son on one end and Draco on the other, Potter handed the three boys what looked like colourful paper placemats, and a few wax crayons. Leaning over to read Scorpius’ paper, Draco realized that one side was full of puzzles and colouring images, while the other had something called a kid’s menu. Draco frowned at it. Why did kids need a separate menu?

“There’s a copy of it in your menu,” Potter said, handing a normal looking menu to Draco. He flipped to the back to find 3 colourful rows detailing the children's’ options. Apparently, the kids had a choice between four entrées, four drinks, and four desserts.

“Is this all they’ll serve to children?” Draco asked, confused. Potted shook his head.

“The kid’s menu has items that they find will appeal to children the most,” he explained. “This layout is easier for kids to pick from, and these options are served as smaller portions better suited to kids. You’re still welcome to order for Scorpius from the regular menu, if that works better.”

“Ah, I see. Did you understand that, Scorpius? Would you like to choose your own dinner?”

Scorpius nodded eagerly as he flipped over the placemat and started to read his options.

“Dad, what’s chicken parm-gina?” Harry’s eldest asked.

“It’s pronounced Parmigiana, James,” Harry replied. “That’s what adults call chicken pizza.”

“Oh, okay, I’ll have that then.”

“Me too,” Albus added. “Are you gonna have chicken pizza too, Scorpius?”

Scorpius shook his head. “May I have the peanut butter sandwich please?” He asked politely. Draco groaned.

“They have a.... for Merlins… Scorpius, don’t you want to try something else? Look, they have fish and chips as an option, you love fish and chips.”

Scorpius shook his head and said firmly, “Peanut butter sandwich.”

“Maybe you can look through my menu,” Draco offered, desperate to get his son to eat anything else. “Would you like to have a plate of pasta or a bowl of soup? Look, they have three different kinds!”

But Scorpius was not to be convinced. Giving a sigh of defeat, Draco ordered him a peanut butter sandwich, with a glass of milk.

Aside from Scorpius’ exasperating food choice, dinner went quite well. The kids were rather talkative, and he found he enjoyed talking to Harry as well. He learnt that the Weaslette had decided to follow her dream of being a professional Quidditch player, and was currently training with the Holyhead Harpies. Potter, therefore, had the children almost full time, but being as involved as he was with the parents’ association, he loved it. Draco offered a little bit of information on his own life as well, specifically how he had decided to move to Godric’s Hollow after realizing that their London townhouse might be reminding Scorpius too much of his absent mother.

“And what can I get you all for dessert?” the waitress asked as she cleared their plates. The Potter boys immediately flipped their papers over, examining the offerings closely, and Scorpius didn’t take long to follow suit.

“There’s nothing with peanut butter,” Scorpius said sadly.

“Well, I guess you’ll have to try something different,” Draco said, trying not to sound smug.

“I’m guessing Scorpius is a fan of peanut butter?” Harry asked.

“You have no idea,” Draco mumbled. “I’ll be happy if I never have to look at peanut butter again.”

“Mr. Potter, I have a question about muggles,” Scorpius announced, his eyes on the dessert options. “Do they really eat mud?”

Albus and James started laughing.

“Not that I know of,” Harry replied patiently. “What gave you that idea?” He asked, casting a suspicious glance at his chortling sons.

“One of the desserts are called a missi- misipi- missispi mud pie.” Scorpius pointed out. Glancing quickly over his own menu, Draco realised that it was an option for adults as well, though the word Scorpius was trying so hard to pronounce was Mississippi.

“Explain, Potter,” he demanded. How dare someone suggest his son eat mud?

Harry looked to be on the verge of laughter himself. “They only call it a mud pie because they put cookie crumbs on top of it, and someone thought it looked like mud. It’s really just a chocolate pie, though they do serve it with a scoop of ice cream here.”

Not entirely convinced, Draco opted for a slice of blueberry cheesecake, while Harry ordered himself a slice of apple pie. Unsurprisingly, all three boys demanded the mud pies.

They rounded the evening off with a small argument over who would cover the cheque, with Harry winning on the “Welcome to the neighbourhood” front. They finally managed to get all four children back to Bumbleberry lane, and with a quick goodnight, Draco was finally able to collapse on his sofa. Scorpius climbed up beside him, and he threw an arm out to pull his son in closer.

“Did you have a good time?” he asked. Scorpius smiled up at him.

“Yes, Albus and James are a lot of fun. Thank you for taking me to dinner tonight, Papa.”

“You’re welcome, kiddo. And thank you for being so well behaved today. You definitely earned the outing.”

“Can we do another muggle trip soon?” Scorpius asked. “Please?”

“We’ll see son. Now, I think it’s time for bed.”

----------------------------

Draco had had enough. He was finally going to put his foot down. It had been a week since they had run into the Potters at the muggle restaurant, and Scorpius still refused to eat anything that wasn’t peanut butter. Draco had spent an hour in the kitchen making a beautiful Sunday roast, complete with gravy, mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. He had even whipped up a batch of fresh cream to serve with berries for dessert.

So when Scorpius pushed his plate aside, it took every ounce of Draco’s willpower not to scream. Instead, he pushed it firmly back in place, and for good measure added a small sticking charm. When he found he couldn’t push the plate, Scorpius, like any four-year-old, resorted to his voice.

“I want peanut butter.” he demanded.

“No,” Draco said, keeping his voice level. “You need more nutrients than just peanut butter.”

“No, I don’t,” Scorpius shot back. “I don’t want your yucky food. I want peanut butter.”

“Scorpius, we do not call food yucky, and you cannot live entirely off of peanut butter.”

“I want peanut butter!” He demanded, his voice rising. Draco knew that was a warning for a major tantrum, but he didn’t give in.

“You may eat the dinner in front of you or nothing. But you will NOT have peanut butter tonight.”

Scorpius starting pounding his little fist on the table and chanting, “I want peanut butter!” over and over. Draco knew he had to wait it out, but after three minutes he seriously needed a headache potion. With one final bang, Scorpius screamed, “Peanut Butter” and looked Draco dead in the eye. Unfortunately for him, Draco had about 22 years more experience with staring contests.

“You may eat your roast, and enjoy fresh cream and berries for dessert, or you may go to bed hungry. The choice is yours.”

Scorpius glared at Draco for another moment before sliding off his chair and stomping out of the room. Draco suddenly found himself with no appetite, and cleared the table, keeping only Scorpius’ plate out under a warming charm. He settled into the living room with a cup of coffee and his favourite novel, but he couldn’t focus on the book at all. Why was Scorpius acting like this? Draco had a feeling it had something to do with the divorce. Scorpius had been acting out more and more since that night when they had sat him down and explained that Astoria was leaving. He couldn’t imagine the pain Scorpius must have felt at watching his own mother walk out like that. Draco kept trying to encourage Astoria to spend more time with her son, for Scorpius’ sake, but she just wasn’t interested. She was a highly successful businesswoman in her mid-twenties. She didn’t want to be tied down by a four-year-old son.

Unfortunately, Scorpius seemed to be expressing his feelings through his diet, and Draco was not sure how much longer it could go on. With his parents in Switzerland, and his two best friends in Italy, Draco really only had Scorpius. He didn’t know what he’d do if the boy got sick.

With a sigh, Draco got up from the couch and went up to check on Scorpius. He knocked on his bedroom door and received an angry “Go away!” for his trouble.

“Scorpius, I just want to talk.”

Taking the silence as a good sign, Draco walked into his son’s room to find him curled up on his bed, hugging his stuffed dragon. With a huff, Scorpius turned away from him.

“Scorpius, what’s going on?” He asked, perching at the foot of the bed. “Why are you so angry?”

“Don’t want roast.” He muttered. Draco sighed.

“Scorpius, you can’t eat just peanut butter all day. It won’t give you enough energy to grow properly.”

“Don’t care.” The poor thing must be so hungry, Draco thought miserably.

“How about we skip the roast and just have some of the berries instead?” Draco suggested. Scorpius shook his head.

“Peanut butter,” he insisted.

Realising he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this conversation, Draco rose from the bed.

“I’ll be awake for a few more hours. If you decide that you’re hungry enough to eat proper food, come down and let me know. But there will be no peanut butter, even if there’s nothing else.” When Scorpius didn’t reply, Draco pulled the covers over him and turned off the lamp. He bent down to kiss Scorpius goodnight, but out of spite, his son hid under the covers instead.

Feeling miserable, Draco continued to pout on the couch in the hopes that Scorpius would give in to the hunger and come looking for food. He could ask for anything that wasn’t peanut butter at this point, and Draco would gladly make it for him. Even that mud pie he had eaten last week.

Draco woke up late the next morning with a crick in his neck and a drool spot on the sofa. After a lightning fast shower, he went to wake Scorpius, who’s mood apparently hadn’t softened overnight. He stomped his way down the stairs and refused to touch his cereal, though thankfully he only mentioned peanut butter once. Draco poured another serving of dry cereal into a plastic baggie, and stuck it in Scorpius’ bag, along with a box of berries from the night before and a sandwich made from the leftover roast. They barely made it to the library in time for the class to start, and with a sigh, Draco trudged home to do his own work.

Before he knew it, his tempus charm told him it was once again time to pick Scorpius up. Just like that morning, Draco was running late, so that when he arrived at the library, the only children left were Scorpius and Albus, and of course, a sleeping Lily.

“I’m so sorry,” Draco puffed, having run halfway to the library. “I completely lost track of time.”

“No worries,” Harry said. “It happens to all of us. In fact, I’m glad for the chance to talk to you without the other parents around.”

“Oh?” Draco eyed Harry warily.

“I, um, I’m a little worried about Scorpius.”

“Because he doesn’t eat?” Draco offered.

“Well, yes. I just wanted to ask if there’s anything I can do to help?”

Draco sighed. He glanced over to where Albus and Scorpius were working on a puzzle before sinking into a chair on the other side of the room.

“Scorpius refuses to eat anything other than peanut butter, occasionally with sprinkles. On a good day, he’ll allow me to spread it on toast, but most of the time it’s straight out of the jar or nothing. If I refuse to give it to him, or insist that he eat anything else, he throws a tantrum. It started right around the time Astoria left, so I’m guessing it has something to do with the divorce, but he never talks to me about it, and I have no idea how to get him to eat anything else.” Draco couldn’t help thinking how far he’d fallen in life, to be talking about his parenting troubles with Harry Potter of all people, while sitting in a pink plastic chair in the middle of a muggle library. Oh, he definitely wouldn’t be telling his father about this one. Not that he really spoke to Lucius anyways, but it was the principle of the matter.

“I’m at my wit's end, Harry. I have no idea what to do.” Draco lamented.

“If I may…” Harry hesitated, but when Draco didn’t stop him, he continued. “Albus and Lily were too young to be upset about my divorce, but James was the same age Scorpius is now, and I can tell you his behaviour changed too. He became unusually destructive; he would break his toys, rip his books. I even caught him trying to cut his hair once. It took a while, but I finally ended up having a conversation with him about why he felt the need to do these things. I think he felt like he had no control over his life his mum had left, he was just starting at a new school, and so much of my time was going into taking care of Lily, since she had just been born a few weeks prior.”

“So what did you do?” Draco asked, leaning forward in his chair.

“I gave him some more control. I gave him his own ‘responsibilities’ around the house and involved him in small decisions, and soon enough, he started to settle into a new routine.”

“I’ve tried to keep Scorpius’ routine the same through the move, but it doesn’t seem to help.”

“Draco, can I ask, how many decisions does Scorpius make in a day?”

“I- not many. He’s four, Harry, what decisions does he need to make?”

“Even small things count. Who decides what he wears in the morning?”

“I usually lay his clothes out for him.”

“What does he usually chose for breakfast?”

“It’s always ready for him when he comes down. I try to put some variety into it so that he won’t get bored.”

“And I’m guessing you prepare lunch and dinner without his input, right?”

“Of course. He comes home from school, we have tea, then he practices piano, or studies, or plays, depending on which day in the rotation it is, and once I’ve finished cooking we sit down to dinner. After dinner is a bath and then bed.”

“So he doesn’t make a single decision all day?” Harry did not sound impressed.

“He’s a child. If it was up to him he’d wear red socks with blue shoes and a polka dot shirt with striped pants. He’d eat nothing but peanut butter and sprinkles for every meal, and spend the whole day composing off-key songs on the piano and playing with toys.”

“Well you don’t have to relinquish control of everything to him, but it might help to let him make small decisions.”

“I’m not following.”

Harry sighed, and looked over at the boys who were still playing. Suddenly, he sat up straighter, as if he had just had an idea. Which it turned out he did.

Half an hour later, Draco found himself sitting at Harry’s dining table with the three boys, having agreed to spend the afternoon in the Potter household to see what decisions the kids could make.

“Okay boys, what are we having for dinner tonight?” Harry asked as they sat down to tea.

“I want spaghetti and meatballs!” James yelled.

“No, we should have tacos,” Albus suggested.

“No, tacos are so messy,” James whined.

“Since when do you care about messy?” Harry laughed. “What about you, Scorpius, what would you like to eat?”

Scorpius glanced at his father, and then looked back at Harry and shrugged.

“What do you usually eat then?” Albus asked him.

“I like peanut butter for dinner,” Scorpius said softly. Draco was about to tell him that he absolutely could not have peanut butter at someone else’s house when he felt Harry’s hand on his own.

“Ew!” Albus exclaimed before Draco could say anything. “Just peanut butter?” Scorpius looked down and nodded.

“You should vote for spaghetti and meatballs like me,” James said, jumping at the possible ally.

“No, vote for tacos!” Albus insisted. “Come on Scor, you’re my friend, vote for me.”

“Um, okay, I vote for tacos,” Scorpius said shyly. Albus whooped and punched the air.

“Tacos it is,” Harry said with finality, grinning at Draco. “Now are we doing homework before dinner or after?”

“Doesn’t it have to be done before?” Scorpius asked timidly.

“No, Dad says we can play in the yard before dinner, but then we have to promise to do homework after dinner. Or we can do it now and watch a movie after dinner.”

“What’s a movie?” Scorpius asked curiously. The other two boys looked at him like he had three heads.

“You’ve never seen a movie?” Albus asked incredulously.

“Albus,” Harry said in a tone of warning. “Remember not everyone has muggle devices in their house.”

“We should do homework now so we can show Scorpius a movie afterwards,” Jame said.

“Yeah! With popcorn, right dad?” Albus shot his father a sly glance. Harry made a show of sighing, before agreeing to popcorn, whatever that was. “Woohoo! Come on Scor, let’s go get our books.”

And in front of Draco’s disbelieving eyes, the three boys sat down at a colourful play table in the corner of the living room and started to read.

“See how many choices they made?” Harry asked quietly. “They chose what to eat for dinner, they chose their routine, they’ll even chose what movie to watch in the evening. No tantrums, no complaints at all, because technically it’s what they wanted.”

“So now you have to prepare tacos? Doesn’t it take time to roast the meat and press the tortillas? Most meals take planning and time to prepare.”

“Ah, but that’s where I cheat. I don’t feed my children authentic tacos every week. In fact, I’m pretty sure if they were served an authentic taco they’d have no idea what it was.” He got up and reached into a cupboard, pulling out a bright yellow box with the words “stand and stuff taco kit”.

“That looks nothing like a taco,” Draco said, studying the box.

“It does to the kids,” Harry said with a wink.

“Dad, can we have a snack?” Albus called.

“Sure, help yourselves,” Harry called back.

Draco watched as Albus and Scorpius got up and walked to the fridge and opened it.

“Shall I go help them?” Draco offered, already halfway out of his chair.

“They’re old enough to pick their own snack.” Harry shrugged. “But you can go see how they do it, if you’d like.”

Curious, Draco walked up behind the boys and found that Harry’s fridge looked nothing like his own. The top shelf seemed to contain regular staples, such as yogurt and eggs, but for some reason, all the vegetables were up there as well. He looked down to were the vegetable drawers were and found that the boys had opened one of the drawers, and were sorting through a collection of yoghurt cups, fruit cups, and snack-sized portions of cheese.

“Peach or blueberry?” Albus asked Scorpius.

“Peach please.” Albus handed Scorpius a peach yoghurt, before grabbing a blueberry for himself and another for his brother. They closed the drawer, and dodging around Draco, Albus led Scorpius to a cutlery drawer and handed him a bright green plastic spoon. They sat back down at the table, where James and Albus argued over the red spoon (I want the Gryffindor one! Why do I have to have the Hufflepuff spoon?) for a minute. Harry rolled his eyes before turning the yellow one red with a wave of his hand, and the boys settled right back down. Draco stared for another moment, before realizing the fridge was still open. He turned back to inspect Harry’s apparently child-friendly setup. The other crisper drawer was labeled lunch, and when he pulled it open, Draco found four boxes of pasta and four packets of sandwiches. The bottom shelf of the fridge contained 2 brightly coloured bins, one labeled drinks, and one labeled fruit. True to their labels, they contained a variety of juice boxes and milk cartons, and small boxes of fresh fruit respectively.

“This system makes packing up for school really easy. Every morning the boys come downstairs, chose what they want for breakfast, and while I’m preparing it, they take their bags and come and pack whichever lunch and snacks they want for the day. I have to streamline mornings as much as possible to be able to make it to the library early, which is why they pack everything that’s not food and pick out clothes the night before.”

Draco had to admit, he was impressed, even if the Potters’ fridge seemed quite spartan with all the space dedicated to the children. As if reading his mind, Harry gave a subtle wave of his wand and the inside of the fridge suddenly expanded. There was suddenly a much larger array of foods, condiments, and drinks visible. Draco couldn’t help noticing a wide variety of beer and soda. So the cheater used wizarding space!

Laughing at Draco’s expression, Harry returned the fridge to its original state, grabbed a handful of items, and closed the door.

“Not only does making them responsible for their own lunches save me time, it teaches them responsibility, and again gives them control over what they do and don’t eat.”

“Dad, we’re done!” Albus announced, jumping up from the table.

“Well then, make sure to put your books back in your bag, and you can come help with dinner.”

Draco watched as Albus pulled two colourful stools and two small aprons out of the pantry. He set the stools up next to the counter and handed one apron to Scorpius.

“What’s this for?” Scorpius asked curiously.

“We get to be chefs today!” Albus said happily.

“Who wants to do the lettuce, and who wants to do the cheese?” Harry asked as the boys climbed up onto the stools. Soon enough, Albus was grating cheese, Scorpius was ripping lettuce, Draco was stirring ground beef in a pot with some mystery seasoning that had come out of the bright yellow box, and Harry was supervising a series of knives that were chopping vegetables on their own, and feeding Lily at the dining table. Draco listened to Albus explain to Scorpius how the radio and CDs worked. Soon enough, all the tasks had been finished and James was done with his own school work.

“Can the three of you set your places at the table please, and then go wash up for dinner?” Harry asked, setting Lily down in a cot and spelling it to rock on its own. Draco was once again stunned as the boys pulled out plastic placemats with illustrations on where place settings should go, and started matching colourful plastic plates, cups, and cutlery to the images. Once their end of the table was set, the Potter boys pulled a stool up to the sink and washed their hands, with Scorpius following along quietly.

“Our dishes are in here,” Harry said, tapping a cupboard before opening the fridge and digging around for something. Draco pulled out a pair of plain white porcelain plates and simple water glasses, and after trying a few drawers, found some adult-sized cutlery as well. He sat down across from Scorpius, who was ensconced between Albus and James. The two Malfoys watched as the others reached out and helped themselves to what looked like stiff tortillas, filling them with different toppings and sauces. Draco had never heard of carrots or sour cream in a taco, and the salsa looked more like a tomato sauce than the traditional pico de gallo.

“Al, can you show your friend how to build his taco?” Harry asked as he poured out pumpkin juice for the table. Draco watched avidly as Albus explained the chaos.

“So, you take a shell and put whatever toppings you want in it. The order doesn’t matter because it’s going to break and fall out halfway through anyway, but it’s fun to see who can get the farthest before their shell cracks. And the rule is you have to have at least three types of vegetables in each taco, but you can put more if you want.”

So, this was just a ploy to get the children to eat vegetables then. Draco couldn’t help admiring how Slytherin that was. He watched as Scorpius reached out and put a few bits of diced tomato, the lettuce he had shredded earlier and some julienned carrots into his shell, before handing his plate to Harry, who was filling beef from the hot pot for the children. Albus then prodded him into dolloping sour cream and liquidy salsa onto it.

Though he found it tasted absolutely nothing like the tacos he had eaten when his parents had taken him to Mexico as a child, the crunchy shells full of meat and vegetables were enjoyable. Albus was right in his prediction that no one could make it through a whole taco, but Harry showed Draco the trick of adding extra lettuce to the mess on his plate and turning it into a crunchy salad. By the end of the meal, only Scorpius had managed to make it through more than half of his taco without the whole thing falling all over his hands, and Albus and James seemed to hail him as some kind of hero for it.

As the adults cleared the table, the children piled onto the sofa and James turned on the telly-vision. Draco had heard of them but this was the first time he was seeing one in action.


He was standing near the dining table, watching the view move across the ocean when he heard a popping noise from the kitchen. He found Harry standing over a large metal pot, inside which more popping could be heard.

“Popcorn,” Harry said by way of explanation. When the popping finished a few minutes later, he scooped what looked like small cream coloured clouds into square shaped bowls with red and white stripes on them.

“What is this?” Draco asked, picking up a piece and inspecting it.

“It’s corn.”

“Potter, I know what corn looks like, and this isn’t it.”

Harry tossed him a bag of what looked like dried-up corn kernels. “That’s what it looks like when you heat it in oil,” he explained, popping a piece into his mouth. “Do you want to sit in here and chat or would you like to see the movie?” Harry asked.

“I’ll admit, I’ve never watched a telly-vision before,” Draco said, picking up two of the bowls.

“Movie it is,” Harry said happily, somehow balancing the remaining three bowls in one hand, and charming Lily’s cot to follow him with the other. They joined the children in watching the story of a father fish who went looking all over the ocean to find his lost son, with the help of another fish who seemed to be suffering from a recurring obliviate. When father and son were finally reunited, the Potter boys cheered.

 

“They found Nemo!” Albus cried happily, not noticing James steal the last of his popcorn. Scorpius, however, didn’t seem to be able to draw his eyes from the now dark screen.

“It’s getting late,” Draco commented, checking the time. “We should be heading home. Thank you so much for tonight, Harry. I learned a lot.”

“Boys, say goodnight to Scorpius,” Harry called out. “And then go pack your bags and pick out your clothes. I want you ready for a bath by the time I get up there.”

“Goodnight Scor!” Albus called as the two boys raced up the stairs.

“Thank you for dinner, Mr. Potter,” Scorpius said politely.

“Well thank you for helping me prepare it. It was a pleasure to have you both,” Harry said genuinely. “I’ll see you both tomorrow.”

Scorpius was silent the entire way home.

“Did you have fun tonight?” Draco asked as he tucked Scorpius into bed. His son nodded thoughtfully but didn’t say anything more. Draco was just about to turn out the lights when a thought occurred to him.

“Scorpius, is there anything, in particular, you’d like for me to pack for your lunch tomorrow?” He asked. Please don’t say peanut butter, please don’t say peanut butter...

Scorpius stared at Draco for a moment before answering.


“Is there any mashed potato and gravy left from last night?” He asked quietly. Draco nodded.

“Would you like that for lunch?”

“Yes, please. And a yoghurt. A peach one.”

“Of course.” Draco smiled. “Goodnight, son.”

“Goodnight, papa.”

--------------------------------

Draco could feel something moving around in his bed. He sat up suddenly, reaching for his wand, before noticing a platinum blond head crawling towards him in the moonlight.

“Scorpius?” As his son looked up, Draco noticed tears on his face. “Scorpius, what’s wrong?” he asked urgently, pulling his son up to cuddle with him.

“I had a nightmare,” Scorpius whispered. “About the sharks.” It took Draco a moment to realize that he was referring to the movie, in which a trio of sharks had almost eaten the fish.

“What happened in your nightmare?” Draco asked, knowing from experience that talking it through usually helped.

“It-it was just like the-the movie,” Scorpius sniffled. “The sh-sharks were chasing the fish, and they were hu-hiding in the pipe. But this time, they got p-p-pushed out and the sharks ate them. And the d-daddy fish n-never found N-nemo because he was gone!” Now Scorpius was outright crying, and it took Draco a few minutes to calm the boy down.

“Scorpius, it was only a story. None of it was real. They weren’t even real fish. Mr. Potter told me that they were just drawings made by an artist.”

“It was still scary,” Scorpius whimpered.

“Yes, it was. I’m guessing you’d like to sleep here tonight?” Scorpius nodded as Draco lay back down, cuddling his son close. He listened to Scorpius’ breathing slow down before the boy asked another question.

“Would you come and find me if I got lost?” He asked. Draco’s heart stopped for a moment as he suddenly realized why the movie had scared Scorpius so much. He was seeing the connection of a young son being raised by a single father.

“Of course I would, Scorpius. You’re the most important thing in my world, and I’ll never let you go. Even if I have to fight sharks, and jellyfish and seagulls to get to you. You’re mine!” He exclaimed, imitating the seagulls from the movie. Scorpius giggled at that.

“I love you, papa,” he said with a wide yawn.

“I love you too, buddy. Goodnight.”

------------------------------

Draco woke with a warm lump stuck to his side. He smiled lazily at his snoring son. He couldn’t remember the last time Scorpius had snuck into his bed; for a young child, he was quite mature. Maybe Harry was right in saying that he could use a bit more responsibility.

Draco turned over to check the time and cursed. They were late.

“Scorpius, Scorpius wake up! We’re late for school!” Draco jumped out of bed and started grabbing clothes from his wardrobe. After a moment’s hesitation, he decided he could shower after dropping Scorpius off they didn’t have more time to waste. He turned around to see Scorpius climbing down from the bed with a worried look on his face.

“Scorpius, can I trust you to pick your own clothes and make sure your books are in your bag? While you do that, I’ll get some breakfast made.” Scorpius gaped at him for a moment, before nodding and padding off towards his own room. Praying he wouldn’t wear something inappropriate, Draco dashed into the washroom to prepare himself.

They both made it down to the kitchen at the same time, which said something about how long Draco’s morning routine was.

“What would you like for breakfast?” Draco asked distractedly, taking the pre-packed lunch out of the fridge.

“Can you make a cheese sandwich?” Scorpius asked. “Then I can eat it while we’re walking to school.”

Draco stared at his son for a moment. He had already grabbed the bread, expecting the usual demand for peanut butter, but was surprised at his son’s practical thinking.

“That’s… a really good idea actually.” He opened the fridge and found he had at least four different types of cheese.

“Cheddar.” Scorpius piped up when Draco held the options out to him. With a few quick waves of his wand, Draco had a hot cheese sandwich wrapped in a napkin and was shuffling Scorpius out the door. It wasn’t until they were halfway across their shortcut through the park that Draco noticed that Scorpius had dressed in a nice dark blue t-shirt and grey trousers. Clearly, his superior sense of style had rubbed off on his son. They made it to the library just as Harry was doing the roll call, and with a quick wave, Scorpius ran off to join his friends.  

Scorpius seemed to be in a thoughtful mood again when Draco picked him up in the afternoon. He had hardly spoken a few sentences by the time they sat down to tea, though Draco was pleased to note that he had eaten his entire lunch.

“So, what did you do in school today?” Draco prompted.

“We all worked on a giant puzzle of the human body together. Then Mr. Potter told us about how our magical cores need all kinds of food to be strong enough to do spells. He said we had to eat vegetables, and proteins, like chicken and beans, and starches. Those are things like bread and pasta.”

Draco smiled inwardly, nodding along as Scorpius explained all the foods he had learned were good for the body. He wondered how much of a coincidence it was that Harry’s lesson plan just happened to be about food today.

“Papa, can I do studying instead of piano today? I got extra homework.” Scorpius requested.

“Of course, homework comes first. But why did you get extra homework?”

“Because I didn’t finish my worksheet in class,” he mumbled. Draco was about to ask why, when Scorpius got down from his chair and fetched his schoolbag. He pulled out a sheet of paper with a very basic outline of the human form drawn on in. There was a small brown circle drawn next to the form, and Scorpius had written his name in the bottom corner.

“What’s this?” Draco asked, not understanding how this could be an assignment.

“Mr. Potter gave everyone a person, and we had to draw all the foods we ate on the weekend. Everyone drew really colourful and nice foods, but all I ate was peanut butter. I didn’t want to put an empty picture up on the wall, so Mr. Potter said I could take it home and add the foods that I eat today.”

Draco had to take a moment to marvel at Harry’s way with kids. He made a note to send him a nice thank you later on.

“So what will you draw now?”

“I want to add the tacos we ate yesterday, and my cheese sandwich this morning, and the mashed potatoes, and the yoghurt from lunch. Maybe I can draw dinner before eating it too. What are we having for dinner?” he asked curiously, looking up at Draco.

“Well, I don’t have anything planned yet. Do you remember how you wanted to go on more muggle adventures?”  Scorpius nodded.

“How about we go explore a muggle supermarket? We can pick the foods that you learned are good for our magic cores, and then we can bring them home for dinner.”

Scorpius seemed to brighten quite a bit at this suggestion. “Can we go now?”

Draco had hardly said yes before Scorpius shot off towards the door, already pulling his shoes on.

“Hold your hippogriffs, Scorpius, I have to go upstairs and get my muggle money. I’ll be down in a minute!”

Twenty minutes later, father and son wandered into the muggle supermarket. They stood near the door looking around in awe at all the food. Did muggles really need this much choice? Draco picked up a basket in one hand, and holding Scorpius with the other, steered him towards a display of vegetables.

“So what did Mr. Potter say we should eat?” He prompted. Scorpius looked around for a moment before picking up a box of grape tomatoes.

“Papa, these tomatoes are so tiny!” He exclaimed. “Can we get the tiny tomatoes?”

“They’re called grape tomatoes, Scorpius, and yes, you may try them.” He held out the basket and Scorpius placed the box carefully inside, before turning back to the options. Before long they had added mushrooms, carrots, celery, raspberries, and apples to the basket as well. They soon wandered out of the produce section and into aisles full of boxes and tins and jars. Draco slipped a small jar of pesto into their basket, while Scorpius picked out a tin of black olives. Scorpius got really excited when he found a box of green pasta. After reading through the ingredients listed on the side, Draco realized the green colouring came from spinach mixed into the pasta.  He remembered Harry’s small fibs about food, he decided to tell Scorpius that it was special Slytherin pasta, which excited the boy even more. In the next aisle over they found something called crackers which looked like cookies, but for some reason were displayed on the box with cheese. The aisle after that had dairy, where Draco had to refuse three different types of cheese on the basis that they already had four, and they discovered a tub of peach yogurt as large as Scorpius’ head. They ended up buying the small ones instead, so that Scorpius could take them to school, but there was no stopping him when he saw the ice cream. Unfortunately for Draco, they ended up with peanut butter ripple.

After wandering around for another half-hour, they joined the queue to pay for their food. Draco had to stop at a bench outside the store and cast a discrete lightening charm on all their bags before they continued on their way home.

With all of their purchases laid out on the counter, they were both at a loss for what to make for dinner. Remembering that Pansy had once told him that pasta went with anything, he pitched the idea to Scorpius, who nodded. In the end, he decided that they would have the Slytherin pasta, with the Slytherin sauce (the pesto), the ‘baby tomatoes’, and the olives. As an afterthought, Draco suggested they add the bocconcini they had sitting in the fridge. Scorpius had great fun with the word bocconcini and kept pushing Draco to say it again and again. Finally, the pasta was boiling, and since the olives were pre-sliced, there really wasn’t much to prepare until the pasta was done. Draco looked around for a task that Scorpius could do, but he didn’t feel comfortable having him slice grape tomatoes.

“Scorpius, can you set the table?” he asked finally, pulling out a knife to do the tomatoes himself.

“Do we have mats, like at Al’s home?” he asked. Draco sighed as he realized that no, he didn’t. Spelling the knife to chop by itself, he brought two plates down from the cupboard and instructed Scorpius to get a fork and a spoon and a knife for each of them.

“When setting the table, you spell the word FORKS out to help you. What’s the first letter?”

“F,” Scorpius said.

“Right. So we put the F-for-Fork on the left end.” He put down a fork. “What’s the next letter?”

“O.”

“Correct. What looks like an ‘O’ here?”

“The plate!”

“Exactly. So next comes the plate.” He put a plate down to the right of the fork.

“What’s next?”

“R!”

“Yes, it is. When setting the table, we ignore the R. What’s the fourth letter?”

“K!”

“K-for-knife…”

“Goes next to the plate!” Scorpius exclaimed, putting a knife down happily. “And S-for-spoon comes next, right?” Draco nodded and watched as Scorpius completed the place setting. Bubbling with excitement, Scorpius walked around the table and set the other place as well, spelling the acronym out as he went along.

“Why don’t you go to the hall closet and pick two napkins?” Draco suggested as he strained the pasta. He wasn’t surprised when Scorpius returned a minute later holding two napkins with the Slytherin crest embroidered on the corners. “They go to the left of the forks,” Draco directed as he poured the pesto and veggies into the pot and stirred. He transferred the meal to a serving dish and carried it over to the table. They enjoyed a surprisingly delicious dinner, after which Scorpius carefully drew all the foods he had eaten on his assignment.

“Would you like the leftover pasta for lunch tomorrow?” Draco asked as he tucked Scorpius into bed that night.

“Yes please,” came Scorpius’ yawn.

“Okay then. Goodnight buddy.”

“Goodnight, papa. I love you.”

Draco didn’t know where this sudden habit of saying “I love you” had come from, but he could bet his last galleon he was going to make the most of it.

“I love you, too.”

-------------------------------------




The rest of the week continued in a similar vein of experimentation. Keeping with the theory that one could put anything in pasta, they kept trying different combinations. They even wandered back to the store a couple more times. The first time they went back, they decided to try the Gryffindor-red pasta, but both agreed that the Slytherin pasta tasted much better. They also bought a plastic stool for Scorpius to be able to reach the counter. Even though he couldn’t help much with the pasta itself, Draco had found many other tasks that he could do around the kitchen. He plucked basil leaves, refilled the pepper mill, grated cheese, and once he even tried to whip the cream for dessert, though his arm soon got tired and Draco had to help it along with a spell. Every day that week they made a new pasta, and Scorpius would take the leftovers to school the next day, proud to show his class the new recipe he had made with his papa. He had also become a master at setting a proper dinner table, and Draco couldn’t wait to see his mother’s proud expression when she found out.

 

All in all, things seemed to be going well in the Malfoy household. Which was why Draco shouldn’t have been surprised that it all went downhill when he got called back by Harry after school on Monday.

 

“Hey, I just wanted to ask about Scorpius’ permission slip. Have you been able to look over it yet?”

 

“What permission slip?” Draco asked, glancing down at Scorpius. It was a bad sign that the kid chose to stare at his feet.

 

“Oh, um, I sent a permission slip home last Tuesday. I was hoping to take the children to the fire station on Friday, but all students need a signed form to attend. Didn’t you give your dad the slip?” Harry asked Scorpius.

 

“I lost it,” Scorpius mumbled, in a tone that told Draco he hadn’t lost it at all. He wondered if he would find it under the sofa, or in the linen closet, or if Scorpius had been smart enough to flush it down the toilet.

 

“Oh, you should have told me, I have extras,” Harry said, oblivious to Scorpius’ fibbing. He pulled a form from his binder and handed it to Draco, who noticed Scorpius looking at it with wide eyes.

 

“Thank you, Harry,” Draco said. “In fact, if you have a pen on you, I could sign it right now, so there’s no risk of losing it again.” Harry nodded, but just as he was handing Draco his pen, Scorpius reached up and snatched it.

 

“NO!” he cried, taking the pen and turning around to run away. Luckily Draco had been expecting that something would happen, and reaching out, managed to snag his t-shit. He was surprised to find that Scorpius had tears in his eyes.

 

“I don’t wanna go!” Scorpius wailed. “Please, papa, I’ll be good, I promise. Don’t make me go on the trip.” Harry watched in shock as Draco pulled his son close.

 

“It’s okay, Scorpius, no one’s forcing you to go,” Draco said soothingly, petting his hair. “You can stay home that day instead. How does that sound?”

 

Scorpius nodded, still sobbing into Draco’s shoulder. Draco groaned as he picked his son up he really was growing up fast and turned back to Harry.

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t think Scorpius will be joining the trip,” Draco said sadly. “Thank you for offering though. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

Scorpius refused to let go of Draco all evening. They sat next to each other during tea time, and while Scorpius practiced all his scales without arguing, he seemed on the verge of panic whenever Draco got up from the piano bench. He clung to the hem of Draco’s shirt while he made a simple dinner of chicken and rice, and insisted they sit next to each other again, instead of across the table as they usually did. He was quiet the whole evening as if making noise would have him sent on the trip.

 

“Papa, can I sleep with you again?” he whispered as he put his pajamas on. Still worried about his reaction to the trip, Draco agreed. As they settled under the covers, Draco couldn’t help asking, “Scorpius? Why don’t you want to go on the trip?”

 

Scorpius whimpered and curled into Draco’s side. After a moment, he mumbled, “Don’t want to get lost.”

 

“Why would you get lost?” Draco wondered.

 

Scorpius looked up at him with wide eyes. “Nemo got lost on a school trip,” he whispered. “So will I.”

 

Draco sighed, remembering how the movie had scared Scorpius. “Sweetheart, we talked about this. The movie isn’t real.”

 

“But I’m like Nemo. I don’t have my mummy anymore, I only have you. So if I go on a school trip, I’ll get lost. I don’t want you to go away too.” Draco felt tears collecting in his eyes.

 

“Scorpius, I want you to listen to me very carefully. I will ALWAYS be here for you. Even if you have to go to school, I’ll always pick you up at the end. Even if you go to play at your friend’s house, I will always bring you home. If I need to move to a new house or visit a different country, I will always take you with me. You don’t need to worry about me going away, because I won’t.”

 

“But what if I do get lost?” Scorpius sniffled. “I can’t get lost if I stay with you.”

 

“Scorpius, I have an idea. Do you want to ask Mr. Potter if I can come on the trip with you?”

 

Scorpius looked up at him with wide eyes. “Really?” he asked.

 

Draco nodded. “We have to ask Mr. Potter, though, I might not be allowed.”

 

Scorpius thought about this. “Okay,” he said after a minute. “If you come then I’ll go. But if you’re not coming then I don’t wanna go.”

 

Reluctantly, Draco agreed. He just hoped Potter wouldn’t mind him tagging along.

 

----------------------------

 

As it turned out, he had nothing to worry about. It had been another peanut butter morning, but Draco didn’t push it, considering the night Scorpius had had. Trying to get him to talk, Draco told Scorpius it was his responsibility to ask Potter.

 

“Of course your Papa can come, Scorpius. Don’t you remember I said we need some parents to come with us?”

 

“Really?” Draco blurted.

 

“Yeah, it’s a big risk taking 15 kids with no control over their magic to a Muggle place. I can generally manage it on my own, but I always ask for parent volunteers just in case.”

 

“Well, then you have a volunteer.” Draco smiled as Scorpius cheered. He still didn’t seem ready to let go of Draco’s hand and join the class though.

 

“Scorpius,” he said, kneeling down to face his son. “It’s time for you to join the class now. And you have to let go of my hand to do that.”

 

“Promise I won’t get lost?” He demanded. Draco nodded. “I promise. And when the day is over, I promise I’ll be here to pick you up too.” Scorpius considered his words for a moment, before nodding.

 

“Get lost?” Harry asked, bemused. “Why are you worried about getting lost? ”

 

“Because Nemo got lost. As soon as his papa left him at school, he went on a trip and got taken away.” Scorpius seemed to be on the verge of tears again, and Draco hoped he’d still stay at school.

 

“Ah, I see. And is that why you didn’t want to go on the trip without your Papa?” Harry asked kindly, crouching to face Scorpius. He chuckled when Scorpius nodded.

 

“Scorpius, do you remember what Nemo was doing when the divers took him away?”

 

Scorpius thought for a moment. “He was trying to touch the butt.” Harry nodded.

 

“And was he allowed to touch the boat?”

 

Scorpius shook his head.

 

“Did any of the kids who didn’t touch the boat get taken away?”

 

Scorpius shook his head again.

 

“So what does that tell you?”

 

After a moment of reflection, Scorpius smiled.

 

“If you follow the rules you won’t get lost!” He said happily. Harry smiled.

 

“Exactly! Now tell me, are you going to get lost?”

 

“Nope! I’m going to follow all the rules!” Excited about his new discovery, Scorpius ran into the classroom and joined Albus at the colouring table. Draco was shocked.

 

“How do you do that?” Draco demanded. “He’s been having nightmares about that movie for a week, and suddenly he’s excited about this trip. Before he would eat nothing but peanut butter, but after a trip to your house, he’s suddenly excited to eat anything we make. Do you imperius the kids or something?” He peered suspiciously at Harry, who burst out laughing.

 

“As tempting as it can be sometimes, no, I do not imperius the children, Draco. Scorpius is the first kid you’ve ever been responsible for, right? For me, he must be the 50th. That doesn’t make him any less special, but it’s definitely less daunting for me. I can also assure you that Scorpius is an incredibly clever and well-behaved kid. He doesn’t cause nearly as much trouble as some of them do, so working with him is always a pleasure.”

 

Draco couldn’t help feeling a little proud at that. His Scorpius was one of the best kids.

 

“Basically what I’m saying is you shouldn’t worry so much. You know your son a lot better than you think, and you’re doing a wonderful job with him. Now I have to get the class started, but if you need to chat more in the afternoon I’ll be here.”

 

Draco could hardly focus on his work that day. He kept thinking about what Harry had said. When he really thought about it, it was true that he knew Scorpius better than he sometimes gave himself credit for. He could read his mood in an instant, even if he didn’t always know what was causing it. And from what he had heard from the other parents during their brief interactions at the library, Scorpius was actually quite advanced for his age. Maybe he wasn’t so terrible at this parenting thing after all.

 

--------------------------

 

Friday morning was another peanut butter day. Draco was starting to realize that Scorpius now seemed to want peanut butter whenever he was feeling nervous.

 

“You promise you’re going to stay the whole time?” Scorpius asked as they put on their shoes.

 

“Right until you get back to the classroom” Draco promised. “I’m excited to see the muggle fire station.”

 

“What do they keep in those big red trucks?” Scorpius asked, successfully distracted.

 

“I’m not sure. Maybe the firefighters we meet today can tell us?”

 

“I’m going to ask them.” Scorpius decided.

 

-----------------------------

 

Sensibly, Harry decided to start the day with a quick refresher on why muggles need a fire service. Draco knew instinctively that muggles couldn’t just cast an aguamenti to control their own fires, but he had never really considered that they had an entire system for dealing with that problem. After their quick review, they lined the children up, and with Harry in front and Draco in the back, they made their way down the street to the fire station.

 

They had seen fire engines racing past their window while living in London, but Draco had never realized exactly how big they were. He couldn’t help gawking along with the children at the massive red truck. Harry then introduced the class to the local fire brigade, and all of a sudden Draco had something else entirely to gawk at. He wondered if all firefighters were this fit, or if it was just something about the Godric’s Hollow station. The three men and one woman were all very well built, with toned arms and powerful legs. After introducing themselves and welcoming the class, they gave everyone a tour of the station. The children were all very tickled by the fact that the firefighters had a little kitchen and a lounge in their workplace, though as their hosts explained, there wasn’t always a fire to put out, and sometimes waiting around could get a little boring.

 

As promised, Scorpius rounded off the tour by shyly asking what they kept in such a big truck. Draco expected a simple answer, and that maybe they’d take a few tools out of the truck to show the children. What he didn’t expect was for them to open up all the doors and panels and allow the children to climb in and look for themselves. They were only allowed three at a time so Harry and Draco took turns sitting outside with the rest of the class, answering more questions with the help of the firefighters, and exploring the panels on the outside. Draco was surprised to find a wide variety of tools and supplies inside the truck- his original assumption had been that the truck was full of water since muggles couldn’t produce water themselves. Clearly thinking along the same lines, one of the girls in the class asked where they keep the water.

 

“We don’t carry the water in our trucks” one of the firefighters explained. “We would need an impossibly large truck to carry enough water. Instead, we use fire hydrants.” She led the class over to the lawn, where she pointed out a metal square in the grass. “Under these squares are the city water pipes. We just attach our hose to it, and suddenly we have as much water as we need. There are squares like this everywhere so that we can have water wherever we need it.”

 

“Let’s make it a game to see how many you can spot on your way back to the library,” Harry called. “Speaking of which, it’s time to go. Can everyone say thank you to our hosts?”

 

“Thank you!” the class called out in unison. They were very chatty on the way back to the library, and in the short walk, they managed to spot two more hydrants. Draco marveled inwardly at how much work the muggle community must have put into ensuring their own safety.

 

After helping Harry settle the excited children into the classroom and, giving Scorpius a quick hug goodbye, Draco headed home, spotting 5 more hydrants on the way. Pleased with how the school trip went, Draco decided that he should reward Scorpius for his bravery today. As soon as he got home, he threw on an apron and got to work.

 

“I have a surprise for you,” Draco blurted excitedly as they walked home. Scorpius looked up in interest.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Well it wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, now would it?”

 

Scorpius looked around suspiciously as they entered the house. It wasn’t until they sat down to tea, however, that he found out what Draco had been so excited for.

 

“Woah! Is that a fire engine?” He leaned across the table to get a better look at the cake.

 

“I was so proud of you for being brave enough to go on that trip today,” Draco explained as he cut a slice for Scorpius, who blushed at the praise. “Did you enjoy it?”

 

Scorpius nodded around a mouthful of cake. “I’m glad we have people to help us if there’s ever a fire,” he said after swallowing. “They were really nice.”

 

“Yes, they were.” Draco agreed. “What did you like the most?”

 

“It’s funny that they have a kitchen at work!” Scorpius exclaimed. “Do you think they make Slytherin pasta like us?”

 

“Maybe they do, although they probably wouldn’t call it Slytherin pasta.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Muggles don’t know about Hogwarts, remember? They wouldn’t know who Slytherin was, and that his house colour is green.”

 

“Oh yeah. Can we have Slytherin pasta for dinner again?”

 

Draco frowned. “I don’t know if we have any left, but how about a different pasta? Would you like spaghetti?”

 

“Can we do spaghetti and meatballs?”

 

Draco had never understood the Muggle tradition of forming beef into the shape of a ball, but he couldn’t see the harm in it, so he pulled out the muggle cookbooks to look for a recipe.  From time to time, Draco liked to wander around the library for a while after dropping Scorpius off. He had recently discovered that they not only had a wide variety of cookbooks but also many aimed at children and families. Every time he brought a new one home, Scorpius would sit and flip through all the pictures, pointing out dishes that caught his eye.

 

Soon the pair were standing at the counter, rolling small balls of ground beef while a pot of spaghetti cooked next to them. Draco was surprised to find how soothing the repetitive motion was.

 

“Papa?” Scorpius asked tentatively, focused on the ball between his small fingers.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Did you used to do cooking with mummy?” Draco’s hand stilled as he looked over at his son.

 

“No.” He said simply. “Your mummy never liked to cook.”

 

“So did you used to cook all alone?”

 

Draco paused. “I didn’t start cooking until we moved to London. We used to have house elves when we lived with your grandmother.”

 

“Like See-cil!” Scorpius exclaimed.

 

“You remember Cecil?” Draco was surprised when Scorpius nodded happily. They had moved to London shortly before Scorpius’ 2nd birthday, and Draco had assumed that that time in his life was a blur for his son.

 

“Why did we leave from the manor?”

 

“It was very hard for mummy to travel to London for her work every day, so we moved to London to make it easier for her.” Scorpius frowned in confusion and Draco knew he was walking into dangerous territory with these questions. If the last few weeks had shown him anything, however, it was that he could trust his son completely.

 

“Didn’t you say that mummy was leaving us for her work? But we were already in London.”

 

Draco sighed. He had no idea how to tell his son that Astoria had left because the Malfoy name was holding her back from her ambitious career and because the public scorn had become too much for her. He knew his infamy was a conversation they needed to have at some point before Scorpius went off to Hogwarts, but surely four years old was much too young. It was one thing to trust his son, and quite another to scare him with the knowledge that his father had almost been convicted for Death Eater activities, and was considered a pariah in most of the wizarding world.

 

“That’s is a long story, Scorpius. How about we finish dinner, and then we can sit comfortably and I promise I will answer all of your questions as much as I can.

 

----------------------

 

Dinner was quiet, but to Draco’s relief, still comfortable. They finally situated themselves in the living room with cups of cocoa, overflowing with whipped cream, and in Scorpius’ case, sprinkles.

 

“Okay, where were we?” Draco asked as he sat on the floor next to Scorpius.

 

“Why did mummy have to leave again for work?”

 

“Because her company had to move to a different country to get more customers. Your mummy now lives in America, which is on the other side of the ocean.”

 

“So why didn’t we go with her?”

 

“Well, your mummy doesn’t really like me.” That earned another frown from Scorpius.

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because I- when your mummy and I were finishing Hogwarts, there was a war. And everyone thought I was a bad guy in the war.”

 

“Were you?”

 

Draco hesitated. “I made a lot of mistakes,” he started slowly. “But I tried my hardest to fix them all, and I never hurt anyone on purpose.”

 

“But that’s okay. Mr. Potter says that everyone makes mistakes. We just have to fix it and say sorry, and not do it again, just like you did.”

 

“That’s right.” Draco smiled, marvelling at how black and white the world could be through the eyes of a child. “But a lot of people don’t want to forgive me. They wanted me to go to Azkaban.”

 

“What’s Azaban?” Scorpius asked slowly, trying to sound the word out.

 

“Azkaban. Do you remember when you read the book about the muggle police? And they put the bad guy in jail? Azkaban is the jail that wizards go to.”

 

Scorpius’ eyes went wide. “You went to jail?” He sounded both awed and worried at the same time.

 

“I was only there for three days,” Draco shivered as he remembered that cold, damp, hopeless weekend. “It  was more like a time-out than going to jail.”

 

“Why did they let you out?”

 

“Someone important told them that I wasn’t a bad guy and that I had only made a mistake.”

 

“Who told them that?” Damn four-year-olds and their incessant curiosity, Draco thought, as he admitted that it was, in fact, Harry that had testified for him.

 

“Oh yeah, Mr. Potter always knows who was being good and who was being bad, even if we think he wasn’t looking.”

 

Draco smiled at that. “Yes, he does.”

 

Scorpius slurped his melting whipped cream out of the mug before turning back to Draco with a foamy mustache. “So did Mr. Potter forget to tell mummy? That you’re a good guy?” Scorpius asked as Draco summoned a napkin for him.

 

“Well, mummy knew I was a good guy. But a lot of her customers didn’t. Mr. Potter can’t go around telling every person in the entire world, right?” He paused to take a sip of his own cocoa, which he was adult enough to admit was laced with a hint of coffee liqueur. “Some of her customers stopped buying things because they thought she was married to a bad guy. She had to move to a new country where people didn’t think that.” He knew it was a very simplistic explanation, but it seemed to suffice for Scorpius, who was quietly sipping away at his cocoa, staring into the fire.

 

“Do they think I’m a bad guy too? Is that why she left me behind?” Draco’s resolve to be honest with his son dissolved on the spot. He floundered for a moment, wondering what Harry would say in this situation. He’d probably turn it into a teachable moment.

 

“Scorpius, your mother loves you.” Fib #1. “When she told me she was moving out, she said she wanted to take you along too.” Fib #2. Maybe he should put away 5 galleons for every fib he told Scorpius. If he kept asking questions about his mother, the kid would have an impressive trust fund to add to his inheritance by the time he finished Hogwarts. “But I told her no. No one is EVER going to take my Scorpius away from me, not even her. We got into a fight about it, but I won.” He pulled Scorpius into a hug, suddenly feeling very emotional.

 

“So, I’m never going to see mummy again?” he asked worriedly.

 

“Well, I told her she could visit whenever she had a break from work, and she agreed.” Fib #3. Draco had no idea of whether Astoria ever planned to visit her son again, but one could hope. “Maybe we can even go see her in America someday.”  He left his statement purposely vague, but Scorpius didn’t seem to notice. He seemed to relax at the promise that Astoria wasn’t gone for good. He finished his cocoa and got ready for bed. He snuggled into Draco’s bed again, but neither of them minded the company that night.

 

They had a bit of a lie-in the next morning, with Draco sneaking out of bed quickly to prepare pancakes, and bring a tray back up to his room. They enjoyed breakfast in bed, making up stories and planning out new muggle adventures throughout the morning. Their grumbling tummies dragged them down to the kitchen for lunch, where they made ‘dino-nuggets’. As with most muggle novelties, Draco didn’t understand what the need was to form meat into shapes (which barely looked like dinosaurs), but he had to admit that they were tasty, and by adding ‘trees’ and ‘plants’ for the dinosaurs, he even got Scorpius to eat a bit of salad with it. The highlight of the day, however, was when an owl arrived for Scorpius after lunch.

 

“Can I open it, papa?” he asked excitedly. They sat down on the sofa, and Scorpius read the colourful card inside it.

 

“‘Dear Scorpius, You’re in-invi-” he looked questioningly at Draco.

 

“Invited.”

 

“-invited to Zachary’s 5th birthday party.’ I’m invited to a birthday party?!” He cried excitedly.

 

“It seems you are,” Draco confirmed, skimming over the details. Zachary was Susan Bones’ son, and he felt sure that it would be okay to have Scorpius attend their backyard event next weekend.

 

“Do you think Albus and James are going too?”

 

“I would think so, isn’t Albus also friends with Zac? I can check with Mr. Potter though.”

 

“Can we get him a present? Zac wants to be in Hufflepuff like his parents, so it has to be something yellow.”

 

Draco chuckled. “I’m sure we can find something yellow for him. I guess this will mean we have to go shopping, doesn’t it?”

 

“Can we go to the muggle shopping mall?” Scorpius asked hopefully. Draco gave him a long look before agreeing, despite the knot of fear forming in his stomach.

 

“Why don’t we go tomorrow after lunch?”

 

-----------------------

 

And so they set out the next afternoon, Scorpius shaking with excitement and Draco shaking with worry, for the local bus that would take them to the nearby city centre. Draco had always made a point of avoiding large crowds of muggles when they were living in London; large crowds of anyone was a bad idea for Malfoys, and since he knew so little about muggles, he was terrified of making a faux pas. What had he been thinking, agreeing to take his son to the city?

 

Scorpius, of course, was enchanted with the bus and spent the entire ride chattering away with the elderly driver.

 

“We’re going to get a yellow present for my friend!” Scorpius exclaimed happily. “Yellow is his favourite colour!”

 

“Is it?” the driver humoured him. “What about your favourite colour?”

 

“I like green!” Scorpius chattered happily, pointing at his shirt. “What’s your favourite colour?”

 

“Aye, green is a good one lad. Good to represent the noble house of Slytherin.” Scorpius and Draco’s jaws dropped in unison as the driver chuckled. “I’m a squib,” he explained, glancing over his shoulder at the empty bus. “But my brother was in Slytherin, always loved it. Anyways, here we are, Centretown Shopping Center. Good luck with your present hunting, lads.”

 

The shopping mall turned out to be less difficult to navigate than Draco thought it would be, though he marvelled at how large it was. He found it was very much like an indoors Diagon Alley. After wandering around for a bit, they even happened upon a directory of the mall, mounted to the wall. There was a store called Toy Kingdom which sounded promising, but it was up on the third floor, and they were on the first.

 

“I wonder where the stairs might be.” Draco wondered aloud, looking around for some sort of sign.

 

“We can take the elly-vator!” Scorpius said excitedly, pointing at a large metal box moving up and down the end of the atrium.

 

Draco reluctantly allowed himself to be pulled towards the muggle contraption. The stood at the back of a short queue of muggles waiting to get in. A lady with a large pram pushed a button on the wall, which seemed to summon the box. A moment later the metal doors slid open and two women stepped out before the people in the queue started to shuffle into the box. Draco led Scorpius into the front right corner, squeezing the poor boy’s hand out of existence. The man in the left front corner looked at Draco, and asked, “which floor?”

“Three please!” Scorpius piped up. The man smiled down at him and pressed another button on the wall. With a sudden lurch, the box started moving. A moment later the doors slid open and the woman with the pram stepped out. Draco was about to follow, desperate to get off the muggle contraption, before noticing a small screen above the door that said ‘2’. With a sigh, he leaned back against the wall just as the doors slid closed and the box lurched again. Not even caring about the strange looks the other adults gave him, Draco dragged Scorpius off the box as soon as the doors opened again. Without paying attention to where they were going, they set off at a brisk walk down the hall.

 

Luckily, it seemed Draco had picked the right direction after all. Three shops down was a brightly coloured storefront full of exactly what they had come looking for toys. Draco could feel Scorpius quivering with excitement as they wandered inside.

 

Two hours later, Draco found himself dragging a tired but quite excited Scorpius out of the toy store. They had found a figurine of a yellow bus with lights and sounds and doors that opened and closed for Zac, and about 30 other toys for Scorpius. Draco had finally put his foot down and insisted that Scorpius pick two. Unfortunately, he had to promise that they would return soon for more, but in the end, Scorpius opted for a box of coloured markers and a large packet of stickers. Draco was tempted to pick up the plastic dishware he had seen at the Potter house, but at the last minute decided against it it was probably best if Scorpius simply learned how to use real dishware from the start.

 

“Papa, ice cream!” Scorpius cried, pointing at the small blue ice cream parlour.

 

“What about the ice cream?” Draco prompted. “You’re not a baby, you can use full sentences.”

 

“May I have ice cream?” Scorpius amended.

 

“Yes, you may,” Draco smiled. He was glad that this place was at least similar to Fortescue's, though the flavours were quite different. Draco spent a few minutes helping Scorpius sound out the names and read the descriptions, and no one was surprised when he picked a green coloured ice cream called mint chocolate chip. Unsure how a mint ice cream would taste, Draco chose a simple chocolate for himself, figuring Scorpius could have it if it turned out he didn’t like the mint. Five minutes later, Draco was immensely regretting this decision Scorpius had offered him a lick, and it turned out mint chocolate chip was actually delicious.

 

The light was starting to fade as they reached home, and hoping he hadn’t ruined his son’s appetite with the ice cream, Draco asked Scorpius what they should make for dinner.

 

“You can make whatever you like,” Scorpius shrugged. “Papa, can I play instead of helping you cook today?”

 

“That’s fine, but are you sure you’ll eat whatever I make?” Draco was confused when Scorpius nodded absently and wandered up to his room. Deciding to leave him be for the time being, Draco wandered into the kitchen and set to work.

 

20 minutes later, Draco was suspicious. Dinner was ready and he hadn’t heard a peep out of Scorpius the whole time. He made his way upstairs, only to find Scorpius’ room empty. Trying not to let the panic rise, he checked his own room and was relieved to see Scorpius sitting at his desk. Walking up quietly behind him, Draco realised he was drawing pictures on what looked like a sheet of paper ripped out of his notebook. There were toys and stars and ice cream cones, along with a few stick figures near the bottom.

 

“Scorpius? What are you doing?”

 

Scorpius jumped, turning to look at Draco.

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. What are you drawing?”

 

“Um, it’s a card,” Scorpius said, holding the paper up for Draco to see. Turning it over, Draco found an unbelievable number of stickers and Scorpius’ uneven handwriting.

 

Thank you, Mr. Potter

 

“This is lovely,” Draco commented. “Why are you making a thank you card for Mr. Potter?”

 

“Because he told everyone that you’re a good guy. I’m happy he did that.”

 

“Me too.” Draco sighed. “Is there space for me to sign it too?”

 

Scorpius nodded, and handed Draco a marker. He decided to keep his message short since this was technically Scorpius’ card.

 

Thank you, Harry. For everything. -DM

 

“There. Are we ready for dinner now?”

 

-----------------------------

 

“Good morning, Scorpius!”

 

“Good morning, Mr. Potter.” Scorpius was clutching his card tightly to his chest as he walked toward the classroom. He had just reached the doorway where Harry was standing when Albus came running up to him.

 

“Scorpius! Are you going to Zac’s birthday party?” he asked excitedly.

 

“Yeah!” The card was momentarily forgotten. “Papa and I went to a muggle shopping mall yesterday to buy him a present. It was really cool, we even got to use the elly-vator. Papa was so scared!”

 

“I was not.” Draco insisted as Harry started laughing. “It was all perfectly fine.”

 

“Was it really so different from the ministry ones?” Harry asked.

 

“They have those at the ministry?”

 

“Yes of course, can you imagine 100’s of people in the stairwell every day?”

 

“We managed perfectly fine at Hogwarts,” Draco muttered. “Anyways, I’ve never actually been to the ministry, so it was a new experience.”

 

“Really?” Harry asked curiously.

 

“Um, excuse me, Mr. Potter?” Scorpius interrupted. Draco and Harry looked down in surprise, having expected the boys to have run off to play already.

 

“Yes, Scorpius?”

 

“Um.” He glanced at Draco who smiled encouragingly. “I made this for you.” He held out the homemade card, which was now a little crinkled around the edges from how tightly he had been holding it all morning. Harry’s eyes lit up as he took in the card as if it was the most precious thing he had ever held.

 

“Aww, Scorpius, this is wonderful! ‘Thank you Mr. Potter,’” he read. “Thank you for what?”

 

“Thank you for telling everyone that my papa is a good guy so that they let him out of aza-azaban.”

 

Harry gaped at Scorpius for a moment, seemingly at a loss for words. He finally looked down at the card.

 

“I drew all the fun things I get to do with Papa, like eat ice cream. And I put all the red stickers because you’re a Gryffindor and you like red,” Scorpius explained happily. Harry glanced up at Draco, tears forming in his eyes.

 

“Thank you so much for this, Scorpius, I love it. I’m going to put it on my fridge as soon as I get home.”

 

Scorpius beamed as Harry gave him a hug.

 

“And you’re welcome for helping your papa. I’m glad he’s not in Azkaban either.” Harry glanced up at Draco again, and- no. Draco must be imagining things. There’s no way that…

 

“Anyways, we’d better get started, we’ll see you later, Draco.”

 

Draco wandered home in a daze. He could hardly concentrate all, and he most definitely did not change into a nicer shirt that afternoon just because Harry Potter had winked at him. Oh, Merlin, he had winked. At Draco.

 

Draco was still thinking about The Wink™ as he walked into the library that afternoon. He had arrived early, so the class was still finishing their story time. Draco stood by the door, watching as Harry’s story captivated the room, the children hanging on to his every word.

 

“She left the kingdom, but forever after, the statue of Babbitty remained on top of the stump, and no witch or wizard was hurt in that kingdom ever again.” Harry finished, and Draco realized he had been reading Babbitty Rabbity and the Cackling Stump .

 

“Well, everyone, that’s all for today. Let’s get our bags together, and your parents should be arriving any minute.” He looked up and smiled at Draco, who couldn’t help smiling back.

 

“Hey,” Harry greeted, walking up to Draco as the children collected their bags.

 

“Hey. You read really well.”

 

Harry shrugged. “I never got to hear stories as a child, so I’m learning to make the most of them with my kids. Speaking of kids, I’m assuming things have either been going really well or really terrible for you to have told Scorpius about Azkaban.”

 

“It- really well, I’d say. We’ve become a lot closer since moving here, and I really do have you to thank for that.”

 

“Hey, I’m always happy to help, but you definitely deserve most of the credit. He wouldn’t be so engaged if you weren’t making a big effort.”

 

Draco nodded. “He’s already been through a lot, and things aren’t going to get easier as he grows up. I really want to make sure he’s safe and happy for as long as I can. He’s all I have.”

 

“Really? No spicy love life since Astoria? I hear most women tend to fall head-over-heels for a man with a young child.”

 

Draco snorted. “There wasn’t even a spicy love life with Astoria. And it would really help if most men fell head-over-heels for a man with a young child too.”

 

“I don’t know. I find good dads pretty attractive myself.” Harry said as he winked. Again.

 

“Trying to build a ‘spicy love life’ with me, Potter?” Draco teased, trying to keep his cool.

 

“Actually yeah, I am. Say, what are you doing while the boys are at the party this weekend?”

 

“While the boys… why?”

 

“Well, I was planning to drop Lily off at her grandmother’s and open a bottle of wine if you’d care to join me?”

 

“I- um, yeah. I, sure.” Draco spluttered, completely caught off guard.

 

“Great, it’s a date. Oh, hello, Linda. And John, how are you this afternoon?” Harry turned away from Draco as the other parents started arriving.

 

“Come Scorpius, let’s go,” Draco said, taking his son’s hand and rushing him out of the library.

 

----------------------

 

Saturday came much too fast in Draco’s opinion. Both he and Scorpius were on edge as they got ready that morning. Draco helped him pick out clothes that looked smart but would also be comfortable for playing in the yard. He couldn’t help being a little worried about his son this was the first time he’d been invited to play with other children outside of school, and his accidental magic seemed to be flaring up. Luckily, he wasn’t doing more than changing the colour of his shirt, but looking down to see a new outfit every 5 minutes seemed to be making Scorpius more nervous than ever.

 

“I’m sorry!” Scorpius wailed as he changed his shirt yet again, this time to a bright magenta.

 

“It’s alright Scorpius, I’ll change it back to green before you leave. And you should be proud of yourself. That’s powerful magic for your age.”

 

Still looking worried, Scorpius asked, “But what if I do it at the party?”

 

“I think you’ll be too busy having fun at the party to worry about your shirt, but if you do change it by accident you can leave it as it is. Or if the colour is really hideous, you can politely ask an adult there to change it back for you.”

 

Scorpius dropped the subject of his shirt, but it was a bad sign that he asked to eat peanut butter and sprinkles for breakfast. Draco made a mental note to ask Scorpius why he felt the need to eat something so disgusting every time he was nervous, and if he wouldn’t rather a tastier comfort food. Susan had said that the children would be having pizza for lunch, and Draco dearly hoped Scorpius wouldn’t ask for peanut butter at the party.

 

An hour later they were walking along the stone path that led to the back of the Bones’ cottage. The yard was decorated with bright balloons and streamers, and many parents and children were milling about.

 

“Scorpius, you’re here!” They turned to find Albus and Zac running towards them.

 

“Happy Birthday, Zac,” Draco and Scorpius said in unison. Albus giggled as Scorpius handed over the present.

 

“We’re playing tag, come join us!” Zac said happily, and the three boys ran off, leaving Draco standing awkwardly near the gate.

 

“Hey,” came Harry’s voice from behind him. Draco turned to find Harry and Susan right behind him.

 

“Susan, thank you for inviting Scorpius,” Draco said, shaking her hand.

 

“Oh, my pleasure. Zac has a lot of fun with those two, it only made sense to invite his best friends.”

 

Draco was surprised at how relieved he was to find that Scorpius had best friends. Thank Merlin.

 

“What time shall I pick him up?”

“I was just telling Harry here, I think they might tire themselves out around 6.”

“Perfect!” Harry jumped in. “Well, I’m going to head out, are you leaving now too, Draco?”

“Um, yes, I am. Oh, one more thing Susan. Scorpius was having a few bouts of accidental magic this morning. It wasn’t anything serious, he was just changing the colour of his shirt, but if anything happens feel free to send me an owl and I can come pick him up.”

“Oh, colour changing shirts are nothing. Zac was so excited this morning he shrunk the cake. I think that sobered him up pretty effectively.”

“You both have it easy,” Harry scoffed. “James has been turning things invisible lately. I’m so sick of tripping over toys I can’t see.”

“Sounds like a little troublemaker you’ve got there Harry.” Susan teased.

“I wonder where he gets it from,” Draco said sarcastically.

“Well, he’s your problem for the next few hours, Susan. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye Susan,” Draco called, as they walked back around to the front of the house.

“So, I hear you have wine,” Draco said slyly, falling into step next to Harry.

 

“You heard right,” Harry smiled. “The kids won’t be the only ones having fun this afternoon. Though I do need to take a minute to write an apology card to Susan for Zac’s present.”

“Oh no. What did you get?”

“They gave him a ‘My First Pranks Kit’ from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. That party is going to be full of noise bombs and giant unpoppable bubbles.”

“It’s a wonder that shop is still thriving since all their products seem to have no purpose aside from mayhem.”

“They don’t only do jokes. I once used a bunch of their stuff to sneak into the ministry.”

“Of course you did. What, did you make the Aurors laugh so hard that they didn’t see you run past them?”

“If only it had been that easy.” Harry sighed. “Speaking of the ministry, have you really never been?”

Draco shook his head. “I always used to find some excuse to get out of joining my father when I was a child. I much preferred playing in the grounds than his boring adult business. And once I was an adult, well, I don’t think I would be very welcome.”

“But weren’t you there for the trials?”

Draco shuddered. “I was, but they couldn’t have Death Eaters using the main entrance with innocent civilians. The Aurors have a special tunnel for bringing in criminals that leads right to the courtroom.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you talk about it. I was just curious.”

“It’s okay. I think the hardest part was explaining it to Scorpius. After that, talking to you is a piece of cake.”

“That must have been a difficult conversation to have with a four-year-old,” Harry mused.

“It was. I knew I had to tell him at some point before Hogwarts, but I was really hoping it would be closer to his 10th or 11th birthday.”

They had just reached the Potters’ cottage, and Harry held the door open for Draco. He led the way into the living room, where a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a cheese plate were laid out on the coffee table. They settled down in silence, Harry pouring the wine and offering a glass to Draco.

“How did it come up, if you don’t mind me asking?” Draco could tell from the nervous way Harry looked down at his glass that they were still talking about his conversation with Scorpius.

 

“He asked about his mother,” Draco said simply, taking a sip of the wine. “I had to explain why we didn’t go with her to America. I’ve thought up hundreds of lies I could have told him since the divorce, but he’s been so open with me recently that I couldn’t bring myself to lie to him.”

 

“That must have taken a lot of guts. I still haven’t figured out what to say to the boys when people recognize me in Diagon Alley. The “old friend” excuse won’t hold much longer.”

 

“They don’t know that you’re famous? Wait, then where do they think Weasley went?”

 

Harry sighed. “It’s one thing telling the boys that their mum is famous because she’s a world class quidditch player, and quite another to tell them their father is famous because he killed a dark lord who was going to take over the world and kill all the Muggle-borns.”

 

“Something tells me they’d never argue with you about anything after you put it that way.”

 

Harry gave an undignified snort as he started laughing. Draco couldn’t help admiring the care-free way he just threw his head back and let it out.

 

“So is that why you moved to Godric’s Hollow?” Draco asked, once Harry had calmed down. “To keep your kids away from the masses in London?”

 

Harry nodded. “It’s nice that there’s a wizarding community here so that they won’t grow up ignorant of magic like I did, but it’s also small enough that we don’t get mobbed while doing groceries.”

 

“It’s funny you picked it for the wizarding community. I brought Scorpius here in part because I wanted him to learn how to interact with muggles.”

 

“An endeavour that I hear is coming along really well. Scorpius is always telling anyone who will listen about his adventures with his papa.”

 

Draco smiled at that. It was reassuring to know that Scorpius was enjoying their little trips as much as he was.

 

“They mostly seem to revolve around shopping or dining. I must look into some sort of activity we could try.”

 

“How about bowling, or mini-golf? He might be too young for an amusement park, but in a few years that might be a great option too.”

 

Draco had never heard of any of these activities, but if he had learned anything in the past few weeks, it was that Harry knew exactly what he was doing when it came to children. He was starting to realise that maybe Harry wasn’t the only one who found good dads attractive…

 

“I’m not familiar with any of those activities,” Draco admitted. “I feel like I still have a lot to learn.”

 

“Don’t worry. I can help you out,” Harry said, and there was that lovely smile again. Offering one of his own, Draco got lulled into the conversation. As the afternoon wore on, they talked and drank as if they had been friends for years. They discussed the kids, the community, the kids, quidditch, the upcoming election, and of course the kids.

 

“You’d think we’d spend our one afternoon away from the kids doing anything other than talking about them.” Harry groaned, leaning back against the sofa and staring up at the ceiling.

 

“I feel like that’s the trouble with being a parent- you really don’t want to talk about anything else. Our children are our default subject.” Draco knew the feeling. He barely had any social interactions, but the few times a year he met Pansy and Blaise, or his parents, all he seemed to want to talk about was Scorpius.

 

“I wonder how old they’ll have to be before that changes.” Harry sighed, his wine glass dangling between his fingers. He turned his gaze to Draco when the sofa shifted.

 

“I think the trick is to not talk at all,” Draco whispered. He moved closer to Harry, eyes locked on those beautiful lips and feeling bold. Putting his glass down on the coffee table, he wrapped an arm around Harry’s neck, still staring at his mouth.

 

“May I?” he questioned, just as he was an inch from Harry’s face.

 

“Please do,” came Harry’s breathless reply, and suddenly, Draco was flying. He had never felt so alive while kissing someone. Harry kissed with passion, his tongue pushing against Draco’s, his hand snaking up his back. Draco was just about to climb into Harry’s lap when the floo roared to life. They jumped apart just as an elder woman’s face popped into the flames.

 

“Molly!” Harry exclaimed in surprise. “Is everything okay?”

 

“Oh, yes, Harry, it’s just Lily is kicking up a bit of a fuss, asking for you. I normally wouldn’t bother you about it, but you had said you’d be back at 6 and I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”

 

“I- yes, what time is it?” He checked his watch and swore. Looking at his own, Draco realised it was already a quarter past.

 

“Umm, Molly, do you think she’d be okay for another 10 minutes? I was supposed to pick up the boys, I don’t want to keep Susan waiting too long.”

 

“Harry” Draco piped up. “Why don’t I get the boys and you go get your daughter? I’ll bring them back to my place and we can all have dinner together.”

 

“I- are you sure? I wouldn’t want to impose on your evening.”

 

Draco rolled his eyes. “After all the times you’ve helped us out, the least I can do is make you dinner.”

 

“Okay,” Harry smiled. “I’ll be over in a minute,” he said to Molly, and she disappeared from view.

 

“Sorry about the interruption” Harry mumbled, straightening his shirt. He ran a hand through his hair before stepping up to the fireplace. “I’ll see you in a bit?”

 

Draco nodded as Harry vanished into the flames. Slipping into his shoes, he hurried down Bumbleberry lane towards the Bones’ cottage.

 

“I’m so sorry I’m late” he gasped as he ran into the garden.

 

“That’s okay, Draco. You wouldn’t happen to know where Harry is though, would you? His boys are still here too.” Susan asked worriedly.

 

“He’s picking up his daughter, I’m supposed to take the boys home,” Draco explained.

 

“Oh, that’s perfect. Also, thank you for Zac’s present. Scorpius explained to me why he picked a yellow toy and I thought it was the sweetest thing. Zac seems to love it too, he hasn’t put it down all afternoon.”

 

“Well, I’m glad he’s enjoying it,” Draco smiled.

 

“Papa!” He turned around just in time to catch Scorpius as his son flew into his arms.

 

“Hey, Scorpius. Did you have fun?”

 

“Yeah! We played games, and Zac really like our present, and Al and James gave him unpoppable bubbles so we raced those by blowing them, and Mrs. Bones gave us something called pizza and it was really yummy!”

 

“That sounds wonderful. I have one more surprise for you.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yup. Albus and James are going to be coming home with us for dinner. Can you go call them?”

 

“YAY! ALBUS, JAMES, WE’RE GOING TO MY HOME FOR DINNER!” Scorpius screeched as he ran off towards his friends.

 

“I’m guessing from his energy that he had a lot of cake?” Draco asked.

 

“I’m sorry,” Susan laughed. “Your son is the most adorable child I’ve ever met, I really couldn’t bring myself to say no.”

 

Draco smiled. “Don’t worry, he does it to me all the time. At least he’ll sleep well once he crashes.”

 

The three boys appeared at that moment, and bidding Susan and Zac goodbye, they headed off back towards the Malfoy cottage. The boys chatted animatedly all the way home. Draco led them into the living room and summoned four glasses of water. He was already seeing the Potter boys start to crash as they relaxed on the couch, but Scorpius was still going like a deck of exploding snap.

 

“What shall we have for dinner?” Draco asked, unsure what else to say to the boys.

 

“Can we have peanut butter and sprinkles?” Scorpius sang, literally running in circles around the sofa. Merlin, what was in that cake?

 

“Scorpius, sit down before you hurt yourself. We cannot have peanut butter and sprinkles, something tells me Albus and James would like real food.”

 

“Yes, please,” James added.

 

“Maybe we should have Gryffindor pasta since you guys want to be Gryffindors,” Scorpius suggested.

 

“Cool! I’ve never had Gryffindor pasta!” Albus said happily.

 

“Why don’t you boys go up to Scorpius’ room and play for a bit while I get dinner ready?” Draco offered.

 

“Yeah! I can show you my dragon figures!” The boys all ran happily upstairs and Draco headed into the kitchen. He turned back after a moment, having realized that he didn’t know if Harry’s kids were allergic to anything. He could hear the boys talking as he approached Scorpius’ room.

 

“Why do you always want to eat peanut butter for dinner Scorpius?” came James’ voice.

 

“Yeah, isn’t it gross?” Albus added.

 

“Kinda,” came Scorpius’ shy voice, and Draco froze. Scorpius didn’t like peanut butter? “But peanut butter and sprinkles makes you happy, so I eat it anyway.” Scorpius continued.

 

“Really?” Albus asked. “How do you know that?”

 

“I saw it in a movie at my mummy’s friend’s home once. Everything was going wrong for the girl in the movie, and she was crying and sad, but then she ate peanut butter and sprinkles, and then everything became better.”

 

“I don’t know that movie,” James said. “What’s it called?”

 

Draco stepped back from the door, trying to compose himself. Was that what this whole peanut butter phase had been? Scorpius was unhappy, and he thought peanut butter and sprinkles would fix all his problems?

 

Draco sank to his knees right there in the hallway, taking deep breaths to steady himself. He mentally cursed Astoria for once again putting him in this position. How could she detach herself from her son so completely? She didn’t even write, or floo. Weasley visited her children regularly and wrote to them every week from what he knew. So why couldn’t his heartless ex do the same?

 

“Papa, what are you doing out here?” Scorpius’ voice snapped Draco out of his thoughts. He looked up to find the three boys coming out of his room.

 

“I, um, I came up to ask you, boys, if you’re allergic to anything.” He explained.

 

“Why are you on the floor, Mr. Malfoy?”

 

“Um, I think I dropped a knut,” Draco said, thinking fast. “But no bother, I’ll find it later. Now, any allergies?”

 

After confirming that neither of them was allergic to anything, but that Albus didn’t like garlic, and neither of them could stomach spicy food, Draco headed back down to the kitchen. He lost himself in the repetitive motions of cooking, reflecting on how much he hated seeing his son in pain, and how mad he was at Astoria. There had been many times when Draco was tempted to write to her, beg her to come visit, or even just send an owl, but he knew it wouldn’t do much. When she hadn’t sent anything for Scorpius’ birthday, Draco had told him that the long distance owl must be late, and then gone out and bought him a few toys and books in her name. He wondered now if he was doing Scorpius more harm than good by pretending that she cared. Maybe he should ask Harry. Harry always knew the answer to these things.

 

Scorpius did seem to be fairing a lot better though. He smiled brightly as he showed James and Albus how to set the table with the FORKS acronym. Watching the boys work together, Draco realized that he had definitely made the right decision bringing Scorpius to Godric’s Hollow. He would never have made such good friends back in London, and for all Draco knew, he might have ended up in St Mungo’s for malnutrition by now.

 

A knock on the door shook him out of his melancholy thoughts. He let Harry and Lily in, and they all enjoyed a pleasant dinner. Scorpius finally seemed to crash from the sugar rush as they waved goodbye to the Potters.

 

“Did you have fun today?” Draco whispered as he tucked Scorpius into bed.

 

“Mmhmm. I like having friends, Papa.”

 

Draco’s heart twinged as he watched his son fall asleep in front of his eyes. He lost track of how long he sat there on the edge of Scorpius’ bed, watching him sleep. He couldn’t help wondering what their life would have been like if they had just stayed in London. Would Scorpius have ever made friends? Or would they have been two sad and lonely Malfoys cooped up in a London townhouse forever? The thought made Draco feel panicked. What else had he not known Scorpius needed? What else was he missing?

 

His mother. All the other kids had two parents who loved and supported them. And Scorpius had no one but Draco. A scorned Death Eater who normally wasn’t welcome in polite society. Draco walked into the hallway, pacing up and down as he cursed Astoria for the situation she had left them in. He tried to calm himself down, but his anger just kept resurfacing.

 

After what seemed like hours of pacing, Draco finally made a decision. Casting a lightening charm on Scorpius, he picked his son up, slipped into his own shoes, and walked out the door.

 

Thankfully it was a warm night, and the two of them were fine without coats. Draco barely noticed where his feet were carrying him until he was picking his way across the toy-strewn yard. Shifting Scorpius in his arms, he raised one hand and knocked.

 

A moment later a very concerned looking Harry opened the door. “Draco? Is everything okay?”

 

“I- no. I’m furious, and I really need to talk to someone about it.” He looked down to see that Harry was wearing plaid pyjama bottoms and a tight t-shirt that outlined his very fit chest.

 

“I’m sorry,” Draco said suddenly. “I didn’t even think, it must be so late. I shouldn’t be bothering you.” He turned to leave just as Harry reached out and put a hand on his shoulder.

 

“Hey, Draco, it’s okay. Come on in, I was just making myself a cup of cocoa.” Draco followed Harry into the hall.

 

“You can put Scorpius upstairs in the boys’ room if you’d like?” Harry suggested, closing the front door.

 

“I- that might be a good idea actually.” He followed Harry upstairs, and soon they had settled Scorpius onto a pillow transfigured into a small mattress. They headed downstairs, making the cocoa in silence before settling down in the living room.

 

“So, what’s made you so furious?” Harry asked, taking a sip of his cocoa.

 

“My fucking bitch of an ex-wife,” Draco grumbled. He apologised at the shocked expression on Harry’s face. “I just can’t believe sometimes how little she cares.”

 

“Did you hear from her recently? What brought this up?”

 

“No, I haven’t heard from her in months. I did, however, overhear the boys talking last night. Scorpius told your sons that… he doesn’t even like peanut butter!” Draco burst out suddenly. “He doesn’t like the taste of it! And yet he’s been eating nothing else for months. Do you know why?” Harry was quiet as Draco continued to rant.

 

“Because he watched a movie on a telly-vision. At Astoria’s friend’s house. That must have been when she took him for ONE weekend after the divorce because I sure as hell never showed him a telly-vision until he watched it with your boys. When she returned him to me at the end of the weekend, she announced that her son was too much of a commitment and that she didn’t want to be a part of his life anymore. How is he too much of a commitment if you sit him down in front of a telly all day and don’t even pay attention to what he watches?”

 

“That was really irresponsible of her,” Harry agreed. “But I don’t understand what this has to do with Scorpius eating peanut butter?”

 

“Apparently the character in the program he was watching ate it as comfort food, and somehow after eating it, her life magically changed for the better. The poor thing thought that if he ate peanut butter straight out of a jar it would take away his sadness, and make his life happier.” Draco finally broke, and the tears started spilling. He took a few deep breaths before continuing softly.

 

“My son was so hurt, so upset at the loss of his mother that he ate a food that provided no nutritional value, a food that he didn’t even like, for Merlin's sake, for months. All because of her careless parenting. I don’t know if I should be relieved that she’s not around to hurt him more, or disappointed that she’s already hurt him so much by leaving like that.”

 

Draco paused, taking a sip of his cocoa. It was actually quite good. He drank a bit more and could feel himself calming down. The whole time, Harry kept watching him quietly, feet curled under himself and sipping slowly on his own cocoa. Finally, Draco spoke again, voicing the one thought that had been tormenting him the most.

 

“How do I fix this? He- Scorpius, he deserves so much more than I can give him. I’m a disgraced Death Eater, I can hardly walk down Diagon Alley safely. How am I going to take him shopping for Hogwarts? How am I going to teach him to integrate with the magical community? He needs two parents, and I don’t know how to be that for him.”

 

“It’s not a conscious act,” Harry finally said. “You just do your best, and in the end, that’s enough. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll find someone who really does love you and your son. Maybe that day isn’t so far away.” Harry gave him a meaningful look and Draco thought back to their kiss that afternoon. He could still feel those hot lips pressed against his own, Harry’s hand moving slowly up his back. He found himself staring at those lips now, wondering if they would taste chocolatey from the cocoa.

 

“What is this?” Draco asked softly, gesturing between them.

 

“What do you want it to be?” Harry countered.

 

“I asked first,” Draco said petulantly.

 

“I would like this to be a real relationship. I would like to take you on dates, and introduce you to my friends and family, and show you off to the world. I’d like to get to know your son better and I’d like you to know my kids too. I’d like the chance to one day fall in love with you.” Harry paused. “But for any of that to actually happen, you have to want it too.”

 

“I want it,” Draco confirmed, leaning in towards Harry.

 

“Are you sure?” Harry asked, not sounding quite sure himself. “I know you’re trying to focus on Scorpius right now, so I understand if you don’t want anything serious.”

 

“I want it,” Draco repeated, this time capturing Harry’s mouth with his own. He did taste like chocolate. As the kiss became more heated, Draco climbed into Harry’s lap and said a silent thank you when they weren’t interrupted this time. He ground down and was delighted to find that Harry seemed to be having much the same reaction to the snogging as him. The loose pyjama bottoms left nothing to the imagination, and Harry’s hands seemed to be wandering everywhere. There was one in his hair, and one climbing up his back, and then one tugging at his shirt tails, and another trying to clumsily open the zip of his trousers. Still kissing Harry sloppily, Draco pulled back a little to help him out, wiggling out of his own trousers before tugging on Harry’s pyjamas. Harry leaned back across the sofa, pulling Draco down on top of him. They continued kissing sloppily as Harry reached down and pulled both their cocks into his fist. Draco moaned into Harry’s mouth as his hand started stroking slowly.

 

“Oh, that’s good” Harry panted, cupping Draco’s arse with his free hand. “I wish I hadn’t run out of lube last week.”

 

“I think I can help with that,” Draco offered. Gently wrapping his fingers around Harry’s wrist, he pulled his hand up to his mouth. He couldn’t help thinking that the Gryffindor pasta must have really made him courageous as he opened his mouth and sucked Harry’s thumb into it. Green eyes locked onto grey and Draco almost came just from the intensity of the moment. Draco continued to lick and suck on Harry’s hand until he could no longer ignore his cock’s pleas for attention. He let go of Harry’s now spit covered hand, kissing him lightly before whispering, “as you were.”

 

As Harry’s hand started moving again, Draco suddenly wanted to touch every part of Harry. He’d always thought of Astoria as his first, but, here, with Harry, he suddenly understood why people called it making love . This was real passion, and instead of longing for it to be over, as he had when Scorpius had been conceived, Draco just couldn’t get enough. He couldn’t help leaning forward and peppering kisses across Harry’s jaw and neck, running his hands along strong shoulders and down his toned chest.  

 

“Nnggh… Harry… oh, yess…” Draco gasped between kisses, and Harry replied with incoherent moans of his own. Draco was just starting to feel his orgasm building in an embarrassingly short amount of time when Harry gasped.

 

“Draco, I’m gonna… ooh…”

 

“Me too,” Draco murmured, kissing him hard as they came together. They lay there for a long moment, Draco panting as he tried not to squash Harry. He finally sat up, grimacing at the sticky mess.

 

“Here,” Harry said lightly, flicking his hand. Draco shivered as he felt a cleaning spell tickle his skin.

 

“You do a lot of wandless magic,” Draco commented. “I never realized how powerful you were.”

 

Harry shrugged. “It’s mostly the really useful parenting spells that I can do wandlessly. Things like cleaning charms or summoning charms. I would still need my wand for complex transfigurations or duelling.”

 

“That’s still impressive” Draco pointed out. “And incredibly hot,” he added with a wink. He was rewarded with a blushing Harry.

 

“I should probably head home,” Draco said, reaching for his trousers.

 

“Stay,” Harry pleaded, reaching out to take Draco’s hand. “The boys are sleeping comfortably anyways. We can all have breakfast together in the morning.”

 

“I- are you sure? They’ll ask questions.”

 

“They’re 4 and 6. All we have to do is say we felt like having a sleepover- they’ll love it, and demand that we do it again.” Harry grinned at the thought, and Draco couldn’t help but grin back.

 

“I should really talk to Scorpius in the morning though, and correct this whole misconception about peanut butter as soon as possible.”

 

“You can do it on your own terms, Draco. That’s going to be a difficult conversation, especially if you have to get into the fact that Astoria’s never coming back. It’s not going to help if you push the subject before either of you are ready.”

 

Draco sighed. “I guess you’re right. As usual.”

 

Harry smirked. “Of course I am. Now grab your clothes and let’s get to bed. My boys rise with the sun, and it’s not going to stay quiet for long once they find Scorpius in their room.”

 

--------------------

 

Harry’s prediction came true all too soon. He can’t have snuggled into Harry’s side more than 5 minutes, and yet suddenly there were children climbing all over the bed. He was very glad he had accepted a spare pair of joggers from Harry the night before, instead of sleeping in his pants.

 

“Dad, why was Scorpius in our room?”

 

“And why is Mr. Malfoy in your room?”

 

“We decided to have a late sleepover,” Harry said lazily, sitting up and leaning back against the headboard. Draco just lifted the covers and let Scorpius climb into the bed next to him. Cuddling him close, he closed his eyes again. They weren’t going to give up their Sunday morning tradition of sleeping in just for a couple of Potters.

 

“Why can’t you boys be more like Scorpius?” came Harry’s voice and Draco buried his face in the pillow to hide his smile.

 

“Because we’re hungry!” James whined.

 

“I want blueberry pancakes!” Albus exclaimed.

 

“No, chocolate chip pancakes!” James countered.

 

“How about we ask our guests?” Harry suggested. The three of them turned around at the sound of a snore to find Draco and Scorpius sound asleep.

 

“I’ll wake them up!” James yelled. Harry caught him just as he lunged forward.

 

“You’ll do no such thing!” Harry scolded. “Go brush your teeth, then you can come down and help me make the pancakes. And yes, we can add both blueberries AND chocolate chips.”

 

Harry turned back to the cuddle of Malfoys as his boys sprinted out of the room. His heart melted at the sight of Scorpius’ small hand resting on the crook of Draco’s neck, father, and son fitting together so seamlessly. Deciding to let them sleep, Harry made his way downstairs to wrangle his own boys.

 

-

 

Draco woke in a daze, stretching luxuriously with the now familiar warmth of Scorpius tucked into his side. He pushed the covers off, before realizing with a start that this wasn’t his bed. In fact, it wasn’t even his room! Looking around in a panic, Draco suddenly remembered the events of the previous night. He was surprised to find himself smiling at the thought. Everything seemed to be falling into place, and bit by bit, he was building a life with his son.

 

Draco stared thoughtfully at the still sleeping boy. He could see why everyone always said Scorpius was Draco’s clone. Asleep, his son looked so peaceful, as if he couldn’t have a care in the world. Draco was almost loathed to wake him up and remind him of his worries.

 

With a heavy sigh, he reached over and gently prodded Scorpius awake. Harry was right they’d discuss it when the time came, and in the meantime, Draco would be there to support his son no matter what.

 

“Good morning, Papa” Scorpius yawned.

 

“Good morning. How did you sleep?”

 

“Pretty good. It was funny waking up in Al’s room, but they’re kinda loud.” Scorpius made a face and Draco couldn’t help laughing.

 

“That they are. Are you ready for breakfast? I hear Mr. Potter is making pancakes.”

 

“That sounds good. Papa, is my toothbrush here? My mouth feels really yucky.”

 

“It’s not,” Draco frowned. “Mine feels yucky too. How about I try a toothbrushing charm on you?” He waved his wand, and a moment later both their mouths tasted of mint.

 

“That’s better,” Scorpius said, climbing out of the bed. He paused, looking down at his pyjamas. Draco didn’t like the worried expression on his face when he looked back up.

 

“Are we going to have breakfast with them in our pyjamas? Isn’t it bad manners?”

 

Draco smiled. “Usually yes, but since this is a sleepover, it’s generally acceptable to attend breakfast in your pyjamas.”

 

“Papa, what’s a sleepover?”

 

“Well, a sleepover is kind of like a party, where you sleep at your friend’s home, or they sleep at yours.”

 

“But how can you have a party while you’re asleep?” Scorpius giggled.

 

“You don’t,” came Harry’s voice from the doorway. They both looked up to see him standing in the doorway, smiling at them. “You have the party when you wake up. Which is now. Unless you’re Albus and James, then it was a while ago. You-” He pointed a finger at Scorpius. “Have some catching up to do if you want to keep up with their pancake record!”

 

Grinning happily, Scorpius ran out of the room looking for his friends. The two men watched him go before Harry wandered up to the bed and plopped himself down next to Draco.

 

“Good morning.” He leaned in and pecked Draco on the cheek. Draco blushed, wondering how Potter could have this effect on him.

 

“Good morning, yourself” Draco smiled back. “Thank you again for inviting us to stay last night.”

 

Harry laughed. “Trust me, it benefits me as much as anyone else.”

 

“Did the boys really believe that this was just a spontaneous sleepover?” Draco asked incredulously.

 

“Once you put enough chocolate in their pancakes, they’ll believe anything,” Harry winked.

Draco knew he should be worrying about how much sugar Scorpius was eating, and the consequences of the resulting sugar high, but as Harry leaned in and started peppering small kisses all over his neck, the only thing on Draco’s mind was that he was currently the luckiest man in the world.

 

----------------

 

“So, how was your day?” Draco asked as they sat down to tea. He listened happily as Scorpius told him about the story Mr. Potter had told them at school, and the new game Zac had invented during break time, and how he beat Albus in a spelling contest. He also noticed Scorpius eat two finger sandwiches and three biscuits. His son’s appetite had grown considerably since he had started taking Harry’s advice, and it had now been almost a month since Scorpius had last asked for peanut butter, that night they had slept over at the Potters’ for the first time. There had been many more sleepovers since then, and many more playdates and adult dates as well. The whole village now knew that Mr. Potter was dating Draco Malfoy, and for the most part they were surprisingly supportive. Draco and Scorpius were even planning to join them at the Burrow this coming weekend for dinner.

 

And through it all, Draco had yet to have a real discussion with Scorpius about his beliefs surrounding peanut butter. He had promised himself that he would sit his son down the moment he asked for it again, but this past month had been going so well that there had been no such opportunity.

 

“Papa?” Scorpius asked, dragging Draco out of his thoughts. “Can I go study now?”

 

“Of course.” He watched as Scorpius slid off his chair and walked out of the dining room. He was just barely in the doorway when Draco remembered something.

 

“Oh, wait a minute, Scorpius what would you like for dinner?”

 

Scorpius froze, before looking up at his father hesitantly. “Um…” he looked away as he mumbled, “canIhavepeanutbutter?”

 

“Excuse me? We don’t mumble in this family. Speak up please.”

 

“Can I have peanut butter, please?” Scorpius repeated, still staring at the floor. Draco’s heart sank. He walked over to his son, kneeling slowly in front of him.

 

“Scorpius, can you look at me please?” Draco found himself staring at round grey eyes full of worry. “Scorpius, is something worrying you?”

 

Scorpius nodded. “Mr. Potter said we’re going to have a test tomorrow,” he blurted. “On everything we learned about muggles. He says he has to make sure we know everything before we can go to the muggle school. What if I don’t pass, papa? They won’t let me go to school anymore!”

 

The fact that there would be a test wasn’t news to Draco. Harry had confided in him that he would be doing a review with the children on the last day before starting at the muggle school and that he would present it as a test to make the children take it seriously. What Draco hadn’t expected was that it would worry Scorpius this much.

 

“Scorpius, of course you’ll do well, you know so much about muggles. We can practice some of the things you’ve learned if that will make you feel better?”

 

Scorpius nodded, but he didn’t seem very convinced. Fully aware that he had been avoiding the peanut butter issue, Draco pulled out Scorpius’ notebook and started asking him questions at random. The more questions he got right, the more Scorpius seemed to relax. Soon he was giving lengthy explanations for every topic Draco brought up.

 

“Well, it seems to me like you’re a muggle expert,” Draco announced as they reached the end of the notebook.

 

“I’m not an expert, papa,” Scorpius said, rolling his eyes. His stomach chose that moment to growl loudly.

 

“Pretty close in my opinion. Though experts need to eat too.” Draco’s eyes widened as he checked his watch. They had clearly lost track of time while studying. “What do you say we go out for dinner tonight?” he suggested. It was too late to start cooking now.

 

“Can we go somewhere that has peanut butter?” Scorpius asked. Draco sighed. He had already ignored the peanut butter issue once today, but he also didn’t want his son to starve. Struck with a sudden inspiration he stood up.

 

“Very well. Let’s go.”

 

They were soon sitting in the same restaurant that they had visited with the Potters all those weeks ago. They were sitting face to face in a booth, each with a paper placemat in front of them. Scorpius reached eagerly for the crayons, but Draco reached out and stopped him.

 

“Scorpius, before you start colouring, I have a question for you.”

 

“Okay, papa.” Scorpius sounded unsure but gave Draco his full attention anyway.

 

“Why do you keep asking to eat just peanut butter? Do you really like the taste that much?”

 

Scorpius hesitated for a moment, fidgeting with the corner of his placemat.

 

“Not really. It’s okay,” he shrugged.

 

“Then why do you want to eat just peanut butter?”

 

“I’ll eat it in a sandwich, papa.” Scorpius offered. Draco sighed.

 

“That’s not my point. You know that peanut butter isn’t enough for your magical core. It’s a good snack, but not for dinner.”

 

“But it makes you happy,” Scorpius said quietly.

 

“It certainly doesn’t make me happy,” Draco replied. “Does it make you happy?”

 

Scorpius shrugged, but Draco wasn’t going to let it go.

 

“Scorpius, do you really feel happy every time you eat peanut butter?”

 

If Draco hadn’t been staring so intently at his son, he might have missed the minute shake of his head. Draco was at a loss for words at how defeated his son looked. It got worse when Scorpius finally looked up, silent tears streaming down his face.

 

“Why doesn’t it work, papa? The lady on the telly was so happy after eating peanut butter and her best friend came back. But it’s been a long time and mummy still isn’t back. And I’m still scared that I won’t do good on the test, and then Mr. Potter won’t let me go to the muggle school with Albus and Zac.” He wiped his nose on his sleeve, and Draco couldn’t even bring himself to admonish him for it. Instead, he got up and slid into the booth next to him, offering him his handkerchief.

 

“Scorpius, you can’t make bad feelings go away just by eating peanut butter.” He wrapped an arm around Scorpius as he leaned into Draco’s side. “Especially if you don’t actually like peanut butter.”

 

“But the lady on the telly-”

 

“Scorpius, the things you see on the telly aren’t real. They’re just pretending, showing you a story.”

 

“Can I get you boys anything to drink?” The waitress asked as she bustled up to the table. At the sight of a teary Scorpius however, she took a step back. “How about I give you two a few more minutes.”

 

“Yes, thank you.” Draco gave her a grateful look. Just as she was walking away, he called out.

 

“Excuse me? I just realized, could we maybe have a couple of glasses of water?”

 

“Oh of course dear. Right away.”

 

By the time the lady had brought them their water, Scorpius had calmed down again. He wiped his face clumsily with Draco’s handkerchief.

 

“Scorpius, switch spots with me.” He picked his son up and sat him down on the edge of the bench, sliding in towards the wall to make room for him.

 

“I’m going to give you a really important task, okay?” He smiled inwardly at the way Scorpius suddenly sat up straight.

 

“I need you to keep an eye out for any muggles looking our way,” Draco whispered, his face inches from Scorpius’. “I’m going to do a tiny bit of magic, but they can’t see my wand.”

Draco wasn’t actually worried it was late, and in the middle of the week, the restaurant was practically deserted. He just figured the conspiracy would be fun for Scorpius, whose eyes grew wide at the suggestion.

 

“But you aren’t allowed to do magic in front of muggles, papa!” Scorpius gasped.

 

“I know, that’s why we have to make sure they’re not looking!” He smiled when Scorpius turned around and poked his head around the side of the booth. He turned back and nodded once, watching in awe as Draco tapped the two placemats. He put his wand back into his sleeve before asking “All clear?”

 

“All clear!” Scorpius said excitedly. He pulled one of the papers towards him and examined the changes. Right in the middle of the page was a plain box, with a single question written on top.

 

“What- makes  you- happy?” Scorpius read slowly. He looked over and found Draco’s mat had identical changes.

 

“I thought we could play a little game” Draco explained. “But first I think we should order dinner so that it’s ready by the time we finish playing.”

 

Scorpius opened his mouth as if he had something to say about putting off a magical game, but his stomach chose that moment to give a very loud grumble. With a resigned sigh, he flipped over his placemat and looked at the options.

 

Once they had placed identical orders for fish and chips and chocolate milkshakes (Draco could see the waitress wince at the odd pairing, and he was tempted to tell her about the peanut butter), Scorpius flipped his placemat back and looked at Draco expectantly.

 

“So the first step in this game is to pick your favourite colour crayon.” They both grabbed for the green one at the same time, but Draco purposely let Scorpius have it, choosing a purple instead.

 

“Now you have to fill the box with all the things that make you happy. You can write them down like a list, or draw pictures. You have until the food arrives. Ready?”

 

Scorpius nodded, crayon poised over the paper.

 

“3...2...1… go!” And they were off. Draco didn’t get much written down he was too busy watching Scorpius draw. The one-colour rule forgotten, his son was creating a detailed masterpiece on his placemat. Soon after, the food arrived, but Scorpius seemed to have forgotten all about his hunger. Draco was halfway through his own dinner by the time Scorpius put his crayons down and reached for a chip.

 

“All done?” he asked. Scorpius nodded.

 

“What’s the next part of the game, Papa?”

 

“Well, I was thinking that you can tell me about your drawing, and I can read you my list. Then we can go home and put them up on the wall to remind us every day. We should, however, finish eating first.” He added as Scorpius looked ready to get up at that moment. His mood seemed to have improved, and he happily scarfed down his dinner, shamelessly stealing some of Draco’s chips when he had finished his own.

 

“Can I have a mississississippi mudpie please?” Scorpius piped up when the waitress asked if they wanted dessert.

 

“One Mississippi mud pie, coming up,” she chuckled. “And for you?” she asked Draco.

 

“You know what, I think I should see what’s so good about these mud pies,” Draco drawled, making Scorpius giggle.

 

“Papa wants a mud pie too, please!” he told the smiling waitress.

 

“Coming right up!”

 

“Oh, I should add a mud pie to my picture!” Scorpius exclaimed, reaching for a brown crayon.

 

“So are you going to tell me about this masterpiece?” Draco asked curiously. Scorpius put his crayon down and slid the picture over to Draco.

 

“This is a picture of all the things that make me happy!” Scorpius explained excitedly. “It’s you and me, and Mr. Potter, and Albus and Zac and James and even Lily, and we’re all eating Slytherin pasta and mud pie together! And we invited the firefighters too, and they brought their big truck!” He happily pointed at a large red square in the corner of the page. “And we’re wearing green robes because we’re both Slytherins, and everyone else is wearing red, except Zac, he’s the yellow one!”

 

Draco couldn’t help smiling at all the details his son had put into the picture. “What are these?” he asked, pointing at a bunch of colourful circles in a line across the top.

 

“Those are the beads from the table we sat at last time!” Scorpius explained, pointing to the large booth under the beaded canopy.

 

“Why are we so close together?” Draco asked, realizing that they almost looked like a single person in the drawing.

 

“Because we’re hugging. I always feel better when you hug me.” Draco was powerless to stop the tears in his eyes as he pulled his son close, placing a gentle kiss on the top of his head.

 

“I always feel better when you hug me too” Draco whispered. “In fact, that’s at the top of my list,” he said, straightening up and pulling his list forward. “See? Hugs from Scorpius.”

 

Scorpius giggled as he kept reading. “‘Hugs from Grandma’ Yeah, she gives good hugs too.”

 

“Yup. And I also have ‘cooking’ and ‘muggle adventures’, and sleeping in on Sundays.”

 

“I like that too!” Scorpius offered. “What about the people who make you happy?”

 

“Well, there’s you you're my number one favourite person. And Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt Pansy and Uncle Blaise.”

 

“What about Mr. Potter, papa? He makes me happy- does he make you happy too?”

 

Draco couldn’t help smiling at his son. “Yeah,” he admitted. “He makes me happy too.”

 

-----------------------------

 

2 years later-

 

Draco walked up the neatly manicured path leading to the cottage and knocked brightly on the door.

 

“Hello Mrs. Collins,” he said as a young woman opened the door. “My name is Draco Potter-Malfoy.” He reached out and shook her hand. “This is my daughter Lily, and my son Scorpius.” Scorpius smiled and shook Mrs. Collins’ hand as well. Following her brother’s lead, Lily offered her a blue gift bag with a shy smile.

 

“It’s nice to meet you all,” Mrs. Collins said politely, accepting the gift bag. “What can I do for you today?”

 

“We’re here to welcome you to the neighbourhood, on behalf of the Godric’s Hollow Wizarding Parents Association.”

 

fin.